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    Friday, December 25, 2009

    White Christmas, Indeed

    If you're close to where we are, I hope you are snuggled in at home, safe and sound. This Christmas brought us the biggest storm in recent history, and we were forced to stay home and find new ways to celebrate the holiday. We wish you a Merry Christmas, and Happy (and less snowy) New Year!

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    It's a Good Thing I Didn't Order Life-Saving Medicine...

    ...through the MAIL this week.

    Monday.

    That's the last day I got any mail whatsoever.

    Wednesday.

    That's the day it stopped snowing.

    Friday.

    That's today - the FOURTH day with NO mail in my mailbox.

    And YES, I always get mail every day, with maybe one day out of 60 where we just genuinely have no mail. So it's not just a personal dry spell in mail. It's just a dry spell of mail carriers on my block, apparently.

    Seems that whole "...Neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow ..." thing went out the window at some point, huh.

    But hey, did you hear they are raising some of the postage rates again in January? So at least they're busy working on THAT. Not delivering MAIL, or anything, but hey, I saw their website. They are ON TOP of their next postage increase. Whew. Good to know.

    Oh, and they were ALSO on top of telling the news, basically, that it's too yucky for their trucks and vans, and if you don't get your mail, that's just too darn bad, pretty much.

    USPS: FAIL.

    ************************************

    PS - While my street has been a mess, I'll confess, (inserted rhyme for you, no less...) the sidewalks have been clear since the day it stopped snowing. Our carriers walk to deliver. And I know it's cold, but dude...you're a MAIL CARRIER.

    Clothestastrophe, Segment 3: Just Because You're At A Graduation Doesn't Mean You Know Anything

    ...about anything, actually. But in this case, we're talking about clothes. And that lack of knowledge on one woman's part brings you another fabulous, fabulous clothestastrophe.

    You're gonna love this one. Trust me.


    We were standing outside an auditorium here in the Metro, the kids and I, waiting for Greg who was parking the van. When there, before me, was this fine lady, who showed up for this particular high school graduation dressed in her very best...uh...dress? If it has chains and strings of rhinestones actually built INTO the garment, is it still really a dress? Hmm. Not sure.


    Anyway, let's don't get distracted. Black. Rhinestones. Chains. Chainmail-ish in appearance. Seriously. And the shoe she chose to compliment this certainly-dressy-if-entirely-ridiculous outfit?


    Thongs, as we called them in my day. Flip-flops. But not just any flip-flop. Clear plastic high-heeled flop flops. The tops of them, and this is where I failed you in picture taking, were adorned with giant, 40 or so "carat" sized plastic rhinestones, with smaller sparkly stones down the sides of the strap over the tops of her feet. A truly Bedazzled piece of footwear.


    I really can't describe it with any measure of clarity so you can grasp the "eww" factor. I managed to capture the essence of the dress very well, but you only truly appreciate it if you take my word for it on the shoes - and my word is "hideous".


    You're just going to love it. At least I think you are. I hope you will. Without further ado...
















































    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    It's Not Really HELPFUL If It Doesn't HELP

    I generally have little need to be in public, and am happy at home. I don't generally feel stuck here, and can go days without needing to go out running around in the world full of weirdos out there (present readers excluded, of course...mostly....) Again, to be clear: I am happy at home.

    When I choose to be at home.

    I did not choose to be at home this week.

    Monday.

    The last time I left my property was Mon-day. It is now Thursday.

    But it stopped snowing more than a day ago, you guffaw at me. What the heck are you still doing at home?

    Oh, well, let me just clear that up for you.

    I get that we're not in the zip code that makes our streets a high priority. Clearly. They finally showed up after dark to start their first passes on our street. They're busy, whatever, I get it. I was just glad to see them come and get us OUT. They were there to help, right? Right.

    Uh, yeah, not so much "right".

    The city's "plow job" on our street did nothing more than cement my doom, and further exacerbate the state of being "snowed in" that's going on here at our happy little house.

    Geez, Cathy, you say, are you EVER happy? They showed up, didn't they? They made not one, but TWO passes, didn't they?

    Why yes, yes they did. They plowed the street twice. 2/3 of the street got a good going over. While they were on our street, they plowed a lot of snow.

    Guess where they plowed it TO?

    You guessed. My driveway, and aaaaallllll the way down my side of the street.

    First pass = up the middle. Great if you don't live on our street, and are just passing through. Happy for you.

    Second pass = north side of the street, to the curb. Good for Mr. I-Have-A-Plow-I-Won't-Use who lives across the street and all his neighbors on either side. Nice for you folks, isn't it?

    Third pass = Oh, yeah. Sorry, there was no third pass. That didn't do much for those of us who live on what is apparently the WRONG side of the street. We are just SOL, aren't we? (Mom always told me that meant "Stuck on a Limb" as a kid when she would use it...Mom fibbed.)

    See, here's where we screwed ourselves. We tried to be nice. Being the helpful, thoughtful citizens we are, we moved the usually-parked-on-the-street-pick-up into the driveway on Tuesday night so when Mr. Plow came through, he wouldn't have to go around the truck - he'd have a clear shot at getting us de-snowed clear up to our curb. What did that gain us? Oh, well I'd love to tell you. Wen they finally showed up to plow last night, they plowed it all so nicely...NOT to the curb, but rather to the 6-foot span of where we COULD park the truck ON the curb in order to get it back OUT of our driveway...if we could GET anything smaller than Greg's giant work van out of our driveway...which we can't.

    SO: driveway has snow at the end which will surely stop my van from leaving. Our truck, however, would keep me from even getting out of my garage anyway. And there's no place to park the truck (IF we could somehow float it out of the driveway and park it down the street), unless we go half way down the hill, practically out of sight of our house (which we don't feel so hot about doing in our little neck of heaven), because WE tried to help the SNOW PLOW do his job. He did NOT return the favor, no matter what he thinks he did.

    Look, before you comment about how I don't what it's like to do that job, and that I need to be patient, let me just say this: I'm sure it's a thankless job. I'm sure you've been working long hours all week. I'm sure it's exhausting and frustrating.

    You know what else is exhausting and frustrating? BEING STUCK IN A HOUSE FOR FOUR DAYS WITH TWO LITTLE KIDS WHO WANT TO PLAY OUTSIDE IN SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES, BUT WILL SETTLE FOR DRIVING THEIR MOTHER BATTY.

    I'm just sayin'.

    So, if you're a person out there with a snowplow and nothing to do*, know this: I will write you a check. Come to my house, plow out my driveway and the curb in front of my house, for REAL, and I will PAY YOU. JUST GET ME the HELL out of here.



    *Unless you're the guy across the street. You can bite me - you and your stupid truck WITH THE WORKING PLOW on the front of it has been taunting me from your driveway every time it's snowed since 2005. Got news for you, chief - it would not kill you to hop your lazy butt up in the truck and clear our damn street. You could have had the whole thing done 24 hours ago and just been a good neighbor for once - hell, we probably would have been glad to pay you, you'd have made a small fortune from all of us. Apparently somebody told you if you help someone your head will fall off. It won't, by the way. Just so you know. Get bent.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Clothestastrophe, Segment 2: Socks Are Never Sexy

    I mean, they're socks. Just not sexy, even under ideal circumstances. But hey, we wear them, you wear them, all God's children wear them. But they are just not all that sexy.


    Then again, there's "not sexy", and then there's "oh-so-very-not-not-not sexy". I had the, uh, opportunity to witness the latter this past spring. Sitting in McDonald's (shocking), when I saw it there across from me. It was coupled with, believe it or not, the ever-popular tennis shoes and capris.

    You heard me.

    I know, right? Could you ask for a better clothestastrophe? I think not. I just happened to have my camera on me that day, if only a cell camera.

    You are most welcome.


    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    December?!?!

    Really?? It's DECEMBER?? Where in the crap did THIS year go? It seems like I was just contemplating my 2009 "write it to myself in January and have it publish on NYE 09" post, which I never did, by the way, so don't wait around for THAT end-of-month. Guess I'll have to start contemplating one for 2010.

    WHICH I am not elated to have to write, by the way. "2010", that is. Why? Well, if you're writing "12/2/09" on your checks, paperwork, whatever, and the next year's short version starts with another "0", you've got that one number's time when writing to remember that it's a new year. With "10" coming up, no such luck. LOTS of "1"s squeezed in behind "0"s coming up, I'd bet.

    So, let's seeeeeeee, what completely random factoids can I share with you on this fine cold morning...

    * I am considering making the cookie bark again this year. It was pretty poplular last year, and they have the colored holiday Oreos again, so we may crack out the Wilton's bark and get to melting here soon.

    * My tree's been up since the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Sue me.

    * I am not on the "beach" right now, but am spending much time pondering how to drag myself back up out of the waters of junk food and lethargy.

    * My body is fundamentally displeased with NOT being on the "beach". It is sharing that with me on a regular and painful basis. Let's just leave it at that.

    * A while back, the kids ran across "Astro Boy: The Series", from the 80's, on Netflix Instant View, and it's been a fixation ever since. Had they their druthers, they'd sit and watch him all. day. long. They do NOT have their druthers, by the way, but they do get to watch a few times a week. They are now also dying to know when they'll get to see the movies.

    * I have exactly 2 gifts purchased for Christmas. Two.

    * The cold we have anxiously been hoping would not come...is coming.

    * I consider and ruminate on new blog topics regularly, and seldom get them down on paper before they disappear.

    * I hope you'll check back on the off-chance that I happen to get one of them down on paper soon.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Clothestastrophe, Segment 1: Goin' Ta' Meetin' Clothes

    Look, I'm no pinnacle of fashion, never claimed to be. I don't set trends for what's a hot look, and I'm OK with that. And I'm certainly no label snob. I don't give a rip if you wear Levis or Luckys. I have no primary judgements in place about people who wear clothes from Walmart versus clothes from Express or American Eagle.

    But I'm pretty sure I look like the Paris Hilton of the midwest compared to the spectacle I saw this week.

    I attended a funeral, for a a friend's grandmother. We went "back home" for said funeral. Back home is a small town, and attending was lots of family, lots of close neighbors and friends; a big ole' bunch of down-home, good-hearted, hard-working folks. I say that with all seriousness and no sarcasm, and a respect for good people who live in good communities, much like the one I came from myself.

    Most of them dressed fairly "normally" for the area - the men in dark suits, the women in dark dresses or printed blouses with dress slacks. No real trend-setting going on, but then again, that's not the focus for folks like that, and that's really, really OK. With me, and with them.

    But there was this one guy. We'll call him "JimBob". That's not his real name. Not even close. In fact, "JimBob" would have BEEN a more fitting name than what his name really is. So to protect the man, and because it's more appropriate in my mind, he's JimBob.

    JimBob knew it was important to dress his best for this fine woman's funeral. Yet somehow, he missed the boat on the way to finding a realization for the definition for "best".

    Clearly he owns a suit. He was wearing the jacket, after all - a dark navy blue, very fancy suit jacket, with gold buttons down the front. Unfortunately, the pants either met an early demise, or he just didn't want to be tooooooo dressy...because he paired the jacket with clean, likely pressed, Wranglers. Possibly Dickies. But jeans, all the same. His feet donned black "shit kickers" as I'm guessing he calls them, but they were terribly clean. Surely his dress shit-kickers.

    Under the suit jacket was a yellow oxford shirt. Top button, maybe the next down as well, unbuttoned. No tie. No need to dress it up toooo much, again.

    The frosting on this clothing nightmare cake was his hat. A ten-gallon, you ask? A dressy cowboy hat, suitable at least in part for a funeral for such a dignified woman as this?

    Noooo.

    His green, somewhat worn, Pioneer seed corn ball cap (complete with a yellow "support our troops" ribbon pinned on the side) was apparently the perfect crowning piece for this ensemble.

    So get a picture of that.

    Black cowboy boots.
    Blue jeans.
    Yellow button-up shirt. Not buttoned.
    No tie.
    Navy blue suit jacket with gold buttons.
    Green seed corn baseball cap.

    I couldn't make this stuff up, folks. I wish so much that I'd have taken a picture so I could share with you the look in a more tangible way. I saw his brother there...he was in a suit. Apparently JimBob missed the family meeting about funeral garb. Poor JimBob.

    So, am I normally this catty? No. You know that. (Shut up, Deb.) Was this look just too awesome and uh, original to let pass by without sharing it with you? Yes. Yes, it was.

    I'm sure he's a good guy. A good ol' boy, who minds his folks to this day, works the land, takes care of what's his, and works his tail off year 'round. I would be a little sad if he somehow found this and put together that I was talking about him, because I'm sure he's clueless that he looked so painfully out of place in even a rather average, moderately fashioned group of people. That's why I would never tell him this even if I knew him. But maybe there's someone like him out there, who may read this.

    So the moral of the story is this: It pays to go to town once in a while, folks. Get on out there. See what folks is wearin' these a'days. Nobody's askin' for y'all to spend a fortune on super-fancy big city slicker clothes, but y'all could consider wearin' a WHOLE suit when we're saying our goodbyes to a lady who was kind of an icon in our lil' old community. And t'weren't nobody never died from puttin' on a tie.

    I thank ya kindly. Y'all have a good'n, alright?

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Sunday Blog

    Just your basic generic catch-up blog around here again.

    Driving about 2.5 hrs tomorrow to sing for at a dear, dear friend's grandmother's funeral - hugs to you, E, and I'll see you soon. Love you.

    Raked leaves today. Kids had fun, grown-ups got mostly tired. Pics of kids in leaves to follow.

    Eating crap. Hope to change that again soon.

    Still need to give up soda. Stay tuned.

    Still pondering changes in my life and trying to decide which ones are most important to tackle first.

    Still behind on laundry.

    Kids are fine, Greg and I are fine, dogs are fine.

    Thank you for reading the most vanilla, no, unflavored blog post in the history of cyberspace. Please check back soon for something with any flavor whatsoever.

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    As We GO Into Halloweek

    Some updates from FMFO.

    Item 1: Greg bought a used laptop off of CL. It has no battery so it has to be plugged in to use it. Which makes it more of a portable PC than a laptop. It also has about 2 megabytes of memory and almost that much RAM. That is only a slight minimization of the truth. And top that with the fact that when he updated the OS tonight he found out that the prick who sold it to him put on a pirated copy of said OS, and I'd say Greg got hosed on CL. We may issue a commemorative coin, it's our first truly rotten experience on CL that I can remember. Asshat. (The CL guy, not Greg.)

    Item 2: Greg is not allowed to buy any more electronic crap for the rest of the year. It's not his first purchase of unneeded items this month, but I have shared with him that it should probably be his last. So sayeth she who pays the bills.

    Item 3: Samantha is joining Girl Scouts, they start out as "Daisies". We attended the Halloween party tonight, big fun. She was a hit in her Cinderella costume, people loved her hair and some even thought it was a wig! So proud of my pretty girl, and that she is so well-adjusted in groups and feels confident and well-liked going into new situations. She'll do well in Scouts, and I'm glad she chose something that enriches her as a young lady who can go on to do anything.

    Item 4: Girl Scouts eat too much crap at Halloween parties.

    Item 5: This year is probably my favorite Halloween costumes for the kids in all their years. They are fracking adorable, and I love that they wanted to be Cinderella and the Prince, and that he loves to be "the prince of missy".

    Item 6: Maybe it's just the wine talking, but Arbor Mist "Island Fruits Pinot Grigio" is, quite possibly, the best I've ever had. No joke. I'm a cheap wine kinda girl - I like my wine fruity, and with no hint of dryness, with no year on the bottle, and at $3.99 a bottle.

    Item 7: There's a reason I never drink wine during the week. The dishes don't get done, and neither does the laundry, and I can't seem to find the ambition to care about what she's wearing to school tomorrow. There are clean clothes up there, that's what's important, right?

    Item 8: It may not, in fact, be the wine, since this is the first night I can EVER remember drinking on a weeknight, and there are still nights when none of that other shit gets done anyway. Hmm. But for now, I'm blaming it on the wine.

    Item 9: Halloween isn't even here yet, and we already have more "treats" than any family needs. Insanity.

    Item 10: I have to sleep now. I should watch Biggest Loser from last week, still haven't watched it (and it wasn't on instant play on NBC when I tried), and the new one is on tonight. But I won't, most likely. Time to sleeeeeeep.

    Good night all.

    UPDATE from Item 7: The OTHER reason I do not drink during the week (or on the weekends, either, generally) is because I tend to ignore my alarms the next morning and make the whole household get up late. Whoops.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Old Words That Still Mean So Much

    When I attended Emporia State University in 1992, I found this. It moved me profoundly, and sent me into a period of self-examination that was unparalleled to that point in my life.

    As I approach another point in my life where I need to examine myself in a real, true, and maybe painful way, I have had these words ringing in my head. I am sharing them with you because they, as my friend Cory used to say "...changed my life". Hope they are meaningful for you. I have more, the next one is one I wrote. That's to come. Don't miss it.


    Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes.
    Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it,
    than to accept life unquestioningly.
    Everything we shut our eyes to,
    everything we run away from,
    everything we deny, denigrate or despise,
    serves to defeat us in the end.
    What seems nasty, painful, evil,
    can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength
    if faced with an open mind.
    Every moment is a golden one
    for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”

    - Henry Miller

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Overhaul

    That's what I need. Physically, spiritually, mentally, organizationally (is that a word?), all of it. I'm due for a change, and I need to start outlining exactly what I want. I know how to do that, I think. It's just a matter of doing it.

    The road is long, and the journey arduous, I already know that. I don't anticipate overnight change, and I don't expect perfection in the steps I want to take. What I do expect is what I expect from my kids when they undertake something - I expect 100% effort.

    Lifelong change will take a lifetime. I get that. But I have to start somewhere and someplace. And it's time. Who I am, where I have been, and what I have done do NOT have to define the rest of my life. Change is choice. It's a hard truth to learn and live, but it's true.

    Change really is rooted 100% in choice.

    Stay tuned for the tearing down and rebuilding of, well...me.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Well, Adli Darned

    I really do know that Aldi is the best. grocery. store. E.V.E.R. Truly. No joke. Aldi rocks my socks. And in this sucktastic craphole economic climate (yes, that's the official term, thankyouverymuch), anywhere I can save a buck is always on my list of stops when I shop for the fam.

    This week, Aldi outdid themselves. Or maybe I outdid myself, I'm not sure. Either way, the fact of the matter is this:

    I bought 85% of my family's groceries for the week yesterday...for just over THIRTY-NINE BUCKS.

    True story.

    What did I get for under forty bucks? Well, lemme just tell you.


    2 boxes fruit and grain bars - 1.89 each
    2 boxes cereal - 1.49 and 1.89 each
    2 boxes fiber bars - 1.99 each
    1 bottle ketchup - 1.19
    1 lg. can tomato juice - 1.19
    2 bags egg noodles - .99 each
    2 boxes whole wheat pasta - 1.09 each
    2 large bags whole corn tortilla chips - .99 each
    3lb bananas - .99 total (33 cents/lb)
    1 32 oz cottage cheese - 1.89
    1 32 oz plain ff yogurt - 1.59
    1 box frozen waffles - 1.19
    1 bag extra fine whole green beans - 1.49
    1 bag California medley - .95
    1 frozen orange juice concentrate - .99
    1 20 oz tomatoes (4) - .79 TOTAL
    1 5-lb bag yellow onion - .99
    1 protein bar (snack for me) - .95
    2 gallons milk - 1.69 each
    1 12 pack diet soda - 2.39
    2 heads lettuce - 1.09 each

    I'm tempted to, in a few weeks, take this list and go buy this stuff at Walmart, or the grocery store. Not THAT tempted since I KNOW it would be more than $39 bucks, but I am all about showing the world how sweet Aldi is.

    Haven't been to Aldi? Really? Hmmm. Clearly, you're either uninformed and don't know about Aldi, or you just don't like your money. Because there is no place in town that can beat their prices that I've found. They are the rockstars of saving money.

    I should do Aldi commercials, I really should.

    Questions? Thoughts? For more information about Aldi, visit them:

    http://aldi.us/index_ENU_HTML.htm

    http://aldi.us/us/html/company/3503_ENU_HTML.htm?WT.z_src=main

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    No Disco, Just Panic

    A few weekends ago, we had, well, a pretty typical weekend going on around here. Like to hear about it? Hear it goes.

    By Sunday afternoon, there are still things to do around here, as usual, and we are busy doing them. Installing a new front door, we've about finished that (and to be clear, when I say "we", you know that means "Greg did most of it while I stood around watching"), and I am thinking about getting things ready for the week to come. No big thing.

    In the morning my left foot feels rather sore, almost as if I had sprained it, which I find strange, but not entirely debilitating. As the afternoon goes on, at one point I notice that now my shoulder hurts the same way my foot did.

    Odd.

    A short while later, I get a little nervous, as the same kind of weird pain is now attacking my hip. On the same side as my foot and shoulder. All down my left side - acute, persistent pain.

    I get more than a little nervous, frankly.

    In retrospect, I remember having a pretty specific thought pattern, and the farther we get from that day, the more clearly I can remember it, ironically. I remember thinking Hmm. Pain all down my left side. Shit. What if I'm having a stroke or some shit?

    Anyway, as I'm processing this thought, my head starts buzzing.

    My ears start ringing.

    My chest gets heavy, and I feel like I can't get a good breath, no matter how deeply I breathe in.

    I am nauseous.

    And dizzy. I can't stand up without feeling like I'm going to fall over.

    I'm sure I'm going to faint.

    Oh - and that I'm going to die.

    Without exaggerating, at this point I am having an internal monologue in which I am telling myself, Oh my god - I am dying. I'm dying right here in front of my kids and my husband, right here on my fucking kitchen floor. This is it. I'm dying.

    While this thought is racing through my head, there is another running along beside of it, having a conversation with it, and his name was Logic. The whole exchange takes just seconds, but feels like eternity:

    Logic: Cathy, don't be stupid, you're not dying.
    Cathy: Fuck too, I am DYING. Just like Aimee. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod.

    At this point, in the real world, I am crying now, panicking like never before, and asking Greg to get help. He is quite certain I have lost it, or (and he's trying to ignore this possibility) that I really am, as I assert, dying.

    Logic: Cathy, you are not dying, people don't just die on their kitchen floor at 36.
    Cathy: Really? Because they sure as fuck die at 30 in their own bed for no reason. I'm dying and if you are smart, you'll get our ass to a doctor, post-fucking haste.
    Logic: Cathy, you are not dying. Wait...shortness of breath, panicking, feeling ill - you must be having a panic attack.
    Cathy: Uh, hello? I don't have panic attacks.
    Logic: Uh hello yourself - remember the day they put your claustrophobic self in an MRI tube? You're saying THAT was not a panic attack?
    Cathy: Ok, fine sure I did have that one -but I know why that happened, that was because of the claustrophobia. Not because I just have panic attacks willy-nilly. Because I don't. Besides, there was no trigger here today even if I DID have panic attacks - which I don't. Nothing panic-attack-worthy. Jesus Christ, I really AM dying.

    This back-and-forth business continues in my head all the way to the Urgent Care Center. I get in, and get checked out.

    Blood pressure - normal.
    Pulse - normal.
    Temperature - normal.
    OxSats - normal.
    Pupil dilation - normal.
    Respiration and heartbeat - normal.

    "Everything looks really great, Mrs. C - why are you here? What is really going on?" the doctor questions. I assure him that nothing is really going on, except for the fact that I was sure ten minutes ago that I was DYING. D-Y-I-N-G. No abusive husband, no on-the-verge-of-foreclosure-money-stress, no deaths as of late, nothing. Just dying, thankyouverymuch.

    He's nodding at me. Nodding, and listening. Sort of.

    Look, I'm pretty perceptive, folks. I can tell when a guy is giving me the eye like he thinks I'm a whack job. I've gotten it before. And that's just the eye that Doogie Howser here is giving me. Logic taps me on the shoulder, smiles knowingly, and nudges me to speak. Begrudgingly, I do.

    "I had a panic attack, didn't I?"

    "Um, yes," he says. "I am almost positive that's what happened. There is just nothing wrong with your body right now, all of your numbers are perfect. It's like you walked out of a medical textbook on panic attacks and walked into my office."

    So despite having no single specific trigger, and no history of spontaneous panic attacks, it seems that's what happened to me. Doogie sent me home with instructions to take it easy, see a doctor and have tests done to be sure there was nothing else going on, and to go to the Emergency Room if it happened again. I spent the rest of that day and the next feeling mostly like I'd been hit by a truck, and unsure of how this could be happening to me.

    I saw my (new) general physician-slash-internist last week, and she, after running some tests and blood work, is convinced that Doogie was right. She said that stress is often cumulative, especially in our subconscious minds, and we can't always control how it deals with that stress. The last year has been stressful, as they all are, but Aimee's death (and the anniversary thereof) always weigh heavily on my mind, and the strange left-side pain apparently pushed my subconscious right over the edge.

    She also said that, often, having medication on-hand that has fast effects on panic attacks, can keep them from reoccurring, without ever having to take a pill. (That subconscious mind is a kooky one, and clearly one that is easily aggravated, and easily placated.)

    So that's what's I have now - medication I can take, should I ever start to feel that way again, that can help me get past it more quickly. I hope to never need it.

    If you've never had a panic attack, believe me when I say it's nothing like you think it is. It's not just a feeling that you can dismiss. I was rather dismissive of panic attacks in general before September 20th. I was sure one who had them should just be able to suck it up and get over it, right? It's not real, right?

    I have never been more wrong.

    Take the feeling you have at the instant that someone startles you - I mean really makes you jump out of your skin. That very acute, gasp-inspiring moment where you jump out of your seat and shriek "UUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!"". Got that in your head? Can you feel that instant? In a panic attack, you have that feeling - over and over and over. You need to get somewhere, but don't know where. You feel sick but can't find a way to feel better. You are scared despite having nothing tangible in front of you to be scared of. And to top it off, you feel like you are going to die.

    In short, it sucks. It sucks a lot. And at the risk of being melodramatic, I encourage you to, if you know someone who suffers from panic attacks, give them a hug and thank your lucky stars that you don't know what it's like.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Farmtown: Memoir of A Junkie

    I ignored them forever, all of those applications that I already know are time sucks on Facebook. But one day last week, for some unknown reason, I clicked. Not even sure why.

    Let me just say this: if you do not have spare time in your day (or time you can allocate for something other than what it's intended), do not EVER...EVER...EVER click on "Farmtown" on Facebook. Just don't do it.

    Certainly don't do it if you have things, like, say dishes to do. Or laundry. Or if you'd like to see daylight much. You know, like that.

    Delightfully addictive, and fun in a simplistic and gratifying way, I was not surprised to whiz through the first 25 levels in 6 days. Some other players have told me that is, uh, fast for getting that far. I envisioned them turning to someone IRL and saying "This bitch cleared 25 levels in SIX DAYS!?!? Freakin' junkie."

    They'd be juuuuuust about right. If I know me...and I do...I'll most likely level out in the next week or so. And it's a good thing because I have stuff to do around here that does not involve virtually harvesting corn or pineapples or blueberries, or plowing, or moving apple trees around until they resemble the perfect orchard, or lining my long dirt driveway with marigolds and crown-of-thorns, and carefully placing white fence around my yard. (But what can I say, my farm is sweeeeet. No joke. Strangers tell me it rocks. Go check it out for yourself. No, wait. DON'T. See paragraph 2.) Anyway, when I've gone as high as I can go, I'm sure the appeal will wear off.

    Heck, I'll probably delete the application once I'm done, right? Surely that's what'll happen.



    Hmm. Wonder if FarmVILLE is anything like Farmtown?

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Conversation

    Jackson and I had just left the store, and walked to the van in the rain. The puddles made sure my sandals were a wet, sloppy mess in the short walk we took. We got in the van.

    Me: Whoa! My shoes are WET! I'm going to take them off!

    Jackson: Why you take your shoes (heard: suess) off, Mommy?

    M: Because my feet are wet and they'll slide around in my shoes while I drive if I don't.

    J: Oh. What shoes are, Mommy?

    M: Jackson, you know what shoes are, they're what we wear on our feet to keep them safe.

    J: Oh. What safe mean, Mommy?

    M: Safe means that nothing bad can happen. If you wear your shoes, it keeps your feet safe so nothing bad happens to them.

    J: {beat} ...

    I have all dese colors in my hands. I color wif dem. I color lots of colors wif dem. And I color wif my FEET! Silly Jackson.

    *****************************************

    I couldn't make this stuff up, folks.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Tuesday Check-In

    Hey all, sorry I'm scarce again. Busy time of year. They all seem to be, don't they.

    Kindergarten is progressing well, she loves it, and I'm joining the PTO this week. Hilarious, I know. Shut up.

    We are battling a crappy cold this week around here, the lot of us. Not great.

    Rest well, Patrick Swayze. You will be missed.

    My mom is not feeling so hot, nasty bronchitis. Shoot a quick prayer up for her if you could.

    My dad had rhinoplasty last week. He is also not feeling so hot, so shoot one up for him while you're at it.

    I need to clean my house. I need to plan my meals. I need to get busy. But I wanted to say "hey". Hey!

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Just a Random Fact For You...

    Fact: A good chat with an old friend can make you smile (and even laugh) so hard that your face hurts.

    Thanks, Miss Z. Nice to reconnect and spend some time together (even in cyberspace). Let's do it face-to-face very soon. And get to transferring and uploading those videos, wouldja? I'm going to work on my tour pics soon, too.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    525,600 Minutes

    No deep, strong, flowing words today. She's still gone. I still miss her. It still sucks.
    What else is there to say?











    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Futuristic Writings

    I wrote it tonight, but it won't publish until March. I set it, and I'm sure I'll forget it. You can't read it until then, and I won't read it again until then. What's it about? You'll have to stick around until at least March to find out.

    Ooo, suspenseful, yes? I know. Try to contain yourself.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Your Update For Wednesday

    Morning, lovelies. How about a quick update on completely random, and mostly pointless topics? Yes? Alrighty then.

    ~ It's raining like a biotch around here today. No complaints, I was just thinking I was going to need to water my garden (which I've only had to do twice since June, hallelujahpraisethelord), and Mother Nature provided again, bless her heart.

    ~ Jackson is obsessed with Sun Chips (Harvest Cheddar, obviously). He would literally sit and eat them all. day. long. I don't let him, obviously. If I did that, how would I eat Sun Chips all day long every time he's not looking? Right.

    ~ I found my avocado cream soup recipe after not having it for a few years. I'm so excited about it I almost cried when I found it. Seriously.

    ~ We have this Kindergarten thing down. She gets dropped off at precisely 8:43 each morning, rain or shine, and goes bouncing off into her school and escorts herself to class. Some days we're too early, though, and have to wait a few minutes to get in the drop-off line. I know, right? The only real confusion right now is that Jackson, who had his 3 year wellness visit on Day 3 of school, still wants to know if he can go see his pediatrician EVERY DAY when we drop off the girl.

    ~ A Thermos with Disney Princesses on it (and also the only BPA/PVC-free one on the shelf) will run you $13. No lie. For a fucking THERMOS. To put Spaghetti-os in. Would I kid you? Right. Anyway - $13 bucks. And if she doesn't lose it before Christmas it'll be a miracle.

    ~ TGPMo2009 is happening. No, it really is. I'm not kidding. I know. I know it was originally TGPM02008. I didn't want to say anything when I started a few days ago, but it's really true this time. I think this might even be the last day. As in, I may FINISH TGPMo2009...TODAY. Shut up, you say. Get out of town. Finished? You're never going to finish that shit, Cathy, get over yourself, you've been talking about it since Saint Swizzum's Day. Fine, think what you want, but I'm telling you, it's happening. I may take pictures when it's done.

    ~ I need to stop drinking pop...nothing else to that one, really, I just do. Not sure when the hell I WILL, but I NEED to.

    ~ If you haven't tried these yet, you need to get you some: Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins. Oy. SO good. And regardless of your particular food plan, these are for you. Counting calories? Only 100 per TWO pieces (one "roll"). Carbs? Good whole grain ones. Fiber? Lots. Taste - uh, super really yummy good. Replace pretty much ANY bread with this thin, almost pita-like bread, and you've got a meal that just got healthier - burgers, sandwiches, and we've even done hot dogs and grilled cheese. SO good - even the kids think so. And while originally I could only get them at Target and Bag-n-Save, Walmart is now carrying them, and at a MUCH lower price. It's seriously my favorite new food item of 2009. I don't see myself ever eating regular bread on a daily basis again.

    ~ My breakfast is now gone, and so it's time. Time to log off, and file, file, file. I've organized, sorted, pitched, recycled, alphabetized, you name it. Only the filing remains. Time to get after that, and get it done. So this list of random, pointless updates comes to an end. Lots of heavy-duty stuff coming up around here at FMFO, as I approach the anniversary of Aimee's death, and I do not look forward to it. But I am hoping to find a way to honor her and let her see and know that I have not forgotten her, that I haven't moved on, and that she is still with us in our every day life because we carry her in our hearts. Sigh. More on that to come. Have a great day, dear reader.

    Oh, but seriously - go get some of those Sandwich Thins. You'll thank me.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    You Ask, I Answer ~ OR ~ It Shouldn't Be THIS Hard to Pick Up My Kid

    I’m sitting in the van. I'm typing on my laptop (thanks again, dear!).

    Waiting.

    Time? Well, it’s 3:30 now. It was 3:15 when I arrived.

    What’s that? When does she get OUT of school? Oh, 3:45. They walk them out by 3:48 or so.

    So what were you doing getting there at 3:15, you ask? Fair question.

    Well, that’s what time you have to be at BWE to pick up your kindergartner if you want to park in one of the FOUR parking spaces available for the kindergarten parents.

    FOUR. 4. F-O-U-R. Yeah. Four.

    Say again? Oh, now you want to know, How MANY kindergartners are there at BWE?

    Oh, about 100. And let’s say that half of them get picked up by car. Just half. Might be more, might be a little less. But let’s say it’s half. So 50.

    Assuming that there aren’t large quantities of multiples attending kindergarten this year at BWE, that means roughly FIFTY cars are vying for FOUR parking spaces.

    FOUR. 4. F-O-U-R. Yeah. Four.

    What do the other 46 parents get to do (many with toddlers/babies/preschoolers in tow), you ask?

    Oh, well that's the best part. Those lucky folks get to park down the street, a LONG way down the narrow street, on crappy sidewalks, and they get to WALK, and come and stand in the school's yard and wait for their kids. In August - a little warm, but not such a big deal. In February? Oh, you can BET I’ll be here by 3:15, because there is NO WAY IN ROTTING HELL I am standing out there waiting in 2 feet of snow with a 3-year old.

    And in case you wondered, I arrived at 3:15, the first kindergarten parent to arrive. But how long until the other spots were occupied? you ponder. By 3:25, the other three spots were filled. And the other parents who I'd seen parked there the last two days drove by me and shot me dirty looks for taking what they presumed are "their" parking spaces. I can only imagine what time those folks will show up tomorrow.

    There has GOT TO BE a better solution. I have NO idea what it is, but I am flabbergasted that hundreds of parents participate, all year long, year after year, in this ugly, unmanageable, inconvenient, STUPID process for picking up kids every day, and NOBODY has thought to say “Hey, this is NOT a great plan. Can’t we do better?”

    So for the record, I’m saying it now:

    HEY. THIS IS NOT A GREAT PLAN. CAN’T WE DO BETTER?!?!?

    I'm scheduling a meeting with the principal. I stopped in and tried to visit with him this morning, but apparently being neither friendly nor helpful are required to be a secretary at BWE, so I will call him directly and make an appointment.

    This may be my new cause, folks. My new passion. That which I will make right before I die. I may also have to video tape it so you gain a true appreciation for what an absolute NIGHTMARE this pick-up procedure truly is.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    3 Years Ago

    ...right this second, I'm pretty sure I was comfortable. The epidural had set in, a perfect, perfect epidural, with leg control AND the complete absence of pain in the abdominal area. Only the allergy to the narcotic that made me itch from the boobs up was keeping it from being a perfect afternoon in the hospital (lol). I knew I wanted a nap, and lunch, and that I was excited to meet you, and I knew that all signs pointed to me getting to meet you that day (which I did, if only by 5 minutes). But there was so much I didn't know.

    I couldn't see you then. So I didn't know that you'd have that little knob on your ear that I have, that your uncles both have. I didn't know you'd get my nose and Daddy's hair. I didn't know you'd have eyes as blue as pools; or that your laugh would give me goosebumps; or that you'd say things like "GET OUT FROM DIS TOWN!" instead of the common phrase of disbelief "Get outta town!" and send your father and I rolling with laughter. I didn't know your sister didn't have her best friend yet. I didn't know that I would find fat rolls completely lovable and endearing. I didn't know you would be kind, and gentle, and tender-hearted like your Daddy, and that you would say things like "You best Mom EVER, Mommy - I kiss you now." I didn't know how different, and how equally wonderful, it would be to raise you compared with raising your sister.

    I didn't know how much I could love a little boy.

    I didn't know my heart would ache with love and burst the second I saw you.

    I didn't know our family wasn't complete until you came to be with us.

    I know all of that now. And I'm so happy to know all of the things I know about you, and on your birthday, my sweet boy, I am more grateful than ever to have the rest of your life to learn so much more about you. I hope you have a perfect day today.

    Momma loves you.





















    *Photo credit: http://www.sararogersphotography.com/

    She's a Big Girl




























    No question.

    Sunday, August 16, 2009

    As You Go Off to Kindergarten

    Remember to use your listening ears, and to think before you answer back.
    Be respectful, and honest, and stand up for yourself, no matter what anyone else says.
    Keep your hands to yourself, and out of your mouth.
    You are there to learn first, and to make friends and socialize second.
    Choose your friends wisely. They can make a world of difference in your life.
    You can make a good choice no matter what anybody else does.
    When you hurt someone, say you’re sorry, even if it was an accident - and mean it.
    Use your best manners, and take turns, and share.
    Please eat good foods and drink enough milk and water.
    Don’t forget to go to the restroom when you need to go. And wash your hands.
    Be a good listener, a good learner, and a good student.
    Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.
    Know that we will miss you every second you are gone...but that we are so proud of you for going out into the world to blossom and grow into the beautiful woman I know you will be someday. Today it’s just kindergarten, but that’s a first step to the rest of your life. And it’s a big step, but we know you’ll meet the challenge and come through like a champ.

    Oh, and I know you are really excited, and we are too. But...it’s OK to be a little bit nervous, or even scared. I am a little bit scared, too - scared of how fast it‘s all going; scared of blinking twice and realizing you‘ve grown and gone; and a tiny bit scared of things that could happen while you're away from me, that you have no inkling are even a possiblity, as you sleep soundly in your bed right this second.

    But more than anything I am proud of you, my love - so very, very proud of your kind heart, your sweet spirit, your beautiful sense of self, your sharp wit and your keen mind. You‘re going to light up the world, Samantha, and I am so blessed to get to watch it happen. August 17th is the first day, honey - the first day of the life you choose for yourself. And I know you’ll be spectacular.

    Happy First Day of School, my sweet baby girl.

    Momma loves you.

    Photobucket



    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Four More Sleeps

    ...until she starts school. Wow.

    We met her teacher tonight, and got to see her classroom and the new play ground they just built. Very fun stuff! She was excited, and glad to meet Mrs P, her kindergarten teacher who seems very nice and seems to like the kids.

    All good signs and good feelings about the whole thing. Let's hope this great vibe continues and we can have a great year of school.

    Now if I could just convince Jackson that they really ARE NOT GOING TO LET HIM STAY with his sister, I'd be all set. He REALLY thinks he's ready for kindergarten. Really, really. Him no want to stay home wis Momma, him wants to go to sool wis MISSY!!!!

    More on this later. Just found out my dad's in town tomorrow and stopping by, so I'd better pick up the house and get my butt to bed.

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    Seriously?

    So you're really going ahead with this dead thing, huh? Seriously?

    Because I was sure it had to be a joke. A bad joke. A horrible, fucked up, scary, sad, not-even-kind-of-funny joke. Like, if someone had played this joke on you, you'd have said "Somebody gonna die..." in that funny voice. Ironic, yes? Yes.

    So not a joke. I get that. I then hoped it was some weird, stupid, so-real-you-pinch-yourself-and-turn-on-the-TV-to-forget-it dream. It's been almost a year now, after all, and I keep hoping to wake up like it was some bad season of Dallas and realize that no one shot J.R., and that my best friend isn't gone.

    But you are. You're still gone. And it still doesn't make any sense.

    I can see now, as I look back at the time close to your death, that people were being sent into my life to hold me up after you were gone, and for that I am grateful. To God, to the powers that be, to whoever. People like Deb, who listened, cried and consoled as I sobbed and fell apart over the phone line; and Sara, who hugged a stranger who couldn't have needed it more and became a fast true friend. Without them I would not have survived the last year. And not just them, many of my loved ones swooped in and cared for me, and were (and are) the kinds of friends and family you'd have been proud of. And I am sure you are settled in now, resting in love and peace, and feeling full understanding of why what happened had to happen. I wish you could share that with me, because we are not so lucky down here.

    I miss you. I still miss you. More all the time. There are moments when I ache for you. The wounds' scars, that begin to form over time, are so frighteningly thin and frail, and it only takes a moment on any given day to rip them wide open, and the tears come again. And again. And again. A picture. A funny quote. The Cleveland Browns. Seeing Copper. Walking by a Game Stop. A song you would have loved. Dane Cook. G.I. Joe. Eddie Murphy. The name Murphy, period. Ink cartridge exchange programs. Tampons in a Target bag. Someone's nose moving when they talk. Calla lilies. The rent. Facebook. Myspace. TV theme songs. Red fingernails over boobs. My kids. My dogs. My husband. My wedding. Baby Einstein. My kids' T-shirts. CDs you burned for me. 278 wedding snapshots that you scanned for me before I ever had a scanner to understand how much fucking TIME that must have taken. Y-Knot. Poodle Skirts. King's. MST3k. Marlboros. Bare Minerals. Green eye makeup. Curly hair. Sex caves. Ambien. Psoriasis. Tiny feet. Shoes. Oh, and that girl. The girl in the white car at the gas station the other day, who looked so much like you, no matter which way she turned, that I had to stop myself from running to the car to prove to myself that it wasn't you. (The dog on her lap that looked like Waldo, the dog you got your parents 2 weeks before you died, didn't help.)

    All of it, it all leads back to you, kicks me in the gut, and sends me through the momentary disbelief that you are still...really...dead. So much of our lives we shared, for so many years, and you're not here to share anything with anymore.

    There is still a hole. There will always be a hole, Aim. Always.

    Just so you know...

    ...I have NO clue what to make for supper.

    That is all for today.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009

    Sweet Escape




    Thanks, honey. And sorry, again, for being a royal asstard this morning. Ain't I a stinkah? Love you.

    Unsettled

    That's the best word for today. Jackson's party is coming up,and for some reason I have neither the time, money, nor motivation to get anything done, planned, or figured out for it. I am burned out on big kids' parties that the guests of honor will not even remember. Why didn't I wait until they got bigger? All of you rolling your eyes and saying "DUH, Cathy!" can just shut it. I'm not on the mood, frankly. The fact is, I have to do this party, Jackson deserves this party as much as Samantha deserved a big 3-year-old party, and I'm not screwing him out of it just because I have a cob up my ass about doing the work. But it all makes me feel unsettled.

    Greg is busiest this time of year, and while it's nice to have that level of financial means coming in, it means more time for me on my own with the kids, and less time for him and the kids (which seems to lower his thresh hold for their antics, for some reason, rather than raising it), and certainly less time for us. It also leaves me feeling disjointed from our marriage, and while that is not particularly dangerous because I believe in the longevity of our marriage, it makes for a weird vibe between us that I can't quite put my finger on. Or maybe he's just acting strangely and I'm not really ready to be real about that yet. (Greg...thoughts?) And it makes me feel unsettled.

    I did some good meditation last night, (see previous blog), and while I feel relaxed as I'm doing it, I find that the morning after I am, possibly, more irritated than usual. Maybe stirring up stuff, yeah? Maybe not satisfied with where I'm getting in my meditation and that bugs me? Whatever the reason, it leaves me, you guessed it - unsettled.

    Oh, and I have PMS. Me with PMS is "unsettled" personified. No joke. Unsettled.

    Not even sure what the point is. Just that I'm, well...unsettled. I'm feeling unsettled about that. Vicious cycles much? Oy. I need to get a shower, and get my poop in a group around here. Not that it'll help, but it needs to be done.

    I'm No Farm Girl

    I swear to god. My good friend Rayann lovingly called me that on FB recently, and if you look at my blog as of late, you'll swear she's right! Tomatoes, sweet corn picked out of a field, botany everywhere, garden pics - it's a really green thumb environment going on here this summer at FMFO.

    But there's way more going on over here than just agriculture. I am Shredding - painfully, and with great effort and not great consistency, but Shredding all the same. Jillian Michaels is kicking my ass on a hopefully-soon-to-be regular basis. And I hope to see the results. Google "Jillian Michaels' 30-day Shred". The DVD's cheap, pick one up. Or watch it first on youtube. Seriously old-school workout here, folks - circuit training with strength, cardio and abs. I hope to make a real part of my regular life.

    I am meditating. Nobody even knows that yet, you heard it here first. And I'm just starting, to be clear - it's not like I've been closet meditating for months now. And frankly, I still rather suck at it. It's kind of like trying not to giggle in church, or trying to be serious in the principal's office when "Relax...don't do it...when you wanna cum..." is playing on the radio in the background. Or trying to keep focused on a training segment that you know you'll need later in your job, but just can't seem to stay plugged in to. Yeah, it's like that. I know I feel better from the breathing techniques, and I am still searching for the best meditation guide (some sound like they are trying to put me to sleep, some DO put me to sleep, and some of them just plain sound like douche bags), but there are plenty to choose from online, so the search and the work is in progress, for sure. And I hope to be better for it before I'm an expert.

    I am trying to get school options figured out. Metro is apparently not interested in taking on new students because I can't even get anyone there to call me. And who even knows what the hell I want to study anyway? Certainly not me. My heart draws me to psychology, but I'm not sure I have it in me to hear of heartache and pain all day, every day, and I'm not sure I will deal with the inevitable failures very well, either. Maybe pet therapy. I mean, really, only people with money even really buy into that stuff anyway, right? So the pay should be fairly nice. And let's face it, if I screw up, and Spot offs himself, or still chews up the furniture, or can't give up beggin strips and has to go to the puppy fat farm, it's a dog, dude. A DOG. How bad can I feel about not being able to tighten the bolts on a dog brain? Hmm?

    Oookay, Cathy's a little tired now. Anyway...

    So, school's a possibility. That's really the long and the short of that.

    What I'd really love to do is get a fucking book written and published (I know, me and 125 million other talented writers, yes?). OR, and I know I've mentioned this, I'd love to dust off my children's book that's been in a file for ?? years now, and get someone to look at that. I feel less confident about it all the time, and I'm not even sure why. It's a perfectly nice story, with a perfectly sweet character, and I think it feels iffy because I know there are dozens and dozens of perfectly nice manuscripts just like mine that go in the trash at publishers daily.

    More later. My batter on my laptop is dying. Yes, I have a laptop now. A brand spanking new one. I know, right? SO not a farm girl.

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    One Hundred Greenies

    That's the estimate. It's a rough estimate, I didn't count every single one. I don't think I could, the plants are so huge I'm not sure how I'll get in to pick them.

    Not that I think that's really a genuine concern right now. They're never going to turn. Ever. E.V.E.R. They're just going to remain the biggest tomato plants in history, with the most beautiful big round lovely fruits ever, that will never, ever, ever turn red. Ever.

    I had one. One that was rather small, but had a lovely red tinge, and soon looked ready to pick. So I finally picked it.

    And stuck my fingers through the hidden, ROTTEN other side.

    Nice.

    Seriously, some horticulturalist needs to come study these plants. They are lovely. They have had their suckers removed. They should have been pruned more than they were, but frankly that has not affected production. I KNOW there's 100 tomatoes set on. Most of them are softball sized, and beautiful, beautiful fruits.

    They're just green as the grass in June, that's all.

    Don't believe me? Well, allow me to show you.




    I have more. I can post them.

    I WANT MY OWN TOMATOES OFF MY OWN VINES GODDAMMIT!!!!!!

    Ok, tantrum over. I'm going to go check now, convinced that I'll see nothing different today than I saw yesterday. If by some miracle of God I happen to notice a change in the dozens and dozens of green spheres hanging out in my back yard, I'll letcha know.

    But don't wait around for it.

    UPDATE (2o minutes later):

    Two. There are two that are beginning to turn. Oh, and I did a more specific count of one plant. I counted no less than 55 - on one plant. I have four. I am now hearing that old addage in my head "Be careful what you wish for...", because I lack the answer to the question "What in hell am I going to do with over 200 tomatoes?!?"

    I hope to find out. But again, not banking on it.

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    Up to My Ears In Ears

    So Greg's grandpa told us the sweet corn was ready, and to come and "pick all we wanted". And so we did!

    There's 13 bags here, folks.

    Photobucket

    Got it cleaned and husked...here was one bag's worth:

    Photobucket

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    Blanch them...

    Photobucket


    After they cool, they come to the counter...

    Photobucket


    Where the trusty paring knife awaits...

    Photobucket


    Meanwhile the taste-testers are hard at work, and liking what they taste, I might add:

    Photobucket

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    So we bag it, and freeze it,

    Photobucket


    and this winter we'll eat sweet, sweet corn (30 quarts in all), compliments of Grandpa's farm and our hard-working hands. Worth every second of work!

    Busy, busy, busy!

    Yep. I know, not a valid excuse, but a true one, anyway. A FABULOUS trip to Minnesota to see dear friends, two birthday parties (and one to plan for our Jackson soon), play dates, summer fun, corn and cherries to pick and freeze, and on and on like that...all of it culminates into me not blogging for a few weeks now. I was unaware (as we all always seem to be) of how quickly the time had passed since I blogged last, until the fine ladies at BlogHer Ads emailed me this morning and gave the kind, patient version of "Hey, dumbass, post a blog already, wouldja?" Sorry girls, I'll get it in gear again soon, I promise!

    So take this as my raincheck for future blogs of substance to come, very soon. Promise. I have a corn blog, a vacation blog, and a staycation blog all in the works. But right now I have a timer going off that tells me the next batch of corn is ready to take out of the boiling water. Never a dull moment.

    Stay tuned.

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    It's Better To Have Been Skinny And Then Fat Than Never To Have Been Skinny At All

    Seriously.

    I've thought about this a great deal as of late, this being "fat" thing. And let me just preface this by saying that no, I don't think I'm less valuable as a person because I'm overweight (or "obese" by half of one BMI point, as my Wii Balance Board tells me not-so-apologetically each morning); I don't hate me because I'm overweight, none of that. This is just about being the actual state of "fat". Bear with me.

    As it says in my profile, I used to be skinny. Not that I ever was smart enough to have enjoyed being skinny; I constantly plagued myself with the idea that I was "fat", with my 28-inch waist and my 127 pounds on the scale. Meanwhile I was a SMOKING size 6-8, with a rack that could stop traffic, and a tight little butt that was attached to legs of which I should have been pretty darn proud. If Current Me could go back in time and share some facts with New Hotness Me, oh the things I would share with her. (First and foremost I would tell her and my friend Back-Then E to stop the joking about how "if I ever weigh 185 pounds I hope someone harpoons my huge whale ass". SO funny back then, as E can attest to...not so funny when it actually happened and there was no harpoon in sight.)

    I am not skinny, frankly, anymore. Again, don't hate myself, don't loathe who I am, just don't enjoy being this overweight. Can I still fit on bus seats? Sure. Can I sit in a theatre seat without the armrests digging into my hips? No sweat. But that doesn't mean I'm at a healthy weight or that I feel comfortable with the body I currently have to show to the world.

    And here's why. (This will sound like vanity, and frankly I don't really give a rat's ass.)

    People who knew me back then know that I was thin and (mostly) pretty fit. People I meet now just see a pudgy girl.

    I think I would rather face people who've known me since "the good old days", who may very well behind my back say "Damn, Cathy porked up, didn't she?", but who at least recognize that I wasn't always this way.

    I want to wear a sign on my forehead...maybe even wear a sandwich board...whatever, something that does well to make sure that everyone knows I wasn't always the portly middle-aged mom they see before them.

    I used to be 100% stretch mark-free. I used to wear string bikinis - and stop traffic at the lake. I used to have cleavage that was no joke, a body that loved fitted clothes and gave a nice silouhette in moonlight. There are folks out there who know that (some better than others - thank god my husband is one of them!) and who, when they think of me, possibly see the not-so-chubbo version of me.

    I'm not even sure why I worry about the new folks in my life (who've never known me when my jean size only had one number in it), because nearly all of the friends I've gained since my "expansion" are some of the truest, most genuine, non-judgemental people on the planet. I do not have any delusions that any of them think less of me than they would if I was a size 8. So I know it's all in my head. It's intirely about me, and not at all about anyone else. My issue, my care, my concern. Check-aroonie-in-a-bananica.

    But that doesn't make me like feeling like "The Fat Girl" any better.

    I know I'll find a way to get there again. I haven't figured out a way, as of yet, to consistently do what I need to do, to combat my age, my damaged metabolism, and my love of all foods nasty. But I will. Don't you worry about that.


    They're Growing Up...

    ...and I hate it.

    And I love it.

    Each new step, each new skill, accomplishment and milestone causes a joy to well up in me that catches me off guard each time. My heart is so full and my spirit is kept alive and renewed by who they are, by who they are becoming, and by the love we share in this family.

    When I check on them at night, they are so peaceful in their slumber. Jackson's breath is often so soft that I touch my cheek to his to feel that breath brush my nose as he exhales, and he smiles in his sleep when I turn and kiss him on that same cheek. Samantha lays heavy in her pillow, growing so long and lean even as she lies there, my big girl...but even in her sleep, she still reaches out to take my hand or feel my face in those quiet moments in the early morning.

    In those moments, I ache to pick them up, snuggle them tight and feel their breath on me as I go to sleep. Someday, sooner than I think, they'll be "too big" to snuggle me, too big to come crawl in my bed, and I'll ache for these times to return.

    But they won't. Time marches on, doesn't it? Whether we want it to or not. They grow, and they go, and I know I'll still be able to feel his soft breath on my face and her hand reaching for mine, long after they are older than I am now, long after they put their own babies to bed, and long after they lay me to rest.

    And it's as it should be. It's not as though I wish them a life of perpetual toddler-hood. There is a wonderful, bright world out there for them to conquer, to drink in and experience, and I want that for them, truly. But for that to happen, my babies, my sweet, sweet babies, have to grow up.

    And they ARE growing up.

    And I love it.

    And I hate it.

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Pardon My French...

    ...but WHAT in the merry-hairy flying FUCK is THIS?!?!?




    Here it is three days ago (and it looked the same two days ago):



    And now....




    I am...I can't...what in the...

    Seriously. I read that squash can get blossom end rot like tomatoes do, but that's usually darker and harder. This just looks like someone injected, like, oh, I don't know...liquid DEATH into the end of my lunch-to-come and is rotting it from the end.

    I have an email in to Backyard Farmer. I hope they can help. I plucked that sucker out of there, hoping if it's a blight I can keep the whole plant from being worthless.

    So that's the rotten news for the day around here.

    Rotten. Get it? Yeah. I'm fucking hilarious, I know.

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Why I Need Some Rabbit Repellent


    See those stumps? They're supposed to be bean plants (and sprouts).
    Clearly the deal Greta (the younger of the two Wondermutts who will chase anything but rabbits) has worked out with the rabbits includes the perk of them getting to destroy my garden.
    I'm trying repellent first. Then I move on to a pellet gun.
    Be warned, rabbit.

    Sexy New Hair and Other News Of Interest

    OK, so I was feeling frumpy. Hadn't gotten a cut in months, feeling chubby, ungroomed and slovenly. So I took several steps this weekend to remedy said frumpy feeling.


    Pedicure. (my first ever)

    Haircut. (from my awesome stylist who gave me a new look)

    Cute new top. (on clearance at Younker's + a gift card = cute cheap lil' thang)

    Tea paaahty. (OK, so it was for the 5 year old, but I got to stay and play)

    Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred, Level 1. (kicked my chunky little butt, which she promised to do)


    So now I've worked out, gotten a new cut, new toenails, had a fun weekend (including hearing Mrs M's fabulous hubby's band play last night at Village Pointe - so good, and one of our favorite summer traditions!) and pampered myself a bit. According to Greg, none of that did any good, as he claims I was a rotten biotch all day (not his exact words, but definitely his sentiment). Hmmm. Maybe some more pampering is in order. Sorry, dear. I'll try to do better. Promise.


    Let's see, what else? Yeah, that's about it. Some random factoids for you:


    ~ The boy who did my pedicure had the same haircut I had just gotten before I went and saw him. I think it looks better on me. Then again, maybe it was the Asian hair with blond highlights that didn't look quite right.


    ~ The stuff in my garden is growing like weeds. As are the weeds IN my garden, by the way. If we don't get a dry morning one of these days so I can get out there and get the weeds yanked out of there, they are going to take over. We are eating radishes (as much as one can snack on radishes) and hope for more veggies soon.


    ~ Greg's slow spell at work is O-V-E-R. So is him spending much time at home with us, or getting enough rest to keep up with how hard he's working during the day. The checks are nice, but we sure miss having him around.


    ~ We are traveling next month. I am giddy at the very thought of it.


    ~ I still hate fireworks. I'm pretty sure we've discussed this. But this pretty much sums it up: Big fireworks displays for all to see and enjoy on the 4th, put on by professionals = exciting and fun and beautiful entertainment. (But still a potential risk of fire and/or explosion). Fireworks sold for personal use = Stupidest. Idea. Ever. SO many kids are injured every year, SO many people hate the noise and air pollution, and it's a gigantic waste of money and causes HUGE amounts of litter every year. SO dangerous - under what other circumstance would most let their children play with EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS!?! Kids are not qualified to set off explosives, and keep hurting themselves and others to prove it, so why we keep letting them do it is beyond me.


    ~ My new haircut = trendy and cute and rather hip, if I say so myself (although I'm pretty sure calling it those things negates its coolness, yes? Yeah, I thought so...), and it's all because I was definitely leaning towards the "brown football helmet" look and I think 36 is a little young for that, yes? Yes. So that, and my cute hip sister telling me that "short in back, longer in front is all the rage" led me to pursuing a new 'do.




    It's 12:30 and both Greg and I are still up. Insanity. He's messing on the computer, and I am doing this. Much as I love you all, I have to close and sleep now. More to come this week, I hope. Have a wonderweek, all.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    The Circle of Life

    Last summer, I broke my elbow. A radial head fracture, nondisplaced, thank goodness. Mom came to my rescue, driving down to spend the weekend, care for the house and kids, and I would not have survived those first few days without her.

    And yesterday she decided to call in that favor. She fell at work and broke the same bone, and so now I go to care for her, gladly, with a keen understanding of uncomfortable she is right now, and how much having someone you love come and take care of you makes a gigantic difference.

    So I send out an early Happy Father's Day to all, especially to my sweet, dear Greg - the kids are so very lucky to have you, as am I. There could have been no better father for my children than you. As we spend these next few days apart, know that I am with you in spirit, I miss you "like a child misses their blanket", and I can't wait to see you this weekend. Love you always.

    To my readers, have a wonderful weekend. Gotta get this show on the road.

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Seriously, Mr. Rogers Might Pay To Move Us Out

    I thought the ivy was a big deal, in principle, anyway.

    As Ron White would say, I was WRONG.

    Greg was out of town today. The neighborhood "art festival" was going on, just up the street. The kids and I, looking for some afternoon entertainment to pass the time while Daddy was away, hopped in the van, new summer shades donned, ready for some good fun!

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    Not wanting to haul two kids, a stroller AND two bags with me, I took my wallet with money/cards/checks/DL, and my camera, and my phone, and shoved them into the diaper bag. I stashed the now-nearly-empty purse under the table console between the driver's and passenger's seat.

    We locked up, arrived on Maple Street, and saw the festival before us.

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    Ok, not so huge, but hey - face painting and hula hooping - that can't be bad, right?

    So, face-painting it is - one Fairytopia and one Batman, please...

    First Samantha...

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    Jackson waits patiently...

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    Ta-da! Beautiful, yes?

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    And then Jackson...

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    He is...Batman.

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    How cute are they?

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    I know, right?

    Then on to some hula hooping fun....

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    Followed by some kettle corn and listening to some music. Our tummies were telling us it was almost supper time, so begrudgingly the kids came along towards the van, parked in a nearby public parking lot, facing the street leading right up to the festival. We had been there less than an hour, by the way. I noticed a sweet-looking elderly gentleman in a suit, in the same parking lot, with his car's hood up, and I made a mental note to go back and ask if I could call someone for him once I had the kids buckled in. Now that's a bad day, I thought to myself. (Ahh, sweet irony. How you love to hate me.)

    I unlocked the doors of our van - Samantha entered the van first, from the back hatch which I had opened, and as she walked to the front of the van, she gasped in surprise, gave out a strange little squeal, and yelled to me, "MOMMY - what is that sparkly stuff on your seat?!!?"

    What, indeed?

    You know what it was. I knew what it was before I walked the long walk along the side of the van. More of the "sparkly stuff" was all over the pavement.

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    Fuck.

    Driver's window - gone. Shattered in 132 gazillion pieces (but thank god for safety glass). And you surely know what was gone from between the seats - my nearly-empty purse. There was a belt-buckle scratch on the side panel, just below the window frame, from where they clearly dove in through the window to get their ill-gotten booty (or ill-booten gotty?....sorry, MASHism). And there was a big fat scratch next to the window where they clearly missed the first time they swung the crow-bar, or whatever they used to fuck up my van and my day.

    In broad daylight, mid-afternoon, on a street being traveled by festival-goers, this little douche bag robbed me. ROBBED ME. The ivy is now entirely laughable, right?

    As I exclaimed, with as much control as possible, that the van had been broken into and that my purse had been stolen, Samantha broke down and cried, afraid we couldn't get home because of the glass. I explained we would get home, that it would be OK, and to come to the back of the van and sit down while I called 9-1-1.

    And so they did, and I did. I explained my particular emergency, which gained me the phone number where I was told I could call and leave a MESSAGE for the POLICE to file a police report, which they would only be doing over the PHONE, in the next 1 to 36 days, or some shit like that.

    What? NO police on-scene? No checking the area, no looking for witnesses? Okee-day.

    The emergency operator sounded about as thrilled with that procedure as I was. I did not shoot the messenger, and thanked him for his time.

    So Johnny Crackhead wanted cash, yes? Clearly, since he took my purse, but left the two portable DVD players that were in a bag, open, right between the captains chairs. They left a camera. They left valuable iPod and phone chargers and cables. They left my stereo. Just wanted the cash, so they thought they'd just take the money and run. (Sorry, Steve Miller in your head all night now..."whoo-hoo-hoo"...)

    Well, idn't that just too fucking bad for them. They shoulda taken the DVD players. Why? Oh, well, because as you know, I TOOK the good stuff with me. That $12 Walmart purse got them some chapstick, my favorite dollar-store lipstick (fuckers), my only perfume (fuckers again), a broken tie-tack of Greg's, a spare, unmarked key, my check register with no account numbers, checks, or deposit slips, some nail clippers, a tampon or two, and probably a couple of pens I liked (fuckers once more). For the life of me, I can't think of one valuable thing that was in that bag. Which I think is the funniest thing I've heard all week...unless you consider that despite their lack of gain, I still have to replace a window tomorrow.

    I left a message for the police. I assume I'll hear back from them at some point, for all the good it will do.

    Fortunately I had towel in my van, which I laid over the glass on my seat. After I confirmed there was no glass near the kids' seats, I got them buckled in, and then remembered our elderly car trouble victim in the next row, clearly visible from my van. I walked over, and asked if I could call someone for him. He smiled and explained that, "no, one'a 'dese rods was just a lil' bit hot but it's cooled off now" and he was "fi'n ta be on his way". I said I was glad for that, and just wanted to make sure he was alright. I wondered out loud if he had seen anything near my van. He looked puzzled as I explained what had happened. He said he'd been there half an hour and had seen nothing.

    (That information strenthened my suspicion that Johnny Crackhead was watching the parking lot, looking for a woman leaving her car with no purse, and struck just after we left the area. Little creep.)

    We left later in the evening, once Greg was back home, to grab some take-out, and vacuum out the glass at the car wash (not sticking all that glass in my vacuum, thankyouverymuch). While we were in a hurry to leave, somehow Jake got left inside and Greta got left outside.

    Uh, lemme just tell you - Jake likes that scenario NOT. AT. ALL. He has separation anxiety (much of the reason we got Greta), and takes it out on the trash when he's left alone.

    And so he did.

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    Yeah, because I didn't have enough stress, OR enough messes to clean up today.

    Nice relaxing Saturday, huh? Makes you feel good about your day, though, doesn't it? You're welcome, dear reader. Anything for you.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Even Mr. Rogers Would Think This Neighborhood Sucks

    I bought some plants. 'Kay? I brought them home. I knew exactly what I bought:

    1 clematis
    2 phlox
    1 coreopsis
    1 dwarf bee balm
    1 organic tomato plant
    4 english ivy

    I got them home and unloaded. I put them on the top of the retaining wall that lines our driveway. I left them there to enjoy the afternoon sun, intending to plant them in the evening.

    Within an hour and a half, I stepped back outside to look at them again, and ponder location and other such decisions to be made about my new plants.

    Clematis, so beautiful, love that purple color...maybe back fence, north end...coreopsis and bee balm, back bed under Jackson's window...phlox under the picture window up front...tomato plant in my Topsy Turvy that some awesome friends gave me...and those four ivy will go in the rock wall, three in the big wall, one in the sm--

    Wait. One, two, three...

    What the fuck? Where's the fourth ivy?

    Yes, I'm sure there were four. Four. I bought four of them. I double-checked my receipt. One, two, three, four. I also remember double-checking the cart before I returned it at Menards.

    I peek into the van's back window.

    Nothing.

    I check under the van, along the rock wall, high and low; I move ALL the other plants into a line in the lawn and count again; I look on the steps, the porch, the flower beds and everywhere else I've been since I got home.

    Nothing.

    Someone STOLE a 3x3 pot of english ivy? Seriously?

    Some lame ass walked their loser self UP into my driveway, in BROAD daylight, snatched one of MY english ivy plants, and took off, undoubtedly giggling all the way.

    Who does that?!?! Who steals a tiny, teeny little $1.50 plant? A kid? Maybe. Certainly an adult lacking the moral fiber to restrain themselves from petty larceny on a Thursday would at LEAST take the expensive plant, or at the VERY LEAST one of the big ones, yes? But what would a kid want with an ivy plant?

    Here's what I hope. Wait, lemme ask this - do you know much about english ivy? Well, it's, uh, persistent. And hardy. And agressive. I hope Johnny Plant Stealer takes it home and plants it. In a bed with some really nice, delicate, small flowers that they spent a lot of money and time on.

    And I hope the ivy grows its very best, like a good little ivy, and I hope it chokes out every stinking plant in every flower bed they own. I hope it climbs up their house and covers their windows, and climbs up their roof, and clogs up their chimney, and grows through their gutters and everywhere else it can think of to grow.

    You want ivy? I hope you get it. You asshat.

    I can't WAIT to move out of this neighborhood.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Creative Genius That Melts Your Heart

    S: Hey, Mom?

    Me: Yeah?

    S: Um, violets are red...wait...

    Me: Do you mean "roses" are red?

    S: Oh, yeah! OK...roses are red, violets are blue, every breath I take for you. {beams with pride at my gasp of joy}

    Me: Oh, honey, that is SO beautiful! {melts into floor, taken down by the cuteness}

    I can see by the look on her face that while she is pleased with herself, she has now realized she just promised to breathe only for me. Being the literal, smart, problem-solving-minded child that she is....

    S: Oh, mom, wait...listen! Roses are red, violets are blue, every breath I take for you...and me.

    That's my girl. It's nice to say you'll breathe for someone else, but you've gotta save some for yourself, too. Nice lesson, actually.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009

    Can I Please Have "Here We Go Again" for $1000, Alex?

    Alex: Alright, here's the answer...


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    Cathy's buzzer: {bee-beep}

    Alex: Yes, Cathy?

    Cathy: What is "how Cathy feels as she scrapes her way back onto the Beach after a week of binging on cherry sours, pizza, Chinese food, chips, and sugar-coated fiber bars"?

    Alex: That is absolutely right, Cathy...you dumb bitch. Now get back on the beach and quit eating crap already.


    We'll be back after a word from our sponsor.