Monday, March 21, 2011

Rogue Girl Scout

As many of you are aware, last year Sweetpea joined the wonderful Girl Scout organization.  Of course, she didn't make this choice.  In fact, I'm guessing she probably had no idea what the heck a Girl Scout even was prior to joining.  However, the opportunity for her to be in a troop where she already knew a few of the girls presented itself, and so I signed her up thinking this would be helpful for her, giving her learning opportunities and the chance to make new friends.  Ok, so the ulterior motive was ready access to Girl Scout cookies, but we're not telling anyone that....

Side note: Speaking of which, before I go on, all of you will remember I, in the last few years, complained about the Girl Scouts changing the names of their cookies, (or else replacing their usual goodness with impostors making a poor attempt at pretending to be actual GS cookies)!  If you aren't aware, I'm happy to announce that the GS Organization in its infinite wisdom has corrected this travesty and returned to its regularly scheduled programming, (i.e. they changed the names back to what they should be).  Smartest thing they ever could have done, if you ask me.  But nobody asked me.

Anyway, Sweetpea joined Girl Scouts.  And she had such a blast!  She managed to participate in a few activities and sold a whopping 252 boxes of cookies!  With quite a bit  minimal absolutely no help from mom, dad and a couple of aunts.  None.  Ahem.  Anyway, that was enough to get her a ticket to go to the Cookie Party that is held every June.  Unfortunately, due to some unusual and unpleasant circumstances, her troop was disbanded before she was able to receive her information to register for the party.  In fact, we received her cookie credits and information to register letter (dated April) in September.  Oops.  Luckily, I had not mentioned to Sweetpea the fact that she would get to go to such a party.  I did not mention that because cookie sales occurred in January.  The cookie party was in June.  So what does that mean?  That means six months of "Mom, when is the cookie party?" "Mom, do I get to go to the cookie party next week?" "Mom, I can't wait for the cookie party!" "Mom, why can't I go to the cookie party today??" "Mom, what will the cookie party be like?" and so on, for me.  I'm sure you understand why I didn't mention it.  The same reason I told my husband NOT to tell her that we were going to Disneyland until just before we left, though he didn't listen....but I won't go down that path.  :)  Anyway, I didn't tell her, so she had no idea she had missed anything.  That's a good thing.  The bad thing was that I didn't know what we were going to do for her for Girl Scouts going forward, and had no idea how to find out.

Then in late August there was a knock on the front door.  When we answered it, there was a group of girls and a woman who live in our neighborhood.  They asked if Sweetpea would be interested in being involved in Girl Scouts for a short period of time.  The woman did not explain very much to me, other than that she is an employee of the Girl Scouts organization and is therefore limited as to the amount of time she can spend as leader of a troop, but that she does something for the girls for a meeting once a week at her house until just before Christmas, and then the program is over.  The cost was only $5 (as opposed to the normal $12 membership fee), and the best part is her house is only half a block away from ours.  Cha-ching!  While I don't care for this lady very much - I don't like anyone who treats me like I'm stupid - I wanted Sweetpea to have the chance to experience Girl Scouts the way I had as a child.  So far that had not happened.  This time I did check with Sweetpea to make sure she wanted to join again, and she said she did.  So, we signed up.  I wasn't quite sure what was supposed to happen after the end of the program, but figured I would be informed of that later.

So, for four months things went like clockwork and Sweetpea attended a troop meeting once a week.  And she loved it.  They even had a meeting about selling cookies, procedures, etc., and Sweetpea came home so excited, thinking it was time to start selling.  She was very disappointed when I informed her that the sales don't start until January.  But then December rolled around, and I received no word about what happens next.  Nothing.  I checked with the mother of two other troop members, and she said that her girls had been involved last year, but that it didn't continue after December.  The worst part: they did not get to participate in cookie sales.  Wait, what??  No cookie sales for these girls??  Well pardon me, but why the heck did they have a meeting that centered around cookie sales and they don't even get to sell?!?  I was pretty mad.  Not just for the fact that I was going to have to buy cookies from someone else like everyone else, but because I was going to have to break it to Sweetpea that she didn't get to sell either.  She had already been heartbroken when I told her there were no more troop meetings for the year.  Plus, I was also ticked that this woman had built these girls up for that without telling them they weren't going to be able to sell, all the while providing the parents with NO information as to where to go from there.

I started trying to figure out what to do, and there was no way I was calling whats-her-face fake troop leader from down the street.  Which meant starting with the internet.  It didn't take me very long to find the number for the GS headquarters here locally, and I placed a call.  The woman who answered the phone was very polite and very helpful.  After getting Sweetpea's name and looking up her information, she said that in fact, Sweetpea was not affiliated with any troop, but was part of the organization's Outreach program.  She said this is a program that samples Girl Scouts in an area that has no troop, to try to gain the interest of the girls in the area, and encourage adults to form a troop.  She did not say how long the program had been going on in our area, but did say there was no troop close by.  She told me that I had two options to see about getting Sweetpea involved in the cookie sales.  First was to check with the person who oversees our area and see about a troop nearby.  Guess who that person is.  That's right: what's-her-face fake troop leader.  Perfect.  If no troop was in the area, then we could look into registering her as a Juliette. Yep, I did the same thing: "A what?  What's a Juliette?"  She explained to me that Juliettes is a program for girls that don't have the opportunity to be a part of a troop, but still allows them to participate in Girl Scouts and its many activities.  They are supervised by an adult known to them, and get information from someone in the Girl Scout organization that oversees the Juliettes.  Wait.  A loner Girl Scout?  While I thought it was an awesome option for those who didn't have a troop near them, I found it humorous at the same time, given the nature of Girl Scouts as an organization.  I had visions of these loner Girl Scouts rising up to overthrow the GS council and take over the world.  LOL!

So the nice lady transferred me to you-know-who, who greeted me very pleasantly as if she was happy to hear from me, just like she always does.  But as soon as I told her I was calling to find a troop for Sweetpea, she automatically shifted into her typical you're an idiot, why are you bothering to even look my direction and waste my time with your stupidity mode and said with a tone of voice that told me I was a complete drain on her day, "There are no troops in the area."  She didn't explain where "the area" encompassed, and didn't even give me the opportunity to tell her I was willing to drive Sweetpea out of "the area" to deliver her to meetings if I could find a troop for her to be part of.  I tried to get out that I just felt so bad to have to tell Sweetpea that she was not going to be a  part of cookie sales this year, (especially since she had encouraged the girls and made them believe they would actually be selling cookies this year), and was hoping there was some way she could be a part of it so I didn't have to do that.

I got out "I just feel bad - " before she cut me off.  She had not changed tone of voice when she told me I could email the person in charge of the Juliettes, and rattled off the email address before I had asked for it, causing me to scramble to find a pen and paper - nearly knocking over my open bottle of water in the process - to barely get the address started on my notepad before she had finished it.  I could feel the impatience on the line, even though she said nothing, as I read the address back to her to verify it was correct.  She did not volunteer information as to what Juliettes are or how the program works (thank goodness for the nice lady that answered the phone), and fairly grunted when I thanked her for the information before hanging up on me.  And my family wonders why I have trouble with certain people in the neighborhood.  Let's see, a woman who invites me to join the book club - twice - and then never bothers to provide me the information for when meetings are, a backyard neighbor who calls animal control on us 6 - 7 times per day because we have a few chickens in an area where the ordinances neither allowed or disallowed them (remedied now), and a woman who works for the Girl Scouts - and should represent what they are - that treats me like I'm a moron just for speaking to her about my daughter who is in her outreach program.  Gee, I wonder.

Anyway, I emailed the Juliettes lady, and was lucky to find that it was the last week for registration for Juliettes in order for them to be part of cookie sales.  I managed to get the registration in and attend the cookie meeting that was required for sales.  And off we went.  While Sweetpea doesn't enjoy the activities involved with a troop, she still gets cookie credits and can do badge work and organization activities.  And can sell cookies!  And thanks to a very helpful grandma, and mom and dad buying 50 boxes and the Girl Scouts softening their restrictions on internet sales, I  we  Sweetpea was able to sell 264 boxes this year, which is more than enough to get her to the cookie party.  We have some wonderful family and friends!!  I have one friend, a former co-worker, whose husband is the very healthful type person who occasionally goes on a rampage through the house and throws out anything with sugar or artificial anything in it - even if it isn't his.  She used to hide her cookies in her office to prevent that.  This year she said she would buy some, since her stock was out, but she didn't know where she would hide them from him.  I told her to tell him that she was purchasing to help fund the rogue Girl Scouts, code name Juliettes, so they can overthrow the organization and rid it of all sugar-filled treats.  He ought to like that.  She certainly loved it.

And, incidentally, my husband and Sweetpea ran into some people they knew running a cookie booth at the grocery store down the street.  There were several girls there from Sweetpea's school, and a woman my husband knew from hanging out at City Council meetings.  Turns out she is a co-leader of a troop here in our city.  She said she holds most of the meetings at her house.  While we're not 100% sure where her house is, we know it' the area...

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Here's a post I started January 5, 2010. When I finished it tonight and posted it, Blogger posted it under today's date. I don't know if this was a quirk or if this is how Blogger is working now. But talk about confusing you!!! If this is how Blogger is working, this may be the last 'old' post you get from me. Hope you enjoy anyway:

Most of you are aware that my mom had surgery on New Year's Eve. For those of you who weren't, here's the news: Mom had surgery on New Year's Eve. :-) LOL! Ok, so here's the real news: Mom had reconstruction surgery to replace that which last years mastectomy removed. So to speak. Anyway, the surgery was actually a really major surgery. It lasted 6 1/2 hours, which is only about 3 1/2 hours less than they told us it would be. The Doctor said the surgery was a little bit difficult, due to some scar tissue damage to a blood vessel they needed to relocate (or something close to that). But he said everything still went just fine. So Mom's been in the hospital for the last five days (well, six counting the day of surgery). She had a tough time of it at first, and every time they tried to get her up out of the bed and into the chair, she had what they call a vagal response. This means that her blood pressure dropped, and her heart rate went way down. Scary stuff. In fact, she was having such a hard time with it, that we were sure she was going to be there for much longer than the anticipated week.

Then, all of a sudden, Sunday afternoon/evening, she made progress in leaps and bounds. Ok, so more like in shuffles and steps. She had had a difficult time of it that morning, and by the time I got there that afternoon, my dad was really worried and sure that she would be in the hospital for another week. She just didn't seem to be moving forward toward recovery as quickly as everyone thought she should. We decided she needed some food, since she had not eaten much since surgery, and ordered her lunch. It wasn't much, really: soup, a milkshake and a cup of tea. When it arrived, though, she dug right in. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen my mom eat so fast in my life. She started eating and I turned my back to pick up something off the floor, and turned around again. The food was gone! Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit, but I swear she inhaled that meal. Not so long after that, she decided she needed to get out of bed. I'm sure she would freak if she knew I had talked about why she wanted to get up on my blog, so I won't say. But Dad and I took the opportunity to take a walk. We were gone about 20 minutes. When we returned, there was Mom, sitting up in a chair beside the bed. The nurses were just finishing putting a clean gown on her and washing her hair.

OH! Cool thing I just have to tell you about. I didn't know they had these, but I guess in hospitals now they can use these awesome things that look like shower caps to wash your hair. Inside them they have leave in shampoo and conditioner, and they warm it up so its all toasty sudsy on your head. And yes, you read that right. The shampoo AND conditioner are leave in. You don't rinse them out at all. Sweet, huh? Now granted, it does leave a bit of residue in the hair, but not to the point that the hair looks or feels dirty or crunchy. And it certainly does the job it was meant for. Plus someone in the hospital doesn't care about a bit of hair residue. I was impressed!

So, anyway, there she was sitting up, all cleaned up, and looking just pleased as punch to be upright. No problems whatsoever. She didn't stay out of bed much longer that day, but her progress was enough that Dad was comfortable and agreed to come home with me and have dinner with us, instead of staying with Mom longer. Yesterday she made even greater steps toward where she needed to be, and today she went for several walks. They moved her to a regular room today instead of special care, and we were even able to bring Sweetpea to the hospital tonight to visit her. They tell us that they are going to release her probably tomorrow or maybe Thursday. YAY! So that's the update for now. The doctor is telling her that she will have at least a 2 month recovery. She will have to come back to see him in two weeks for a check-up, and we'll see where it goes from there.

So, the point of my post tonight does involve Mom and Dad. Let me give you a little background on this. Ever since I can remember, my parents have had a very deep connection. Something I would say is very special, since no one else I know has ever mentioned anything like this (or that they would admit, anyway.) In fact, they tell me they have been like this with each other since just after they started dating. This connection is a bit difficult to describe, but I would say that it borders on a psychic connection. Now I know there are people out there who don't believe in this stuff. And that's fine, to each his own. But I have witnessed my parents do things that really don't have any other explanation, so I am a believer. My parents are so connected to each other that they do things like read each others' minds. I know what you're thinking. So what, right? A lot of people who have been married for 38 years are able to tell what the other is thinking. Agreed. And they do do those normal things, like finish each others' sentences, and pass each other things at the dinner table without having to ask, and even bringing each other things around the house without having to ask (i.e. Mom will bring Dad a glass of milk knowing he wants one, even though he hasn't asked for it.) However, this goes beyond that. My parents will actually send each other messages just by thinking to each other. For example, Dad will be at work, and Mom at home, and she will think that she needs him to stop at the store on his way home. And he will. And will bring home exactly what she needed from the store. Without Mom ever calling him to ask him to stop. Often times they are thinking the same things at the exact same time. No big deal, right? Well, it wouldn't be, except a lot of times they are both thinking of the same things that are totally unrelated to what is happening around them at that time. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard one of them say something, and the other say "I was just thinking that."

So Sunday night, after dinner, Dad and I were standing in the kitchen talking while cleaning up from dinner. Somehow the ghost in my sister's house was mentioned. (Long story, I'll save it for another time.) Then Dad says to me, "Wanna hear something that will really make your skin crawl?" I wasn't really sure I wanted to answer that. Especially because just two days before I SWORE I saw LittleOne running down the hallway and into my bedroom, even though she's been gone almost 5 months now. He saw the doubt on my face and smiled. Then, without prompting from me, continued the story.

"Mom was here Thursday night." I had to stop and think about that statement. Wait. Thursday night? This last Thursday night?

"Thursday..." I started the sentence and then stopped. "Dad, Mom was in the hospital Thursday night. Thursday was the day she had the surgery." I'm sure I had a look on my face that said I was seriously concerned about the possibility of my father becoming senile.

He just laughed at me, like silly little daughter of mine. [pats little girl's head patronizingly] "I know that. But I woke up at about 2:00 in the morning Friday morning, and was sure I could feel her in the room." He proceeded to tell me that he had woken up with the feeling that something was wrong. Then, while he couldn't see her, he said he could feel Mom walk in the room, around the bed to her side, and sit down on the edge of the bed. I know I looked at him like he was out of his friggin' mind.

Then he said he didn't tell Mom anything about his feeling. Instead, he asked her on Friday if she had had a difficult time the night before. She told him that she had. She said had been very uncomfortable, in a lot of pain and sick to her stomach. She said it hit her at about 2:00 in the morning.


Well, if that doesn't make you a believer, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Something has happened that I never really intended on, and I don't really know what to do to fix it.  Somehow, my blog has become work.  Where did that come from??  As I've been thinking about my various projects lately, it occurred to me that I really miss writing on my blog.  It was relaxing for me - a way to vent, and even a bit of a self-discovery sort of journey.  I enjoyed it immensely.  Plus, I got to entertain a few people along the way.

So what happened?  How did I get stuck?  Why did it get to the point that I just didn't want to do it anymore?  I can make excuses all I want - "It's not that i don't want to write, it's that I just haven't had time"..."Nothing really good has happened recently, so I really haven't had much to talk about"..."I've got too many other projects in the making that have deadlines, so those will have to come first".  Now really.  I mean, come on!  I've been busier than this in the last 3+ years, and I've still managed to find the time to write.  And when have any of you ever known me to not have something to say?  I always have something I can talk about.  Always.  And yeah, I've had other projects in the making - that's true.  But in the past it's been those projects that have given me more blog material.

So what is it then?  The more I thought the more I realized.  It's just what I said.  My blog has become work.  I didn't start this to add more work to my life.  I do enough of that.  So how did it get that way?  I think I did it to myself.  I know I did it to myself.  I started putting pressure on myself to come up with something to write.  I reminded myself that I had readers, and I had a responsibility to them.  I started trying to be smart (maybe smarter than I am).  Trying to be witty.  To be funny.  To be all those things that people kept telling me they enjoyed about my writing.  To be perfect.  I started trying too hard.  I came up with all these started, but not finished, posts.  Posts that I was convinced would be wonderful entertainment and fabulous reading, and that all my readers would thoroughly enjoy.  I started each one thrilled about the ideas, telling myself I'd get back to them later.  While I did manage to do that on a few, I can't tell you how many of them are still sitting there in draft form, waiting to be written.  Hell, I can't even remember what some of them were supposed to be about.  The fact that I was suddenly writing for someone else killed my desire to write at all.   

But that's not why I started this blog.  I started it for me.  I started it as a place to catch all those thoughts that float through my head on a regular basis, and disappear if I don't do something with them; a place to write down all those thoughts that reverberate through my mind, repeating over and over, until I translate them into words just to get them out of my mind; a place to say what I feel and what I think; my place.  My place.  

And I think that's my answer.  I need to turn this back into my place.  I want this to be for me again.  I love that I have readers (though now fewer than before), and I hope they chose to stick around.  I just have to remind myself that back at the beginning, when I was writing for me, that's when my readers became my readers.  Hopefully, by doing this for me again, I'll be doing it for you, too.  That's how it is, folks.  My blog is no longer work.  It's my place again.

So everyone, welcome to my place!  Come on by, enjoy the ride! :)