Wednesday, December 31, 2008

That Call

The pit in my stomach came after I ate dinner last night. It was time to make the phone call. After some small talk, it came down to the point of my phone call.

"Yeah, you're child is rotten to the core, and I'll be unable to care for him any longer."

No, that's what I thought. Here's what I said.

"After much thought, and two weeks of calm and harmony, I've decided to take steps to make my life a little less stressful. And your child is causing some of the stress." Yes, I said that.

And I went on a little further. About how busy and crazy my life was about to become, and how her part-time child was not benefiting from all the full-time discipline that I'm jonesing to administer to him.

The mother sat on the other line and did not utter a word, or a sound.

So I continued, as I had a captive audience. For five minutes I waxed on about how 5 months of unemployment and misbehaving children such as hers had took me to the edge.

Still nothing.

I stopped talking.

" Really?" she asked. "Effective when?"

" I'll be here for you for another couple of weeks till you can find a replacement, I said.


" I see," she said. " Yes, you need to do what's best for your family."

Silence.

More silence.

And this is where the stages of grief took hold. From denial and bargaining we were starting to morph into pain, and depression.

"Shirley, I said. "Shirley, are you there?"

Silence.

"Boooo hooooooo hooooo hooooo."

She was crying, hysterically.

"Shirley, are you crying?" I asked.

Yes, she was crying.

"Shirley, why are you crying?"

"I am scared, " she said.

At this point I asked her if she was scared of finding daycare, scared of the future, scared of what? Personally, I would be scared for the grave vocational error her master's degree toting husband had made teaching at a low-paying private school. She told me that she was scared because she has to work financially, albeit it's only 2 hours a day.

I felt for her. I really did. But I didn't make the choice to do God's work and live on the edge of financial solvency (she once explained her and her husband teaching at the Lutheran school as a sacrifice to God.)

It was then the anger stage took hold.

"Fine. I'll be in touch. Good night," Shirley chirped.

Click.

I have no regrets. No guilt. Just peaceful, blissful acceptance.

Big Brother

Did you happen to notice the ads on the side of my blog? Did you happen to notice how today they are ads for "peanut butter cookies" and "karate"? I am being watched. By a computer server. Who latched on to certain words. OOOOOOOHHHH. Spooky.

Monday, December 29, 2008

That Phone Call

The last couple of weeks have been ecstatically peaceful and joyful and it's not only because of the holidays. It's also because the 18-month old isn't here.

I need to fire a client. The time has come. And I'm dreading it. Because I'm a people pleaser, and it pains me to be flat-out honest and tell someone their kid is the anti-Christ who makes my head spin.

In short, he's a terror. The little guy comes to my house four days a week, for two hours at a time. The last time he was here, he felled the tabletop Christmas tree and hit someone on the head with a plastic hammer. Diaper changing is bloodsport, and we can't take a walk while said child is here because he doesn't listen and walks in the street.

I've told the mother that this child has issues. I've put up with this for five months. Her passivity and "Jesus rescues, Heals and Cooks Dinner" attitude aren't going to be enough to save the child. He needs a serious time-out on his ass.

Next week, Scot starts an insane schedule. He's working, plus picking up two electives in addition to his usual course load of two classes. He needs to do that to graduate in May, without paying more moola. I will soon become Mr. and Mrs. Mom. I cannot and will not handle anyone that is not marching in a straight line during this stressful time. Hence why I need to get rid of this charge.

The tricky part is this: the mother and father of anti-Christ teach at the school Nora attends. That would be the school that reduced our tuition earlier this year because we were down-and-out-of-work-poor. But the money I receive for watching this child is meager. And I'm thinking my mental health is more important (Scot definitely thinks so.) So, I'm gonna be an ass at the religious school. No matter what excuse I come up with to get rid of the child. I'm going to be an ass.

Tomorrow I'll get off my tuckus and be an adult. I'll make the uncomfortable phone call. The first time I take Nora back to school I'll expect a nasty look or two. But, in a couple of weeks, I'll be happy and my life will be more peaceful.

Wrap it Up!

I cleaned up the Christmas stuff today. It was time. Once the big day is done, I feel tremendous sadness and deal with it best by packing up the boxes and putting them away till next November. The house looks spacious once again. I left the lights over the mantle in the family room. They'll look good, no matter the time of year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

President Scrumptious




I

A little early Christmas present for all of you ladies. I don't care how you voted, you can't tell me that 47-year-old man doesn't look good. I will enjoy watching this president.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kung Fu Monkey



I am so proud of my Maggie. Today she was presented with her orange belt in karate. This comes two weeks after an extensive belt test with 40 other children, and judged by four black-belt karate instructors. She is so happy, vibrant and alive when she does karate. It is where she feels comfortable. And she smiled for the camera! Weep, weep.

Dirty Dog in Action








The little shit disturber was in rare form today. I just thought I would do some ab exercises on the floor. Sanchez started biting my fingers as if to say, "you're too old and flabby for that to work lady!" Fear for my life became a genuine concern as Patrick attempted to bite my ankles while I ran on the treadmill. Caesar, where are you? Poor Bernice. Her look says it all.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dirty Sanchez and the Peanut Blossoms

There is no time for homemade Christmas cookies this year. Shame, shame, shame. My Coconut Whisper Clouds, Chocolate Chili Buttercups, and Peanut Butter Blossoms will not pass these lips. But that doesn't mean someone else's won't. Betty Crocker's Peanut Butter Cookie in a tube called to me in the supermarket yesterday. They even had the picture of the Hershey's Kiss on top so you could manufacture your own Blossoms. Darn, I was sold.

In the midst of two babies, a spastic 18-month-old, two dogs, and my four year old, I decided to bake cookies. WTF? Yeah, well, it made sense at the time. I set up Nora on top of the kitchen counter with a one-teaspoon baller, a plate of sugar and the dough and told her to make me proud. I stood to the side, unwrapping Hershey's kisses, ready to plop them on the top fresh, hot cookies.

Midway through the first batch, I had to abandon my task to change a diaper. Maddie had done some serious damage in her pants, and the house was fruity beyond measure. I changed her and was shocked when her diaper was clean. Undaunted, I went back to my business. The bad smell lingered. I swung my head around, looking for the source of the stink. Josh had just been changed, and the infant was sleeping. Nora has been potty-trained for over 3 years, so I strongly doubted she had dealt the dung.

It was then I spied it. Three piles of light-brown poop, peanut butter in color. On the slate . Patrick-size. But I had a hard time believing it was poop. It looked just like the cookie dough. Besides, why would any smart dog crap on the floor? Before launching into a dog-berating tirade I had the common sense (fleeting it was) to make the connection of why there could be dog crap in the kitchen. It didn't take me long to figure it out. The child gate was up, permitting Patrick's access to the doggy door. And he had been standing by the back door for a while, unable to open it given his small stature , and because he's a dog.

I scurried around the kitchen to collect the dog and deposit him outside. I found him underneath Nora, on the floor, licking a mound of....... poop ? Or was it? Was this poop, or was this dough? The color was the same , the consistency the same as the piles on the other side of the kitchen. Could it be we had adopted a dog that Scot would consider keeping forever- one that ate its own waste?! Oh happy day!

Centering myself in the kitchen to have a vantage point of both piles, I realized it was logistically difficult for cookie dough to have ended up by the table, but the possibility of Patrick pooping at locations 10 feet apart was entirely feasible. Had Nora dropped some dough? Or was Patrick eating his own shit? There was only one way to tell.

I bent down and got on the floor. And I SMELLED the small pile. Yes, I took a deep breath. This blossom was peanut. Nora had dropped her own pile of work on the floor.

And Patrick is once again up for adoption.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Forget garage sales, I'm trashpicking!


A new
storage
shelf to hold more junk, and a healthy house plant.


A bike trailer. A new seat for $30 and it's good as new! I cannot tell you how much fun it is to put the kids in this sucker and ride!



Every first week of the month in Scottsdale, the city picks up bulk trash. This is the time of month when you haul your big clippings to the curb, and dispose of the old carpet and broken chairs you have. Only I don't think it's all trash. That's just at my house. Sometimes it's good stuff. There's gotta be a market for some of this stuff on eBay. How about this; I quit my job, get a flatbed, and make the city rounds once a month. Then, I return home, fix it all up, and peddle my wares on Craigslist or eBay.

Or, ( and this scenario is more likely as I am too lazy) I could continue to fill my house with my new-found treasures and complain that I have too many chotchkies.

Please excuse my terrible cutting and pasting of pictures. Cannot get the darn thing down.

Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8th

December 8th. I vividly remember a December 8th from my youth. Every December 8th, I go back to that day.

A young teenager, I experienced a train of thought that although seemingly inconsequential and unimportant, formed one of the most vivid memories of my life.

I walked home from the bus stop on December 8th. I was 13 or 14. My long wool coat was flapping about my ankles in the brisk wind. I was on Salem Road in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. A boy named Matt liked me, and being half-sane from boy craziness, that gave me a particular spring in my step. Later that day, I had a dental appointment and was looking forward to driving through the picturesque town where the office was located. There were sure to be beautiful lights and decorations dotting the quaint streets. My coat was purple, the leaves were blowing around my feet, and it was 17 days till Christmas.

I'll never recall an iota from my Senior Prom, or conjure up a visual of my grandmother's face, but I'll remember with precise detail where I was on a dreary December day 20 years ago. Perhaps the simple beauty of winter, a girl's crush returned , and the joy of Christmas were enough to meld and mold a date and a memory in my mind.

And so, every December 8th, I remember that day so long ago, and look at where I am now. At 9:15 a.m today, I became aware of the date. With Scot being out of town, I had gotten both kids dressed, and taken Maggie to school in the bike trailer. At 8:30 a.m. two of my daycare charges rolled through the door. I realized two hand fulls too late that the 18-month- old had been eating play dough. His brother had been reprimanded earlier for pulling the garland off the tree. Nora was crying from a lack of sleep and Daddyitis. And as I went to take a sip of my coffee, I found a fuchsia star ornament bobbing at the top.

Kidisms

Darn, those kids. They really do say the craziest stuff. Three of these gems were uttered today.

"What did you get me for Christmas? I won't tell myself."
- Nora, getting my attention today, while I was online shopping.

"Mommy, you're always mean to me. The only time you are nice to me is when I am sick."
- Maggie, after I implored her to put on her shoes.

"Is Spongebob Jewish?"
- Maggie, during a discussion on Hanukkah and the Jewish faith.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Negative Panic

I had just straightened out my body. It was 5 a.m. and my leg had been folded under my body like swan origami. How did I possibly achieve that crazy, flexible position at night when during the day I can't touch my toes? I thought to myself. Just drifting off to sleep again, I heard the noise.

"Fluuuu fluuuu fluuuu fluuu." "Ruffffffff, rufffff" "fluuuuuuwwwww fluuwwwww." "Arrrr Arrr!!! Fluu fluuu fluuwwwwwww."

WHAT THE HELL?

But what I thought I heard along with the dogs barking were gunshots, falling furniture, a terrorist attack. I hadn't heard the alarm go off, so I nixed the idea of an armed gunman. Unless Scot had had it with me stealing the covers? And then I heard a shrill voice screaming.

"Scot, what is it?"
"What's going on?"
"Is it an earthquake?"
"Why are the dogs barking?"
"Scot, make it stop!"


The frantic, insane woman screaming was me, my voice muffled by the pillow. Out of fear, I had thrown myself under the blankets and covered my head with the pillow. I glanced out long enough to see that Scot had turned on the lights. He was perched on our bed, removing a Mylar balloon from the ceiling fan. Every "fluuuu fluuu" was the balloon whipping between the blades. The accompanying barking had been the dogs valiant attempt at protecting their family from a dangerous Spongebob balloon.

I emerged from the covers, shaking and crying.
Petrified.
I had been petrified. And I had done nothing. I had hid, expecting my man to take care of me.

Scot and I spent the next twenty minutes looking for the dogs. Bernice had skirted out the doggy door and was standing outside, shivering in fear. Patrick had run into Nora's room and was camped out under her bed. We gathered the dogs, and headed back to our bedroom. By the door I saw a wet spot, and two Tootsie Roll piles.

Patrick had experienced his own negative panic. He literally lost control of his functions as he fled the insanity of the bedroom. It looks as if Patrick and I should not go into law enforcement together. Nothing like a cop who hides from the perp and a K9 who craps at the crime scene.

Paging Weight Watchers

Back in March, I went to Weight Watchers. I loaded up on all the reading materials and returned for a mere 2 weigh-ins. The seeds of weight Watchers wisdom were sown, and it went something like this: don't eat like a pig. Essentially, just when stuff starts tasting really good, call it quits. I started eating correct portions, and by July I had lost 10 pounds.

Here we are in December, and I'm still down by 8 pounds. I have moments of dementia when I suddenly recall that 3 beers do not constitute a dinner, but for the most part I measure/weigh everything I eat. Scot cannot believe this. "Can't you just step back from the plate when you've had enough?" he asks. (Scot weighs 145 pounds and has never been chubby.) No. I cannot. Food is love. Food is happiness. Give me more, give me more.

Last night, I committed a huge indiscretion. We went out for dinner with family and I had a Chicken Caesar Salad, 3 beers, 15 steak fries, and 5 hot wings. Stuffed, sad and sick, I left the restaurant and considered vomiting in a bush. But I would never do that. I had to live with the crappy choices I made.

Today, I ran. I'm training for the 1/2 marathon, so I ran 7 miles. I had a salad with chicken for lunch. And nixed plans to go out for fattening date night. Darn it, I will try to fly straight for a while.

My name is Toni, and I'm a Foodaholic.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coldplay, Thanksgiving, and everything that's fit to print



COLDPLAY

The sassy lads from England did not disapoint.

Scot and I left the house on a chilly Phoenix night (70 degrees) for happy hour at Bamboo Club. After seared tuna, Kobe sliders, and a wee bit of beer (it's 30 miles to the venue) we headed out for the concert.

Dear friend Stacy works for a company that has box seats and primo parking, so she had hooked us up with passes to both. The seats were fantastic! After greeting Stacy, Wendy, Tina and others in attendance, the band came on. On the way to the show, I had a debate with Scot over what song the band would open the show with. Only it wasn't really a debate as Scot wasn't knowledgable enough to discuss such a serious matter, nor did he give two hoots. Scot was going to the show as my date, not a fan. While he isn't opposed to Coldplay, he does feel they lack the second ball necessary to make them men. I had vacillated between "Lost", and "Viva La Vida", for the opener. But I knew this album had a definite beginning and an end, and they might want to stay consistent to the storytelling buildup and denouement. Therefore, the only logical choice for the opening song would be "Life in Technicolor". And it was. The song started and I got the chills. I ran down to the partition and became acutely aware that I was in the midst of my second religious experience. Wouldn't you like to know what the first was? NO, not my baptism or First Holy Confession- U2's last concert. Dear me, I am going on here. At any rate, it was wonderful.

THANKSGIVING

The whole fam rolled in around 2 p.m. Mom brought assorted salads and was given the responsibilty of Gravy Master. Sister brought the turkey, Jack Daniels Pecan Pie, and stuffing. Most importantly, Julie brought the Boggle. Immediately we set up the outside table with pads, pens, the Boggle game and beer. My mom served as Beer Wench and kept refilling my wine glass. I'm pretty sure she never got me on the proper footing to be a doctor back in my school days, as she certainly seemed genuinely happy to dumb me down with beer during a heated Boggle match. Not surprisingly, my smart niece and ultra-smart nephew schooled all of us when it came to the word-search game. I'd like to think my senses were dull from the drink, but the reality is that I've never been a game-winner. Then we had turkey, dessert, and everyone went "bye bye." Okay, so it was a little more involved than that, but that's the good part, isn't it? I don't know why we bother with all the pomp and circumstance. Let's just get together, play games, and drink.

Gotta run. Too much to do online right now. Shopping, Christmas cards, researching biochemical warfare, etc.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Longest Day EVER

Thirty minutes and I'm out of this house. Headed to some sushi, Kirin, and then on to COLDPLAY!!! Scot and I saw them about 5 years ago, and they sucked. Bad venue with horrible acoustics. We were like two old people, "It's too LOUD!" Hopefully this time we'll be able to tolerate it.

What a way to kick off Thanksgiving. All day I was like a kid cooped up in a hot classroom on the last day of school. I have been waiting for this since MAY, when I got the tickets for my birthday. Of course I'll let you know how it is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hostess With the Mostest

I'm channeling Martha. I am hosting Thanksgiving. It's been a few years since everyone came over here, as we usually go to my mom or my sister's house. My mother is weary from jet lag, my sister handles Christmas, and to be honest, it's time for me to grow up and claim more cooking/hostessing responsibilities. My cooking jobs are the mashed potatoes, my mother-in-law's stuffing, and a pumpkin pie. Dear sister and mommy will bring the rest. To say I'm excited to pull out my new Williams-Sonoma chicken tablecloth and matching linens would be overstating it, but at least I have something presentable to chuck the turkey on this year. Our dining room table has been in our possession for 3 years, all that time without a dining cloth.

Today, Nora and I got out the good silver and cleaned it ( Truly, that kid doesn't miss a trick and will be able to gut a fish by age 15.) The silverware is an old set, circa 1940. My inlaws bought it for us for Christmas a couple of years back. Ten years ago I would have said it was "old-fashioned, too stuffy." But I've matured, and I see the beauty in finer, somewhat useless things now. Never mind it will sit side-saddle with chipped Pottery Barn plates.

The bread is out, getting "stale" for the stuffing. Tomorrow I will consider shining up the metal chargers. HA!!!!!! Those would be the chargers I had to have when we got married. They resemble UFOs and have silver beading on the edges. They looked great on the Pottery Barn display table. I've never used them. If anyone decided to look deeper into the bowels of my nastiness, they will be disappointed. Scot and I cleaned out the fridge last week, as I had some items that had fallen between shelves and fermented to the walls.

If I forget something for Thursday, I already feel like I'm ahead of the game. Never in a million years did I think I would be showing my daughter how to polish silver. Who AM I ? And when did someone with fine cutlery invade my home?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been a little preoccupied

Dear Readers,

It's been a little busy around here. Scot is doing some contracting work (Yahoo!!!!) so I've been happy, thus less prone to bitch, therefore not blogging to my imaginary friends. That doesn't mean I don't need you, so don't leave.

My best friend Joelle was here last weekend and we had a blast. She took 546 pictures of my family over the course of the weekend and took me out to lunch and dinner. In exchange I let her listen to my kids be reprimanded and provided her with a mattress on the floor. She must like me, or at least she did before she saw the accommodations. A best friend is supposed to overlook a multitude of failings, and Joelle does that. She is the most considerate, thoughtful, fun person to spend time with. We've always said that we could be sitting with each other in an insurance seminar and find something to laugh about. We've known each other since we were in our mothers' uteruses and she is the family I have chosen. Here's how much I love her- I think she voted for McCain. I don't ask, she doesn't tell. Love has crossed over party lines.

My parents are home from their 3 week European river cruise tonight. Their arrival signifies the beginning of the holiday season. I'm excited to catch up with them and pour my eyes over the H+M shirts they purchased for me in Amsterdam. I miss calling them to discuss Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann nightly. They were gone for the election so we have much to celebrate.

We've been paid, so the wolf is away for now. Everyone is relatively healthy, and Thanksgiving is next week. I'll be making the mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry ring. My sister is bringing the turkey, bread, pecan pie, and stuffing. My mother will make grand mom's frozen salad and sweet potatoes. We're planning on eating, riding bikes, playing games and gaining weight. Thankful I am.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Running Smells 11/19/08


Time : approx. 5:31 p.m MST
Length of Run: 3.01 miles
Run Time: 30.04
Scottsdale Temperature : Approx. 75 degrees F

Smells Recorded


Corned beef and cabbage (get me the barf bag)
Acacia Tree (AKA - sperm tree, stink tree ) It makes you want to hurl and is in bloom here.
Spaghetti
Tide Simple Pleasures laundry detergent in Vanilla and Lavender
A grill heating up
Acacia Tree (Sweet Jesus)
Grilled Cheese
Burning Leaves
Some Funky meat cooking (lamb, mutton, etc.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Biking Smells 11/17/08

Time: Appoximately 12:45 p.m MST
Length of Ride : 6.65 miles
Ride Time: 32.28
Scottsdale Temperature: 85 Degrees F

SMELLS RECORDED

Fresh Air
Sunshine
Duck Poop
Patty Melt (from Buster's Restaurant) onion, toasted bread, burger
Cinnamon (pine cone? firewood?)
Duck Poop
Chlorine (riding along houses on the golf course)
The Cinnamon smell again
My dirty nasty sweaty body (excreting Mexican food, garlic, and beer)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running Smells 11/12/08

Time : approx. 5:15 MST
Length of Run: 3.02 miles
Run Time: 28.32
Scottsdale Temperature : Approx. 67 degrees F

SMELLS RECORDED

Steak, grilling
Port-o-Potty fruity air freshener
bacon and eggs
a fire in a fireplace (with smoke visible from chimney)
Pot Roast
Dog crap
Orange Blossoms (in November?)
More steak, grilling
another fire in a fireplace

Again, the temperature was in the high 60's.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mrs. Meyer's to the rescue! Product endorsement of the day.

I'm having "Senses Overload" right now. That's what Scot and I call it when your ears are ringing, your body is swaying when you're sitting still, and your nose is burned-out from an offending odor. Usually we find we have only one sense that's been assaulted, but I find when I'm tired the whole body is affected. Currently, there is a pervasive hum of babies crying in my ears, and I'm rocking like Rainman. On a positive note, the smell burned into by nostrils in not crap, like it should be.

I've taken to cleaning with Mrs. Meyer's products, and the Gingerbread scent for the holidays has become my weapon of choice. Have you used these products? A friend was kind enough to buy me the cleaning quartet of room spray, counter top spray, all-purpose spray, and dish soap. I was skeptical, but seeing how I am Maria now, I thought I should get down to business with them. The result is DELISH! I hate to sound like Martha, but cleaning has never been so pleasant. Each product is green, and smells like you just baked a batch. Alas I did not, but don't tell anyone. Oh, so the smell burned in my nose - gingerbread. Sweet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weird News

I love weird news stories. Among my favorites are the women who deliver their babies in a truck stop bathroom, completely unaware they were even pregnant. Yeah, I just thought I was a little bloated when I carried Nora. And the sensitive boobs with Maggie- must have been the nipple tassels that brought on the searing pain.

U.S Woman Found Living With Three Dead Siblings
CHICAGO (Reuters) – An elderly woman has been living with two skeletons and a badly decomposed body of her siblings in a suburb of Chicago, one of whom may have died at least 20 years ago, authorities said on Saturday.

The remains were found covered by sheets in various parts of the house in Evanston on Friday but no foul play was suspected.

Authorities said one of the siblings was last seen alive in the 1980s, the second in 2003 and the third in May.

The woman living in the house, described as "upwards of 90 years of age," was cooperating in the investigation and was taken to a facility for care.

Authorities, who did not release the names of the deceased, said a care worker had alerted them to the situation. Autopsies were due to be performed on Saturday.


Scot and I spent Saturday afternoon on lawn chairs in the front yard. The Little Green Steam Machine and a bucket littered the front yard, and 14 kids bikes were strewn about the driveway. I figure we've got about a month before the neighbors start complaining about the "Country Horizons" squatters. Maybe that's why this story made me laugh aloud. It COULD happen...

Cops Have Tough Time Finding Sober Driver For Boy

SCHERERVILLE, Ind. – Indiana state police said that after a mother was arrested for drunken driving, the three relatives who came to pick up her 1-year-old son also had all been drinking.

A state trooper stopped a minivan for speeding early Saturday on U.S. 30 in Schererville in northwestern Indiana. He arrested the 24-year-old woman on a drunken driving charges.

The boy's father arrived later to pick him up, but officers determined he was intoxicated and also arrested him on a drunken driving charge.

Police said the boy's grandparents then arrived. Both of them also had been drinking, state police said, but the grandmother who was driving was not over the legal limit, so officers escorted them home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Step Forward, A Step Back

We'll further civil rights by electing a black president, but let's deny the basic legal rights of two committed people. What's the deal with all these states that passed amendments on gay unions? And no, I'm not calling it a marriage. See, these religious conservatives love to call it "marriage" so you get your mind stuck in an antiquated, fire-and-brimstone state of mind. The Arizona amendment passed, in part, to its sly , slickly worded catchphrase. "One man, one woman." It never came out and said "a vote for this is a vote against gays, " but that's the message they were tying to send. It effectively outlawed "gay marriage" in our state.

WHY do these funky religious groups feel a need to get involved with an issue that doesn't concern them? Have you seen the woman behind "One Woman, One Man"? It's a fat dumpy hag proselytizing from behind a desk. My guess is she's Mission-style Mary, and her husband has a serious online porn problem. Who gives a flying fukc is it's two women or two men who share retirement accounts, insurance, and a life? For God's sake, this is a legal union, which would allow couples the basic rights of property ownership and hospital visitations. A church marriage is a church marriage. Different thing altogether. But silly me, I forgot that the separation of church and state has become blurred in this country.

I think it comes down to ignorance, fear, and hatred. As comedian Lewis Black would say, " Are you afraid they're going to come into your cul-de-sack and fukc on the front lawn?" My parents best friends are gay. They've been together 30 years. They don't grope each other in public (shock!) and they still attend church. I commend them on their bravery for that, because most churches wouldn't want them if they knew their living arrangement. We've come a long way by electing Barack Obama. But at the same time, we're overturning historic state legislature that protects and provides for the rights of all Americans.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let's Talk About Lungs...

I sat at a red light the other day and noticed a UPS driver taking one long, last hard drag off his cigarette before the light turned. I fought the temptation to honk and scream "you ass, stop that!!!!" Why, I wondered, would someone in this day and age still smoke? The UPS man knows that smoking takes 10 years off his life. Explaining that to a young guy is pointless though when they have their health and stamina. Give the guy a bout of emphysema and he might finally kick the habit. It isn't only smokers I rail on. Not too long ago I watched workers sand and stain a wood floor with no face masks. The electric sander blew a cloud of particles into the air. Once that crap goes in, only so much of it comes out. UGH!!!!! To be honest, this self-righteous lung preaching didn't just happen. It took me wising up. And that started with my family getting sick.


In February, my dad was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Fibrosis of the lungs is scarring of the lung tissue which makes breathing difficult. It's a fatal lung disease with no absolute known cause. Some patients have had exposure to asbestos, but for others it's tobacco smoke. Still many can't pinpoint a cause at all. When I heard about his disease, my first thought was "cut out the bad crap". What's so crazy about all of this is that lungs cannot be operated on like a heart can. My dad's only long-term chance of survival would be a lung transplant. Lungs are essentially fragile balloons. They fill with air and help transport that air throughout the body. Sometimes they collapse, flood, and it's lights out for the whole body. I never understood why so many people died from pneumonia, but when the lungs are involved, there isn't much that can be reversed or fixed.

Nora was diagnosed with asthma last spring. From January to May we had about 3 weeks of clean and easy breathing. For the other infinite, long days of winter, she was sick with a chest cold or cough. I keep the local pollution report on the computer , and sent her out wearing a mask when the ozone levels were high. With Nora, I seek some comfort in knowing that the asthma is something she'll probably outgrow. And I can live with that.

But for my dad, it won't be something he can shake. He has been told IPF will be what takes him down. We will never know what caused my dad's sickness, but the doctor could not discount 25 years of smoking. Coincidentally, my dad has four good friends spread around the country that are suffering from terminal lung diseases, including IPF and lung cancer. Our next door neighbor, a general contractor, has been diagnosed with COPD, a chronic lung disease, due to his lifelong exposure to asbestos.


There is a perennial pile of crap on my desk that sits for weeks at a time. Yesterday, I was rifling through the stack, when I ran across an envelope. The envelope had a fresh, unused stamp on it, and the mailing address was the American Lung Association. For years I have been receiving this same SASE from my neighbor. It's intended use is to mail in a donation, not to pilfer the stamp, as I've done in previous years. This year, I held on to the envelope. This year, I made the leap and read the literature from the ALA. Funny how in the space of a couple of seasons, something can resonate so loudly, so brutally for you, that you can't ignore it. I'm gonna send that envelope in. I really am. I ask that you do your part. Realize how fragile your lungs are. Stop smoking. Protect your lungs. Lecture over.

Beautiful Day

The very moment I fell in love with Barack Obama was the night he accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States. I sat, cozy in my chair, TIVO cued up, and hit play during the precise moment Obama walked out through the corny Greek columns. I recognized the first strains of "City of Blinding Lights." This was the track that made me cry like a baby when it opened the show for U2 a few years ago. It begins with a soft keyboard and builds to an orgasmic, romantic crescendo. Seeing Obama looking dapper and presidential with one of my favorite songs playing in the background brought tears to my eyes. I was, how do I say this and not sound like a fool...inspired. Sweet Lord was I was glad I was alone. I felt embarrassed that I was weeping. It could have been the strain of Scot's lay-off the previous week, or the hope Obama was bringing with him, but I was hooked. And it was all because this man had tapped into what made me feel warm and fuzzy. He had U2 playing behind him. I loved this Rock Star Politician.

Looking back, I realize that it's probably the first time I could identify with a song that had been chosen during a presidential election. How many cheesy times have they picked Kenny Rodgers, The Four Tops or some other oldie but goodie. What this showed me was that whoever was in charge of spinning the tunes was from my generation. How refreshing.

Today I went for a run and hit the motherload of "perfect" songs on my MP3 player. I like to call it "The Obama Mix". And this happened in this exact order. No shuffling, no fast-forwarding. And I do have more than U2 and Coldplay on my list. :)

City of Blinding Lights - U2
Pride- U2 (about MLK and my all-time favorite song)
Viva La Vida - Coldplay ( "when I ruled the World....")
Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

I ran like an inspired Nike runner with dynamite under my ass. I felt a piss-poor era coming to an end. Daydreams of jobless claims dropping and people remaining in their foreclosed houses flooded my mind. And I envisioned a beautiful young family with a dog moving into the White House. It would be a tough-ass crank who wouldn't be moved by that. So no matter what Obama accompishes, I will at least feel a little bit better knowing that he knows who U2 is, and he's probably seen Spongebob Squarepants. That's gotta count for something.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 Election







The older I get, the more I live and breathe politics. I've given up on trivial things like if the kids had too much ice cream after dinner. I have become Jane Doe at Anytown, USA's Town Hall Meeting with my constant rants such as "How are we going to get health care, and pay for the kids' college?" No wonder old people sludge through rain with canes and walkers to vote. They have had a lifetime of issues to rally behind. Giving a darn about who becomes president has become my life's obsession. People have asked me why I give a hoot about politics. "How can you not?" is my answer. If you are not informed and don't research things, idiots could be left in control to make decisions for you. You have to care.

Eight years ago, I lived in San Francisco and voted Democratic like I always had. But I had no serious concerns or issues, other than having "my guy" win. I had yet to become a supporter of public education, and was not an avowed environmentalist (too bad because if Gore had won, serious green headway could have been made). The race only became interesting to me after a winner couldn't be declared. Then, I was looking to win, and bloody the other side. I cared, but for the wrong reasons.

Four years ago I had children, and Bush was in office. That was a powerful prod to get me out to the voting booth. No Child Left Behind was a failure, and it was evident the Iraq War had become a political hot potato. I was sure the rest of the country felt that way, too. What a shock to know that over 50% of the country still supported an inept and dangerous leader. The day after the election, England's Daily Mirror had the most fantastic headline I had ever, and probably will ever see. " How can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB". Dumb they may be, but did all those 59,054,087 people go into that booth with political passion? Or was it a vote for their team? There is a difference.


It won't shock me if tonight doesn't go my way. I don't know if twenty-somethings know how high the stakes are now. And does an eighteen-year old think about saving Social Security? I didn't in 2000. But the initial signs look good. A lot can be said for seeing people in Virginia standing out in the rain for 2 hours, waiting to vote. If people put as much energy into studying candidates, policies, and agendas as they do in picking out a new car, we will have come a long way in the last eight years.

I have neighbors with a McCain/Palin sign in their yard. Hubby and a friend have felt the need to tell me not to touch it. But I never would. Because obviously my neighbors are impassioned enough to fly their color. We've got to assume they've taken stock and have made the choice they believe is best for themselves and the country. Whether their yard flag be red, or blue, it doesn't matter. Do they really care? I have to believe they do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mom and Dad,

I'm assuming you are in Amsterdam. I turned on MSNBC this morning and didn't see them covering any burning BA wreck, so I figured you arrived safe and sound. Thank God for 24-hour cable TV. It's definitely helped my anxiety issues.

Halloween is tomorrow and we got the kids cards you sent. They loved them, and were appropriate for each child. Maggie dug the bear, and Nora was the princess. Tonight we went to Fry's to complete Nora's costume. She's going as a fairy, but told me she must have a crown to complete the look. Poor thing is a tad confused on accessories of a fairy/princess , but always the "ho" she needed to spice it up a bit. Maggie will be a monkey again. I've gotten so much mileage out of that thing. She even wore it last Christmas on the Polar Express.

Scot is taking his exam as I write this. Poor thing. It was hard material, and he didn't feel prepared. But he always says that, and ends up doing fine. He made it through Round #1 with the local contracting position, and will be interviewed on Nov. 10th. It's down to him and one other applicant. Keep it all crossed for this one. He really wants it.

I had asthmatic Satan baby again today. Sweet Cherries, that kid can cry. He cried the ENTIRE day. Scot kept coming into the kitchen, asking if I was okay. Hell, I was fine. What was wrong with the baby? I have never in all my life been so happy to hand a kid over to a parent. Something is wrong though; he isn't coming tomorrow because they were asked to come in and look at the baby's chest X-rays. I feel so sorry for those parents. Not so sorry to tell them I'll put up with that crying forever though. I told the father that he's on probation and if the crying continues, he's not going to fit in at my house. I hate to get all anti-feminist, but that baby needs to be at home with his mom. What the heck is the point in having a kid if you're going to stick him in daycare when he's 6-weeks-old ?

Hope you're having a wonderful time. I'm so jealous. But you're retired from exams and shitty diapers. You deserve it.

Love you much, and don't do anything stupid,

T

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spare Time Be Gone

Once I thought I was busy, but I really had spare time. How else do I explain being able to blog all the time.
Two babies are kicking my arse. How do people with twins do it? You can't hold 2. Someone's always being held and the other one is giving you the evil eye, crying.

Today, spelled out for you in absurdly boring detail.

7:40- Maggie leaves with Scot for school
7:45- Scot arrives home, telling me he will be studying for MBA finals at home today, not the library
7:45- baby Madi comes
8:30- baby Josh arrives
9:00- load up babies in stroller, Nora on bike
9:30-11:00- listen to cries, whines, Dora, Spongebob, my brain cells whooshing out of my head
11:00- lunch for Scot, Nora, Madi and me. Mac-n-cheese, sweet potatoes, crackers, stage 3 lasagna, leftover chicken parm
11:30- Josh goes home.
12:00- Madi naps
12:15- lie in my bed with Nora. I set her up with Barbie's Swan Lake, milk, no excuse to talk. She talks.
12:45 - baby Korben arrives. Today is only a half-day, but four days a week will be 7-4.
12:45-2:15- baby Korben cries like he's being prodded with a sharp stick in the butt. His asthma is terrible and I want to lose my bowels I feel so sorry for the baby. I alternate feeding, burping, walking, sitting in bouncy, calling parents, wondering if $1000 a month is worth the agony and stress.
2:15- Korben sleeps. Everyone's been warned- You wake him, you pay.
2:20- Maggie gets home from school.
2:45- Madi wakes up.
3:00- help Maggie with her homework.
4:00- start dinner so Scot can leave for exam early.
4:20- Korben's dad arrives. Praise JesusAllahBuddah this is not my kid. Poor parents. I am lucky. Very lucky.
4:50- Madi leaves.
5:00- eat.
5:30- Scot leaves.
5:45- clean kitchen
6:00- zone in front of the computer for 10 minutes, and then realize that the sooner I take the kids for ice cream, the sooner I can put them to bed.
6:15- go for ice cream.
6:45- kids' baths
7:20 - kids' meds, stories, threats that if they wake me up in the middle of the night, I'll be cranky tomorrow.
7:50- kids' bed.
8:10- come on to the computer.
8:40- have Maggie come in here (3 minutes ago) and tell me she can't sleep.

Scot should be home at 10. I have a beer mug icing for him. I hope he did well. I hope he comes home happy. I hope I can ask him how his night went, roll over, and go to sleep. Because it all starts again soon. Very soon. :) Nite nite.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I was leafing through the Williams-Sonoma catalogue today. Last year I returned some Christmas gifts from the purveyor (I love that word) and I was looking at what my return gift card could get me. It seemed sensible and frugal to do some Christmas gift shopping with my in-store credit.

Have you taken a gander at Williams-Sonoma lately? I was thinking I was entering the world of Pier 1 or Crate And Barrel. Nice, quality items that don't break the bank. Uh uh. It occurred to me rather quickly that I don't want or need anything from this store, nor can I justify blowing my $200 credit on a Maple Cakelette Pan or $30 dish soap. Gift or not. Has this store heard we are in an ass-biting economy? I am a cook, and I understand the need for good pans and fine linens, but hasn't the whole Martha Stewart Perfection shit gone by the wayside?


My slight crankiness crumbled when I left out a laugh so loud it scared me. If you would turn your attention to the machine above. That's the Miele Rotary Iron, and for only $2199.00 you too can press your own tablecloths and sheets. Personally, I would look into employing some young illegals to do the task. And the really neat thing is that it does fold up and roll away on the 364 days of the year you are not using it. If I had the money to purchase this machine, I can almost bet you I would own a string of dry cleaners, therefore making this purchase silly. But no matter. Everyone has their little OCD sickness.

In the end, I settled on some Peppermint Bark for all my loved ones. Act now and get two tins for $45. No, it's not caviar. It just comes in tins and is priced like caviar. My best friend gets it for me every year, and I can tell you it is worth it. I stash the tin in Mommy's Little Hiding Spot and devour it over the course of 3 days.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dirty Sanchez (action shot)



I apologize if this picture offends , but welcome to my World. I have to live with this disgusting mutt. Captain Buttmunch no sooner had a snack, and then jumped up to give Nora a goodnight hug. And Scot's worried about the dog aggravating Nora's asthma.

It's funny, but with this dog, I don't really worry about the gate being open or coyotes on the prowl. What will be, will be.












Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Maggie Monkey





Maggie turned 7 today.

Seven years ago last night, I interrupted Scot's National League Playoff game between the Braves and.... , well, it doesn't matter, to announce that my water broke. To which Scot replied "are you sure?" Same damn answer I got when I told him I was pregnant. Anywho, my worry-free life ended on that couch that evening. For that matter , none of the furniture, precious heirlooms or antiques have ever been the same.

Maggie arrived 30 days early. She was 5"15 and as bald as Mr. Clean. Her premature entry was the first sign that the kid would have major control issues. She still does things her way, when she wants to do them. She also made it known that she would eat enough to sustain life, but not enough to make
me feel like she had a cushion against the rough ills life would throw at her. As an infant she wouldn't nurse. The hard-sucking payoff wasn't enough. These days we still goad her to eat, her ribs visible beneath her thin t-shirt. It's funny how that early personality tends to stick.

My little Monkey has morphed into a trooper. She's my good sleeper, my great student, and my devil with a heart. She was the one that broke me out of my selfish existence, and continues to be the child that challenges me every waking moment. Tonight after I wished her a final "happy birthday" and closed her door, she yelled for me. I opened her door and asked what she wanted. I expected to hear "Tell daddy I love him" or "Can I sleep with Bernice?". But tonight she wanted me. "Mommy, give me another kiss." Another kiss. Of course my love. The best present you could ever give this mother on your birthday.

I love you, Maggie.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flu Shot Eve

Here we are, the night before the annual family flu shots. And the children are nestled are snug in their beds with not an inkling of what kind of shitty-ass pissy morning they are going to have tomorrow. Maybe it would behoove me to start an annual tradition of leaving Motrin on their breakfast plates the evening before (pain reliever is always administered beforehand). That way, they would know their fate when they swing open their bedroom doors on a random Saturday every October. "Goddamn it Nora, look who swung by last night- the flu shot fairy."

We never let the kids in on their fate until we pull into the immunization locale. We did it once and realized the children have inherited my anxiety issues. To tell them ahead of time causes excessive worry, and it is cruel. For years we went to the local ma and pa pharmacy down the street. It was sick fun and trauma because even months after the shot, that strip mall elicited the same response from them. I would swing in to mail a letter and I'd hear a scream from the back seat. " Mommy, are we getting flu shots today????!!!!" Depending on what kind of schizoid Mommy Dearest mood I was in dictated my answer. It was either "Yes, wouldn't that be fun to do on this beautiful May day?" OR, "No, I was thinking we'd drive by the Spank Factory and try out the Spank 2010." Last year we really messed them up because we drove to a clinic 20 miles away. I'll admit, the line and amount of third-world citizens freaked me out a bit, too. We rewarded the children with new panties from Kohl's afterwards.


This year's festivities will be held in downtown Scottsdale. I'm not sure what the pay-off will be, but there is a friend's birthday party to attend tomorrow afternoon. Maybe that will take the edge off. Scot and I have Map quested the place, have a departure time and are mentally set. We go to bed tonight feeling a bit sheepish, a bit protective, and a whole lotta Scrooge.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

News on the Job Front....

Scot has a phone interview tomorrow for a position with the company where the girl is testifying before congress and her top falls off. If he gets it, I promised I will be the perfect corporate wife and wear a tank top to to the company Christmas party and let the girls slip out for a breath of fresh air. I think you can figure out the company.

VERY VERY good news! Scot has an interview next Friday at a major big company he doesn't want me to name. This job interview is 4 weeks late coming. He was pre-vetted by a recruiter last month, and assumed the job dried up when the stock market started heading south.

I have an interview of my own tomorrow for a new day care charge. He's six months old and has severe asthma. I would work Fridays and the baby would show up at my doorstep every day at 7:15. Scot asked me if I was sure I wanted to take on such a young baby that demands an aggressive time-commitment. I asked him if he would like to keep living in this house. Do any of us have the luxury of being spoiled and having an opinion in this crappy economy? Work is work. He then said when I work a lot (M-Fri 7-5 ) I get a bit cranky. Naw....

It's all good. The phone is ringing and appointments are on the books. The best news in weeks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scot and his black lung

The whole family Muma went to the doctor today. Except Maggie. The one that's been sick the longest and who I sent to school today (bad momma! bad momma!). But really, short of the plague, how many days can I keep this kid home ? Long story short, we are on day 17 of sickness. A week of fevers has morphed into nasty nose, coughing, wheezing, and a general look of a sick-looking homeless family.

Any bets on who got the candy, ahem, medicine? Scot. The damn dude played it up, by crying foul when the good doctor tapped on his sinusus. Scot's throat was red (ooh alarm bells! ) , whereas mine was just white and pleghmy. Scot slept like a baby while I hacked for 2 hours last night. So, as usual, us chicks suck it up while scot has already asked for the humidifier to be put by his bed for an afternoon nap. The sick children must march on, and I the mother, will pull-up my bootsraps and lead the way. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008




There are dogs that are indifferent (they should have been cats!) , dogs that are affectionate, and dogs that are flat-out pervs. Our new dog is a pervert. Patrick was misnamed. Scot and I realized today that we should have named him "Sanchez". As in the joke referring to the act called the "dirty sanchez". Go ahead and Gooogle it, and don't say I didn't warn you. It's nothing humans would seriously consider (would they?) but my dog is all over it. Sniffing crotches is rudimentary for this mutt and he constantly asserts his 13 pound frame on Bernice's 60 pound body. I catch the dog rubbing his body on my dirty shoes and he loves to stick his nose in stinky socks. The ultimate nastiness was when he rolled in some fish food flakes that were on the floor. We're lobbying the kids to let us call him "Sanchez" but they're not up for it. How darn cute would a logo of a chihuahua with a handlebar mustache be?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My parents, My saviors

I usually see my parents at least once a week. That is, when they are home and not traveling. They live an easy 8 mile drive from us, and it's pretty typical for me to pack up the girls on a Friday and head to their house for the day. My mom makes the best wasabi chicken salad sandwiches and my dad lets the kids abuse the hell out of his color copier. All us girls paint our nails and my dad and I discuss politics for hours. It's so nice to be in the embrace of both a loving family, and like-minded voters. :)



When the chips are down, my parents have always been there for Scot and I. Recently, I got the offer of the master bedroom in their house in case Scot and I should be forced to leave our own. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, but the sincere propostion was appreciated. On Friday night my parents took us out for dinner. They said it was as payment for watching their dog, Annie, while they are away. But I was already paid with the gorgeous bedspread I recently acquired. I realize the dinner out was a morale boost for us. We hadn't been anywhere since Scot lost his job 7 weeks ago. It was nice to be out for the evening with good conversation and no dishes to worry about. That dinner was such a small gesture with huge uplift. I think I even put on lipstick that night!




When my parents got married 38 years ago, they were a unique couple. My dad had left the priesthood for my mother, and my mother had just ended a marriage that produced 2 children. My parents fled Michigan (where they were scorned) and settled in New Jersey. They bought a house, and things looked great till my dad lost his job in 1970. At that time, our country was in a recession and my dad could not find work. For several months, my parents scraped by on food stamps and welfare. It was all they could do to pay the mortgage. For Christmas that year, they gave my sister a Barbie knock-off they found at the Berlin Farmer's Market, and my brother got a silver dollar in a jewelry box. They couldn't afford the movies, or even the bridge toll to Philadelphia. My dad spent days going to the unemployment office looking for work, and would return empty handed to my mother. Then the two of them would play cards till it was time to pick up Tim and Julie at school.

Eventually, my dad found a job as a probation officer. This was the line of work he ended his career with, 30 years later. When he retired he was Chief of Probation for Phoenix, Arizona. What a tremendous rise from his humble start in New Jersey. I'm so proud of everything my parents achieved in spite of what they had to overcome ( part of the reason I'm a Democrat today is due to the fact that my parents used federal programs to help them get out of a tough spot.)

My parents have always been passionate about traveling, and it was their dream to retire and see the world. In 2000, they did just that. They now spend about half the year away from Arizona. On days I whine about the stress of unemployment, or worry about the money to buy Maggie's birthday presents, I know that my mom and dad "get" it. Hell, I am rich compared to what they had. But what an example they have set for me. With love and determination I know you can attain so much. They did. That's why when they are here, I see them as much much as I can. They have so much to give. And so much to teach.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Kid Rock,

Dear Kid, or Rock, or Robert (that's your birth name, right?)

Your hit, "All Summer Long", is catchy enough and all. My kids dig it when it comes on the radio. It's got a great beat, and it makes you feel good. So, I get the appeal. But I can't listen to it. This is where I get bitter and fuddy duddy and hop on my soapbox of talent vs. no talent. Steady yourself.

Can I get frank with you Kid ? It's a rip-off dude. Not unlike Vanilla Ice copying Bowie's "Under Pressure." In this case, you took two stellar songs, "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" and mixed it all up with some goofy lyrics. It troubles me that you use the word "things" at the end of two lines. That does not constitute a rhyming couplet (' and we were trying different things, we were smoking different things'.) To spread the blame here, I did note that you and 7 other people collaborated on the lyrics. Maybe you were all smoking too many funny things to have one of you figure out that "hot wings" would have worked at the end of one of those lines.

At any rate, I cannot listen to someone with questionable talent, and accept the fact that you reap in millions of dollars. Sure I'm pissed that I didn't think of it first, but that's not the point. I have added you to my list. That's my list of People Who Make More Than Teachers and Police Officers and Should Therefore Spend Their Next Lives As Poor Peasant Paupers. I'm sure you are deeply offended at my outrage. As you read this you're probably gutting your catfish on a sheet of $20's down by the river. But, I just had to let you know anyway.

Sincerely,

Toni T. Muma

Weekly Update

Dear Readers,

Oh how I've neglected you. I'm afraid that sometimes I sensor what I say, feeling I'll drive all 3 of you away with my extreme negativity.

Like the stock market, it's been a volatile ride at my house this week. Also like the stock market, the ride has been all gut-wrenching drops, not many trips up to the top of the hill. And that's no fun, is it?

In short, I got rid of the DVR yesterday. That speaks volumes on the week I had. You mess with my TV, you better watch your back! Necessity dictated I dump it. When we cut back on cable, Internet speed, and DVR box, we chopped our bill from $140, to $60. You can't argue with that. Probably the funniest/saddest/most pathetic event of the week was explaining to the kids that we couldn't pause their programming while they piddled during Spongebob. You would have thought I took away their beloved blankets. Seeing their reaction proved to me I was doing the right thing. We have many Mormon nights of family board game playing ahead of us.

Today I looked into renting the house. If worse comes to worse, we will do this. I'd rather have the ducks in a row and know where we stand now, then have my hand forced later. So I have someone coming out to the house on Monday.

Scot got some encouraging news today. He spoke with one of his recruiter friends, and a position that had been put on hold will be interviewed for shortly. Hopefully he will be one of the 347 candidates who get an appointment for that (have you seen 'Dick and Jane?') The one job he interviewed for has still not been filled and the hiring manager is on vacation for a week (obviously he has never been out of work. The interview occurred 5 weeks ago.) Every day is an eternity.

Scot and I played "Sergio" and "Maria" today, and cleaned the house in 2 hours. Record time! Not sure everything is spic-n-span, but it sure smells dandy.

We are going out for dinner with my parents this evening. Our first meal out in 6 weeks. With that, and our weekend daytime temps in the 70's, there is hope on the horizon.

Thanks for all the continued support and love.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Feeding Frenzy

Another week begins with a quiet inbox. Sigh.....
And not that the stellar world market is helping.
So, let's forget our troubles and eat!

So it was during lunch that I fully understood the term "unconscious eating." After having an exofuckulent tuna melt (Scot and I watched 'The Savidges' last night and it gave me the idea) I dug into the kids cold mac-n-cheese. I doused the pan in Penzeys spicy seasoned salt and downed the remainder with a wooden spoon. I'm feeding the pain.

Last time I went through a depressed period in my life, I wasted away. But that was clinical depression. Currently I'm just an angry motha, and my my appetite has not been affected. Honestly, planning and eating dinner is the best part of my day. Today I wrote Scot's 4 choices (sweet-n-sour chicken, chicken Paprikas, pizza, or Thai noodles) on a piece of paper for his perusal. He gave me his choice and I got to work getting the ingredients ready for prep. The spices are on the counter, and the pan is on the stove. The remainder of the day will be spent preparing the meal, and anticipating the appropriate beer match for the dish. I'm always a bit obsessed about planning meals, but lately I've ratcheted it up because it's the one pleasant thing I can control in my day.

Sometimes I like to pretend all the ingredients work for me. I wonder if the chicken feels neglected that I threw him in the sink so harshly, or if the Japanese beer fears I will choose the Chinese beer over him tonight. Where it gets really interesting though is when I decide how many beers I will hire for the evening.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One big, lovely mess

Another day, another dollar. Actually $45 dollars. I had one charge today, Maddy, my baby I watch. I kept Maggie home from school again, because of fever.

This morning Scot and I took the kids (including Maddy) for a walk. We brought Bernice, our grand dame doggy, and walked in the early morning to avoid the heat. On our way, Bernice stopped every two minutes to void some extreme diarrhea. The poor dog is probably scared shit less her standing in the house has changed with the arrival of Patrick. She needn't worry. She's the first, and the best.

When we returned home from the stroll, I took Maggie to the doctor while Scot sat with Maggie and Maddy. My fear today was that the e-Coli Maggie had in the spring was rearing its ugly head. Although we treated with antibiotics in June, I lazily blew off retesting her when we returned from vacation this summer. She tested negative for strep today, but had a fever. The doctor asked for another urine sample to test for e-Coli, which is like asking water from a stone. Maggie cooperated with 2 drops. The initial in-house test proved positive for protein, infection, and blood. Naturally Mags did not provide enough to be sent out for culture. Is anything easy? After a promise of a new Curious George doll, I got my sample later this afternoon and drove it to the doctor's. We will know in a week what the results are.

No news on the job front. Sigh... The good news is that this evening it seems Bernice's diarrhea has ceased, and Maggie's fever is gone. Scot is home this evening, and I am thankful to have him.

The whole family (along with Maddy) visited Barnes and Noble this afternoon to make do on my promise of the new George toy. When we walked to the entrance, I noticed a dapper old man standing on the curb by the front door. He appeared to be about 80 and was wearing perfectly pressed khakis and a blue shirt and had a wonderful head of silver hair. He watched my family walk in the front door. When we exited the store a half-hour later, the man was still standing in the very same spot. Again, he watched us intently. I imagined all the dramas, heartaches, and joys this man has probably seen in his life. He took us in as someone would study a famous painting. A dreamy, nostalgic look glazed his face. I wondered where his ride was, and why he had been left waiting so long. Did he have a wife, and who was still around to love him? I hoped at the very least he had children nearby who checked up on him to make sure he was eating. I looked at my family and realized that although life is hard as the dickens right now, we are together in this lovely big mess. And I can get through anything with that much love.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays suck when you are out of work. There is no promise of the mind-numbing weekend (filled with beer) and the hope of Mondays emails has worn off.

Today, the kids are sick, Scot has class, and the economy has me fearing a foreclosure is in my future. Not one of my best days.

I'm angry that our wonderful (insert sarcasm here) politicians couldn't rise above it all to get the bailout through. McCain had to pretend he saved the day, and Nancy Pelosi couldn't help but rub the Republicans noses in the mess they've helped create.

"Class- listen up!" I want to say to them all. Immature schoolchildren who can't help but throw punches on the playground.

I feel like curling up in a ball and listening to Phil Collins "The Roof is Leaking". Good choice of lyrics for today. Feel free to join me in my wallowing. Here's a sampling of the lyrics.

The Roof is Leaking - Phil Collins

The roof is leaking and the wind is howling
Kids are crying 'cos the sheets are so cold
I woke this morning found my hands were frozen
I've tried to fix the fire, but you know the damn thing's too old


And me, I'm getting stronger by the minute
My wife's expecting, but I hope she can wait
'Cos this winter looks like it's gonna be another bad one
But Spring'll soon be here,
Oh God I hope it's not late

Monday, September 29, 2008

Relief from a -777.68 Day

This is something that made me laugh today. Thought we could all use it.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Here's Your sign!

There are times when the Universe tells you to stay home. These are the days when you drop the eggs, you scrape your knee, and you break a plate. All by 11 a.m. You know what this is like. Zen bullshit aside, we all have times when we are walking disasters and are dangerous to ourselves and others. Not just a bad day. But a day when you are tempting Darwin to take you out of the gene pool.


Many years ago, my mom and I got ready to go to the gym together. My mom was driving. As she proceeded to back the car out of the garage, she failed to notice my dad's car parked in the driveway. "screeeetch." A long thin scratch was etched into both cars' side panels. She had "keyed" the entire length of both cars. My mom promptly pulled the car back into the garage, calmly got out of the car, and went into the house. "I'm not going to the gym today, " my mom said. "My biorhythms are off."

What? What the heck did that mean? Was that akin to people acting crazy during a full moon? Whatever she meant, I filed it away to deal with later. But I started paying attention. Soon enough, I had a bizarre day of missteps and Mr. Magoo tragedies. Instantly it hit me; my biorhythms were off! Many years have come and gone, and being a bit of a sleep deprived ditz, I've had many "off" days. Sometimes it just takes me a little longer to recognize what a hazard I am.

Saturday I left the house with the girls to return a jacket and to buy Little Mermaid sheets. The first parking lot came loaded with a crazy woman in a Jag, zigzagging through the rows. My purse hit the floor as I slammed on the brakes to avoid her. She was completely oblivious. This was my first sign. I hit The Rack to return the jacket and was stunned at the line. It was one central line, with no return desk. The girls and I waited our turn, and after 20 minutes of bright lights, crying babies and over stimulation, we were out the door. Next stop was Target . Walking by a mirror I caught a glimpse of myself and was horrified. Bags were under my eyes from Friday's late night, and my hair looked crispy and electrocuted. I had thrown on a baggy peasant blouse to hide pizza sins, and realized the front of the shirt was skimming the top of my boobs. Please God don't let me run into anyone, I thought. We blew out of the store and headed to Wendy's for lunch. Only two stops on the freeway and the hungry children would be fed.

Wouldn't you know it; the highway was closed southbound after my exit. Everyone was funnelled down to one lane and 4011 cars crawled the next mile . Voices from the backseat started chirping hunger cries, and it suddenly dawned on me that my foot kept slipping off the brake. While idling forward at 5 mph , I had narrowly averted a dozen fender bumps by slamming on my brakes just in the nick of time. What the hell was wrong with me?

Wendy's was empty as I had totally missed the lunch hour. The two famished children picked a high top table and I ordered lunch at the counter. While we ate, I was aware of someone looking at me. I turned to the left and saw a man sitting two tables over from us, alone. He looked to be in his upper 20's. I smiled a genial smile and looked away. I proceeded to eat but felt eyes boring into my body. I didn't want to look, because I knew the single man was still staring at me. But not looking at him would have been like not looking at a wreck on the road; you're drawn to it in a sick way. I turned my head quickly and looked again. Wink. He winked at me. "smack," went his mouth. Did he just blow me a kiss? You could have called to tell me my house had been robbed and my panties stolen. That's how violated I felt. When an old man winks at you, it's endearing in a slightly corny, pathetic way. When a 25-year old winks and blows a kiss, you feel naked. I tried not to perspire and kept my focus with the girls. Five minutes passed and perv picked up his cell phone and made a call. Always able to be in on two conversations, I chatted with the girls' and listened to the voice mail my admirer was leaving.

"Hey Cory, it's Ken." "Give me a call man." "I just got out serving 5 months in jail for attempted." "Come out to Arizona and we can chill together." "Say 'hi' to Dan for me."

Attempted. Attempted what? Attempted wife-snatching and pillaging in the Wendy's parking lot? Hark! A sign. At once, I saw the moon wax and wane, heard planets crash together, and felt my alignment go out of whack.

"Girls, get in the car. Mommy needs to go home."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

poop-a-plenty

I took Bernice for a run today, and naturally she took a big dump. Being a good citizen, I promptly picked it up in my doggie baggie, and trotted off to the next trash can. I couldn't help but make a mental note of how heavy the bag was. Good grief. It had to weigh close to a pound. Now I know this fact seems inconsequential, but see, I happen to feed the dog as well. I know that this bovine eats one small bowl of food a day. How was all this poop being generated.? So it came as a surprise when I saw Bernice doing her business for the second time today, this afternoon. And shoot, if it wasn't a humongous amount again. Unless this dog is putting back the grass or shrubs when I'm not looking, I don't know where are the waste is coming from. She is thin, though. That's the answer to all of our weight loss quandaries. Poop more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A request of my Michigan family (the ones who stick fingers in their ears and sing "la la" while the AZ family discusses politics )

Dear Undecided/Independent/Apathetic Voter,

You know who you are. I'm begging you to please take this Friday night and figure out who will best lead this country out of the Darfur it is becoming. I'm not telling you to vote for Obama, even if McCan't has done nothing but grandstand and showboat these last couple of days. Forget the fact that Obama is looking ever-so-presidential and dignified. Form your own opinion based on what the candidates say this evening. Just feel something about this election. Each American has their own power and voice to use on November 4th. VOTE. Don't sit home and mow the lawn/paint your nails/yell at your kid. Do the needful.

Thank you,

Your annoying sister/sister-in-law/aunt
Toni

Thursday, September 25, 2008

CALLING ALL ANGELS.....

I ask that everyone please say a prayer, or a Buddha wish, or send a good thought our way this week. Scot has an interview for a position next week and we really need this job. OR, in another couple of months we will be one of those American families facing foreclosure on our house. And this blog will get even more sarcastic and nasty. It's for the good of all of us. Please, please, please. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love is Deaf, Dumb, and Blind

My husband is still around. I'm starting to think maybe he's losing his senses. And mind. While I haven't let my body go too much over the years, the housework and everything else seems to be suffering. And he still comes home. Oh rather I should say, he still stays home with me (rather hard to leave all day when you're looking for a job). Here all all the disgusting pig dog habits I have become guilty of doing over the years.

1. The laundry looks like the dogs folded it. The only redeeming quality is that it smells good. When it sits in buckets unattended for 3 days, those wrinkles get set in, alright. We all look like we're wearing stuff Goodwill dropped off at the curb for us.

2. I stink like a sumo wrestler. On my good days. Why is it that man can ride his bike for 2 hours and come home smelling fresh? I got the Philadelphia Hoagie Stink gene.

3. I'm using a dermatological cleanser that contains sulfur. When you're looking for nookie at night, I'm like kissing a fried-egg sandwich.

4. I return any item I've used from the garage onto the garage floor when I'm through with it. I know my man will clean it up. Horribly lazy, bad habit.

5. My freezer-keeping skills make fetching an item out of the fridge an exercise in frustration. You can refer to old blog photos for proof of this one.

6. I don't hold back with the stinkies. No point in making yourself sick, right? And if I'm provoked, I will rawhide your pillow.

7. I had the nerve to admit I get confused about what states border us. It was my "Is chicken of the sea chicken, or tuna?" moment. My excuse was that Arizona is a big state and I don't leave it often.

8. I've started burping in sentences. Without apology.


Forgive me my indiscretions. I am not worthy.

Who is really in charge?



How did I let this happened? I've become on of those women who put their dog in their purse and buy jackets and costumes for their furry friend. Just Sunday, I walked around BevMo with the dog under my arm. Oh God, help me. I'm becoming Paris Hilton. In the olden days, I used to call these sub-par dogs "microwavables" and wonder what good they brought to the World. As Patrick gets more and more comfortable here, I'm starting to revisit those notions. This is what I found last night. This in a house where animals are not permitted on furniture. This house ain't big enough for another princess.