Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where the Heck Was I?!?

I am SO sorry, readers: I was away from my blogging responsibilities for an inexcusable length of time. Shame on me, shame on me!

Super Woman my ass.

Go ahead and say it. I know it's true. Heck, I'm even saying it myself!

In all seriousness, I'm very, very sorry for staying away for so long.

I felt rather overwhelmed this holiday season, between getting our house ready for the holidays, pretty much single-handedly doing all of the holiday shopping & baking, helping out in Super Boy's classroom as they prepared for the holidays, organizing and executing the class party, and so on and so forth. I've been stressed out and sleep-deprived, despite my love and excitement for this time of year, and it left very little room for creativity and very little time for writing. So... my apologies, friends.

I promise I'll be writing more again as we head into the new year. In fact, some of my upcoming posts will be about things that happened in the month of December. Such as going to see the movie "Twilight," which was a definite highlight of this month! Mmmm... Rob Pattinson... Mmmm....



What? Where am I? Oh. Right. Sorry about that.

On that note, I hope you all had a safe, peaceful and joyous holiday, and I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year!

Your old pal,
Super Woman

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hello...Hello...Hello... Is Anyone There??

I came across this article earlier on CNN.com and found it very intriguing, as it's a subject that occasionally crosses my mind and gets me wondering, to the point where my head hurts and my brain feels like it's about to explode.

Are we alone in the universe?

It seems that almost everyone has a different answer when it comes to that question. And people have a whole spectrum of bases for their opinions, from religious beliefs to scientific probability to just a really strong desire to feel like we're NOT alone.

Personally, I believe that there must be other forms of life somewhere in the universe, possibly even in our galaxy. It's too incredible to imagine that all of the circumstances that led to life on our planet were completely unique and could never be naturally replicated on another planet, or that our version of "life" - even intelligent life - is the only possibility.

Nonetheless. Even if intelligent life does exist, and such beings are (or have been) trying to make contact with us, as we have been trying to make contact with them, we could be trying to communicate using two very different means which the other knows not how to detect or decipher, making our attempts at communication futile. Not to mention that the simple matter of the vast distances between us and even our closest of planetary neighbors is positively staggering and makes any communication an agonizingly slow process, at best.

Now, I'm no astronomer or high-falutin' scientist (although I did take an astronomy class while in college at UW-Madison, just for kicks, and found it fascinating). I have no idea just how large the universe is. In fact, I really can't fathom even the scope of the Milky Way. Sometimes, when I think about the whole thing too much, it freaks me out to think that we live on this planet and trouble ourselves with such totally trivial and ridiculous things when we might just be the only living beings in the entire universe (even though I don't think we are).

We stress out over our appearance, our weight, whether someone else will find us attractive, how much money is in our bank accounts/investment portfolios, whether our friends are really our friends, whether we'll still have jobs in a week or a month, where to go for dinner, where to take vacations. We fight wars and put the lives of others in danger, all in the name of power and domination. We consume like crazy, pollute like madmen, and trash our planet, as though there is another ready and waiting for us to call it home.

And all the while, we're floating around in seemingly infinite space on a tiny chunk of rock and metal called a planet, circling a tiny star, when there are trillions of other stars (and presumably planets) floating around out there, too, and we have no idea where space begins or ends, whether there are other life forms out there, or what will happen to us and our tiny little planet and our tiny little solar system as time passes.

What does it all mean? What is our purpose? Is it all just random good luck that we came into being on our little rock? Or is there some rhyme and reason to it all?

I'm no religious fanatic or garden variety freak show, trust me. I'm just an Average Everyday Super Woman, contemplating what it means to be a part of the whole great big wide unknown.

I hope we're not alone. And I hope we're able to communicate with other beings in my lifetime. Just because.

Thanksgiving: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes. Oh, and a side order of vomit. Ugh...

We were ALL ready to start loading up the van to head down to Chicago for a day of shopping and a fun night at the Palmer House Hilton before continuing on to Michigan to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Italian in-laws. When all of a sudden, Super Boy puked.

Not in the bathroom, as Mommy always tells him to do if he feels sick, but right outside the bathroom.

I think some of it splattered into the bathroom though, if that counts.

(grrrrrooooooaaaaaaannnnnnn)

I'm a huge emetophobe. For those of you who don't know what that is, see this.

So anyone in my household (or hell, in my STATE) who vomits instantly sparks enormous fear and panic in me. I start having sympathy nausea. I start feeling sick myself. I become convinced that I am going to - and actually start a countdown to the point when I - get sick. It's awful. It's no way to live.

And my poor baby.... As soon as he was done puking (he did manage to make it to the toilet for the last little bit), he started crying (as do I), and then when we said we weren't going to go to Chicago & Michigan, he said, "No, I feel better now! I do!"

Poor kid. I hate seeing him sick.

So while the rest of you, dear readers, are enjoying delicious, tender turkey and/or succulent ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and any other delicious culinary delights that you partake in as part of your celebrations, I will be vigilantly waiting for my stomach flu to kick in, and probably cleaning up after Super Boy as he forges a trail of vomit through my house.

Aren't you jealous?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, Julian....

Remember when I wrote about my little hidden obsession with "Charmed" earlier this year? And how, in that post, I confessed to having a huge celeb crush on Julian McMahon, the actor who plays Cole on the show, and also plays Dr. Christian Troy on Nip/Tuck?

Well, I found out the other day that one of my old childhood friends, who now lives in the Los Angeles area, and her husband met and hung out with Julian McMahon at a dinner party last year. He actually invited them back to his house (along with the other dinner party attendees), but my friend and her husband were unable to go because they had another party to attend.

When I found out about this travesty of justice, I calmly (hysterically) said (screamed), "WHAT??!?! What else could be more important than going back to Julian's house???? What??"

Turns out that the other party they went to was totally lame and they had major regrets about not going to Julian's, because another friend who did go said it was fabulous and they hung out there until 6am.

God, I miss out on soooo much living in Wisconsin....

I casually mentioned that if I ever make it out to L.A. for a visit, I'm going to beg them to arrange for me to meet Julian McMahon.

Why?

Because I LOVE him.

Not as much as Super Man, of course. (OF COURSE!) But still.

Oh, Julian....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Like Socks in the Dryer...

I don't get it.

Super Boy managed to make it through ALL of Junior Kindergarten - at FOUR years old - without losing his gloves even once the whole winter.

He's been wearing gloves to Senior Kindergarten now for all of, what, maybe a month since the weather turned cold, and has already lost one glove from that pair PLUS one glove from the back-up pair I thankfully had the foresight to buy a few weeks ago!

So he's managed to lose TWO gloves in a span of TWO weeks.

Seriously, kid? Are you kidding me?? At this rate, I'll be flat broke by the time spring rolls around!

I'm floored. After he lost the first one last week, I hounded him EVERY DAY to put his gloves in his pockets - and zip them shut - as soon as he took them off, to be sure they stayed put. Every single day I told him this, people.

So today when he walked out of the school sporting ONE solitary glove, my eyes rolled back into my skull with such ferocity that I thought maybe they'd never come back.

When at last they did, I gave him the stink-eye, ground my teeth together ferociously, and growled, "PLEASE do not tell me that you lost another glove."

His sheepish reply? The classic "Sorry, Mom."

Grrrr.... And GRRRRR again for good measure.

Needless to say, I'll be sending my child to school tomorrow with one solid black glove and one black-with-orange-stripes glove. Maybe if he gets teased for looking like a jackass wearing two totally mismatched gloves for a day or two, he'll remember to zip his flippin' gloves inside his pockets in the future.

In the meantime, I'll be trolling through the ENTIRE school (including the black hole that is otherwise known as the "Lost and Found" area, where trying to locate anything is literally like looking for a needle in a haystack) to see if I can't find at least ONE of the two missing gloves.

This part of my mommy job description sucks ass.

I (heart) Burt's Bees!

Awhile back, I shared this little story with all of you, lamenting my adult skin issues. I mentioned in that post that I had just started to use Burt's Bees skincare products, and I really liked the results up to that point. I also promised to update at a later time to tell you if I was still singing the praises of Burt's Bees.

Well, here's your answer: YES, I AM!

I've been using the Garden Tomato Complexion Soap and Garden Tomato Toner every day, twice per day, since July. That was all I needed to get my skin blissfully clean while also keeping it well-balanced and clear.



Once the dryer days of fall set in, I purchased one of the Burt's Bees moisturizers, the Beeswax Moisturizing Day Creme.


Now, I did this with some very real hesitation, because adding a moisturizer - any moisturizer - to my oily skin sometimes ends very, very badly for me! Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this moisturizer is just as light and clean as the complexion soap and toner, and they make my skin feel gorgeous without feeling goopy or sticky.

While I still get the occasional blemish (still mostly around my period), they're generally small and they heal very quickly and easily, completely unlike the large, inflamed, painful blemishes I was experiencing prior to starting this skincare regimen.

I love that these products are almost entirely natural; in fact, if you check out the links to the products I've been using (above), you'll see that Burt's Bees actually lists how much of the product is natural, and the three that I'm currently using are over 95% natural, which I LOVE. I really think using more natural products is what has made the difference for me. So many of the other acne skincare lines are full of chemicals and harsh components, which were only exacerbating my skin problems. These feel very light, gentle and fresh, and leave my skin feeling like a million bucks.

The price is also right: I spend roughly 1/3 of what I used to spend on skincare products that only seemed to make my skin worse, and I'm going through the Burt's Bees products less often than the old products I used, so I'm saving even more by not having to replenish my supply as often. It's GREAT!

So your old pal Super Woman is giving the Burt's Bees skincare products DOUBLE thumbs up. If your skin is sensitive, easily irritated, and problematic, I really encourage you to try Burt's Bees products for a month to see if they'll make your skin look and feel better, too. Even if you DON'T have problem skin, Burt's Bees offers a wide range of skincare and other products that will no doubt work wonders, too.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Twilight Phenomenon. He doesn't "get it."

Super Man and I were hanging out together in the kitchen the other night after dinner when the preview for the movie "Twilight" came on the t.v. I went totally silent and blasted the sound so I could fully experience the preview, and Robert Pattinson, in all their magnificence.

Super Man stared at me with a half exasperated and half amused expression on his face as my face melted into what I can only imagine was the dreamy expression of a pre-adolescent girl crushing on her first celeb.

"Honey," he said, sarcasm dripping in his voice. "What is the deal with this 'Twilight?'"

"Oh, baby...." I murmured, still not tearing my eyes from the t.v. screen. "The books were... amazing. Fantastic. I mean, I didn't think the writing was all that great; in fact, I liked the Harry Potter books much better in terms of the writing. But it's... the story. The love story between the two main characters."

"So, the guy's a vampire? Sounds kind of stupid to me," Super Man said, shaking his head.

"Stupid? No. No, no, no. Definitely NOT stupid. HOT. Hot's what it is," I murmured distractedly as I observed the lovely face of Robert Pattinson smiling and laughing on the screen.

"Oh, okay. So the guy being a vampire is HOT? Seriously?" Super Man asked me, totally skeptical.

"Yes. Yes it is," I insisted stubbornly, finally tearing my eyes from the screen and crossing my arms defensively over my chest.

"WHY is that hot?" he asked, a smug little smile creeping across his face.

"Because it's all just so... impossible. He - Edward Cullen, the vampire - is this incredibly gorgeous, sexy, super strong teenaged vampire, and you get this sense that he's lived a long and very lonely existence, having never had the inclination, or maybe the courage, to bond with a human female in the hundred or so years of his 'life.' And then he meets this human girl, Bella, and is instantly insanely obsessed with her. In part because he lusts after her blood (literally), and in part because she's the first woman in a hundred years to make him feel that way. And though she is at first a little hesitant, because she doesn't really know what his deal is even though she knows he's different, she's also insanely obsessed with him. And once they are both on the same page, it's like this... very delicate dance between them as he tries to love her without killing her and she tries to love him without pushing him over the edge," I explained, the affection I feel for this story evident in every word.

"It's all VERY hot, if you think about it. Remember what it was like to be 17, 18 years old and totally in lust with someone? For two humans, it's all cool - you can do what you want and really not think about it all that much. But for these two, if he lets himself get carried away, he could literally crush her, or accidentally bite her and kill her, you know? I mean, even just kissing her is dangerous because he's got venom on his teeth, so he's got to be careful even then," I gasped, thrilling at the danger of it all.

Super Man looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head. I ignored him and went on rhapsodizing.

"And THEN, they start to realize - especially Bella - that while he will forever be 17 years old and impossibly perfect and beautiful, she will continue to age, and she worries that eventually he won't want to be with her anymore when their age difference makes it impossible to continue. Only she doesn't realize that the fact that he never gets older means he can never stay in the same place or around the same people for very long without raising suspicion, since no one knows that he - and his 'family' - are vampires. So then she wants to become a vampire, too, and then there's that whole issue between them, since he KNOWS what she'll be giving up if she allows him to 'convert' her, and he worries that she doesn't really understand the profound changes and sacrifices - not to mention PAIN - involved. At the same time, though, he wants nothing more than to spend eternity - literally - with her, too," I finished.

Super Man regarded me with wary eyes for a long moment, and then said, "Huh. I still don't get it."

Grrrrr...

"Whatever. I'm still obsessed with the story. And with Robert Pattinson. And I can't wait to see the movie. So leave me alone," I muttered, turning to my iBook to search for solace in online previews of the movie.

Human men. They just don't get it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My uterus is screaming.

An hour or so ago, I went to the website of one Heather B. Armstrong (who some of you may know as Dooce), as I do every day, to find that one of the funniest women in America is expecting her second child.

Dooce has, like me, struggled to conceive a second child. However, unlike me, she has succeeded at last, and her little miracle is due in June of 2009.

In the same breath as I was shouting "YES!" and my heart was expanding with joy at her wonderful news, my eyes welled up with tears and my poor, pathetic little uterus contracted in sickening self-pity because it's not me sharing such joyous news.

I'm not proud of that, and I truly don't begrudge her this most amazing blessing. I just really really wish that I could also be announcing that happiest of news on my own blog.

On a related note, Super Man just called me to say goodnight (he's traveling on business at the moment) and when he asked how I was, my answer was the only one I could give:

I want another baby.

Thankfully, he does, too.

Call me crazy, but I really think 2009 just might be our year.

hope / pray / hope / pray / hope / pray / hope / pray... **baby**

Monday, November 17, 2008

beautiful

When I went upstairs to bed the other night, I peeked my head into Super Boy's room to check on him, and my eyes were met with the most beautiful sight: Super Boy had fallen asleep reading with a book still open in his hands. :)

To be specific, it was Super Boy's second most favorite book: a compilation of four stories of "Harold and the Purple Crayon."

Super Boy is just learning how to read, but he's progressing at a rate I find truly remarkable. He can read the ENTIRE book of "Go Away Big Green Monster" without any help, and is now starting to read "Harold."

As I may have mentioned at one point or another, I'm an avid and voracious reader. I can't get enough when it comes to books. And, according to my mom, I've been that way since I was even younger than Super Boy: My older sister taught me how to read when I was four, and from that point on, I'd carry home as many books from the school or local library as my little arms could carry.

As such, it warmed my heart thoroughly to see my little boy laying in his bed, asleep, with a book still in his hands. I hope that was the first of many times I will find him peacefully sleeping that way, dreaming of the people, places and events straight out of the pages of the books he loves.

This mom's heart is full today. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I missed out.

Ever look at people who are so incredibly talented and wonder "HOW do they do it?"

HOW do they conceive a great idea and then bring it into fruition? And HOW in the hell do they manage to make those great ideas into a career?

I swear, I missed out on that gene. I missed out on anything even resembling that gene.

I got to thinking about this (yet again) after attending a craft show this morning at which one of my girlfriends was selling the fabulous purses, wristlets, belts, scarves, and hats that she makes. I LOVE this friend's creations, and I can't seem to resist buying at least one or two things whenever she does a purse party or craft show. And I'm not even really a purse person - in fact, my oldest friends can vouch for the fact that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to replace this crappy and cheap old wallet and purse I had late in high school that were literally falling apart because I'd had them for SO long.

Anyway, my friend sews. She creates. She sees something cool, researches how to make it herself and then just goes and DOES it.

My husband is the same way. He makes things out of concrete, wood, found objects. He does graphic design and makes cool logos, invitations, packaging. And it's effortless. Effortless! I don't get it!

I go onto www.etsy.com and browse at some of the amazing, cool, useful, fun things that people have made to sell, and I marvel at their creativity, their industriousness. I wonder how they learned how to work with metal, concrete, fabric, glass, paper. I wonder what their training and backgrounds are that they can take or paint such beautiful pictures, design such cool graphics on t-shirts or cards or prints. I wonder if they just innately felt comfortable at a sewing machine or if they slaved over it for years, hating it (as I do) until one day it suddenly became easy and made sense to them.

Most of all, I wonder what makes me so different from them. Different from my friend, from my husband, from the sellers on Etsy.

I don't really create anything. I don't sew. I don't paint. I don't make glass or metal or concrete. I see something cool and I want to do it, but I don't even know where to begin. So I just don't do it.

And I hate that about myself!

DID I miss some critical gene for creativity and industriousness?

Or... am I just lazy? (GASP!)

I'd hate to think it was the latter, but heck - it certainly could be, at least in part. Especially if I'm not one of those people who is just innately blessed with some nice creative talents, for whom creating things is "easy," but am instead one of those people for whom creating is only possible after much struggling, trial-and-error, frustration and major mistakes. I'm not proud of it, but in many areas of my life I like instant gratification, and I'll admit that I like to be naturally good at things. I find endless trial-and-error to be exhausting and rarely worth the effort.

And you know what? All of that would probably be FINE if I didn't long to create something beautiful and unique!

(big sigh)

Alright. Please excuse me while I go research sewing classes at my local fabric shop. Or glass- or metal-working classes at.... I don't even know where! Our local technical college? Maybe?

Eh, never mind. I'm tired. I'm going to bed!

(Whoops - there's that pesky possible laziness and my nasty instant gratification thing rearing its ugly head again...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Got My $15 iTunes Gift Card Contest Winner!

So, as I mentioned yesterday, my trusty old iPod Mini is in fact NOT broken. BUT - I'm still getting a new iPod Nano for Christmas, because my husband loves me very much and realizes that the love of his life needs more song capacity and newer technology, having accomplished the amazing feat of keeping her Mini alive for more than three years without ever complaining once in all that time about the lack of a color screen OR lack of a colored body.

The iPod's body, not mine. Silly.

That said, I ended up choosing a color that NEITHER of my TWO contest entrants suggested. I chose to go with the RED iPod Nano, which is what old Super Man was hoping I'd say, since he positively loathed the idea of his wife toting around a hot pink iPod. (Men.)

Nonetheless, I have to say that it was VERY close. I was heavily leaning toward the pink when I first got to the Apple store and started playing around with the Nanos, until it occurred to me that I might actually get sick of toting around a hot pink iPod at some point, especially if I end up holding onto this one for another three-plus years. I mean, I love pink NOW, but I've had an on-and-off love/hate relationship with the color my entire life, and who's to say I won't change my mind again? Besides, the red is classic and Christmasy. And since Super Man is making me wait until Christmas to get my new Nano, I figured what the hell?

Anyhoo, since neither of my TWO contest entrants chose the color RED, I was left to employing the old "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" technique of choosing a winner for the $15 iTunes gift card. :) (I love those trusty old childhood ways of making decisions, don't you?)

And my winner was.... just sarah! Congratulations, just sarah. :)

I will contact you to get your mailing address so I can send your $15 iTunes Gift Card out to you by the end of the week. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I am one classy lady.

Nothing says "CLASSY" quite like going to take a drink of your water and having the drink straw go right up your nose.

Nice, hm?

That was me at dinner tonight with our friends. At a restaurant. A very busy restaurant.

It was the grand finale of the comedic entertainment portion of the evening. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face, once I got over the shock of having done something so.... so... GROSS while seated at dinner among friends.

Ah well. As my brother likes to say, I put the "ASS" in class.

Yeah, that's right.

One of the Funniest Stories I've Read in a LONG Time...

Fellow Super Moms, I love you. You know I do.

And because I love you, I want you to read this.

Because I think it will make you laugh (like it did me), and make you grateful for all of the potty-trained humans and animals in your lives (like it did me).

I'll be perfectly happy if I never have to ask the question "Whose shit is this?" for the rest of my life, that's for sure.

iDiscovered Yesterday That My iPod iS iN Fact NOT Broken. But i'M Still Getting a New One. :)

Well, after much monkeying around and smugly telling my husband that "Yes, fine, we'll go into iTunes and plug in my iPod so you can see for yourself that my fossilized iPod Mini is irreversibly damaged"... we discovered that my iPod is in fact NOT damaged.

No. In fact, it's apparently my brain that is damaged.

I don't know what happened. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.

All indications were that my iPod was not registering my attempts to free up space for new songs, having maxed out my capacity. Despite my efforts to delete entire playlists and probably a hundred songs from the remaining playlists, iTunes insisted that my iPod was still maxed out. I thought it was some electrical problem in my iPod that was preventing iTunes from registering the deletion of those songs and playlists.

Nope. It was some malfunction in my brain that caused me not to realize that I had to actually delete the songs from the "music" file on my iPod in order to truly delete them from my iPod and, thus, restore some "free" space for new songs.

Once Super Man did that, my free space was large and in charge once again. And I stood there with cheeks flaming, like a big idiot. :)

Nonetheless, I adopted a stiff upper lip and told Super Man that this whole incident merely pointed out the obvious: I was obviously beyond the capacity of my old 4GB iPod Mini, since I could no longer have all the songs I wanted to have on my iPod without deleting some to add more. AND my iPod had already survived beyond the 3 year life expectancy, making it the perfect hand-me-down for Super Boy while Mommy upgrades to a new-and-improved iPod, a kickass Nano.

Super Man - miraculously - bought my argument, and sent me on my way to the Apple store at the mall with Super Girl in tow. We looked. We browsed. I picked out my new Nano AND a hard-shell case like the one that has saved my Mini from absolute destruction countless times. And then, because I'm a complete idiot, I called Super Man and asked him if I could go ahead and purchase my new toy right then and there. He said NO (of course) - I had to wait until Christmas.

I immediately threw a tantrum (not really) and he immediately cut me off (not really) to tell me that IF my Mini had indeed been broken, he would've said FINE, just get the new one now. But since the Mini was still functioning, albeit at a lesser capacity than I now need, I had to wait for the new Nano until Christmas.

As annoyed as I was, I had to admit that it made SOME sense. So, now I wait.

Christmas can't come fast enough.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Tell People I'm a Writer.

I "officially" left my job earlier this year (although I was physically gone from my workplace starting in March of 2007), and have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a SAHM, as well as a blogger and "writer."

Inevitably the next words out of their mouths are, "Oh, really? What do you write?"

Hm. That is a great question...

I say that half in jest. See, I'm one of those writers who has been "working on a novel" for "quite some time," but hasn't quite fully cranked it out yet. In other words, I'm "unpublished."

Hell, that makes me and about a million other yahoos in the U.S. who call themselves "writers."

I know, I get it.

I joke about it, but really it's a source of great embarrassment and humiliation on my part. Because, the truth is, I have been "working on a novel for quite some time." I just can't seem to finish it.

I go in fits and starts. I won't touch the electronic document for literally MONTHS on end, and then all of a sudden one day I'll wake up inspired and I'll write for a few hours for a few days out of a few weeks, making a good 20-30 pages of progress, only to slip back into my months' long writer's block again.

This is physically and mentally painful because I genuinely like the story I'm writing. Most of it, anyway. It's just that it takes so much effort to really move the story forward.

And I still don't know how it's going to end, not even in my own head, much less on paper. That's frustrating. I feel like at least I as the writer should know my beginning, middle and end at this point. Right?

But then there's a part of me that doesn't WANT to define the end just yet. When I'm in the thick of my writing, the story feels alive to me, almost like I'm the character whose voice and experiences I'm communicating, and I'm living it in my mind's eye. And I hate when I know how something is going to end in my own life, so I'm loathe to set those limitations on my fictional pseudo-me either. I want the story to play itself out the way it should, organically, naturally.

Unfortunately, as you may have noticed from some of my lengthier blog posts, that could take awhile! I can ALWAYS find more to say, can describe a setting or an emotional state or whatever in greater detail. At the rate I'm going, this book is going to be 2,000 pages and no one except me (and maybe my mom, because she loves me) will ever read it.

Arrrrrrruuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhh.

On that note, I'm off to write some more. I had a flash of inspiration earlier this evening, while doing the dishes with a side order of laundry. With those two scintillating activities for inspiration, the next 20 -30 pages of my novel will no doubt be fascinating.

Ciao!

Oh, and don't forget to check out my contest: Help me pick the color of my new, as-yet-to-be-purchased iPod Nano and win a $15 iTunes gift card!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

iAm Having Problems with my iPod. iNeed a New iPod!

OK, I'll be honest here: When it comes to my iPod, I'm a crusty old fogey who's now completely out of touch with current technology.

I say that because I have a second generation iPod Mini, circa June 2005.

Yes, yes. I realize that means that my ancient iPod is really only 3.5 years old. But in technology years, that's like 3.5 million years old. So essentially, I've got a dinosaur from the early MP3 era.

Don't get me wrong: I love my Mini. It's been trustworthy, reliable, relatively free from annoying glitches. Other than those three times when it kept skipping over my favorite workout songs for no known reason no matter how many times I tried to get it to play the damn songs by skipping forward and backward, pushing play and pausing. Oh, that bugged the crap out of me!! Stupid thing. Grrr...

What? Oh, yes. Right.

My Mini is also sturdy, and unassumingly attractive in a squat and rounded kind of way (sort of reminds me of my grandmothers actually, which is really quite comforting).

Unfortunately, my Mini seems to be gasping for breath, straining for the strength to continue playing its beautiful music. Not to mention that I've apparently completely maxed out my song capacity (dammit).

Only, that's the thing: It's TELLING me that I've maxed out my song capacity, but I know that I have NOT, because I've been deleting "old" songs from it as I've wanted to add new ones. It's just not registering that I've deleted those songs, for some unknown reason.

It's sort of like my Mini has developed Alzheimer's. It's forgotten that I've deleted old songs from the past to make room for the new in the present, and it remains stubbornly yet innocently stuck on my song load of 10 days ago. It's sad, really.

The thought of saying goodbye to my trusty MP3 companion makes me choke up a little. So I probably wouldn't really "get rid of it" at all. See, it still remembers that it has all of Super Boy's songs on his playlist securely tucked away in its feeble memory, so I would probably pass my dinosaur of an MP3 on to my 5-year-old son. That way, if he absolutely destroys the poor thing, at least he doesn't have very far to go in obliterating it, and I won't be mad if he breaks such ancient technology.

The only question now is: Which new iPod do I get???

I swear, the new-fangled technology is so much more fancy and complex than my old trusty, utilitarian iPod Mini. For starters, they have COLOR SCREENS now.

Go ahead, you can do it - the ooohing and aaahing thing. I won't be offended. I did it myself when I first checked out the Apple website.

In addition to them fancy color screens, we now have a wide selection of exterior colors to choose from, at least with the iPod Nanos. And that right there is enough to send me into the fetal position sucking my thumb for a week. I'm terrible at making innocuous decisions like that. The BIG stuff, heck yeah, I'm all over it and can make up my mind in a heartbeat. But ask me to choose an exterior color on a new iPod and I lose half of my cerebral cortex functioning. It's weird.

I just know that if I chose the yellow, I'd hate it in a week. Same thing if I chose the pink. Or the red. But if I stuck with trusty old silver, the color of my Mini, I'd be frustrated with myself for NOT choosing something a little more sassy and unique, something that represents my personality, especially since I now HAVE the choice.

You can also now watch VIDEOS, heck, even MOVIES, on iPods. Not to mention all the fun applications. Wowza! Those alone make my head spin!

Now, the iPod Touch - the creme de la creme in the iPod world - has literally everything you could want in an MP3 player, including internet and email access, and the cool applications, PLUS a touch screen.

The only problem is, if I'm going to go that far down the new-fangled technology road, then I might as well pick me up one of them iPhones, since the iPod Touch pretty much has everything but the phone service, and it costs pretty much the same as the iPhone.

Now, let me stop right there and say that I am seriously coveting an iPhone. I want one. Bad.

The problem is that I can't really justify getting one. See, I'm not presently employed or earning money for the household, which is kind of a sticking point.

When I told my husband last year that I really wanted - and "needed" - a Coach brief bag for Christmas, he gave me the evil eye so bad my head hurt and said, "WHY on earth do you need a Coach brief bag when you're a stay-at-home mom, darling?" Hmmm.... good question.

I have a feeling he'd say something very similar if I told him I "needed" an iPhone at this particular point. I mean, really, my life is fairly straightforward in that I don't have a million appointments to keep straight and I'm not working on complex deals or anything that would require me to have cutting-edge technology on the go for ANY possible situation that should arise.

Trust me on this - if you could see my current cell phone, you would actually shit your pants. When I replaced my old dinosaur cell phone last year at this time, I chose THE most stripped down and basic model Sprint carried because, really, that's all I needed - I have a digital camera (two, actually), so I didn't NEED a phone with a camera. And I don't text or access the internet from my cell phone, so I really didn't NEED a built-in keyboard or any other fancy features. All I NEEDED was the ability to make calls, receive calls, get voicemail, and maybe store a few dozen phone numbers in it. Most of which are numbers that I'll never call.

But I don't care about all of that now. I want an iPhone.

Super Man will NEVER let me get one at this point, because he knows I don't "need" one. Oh, but I do, I do, I do!

Anyhoo, back to the iPod Touch. Clearly that's all way too fancy-schmancy for my current needs. I'd rather get a more basic iPod to replace my ancient Mini and maybe get an iPhone in another year when the contract on my wholly generic phone is up.

Which brings me to my other choices of iPods: The Classic and the Nano. Both are great, yet they are quite different.

The Classic literally can store pretty much ANYTHING you can think of, including possibly the kitchen sink, in whatever quantities of those things you could possibly want - songs, movies, videos, etc. Unfortunately, while the device is thin, it's WIDE. I can just see myself shattering that nice, wide screen my first time running on the treadmill with it - and dropping it. That would be my luck. I also cannot see myself fitting it easily and inconspicuously in any of my smaller purses, which is a problem. It's also a little more $$$. Sorry, but I have to factor that into my decision. I'm not working, dudes!

The Nano, on the other hand, is shiny, colorful, slim and skinny, and could easily fit in my purse. And could also easily be accidentally crushed by my man-hands with how slim and delicate it is. It scares me. It looks SO fragile that I'm afraid for its life. I managed to keep my Mini alive this long by the sheer grace of God. Well, that and a hard-shell case. And even those two things were sorely tested at times. I can't tell you how many times I dropped poor Mini on the treadmill or on the moving parts of the elliptical trainer. I cannot imagine a Nano surviving such abuse for over three years.

But.... the Nano is less expensive than the Classic. And it has fewer bells and whistles, lower capacity for all the stuff I DON'T use with plenty of capacity for the thing I really want it for: My songs. And it comes in a whole rainbow of colors!! (Did I mention that already? Sorry. Pretty, shiny colors easily distract me.)

I think I know what I need to do here. I think I need to get a Nano. The one with the higher song capacity.

And I definitely need to find a very sturdy case for it.

The only trouble is... what fancy color do I choose?

Yellow, my favorite color? Pink, because it's sassy and fun and is the color for breast cancer support? Red because it's sassy and fun and... red?

Or do I stick with silver, to keep it easy and familiar, and maybe forego giving myself a stroke choosing a damn color?!???

HELP ME, PEOPLE!! Help me narrow down a color! I need you now like I've never needed you before. And if you help me choose a color, there might - MIGHT - be an iTunes gift card in it for you.

How do you like those beans?

Yes, help me pick out an iPod Nano color between now and Sunday 11/9 at 9pm CST, and you could find yourself the lucky recipient of a $15 iTunes card.

Edited to Add: Nano Colors! Yeah, I thought you might need this to check out the colors... I'm such a dope sometimes!

Now, get to work, think hard, and... and... THANK YOU!!

The Dawning of A New Day

What an amazing - amazing - night for our country.

After many long months of campaigning, staying dignified and calm, quiet yet strong, and putting his life and those of his wife, children and family on the world table for everyone to scrutinize, criticize and question, a magnificent man has been chosen as the next President of the United States.

Barack Obama. The President-Elect of the United States of America.

The man who will carry the burden of leading our ailing country in a brand new direction, out of the dark and into the light. The first African-American President in our country's long and colorful 232-year history. It is truly amazing, and my heart bursts with pride in my fellow Americans for taking the road less traveled. For choosing a candidate who represented TRUE change.

This is not your typical middle-aged, pompous, wealthy, thoroughly Washington-entrenched, white male candidate, the same as we've seen election after election, without fail, for as long as I can remember. I believed we'd see a woman in office before we'd see an African-American man in office, simply because of the way things have always been in the U.S., and even that was a stretch in my opinion, much as I hoped otherwise. He is different.

For starters, the obvious: He's African-American. And that's not just a standard American label for Barack Obama; it's the truth: His mother was a white American and his father a black African, born and raised in Kenya. And so, like so many in our American "melting pot," Barack Obama is bi-racial. He represents both Caucasians and African-Americans, giving him an incredibly broad appeal across the racial spectrum.

Nonetheless, I cannot imagine what a life-changing, hard-core emotional and inspirational moment it was for African-Americans across our nation - and across the world - when Obama was announced as the new President-Elect last night around 10pm CST. While I myself am not African-American, my own heart was bursting with excitement and joy at this unprecedented win, so I can only imagine how it must feel for my fellow humans in the black community, and particularly for his family. It breaks my heart that his grandmother died just days before his historic win, though I have no doubt that she was celebrating it wherever she is now.

Barack Obama wasn't raised in a stereotypical upper middle class or wealthy two-parent family. He was raised by his single mother and his grandparents, in modest surroundings. He was taught values that many of our own children are not taught growing up in more traditional American families. It seems that one of the most important lessons he was taught was not to take anything in his life for granted, to appreciate the people and opportunities that are afforded to us, always.

He worked hard, like so many other Americans, to educate himself and build a solid career and life for himself and his family. His success came through hard work and proving himself socially and professionally, over and over again. His wealth was earned, not inherited or married into.

His faith is strong, his ethics rock solid. He knows he is not an island unto himself. He gives credit where credit is due, time and again, and again.

In short, he represents living proof that the American dream still exists and is still achievable. And that it is an opportunity that exists for everyone in this country.

I remember when Barack Obama first threw his hat into the ring. Thinking to myself that he was a true maverick, for having both the composure and the guts to make such a bold move when the odds were all against him. He seemed like such a long-shot to make it all the way to the final ballot. But as his campaign grew in scope and intensity, as I heard him speak so eloquently time and again about his vision for our country, I found myself drawn to him like a moth to a flame. He made sense to me. He represented almost the exact opposite of every other candidate that has come before him, in this election or any other. And I liked that. I liked it a lot.

He was different. New, fresh, dynamic, elegant, dignified, strong, smart as a whip, captivating. Absolutely the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps he's just really, really good at blowing smoke up our asses, that his stunning stage presence and eloquence is more Bill Clinton-esque than that of someone truly unique. (And, by the way, I voted for and thought Clinton was a phenomenal President, despite his personal problems and lack of morals when it came to honoring his marriage vows.)

But my gut instincts about Barack Obama are strong - I believe him when he talks about his love for this country, when he speaks of unifying our much-fractured country, when he promises to do everything he can for the benefit of his fellow Americans. I trust him.

I believe the change we are seeking is coming. It will most certainly take time for Obama to undo the damage that has been done by G. Dub., but I believe that Obama's vision and leadership will prevail. Will he be a perfect President? Undoubtedly no. He will make mistakes, just as all the others have before him. But - unlike the others - I don't believe there is any insane hunger for power that will make Obama act selfishly or in ways that are contrary to the well being of his fellow Americans. His love for this country is evident in every humble word spoken by him, and I feel very fortunate to have a President-Elect who so clearly understands the enormity of the responsibility he is about to undertake.

It's the dawning of a new day, my friends. And this girl couldn't be happier about it.

Congratulations to Barack Obama, to his wife Michelle, and to his daughters Sasha and Malia!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Miscommunication

Super Boy and I were up in his room late yesterday afternoon playing with his stuffed animals. I was playing the part of the posable T-Rex dinosaur while Super Boy played the part of the giant stuffed shark. Oddly enough, the T-Rex and giant shark were friends who could play together despite the fact that one is a land dweller (not to mention extinct) and the other is a water dweller. At least they're both meat-eaters. But I digress.

After about 20 minutes of playing stuffed animals, my T-Rex suggested that we snuggle and watch a movie. Shark answered that it sounded like a good idea, but then added, "But you need to get your mommy first."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, let me put the brakes on this little story for one second here while I tell you another little story. From the time Super Boy was just a suckling infant of a handful of months old, he has been extremely tactile. And by tactile I mean that he liked to use his teeny-tiny little fingers to PINCH my tender skin. It started out with a 5-month-old Super Boy pinching the delicate skin on my chest while he was nursing, to the point where my chest was perpetually bruised with little black-and-blue marks, and then as he got older (closer to a year old), he'd reach up and pinch my neck while nursing or just cuddling. Once he was weaned (at around 10.5 months), he'd only pinch me while we were snuggling or he was drinking a bottle, or if he wasn't feeling well.

As time went on and he became more of an upright mover and shaker, he stopped pinching my neck and progressed to pinching the soft skin on the inside of my wrists, right at the connection to my hands. However, he's very picky about bending my hands forward (palms toward the inside of my wrists) so that there are wrinkles in that space for him to pinch. Now, at the age of 5-1/2 years old, he no longer pinches, but instead just rubs that skin on the inside my wrist with his thumb. He says I have "smooth skin" on my wrists. :)

I have no idea why he does it, but I think it's a comfort mechanism. And while it's peculiar, I think it has to do with him being a very hands-on kinda person. He is constantly touching things, and he's very big on textures and tactile sensation. Nonetheless, I did ask Super Boy's pediatrician about it at one of his baby appointments. Contrary to what I believe, the doctor thought it was an aggressive behavior and urged me to make him stop. I never took his advice, because it was clear to me that Super Boy wasn't at all conscious of the fact that he was doing it; it truly was one of those things where he'd climb in my lap and just start doing it, whether he was falling asleep, not feeling well and wanting comfort, or just snuggling to watch a movie or read a book together. And the fact that he still does it to this day - albeit more rarely - convinces me that I was right that he wasn't doing it to hurt me or dominate me, but to comfort himself.

OK, back to the other story...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When Super Boy's shark told my T-Rex to go get his mommy before they snuggled and watched a movie, I couldn't help but ask, "Why does T-Rex need to get his mommy? So you can rub her wrists?"

Unfortunately, Super Boy didn't understand me correctly. He gave me an odd look and said, "Mom, you don't have rubber wrists!"

I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants, couldn't catch my breath and ended up having a 30-second coughing fit.

The kid is too darn cute for words. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whisper: to speak softly

Super Boy has this little habit that I absolutely adore. He developed it about this time a year ago, and I'm tickled that it has carried forward to this point. I pray he doesn't outgrow it anytime soon!

Whenever my sweet son asks me if he can have a toy he saw on t.v. or that one of his friends has, I say to him, "Maybe you can ask Santa for that for Christmas." And as soon as the words are out of my mouth, Super Boy will turn away from me (or go to a quiet place in the room), close his eyes tightly and whisper his wish to Santa.

The softly spoken wish is generally worded something like this:

"Santa, it's me - Super Boy. Can you please bring me a ___________ for Christmas? Thanks, and I love you."

It's enough to melt your heart from the inside out....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween: It's Not Just for Kids

I love Halloween. It's my third favorite holiday, behind Christmas and the 4th of July.

Mainly because it gives me an excuse to dress up, wear crazy make-up and make an ass out of myself for at least one day.

Who doesn't love THAT?!?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh Yeah... Uh-Huh... Oh Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

I sooooooo totally did it. Cut my hair short. Yep.

And I LOVE it! (At least for today, while my stylist's handiwork is still fresh.)

She did exactly what I wanted except that she left the very front layers and the crown layers a tiny bit longer than the pictures of the style I wanted because she wanted to ease me into the short hair thing a little bit by leaving it just long enough for me to still pull back. I'm so used to putting my hair in ponytails that she didn't want to totally cut me off cold turkey. Although that pony tail is going to be virtually nonexistent now anyway! When I go back in six weeks, she'll take those two areas shorter for me so I can really get funky.

But yeah - I love it. It's very different, but very edgy and fun. And sassy.

I have not had hair that didn't even reach my shoulders in YEARS. I don't even know how MANY years because it's been that long.

For my entire marriage to Super Man, I've had varying lengths of long hair. He's seen me with red hair, auburn hair, brown hair and blonde hair. He's seen me with medium-long hair and REALLY long hair.

But the man has never seen me with short hair....

And speaking of Super Man, he called me on my cell phone AS I was sitting down in my stylist's chair and repeated the words "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it" in my ear until I almost - almost - caved and went with my old standby "mmm... just a trim."

Thankfully my inner sassy chick found the strength to tell him to shut his trap because it's MY hair and I'LL decide what to do with it (even though he's paying for it). He sat in shocked silence for a moment and then said, "You're right. You only live once. And it'll grow back. Have fun!"

Ha HA! Hahahahahaha.... Ha! I'll have fun alright. With my new short SASSY 'do!

I'm waiting for my digital camera's battery to charge, and then I'm editing this post to include a few "before" and "after" pictures. (Stupid battery...) Check back!!

Scary Hairy Stuff

I am soooo sick of my hair.

I'm equally sick of my chicken-shit attitude towards making BIG changes when it comes to my hair.

Oh, I'll change the color, but even there I tend to play it pretty safe. I've done red, auburn, dark brown and all manner of blonde highlights and lowlights, often within months of each other. Nothing too crazy though. No pinks, blacks, platinum blondes. Not for this thirtysomething suburban mom, no sirree!

No, it's cutting any significant amount of my hair that really sends me into full-blown panic mode. Sure, I'll look at magazines and website for hairstyle ideas, and I'll gaze longingly at the pictures of super cute short-medium hairstyles, looking all sassy and fun. I've even gone so far as to bring pictures in to my stylist and boldly declare that THIS is the day I'm making the change... only to wimp out once she starts fingering my long tresses. And then I end up having her do "just a trim."

Well. That's all going to end today.

I'm putting my proverbial foot down and sticking by my decision to CUT MY HAIR into one of those cute short-medium hairstyles. I want to be sassy, too, and it's about damn time! So there! HA!

I mean, really - WHAT is my problem??? Hair grows back! I should know this, since that certainly hasn't been a problem on my legs!

Sure, it might take a few months... or a year or more... to grow it totally back out if I don't like it.

But - so what? It's just HAIR. It's one of the easiest things in the world to change. Like painting a room; if you decide you don't like the color, you just paint it another color. With my hair, if I decide I don't like the cut, I can always get a different cut.

But... hm. Well, I guess it's NOT the same as repainting a wall because I can't just "go back" to having long hair if I hate having short hair. No, it'll take months of patience (something I lack in abundance), especially when the style goes through that icky in-between phase.

Hm.

A trim isn't sounding so bad after all...

Wait - No. NO! This is what I always do, and I'm NOT doing it today. It is time for a change.

Life's too short to have the same hairstyle for years on end. We change, our personalities change - and our hairstyles should reflect our inner selves. And my inner self feels bold and sassy. HA!

Done. It's comin' off.

(Ack. ACK!!!!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ah...Ahhh.. AHH-CHOO!

And AHHHHCHOOO again.

Phhhhlllllbbbbbttttttt

Excuse me. I had to blow my nose. Again. For like the 400th time today. And it's only 10am. Oy vey.

I have a cold. One that I could actually feel starting to come on a solid week ago, but that didn't really kick in in earnest until about two days ago.

Last week I was completely exhausted, from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. I could feel pain building in my sinuses, making my face and head ache, but my nose wasn't congested at all. Instead, I had a non-stop stream of obnoxious post-nasal slime oozing down my throat all day, making my throat tickle and hurt (and prompting me to make completely rude and disgusting noises in private while I tried to hawk all of it up and spit it out rather than continue swallowing it. Yuck. Sorry about that TMI, by the way - just trying to keep it real). A few times I wondered if perhaps it was more of an allergy thing than a cold, but I couldn't shake that heavy feeling in my sinuses, and I knew it was just a matter of time.

Well, by Saturday I knew it was finally progressing into a full-blown cold. I started sneezing violently several times a day, the hallmark of my impending doom. Which each sneeze, I could feel the congestion inching its way into my nasal passages. By the evening, while we were out to dinner with my Super Parents and some Super Friends, my nose was thoroughly congested and I sounded vaguely like Elmer Fudd when I spoke.

Since then, I've been miserable. I tend to be a side- or stomach-sleeper at night, neither of which is fun when your head is congested. On my side, I end up with one nostril completely clogged; yet when I roll over to the other side, there is that "transitional period" when suddenly BOTH nostrils are completely clogged as the congestion works its way to the other side. On my stomach, it all just settles into my face or makes my nose run like a faucet. And yet, lying flat on my back feels suffocating because the congestion is in both nostrils AND I can feel it sliding down the back of my throat. NO good options there!

I'm not one who terribly minds colds, ordinarily, but I feel as though my colds get worse the older I get. Or maybe it's that I just don't tolerate the symptoms as well as I used to, physically or mentally! It seems like it takes me forever to get rid of my colds, too, and that's just not fun. I'm not kidding - I'll easily have total congestion for a solid week or longer with little to no relief from OTC cold medicines. I long for the morning when, while standing in a hot shower trying desperately to inhale the rich steam, I can feel the last vestiges of the cold break up and disappear, allowing me to finally - FINALLY - breathe deeply through my nose.

Anyway. Pardon me now while me and my box of Kleenex and my book retire to the sofa for a day of rest, hot tea and nose blowing.

Ahh.... Ahhhhh... AHCHOO! Times two.

I always - ALWAYS - sneeze in pairs.

Oh - and excuse me. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoroughly. Grossed. Out.

Super Dog disgusts me sometimes. And this particular time, she really knocked it outta the park.

As if it weren't bad enough that my beautiful yellow Lab rolls in unknown animals' crap whenever she comes across it, completely mucking up her beautiful coat and stinking to high hell.

After what I saw yesterday, I'd gladly have her roll in a huge, steaming pile of fresh elephant dung. And then leap into my arms.

Sadly, Super Dog has moved on to something even more disgusting and foul than rolling in shit: She's apparently decapitating bunnies in the backyard now, and tossing their heads around for fun. Ick, ick, ICK!!!

I'm not joking about this. Not at all. I wish!

Yesterday afternoon, with my parents at our house for a visit, we let Super Dog out to go potty. My mom stepped outside for a minute to get something from her car, and when she came back in, she was grimacing like she'd just smelled something bad.

I asked, "What's wrong?"

The perma-grimace continued. "Um... I think Super Dog killed something in the backyard. She was tossing it around. And it's bloody."

Good God...

I threw on my Crocs and raced out the back door to find my lovely pooch standing over something mangled and - yes - bloody. I shooed her away as I crept slowly closer to the thing on the grass near Super Boy's swingset, cringing as I caught the unnaturally crimson-colored fur.

From a distance, it looked like a dead chipmunk, perhaps. It wouldn't be the first time Super Dog has managed to capture one of those, although she's never chewed on one to the point where we've seen blood.

As I got closer, I saw long-ish flat ears. And then a cute little nose. And big black eyes. But... no body. Ugh....

I turned my face away as I felt bile rise in my throat, and then suddenly recalled seeing Super Dog hanging out in the very back corner of our yard, just another 10 or so feet away. I moved in that direction with one eye closed and the other barely open, praying I wouldn't find the rest of the poor rabbit's carcass.

No such luck.

In the back corner, hidden in the trees, was a large old rabbit's body missing its head. And it was stinky. (Naturally. Leave it to Super Dog to be attracted to the stench.)

Before I tossed my lunch, I ran back into the house and quietly informed Super Man that he needed to go dispose of the rabbit carcass before Super Boy went outside. He asked where it was, and I explained in a largely spelled-out conversation (due to Super Boy's presence in the room) that it would be a "two step job." His olive skin blanched as he gritted his teeth, grabbed some plastic shopping bags and trudged out the door. He came back in a few minutes later looking as thoroughly nauseous as I felt. Ick...

Needless to say, there've been NO doggie kisses to speak of this weekend. In fact, every time Super Dog even brushes her face against my leg I feel like I need to go take a really hot shower. I'm completely grossed out by what she did, even though I know that it's the hunter in her that reared it's ugly head.

I think maybe we need to consider going with a Chihuahua next time...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Me Can Take Pictures

Yes, even I - your Average Everyday Super Woman without virtually any discernible artsy skills whatsoever - can take a halfway decent picture, as it turns out. Who'd have thunk it was possible? Not me, that's for sure!

We have a nice little Canon PowerShot SD1000 digital camera, which I love, but I'd never really messed around with the features before. I was bored yesterday (oops - don't let Super Man hear me say that or he'll make me get a job), and felt like taking some random pictures, so I started pushing the buttons on the back of my camera without a clue as to what they were for.

That always makes me a little nervous because I've been known to cause SERIOUS damage to other electronics with my willy-nilly random-button-pushing approach to learning, but I took a deep breath, said a little prayer and pushed those buttons anyway.

Turns out, I discovered some cool features! My favorite discovery was the "Color Accent" feature. It essentially produces a black and white image but infuses color into a select colorful object to make it totally pop. I'm sure this isn't a very scientific manner of describing the feature, but I don't really care. Heck, I consider myself lucky for just stumbling onto something cool - you can hardly expect me to know what I'm talking about in those circumstances, right? Right.

So, anyway. Here are a few of the pictures I took with this color accent feature. I LOVE them and I guarantee I'll be messing with that feature more over the coming weeks.



If you have a digital camera and you only use it for basic point-and-shoot type pictures, STOP! Go get your camera and start pushing some buttons, sister! Mess around with it until you find something that blows your mind, and then run with it. Worked for me. ;)

And, please, share your pictures with me and the other readers, too - if you have a Flickr page or some other photo page that you can share, post a comment and include a link. I'd love to see what cool things you all have photographed using neat camera functions.

Have a great day!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Marriage is Fun.

Especially when your husband is on the opposite side of the political dividing line from you. In an election year. And, specifically, in a desperate, teeming, tumultuous election year.

Muah-ah-ah....

The thing that makes it SO fun is that I tend to be rather... flamboyant... in supporting my chosen political candidate(s), whereas Super Man will talk about his fave(s) until you're blue in the face but he isn't inspired enough to go out and get any symbols of his support.

It drives him CRAZY that I'm all about the swag. Muah-ah-ah....

For example. A few months ago, I went online and purchased an Obama magnet for the bumper of my Odyssey (while I love bumper stickers, I'm leasing and am not yet sure if I want to buy out the lease at the end or not, so I have to resist the urge to defile my bumper). I giggled the whole time I was centering it perfectly on my van's backside.

I didn't tell Super Man I was doing this. When eventually we went outside together to head out somewhere and he laid eyes on the little magnetic beauty, he rolled his eyes and insisted - INSISTED - that I remove it. Remove it from my vehicle.

Aw, hell no! My car; my candidate. Sorry, pal.

To further fan the flames, after the debate last night, I informed Super Man that I'm picking up an Obama yard sign from our local Obama campaign office today, and he'll find it on the left side (heeheehee) of our front yard when he gets home from work tonight. He glowered at me from under furrowed brows, his eyes narrowed to slits and his beautiful lips set in a firm line.

I innocently batted my eyelashes and told him that I'd save the right side of our front yard for his McCain sign, if he felt so inclined. (It was a safe bet: We both know that he won't make the time - or pay the few bucks - to get a McCain sign in the next 18 days...)

And then I laughed out loud, realizing that while many of our neighbors have competing signs right next door to each other, we'd be the only house in the neighborhood with competing signs in the same yard. Wouldn't surprise anyone, I'm sure!

What Super Man doesn't yet know is that I'm also scouring the internet trying to find the perfect Obama t-shirt that I can wear EVERY SINGLE DAY until the election. Just because I love him. ;)

There's just one thing that bothers me: What'll I do for fun once the election is over?

Muah-ah-ah....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Missing My Man

This is one of those "good news, bad news" things. More good than bad, certainly. But still...

GOOD NEWS: Super Man started his fabulous new job today. HOORAH!!!

He was super excited this morning as he went about his morning routine, and naturally a little nervous, too. I was so excited for him to be setting off on this new adventure, because I think this opportunity is going to be great for him, and for us. I hugged & kissed him, asked him to drive safely on his hour-long commute, and told him to knock 'em dead. Super Boy and I waved to him from the back bedroom as he went out to his Element, and blew him kisses with tears in our eyes. We're really very proud, and I mean that with all sincerity.

BAD NEWS: I miss my husband. I miss him a lot.

After three-and-a-half months of non-stop togetherness, I feel like I've had a limb removed not having him here with me now.

Oh, I'll be the first one to admit that the first few weeks of our unexpected togetherness were a little scary and fraught with irritation on both our parts: We weren't used to spending anywhere NEAR that much time together and then suddenly there we were, bumping into each other every time we turned around. I think we both wondered how we were going to manage to not kill each other before Super Man found a new job! But it was funny how all of a sudden one day we woke up and looked forward to our day together, all those hours stretching out ahead of us side by side.

When Super Boy started school, I think we were both curious to see how that would change things, since we'd be one man down from 8:30am - 3:20pm Monday through Friday. To our pleasant surprise, it was lovely. We'd drop our son off at school together most mornings, then maybe go get a coffee together at Starbucks (if we were feeling lucky), and then go to Home Depot, or come back home and putz around the house until it was time to pick Super Boy up again at the end of the school day. That's not to say we spent every minute of the day together, but at least we were near each other.

Super Man talked to me last week about how much he's treasured being able to do those little things that I have come to take for granted, being at home the past year. Things like taking our son to school and picking him up, running errands during the day, going for coffee at 8:45am without having to rush off somewhere. He was so much more relaxed, so much happier than I'd seen him in years. I think he finally understood why I love being a stay-at-home mom so much, and why I don't find it at all isolating or lonely.

I think he also realized over the past few months that his priorities had gotten way out of whack the past few years. With all the changes that had gone on at his old company, things there had become increasingly stressful and chaotic, and I knew he felt a lot of pressure and uncertainty about that. He was constantly on edge, not taking care of himself; the easy-going, happy guy I knew and loved was gradually being replaced by an irritable, stressed-out workaholic. Being downsized - while it came as a huge shock to Super Man - was the best thing that could've happened to him, and to us. And it was amazing how quickly he felt better and was back to himself in the aftermath.

I think he finally realized that his years spent killing himself to prove his worth were all for naught at a company where his loyalty and dedication had meant so little, as evidenced by the way his position was eliminated. It's one thing to go the extra mile for a company that cares about and appreciates its employees and demonstrates that in ways great and small; that's the sort of company I worked for before I became a stay-at-home mom, and that made it hard to leave. It's entirely another to knock yourself out for a company that doesn't value its employees or recognize the importance of having a good work-life balance. I believe, based on his new employer's reputation, that he has found a rare gem, like my old employer, and I think it will be easier for him to keep his life in a good balance. He's the hardest working person I know and so incredibly smart and talented; I want him to be appreciated and rewarded accordingly.

Anyway. I can't wait to hear how Super Man's day is going. Heck, I'm just excited to hear his voice again. And I'll be overjoyed to see him tonight.

What can I say? I love my husband. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm back. And I'm sorry!

Hello, faithful, devoted, and - most importantly - patient readers of my blog. Yes, I'm back. And - I know, I know - I owe you an apology. A HUGE apology.

I've been away for far too long. Some of you who know me personally have gently hinted to me in recent weeks that you've been checking my blog every few days hoping to see some entertaining new posts only to find, well, nothing. And I feel really badly about that, I do. It's embarrassing, really.

I can't even give you a really good reason for my long absence from the computer. Because, technically, I haven't actually been absent from my computer; I've only been absent from my blogging responsibilities. And for that, I have no good excuse.

I've felt very... blah lately. I've wanted to write, truly I have. I just wasn't feeling particularly inspired by anything. Rather, I've felt periodic bursts of inspiration, but nothing to get me to commit to spending a solid 30-60 minutes on my blog putting my thoughts on the screen in a coherent and enjoyable manner. (Although, come to think of it, my thoughts are rarely coherent even if they might pass as enjoyable...!)

Is it my typical Seasonal Affective Disorder rearing its ugly head a tad early? Hm... could be, a little bit. I always get a little blue at this time of year as the days get shorter and colder, heralding the imminent onset of my sworn enemy, Old Man Winter. And perhaps my dread of winter is worse this year because last winter simply would not end, and was chock full of record snowfalls, bitter cold and dreary, blink-of-an-eye days. I truly cannot bear even the thought of a repeat of last winter, and I mean that with all of my heart and soul. So, yes, it's possible that my annual tango with SAD has already begun.

I think there's also a stress component to my "blah" feelings of late. As I may have mentioned (if not here, then over on This Mommy Gig), my wonderful husband Super Man was downsized out of his job at the end of June. And while he recently received - and, most importantly, accepted - a fantastic offer from a superb company (he starts his new position on Monday - hurrah!), the span of time between his job loss and, say, two weeks ago was a difficult time for us.

I should note that Super Man and I agreed from very early on that we were NOT going to allow ourselves to completely freak out over the fact that NEITHER of us had jobs once he was laid off, and I am proud to say that I think we both handled the situation extremely well in the circumstances. He was diligent in his networking and interviewing; I was steadfast in my support and encouragement and assistance, and thus a situation that has caused many marriages to crumble only seems to have made ours stronger than ever. In fact, we both feel a certain sadness at the prospect of him returning to work: we've fallen into such a lovely routine of taking our son to school together, grabbing coffee together and then running errands or doing projects or housework together, that the idea of NOT being able to do any of that anymore is sort of depressing. Thank God for the weekends is all I can say! :)

But back to the issue of stress... While we were better prepared financially than many who face unexpected unemployment, and we had the resources at hand to cover our usual expenses for up to nine months or more, it was still a constant thought looming at the back of our minds, that neither of us was earning money. Him due to the "reduction in force" at his company, and me because I've been a stay-at-home mom for over a year now. That said, my SAHM status was definitely called into question by both of us as a result of Super Man's job loss. Neither of us wanted to make any rash decisions about my working status (we both knew that, with our luck, I'd rush to get a full-time job again only for him to get a FABULOUS new job the week after, and then I'd be stuck working full-time again when that's not what we had wanted for me at this point), but the longer Super Man was without a new job, the larger that possibility loomed in our minds. At the very least, the subject of me taking a part-time job has become practically an ongoing dialogue.

In all truth, I don't mind the idea of going back to work part-time. I just have NO idea what I want to do, or where I'd want to do it. And while Super Man DOES have opinions on both of those matters, at this point I'm not sure that I agree with them. And since it's MY life that will be most affected by my decisions on those two topics, I think that MY opinions and ideas should be my primary consideration in making the decision of where to work and what to do. Needless to say, my lack of focus, or purpose, or whatever you want to call it, combined with the struggle I'm having with Super Man to figure it all out, has put some low-key - but near constant - stress on me.

I need a plan. And for the first - well, no, actually, the second - time in my adult life, I don't have one.

For a borderline control freak like myself, that's a scary place to be, my friends!

On top of all of that, I've had my increasingly irritating yet ever ongoing health crap to contend with. It's not bad enough that my husband lost his job and had a finite period of benefits coverage, but then I had to have more medical mysteries crop up beyond the old standards in my life (i.e., the ongoing abnormal Paps for which they have no cause, etc.). The most recent addition to my medical portfolio has been pain in my lower right side. At first, I worried that maybe my appendix was involved because the pain came on suddenly and rather aggressively one night nearly three weeks ago. But by the time I went to bed that night, it had subsided enough that I was able to sleep, and although it was still there in the morning, it was fairly low-key, I wasn't running a fever, and I had no nausea or vomiting. Still, my nurse practitioner Super Sister felt I should call my doctor and at least talk to her about what was going on, if not go in to see her. She said she wanted to see me by the end of that week if the pain was not gone, and so I saw her two Fridays ago. She palpated my abdomen and pelvis and ultimately felt that the pain was more likely ovary-related than appendix-related, and she ordered a pelvic ultrasound for me.

I had the ultrasound late last week and found out on Monday of this week that the ultrasound came back normal. That said, they did see several small, benign cysts on both my ovaries, though none which were large enough to be causing my as yet ongoing pain. They believe that perhaps I'd had a larger cyst on the right ovary that had already burst, thus causing the more severe pain I'd felt the week before, but they don't know for sure. Aside from the small ovarian cysts, they saw nothing else of concern. My internist said that if the pain continues over the next few weeks, she wants me to have an abdominal CT to rule out anything else.

There's a part of me that almost hopes the pain DOES continue and that I DO need to have a CT, because I'm praying that it might at least provide a concrete answer to ONE of the medical mysteries I've experienced in the past 18+ months, if not more. I mean, think about it: Super Man and I have been trying for over two-and-a-half years for a second baby with no success; I've been having on-and-off abnormal Pap smears (AGCUS type, not the more common and generally benign ASCUS type) for the past 12+ months; I had unexplained rectal bleeding last fall and ended up having a colonoscopy at 33 which thankfully showed nothing worse than a few internal hemorrhoids and a small area of diverticula; I had an unexplained 50% IMPROVEMENT in my vision in a matter of months for no known reason and had to have a full blood work-up because my eye doctor feared it might be a sign of diabetes (nope; I was utterly and completely normal); I've had the pesky problem of coming thisclose to passing out TWICE while doing strenuous physical activity despite being in pretty good physical condition (well, the second time, at least!); and now I'm having unexplained intermittent but ongoing pain in my lower right side.

Why are these things happening? No one seems to know! Every test they run comes back fine. They say, "Well, at least we know that X isn't being caused by cancer. But, sorry, we have no idea what IS causing X." While it's enormously reassuring to know that it's not The Big C causing the problems (at least as far as we know), it's still troubling that they cannot tell me what is causing the problems. I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall, for them to run the one test that connects all the dots and puts the last - but obviously most important - piece of the puzzle into place. And my fear is that that missing piece is the one that reveals that some sort of cancer actually is behind all of it.

It's morbid of me to think that; I know. But I can't help it. I'm a reasonably young woman (34!) with a young child who is my heart and soul, a husband I adore, a stepdaughter at a difficult point in life, and a life I love; how can I NOT worry about the unknowns when they have the power to destroy my whole universe?

But... it hasn't all been bad. Super Boy started full day kindergarten and LOVES it. He's thriving, happy, learning, growing and eager to go to school each day. He's gotten the gist of all the routines, he's made a bunch of new friends, and I've thoroughly enjoyed being more involved in his classroom this year, both as one of the two room moms and as a general volunteer for other activities.

I've also been helping out the librarian at Super Boy's school - who happens to be a friend from my neighborhood - as she rearranges her book collections and updates her systems, which is something I greatly enjoy. You know me, the eternal book-lover, and I find the school library to be such a wonderful, enchanted place. In addition to that, I'm going to be helping out with some of the administrative work at our church on a volunteer basis, because they need the help and because I have a huge amount of skill and expertise in that area that I want to share for the betterment of our congregation. We've been woefully uninvolved in our church over the past few years and we're trying, very hard, to rectify that this year.

Super Man and I have also gotten a LOT accomplished around the house over the past few months. We purged all the unnecessary and unused stuff from every room on every floor of our house, from the basement to the bedrooms, and held not one but TWO enormous rummage sales about a month ago. We made a killing between the two sales, and still loaded up my Odyssey for three trips to Goodwill to take all the remaining items there for others to enjoy and put to use. Super Man and my Super Dad insulated our attic and the flat roofed areas of our house, and my Super Dad and I cut down three trees and did a bunch of work around our yard when he visited us a few weeks ago. And Super Man has redone our back patio, torn up the patio back by our garage so we can plant a garden next spring, and is also building a deck off the side of the house! We may not have been employed, but we certainly were productive. :)

Anyway... Back to the original purpose for this post: I'm sorry I've been away, sorry I haven't been writing, sorry I haven't given you anything entertaining to read lately. I've been thinking about it - and about all of you - often. Very often. I just didn't know what to say or how to say it, and I couldn't seem to stop riding the rollercoaster of my life long enough to just sort it out.

With my husband going back to work next week, I'm hoping I'll have the time and space to work out what I want to do with myself for 15-20 hours per week. I'll let you know once I figure it out! And since we'll have money coming in again, I DEFINITELY plan to get back to the gym again so I can at least get my body back in the shape I was in earlier in the summer even if I have to keep dealing with stupid unexplained health issues. ;) And with my husband out of my hair and not around to rope me into helping with any more of his big house/yard projects, I think I might be able to get some more writing time in. I think. I hope... ;)

Missed you, and I'll be back again soon!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

These People Need Some Serious Prayers...

Earlier this evening, I went to this blog - C Jane Run - to look for updates on the status of the woman behind the NieNie Dialogues, Stephanie Nielson. As you may have heard or read in the news, Stephanie - or "Nie Nie" as she's known to those close to her - and her husband Christian were both severely burned in a plane crash that happened in mid August. Christian fared a bit better in that a lesser portion of his body was burned, but both are still in critical condition. They need your prayers, and - if you're so inclined - your financial support to help cover the undoubtedly astronomical medical bills associated with the type and level of care they require as they fight for their lives.

While reading C Jane's blog for an update on Nie Nie and Christian, I noticed that Jane had mentioned another couple that needed prayers and support, and I clicked on the link to read more about Carol and Scott Decker's situation. And, oh my God, after reading about all that these people have been through since my 8th wedding anniversary on June 10th of this year, I want to curl up in a ball and cry for a week. Reading about things like this happening to good people makes my blood boil, and makes me want to rail at God and ask (yet again) WHY he allows such suffering in the world.

Carol had to have an emergency C-section on June 10th resulting in the premature delivery of their second daughter, Safiya. While Safiya was able to go home within about a month and is doing beautifully, Carol has suffered one horrible medical emergency after another, starting with the C-section. She had a widespread staph infection that resulted in severe necrosis of the tissues in several areas of her body, which ultimately led to the amputation of both of her legs below the knee, her left hand an inch above the wrist, and her right ring finger, not to mention multiple painful skin grafts in the months since, to repair the damage done by the staph infection. Also, due to the medications that Carol had to be given during and after her C-section to get her blood pressure to a normal level and stabilized, she ended up losing her vision. She and her husband, her children and their families have been through absolute HELL over the past four months, and their nightmare isn't over yet. While Carol was able to go home earlier this month, she is still fighting a hospital-acquired infection on her back (where they did a skin graft harvest), and she will have to go through months of therapy of all kinds to regain strength, mobility and eventually to use prosthetic limbs. In one of Scott's more recent posts, he mentioned that Carol's hospital bills had already surpassed $2 million dollars, which is simply insane. Thank goodness they have good insurance, but it still won't cover all of the costs. So I have to ask you again to say prayers for these people and to support them if you can.

I may not understand why God allows people to suffer like this, but I know that there are many, many people who are willing to reach out and offer their emotional and financial support, and I know that my readers are among them. Thank you in advance for anything you can do for these two families. I've said it before and will say it again - you, my readers, are AWESOME.

Peace out.