Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

Today is Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball season. If it was up to me, it would be a holiday for those of us who work downtown.

There's an air of festivity in the city today. Gitto's has red and white balloons on their canopy, the downtown Macy's windows are displaying Cardinal gear, there was a pep rally at Kiener Plaza during the lunch hour and people are walking the streets wearing their Cardinal Red. When I went out for lunch I could smell the mouthwatering aroma of hot dogs and barbecue. I love baseball.

I was thinking back on past opening days I've celebrated. And yes, I say celebrated because to me it's a party of sorts. Baseball season brings to mind warm nights and cold beer, hot dogs and nachos, and a camraderie of 30,000 strangers all rooting for the Birds.

My first Cardinals opening day was years ago. Our tickets were in the second to last row from the top. I think they gave us light bulbs in case any burnt out during the game, we could just turn around and change them. It was so cold they ran out of hot chocolate and coffee. It was closer to football weather than baseball weather. Willie McGee hit a home run to break the tie and win the game. He is one of my favorite players.

Several years later I went with my boss and a couple of his buddies We went to Paddy O's afterward and I got Jim Edmonds' autograph, and "accidentally" grabbed his butt. I don't remember who won but I do remember winding up at the bar at TGIFriday's at 10:30 pm. I noticed something flashing like a strobe light, so I looked outside and it was storming. I asked my boss "when did it start raining?" He turned and said "it's raining? When did that happen? We should have another beer and wait for the rain to stop." Ah, good times.

Last year I didn't go to the game but I did go to Al Hrbosky's with some friends and hung out in the outside bar area. It was gorgeous weather last year - sunny and warm. Hrbosky's is a fun joint to go before or after the game, or even just hang out if you don't have tickets. Be careful of the mirror in the ladies' room hallway - the boys can see you on the other side.

This year some friends and I will be going to Jack Patrick's after work for a few A-B products and watch the game, if they even play. Today's opening day forecast is cloudy, windy and a chance of storms. Ah well, we should be glad it's not snowing, after the winter we've had.

Go Cards!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Love and Hate - The End of The Month Version

Janet does this on her blog so I thought I'd borrow her idea. I'm up to my butt in kitchen and bath remodeling right now. Before and after pics coming soon!

Love: That it's Friday
Hate: That it's cold and wet...again. Come on Spring!

Love: Planning for home improvement
Hate: Paying for home improvement

Love: Wallpaper stripping tools which make the wallpaper just peel right off
Hate: Stripping the wallpaper to begin with

Love: My comfy cozy warm bed
Hate: Getting out of said bed before I want to

Love: New shoes
Hate: Not wearing new shoes because of the *&^%% rain

Leave your love/hate combos in the comments. Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday Bites - The Killer Rabbit Edition

Here's the long promised jumping on the bed photo:


This is what happens when a 1 lb solid chocolate bunny hits your bare foot. It HURT. BAD. I guess it's God's way of saying lay off the chocolate. (Polish is Hoodoo Voodoo by OPI. I love their color names).


Maddy and I paid just under $50 in our Lent jars. Not quite enough to go to Hawaii but enough to have a decent dinner and a movie night.


My 40th birthday is in less than 3 weeks. Oy. Vey. Since I'm having my party at my house, I started the home improvement last night. Ugly wallpaper is coming down and painting will commence this weekend. I will post before/after pictures next week. Nothing like a small get-together to motivate me.


Get outside while you can and enjoy a mostly sunny non-snowy Wednesday!

Getting To Know You

Andrea wrote an excellent post about introducing yourself. As I was responding in her comments, a post idea was forming, so here we are. (Please visit her site if you haven't already, she's a great writer).

The internet is a funny thing in that I feel like I know the authors of the blogs I read and comment on, simply because I'm reading about their lives. I might even recognize some of them if I saw them on the street because of the photos they've posted. But do I really know them? Does anyone really know me?

When I was responding to Andrea's post, I originally started describing myself by my appearance. If I step outside and try to see me as an outsider might, I would see a reasonably well preserved 30-something woman with reddish brown hair, greenish hazel eyes and a semi-height/weight proportionate figure. Sounds like a personal ad.

But is that what defines me - my appearance? Is that how I define people? If I see someone on the street that's nicely dressed, I automatically assume they're a nice person. They could be an ax murderer for all I know. The reverse also applies - if you look like you can't be bothered to comb your hair, I probably won't be bothered with talking to you, and I might be passing up an opportunity to talk to a genius.

All those years of hearing "don't judge a book by the cover" apparently didn't stick. And in true parenting fashion of "do what I say and not what I do," I've told my kids to get to know someone before making a snap decision based on outward appearance. However, I fully admit I'm a hypocrite.

My friends and I used to do a version of this to describe people we saw when we were out at the clubs - bald-headed guy, ugly plaid jacket girl, Velveeta t-shirt guy, white tank top girl. Turning the tables, did they see us as big-boobed girl, tall girl, spiky haired girl, Miller Lite girl?

Does my appearance tell you anything about me? Maybe you can tell that I like shoes and wear a decent bra. Otherwise, does it really convey my sense of humor, my heartache, or my hopes and dreams? If you saw me with no makeup, bedhead and paint-splattered sweats, would you stop to get to know me?

Friday, March 21, 2008

This Is Why I Don't Watch TV

I don't normally watch TV in the mornings. I usually listen to the radio, because my favorite station does something most other radio stations don't - they play music in the morning. What a concept!

Anyway. I turned on NBC this morning around 7:20 this morning to catch the weather and and see if Highway 141 was indeed flooded (and it was). I left it on while I got ready. After Today came back on, one of their stories was about federal investigators investigating police officers in South Carolina who were caught on their dashboard cameras hitting suspects. Not hitting with a hand or billy club - hitting with their CARS! The suspects were running from the cops and the cops hit the men. With their patrol cars. One cop was chasing a suspect through an apartment complex common area and children were having to jump out of the way. After striking a suspect, one police officer was taped as admitting he was aiming for him. In my opinion driving a car through an apartment complex is no different than running and firing shots at the suspect. You're putting innocent bystanders at risk.

Another story showed an officer in Baltimore who threw a teenager to the ground, and then started screaming in the teen's face because the teen called him "dude." Another clip showed an officer kicking and stomping a DUI suspect who was already on the ground.

Now, I do not want to open this up to a debate about how the suspect was fleeing so the officer could use whatever means necessary to bring him down, or the general disrespect some youngsters show authority, or that DUI is a crime.

The point to my story is this - Maddy was watching this story. She asked me why the police officer would scream at the kid, or try to run over someone. I said "it's an abuse of power." She asked what that meant. I asked her "if a cop says 'Freeze!' to you, what do you do?" She answered "I stop what I'm doing and freeze." I said, "that's power - the cop being able to tell you what to do. Some cops, not all, but some, tend to abuse that power and think because they have a badge or a gun, they can ignore not only laws but basic human rights. Yes, the guy running might have done something wrong, but that didn't give the officer the right to intentionally hit him with the car."

Because an abuse of power is what killed her sisters. The cop was going 126 mph which was against the law and in blatant disregard for the safety of others.

My God I'm so angry after seeing that story. The officer who hit one suspect was put on a three-day suspension. The officer who drove through the apartment complex was told to attend a stress management course. The officer who kicked the DUI suspect resigned.

Here's the story:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five Minutes

The arraignment this morning took just a little under five minutes. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty to all four counts, and his bond was set at $30,000. No trial date set yet.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday Bites - The School Bus Edition

If you ever try to do the "short bus" joke with Maddy, just a warning - don't. She rides a small bus (we don't call it short) and she's pretty sensitive about it. It's still funny to tease her, but she doesn't take it well. Which might be why it's so fun.


Last Thursday I rode a school bus with Maddy to Springfield for her field trip. I haven't been on a school bus I think when Kelli went to kindergarten and she had orientation, we took a trip around the parking lot on the bus. Yeah, that might be the last time.

Our driver got lost leaving Collinsville, got lost going to the museum, and got lost again going to the second museum. Coming back, it was raining and he was either dozing off or just swerving to screw with us. I really thought I was going to have to drive.


So after a hiatus of 13 years for school bus rides, I more than made up for it this weekend. At Bristol, they use school buses as shuttle buses between the parking lots and the track. So I rode four more school buses. I think I've used up my bus quota now.


One of my favorite school bus scenes is from Sixteen Candles - "Score. Direct hit." Joan Cusack's character bouncing along wrapped in her neck brace. Farmer Ted hitting on Samantha. Ah -good times.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm Back! Did You Miss Me?

What a whirlwind weekend I've had! It started on Thursday with Maddy's class field trip to the State Museum and the Lincoln Museum. I highly recommend both museums. The State Museum has some great exhibits about Illinois before civilization, complete with mastodon skeletons, fossils, realistic recreations of wildlife and other cool stuff. It was very hands-on for the kids. The Lincoln museum, while educational and informative, was not quite as hands-on. A volunteer came on the bus before we even got off to tell us the rules and regulations. She kept emphasizing that there were security cameras EVERYWHERE so don't touch ANYTHING! These poor children were scared to death. They would see a security guard and get all freaked out. They still had a great time, especially in the section called Mrs. Lincoln's Attic, which is designed specifically for children, with costumes and period toys. The girls really enjoyed dressing up in the skirts and bonnets. Of course, Maddy put on Lincoln's suit. Because that how she rolls.

My sugar and I took off Thursday night for Nashville on our way to Bristol, baby! About 45 minutes into the trip, I remembered that I forgot to pack my tennis shoes. So we stopped and I had to buy some new ones. Normally, I'd be excited about shoe shopping, but tennis shoe shopping is boring. Our hotel was quite nice, although they failed to give us shampoo. It wasn't a big deal because I bring my own, but Maddy likes it when I bring her the hotel bottles.

Friday morning we got up and headed for Bristol. I have been to Gatlinburg before, but that's as far east in Tennessee as I'd traveled. Our weather wasn't the greatest. It drizzled and rained on us most of the way there. I was disappointed, because I remembered how pretty the drive is with the Smoky Mountains. You really couldn't see much because of the rain. I made a mental note (snort!) to take pictures on the way home.

Saturday we got up, packed up the coolers and headed for the track. We brought the canopy, portable grill, chairs, tables, coolers, beer, burgers, and all the rest of the trappings for tailgating. The parking lot was just that - a parking lot. No one was tailgating, which was very surprising. A few discreet inquiries later, and we figured out that it's more popular in the campgrounds. Live and learn. At least we have the equipment for July when we go to Gateway. I know they tailgate there, I've done it for the past two years.

Now, if you've never been to a NASCAR race, I highly recommend it. What other sport allows, nay, encourages you to bring your own coolers and food? That's a trend I wish other sports would embrace.

You get a very diverse crowd with racing, too. It's not just rednecks anymore, although they are well represented. I am also glad the weather was cooler, because sometimes there are some bold fashion choices worn by women who are a bit, say, ample, for those clothes. Tank tops aren't for everyone, I'm just saying. Plus you get the fans who are totally into their drivers. I did wear my Jimmie Johnson hat and sweatshirt, but you get people who are decked out from head to toe with their favorite driver. I saw one woman who had on a hat, shirt, sweatshirt, pajama pants and Crocs, all in Dale Jr. It was The couples who dress alike are pretty amusing sometimes, too. I like Jimmie Johnson but my sugar is a Tony Stewart fan. When I pointed out a couple that were dressed in identical Stewart clothes, I said "what fun is rooting for the same driver?" He said "I bet they're happy." Now that was funny, in light of our "discussions" about our respective drivers.

We got to the track in time to watch practice laps. This track is a short track, only a half-mile. The track itself is recessed so the spectator stands are up above the pavement. Our seats were awesome and we were able to see the whole track. I was so glad we got there during practice because then you can go up to the fence (until security wanders by) and get a better view of the pits and the cars, and you can feel the wind as they zoom by at 100+ mph. Let me tell you, there is nothing like the acrid smell of Sunoco fuel and Goodyear rubber in the morning.

It did start raining Saturday afternoon, so we boarded our shuttle bus and went back to the parking lot to restock the coolers and check the weather. The weather forecast was not promising, so we headed back to the hotel for hot showers and cold beer. They did finally run the race, but it was delayed almost two hours and was cut short due to another rain delay.

Sunday was still cloudy but much colder. No rain was forecast, thankfully. We bundled up, headed back out to the track and wandered around the souvenir and driver trailers. I bought a shirt for Maddy and some stuff for some friends of ours (I'm not telling because she reads this and I don't want to ruin the surprise!) The race was pretty exciting. My sugar's favorite driver was about two laps from winning when he was wrecked out by another driver. I turned to say something to my sugar and he was already up at the fence hollering obscenities and making rude gestures to the driver. That was pretty funny because he's normally a pretty mild-mannered guy.

We got back home Monday night and after 17 loads of laundry I went to bed. It's nice to get away but it's even better to come back to your own bed.

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic experience. We're already planning on where to go next year. Hopefully our friends can go and we can make a vacation out of it.

I took so many photos I started a Flickr account. Go here if you want to see all my lovely pictures.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The special grand jury today returned an indictment against Trooper Mitchell. Two counts of reckless homicide for the deaths of Jess and Kelli, and two counts of aggravated reckless driving against the Marlers.

It's far from over but it's a step towards justice.

I love this picture. Jessica pinched Maddy's butt just before I was taking it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday Bites - The I'll See You Next Week Version

Today is my last day of work this week before my field trip/NASCAR trip. Tomorrow I'll be riding a school bus to Springfield to visit the State Museum with Maddy's 3rd grade class. I thought we would be able to drive, but Maddy informed me that since we were one of the first to turn in our chaperone sheets, she could pick if we drove or rode the bus, and she thought it would be fun to take the bus. Oh really? Oh, and she now gets to take her Nintendo DS because I can put it in my purse. Uh huh. Actually, I think it will be fun. However, if it gets too bad I'll just listen to my iPod and play Mario Olympics on her DS. Ha!

Tomorrow afternoon when we get back home, we will throw my bags in the car, drop off the dogs at the critter camp, and I'll drop her at gymnastics before heading over to my sugar's house to pack up his truck and hit the road. We're stopping in Nashville for the night, then heading out to Bristol on Friday morning. I.Can't.Freakin'.Wait.

The forecast is calling for showers Friday and Saturday, and partly cloudy on Sunday. Yay - perfect tailgating, not so much. I swear, if you sent me and my friend Lynn to a drought-stricken area to do any kind of outdoor activity, we would make it rain. It's a gift.

We head back home on Monday. I'll be back online with pictures and stories on Tuesday.

Until then, I just want to say thanks for all the supportive responses to my post of yesterday. My therapist called this morning and I've got an appointment scheduled. I feel better after yesterday's histrionics. Sometimes you need a little meltdown to allow yourself to regroup and say, OK, let's try this again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Post In Which I Reveal That I May Have a Problem

This should come as no suprise to you - I think I might be depressed.

I'll wait until you recover your composure...uh, yeah. I know. Shocking revelation. (And on the off chance someone wants to flame me for inferring that I'm making fun of depression, I'm not. I use humor, albeit sometimes inapproriate humor, to deal.)

I'm tired but I can't sleep. When I do sleep, I don't want to get up. I can't get motivated. I can't concentrate. I'm making dumb mistakes at work. I'm eating everything in sight, and then when I try not to eat, I just eat more, and then feel like shit because I'm eating too much. Rinse, repeat. Nothing is fun to me, and when I realize I am having fun, I feel guilty. I miss them like hell and damn it, I don't want to deal with this anymore. I just can't. But I have to because I have no other option. So here I am. One hot mess.

Before the girls died, I was seeing a therapist for my divorce. I should have kept seeing her, but I didn't. I don't know why. Well, I do know why. I know there's something wrong and I don't think I need to be a medical professional to figure this one out. Even WebMD agrees with me. But to have someone confirm it, that scares me. Because I don't want to be medicated. I feel like a zombie sometimes already. I don't want to numb this pain but I'm tired of it insinuating itself into my life. Some days I can tell myself "get up, get moving, you can do this," and I do. But other days, and they are starting to be more frequent, I tell myself to go to hell, I don't wanna. And I don't. But instead of feeling better, I feel worse, because I feel like a failure. And the cycle just continues around again.

I thought coming back to work would cure what ails me. It would make me get up and get dressed. I do get up and I do get dressed but I just don't care anymore. My clothes don't fit and instead of telling myself "stop with the chips" I tell myself "I'll go shopping." I love to shop, but dude, that's not me. I'm too vain to buy a bigger size. I haven't yet, but it's tempting.

As I was writing this, I called my therapist and left a message to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, I will try to keep in mind that I can do this, but I can't do it alone. Maybe that's what is bothering me the most. I'm not as tough as I thought I was. No, it's admitting that I'm not as tough as I thought I was. And isn't that how the joke goes? The first step is admitting you have a problem.

The Weekend Recap - Pictures at 11

I was completely lazy and uninspired yesterday, plus I was battling the mother of all headaches. My headache is better today, thank you, but my left eye is twitching sporadically - usually when my boss is in my office. Fan-freaking-tastic. Because I'm not a dork to begin with.

Anyway, Maddy and I had a blast at our mini-getaway. The hotel was nice, the beds were comfy and perfect for jumping. I have a couple of good action shots of Maddy spanning the space between the beds. Those will be posted later tonight.

The pool area was nice, too. Lots of chairs and tables, and piles of clean towels. I think they must have recently remodeled because the hot tub looked new. Maddy had a blast splashing around while I lounged in the hot tub. Ah, bliss.

Saturday was the head shaving. The joint was jumping. We had to park a block away. But it was worth it and we drank a few beers, took a lot of pictures, and left as the band was setting up. Maddy was with a sitter so we went back home and hung out with her and had a late dinner. It took almost an hour for my pizza to show up. Good thing I wasn't hungry or anything. Why can I order a pizza during dinner hour and have it within 20 minutes, but order one at 9:30 at night and you'll be lucky to get it before midnight? Another mystery of the universe.

Sunday we went to a confirmation party for my girlfriend's daughter. Ate too much, drank a few beers, and had a good time just sitting around talking.

I promise to post pictures later.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Weekend Plans

I have a pretty full weekend planned, which is good, because it keeps me busy but it's bad because it keeps me busy.

Tonight, Maddy and I are taking a mini-vacation. We are staying at hotel room in town and hitting the pool first thing. Then we will go back to the room and order a cheese pizza (because it's Lent), watch a movie on the laptop and eat junk food. She will probably jump on the beds, too, because that's what you should do in a hotel room when you're a kid. We may do mani-pedis as well.

Tomorrow we will go shopping for her Easter dress and shoes, and maybe pick up something for me too as a reward for shopping with a picky 9-year old. Tomorrow night I'm going to watch my friend get his head shaved for charity.

Sunday I have a confirmation party in the afternoon. Sunday night will be house cleaning and laundry and resting from the weekend.

What do you have planned? Whatever it is, be safe, have fun and enjoy.

**REMINDER** Daylight Savings Time starts Saturday night, so set your clock one hour ahead. Yes, it cuts into the drinking time Saturday night, but we get more daylight to sit on the deck and drink, so it evens out.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Sound of Silence

My house is so quiet right now, it's eerie. I'm used to the quiet at night, after Maddy goes to bed. But it's 6:45 in the evening and I'm not used to this. Her dad took her to gymnastics and to dinner and I got a rare mid-week evening to my self. I was so decadent, I tanned, then went to Wal-Mart, and then came home and made myself a ham and cheese omelet and read Us Magazine. Jealous?

I'm used to hearing the girls going up and down the stairs. I'm used to hearing Jess walking around in her room, which was over mine. I always knew when she was home that way. I'm used to hearing the dull whoomp of the bass through the ceiling from Kelli listening to her Jonas Brothers CDs over and over. I'm used to the keyboard on the computer clicking as she IM'd her friends about parties and boys and who was wearing what. I'm used to the "Kelli! Did you wear my cami?" Jessie! Can you take me to the mall? "Maddy! Get out of my room! Mom! She won't let me on the computer!"

If I had a nickel for every time I told them to quiet down, be nice, shut UP! I'd be a rich woman. However, I'd give it all back to hear them creating chaos in the house again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wednesday Bites - The I Don't Have a Clever Name Edition

I was doing laundry yesterday and was amazed by the variety - it's been a long time since I've washed shorts and sweaters in the same load.


Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend - thank God. Maybe more daylight will help me be in a better mood. I swear I suffer from sunlight deficiency.


One week from today I'll be off on a mini-vacation - I have a field trip to Springfield with Maddy's class on Thursday, then on Friday-Sunday I'll be here. I can't believe it's next week. I'm so stoked. The field trip will be fun too.


I leave you with this indicator of my current mood:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What a Kid!

I didn't know she was going to do that when she asked to go play in the snow.
Is she the best or what? I'm going to make her hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meme Monday

Zookeeper tagged me for a meme, so here goes.

Five Random/Weird Facts About Me:

1. My birthday is the anniversary of the Titanic sinking, Lincoln's shooting death, and Tax Day. I was born at 10:40 pm. Spooky, isn't it?

2. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. It's a pretty nifty bar trick on days I'm broke.

3. Other than having children, I've never been hospitalized overnight. Knock wood.

4. My bra and underwear must match. They don't have to be the same brand, but the colors have to be the same. I've changed my entire outfit if I can't find the bra that matches the panties. I may be weird but Mom always said to wear clean underwear.

5. I have eaten an entire bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos in one sitting. I've done this more than once. I don't buy them very often simply because I am addicted. My kids loved it when we'd have a party because I'd buy them. I limit myself to one lunch sized bag a month, because I can't be trusted.

Five places I want to see or see again:

1. Longboat Key, Florida - I took a trip to see my brother when he was stationed in Sarasota, and he took me here. It was my first time to see the Gulf, and the sugar sand beaches were gorgeous. I remember just standing and staring out at nothing but water as far as the horizon. Makes you feel a bit insignificant.

2. Key West, Florida - my brother took me there for my birthday and I had an absolute blast. I did imbibe a few too many Parrot Bay/Diet Coke cocktails and managed to lose 4 hours of my life. I was awake and fun (so I was told), but had no clue that we'd eaten dinner until I asked when we were going to eat. My brother informed me that not only did we eat an hour ago, I had eaten half his food. Good times.

3. San Diego, California - my brother (sense a pattern?) is stationed here now. He is currently in Iraq and he is supposed to come back to the US in August, so Maddy and I will be jetting out to see him. I can't wait.

4. Australia - The Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock, The Great Barrier Reef, The Outback. Wow. What more can you say?

5. A tropical island - Hawaii, The Bahamas, Aruba, Bora Bora - I'm not picky.

I tag Lynn, She Who What?, Frogdancer, and MP. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I did 40 floors in 13:48. I can't believe it. It seemed longer than that.

The race was fun. There were over 900 people, and we raised over $200,000. It was kind of a clusterfush mess but it was the first one, so hopefully they will learn (hello fire code!) and next year will be a little smoother.

For more race results, go to

Hope to see you with us next year.