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    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Holiday Greetings

    Nothing particularly fancy, dear reader.  Just me, telling you, from my heart, that I hope your holidays are joyous, peaceful and filled with love and family and all of your favorite things.

    I'll be ending my 2010 by going under the knife, for an exploratory laparascopy, in hopes of finding what's been causing me pain for the better part of the year.  Cross a finger or two, and send up a prayer for me, wouldja?  I hope 2011 is as full of solutions and relief as 2010 was of pain and unanswered questions. 

    I need to sleep, and I need to finish up my baking.  I'll do the former first and the latter tomorrow.  Hopefully back to write more before the year gets away altogether.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    So I'm Thinking

    And we all know how dangerous that can be.

    I'm thinking of Aimee today.  Not unusual, and today's thoughts are for no particular reason, just thinking of her.  Actually not true.  Some stuff on Facebook reminded me of her.  That's all.  So here's the thing. I still have moments, and you're going to think I'm crackers, where I think I should be able to shoot her an email, or pick up the phone and call her.  There is still a small part in my brain that just simple re-fucking-fuses to believe/accept/process that she's really gone.  And that sucks.  Every time I have the realization all over again. 

    I'm thinking of cake truffles today.  That's nothing new, I think of cake truffles every day.  This week I'm doing fun fall/Thanksgiving ones, and they are going to be deelish and bee-u-teeful. 

    I'm thinking of my office.  Unfortunately, it's gone the way of TRASHED again, and now requires another great paper movement

    I'm thinking that PBS's show "The Cat In The Hat", starring Martin Short as the cat, may have my new least-favorite songs E.V.E.R.  "The thingamajigger is on its WAAAAY, go! go! go! go! on an adventure..."  Wrist-slit-inducing, that one is...

    I'm thinking I have the cutest kids ever.  I have pics to prove it.

    I'm thinking it's time to get Sam to school and get my but in gear around here today.  And I'm thinking that this was a rather random, pointless blog entry.  And I'm thinking that's OK.  And I'm thinking I should stop typing now.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    No Way It's November

    And yet, somehow it is. 
    The blog has gone by the wayside, and I undoubtedly write this mostly for myself.  Earned.

    So, some random tidbits from my life, as though anyone but me was still reading about my life here.

    ~ October blew by, with beautiful weather, and another craft show's worth of cake truffles sold (in 5 hours, thankyouverymuch).  I rocked the craft show, baby.  Believe it.

    ~ My side still hurts.  It still sucks.

    ~ We've been battling stomach flu and head colds this week, and I'm tired as can be despite some pretty decent sleep.

    ~ My house needs help.  Being sick all week does a real number on my housecleaning efforts.  Everything's been Lysoled within an inch of its life but it's all still laying around.

    ~  I am sick to death of cooking meals.  Seriously.  Six years being home has driven me over the brink of giving a crap if I ever bake/broil/fry anything ever again.  We could live on cereal and sandwiches forever if it was up to me.

    ~ After our FABULOUS {eyeroll} health insurance changed July 1 again (thanks Greg's employers), they raised our deductible another $1k mid-calendar  year.  Result: we owe $1300 for my colonoscopy that should have been covered as I'd already "met" my deductible as far as we knew.  You know, the colonoscopy that told me nothing.  The one that said I'm "normal". 

    ~ I still have some of the best freaking friends and family in the world.  Get used to hearing it.

    ~ My bestie Deb is coming in December to visit, and possibly wrangle a show with me.  I have to keep myself from giggling all day long when I think about it, and sometimes I just can't stop myself.

    ~  Sadly, we said goodbye to my Granny in October. She lived her life loving God and witnessing the best she could, and we believe she has gone on to be with Him, and that He welcomed her with loving arms, and we rejoice in letting her go on to that reward.  But it's hard to let her go, even though we really let her go a few years ago when Alzheimer's put its grip on her.  We miss her and celebrate her and believe that she's watching down on us, and that she can feel our love, even from where she now rests.

    ~ I hope, as always, to blog more soon, but as always, make no promises.  Peace.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Most Unlikely FUN Date Night -OR- How The Nighthawks Won Me, Too

    So, if you know me, you know that I'm no football junkie.  I'm barely a football fan at all, frankly.  I support "our Huskers" because my dad loved them growing up so it's kind of automatic; and my husband and his family love them, too, so I spend time yearly submerged in Husker Nation.  But we don't get out and SEE games in person much.  We're a "watch it on TV" set of fans, mostly.

    In fact, I've only been to two live football games (other than high school and midget games, and really, those don't count) ever in my life, both Husker games: one as a kid with my mom and siblings, and it was SO fracking cold that I can't even tell you who they played, if we won, or any other pertinent information; and the other with Greg, 12 years ago, and I think "we" clobbered "them" thoroughly enough that Greg and I left before the 4th quarter to beat the traffic.  Frankly, I was impressed almost-not-at-all BOTH times. 

    Greg always said I just didn't get it when it came to watching football live in the stadium.  He was right, I didn't get it. I can take it or leave it at home on my own couch, so the idea of trekking long distances to sit on a hard seat, surrounded by potentially offensive strangers, for hours on end, to maybe watch "my" team get clobbered, lacked appeal. 

    So I told you all of that to tell you this:  for his birthday, I bought Greg season tickets to see our newly-formed Omaha Nighthawks (one of the new teams who are part of the UFL) play some ball, live and in person.  No stadium football here, this is regular outdoor pro football.  And these guys are former- and just-barely-missed-out-on-NFL players.  Guys like Ahman Green, Jeff Garcia, Jay Moore.  Four home games will be played at the famous-and-soon-to-be-demolished Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home to my much-unbeloved-CWS.  (OK, and so now that I've been there, I like Rosenblatt a lot, but I still loathe the CWS.)

    For the sake of a date with my husband, and out of curiousity, I wanted to go to one game.  And I sure as heck was not going to go to the COLD I wanted to go to the first game.  Greg was happy to oblige. (I think.  He didn't argue, anyway.)

    So last night was the big night.  Our incredible friends the R family took our kids for us, despite the ridiculously busy week or three they have going on at their house, and we LOVE them for that.  I left them there at 3:30 and ran home to fetch my hubby, my Nighthawks shirt and my camera.  By 4:30, we were getting off the interstate and heading down 13th Street.  The entire area was already abuzz with pre-game activity, with tailgating and special events for those of us who'd bought season tickets.  Concerts, food, beer garden, bounce houses (Shhhh, don't tell our kids), and cheap programs and free game posters, and all of that before we even went through the gate.  There was an electricity that seemed unlikely for a team who had never played a game together as of  yet, and it was clear early on that our fellow Nighthawks fans are the kinds of fans that only Nebraska can produce. 

    The gates opened and we filed in, excited to find our seats, to see the field (converted from a baseball field to a football field in a few shorts week) and get settled in.  We quickly found that A) with a little help from my friends, I'm not too bad at picking season tickets, and that B) there really are no bad seats for football in Rosenblatt.  By the time we sat down, we had about 90 minutes until game time.  We spent it visiting, posting pics on Facebook and texting them to friends, and with about 40 minutes left to wait, I spotted two fellow 'Hawks fans eating a fabulously yummy and unhealthy plate of something I knew I had to have.  We found out it was a "Fritos Pie"...and since we had 35 minutes 'til kick-off, we had plenty of time to go get one, right?

    WOW.  As we walked back up into the concourse, we saw how we would spend those 35 minutes.  Now, the concourse which had dozens of people milling around in it when we arrived, held THOUSANDS.  Belly-to-back, the hallways were packed, 12 - 15 people across, as far as the eye could see.  We'd heard it was sold out, and this showed us that it was NO silly rumor. 

    We got back to our seats just as we heard them announcing "our" Nighthawks, and while I admit I was swept up in the moment, I still didn't know if I could "get it".  We'd already been sitting/standing for two hours, and the game was just starting!

    And so it did. 

    And then I got it. 

    Roaring fans, all dressed in black and silver, came to our feet and cheered for the Nighthawks, who took on Hartford, met the challenge they brought head-on, and in the end, handed them a loss in the final seconds.  A victory for this new team, and a victory for this history-making UFL crowd, who were like old souls cheering for a team they'd loved for years.  The sea of black and silver was almost as moving (and it's strange for me to say that, trust me) as the sea of red that all Huskers understand and love.  I have never enjoyed three hours in an uncomfortable seat, surrounded by (a few) rowdy drunk people, eating junk food and screaming my head off, more.

    I think the the Nighthawks and the UFL are in Omaha for the foreseeable future.  And believe it or not, I think that's a good thing.

    GO Nighthawks!

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    September Blew By!

    It's practically over, isn't it?  Seems impossible.  So, a quick update, and then onto business.

    #1)  Still have side pain.  Still don't know why.  Have had cameras stuck into places that were never meant to have cameras stuck into them.  I am, in all official medical capacites, "normal".  (Save my hiatus hernia and my gastritis which is being biopsied for H.Pylori.  Good stuff.)  Still hurt, but I'm normal.  Dandy.  I'm now considering hypnosis to learn to ignore pain, since it's apparently just random nerve pain that cannot be diagnosed or cured.

    #2)  Still in therapy with the BEST. THERAPIST. EVER. Seeing a chiro, he makes me smile with his magic hands. (Minds out of the gutters, please.  The man is entirely professional and is doing me worlds of good.)

    3)  Jackson waffles between loving and hating preschool, and still goes anyway. 

    4)  Samantha loves first grade, but hates getting up.

    5)  Greg is tired and probably depressed and feeling overwhelmed, and that sucks.  On the up side, however, he has season tickets to see our new Omaha Nighthawks play.  (Line forms here to be Greg's new bestie to get in on a game.)

    6)  Did my first craft show selling cake truffles, had very positive feedback, lots of "oohs" and "ahs" and lots of calling-card-taking.  And a few sales, so that's nice, too.  Other craft shows coming up, I am considering them.  This one was a real bitch because I'd never done one before, so I had to build displays, figure out everything.  Now that my feet are wet, I'm pondering diving back in a few more times.

    7)  I pinched a nerve in my back while detailing the inside of my vehicle this morning.  I am trying to ignore it.

    8)  I have been a lousy blogger (and a fairly lousy housekeeper, as well, by the way, but that's another story) and need to get back on here more often.

    9)  I am likely starting a blog entirely devoted to my cake truffles.  It will be separate from this one.  If I want folks to buy cake truffles, I probably shouldn't show them what a potty mouth I am. 

    10)  To you who still read and still check in despite this blogging dryspell, thank you. 

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    I'm Tired

    Of what, you ask?  Oh, well, let me break it down for you. 

    I am tired of, in no particular order:*

    Waiting around to have the latest uncomfortable/invasive/gross test done.

    Test results that are all "normal" despite having lived the most abnormal summer of my 37 years.

    My side hurting.

    My stomach hurting.

    Anxiety leaving, showing no signs of coming back, until the very day I say I think I've left it behind; and then having the dirty bitch come back again.

    Irregular cycles.

    My hair falling out like it has someplace better to be.

    Nobody on my "medical team" giving a shit that my hair is falling out at age 37. 

    Making my husband worry about me, and money, and what's coming next.

    Being the reason that my kids' prayers include things like "Please, God, help Mommy to feel better RIGHT NOW."

    Opening hospital bills.

    Not having money to pay said hospital bills.

    Sleeping on a heating pad.

    Being told the preschool tuition assistance ("scholarship") that we don't qualify for is something I should be GLAD for, since I should also "be glad that my husband even HAS a job".

    My best friend being dead.  That could stop any fucking time now.

    Being tired.

    Being upset.

    Being in limbo.

    Wondering, before I ever open my eyes in the morning, how I'm going to feel once I get out of bed. 

    Thinking about, wondering about, talking about, dreaming about, and worrying about if we're doing the right tests, if I should find new/different doctors, if I should ignore and disregard the pain, how we're going to pay for anything, and what's going on inside my body at any given moment. 

    We are going on four months that this has been going on, and I'm not sure how much more I can take.  I want my life back.

    * I realize this is improper use of a colon.  I don't care.  I'm tired of punctuation, too.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Oh, The Times They Are A'Changin'...

    ...and we're ready for it here at FMFO!

    Jackson just turned four. Four. Seems impossible that he has been with us for that long, and yet I can't remember our life without him. He completed our family in a way I didn't know it needed until he came to be with us. He is starting 3-days-a-week preschool this year, and while he had several weeks this summer when he calmly and dispassionately insisted he'd rather wait and go next year, he did a 180 and is now enthusiastic about RFP and the wonderful new things it holds for him this year.

    Samantha started 1st Grade this week. First. Flipping. Grade. Speaking of things that seem impossible. How can she be so big? So grown-up (and she is, people, so lovely and long-legged and big-girl looking), and and yet so much still wanting to be our little girl in many ways. Her teacher is a kindred spirit, and we are excited for her to spend this year with such an inspiring woman. But first grade is all new stuff, harder stuff, more "boring" stuff, as she calls it...but she is ready, and so are we.

    Greg's company has been through some major pains this year, but fortunately some of them are now growing pains. He continues to be a vital part of his department, and is a valued part of the company as a whole. Some new stuff for him as well, including him now being an HVAC Journeyman licensed in two states, which sure looks nice on a resume, if nothing else, should the need for a resume ever arise. Not that he's looking. I'm just sayin'.

    For me? Oh, many changes. After having to give up the season vendor spot at the farmer's market, I found out that I can, actually, do craft shows without a licensed kitchen as well, hallelu. So I'm doing a great craft show this fall, selling cake truffles, and I can't wait to see how it goes. More on that to come.

    What else? Oh, well, thanks to this mystery illness that's been going on since May, I'm several sizes smaller, and able to wear clothes I would not have been able to wear since before I was Mrs. C. That's better than seven years, folks. While it's not how I wanted to lose weight, and while there are costs for that (like losing what feels like all my hair three months later from the sudden weight change), I'll take it. I offered God a deal, more than once: I said I'd take every pound back to not have to have lived this summer of tests, therapy and pain. I'd take the weight back if he'd give me a mulligan on this summer. He didn't take me up on it, so I guess I'll settle for shopping in the "regular" department instead. And no worries, I'm still plenty plump for my taste; no chance of me blowing away. I didn't lose THAT much weight.

    So, without being too wordy (ha ha), and in case you haven't heard, I have had this pain on my right side since May. A myriad of other symptoms came and went, but I still have pain in my right side, four months later. And we still don't know why. I now have pain in my true stomach as well. I've been examined, palpated, x-rayed, ultrasounded, contrast-dyed, x-rayed again via IVP, C/T scanned, blood worked, urinalysissed (word? yes, it now, I think), HIDA scanned, PAP smeared - you name it, I've had it done. I am, in every way so far, "normal". Funny word, "normal". So the only area left to test, short of a laparascopic exploratory, is GI testing. Mmm. Butt Camera, coming up, I'll bet. I see the GI specialist on Monday. Can't hardly wait.

    That's a lie. I'd love to wait. I'd love to wake up tomorrow with absolutely no pain, and not need to go see the GI doctor this week. I've begged for it. No dice so far. So on to the GI testing we go.

    Because while all these other changes are happening in our lives, one thing that's not changing is that I have this pain, in my mid-right side, and it won't go away. I'm not dying, we've pretty much concluded that. But just because I'm not dying because of it doesn't mean I am living like I want to be living, as long as it's still there.

    So the changes we are really hoping for haven't come yet. I'd like to lose a few more pounds, get my BMI down a few more points. I'd like to start exercising, still haven't managed to do that. I'd like to figure out how to slow down my kids' growing-up. I'd like to hear a doctor say "Cathy, we figured out what's causing this, and here's how we fix it." THAT would be a very welcome change.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    August Update

    We camped at the zoo last night, Sam and I did, that is - with the Girl Scouts, had a fun time, but very little sleep. Ugh.

    Jackson is sick, fever is broken now, but big D rages, on and cough is no fun. Greg's not feeling so hot either.

    Sam starts school in two weeks. I am not looking forward to it. Jackson may or may not start after Labor Day, 3 days a week at RF.

    I'm exhausted.

    Oh, and still don't know what's wrong with me. IVP coming up this week. Fun stuff.

    Only bright spot is that Mom is coming for a few days, bringing my nephew for a couple of them, hope to have a good time.

    Except, is trashed, laundry behind, and the sick boy won't go to sleep so I can either get it done or go to bed so I can do it tomorrow.

    This is NOT a chipper update. Sorry 'bout that.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Another Short

    Crown is done, mouth feels fine. Top tooth calmed down, we're leaving it for now until I at least pay off this root canal and find a new dentist. (Remind me to tell you THAT story sometime.)

    Pain on right side continues, back to doctor today. Scheduled pelvic ultrasound for Monday. Meeting with new OB later this month. New pain med makes me rather nauseous. Hope to not need much of it, or I'll just have to suffer with ibuprofen and tylenol.

    Work with therapist continues and is good. I like her and we talk easily. The short of THAT is that my brain needs to slow the heck down, I'm too smart for my own good, and Aimee's death is every bit as earth-shattering to my brain as I thought it would be.

    Off to have a family snuggle.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Happy Independence Day from FMFO

    Hope your day was sunny and warm and filled with good food (hopefully including s'mores like we had - see below), good times (hopefully with people you love), and will end with good fireworks (hopefully done by professionals who know what they're doing, by the know how I feel about that amateur, home-style fireworks shit...).

    Happy Birthday America!

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Oh Ovary...

    Yoo00000-hoooo! Can you hear me down there? I've got just one tiny, small, egg-sized question for you. Just one.

    What the raging HELL is wrong with you?!?!?!?

    It does NOT TAKE six days to drop an egg. This is ridonculous. Get it over with already. You're killin' me, Alice. You're goddamn-killin' me.

    That is all.


    This concludes the TMI portion of FMFO for this week. Thank you for your patience.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    The Short of It

    Teeth are jacked up. One trying to fight the crown, killing me, and to top it off, it had to be surprise root canal-ed today. Another is barking at me and may need the same treatment. Meanwhile I'm living on ibuprofen, because of that and because I have some really shitty pain on my right side, suspected ovarian pain but they tell me there is nothing there on every U/S in the last three years. Greg just went to fill the Darvocet scrip the dentist gave me that she was "almost sure I wouldn't need". Got news for her.

    On the up side, I start with a therapist tomorrow who I am VERY excited about seeing and working with. Someday I'll explain all the crap that's been going on with me the last six weeks, but for now trust me when I say that it's been a long summer already, I need some new coping mechanisms, and I hope like hell that tomorrow is the start of finding them.

    Love and smooches to you, my readers.

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Best. Dad. Ever.

    You just are, honey. I don't know what to tell you. Move beyond thinking you're just an average dad.

    For the way you love them, and me...for the way you play with them...for the way you lift up, and support, and encourage them...for all you do for them whether you feel like it or not...for the way you get down and play with them, and the way you snuggle them at night, and smooch them in the morning...for all those things and infinitely more, I am so grateful that you are their dad. So are they. Even when they say they "only want Mommy", know that they adore you as well, and love you deeply and passionately. And they're not alone.

    Happy Father's Day, honey.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Monday Update

    Except it's not Monday, it's Tuesday. But it's MY Monday, OUR Monday collectively overall, so whatever. Go with it.

    NOT doing the market. Wish I could, may do a few weeks later in the summer, but I couldn't make it work in my life right now, and it's not worth the stress.

    My health has been wonky for weeks, and I am battling anxiety either because of it or in addition to it. Don't like it, not happy about it, but it's where I am, and it's day-by-day, and it's going to be OK.

    I'm having another tooth crowned next week. Our dental insurance sucks my ass.

    Aimee is still dead, and I still fucking hate it every day. Her baby would be about 13 months old now.

    We had a GREAT weekend at the in-laws' this weekend, and I found myself missing home and wondering if I could ever go back to living there. Parts of me want to go RIGHT now and just be back home where everything is familiar and quiet and peaceful, where there are no gang shootings, and you can leave your water bottle outside the church to take your kids in and show them the new sanctuary and you KNOW it'll still be there when you come back out; and part of me knows that there are things I love about this city that will NEVER come to exist in our hometown. AND Greg's company keeps throwing money at him, and that makes it hard to think about going back to the "City of Shitty Wages and No Shopping".

    Being sick for three weeks netted me a 12 pound loss. I would take every pound back to have those three weeks back and not have to go through that, but since I can't make that exchange, I'll take being down 12.

    That is all. Stick around, I may have some good stuff coming soon enough. I say that a lot, don't I? Hmm.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Big New Scary Scary Good Stuff

    It's official.

    I'm a season vendor at our new awesome local farmers market.

    Selling cake truffles.

    The market opens on Sunday, May 30th.

    I am NOT ready, and am battling some health issues that are creating hurdles, but I'll jump them all, one at a time. I am excited, and scared, and proud, and overwhelmed...and I can't wait to see what happens.

    Stay tuned, readers. I'm hoping to report all good news, and often.

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    I'm No Farm Girl...BUT... seems I may be spending my summer Sundays at the farmers market.


    I filed my application this morning to be a season vendor for a new, very cool farmers market opening soon here in the city.

    Doing what, you ask?

    Cake truffles, baby. Maybe cookie truffles and cake cookies, too.

    I'm a little giddy over here, and trying not to get ahead of myself. I haven't even been accepted yet. That hasn't stopped me from shopping for a canopy today, my friend.

    I was supposed to go to the early meeting last night regarding the new market. Due to scheduling problems, I wasn't able to, and had to attend the late meeting; at which I felt a REALLY great vibe, and met some REALLY great people who were excited FOR and WITH me. As my friend Sara says, sometimes the stars just line up for you.

    Stay tuned, folks. I'm scared to death, but it's nice to be so excited about something that it's scary, isn't it?

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    To Me On My 37th Birthday

    Things to remember as you go into this next year of your life:

    1. Gary is right. Don't bitch about getting older - it beats the alternative. Remember that there are people you love who will never see 37.

    2. There is almost nothing you want to do in your life that you are not smart enough to accomplish. Smarts has never been your problem. You're not lacking in talent, either. What you need is more drive, more determination, and less lazy. John laid it out for you 18 years ago - top 3 in talent, bottom 3 in discipline.

    3. Get your butt in gear. Apply that to pretty much everything. (see #2)

    4. You have beautiful eyes. You always have. Take care of them.

    5. You are lucky, lucky, lucky to have the husband that you have. Remember all the things you say you'd never put up with from a husband, and remember that with Greg, you don't have to put up with any of them because he doesn't do them. Appreciate all that he is, and remember to be kind to him "in the every day", and don't take out your bad moods on him just because he's closest...and cut yourself some slack as a wife while you're at it. The one thing we KNOW is that you are doing your best on most given days, and that's all you can do. Beating yourself up for what you're not doing is futile and stupid.

    6. Most days I like who you are as a mom to Jack and Sam. Keep working on the things that you know aren't what you want in how you parent. And remember that they're just kids. Be kinder to them. And dang, stop yelling so much, even if they're pushing your buttons and you feel like you'll explode. No mother ever exploded from not yelling. You can't expect them to learn to control themselves if you can't control yourself. Remember what you tell them - you can make a good choice, no matter what ANYBODY else does.

    7. Uh, I don't know how else to say this...get your chubby self BACK on the Beach. Seriously. I don't think we need to beat that dead horse any further - just do it.

    8. Get back to meditating and start getting more sleep. Like, all the time.

    9. Be more willing to join in, to sing along, and to take risks. Let go of some of those old scars and old baggage. They're weighing you down.

    10. Don't give up, and don't let hurdles stop you. Jump them and get on with it.

    11. Your peanut butter cake truffles are the freaking bomb.

    12. You have some really, really kick-ass friends. Keep appreciating and loving them the best way you can. They deserve the best you can give them (as does your family, as do YOU, by the way...)

    13. Never forget all you want to be and do, and keep your eye on the prize. Know that you are loved, you are cherished, and time spent doubting yourself and second-guessing yourself is wasted time. And we don't have that kind of time to waste, do we? Happy Birthday, lady.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Very First Sunday in the Merry, Merry Month of May

    Lots going on here this months, my lovelies. Seems May is always this way. I'm starting to think all of this beautiful weather is given to use to get us through these busy spring days.

    Two high school graduations. One college graduation. Making 7 dozen cake truffles for one of them. Our annual kick-ass garage sale that first kicks MY ass in preparation. End of preschool activities. End of Kindergarten activities. Spring cleaning. Yard work. Garden-planting. Farmer's Markets. Dentist appointments.

    More to come. Off to clean my kitchen.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    To ABC, Broadcaster of LOST

    I hate you.

    That is all.

    OK, that's not all. A re-run? REALLY? NOW?? Are you kidding me? And are you (the ABC powers-that-be) all sitting at home giggling to yourselves because you already know how it ends and we don't? HMMM? Are you?

    Ya big jerks.

    THAT is all.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    Aren't They Supposed to Build Up a Tolerance???

    Seriously??? What, our THIRD round of pink eye in six months?!?!

    Poor boy, his eye looks pretty sad and red. Yuck. Now I'm Lysoling like mad again and making everyone wash their hands every nine seconds. UGH.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Who Knew They Were THAT Good?

    So I'm really enjoying the cake truffles thing. Really, really. Even printed up some business cards because, well, folks are asking for them! The latest venture has been whipping some up and donating them to the bake sale taking place tonight at our son's preschool; it's part of the annual fundraiser night going on tonight. Fun stuff, yes?

    I dropped them off this morning and got busy with my duties working on decorations. I left to go have balloon centerpieces made while some other moms stayed behind to put the students' art work up on the walls. They left about 10:30 and feel sure that all three plates of cake truffles were still there on the table with all the other goodies; on the table clearly marked Bake SALE.

    I returned shortly after 11:00, balloons in-hand, and glanced at the bake sale table as I entered the room and noticed

    What the...?

    One of the plates of cake truffles seemed to be, uh, GONE.

    I doubled checked with staff that nobody had bought them, and that no money had been left anywhere. That means someone just took them. Just thought to themselves "Hey, I'd like a cake truffle or twelve, and these are just sitting here, right? Surely it's fine if I just grab those and go, yes?"

    That's a special kind of asshole right there, dear reader.

    During that time of day, there are not really many parents in the building, it's mid-class time, so I was doubting someone had pre-bought them as a parent might do. There are, however, groups not affiliated with the preschool who use different rooms close to the gym. Today, there were a couple different groups of, in this case, snoopy, pudgy, old women...women who were, by the way, nosing around my cake truffles when I brought them in earlier in the day. REALLY nosing around.

    So what does that leave us thinking? I'll tell you what: that some crazy old bat stole cake truffles from my kid's preschool. Wow.

    Further proof that being in a church no more makes you a good person than sitting in a garage makes you a car.

    I hope whoever stole them, immediately sat down and snarfed them all down...and discovered what happens when you eat the equivalent of about 3 pieces of cake with candy on them. Happy shitting, you freak.

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Don't Call Them Balls

    OK, fine they are balls. But frankly, that word irks me in reference to anything other than an object to be thrown in a sporting event. It's just a vulgar word. BALLS. See? So do me a favor, and don't call them that, huh? I lovingly refer to these confectionary delights as...


    Cake Truffles.

    I did NOT invent them. Not even close. Let's be clear on that. There are MASTERS out there - true masters of the craft, significantly gifted people making perfect, perfect cake truffles that make you 'ooh' and 'aah', even if you're just seeing them online. Bakerella first inspired me and she is a cake truffle rockstar. Many others are doing great work with the art of cake and frosting dipped in more sugar. They make it look easy. And I love to see all of the different forms this fun little treat can take.

    So. The point is...I also love making them myself. There's something really, really fun about forming cake and frosting into...well, you-know-what-shapes...and making something pretty that is also decadent, creamy and delicious. I've not mastered every aspect yet, and I'm still learning how to make them the best, and the easiest, while still getting great results. But I'm LOVING learning about them. Kind of a good thing, yes?

    So. I love making them. People seem to like them, and like how they look as well. Where should that lead me? Would people pay me to make something I love? Would you? (This is the part where you comment and tell me what you think...but only if you're going to be nice. The budding confectionary artist inside me is very fragile. ;-) )

    Hmmm. Lots to think about, I think.

    So. Stick around, why don'tcha, and we'll just see where this takes me, won't we?

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Rainbow Update

    Red: The color of my daughter's conjunctivita in her left eye, with the right soon to follow, surely(translation: we've got pink eye going on here, folks...yuck), but the drops will help soon. Poor baby girl.

    Orange: The fruit of the week in my fruit bowl - when Aldi has a 5lb bag of GOOD oranges for $.99 (not per pound, but TOTAL), we're eating oranges. And loving Aldi. Have I mentioned that? Yeah, I do.

    Yellow: The color of the daffodils that have peeked their way up through the earth in my back flowerbed. OK, they're not yellow yet, they're just stalks poking up, but they will be. And I giggled when I saw them.

    Green: What color things are FINALLY starting to turn around here. And by Tuesday we'll be at 72, and then things will REALLY start to "green up". Bring on the spring!

    Blue: The color of my kitchen curtains, that need to come down to be washed, along with everything else that needs a good spring cleaning. It's on the list. It's a long list.

    Indigo: Gosh, do I have anything in my life that's indigo? Hmmm...The package of the Finneus and Ferb fruit snacks laying here on my counter is pretty close to indigo. That may be the best I can do today for indigo. (Hey, they can't all be brilliant little thoughts, can they?)

    Violet: The darkest shade of the spring flowers that I carried down the aisle when I married my best friend on April 5, 2003. Seven years coming up, readers. More to come on that. But purple tones in general always make me think of our wedding day...and I smile.


    There. A rainbow of updates. Just makes you smile to see those colors together, doesn't it? Let's hope we all see some real ones soon!

    Happy Spring, my lovelies!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    There Be Leprechauns

    And ours left treasure and notes for my kids. Very serious business, this.

    First, he turned the orange juice and the milk GREEN. Then he put a note on them that said "Green Drinks for you - BOO HOO!!"

    Then he put notes in each of their rooms, taunting them with his presence and telling them to look sharp next year. Then he left them each a piece of treasure (a quarter).

    It's St. Patrick's Day for certain. Happy kids 'round here this fine afternoon. AND the little guy brought the sunshine with him. THAT's better than a pot of gold. Almost.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Birthday In Absentia, Take Two

    Another special day going on here at FMFO. My sweet friend Aimee would have turned 32 today. But she won't. We lost her a year and a half ago, and this is the second birthday we've had to live through without her. So instead, we celebrate the short-but-wonderful life she had, but still grieve for the life she missed out on living. I was telling Greg last night that surely this milestone would be easier; that I would be able to only remember the good things and smile, and not need to weep with my head in my hands. I was wrong. The tears come easily, and the pangs of heartache are there, just as they have always been. And that's OK. She is still worth every tear, and the pain of losing her still stings inside of me.

    But I found myself examining this morning (while on the phone with my awesome friend Sara) the reasons WHY it continues to be so hard, and why we who loved her best continue to struggle with letting go and moving above the sadness.

    I think the bulk of it is this: this is not like losing a grandmother who lived her whole life, or even like losing someone young who takes their own life. It's not even like losing someone who was sick and was taken too soon but who had time to at least examine the possibility of dying. I am not discounting or devaluing those losses - I'm just saying they are different. Because Aimee's loss was sudden, confusing and unexplained (still is, largely) and I believe with every fiber of me that she fought with all her might to stay alive. I believe that she fought for her life, for her baby's life, and she lost. And that sucks. And I grieve that reality over and over, as many who loved her do, because it never makes any more sense, it never gets easier to accept, and it never leaves less of a hole in our lives when we revisit it again and again.

    I wonder if she knew she was dying. I wonder if she was afraid. I wonder if she was screaming inside her head but couldn't get out more than the cry that came from her lips just before she was gone. I wonder lots of things about where and how she was in those final moments. And I grieve. Not even just for me, for Greg and our kids who will miss out on the beauty of Aimee in their lives as they grow. I grieve for Nik who had to live through it and watch it all happen in their own home, in their own bed. I grieve for her parents who lost their only child, their only grandchild, and their whole world all in one fell swoop. I grieve for their families. I grieve for Dar, and Jess and Jared, and all of her close friends in IA who know how keenly losing her cuts through every day life. I grieve for the friends who lost touch but who always thought there would be more time to catch up, as we all do. We always think there's more time, we tell ourselves that it's our nature to believe that. But the true nature is the nature of our bodies and our world, which all prove to us over and over that NONE of us is guaranteed more time. None of us have been promised tomorrow.

    And I think that's her gift to us on this day, her birthday: a reminder. A reminder to say those words you haven't said, to whomever you need to say them. Pursue and become the person you want to be. Do that thing for someone that you've been meaning to do. Tell someone who matters that they matter. I know there are people who Aimee would have liked to have said "goodbye" to (or "eat a dick" to) before she went on and left this life. And I can hear her voice in my head, reminding me not to wait; to do it now, today. There are things she didn't get to do, and it honors her memory when we do those things.

    And it's coming to me as I type that it also honors her memory to try our best to be happy while we're here. It's easy, comforting even, to get lost in the sorrow, to soak in it and let it surround us in a blanket of tears and self-pity for all we've lost. But what would Aimee give to be here today? And how would she want me to spend it? How would she want YOU to spend it? She would want us to laugh about all the fun, crazy, silly, hilarious shit we did while she was here. She would want us to eat a piece of cake, dammit, and enjoy every bite. She would want us to live. That much I do know. And Aimee was usually pretty good about getting what she wanted, so I'm guessing we're all better off just trying to do our best to do what she wants us to do.

    I'll try if you'll try. Deal?

    Happy Birthday, Aimee. There are no words, not for my lack of trying, to say how much you mean, how much you're missed, and how much we wish we could share this day with you. Love and hugs to heaven, my dear friend.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    March 8th and Old Posts

    Big day coming up - on Monday, March 8th, we come upon my mother's 60th birthday! Not that she looks 60, or probably feels 60, but all points indicate that she is, in fact, turning 60. We are not talking about how old that makes ME.

    In honor of Mom's big day (which we'll be celebrating tomorrow with friends and family), I give old blog. Ha ha. No, really, this is a blog post I wrote a good while ago, after one of Mom's treasured visits to our home. I shared it with her recently, and thought that this weekend would be a good time to share it with you again in case you missed it back in 2007. While it is a tribute and somewhat a pre-memorial (forgive the slight morbidity of that), it's a celebration of who she is to us in this life. Enjoy!

    Oh, and Happy, Happy Birthday, Mom - we all love you more than you'll ever know, and we thank God for you every day. Hope your day is perfect.

    Post is HERE: I'll Miss Her Finger

    (ETA: be clear. Click on the "I'll Miss Her Finger" right ABOVE to read the actual POST about Mom. I'm feeling anal today, apparently. Yeah. Just click. Go! ;-) Thanks. )


    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Things of Which to Remind Myself in March 2010

    I am writing this to myself in late August of 2009. It is set to publish now, in March of 2010. I may very well have forgotten about it by now. I also probably won't remember these specific things by now, which is why I'm writing them in August 2009. Call it my own personal little time machine - I'm heading off into the future to tell myself things that I need to remember later on.

    So this is just between me, myself and I - but you might do well to heed the warnings I'm going to give myself if you have gardening aspirations for Summer 2010.

    Cathy - it's spring now, and knowing you as only I do, you've undoubtedly thought about buying seeds (if you haven't bout them already) and starter sets, potting soil, etc. You are sure you want a garden, mostly because you are so sick of winter you could throw up and you just want to get out there and dig it up. After all, you tucked it away last fall, tilled in good stuff and covered it in mulch, put away cages and fencing. And I get that you think it's time to start thinking about the new garden to come. But stop and think. Think REALLY hard about whether or not you REALLY want a garden again this year. Really. Think it over. IF you decide to proceed anyway, remember these things:

    1) Don't buy seeds. Nope, don't. Just. Don't. You know they don't grow for shit because you don't water them regularly enough, or you water them too much, whatever; and the kids don't keep their fingers out of them, and then the ones that DO grow, grow too fast and you don't get them in in time. Just buy transplants. It's cheaper in the long run. Fine, it's not, but do it anyway. Forget the seeds. Put them down. DOWN. I don't care if Menard's already had them out and they're on sale and they're organic and pretty and promise a hearty yield.

    2) Four tomato plants is too many. Way too many. Unless you've purchased canning equipment by now, March of 2010 (which I doubt), you don't need dozens and dozens of tomatoes sitting on your counter. Ya just don't. TWO plants is the maximum you should plant. Maximum. I mean it. If they both die, it's just not meant to be.

    3) Don't plant cucumbers. You and Greg like about 2 meals of cucumbers and then you're over them. And again, unless you've gotten a canner and the necessary accoutrements purchased, you're not making pickles any time soon. Get a few from the farmers' market in July and move on.

    4) Don't plant onions. They don't grow well in this soil, you've tried several times.

    5) Plant more green beans. Like two or three rows. They were nice last summer to get enough for a meal every week or so, but those are something we SHOULD grow lots of and freeze, because we actually, you know, EAT green beans all year 'round. They're not sexy, but now you know why Mom had rows and rows of them.

    6) One squash hill. ONE. O-N-E. And it'll still be too much, unless it ends up like the weirdo moldy one. Then you're just screwed. But again - that's what farmers' markets are for.

    7) Don't ever use black landscaping tarp in the garden again. The grass mulch you used last year worked just as well, didn't blow and whip all over (like the tarp did when the thieving little squirrels ripped it out of the ground), and is FREE.

    8) The expensive, stinky rabbit repellent works best, so if you were smart enough to bring it in the house out of the garden shed (so that it hasn't frozen and been rendered useless over the winter), get ready to use it. Use it early, use it often. Just keep the dogs away from it, they love the stuff for some ungodly reason. It's made of rotten eggs and assholes, or some shit like that. Which might explain why the Great Poopeaters enjoy it.

    9) Last year: tomatoes on the west end, vines on the east. This year: swap them.

    10) Greg just reminded me of this one: NO RADISHES. I think Greg ate one. The rest ended up in the trash. I know they're a quick yield and that feels good, but seriously - skip 'em. Keep your eye on the prize.

    11) The whole point of a garden is to save money on food. So in summary: don't buy more than you need, don't buy more than you'll use, don't plant stuff you don't love to eat and preserve; in short, keep it simple.

    Happy Gardening, to me and everyone else. It's almost spring!

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Girl Scout Cookies

    They're here.

    That is all. Let munching commence. And delivery, of course. Delivery of yours, munching of ours. Not necessarily in that order.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Things I Can't Quite Get My Head Around

    1) Fancy Feast Appetizers. For CATS. Appetizers...for cats, people.

    2) The "Space Station". What the frack are they DOING up there??

    3) Why Facebook keeps jacking with their layout. It's like they LIVE to irritate the shit out of me every six weeks.

    4) That it's been almost 20 years since I met my husband. TWENTY. YEARS. I wasn't even twenty years OLD when I met him.

    5) How I spent 30 years of my life with two ovaries and never got pregnant, but once I was down to one ovary, I tried twice to get pregnant. Twice. As in, two months, two kids. (Not complaining here - marveling at my luck...or vigilant birth control...not sure which it is.)

    6) Alzheimer's. Scariest, most confusing, upsetting disease E.V.E.R. Is Granny 'in there' someplace? Does she know and see what has happened to her in the last five years? Did she know she was slipping away as she was slipping away?

    7) The Olympics. Again...what are they DOING? What do they solve? What is the POINT? And other than temporary economy in one locale and potential endorsement careers for a few athletes, what do they create? How they do they enhance the world? Fine, it's "just entertainment", but still. And how many kids could be fed with just what they spend in marketing and advertising for an event that everyone already knows about?

    8) Nachos at the movies. I'm pretty sure it should be illegal to charge $6.25 for corn chips and cheese. I mean, it's good cheese and all, but damn.

    9) American cities existing in 2010 with no curbside recycling program in place. Mind-boggling. Catch the frak up, people.

    And the tenth, and most important thing I cannot often wrap my head around...

    10) How much I adore my sweet little family, how strong the bond between the four of us is, and how I got so lucky to be blessed with the three of them in my life.

    VD Update

    Happy VD! Ha ha, as though VD would make anyone happy. Such a fun pun for the holiday of love.

    I haven't written for shit lately. I know. Not sure why.

    I know one thing - I got rid of that stupid Cachtcha (sp?) thing, and almost immediately starting getting big stupid spam comments left on some old posts. That took care of that shit, I'm not dealing with that. Sorry to those who hate the stupid letters (which I hate too, I know your pain).

    Oh, and my dog has Dogzheimer's. Just an FYI. He often freezes where he is and refuses to move for long periods of time, seemingly forgetting how to walk. His nails are freshly cut, so it's not that whole "hates to walk on hard floors with long nails" thing. It was just through the hallway at first, he'd stay in the bedrooms and stand at the doorways whimpering. But now this morning he sat on my tiny kitchen rug and refused to move off of it despite bribes for the longest time. Finally a chicken-chip temptation won him over. Poor ole boy.

    Celebrating VD with the fam, heart-shaped pancakes and sausages, off to do a little shopping in this ROTTEN weather, and then home for some snuggling with the hubby later, with any luck.

    Hope your loved onesa are extra sweet to you today.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Belated Updated

    It's been too long since I've posted, yes?

    Sorry about that.

    Uh, update here...snow. More fracking snow. This morning I spent an hour stranded on a residential street after I dropped Samantha off. Greg came and dug me out, bless his heart, and we promptly stopped and picked our girl back UP again, and brought her home, lest we be forced to suffer the same nightmare at 4:00 and force me to strangle someone in the street. It's a snow day here, no matter WHAT our school district thinks. I won't second-guess my instincts about THAT again.

    In a related matter, we may be trading in the van for an SUV soon.

    What else? Uh, back on the beach, doing fine, down about 12 since January. Nice. Only 1409 more to go. Ha ha. OK, not quite that much.

    It's still snowing, did I mention that? Yeah, yeah, I suppose I did. Freakin' groundhog.

    Been reading again lately, mostly King, but I picked up some books at the Dollar Tree and at Garden Ridge that look promising. Details to come if they're worth sharing. Or not. I'm pretty fickle about my blogs that are promised to come.

    That is all. All is white and cold and fine as a fiddle. Aren't you glad I posted? Yeah, me too.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    9:11 - A Time To Remember

    It sounds weird. I get that. I'm not pretending that everyone will believe me or understand or even care. But it's been going on now for over a year, and it is what it is.

    The Friday night that we arrived in Iowa for Aimee's funeral, we went to Nik and Aimee's home after the wake. Wanting to change clothes, and in part wanting to, in some morbid way, to see where she had died in their bed, we asked where we could change. Nik led us down the hall, and into their room.

    The room where she died. The bed where she lay when she breathed her last breath. We talked briefly about where she had been, about how she slumped over the edge of the bed, and about where the paramedics had been when they came in and took her away, just before she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

    Nik left us to change and as we did, I knelt down by the bed, and laid my head where she had laid. Where she was last alive. Where she was last "Aimee". I could feel her all around me, and I struggled to breathe as the grief overtook me again, as it had so many times already that day. And yet strangely I was comforted by being there in her room, in her home, on her bed - where she had spent so many days gabbing with me on the phone; where she laid and sat while we talked about her future and talked about her baby, her career, and all that was to come for her in her life.

    And as all of those thoughts, and memories, and heart-pains washed over me, I looked at the clock.

    It said 9:11.

    That's not a big deal. Or rather it wasn't a big deal at the time - "911" kind of sticks in everyone's head after the Twin Towers disaster, and I do have that weird number thing...the thing where I remember weird numbers for no apparent reason. That's not new.

    But the next morning, as I readied myself for her funeral, and glanced at my clock on my phone, there it was.


    The next day, back at home, I saw it both times. Not 9:12, not 9:10, not 9:13.


    And I have seen it nearly every day since.

    It's not as though I sit around waiting for the clock to turn over to 11 after the 9th hour. It's not even as though I sit and think of Aimee all day long (although there are days I do just that, even now). I'm not trying to see 9:11, or glancing repeatedly until I see it - I just look at the clock like anyone looks at their clocks, and more often than not, when it's that time of day, whether I'm thinking of it or not when I glance, 9:11 is when I look.

    Nearly every day, and often twice a day, that time of day is when I glance at the clock. And I think of her. And I feel her close to me, like I did that night, and I feel her comforting me, and sending her love.

    Often when I look at my clock and see those digits, something is going on in my life (hell, when ISN'T something going on in my life?). It's often something that I feel she is missing out on, or something I would have wanted to tell her about, or to share with her, or to ask for her perspective on. And when I see them during those times, those numbers remind me that she's not missing it, whatever it is - she's watching and loving and knowing from where she is.

    I saw it last week as Jackson and I headed to his first day of preschool. She was so excited when Sam was starting in 2008 - she died the day before Sam's first day at the same preschool Jackson attended last week. In seeing it that day, I knew she was watching over him, as she watched over Samantha. I often see it at night, often when I've had a bad day, and I know she wishes she could be there, on the phone line, to listen to me bitch and moan...and I know if I want to, I can still bitch and moan to her, and though she can't answer with words, I believe that she hears me. And honestly, I know, usually, what she would have said, and those numbers remind me of that.

    I could list so many instances of seeing that time on my clock, and being stopped cold and sent to a moment of remembrance, of missing her, and of knowing that I'll never stop missing her. It used to unnerve me a little bit, but now that it's been going on for well over a year, it's a comfort. I even smile now when I see it, and I often find myself saying "hi" to her; I stop, and remember her, and I know she's with me. Those moments give me clarity in my day, in whatever is going on at that time, and I can feel her hand in that. She has always done what she could to support me, to love me, and to be there for me, no matter what. Some things never change.

    I love you, and I miss you, Aimee. More profoundly all the time, I miss you. Keep drawing me to that time of day, and keep giving me the reminder that while you're gone from our world, you'll always be here.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    The Kids Are On A Roll Today

    {Lunch time, our house.}

    Me: Are you done eating?

    Jackson: Yep, I am done eedin'!

    Me: Ok! So, let's -- hey, take your foot off the table, please.

    Jackson: No.

    Me: {moving closer and making eye contact} Jackson, it's not OK to tell me no when I ask you to do something you need to do. Do you understand?

    Jackson: OK, Mommy. But I weewee DOOOOO want my foot up on 'da teebowl!

    Me: Tough crackers, get it off of there.

    Jackson: OK, Mommy. {removes foot} Mommy?

    Me: Yes?

    Jackson: What does 'no' mean?

    Me: Well, you know, it means, no... {Jackson looks on, waiting for a real answer}... uh, OK. If I have...uh, a cookie and you say "Can I have that cookie?", and I say "No", what does that mean: that you CAN have the cookie, or that you CAN'T have it?

    Jackson: Dat I CAN'T have dat cookie.

    Me: Right! So you do know what 'no' means, honey!

    Jackson: {after careful thought and now sporting a crinkled, lowered brow} But Mommy, I weewee DO want dat cookie!

    Looking To The Future

    On the way to school this morning, we drove through our downtown area, and Samantha was reading business signs and asking questions.

    Samantha: What's that one say, Mommy?

    Me: It says "The M------ Bar".

    Samantha: Mommy, could you take me to the M-------- Bar someday?"

    Me: No, honey, bars are not places for kids.

    Samantha: NO, Mommy, I mean SOMEDAY can you take me there!

    Me: Oh, well...yes, OK, when you turn 21, I'll take you there and buy you a drink, how's that sound?

    Samantha: OK...Mommy?

    Me: Yes?

    Samantha: Do they have lemonade there?

    Me: (smiling) Yes, baby, I'll bet they do.

    Samantha: Good!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    If You Work In A Drive-Thru...

    ...then this one is for you. You who ride the sliding glass window, rain or shine. You who sling burgers and tacos and gyros out the window, and who fill drinks and shakes and take money and hand out napkins. I'm you.

    I've done your job. Greg and I have both done your job. For a good stretch of time during college, we worked drive-thru under the Golden Arches. And I get it. It's no sexy job. It's not what you aspire to do forever, and God bless your aspirations. (If you've already been doing it forever, sorry about that.) There are parts that suck. You go home smelling like your shoe soles are being melted by fry grease. And they are, so that makes sense. You wear a jacket that's been hanging in the drive-thru since who-knows-when. You talk to the right even at home because that's where your headset mic rests on your cheek. You put up with that guy in the kitchen who keeps hitting on you, and let's face it, he's not your type. You have to hear it from your manager when you forget your name tag. You clean up spills when the cup hits the edge of the window. You run outside for orders that get 'pulled'. And you, most importantly, wait on customers. You take their money. You give them their food. You hand them their drinks. And you're probably not entirely thrilled while you're there doing it, but by god you WILL get that car by summer, or you'll pay your own tuition so you can tell your dad to get bent, or you'll get enough money saved to backpack through Europe. Like I said, I get it. I really, really do.

    And so you are the drive-thru booth. Doing what drive-thru jockeys do. You run the drive-thru. I can appreciate and I understand the job you do. Really.

    Oh, hey, while I've got you here, I've been meaning to tell know what you don't do? You probably don't even know that you don't do it. Frankly, your generation is so full of entitlement and lack of courtesy (with exceptions, I'm certain, so chill out if this isn't you) that I'm really not surprised. But you don't do it. You don't.

    Know what it is? Can you guess? Can you?


    I'm not shocked, frankly. Here. Let me give you an example. You see if you can tell what's missing:

    Me (at the drive-thru, receiving my food): Okay, is that everything?

    You (in the drive-thru window): Yep, that's it.

    Me: Okay, then...thank you!

    You: Yep! {Window shuts.}

    Op! There it was. Did you catch it? Did you catch what you missed? NO? You can't surmise what I wanted you to do, what I'd guess your boss wanted you to do, that you didn't do? Let me clear it up for you. Listen closely. I know The Hills is probably on soon, or something, but bear with me.

    I WANT YOU...TO SAY..."THANK YOU". And I want you to smile and mean it while you say it.

    That's it. So simple. So easy. But you don't. And I want you to start.

    THANK ME for spending money where you work. Why? Well, here's why: if I don't come, if collectively all the people you fail to thank don't come, you don't work. No workey=no money. No trip to Europe, no car, no off-flipping of Dad as you move out and pay your own way.

    THANK ME for being polite and patient and for not being one of the assholes I know you encounter during your work day. I know those guys, I waited on them, and guess what - I thanked them too. Why? Once again, here's why: because it was my job. Just like it's yours. Which brings us to...

    THANK ME because it's your JOB to thank me. Is it really? you ask. It really is. Check with your supervisor. There is NO company whose training does NOT include specific directions to thank the customer for their business, and for choosing you over your countless competitors. I might bet money on it. "Be sure to thank the customer!" It's in your training manual - check it out.

    SERIOUSLY. Practice it. "THANK YOU." Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Did you do it? See? Not so hard, is it? Try it in the mirror at home if you like. Still didn't do it? Go on, give it a whirl. I promise, your head won't fall off and your tongue won't snap off its roller. It's not hard - my generation and every generation before us were required to learn to say it before kindergarten ever rolled around, and we say it ANY time someone does something even marginally 'thankable'. (And I know it's not ALWAYS the young folks - some of you older folks who are stopping with the thank-you-ing just because your younger not-yet-drive-thru-lifers don't do it should be ashamed of yourselves; you know better. Set an example for cripes' sake.)

    It's not just you burger folks, or you taco folks, or you sandwich folks. I've been not-thanked at every drive-thru type that I've visited in the last few months. I've been keeping track. Your track record is NOT GREAT, for any of you.

    It's so simple, really. Just say it. Please? Please say "thank you" when I frequent your place of business; when I put money in the till from whence cometh your salary, if you catch my drift. Or I'll start complaining. Every time. And let's face it, your managers don't have time for it, and neither do I.

    So just say "thank you".

    Thank you. Have a nice day! (That's nice to hear once in a while, too. I'm just sayin'.)

    Farewell 2009/Hello 2010

    That's really all there is to it, isn't there? Out with the old, in with the new. A year comes, then it goes, in what seems a blink. The lucky ones are still here at the end, and some leave along the course of its passing. This year was filled with ups and downs, and good and bad, and while I wouldn't say it's the best year ever, it certainly wasn't the worst. We rang in the new year about 9:30 our time, with kids and sparkling grape juice and a countdown on the microwave. Good times, good family...good life.

    We can't ask for more than that, can we?*

    Happy New Year, my sweet and faithful readers - 2010 has some amazing things in store, I am sure of that. Hope you'll stick around and see what it brings for me, and for all of us.

    *Of course I can. I can ALWAYS ask for more. Wait til you read my next post. You'll get a prime example. Stay tuned.