Friday, December 30, 2005

Random Hygiene Questions

  1. What do you consider to be the shortest amount of time you, personally, can spend in the shower and still get clean?
  2. How often do you replace your toothbrush?
  3. What is your favorite soap, and why?
  4. What hygiene product(s) do you truly loathe, and why?
  5. What's the longest amount of time you've gone without bathing, and what was your excuse?
  6. What non-bathing things do you do when you're sitting in the tub (e.g. reading, crossword, etc.)?

Don't ask me where this came from. I'm just typing the words as they wander into my head.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas from your Friendly Neighborhood Stalkery Loser!

It seems we have an obscene phone caller. He (or she?) generally calls at ridiculously early hours, like at 6 AM or earlier. I say generally, but this person has only called about three times in the past month. Including the morning of Christmas Eve.

Yes, that's right. But I didn't answer the call. My dad did. He kept saying, "Hello? Hello!" with increasing agitation, whilst the Obscene Loser kept breathing heavily. In fact, when Dad later repeated the story to me, it almost sounded like the Loser was snoring, which made me thing perhaps someone hit my number on his cel phone by mistake while sleeping. Dad, of course, dismissed this idea as wishful thinking (quite rightly, I suppose).

Anyway, after about four "Hello!"s from my dad, he finally told Loser, "You sound like you have a piece of s*** stuck in your throat, dumba$$." And promptly hung up.

Way to go, Dad!

I am mildly concerned about Loser. Whenever he calls, the caller ID reads "Private Name, Private Number," so I know he must be blocking his number on purpose when he calls. Stupid turd burglar.

It's okay. I know how to use the pistol AND the shotgun, and after a lifetime of hunting lessons, growing up in Texas, and being married to a Marine, I think I can safely say that I have no problem with shooting someone who tries to stalk me. And I have a fairly good aim.

Friday, December 23, 2005

*sigh* I had to come move back into THIS house

This morning my children and I were all very cold, and I made sure everyone had socks or houseshoes on, just like these:

But then at around 9 or so, while the kids were still shivering, I went to take out some garbage, and what did I feel but warm, almost muggy air, occasionally broken up by cool, refreshing breezes?

I looked back at my house, scratched my head, and then realized that my house has ALWAYS done this, since I was 12 years old, and I just got used to having a normal, climate-adjusting house after five years out of state.

It strikes me as the nuttiest thing ever that, in the middle of December, I had to open my windows to let the warm air in!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Homemade cookies so easy, you'll slap yourself for not making them sooner

Okay, it's Christmas, and you want to be all "Oh, happy face for the kids, lots of traditions, happy happy happy, turkey and ham, homemade cookies, yay!" Only the reality is that you don't have time for homemade cookies, with the flour sifting and the just-the-right-amount-of-brown-sugar, because you're going 90 miles and hour trying to shop and wrap gifts and not kill yourself. And you don't want to spend $4 on refrigerated cookie dough, because you've already spent $599.95 on gifts. So here's the easy way to do this, and it's cheap.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup veg. oil
  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • (optional) chopped nuts, chocolate chips, M&M baking chips, etc.

Mix together eggs and oil. Stir in cake mix with wooden spoon; continue stirring until all lumps are dissolved. Add in nuts, chips, etc. if desired. Place rounded spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on size.

Seriously, cake mix is 78 cents at Wal-Mart, and you already have eggs and vegetable oil at home. What's more, it's fun and easy for the kids to do it, too, so you can enjoy baking together instead of chasing them out of the kitchen so you can concentrate on measuring everything.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Some people...

So last night I'm in the check-out line at Wal-Mart, and standing next to me at another register is this family, consisting of a woman in her late 40s to early 50s, a woman in her 20s, and a tiny baby girl, I would guess 4 to 6 weeks old. They are right alongside the counter, with the baby lying in the seat, her head kind of propped up on the side of the basket.

Grandma goes to move the basket up so she can put her bags in. However, since the baby's head is sort of sticking out, and the little checkbook platform is sticking out, Grandma ends up just smashing the side of Baby's head right into the platform. The baby begins to cry, Grandma doesn't seem to understand why the basket isn't moving forward, and Mother says, "Mom, you hit her head!" Mother looks fairly alarmed and tries to comfort her baby.

Grandma goes to pick up Baby. At this point I realize that the baby must be at least a month old, despite her tiny size, because she's able to hold up her head. Grandma, carrying the crying baby, then says, "Shut up. You were going to cry anyway, Grandma just gave you an excuse."

I cannot keep the angry surprise out of my face, and Mother and I exchange looks of quiet outrage at this woman who claims to be "Grandma." Baby does not stop crying, so finally Grandma actually removes the hood of Baby's jacket and starts to check Baby's head. Mother then takes Baby from Grandma, checks her head herself, and rocks Baby a little to comfort her. Eventually Baby settles down enough to take a bottle.

  1. Why was Baby propped up that way in the basket seat instead of in a carrier?
  2. What the hell was wrong with Grandma that she couldn't figure out that basket not moving when I push it + Baby in basket is screaming = something I'm doing to the basket is making Baby cry?
  3. What he HEY-ELL is she doing telling a six week old baby to shut up? If it had been my mom, she'd have been all, "Oh Baby, I'm so sorry, Grandma didn't mean it!" But this woman? Ugh.
  4. Why did Grandma think the baby was going to cry anyway? She wasn't crying at all. She was just barely starting to get a look on her face that said, "I'm hungry," but she hadn't even started really fussing yet.
  5. How did Mom manage not to chew her mother out right there in the store?
  6. Why am I always the one who sees this stuff?

Friday, December 16, 2005

And another thing!

That movie that I ripped on, Herbie. In the final race, the antagonist (Trip Murphy, a.k.a. Matt Dillon's career-destroying role) uses his stock car to slam into the side of Lohan's little Herbie. Not nudging, but slamming it into the wall. Just trying to cause an accident.

Me: Bizarro Dad, is he allowed to do that? It looks unsafe.
BD: No, dear. It's one thing to nudge the car next to you, but what he's doing is illegal, and he would get a Black Flag for that.
Me: Then why doesn't he get a Black Flag?
BD: Because this is a movie.
Me: They were all ready to give her the Black Flag at the beginning of the race when she was way behind all the other cars. They want to take people out of the race for not flooring it right away, but they'll leave 'em in when they try to cause explosive car wreckage?
BD: ... Mo. Vie.

Funny thing about my baby

Sia is 18 months old now. She's learning and growing and developing that little vocabulary. Why just today she learned a new word: grapes.

I try to say prayers with my kids every night. It doesn't always happen, but I do my best. Gina is learning to say her prayers with help. Sia, I've just discovered, will not calm down in her crib until I kneel beside it and say a prayer for her. Then she will smile, lay down on her little pillow, and let me cover her up. She stays that way, too, at least until I get to the bedroom door and flip the light switch. But she doesn't fuss too long after that.

Maybe it's just her "bedtime routine." But I like to think that when I pray that she'll get a good night's sleep, that prayer is being answered.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Seriously, what is UP with these movies?

Bizarro Dad rented three movies last night: Christmas with the Kranks, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and The Island. Let's go over them, shall we?

Christmas with the Kranks

I don't understand how, or why, but someone somewhere must have blackmailed Jamie Lee Curtis into doing this movie. It is positively horrendous! Why Jamie? Why? I know you're good at comedy when you want to be, but for that to work out, the comedy actually has to be good. This just...isn't.

To begin with, Tim Allen is in it. And we all know that anything starring Tim Allen that isn't geared toward an eight-year-old is a guaranteed failure. Furthermore, the dialogue is crappy, and you can tell that nobody likes it because they all have crappy delivery. And why, why, oh why is it that Dan Akroyd's character and all his twenty children are always wearing plaid, all the time, everywhere, with everything? (Then again, Dan Akroyd seems to be all about crap in the last few years.) And someone please tell me, was it screenwriter Chris Columbus or director Joe Ruth who decided that Jamie's character should be shrieking all the time? Happy, shriek! Startled, shriek! Hiding in the basement with a statue of Frosty the Snowman, shriek!

And you know the worst part? This whole movie was based on a novel by John Grisham. No, I'm not kidding. It's titled Skipping Christmas. I've never read the book, and I'm sorry to say that I don't hold out much hope for it. I couldn't even get through the whole movie. I demanded that Bizarro Dad hand over the remote so I could stop the thing. See, there are movies that are stupid because they're trying to be that way, such as Dumb and Dumber, which I can't stand and tend to ignore. But then there are movies that are stupid because the people making them have butchered everything that could have been good, and these are the movies that make me violently ill, or violent, or both. This is one of those craptastic wastes of film. Jamie Lee Curtis, you are better than this.

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Speaking of better than this, what is wrong with you, Michael Keaton? And you, Matt Dillon? There was a time, Keaton, when you were freaking Batman, okay? And a damn good one at that. Not to mention your sheer brilliance in Much Ado About Nothing. And you, Dillon? The Outsiders, anyone? Beautiful Girls? To Die For? Any of this ringing a bell? What is the matter with you two?

*Someone taps Sleepless Mama on the shoulder and whispers, "Multiplicity. Jack Frost. There's Something About Mary. The Flamingo Kid." Sleepless Mama looks embarassed.*

Okay, well, maybe Keaton just needed money. But he sure didn't look like he was enjoying being in this movie. As a matter of fact, he seemed to detest his very lines, and made almost no effort to look like he cared when he delivered them. Not because he's a bad actor, but because he's a good actor in a terrible movie. As for Matt Dillon...I...have no idea what he was doing. I know he was playing the colossal jerk in this flick, but he sure was goofy about it. Maybe that's what the director wanted, though.

Lohan...was clearly smoking reefer when she was filming this. It's not that her lines were terrible. That whole "I'm being carjacked by my own car," was probably something you'd hear a real person say, if they were in fact behind the wheel of a car that suddenly did not want to follow orders. You know, after they stopped screaming obsenities and leaning their head out the window, begging the cops to come help them. The problem is that her emotional range in this movie was...oh, who am I kidding. The whole thing was dumb. She did this to keep herself visible to the public and to make some money. Business is business.

This movie is not without value, though. My four-year-old loves it. She screams at the screen, "No! They hurt Herbie! They hurt my car!"

The Island

I don't remember whether the critics liked this movie or not, but my dim memory is that they thought it was sorry for some reason.

You know what? Critics are paid to be negative about everything. You like science fiction? It's here! You like action? Right here! Explosions? Here!Attractive people? They're here! A few nerds for comedic relief? Dood! Here! (Inside joke.) Hot cars? RIGHT! HERE!

Oh, and there's, like, a message, too, for those of you who like to have that sort of thing in your movies. But I won't tell you what it is, because I don't want to give it away if you haven't seen it yet. I will say this: don't watch the previews, because that ruins the movie for you. Just go out and watch this movie.

I will warn you that some of the images are disturbing, but I don't think Hollywood is allowed to make sci-fi movies about human beings without the use of Disturbing Images anymore. You might not want the little ones to watch (hence the PG-13 rating), but we're not talking about anything that would make your preacher stare down his nose at you.

Besides which, it has Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, AND Djimon Hounsou. And if there's one thing I love to see in my movies, it's Djimon Hounsou. Whether it's for eye-candy purposes or ass-kicking, any movie with him in it is automatically ten times better.

And there wasn't one single time when I wanted to tell any of the actors that they were better than this movie.

You know how I said it was freezing the other night?

Well, last night we slept with the air conditioner on.

And tonight? Heater again!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Top Five Things That Suck about Potato Chips

  1. Lay's potato chips have those sharp edges that get stuck in between my teeth or cut the roof of my mouth.
  2. Salt and Vinegar chips; excuse me, but ew! And that's just smelling them from a distance!
  3. Only corn chips go well with guacamole. You can't do, say, BBQ chips and guacamole, because it really just doesn't work.
  4. The salt content is too high, unless you get the salt-free kind, which taste too crappy to want anyway.
  5. So fattening that I'm gaining wait just thinking about it.

On the other hand...


Friday, December 09, 2005

This is getting ridiculous...

Y'all, I am sitting in my living room at 2 AM, and as I type this, I can actually see my breath rising like steam when I exhale. The thermometer we keep over the kitchen doorway? It reads 52 degrees F (or 10 degrees C) and falling. INSIDE. THE. HOUSE.

You know why?

We have no central heat. Only space heaters and this one gas heater set in the wall of the bathroom, which we don't like to leave on in the middle of the night.

Which is bad enough, but dude? I'm in Texas. On the Gulf Coast. I should be hot, or at the very least nice and comfortable. But no, I sit here all teeth a-chattering, like I'm back in freaking North Carolina, or worse, Washington D.C. Not that there's anything wrong with those places (in fact, I rather miss NC), but I came to Texas to get warm.

And all this freezing weather? Won't even have the decency to produce an inch of snow. Not in Houston. Maybe up in the panhandle they get snow, but here? Nada. And my poor Gina has been begging me for snow. If she has to freeze her little nose off, she should at least have the satisfaction of being able to make a snow ball.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Old Boyfriend Stories: Part I

Just to give you some background on my ex (whom I shall call the Notorious D.I.C.), we were together for about two and a half years, two years of which was a long distance relationship. Once the long-distance part was over, our relationship rapidly deteriorated. The following is an example.

At the age of 19, I hadn't had my license for too long. Even though he and I came from a large city with lots of freeways, most of my driving experience at that time was limited to driving around the small university town I was living in. And by small, I mean there was only one large highway, which I only got on to drive back home to visit family. The feeder roads to this highway were two-way roads instead of the normal one-way that you find in big cities. Even in the town itself, I didn't do much driving, since I lived on-campus. I mostly just went to church, the laundromat, and Wal-Mart.

So D.I.C. comes home from his two-year absense. We decide one day to drive out to Mars Music Store, an incredible place to go for a musician (which he was, and I was learning to be). It's all the way out in West Houston, and we had to take I-10 to get there (a freeway). Since I was the one with a car, I drove. D.I.C. had a biting comment for every little thing I did wrong, and that was just from his house to the entrance ramp. Once we got on the freeway, and I had to merge and bob and weave and get from Loop 610 to I-10, we hit some of the worst traffic I have ever seen in my life. I don't know if there was an accident ahead of us, or construction, or a herd of screaming monkeys, but the cars were all just jam packed. The freeway was practically a parking lot. I took an exit and decided to just stay on the feeder, which seemed to have a bit more flow.

D.I.C. had no mercy for me. I was the worst driver he'd ever seen in all his 22 years, I had no idea what I was doing, blah blah blah. He called me names, said I was stupid, every critical thing he could think of, he said. Meanwhile, I'm sitting in the driver's seat, both hands on the steering wheel, already nervous from all the traffic I was wasn't used to, and growing more frightened and discouraged with each remark. I don't know how I managed not to cry. He didn't seem to think he was doing anything wrong, probably because he felt his tone of voice was not hostile. And while it is true that he was not yelling, he sure didn't sound friendly to me.

When at last we finally got to the music store, and I found a parking spot, I made a point to turn off the air conditioner before I turned off the car. (I later learned that this was supposed to prevent problems with the air compressor.) D.I.C. asked me why I did this. I told him that my father told me to always turn off the A/C, that it was good for the car for some reason. D.I.C. proceeds to rail on me for doing what my father asked me to do for my own good. If memory serves, he said something about being stupid for following advice without knowing exactly what it was for. "What if I told you to do (such-and-such) for no good reason?"

At this point, I'd had it. I felt I'd taken enough abuse for one car trip. I could have said (and should have said) a lot of things, but all I said was, "What if I slap the shit out of you right now?"

When I look back on it, I think of all the things I could have done. I could have said (while on the road), "You know what, I'm not used to driving in this kind of traffic, and you? Aren't helping. You're making it worse." Or "Would you like to drive instead of me, since you're such an automotive prodigy?" Or perhaps I could have pulled over at a gas station and said, "Here's $20 and a quarter. If you can't stand my terrible driving, call a cab. Or better yet, call your mother, so she can deal with all this traffic just to take you where you want to go." Or maybe I should have just said, "D.I.C.? Shut. The f***. Up."

My secondmost personal favorite what-I-should-have-said diatribe is "Why do you always have to be such an ass? Why don't you ever have anything positive to say? You're not paying for my car, or my insurance, or even the gas for this little drive-from-hell. You're not my father or my driving instructor, so I don't see why you think you have the right to tell me a damn thing about how I drive. So from now on, do like they taught you in kindergarten: if you don't have something nice to say, shut the hell up."

My absolute favorite response that I fantisize about using: pull over on the side of the freeway and say "Get out. Now." Then leave.

After I made my remark about slapping him, he got quiet for a minute, then stopped and faced me. He apologized for yelling at me. "You didn't yell at me," I said, sounding tired. "Well, I'm sorry for being ugly to you."

I don't remember my response to this. I only remember that when we finally entered the doors of the music store, I didn't want to be near him. I went towards the acoustic guitar room and played a sad song. He went...somewhere. I didn't care. I don't even remember which of us drove my car home. I just remember how much I wish I'd told him off, told him to go to hell, told him to stop treating me like dirt on the ground.

He probably doesn't remember this event. It was many years ago. But I remember. I still feel the emotional scar. I still get nervous when I drive.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I wanted to post something deep and meaningful...

...but once again, I have blogger's block. So instead you get pictures.

Yes, I know I've posted this pic before. I don't care. I love this picture.

I think I'd like one of these. My 18-month-old has been talking about puppies non-stop since Monday, when we borrowed a puppy from my grandmother to keep the girls occupied while Bizarro Dad used his power tools outside. Now every two hours, I hear "Buppy! Buppy!" And that's if she doesn't see a dog. If she happens to see one out the window or glance at the dogs next door, then it's "Buppy!" for 30 minutes straight. And this word applies to dogs of all sizes, whether they be her grandmother's chihuahua or her aunt's French Mastiffs. If only we could get her grandfather to tolerate an indoor dog. Alas, he will have no such thing, and so we must wait until he moves out of this house, whenever that may be.

From the first page of Genesis. I don't know why, but Hebrew sounds have always struck a chord in me whenever I hear them. Genetic memory, maybe?

This is on my wish list over at I wish the image here were a little nicer. Anyhoo, I don't normally ask for jewelry, but I saw this and could not resist. I must be nuts. But at least it's not expensive!

Have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A nice, easy recipe

Broccoli-Cheese Rice
4 cups long grain rice
amount of water directed on bag (8 cups or 12 cups, depending on your brand of rice)
2 bags frozen broccoli
2/3 of a large block of Velveeta cheese, cubed
Set rice and water in pot, adding in desired amount of salt to taste. DO NOT STIR. Throw in the broccoli on top. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until rice soaks up most of the water. Uncover and let remaining water burn off. Stir in a few big globs of butter, the cheese, and some milk (less than a cup). Cover and leave on low heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is completely melted. Serve. Makes 8 to 12 cups of rice.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. And Nilo, take courage! At least it's not Christmas yet!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I saw Harry Potter!

I've gotta make this short because I have to start my baking for tomorrow. (Yeah, that's right, I'm having Thanksgiving tomorrow. AND Thursday. So many in-laws, so little time.) So if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading right now.


The movie felt rushed. The transition shots did not adequately show the passage of time. Show a season changing, or Halloween, or at least someone dressed in clothes that didn't include a jacket and scarf. Is it always winter there?! Too much was cut for time, but it seemed to be done at the expense of flow. I would have preferred a three-hour movie with better flow and maybe some footage of the actual Quidditch game at the World Cup. We just went from Viktor's grand entrance to the Weasley's after party. I felt kind of ripped off by that.

But I REALLY felt ripped off by the credits. I was promised there would be funny credits. Where were the funny credits!?! But no, all I got was "No Dragons Were Harmed in the Making of This Movie."

What I want to know is, when they introduced Beautiful Hermione, why did they have to make Harry look so captivated by her? We've all ready the sixth book. We know he ends up with Ginny. We know he never develops any romantic feelings for Hermione. So why make it look like he might? *sigh* I guess the director or someone wanted to throw the Harry/Hermione shippers a bone. Whatever.

Awesome stuff:

  • The dragons
  • The Yule Ball
  • The underwater sequence
  • The graveyard scenes
  • The ferret scene
  • Mad-Eye's transformation to that Crouch chump

Also: IMAX is overrated.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

In Remembrance of You

I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
'Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone
These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me
These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

My Immortal by Evanescence

You know the scars you left on my soul, or you should, if you're even half the sensitive person you were when we first met. But then, if you were still that person, we'd have never parted ways.

I did love you. With all my being, I loved you. And you me. But it wasn't enough. Love by itself is never enough.

That's why we went on to marry different people, I guess. I found something more than love. I hope you found it, too.

Why do I only think about you at night, or when I'm alone in the car? Why are you so much better in my memory that you were in real life (to which my journal can attest)?

When will I be free of you? When will I finally be able to release all the pent up anger and sadness? When will the words I always meant to scream at you finally come out?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Attention All Mommy Bloggers! (and Nilo)

It seems that chasing your kids around all day long is not, repeat NOT a form of exercise!

I went to the doctor today for chest and back pains (which are stress-related, apparently), and one of the things my doc suggested was getting more exercise. He told me that chasing the kids does not count. This is extremely puzzling to me. How can it not count as exercise when it tires me out so? Doc nearly cracked me up, telling me to walk around the subdivision. "Subdivision?" I wanted to say. "Dude, I live in da HOOD. No, not even da hood, I live in the barrio. Little 9th grade thugs used to tag up the sign on the little Pentecostal church two blocks away from me. Stray dogs roam free, snapping their jaws at passing strollers and bicyles. You want me to go for a WALK!"

One of the other things my doc suggested was Valium (only a 2 mg dosage). Which I have taken this evening. Thus far, it seems to have no effect on my desire to snap my husband's computer game in two. More on that in a minute. But my doc (I should say, my NEW doc, as I've just started seeing him this month) prescribed a bunch of pills for me, none of which seem to be working. I say it's because I bought generic stuff. The pain pill isn't easing the pain, the anti-inflammatory isn't anti-inflammating, and the Valium for my nerves isn't making me stoned or beatific or anything. Although I didn't yell at Bizarro Dad for his excessive game-play; I just made fun of him. It was quite pleasant, actually.

See, he plays this online fantasy RPG. I don't know what it's called, and in fact don't care. All I care about is that he gets on that stupid game the minute he gets home from work and does not get off until he's ready to go to bed. Now, to set up the rest of the story, watch this video. Go ahead. I'll wait...

So he's played this game all day, even after he's taken off work to "help me with the girls." He even kind of ignored my mother when she came over to help me with something. I just smiled and put up with it. Occasionally I teased him by saying "Are you wearing Boots of Escaping?" when his character is running away, or "Don't roll an 18!" But after a good 8 hours of him playing this game, I finally decided that enough was enough. "Honey, if you don't cast a Spell of Getting Off the Game in the next hour, I will put on my Boots of Kicking Your Butt." He glared at me and kept playing.

But when the hour was up, the computer froze on him. "See!" I said. "I cast a Spell of Computer Freezing!" But then I left him alone, because he had That Look on his face. So I just went and sat back down with my mother and quietly laughed at him.Hmm. Maybe that generic Valium stuff really is working.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

There are so many things I should be doing right now...

...but instead, I'm blogging. Don't you readers feel special? All three of you?

Yesterday's newspaper said something about the weather I found odd. "The cold front coming in should provide us with a week of crisp, autumn weather, maybe even two." After which we will return to our regularly scheduled summer, I suppose. It was 78 degrees in the house on Monday, forcing me to turn on the a/c. Yesterday we were in sweats and parking it in front of a space heater as the temp got down to 57 degrees (and that's during the daytime!). Next week we may be back in shorts.

This is the thing about living here: you can never "put away summer clothes and bring out winter clothes," at the end of autumn and into winter. You just kind of have to make more room in the closet and dresser for the extra sweaters and overcoats that you may need, should the weather decide to get down to freezing. It does do that, you know. People have to wrap their water pipes and light the pilot light on the gas heaters and go shopping for gloves. But we really only get about three weeks or so of actual winter, in which there's frost on the ground and the sky is grey and you can see your breath in front of you. It comes in spurts, between stretches of warm weather (or the elusive "cool" weather).

Which is why the Wal-Mart closest to me actually sells sleeveless children's Christmas dresses. Without little skin-tight shirts to go under them.

Nilo said something about people not wanting to admit that they'd been taken in by fads. And he's so right. Nilo, you've inspired me to make a confession:

When I was in the fifth and sixth grade, I was in love with the New Kids on the Block. Yes, it's true. I loved them and had most of their CDs, back when CDs took up a mere three sections of shelf space at the music store. Yes, even the Christmas album (a real piece of crap, that one). I knew all the words, even to the songs that I thought were not so good. I had posters of them all over my walls. I would even kiss these posters. And my greatest treasure was an autograph by Danny Wood, acquired by my mother's boyfriend at the time, who met the guy at a local gym when the band was here on tour. (He wasn't too impressed by Danny Wood, and even asked him if he could make out a different one, as the first was completely illegible.) Yes, it is a sad thing, when I reflect on it now. In fact, it was a sad thing when I reflected on it in seventh grade, which is why I denied ever having loved them or even owned a single CD.

But now I can admit this. Yes, I did love the New Kids on the Block. When I was twelve and too dumb to know better. Don't judge me! In another ten or fifteen years, you'll see bloggers shamefacedly admitting that they loved N Sync and Backstreet Boys when they were in middle school. Of course, by the time those two rolled around, boy bands were made up of guys old enough to have goatees, not 12-year-olds who still hadn't hit puberty yet so they could hit the high notes (Joe McIntyre).

And as long as I'm admitting things, I might as well tell you that I had the cassette of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Just reading the insert was good for a laugh. One of the songs actually had a vocal credit called, "Fly Puerto Rican girl on the sex tip." For making...noises. And actually gave her name. Whoever that girl is, I'll bet she's not happy about having her name on that album now. Of course, by now she's 35, and hopefully living a happy life that is Wahlberg-free.

Happy Thursday everyone. One week to Thanksgiving! Make sure to visit Butterball's website for all your turkey-cooking questions, including thawing safety!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Top Five Things I Love About Living In Houston, TX, Again

5. Finally, after five long years, I get to eat Ultimate Cheeseburgers from Jack in the Box again! (They don't have this place in Florida or North Carolina.)
4. I'm not living directly in the path of a helicopter base anymore. (What? What's that? I can't hear you!)
3. My kids don't have to grow up with that crazy Carolina accent. Instead, they can develop their Houston Northside accents. (Northside in the HOUUUSE!)
2. All the free babysitters, I mean, relatives.

And the number one thing I love about being back in Houston is....
All the kicka$$ restaurants!
*Insert Paul Schaffer music here.*

Monday, November 14, 2005

Seriously, Dad, this has got to stop

My father, when he wants something done around the house, has no hesitation in telling me about it. I appreciate his direct approach. I just wish he'd direct his requests at someone other than me once in a while. Seriously, it's like I'm the only one he can ask to take out the garbage. I know he doesn't want to be the only one doing it, and I want to do my part, too. But there are days when I don't even see daylight because the girls are keeping me so busy inside. There are two other grown men in the house besides him. He can't say "Son, please empty the garbage before you leave," or "Hey, son-in-law, can you take the trash out to the curb before you leave for work in the morning?" No, it's "Sleepless Mama, why am I the only one who takes out the trash? Why doesn't your brother ever do it? He sees it's full. Why doesn't he just do it? Why am I the only one to do it?" He sounds like a woman. He sounds like me, when I used to complain to my best friend about how Bizarro Dad never did any chores without being asked first.

When my father gets like this, my response is usually something like, "I'm sorry, Dad. I should have emptied it last night. I'll take care of it."

Sometimes he says, "Your brother was just in the kitchen five minutes ago. He could have taken it out, too." Then he fumes about how my brother never helps around the house.

Well hell, Dad, why not just ask him to take it out? It's not like he's ever had a wife to nag him about that kind of thing. Neither you nor Mom ever taught him, "When you see the trash is full, empty it," when we were growing up. He's simply not one to think of these things. But no, you don't tell him to help around the house, or even ask him to do a single thing. You just mitch and boan about how he never does anything.

In fact, my brother took it out just the other day when I said, "Please, do me a favor and take the trash out before you leave this morning." That's all I had to say! I asked, he did it, I thanked him, end of story! Stop making a federal case out of it, Dad! Stop nagging me about what my brother doesn't do!

And while your at it, Dad, if you want my husband to do something, you need to ask him yourself, or write him a note, or at least tell me, "Sleepless Mama, please ask Bizarro Dad to do such and such." Don't just tell me "See that this gets done" with the assumption that I know to relay the message to my husband. Usually I feel like you're just putting it on me. I have enough to do, thank you. And if my husband is sitting right there, just look him in the eye and ask him yourself. I'm not your message board!


Friday, November 11, 2005

Just to clarify the Pixar thing...

That thing I mentioned finding in The Incredibles? NOT a male body part. Go to the scene in which Edna starts climbing the stairs. The camera cuts to Bob. Behind him is a tree. It is shaped like something. But I leave it to you to interpret what it is.

Some fun things for you today:
A pair of stars are born
The Military Applications of Silly String

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pixar facts

  • The Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story and Toy Story 2 has two separate eye holes, eyebrows attatched to those eyes, and a black bowler hat. Real Mr. Potato Heads have one eye hole, since each eye pair is made of one solid piece of plastic, no eyebrows (except the thing that doubles as a moustache), and a green baseball cap. Even the deluxe Potato Heads don't come with a bowler hat.
  • Finding Nemo is, thus far, the only full-length feature film by Pixar not to include the words shut up, idiot, stupid, dope, or moron.
  • The water filter system used in the salt-water aquarium scenes of Finding Nemo is actually a fresh-water system. A real salt-water filtration system requires a second tank (usually a standard 10 gallon tank). Also, the filter system in the movie was missing the actual filter part.
  • The fish kept in Dr. Sherman's tank are natural enemies. Most of the smaller fish would be eaten by the puffer.
  • In Toy Story 2, Woody loses the use of his arm when the seam is ripped. But during the finale, as he is climbing down the landing gear, he uses his arm (which once again has a ripped seam).
  • In Monster's, Inc., laughter is supposed to be ten times more powerful than scream, or so says Sully at the end of the movie. However, the evidence suggests that it's power is exponentially greater. Examples: In Mike and Sully's apartment, Boo's scream lights up all the lights in the living room (possibly the whole apartment). When she laughs, she lights up every light in six buildings on the block. In the door warehouse, Boo's scream lights up a single door. Her laugh, however, lights up every single door in a building tall enough to hold three Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. Could it be that the echo magnified the power?
  • Check out The Incredibles, most notably the scene with Bob and Edna at her house. Keep your eyes on the tall trees. One of them is sculpted to resemble something particular, but I won't tell you what it is.

Why did I do that the way I did it?

Today, while driving some back streets to get myself back to the feeder road, I saw such a disgusting thing.

I saw a man walk across the street, go up to a woman (presumably his girlfriend), and slap her. Then, he turned around, saw me and the angry look on my face, and went back across the street.

Keep in mind, this happened in the middle of the day. In broad daylight. With other people around, some of them on that very sidewalk.

I don't know if the guy took off because he saw me (I very much doubt it). I pulled over to ask the lady if she needed help. She shook her head and sobbed "No," and kept on walking.

This woman, she didn't hit the man back or scream something like "How dare you!?" or even use the phone in her hand to call the police. She just cried, and walked away.

Now, I know, I know, that when a couple gets into a physical altercation, it is not for me to jump in and start smacking the dude upside the head with my MagLight. For one thing, he'd probably just turn around and mess me up, too, since I'm such a short little woman. But I have another reason. My grandfather once witnessed a man beating on his wife. Grandpa (who was young then, I'm sure) jumped out of his car and pulled the man off the woman. And you know what she said? "Get the hell offa him!" And she started hitting my grandpa!

So when I see something like this going on, I know that my job is to call 911 and let the cops deal with it, rather than try to insert myself into the situation.

So why didn't I call them today?

For one thing, the man, as I said, hit her once, and took off. He did not continue beating her. If he'd kept on hitting her, I would have dialed 911 without further hesitation, and possibly revved my engine menacingly so as to make the man think I was about to run him over (believe me, the thought crossed my mind). But he didn't, so I didn't. He just looked at me and left (still visibly angry). And the woman took off, too. By the time the cops arrived, both of them would have been long gone.

Still, I couldn't just leave her. Which is why I stopped to ask her if she wanted help. I could have taken her to the doctor (right around the corner), or called the cops for her, or even given her a ride home. But she didn't want my help. I also noticed that she was carrying her own cell phone in her hand. Apparently she didn't want the cops' immediate assistance, either, or she'd have called them right then and there.

So instead, I drove away slowly, thinking these thoughts:
  • Should I have called 911? Should I have just immediately picked up my cell phone and started dialing
  • What the heck kind of neighborhood is this? If this is the kind of thing that happens at 11:00 in the morning, what must this place be like at 10:00 at night?
  • I am so never moving out here. (I should add, the neighborhood seemed made up of umpteen different apartment complexes.)
  • In my own neighborhood, that kind of thing probably does happen, but the men have sense enough not to do that crap in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day.
  • Then again, how would I know that, since I stay inside all day?
  • My husband would so never do that to me. He's not that kind of man, which is why I married him. Plus, he knows that my dad would totally kick his a$$.
  • I wonder if that lady said something that made that man mad?
  • Did he stop and leave because he saw me looking at him? If I hadn't accidentally come down this road and witnessed this incident, would he have done worse?
  • She probably had battered woman's syndrome, or low self-esteem, or both.
  • Then again, her not hitting him back may have been the best thing to do, lest she incite him to do more damage.
  • Her lip sure did look swollen, but not on the side of her face where his hand actually hit.
  • That's it, there's no way I'm doing any shopping out here in Greenspoint (a.k.a. Gangspoint). I'm taking myself and my money out to Deerbrook, where it's nice and calm, and I don't care if I have to get back on the freeway to get there.

When I got home and told my family what happened, my father told me I did the right thing not getting in the middle. He didn't tell me whether I should have called 911, though. I think I'll ask him in the morning.

What would you have done, and why?

I sure hope that lady called the cops when she got home. I hope she takes out a restraining order. I hope she doesn't get back with him.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mama said there'd be days like this...

but she never said they'd require a tetanus shot!

That's right, loyal reader(s?). I stepped on Bizarro Dad's tie pin--a really thick one--and got that thing rammed straight into the heel of my right foot. Lucky for me it's not rusted or anything like that, but I still do need to get a tetanus shot by Monday. I shudder to think what would have happened if one of the girls had stepped on it. What the heck was it doing on the floor anyway? And why was the little clasp thingy lying next to it instead of covering it?

When I called Bizarro Dad to ask what I should do (he's an EMT), he told me that I should wrap the wound in bacon (presumably raw), tie it with a string, wrap my whole foot in plastic, and go to sleep like that. I desperately hoped he was kidding, but no. He was quite serious. Bacon, he told me, would draw out any shards of metal that were left in my foot. Upon examination of the foul little pin of pain and my poor little foot, however, he felt that the bacon treatment would be unnecessary. In the meantime, I need to keep an eye out for redness, swelling, or a hard little knot that would indicate an infection.

Too bad about that bacon thing, though. It would be quite the conversation piece at church on Sunday.

Me: How was your weekend, Isabel?
Isa: Oh, not bad. Went to the movies, took my son to the skating rink, went to the beauty shop and got my nails done. You?
Me: I spent Friday night sleeping on the recliner with bacon on my foot.
Isa: Oh, that's nice...wait, what?!

Thanks folks, I'll be here all week!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Political mini-rant

George, I must tell you, I really do feel betrayed. I know it was important that Saddam Hussein be taken out of power, because he was a rapist and murderer and basically a Hitler in his own land. And I know that it was important that Iraq be made to comply with the UN mandated searches. And I know that the UN was basically not doing a damn thing to stop Saddam from having all those women raped, all those people tortured and killed. And I know it was important to give the people of Iraq a chance to have their own democracy, their own constitution, their own freedom.

But I must say, clearly, we are no longer wanted there. The people of Iraq have voted on a new constitution, and we here in America, who are sending men and women over there to die at the hands of suicide bombers, are not even being told what the outcome of that vote was, or how much longer it will be until our troops can come home. We are not wanted any longer. We have our own problems here. This war is NOT boosting our economy, as wars normally have in the past. You are not even arming our troops adequately. Not the ones in Afghanistan, nor the ones in Iraq. If you are going to send them to war, give them what they need. If you cannot do that, then you need to bring them home.

I do believe in doing one's duty. My husband did his duty to his country, serving in the Marine Corps. He and I serve our community now. We do what we can.

But you?

You serve yourself. Your cronyism is astounding. You nominated your lawyer as a potential Supreme Court Justice for no apparent reason, except perhaps to keep one more of your cronies in a position of power. Your self-proclaimed FEMA "fashion god" is completely out of touch. Do you realize that hundreds of people here in Houston who escaped from New Orleans with their lives are about to be evicted from their new homes simply because FEMA won't cough up the money they've already promised to pay? Do you realize that the minimum wage hasn't been raised in about 8 years or so? Do you know how hard it is to keep a roof over your head on $5.15 an hour? Heck, do you know how hard it is to do that at $10 an hour? You want to spend $7.1 billion prepping for the bird flu, which is good, but where were you back when people were dying left and right from the regular flu? Were you not thinking about it? And how is it that you can just keep increasing government spending while simultaneously decreasing positive cash flow? Why do you think it is a good idea to lower taxes while fighting an expensive (yet underfunded) war and approve every single spending bill that Congress has to offer? You keep promising everyone money, but you're not bringing any money in. You just keep borrowing and borrowing. What happens when that money has to get paid back?

No, of course you don't realize any of this. It doesn't directly affect you, except perhaps for your approval ratings. But since this is your last term, you don't care about those, either. Because every president knows that once you make it to a second term, you can pretty much do as you please, since you're not trying to curry favor with voters anymore. Bill Clinton even said it out loud. And you took it to heart. Do you not see what you are doing anymore?

I voted for you because I thought you were a moral man of good character. But you're not. You're a self-serving dog. You got our nation into so much debt that we may never recover, but you don't care, because it's not money that you have to pay back out of your own pocket.

John Kerry, come back in 2008, and this time I'll vote for you!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween hasn't even arrived and I'm already planning Thanksgiving

Since my dear hubby, Bizarro Dad, usually works on Thursdays, and will probably have to go in on Thanksgiving Day, I've decided that perhaps we could have a small Thanksgiving the day before, which is his regular day off, and just have his family over. Then that leaves me free Thursday to make the rounds visiting my relatives. So far his sister doesn't mind the idea, but we have to see what his mom will say. Seeing as mom-in-law doesn't work outside the home, I don't see why she'd object, but still, I'm going to wait until she says yes before I rush out and buy a turkey.

In the meantime, I've found some very interesting recipes in my gi-normous Box-O'-Recipes from the good people at Easy to Bake, Easy to Make. There's this strange little pastry that's made from prepackaged breadstick dough, reshaped to look like a cornucopia, and stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, cranberries, and apricot preserves (or, if you prefer, cream cheese, strawberries, and strawberry preserves). There's also this apple stuffing that looks neat, but instead of serving it on the plate, you serve it in a scooped-out, precooked, sliced-in-half acorn squash! It does look cute that way, but I want to know how I'm supposed to cook the squash. Do I bake it? Do I microwave it? Can I do it the night before so I'm not having to worry about cooking it at the same time as my turkey, yams, rolls, and cornucopias?

What about you? What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm such a ditz

For the last few weeks, my cordless phone has not been ringing loud enough to hear unless I was in the same room with it. This is strange, to be sure, as my ringer has only two volumn settings: on and off. For the last three days, we have not heard it ring at all, despite receiving many phone calls. Naturally we figured the ringer just died on us. Bizarro Dad bought a new phone today.

I just looked at the thing. The ringer is switched to off.

*that toddler*

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Words I hate to hear spoken out loud

Cansonas (translation: underwear)*
Chi-chis (translation: boobs)*
Boobies (they're called BREASTS people, for the love of crap!)
White Sox

*denotes word that is especially hated when it comes out of my mother's mouth

Monday, October 24, 2005

Yes, I am obsessed with Harry Potter, why do you ask?

For your viewing pleasure, the three headmasters of the Triwizard Tournament.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Harry Potter and the Pictures of Great Amusement

I blame you, cmhl, for being the one to finally explain how it is that one puts an image on a blog entry. Thank you for getting me addicted. *love*

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

I do so love this picture. Just think: what would happen if these kids (in character, I mean) actually did walk into Hogwarts dressed like this? They are already part of a dark culture, so to dress up as a Muggle's imitation of dark culture...what would everyone say? Would they be called Dark Wizards? Clowns? DARK WIZARD CLOWNS?

You know, I would totally be a Harry/Hermione "shipper" if the books had not made it blatantly obvious that Hermione and Ron were destined for each other. When you watch the movies, though, it is very clear that Emma Watson and Dan Radcliffe have some truly amazing chemistry together, and it does almost look like they could have something together. This must be why there is a strange interest (mostly among teenagers) in whether or not Emma and Dan are dating.

I have to tell you, this picture frightens and confuses me. Not because it's bad, oh no. It's because it is just so damn good! I know it is the job of the art department to make Dan Radcliffe (and hence, the movie) irresistable to teenage girls everywhere. But seriously, they did their job a little too well. Because I am totally crushing on this guy, despite the fact that I am much too old for him. Well, okay, I'm not that old, I'm not even in my thirties yet. But still. I'm too old to be having school-girl crushes, and I'm certainly too old for Daniel Radcliffe. This is me, being all scared. ...Then again, maybe it's not him I find attractive. Maybe it's just the leather wizard robes. Yes, that's it. I always did have a thing for leather jackets and trench coats.

Okay, I'm going to go crawl under a rock, now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Google Image Biography

I swiped this from crouching mommy, hidden laundry because I have nothing better to do. Go to Google Images and put in the name of the town where you were born, the town you live in now, your name, the name of your grandmother, your favorite food, favorite smell, and favorite song. Then you post the images.

This is the city where I was born, and to which I have recently returned to live in once more. Ah, home. How I love thee, Houston.

This is the only image of my name I could find that wasn't a sleezy picture or a photograph of a woman who looks nothing like me.

My grandmother's name. Interestingly, her mother named her Josephine, but when her father took her to the church to be baptized, he changed it to Eva. Grandma now hates the name Josephine.

Favorite food: this was actually a tough decision. Do I say Italian food? Chocolate cake? Pumpkin ice cream pie? Chocolate? No, no, if I have to pick out my favorite rare treat, I'm going with shrimp scampi.

Favorite smell. This was another tough one. I nearly said roses, or that Vive Shampoo for men (which just does something for me). I could also have said "minced garlic and onions sauted in olive oil." But no, this has to be my favorite, by far. The smell of my children, freshly bathed and shampooed.

Favorite song: Riverwide by Sheryl Crow. This song was the theme-song for one of my most painful break-ups, and the inspiration for some Alias fanfiction I wrote a few years back.

Let's Go Astros LET'S GO!

Yeah, that's right. My beloved Astros are one game away from heading to the World Series. I fondly recall many games I attended during my elementary-school years. Ah, the cheering, the popcorn, the singing, the impersonating of the voice of the vendor who sold cold beer (much to my mother's dismay).

This was back when the 'Stros still played at the Astrodome. The Eighth Wonder of the World, they called it. Now the Astros play at Minute Maid Park, a new-fangled sort of stadium with a retractable roof (which the players don't want to retract right now). I've never been to this new venue. I only remember that when it was new, it was nick-named the Home Run Derby.

I haven't been to a baseball game in over a decade. (Oh crap, I think I just aged.) It's nothing against sports in general, or baseball. I just can't stand the seating in today's modern stadiums. Tiny little seatss, steep stairs, large crowds of, not for me.

But I do love my home team. They put me in mind of childhood, school friends, cousins, and being encouraged to scream as loud as I liked. I wish you well, boys. Do me proud.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Out of the mouths of Latinos...

During our Hurricane Rita House Arrest, my mother-in-law told me about something she heard on a Spanish radio station. Apparently the DJs were reporting the mayor's call to stop with the evacuating already, the storm was too close. The DJs, after reading this, proclaimed: "Te chinga, nos vamos a Mexico." (F*** you, we're going to Mexico.) They then abandoned their post. Mom-in-law said you could hear them leaving, then it was just dead air. Nice to know the Hispanic community can count on the local Spanish radio announcers to continue broadcasting information.

Interestingly, the Spanish-language TV channels and radio stations are considered to be "the ones who tell you what's really going on" in this area. I don't know why, but for some reason the attitude of the local Mexicans is that the "white" TV stations hold back the truth. I've never really watched Univision's news broadcast, since I don't understand enough spoken Spanish to make sense of what's being said, so I couldn't tell you what channel 45 is saying that ABC is not. I just think it's funny that my grandmother thinks ABC, NBC, and CBS news all lie to her.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What? Me? Clean?

I know I need to clean the house. I do. But I don't wanna.

I'm in pain. My neck and back are killing me, and these two kiddos don't understand that and still insist on being carried, lifted, yanked away from the toilet, etc. Besides, it's Bizarro Dad's day off, so he can (and does) help take care of the little ones.

So, begging your pardon, I'm spending my time watching Chocolat and A Day Without Mexicans, thank you very much. Cleaning can wait, or maybe my brother can get off his keister and wash some dishes for a change.

Monday, October 03, 2005


But I'm not complaining, oh no. I was stood up by Hurricane Rita. (By the way, CMHL, thanks for caring.) Seriously, we got some wind, but as far as rain, it barely sprinkled. No, really. I've seen garden hoses with more force. We only lost power for about an hour on my block. Mom's block lost electricity for a couple of days. We didn't have any damage to the house, though a branch from the neighbor's tree fell into our back yard. My other neighbor's garage was shredded, but it was already partially destroyed from Tropical Storm Allison four years ago, so it was no big loss.

We did have some action around here, though. See, we may have stayed, but many of our neighbors evacuated. Some thieves tried to steal our neighbor's car. Friends of the neighbors saw the theft in progress, and started shooting at the thieves. Thieves shot back, blowing out the window of a very nice Cadillac. Here in the house, we heard nothing at all. Mom, Grandpa, and Uncle A, who were all across the street, saw the whole thing and called the cops.

I got the scoop from Mom, and relayed the info to my own household. My dad went all Jed Clampett, and pulled out this ancient shotgun (which I mistook for a rifle, it was so long) and started asking for extra shells. Fortunately Dad's shotgun takes the same rounds as our shiny Mossberg. Personally, I felt that he'd be better off just using his .380, rather than trying to use that old gun that hadn't been fired in over a decade. NRA bonanza notwithstanding, we didn't actually have to use any of our firepower. The revenge shootings occurred a few blocks away. We didn't here those either. Our air conditioners are really loud. Plus, we're all going deaf.

Now that I'm thinking about it, Bizarro Dad (my husband) said that when he went to the sporting goods store to buy ammo right before the storm, there were a whole lot of people doing the same thing. Nothing like a hurricane to bring out the Commando in all of us. But really, this IS Texas.

If you've ever seen that movie Miss Congeniality, recall that part wherein Sandra Bullock tackles a dude with a holstered gun right in the middle of Market Square in San Antonio. Candace Bergen reprimands her for taking this action for such a trivial reason. "This is Texas!" she says. "Everybody has a gun. My florist has a gun!" Well, that's really how it is sometimes. We all have guns, at least in this neighborhood. We don't all carry them around, but I suspect that's because not enough people want to spend the $90 to get the concealed handgun license. Well, that and criminal records.

Seriously, this state is just the wrong place for looting. If the citizens weren't shooting at you, the cops were arresting you. There were some punks who broke into a middle school to steal electronics. There was a middle school teacher who broke into fifteen houses to take heaven knows what. I mean, I know our state education funding is a mess, but dayum. The hospitals were not letting a lot of people in unless they were critical. That's how many people were getting stabbed and shot.

Well, we're all okay. The city is getting back to normal, although I wish I could say the same for the folk over in Beaumont. They took a severe beating. Please, if you haven't done so already, donate to to continue helping those nice people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita, Category 5, To Hit Me Dead On

Never in recorded history has the Houston/Galveston area experienced a Category 5 hurricane. The Great Storm that took Galveston in 1900 predates modern weather categorization, but it was so devastating that even 105 years later, Galveston has still not fully recovered.

Rita can hit 100 miles from here and we'll still experience hurricane force winds.

We're boarding up our house. We're stocked up on water and food, clothes, medical supplies and ammunition. Yes, ammunition. It's a rough neighborhood, even in good weather. In disastrous conditions...well, hopefully our old friend from school who lives down the street will use his A.K. 47 for good instead of evil. I wish I were kidding.

Our area is not under evacuation order. We're staying here, since our land doesn't flood, unless my husband decides otherwise. Even if the kids and I get out, my husband is staying to provide EMT services, and my dad and brother are staying. My mother-in-law is with us. Mom and Grandpa and Grandma, who live across the street, were going to evacuate, but Grandma had to go to the hospital yesterday and has not been released. So Mom and Grandpa are going to hole up in their house (which is on even higher land than my house). Grandma's hospital is going to be locked down.

Pray for us. We really need it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random wonderings

How do you measure the worth of a person?

My instinct is to deny the size of their estate or the greatness of their celebrity status, but those things clearly matter to the world at large. When a poor man dies, he gets a small obituary. When a movie star dies, or a multi-millionaire, he gets his picture on the news while Tom Brokaw talks about how famous he is.

But maybe it's not so much the fame and fortune that matters, but the influence that goes with it. When President Regan died, there was all this talk about his influence on conservatism and the economy and politics in general. When great evangelists and other religious leaders die, there is talk about the influence they had on the population and on the individuals closest to them. But where does this leave the relatively unknown? Surely they have impacted lives in less obvious ways. Are they not worth just as much? Does their worth depend on what kind of influence they've had?

And what about deeds? How does that determine your value? Do you add all the good ones and subtract the bad ones? Do you get more points for saving someone's life than for talking them through a mental breakdown? Do all the small good things add up to one big thing? If you kill one person but save the lives of two others, does that put you ahead? Do the rules change if you're engaged in military combat on behalf of your country?

Are you worth more if someone believes in you? Are you worth more if you believe in yourself?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Potty Training Nightmare

Seriously, how long is it supposed to take to potty-train a child? My daughter Gina is nearly four years old, and not until the last month or so has she made significant progress in the art of using a toilet.

Even that progress, I notice, is limited to our own house. Send her to my mom's, or my mother-in-law's, or sis-in-law's, or pretty much anywhere, and she won't do it. She has to have her "triangle," which is what she calls her special Sponge Bob toilet seat topper that allows her the comfort of a soft seat and the security of knowing the hole is too small for her to fall in. She will scream bloody murder and pee on the bathmat rather than sit on the toilet without this object. Gina won't even approach the toilet if the bathroom light (a.k.a. the potty light) is not on. And, for whatever reason, she won't let anyone but me help her in the bathroom, though I suspect she might be willing to let her oldest cousin (a ten-year-old girl) help her.

Whenever I leave her with family, I always say "Remind her she's wearing panties. Ask her if she needs to use the potty. Show her where it is. Here, put her triangle on your potty. Make sure the light is on." But still, Bizarro Dad or I get a phone call saying that she's wet herself (and promptly got a towel or wipes and began cleaning the mess herself), and did we pack any extra clothes?

Then there's the overnight situation. I've kept her in a diaper at night because she generally comes to bed with Mom and Dad (with all four of us in one bedroom, this is to be expected). She usually wakes up with a dry diaper, but wets it shortly after she wakes. Well, now I'm making her go to bed on her own mattress (located on the floor next to my bed). So last night I put her to bed in panties. I instructed the family to leave the bathroom light on overnight, and I reminded Gina that if she woke up and needed to pee she should get up and run to the potty. I told her to remember to go potty as soon as she wakes up in the morning. And, because I'm crazy but not stupid, I laid down two of those absorbent changing pads on her mattress and a towel on top of those. I kissed her good night.

About six this morning the baby woke up screaming. Gina's mattress is right in front of Sia's crib, so I have to step on it to get to the baby. Guess what I felt on the mattress?

Gina seemed not to have been bothered by it, because she just rolled over to the right. She didn't even take off her panties. In fact, I'm not even sure she was awake when she peed.

When I finally got the baby calm and back in her crib, Gina promptly got up and crawled her stinky self into my bed. No way was I letting that fly. To the tub she went.

This is driving me nuts. Anyone have some advice? Anyone know where to get a twin-sized absorbent, leak-proof mattress pad?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Yes, I'm a little late...

...but it doesn't matter. Please contribute monetary donations for Hurricane Katrina victims to the Red Cross, or, if you're near the refugee areas or disaster sites, volunteer . There is especially a need for anyone with medical experience (bring your credentials, please) and people with senior leadership skills. Contact the Red Cross to find out specifically when you will be needed. The fear is that the volunteer effort will drop off after a week or a month, but the need will not, so please try to follow the organization's schedule. If you choose to contribute money, save your receipt! Some companies offer donation matching, but they can't match your donation if you don't have your receipt. And if you can't donate money or time, go donate blood!

If you are in the Houston area, contact your local schools, charitable organizations, and food banks to see if they are holding any donation drives. Do not take your donation directly to the refugee areas unless specifically directed by Red Cross to do so. Many schools are hosting refugee kids and are accepting donations at those locations. The following are a list of needs that you may be asked to donate:
Clothing (all sizes, from baby clothes on up)
Shoes (tennis shoes, sandals, etc.)
Toiletries (toothbrushes, deoderant, shampoo, etc.)
Feminine products
Nursing pads
Baby wipes
Formula and bottles
School supplies (including backpacks)
Medical supplies (latex gloves, bandages, medical tape, alcohol, antibiotic ointment)

Please also keep the volunteers themselves in mind. Many have been working for three straight days, and all they want is someone to get them a cup of coffee, but there is no coffee to be had, nor any coffee machines.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Scouts, Scouts, and More Scouts!

Saturday I went to a Scout Leader training session (called Little Philmont, for some reason), and can I just say *squeak!*

It was completely overwhelming. They used a lot of terms I had not heard before. I still don't know the difference between a district and a unit. But I did get lots of good information and some ideas I can use with my Pack.

I must admit, it was quite fun seeing all the different Scout leaders in their uniforms. Most blouses were that tan color, but I did see some yellow ones, and even one green one (worn by our special guest speaker, who is apparently a Venturing leader, in addition to his other impressive callings and distinctions). I still have no uniform blouse, and I know I need to get one before my first meeting with the boys, but I don't think I'm going to go out and purchase one until a) my Cubmaster application is accepted, and b) my husband, Bizarro-Dad, gets his next paycheck.

Speaking of Bizarro-Dad, guess what his new calling at church is? Young Men's Secretary, which places him in a leadership position over what? That's right, Boy Scouts. He's not a Scoutmaster, but he is going to have to meet with all those teenage boys on a weekly basis, at the same time that I'm meeting with the little whipper-snappers.

Guess what the problem is with this equation? Go on, try to guess.

Our two little girls. What do they expect us to do with our three-year-old (hereafter known as Gina) and our 15-month-old (hereafter known as Sia)? Sia is a fairly quiet baby, but Gina is very active, and wants to be involved in everything.

My mom has offered to watch them on the evenings that we have meetings, but my mom is currently caring for her two elderly parents, one of whom is likely to need surgery on this week's meeting day. Well, I guess I can take the girls with me this week. I'm not really meeting with my boys yet, and I mostly just want to sort some things out with my church leadership. Little things like which boys are already registered, how often do they want to hold den meetings, and what the heck is our pack number, anyway?

And I need to start sorting this stuff out fast. Girl Scout meetings start next month, and I want to have my Cub Scout routine figured out before I take on a bunch of five-year-old girls. (Good news: I can take the girls to the Girl Scout stuff, since most of their activities allow for Tag-Alongs.) And since my sis-in-law is the troop leader and not me, I won't have quite as much weighing on me there as I do as the Cubmaster.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Scouting IS new territory

At church today I received a new calling: Cub Scout Master.

Yeah, you read that right. I am to be the woman in charge of all those screaming little 8- to 11-year-old boys on Wednesday nights. I'm the one who's supposed to tell them: Hey you kids! Cut that out! We've got Pinewood Derby cars to build!

I'm excited, to tell you the truth. Excited and scared. And nervous. And maybe just a little bit shocked. And perhaps just a teeny tiny bit terrified beyond belief!

I'm not usually the kind of person who likes little boys. They irritate me most of the time. But maybe it's time for me to get over that. Maybe the Lord wants me to overcome my flaw and be a better person by giving me the chance to work with boys so I can learn to not be so easily annoyed by them.

Oh man.

That's it. I knew it. I knew it!

My next baby is going to be a boy.

Not that I'm pregnant. (That I know of.) But I still do plan to have another child some day, and now here I have reason (albeit a strange one) to suspect my next baby will be a boy! Why else would the Lord inspire the Primary presidency to call me to watch over the scouting needs of a bunch of boys when I have two small girls at home?

(For those of you who are not LDS, church leadership positions are offered after names have been prayed over and the people doing the praying feel inspired to pick a certain person. Then that person is asked if they are willing to accept the calling. Then it is brought before the membership of the church for sustaining.)

So there you have it. I get to be all cub-scout-mastery and teach boys about geology, water safety, and how to tie a decent knot.

Except that I don't know how to swim, I can't tie good knots, and while I do enjoy geology, I was never good at the whole identify-this-rock-just-by-looking-at-it thing. I'm more of a this-is-how-volcanoes-work person.


It will be okay. Eventually everything will work out. I just have to calm down, focus, and figure out how to get a better budget for my boys.

I still have other stuff to do for church, besides scripture study itself. And then I told my sis-in-law that I would help her with her troop of Girl Scouts (Daisies, age 5).

Wow, I'm just going to be a scouting fool.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Absurd Logic

The other night the baby made a colossal mess on the floor during dinner time. I'd had a full day of child-chasing and nose-cleaning, etc. Hubby had a full day (or was it a three-quarter day?) of work. I asked him to clean up the mess.

Him: Why do I have to clean it up?
Me: I've been cleaning up messes all day, all week in fact. You can't clean up one mess?
Him: That doesn't count because I wasn't here.
Me: (bewildered) What?!
Him: You can't count that against me because it's not like I was here. I was working.
Me: It's not counting against you. That's just stupid.
Him: (Gives me a look.)
Me: I just want some time where I'm not cleaning up the kids' mess. Just like you want to have one day when you're not lifting patients into the ambulance.

He was all huffy with me after that for calling him stupid. I admit, I was wrong to say that. But really, how else would you describe his argument? Him not being home to help me during the day is supposed to be grounds for him not to help me once he does get home? What? That doesn't even begin to make any sense.

And it's not like he never helps with the kids. He changes diapers. He feeds them meals. He takes a turn holding them when we're together at a barbeque and I want to eat. He'll even help do laundry if I phrase my request just right. ("Honey, can you put the wet clothes in the dryer for me?")

But when it comes to cleaning big messes, he suddenly gets all weird on me. Sure, he'll grab a towel when a drink gets spilled, but macaroni and cornbread? Nope, not if he can help it.

I know, I really do know, that he is tired at the end of the day. It's hard work, lifting heavy dialysis patients onto their stretchers and into the ambulance. I want him to have some down time. I try not to make unreasonable demands.

But you know what? I want some down time, too. I want my one day not to have to have to clean up urine, or snot, or rejected food. And I want to not be upbraided for wanting it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Random Salsa

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Extreme
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Dude, I was this close to the third circle of hell. I'm such a sucker for ravioli.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Drama, or What Did I Do in a Former Life that I Have Such Sucky Karma Today?

Seriously, I've been waiting for plumbers every other day for the last week. I haven't been able to wash my dishes in my own sink for three weeks. And today? *sigh* More of the same, plus some all new problems.

So, the super-cheap plumber that I found? Yeah, he was WAY LATE. He said he'd be here at 8 AM, but he didn't show until after 3 PM. Which, for that price, I can handle, but it was getting really frustrating having to explain to my entire family (individually) why the plumbers weren't here yet. I understood. I totally did. It was the guy's kids' first day of school, and the kindergartener wasn't having it. Plus a bunch of other stuff. Life gets in the way. I'm okay with that. If it were just that, I could just write this day off as mildly annoying and be done with it.

But no. Oh no. When I woke this morning, I discovered that I had not one but TWO sick children on my hands. Lots of nose-wiping, juice-pouring, and all that jazz. Lots of kid-movie-watching, too.

But wait, there's more! Hubby calls me at 9ish to tell me that our car has died. Or rather, that it's gone all funky, and will soon die, like, by the end of the day.

At his request, I call around until I find the only dealership in town that will still service our vehicle (made by a company that has gone under and yet still constatly manages to send us factory recall notices). Service department speculates on what the problem is but won't give us a rate over the phone (which of course means $$$$$).

Hubby can't stand it anymore. He still has vivid memories of our old Ford Escort station wagon, which would always develop a new problem as soon as the existing problem was fixed. There is simply no way he is going to stand for that again.
Him: I'm ready to trade in this heap and get a brand new vehicle.
Me (sympathetically): Yeah, I know, me too.
Him: No, REALLY. I'm serious.

I'll fast forward past all the internet research and arguing over whether we can even afford this thing and still pay all our bills. Suffice it to say we were both frustrated, on top of which he was trying to do his job (EMT for ambulance transport service) while I did mine (chase down snotty baby, remove snotty 3-year-old from bathroom sink, feed everyone, deal with plumbers, deal with father's relentless questions, deal with crying mother on the phone).

Yes, crying mother. She lives across the street from me in the home of her parents, helping to care for her dying father and diabetic mother (both of whom are going senile). Apparently my mom and Grandpa got into an argument today, mostly having something to do with Grandpa treating her like crap and being rude and ugly to everyone simply because he feels like it. Mom said she couldn't take it anymore, and was moving out. (Later tonight, though, she backtracked and said she didn't want to leave her mother alone to care for Grandpa and their high-maint home. Grandma continues to remain philosophical about her fate, if by philosophical you mean able to ignore a lot of her husband's crap because she knows he will soon be gone.)

Lots of drama today. Lots of headaches and bodily fluids and long phone calls with car dealers and insurance specialists. Lots of discussions about pipes and plywood and airbags.

But hey, at least I get a new minivan out of it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Always Knew Chocolate was the Gift of God

Yesterday evening my 13-year-old sister-in-law came over in a storm of tears. She wouldn't talk about what was wrong, and my only clue was that her brother (my husband) and her mother seemed to be upset with her when they brought her over. Strange thing was, Hubby didn't seem to understand why she was upset with him. My thoughts: well, dear, raising your voice at her will have that effect.

It was arranged that sis-in-law would spend the evening with me whilst Hubby took their mom out to the movies. (Free movie passes + scary movie= You go ahead, I'll stay home, thank you.) Poor Little Sis, she was just so emotional, and she didn't want to talk about it. It didn't help that my three-year-old was also crying, but more in that wailing, I-have-an-owie-AND-my-dad-is-leaving kind of way. I comforted my daughter and tried to comfort Little Sis. I gave everyone a couple minutes to cool off.

Then I became Inspired.

I announced that I had a sudden urge to make a humongous batch of brownies, and asked who was in. Little Sis and Niece the Elder (who was also staying with me for the evening) both raised their hands. My daughter probably would have if she knew about that sort of thing, but as it was she happily exclaimed "Brownies!"

I gave the girls the ingredients for a double batch while I went to the bathtub to wash the appropriate pan (see previous post re: heinous plumbing issues). Don't freak out. A 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, and a three-year-old are actually pretty good brownie batter makers, just so long as you give them pre-packaged brownie mix and a hand-crank mixer rather than an electric one. They did a good job.

Some outdoor time seemed to help with the cheering up. It also gave me a chance to wash some dishes. In a plastic barrel. In the front yard. With the water hose and a bottle of lemon-scented dish soap. I told you my plumbing issues were heinous.

When the brownies were finished and cooled, we had them with vanilla ice cream. Not an elaborate dish. But something about making it, and sharing it, and devouring it like a pack of wild animals with spoons, seemed to help brighten the day.

It does leave me with a deep and profound question: which part makes you feel better, the idea of making brownies, or the brownies themselves?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Things I Did Today

  • Waited around for plumber.
  • Let plumber (who was contracted by Home Depot, which had been paid in advance) into garage to begin installation of new water heater.
  • Woke up father (who we've had to move in with temporarily) when plumber suddenly declared an additional $400 would need to be paid, immediately, by check.
  • Tried to keep children quiet as their grandfather, who'd only had three hours sleep after a long night shift, got up from his bed and started making phone calls and giving the plumber suspicious looks.
  • Fed children while plumber began his work (which included the extra work for which we are being charged).
  • Began to panic when father announced he was leaving the house to go argue with the Home Depot lady about this extra charge.
  • Decided that I could not rely on my younger brother, who was asleep in his room, to protect us should the plumber turn out to be a homicidal maniac. Retrieved husband's handgun from the safe.
  • Kept handgun close by me while children played/watched movies/ate snacks.
  • Breathed sigh of relief when father came home. Put gun away.
  • Played with Mr. Potato Head.
  • Got this blog.
  • Fed kids some more.
  • Alerted Dad to the finishing of the Great Gas Water Heater Installation.
  • Spent time letting reddish-brown water flow from bathroom faucets.
  • Went outside with Dad to hear what plumber had to say.
  • Smelled gas.
  • Asked why.
  • Got satisfactory answer.
  • Came inside and explained OTHER plumbing situation to plumber (it's a great mess, having to do with kitchen drain pipes and leaks and clogs, and I have had to explain it repeatedly). Was told he was not allowed to work on pipes located behind the wall.
  • Was told by father that more plumbers would come later.
  • Waited for more plumbers.
  • Let them in.
  • Showed them problem areas.
  • Was told that I'd get a call later.
  • Fed kids.
  • Fed kids.
  • Fed kids.
  • Got call.
  • Shouted for joy.
  • Made dinner.

Welcome to my new blog

In honor of my new blog, I hereby declare this to be "Get a New Blog Day!" Because really, it's not like there are any holidays in August, at least none that let you off work or stop the U.S. postal system. So if you need an occasion to celebrate, go get yourself a blog and celebrate the joy of sharing your thoughts with others! Perfect for a rainy day, doesn't require more money than you're already paying for your computer, easy to do, and there's no need to feed or water it. It's perfect!