Monday, March 31, 2008

Flashback (All the Way Back to 2001)

While going through a box of old files last week, my she-boss (I work for a married couple, I refer to them as she and he) came across a surprising little treasure: A People magazine dated May 7, 2001. The cover story: George Clooney turns 40. Of course, being the celebrity gossip whores we are, we shrieked and giggled our way through it page by page.

It was only seven years ago (only??), yet it was so interesting to see what has changed. Obviously not much with George, although he does have a significant increase in gray hair. But do we really care? No, he's still adorable. But it was before 9/11, so the entire magazine is without any mention of troops, terrorists or politics. The whole issue was a little less ominous.

The Star Tracks section featured snap shots of Brad and Jen walking arm in arm, not-yet-publicly-despised (or out of the closet) Rosie O'Donnell hosting the Kids' Choice Awards, and Jennifer Lopez with boyfriend Cris Judd smiling and looking all cutesy together.

News stories included Britney and Justin shopping together in New York, Robert Downey, Jr. going to rehab . . . again, and Kobe Bryant marries 18 year old Vanessa Somebody in a "fairytale wedding." The caption under the picture quoted a source close to Kobe saying "They're young but they don't take marriage lightly." Uh-huh.

Harrison Ford and his wife were back together after a trial separation, everyone was still reeling from the break up of Tom and Nicole, and Sylvester Stallone was swearing he would never do another Rambo movie.

So all of this leaves me thinking. Wouldn't it suck to be a celebrity? Every move you make is documented and photographed just waiting for some obnoxious blogger to dig it all up and throw out a few self righteous uh-huh's. It's only been seven years, but look at how much has changed for most of these people. Some have gone from the bottom to the top, some from top to bottom. Some have gone crazy, and some have too made another Rambo movie.

How much has my life changed in seven years? Well, let's see. I have another child. And she's pretty cool so I think we'll keep her. I am paying $3.20 for one flipping gallon of gas. I live in a different house. My husband has a different job. I have a job (in order to pay for gas). I am the proud Auntie to three adorable nephews. I have lost some people I really loved. But for the most part, I am still the same person. With a significant increase in gray hair.

Where will I be in seven years? I will have two boys in high school, one of them driving. Oh Lord, put me out of my misery now! I will have a preteen daughter. Oh the agony! Hopefully I will have seen more of the world. And most likely will have a standing six week color appointment with a hair stylist. And, fingers crossed, I will not have any reason for someone to dig this documented moment up and throw out a few self righteous uh-huhs.

Where do you see yourself in seven years?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

100 Plus 1 Facts About the Queen

Do you know how difficult it is to come up with 100 interesting pieces of information about yourself? It is HARD! But because I am a typical over achiever, I came up with 101. Here they are, and I think you should do it too!

  1. I am a Christian.
  2. My husband is my best friend.
  3. My favorite bible verses are Philippians 4:13 and Proverbs 3:5-6
  4. I love to hear my children laughing.
  5. I have recurring dreams.
  6. I always dream in vivid colors.
  7. I am intuitive and usually trust this instinct.
  8. I am pee in my pants afraid of snakes and most reptiles.
  9. I am ENFJ.
  10. I love to read.
  11. I have favorite words because I like the way they sound and the way they feel in my mouth when I say them. My favorite words are copacetic, advantageous, simplicity and amiable.
  12. I feel anxious most of the time.
  13. I can’t turn my brain off at night so I sometimes have trouble staying asleep.
  14. My lack of organization drives me crazy.
  15. I occasionally use profanities.
  16. I make a kick ass pecan pie.
  17. I don’t believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. I am agnostic when it comes to aliens.
  18. I think astrology is a crock of crap.
  19. I love dishes and kitchen gadgets.
  20. I am really picky about pens that I will use.
  21. I would like to live in London some day.
  22. I can’t stand the smell of peas.
  23. I like to eat cake for breakfast.
  24. My biggest regret is not finishing college.
  25. My favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland’s Main Street USA.
  26. I am often told I look like the following celebrities: Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Delta Burke, Shannen Doherty (ouch) and the girl who played Xena Warrior Princess.
  27. I don’t think I look like any of these people. (Okay, maybe Delta.)
  28. I have bad taste in music.
  29. I love carbs.
  30. I hate to travel by plane.
  31. I refuse to let my fear of flying keep me from seeing the world.
  32. I don’t like confrontation.
  33. I can be very mean and spiteful.
  34. I am usually aware that I am being mean and spiteful.
  35. I am easily irritated.
  36. I am often described as bubbly.
  37. I stink after I eat garlic.
  38. I love anything with garlic.
  39. I don’t like change, yet I adapt quickly.
  40. I attended 14 different schools growing up.
  41. I have never had good luck with guys named Kevin.
  42. I would like to apologize to a girl I went to high school with. Thanks to the powers of Facebook!
  43. I need closure.
  44. I have lived in 3 states.
  45. I love going to the movies.
  46. I have milked a cow.
  47. I have walked across Westminster Bridge as Big Ben was bonging 12 noon.
  48. I once went to the movies with Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
  49. Uberman and I have seen Tone-Loc three different times in three different airports.
  50. I lived in a house that was haunted.
  51. I am addicted to diet cola.
  52. I have never experimented with drugs.
  53. I need to feel accepted.
  54. I get uncomfortable around people who are quiet.
  55. I am self-conscious about the fact that I am loud.
  56. I like to watch the same movies over and over.
  57. I enjoy talking on the phone.
  58. I wish I were more patient with my children.
  59. I like the way the airport smells.
  60. I am married to a man obsessed with baseball.
  61. All three of my children are named after baseball players.
  62. I think Roger Clemens is a liar.
  63. I am a procrastinator.
  64. I think corn is a stand-alone vegetable and should not be mixed with any other food.
  65. I think the cashiers at the grocery store and Blockbuster are judging me based on my choices.
  66. I have never seen The Exorcist.
  67. I am convinced if I see The Exorcist I will become possessed.
  68. I love watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie.
  69. I will always blame Angelina for Brad and Jen’s break up.
  70. I watch Gossip Girl I stopped watching Gossip Girl because it was stupid and I felt stupid watching it.
  71. When we were in Germany, we met a man from Iraq. After listening to his story, I felt shame.
  72. I believe in gun control.
  73. I do not believe in the Big Bang Theory, but I do believe that everything evolves over time.
  74. I do not believe in reincarnation.
  75. I like trivia games.
  76. I have an excellent memory, but I can never find my keys.
  77. I was a better parent before I became one.
  78. I think my kids are cuter than yours.
  79. I am a terrible driver.
  80. I think TiVo is the greatest invention since the TV.
  81. I like being in charge.
  82. I am not afraid of speaking in public.
  83. I close my eyes when I brush my teeth.
  84. I take my shower at night so I’m clean when I get into bed.
  85. I was not born in April.
  86. I do not like my food to touch.
  87. I don’t like to share dairy products (ice cream, milk shakes, milk) with other people, even my own children.
  88. I don’t like to touch raw meat, it grosses me out.
  89. I love to laugh because it feels good.
  90. I am allergic to weird things like Halibut and Zucchini.
  91. I am allergic to cats.
  92. I don’t really like cats.
  93. I’m a girly girl.
  94. I like to do crafty projects.
  95. I don’t like to exercise.
  96. I live in Arizona and have never been to the Grand Canyon.
  97. I don’t have an appreciation for old cars. I don’t care if they are classic.
  98. I can't stand it when people are condescending.
  99. When I put on my make up or blow dry my hair, I rest one leg on the counter and stand like a flamingo. I don’t know why.
  100. I get the hiccups a lot and it’s annoying.
  101. My favorite thing to do is make my husband smile.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

April Is Not Reigning That

Guess what? It has been brought to my attention that if you mistakenly enter aprilsreign.com into your web browser, instead of aprilsreign.blogspot.com, you are directed to a search engine for porn. Yes! Porn!

So I did it, I went to that sight, and it is basically harmless. Just a list of various types of porn available to you. Here are some interesting examples: Amateur, Anime, Bondage, Cheerleaders, Fat and BBW (which I figured out means Big Beautiful Women), Granny, Housewife, Midgets, and my favorite of all, Shemale.

This is a sick, sick world. I love how it is an equal opportunity site, allowing plus size girls, older women and transsexuals (I am assuming that's what Shemale means, right?). But isn't it politically incorrect, not to mention insensitive, to call them Midgets? They are Little People! Jeez.

So what do I do? Do I change my blog name? Oh the nightmare! Do you know what that will do to my cluster map?? All my stats, gone! Wiped out. And I just went international, too (I think thanks to Katie's friend Dutchmac in Holland). I seriously don't know what to do.

And Oh. My. God. How many people have I told about my blog and they possibly went to this site by mistake?? Now they think I have a new career in internet porn. They might think I am some kind of sick pervert!! The sad thing is, I have actually joked about making money in internet porn for years. There could be people I know sitting at a computer right now thinking "Wow. She was not kidding. She's really gone over the top this time." Oh the horror! The embarrassment! The hilarity of it all! This is so not funny. Yet I can't stop laughing!

This is so typical of my luck. Like the time I let that lady go in front of me at Safeway because she had only 4 items and then she was the 100th customer of the day and won a DVD player. Hag.

I need advice, people. I need input from my readers. All five of you. Gather round and tell me what to do.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Magic Indeed

I've been doing some spring cleaning. And before we go any further, someone needs to revive my mother in law because I am pretty sure she just lost consciousness.

Aaahhh, I love the smell of a toilet bowl full of Pine-Sol on a beautiful spring day. There is nothing better than a fresh, clean, clutter free home. At least that's what I hear anyway. But I do love the rare occasions when my house is spotless (usually before a party). And I always swear I am going to keep it like that. But before you know it, there are papers scattered all over the kitchen counters, toys littering the living room, and dust bunnies doing the polka in the corners.

The following conversations have actually happened in my home:

Conversation 1 - The New TV

Visitor: Did you get a new TV?
Me: No, we've had the same one for years.
Visitor: Really? No, I am sure you got a new one since the last time I was here.
Me: You were here a month ago. That is the same TV.
Visitor: But the picture looks different. So bright and clear.
Me: Oh, I just cleaned the grimy hand prints off of the screen.
Visitor: Oh, yes. That's it.

Conversation 2 - The Carpet

Uberman: What happened to the carpet?
Me: What do you mean?
Uberman: It looks different. Faded or something.
Me: Where?
Uberman: All over.
Me: I don't see what you are talking about.
Uberman: Look right here, didn't it used to have orange flecks in it?
Me: Oh, yeah. Those were fish crackers. I vacuumed.
Uberman: Oh. Is my mom coming over?

Conversation 3 - We've Been Robbed!

Junior: What happened in the kitchen?
Me (Worried): What do you mean? Oh no, what happened?
Junior: All our stuff is gone.
Me: What stuff?
Junior: All the papers on the counter, our toaster, the dishes! Where did everything go?
Me: Oh, I put it all away. And cleaned the counter tops. Doesn't it look nice?
Junior: Why? Is Granny coming over?

One of my favorite cleaning products is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. What the heck is this thing? I have checked the box and there is no list of ingredients. So you know what that means. Whatever it is, it can't be good. In five years I am sure they will be comparing the side effects of it to those of napalm gas, but until then, I am taking my chances. When Boo scribbled all over my brown suede chair with a black sharpie, Mr. Clean worked his magic and bibbity bobbity boo, good as new. And the four year old will now be able to see age five. You see? Magic!

Mr. Clean is now the other man in my life. I don't know if it's that sexy bald head or those big bushy eyebrows, but I spend a lot of time thinking about him while I am scrubbing toilets and floors, trying to figure out ways to keep our relationship fresh and exciting. So I have come up with a few product ideas for my boyfriend. Fingers crossed, these products will soon be heading to a store near you:

Mr. Clean Magic Muffin Top Eraser (available separately or in combo with next product)
Mr. Clean Magic Cottage Cheese Dimple Eraser
Mr. Clean Magic Debt Eraser (Sign me up for the product testing!)
Mr. Clean Magic Inappropriate Comment Eraser (I would have to buy this one at Costco)
Mr. Clean Magic Grudge Eraser (available at Christian bookstores)
Mr. Clean Magic Pimple Eraser (available at Sephora)

What I really think he needs to come out with is a Mr. Clean Magic Highlighter. You can sprinkle it on the overflowing bag of trash waiting by the back door. The effects will be so blinding there is no way your spouse/partner/whatever can claim they didn't see it. Which is a total BS excuse anyway, don't you agree? I mean come on, he can tell you from the nose bleed seats at Chase Field if Brandon Webb just pitched a split finger fast ball, change up or curve ball, but he can't see the heaping mounds of trash accumulating in his own kitchen? He can tell you who fouled Steve Nash a week before it happened but he can't see his wet towel on the floor? Or how does he remember the stats of almost every guy who played in the major league since he was born, yet he can't remember what day of the week the trash gets picked up? Whatever, that's a whole other topic for a different day.

What about you? How can Mr. Clean work his Magic for you?

Monday, March 24, 2008

You Know Who You Are

An open letter to the mothers whose children attend the snobby school at the end of the street leading to my place of work:

Dear Fellow Mommies:

I realize it is very unfortunate for my sake that my day ends at the exact moment that your children's school dismisses for the day. However, during these past fourteen months of daily attempts to pass your school in an effort to pick up my own children at a school just as pretty as yours, it has become evident to me that your Mamas never taught you the Golden Rule and how it also applies to your behavior when behind the wheel of your over-priced and pretentious SUV. It may come with a fancy emblem on the hood, but I guarantee you the deed to the road is not in the glove box and was not included in the sticker price. No really, you can check for yourself.

Therefore, I feel I should let you know out of the goodness of my heart and our solidarity as women, that it is considered very kind and gracious to allow another car to get in front of yours so that it may exit the area. I realize it is not the popular thing to do, and the other mommies in your neighborhood may wonder if you have been skipping your therapy appointments, but other drivers like myself, who have nothing to do with the school but have the misfortune of being stuck in the same spot for sometimes 22 flipping minutes due to the traffic exiting the parking lot, will appreciate you and remember you in their prayers because you were brave enough to bestow upon them one small moment of kindness in this crazy, selfish world.

It is entirely unnecessary to practically rear end the car in front of you for fear that I will indeed burrow my way ahead and beat you to Nordstrom. I am just trying to accomplish the same task you are in the process of, picking my children up on time.

I know you can see me behind your shiny black Chanel sunglasses. Staring straight ahead and sticking your enhanced nose in the air while you run your acrylics through your highlighted extensions doesn't fool anyone. Acknowledging my presence is not going to kill you, or worse, get you blackballed from the country club. Consider it a charitable act for the day. Just please, please, please let me in.

And when I am waiting in the mile long line to turn left at the stop sign, and I graciously allow you in front of me as you are trying to exit the parking lot, it is generally considered polite to respond to my generosity with a wave. It doesn't have to be a full on excited flurry of fingers and palm and bending elbows, just a hand in the air will be sufficient. If your hand is too weighed down by the five carats it is forced to bear the burden of, then I completely understand. In this case, a nod will do just fine. However, I am sure your personal trainer would agree that the recognized wave could be considered part of your strength and toning regimen when done on a regular basis.

I am not asking you to be my friend, or where you and your daughter got your matching Birkin bags. I am just asking you to be a decent human being. And maybe even an example to your kids. Mmmkay?

Sincerely,

A frustrated mother who is just like you, only less expensively dressed

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Can I Get Some Fries With That Shake?

I was stopped at a light the other day, at an intersection that is not part of my usual route home, but that's a long and very boring story so lets just get to the point. I just so happened to be stopped in front of an entrance to the parking lot of a strip club. And out of curiosity, I started counting the number of cars in the parking lot of a strip club at 3:13 in the afternoon. Eleven. Eleven. There were more cars at the strip club at 3:13 on a week day afternoon than at the Sonic across the street. And it was happy hour at the Sonic, for crying out loud. (Becky, you can get useless brown water for 95 cents from 2-4!! With that righteous Sonic Ice! And a splash of Vanilla! Score!)

Then I watched a group of men coming out of the black double doors (of the strip club, not the Sonic). Now I realize I am a girl. Who lives in suburban Arizona. And has some pretty conservative values. And kind of a sheltered view of the world around her. But I always thought someone coming out of a strip club would look more like, oh I don't know, Pee Wee Herman's mug shot? Or, say, a guy named Sylvio or Paulie Walnuts? Or even a group of drunk idiots who just got accepted into the best frat on campus. But these guys? They looked like a group of investment bankers. Or accountants. Or English Lit professors. Whatever, it completely blew my whole "only creepy guys go to strip clubs in the middle of the day" theory.

Then I noticed the marquee for this place. It read "Wedensday $1.99 all u can eat lunch buffay." No I swear to God, it really did. So at least I was able to hold onto my "only stupid people update marquees for strip clubs" theory. I made a mental note to drive the kids by to show them what their career path could be if they did not go to college.

So I got to thinking. If you're a guy at work, how does "Where should we go for lunch today?" end up with "Dude, I totally feel like burgers and boobies. Let's go to the strip club!" I am seriously curious. And how good can the food possibly be at a place where the focus is not the food? I mean, I've been to Chuck E. Cheese and the pizza sucks. And how many health codes are being violated when people are in the buff around the buffay? Seriously, when I was a waitress at Coco's, we had to wear our hair back in a secure pony tail and we weren't even allowed to wear nail polish, let alone glitter and body oil. Has the Department of Health relaxed their standards that much in 18 years? And how awkward is it to be eating a plate of chicken fingers while someone is trying to give you a lap dance? Is there etiquette or protocol for situations like this? I really want to know.

I called Uberman at work.

Me: Have you ever been to a strip club for lunch?
He: No, but the one down the street has prime rib on Tuesdays.
Me: Is it any good?
He: I don't know, let me ask Joe*. Hey Joe*, how's the Tuesday prime rib at that place down the street?
Muffled voices.
He: He says it's okay but it ain't the Sizzler.
Me: Okay, see you at home. Love you.
He: Love you, bye.

Wow. Joe* has some low expectations.

I guess this is just another example of how vastly different men and women really are. Women would never go to a male strip club for lunch, even if they served the best chicken walnut sandwich in town. Even if they had a variety of fresh, big salads with homemade bleu cheese dressing. Even if they had an all you can eat dessert buffay with a freaking chocolate fountain. It's one thing to admire the cute waiters at the Cheesecake Factory, but if they start dancing around us in banana hammocks while we are trying to enjoy a nice lunch and grown up conversation, I'm never going there again. I don't care how good that Tuxedo Cheesecake is.

I love being a girl.


*Names have been changed in order to protect privacy. Joe's wife would kick his ass if she knew he was at a strip club for lunch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monkey Free

Can you hear that? Be really quiet. Lean in really close to your monitor. Listen carefully. Can you hear it? Do you know what that is? That is the sound of a quiet house, my friend! Yes! I am currently sitting in a house without children! And it is my house! I am totally alone in my own house! This morning I packed up those little rambunctious monkeys and took them to my mom and dad, who - get this - volunteered to take them! Ha! Suckers! So now I have three days and three nights with no kids! I know Dude! Admit it, you are soooooo jealous!

The bummer part is I still had to go to work today, and then again tomorrow. But Uberman and I are both taking the day off Friday. I know! Who knows what kind of crazy shenanigans we will get involved in!

So I will admit, after work today, I did go a little Britney-like crazy with my new found freedom. Yes, I went nuts! I decided since I didn't have to go home, and I didn't have anyone who needed to be at baseball practice, the late afternoon was going to be all about me. Are you ready for this? Guess what I did? I went to Starbucks. And not the drive through either, Dude. No, I was in full on mommy rebellion! I parked my big bad SUV, marched through that beautiful, fingerprint-free glass door, inhaled that intoxicating sent of over priced coffee, blew the dust off my Starbucks gift card and confidently ordered my grande non-fat, no whip mocha. Check me out! And because I had all the time in the world, I sat down while the prepubescent barista was making it. While I was sitting, I did the following: a) stared into space b) eavesdropped on other people's conversations (oh shut up, you do it too) and c) stared into space. It was Heaven.

But the fun did not stop there, oh no. After I had that non-fat, no-whip mocha in my hand, I walked two doors down to the Blockbuster, where I proceeded to take my time browsing through each and every movie, sipping my coffee without a care in the world. Not once did I have to tell anyone to stop touching things. Not once did I have to ask someone to quit whining. Not once did I have to say no to renting an inappropriate video game. And not once did I have to explain for the billionth time that even though it was called "Trainspotting," the movie had absolutely nothing to do with looking for cool trains. Sheesh.

After selecting four movies (oh yeah baby, f-o-u-r!), I decided to keep this party going: I went to the car wash. Yes, I really did. And I sat and read an entire magazine in the 45 minutes it took to wash my filth-mobile. I will confess, they had to run my car through the washer TWICE. How embarrassing. But do you know how completely awesome it was to step into a clean car with absolutely no fish crackers in the seats or on the floor? Again, Heaven! And to top it off, the dude opening the door for me actually called me miss instead of ma'am. Do you see the glorious benefits of running errands without kids? And oh yeah, I totally gave him an extra dollar with the tip. I mean it was everything I could do to keep from giving him a kiss.

My last stop was the craziest of all: the grocery store! Again, not such a bad place when there are no little people with you asking for every artificially flavored, colored and sweetened thing they see. I did witness a woman completely losing it with her toddler in the parking lot. I almost shouted over to her, Ha ha!! My mom has mine! But instead of gloating, I gave her a reassuring smile. No need to judge this woman, we have all been there even though we swore we wouldn't. And then I called my mom as I left the parking lot to tell her thank you again for giving me some time to myself. She asked why I didn't go get a pedicure, but I explained I needed to pace myself so I didn't experience funlag. That would suck.

So now I am home. Groceries are put away. There is no homework to correct, no one needs a bath or shower, and I don't even have to cook dinner if I don't want to. The house is making the occasional creaky sound I never noticed before. Maybe it's in shock from the lack of noise it needs to contain. Who knows? But I am totally enjoying the sweet, melodic sound of . . . nothing. I think I'll go read a book. Without pictures or iambic pentameter. Check. Me. Out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unethically Parked?

Yesterday I went to Target to grab a few last minute things I needed before Junior's first baseball game of the season. And since on the way to Target I had dribbled diet coke down the front of my white t-shirt (yes, I know, I am the epitome of grace), I was very excited to find a new white t-shirt on clearance for $2.39. I know! Cyber high fives all the way around. Although I was wearing an adorable brown hoodie over the t-shirt (Notice how we are calling them hoodies now? Beacause it sounds so much more fashionable than sweatshirt.), which perfectly matched my kick ass brown Sketchers, there was no way in aych ee double hockey sticks I was showing up to my son's first game with diet coke all over my shirt. The least I can do is avoid embarrasing the kid by being such a slob.

So after paying for my stuff, I ducked into the bathroom to change my shirt. And since I as in there, I thought I might as well, um, go so I didn't have to go later. When I walked in the bathroom, the only stall available was the handicap stall at the end. I ran in, did my bidness, and changed my shirt as quickly as possible. It was a little after 4:00 and I still had to pick up the kids from Grandpa's and get Junior to the field by 4:45. Well in the constant, yet unsteady fluctuations of publice restroom traffic, the entire bathroom had emptied, leaving me alone in the handicap stall. And while I would swear I was in there two minutes at the maximum, I mean for crying out loud, I am a mommy and have completely forgotten what it is like to have the luxury of taking my time to do anything, I was very surprised as I exited the stall to see two people waiting.

They were a young couple, a pretty girl standing next to a cute guy . . . who happened to be in a wheelchair. Now take this moment in with me for a sec. They enter a seemingly empty bathroom and find the only stall they can use, is taken by someone who doesn't really need it. My surprise to see them quickly changed to embarrassment because they could see me. I smiled my meek little smile. And then proceeded to make it worse.

Me: I'm sorry.
Her: It's okay.
Me: Um . . . When I came in, um, this was the only stall open.
Her (nodding): Okay.
Me: No really, it was totally full (uncomfortable chuckle). But I uh, hurried, you know. Just in case. (Big smile, please please please like me.)
Her (nodding again): Uh-huh.
Silence. Uncomfortable staring at each other.
Her: Can we, um, get in there now?
Me (realizing I was still standing in the way): Oh yeah, sure! I am so sorry!
Her: Thanks.
Him: Thanks.
Me: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I washed my hands as quickly as possible and got the hell out of there. I mean there are so many things wrong with this moment, where do I start? Happy St. Patrick's day? What the hell was that? But don't think for one minute as I was running out, hurdling a couple shopping carts and small children to get to my car, that my thoughts weren't shouting "Score! New blog topic!"

So I get in the car and whip out the anti-bacterial gel, because there is no way I killed any germs with that courtesy splash I did to my hands back there. I started thinking. It's not the same as parking in a handicap space, right? I mean it's not illegal to, um, park in a handicap stall. But do we save that stall just for moments like this? Do we not use the handicap stall for fear that a person who actually needs the extra room and the little bar things will come in and the stall will be in use? I have had this debate in the past with other people. One who felt very strongly that the stall was off limits. But I disagreed. I always felt that it was still a stall for anyone's use, it just happened to have different specifications to make it easier for a differently abled person to use it. And come on, as a mommy with a stroller, I always went for that stall because it was more convenient.

But now, I gotta be honest, I felt a little ashamed for being in there. I realize there are no laws saying I shouldn't have used that stall. But is it ethical? Was I unethically parked?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Desert Blooms

I had an epiphany today. An Ah-ha or Light Bulb moment, if you will.


I have been dealing with a particularly difficult person recently. Someone who has frustrated and annoyed me to the point of blood boiling, finger trembling anger all week. No, it's not you.


So today, after an upsetting confrontation in which this person was extremely condescending and obnoxious, I lost my cool. Now normally I am very concerned about being a pleasant and helpful individual. I am always preaching about taking the higher road and being the better person and all that BS. Uberman says I can let people walk all over me. But when I have had enough, I let you know. Sometimes it feels so good to stand up and stop being a doormat. And sometimes it's just not worth it, and the only thing I accomplished was giving the person the satisfaction of sinking to their level. And that was the case today.


I was driving home, feeling deflated and defeated, and still pretty, um . . . well . . . pissed off, to be frank. My jaw was clenched and I was white knuckling the steering wheel, grinding my teeth and trying not to cry. Seriously, this person is so not worth the waste of good department store mascara. But I couldn't help it. I wallowed in it for a good part of my drive to pick the boys up from school. It slowly became less about this one particular rotten, piece of crap person and more about all the rotten, piece of crap people who have passed through my life and have said hurtful things or wronged me in some way. I seriously started taking inventory of all the heartless, cruel, spiritually dead, freaking oblivious to the feelings of others, mean, evil people I have met, and wondering Why God? Why?? Why would You allow these horrible excuses for human beings to invade my peaceful world and cloud my aura? Not that I necessarily believe in auras, but still.


That's when I was distracted from my pity party by the millions of purple wildflowers growing on the side of the road. Now anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of the Arizona landscape. It was not my choice to move to this vast, dirt encrusted wasteland of tumbleweeds and cactus at the age of 14. As an adult I could have moved, I know. But then I fell in love, and this is the only place he's ever lived and he's happy here. What are you gonna do?


But it is springtime. The weather is perfection right now. We've had an unusual amount of rain recently, so the mountains (that are really hills) and land around us that are normally brown, dusty, dry and spotted with the occasional cactus or palm tree, are now this beautiful and soothing shade of sage green. There are bursts of bright colors everywhere you look. Yellow and orange lantana, hot pink bougainvillea, red and salmon-pink hibiscus. Even the weeds are blooming these beautiful purple, orange and yellow flowers throughout the open desert areas.


I took a deep breath, relaxed my fingers and jaw, and smiled. Even in the ugliest, most arid and deserted of places, you can still, occasionally, find something beautiful.


And that's when my light bulb went on.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How's It Blogging?

Do you see that little map thing in the column to your right? It's called a Cluster Map and I am fascinated by it. It keeps track of where the people are who are reading my blog. It also tells me how many people looked at my blog the previous day. Dude, I need more traffic.

The big dot in Arizona is of course all my friends and family who are willing to humor me in my quest to find a creative outlet. I am pretty sure the dot in Utah is Lisa, my best friend from third and fourth grade, along with a couple of family members who I am sure have better things to do but looked at the blog to be polite. I know who the dot in South America is (Hola Matt! I miss you!). But do you see the dot in California? And the one in the Midwest? Can't tell where that is, Indiana? Ohio? Is Ohio considered Midwest? I have no idea who those two dots are. Isn't that amazing? Some total strangers looked at my blog. I wonder what they thought.

There are a lot of great blogs out there that I love. I'll add them to a favorites list soon so you can check them out too.

So this is my fifth post. Kind of a little milestone, I guess. I wish I could figure out a way for confetti to pop out at you. What do you think of my blogress? (Get it, my blogging progress?? Clever, eh?) Although I am enjoying the time I spend writing, it can be difficult to find blogworthy topics. I've said before I want a BLOG! and not a blahg. And again, I need to adjust my expectations. So here's a warning: Some of my future posts may suck. I know, hard for me to believe too.

But if you are a total stranger, please leave a comment. Let me know where you are and how you got here. I am curious. And let me know what you thought. I can take it, I'm wearing my big girl pants today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Bigger

Dieting sucks. It's one of my least favorite things to do. Right up there with throwing up. Which I guess explains why I would never be a successful bulimic.

And even though I hate it with a burning passion, I have been committed to losing weight for a while. Well, since July 2, 2007 at 5:47 pm if you want me to be more specific. The extra weight has been on my mind (and let's be honest, my ass) for some time. I mean, I'm not blind and I do own a mirror. Things were getting out of control. But there is a disconnect between my internal self image and my actual image image. You know how people with eating disorders always see themselves as bigger than they really are? Well sometimes when I look in the mirror, I guess I don't see The Bigger. I think sometimes I only see the skinny girl inside. I call this little phenomenon the anti-rexia.

So I guess that's how I let it get to the point where it was out of control. I tend to be a glass half full kind of girl and apparently I am a mirror half full kind of girl too. But then I started to notice things were a little off. For example, I would be talking to my friend Andrea S. on the phone while I was picking up toys or putting laundry away, and she would say "What are you doing, why are you so out of breath?" I hadn't noticed until that specific moment that I was indeed out of breath. And then there were a few really minor things, like the doctor telling me my blood pressure was too high. And then I had trouble with my gall bladder, which in my own defense is a very common issue with women who have had children. And are over weight. But who said I was over weight? I'm just a little fluffier than the average woman, right??

But then last year when Uberman and I went to London, we were on the tube (the Underground, the subway) going back to the hotel when I caught my reflection in the window across from me. It took me a minute to realize that it really was me. I couldn't see the skinny girl inside, I only saw The Bigger. And I don't know if it was the lighting in the United Kingdom or the change in altitude or what, but my anti-rexia was gone. And from that moment on, all I could see was The Bigger.

Of course, I spent the next several months trying to ignore The Bigger. Then resenting The Bigger. Being embarrassed by The Bigger. Getting to know The Bigger. Trying to accept The Bigger. Could The Bigger and I peacefully coexist? I was almost willing to try and make a go of it.

And you know how Oprah always says God throws you stone before he smacks you upside the head with a brick (I think I might be paraphrasing)? Well one day last summer, my hands were a little swollen, I can't remember why. Uberman noticed my wedding ring was cutting into my finger and told me I should take the ring off. I tried. It wouldn't budge. I started to get claustrophobic, like I was going to stop breathing if that ring did not come off rightthisveryminute. It took two hours, water, ice, butter, canola oil, lotion and a lot of profanities, but the ring finally came off. Leaving my finger, and my ego, bruised.

Two days later I still couldn't get my ring back on. Even though my fingers were no longer swollen. I was sad. Uberman tried so hard to be encouraging. "It's okay Babe, we'll just get it expanded." Yes he did! He really said that word. Expanded. I told him, in all the years we have been together (17 at the time, 13 of them being legally bound in the eyes of God and the state of Arizona), that was the most insensitive and rude thing he has ever said. Expanded?? How dare he! He may as well have said, we'll just get you a piece of drainage pipe big enough to fit around your enormously fat, cottage cheese dimpled finger.

I decided at that moment, The Bigger had to go. We had some good times together, The Bigger and I. Sucking back a few cold root beer floats while we noshed on some Krispy Kremes. But there was no more room in my favorite jeans for the both of us.

On July 2, 2007 at 5:47 pm, I joined that program where you count points. It's hard. It sucks. I miss cake and cookies and bread. I miss my mom's lasagna. I wish I could be more like Uberman's aunt Lolo, who actually likes to eat healthy. She will have a bowl of plain fruit and call it dessert. And be happy with calling it dessert. I was raised on Southern food. If it doesn't contain chocolate, cream or some kind of refined sugar, and it's not baked, deep fried and/or covered in whipped cream - it's NOT dessert!! But Lolo doesn't have a Bigger. Lucky Lolo.

It's been a little over 8 months. I have lost over 40 pounds. My blood pressure is normal. Household chores are no longer unintentional cardio. And most importantly (for me anyway) I am wearing my ring again. It even spins around on my finger by itself when I am typing. When I reach my goal weight, I will probably have to have it resized. And maybe one day, when I look in the mirror, I will meet The Smaller. And the bigger girl will hopefully be on the inside.

Because without The Bigger, I could never fully appreciate The Smaller.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No Longer Jessie's Girl

There is a TV in the office at work. Usually it is set to CNBC so we can keep track of the market and try to predict where interest rates are headed throughout the day. But for some reason the other day it was on an A&E Biography marathon. Now I will admit it out loud, I am a dork. I love these biographies and have watched them on so many people I couldn't give a hoot about, but still found something fascinating about that person. So imagine my sheer delight when the one that was on at that particular time just so happened to be devoted to my first celebrity crush - Rick Springfield!!


I had posters of Rick on the walls of my bedroom. I had his records. Yes, I said records. Oh how I wished I was Jessie's Girl. My mom used to surprise me with issues of Tiger Beat so I could get all the latest facts on Rick and cut out his pictures. When I stayed home sick from school I watched General Hospital just to see him as the hunky Dr. Noah Drake. Yes, I said hunky. He was my Zac Efron before there was a Zac Efron. If there had been a backpack with his picture on it, I would have carried that backpack with pride from fifth grade through seventh.


Sadly, my love affair with Rick faded after I removed his picture from my locker at the end of the seventh grade. He was replaced throughout the years with various celebrity crushes: C. Thomas Howell (Pony Boy from the Outsiders, duh), Duran Duran, Kirk Cameron, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson (before I knew he was a racist alcoholic), Matthew McConaughey, Clive Owen, and now my current crush - Daniel Craig (oh come on, you loved him in the little blue swim trunks too.) And just in case you're a little concerned, Uberman (my husband) has his list too: Selma Hayek, Eva Longoria, Jessica Biel, Charlize Theron and Olympic softball player Jennie Finch (but he says it could never work between him and Jennie because she went to U of A).


Even though my love faded, I always had a place in my heart for Rick. I think my infatuation with him, and my mom supplying the Tiger Beat, is what got my celebrity gossip obsession started. Tiger Beat led me to Bop, which eventually led me to People, but that stopped giving me the buzz I needed, and now I can't start my day without a hit of Perez Hilton.


So anyhoo, I found myself fascinated in front of the TV hearing all these little facts about Rick that I had forgotten or never knew. Or was too distracted by his tall dark and handsome-ness to notice. First of all, in 2009 Rick will turn 60. Yes, I said 60. My dad is going to be 60 in two weeks. A dad should be 60. A heart throb, no where near 60. (And don't start in about Sean Connery. He's not handsome, he's old.) I was surprised, and a little appalled, to see how very sweaty Rick was in all his concert pictures. I mean unusually sweaty. Like, just stepped out of the shower soaking wet, but not in a hot, sexy way. His clothes were interesting, but hey it was the 80's and we were all wearing bright colors to distract from our big hair, right? And let's face it, Dr. Noah Drake was a McDreamy in his own right, but did we really believe he actually knew how to use that stethoscope, let alone save our life in a medical emergency? I am not so sure acting was Rick's thing. One interesting little nugget of information I never knew: he used to date Linda Blair (yup, from the Exorcist). They actually lived together. Now I am not judging the fact that they lived together. What I am judging is this: at the time he was 24. And she was . . . 15. Yes, I said fifteen. One Five. Uuummmm . . . Ew? They never told us that in Tiger Beat. I kind of chuckled a little because the narrator said they moved in together "with her mother's permission." What the hell was wrong with her mother?? So I tell Uberman this little fact and his response was "Wow, it's not like he was Elvis." Which for obvious reasons, cracked me up.


So yeah, after watching that Biography, I was totally grossed out and a little disappointed in Rick. And then the worst part was, I had Jessie's Girl stuck in my head all day. I even woke up in the middle of the night with it. Have you ever really listened to the words? It's terrible! "I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot." Seriously? He couldn't think of another word to rhyme with cute? I was in agony. I'd rather have a migraine than that crap swimming around in my head again.


So I guess the bloom is off the rose. There is no room in my heart for Rick anymore. It's over. We had twenty five years together, and now I think he's just . . . well . . . icky. Yes, I said icky. I wonder how I'll feel about Daniel's little blue swim trunks in 25 years?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Birthday Party Conundrum

My precious middle child Mac is about to turn 8 in a few weeks. For the past month we have been discussing possible birthday party scenarios. The kid has had some big ideas and I have to keep reminding him he has a not so big budget. Can I just go off on a tangent here for a minute? You would not believe some of the birthday parties my kids have been to recently! Junior went to a pirate themed party last summer. The invitation was stuffed in a bottle with dirt and sea shells. Each kid got a "booty" bag which was an actual backpack thing with their freaking name EMBROIDERED on it. Have you seen that show on MTV, My Super Sweet Sixteen? And you are thinking while you are watching it, who the heck would throw a party like that for their kid? Well, now I know who! And their kids go to school with my kids. Thanks for raising the bar people!

Anyhoo, we have been shooting down each other's suggestions for quite some time. And it goes something like this:

Me: What about Peter Piper?
Mac: Too boring.
Me: How about bowling?
Mac: We did that last year.
Me: Hey, what about the batting cages? Yeah! Let's do that!
Mac: Not everyone likes baseball, Mom. Hey! I know! Let's have it here!
Me: Are you going to clean up after ten 8 year olds and come up with games to entertain them?
Mac: No.
Me: Then no.
Mac: What about Laser Tag?
Me: Some parents may think it's too violent.
Mac: They're not real lasers.
Me: Yeah, I know, but . . . um . . . Can we come up with more ideas later?
Mac: Sure.

So last night Mac informs me that he thought of the perfect place to have his party. It's big enough for a few friends, there is entertainment, and I won't have to clean up. So I ask him where is this magical place? He smiles that big I am so proud of myself smile, stands up straight, looks me dead in the eye and exclaims, "Hooters!"

I am seriously considering Laser Tag.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

"It"

Remember when you were in Junior High in the early to mid 80's and the thing to have was a Sony Walkman? I guess I am assuming that anyone reading this knows me and is somewhere around the same age as I am and therefore would remember walking to school, thinking you were too cool jamming to Michael Jackson's Beat It. I never had the actual Walkman. They were too expensive. I had some off brand like the Walkalong or something. But if you stuffed it in the pocket of your jacket nobody knew it wasn't a real Walkman anyway. (Side note: Could you even imagine back then that someday they would make jackets or backpacks or even clothes with pockets specifically for the tiny little device that would play your music of choice? I know! Crazy!)

In High School the thing to have was a perm and a Liz Claiborne purse (okay, so I am also assuming you are a girl). After High School "It" was a pager, and then "It" slowly evolved into a cell phone, a job with benefits, a house, a spouse, and an SUV big enough for three kids, a stroller, two camp chairs, a few of your kids' friends and a little hole in the dashboard where you can plug in your . . . . ipod (or any off brand MP3 player)!! See? It's like we've come full circle!

But lately, it seems there is a new trend among friends. "It," the latest, the thing to have, has become (drumroll please) . . . a blog! (cue chimey magic wand music that ends with a musical ta-daaaah!)

So of course, in our constant quests to keep up with the Joneses (or in my case, the Rooses and the Wilhelmsens), we are now blogging our little hearts out.

I am so on board with this trend. For years, I have been spouting off about my thoughts and opinions, and sometimes witty little anecdotes, to any poor unsuspecting soul who would listen. I am sure many of those people are so sick of me. Heck, I am often sick of me. So this blog is here to provide me with a forum for sharing my thoughts, ideas, opinions and hopefully entertaining stories with anyone who chooses to read them. Please keep in mind, they are MY thoughts, MY opinions, MY ideas, MY stories. They may not be yours, they may not be right, they may not always be popular. The only thing I am claiming them to be is MINE. Like the tag line says, it is my blog and I'll be Queen if I want to!

Be patient while I find my voice, and get used to this whole world. I was hoping my first post would be one of those rock your world kind of moments. Just so you know, I tend to have really high expectations. I want this to be a BLOG!!! and not a blahg. I welcome any suggestions from you seasoned bloggers on finding inspiration, setting aside the fear and just putting it out there. So bring it on, lets get to know one another, lets get this party started. Let the adventure begin.