Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Old Vs. New

It doesn't show up well in these pics, but the new paint color is sort of a putty/grey color. It looks great. (Of course it looks great - would I decorate any other way?) But grey is not my favorite.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Visiting Gracie

The little poets and I visited Gracie last weekend - we helped her move into her new digs. Well, I watched the younger kids and provided some decent child labor for the move. The best part was that we got to stay the night with her family on the first night that they occupied their new home. Which would have been even more perfect if my youngest had not have had an ear infection that kept us both up most of the night. Nevertheless, Gracie cooked us breakfast on her very cool stove.
You can tell that she is just a little excited to be able to cook on her OWN stove again.

On the way home, we encountered a little snow on the pass - only a few feet of the sugary stuff at the most (on our drive, JG, front right in pic below, said in awe, "Mom, snow looks like sugar!). This was the first time I've ever had to chain up on my own; I feel so grown-up now. It's safe to say that we enjoyed this adventurous weekend.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two Hot Babes

I am on the left, and Gracie is on the right. It was her 10th birthday, and we celebrated by going to the state fair. I talked Gracie into going on the "Squirrel Cages" that day (so she reminded me recently). And ever since that day, she has been trying to stop the spinning.
Love you! After all these years, you still look the same, Gracie (only now you have much bigger boobs and better hair). My boobs and my hair, ironically, haven't really changed since then.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Getting Rid of Blue

I'm still here.

Haven't I said that before? Hmmm. It feels like I have.

So I've been busy painting and packing and cleaning - all for the sake of getting the house in presentable shape in order for someone to like it enough to buy it. The most devastating news of all this week is that I must paint my blue room, as potential buyers might be turned off by its - well - "blueness."

Here is what it looks like currently:

And I worked so hard to coordinate the colors, curtains, etc. I *made* those curtains, btw.

At first, I cried when Poetroad broke it to me. I know - silly. But I've invested a lot into my house. Since we are moving shortly to Texas, however, it's probably good that I make a clean break with my house. Like we are "breaking up" - ending our love affair. I know - crazy. It's not the first time I've been accused of that (and it won't be the last).

Goodbye, Blue. I still love you, but we can't be together. I'll remember all of those great times we've spent together, and you'll always be in my thoughts.

I'll feel lonely without you, blue. Stay strong - for the both of us. Goodbye.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Irving, Texas
Austin, Texas

Right Weekend; Wrong Number

The Queen drove over for a visit this weekend, for which I am eternally grateful. I simply like to be around her, and her presence tends to have a very calming affect on my life too (particularly when things are ultra-crazy around here with the move and all). Plus, she brought the chocolate. These are the things that sisters do for each other. And, and, and she even helped me paint my bedroom! That girl is a keeper.

Later that evening, the phone rang. When I answered, I thought I recognized the voice to be Poetroad's dad. It was the same type of firm cowboy "Hello!" said in almost an accusatory sort of way as if to say, "You haven't called your dad in a long time, so I'm calling you." Also, it always sounds as if he is surprised that someone is actually answering the phone, and his tone lets us know that if someone is there to answer the phone, then his son should be using the phone to call his dad.

I thought Poetroad's dad owned that "Hello." He doesn't.

So after a few seconds of light hearted chit chat ("I wasn't sure if you would be back yet; glad you made it home okay..." - Okay, we weren't planning on going anywhere, and we weren't coming home from any place in particular, but you know how older people sometimes get a little confused...), the voice on the other end said lovingly, "Happy Birthday, Possum. You're thirty-four."

Now a normal person would have stopped that poor confused daddy right there and let him know that he indeed had the wrong number. No Possum lives here. But my heart melted. Someone's Daddy was calling her to tell her happy birthday. He loves his little Possum! I wanted to be her, and I pictured my dad on the other end of the phone. What if my daddy (who was sitting downstairs in my living room at the time - and this fact made the idea so *real* to me in the moment) accidentally called the wrong "Little Possum"? I didn't want to disappoint a daddy who was so thoughtful to call on his daughter's birthday.

"Oh, that's so sweet!" I replied. "Thank you!"

And then I hung up the phone.

I was thinking that this sweet daddy would simply assume he and his daughter accidentally got cut off, re-dial the "correct" number, and actually get in touch with the right "Possum."

But that wasn't my luck. The phone rang again. I frantically tried to explain to Poetroad what happened, and convinced him to let the voice mail pick up the call. Surely the voice mail message would clue in the caller that he had the wrong number.

It did not. The phone rang again. Like a scared sixteen year old pleading with her father to get rid of an unwanted suitor, I urged Poetroad to please, please, please answer the phone and gently set the man straight. Which Poetroad did. But it took some coaxing to convince the man that the "Jones Family" did not live here.

Poetroad said that I confused the poor man. I know I unintentionally did confuse him. Rats. But at least I didn't continue the conversation once I realized it was the wrong number. I easily could have.

Hopefully "Possum" knows how much she is loved by her daddy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"And I still make sense only at the fringes of my thinking."


It's good to have friends here and there.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back to being mediocre

It's a long story, but after having a heated discussion with Poetroad last night, I have decided that I must accept the fact that I will have to be a mediocre teacher this semester. Even though it kills me a little to accept that reality, I know it is the wise decision and the right decision. A person that is trying to sort through a house, pack up the stuff, fix up the house in order to sell it - all the while taking care of her family (fixing meals, doing laundry, paying attention to the children) - cannot be all things to all people. As the old saying goes, "something's got to give."

And teaching is what will give for now. My sanity and my family are too important to me to put them aside.

Will my students even notice a difference? No. How can they miss what they don't even know to expect.

So I'm tucking my creative teaching ideas into my brain files, and I'll save them for a time when I have more time. For now, mediocrity rules!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Not surprised

But I am surprised that even though I gave some very different answers on the quiz than my friend over at 36 did, we both had the same results (and I know the answers were different because she was taking the quiz while we talked on the phone as I was shopping at "Hoochi"mart).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Next Day

"Irate man beats neighbor into unconsciousness as woman sits in puddle of her own urine and watches. Paramedics were not able to revive neighbor, who until then was recovering from very recent heart surgery. In addition to the woman who wet herself, witnesses included ten to twelve neighborhood children."

That could have been the headline in today's newspaper had I acquiesced to the urge to pee as I witnessed the fight break out between - you guessed it - Mr. Swell and my other neighbor, "Ben" yesterday afternoon....

And that is what I began to write the next day after "The Fight," but only two paragraphs into it, ANOTHER fight broke out between Mr. Swell and a DIFFERENT neighbor.

I'll spare you all of the details of this tussle. Just know that the police came, and no one was arrested. Of course the police parked their cars in front of MY house. Good times.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Fight

I forgot completely to tell you all about one of the highlights of my summer! I broke up a neighborhood fight. Between two adults. Two grown men twice my size in every capacity.

Of course you know that good ole' Mr. Swell was involved (you remember - the tree pruning neighbor that dislikes my daughters and thinks that Poetroad and I are terrible parents). The other dueling dad? Our friend and neighbor across the street, "Ben."

Here's how it happened... It was a warm August afternoon, and I was doing my laundry. All of the doors to my house were open, including the garage door, and ten to fifteen kids were running around the neighborhood in front of (and through) my house (as they usually do). As I was getting ready to put another load into the washer, I noticed through the open garage doors that there was some kind of commotion going on at the end of my drive way. Two kids were going at it (my neighbor Ben's son, "Tony," and "Boston" a guest of Mr. Swell's son).

Automatically, I was drawn to the scene in order to mediate the scuffle, but before I could even get through my garage, Ben ran across the street and intervened. Because his son was the one who took a nose full of fist - and because Boston was not standing down even when Tony was crying and holding his nose - Ben grabbed Boston by the shoulders and said firmly, "What do you think you are doing?"

That's when Mr. Swell tore over there and was all over Ben like a yellow jacket to a barbecue.

I nearly wet myself right then and there. Instinctively, my 10 year old got the phone and put it in my hand as I walked semi-cross-legged toward the scene. I don't even remember telling her to get the phone, but I do remember telling myself, "You cannot pee now. You have to keep it in. Don't do this."

Oh, and you should know that at the time, Ben was recovering from...MAJOR HEART SURGERY! Ten days out of the hospital, he was. So Ben really wasn't fighting at all. He was holding his arms out to protect himself from getting PUMMELED IN THE CHEST.

Unbelievable, I know, but I am not making this stuff up.

After Mr. Bell pushed Ben on his ass, and then shoved him around a couple more times, I was able to get them to stand down. At this moment, I can't recall how....but it may have been my threat to call the police or my admonition to Mr. Swell that Ben just had MAJOR HEART SURGERY 10 days prior.

There we stood on the sidewalk in front of my house - Mr. Swell, red-faced protruding-neck-veins yelling in our faces that the neighborhood kids are frightened of Ben and I because we, "Yell at the kids." Ben and I were "Bad examples" to the neighborhood kids.

And we did yell at some of the kids in the neighborhood. I yelled at a kid who was about to smash another kid in the head with a skateboard. I yelled that I would call the police if they didn't stop. Guilty as charged.

Ben yelled at his own son - who was in a group of kids - to stop throwing tennis balls at passing cars. Also guilty as charged.

But Mr. Swell didn't take to kindly to the fact that I called him a hypocrite for yelling in our faces and admonishing us for yelling simultaneously. Said he'd start bringing his lawyers in on all of the neighborhood business if any of our kids as much as sneezed at his son.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to say before the fight broke out between Tony and Boston, Mr. Swell yelled at Boston something to the effect of, "Go ahead, Boston. I'll take care of Tony's father." And Mr. Swell's own son pulled Tony over to Boston in order for the pummeling to take place.

But I would not stand down. I was tired of being bullied by that ass. Calmly, yet firmly, I said to Mr. Swell, "This is exactly why I don't talk to you any more. You are a bully. The only time we have contact is when you are attempting to berate my children, my husband, or me in an effort to intimidate us. So if there is any bully in this neighborhood, it's not Boston and it's not your son - it's you."

He was floored. Never did he think of himself as being the bully. It was always "us vs. him" in his mind. But when faced with the scenarios of our last four or five interactions, he felt the weight of the truth. And then he surprisingly admitted, "Wow, I was really an ass today, wasn't I." We agreed.

Over the next ten minutes, we actually were able to iron out our differences. I sealed our peace with a handshake and a man hug. Ben and Mr. Swell did the same.

Later on that evening, Poetroad verified what I had been thinking as I witnessed the events unfold that day: Mr. Swell was a loose cannon just waiting to go off. Who knows what will trigger the next outburst. We also concurred that things would (hopefully) be good with Mr. Swell for at least three or four months - or whenever Mr. Swell could manage to forget about the events of that day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm still here

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Wow - that's weird. I said that I love the West Coast, but Austin is still my city. That's totally cool because - get ready for the big news - we are moving to Austin. That's right: WE ARE MOVING TO AUSTIN, TEXAS! Yee haw! I can't hardly believe it myself.

So, as you can guess, I've been a bit busy, and this is why I haven't been blogging. And I miss you all! Here is a re-cap of my summer through September:
1. Grandpa got sick
2. Grandpa died
3. Memorial service/camping trip/Fourth of July
4. Best camping trip ever to the little known Triangle Lake
5. Funtabulous trip to Bend to visit best friend and family
6. School started (three at the same school this year)
7. Started teaching jobs (that's right - both of them)
8. Visited Austin
9. Accepted job
10. Drinking Sangria and Blogging (which is a great way to ride out on the coat tails of summer)

So we move some time in November. Well, Poetroad begins his new job on November 1, and the kids and I will stay a bit to wrap things up...such as my College Writing class (the semester ends in early Dec.). I've totally been having fun teaching my that class this semester, btw - and I'm glad that I'll end that job on a high note (this is my most fun class to teach ever).

I am, however, going to miss my friends and family here. This is a scary, scary thing I am doing - starting over in a new place. But, I am seriously excited about starting a new chapter in my life too.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness.
Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul.
You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable.
Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful.
In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself.
Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend.
You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What am I really avoiding?

The truth is that I have come to some realizations about me that are difficult for me to accept or understand. So I am hiding from my self. That means I am avoiding talk about anything "real" or personal. I do have some other "real" writing that needs to be written - a few stories. But I think I fear success. Isn't that crazy?

Yesterday, I had a serious blow to my self-esteem. I want to crawl in a hole. But life goes on.

Yes, curriculum. I have a week to get my stuff together. Teaching will be a nice diversion from my self.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Avoiding "real" writing

You Are a Little Scary

You've got a nice edge to you. Use it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Let's hear it for the rejects!

You are

If I can't live in Hawaii, I'll go for the runner-up

American Cities That Best Fit You::
75% Honolulu
70% Austin
65% Miami
65% Portland
60% Denver

Weird - this is one of my favorite colors

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


7. "Never use while sleeping."

I usually don't read the "IMPORTANT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS" before I use a product, but for some reason I decided to check out the list of 15 safety instructions for my new hand held hair dryer.

"Never use while sleeping?" Did someone need to be TOLD that? You've got to know that someone must have actually done this - why else would it make on the golden 15 list?

Seriously, think about a possible scenario that brought about the lawsuit and prompted Conair to add this important warning to the safety instruction list. A person is so exhausted that he or she thinks, "Hey, I can't stay awake long enough to dry my hair, but I can just turn the hair dryer on, lay next to it on the bed here, and get a nap in. Then when I wake up, my hair will be dry!" Is that what happened?!

If your hair is so long that you might be tempted to try "sleep drying," then think about getting one of those short and sassy hair cuts. Too exhausted? Wrap your head in a towel. Better yet, shave your head and go the wig route.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Where do I begin?

Summer - so much drama, so little time. To lessen the crap-ability factor, think of my family interactions as being episodes of a sick and twisted reality TV show, only no David Hasslehoff.

Sunday, June 11

My mom’s step-dad, the only Grandpa from that side of the family that I’ve known growing up, turned 80. Grandpa Ray’s health has not been great up to this point (he has suffered from emphysema and battled pneumonia constantly), so making it to 80 was a big deal; he told my grandma that he always hoped to live long enough to see his 80th birthday.

To celebrate, we had a party over at my aunt and uncle’s house at the coast. They live in a three-story spread on 15 acres of land tucked in the back woods of the central Oregon Coast, so the venue was perfect.

I made a cool card for Grandpa – a litte scrapbook of sorts of my family at the beach. In the card, I wrote about the great memories I’ve had of spending time at the coast with my grandma and grandpa beach combing, digging for clams, and exploring the woods in an acre of land that my grandpa half-logged near their house over there. My children and husband have been fortunate to enjoy that legacy too.

Visiting with family that day was surprisingly pleasant, although Grandpa Ray never made it to the party. He wasn’t feeling well. My mom and dad stayed with him and tried to get him to eat some broth. They didn’t want him to be alone, particularly on his birthday.

After enjoying several hours of pleasant conversation with cousins and aunts and extended family and knowing for sure that Grandpa Ray wouldn’t be attending his party, Poetroad and I decided that we should head home. But as we were gathering our troups to head back to the valley, my sister-in-law “Floralei,” my oldest brother’s Cuban wife, cornered me. “I gave some clothes to your mother to give to “Flora” [my other brother’s wife – yes, my brothers married women with similar names, oddly enough], but Flora never got them.“

She then proceeded to rattle off an inventory of items that were in this particular bag of hand-me-downs. All very nice clothes, she reminded me, from Nordstrom, the Gap, and other botique-ey type stores. She wanted to know if I had them, as the package never found its way to Flora’s hands.

“Oh yeah, I do have the green pants and the striped hoodie,” I replied casually.

Then I got the loud and stern lecture – in front of my entire extended family – about how those clothes were to be given to Flora’s daughter, and how she divided them evenly between my four-year old and my neice, how she told my mom specifically what was supposed to go to who, and that those clothes were not meant for my daughter. Basically, Floralei was making it clear that she thought I was a greedy theif.

Trying to calm the mood, I reasoned in low tones, “It’s no big deal Floralei. I’ll make sure she gets the two items I have. But I don’t have the rest of the stuff.”

She raised her voice louder, and then more venomously retorted, “It is a big deal! I asked your daughter which things she liked, and the rest of the clothes were not meant for you to take. I divided the items equally - [again with the invetory of items in this other bag of clothes] were meant for Flora’s daughter.”

I understood what she was saying perfectly, but more pressing was my intense need to crawl under the nearest shrub. So I didn’t explain that my daughter got wet at my parent’s house one day and was in need of some dry clothing temporarily.

Instead, I replied, “Okay. I’ll make sure Flora get’s the two items I have.”

And then we left.

Monday, June 12

Grandpa Ray had a heartattack in the middle of the night. Grandma was worried that he would be angry with her because she called the ambulance. He didn’t want to live the rest of his life being hooked up to life support.

More of the continuing saga tomorrow...

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Yes, the cheesecake scam is indeed brilliant. In order to combat any attempts to build up my ass-flab rather than my muscles, I took the decadent chocolate cheesecake over to my parent’s house. There, we had a picnic, I took the kids for a walk up the creek, and then I ate my slice. It tasted divine. So rich and creamy it was that I had to put a dollop of Coolwhip on top in order to soften the bite of the sweetness.

And I left the darned thing there in their freezer, too. Poetroad – with an almost painful look on his face – implored, “What did you do that for!?”

At that moment I knew for sure that the power of the cheesecake was strong, stronger than I had anticipated.

“If we take the cheesecake home,” I reasoned, “then I will eat it all for sure. This way it’s a good 15 minute drive away from us.”

Hopefully the distance will put a damper on desire.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I am a big Winner.

I love the group dynamic of the various exercise classes I am a part of at the local “club.” In particular, because of peer pressure, I tend to work out harder when I exercise with a group of people than if I were to work out on my own. And there is also the added bonus of having a leader that has a work out plan all figured out so that I don’t have to think about what to do next.

Today, I tried out a new cycling class (my regular class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and, wow, talk about some kind of dynamic going on there. As we are biking our buns off, the instructor yells out music trivia questions (who sings this song, what movie was this song in, what year was this song written, etc.). You’ll never guess what I won from guessing a “softball” trivia question (Joe Jackson sang “Steppin' Out” – easy 80s music trivia, people)…I won a chocolate cheesecake. No, seriously. I won a whole chocolate cheesecake.

Apparently, this instructor bakes 5 or 8 of these cheesecakes in a week, and freezes them. On Fridays, people can win a cheesecake in class.

I don’t know about you, but the winning the cheesecake thing is kind of counter-productive to my whole weight loss plan. If I want to drop a few pounds, I don’t think chocolate cheesecake is really an option on my menu.

If I cut out a few meals, however, maybe I can eat a tiny slice…

Thursday, June 22, 2006

School Recap

Yes, school is “out.” It has taken me a few days to recoup from the stress of trying to take care of my family and wrap up my classes over the last few weeks too. And since I’m sure you all (all three of you) are dying to know how things went, here’s the poop:

The college course: If you recall, things were a bit rocky for a while with the College Writing II crew. First, there was the dreadful “they don’t get it” shtick. After re-grouping and re-teaching “how to write a paragraph and incorporate borrowed material,” things seemed to go more smoothly.

Then, there was the whole “cheating” incident. You remember - that strange student who totally borrowed his paper from various Wikipedia pages (and from a site where comfortable beds are sold). That ended well, as the student never returned to class to face the consequences.

Finally, (and this is the new-to-you dish) there were the “mixed reviews” I earned from the end-of-the-year student evaluation process. A total of five students (of the 20 that completed the course) reviewed my teaching skills, and I think my overall average was a strong “C+.” Unfortunately, another adjunct was teaching the same class at the same time in another room, so our mixed reviews were mixed up. How do I know? Well, several of the comments penned by the anonymous reviewers referred to the other teacher, “Mrs. Smith,” by name. Consequently, the registrar mixed up the reviews, and I inadvertently saw the reviews for both sections (so much for confidentiality). Let me tell you – I was just glad that I didn’t get some of the reviews that Mrs. Smith got. Let’s just say that the comments directed to her were less than nice (better than barfing orange juice, but worse than eating worms). At least my students (if in fact any of the students reviewing my class were actually my students) had the sense to direct their evilness at me by without using my name. The head of the department seemed to think that my reviews were really positive (wow – I’d hate to see what these kids say about their other teachers). I laughed at that, and asked him, “I’m sorry, but did we read the same reviews?” He was quick to point out that “We tend to assume that the students who were satisfied with the class didn’t review your performance, but those who felt disgruntled did.”

All in all, I made many mistakes in teaching that college writing class, and I will be sure to adjust my approach next time around in order to avoid the same pitfalls.

The online school: At the other end of the teaching spectrum, the online school end of the year went well. Although I graded papers for 80+ hours in the span of two weeks (yes, that is about 40 hours of overtime work there), the students I had this year seemed to really learn something from the curriculum and my mentorship. And, I had more “thank yous” from students and parents this year than ever before – which is always nice.

Hopefully, I’ll get re-connected with my blog buddies this summer. Maybe I’ll even write something that will be worth your time to read.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh, that is sad

As you may have guessed, I've been a bit preoccupied with grading the last few weeks. Bleck! It's the most un-fun part of my job. It's what I do the most of, however. Grade papers, that is.

So the last time I posted was May 31. That means that every minute I've spent on the computer over the last two weeks was, basically, ahhhhh. Not thinking about it. Avoid. Denial.

It's as if I just woke up from a two week drunken binge. Time went by, and I don't really know what happened. I'm waking up, and it's JUNE.

Very sad, people. Now I have to figure out a way to make it up to Poetroad. He's awesome. What would I do without him?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hard Worker

My kids are the encouraging sort. Each are quick to give well earned accolades - or to spur another on to reach that goal. Heck, even the clear looser gets a firm and hearty hand-shake.

As a matter of fact, I took the two oldest on a neighborhood trek the other day. While they stopped to play on the school playground, I continued my workout by jogging around the school track. Of course my jog is more like "falling forward while walking," but I was moving faster than a stroll. On the last lap of my mile, I picked up the pace and was attempting to sprint to the finish line. As I rounded the last corner - sucking wind, panting hard, moving barely faster than a slow jog - I could hear my darlings shout from the playground, "Way to go Mom! You can do it! Wow, you're doing really great!" Not wanting to disappoint my fans, I pushed my body to its limits all the way to the finish line.

Recently, however, I've been wondering if they are taking this encouragement thing too far. In the down-stairs bathroom right above the toilet paper dispenser I found a sticker that read, "Hard Worker." At first I thought it was just a random attempt to find a place to put a sticker. Now I'm not so sure.

I mean, yeah, we all need a little encouragement some time, but do we really need to pat a person on the back for having a successful bowel movement?

Speaking of Core

I just saw an ad for a new workout video called "Dance Core." No, it's not hard-core dancing where dancers jump up and down aimlessly, yet pummel each other with their appendages nonetheless. It's a new work out craze that focuses on - you guessed it - the "core" (aka "the power house"). See, I'm not the only one throwing around this terminology.

So, apparently, by wiggling your midsection furiously in an almost belly dancing fashion, you too can develop a firm core. Maybe you'll even wiggle your way into a six pack (they, of course, have a few testimonials from women and men who have done as much). Or you could just drink a six pack while watching men and women feverishly dance away the mid-section.

If professional ballroom dancers can dance away the flab, so can you. (Pay no attention to the very tiny fine print that explains, "the professionals that appear in this video have all been surgically altered, and some images may appear smaller on screen than in real life.")

Go ahead; dance your way to a tighter core.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Right now...

I am working on my "core." You know, my "power house." Those are two other words/phrases that make me giggle. The "core" or the "power house" are quite simply the abdominal muscles. It may even include other muscles. Is there a nutritionist in the house who can set us straight?

So as I sit here typing and grading papers, I am sitting up straight with gut pulled in. Even if the skin around my abs is amazingly flabby, I can feel the strength building in my core. I might just grow up to be a super hero.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's up with that attitude?

Speaking of yesterday, I'm over it. I forgive you, body. It's not your fault.

Today I am taking a break from exercising. Well, strenuously exercising that is. We may take a walk later.

This week has been a bit like living as a cave dweller - hiding in a hole due to the unseasonably cool temps and excessive rain. I did jog in the rain yesterday, though, and that was actually fun. I would have really enjoyed myself had it not been for the, well, painful jogging part. You know, the legs straining, heavy breathing, heart pumping kind of hurting. If I want those effects, I don't want it to be from running. But the rain on my brow was nice. Keeping my mind on being sure footed actually kept my mind off of all else for a bit.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fitness for Fats...

or "Fatness for Life." That's what we used to call the required college PE course that was really entitled "Fitness for Life." The required PE course, I guess, was the college's attempt to rid itself of the nickname, Big Women's College. But that plan never really worked out, and they simply added a few masters degree programs so that the name of the college could be changed, thereby avoiding the whole fatness issue altogether.

Seriously, though, about five weeks ago I embarked on a new exercise/diet lifestyle journey - a routine that was inspired by that class I took all those years ago. Back then, we were required to run three miles, four times per week. Not only that, in order to earn an "A" in the class, a person had to be able to run a particular three mile cross country course under 20 minutes.

So I began running three times a week - only now it takes me 20 minutes to run two miles. Then a few weeks into the routine, needing to mix it up a little, I started going to a cycling class (aka spinning) and a pilates class two times a week (that is, I do both back to back two times per week). On the off days, I walk or jog two to three miles. At first I was exercising like this three to four times a week, but starting this week I'm a five times a week girl.

As for the diet changes, I've cut out junk food and have limited my calories to between 1400-1600 per day.

Weight loss to date = 0

Am I feeling better and looking more trim and toned? Am I probably gaining muscle, so the weight loss doesn't register yet?

What the heck do I care about that when the poundage isn't melting off like fat dripping from a skewered pig hung rotisserie-style and spinning over hot coals?! I want results! Results I can measure on a scale!

Obviously, I need to lower my BID (Body Image Dissatisfaction) rate. Or I need a TRC (Total Reality Check).

Women, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we have unrealistic expectations of our bodies? I would say that I am retarded to expect my body to remember its pre-child-bearing shape, but it's not p.c. to say retarded anymore.

Anyway, both the spinning and pilates classes are fun. I hate every minute of each. Seriously, every day before class I say to myself, "I don't want to go to class today. I'm gonna work too hard because I am too darn competitive." But I go anyway. And I love hating every minute of those classes too because I know darn well that had I been actually riding a bike up steep hills, for example, I would get off and walk. A couple of times in class I was tempted to do just that.

So, I will continue down the current fitness path regardless of the little to no results phase. If I'm going to be pushing MLD anyway, however, I think I'll start eating more chocolate.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Also Only Mostly Dead

Okay, I really need to get back into the swing of things as far as blogging is concerned. Things are fine, but the end of the year is always hectic for me - particularly when I have to deal with high school seniors attempting to graduate. Plus, I taught that college class this semester (that turned out fine, btw; only one F). So I'm jumping on the survey train; enjoy reading every mind-numbing bit of it.
  • Cried: No
  • Worn jeans: No
  • Met someone: Yes
  • Kissed someone: Yes - five people several times
  • Said I love you: Yes, lots and lots


  • Do you ever wish you had another name? In first through third grade, I wished that I had a nick-name because I thought nick-names were cool. I attempted to get people to call me by certain names, but no nick-name really worked out.
  • Do you like anyone? I like most people.
  • Which one of your friends acts the most like you? My daughters act a lot like me, but most of my friends have personalities that complement mine rather mimic mine. Although CLA and I often act alike a lot...
  • Who's the loudest? LE
  • Who's the shyest? CW
  • Who's the weirdest? LF
  • Who do you hang out with the most? Poetroad and my kids, but I chat with CLA the most, hang out with LF, and I exchange e-mails the most with CW.
  • When you cried the most who was there? Poetroad
  • What's the best feeling in the world? Helping someone accomplish something, holding a newborn baby right out of the womb, holding hands with Poetroad as we are driving down the road and the kids are laughing in the back seat, and a few others that I won't describe here....
  • Worst Feeling? Knowing that I've disappointed someone, being disappointed, despair, helplessness, flu symptoms


  • Let's walk on the: wild side.
  • Let's look at: the bright side.
  • What a nice: thing to say.
  • When will they: ever learn?
  • How is: the weather over there, Grandma?
  • Why: are you still reading this?
  • Show me: how to gut this fish.
  • The house is: quiet.
  • Tell me: about you.
  • Love me: forever.


  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
  • Coke or Pepsi: Diet Coke
  • Girls or Guys: Depends on the situation
  • Scruff or Clean shaved: Depends on the situation
  • Blondes or Brunettes: both


  • What do you notice first: Smile and teeth (particularly whether or not brushing is a regular habit)


  • Showered: this morning
  • Stepped outside: an hour ago (I spent most of the evening outside)
  • Cried: a few weeks ago
  • Had a romantic memory: I think of those all the time


  • Makes you smile: All my friends and loved ones make me smile
  • Who can make you smile no matter what? CLA
  • Has a crush on you: No one that I know of


  • Sit by the phone waiting for a phone call: Hardly ever, but sometimes when Poetroad is out of town I wait for him to call
  • Do you save AIM conversations: No
  • Forward secret E-mails: I don't get secret e-mails
  • Wish you were someone else: no
  • Wish you were a member of the opposite sex: no way
  • Wear perfume/cologne? Yes
  • Go online for longer than eight hours at a time: Only when I am grading papers.


  • Made out with JUST a friend? No
  • Kissed two people in the same day? Two different guys? No.
  • Done it in a car? While driving down I-35...
  • Cheated on someone? No
  • Been cheated on? Yes
  • Done something you regret? Yes


  • You saw? JG
  • You talked to? JG
  • You hugged? JG
  • You instant messaged? That has been so long ago that I can't remember.
  • You yelled at? Champ
  • You thought about? Poetroad
  • Who text messaged you? CLA, and that was also a long time ago
  • Who told you they loved you? JG


  • Color your hair? Highlights
  • Have tattoos? No
  • Have piercings? Yes, three in one ear, one in the other, and one in a nostril
  • Have a crush? I have a long-standing Crush on Larry Mullen Jr. (going on 21 years)
  • Own a webcam? Yes
  • Own more than 10 pairs of flip flops? No, but that is my favored footwear
  • Like someone? I like people in general
  • Hate someone? No way - I don't have the time and energy to do that, although there are a few people that I've disliked a lot for short periods of time - but I got over it.


  • Smoke? I am not smoke.
  • Schizophrenic? No, I am notyesyouarenoImnotyesyouare
  • Obsessive? Definitely


  • Kissed your dog: Yes
  • Ran away: In my mind
  • Skipped school: Lots - sometimes I was the teacher
  • Broken someone's heart: Several, but not intentionally
  • Been in love: I am right now
  • Cried when someone died: Yes
  • Wanted someone you knew you couldn't have: Well, I thought I couldn't have him at first, but it turns out I could. So I married him.
  • Done something embarrassing: Every day
  • Cried in school: Yes, and once I was the teacher.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nine out of Ten

I'm not married to "Man o' the 80s" for nothing.

Complete the 80s lyrics!

I got 90%.. click here to take the test.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Bird Flu Hits Florida!

Hey, is that at Great Aunt Edith's house?

Friday, April 07, 2006

It tastes like chicken.

At my house, we are not vegetarians. We eat vegetables, but we are very much carnivorous too. I guess that makes us omnivores. Or eatatarians. We eat.

But I digress. I can't exactly recall how it all started, but over the course of raising four children (which, of course, I am still in the process of doing), I've developed some strategies to get my reluctant eaters to eat. One of those strategies has been to call what ever food it is by the name of a food they like. In short, I lie about the source of the food.

Most often, I've had to do this regarding meat sources as my children never really balked at eating vegetables. So, when serving steak, a child who was reluctant to eat it because it was a brown color heard, "What?! It's chicken. You like chicken. Eat it." And she complied.

Last night, I realized that I've completely muddled the minds of my little darlings. I was serving steak. My six year old questioned, "Mom, what kind of chicken is this?"

My reply? "Beef."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fools

Did anyone pull any great April Fools pranks on Saturday? Just curious. I am not a fan of the April Fools thing, but I did accidentally pull a few pranks of my own. Are they really considered pranks if what was done was unintentional?

When I woke up Saturday morning - after spending eleven hours on my bum the day before - I was understandably anxious to get out and do something. I noticed an advertisement in the paper that read, "Fuschia and Geranium starters, two for a dollar." This is an annual special sale that a regional grocery/stuff market chain holds. The best part of the sale is that a person can bring his/her own planters, and the starts will be planted for free - with premium soil provided (also free).

Knowing that the fuschia/geranium Saturday can get pretty busy, even in a torrential downpour, I knew I had to get going quickly. So I rushed around to find empty planters. Of course I knocked over a few empty kerosene lanterns in the garden/lawn mower shed. The spill wouldn't have been as bad had one of the lanterns not sprung a leak. When I tried to remove it from the shed so that the kerosene didn't get near the gasoline, like a toddler boy going pee, some sprayed uncontrollably on my hands and sweater.

After I quickly changed my clothes and started a load of laundry (kerosene on favorite sweater = not good), I got back to the task at hand - the gathering of flower containers. Not wanting to lug around large pots at the store, I opted for the six or seven clay and plastic planters of manageable size (although there were a few people who had HUGE flower pots there - the one meter across size). Of course my planters all needed to be washed out, so I went at the scrubbing in the kitchen sink.

While I wildly scrubbed my pots - still in a hurry - Poetroad breaks my concentration with, "Hey, what's this in my coffee?" I knew in a glance what it was. Without hesitation I said, "It's dirt. April Fools!"

Yeah, it was all planned. Only next time I plan a joke like that, I think I'll skip the "spill the kerosene on favorite sweater" step.

In the end, I got my plants and my dirt and my plants planted. [Insert your own something pithy and Shakespearian here - I have to get back to work]

You knew this was coming...

Perhaps that's not the best choice of words. Anyway, a search.blogger for "Girl on Girl Pics" got my blog. What a huge disappointment. And if they went over to MLT, well, we all know that the evening didn't end in accidental touching, heavy breathing, and orgasmic screaming. All touch was deliberate (and ALL was touched). But there was pain involved, and, truthfully, I am just not into the S&M thing. If anything was learned by this experience (besides the details on how to give a good waxing), I now know that pain does not equate with pleasure in my Kama Sutra thesaurus.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Girl Fun

Tonight I got the best birthday present EVER. And it feels SOOOOOO good. It was a full on waxing in the, ehemmm, beautiful place, done by none other than our friend Gracie. Maria was there for moral support - and even held and helped.

I knew I would feel much more comfortable having the waxing done by someone I knew, and I was. Now Gracie (and Maria) know me better than they ever wanted to...

For kicks afterward, Gracie did her make-up so she looked eerily like Frida Kahlo. We even have the pics to prove it, but getting her to post those might take a few more shots of Patron.


fiesta with friends
food, fun, laughs, poem, spirits
thirty-six went fine

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Yesterday Poetroad saw Mr. Swell and his kid in the field behind our houses playing ball. It was nice to see father and kid enjoying the afternoon together. And then his son threw the ball short. The ball bounced hard on the ground once, and, in an attempt to continue on it's original trajectory, the ball shot into the air. To bad Mr. Swell and his nuts were in the way. Good times.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

With haiku and bells on

no, rather, we six
poets are coming for you...
with our pink and tulle.

well, there is one dude
in the pack of six also;
he has his music.

there is nothing like
a mouth full of decadence;
brownies are good too.

Going to Cali...

in a few days, and I am almost beside myself with excitement. I have the supplies for a "professional" waxing, and am hoping to talk Selene into helping me do the deed. I will get to try on my "new" swimsuit, and most likely will get a chance to hang out with PJD and Maria.

Another birthday in paradise - I can't wait!

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Apologies

So we never really went around to poll the neighbors to see who hates us. Actually, the more we thought about it, the more Poetroad and I became convinced that Mr. Swell is a bit mental (as if there were ever any question). We did get a chance to chat with one set of neighbors, however, and this is how the conversation went:

"Oh, by the way, we've been told recently that we are terrible neighbors. The whole neighborhood has been supposedly polled, and we suck. So we just wanted to apologize for being snobs or whatever."

[laughing] "Oh, yeah. We are sorry too. We suck too. So let me guess who told you that [wife points to Mr. Swell's house]."

"You would be right. And we were thinking that it sounded kind of weird, but, hey, you never know. Maybe we did something to offend everyone."

[more laughter] "Consider the source."

Turns out that the kids across the street cannot play with Mr. Swell's son anymore. Such has been the case periodically with another set of kids in the neighborhood. We are the only parents that will allow our kids to play with his kids, in fact. And where does that get us? With a slipper-pajama wearing earful of nonsense.

After he had a day to get over the initial shock of being publicly reamed by Mr. Swell, Poetroad helped me see the situation with better perspective. Not only does Mr. Swell not see that the main culprit of the situation was his son (the instigator), but he doesn’t blame the “kicker” either. What kind of person would shift the blame and make an innocent bystander the evildoer in a situation? He's nuts.

Friday, March 17, 2006


24 Hours
24 Hours

Sign redundancy.
"We can always pump your gas."
Interstate exit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I forgot to mention that Poetroad wants to go around to each neighbor and apologize. Since he tends to act passive-aggressive towards jerk-type people, I was surprised that he wanted to call Mr. Swell's bluff. I am glad that Poetroad came up with that idea on his own. I had secretly planned to do the same.


class went well. I feel like I have a new crop of kids. Perhaps they feel my passion and sincerity. Perhaps I've done a better job of communicating my expectations this time around.

But better than that - and this is something you will all be very interested in knowing - my neighbor (the-cherry-tree-cutting- KC-hating-neighbor, Mr. Swell) paid us a visit at 8:45 AM today. In his slippers and all.

When I answered the door, I knew it wouldn't be good. I could tell by his demeanor that he was out for the kill. Immediately, he began to attempt to ream me - in front of my children and a neighbor girl - with, "Your daughter's friend kicked my son. He has severe bruising on his leg and may have to have surgery to remove bone spurs....blah, blah, blah...'

It reminded me of a time when at age 10 I kicked the crap out of a neighbor boy. I can't even remember why I did it, except for he wouldn't stop touching my friend. Not inappropriate touching, mind you. Just touching. The boy came over the next day and told me that his mom said a person could die from being kicked too many times. I apologized, agreed to not do it again, and then closed the door and giggled with my friend.

Back to the present, I tried to deflect immediately with, "Well, Mr. Swell, it seems as if you have a problem with KC's friend, so then you ought to take that up with her mother."

However it became abundantly clear that he was not as angry about something KC's friend did, but rather about something KC didn't do. He continued with, "The fact is that your daughter did nothing about this. She just stood there and let it happen; my son told me so. Violence is not the answer, and we ought to be teaching our children blah, blah, blah...."

At that moment, I was wishing that violence could be the answer.

Mr. Swell just kept on talking and accusing and raising his voice at me. I stepped outside and shut the door in attempt to shelter the children from being exposed to his rant.

"Mr. Swell, this is not the time and place to talk about this," I pleaded. "Our kids are getting ready to leave for school in a few minutes..."

I could see that there was just no stopping him, and I was getting more upset. I found myself yelling to drown out his incessant rant, "I am not talking to you! I cannot have this conversation! Stay here, you and you can speak with my husband about this matter."

And I went and got Poetroad. Then, while Poetroad was outside dodging verbal firebombs, I took a second to get to the bottom of the alleged assault. Apparently, Morgan, the son, was verbally abusing this girl - a tall girl for her age (she looks as if she is a big sixth grader, but she is only in the fourth grade). When he called her "fat," she kicked him. He punched her back. The poor girl was sitting in my living room crying, and I hugged her and said, "Oh, honey, you have every right to defend yourself. But next time, it would be better to just walk away and then tell your principal. In the meantime, do not talk to Morgan or to Mr. Swell. Just stay away from them."

Outside, Mr. Swell was throwing all kinds of accusations at my husband regarding my daughter and our family. No one in the neighborhood likes us, he says. All of the neighbors across and down the street think that we are snobbish. "And your wife won't speak to me anymore," he said. Then he accused Poetroad of getting defensive.

Poetroad asked Mr. Swell how he thought a person would respond to being berated by all sorts of accusations, and then told Mr. Swell, "My wife does not speak to you anymore because I told her not to."

The best part, though, was when Poetroad said, "I'm sorry if we haven't lived up to your expectations of us." To that, Mr. Swell blurted, "Don't try to use that on me. I have a doctorate in psychology!"

Wisely, Poetroad responded with, "Okay, what is the real issue here. You say that it is one thing, but what is it that you are really angry about?"

Oh, I don't know, could it be because he feels totally emasculated since he decided to be a full time stay at home dad, that he doesn't have a job teaching at a college as he bragged was the case last summer, that he has a kid with a heart problem, another kid that is not adjusting well, a wife who had a cancerous tumor removed from her face last fall, and that his unmanned car rammed into the front of a neighbor's house a few short months ago and landed well into the front room? It all kind of makes me feel sorry for the guy.

And I do feel sorry for him, but I would feel a lot more compassion if he weren’t such a jerk.

In not so many words, Mr. Swell said that he feels as if the Swell family has been made out to be the bad family of the neighborhood. He feels as if we should have a more "community approach" to raising our children.

Apparently he thinks that means that when he comes over to tell each of our families how we should correctly raise our children that we should respond by lavishing him with attention.

It sucks to be lonely. It sucks more when the isolation has been self-created.

So Poetroad has decided that he needs to go over there this weekend to let the guy talk it out. I told Poetroad that all of the money that we dished out for the master's level counseling classes he took before he decided to quit the program was well spent today. I really admire my husband - he knows how to deal with jerks.

I, on the other hand, will not be invited to the meeting. My presence seems to bring out the worst in Mr. Swell.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


my house was clean. Selene's bro and fam were in town, and they came over. It was a blast getting to visit with them and their sweet daughters. Today, my house is a disaster. JG said that she can no longer be happy because Noe had to go home.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I wish that I could say that my College Writing class was going better. Truthfully, only two of my twenty students have written anything close to a paper that resembles scholarly research. Tuesday is a big day for me as I will have to enlighten each to the heavy crap factor ratio within the papers. If major changes are not made, then only a handful of students will pass this class. This is not good...not good at all.

But things could be worse. I could be allergic to chocolate.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Invasion of the Cottage Cheese Thigh Body Snatchers

"I'm cute - I fit in a size six jeans. But when the close come off, I say, 'What is this body, and how did it get in my clothes?!'" This was Gracie's internal dialogue when trying on swimsuits in the dressing room. She continued, "I can't even look at myself in the mirror and see that. Maybe if I am 80 years old, I might say, 'You look HOT!' But I'm not 80. I don't want to look at that."

So went the confession while I chatted with Gracie tonight. It's a mutual sentiment. We bought a swimsuit the other day. I say "we" because Gracie bought it, but it's mine. When I get there in a few weeks - and if I can stomach seeing myself in the suit, I will buy it because it is a "Miraclesuit." That's right - the swimsuit that makes every body look good. It's a friggin "miracle." But miracles cost these days - a lot. One hundred plus bones for a little piece of fabric. I was ready to pay for the miracle too - and then Gracie found the suit for around 30 dollars. She was kind enough to snatch it up, take it home, and let me see how it looked via the web cam. Indeed, it is a cute suit, and hopefully it will look as good on me as it does on her. But the suit did make me take a closer look at my legs and thighs. Ewww.

The quest for the suit began last Friday - the day I hit rock bottom. I would not go swimming with the family because I did not want to be seen in public in my swimsuit. Not only is my swimsuit a worn out faded piece of crap, but my body does not look attractive in the suit. At the local club, I would surely see people I know. I might have even been seen by some student of mine. This was a risk I was not willing to make.

Thanks to my good friend, Gracie, however, I found out about the "Suit." We will see if the miracle really works. In the meantime, I'm doing all the leg lifts and crunches I can.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bean "RE: Bean"

That was the sender and title of an e-mail I received recently. I don't know anyone by the name of "Bean," so I knew right away it was spam. I’ve been getting a LOT of spam over the last year – mostly advertisements for out-of country pharmacy offers. I know this because I was tricked into opening a few of these e-mails. Sure, I was curious to know why Aileen was e-mailing me about “omelets,” so I bit. And you know what, it wasn’t my friend Aileen at all. Go figure.

Anyway, all of the e-mails I was tricked into opening up were the same, “Buy your prescriptions for Vicodin, etc., etc., etc, in Canada for pennies.” If you remember, I had a C-section over a year ago – and I took Vicodin for a short time – well, I took it until I could move around without swearing so much. I didn’t even re-fill the prescription, but they knew. Somehow they always do know. How did they find out – the spammers, that is?

So since then, Tyrone Robles wants to discuss “unilateral exterminations.” Whereas George Sneed just wants to talk about “crack.” Lloyd Capps knows something about the “ductwork apocrypha.” Funny, I thought the apocrypha was something one reads rather than builds. In other spiritual news, Nathan wants to tell me about, “batik and whitehorse churchwoman.”

A few people I think know of St. James and the infamous birthday party last year. A person named Waters says that, “colonist ape at a sensitive time in Middle commonplace.” Zeigler says that it’s, “advantageous in ambling with Bruno.” Perhaps Zeigler thinks that de-appendaging humans is fun.

On the medical scene, Ofelia Dixon wants me to know about, “duma for urinal possession.” I’ve got news for you, Ofelia – “It’s not a duma.” Roxanne Hammer retorts that “droopy aorta on yow.”

I even got an e-mail from “Larry Flint,” but when the subject heading wasn’t about sex, I knew it was a sham. Besides, I’m just too old to shoot a spread for Penthouse. Unless of course droopy boobed, big-hipped women are “in.” Even if that were the case, I would have to say, "Sorry, Larry, I’m not available." I'm too busy to be able to fit a photoshoot into my schedule.

I aim to please.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

One more thing

I mentioned something about the interview for a job in Colorado. Just an update: Colorado is officially a "no." Poetroad actually heard the news via a third-party source, and sent off an e-mail to let the interviewer know that we know we are "out." The response e-mail read, "Poetroad, You are class act. You will surely be blessed." And that was that. End of prospect.

Now Poetroad was disappointed; this is the first time he hasn't been chosen for any job he ever wanted, after all. But more than that, he was disappointed that he would not move to Colorado. You see, his dad, "Russ," lives in Western Oklahoma, and moving to Colorado would have meant that we would have lived closer to Poetroad's family for a change. Poetroad was surprised by the fact that he had that yearning inside of him because we haven't been particularly close to his family in the past. Since Russ retired a few months ago, however, things have been different. For one, Russ calls once a month. Before, we were lucky to get a call on Christmas. Birthdays were never acknowledged, nor were other holidays or important dates. Russ is just funny that way - he's lived like a bachelor for a lot of years, and, truth be told, he's been a little egocentric. Not in a bad way, mind you; his life just revolved around him and his many activities and interests. But that has changed, somehow.

Anyway, that's the story of the job. Gracie said that she is glad because she didn't really want to move to Colorado anyway.

Book Recommendation

First of all, I would like to suggest that Gracie ought to write a blurb about each book she's read as she strives to read the fifty-whatever books she plans to read this year. I'd like to know if she thinks each read is worth a person's time - particularly since I know it takes me twice as long to read a book than it takes her. So I guess I'm wondering if in your reviews you could double the amount of time it took you to read it so I can realistically have an idea of the type of time commitment I will need to make when I dive into the book?

I didn't really read a book in February - I just read parts of several books (and a slew of student papers). But way back in January, I read an excellent book graciously mailed to me by a friend: The Solitaire Mystery, by Jostein Gaarder. It really is, "a novel about family and destiny." While the surface level of the story - the one that centers on the dynamics of "family" - particularly of "dysfunctional family" (and who can't relate to that?}, is wonderfully entertaining, on a deeper level the writer challenges the reader to consider how much destiny plays a part in our every day lives. Can we escape it?

It took me several days to read this book, but I probably spent six to eight hours reading it in all. I enjoyed the reading experience completely from start to finish, and perhaps being caught up in the moment is why it took me a bit longer to read the book than it should have. Not that there is a time limit on these things.

I'll see that "ewww," and raise you a "disgusting."

My eyes glaze over a little, and I'm rendered momentarily comatose whenever I think about a news story I heard earlier this week. Warning - do not follow this link if you have a sensitive gag reflex.

Yes, apparently great-granny was doing more than baking cookies in her double wide trailer.

It's not fathomable think how terribly this kid will be disturbed for eternity by seeing a volume of wrinkles and equating that with - ugh. I can't even type it.

But the good news, kid, is that it does get better. So sorry that this "Mrs. Robinson" was 83.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


My neighbor to the south (the guy who doesn't like my oldest daughter because she speaks her mind) owns two cherry trees that grow on the fence line between our back yards. The trunks of the trees are on his side of the fence. Half of the limbs reach into our yard. The fence is on our property and belongs to us.

I used to hate cherries, which stems from a horrible cherry flavored lifesavers choking/barfing incident that happened when I was three. I'm still not particularly fond of cherry flavoring, but I love to eat fresh cherries. One of these trees produces Bing cherries - deep red almost black colored fruit when ripe that are sweet and juicy. Even in season, a pound of Bings is costly. The other tree produces Rainer, a more reddish colored cherry - also sweet and juicy, but not as sweet as the Bings are.

But I digress...

On Saturday, Moose was pruning ALL of the trees in his back yard. These two cherry trees were targeted for selective pruning as well. The trees are already set with buds for this season's fruit. I was curious when my dog alerted me to some type of activity in our yard. Just before the limbs being pruned landed into our back yard, I made eye contact with Moose and gave him a neighborly smile.

What is odd is that Moose only trimmed off those two huge limbs from those trees. Both limbs that he trimmed grew directly above the fence, running parallel to it. The branches, of course, jutted out into our yard.

What is more odd is that he just left them there. No, "Oops, I'll come over later and take care of that." No, "Oh, I didn't mean to cut off limbs that were in your yard." No nothing. Just the eye contact and me smiling.

The next day, Poetroad asked me, "Why did you cut off those tree limbs?" "I didn't," I said. "Moose was pruning his tree." Three days later, I finally went out there and chopped up the limb so it would fit into the yard debris can.

I don’t get it. Is the Cherry Nazi trying to send me a message? “No cherries for you!”

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sweet holy Moses

Two weeks after the initial dental visit, the patient returns in order to put the permanent crown onto the exposed tooth stump.

And this is what I had to do today. Of course, like a boxer who steels himself for the one two walloopa punch so that he doesn't end up kissing the canvas (or worse, end up dead), I have been steeling myself for the past two weeks for this procedure.

I knew going into this appointment that the doctor would not give me drugs, shots, gas, or any helpful hints regarding how to tolerate the intense pain I would feel once the temporary came off and the permanent was cemented onto the very sensitive stump. At least Selene got, "Do jumping jack." I got nothing...except for this...

(As Dr. S & M is cleaning the old glue off of the sensitive, exposed stump, I wince in pain)

"Is something a’ matter there?" he said annoyed.

So I mumbled through the mouth filled with tubular gauze (you know, the kind of gauze thingies that are stuffed up bloodied noses - a tiny tampon with no string), "Ah Huts" (translation: It hurts.).

"Well, yes, it will feel a little sensitive to the touch." And then he adds, "When we put the permanent tooth on, it will feel really cool at first. It will take a minute or three for the initial ZING to wear off."

Cool. As in a little cold. Kind of icy. That's the first time in my life I've heard someone equate "coolness" with "intense pain."

But what do I know; I'm just the poor sap who broke her tooth and had the fortunate misfortune of having Dr. S & M, a highly skilled dentist, fix it.

The great thing was that since I've been building it up in my mind for two weeks that this procedure would really, really hurt (and it did hurt - really, really bad), this time around, the procedure didn't hurt as badly as it did when I had another broken tooth fixed a few years back. Of course I had a C-section between the first broken tooth fixing incident and this one.

Although this time around I had the added pleasure of having him put the permanent on and off a few times for adjustment purposes. That was...real...fun...kind of...cool... He's lucky I didn't vomit.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Decisions, decisions

Today I woke up to the pleasant feeling of fire in my bladder. UTI. I knew it from the moment I opened my eyes. Poetroad was not home from the Men’s Retreat yet, the doctor’s office is closed on Sunday, and I had two little ones at home (the two olders were at grandma and grandpa’s, thank the Lord).

After first mentally debating whether or not I could make it through the day, I finally decided to have the doctor paged, and I tried not to think about the discomfort while I waited for the return call. I had two options, he said. Go to Urgent Care or go to Urgent Care. So I took option one…and two.

I despise going to the doctor’s office anyway, but I particularly despise going to a place where there are bound to be high volumes of sick people in one little room. In fact, the only difference between Urgent Care and the Emergency room is that the room is smaller at Urgent Care.

The on call doctor advised me to get there 15 minutes before they opened so I could get in and out in a jiffy. Good call because when I arrived, the waiting room was already 1/3 full. Luckily only four of those people were patients. That made me patient number five.

To make a long story shorter, I was in and out of UC in about an hour with prescription in hand – amazing. By the time I left, there were hoards of coughing and other sorts of sickly people waiting to be seen…it was a longer line than the lines I’ve seen at the DMV. I was sure to make the little ones use hand sanitizer as soon as we stepped out of the building.

And now I am only partially delirious. I’ve taken one dose, but I’m not really feeling the effects of the meds yet. That flu-like brain fog and achy body feeling is not gone. Perhaps I’ll take the next dose now…and go back to bed.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I don't have anything to say,

but I'm tired of looking at that donut. Perhaps if I write enough, then the donut will be pushed far enough down the page that I won't see it. Seeing the donut makes me think of the untamed flesh on my body that got that way from eating donuts. Well, not really from eating donuts - it was the few boxes of chocolate that did me in. Darn Valentines Day. So I'm posting a post about nothing. That's right, nothing. I could blather on and on about nothing until the cows come home, and then I could say more about the same subject. Perhaps the reading of the freshman college papers has put me in this catatonic love of nothing state. You know, the paper that drones on and on - talks in circles - appears to have length and possibly gets close to saying something, but in the end, it really says nothing? Yeah, I still have a stack to finish reading that I put in my coat closet. I put them there so I wouldn't have to look at them. There they sit buried in coats.

be done with donuts
chocolates and freshman work;
all hidden in coats

Friday, February 17, 2006

Spot On

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut

A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.
On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.
You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.
Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.


shapely winter girls
draped in velvet em’rald cloaks;
Costal Mountains sigh

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Okay, that was kinda weird...

seeing my post on someone else's blog. Four comments and everything - of course I ruined that by also commenting.

Things have been strange around here. First there was the out of the blue call from Colorado from people we don't even know wanting to interview Poetroad for a job. They flew out here that weekend, and we've chatted a few times since. Still, there's no resolution to that, and I have been laughing at the idea that I had learned to wait patiently on the Lord.

Next, a new semester began at the online high school. We added a few orientation assignments into the mix, and the result was that each teacher was welcomed into the semester with about three hundred assignments needing to be graded. As you can guess, that caused a few rumblings. I was so immersed in the grading that I hardly noticed any difference from that week and the last few weeks of the previous semester. "Welcome to my world, " I wanted to say to the rest of the staff. "Yes, this is what it is like to actually have to grade papers. Oh, and, shut yer yapper, you big cry babies!" Of course a few of the more negative people on staff want heads to roll for this. Good thing the only weight they can hope to throw around is the extra hundred pounds hanging from their butts and bellies. On the up side, at least they aren't fat heads.

Speaking of mutiny, for a second in class yesterday I thought I might be mobbed and burned at the stake. My little darling freshman college writing students turned in papers that read equivalent to garden compost - although people shouldn't really throw human waste into the compost pile. Wondering how to handle this exactly, I took said papers to the Doctor of English (aka head of the department). He encouraged me to mark a point off for every error in conventions (grammar, punctuation, etc.). So I did just that. The result was that a few of my students earned negative scores. This was for a two-page paper. And most were dumb mistakes, too. I asked for a show of hands, "Who exactly had someone edit your paper for you?" Not one hand went up. Still they protested with drivel such as, "I thought you would just grade on content. I didn't know that we would have to write it good or anything like that." I responded with, "Yeah, well this is an English class. In fact, it's a writing class. What would ever give you the idea that I wouldn't be editing for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation?"

I made it out of class alive just in time to get some major dental work done at Dr. S&M's. Dr. S&M is a minimalist, and that philosophy works great for Interior Decorating. Dentists, however, should employ every gas and drug invented to minimize patient pain. One would think that a painless trip to the dentist would have a patient running back for more, in fact. But my dentist deals in pain. The patient gets two shots to the gums, and a few minutes for the Novocain to do its thing.

One time the dentist was putting a new crown on the stump where a broken tooth had been, and he didn't even offer me a shot to numb that up first. Instead he said, with new porcelain tooth in one hand and the other rubber gloved hand shoved in my mouth, "Now the nurse told you this is going to hurt a bit, right? The pain will subside in a minute or two, though, and you won't have to be bothered by a numb face for half the day."

It hurt like hell.

I cried - this is a woman who has birthed four babies, two without the help of pain medication. On a positive note, I was glad that I had another real life situation in which to utilize those Lamaze breathing techniques.

Anyway, the dentist trip was a travel through painsville, but at least I had that near-student-mob experience fresh in my mind to help distract me from the agony.

And that's the news from my side of the world where the dentists are tough, the women are buff, and the children hand in papers that score below average.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I also like lavender.

Friday, January 27, 2006

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Uh, for someone who is supposedly leaving mediocrity in the dust, I sure am not going far.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's that time of year again...the dreaded end of the semester. This means I will be trying to dig my way out of a virtual pile of papers (a few hundred worth and counting).

This is my least favorite part of my job. The least. It ranks right up there with eating poop.

Talk to you all next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Boat Show

I got a phone call from my mom a while ago.

Mom: "Your dad wants to know if Selene is going to be in town this weekend."

BSP: "Why?"

Mom: "Well, the boat show is coming to town, and he wants to know if she would like to go."

BSP: "What a coincidence! I think she will be up this way to visit her parents."

New Class

i had forgotten
how much i liked in class group
dynamics; good times

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Naughty List

Poetroad was out of town for five days, and being a single parent of four those few short days did not wear well on my nerves. I sincerely don’t know how you single parents survive; you are my heroes. Oh, things started out well, but life slowly descended into a mime-loving, decapitating, hellish existence with the final hours definitely being the worst.

Pick-up time for Poetroad’s flight was approximately 9:00 PM. My plan was to glide through the evening – perhaps get a few things done while the older two were at Girl Scouts, get all the children into their pajamas, and then at 8 o’clock jet on over to the airport that is a good hour drive from here.

The unraveling really began around 5:30 PM when I couldn’t get everyone to eat at suppertime. If I were wise, I would have packed a snack so that the four-year-old who did not eat could snack on something while we sat through the Girl Scouts parent meeting. I was not that wise.

So at the meeting, JG could not be happy. The whine was relentless, and my usual powers to comfort and distract an unhappy child were crippled due to the proximity to kryptonite (aka the extreme embarrassment of being the parent of the obnoxious, disruptive child in the room). My admonitions for her to “Shush” weren’t enough to scare her into silence (does that ever work?), so I did the only thing I knew how to do – exit the room in full shame.

The descent was gaining momentum. In mid-dash to our car during a torrential downpour, JG stopped in here tracks and wouldn’t move. I kept going. But there she stood with hands in the air holding what was left of a torn, rain-soaked, sagging cookie order form while screaming as loudly as her little vocal chords could manage.

After I quickly buckled one child into a car seat, I ran back to fetch the drenched JG – seriously, she looked as if I had dumped a bucket of water on her. She looked much like a cat after it fell into a bathtub.

Things got worse from there. I won’t go into all the details, but eventually I found myself screaming, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” from the other room. Being that is the “s” word in our house, I had clearly crossed the line. It wasn’t pretty for all who were involved.

Then from out of the stunned silence in the other room, I heard a meek yet resigned voice say, “Mom, Santa won’t be giving you any presents because you are on the naughty list now.”

That was fine because I was quite frankly in no mood to be on the good list.

Eventually, after I gathered my wits, got some food into her system, and calmed down, I apologized for yelling and for using the “s” word (“shut-up”). JG acknowledged my apology with, “Good, mom! Now you can be on the good list again! Now Santa can bring you presents.”

Later that evening, we were able to successfully pick up Poetroad with out too much drama (my biggest worry was being able to avoid the local flooding and navigate through the downpours).

And I spent the rest of the night – which continued until 1:00 AM - getting back onto the naughty list. It was very nice indeed. Good times.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Best Gift Ever

I know I mentioned this previously, but only in passing. I forgot to dish the details! So sorry!

For Christmas, Poetroad took me to the U2 concert (their last stop of the tour for the year). Since I have such a long-standing and vast love for the band (particularly Larry Mullen Jr. - I've always had an affinity for drummers), this was the best Christmas present ever.

When we got to the concert, I was surprised to see the diversity in age. Both young and old were there - some people even brought their children. Just as varied was the flavor of concertgoers. From the multi-tattooed, fish-net-stocking, black lipstick wearing peops to the overly dressed sparkle shirted high-heeled big hair multi large jewelry wearing folk, all types were enjoying the same tunes.

Of course I felt in kindred spirit with those who cheered and grooved and sung out the words to songs from the early albums (Boy, October, Under a Blood Red Sky, Unforgettable Fire, etc.). And they played a lot of the old tunes too. This concert did have a decidedly political message, but what can you do? The Irish know how to promote a cause.

So for over two and a half hours we soaked up the music and media presentation - it was divine. After the concert, Poetroad bought us concert t-shirts. Then we spent over an hour and a half getting back to our ride that was parked in the city. Thank you public transportation planners. Perhaps you people could plan to have the public transport come a little more frequently than every half hour after a huge concert? Luckily, we were able to squeeze onto the third tram.

Anyway, Poetroad, you did good. You know what I like! (Oh, and the jewelry and the new U2 cd were just a bonus on Christmas morning). How did I get so blessed as to catch him?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What is in a Word?

Awhile back I had to take a trip to the Social Security office. Trips to government offices are always loads of fun - interesting people watching spot, that's for sure. Anyway, while I was waiting in line (a forty-five minute wait it was for a three minute transaction), I noticed this pamphlet:

"Social Security: If You Are Blind Or Have Low Vision - How We Can Help"

First of all, if a person were blind, he or she would not be able to see the pamphlet let alone read it. So why, "If You Are Blind..." Might I suggest, "If Someone You Know Is Blind."

Second...okay, there really is no second point. That first one was my point. But if you turn to page two, there is a special note that reads:

"Note: This publication is also available in Braille and on cassette tape. SEE Pages 31-32."

Again, a blind person would not be able to "see" pages 31-32 to know how to order the Braille or cassette tape publication because he or she is, uh, BLIND. Sure, there are the "low vision" types that potentially could read pages 31-32, but if your vision is so low that you need to read in Braille, chances are that you wouldn't be able to read the instructions on pages 31-32 (or even be able to see that there is a pamphlet that is addressed to the "Blind [and] Low Vision") to find out how to call and order such publication.

Which brings me to this point: why are we so crazy in America to have things "in writing." In most courts here, a firm verbal agreement has value (but not as much value if the printed word is notarized and signed in blood - even if the document is a farce).

Maybe I'm just fooling myself, but it seems to me that we hold to much stock in print - and this is coming from an Englishy type, mind you. There were many great works that survived via ye ole Oral Tradition (not to be confused with Orai Leland, who was a missionary in Africa). And the Word of God was written on our hearts (that's Truth with a capital "T") long before printing presses were ever invented. So to say that a word has worth only if it is written is an overstatement of the value of the printed word. Words first exist in our brains, do they not?

One time I worked as a banker. I was, in fact the Vault Teller. A stringy haired grungy looking guy in rumpled clothing walked up to the Drive Thru and wanted to deposit a wad of cash. I took the cash over to my drawer, counted it, and noticed that he was fifty dollars short. I walked back to the Drive Thru and let him know. "What?! What did you do with my fifty dollars?! When I counted it this morning, there was 1,500.00 there."

To make a long story short, the Manager told me that I had to take him at his word since I didn't count the money right in front of him - even though he could see me counting it at my till from the Drive Thru window. I couldn't argue with that. She was right. I made a mistake. I "ate" fifty dollars that day, and I had to be written up for it.

So you see, a person's word does have worth - no matter who speaks it. Of course, not everyone will tell the truth, but chances are that doesn’t change whether the word is written or spoken. Not everything has to be “in writing.” Yes, there is great comfort in things we can “see,” but argue that with a blind person.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Feeling Snappy...

Still in cleaning mode here. Emptying a house of clutter is a ginormous task (ginormous is my four-year-old's new favorite word, btw). On Monday, we officially moved the TV into the front room, and turned the family room into a play area. The drums are set up in the corner of the new play area, and the couch will be leaving that room at the end of this month (the soonest I could arrange for a Salvation Army pick up). Woo hoo!

Basically, I am quite happy about the results of the purge so far even though the organizing is only partially complete. In fact, in general, I am by far the happiest I have ever been during the rainy season. I would even go as far to say that I am content...and those of you who know me know that is saying quite a bit.

Why am I content? That's a loaded question. Nothing has really changed externally. As I mentioned a few months back, though, I've made an internal change - a commitment to get rid of fear and to listen to the Lord - not just to speak to Him, but also to listen. My New Year's resolution is to continue on that path. Of course this means that I've had to leave the mediocrity behind because even though every thing I do may appear to be half-ass, I am no longer striving for half-ass. Goodbye fear.

Intention - that's the key change. But the follow through is what counts.

Which reminds me...has anyone ever seen the "infomercial" on PBS for the guy who espouses, "The Power of Intention." What a joke. I could "intend" to do a ton of things. That's my problem, really. I intend to do things all day. What I really need is a program for, "The Power of 'Follow Through.'" Give me ten steps to do that, why don't ya.

Anyway, I'd love to chat, but I have to get back to my other daily duty as the house laundrarian.