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March 2006

Not enough *this week* in *this week*

Those were the words I typed to my pal Jen, wringing my hands that I would never finish everything that needs to be done before we leave. I'm sorry to report that being stressed out makes me very unfunny, although I have one amusing story to share.

I'm the cookie manager for Emma's Brownie troop and although cookie sales go on for another week, we decided to finish everything up this week so I could turn in paperwork before my trip. Last weekend we had two booth sales - one at King Soopers and one at Walmart. Well we did great - sold out every cookie we had. This meant that I had to get additional cookies for this weekend's booth sale from one of the "cookie cupboards" that are strategically located around town. Except it wasn't so strategic because my local cookie cupboard wouldn't return my calls, so last Thursday I had to drive about a half an hour to a mountain subdivision to pick up the cookies. (Chrysler - thank you for that DVD player and thank you for the ability to plug video games into it. Will you marry me?)

Our sale was set up for Walmart again. They have two doors - the merchandise door and the grocery door. They schedule a troop for each door. We had the merchandise door last weekend (when we sold out) and had it again this weekend, so I ordered about as many cookies as we sold the time before. Seems logical, right? Same door, same location, same amount of cookies. (The logic, so good at the logic!) It's all a guessing game because you can't return cookies - once you sign for them they're yours and if the troop doesn't sell them, they have to pay for them. It's child labor and gambling all rolled into one. You know - wholesome!

So imagine my dismay when the Grand Pubah Cookie Council lady called me Friday night to say that there was a problem. Walmart had double booked the merchandise door and the Cancer Society would be there collecting donations. The manager had moved us to the LAWN & GARDEN DOOR! Hello?! It's winter in Colorado - who uses the lawn & garden door?! I whined about how I'd signed for a lot of cookies and it was our last booth sale. She said they'd take the cookies back, but I'd have to drive out to the remote cookie cupboard THAT NIGHT to return them. So here it was, dinner time, and I was facing another hour out of my day to take care of cookie overstock. I was sulky because it wasn't my fault, that's why!

Grand Pubah did say that she wasn't sure when the Cancer Society would arrive, and since we had the morning shift, perhaps we could use the merchandise door until they showed up. I figured it was worth a try and since there had been a few private orders on Friday (thanks Joanna!) our inventory wasn't *that* excessive.

Yesterday morning I drove into the Walmart parking lot crossing my fingers that I wouldn't see the Cancer Society at our door but sadly, I saw someone setting up a table. Rats.

But wait! I saw boxes of cookies and realized that it was the other troop - the one from the food door. Oh good! Maybe the Cancer Society wouldn't show up after all. I rolled down the window (and by "rolled" I mean pushed a button, of course) and said "Excuse me - I think you guys are supposed to be at the other door. Our troop was assigned the merchandise door." I was just being helpful, after all. Didn't want them to get all set up and then have to move. I'm nice that way.

"Well we checked inside and they said we could set up at either door so we chose this one." the leader lady said.

Whoa. Not so nice. She said that with a lot of attitude. A real "you snooze, you lose" type of tone to it. I was just about to pull out my confirmation paper showing very clearly that we had the merchandise door when it hit me . . .

I dropped the paper back onto the seat.

"Oh, OK. We'll just take the food door then." I said, very sweetly and with every appearance of being agreeable.

"Sounds good," she replied, obviously very proud of herself for snagging what she thought was the better door. I could almost hear her mutter "Sucker" under her breath.

So you know what happened, right?

The Cancer Society showed up soon afterward.

BWAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAAA! It was just so perfect! They had to move, but not all the way to Lawn & Garden. It looked like they still had plenty of customers. OUR customers, in fact, although we did fine at the food door. We ended up selling all but three boxes, which we'll send to the soldiers overseas.

And actually, if they had come down and demanded their door back I wouldn't have argued. I just thought it was poetic justice for her superior tone of voice. I'm not sure, but I think she may have even had a puffy zippered bank envelope! (Nah - just kidding!)

Overall the cookie experience has been a lot of work, but the girls exceeded their goals and learned some great skills in the process, so I would rate it as a total success.

Well, except for the obscene amount of cookies I've been eating. *sigh*

TPBQOTD (That's right. When I was your age television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm going to read it to you.)

I had a farm in Africa

I'm quoting, of course. I've never actually had a farm in Africa. Who (whom?) am I quoting and from what movie? Michelle, get your Google on!

It's just a little over a week until I leave for South Africa and I've been working, working, working to get my class presentations finished up. It seems as though there are a million things to finish between now and then but I'm sure I'm just exaggerating. There are 999,999 things, tops. Heh.

One of the things that I am supposed to include in my main class presentation is something about Scrapperware. So here's what I did: I took the new CHA catalog, which has all the current (non-discontinued) products and consolidated the Scrapperware images into a few slides for the presentation.

2006_current_products_1_1 2006_current_products_2 2006_current_products_3   

Now I don't normally use my blog as a platform for promoting my brand. Scrapperware is relatively small, not particularly splashy or universally recognized, and generally consists of embellishments, although I did branch out into a few thematic paper designs over the last two shows. It's a basic no-nonsense brand, striving to provide that little something extra for a layout. I figure the products speak for themselves - either you like them and throw them in your basket or you walk on by, but you're not going to start buying them by the truckload just because I gush about them on my blog. It still comes down to theme/color/design and personal preference.

I'm not trying to be minimalistic or modest - far from it. I posted these scans because I am so darn proud of myself! (Yes, I'll say it!) Something about seeing all the products together makes my heart swell. Three years ago I had no clue what I was doing. I fell into product design by being in the right place at the right time with the right idea. (Bradwear) It's been a wild ride and a grueling education. I've designed my share of duds. (OK, so maybe more than my share, but I'm constantly improving!) I never would have guessed that after a decade of building highways I'd be trading in my hard hat for a process color manual. That I'd be swapping Photoshop and Illustrator tips with other designers. That I'd be using my CAD skills to draft die lines. That I would walk into a scrapbook store and see products with my name on them.

It's not something that you do for the money, at least not with licensed art, unless you have a ton of products or a ton of licenses. I was doing a Make n Take at a store last weekend and a lady picked up one of my papers and asked; "If I buy this - what do you get? A few cents?" to which I replied; "Why yes, if you're rounding up." <grin>

With licensed art it's all about volume. And right now this industry is saturated with product. Store owners say that they don't reorder. They buy a product once, sell through it, and then replace it with something new. The life cycle of a product is now measured in shows, not years. It can be pretty brutal for a designer. The practical side of me wonders why I devote so much creative energy into something that lasts for such a short time . . .

. . .but the inventive side of me knows the answer.

Because it's thrilling. Simply thrilling!

I also want to post a public service announcement about my dear friend Kristi, who had a brilliant idea and went for it. She's solving the industry problem of discontinued products and overstock with her new company Dollar Scrapbooking , offering older (but first-run quality) products for a buck! You can get some of my products there (including Bradwear) as well as a lot of other CI artists, and I know that she has a bunch of other manufacturer products coming. Bookmark it, because you won't believe the bargains!

So just for today, I thought I'd talk business and then get back to the task of being funny and entertaining. (Oh yes - I know why you tune in! I'm on to you! Ha!) I appreciate all the comments and although I may not have time before my trip to respond to each one personally, please know that I read them, I cherish them, and the new friendships and re-connections that I've made through this blog have been a blessing!


TPBQOTD ("It won't be easy, Sire."  "Try ruling the world sometime.")

Scandinavian Festivus for the Best of Us!

First off, Happy Presidents Day! I hope that this holiday passes very smoothly and unlike my last holiday, which wiped me out and left me missing from blogland for several (many) days. However, I have returned and am happy to report that everyone in Burniland is currently healthy and has been keeping down breakfast, lunch and dinner which is why we have no food in our house and Karl practically ripped my head off this morning asking "Why didn't you buy any waffles?!" (Yes, we purchase waffles - I do not own a waffle maker. Don't judge me!)

OK, it's true, my son was very rude to me, but in his defense, he was in the process of gnawing off his arm for sustenance and if that doesn't make a boy cranky - what does?

Why being forced to dance in the annual town Scandinavian Festival, of course. (Man, what a segue!)

One lousy cinnamon toast breakfast PALES in comparison to the first weekend in August if you're a boy growing up in Junction City, Oregon, population around 5000 now, 3500 when I left in 1988. Karl should thank his lucky stars that his biggest worry in life is processed breakfast food freezer inventory and the appropriate toaster setting. (You set it too low - moist and mushy waffle. Too high - hockey puck.)

For many boys his age, life is not so easy. Boys who have (or have had) the extreme misfortune of being raised in JC by "parents with town pride" (aka "killjoys"). For these poor unfortunate souls, life is full of horrors far greater than burnt or missing waffles. (Insert creepy horror movie music right here. Violins approaching a crescendo. Clueless characters who do not seem capable of interpreting the tune of approaching demise. Something startling is about to occur. Something, perhaps, like . . .



Yikes! That is one unhappy 9-year-old!

Behold, dear readers, a glimpse of my childhood. To your left you will see my brother Brian, the oldest of our trio, who is obviously thinking something like; "Shoot me. Shoot me now. Take all of the 'cool' that you sucked from my body and use it to freeze me to death. You can club me with your camera, you can kill me with a plow. . . Mom, Dad or Stranger, will you please kill me now?!"

To your right you will see me, at age 8, just 14-months younger than Brian, and probably thinking something like; "Mom outdid herself with our costumes this year! I look like a fox! I think this bonnet might actually make my cheeks look smaller. It elongates my head, I think. Kind of a shame that she had to make the EXACT SAME DRESS for little twerp-o-rama, though. Oh I hope lots of people come to see us dance. Do I remember all the steps? Yes, I think I do. I sure hope I get to dance with Billy and not my dorky brother."

And finally, in the middle, weighing in at 4-years-old and forty pounds of glasses . . . Julie, who was obviously thinking something like; "I'm with the big kids. Tra-la-la!"

Junction City's Scandinavian Festival has been going on since 1961 and, at least in the 70's, very few kids in town escaped having to dance. Apparently all the child labor enforcement folks were off worrying about foreign sweatshops and completely ignored the kiddie cash cow of costumed children clogging their way into spectators' hearts and pocketbooks. The actual dances were pretty simple. Just hold hands and twirl around, maybe do some hand gestures to impersonate a shoemaker, possibly a partner switch here and there. The costume requirements were pretty lax, too. You were "supposed" to have a dress and an apron on if you were a girl, but as you'll see from this photo - they'd let girls wear a red tee-shirt and pajama pants just to keep the numbers up.


Now we can't see Brian's expression here, which is probably for the best, since his soul was certainly in mortal agony. You had to be a die-hard to do knickers and the hat, and, unfortunately, mom was a die-hard and a whiz with the sewing machine. I like to think, though, that he got a little revenge with the untucked shirt. Dad probably had to physically restrain Mom to keep her from rushing the stage to correct things.

My happiness of one photo ago has now been replaced with some mortal agony of my own; "Gyp! I have to dance with Brian and twerpy got BILLY! He looks so handsome with those orange pants and pointy-collared shirt. Man, he's groovy like Johnny Bravo!"

And hello?! Who decided that a four-year-old could participate? Poor Julie. She's just standing there in her saltwater sandals, lost in Candyland, waiting for a big kid to push her in the right direction. I'd like to think that her smile is stage presence, but I think she was just happy to be there, cute little twerp. (Note to Julie: to be historically accurate, I must revert to the musings of an older sister who had little use for a younger one. Nowadays, of course, I would never call you a twerp.) (To your face, I mean)

So what inevitably happened, is that around age 10, the boys would just refuse to dance anymore. They'd go on hunger strikes, climb a tree, hop a train . . . whatever was required. You know when Westley describes "To the pain" to Prince Humperdink? Dancing was like that to the boys. A freakish misery all their own.

To the girls, though, it was kind of fun. A lot of us kept right on dancing into the teenage years, getting into the more advanced polkas and such. We all dreamed of one day doing this:


(Note: this is a postcard from the 70's - photo by Jamie Hooper)

The adult groups were really cool! They had this one group (dancers pictured above) who were all youngish couples - late 20's and early 30's, who did some kick-booty Scandinavian moves! You'd catch their performance at the big stage (Festival Park) and then watch them stroll through the crowd on their way to the Beer Garden. Yes, the guys wore knickers, but they wore them fiercely. The teenage girls were, in a word, smitten!

I have not been back to the Festival since college. Most of the graduates of JC High School plan their reunions at Festival time. The Beer Garden is the big draw, I think. Nothing like sitting on a hay bale and sipping a brew to bring out the nostalgia in a person. At our 10-year reunion I was giving birth to twins in New Orleans. At our 15-year reunion I was teaching at CKU in Provo. I'm hoping to make our 20th, though. I would love to see my classmates and catch up on old times.

And maybe do a little dancing!

TPBQOTD ("You know, it's very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."  "Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.")

What a Valentines Day!

7:15 am YIKES! How did I sleep in again?! Scurry around, get the kids up, get the kids dressed. When did Karl outgrow all his pants? Where's that Childrens Place coupon - maybe I should order him some of the "slim" jeans you can only get online . .  .gotta remember to do that. Let me check that lunch menu. Please have something they like. Please have something they like. "They've got soft pretzel, Karl, and PB&J, Emma. Hot lunch OK? Yeah? Great!" Whew. That saved me some time. Where are those backpacks?

7:58 am "Did you guys put your Valentines in your backpacks already? OK. Grab your stuff, your friends Kids_vday_low_reswill be here in TWO MINUTES!" ding dong "Make that two seconds. Wait! I want to take a picture of you. Here, hold these flowers. Sit there next to your sister. Act like you like her. Come on - it's just for a second. OK, everyone say 'HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!'. Great. Thanks! Coats on - let's go!" Rats. The sun was in their face and they're squinting. Didn't I just comb Emma's hair? Did she roll around on the carpet or something? Oh well, I can't worry about that now.

8:30 am Back from taking the kids to school. Hmmm, I'd better eat breakfast. Busy day - might not have time for lunch.

8:40 am Where is all my paperwork for the cookie drop? OK, here it is. Gosh. 63 cases - will that fit in just the back of the van? Do I have to stow the middle seats too? Better take the boosters out. How do these middle seats stow, anyway? Do I have time to look it up in the manual? No. Better just risk it. Oh crap. 8:48 - I've got just 7 minutes till my cookie drop time! Oh I hope I hit every light green . . .

8:59 am "I'm sorry, Kim. I hit every light red."

Cookie_drop_low_res9:15 am breathing hard after loading van "So I sign here on this line? I'm good to go? OK, see you later!" huff, puff, I've GOT to start exercising! Did I just sign for 63 cases of cookies? Mental math: 63x12x$3 = a couple thousand dollars! Oh.My.Goodness!! 

9:20 am Well OF COURSE I would hit every light green on the way home! Geez! OK, so I've got three hours to shower, sort cookies, create a booth sale schedule and e-mail the parents before Emma's party. Need to leave here at 12:40. No problem. I can do that!

12:30 pm "Julie, I HAVE to hang up! I have to be to the school in 15 minutes and I haven't even showered! OK, talk to you later. Bye." Why?! Why can't I be on time? OK, this will be the quickest shower known to man. *Brrrrrrrring* No. I can't answer it. I can't. "Hello? Oh hi Ev! How's the road trip? Whoops! Thanks for the reminder. I forgot all about the flowers. So they'll send you a replacement bouquet to your mom's house, then? How nice of them! OK, I'll swing by your house on the way to the school and see if they're on your porch. Sure! I'll take a photo - can you check your e-mail at your mom's? OK. No problem. Gotta go, though. I'm late for Emma's party. OK, bye." Emma_party_low_res

12:59 pm huff, puff, move semi-wet hair out of eyes "Oh I'm so sorry I'm late! Here are the juice boxes. Wow! What a great party! Those heart headband thingies are really cool! What are you making now, Emma? A bookmark? Great job, honey!"

1:30 pm OK, one party down, one to go. Hmmm, I've got an hour. I'd better go get that posterboard for the meeting this afternoon. Oh, and see if the flowers are on Ev's porch. I can do that, too. Darn! Forgot to order those jeans for Karl.

2:25 pm "Hi! I'm here for the party. Here are the juice boxes. Notice that I'm 5 minutes early. Did everyone see that?! Why yes, sure, I'll pass out the juice boxes - I've got 5 mKarl_green_low_resinutes, after all! Oh hi Karl! You're back before the other kids, why's that? Oh, you were in O.T.? You're looking a little green, kiddo. Do you feel OK? Your stomach hurts? Well don't eat the goodies then. We'll just take them home for later. Do you want to pass out your Valentines and leave a bit early? You do? OK, no problem. Here come the other kids. Let's get your Valentines passed out." OK, this is going to work. I can handle this. I'll check him out early, run home, get all the cookies for the moms, and be back in time for the meeting. Can't forget Emma's vest. Where is that thing? Oh yeah it's in . . . "KARL?! Are you going to get sick?! Buddy - RUN to the bathroom. RUN!" 

2:55 pm "Karl?! I can't come in the boy's bathroom. Are you in there? Did you make it to the toilet? You did? Oh I'm so relieved. Do you have to throw up ag . . ." *horrendous retching sound* "OK. I guess you do. Just take your time, kiddo. I'll be out here when you come out." Oh geez. I do not need this! How am I going to swing this one? I'm in charge of training the girls for booth sales today. Maybe he'll be in that "post-throw-up-feel-good" stage and I can get through the Brownie meeting. Here he comes now. "Hi Boo. Feel better? You do? Great! What's that? Why did it come out your nose? Well, when you throw up forcefully like that, it can come out your nose because your nose is actually connected to your mouth at the very back. Yeah, that is pretty interesting, but we really should get going now."

3:20 pm huffing. puffing. I've really GOT to start exercising! Oh good. Emma got the message to go to Girl Scouts. "Hi Becky. Karl's sick, so I'm going to put him over here by this trash can with a book. I brought everyone's cookies except Allee's. Her dad is picking them up later. Oh really? He changed his plans? He's coming HERE?! Oh man, I have to go home and get his cookies then. You walked and don't have a vehicle? OK, so I'll drop your cookies off at your house and that will make room for his cookies in the van. No, it's not a problem. I'll do the booth sale training first and then I'll run home during the second half of the meeting."

4:15 pm huffing. puffing. I've really GOT to start exercising! "Hi parents. I have the cookies in my van, so let's go transfer them to your cars." Whew. Have now distributed the financial responsibility for the cookies.

4:55 pm "We're home, kids! Still feeling OK, Karl? Great. Let's get that homework started. Dinner? Whoops. Hadn't thought about dinner. Oh lookie here on the calendar! It's pizza night to promote the school! Well we want to support the school, don't we? Pizza it is!" Whew. OK, let me just get Ev's bouquet in water. Wow! A dozen roses! Lucky Ev! But, more importantly, lucky me that I inherited them! Better take a photo for her. While I'm at it, I'll take a photo of what MY romantic hubby gave me. Also flowers, although not roses, and a carton of Whoppers. He knows me oh-so-well!Evs_roses_low_res Hmmm, John_gift_low_res_1 is that a layer of dust on my table? Why yes, I believe it is. Well maybe I can just Photoshop it out - I really need to order the pizza!

5:35 pm "Hi John! We're having pizza to support the school tonight. A shame, really, because I was going to prepare a romantic several-course Italian feast. But we want to support the school, don't we?" OK, I didn't say that big fib about the Italian feast, but it would have been funny, huh? "What did I do today? Oh not much."

Happy day-after-Valentines Day!

TPBQOTD (Inigo, I saw the Prince's stable and there they were - four white horses. And I thought; there are four of us, if we ever find the lady. Hello, lady!)

As you wish!

Wendy asked to see a photo of John. Der. That would be good, huh? People may think he just doesn't exist or something! I don't have anything from quarter-droppin' days right handy, but here's us at Red Rocks on my birthday last summer. (For those of you just joining us, this is an addendum to the post below, entitled My Guy)


ETA: Oh! And did everyone see the previews for The Amazing Race, starting on Feb 28th? The contestants look to be starting from RIGHT HERE! They go a'scramblin' up the bleachers at Red Rocks. I've done it, btw. Not so much "a'scramblin'" as, say, "a'huffin' and a'puffin'", but I've done it.

My guy

Have I mentioned how awesome ya'll are? I was suffering from a hefty case of BISD - desperately wringing the washcloth of my life for droplets of funny . . . (Ooh, that's deep! Go ahead and use that, right along with the dishwasher analogy. Heh)

But I needn't have worried, (Is "needn't" a word? Why doesn't Typepad give me the red squiggly line? I NEED the red squiggly line!) because you, my faithful readers, have stuck with me, through good posts and meh. (Meh is said with an accompanying hand gesture - just stick your hand out, palm down, fingers splayed, and tilt it back and forth a few times)

And one last prop for you (and then we'll move on to today's subject) - telling me I'm funny? Hello! I love that! It's probably the best compliment I've ever received. It took me like three hours to get the smirk off my upper lip. But that's enough about you. You're money. You're so money! 'nuff said.

No, today I want to talk about John. He's pretty money himself, as I'm sure I've made clear in various posts, despite his protestations that I didn't capture his "cool" in my last one. His exact comment was:

I have to protest the "digits" story.  You got the gist of the events right but the accuracy of my dialogue is questionable. You did not make me sound nearly as cool as I was.

I thought I would share the e-mail exchange that followed his comment. I e-mailed him this:

I called you "fly", didn't I? And hey - I had forgotten the Mignon part of the story or you would have seemed like a MUCH bigger geek for saying "Like the steak?" - oy, I could have had fun with that! But, since I love you, or, more accurately, because I'd forgotten all about it, I left that part out! MWAH! - K

As you have no doubt figured out from my e-mail to him, I remembered after my post that the name of the massage therapist was Mignon. His reply:

See, I said "Like the filet?". Cool is all in the details.

Bwaaa haaa haa! He cracks me up, that guy. It's almost Valentines Day, so it seems fitting to post about my sweetheart.

We met in college, where we were both studying civil engineering and graduated the same year. I like to joke that at an expensive private college filled with silver spoons, I met and married the only guy who was poorer than I was. Which is why it really isn't surprising that the way I finally caught his attention (he had a crush on another girl up until then) was over a quarter. Twenty-five measly cents. What a bargain!

A few of us from our engineering class were having a beer at one of our favorite haunts when John's roommate, Derek, accidentally dropped a quarter under our table. He and John then spent about ten minutes hunting for it on the floor of the dimly-lit and sticky-floored bar. It was rather comical to watch them hunched down under the table, intently searching for what amounted to one sixth of a beer or one half of a game of pool. (Precious luxuries for starving college students) Finally Derek popped up triumphantly holding the quarter. "May I see that?" I asked. He gave it to me. I promptly dropped it on the floor again.

Now Derek was pretty irate with me, but John burst out laughing and said "That was good!" He looked at me like he was noticing me for the first time. It was the best quarter I ever spent! (Because I seem to remember having to give whiny Derek a quarter after that!)

John and I dated for four years and he proposed to me at Gabrielle, a romantic French restaurant in mid-city New Orleans. That section of the city was hard-hit by Katrina, by the way, so we're not sure of the restaurant's fate. Upon seeing the beautiful ring and hearing those magical words, "Will you marry me?" my romantic response was . . .

"I think I'm going to puke."

Yep. That's what I said. Ah love. In my defense, this all came as a complete surprise and he popped the question after a several-course meal, dessert and a glass of wine! My body didn't have room for a full course of happiness on top of all that food. Naturally I said "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" or something like that after the queasiness went away, but we'll always have that first response to laugh about.

Ten years, two kids, two states, five homes, five jobs and two vans later, he's still making me laugh.

Case in point - last night we were having casual dinner. The kids were sitting at the kitchen bar eating while John and I chatted in the kitchen while our food was warming. I went to see Brokeback Mountain with Evelyn yesterday. It was a great movie - I recommend it. I had a few questions, though, about, uh, things, so I was asking John what he knew. We were speaking in low tones, and the kids had their own conversation going, but when John used a term that I was unfamiliar with, I called out "Gross!" in a loud voice that attracted the attention of the kids.

"What's gross?" asked Karl.

I was caught off-guard and stammered out the first fib that came to mind:

"I, uh, had some snot on my face."

Now Karl was completely satisfied by this explanation. If you've ever had snot on your face, that qualifies as gross. It really was pretty brilliant, when you think of it.

I got no love from John, though. He just laughed and said, very sarcastically; "Nice." And then, in a mock-Karen voice; "I just pooped my pants!"

Um. NOT the same thing, AT ALL! Sheesh.

AGAIN with the poop humor! Isn't that the lowest form of humor? Oh wait, no - I think sarcasm is. What about sarcastic poop humor? Now that's low. The lowest. In the basement, I'd say. And yet . . .

I laughed.

I laughed when he said it.

I laughed a lot. *sigh*

I think we were MFEO.

Happy Valentines Day (a couple of days early)!

TPBQOTD (This is true love. You think this happens every day?)

BISD (Blog Induced Stress Disorder)

Well I seem to have turned into a bit of a blog slacker. (Blacker, if you will) I used to try to update every other day, but now it’s stretched into a few days between posts and if I don’t pick up the pace, how can I expect anyone to read?

Which brings me, naturally, to the COTW. (Crisis of the Week) There haven’t been enough funny or embarrassing anecdotes in my life because I’ve been home working, working, working during the day and watching, watching, watching TV in the evenings.

I went to sleep last night fretting about my blog. Ideas were churning in my head . . .

Oh! I could tell about cookie training night when John answered the door in his skull-head tee-shirt from college and the mom at the door, who had never met him, promptly said “Is your mom home?” to which he cracked up and said “No, but my wife is.”

Or how about when I took my new van to the grocery store and was showing off to myself? I strolled along with a cart full of groceries and then, still a few cars away; I hit the button to raise the back hatch automatically. I loaded my groceries, hooking the plastic bag handles over the built-in hooks (so your groceries don’t flop around! Those engineers at Chrysler . . . mwah!) and then happily returned my cart to the cart corral, dare I say skipping a bit? I turned around, Buzz Lightyear crouch-style, and pressed the button to close the hatch. It was right then that I noticed the clueless gentleman sauntering right underneath my open hatch! I sprang up out of my geek stance and yelled; “Move! I don’t want it to hit you!” as the three warning bells bonged a premonition of his approaching head injury. He shot me a quizzical smile as, luckily, his head just cleared the hatch and it closed right behind him. He didn’t even realize what had happened and probably just thought I was, you know, “special”. But at least my hatch wasn’t marred by blood or anything. There’s that! I’ll take a crazy diagnosis (heck, I call myself crazy most of the time) if it means that my van upholstery doesn’t attract C.S.I.’s with their fancy hair and flashlights.

Or I could tell about how John came home from work the other day with little plastic promotional gizmos for the kids. There was a Health Fair at his office and he got two keychain flashlight/whistles for the kids. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did say whistles. WHISTLES!!! That was a headache-inducing evening, let me tell you! So as the kids ran all over the house, merrily whistling, splitting our eardrums, and blinding us with penlights, John told me about the Health Fair. He had good numbers for body fat and all that, and they even gave massages. The massage therapists were students at a nearby college who would be graduating soon. So here is how John tells the story:

“I asked the girl giving me the massage if she knew where she would be working, because she was good and I figured, you know, that I could go back to her if it was close to my office.”

“Was she pretty?” I interjected, dryly.

“Yeah!” he replied, obviously very proud of his story. “So then she said ‘Oh, I’m not sure where I’ll be working yet, but let me give you my number’ and then she gave me the digits!

Yep. That’s just how he said it “She gave me the digits”. He’s pretty fly for a white guy.

I think he expected me to congratulate him on getting her phone number! It was like that scene in Desperate Housewives where Tom tells Lynette that all the ladies in the neighborhood secretly dig him.

I made a good show of seeming bothered and jealous, since he obviously wanted to gloat some more. “Was your RING visible during this massage?” I asked him.

“In plain view, baybee. That doesn’t detract the ladies. They can’t resist this!” he replied, doing the double-thumb self-point. Again . . . so fly, so fly.

“You know, if the situations were reversed, you wouldn’t be too happy about me getting some dude’s phone number!” I pointed out. (Logic, so good at the logic!)

“Not true! I didn’t object when you shamelessly flirted with the cable guy!”

“That was on the PHONE!” I reminded him. I mean, please. Just because I was bantering (techno-geek style) with the dreamy-sounding cable guy about Moxie not letting us order Pay-Per-View – is that the same thing as some perky co-ed massaging my hubby and dropping digits?! Nay! Nay, I say!

So anyway, those were the stories that I considered posting on my blog as I fretted, tossed and turned last night and eventually fell into a fitful blumber. (Blumber = blog+slumber)

I have weird dreams.

I mean REALLY weird dreams!

I shall change to italics to visually convey that we are switching to dream-land. These events DID NOT really happen, okay? Just dreaming. Weird, creepy, commit-me-if-you-must dreaming.

I was at my Dad’s house, although it was a different house than the one he actually lives in. (In dreams, things don’t have to make sense) I went into the bathroom to use it and noticed that there was a play castle on the floor, one of those Fisher Price type of deals. As I looked at it, a hamster stuck its head out of the castle window and scared me half to death! Recovering from the shock, I watched, amused, as the hamster ran around the castle. I thought to myself; how nice a little house it must be for him! Suddenly, the bathroom door burst open and my Dad and step-mom came in to catch the hamster. Apparently he had gotten out of his cage. The hamster, not my dad. (Note to readers – they don’t actually own a hamster, but, again, dreamland) I protested loudly, saying “Get out! I’m in here!” and Dad replied “We just have to catch the hamster, honey, he’s been loose for too long.” They caught the hamster and left the room, but didn’t bother to close the door! Just as I was calling out “Hey! Close the door!” a whole houseful of relatives arrived for whatever family gathering we were having, and since the bathroom in Dad’s fictitious house was right by the front door, they all saw me and started laughing and pointing at me. You would think that I would be mortified, and normally I would, but in my dream, a calming peace rushed over me at that moment and I said to myself “Finally! Something blog-worthy!”

How sick is that?! I woke up this morning not sure if I should be troubled, amused or saddened. I also had a dream about the creepy jump-from-the-stage-to-the-judges-table American Idol guy who was, in my dream, staying at my Mom’s house and building an intricate toy train track all over the house. Did I mention that I have weird dreams?

The one thing I will say about the bathroom dream, though, is that there is an element of truth to it. No, not about being walked in on in the bathroom, although there really is something alarming about that concept, no? I mean, have you ever been in a public restroom where the latch is broken and you have to hold the door closed? Talk about Fear Factor! No, I mean the concept of not taking events in life too seriously. I’ve always been pretty good at laughing at myself, but even more so since it results in such good blog material.

I think blogging should be prescribed by doctors for stress-related disorders, don’t you?

Happy Thursday!

TPBQOTD (As you wish!)

Smell that?!

Nope! Still not talking about Karl's fart machine! I'm talking about a much nicer smell. You know the one . . .



Feast your eyes on the new Burnimobile! A 2006 Chrysler Town & Country in "magnesium" with gray cloth interior. (I guess the folks at Chrysler took a break after coming up with "magnesium" and couldn't think of anything more catchy for "gray". Slackers.)

Now here's the backstory . . .

We bought our first mini-van when the kids were 4 months old. It was a 1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette and it has been an excellent van for us. We've had it for 7.5 years and it really hasn't given us much trouble. It will probably run excellently for another 5 years or so, especially because of its low mileage.

But, see, here's the thing . . .

The Silhouette is paid for. It runs great. It serves my limited "get around town" needs just peachy. It's paid for. Did I mention that it's paid for? In short, there is really no reasonable reason to replace it.

I'm not always very reasonable. Heh.

I started my "new van" dreams about a year ago, even dragging John to the auto show (what kind of dude has to be dragged to an auto show?!) to see if I could get him to fall in love with a new van. It backfired a bit, though. We loved the Honda and the Chrysler vans, but John was distracted (dare I say smitten?) by the SUV's, pointing out that with the kids being older, we really didn't need a van anymore.


Must . . . have . . . a . . . van! So I agreed to hold off for another year or two, and eventually the allure of the SUV's faded (or maybe it was the skyrocketing gas prices) and John was onboard with the van plan.

We did not wake up yesterday with any idea that we would purchase a new van by the end of the day. But a series of events, starting with Emma's Brownie leader getting sick and canceling the all-day event we had planned to attend, followed by my online discovery of Chrysler's February-only zero-percent financing offer, followed by checking various dealer inventories and finding a van equipped with the EXACT combination of features that we dreamed of, resulted in us taking a road trip up to Denver in one van, and coming home in two!

My sister and her husband will be the new owners of the Silhoutte and will pick it up later this month. I justify our enormous purchase by thinking of the good that it has done for her family as well as mine. Right? Can I just delude myself there? hee

Well I had planned to write more - merry little anecdotes about going to the grocery store on Superbowl Sunday where a thousand other people, cars, carts and various obstacles were obviously conspiring to damage or collide with my pristine new van if I didn't thwart their evil plans by parking as far away as possible. OK, yes, I'm a bit of a basket case until the newness wears off!

But a lovely phone call has just eaten away all my time and I'm now late for a Superbowl commercial party at Ev's and must fly like the wind, Bullseye!

I'll leave you with another Burnimobile collage - notice my artistic shot of myself reflected in the van's side window. Ah love! (The van, not myself!)


TPBQOTD (It comes to this: I love Westley. I always have. I know now I always will. If you tell me I must marry you in ten days, please believe I will be dead by morning.)


So the title of today's post is "Emissions" and no, I'm not talking about Karl's fart machine! I'm referring to vehicle emissions and how you have to have them tested every couple of years to renew your registration. John's car was due for an emissions test in January so, naturally, he carried the little card around until January 30th and then asked me to do it.


By way of softening the blow he attached a little post-it note with the location of the nearest testing location. He's very thoughtful, that guy!

The place was a little auto care shop. They were not busy when I arrived, the guy behind the counter was friendly and jovial, and they had People magazine in the waiting room. Perfect!

Or so I thought.

There was a TV tuned to a news channel and apparently they were discussing Justice Alito because FCG (Friendly Counter Guy) suddenly launches into a diatribe about Democrats, how they don't understand the Constitution, how they don't get to pick the justice because they aren't in control of the legislature, and that's just the way the cookie crumbles!

Whoa. Where did that come from?

I gave him a puzzled stare.

Really, I just wanted to read my magazine. I don't get into the whole political debate thing. I'm not even sure what made him think I was a good audience for such opinions. I gave a feeble smile and went back to my magazine.

He didn't get the hint.

Next I got to hear about filibusters, balance of power, the fact that he was a political science major (now working as an auto mechanic, mind you) and how the Constitution never addressed wire taps and therefore they weren't illegal. About the time the other guy came in to say that the car was ready I was hearing about abortion and States' rights. The only break from the political musings came when he mentioned that he liked looking at People magazine to see what people were wearing.


THIS guy interested in fashion? I started looking around for the hidden cameras. It was absolutely the most bizarre twenty minutes in recent history.

And I have a lot of bizarre encounters!

Oh, and then NOG (Nosy Other Guy) says to me "I couldn't help but notice the stack of receipts on your floorboard - we can beat the prices of that other shop!" Apparently emissions come out of the passenger floorboard now and papers must be unfolded and examined as part of the testing process. Who knew? I told him that it was my husband's car and I would pass on the message.

And I ra-aa-aan, I ran so far awa-aa-aay!

The car passed its emissions test.

Little auto shop . . . .did not!

Happy Thursday!

Oh, and after several months at last my soul will be at peace - there will be Survivor tonight!

TPBQOTD (Don't bother me with trifles. After twenty years at last my father's soul will be at peace. There will be blood tonight!)