Friday, December 21, 2007

They Walk Among Us

Unfortunately in this Season of Giving, I’ve had to focus too much on work, which explains the very large gap in posts. Fortunately there have been a couple blog-worthy things to report. First, you have GOT to check out this video: For those of you involved in the bankruptcy field, this will be especially hilarious, though it’s pretty funny even without that background. It’s a video on payday (or check) loans. These things are evil, and anyone who is actually able to pay them off is extremely lucky. The worst thing about these is the interest. I’ve heard of interest being charged on one of these at 520%. No joke. A staggering number of debtors in bankruptcy owe on these loans. And generally when they owe one, there are more to follow. Usually this is because they will take out additional loans to try to pay off those they already owe. It ends up being a proverbial house of cards, and all you have to do is pull one card out of the bottom, (such as someone getting sick and missing too much work,) and the whole thing collapses (i.e. a bankruptcy is filed.) As funny as this video is, in some ways it’s not that far off base.

Thankfully, though there has been quite a bit of work to do, there has been some comic relief as well. We have, in recent months, had difficulties with our paper folder. For those of you that might not know, this is a machine built for the sole purpose of folding pages of paper in thirds suitable for mailing. This is what we use when there are a large number of people that need to receive copies of a document. Recently it has been jamming quite a bit, and mangling the papers that were being put through it. The room which houses this machine is directly across the hallway from the break room. I was surprised to find one day, as I walked out of the break room, one of the office supervisors down on her knees in front of the paper folder, hands held reverently in a the praying position and raised toward the ceiling. I, of course, started laughing and asked her what she was doing. She said she was praying to the Paper Folder Gods so that the machine would finish the present mailing being run through it. I told her I did not remember reading about the Paper Folder Gods in Greek mythology. She assured me that they do exist. Later, on her way by, she stopped by my office to tell me that as soon as she stopped praying the machine jammed again. Don’t mess with the Paper Folder Gods….

I also have a story about my biggest pet peeve ever, which all of you are aware is stupid people. No, the title of this post does not refer to angels, though I believe that to be true as well. It does refer to the stupid people. They seem to be everywhere, and it gets worse during the holidays. Last week we had our first Monthly Project Night at the office. This is just a night to get together in the break room and work on projects we might have unfinished, but no time to do at home. For me it will most likely always be my cross stitch projects. I have so many unfinished I many never get to the ones that have not been started. However, the night is open to anyone in the office with any sort of project they many want the extra time to work on: scrapbooking, needlework, crafts, baby books, etc. We also have dinner. This time, due to short notice and the holidays, there were only three of us. So, we decided pizza was the best option. Early in the day I got on the website belonging to Domino’s, and placed an order to be delivered at 5:45. Since the doors to the building lock at a certain time, I waited in the lobby to let the delivery person in. 5:45 came and went. Then 6:00. 6:15. 6:20, no pizza. Finally, I came back upstairs to find two messages on my work phone saying the delivery man couldn’t find the address. I called the store to ask what was happening, and then was rudely (and I DO mean rudely) informed that I typed in the WRONG address. Uh, no, I didn’t. Apparently the computer not only changed one number of the address I entered, but the directional as well (from South to North). Why in the world would I type in North? This was definitely a computer glitch, but the little snot that answered the phone at the store insisted it was my fault. When I finally stopped arguing with her and asked her what I needed to do to get my pizza, she informed me that they would not deliver to this building, and that needed to call another store and place a new order. Ok, so I did that. I was quite annoyed to find that they charged me $4 more for a phone order than they had for an internet order, and could only offer the explanation that it’s cheaper on-line. Whatever. Since I was in a hurry so we could get the pizza before everyone was ready to go home, I didn’t bother to try to convince them to charge me less. Soon thereafter a received a call on my cell phone that the new driver couldn’t find the building either. I still can’t figure out what is so dang hard about locating this building. It’s twelve stories tall and it’s on the corner with a big sign on top with the name of the building on it, for crying out loud.

Nevertheless, I answered the phone only to be informed that “someone gave [me] the wrong address”. When I asked what address he had, he repeated to me the correct one. I told him that was the right address. He insisted that there was no car dealership on that corner (our building is owned by, and houses the main offices of, a local company well-known for their car dealerships). When I explained to him that it is not a dealership, but a building named after the company, he still insisted it was not there. It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not let him know how much of a complete idiot I thought he was, since I was STANDING in the building. Instead I tried to help him identify it by telling him which corner the building was on, and to look for the bank that is on the lobby level. Unfortunately this was also a wrong move on my part, since there is a building owned by that bank up the street. I had to again explain to him that no, this is not that building, there just is one of those branches on the main level. What floored me about this is that this is the store that is supposedly the one that is designated to deliver downtown. You can’t tell me that with all the offices in this building, and the surrounding buildings for that matter, no one here or near here has ever ordered a pizza to be delivered! Finally he said he saw the building and would be there in three minutes. Ten minutes later I was still waiting.

At last, as I was coming around the corner after having checked the back doors of the building (they lead in from the parking lot) for the umpteenth time, I hear pounding on the glass doors in the front of the building. I run to let in the delivery man, who is literally so nervous he is fidgeting. He informs me that this is because he has parked illegally. There is a whole parking lot out to the side of the building with free parking that was probably empty at that time of night, but he parks illegally. Ok. So I ask him for a pen to sign the credit card slip. Pen? What pen? He didn’t bring a pen. I placed this order with a credit card, he has the receipt and can see that it needs a signature, but he didn’t bring a pen. He then tells me to just scratch a tip and my signature on the receipt and he’ll keep the yellow carbon copy. I know I had that blank what-can-you-possibly-be-talking-about stare on my face. He said, “you know, scratch, with your fingernail”. I was like, uh, no. Luckily I had seen a pen sitting on the lobby floor that someone had dropped. I ran back in, picked it up and signed as quickly as I could just to get him the hell away from me. As it turned out I had to actually push the little green button (that says right on it “push to open doors”) FOR him to let him back out, since he tried unsuccessfully TWICE to push the doors open. Uh, they’re locked, remember? I was waiting for him to start screaming and hitting himself in the head when he couldn’t get them open. By the way, he got no tip. Needless to say, in future we will not be ordering pizza from Domino’s for the Project Night. Truthfully I’m not sure which aspect of this is scarier to me, the fact that this man was actually DRIVING, or the fact that he contributes to the gene pool.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bad Day To Be A Thief

I had the strangest thing happen to me the other day. I was walking in to the building where I work, carrying quite a few things (you know, lunches for the week, purse, planner, coffee, etc.). All of a sudden a young man, probably my age or so :-), broke away from the group of people he was standing with outside, and opened the door for me. I was flabbergasted! I can’t remember the last time someone went out of their way for me like that. And, as if that wasn’t enough, not only did he open the first door for me, but he stepped inside and opened the second door for me as well (the building has two sets of doors at every entrance.) I’m sure I was beaming at him, and as I told him thank you in my most grateful sounding voice, I realized that he was not following me into the building. That was the icing on the cake. The man went out of his way to come and open doors for someone who needed it, and he wasn’t even going in the same direction! I glanced over my shoulder to see him headed back to the group of people he had been standing with to begin with. Giant kudos to whoever raised that man! That really is one of the problems I see with our society today. No one is willing to do anything for anyone else, just because it’s polite or kind or the right thing to do. It is sad to me that this man is the exception instead of the rule. I don’t know about anybody else, but that wasn’t the way I was raised.

Another thing that seems to be wrong today is that no one seems to be willing to stand up for themselves and protect their family. Maybe if it was more well known that people will fight back and not put up with all the crap, there would be less crime in the world. Here’s an example of what I mean. This happened a little over a month ago, and is truly an astounding event. This woman walked into her house to find someone had broken in…and was still there! Read the comments that go along with this article. There are a few people in there that seem to be right at the heart of what I’m talking about. This woman is amazingly brave, and I’m so impressed that she had the guts to stand up to someone violating HER rights. Yet there are still those people out there criticizing her for defending herself and her home. What is wrong with this country??

She also gave an interview to a radio station that I listen to in the mornings, 97.1zht. In the interview, she said that as she grabbed the guy’s legs as he ran past her, it actually ripped her fingernail off of her finger. She apparently has acrylics, and it actually ripped her natural nail completely off. As someone who has had acrylics, all I can say is…OUCH!! So there she was lying on top of this guy, her knee in his back pinning him to the floor, holding his arm back with one hand in such a way that she could have easily dislocated his shoulder, talking to 911 with the other hand, and bleeding all over the place. The DJs asked her about her threatening to break his arm, and she said that every minute or so the guy would start to try to move. She said every time she politely asked the 911 operator to hold on, then screamed at him that if he moved she’d break his arm, and then would go back to the operator and say “I’m sorry, you were saying?” Definitely my kind of person! They also don’t mention in the article that, in addition to her jewelry, they also found several medications from her medicine cabinet and coins from her child’s collection on the man. Clearly he was robbing the place. What a bad day to be a thief!

And speaking of which, this and this happened earlier this week. Seems that two banks at opposite ends of the valley had attempted bank robberies. The first one I heard about was the one out west. I guess the would-be robber presented the bank teller with a hold-up note. Though I’m dying to find out what it said, I cannot find where the contents of the note have been disclosed. Apparently, the note was incoherent enough that it confused the teller who did not comply with the robber’s orders. The robber got frustrated and walked out of the bank. The second robbery attempt was made at a bank that is really only a few blocks away from my house, which is scary in itself. But in this case, the bank has two levels that are open to each other. You know, with a balcony and everything. The robber pulled a knife on tellers on the first floor, demanding money. There were employees still on the second floor. One of them called 911 while another threw a chair over the balcony, hitting the robber in the back and knocking him to the floor. He got up and ran out of the bank empty handed. Now, what’s interesting to me is the descriptions of the robbers. The description from the west-side bank is not very detailed, but both descriptions contain some of the same information: black man in his 30’s, dark blue jacket and blue jeans. Could it possibly be the same man? Hmm, I don’t know, but imagine if it was! How humiliating! Foiled in two robberies on the same day! I guess the only thing he has going for him is that he didn’t get caught!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Fun Side of Memory Lane

Recently a co-worker told me a story about a kindergarten student's take on Santa. Her son is a teacher, and I guess he did his student teaching in a kindergarten class. Around Christmas time, one child asked him how Santa knows whether you're good or bad. Before he could answer, another little girl piped up and said "Jesus tells him". Apparently Jesus has been ratting us out to Santa for years, and we just never knew it.

It put me in mind of some things that have been said at my house in recent weeks. Aren't little kids funny about Christmas? While at home in Wyoming over Thanksgiving, we saw Santa at the local Wal-Mart. It was the first time Sweetpea did not hesitate to go and talk to him, and sit on his lap. When Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she told him five presents. Not four, not six, five. She did not tell him what she wanted in the presents. When I asked her shortly thereafter what Santa was going to bring her, she replied, "Presents and gifts. Red, yellow, blue and green presents and gifts." I could not get any information as to what should be contained in the presents and gifts. I, of course, started to panic since it creates a bit of a problem when you only know Santa will bring presents and gifts, but not what will be in them. Nor does it assist me in my own shopping ventures if I have no idea what Sweetpea wants. It occurred to me that I had done this to my mom when I was a child, or something similar, and I was probably getting what I deserved. I don't remember this, but I have been told, many many times in fact, that one Christmas I refused to tell my parents what I was asking Santa for for Christmas. Anytime I was asked, I would cross my arms, stick my nose in the air, purse my lips and reply "He knows." By the time December rolled around, my mom was beside herself and just knew that whatever it was I was asking for wouldn't make it under the tree. Luckily for her I decided to write Santa a letter. She was able to kipe the letter off of the mailbox after I had gone to school, and low and behold, Santa definitely delivered that year.

It also occurred to me that, since we don't watch a lot of TV with commercials at our house, and don't visit the toy stores or toy aisles on a regular basis, Sweetpea had probably not seen any toys to ask for. So, in our quest to find gifts for our nephews, last weekend we made the trek to the toy store, Sweetpea in tow. We let her take her time and explore the whole store, and sure enough, she found THE greatest toy ever, and has consistently stated that
this is what she will ask for from Santa this year. Yay!

The trip to the toy store for me was both exciting and depressing, all at the same time. This is because I found several toys that are either making a comeback, or are still around from when I was a child. In October I found out that this year is the 25th anniversary of the Care Bears. Wal-Mart had a 25th anniversary Tenderheart Care Bear for sale. It is white, with a silver heart on its tummy, a sterling silver nose and Swavorski Crystals in its eyes.
It also comes with a DVD of the original Care Bear movie. Of course I just had to have it. No, not for Sweetpea, for me! I bought one and put it up on the shelf in the closet unopened. (I found out as I was looking for pics for this post that there is also a pink 25th anniversary Care Bear. I may have to have it, too.)
I was especially excited because Care Bears is one of the "stayed around" toys that hasn't changed a bit. They still look exactly like they always did. The same goes for My Little Ponies. While at the toy store, I discovered that 2008 is also the 25th year of My Little Ponies. They are currently offering for sale two packages of three ponies each - the original six ponies released in 1983!
I was so excited I immediately added them to my Christmas list! Again, no, not for Sweetpea, for me. They, too, will go up on the shelf in the closet and remain in the boxes. In searching for these pics, I also found out that 2007 was the 25th anniversary of Rubik's Cube and G.I. Joe as well. Geez, I feel old.
While at the toy store, I also came upon a display of Pound Puppies. That's right, THE Pound Puppies! Full size!
Though they mostly looked exactly like I remember them, it appears they have added some new puppies to their repertoire. And perhaps they are a "coming back" toy rather than a "stayed around" one, but I was nonetheless thrilled to see them. I immediately snatched one off the shelf and turned to Sweetpea saying, in a voice that I'm sure the majority of the people in the six aisles to my right and the 8 aisles to my left could hear, "I think we should get one of THESE!" She looked at me with that look of a child who believes their parent has suddenly lost their mind, looked at the Pound Puppy, and said "Oh look, a puppy." She gave it a courtesy pet, then promptly walked away. I was amused and devastated all at the same time. As I put the puppy back on the shelf, I caught a few of the looks from the other parents nearest to me. No, it's not what you think. They were not looking at me as if I were completely insane. Instead, every single one of them was grinning with that knowing smile that says "We agree, we want one too, but our kids weren't impressed either."

It really doesn't end here. I am a little disappointed with the comeback of Strawberry Shortcake, because they look nothing like they used to. Though the smell seems to be the same. I don't like the new Cabbage Patch dolls AT ALL. They are too big, and though they may look similar to their original form, I can tell the difference. Yuck. Although, I think I saw somewhere that their anniversary is also coming up, and they are celebrating with the release of an original version of the doll. Then again, maybe that is something I just concocted.

In addition, I was so stoked to find at Wal-Mart the Cooties game on sale! My nephew is getting one for Christmas. All in all, the trip to the toy store was actually pretty fun, though I left there feeling REALLY old. It's bound to get to you when the toys you played with as a kid are announcing their 25th anniversaries. I did go home and promptly call my mom to tell her of the discoveries I had made, and the new additions to my Christmas list. She, of course, found the whole thing amazingly funny. In between snorts of laughter, she tried to answer my questions as to whether she had saved any of these toys from when I was a kid. Ultimately we decided that a trip to the attic will be necessary on our next trip home. I'm actually excited, despite the distinct possibility of finding spiders up there (I'm an arachnophobe). Mom promised to set off a bug bomb up there a couple days before we get there, and I will hold her to it.

Of course, my husband made fun of my little walk down memory lane, and rolled his eyes every time I mentioned adding one of these things to my Christmas list. But you should have seen him check out the electric race tracks with that little gleam in his eye. And when he thought I wasn't looking, I saw him pick up and peruse a game of Operation....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Runs Naked With Deer

Howdy. Hope everyone's Thanksgiving and holiday weekend were great. Mine was pretty good. We made the trip home to Wyoming to spend it with my family. It's always good for me to get home, and to visit with my grandparents as much as possible. My Grandma Nene is 80 and my Papa is 79, so I like to spend as much time with them as I can, and especially to give them the chance to spend some time with my daughter. This Thanksgiving was a little different than I'm used to, but it had to do with the meal more than anything. Usually Nene & Papa cook the whole meal themselves (of course, with a little help from us). This year, we decided it was just too much for them to handle on their own, and we all contributed. My sister made green bean casserole and garlic mashed potatoes (which were FANTASTIC), my mom made stuffing/dressing (depending on which recipe you use) and four pies, I made sweet potato casserole and whipped cream, and my grandparents contributed the rest, which included the turkey, gravy, corn on the cob, caramelized (I think) onions and the cranberry sauce. Ok, so I didn't make the sweet potato casserole. I started to, and then got kicked out of the way by my husband. He said he would take over because he was afraid I would spit in it or burn it on purpose or something. This is because I don't like sweet potatoes, in any form. He got no complaints, just dirty looks and the burning curiosity about what kind of person he seems to think I am. So I whipped the cream. Though I helped clean up afterwards, so I'm not completely useless. Dinner was, of course, really good, and I ate myself silly as usual.

I did brave Black Friday somewhat, but there was no way on this earth I was getting up at 4:00 a.m. (or earlier) to fight the crush of people for things I don't need and don't intend to buy for anyone on my list. That's just psychotic. And yes, there was a huge number of people shopping at that time (so I heard), even in Wyoming. Instead, mom and I ventured out around 10:00. Things were much calmer by then. Yes, there were still quite a few people out and about, but you could walk down the aisles without getting plowed into by someone else's shopping cart, or having to turn your body sideways and suck in your breath just to avoid being run over. We stayed out for about four hours, and in that time managed to cover K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, the Dollar Store, and three stores in the mall. And take 20 minutes to wait in line for a pretzel. (I won't even get started on that.) All in all a pretty successful trip. Also, by the time the weekend was over, between store shopping and online shopping, I managed to wipe out gifts for all but maybe 5 or 6 people on my Christmas list. Not bad. Not bad at all.

A couple very interesting things did happen this weekend. On Friday my husband, my sister's husband and my dad went fishing at Flaming Gorge for a new type of fish. This is one we've never seen before. It's called a burbot. Here are a couple of websites that give good descriptions: or You'll notice, though, that they state these fish are found in the Northern U.S. What has happened is that a year or two ago these were illegally planted in some waters around Farson, Wyoming (I think) and have quickly moved their way downstream and into the Gorge. I hear their population has exploded, and while there still is a limit on these fish since they are game fish, the limit is 25 per person and release is not allowed. You catch it, you keep it. The bad news is that they eat a lot of the same things the large lake trout and small mouth bass eat, so there is concern for too much competition for the same food chain. It's expected that they will reach the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam by next summer, and if so will decimate the trout populations there. Hence the no release rule. The good news is that these fish have an amazing taste. I didn't know until reading those articles myself that they are part of the cod family, but it certainly explains the wonderful flavor of the meat. We chopped it up and boiled it, then ate it with melted butter. YUMMY! I have instructed my dad to go back and get more! I did find it interesting that another name for these fish is the lawyer fish. Could that be because they resemble eels or snakes? Well, my dad did say when you pick them up to get them off the hook, they wrap their tails around your arm. Ew.

Another interesting thing is that somehow my daughter has become a hot cocoa connoisseur. I guess when she was visiting her Granna's house (my mom) without me, she got to have hot cocoa. This morning she asked me for some, and so I made up a cup for her to take with her to daycare. She took one drink and informed me that it wasn't hot cocoa, it was hot chocolate and she didn't want it. I'm still trying to figure out what the difference is, but I guess I better get in touch with Granna and find out what Sweetpea has been drinking there!

And now for the best thing that happened. I probably should give a little background here. My family all lives in the same neighborhood in my hometown. My sister's house is right next door to my grandparents' house. My parents' house is around the corner and four houses up. Across the street from my sister and grandparents, and out my parents' backyard gate, is a pretty large park by small town standards called Garnet Park. It includes a couple sets of playground equipment, a basketball court, a tennis court, some horseshoe pits, a small fountain, a couple picnic areas and a large expanse of open grass, as well as some pathways and benches. This was my stomping ground as a kid. The Park is surrounded by neighborhood, but if you head directly up the hill from the park it's only 5 or 6 blocks before you hit the edge of town. This is open prairie/desert, which is of course inhabited by deer. Sometimes in the winter, the deer will head into the neighborhood at night and end up in the park. This has happened more and more the last few winters. Well, Friday night, my mom, sister, the kids and I were all at my sister's house waiting for the guys to come back from the fishing trip. About 10:00 my mom finally gave up and started to head home. She'd only been gone about five minutes when the phone rang. It was her, calling to tell us there was deer and a naked guy in the park. Yes, that's right, a naked guy. She said it so nonchalantly we at first thought she was kidding. By the time my sister and I and the kids got upstairs, the naked guy was gone. We did take the kids out to see the deer, of which there were four does laying down by one of the picnic areas. Apparently the naked guy was not completely naked, he did have shoes on. Which makes sense since by that time the temperature was probably down to 10 degrees (it bottomed out that night at either 6 or 8 degrees above zero.) Certainly he wouldn't want to run through the dusting of snow in 10 degree weather with bare feet. When I asked mom if she was sure he was naked, she said there was no doubt. He was a young man, probably just a teenager, and she said she got the impression he was probably doing it on a dare, since he was running so fast and there was a get-away car waiting for him at the other end of the park. The kicker is that he was running with his hands cupped between his legs. My dad later made the comment that in that temperature he was sure not doing it to prevent things from flopping about. My mom has decided to write a letter to the editor of the city's paper to let the young man know that there was a witness to the escapade, and I'm sure I'll help her with that since I really can't resist. In our discussions of him, we have nicknamed him "Runs Naked With Deer", and he will surely be a chapter in family lore.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And Finally....

Yes, I am completely aware that my last post was ten days ago. Thank you to those of you who "reminded" me that I do in fact have a blog. Unfortunately I don't really have that much to discuss. But give me a few minutes of rambling, and I'm sure I can come up with something. The rambling part shouldn't be too hard, especially since I'm all hopped up on cold medicine. (Though I have been told some of my best stuff has been when I've been drugged up on DayQuil!) Yes, I'm sick - AGAIN. It appears to be an ongoing thing. Every time I get stressed, I get sick. Of course, by stressed I don't mean just your every day run-of-the-mill stressful situation. I mean super stressed. So when work crosses over to the I-haven't-been-so-busy-since-the-2005-filing-panic side, I'm guaranteed to get sick. (Those of you involved in the bankruptcy field know EXACTLY what I'm referring to. And yes, I spent a month and a half sick in the Fall of 2005.) Generally I stay sick until I can get the stress to calm down. If I can do it quickly, it only becomes a mild cold. Lucky me.

So I have to tell everyone something that happened to me on my way to work this morning. I had just dropped off Sweetpea at daycare, and had only managed to travel a couple of blocks away. I was in the outside lane, and came upon a car slowing down to turn right onto a side street. I wanted to remain in the lane I was in, so I slowed down too. However, the turning vehicle must have been a Lexus or a Mercedes driven by an elderly person, because they somehow forgot which pedal was the gas and nearly came to a complete stop. Of course, that forced me to slow down so much I might as well have been stopped too. As I was waiting for the driving-impaired person to complete the turn, I realized that at that same street, waiting to turn left from the stop sign, was a man in a van swirled 70's style with (I kid you not) pink, purple and white, towing some kind of utility trailer behind it. Now I probably would not have even noticed, but for the brilliant van driver's idea to pull out in front of me to make his turn. Had he done that while Ms. Lexus was still turning, it would have been no biggie, since I couldn't really go anywhere anyway. But noooo, he chose to wait until she had almost completed the turn to pull out, literally driving his rig right out in front of me. Nor did Mr. Brilliant think it was a good idea to make this turn quickly. He took his sweet time moving along out into traffic. As for me, I sat there flabbergasted, with my mouth literally hanging open and both hands thrown up in the air in my best "what the hell?" gesture. As I pointedly watched him pass in front of me, frozen in this unmistakable position, I was even more shocked to witness him flipping me off! As if I was the idiot here. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Anyone who would drive that van while pulling a trailer filled with who knows what probably has more than a few screws loose in the first place.

Alright, enough of that. I believe I promised some Halloween pics of Sweetpea. So here, at long last, is my little princess:

No, that is not a boa over her shoulder. It is a purse with a feather shoulder strap. The strap is just too long for her, so if she carries it around at full length it drags on the floor. I just tied a loop in the top to shorten it for her. In the purse she insisted on carrying her coin purse stuffed with change and her makeup. You never know when you might need a touch up! She was so good this night, and sat so still while I messed with her hair and did her makeup. She even let me put mascara on her (but only a little!) Thank goodness, because the next day, which happened to be Halloween, she refused to let me do anything other than put a crown on her head (which, incidentally, was not the one pictured, but a real life tiara she received as a gift from her Granna that has combs on the sides to help it stay put in your hair), and put a little eyeshadow on.

Yes, I realize she does not look happy in any of these pictures. We could not for the life of us get her to smile! Not even off camera! I didn't find out until just before we ate at the Trunk-or-Treat that the reason she was not smiling was because she was wearing lipstick. Pink, sparkly lipstick. Apparently she was of the impression that if she smiled, the lipstick would somehow magically disappear. I only discovered this because she asked me to wipe it off, and the second I ran the napkin over her lips in some semblance of an attempt to get it off (there is no way this was going to take it all off, this was that fake kids' lipstick that barely comes off with a putty knife and paint thinner) she began to smile like crazy. Too bad I don't have any pics of the smiles, she was just beautiful that night. (Yes, she really is only 3.)

This is the closest thing we got to a pic of a smile. And this was taken by my bil. Yes, that is me behind her. I also didn't discover until arriving at the Trunk-or-Treat that her dress has ties in the back meant to make a cute little velvet bow. So I was fixing the problem. Luckily, this is the only image I know of captured of me that night! Unfortunately none of these pics really show her makeup, which really made the whole outfit. Oh well, I got to see her and she was/is gorgeous!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Irritations Abound

For whatever reason, I cannot contain my irritation today. It seems one thing after another irritates me. Truth be told, the irritation actually began last night, when I went home thinking about a case for hearing today that is just bugging me like none other. It's just one of those situations that doesn't smell right, and I'm pretty sure there is something not so honest/ethical going on. However, I have no proof and due to Rules of Civil Procedure, I can't get my hunch entered as evidence in the courtroom. The fact that there is nothing I can do about it doesn't stop me from going a little nutty over it.

My next irritation happened this morning when I took my daughter with me to the polls. The place where we vote is a school just a couple of blocks from my house, so I thought it would be easier to take her with me on the way to daycare. At first she thought I was saying that I was taking her with me to "boat". When I explained to her that I was actually saying "vote", and sounded it out for her, she changed her pronunciation but not her idea of what we were going to do. Once I had cast my ballot, we headed for the door, when all of the sudden she stopped dead where she was and said she didn't want to leave. When I asked why, she said she wanted to ride in the vote. It dawned on me that she, being only three, has no idea what a vote is. She got in her mind that it was like a boat, and she was to ride on it. And stubborn as my child is, she refused to let go of that idea. I tried to explain to her that I had already voted, and that it was a word that meant to choose (in a round about way, but this is the best definition I could think of. How do you explain voting to a three-year-old?) I tried this tack from several different angles. Each time I concluded what I thought was a perfectly understandable explanation, she followed up with "I want to ride on the vote." As if I had not said a word. So, I changed angles. I tried to explain that a vote is something you do, it is not something you ride on. She didn't get that either, and continued to repeat that she wanted to ride on the vote. By the time I had her strapped back in her car seat, I was so frustrated and out of patience that I just finally told her that the vote was broken and we couldn't ride on it today. She accepted that explanation, but I get the funny feeling it will come back to bite me in the near future.

The next irritation came just a few minutes later when, about a half a block away from the daycare, it suddenly occurred to me that today is picture day. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize, all of a sudden, that something very important has escaped your attention? Yes, I had forgotten (surprise, surprise.) I had even written it down in my planner so I wouldn't forget, and had had my planner open just yesterday. And still I forgot. Unfortunately my daughter chose her own clothes today with no prompting from me. She chose a blue Hogle Zoo t-shirt with a monkey on it, and a teal-colored sweatshirt to wear over the top that says "Am I cute or what?" on the front. My husband helped her get dressed this morning, and so he simply chose a pair of jeans from the top of one of the baskets full of laundry I have yet to get folded/hung up and put away. The jeans have embroidered butterflies and flowers down the lower parts of the legs, the cuffs of the legs are ruffled, and there is a pink ribbon around the bottom of each leg. The sweatshirt does have flowers on it around the little saying, which is why I didn't bother to change her jeans to an unadorned pair. To top it off, she chose tan shoes with pink butterflies all over them, and, in an effort to get out of the door quickly so I could go vote, I simply pulled her hair up into a ponytail. Which she had completely destroyed before we ever got to daycare, since she refuses to wear her sunglasses and instead pulls her blanket up over her head. I walked her into daycare looking helplessly at all the little girls in their pretty matching outfits and hair all done up special, and the little boys all dressed up in their cute little shirts and dress pants, and felt like the most inattentive mother in the world because my daughter looked like a bum. Pictures were being taken at 9:00 this morning, so there literally was no time for me to run back home and bring her back a nice outfit. Her teacher promised to fix her hair before the pictures, so at least she will have that going for her, but still! I feel like such a heel. My husband tried to reassure me by reminding me that we don't purchase the pictures taken there (we have her pictures done every year around her birthday), but I told him I had wanted a class picture for her book, and thought it would have been nice if our daughter had looked the part.

Of course traffic irritated me all the way to work after that. No one was capable of doing the speed limit this morning. At least, no one on the same roads as me. Then, just a little while ago, another irritation popped up in the form of an email notification of a comment on my blog. The notification said it was a comment from someone named Tara. I don't know anyone named Tara. When I opened the email it turned out that it was a spam comment. I know I'm new to this blogging thing, but it never even occurred to me that someone would post a comment that is nothing more than spam! Why is it not enough that I get hounded by Spam mail on both my personal and work emails, and that I get sales calls at home (which basically equates to Phone Spam)? Must these people continue their assault by leaving Spam Comments on a site that's just supposed to be a little fun??? Needless to say, I have deleted the comment and opted to moderate comments from here on out. No more spam on this blog! Although I'm sure it doesn't matter a whole lot, since with an average of about 5 hits a day, I doubt they'll sell much.

Hopefully the rest of today and this evening will go better, though I'm not holding my breath. I've already discovered that I have to stop by my house before I ever go to pick up Sweetpea at daycare, because today tuition is due and my husband took the checkbook. Not that it's really his fault. He usually picks her up and it is just habit to grab the checkbook on tuition day. But tonight he is teaching, so I have to pick her up. While he was home for lunch he left the checkbook there. So I have to drive all the way home to get it, to drive all the way to pick her up, just to drive all the way back home again. GRRRRR!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween Capers

Ok, yes, I'm aware that I'm a slacker. I haven't posted since Oct. 29th. And I know how everyone has been looking forward to Halloween pictures. In my defense, that is exactly why I haven't posted. I've been waiting for my husband to download the pictures he took of Sweetpea in her princess costume. And why can't I do it myself, you ask? Because his camera is this huge monstrosity of a thing that I haven't the slightest idea how to use. Ok, maybe a slight idea, but still... Anyway, I've been asking him to download them for nearly a week now, and he has yet to do it. Tonight I threatened him telling him I would mess with his camera and do it myself if he didn't get on the job pronto. I was hoping the mere threat of the disaster I might turn his camera into if I tried to do it myself would be motivation enough to get it done. Unfortunately, he just looked at me and said "good luck finding the card." (I can only assume he meant the digital card where the pics are stored, but this is how little I know about his camera. For all I know he could have been referring to Hallmark.) So, frustrated, here I post. I was hoping to be saved my brother-in-law, who also took several pics of Sweetpea at the Trunk-or-Treat last Tuesday night. However, despite his promises to do so by yesterday, he has yet to download HIS pics to his online gallery. Grrrrr. Men!

So, in lieu of pics, at least temporarily, I thought I would try and paint a few mental pictures for you instead. I make no guarantees that you won't need intense therapy when I'm finished. This year, after much debate and what seemed like very minimal interest on her part, Sweetpea finally decided that she wanted to be a princess for Halloween. She made this decision while standing in the store browsing at costumes. (No, I am not a crafty mom that makes her costumes. I'm perfectly happy to buy it and let someone else do all the work. I just don't have the time.) After purchase of the pretty pink costume and crown, of course, she then switched to a pumpkin, then a ghost, then back to a princess. Thank god. Luckily for her, I'm ok with the kids "double-dipping", as my friend Em calls it. We've done Trunk-or-Treat for the last four Halloweens, either at my mil/fil's ward or my sil's ward (since I'm not LDS and my husband is not active). And since the ToTs are not held on Halloween, actual Trick-or-Treating is still allowed. Needless to say, the kid makes out like a bandit. Which means that I will be gaining a few pounds before all the candy has disappeared.

So this year it was at my mil's ward. There was a chili dinner, with prizes for the best chili, a pumpkin carving contest, a costume contest and a trunk decorating contest. I have no idea who won, since I don't know anyone in the ward but my in-laws. But there were some pretty awesome costumes. I especially loved The Man with the Yellow Hat and Curious George, the cupcake and the little missionary who was about 5 years old. At most. The weather was quite nice, and Sweetpea had lots of practice on her "Trick-or-treat"s and "Thank you"s. Though, most of the time she would just open up her bag and say thank you right off the bat, by the end of the night she had it down. In between cars she jumped up and down and giggled, she was having so much fun! Once she finished her rounds, she sat inside our trunk all decked out in her pink fur coat handing out candy to the other kids. I thought we ought to get a prize for that. I'd vote it Best Decorated Trunk!

The next night, Halloween, my husband took her around the neighborhood Trick-or-treating, while I managed to finally make it home from work to be there to answer the door at our house. They spent at least an hour and a half walking around, which I believe to be a record for our neighborhood. (There aren't a lot of people that hand out candy, and few kids that come around to houses, which is probably a bonus since most of them that do will definitely arrive home with an abundance of treats.) When they returned ladened down with her over-flowing bag, my husband informed me that she can't go with him any more. When I asked why, he said she embarrasses him. Further inquiry revealed that at the houses where the owners offered her two pieces of candy, Sweetpea would counter with "Well how about three?" That's my girl. In addition, any time someone told her what a pretty princess she was, or how cute she was, she would respond with "I know". I guess she's heard that a little too much. One neighbor apparently held the candy bowl out of her reach until she said "Trick-or-treat". Sweetpea tried several times for the bowl, then frowned, stomped her foot, and let out with a big sigh before she said the magic words. I don't know that she remembered to say thank you at that house. To top it all off, she kept telling my husband that they couldn't go home yet because the bag wasn't full.

Of course the sorting through the candy was the best part. The actual smell of the goodies brought back all sorts of yummy memories. And I saw all sorts of stuff in there that I would eat. Oh, um, I mean, that Sweetpea would eat. *giggle* I did find something odd in her bag, though. A 100 Calorie Snack Pack. They were at least oreos, but come on! Who gives out 100 Calorie Snack Packs for Halloween?? From the looks of things, someone in my neighborhood. That's a scary thought!

Speaking of scary, we had a little adventure, too. First, the last Trick-or-Treater we had on Halloween was really weird. He (I'm guessing it was a he, since the full mask and wig he was wearing made it impossible to tell) knocked on the door instead of ringing the doorbell. Since it was a little late, my husband went to the door. This 'kid' stood at least as tall as my husband, probably was similar in weight, and he was alone. He never said a word, just opened up his bag for the candy. When my husband dropped a couple candy bars in, the kid walked away. Never even said thank you. It was just really weird. I wondered how old he was, but it was the kind of Friday the 13th creepy thing that made me wonder if he was going to come back and break down the door with a chain saw. My husband and I looked at each other after he had closed the door, and he said "Yeah, we're done for the night."

The next scary thing that happened was just this past Saturday. We had come home from dinner out and Sweetpea had zonked out on the couch. My husband and I finished cleaning up the mess created earlier in the day from the delivery of Sweetpea's new bedroom furniture. As we were just finishing up, there suddenly rang out a large POP sound from outside. My reaction was to stop dead where I was and say "what the hell was that?" Being the gun guru that he is, my husband thought it sounded like a gunshot. We immediately went into "Spy mode" and killed all the lights, then crouched on the couch peering out of the front window as if we were on some secret mission to uncover the truth. As if anyone outside actually watching our house wouldn't have known what we were doing! We only debated calling the police for about a minute and a half, which was apparently 30 seconds longer than our across-the-street neighbor. As my husband was on the phone with the police dispatcher, another loud POP rang out. Since I was looking out the window, I was able to see that the POP was accompanied by a very bright flash, and that it was coming from up the street either on the same side as our house, or near the parking lot of the Luthern church/school that is on the corner. He reported the information to her, gave her our information, then hung up. So we sat in the dark, watching out into the street and waiting for the police to arrive. It didn't take long, I'd say 5 minutes max, before a patrol unit pulled up. My husband went out and talked to him for a few minutes, as did several of the neighbors, and then came in to report the police had received several calls. We continued to sit in the dark watching nothing outside (except an additional police unit go speeding by) until we finally received a call from the police office about 15 minutes later. It seems that "kids" had been blowing up pumpkins in the church parking lot with what appeared to be some sort of illegal firework. That's why I saw a flash. They said there was pumpkin all over the parking lot up there, and they searched the adjoining small park area and wood, but found nothing. The officer hypothesized that the kids didn't really realize what would happen, and that the explosion of the pumpkin probably scared the crap out of them and they ran off. I'm more inclined to believe a police car coming toward where you're standing, knowing you're doing something illegal, has the better scare-the-crap-outta-you effect. Needless to say there have been no more loud POPs, and we haven't heard if the culprits were ever caught.

I will continue to harass and/or threaten my husband until he downloads the Halloween pics, so as soon as I can accomplish that, I will post them. Hope everyone had a very happy, very safe, Halloween! MUUHHUUWAHHHHAHAHA!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

How 'Bout Them Sox?

Well here we are, three years later and another sweep. As shocked as I was that they actually swept the Rockies, (pretty impressive considering at the onset of the series the Rockies had won 21 of their last 22 games, including their sweep of the Diamondbacks,) I must say I was able to enjoy this run to the pennant much more than in 2004. That year it was just a little too surreal. You know, like I kept waiting for them to screw it up. Like every year. Or, at least, every year before 2004. Anyway...

I wasn't always a Red Sox fan. I kind of got assimilated into the Red Sox Nation. That's what happens when you marry someone who was born in Boston, or a suburb thereof, and whose entire family is from there. Resistance is futile? (Gee, haven't I said that before?) Not that I minded that much. I grew up in Wyoming, remember? No pro team close enough to root for. No, not even the Rockies, since they have only been in existance for 11 years, and I moved away 13 years ago. I have a few friends that immediately took up with the Rockies. My only thoughts were, "hmm, nice colors." But I was never that interested in following them. Don't get me wrong, I was glad they got as far as they did. But I have now become a permanent part of the Red Sox Nation, so there was no way I was going to cheer for the Rockies. It seems that's how it happens with the Sox. Did you ever see Fever Pitch? Decent movie, made better by the fact that they actually had to change the ending, since they were in the middle of filming in 2004 when the Sox took the series. At the beginning of the movie the main character talks about how he became one of those pathetic creatures called a Red Sox fan. I love that comment. Because up until '04, that's exactly what we were. (I admit, I had only been a fan for about 7 years at that point, but I find that one year as fan and you're hooked, regardless of how many times they break your heart.) Once a Sox fan, always a Sox fan. Though in the last three years, I'm not so sure that still applies. I've seen a big increase in Sox fans, but only since they won in '04. I wonder what will happen with the posers if the Sox go on another elongated losing streak (hopefully not 84 years long, but still.) Such is the price of championship, I guess.

I will tell you what I didn't like about this year's series. The commercials!! I am so sick and tired of those commercials I fully intend to turn the channel and possibly even throw something at the TV the next time one comes on. I will never buy a Chevy Malibu, probably never go to Taco Bell again (except maybe tomorrow to get my free taco) and if I hadn't already had Verizon as my cell provider for three years, I might seriously rethink my decision on that, too. Ok, the Malibu commercials were funny the first time. Who wouldn't laugh at a bunch of bank robbers running out of the bank and getting in their car just as the police pulled up, only to have the police run right by as if they didn't see the robbers? Or at a woman who jogs straight into the car and flops over the hood, then slides down to the ground and sits there looking around like, did I just do that? I even laughed the first time at the Taco Bell commercial "Big Brother's Rules". But for crying out loud. Do we have to see these things EVERY commercial break. Gag. At least Miller High-Life had the decency to vary their commercials. They may be stupid, but at least you don't see the same one over and over until you want to just rip that delivery guy out of the TV beat him down with your own baseball bat!

The other thing I know I won't do is go and see the new Will Smith movie. It's called "I Am Legend". Have you seen the ads for this? What am I talking about, if you watched any little bit of the World Series, OF COURSE you saw the ads. Well I don't know about you, but the ads scared the crap out of me! It doesn't give you much information, of course, but from what I can gather there is some sort of airborne something or other that kills everyone on the planet (supposedly) except Will Smith's character. The part that bothers me, aside from the horrific thought of that anyway, is that his character at least starts out with a family, a wife and little girl. They show a clip of the little girl sitting in her car seat just tapping her fingers together as children do, completely oblivious to what's going on around her. There's even a clip showing them going through the line and the police or somebody saying "you're not infected" to him and his little girl. And then all of a sudden he's alone. That means something happened to that little girl, and that just kills me. Anymore, anything happening to children bothers me immensely. Ever since my daughter was born. I even try to avoid the news. I'm perfectly happy only knowing a little bit of what's going on in the world around me if it means I get to avoid hearing about some child that got hurt, kidnapped, killed, etc. Part of motherhood, I suppose, but I don't see other mothers avoiding the news like I do. But I digress.

The rest of what is bugging me about that movie is the whole "end of the world sort of" concept. That creeps me out. *shudder* (Maybe because, to an extent, a lot of these things invented by Hollywood are possible.) I couldn't even finish watching The Day After Tomorrow. The ads for it haunted me for days. I thought it would bother me forever if I didn't at least try to watch it. I watched the beginning, and then ended up making my sister tell me what happened to the main characters in the end. I'm satisfied with that, have no need to ever watch the whole thing. I struggled with Deep Impact, I think because it was so generalized. I did better with Armageddon, but that did focus more on specific characters. I hated Independence Day. Maybe it's the mass destruction or loss of innocent lives. I really don't know, but I do know that there's too much of that happening in the real world, I don't need to go to the movies to watch all the possibilities of how all life on our planet could get killed off. Enough! Whatever happened to happily ever after? Oh, incidentally, I saw another ad for Will's movie and he's not alone. There appear to be horrible man-like creatures that are attacking him...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

If It Wasn't Attached...

On my friend’s blog yesterday, she posted an entry saying her brain had turned to mush. I decided it must be going around. Take me, for example. In the last week I’ve forgotten my purse at work. Twice. I’ve walked out of the office leaving it hanging up on my coat tree, even though I have put on my jacket to leave, which has also been hanging on the coat tree. The first time I left it, I didn’t notice until the next morning when I was getting ready to leave for work. It was not hanging on the closet door knob, where it usually is, so I spent 20 minutes searching the house in a panic, thinking Sweetpea had decided it was better to drag my purse around than one of her many. I finally gave up, having run out of time, and just hoped it was still at work. Yup. It was. The second time I left it was just this last Tuesday. I had left work a little early to go and do some Halloween treat shopping. I didn’t notice it was missing until I pulled into the Big Lots parking lot, and went to get out of the car. No purse. Since I knew I had had it that morning, and I had been no where else, it could only have been on the coat tree at work. Do you know how very difficult it is to shop without a purse? Some people would say no problem, I do it all the time. Sure, but it becomes very difficult when that’s where your money is. Treat shopping got put on hold. And my best friend will probably require a little therapy, since I'm sure I turned her ears red with all the swearing I did when I discovered the absence of purse. (Yes, I was on the phone with her, and yes, I can swear with the best of sailors.)

It's wishful thinking to imagine that is the only evidence I have that I have developed a skull full of cream o' wheat. It's not. In the last couple of weeks I have also left my cell phone at work. Three times. Once I didn't remember until I'd gotten home, but the other two I remembered before I got to the car and went back for it. I have also left it at home once. I was about half-way to work before I realized it. And no, even though I immediately freaked out, I did not turn around and go back for it. How is it I managed to live 20 or so years without a cell phone, and now leaving it sitting on the dining room table is cause for sheer panic?

My daughter has had three accidents at daycare in the last three weeks. Since she is still in late stages of potty training, she does still have quite a few accidents. The first occurred when the teacher did not remind her to go potty before laying down for her nap. Mistake. Needless to say she woke up soaking wet, and that would be the reason for the use of her spare clothing. (We are supposed to keep her supplied with spare clothes to be stored at the daycare for instances such as these.) So I needed to replace the spares. I forgot. Of course. Last week she launched herself off of a table, crashed into a shelf (she led with her nose) and managed a bloody nose. Not to mention a bruise right across the bridge of her nose and two slightly black eyes. After the crash, she stood and cried without making any sort of effort to stop the blood, which, of course, poured down the front of her shirt. Why wouldn't it? It was a white shirt. *sigh* Damn that Murphy. Being that I had not replaced her spare clothing, she came home wearing her undershirt with the bloody shirt in a ziplock bag. To the daycare's credit, I would mention that the "table" is a child-size table that only stands about a foot high, and Sweetpea was apparently jumping to try and reach the paper Halloween bats that were hanging from the ceiling, which is also only about 6 feet high. The Halloween bats have now been banished as constant trouble-makers, and the teacher soaked the shirt in cold water. Though it came home damp, I believe we managed to get it clean. You would think with this incident, I would remember to send new spare clothes to daycare. You'd think, but nope, that wasn't the case. I still didn't remember. Today Sweetpea didn't quite make it to the restroom in time. She soaked her jeans, her underwear and her socks. Being that she did not have any spares, the teacher put her in a pair of pants belonging to the daycare for just these occasions. However, underwear and socks could not be found, so Sweetpea had to suffer sockless and commando all afternoon. Spare clothing is currently sitting on top of my purse ready to go for the morning. If only I can remember my purse.

It gets worse. I've gone shopping three times in the last week and all three times walked out of the store without something I needed. And no, none of the three items were the same. The kicker? Yep, you guessed it. All of the items were on my lists. I have yet to go back to get any of them. Yikes. I'm also discovering that the evidence of a mushy brain is not limited to forgetfulness. I noticed on my last blog that I said the icon to have updates to my blog emailed to you is located on the left side of the blog. Uh huh. There's nothing on the left side of my blog. It's all on the right. Yesterday in Court I told a fellow attorney that I had endorseded his Order online. Did you get that? EndorsedED.

I've also noticed the appearance of AOADD. That would be Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder. The signs of this? Here's an example. I pick up a cup to take to the kitchen. On my way I notice a book of Sweetpea's that has been left out. I put the cup down and head the other direction to her room. On my way by, I notice the bathroom light has been left on. I go to shut it off and notice some barrettes sitting in the soap dish on the sink. I set the book down, and pick up the barrettes to take to the hallway closet to put away. As I'm putting the barrettes away, I glance into the kitchen and see the rest of my coke that I have been looking all over for. I figure I better finish it. On my way to grab it, I remember I have a piece of chocolate in the fridge. Mmm, chocolate and coke. I open the fridge and find Sweetpea has shoved pieces of plastic food into the drawers and into the nooks and crannies on the door shelves. I gather up the food, and head back toward Sweetpea's room. On the way down the hallway, I trip over a cat who is laying across several of her catnip toys, loving them like there is no tomorrow. The cat screeches and runs, the plastic food flies everywhere, I swear up a storm until Sweetpea comes running to see what has happened and I have to stop. By this time I decide it is just a good time to give up and go to bed. The cup is still in the living room, the book is sitting on the toilet, the hallway closet door is standing wide open, my coke is still on the kitchen counter, there's plastic food scattered all over the hallway, I'm frustrated and tired and can't figure out why my house looks like a tornado hit it when I know I've been cleaning all night. I hear this gets worse as you get older. I somehow can't imagine that.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pokemon Lives!

Before I get started tonight, let me point a couple of things out. I've had several people mention that they forget to check my blog for new posts. I told them I figured that was the case. I can be pretty forgetable. So, to help those like me that on most days would forget their head if it wasn't attached to their neck, I've added a feature on the left side of this blog that allows you to insert your email address. It will automatically email you every time I post something new. Your email address will not be added to any spam lists, nor will I contact you to sell anything. I won't even give it to Congress or the aliens. It's just so you can be notified that it's time for healthy guffaw in my direction. Second, I have also added a guestbook feature to the right side of the blog. Please, sign my guestbook. I keep track of the number of hits the page receives, but it sure would be nice to know who's dropping in.

I am writing while my daughter has Finding Nemo on tv, and is also happily keeping herself entertained with the Speckled Frogs song. So if I all of a sudden break into "Aw, saw the whole thing man. First you were like WHOA! And we were like Whoa! And then you were like whoooaaa." or "eating the most delicious bugs, yum yum" you know why. Oh, for those of you who don't know the Speckled Frogs song, let me lay down the lyrics for you:

Five little speckled frogs,
Sat on the speckled log,
Eating the most delicious bugs,
Yum yum

One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
And now there are four speckled frogs,

Glub glub.

This continues on until there are no more speckled frogs on the speckled log. Sounds annoying, right? Yeah, it is, except when it's your kid that's singing it. And you've never heard her sing it before. She's so cute! And speaking of cutie, here's a pic of Sweetpea and her cousin at Sweetpea's birthday party this past February:

We will never be able to get them to do that again. Yes, this is the same boy I attempted the Horstachio cake for. Which brings me to my subject for tonight. I am very proud to announce that while Horstachio was unable to hang on, we were able to pull Pokemon (or more precisely, Blastoise) through. Tuesday night I completed this Blastoise cake for a co-worker's children:

Ok, so it was more like Wednesday morning. 1:00 in the morning...or so. I must admit, it turned out better than expected. And the customer was happy, which is the most important part. But don't get me wrong, I don't like the cake. I never like any cake that I do, no matter how well it turns out. It's because I can always see the mistakes, even if no one else can. It's a character flaw. But I always learn something new with every cake. Here is a list of things I learned with this cake:

1. Cooking spray sprayed into a curved pan will launch itself off of the surface of the pan and into the air. If you happen to be looking into the pan at too close a distance, it will launch itself into your face, mouth, eyes, hair....

2. Cooking spray with flour, while FANTASTIC stuff to avoid food sticking to the pan, and consequently burning, will sting your eyes to the point that you feel like they are being jabbed out with sharp sticks.

3. Cooking spray with flour also makes you choke, cough and sputter uncontrolably. If you've ever accidentally inhaled powdered sugar or cocoa powder while eating a doughnut, you know what this feels like.

4. Red and blue fondant dry out faster than any of the other colors. A Pokemon toy pushed down into dry fondant will crack the fondant.

5. No one cares about cracked fondant at 1:00 in the morning. Especially the cook.

6. One boxed cake mix makes approximately 4 ½ cups of batter. A ball cake pan requires 2 ¼ cups batter per side. How convenient is that?

7. A ball cake pan comes in two pieces. More batter in one side than the other will result in a ball cake that, were it a real ball, would not roll at all and would probably bounce sideways.

8. Butter-recipe yellow cake mixes call for actual sticks of butter.

9. It is helpful to have sticks of butter in the house when making butter-recipe yellow cake.

10. The cake will never look as good for real as it does in your mind. (This is not new, just something I re-learn every time I make a cake.)

I wonder why I always learn things in 10's.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tales of Oddity

I read another blog recently that had an entry about quirks. In the blog, the author had received one of those forwarded emails that was a questionnaire you’re supposed to fill out and forward on. This one was just one question: name 10 of your quirks. She was only able to name four of her own. While I didn’t get the email, I thought it might be an interesting thing for you to see how weird I am. So my husband says anyway. More humor at my expense, but I’d rather people laugh with me that at me. I did look up the definition of “quirk”, by the way, just to make sure I was answering the question right. (Maybe that’s a quirk in itself.) According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the first definition of a quirk is “A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy”. Yeah, I have a lot of those. Sometimes I refer to them as my OCDs, which, of course, stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, so if you hear me make reference to my OCD you know why. Each of these requires some detail, so maybe I’ll break them down into two posts. We’ll see by the time I’m finished writing them out. So, here we go:

1. Expiration Dates: I have an obsession with expiration dates. Especially with dairy foods. I check the expiration date of everything before I eat or use it. Right now I can tell you that the gallon of milk in my refrigerator at home expires on October 20th. (Oh, guess we’d better go shopping.) When I bring yogurt to work, I actually line it up in the refrigerator in order of expiration date. I eat the one that will expire soonest first. My husband has attempted over and over again to explain to me that the date is not an expiration date, it is only a “sell by” date so that the stores know when to pull it from their shelves if it has not been sold. Yeah, I’m not buying that argument. I will use or eat the item up to the day before that date. If we reach that date and the product is not used up, it gets chucked. That’s just the rule. In my defense, I do have a good reason for this obsession. I have gotten food poisoning from rotten cottage cheese twice. It’s no fun. In fact, I think it’s the worst I’ve been sick in my life. If I can help it, never again. Oh, here’s a useless fact for you: did you know the only food product that doesn’t expire is honey?

2. Directions: I am, as my family puts it, anal about directions. When I refer to directions I mean things like recipes, the directions on a box of something to cook/bake, patterns for cross stitch or latch-hook, instructions on how to assemble things, how to make a craft from a kit, etc. I guess this bleeds over a little into reading of maps, too, though I don’t use them very often. “When all else fails, read the directions.” Just seems to me that the directions are there for a reason. I have no desire to “improve” on them. I am convinced that whoever designed the product probably attempted to make it thousands of times, and learned by trial and error which is the best way to get the task accomplished. They’ve made the mistakes for me, so why reinvent the wheel? So, I follow the directions. It apparently appears to my family that I do this beyond normal direction following, to the point that this is one of my OCDs. As you can imagine, this is a source of great hilarity for them. I don’t think it’s quite that funny.

3. Matching Jewelry: This OCD is probably pretty extreme, but I have to have matching jewelry. I have difficulty wearing “mismatched” sets. Let me elaborate. A “set” to me means earrings (sometimes two pairs since I have both ears double pierced), a necklace, a bracelet and at least one ring. It actually bothers me to wear jewelry that does not match. I can’t do it. The majority of my jewelry has all these things in it, though a lot of them I am still working on the exact match. For instance, I have a set of rubies that includes earrings, necklace and ring, but I have yet to get a matching bracelet. So far I have placated myself with a red bracelet and a silver heart bracelet to fill in the gap. I have a set of sapphires that is the same (this one has two pairs of earrings). Luckily I have beaded bracelets that are blue, so that works for now. I have a pink cat’s eye set that is complete. I have several sets of amethysts and one of copper that are complete. I have two sets of pearls, one Tahitian, one lavender. The Tahitian only has earrings and necklace, the lavender is missing only the ring. You get the point. There was a time, too, when I began to think that I needed the shapes to match as well. For instance, the stone in my sapphire necklace is oval. I briefly thought I needed to have all the other pieces of the set in oval shape as well. Luckily, I was able to talk myself right out of that. Anyway, I’ve had several people comment that I match my jewelry more than anyone they know. I’m sure they’re right. I’m a freak that way.

4. Dirty Hands: I literally cannot stand to have dirty hands. This includes having anything under my fingernails. This doesn’t bother most people, I hear, but I can’t stand it. Here’s an example: I can barely stand to make rice krispie treats, since part of that requires that I cover my hands in butter to help spread the treats in the pan. Another example: I hate making hamburgers with anything mixed in, like Worcestershire or garlic salt, because that requires mixing with my hands and they end up covered in hamburger grease. Ew. I take it far enough that I will wash my hands 5 or 6 times during preparation of a meal, even if I have to touch the same food again after I’ve washed. It’s been suggested that it’s the fear of things like salmonella or other food-borne illnesses that is causing me to wash. It’s not. I can’t stand to wash dishes with a sink-full of water, because I hate to stick my hands in the dirty water (lately I have been able to manage it if I just wash using running water.) I even loathe having lotion on my hands if it is the kind that makes my hands feel greasy. Incidentally, Satin Hands by Mary Kay is fantastic, no greasy feel at all.

5. Space at the Dinner Table: Also a point of hilarity for my family, I am unable to continue to eat at the dinner table if I have too many dishes or other table knick knacks surrounding my place setting in too close proximity. When we were kids my sister used to love to pile serving dishes, salt and pepper shakers, butter dishes, etc. around my plate just to watch me squirm until I had to move them away again. This probably touches a little on claustrophobia, though I don’t have any problem with any other closed in sort of spaces. I just have to have the elbow room. This causes me problems, as you might guess, at dinners with a lot of food, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. More food means more dishes and less space. *shudder* Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

6. Lists: I make lists for everything – any sort of shopping, things to do, things to pack on the occasion of a trip, supplies for a specific cake, etc. I will even write out a detailed description of a cake, list-style, and sometimes a list of tasks to get the cake accomplished in the order they will need to be completed. Granted, I do not take this issue as far as my sister, who rewrites her grocery/shopping lists a minimum of twice. First she writes a list of everything she needs from the store, then she rewrites the list to categorize where the items are in the store. (Come to think of it, I think my mom does this too.) If I am not mistaken, I believe she even has to rewrite it again if she adds a last minute thing to the list and there is no room in the column for that section of the store. This sort of thing for me could mean I would be doing nothing but rewriting lists, since I’m forever adding something last minute. Thankfully, I don’t take it that far. But I can seldom get my shopping or packing done without a list.

7. Quotes and Facts: I seem to have a fascination for quotes and useless facts. This works several ways:
First, movie quotes. I can compare most situations in my life to a movie, and generally can quote from that movie. A lot of movie quotes I can identify without knowing which character said it.
Second, quotes or sayings in general. I actually collect these. I have a journal of sorts in which I add a quote or saying I have read or heard that I like. An example of this would be the quote on my calendar for today “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.” – Steven Wright. Hmm, I’ll have to write that down. Anyway, this is something I have been doing since high school, so you can imagine the collection.
Lastly, useless facts. I love them. Like, did you know that Edgar Allan Poe married his first cousin when she was 13? Or that butterflies taste with their feet? Or that the gestation period for an elephant is two years? These are completely, utterly of no use to me, yet I remember a large majority of the ones I read or hear. Maybe I should write them down, too.

8. Edgar Allan Poe: Speaking of which, this is also another quirk. I love Poe’s work. Now I know some of you out there are saying, well of course you do! You were an English major for crying out loud! Well, sure, that’s true. And the majority of people have been exposed to Poe’s writings in even the very basic college, sometimes high school, English classes. But, how many people do you know read his poems and stories just for fun? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me either. I actually have a book that is a collection of his works, just to have them. Anymore I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, but I used to read something of his every night. I’m still not all the way through, but I’m working on it.

9. TV Shows: I actually get angry at television shows. If a show makes me angry, I stop watching it. And I don’t mean just that episode. I mean the show altogether. For instance, Ally McBeal. I loved that show. LOVED it. And then they killed off Billy. It made me mad. So I stopped watching for a while. Then Robert Downey, Jr. came to the show. I began watching again, and really liked him as Ally’s boyfriend. Then they wrote him out of the show. Now, I understand a lot of that had to do with his real-life arrest and, I believe, conviction for drug possession, but it still made me mad. So I stopped watching and never went back. The same thing happened with ER. They wrote Doug, George Clooney’s character, out. I stopped watching. Then I went back for a while, and they killed off Mark Green, Anthony Edwards’ character. I stopped watching. I gave them one more chance for a short while, then Carter and Abby broke up and he wandered off to Africa or some ridiculous place and that was it. Never watched again, with the odd occasion when my sister forces me to. The X-Files when David Duchovny left, 90210 when Brandon and Kelly didn’t get married, The Drew Carey show when Kate left, I could go on and on. My husband finds this amazingly amusing. I just find it irritating.

10. The Rain: My last quirk has to do with the rain. You all know about my issues with the Fall. Well the rain is somewhat different. I actually like it, quite a bit. I’m a person who is happier on a rainy day than I am on a sunny day. I love the sound of the raindrops and the thunder. I love the lightening flashes and the grey clouds. I love the smell, though more so in Wyoming (that’s the smell of wet sagebrush). I don’t even mind walking through the rain without an umbrella, as long as I’m not on my way to work or to court. For most people it’s the opposite, a rainy day is a bad day. Not for me. They’re always good. A co-worker suggested maybe that would not be the case if I lived, or had lived, in someplace like the Pacific Northwest. I doubt it, but you never know. I did grow up in a desert, after all. Maybe I’d hate it if it rained 9 months out of the year. Somehow, I can’t imagine that, though.

Well, there’re ten. I’m sure there’re lots more I could come up with, but this is probably long enough. So now you are aware of how completely wacked out I really am. So I’m told. It’s ok, I admit I’m goofy. If any of you would like to share your quirks, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’d love to hear them!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Call in the Life of Law

So I realized I have this funny work-related story that I'm pretty sure I can safely tell without getting in trouble. A lot of my family and a couple of friends already know this, because it was just too classic not to share. So here's the scoop.

Up until recently I was practicing as debtors' counsel in the bankruptcy field. As part of my job, I would answer calls from first-time callers. These are people who are interested either in filing for bankruptcy, or asking questions about the process, or are price shopping for fees, etc. A lot of people, in an effort to get additional information about bankruptcy without actually having to meet with me, would tell me all or part of their story - that part of their recent past that had put them in the position that they need to file for bankruptcy relief. But one caller I will never forget. (Please keep in mind that I feel I can safely tell you this because this woman never became a client of mine and never disclosed any sort of information that I could possibly identify her with.) The conversation went something like this:

Me: "This is Janci, how can I help you?"

Caller: "I'm a victim of identity theft, and I would like to file for bankruptcy." (Note on this: this is not an altogether uncommon reason for filing bankruptcy. These days it is actually too common a problem, so this did not strike me as odd at all.)

Me: "Alright, so someone who stole your identity incurred enough debt that it is just easier to file for bankruptcy, right?"

Caller: "Yes, they stole it while I was out of the country, and I think it would just be easier to file and get on with restarting my life now that I'm back."

Me: "Oh, you've been out of the country? For how long?" (Note: at this point I am analyzing possible issues in my head with the new bankruptcy code, since exemptions of property available to the debtor are based upon where the debtor lived within a certain number of days prior to the filing of the case. I'll try not to get too technical on this stuff, just so you understand my motives in the line of questions.)

Caller: "For the last five years."

Me: "And where did you live during that time?"

Caller: "Well, I was abducted by aliens five years ago."

Me: (Stunned silence. I am waiting for the punchline....)

Caller: "Hello?"

Me: "I'm sorry, did you say you were abducted by aliens?"

Caller: "Yes, five years ago."

Me: "And someone stole your identity while you were gone?"

Caller: "Yes, a member of congress."

Me: (Additional stunned silence) "A member of congress?"

Caller: "Yes. Congress is in communication with the aliens, and knew I had been abducted. So while I was gone the certain member of Congress stole my identity and charged up all of this debt that I can't afford to pay. Would you like to know which member?"

Me: "No, I don't think that is necessary." (Still waiting for the punchline.)

Caller: "So what do I do to get started?"

Me: (another long pause) "Let's see..." (pause) "You know, I'm not sure bankruptcy is for you." (Note: all I can think at this point is that I don't have the time nor the sanity to deal with this nut as a client.)

Caller: "You don't? Why not?"

Me: "Well, I think there may be other options for you. If I were you I would call the D.A. and see what I needed to do to press charges against the aliens for kidnapping, and against the congress-person for the crime of identity theft. Then I think I would contact a civil attorney to find out what needed to be done to sue the congress-person for the damages caused by the identity theft." (Note: Yes, I am aware that I am evil, and that civil attorneys and D.A.s have just as little time to deal with crap like this as I do, but there was NO WAY I was setting this woman up with an appointment.)

Caller: (Like the thought had never even crossed her mind ) "Oh my gosh, that's a great idea! I think I'll do that. Thank you so much for your time."

I swear you cannot make this stuff up. And if they say lawyers are crazy, it's only because we have clients like these. One of my friends, a fellow crazy attorney, said I should have set up the appointment because he would have loved to sit in on it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Murphy Who?

Do you believe in karma? Or what goes around? Or comeuppances? You know, like "Nasty little men like yourself always get their comeuppances." (Hehe. If you can tell me what movie that is from, leave me a comment and I'll try and come up with a prize! Geez I crack myself up!) Anyway, back on subject. I've always believed in karma. There are just some things that happen that are so absolutely and utterly deserved, there really is no other explanation for them. And isn't it wonderful when they happen to someone else and you can sit back and laugh at them? ;-) Even so, karma isn't always very consistent, and often not very speedy. Have you noticed this? Karma seems to me to be a very strike-when-and-where-I-feel-like-it sort of power. Probably of the female persuasion.

But I've come to notice recently that there is another power out there that is much more consistent, accurate and just as vindicitive, (though not necessarily derived from any derserving word or action). So much so that the name we've given it indicates that it is force to be reckoned with: Murphy's Law. I've noticed its appearance more and more recently, mostly in traffic. I'm not saying Murphy only likes to hang out on the public streets during rush hour, because you cannot help but notice his influence throughout all areas of your life. This is just where I've noticed him most the last few days. Murphy has developed quite a few laws in dealing with traffic, and it appears that they are only intensified during rush hour. For instance, if you are attempting to make a right-hand turn at a red light or stop sign, there will always, always be a vehicle of higher profile than yours that will pull up next to you in such a manner as to completely and totally inhibit the view of on-coming traffic. In this situation you are unable to go anywhere, since seeing around them requires the contortionist's move of laying the entire top half of your body forward across the steering wheel, craning your neck and head forward until they resemble that of a giraffe and inching your car forward ever so slowly until your vehicle's whole front end is sticking out in the lane, virtually guaranteeing that you will lose that front end. (Incidentally, the most recent offending vehicle in my case was what could only be called a monster truck in neon yellow that had somehow forgotten to stop in his lane until his front bumper had crossed the OUTSIDE line of the crosswalk.)

Another law: people who buy high end vehicles forget how to drive. You know what I mean by high end - BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Mustang, etc. I have even seen this bleed over into Cadillac and Lincoln, but they seem to be the exception. I have no idea what it is, but when you place your cash down to purchase one of these vehicles, it must also be part of the purchase contract that you allow them to do a mindmeld and erase everything you ever knew about driving. I've also noticed that age has no bearing on this law whatsoever. You can be 16 or 86 and the result is the same. No knowledge of the rules of the road - at all! In addition, it seems to affect people at both extremes. These vehicles cause you to either go extremely slow or extremly fast, there is no in between. You either forget what a turn signal is, or forget how to turn it off. And breaks! I think they sell you certain models based on your age. The younger you are the less effective the breaks are. The youngest drives have none at all. And the oldest drivers, well I don't think those models come with a gas pedal. But believe me, they all come with headlights set to permanent flashing get-out-of-my-way mode. If you see one of these drivers coming your way, know that Murphy has worked his voodoo and switch lanes fast!

Murphy also works on the stoplights too. It's a guarantee that if you are running late two things will happen: #1 no one else in the entire town/city/metropolis will be in a hurry but you, and #2 every traffic light will turn red upon your vehicle's approach. Every one! If I had no knowledge of Murphy's existance I would assume it's some sort of sick, twisted conspiracy!

Unfortunately Murphy does not confine his laws to the rat race on the streets. One of the biggest of his laws I've noticed in every day life is, extra efforts to prevent something from happening will simply ensure that it does. For instance, when bringing a three-year-old into your office during a work day, repeated mentioning of the need for quiet will only result in her talking to other people at the top of her lungs and giggling uncontrollably as loud as her little giggle box will allow. Another example: planning a trip well in advance, complete with precautions with your health, will only result in one or all members of your family becoming deathly ill just days before you are scheduled to leave. Murphy doesn't always do things on such a grand scale with this law. For example, taking a three-year-old to the doctor only because she says her ear hurts (in an effort to head off the ear infection that's coming on) will only result in the diagnosis that she is perfectly fine with no sign of infections whatsoever. (It also results in the doctor doing her very best to TRY to find something wrong, so you don't feel you've wasted your hour and a half and your $20 co-pay.)

So, with his ever present influence in our lives, I think there's really only a little something I want to know. Who the hell is Murphy and who decided to give him all this power? And where can I find him? Anyone want to join up with my posse?