Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Victory is Mine!

I won the aforementioned eBay auction and am now the proud owner of a new, twin-sized set of Star Wars sheets - the only set I could find with Mace Windu on them. As much as I'd love to sleep with Ultimate Badass Samuel L. Jackson under me, alas, these sheets are for Ry. Mace is Ry's favorite Star Wars Character, and Ry is getting a Big Boy Bed for his Birthday. Every time he gets into his current toddler-sized bed, it creaks. So we figured it was time. Oh, and I also won a Vintage Star Wars bedspread. He's gonna FREAK.

And my 2006 Writer's Market came in the mail today. Righteous!!

Check me out, I made an Avatar.

Monday, January 30, 2006

You Know Your Day is Off to a Craptacular Start When...

You're looking for your keys and you find that you washed and dried your jeans with a Werther's Chewy Caramel in the pocket. Damn.

The day hasn't gone too badly, really. It's still early, though.

The Pie has a nemesis at school named Andrew. I don't know what the nature of the animosity is, but this kid is just really snotty to Ry. He told Ry he couldn't come to his birthday party unless Ry got a haircut. To a kid, that's like the ultimate insult. When you're four years old and you really want to hurt somebody's feelings, You can't come to my birthday party is the absolute meanest thing you can say.

So naturally, when we were planning P's party, he said he didn't want to invite Andrew. I didn't blame him, but I told him that we were inviting the whole class, so Andrew would be invited. P said "But Mom, Andrew is mean!", and for some reason it entered my head to say "Well, buddy, sometimes when people are mean, it's really because they're sad." I don't know what made me say that. Then Ry said "Mom, I just remembered something we learned at school - we're supposed to love our enemies. So I guess we should invite him."

R intervened as only dads can. "Hey Ry, there's this phrase called 'Kill 'em with kindness'. That means be nice to people who are mean to you, and it will drive them crazy."

To which Ry said, "COOL!!!" That's my boy.

I love the whole concept of killing people with kindness. I think there's a Proverb about how "a kind word to an enemy is like hot coals on his head", or something like that. My Inner Bitch, however, acknowledges that sometimes it's a lot more fun to kill 'em with Fookery.

So anyway, today I dropped Ry off and Andrew got right up in Ry's face and said in a voice reminiscent of Francis Buxton from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, "Guess what?? I get to go to your birthday party." And my sweet little Pie said "Well, that's good!" It was a proud parental moment.

In other news, I'm taking two writing courses online through BN.com. I'm determined to get paid for writing something - at least make back what I spent on the books for the class. If you need me to write something brilliant for you, please let me know. Scathing complaint letters and cleverly-worded hate mail are my specialty.

In other other news, I've contacted my SP6 downstream, and having perused her blog, I see that her knitting prowess by far exceeds mine. She is clearly Ubercool (since we have quite a few things in common), and I've gathered some goodies to mail her. I've also got some goodies gathered for my Cheapass SP, I can hardly wait to find out what incredibly lucky Knittyhead has me for an upstream.

I was just contacted by my SP6 upstream thusly:

"Ms. Penny Karma, paging a Ms. Penny Karma...

Your SP would like you to know she is strange, crass and will probably be sending you at least one thing which will make your nose wrinkle, your brow furrow and you to exclaim, "What the ... ?" in utter bewilderment.


P.S. Don't worry, it won't be dog turds....this time."

I love my SP already. That's my kinda humor, right there. BRING IT!

Lastly, I'm bidding on some eBay stuff and I'll be SO pissed if some stinky sniper gets in there at the last second. Oh, I hate those people.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Frugality requires Creativity. And a Sense of Humor.

Boy, don't I know it. Thank God that I was born into a Creatively Frugal home, so I've never known any different. Fortunately, what we lacked in Cash Assets, we also lacked in Pride. It's hard to be proud when you've got knee patches on your jeans and socks on your hands instead of mittens.

So Roxy and Sarah put together this Knitty Secret Pal round that requires you to spend no money at all. I love it!

For those who don't know that the word Frog is a verb (ie, non-knitters), an SP (Secret Pal) thing is kinda like Secret Santas at work, where you're given the name of someone and you send them stuff. There's usually a spending minimum given, but not this time.

"The idea is to exchange patterns, ecards, snail mail cards, cute pics, fun links and things that you don't have to spend $ on. If you want to send something RAK-style out of your existing stash too, that is fine, but no one will be required to spend $ on gifts."

This is SO right up my alley.

Of course, I also signed up for SP6 before I knew about this Cheapass SP (that's what I'm calling it, and I mean it in the most loving way), so I'm really going to be involved in two SP rounds simultaneously. Both require the same Questionnaire, so I'll put my answers on here for all to read. In addition, I was thinking I'd put up a list of stuff that wouldn't cost anything but postage and would make me deleriously happy.

_____ Behold My Questionnaire _____

Knittyboard user name: penny_karma


1. What is your current skill level (beginner/adv. beginner/intermediate, etc): I'd call myself a beginner/advanced beginner. I can knit and purl but I suck at the finishing process.

2. How long have you been knitting? I took my first class on February 12th last year.

3. What are your favorite fiber colors? I really like everything. I have no fiber color issues.

4. Are there any fiber colors you absolutely do NOT like? If so which? See above.

5. What are your favorite fibers? I've had fun felting recently, so feltable stuff is cool. But I'd be happy with whatever.

6. What is your favorite yarn to knit with and why? I've recently discovered Noro. I love the colors, especially when felted.

7. Do you like stripes or solids more? I like a little flare rather than monochromatic.

8. Do you have any unwelcome fibers (stuff you just don't need more of or like?) Nah, knock yerself out, I'm easy.

9. What is your Dream Yarn? Sari Silk - never tried it but it looks cool

10. How do you feel about novelty fibers (both the yarns and the items made with them)? Like them. For some reason people love the Fun Fur scarves I make them. Not my cup of tea, but I like to make stuff for other people. I think the novelty stuff is kinda fun.

11.Do you prefer straight or circular needles (are there any sizes you really need)? I like circs, and I think I'm set as far as sizes.

12. Bamboo, aluminum, or plastic? Aluminum

13. Do you spin or crochet? Nope. I'd like to learn crochet, though.

14. What is the next thing you want to learn (techniques etc)? DPN's. I suck at them. I want to make mittens and socks.

15. What item(s) do you knit the most? Scarves, hats, shawls and purses.

16. What are your favorite items to knit? I like scarves because they're quick and I can give them to friends.

17. What are you knitting right now? A "Bama Boa" for my sister's new mother in law. It's that Boa yarn in Alabama Crimson. I heard you groan.

18. Any projects you haven’t gotten to yet? Hundreds in my head!
Wants and Nots:

19. Allergies:

a. Do you have any food, fiber, smoke, pet allergies your SP should be aware of? Nonsmokey, please, that's all I ask :)

b. Do you smoke, have pets, or process peanuts where you store your yarn? If so, please declare them here: Smoke free/ Pet free home here.

20. Do you have any Wishlists? Amazon.com, knitpicks.com, and Freebie!

21. Anything you’ve been longing for or would really love to get (knitting or not)?: I've been meaning to get the Amy Ray CD called Stag and something more important always seems to come along whenever I have money.

22. What about stuff you don't need at all? I can put anything to good use!

23. What about knitting accessories? I'd LOVE a bag to organize my needles, and some stitch markers and row counters, point protectors maybe?

24. Do you have hobbies other than knitting (tv, sports, collectibles, fave things)? I collect really bad Holiday CD's or just music by obscure artists I might not have heard of.

25. Books you would like (knitting or not): I liked this one called Kids Can Knit - I'd like to use it to teach my daughter.

26. Magazines you would like (knitting or not): I like ones with easy patterns so I don't feel like a knitting moron.

27. For those of you who live outside the US, is there anything you'd like that you can't get your hands on? I've had a hard time finding Cascade around here. I'd love to try some of that Fixation so I can make Nosewarmers, or the 220 everybody's always talking about.

28. In the event your SP lives outside the the US, is there a particular yarn,etc. you can't find in the US? I haven't really tried. I'm lame, I know.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things:

29. Who/What is your favorite...
a. Chocolate: Cadbury Milk Chocolate, or Dove
b. Muppets: Ernie and Bert
c. Cartoon Character: Squidward
d. Flower: Pink Tulips
e. Ice Cream flavor: Double Fudge Brownie
f. Fragrance: Colors De Benetton
g. Shoes to wear: LL Bean Comfort Moc's
h. Type of garden: Butterfly
i. Animal: Penguin
j. Beverage: Diet Coke, occasionally with a twist of rum
k. Author: David Sedaris
l. Musician: Lyle Lovett and Indigo Girls (yes, I'm straight)
m. Holiday: Thanksgiving - tons of food and football
n. Time of Day: Sunset
o. Bath or Shower: Shower

I Want to Get To Know You Better:

30. How did you learn to knit? I took a class at Michaels.

31. What is your oldest UFO and how old is it? Wow, I have no idea.

32. What is the most exciting this that happened to you this month, year? Well, it depends on who you ask. I thought that my husband taking me yarn shopping yesterday was pretty exciting. Last year, the most exciting thing that happened to me was losing 40 pounds.

33. What is your favorite thing to do to waste time? Hang out on the Internet.

34. The things that make me the happiest…. A full tank of gas, money in the bank, and no particular place to go. I LOVE shopping at estate sales and thrift stores for vintage treasures and Kitschy Knick-Knacks.

35. If you were candy would you be sweet, sour, or cinnamon? I think I'd be Cinnamon on the outside and sweet in the middle.

36. If you were a fruit which would you be? Probably a pineapple.

37. Are you a Java Junkie? Not at all, I've never had a cup of coffee in my life.

38. Your birthday, in case it falls during the swap and your SP wants to send you a card: January 13th, ya just missed it. But my knitting anniversary's in February ; )

39. Do you have a personal mantra? Treat people how you'd want to be treated. Unless they're assholes. Then be heinous to them. They started it.

41. How do you feel about holidays? I really get into them, actually.

42. How do you really feel about socks? I wear them every day and wish I knew how to make them!

43. What is your shoe size? 8

44. How do you feel about ponchos? I like 'em.

45. What kind of music (and/or which artists) do you listen to when you are happy? My very favorite is Indigo Girls, but I love to rock out to all kinds of stuff when I'm happy. When I'm sad - The Smiths.

46. Rate yourself on a girly/fruh fruh factor from 1 - 10: Somewhere in the middle.

47. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Married with 3 kids. Only pet is a goldfish that we bought at WalMart 5 years ago.

48. What are a few of your life dreams? Get out of debt and buy a house and a minivan. I'd also like to write books, but I'm such a perfectionist I edit myself crazy.

49. What languages do you speak (besides English)? I speak un peu de francais, y un pocito espanol.

50. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? I'd love to live near London. Never been there, but I think it would be cool.

51. If you could do anything for a living what would it be? I wish I could be the person who comes up with nail polish names for OPI. Or be an anchor on Sportscenter.

52. If you could have any "super power" which would it be? The power to predict the future. I knew you were going to ask me that.

53. You're given $10,000 for traveling. Where do you go and why? I'd want to take hubby to Ireland with me. What we didn't spend on the trip I'd probably have to use to pay the babysitter.

54. How frequently would you like to hear from your SP, and what kind of contact would you prefer? I don't like to be high maintenance, but just let me know you're alive. Email's fine, or cards, or really whatever. Don't go broke trying to make me happy!

And now, stuff that wouldn't cost anything that I would love -

Newspaper coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby
Super-Easy Recipes
Ideas for Games I can play with my Kiddos

Monday, January 23, 2006

Take Heed, Cuz I'm a Lyrical Poet.

There are the obvious side-effects of insomnia, such as lethargy and general crabbiness, and then there are those which are a little less obvious.

Case in Point: I've been talking like Vanilla Ice for the last 3 days.

Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know.

God, I hope so - before I make Rice, Rice, Baby for dinner and Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. That wasn't supposed to sound gross.

Then, last night, I couldn't sleep and I turned on some lame Night Owl Theater movie called The New Guy. And playing the role of the Music Store Employee was none other than Robert Van Winkle. And I recognized him immediately. I scare myself sometimes.

I was up the rest of the night wondering, what is Word To Your Mother supposed to mean, anyway?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Yo, VIP - Let's Kick It!

Just because I'm the sort of individual who relishes using words like "moniker" in place of "name" and "edifice" in place of "building", check the sidebar for a link to the fly-est Vocabulary-Building website I know, boyeeeeeeee!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I take that back - I'm the THIRD biggest idiot alive.

I can't even believe these people.

Now, I think the Chronology of Events in this story would be interesting to verify. Did the hubby find the dude with the thumb in a Baggie first and think, "Hey, I know what we could do with this!" or did the wife say "I have a perfect plan for how to score some big billz... if only we knew someone willing to cut off his thumb..."

If the latter scenario is true, then I guess that idiot would bump me down to fourth.

Some of these goofy quizzes are alarmingly accurate.

Your Birthdate: January 13

You're dominant and powerful. You always need to be in charge.
While others respect your competence, you can be a bit of a dictator.
Hard working and serious, you never let yourself down.
You are exact and accurate - and you expect others to be the same way.

Your strength: You always get the job done

Your weakness: You're a perfectionist to a fault

Your power color: Gray

Your power symbol: Checkmark

Your power month: April

Your Personality Profile

You are sexy, powerful, and bold.
You're full of passion and energy...
Sometimes this passion has a dark side.

You feel most alive when you're seducing someone.
You never fail to get someone's attention.
Quick minded, you're also quick to lose your temper!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


You like me! You really like me!!!

Domestic Overlord, what would I do without your guidance as I fumble through the foggy waters of Bloggery?

Thank you ALL for your comments, now that I've figured out that I'M the bonehead, you can go back to talking amongst yourselves.

And now, let me tell you about my awesome husband. I got the man to take me yarn shopping today, to TWO DIFFERENT STORES. And out to lunch too, but did I mention TWO different stores? And he looked at yarn labels for Fiber Content and Dye Lot Numbers! We picked a deliciously heinous Yarn Bee yarn from Hobby Lobby (50% off this week) with the equally heinous color name Fudge and Kisses.

Then after a yummy lunch at Macaroni Grill (which was free because we used the Gift Card my mom sent me for my birthday), we went to the next yarn store. Hand in hand, we looked for masculine colors in 100% wool because - get this - he has asked me to make him a FELTED scarf. Yes, when he asked, he used the word FELTED. Then he bought me NORO. I love him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Hijacked Meme (kinda)

Nobody ever tags me for these things, which begs the question - is anybody reading this? Would it kill ya to leave a lil feedback every now and then? So I borrowed it from one of My Favorite Blogs and added a little extra to it. Cuz it's all about Me, in case you hadn't heard.

Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:

1. Aveda "Lifestyle Educator"
2. Gap Accessories Expert
3. Y2K Compliance Project Manager
4. Victoria's Secret Bra Fitter (jealous??)

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:

1. Raising Arizona
2. Godfather (1 and 2)
3. Goodfellas
4. Napoleon Dynamite, Gosh!

Four Places You Have Lived:

1. Kirkwood, MO
2. A sorority house in Columbia, MO
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Ballwin, MO

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:

1. The Office
2. My Name is Earl
3. Arrested Development
4. Survivor (and pretty much all reality shows. Love 'em. Schadenfreude. Look it up.)

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation:

1. Longboat Key, FL
2. Petoskey, MI
3. Rockport, TX
4. Steubenville, OH (jealous??)

Four Websites You Visit Daily:

1. Yahoo.com
2. Knitty.com
3. Ebay.com
4. Hugethrobbingcox.com (just kidding)

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:

1. Werther's Chewy Caramels
2. Shakespeare's Pizza (Columbia, MO)
3. Leftover Shakespeare's Pizza
4. The Jumbo Popcorn Chicken Salad from Sonic

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. A beach
2. A cabin in the mountains
3. A massage table
4. A cafe within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower

And now, the categories I added for My Own Amusement -

Four A-holes On Whom I Wish Evil To Rain Daily:
1. M. D.
2. P. M. (and the whole M. family)
3. E. Z.
4. This space available for rent.

Four People Who Shouldn't Be Bosses of Other People:

1. Cathy P. from NML
2. Kerry L. from Aveda
3. Karen J. from Aon
4. Me. I'm too nice and I can't delegate for shit. Whoever just whispered "control freak" can just shut the hell up.

Four Little Quirks I Have:

1. I never take the top newpaper in the pile.
2. I always wear socks to bed.
3. If one of my shoes comes untied, I'll untie the other one and re-tie it too.
4. I get kinda panicky driving over bridges.

Four Actors With Whom I'd Do a Nude Love Scene:

1. Johnny Depp
2. Zach Braff
3. George Clooney
4. Drew Carey (cuz I'd look really skinny)

Four Things I'd Like to Do Before I Die:

1. Walk across the Syndey Harbor Bridge
2. Knit a sweater
3. Write my autobiography
4. Tell Cathy P. of NML that she is the absolute meanest person I've ever met

Four Things I'd Do With A Million Dollars:

1. Build a funky retro-style house with a Conversation Pit in it
2. Buy a minivan
3. Buy this purse
4. Give a whole bunch of it to United Way

Four Things I Probably Should Do That I Don't Do:

1. Floss Regularly
2. Work Out
3. Laundry
4. Sleep

Four Things I Probably Shouldn't Do That I Do:

1. Relentlessly Mock the Idiots I Encounter Every Day
2. Eat Werther's Chewy Caramels Until My Jaw Hurts
3. Buy Yarn
4. Buy More Yarn

Four Things I Couldn't Live Without:

1. My George Foreman Grill
2. Internet Access
3. A Toothbrush
4. It's a tie between Yarn and Werther's Chewy Caramels. Maybe I could roll some Werther's Chewy Caramels really skinny and knit myself an edible scarf. Nah, that'd take too long. Never mind.

Four Of My Pet Peeves:

1. People who bitch about everything that's wrong with their lives and claim to be unable to do anything about it
2. People who say "nookyalar" instead of Nuclear
3. People who say "supposably" instead of Supposedly
4. People who think I'm a snob for correcting someone's pronunciation, grammar or spelling (Jeez, sorry I want to preserve the purity of the English Language)

Who's it All About?

1. Me
2. Moi
3. Yo
4. Me

Kid Logic and some other Childish Thoughts.

In a 3-year-old's mind, the words "face" and "head" can be suffixed to just about any other word in the English language and Voila! Instant insult. Here are some examples that I've heard recently:

Gas Station Face, Sock Face, Laundry Head, Raincoat Face, and, my personal favorite, Poopy Diaper Head, which I've actually used recently, when Some Dumbass thought that the fact that Their SUV is bigger than My Mazda automatically meant that it was her turn to proceed through the 4-way stop first. Just cuz I'm smaller doesn't mean I won't sue that effin Lexus right out from under your fat ass, Poopy Diaper Head!

So last night as I was watching the Golden Globes, I got to thinking. I wonder if Sir Anthony Hopkins ever sits around his Ancestral Estate in his Boxers eating Doritos and watching porn. Maybe nobody else in the world's brain works like mine does, but that's the kind of stuff I think about.

The Golden Globe Red Carpet as well as the upcoming premiere of American Idol also got my mental gears turning. Don't these people have friends who try to talk them out of making asses of themselves? I mean, didja see Marcia Cross in that Orange Toga? And Drew, honey, I love you (and your boobs), but for cryin' out loud, would it stifle you artistically to put on a Bra?

Sometimes I think I should give these people my phone number and have them call me before they leave their houses so I can talk some feckin sense into them. I mean, alls I would have had to hear from Marcia Cross is the word "ORANGE", and I'd have had her zipping by the mall to pick up something less heinous. Then again, I guess if I were Ridiculously Rich, I'd pay somebody just to tell me I looked great even if it wasn't true. Why can't I get a gig like that?

And American Idol just kills me. I don't care who wins. I wish nobody would win. I'd rather see 8 weeks of hideously abysmal singers who all think they're going to be the next Ruben Studdard (who??). Isn't it amazing to think that even the worst singer in the competition stood in line for days thinking they were going to grab Hollywood by the ballz and run?

And I actually love Simon Cowell. If I had the knitting knowhow to design a haughty, pretentious-looking cowl-neck sweater, I'd call it the Simon Cowl. It would be inspired by his ubiquitous black T-shirt, and I'd make the pattern completely illogical and nearly impossible to follow. (Then I'd make one for Randy Jackson made out of DAWG hair! HA! That just came to me! Y'know how he's all "Ya did yer thang, Dawg!" Well, I thought it was funny. I crack myself up. Does anybody read this?)

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Dangers of Googling Oneself

Apparently I'm an artist from Detroit AND a British Porn Star.

If only Margaret Verbotten could see me now.

Suckiness Subsides, Somewhat

The top story yesterday was the triumphant return of Danny, the Tamagotchi. He had been left out in the backyard, and despite the snow that fell on Friday, he works. Of course, the original Danny had "gone back to Planet Tamagotchi" - I swear I'm not making that euphamistic crap up - but we were able to reset the thing and get a new egg, which hatched into a boy, also named Danny. Nat brought him inside with breathless joy, and immediately left to go play outside again. Meanwhile, R fed Danny Tamagotchi snacks until he got up to 99 pounds. I think Tamagotchi Protective Services are on their way.

I was also trying to cheer myself up by remembering a really good birthday I had, and probably the most interesting one was my 16th. My friends kidnapped me just out of the shower (literally) and dressed me up funny and then took me to McDonald's before school with no makeup and wet hair. In January.

You kinda have to appreciate my circle of high school friends. I think I've previously alluded to the fact that we were quite the geek parade. We never drank or smoked or dated the hot guys or did stuff that the self-proclaimed Coolies did. We'd get together and play board games or throw toilet paper in people's trees. Good times with the church youth group. That was us.

Then I remembered an act of High School Fookery for the ages. I was sitting at home one evening Freshman Year (I think) when my phone rang. It was my very best friend Yetunde (pronounced YEH-toon-day). Note the mid-80's vernacular.

"Oh.. my.. gosh... You are not EVEN gonna believe who just called me, she said.

I had no idea.

"Margaret Verbotten (not her real last name, but close, and kinda gets the point across a little better)!" Huh? This was odd, as Margaret rarely stepped outside of her tribe of Gucci-toting minions, especially not to voluntarily talk to one of the peasantry.

"Margaret called you?" I said, stunned. "Are you serious?? What the hell for? Are you working on a project together or something?"

"No," Yetunde said. "She called and started out all friendly like 'oh, hi, how are you,' and whatever... then she said, 'Um... you know that one purple sweater that we both have? The turtleneck one with the black letters on it?' and I was like, 'Yeah...', and she was like, 'Well, I was gonna wear it tomorrow, so could you like, uh, not wear it?'"

"Omigod, you are totally freakin' KIDDING me," I said.


"Well, what did you say??"

"I don't know, I think I just said Okay."

"That is like, the total bitchiest thing I've ever heard. Seriously!" And then, I spoke the words to which Those Who Know Me Best respond with the same kind of breathlessness that's associated with both gleeful anticipation and sheer terror:

"I have an idea."

So Yetunde, true to her word, did not wear the purple sweater with letters on it the next day. Instead, she brought it to school and let one of our other geek friends (the one who had the most classes with Margaret) wear it all day. Take that, bitchlet!

And in honor of MLK day, here's a pic of me with Yetunde at the Rosa Parks table at my sister's wedding. It's okay for me to call it that, Yetunde made it up. And that guy is The Koomster. He's hot.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Havin' a Good Time

"Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed, my life's a mess
But I'm havin' a good time."

- Paul Simon "Have a Good Time"

My birthday was yesterday. I turned 35. Now I'm no math whiz, but I'm pretty sure that means I'm halfway to 70.

I guess it was a big fat smack o' karma from all the times my sister and I didn't go balls-out for our mom's birthday. Not that I wanted anybody to go balls-out, I just didn't want the day to suck, ya know? On my birthday last year, Hubby and I got in a big stupid fight because he kept yelling at the kids to behave so I'd have a nice birthday (???), then the next day I had to drive myself to the ER (with the 3 kids) with a kidney infection. So it could have sucked pretty effin bad and still been better than last year.

So, like every other morning, the kids were up before 6, wanting their various morning fixes of apple juice and chocolate milk. So when Hubbypoo woke up and said "you stay in bed and I'll bring you breakfast", I had to chuckle a little, since I'd already been out of bed and eaten, but he had taken the day off from work to hang out with me so I was looking forward to that.

We would have gone out to lunch or done something special, but we knew that the money was tight, so we just stayed home, which was fine because the weather suddenly turned Uber-shitty. Craptastic Weather and Money Drama are to me what Rainy Days and Mondays were to Karen Carpenter, and we all know what happened to her. Don't worry though, I love food too much to be anorexic. But I digress.

Just for laughs, I logged in to the bank website and saw that we were charged $66 in bounced check fees. So that's where my birthday money went. Sigh. So I went into the kitchen and made lunch for hubby and me. Beebie had a 1/2 day at school, and as soon as she got home, she asked if she could go to her friend's house. R said "well, it's your mom's birthday..." to which she replied, "well, are we going to do anything??" I told her to just go, figuring it would be more pleasant without her kvetching in the house.

We spent the afternoon searching the house for whatever spare change we could find. Then I went to the grocery store and paid for 2 gallons of milk in nickels and pennies, praying nobody would get in the line behind me and give me grief about it. I told the cashier that I was going to pay creatively, and that I had gotten into her line because she looked nice. She was nice. I told her it was my birthday. It was my birthday and I'd pulled apart sofa cushions to find money for milk.

We had frozen pizza for dinner and DH and I made a chocolate silk pie from a mix, that the kids didn't like. Hubby cleaned the kitchen and then I suggested we all work together to clean the living room. Nat freaked. "It's not only MY mess in there!!" Well, I never even walk in that room because it's so full of crap I can't get from one end of the room to the other, so I know it's not my mess either, and hey, it's my birthday and I'm going to be cleaning in there too. By the way, I also told her that if I find Danny before she does, I'm selling him on Ebay.

I got one birthday phone call from a friend, emails from a couple of people, and I got a card from my parents and one from my in-laws, but why do birthdays lose meaning as we become grownups, and especially parents? I couldn't even let R see how disappointed I was in the day because it wasn't his fault. It wasn't anybody's fault, it just sucked and I spent the evening trying not to cry.

On the plus side, here's what I was able to open, pretending they were birthday gifts:

- a book from PaperBackSwap.com (The Oprah Book about the dude in rehab)

- 3 bags of clothes from Freecycle

- a package of fun yarn I got in a swap

So, yay! I'm trying to force myself into a positive attitude but I'm just really bummed and my only consolation is that right now I'm as far away from my next birthday as I can possibly be.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Can ya tell I figured out how to link?

My birthday isn't even until tomorrow, and already I've been flooded with gifts! So far I've received:

A free burrito from Qdoba,
A free burger from Red Robin,
A coupon for $5 off my next service at Elegant Designs Day Spa,
A free patriotic mug from Schaefer's Hobby Shop, and

A big fat stinky Bounced Check Notice from the Bank. Ok, that actually hasn't come yet, but it will. Dammitdammitdammitdammitdammit.

Meanwhile, the kids are keeping me on the direct path to the brink of insanity. Yesterday T-Bone insisted on drinking from a tiny cup the whole day, which meant that I had to fill it about 4 times as often as a regular-sized cup. Stinker.

The Beeb has proven to me that she would NOT be able to handle the responsibility of a pet. Against my better judgment, I bought her a Tamagatchi. She had asked for it and nagged and nagged and whined until I snapped and said "Ya know why I won't buy it for you? Because you won't SHUT UP about it!!" Then I felt remorseful, and the next time we were at the store, we bought it. It was the last one. She turned it on, and the little egg hatched (a boy, which she named Danny). Danny was doing great. She took it to school and managed to not let it be a distraction. She only got it out at recess, and in Tamagatchi years, it got to be 5 years old.

Then on Monday, she asked nonchalantly, "Hey, Mom, have you found Danny?" Uhm, nooo... I said. I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him. "Oh well, if you see him, let me know. Bye, I'm goin' to Brenda's!" No, I said. You need to find Danny before you go out. She went into full meltdown mode, boneless and sobbing. Fine, I said. Get out. But I'm not looking for him.

We have no idea where Danny is. Nat's sure he's in the house, but she has shown little interest in finding him, especially now that he's probably a little digital skeleton now. Nice, huh? I'm just pissed that this stupid thing that she pitched SUCH a fit about getting is now lost and she doesn't care.

Then there's Pie. You kinda have to know where we started with Pie to appreciate the next little piece of news. When I was 20 weeks pregnant, I took the AFP blood test which indicated some sort of problem. After an emergency ultrasound that lasted for 4 hours, my doctor said "Well, it's a boy. And there is a problem. His bladder isn't emptying as it should." He showed me this massive black spot on the screen and said "That's his bladder." It was as big as Ry's head.

He started telling me about all the worst case scenarios, how there's only about a 50% chance that he'll survive the pregnancy, then after that a 50% chance he'll survive the delivery, and then if he makes it that far he might not live to be 3... and that I didn't HAVE to have this baby. Well, yeah, I did. So the first thing they did was take a huge syringe and remove 100 cc's of fluid from his bladder, through my tummy. That was like the freakiest experience I'd ever had.

Long story short, I went to 3 ultrasounds and non-stress tests each week for the next 20 weeks. Do the math in your head real quick, I'll wait. And I even went to see a specialist in Tampa who told me that the risk of the surgery was too great and that he'd probably have a better chance without it. It was hard to hear that, because it really wasn't the kind of good news that would let me relax. And then I went on bed rest for 2 months before he was born, and then on 2-10-02, he came out, with a big floppy belly that looked kinda like a deflated balloon. He made it out, so we were over the first hurdle.

Then we had to check his bladder, kidneys and lungs, and while the doctors tell me they look a little like something Rube Goldberg might have put together, everything works. But we still had to keep a close eye on his excretory systems. What he has is called Prune Belly Syndrome, which sounds like a joke, but that's literally what it looks like.

It's very rare, only about 1 in 40,000, and it has varying degrees of severity. A lot of Prune Belly kids have to learn to catheterize themselves. We are extremely thankful that Ryan's case is so mild that it really doesn't stop him from doing anything. He doesn't have many tummy muscles, since as he was in utero his bladder pushing on the walls of his tummy weakened them. So he looks a little funny in a swimsuit. But hey, don't we all? Ry calls his big tummy his "squishy bread", and he says that the kids at school ask him to show it to them. Not sure what I think about that.

So yesterday I took him for an ultrasound on his kidneys, and the doctor was very impressed that Ryan is fully potty trained. That's a really big deal. And, Ry, as the doctor was feeling around "down there", said "HEY!! WHAT'RE YA TRYIN' TA DO??" Comedic timing, Ry's got mastered. So the final assessment was that the doctor was "very happy with how everything looks." It's funny because he's so normal now, I sometimes forget what a miracle it is that he's even alive.

And today he walked in with a gleam in his eye and an impish grin on his face, saying "Mom, guess what. I put Rescue Heroes in Nannie's Barbie Airplane. They're goin' on a little trip."

In Knitting News, I'm making a hot pink rolled-brim hat and I've got a few more projects in my idea queue. Yesterday I got some cool yarn in a trade with a fellow Knittyhead. Speaking of Knittyheads, I keep hoping that whoever had me for their Holiday SP is waiting to send me a birthday surprise in which she will finally tell me who she is! Kinda made me sad that I never found out who to thank. If you're reading this, Holiday SP, say hello! You don't even have to buy me stuff. But hell, I'm not stoppin ya. If you're stumped for ideas, gift vouchers are always good!

And it doesn't really fit in anywhere in this post, but I've made Martha's recipe for fudge 3 times this week. The white chocolate with candy canes is addictive. So is the peanut butter.

UPDATE - The mailman brought some lucrative Birthday Cards for me! Thanks to my parents and my friend B, who wrote in her card "Do something for yourself", I just might wander over to Chris' Needle and Craft and load up on Noro!

UPDATE #2 - Luckily, I went to the bank first. My available balance was negative. Ugh. So I can't do something for myself. Fortunately, I'm not used to doing stuff for myself anyway, so I really don't even miss it. I feel guilty when I do stuff for myself.

So I called Hubbypoo and said "Hey, I'm nervous, what do you think we should do?" He said he'd take some stuff (including my birthday presents, sigh) back and I took some stuff back too, so that putting all that back should have helped. But not enough.

It wasn't like I went and bought stupid crap. I didn't even buy yarn. Ok, I bought a little yarn, but the point is, I had to buy tires and then I had to pay for Day Care Registration for next year, in addition to the tuition for this month. So today I applied for a gas card in case the gas light comes on in the next week. It can only be used to buy gas, it's not a Visa or anything, so that's not on my conscience too much.

And I'm the sort who never steps on the scale or balances the checkbook because I don't want to be reminded of the fact that I'm fat and poor, so I hadn't checked it until now. Denial is a terrible thing. I friggin suck at money.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006


Behold My Button!

Many thanks to Domestic Overlord! If she were any cooler, she'd implode into a black hole of coolness.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Martha Stewart Insider Stalk Tips

I found this at 101funjokes.com -

Top 10 Signs You're Being Stalked by Martha Stewart

10. You get a threatening note made up of letters cut from a magazine with pinking shears, and they're all the same size, the same font, and precisely lined up in razor-sharp rows.

9. That little tell-tale slice of lemon in the dog's water bowl.

8. On her show she makes a gingerbread house that looks exactly like your split-level, right down to the fallen over liquorice downspout and the stuck half-open graham cracker garage door.

7. You find your pet bunny on the stove in an exquisite tarragon rose petal and saffron demi-glace with pecan crusted hearts of palm and a delicate mint fennel sauce.

6. The unmistakable odor of potpourri follows you even after you've left the bathroom.

5. You discover that every napkin in the house has been folded in the shape of a swan.

4. No matter where you eat, you discover your place setting always includes an oyster fork.

3. Twice this week you've been the victim of a drive-by doilying.

2. You wake up in the hospital with a concussion and endive stuffing in every orifice.

And the number 1 sign you're being stalked by Martha Stewart is. . .

1. You wake up one morning with a glue gun pointed squarely at your temple.

I've been wondering what it would like if Martha Stewart had some vendetta against you. (Wasn't there a Motown group called Martha and the Vendettas? I'm kidding.) I know I'd never want her to be pissed off at me. She'd probably send you organically grown raspberry tartlets with laced with her Great Grandma's secret recipe for homemade meth. Then she'd write a thank you note full of polysyllabic words so that the receiver wouldn't realize they were being verbally berated on hand-pressed papyrus paper. Back when I had a jobby job, I use to love to craft cleverly worded emails peppered with witty barbs and send them to idiot co-workers in order to expose their sub-par vocabulary skillz.

Kinda makes me wonder what it would be like if Alex Trebek was out to get you. I envision him as a little kid getting the crap kicked out of him by his older brothers. Ya think they asked him questions like:

"Hey, Alex - what's 1 to the 100th power?"
"Uhm... a hundred and one?"
"OOOOOH, sorry... sorry... that'll cost you. The Daily DOUBLE TITTY TWISTER!!!"

And as he was weeping and icing his nipples, he vowed revenge.

"Someday, someday I'll have ALL the answers. I will know everything! I will RULE THE WORLD!!! Ok, maybe just Canada..."

So I'm sitting here at my 'puter, reading the Overalls of Shame update on Domestic Overlord's blog, and in walks Ryan, with a bottle of white glue in his hand...

and his pants around his ankles.

This is why it's great to be the mother of boys. Ya never know what's going to happen next. At least it wasn't glitter glue and feathers.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Dose of Vocabulary Vitamins


[ZAWF·tik, ZAWF·tig]

1. having a plump and sexually attractive figure: "In her eternal quest to lose weight, Helena has reduced her formerly zaftig figure to that of a pre-adolescent boy."

2. full-bodied; well-proportioned

also: zoftig

I think I finally know what I'm going to get on my personalized license plate.

The Sissifying of America

Does anybody else think this is absolutely hilarious?

The 3 circles at the top are Bath Fizzies. Right above the green Puff (notice Yoda in Badass Pose) is a suction-cupped hook so you can hang it conveniently the wall of your tub. Also included is Jedi Lip Balm. It includes a clip feature so you can hook it on your Light Saber, lest chapped lips impede your quest for Intergalactic Domination.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And another thing -

I've only made a couple of resolutions this year, and they're mainly just that I'd learn a couple of new things. Specifically, I'd love to learn to fly fish and to blow glass. Neither of which are particularly marketable skills, but still, I figured they'd be fun to learn. Last year I resolved to learn to knit and to bellydance, and to write a kids' book, and I'm proud to say that I did all three things. Randy's taking a class two nights a week starting tomorrow, so my schedule will be full, but I'll see what I can do.

You know how you allegedly learn something new every day? I'd like to write down the stuff I learn in 2006 and see how much smarter I am this time next year.

My major goal for the next 6 months is to get out of the house we're renting and into one that we OWN.

I'd like to give away a knitted scarf at least once a month.

I'd like to branch out with my knitting and maybe try socks or mittens or something that requires DPN proficiency. Right now I'm totally intimidated by DPN's. Maybe I'll grow some cajones and try a sweater. Of course, if I actually grew cajones I'd have to knit myself something manly like a smoking jacket (imagine Hugh Hefner in a hand-knit smoking jacket, ha, that's just funny). Then I'd have to learn how to smoke, and I'm not really willing to do that.

I need to organize my stash. Big time.

I'd like to use my sewing machine at least once this year.

I'm sure I'll add more half-assed resolutions as I think of them.

I Love My Husband, BUT...

... when he's around I can never get any blogging done.

And now, here are the highlights of the last week and a half, in convenient summary form:

December 22 Randy worked the whole day so I was on my own to prepare an appetizer to take to the Big Family Christmas Extravaganza the next evening at Randy's aunt's house. I found a recipe I liked (Cheddar Cheese Straws from the current Family Circle magazine), fairly certain we owned a food processor, which was necessary for this recipe. I emailed R, and he confirmed that we had one somewhere. I found one in the basement and began work on the recipe.

R had suggested that I double the recipe, since there would probably be about 25-30 people there. Now, the food processor I had only held about a cup of anything at once. I was supposed to grate 2 pounds of block cheddar cheese and add a total of 4 cups of flour. I drove myself absolutely freakin crazy trying to get everything to combine in a way that was somewhat workable. When R called on his way home from work, I was close to a breakdown. I told him that there was no way I was going to be able to finish this recipe. He helped me calm down and said that he'd help me when he got home.

He came into the kitchen and saw where I had spent the last several hours struggling, and said "Why are you using that little bitty thing? We have a big one under the sink!" Well, NOW ya tell me. So together we got the dough made and kept it in the fridge overnight so I could bake it the next day.

December 23 Got the cheese straws made and took them to the Christmas Party, where they were well-received. I always feel like people are just patronizing me whenever they say good things about my cooking. I have some self-esteem issues, I guess.

The highlight of this annual gathering is always the Gift Exchange. Everybody brings a bunch of goofy shit and then we take turns pulling a gift from the pile or robbing our neighbors. It's funny to see what the kids get. Ryan got a Chia Homer Simpson Head. I think CHIA must be the ancient Mayan word for MOLD, cuz that's all I see growing on it. I hate the stupid thing, but Ry was beside himself with glee.

December 24 It's Christmas Eve, and no matter how much shopping I do up to this point, some unknown force draws me to shop on this day, every single year. R and I work hard to get all our gifts purchased by December 1 so we can relax afterwards, yet I go shopping anyway. This year, I went out because I realized I had nothing to give to R for Christmas.

I loaded up the kids and we went to Old Navy to find him some cargo pants. Sometime while we were shopping, Tommy lost the Thomas Train Character he had brought in with him. I was so mad. We looked through the entire store three times, then I gave up and I said we had to leave. As I was leaving the parking lot, I had a thought. I had Beebie call the store from my cell phone and ask if anyone had turned in a little red bulldozer. Luckily, someone (a parent who knows how expensive those things are, no doubt) turned Jack the Bulldozer in to a cashier. And there was much rejoicing.

December 25 Kids went to bed great so we had all of our wrapping done before 10. Then they were up at 6:30am, and Christmas was pretty much over by 7:15. The boys loved their Robo-Boots and Light Sabers. We got some great footage of them fighting with lightsabers in the dark (since, as usual, the kids were up before the sun). Beebie liked the Bitty Baby Santa brought her. The pants I got for R were the wrong size. I know what the right size is, I just pulled the wrong size off the rack. Poopy. I thought I was going to get through Christmas with Zero Returns. Nope.

Then we all went out to my Inlaws for lunch and presents and General Merriment. The kids all got cool presents and my MIL made THE most fantastic lunch, I mean WOW. She made this stuffed pork tenderloin that was just phenomenal. I'm still thinking about it. Whenever we go there, we eat well. It always smells like something awesome is cooking when you walk through the door. What's cooler than that? I wish I could pull that off in this house.

The Inlaws gave the kids a portable DVD player for the car. R and I had discussed getting one for the kids, but then we figured they'd just fight over it. And we were right. It's great to take places, but in the back of a Mazda with 3 kids trying to watch it, well, it's problematic to say the least.

For Christmas I received Dove Milk Chocolates, Werther's Chewy Caramels, and a Knitting Magazine that looks like fun.

December 26 We spent this day cleaning the house like mad, as my parents were arriving at 6pm. I put the final touches on the slide show and burned it to a disc. Six minutes of baby/kid/teenager embarassing photos of my sister and her hubby set to the sappiest song I could find - Celine Dion's sugar coma-inducing "Because You Loved Me" - followed by the Alabama Crimson Tide fight song. It was brilliant. Mom and Dad arrived late, and we took the kids over to their hotel to open gifts. Tommy got Thomas Train Legos, Ry got the Darth Vader Voice Changing Mask, and Beebie got Mall Madness, which we've played nearly every night since.

December 27 Wedding Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner. The rehearsal went quite well, everybody knew what they were going to do, and Dad, who was performing the ceremony, only got choked up once or twice. The dinner was great. The location was great, and they let the groom's family decorate the entire place with Alabama Crimson Tide decorations. Seriously.

The slide show was awesome. It made my sister cry. I didn't mean to, and the sappy song wasn't even audible (dang!), but looking at pictures of herself as a kid I guess made her think about what a pretty darn nice childhood we had. There were some really funny pics in there, both of her and of Bobby. I received many, many compliments on our efforts. People thought R and I should do slide shows professionally. Sure, in our spare time... The bride and groom presented us with a bottle of the BEST barbecue sauce in Texas, and I nearly wept too.

On my way back to the car that night, I found a hat lying on the ground. It was like the coolest Irish Import Wool hat, in brand-new condition. I gave it to R to wear, but Ry soon claimed it. It appears in several wedding photos.

December 28 WEDDING DAY. I had to print the place cards and re-print the place cards, and buy myself some shoes, my daughter a hair bow, and my sister some pantyhose (she's 6'2" so that's not the simplest task in the world), then pick up the boys' ties, but other than that, all went well. The boys looked sweet in the vests that Bobby's sister made, and Natalie's dress drew rave reviews. All in all, it was a very nice wedding. Nobody cried during the ceremony, which was nothing short of miraculous. I was really nervous about that. I knew if Dad hesitated for even a minute, that everyone in the place would lose it. Here are some photos.

Note to self: Don't buy new shoes to wear to an event that requires a LOT of standing in one place.

At the reception, my Big Secret was revealed. My cousin Kristin has a nose stud, which I think is wicked cool. I told her I was thinking about getting one, and she said "You should! Next time I see you, I want you to have one!" So I said, "Listen here, Lil Miss Thing Thinkin Yer a Badass, lemme just tell ya about what I have pierced..." So I told her of my pierced nipplage, lest she think she was cooler than me. I told her that the only ones who knew were my best friend Yet (who was sitting next to Kristin at the reception) and my husband, and my kids. As soon as I told her I thought maybe I shouldn't have, but screw it, I'm a grownup. What's my mom gonna do?

December 29 Tommy's 3rd Birthday Party. Every relative in town for the wedding attended. T's favorite gift was the Thomas Train Set from my inlaws. Here's a pic of that -

Nat and Ry spent the night at the hotel with Nana and Pop Pop, so R and I took T out for ice cream on his birthday. He stayed up till 10 and thought he was stylin.

December 30 Beebie and Pie (I should just go head and mention that Ryan is often called Pie, Mr Pie, P, Mr P, Pio [pronounced PEE - yo] and countless other nicknames that have evolved over the course of his life) had spent the night at the hotel and gone swimming after breakfast for two hours. My poor dad, who is 71, was in the pool with them the entire time, God love him. Mom and I took Emily's bouquet to be preserved. It's going to look awesome.

I also watched the Mizzou Tigers in a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the Independence Bowl.

December 31 My parents went back to Texas and the kids and I spent the day just shopping the 75% off Christmas sales and waiting for R to get home. At this point, I had no idea what day it even was. I still don't. I just know I haven't done laundry in the last 2 weeks. This will soon be rectified.

We never go out for New Year's, simply because I think it's stupid. We've kinda started a semi-tradition of going to Ted Drewes for frozen custard and watching the ball drop on TV. This year, after the ice cream, we came home and put jammies on and R and Mr P played Ry's new Xbox game which he calls "Star Wars Legos". I don't know what the real name of the game is. Randy and Ry played this game until after 10pm, long after Nat and I had conked out. So I didn't even see the ball drop in Times Square. I assume everything went ok, though, as I didn't hear otherwise.

How the hell old is Dick Clark anyway? I realize he had a stroke, and I'm not trying to be insensitive to that fact, but dude... pass the torch already. We won't think less of you. Reeg is ready and willing. Incidentally, Reeg also has a Christmas CD which is full-on cheesy. I bought it at 50% off. Also got Brian Wilson for 75% off. I love to buy Christmas CD's after Christmas.

But I digress. I woke up in time to watch part of Saturday Night Live, which featured Ashlee Simpson as the (cough) Musical Guest. I'd like to know who told that skank that she can sing. What's with the platinum hair and black eyeliner??
She naaaaaaaaaaasty.

January 1, 2006 Not a real eventful day. I took Nat to the mall to exchange a DVD and I bought the Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar for myself. Call me selfish.

January 2 We found a white fake Christmas tree for $10 at Wal Mart. We also found some really fun retro-vintage style ornaments. I can't wait for next year.

We also started Nat's Science Fair Project. She's growing plants with Miracle Grow and without. Hopefully they'll sprout before the project is due on February 6th. I'll keep you posted.

Now it's January 3. The kids go back to school tomorrow. I'm counting the hours.