Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making My Resolutions - two days ahead of schedule

Say WHAT???  Following the lead of http://whatwouldjamiedo-jamiew.blogspot.com/,  I am new and possibly improved for 2011.  And you can check me out at: http://girlonapage.wordpress.com/ ....or not!  Depending on what YOUR resolutions are.  Slightly peeved because Lady Blogga was already taken, but that's just how the cookie crumbles. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a closed mouth gathers no feet

have been in an incredibly quiet writing mood lately. not really depressed, not really not depressed. just kind of "nothing to say." then my sister told me the great quote which is the title of this post and that pretty much has shut me up until i have something really grand to say. ;o) so, if that comes after friday - then i am wishing you a fabulous time friday night and a not too painful saturday morning!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

And so this is Christmas. :o) Cards are gone by the wayside.......for now. Ed did them this year (as in "did" them and emailed them to Wal-green's for printing.) They await me on my desk to address and send out. ;o) So, as my dear friend Shannon said you all will have to accept a bloggy Merry Christmas. Hope everyone finds peace and love under the tree.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Ah, excuse me, maam? That coffee's not free."

So, we are back from the windy city - and I don't mean Chicago - I mean Dallas and boy was it windy........and freezing cold. (This will be important later when you see NO PICTURES OF OUR COLLECTIVE GORGEOUSNESS!!!) But, that was the least of my concerns. Since I could not take all of you with me (which would have been my first choice), AND YOU WILL HAVE NO PICTURES, this post is going to give you an idea of just how our weekend went.


It started with me amazingly having time to make homemade gingerbread men and homemade frosting so that the kids could have a fun activity to do with the sitter on Saturday afternoon. Say what??? Slacker mom??? I know. Name change: Super Mom. I am hoping this won me enough points with the kids to take me well into 2011.


So, we left Saturday at noon, and we arrived in record time. Thanks, E. for not giving a darn what the posted speed is (that will be important later, too). And we checked into our 20th floor room at the Omni Mandalay. http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/DallasMandalay.aspx?cid=sd_psa_b-property2 We had a lovely view of the downtown Dallas skyline and a lovely view of the man-made canal below us. Due to E.'s said disregard for speed or safety we actually had time to rest (what's that???) before it was time to get ready for the party.


We arrived at the party right on time because that's how we roll when there is free food and drink to be had. I immediately took an hors d'oeuvres that was offered and redeemed a drink ticket. I mostly ate these unusual, but tasty figs (now bring me some figgy pudding?) on top of some yummy cheese concoction on one of those baked Parmesan crackers. Oh, yum. But, I did practice self restraint and only accepted those from men who had not offered them to me before.


Until we found some people that E. knew we entertained ourselves by taking numerous pictures in front of the lovely Christmas decorations and taking pictures of perfect strangers - and that's always fun. Now, remember I said it would be important that the weather was sub-zero? Well, here's why. You are not seeing any pictures of us in numerous Christmas poses because we LEFT THE CAMERA IN THE YUKON. And it was too cold to walk the 100 yards to the parking garage to get it. So, we took all the pictures with E.'s new smart phone. Now apparently here's the deal with smart phones. THEY DON''T ACTUALLY MAKE THE USER ANY SMARTER. They are smart to take the damn pictures, but if you don't know what to do next your pictures will forever live inside your phone (being the size of a postage stamp). So, you may or may not see pictures later. Just know E. looked HOT in his new suit and I looked pretty dang good in my Spanx (and my dress over that). Thank you to our fashionista J.W. for dressing us.


We also had our picture taken for the company directory. I thought I might use this photo later until I realized the background was going to be a huge sign that said Therapy 2000 http://www.T2000.com/. Not a good personal look particularly.


We sat with some people that E. knew and we were treated to a delicious dinner. I had shrimp with tortellini, triple chocolate cake, some yummy meat with a bun, and chocolate covered strawberries. In that order. I also had to use drink tickets from several people at our table who were not drinking (say what???). Poor me. I hated that.

After dinner the CEO of the company gave awards like no others. It wasn't the usual: Most Successful Salesperson (or whatever your business pertains to). It was: Employee Who Has Had Their Car Towed The Most While Doing Home Health. It was clever, hilarious, and entertaining. He then gave away some booty (and I am not talking about the x-rated kind). iPads, Wii's, Kindles (all of which I know nothing about, but wanted anyway). It was crazy fun. I am from public education and for most of my years there all I ever got for Christmas were some nice cards that said "Merry Christmas." So this was pretty nuts for me. AND I was so lucky to be with a LUCKY guy. As anyone who knows him will tell you I am married to one lucky guy (and not just 'cuz he married me either). But, his mojo that night was no where to be found (well, we did find it later..........the next day). We won nothing, but we had a darn good time watching all the people who did win. We then found out about the company motto "Give Back," which was actually quite touching. It was a great ceremony. Funny, slightly serious, not too long, the bar was still open when it was done, and it was a great prelude to the AWESOME BAND.

Let me stop here and just give you a tidbit you can file away in Note To Self (as I have done). When wearing thigh high hose make sure they are securely on your THIGHS. Don't worry my little fashion horror happened away from E.'s boss, and could be quickly remedied in the bathroom so that I could return and dance the night away.

Ed got his amazing employee gift.............a Canon photo printer???!!! Again, from years in public education this gal was saying, "WHAT??? Did my man pick a great time to get a new job, or what???" We got our groove on (yes, I could have danced more than E. - it's hard to say), and we basically had a fabulous night.

So, that pretty much sums up our Grown Up Party for you (you can thank me later for sparing you ALL the details) - HEY it was a GROWN UP PARTY after all. Oh, until the next morning............................at the Starbucks in the lobby.

We thought it would be a great idea to just get coffee there, so we did. I just assumed E. had paid for it and proceeded to grab my bags and walk out...................that's where the post title comes in. Thank you, Mr.-Omni-Mandalay-Starbucks-Coffee-Man-Who-Now-Thinks-I-Am-A-Thief for not making a huge deal out of me trying to leave without paying.

AND we know now where E.'s mojo was during the party. He just happened to need it later........on the way home. And, since I know he will be sensitive about this - - let's just keep it a secret between me and you. Read between the lines: Thank you, DPS Officer Name Is Gone To Protect Your Identity for having the Christmas spirit and giving my man a warning. I might love you, but I definitely want to give you a huge Merry Fist Bump.

That's my story, peeps, and I'm stickin' to it. Hope your weekend was grand, too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10 and mom's asleep at the wheel

Usually when I take the older three to piano lessons I hang-out on the nearby playground and the kids who are not getting a lesson can just play. Sometimes if baby is cooperating or if she's not, but the weather is yucky we just hang out in the studio. This is difficult because the studio is actually an efficiency apartment and cramming six people in there (one of them being an uncooperative baby) is really not fun. There have been a few occasions when baby has been sound asleep (and I am all for - DO NOT wake a sleeping baby - there will be hell to pay) when we just hung out in the Yukon (btw - that equals not fun, too).

Well, yesterday it wasn't baby who needed a nap. It was mommy. So, I decided to just hang out in the Yukon. The temperature was below 80, so I was freezing cold and I just needed some rest. Baby had graham crackers and S. was contentedly playing with baby.

Why was I dead dog tired? No fears - I am going to tell you. It really starts and ends with my eyes. You will be happy to know that my eye infection/allergy/annoying itchiness is for the most part gone. How did I do that? High doses of Zyrtec. Which makes me quite.............sleepy. Literally I am unable to keep my eyes open (but they look good when they are open). Wednesday I fell sound asleep in my dinner which led my husband to believe I will be an even funner date than I usually am (how is that even possible???) at the Grown Up Party Saturday.

Unfortunately, my eye situation was immediately replaced with some nasty goo coming out of my nose (thank me later for the description on that) and an incredibly sore throat. Now as a general rule I avoid doctors at all costs (whole 'nother post there), so basically I just self-medicate until I am symptom free. My throat was SO sore that I was awakened by it yesterday morning (oh joy)........................................at THREE A.M. Now, I am a morning person and all, but seriously??? I had been up since THREE A.M.

I have also had a little to do lately (with it being Christmas and all - NOTHING to do with Procrastination), so this has required me to stay up LATE (the other day I checked the clock between commercials and I know it was after midnight). My job has also recently persuaded me to get a Twitter account and join a virtual community (no, I am totally serious there I know it sounds like a joke of mine). Now for a person who still reads the newspaper (I can explain that later if you don't know what a newspaper is), just recently got a cell phone, has no DVR or ESP, and who you know can barely find the keyboard, this has understandably led to countless hours on the computer.

That ALL coupled with the Zyrtec (and now Ibuprofen and nasal spray) has made for one DEAD DOG TIRED MOMMA.

Fast forward to yesterday when I am sitting locked in the Yukon in the parking lot of piano with two kids in the back. My last thought that I can remember was, "I am just going to close my eyes for a minute." Or actually I think it was, "Since I cannot keep my eyes open - literally - and I don't have toothpicks. I am just going to let them close."

The next thing that happened was my eight year old-super-concerned-about-safety boy is BANGING wildly (attracting all sorts of attention) on my window and mouthing (well it looked like mouthing because I couldn't really hear at that point - it was in fact screaming), 'MOM ARE YOU OKAY!!!"

Sidenote: When God gave us our super-safety-conscious-boy he was having a good laugh. On us. This was just plumb funny and ironic. To God. I am married to a guy who rarely has safety as his Number One Concern and has frankly done a lot of not-safe things in his life. And, me, well you know me. So, when God said, "I am going to give these two yay-hoos this boy," I know he was having a good belly laugh and most likely trying to teach us a lesson. Thank you, Mr. Big Man.

Now I cannot really tell you what went through my mind in the next second, so here's a synopsis.

Where AM I? Um, what day is it? In what month? Why is there drool coming out of my mouth? Who are those people over there looking concerned? Why is S. saying just a little condescendingly, "Mom open the door. He's getting a little excited"? When did S. learn to be condescending? Wait...WHERE am I?

At that point I glanced in the rear view mirror (after it dawned on me that I was, in fact, in my Yukon) and saw that baby had grahams smeared all over her face. Note to self: When you are going to fall dead asleep in your CAR, DO NOT give the baby grahams.

I wiped off the drool and calmly opened the door as if it was all perfectly normal.

What happened next was (synopsis):

Safety boy: MOM! Are you okay? Why did you fall asleep? Baby was in here!!! Thank God you locked the door!!! MOM! How long have been asleep??? Did you know baby made a mess with the grahams? Sofie is laughing, mom. Can we have Sonic on the way home if you are too sleepy to cook dinner?

When I said mom's asleep at the wheel I was not kidding. Luckily, everyone is still okay and I didn't actually have the Yukon in drive. My kids still love me (I think).

I got a full eight hours sleep last night, my throat is not sore, and I am hoping to be symptom free for the Grown Up Party. I will post pictures as soon as we return. Heck! Now that hubby has a smart phone I may even hijack it and give you updates from the Grown Up Party. I am going to TWEET this and.........................................drum roll..............................................(gosh, I have been dying to write this my whole life)..........................you can follow me on TWITTER. :o)

Peace, friends. And I will post to you soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For the Love of Technology

OMG. I am sitting here surfing the net and just playing around while ed is playing with his new phone.

So, he's here screaming into his phone (or, as he corrected me, "speaking loudly and clearly" into his phone,) "CALL HOME." A nice friendly woman inside his phone says, "What did you say?"

He calmly says, "CALL A HOME." Which, to me, sounds just like something else (use your imagination - I have a "G" rating).

Nice Lady says, "I'm sorry. Did you say 'Call Yolanda?'"

I could swear ed mutters something nasty under his breath. But then he calmly says, "NO. I SAID CALL A HOME."

Nice Lady says, "Okay. I am looking up that number."

At this point I look up from my laptop totally and completely intrigued and giggling quite loudly and THEN our phone rings.

Ed smiles a smug little smile.

Seeing that I am totally laughing and digging this ed says, "Dial M. (for me ;o)" Nice lady says, "Okay. I am looking up that number."

And I am thinking, "Wait. Another woman knows my number??? Say what??? And, who's Yolanda???"

Then, my cell phone rings and I see that it's ed's face on my phone.

I will have to change the picture I have for him in my phone to this smug little face that he is wearing right now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And To All A Good Night

Preface: I believe in "Truth in Blogging," so I am going to go ahead and click "publish post" on this one. But know that it is with reservation. Lest you think I am a scrooge, grumpy, anti-Christmas fanfare person (which sometimes I admit I absolutely am) let me make a preface list for you. 1. I love my husband wholeheartedly. Our being polar opposites in nearly all matters makes for an exciting life. 2. I will attend the Christmas party and have a GREAT time. 3. I am not a lush.....................well.....................most of the time I am not a lush. 4. I will do my best to make my face presentable so, as not to ruin all of Ms. J's hard work with my wardrobe.

So, count down until the Grown Up Party has begun. Saturday we are leaving for Ed's Company Christmas Party 2010 in.............................................................DALLAS. That's like five hours from here. There will be a few Firsts involved with this Christmas Party.


1. It is the First one with Ed's new company.

2. It is the First one in ANOTHER city (where we don't actually live).

3. It is the First one where we are spending the night away (on Ed's boss' tab which does sweeten the pot somewhat).

4. It is the First time a babysitter will sit with the kids (well, hopefully she'll sleep.........not with the kids...........ugh...........it just gets worse in print) overnight.

5. It is the First time that I will not know one stinkin' soul at the party (oh, except the guy in the suit that I am going with).

6. It is the First time that Ed will know only a handful of people at the party.

7. It is the First time that I will go out in public voluntarily with this raging eye infection that seems to have come from nowhere and invaded my eyes making me look like something out of a bad horror movie. Can you feel how happy I am about that?

8. It is the First time I will wear a Full Bodied Spanx which The Guy In The Suit has appropriately dubbed The Iron Curtain and which looks incredibly uncomfortable.



And there will be a few Same Olds with this Christmas Party.



1. I will drink as much as I possibly can. This will limit people wanting to start a conversation with me and it will dull the pain in my eyes (possibly it will make it so that I cannot see at all).

2. This will cause some embarrassment (on my part and the part of the Guy in the Suit), but since it cannot be helped it will end up just being funny). In fact, as I write this I am already laughing (crying on the inside).

3. The Guy in the Suit will talk to as many people as he can leaving the Girl in the Dress (that would be me) to fend for herself.

4. I will then be forced to sample all the desserts to avoid having to talk and to have yummy morsels to eat.

5. I will invariably put my foot in my mouth (probably figuratively, possibly literally).

6. That might be with Ed's new boss since I don't actually know who that is.

7. My Spanx will become uncomfortable and I will consider removing it in the restroom.

8. Ed will dance like a maniac from the first dance until the last.

9. I will move gently around him trying not to spill my drink.


10. When the party is over and we are in our free room The Guy in the Suit will say, "Wow that was pretty good, wasn't it?" Whereupon I will peel off my Spanx, hoping that my loose body parts do not destroy anything in the room that his boss (who I still may not actually know) has kindly paid for, apply cold compresses to my inflamed, disgusting, red eyes, and pass out on the bed.


Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 6th and still no dysfunction?

Hmm. That's new. Tree is up. Ed's Christmas party wardrobe for us both is bought and hanging in closet. House is fairly clean. And we have yet to have a major meltdown (any of us). Is it really going to be Christmas or this just a front???

So, since there is nothing major to report on that front (and truthfully I don't know if I am happy or very, very frightened), I am going to write a movie post. Those of you who know me well know that I am a Queen Procrastinator. And, when do I procrastinate the most? When my to-do list is overwhelming. And if you know me well you also know that I am probably one of the only people in Texas (or, the whole U.S. of A.) who still only has like 5 channels and commercials. We only recently bought a DVD and have no DVR or TNT. So, we just plain old "Watch TV." I know. WHAT'S THAT? It's crazy, right?

Remember the good 'ole days when you couldn't wait until your favorite song came on the Radio? You basically had to guess the lyrics or buy the album and hope they were printed somewhere in there because there was no lyrics.com? You watched TV with something called a TV Guide (pay attention, young 'uns)? For those of you who don't know, this was a great little magazine sized book that listed all the shows that were on and when. Or, you could not use the TV Guide and just be super surprised when you actually turned on the TV and just plain SAW (with your eyes) what was on. Weird, eh?

Well, that's pretty much where I live. Now. In 2010. I pretty much turn on the TV and "what I see is what I get." So, you can only imagine that when I find something I LIKE.........WOW and YIPPEE am I happy.

Fast forward to now when my to-do list is...........oh..............about 1000 items long and yup, you guessed it. I AM SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WATCHING MOVIES!!! ON TV!!! So, what normally would waste about 90 minutes of my life now wastes eight hours due to the fact that I still watch commercials!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now there are some movies that when they come on TV I just cannot resist them. Even though I have seem them about 1000 times and can quote the whole damn movie, I still have to watch them. Commercials and all. I may work on my to-do list while I am watching, and then sadly I may not. I may just plop myself on the couch and stare mindlessly at the TV and say along with the actors the parts that I know by heart. Since I have seen two of these movies in the last two weeks, I thought I would pass these little gems on to you.

These are not Academy Award winners (well, some of them might be), but they are darn good, feel good movies. I have even caught myself crying for them (and you KNOW how I hate to cry). So, here goes.

A Movie List From Me to You (we could call this Monica's Must See Movies for 2010)

1. Napoleon Dynamite. What can I say? I love, love, love this movie. So many lessons.
2. In Her Shoes. Love Cameron Diaz. Love stories about families and how our families can hold our hearts.
3. Legally Blond. All of them. So funny. So silly. Yet, so heart felt. LOVE Reese Witherspoon.
4. Mean Girls. Again, so many lessons. Can't wait to watch that with my girls.
5. Hitch. OMG. I have seen this a million times and I STILL laugh nearly all the way through. If you have not seen the dancing in this movie - - your life is not complete.
6. It's a Wonderful Life. Now my other half LOVES this movie and funny sub-story: He got sick of waiting for it every season (WHAT??? That's like getting sick of not having a cell phone???) so one year he BOUGHT the movie. Pah! (That's what I said.) So, that Christmas we actually planned to watch it. With NO COMMERCIALS. And, guess what. It just wasn't the same. THEN, we LOST the movie. Crazy, huh? Fate stepped in and we are back to our old ways. Okay, now if you've never seen this movie - - you must see it this season. Put it on your list. Seriously. You will be so thankful.
7. Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood. Loved, loved, loved this book. What an amazing read. The movie was eh-eh the first time I saw it. But, I must say - after 10 times - it's grown on me. Not a huge fan of Sandra Bullock, but I really like this movie.
8. The Fugitive. I LOVE Tommy Lee Jones and he lives HERE. A hunt for a fugitive, ONE ARM MAN, and eye candy. Does it get better than that?

Okay. That's all I can think of right now. Maybe someday when my kids can stay by themselves I will go to an actual movie that was filmed after 1980. In a theatre. Or maybe I will someday go to Blockbuster and rent a movie. But, for now I am just perfectly happy sitting on my couch and being totally surprised by the little gems I might find when I have a gazillion more important things to do. ;o)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December 1st. Do you know where your kids are?

So, I am typing with nine digits rather than 10 due to an exercising accident (damn that exercise) involving a five pound weight and my pinky finger. You will forgive my typos and promise never to exercise again.

Take a look at the calendar my blogging peeps. It's DECEMBER 1st. Time to take down the Halloween paraphenalia. Your neighbors will thank you. Trust me on that one.

So, because I don't have enough to do at this time of year, I decided to let my kids participate in a little thing called Santa's Workshop (I can't exactly remember what it's called, but that sounds close). It's run by the ominous PTA and it is to "encourage your children to think of others during the holidays." Aw! That's sweet, right? Well, just remember that when something sounds sweet and kind.............there's usually something fishy brewing.

Turns out this "kind, encouraging" thing is a little store where the PTA sells various trinkets (called "specially selected gifts with your family in mind" - - not a direct quote, but close enough) for your kids to buy and give to their family members. AND the PTA helps them make their selections by providing a nice little chart for them (literally for: mom) to fill out and actual assistance from live PTA volunteers at the store. My kids thought this would be sweet and basically begged me to do it every day since the flyer came home in June? so I eventually (Sunday) just caved in and said, "OKAY, ENOUGH ALREADY." We painstakingly (and by this I mean the following):

Me: So who do you want to buy for? (with EACH CHILD - THERE ARE THREE)

Child: Everyone.................I mean just S.................I mean, okay, just C. and dad...............Wait, no.................I mean...............what was the question again?

Me: Okay. So, I am checking mom and dad. How much money do you have?

Child: Let me check...............no, wait............................well, mom, what coin is this? No, I know. It's a quarter....................let's see............................I have $5.00...................wait.............no. What's this mom? Mom, can you just count it for me?

So, you get the picture. It took a good....................eight hours to fill out the forms. But, I was totally cool with it because, afterall, it's encouraging kindness and generousity, right?

Fast forward to today. My sweet baby girl comes home smiling like she ate a cheshire cat (or whatever the saying is). She calmly tells me she bought me and daddy a present. (Still smiling like her face is stuck that way.) So, I tell her, "That's great, baby. Now, it's a secret so go put it somewhere where mommy doesn't go in this house." Um, like where is that?????????????

Time passes. We do homework, play, eat dinner, take baths, etc. Then she comes hopping downstairs telling me she needs to talk to me. Okay, I say. About what? She wants to talk about dad's present. Do I want to know what it is? Now, I am really, really bad about keeping things the kids say away from dad, so immediately I say, "NO, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU BOUGHT DAD." To which she says, "I think I should tell you, mom because I just realized it says, 'grandpa' on it."

Say what???

Before she said this I felt the strange urge to giggle, but after she said that I flat out wanted to bust a gut. But, I calmly said, "It says what, baby?" She says (a little more frantically), "It says 'grandpa' mommy, but only in one place and it's really small. I think I should show it to you, mom." And I must say at this point I am intrigued. I totally want to see this Grandpa Gift now. And I am laughing (inside) a little more now.

So, she brings down this pen. It's got this cute little tassle on it. Every time you click the pen different messages pop up in this pen window on the side of the pen. So, she hands me the pen and I start to click. Now, I must say as soon as I saw the tassle I was pretty far gone on the side of not being quite able to contain my laughter. Bad Mommy, Bad Mommy.

But, when I clicked the pen a good 10 times I was flat out belly laughing. Because there were the messages: I love you grandpa, World's Best Grandpa, #1 Grandpa, etc., etc.

Sadly, she is looking more and more discouraged as I am clicking and belly laughing. I manage to say (through tears at this point), "Baby, did you get this for dad or grandpa and was there an adult helping you?" thinking 'because if there was......mommy is going to kill them.' She says, "I got it for dad, but now that I am reading it I think I should give it to grandpa. Mom, are you laughing at me?"

At this point I squeeze her very tightly and hold her close. "No, baby, I am not laughing at you. I am happy because there is more kindness and generousity in your heart than all of Santa's workshop. And, furthermore, I think daddy or grandpa would love this clicking pen so much."

Luckily her tons of hair muffled my still laughing voice. I told her she could think about what she wanted to do and we could find an equally fabulous gift for dad, OR we could just give it to dad and he would LOVE it. She smiled and said she felt much better and wasn't it a darn cute pen. Everyone went to bed happy.

As soon as everyone was tucked in bed, I immediately told her dad the whole story and we both had a belly laugh.

All in all this was a fabulous first day of December. My heart is full of kindness and generousity. Thank you, PTA. Who knew you could be so funny?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I am Thankful For 2010...

1. I am thankful that you will forgive the juvenile title of this late reoccurring post. ;o) AND I am thankful for you sweet Readers of my Posts - that you fuel my WriterWannabe fire.


2. I am thankful for my health and the health of those I love.


3. I am thankful for my family. My kids. I love them through and through (even though they drive me NUTS), my siblings (and I so want to do a sublist here, but as they strapped me with hosting t-day - I CAN'T - JUST KIDDING!!!), my dad - sublist:


a. my dad is an infinite example to me on how to live life and not fear death.
b. he has exhibited grace, love, and fortitude beyond measure upon losing the love of his life and half of his soul.
c. he is darn funny which is sometimes all we have in this world.
d. he somehow supported TEN (count 'em) children in this crazy life, loved us all, and we all managed to come out okay (well most of us - JUST KIDDING!).
e. he taught me (along with my mom) how to love unconditionally. I am not saying by any means that I have mastered this, but he has been an overwhelming example to me.


4. I am thankful for delicious and yummy food and that I don't have to think about how I am going to get my next meal (well, most days ;o).


5. I am thankful that I live in a house and not under a bridge somewhere.


6. I am thankful for my husband.


7. I am thankful for great friends. Truly I feel blessed by my friends. I live in an awesome neighborhood and have met some top notch ladies.


8. I am thankful for the simple things: a great cup-of-joe, a stinky kiss from one of my motley crew, a letter from a friend, forgiveness when I don't really deserve it, a clean kitchen, a gorgeous day, and a great book.

That's my list peeps. Almost didn't make my last-day-of-November deadline...until December..........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tips to Enjoy Your Holiday Food (while drinking)

It's time for my annual post about How To Indulge the Holidays - Through Food and Drink. This is the anti-How To Avoid the Holiday Bulge which is a common article you will find just about anywhere this time of year. It came out in my paper today and frankly, some parts (which I will quote so that you too can enjoy them) just made me laugh out loud.

So, if you are not familiar with this reoccurring post it's basically just a list of how to enjoy the holiday food and not really worry about your waistline (or as I like to say - your who?).

1. DO NOT eat before the party to "save calories." That is plumb crazy on a lot of different levels. First of all, it's rude. These people have presumably invited you to their party because they like you and they want to cook for you. So, EAT IT. EAT LOTS OF IT. It will make you and them HAPPY. In fact, a rule I like to follow is - starve yourself (and your kids if you have 'em) for a good long while BEFORE the party so that when you get there your whole family is starving and everything tastes good. No need to hope your hostess is an excellent cook because it will all taste great if you are starving. ;o) I also like to tell my kids - THIS IS DINNER (or lunch or breakfast - depending on the time of the party) SO YOU BETTER EAT. MOMMA IS NOT COOKING WHEN WE GET HOME. This usually assures that my crew eats till there is nothing else to eat.

2. DO NOT forgo drink in order to save calories (or really for any reason). The holidays were made for great little cocktails (and of course, plain old beer - my personal favorite) that might not come around for ANOTHER YEAR. So, ENJOY THEM. Who cares how many calories they have? And, for goodness sake, they DO make you eat more and not notice it. THAT'S half the fun!!! Hello!!! I can drink three cute little cocktails and then I could care less what I eat...................no brainer AND it makes the so-so cook look fabulous so we all come out winners.

3. When you are at a holiday party situate yourself CLOSE to the food and drink so as to conserve energy and time. If you can pull up a chair RIGHT up to the food table without being too conspicuous - DO IT. Believe me, you will be the center of attention and life of the party (if you do it right ;o). This guarantees that you get to taste all the new stuff (because I really hate it when I am feeling a little full - or sick because of too many cute cocktails and then the hostess puts something I need to try on the table) and that you can continue to get the know-it's-great-already stuff.

4. Keep your hands free. Now, I am going to quote from the San Antonio Express News right now because this tip is so utterly ridiculous. Here goes, "Carry a clutch bag in one hand and a glass of sparkling water or a camera in the other, and you'll limit your chances of unconsciously snacking on party fare." Seriously???? What planet are you from? Are you the Grinch? Let's break this apart (sublist) just so we are clear on what needs to happen:

a. Clutch??? You need a BIG BAG for parties in case there are some yummy left-overs that you need to take home (or a bottle of wine you feel no one is going to drink). So, before heading out grab the biggest fanciest bag you can find. And then PUT IT ON YOUR SHOULDER FOR SOME HANDS FREE EATING.
b. GLASS OF SPARKLING WATER. Seriously? Save that for the gym............................in January. The only thing in your hand (or better yet - your hubby's hand) should be a cute little Christmas cocktail or a yummy flavored beer.
c. CAMERA? Believe me if you have as much fun as I usually have - you won't NEED a camera. The pictures will be posted the next day on Facebook for the whole world to see.
d. UNCONSCIOUSLY SNACKING ON PARTY FARE? My best snacking is ALWAYS UNCONSCIOUS.

5. Do not EVER stop to wonder what is in something or how many calories it has. Believe me there will be plenty of time for that when you write your New Year's Resolutions. So, here's the second UTTERLY hilarious thing I read, "Need more help navigating that table of temptation, aka the buffet? Just go to Calorieking.com/mobile, type in the treat that 's threatening your willpower and click "go." Sheesh. Way to kill the moment, people. Here's my tip if you want to click "go:" RESIST the temptation because in the time it takes to click "go" you can pop that sweet little morsel in your mouth and be done with it. And if that doesn't work, call me. I will be more than happy to help you "navigate" any party buffet table. I look darn good with a big, fancy bag, too.

6. Forego exercise this time of year. Because what's the point? Like I think that 45 minutes in the morning is really going to matter when I've stuffed my face for seven days straight?

7. Remember "There's Always Tomorrow." Don't get down on yourself because you couldn't taste everything or you didn't order the cutest little Christmas drink. There's always another party. Trust me on this one. The holiday season started seven days before Halloween (or whenever you broke open your candy that was supposed to be for the trick-or-treaters) and technically it doesn't end until my birthday, so you have PLENTY of time to enjoy everything.

I could probably think of more, but I have to end somewhere and I am frightened for all the people that read today's paper so I feel compelled to get this out there. ;o)

Happy eating my friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So, it's officially the Holiday Season. Or it is if you watch TV or get the newspaper, or come out of your house at all. If you are strictly following an American Calendar, then you still might have a ways to go. But, by all other measures - BEWARE CHRISTMAS IS UPON US. I saw my first Kay Jewelers Christmas commercial the day after Halloween and the Christmas flyers have been coming to our house long enough for my kids to now be making their 2011 Christmas lists.

Now if there is one thing I notice about the holiday season it is people's attitudes. So, today I have decided to totally switch gears (I already had planned what I wanted to write about) and post a tribute to people who have great attitudes during this season.

The holidays bring out a mixed bunch of emotions in people. Lots of people get depressed, lots of people get stressed out, lots of people just like to do what they always do, and then there are those people who just have great attitudes and they spread that love around everywhere they go. So, today I am going to tell you about a few of those Regular Joes who have ALREADY made my Holiday Season 2010 a great one.

1. The customer who told me when I screwed up her order (and she said this calmly and politely after I had apologized profusely), "Really, it's not a big deal. This time of year is crazy for everyone." I want to give her a huge fist bump and two thumbs up. She is Santa come down the chimney to give me the gift of grace. Thank you, dear customer for being so forgiving.

2. The checker at HEB on Friday when there was a line about two miles long and she had a broken arm and the person in front of me used like 5000 coupons much to the dismay of all the people waiting in line. Now, I was pretty calm, but let me tell you when this person pulled out their little pouch of neatly organized and alphabetized coupons I thought everyone in the line was going to die. The collective groan of impatience could probably be heard at the North Pole. And do you know what this sweet all-of-16-year-old checker did? She smiled sweetly and began to enter those coupons. My hats off to you sweet checker. Way to have the Christmas spirit of patience.

3. My wonderful people at the place I make copies. You would think they would get grumpier as the Christmas season bears down on them - because they are always working diligently when I go in there (and even more so around the holidays), but they might actually get happier. No matter how busy they are, they take the time to greet me and talk to me and act like I am their only customer. It's really comforting and if I am feeling grumpy (I know, not me, right?) it always makes me feel better. Thank you copy people for putting on a smile even when you might not feel like it.

4. Okay, I am grumpy and a scrooge by nature so I can only handle so much of this warm fuzzy love stuff. And I don't want to make anyone toss their cookies (even if they are holiday cookies). So, I will make one more shout out and then I will just have to stop. And, if you know me at all you will know that this is a strange one. The last person that has made my holiday season pleasant already is my husband. I know. Shocker, right? I told you it was a strange one.

My busiest season with work is that time leading up to all the holidays. I go into my "work hole" sometime in mid-September and I don't really emerge (as a human) until Christmas vacation. This year my husband has really put in a hand to help me out. And I have made a sub-list (oh, Gosh I love those!) just for him. So, E. if you read this know that you are Really Special.

a. He has put up with my raging mood swings by calmly encouraging me to drink. Thanks, babe. Sometime the rest of the beer (when the first part has gone into the fried fish batter) is really all I need. ;o)

b. He has taken the kids away from me on multiple occasions so that I can work. And, then he has managed to keep his mouth shut when I really didn't work, but blogged. ;o) Ooops.

c. He has put away perishables after dinner. Say what??? Hold the phone. I know, right? That's crazy nuts. This is a man who knows his way around the kitchen - cooking that is - but can't manage to put anything back. For some crazy reason, 2010 is the year he has mastered the art of Putting Away the Perishables. Thanks, babe for learning a new trick!

d. He took me away from my kids right before the busy season started because he knew it might help keep my sanity. Well, maybe that's not why he did it. But, guess what. It was his idea. AND it worked. So, fair or not he gets the credit. ;o)

5. He calmly and patiently puts up with me when I have melt downs such as the one I had last night while "balancing" the checkbook. (And just know that I use that term "balancing" very loosely as it is impossible to balance something that is hopelessly weighted on the side of - YOU IS POOR). And when I say "puts up with me" sometimes that just means he ignores me all together. And, for us - that works!!!

6. He has done all this while putting up with a woman (that would be me) who is "of a certain age" where (and know that I am the Queen of Modesty here, so this is a bit touchy) let's just say - things is beginning to get a little warm. And if you don't understand that - don't worry. You are probably not of that certain age yet. And, if you did get it, well you know how challenging that can be sometimes. ;o)

Okay, I'm done. Whew. Not as painful as I thought to be nice. That's my shout out and I'm sticking to it. Have a great Start of Your Thanksgiving Week, peeps and try to have a little Great Attitude while you are at it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

365 Days

Grief is funny in that it can spring up on you when you least expect it. It lives slightly under the surface of your heart.................for a long time.

It is a gorgeous fall day. Clean, cold, crisp air. The sun holds promise and encouragement for the day. I am driving and my mind is occupied fully with the tasks of the day. I am feeling accomplished because I am on schedule. The radio is blaring out my favorite songs. I have no thoughts that are sad.

Suddenly and without warning two thoughts enter my head. "Kill 'em with kindness." and "It is better to catch bees with honey than with vinegar."

I almost veer off the road. I am dumbfounded with these thoughts. I cannot imagine why I would think them. Why they would pop into my head. Then just as suddenly as I can't know..........I know. These are my mother's sayings. Somehow she has put these thoughts in my head. Before I know what is happening I am having to blink back tears in order to stay on the road. My chest is heaving violently with sobs. I am both shocked and surprised at what is happening. My mother is riding shot-gun and This Is Day 363.

I must continue driving and I struggle to think of other things. But I can't. I physically can't. My mind goes back to last year at this time and again I am driving. It is the morning of the day that my mother died. But, of course, I do not know this then. If only I had known. The day is just like this day. It holds so much promise. I am exhausted from spending time at the hospital with our baby. But, things are looking up. Things do not look up. Later I will be mentally and physically crushed with the news that my mother has died.

In my mind I fast forward to getting this knowledge. It is through a phone call. This cannot be avoided. I don't even remember the exact words, but I remember willing him not to say the words. I distinctly remember thinking, "Do not say she is dead. She will not be dead to me if you do not say it." And then, he said it.

I have a desperate desire to stroke your cheek. To be embraced like only you can embrace. An embrace that says, "You are all I need." But without any words. I desire to sit with you. Me on the couch. You in your rocking chair. And we do not talk. There is no need for words.

As I am thinking these thoughts I am still driving. The thought passes through my head that I do not want to wreck. I must maintain my composure. Grief is funny like that. It can swim up to the surface of your heart quickly and it will give you no warning. It will take over your body so that you have no will.

I get to my destination and I pull down the visor to check for damage. The damage is extensive. I look like grief. I am aware that I look like someone who has just learned that her mother has died.

This morning I awoke from a deep sleep. I checked the clock. It was 2:39. After doing this the first thought I had was you. I was aware that this was the day that you died. My body was immediately racked with sobs that I could not control. I called out to you to stop this. And you said one word to me. "Cry."

The funny thing about grief is that this is Day 365. And it feels just like Day One.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today I am Thankful for Blogs

And if YOU are reading this, you can be thankful today, too. It was a toss up between the following for a writing topic today: hot flashes, mom, fire safety, and blogs. Blogs won. So, count 'yer blessings.

Sidenote: I am not doing that whole Thirty Days of Being Thankful thing because I believe we should be thankful all days of the year (I can hear a collective Awww!). Just like we should recognize and be thankful to Hispanics all year not just during National Hispanic Month.

I am a pretty serious reader. Now, unlike several of my sisters, my good friend S., and some other people I know I don't read 1000 books a week. I have a short attention span, so I prefer to read short things like the newspaper (in short article chunks), signs, papers that come home from school needing my attention and the like. But, I do love my actual books. It just takes me a good while to get through them. I have read some great ones lately, but that will have to be another post.

My love of reading has brought me gradually to blogs. After a rocky start, I have grown to love them and may be addicted to them. When blogging first started (yes, I am THAT old, people) I thought, wow what a shameless way for the me-generation to flaunt themselves and I was basically not interested. Then, my great friend over at http://cyberbones.blogspot.com/ painstakingly introduced me to her blog.

Now, I will digress for a minute here to tell you two things that have to do with Cyberbones. 1. This great friend has four kids, so she has introduced me to many, many things I did not know the first thing about. To name a few: allrecipes.com, sibling rivalry, post-partum depression, the joys of all kinds of coffee, gnocchi, etc. So, I will take this time to tell you - Cyberbones, I love you. 2. My mother was a faithful reader of my blog (and mama if you still read my blog from your heaven - I love, love, love you for that) and one day I was telling mama about something on Cyberbones' blog that was amazing (take your pick - can't remember specifically what) and mama said - I know I read it. I was like, huh? Mom in her amazing over 80 years had figured out (I didn't even know this - dangit) how to look up what other people are reading. Is that amazing??? Mama - I love you.

So..............fast forward a few years and I realized that blogging is a whole different breed. After becoming pretty avid about reading Cyberbones' blog, I eventually had to START my own blog. As you know, I wanted to be several things in life. Here's the short list: famous writer, decorated cop promoted to head detective (in a big city, not shot in the line of duty), restaurant reviewer, lawyer. So, to have people actually read what I am writing (and not because they have to - like I email them a "high priority" email, or tape a note to their chest) and comment on it???? That's like heaven. I am now pretty addicted to my blog and write everyday in it. Not a lot gets "published," but I have found I like it.

AND I love reading other people's blogs which at first I thought was.............NUTS. I am a little crazy about it. When I have time (not feeding six people, doing their laundry, cleaning up after them, otherwise tending to them, or working on that high stack of prints over there) I have been known to sit and read blogs for hours. So, (and I know that was a LONG WINDED introduction) today is a shout out to JUST A FEW noteworthy blogs and why I like them.

Cyberbones - this woman is who I would like to be when I grow up. She is a fabulous cook and baker, she has four kids who are well-rounded, she is world traveled, she reads like a 1000 books a week, and she blogs (almost daily) from Malawi, Africa. I learn things I didn't know from reading her blog and I have the extra bonus of her being my friend, so it feels like she's in my kitchen drinking coffee and I am getting the daily scoop.

http://pettijohns.blogspot.com/- this gal is just a great writer. She has a positive outlook on life, kids, and marriage and an old scrooge like me needs a dose of that every once in a while. Plus, she's dang funny and I can always use a laugh.

http://devonpondjumps.blogspot.com/- this lady is also a fabulous writer. And she's a young 'un. Boo! If I had just an ounce of her writing ability at my age I would hope I'd be famous. I am sure she will be famous soon and I can say I read her blog when............

The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan - okay he IS famous, but I do read a few famous blogs (famous in that they write for newspapers and such). I want to be Andrew Sullivan. Okay, so he's a gay man, but you know what I mean. He blogs, what like 32 POSTS A DAY??? I like to read his blog because it's kind of like reading NPR (which I am also addicted to - thank you, S.).

These are just a FEW SAMPLINGS of what I am reading nowadays. There are a few that request to remain private and that's cool. Know you're on my list and that I love your blogs, too. There are a few that suffer (as mine does a good part of the year) from regular updates. But, know that I am always waiting to read a good update. When a person that I don't know comments on my blog I go and check out theirs. So, B. if you read this - thanks again! Hope we can share reading!

So, that's my post. Thanks for blogging! If you have great blogs - send 'em my way. I am always up for another good read.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time Warner, I think I love you.

So, weeks and weeks will go by and frankly I have nothing worthy of the written page. THEN scarcely minutes will go by and I feel like I might be able to write a novel (I'm not saying it would make any sense or that anyone would read it, but I could write it. I like to think - at these times - "Write it and they will come." ;o). So, now is one of the "I have so many things to write and not enough time" times.

If you read my blog you know that I am a SUCKER for GREAT customer service. I fill out all those cards that say, "Tell us about your service today..." I have been known to call a supervisor or two. AND I MIGHT have a big mouth. I can toot some horn (and when I said that out loud to my soon-to-be-nine-year-old yesterday he said, "Does that mean do an air biscuit, mom?").

So, it's been a while since my whole AT&T personal scandal and I've had a lot of other things to think about. I won't say I've forgotten them (because after you've gone through something like that with someone - how can they ever be far away in spirit?), but I am not constantly thinking about them. So, WHO calls yesterday??? TIME WARNER - that's who!

Hold the phone. It's who??? It's "Kip from Time Warner." (Yes, I did refrain from asking him about his name.)

Kip - Could I speak to a Mr. E.D.?

Me - Ah, he's not home right now.

Kip - Well, is this The Woman Who Makes Decisions About Your Home Cable and Internet Service? A Ms. M.D.?

Me - Um. Yeah. I think so.

Kip - Well, good afternoon, M.D. How are you today?

Me - Fine?

Kip - Listen, Ms. M.D. I am sorry to bother you this afternoon, and if this is not a good time please let me know so that we can set up another appointment to talk when you are more available.

Me - silent.

Kip - Is this a good time for you, Ms. M.D.?

Me - (silently thinking) Kip, I think I love you. First you are calling me Ms. and I think you might be 18? Second you are asking me if this is a good time for me? What planet are you from, Kip? Are there only work from home mothers of four that live on that planet because you have the inside scoop.

Me - Yes, Kip. I think this is a good time for me. (Baby screaming and possibly playing with knives in the background.)

Kip - Okay. Well, you just let me know if I need to call you back another time. And, before I forget let me give you my cell number in case that happens. Now, you won't need to go through customer service because we want your business and we know how time consuming that can be. (Kip proceeds to give me his cell number while I clear the counter looking for a pen and something to write on that is not the now cleaned off counter because let me tell you he HAS MY ATTENTION). Now, Ms. M.D. I see from my records that you experienced a problem with your current server a while back and you wanted to connect to Time Warner, and then for some reason you cancelled your initialization. So, what I would like to talk to you about today is how we can make Time Warner the company for you................................

And what ensued was Kip trying to make me a deal so sweet I couldn't refuse.

Hello. WHO TRAINED KIP??? Because AT&T and all other companies TAKE NOTE. He had an answer for every question I asked him. He was informed, but not pushy. He respected my time and plugged his ears while baby screamed through the phone. He laughed politely when I said, "No baby you cannot go outside without mama." He gave me a call back number so that I wouldn't have to spend five hours going through customer service. He knew his stuff and knew what I was currently paying AT&T (Wait, is this Facebook?). AND, (yes, people, he could teach the customer service class) he listened to me.

Kip, someone needs to promote you. And fast. YOU could put AT&T OUT OF BUSINESS. You could shut them down - and probably single-handedly. If Reggie switched sides and joined you, there's no tellin' what you guys might do. Today I am going to find your supervisor and tell him about you.

Time Warner - I am not sure I am ready to switch yet, but I think I love you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving menu updates - one week one day

and counting.

Add to the menu:

http://onecharmingparty.com/2010/11/02/the-kids-table-paper-bag-turkey/

Thank you, M.G. for sharing this culinary delight.

AND

several dozen home made tamales made by one M.C. Thank you, M.C. Not only do you keep my house clean like only you can, you are about to assist in keeping my family fed.

Reinstated after a brief loss of status

Well, I am back. Facebook has reinstated my account. Not really. They never really got around to reinstating me. I am just "back."

After being disabled from my Facebook account early yesterday morning, I spent some part of the day trying to recover lost information that could only be accessed via Facebook. Thank you friends for helping me out on that (you know who you are). Another example of how Facebook sucks your time. JUST KIDDING. I LOVE YOU, FACEBOOK. PLEASE DON'T DISABLE ME AGAIN. Not to mention the time I spent yesterday being pissy wondering how I had violated their Rules and Regulations. Thank you, friends again for your loving collective senses of humor. That was enough to keep me smiling through much of the day.

This morning I got an email from Facebook saying that they had denied my request for appeal. "Attemps to impersonate others" are serious violations and my request is "DENIED." Say what? Say who??? So, I promptly emailed them and told them that not only was I not knowingly in violation of any of their Rules and Regulations, I had misunderstood the appeal process and was now ready to email my PHOTO ID (Social Security number, bank accounts, and blood of my firstborn if necessary) could they give me another opportunity??? PLEASE??? Facebook promptly emailed back and told me that no account for this email had been disabled.

SAY WHAT? SAY WHO??? WHO IS RUNNING THIS CIRCUS???

I'm back in??? Yes. I am back "in." Well, hallelujah. Facebook looks just the same as it did 24 hours ago. Hmm. So, I am left to wonder today...........hacked? A misinterpreted attempt at an impersonation of another Monica DeLaCruz? A Facebook scam to get my photo ID? Don't know. Just know that I am back. With a vengeance. ;o) And I AM sharing this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SAY WHAT??? Facebook WHO???

So, I have barely had a whole cup of joe this morning and I stumble onto the computer after getting the kiddos on to the bus and I login into Facebook. I do this to see what my friends and family are up to this Tuesday morning and to also report to them what I am up to. And, lo and behold, I get an ominous message saying my ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DISABLED and to "click here" to find out more information. Say what? Okay, so I "click here," and find that I have violated the terms of my agreement with Facebook. Say who? Did I say I hadn't yet had a full cup of COFFEE??? "Click here" they tell me if you want to read through our 1000 pages of what you agreed to when you signed up for Facebook to waste hours and hours of your life (but, fill it with oh so much joy, too).

Hmm. So, after skimming through pages and pages of what I have agreed to.......................I am completely baffled. I have somehow in my innocuous posts violated the terms of this "agreement?" Apparently so. AND, depending on the severity of my violation - I may NEVER be able to access a Facebook account again. Leading to a life of social shunning and stunting, not to mention complete abandonment by my kids.

BUT, have no fear. I have filed a request for review (which may take "time" to do and will be processed in order of receipt - Thank you, Facebook - THAT'S reassuring). I would "share" this, but sorry "friends" I can't.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November what???

Wow. Have you checked the calendar lately? Thanksgiving is fast approaching.

It is not that I am not thankful. I am. But, since I have kind of given up meat Thanksgiving is not holding any charm for me this year. Before I kind of stopped eating meat I really never liked turkey. In fact, I pretty much disliked it. I ate the obligatory piece on Thanksgiving and pretended (or not) to enjoy it. But, this year I don't even think I can manage that. So, I would love to have you all tell me what you will be having this Thanksgiving and I hope that somehow this will work out the remaining menu kinks that I am having.

Here's my menu, a few side notes, and one major discrepancy. See what you can do to help me out. ;o)

Sweet Potato Casserole

My family loves sweet potatoes, so we especially love them in any kind of a casserole. And Thanksgiving is such a great excuse to eat them. Lots of them. And I am not talking about those canned sweet potatoes (what are those anyway?). I am talking some real out-of-the-ground potatoes. Yummy!

Mashed Potatoes

Now my husband is the master of mashed potatoes. He can cook some mashed potatoes that taste just like heaven. I am sure they have about 8000 calories per serving, but we rarely have them, so WHO CARES?

Some kind of Green Vegetable

And this is for my mom. Yes, she's dead, but I know she will be looking down on us on Thanksgiving and smiling because we will have one green thing on the table.

Stuffing of some sort

Stuffing is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving (besides that whole being Thankful part). Serve me up a whole plate of stuffing and frankly I don't need anything else. But, my family tends to be traditional when it comes to this. I like to try different things in stuffing - oysters, seafood of any kind, spinach, nuts, fruits. My family pretty much just likes bread cut up into cubes. Yuck. So, I am still up in the air on this one. Feel free to give me some ideas.

Some sort of cranberry sauce

I also love me some cranberry sauce. But, cranberries not so much. So, this kind of requires me to get that way fake stuff that comes straight out of the can. I am hoping to alter tradition this year on this one. If you have an amazing cranberry sauce that everyone loves (and doesn't require a trip to any specialty store or take longer than an hour to make) - please share.

Some sort of healthy rolls

Yeah. I said healthy. My husband LOVES Brown and Serve. Which are what? Lots of preservatives cooked for 8 to 10 minutes, loaded with fake butter and consumed? Hmm. We may have to veer from tradition again on this one. I can NOT bake rolls and I have no desire to learn how. So, there will be no MAKING healthy rolls. There will be finding some healthy rolls and buying them.

Some sort of dessert

See I am not a huge fan of pumpkin. And "pecan", well....................let's just say - it's not chocolate. So, every Thanksgiving I try to work some chocolate in there somehow. My husband is a huge fan of pumpkin and pecan, so I am usually vetoed on this matter. This year may be the year for chocolate. If you have some awesome Thanksgiving desserts that satisfy the traditionalists and the non-traditionalists - let me know!!!

Well, that's about it so far. Anything missing? Well, yeah as a matter of fact.................THE TURKEY. Still haven't figured that one out. I don't think I can break down and buy a turkey, but I am not sure I can break down and NOT buy a turkey either. My family thinks we are having exactly what we had for Thanksgiving last year, so I am kind of out on a limb right now. I am hoping to have this all figured out by....................Thanksgiving. So again, if you have any ideas that will solve my problems - let me know. I'll check in again soon with a menu update. Or, if not you can find me at a different address after Thanksgiving. ;o)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A quick check-in...

thankfully not to rehab although I might belong there. Rehabilitation from complete exhaustion, that is. This is a quick check in to tell you all that Halloween was FABULOUS. And I hope you all had a fab one as well. I will post pictures soon. Hehehehehehe! You know that's a lie. I will not post pictures soon or ever because it is a painful process for me. But, imagine the devil, a blue-haired gal, a witch, an insane person (that shouldn't be a stretch for most of my readers ;o), an angel, and a dad who doesn't do Halloween with a costume and you got us!

I am going to check out again for a while. Too many prints and workers will be here shortly to fill my life with happiness, chaos, and humor. So, have a great beginning of November, my friends. And I will be back later when some of the chaos has subsided. :o)))

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Red Ribbon Week Drove Mom to Drink

October 24-29! National Red Ribbon Week! Just say no! Say NO to drugs! Make up a slogan (that has little to do with drugs and most of the kids can't remember) for your school for every day this week to show you have school spirit because school spirit helps you say no to drugs! So, that last one is a stretch, but hopefully all of this red ribbon %$*# has been painstakingly researched, so we know it works and really helps keep kids off drugs. AND - sometimes it is a stretch to say no to drugs, right?

Monday - WE ARE 'RED' Y TO SAY NO TO DRUGS! (Wear red to school)

Okay. Perfect. We all have red shirts. Not too obscure. Thank you, Principal and Very Important Team that makes all official Red Ribbon decisions (is that the Department of National Security?)

Tuesday - now here's where it starts to get tricky so pay attention - STAY IN THE GAME - BE DRUG FREE. Okay, no mind that I ABHOR sports of all kinds, and that when I read that all sorts of lewd things come to mind. Need I name a few? Tiger Woods? Brett Fabre? Michael Vick? Most of the Dallas Cowboys? Oh, but wait. They didn't do drugs, right? And, what game are we talking about? Baseball? But, I take the high road (I know you are surprised.) So, okay, you want my kids to STAY IN THE GAME!!! All right. I guess I'm okay with that. WEAR YOUR FAVORITE TEAM SHIRT.

And here's where the whining and fighting begins. We own one team shirt and I am pretty sure someone gave it to us. It belongs to the boy child. So, it follows that he would wear it. Except for the small fact that his younger sister wakes up moaning, whining, kicking and generally complaining that she cannot go to school without a team shirt because they are awarded points if they participate.

WHAT??? And, I will refrain from seriously veering of course here. So, the teachers award points for participating? Am I awarded points in life for not doing drugs? Okay, so maybe I am. So, I will not speak to this issue.

So, I calmly, patiently, and lovingly explain (at 6:15 a.m.) to my sweet girl that it's OKAY. You can not participate for one day because team shirts cost like one million dollars and mommy hates sports and is not going to go out and buy one just so you can NOT DO DRUGS!!!!!!!!!!!! Girl child, "BUT MOMMY EVERYONE WILL MAKE FUN OF ME LIKE THEY MADE FUN OF JORDAN (his name was changed to protect him) WHEN HE DIDN'T WEAR RED YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!"

What followed was too detailed to explain so I will summarize for you: I explained we do not make fun of others, we are strong inside ourselves to withstand teasing, we befriend children who are being ridiculed for not participating, we do not spend money uselessly on stupid T-shirts that we don't even like just to 'fit in,' we do not condone drug use in national sports, and this is supposed to be FUN for Pete's sake, AND EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the while thinking, "WHAT IS THIS FOR??? So we can NOT DO DRUGS???"

She still did not understand. That is when her dear sweet dad came down from getting ready for work and explained it again. Then she understood. Kind of. They got out the door. Boy child wore his BMX jersey (the only sport we do in this house), girl child wore her brother's team shirt, and the baby girl child wore normal clothes and just tried not to do drugs for this one day.

Are we all still happy and ready NOT TO DO DRUGS?

Wednesday - SAY PEACE OUT TO DRUGS - Wear your tie-dye shirts or peace symbols.

So, there must be some really young teachers because - DO THEY REMEMBER THE 70's??????? But, again, I am being supportive and keep my mouth shut.

Again, what ensued this morning was too detailed to express word for word so here's a synopsis:

S. - I need a tie-dye shirt and something with a peace symbol. Okay, mom? So, can I wear this? But, the shirt is not too tie-dyed and the leggings don't match. So, MOM - WHAT SHOULD I WEAR???

My supportive husband to my son (who has chosen to wear one of his sister's yellow tie-dyed shirts with bright orange shorts) - BOY, you look like a school bus. I thought this was Red Ribbon Week. What the heck are you wearin'? Is that gonna help you not do drugs???

Thank you, supportive husband.

C. (the other school aged girl) - I DON'T HAVE ANY LEGGINGS S. TOOK THEM AWAY FROM ME.

This is all interspersed with random crying, whining, and moaning.

They all finally got out the door...............looking seriously like hippie children who do drugs. And I popped open a beer as soon as they were out the door.

Just kidding.

Almost. ;o) Two more days to go and I will try to stay drug free for them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'll take a slab of meat with that salad, thank you

So, if you know me - you know that I make no bones about not being a good cook. Let it be said loud and clear - "I AM NOT A COOK." A self-professed hopeless foodie - yes. Cook - no. But, like a lot of things I am not good at - I have been forced into the job. It has taken me about............18 years...............to fall into what I will call a "comfortable zone" with cooking. Basically I am married to a man who works full-time and likes to eat and I have four kids who also like to eat (damn them all). So, I have learned over the course of 20 years to cook things that people will eat. About 19 years into my marriage and at least three kids later I had mastered the art of menu planning, shopping for five or six, cooking, and thankfully having most of the people at the table eat and like what they were eating. AND I could vary this up somewhat about 15 times so that we were not eating the same thing every day.

We were rockin' along nicely when my husband wanted me and him to watch this movie. Enter the movie: Food, Inc.

Now, if you have not seen the movie (or you have) - have no fear. This post is not an ad for this movie. Suffice it to say, though, that this movie has changed the way I view food and the way I cook.

So, (or so what? you might be thinking) what happens when you are the cook for six people and you see something that changes the way you view food and cook??? Other people in your house will be forced to change. That's what happens. And sometimes this change will be painful.

I could go on and on with this post and I must admit before I started writing I hadn't given an outline much of a thought - so bear with me - this is probably going to be haphazard and strange - MUCH LIKE WHAT WE'VE BEEN EATING SINCE APRIL.

Since I have so much to say on this subject of - what was the subject? - oh, yeah - food - I have developed what I do best - A LIST!!!

So, here it goes. Here is my Food, List. Get it? Food, Inc.? Food, List. Ha! Hey - I told you there was not a lot of thought put into this. ;o)


FOOD LIST - or RANDOM THOUGHTS ON FOOD

1. Vegetarians are damn skinny because THERE IS NOTHING TO EAT.

2. I can no longer eat fast food. And I mean this quite literally. Before I watched the movie I knew what was in fast food - but still I managed to force it down. Now, not so. I went through the Burger King drive through the other day and I just couldn't purchase anything. So, then I bought a fast food salad and worried for a week that I was going to die of salmonella.

3. My one kid who is a tried and true carnivore hates me.

4. All babies who have started on "food" may be vegetarians. Which has lead me to question many things. Are we born to be vegetarians?

5. I don't have time to research new recipes that don't include meat. So, when I am feeling lazy (that being most of the time) I just make the meat recipes with no meat. This is problematic when the main ingredient of the recipe is...........................MEAT.

6. I have mastered about 5 meatless recipes that my family will eat. So, basically we have no variety. We eat the same things over and over and over. This makes no one happy.

7. Meat that comes from a FARM (imagine that???) and has been environmentally and humanely processed tastes different. I always thought that was hogwash (hehehehehehe), but now I am a believer.

8. My tiny carnivore has taken to researching where we can buy organic meat.

9. I am having trouble with preservatives. When you buy food with no preservatives........................IT GOES BAD.

10. It takes a while to not crave preservatives. Since I have been eating them for about 20 years I sometimes want to eat them again.

There's my list of random food thoughts. But, I would be remiss if I didn't leave you with a recipe. My sister that I love SO MUCH (yes, she reads my blog. no, this is not gratuitous kissing up) because she is so funny and also just because I love her sent me this GEM of a book. I love it so much and I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy she sent it to me. It is called, The All NEW Meatless Diet - copyright 1980 (so, not too new ;o). It was sold for 59 CENTS (how could they sell this for 59 CENTS when it is worth so much more??????????) and it says at the bottom, "Congratulations! On being willing to try an all NEW Diet Program." Gosh, I love that. Not only is it grammatically INCORRECT, how many times are you THANKED for trying a new diet program?????????? It comes complete with information on dieting, a two week diet plan, 32 recipes, weight loss diaries, and a calorie counter. But, wait - - - - IT FITS IN YOUR POCKET!!!!!!!! Okay, so I am going to leave you with a recipe from this little gem of a book that you will want to rush out and make for dinner tonight. AND your family will LOVE you. So, here it goes readers. You can thank me later. ;o) And, sissy - I LOVE YOU!

Peanut Butter Surprise (anything in italics - I have taken the liberty to add ;o)

4 cups shredded cabbage, cooked (wow, is that the surprise, because I am SURPRISED)
1/2 cup cottage cheese (whoa, another surprise - I would have never seen that coming)
1 tablespoon chunky-style peanut butter
2 tablespoons raisins (now, who would eat this, again?)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes (because everything is better with parsley)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (WOW - a creative pairing of spices, there)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice optional (well, thank goodness that's optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or more because you might want to burn the kitchen down after making this).
Place hot, steamed cabbage in a bowl and mix together with remaining ingredients. Spread in a baby loaf pan (believe me there is not a baby alive that will eat this - - even if they were born vegetarians) and bake for 15 minutes, or until firm.

This dish is on the dinner menus of pages 12 and 17. (SAY WHAT? There's a dinner to go with this??? For 59 CENTS???)

As my mother would say, "Bon appetite!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three kids and a two-year old

Well, apparently I was in some sort of lack-of-sleep induced haze when my older three went through the terrible-twos. Either that or we were so busy they didn't have time to wreak havoc. OR I had enough energy to beat the terrible-twos out of 'em. After giving this considerable thought, I think it was a combination of all three.

Now that I am virtually alone with this last two-year old, I am older than God, and I am pretty tired most of the time - we IS GOING THROUGH HELL. It happened about a week ago and apparently the terrible twos come on very similar to a hurricane. It is somewhat forecast (because they are one and then they are TWO), but then it is here and the weather people are telling you what to expect on a scale of 1-5, but they are somewhat unsure until it starts raining whether it's going to be a complete disaster, or just a little heavy rain.

From what we have now - baby L. is going to be a 5 on the going to hell in a hand basket scale (five being complete demise and destruction - "one" being just a little bad weather).

A week ago I could tell baby L. to "Go play with your toys," or "Put that there," or "Oh, you need - fill in the blank - okay wait one second and we'll get it." And she was FINE. Now, half my time is spent saying, "Do you need a time-out?" and the other half is spent assessing the damages, and the other half is spent (yes, I know) wondering how the hell this happened and just wanting to take a nap (away from her)?????

L. has adopted these unpleasant behaviors: working herself up into a frenzy over the craziest things (like wanting to eat when it is in fact dinner time and she's been told to 'get in her chair,' or wanting to go to school when it's not a school day, or someone actually wanting to play with her, or someone not wanting to play with her) and then lying down wherever she is (yesterday it was the Halloween Store) and kicking and screaming for anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes, throwing toys or books or her pacifier (yes, she uses one now), or her food, or her plate, talking gibberish (more than the usual), climbing on any furniture, screaming for no reason or any reason, and basically doing anything she can to get attention.

Now, frankly, I cannot remember what the parenting books say about this and I am not sure I care anymore. I have gotten rid of all the parenting books (being that I am an expert now - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! no because seriously sometimes they are just annoying) and I don't have the energy to do much about it. So, I am now wondering two things - what does this mean for now, and more importantly - what does this mean for later?????????????????

And in my usual vein of answering my own questions (with more questions) I have deduced the following: I was the last of 10 (yes, you read that right), my mom had me when she was 45 (she's passed on now and I am not telling you how old she was when she passed on, so don't even think about figuring out how old I am) and she must have been plumb exhausted raising me, and (here's the critical part) - I turned out mostly normal. I usually refrain from throwing fits (in public anyway), I don't throw things anymore (except when I am really, really mad), and for the most part I do what is expected of me.

So, my basic parenting strategy till baby L. is three? Do nothing and hope for the best, when there is damage, fix it, and try to keep the hurricane on the coast. Again, wish me luck, say a prayer, send those good vibes my way, and I will let you know how this is working later. Right now I need to scoop her up off the floor from where she is screaming and put her in her room. ;o) Tally-ho and have a great Monday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

338 Days

At first I am not sure if I am awake or asleep. I know that I have been lying in bed for quite some time. I am overwhelmed with at first what feels like questioning and doubt. I am questioning everything from the most trivial - what I have been told by a pediatrician, to the most important - the root of existence. This questioning continues so that I am sure I am awake and I am not sure I will ever be able to get back to sleep. Suddenly and powerfully, I miss mom. I want to talk to her to ask her these questions that I have. I know that she will not know the answers, but I know that she will quell my fears. She will calm me down. Just hearing her voice would make me no longer care about questioning or doubting. This longing to speak to my mom turns my doubt into deep sadness that seems to touch my soul and not have an end. Just as suddenly as I am missing mom, I am sobbing uncontrollably. My pillow is wet and I am unable to catch my breath. I try to picture my mom's face in the darkness of my room. But it is just out of reach. For some reason my thought is of my dad. It is his face I see with my eyes open and closed. And then as powerfully as I miss my mom I think of my dad and how much he must miss her. I am concentrating now on my dad and trying not to think of my mom. At first I am thinking of him and my mom. I find this so painful that it pierces my heart. So, I try to recall things we have shared together. I have many memories and I reach back into my childhood. This is neither comforting, nor uncomfortable. It just is. After what seems like only seconds, my thoughts come back to my mom and how much I miss her and need to talk to her about all of this. It occurs to me there in my bed that there are times when I just need my mom. No one else will do. No one else will be. So, strangely I call out her name in the night in the darkness of my room. But, it is not strange.

A few seconds pass in which I am not sure I am thinking anything. I roll over and thoughts come into my mind. Thoughts like what I will do tomorrow. Thoughts of my kids. Thoughts of waking up and it being a new day.

I do not realize until a few minutes later that this was my mom. Then it occurs to me. I called out her name and she answered me. A few more minutes pass and I am asleep dreaming of a new day. A day when there will be no more questions. No more need to talk to mom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank you, American Girl

And thank you, companies that sell information to other companies so that they can market products to young children during the Christmas season.

This is the dialogue (actually - not dialogue - more like commentary with me barely being able to mumble a few words of explanation) of my sweet little S. going through the American Girl catalog - which for some reason made it into our mailbox with my name on it.

Wow, mom these dolls are SOOOOOOOO cute. Where did you get this catalog, mom? Why did they put this in our mailbox? Do you think they wanted us to buy it? So, can we buy it? It's $95.00. Look, mom they even have GLASSES. Isn't that so cute? Can you believe it, mom? One has FRECKLES. One has a brush. You know the clippies they put in your hair at the barber? One has those. There are SKIS, mom. ARE YOU LISTENING??? I love this stuff. The outfit and charm are $28.00. Let me see how much these accessories are.......................looks like $35? So, I guess I want the ski stuff. But, I don't ski. There's even a spa day. Such cute things, mom. There's even a barber chair. Oh, wait is that a toilet or a barber chair? Oh MY GOSH?????!!!! Look at the kitchen!!!!!!!!! Look! There's even a Husky (I'm thinking - oh, that's diverse - a husky girl.). Do you know what a Husky is, mom? It's a PET!!! There's even a MINI-DOLL!!!!!! There's even a wheel chair and CRUTCHES. That's the Feel Better Kit, mom. There are earrings, mom. See, see?? This is the Freckle Girl, mom. See? She has a bed. Just her dog is $18. The quilt is $80. The nightgown is $25. There's even a MEXICAN girl, mom. Her name is Josephina. Even an INDIAN. I mean Native American. There's a BOY????????? Okay. I'm all done. I'm getting one..........and accessories. I'm totally asking Santa for this.

Again, thank you, American Girl. Santa: Start saving your money.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hmm. Is that puberty I smell?

My kids do not yet read my blog therefore they are still fair game in the topic category. This year, much to my shock and dismay, I have a child going through the early stages of puberty, which apparently happens much earlier than I remember it happening when I was a child (get that smirk off yer face - it wasn't THAT long ago - and no, there were not dinosaurs then).


It was about four weeks ago that I smelled a peculiar odor emanating from my son's dirty clothes. And, thank God, it did not smell like Mary Jane (and if you are wondering, who is Mary Jane? - count your lucky stars and read on). It smelled like boy funk. Yes, if you have a weak stomach you may want to stop reading now because I did not say this would be a pleasant post. Read the title. Puberty is never pleasant.


I thought, "Wow. Does this boy need deodorant already? He's only nine." Now, there is no book (as far as I know) that gives you an honest look at what to expect during the pre-ten (and yes, I did spell that right - Pre-TEN totally different than Pre-TEEN -which there are several books about that) year old years. So, you must kind of 'smell your way' through it so to speak. I have taught fourth grade and I distinctly remember spraying room freshener in the room everyday after recess, so I have a teensy bit of experience in this department. Also, we have two adults in our home that use deodorant, so I guess you could say I have personal experience. And, yet this whole thing has caught me quite off guard.


First of all, third grade??? I don't even want to think this could have something to do with all the preservatives I have been feeding this boy since he was born (that, by the way, is working itself into a whole blog post of its own). Nor do I want to think that funk could possibly be hereditary???? But, yes, it seems to be he does need a little "freshening."


So, I had to rummage up some deodorant that would be manly and yet boyish at the same time. Again, as far as I can tell, they do not sell a brand marketed for this. So, I think we went with "What Was In the Medicine Cabinet and No One Else Was Using," or "What Was Free." I had to explain (with the help of the other male that lives in this house) how to use deodorant, what it is for, and a little basic Personal Hygiene 101. My boy-child was happy and proud of himself in a strange, nine year old boy sort of way and we went on our merry little way.


Until the next morning.


He came downstairs with his face covered, screaming, and with a look of pure terror on his face (what I could see of it). I said, "WHAT IS WRONG FOR THE LOVE OF PETE??? Do you have a nose bleed??????"


He uncovered his face and there on his nose he had what appeared to be a pimple. He screamed, "There is something on my face. It looks like a bite or something and I don't like it. Give me some medicine."


I had to chuckle just for a moment. Then I gathered my composure and said calmly, "That would be a pimple. There is nothing for it but soap and water." I smiled because I seem to remember my own mother speaking those very words.

Of course, he promptly touched it and examined it every second until it went away a few days later.

So, the plunge into the dangerous murky waters of puberty seems to have happened. He is terrified and just a little proud and I must say - I feel quite the same.

Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"I'm not a hater. I'm a lover."

This is the true (well, most of it) story of what I was doing the month of September that prevented me from blogging. I have tried to be concise, but this story just deserves some space. So, bear with me.

I started having trouble with my Internet service with AT&T back in APRIL of 2010. I rode it out. Because, I'm not a hater. I had numerous conversations with techies (and I will resist the temptation to SERIOUSLY veer off course and talk about techies) lasting oh, about a total of 40 HOURS in order to try and fix this problem. And, just suffice it to say, that you gotta just laugh at techies...............to avoid taking a life (quite possibly your own). Right? I mean when else am I spoken to like a TWO YEAR OLD..........in a language that I am not really sure is English?????? So, I will just sum up these numerous conversations like this:

Techie: Are you sure the device is plugged in?
Me: And by 'the device' are you talking about the actual laptop?
Techie: Well, are you sure that the blah, blah, blah (insert any technical/computer language that I don't understand) is inserted in the blah, blah, blah?
Me: Ah, yes.
Techie: Okay. Then let's check the blah, blah, blah.
Me: Okay.
Techie: Now, there is a tiny number printed on the bottom. Can you read me that number?
Me: (Trying to hear over the two year old screaming in my house and fumbling to find my reading glasses and run up the stairs to the modem without breaking my neck). Yes, it is 57WHT9948FGM3498578997773TRYNMEO9906784637.
Techie: I'm sorry. Did you say "WHT68030382671903274701TJKLSDFHGDMESLEKLSLKEJFL?"
Me: No.
Techie: Well, let's try that again.

Just repeat those lines over and over and over and over and over and over and you have a synopsis of my communication with AT&T from April to August.

Finally in August I talked briefly to Mike. He was from Idaho and the weather they were having there was great (I told you - I am not a hater). He hooked me up with a live and actual technician here in San Antonio, TX who would come to my house between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. (and, no, they can't be more specific) and replace my MODEM because that was the result of hours of conversations with techies about what color my wires were. I needed a new MODEM. Well, hallelujah and praise God!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Mike.

So, August 8th sometime between 9 and 9 a live techie came and replaced my modem. And, the computer worked!!!!

For about a week.

And I was going to be charged $99.00 for the new modem.

Did I say I was not a hater? Because it was now September, school had started (and we all know that story because I have blogged about it), and I have four kids, and I work from home, and I don't have 20 hours to spend on the phone with techies trying to fix my computer problems AGAIN. So, maybe I was starting to hate - but just a LITTLE.

So, I ignored the problems. I worked with them. The Internet is down? Fine. I will wait five minutes and finish my paperwork later. The Internet is down again? No problem, AT&T. I will just check my work email later. Like midnight when it is up and running beautifully.

Fast forward to September 8th when I get my bill for my service and a $99.00 fee for my new modem.

Enter Sara (her name has been changed to protect her identity). And, I just wish that Sara had taken a little lesson in customer satisfaction before she answered my call and spun my world OUT. It was 1:30 p.m. and I thought I would just call, politely explain my situation, get the $99.00 modem charge taken off my bill and go on my merry way. And I FOOLISHLY and NAIVELY thought this could be done in 20 minutes. AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER I was talking on a cell phone in a school zone and canceling my service with AT&T. Sara refused to let me speak with a supervisor and she refused to take the charge off my bill because I had never called AT&T before that (but AFTER August 8th) to report the problems. SAY WHAT???? BUT, SARA - I DIDN'T CALL BECAUSE I WAS GIVING YOU GUYS A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!! I WAS NOT BEING A HATER!!!!!!!

Well, sadly, time to start a little hate. I know, "Hold the cell phone!!!!!" Right? How did this go so terribly wrong??? I am still asking myself that question.

In the weeks between September 8th and one week ago I spoke with exactly FOUR executives from AT&T. The most important of these being Reggie. After I cancelled my service, I wrote a scathing email in response to a "customer survey" begging me to rate my customer service with AT&T because they could see that I had called them recently on a service call. he-he-he-he. I was drinking coffee and getting ready to take my baby to the doctor when Reggie phoned and said he was calling from the Executive offices in response to my email.

I promptly spit out my coffee and eeked out an, "Oh, yes."

Reggie did something that is so important and I so think we can all take a lesson from him. HE LISTENED TO ME. He let me tell him about my life since April. And how my Internet was driving me to the brink of insanity. He promised to resolve my problem to my satisfaction and he told me he was disappointed that I had cancelled my service. THANK YOU REGGIE! Is he a rock star, or what???? Now why aren't' the people on the bottom who answer all the miserable calls trained like him??? And, yes, I think I asked him that because we talked for about two hours.

It took some patience and a whole lot of going back and forth with all these suits. But, was it worth it? Yes, I think it was. I cancelled my cancellation of service. Yes, that is confusing. Yes, I had to go through the executives' secretary to do that. Yes, I had AT&T suits call me while I was in a seminar and in a job interview. Yes, I had to explain my situation over and over again. But, finally people were listening. People were believing that I was not a hater.

So, want to know what happened yesterday? I got my bill. With FOUR credits. Jeesh. I am not even sure what the credits are for (and this after documenting the color of my underwear every time I talked to the suits). Does this story end happily? Well, yes it does. But, is there a lesson to be learned? Yes.

Please, please AT&T. Train your people. Pay your suits to do something other than try to get a hold of a mom of four in order to give her a meesly $99.00 back and tell you her sob story.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for the read. Thank you for sticking with me after all this time. Hope you enjoyed it, learned a lesson, and go on being lovers, not haters. :o)

From,

the little person (you can pay me for the exec's personal phone numbers................it'll cost ya $99.00)

Monday, October 18, 2010

October? Say what?

Hello, friends. Long time no write. Sad, sad, sad. My blog is suffering from a serious case of lack of attention. :o( It's not because I haven't been thinking of my blog. I just am a little short on time right now. But, I have had such write worthy occurrences. I so need to write about customer service and how it really, really almost drove me insane. I need to write about Reggie from AT&T and how he deserves a fist bump in a big way. I wish I knew him so I could bake him a cake or something. I need to write about how I have almost gone 365 days without being able to hold a real conversation with my mom. And how it has changed me. And how I still miss her. I need to write about life with four kids who are growing up way too fast and how I am not sure sometimes where we are going or where we have come from. I need to write about fall and how I love it and how it smells good (before it isn't fall anymore). I need to write about sisters. I need to write about the great books I have read and how I have thought about them so much. Ah, but there are a million prints on my desk and they are calling my name. So, for right now I will just have thoughts running around in my head and hope that soon I will have a little more time to write. But, just know that I am missing you sweet blog. I will get back to you soon and hopefully it will be great. :o)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

fractured

when you were here sometimes the pain was too surface and too deep to tell you. i was afraid i might break. or i was afraid you might break(?). now that you are gone i long to tell you. i only want to tell you. i am no longer afraid of us breaking.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

sudden and temporary paralysis

sometimes death takes you by surprise, and then sometimes it is life that takes you by surprise. both rendering you unable to move. unable to breathe. violently passing over your body like a black and smoky cloud of fire. the flames lapping downward like a giant tongue. scalding your heart and your soul. it happens so quickly. one minute you are fine and in the next minute you cannot remember when you were fine. you know you are burned and yet you are thankful that this feeling will pass and someday you will be able to breathe again. will you be able to breathe again?

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Takes A Village

This post is going to be a shameless shout out to my friends - old and new - who save me from the dangers that come with raising four children often and on a consistent basis. So, if you are one of those friends - grab a cup of joe and plan to be THANKED (sorry, no money is attached to this offering ;o).

It takes a village to raise a child, and apparently it takes a village to give a two year old a party, in the rain, in a teeny-tiny house after you've invited approximately 20+ children (and their loving parents) and thoughtfully planned for an OUTSIDE party.

To celebrate our BABY turning TWO, I had planned a lovely outside party for a boat load of kids and as luck would have it turns out they actually had to go home in boats. So, I guess you could say fate took a funny turn. ;o)

The party was planned from 3-5 p.m. which seemed like a smart idea when we planned it. The kids could eat a semi-healthy dinner, get lots of energy out (did I say - OUTSIDE???), get sugared up, and then go home, bathe (presumably - I'm not judging here), and GO TO BED. Yippee for the parents, eh? Well, like I said, it seemed like a great idea. And then a little thing called Hurricane Julia (??? I have trouble with names, but you get the idea) decided to hit the coast and wreak all kinds of havoc with our normally drought-like weather. Thank you, Julia. Note to yourself: You are NOT welcome in my village.

So, just to give you folks that were not actually a part of this party (by the end of this post you will be thanking your lucky stars) a little idea of how things progressed yesterday, here is a time-line of events.

8:00 a.m. - It could go either way weather-wise. I say LOTS of prayers for NO RAIN at church.
9:00 a.m. - The weather seems to be holding. Thank you, God.
10:00 a.m. - I am feeling fairly good about going ahead with the party - it's important to know that Saturday night I did NOTHING party-wise because it was POURING so I just assumed we'd have to cancel it (darn). So Sunday morning I had to kick it into HIGH gear. Cupcakes are started (48 of them), taco bar is on, pinata is stuffed and put up, yard is cleaned (again - since it rained non-stop through the night and all the work husband and son did Saturday is now ruined), and house is 'cleaned.'
11:00 a.m. - Sky clouds up and it looks like rain. Um, God: WHERE ARE YOU??? I question our decision. Husband lays down the law and says, "The show will go on unless there is a downpour before 3:00 p.m." Thank you, husband for making an executive decision because I am unable to do that.
12:00 noon - I think the sun may have made its first appearance in two days at this point.
1:00 p.m. - I tell husband, "Let's change the party from 2-4 because I am having a 'feeling.' Husband basically says, "No feelings."
2:00 p.m. - Still bright (not so much SUNNY, but not doom and gloom).
2:30 p.m. - There is a GIANT and very black cloud moving toward our house.
2:52 p.m. - Three other children that live in this house announce, "IT'S RAINING MOM!!! But, just sprinkling. DON'T WORRY, MOM!!!" Apparently God is somewhere dealing with something else. World peace?
3:00 p.m. - It's raining harder. We decide to break from time honored tradition that dates back to days in early Mexico and do the pinata FIRST before the sky breaks open.
3:10 p.m. - The sky breaks open and we barely have time to yank the pinata down from the tree and haul it inside.

3:10 - 5:00 - My wonderful friends save me in several ways. Here are just a few ways that my AWESOME friends helped so that the party was still a success and not total and complete chaos (well, okay it WAS total and complete chaos, but I'd like to think it was a success ;o).

  • One quick thinking friend suggested dividing up all the pinata loot and actually RETURNING the pinata (how fab is that???). AND she graciously volunteered to divide the loot (and LABEL the treat bags). I think a couple other friends helped. THANK YOU!
  • Friends were so kind about the food. Again, we broke from time honored tradition and did a 'taco bar' instead of our usual hot dogs, queso, and other assorted junk food. THANK YOU for eating it all and saying it was yummy.
  • One mom braved the upstairs and watched tiny tots play in L's room for almost the entire party. THANK YOU!
  • All our guests acted like it was perfectly normal to proceed with the party in the pouring down rain in our tiny house after inviting like 2000 people. THANK YOU for being so sweet and acting like everything was normal. ;o)
  • All the parents kept tabs on their kids to keep damage nonexistent. No mud inside the house!!! THANK YOU!
  • No one was peeved that we skipped opening presents.
  • Everyone headed out at 5:00 even though it was still pouring. THANK YOU!

Our friends are truly the best. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I could not do it without you.

P.S. - My kids and the husband are pretty great, too. My sweet husband cleaned the whole yard.........twice. Thanks, babe. ;o) My GREAT kids helped me and their dad so much beforehand AND cleaned the upstairs and downstairs toy chaos after the party. What troopers! :o) I think I'll keep all you guys till the next party. :o) HAPPY DAY AFTER YOUR BIRTHDAY, LITTLE L. And now I am going to bed. ;o)

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