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!