Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas...Bartering!

One of my Christmas gifts was a $50 gift certificate for Best Buy. Now normally, this would be perfect. I would rush to Best Buy to get the good discounted stuff that folks have returned, and is marked down. However, this year I really wanted a Lowe's gift certificate. I have some house projects that I'd like to do and the $50 would go a long way towards that. The word didn't get to Santa in time though...

I had heard about a site where you could trade gift certificates, so I decided to check it out. I registered and entered my Best Buy information. I saw that someone had a Lowe's cert, for the same amount, and had "Best Buy" on their wish list. Cool! This should be easy!

I offered them a trade this morning, but have not yet heard back.

As a side note on this - I think I am the only one on the planet working this week. I went out for a quick shopping trip over lunch today and verified this fact. the Lowe's cert guy is probably off work and won't reply until next week. Sigh.

I did however, get a trade offer of a $50 Red Lobster cert just now. Heavy sigh. I had to chuckle at some poor schmuck getting a Red Lobster gift certificate for Christmas. Ah, the gift of bad seafood. Hee-hee.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, are having a Happy Hannukkah, are having an enjoyable Kwanza, or are delighting in your favorite Pagan holiday. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Today (Thursday) I received a trade offer for a 1800-Wine cert. While tempting, I need to stay focused on Lowe's and the house projects. Doesn't anyone NOT like Lowe's. C'mon people!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Civic Duty

If you have any inflatable, moving or light-up Christmas decorations that can be turned off, deflated or stopped, please read the letter below and perform your civic duty, dammit!

Rest assured that if you do not, parents within a 15-mile radius are cursing you.

From: Goofy's Husband []
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:05 AM
To: Neighbor, Friendly
Subject: Help a brother out...


I must inform you of your civic duty. Once you commit to buying and inflating Christmas decorations in your front yard you must be consistent and have it inflated every night. Otherwise I must deal with the wrath of Goofy Junior when I keep telling him the Christmas Bear is sleeping...again ;-)

Our neighbor across the street has an inflatable Santa and I can’t tell you how sad I am to see the look of disappointment in Junior’s face when Santa is collapsed on the front lawn like a drunken hobo.


Goofy's Husband
Toiler for The Man
The Man Corp.
(555) 555-5555

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm a Cheap Ho Too!

I'm coming to the realization that I'm a cheap bitch. First the free shipping obsession, now the gift card at-a-discount obsession.

First off, DAMN you Pesky Apostrophe for leading me to these sites! Whew, now I feel better.

I clicked on a link for CardAvenue. Then SwapAGift. I found lots of folks that had gift cards they didn't want, that are willing to sell at a discount or trade their cards for other ones.

From a seller's perspective, no longer do you have to keep that $50 Wal-mart card that Granny thought you might like. You can trade it for a Best Buy card, or sell it to someone for $45.

From a buyer's perspective (mine!), you can get a $500 Target gift card for $450. That's like getting $50 for FREE!

There's a small $3.99 fee to list a card on the site. There's no fee to buy a card from the site.

I feel an obsession coming on....everyone stand back.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm a Ho...

a Free Shipping Ho, that is.

The first step to recovery is admission that you have a problem. I have a problem. I cannot resist the lure of "free shipping". I will do anything for free shipping.

Evidenced the other day as I was doing some holiday shopping on They offer "Super Saver Shipping" (read as: FREE!) for orders over $25. Since I had about five items each to buy for two nieces, this should have been no problemo. However....

The "Super Saver Shipping" only applied to items that sells themselves. The key word being "themselves". For example, when you buy a toy from, the supplier is actually Toys R Us, not Amazon. Thus, no free shipping for that item. Drat!

Also, when you buy something as "used" from, that does not apply for the free shipping. Double Drat!

So, I found myself needing one purchase of $12.59 to qualify for the free shipping. I decided to buy one more book (horse-related, naturally...these are my horse-crazy nieces, after all). Guess how much the book was? $12.35! A frigging 24 cents short! Not even a quarter short. I added it to my order and the damn site actually told me, "you need .24 to qualify for Super Saver Shipping". Oh, bite my jingle bells! Just give me the quarter, for crying out loud!

So, what did I do?

Did I just place the damn order and get on with my life? No way, Jose.

I asked Loving Husband, "Do you need anything from" Surprisingly, he didn't need anything. When he finally thought of several things, they were (of course!) not qualified for the fucking free shipping. Triple Drat!

"Does Goofy Junior need anything from" Of course not. Junior has more "stuff" than the entire household combined, thanks to Junior-centric Gramma and Grampa.

I spend ONE HOUR of my precious life, trying to spend 24 cents. And having a hard time doing it!

Finally Loving Husband came up with the perfect plan. "How about a sticker book?"

"A sticker book!!!" Hallelujah! It was $1.25.

The final tally? I saved $5.29 in shipping.

I told you...I'm a Free Shipping Ho.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Killing a Business

One of my goals this past two weeks has been killing a business. Lest you think I'm cruel and heartless, the business was begging to be killed. The business in question was a jewelry-making business. A friend and I created the business two years ago. We took a jewelry making class, thought it was fun, then a few friends saw our creations and asked to buy them. What a rush! Hmmm....we thought. We could make some money and support our jewelry habit. How cool is that?

Well, at first it was very cool. We happily made jewelry and sold a few pieces to friends and family. Then we got our first store! Well, not OUR store...a store that was willing to put our jewelry on display and split the profits. "We are in the big time now," we thought. Then we got another store, and another, and another. It seemed that all we had to do was bring some jewelry in to show and ask about splitting profits. We could have gotten four more stores if we had just asked.

However around this time we realized that we needed to PRODUCE. Not happily create jewelry when we felt inspired. PRODUCE. A much different feeling, let me tell you. Around this same time my partner decided that she didn't like the pressure of having to PRODUCE when the stores needed inventory. She wanted to create jewelry when the urge struck her. And I whole-heartedly agreed! But I couldn't kill the business. I just couldn't do it. So my partner bowed out and I continued on.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I did the accounting for the business for the year. Oh, all the revenue that had come in! It had added up. Wee! But, wait a minute...there was also the expenses. They had added up too. In my eagerness to PRODUCE, I had stocked up on beads, findings, wire, tags, tools, etc., etc.

When the two columns were summed and compared, I was BREAKING EVEN. Not making a dime. Basically doing the business for fun. And it wasn't much fun. There was a lot of deadlines and stress about HAVING to make jewelry, even when I wasn't in the mood. Plus, being me, I had several other projects in the hopper that were new! and fun! and needed my attention.

I asked Loving Husband his opinion. He was brief and to the point. "Simplify and prioritize," he said. He's a smart man sometimes, I have to admit.

So I came to the difficult decision. I must kill the business.

The first store removed itself. The owner had decided that her location sucked and was closing, moving and reopening in March. I pulled the inventory out and sighed with relief. That was easy.

The second store was easy too. I hadn't dropped off any new inventory in about 4 months. My contact there said she wouldn't be upset if I pulled out the jewelry case and revamped it. I asked if she would be upset if I didn't bring it back. She said "no". I considered it done.

The third store was a bit more difficult. They gave me some trouble. "Oh no!" they said, "Don't take your jewelry out. Make some more and it will sell. It's Christmas time, you know." I was obstinate. Well, I left and came back and then was obstinate. "I'm quitting the jewelry business!" I declared. They finally acquiesed and let me leave. On the way out, they tempted me again. "You know our other jewelry provider is quitting too. We won't have anyone's jewelry to sell." "I'm quitting!" I said, yet again. And so it was done.

The fourth store still has bundles of inventory. They will not be calling me for a while. They should get through Christmas and then some before I have to break the bad news to them. I'm going to leave them dumb and happy for the meantime, and break the news later.

It's hard work, killing a business. Almost as much work as starting one.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I am Thankful

The transition to the BBB (that would be "Big Boy Bed") went fantastic! We stuck with Junior's nightly routine, only he climbed into his BBB himself, instead of us putting him in the crib.

A couple things helped, I think. His crib was still in the room. And okay, I cheated a bit and shoved one side of the BBB against the crib, effectively making a daybed, with only one open side. I have to confess, the up-over-down-run-around circles he had been practicing on the BBB had me worried!

We also took Baby Tad and put him at the foot of the BBB. Baby Tad (who gets my vote for essential kid gear) is a stuffed frog-doll thing that plays up to six lullabies when you press his paw (who knew frogs had paws?).

After we put Junior into the BBB, kissed him goodnight and set up the new gate across his door (no escapees allowed!), we ran to the monitor and listened. Baby Tad finished his 6 songs. Then we heard "One minute to night-night". Junior had pushed Baby Tad's paw again! And then again. And again. Poor Baby Tad started sounding a big sluggish. "Damn you, Baby Tad, don't go out on us now!" I thought.

Then finally...silence. We had achieved sleep in the BBB. And we were thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A New Toy!

It's pretty sad when you get really excited about a mixer. But this isn't just any mixer. Oh no. This is the KitchenAid Artisan 5-speed mixer, baby. With 325 watts of pure mixing power.

I got the cobalt blue color, 'cause I figured if I got a sports car that's what color I'd get. Red is just too showy for me... ;-)

I'm going to whip up all sorts of yummy baked goods with this bad boy.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Chillin' in the Crib

In the beginning, there was the crib. And the crib was good.
But She-Who-Holds-the-Pediatric-Degree came down from on high.
"The boy is too big," She declared.
"He can climb from the crib."
"He will climb from the crib."
"He will go 'boom'."
And the crib was no longer good.

...and so the Saga of the Big Boy Bed began...

Tonight we put together the Big Boy Bed (hereafter called "BBB" for brevity). We have been "selling" the BBB for the past two weeks, since it arrived in its giant box. We visited the library and checked out books about BBBs. We read the BBB books. Junior started getting excited.

When Loving Husband asked Junior "Would you like to put together your BBB tonight?", he (Junior, that is) ran upstairs and pointed to the big box. He "helped" put together the bed, with lots of "No, Junior"s from Loving Husband. Finally, the BBB was complete.

"You will get to sleep in it in TWO DAYS," we told him.

"I wanna get in it," said Junior. Hmmm....we thought. This is all good, right?

We got the crib mattress from the crib and put it into the new BBB. So looks like a doll bed.

"Pretend to be asleep," we urged.

He eagerly got in and started a dog! This was new behavior. Then he started climbing in, circling around, then climbing out the other side. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Faster. Faster. Faster. We started getting dizzy.

"Well, this will be fun!" said LH sarcastically.

Then we went to take the mattress back out and put it back in da crib. "I wanna sleep in Bigboybed!" cried Junior. "In TWO DAYS!" we cried back. "WAAAAAAAAAAA!" he cried. Literally crying now.

We finally settled him down. I think he talked me down to 1 day...I can't be sure...but in the end he was in the crib and settled down.

I guess we are good Marketers, huh? A little too good.

Stay tuned for D-Day, er, BBB-Day. Hopefully the casualties will be low.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts on Football and Life

Anyone who owns a radio or TV in the Kansas City area knows the news: The Kansas City Chiefs have lost their star running back, Priest Holmes, to a neck injury. He took a hard hit in a game two weeks ago and has been examined by several doctors, who came back with the same advice...No hits for 30 days, at least. Since there are only four regular-season games left, this means his season is over.

This is a tough loss, as Holmes is widely considered to be carrying a large portion of the team's weight when it comes to offense. I was listening to a sports radio station the same day this news broke and lots of fans were calling in commisserating about losing our star player. Would the Chiefs still be able to win without Holmes? Would Holmes' backup be able to perform? Would he retire or be back next year? The calls went along these same lines for an excrutiatingly long time.

Then finally some guy called in and said, "Hold up...let's think this from Holmes' viewpoint for a moment. His career could be over!" There is speculation that Holmes has a bruise on his spinal case (not column). These types of bruises do not heal - they are there for life. This guy had actually played semi-pro football, gotten hit in a similiar way as Holmes and had been partially paralyzed. He still did not have 100% use of his upper body. This gave a whole new perspective to the topic. And reminded me of a similiar situation that I went through...

No, I didn't get hit by a 300+ pound lineman, but I did have a serious neck injury. About five years ago, around mid-summer, I started getting some pain near my shoulder blade. A strange little pain that felt like a muscular "knot". Since I was playing volleyball about 3 times per week, I figured I had just over-used a muscle and was sore. Then the tingling started. A weird tingling sensation down my right arm. I started going to my massage therapist bi-weekly to fix the "knot" no avail - it kept coming back. Over the next couple of months the tingling got so bad that it actually hurt. I quit playing volleyball, as it was hard to control my arm with all the tingling. I quit sleeping through the night, as I could not find a position that was not painful or that did not put my arm to sleep. Keep in mind that I work on a computer all day...needless to say, this was quite painful too.

I'm not a big fan of doctors, but at this point I figured a doctor's visit was in order.

My doctor ordered an MRI of my neck and shoulders. If you've never had an MRI of your upper body, it's scary as hell. They warned me in advance that if I was claustrophobic, I might not like this. I am. And I did not. I was able to get past being shoved headfirst up to my waist into a tiny, enclosed chamber. I was able to get past the ear-splitting, jackhammer-like thumping that the super-duper magnet makes as it images your body. I was NOT able to get past the pain of lying there on my back for 15 minutes. It hurt that bad just to lay still. I ended up wiggling and they had to repeat the process a second time. Torture.

When I went back to the doctor to hear about the results of my MRI, he scared the living shit out of me. He said I had a herniated cervical disc. He went on to say that I needed surgery to either remove or fuse the disc. He went on to say that I should be extremely careful driving, since any sort of impact could potentially paralyze me. He also mentioned that if I lost control of my bladder that I was to report to an emergency room ASAP, as that might be an indication that the disc had intruded into my spinal column.

...and I thought he would tell me it was a pinched nerve. The fucker really threw me for a loop.

I cried the whole way home. I figured my life as I knew it was over. No more volleyball, no more bike riding, no more sleeping through the night. I was 35 at the time, with a lifetime of plans and goals ahead of me - lots of them physical. It's an understatement to say that this was a gigantic bummer.

As instructed, I reported to the neurosurgeon's office for a consult. This dude, who looked just like Chris Elliott (the mad professor) from "Back to the Future", began by telling me all the bad things that could happen during the surgery. Partial facial paralysis (on side only). Okay, there goes my modeling career - ha! I could need more surgeries. I could lose movement of my neck. I would be in recover for six weeks. Six! As the icing on the cake, he mentioned that, due to how close all the nerves and spinal stuff was, that they make the incision in the FRONT of your neck. He actually made an imaginary "cut" with his finger across his throat. As in "off with her head". Okay, Alice, I'm down the rabbit hole and outta here. I nearly sprained an ankle running out of this crazy dude's office and to my car. I was NOT having my throat cut. No way. I don't like turtlenecks enough to be stuck with them for the rest of my life to cover a scar like that.

More crying in the car. Then worrying that the tears would blur my vision and I would get into a car wreck and be paralyzed. Then hopelessness as I realized that without this surgery, I would have to live with the now ever-present pain and numbness in my arm. This sucked. Then I mentally whacked myself in the head and told myself to start brainstorming. What else could I do? I couldn't live with this. I couldn't get the surgery. What else? What else? An idea came to me...

We had a friend studying to be a chiropractor. We had been camping with him the past spring and he had evangelized how chiropractic care could solve lots of problems that would normally require surgery. I had nothing to lose, so I picked up the phone and called him. I explained the whole deal and he said he would talk to one of his instructors about whether my problem could be solved. He called me back and I got an appointment with his instructor, Dr. T., later that week. At least I knew he wouldn't want to cut me open, so that was a start.

Dr. T. was awesome! After looking at my MRI, he agreed that I indeed had a badly herniated disc. Then he went on to say that it would take about 4 months to get me back to 95% capacity. I had to come see him twice a week for the next few months, then we would take x-rays and see what had changed. This sounded much better than the big, scary knife solution.

Dr. T. gave me homework - buy a beach ball, sit down on the floor with my back to the wall and push the beach ball to the wall with my head. This was horribly painful...but it got easier over time. Dr. T was positive, but tough. He gave me more painful exercises to do. We were moving things around and it was going to be painful. He took me off my pain meds that Dr. #1 had given me, so that they wouldn't "mask" when I was really in pain and when I wasn't.

The first week was very tough. The second week was a bit better. After the first month I actually slept through the night for the first time in about six months. Bliss! As promised, after about 4-1/2 months, I started playing volleyball again. Over the next year, I saw him about once a month, to keep things where they should be.

I am currently pain-free, tingle-free and numbness-free. I know that my disc is not healed. It is a weak spot on me that I am always aware of. I know that there may come a day when I might need that dreaded surgery. I secretly hope that they will have fake disc "gel" that you can inject to puff discs back up to their normal size by then. Don't laugh...they are close on this!

No, I'm not carrying the weight of entire football team on my shoulders, but I do carry the weight of all the dreams and goals that I want to accomplish over my lifetime. And it takes a strong neck to carry those.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Ah, the joy of discovery! Ah, the pain of candy meltdown!

...such is Halloween in the Casa de Goofy.

Goofy Junior, so cute in his little vampire costume, ventured out for a fun-filled night of trick or treating. He was tentative at the first house, but Mommy (that would be me) had done some role-playing with him the night before, so he knew the routine.

Me: Junior, do you know what trick or treating is?

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: It's when we go to other people's houses, and knock on their door. (mimes knocking)

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: And then they open the door (mime opening door) and you say "trick or treat"

Jr: trickertreat!

Me: Then they give you candy in your pumpkin.

Jr: My purse?

Me: No, honey, it's not a purse, it's a pumpkin. Stop calling it a purse or Daddy will kill me.

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: So, they give you candy and what do you say?

Jr: thank you...?

Me: YES!

Jr: kidneys!* trickertreat! my purse!

Me (thinking): Okay, at least he won't be scared...

And, of course, he wasn't scared. He was the opposite! He was knocking on the doors, helping himself to candy, waving goodbye. After the second house, we turned around to walk down the stairs and he said, "I wanna do another one". I chuckled. Then he said it after every house, alternating with "no go home yet".

After going all the way down our street and working our way back, I began to worry about the reprecussions of returning home. But I can think like a toddler (it's my secret super-hero talent...or maybe just my IQ).

Me: Okay, one more house and then we are done (cheerfully!)

Jr: Okay.

Me (after one more house): Where's our house?

Jr: There (points). No go home yet! (shaking head "no")

Me: Hey! I have an idea!

Jr: Huh?

Me: You knock on our own door and see if Daddy gives you candy. I'll bet he won't know it's you in your costume! (daycare-level cheerfulness now)

Jr: Okay! (he's digging this idea)

Me: I'll wait around the corner here....go knock on the door.

Jr: (big smile. goes and knocks on door)

Goofy Daddy (getting the idea, God love him): Hey, Happy Halloween little boy! Would you like some candy?

Jr: Trickertreat!

I come around the corner and take off Junior's vampire-ear-hat, to reveal his secret identity.

GD: OH! It's you Junior! Give me a hug! (and picks him up and carries him into the house)

Postscript: We needn't have worried...Junior liked giving out candy to the trick or treaters that came to our house even more than trick or treating.

* "kidneys" is "candy" in Goofy Juniorese

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Haunted Smoke Detector

Ugh. We got woken up this morning at 3:00am!

No, Junior didn't wake us up.

No, we didn't get a frantic call from a drunken friend.

No, a dog didn't bark to be let outside to pee.

Our smoke detector went off. Slowly. First one "chirp", then silence. This, of course woke my light-sleeping ass up right away. I thought I had imagined it and drifted back off. Then another "chiiiiiiiirp", a bit longer this time. I realized what it was and jumped out of bed.

What to do?

I stared at the smoke detector. It wasn't talking.

Hmmmm..... I scratched my head and got back into bed.

"Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirp....chirp......chirp", it said.

Now both Hubbie and I jumped out of bed to stare at the smoke detector. It was silent. He got a chair out and stood on it to get a closer look at the offending plastic gadget. I went downstairs to investigate. Computers smoking? Nope. Oven off? Yep. Cars on fire? Nope. Heater smoking? Nope.

Baffled, I went back upstairs and got back into bed.

"Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirp! Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirp!" "Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirp!" Now it wasn't quitting.

Oh, our ears. Oh no! Goofy Junior might wake up! Oh crap!

Hubbie ran downstairs to go for the breaker. It's one of those smoke detectors that doesn't have a battery - it's hooked into our electric system, not a great feature at this point.

I got on the chair and held my ears while I inspected the devilish thing. I hit it several times (my standby solution to things that don't work right), to no avail, then tried pressing on various points, thinking maybe something had come loose. About that same time, it went off.

Whew! Hubbie got the breaker switched. My ears were ringing. Luckily, Junior was still sawing logs. Unbelievable, since all this happened right outside his door!

We left the damn thing hanging from the ceiling and went back to bed. In the morning, I found out that Hubbie had not switched the breaker...there is no breaker for it! How the hell do we switch it off!?!?!?

So I'm hoping we won't have a repeat performance at 3:00am this morning. Or Saturday morning. Or Sunday morning.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Oeuf Oeuf!

So after the voices of reason spoke to me (thanks commentors!), I am changing directions and looking at toddler beds for our darling Goofy Not-so-Junior.

I fired up Google and tried "toddler bed". These first attempts yielded me the obnoxious race car/firetruck/princess castle beds. Ugh. Does our child have to be constantly bombarded with bright primary colors and shapes...even when he sleeps? How about "No". Shocking opinion, I know...

I pulled up Google and tried "modern toddler bed", hoping for some semblance of style for poor Junior. Well I got style alright, complete with a very large price tag - $500 for the Petra toddler bed (on "sale" for $397!). What a bargain! NOT!

I looked further and found the Oeuf Oeuf toddler bed. "Oeuf oeuf" must mean "overpriced, plain white bed" in French. This one was $480. I don't think we spent that much on our last queen-sized bed!

Also keep in mind that these prices do not include the damn mattress.

Then another voice of reason spoke...Loving Husband. These words came out of his mouth: "You know, the best thing about some of these beds is the bedding." Hmmm.... Here's an idea: Get a plain-Jane bed and put some kick ass bedding on it. Voila! Folks, we have a plan!

I found a simple-though-stylist white bed on for $79. While I still think this is a bit high, I can probably drive down to my local Babies R Us store and save the shipping cost. This makes me smile.

Then I thought about eBay. I buy everything on eBay, so why not a toddler bed? As I suspected, there were a few toddler beds out on eBay. Try 727 of them!

My first search was for "toddler bed". I didn't want to search through all 727 results, so I started modifying my search. I have kind of an obsession with this, so be forewarned...

So, I went from:
"toddler bed"
"toddler bed -sheets -car -cottage -sheet -bedding -"bed set" -crib -princess -girl -girls -pink -hearts -fire -train -winnie -dora -wiggles -pokemon -castle -nemo -batman -beetle -mickey -bear -racecar -incontinent -ark -bob -spongebob -veggie -flower -tractor -coupe -clifford -roadster -jeep"

That got me down to a more manageable 137 items (2 pages). And I would have further modified, but goshdarnit, eBay limits the number of characters you can put in that search box to...well...however many I have there. Who knew?

And for those of you that are curious, I did find 2 of the beds, for a fraction of the price. However, I have to either go to Allen, Texas or Sarasota, Florida to pick it up. With gas prices like they are, now we are back up in the Petra bed range. Oeuf!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's the End of the World as We Know It....

and I don't feel fine. I feel pretty fucking nervous.

Goofy Junior is now officially 2-1/2 years old and 36" tall. Why is this important? Because he is now officially "too big" for the crib he currently sleeps in*.

The crib that keeps him warm and safe and best of all contained so that when he:
a) doesn't want to go to bed;
b) wakes up early;
c) wakes up in the night; or
d) screams through his nap,

we can feel confident that we can effectively ignore him until:

a) he gives in and goes to sleep;
b) we are ready to get up;
c) he falls back asleep; or
d) we give up and get the screaming child that will 15 minutes later fall asleep in the car.

Freedom....Gone! History. This really sucks. But it's inevitable, so we are dealing. Slowly.

The biggest decision right now is a new bed. There are multiple ways to go on this one...

Do we:
a) convert the crib to a "toddler day bed" (kind of a daybed with sides so sleeping toddler does not roll onto floor and wake self and rest of household)
b) buy a toddler bed (a lower, short bed with short sides, kinda like a giant litter box**)
c) buy a full-blown twin bed (if you don't know what this is, stop reading now)

An informal survey of other parents (okay, only two) leads me to believe that folks just jump to option c) twin bed. Of course, of all the options, this is the most expensive. Double damn!

I personally like my own option, call it d) if you will....get a kid-sized pup tent and put it up in place of the crib. Before you mock, listen up!

What kid wouldn't want a tent to sleep in every night? It's fun! Yet, it's contained. No, we wouldn't zip him in there. ...Well, not if he was cooperative about sleeping in there. It's low to the ground - if he rolls out, he's just on the floor and probably wouldn't even wake up. It doesn't take up much room (unlike twin bed, which we don't have room for). It's roomy. He can roll around in there and sleep in whatever position he wants, with as many stuffed friends as he wants. Plus there's the added bonus that when we go camping, he already relates a tent to sleeping. I think it's a great idea. However, I keep getting "Did you just fall off the face of the sun?" looks when I mention this to people.

I'm not getting a stupid race car bed. I'm not! I'm not! Absolutely NOT! Never!

* This is not an unbiased opinion...this comes straight for our All Knowing/All Seeing Pediatrician. Damn her!

** Speaking of litter box, there's the whole potty training issue looming large in the Goofy household. More blogging fun to come on that topic!

Friday, October 14, 2005

A True Adventure: Priceless (Part 2)

We join our adventure in progress as our heroines ponder the fate of their beloved guide A.

D. fires up the satellite phone and calls the emergency number. She gets voicemail and leaves a message. She then instructs us to grab some gear - we are hiking down the canyon to see if we can find A. Since she should have been hiking IN that way, we will hike OUT that way and hopefully meet up with her. Since we don't know why she is not back, we bring a sleeping pad (in case she needs to be dragged back), food and water (in case she has none), clothes (in case she is cold/wet) and headlamps (since it will be dark very, very soon). We all try not to be too freaked out by this preparation.

It takes us way too long to get ready, but finally we are on our way. We scramble down the rocks to the canyon and our heads swivel as we look around for any sign of A. D. is hiking fast now, trying to get to the exit of the canyon before dark. We struggle to keep up, still freaked out and soggy from the prior rain. We listen intently for any noise that might signal A. somewhere in the canyon....maybe hurt...maybe unconscious.

D. frantically looks for footprints. Since it rained, this is not as easy as it sounds. She doesn't see any footprints coming in. We try to take this bad news in stride.

Finally, we traverse the switchbacks that take us out of the canyon to the parking lot. Two hours had passed. No sign of A. yet. We wonder if the van will be there. We wonder if A. will be there...maybe in the van, smoking a cig and having a beer?

We switch on our headlamps and fire up our flashlights, as it's now officially dark. There's no sign of the moon and the storm clouds are rolling back in. It's very, very dark. And there's no sign of the van. D. leaves another voicemail on the emergency number. Everyone wonders about the effectiveness of the sat phone, since there's no one answering the other end.

D. decides that we will hike to the other side of the rim by the parking lot, where we can see our campsite and see if we can see any lights there. Maybe A. has mysteriously snuck back to camp and is roasting marshmallows and wondering where the hell WE are. This proves to be a big waste of time. The rain starts to pour. It starts to get cold. We stop to add layers of clothes and put on rainpants, hoods and - for those smart enough to bring them (i.e., not me) - gloves. We get out to the rim and don't see anything. Like I said...waste of time.

Now we have a problem finding our way back to the trailhead from the rim. It looked like a straight line out, but now it looks like a vast field going back. The rain is still pouring down and D. is having problems finding our footprints we left just minutes before. She switches headlamps with me (mine is brighter). This helps minimally. We eventually get back to our starting place at the exit of the canyon. Whew. Then the mutiny starts....

"What!?!? We are going back to camp?"
"I'm worried about flooding"
"I'm worried about twisting my ankle in the dark."
"I'm cold."
"Let's find the van and stay there."
"Let's find a hotel."

D. wasn't prepared for this (surprisingly). Her advice was for us to hike back to camp. It made sense after she explained it... Camp is warm and dry. All our stuff is there. If A. somehow made it back there, we should be there to help and/or welcome her. We need to take care of ourselves first, then worry about A. second. And yes, there was the fact that the VAN WAS GONE. Duh. We spent way too long discussing this and unruffling feathers before heading back down into the canyon. I wasn't excited about hiking back in, but I didn't see any other option. So into the pitch black night and drizzling rain we hiked. Back down the canyon, up the rocks and back to camp.

D. got back on the sat phone and actually reached someone this time. A. was okay! She had indeed been to the canyon exit, as planned, but was unable to find the trail into the canyon (it was a very confusing way in). She tried for several hours (!!!) before getting back in the van and heading into town to call the emergency number. She luckily had the contact's mobile phone number, while D. had the contact's home phone number. As luck would have it, the contact was not home, so had not gotten any of D.'s messages. D. called A.'s mobile phone and let her know the story. She decided to sleep in the van and hike in Sunday morning to help us pack up and hike back out.

After a quick dinner (it was now about midnight), we crawled into our tents and slept well, knowing that our comrade was safe and sound.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A True Adventure: Priceless (Part 1)

I headed off on my 4-day/3-night backpacking trip to Moab, Utah last Wednesday. I got into beautiful and quaint (aka small) Grand Junction, Colorado around 1:30pm. The trip was not scheduled to start until the following morning at 9:00am, so I had some time to kill. I had a map of the wine country in Palisades (about 8 miles away), so I rented a car and headed to some wineries. I was pleasantly surprised! They had "normal" wine (Cab Sav, Chardonnay, Syrah) rather than the expected apple-berry wine and mead. And it was darn good, for the most part.

After three wineries, I decided that I needed to grab some dinner, so I headed to downtown Grand Junction. This was a 7-block strip of really neat little stores (most of which were unfortunately closed by 6:00m on a Wednesday) and some interested restaurants (French, Italian, New World). I picked a nice-looking Italian restaurant and feasted on Chicken Scallopino with sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and spinach in a gongonzola cream sauce. It was delish! I was definitely going to need plenty of carbs for my upcoming energy expenditure! I headed back to the tidy Best Western and tucked in early, about 10:30pm.

We all gathered and headed out Thursday morning (7 participants and 2 guides - all women) for a 2-hour drive to the canyonlands of Moab, Utah. There we packed up our backpacks with gear and provisions until they were taller than us and headed down the trail.

We camped on an outcropping of slickrock the first night. It was a beautiful night and it seemed that there were no bugs to speak of in the area, so we camped out without tents, under the stars. Let me tell you - once you get away from metro areas, there are a hell of a lot of stars!

In the morning, we hiked down to the stream to get some water, learned how to treat it so it was drinkable and headed out for a day hike to the sixth largest arch in the country - Morning Glory Arch. It was spectacular! We also found some cacti with purple fruit and one of our guides D. showed us how to peel and eat the fruit. I ended up with tiny, annoying stickers in 8 of 10 fingers, the roof of my mouth and my lip. Where else can you have this much fun?

When we got back to camp, we packed up and headed to Camp #2, where we would stay for the next two nights. It was further into the canyon and we had to scramble up some large rocks to get to the top. Once we got there, we were greeted with an unbelievable view of the canyon below, rock outcroppings all around and the San Juan mountains in the far distance (with snow on the peaks!). Camp #2 was a very large plateau (probably about 1/4 mile across), with varying level of rock "shelves". Instead of sleeping all together in the same area, we were encouraged to venture out and find our own solo camping spot. Since we were still within sight of the main gathering area, this wasn't as intimidating as you might think.

I was slightly bummed that I didn't bring a book to read - almost everyone else did - but actually it was nice to just have time to think and stare at the stars. You don't realize how little time there is in our regular schedule to just stop and ponder life. It was a real treat.

The next morning, I awoke to a small platoon of ants, trying to figure out WTF I was doing on their rock. I blew them away, did some stretching and went down for some breakfast.

After breakfast, we packed up our daypacks (I had to use my sleeping bag's stuff sack, since I didn't bring a daypack...arg!) and headed further down the canyon to check out some "swimming holes". Since it was 75 - 80 degrees during the day, and very dry, that sounded good to all of us.

That morning, our second guide A. packed up a pack to hike out to get our van and drive it around to the other side of the canyon, so we could hike out the other end, and not have to backtrack to get out. She left around noon.

Around 4:00pm, some ominous clouds rolled in and we headed back to camp to brace for the storm. We set up tents and one kept blowing away, from the high winds. The pouring rain and lightning started and we scurried into our tents to escape. After about an hour of rain and high wind, it was over. We came back out and started wondering where our guide A. was. Since it was about 5:00pm, she had been gone for 5 hours for a trip that should have taken her about 2 hours. We all started getting concerned about what had happened to her...

Stay tuned for Part Two...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

How Scary is This?

I have no idea what to dress Goofy Junior as for Halloween. I have 26 days to figure this out. Well, actually 19, since I will be gone for the next 5 days. And really I can't count Monday, as there is no daycare for Columbus Day (WTF!) and I will be frazzled after watching Junior during the AM, then running to work in the PM after the babysitter comes. And Loving Husband is going out of town one weekend in October, so now we are down to only 16 days in which to ponder this.

It shouldn't be this hard. I love Halloween and I love dressing up. However, I've never been responsible for someone else's costume before. This is new territory.

Some background: Goofy Junior is male, 2-1/2 years old. Average sized. He loves sports, especially football, but how lame is it to dress your kid is something he wears every Friday (football jersey? Yawn.

I have done a bit of looking around. Most toddler costumes are:
too cute and fluffy;
a character he's never heard of; or
just plain ridiculous.

So, dear readers, I'm asking for advice. What should Goofy Junior be for Halloween?

I want something that he's going to be excited about, look cute as, and be comfortable in. Try being comfortable in this!

AND, it's also got to be easy for Mom to put together. I do not sew, so do not recommend some crazy sewing pattern. I am fairly dangerous with a hot glue gun, having put together a Dorothy from Wizard of Oz costume (complete with red sparkly shoes!) with only a glue gun and some fabric.


Welcome Back, See You Later!

In a scheduling haze, I signed up for a 4-day backpacking trip to Moab, Utah that leaves TWO DAYS after returning home from Las Vegas. I'm not even sure I can call it "two days" since we actually walked in our house at 2:00am Monday morning.

I now have to unpack, launder my party clothes and re-pack hiking clothes for a flight out Wednesday morning. I sound like I'm complaining, but actually I love traveling, so it's all good.

Our Vegas trip was great! We had a less-than-perfect experience the last time we went to Vegas, since we stayed at The Venetian and couldn't afford to do anything. The room was lovely, though.

This time, in an effort to save money for the really important stuff (gambling, eating, drinking), we stayed at The Sahara. The Sahara was a bit shabby and had smoky undertones, but in the scope of things it was a decent place to stay. They had $3 tables during the day and $5 tables at night (in contrast to the $15 tables all the time at The Venetian).

We also ventured to downtown Vegas, which has really improved. Instead of the blue-haired seniors that I remember the last time I visited, there were many, many younger folks, and plenty of them. The casinos were hopping, with cheap tables that weren't too crowded. We found a dealer that very patiently taught us how to play Roulette and we all WON. Cool! I walked up to a $3 Craps table and the same guy rolled for about 40 minutes. If that doesn't make sense to you, just know that it's virtually unheard of to have the same person roll for that long). I won $72. I should have won more, but I was a little slow to increase my bet from $3 to $5. Cheap Ass!

My football wagers didn't turn out quit so well. I won betting on the Chiefs (who WERE winning at half-time, even though they blew it later), then lost on Vikings, Cowboys and Jets.

No celebrity sightings and no shows, but I had a good enough time to want to go back. I will probably take a look at staying downtown if we go back, as that's were we ended up spending most of our time.

Next stop: Moab, Utah. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Summit

I heard from Loving Husband this afternoon. "Guess where I am?" he says. He made it to the top of the climb! I congratulated him and breathed a sigh of relief.

The problem? He brought a camera, but the batteries were dead. ARG! No panoramic shots of Las Vegas from the Red Rock summit. No documentation of his "40 Years on This Earth" accomplishment. Bummer.

And I thought I heard slot machines in the background. But I could be wrong...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Leaving (for) Las Vegas (almost)

In celebration of a significant birthday that starts with '4' and ends with '0', Loving Husband is heading to Las Vegas tomorrow to do a rock climb of epic proportions (a multi-pitch climb for those of you that are curious). I am a teeny-tiny bit worried about him, mainly because (1) he is my husband and (2) I love him, even after 14+ years of marriage.

The really good part is that I (along with some great friends) get to join him Friday night, when we go to Las Vegas and PARTY!

The really bad part is that we are only there for the weekend, so we have to cram all the stuff we want to do into basically two days (Sat/Sun) and two nights (Fri/Sat).

I've been taking a Texas Hold 'Em class, as well as hosting a home game for about six months, so I want to take some lumps at the Poker tables. I've also been a Craps fan for several years, so I want to roll some dice too. And of course, there's the culinary nirvana that is Las can get about any type of food, lots of it, and usually really good, at any time of day or night. And for the icing on my cake...we will be there all day Sunday so I get to bet on NFL football, baby.

I'm not sure why I love betting on football. It could be that you just plain can't do it here in the midwest, at the riverboat casinos (it's illegal). Or it could be that you can bet $10 and have that bet last 2-1/2 hours (until the game is over or it's clear that you have won/lost). Or it could be the fact that I'm actually good at it!

My first trip to Vegas, a co-worker said, "Hey, here's twenty bucks. Put it on the biggest longshot you can find for me!" I ventured into the Sports Book for the first time ever and proceeded to bet a trifecta that included 3 football teams. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I thought this meant that I had 3 separate bets, each of which would pay if that team won. I found out later that what I had actually done was bet that all three events would happen.

What happened? You guessed it...all 3 teams won, and I brought back $100 for my friend. Many folks ask me why I didn't just pocket the money and tell him I lost. The answer is: I wouldn't have bragging rights if I did that! Duh. Those are way more than priceless.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Final (Thank God!) Day at the Seminar...

Got up even later this morning and got the the seminar at around 7:45am. I wasn't the only one straggling in, so the speakers didn't start until 8:00am. My brain just hurts at this point...

Only 2 speakers today. They are the heavy-hitters, so they are speaking for longer.

First up is a guy that was living in a one-bedroom apartment, mowing lawns for a living until a friend recommended him to a bank to do a rehab for a foreclosed property. I just love hearing the stories of how folks get started in real estate. All the current gurus were either (1) backed into a corner by financial troubles; or (2) accidentally tripped and fell face-first into real estate.

Anyway, this guy ended up having an opportunity to buy an apartment house, so he did it. Turns out that multi-family dwellings are (1) easier to get financing for; (2) bring in monthly cash flow (called "rent" to you & I) and (3) appreciate over time (usually). So you get two bangs for you buck...monthly checks + appreciation of your investment over time. This is great strategy, and the speaker got everyone excited. Even me. However, my brain was full after the previous two days and all the zeroes involved in his examples scared me away. Maybe a future deal, but I'm not ready for this yet. No sale.

Over lunch, I talked to a couple that I had met in a previous real estate event. They own 1/2 a duplex, so they were telling me about the trials and tribulations of being a landlord. This seems to be a reccuring theme: It's great to own rental property, but having tenants sucks. The wife also has a sister in San Diego who owns a 3 bedroom home that she bought for around $180K about 8 years ago that is now valued at $850K! That's how crazy the west coast real estate market is. No wonder there's all the buzz about the real estate bubble.

Last speaker was the heaviest hitter. This guy speaks at events with The Donald. As in Trump. This guy actually retired about a year ago, but came back to work in order to donate all his income for a year to charity. He's currently doing quite a lot for the Biloxi folks, as he hails from that area. As in renting 2 Mack trucks and filling them with food and equipment to the tune of about $1 million.

This guy was a great speaker! Energetic, gave us good information, got us involved, answered questions well, and (most importantly) gave out free stuff. Hey, it's always good to get free booty. Keep your booty call jokes to yourself folks...

He had no real speciality, but rather gave us some overall strategies and really pushed the "you can do it!" spiel. In a honest, unpatronizing way. He mentioned some strategies that I had never heard of before and offered a guarantee: Make a deal within 90 days of buying his materials and he will refund the price...DOUBLE. Gives a little extra incentive, huh? And for a competitive individual (like me!) throws down the gauntlet and just begs to be met with action. Sale. Yes, I bought it.

I'm going to be reading/listening to real estate material from now until Christmas! But as the "coaching" speaker said, "There are three types of activities: low dollar, high dollar and lifetime value." Low dollar is stuff that isn't helping your bottom line, like watching TV. High dollar is generating leads, making offers, etc. Stuff that will hopefully bring in the money. Lifetime value is education, spending time with your kids, etc. Stuff that makes you a better person or feeds your soul.

I think this little bit of wisdom is something I will remember for a long time...and it was free.

Second Day at the Seminar...

I woke up later today and got to the seminar in about 25 minutes. Okay, okay, I broke a few speed limits to do this, but I got to sleep in late. And in the ultimate irony, I got a speeding ticket on the way home, when I wasn't in a hurry at all. Doh!

First speaker discussed getting private lenders to finance your real estate investments. Basically either family, friends, associates or putting an ad in the newspaper and offering 12% return. Hell, if someone offered me 12% on my money to use it for a few months, I'd jump all over that. Provided I had some money, that is... Good ideas. As expected, he had an "educational system" to sell us. Unfortunately (but fortunately for the audience), he gave away most of his secrets in the 2-hour presentation, so not too many folks bought his stuff. No sale here.

Second speaker was a Success Coach Dude. He talked about the power of positive thinking, laws of attraction, blah, blah, blah. I jest, but he was actually very good, just nothing that I hadn't heard before. He had us do a short "personality type" test. It broke individuals up into one of four categories: Controller, Planner, Accommodator and Passionate. I fell into the Accommodator category, which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me. I'm very relationship-based, rather than results-based. I'd much rather work with someone I know, even if they're not the cheapest or easiest option available. And I love meeting new people, provided they're not idiots. The test also indicated that I have some Planner in me. This basically means that I love to start projects, but not finish them, and research every purchase I make for way too long. Duh.

This dude was pimping his Bridge to Money, Success and Happiness seminar, which was $1500 + travel to Las Vegas. Sounded like fun, but too expensive and he was way to pushy when it came to the sales part. Uncomfortably so. No sale.

Over lunch I met a lady there with her husband that was quite dumbfounded that I was interested in real estate, but my husband wasn't. From going to several of these meetings, I've realized that it is rather unusual to see a lone female attending a real estate meeting, unless she's a 50+, perfectly coiffed and brightly-dressed realtor. No, I am not a realtor. No, I am not over 50. Deal with it. I love fucking with stereotypes. Giggle.

After lunch, we had a treat. A woman about my age gave a wonderful presentation about Lease Options. She started out at age 21 buying her first house with a credit card advance (not a recommended strategy) and renting out 2 of the 3 bedrooms to pay her mortgage payment, plus bring in about $60 in monthly cash flow. Since then, she has gone on to be the industry expert in lease options, which is basically leasing a house for 12-18 months with an option at the end to purchase it at a set price. Another benefit to this strategy is that you don't have to go to the seediest parts of town to get good deals - they can literally be in your own neighborhood. She had such good information, and had so much good stuff in her "system", that I had to buy it. Sale! (with no regrets either...I will actually read her stuff first)

So, with my head pounding from my over-stimulated brain, I jumped in my car and headed home, only to be met by Mr. Friendly State Trooper waiting to give me his autograph on the bottom of a $138 ticket. Sammy Hagar...where are you when I need ya, man?

Friday, September 23, 2005

First Day at the Seminar...

Well, I managed to get my sleepy butt out of bed this morning BEFORE 6:00am (and yes, it was dark outside. And raining. Hard.) I got to the real estate seminar about 7:20am. As with most things like this, it started late, so I walked around the vendor expo and met some nice people wanting to sell me things.

The first speaker was a dynamic lady extolling the virtues of direct mail for getting motivated sellers. She was great. I would have bought her "system" (see Note below), but it cost $1495. Ouch! No sale.

NOTE: As with most real estate seminars, each speaker speaks for free, with the agreement that at the end of their speech, they pimp whatever "educational system" they are selling. All the big real estate gurus have their own "system". Some are more hardcore salespeople and some are more lax about it.

The second speaker was an jittery guy with Attention Deficit Disorder (self-proclaimed). He jittered around the stage, gave a disjointed talk about things that didn't seem to make any sense and left each PowerPoint slide on the screen for a whopping 1.2 seconds, so it was impossible to take notes. His presentation was littered with typos and didn't flow in any particular way that I saw. When it came time to pimp his "system", he went from $1249 to $397. If it was anything like his presentation, it would make no sense to me. No sale.

Lunch was good. I met some really nice ladies that had varying degrees of experience in real estate. One lady that sat next to me actually lives in the next neighborhood over from me. Weird coincidence, but we decided to keep in touch with our real estate ventures.

After lunch we got a sales spiel from a real estate signage guy. As he was not a seasoned speaker, the 20 minute pitch for magnetic car signs, banners and business cards felt like 40 minutes.

Then a treat! Dr. Cash Flow! This guy made the jittery guy seem calm. The Doctor paced around the stage, then down in the aisles, then back to the stage. He actually had $5, $2 and $1 bills in his shirt pocket, and would grab them periodically and throw them at folks who appeared interested. At one point, he stripped off his jacket to reveal an airbrushed picture of a witch on the back of his button-down dress shirt. You kinda had to be there to understand the joke. Plus...the guy was interesting. And a great speaker. His talk was about the perils of being a landlord. He likened tenants to children. And being a landlord like running an adult daycare. He was very opinionated and didn't care if he offended anyone...and I loved him for it. When it came time to pimp his "system", I couldn't help myself. Sale!

We wrapped up about 4:30pm, with instructions to be there tomorrow at 7:45am SHARP. Ugh.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Busy Weekend

I have a very busy weekend coming up. I signed up for a Real Estate Investors Seminar. I've always been intrigued by the whole real estate buying and selling process and have recently joined two real estate investing organizations, shelled out about $1000 total for an array of educational materials and actually finalized My First Deal two weeks ago. So, onto the seminar!

The tricky bit is that it's on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend. I even took off work on Friday, burning a valuable vacation day! Yikes. When I checked the seminar time schedule, I recoiled in horror when I realized that I was required to be there at 7:45am on Friday morning! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I can barely get to work by 8:30am with clothing in place and some semblance of makeup applied. 7:45!?!? And that is the LATEST. The schedule actually says, "7:00am - Networking & Vendor Expo". Who the HELL has the presence of mind to network at 7:00 in the morning? Not me. I barely know my name at that rooster-laden hour. goes until 5:00 (or later if you stick around for more Networking & Vendor Expo fun) each day. Even Sunday. And these folks are no sissies when it comes to keeping your ass there until the bitter end...the "Big Prize Giveaways" are guessed it...for 5:00pm on Sunday. Since this includes a laptop and PDA, you can bet that my ass will still be there, probably numb, with door prize ticket in hand.

I will have to leave my house around 7:00am (isn't it still dark then?), sneaking out of the house as my child and husband are still snuggled in their crib/bed, dreaming of sugarplums and Gwen Stefani, respectfully. I plan on setting the coffee maker for 6:45am, so as to get the freshest, darkest, hottest coffee possible, and grabbing the most giant travel container to carry it in. I'm sure the conference will have the obligatory Nasty Hotel Coffee, and we can't have any of that. Yuk.

So, wish me luck. I'm sure I will emerge late Sunday afternoon all fired up about real estate investing.

Look out Trump, here comes Goofy!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Toddler Chat

Recently heard on the Toddler Phone (aka our 2+ year old, talking on the real phone, which we frequently grab and hit "End", so as not to inadventently call 911):

"I want tacos...and cookies"

What does this mean? Do we order takeout that much? Does he know a place that delivers taco and cookies together? Is it free (as toddlers in general have no money to speak of)?

I didn't have any answers, so I had him put in an order for pie and a glass of milk.

...and I'm still waiting.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Where the Hell Have You Been?! (Part Two)

I beg forgiveness to the Blogging Gods and respectfully request that my posting privileges to be reinstated.

Okay, with that said, here's what I've been up to since I last posted:
1. Buying a run-down house to rehab for FUN! and PROFIT!

2. Helping Loving Husband buy run-down truck for FUN! and FUTURE SINKING OF MORE MONEY!

3. Reading and listening to many books, both good (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - amazing read!) and bad (Think Like a Billionaire by Donald Trump - yawn)

4. Watching my new favorite show (don't be too impressed, it's been a dry summer) - Rock Star: INXS. If you haven't caught this show yet, this is a great time to start watching. They are down to 5 kick-ass rock performers. Any one of which could front a band. The show kicks American's Idol's ass down the street and around the block. Goofy Note: There's a New Kids on the Block joke in there somewhere, but I'm a little rusty.

5. Working out. For two reasons. One is the Repetitive Toddler Pickup Syndrome, also known as "Oh, my aching back". The other is my upcoming 4-day backpacking trip to the canyonlands of Moab. Oh, I get tingles just talking about it. It will be such an adventure!

6. Visiting my chiropractor twice weekly. (see #5 above)

7. Planning my trip to Las Vegas, Baby. Loving Husband turns 40 this year. I do too, but hey! that's beside the point. He has decided to do something extremely memorable and challenging in memory of this turn of events. What is he doing? A multi-pitch rock climb in the Red Rocks area in Las Vegas. I'm trying not to think about him climbing several hundred feet off the ground. (shiver) I am coming down the following weekend with some good friends to help him celebrate (and probably rub Bengay on his back). I'm most excited about a wind tunnel where you can pay to fly around like a bird.

8. Working on paperwork to adopt our second child. Yes, folks...there's no rest for the wicked. Or should I say "the goofy"? We are specifying another boy too. We are masochists, yes we are.

9. Sleep. Sleep? Who the fuck needs sleep? I can get a nice long, uninteruppted nap when I'm dead.

10. Work. Work! Yes, work. Work funds numbers 1 - 9 and keeps me off the streets during the day. If I had spare time, I'd really get into trouble!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Where the Hell Have you Been?!

It's been 25 days since my last post. What have I been doing? READING, that's what. Well, also working and trying to entertain my 2-year-old and my 39-year-old, but that's not near as exciting...

What have I been reading?, you might ask. Well, here's the answer, in no particular order:

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano
I had no idea this book was controversial. I read it and thought, "hey, she's got some great points", then loaned it to a friend that promptly said, "hey, she's an annoying bitch who hates Americans". Readers fall into one of two camps on this book: Love or Hate. Don't believe me? Check out the Amazon reviews. Read the book for yourself and decide which camp you fall into. I liked it for the awareness it gave me that Americans do not think/feel about food the way most of the rest of the world does. The whole concept of "fast food" is a horrendous affront to most of the civilized world, who believe that if you are going to bother to eat, it should be an event to be enjoyed and savored, not gobbled down in a few minutes while driving somewhere in your car.

The overfed head : what if everything you know about weight loss is wrong? by Rob Stevens
This is a whopping 114-page book that's changed my life as well as a good friend of mine's (surprisingly, the same one that hated "French Women"). It's a lot of common sense that, when put together with some common strategies for eating, creates a powerful theme that hits you over the head with its obviousness. He outlines a study done on skinny people (not fat people like most weight studies) that tried to determine why the skinny folks stay skinny. They found some common sense things: EAT WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY. WHEN YOU ARE FULL...STOP. Sounds simple and easy, huh? Then why do most of us not do this? Stevens explores the answer to this, as well as some strategies for sticking with these seemingly easy concepts. If you have any issue with your weight at all, you can't afford NOT to read this book. I thought that this book, when read almost immediately after "French Women" gave an good idea of why America is so obese.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
This is the same author that wrote "Turning Point - How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference", if you're keeping score. These are both very good books that offer information that tends to pop up in your everyday life and make you go "Hmmm.....". Blink is compilation of several different points that are extremely interesting and engaging to read. However, I didn't seem to find a "point" to the entire book. But you know what? I didn't care. Read both if you can. Get the audios...they are even better.

The Closers (audiotape) by Michael Connelly
I'm actually still listening to this one. It's wonderful! If you like good mysteries, then you need to start reading Michael Connelly. This book is from his series with detective Harry Bosch, who's more into solving crimes than Bill Gates is into software. I never, ever know whodunit until the very end. Connelly is that good. This one did not disappoint and makes the drive to/from work something I look forward to.

Ender's Game by Orson Card
This is a classic sci-fi story that I recently discovered. What a wonderful read! I can see how this book has served as groundwork for other sci-fi stories, such as "The Matrix". It's as valid a story today as it was back in 1994, when it was written. Even if you don't like sci-fi, you will dig this story. I just read that they are working on a screenplay for this book, so even if you don't read it, stay tuned for the movie!

More coming soon...I've got several books in process now.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kansas is Not Colorado

We recently got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado...Rocky Mountain National Park to be exact. We camped and hiked and saw lots of beautiful scenery. Goofy Junior, now a couple months past his 2 year birthday, loved it.

So, when we got back to nice-but-not-quite-Colorado Kansas, I decided that my boy and I would hike. We live close to a decent-sized park, with some real (dirt not paved) trails. I mentioned it to him and his little face lit up with excitement. I pictured this becoming our Saturday morning tradition. Get up early, get the hiking shoes on, apply sunscreen, grab some water and some trail snacks (raisins, chocolate chips, etc.) and hit the trails. I even pictured a time when Goofy Junior #2 would come along and he would happily ride along in the Baby Bjorn, while Goofy Junior #1 blazed the trail ahead of us. What a happy, family picture that was.

Okay, now back to reality....

We got to the park around 9:30am. This alone was an achievement! We talked to the visitor center and found a not-too-rocky, not-too-hilly trail. We navigated to the trail, put our hiking shoes on, and started our hike. The hike started on paved trail, which was hot, but not hard. We cut across a field and found the marker for the "Habitat Trail". The entry was a barely discernable 2-foot-wide dirt path. This is so great!, I remember thinking. I want Junior to have a woodsy experience, not a paved trail experience. Note to Self: Be careful what you wish for.

The first thing we noticed was the spider webs across the trail. We were the trail blazers on this fine morning. I took the opportunity to teach Junior how to use a stick to wave ahead of you to break any spider webs that might breach the path. Of course, he being only about 35" tall, he was under most of the webs, while Mommy got the fun of hitting most of them, complete with spiders attached to some. What fun!

The trail was perfect, skill-wise. Not too rocky, not too hilly. It was a bit skinny, but that was okay. The shade of the trees above was nice and got us out of the sun. Enough that I started wondering why we had applied sunscreen.

We broke out of the woods into a field. Butterflies were abundant here. Junior was mesmerized. The trail was a bit overgrown with foliage, but we forged ahead. Then I noticed a familiar sensation on my leg...Stinging Nettle! Uh-oh! If you haven't experienced Stinging Nettle before, consider yourself lucky. It's a plant that contains an oil which, when applied to human skin, immediately breaks the skin into many tiny welts...and burns like acid. I'm not exaggerating.

My first thought was, "Uh-oh...I hope Goofy Junior doesn't brush up against this". Right about that time, he reached down to scratch his leg, walked a few steps, then cried out and sat down, holding his leg. Shit.

The only thing I had was our water bottle, so I dowsed his leg with water. Surprisingly, this seemed to help! He got back up and we continued hiking. Rub some dirt on it, boy! We went through more woods, then another clearing. Then Junior refused to go back in the woods. He saw the street. "But it's not hot in the woods", I reasoned with the toddler (silly me!). He was having none of it. We hiked up the blacktop to our awaiting car.

We celebrated by parking ourselves under a tree as we gulped the remainder of our water and devoured our remaining raisins and (melted) chocolate chips.

The future of our "hiking tradition" remains to be seen, but I believe our outing this Saturday will be a paved trail. It's also supposed to be 105 degrees this Saturday. We will definitely see what us Goofys are made of....(I personally think "butter" would be the correct answer there).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

40 Goofy Things

Wanna know more about ME? No? Well, read it anyway, dammit! This was originally meant to be "100 Goofy Things", but I just couldn't think of any more. So here ya go...

  1. My favorite cold dessert is a custard concrete with raspberry and hot fudge.

  2. My favorite hot dessert is homemade (by me) carmel apple pie with struesel topping.

  3. My husband and I adopted our son from Russia.

  4. I have two dogs, both female Siberian huskies.

  5. The dog that was thin is now fat, the dog that was fat is now thin. Very strange.

  6. This Russian/Siberian thing was an coincidence. Or was it?

  7. I love wine tasting, especially red wine and especially with good friends
    and good food.

  8. I make jewelry.

  9. I build websites.

  10. I play volleyball and softball.

  11. I love to paint walls and furniture. Not on canvas.

  12. I look younger than I am. This is a blessing and also a curse.

  13. I can eat an entire angel food cake in one evening.

  14. I take my coffee black.

  15. I have never colored my hair.

  16. I have never had a pedicure.

  17. I am an only child.

  18. I hated it.

  19. My mother was an alcoholic for much of my childhood.

  20. My parents got divorced when I was 12.

  21. They should have done it about 4 years earlier.

  22. My father remarried a wonderful woman that my mother constantly made fun of.

  23. My mother died in January of 2000.

  24. I typically change jobs every 2-3 years.

  25. For one winter semester in college, I did not shave my legs.

  26. I have done a beer bong. Okay, maybe several.

  27. I cut my own hair through high school and college.

  28. I read about one book a week.

  29. I can still do a cartwheel.

  30. I have gone without a shower for five days while backpacking.

  31. I am much better at starting projects that finishing them.

  32. I buy my dogs' flea juice on eBay.

  33. I hate people with no sense of humor. They make me nervous.

  34. I eat corn on the cob around in a circle, from right to left (not typewriter style).

  35. I hate people that believe and/or enforce stereotypes. They make me angry.

  36. I don't cry much, but Disney movies usually do the trick. The Lion King especially, for some reason.

  37. I plan on writing a book someday.

  38. I plan on owning a motorcycle someday.

  39. My favorite band is Green Day.

  40. My original name for this blog was to be "American Idiot" or "Idiot Girl",
    but alas these names were already taken.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Fish Experiment (part 2 of 2)

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the rest of the fish story (get it? BAITed? Oh, whatever...).

So I get home with the scallops in hand. SEA scallops by the way, for those of you who needed to know. As far as I know, there are no free range scallops. So on to the cooking...

Since I realized that 1 pound of SEA scallops is more than 1 frying pan can handle, I decided to take the experiment a step further...TWO types of preparation techniques. TWO pans, folks... don't try this at home! Leave to us folks that have had our Hepititis A shot recently.

So, TWO frying pans. ONE pound of scallops. Still with me?

In Pan #1, I put olive oil, a pressed garlic clove, 1/4 stick of butter (REAL butter, mind you), some green onion, white wine vinegar and lemon juice. Don't ask me measurements...I was in an Emerill mood, yelling "BAM!" and "BOOM!" and lots of cursing (kid-friendly of course).

In Pan #2, I put olive oil, a pressed garlic clove, 1/4 stick of butter, some green onion, (my creativeness only goes so far!), some of the white wine that we had with dinner (Chardonnay for you keeping score at home). Now for the little critters...

Did I mention the flour? Yoda told me to dry the scallops a tad and roll them in flour, so I did that and lovingly put them in the pans. I forgot the "start with the handle" thing, so I backtracked and put them in the right order. They kept pushing and shoving to move to the front of the line, so I had to knock some scallop heads. I also wasn't sure where the inevitable "leftover ones that had to go in the middle" were in the pecking order. Cooking is so complicated!

They cooked. I flipped. I drank some wine. I flipped. They cooked. I drank more wine. Etc., etc., etc. When the heavens parted and Neptune, King of the Sea Scallops cried, "THE SCALLOPS ARE DONE NOW", I took them out of the pan and served them. We had some stir-fried veggies on the side, by the way.

Like any good experimentor, I separated the Pan #1 and #2 results (and gave Junior all the broken apart scallops pieces, since we were fairly sure he wouldn't like them) and taste-tested.

And the winner was.....drumroll, please...Pan #1.

From our post-dinner analysis with John Madden, we decided that since Pan #1 had less liquid (read: wine), the garlic stuck a bit more to the scallops and gave them a bolder flavor. The ones with the wine were just a little wimpy tasting.

And with the luck of a first time seafood-cooker (and guidance from my buddy Neptune), I cooked them for just the right amount of time. They were nice and juicy and not dry at all. Of course, we kept looking at their inside middles as if they would be pink if not cooked, like chicken. Unfortunatley, scallops have no "tell" like chicken does. If pressed, I would tell you that I cooked them for the amount of time it takes me to drink one glass of wine. That's about the right cooking time.

And thus ends the Scallop Saga. But feel free to keep giving me your seafood tips and side dish ideas. I'm listening...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Fish Experiment 2 (part 1 of 2)

Some friends and I went to Bluestem this past Saturday and someone ordered scallops. I had never had a scallop, but they looked interesting, in a small white half-dollar pancake sorta way. I tried it...and I liked it! So I decided we must try cooking scallops at home.

I ventured forth to Hen House, since my local Price Chopper doesn't have much seafood. It does have good MEAT though. Yum. Anyhow, I found the seafood section, complete with fake fishing nets strung from the ceiling and fake seagull sounds which auto-repeated every few seconds. No, I'm not kidding folks. If I worked there, I would go mad from the "RAWK!" seagull sounds over and over and over and over and...well you get the picture.

So there's this 75-year-old dude working the seafood counter and so I quickly surveyed the scallops and confidentally proclaimed, "I'll take a pound of scallops, please". Later I would discover that a pound of scallops is a little much for 2 1/2 people.

As he scooped the scallops into a bag, I conversationally asked, " do I know when they are done?"

He asked, "Howya cookin' 'em?" Hmmm....hadn't really thought that one over yet.

"Er...frying them, with some wine and garlic". Whew! Good answer, I think.

"WINE?!" he exclaimed. "Sweet or dry wine?" Uh-oh. What's the right answer here?

"Sweet?" Not so confident now.

"SWEET?!" Oops. Wrong answer. Dam!

"Well, don't put a lot of wine in there. Actually don't put it in until the end. Don't put a lot in. Or it will end up tasting like fruitcake!" Dude...just say not to use sweet wine. Don't fuck with me.

"Uh...okay" Just wanting to get the hell out now...and save my dignity. But I still needed an important bit of information.

"So do I cook them for a certain length of time?" C'mon old guy, throw me a bone here...

"Oh no...don't cook them for a period of time, just cook them until they are brown. Flip them every 20 seconds or so. Also, start at the handle of the frying pan and put them in a circle around the pan. That way you'll know which one needs to be flipped first." Ah! Persistance pays off! But Yoda was to impart some even juicier info...

"Roll them in flour" he said, "They'll brown up real nice and the flavors will hold better." Martha out. I'm armed with scallop-cookin' gold now!

I thanked him 100 times or so and ran from the seagull sounds to buy my $16 worth of scallops.

(continued tomorrow... Sorry! I gotta work now...)

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Fish Experiment

Loving Husband & I cooked fish for the first time tonight. Yes, the first time. Hey, we are both born and bred in the Midwest. We can make a kick-ass steak, but fish has just eluded us for, er, almost four decades.

We bought some tilapia fillets at our favorite meat counter. The grand total was $6.00. Six bucks! So I'm wondering...Why do fancy-smancy restaurants charge $18 for tilapia? Oh yeah, because people like us are too intimidated to cook fish at home.

Loving Husband was the brave chef. I provided the recipe. Thanks Cagey! For each fillet, we put olive oil on a sheet of aluminum foil, rolled each fillet in it and put the fillet in the middle, then covered it with a bit of white wine, lemon juice, green onion, roma tomato and capers. Then wrapped each package up and threw it on the grill for 8 minutes. We served it on a bed of rice. Can I get a "YUM"?

It probably could have used a bit more of SOMETHING. Not sure what. Garlic? Salt? Onion? We weren't sure and this was our first time, so we didn't want to overpower the fish with too much other flavor.

I also wasn't sold on our side dish of plain, white rice. What else goes well with fish? Any ideas? I'd love them, if you've got some good fish side dishes.

Had I known that fish was this easy (and FAST - only 8 minutes to cook!), I would have started cooking it long ago! As long as it's a fish FILLET and not anything resembling an actual, live FISH, I'm good to go.

More about my food-with-a-face aversion in a later posting...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ah! New Carpet.

It's 11:45pm and I have new carpet. Do you?

It's nice. Squooshy soft and firm and no dog vomit, mud, coffee, red wine, dog drool, blood, crayon, nor pee stains in sight. It's the little things in life that please us most.

We could have moved! We had most of our possessions, boxed, down on our first floor. We were told to do this by the carpet company. "Move all your nick-nacks, paddy-wacks, and give the dog a bone". Well, something like that. So we did. We worked for four (seemed like forty) days and nights. And the carpet layers bowed at our knees in thanks.

While we were at it, we did about twelve years of spring, summer and fall cleaning, which added up to 3 crammed trash cans, an overflowing recycle bin and a small herd of orphan trash bags huddled around the 3 momma cans. Oh yes, and the mountain of old carpet. Which is STILL HERE. Sitting on our driveway. For 3 days now. We are certain to have the Wrath of the Homeowners Association come down on us very soon.

Was it worth it? Yes. It's almost like a new house now. New carpet smell. No clutter...yet. No overflowing closets. It's very nice. Which no doubt means we will be moving soon. Sigh.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Lights Out!

Last night it stormed. Bad. I personally love storms as they give me a cozy "well I can't go outside, so I might as well settle in and be comfortable" feeling. They also make for great sleeping. Usually. Not last night though. Let me explain...

Storm, storm, storm. Turn on news station to see brightly-colored weather map with weatherwoman describing 50 mph winds, hail, etc. very close to us. See trees in backyard doing the limbo in high wind. Reassure toddler that "rain is fun", "rain makes the grass and trees grow", "rain is good", "see the fun and good rain?". He giggles and points. Loving Husband furrows brow at weatherwoman and eyes the basement door. Lights go out. Weatherwoman disappears. Toddler giggles. Husband says, "Uh-oh" and eyes the basement door again.

Since it's bedtime for bonzo, I take him up and put him in bed. He agrees with the "rain is good for sleeping" theory and dozes right off. We find camping headlamps and walk around lighting candles, only seeing what's directly in front of us, in the thin beam of headlamp light. I realize how much of a habit it is to enter a room and switch the light switch on. I do this about 20 times, berating myself each time. No power, idiot!

With no weatherwoman to watch, Husband settles in on couch and promptly falls asleep in the candlelight. I quickly assess my options. No computer. No microwave. Not tired. I straighten up the kitchen a bit, take out the trash. Feeling like I've done my share of work, I make some tea (we have a gas stove...bonus!) and decide to do some reading. By headlamp, of course. Nice and relaxing. Ah. No guilt of things to do...couldn't do them anyway. All I can do is read. And relax. Ah....

Then around 2:00 (I'm guessing because power was still out and all clocks were dark), Junior starts crying. Dam! It's not really storming anymore, so it's not noise that woke him up. A quick check rules out the typical late-night-awakening reason (POOP!). No poop. Why is he awake and crying? I pass Junior off to Husband, and go let the dogs outside, as they are now standing by the door with legs crossed. I hear coughing then a cry for help. From Husband. Junior has yakked. Vomited. Yelled for Ralph. In his crib. And (of course) on himself. DAM!

I slowly peel the crib sheet and mattress pad off, trying not to get any on me. I can't see well because the lights are still off. I only have a beam of light to work with. Not wanting to deal with the EW!-ness just now, I decide to throw the entire mess into the bathroom tub. I replace the sheet and soothe Junior back to sleep. He feels a bit hot, but not burning hot. And I am too tired to find a thermometer and attempt to take his temperature. We all go back to sleep. Until...

About 4:00am we are awakened by SCREAMING TELEVISION AND LIGHTS!!!! The power is back on and all the things that were turned on are now on again...and LOUD. Guess that wind was pretty noisy earlier in the evening. I put a pillow over my head as Husband sprints downstairs to OFF the TV before it wakes up the dead.

This morning, I groaned and got out of bed, and felt Junior's head. He was still hot, but not burning hot. I went down to eat breakfast with the guys. Junior ate well (Husband did too) and they headed off to daycare (and work). I got in shower, and in the interests of time, skipped the makeup (HORRORS!!!). I was getting dressed when I got a call from daycare. "Junior is not feeling well. He is uncounsolable (sp?). Also he seems to have a slight fever." DAM DAM DAM! Okay, I'll pick him up.

He seems grumpy when I get there, but in good spirits. "I trow up!", he proclaims. "Did he?" I ask his teacher. "No" is the answer. "Oh, you threw up LAST NIGHT." He nods to this. "I trow up". Maybe he's just upset that he threw up. Who knows?

I get him loaded in the car and the little guy babbles and giggles the entire way home and points out all the basketball nets he sees on the way. I keep telling him he's sick, but he's not having any of that. "I sick"..."Go outside?"

Great. I have a two-year-old that knows how to play hookey. Wonderful. BTW, he's fine now. No "trowing up". No fever. And I'm stuck at home watching Baby Einstein and making grilled cheese.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Got Poop?

Over breakfast this morning, I saw Junior shift a bit to one side and heard a "toot" resonate against his plastic booster seat. I waited for him to say, as usual, "Got poop!". He can't tell yet whether it's air or the real stuff moving around down there. But he didn't.

He waited a beat, then looked at me and said, "I darted". I said (as usual), "Huh?", and he repeated "I darted". A few seconds later I made the connection. "Oh, you FARTED.". He nodded and said, "I threw out gas".

The boy's a genius!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hair-Raising Adventures

No, I can't afford $500 a cut to go to Jonathan Antin, so I venture forth to my local salon. The one by work. The one with the Lamar's Donuts conveniently located next door, so I can get cut and get some "lunch" on my way back to work. A chocolate cream-filled long john qualifies as lunch, right? In my world it does. But I, I mean digress...

So I went to get my hair cut yesterday, and as I walked into the salon, I noticed that the linoleum floor had been painted. With lots of bright, retina-burning colors. In big splashes. That stopped just short of the front reception desk. "Cool floor" I exclaimed, really not knowing what else to say. And not mentioning the fact that the thick black stripes that had previously adorned the floor were peeking through the new paint treatment. "Thanks!" said the eccentric new owner of the salon, decked out in her low-cut mumu and Pippy-like pigtails (did I mention she was eccentric?), "We finished it late last night". Okay...

As my stylist steered me over to her chair and started the obligatory small talk, I mentioned the floor. She got down close to my ear and started giving me the scoop, in hushed whispers. The owner had, over the weekend, decided to paint the floor of the entire salon. She and her cohorts had entered into the back of the salon, begun painting with a vengence towards the front of the salon, until they realized that their purses (and car keys) were in their purses. In the back of the salon. Across the sea of wet paint. And the back door was locked, thus barring any "run around the building to the back door" solution.

They had called my stylist to have her come let them in. When she got there, she noticed the very strong smell of the polyurethane wafting from the salon. She whispered, "I'm surprised we didn't find them passed out here this morning from all those fumes!". THAT would have made an interesting story, eh?

This new owner is a strange bird of the wildest variety. She's a wannabe artist. But not a good one. Her hair cutting station is decked out with a variety of artistic touches, including a fabric wrap around her chair. I can't imagine how much old hair lives in that stylish wrap. Ew!

Also, I was in another time when she rushed in, in a frenzied state, picked up a little hammer-like tool and hit a gong that I hadn't seen sitting there by the front desk. The noise was deafening (the salon is not that large) and the receptionist and I had to wait for the din to finish (it lasted for about 20 seconds!) before we could finish my transaction. My face had an straight expression of "Oh sure, I see gongs in many stores that I visit on a regular big deal...yawn", but I nearly peed my pants from the shock of the noise! And she stood there, eyes closed, taking a yoga-like cleansing breath. A gong! Many Gong Show jokes come to mind, but that's just too easy.

It will be about five weeks until my next haircut. I can't imagine what my next visit will expose me to, but I'll bet it will be blog-worthy.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Goofy Ole Bag...or Trendsetter?

While surfing some blogs (do you "surf" blogs? Or is there another trendy verb I should use? Lurk? Peruse? Read?), I discovered that I am not the only Goofy Girl in cyberspace. Sniff-sniff. There is another Goofy Girl. And she has shelled out bucks for her own domain, unlike my cheap ass. I hate her for stealing my domain name, even though I would never cough up bucks to support my blogging habit.

I took a look at her blog, hoping somehow for a kindred spirit. Instead I found a goofy 24-year-old, pictured with a dog (fake? real??) on her head. How goofy is that! This somehow makes me feel old...very old.

She seems excited about her next oil change, collecting mosquito larvae and seeing a new movie about penguins. Like I said...she's 24. Isn't that what all 24-year-olds want? Maybe it's been too long and I don't remember. Could I be getting Alzheimer's? What was I writing about just now?

And just when I think I had absolutely nothing in common with this youngster, she mentions that she's a Survivor fan (hey, me too!) and she writes about a book she recently read, The Kite Runner (hey, I read that book and liked it too!) She writes a lot about food (gotta love her!) and her dog (yep, I'm a softie for the canine species too). And she's an only child (okay now we're getting scary...)

Then I get to the really scary part. She writes "I stole this idea from some person's blog that's a mom." Whoa. Hold up. A mom. I'm a mom. I write about it. Is it Me? ME? Did she steal her blog name from ME?

Wow. The idea is not so bothersome as it is flattering. In fact, I think she just made my day!

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Revenge of the 'Net

Well, I made my goal...and then some.

As some of you have noted, I did not re-appear until, well, until today. This was not by design, and rest assured I have been having some serious Net Withdrawl.

As planned vacation days always seem to go...we got up later than expected, needed more prep than expected, but actually managed to get on bikes and start riding about 11:30am on Friday. After a 2-HOUR RIDE (yes, it was me that suggested "one more trail" Doh!), we packed our bikes up, did a cool-down stretch...and noticed the rain drops. Damn you Weatherman! Damn you Weatherwoman too!

We had to grab some lunch, so maybe it would stop. We did have 3 more hours of Junior-free time and we had planned on hitting the lake in our kayaks for a quick paddle.

We ate lunch and watched the rain pour down....

"What was our Plan B?", Loving Husband asked. "Plan B?" I replied. We made a couple lame attempts at shopping (not our favorite thing and being dressed in muddy bike gear made it so much more fun...NOT), then headed home. We ended up taking a well-needed nap.

So, I was good and avoided the Net, until after midnight. "Yeah, I made my goal!" I declared. I'm going to go check email. "Not so fast," said Loving Husband, "we haven't gotten a signal this afternoon". What!? WHAT?!?!

I hadn't planned on this turn of events. Of course, I checked myself and he was signal. I did the obligatory rebooting of the cable modem, rebooting of the PCs (all 3 of them). No dice. I gave up and went to bed.

Next morning...still no Net. Damn Net! I knew that I had dissed it on Friday and now was giving me the cold shoulder. I tried lamely to get it working, then finally gave up.

Around dinnertime last night, it finally came to me...I hadn't rebooted the ROUTER. Damn it, I'll bet the Router was the problem. Sure enough...that did the trick. Now the Net was working again.

I sat there trying to think of all the things I had wanted to do on the Net while it was down. I couldn't think of anything. So I went downstairs and had some wine.

That will teach that darn Net...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Goofy Goal

I have a vacation day tomorrow. Yeah! Yippee! Yee-ya! And here's my goal:

Do absolutely no work-related tasks.

No brainer, huh? Well, not really. My real goal, although I'm skeptical that I will actually pull it off, is:

Do nothing on the computer for one day.

No email. No surfing. No i-Poding. No blogging. Sorry about that last one!

I don't know if I can do it! I don't think I can go 24 hours without doing something on the computer.

We will see...stay tuned.