Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Always Kiss Me Goodnight

We all have regrets - we wish we'd said I love you one more time, or hugged just one second more. If only I had a nickel for every "if only."

If I had one more minute with my girls, I'd spend it hugging them and telling them how much I love them, how proud I am of them, how much they mean to me and how much I'm going to miss them.

I am going to buy this for Maddy's room. Words to live by.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spinning Wheels

Did you ever have the feeling that you're running very fast but still stuck in one place? Yeah, me too.

There are so many things going on in my life right now and not one of them show any signs of being resolved any time soon. If you couple that feeling with the general stress of dealing with said scenarios, that explains why I'm short-tempered, pouty and generally in a bad mood.

I'm trying to shake it, by looking at the positive. For example, I've cleaned out my closet in anticipation of possibly moving, so now I can find things. Maddy has cleaned out piles of junk from her room. My kitchen has never been cleaner. My bathroom closet is organized. These are good things, proof that I have accomplished something. I feel better, thinking, yeah, I can do this.

Then I look around at all I still have to do and I get panicky. Wash the windows, clean the gutters, paint the deck, go through the junk in the basement, finish cleaning out Maddy's old room, go through the playroom - GAH!

My good mood is now completely undone.

I've tried deep breathing, I've tried going to my happy place, I've tried wine.

I know there are other bigger factors at work here, the biggest of which is that it's been nine months. In the time it took me to have my babies, that's how long they've been gone from me.

The holidays are looming around the corner. I wasn't a huge fan of them before, and now they are just another in-my-face reminder of happy families and fa la la effing la.

The next few months are going to be hard. I'm going to try to hang in there, but I can't do it alone.

So before I get too far gone in my pit of despair, I want to take a second to say thanks to those of you who help me get through every day by making me laugh, reminding me that I still do have blessings to count, and just being there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Aargh Matey!

Last week was "Talk Like A Pirate Day." In related news, Maddy and I were seat pirates at the Cardinals game Wednesday night.

(That's us, saying "arrgh" and using our fingers to represent our hooks on our hands. Yes, we are dorks. What of it? )

We started out in our Pujols Pack seats in Section 268, Row 2. Not bad seats, but a little removed from the action, if you will. As the Cardinals had secured their non-playoff spot, the crowd was expected to be less than capacity. Maddy and I decided we'd take advantage of the open seats and see if we couldn't get a little closer.

Maddy's goal was the green seats. A lofty goal, but what good are dreams if you don't chase them? It wasn't totally out of the realm of possibility, so we decided to give it our best seat pirate shot.

We decided to work our way around the stadium, and not just gate crash right off the bat. Maddy and I scoped out a section in the bleachers that was a little closer to the field. We kept an eye on it from our perch high above.
In the third inning, we made our move. There was a reason these seats were empty. We managed to find the section containing a zealous fan. And by zealous I mean baseball was her religion, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. One chant she lead went something like "three up, three down, Jesus leads his flock and wears the crown." I've heard of baseball being like a religion but she was scaring us.
We moved on to greener pastures in Section 128, along the first base line. We hung out here for a while, chatted with a friend of mine who was in Section 127, and plotted our next move. We were closer to the field, but we could see better seats beckoning.

Next, we headed to Section 148, behind home plate. This was getting into "show a ticket for admittance beyond the barrier" territory. Lucky for us, the usher at that section apparently had chosen that time to answer a call of nature or just abanonded his post, because no one was guarding the gates to Baseball Heaven. We walked right in like we belonged, found a few open seats toward the back rows, and made ourselves at home.

A few rows up, more empty open seats tempted us. We watched and waited patiently, making sure their occupants weren't off on a beer run. Slowly, we advanced on our prey, pouncing when no one was expecting it. Well, not really, we just kind of sauntered down and acted casual.
By this time, it was the 8th inning and we were winning, so seats were emptying out. We wound up watching the last six outs from...the green seats.
Not really, but damn close. We were one row behind the green seats, the closest row the common folk can inhabit. (Thanks to Bob, the usher, for taking our picture to document our victory!)

Maddy's first pirate raid was a success. To celebrate, she got a pony. Because all pirates need a horse.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Free* Lunch

Today, I bought my lunch from the cafe in my building. I got a side salad, big slice of pizza and 32 oz soda. Guess how much?

$5.00 even. Not $5 and some change. $5.00. And you could choose your pizza slice - cheese, pepperoni, supreme, whatever. It was very good, too. It wouldn't be a bargain if it tasted like crap.

Here is photographic proof.

*It's almost a free lunch, considering the price of everything else these days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Wish

There is a bit of an age discrepancy between Craig and me. 10 years to be exact. Yes, I'm the older one.

Last Saturday, after the Inter:Play panels were over, we enjoyed the musical stylings of Fundamental Elements. They ended their set with a cover of a song by one of my favorite artists, Stevie Wonder.

I was 8 years old when Songs in the Key of Life came out. My hip and trendy music teacher introduced us to it. She would bring in various pop albums on Fridays. I remember her bringing in Kiss, Kansas, Donna Summer, Hall and Oates. She was tres cool.

One of her favorites was Songs in the Key of Life. This album has such great songs on it such as Sir Duke, Isn't She Lovely, As, and my favorite - the one the band covered.

When the band started the bass line, I immediately knew the song. However, Craig did not. Here's our conversation:

ME: OMG, I love this song! I was 8 when this came out.

Craig: Who is it?

ME: (A bit agog) Stevie Wonder.

Craig: Who?

Me: Seriously?

Craig: I wasn't even born when you were 8.

(I guess I should be glad he didn't say "Isn't that Will Smith's Wild Wild West?")

But by then the lyrics were starting and I sang along - every word. My favorite line - "smoking cigarettes and writing something nasty on the wall. (You nasty boy!)"

So I enjoyed myself, singing and grooving to the band. They did a great job on the cover. I don't have a video of it, but here's the original. Try to resist the jazz-infused funkaliciousness that is Stevie Wonder.

I wish those days could come back once more.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Guest Host

Today I am Isabel's guest host. Click over if you so desire.

Six Things

It's Friday! Yay!

My Life My Life My Life tagged me with this meme. I love memes.


1. link the person who tagged you - (check!)
2. mention the rules on your blog - (uh, check!)
3. list 6 unspectacular things about you (okydoky - see below)
4. tag 6 other bloggers by linking them (consider yourself linked: Liz, Raquita, MaLeah, CB, MP, and Rebecca)


1. I go to WalMart at least twice a week.

2. I must have popcorn at the movies. With fake butter.

3. Birds scare me if they get too close.

4. I believe the DH should be removed from baseball.

5. The opening credits of Monty Python's The Holy Grail crack me up, every time. "A moose once bit my sister." "Ralph the Wonder Llama" I'm easily amused.

6. I hate being cold. I'm cold now. Hating it.

There you go. 6 unspectacular things about me.

Enjoy your weekend! Come see us at the InterPlay festival!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mission: Put Together

Beginning October 1, I'm going to participate in "Mission: Put Together." For one month, weekends included, you make an effort to be put together in your appearance. You post pictures of your different outfits, and get to see how others have put themselves together. You can get fashion tips and see how ladies from other parts of the US are wearing the current trends. You don't have to post a picture every day, just when you feel put together. I have a feeling that once you start, you'll want to do it every day. My mom always said, no matter how bad you feel, wash your face and brush your hair. It's amazing how much better you'll feel after that.

This also is a chance for you to clean out your closets and help others. Give your gently used clothing to Dress for Success, a great organization that provides professional clothing to disadvantaged women so they can find jobs and stay employed. Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, your church, or Donatemydress.org, which takes donations of formal wear. I wish I'd know about them last week when I got rid of a couple of long dresses.

It's not about buying all new things (which isn't forbidden!), but also taking what you have already and mixing it up. Take the skirt from a suit you don't wear, and add a new top. Or take the jacket and pair it with jeans, a cami, and heels. Sometimes even a simple accessory, like a bold necklace or scarf, can really up the fashion quotient on a simple skirt and blouse ensemble.

I buy separates so I can mix and match. I do get in ruts, buying only certain colors. Jessica bought me three bright-colored turtlenecks one year for Christmas because all I wore were black pants and skirts with white shirts. She said I needed COLOR!

My office doesn't have a dress code, so I can wear jeans every day. Sometimes, I'm tired of wearing jeans, and want to glam it up a bit more. For this fall, I'm looking at trousers in blacks and greys that I can pair up with my existing wardrobe of tops.

I'm going to try to include Maddy in my postings, too. We cleaned out her closet and organized what I'd already bought her this year. The child is not lacking in the wardrobe department. For example, today she is wearing one of my favorite outfits.

Join us on the quest to be put together!

Baby doll dress and leggings - Limited Too.
Boots: Fincher's, Ft. Worth, TX

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's an Excellent Question

This Saturday I will be participating in InterPlay St. Louis, an interactive social media festival being held in University City. I am on two panels, both of which I'm very passionate about. (Note the "I'm Speaking" InterPlay button on your right, or your left, if you're standing on your head).

First, "Bloggers' Rights: Protecting Your Intellecutal Property." This panel will discuss the basics of trademark, copyright, and how to protect your work from misuse and theft. As I have worked with IP for oh, 15 or so years, I think I'm pretty well-versed on this topic. I'm very adamant about protection and enforcement of IP rights. I know of too many incidents where bloggers' work was blatantly used without permission of the owner. Whether you blog for fun or for profit, your work is YOURS - protect it.

Second, Cyberbullying. I am so looking forward to the Q&A in this panel. Missouri has passed the first law against cyberbullying, but is it enough, or is it a law that violates the First Amendment? What is cyberbullying? How do you protect your children in an age where most kids communicate electronically? How can adults protect themselves from cyberstalking?

If you're interested in attending these panels, or any of the other panels, covering photography, social media, political/activist blogging, podcasting, CSS, and lots of other information, click here for more info. As we are hosting our conference in connection with PLAY:STL 2008, there will be live music during and after the conference.

Make a point to stop by the Blogger's Guild tent, located by the Screenz tent, and sign up to be a member.

If you aren't able to attend, leave me some questions in the comments, and I'll do my best to get them presented to the panel. I'll also be posting a wrap-up of the sessions on here next week.

You can also Twitter your comments, by marking them #interplay, and they'll show up on the ToastedRav site here.

We'd also like to thank our rockin' sponsors.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pardon Me While I Do My Dennis Miller Impersonation

I was listening to the radio on my way home last night. The DJs were talking about how Sarah Palin went back to work three days after giving birth. The more I listened, the more enraged I became by this topic.

Sarah Palin's job is running the State of Alaska. I bet if you called up Manpower and said "um, hi, I'll need a temp position filled for six to eight weeks...a governor...that's right...runs the state...oh, you don't have anyone...okay, thanks. We'll give GovernorTemps a call."

As governor, she was able to take her son to work with her. How many jobs allow you that kind of freedom and flexibility? For the ones who decry her for accepting the Vice President position, think about how it allows her to bring issues such as Down's Syndrome, teen pregnancy, and working mothers to the forefront.

While we're on the subject, instead of vilifying her for going back to work so quickly, we could turn this into something positive - I don't know, say, focusing on better maternity and family leave benefits for US workers? The average company allows six weeks for maternity leave. You might get paid for part of it, depending on if you have any vacation or sick time to use. Otherwise, your time might be unpaid unless you've been with the company X amount of years. If your company is different, then you are lucky.

When I had Maddy, I went back to work after four weeks. I had two weeks of paid vacation/sick time that I hadn't used. The other two weeks were unpaid. In order to get six weeks paid leave, I needed to have worked there five years. I'd been there for four. We needed both paychecks, so I couldn't afford to stay home any longer. We were lucky that I didn't need a c-section and that Maddy was healthy. It would have been a financial crisis otherwise.

Finally, to quote Elias McDaniel (as sung by Eric Clapton), "before you accuse me, take a look at yourself." If you were running for public office, what would be found in your past? What life choices have you made that might be fodder for the polictical pundits?

/end rant/

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Open Letter To an Idiot

Dear Driver of a Red Car:

Good morning. I was behind you at the entrance to the parking garage today. I noticed you had a parking pass, and I've seen your car in the garage before, so I'm guessing this isn't your first rodeo.

I (and the five cars that were lined up down the street behind me) (including Mr. Beepy McHonky) got together to provide you with a few hints for making life easier for you and your fellow parkers. We would appreciate your looking them over and trying to incorporate them into your morning routine.

1. Have your pass ready. Most late-model cars have handy storage spots, cup holders, or you could hang it on a lanyard around your neck. Any of these would be for keeping your parking pass easily accessible. This would also save you from digging through your purse, console, glove box, floor board, brief case, buttcrack, and all the other places I assume you were searching. I must admit, watching your head appear and disappear and your arms flail around in your car this morning helped pass the time.

2. Once you find the pass, swipe it over the sensor and wait until the gate opens. Don't assume the gate will open on the first swipe. It's an imperfect world, electronic gates don't always cooperate on the first try. As we enter on a steep incline, this will avoid your having to gun your engine, slam on the brakes, almost roll backward into my car, and then line up to swipe again. Also, the impatient cars behind me won't get all anxious and try to rear-end me. Being the creamy white filling in an automotive Oreo isn't high on my priority list.

3. Once you are through the gate, please proceed through the first level. It's 8:30 am, so most of the spots by the entry are taken. There is no need to idle through hoping for a miracle. It ain't gonna happen, just like there aren't any spots by the elevators.

4. Speaking of idling, you can use the gas pedal in the garage. You don't need to go 20 MPH, but anything is better than the breathtaking 2 MPH you were managing. I think that's probably what Beepy McHonky was trying to convey with his second round of loud horn blasts.

We do have to commend you on your ability not only to find a parking space, but also to properly park on the first try. I'm afraid that if you had been one of those parkers who had to jockey in and out a few times, you might have been dragged from your car and smacked around.

Of course I would never resort to that kind of violence, but I can't speak for the drivers behind me.

Hugs and Kisses!

Six highly-annoyed pissed off fellow parkers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Boxing Up the Past

Things have been hectic, to say the least. We put an offer on a house last night, and it was accepted. Yay! But now comes the less-than-fun part of cleaning up Craig's house and my house and putting them on the market.

Craig's house will be relatively painless. Sure, he's got a catch-all room that needs to be cleaned out, but even his junk room is neat. Perhaps I'll put him in charge of junk in the new house.

My house on the other hand, not so much. I have a clutter problem. If I can keep up with it, then it's not so bad. But once it starts to creep out of control, BOOM! Piles of clean clothes here, junk mail there, receipts over here, and all the mess in between. I get overwhelmed and think "there's no way I can clean all this up!" and so I go outside and play with Maddy.

However, the time has come to face facts - the chair under all that laundry is supposed to be used for seating. I suppose I should put all that HGTV knowledge to use.

So, after we tackle Craig's house, we tackle mine. We will do one room at a time and employ the three box rule - keep, pitch, donate.

That's all well and good in certain rooms but once I get upstairs, things change a bit. How do I throw away Jessica and Kelli's things?

Jessica's room isn't going to be hard to clean out, clutter-wise. She was never a packrat, something she obviously did not inherit from me. As a matter of fact, she did a huge purge of her room last summer, getting rid of old school papers, outgrown clothes and shoes, and her shoebox and shopping bag collection. Seriously, do you need all these Express and VS bags?

Kelli's room is a different story. She's got pictures, knickknacks, notes, books, Jonas Brothers posters - oy vey. Very much a typical 14 year old girls' room. Her dresser is covered in lotion bottles, mascara tubes , junk jewelry, and miscellaneous things that mean nothing to me but probably represent something that was momentous in her life.

Clutter aside, it's deciding what to do with it. What do I keep, what do I store away for Maddy, what do I throw away?

Can I handle going through their clothes? The purple satin shirt Jessica wore to Dane Cook, the halter top she wore to Dave Matthews, the dress she wore on her first day of college or even her favorite PJ pants from 6th grade. Kelli's cheerleader outfit, the Forever 21 shirt with the cherries that she LOVED, her red striped polo, her skinny jeans that were her favorites.

Someone suggested having a quilt made of their clothes. I think that's an excellent idea and something I'm going to definitely look into. Know any crafty quilting types? Send them my way.

I'm also going to set aside things for their friends to go through and take, if they want. As much as I'd like to keep their rooms intact and not change anything, I know it's not going to be that way. I miss them but we've got to move forward. I don't want to just box it up and have to go through it again in the future.

In our new house, I plan to make a special corner just for them and display their pictures and their collectibles, like Jessica's shot glass collection, Kelli's snow globes, and all the angels figures I received after they died.

They'll never be forgotten, regardless of whether I have their things or not. But it's nice to have something tangible to hold on to.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years

I was driving in to work around 8:15 am, just merging into the lane for the MLK bridge, listening to the Point. When they announced the a plane had hit the WTC, I immediately thought "terrorism."

I went into work, which was in the tallest building downtown. I was scared to death. I watched the towers fall on TV, in silent shock that those huge metal and glass buildings were reduced to dust and rubble in a matter of hours. I kept thinking, what would I do, 26 floors up from the street? Those people were 70, 80, 90 floors up.

My dad called me and asked me why the hell I was there. If my dad was scared, then I knew it was serious.

We were evacuated at 10:30 and BFF Heather and I left to get our kids. We needed to hold them, to be reassured that they were okay, when the world was falling apart. To try to absorb their innocence before 9/11 ripped it away from them.

I was waiting in the hallway outside the school office to pick up Jessica. We had a bit of a tiff that morning before school. She came around the corner, and started running at me. She dropped her bag, and slammed into me, hugging me, apologizing and saying she was so scared, she heard the Arch was going to fall on my building. She was so afraid I would die and we had just argued and she hadn't had a chance to say she was sorry or she loved me. The irony there just kills me.

We went and got Kelli and Maddy and went home and watched the events unfold on TV. Maddy was a baby so she doesn't really remember much.

Kelli asked me why they hated us so much that they would hurt us this way. I had no answer.

We finally turned off the TV. We couldn't take anymore.

Jessica and I watched the movie United 93 shortly before she died. It was so surreal to watch the movie knowing exactly how it was going to end. Jessica said to me after it was over, "I kept thinking the passengers might win." I said "They did."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Let Me Check My Book

I'm busy. You don't believe me? Let's look at my book.

Yes, I have a book. An old-skool spiral notebook planner with a pen in the spine. Yes, I have a cell phone with a PDA but it's so much faster to write it down than input it into my phone. The only advantage to using my phone is I can set an alarm. Which will usually beep for 15 minutes in my purse while I say "what is that noise?" Dear god, I'm old.

(FYI - in the background is the picture of me and BFF Heather in Florida - ah, good times. I have a picture of her and pictures of my girls on my desk, but not my dearly beloved. Hmmm, better get on that.)

So, back to the book. I was busy before this wedding business started but now it's just mushroomed out of control. Let me just give you an example of say, the next week:

Tonight - pedicure at 5, then home to clean house and get ready for NASCAR race
Saturday - Head to the NASCAR race at 9:30am, watch the race, go home, change, go to the Cards game at 6.
Sunday - finish painting my deck, meet with a photographer
Monday - lunch with a friend, have a BBQ for Craig's grandma's birthday
Tuesday - get my windshield fixed, go look at a wedding dress
Wednesday - Maddy's soccer practice, do laundry
Thursday - doctor's appointment and then girls' night out. Pack Maddy for a weekend at BFF Lynn's while I go run off to play golf.
Friday - possible InterPlay business, then drive to the Lake
Saturday - golf and beer with my dad
Sunday - come home, maybe stop in Owensville to meet a friend from high school, sit down for 10 minutes before going to bed

Ree-gol-darn-diculous, as my dad would say.

Last night I stayed home for the first time all week. I cooked dinner, did laundry, highlighted my hair, cleaned out my bathroom drain, cleaned my bathroom, read my book (Twilight Series), cleaned up my room, and gave Maddy a bath. It was the most relaxing night I'd had all week, because I was HOME. I also felt like I'd accomplished something.

I bring it on myself, I'm not complaining. I just find it ironic that I only put Maddy in soccer this fall so we wouldn't be so busy. Yeah, that plan worked.

Looking ahead to October it seems a little less hectic. However, once I run out of squares in September, October is free game.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often!

There are many things I won't go into on this blog, politics being at the top of the list. Although, I regret that Jessica and Kelli aren't here to see the candidates this year. The winds of change are blowing, you cannot argue that.

However, I will encourage you to vote in the Presidential election. Your vote does count, believe it or not. Sadly, I didn't believe it.

I recently had an interesting conversation with BFF Lynn about the electoral college. (I still say it should be abolished but I digress.)

One of the problems I see with the electoral college is that some people just don't understand the process. I remember last year when Jessica turned 18 and registered to vote, she was a little upset that the electoral college actually picked the President, and not her vote. Because I was misinformed about the electoral college, I wasn't able to tell her that her vote did count. However, after Lynn and I began debating the process, I found this handy and informative website that explained the process. Check it out if you are so inclined.

In a few days, you may notice some billboards on area highways encouraging you to vote. This is one of my favorites. The artist is Tom Huck, from St. Louis. Check out Art the Vote for other billboards.
As my dad says - vote early, vote often. But vote.