Thursday, December 28, 2006

Neophytism, Demonstrated

Want to know the real story behind the name of my blog? Well, this Christmas holiday serves as a perfect example. Since two holidays hit at once for the kiddo, we go all out. We bought her this little gadget, and now I'm as confused as Scott Bakula's character on Quantum Leap. Amber enthusiastically plugged it into our computer, and downloaded EVERYTHING - without reading the directions first. I was called for assistance and was about to knock myself over the head trying to find the "delete" button. After figuring out that you have to open freakin' iTunes to use the delete function (and not only that - there is NO MENU CHOICE for delete in the iTunes software) and PRESS THE DELETE KEY on the keyboard to get rid of songs after YOU CHECK THE TITLE IN THE ITUNES WINDOW...well, let's just say that the eggnog got a beating so that I felt better in the end.
I had admonished the child repeatedly not to use the Santa Gift to upload content to YouTube that might put our family on Web Junk. My words were in vain. We didn't even start Christmas morning with the equipment (SD card or MiniDV tapes) to make the thing work. Luckily, I read the manual and was able to confiscate the camera (over protests from the offspring that she had used this type of camera ALL THE TIME in her media class this summer and KNEW ALL ABOUT IT and would you just PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME NOW and the stomping and oh-my-goodness-my-mother-is-an-idiot rantings) long enough to come up with a brilliant idea: use the SD card from her digital camera to at least shoot something until WalMart was open again. After the interruptions of a day at work on Tuesday, a birthday party involving 7 of her closest friends (and one boyfriend), and the curse of a vexing snot-monster inside my head that zapped my energy, I haven't yet figured out how to upload moving images onto our computer. The child is spending the night with a good friend, and left me with the SD card, videocamera and iPod, yet I only know how to upload photos and videos using her regular camera. Guess what gadget her father let her take to the friend's house? He was thinking clearly - but now, I haven't the energy to upload the software required to transfer video from the videocamera.

Sigh.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best Present Ever

Christmas means many things to many people, but this time of year is important to me for a particular reason. It's the time of year I first met this little tyke. 13 years ago on Christmas night, I was in our local hospital, laboring to deliver her.

Roger works at this hospital, so I had been a little concerned that when the big day finally arrived, droves of his coworkers would be flocking into the delivery room to take a peek at what was going on between my legs. To make matters even more intense, I had chosen to go "no drugs" and "all natural" for the delivery, figuring it would truly be a rite of passage in my journey as a woman. (A choice that ensured this kid would never have a sibling.)

On Christmas Eve, I had played the piano for a church cantata with Songbird as the choir director - finishing up the night with a moving version of "Silent Night." At around midnight, I felt an intense pain. Feeling like I needed to pass gas, I kept waking up each hour, trying my best to relieve myself of the problem. The next morning, I frosted over 72 sugar cookies (the one holiday tradition in my family), all the while, feeling this overwhelming urge to PASS THAT GAS! Later in the evening, after spending the holiday at Roger's parents' house, we decided to go to the hospital. I technically wasn't due until January 14th, but the pains were about 5 minutes apart, so it was worth checking out.

Indeed, I was in labor, and fortunately the hospital was virtually empty. At 3:19AM on December 26th, I met the one person I KNEW was related to me. She was tiny, and it only took about 3 pushes to deliver her into the world. Weighing only 5 pounds, 10 ounces, Amber came into my life and changed everything, as well she should have.

Every Christmas, when I'm asked what I would like as a gift, I fumble for words. Because the greatest gift of all is having her in my life, and as long as I have that, I don't need anything else.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sinclair Baby's First Christmas

I know some of you figured I would never finish telling the story that started innocently with a post about birthdays. I realized after this post that some of you were intrigued, and I felt a little "on display." Anyone who knows me would be shocked that this might make me uncomfortable, as I revel in being the center of attention at any gathering. I found myself debating whether or not to make more posts like this. I guess I have lived with this "oddity" for so long, it has become commonplace. The only time I have to really face the bizarre circumstance surrounding my arrival on the planet is when someone else hears the story for the first time, and reacts with abject horror. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, follow the links, in order, and you'll get caught up.
I wish I could tell you that this photo is of me, but I'd like to think I was in this kind of mood on my first Christmas. The first baby photo in my parents' possession was taken when I was almost nine months old, so I don't know what I looked like before then. I DID know that in December, three months after I was born, one of my legs was broken. The ramifications of that didn't show up until my mother tried hemming my pants, and one leg would always end up a lot longer than the other. I was always called back for that "second screening" during the school scoliosis exams, but never diagnosed with the disease. It wasn't until I started running with my dog as an adult that I noticed terrible hip pain.

That was the main reason for obtaining my "non-identifying information" - not necessarily to find birth parents, but to determine the actual medical facts about this breakage. Naturally, the adoption agency was extremely reluctant to divulge anything. My mother had always said the break was "suspicious," in that our family doctor felt the healed bone might have been twisted. By now, you remember my first conversation with the social worker. Well, the same letter only gave these details regarding the break:
"As you were a healthy, normal baby, the hospital discharged you and you were placed in a foster home. The foster parents had three children of their own and provided foster care to infants. On December 3, 1968, your leg was broken. The injury was investigated, and it was determined that it was accidental and not child abuse. An X-ray revealed a transverse fracture of the proximal third of the right femur. You were placed in Bryant's traction (this is the photo you see to the left) until December 23, 1968; then you were placed in a spica cast until January 27, 1969."

It seems like a LONG time for a 3-month old baby to be immobilized, doesn't it? There were more photos of the spica cast at this site, and I was amazed at how many of the children seemed happy and were smiling broadly.

Since I've decided to revisit this topic, I encourage you NOT to feel all sorry for me. I was a baby. I can't remember a thing about it. Yes, I suppose it makes me more unique, but we are all unique in our own way. However, I have a special place in my heart for Christmas, and I wonder what that first one was like for me. Did someone visit me? Or was I all alone? I think of this very abstractly - as if it didn't really happen to me.

I am just extremely blessed that every Christmas since then has been filled with family, friends, joy, and the love of the season. It's the only gift I require.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shout Out to VAW-116

My inbox is riddled with "forwards," and I often receive the same thing twice within an hour. Every now and again, I get a gem. This is another one from Spence, and it made me smile.

Have you ever REALLY imagined living on an aircraft carrier during a time of war? These guys make it seem easy:

Too funny! I have a friend named Seth in the National Guard, and he should be home this week from the Texas/Mexican border (PLEASE do not click the link to his name, unless you are not offended by graphic nudity and disgusting things that young men these days think are funny!!! His site is NOT for the weak and/or strongly religious!). His stint in Iraq is not one he wishes to repeat. I pray he never has to return. The guy in the middle of the video, rapping as others enter the hallway, reminded me of him. Here is another, for your enjoyment:


Truly Americans - wouldn't you say?
Also, check out the profile comments from fellow soldiers on YouTube. They say it all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Matt Might Please Songbird


It's no secret that Songbird and I do not usually share the same taste in men. And based on previous conversations here in the blogosphere, you might be more predisposed to follow her judgment. Personally, I think Matt Damon is ideal. And, well...HAWT. I honestly believe he will become a legendary actor, along with the likes of Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Harrison Ford, Donald Sutherland, gosh...you know the legends. He has a potential for LONG TERM viability in the industry. Smart with his career, and not all flashy with his sexuality. Okay, maybe my lady friends don't see what I see - but hey, I'm all about the intelligent guys. And hawtness.

But Songbird has made it clear that she thinks this shirtless wonder is DA BOMB. And me? I don't get the attraction. Apparently, I'm rather alone in my nonchalance.

I suppose imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but this stint definitively elevated Matt to a higher level than this piece of eye candy, as far as I'm concerned.

Unfortunately, I just might have undone all the goodwill I created with her when I posted this, but she knows I love her, regardless of her taste in men.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Crispy


I would imagine most of my readers aren't into rap, but you gotta give these guys props.

And to the chick, who jumps all up in it with that "Number 9" bidness.

Kick it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sounds of the Season

I know Songbird is winding down her musical-performance-laden holiday season, probably with great relief. And even though I know it's "part of her job" - this time of year is very stressful for her. She has so many performances and children to coordinate; I honestly don't know how she keeps her sanity.
The other night, her high school, middle school, and special performance choral groups held a stirring Christmas concert. I always "tear up" during these concerts, and not just because my darling daughter is part of the group (bonus points if you can find her in this photo). Music is such a huge part of my life, and the ability to hear young voices spread the joy of song with such enthusiasm is a precious gift. This year, she again invited me to accompany her high school choir on the piano; it is truly an honor to be a part of such a powerful musical experience.

It is on these nights that I see the payoff for Songbird. Right before any performance, she is trying her best to organize large groups of rowdy, excited young men and women, whose butterflies are making them more frenzied than usual. But DURING the performance, her face lights up. I have accompanied her choral groups in the past, and my vantage point from behind the piano allows me to see her every expression. She is constantly smiling, revelling in every nuance of the music. Her jubilation further infuses her choir, and they respond in kind. It is as if every day of the past 3 1/2 months has been leading up to this moment of bliss, and she is soaking up the rapture. I'm not sure there is a participant, parent or audience member who feels the same radiant ecstasy as she. Not only has she given the lifelong gift of knowledge and music to her students but has created a moment of intangible beauty for everyone present. It is the true "paycheck" for her work during the year.

I wish I could capture the radiance of these nights, place them carefully in a box, for her to open anytime she is feeling down. I know she will always have the memories, but nothing can compare to those moments on stage, listening to the fruits of her labor pour forth from the hearts and souls of her young students.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Testing...1...2...3...

Sometimes I get fun little things in my email, like this from my neighbor: The Shemale Test. Having several gay friends, and a long-time appreciation of the rigors that drag queens endure in order to "Diva Up," helped me score a solid 14 out of 16. I've always been fascinated at how these men can transform their appearances into shockingly gorgeous women. My friend Brent is responsible for sending me various photos of these divas. Some are obvious shemales, while others could pass for Miss America contestants.
Along the same lines, another of my favorite tests is Dog Toy or Marital Aid? Brings a whole new meaning to the term "dog lover." There are two difficulty levels - so don't feel intimidated. It makes me wonder how many couples are in Petco to spice up their love lives! Next time you're in the dog toy aisle...check out the shoppers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Does Anyone Else Think This is NUTS??

Or am I the only one? Surely by now you have seen the commercials for the Lap-Band. Right? Well, the very first time I saw one - I thought I was watching one of those fake Saturday Night Live commercials. Honestly. But these people are serious.

We all have heard of gastric bypass surgery - but here is a new less invasive procedure. They cut you open, put in this constrictive device, and then it can be controlled through a port to either narrow the opening to the stomach or enlarge it. Believe it or not, the system can be adjusted to accomodate a growing fetus. Which leads me to believe that doctors would have no problem implanting this in a pregnant woman.

I am NOT insensitive to those who are overweight. I have had struggles with my weight since I can remember. Eating just one high-calorie meal can add five pounds to my frame instantly. However, I have to wonder about these procedures that actually reduce the size of the stomach in order to prevent a person from eating too much. When you reach the point where you can no longer control your eating habits, isn't that more of a psychological problem than a physical one? Surgery is incredibly dangerous - and the effects are long-lasting. Is it really possible that some people have incredibly large stomachs, and that there is no other way for them to control their hunger? I'm not a physician or a psychoanalyst, but something about our society's acceptance of these types of procedures frightens me. I am concerned that people who undergo these operations will suffer long-term side effects.

We've all heard the drill: diet and exercise are the only way. And these are LIFESTYLE CHANGES, not short-term solutions. I would love to hear from any of you as to how and why you feel these procedures are the only way for some people to enjoy normal lives. I freely admit a measure of ignorance regarding this topic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Random Monday Musings

I always think of fantabulous post topics at home - while the daughter is hogging the computer. She is to blame for squelching my inner muse. Here at my office, I'm never inspired. So, today, you get dribblings of mind sauce, but no real gravy. Cool?

First, here is a little quiz I took today, and it's amazingly accurate, given that apple martinis have been my drink of choice in the past six months (thanks to Jean, Charlie and Nic).
You Are an Appletini

Most of the time, you're a typical party girl / guy.
But when you get super sauced, you really up your sex appeal.
Not to sound egotistical, but my sex appeal is sexy enough - maybe too sexy. I don't know where Justin Timberlake has been, but sexy never has abandoned my little world.

Fellow Rotarian and comic email-forwarder Spencer Jordan sent me a cute non-Martha-Stewart Thanksgiving invitation. It included the following lines that could very well reflect the holiday if our friends and family were crazy enough to celebrate at my house:

"Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas."

Rows of flaming lunch sacks - hysterical!
This next little piece of fluff is not necessarily for the young or faint of heart. Whiterabbit was kind(?) enough to send this little tidbit, with the comment that, "This show better have really good prizes!" Agreed.

And finally, Mugsy sent me information about a one-time tax refund, which sounds pretty good.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tag! I'm IT!

Well, maybe it was a ploy to get me back to posting - which is long overdue. I suppose I just got lost in the hazy, lazy days of this past weekend, and have yet to fully resurface! But Desert Songbird has tagged me with "My Top Ten Simple Pleasures." My difficulty is going to be coming up with only TEN!
But first, I have to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the Texas Aggie Football team! I'm always proud of my alma mater, but watching them saw varsity's horns off in last Friday's Lone Star Showdown was divine. It almost made up for the Razorbacks' senseless loss in their hopeful race for the National Championship. Almost. At least I've still got Peyton and the Colts to cheer about.

Okay, so here are the ten (in no particular order):
1. Snuggling with my husband and daughter on a cold day.
2. Receiving wet, joyous puppy kisses from my dog.
3. Watching an exciting/back-and-forth NFL or NCAA football game.
4. Getting wrapped up in a romantic movie, especially if it makes me cry.
5. Playing a nice, flowing piece on the piano.
6. Getting lost in a book for days.
7. Wrapping up in a warm blanket (or towel), fresh from the dryer.
8. Laughing with my friends over the SILLIEST things.
9. Making ANY dessert, and having exclusive "licking of the spoon" rights.
10. Having a day to sleep in, with NO obligations to go anywhere or do anything.
By the way, the winners of last week's "Find Amber" contest are Shauna and Marnie! I was actually very glad that Amber didn't do the "pursed lip pout" thing in this photo. And even though it looks like she's all "Hook 'Em Horns," I know she's aiming for "Rock-n-Roll Fingers."

Tag time! My chosen victims are local Songbird, Shauna, and Karmyn R.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks

I have so much for which to be thankful. Primarily, my loving family and friends, who truly go the extra mile for me. I am blessed to have an education, my own business, my health, musical abilities, a comfortable home, and several great opportunities in my future. I have to stop there, otherwise I'll get all sappy and weird, and after the drama of this past weekend I don't need to cry anymore. In fact, I believe that the timing of my heartbreak (which in the grand scheme of things, was a minor incident) is poignant; this week's Thanksgiving holiday has given me perspective. I may share the details at a later date, but be assured that it was not a major crisis. For some reason, however, it prompted a hysterical reaction in me that is quite rare.

I know you are all thankful for certain things, most of them akin to what I have mentioned, but here are some silly things that have made life more fun this past year!

I give thanks that my everyday commute (all of 2 minutes from home to work) is nothing like this:

Also, I'm thankful for pals like Mugsy, who send me things likethis fun/frustrating little game, so if you get bored over the long weekend, try it out!

I am thankful for human curiosity and the advent of YouTube which gave us the best science project of 2006:

I am most thankful for my husband and my daughter, who have seen the beautiful and horrific parts of me, and love me all the same. I hope they are aware of how precious they are to me. They also bring friends into our home, making it lively and fun.

Lastly, I am thankful for the photographs that document special moments in our lives. I plan to cover the walls of our new home with them, to remind us of those we love. Now, here's your project for the holiday - kinda like "Find Waldo." "Find Amber" in this group of spirited girls!

Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Donkey vs. Elephant - Taboo??


You may have noticed that I steer clear of politics and religion on this site. I'm not sure that's the most honest approach to blogging, but hey, I'm not your dancing circus bear. At least I'm raising the bar a tad from our last donkey discussion!

However, the political divide this nation experienced was troubling. And now that the "people have spoken" and voted for change (notice I said, CHANGE, not DEMOCRATS), I'm more optimistic than I've been in a while. Not that I think either party has all the answers. Instead, my faith in the American people has received a boost. We DO have the gumption to get up off our couches and try to change the direction of the country. I was beginning to wonder if we had all been hypnotized by the fancy footwork of Emmitt Smith, and were generally oblivious to the actions of our government.

In college and graduate school, I was taught that there are two topics to avoid discussing in the workplace: religion and politics. In a small town, where our businesses are more like families (crazy and dysfunctional), those rules don't necessarily apply. Or should they? Two of my agents professed their Christianity during the interview process. Oftentimes, a discussion amongst my staff will pit Republican against Democrat, though never to the point of a screaming match. The participants act with dignity and usually "agree to disagree." For the most part, we know where we all stand, who we can talk to about certain issues, and whose toes not to step on. It's an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Unfortunately, something happened at my husband's workplace that could affect his employment. Don't worry, he's not going to be fired. But he is deciding to "opt out" of working on days that a staunchly Republican doctor performs surgery. He had made this request long ago, and yesterday, under great pressure from his manager due to understaffing, broke his own rule and bit the bullet for the good of the hospital. Said doctor has argued with Roger in the past about political issues, and Roger no longer wishes to entertain those discussions.

Our hospital has a new security system in the OR. It involves locked doors that can only be opened by staffers with their ID passes. As Roger was navigating the system to take a patient through these doors, he commented to the patient, "This place has more security than Fort Knox! But that's good, because then no one can come in here and 'get ya.'" Just a little joking demeanor that he uses to put his patients at ease before their procedures. Republican Doctor, far removed from the area, shouted out, "Yeah - that's what we need here to keep the Democrats out!!" Not in a joking manner. In an inflammatory manner. He was decidedly vindictive. Mean-spirited.

If you know my husband, you probably are curious as to what happened next. As he told me this story, I envisioned three possible scenarios:

1. Roger delivering his patient, then going back to Republican Doctor and "giving him the what-for." (This would have been an ugly confrontation, at best.)
2. Roger delivering his patient, then telling the manager, "That's it - I'm out of here," and leaving for the day, refusing ever to work on Republican Doctor days.
3. Roger delivering his patient and holding his tongue.

I am proud to say that he took the high road - choice #3. But at what cost? Should he have to endure verbal jabs? Roger's father is a STAUNCH Democrat, and in a way, the vileness of Republican Doctor's comment was an insult to his family. Allowable, because of the "status" of the one making the comment??

For the record, the definition of "conservative," according to the online dictionary, is "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change." The definition of liberal? According to the same site, "favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs." I have no idea how the term "liberal" became tarnished with such negativity.

So, I ask you for your thoughts. Is it better to keep our mouths shut? Should managers set boundaries for what can be discussed in the workplace? Or is this another form of discrimination that serves to limit free speech? I solicit your discussion, though I request civility among participants.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Okay, Now You Have Permission to Get Excited!

As do I.

You may have noticed a bit of consternation and worry in my last post. Basically, I can't back out of building a house now. Not that I want to, but I feel like I'm strapped into a roller coaster - edging up that first big hill, getting ready to drop over into who-knows-what.

The first photo is an extra 1/2 acre (ending about where my car is parked) I HAD to buy. HAD to, as I told my husband. You see, when we first visited the property - we had agreed on ONE ACRE. He was unavailable the day I went to measure it, so I traipsed out with my uncle, and quickly discovered that these beautiful trees were NOT on our acre. I stood at the spot you see here, and wondered how on earth to justify to Roger paying another $1,000 per tree. Because that's why I needed that additional 1/2 acre - for the trees. Of course, one sentence from my uncle convinced me: "Just imagine someone buying that acre next to yours, cutting down all the trees, and slapping a mobile home up there." So...I bought some trees. Signed the binding contract. And nonchalantly mentioned this to my husband as I left our house on an errand, so he'd have time to absorb the news. Luckily, he didn't kill me, and agreed whole-heartedly about the decision after walking the property with me yesterday. (Whew!)
Unfortunately, this purchase has already created a problem, because now, this house plan will no longer do. See this photo? This is the mountain view!! (Don't worry - I'm going to approach the neighbor across the street about cutting down the dead tree.) This is the direction we plan to face the house. Our plan features big windows in the living/dining rooms - in the BACK. I'm also going to flip the whole dang plan over, so that my garage and master bedroom are on the east side. Flipping the plan is easy, but working out how to redraw the middle - not so much.

I've been told that building a home can produce the biggest strain EVER on a marriage. Well, next to death.

If our perc test and survey are completed this week, we'll be well on our way to one or the other.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Reason for My Silence

Some of you may recall this project, which over the last few months has seemed like less and less of a reality. Not a week goes by that some friend of ours doesn't ask, "So, when are you guys gonna start building that house?" Imagine my embarrassed reply, especially given my 14-year profession, that "We still haven't found a piece of land."

It appears that we may be one step closer. As of this week, we have a completed offer and acceptance on this acre and a half:
In the process, I have gone through many emotions, most of them good.

As we progress through closing, I'll keep you posted on the developments, as well as the state of my nervous system.

Monday, November 06, 2006

LOL!!! :-)

Yeah -- had to have something to counteract that weepy "Free Hugs" video from last week. Lest you all think I'm a sap.



And for the record, I think those folks who send out those "somebody loves you" emails with all the cartoon teddy bears with hearts and flowers stuff mean well. I just hate getting them. Maybe they are the crazy dog owners? Nah - us dog owners are cool.

Thanks to Mugsy for the clip.

Friday, November 03, 2006

We Survive Another Halloween

This kid absolutely REVELS in Halloween. It's the one time of year she can dress like a gothic body snatcher and not get in trouble for intimidating her classmates. She would probably dress this way every day, if the school had more lenient dress codes AND we had a portable defibrilator at home to revive her father periodically. She starts obsessing about her costume MONTHS before the big event. Last year she insisted on a dye-job to complete the effect (you can see that costume here). PERMANENT dye, mind you - not that spray-in stuff. Thankfully, it washed out in a few months, and the school didn't expel her.
I thought I had it easy this year - she wanted to be a vampire. Done! Dress her in a black sweatsuit for warmth, buy a cape, get some fangs, and then paint the face and add some fake blood. Right? Wrong. Oh...so...wrong. I'm entering a mysterious span of parenthood that defies all logic and science known to man. You know, that time when your child is brimming with VAST amounts of knowledge that ONLY teenagers possess?? It coincides with a leakage of brain power from the parents. Basically, we will be "complete idiots" for the next few (let's hope it's only few) years, while the teen becomes All Wise and Knowing One Who is Forced to Spoon-Feed and Educate Her Parents Until They Give in and Admit That Her Brain Power Far Exceeds Theirs Combined. I'm also told that this phase involves a lot of eye-rolling.
So, my first lesson was in the "updated" vampire look for girls. Hotness is paramount. To attract a victim, I suppose. I did a little research online, and had to admit that modern girl vampires resemble this and this. Sigh. My second lesson was in fangs. She HAD to have these snazzy fangs that are the equivalent of dental molds. Admittedly, they did stay in place extremely well. Lastly, vampires evidently pierce themselves. In the lips. (I would think this would interfere with proper blood-sucking, but what do I know?)

Normally I wouldn't post photos of other people's children online; however, the school web site (which is public) has already posted these. They were taken at the Halloween Dance, and the kids really look cute, IMHO. I can't wait until next year to further my education.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Free Hugs!

I received this video by email a week or so ago, and forwarded it on to a few special friends. One friend was VERY moved and in turn forwarded it on to others. I had no idea how it would impact that one person - but I was pleased that he chose to share it. He sent me the responses from those recipients, and their words brought tears to my eyes. So, today, I share it with all of you.

Then again, it is doubtful that you have been living in the 'net world and HAVEN'T seen it. It appears it has become another YouTube sensation. This is a video of a man who was on the brink of abjectivity, but chose not to wallow in despair. Instead, he took action - and though it is a controversial tactic, the results were overwhelmingly positive.



You can read the story of the Free Hugs Campaign here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

100th Post!

WOW!! I actually made 100 posts in less than a year!! Hard for me to believe I had that much time to blog...

So, in honor of the 100th post, I'm actually going to "repost" one my favorite entries of the last year. Since I have new readers - I figured one or two of you would have a sassy comment or selacious theory concerning Beloved Eeyore. So, for old times' sake - here is the post:

I need your help today!!

Last night, I was puzzled by something. Eeyore.

There's a friend of ours that I playfully refer to as "Eeyore," but I won't go into details as to why. Suffice it to say, I mean this as an endearment more than anything. This is a male friend, and up until last night, I always assumed that Eeyore was a male.

So it hit me - what's up with the pink bow on the tail? Now, Eeyore never put off any "gay" vibes, as far as I was concerned, and he definitely has a masculine voice - but could I be wrong?? Is Eeyore a gender-challenged male? A donkey in drag? Or merely an old female donkey that never got rid of that two-pack-a-day habit??

Then I got to thinking, one of Eeyore's biggest problems was that his tail kept falling off. Now, I have wondered about the cruelty of sticking his tail in with a big, fat nail - but considering his difficulty in maintaining tail attachment, I assumed it was the preferred method. However, now I'm wondering, was his body merely rejecting the overly feminine tail? Was some other donkey's tail mistakenly given to Eeyore at birth??

Help me out folks. I couldn't sleep too well last night, and I'm wondering if somehow I need closure on this!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Separated at Birth

One thing that bothers me about being adopted is the fact that I might have siblings. It is said that you have the longest relationships during your lifetime (barring some unforeseen tragedy or illness) with your brothers and sisters. And, if you do the math, that's a pretty accurate assessment.

This is a photo of me, my friend Charlie, and my friend Nicholas (Nic). Now, it's not so obvious here, but in a lot of photos, Charlie and I look very much alike. We are asked ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME if we are sisters. In fact, I look more like Charlie than her actual sister. As for Nic, well...let's just say that I have this deep yearning to be Italian. His grandmother is the 80-year-young secretary at my office, and his mother is one of my dearest friends. They are like "second family" to me. I often compare the shape and size of my rear end to Bess' (grandmother/secretary) and insist that they are the same. And yes, I do this in front of coworkers, family, at parties - wherever I can obtain an objective opinion to bolster the case that I am Italian.

It really doesn't matter, though, because I have family all around me. "Adopted" family, if you will - consisting of dear friends that I wouldn't trade for anything. As for "real" family? Well, my parents live on the West Coast. My husband's father lives here in town, as well as his brother and sister. I don't think he has spoken to his brother in over five years (another long story), and we speak to his sister maybe two or three times a year.

OH!! And I took your suggestions, and ran another "heritage" scan, using a photo of me with my hair up. As you can see, the Asian is back.

Again, I don't know some of these folks. I also don't know what bothers me more - the fact that my LAST scan included a reference to Kelly Osbourne, or that THIS one compares me to a dude.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Musical Fluff

You might be surprised to know that I am a classically-trained pianist. Especially when you ride with me in my car. Why? Because my CD collection belies my musical origins.

For example, today I was rediscovering the soundtrack to the Matrix Reloaded, including a great song by Rob Zombie. Yesterday, it was the jazz stylings of Jamie Cullum. The day before? Panic! at the Disco. Songbird, as you might presume, often does not share my musical interests. Granted, I am highly influenced by my daughter - but I'm not complaining. She keeps me up to date.

Yes, today's music CAN be distressing, as I found out again this week. It seems that artists can safely remake songs from the past, and the kids don't know any better. Twice this week, I had to run into the living room, where the daughter was watching FUSETV, to make sure she wasn't tuned into the VH1 Classic channel by mistake. The other night, I heard the "Disturbed" version of Land of Confusion. (That's not a critique, but the name of the band.) I warn you, don't click the link unless you want to see the NEW version. Granted, it IS the right time to remake this song, given its lyrical message - but who could top the video by Genesis and that creepy puppet version of Ronald Reagan?

Then came the musical blasphemy. Seems a band called "Gnarls Barkley" has redone Gone Daddy Gone by the Violent Femmes. THE FEMMES? Well, the new version is decent...but there are some bands that deserve their own place in the sun.
Music Video Codes By Music Jesus.com
But before you think I'm all "high and mighty," judging today's music from the perspective of a girl who grew up in the '80s and is reliving the leggings craze with glee, know that I really DO like some of the new music. And every so often, a song comes along that gets stuck in my head. I call it a Bubble-Pop-Diversion, and if you click the video link above, you'll see what I mean. There's no musical genius here - just a song that makes me want to jump around the house like a preteen. A song like this is musical candy - a sweet little treat with no substance, but providing a giddy sugar high. So, if you dare to get silly with me, play the link above. It's songs like these that make me feel like a kid, all over again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Own Little Songbird

Yes, I am a proud mother!! Her first musical audition (for someone OTHER than Songbird or a music teacher from Mena), and she succeeds!! Not that I don't have faith in my little chickadee, but you know how mothers are always a little biased in their opinions of their offsprings' talents. I had heard her practicing her music, trying not to offer TOO much input - and thought she sounded prepared. I suppose I should have listened to Songbird when she told me that my baby had a good voice, but, c'mon. She's my FRIEND. Would you tell your friend if their kid sucked? Then again, I have to remember that my friend is pretty honest. She probably would have told me that.

It was a nerve-wracking day, mostly for me - b/c I get very uptight and competitive about these things. The child? Fairly nonchalant. She said she didn't care if she made it or not - but you know, deep down inside, she really did. She competed against older girls from bigger schools, and still placed 10th! I can't wait to hear the all-region concert - and that will be one more weekend that Songbird will have to put up with me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

What's in a Face?

Like Melissa, I need to start a section called "ideas I totally stole from Marnie". But this was too good for me to pass up!! This face recognition thing on My Heritage is awesomely funny and cool, and something an adoptee like me CANNOT pass up. I urge you to try it! My husband and I have been taking people's photos (after we got bored with our own) and trying them, too. So, here are TWO photos, with TWO results for me!



I have no idea who any of these people are. Except of course, Demi Moore, and I don't think I look a thing like her. Plus, do you see ANYTHING Asian in my features? So, I had to try it again. Here is attempt #2:



What's with all the Asian references? And KELLY FREAKIN' OSBORNE?? Uh...no. Don't see that at all.

For those of you wondering what happened to the fro-like curly hair, just know that I have a love affair with a certain ceramic flattening iron.

So, who do YOU think I look like? Feel free to guess at my genealogy and ethnicity. And feel for me tomorrow, as I will be accompanying Songbird and 20 middle school students on a bus at 5:30AM to all-region choir auditions! Wish us all luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blame Marnie

It's all her fault that you aren't getting another "story" post today. Her and her little TAG! Just kidding, Marnie; you are one of my favorite bloggers!

The hardest part of the tag was narrowing my Most Famous Oddities down to just five (I can hear the rattling of Songbird's head in agreement). But here goes (and I'll leave the obvious "story" out of it - that would be too easy):

1. I can grab my uvula with my fingers, yank on it, and no gag reflex. Same for my epiglottis, though it is a little tougher to reach - and I tend to just touch it, not yank on it.

2. I'm only half as good as Marnie, because I am legally blind in one eye, with absolutely perfect vision in the other.

3. I have a very dark mole that resembles New Jersey. It is placed in an intimate spot which has forced me to reassure my past loves (and my OB/GYN) that I do, indeed, wipe thoroughly.

4. I have one leg that is about an inch longer than the other. (Dang, I said I wouldn't use the "story," but I guess since you don't know that part yet, it's okay.)

5. I can type and talk on the phone (about something completely different) or talk to someone standing in front of me at the same time. And by "type," I don't mean looking at a document and typing it word for word. I mean typing personal correspondence or something off the top of my head while carrying on another conversation. I can also say the alphabet backwards.

Okay - not all that odd, but I've completed my assignment for the day!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So...What's in a Name?

An inquisitive child, I wanted to know everything about my abandonment. I harassed my parents, needled them, and finally got a “story.” According to the “story,” a nurse had been leaving her hospital shift in the wee hours of the morning and thought she heard the soft mews of a kitten. A cat-lover, she had to stop and check the bushes from whence the cries came. Voila – she found me, covered in ant bites, but none the worse for the wear. This “story” became part of my life-treasure, and I carried it always – along with a special place in my heart for that nurse. I even spoke about it in a college speech class. The “story” was neat and tidy – I was found in a safe location (hospital grounds) and meant for discovery.

After learning the truth, I tentatively asked my mother if she remembered any details about my abandonment. Nope. Nothing. She never mentioned the “story.” I guess it had also been abandoned, since it hadn’t been needed in many years. I brought up “remembering a story about a hospital bush…or something,” and I was emphatically told that I must have “made that up.” I was never TOLD that, you see.

I knew differently, but it is better to be kind than right.

I still haven’t shared the truth with her, b/c when I asked if it were possible to find out – would she want to know – the answer was an emphatic, “NO.” Plus, I was again lectured about the foolishness of such an exploration. ‘Nuff said.
But what’s funny is my nickname. Years ago, after hearing my “story,” my husband thought it would be cute to call me “Lawn Baby” – in reference to being found on a hospital lawn. It sounded better than “Bush Baby” – and, well, you get the picture. So non-id posed a REAL PROBLEM. What was he going to call me now?

Okay – let’s get back to the phone conversation with the social-worker-I’m-trying-to-convince-I’m-not-insane. So, I tell his lady that I’m living a great life – I’m very successful, a mother, etc….but my husband and I have a problem. Then I tell her the “Lawn Baby” thing – just to convince her that I’M NOT CRAZY and I’m WELL-ADJUSTED. I just want to know what he should call me now. Dumpster Baby? Curbside Baby? Trash-Can Baby? Alley Baby? Could she at LEAST tell me WHERE I was found??? There was a long pause, as I think she had never encountered THIS type of problem on the job. She asked me to sit down. That’s when she said (with a measure of complete dread in her voice), “You were found in the restroom of a filling station. The truck merely pulled away, and the police case was closed.”

I guess “filling station” sounds better than “gas station.” When I told my husband, he was appalled. “She didn’t tell you what BRAND??? Well, NOW what am I gonna call you?? Shell Baby? Exxon Baby? Mobil Baby?”

We haven’t done all the research as to what gas stations would have been around at the time in California. But we like to think it was one of those with the cute green dinosaurs.

You can call me “Sinclair Baby.” He does.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Getting Information - or "Non"-Information

Okay - enough of the hotties. Let's get back to the story.

I started poking around online, and found dozens of web sites dealing with adoptees in California. Who knew? But the first step was getting what is called "non-identifying" information, which according to Tina's page, is the only thing available. However, "in the case of adoptions occurring before 1984 - contact between an adoptee and birth parent may be arranged if the adoptee, birth parents and adoptive parents have filed waivers of confidentiality with the Department or agency." If I had been adopted after 1984, I wouldn't need anything from my adoptive parents. How ironically non-Orwellian.

So I send off and get the letter back. It's so weird - I remember opening it at my office, surrounded by coworkers who had been encouraging me all this time. Here is what it said, in part:

"You were abandoned on September 10, 1968 in Anaheim, California. You were dressed appropriately and wrapped in a pink receiving blanket. You were taken to the hospital and it was estimated that you were about five days old. You weighed five pounds, four and three-fourths ounces and were 18 1/2 inches long. You were described as an attractive baby with a nicely shaped head and small features. You had dark brown hair, blue eyes and fair skin. You seemed alert."

Nicely shaped head! Attractive! Wow! Now, maybe it's just me - but if this had said "weird-shaped head, wrinkly face - bald," I could have seen more reason for the abandonment. I sound like a baby-hottie!! But, I digress.

Reading this stuff about myself was kinda bizarre - like the blank pages of the first nine months of my life, starting to fill in. I have to skip some of the letter here, b/c that's going to have to be a whole different post. But here's more:

"The authorities had been trying to identify and locate your birth parents. Someone had seen a pick-up truck leaving the area where you were found with two people in it. The man who was driving had blonde hair. The local hospitals were checked to see if you possibly had been delivered locally. However, your birth parents could not be identified or located. Eventually, the Court determined that you could be adopted."

Okay...a blonde man? I finally worked up the courage to CALL the lady who sent the letter. I had to know more details. When I spoke to her (which will most likely bleed over into tomorrow's post), she was VERY hesitant to tell me any details over the phone. I had to reassure her that I was not a lunatic, but I had to know - was there any CERTAINTY that these people were the ones who left me? She told me that it was DEFINITELY those people, that in fact, the witness said it was DEFINITELY the blonde man who left me there - and that I was DEFINITELY meant to be found.

I harrassed this woman into telling me MORE! MORE! on the phone, including sending me more details, without sounding like a spastic mental patient. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Friday, October 06, 2006

August in October

HAWT. This is the autographed birthday-present-for-the-birthday-that-has-a-date-I'm-not-sure-of mentioned here. I can't wait to watch some football this weekend. And here is August, just in time for Fall Cuddling Season.

I promise that I will release some more exciting details of the abandonment/adoption story that began here. Including the tale of my first baby steps in the search (contacting the adoption agency), the whirlwind of interest from the online adoption community that led me to abandon (ha! ha!) that avenue of the search, my husband's new nickname for me, and the story of my first Christmas - which actually explains why I can't walk down a steep slope without holding onto someone, sliding down on my butt, or just tumbling down willy-nilly.

Thanks to all of you for reading along and making such supportive comments. They are greatly appreciated. I'm always amazed at others' fascination with my story. I usually don't immediately share it with people (as referenced by Mugsy); he has known me since grade school, and yet "never knew." I've found this process to be cathartic and experienced some feelings in the past few weeks that I realize it is TIME to feel. So thank you for the encouragement! I will return soon. And hopefully, you'll get a laugh out it all, as repayment for the therapy you are providing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Satiating Songbird

Okay, so now some funnier things about being adopted! See that beautiful Southern California woman in this photo? That's my mom. When she would proudly show me off to strangers, the normal comment was, "Oh! She must look a lot like her father!" My mother, getting her own private giggle out of it, would usually just reply, "Well, I suppose she does!" We made a strange-looking pair - the tall, blonde, blue-eyed goddess and the plump, knappy-headed street baby.

That curly hair? Well, it got MUCH curlier as I aged. I'll have to dig up some photos (now that I have a working scanner) of JUST how curly it got. I literally had an afro when I was about 18 months old. And my skin just got darker. To manage the hair, mom started parting it and braiding it - sometimes leaving it in braids when I went to bed. But my hair as a youth will have to wait for a different post, b/c that is an odd tale all by its lonesome. This photo to the right is one of my favorites of us - I had it blown up for her on Mother's Day one year. It shows the typical mother-daughter relationship. Me causing havoc, and Mom having to clean up after me.

Now for the story that Songbird mentioned. I live in a very rural part of Arkansas, in a town of 5,600 folks; the county population nears 20,000. At the time I got pregnant with the kiddo, I believe there may have been one black person in town. And I had heard stories of hangings in the late 1960's of the very few people of color that had dared make any attempt to reside here. At some point during my pregnancy, it just hit me. As Songbird so eloquently recalls, "It was just so hilarious because your panic happened so suddenly. It was like one day you woke up and this thought sprang into your mind. 'Holy Crap!!!! I could have a black child!!!!' Then, in typical Tiffany fashion, you couldn't shut up about it. You obsessed for the rest of your pregnancy about having a black child." Which is true. I was panicked. Terrified. I literally asked my husband how he would feel if, indeed, this child turned out to be noticeably black. Who knows what genetics could be lurking in my background? We were ready to move out of town, if need be. It became this worry, all through my pregnancy.

However, all my fears were laid to rest. Unfortunately, blogger is not cooperating with me on this last photo, but as you can see here, I didn't have a black baby. I was not run out of town, nor hung from the gallows.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick Update for the Bloodthirsty

You guys crack me UP!!! Frothing at the mouth, waiting for more details...

There are some good ones ahead, so be patient with me. You must know two very important things before I proceed much further:

1) My parents (adoptive, but parents nonetheless) know NOTHING of this blog.
2) My parents would be absolutely HORRIFIED if they knew I had done any research AT ALL concerning my birthmother.

I seriously can't tell you why. What I can tell you is that all my life, my mother has insisted that my birthmother must be akin to the devil for leaving me. I have heard all sorts of negativity about this woman, including that she must have been a drug-addicted, slovenly, disgusting vile creature. I agree, it seems an abhorrent thing to do to a tiny baby. But...this concept of her being some horrific beast is hard for me to fully accept. I am so amazingly different than my parents, and my traits must stem partially from my biology. I have always given my birthmother the benefit of the doubt and can imagine a variety of scenarios that could have led to my abandonment.

I will tell more very soon. However, know one more sad thing. The state of California is what they call an "open records" state. What this means is that if my birthmother came into the adoption agency and volunteered her information, I would have the right to obtain such information. EXCEPT FOR ONE KEY CONDITION: My adoptive parents would have to give consent. I fully explored this when I applied to receive my "non-identifying" information (the minimum you can receive after the age of 21 without such consent). EVEN IF MY ADOPTIVE PARENTS BOTH BECOME DECEASED - I still can't get the information. Isn't that just f*&#ing crazy?

Yes, I thought of approaching them and asking for this consent. After working up the courage and having my first tentative conversation with them, I was met with extreme hurt and rage as to why I would even consider embarking on this adventure. (This happened when I was 26 years old.) So, being a good daughter (and knowing that it probably wouldn't be a fruitful endeavor), I elected not to pursue this avenue.

I am me. That will never change. And knowing that I have one little relative in this world, into whose little face I can see some semblance of my own, has been worth more to me than any knowledge I gained or will gain in the future.

Monday, October 02, 2006

MORE...but not the REST of the story...

You know, when you live with something all your life, it becomes ordinary. Forgetting the potential shock value, the subject of my last post was supposed to be a mere commentary on how weird it is for me to do those 'birthday' things. I even read my horoscope with a jaded eye.

There's a lot more to the abandonment/adoption story - mostly concerning the 9 months between the time I was found and the day I went home with my adoptive parents. But you'll have to wait for that. I think I've already freaked some of you out - and not intentionally! So I'll give you another part of the story that is more light-hearted than those tragic first nine months of my life.

We're flashing WAY forward, to around 1999. I saw one of those "Unsolved Mysteries" programs - which I NEVER watch. They had found the body of a young girl at some point in the mid-1970's and couldn't determine her identity. A sheriff in this particular area of Florida decided to reopen the case, as it had haunted him since her discovery. He commissioned an age-regression study - figuring she might be some type of runaway. He was in hopes that a formar teacher, classmate, minister, etc., might recognize her. As the regression was displayed on the television, I started feeling panicky, pacing the room. As the girl was portrayed as a younger and younger person, she became the spitting image of myself as a teen, then a pre-adolescent, then as a child. Buck-teeth and all. At the end of the segment, the host (Robert Stack, pictured here) looked directly into the television with one final clue: "The woman apparently had given birth to a child in the last few years." My jaw dropped.

I consulted with my husband; I had never been on a mad search for my birth mother - but this was too big to ignore. Even though I had been found in California, it didn't mean that my birth mother stayed in the state. I wrote down all the details I could remember, and then called the sheriff's department that had been featured on the show. They were clueless. I spoke with several people at the department, and since I couldn't remember the officer's name - no luck. All I wanted to know is if they could perform some sort of DNA analysis to compare mine with hers...and you can imagine how far that got me. When I finally found someone who could recall something about the case, they commented that the officer I needed to speak with had retired. On to contacting "Unsolved Mysteries." After several unsuccessful attempts to phone the show, I finally emailed them through their contact screen on the web site. What did I get for my efforts? A nice letter, acknowledging my contact, and a promise to let me know if anything further developed in the case.

As silly as it may sound, I still think that woman could have been my mother. Her image is still in my mind. It was that year that I decided to take more practical steps in order to discover the true story of my abandonment.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What's in a Day?

I recently stole the idea from this post from MJ, and even though I find the results to be quite accurate - I am troubled. Why? Well, here's a secret: I don't really know my birthday.

It probably should be the subject of a much-longer post, but I'll spare you, and give you the nutshell version. I was found by a gas station attendant on September 10, 1968, in the station's restroom. It was estimated that I was about 4 to 5 days old. I was "clothed appropriately" - according to the "non-identifying information" supplied by my adoption agency. (What? Does that mean I had a shirt on that said "Find me!" or "Take me to your leader?")

Okay - don't feel all sorry for me - I'm TOTALLY okay with my abandonment/adoption deal. BUT...every time I see one of these birthday things - I worry about the accuracy. I'm supposedly a Virgo, and I DO have a lot of those traits. But like Songbird, I have many traits of a Leo. Further complicating matters is the fact that the Emergency Room doctors at the time used my weight to help determine my approximate date of birth. I was 5 pounds, 6 ounces. My daughter was 5 pounds, 10 ounces when she was born - so how can you tell by weight? Maybe I was just a little sprout, like her.

At any rate - here are MY results. And once again, I think most of my friends and family would agree that they are pretty dead-on.

Your Birthdate: September 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.
Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.
Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.
Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Friday, September 22, 2006

August in September

I love football - make no mistake about it. But what makes it even better? A bit of August Busch, IV, during the commercial breaks. HAWT.

You know the ones I mean - for Budweiser Select, featuring that song from the Chemical Brothers:Galvanize, which makes me want to be all up in WHATEVER party August is at. He is 40. He is rich. He has style. And he smiles at me, wanting SO MUCH for me to take that Budweiser Select out of his hand.

I've received a lot of birthday gifts during my years on the planet, but last week, Mr. Big sent me one of the best: an autographed photo of August. If I had a scanner right now, I'd be sharing it with you. You can't find it on the 'net - it is rare indeed. Now, August is in my office, where he belongs.
This photo is NOT it, but this is what you'll find if you google August. (Oh...now doesn't that sound FUN!?!?!?) And I admit, I can see the author's point in a recent blog post asserting that he is made of WAX. He is that flawless. His new look (above) is updated, and less corporate. However, there is just something about a rich guy in a suit that I'm a sucker for. Here's to football and beer!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm Not a Virgin Anymore!

(Calm down, Mr. Big - don't let the title fool ya!)

I have officially been "tagged" by Julie! I feel like a schoolgirl who has just been invited by the "in-crowd" to sit at their special table during lunch. Here's hoping I don't get ketchup on my blouse during my first outing!

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Piano teacher - my youngest student was 5; my oldest was an arthritic 65-year old.
2. Sales girl for Parklane Hosiery chain
3. Bartender
4. Pianist for Mormon and Presbyterian churches (but not at the same time)

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Six Degrees of Separation - LOVED Stockard Channing and Will Smith's interaction!
2. The Talented Mr. Ripley, featuring a young, hot, talented Mr. Damon.
3. American Beauty - strangely, I identified closely with Kevin Spacey's character.
4. Titanic, because it haunted me. And I like Leo, even if Songbird thinks he's oily.

Four Places I have lived:

1. Huntington Beach, CA
2. Magnolia, TX
3. College Station, TX
4. Austin, TX

Four things I like to do:

1. Get away from everything and become totally immersed in a book.
2. Listen to new music with my kiddo. She has enlightened me!
3. Dance all night at a club with friends.
4. Watch football - even better if I can attend a game.
(Reading those answers, someone might think I have dual personalities!)

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Cheese enchiladas
2. Spinach/artichoke dip
3. Cheese blintzes
4. Guacamole Salad

Four places I would like to be right now:

1. Sunning myself on a beach in California.
2. Trekking across Europe with my daughter - taking in EVERY important landmark.
3. Investigating the pyramids of Egypt.
4. Shopping in New York City for SHOES!

Four websites I visit daily:

1. dooce
2. The Big Question
3. Go Fug Yourself
4. Stuff on My Cat - What could be funnier?

Four places I have been on vacation:

1. Laguna Beach, CA
2. Chicago, IL
3. South Padre Island, TX
4. Eureka Springs, AR

Four friends I think might respond (this is the part where I "tag" folks, right?):

1. Songbird, I mean, what are best friends for?
2. M J, because she seems really nice.
3. Belinda, because boy, she can WRITE!
4. Karmyn R, because she is a faithful visitor.

Sigh...I survived my first meme, and no blood was shed!
Oh...and as a POSTSCRIPT, I had to post my results from my pirate test, which I stole from Songbird, in honor of Pirate's Day!



My pirate name is:


Captain Jenny Cash



Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Plush Treats


After reading Susan in Va's comment on the previous post, I thought, "Well, now, there ARE some more yummy little toys that you can give to your favorite child! Here, we introduce the Ebola Virus.

Yes, a virus you can cuddle with, but is resistant to antibiotics. Want something a little more...say...palatable? Try Mad Cow. Favor a more legendary plague? Maybe some Black Death is more your style.

If this is a little too adventurous for you, start with something simple like the common cold. Or maybe not a disease at all - just a small pimple you can squeeze in your sleep. At any rate, explore the Giant Microbes site for more ideas - remember, Christmas is only a few short months away!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Disturbing

I'm not sure how to take this. I definitely utilized the books Everyone Poops and Once Upon a Potty in my attempts to coax my kiddo out of diapers. But THIS is almost TOO weird. I guess the most disturbing part of this web site is that you can order PLUSH DOLLS. And send your loved ones an e-card, featuring "Pee and Poo."

Then again, this isn't as frightening as the vulva puppets that a fellow blogger posted, so I suppose it could be worse!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

And...We Have a Winner!

As soon as we arrived at the fair, Amber and I coerced our entourage into checking out the exhibits. She took the blue ribbon in the seascape category for her harbor photo! She was thrilled, and even more excited that she was awarded the 2nd place ribbon for her drawing of a cow skull. (I was genuinely impressed with that placement. The drawing took her about 30 minutes to complete and was a last minute entry.)

I spent the rest of the evening herding a group of teenaged girls and boys (with the help of two other friends) - keeping them from separating and sneaking off. Of course, I rode nearly every ride and am paying for it as we speak. Luckily, everyone behaved, the kids all survived the rides and taunting carnies, and Motrin along with my pride-swollen heart will fix what is ailing me today!

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Creativity Through Genetics

After my last post, I got into a conversation with my dear friend, Mr. Big, about our children's creativity levels. He has a daughter the same age as my Amber, so we routinely share notes. I came across these other photos that the sprout has taken, and since he was impressed with them, I decided to share them with you all. Now, this is a child who takes an average of 20 photos a day, so she has plenty of material - mostly self-portraits. She's not a narcissist, but since she doesn't have many willing subjects around the house - she's left with her own mug. She has a "twinkie" camera - her first digital, one of those Kodak Easy Share C310 things. BUT...she has been twiddling with some basic photo software, adding her own touches Now, I'm not fishing for compliments, just sharing. We'll be running off to the fair tonight - so I'll update you on how she did with her entries tomorrow!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The County Fair

Let me preface this by saying, I am NOT a country girl. Dirt, dust, pigs, cows, sheep, etc., are not really my bag, though I've lived in rural Arkansas for 14 years. BUT, I HAVE to attend the local county fair, for two reasons. One, the child usually enters artwork; and two, I will ride carnival terror rides with her friends. I end up being "the parent" with a passle of preteen girls in tow, giggling and screaming right along with them, doing my best not to throw up. I actually entered the crafts exhibit once, winning first place with my handcrafted Victorian Christmas ornament. These fair folks MUST know what they're doing.

This is the child's first year not to enter with a "class" of school kids. She has won in her class a few times, as she is artistically inclined. This year, she is entering a pencil drawing and the photograph you see here. She took this on a whim, during our vacation. She said she didn't even notice the clouds when she took it.

I'm also looking forward to viewing other exhibits, especially since Songbird and her mom usually sweep the cut flower competitions. Plus, I have found a farm animal that I can call "cute." GLITTER SHEEP!! The locals girls spray the sheeps' wool with some sort of glitter that even makes their stench more tolerable (the sheep, not the girls). I'm sure to share more, after my 2006 Polk County Fair experience. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Quick Apple-Martini Induced Post

Just a quick post tonight, as I've always been told, "Don't drink and blog." Belinda, over at NINJA POODLES! recently had a contest for people to send photos of their kids and dogs. (Please don't submit, as the contest has LONG been over.) Coincidentally, my kid took a photo of herself with our Poo Woo, and it was (IMHO) really good. So I had to share.

Let's say it together, "AAAAWWWW!"

Kinda creepy (just like the kid), but cute (just like the kid).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm Gonna Lie

So, now you all have fair warning. I'm gonna tell a lie for the rest of the day, into the evening.

I guess it's been a ton of stress that caused it - and I'm going to share the truth with YOU, the faithful stranger on the 'net - I have a growth. You can forget the photo, 'cuz it's not gonna happen. Basically, I have a THING on my chin - to the left of my bottom lip. What looks like the beginnings of an "innie-zit," know what I mean? Those zits that don't really come up to the surface? But you can feel them there - like the stranger in the dark, lurking around, ready to pounce...one of THOSE. A non-approachable, non-squeezable, can't-find-the-point-of-release zit.

Only I don't think it's a zit anymore. Usually, a zit won't make your entire chin feel like it's been pumped with Novacaine, or make the lip that is at LEAST an inch above it swell, giving you a lop-sided smile. I HAVE had the occasional throbbing zit, but this thing is like a facial fetus with it's own heartbeat.

I've been told, "It's a boil." I've been told, "It's a cyst." And I live in the South, so I've been told to put every imaginable pultice (poultice?) on the thing, even a remedy including urine that IS NOT MY OWN. Not gonna happen.

The Nurse/Husband/Father of My Child is concerned, but his treatments include lots of antibiotics, epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide. That just gave the "non-zit" lots of little nasty white things on top, but still nothing poppable.

I woke up thinking it would be better this morning, but alas, I have Quasimodo-lip. So I'm gonna lie, b/c I have to stand in front of a college class and teach tonight. Who wants an instructor with a BOIL, or a CYST or even a ZIT???? YUCK!

So...it's a spider bite. Pass it on.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not a Grown Up

I discovered, again, the hard way, that I still have a lot of growing up to do.

I am VERY opinionated - and whenever controversy ensues, I'm right smack dab in the middle of it, offering my 2 cents. Which is not always a good idea. Offering your 2 cents to friends who will love you no matter what is one thing - but doing so with a more critical audience can lead to problems.

I can't really go into details now, but I said something I'd give anything to take back. It wasn't hurtful to the person I was speaking to - in fact, it was an explanation of an earlier conversation - but they happened to be a friend of someone who might have been hurt by what I've said. Vague enough for you? Let's just say, I was talking on the phone to someone I THOUGHT was someone else...and didn't discover it until it was a bit too late. The shock. Then the horror. Then more explaining.

I received some comfort from a friend today, who relayed an even worse situation. She was picking up a group of girls from a dance, and they were telling her all about "Girl X's" behavior at the event. (Girl X was NOT in the car.) Seems "Girl X" was gyrating all over the boys in attendance, causing quite a scene. This friend said to her carload, "With that kind of behavior, Girl X will probably end up pregnant by the time she is 14." She was attempting to pass on a message about inappropriate behavior - and knowing my friend, it was meant as a "lesson" to the others about proper dance decorum. What my friend didn't realize is that one of the girls in her car thought it would be DELIGHTFUL to share this nugget with Girl X at school. Only the translation was, "So-and-so's mom said you're gonna be pregnant by the time you're 14."

Luckily for my friend, she wasn't at home when Girl X's mother called. She never had a confrontation. Even though she and Girl X's mother aren't friends, she KNOWS the mother heard about it, and is probably pissed at her.

So, my situation could be worse. Even though there have already been some conversations between others about my snafu. I called one of the parties who might have been offended by my comment, came (somewhat) clean, and am hoping for the best. Thank goodness I can still type with (as Songbird would say) both feet in my mouth.

By the way, I'm linking here to the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks, though Blogger is fighting me tooth and nail about posting their graphic. Must be more of my Neophyte-ism in action tonight

Friday, August 25, 2006

Whimpering (Softly)

I can't believe how TIRED I am. Only one week into the new school year, and I'm beat. I got in the bad habit of sleeping in during the summer (one of the perks of being the boss), maybe heading to the orifice (office) at 9:30AM. Now, I'm rousted up at 6:45AM, with the task sof helping the child get her breakfast ready, making sure she has all the appropriate accoutrements for the school day, approving of her clothing choices, and driving her to the middle school in time for the 8:00AM bell. Plus having to remember to pick her up at 3:15PM. Not to mention having to keep up with cheer practices, athletic forms, student info forms, homework assignments, and monetary requirements. Plus, I had to teach my first college class this week and finalize the plans for a Rotary District Membership Seminar that I am conducting all day Saturday in a town that is an hour and 45 minute drive for my home.

Oh...and let's not forget that even though I'm arriving at work much earlier, I feel so very far behind. I taught a Realtor New Member Orientation Course Tuesday morning, conducted a sales meeting Wednesday morning, fired an agent Wednesday afternoon, hired a new agent Friday, and approved a new advertisement for the football section of the newspaper to acknowlege my daughter's participation in Mena Bearkitten Cheerleading - all in addition to my normal duties.

And what? Pluto is no longer a planet?? My world is not the same!!!

I know, I'm whining. And my husband keeps telling me that I put too much on my plate. I guess I wouldn't be happy otherwise, or I wouldn't keep doing it!!! I have renewed respect, each and every day, for those who have more than one child, or don't have a significant other. Thank goodness the child's first football game is over this evening, and I'll get to sleep in on Sunday. God knew that people like me needed a day of rest, and for that, I'm blessed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Whale Tail, AKA Vacation Day Six

When I originally planned our vacation, I wanted us to participate in different activities than we had during our previous trips to Laguna Beach. Plus, Amber is a little too old (thank GOD) for Disneyland now, so the obligatory trip to that venue is no more. One of our activities this year was a Coastal Dinner Cruise, leaving the Dana Point Harbor at 6:00PM. As we were waiting to leave, these birds appeared as sentinels, ready to enforce the rules at any sign of disorder. As we were lining up to board the boat, there were about 40 passengers wearing the same blue shirt with "Smith Family Reunion" emblazed on them. While the three of us were at the front of the line, some of these pushy Smiths decided THEY needed to be at the front of the line (most likely worried that they were going to miss out getting the premiere seating at the top deck of the boat).I can't abide it when people cut in line. Especially grown people, over the age of 50. As we boarded, I was determined to also get those top seats, as they had tables for dining and offered a spectacular view. Each table arrangment could have easily sat 6 people - and there were 8 tables - but the Smiths decided that two people, one on each side of the table, was the perfect arrangement. I finally convinced one of the Smiths that this was a bit unfair, and managed to secure seats for the three of us on the top deck. Roger can get a little nervous when I assert myself, but I do it in my business all the time, so it's second nature to me. As the only non-Smiths in the section, I felt like we had managed a coup. A coup with a view!! The other poor passengers didn't dare challenge the Smith clan, and were forced to sit inside the cabin, with limited viewing options. Two great things about this harbor cruise (besides the food) were the live music, by Mike O'Bryan, and the alcohol! Mike entertained the crowd with classic favorites from the Eagles, Steely Dan, Jim Croce, etc. Most passengers knew every song, and after consuming a lot of alcohol - we were all singing along like drunken sailors by cruise-end. Roger especially enjoyed this, as he admired Mike's Taylor guitar and had a good chat with him after we docked.

It took me a while to gain my sea legs, but the Corona helped me a lot. Amber wandered around the boat like an old pro, shooting photos like mad. We got a special treat, as the captain spotted several humpbacked whales during our cruise. Whales do not usually swim so close to the Southern California Coast during the summer months - but due to exceptionally warm waters, we had unusual luck. The captain decided to detour and do some whale chasing, to our delight! I don't have a really fancy camera like Ree, so my shots lack a little something. But I managed to get two of the whale! A shot of the hump and his spray, plus the tail, right before he disappeared from view! (Don't ask me why I call the whale a "he" - I did not visually verify the sex!) Unfortunately, Blogger is not cooperating today. I have managed to upload two photos, but the whale photos have refused to post. So, for the hump with the spray, click here, and for the view of the tail, click here.