"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I swear, this has never happened to me before...

So here's a pisser:

My Sunday started off as it ordinarily does, morning hanging out at home while the kids play, then take Book home to his dad's then out to lunch with the girls.

It was a good lunch. Munch was a little sulky, but overall, it wasn't bad. Then the check comes. I reach over and pick up my coat for my purse underneath - only.... IT'S NOT THERE. I give Gin the keys to the car to go get it. She comes back empty-handed. It's not there either. For the first time EVER, I've not only walked out of my house without my purse, but I didn't notice when we got out of the car, I didn't notice when we sat down to lunch, and I didn't notice the whole time we were eating.

I caught the waitress and told her, "I left walked out of my house without my purse. Look, I'll leave the kids up front and run home and get it." Add in several highly embarrassed statements there as well. She said, "That's fine. They can stay right there (at the table). I'll keep an eye on them." So they stayed and ate dessert and played tic-tac-toe and drank their drinks while I drove 40 minutes roundtrip through worsening snow to fetch my purse.

Munch had to be back home for her Christmas program at school by 6:40, so by this time, we were looking at a very tight schedule. I returned with my purse, paid the bill, and we headed to the grocery store - which could not wait another day, since I skipped the trip last week. We stuck to the list and made a mad dash through that place in RECORD time!

We made it though. And Munch remembered her line.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All's well (HTF did *that* happen?!)

My quitting-smoking campaign is still going strong. I'm nearing two weeks without a normal cigarette and don't miss them at all. The transition to the e-cigs has been the easiest thing in the world! And considering I started at the mid-level nicotine, I think I'll be stepping down fairly easily from that as well.

Thanksgiving was interesting with them. EVERYONE in my family smokes, but my mom was kind enough to send them to a table in the garage to light up. (When I walked in the house, I told her that I could smell it already. She said, "No problem, everyone can smoke in the garage when the get here.") Very considerate of her, I thought, especially since she and my stepdad smoke too, and it IS their house. So I sat at the table and vaped on my Blu cig, and everyone had to stop and ask about it. How was it? How much did it cost? How's it working for you? Etc. I repeated the pitch so many times, I thought I should be on the payroll for Blu!

Everything else is going along well. I'm actually looking forward to going into the office (most days), and I'm smiling a lot more. I even seem to have become more appealing in general! Haha!

I had a brief moment of disappointment earlier this week, which, if it had come at another time, probably would have been a crushing blow that left me a wreck. Fortunately though, I had a very positive turn of events as well, that's had me in a very good mood of late. Unfortunately, I can get into that here - but be happy for me. It's quite good. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Blu heaven

*This is NOT a paid post! This is totally ME and MY EXPERIENCE!*

Saturday morning, my Blu e-cigs arrived. At noon, I smoked the last cigarette in my pack. I haven't had another one since, and I never imagined it could be so easy.

Honestly, I quit smoking for real once before. I stopped for almost a year. Then I went through the "bad time," and I was feeling so miserable, I started again - not because I felt the need for a cigarette but because I felt the need to do myself some measure of harm. (It should be noted, I used to refer to smoking as "a slow, socially acceptable form of suicide." It's since - obviously - become far less socially acceptable.)

Anyway, for quite a while now, I've been wanting to quit again, but I just didn't seem to have the nerve. I used the nicotine patches last time - and a whole lot of sugarless chewing gum. It really wasn't all THAT hard, but I was very happy at the time, and lately, I don't feel like I have quite enough will to attempt that again. Still, I wanted to quit.

Enter: the e-cig research. I could totally get this. It covers the two issues with smoking: addiction and habit. The nicotine is the addiction, but the action of smoking is habit.

The initial cost was a bit high, but the savings is huge. To be honest, I'll be recouping my initial outlay in just two weeks in the money I save by not buying cigarettes. And let's be honest here - it's getting too damn cold to go outside to smoke. I can actually carry it around in my pocket and have a puff or two in the bathroom or the breakroom at work! No smoke. No smell. No problem.

These things are awesome. I don't miss smoking a bit. And I'll be able to step down at my own pace until I'm done with nicotine completely. If you're a smoker, I totally recommend trying these things!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fat season

As I sit and look at this giant bowl of candy comprising leftovers from the candy I bought to give out for trick or treat (only two kids showed up at my door) and candy my kids didn't like and thus gave to me (that includes all of their Reese's cups and Snickers bars. Score!), I realize that Halloween is the beginning of fat season.

Next comes Thanksgiving, which includes a day (or two in this modern world of split families) of overeating from morning to night on turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, three kinds of pies, cheese balls and crackers, noodles, baked beans, cheesecake ... and anything else the family happens to put on the table.

After that is the whole Christmas season. That's assorted candies and chocolates, hors d' oeuvres galore, drinks made with cream and rum, and probably another big dinner.

Then there's New Year's Eve, and about 120,000 empty calories' worth of drinking.

Moving on to February, we wrap up the fat season with Valentine's Day and boxes of chocolates.

So tell me, was this carefully planned to unfold in this way? Is it cruel that they've given us five consecutive months of overindulgent consumption just when the weather's crap outside, and we aren't out running around in the sun getting exercise? Or is it kinder because we can hide all the excesses under bulky sweaters?

Friday, October 29, 2010

iNetVideo supports Charity: Water

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of iNetVideo. All opinions are 100% mine.


I went downstairs for a cold glass of water. I don't really like the taste of our water from the tap, but I've got a great water filter pitcher that makes it taste fantastic. Oh, there's nothing wrong with our tap water. I've seen the water analysis reports, and it's perfectly safe.

A lot of people aren't so lucky.

Have you heard of Charity Water? It is a favorite charity of Will and Jada Smith, and it provides wells for safe drinking water for areas of the world in need.

How big is the problem? Well, 4,500 people die EVERY DAY from water-related illnesses. Is that big enough for you?

iNetVideo.com is getting involved to help Charity: Water by donating $1 for every purchase of selected items on their website. Just look for the items marked with a water drop, and $1 from your purchase will go to a great cause. You can also donate directly to iNetVideo's campaign. One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to fund water projects in developing nations, and all donations are tax-deductible in the United States.

If you want to do more, you can even get your own campaign page. By the way, the top three fundraisers can win a trip to Africa with Will and Jada, if you really want to go all out with your effort.

You can just help out by promoting iNetVideo's water project campaign via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

You can do that much, can't you? Think about it the next time you're standing at your sink.

Visit my sponsor: Charity Water: iNetVideo.com Gives Back!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A different perspective

My daughter Gin (age 12) and I spent about an hour tonight just sitting and talking about the time her eye got injured and what it means for her future.

It started when she sat down to tell me about a silly game they'd played in gym class today, which involved bumping a volleyball to a player, who then had to hit it and then run around the bases while the other players passed it, then one player had to throw the ball into the basketball hoop to get the runner out. Gin said she was designated to shoot into the basketball hoop, and out of 15 tries, she didn't make it once.

I told her, "That's no surprise. You can't shoot into a basketball hoop if you have no depth perception."

I might have told the story of her injury before, but I'll tell it again anyway.

She was five years old, and it was the summer after kindergarten, shortly before her sixth birthday. She'd just gotten a new kitten early for her birthday that week.

Unbeknownst to me, she'd gone into the garage and picked up the metal stay out of a windshield wiper from some rubbish out there. She took it with her when she went across the street to play with her friends.

At some point she sort of forgot about the metal stay and started playing on the swing while eating a blue sherbet pop. The neighbor's four-year-old boy found it on the ground and - being a boy - began to whip it around like it was a sword. Gin was swinging and by freak accident, she swung directly into its path. It pierced clear through her eye, ripping a hole in the cornea, the lens and piercing through the retinal wall at the back of her eye. I was to learn later that another quarter of an inch of penetration could have killed her instantly.

The neighbor saw that she'd been hurt but didn't know to what degree. She walked Gin back home, as Gin cried hysterically, her face covered in blue goo.

All I could get out of her was that she'd been poked in the eye, and I asked her to calm down as I tried to clean the goo off her face from the sherbet. Then the neighbor showed me what had poked her, and I carefully lifted her eyelid to get a closer look. I could see what looked like a blob of clear jelly on her eye. I looked again at the thin, flat, long sliver of metal.

"This isn't good," I said.

I grabbed Munch, then age 3, and put the girls in the car, calling my ex-husband to say that I was dropping Munch off with him and taking Gin to the hospital.

In the emergency room, fortunately there was a reputable eye surgeon on call. He rushed her off to emergency surgery right away.

He removed the lens, which was irreparably damaged, and stitched up the cornea. After surgery, he told me that the best case scenario was that her eye might look somewhat normal, but she'd never see out of it.

She spent the night in the hospital and the next morning we were to take her to Kettering to see a retinal surgery specialist. She used laser surgery to repair the hole at the back of the eye.

Gin ended up coming out of it better than anyone expected. The damage to the retina occurred in the one small place that would not damage her ability to see, so she can see colors and light and vague shapes - just without a lens in her eye, she cannot focus at all.

With her good eye, she sees perfectly, just without any depth perception, which of course requires both eyes. For most activities, her brain has been trained to read what she sees and *interpret* depth - I explained to her that it's much like paintings that illustrate depth with layering of objects and diminishing perspective. For most things it works just fine. She rides her bike, and she can walk up and down stairs, because her brain knows there is depth, and it's not a flat surface. However, for things such as shooting baskets, where it's necessary to actually perceive the distance, it's not so good. She can learn with much practice, but she hasn't really worked at that, so she'll not be much of a shooter. More difficult is where she's playing a sport where a ball is flying at her - such as baseball or catching a pass in basketball. She can't judge from experience as the ball is constantly moving, and the depth illusion from perceived size doesn't work because there's not enough difference for her to see it. (A ball looks pretty much the same size when it is one foot from your face as it does when it's two feet away. Without depth perception, a ball flying at your face is especially dangerous.)

So tonight, we were talking about when the time comes for her to drive a car. Fortunately, it is possible that a special, powerful contact lens will allow her to gain focus - and thus depth perception - in her injured eye. We'l see when the time comes. If not, she can still probably drive, she'll just have to be extra careful about it.

I'll warn you when she's on the road.

Get moving!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PlayStation MOVE. All opinions are 100% mine.

Winter's coming, which means the holiday season as well as cold weather that keeps us all cooped up inside. The kids occasionally venture outdoors. They also occasionally find quiet activities, such as reading, to occupy their time in the house. But more often - and I think all mothers know this - they get cabin fever, and need some physical activity. For two girls ages 9 and 12, that often means yelling and screaming at each other.

This Christmas, I might just have found the perfect outlet for them - something that will keep them entertained and physically active even while they're cooped up indoors - the new PlayStation Move.

I've been thinking about getting something like this for quite a while. It's something we can do together, have fun with and keep the kids entertained (kids this age are always "bored"). My youngest loves to play her video games, but that keeps her sitting still for hours - and considering she love to eat. That's a bad combination. The PlayStation Move will give her the fun of video games with the added bonus of getting her up and moving around. Maybe it'll even help get her interested in sports. Her older sister can't wait to try out archery on Sports Champions. And I think we're all pretty excited about trying out some football tricks.

And I could use it too. Winter time finds me running out of energy as I stagnate inside the house.

Added bonus, we can do all this together.I can't think of a better family Christmas gift.

You can even upgrade your existing PS3 system with Move for only $99! It's a whole new game!
Visit my sponsor: PlayStation®Move

Let hell week begin...

Yesterday was my usual slow Monday at work. Mondays are always the easiest day at the office because we don't publish a paper on Tuesdays, which means we don't have any pages to build. It's catch-up day for everyone, and I usually cut it short, because the rest of the week gets pretty hectic.

This week is even more hectic than usual though. Today, our lifestyles editor is taking the day off, so I'll be doing her pages. The other day-shift paginator is working the evenings this week doing the front section because our news editor is working on building the annual cookbook, so I'll be doing his pages too. Yes, very busy day.

The rest of the week, I won't have the lifestyles pages to do, but I'll still be picking up the rest of the inside pages. And there will be more of them, thanks to extra space needed to run election letters to the editor.

Oh, then there's Election Day on Tuesday, which means working day...and that night.

Ugh. I should be getting more sleep. This is not going to be pleasant.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Face That Makes 'Em Say "Wow!"

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of BH Cosmetics. All opinions are 100% mine.

Most of the time I go for a pretty natural look, but sometimes I want to play with my look. I'll glam things up, or go sexy, or play rocker chick - or sometimes just play around with the make-up tricks I've seen on TV.

I'm a former model, and I find myself sometimes just locked in my bathroom experimenting with different looks.

But we all know how expensive cosmetics can be, and getting a great variety and huge palette can really break the bank. A lot of times I'll shy away from a new makeup color if it's something I'm not sure I'll be using a lot.

But I've just discovered something that will let me play with my look all I want, without breaking the bank.

You can find huge and amazing palettes of eyeshadow at BH Cosmetics for less than you ever thought possible.

These shadows are blendable - so you can experiment with all the latest techniques - and highly pigmented - so when you perfect that look you were going for, it'll last.

They've also got blushes, lipglosses, concealers, primers, brushes - everything you need! And it won't cost you a fortune.

You can get mattes or shimmers, cool or warm (to perfectly complement you skin tone every time), even beautiful tropical shades.

I'm going after the neutral palette, since I spend nearly all of my time at work. This way, I can mix up my look while staying work-appropriate - and bring out my big blue eyes. I might want a certain someone to notice. ;)
Visit my sponsor: Let your Beauty shine!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back to life, back to reality

I'm keeping so busy I've barely had time to breathe lately, but I took advantage of the "extra" day off I got by working the annual cookoff recently by taking that "comp" day and a vacation day to jet off to Las Vegas for a mini vacation.

No, I'm not suddenly rolling in the cash. The trip was a treat provided by F, who generously offers to fly me to wherever he is when he comes stateside. This is our second trip to Las Vegas. We also had one to Tampa. I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans last February, but I passed it up as I was still looking for work and feared being away if something should come up.

This trip was much better, though all too brief, certainly. F and I have had our tensions in the past, but it seemed to be a much smoother visit this time. I avoided being oversensitive, and he curbed his occasionally sharp tongue. Really, it's always been about misunderstanding, but I think as we've grown more accustomed to each other, we're starting to find a comfortable ground. I told him that I looked forward to seeing him again - and I meant it.

I was off Monday and Tuesday for the trip, arriving home late Tuesday night. And I was back in the office Wednesday morning - needless to say, exhausted. Nothing ever slows down there.

The timing is good. I managed to complete a freelance project that was proposed to me last April but did not finally come to fruition until a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be very easy and will be surprisingly lucrative as well. The writer sent me the appendix to edit today and said to send an invoice. He also said he wishes to continue writing and wanted to know if I would be available for more work. Absolutely!

Tomorrow is another Friday night in the office. It's got some perqs, including getting to roll over and go back to sleep in the morning. Oh, and one li'l other perq that shall remain nameless at the moment. :)

Night all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's been going on?

Do you mind terribly if this post has no particular focus? "So what else is new?" you say. Yeah, I do tend to ramble and wander sometimes, so if you're here, you're probably used to it.

What's up?

Well, if you recall, my daughter Gin had a trip to the emergency room a few weeks back. She slipped on the stairs and turned her ankle. There was no real injury, but I guess she was feeling particularly fragile that day, so she insisted on going to the hospital. The bills are in: $1,026 all told. How's that for ya?

Pooh's getting a new car soon - new for him anyway. My mom's decided he needs one, since his 1998 Toyota Corolla has been through some few levels of hell. She's giving him her 2000 Honda CR-V. I've got a 1999 CR-V. And she's replacing hers with a 2004 CR-V. Have you noticed, we love the CR-V? Yep. We do. It's the perfect car - except for a frustrating audio system with a PITA volume control (PITA=pain in the ass). Seriously though, other than that, I think it's perfect.

The girls stayed with their dad last weekend for some fishing and ... well, that was about it. So Book and I had a weekend alone. I took him out to the local air fair so we could take the hot-air balloon rides that were advertised. Disappointed - no balloons. He did get to see airplanes up close for the first time and got to sit in an old Navy plane, which he liked. So not all bad.

The girls were home this weekend, so we all went up to Pumpkinfest in New Bremen. We got to see the world's largest pumpkin pie - a genuine Guinness record breaker at 20 feet in diameter and something like 3,600 pounds. (I forget the exact figure.) We didn't get a piece because there was a delay of about 3 1/2 hours before it was served, and by that time, we were ready to go home. I did get a pumpkin bratwurst and pumpkin ale for supper though. Pretty damn good, I must say.

Busy week this week as we transfer the title to mom's car, and I seek out assistance on that hospital bill.

That's what's going on for now....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stay connected with Boost Mobile

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

Boost Mobile. You know it's cool. You know it's fresh. You know it's what you want. And they make it easy.

Did you know how easy?

With Boost Mobile's Re-Boost you can add more minutes whenever you want, however you want. You can pay in person. You can pay online. Or you can even add minutes right over your phone wherever you are. If you don't even want to think about it, you can even set up automatic payments using your credit or debit card. Honestly - it just doesn't get any easier.

And of course, Boost Mobile is more than just a phone. Who's willing to settle for just a phone anymore? Boost Mobile will keep you connected with your social networks. Facebook and Twitter don't need to keep you tied to your computer anymore. You can take them with you wherever you go. Got a craving for an awesome sandwich and find yourself stuck in the world's slowest drive-through? Do what I do and grab your Blackberry and share your frustration on Facebook. Just saw the weirdest person ever walking past you down the street? Snap a pic and show your Twitter followers.

Get in touch and stay in touch by keeping the world with you while you're out and about in it.

Boost Mobile offers unlimited plans with no contracts. That's unlimited talk - unlimited text - unlimited web - unlimited e-mail - even unlimited 411 and instant messaging.... all in your pocket at one great price.

Visit my sponsor: Reboost

Monday, September 6, 2010

Long weekend spent atop Mt. Laundry

It's amazing what can get accomplished in a long weekend if you actually set your mind to it.

Some weeks ago, we had a pile of clothes suddenly appear at the bottom of the stairs. Miraculously, about the same time, the carpeting of my daughters' bedroom suddenly appeared as well. I started tackling the pile, then it suddenly disappeared. The carpeting in my son's room appeared about the same time. I later discovered the storage room below the stairs filled about halfway with Mt. Laundry. I informed the children, we would be scaling Mt. Laundry this weekend.

First thing when I got home Friday after work, we started into a continuous cycle, and as things came out clean and dry on the other end, they got sorted to remove anything stained, damaged beyond repair or too small to wear anymore.

Saturday, we got Book and went to my mom's for lunch. We decided it was time to break down her pool for the season, so in our quest to figure out how to drain it without flooding the neighbors, we decided to go borrow a submersible pump from my cousin.

So, off to visit the cousin for a bit, then back to mom's to get the draining started. After getting that set up, we came home to Mt. Laundry again.

By Sunday morning, we'd made some serious progress. We continued through morning until it was time to take Book home. That's our usual grocery shopping time, so we went on to that. Overdid it a bit, maybe. The cupboards are quite literally overflowing now.

Mom stopped by to help with the mountain, so we gathered up a couple of bags of big things, like blankets, and also cleared the pile of clothes the children had left on the bathroom floor. Guess what? There's linoleum under there. She took those over to the laundromat to use the big machines while we continued our efforts at home. We took a brief break when she arrived back to go over to the annual festival in town and get some treats. Not that we needed them. Gin found a dollar when she was there and used it for four tickets at 25 cents each on the cake wheel. She won on three out of four, so she brought home a cake, a pan of brownies and a plate of two dozen cookies. She said, "I've always been lucky." Guess so. There were fifty numbers on that wheel, and she picked the winner three out of four times. She went back in the evening to volunteer at the food tent for three hours Saturday night.

This morning and early afternoon continued on Mt. Laundry. I fixed a broken drawer on my daughter's bureau, so that was ready to be refilled. We filled three garbage bags full of good but too small clothes and dropped them off for donation. Another much larger bag was filled with clothes that were stained or irrevocably damaged for disposal.

About 4 this afternoon, we headed back to my mom's house, where we all pitched in to wash my car inside and out. I started to wax it too, but I gave up at that point.

There's still more laundry to be done. I'm keeping up the cycle tomorrow. After sorting, I've discovered that my kids have more clothes than will fit in their room. And those are the clothes that actually fit. I guess we're set for a while.

Now, much-needed shower. Hey, look at that! I've got towels!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Earn your teaching degree from USC - online!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.

As many of you well know, I'm in the newspaper business. I work for a community newspaper in a rural county, so naturally, the school systems are a big topic in our paper.

More than once - in fact, more than a dozen times, I'm sure - I've looked at the stories and said, "I should have gone into teaching."

From the standpoint of a journalist, it starts to look like a pretty good deal.

Now you can get your Master of Arts in Teaching from the prestigious USC Rossier School of Education online, with the privacy and convenience of working from home - around your schedule.

The program includes a highly interactive online course combined with real-life field experiences. There's also a tuition reimbursement program, and you can complete the accelerated program in as little as 12 months.

Scholarships are available, and you have the opportunity to become a part of the elite USC Trojan family.

Rossier and the MAT@USC have been awarded by the AACTE for their innovative use of technology in education.

Find out what it's all about, and click here for additional program information.

You can view a technology video that introduces the interactivity of the program, and read the MAT@USC student blog to hear insights about the program from actual students.

Visit my sponsor: Master of Arts in Teaching degree online from USC

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

Ding dong, the witch is dead! Which old witch? The one that liked to shove its broomstick up the backsides of its employees for fun and giggles. The one that continually made bad business decisions, bringing the misery upon its employees. The one that went off half-cocked and half-assed pushing through poorly thought out get-cash-quick schemes while refusing to consider ideas that would genuinely increase profits and serve customers better. The one that.....

Oh never mind. They're not worth the effort of trying to itemize their acts of utter idiocy.

In sum: my paper's under new ownership, and I don't think there's a broken heart to be found in the office anywhere about now. Nor would I expect to find one in any of our sister newspapers' offices either.

Suffice it to say, the old company saw its ruin in unrestrained greed and selfish tyranny. I, for one, am more than happy to have been around to see it get its comeuppance. It's overdue.

I welcome our new ownership with open arms. I have hope that their proven professional business experience will translate well, despite their lack of experience in the news business in particular. At least the new leaders have already shown the sense to consult with news professionals and put them in positions of authority. I advise them only to allow their predecessors' downfall to serve as a cautionary tale not to follow in their footsteps.

It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life. And I'm feelin' good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Find the transportation assistance you need

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

No two people with disablities are exactly alike, and they don't have the same mobility needs. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association understands this and can help you find an NMEDA qualified dealer to provide a safe, reliable vehicle with the modifications and enhancements you need.

NMEDA doesn't sell anything. They're a non-profit trade association that will help you find a dealer you can trust to get the handicapped-accessible van or vehicle modified as you need it.

NMEDA qualified dealers provide an in-person evaluation to be sure you are getting the right driving solution to meet your needs - as well as any training you might need to learn to use the modifications of your vehicle.

NMEDA not only can match you with a dealer, they also have the Quality Assurance Program. This is the only nationally recognized accredited program for the adaptive mobility equipment industry. Working with a QAP dealer ensures that you will get the vehicle you need, thanks to a systematic and documented approach to quality.

Visit the NMEDA and just type in your ZIP code to find a dealer near you.

I found two QAP qualified dealers near me that will be able to help me and my mother when an alternative form of transport needs to be found for my stepfather. You can find a dealer near you that can help with with your needs for caring for an aging or disabled relative, or even to help you with your own needs.

Visit my sponsor: NMEDA

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Not-so-fretful mom - so sue me

Ok, maybe I don't really do the "fretful mom" thing. If the cat scratches Munch and she comes running to me, I don't give her, "Oh, you poor baby!" I tell her, "Go wash it with soap and water, and stop picking on the cat."

I got to spend this evening in the hospital emergency room with Gin. She fell down the stairs and twisted her ankle. Personally, I thought it was an overreaction. We spent two hours there. (Surprisingly brief, I know.) She got an x-ray and an air cast and has to get crutches. Why? - because they're not going to say, "You're fine. It's a little owie. It'll go away." However, by the time we got home, she was walking around on that air cast like it was nothing. Seriously, there wasn't even any swelling.

I took a much harder spill down those stairs a month or so ago, but I dealt with an achy hip for several days, watched the massive bruise change colors over the course of a week or so and moved on. Life comes with these little bumps - you have to learn to get over them. Besides, most of the time, the human body recovers just fine all by itself. It was made that way.

So she gets out of a week of gym - that's two gym classes - and some extra attention at school. I get the bill.


(Don't get me wrong - if something is serious, I take it seriously. This wasn't.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Win a whole hotel for a weekend getaway!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.


This summer, Hampton Inn is giving you the chance to win AN ENTIRE HOTEL for a weekend in the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes!

That's right. I said, an ENTIRE HOTEL. Not one room - 100 rooms! For two nights!

Imagine the possibilities.

That's just the grand prize though. They're also giving away a daily prize of a weekend stay for you and three friends.

It couldn't be easier to enter. Just visit the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes page and complete the simple form. You know - all the usual stuff - name, address, phone, email - that kind of thing.

Who doesn't need a little weekend getaway? If you're one of the daily winners, you get to grab your three closest friends for some much-needed rest and relaxation. And if you're the grand-prize winner of the whole hotel? Well, that's a party, isn't it? :)

Where would you go? Well, Hampton Inn's got more locations across the U.S. than you could even imagine - just pick one. A weekend in Las Vegas? Maybe San Francisco? New York? Chicago? Seattle? Wherever you want to go in this great vast nation of ours, you're likely to find a Hampton. So pick your pleasure and take your friends along.

Click Here

Visit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Life in cyberspace

How strange it is that we can spend a year living in the same town, going to the same high school, even sharing some of the same friends with a person, but we never meet. Then one day, 20 years later and 2,000 miles apart, we should discover each other. Technology at work again.

I suppose it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to me. Indeed, when I think on it, it doesn't strike me as much of a surprise at all. The circumstances of my life have distanced me from everyone who was a part of my life in my youth. And I've had no real opportunity to develop new relationships, outside my interactions online.

Perhaps living in the isolation that I do - in this village of 600 tight-knit Catholics all intermarried, and working in a job where my single colleagues are 25 or 80 - it's not a surprise my friendships all live their lives in cyberspace.

So my new friend, from my old life, might be coming to Ohio for a visit, and we'll see each other in person. We'll have that moment of real life, then back to long-distance techno-relating again. It's not so bad, I suppose. Maybe, it even suits me best.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One season ends, another begins

Well, tonight's the final performance episode of this season's So You Think You Can Dance, and here in Shelby County, Ohio - HOME OF KENT BOYD - we've been watching with great pride as our little hometown boy has overcome the perceived "disadvantages" of growing up in a small town and attending a small local dance studio as his only training. He's certainly given us reason to be proud, hasn't he?

I haven't voted for the past few weeks - though when things started, I was putting in between 450 and 500 votes each week. I'll be back to dialing tonight for sure!

There's a parade planned for Kent this Saturday, as he'll be returning home to Botkins - presumably not for long. The kids and I will be attending. What an exciting development for our little corner of the world!

Naturally, also in my mind and boosting my adrenaline levels is the start of the Premier League season this weekend. I got to see that great 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield, and that particular match-up is always my favorite. It more than the top two clubs battling it out - it's a replay of the very first match I ever saw.

The first Manchester United match isn't until Monday, but fortunately, that's my slow day at work (no Tuesday paper), so I'll be leaving early and home in time for the match! Glory, glory Man United!

And Go Kent!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I finally saw my beloved Man United

The fact that I haven't blogged about my trip to see Man United in Kansas City on Sunday yet just goes to show you how severely overworked I've been lately.

But here goes -

How do I describe something that is beyond words?

At work today, I kept being asked, "How was it?" I answered, "It was a religious experience," which always got a laugh. But it wasn't funny. It wasn't an exaggeration. It wasn't even adequate.

I started out with my daughter in tow at 4 a.m. on Sunday. We drove 12 hours, and for a lot of it, I didn't know if I was going to make it. I'd only managed to get about 4 hours of sleep, so I was exhausted even as we began. We made it, with little time to spare, and since I couldn't get an early check-in to my room, my Twitter friend Dee said my daughter could hang out in her room during the match.

Upon arriving at the hotel, I immediately got a burst of energy. There were people in the parking lot tailgating, and everywhere I looked were the red shirts of United. Finally! I was surrounded by people who *got* my love, my passion, my intensity for this club - and who shared it - even in my own home country.

Dee and I and her friend Kara headed down to catch the shuttle. For me and Dee, this was the approach to heaven. We were brimming with excitement. It only got better and built up more as we rode in the shuttle over, arrived at the stadium, watched the fans in the parking lot...

We met another Twitter friend, Robin, in the parking lot and had a beer, then we were headed into the stadium.

As we reached our section in the stands, I saw the pitch for the first time. Even from the top of the stairs, it seemed so close. I was agog. Then it was down to our seats, right up front. Suddenly, I realized, we would be sitting at a point where the men of Manchester United would be passing withing just 10 or 15 feet of me.

The electricity of the stands wasn't quite Old Trafford, but most of us were seeing our favorite team play for the first time, so there was a virginal excitement among everyone.

For me, it was almost surreal.

I'm not the type for hero worship or being starstruck - I've had quite a few brushes with the rich and/or famous in my life (and some considerably more than "brushes") - but the moment I first saw Edwin Van der Sar run out on the pitch and wave his arms to rouse the crowd, the reality of it hit. I was there, and within moments *they* would be there.

And then they were. I took about a hundred photos of the match, but most of the time, I didn't even know what I was shooting. I watched, and I couldn't blink. Much of the time, I didn't even know what was happening with the game itself. I was just drinking in the presence of the players I've come to love so much.

The heat was scorching. The humidity was suffocating. Still, I didn't even feel it. The just reveled in the experience and consumed the energy. Everything was in slow motion. Every moment seared itself into my brain to be preserved.

We lost. I didn't care. In a way, it almost completed the experience. I'd run the full gamut of emotion - almost. I wasn't heartbroken. I couldn't be. I was *there*.

I suppose I can't begin to try to explain to anyone who hasn't felt such a passion for a team. Those who understand it, share it, and those who don't share it will never understand it. Glory, glory Man United!

(Just finished watching the match against the MLS All-Stars and a glorious 5-2 for my boys!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fantasy fulfillment

I am a firm believer in fantasy fulfillment. I believe that life is made up of your memories, and if you have a chance to make a memory, you should go for it!

We all live our day-to-day lives, and yes, there is purpose and meaning there, but what do you sit back and recall on quiet nights? What do you tell stories about when you're with your friends? What do you tell your kids and your grandkids about when you're old? What just makes you smile when you think about it? It's not going to work every day, doing housework, etc.

It's those MOMENTS.

Sometimes the moment is just a minute. Sometimes it's a night or a weekend or a once-in-a-lifetime or just a first-in-a-lifetime event. But it's all about the MOMENTS.

I get to make another memory this weekend. I'll be hitting the road in just about 10 hours to drive to Kansas City to see Manchester United play live for the first time. It's not Old Trafford, and it's not the way my first Man United game was supposed to be, but it's a MOMENT that I'll always remember.

Going to see Man United play is a fantasy, and I'm about to fulfill it. No matter the expense or the time or the effort involved, that makes it worth it.

If I'm lucky, I might have another moment coming up later this year. I just got a hint of another possible fantasy fulfillment that I've been thinking about for a couple of years now. It won't change my life, but it will be a MOMENT, and if the opportunity presents itself, I WILL be going for it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crunch .... or crushing... time...

I got to take two days off work Monday and Tuesday to "pay" me for the work I did before I got on payroll. (Corporate said they couldn't pay me for the last of my freelance work since I'm on payroll now, so the boss said take the time off as time worked to make up for it.) It's a good thing I took the time when I did, because it's getting busy for me now.

We're in the midst of the big vacation blitz, so people are taking days off every day, and I'm in to pick up the slack for them across the board. I guess that's what happens when you've done everything in the department.

My crunch is getting worse though, because the webmaster who replaced me when I left has gone off on maternity leave, so I'm left to fill in the web duties for my paper, in addition to my regular work... and filling in for vacationing people. I won't be able to breathe for a while.

Yesterday was her first day off, so I started the web duties. I didn't get any slack on the pages I had to do, so I was in the office an hour and a half longer than I should have been. Then after midnight last night, I had to upload Friday's stories from home. One experience on that with my netbook, and I know I don't want to repeat it. (The Mac laptop for work is out of commission and I'll be getting it back next week.)

Today, I'll be going in at 4 or so to do the night desk duties and I'll have to stay late to do the web uploads for Saturday's pages. I should be in the office until about 2:30 a.m. Oh joy.

We've got a reporter off next week, and the boss said I'll probably be having to pick up some of the reporting work too. Seriously? I've got 40 hours and no overtime allowed. How the hell does he expect me to do it all?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Zoo with the kids

After getting only five hours of sleep Friday night, I took the kids to the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday. We got to see Burned Jesus, formerly known as Touchdown Jesus or Big Butter Jesus, officially known as King of Kings, now known as The Monument to Our Robot Overlords, along the way. If we'd gone when I originally planned, we would have seen it intact. Funny sort of irony that it was thunderstorms that kept us from going then, and it was a thunderstorm that destroyed it.

It was raining throughout the entire drive. As we got about halfway there, I started to feel a little odd. It was similar to a couple of weeks ago when I was driving Book home and my heart suddenly started racing and my head went a little dizzy. It wasn't as extreme this time, but since I was driving with all the kids on the interstate through a construction zone in the rain, I thought it a good idea to pull over and see what happened with my head. It eased up and I didn't experience anything else odd throughout the day. Now that my ticket has arrived for the Man United game in July and I have a 12-13 hour drive to Kansas City ahead of me, I keep waiting for that incident that will prevent me from getting the one thing I want - to see United live. At this point, the universe knows only death can prevent it. We'll see if it decides to go that far. The universe will usually make a pretty good effort to prevent me getting anything that will make me happy, it seems.

The kids enjoyed the zoo a lot. We saw nearly everything except the bugs, which we skipped in the end, since we were all exhausted. Like an idiot, I was fully prepared with snacks, sunscreen, hats, etc., but somehow managed to walk out of the house without taking my camera along. I snapped some pics with my Blackberry instead, but I could have gotten lots of great pics with my new camera. The BB's great, but it falls a little short in the high-quality photo department. They were better than I expected though.

On the drive home we were all completely exhausted. The kids all fell asleep - Gin was even snoring. I struggled to keep my focus and stay awake. After we dropped Book back off at home, we stopped for sushi, and that helped to recharge me for the remaining 25-minute drive home. I even stayed up until a normal bedtime.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So we know he can dance!

I've been wrapped up in So You Think You Can Dance for the past few weeks. I am every season, but I have extra motivation this time. One of the contestants is a boy from the county where I live. And as if that isn't cool enough, I interviewed him for the paper when he was 11 years old. And as if THAT isn't cool enough, he just happens to be one of the most beloved dancers of this season.

That's right. I'm talking about Mr. Adorable himself - Kent Boyd. :) And you can see here, he was adorable then too.

One clarification though - he's from BOTKINS. His address is Wapakoneta, but really he's a Botkins boy. The package on him during the show where he auditioned is all shots from Botkins, not Wapakoneta. Apparently, the whole Wapakoneta-pronunciation spin was too irresistible for the producers, so they don't plan to clarify it as it should be. My understanding is that the mayor of Botkins actually called the show to explain it, but they said they're sticking with the Wapakoneta angle, but if you check out his dancer profile on the So You Think You Can Dance website, it lists his hometown as Botkins, but his questionnaire says he's from Wapakoneta.

And in case you were wondering, yes, he is quite as adorable as he seems. The mayor said he couldn't think of a better representative for the town. His high school principal loves him too. He actually said, "I'd go to war for that boy." We're all very proud of him.

Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Absent without excuses

Okay, I've been pretty busy, but not quite busy enough to really justify my absence here. I probably could have - should have, even - squeezed in a couple of posts here and there. But I didn't.

Catching up:

I helped my mom put up her new pool a couple of weeks ago. I spent four hours in the sun without sunscreen while doing it, so I got more than a little scorched. It stung for a couple of days, then itched, and it's been peeling ever since. I haven't actually gotten to swim in the pool yet.

I cut off more of my hair,so it's actually only about an inch long all over now - and blonde. I'm hoping it doesn't turn green when I do take advantage of the swimming pool. It's pretty cool. I've gotten a lot of compliments - and one or two glares or raised eyebrows. So what? I'm still a rock star. ;)

This weekend I picked some cherries, and I've started a batch of cherry liqueur. This is my first batch. I usually make wine. The liqueur will take much longer and is considerably more expensive to make (since I have to start with vodka, rather than actually creating my own alcohol, as with the wine), so I'm hoping it is really good. Decent vodka's fairly expensive, and I didn't want to start with the crap stuff, so I went with a premium brand. Hope it's worth it. Check back with me in about 4 to 8 months.

I'd been planning a trip to the zoo with the kids for last Saturday, but after checking the forecast I decided against it. There were severe thunderstorms all over the Midwest. I've rescheduled for June 19th, when I'm hoping the weather is better.

I couldn't reschedule for this weekend because of course the USA vs. England World Cup match is on Saturday afternoon. I've decided I'll go to my parents' house and hijack the big-screen TV to watch while the kids play in the pool. Everyone's happy that way. :)

I've been a bit down for a while, since my most valued friend has been AWOL from my life. I think it's actually been about two months since we last talked. That was a good one, so naturally, he disappeared afterward. I can't let it bother me too much - I've been through enough already.

I was informed today that I won't be paid for the last month of work that I did as a stringer before getting hired back full-time. My editor and my publisher both approved the invoice for the last month of work, but corporate sent it back and said they can't pay me as a stringer because I'm on payroll now - even though the work was done before I was on payroll. Complete bullshit. The compromise I was offered was cooked up by the editor and publisher, who decided I can take the equivalent as time off and it will just be put in as time worked. Hardly fair and I don't know when I'll manage to get that time in, as we're going through rounds of vacation now and I'm having to do other people's jobs in addition to my own.

I've got an overloaded plate at work. I suppose that's my big excuse, although it still doesn't justify my absence. But anyway, I'm back, for what it's worth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Remembering what was forgotten, and reliving it

All day yesterday I kept thinking that I was forgetting something. The date kept repeating in my head. May 25. That means something. I should remember something. I thought it was something I was supposed to do. Maybe a bill to be paid or an assignment that was due or a meeting I was supposed to go to or something for the girls' school. May 25 was something. But I couldn't quite place it.

This morning I remembered. It was two years ago. May 25 was the day of my son's graduation. That's not what made the day stick in my head though. On that day, P left me. He left me devastated. I won't bother to replay the situation. It's all be chronicled here before - too much. It was months and months of misery for me - so naturally the date stuck.

I felt a little better when I remembered what it was. What felt particularly better was the fact that I HAD forgotten - that I'd managed to forget. No matter how I felt that day two years ago, the fact that I could ever forget that day, on the anniversary of that day.... well, that made me feel a lot better.

That day I lost the man I loved. By his choice, he walked away from me.

Today, two years and one day later, I fear someone else may have walked away from me. Unlike that time, I was given warning that it might be coming. I was warned the walking away might be coming, but I was reassured that if it came, it would not mean that he was walking away from me. I was assured that it meant walking away from others. Still, seeing him gone, I can't help but wonder if it's true. Was he walking away from all of the others, or has he walked away from me?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Staving off footie withdrawal - the 2010 plan

I'm going through the early stages of Man United withdrawal already, but it hasn't set in too hard just yet. I staved off a little of my symptoms by watching part of the Inter Milan match. I was quite happy to see them win the Serie A, but I have to admit I had a little hope for Roma as well, since of course my favorite player, Luca Toni, plays for them. Either way, I would not have been unhappy with the results from today's matches, I think. Roma did win their game, but much like United's final win, as far as the league title went, it was largely irrelevant. A bit sad, really.

Now that Luca's no longer with Bayern (thank goodness), I won't have any conflicts at all for the Champions League final. I will be pulling for Inter all the way. Of course, I have been ever since Man United were knocked out of that one. By Bayern, no less. Kick their asses for me, Jose. :)

After that's over, my footie fixes will depend on the World Cup. First match June 12 between the USA and England will be one of the most exciting for me. I'm pulling for England. Feel free to disparage my lack of patriotism. I don't even know any of the US players. American soccer bores me. I've tried watching MLS, and it simply doesn't hold my interest. I could be generous and claim that it's the commentators. God, American soccer commentators are DULL! But for me, it's a different game entirely. That's the reason, you may notice, that I call the game the Americans play "soccer," while the REAL stuff played in Europe I call "football." I've even worked out how to record the matches online(assuming my internet connection happens to be working on any given day) so that I can watch them when I get home from work.

My FAVORITE means of staving off the summer footie withdrawal will come for me in July. All of the arrangements have been made. I am GOING TO SEE MANCHESTER UNITED PLAY LIVE in Kansas City on July 25. My ticket for the match is in Row 2, right on the corner, which is not only an amazing seat all on its own, but it's also located directly behind the seat of one of my favorite fellow United tweeps. There are several of us who chat during the matches on Twitter who will be converging on KC for the match, and we're all staying in the same hotel as well. I'm only making the overnight trip and staying the night of the game before driving home the next morning. I will be exhausted - and possibly hung over - for the drive home, but it will be AWESOME, I've no doubt! I'd rather see them at Old Trafford - and frankly, hoped that I'd get to see my first Man United game accompanied by my dear friend D - but I will take what I can get and think my joy on that day will be in no way incomplete. I'll retain the hope and goal for OT and D for a future time.

Actually, Europa cup qualifying rounds begin July 1 this year, and though I don't have a team to support there, I do have the motivation of rooting AGAINST Liverpool.

With World Cup action, my favorite team live in the US and Europa, it looks like I'll have little time for footie withdrawal at all this year. Premier League season starts up again in August. The footie gods are certainly smiling on me this year. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Confirmation of his useless fuckitude

The girls returned from their trip to Illinois this evening. Both of them got sick while they were gone, and Gin's still feeling pretty lousy.

When Jen returned the girls to me, she told me she was disgusted by my ex. Join the club. She said he slept the whole time - which I expected. He took Friday off work - even calling me at 7:30 a.m. to tell me that he was taking off and would be spending the whole day with the girls. Jen tells me that he slept the whole day. (Jen is married on one of his coworkers, btw.) She said they went to a family fun center, which is like a Chuck E. Cheese, and he even slept in the booth the whole time. Then, after having told her that he would split the bill with her, when she handed him the receipts, he asked her what the hell those were for. She even bought each of the girls a Webkinz toy and a pair of socks, and he told her he wasn't paying for it. She told me the girls were great and he was lucky to have them and was disgusted by his behavior. She also called him a deadbeat and said the smartest thing I ever did was leave him. I already knew that, but it's always nice to have confirmation like that - especially when it's from someone supposedly in "his camp."

Jen said that when he went to work, he was bragging to his coworkers about taking the girls swimming and to the family fun center. About the pool, she told me he spent a little while in the hot tub, was bitching the whole time, and then went upstairs and went to sleep.

Jen also said that they'd had a lot of pizza left over from the trip to the family fun center, so that's what they had for dinner. She said the girls came over after their dad had gone to work and asked if they had anything to eat because they were hungry. She asked what had happened to all the pizza then checked their mini fridge in their room. Turns out, he had taken all the leftover pizza to work with him and left them nothing to eat while he was gone to work for 12 hours except a bag of Funyons.

When Gin got home, she said she had a letter from him for me. It was a Mothers Day card telling me that I'm a great mother (I must be if they're that good and he's so bad) and saying that he wished we were still together then he could take us all out and show me a great day (yeah, I heard all about the "great day" with the girls.)

I asked the girls about it, and they too said that he slept almost the whole time. And Gin also verified that he was bitching at them whenever he wasn't sleeping.

Seriously, you useless fuck, just die already and get the hell out of my girls' lives. They're better off without you. (Oh, but I'll apologize for one thing - apparently it was actually Wisconsin. Must be right over the border, based on the web tracker.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Education has rewards

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you're an educator - or an aspiring teacher - you know the importance of education. You also know that applies not only to your students but to yourself as well.

Let's face it - the money in teaching isn't great, but the job is one of the most fulfilling you can have. Still, higher pay is a good thing, but the only way often to get that higher pay is by having advanced degrees.

Problem - you're working in a career that takes up a lot of your time, and maybe you also have a family to take care of as well. (They probably want to see you sometimes too.)

So how can you do both? Fortunately, these days, it's become a little easier. You can pursue your advanced degree while continuing to work and have time for your family too.

The USC Rossier School of Education has been ranked #22 in the U.S. and #9 among all private universities by US News and World Report. And you can get your Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from this prestigious university online.

The program combines highly interactive online learning with field-based experiences in your local area, and students in the program are afforded full USC student statuses and privileges - including participation in the commencement ceremonies - with all the prestige of being a USC alumnus after graduation.

If you want to pursue that advanced degree from a prestigious university from the convenience of your own home, check out the link for program information. Education is its own reward, but it also brings more.

Visit my sponsor: Master of Arts in Teaching degree online from USC

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Whom It May Concern: I honestly wish you would just die

I figured out who was lurking here, and finding their way via my full, unfortunate married name. It threw me when I saw the curious searcher was in Dundee, Ill., but apparently my stupid ex-husband doesn't know the difference between Wisconsin and Illinois. He told me he was in Wisconsin, but he said the girls would see Chicago this weekend. Stupid moron.

He said I could come along and I told him no. When he asked why, I said, "Because I would have to be around you." When he asked why that was a problem, I said, "Because I don't like you." When he asked why not, I said, "Because you're a loathsome person." Then he asked what that meant.

How about a list?

(Feel free to skip the rest, if you're not the one this is directed to.)

* You're stupid. Honestly, you're one of the most stupid people I've ever known. You don't read. You didn't finish high school. There is absolutely no topic in existence on which you can have an intelligent conversation. You're a complete moron. Sorry, call me a bitch for it. I don't like stupid people and have no desire to hang around them.

* You're a bigot. You once told me that you wouldn't have married me if you'd known that I dated a black guy briefly in college. Yes. That would have been reason enough. Just that I dated a black guy once in college. Of course, you claim that it doesn't matter now. When I fell in love with P and did a LOT more than date him and for a LOT longer, you said that didn't matter to you. Bullshit. You're a bigot and that hasn't gone away and doesn't go away.

* I'm not a complete idiot. Oh, let's see. You cheated on me and lied to me CONSTANTLY before and after we were married. You even went so far as telling me to leave so you could be with your mistress who might or might not have been carrying your child at the time. Of course, it turned out it wasn't yours. It was her boyfriend's. Yeah, that's class. I took you back enough, and you kept shitting on me. Do you think there's any way I can NOT consider you to be an unforgivable asshole?

* Hey, just as an afterthought, why don't we throw in the time you spit in my face, knocked me down a flight of stairs, and threw my keys away so I'd have to walk six miles to get to my mother's - while I was supposed to be on complete bed rest because I was eight months into a difficult and delicate pregnancy. Not that it mattered to you before then either. I was supposed to be on complete bed rest, but I still had to do the grocery shopping then carry everything up the two flights of stairs to our apartment when I got home - all the while YOU were sitting on your ass in your chair - as usual.

* You're selfish. Yes, you always have been. Not just this weekend when you're taking the girls out of school because you were too lazy/selfish/stupid not to come back home last weekend while you were off work. So now you want them to ride in a car for 18 hours and miss a day of school to see you for - what? - a few minutes when you won't be working or sleeping?

* And there's the whole work thing. When's the last time you managed to hold a job? Oh yeah, you were working for a while off and on during those eight years since I left you. When's the last time you contributed any money to help take care of your daughters? Oh that's right, this week is the FIRST TIME! But you say you've spent the last eight years trying to make it up to me? How's that exactly? By being a worthless loser? Good role model there.

* Oh that's right. You being a worthless loser for the last eight years is MY FAULT. I forgot. What ever WASN'T my fault? I broke your heart, so you couldn't work and support your children for eight years. The breakup of the marriage was my fault, because I left you, NOT because you cheated and lied and spent a year in jail for selling drugs (FUCKING MORON) to the neighbor who had been getting it from you in exchange for videotapes and mowing the lawn and suddenly had enough cash to buy in quantity. But you were too stupid to even get suspicious about that. Well, you had to make some cash at the time, I guess, to support that woman you'd just thrown me out for.

Instead of asking why I don't like you, how about asking yourself what possible reason I could have TO like you. I don't care if you completely turn your life around and you're nominated for SAINTHOOD. I will always be nothing but appalled and disgusted by you.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Drunk criminals are stupid

Well, I certainly got an interesting start to my weekend. In fact, I'd planned to write this yesterday, but I was catching up on my sleep after being up all night Friday.

I got home from work a little before 2 a.m. after doing the Friday night shift on the desk at work (that was interesting enough, but that's for another time). I got on my computer for my usual "wind-down" time before attempting to go to sleep.

About 3 a.m., I hear a knock at the door, but in my room, I can't tell the difference between a knock at our door or the neighbor's (it's a townhouse with four units). The neighbors moved out a short time ago, but they were three college-age boys, so my thought was - it's a drunk friend of the neighbors who doesn't know/remember they moved, or it's a drunk friend of my son's who wants a place to sleep or to convince him to go out.

I ignored it the first time, then it came again. I pulled on some pajama bottoms (I was just in a cami and panties at the time - it was hot) and went downstairs.

As I always do, I looked out the front window first - didn't see anyone but noticed the interior light in my son's car was on. I opened the front door and no one was there, but I walked out to turn off the light. Then it went out on its own. As if someone had closed the door just seconds before (there's a short delay on the light).

I looked around and heard a noise coming from the porch of the neighboring unit - it's in shadows, so I can't see anything there. I heard a hiccup, then the jingling of keys. Okay, I'm thinking that it's someone obviously drunk and maybe one of the boys who used to live there, who's forgotten he moved or something. I hovered around for a few moments, but the person made no attempt to approach me or say anything, so I went back into the house.

I turned off the porch light and the lights inside, and I stood inside the front window and watched outside. The light came on in my son's car again, and I saw the top of a man's shaved head as he rifled around inside the car.

I went upstairs and knocked on Pooh's door to tell him someone was messing in his car, and he threw on some clothes and came downstairs. We both went outside and didn't see anyone there. He immediately checked in his car and found his TomTom GPS was missing. I ran in and grabbed my phone so he could call the police, then we hung around outside to watch the area.

Music started up - VERY LOUDLY - a few doors down (Def Leppard's "Too Late for Love", incidentally). It wasn't there before. Suspicious. Then he told me that a former friend of his, whom he hadn't heard from in two years, had called him up a couple of weeks ago and said if he ever saw him again, he was going to kick his ass. (Let's be clear here - NO ONE doesn't like Pooh). Pooh had also seen the shaved headed man in his car from his bedroom window. This ex-friend used to shave his head sometimes. More suspicions.

A cop from the neighboring town soon rolls up to in front of the house, and we tell him what happened. Then along comes a deputy sheriff, and we tell him what happened. Then another deputy sheriff comes, and we repeat it again. They go off to investigate the music, and at some point along the way, a light appears in the upstairs window of the unit on the opposite side of the vacant one - two doors from us.

We check out my son's car and see new scratches on the passenger side door that weren't there before. We check out mine and see it's fine. Then the police chief (in fact, the ONLY cop) from our town rolls up as well. We repeat the story again. They all ask questions, and we answer. They canvas the neighborhood looking for anything suspicious and checking to see if any of the cars are warm or disturbed.

The light in the window goes out, and this makes the chief suspicious so they go over and knock on the door.

Some guy answers and talks to them for a while. Then a while longer. And a while longer. Meanwhile, my son and I are entertaining the cute labrador puppy that came bounding out of the house when the door was opened.

The guy looks past the cops and says he's going to ask us if we know what's going on. (Um, yeah, they're here because we called, Genius). He's obviously drunk. We tell him that someone took the TomTom out of my son's car. "You mean, like a GPS?" he says. "Yeah," we say. "And someone keyed the door," I say. "Huh," he says. He goes on to tell us he understands because someone had tried to get into his car a couple of months ago. Sure. Then he says, "Well, I'll be honest with you," and he leans in to conspiratorially whisper, "I don't know who did this." Uh huh.

At this point, he turns around and looks at the empty driveway next to ours. He says, "In fact, I parked my car there. (pointing) There should be a car there." (So your car's missing and you're just NOW noticing?) "Someone took my car," he says to the cops.

Well, within seconds, he looks down toward the street where he sees his car parked at the curb in front of our house. "There it is," he says. "Someone moved my car down there." Uh huh.

He goes back off with the cops for a while, and I go in the house to get my phone again. "I'm going to tweet this," I tell my son. :)

To tell the truth, we're not terribly fussed about it. It's striking us both as enormously funny at this point. Cop number 5, who's been called in to gather evidence and possibly take fingerprints, arrives while I'm inside. (Need I remind you, this is the response for a GPS stolen from an unlocked car on a Friday night? Impressive, no?)

By the time I get back outside, my son tells me the guy doesn't actually live in that house. The neighbors who live there are gone and the cops said, "It looks like he just moved in and made himself at home." Ha! It gets better and better. Apparently, this guy lives two buildings further down the street.

Cop number 5, the detective, stands there smoking his pipe (I kid you not) while chuckling with us about the state of the guy.

Well, they bring over the TomTom and Pooh identifies it as his. They haul the guy off in cuffs and explain to my son that his TomTom will be processed as evidence. He'll get it back in six to eight weeks.

Thanks to his little adventure, drunk guy got charged with theft (for the GPS) and burglary (for hiding out in the neighbor's house). (Btw, we're in a town of fewer than 700 people. No one locks their cars and a lot of people don't lock their houses.) Note that he wouldn't have even been caught if he'd just sat behind the closed door and left the light off until the cops left. Brilliant. Now he's sitting in jail with a $12,067 bail.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Crazy schedule

What a hectic week! I thought I'd be able to manage it, but I seem to be slipping further and further behind!

We've got a reporter on vacation, so I've had to pick up his court duties. I fear I'm failing miserably at it. I got all of two minutes of "training" on it, and it's the court that I've never done before, so I've got no experience at it. That's eating into my hours quite a lot and ensuring some long days. And of course, there's no overtime allowed, so since I haven't mastered the art of bending space and time, I'm falling behind rapidly.

I also had a political banquet to cover last night. It was originally thought that it would take about two hours of my time, but then they had to rearrange the speaker schedule, so it took four. Four hours out of my 40 for the week. That's a pretty precious investment.

And to top it off, I'm working the night desk tonight. That's always a longer-than-normal day, but I have to go in even earlier than usual to pick up more court news. And I have to write a second article from last night's banquet (for the interview I had to arrive early to get). Plus I'm already a page behind because the person who allocated the pages gave me extra (even though the person on the night desk isn't supposed to get any extra pages.)

I've got other stories that I haven't been able to progress at all on all week. Clearly, I'm going to have something to do on Monday - when normally, that's a really slow day. Hoping I can get it all caught up then.

I'm looking forward to the weekend when work is ... well, not done, but at least off the table for a bit. I'll sleep in a little on Saturday, but then Sunday's all loaded with stress. I'll be up early for the Liverpool/Chelsea game and rather uncomfortably cheering on the 'puddlians with all my heart. Then I'll need a shower. But there's no time for that, because afterward my beloved Manchester United Red Devils will be taking on Sunderland in an absolute must-win situation. I fear less for the outcome of that than the outcome of the 'pool/'ski match though, because if Chelsea win, our title hopes are out the window.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mean Girls and tough love

Gin had to get a little tough love tonight. I told her we needed to talk as soon as I got home this afternoon, but she avoided me after, even sneaking off to bed and then saying that she couldn't get up, she didn't want to talk, the OAT is tomorrow (Ohio Achievement Test). Too bad, I told her. You avoided me all day. We talk NOW.

I had to stop by the store this afternoon after work, and on my way out, I ran into my friend Ang. She also happens to be the mother of both my daughters' best friends. Or was anyway. Her family's going through an extremely tough time right now. About six weeks ago, her marriage ended. It had been going down for a while, but this time was the end. (Although, he's now having second thoughts and asking her back. Isn't that always the way?) Anyway, he sent Ang and her two daughters, R and C, packing, and they've been staying in a little hotel room ever since. C is Munch's best friend. And R is (or was) Gin's best friend. Ang is strong. She's holding up well and working hard to pull things together. R isn't doing so well.

Ang filled me in on the situation. It seems right about the time that her life got turned upside down, Gin got herself a new group of friends - and R wasn't a part of it. That happens, I suppose. Friends do drift apart. However, Gin decided to get into her cliquey little mentality and start treating R badly - talking about her and drawing mean pictures off her that she was passing around class. She's 11 - 12 in a couple of months - and being glorious preteen bitch queen, to put it in a nutshell. THAT behavior doesn't fly with me AT ALL.

So I sat Gin down and put her on the spot. Just once, she tried to pull the, "She started it" bit. She said R didn't like her new friends and SHE was the one who stopped sitting with her at lunch and hanging around with her at recess. I went on to tell her that R is going through the hardest situation in her life right now. Everything's in turmoil. Her life's been turned upside down. She's feeling rejected and lost and alone. If she wanted to walk away because she was hurting, she had every right to, but I told Gin it was HER job as R's friend to reach out to her when she was hurting. It was Gin's job to let her know that she'd let R be alone if she needed to be alone but that she'd be there for her to suppor her when she needed her. And even if they weren't going to be friends anymore - as I said, sometimes friends drift apart - she was absolutely out of order to betray her friendship by treating R so badly.

I told her again - I've told her before - that you don't EVER treat ANYONE that way. I told her that she has to learn to think about people's feelings, that they're real human beings. But you absolutely do not ever treat a friend that way - even if they're not your friend anymore.

And to do that to her when she was going through the toughest time in her life, at such a sensitive age too, well, I put it to her straight - I said to do THAT was stone cold bitch. I said she'd just watched her friend get hit by a truck, then she walked out into the street where she was lying and kicked her in the head.

Gin sat the entire time - after that brief moment near the beginning when she said R started it - in silence looking at me. She's good at doing the dead glare thing, but I could see that glare start to break down and some of it start to sink in - as I went on, and on.... and on. I was not going to let her off easily with this one. I'm not going to let her turn into one of those teenage monsters who pushes her peers into misery. I was always the shy, quiet one with no friends - or one friend - and I've been betrayed too often. I know how it feels.

After I had my say - looking straight into her eyes and without raising my voice the whole time - and she continued to sit there in silence. I finally asked her what she had to say for herself. She seemed almost a little choked up (almost - she's made of steel), but she answered, "Well, I feel bad." I said, "That's a start."

I told her at the very least she'd better apologize to R, and that it had better NEVER happen again. I can't for the life of me figure out how she could turn into a "Mean Girl," but you can be damn sure that I won't let it go on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nominate Phil!!!!

So I got to have a little bit of excitement yesterday. Another "almost" brush with fame. My history with fame is fairly sweet, really, for a chick living in the middle of nowhere. I dated Sarah Jessica Parker's brother in college for nine months. (Well, dating might be a stretch of definition, but, ahem, I'll leave it at that). I got to party with the rock band Slaughter one night after a show back in my modeling days (was told even that the guitarist was planning to ask me out when he got back to Ohio, but unfortunately, he got married - then died). I even spent three years in a relationship with a bona fide television actor of some niche renown - that was the famous "P" of the early days of this blog (you know, the one who crushed my soul when he dumped me out of the blue) whose name I have not ever and will not ever post here.

Yesterday, my boss came out of his office and asked if I'd have a little time to write a story - nothing major, he said. Oh by the way, do I know who Phil Hartman is? It turns out, his sister has been living quietly in our newspaper's little hometown for the past ten years. Wow. That one got me. I always loved him. He was an amazing talent and a tragic loss. So anyway, his sister's decided to give up some of her local anonymity (most people had no idea she was his sister) because she and her brother Paul are working to get Phil inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Of course, I jumped at the story. I had a nice talk with Phil's sister, Nan. I even got to go through her scrapbook of some of his memorabilia and clips. I was agog when I pulled out his high school diploma. There I was on an ordinary day at work, holding Phil Hartman's high school diploma in my hand. Our young reporter was completely jealous. (The story ended up running front page today.)

On my drive home from work, my Blackberry rang, and it was Phil's brother Paul. We chatted for quite a while about the campaign, and I gave him a few social networking tips. He even invited me to become a fan of the page on Facebook and told me he'd make me an administrator. I've been tweeting to help get the word out and posted on my page too.

So here's the official pitch, btw, NOMINATE PHIL HARTMAN FOR CANADA'S WALK OF FAME!! Click HERE to fill out the nomination form. There's a contest for nominating that's open only to Canadians, but anyone can fill out the nomination form, and they all count. Anyone in the world - so just do it please. Help this very deserving, wonderful actor and man who was tragically taken too soon through no fault of his own (unlike many of those "Hollywood tragedy" stories). Honestly, does anyone NOT love Phil Hartman? His brother Paul told me that Phil is one of about a hundred candidates for one spot on the Walk of Fame, and he's not in the lead at the moment - mainly because the campaign for him started pretty late. But he is within reach, if people get to work on it. The deadline for nominations is April 30, so don't wait!

I even created a couple of custom tiny urls to make it easy to remember. The nomination page is at http://tinyurl.com/nominatephil and the Facebook group supporting it is at http://tinyurl.com/philhartman.

Please vote!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanic rant

According to Wikipedia (sorry, I'm not researching any harder than that, but I'm going to assume I can take their word on this one) "The principal components of volcanic gases are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur either as sulfur dioxide (SO2) (high-temperature volcanic gases) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (low-temperature volcanic gases), nitrogen, argon, helium, neon, methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Other compounds detected in volcanic gases are oxygen (meteoric), hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen bromide, nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur hexafluoride, carbonyl sulfide, and organic compounds. Exotic trace compounds include methyl mercury, halocarbons (including CFCs), and halogen oxide radicals."

This makes me wonder - where are the environmentalists protesting this beast in Iceland? Will the Icelanders be charged massive fines for this pollution? After all, it was quite recently that a per-cow tax was proposed on farmers for the methane gas produced by their animals. Someone must be held responsible for this travesty. Has anyone asked Al Gore what he thinks about it? After all, this volcano is spewing forth all those chemicals that cause global warming, right? I mean, that's what they've been telling us all along. Of course, they've been telling us that we've been doing all the spewing - nature wouldn't do such a thing. Nature doesn't do anything to hurt anyone, and when it does, it's because we've messed something up. There WERE no natural disasters of any kind before man came along. Ok, I exaggerate, there just weren't as many. Certainly not enough to wipe out, oh, the dinosaurs, or anything like that.

Oooooooooh, now I see. This one's our fault too. It seems that the melting of the ice caps, caused by global warming, caused by us (we're doing all the spewing), is reducing the pressure on the crust in the frozen lands to the north and increasing volcanic activity. Not sure what we did when a volcano on Hawaii erupts, but I guess if one of those shuts down air travel ...

(Hey, that's a GOOD thing, right? Cutting back on those emissions. Do you suppose all the air travel that's been forgone will serve as the carbon credits for the volcano? I'm straying. I do that in my occasional rants. But anyway...)

so if a Hawaiian volcanic eruption gets lots of attention by shutting down air travel (Wow, that'd be a HELL of a plume, wouldn't it?) it'd get to be our fault too? Wait, let me work it out second... If there's a massive volcanic eruption in Hawaii (I mean, beyond those that CREATED the islands) it would be caused by global warming, which is caused by us (we're doing the spewing......) because it's made the oceans rise, which makes the water pressure on the sea floor surrounding the islands increase (water's heavy - more water=more heavy), which pushed down the sea floor, which pushed up the magma to cause it to break through the surface and spew forth more of those chemicals we've been pumping into the air that caused all this. Or something like that. I'm making all this up as I go along.

Or maybe, if nature is forever seeking a balance, this is Mother Earth telling us we haven't been spewing ENOUGH! More carbon dioxide! More sulfur! More (see list above)! And what about those tiny glass particles that destroy jet engines? Maybe we should be burning some fiberglass. Or just shredding it and distributing it with giant fans (solar-powered ones, of course, or maybe hydroelectric). Mother Earth does no wrong. We're screwing everything up. We should take all cues from her.

I'll try anything once...and buy what works

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dermajuv Skin Care Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm at that awkward age. With an awkward skin type. Or awkward hormones. Or whatever it is, I get to deal with the beginnings of wrinkles (maybe a wee bit more than beginnings....) as well as acne (which decided to reemerge with a vengeance after giving me a decidedly easy time of it during adolescence). As a result of this brilliant joke by Mother Nature on me, the skin care products industry is reaping the rewards.

I'm not completely random about it though. I try a lot of different products, but I generally refuse to shell out the big bucks if I haven't at least had the opportunity to try it. However, if I have had the opportunity to try something, and it seems to offer some improvement, I will absolutely lay out the cash for it. (Little tip to the marketers, those sample packs WORK for selling your product if your product WORKS). And if I find something I love, I'll recommend it. I've done it often, and it's resulted in sales not only to me, but to family and friends as well.

We seem to have reached a curious point in our society when the trends for beauty products like wrinkle reducers and acne controllers have oddly gone off in two wildly divergent directions - "latest scientific breakthrough" and "all the wonders of nature's own ingredients." And both trends seem to be successful - often marketing successfully even to the same women.

I came across this line of skin care products called Dermajuv (not to be confused with Juvaderm) touting all-natural ingredients (and no animal testing) with very high-tech looking packaging.


The product descriptions are certainly promising, and it's got some pretty high-profile positive reviews. I have to admit, I'm intrigued and interested, but the price range is a little beyond me. Now if I could try it and find that it actually works, I'd be breaking out my credit card.

Visit my sponsor: Skin Care Products

Monday, April 19, 2010

More coming home

It was another flashback for me, as I headed out to another newspaper office for a little refresher course on posting news stories to our websites. As it turns out, nothing has changed there, so even though I haven't done that job in a year, it was instantaneous for me to pick back up again. In fact, in posting the first story, I found my fingers automatically doing the things they needed to do without even thinking about them.

After I got back to my office after "retraining," I immediately checked the schedule. It was a good thing I did, because I found out I had a meeting to attend just half an hour later. I had time to do no more than copy down my schedule for the week before I had to head out again. Once I sat through that meeting, I went back to the office again, entered my schedule into my Google calendar, wrote the story - and it was time to go home. I got to leave early because I've got another meeting to attend tonight. It should be dreadfully exciting - the local stamp club. Oh boy, holding back the excitement....

Ah well, it was kind of nice to spend Monday running around and getting out of the office. Mondays are usually so slow because we don't publish on Tuesday. This broke the routine a bit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Exciting medical news for stroke treatment

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

Science is continually finding new ways to help us stay healthy and new ways of treatment for those illnesses and injuries that befall us.
The latest news is that menstrual blood can be used as a source of stem cells.
We've all heard of stem cells and the controversy surrounding the harvesting of stem cells from human fetuses. This exciting development means that your moral issues are safe. If stem cells can be extracted from menstrual blood, imagine the possibilities in medical science!
The April 2010 issue of Stem Cells and Development features cover story about stem cells from menstrual blood and its potential to help victims of stroke. In testing, scientists found that the stem cells significantly reduced cell death and significantly reduced behavioral and histological impairments.
Read the 'Stem Cells and Development' article and find out more for yourself.
Menstrual blood cells that have been stored for later use provide "individually tailored" cells that are perfectly matched to the recipient.
CĂ©lle currently is offering a $100 discount off the regular $499 price for collection, processing, testing and one year of storage for menstrual blood with a limited time special offer. Use the code CLSTR to take advantage of the discount.
Read about C'elle in 'Medical News Today'.
Visit my sponsor: Stem Cells May Benefit Stroke Patients