Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Here are the rules - Each player of this game starts with the "6 Weird Things about You." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly.
I've modified the theme to "Six Goofy Things About Me". I've always got to be different...
Okay, drumroll, please...
1. I skipped second grade. While this might make you think I some sort of Smarty Pants, think again. Second grade is where you learn geography. I missed this, so I am very geographically-challenged. I remember when I was about 25 years old, playing Pictionary with some friends. I got the word "Montana" and was stumped about where that was. Yes, really. I drew a darn good picture of the US, then started drawing circles in the west coast region (I knew that much).
2. I grew up knowing there was no Santa. Yep. My parents never perpetuated the Santa Myth. I knew the whole time what was really going on. And I was cool with it. In fact, I've always held the belief that I would not lie to my kid(s) about Santa's existance. I would be very honest with them about the spirit of Christmas (the giving part, not the capitalist spend-fest part), and tell them that Santa was just a symbol for how cool it is to give other people stuff during this holiday. However (ahem.) there are lots of forces against me here. Namely, Gramma, Grandpa, daycare, and every other little kid around. Goofy Junior came home the other day sad and said, "if I'm not good, Santa won't bring me any gifts for Christmas". What parent would actually follow through on this threat? None. Then why do we make it?! Okay, probably more on this later...
3. Continuing with the holiday theme....I can't wrap presents. I never learned this skill. I am totally, completely, utterly inept at wrapping. Gift bags, you say? I can't figure those out either. Why don't the damn things come with instructions? Mine always end up looking like someone stuffed a used Kleenex in a paper bag. And the gift always shows. Drat!
4. I am good at word stuff. Not necessarily writing (obviously!), but mainly grammar and proofreading. I can find a typo in just about any document you can put in front of me.* I frequently find typos on the news (not too hard, if you notice that sort of thing). It's actually a curse and it drives me crazy. I was very close to majoring in English in college, until I realized I was destined for starvation and poverty if I did so.
My biggest pet peeve is when folks confuse plurals with possessives. For example, "Orange's on sale for 99 cents". Arg! This is wrong! It should be "Oranges on sale for 99 cents". You only use the apostrophe for possessives, like "Spike's oranges are on sale for 99 cents."
Also, I can do a Word Search puzzle faster than anyone around. Challenge me sometime and see!
5. I have a Food-with-a-Face problem. I can't eat any sort of animal that still looks like the live animal. For example, boiled shrimp. I can't eat them. They still look like they could hop off the cocktail glass, run out the door and jump into the sea. Eek. This is why I can't make the Thanksgiving Day turkey. The first year we made a turkey, Mr. Goofy was jokingly making the raw turkey do a little "can-can" dance with his hands. I had to leave the room and could hardly eat any turkey that year. Give me a nice, juicy, anonymous-looking steak any day. You can keep your creepy lobster, thank you very much. Shiver.
6. I have an addiction issue with video games. I'm not joking. Back in my twenties, my roommate got a Nintendo system. I called in sick for most of the week, until I had gotten little Mario all the way to the final level. I have to steer clear of games that have more than a few levels, because I just can't stop playing. I fell off the wagon a few times for Bookworm in the past few years. It's like Scrabble meets Tetris. There is no known end to this game. Believe me, I've played for days. Luckily, you can pause this game for things like eating and sleeping!
*Pleese Noot: These does nott meen that I myself donot make gramatikal errs or typoos. I try knot too, but shite happenes, folkes. :-)
Thursday, November 23, 2006
If I think back to how long ago this actually happened, it will make me feel old. Suffice to say, we were young and dumb. But, of course, we were very eager to make an impression on the family. And we did, but probably not the one we had wanted. Anyway....
We would be having all of Mr. Goofy's family (aka Fam Goofy), which is 6 folks. Plus ourselves for a total of 8. We cleaned the house, we rounded up serving bowls, and I think we actually went out and bought two more chairs for our dining set. We were eager to please....
Then, the night before, we went out to buy the food. Do you see the flaw yet?
I had calculated that we needed a 20-pound turkey. NOTE: Today I know that the Rule of Thumb is 1 pound per person for a whole turkey, so this was a little overkill, to say the least.
We got to the store and went to the turkey bin. It was almost picked clean! We managed to find two 10-pounders and quickly claimed them for our own.**
Boy, folks really buy their turkeys early. How strange! Who has that much room in their fridge to keep a turkey for a week?
Do you see it coming? Do you?!
We got the turkeys home and realized our error...THEY WERE FROZEN SOLID! This was why folks bought the turkeys early...so there was time to thaw them.
We used the cold-water-in-the-sink method. But remember...we had two turkeys. And a small oven. So we figured we would cook one turkey for the family, then cook the other one for leftovers. Lemons from lemonade, you know??
So Mr. Goofy (not a morning person) got up at the butt-crack of dawn, figured out a stuffing recipe (the same one we use today!), prepared, stuffed and lovingly placed the turkey in the oven.
But, as luck would have it, Fam Goofy showed up 1 hour before the turkey was done. Starving. Whiny. Had we got any appetizers? No. Could they go get sandwiches? NO!
We kept the wolves at bay until the first turkey was done. But that hour was painful. It was like preparing a meal in front of 6 hungry tigers. They were actually pacing when the hour was up! But....
Tom Turkey was delicious. And Tanya came out in time for snacking later in the day. And everything else came out okay. I got some complaints about the pumpkin pie (Fam Goofy prefers apple, I found out), but they dealt well.
This year, it's just the 3 of us, since we are not traveling. And I bought a 13-pound turkey. Goofys never learn...
*Lest you think me lazy (ha!), don't worry...I continue to have responsibility for mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and any and all desserts (this year pumpkin-walnut bread and pumpkin pie). Mr. Goofy is simply better at the turkey/stuffing thing than I, hands down.
**I named them Tom and Tanya. This began my tradition of naming the frozen turkeys that we cook. What!?!? You don't do that? You're weird...
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I have realized that I have a, let's say "unique" style of traveling. When I travel to a place I've never been before, I have a routine of sorts that I go through, so I feel comfortable. It's kind of like a dog turning around three times before he lays down to go to sleep.
When I get to the area around the hotel where I'm staying, I don't directly go to the hotel. Rather, I drive around and get a "lay of the land". If I'm going to be going to a place other than the hotel, I go find that place, in relation to my hotel. I also find some yummy-looking restaurants and a Coffee-Place-That-Is-Not-Starbucks. And a Walgreen's or Target, just in case I forgot something. THEN I go to my hotel and check-in.*
Once in my hotel, I immediately unpack. I don't know why. I use the excuse of "wrinkled clothes", but I think it's more of a nesting thing.
Once "nested", I check out the propaganda in the hotel room (visitor mags, city books, etc.), then I go check out the hotel. I find the gym, the restaurants (man, you'd think I was worried about where my next meal comes from, huh?) and concierge. If there's a concierge, I go hit them up for area information (even though I've done research before even getting on the plane).
Okay, after putting this all out into the ether, I feel like a big dork. But it honestly just occurred to me that NOT EVERYONE DOES THIS! I felt like a travel agent today on a break giving several people directions to the hotel's best restaurant, the water taxi to the bar district (leaves every 15 minutes) and the pool. C'mon people, it's ORLANDO...you didn't even go check the pool out yet???
Okay, so I'm a Travel Freak. Or maybe a Travel Control Freak. But I'll never be a Lost Travel Control Freak.
*I typically only do this while traveling ALONE. Mainly because Mr. Goofy relentlessly makes fun of me for doing it. Until we get lost and I'm there with the "I told you so". Ha!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Today I picked him up from daycare and mentioned that tonight was BASKETBALL CLASS! Instead of the girlish scream of delight and the Jack Russell terrier-like jumping up and down, I got a downcast look and a frown.
"I don't wanna go to Basketball class," says Goofy Junior.
"Why not?" I inquire.
"I'm not good at it," he whines.
"WHAT?!?!?," I say. I am seriously shocked by this answer. Yes, he's not as good as SOME of the boys, but he's up there, considering he's a full six months younger than most of them.
I get down on his level, all serious and Mommy-like.
"Alex, I understand if you don't want to go, but that is WHY we go to class...to get better at things. And I think you are very good at basketball!" I can't believe that he has seriously thought about this and decided that he is not good and doesn't want to be embarrased in front of others. Jeez! He's only 3-1/2! Guess that's not too young for self-doubt, obviously.
Another downcast look and frown. "I'm bad...." he says.
"You are not bad at basketball. You are good at basketball. But..." (thinking now of how I don't want to be THAT Obsessive Sports Parent) "if you don't want to go this week, we don't have to go. It's your class and it's your choice to go."
This appears to go over pretty well with him. He seems to relax.
"If you don't go to Basketball class, what will we do instead tonight?" I ask.
"Eat candy!" he exclaims.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Our oldest dog Casey is old. She will be 14 in a month. She's a Siberian Husky, so it is quite an achievement that she has lived this long. She is not overweight and is in pretty good health. But her age is showing. She's a little slow getting up and down from a nap. She can't make it down the stairs to the basement anymore when she has to "do her doggie duty" in the middle of the night, so we have been finding "Casey presents" on the living room floor in the mornings. She doesn't like loud noises, and she twitches when she hears them (I call her "Katherine Hepburn" when she does this - it looks like a palsy shake). She doesn't eat two meals anymore...only one.
Our vet tells us that Casey has very low liver enzyme levels. This is typical with a tumor of some sort. While nothing shows up on the latest x-ray, our vet has prepared us that Casey might not be around for very much longer. We can spend a lot of time and trouble finding this tumor, or we can let her live her life out to the inevitable end.
We've had Casey since she was a puppy - we got her when she was about six months old. We had been married about a year and she was our first venture into committing to someone other than each other. I was worried we would never be able to go out at night anymore - that we would have to rush home to feed to dog. Mr. Goofy assured me that we would make it work. We did.
I remember the first night we brought her home. She was in her crate in the corner of our bedroom, and upon waking up to find herself alone, she made these funny bark-yelping noises that sounded exactly like a dying monkey. We buried our heads under the covers laughing until she calmed down and went back to sleep. After about three days, she settled in and decided that we would take good care of her. And we did.
We've been good Puppy Parents. We've taken her to various parks, to St. Louis for family visits, to PetSmart to go shopping, and to friend's houses. We've gotten her piles of squeaky toys, big bones to chew, and cozy blankets to sleep on. We've adopted two "siblings" to keep her company, first Tucker (who was only with us a few years until getting slammed with a heart tumor) and then Murphy (who is currently the resident "diva" in our house). She accepted each addition willingly and with an understanding that she was not the only dog in the house.
When we adopted Goofy Junior, she became the Mother Hen. We were worried that she would be jealous. She was not. She took her place as "Third Parent". If Junior cried, she would rush to come get us (as if we couldn't hear). If he was crawling on the ground, she would hover around, protectively. She willingly submitted to tail pulls, eye pokes and skin grabs, all without any show of anger or irritation. Mr. Goofy was looking at some pictures from the last several years and came to the realization that in almost every picture of Goofy Junior, Casey is also present. She sticks by him like glue.
So now, Casey is nearing the end of her long and comfortable life. The end is inevitable, as it is for all of us. When we put Tucker down, I took the stand that we should be happy that we had been able to adopt him and give him several years of happiness and love at the end of his life (he was an older dog when we adopted him). I'm trying to keep that same perspective about Casey. But it's hard. We have given her many years of love and care over the past fourteen years, but she has given us so much more back. She has given us thousands of happy door greetings, hundreds of face licks, tons of tail wags, miles of playful puppy sprints through the house, many paw shakes and countless nose nuzzles. And I will miss all that.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
So I didn't get a great conversation, the latest salon gossip, a neck massage nor a cold beverage...but I got a great cut. I can't tell the difference.
My frugal buddy Cagey did this same experiment about two years ago and bragged about how much money she saved. Me being stubborn (Capricorn that I am), I defended my choice of Salon Feux-Feux:
"My hair is short, so I need a special cut". Guess what? Great Clips can cut short hair...pretty darn good too!
"Feux-Feux is close to where I work". Great Clips is close to where I LIVE, and they are open until 9:00pm.
"It's also close to the donut shop" Okay, this is just a BAD thing!
Also, my Great Clips cut took about 20 minutes, where I usually waste an entire lunch hour (and then some) at Feux-Feux.
So call me slow. But now I've got $46 to spend. Maybe I should take more advice from my 3-year old son. Whee!
*Name changed to protect the damn over-priced place.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
- buy a roach-enfested, 80-year-old house in "the hood", 40 minutes away from anyplace I would ever be;
- partner with a gal that I ended up meeting once before she was run out of town by people she owed money to (one of which was her mom);
- have the rehab work contracted by a guy who told me "6 weeks" when in actuality it took "12 months";
- end up with a averagely rehabbed house in a market where no one is buying;
- end up renting this house;
- to a Section 8 tenant.
I have not sold the house. My money is still tied up in it. I have to go get a "real" mortgage to pay off the rehab-only loan. There is still work to be done on the house to get it ready for a tenant. I know nothing about being a landlord (lady?).
Looking on the bright side:
I have a renter to help me make my monthly payment. And a teensy-tiny bit of monthly cash flow. She doesn't mind that there is no off-street parking. She has no car. And she has three kids. After a year, I can possibly sell the house (complete with renter!) to another investor. Hopefully for a profit, or at least my money back.
The value of the learnings I've gotten from this endeavor: (say it with me...)
* I have this motto on my email return address line. I don't always live by it, but when I do, it's pretty cool.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The Basketball class I found was for ages 4-6. GJ is 3-1/2, but he really is pretty good at the ball dribbling and shooting at his Playskool basket, so I figured he'd do okay. And did I mention that he is nuts for basketball? Yeah. My LEAST favorite sport. Couldn't be volleyball. No that would be too perfect. Anyhow...
I pumped him up for it. I started talking about Basketball class really early. The class is held at the Elementary School almost right across the street from our neighborhood. I thought it would be cool to walk to class. GJ did too.
So we walked to Basketball class this past Wednesday. We got inside the gym and all the kids (and parents) were dribbling little toddler-sized basketballs, shooting the ball and generally having some toddler fun. We grabbed a ball and joined in.
Then they had all the kids go into the middle and sit in a circle. Parents sat on the bleachers. This was familiar - we do something similar in Sports class. The difference came next - instead of coming back to the parents and doing drills together, the parents stayed sitting on the bleachers and the coaches worked with the kids.
What!?!? I wanted my money back! Not because of GJ, but because of me. Part of the fun of having a kid is getting to do things like play basketball with them. GJ was a little thrown off too. They did some stretching, then did a slow jog around the gym. Then they broke off into groups of about 3 kids per coach (there were several coaches) and did different drills.
The entire time, GJ was looking at my with a frown on his face (insert heartbreaking sigh here). I probably had the same look on my face, too.
During the first drill, he put down his basketball and came over the bleachers. "C'mon, Mommy. Come with me," he said. (insert more sounds of my heart breaking in two here) "Go on, sweetie. You can do it by yourself," I encouraged.
But he was having none of it. He sat on my lap for the duration of the first drill. I could feel the judging eyes of the other parents on me, but my son's psyche was at stake, so I was giving him a moment, dammit.
I got him to agree to get involved in the next drill. It was across the gym from the bleachers. I walked him over there and took a seat on the floor by the closest (but not TOO close) wall. This helped!
He got involved in the drill (bouncing a ball on the floor, against the wall) and started to smile. After each of his turns, he would put his little ball down, come over to the wall, and give me a hug (say it with me...AWWWWWWWW).
After the fourth drill, we were back around by the bleachers, so I took a seat with the other parents and GJ did his thing. Not so much looking at Mom this time..he was focusing on the drills.
I'm sure there's some analogy here about how kids rely on their parents in the beginning, then not so much, then not at all. I suppose I should wait and see what happens next week when we go back.
Oh, I did I mention that he is a basketball STUD? Ahem. Not that I'm biased or anything.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
The mystery of the Sonic Cup Guy (see post below) was solved by my clever staff of commenters. Er, not that I pay them to post comments. I would never do that.
It appears that this is a Sonic promotion. If you go to Sonic and tell them you saw the Sonic Cup on the guy's trunk, you get a humonsterous drink for 99 cents. I haven't tried it yet.
I'm considering gluing a pizza box to my Jetta trunk. Then maybe Pizza Hut will give us all free pizzas. It's worth a try, huh?
When Love & Logic Backfires...
The weather has turned a bit colder here in Kansas City, but Goofy Junior is having none of it. He insists each morning on wearing his No-sleeve-shirt/shorts/flip-flop combo outfit. We fight, cajole, hide flip-flops and offer bribes. EACH MORNING. This morning, I had had enough.
When my choices of jeans and t-shirts were scorned, I told GJ, "you wear whatever you want". Of course, he appeared at breakfast with t-shirt, shorts and (surprisingly) tennis shoes. I think his flip-flops were hidden, in hindsight.
I kept my mouth shut, and brought some jeans to school with him. I told his teacher Miss Muffett* my plan. Let him freeze on the playground until he gets the picture, then let him come in and put the jeans on. So.....
It never got cold. Nope. It was a beautiful day. *I* wished I had shorts on.
A smug Goofy Junior came home from school, shorts still on and jeans in his smug little hand.
When Open Houses Backfire...
Our daycare had an Open House last Thursday, where parents could come and talk to the teachers about their kid's progress, overall curriculum and how they can support the school lessons at home.
I couldn't make it, but Mr. Goofy (and Goofy Junior) went. They showed up a few minutes into the open house and stayed for most of the entire time. The odd thing?
They were 1 of 2 families there. Yes, TWO. Our daycare probably has at least 100 kids that go there.
And we wonder why our kids can't keep up in school. Hmmmm.....
Adventures in Food and Stuff
Here's some good stuff I've tried recently:
Caribou Coffee - really, really good. Starbuck's ain't got nothing on Caribou. But stay away from their pastries. They are not good.
Mediterrean food - My fellow food adventuress Cagey mentioned HolyLand Cafe. I went there and cannot get enough of this delicious food now. Their hummus is like a little puddle of heaven. I think I've successfully converted Mr. Goofy and Goofy Junior too. And it's inexpensive..bonus!
Had a Birok last Saturday, thanks to Jane. It's a sweet bread roll filled with meat, onion and cabbage. Just delicious, but it gave me horrible gas all weekend. Whoops! Probably more than you needed on that one, huh?
I listened to a great audiobook this past week by a local Kansas City author, "Virgin of Small Plains" by Nancy Pickard. Great character development, great mystery and great use of present time versus flashback to fill in different versions of the story. I drove around the block a few times so I could listen to it more. Yes, it's that good. Support our local authors and check it out!
I finally went to Pierpont's for lunch. What a treat! I had the Blue Crab Sweet Corn Bisque and the Walnut Pear Salad. Unfortunately, I was having lunch w/ a friend that just got laid off, so that sucked. But the food was good. And the prices weren't bad for lunch. Dinner's probably another story.
*Not her real name. Yeah...duh.
SCG UPDATE: It appears that they pay the Sonic Cup Guys $200 a month to drive around with the cups attached to their trunks. Where can I sign up???
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Well, he started moving again, and the cup didn't move. My eyes were glued to this damn cup as we traveled down a major road, periodically stopping at stoplights. How was this cup staying in place?
If there was nothing in the cup, it would have just blown away. It was a windy day. If the cup was full, it would have tipped at the first stoplight. Hell, it wouldn't have made it out of the Sonic parking lot. I pondered where a Sonic was, in relation to where I first saw the guy. And that darn cup.
Then I noticed that the cup wasn't exactly sitting directly on the trunk...you could see a sliver of light under it. Did this guy glue the cup to his trunk? Why?!?! Why would you do this? Did he want to see how many people would honk at point at the darn cup, thinking he had forgotten it sitting on his trunk? And, while we are obsessing, who puts a drink on their trunk? I always put mine on my roof. So why the trunk? WHY?!?!?
I started analyzing the guy in the car. He looked like an older guy, maybe 50-ish, stocky. Not really a jokester, by the looks of him. Well, the looks of the back of his head, at least.
So, I finally have to make a turn to go to my office, and I got the chance to pull up alongside the guy. He was a delivery driver, according to the sign stuck on the driver's side door of his car. He didn't make eye contact, didn't point at the cup, as in "you like my cup, do you?". Nothing.
Has anyone seen this? Is this like those novelty half-golf balls that you can stick on your car windshield, like someone teed off into your car? Or was this guy just a bored delivery driver, looking for attention? Or do I just obsess about the goofiest things? Er, don't answer that last one.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
So now I'm back where I started (Er, no pun intended). Half of me wants to just Live With It. Just freaking ignore it. Suck it up, sister. Life is hard and the pain will make you stronger. Right?
The ortho doc said that it COULD just go away on its own. The very key word there being COULD. It could also get bad enough that I couldn't do all my Goofy things. Yikes! What would I do then? I'd go mad sitting around with nothing to do. Eek!
The super-medical terminology for what's ailing me is: a small left lateral lumbar disc protrusion, with mild stenosis of the central spinal canal. I'm still researching this on the trusty Internet. There's some confusion (mine, mostly) about whether protrusion = herniation. There's also mention in my MRI report of disc dessiccation, which sounds a little to close to disc desecration. Or disc disintegration. Or how about disc discrimation? Try saying that one a few times fast.
What's funny is that I'm really too busy to deal with this now. I could (and should) call my original chiropractor - the one that healed/cured/performed a miracle on my herniated cervical disc several years ago. My hesitation in doing this is that he is a full HOUR'S drive away from anywhere that I might be on a given day.
So, in conclusion...there is no conclusion. The back issue is still in the back of my mind.
p.s. And, faithful readers, it really bothers me to have such a 'downer' post. I'll see what I can do about that!
Friday, September 15, 2006
During our 20-mile Wyoming backpack adventure, Mr. Goofy & I had lots of time to talk (something we don't normally have with our 3-1/2 year old son around). We decided that we would sell our house in spring and move to a somewhat larger house.
So when we got back, we headed out the next day to look at houses. That is the Goofy Way. And...we found one! As karma/luck/universal kindness would have it, we got back from Yellowstone, Wyoming and promptly found a house we loved, named "The Yellowstone". Freaky, huh?
So we sat down and composed a list of things we need to do to our 15 year old house in order to sell it. The list is long...I had to shorten the top and bottom margins in Word to get it on 1 page!
So we have started painting, landscaping, trimming trees, cleaning and fixing. Goofy Junior thinks it's exciting that we have so many "projects" for him to be involved in. Gah!
We are getting a new roof. This spring, lots of hail descended upon Kansas City, and our roof finally raised the white flag of surrender. It has had hail hitting it virtually every spring for 15 years. We finally decided to call the insurance company and have them check it. And the result is... new roof!
This is very cool, except for the timing. Mr. Goofy is out of town this weekend, so I took Friday afternoon off to (say it with me..) do more house projects. As well as have some alone time before the Weekend-as-Goofy-Junior's-Sole-Parent. As luck would have it, the roofers decided that today (the Friday I mentioned above) would be a dandy day to start their work.
I came home around 1:30pm to three Mexican dudes on my roof, banging away. And a dumpster in my driveway. In the MIDDLE of my driveway, so there will be no garage parking for me this weekend. And roof droppings all over the front yard, back yard, and in the trees. Basically everywhere. Oh yeah, and all the pounding on the roof shook 15 years' worth of crap from our ceiling onto our floors, furniture, etc. INSIDE.
And can we talk for a minute about traumatized dogs that I came home to. They were like, "Dude, there are these noisy monsters on our roof! We tried to bite them, but they are way up there! And they keep dropping this white ceiling dust on our heads. Help us."
Fortunately, they tend to finish this roof stuff quick (we are not the only ones in our neighborhood having this done), so I think they will be out of my hair by Saturday afternoon.
It's been over 5 years since a company has sent me to any sort of formal training. Well, any training outside of Kansas City, that is. You know? A boondoggle. Someplace fun that you travel to, learn some stuff, go drink with people of like mind. Fun stuff, man.
Anyway...I'm going on a conference! To Orlando! In November! Yee-ha! Plus the subject matter is something that is pretty good stuff for the work I do (but probably boring to 90% of the population).
I am trying to convince Mr. Goofy to come down mid-week and bring Goofy Junior. GJ is always talking about "the beach" and "the ocean" although he's never seen one (outside of a book that is). Being the Purveyor of Cool Experiences that I am, I think he needs to go see a real ocean.
And yes, I realize that Orlando is inland. But it's a hell of a lot closer to salt water than Kansas!
So that's what's on my mind this Friday. Stay tuned for more Goofy thoughts!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
So what does all this mean? Good question! Unfortunately, it means alot of the same ole, same ole...
Here's how the doctor conversation went...
Me: I already tried those. They didn't help. They actually made it worse.
Doc: Well, I find that hard to believe. I can see them not helping, but I doubt they made it worse.
Me: (did that bitch just call me a liar!?) Well, they didn't help.*
Doc: Which ones did you take?
Me: Er.....it started with "N". Naaaaaaaaa-something. (Duh)
Doc: Naproxen? NaproseelyMcweely?
Me: Um, yeah. That first one. (whatever, bitch. Gimme the good ones)
Doc: Hmmmm....Let's try Celebrex. That one has a really good track record with cases like this.
Me: (Dammit, now I've got that stupid Celebrex song in my head...Cel-e-brate...Cel-e-brate...ARG!) Okay, sure.
Doc: Now try these for fourteen days. You will know whether they work or not after that. It will be obvious.
Doc: If those don't do the trick, we will do some physical therapy.
Me: I already did that.
Doc: Well. (kinda ignoring me) Let's try it again.
Me: (Hey, did that bitch just ignore me? Whatever. I guess he's the "expert" here. I'll just nod and act interested). Um, okay. (also thinking...my benefit limit for physical therapy bit the dust about two months ago...this could get expensive)
Doc: (babbles on about physical therapy)
Doc: If all that doesn't help, we can move on to epidural steroids.
Me: Are those like cortisone shots? (me showing my clever Google research skills. Ha!)
Doc: Sort of. Have you had kids?
Me: No. (I HAVE a kid, but I've never HAD a kid, but didn't feel compelled to elaborate on this)
Doc: Er, well, it's an epidural, like when you go into labor, but instead of painkillers, it's steroids, which can help the disc heal.
Me: (Hell-oooooo? Did you hear me? NO LABOR. Wouldn't know an epidural if it poked me in the ass. That is where they put it, right???) Er. Okay.
At this point, I'm thinking, "Just shoot me in the ass, back, neck, wherever you need to with the epidural goo, 'cause I've already tried the drugs, I've already tried the therapy, and it's not working. I don't see how trying this all again (with the associated expense) will help."
But, hey, I'm a trooper. I'll go along with the plan and see what happens. Meanwhile, know that I know in certain terms what is wrong, I'm off to Google to do some research. Much to Cagey's dismay, I fear. Whee!
*Mr. Goofy later reminded me about how the anti-inflammatories gave me anxiety attacks. I had forgotten that fun side effect!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
All the MRIs are taken. I had my last one Friday. As you might recall, I freaked out during the previous one (from claustrophobia) and had to reschedule at an "open" MRI. I put the open in quotes (big, giant quotes) because it was NOT open. Liars! It was just shorter.
But...the technician was nice. And cute (hey, cute goes a long way when you are freaking out). And (this is the biggie)...he gave me a button to hold that I could press if I just couldn't take it anymore and he would (supposedly) eject me immediately from the machine. Just this simple rubber ball with a cord coming out of it - this CONTROL - kept me sane. Silly me forgot to see if it was actually connected to anything or not. They probably call it the "Idiot Ball" and laugh as patients frantically press it and nothing happens. Ah, but as usual, I digress....
So, the tests are all taken, and I have my orthopedist's appointment tomorrow. What will it be? Herniated disc? Giant tumor on my spine? Osteo-necrosis*? Or....my worst nightmare....
Nothing. I am super-duper afraid that he will tell me my back is normal. Why? Because what the hell do I do then? I'm in pain. Pretty bad pain sometimes. I'm worried that it will either be nothing(mental? stress?), or un-fixable. Like I said...what the hell do I do then?
So there. I said, er, typed it. I'm trying not to worry about it, cause we all know how much that helps (NOT!). Try to think some good, back-healing thoughts for me around 4:00pm CST tomorrow.
Unless my giant back tumor bursts, I'll be writing in tomorrow to let you all know the verdict.
So stay tuned - same Goofy time...same Goofy channel.
*Bo Jackson's disease. Yes, I've done some research on all the things it could be, regardless of how remote the chances.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Q: For what?
A: Membership to one of those super-duper wholesale club stores.
We do not belong to Costco. We are not welcome at Sam's Club. Price Club...no thanks. And we do not miss it.
Q: Who really needs a 5 pound bag of cheese curls? Who needs a 24-pack of sweatsocks?
A: Obviously, everyone else in America except for us.
You should see the faces when I tell people this. And (trust me) it comes up in casual conversation nowadays.
Co-worker: Oh I had the best cheese last night!
Me: Really? What kind was it?
Co-worker: Oh gouda or something....I got the 10 pound sampler from Costco. You should go pick it up!
Me: Er. I can't. I don't belong to Costco.
Co-worker: (shocked silence)
It's not like I'm bragging or anything. I just really don't feel like I would get a big value out of it.
I really don't buy books much at all anymore (library serves to whet my bookworm appetite). Music CDs have been replaced by iTunes downloads and movies come via Blockbuster Online.
And we buy groceries using the JIT (just-in-time) method. As in "Honey, what's for dinner tonight?" "I don't know, let's run up to Price Chopper and get something". There's no stocked-freezer in the Goofy house, that's for sure.
And we are surviving. Really!
So readers...tell me: Are we missing the boat? Should we rush over to Sam's and plunk down our 35 bucks a year? Or are we okay sticking with our "alternative" lifestyle?
Monday, August 28, 2006
Where the crimson sun seeks rest,
There's a growing splendid State that lies above,
On the breast of this great land;
Where the massive Rockies stand,
There's Wyoming young and strong, the State I love!
Okay, okay...I'll spare you rest on the Wyoming State Song. Wyoming was, well, pretty darn splendid. Temps were highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s. Humidity around 20% (versus 90% here in good ole KC). In other words...perfect.
It was hard to come back. We were there a week. I didn’t think about work. I didn’t think about Goofy Junior (too much). My mind started centering. And (bonus!) I actually got to re-connect with my husband. Without the work, family, house, dogs, money, etc. issues swirling around, we actually enjoyed each other’s company and got to talk about some pretty important things. And we didn’t fight/bicker at all. Well, a few times regarding navigational issues, but that’s to be expected.
I also got an MRI on the Friday before we left. It’s a long, painful story, but I only got an MRI of my hip, not my back. I was supposed to get both, but I kinda freaked out when the gal rolled me all the way into the middle of the MRI machine (which is this gigantic, sterile white monolith, that makes loud banging noises and they roll you into the middle of it, head-first, which gives you a fun "coffin" feeling). Shudder. Then she mentioned that I would have to be in there for 40 minutes. Without moving. If I moved, we’d have to start over.
So basically I freaked ("Jane! Stop this crazy thing!") and could only do the hip MRI. Which they can put you feet-first in for…and I still freaked me out, but I was able to hold it together for the 40 minutes. I freaked out quietly. Then I couldn’t get out of the place fast enough. Hopefully that will be enough for the ortho doc to tell me something.
Back to Wyoming. Once again, I surprised myself at how much I can achieve, once I set my mind to it. Or maybe I’m just too stupid to know what is above my level. Who knows? Anyway…
I went up, up, and over a mountain divide that was 10,700 feet tall. On the way down, I started having some altitude sickness symptoms, the most annoying one being a pretty strong nauseous feeling. The headaches I’m used to, and can breath through, but the nausea made me nervous.
Also, by the time we got to camp, I had a whopping blister in the back of my left ankle. Like a quarter-sized gaping hole! This made the last day hiking out very, very painful and my progress very slow. But I finished. My energy held out very well and I recovered from the nausea fairly fast (well, after vomiting at our campsite – under a rock, so it wouldn’t attract Yogi Bear. I’ll never eat a beef stick again. Bleck.).
I took a nap in the tent for about 30 minutes (shivering the entire time), then was able to eat some dinner and felt a great deal better. Then the next morning I felt like a new woman. A new woman with a very sore, bloody ankle. Ew.
But…I did it! As Dora would say, "Lo hicimos!". I surprised myself at how well I did. The next day, Randy was just as sore as I was (although he didn’t get any blisters). Mainly our calves killed us, from the 5-hour downhill hike out. We looked like two senior citizens gimping around after we sat still for more than 10 minutes.
And that's the Goofy definition of Big Fun.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
That skinny guy eating a granola bar in the Grand Cherokee…what's his motivation? A family at home to support? Aging parents that might depend on him soon to pay their bills? Or maybe that trip to France that he's always dreamed about?
The chubby black lady driving the bright yellow (ouch, my eyes!) Mustang…what's her motivation? Paying for gas on her sporty car? Just getting the bills paid? Or is she working towards a greater purpose? Does she dream about changing the world someday?
What compels us to wrap our lives around a job? Money, of course, is key. But the money is simply the middleman. Money is simply a means to an end.
Money (and by "money" I mean the pieces of green paper that we exchange to buy goods and services) is worthless taken at face value. It's paper, people. Ah, but it's important paper. It REPRESENTS. It represents our end goals….food…clothes…iPods….pedicures.
If we gather enough of these green pieces of paper (either physically or virtually) then our dreams can get bigger. A new car. New house. New boobs. A new product or service that will change the way the world operates.
But do we all think about this during the average week? Do we stop and think about WHY we are going to work? Or do we just do it because everyone else is doing it? Because we have nothing else to do? Because we think it's "expected" of us? Because we are too lazy to come up with another method?
I don't have any answers to these questions. And just when I started really getting my thinking going…I arrived at work. And I had to go in because, hey, what else am I gonna do?
Monday, August 14, 2006
Only a Goofy Girl can take a nice, relaxing backpacking trip and find a way to apply an Excel spreadsheet and anal-retentiveness to it. Let me explain…
Mr. Goofy and I are going to Grand Teton National Park to do (among other things) a 3-day backpack. Backpacking is where you head into the woods with just the stuff you need on your back, and don't emerge for several days later, hopefully still civil with each other. (stay tuned)
I'm recently been reading about ultra-light and lightweight backpacking. Ultra-light backpacking is basically yourself, the clothes on your back, and a tarp. And I'm not really exaggerating much, folks.
On the other hand, lightweight backpacking is more about being aware of what you are carrying and what each item weighs. You examine (and weigh!) all the items you would normally take and make some tough decisions about what to leave at home. Also, it emphasizes taking items with dual purposes. For example, socks could also be used as "gloves" if it got unexpectedly cold. Hopefully CLEAN socks...
It also emphasizes taking only what you need. I would normally haul around a full bottle of sunscreen and a full spray bottle of bug spray for this 3-day backpack. Am I really going to use that much sunscreen? No way. So instead, you find a small container and put about 3 days' worth of sunscreen in it, and find a much smaller bug spray (or maybe go with towelettes - anyone ever use those?)
Some benefits of lightweight backpacking are:
(1) you can go farther, since you are not weighed down with all the pleasures of home like fluffy pillows, lanterns, 3-course meals, teddy bear; and
(2) as we get older (who me!?) it's much easier on your back and knees to carry less weight. I like both of these benefits. I also like a good challenge. Game on!
After buying a kitchen scale to weigh my gear, I created an Excel spreadsheet on which to track the items I intended to carry on my back across Wyoming. My goal was to carry 30 pounds or less.
I weighed socks. I weighed food. I cut tags off of clothing to eliminate weight (and weighed them...total saved = 1 ounce). I decided to recycle socks while on the trip (I know....EW!). I decided to forgo toothpaste for 3 days (double-EW). I bought a Titanium spork.
My total looked really good at first. Then I realized I had forgotten to account for water (8 pounds) and my backpack (5.3 pounds). Whoops.
I removed more clothes from my list. Our planned lunch menu got smaller. I decided I needed to bring a shorter paperback book than I had planned. Basically, it's gotten obsessive. Sigh.
As of yesterday, my estimated total weight was 31.04 pounds. 1.04 over! So close. But, I scored big this evening at Price Chopper - I found a 1-ounce bottle of bug spray. This replaces my current "heavyweight" 4 ounce one.
Yippee! Now I've got an extra almost-pound free. Looks like a chocolate bar (or two) may make the trip afterall.
Life is good.
UPDATE: I should know not to attempt math after 10:00pm. I am not UNDER by an almost-pound..I'm still OVER by an almost-pound. ARG!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
They hit you with the guilt trip. The band/football team/soccer team/choir/chess club doesn't have enough money for uniforms/goals/music stands/rooks so PLEASE can you dig deep and help them?
And in return, you get some crap: A 40-cent candy bar for $2.50; a popcorn tin with a half-life; an overpriced stinky candle, Xmas wrapping paper in August. Hell, you name it and they will mark it up 15% and sell it to you. In the interests of fund raising, of course.
And rest assured…the fund raising group that need the help will get a whopping 20 cents from each dollar you give. This is after the organization that provides the aforementioned candy/popcorn/candle/crap takes their share.
I blame the Girl Scouts. They started it all.
I saw one of these forms today (candles for a football team) and I had a thought….why not just ask people to help by donating MONEY? Yes, that green stuff that hardly any of us carry around anymore. Have we gotten so selfish nowadays that we need to GET something in order to GIVE something? If my friend's sister's son's football team needs money for tackling dummies, why not just tell me this and ask for $5? Don't bother with the crappy products. Don't bother with the management organization taking their unbelievable cut of the profits. Simplify, people. Simplify.
And another thought…why not do what "real" sports teams do? Get sponsors. Hit up the neighborhood McDonald's, the local Trophy Shop, the corner Blockbuster. Frame it as a Market Opportunity. Dozens of teenagers will see these shirts/tackling dummies/softball gloves. If that's the business' target audience, let them have the opportunity to reach that target audience. For a price, of course.* Long live capitalism!
Our daycare sent home a fund raising sheet last fall. Seems our weekly fees were not enough and they needed money for some new playground equipment. I can't remember what the product was that we were supposed to pimp, but I was having none of it. On the day that we were to turn in our "orders", I walked in and asked what the average sales was looking like, per kid. Then I wrote a check for that amount ($50) as a donation.
I saved time, I probably saved money, I saved embarrassing myself by hitting up friends and neighbors to buy crappy popcorn balls and I saved having to eat/smell/wrap the crap that my own "order" would have netting me in return, when my friends/neighbors didn't buy enough.
Why do we make this so hard?!
* Hopefully we wouldn't end up with too many teams renamed to "The Trojans". Snicker.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
9 months of chiro,
8 weeks of physical therapy,
7 days a week of pain,
6 back-strengthening exercises daily,
5 days of anti-inflammatories,
4 doctor visits,
3 places that hurt,
2 orthopedic referrals,
and1 session of laser acupunture
So I went back to my MD after 8 weeks of physical therapy (after 9 months of chiropractic treatments). I am now super-strong, but still in pain. He asked if I was taking the anti-inflammatories. I murmured something about not wanting the mask the symptoms (how would I know if I was getting better?). I could see he was not approving of this, so I promised him I would take them. Who knows? I'd kick myself if they worked after all I've gone through.
He also basically scratched his head and said "I dunno". He has no idea why my back hurts. He referred me to an orthopedist.
I started taking the anti-inflammatories about one week ago. The label is daunting: drinking alcohol with these can make your liver bleed; sun exposure can result in sunburn and blisters; dizziness, nausea, headaches. Great. Let's trade the bad for the worst. But I wanted to give it a shot.
RESULT: Nothing. NOTHING. No difference in the pain at ALL. NONE. I feel dizzy all day long (big fun) and I've noticed that my moods are swinging up and down, left and right. It freaked me out so much today, that I just quit taking them. No results in one week = I've tried it.
My chiropractor called to check on me and I gave her the scoop. I'd cheated on her - been to the physical therapist, but to no avail. What she did didn't work, what the PT was doing didn't work. Woe is me. She said she had a laser acupuncture machine that she thought I should try. I told her I was out of insurance money to pay for anything like that (another fun side effect of all this crap). She said, "the first one's on me" and told me I would be able to tell whether it would work or not from that. Hmmm...a freebie. Sounds like a drug dealer, huh? But I'm willing to give anything a shot at this point. Voodoo dolls. Shark cartilage. Pacts with the devil. Whatever.
The laser acupuncture was easy. Unlike regular acupunture, there are no giant scary needles, so that was a big plus. I didn't feel anything right off the bat, but the next day (today) I can tell a teensy, tiny difference. I don't know if it's just wishful thinking, or something good. So...
I called the orthopedist referral today. The nasty phone answering lady heard the word "back" and said, "We don't treat backs. If your back is the problem, you'll have to go somewhere else." I think she could have been a bit nicer, but I was still dizzy from the anti-inflammatories, so I just hung up. I got another ortho referral that I haven't called yet.
What's next? I had a colleague mention something called IMT (Integrated Manual Therapy). Hell, why not try it? At a minimum, it's a new experience. Groan.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Me: GJ got a cool new movie!
GJ: Yeah, Daddy, I got a new movie at the movie store.
Daddy: Really?! (playing along with the faux excitment)
Me: Yep, we went to Blockbuster and GJ picked out the movie himself.
GJ: Nuh-uh!* We didn't go to Black Monster...we went to the movie store!
(cue the laugh track...)
* His favorite new term. ARG!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Road trips are even more fun when we stay overnight. Our Omaha trip was so much fun, and we didn't have to rush home since we had a hotel room. Okay, actually we did have to rush home, but that's another story.
One snag in this plan...our two beloved Siberian Huskies. We can't leave them alone this long. Well, we could, except if we left them 2 days' worth of dog food, they would eat it within seconds of us leaving, vomit, then....well, I'll spare you the details about their digusting dog nature. And there's also the pooping aspect of the whole situation. Basically, they need to be fed twice a day and need to be let out a few times too. Or go to the kennel.
They love the kennel. We love the kennel. Many (many!) folks in our area love the kennel. Thus...the kennel is very often full. Especially for folks like The Goofys that plan Saturday trips on Wednesday night (we are a tad spur-of-the-moment sometimes).
I had trips planned for this coming weekend (Lindsborg, KS) and the following weekend (possibly Omaha again), but alas...no kennel.
Even for Omaha, we didn't have a kennel. We
So, instead of being a family with a 3-year-old that makes it difficult to travel, we are a family with a 3-year-old that loves to travel, but our dogs are keeping us home.
Instead of having Mommy Guilt, I have Puppy Parent Guilt, when I think that Casey (who turns 14 this year, which is like being the Buck O'Neil of dogs) will not be with us much longer. We've had her since she was about 6 months old, so there will be a big hole in our family when she goes. Even GJ is very attached to Casey. She is his favorite. Shhhh, don't tell Murphy!
So for the moment, we are grounded. I should be planning our trip to Lindsborg for three weeks' out (kennel is available), but it's hard for me to plan that far ahead.***
We are making do. I think this weekend will involve a trip to Deanna Rose Farmstead (horses! goats! chickens! oh my!) and/or Powell Gardens.
...and a call to the kennel to make some reservations!
*One of my Mommy Goals is to give GJ lots of new experiences. That way, when he gets old enough, we can go exploring together, instead of sitting in front of the TV together (aka the way I grew up).
**Everyone should have a Dog-Loving Friend...they are such good people. And they never mind when you talk about poop.
***This is why I never get good rates on airplane travel...sigh.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Not the in-ground, pain-in-the-neck-because-of-all-the-upkeep pools...just a simple, shallow pool that we could splash around in. And I do mean SPLASH. That's all toddlers seem to want to do in a pool.
Anyway, in my efforts to qwell* my inner Control Freak nature, I sent Mr. Goofy off in search of a pool. I believe my directive was, "just buy a pool". So proud of my delegation, I am. :-)
And he ROCKED THE HOUSE. GJ and I came home from grocery shopping (our task of the day) to find an ALLIGATOR POOL! With LEGS! And a TAIL! And (drumroll, please) A WATER SPRINKLER ON THE TOP OF THE GATOR'S HEAD!! Okay, so maybe not genetically correct for a gator to have a whale spout, but it's SO f-ing** cool.
NOTE: I SO wanted to post a picture of the Alligator Pool, but I can't seem to find one on the 'net. Maybe it's more fun to imagine, anyway...
We rushed around, getting swimsuits on, sunscreen, finding our shades, then went and jumped into the 4-inch deep pool. What fun! Then Mr. G turned the sprinkler on. Giggles ensued. Damn, the water was cold! We kept having to get out to warm up.
Mr. G went inside for a while and I decided to turn the sprinkler off. I accidentally turned the knob the wrong way and doused our entire deck. That gator spouts water like 50 feet in the air! I ain't kiddin', folks. Oh course, Junior demanded, "do it again, Mommy!". He likes big action.
I found out later that Mr. G had gotten been to TWO stores looking for a pool. He scored the Rockin' Gator Pool at Wal-mart. It was the last one they had. The last pool in the entire store. And it was only $14.99.
Who says you gotta spend big to have big fun?
Cagey - this note's for you!***
* I get 10 Scrabble points for using that word in a post. Ha!
** That one's for you, Michael.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
9:00am: Leave for Omaha.
12:00noon: Arrive at Omaha Zoo. Entire town of Omaha already there. Must park about 1 mile away. Have picnic lunch under a tree in the parking lot. Already 95 degrees in shade.
12:30pm: Go into Zoo. Goofy Junior (GJ) becomes obsessed with a freaking peacock, instead of the much cooler monkeys, lemurs and otters.
1:00pm: Stand in line for zoo train with 300 people. In the sun. After 5 minutes, decide walking is better. See bears. See cats. GJ wants to to "touch the tiger". Becomes very frustrated with the glass between him and the giant tiger with very large teeth.
2:45pm: Enter Kingdom of the Night exhibit. Ah....it's cool in here. But very dark. It's a 'things that live in caves' theme. GJ decides to meltdown in the Kindom of the Night. Mr. Goofy & I rush from room to room, in the dark, with crowds of people we can't really see, with a toddler screaming "I WANNA WALK!", looking for an exit. I think it was a cool exhibit, but I saw it at light speed.
3:00pm: Head off to hotel. Mr. Goofy pulls out sofabed for GJ, who decides that it makes an excellent trampoline. Mr. Goofy lays down for nap.
3:01pm: Mr. Goofy asleep. GJ playing jungle gym on the sofabed.
4:30pm: Mr. Goofy awakes. GJ and I are still entertaining ourselves. We take showers (GJ takes a bath) and we head out in search of dinner.
5:30pm: We find ourselves in the Old Market area of Omaha. Very cool. We quickly realize that we are much too casual for some of the places and with our toddler "accessory", probably not welcome in some. We end up an a nice microbrewery that appears kid-friendly.
7:30pm: Head back to hotel. Jammies for all, book for GJ, and everyone to bed. GJ will not sleep while he can see us (no separate rooms, dammit, just one large one..note to self to not do this again). I want to read, so I make a comforter "tent" so GJ cannot see me.
10:30pm: GJ finally falls asleep. We all do.
7:00am: Wake up. Take shower. Not a peep from GJ, who is in the same position as when he fell asleep. Okay, so it takes a 3-hour drive and a zoo trip to wear him out. Good to know.
8:30am: Head over for hotel-provided breakfast. Not too shabby. GJ drops peach bit on floor, then steps on it, then complains that his Beloved Flip-Flops* are dirty. We ignore this.
10:00am: Packed. Back in the car. GJ doesn't want to leave the hotel. It seems he kinda liked it. Good to know!
11:00am: Decide to stop by Arbor Day Farms. It's an outdoor farm-exploratory-tour-celebration-o'-trees. Looks fun. Find out it's a two-hour walk. Too late to turn back now...
1:00pm: After much tree fun, we are starved. Stop at the overpriced and under-yummy cafe on premises. I buy a much-needed bird identification book (what! It was a trip highlight for me)
1:30pm: Back on the road... For about 20 minutes, GJ falls asleep. Then he's back up, entertaining us.
4:00pm: Back in KC, just in time to...prepare for a picnic! We unpack, I make some BBQ beans, we gather kid sports equipment, illegal wine for the park, etc. Change clothes and do cat baths so we don't smell like trees.
5:00pm: We need brots! Only ones available at the store are frozen solid. We figure we can leave in the freaking hot sun and they will thaw in time. We will see.
5:20pm: Arrive to picnic in park with friends. Much fun, food and frolicking done by all. With no park rangers in sight, we happily drink our illegal wine. Shhhhh...don't tell!
7:30pm: Picnic adjourns. Head home.
8:30pm: I went through the last month's worth of mail, sorting and shredding. Ugh.
8:30am: We are off work! Drop GJ off at daycare and head out for mountain bike ride. ** We decided to try a new trail. One closer to home.
9:30am: I am hating the new trail. It start out hard and gets harder. I always have this 'warm-up' period with single-track before I feel comfortable. Much complaining and huffing from me.
10:00am: It is hot. SO freaking hot. We are not in the sun, but in the woods, there is no breeze. It is like biking in a sauna. Gasp.
10:30am: Getting used to the trail finally. Kinda liking it.
11:00am: Done! We take the paved trail back to the car. Ah! The breeze is wonderful. We pack up bikes and head to Panera Bread for lunch.
12:00noon: Decide some errands are in order.
1:00pm: Back at home. We are tired, sweaty and have to pee. And...our maid is still there! We consider going away and coming back, but decide we are just too tired. We unpack the car while she is finishing up.
2:00pm: Cleanup and basically waste the rest of the day.
5:30pm: Pick up GJ from school and meet friends for a yummy Mexican dinner. Ole!
8:00pm: Watched "Chronicles of Narnia", while concurrently doing laundry. Very good (the movie, not the laundry). I remember reading "The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe" and loving it...although I had forgotten the plot.
8:00am: Took dogs for a walk. It's still sauna-city outside. Yuk.
8:30am: Watched GJ's newest arrival from Blockbuster.com, "Monsters, Inc." What a great movie.
10:00am: Made a gooey butter cake *** for the July 4th party tonight.
12:00noon: Leftover Mexican food for lunch. Yum.
1:30pm: GJ actually takes a real nap! Without bribery, screaming or mayhem! We don't know what to do with ourselves! I watch a bit of my real estate investing DVD, which promptly puts Mr. Goofy to sleep.
3:00pm: Shower, pack up and head to July 4th celebration at friends' house.
5:00pm: Party! Pizza, beer, fireworks, friends. What fun! One of GJ's little friends is at the party, so he has a grand ole time.
6:00pm: Mr. Goofy complains to all that will listen that I have been running him ragged all weekend. Everyone reacts with a "well, you married her" type of answer. Ha-ha.
9:00pm: With much crying and sadness (mainly from GJ), we depart. We see many fireworks displays on the way home, all of which GJ points out to us, with the same expression of wonderment and glee.
10:00pm: We all pass out. I recount the wonderfulness of a long weekend, jam-packed with fun and new experiences, along with some good old traditions too. Man, it was hard to go to work today!
* Is anyone else's toddler simply OBSESSED with flip-flops? GJ wears these things to bed! And the smallest size of boy's flip-flips (read as: no pink, no glitter, no Dora) is 3 sizes too big...so these things are like snowshoes on him. Flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop...at least we can hear him coming.
** We probably would have slept late this day, but our maid was coming at 9:00am and she hates it when we are still in bed when she shows up.
*** This link goes to the recipe I actually use. I get rave reviews everywhere I bring this cake. And it takes one bowl, no measurements. Easy, easy...
Sunday, June 25, 2006
My intent was to relax, de-stress, enjoy the company of some friends, eat well, drink some wine. As usual in the Goofy world, my plans got derailed.
Oh it started out well. Mr. Goofy and I landed at the Augusta Brewing Company for a microbrew and lunch. Mmmmm....I had a German-style Maibock beer. It was delicious. The lunch was not so great, but it was Friday afternoon at a place that really doesn't get busy until the 'true' weekend - Friday night - Saturday night. Our friends met us there and we proceeded to our first winery of the day.
So we are standing there at the first winery, sipping away, and I start to get the cold sweats. My stomach does a great big double roll and I get the shakes. This was WAY too early in the wine tasting to be anywhere near drunk (especially since I was pacing myself), so I was confused. I excused myself and went outside to sit down. It helped enough to get me to the next winery.
The next winery was awesome! Very cold inside, great wine, great hosts. As we were standing there sipping some yummy wine, I looked over and saw a Coke machine. Gads! Could it be Diet Coke withdrawl that I was going through? Still!!?!? It had been almost two weeks since I quit. But I couldn't think of another reason. But I was feeling better, so I plodded on.
Our last winery of the day was a small, out of the way place. The owner was this 70-year-old character, that took us downstairs to his cellar to taste some wine not even out of the stainless steel barrel yet! He talked our ears off, but we loved every minute of it. This guy had first tried making wine many years ago, and said it was "horrible. You could have cut it with a knife." But instead of giving up, he enrolled in UC-Davis to learn how to make wine. Years later, he is pulling in medals left and right for his wines, and selling out each bottling.
I should have been loving this experience, but I had this nagging ache in between my eyeballs, that was becoming hard to ignore. Since it was around 6:00pm (closing time for the wineries), we headed off in search of our B&B. We took a few 'detours' (we got lost) and finally made it there around 7:00pm.
At this point, I felt on the verge of death. I had two searing hot knives stuck in the corners of each eyeball (at least it felt like it) and my stomach was doing the wave. I couldn't decide whether my head or my stomach was going to implode first. I barely made it upstairs before passing out on the bed. A very worried Mr. Goofy did what he could until Grouchy Me told him to "get out!", so he went to dinner with our friends.
I re-surfaced around 9:30pm, feeling like I had slept about 20 minutes (in actuality about 2 hours!) and the headache was gone. I still felt very shaky but managed to eat some dinner that Mr. Goofy (Oh-Boy-Do-I-Love-Him!) brought me back from the home-made fried chicken place.
After all that, the next day I bounced out of bed and rode my bike 23 miles on the KATY trail.
So, did I detox the Diet Coke? Did I get a bad sandwich at lunch? Did I get really, really carsick? Spectulation ensued, but I don't think I'll ever know. I'm just happy to be back in the land of the living. And still aspartame-free!
NOTE: While surfing around for a link for the word "aspartame" (and trying to figure out how to actually spell this word), I found a plethora of links to sites about "aspartame detoxification" and "aspartame kills". Damn! Who knew!?!?
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Word Detective
I found this site while trying to explain to someone the meaning of being a "pollyanna". We have a joint friend that's always getting herself into a pickle because she assumes that everyone, including strangers, are always looking after her best interest, instead of their own. I was beginning to think I had imagined this term, until I found it on this site.
It's good stuff for you if you're a logophile (lover of words) or a bibliophile (book lover) or glossophile (you really dig languages).
And if you love knowing the words for folks that love specific things, go here.
Feel smarter yet?
Monday, June 19, 2006
My Treo 600 finally bit the digital bullet, so I got the 650. Upgrades on these things are always painful, so I was already gritting my teeth and crossing my fingers as I diligently uninstalled my old software, installed the new, and fired up the synch. Would my data come over to the new device? Would it stubbornly refuse to move? Would it vaporize into never-never land? Oh, the suspense...
As it turned out, everything synched perfectly... except for my calendar. One problem: the calendar is the main thing I use on my PDA. Anytime of the day or night, I can whip out my PDA and check my lunch plans, er, I mean my important business meetings.
So I called Sprint. They worked with me a while, then told me to call my company help desk. They worked with me a while, they decided a live person (let's call him Neo) actually needed to come take a look. Neo came and was very optimistic. "We'll get you going in no time!" he said. I had to love his attitude. I should have known better.
So after two days of Neo popping in and out of my life, disrupting my work flow, he finally discovered the problem. "Hey! You've got like six years of calendar on this thing!" (this said like I had been testing him this entire time or something). "You've blown up your account on the Outlook Exchange server. That's why things don't work."
"Er. I'm an information junkie," I admitted. "I need all that info. You never know when someone might ask me for the date of that Hatha Yoga class I took back in 2001. C'MON MAN...I GOTTA HAVE IT!" (this was followed up by much whining and groveling on my part to PLEASE NOT LOSE MY DATA). And so....
I lost my data.
Well, to be truthful, I only kinda lost my data. All six years of goodness are on my desktop computer, at work, not very portable at all. And I now have only a paltry three months of calendar on my PDA. I can almost remember that much stuff...what good is that?
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
This is no small endeavor. I drink DC all day long. I manage to not start until after lunch, but lunch is usually a QuickTrip 305-ouncer, which I suck down by 2:00pm and refill from the cans of DC I keep in the work fridge.
I started on Sunday. Even after much coffee, I quickly ran out of energy. Fortunately, Mr. Goofy needed a trip to the hardware store and took Junior with him, so a nap ensued. After that, I felt pretty good.
Monday was tricky. The bad news was: I keep a 12-pack of DC in the work fridge. The good new was: There was only one left! So even if I fell off the wagon, I would only fall 12 ounces. Monday was also very stressful, but I managed to persevere.
Tuesday morning a headache struck. Keep in mind...I'm still drinking just as much coffee, or more, so I doubt that this was a caffeine withdrawl headache. It was a Diet Coke withdrawl headache! How scary is that!? But I kept on keeping on...
Today went well. I realized today that I haven't had any cookies, cakes, donuts, pastries, cinnamon crunch bagels, or anything sweet other than fruit since I started my little "experiment". It just hasn't sounded good. I repeat: HOW SCARY IS THAT?!?!?
This realization is especially scary. I am the sweet tooth extraordinaire. My nickname after two months in my new department was "Donut Queen". Every roommate I've ever had has gained weight after living with me more than three months. It's something I've just grown used to.
I'm optimistic about the rest of the week. We have a picnic Thursday night, so I'll probably stick with water (or beer). Friday we are going to The Yard House with some friends, so it would be rude to not drink beer, right? Then Saturday we have our company picnic, so I'll try to stick with water, as much highly-competitive volleyball, badminton and horseshoes will certainly ensue. After that, we go to a three-year-old's birthday party, where there will hopefully be some adult bevs for the parent-types.
So, ding, dong...the Donut Queen is dead. Love live the Beer Queen. Oh wait...maybe this isn't such a clever idea...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
It's been almost two months since Goofy Junior has been potty trained. Or rather, since he potty trained himself. Yes, you heard that right. Here's the scoop.
The day before his third birthday, we got a note on his Daily Activity Sheet. "Alex told me he didn't want to wear his diaper today. He had an accident at 11:30am. Bring extra underwear and we will try again."
Okay, lest you think my boy was running around daycare commando, let me clarify that since Grammie Goofy bought him several pairs of underwear (f'ing Bob the Builder, no less), he had requested to wear said underwear every day. So we put them over his diaper. We're no dummies.
We weren't ready for a potty-trained boy. I've seen potty-trained boys in Target grab their crotch while their moms are in the midst of power-shopping at the exact opposite end of the store as the bathrooms. Ugh.
I wanted the freedom of the diaper. The freedom to take a long car ride without stopping for Junior's bladder. The freedom of grocery store, library and restaurant outings without needing to accompany Junior to the restroom, help him "perch" on the giant toilet seat, before deciding, no, he doesn't really have to go. Then watching in horror as he hops down and opens the sanitary napkin disposal box. Eek! Where's that hand sanitizer!?!?!
Anyway, the following day, Wednesday (his birthday), he informed us that he was simply not doing the diaper thing anymore. After much whining (from Mr. Goofy & I), we caved. We sent extra pairs of underwear to school and expected the worst. We were so wrong....no accidents! Then Thursday - no diaper...no accidents. Then Friday - no diaper...no accidents. Then (uh-oh!) the weekend. Now we had to deal with this potty-training gig. But we passed with flying colors...no accidents. I think I asked him every fifteen minutes if he had to "go".
Thinking that we had somehow raised a genius (since he is adopted, we can't really take genetic credit for this), we mentioned it to our peditrician at his visit a few weeks later (and still no accidents). She said, "Yeah, that happens a lot". HUH!?!?!? WHY DID NO ONE TELL US THIS? She also said, "A lot of times, kids just know when they are ready." WTF?!?!
All those books with all those methods for "potty learning", "early potty training", "painless potty training". Stickers. Charts. CIA-like bribery methods. All that fucking pressure!!!!! On the kids AND the parents. WHY?!?!?
After discussing this with several other parents, it hit me. The "do nothing" method does not sell books! Stickers, charts and CIA bribery methods do. Parents want their kids to succeed. To excel. And hell, yes, we want to brag about them succeeding and excelling, too. I'll be the first to admit it.
I'm not really sure how to conclude this other than to just get the word out. If you darling-dear is not seeming to "get" the potty training thing, RELAX. WAIT. Give them the tools they need (underwear, little potty seat/chair, etc.) When they are ready, they will make their move.
And you'll save a lot of stickers.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
My day started with a tech coming to look at my computer. I got a new Treo 650 last week and was able to synch everything with Outlook...except for my calendar. What do I use most on my Treo? Bingo! My calendar. It's like the other half of my brain. I never remember what appointments I have, day to day, because they are securely stored in my Treo, at arm's reach any time, day or night. But not anymore....
Anyway, the techie guy comes, confidently clicking away for the first while. Then he calls an co-techie to come and look. Co-techie helps, then leaves. Original technie needs help again.
Final result: I still cannot synch with my Treo AND I've lost all my personal folders in email. Only three years of work. !!!!! I'm not totally freaking out, because I think (hope!) they are on the email server somewhere. Crossing my fingers here, folks.... I also can't add or update anything on my calendar, unless I do an export of the entire thing afterwards. I could explain why, but it would put you all to sleep, so I won't.
I finally decided to follow-up on the Russia/China adoption mix-up saga. Read this first if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I called the local CIS office (aka the Immigration Office), earlier this week, and found out that, since I didn't have a "case number" I would have to call the National Customer Service line. I called the Customer Service line today, made many selections via the menus and was told to expect "a 10 to 15 minute wait". No problem, I wanted some answers. After 30 minutes, I was told to call back to the local office. Arg!
This time, somehow I got through to a Real Live Person at the local office. Score! Unfortunately, she couldn't give me any answers. I explained the situation, that we had paperwork in to adopt a boy from Russia and had gotten a confirmation letter from China, then gave her some key bits of info. She asked, "are you adopting 1 or 2 children?". Huh?! How is this pertinent? Yeah, lady... I'm adoption one from China and one from Russia, and I just forgot. Silly me! It's not like I'm Angelina Jolie or something! Actually, I don't think she knew what else to ask.
She put me on hold several times, then came back and said that they had somehow verified that they had cabled Russia with our paperwork, but would cable them again and make sure they knew it was Russia, not China. We would be notified with any details they got back.
Not sure if this puts me at ease or not. We will probably end up getting two kids. Both from China. And both girls. Gah!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I realized my McMistake as I visited the bathroom yet again this afternoon. It seems that (how to put this nicely?) McDonald's puts a lot of "fillers" in their food. How's that for TMI* for ya?
I should have driven an extra block and gone to Whole Foods for a nice slice of Grilled Veggie Pizza. But by the time I would have driven there, parked the car, gone in, order said slice of pizza, waited for guy to heat it up in the brick oven, grabbed bottle of tea, paid, and gone back to car...I would have been late.
What a shame that decisions like these are based on time. What a shame that we pay the price with our health. Or our weight.
It's easy to make up for one day, but I know folks that do this a LOT. And pay the price.
Luckily, my schedule has eased up this evening, so I plan to pop over to Whole Foods and get a slice of the aforementioned pizza. Yum. Time to stop and smell the pizza!
*TMI = Too Much Information
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I've never heard of such a creature. I've even gone so far as to do Internet searches for the elusive connitt.
In the past, I've tried to determine if I was just hearing the word wrong.
Junior: No. Connitt.
Junior: NO! Connitt.
Junior: NO, Mommy! CONNITT. (said very slowly, like I'm three years old instead of him)
So I'm pretty sure that it's "connitt", even though I still don't know what that is. It's actually very scary how consistent he is about describing them.
Tonight he mentioned them again. We were talking about how dark it was getting and that it might storm. He said something like, "we should go inside so the connitts won't get us". So, like an idiot, I pressed for more information.
What do they eat?
They eat trucks.
Are they bigger than a dog?
Are they bigger than a cow?
Do they talk?
No, they are quiet.
Where do they live?
I don't know.
Is it hot or cold where they live?
They live in the sky.
Do they fly?
No, they move.
I'm perplexed. Is this a made-up creature in some kid's book? Is it one of those obscure critters (like the wombat) that is mentioned only on Baby Einsten videos? Or is my son a Stephen King wannabe and is making up things that go bump in the night? That's my boy!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Yet again, we jumped through all the flaming rings of red tape that are the Russian Adoption Process. We wrote autobiographies, we did financial statements, we got criminal background checks, we got referral letters from friends and family. We got all this stuff notarized. Then we got all this stuff apostilled (a fancy term for "we don't believe your notary is a notary, so we make you get the Secretary of State to staple a piece of paper on top of the document and then we believe you"). BTW, apostilling costs $10 a document. Can I get an "ouch"?
Finally we had a critical mass of documentation. And I do mean "critical". Our dossier (a fancy term for "great gob o' paperwork") would break your foot if dropped upon it. We were issued a I-600 form to complete, then instructed to turn it in at CIS (previously known as INS) and get fingerprinted.
Our first appointment consisted of getting turned away at the door because we did not have a copy of our adoption agency's license. Huh? With our first adoption, we did not need that. Guess what? They changed the rules. Damn bureaucrats! Can you still call them that if they're Russian?
Could we call and have them fax a copy of the license in? NO. They did not have a fax machine for that purpose. HUH? Doesn't everyone with a pulse have a fax machine? I could probably send a fax on my phone nowadays...if the touch-screen would work. ...but there I go digressing again.
Anyway, we made another appointment, and with license in hand, we got in and got fingerprinted. It went so smoothly. We should have known something was up...
We recently got a nice, official-looking packet in the mail. It is from the American Consultate General. It contains a "welcome to the adoption process" letter, and application for visas for us to travel, and a nice map to the consultate office overseas.
One problem...it's from China.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
they say it's what to strive for.
But when I start to nix one thing,
up pop three or four more.
I killed a business late last spring,
it really was a helpful thing.
But then I picked up sports and wine
and started going out to dine.
My hubbie got a brand new job
with lots of new demands.
Since he is busy much more now,
I need three sets of hands.
I'm working hard and playing hard
and trying to stay sane.
But finding time to laugh and sing,
is really quite a pain.
Balance, balance, balance,
it sounds so easy, right?
When when I try to do it all,
I end up up all night.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Check it out: Plum Party Boutiques
My wish list is getting quite long from this site. I call dibs on the izzy stripe tote!
And the 'delight' party set too! Just because it reminds me of those coloring books that were popular when I was in about middle school. Anyone else remember those? The ones that had very intricate designs, and you bought special thin-tipped markers to color in. No? Okay, ya, well, I'm old. I'll look on the good ole 'Net and see if I can find a picture or something.
And while we're at it...the tinserella wine glass fringes. What fun!
UPDATE: Well folks, I'm officially older than dirt (or at least the Internet). I cannot find hide nor hair of the magic marker books. They were mostly flower designs, if I'm remembering right. If anyone has a clue as to what I'm talking about, and can find a decent link, let me know. You'll get bonus Goofy points.
MORE UPDATE: Ah! My faith in the Internet is restored. I guess the books were called "Stained Glass Coloring Books". I couldn't find a flower example, but here's another good example. Whew. Mystery solved.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Why is it...
That my mobile phone breaks (the touchscreen quits working, and I have to muddle through with the button navigation - ARG!), but when I finally (after a week!) make an appointment at the phone store, it magically starts working again? And this is the second time this schedule/magically-fixed sequence has happened!
That I finally get a free 20 minutes to pop by the drugstore for my high-dollar mascara (L'oreal Panoramic Curl, if you're curious), and the store is out. Out! They got the non-waterproof, which will be dribbling down my cheeks by noon, they got purple and grey colors, which don't help my translucent eyelashes a single bit. They got every color and style EXCEPT the one I need.
That on nights when I had tasks to do (work, bills, wine bottling, etc.), Goofy Junior decides to stage a strike on bedtime, but when I have nothing planned, he jumps into bed, grins and says, "night-night". And actually goes to sleep!
That I bought Stephen King's "The Dark Tower VII" book (all 800+ pages of it) in hardback, when it first came out (a year ago maybe) for about $35, but the only way I have time to "read" it is to go to library and get the audio CDs. For free.
NOTE: For any King fans out there, it's excellent. I'm really dreading getting to the end of this seven book series.
That my husband and I's normally pretty standard 40-hours-per-week jobs have both gotten crazy, to the point of about 50-hours-per-week AT THE SAME TIME. And we lost our once-a-week babysitter AT THE SAME TIME. Let's just say I'm really looking forward to the weekend, even though on Sunday (yes Mother's Day), I'll probably be in the office for a few hours.
I feel like Seinfeld with this stuff, but it helps to vent about the strangeness and ironic timing of some of this stuff.
Or maybe it's just life.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I bottled my wine! Yippee! I now have 30 bottles of Chateau de Goofy - House of Pain blend. Chateau de Goofy is pretty self-explanatory. The House of Pain blend is due to the pain during the wine making process: physical, mental, spiritual. These past few months have been hard, so I want to look back and remember this time. When I'm drinking heavily.
The hardest part of bottling was cleaning 30 fucking bottles! De-labeling, cleaning, sterilizing. Then pouring and corking. All the full, corked bottles are on the workbench downstairs, like an army of soldiers waiting for battle. The battle must wait though...the soldiers have six months of aging ahead of them before they can go anywhere. It's an exercise in patience. Something I don't have a lot of.
My breasts are fine and dandy. I'm sick of talking 'bout 'em!
My back, on the other hand, is not fine and dandy. I quit going to the chiropractor and guess what? My back still hurts. The key is...it doesn't hurt any MORE than when I was going. After much introspection and pressing for advice from friends, I decided to go the "traditional medicine" method, and talked to my general practitioner doc. He promptly prescribed anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. I haven't started the drugs - I have a problem with "masking" the symptoms before I go to the PT and the anti-inflammatories come with so many warning labels that I can hardly see inside the bottle (no drinking. no advil. no sun. may make you dizzy or tired.) I can't wait for the physical therapy. I've heard that they figure out which exercise makes you hurt, then promptly make you do three sets. Oh joy!
Work is Ca-razy (notice the capital "C"). My company is spinning off from its parent company in exactly ONE WEEK. We will lose most of our servers, databases, data...basically a lot of our infrastructure is going away. I fear that a lot of small details have been overlooked and we will all end up standing outside the building next Thursday morning, wondering why none of our access card work. ...you think I'm joking. Hmmm....
We are trying to figure out what to do with Memorial Day. There are several activities going on here in town, but we are getting itchy feet. We wanted to go camping in mid-April, but the rain (and cold!) wouldn't allow it. We are both taking Friday off before the holiday, and it's hard to pass up a FOUR-DAY weekend to travel somewhere. Where to go? Where to go? Stay tuned and you'll find out.
Speaking of travel, I started last year doing a trip on my own. No hubbie, no friends. Just me and 6-8 other strangers. I really like meeting other people, especially active people that enjoy the outdoors, so this is a good thing. But I can't figure out where to go. I have a whopping FOUR WEEKS of vacation this year, so I could take a week without blinking. But the little kid inside me says, "Hmmm...one trip for a week. Nah. Take two trips of 3 days each! See more stuff! Experience more things!" Sigh. The latest choices are kayaking in the San Juan Islands (by Washington State); kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park (in Alaska); or hiking, rafting and canoeing in the Canadian Rockies. From these choices, you'd think I like to be cold and wet. Guess I'll find out, huh?
I also made a Gooey Butter Cake tonight. It turned out about eight times better than I could have imagined. Deliciouso! I planned on taking it into work, but Loving Husband is trying to talk me out of it. That's a compliment of the highest order. I'm headed downstairs now to get a Goofy-sized slice and a cuppa Joe. Cheers!