Monday, November 30, 2009

The Book

I seem to have recovered from all the turkey and stuffing and many, many helpings of pie. Mmmm....pie. Excuse me for a moment while I salivate thinking about the pie...

Okay. I think I can focus now. So! How was your Thanksgiving? Wonderful, I hope, and full of good things like fabulous feasts, laughter until your cheeks hurt, and warm hugs. And naps. I hope you had some good naps over the holiday. You can never have too many good naps, I always say.

Our Thanksgiving was spent shared between my family and my husband's family: Feasting and football with my family and then dessert and more dessert with Patrick's. It's a good, but filling, compromise. We get to see everyone and eat and visit and eat and play and eat. And did I mention eat? I'm pretty sure that I won't need to eat anything between now and Christmas. I'll just live off of the fat stores that I've accumulated over Thanksgiving.

We celebrated our first holiday with most of my family present (we missed you TX family!) in my parents' new home. It was an adjustment in some ways, but it was good. Some things, by necessity of space had to change, but other things stayed the same. My folks' new house doesn't have a dining room like their old house did and their kitchen was too small to accommodate 15 people. But! Their house does have a finished, insulated, and heated garage which we have christened the Ivy Room. And the Ivy Room is where we feasted and where the grandkids slept on blow-up beds. So, you know, it all worked out.

One of the things that didn't change was The Book. The Book, you see, has been a tradition in my family for several years. I found a journal-type book several years ago and gave it to my mom on Thanksgiving. As I gave it to her, I told her I thought it would be great if we could keep track of our blessings and the many things we are thankful for. I thought it would be nice to see how things changed over the years. My mother loved the idea, and each year, adults and children alike have written, dictated, or drawn an entry. It's been fun to look back and see how the kids have grown and to see how each and every time I have written, amongst my many blessings, some food (like cucumber sandwiches or Pinot Noir or bacon) has been part of my list. Go figure.

So each year, my mom faithfully gets out The Book and we all take turns over several days writing in it. And each year, my husband grimaces. The Book, you see, is the Bane Of His Thanksgiving.

My dear husband is my polar opposite in many ways. And one of those ways is in the expression of his gratitude. He is quite satisfied with keeping his thankfulness to himself. And I don't mean that in a bad way. He is grateful for his many blessings. He prays. He tells me and his other loved ones about the ways he is thankful. He just does not like writing in The Book. And y'all know me. I'm all about the writing. When I come in the door, I'm all "where's the book? I need the book! Let me write alllllllreadddddddy!!" My husband? He hides from the book.

It has become my mission to make sure he fills out something. Most years he does. Last year, he escaped without writing a thing. I have no idea how such an appalling oversight happened, but this year, I aimed to rectify it. And this year, his entry was a doozy. It left me breathless with tears. After he wrote his entry, The Book barely had time to rest on the table before I whisked it up and read it out loud to the entire room. We were beside ourselves. This is what he wrote:

I am thankful for the birds,
I am thankful for the trees.
I am thankful for my wife,
'Cause she's the bees knees.

I am thankful for my children,
Though they sometimes are a pain.
I am thankful for my mother-in-law,
Though she drives me insane.

I am thankful for the sun,
I am thankful for the moon.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving,
But it always ends too soon.

Wonderful, no? That my friends is one of the reasons that I fell in love with and continue to love my husband. He is hilarious and even after 18 years, he surprises me. I'm thankful for him and I don't need The Book to share my thankfulness about that.

My mom, by the way, thought it was hilarious as well. Now the ball is in her court and she'll have to find a way to "burn" him back. No telling what he'll find in his Christmas stocking...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim!

You'd better have a happy one. Or else!

I pray that you all have a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving. One of the many things I'm thankful for is you, dear reader, for continuing to come here and read my ramblings. Your comments and your visits are always a blessing. I'll be back next week, as soon as the tryptophan haze brought on by mass consumption of turkey has lifted.

Count your blessings!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Digital Amusement

Today, my friends, I will share with you a little slice of life here at Chez Sara. You will see, through the magic of the Digital Age, some things that I recently encountered around my house. And then you will nod your head knowingly and say to yourself "Ahh, yes. She has truly gone 'round the bend this time! She calls this entertainment?"

And the answer to that is, yes. Yes I do.

The other day when I was walking through the house, I was noticing many of my childrens' toys lying on the floor. Not a strange occurrence round these parts, for sure. But what caught my attention was the strange mixture of toys and the ways that they were left. It was almost as if my children wanted me to be entertained. I know that really, they just dropped the toys and left them when the fancy struck and that the things that I saw were just products of my very active, supremely warped imagination.

Shall I share? Of course I should!!

First I encountered Woody about to become dino chow.

See the look on Woody's face? Sheer terror at what is about to befall him.

Then I found Swinger Monkey and No Name Dog at the foot of the stairs. Right below our loft. It looks as if a murder suicide has taken place. I'm not sure who pushed who, but I'm thinking the culprit is the dog with no name. Having no name is enough to make anyone crazy. I know that dog. He had issues.

And look! Here's Barbie. If you could add water, it would look as if she were in a hot tub with a bunch of superheros and villains. Also? Because of her size compared to the miniature size of the superheros and bad guys, it looks like the Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman.

Next up is what I like to call Naked Contortionist Barbie. She's not available in stores. (Wonder what kinds of google hits that particular phrase will generate! Heh.)

This is what the Rennaisance Girls are playing with these days. My particular RenGrrl takes her Nascar vehicle off-roading while delighting the crowds with her mad vocal skillz. And the super-sized microphone (in pink, no less) is just the thing to reach the masses.

Weapons? Check. One for each hand? Check. And an extra to tuck in your pants? Check. (Note to self: remind boy children that if they should ever tote a real firearm, pants are not good holsters.) You should know that this is only a fraction of the 487 Nerf-type guns owned by my sons. Truly I find the little darts everywhere.

Look! A tete-a-tete! What in the world do you suppose they are discussing?

And finally, there is poor Jessie. She's lost her arms. How will she ever use her lasso now? What will become of the little dogies? How will she get them along? The world may never know.

I do have an idea of what may have caused Tilly to have an upset stomach though. Probably too much plastic in her diet. I think it must be particularly hard to digest cowgirl arms. Sigh.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Not Holiday Season Without Hot Glue And Salt

What, you don't look forward to Christmas by celebrating with hot glue and salt? I suppose you don't have a Festivus pole either. (Sorry, non-Seinfeld fans. You won't get the joke.)

I have started to get some Christmasy things together as Thanksgiving is ONE WEEK AWAY and you know what that means don't you? It means that my 24 hour days which are already flying by much too fast will now hit warp speed. Hence the need for creating a few things before I've even overeaten, bloated myself, gained 253 pounds dined on turkey, stuffing, and many varieties of pie.

While combing other people's blogrolls, I came across a lovely idea from Melissa at 320 Sycamore. She's full of creative ideas, but this one was right up my alley. (You all know what that means by now, right? Simple and inexpensive and easy to complete when you have the attention span of a gnat.) She found a hurricane, a filled candle and a taper candlestick at the dollar store and made her own knock-off Williams Sonoma hurricane candle. For about eleventy bajillion dollars less than WS was asking. Love that! (Have I mentioned before that I kind of have Champagne taste on a Shlitz beer budget?) Seriously, click on over and have a look. I'll wait.

I know!! Wasn't that awesome?!?!

I may have mentioned before that I'm not so great originating the ideas but I'm a heckuva good copier. I can execute, people. I can execute like a madwoman! So I had to head right over to Dollar Tree and then wail in disappointment when they didn't have the tall hurricanes at that particular store. Then I whined a little because I didn't have time to go to another store to look because I had to go pick up my son from the orthodontist. (I now have two children requiring orthodontia. Now you know why I hit Goodwill and the Dollar Tree--because I'm keeping the orthodontist's children in a style to which my own children have never become accustomed. But I digress... [there's a shocker!]) So I decided to take another look to see if I could revamp the idea to suit what I could find.

I found a much shorter candle holder with a thicker base and I liked the shape of it. I found the candlesticks and I used shorter votives to place inside the candle holder. Then following her instructions, I got my hot glue gun out and plugged it in and made a deal with it. I told it that if it wouldn't burn me, I wouldn't cuss at it. Mostly we stuck to our deal. And look at the beauty that came of all that stuff:

Isn't she loverly?

You know what the white stuff is?

Epsom salt!! It's waaaay cheap and it looks really pretty, like fake snow or little ice crystals.

And because I bought a 50 lb. generously-sized bag, I figured that I could find some other things to do with it besides use it to soothe my aching muscles.

So, per Martha Stewart's instructions, I coated some candles with Mod Podge and then rolled some candles in it and then nestled the candles in more salt.

I like the results. It's kind of hard to tell, but these candles almost look like birch logs. So now they look like snow-covered birch logs. Nestled in snow. Can you spot the theme here?

Now Martha had some pretty blue candles that she did this with and they looked lovely, but I didn't have any pretty blue candles. I would have nowhere in my house to put blue candles. So I used what I had. But the blue candles, they are haunting me. I may just have to go buy some and roll them in Mod Podge and salt and give them as a gift. Only time and my tentative grip on sanity will tell...

So there you have it. Easy. Pretty. Salty.

And now if you'll excuse me, for some reason I am craving pretzels...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Say What?

Last week at school, one of my students was talking to a friend in circle time. A little boy across from her was copying her words and actions. The little girl noticed and said to the little boy, "Please stop copying me!"

The little boy looked right at her and said, "I'm not copying you. I'm mocking you!"

Next week's lessons will focus on synonyms and splitting hairs. Ahem.


Scene: We are at the dinner table enjoying a family meal. Our eldest daughter is discussing homework for her CPR class. (No, not that CPR. This CPR stands for Creating Positive Relationships and deals with sexuality and, well, creating positive relationships. Yes, I've spoken many times with her about these things already. Yes, my husband stammers and stutters when she utters the letters CPR.)

Daughter: Do you want to know what my CPR homework is for tonight?

Husband--looking startled and worried: I'm afraid to guess!

Daughter: I have to talk about three rules I'll have when I start dating.

Immediately the husband and I launch into rules like You Don't Date Until You're 40, You Will Be Accompanied On Every Date By Your Father Who Will Be Accompanied By A Big Gun, Your Brothers Get To Choose Your Boyfriends.

After the talk settles down into a little more serious tone, I say something like, " Well one rule would be something like this: The young man--whomever he is--will always be introduced to us and he will pick you up at the door for each date. No sitting in the car honking the horn."

Older Son: How 'bout this rule? The guy can't take you to sad movies where you'll cry.

Younger Son (who is just 8, by the way): Yeah, because if he does, then when the sad parts come, he'll put his arms around you to "comfort" you. (He even made air quotes on the word comfort.)

We all cracked up. And then I pointed my finger at him and said, "Good thinking, kid. And by the way, YOU will never date--ever! Because if you are coming up with schemes like that at eight, I hate to see what you'll be thinking of at 16!"

Pray for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Search Of...

For those of you who read a blog, but perhaps don't write one yourself, you may not know that we bloggers keep statistics on our sites. We know the geographic areas, if not the cities, people are visiting from, we know how long you stayed on our site, and we can see the pages you visited as well as if you clicked out of our site and onto another. Now, I suppose this is highly useful information if you are using your blog for business or if you have lots of readers and want to figure out exactly who your audience is and what they like reading most about. When I look at this information, I see a handful of readers (thank you, by the way, for reading here and finding anything I have to say even remotely entertaining) some who I know and some I don't. And when I check which posts have received the most hits, it's either some of my "project" posts that I've linked with other blogs, or it's posts about my dog. Apparently people like to see some of the things I've made, but they LOVE that my dog makes me look stupid. If I can make you feel a little better about yourself through my mishaps with my dumb dog, well, that's good! What can I say? I aim to please.

One of the other little bits of information that I am able to get is how you, the reader got to my site. Sometimes you get here directly, because you have my URL and you either type it in or--God bless you, you have it bookmarked. Sometimes, you link through via Facebook, which means you know me and have seen snippets of my posts there and come here to read more. Sometimes my mother has twisted your arm told you about my site in a link through email. Occasionally, someone will find me through another site where I have linked a project or written a comment. But to me, the most interesting way that people find me is through an Internet search.

Now, usually, these people are NOT looking for my blog. Most commonly, people are searching for the lyrics to "Que Sera, Sera" and they have no earthly clue how to spell "Que Sera, Sera." They want to know what those words mean. They want to know what the lyrics are. They want to know who sang it. And usually, they have spelled some variations of "que sa ra sa ra." Sometimes the spellings are unique, to say the least. I have seen:

K Sara Sara
Que Sa Rah Sa Rah
the ubiquitous que sa ra sa ra
the occasional que sara sara
Queue Seera Seera (what in the world are these people waiting in line for?)
Kay Say Rah Say Rah (to which I always reply GO TEAM!)

But lately some of the search words have had me laughing. I'm quite sure that when people type in their search words and wind up on the blogging site of a middle aged, suburban mother who divorces her dog and rants about her crazy neighbors and shows pictures of random decorating projects that they are scratching their heads and wondering what exactly they typed. Now, I know that it's because of my titles or content and it's how search engines work that drive this stuff, but still, it does seem kind of random.

For instance, recently someone found my site using the search words "make a bubble blower with a plastic hose" and they wound up on the page from this summer where the kids and I made bubble blowers using plastic bottles. And several people have used the search words "what to do with leftover cocktail napkins." My thinking is that they are looking for a project. At least that's what I'm hoping, because lets face it, if you are asking Google to help you micromanage your cocktail napkin inventory, then you may have bigger issues than my little blog can help you with.

Some other recent searches that have led people here:

Sketchers "falling apart"-- could be a query about mentally fragile artists losing their marbles, but more likely it's someone who's had the same issues that I have with those shoes and they are winding up at the post where I talk about how I will NEVER buy Sketchers again because they fall apart. Do you hear me, Sketchers? Your shoes cost a pretty penny and they SUCK!! There. I said it. Come and get me Sketchers, I ain't skeerd. (Heh. Bet I lost any chance of them wanting to advertise on my oh so popular blog....)

Lyrics "stick a fork in me i'm done"--Huh. Never heard this song before, but it has country music hit written all over it! Someone should alert Kenny Chesney or Carrie Underwood that their next platinum record is just waiting to be written.

If you got a lot of booty--well, my advice would be cut back on the Snickers, put down the remote, and buy "curvy" jeans. Or on the flip side, my advice would be "Flaunt it!" Or perhaps it's a pirate wondering who to pillage next. Or it could be someone who winds up here and is looking for, um, how shall we say, a different type of site and then is wildly disappointed when they find out that they will see none of that here.

But my personal favorite search lately is this one:

Got lysol in my ear--Ummm...and how exactly did you manage that? I thought that how to spray that stuff was pretty easily done and not so much rocket science. Apparently not. And then, you have to Google what to do next? Methinks that perhaps someone over-chlorinated that gene pool.

And now I can't wait to see what searches bring people to this page. If I get one for "overchlorinated gene pool," I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My hands are shaking as I type this. Another run in with a crazy neighbor? Nooooo. I have windows open in my house and it's quite cold outside. Thus, it is quite cold inside. Thus, shaky fingers. The windows are open because I have been busy. You see, when it's too cold to spray paint outside, I simply bring the outdoors in by opening many windows and then I spray paint in my basement.

I think I should've titled this post How To Brain Damage Your Children And Repaint Furniture In One Easy Step. We are all very happy around here right now. I keep telling the children to breathe deep.

Kidding, kidding. Kind of.

Anyway! Yesterday I mentioned that I finished a quick project and that it made me want to squee. Don't kill me, but it involves Christmas.

Now, I love Thanksgiving. In fact, it may just be my favorite holiday, but I love to decorate and make decorations for Christmas. I also love quick, easy, and cheap. In fact, quick, easy, and cheap could be my middle name. That is if it didn't make me sound like a trollop. So let's say I love a project that is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Oh, and it has to look good when it's done. Believe me, I've done my share of quick, easy, and inexpensive projects that are destined for the rubbish heap. (Hey, just for fun, let's see how many more times I can write quick, easy, and cheap, or inexpensive in this post! Sounds like fun, eh? Yeah, I didn't think so either.) So when I saw this project floating around the blogosphere, I figured that I could handle it. It doesn't involve power tools, paint, or a Donald Trump size bank account. Really, all you need is a wire hanger, (NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!! name that movie!) el cheapo Christmas ornaments, and some ribbon. I spent no more than $15 dollars on mine and with the exception of the smaller balls, I got everything I needed at the dollar store.

Are you ready? Okay, drumroll..... (you should be patting your legs with your hands right now...).......

Voila! A Christmas ornament wreath.

I have to say, I love it. Squeeeeeeee!!

It looks pretty on my door.

It looks pretty on my wall.

It looks pretty on my built ins.

Did I say I love it? Yes? Well I love it so much that I have to say it again. I love it!

And it was easy peasy. You just bend the hanger, untwist it, and string the ornaments on the hanger. Then you retwist the hanger and add a ribbon. It took me less than an hour. The only reason it took that long was because some of the balls came off of their hooks and I had to hot glue them back on. But you should be impressed because it's one of the few times that I've used my glue gun and haven't burned my fingers. I am soooo talented, y'all.

Anyway, I'm thinking that I might just need to make another using different colors this time. How about you? If you were to make one, what colors would you use?

I'll just leave you with this warning: be prepared to have glitter in places that you didn't know glitter could go. You're welcome for that fabulous mental image!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I've Been Bitten!

The bug, it has bitten me again. I got home from work yesterday and just had to do some stuff. My tolerance for projects comes in spurts and jags. I find some things I want to work on and then I may be preoccupied with those things for days or weeks and then? Meh. I don't have the interest anymore and a sort of ennui sets in and I couldn't care less about projects and such.

But now, I am infected by the bug that has bitten me and I must! do! stuff! So I found myself last night after the children were bathed, storied up, and (supposedly) tucked into bed, speculating on the placement of my family room furniture. Yes, I am clinically insane. So what did I do? Well, I didn't move furniture. Not at first anyway. First I got out the measuring tape and measured the room and the furnishings, (and made snarky remarks to people when they asked me "whatcha doin'?") then I transferred all of my chicken scratch to graph paper and played "house" via paper scraps. Then, when I was happy with the arrangement of the furniture on paper, I got to moving furniture.

We've been in this house for a little over a year and I haven't been happy with the furniture placement in my family room for at least 364 of those days. But I've had bigger fish to fry, you know? Suddenly though, something just made it absolutely unbearable to have that furniture placed where it was for even one more day. I keep telling you people that I am loony. NOW do you believe me??? So I moved it all around.

And then the comments started.

The long-suffering husband: "Finally! My chair is facing the television and I don't have to crane my neck. Now if you would just place a cooler and boxes of snacks next to the chair I'll never have to move."

The teenager: "I don't like it. I liked it better the other way." (Best said in a whiny voice.)

The eldest boy child: "Oh! You rearranged everything! So now you're resting on the couch, huh? I guess it's hard work to move all that furniture. You should have called me. I would have helped you. Moving furniture is better than homework any day."

The youngest boy child: "Hey. You moved stuff." (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

The youngest girl child: "Hey!! Who moved the furniture? I'm so confused!"

Things still aren't the way I'd like them, but I'm working with a room that has a fireplace, four windows, two built-in bookcases and a very large arched doorway. There's only so much I can do.

I can say that the rearranging bug has been tamed. For awhile, anyway. I'm too old for that stuff. Next time I'm totally writing a note to excuse my son from homework and letting him move furniture instead. It'll be a lesson in geometry. And physics.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a project that I finished and am so pleased with. It was easy and the results made me squee with joy.

Excuse me, now. I have to go find my spray paint.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Return To Normal

The dog is much better and therefore, life is much better. Seriously, you cannot be optimistic when your dog is having intestinal issues and you are the janitor. It was a great time to point out life lessons to my children, however. I told them that they needed to do well in school, otherwise, they could spend their lives cleaning up after dogs. So, there was that, anyway.

Saturday Patrick, James and I went to the CYO City Championship game and watched the other 5th grade team. It was fun to cheer them on. James watched from the sidelines with his teammates and they were excited for the other team when they came away victorious. Nothing but smiles were to be found on my son's face. What a difference a week makes, eh?

Then Saturday afternoon I sat down on my bedroom floor and folded laundry for long enough to watch almost all of Dirty Dancing. That's a lot of clothes, my friends. I learned two things from this marathon folding session: 1. I really need to make a point of folding clothes in a more timely manner, and 2. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

In the afternoon, Patrick and I headed to a store with which I engage in a love/hate relationship: Lowe's. We went to look at tile for the mudroom. We also looked at bathroom fixtures for the basement bath--you know, for someday when the basement finally gets finished. And cabinets for the basement. And carpet. And countertops for the kitchen. And a new stove. Yeah, there was a whole lot of dreaming going on there, but it's been a while since we've done that and it was fun. It'll continue to be fun until work actually starts on any project, then I will find myself cursing Lowe's and just how much time and money we spend there.

Saturday evening found me shuttling my daughter and her friends to and from the movies. Part of me longs for the day that she can drive. Then the more sane and rational part of me screams at that side of me that I am insane for wanting such a thing because that would mean my daughter would be driving. My daughter! Driving! AAAAAACCCKKK!!

After all of that shuttling, I had worked up powerful thirst and the couch was calling my name. So Patrick and I sat on the couch, drinks in hand, and watched Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, and John Candy in "Vacation." It's been years since I've watched the whole thing and I had forgotten how funny it was. It's possible that consuming a glass or two of wine while viewing it makes it funnier. Hard to say.

Then, Sunday was spent with church and church-type activities and of course watching the Colts game. They won, but there was a point where I almost had to leave the room because I thought they were going to blow it. The best part of watching the game was tossing the football back and forth with James during commercial breaks (when told by my husband that I was breaking my own rules about throwing balls in the house, I told him to shut it because I'm da momma.) and watching James impersonate a dancing, plucked turkey. I really need a video camera to capture such activities for posterity and future blackmail.

You know what? My neighbors were gone this weekend. You know what else? My boys played with all the other neighborhood boys and there wasn't a fight to be found. Why, it was completely peaceful. Wonder what the common denominator in that equation could be??? Perhaps we are not actually the problem. Things to ponder...

All of this is to say that for all of the drama and messiness of last week, we are back to normal. Well, normal for us, anyway. Whatever that is. And I couldn't be happier to be there.

Friday, November 6, 2009

If I Believed In Karma, I Might Think I Was Karma's B****

So after the fantastic "meeting" with my neighbor, I came home and was in the house about 3.3 seconds when Tilly took an explosive and lavish poo on the family room carpet. And I'm sorry if you are reading this over your breakfast bagel, but it wasn't just poo. It was diarrhea. On my carpet.

I hustled her outside where she proceeded to finish her business. Then I came back inside, opened windows to the frosty evening air to get the stink out, and then cleaned up the mess. And by cleaned up, I mean gagged my way through a roll of paper towels and carpet cleaner while still not making a dent in the resultant stain.

And remember how I said I was going to fold laundry and have a glass of wine after the whole neighbor debacle? Never happened. Instead, I spent the next 4 hours before bedtime trying to bathe children and shuttle the dog outside so that she could answer the increasingly urgent call of her bowels.

All was well until 3:21 a.m. when I heard an unpleasant, um, gurgling noise. I shot straight up in bed, while simultaneously yelling "Tilly, NO!" and trying to shove my feet into my slippers. I fumbled through shutting off the security alarm, hustled the dog downstairs and got her leashed as quickly as possible. Then I took her outside where she proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes trying to evacuate what smelled like a very putrefied skunk from her bowels. You're welcome. Aren't you glad this isn't Smell-o-vision? And did I mention that it was freezing out? And that I didn't have a jacket on, but was wearing my pajamas--the ones with a short sleeve shirt? Yeah. So that was awful.

Then it got worse, because I had to go clean up the mess. It was, well, completely and utterly awful in its absolute awfulness.

Tilly belly crawled into our room, wagging her tail and looking at me with doleful eyes. I patted the floor next to me and she crawled over and laid her head in my lap, submissively wagging her tail and showing her belly. I told her it was okay. "I know your belly hurts," I cooed. "It'll be okay. But if you do this again, I'm totally divorcing you, dogbreath."

She laid companionably next to me as I breathed through my mouth and gagged and scrubbed. I bagged up the horrors, told Tilly that I'd be right back and went downstairs to put the bag in the garage. When I came back up, she had pooed yet again. In several spots. With great abandon.

"I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you," I hissed. I'm not sure what culture this is from, but I'm totally claiming it as my own. It's very liberating even though it may not be valid.

This time, there was no companion beside me as I cleaned up the crime scene. She knew better. She slinked over to her bed and started to snore. Occasionally she would open one eye and look at me in a baleful manner, as if to say, "Haven't you got that cleaned up yet? All of this racket is keeping me awake! Rude!"

I'm not sure how many times I divorced her while I was cleaning up that particular mess, but I said it many times with fervor.

In the midst of all of this cleaning and running the dog in and out, well, you know what happened, right? I got a migraine. Of course I did, because: Brouhaha with neighbor+doggy diarrhea+interrupted sleep=Monster Migraine from Hell.

I took my medicine and tried to sleep while not actually sleeping so that I could listen for any more disturbances from the dog. The last time I looked at the clock, it read 5:27. My alarm went off at 6 a.m.

I spent my morning taking the dog out. And discovering and cleaning up a mess that I had missed in the predawn hours. Then I volunteered in Sean's classroom, all the while praying that it wouldn't look like a ritual sacrifice occurred in my home in my brief absence. Then I shuttled children some places. And finally around dinner time, I took the Tilly to the vet, who prescribed Pepto Bismol for the dumb dog. Yes, the pink stuff. Apparently you can give it to your dog. Who knew? Obviously not me or I'd have done it much quicker and without paying $45 dollars for the information.

She seems better now, which is good. I might even reconsider my divorce from her after seeing how the carpet turns out when the professionals have had a go at it. But you know what I didn't get done? The laundry.

Oh well. Clothes are overrated.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stick A Fork In Me. I'm DONE!

This is not a happy post. I am usually much more positive. If you are looking for something that is more typical of me, I suggest you go read another of my posts. Tomorrow, I will be more myself. I promise.

Apparently life on our street was all rainbows and puppy dogs and unicorn farts before we moved in. It seems the children all got along, never fought, and there was never an unkind word spoken or a disagreement of any kind. Never! In ten years! Now, since we have moved in, it would seem that children are brawling in the streets and cursing like sailors. And my children are the apparent ringleaders.

Or so a neighbor had the nerve to say to my face.

This would be a great place to live--if it weren't for all the CRAZY ASS NEIGHBORS!!

My fingers are shaking and I can hardly type a coherent thought, so I am going to quit. But I do feel a little better now that I've vented to the universe.

Now I'm going to prove the neighbors right about just what a horrible parent I am by consuming a glass or two of wine while I fold 8 loads of laundry that have been sitting in my laundry room for the better part of the week. You wait. The next report will be that I am a drunk and a horrible housekeeper.

Well. I own up to the latter. These nutbars just might turn me into the former...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four Little Words I'm Starting To Hate

The sun was setting, the hour golden. Helmeted players stretched and warmed up on the field as the bleachers became crowded with spectators. The crisp air was filled with the sounds of laughter as good-natured ribbing and banter was tossed back and forth in the stands. Anticipation rose as the seconds ticked off of the clock. It was almost time.

A semi-final game in the CYO City Championships was about to begin. The opponents were ready. They knew each other well. They had seen each other's moves and had good ideas about what to expect. They were nervous and anxious. This was it. The winner would move on to the championship game. The losers would be thrown in the lion's den.

Okay. Not really. It was all true right up until that last line. Just had to make sure you were running on all cylinders. Heh.

As you may have gathered, James had a ball game. It was special because it was a semi-finals game. His team has been here in past seasons. Not that that makes it any less special, because post-season games are always special--and not a given. We tried to make that point clear. But it was a little more anticipated because of the opponent: the other team from our own church.

Our church has two 5th grade teams. They have the numbers for one, obviously, but the powers that be--I don't know who makes those decisions, although I don't think it's the Pope, that seems a little too micromanagment, ya know?--decided that rather than one big team with a deep bench, they'd rather have two teams so that all the boys would get plenty of chances to play. As parents, we all appreciate that idea, and the boys seem to like it too. So we have a 5th grade blue team and a 5th grade white team. And Monday night, they faced off under the lights to try to make it to the City Championships.

These boys, in the last three years have all been on each other's teams, as the teams change from year to year. Two years ago, the team my son was not on went on to the championship game and lost. Last year, my son's team went to the championship game and lost. This year, it was brother against brother, friend against friend to even get to the championship game. Both teams wanted it. Bad.

The great thing? The coaches really emphasized character and sportsmanship all season and especially for this game. The boys all really wanted to win, but they knew that there was great pride in reaching the semi-final. They had worked hard. They were proud of themselves. They also knew that some of their friends would be going home sad at the end of the night.

It was a fun game. It was fun to be able to root for both sides--cheer on boys that we've known for several years as we watched them make great plays. It was nice to be able to pat their parents on the back or give thumbs up in the stands. It was fun to joke about having a rumble in the parking lot after the game.

Don't get me wrong, it was intense, as each side wanted victory, but it was nice to know that at the end of the evening, there wouldn't be any sour grapes. It was nice to know that a victory would be celebrated by both sides, even when tempered with a tinge of sadness for friends that wouldn't be moving on. It was hilarious to watch the cheerleaders try to figure out exactly who they were rooting for and whether or not they should do an offense or defense cheer and then watching them give up and just do simple "blue and white" and "Royals" cheers.

It was not so fun walking my heartbroken son to the parking lot. It was not so fun watching him try and hold himself together as he congratulated his friends on the other team. It sucks to lose, no matter who you are losing to. It was not so fun to spew forth worthless platitudes to try to make him feel better.

For three years, I have been saying four little words that are starting to make me want to stick a fork in my eardrums so that I won't have to hear myself say them anymore. They are the words that every Cub fan knows. They are words that have a hint of hope in them. They are always said with your chin up and maybe a quiver on your lips, but definitely with a fire in your belly.

As we sat in the chilly car, waiting for the traffic to move in the parking lot, I turned in my seat and looked at my son and said those words: There's always next year.

He sniffed and nodded. He stared silently out the window as we drove. We turned on the radio and tried to find music he would like, to cheer him up. It was a quiet 40 minute drive home. But by the time we had pulled in the driveway, my beautiful boy had taken those words to heart.

"Next year it'll be us. Next year we'll have our turn. For now, I don't have to rush to get to practice. I'll have time to get my homework done. I'll get my weekends back! And dad, do you think that maybe on Saturday we can go and watch the white team in the championship game? I think I'd like to see it."

It may be next year--or years beyond-- for my son's team to get to the big game and win it. But I'm mightily glad I don't have to wait until next year to see what a wonderful, pragmatic, and incredibly smart young man he's growing into.

Well played, my boy. You are a winner.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We Got A Lot Of Booty...

...and because of the candy we hauled in, my booty is growing to the size of a small state. Say, bigger than Rhode Island, but smaller than Connecticut.

We used to give our kids a dime for each piece of candy that they were willing to part with, hoping that the offer of cold, hard caysh would cause them loosen the death grip on the candy bags. In the last couple of years, they have been more interested in eating too much candy than in any easy money they could make off of me. I didn't even offer this year. I just told them that somebody owed me some Snickers bars and that I accept mini, snack size and full size bars. You know the response I got?

Let's just say I could hear the crickets chirping...


There were costumes! There was excitement! There was the parent approved ringing of doorbells and then the handing out and mass consumption of candy! My dear neighbor, Janie, (whom I am now certain harbors a deep-seated, but politely unexpressed hatred for me) told my boys that when they were done, they should come back by her house and she would give them any left over candy she had. Yes, when she told me this, I called her on her hatred of me. "WHYYYYYYY?!?!?!" I lamented. "I thought you liked me!" Then I threatened to make her keep my children for the next fortnight it will take to consume all of that candy and excrete all of that sugar. And do you know what she had the audacity to do? She laughed at me! She gave my children metric tons of candy and then she laughed. It's true, then. She hates me.

Anyway! (Again! What do you mean I'm a little off-task? I think it's possibly a side-effect of a bad drug combination. That's what happens when you combine Snickers bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. What do you mean they aren't drugs? They're like crack to me!)

The children were all dressed in their chosen costumes and ready to roll. James was a gangster, complete with gun and tough-guy mobster accent. "Trick or treat! Gimme all your candy, see. And nobody'll get hurt, see. Don't go bein' a wise guy, wise guy, or I'll have to introduce you to my li'l friend!"

Truly, it was the fedora that slayed me. I took one look at his gorgeous green eyes and that hat and I keeled right over and died. Sorry girls, but someday he will break many of your hearts!

Sean was some sort of future crime-fighter/cop/superhero. He can tell you what was on his costume bag. I called it "DON'T PUT THAT THING ON BEFORE HALLOWEEN AND THEN BE VERY CAREFUL BECAUSE IT COST WAY MORE THAN IT'S WORTH AND I CAN'T TAKE IT BACK AND RETURN IT OR GET A REFUND!"

Yeah, his name for it was probably better. You couldn't see his handsome face, but he cracked me the heck up by lifting up his muscle-suited arms and treating us all to a "gun show."

Mary wanted to be a ballerina. This is very nearly the same costume she wore last year. Except last year she had wings and we called her a fairy. It's all very similar when you are five. Whatever it was, she looked very cute and she took her trick or treating duties very seriously, reminding us all not to forget to say "thank you," to be happy with whatever we got because we could trade later, and not to be grabby.

Well, I'll be darned. Sometimes they do listen!

I am not usually a big participant in Halloween, but this year, I decided to dress up. I was Little Red Riding Hood and Patrick was The Big Bad Wolf. When I mentioned to him what I wanted to dress up like, he said, "Hey! Why do we even have to wait for Halloween?!" And then he gave me a leering grin and a suggestive eyebrow wiggle. He would become a very convincing wolf...

Look at him. He told me that he wasn't smiling on purpose, because he was trying to look big and bad and mean. I think he looks more like he's bored and that he cannot believe that he let his wife talk him into this. Truthfully, though, in just about every picture we've taken since our wedding pictures, this is the look on his face. He has a beautiful smile, but he never shows it in photos.

Oh my word. I just read what I wrote. Maybe the reason he looks that way in every picture since our wedding pictures is because he really is thinking "I'm bored and I cannot believe someone talked me into this life!!"

Or maybe he's just taken his Clint Eastwood impersonation a little too far...

Whatever. I convinced him that it would be fun and he totally wore that hat all around the neighborhood.

I guess it's a good thing that he didn't discover that it has been Tilly's stinky, forbidden chew toy until after he got home.

He's really excited for next year already. I told him I'd buy him one of those Colts hats that is a horse's head and he could go as a Colt and I'd dress as a Colt's Cheerleader.

Yeah, right. Oh well. A man's gotta have a dream, right?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go and hide some of the Snickers and Reese's Cups before they all get eaten. Maybe I should do it with my eyes closed so that I can't remember where I hid them. You know, before my butt starts to gain even more area and people start asking me if my butt is trying to give Massachusetts a run for its money.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Day

Saturday was a Big Day round these here parts. And not just because we dressed up in costumes and went door to door begging for candy. (Photos coming tomorrow!) It was a Big Day because there was an event that touches upon someone's eternity.

My son Sean was baptized into Christ on Saturday morning. My dad took his confession of faith. Then he baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

My mother provided hugs while Sean beamed.

I took pictures and tried not to have a big ugly cry and melt into a puddle of goo.

Then later that evening there was candy.

Yes, there was much rejoicing here on Earth and in Heaven above. How could there not be?