Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Fun Monday of 2007!

Fun Monday is back again with host Peter, from Holtie's House, for a year-end, new-year's laugh! He wanted us to share our favorite joke and/or cartoon. Well, I couldn't pick just ONE, so here is a montage of some of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes' cartoons! And if they don't make you at least giggle a bit, you're not a sicko like me.


Happy 2008, to one and all!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How Was Your Holiday?

So, how many kids in America got this present? I'm guessing LOTS.
Or, maybe I should ask how many MOMS got this present, b/c I have spent hours playing. It is so addictive! And don't even ask me about Singstar. Good thing our family is somewhat musical, so I have a tiny excuse.

So, anyone else out there get an UglyDoll? How about a new trash can?Well, The Offspring got BOTH! I was VERY happy to get my first-EVER food processor and a new blender. And Poo Woo? He knew JUST what to do with his gift. Unfortunately, he also immediately destroyed his new squeaky ball. It lasted all of a minute and a half. As for Whiskas, her big fun came the next morning, as she pounced around in all the tissue paper from The Offspring's birthday presents:
Amber got another present - our first real snow of the year. She had been wishing for snow for days. I made Roger go take a picture of the new house:Our land to the east of our new home looked so peaceful.I hope your holidays went as wonderfully as ours did!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!

I may not see you all much during the next few days. With The Offspring's birthday on the 26th, it's an unusually busy holiday season.

After one of our Fun Mondays, some of you were more interested in my ornament creations (pre-porn-star nail era), so follow this link, and you can see more ornaments like this:And yes, the tree is up, for one last time in our dear little Victorian home. It's our last Christmas here...and somehow, it's making me nostalgic.Best wishes for a blessed Christmas for you all...I hope it is filled with laughter, peace and love.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Still Meme-ing!

I'm still trying to finish my five-post meme, and I sense a recurring theme. Let's see if you do! Here is a story of something that happened at work. I don't often blog about my work, b/c I am the boss, and I have a responsibility to my agents. But this story? Oh, it's priceless. I bring you one of "The Orifice Chronicles:"

It was a typical busy day at the orifice (office). Crazy busy, agents rushing around, customers and clients filling our 2-story building, and the phone ringing off the hook. I hang around the front desk in times like these, helping out the client coordinator. Lanna is extremely capable, but trying to handle a team of 10 agents and numerous clientele can be overwhelming.
The young son of a customer came racing towards the front desk, holding a box of matches in his hand. He exclaimed excitedly, "These were in your bathroom!!!!" His tone was of sheer panic, as if our lives were in danger, because they were in plain view, IN OUR BATHROOM. That SMALL CHILDREN might occupy. Such as HIMSELF. It was as if he had discovered a hornet's nest in there - along with a rattlesnake and two tarantulas thrown in for good measure.

Lanna and I try to keep from bursting out in laughter, and I calmly tell the boy, "It's alright Sweetheart, they belong in there. That is their home." All the while, trying not to lose complete control, while witnessing abject horror on his face.

Thankfully, his mother was not one of the complacent parents we often encounter. She overheard the conversation and swooped in to save us from our plight. "It's okay, **** (name deleted to protect the innocent/panicked), they probably use those to light candles in there from time to time. Just go put them back where they belong."

As Lanna and I almost collapse from the effort of stifling raucous laughter, the mother watches lovingly as the lad leaves to return the matches to their proper place on the back of the commode. She passes us this knowing look, with great kindness, as we share the common "assumption" of what great benefit matches can be for those who choose (or are forced by nature) to use that facility for more "odorous" bodily evacuations. This bathroom is dangerously close to the lobby, and though we have three bathrooms - this particular one has the perfect ambience to get the bowels moving. Sometimes, the Febreze spray just doesn't do the trick.

Shortly thereafter, I hear this loud voice from the bathroom: "I've looked all over in here, and I CAN'T FIND CANDLES!!!! Where are the CANDLES?!?!?! How can they LIGHT CANDLES?!?!? THERE AREN'T ANY IN HERE!!!"

The mother, obviously mortified, apologizes with, "I guess he's just at that age where you can't put one over on him." Sadly, we could barely respond, as Lanna and I finally collapsed and burst out laughing, tears streaming down our face.

I don't envy that poor woman, as she will have to finally explain the matches. I can envision her future, as her son will undoubtedly one day "do his business," light a match, stick his head in the toilet to take a whiff and exclaim, "MOM!!!! This DOESN'T WORK!!!! I've lit the match, and how come I CAN STILL SMELL S**T?!?!?!?!"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bad, Delinquent Tigger

I am SO bad at getting to memes. I got tagged by the lovely Karina in the beginning of December, and I'm finally getting to it.

And as always, there are rules:
Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. (I can do this.) The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given below (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). (I can see Swampy-Style Rule Bending coming here.) Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better. (Uh, THIS will be hard!) Don’t forget to read the archived post and leave comments. (HUH?)

Well, I'm not going to link. I'm going to "repost" five previous entries that you may not have seen, that I think you might enjoy. First up, in the category of "friends," I suppose, I bring you "Catastrophe:"

It began as a joyous occasion, my executive secretary's 80th birthday. This is a woman for which I have the utmost respect, as she has been dutifully keeping my books and cutting checks to pay my bills, as she did for the previous owner. She is more than a secretary - she's like a second mother, who thinks nothing of admonishing me for spending too much money, or giving me a good-natured slap on the ass when I say something off-color.

At the end of her party, she gave me a flower arrangment, adorned with balloons and beautiful curly string. It is for this reason that I secretly resent her. See this innocent looking feline? Well, I could have throttled her with my bare hands. You see, I knew well enough to place the bouquet of flowers on a high surface when we went to bed that evening. What I forgot is the ability for Whiskas to leap upon tall furniture in a single bound.

When Roger and I awoke the next morning and stumbled into the kitchen to retrieve that life-saving first cup of coffee, our bare feet slipped on something. "What the heck is THAT?" we wondered, sleepily. After turning on the light - we noticed brown streaks on our white floor. Not only in the kitchen, but across the bathroom floor as well. Seems as if Whiskas discovered the curly string, ingested it in a frenzied moment of play, and spent the rest of the evening attempting to remove it from her intestinal tract by alternately scooting her bottom across the floor and sharting.

After many expletives were hurled, we rectified the mess. Time to rectify the cat. Upon inspection of her puckered exit, we discovered a lovely, brown-stained curl of ribbon portruding from her anus. Remember those Chatty Cathy dolls? Much the same effect can be achieved by holding down a cat and pulling curly string out of her ass.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Cute NOT to Blog!

I just absolutely loved this. Not just b/c I'm a music fan, but b/c these guys are fantastically good and creative with their a cappella performance. This is "Straight No Chaser," who performed this little dittie live at Indiana University in 1998. The production company who filmed it went out of business, but one of the original members of the group managed to track the previous owner down. Lucky for us, he still had an original copy of their performance.

Just in time for the holidays, here are the 12 Days of Christmas, like you've never heard them before.Merry, merry!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fun Monday - This Old House

Another Fun Monday, and this week's hostess is Kitten, who wants to see our house and road. I wish I could have shown you our road, but our neighbor has a Dixie flag hanging in her carport, and it's tough to avoid. Our little town was born in 1896, and based on reports from an elderly former-neighbor, our house was built in 1903. Here it is, in a less wintry time: We had a busy first year as a couple - we met, married, got pregnant, and bought a house. We moved into this Victorian bungalow in 1993 and soon became familiar with its idiosyncracies. One thing I will dearly miss is this lovely pocket door, separating our living and dining rooms. It is a HEAVY door, and it takes most of my weight to pull it shut. I believe the handles are original.I also like the transoms above most of the doors. We don't have central heat and air, so they are often used to help shut off or circulate air from room to room, or from the outside to the inside. There are five such transoms in our house, and there is plenty of room for them with our 10-foot ceilings.We also have a pretty bay window, but it faces the neighbor's house - which is only 7 feet from ours. So, yeah, the view isn't that great.

When our house was built, there was an outhouse and a well in back. Thankfully, we have indoor plumbing today! But back then, I'm told property taxes were partially calculated using the number of closets - so they were added later, as the family could afford them. All THREE closets in our house are the same size, and jut out into the room - like this one in the DINING room. Notice the difficult-to-reach storage space above them.Our home also has the original trim and baseboards, which have fancy grooves and are VERY wide. And need painting.There are two flues in our home, one of which is no longer in use. It is in the bathroom, and a previous owner sheetrocked over it. This is the one in our dining room, where our gas stove vents. The gas stove is our only source of heat, except a small electric heater in the bathroom. See why I'm so ready to move?Our contractor had one of our doors sent back, and when I asked him why, he said, "It was 1/16th of an inch off at the top edge." I laughed. I've lived in "The Fun House" for so long - where NONE of the doors shut properly, the floors are crooked, and the walls meet at strange angles - I'm not going to know how to act in a "straight" house. Good thing I have friends who are not. In this photo, you can see that the floor, doorway, ceiling, and cabinets are all at different angles. I remember dropping some gumballs in my kitchen after we first moved in, and they all rolled to the other side of the room.It also makes cooking fun - b/c the oil in the frying pan tends to congregate on one side. Luckily, the cabinets are straight, so my dishes don't slide around.

The house has the original wooden windows, and I'm sure it's full of lead-based paint. There are only two outlets in each room - except for one lonely outlet in the bathroom. My house is a maze of extension cords and power strips. It's amazing we haven't caught the place on fire.

Somehow, I will still miss it. It's the home where we brought our new baby home - where she took her first steps - and her growth is measured by marks on our kitchen wall. I may already have a buyer for it, but it will be hard to say that final goodbye.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday - Something for Everyone

I have so many things on my mind today - and don't even get me started on the holidays! So, here is a menagerie of "stuff" for your amusement, in no particular order!

There is still a house in progress...but as you might imagine, little things slow us down! Painting takes a long time, even if you only use ONE porn-star-named color. It's all that trim work - and heck, I don't even have crown molding! We did finish picking out the light fixtures, so hopefully, the electrician will begin installing those next week. He has to wait for the painters to quit spraying toxins and clean up their mess:We have a septic tank and lateral lines, and they didn't tear up the yard too much, either. He is a quick peek at the beginnings of the process:Some of the countertops are installed:By looking at this photo of our partially completed kitchen cabinets, you should have some idea of our storage space. The Offspring said that once the cabinet doors were on, it was really starting to feel like a house.Speaking of The Offspring, can you pick her out of this photo? She's changed her hair since, but give it a shot anyway:And guess what I sent off today?Yup - that's my DNA kit. It came very quickly, and so I'm wondering how long it will take to get results. I'm guessing I'll know something by mid-January. I didn't get my parents' Christmas gifts packaged and sent, but you can bet I put this sucker in the mail TODAY. Where the heck are my priorities?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English 101

I have a pet peeve, and it involves spelling. I have really begun to notice it more, as The Offspring is writing papers for school. I have to look them over, and make sure she doesn't use the words "u" and "idk" and "b/c" in her writing. You would be surprised how often I have to correct her.

But even worse, I think the 'net phenomenon, along with the rampant use of email, has hampered our ability to spell. As a child whose letters to my grandmother were proofread before they were sent out (my mother knew my grandmother had impeccable spelling skills), I have been raised to be meticulous about the written word. Here is your lesson for the day!

WORD: YOUR vs. YOURS vs. YOU'RE
If it belongs to you, it is yours. But no apostrophe is needed, as with the other possessive pronouns, such as "his," "hers," and "theirs." If you ARE going to do something, then use the contraction: YOU'RE. If you are in doubt as to which word to use, substitute YOU ARE in the sentence. If YOU ARE doesn't work, use the non-contracted YOUR.

WORD: LOSE vs. LOOSE
I admit that the English language is extremely difficult. No doubt about it. Usually, when you are faced with a vowel-consonant-followed-by-"e" combo, the vowel is long vs. short. The "a" in "ace," and the "i" in "ice" sound like the name of the vowel. But this next mistake pops up EVERYWHERE, and it annoys me to no end. If you watch television, you can save yourself. If you can't find something, you have LOST it. People write that they "loose" something, which makes me want to stab myself in the eye. You "LOSE" something - and then it is "LOST." Notice how each word has ONE "O?" Remember the show "LOST," and you will never spell "lose" incorrectly again. "Loose" has an extra "o" - and the way to remember this is that if your pants are "loose," then there is room for an extra "o." Same with loose women.

End of lecture. And if I've spelled anything incorrectly, I'm sure you'll let me know. I know this post is particularly snarky, but I'm just trying to raise my site hits to the level of the ever-snarky Willowtree.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fun Monday Ornamentation

Kaytabug is hosting this Fun Monday - and wants us to show our favorite Christmas ornament. I STILL haven't put up my Christmas tree, so you'll have to settle for some old photos that don't really showcase them - excited already, aren't you? I made Victorian ornaments like those my mom used to make - involving pins, decorative ribbons, and sequins. B/c of my long nails, I've stopped this tedious procedure, but I hope one day that my vanity will wane, and I'll return to the craft.

My favorite one is in this photo - the red one, middle left - I actually won 1st prize at our county fair for this very ornament!I started off with the traditional kits that you can find at any craft store, and then moved on to make some original designs. The top ornament in this photo is an original - while the star below is from a kit.
I'm really hacked off that I can't seem to find the closeup photos from long ago - they really showed off my work. The Santa and reindeer are also pin/sequin creations. There are snowmen somewhere, but I couldn't readily find photos of them.
Lastly, another shot of the prize winner - bottom left. It's a shame these aren't closer - because that ornament in particular has crystal dangles and beaded rope chains - it was exquisite, and lots of fun to make.
Now go check out some great ornaments, from bloggers who have better photos!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Christmas Present to Myself * UPDATED*

I am seriously considering buying myself a gift, with Roger's blessing. And I would appreciate your input. I'm not sure how many of you stay up late at night, watching television. If you do, you might have seen Tuesday night's episode of ABC's Nightline. Well, it got my attention.

As a sidenote, some of you may wonder why I read Heather Armstrong at Dooce. One reason is that she is funny, but the more poignant reason is that she is a former Mormon, like myself. I read about her struggles with the religion and immediately identified with her. This bit of information may seem irrelevant to this post, but trust - it will make sense in a minute.

As most of you know now, I was abandoned at birth, and have NO CLUE about my ethnicity. Tuesday night's show featured a story about a new company, called Genetree. This company, for $150, will send you a home kit for collecting DNA samples. After the customer sends the kit back, the company will run a DNA profile. Most other DNA companies I've heard about will tell your "general" heritage - European, Asian, African, etc. for around $300 - $400. But Genetree promises more - actual relatives. Countries of origin. An adoptee on the program knew nothing of his ethnicity - and always wondered if he was Greek, Italian, etc. He found out that his ancestral origins were Turkish.

Now, Mormons have the most extensive genealogical record database on the planet - but it is more like "family tree" stuff, b/c they believe in doing baptisms for the dead (long story). Non-Mormons research their families at the facilities in Salt Lake City, UT. So, I wasn't surprised that the founder of Genetree is a Mormon. Though I no longer can subscribe to their gospel - I am compelled to give this a shot.

I haven't ordered the test yet - but I am ready. Are you?

UPDATE - I have officially ordered the test. It may be a long wait, since it takes 3 to 6 weeks for delivery. Hang in there with me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Picture it...Monday night, I'm exhausted from work, and I have to make a stop at the local grocery store for a few quick things before I head home, Offspring in tow. I glance down, and find myself wondering...why is this polar bear so elated?The sudden sense of freedom? No more pressure from the lady-bears to sire a child? Or...maybe the sensation of that cool winter wind, whistling freely betwixt his nether-regions?

I burst out into hysterical, shopper-stopping laughter. The Offspring sprang away from me in horror...as if I wasn't embarrassing her enough already by merely being PRESENT...and I couldn't stop...laughing...giggling...and showing her.

Oh...wait...
Now, all I can think of is that song...only changing the words to say, "She's got the whole...world......in her hands!"

Yes, the holidays have made me insane.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fun Monday - Regifting Thru Reposting

Wow, long time no blog! Robinella knew that NaBloPoMo kicked some of our tails (yes, mine is one of them), and wanted this Fun Monday to be easy. Her assignment was to pick our "best blog effort ever." Some of you may recognize this story, so feel free to skip ahead to the other Fun Monday participants. The only thing I don't like about this post, is all the linkage - but I felt it was necessary for those who were "in the know" at the time, or felt they might have missed something during my days of VERY random posting. Since many of you are new to this blog, and the holiday season is upon us, I present the story of "Sinclair Baby's First Christmas," originally posted December 16, 2006:

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.