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January 2006

Christmas Break

When does school start again? Heh

Working with children in the house is like running the dishwasher with the door open. The dishes might get clean but the kitchen gets flooded in the process.

Oooh, that's good, huh? Just totally came to me, that analogy. Just right off the top of my head, it did. Maybe it will end up in some quote book someday! Hey, it could happen! Dash it all, you're not properly impressed!

Hypothetically speaking, of course. About the dishwasher. I'm the world's lousiest housekeeper but I haven't been *that* absentminded yet. Plus, the dishwasher turns off if you try to open the door in progress, I think. It's sort of like the washing machine that locks you out during the spin cycle. Safety features are usually installed after some disastrous accident, so I'm imagining the first owners of a washing machine tossing Fluffy in for the spin cycle or something.

Poor Fluffy. His sacrifice made washing machines safer for everyone. Rest in peace, little fella.

But enough about hypothetical analogies and pet manglings. Let's talk about me!

One of the things I've been trying to get done this week is a project for Retailers that I will teach in Holland in a few weeks. This will be my third trip over there, and I am very flattered that they keep inviting me back. I had planned to go to CHA, but this Holland trip is the week before, so I will not be at CHA after all.

Anyway, the conversation with John went something like this:

"Heidi wants me to go to Holland for a quick trip in January."

"They love you in Europe."

"I'm huge in Europe."

And then we laughed at our little joke.

Scrapbooking, you see, mirrors other creative industries in how you can be at the top of your game and then just fall off the planet. Not to say that I've fallen off the planet just yet, but I definitely feel "so 2002" a lot of the time. So many creative people. So much talent. So many outlets. So many products. Original ideas are harder and harder to come by. This isn't a "woe is me" post, though. I'm very fortunate to have had success and to have carved out a work-from-home career that I love.

However, it *is* the natural progression for aging rock stars and Baywatch actors to find new fame overseas. Perhaps scrapbooking is no different, and although my upcoming travels are both exciting and exotic, they are merely precursors to an uncomfortable truth. Pretty soon I'll be donning a life vest over my leather jacket, giving one last thumbs up "Ayyyy" to the boat driver, and waterski-jumping right over a shark.

Im_famousSo long, Happy Days!

It was only fitting, therefore, that John mock me about my insecurities in this area. We mock . . . because we love! Or something. He gave me this utterly unwearable but worth-it-for-the-hilarity tee-shirt for Christmas.

I really did crack up when I opened it, because it was very funny, that's why! My parents didn't get the joke.

In other home run Christmas gifts, we gave the kids "Toss Across". John picked it out - it's a tic-tac-toe game where you toss these little pink bean bags from across the room and try to rotate the plastic markers to X's or O's, depending on which one you're playing. To be truthful, when he put it in the shopping cart I secretly rolled my eyes and thought it was very lame. The lamest. It didn't seem like it would be entertaining. I thought they would be bored after a game or two. I thought Karl might be frustrated if he couldn't hit the target.

I thought wrong.

We all love this game for its utter simplicity and constant re-ordering of the board. Even with the greatest of aim you can't be sure that it will spin to your letter rather than your opponent's. Everyone wins a few, everyone loses a few. I didn't expect it.

I also didn't expect the game to bring out such impressive "trash-talking" among my 7-year-olds. Just the other day I was listening to their game from my office. Emma, who was playing X's, tossed a bag and brought up an O.

"Thank you!" Karl said smugly.

"You won't be thanking me when I win!" she replied.

Ooooh! Well played. Later on, in the same game, Emma tried to cheat while retrieving the bean bags, flipping one of the O's to an X. Karl caught her and said,

"Why can't you just accept your failure?"

Nice. They really ARE our kids!

So that's what's going on around here. I did get the class done, although it took me three days instead of three hours what with the constant interruptions, breaking up fights, making lunch, playing Crazy 8's and Toss Across, eating way too many sweets, etc. I'm ready for some normalcy.

Bring on the New Year, I say!

And school.

Bring on school, I say!

Happy New Year!

TPBQOTD (Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped!)


OK, remember I was going to tell about Karl's personal grossology exhibit at Applebee's? Well I thought it would be much better set to song . . .

KIDDING! Geez, you DO NOT want to hear me sing!

I did make a layout about the outing, though. I had snapped individual pictures of each letter of the Grossology sign so I could make a nice dramatic title. Of course, my nice dramatic title left no room for, say, photos, journaling or memories of the day. Bother.

My solution was an interactive title where "gross" flips up and "ology" flips down and suddenly there was luxurious space for photos, journaling, brochures and even a nice picture of the Denver skyline taken from the parking lot of the museum. Sweet!

Grossology_2 Grossology_open_1

I'll include the journaling so there won't be any eye straining. Not so much a fan of the eye straining.

It seemed like a perfect outing to occupy two overexcited children who were counting down the days until Christmas. Grossology was exhibiting at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the kids, especially Karl, were intrigued by the advertisement. The Impolite Science of the Human Body, it was dubbed. Apparently you could learn all about belches, toots, snot and other gross stuff in a delightfully fun environment! Oh joy! We picked up Mimi on the way and met friends at the museum, although we quickly got separated from the friends when it became apparent that the entire state of Colorado was crammed into the Grossology exhibit. It was loud, loud, LOUD, with a crowd, crowd, CROWD! I expected Karl to have a problem with the chaos and noise, but he was so engrossed in the exhibits that the crowd didn’t bother him a bit. Emma was quickly overwhelmed, though, so she and Mimi abandoned Grossology and headed to a quieter section of the museum. After Karl and I got our fill of creating burps, standing inside of a giant nose, making squeaky toots, playing giant Operation, pinball and trivia, learning about digestion, smelling foul odors, and watching the snot bubble emerge out of the giant nose faucet, we found Mimi and Emma and headed out to lunch.

        It was a late lunch and the kids were hungry. Karl dove into his applesauce and chicken strips with fervor. Near the end of his meal, though, he started to gag. “There’s a bone in my chicken,” he sputtered, and we realized with horror that everything was going to come up! Mom was a quick thinker – she grabbed her empty broccoli dish and caught 90% of Karl’s personal grossology exhibit. I whisked him off to the restroom to take care of the rest. On the way back I found our server and explained sheepishly that my son had gagged on a chicken bone and that we had a rather unappetizing display at the table. She wasn’t fazed at all. “I have kids, too” she said, and matter-of-factly grabbed the broccoli dish and swept it off to the kitchen, where it was hopefully retired from service.

        The entire vomiting-at-the-table incident was remarkably unmessy, thanks to Mom’s quick reflexes and healthy food choices. I don’t think that my french fries would have been quite so handy for catching Karl’s lunch. When our server came with the check she also had a to-go bag with a free chicken meal for Karl. “It’s no fun to throw up,” she explained. I’m sure they also were nervous about the unexpected chicken bone, but it was a nice gesture regardless of the motive.

        Overall we had a fun time, despite the adventures, and the entire day was an education in the impolite science of the human body!

Aebleskivers_1 Speaking of Karl and vomit, he continued his exhibit on Christmas Eve. The menu was baked potato soup and since Karl eats no version of potatoes (except potato chips) I had given him free reign to pick his own meal. “Taco meat and bread,” he requested. Mom and I decided to make Aebleskivers to go with the soup. They're a round Danish pancake. And by round I mean spherical, not flat. You eat them with jam and powdered sugar. Karl must have eaten about half a dozen Aebleskivers and then chased them with some spicy taco meat, applesauce and sparkling cider. Do I really need to announce the ending?

No broccoli dish was required because he was kind enough to throw up in the toilet, as nature intended. He announced quite cheerfully afterward that “Hey! My stomach doesn't hurt anymore!” Well duh.

Why is life with children always such an adventure? Yeah, yeah, I know all about granny's roller coaster analogy in Parenthood, but I'll settle for a nice tame merry-go-round, thank you very much.

A merry-go-round with barf bags, that is!

TPBQOTD (Your True Love lives, and you marry another! True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp and she treated it like garbage! And that's what she is . . . the Queen of Refuse! So bow down to her if you want. Bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Boo!)



Can't post much today because I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy, much much too busy to be too fun-nee. Busy, busy, shockingly busy, but not too busy to quote Veggie Tales! Heh

Here are a few shots from Burniston Bakefest 2005. The kids took their sprinkles-duty VERY seriously! I also thought the shot of my mom's original KitchenAid mixer, in the 70's-trendy-mustard color, was rather nice. I inherited it a couple of years ago when she upgraded to the larger KitchenAid mixer (in the 00's-trendy-white color). Mom will have to correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe this original mixer has never needed a repair and it has to be pushing 30 years old! Just like me! (What? Why are you laughing? What's so funny?)

Christmas_cookies_1 Yesterday we went to the Grossology exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science but that's a story all of its own, so I'll save it for next time. Let's just say that Karl had his own personal grossology exhibit at Applebee's and it earned him some free chicken. Intrigued? Stay tuned! (I'm so mean. Such a meanie!)

Merry Holiday!

TPBQOTD (You have six fingers on your right hand. Someone was looking for you.)

The Flight of Prince Caspian

So I've always been a big reader, see, and as a kid I mostly borrowed books from the school and town libraries because there wasn't a lot of money for purchasing books and I burned through them anyway. That was a particularly long run-on sentence so I think it's only fitting that I try to outdo it with the sentence immediately following which would be this one and it's getting rather long and run-onnish and suddenly the first one doesn't seem so bad now does it?

Anyway . . . the only box set of books I ever remember owning, and I own them to this day, is The Chronicles of Narnia. I no longer have the box they came in, but the 7 paperback books have always been stored, in order, in the bookshelf in our bedroom. With the movie coming out I decided to re-read them. John got interested and, being unfamiliar with the books, decided to read at least The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And yes, as a matter of fact, he WAS born in a cave and raised by wolves.

He's also a slow reader (those wolves were not so good at phonics, you see) so it took him a few weeks to finish the first book and by that time I had read all the way through The Magician's Nephew. A few days ago he asked what the second book was called. "Prince Caspian," I told him. "Where is it?" he asked. "In the bookshelf," I replied.

And that brings us to last night.

The scene was cozy. The children were in bed, the fireplace was blazing, the tree was shining VERY BRIGHTLY, I was folding laundry on the couch, John was in the chair, and we were watching "As Good as it Gets" on TV.

Suddenly it was like deja vu.

Suddenly it was like deja vu. (See what I did there? heh)

"What's the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia called?" John asks me.

"Prince Caspian" I reply, looking at him with a puzzled look and wondering if he's going all Memento on me.

"Where is it?" he asks.

"In the bookshelf"

"WHERE in the bookshelf?"

"With all the other Narnia books"

"I didn't see it."

"I'm sure it's there. It's even in the proper order." (I said that last part with a lot of smuggish confidence)

"Didn't you read it recently?"


"Then what makes you think you put it back?"

OH NO HE DIH-UN'T! Oh yes . .. he did! He said that very snarky thing about my general messiness. My mouth flew open, I scrunched my face into a meanie-look, gave him a huffy breath, dropped several socks, and stormed up the stairs to prove him wrong.

Now, the truth is, I was a little worried that he might be right. I don't always replace things in their proper place. Things are found in all sorts of odd locations, like when I recently found my new orange hoodie in with the Halloween decorations while navigating the storage room looking for Christmas decorations. The only thing I can think to explain why I put it there is that it was orange. It might have sat there for a YEAR had fate not intervened. Instead I've worn it non-stop for 3 days to make up for not having it for so long. Today I'm washing it. No worries.

So imagine my triumph when I found the good Prince Caspian right there in the bookshelf where I said he was and in the proper order! I put on my gloaty face toot sweet!

I stepped out of our bedroom to the landing above the family room and this is where reason left me. From the landing you can see the whole family room and there was John sitting nicely in the chair, feet up on the ottoman, absorbed in the movie, with that big ol' lap target just calling out to me. "I should just toss this book right onto his lap! That will show him!" I thought to myself. So without much further thought . . . (No thought, for instance, of how horrible I am at hitting a target. No flashback, for instance, to my high school softball coach screaming at me that I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if it were two feet in front of me while rubbing the red mark on his bald head that was caused, naturally, by a recently-thrown softball by, naturally, yours truly.) . . . I tossed the paperback book right toward his lap.

From a height of 15 feet or so.

It missed his lap, of course, and hit him in the shoulder/head instead.

He jumped about 4 feet in the air and said "What the &^%$#?!" because it scared the crap out of him, that's why.

I did immediately apologize and said that I was aiming for his lap, but he was still very mad at me. Imagine that!

"What were you thinking?! You can't toss BOOKS from the balcony - you could have really hurt me!"

"Well it IS a paperback. What? You might have got a paper cut? If you wouldn't have accused me of not replacing the book I wouldn't have had to throw it at you!" (The logic. I'm so good at the logic.)

"If a corner of it hit me in the temple it might have KILLED me!" (Now THAT'S  a bit melodramatic, I think)

So we settled into a grumbly silence and I picked up my socks again and then . . . it got worse. I got the giggles. Bad, unstoppable, inappropriate giggles.

"Are you laughing about the BOOK?!"

"No! I'm laughing at the movie!" (But it was weak. So weak.)

"There's no funny part in the movie right now. You're laughing about the BOOK! I can't believe it! That's it! I'm going upstairs and throwing it at you."

"OK, fine. Feel free. I'll try not to cry like a wee girl." (Slightly immature, but worth it)

So off he stomped, book in hand, up the stairs.

"Are you ready?" he called down.

"Sure. Knock yourself out." I said, very bravely, although bracing myself a bit for the impact.

"Nah. I lost the desire." he says.

Now at this point I realized that he really DID think it was dangerous to toss a book, albeit a paperback, at someone from the balcony. I mean, I thought he was just upset because it scared him, but I think he really WAS worried that someone could get h..THWAP!

The book hit me square in the head.

"Yes!" He cried out, very gloaty-like. He looked just like Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own when he took out that little twerpy kid Nelson. He even expected me to COMPLIMENT him on his aim! Can you believe that?! Sheesh.

It didn't really hurt so much as just smarted a little. Still, I think we'll be retiring all book launchings from now on. We've decided to be adults again. (Well, sort of.)

And you know, it must have been rather a treat for ol' Caspian. He was quite brave, remember, and would have jumped at the chance to fly, I'm just sure of it. C.S. Lewis would have been so proud.

So this morning I woke up with the giggles again.

"Are you still laughing about that book?" John called out from the bathroom.

"Well it's just that it's very blogworthy!"

Don't you agree?

Happy Wednesday! Oh, and wish me luck - I'm baking today. Yesterday's fudge was a disaster. The kids think it tastes wonderful but it won't win any beauty contests. *sigh*

TPBQOTD ("Oh no! No. Please!"  "What is it? What's the matter?"  "They're kissing again. Do we HAVE to hear the kissing part?!"  "Someday you might not mind so much."  "Get on to the Fire Swamp. That sounded good!")


Thanks for the comments on Christmas Tag! I see that several people have not heard of Peppernuts, so I dug up this layout from Hot Looks for Scrapbooks. (The layout and the book are a couple of years old, mind you!)

Holiday_peppernuts Holiday_peppernuts_journaling

I am not adding a Princess Bride quote because this is not my actual post of the day. I have something much more amusing planned. Nope. This is just a clarification of the Tag post. My real post will come later, after I've fed the children and rotated the laundry.

Christmas Tag!

I got this Christmas Tag from Jen so here goes:

Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog? Hot Chocolate all the way. Egg Nog makes me yack. (Is that the proper spelling? I'm trying to indicate a gag reflex, not a transformation into a wooly upland creature.)

Does Santa wrap the presents or just set them under the tree? Well now that depends. We never quite know what Santa will do until Christmas morning, do we? The last couple of years the presents have been wrapped but rumor has it that this year's loot will be unpackaged, pre-loaded with batteries, and ready for playing. But, of course, that's completely up to Santa. He likes to keep us guessing, methinks. He also rarely wipes his feet, so the white snowy (somewhat flour-like) footprints across the floor are plentiful. Emma is so looking forward to the footprints that she has suggested putting the milk and cookies all the way across the room to encourage more footprints. Obviously Emma is not in charge of cleaning.

Emmas_letterSpeaking of Emma not being in charge of cleaning . . . (Yes, I know I'm getting completely off-track here, but this ties in so nicely that it will be worth it, I promise) . . . some of you may recall a previous post about Karl referring to me as the "slave" of the house. You can read that post here, if you'd like to be all caught up. Well I recently received an anonymous letter that makes me feel much better about the whole thing.  If you have a hard time reading the handwriting, join the club. Maybe she'll be a doctor.

Let me just type it for you: "Dear Mom. You are relly like the slaf of the house but not that much. I mean it. From your secret idmyer. PS I am not Emma."

See? Even a disinterested third party who calls me mom thinks I'm not too slavish. What a relief! And now, back to the tag:

Colored or white lights on the tree/house? Both. We've got clear icicle lights across the front of the house and then colored lights wrapped around the pole. The tree has clear lights, but only because we switched to an artificial tree this year (Hey, back off! I'm not good with watering, ok?)and the one we liked only came with clear. We figured we could just add a strand of colored lights but when we plugged in the tree, the 900 clear lights were so bright that you could land a jetliner in our family room, so we bailed on adding more, despite the possibility of getting a tan. Karen with your tree so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight!?!

Do you hang mistletoe? Nah. I'm not even sure where one purchases mistletoe. Plus, there really isn't any trickery required to get a kiss from the hubby. Or from the kids, for that matter.

When do you decorate? Well usually a couple of weeks before Christmas. We choose the precise weekend where we can still pick out a decent tree but not so early that the tree will be a dried-up, kindling-like, poke-your-eye-out-if-you-get-too-close fire hazard by Christmas. (Refer, if you will, to my aforementioned watering handicap) So we head to a tree lot like a happy little family, haul the tree home, and then nearly get divorced fighting over putting the *&^%$ thing in the tree stand. The artificial tree of 2005 has allowed us to (a) decorate earlier, (b) let Dell shine as the biggest fire hazard in the house, and (c) eliminate the GCTF. (Great Christmas Tree Fight) Fa la la la la!

What is your favorite holiday dish? Well I have this nifty little round casserole dish that has a leaf design. (Isn't it fun to wilfully misinterpret a question just so you don't have to admit that you don't know how to cook anything special?)

Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Well see, my brother and I were a bit devious. We would hunt out the presents. My mother was on to us and started locking the smaller presents away in her cedar chest. We knew where the key was, but it would have been a major operation to distract her long enough to unlock the chest and spy out the goods, so we only attempted it once and there wasn't much in there anyway. One year, though, we received DESKS for Christmas. Desks! Those things would not have fit into that cedar chest and we had searched every other nook and cranny of the house, garage and shop. I'll never forget my mother's triumphant look as she explained that the desks had been disguised as a table in her room. She'd pushed them together, covered them with a tablecloth, and set up a wrapping station on top. We never thought to look under the tablecloth! She got us. She won. She usually did, but it was always fun to try to outwit her!

How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth? That he doesn't floss? That he's lactose-intolerant? What truth?

Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve? The kids get to open one gift. Well, one gift of PJ's (scrapbookers' children must have nice new PJ's for Christmas morning photos) and then another gift to make up for the disappointment of getting PJ's.

What kind of cookies do you set out for Santa on Christmas Eve? The children decide. This year we think it will be chocolate chip.

Snow! Love it or hate it? Yes.

Can you ice skate? Only enough to laugh at.

Do you remember your favorite gift? John gave me a 70mm-300mm zoom lens for Christmas a few years ago. I had only mentioned it once, in passing, and he remembered the conversation. The lens was awesome, but it was the sentiment that made it so great.

What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Just one? Dunno. I love so much about the holidays. Christmas Eve church service ranks rather high.

What’s your favorite holiday dessert? Peppernuts!

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? One that has been on hiatus for a while. As a kid, my cousin, Jackie, and I would always assemble a new puzzle on Christmas day. I loved getting Dad to open the puzzle box with his pocket knife. I've decided that my kids (or at least Emma, who has more patience for that sort of thing) are old enough to enjoy the tradition, so I requested a new puzzle from Santa. I'll report later on how the tradition goes over. The possibility is high that the reception will be as lukewarm as my own reaction to the traditions of Christmas Eve at Grandma's house. "What's for dinner, Grandma?" "Oyster stew, just like always, and we'll be eating dinner and washing all of the dishes before opening presents!" "Oh joy."

What type of tree? Look, I'm not going to feel guilty about this no matter how many times I'm asked about it. OK, well maybe a little guilty, but those live trees are all fun and games until somebody loses an eye!

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Definitely giving! No, I'm not particularly saintly. I'm actually sort of conceited about it. I give good gifts. No duds here! I enjoy picking up clues or casually extracting them, and then to see those looks when TPG (The Perfect Gift) is opened .  . . well, it's priceless, that's what!

What is your favorite Christmas Carol? "The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong.

BWAAAA HAAAA HAAAAA! *snort* *snicker* *guffaw*

Candy Canes, YUCK or YUM? Yum! Another thing my brother and I did as kids was to suck candy canes into the tightest and most deadly point possible and then jab each other in the arm with them. I suppose we could have lost an eye that way, which goes to show that even if you don't get a Red Rider Bee Bee Gun for Christmas, you just have to get creative with other ways to blind yourself.

Dumb_donald_1Well that was funner than I thought! The questions looked rather tame at first, which is why it helps to be so twisted! heh. I'll tag Mary so she'll actually update her blog and I can stop looking at her beautiful blond hair and imagining that I'm looking at her bangs and with bangs like that she's probably joined the Fat Albert gang and that's why she's not updating her blog. Or something.

I'll also tag Julie who doesn't have any bangs at all, at last check.

Happy 6-days-before-Christmas!

TPBQOTD (Do you know what that sound is, Highness? Those are the shrieking eels! If you don't believe me, just wait. They always grow louder when they're about to feed on human flesh. If you swim back now, I promise no harm will come to you. I doubt you'll get such an offer from the eels!)

And we're baaack . . .

What was WITH Typepad yesterday, huh? Sandy called me to say that my last two posts had disappeared, but it looks like they're back now, so everything has returned to normal.

Speaking of normal, things are sort of almost approaching normal around here after one of the craziest weeks in recent history. It went something like this: 12 teacher gifts, 11 hours of sleep for the week, 10 minutes to spare on FedEx two nights in a row, 9 ignored e-mails a day, 8 pm run to Michaels for more pipe cleaners and pom-pom noses for the fifty candy-cane reindeer I just *had* to throw together Thursday night so the kids could give them to classmates on Friday, 7-year-old twins excited about Christmas ('nuff said), 6 hours on the phone with Dell, 5 Class2Go's, 4 packages mailed, 3 patches earned by Emma at her Brownie ceremony, 2 classroom parties . . .

. . .and a partridge in a messy house! Heh

Anyway, I can't take too long nor be particularly witty (sorry) because I'm heading out for a day with Evelyn. We're going to lunch and then to scrap. Fun!

I can only share one of the classes because the rest were designed with new ultra-secret CHA product, but the Magic class uses existing materials. Magic_paper_bag_album It's a paper bag album class. First time ever doing a PBA, actually. I had to beg the bags from King Soopers because they were out of the kind for sale.

The concept of Class2Go is that the stores can purchase a convenient prepack of materials that has everything they need to teach a class of 12 students. The instructions and color handouts are thrown in for free. Nifty, huh?

And that's all I got, folks. I promise to be more funny next post. I'm sure today's outing will bring plenty of blogworthy moments. A day with Ev is always a fun time!

TPBQOTD (Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.)


I can't believe that I'm posting TWICE in one day! Is that allowed? Do they frown on that?

I totally forgot, in all my computer woes, to discuss Sunday's outcome to Survivor! I was rooting for a Rafe/Danni final with Rafe squeezing out a win by the narrowist of margins. Danni won, but that was my second choice, so I'm fine with it. (CBS must be so relieved to hear of my approval)

But how about eating that chicken?! Was that not CRAZY?! John and I were staring at the TV in slack-jawed amazement as they chowed down on the Mayan sacrifice. Bad form, we say.

Now if you think *I'm* funny, you should meet John. He's a RIOT! I married him because he makes me laugh. Yeah, yeah, he's got a lot of other nice qualities, yadda yadda, but what's important to *this* story, is that he's funny. He has this knack for saying things that are so incredibly well-timed and funny that I immediately become Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky. You know, when he tells Penelope Cruz "I can't believe you just said that! 'I'll tell you when we're both gats'. That's perfect!" (How rude of him to make fun of her accent like that. Making fun of accents. Poor, poor, poor taste. I would never do that. Heh)

Anyway, the particularly funny thing that John said Sunday night during the Survivor finale, was when they were down to final 3 and got the tree mail to go pay their respects to the rest of the Survivors by finding each torch, reflecting on the Survivor, and then burning the drawing as a sacrifice. John said . . .

"Or you can just eat the paper."

I liked to DIE! I laughed so hard that we had to pause Moxie 2 and wait until I was composed before continuing. Funny stuff!

OK, that was it. Just wanted to share that giggle. Do I include a second quote of the day? Oh what the heck!

TPBQOTD Part Deux ("I just don't think it's right . . . killing an innocent girl."  "Am I going mad or did the word "think" escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you hippo-britainic land mass!")

More on Dell . . .(or should I say S'mores on Dell?!)

When I was a kid I went to 4-H camp for several summers and learned plenty of campfire songs. Songs like Pile o' Tin, Frankenstein, Weenie Man, Skeeters & the Bedbugs, and Barges. I loved camp so much that when I was too old to be a camper, I became a counselor so I could pass these songs of national import to the next generation of soaky-brained innocents. (As in, their brains are sponges at that age and soak up all sorts of useless information. NOT as in, their brains are inexplicably wet and drippy.)

Now that I'm an adult, these campfire songs have come in very handy, when, say, I'm on the phone ALL FREAKIN' DAY with Dell, half on hold and half asking the heavily-accented technician to repeat herself, while sitting around my computer campfire, toasting a few 'mallows, flickering a flashlight under my face and doing the Vincent Price laugh. Or something. We do strange things to fight boredom, no?

Side note: I think the choice of the Frankenstein song was particularly well-chosen since Franky never liked fire.

OK, technically Dell gave up smoking last week, but he got the blue error screen yesterday and since that was the kindling of the SIOSW (Smoky Incident of Snowy Wednesday), I felt that I just *had* to call the company and make some demands. I'm down to about 12 days on the warranty, that's why!

I've learned 3 important things:

  1. "Dell would love to answer all calls immediately but unfortunately with high call volume, that isn't always possible. They appreciate your patience though, and a technician will [NOT] be with you shortly." This is repeated every 45 seconds or so. Over the course of a day you can hear it about, oh, 5,687 times. The man's voice is very pleasant and yet I still wanted to strangle him. Curious.
  2. "If your computer smokes once that's fine." Huh? Once is fine? Who says? Where is that written? My manual says nothing about one free spontaneous combustion at no extra charge. OK, I'm guessing, because who reads their manual? But still! (And yes, I know that "free" and "at no extra charge" is redundant, but I'm making a point here, Grammy Grammarson!)
  3. "De computer smokeeng eessue ees rezolved seence you pressed de power button and held it for 10 secondz as eenstructed. Eet was caused by a beeld-up of technical terms in foreign-accented Charlie Brown adult speak waa waaa wwwaaaa. Would you like to extend your warrantee?"

Kudos to Lori for suggesting that Dell plants smoke bombs in their computers timed perfectly to aid in the sale of extended warranties. Ah cynicism! That wonderful holiday treat! Fa la la la la! Love it!

So the situ (cool cats stop at two syllables) is this: Dell (the company) thinks Dell (my computer) is fine. He is working remarkably well today. (No whammies! No whammies!) I *am* going to extend my warranty, though. Their evil plot worked oh-so-well!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the awesome comments and especially for those of you brave enough to stand with me in the fight against SCT. (Sappy Christmas Tunage) I owe a lot of people e-mails, but I'm so ridiculously behind in my work that the fun stuff has to wait a little while longer. My apologies.

But I *had* to update my blog!



TPBQOTD (I hired you to help me start a war. It's a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious tradition!)

As you wish . . .

Look here! A new post! After a week filled with weather delays, some pressing deadlines and a smoking computer, I'm back with a new post.

Why yes, I did say smoking computer, and thanks for reading so carefully.

By "smoking computer", I only WISH that I found Dell puffing on a cigarette. Nope. I mean the fiery kind of smoke. The kind where I could have waved a dish towel over him and signaled to the neighbors. PLEASE . . . HELP . . . MY COMPUTER . . . IS . . . ON . . . FIRE . . . KEMOSABE

Upon the spontaneous combustion of Dell, however, I kept my head and quickly unplugged my external hard drive. Apparently my head can only stay level for 2.5 seconds, though. It quickly degenerated into a frantic and ineffective pressing of the computer on/off button while screaming at the top of my lungs "FEZZIK! I NEED YOU! HURRY! FEZZZZZZIK!" Only, of course, I was calling for John. Still screaming, I remembered the power strip. The expensive computer-rated fancy shmancy power strip with the on/off button. I turned it off and the smoking and whirring stopped. OK. Sigh of relief. Now what?

So now I had, what I thought to be, a cooked computer but, silver lining, no house fire. Since John was home (bad weather, remember) I could use his laptop to access Dell's website and chat with a technician. A highly unsatisfactory chat wherein the technician advised me to plug in the computer and turn it on again. I did. The computer came back. He blamed the power strip, although he didn't tell me why and just when I was typing up a long question about why or how the fancy shmancy power strip could have ignited my computer, he logged off! Just like that! That scumbag!

So now Dell is in the middle of the floor, cords going everywhere, and he's wearing a nicotine patch. Heh. I'm too scared to move him until there has been, oh, a week of good smoke-free behavior. I also e-mailed Dell (the company, not my computer) the transcript of the HUCS (Highly Unsatisfactory Chat Session) and mentioned that with 17 days left on my warranty, I was going to need a little more attention to the combustion issue. They haven't e-mailed me back. Scumbags.

Thanks to Judd, from Survivor, for my new favorite insult.

In other news, I love my Sirius satellite radio. THEY e-mailed me right back when I asked if they would offer a channel of nonstop Christmas music for the holidays. They do! Sirius 2. (Or, if you're a country fan, sixty-something has the "my dog died and my girlfriend left me for Santa" variety) And bonus! when I'm not driving around in my van, which was most of this week, I can just listen to my holiday tunage through their website.

Which brings me to my other problem. Which actually may have CAUSED the computer combustion, come to think of it.

It's The Christmas Shoes by Newsong.

If anyone actually LIKES this song you should stop reading. Right now. I mean it. I'm going to snark on it. Bad. I'm not kidding!

Now, I know the songwriter meant well, and the overall message of counting our blessings and remembering what Christmas is all about is noble. It's just way overboard in this particular song. AND, I heard that they made it into a TV special, or something. So just in case you don't spontaneously combust from hearing it repeatedly on the radio, you can set yourself on fire at the first commercial break.

Look, I'm a chick through and through. I cry buckets during Extreme Makeover Home Edition and I'm not against sappy songs. I hope everyone dances and I'm pro-butterfly kisses, but this shoes concept is just dumb! Are we to believe that this kid is old enough to go shopping by himself on Christmas Eve and yet unable to read a price tag and count his money? My second graders know enough to figure out their budgets before shopping, although they won't be set free in the department store by themselves on Christmas Eve even if I fall extremely ill and close to death and for some reason really, really want a pair of red shoes. SHOES? Maybe I could understand a necklace or some earrings or even something nice for her hair, but buying shoes for a deathbed-ridden mother is about as tactless as giving singing lessons to a person who can't speak without one of those vibrating neck gadgets.

"Hey mom! Here are some shoes! They're red! The blood won't show when you cough on them! Isn't that great?! Take off those moldy slippers and try on these stilletos for size!" But, of course, we know they'll fit, because, remember, the kid sang to the man in line that "these shoes are just her size."

Ask my kids my shoe size. Go ahead. Ask them. THEY DON'T KNOW! They also don't know my glasses prescription, what detergent I buy, or how to make meatloaf. That's why they call them KIDS! (Knowledge-Impaired Dependent Shorties)

How are we even sure that there IS a dying mother? The kid sounds like a con artist. "What am I going to do, sir? I don't have enough money but my mom is dying and I KNOW this Rolex will make her smile!" (That particular snarky comment courtesy John)

OK, I'm done. I know a lot of people like the song, so I hope I haven't made any mortal enemies, but it just grates on me. TOO gratuitously sappy. Songs like that are supposed to tug at our hearstrings, not hook them up to a power winch at 3200 rpm! Seriously. My kingdom for some subtlety!

And a fire extinguisher.

TPBQOTD (Well I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely!)