Friday, February 27, 2009

The Favor of a Reply is Requested

I love getting comments on my blog. Love. Them. Maybe it's my deep-seated need for approval, maybe it's proof that I'm cool, or maybe it's just nice to have a fan or two. It makes me happy to open my email and see that someone has left me a note. It's all so very Sally-Field-You-Really-Like-Me!

When I read other blogs, and leave comments, sometimes those bloggers respond to my comment. How cool is that? Return comment luv on my comment-luv!

I have noticed though, that when I try to respond to the emailed comment, it's not a valid email address ( Some of my frequent commenters have given me their email addressess, so I can contact them that way. If a commentor has a blog, I can click the link, and if there is a contact email on there, I try to respond that way. But sometimes they don't have their contact info listed. And that makes me sad, because I want to return the luv.

Anyway, my point is, I read every comment. I also have saved all my comments in a folder in my email. Yes, every single solitary comment that has ever been left on my blog has been put in my virtual scrapbook.

So, if I have never responded to your comment or visited your blog, please don't think I'm ignoring you. It's not for lack of trying. (Note- I use Blogger so if there's some setting that I've turned off that will enable me to do respond, please enlighten me).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plant a Tree, Plant a Hope

My new header up there is a picture of the tree planted in Kelli's memory at her middle school last May. At the base is a brass marker which has one of my favorite quotes: "He who plants a tree, plants a hope."

I received so many flowers and plants after they died. Once the funeral was over, their father and I kept some and gave some away. One of my favorites was a huge palm tree sent by the cheerleaders and pom girls. However, when I moved from my old house, I left it for a couple of days until I had somewhere in my house to put it. My renters put the palm in the mudroom, where it was very cold. When I picked it up and took it home, it wasn't in very good shape. I tried coaxing it back to health, but it died.

I know it's just a plant, but I felt so guilty about killing it. I managed to keep all the other potted plants going, and I felt like a failure. Especially since this one was given to me by her fellow cheerleaders.

I cried when I took it out of the pot to throw it out. I told Craig that I was going to have to buy another one, and he said "of course." He didn't roll his eyes at the hysterics, he just took me to Lowe's and we got another one. While we were there, I got new pots so I could repot the other ones.

I am looking forward to this Spring when I can plant flowers around my new house, but also so I can plant a tree in our yard, in memory of the girls.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Well, here we are again, the last day before Lent. If you will recall last year, I gave up swearing and Maddy gave up saying shut up. I think we wound up with about $30 in our jars.

This year, I tried something different. I suggested to Maddy that I decide what she gives up and she can decide what I give up. Remind me next year that this is not a good idea.

I suggested Maddy give up her latest bad habit of huffing/sighing/slamming something when she's told no or when she's frustrated. She countered with giving up candy. I then defined "candy" to include gum, chocolate, mints and Altoids. She is seriously addicted to Altoids. Oh, and all ice cream flavors that include candy, like Moose Tracks.

She mulled it over, then agreed. Yay for my awesome negotiation skillz, right?

Here's what she requested of me: no alcohol.

Como say wha? No beer, no wine, no Parrot Bay and diet Pepsi. Nuthin'. For 40 days, people.

I thought about it, then told her I wanted to check on when my birthday fell this year. I gave up just beer one year for Lent, and then realized my birthday was the weekend before Lent ended. That was fun.

And guess what? My birthday is the Wednesday after Easter. So, after tomorrow, I'm on the wagon. I'm kind of looking forward to this. It's not like I drink daily (although I'd like to, some days). We will see if I can do this. I will be having a cocktail tonight, I guarantee that!

So, if you partake in Lent, what is your sacrifice this year?

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Down, One to Go

On Saturday, Craig's sister, Kristen, got married. It was a beautiful wedding that went off with no problems - yay!
Maddy and I were bridesmaids, and Kristen will return the favor for me in September. I fan-folded napkins for 2 hours, froze my butt off for outside pictures, got a huge bruise on my foot, lost my camera (but found it), and had a frickin' fabulous time. Starting hair and make-up at 8am makes for a looooong day, but it was a great party.
I have a feeling that the next seven months are going to fly by for me, and we'll be doing this wedding thing again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We Can Rebuild Her

Maddy's procedure was successful. The doctors were able to realign her arm without surgery, and she didn't need to have any pins - yay! She has a brand new hot pink cast to show for her trouble, too.

Many, many thanks to the staff at Cardinal Glennon Hospital. Also, many thanks for your comments, prayers and well-wishes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Deep Breath

Maddy went to the doctor today. Her new x-rays show the bone is shifting a little bit, so they have scheduled an outpatient procedure for tomorrow morning to adjust the bone, and possibly put a pin in to hold it in place.

I'm keeping it together in front of Maddy, because she's already freaked out. When the doctor showed us the x-rays, I had a feeling it wasn't good. I put my hand on Maddy's back, and as soon as she said the bone had shifted, I felt her tense up. I just rubbed her back, while nodding at the doctor and saying "sure, yeah, let's get it fixed," in a cheery voice, trying to drown out my own internal screeching.

It's all routine and I know several people who have had pins put in, and it will all be fine, sure, yeah, no problem.

So, why is my stomach churning and my nerves are shot and I'm on the verge of tears?

Perhaps because I tend to overreact and imagine the worst. I have always been that way, and even more so now. I don't assume everything is fine anymore. The upside to this is that I'm pleasantly surprised when it all turns out okay.

Or because she is my baby, and well, she's my only baby now. I am not opening the door in my mind to the path of the worst scenario thought process. I keep looking over there, but it's staying firmly shut.

Finally, maybe because I have to rely on faith right now, and that's still difficult for me to do. I'm getting better on the day to day faith, but this is kind of a big deal.

After I dropped Maddy at school, I had a mini-meltdown/rant, then had a nice conversation with God.

It'll be fine, yeah, sure, right?

Monday, February 16, 2009

What a Concept!

Last year, I bought the husband-elect a pair of Oakley sunglasses through I had been a Zappos shoe customer for quite a while, but this was the first non-shoe purchase I had made through this website.

All my previous shoe purchases and returns were hassle-free. I was always upgraded to free overnight shipping, and on the one occasion I had to return a pair of shoes, I was able to print a return authorization and UPS shipping label from my computer, and my refund was credited to my card within a week.

Over the weekend, the Oakleys broke right in the middle. I knew Oakley offered a one-year warranty, but I started with Zappos to see what they suggested.

Within five minutes on the phone, a new replacement pair was being shipped to me (via free overnight, of course), and even though the price had gone up since last year, I wasn't being asked to pay the difference. I was also upgraded to VIP status, so I would now receive free overnight shipping all the time, and if I had to return something, the refund would be credited within 24 hours.

Fast, friendly, above-and-beyond-what-is-expected customer service - Zappos now has a customer for life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Funny Valentine

The other day, we were in the car. I had to swerve, and she said "whoa, my life just flashed right between my eyes. Wait, is that how it goes?"

After I stopped laughing, I said "it's 'flashed before your eyes'. But I like your version better."

That's why she's my funny valentine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Q&A - Jeannette

My buddy Jeannette interviewed me - here is our question and answer session.

1. Have you ever eaten a crayon?

When I was younger, I had a bad habit of chewing on things - my fingernails, my long hair, pencils, etc. I did chew on my crayon once and it tasted disgusting, so I never did it again.

2. Do bald men wash their hair with soap or shampoo?

The husband-elect isn't totally bald but he's pretty thin up top, so I can say with authority he uses shampoo. Actually it's shampoo with conditioner, because the skin on the top of his head gets dry in the winter and can flake and look like he has dandruff.

3. If you're in hell and you're mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?

Interesting. If you believe in Dante's circles of hell, I suppose you'd tell them to go to the next lowest circle.

4. If a kid refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?

Aren't you "punny" today?

5. How far east can you go before you're heading west?

I guess until your Tom Tom tells you otherwise. I'm directionally challenged so I'd probably being going south.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Fall Down Go Boom

Any future skating endeavors will include massive amounts of bubble wrap.


For the past few days, I've had a dull headache, a bad attitude and a need to eat everything in sight. Possible causes for this malaise are:

I watched Dazed and Confused Monday night and might have suffered a contact high.

I've been thinking a lot about Kelli lately, with the fish, and the broken arm. Yeah, Maddy broke her arm last week while roller skating. Technically, she broke it by falling down while attempting to roller skate. She's doing okay, rocking the tye-dye cast. Kelli broke her arm in first grade, but it was such a high break that she never got a cast. She was pretty bummed as she was looking forward to her friends signing her cast. I wouldn't let the kids sign her sling.

I've been thinking about Jessica, too - lots of songs on the radio recently that remind me of her. I'm starting to tan again, so I see her friends at the tanning salon. I feel her around me more lately, if that makes any sense.

I'm working on their annual fundraiser, and also working on a fundraiser with a local salon, possibly combining it with a blood drive. All positive things but still - the underlying reason for the events isn't.

Of course, this is on top of the daily thinking about them that I do as well.

Oh, and the trooper has a hearing today at 1:30. I'd like to hope that a trial date will be set soon, so that we can begin to move forward.

Monday, February 9, 2009

No-List Sunday

Yesterday I had one thing on my to-do list. That was accomplished by 11 am.

Then, I went home and made myself a ham and cheese omelet. I watched Martian Child. I took a nap. I watched The Breakfast Club, part of Runaway Bride, and some random HGTV. Oh, and Miss Congeniality. I got off the couch long enough to get a drink, forage for something else to graze on, and to uh, visit the facilities. I may have let the dogs out, too.

Did I work out? Nope. Did I eat healthy? Oh my no, Maddy brought home some Russell Stover chocolates. Did I empty the dishwasher? Hellz no, and my dishes from last night are still in the sink.

My final act of decadence? I didn't make my bed. The scandal!

Today I feel good. The alarm went off this morning and I didn't immediately think oh sweet cracker sandwich it's morning already? Not that I was a bundle of energy, but I felt like I could make it through the day without a nap.

Perhaps I needed a no-list Sunday to recharge my batteries. Lord knows I'm going to need it this week - stay tuned.....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Fish Tale

When Kelli was in the fourth grade, her teacher, Mrs. Moody, used nature and wildlife a lot in her lessons. They raised chickens, went on nature walks at Willoughby Farms near her school, and had lizards and other creatures in the classroom.

One of the biggest class projects involved raising tadpoles to put in the pond at Willoughby Farms. Apparently they were also available to take home, which I did not know about until I got the following phone call:

Kelli: "Hi mom, I just got home from school. Can I have a tadpole?"

Mom: "What? No! Eww, what are you going to do with it?"

Kelli: "Keep it until it turns into a frog. Then keep the frog."

Mom: "No, I am not having a tadpole in my house. It will turn into a frog overnight and I'll find it hopping around and it will scare me. I don't want reptiles in my house."

Kelli: "It's an AMPHIBIAN, Mom! Duh! Uh, I already brought one home. I named it Elvis. Can't we keep it? Please? I'll take care of it!"

She named it Elvis. How could I resist? So I found a fishbowl and we kept the tadpole. And we kept a close eye on the tadpole. I told her as soon as it starting showing froggy tendencies, it was outta here, and she agreed. We kept it for quite a while, and once it started growing legs, we turned it loose in the pond.

As soon as she said her goodbyes and let him go, she turned to me with that face and those eyes and said "can I get a fish?" What a surprise. I told her no, aquariums are too much work. She could have a fish in a bowl. She argued but eventually realized a fishbowl was better than nothing.

And so Larry joined our family.

She loved Larry. She talked to him, did her homework by him, even set his bowl on the floor of her room to watch TV with him. She brought him to the kitchen on the weekends she was at her dad's, so we wouldn't forget to feed Larry.

Larry was one hardy fish. I almost killed him once. I got the water too warm, and he started doing all kinds of acrobatics. It was cool until I realized he was belly rolling and his bug eyes were even more buggy. I remember running into the bathroom to get some cold water, all hysterical as if one of my children were bleeding. Part of me was saying "it's a FISH for the love of pete" and the other part of me knew how much Kelli loved All God's Creatures. Not to mention Kelli's hysteria was probably contagious. We got him stablized and all was well.

One sad day, we realized Larry was dying. I wanted to do the humane thing and end his misery, but she wouldn't let me. She had to go to her dad's that weekend, and called me several times to check on him. We had friends over for drinks on the deck during the weekend, so everytime someone would go inside, we'd check on Larry. We had a couple of scares, but then he'd move a little and show some recovery.

Sunday afternoon Larry gave up the fight. As Kelli was due home in about an hour, I didn't call her to tell her, but I told her when she got home. She was devastated. We put him in a ziploc bag and buried him under the tree in the front yard.

She finally got her aquarium for her birthday the following year, and over the years she had several other fish, but none as long-living or cool as Larry. BFF Heather even bought her one, which they named Consuela. I kept telling her fish were kind of disposable pets, they really didn't live a long time. I tried to gently suggest that she stop putting herself through misery when she'd lose another one. She would feel guilty, as if she hadn't loved them enough. She was just that sensitive.

Her final fish died about six months before she did. I asked her if she wanted more and she said no, she was going to give it a break. The aqaurium was taken apart and put under the table in her room. When we moved, I kept it. I couldn't get rid of it, it had so many memories.

About six months ago, Maddy starting asked for a fish. I kept putting her off, but honestly, I didn't know if I was ready. Silly, maybe, but it just was tied too closely with Kelli.

I finally decided that it wasn't fair to deny Maddy, and a few days later, my future SIL, Kristen, asked if she could buy Maddy a fish for her birthday. Perfect timing. We set up Kelli's old aquarium downstairs, and she took Maddy shopping last night. Three fish were purchased - two black and white Lyretails and one orange sailfin Molly named Penelope.

This morning, Maddy came flying upstairs insisting that Penelope had given birth. "She was fat and slow yesterday, and now she's skinny and swimming all over." We investigated and sure enough, there were several little bright orange specks in the water. I told Maddy that they probably wouldn't survive, as the parents have a tendency to eat the young. (Before you flame me for not rescuing them, I didn't have anywhere to put the little ones and I was already late for work). She said "that's okay, but if there are any left tonight can we keep them?"

If there is one left tonight, we will keep it, and name it Kelli. If there are two, we'll have Kelli and Larry. And if there are three, we've got an Elvis.

I just wonder if Kelli isn't somehow behind this sudden explosion in the fish population.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Premio Dardos Award

Jill gave me this award, bless her heart!

"This award acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write. Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It's away to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web."

According to the rules, I now must pass it on to 15 bloggers. As I am a rebel, I chose 17, all of whom I deem worthy of receiving this award:

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Scenes from my visit with my dad and brother this weekend:

The world's largest pork tenderloin sandwich.* It was tasty! (No, I didn't eat all of it, Travis ordered it. I did have a bite, though!)

I was trying to get Travis to do the supermodel pout. Obviously, we're doing it wrong.
So we tried for the cheesy smile picture - I nailed it but Travis failed.

Maddy and Travis' wife, Michell, in their new Blues Brothers shades. Tres chic!

*This sandwich is available at Gullable's Bar in Camdenton. I highly recommend it - good food and cold beer at a reasonable price. If Pat is bartending, be nice - she's my stepmom.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just Call Me June Cleaver

I am either getting old, or getting domestic. Both are equally frightening. What happened, you ask? I got a new household appliance last night, and I am smitten. I honestly can't wait until tonight to see it again. Sad, isn't it?

A little background:

Now that we have a garage, we come in the house through the utility room, which is tile, then enter the hallway, which is carpet. Beige carpet. Even with throw rugs at the doors, we were still tracking in dirt, and the constant traffic was matting down the carpet. We also had some residual dirt from moving in on a lovely drizzly day.

Also, my greyhound was taking the position that since us humans didn't use the dining room every day, he could mark it as his own. Nice try, dog, but until you start bringing in some racing earnings to buy new carpet, you can go in the yard. We bought you a fence!

The last straw was on Sunday when I was bringing up the Super Bowl buffet from downstairs, and I dropped my chili ladle. And then it bounced, so I got a two-fer! Gah.

On Monday, I declared war. I have a small hand-held carpet cleaner but this kind of battle needed a big gun.

After much research (yay Epinions and Amazon!), we found our weapon:

Dirt, meet your destroyer - The Hoover SteamVac Dual V. Six spinning brushes, an internal water heater, upholstery tool, a rinse-only option, forced heated air to speed drying time - this baby has it all. And it was on sale! And we had a coupon!

After a relatively easy assembly, I fired it up and got to work. Yes, I cleaned my carpet at 9:00 last night. Don't judge.

The results were amazing. The dark spots in front of the utility room door are gone, Nolan's piddle puddles are eliminated, the carpet was completely dry this morning, and it doesn't feel crunchy. It looks new and feels fluffy again. Victory is mine!

Tonight I have a date with it to conquer the living room. I might even wear my pearls.

*This post is not a paid advertisement for Hoover, Amazon, Kohl's, Epinions, dirt, greyhounds, Jerry Mathers or pearls.