Friday, November 30, 2007

Just Give Me The "Mom of the Year" Award Now

First of all, it is raining! It's been raining pretty steadily since noon, and it's supposed to continue well into the evening. This is awesome, because it never happens. Usually when it does rain here, like a monsoon storm in the summer, it's over in about 10 minutes. This is fantastic. This is looking out of my garage:

At about 3pm, I'm talking to Steve on the phone, and he's just getting ready to leave work. I have already picked up Danni from school, and she and Kylie and I are at home. I mention to Steve that I have to go pick up Shannon in about 20 minutes. He says he'll see me when he gets home. I hang up, fire up my laptop, and proceed with one of my favorite activities. No, not blogging...bill paying! Today was payday for both of us, you see, and one of my favorite things to do is to see all that money in my checking account, and then see it all leave again. Awesome.

So I'm merrily typing away on my laptop, doling out money to various multi-billion dollar companies like AT&T, VISA and the insurance company, when my cell phone rings. It's my friend Ro, whose daughter attends the same jr high as Shannon. She says,

"Where are you?"

I glance at the clock on my computer, and it says 3:25pm. Shit. Within the span of 25 minutes, I completely spaced picking up Shannon from school. And it's raining.

"Umm...I'm sitting on my bed at home, because I forgot to pick up Shannon?"

"Well, she's here in my car and she's wet and freezing....I'm just going to bring her home, ok?"

"Yeah, that's great...thank you very much!"

So Danni is sitting here on the bed with me, and she just starts dying laughing.

"You forgot Shannon! You forgot Shannon!" More laughing.

Ok, so I'm thinking when Shannon does get home, she's going to be pissed that I forgot her. Middle child, no respect, blah, blah. Now in my defense, on every other school day, M-TH, I'm already at work when she gets out of school, so I don't normally pick her up. Friday is the only day that I do, and yeah, I spaced it. 20 minutes after telling my husband that I was going.

So Danni and Kylie and I went out and opened the garage door, and set up the folding sports chairs inside the garage. We're watching the rain and waiting for Shannon to get home.

I am so Mom of the Year right now. At this point I still think Shannon's going to be pissed.

My friend pulls up to my driveway about 10 minutes later, and here's Shannon:

She was wet, but she wasn't mad, actually she was having a lot of fun. We sat out there for a while, waiting for Steve to get home, while the girls entertained me playing various songs on Danni's iPod and doing some incredibly silly dances. We had the best time. I love the rain.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rain, Rain, Rain!!

Do you see this? This is the view out of my office window at 4:30pm. It is OVERCAST. It has been like this all, wonderful, blessed day. I have not seen that nasty, evil sun ALL DAY. This, to me, is heaven.

Tomorrow, it is going to RAIN. No, really. They said so on the Weather Channel. And whenever they say 70% chance of rain (which they NEVER say), I'm taking that as it's going to RAIN.

Now Snoopy and I are doing the Happy Dance of Rain. And then on Saturday? Possibly more rain! It is ridiculous how excited I am about this. But since we are lucky to get 5" of rain A YEAR here (don't a lot of you get that from one storm?), it is a rare and blessed event. To me, anyway. I know there are some people that live here that would like the sun to shine 365 days a year, instead of just our normal 358 days a year. But tomorrow, will be one of MY days. Did I mention that the high tomorrow will only reach 69 degrees? And only 64 degrees on Saturday?? Excuse me, while I pause to dance once again.

I will be wearing JEANS, you see. Long pants, like the grown-ups do. A shirt with LONG SLEEVES. And even quite possibly...wait for it...a SWEATSHIRT. I'm sending myself an email right now to remind me to get that sweatshirt out when I get home and shake the dust out of it, in preparation for THE RAIN. HEE!!!!!

Yes, I know I've lost it. I've really made no secret of the fact that my sanity has gone missing. Read the title, for heaven's sake.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dear Santa

There is just one thing I would like for Christmas. I mean, besides well-behaved children, a sympathetic and romantic husband, and a clean house. I'm trying to be realistic. What I really, really want, is my very own Eddie Letekka. I don't think that's asking too much, do you?

Thanks Santa. You're the best!
Love, Shelley

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Just a Little Fib

I was on the website for the MVD yesterday, printing out a copy of the driver's license test manual thingy for oldest daughter. I also saw that you could print out the application for the permit, so I did that too. Anything to avoid paperwork hassles as you're waiting 6 hours at the MVD, right?

I gave her the form to fill out, and she recoiled in horror when she saw that little square to fill in that says "weight." I'll point out that this girl is of an average size...about 5'6", 135 lbs, and muscular. Proportions that I would kill someone for. I ended that sentence with a preposition. Proportions for which I would kill someone?

Danni - "Mom! Do I really have to put my weight on here?"

Me - giggling - "Oh no sweetpea...just put whatever number you want there. That's what everyone else does."

I just encouraged my daughter to lie. Ok, raise your hand if the weight on your driver's license is your actual weight. Anyone? Anyone? Certainly, mine is slightly under-reported.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm a Shopping Maniac

While everyone was out early in the dark, hitting the black Friday and black Saturday sales, this is what I was doing. Yeah, I'm hard-core.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Grrrrr....Stupid Jr High B.S.

Well, it finally happened today. I know it happens to just about everyone eventually, even though at the time you think you're the only one. Shannon got a taste of the stupid jr high b.s. today. She was dissed by one of her "friends."

She had her friend Holly were supposed to go to the mall this evening with some other girls. When Shannon called her this afternoon to confirm they were still going, Holly is all, "Oh, I can't go, I'm going to Santa Claus Land", or whatever they call it. Every year here, they set up this thing out by the race track. Kind of like a state fair, but with a Christmas theme. Rides, games, food, expensive, blah, blah. So her friend says, "Do you want to go with us?" Shannon says sure, let me ask my mom, etc. I said she could go, I asked if they were going to pick her up. Apparently whatever girl's mom is driving says no they can't pick her up. Shannon texts this girl back to say she can meet them there, her dad will take her. Steve runs to the ATM to get her some cash. This is when her "friend" never texts her back. Doesn't answer any more of Shannon's texts, nor will she answer her phone calls. And this is after she pretty much invited Shannon along. Nice, right?

So, Shannon is pretty heartbroken, because she considers this girl one of her best friends. This is a tough kid, I rarely see her cry, but she was crying, because her friend totally blew her off. It broke my heart. I think it's harder for me to see Shannon like this because it is so rare. When Danni was this age and would get all worked up about something, it was pretty much a daily occurrence, so I got used to it. Not so much with Shannon. She's just a lot less emotional. I know this happens to everyone. I remember when it happened to Danielle with her friends. Hell, I remember when it happened to me. But as much as it hurts when it happens to you, I think it hurts so much more to watch your kid be hurt. I wanted to do something and there was nothing I could do. I wanted to make her feel better, but I couldn't. I wanted to call that little bitch Holly and give her a piece of my mind. But of course, I couldn't do that either.

You know what I did do? I broke down and gave Shannon one of her Christmas presents early. She already knows she's getting a new cell phone for Christmas because she picked out the phone. Lately, she's been complaining about her current phone, because it won't hold a charge. I was going to make her wait until Christmas, but seeing how upset she was, and I knew this would make her feel I gave it to her. She knows that's one less thing she'll have under the tree, and she's ok with that. The smile it got out of her was totally worth it.

Me being an adult, I know this is probably just some sort of miscommunication between 12 year-olds. I'm pretty sure there's a logical explanation. It's hard to understand that when you're 12, though. At that age, for whatever reason, everything seems like life or death at the time.

A little while later, I was telling Danielle how much I hated this dumb jr high crap, and she, remembering full well what it's like to be 12 almost 13, did the sweetest thing. She said "I'm not doing anything tonight, how about if Shannon and I go to the mall, just the two of us?" They're going to get some food, see a movie, window shop, whatever. I was so proud of her for offering that, and they went, together. It's so nice to know that while at times they hate each other like sisters do, they will defend each other against outsiders at all costs. I love Danni a little bit more tonight, because she took her little sister under her wing and protected her, comforted her. That made my heart feel a lot better. My kids love each other. Maybe I'm doing something right after all.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Thanksgiving

I got up this morning, and put together my contributions towards today's Thanksgiving feast at my in-law's house. I made a salad:

I made a vegetable dish/casserole. I got this recipe from a friend on a Yahoo list, and it is delish. I'm sure it was even healthy before I added the cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, cheese and fried onion thingies. There are vegetables in there, I swear! Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I promise, they're in there! And it's sooooo good. Well, imagine it baked, with all that cheese on top melted. Yum!

Then we have the pièce de résistance, the pumpkin roll. I made two rolls to take over to dinner, but I think my kids must have snuck a couple of pieces onto a plate!

And of course, this:

The bottle on the left is a non-alcoholic carbonated strawberry thing, in case the kids wanted to get in on the fun. The bottle on the right, of course, was for me the adults. I'm not exactly a wine connoisseur, but a big bottle of cheap White Zin seemed like just the thing for a few hours with my husband's sister and brother, and their respective spouses. I really like his parents, by the way...I have no idea what happened with his brother and sister. But, I digress.

We headed over there around 11am, helped my MIL finish up the meal, and waited for the dregs of society my husband's brother and sister and their respective families to show up. My kids got to see their cousins, so that was nice. My brother-in-law's daughter is the same age as Shannon, and they get along really well. They rarely see each other, even though we only live about 20 miles apart.

Anyway, we ate around 1pm, and then we sat around and groaned for a while. My father-in-law said he felt like he ate Cleveland, which struck me as quite funny. Maybe it was that fourth glass of Zin. About 2pm, I decided to make my escape, thanked everyone for a lovely time, and headed off to work, which is where I'm sitting right now. For double time-and-a-half? Hell yes, I'll work on Thanksgiving. My brother-in-law, his stepson, daughter, and my sister-in-law's son will all be heading over to my house with my family because my BIL discovered that we have the NFL channel (oooooooohhhhhh), so they are all going over there to watch the Colts game.

Danni wants to watch the ASU/USC game, so she'll probably be upstairs in my room doing that, and Shannon, Kylie and BIL's daughter will find something to do, I'm sure. I wish I was home with Danni for the football game, because I discovered that I will NOT be able to watch it here! (sob!) I thought the game was on ABC, and since we have a TV here at work, I thought I was good. But, then I found out it's on ESPN! The TV here has no cable! Dammit! So I'm relegated to listening to it on the RADIO, of all things. Sigh. At least I have leftovers if I ever get hungry again in my life. My MIL loaded me up with a Tupperware thing of ham, turkey, stuffing, my veggie casserole and mashed potatoes. I also have a piece of pumpkin pie with Cool Whip and a big piece of my pumpkin roll. I'll probably leave most of it here and eat it when I work again on Sunday, because right now I can't imagine wanting to eat again at any point this evening.

Oh, in case you're wondering, which I'm sure you're not, but I'm going to tell you anyway...we've always had Thanksgiving with my in-laws so we can have Christmas morning with my parents, who live here also. We'll go over to the in-laws on Christmas eve, but my parents get Christmas morning. It's just always been that way. Seems fair to me!


Added at 9pm: Ok, maybe I'm glad I didn't get to watch this's even ugly on the radio. They're getting killed. :-(

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sesame Street Scarred Me For Life...Apparently

Sesame Street premiered in 1969, when I was two years old. According to my mother, I watched it religiously and loved it. We didn't have a lot of choices for kids' TV back then. There was Sesame Street, and sometime later The Electric Company and Zoom. No Noggin', no Nick Jr., no Cartoon Network. Somehow, we muddled through with PBS. And apparently, it's damaged us.

Today, in the New York Times, this article: Warnings On Sesame Street - "The original episodes are apparently no longer suitable for today's toddlers." In fact, you can get the original episodes on DVD, and they come with a warning: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

You'll have to read the whole article to see all the reasons why these early shows are now totally unsuitable for our precious 21st century toddlers. But among the complaints are that Oscar is an untreated depressive, Cookie Monster's diet is horrific, and Big Bird was having some sort of acid flashbacks because he could see Snuffy, when no one else could.

Also, there was this:
"Back then — as on the very first episode, which aired on PBS Nov. 10, 1969 — a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but . . . well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole."

Good grief, how did those of us who watched this train-wreck as small children ever survive? Are we damaged goods now? Don't even get me started on those violent Warner Bros. cartoons. I can't even tell you the number of anvils I dropped on my brother's head over the years. (Oh come on, like he wasn't asking for it.) I think I may need some therapy now. Or possibly a few Bloody Marys.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This is Not What I Signed Up For

Oh, Dearest Family:

This is one of the reasons that my sanity is in question. Remember when I started working swing shift, 3pm - 11pm? It was about 3 1/2 years ago. I took this shift so that I could stay home with Kylie during the day, and the dad person could be home with the kids at night. No daycare to pay for, one parent always home, etc.

I remember the second night I came home from work, June 11th, 2004. I remember it well, because the house was TRASHED. And I was PISSED. At that time, I thought "No way am I going to come home at 11:30pm every night to this!"

So we established some rules. Some chores for the girls. They're not hard. Each of the older two girls has two responsibilities every night, and they switch off each night. One of them loads up the dishwasher and runs it. This person is also responsible for the tiled area off the kitchen, where Kylie's toys are. Enlist Kylie's help, please, to make sure that it's neat. The other person is responsible for putting away any leftovers from dinner, wiping down the kitchen counters, and straightening up the living room. That means getting rid of any TRASH on the computer desk, entertainment center, and floor. You know...soda cans, granola bar wrappers, etc. It also means picking up the shoes, socks, books, clothes, and anything else that happens to be laying around. This takes each kid 15 minutes, tops.

I understand that Shannon fell asleep at 7pm tonight. I get that. But don't leave me a frickin' note on the refrigerator that says "Shay fell asleep, the dishes were her job tonight, so don't touch them!" That note was from Danielle. I hate to break this to you, but I really don't give a damn who's job it was. What I don't want is to walk in this house at 11:30pm and see a f***ing sink full of dirty f***ing dishes. Yes, I washed them and ran the dishwasher. I don't want to see that mess when I come downstairs in the morning! Oh, and guess how long it took me to clean it up? Probably about 7 minutes. But God forbid, I wouldn't want to take 7 precious minutes away from your My Space time. Of course, we all know your dad isn't going to monitor this. He was too busy upstairs, lying on the bed watching the Broncos game.

By the way, family...I've been up since 6am this morning. Do you know what I really want to do when I come home at 11:30pm from WORK? No, it's not collapse into bed and go to sleep. What I really want to do, Steve, is drag the damn garbage bin from the backyard out to the curb so the garbage will actually get picked up at 6am tomorrow morning. Because if I didn't put it out there, by the end of this week, the can would be so full that we wouldn't be able to stuff anything else in there. I guess the fact that a lot of the neighbors had their cans out isn't a clue that tomorrow is garbage pick-up day. And don't tell me you weren't out there, because you go out there to smoke, and I know you go out there before you go to bed. So don't tell me you didn't see the other cans out there.

Also, one of my favorite things to do when I get home is not watch a tiny bit of TV and then fall asleep. What I really like to do is go around and pick up cups and soda cans off the entertainment center and random pieces of paper off the floor and computer desk, plus all the garbage that is somehow UNDER the computer desk. And then I like to turn all the lights out, because for some reason, every stinking light in this house was on, even though everyone is in bed. I can't think of anything I'd rather do at 11:30pm than walk all around this house and clean up after all of you. So thank you, for giving me that. I don't know what I'd do without all of you. Well, except have a clean house.

Does anyone else ever have the feeling that their family would be walking around knee-deep in their own crap if it weren't for you? And better yet, they really don't give a shit? Ok, now that I'm done ranting AND cleaning up, I'm going to bed now. Gotta get those 6 hours of sleep in before I get to get up and do it all over again tomorrow. Oh, joy.

That Flippin' Dinosaur

I just ran across a toy that I hadn't seen in a while. It was under the dresser in my bedroom. Of course, where else would a toy be? But it reminded me of a funny story.

A few months ago, I came home from work one Sunday afternoon. Soon after I got home, I hear Kylie running around yelling:

"Where's my flippin' dinosaur? Where's my flippin' dinosaur?"

I didn't even know she had a dinosaur. I looked at my husband, my eyes asking the question, "Did she say what I think she just said?"

We were both trying not to laugh, but I was mad too. Just wait until I get my hands on whichever sister taught her that little gem. Pretty soon she'll be running up to her preschool teacher screaming,

"Hey, where are the flippin' blocks?"

Well, after a short search, she found her flipping dinosaur.


Kylie's flipping dinosaur. Of course. What were you thinking?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our Two Matts

My friend Jen over at The Adventures of 3 Boys and 1 Girl emailed me a few days ago to inform me that People Magazine had finally, finally chosen Matt Damon as their "Sexiest Man Alive." Well, basically she wanted to know what the hell had taken them so long, and that she could have told them that years ago. If she didn't already have such a cutie for a husband (Hi Toby!)(Don't tell him I said that!), I'm sure she would have been pursuing Matt quite a while ago. So for an early Christmas gift, I gave her this:

Well, actually I gave her the whole magazine, not just the picture of the cover. We had the magazine to entertain us on the drive out to BFE on Friday to pick up the vanity I wrote about in my last post. Thanks for going out there with me Jen, because it made what would have been a boring drive quite entertaining. I remember a lot of giggling, and I don't think it was coming from the backseat.

Anyway...while she has the hots for Matt Damon, I am in love with another Matt, who I would drop my husband for in a milosecond. I am of course, talking about Matthew McConaughey.

Now, the reason this is all related is because when I did a search for the Frank Caliendo bit on You Tube that I used a few posts ago, I came across a short clip of Matt Damon doing an impression of Matthew McConaughey on the David Letterman show. I guess it's from about a year or so ago, but the impression was so dead-on that I have new respect for Matt Damon. It still makes me laugh every time I watch it. And I think one of the funniest parts of it all is the reaction from David Letterman. So, here's the clip, just because I think it's hilarious.

Please pay no attention to the title of the clip on You Tube, which is "Matt Damon Does Matthew McConaughey." Because that would be an entirely different post, and one that I'm sure either neither Jen nor I would care for.

"Hey, this ain't Broken Mountain!" - Michael Scott

"Not that there's anything wrong with that." - Jerry Seinfeld

"Oh yes, there sure as hell would be." - Shelley and Jen

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Christmas Spirit...I'm Trying!

Right about now I'm thinking that I'm glad I didn't sign up for NaBloPoMo. I thought about doing it, but I know what a slacker I am, and I knew I'd screw it up. Maybe next year I'll give it a try.

I've got Oprah on the TV right now. Her "Favorite Things" show is going to be on next Tuesday. I'd love to be in the audience for that show, wouldn't you? They get so much free crap, it's unbelievable.

This post is actually going to be about something that I decided to get Danielle for Christmas. For the past several months, my poor, deprived 15 year-old daughter has been getting ready in the mornings...doing her hair, putting on her makeshift vanity. Which is actually an old rectangular mirror leaning up against the wall in her room, with a towel spread out on the floor in front of it. It looks like this:

I know, pathetic, right? So I've been scouring Craigslist for the past few weeks, looking for something hopefully under $50. Wednesday I saw this listed:

Only $30 for the vanity and the stool, and it has a glass top in case you spill stuff on it, you don't ruin the wicker. Yay! I went and picked it up today. I noticed that the wicker bench has a couple of small holes in it. So I went and picked up one of these:

And some pretty black silky material with red flowers on it:

And if you're thinking that I'm going to say that I'm going to make a pretty cushion for the bench, well, you're WRONG! Because I can't sew anything. I'm going to have my mom make a pretty cushion for the bench. And I'm excited about this, because I think Danni's really going to love it. And it's going to be a complete surprise, she has no idea. I have the vanity stashed at mom's house right now. This is one of the things I do love about Christmas, surprising people. Maybe this will help me get into the proper frame of mind. Well, that and that fact that by next Thursday, the high is only supposed to be in the mid-60s. I really hope the lovely people at are not lying to me, because 65 degrees would make me so happy. You should have seen the dance I did yesterday when it was overcast. Well, actually I'm probably glad you didn't.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Love Between a Mother and Her Daughters

Today we feature another heart-warming anecdote that demonstrates the love between my daughters and me. The below picture is a little dog named Daniel:

Daniel was my childhood comfort object. According to my mother, when I was about a year old, I had a book about a little dog named Daniel. She says that I insisted that this book be read to me several times every day. I don't remember this, but since I was but a mere infant, I'll take her word for it. Even if she is a Republican. So, I called my little dog Daniel, after the dog in my favorite book. I've had this dog my entire life. I slept with him every night. Since my mom is the master (mistress?) of sewing, he's been re-covered a few times. He's not his original color, but it is the original dog. When I left home, he went to college with me, and to my first apartment, and so on. He's now mixed in with Kylie's toys, and as you can probably tell from the picture, she decided to take him on a ride with us.

So we're in the van earlier this afternoon, taking Shannon over to a friend's house, and Kylie is quizzing me about the dog. Did I have it when I was a little girl, what's his name, who gave him to you, blah blah. By the way, she knows the answers to all these questions, as she's probably asked them at least 184 time before. Anyway, my lovely middle daughter, my 12-year old, who has a rather dry and sarcastic sense of humor (I have no idea where she gets that from) says,

"Yeah Mom, when you die, we're going to put it in your casket."

While I'm trying to think of a snappy comeback for that one, the small one pipes up from the backseat:

"Or, in the garbage can."

Awwww, girls...Mommy loves you too.

It's Not My Fault, I Swear!

Hey, if it works for the kids, I should be able to use it once in a while. Let me explain...

I had brownies for breakfast. This is a horrible idea, starting the day with sugar overload. It's likely to lead to an entire day of feeling hungry and wanting to eat more and more crap. As it's only 8am, perhaps I can stop things and avoid that cycle. But it's not my fault, I swear!

You see, what happened is that yesterday, Shannon's softball team had an end-of-the-season party. I was late getting back to the Party Organizer, and I asked what we could bring. She said everything was pretty much taken care of, but that we could just bring a dessert. So, since I was at work yesterday morning while I was managing the task of calling Party Organizer, after I hung up I called husband at home and relayed the information that he needed to make a quick trip to the store and pick up some sort of dessert for say, 30 people.

I got home from work at 2:30pm, jumped in the shower, and was ready to go by 2:50pm. Ok, so it wasn't the best grooming job ever in that amount of time, but at least I was clean! We grabbed our chairs and the brownies husband had picked up at the store and headed out to the park where the party was being held. He got those grocery store bakery brownies, the kind in the 8x8 pan with the frosting on top? He got two pans, so when cut into 16 squares, 32 brownies. Good job, hubby.

Went to the party, ate pizza and chicken strips and chips and brownie bites (which someone else had brought), and I cut up our brownie offerings with the wrong end of a fork, since there were no knives. I'd say about half of them were eaten. We also had volleyball games, kids against the parents, in which everyone had fun. I even played. I learned that while my bumping technique is quite effective, I do need to work on my serve. Not that I ever play volleyball. Hey, I just realized why my forearms are sore right now. But, I digress.

As much as I've been bitching about the weather, it was actually nice yesterday, about 79 degrees. Even nicer if you were in the shade. Once the sun started to go down, it was wonderfully cool. I always know it's the right temperature when small and medium children with no body fat whatsoever start to complain of being cold. That's when I start feeling comfortable. Stupid children. Put a sweater on, and while you're at it, eat a brownie.

It was time to pack up and go home, and everyone was saying goodbye and gathering up their stuff. We had the equivalent of one pan of brownies left, if you put them both together. What I should have done is just tossed them in the garbage right there in the park. But I find it difficult to make myself throw away good food. Especially good food, like, you know...brownies. So we took the damnable things home with us.

When I went down to the kitchen this morning to get a drink (no, not that kind of drink, it's only 8am, for Pete's sake! Even I'm not that bad. I meant coffee, which in my case is Diet Coke, since I hate coffee), there they were, on the counter, mocking me. What was I supposed to do? They were just sitting there, looking delicious, calling my name. I caved and ate three or four of them. (Hey, they're small!) Now I'm sitting here feeling like a blob with no self-control. But it wasn't my fault, I swear! It's that time of the month!'s a holiday! There's no school today, so it's still kind of like the weekend, right? I'll be healthy tomorrow! I'll go to the grocery store today and buy whole-wheat bread and fruit and vegetables! It wasn't my fault!

Yeah, it doesn't sound any better when I say it than when the kids say it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rambling Thoughts

I will keep the football comments brief, I promise!

High school team lost their first playoff game, so that's that. If they hadn't lost this week, they certainly would have lost next week. I have a new team to root for though...the team that just beat us, Desert Vista. They were a very classy outfit, and a much-improved team from earlier in the season. I hope they do well!

ASU, my gosh. They beat UCLA, but just barely! The BCS bowl hopes stay alive with a 9-1 record. Ohio State goes down (sorry Lish!) and Kansas remains the lone unbeaten team! (woohoo Fannie Mae!) Ok, so I think Hawaii is still unbeaten too, but they're getting no respect in the polls. The Cardinals today...oh, who really gives a rat's ass, they'll lose, as usual.

I walked into the grocery store the day after Halloween, and was hit squarely in the face with Christmas. Figuratively speaking. I'm not ready for this. How do you get into the spirit when it still feels like summer? I think my friend Jen's post from Wordless Wednesday on November 7th just about said it all.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother this morning. She saw this headline in this morning's paper. Skeptics Raise Doubts on Global Warming, and was like "Ah ha! This is what we've been saying all along!" We, meaning she and my dad. Of course, she didn't bother to read the article, part of which says,

"Most climate scientists cringe at the question. Why not just ask whether you believe in gravity, they argue. The planet has warmed, and evidence points, at least in part, to human activities. The debate among these scientists ended years ago."

She just read the headline. Plus, if it's in print, it has to be true, right? Kind of like those emails about "In God We Trust" being left off the new dollar coin (not true), and Christian Broadcasting being taken off the air (also not true). But if it's on the internet, it must be true, right? I've given up sending her back the Snopes's just not worth it. But it frustrates the hell out of me. I love my parents dearly, and they are the best grandparents ever. But I often wonder how two people who seem to move farther to the political right every day they age, raised...well, me. A bleeding-heart liberal. As long as we don't talk politics, everything's fine. I made the mistake one morning of joking around and asking my mom how she felt about President Hillary? That didn't go over too well.

Speaking of older people (my parents are in their early 70s), when does the filter go off? I think most of us have this little filter in our brains, and the things that we think go through this filter and the brain says "That's acceptable to say out loud", or "Better keep that one to yourself." Not everyone has it, but I think most people do. However, at some point, aging wears this filter away. At some point, it becomes acceptable to say anything that pops into your head out loud, no matter how offensive, racist, bigoted, or insensitive it may be. Why does that happen? What is it about aging that makes people feel that it's ok to just blurt out anything you might happen to be thinking? My mother seems to have lost this filter completely. This reminds me of a Frank Caliendo bit about inside words and outside words. It's at about 2:30 into this clip. The whole thing is really funny though, and it's only about three minutes:

Ok, I feel a little better now.

On the bright side, it is beginning to "cool off" here a little bit. Still above normal, but at least there are no longer any high temperatures in the forecast that start with 9. Do you know what's so tiring about the heat here? It's that it lasts so long. We have two seasons, and I'll refer to them as "Summer" and "Comfort." Summer lasts from about the middle of April until the middle of November, normally. This year, summer seems to be stretching beyond that. But usually, that's about the length of it. So, Comfort lasts from mid to late November, to around the beginning or middle of April. Maybe a bit longer if we're lucky. Basically 8 months of Summer, and 4 months of Comfort.

Have I mentioned that I really, really hate being hot? The logical question would be, "Shelley, if you hate the heat so much, why do you live in Phoenix?" Well, I've wondered that many times myself. I was born here, so the first 18 years of my life I didn't really have much choice. Besides, I don't remember the heat bothering me when I was a kid. Then I went to Arizona State, because it was cheaper to go in state and I've been a Sun Devil my whole life, basically, since my parents also went to ASU. By the time I finally graduated, I had already met my future husband, was engaged and planning a wedding. We did move to Denver once, in December of 1998. That didn't work out so well, except I LOVED the weather there. If I could take everyone and everything I know here (family, friends, job, etc) and move them all to Denver, I'd go in a heartbeat. If I could somehow magically make the weather here equal to Denver's, I'd do that too. It's really beautiful and mountains and sometimes it even *gasp* snowed! I remember every time, I'd sit at the window and just watch the snow fall, because it was just so awesome to me. We didn't have a garage, so scraping the windshield in the morning kind of sucked, but other than that...mmmm.

If I could live anywhere, I'd pick the Pacific Northwest. It's And to live in a place where it's cloudy more than it's sunny? Sounds like heaven to me. My roots are so very deep here, and now my kids' are too, it's really hard to imagine trying to pull them up. And of course, we won't. But my dreams are of rain, snow, clouds and wind. Christmas looks like snowmen and sleigh rides and little kids with red cheeks from the cold. Wait...never mind, that's a sunburn.

People who live where it's cold and snowy sometimes get something called SAD, or Seasonal Affective(?) Disorder. I sometimes wonder if the heat has the same effect on me. Anytime during Comfort when the temperature threatens to climb out of the 70s (and it does happen), I get mad. I feel like I'm being cheated out of the small amount of Comfort I am allowed each year. I want to wear jeans and sweatshirts without sweating. I know most people don't understand this, especially those who live where it does get really cold, but this is really bothering me. I think about how happy I would be if I walked outside today and it was cloudy with swirling winds and leaves blowing around, and the sky looked as if it was threatening rain. Am I nuts?

And while we're pondering the "Is Shelley nuts?" question, here's another one: How do you get into the Christmas spirit in your shorts and your SPF 30? I'd really like to know.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's "P" Day!

And it's probably not what you're thinking. No, today is the day that my oldest is eligible to get her learner's permit, which in this state, means she is 15 years and 7 months old. We sort of have a scheduling problem though, as she has been having dance rehearsals every day after school until 5pm in preparation for their upcoming winter concert next Thursday. Tomorrow, the marching band is leaving for a long weekend trip to California, so it will be at least sometime next week before we even consider getting the permit.

I'm thinking I finally am going to have something to hold over her head that she cares about. I'm glad she's a well-rounded kid, is in dance and flags and sports and all, but somethings gotta give, and that something seems to be her grades at the moment. When she finds out that she's not going to drive without a B average, maybe that will motivate her to pay more attention to her grades. She's just got so much going on that I think her poor brain can't process everything at once, and I think assignments get "forgotten." Well, we'll see how badly she actually wants to drive. I'm a bit frustrated with her at the moment. If I hear "But I forgoooottttt!!!" one more time, I may have to do some neck-wringing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stress Management!

Today at my workplace, they had the annual open-enrollment meeting. Every year at this time, they let us know of any changes in the insurance/health care plan, and you can make changes to your personal plan. I didn't go, because I work swing shift (3pm - 11pm) and of course, there's no meeting scheduled during that time. I don't need to make any changes though, so it's all good.

My co-worker went to the meeting, and she saved some stuff for me. A pen, a Snoopy, and a pamphlet from our health care company on stress management. This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read. Which is good, because one recommendation they have for dealing with stress is laughter. I think I'll keep this handy, because anytime I need a good laugh, I'll just read it.

Stress Management:

Coping Skills

1. Identify your stress triggers. Oh good, an easy one. Kylie, Shannon, Danielle, Steve and money. Are they all going to be this easy?

2. Work on reducing your exposure to stress or reducing its effects. Apparently, they're suggesting staying away from my family.

3. Ask for help when you need it. Oh yeah...this works GREAT at my house. Hey, can you guys clean up your rooms/do the dishes/vacuum the living room? *grumble, grunt, bitch, moan*

Ways Not To Handle Stress

1. Eating too much or too little. Well, at least I have no problem with the "eating too little" part.

2. Smoking or drinking excessively. Now, I have to disagree with this one. I've always found that excessive drinking is great stress relief.

3. Isolating yourself from family and friends. Just a minute ago, you suggested staying away from my family...make up your minds!

4. Taking unnecessary or excessive medication. Again, I have to disagree. It may be unnecessary, but it sure does make one feel less stressed. Ah Xanax, how I love thee.

5. Harmful actions or thoughts. These include violent outbursts, verbal abuse or excessive negative thinking. Oh, come on...there's nothing wrong with some friendly harmful thoughts. I thought about tying Kylie to a tree today. Doesn't mean I did it.

Families and Relationships

1. Talk and listen to your loved ones as much as possible. Ok, again...make up your minds. Should I stay away from them or not?

2. Share at least one meal a day together. This is a little difficult when you work opposite shifts. Kylie gave me some of her goldfish crackers today...does that count?

3. Be thoughtful - offer hugs and gifts or share household responsibilities. Yeah, FAMILY...SHARE HOUSEHOLD RESPONSIBILITIES! My pamphlet says so! Oh, and I'm waiting for my gift.


1. Get organized by making income and expense lists. Look, I use Microsoft Money just like the next person. I know where it all is this supposed to help, exactly?

2. Set and keep a realistic budget. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

3. Carefully watch your credit card use. Ok, I do this...I watch the card very carefully every time I use it. Wouldn't want to lose it now, would I?

4. Consult with a financial or debt management adviser. Oh, I'm sorry...that's not in my BUDGET.

Then on the back of the pamphlet, it has all sorts of helpful suggestions in different areas, such as:

Good Night's Sleep

1. Try to get a solid eight hours of sleep each night. Let's see...I work from 3pm - 11pm, get home around 11:30pm, try to unwind quickly and get to bed so I can fall asleep by midnight - 12:30am. Then I get up to get people off to school around 6:45am, and spend the majority of my day with a five year-old baboon. (Ok, she goes to PreK MWF from 8:30am - 11:30am, that's my "me" time!) Where do they suggest I fit this imaginary "eight hours of sleep" in? If you fall short of that, a ten or 15 minute nap during the day can help. Right...that's assuming you can sleep with a five year-old bouncing on you, or asking you a question every 2.4 seconds.

2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. "Sleeping in" will only confuse your body. You all are confusing me. First you say get 8 hours, then you say go to bed at the same time. So on days that I don't work evenings (Fri, Sat, Sun), you're saying I should stay up until midnight, just so my body isn't confused?

3. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, particularly close to bedtime. Well, like the song goes, I guess two out of three ain't bad. I need my Diet Coke.

4. Relax before bed with a hot bath, book or other relaxing activity. Sounds nice in theory, but wouldn't that be cutting into the "eight hours" of sleep I'm supposed to be getting? Does picking up around the house when I get home from work and making Steve a sandwich for the next day count as relaxing?

Time management

1. Make a list, prioritize steps and cross them off as you complete them. Hey, I actually do that!

2. Plan your tasks for high energy times of the day. And those would be when, exactly?

3. Identify and avoid time wasters like the phone or TV. Thank goodness they didn't say "the Internet."


1. Journaling can help you cultivate self-awareness, expose hidden issues and lead to creative solutions. Well, that's what blogging is, isn't it? Journaling? I'll just sit here and wait for those creative solutions to leap out at me. Maybe I'll add three more hours to every day. That's creative.

2. Prepare to write by breathing deeply or putting on your favorite background music. No, that's not an obscene phone call...I'm just getting ready to write!

3. Write about anything you want, for as long as you want. Well, this post is proof that I'm following that little directive, isn't it?

4. Keep a dream journal by your bedside and write as soon as you wake up. Would that be before or after I yell at the kids to get up for the fourth time?


1. Treat yourself to a daily laugh to help lighten your mood. The comics or a radio morning show should do the trick. Actually, this pamphlet has me laughing out loud right now. If I lose the pamphlet, I guess there's always Rush Limbaugh for comedic relief. Is he on in the mornings?

2. Use the Internet to share jokes with friends, family and co-workers. This not only spreads joy but creates a social community. Yes, it actually SAYS that! I hate when people forward me every damn thing that lands in their email. I don't mind it occasionally, but make sure it's actually FUNNY. Don't send me petitions to sign, or emails that Christian broadcasting is going to be taken off the air, OMG! Don't send me chain letters (now forward this to everyone and something good will happen to you in three seconds! If you don't, you'll die!) and don't send me your stupid claims that Bill Gates will give me money if I forward on this email. See, this creates stress! I'm feeling a need to drink excessively!

3. Look for the humor in everything, including yourself. Oh, I'm funny as hell...just ask me.

And last but not least, these are my favorite -

Other Options for Handling Stress

1. Go to a spa for a massage, body buff, or facial. Again, that's not really in that BUDGET you recommended that I maintain.

2. Take a vacation, even if it's just overnight or for the weekend. Hmmm....I wonder if Healthcare Company is also offering to pay for said vacation? My bags are packed, baby!

3. Renew your spirit with a retreat. What if I retreat to my bedroom and lock the door? Does that count?

4. Have sex. (Oh yes, it did) Orgasm releases endorphins, which relax the body and create a sense of well-being. Suddenly, it all makes sense to me. Anyone that equates sex with an orgasm is obviously male. This whole entire thing was written for a MAN, most likely by a man. I will bet a large amount of money that a man who works for Healthcare Company wrote this. Go back and read it again, and pretend you're a man. The whole thing totally makes sense! Where's the women's version? Do you need help writing a women's version? Call me.

It's Magic! Or Not...

I have found a fool-proof way to find missing items. Guaranteed to work every time. Want to know what it is? No, it's not re-tracing your steps, meditating on it, going through the toybox, or sacrificing a live chicken. Nothing that complicated. The easiest way to find any lost item a replacement! The missing item will almost surely show up within 24 hours if you do this. I swear.

Two recent examples:

1) Last January, Shannon got a Nintendo DS for her birthday. A few weeks ago I asked her where it was. She said it was in her room, but that it was dead, as the charger had been missing for quite some time. I was not aware of this. So, just recently I was at Game Crazy (Shhhhh!) and I decided to pick up a replacement charger for her. It was only $10. Went home, plugged the thing in so it would be charged when she got home from school. I went to work. The next morning, somehow, the old charger has made its re-appearance. No one is quite clear on where it had been (on vacation?), but there it was. Baffling.

2) Shannon is taking drum class in 7th grade. At the beginning of the year, we had to buy her a practice pad, snare sticks, three different sets of mallets, and a stick bag. The only cheap thing in this ensemble was the set of snare sticks, which cost about $6. Sometime within the past few weeks, one of the snare sticks went missing. She hasn't needed them for a while, because they've been practicing for a concert, and she wasn't playing snare. But now, the concert is over, and she has drum class today, and needed the sticks. I knew the one that wasn't missing was on my dresser upstairs, but the other one has disappeared. So, today I go to the music store and pick up a new pair of snare sticks for her. I had arranged to meet her in the attendance office at the beginning of her lunch period to give them to her. Went to school, gave her the sticks, even got a hug and a "thanks mom!" for that! I was's the little things, you know. Anyway, Kylie and I go back home, I'm puttering around the house (read: laundry, dishes, blah blah), and all of a sudden Kylie is holding a drumstick.

"Hey Mom, I found Shannon's other stick!"

Cue me giving her the hairy eyeball.

"Where did you find that? Did you hide it?"

It was behind her puppet theater box thing that she and Shannon made out of a TV box a while back. If she knew it was there all along, she's not copping to it, but I suspect that she did know.

Now that I write this, I think I'm seeing a pattern. Missing things belong to Shannon, Kylie finds them. Hmmmm. What a coincidence. Maybe I should ask Kylie where my sanity is. She probably hid it.

Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to all-day kindergarten next year?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Not a Good Weekend for Football

Friday night, high school team loses big in big rivalry game. We knew they would, since Big Rival school has not lost a game in two years, and has been the state champ two of the past three years, and probably will be again this year. It's getting old, and they're way too cocky. I just want someone to beat them, anyone. Let me just add here, HAMILTON, that when you're up by four touchdowns near the end of the second quarter, going for a two-point conversion instead of just kicking the extra point is completely and totally classless. Just saying. Is it sad that I care this much about high school football? Our team will still be going to the playoffs starting next week...not sure who we're playing yet, though.

Saturday, ASU played Oregon and earned their first loss of the season. I was kind of expecting this, because Oregon is really good, and I think they have a legitimate shot at the national championship game. I'm hoping we can win our last three games (UCLA, USC, and Arizona) and hopefully have a chance at the Rose Bowl. If Oregon goes to the NC game, that's definitely a possibility. Of course, that depends on our team's ability to bounce back from this and win those last three games. C'mon Devils!

Oh, and then...if things weren't bad enough, UCLA goes and LOSES to Arizona! UCLA, I am not impressed. Plus, whenever Arizona wins, I hate that. You know the two favorite teams are ASU and whoever is playing Arizona this week. I was a big UCLA fan yesterday, and they let me down. Of course, since we play them next, I hope they are just as disappointing next Saturday. :)

Colorado lost huge to Missouri yesterday, sorry Honey. But, we're hoping that Colorado will get to come to the Insight Bowl, because we'll be there, and we'd have someone to root for! And this year, I'll remember to bring a warm jacket, instead of just a thin sweatshirt, because the game is outside now, and we won't leave at halftime because we're freezing and we won't miss a huge comeback and overtime win by the team that was down by like, a lot, at halftime. You know, like last year.

If there was one good thing yesterday, it was seeing Nebraska get 76 points scored on them. That was awesome. Since we're Colorado fans, we are, of course, Nebraska haters. Plus, I remember the year that Nebraska ran up the score against ASU, and the final was something like 72-28. 1995, maybe? So plllbbbtttt, Nebraska...what goes around, comes around, even if it is 12 years later. Not that I hold grudges or anything.

And, to complete the weekend, the Cardinals will lose today. I don't even know who they're playing, but I'm predicting a loss. Anyone care to take that bet? ;)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Yeah, Well Your Attitude Sucks Too

Yesterday, of course, we had the Moms' Weekly Sit and Bitch at McD's. I'm happy to report that they've ditched the Skanks on Skates toys in favor of the new Bee Movie toys. I'm not sure if I want to see the movie, but at least I don't see these bee toys scarring my daughter's self-esteem. Not unless she has a secret desire to become a bee. Anyway.

Afterwards, I had to go get Shannon some soccer socks, because they had their first (and only) pre-season game yesterday. So I had to go to Sports Authority, buy the socks, and then go to the school and drop them off to her. Why didn't I do this earlier? Because I just found out she needed the socks Wednesday night, around 9:30pm. Kids, gotta love 'em.

So as I'm cruising through Sports Authority, Kylie is constantly saying she wants to go to Basha's, a local grocery chain. She wants to go there because of the Cub House, where she can play while I shop. Except I don't need anything at the grocery store today. Yes, I could sit in their cafe area with a soda and a magazine while she plays (not that I would ever take advantage of their free babysitting when I didn't actually have to, you know... shop), but I didn't have time today. So I'm trying to find these socks, and she's blathering about Basha's, and then Target. Target is right next to Sports Authority, and is a great place to spend mom's horde of extra cash that she picked fresh off the tree, just this morning.

I said no, we have to take the socks over to the jr high and give them to Shannon, then we have to go home and I have to do a few things, then it's time for her to go to Mimi's and me to go to work. She keeps whining, I keep saying no. Lather, rinse, repeat. Then she lets go with the ever-popular:

"I don't like you!"

"Well sweetpea, I'm sorry to hear that, but you know, telling someone that you don't like them isn't really a great way to get them to do anything for you."

She is quiet for a moment, and then:

"Well, I do like you...I just don't like your attitude."

I snorted in my attempt to hold back my laugh. I couldn't help it.

And of course, the socks are too small. Where is that #$%&#$% receipt?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Obligatory Halloween Pictures

You know we gotta have 'em, right? So, last night was pretty un-eventful. We have had a tradition in the past of getting together with a few other familes for a chili dinner and trick-or-treating. But, all the kids are getting older and seem to want to do their own thing now. Except me, of course...I still have a little witch of a 5 year-old to deal with. Hey, I can say that on Halloween...she really was a witch!

Big sister Danni did her hair and make-up, and then Danni went to a party that was sponsored by the band. I love it when the band has their own activities, because I know exactly where she is and that it's well chaperoned. Here's Danni and Kylie together...Danni is supposed to be a modern-day pixie? (well, that's what she said, anyway) She had a lot of glitter on...I'm not sure that shows up too well in the pictures.

Shannon got together with some of her friends from school, a group of about 10 or 12 kids. I wanted a pic of all three kids together, but she came running in from soccer practice, and I'm all "Put your costume on so I can get a quick picture of the three of you." And she's like "Nooooo, we're all getting dressed at Holly's house!!" Sigh. So then I thought I'd get the pic of all three of them when Shannon got home. Unfortunately, by that time Kylie and I were back from trick-or-treating and she was conked out. Here's Shannon in her pirate outfit:

Also, at Kylie's school (which is a PreK-6th Grade charter school), they can't dress up in Halloween costumes...that might offend someone. But what they can do is come dressed as their favorite literary character. So Kylie had a witch outfit. So I say she McGonagall!!! Yeah, that's it! Anyway, here's Kylie with two of her friends from school. I guess Jack Sparrow is a literary character now? In any case, he sure was a cutie!

I took Kylie over to Jen's house and we went trick-or-treating in their neighborhood with Grace and two of her older brothers. We had fun, but the kids were done after about an hour and a half. Kylie and I were back home by 8pm, which is not a bad thing! Now I'm looking forward to a day when Kylie is old enough to go out with a group on her own, and I can sit in the driveway with a bunch of other adults and a big jug of margaritas. I love it when people have their little block parties here...they all gather at one house and hand out all their candy, while sitting in chairs around a firepit. Of course, I'm not sure the firepit is necessary when it's still in the freaking 80s, but ... yeah. It's ambience, right?

Oh, I wish we had fall. I wish the air was cool and crisp and leaves were falling from the trees. That's why I have all this autumn stuff on my's as close as I'm ever going to get to it. Dang, I hate the heat. Enough already! It was 89 degrees today. I suppose I have to change that Halloween picture up there now. I'll get to it...quit pressuring me already! Geez.