Saturday, December 24, 2005

HO HO HO, A**hole!

I actually heard this phrase today in the Old Navy parking lot. I didn't see what preceded it, but I'd imagine it had to do with a parking space dispute.

Right now I'm putting together this dipshit presentation thingie for my sister's upcoming nuptials. Her inlaws-to-be are like Harry described as "the worst kind" of people in When Harry Met Sally, High Maintenance people who think they're Low Maintenance. Uptight people who think they're laid back. I love 'em, but this wedding thing has worn me out with their petty demands veiled as itty bitty requests.

They asked me to whip up a little slide show of photos of the bride and groom as kids and whatever (like I have TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME...) so I did, and now I'm adding music to it, and I'm looking for the absolute most obnoxious, sappy, icky song I can find. I'm open to suggestions. Right now I'm perusing the Celine Dion Arsenal of Heinousness and I'm ready to saw my own ears off with a rusty butterknife.

Meanwhile, Beebie and Pie are watching Fantastic 4, and Mr. T. is takin a nap. Hubbypoo is on his way home with a buttload of batteries and a newspaper. He was up till 1am wrapping gifts last night since I was really stressed about having to do it all tonight. He got more than half of it done while I collapsed in bed after an afternoon of baking Cheddar Cheese Straws for the Annual Family Christmas Soiree. He is the absolute best guy ever. I'm more and more convinced of it every day.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say...

...That the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!

Yeah, I'm kinda Grinchy around this time of year. I used to enjoy giving gifts and imagining how much fun the recipient would have with them. But then, that one Christmas it was made clear that Mrs. NP believed that she was actually the intended recipient of any gift that was given to her kids, since the gift would have to reside in HER house. And for some reason she took offense to the fact that I'd chosen a cool gift that her kid would have liked, and promptly began complaining about said cool gift and the small pieces therein (nothing that a normal parent couldn't handle, or at least make their kids clean it up themselves, sheesh) well, then I decided, fine. I can certainly choose gifts with YOU in mind instead of your kids. Only I'll choose them with the goal of making you suffer instead of making your kids happy.

And I enjoy Christmas much differently now. I can honestly say that Mrs. NP took away the joy I used to find in giving fun, thoughtful gifts and replaced it with the joy I find in seeking out tacky, annoying, impractical and thoughtless gifts. I've given a Lisa Frank tattoo studio as a gift, for example. See how much fun I'm having with it?

So I was all set to give her the Furry Pink Puke scarf, knowing full well that it would be worn often and cherished in all its tackiness. For some reason, the NP's sense of what's tacky is like, nonexistent. But then, when I was gathering gifts to give to a single mom and her kids, I thought ya know, a 10-year-old girl would probably really dig this. So I gave it away, thusly denying myself the fun I would have had watching my heinous handiwork on display. Oh well. And I threw in another scarf for the mom, one I'd planned to keep for myself, since it was pretty cool. I went and splurged a bit on some Noro Silk Garden to replace it.

So is my Grinchiness melting away? Nah. It's just the calm before the storm. I've been so busy working on my sister's wedding that I haven't even given any thought to Christmas yet, really. I haven't wrapped anything or baked anything or sent even one Christmas card (meanwhile I've gotten one from the NP's with about 80 pictures of their kids in it). Tomorrow night is the family Christmas fiesta at hubby's aunt's house. I'm supposed to take an appetizer. Now, I'm someone who bakes and doesn't buy food to take to a family event. I even look for fun, interesting recipes to try. The NP's buy. That bugs me.

I think I'm entitled to a wee bit o' Grinchiness. When most people get to breathe a huge sigh of relief after Christmas is over, my stress is just beginning. Monday, my parents arrive. Tuesday is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and I'm supposed to have a Very Clever slide presentation put together. That, my friends, was a labor of LOVE. Then of course Wednesday evening is the Wedding Extravaganza, and Thursday is Tommy's birthday party. I got WAY too much goin'. I need to finish typing up the place cards. Mom asked me if I had finished my Wedding Toast. I said, um, NO. I really had to draw the line. I've done enough. And trust me, they probably won't want me talking that day. I'm anticipating Drama-a-plenty.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My blog needs another picture.

Here's the Flower Girl dress that Nat will be wearing in my sister's wedding. Ryan is the "Ring Bear".


My sister's getting married in a few weeks. The wedding is here in St Louis, but my sister and parents are in Texas, so they're mailing me a lot of the wedding-related items, like the dress and the veil, and the fancy-printed napkins with the bride and groom's names (Emily and Bobby) on them.

My mom is a walking ball of stress. Think Woody Allen playing the role of Lucy Ricardo. Too much Fookery temptation.

So when the napkins came, I emailed my mom to let her know:

"Napkins arrived today. They say Emily and Booby."

I let her sweat it for a second or two, then I told her I was kidding.

Da Man be keepin me down.

Man, I got in trouble for offering my specially-mixed Christmas CD's to Knitty friends. Copyright Infringement. Bad. I know ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I thought if I had paid for the CD's used in the Mix and wasn't profitting off of it, then it was ok. Well, that kinda made my day suck just cuz I felt like such an ass. But just for fun, here is the track list that wasn't.

Marshmallow World – Vic Damone
Must Be Santa – Brave Combo
Merry Christmas, I Love You – James Brown
Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney
Jingle Bells? - Barbra Streisand
I Hate Christmas – Oscar the Grouch
Sleigh Ride – Squirrel Nut Zippers
Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel – A South Park Christmas
Frosty the Snowman – Leon Redbone and Dr. John
Cha-Cha All The Way – Capital Studio Orchestra
Hark, The Herald Angels Sing – A Charlie Brown Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
The Delicious Dish – Margaret Jo Mc Cullen, Terry Rialto, and Pete Schweddy
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
Jingle Bells – The Singing Dogs
Christmas is Going to the Dogs – The Eels
Christmas Trumpets – Ray Anthony
The Merry Christmas Polka – Jim Reeves
The Man With the Bag – Kay Starr
We’re a Couple of Misfits – Rudolph and Herbie
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
I Farted on Santa’s Lap – The Little Stinkers
Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Feels Like Christmas – Cyndi Lauper
White Christmas – Goldfinger
Dysfunctional Family Christmas Album Highlights
Deck the Halls / We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Neil Diamond

A G-rated version also included :

Oh Holy Night – Eric Cartman
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – Jessica Simpson (shudder)
Christmas Wrapping – The Spice Girls
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevy
Children’s Christmas Song – Diana Ross and the Supremes

Not all the songs truly suck, some are just uniquely different, or ubercheesy (my made-up adjective of the day), which makes me smile. I offered to call people up and sing the song of their choice to them on the holiday of their choice, vainly trying to recreate the full-on, undiluted heinousness of RuPaul's "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus". So far, no takers. Sigh.

In other news, everyone is recovering from their respective afflictions of the last week. Randy's back at work after his Strep that he so generously shared with me. I'm fine (moms don't get sick days), Nat's eye is fine after getting a microscopic piece of dust in it. Ryan's infected cut is better, and Tommy's not complaining about his earache anymore. In a 24-hour period, each of us had a prescription filled.

One of the ladies I was collecting Christmas stuff for came by to pick stuff up today, and she was really cool. I also gathered more toys for the little kids, which was fun. Then I updated our bank balance, which was NOT fun but quite satisfying when done. I'm actually within $4 of what the bank says we have. And that's good enough for me.

I gotta get crackin on the scarves for my gifts. I wish I could knit faster or knit with my toes so I could get more of them done. I figure I'll start the Scarf Project after the holidays, when random acts of giving would be more unexpected.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Freecycle Frenzy / The Scarf Project

GaucheKnitter, from the Knitty board, posted that she had a perplexing dilemma. She had made so many scarves that she didn't know what to do with all of them - couch covers, window dressings, sew them all together into an afghan, something. So in response, April suggested wearing each of the scarves and giving it away to the first person who complimented her on it. I absolutely love this idea. I have so many single balls of fun fur and eyelash and boa yarn, I have decided to crank out as many scarves as I can and just randomly hand them out to strangers. That's the scarf project. I think it's such fun to give stuff away right there on the spot, it blows their minds! Weird how people are so suspicious of niceness.

I am SO into the spirit of giving for some reason! I'm Freecycling to three different families and my kids are having fun helping me find stuff we can give to other kids. I'm unbelievably proud of my daughter Natalie in particular. One of the families has a daughter who's 10 (Natalie is 8) so Nat and I have been looking for some things to give her so her family can have a Christmas. Natalie wants to spend her own money to buy the little girl a doll. Her idea! Someday when she's older I'll tell her about the two Christmases that we were "adopted" by our church. I'll knit the little girl a doll blanket and pillow, I think. This family also has a son who's 5, and my boys are giving him some of their Rescue Heroes toys. And I can knit the Mom a scarf and maybe a purse.

Another of the families has a little boy who's about to turn 2. Ryan really got into this one, since he's soooooooo much bigger than 2. We've been looking through our closets of forgotten toys and we found some great stuff. And timing was perfect because I had just started gathering the 3T clothes together to give away, even some Thomas the Tank Engine overalls! I found a coat, shoes, books, Barney videos, and a sandbox. My kids and I are very excited about meeting this little boy on Sunday when they come to pick up the stuff. This little guy is gonna hit the friggin jackpot.

Then I'm helping a 3rd family who I don't know as much about, but they're getting some of my now too big plus-size clothes, diapers and videos too. I think I might be able to find more for them too, I'm going to keep looking today.

Anyway, all of the Freecyclers who are collecting for these families are so grateful that I can't even verbalize the joy it's given me. I'm a pack rat, anyone who knows me will attest. And I think that the reason why I save things, even if I'm unable to use it, is for something like this, when I could give it to someone who needs it and bless us both. I am insanely proud of myself!

I think that kids (as I launch into my old lady "Kids These Days" speech) are so into themselves that they miss out on the true joy that comes when you do something nice for someone. How sad that is! I was raised by parents who got it right, and taught my sister and me about compassion and caring and giving selflessly. I'm working really hard on passing this on to my kids.

I remember reading a book called Claude the Dog one Christmas when I was little. Claude is a dog who gets a bunch of nice dog stuff from his family for Christmas, and his friend Bummer comes by and this line I remember verbatim because it used to make me cry every single time - "Along came Bummer. He had no home." Anyway, Claude gives Bummer all his nice things, and then Claude goes home to his family who loves him. I'm so glad I found the book and I'm going to read it to my kids for Christmas.

On the other end of the Christmas Spirit spectrum, I have to share some Holiday Fookery. My friend Patti chose not to participate in her office's Secret Santa exchange, but is still managing some pretty darn good Fookery. She's been taking random items from around the office (such as a used coffee mug, sugar packets, pens, candy, and books found in abandoned desks) and placing them on people's desks with a note saying that they were from the unwitting recipient's Secret Santa. Way to Fook with people and undermine the whole concept. Bravo. The person that she gave the book to was happy with it, and I can't remember the title of the book, but the section on Self-Esteem was dog-eared and the recipient read into it, even though Patti didn't mean anything by it, she didn't even look at the inside of the book. Office merriment! How I miss going to work every day. Actually, what I really miss is going to work with friends like Renee and Patti every day.

*** Update! I just got done emailing a nice lady who was looking for a Christmas dress size 2T for her little girl. I told her I have the PERFECT one and I've been holding onto it in case I or one of my friends ever had a little girl who could wear it, and of course we all had boys. I just found it stashed away yesterday when I was cleaning, and now it's going to have a home. The lady was so happy, she said she was in tears. She'd bought a dress but had to return it to buy groceries. I've totally been there. I think I'm going to find the little girl some toys that Santa could bring her. Oh, I am just En Fuego and it feels fantastic!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I don't know why I even bother trying...

... to fall asleep. Like, EVER. Somehow my children are able to sense the moment that I find myself standing at the threshhold of Dreamland, about to be ushered in by Johnny Depp who's graciously inviting me to dream about him. Yeah, my kids have Spidey senses and THAT's the moment when one of them needs something immediately, in the middle of the night.

Or else it's the moment when I think hubby finally stopped snoring, then I hear the sudden GHHHHHHSSSSHHHOOOOOONNNNNNKKKKK jerking me, like a dog on a short leash, back into the reality of Insomnia.

I swear my brain is like the headlines ticker at the bottom of CNN, a constant thread of unrelated thoughts cycling through, repeating ad infinitum. Ooooh, look! Two years of Latin is coming in handy at 3am! WOO HOO!!!

Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I am happy to report -

Ryan was an adorable camel and he was true to his word. He did NOT pick his nose. He was the only camel wearing green Converse high-tops, however.

Meanwhile, I have been knitting like a fiend. Everyone's getting a knitted gift from me, whether they like it or not. I've got several items made, including the frothy Pepto scarf (the hat turned out horribly, darn that gauge!), a Santa hat in silver and black for my dad the Spurs fan, a pretty mohair scarf, a rolled-brim hat, a purse and another scarf which I can't decide if I want it felted or not. I have a couple other projects going, of course, and several more in my head. I need to get my act together so I can ship it all in time.

I'm also putting together a compliation of Christmas songs to give to friends, including my SP, who probably knows it's me. I'm putting together one final giftiepoo to send her. Should be good. Say, that reminds me - here's what I got from the SP who has me.

Took the kids to see Santa today too. That went surprisingly well, considering I didn't take the double stroller this time. They were even patient waiting in the line. Ryan said he was going to fart on Santa's lap. His face in the pic looks like he might have been photographed in the act.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Fine Art of Fookery

My Aunt Clara scarf is complete and now I'm moving on to the matching hat. Ehhhhhhhhhhxcellent... (Mr. Burns voice)

Why do I find such joy in messing with people? I don't know if I was born with a tendency toward fookery, but I certainly honed my fookery skills while working as a customer service rep for a cellular company. You know when you meet somebody with the same sense of humor as you have and it makes a completely crappy job almost bearable? Every time I watch "The Office" Tuesday nights on NBC, follwing Earl, I think of how important it is to have a kindred spirit when working in a place that sucks your will to live. I met my friend Renee at this crappy job - and Renee's penchant for following the rules just enough to maintain your employment status was equal to my own. Not getting fired is a key tenet of Fookery, and it's especially fun to push the envelope in a Union environment. I mastered Looking Busy When Actually Not by walking around carrying a clipboard and looking worried.

The best way to describe Fookery is a sort of benign heinousness - not anything that would get you in trouble, but just a little creative mischief to liven up your day. It doesn't necessarily have to be motivated by malice, but it can be, and often that inspires a whole different level of creativity. One example is how I pretended to have a lisp when working in a call center. I also pretended my name was Francesca, just to make it funnier. So, when I answered the phone, I said "Cushtomer Shervish, thish ish Francheshca, how may I sherve you, shir?" Shee? Sorry... see?? Nothing's grounds for dismissal if it's funny enough. Your manager can't very well write you up if he's laughing, now can he?

We had this other friend Scott who had more technical ability than we did (it's always good to have someone with technical ability for a Fookery friend, as it opens up a whole world of possibilities) and he often left mysterious company-wide voicemails of cartoon voices. Scott is one of the funniest people I know, and his fookery skills were quite impressive. We would sit in bewildered awe at some of the crazy shit he pulled. He was capable of some damn fine fookery. We liked to call him up after we got drunk on mimosas at Easter Brunch and remind him that he was our second-favorite Jew. Next to Jesus, of course.

Debbie, The Taskmaster of the office (ie. the toadie with no actual authority who walks around like a badass), was nicknamed "The Gooch", after the unseen yet ever-present bully on Diff'rent Strokes (I always wondered, why the apostrophe? Why not just "Different Strokes"?), and if she ever pulled you aside and told you to shape up, it was called "getting Gooched". The Gooch also happened to have the rankest breath imaginable. I don't know what the woman ate, but it yielded a dumpster-like combination of rancid smells, and when she spoke, a green garlicy cloud drifted out of her mouth. One act of fookery involved us leaving a pack of mint gum on her desk anonymously and twittering like chipmunks when she found it.

Then there was a manager with the unfortunate last name of Schwab. Her name was a lot of fun to play with. Anything hoosier-ific was Schwabby, Schwabbified or Schwabalicious. She was one of those who rose above her junior college education and blue collar roots (and don't get me started on her roots, she had a really bad dye job) to be in management but you knew she had a Camaro on cinder blocks in her front yard. Imagine a woman with blonde hair and visible black roots and waaaaaay too much eye makeup wearing tapered acid-wash jeans and fringed boots, and suckin on a Virginia Slim. That's Schwabbery, defined. If you're envisioning a white-trash version of Kathie Lee Gifford, you're on the right track.

Sometimes on our lunch breaks, Renee and I would call in to the queue and when someone answered with scripted politeness, we'd scream as loud as we could for a few seconds, then we'd hang up and call back. Ah, good times... then Renee moved away (sniff) and now we have to admire each other's fookery from afar. Actually, at times it comes in handy to have a fookery friend far away, just in case I want to mail something anonymously to someone who pissed me off and need it to have a postmark other than St Louis, MO.

Renee's had some damn fine fookery in her day. One of my favorites is when she placed a classified ad in the local newpaper asking for 100-pound+ dogs to show up (under the clever ruse of a fake dog food commercial audition) at the office of a woman who hadn't paid Renee for some work that she did for her. We don't know for sure if any 100-pound dogs actually showed up, but even if just one did, it's a fookin genius act of fookery, ain't it?

I'm sure Renee would probably tell you that one of her favorite Moments In Fookery History is contained in an email I sent her back in April 2002. Hubby reminded me that the people involved could possibly be reading this so I've made some adjustments in the story:

Well, I'm sure you remember Mr and Mrs Name Protected who are notorious for giving us re-gifted, crappy, age-inappropriate and incorrectly sized gifts (remember my clothes from the Juniors department and the Bubble Train for ages 18 months+ for Nat's 4th birthday?) that were purchased on clearance and put away for a gift-giving occasion that could be months away, rendering the shitty gift unreturnable and worth about 33 cents in store credit if you can even determine which store it was purchased from? And forget a gift receipt since you'd only get what they paid for it back, which probably isn't much more anyway. We end up giving the gifts they give Nat to Toys for Tots, which means I have to figure out a place to store it for 6 months.

And I'm sure you remember how we attempted to rise above this gift-giving inequity and continued to buy cool gifts for their daughter (Lil Miss NP), such as a wooden dollhouse and a Rainbow Princess Barbie, which were met with Mrs NP muttering "oh greeeeeeeeeeeeaaat, more little pieces for me to pick up..."

Well, we got wise to their scheme and decided to play it to our advantage. We look for toys with lots of parts that are completely annoying on clearance and put them away to give to Lil Miss NP. It's like a sport, and hubby and I are great at it. In fact, it's brought us closer together as a couple. At one point we found the Baskin Robbins mini ice cream maker on clearance at Target, but then we found it at WalMart for 20 bucks, so we returned it to WalMart (hee hee) and made money on the deal.

Then we found Cootie Jitterbug - a battery-operated, noisy and annoying version of the original, and put it away for nearly a year until Lil Miss NPs' birthday. Thank GOD they didn't have a party for her again this year. Every year they try to cram like 12 grownups and 7 kids in their house. No, Mr NP had a conference in LA, so they actually purchased a plane ticket and took Lil Miss NP to Disneyland for her 4th birthday. Whatever.

Anyway, we presented Lil Miss NP with her gift at Easter (in a non-reusable slightly torn gift bag, as I had covered every detail) and to my delight, she shrieked "I ALREADY HAVE THIS GAME!!!" Gleefully I imagined the scenario that we had endured so many times before - standing in line at the return counter "um, yeah, I got this as a gift and I need to return it..." "yeah, RIGHT! we haven't had those on the shelves for 6 months! You can have a dollar in store credit, if ya want it..." "no, thanks..."

Well, apparently Mrs NP knew exactly what it was worth since she probably bought it at the same time we did, and her reaction was " love that you can have one upstairs and one downstairs..." And the best part was that I was in the bathroom at the time, where I could hear everything and yet freely snicker without fear of an embarrassing social faux pas. I was so tickled by my triumphant victory, I don't even care if she's onto us, which I suspect she is.

You'll undoubtedly see this recurring Fookery theme in upcoming posts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Just call me Aunt Clara

Today my goal is to finish the scarf I started last week so that I may proceed to create the most heinous Mother/Daughter matching scarf and hat ensemble ever. Tee hee!! It's going to look like furry pink puke and I can't wait. I'm going to twitter with fiendish glee when I see my unfortunate family members wearing them.

Ok, ever seen A Christmas Story? Remember when Ralphie has to try on the bunny suit that his Aunt Clara made - Aunt Clara who for years had labored under the delusion that he was both perpetually four years old and a girl? Imagine if Aunt Clara had actually intended to create a hand-made item so awful and hideous not for her nephew to enjoy, but for her own amusement? She knew Ralphie's mother would ensure that she got a chance to see him wearing the revolting frock. Poor delusional Aunt Clara is suddenly my kinda gal - Wicked Diabolical Aunt Clara! That's the kind of crazy old person I want to be. I'll let them all think I've lost my marbles when I hand them a hand-knit acrylic nightmare, and I'll snicker softly when they force themselves to choke back a gasp of horror and instead say "ooooh, thanks Aunt Sarah! You must have worked realllllllllly hard on this..."

Muhhhwaaaaahahahahahahaha!!! Crazy like a fox!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

100 Nifty Things About Penny Karma

Not that you asked, but:

Here are 100 things about me, in no particular order.

1. I was born on January 13, in the 1970's.
2. in Columbus, Ohio.
3. I grew up in St Louis, MO with my dad, mom and younger sister.
4. I am in dire need of a manicure.
5. And a pedicure.
6. I know all of the words to "The Humpty Dance"
7. And "Hey Ladies"
8. And "Baby Got Back".
9. I like big butts, and I can not lie.
10. The only song I've ever karaoked in public is "Son of a Preacher Man".
11. I could eat Werther's Chewy Caramels all day.
12. Today I ate Werther's Chewy Caramels all day.
13. I think I can hear my teeth rotting inside my head right now.
14. I had my first cavity at age 20.
15. I love my actual dentist as a person, but I hate going to see "The Dentist".
16. The worst pain I've ever endured was gallstones.
17. A close second is childbirth.
18. Third place is a tie between a kidney infection (on my birthday, no less, which is when...? POP QUIZ! Yes, January 13th! Yay! Thanks for paying attention)
19. And having 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed.
20. I once had a roommate that was both vegetarian and bulemic. If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me.
21. I admire vegetarians, but c'mon... "Bacon tastes good... Pork chops taste good..."
22. That's the prelude to one of my favorite lines in Pulp Fiction, which is: "Hey, sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie but I'd never know because I wouldn't eat the filthy Muthahfuggah."
23. For every cow a vegetarian saves, I'll probably eat three.
24. Really, I wish I didn't like steak so much and hate vegetables just as much.
25. If cauliflower was wrapped in bacon and dipped in chocolate, I just might eat it.
26. Enough food talk, I'm hungry.
27. Tonight I'm making chicken on the George Foreman Grill.
28. I love my George Foreman Grill.
29. I used it last night to make turkey burgers.
30. I'm a huge fan of reality shows.
31. I love Survivor - all time favorite castaway is Ethan, who won Season 3.
32. I also love The Amazing Race (even got my parents hooked on that one)
33. And America's Next Top Model. Go Kim!!
34. And The Apprentice (both Martha and Donald)
35. I would rather be Martha's Apprentice than Donald's.
36. My middle name is Elizabeth.
37. I have a BA in English.
38. I minored in French.
39. I took 2 years of Latin in high school.
40. Nobody needs 2 years of Latin.
41. I take Wellbutrin XL, and am not the least bit ashamed of it.
42. I'm a HUGE fan of Indigo Girls. HUGE.
43. My first car was a 1978 Chevy Impala, three-speed on the tree.
44. If my life were made into a movie, the part of me would be played by Jenna Elfman.
45. I haven't had my hair cut since July. It's now November.
46. I had the Dorothy Hamill 'do when I was little.
47. For my 30th birthday, I bought myself the Vintage Barbie Townhouse that I always wanted.
48. I have a tattoo.
49. I got the aforementioned tattoo at Sunset Strip Tattoo in West Hollywood.
50. I love big words, like "aforementioned".
51. I may well be the worst housekeeper of all time.
52. I am, however, a fairly decent cook.
53. I love to make desserts.
54. Once I wrecked a "just add water" Stir-And-Bake cake by adding too much water.
55. When I lived in an apartment I rented a storage room, and for a full year I wrote my checks out to "Pubic Storage". On purpose.
56. I have a violent aversion to pickles. Even the thought of the smell of a pickle makes me want to throw up.
57. I also have an unnatural aversion to clowns.
58. A clown chasing me while wielding a Super Soaker full of pickle juice would pretty much be my worst nightmare.
59. I have never drunk a cup of coffee in my life.
60. Never eaten at Taco Bell either.
61. I bought more yarn today, like I really needed to (shhhh...).
62. I got my Monkeemaven Hastily Whipstitched Handmade Original in the mail today (photos coming soon)!
63. As much as I love to talk about myself, coming up with 100 things about me is harder than I thought.
64. I have a superhuman sense of smell. I often wonder if I'm actually a superhero and I just haven't been able to harness my powers for the betterment of mankind yet because I'm too damn lazy.
65. My checks have pictures from Where The Wild Things Are on them.
66. I need to stop writing so many checks.
67. I was thrilled when I discovered that you can buy Shiner Bock in Missouri now. That's some good stuff.
68. I drink Diet Coke and very little else.
69. I have an embarrassing amount of dirty laundry on my basement floor right now.
70. They're real... and they're spectacular.
71. I love the Godfather films. Well, 1 and 2, anyway.
72. I love the greeters at WalMart. I think they're a hoot.
73. The last movie I saw in a theater was Madagascar.
74. The last movie I rented was also Madagascar.
75. My son Ryan pronounces it "Madaganstar".
76. I love thrift stores and estate sales. I've spent hours at a good thrift store.
77. One of my favorite estate sale finds is a belt buckle with the Whirlpool logo on it.
78. The most I've ever spent on a pair of shoes is $80 on a pair of Doc Martens 9 years ago. I felt so guilty about it that since then, the most I've spent on a pair of shoes is $40.
79. The most I've ever spent on a purse was $60 on eBay for my favorite purse of all time, my gigantic Coach duffle I've nicknamed Colossus. I can fit a 6-pack in there. Don't ask.
80. I'm currently banned from buying purses and shoes.
81. And yarn. (See # 61.)
82. I have a collection of Bad Christmas Music. (Did you know Ru Paul has a Christmas Album? It's entitled "HO HO HO".)
83. I'm probably the only person alive with 2 Falco CD's in her collection. Except for maybe... MRS. Falco.
84. Some of my former employers include: The Gap,
85. Victoria's Secret,
86. The Body Shop,
87. A snack bar at the St Louis Zoo,
88. Bridge / Savvis, whose former CEO was recently reported to have charged over $240,000 on his company AmEx at a strip club in Manhattan. Genius, eh?
89. And Aveda, where I was completely screwed over by one of the biggest beeeeyotches I've ever encountered - Kerry Lane - who deliberately changed the weekly schedule and then when I didn't show up for the shift I didn't know I had, she fired me. I was six months pregnant at the time (which she knew). I asked her why she didn't call me and she said she had called my apartment. I said why didn't you try my cell, you have that number. Then she said "Well, uh... I don't have all morning to call around for you..." Yeah, whatever. Karma'll gitcha, sista.
90. I also have a very large collection of vinyl LP's. Easily over 600.
91. I have a front-door goose named Hamish. I'll have to put up a pic of him. He's hot.
92. I would love to spend a day with Ellen DeGeneres. She doesn't try to tell you what to buy and what to read like Oprah does.
93. If the shoes I ordered from LL Bean don't get here today, I'm going to be really pissed off. (See # 80)
94. Once I dressed as Hester Prynne for a costume contest - and I won.
95. I have an awesome husband and I am crazy about him.
96. I have three awesome kids and I am crazy because of them.
97. If I won the lottery I'd pay off our debt, buy a nice 4BR house and a Toyota Sienna, buy my parents a fantastic house wherever they wanted to live, and take the whole family on a dream vacation.
98. I don't ever buy lottery tickets, so the chances of my winning are rather slim.
99. A book that changed my life was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
100. I have a little bitty crush on my local weatherman. ;)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good Intentions

I have the best of intentions when I sit down to make things for other people, but usually one of two things happens:

A) I finish it and decide it sucks and I'd be embarrassed to give it to the intended recipient

or B) I finish it and decide it's awesome and I keep it for myself.

I rarely follow patterns, I just like to putz around and figure it out as I go along. I don't want to buy more yarn to make a pattern with the yarn suggested in it, so I kinda play around with what I've got and see what works. One of these days I'll figure out gauge. But there's math involved in that... eeewwwwww.

At the moment I have 3 different scarves going and a couple of PIM's (projects in mind?) so I'm holding out the until the Slowpoke Putzer Knitalong starts up.

Ryanisms Volume 1


My son Ryan is almost 4, and he's always whippin out these crazy contextless sentences that sound like Bob Dylan lyrics, so I started calling them Ryanisms. One of my favorite Ryanisms came when I was changing his diaper about a year ago. He looked up at me pensively and said:

"Mom, it's hard to eat candy on a bumpy road."

Think about it. It's true.

And just moments ago, I heard:

"Mom, I'm not going to pick my nose in the Christmas Play."

Which refers to the time last summer when his Vacation Bible School put on a show for the parents at the end of the week, and he sat on the stage with his finger in his nose. This reference alone would have been funny enough, but he went on to say:

"Because camels don't pick their noses."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Monkeemaven Rocks!

I wrote a J Peterman-esque catalog description for this cool shawl made by Monkeemaven of Knittyfame, and she is so cool, she's going to send it to me!

She was the sort of woman who stays in your memory forever. She had a coy smile that made you wonder if she knew something about you that you'd thought was a well-guarded secret. And as I watched her walk slowly down the beach, her sillouette fading softly into the twilight of that autumn day, I knew I'd never forget the sight of her hastily whip-stitched Very Furry Shawl which captured her very essence... for those rare occasions when she chose to wear her warmth on the outside as well.

Lots On My Mind Today

Lemme think where to start - well, let's see, R (DH, if you're playing along at home) has worked at his job for 2 years coming up next month. Prior to that, we were one of the families that the church adopted for Christmas. That was one of the more humbling experiences of my life, so the holiday season kinda gets me down. It should probably make me grateful for all that I have, but it really just crosses the line into where I feel guilty for all that I have. And then I feel like I have the brattiest kids alive who always want more toys to replace the ones that are on the bottom of the pile of unplayedwith toys that they won't put away.

I haven't slept through the night since March. Literally. I'm lucky to get a four-hour stretch of sleep, then an interruption of some sort, such as getting one of the boys a cup of water, then maybe (or maybe not) fall back to sleep for an hour before either the alarm or one of the kids wakes me up again. I'm used to it. I can function on no sleep. I've done it occasionally when I had to take one of the kids to the ER and didn't get home until the next morning.

The last time I can remember getting a good night's sleep was the night after Randy got me set up on Microsoft Money so I can better track our spending - the month before, a $300 check we had written 3 months earlier suddenly cleared, leaving us with $400 worth of bounced checks and bank fees. I wanted to die. Financial management has never been my thing, and I didn't want to manage our money because I wasn't the one with the big fat wad of credit card debt. This was a major thing when we were first married - I didn't think I should have to dig us out of a hole I didn't put us in, but the more I thought about it, he is clearly incapable of managing it, so somebody needs to or it's never going to get any better. Sure, I could have stuck to my principle that I didn't have to clean up a mess I didn't make, but I'd be stickin to my principles under a bridge. So, long story short, I became the money manager. That was the last time I slept well.

During the last few months, I've come to discover that the most interesting dreams occur when you're not all the way asleep, and somehow I seem to remember them more clearly than the deep-sleep dreams of my fading memory. If having a dream twice qualifies it as recurring, I've had the dream where I'm Martha Stewart's apprentice twice now. I've thought of all the stuff I want to say to her, how passionate I am about everything I do, and how I'd love to work hard and sharpen my own skills with a team that's committed to her passion, and contribute to a company whose focus is to grow and learn and adapt in order to dynamically impact the world that its customers live in. I even had a vision of what I'll make for my Knitting pals for Christmas. See? Wouldn't Martha just want to wrap me up in a hand-knit afghan and crown me Martha Junior? What does this dream say about me?? I watch too much TV.

Next topic - basic manners. A couple of weeks ago I took my youngest child (who will be 3 the day after my sister's wedding) to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Two interesting things happened there. One, I witnessed the most ridiculous display of poor manners that I've seen in a long time. As the birthday child opened each gift, his mother handed the parent of the child who gave whatever gift was just opened an envelope. I didn't open it right away because I thought, there's no WAY that's the obligatory thank you note. Then I saw another parent open hers and I felt my skin tighten on my bones. I opened the envelope and slid out what was not a kid's thank you note. This was one of those that you'd expect to get from your grandmother after you sent her some socks for Mother's Day or something. I'm pretty sure I saved the actual note so I can scan it. Inside, it said "Thanks so much for the gift." Tacky beyond measure.

The second thing that happened filled my heart with the sort of fiendish glee usually reserved for the moment when you witness a practical joke befalling its victim. I saw Kim - a girl I'd gone to school with since 5th grade (in 4th grade I visited the school she went to and she gave me the tour, so I felt like we should be friends), who has never,ever been nice to me. She was one of the Mean Girls, a Queen Bee. I'll be first to admit, I was a geek, an easy target. My dad was a minister and my family didn't have a lot of money to spend on cool clothes so I got a lot of hand-me-downs from women that my mom knew. Kim was not particularly pretty, but had two pretty and very popular older sisters and a divorced mom who indulged the three of them. She knew all the cool high schoolers and set the fashion trends. We all hated her, yet of course we wanted to be her.

The last time I saw her, she had a baby on her hip and was gigantically pregnant with another. We were outside of Shop N Save, and she said hi to me and introduced me to her husband, her marital status having changed since the big 10-year reunion that she spearheaded 2 years earlier. I'm pretty sure she wanted me to pass the info through the grapevine that she was married with kids so as to dispel the popular belief that she had a touch of the Peppermint Patty thing goin' on. I said hi to her son, who was 11 months old, and asked when her baby was due. Any day, she said. Wow, congratulations. Great to see ya! Yeah, call me sometime! Sure, that'd be great. Buh bye... As I walked away with R, 4 year old Beebie and 4 month old Pie, I thought to myself, my GOD I would die if I had babies that close together. I even said it out loud to Randy. Little did I know I was pregnant with Tito at the time. My sons are 10.5 months apart. Oh, bitter irony.

So this time I saw her and she didn't say hi to me. I know she saw me. And I looked fantastic. Apparently the 40 pounds I'd lost since I saw her last when straight to her ass. Nothing in this world makes me happier than when people I hate are fatter than me. It was a moment I've waited for for many years. I could feel my inner child breakdancing with my inner bitch. Am I being petty? Sure. I'm so junior high. Humor me for a moment, won't you?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Knitting Dimension

Here's the thing - I feel compelled to add a knitting dimension to this blog to offset the pervading theme of general bitterness. I don't think of it as bitterness. I think of it as self-deprecating humor that occasionally adopts a different target than myself, and then it's just HUMOR.

SO, needles up to the knitting blog blab - I knit, and I love it. I'm pretty sure it's the only thing I've ever sucked at, yet still enjoyed. I'm probably too tough on myself, I'm really not that bad. As long as it's a fairly simple pattern that doesn't require tricky seaming, I'm pretty good. Scarves, for example, are currently my raison d'etre, mainly because I can never afford to buy the amount of yarn necessary to make anything substantial like a vest or a sweater. I think I'll gather all my knitted stuff that I haven't given away and take a pic and post it like the proud creator that I am. Then I can also send thanks and mad props to the secret pal that pulls my name in the Knitty Holiday Secret Pal thing I'm doing.

Right now I'm making my mom a poncho if I can figure out how to do it, and I started on this scarf using this really pretty Lion Brand Landscapes yarn that was 50% off at the Hobby Lobby that just opened right by me (WOO HOO!!!), but I did it in stockinette and the edges are curling under funny so I'm going to see if felting and blocking it helps. I like being able to putz around with my work and so there really aren't any mistakes. I love that. If only the rest of my life were like that. If only I could knit dinner. Or a minivan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

KICKASS! I got RAK'ed!

I'm sure I've mentioned that I knit for fun (and I think I also mentioned that I kinda suck at it) and one day I happened across - which is the greatest thing ever. This week alone I've gotten two Random Acts of Kindness boxes full of fun yarn and needles! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!Now I can put off housework just a little longer. Like I need an excuse for that.

Today's domestic duties include laundry and dishes and continuing the seasonal wardrobe transitions in the kids' closets. I was going to do laundry right when I got up in the morning but I didn't, and then just now DS #1 waddled into the computer room bowlegged and asked me to "please address the poopy situation". I'll spare you the details of the steaming, bubbling, chunky green diarrhea, but suffice it to say that I have since started the laundry.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Her Parents Must Be So Proud

And now, from the "please tell me she's not serious about that outfit" file -

Yeah, that's Juliette Lewis.

I wonder if I could knit that bikini thing... and the Viking helmet.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Random Thoughts and Astute Observations

And Now, A Collection of Random, Yet Extremely Profound Thoughts

I've got too much on my mind and as I search to find a connecting thread to use as a title I realize that all I can come up with is Random Thoughts.

Random Thought #1 - The reason I got into this blog thing in the first place was because my cousin Amy has all of her knitting triumphs brilliantly displayed in blog form. Here's hers (DISCLAIMER - if you don't know the difference between acrylic worsted weight yarns and self-striping sock yarns, you might not get it):

I've seen tons of witty knitting blogs. I'm a novice knitter, so I don't think I'm really worthy of a knitting blog yet. I will say that since I started knitting about 6 months ago or so, I've lost about 20 pounds. The correlation of course, is that you can't eat while you're knitting. Maybe I'll put up a pic of my kids wearing the stuff I knit for them, if I can figure out how to post a photo.

Random Thought #2 - I love reality shows, but is it really reality to compile a bunch of women who just happen to look fantastic in bikinis and make them bungee jump into a cave teeming with rabid bats while sucking back a pilsner glass of aardvark bile? One day the big girls of the world will unite and squash the reality show casting directors. By sitting on them.

Random Thought #3 - THE PAST TENSE OF SEE IS NOT SEEN. I don't know what's been going on but I've SEEN an exponential increase in this particular grammatical faux pas. I'll have to make a list of all of the butcherings of the English language that I encounter on a daily basis.

Random Thought #3a - On the subject of the English Language and the Americanization thereof; I know nobody else probably cares, but I love to see the words that are added to the American Lexicon every year. This year's additions are Bikini Wax, Brain Freeze, and Chick Flick. Worthy choices, all. Although I'd be leerie of any sentence containing the three together.

Random Thought #3b - Only slightly less than I love linguistics and the study of the subtleties of languages, I love my adoreable husband, who bought me The Dictionary Of American Slang, because he knew I would love it. Show me another girl who's received The DOAS as a birthday gift. Bonus points if she squealed with glee when she opened it as I did (instead of smacking the giver in the cranium with it). Lemme know how that search goes.

Random Thought #4 - Is it just me or does Tony Blair sound exactly like C-3PO? Close your eyes and listen... it's creepy.

Random Thought #5 - I really suck at knitting. When I get better I'll add a Knitting Dimension to my blog, instead of just bitter rants. I've figured out that the only reason I knit is because I thrive on external affirmation. I love when people tell me something I did is brilliant, delicious or hilarious. Yesterday I mentioned my Martha Stewart theory. I have a theory that Martha Stewart is the same sort of person. Hell, if I had unlimited time and money, I could decoupage my hen house too. I'm onto you, Martha. You have self-esteem issues, and so do your followers. And if they don't have self-esteem issues before they attempt one of your oh-so-fulfilling-yet-simple projects, they will before they're done. I'd love to hate Martha, but those organically grown lemon apricot tartlets are just so scrumptious! Sarcasm is often lost in the written word, sadly.

Random Thought #6 - With all the money they have, why don't Bill Gates and Donald Trump have better hair? Somebody needs to introduce those two to Fantastic Sam. Maybe I'll mail them each a coupon.


Try Crest Whitening Expressions in Cinnamon Blast, and you'll never go back to basic mint again. Every other toothpaste tastes like caulk.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hiya, I'm Penny Karma!

Inspired by the new NBC TV show, "My Name Is Earl" (which is highly worth checking out, if you haven't), I decided to give some thought to the concept behind the show - the idea that bad things happen to people who do bad things, and good things happen to people who do good things. Simple concept.

I was looking back over my own life and a common theme appeared. A lot of people have pissed me off when I didn't deserve it. And of course, karma would dictate that bad things should befall them. Not necessarily the fire and brimstone, sackcloth and ashes, weeping and gnashing of teeth variety; but perhaps more like the paper cut, get in the slowest line at the grocery store when you're in a hurry, stepping in gum sort. Not pure undiluted evil, just minor inconveniences and annoyances.

The problem with karma is that you have to kinda just believe that everybody gets what they give in the end. You don't often get to witness karma at work on some jackass who done ya wrong. And that sucks. Is it wrong to want annoying things to happen to annoying people? YES, I know technically it kinda is. My dad is a minister so I'm well aware of the fact that Jesus said vengeance is his and we're not supposed to let our minds hatch maniacal revenge plots.

But they're such fun.

Now wait, before ya freak out, lemme clarify - I'm a good person. I leave more pennies in the penny cups than I take out. I love performing random acts of kindness. When someone does a good job, I tell them I appreciate them. Customer service reps usually have especially amusing reactions to kind words as they're not used to hearing them.

I've never put sugar in anyone's gas tank, never stalked anybody, never left a pile of flaming poop on someone's doorstep. And I suppose the argument could be made that if people pissed me off then I probably pissed a whole bunch of people off through the course of my thirty-four years, but dang! Did I deserve to be fired from my job when I was six months pregnant? Uh, NO. Did I deserve to do the job of two people without a pay increase, and leave work in tears every day? Definitely not. Did I deserve for a co-worker to make up an entirely bogus list of things I'd done wrong and give it to my boss behind my back in order to protect her own job? Oh yeah, I was pregnant then too, by the way.

These people, in a word, SUCK.

I worked my ass off for these people. I only have a lil bitty nub of ass left. HA! Ok, maybe ass size should not be used to illustrate this point. But I digress...

So anyway, I thought it might be therapeutic and practically harmless to document the transgressions of these individuals who have pissed me off here in my Blog Sweet Blog for posterity.

Then I read this article:

It's about letting go of grudges. And one of the article's recommendations for doing so is confronting the person against whom you bear said grudge. But that's not always practical.

Behold my brilliance.

Welcome to my open forum for confronting the PWHPMO's (pee-whip-moes) - People Who Have Pissed Me Off.

You're welcome to play along at home. Who hasn't gone to their high school reunion with the secret wish that all the Mean Girls got really really fat? Do you ever inch your car up in order to prevent the jerk who cut you off a mile back from merging into your lane? Come on, we all want to see people get what we think they deserve or reality shows wouldn't be so popular! There's always the person you're kinda pulling for and the person you love to hate, right? Of course, sometimes we're rooting for the villain, but that's part of the fun of it. Whether we admit it or not, we love Schadenfreude. Look it up.

Did you for even a moment snicker at the thought of Martha Stewart in prison? Ya know ya did! That's a sitcom waiting to happen, for cryin out loud. More power to her for working the a bad situation to her advantage. Mad props, sistah. I have a theory on Martha Stewart and her loyal army of Stewartites that I'll have to share with you another day.

Lest I be viewed as a negative, bitter person (which I'm truly NOT), I think I'll throw in a positive paragraph or two just to keep the balance. Cuz that's what karma's all about.

Here ya go. Ahem.


Until recently, I thought that all mascaras were pretty much the same. They all perform the same function. Some curl, some thicken, some strengthen, some lengthen, some enlongate - but any one type of mascara is pretty much interchangable with any other. I would be willing to wager that I, as someone who uses mascara every day, would be unable to tell the difference between a $2.99 mascara and a $20 one. I'm even more sure that my husband would be unable to tell the difference on me.

Enter Unstoppable by Maybelline. I love the brush, I love that it doesn't make my eyelashes look like tarantula legs, and it's supercheap. Yay!!

For the record, that Great Lash crap sucks. Whoops, sorry... must stay positive... focus...