Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Any Takers?

I'm interested in conducting a little experiment.

Recently, I've been juggling a lot. Well, not anymore recently than for the past 6 years or so of my life... I'm fairly decent at juggling. It's survival of the fittest, right? One of the things I've been thinking about in particular, though, is juggling goals within myself.

Sure, there's the goals of being a great mom, being a great wife, being a great teacher, being a great writer, perhaps, one day...but that's not the goals I'm referring to right now. I'm thinking about the Really Important Stuff. I'm talking about being a Beautiful Babe, a Healthy Her, and Queen of the World.

What? What on Earth am I talking about? Why would you ask that? Isn't it completely obvious? Here's your tutorial.

Beautiful Babe

We've all had bad hair days, right? And, the reality is, a bad hair day isn't always your hair. Sometimes it's really more of a bad skin day, a bad outfit day, a bad make-up day, or a just-plain, "I'm hideous!" day. If you have never had an "I'm hideous!" day -- I hate you. And you're lying.

The other side of the coin is the days when you look at yourself in the mirror and think, "Wow. I did pretty good today!" The days when you think, "Why can't I look like this everyday?" The days when you say to your husband (or wife), "How can you stand to live with someone as GORGEOUS as me???" (heh heh) THOSE are "Beautiful Babe Days".

Healthy Her (or Him, for my male readers)

We all know what is good for us and what is bad for us, right? So, I'll spare you the lecture on the dangers of drinking excessively, smoking, sitting on your duff all day long without exercising, eating junk food, drinking too much caffeine, etc.

We all also know what our own personal weaknesses and struggles are in this category. No one is perfect - quit lying to yourself. My own personal weaknesses vary from drinking too much caffeine, eating too many sweets and fast food (I'm a Mommy-On-The-Go. Don't judge me.), falling in and out of good exercise routines, dieting off and on (Though, to my credit, I support Weight Watchers, which is a very well balanced option.), and occasionally diving into a bottle of wine at home in the evening.

Now that we've silently admitted our own struggles, we can also celebrate our efforts to improve ourselves and shed the monkey(s) from our backs. I wake up, more days than not, thinking about my goals and how I need to take better of myself. Some days, I go to bed proud of myself for all my good choices, will power, and dedication throughout my day. THOSE days are Healthy Her Days.

Queen of the World (Alright, alright...You fellows can be Kings. Man, you guys are high maintenance.)

I hope this title has envoked in you memories of Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic, screaming at the top of his lungs as the wind blows in his hair and a glorious sun sets on the horizon. Good. Now that we're all done reminiscing...moving on.

Other than being, quite possibly, the cheesiest scene in cinematic history, Leonardo did capture a certain feeling in that scene. The feeling that the world is going your way and everyone loves you. (I've alluded to this feeling before.) The feeling that adds that extra spring to your step and puts music in your mind. You find yourself smiling for no reason. You are successful. You are smart. You have lots of friends. People want to be with you and care what you think. You are GOING SOMEWHERE, babe! The sky is the limit!!

THOSE days are Queen of the World Days.

My Purpose
Now that you've learned the jargon, let's talk statistics.

If you'll recall, I began this post speaking of juggling. Think, for a moment, about the nature of juggling. While one ball is up, another is down, and some are in the route up or down. This is not unlike life (at least for me). I'm wondering, though, if there is a correlation between the elements described above. Is there a pattern? And, if there is, can I identify it? And, if I can, can I subsequently find a way to capture these elements SIMULTANEOUSLY??? Because that is, in my reality, a rare occurence.

So, my experiment goes a little like this...

Participants will track their days on a scale of 1-3 (No need to get complicated. A simple "high, medium, low" rating is sufficient.) in each of the three categories: Beautiful Babe, Healthy Her, and Queen of the World. As much as it pains me to say this, it will need to be done daily to be worth a flip. Ugh. Just the sight of the word daily makes me cringe. I SOOOO don't do "daily" stuff well. A system as simple as markings on a calendar for a month or so to collect the data, then we can pool the data, chart it, graph it, calculate important figures like mean, median and mode, analyze it for patterns...and all kinds of Very Smart Stuff. Maybe we can find the secret to life!


Hmmmm. Sounds like a lot of work. Scratch that. Would anyone else be interested in conducting an experiment and emailing me the results? I've got a blog to update...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gratitude is Great

Recently, I came to the realization that I need a little more gratitude in my life. Perhaps it was when I noticed my old friend Cheryl over at Second Glantz has started a gratitude journal on her iPhone. (I poked around and, unfortunately, no such application exists for my darling Pink Lady II.) I hadn't forgotten this inspiration when I read a post by another gal I like, The Roaming Southerner. She's working on keeping up with some motherly advice and balancing her freaking funny sarcasm with some positive thinking.

Then, lucky for you, serendipity struck. Last week a "newbie" reader was kind enough to pop her head in and (I know you're going to be shocked at this) actually leave a comment! I, being the good and curious Blogger Babe that I am, had to check out her blog. She's quite funny and, apparently, has a very unique digestive system. Anyhow, I added her to my Reader and her gift showed up on my iGoogle today: Happy Friday.

Yes, I am completely aware that it is now Saturday morning as I write this. How could I miss that? I'm sitting here, glamorously dressed in my knit pjs, long robe, sexy penguin slippers with unbrushed hair and no make-up as my girls proceed to chow down on the morning biscuits and strew fake food all over the den while changing from one sparkly skirt, lacy dress, princess tiara, tap shoes, hats and jewelry to another. But isn't tardiness in keeping with the rest of my life? I hope, in the spirit of gratitude, you will find it in your heart to overlook this small, minor detail.

Regardless, I shall now find some small events from my week to recognize and share with you.

1. Last night, after a very long week, I found a burst of energy after I caught Bo ripping up a dry pull-up all over the den floor to vacuum my den. This, in turn, spread to the guest room and hallway. Just typing these words is inspiring me to dash to the linen closet, retrieve my beast of a vacuum cleaner and continue my vacuuming spree to complete the remaining rooms. I reveled in the joy that only vacuum cleaner tracks can bring to me. It was fabulous.

2. Each night this week I found the time and energy to be productive. So productive, in fact, that I actually feel like I'm (Darn it. I'm about to jinx myself.) within a stone's throw of actually being NEAR caught up. Whew. I mean, give me three more weeks like that and I'm there, baby! It's a great feeling.

3. I need to celebrate the excellence in customer service that Verizon demonstrated this past week. "The Pink Lady I" had to be put down. (Loyal readers may have noticed my above reference to the "Pink Lady II".) It all started with my overzealous desire to increase the size of my micro-SD card. This bad case of Micro-Memory Envy quickly spiraled out of control until even the most drastic of procedures could not save her. I will miss her, but her successor is doing a fine job and shows no signs of illness. The experts at Verizon did their best to save the original Pink Lady. They showed great compassion for my needs and even shipped the new Pink Lady to me courtesy overnight to minimize the emotional suffering caused by such a loss. I would like to thank them for their kindness in such a difficult time for me.

4. I wore a tiara all day Friday without anyone looking at me like I was crazy. I love my job.

With that, I shall conclude this tiny look into my gratitude for the week. Perhaps I will be good and show this gratitude again next week, perhaps not. I'm not very good at routine lately.

I hope, perhaps, I've spread the spirit of gratitude to you, dear readers. If so, please feel free to leave a comment here. Enlighten us with a sampling of your own personal gratitude, won't you?

As for me? I'm off to vacuum.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friends In Low Places

I'm sure you've heard the old addage, "You lay down with dogs and you wake up with fleas." Have you ever felt like a friend was a bad influence on you? Recently, I've realized that I've got just such a friend.

We'll call her..."Tiffany". Tiffany is like a gateway drug. She is my portal to addiction. Perhaps, I should explain.

First of all, Tiffany is the reason this blog exists. As well as my THREE other blogs. (Can you say NEUROTIC, boys and girls?) Tiffany is the reason I twitter. Tiffany is the reason I Googled my life a few years back. Or whenever it was - I've lost track. Let me check my Google Calendar... Tiffany is the reason I, subsequently, needed a Blackberry. And, finally, Tiffany is the reason I recently experimented AGAIN.

To be fair, I can take blame for her "involvement" (I really wouldn't classify it as an addiction) in well as a few others. And, like a good little addict (You know I try to be the best at everything I do. None of this wishy-washy, willy-nilly stuff for me.), I try to recruit as many new Blackberry users, twitterers, and bloggers as possible, too. But, I wouldn't be "spreading the word" if it weren't for her. (Think: pyramid scheme.)

Now, don't get me wrong...I love Tiffany. (Don't worry, Mr. Starbucks Man. It's not the same as you and me.) Our Little Darlings get along, we have a lot in common, we laugh together, we see eye-t0-eye about a lot of Really Important Teacher Stuff, she gives me's a good thing. (Which is lucky, because she keeps telling me she may be moving in with me next year.)

I think now, dear readers, would be a good time to tell you about my latest experimentation.

You see, Tiffany has been granted this Very Exciting Professional Opportunity. She's going to host a "blog tour" with a REAL AUTHOR to promote their new book. Now, in typical Tiffany fashion, she had to think big. So, what did she decide to do? Well, she's hosting the book talk in Second Life.

Being the Gateway to the Empire of Addictions, as she is, this is not the first time she's pitched Second Life to me. Prior to this upcoming event, it seemed too "Little Brother" for me. (My brother Jethro is fluent in the online gaming world.) It also reminded me of a CSI episode I saw a long time ago (a "long time ago" in TV Land time, that is). I decided it was NOT FOR ME.

However, I'm not afraid of a little experimentation. I can handle something a little "outside my boundaries", right? I live on the edge. I can strut my stuff on the wild side, too, right?

I sucked it up and registered for Second Life.


"Standing" in Second Life, taking care of a few priorities first (sculpting the perfect face and body), I flashed back to my first frat party at UF.

There I was, this street-stupid girl with issues about crowds, standing amidst a sea of nearly professional drinkers. A sea of STRANGERS. Well, all except my street-smart Miamian roommate. I'll never forget the moment someone said "5-0". I stood motionless, completely unaware and oblivious, until my guardian roommate took action and drug me along. As I followed her stupidly, she had to explain to me that "5-0" means COPS. (Turned out to be a prank, by the way. But it wouldn't have mattered to me, right? I don't like beer.)

How was it the same, you ask? Well, not unlike the fraternity party, I felt completely inferior to others around me. I felt completely vulnerable. I wanted to be invisible. I prayed that no one tried to talk to me - or, worse, proposition me. I wanted to make a sign to hang above my head that said, "New here. Don't come near me." Or, a sign that said, "I'm not here to have fun. I just want to look decent for this teacher thing coming up." I considered playing mute. (That wasn't too far from the truth. I was definitely handicapped.)

To make a long story short, I don't think SL is compatible with my computer, which is a good thing. I don't think I'm ready for that...yet. So, if you are a Second Lifer, and you happen to run into this newbie gal named "Ella Rembrandt" who is standing somewhere staring at a wall - don't bother trying to talk to her. Just walk the other way...

As for Tiffany and I? No hard feelings. I love her like a druggie loves their dealer.

Will you be my BFF?

**Author's Note: As it turns out, the plans have changed for the blog book tour. It will not be hosted in Second Life...but, that's another blog post.**

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Freakin' Valentine's Day.

Little Known Fact #214: Valentine's Day was invented by some lovesick teenaged boy lying around his room, pining for his latest girlfriend's pubescent body. They were just looking for an excuse to get some action.

All this mumbo-jumbo about this mysterious patron saint and legends of a crazy militant Roman emperor outlawing marriage is just a bunch of gump. It's a cover story.

Think about it.

We're coming off the heals of the holiday season. A very romantic, wintry season of gift-giving and traditions involving KISSING. Stealing a peck (or more) under some mistletoe, cuddling together to stay warm in the cold night air, girls swooning over their generous Christmas gifts, staying up late into the night with the object of your desire, stealing a New Year's Eve kiss. This holiday SCREAMS hormones! They needed to keep the momentum going! They needed just one more excuse to score big.
Who else could have done it?

A woman? Women try to get this sort of treatment from their men all year long. What makes you think a woman could have the power to get men throughout the world to behave like this at the same time?

A married man? I think not. Married men dread holidays like this more than anyone else in the world. It's just more pressure. What should I get her? Jewelry? Chocolate? Flowers? A card? Should I take her to dinner? A movie? Do I dare try to get creative and try something new or different? What if she doesn't like it? What if I make her mad? They just clawed their way out of the holiday season, by the skin of their teeth...what on earth would possess them to start that process all over again so soon? (They're not THAT stupid.)

A mother? Besides the above reasons why a woman alone could never have managed this...What would cause a mother to inflict this upon herself? Even IF your man remembers the holiday -- it still means more work for you. Addressing valentines with (or for) your children's classmates, buying teacher gifts, arranging for a babysitter (if you're so lucky to be taken to dinner or a movie), getting yourself dressed and ready (possibly requiring a new garment or shoes) while simultaneously preparing dinner and bathing children before the babysitter arrives (if you don't have to go pick them up). Not to mention finding time to buy a card or present for your husband. IN ADDITION to the usual routines and duties involved in running a household, parenting children, working outside the home, and being a wife-mother-daughter-sister-aunt-friend.

Valentine's Day Myth #69: The amount of time you spend primping on Valentine's Day is a direct indicator of how much you're "into" your valentine.

It's absurd, I know. However, some people actually believe this! I challenge you to do a little people watching on Valentine's Day night sometime. Notice the young couple (early college?) dressed up like they're going to a homecoming dance. Notice the high school kids at the movies - the girls wearing entirely too much make-up and the boys reeking of cologne. Their pores are actually oozing Obsession and Drakkar. (Oops, just aged myself there.) Seriously, do they BATHE in it?

Now, compare them to the married couple in their thirties. (For instance, Fire Daddy and I?) They're love has actually stood the test of time. What are they wearing? Blue jeans. Sure, they may have put on a nicer shirt than their usual t-shirts (or not), and they may have put on real shoes instead of their flip flops (or not). But THAT is love, folks.

Those youngins won't last the month.

After reading this, you might be thinking, "Boy. Some neurotic (yet classy) mommy must have had a stinky Valentine's Day this year..." Actually, I didn't. But that's another post entirely.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"You look kinda moley."

I can't believe I haven't shared this with you yet.

Recently, I bit the bullet.

As a teenager, I was blessed in that I never really suffered from serious acne. As an adult, I've had "bouts" of acne, much like any other person. You know - hot date, the week of your wedding, someone else's wedding, the night of that holiday party, etc. Anytime when you really wanted to look good for some reason.

Then, there were the hormone-induced acne breakouts. One example that really stands out in my memory is when I was first pregnant with the Littlest Princess. I recall complaining to family, friends, coworkers, the girl at Subway (anyone who would listen) about how my face did not look or feel like my own. By the time I discovered my new "physical condition", I had already drug my sorry bootie into Dillard's to seek help from the great, wise Clinique Lady. (Needless to say, my renewed faithfulness in skin care excellence did not last the duration of the pregnancy.)

Now, as I've, apparently, reached another stage of life, my face is changing yet again. (You see, according to my ob/gyn, your estrogen starts to drop once you reach my "advancing age".) Once again, I began to feel like my face was not my own. One day, my sleepy eyes were greeted by FOUR (count'em - FOUR!) brand new blemishes. What on Earth was going on?

After consulting numerous friends (and, of course, the great, wise Clinique Lady) and experimenting with a variety of new moisturizers, cleansers, foundations, and more, I broke down...and appointment...with a DERMATOLOGIST.

This was, you see, a multi-layered issue.

1. I felt a bit, shall I say, shallow. I mean, acne is PURELY cosmetic, right? Am I really that shallow that I need to see A DOCTOR -- A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL -- so that my face won't have four pimples? Apparently, yes.

2. Visions of my mother danced in my head. "How long has this mole been there? Are you sure it has always been there? You should see what your doctor says about it. You know, we all should go to get a skin check every year." Have I really reached this point in my life? The DOCTOR stage? The stage where you start scheduling your annual physicals, routine tests, bloodwork, mammograms, and skin checks?

Whatever. My vanity overcame my fear and avoidance of responsibility, I guess.

On the fateful day of said appointment, knowing I needed to take Big Girl with me, I was sure to pack her DS into the car as we left for school. (Insurance for good waiting room and examining room behavior. Thank goodness, it worked! She was completely entertained.) I also had planned ahead and printed all the new patient paperwork from the website and completed it in advance, in hopes of avoiding the usual 15-20 minute delay on your first visit to a new doctor. Additionally, this will surely shock you, they called me back right away! (I know! I nearly fainted!)

I can recall thinking, "They're going to laugh me out of this office. Isn't it just the way of acne? When you don't want it -- it's there. When you DO want it -- it goes away?" You see, of course, my recently renewed efforts towards excellence in skin care had, for a day or two, been working like a charm. I was, temporarily, looking like myself again.

So, as I followed the nurse into the examining room and she handed me a paper gown, I felt the need to explain.

"OK. Here's your gown. You can get changed and the doctor will be just a moment," she directed.
"OH, um, I'm here for an acne visit. Do I really need to do this?"
"Hmmm, I show you as a skin check. Well, um...." she quickly scanned the little bit of exposed skin around my collar bone (it was a cold day in hell Florida that day) and replied, "you look pretty moley. She's gonna want to check you out."

WHAT?!? I look pretty "MOLEY"? I'll have you know that those are FRECKLES, lady! Whatever...what do YOU know about skin and moles, Little Miss Know-it-all...

No, I did not say that. I just went along with it, like a good little girl. I sucked it up and stripped.

Little Princess, in her most nonchalant voice, trying to comfort her visibly frustrated mother, announced at this time, "Don't worry, Mommy. I won't laugh at you. Because girls can see girls naked, right?" Gee. Thanks, darling. What support. What a comfort to know you WON'T LAUGH.

After dawning the plush and oh-so sassy paper gown and climbing to the perch atop the examining table, The Doctor arrived. Her bedside manner was so-so. Hello? I'm naked here? Can you try a little harder to make me comfortable? Crack a joke or something?

After initial introductions were over (7.8 seconds), I started into my modest explanation and apology for scheduling an acne appointment with such, obviously, minor troubles. I carefully explained that, while I had not anticipated this, the nurse had instructed me to disrobe and prepare for a skin check. Surely she would take pity on me and instruct me to re-robe while she stepped out....this was, after all, completely unnecessary.

"Well, let's just take a look."

Rats! Foiled again!

I stand, baring my backside to my (not laughing) daughter, as she carefully inspected my body -- arms, hands, feet (top and bottom), legs, scalp, neck, back, chest (including INSIDE my bra), and basically everything in between. While she did not use a fine-toothed comb, she did feel the need to go retrieve her dramatascope. (Ok. Since that, right now when I Googled it to find out how to spell it...I learned that it is actually called a "dermatoscope" - which makes sense. However, I could have sworn she said "DRAMAtascope" - which is much more DRAMAtic.)

OK, ready for another shocker? She used the dermatascope to inspect my three very dark freckles (I am NOT moley!) on my lower back....the same three that my mother inisted I have "checked out". After a little hemming and hawing, taking some measurements, and creating some drawings (which were nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio's art in Titanic), she announced they were probably nothing, but she'd like to check them again in six months to be sure.

NOW. Onto the problem at hand -- those unsightly blemishes! Well, remember how I made a point to apologize to her?

"I know this is really not bad, it's just that it's bad FOR ME." I went on to explain the biography of my face, what interventions I had already tried, and my rationale for finally resorting to a medical option. Her reaction?

"Oh, you DEFINITELY have some pretty inflammatory stuff going on."

Thank you very much, ma'am, for kicking my ego down a notch...again. I really needed that.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Moment for Reflection

Today, I spent a few hours digging deep to the bottom of my desk. (In fact, I'm still not is clean, but it needs some redesign.) After such a time-consuming, pain in the rear activity, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on my discoveries.

Exhibit A:Please take a moment to enlarge this image, as needed, to fully appreciate the annotations before I continue.


Great. Here's what I'm thinking:

A) For someone who is decently tech savvy and digitalized, why, oh why, do I still have so many pens and pencils and pieces of paper cluttering up my life? (I know at first glance it may not appear that there is much paper clutter here, but remember - this picture was taken POST cleaning. I shredded two bags of paper today.) Furthermore, why do I still need so many CONTAINERS for paper?

I am moving forward, folks. (And have been for a matter of years now.) I am greening-up my life. I pay my bills ONLINE. I request as many bills and documents sent to me ONLINE as possible. (More companies need to offer this. I would love nothing more than to do away with our world's reliance on the USPS. With rare exceptions, I find it a bit of a nuisance.) I keep my family and work calendars ONLINE at iGoogle. I keep DIGITAL lesson plans. I receive more and more paperwork from my school DIGITALLY. Where is all this paper coming from?? And, HOW DO I STOP IT?

B) I have a love-hate relationship with pencil sharpeners. I do write with pencils quite often, actually, and LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling (and appearance) of writing with a REALLY SHARP pencil. (It's part of my School Supply Sickness, but that's another post.) However, pencil sharpeners MAKE SUCH MESSES! I cannot stand the lead dust and crumbly pencil shavings that, inevitably, spill out of it. I suppose they are a necessary evil. (Because mechanical pencils, while they are neat in their own right, just aren't the same to me.)

C) I am very sentimental. Notice the "love notes" attached to my monitor? They've been there for MONTHS. They're just little post-it notes Big Girl snuck in and left for me. How can I get rid of these? Also, the little craft's actually a combination of two craft projects. We're talking high quality work, folks. Popsicle sticks, digital pics (of my baby) printed on regular paper (no photo paper quality work) and cut in the shape of a flower with little strips of tissue paper sticking out everywhere, crammed inside a tee-niny little bitty wooden flower pot (with playdoh to keep it stuck). I cannot get rid of this! You are heartless (and not a parent) if you tell me I should.

D) I HATE CDs. And their cases. This box is only one portion (I think) of the software CDs, photo CDs and various other (don't know what they are) CDs I have for the computer. They are dust collectors. What should I do with them? Those little CD album thingies are cute, until you outgrow them and need another. Then you're just collecting notebooks of CDs instead of boxes of CDs. Help! I want to purge!


E) I have too much stuff. There. I said it. I'd love to sell the house and get a condo so we would FORCE ourselves to GET RID OF STUFF. In the end -- it's just stuff. You can't take it with you, right? What's important is my family, my children, my memories, and anything I can store digitally.

I need a bigger hard-drive.

Just a Quickie

This one is short and easy. And who doesn't love to look at pictures?

My sixth picture from my sixth "My Pictures" album (file).

Here it is...

It's Uncle Abner and the Littlest Princess. She is SO going to be popular one day! Check out how cool she is...she was doing the pucker before the pucker ever dreamed it would one day replace the smile as the standard photo pose for young chickas. Gotta love her spunk!

Fire Daddy and I are totally expecting to walk in and see her with a funnel in her mouth amidst a sea of raunchy frat boys. We won't lie.

Oh, and in the background? Why, yes! You did spy a glimpse of one of my mother's famous, handmade Christmas stockings!

Now, please forgive me for not tagging I think I am the last possible blog to get tagged for this meme. As always, I am releasing you of all guilt and shame, though, if you'd like to swipe it for yourself. Have fun!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Girl Effect

I wasn't planning on posting again, but you must watch this. I knew there was a reason I had two girls.

While this video is aimed mostly at the "developing world", my mind is racing thinking of the implications this theory has on our own "developed" world, too.

Little girls are diamonds in the rough. They have so much to offer the world in their futures.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Slice of Neurosis

Call me crazy, but recently I became paranoid that my blog was starting to sound a little too...sane. I must rectify this, pronto. I thought the most efficient way to do this would be to just open up my head and let you crawl inside for a glimpse. Since that is not feasible, I guess I'll just spill some thoughts I had today. Here goes nothing.

I recently went out on a limb and decided to try Oil of Olay cold cream for the first time after it was recommended to me by more than one person. I'm sorry...what the heck, people? It's a bit like rubbing butter or Crisco on your face! Ugh! Water actually beads up on my hands - and there is a disgusting film in my sink! Not to mention what it seems to do to my washcloths...just gross. And, I tried and tried to put my grandmother's skin out of my mind...but I am Mema when I put it on my face. I just can't do it.

Girls' nights rock. I mean...don't you totally love putting on your favorite pjs, crawling under the warm covers and watching Barbie movies together with a couple of your best girlfriends? What? That's not what a girls night is? Oh. Well, don't tell the Princesses. ...I had a margarita first, does that count?

A little known fact about Florida women and winter...Florida Toe. I cannot claim credit for its title (I just whimpered about my sore toe until Melanie shared the name with me), but I am definitely suffering from it. My right thumb-toe (hate to call it a big toe, because it isn't big at all...however, it is quite "handy") has been sore for days from having to wear REAL SHOES. Ugh! The torment of cold temperatures! I miss my flip-flops and sandals!!

I found out today that our sheriff has a little star pin that he wears on his clothes when he is not in uniform. That's awesome. I want to call him Wyatt now. Or, even better, Mr. Earp.

I seem to be developing a serious immunity to caffeine. This could be fatal. Immediately after finishing my venti latte yesterday, I found myself yawning and sleepy. Today I had an extra shot of espresso and didn't feel it. Whatever shall I do? Must find a runner to make Starbucks runs midday for me while I'm at school.

I called in an 8 year-old to help me problem solve a carpool logistic situation today. Wonder why she gave me that blank stare and bee-bopped away so happily when I dismissed her? (Sans solution, of course.)

We ate dinner at a cruddy restaurant tonight. The service stank, the girls didn't eat their meals, my dinner wasn't good, and it took FOREVER...Drinks and bread were good...think you could go there and just get the rolls with your drinks? May need to peruse the menu for an extended period of time...

Someone needs to work on creating Breathe-Right strips with a special adhesive (and shape) engineered to stick to dog noses. I'm sure mine isn't the only snoring canine.

Watching five year-old little girls do the wheelbarrow walk, holding each other upside-down by the feet, is really funny. Thank goodness for those mats, though. One face-plant after another, smiling all the while. It's especially funny that the one holding the feet looks at themselves in the mirror the entire time...the mirror that is OVER THEIR SHOULDER.

I played Password with Big Girl in the car tonight. Somewhere, Happy Hour needs to include classic game shows. I'm thinking live versions of Password, Family Feud (or Friendly Feud), Press Your Luck! (Come on! Big bucks, big bucks, no whammies, NO WHAMMIES!), Let's Make A Deal, the Newlywed Game, the Gong Show. Perhaps it's just me. I think I would be REALLY GOOD on some of those shows.

I want to know who is playing a practical joke on me. This week I've received an onslaught of coupons, literature and samples from infant formula companies. It is extremely disappointing and disturbing to receive a key to the package box in your mailbox -- only to find that your package is a box of Similac. Especially when you are not -- and have NO intention of becoming -- pregnant. (But, that's another post entirely.)

By the way, hope you enjoyed my hidden treat in this post....for those of you, more curious, readers. Sorry, it wasn't so classy. I warned you about my sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Heating and Venting

Excuse me, readers. Can I just vent for a minute, please? Duh. Of course I's MY blog...

Is it just me? Am I just getting old? Is my blood thinning?

I am SO TIRED of being COLD!

I can deal with the outside temps dipping below freezing a dozen or so nights in the season. (Yes, I said a dozen. I live in North Florida, people.) Though I'd rather not have to deal with the "4 Ps", as my local weathermen so often call it, I will buck up and take it like a Real Woman if I must. I'm getting much faster at dawning my Payless Ugs and wool coat over my pajamas as I grab my trusty yellow flashlight and scurry out to drip the faucets and cover my few surviving potted plants.

I can deal with making a point to rush out and start the car up twenty minutes before I need to leave for school in the morning so it will be a steamy 76 degrees before my girls and I have to load up. Thank you to my oh-so sophisticated car thermostat and heater!

I can tolerate my Big Girl's mental meltdowns and emotional breakdowns every morning as she climbs in the car on days with temperatures 60 degrees or less. I also can tolerate the struggle my Little Girl puts up every darn day that we ask her to wear a jacket. I can plan my wardrobe to always include a light jacket so I do not turn into an icicle in my classroom each and everyday of the entire school year. (Thank you ever so much, Mr. School District Man, for taking away the school's rights to control their own heating and cooling systems.)

What I cannot understand is why my darling Fire Daddy is SO insistent that 65 degrees is a reasonable temperature at which to set your home thermostat. I cannot understand why it is acceptable for me to be forced to dress like a bag lady at 3 o'clock in the afternoon in my own home. I cannot understand why one warm-natured man gets to control the thermostat while three other residents suffer from frost-bitten fingers and toes.

I also cannot understand how two people can sleep in the same room and in the same bed at night, yet one requires an extra blanket, socks, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and a hoodie sweatshirt, while the other sleeps in nothing but his underoos and needs to stick a leg out from under the covers to keep from getting too warm.

I also don't understand how, a mere handful of years ago, I was just as warm as he was.

I've got to this another little favor for which I should thank my Heroine Hormones? Golly, girls. Thanks a lot.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blurring the Lines

Today was a depressing day.

Not because I went to bed last night and woke up this morning suffering from some mini-bug that made me feel nauseous and dizzy.

Not because I was late to school and my partner had to call the kids in for announcements before I could get there. (Sorry, boss. See above.)

Not because it was Monday.

Not because it was rainy and overcast.


Today was depressing because one someone I know lost a baby. Yes. Lost, as in died.

What's strange is that I found out about this tragic event virtually. That is, on twitter.

This person...this mother...I've never met her before. I don't know where she lives. I don't even know her last name. I only know of her because she decided to "follow" me on twitter. After seeing she was a soon-to-be mommy, I decided to recriprocate. I've read her blog, commented on her new haircuts, replied when some freak was leaving her harrassing comments, and smiled with nostalgia when her tweets told of her pregnancy and preparing for the baby's arrival.

This was not someone I felt like I could really say I was "friends" with, but she was a person to me...not just a random status update. Now, as a friend of hers has been keeping the twitter and blogger communities up-to-date on her tragedy, I have grieved right alongside with them. My heart has been sad all day for her and her family. For her tiny baby boy.

Then, I step away from my sadness and look at how amazing this is. How amazing the human heart is that I can hurt so deeply for someone I've never met. This "virtual" world is, in fact, real.

Often we think of technology as isolating. As a result of technology, we live in a global society that requires people to move far away from their family and friends. People in grocery stores talk on their cell phones to someone miles away, rather than chatting with the check-out girl. People in Panera or Starbucks bury their faces in their laptops, rather than smiling at their neighbor at the next table. People work alone in their homes, rather than office communities, because...they can.

I have come to disagree, though. We are connecting, just in a different way, to different people. The internet has brought me into the homes and lives of others, and allowed them into mine. The internet has given the world a glimpse through the windows of their home. We are guests in each others' lives.

Watching someone suffer through such a life-changing event has made a mark on mine. I am reminded of other friends who have lost babies. I am reminded of a mother who lost a nearly grown daughter. I am reminded of my grandmother who has lost two sons, and my great grandmother who lost three babies, nearly 80 years ago. I am reminded of the days when I was pregnant and nervously awaiting the arrival of my babies. I am reminded of the nightmare that I shared with every other expectant mother -- the nightmare that this poor mother is now living.

That could have been me.

Today, the lines between "real life" and "virtual" were blurred. As I cry real tears for this unfamiliar mother and unknown son, I have watched that inked line streak and run. There is no such thing as "virtual emotions". Life is real, no matter how you write it.
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