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Monday, December 31, 2007

So, I Was Sitting In My Car Minding My Own Business...

I was sitting in the car, waiting in the driveway of my favorite coffee place minding my own business. The song "Let's Dance" had just come on the radio with its snappy, happy 80's melody when I glanced into the back seat and saw this...



It was so cute! I reached for my camera very slowly, hoping to unobtrusively take it from its hiding place in the camera bag. I turned it on and tilted it up... and she stopped dancing.

"Can I take a picture of you dancing?" I asked, hoping that she'd say yes, and do it again just like she had been.

"No!"

"Oh. Okay. Well, I'm going to take a picture of that white van over there cause it looks neat."

"Okay! Can I see?"

"When I get done."

I focused the camera on the child-viewer rearview mirror and zoomed in so that I could see her better. "Okay honey, I'm going to take that picture now. I'm not looking, so you can go ahead and dance now if you want."

I waited and sure enough. Slowly, quietly, I depressed the record button. It was just so cute I couldn't resist.

I'm not sure where she gets the rapper moves from, though.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Ghostly Kiss

For the past few weeks (maybe longer- it's hard to tell), I've felt as though I have not been alone. It happens when I sit down to watch television. Since the show is usually "A Haunting", I've been chalking it up to an over-active imagination. But if it is my imagination, it shows up about five or ten minutes into the show and stays until bedtime- it's also a friendly sort since I never feel threatened. More like I have a friend watching television with me.

Then, last night as I was cleaning the house, I kept thinking that I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Movement would reflect in the windows, or just at the corner of my vision. Of course, when I turned there was nothing there. My imagination again.

I sat down to watch television (but I can't remember which show) and then went to bed. I laid down, snuggled up in my blanket, and then... from nowhere... a soft, warm breeze wafted across my cheek. I could feel the hair around my face ruffle up.

And then it was gone.

It was the weirdest, coolest thing. As though someone were leaning over me kissing me goodnight.

But, I'm trying to figure out now who it could be. Of course, Grandpa will be the first person to come to a lot of your minds, but that doesn't make any sense. Me, I think I've just picked up a ghost that... thinks of me as a friend. (Although, I have this horrible niggling feeling that an old friend has passed away-- but if so, I don't know who it would be.)

Probably because it's my own imagination going crazy. No wonder it's friendly! LOL...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa Had a Mission

On Christmas Eve, we work for half a day. It was a decision made a long time ago to take one of our holidays and turn it in to two. Half a day off Christmas Eve, half a day off New Year's Eve.

I love it. It affords last minute errands and extra time for gift wrapping, something I invariably need. But this year, the last minute errand took precedence because I, or rather Santa, had been given a mission. Short Person, having recently met with Santa, requested "A White Stuffed Bear".

It was her first request for anything from Santa-- and I was determined not to fail at getting it for her. But, Short Person is incredibly picky. What kind of white teddy bear? Did she want big, small, or medium? Did she want smiley, frowning, or true-to-life? The questions and possibilities were endless!

After getting off work, I headed straight for Fred Meyer and walked directly to the toy section. I was worried that one day before Christmas, the number of white teddy bears would be next to zero. I figured I'd consider myself lucky if I found one at all! The fear of a Santa that didn't come through the first time asked was agonizing. But when I got there, the fear of no choice turned into one off too much choice. There were at least fifty white teddy bears, and they all looked different.

For at least 15 minutes, I was alone on the aisle. I'd pull out white bear after white bear after white bear, lining them up on the shelf sometimes putting them back, sometimes keeping them. Fifteen minutes later, I had three that I couldn't choose between. All different. All adorable in their own way. But, I could not decide.

About the same time, a mom and her little girl arrived on the aisle. The little girl was probably two years older than Short Person and looked full of wonderful opinion. After gaining approval from her mother, I turned and asked her which one she would choose. It only took her a moment, but she made a decision and five minutes later I walked out, heavy one white teddy bear.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Without Grandpa



I hate that we are all going to mark this Christmas that way, but there it is. The strange thing about it is, it didn't feel like he was gone. It may have been that his chair acted as our Christmas tree, presents piled miles high, his photo bearing witness, and then later a huge bear that my mom had gotten my grandmother took the gifts place to occupy the space. Or, it could have been that everyone still had on their best face.

There was still laughter. There were still cousins playing, some older than in years past, some newer.

It could have been the new faces that were present-- ones that don't normally appear during holidays. LJS, for example, actually came to a holiday event. Cousins from thousands of miles away, were there. Our celebrating early might have contributed to the abundance of people, but I think it was more the need for togetherness.

Anyway, although different, in many ways it was the same. There was no tree, which is understandable; there was also no turkey-- or rather, there was, but it was raw. So we had faux turkey in the form of chicken and unbelievably, Grandma was not pulling any of her hair out over it.

I'm so proud of her.

I wish I remembered more from that day that I could share, but most of what I have is in pictures. I remember Mya jumping over LJS's legs over and over again, in a fun game (she's such a doll!). I remember stealing (literally, going downstairs and telling Cat to give my Cari) the happiest baby on earth and bringing her upstairs so that LJS and I could hold her and play with her for awhile-- and I remember being surprised that Short Person was not jealous like she normally is.

You know, as an aside, I was also surprised at LJS's willingness to hold the baby much of the evening. It occurred to me somewhere during this that maybe having had our own, we are now more endeared to small lives because they bring back fun memories of our own. Or maybe, it's that, for a moment you can feel what it was like to have that little life without having to take it home and also remember what it was like when that little life screamed bloody murder as you stood there helpless not knowing what to do to make it stop.

At any rate, both LJS and I were having a nice time holding a happy, smiley baby.

The presents were passed out and I got to watch my mom and step-dad open the ornaments I had worked on, which was fun. I wish I had had more time to complete them, but as it was I had been up until 2:30am wrapping presents and with the help of a friend putting the ribbons on them. I didn't even remember to take a picture of them!

But, I did at least complete the information (or what I could gather) for each brother, sister, nephew, niece and significant others.

We arrived and we left in pouring rain, with me wondering who had given what presents. My vow to attempt transformation into my Grandmother will have to wait one more year-- at least where thank you cards are concerned.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Donate to a School?!

Oh, I think if you've ever talked to me about education you've heard my tirade against the public school system. You know already that I am not happy with the school system we have here, and therefore do not like paying taxes to them and will not send my child to their school. But, if you haven't, I'll summarize it very quickly by saying that it's a parenting conflict thing wherein I am the parent and I expect to be informed. Unlike a few of the people I know who found out very important things about their children hours or days after the incident occurred.

I'm also very against hours of homework for a 5-year old, but that's another subject that I will concede may not be fixable due to government regulation.

Anyway... for a lot of reasons, I don't generally like donating to "schools". One being that even though we pay a ton of taxes to the schools, it seems that teachers never have enough to get the tools they need! You pay and pay and yet none of it filters down to the teachers.

Tonight, however, on the show 20/20, they introduced a website that I think is the coolest thing since peanut butter-- and it's a great way to get involved in education without feeling as though (like me) you are donating to a government wasteland. It is a site called Donors Choose.

The premise is that teachers are able to submit their project needs (or for some of the very low income schools, just plain needs!) and have people donate to their project. The money goes directly to the classroom for the project and is not filtered through bureaucracy. Some of the projects are really cool (one that they featured was a teacher wanting to buy history books based on the movie "Night at the Museum" so she could teach her kids history in a more fun way) or just basic (right now on the website is a teacher who needs to buy boxes to put books in because they are having trouble locating the ones they need). Other teachers are simply asking for pencils and notebooks... there were a lot of requests for musical instrument project donations.

The bottom line to this post is simply that, if you want to feel good about donating money to something, this looks like a great place to go. I wasn't sure how many of you are able to watch 20/20, I usually don't I just happened upon it tonight... and I wanted to pass it on.

www.donorschoose.org

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DON'T PANIC

When Short Person was a little baby, and something was about to go terribly wrong- or already had, I would pick her up and carry her to wherever (usually her changing table) to correct the situation. All the while repeating, "Don't Panic, Don't Panic, Don't Panic". Whether that was for her sake or mine is debatable, but what isn't debatable is that, like it usually does with her, it came back to haunt me.

______________________________________

LJS was sitting in the living room watching a sports show of some sort, Short Person was in the office watching one of her shows, when he heard her little footsteps pound on the floor.

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

"Daddy, don't worry. Everything's fine." She puts her little hands up at him. "Just stay on the couch."

"Uh... okay."

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

A minute later.

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

One hand up at Dad this time. "Everything's fine, Dad, just stay here. There's no problem."

Apparently, by this time LJS is thinking to himself "Oh Great", but responds with, "Umm... o...kay"

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump"

A minute later, she comes walking back into the living room, one of our large glasses in hand. "Look Dad! The tape did a trick!"

LJS looked at the heavy glass to see that indeed the tape had jumped away from the dispenser and magically wrapped around the glass two or three times.

"Wow... great."

"Umm... Daddy? Can you help me fix it?"

If I had to guess, based on what I know about my daughter, she was playing with the tape, put it on the glass, and then started to worry when she couldn't get it off-- finally conceding that she was going to need help to do it.

Fast-forward a day or two. Short Person wanted a drink of my soda, but I was reluctant to let her have even a sip anywhere near the new couch or carpet.

"Okay, you can have a drink, but you need to carry it with both hands into the kitchen first. Very carefully, Mommy doesn't want it to spill."

"Okay, Mom, I will!"

10 seconds later she's back at the gate.

"Mom, don't worry, Daddy is already cleaning it up!"

"Cleaning what up?"

"It's okay Mom, Daddy is already cleaning up the mess."

*thump, thump, thump...*

"Hey! Come back here!"

*thump, thump, thump*

"What mess?"

"Daddy's already got a towel, Mom. It's O-Kay."

*thump, thump, thump*

I finally conceded that I needed to get up and go see how bad it really was.

Lately, if something happens, she's either been saying, "Don't worry. Accident's happen." or "Don't worry. I'm on it!" But it is always in that same tone of voice I used when I'd tell her not to panic.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No More

On Tuesday, my Grandfather passed away. He was 88 years old.

I wrote this to read at his funeral, but there wasn't any open mike time, so I'm posting it here. Below that is a video my cousins put together to remember him.

No More

No more big bear yawns.
No more driving the streets of Chicago, eight years old and sitting on his lap while he let me steer, the power of the universe beneath my fingers.
No more walking the beach for agates.
No more walking into his office to see him hunched over his desk writing one of his sermons.
No more watching him preach or hearing him stop mid-sentence during one to scold me for my wandering attention.
No more being asked to exit the car and walk into traffic... because he didn't want to wait for the light.
No more angry teachers, because instead of saying "largest organ" you chose to answer "skin was something you stuck lemon merienge pie in.
No more verbal warfare of asking questions to see how many he could answer with the word "Grateful".
No more of Grandma muttering that the only reason the luncheon prayer had passed the 12 minute mark was because he couldn't hear himself.
No more seeing the excitement in his eyes when he knew his time to gather his reward was finally near.
No more horrified denials when I told him he'd live forever.
No more.

Instead, I will teach my daughter how to make huckleberry pancakes and choose the best berries.
I will show her the best places to walk on the beach.
I will teach her the words to "Skin".
I will teach her to play games and teach her to sing.
I will teach her what the world Grateful means.
And, I will teach her what it means to live a life people celebrate.

He was a son, a husband, a veteran, a father, a fisherman, a storyteller, a minister, a missionary, a teacher, and a friend, but to me he will always be Grandpa.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Short Person

Twas the day of the Santa pictures and Short Person was excited to be going. She had an entire list of items she was going to tell him she wanted and papers she wanted to show him. Actually, I think the papers were pictures of Barbie items that she wanted. Things that they advertise with the Barbie movies she loves these days.

And while I'm on the subject of the list of items she desired let me just say that for seven months she'd been telling us that she only wanted two things from Santa-- a scooter and a doll. I asked her about two weeks ago what she wanted (just in case, you know?) and instead of spouting off the two items, she launched into a list that could have rivaled Santa's very own Naughty or Nice List. Holy Cow! That's it! Cancel the commercials and Toys R Us ads.

So, she's prepared. List, papers in hand, she's got on the dress she wanted to wear and she's had me do her hair in a headband.

We arrive at the Fire Department where the Santa pictures were to be taken and Daddy is carrying her in-- it was cold and he was trying to hide her in his coat. We go inside and suddenly Short Person wants nothing to do with Santa and no amount of coaxing is going to persuade her otherwise!

It took some doing, and lots of conversation between LJS about whether we should try another year of drop-shoot-and go! but we finally convinced her to go up with Daddy.



They tried for about five minutes to get her to look at the camera to no avail.

We got our picture and headed into the next room, where I stood Short Person on the edge of a fire truck to talk to her about needing to thank Daddy (who was about as enthusiastic about getting his picture taken as she had been). Once that task had been completed, I looked at her and asked, "Okay... what if we have your best friend Eye come join you. Will you look at the camera and smile then?"

"YEA!!"

*sigh*

So, I went ahead and called Grandma Alice to come and bring Eye. Heck, why not, right?

Eye arrives and it's a whole different little girl that I've got with me. She's excited and jumpy and...



So she and Eye get up and get their picture taken together. Then Eye gets her picture alone and then they are asking if Short Person will go up there. To which I responded, "No. She won't..."

But... She did.



Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Short Person.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Turkey Loaf

Monday Evening - Sometime during Monday Night Football

I walked into the living room and stood in front of LJS, the only way to get his attention away from whoever was playing football on television. "Hon, Can you get the turkey out of the freezer to thaw? We are having a turkey, right?"

"Yeah. No problem. I'll do it next commercial."

I had no reason to doubt him, so I walked back into the office.

Tuesday Evening

"Hon! Turkey. Turkey. Turkey."

"Oh crap! Okay, I'll do it in a second."

Wednesday Afternoon - Sometime around 1pm

I was sitting on the couch eating Frosted Flakes when it suddenly occurred to me that there wasn't a turkey thawing in the refrigerator or sink. "Dang it!" I thought, and then picked up the phone and dialed LJS at work.

"Hello, Sweet Baby, what's up?"

"You forgot to get the turkey out."

"Oh shoot!" I heard him sigh in frustration, "Great, now what?"

"Well, if we get the turkey out tonight we should be able to thaw it in a water bath."

"Okay... Why can't you get the turkey out?"

"Well, for one, I don't know where it is."

"It's in the main freezer."

"Main freezer? Which one is the main freezer?!"

"The one in the garage."

"We have two in the garage."

"It's the main one."

I'm on the verge of laughing out loud in disbelief. "Okay, so the one when you walk through the door?"

"No, the other one."

"Okay, I'll get it out."

We hung up and I walked into the garage, something that is generally a pain in the ass considering that the dogs always know you are coming and are prepared to weasel themselves out of lock-up. That probably wouldn't be so bad if they didn't also know how to hide themselves under the bed until you had no choice but to leave them out.

I shut the garage door behind me and looked to my left where the, apparently "main", freezer was located and the first thing I noticed was about 10 lengths of molding leaning against it. Great. As I got closer, I also noticed the anchor. Not completely insurmountable. But then, I noticed the bungee cord wrapped around the handle. Upon checking, I noticed that it was too tight for me to unclasp.

The turkey would have to come out that evening, but as luck would have it... he forgot again.

Thursday Morning - Three hours before we planned to have dinner

"So, am I going to the store?"

"For what?"

"Well... I guess if we want turkey it's going to be a turkey loaf."

"Oh... yeah."

Standing in line at Fred Meyer I have never been so embarrassed. My little turkey loaf sat on the conveyor belt for all the world to see.

A Thanksgiving low.

LOL... it got funnier during the preparation of dinner, however. Everything in the oven cooking and I'm pulling out china and crystal and serving dishes counting what we would need against what we were preparing to eat.

"Hey, I thought you got rolls."

"I did."

"Well, where are they?"

"In the freezer."

I went into the kitchen and opened the freezer door. "Hon, are you talking about these rolls? The Rhodes ones?"

"Yeah."

"You uh... realize that it takes hours to thaw and cook these?"

"What?!"

"They have to rise."

"How long does that take?"

"3-5 hours"

The silence coming from the other room was ominous, so I sought to lighten the tension. "Oh, don't worry. We'll just eat them when we have the turkey."

Did I forget to mention that the only reason that we have this turkey is because we kept forgetting to get it out to thaw a year ago? Check back in the year 2020, we'll probably still have it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2007

I want this year to end.

As far as years go, this one has been... not bad, anything with Short Person in it could not be bad... it just hasn't been the best it could be, or that good. I forget what the Chinese Horoscope is (the dog, maybe?), but I do remember that it specifically said I would not catch a break. As much as I don't really subscribe to horoscopes, it seems that this one was true.

Even though there is still a month and a few days to go, I can feel relief on the horizon. How much I want to lay down on the 31st of December and wake up on the 1st of 2008 and remember nothing of the bad things.

Just cut myself off from it and let it go.

Let the emotional stress of losing a friend go...

Let the work load that has ruled my last 9 months go...

Let the house repairs fade into the background...

and just bounce.

Friday, November 16, 2007

An Anti-Climactic, Climactic Week

I've been working a month now on redesigning the City's website. It went live on Tuesday and is a total transformation from what it used to be. I'm so incredibly proud of myself.

However, after working and working on it, after teaching myself all kinds of HTML code to get things looking the way I wanted them, after getting more an more excited every day about how good it would look and looking forward to the "Wow's!"... I only got one.

It's weird, I think. I didn't expect whistles and bells and horns, but all in all the final completion and publication of the website has been rather anti-climactic. It actually reminds me of Christmas as an adult. You work and work and wrap and wrap and look forward with anticipation to the people's faces when they open gifts (especially if you have kids) and then after an hour of unwrapping... it's over for a year.

********************

The climactic part of this week came today when I got to move into my own office. Before you get all excited though, it wasn't for a promotion. No, I was just helping out a friend that had trouble dealing with the cold in the summer (for whatever reason the air-conditioner runs full blast in this office) and overwhelms her with heat in the winter (same system).

Me, I'm just happy for it because now I can (hopefully) tune a lot of the chatter out. We'll see. Right now, I'm just trying to get used to the weirdness of having all this space. Which, in retrospect is actually funny. I have so much "stuff" that when I moved out of the front office it opened up an incredible amount of space! We went from "we need a bigger office" to "Gee, we just needed to move her out!"

********************

Short Person sliced her thumb open last night. Poor thing. She was holding on to her hand as Daddy washed and bandaged it, all the while crying in spurts, in a tone just spilling with dismay, "But Daddy! It really, really hurts!"

I think that she thought we didn't believed her. "No, but Daddy! It really, really hurts!"

On a different note:

This morning, she had a melt-down because she was calling for her Princess Dora doll. We looked through all her buddies and couldn't find her and I only got her out of the house to go to work by promising that we'd look for her after I picked her up.

However, in the car, she asked me, "Mom, I just don't understand. I was calling and calling for her! Why doesn't she answer me? Why is she hiding from me?"

She sounded so heart-broken that I couldn't bring myself to have this conversation about how Dora was a toy and couldn't talk, so instead I turned it into one of those motherly things and responded, "Well Honey, maybe she just didn't hear you. You know how mommy calls you sometimes and you don't answer?"

"No."

"You know, when you get busy with something? Maybe she's just busy."

"Oh. Okay!"

LOL...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The House Is Duuu... *Sound of screaching tires echoes*

I spoke too soon.

The ironic part is that I knew I was speaking too soon.

I was cleaning the house, vacuuming and celebrating as LJS put in the last door. Our house was done, save two door knobs and about 10-feet of molding. A year and a half of working on our house and it was finally done.

I was dreaming about a "Thank God our F-ing House is Done" house-warming party and going through the guest list in my head. Fantasizing about pictures, both before and after, posted here and at DropShots. I was looking forward to when I could clean my house and not have it still look as though it were in disarray.

Like now.

And then in one gut-wrenching moment it all came to a halt.

I had asked LJS to put the medicine cabinet back up in the bathroom. Should have only taken a few minutes, but as we found out soon enough, the anchors holding the screws into the drywall had been stripped and needed to be fixed. LJS sat on the bathroom counter to do this minor repair and that's when it happened.

The granite countertop, the same one that the guy so horrifically screwed up on... the same one that we had thought we'd fixed, shifted on the cabinet. It cracked in half, dropping down from the backsplash and dislodging the sink.

It was one of those rare moments when I actually thought I could vomit my stomach was so upset... all the while trying so hard to make sure that LJS stayed on this side of sanity.

I'm hoping insurance will cover at least some of it, since it will take nearly twice as much as what we paid to have it replaced, but my hopes are slim.

This whole bathroom thing has been the best/worst thing for this house. It seems like if we fix one thing, another is just waiting in the wings to break.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sidewalks and Doggie Poopie Bags - The Mine Fields My Mind Wanders Into

I was sitting with a friend and talking to her about her husband's Beeotch of a parole officer. I won't go into too many details about how this situation came about (how we got ourselves a parole officer) because it isn't my story to tell, but will say that the parole officer has mentally given herself much more power than she should be allowed and gets off on screwing with people's lives. Yeah, he got into trouble, but she really seems to make things as difficult as possible-- almost as though she's daring the person to get angry and do something that would violate the terms of the court.

My friend had called her and yelled at her about getting off of her butt and doing something that she was supposed to do... oh, about three weeks before (sign papers allowing her husband to come home). The parole officer gave her a song and dance about how this and that had to happen and how they changed the process, blah, blah, blah. The necessary papers had been signed by the Judge three weeks ago, but she hadn't gotten around to doing her necessary paperwork and was trying to tell my friend that it would take another two weeks or something. Plus, they had to mail over the paperwork.

My friend, who I love to death, says point blank, "Why don't you just walk your lazy ass over and get the fucking thing? AND, YOUR paperwork should have been done weeks ago. YOU dropped the ball. He was supposed to be home three weeks ago, NOW GET OFF OF YOUR FAT ASS!" (I may have messed that last part up, but I know it was close.)

I am equally delighted that she had enough guts to say exactly what she meant to say, and horrified that she's done this because with Murphy's Law at work in the world, she'll get caught doing something and get a parole officer. Specifically, that parole officer. So I start in on the "Okay, just... no killing anyone, no stealing, don't get caught pooping on the sidewalk..."

Oh jeez. It pays sometimes to think about what you are saying before it comes out of your mouth. Poop on the sidewalk?! We cracked up laughing. We laughed until our sides hurt, until tears were streaming down my face, until I felt like I would die laughing because I couldn't catch breath.

You might think that just that sentence alone really isn't enough to garner such laughter... and you'd be right. It wasn't the poop on the sidewalk thing, it was the speculation about whether you'd have to bring a poop scoop and if you didn't whether you'd get fined... whether a leash around your neck would keep you from being arrested... whether they'd be putting up signs showing a human stick figure with a leash around it's neck and a pooper scooper in its hand... and how exactly I would broach the conversation about whether pooping on the sidewalk was in the City Code or not.

It was an hour of disgusting hilarity I will never take back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Conversations with Short Person

I sat down to talk to Short Person about owning a Bunny. We were at the park, sitting on the step to the structure. I was drinking coffee and she was sipping strawberry milk from her "coffee" cup.

I was attempting to make her understand how much care a Bunny would need and get her to talk about what her plans were in owning one. Attempting to figure out what she was going to do when she got him home, I'd ask such questions as "What are you going to feed it?" and "Are you going to cuddle with it?"

She seemed to have it in her head that she'd take it home, put it in its cage and when she got older she could play with it. I didn't quite get that and tried to explain that she'd need to play with it before she got older, to which she'd respond, "But see Mom, I'm older now." It was a confusing conversation.

We talked about the dogs and how daddy would miss them, and about how they might try to eat the bunny.

Finally (I thought) I'd made her understand that owning a bunny right now might not be a good idea. She sighed and seemed kind of sad for a minute and then looked at me and asked,

"Well, can I have a crocodile then?"

*****************

Last night, LJS and Short Person sat down to re-watch Transformers with me. Neither of them had seen it. If you know how much LJS hates movies, you will note that this ranks up there with *shocking* on the charts.

I was worried about Short Person because there is a lot of shoot 'em up violence in it. I was worried about how this would affect her well-being.

In the movie, one of the Transformer's is named Bumblebee. He's a yellow camaro that transforms into a robot. Short Person latched onto him like a koala in a tree. For two hours it was "Where is Bumblebee?" "Is Bumblebee okay?" "Did Bumblebee get his feelings hurt?" "Are Bumblebee's friends coming to save him?"

LOL... She loved Bumblebee and the violence only worried her to the extent of whether Bumblebee was going to be okay.

*****************

The other night I was limping. As occurs way too often for my taste, my knee slipped out of joint and then back in leaving this residual soreness mixed with a bit of "take it easy or it will do it again".

LJS looked at me and asked why I was limping and I told him. He chuckled and responded, "I think you're just getting old."

As is typical of the little rug-rat, Short Person looked at us and in a dead-flat voice said, "You're both getting old, Dad."

This, after a day at Grandma's. Grandma told her that she (Grandma) was special. Short Person responded, "Grandma, you're not special... you're old!"

Sheesh!

*****************

I know somewhere in my memory bank there are more. She's been on a roll lately. Unfortunately, I can't think of any more.

Rest assured if I do, you'll be the first to hear about it!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Ate Crow This Weekend and It was YUMMY!

Friday night I got together with a couple friends of mine to hang out and watch movies. I hadn't gone to the video store to pick one up, figuring that I might have a moderately non-girly movie that they hadn't seen that we could watch. (Apparently, I don't. They are all girly.)

Paul had a couple that he had recently purchased-- Fantastic 4 RTSS, and Transformers.

Sometime around the point where I was singing the Transformer's theme song and telling him that only 14-year old boys watch transformer movies, I was told that I was going to (basically) be tied to the couch and forced to watch the movie.

WHICH SO TOTALLY KICKS ASS!

I told him this, and all I can say is that I admire his restraint because had it been me, "I told you so" would have been written on my face, flying from my mouth, and written all over the walls.

Even the soundtrack rocks. I've so totally become a Transformer's fan, it's not funny.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Short Person Stories

My words came back to haunt me yesterday.

Whenever Short Person says that she wants to do something that I'm undecided about, I will usually look at her and say, "So... you think that's a good idea, huh? Hmm..." She, in response, will either explain her reasoning behind the request, or say yes, or make a flippant remark that is totally off the cuff and usually unerringly given with perfect timing.

Yesterday, LJS and I were taking a brief respite and lounging in bed talking when Short Person came into the room. I had a ton of house cleaning to do, since a few days before the bathroom floor finally went in, and the day before LJS had put the new vanity, toilet, and sink in. Bathroom supplies, tools, and debris were littering our house creating danger in every corner. "Danger! Will Robinson, Danger!"

We'd been trying to convince her to acquiesce to going to her grandma's, something she'd been resisting for most of the day, and when she appeared, I attempted the plug once more.

"So, I think you should go to Grandma's and make some cookies. Remember she still had the sugar cookie ones to make? Well, you should go and make some and turn them into pumpkins with frosting! Wouldn't that be fun?!"

I waited for an answer, wondering if the cookie thing had gotten her interest up. The little imp turned to me and put one hand on her hip and said, "So, you think that's a good idea, hummm?"

My husband laughed for a full 5 minutes!

That was yesterday. Today, she's been trying to convince me that we need to go and buy her a bunny rabbit. She's been hooked on them lately, but our argument has consistently been that the dogs would eat the poor bunny so we'd need to wait awhile. (And without my husband's knowledge, I've been trying to steer her toward a teddy bear hamster.)

Today, she started the questioning again, and again I told her that the dogs would eat the bunny and we'd have to wait until we didn't have dogs anymore to get a bunny.

"Oh, so when we find some people to take our dogs away, THEN we could get a bunny?"

"Umm... something like that."

"Okay. I'll start asking my friends if they have a nice barn for them."

Hmm...

I wonder what Daddy's going to think about that one.

*As a side note: Daddy's off hunting. He's never been hunting before, but every morning he takes out a large scary looking rifle and goes out to look for a buck. Short Person is convinced that he's really looking for a bunny rabbit for her.

Me, I've just told him that if he kills something, I don't want to know about it. I feel bad for those deer... and then I feel bad for not being supportive. Life is strange.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is It Really Better to Have Loved and Lost?

A few days ago, I went online in search of an answer to the question "Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?" I was hoping for some sort of Harvard study that would itemize the benefits that the euphoric feeling of "in love" brought to the physical human, instead what I found were literally thousands of other people asking the same question.

While I wasn't able to find any concrete evidence that loving and losing is physically better than never loving, what I did find out made me go "Hmm..." I found out that the statement, "Loving/Never Loving" is actually part of a poem written by Tennyson and not a derivative of a long ago scientific study. (Which also goes to show that I need to research more of those "sayings" that have been ingrained in us from birth.)

It has always interested me how writers have become the literary "geniuses" that we all study and applaud. I've never been able to figure out exactly how their voice became the applauded works that should be studied and forced down the college students throat for hundreds of years. Believe me, the first generation learned the lesson and some improved upon it, the second generation improved upon theirs, the third took it a step further, and so on and so on and so on until you have present day. There are people out there that have done it better!

I understand learning the principle, I don't understand stopping at the one lesson and keeping it there.

But I have largely digressed from where I was going into a personal rant, so I'll veer back.

No, I lied, I'm going back. Do you know how many millions upon millions upon millions of people applaud Danielle Steele's books? Read them faithfully? Every three a year she cranks out? Man oh man, I've read three and feel like I've read them all. Same pattern, same plot, just different characters. Yet, other authors that do it better are barely mentioned. Seriously, Judith McNaught is a great example. She doesn't have 300 books, but the 20 she's written are works of art. Dean Koontz is, in my opinion, a better writer than Stephen King, but you wouldn't know it to listen to the "critics". (Haha, speaking of critics, I just got an email from Dean Koontz- his newsletter. In it he talks about a critic that gave him a great review of his book Midnight. The whole thing was fantastic, right up to the last line where the critic had written that DK was a master at the Vampire plot line. Dean Koontz wrote that he had never, to his knowledge, written a vampire book and it had been very obvious that the critic had not even opened the book to get the faintest idea of what it was about.

So he had him killed.

LOL... I cracked up. Too funny.)

Alright, it's obvious from my digression that I have a bad feeling for critics. What's not obvious is that I am perfectly capable of getting BACK ON TOPIC!

Loved and Lost

So, since I have no scientific data to back up the question, I'll try to answer it myself. Is it really better?

I do not love easily. I don't know why, but think that it has a lot to do with my ability to compartmentalize people and situations. For instance, it does not matter how well I know you in one aspect, if you put yourself in another I cannot relate with you. My brain has to search for a way to make you fit. If I know you at work, I have a hard time transitioning to fitting you into my personal life... and vice versa. (When I die, I'm going to donate my brain to science so that they can dissect it and figure out how all my wires got crossed and screwed up my programming. I'm like a computer with a virus-- I work fine, but if you go into a certain file it's catastrophe.)

That being said, when I love, I love hard. If a person has managed to storm past all of those barriers so that I can't keep them in a compartment, I love deep and I love for a long time.

I don't know about other people, but for me it's hard to get over loving someone. The things that I loved about them, I always love about them because I'm able to overlook the qualities that maybe I didn't like so much. Maybe they're assholes, but if they have fantastic redeeming virtues I'm hooked. Which makes losing them like a nuclear bomb to my soul.

Personally, I would rather not have loved at all. Maybe.

I once had a teacher who asked us what we thought the one thing was that no human could live without. As you may have guessed, most of the people in the room responded "Love". Some said water, which was a good answer, but I think the teacher meant for the long term. LOL

Anyway, his answer was "Hope". Hope to love, hope to live, hope to find water. Hope is the one thing that our souls depend upon.

So, when we look at losing love, is it the death of that affection that slowly kills us, or is it the slow death of hope? The hope of its return. The hope of finding it again.

The three times that I've loved and lost, to the extent where a person would conceivably ask the question, have all been different circumstances. One was a child and two were, what I believed to be, good friends. Each loss has left me a lot scarred and very afraid of the flame. It has left behind a fear unlike any other and caution to go forth once again.

And while I remember with too much clarity what it was like to be with them, and the good feelings of being with them, these only serve as pokers when I remember them- making me believe that it would be better to not have the memories. But then again... if asked, now that I have them, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Confusing, huh?

Maybe it's hope rearing it's ugly head once again. Maybe, it's the certainty of knowing that feelings of loss will fade and the hope that those memories will finally bring a smile to your face, instead of pain to your heart. Which brings another long held saying to mind... Hope springs eternal...

So, to you reading this, what do you think? Can you answer the question or give an example? Is it really better?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Snake and The House that Tape and Twine Built

It seems to me that Murphy's law has no boundaries, but in this event I believe he is working in our favor-- although it may not seem like it at this precise moment.

The bathroom remodel is still a go. The flooring is actually being installed tomorrow, and as soon as it is in LJS will get to work on putting in the new toilet and vanity (new sink and faucet included).

Last night he came up to me. "It's all falling down."

"Huh? What's all falling down?"

"I mean... it's all falling apart."

I could feel my chest tighten in preparation for some sort of heart failure, especially since coming home I realized he'd already taken the vanity and sink out. "What do you mean? The new stuff doesn't work? We have to get different stuff?" I'm calculating the months it took us to gather the few items we needed and thinking about places I could move to in order to ride out the next wave.

"No. Haven't you noticed how everything is falling apart right before I put in the new stuff."

I laughed. Personally, I would rather have it fall apart a day before the new stuff goes in than after. After would be so not good. "What do you mean? Did something else break?"

"Sort of. The toilet won't flush."

I sighed and then laughed. Murphy's law... in sort of a good way. Everything new that we have done to that bathroom recently has made something else go bad. I had someone put up the door... the sink stopped draining. LJS fixed the sink... the toilet stopped working. It's all going downhill. I suspect that they will put in the new floor tomorrow and the shower will fall through it!

Now, that statement might seem implausible. After all, we've already fixed the shower. Had it refinished and put in new hardware. Might seem implausible that is until I tell you that last night, after LJS took out the vanity, we discovered that the floor is made out of... not wood, or brick, or linoleum... but PARTICLE BOARD!! IN A BATHROOM!!!

LOL... you should see our house. When the doorjamb went into the wall, we discovered that the walls are incredibly warped. The jamb is flush on top, flush on the bottom, but in the middle there is about an inch gap. When we took out the vanity, the wall behind it is the same. There is a gap between the floor and the wall. I swear this house was made from tape and twine and by some miracle is still standing.

I will be so glad when this is over... which I pray whole-heartily will be before I get home tomorrow. I had to brush my teeth in the shower today and that's just not right. Toothpaste falling on your tootsies is not a good feeling. It's kinda slimy. Plus, I probably smell like mint from my mouthwash not quite getting spit out far enough. If I have to go home to a bathroom that is not done... it will at worst mean that I have no toilet... That's just not acceptable. I'll have to sleep at work!

Enough grumbling from me.

LJS went to rent a snake to fix the bathroom sink that would not drain. He took Short Person in with him, rented the snake, and then put it in the car.

Short Person asked what the peculiar looking device was and LJS answered "A Snake".

Short Person refused to get into the car.

LOL...

He had to move it to the front seat after a lengthy discussion about how it was not a snake of the warm-blooded kind, but a tool. I'm told it still took some coaxing after that, but finally they made it home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Around the World in 36 Minutes

When I first picked up the book Warrior Soul by Chuck Pfarrer, I had a hell of a time getting into the plot. It wasn't for lack of a big bang at the beginning (let me just say "parachute jump - no parachute), or failure to write about something that interested me about his memoir of being a Navy SEAL. In fact, I really don't know what the hold up was. But all that changed about a week ago when I picked the book up once more.

I'm so glued to it I dream about it. I'm nearly done now, but the fascination has not ended.

The greatest concentration of the book is about his deployment in Lebanon in the early 80's. He and his SEAL platoon were stationed there as Peacekeepers in an increasingly hostile environment that only got worse, until it finally climaxed with the car bombing deaths of 240 marines. I was too young to remember it, but the way he has written the chapters are so clear that in my mind I can see the bombed out buildings.

But there's seeing... and there's seeing.

Some people are brave enough to travel around the world to country's that are hostile to any American. I am not one of them. Although I would love to see things with my own two little eyes, it is simply not worth losing my life.

It was the morning of the second dream about dusty dirt roads and bombed out buildings that I remembered that there are ways to see the world without being able to smell the heat in the air or hear the buzz of mosquitoes going up the coast. There was a way to see Lebanon and I was going to do it.

I logged on to GoogleEarth and let the planet spin until it came to a stand-still miles upward of the land designated as Beirut. Landmarks and photographs positioned approximately where they were taken on the globe. Not a dusty, dirty country as I had imagined, but green and lush and busy. Cars showed in the pictures traversing from here to there.

Sadly, however, there were also pictures of bombed out buildings, and if you zoom in you can see the building tops, some missing.

It has been 20 years since Mr. Pfarrer was deployed into the middle of a war and not much from what he describes looks as though it is the same, but it was still a way for me to look into his mind and maybe, if only virtually, see where he was and what the country looked like then. In some ways, it brings reading to a whole new level.

Now if only they had satellite images from... oh 1880... I could go and see the land of Judith McNaught's books. Travel through Hyde Park. Go from the city townhouses to the castles of the countryside!

Or maybe, I could give Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books a whirl and find Iverness and Edinburgh. Look for the stones an Culloden. Travel the dirt roads Claire and Jamie once walked.

But then I remember that though it is not the same now as then, I can. I can go to Iverness and to Hyde Park. I can visit Culloden and see the war memorial. I can see the castles of the countryside.

And I can do it all, go around the world, in 36 minutes. As many times as I want. No airfare required.

I don't recommend a lot of books. Usually, I recommend authors. But if you ever have a chance to pick up Warrior Soul, it's a wonderfully told story of a man's journey dodging bullets, overriding cynicism, and finding himself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sittin’ On The Pot

As embarrassing as the little misadventure with Short Person during the car movement was, it got beat only two days later during an unfortunate bathroom stop by her pseudo-grandma.

Short Person was on her way down the hall at Grandma Alice's house when Grandma told her that she needed to go potty. In the bathroom, with the fan on, it is difficult to hear little voices calling for you.

Apparently, Short Person went looking for Grandma, calling and calling to no avail. Thinking that she had been left alone and unable to find Grandma, she left the house and went to the house that has the Paramedics in it. She calls it the "Fire House".

She rang the doorbell and when it was answered by a young woman proceeded to explain that she had called and called for her Grandma and Grandma wouldn't answer. The young woman took Shorty's hand and walked back over to the house.

Grandma was still sittin' on the pot when the strange voice of a woman carried over the noise of the bathroom fan.

Grandma had a serious talk with one little 3-year-old about checking ALL the rooms before going for help.

LOL...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Instinct Was Good, But... *she said in a squeaky voice*

LJS came home early. By a day. Not much in the whole scheme of things, but when there are things to be done it can cause a great commotion. Today, for example, without even realizing it was going to have catastrophe written all over it.

He's been fishing, which is nice for a few reasons, last but not least of which is that I get to park the car under cover. Good because it frequently rains in Oregon. He was due home in 10 minutes and I had not yet moved the car or the truck from underneath the boat cover.

I let Short Person know that I was going to move the car and that she could stay inside and watch me from the door. I go to the car and pull out, realizing that I'm going to have to drive down the street, turn around, and park along side the road.

When I finished, I started walking toward the house and I can hear Short Person just crying her heart out. I start walking down the driveway toward the house and I hear our neighbor call out, "Howdy Neighbor!" When I turned, to respond in kind, I notice that he is holding a little pink bundle of crying 3-year-old.

It turns out that when Short Person saw me disappear past her line of sight she thought that I had left her. She ran out of the house to our neighbors, crying, "My mommy left without me!"

Her instincts were right on. I'm GLAD she knew where to go... but oh man. I was just moving the car.

Incidentally, I said as much to our neighbor, but I think it was the absolutely bewildered look on my face that truly had him laughing as he chuckled all the way back to his house.

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE our neighbors. I can't imagine moving just for that one sole reason. We'll have to add to this house to make it big enough for the long haul... and I'll have to lock C&D in their house should they ever even think about moving!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hometown Horror Stories

You might be surprised to discover that my job creates the perfect atmosphere for people to tell horror stories about anything and everything. Neighbors, pets, friends... you name it, I've heard a story to go with it. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING beats the one I heard a few days ago.

One of our citizens came in to pay her final bill. While doing so we made small talk about her move and whether she was enjoying the new surroundings. She happened to mention that they had actually moved into a house and then three days later moved out into a beautiful rental home with an option to buy.

I asked about the first house and whether it was location that had turned her off, to which she had responded, "No. We paid for it and then went to move in and the landlord hadn't cleaned it."

It turns out that the previous owners had pets that had been left alone for one weekend. As pets do, they needed to go potty and when they are not being let out the house is the only option. But that's not the bad part.

The bad part is that they were left alone because the husband of the previous tenants had committed suicide in the house... THREE WEEKS PRIOR to their moving in. AND THE LANDLORD HADN'T BOTHERED TO CLEAN!!!! He made her do it. Then lied to her about whether someone had died there. She got the neighbors over to verify the mess, took pictures, went to the library for the newspaper story, and then put a stop payment on the check.

Her attorney called the landlord a "slum lord".

In an unbelievable twist of fate, the landlord is suing HER for putting a stop payment on the check! So, she's suing him. I hope she wins.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Three Deer, A Mob Boss, and One Movie

This happened over a week ago now. I've actually sat down to write it about... oh, 45 times, but never seem to actually finish. This time, by golly, I'm gonna do it!

There are some days that herald themselves to you the moment you wake up. From the get-go, you know that you are going to have an eventful day.

This was not one of them. When I woke up this morning there were no bells and whistles-- there may have been a snooze button involved, but that's it.

I was fairly excited because after who-knows-how-long I was about to get some much needed training in the field of Microsoft Excel. The training was in Beaverton so, armed with a map, I hopped in the car and went on my merry way.

It never ceases to amaze me that I'm able to forget about idiot drivers, but I do, or road rage, but I do. I forget and then am completely aghast when something occurs that reminds me.

I'm driving a modest *ahem* 65mph along the main road into "the real world" when up ahead I see about 20 cars suddenly putting on their brakes and swerving. There is a van trying to get to the side of the road and I am wondering what is going on and whether the turmoil will have resolved itself before I happen upon the scene.

In my rearview mirror is a fast-approaching truck (you know the kind that will mow you down if you don't get out of their way), but he is the least of my concerns since I'm very quickly approaching the traffic jam ahead. It has not resolved itself and I slam on my brakes to avoid the cars still attempting to brake and swerve.

A momentary thought goes through my head. A wonderment of what all the chaos is about... and then I see it. Three little horny heads bouncing down the embankment just past the guardrail. Three deer had crossed the road in the middle of morning rush hour traffic. The van now on the side of the road was not dented, but I'm guessing the driver was pretty shook up. (Either that, or looking for his rifle since it is hunting season- Jerk.)

By this time, I have forgotten all about the truck behind me, and am now accelerating back to my 65... OKAY 70! mph cruising speed, when all of the sudden he pulls along side me and then right in front of me-- causing me to slam on my brakes because he hadn't bothered to see if he'd actually made it past my car. (It was done on purpose, actually. I spent some time being really grateful that I hadn't been looking at the radio or checking a mirror or reaching for my phone at the time.)

I hit the horn and flipped him off (I do that sometimes), but I don't think it did any good. Oh, and then I got to ride his butt all the way to my turn off because he decided to go about 10mph LESS than what I had been doing. Either that, or he was a dumb ass and didn't realize that other cars inhabited the road and could care less if they got out of his way.

*sigh*

I make it (late) to the meeting center, after a few wrong turns, and walk in. The room is full, of course, but luckily there is a chair next to a really cute guy who seems insistent upon making funny remarks through the lecture. It was great!

The guy up front talking was knowledgeable, but I was laughing because every so often he'd get corrected or questioned by one of the other attendees about an alternative way of doing a certain step. This did not sit well with him. His standard response was, "Well, I've never done it that way! And you shouldn't be able to do it that way!"

When the training broke for lunch, right after the "And for $19.95 you can also get" pitch, which the cute guy had us all cracking up about, I finally got a look at the teacher. OMG! He looked like Guido, the knee-cap guy! He was short and round and had that mob face that you simply couldn't get over. I kept expecting a large figure (the one that actually does the knee-cap thing, not the one that threatens you with it-- which is what the teacher reminded me of) to appear. Never did, thank goodness because he kept getting questions. LOL...

It was not long into the day that I decided Excel is the magical universe of computer programming and whoever created it must be a rich genius!

After the training session, I had a date with my sister at the McMeniman's Kennedy School. They have one of those cool Movie Theatre, Pub, Pizza Joint combo things going on there and we were going to go see "The Nanny Diaries", which I LOVED!

I arrive (after getting horribly, horribly lost-- my brother in law had to bail me out), park in the back, and walk to the front doors. I push. Locked... or stuck. I push. Still nothing.

There is a guy sitting at one of the tables out front studying. He looked like a college student. He looks at me and says, "They should be open." It's about this time that I decided to PULL rather than push and wala! Open.

Yeah, he was laughing pretty hard by then. DORK moment!

Anyway... that was my day. Three Deer, A Mob Boss, and One Movie.

Seemed more eventful when I was thinking about writing it earlier, but I suppose after a week some things got lost in translation.

Oh, like I forgot to mention that I discovered a new sex toy place. LOL... What are the odds?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Birthday

So, I'm 36 now. I think to a lot of people, I now qualify as old. Probably, I qualified as old before I was just ignoring them because I wasn't yet the dreaded "middle aged". But I am now. Old and middle aged... all at the same time. Oh Woe Is Me.

I read a quote not so long ago that said, "Do not regret growing old. It is a privilege denied many." Since it is true and it puts me in my place, I will not complain too loudly. Besides, as far as birthday's go, it was a pretty good one.

It started with me forgetting it was my birthday. WOOHOO!!! Any time you can forget you are no longer the 28 you remember, it is good news. LOL

Unfortunately, everyone felt it necessary to remind me through the day that it was my birthday, but I never once got all 36... I mean 28 candles on my cake. I got 5, and then 6, and then about 10 :)

They ordered pizza at work and we all stood around talking about... guess?... you can't guess can you?... no really, guess... that's right, we talked about WORK!! None of us has a life I've decided.

Then, my daughter called me to talk to me. "Happy Birthday, Mommy!! I made you a castle cake!" I can hear babysitter in the background laughing at this point and I correctly surmise that this was supposed to be a surprise, but Short Person is just too excited to keep it one.

I replied, "You did? That's GREAT!"

"Yeah... but it looks funny." She sounded as though it were just a dire circumstance and I'm wondering if half of it fell down while at the same time assuring her that I would love it because she made it. Later, I thought that maybe it simply did not meet her expectations of what a castle cake ought to look like. It was a circular mold with turrets. Perhaps she thought it ought to have popped out looking like Cinderella's castle. A three-storied monstrosity.

"Okay, I gotta go... I'm putting flags on it!" The flags I later found out were candles.

When I went to pick her up, she presented me with the cake, a box she had painted in which pictures can be put in four frames on top and treasures can be stored in the container portion, and a card she had colored. She was so cute about it. I wish I had a camera recording everything.

My husband took me out to dinner. We chose the restaurant with the good Macaroni and Cheese so that short person would have a good time. He had earlier bought me a latte maker, so no gifts were present to unwrap, but he did take Short Person shopping.

LOL... they walked through the door and the first words out of her mouth were "Mommy! We bought you slippers!" My husband cracked up (as did I). Secrets are SO a thing of the past!

Overall, it was a good day. I've got no complaints... except that whole middle aged thing...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Le Toilette Memoir

I am willing to bet that when my high school speech teacher gave us an impromptu dissertation on why no one threw parties to celebrate new toilets he had not taken a recent trip to the porcelain laden aisles of Home Depot. Had he taken the trip, chances are he may have considered the purchase of a new toilet something party-worthy. After all, with names such as "Savoy", "Westminster", and "Devonshire" you'd certainly want to invite people over, for clearly they are something special.

As I walked down commode condo boulevard there was one porcelain hottie that had me raising my eyebrows... and not in the good way. The toilet was called "Memoir".

Okay folks, we need to have a talk. Maybe there is more wrong with me that just dorkiness mixed with a touch of insanity. Maybe, internally, I'm all f'd up too! Because to be quite frank with you, there ain't nothing going into that pot that I want to keep a Memoir of!

And just, pray tell, how in the HELL do they keep this Memoir? Is it digital? Dear God, would we see it on YouTube? Does it record sound? Does it computerize it? Or are you going to be sitting on the cold surface while a voice talks into a digital recorder. "September 28. Seven o'clock in the morning. Came out a little smoother than usual, but had a freaky green color to it. Press button 2 if you ate spinach last night..."

Ew! Ew! Ew!

While at work I voiced a similar concern with regard to this one and I learned that Japan apparently has talking toilets and toilets that sing to you and toilets that spray a nice scent in the air and on and on. So I'm thinking to myself that it is not that long away that we have toilets that record data for doctors or if you're just... weird. But me?! I avoided the toilet like it was the plague. Me? I got the one that said "Consumer Reports rated best buy."

But I was longing for the Devonshire.... Unfortunately, my butt decided it as too pretty to actually put such icky stuff in it. LOL...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Flies Are Dumb

I always thought flies were smart because they always know just where to land on your food to make inedible.

And they always know the most inappropriate time to buzz around your head.

AND, they are quite the accomplished deceivers... but that's another story.

I have a fly above my head right now that is trying to get to the light. I figure he either thinks he's dead and needs to "go to the light" or he's just dumb. Either way, he keeps crashing into the plastic light shield thing. Tap, tap, tap, tap...

WHY WON'T HE LEARN?!

I suppose that there may be a sentiment that I am not giving this fly enough credit. Maybe he is smart. Maybe he does know what he's doing. Maybe... just maybe... one of those other flies up there that are laying lifeless against the plastic is his long-lost brother Ed and he is just trying to get to him. And the tap, tap, tap, is one of frustration.

Perhaps, if I had a fly swatter, the humane thing to do would be to send him to meet Ed.

BECAUSE HE IS MAKING ME CRAZY!!!

TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP

Damn it, I suddenly feel like I'm getting ready to recite The Raven

"... and he came a tapping above my office floor..."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Dundee Haunting

A Dundee Haunting

Two years ago, newly acquired video camera in hand, some friends and I set off around Dundee to film a horror movie. It was to be called "The Legend of the Axe Murderer of Dundee". As we shot footage at the cemetery, little did we know that Dundee already had a ghost story... and she was buried only a few feet away from where we stood...

In 1983, City Hall moved from the Fire Hall into what is now A***** Winery, but the employees were soon to realize that they were not the only one's to reside there.

"You knew something strange was happening because you'd get a sudden breeze that smelled like a sweet, floral scented perfume," former City Administrator Molly recalled, "Odd noises, footsteps where no one was walking, lights would go on and off, so we started looking into the history of the house. We started talking to a long-time resident of Dundee, Emil Sander, and that's when we learned about Lena."

Lena was born October 19, 1883 to Zachariah and Hannah Imus. Her father owned a feed and grain store until being appointed postmaster in 1898. She attended Portland Business College until she was asked to return home to assist in the post office while her father was ill. He died shortly thereafter.

Lena continued to work in the post office and live in the house we now know as A***** Winery, however it would seem that the years were not happy for her and there were rumors of an unmarried pregnancy. On December 17, 1908 she drank carbolic acid and died two days later. She was 25 years old.

"We figured that she didn't like men very much. Especially red-headed men!" Molly said.

I asked her if she could give an example. "I remember that we needed to have the repair man in to fix the photocopy machine. His suitcase of tools was sitting on the floor while he looked at something on the machine and all of the sudden it tipped over. Not so it fell down, but it upended itself so that all of his tools fell out."

"Yeah, Chris looked at him and said, 'Oh, don't worry. That's just our ghost.'" Todd chuckled remembering, "That guy never came back."

Todd recalled another event. "We kept the letters for the reader board upstairs in the hallway. In order to put the letters up, it required a long pole with a suction cup at the end, which was with the letters leaning up against the wall. It was leaning in such a fashion that it wouldn't be able to tip over and accidentally hurt someone.

The Chief at the time, who was also a redhead, brought his little dog Tweezer into the office. They went up the stairs and walked down the hall, like they had a thousand times before. When they got to the end of the hallway and were getting ready to go into the Police Department, the pole jumped away from the wall and landed on the floor with a smack… barely missing the dog."

There were other stories of odd things happening, such as the back door opening and shutting long after it had been nailed shut and no longer an entry to the building and footsteps occurring in rooms where there were no people.

"I just remember that we teased the girls a lot about it, not wanting to believe them." Alan said. "It made a set up for the perfect practical joke."

Todd, a new Public Works employee at the time, recalls. "I remember that the girls in the office had it all figured out. Where the coffee pot was located in the building was where she drank the acid, and by the door was where she collapsed."

"I was cleaning out one of the shelves at Public Works about two days before the anniversary of Lena's death and I came across an old bottle of carbolic acid. When I showed it to the other guys we came up with a plan."

Molly remembered the day. "On the anniversary of her death, we came into the office and went to the coffee pot, the location where she drank the poison, and got ready to make a pot of coffee and there stood a bottle of carbolic acid. I remember that for a few minutes it set our hair on end and freaked us out… but we knew those guys too well."

"Yeah, they figured it out pretty quick." Alan recalled, with a laugh. "I kept waiting for them to say something. In the end, I had to ask if anything odd had happened so I could find out what they thought, but they already knew it was us."

***

Lena's obituary states that before she died she told her mother that she longed to be at rest, but stories from City Workers both past and present tell a different story. Her tombstone eerily states "Not dead, but gone before."

In the time since Rob and I had the first conversation about including stories of old Dundee, and specifically an October tale we could tell, odd things have started to happen at City Hall. Doors open and shut, lights turn on and off, and cups rattle on the shelves. Has Lena's spirit returned once again to walk the halls of a new City Hall?

I, for one, hope I never find out.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Short Person’s First Soccer Game and A Disaster Averted

Short Person had her first soccer game today and I can safely say that I've learned quite a bit already. Such as:

1) Don't get her dressed in her soccer clothes until 45 minutes before we need to be there. I got her dressed fairly early. Soccer Shorts and Shirt, anyway. Black shorts and a blue shirt with white sleeves (totally cute, if I do say so myself). About an hour and a half before we needed to leave, she decides she doesn't want to play soccer and she's not going to wear her soccer clothes and takes them off to put on something different she's chosen.

It was an argument that lasted up until she figured out that mommy was going to make her go. I kept telling her she couldn't say she didn't like it until she actually did it once. Turns out what she didn't like was the clothes. LMAO... We changed the blue shirt to a pink one and she was fine.

Although two minutes from the soccer field she asked where her blue shirt was because "she wanted to wear it". Three-year-olds, who can figure them out?!

2) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

3) Chocolate milk and goldfish crackers probably aren't the best breakfast. I'll be making pancakes or waffles and will be serving them two hours before hand to avoid upset tummies.

4) We need to bring our own soccer ball. That way, I can avoid the 30 minute interrogation of where our soccer ball is and the attempted explanation that the coach would have plenty for us.

5) Though I will bring a chair, I will not use it. I will be too busy following my daughter around trying to keep her from kicking the ball onto the other soccer field. LOL... there are six little kids, none of them with great ball control. They all go every which way. It's so funny!

6) My daughter is entirely too much like me when it comes to the perfectionist thing. About half way through the practice, Short Person's coach gave them an instruction to follow. I believe it was to go and get a soccer ball and bring it over to the circle. Instead of doing that, Short Person runs over to me and bursts into tears. In a heartbroken voice she says, "I'm not very good at this."

Oh man, nail to the heart. I tried to explain that no one expected her to be good without practice and that it was okay, but she was so upset I don't think it sunk in.

7) I need to work on teaching her fundamentals of soccer. She didn't understand that in the game, there is only one soccer ball and everyone is going to be working to take it away from her. That was meltdown point and pretty much finished off the first practice/game of soccer for her.

I took some video, but I was so busy running around that there are only a few minutes and my camera pretty much gave up the ghost. So, no pictures this time. But I'll get them next time.

****************************

I was so angry two hours ago it's amazing I've calmed down. Part of it has to do with the fact that LJS and I managed to fix a major disaster. No, maybe that's all of it.

We ordered a granite countertop for our bathroom. We were really happy because we found someone that came in much lower than some of the bigger companies in price. He seemed nice, he was local, and he was easy to get in touch with.

We gave him the dimensions for the cabinet, chose the granite and sink and let him get to work. Well... I picked it up today and it was 1-1/2 inch too short.

I called him thinking that there had to be some way to fix it and maybe we could put our heads together to figure it out since he (supposedly) knew what he was doing. He answered the phone, I told him the situation, and he launched into a 10 minute... attack... about how he shouldn't have taken the job because little jobs were a pain in the ass, and how he took the dimensions from my husband, and how we signed an invoice, and I should just bring it back and he'd give us our check back. I interrupted to ask if it was okay if I talk then and gee, would he listen, and then explained that I was more interested in fixing the problem. Another launch from him until finally I said fine, we'd bring it back and hung up on him.

I went back into the living room completely irate! For an hour, LJS and I talked about what we could possibly do to fix the problem. Since it was an 1-1/2 inches short, I figured we could just find a saw that could cut granite and notch out the overhang so that it would be flush on both sides. Back and forth we went, until I brought that idea up once more. It was like a lightbulb went off in my husband's head. He stood up, went into the garage and came pack with a piece of wood that he laid on the countertop and then scooted the granite over until it was flush.

It worked. If you don't know what it was supposed to look like, you'd never know the difference. The faucet cutouts are about a millimeter off, so we can sand those down.

As for our check... I'm not calling the guy to tell him we're keeping the countertop. I figure, let him figure it out for himself, we had too.

We also got our tile for the floor figured out. LOL... our bathroom is so small we have to pay the minimum for install and I think it's going to take 25 tiles. A $25.00 floor, how funny. Well, not including installation. The minimum charge for installation is a bit more.

Our bathroom is going to look so nice. I can't wait! Now, I just have to convince my husband that it is IMPERATIVE we have a bathroom door before he leaves to go fishing. He was trying to convince me that it would be okay to put up a curtain during my two parties. Umm... I think NOT!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes?

Does it matter where you've been in life? Can a tiger change its stripes? Can people change?

These questions have been filtering through my mind lately. I hold that I don't really care where you've been, I care where you are going. But, if you've been to the dark side, and you've been there repeatedly, can you change and go on a different path?

Can you trust someone that has a history of being untrustworthy? Can you, by including them in a circle so completely different from where they've been, help change their stars.

Or, are they forever doomed?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Marble Mania / Mel the Artiste

While watching the Supernanny a few years ago, I noticed that she had, for some children, implemented a rewards system. For each chore completed or good deed, the child would receive one marble to put into a jar. Once the jar was filled, the child received some sort of a treat or prize. I always thought that it was a good idea, but the timing hadn't been right for Short Person and so I filed it away for future use.

Over the weekend, I visited the Dollar Tree and noticed that they had $1 bags of the decorative marbles and different bowls and vases and the memory crawled up and walla! Short Person now has a rewards program.

After discussing the idea with LJS, I purchased 3 bags of smaller marbles and 1 bag of the larger stones and a tall vase and sat down to discuss with him exactly how we would implement the marble program.

We started with the rewards. On the vase, approximately an inch and a half apart, I marked in permanent marker a line. It worked out that there were five lines to the top of the vase. The first line is a trip to the movie store, the second line is a prize from the prize box (which we plan to fill with little things we know she will enjoy-- an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen, trinkets, M & M's, etc.), then another movie line, another prize box line, until finally when it is filled a trip to Toy's R Us.

Then, we discussed what she could earn marbles for, starting small and reserving space to add things. She can earn marbles for:
1. Doing her chores-- each item is 1 marble
a. Brushing her teeth
b. Brushing her hair
c. Feeding her animals
d. Washing her face
e. Picking up her toys
f. Picking her clothes for the next day
2. Doing what we ask her to do without complaint. (In other words, listening.)
3. Trying bites of something new.

Equally, she can lose them too. She loses a marble if she throws a temper tantrum or doesn't do what we ask.

The big marbles we are reserving for days when she does something we think deserves one. For instance, I had to go to the DMV last weekend and she went with me. She did great even though I know she was bored. Big marble reward for that one.

So... last night we introduced the system. LOL, I think she has about 10 marbles already. She asked us how she got one and then went about doing everything she could to accumulate as many as she could.

We'll see how it goes.

**********************

We finished Short Person's room. Below, I will post pictures of it so you can see how cute it turned out. We painted it pink as per request and then I went through and put glow-in-the-dark stars on every wall.

I had to use a star stamp to do it so part 1 was the stamp and part 2 was going back and hand-painting all of them because for best results it takes two coats. Me, and artiste, whodathunk?



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

6 Years Later

Like everyone else, I remember exactly how I woke up that day. I remember exactly the words coming out of the DJ's mouth as my alarm clock went off at 6:15am. "We had what would have been a very funny show for you today, but obviously in light of this morning's events... If you are just joining us a plane has hit the World Trade Center in what has obviously been a terrorist attack on the United States."

I remember hopping out of bed, something that never happens, not bothering with my hour-long round of hitting the snooze button and running into the living room to turn on the television. Once it was on, I ran into the bathroom to put on my contacts so I could actually see it. When that was accomplished, I walked the 15 feet back into the living room.

The phone rang and I answered it not sure of who would be calling me. My co-worker's voice on the phone, "Are you watching the tv? They hit us." The words didn't make sense to me. We hung up a minute later since we both had to get ready for work. I watched the television and watched the footage of the plane flying lower and lower through residential neighborhood and then hitting the pentagon. It seems odd that I have that memory since, to the best of my knowledge, they never replayed that footage-- EVER again. Finally, the phone rang again. My mom. I was on the phone with her when the first tower fell.

The entire day was surreal. This horrible tragedy and I still had to go to work. We watched the tv in the Council Chambers and listened to the radio. Not much got done that day. Not much got done that week. All I remember feeling was numb. For weeks. Just numb.

Every year, they have television shows on commemorating the day. Whether it's interviews with families of victims or the technical aspect of trying to land several thousand planes within a 45-minute period (my favorite episode- those people are amazing!), but tonight they did something different. MSNBC replayed the coverage of that morning. Two hours of it ending right after the second tower fell.

It was interesting watching that morning again, knowing what was going to happen. There was no shock left, but emotion still ran rampant. I could put myself back to that day, which may not be hard considering that in some ways it feels as though it only happened a few weeks ago. I can't believe it has been six years! Maybe that has something to do with the amount of space your memory is given. When you remember it every day with such clarity it takes longer for your brain to space it out according to the calendar, in my opinion.

Watching the entire footage again... I'm back in that day. That moment. I'll never forget.

I've been searching the internet for hours looking for the picture for which this poem is written. It is a photo taken a couple days after 9/11/01 at a candlelight vigil where a man is holding his daughter on his shoulders. She's holding a flag. If I find the photo I will edit this blog and post it here, but for now here is the poem I wrote not long after. It would more than likely be much, much better with the photo. At this point, I'm not even going to pretend it's good (lol)

A little girl sits silently in a crowd
Face solemn with despair
Her father crying

She sees no faces, around her heads are bowed
Her fingers grasping hair
Flags above waving

A cheer goes up, exploding around her proud
Our nation will not scare
The anthem playing

Freedom and Peace will prevail our leader vowed
Over all who have dared
Terror of Flying

Then, at last, we see her smiling.

Ah... I got lucky. Here is the photo.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Through the Fence

Short Person made her first friends this weekend, through a fence, as I was washing dishes.

She'd been playing all day with our dogs, chasing them outside and screaming her giggles, and then it just sort of... happened. I looked up and she was talking with two little boys and one little girl in the yard next to ours.

The kids are the niece and nephews of our next door neighbors. Next door neighbors we really like-- even though we never actually spend much time talking to them. They are the sort of really laid back people that you dream of living next to your whole life-- one of the top 10 reasons that moving doesn't always sound like a good plan.

Anyway, it happened just like it is supposed to happen-- if that makes sense. Short Person started talking to them, about 10 minutes later they invited her over, and she went.

LOL... I should say she went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Traipsing through our neighbors house as though she owned it as she went over, then decided to come home, then left again.

Damn, she's growing up fast.

The worst part is that LJS and I are quite the socially misfit. Neither of us really knows how to handle a social situation like this because we aren't all that outgoing in this way. We kept getting stuck in what was socially acceptable. *sigh*

Oh well, I think what matters is that she had fun, and she's made some friends, and LJS and I have finally started moving toward a closer knowledge/relationship with our neighbors-- whom we really like, but don't know how to broadcast that.

*******

Once the visiting was done, Short Person came home to play. She wanted to play with her Doctor stuff, so she pulled out the bag and came into the living room to sit on the floor in front of us. It was apparent that she was looking for something because she kept digging and digging, tossing the unwanted items over her shoulder like chewed up chicken bones.

We kept asking her what she was looking for, but she wouldn't answer us. Nothing out of the ordinary for this weekend, unfortunately. She just went about her search, until finally there was nothing left in the bag. And then...

She put it on her head, looked toward us, and cracked up laughing.

Maybe you had to be there to catch the humor in that, but when it happened, it was so apparent to us that she'd been purposely ignoring us and tossing the chicken bones because we were laughing and talking about it. The bag, I think, was a last minute improvision but it happened so quick it was as though she had that conclusion in her mind the entire time.

Sometimes, the intelligence of her actions catches me off-guard. I'm not ready for her to be that smart-- or have her mom's wacky sense of humor.

*******

I was bidding on the cutest flannel nightgown for Short Person this morning. With 11 seconds left, I was outbid by 50 cents. I HATE THAT! But the only thing that really came out of it is my deep regret that I never learned how to sew. I could have sewed her 3 gowns for the price I was willing to pay for the one.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Roll Bounce

My head feels like scrambled eggs right now. Or maybe it's just sitting in the middle of one of those great big fluffy clouds that looks dense from down here, but when you zoom through in an air plane it just looks like fog.

I envy people that can go through life taking the hits as they come at you. "Bonk!" and they just roll bounce over the jagged parts not really feeling the poke. Me, I feel like I'm falling down a flight of stairs that was carved into the side of a cliff and they forgot to take away the really jagged rocks along the side. When you roll you hit them all and they tear pieces off of you as you panic for a hand-hold on the way down.

It takes me awhile to get my bearings back. To process the fall and figure out how to climb back out. The roll-bounce people, they are like helium balloons. They are too big to leave the confined stair well and only bounce into the jagged rocks-- they don't actually hit them hard enough to pop.

Today, at work, was like that.

I work hard, or at least I feel like I do. I work hard to learn my job so that I can do it asleep. I can do it with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back. I can explain how to do it half-drunk to the novice on the other end of the phone in the middle of the night while air-sirens wail in the background.

lol

I take pride in my work. Half of the process we do, systems we have set up, I created. They are my babies. But for that reason, I'm a control freak. If something is happening with my baby, I want a say-so. I need to know that I'm still going to be able to do my job as efficiently tomorrow as I did yesterday. I'm also a perfectionist. I hate going back to fix things. Pisses me off.

Today when I walked in to the office, no more that 10 seconds through the door, I was told that two people that have nothing to do with a system I work on daily and even hourly have decided to change a major component of it.

Roll-bounce... bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk

I talked them into waiting a month, after I'd sat and processed for about five hours, but the slide down the cliff really wreaked havoc on my concentration.

After that, it was an entire day of talking about other processes that need to be re-done... as I watch my to-do list grow with priorities and things I can't put off. Hours of talking. I have no concentration left, and I still have hours of work to do.

Sometimes I think about getting a different job. Having freedom to go home a 5pm and forget about everything, not have to stress about the stuff still on the desk screaming about deadlines. Someday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Random Happenings

Luciano Pavarotti is dead.

Man, that's such a damn shame. I almost feel speechless. I never expect the greats to pass away. It just doesn't seem... possible.

*************

Short Person is still afraid to sleep in her room. Even with her new princess bed, she won't do it. She says she's too scared too and that she needs her Daddy. Then she talks about the monsters and the noises and the man in her room. *sigh*

Monsters and noises I could force the issue on. "No, Daddy took all the monsters outside and there are none in your room." I don't care what people say using "There's no such things as monsters" isn't going to work on a 3-year-old.

I can even explain away the noises and actually have a great movie for that one. I think Paz or JoJo or some character is in it.

But it's "the man" that I can't get passed. I hate that. *I* don't feel anything in the house-- well, on a regular basis anyway. Sometimes I feel them in passing, but they don't stay which is good. Maybe they know I don't want them here. But the man keeps returning. She'd forgotten about him for a long time, but now he's back.

I'd think maybe she was that smart and picked up on the fact that it bothers me and uses it as a ploy, but she does it in the middle of the day. "I don't want to go in there, the man is in there."

DAMN IT! I love this house because I feel comfortable in it. So is there something here or not. It's making me mad. I need to go visit a haunted house, maybe I've lost that wonderful intuition for feeling those kinds of things.

Or, maybe she's just playing me. Maybe she just doesn't want to be alone. Crud, I'm suddenly seeing a future of sex at 12, teenage pregnancy, and any boy because it's a boy. Eek! I need to find some way to instill some self-confidence here.

*****************

Lastly, we had someone out to give us an estimate on how much it would be to re-coat our fiberglass shower. The guy that came out said that whatever they use can't be put over fiberglass and they have this great new acrylic shower/tub they could put in.

It's easy, he said. We just cut out your tub and put in the new and seal up the walls. Let me write up an estimate for you.

$4000

WHAT?! HOLY CRAP!

LMAO... LJS almost fell over. Almost. But we've gotten really good at the, "That sound great. It's a little more than we want to spend, but give us a few days to think it over and we'll get back to you." line.

$4000

For that, I could knock out a wall and expand our bathroom, put in all new appliances, new flooring, new furniture... crud.

We spent, yeah, I mean I SPENT, the next four hours on the computer tracking down a fiberglass refinisher in Oregon. Finally found one. His estimate?

$375

SOLD! To the guy over the internet.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Guess I'll Go Eat Worms

My sister just wrote a blog about a memory that she and I share. The first is about a song that everyone in our family knows by heart. It is the Worm song.

"Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, Guess I'll Go Eat Worms"

Well, one day, my littlest sister decided to go and do just that.

It wasn't an ode to the song. She didn't think everyone disliked her, but she needed something cool for speech class. She had to do a presentation on how to do something, so she decided to teach her classmates how to eat a worm. The proposal was to write the speech and then WOW them by eating an actual worm. In front of them. In the classroom.

Now, my sister is fairly sensible so she decided that she really ought to practice this experiment first and make sure she'd be able to pull it off. So, she went out and picked up a few worms from the front yard, washed them off, got out some catsup (believing they would taste better that way) and put one in her mouth.

She bit down... and suddenly there were two worms.

She bit down... and then there were four worms.

She bit down... and then there were eight worms.

And they were all trying to bore their way OUT OF HER MOUTH! By going THROUGH HER CHEEKS.

If memory serves, this would be the point where she spit them out and nearly threw up. Honestly, I don't know how she prevented herself from tossing her cookies all over the place.

The next day, in front of the class, there were no live worms. I believe that the class was suitably horrified when she, in exacting detail, explained her experience. And they only grimaced a little when my sister passed out the gummy worms so that they could all give eating a worm a go.

If you think I am strange, you really ought to meet my family. :)