Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What are you doing online? Go eat turkey!

I'm not planning on posting for the next couple days or so, because I'll be busy hosting oh, TWENTY people for Thanksgiving. Aaron has six siblings here, and a couple of them brought spouses/kids. And my parents are coming, too.

Fortunately, according to Aaron's family tradition, whoever hosts is only responsible for the turkey - everyone else pitches is with the rest. Mostly. I am also making sweet potatoes, and curried pumpkin soup. I also got fancy olives for the relish trays, since I'll probably eat half of them anyways.

Friday morning SIL Erica and I are planning on doing some Black Friday shopping - I'll be sure to report back any great finds! It'll be the first time for me - I'm excited and nervous at the same time! I'm on the hunt for a new Leapster for Leah, since our new parenting philosophy is to have two of everything. Sharing is NOT allowed in this house.

Anyway. I'm very thankful for a house in which to host this crazy group (currently 4 of the brothers are transfixed by Guitar Hero World Tour) and I'm also thankful that I did, in fact, marry into this particular group.

Enjoy your blessings!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Supposedly, I look like this celebrity....

Awhile back, I got an email about a website where if you submitted a photo of yourself, it would do a "scientific analysis" of it and then tell you which celebrity you looked most like. My most similar female match (there was a disturbing number of partial male matches...) was Courtney Thorne Smith (from According to Jim). You be the judge:

Yep. Except for the hair color, eye color, skin tone, jawline, nose, lips, and my photographic lazy eye, I'm a dead ringer. (Aaron says it's not the best photo of me, bless his heart. Unfortunately, it has been thoroughly established that I'm not photogenic, so I doubt there IS a "best" photo...)
But here are some folks who do actually look like real celebrities. There's even a vote! I chose Katie, the Reese Witherspoon look-alike. She happens to be a friend of a friend of mine, who sent me the link. But she also happens to look a lot a like Miss W. without relying on a hairstyle to pull it off. AND, she doesn't brag about looking like her, unlike the Paris Hilton chick. I got a little nauseated just reading her blurb.
Have fun! Oh, and you can de-lurk in the comments and tell me what celebrity YOU look like. I promise, we will all be laughing WITH you, not AT you. I swear.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Almost Killed a Dog

Yesterday I went to the early service of church by myself, because I am one of the helpers for the 3-year old Sunday School during the second service.

Anyway. I backed Aaron's car out of the garage at 8:45am, after checking to be sure that there were no cars coming. As I stopped in the driveway to make sure the garage door closed, I immediately noticed that a lady with a beagle on a leash was glaring at me from the sidewalk.

I swear I hadn't seen them! They were pretty much in my driveway, so they must have expected me to see them and then when I didn't, got right to glaring. I gave the the oops face, and smiled, and she continued to glare. Upon which I felt bad all the way to church.

But I've since decided that the fault was not entirely mine. If I was walking a dog and saw a garage door open, I'd darn sure be keeping an eye on the vehicle coming or going. I've had similar situations happen when I've been walking with a stroller. Trust me, I never assume that driver has seen me until they stop.

Part of the problem is this darn active neighborhood we live in. Who in their right mind is walking a dog at 8:45 on a Sunday morning when it's 35 degrees out? Seriously.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's Accomplishments

1. Managed to get carpet installed without a hitch. (Not really my OWN accomplishment, and it's not finished as I'm typing this, but I'm still counting it.) The carpet looks much lighter in the actual room than it did on the sample - I'm glad we went with the darker one rather than the lighter. Finally, carpeting from the last decade!

2. Ran a successful MOMS Club meeting - it seemed kind of boring, but maybe that's cause we had about 10 less kids running around than usual. This is a very good kind of boring. The kind of boring that every mom strives for in her day.

3. Spent 1 1/2 hours at McDonald's without any major meltdowns. Except for Leah's, "I'm jealous cause everyone else has ice cream and I don't!" So I made her actually ask instead of whine, and then got her and Ben each a little baby cone - did you know they're free?!

4. Gave 2 preschoolers mini-soft serve ice cream cones without either of them dropping into the eater's lap.

5. Successfully convinced Leah to sit in a chair to eat her cone, despite her crying while insisting that "other kids are eating and playing!" Poor kid. She got an ice cream and then had to sit down to eat it. Don't you feel her pain? To me, this kind of a reaction is like a neon sign over her head flashing, "I NEED A NAP".

I'm planning on being out of the house as much as possible today. Maybe Target this afternoon? We are having dinner at Mom & Dad's and then spending the night there, partially to escape the fumes, but mostly to alleviate the whining from Leah: "When can I have a sleepover at Grandma's? When? When?" I tried to push the blame the other day and told her I didn't want to hear it anymore because it wasn't my decision - she had to talk to Grandma.

You're welcome, Grandma. She's all yours.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Latest Leah-isms

Yesterday Aaron started putting down our new vinyl flooring. Since our water damage in, oh, August, this area has been concrete.

This flooring is in 1 ft wide sheets 3 ft long. It sticks to other sheets, but just floats on the floor. And it has the raised texture of wood, which is nice, because it actually has more grip than real wood. When we were looking at it in Home Depot, two separate salespeople mentioned that they had put in their own houses...that's a good recommendation, folks. The one lady said that she has 3 kids, 2 dogs, a husband who's a mechanic, and it doesn't have a scratch on it. She vacuums it with a ShopVac.

But I promised you a Leah story, not another boring home remodeling story!
After I got done clearing the breakfast dished this morning, I went to check on what the kids were up to. I found Leah rolling around on the new floor, still in her pj's of course, saying, "It's so be-yooo-ti-ful!"
The other day Mom was over here showing us the Dutch kids' clothing magazines she'd just received. (Sewers out there, I'll tell you this - ALL of the patterns in the mag were printed on top of each other in different colors. You are supposed to retrace the ones you want onto tissue. These are not basic patterns. Seems like a good torture practice.) Leah was looking through them with her, and then stated, "This is something I would totally wear."
And on the topic of Leah being four going on fourteen, my dad was over babysitting the other day. They had played Go Fish, and when they were done, he asked Leah to pick up the cards. And then World War III broke out. There was crying, yelling, and gnashing of teeth, which lead to some time in her room, where she screamed and cried some more. Eventually BEN picked them up, and did quite a good job, making sure that each was aligned properly. Of course.
I don't know what we are going to when she actually does hit puberty. God grant me patience.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doors: The Saga Continues

Yesterday we should have had our new doors installed. What ended up happening was that ONE door set (back entry door & storm door) was installed, but thankfully it was the one that really needed to be replaced, and the one on which other projects are hinging. Because after this back entry door is in, Aaron can put down the new vinyl flooring, which needs to be in before the carpet gets put in on Friday & Saturday. We have a little bit of a time crunch on our hands, folks.

But, wait, what happened to that beautiful front door? you ask in consternation. Me too.

Apparently the guy who ordered our door didn't work in the millwork area at all. And he ignored all the measurements that the measuring guy took and just ordered a standard door, which he told us was smaller than what was measured, but the installers would make it work. The installers got here yesterday already concerned, and when they saw the front door minus the trim, they realized that the current door is already too small for the opening. They could "make it work", but it would require 6 inches of trim to cover the filling. Oh, and our brand new door was already dinged in TWO places.

We had great installers, though, and they recommended that we demand a new door of the proper size, and said that Home Depot would eat the difference. Since this door replacement is purely cosmetic, we can afford the wait. "Let's do it right," we agreed.

I called Home Depot yesterday afternoon to make sure we weren't going to be charged extra, and happily! everyone I talked to had already heard of our situation. The first guy asked who I wanted to talk to first, millwork or special orders. I said, "Whoever can get me a new door and not make me pay for it." So I talked to the head of the millwork department, Josh. Josh was great! He was already in the process of ordering the door, and reassured me that we wouldn't have to pay anything extra.

Aaron did think of another concern, though. When we prepaid for the installation, there were a bunch of charges for "custom" work. Now, if the door is the correct size, will there be a need for that extra work? Sounds like another phone call to Home Depot is in my future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hoarding & Storing

Aaron has been painting trim in our house. In order to do this properly, he removed all the vent covers. In the projector/playroom. Do you see where this is going already?

We had some kids over one day to play, and I remembered to prop the vent cover up against the wall so that it looked covered, at least.

Later on, maybe a day or so later, I noticed that a tub, usually full of little plastic army men and McDonald's toys, was empty. No big deal, I thought- the kids were probably just messing around and put them in a different basket.

Friday night, I was in the kitchen when I heard Aaron yell. When I came in, he was up to his shoulder in the vent hole. Can you imagine how many and what size of toys can fit in an opening a foot wide and 8 inches tall? Let me tell you - a lot, and larger than should be inside of a wall.

All the toys in the photo, except for the actual tub and the items in it, were in the vent. Ben has been busy. And I just can't help but laugh every time I think about it! While he was retrieving items, Aaron said to me (in a rather accusatory tone, I thought), "Did you know he was doing this?" I said, "Seriously? If I had known, it would be MY arm down there, and I'd also be throwing a hissy fit." But maybe, just maybe, I would have given him a couple other toys that have been laying around lately.

I told Ben, "This is probably the naughtiest thing you've ever done," only to have Leah repeat that word-for-word about 2 minutes later. I reminded her that she's not a mommy. (I foresee many more years of this reminder.)

We still don't know if we got everything out, but the tub seemed to be appropriately full when Aaron quit - I'm tempted to stick the shop-vac hose down there and see what else we find!

(On a side note - doesn't that new wall color look great with white trim? Just think what new carpet will do for the place! It gets put in on Friday & Saturday! Yay, carpet fumes!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not Quite the Quaint Family Photo

Every year I try to take a picture of the family in a leaf pile. This year, we had our own leaves but not at the same time and in quantities for our whole family. So I made do with some shots of the kids playing.

This is a little closer to my idea! I have no clue how Ben's shirt got so wet.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. How did you do?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Star the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte*
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling*
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott*
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Really? Complete? I've read a lot.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen*
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen*
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery*
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas **
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

How about you? I got this off my friend's blog. Who knows if the list is legitimate, but it seems like a good variety of contemporary & classic. I should re-do this list marking the books that I own but haven't gotten around to reading yet. Or, similar books by the same author- like #97. I've read Man in the Iron Mask, but not The Three Musketeers. So close, yet so far away.

This is kind of a freebie post, but I thought it might tempt some of my literary friends out of "lurking"!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have been resisting getting a flu shot for the last, um, ten years. And it's not that I'm afraid of needles - I'm really not. (But I don't love them, either, right?) It's just that I DON'T GET SICK.

I have never taken a sick day of work, and although I frequently get the sniffles or a sore throat, it's almost always just enough to irritate, and not enough to make me hit the bed out of misery. I tried this theory out on the dental hygenist the other day, when she asked about my flossing, which is pretty much - well, entirely - non-existent. And I've only had two cavities in my life, those being in elementary school. So maybe my immune system is also connected to good oral hygiene, despite the lack of good practices? (I do brush twice a day, and I've been complemented on my teeth by dentists, so stuff THAT in your toothpaste tube!)

There was one day in college that I skipped an afternoon of classes because I felt rotten, and then one day when I was working at Dayton's (now Macy's) I felt kind of yucky, went to work anyway, threw up in the middle of my shift, and then worked the next four hours. My co-workers thought I should go home, but after that, I felt just fine!

My point is, I really don't get sick. So by getting a flu shot, I feel like I'm doubting my made-of-steel immune system. And now, because of my doubting, it will punish me by letting some bug make me miserable.

Or, now that I got the flu shot, I'll actually get the flu. And I won't know if it's a reaction from the vaccine (which I really don't believe in, by the way) or if it's just my body rewarding my doubt. This, ironically, I DO believe in, although it is totally scientifically unsound. When has science ever proven anything?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Again, with the Math stuff.

Ya'll, Leah is doing math. I mean REAL math, not just counting to 100 (or 122, where she got bored and stopped yesterday in the van).

I was going to start this post with a cute little, "Don't mean to brag but..." and then Aaron informed me that I brag about my kids all the time. And not just on this blog. So I figured I'd get right to it, then.

I pulled out a couple workbooks the other night and gave Leah the choice of letters or numbers. She chose numbers, which already proves she has some of Aaron's genes. Also, I thought the odds were stacked towards letters because of the princess on the front of that book, and the "boy" cartoon stuff on the front of the numbers. Not that they were trying to do any gender-influencing or anything.

This workbook started with adding - easy stuff like adding groups of pictures. Then it went to just the numbers. Leah would say, "Three plus two..." and kind of look off in the distance a bit, and then yell, "FIVE!". I swear I don't know how she did it, but this is a clear sign (cross your fingers) that she will do better in math than I have - because I was sure she was going to have to use her fingers. She did eventually, but not until the sum was more than 6 or so.

I even tried to teach her a couple of tricks, like subtracting half of a number leaves the same number as that subtracted (4-2=2) and that 9+6 is just one less than 10+6. Some worked better than others, but a couple actually helped.

Subtraction was next. I was even doubtful if she'd make it through the first set of problems - but she did! Fingers really helped with subtracting. But then she made it up to the sums of 10-18...she did bit here, but after too many times of asking me what 8 + 8 was, she decided it was too hard and stopped. Fine with me. At her age, I'm pretty sure I would have given up on the second page and gone to read books.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Words that Irritate

This is sounding a lot like griping, but I know we all have certain language issues that rub us the wrong way. You know how I feel about "the olden days", but oh yes, there are many more.

There are the obligatory misuses of their/there/they're, and apostrophe abuse, but I'm going to get even more nit-picky here.

There's a store I drive by on the way to church. I'm sure it is a perfectly decent store, and I have a feeling that if I was still teaching or planning to homeschool I would love it. But the grates. The name of the store is "Art and Learn". Can you figure out why it bothers me? The two terms are not equal. "Art" is a noun, and "Learn" is a verb. Usually when you use "and", it connects two equal terms. So the name should either be "Art and Education" or "Create and Learn". Take your pick.

Also, the word "irregardless". This word does not exist. It is most annoying when used by highly educated people. For instance, my former school principal. All of the English teachers would give a collective shudder when she'd inevitably use it during a staff meeting.

Mischievous. Oh, we all know what this word means and how to use it's the pronunciation that irks me. Take a look at how it's spelled. So how does it get said "mis-CHEE-vee-ous"? There is no "i" after the "v". I once had a whole class of sophomores argue with me about this, until one of them looked it up in the dictionary, and SURPRISE! found out that the English teacher knew the correct pronunciation of a word. (Not that we know them all, of course, but if I'm going to take on an entire class of kids who won't let me forget about if I'm wrong...) The fact that this blatant mispronunciation AND misspelling ("mischevious") is becoming so commonplace that it's acceptable is just. plain. wrong.

This next one is a little different, but it is still a language issue: Recently, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a news broadcaster announced that there was a fundraiser for breast cancer. Really? Cancer needs more cash? Is it feeling a little broke in these hard economic times? Or do organizations need money for cancer awareness or research? Let's be accurate here. It may take an additional second to say that extra term, but I want to be sure I'm giving my money to the good guys.

Alrighty. I think I'm done for now. Irregardless of the fact that your interest waned somewhere in the first paragraph or two. (Hmf. As brother Aaron pointed out, I had previously misspelled "waned" - fell victim to the fatal error of depending on spellcheck. Grr.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Minor Accomplishment

This weekend we were busy socializing. Uncle Josh and Auntie Erica came down Friday evening and stayed until Sunday afternoon. Yay, us! We love time with them, mostly because our kids are completely entertained without us lifting a finger. Except, of course, to change poopy diapers.

We went out for dinner kid-free (thanks, Mom!) Saturday evening, and thoroughly enjoyed our meals at the Spitfire Grill. Plus, we brought home 2 meals worth of requested leftovers for our hard-working babysitter.

The boys played Guitar Hero: World Tour for several hours, while Erica fell asleep and I sorted EIGHT months of digital photos. I tell ya folks, that made me feel reealll gooood.

Sunday after church, the boys enjoyed watching the Vikings luck out (again) and win a game, Erica and I made a mammoth trip to the grocery store. Somehow I scraped through all of last week without going, in part because of a trip to Walmart/Sam's Club late the week before. But anyway - as long as we have milk we are pretty much good.

So this trip Sunday was about twice my usual grocery bill, but I had actually planned the meals for the whole week, including supplies for dinner that night, for which we were having a co-worker of Aaron's and her husband over.

That's right - an hour after Josh & Erica left, we had new guests. I think we are slightly insane. But as Aaron and I worked to tidy the house, he commented that while we are working together towards a common goal, we don't we had been the whole weekend.

Included in our "common goal": clearing off our counter tops. There are 3 major ones in our kitchen: the buffet, the island, and the desk. And all of them had multiple piles of gifts, magazines, tools, and random other items. But now, for one of the few times since we've moved in, they are mostly clear. In fact, I may just go attack one of the remaining piles now....

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Big (Facebook) Family

Warning: If you are unfamiliar with Facebook, you may not understand some of the terms within this post. Crawl out from under your rock and go sign up.

I joined the "social networking" site Facebook about a year ago. Aaron claims that it has stolen my soul, and of course, he never exaggerates. In truth, I go in spats of enthusiasm, which somehow coincide with the craziness of my offline life.

For the couple of months that we were in our rental house, I frequented the site quite often - multiple times a day. Then we moved into our "new" house, and I don't think I was on for months. Just recently, however, as we are stalled waiting for our doors to arrive, I have had more time to play. And I've finally dragged Aaron in along with me, after months and months of refusing on his part.

Last night we sat down and started his profile page. With regard to computers, all of my teaching patience goes out the window, and my hand just itches to take over control of the mouse. It becomes very apparent that Aaron and I have different learning styles when it comes to technology.

He likes to read and analyze.

I like to click, explore, and hit the "back" arrow (or restart the whole darn thing) if I run into problems. Aaron likes to call me "the mad clicker".

After getting his profile photo up, it was time to request friends. The site provides a list of people "you may know". Most of them he did know in one way or another, but this was the most deliberate, excruciating "friend" selection I have ever seen. True to my computer style and personality, when presented with a similar list, I go through them quickly - if I know them and have mostly positive memories, or would like to know what they are up to, I send them the "friend request".

But Aaron? Each person involved at least 10 seconds of deliberation. Which is actually longer than it seems - try just sitting and staring at your computer screen for that long. See?

The points of deliberation involved (and I'm just guessing here): 1) Do I not particularly like this person? 2) Have I already "requested" this person's spouse? 3) Is this person a closer friend to Liz? 4) Do I talk to this person frequently in real life?

A "yes" to any of these, my friends, and you did not receive a "request". Sorry.

Here's how I would break down my own list of FB friends: There are those who I barely know - former classmates, former students, etc. These I don't check it with too much -but I like getting the updates of their relationship status, etc.

Then there are folks that I see on a fairly frequent basis. I don't really check their profiles too much, either, because I generally know what's up with them. But it is fun to see photos!

The friend group that FB is really handy for is the "Christmas card folks". The ones you have some connection to still, but don't see in real life. For us, this includes cousins, former co-workers, friends in other cities. These are the friends that FB really helps with - we can interact at least more frequently than once a year. And I truly feel that this website, as much as you abstainers my laugh, has helped make those connections stronger.

Speaking of. I have at least two personal situations in which Facebook offered me closure in relationships. You want some dirt on my past, right? Okay. (deep breath...)

Both were former boyfriends - surprise! I dated boys before Aaron. Are you just totally shocked?

Anyway- C sent me a friend request - and it had been 10 years since I'd last talked to him. And that was after I got a letter from him in which he proposed about three times. Did I mention that we had last dated about 18 months before I got the letter? And that we hadn't seen each other or talked since? Yeah. It was kind of crazy.

So I finally got some answers about certain things that happened, and we haven't had much contact on FB since.

Shortly after that whole fiasco, I found L on Facebook and sent a friend request assuring him that I was happily married and not a stalker. Thankfully, he didn't think I was crazy. Again, we discussed some of the past and why certain things happened, and went our merry ways, although still Facebook friends.

What's my point here? (I'm starting to wonder, too.) I guess Facebook has given me the opportunity to right some wrongs and also get rid of some nagging questions. I've been able to find some high school classmates, and I'm looking forward to learning a bit of who they are as adults, instead of just remembering us all at our adolescent worst.

And now, I'm excited about another way to communicate with my husband. There's all kinds of flirty stuff you can send on Facebook, and I've just been waiting for the chance. I see even MORE time on the computer in my future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Irritating Phrase.

Have you ever heard a teenager use the phrase, "Back in the olden days"?

First of all, I'd like to point out, "olden" is not a word typically used in conversation.
Second, truly grating is when they are referring to the 70's, and not the 1870's, either.
Third, why not just say "old"? Actually, they both grate on my nerves.

I am beginning to feel the same irritation when talking heads on TV say, "People are watching their money these days," because it kind of seems like the "these days" they are referring to means the last couple of months when all this mortgage/loan stuff hit the fan. Maybe not in real life, to real people (who have probably been watching their money for a long time), but to the media? It seems like they just discovered that folks are concerned about their finances.

This is the closest I've gotten to political on this blog, and understanding numbers isn't my strength, so I'm probably missing a lot of the facts on the financial crisis. But I do know my language, and there are more phrases to follow.

Wouldn't it have been great if I'd had the World Wide Web on which to spread my opinion back in the olden days? You know, the early 1990's. Ancient times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Couple More Tidbits...

First, a couple of things I forgot to post earlier about the Jewel concert: If you've ever heard a live version of her songs, and then the studio-released single, you could probably guess that she is not an artist who has big sing-alongs at her concerts. It's kind of interesting, actually - it's not like you are just listening to a really loud album - it's obviously live, and she does all kinds of improvising with timing and even notes. However, the group of girls behind us (with the assistance of several alcoholic drinks, I'm sure) tried to sing along anyway. Thankfully they gave up quickly.

Providing some inadvertent comedy was the several middle-age ladies close to the stage who stood up during several songs, waving their cups of beer in the air like lighters at a Metallica concert. It was kind of sad. And really hilarious.

What song played for our exit, starting immediately after Jewel left the stage following her yodeling encore? You guessed it - I think it's obvious, really. Of course, it was MC Hammer's You Can't Touch This. Wha-haat? Topping this, though, was the fact that those same girls behind us tried to do the Hammer-dance, and one of them totally wiped out. I mean, she was sprawled on the ground, and knocked over a chair in the process. I was concerned she had broken her tailbone or something, but she got back up and started doing it again.

Second of all, as we are watching the election results, it is becoming more and more obvious that Fox anchor Shepard Smith may be a little less than human. I think it's the combination of too much tanning and Botox, but the more they show other male anchors, and then come back to "Shep", the more he seems to glow. And not in a good way.

Third, here's the conversation I had with Leah's friend A as I entertained her at the polls today:

A: Who do you think Leah is going to vote for?
Me: I don't know? Who do you think she should vote for?
A: I think she should vote for John McCain.
Me: Okay. I think she should vote for whoever makes the best cookies.
A: So, she's going to vote for you?

Just trying to keep it relatable, folks. And Addie's never had my cookies, so she is clearly a future politician - she knows just how to make her audience happy!

Definitely a WOW! story

Okay, I've mentioned this story to lots of other moms, especially whenever we hear about a woman giving birth when she didn't know she was pregnant. Our initial response, as moms, is "Are you KIDDING me?" Clearly that woman was immature, in denial, etc.

But the mom in this story was 31 at the time, married for five years, and employed. And still, she didn't know she was pregnant until she was in labor and dilated 8 cm. Here's the full story, which popped up on the Parenting homepage as an article of interest - I'm so glad! Because I think a lot of people (ahem, Aaron) think I make stuff up 'cause it sounds sensational - and I'm happy to report that the version of this story that I've been repeating is highly accurate to the original. So there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In the Center of It All

Last night, I was at the peak of fashion, and I do not take freak coincidences like that lightly.

Jewel played at the brand-spanking new Urban Plains Center. It was the place to be for 30-something women, and not a very good place to meet a man. But that is not why I was there. Here's why it was a big deal to me: First of all, I love Jewel. That sounds kind of cheesy, I guess, but I own 6 of her 7 albums, so you can judge if I'm exaggerating or not. (I only own multiple albums of one other group, U2) Second, this UP Center is kind of the new big thing in town, and this was the first concert held there. Third, Aaron was totally depressed that I went with my buddy Crystal and not him. He's probably one of the few not-attending men who was actually SAD about it, but he said it's because it was an event. (It occurred to me yesterday afternoon that I sounded a bit Barbie- going to a Jewel concert with Crystal. Yikers.)

So I'll summarize this "event" for you:

The parking was horrendous. I followed the signs and ended up in a line at least a mile long of cars bumper-to-bumper, moving one car at a time. After 10 minutes, I still couldn't see the Center. So I turned around in the middle of the road and went further north, where I could see that vehicles were getting a whole lot closer in a lot less time. I got to park in a deeply rutted field, which thankfully was dry. Then I walked a quarter mile to the front doors, on the opposite end of the building from where I'd parked. Of course.

Because of the traffic (and my request for cash) Crystal didn't make it into the building until about 7:15. The concert was supposed to start at 7pm, and the videos of Jewel performing in the entry area were giving me mini-heart attacks that I was missing her - but then Realtor Dave reassured me that there was an opening act. Whew. Realtor Dave was there with his daughter, and was trying to give away his extra ticket. If only we'd known that sooner! And had a babysitter. Oh well.

We made it in and found our incredibly good seats, in the 9th row, all thanks to Crystal. I was very glad I had worn my turtleneck and long sweater vest-thingy, even though as I had watched all the chickies come in I'd felt overdressed. What those young thangs forgot is that this place is a hockey rink. It was seriously chilly. Especially for poor us on the floor.

Jewel was simply great. She opened with an a Capella version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" which was actually not a bit cheesy. Okay, maybe a little. But still, it's a great song. It was a simple concert, with just her & her guitar, and a table and chair with a floral arrangement for visual interest. She sang all the "big" songs: Hands, You Were Made For Me (my fav), Intuition (too bad I can't separate it from the ladies' shaver ad), Foolish Games (Crystal's fav), Standing Still, and her very first single, Who Will Save Your Soul.

Of course, she also sang a couple songs off of her new country album, which I'd listened to twice the night before. (Leah likes Jewel! Who'd have thunk )

For her encore, she did a yodeling piece, and proclaimed us all sick when we screamed, "YES" we wanted her to go faster! At that speed, it ceased to sound like singing, and sound more like a dj scratching a record. It was incredible.

In between various songs, Jewel told very cute little stories about her social anxiety, a freaky video she received from a fan (including You Were Made For Me at half speed and a nekkid fat man covered in Crisco), a story about being on the sidelines of a drug bust in Mexico (she was NOT involved personally!), and of course, her beginnings in Alaska and being homeless in San Diego. All in all, she was very charming and made you think you could be friends with her. Yep. Really.

Here's something that stunned me: She taught herself 4 guitar chords in order to busk her way across the lower 48 - at age 16. She got her first record deal at age 18, and her first single was the one song she wrote on her cross-country trip - Who Will Save Your Soul. Seriously - who exactly does that happen to?
She said when she first heard "Save Your Soul" on the radio she was totally embarrassed, because she realized that she sounded like Kermit the Frog. "But", she said, "I was embarrassed all the way to the bank, so it worked out all right!"

Gotta love the honesty.

Highly Skeptical

This influx of holiday catalogs has offered our children hours of looking at photos of toys they will never receive. Ben is especially mesmerized, and is showing signs of being a major contributor to our country's economy - as soon as he gets an allowance.

The other day, Aaron and Leah were looking at one catalog, and Aaron commented, "Oh, look at the brother and sister! They are hugging so nice - they must love each other." Right away, Leah says, "Maybe they're just doing that for the picture."

Their room also had an entire wall painted with chalkboard paint - which I think is highly overrated. In photos, the board is pristine except for a couple of cute drawings and maybe a child's name. In reality, you know that board would be covered with smudges and smears and scribbles. And everything else in the nearby proximity would be covered with chalk dust.

No, I think it's safe to say that I will never ever have a chalk board wall. But hopefully my kids will continue to hug for photos, if not in real life - which they do plenty, despite Leah's suspicions.