Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Get This

I had to share this with you. Normally I do not take something from another persons blog to share with you but I could not resist. Also, I have included something I have discovered on my own. The cake below is from an office party. I found this at the Grammar Vandal blog. The person ordering was making the purchase at a Wal-Mart Superstore. He asked for the following: (This is FOR REAL)

"I would like the cake to say, 'Best Wishes Suzanne' and underneath that, 'We will miss you'"
I think that someone needs to get their high school diploma!

Also, If you are celebrating Halloween today and still have not purchased a pumpkin, the real estate office down the road is offering free pumpkins. All you have to do is buy a home! The cute sign in front of their office reads: "Free pumpkin with every home purchase!" Perfect! I'll take four homes. That way each child will receive a free pumpkin. We will only be about two and a half million dollars in debt, but at least we will have four pumpkins to carve.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Perfect Pandemonium

The event which occurred over the weekend was better than a trip to Disneyland. Like many young boys my two youngest are enamoured with firefighters. They have enough fire trucks and fire fighting equipment to start their very own fire house.

Our neighbor happens to be a fire fighter. Since he has been gone fighting fires in the local area, we have not seen much of him for a week. To our wonderful surprise, we were informed that his station and another local station would be coming to visit his family and take showers, have laundry done, eat, and rest. Although they were officially on "24 hour R and R" they could not go far from the fire site and his home happened to be close enough to the site to take a break.

The gigantic engines came roaring down our street right about noon. The children who were gathered in our yard ran down to greet them and ask questions. My boys were giddy with excitement. They had a field day climbing in, on, and around, the engines and talking with the visiting firefighters while shoving latex gloves on their tiny hands and pretending that they were the real firefighters. The bigger kids felt like they were among celebrities. My daughter snapped a few pictures and could not be pulled away from the excitement. We had back stage passes to the best concert in town.

I have never been so thrilled to do two loads of laundry. We willingly grabbed a laundry basket full of clothes and returned them fresh and clean. The firefighters were grateful, and we were grateful for their visit. They clamored down the street on exit, tooted the horn, and left, thanking us as they drove away.

Thankfully the fires are mostly contained. Many firefighters have returned to their homes unscathed, with stories to tell. We are very proud of the work they do for us. I hope that at least one of my children does become a fire fighter one day, although, the most willing prospect will have to wait about 15 years.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Four Affordable?

Shopping with four children proves to be a challenge. Even though "four is the new three" I still get people who stare and lip the word, "wow." I "wow" at people who have 5 or 6 children, and sigh an, "I remember those days" at those who have two.

Today my oldest son was trying to find the right words needed to ask a question without offending anyone. "Mom, would we have more money...would it be it less money when you only have two children?" My reply was, "yes." He left it at that. I think he was a bit sad but I know that he would never change the fact that he is one of four children.

This question was prompted after I lectured on the fact that I was not deviating from my list of items needed from Target. It seems I buy more than necessary when children are in tow. The $.99 popcorn never puts me over the edge, but senseless toys do.

I only came home with only one bag of items and my husband almost fell off the couch. I still need to visit Smart and Final, the grocery store, and Costco. We run out of food items so quickly that we need to build a basement just to keep a plentiful stock of groceries.

My husband is in mourning since USC just lost to Oregon. Perhaps now is not the best time to tell him that I am off to spend more money. Maybe he won't notice if I sneak out quietly, but he is sure to notice when I return with a car full of bags. Perhaps I should wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Forever Flannel

Admittedly I am a cold wimp. Being a Southern California native made me that way. My coldness threshold pales in comparison to those in the mid west regions and northwest. Here in Southern California, we are on “Storm Watch” the second a speck of moisture hits our busy streets. Folks here batten down the hatches and stay inside until the next batch of sunshine, after the first sprinkle.

I have however, been known to chuckle while watching headline news in February. While some are shoveling snow and scraping windshields, I am shimmying into my shorts and fiddling for my flip flops. I know, I know, it’s a dry cold. Since my idea of a winter coat is a long sleeved t-shirt, chances are I would chip into a bazillion frozen pieces if ever I were to step foot in a Minnesota winter wonderland. Currently it is 80 degrees here although it is not the dead of winter.

Due to my wimpiness factor, I become quite anxious around this time to ditch the crispy cold cotton sheets for those delightfully warm, soft flannels. Ever since my first slither under the covers of a bed clothed in flannel I have become addicted.

Sliding my legs back and forth very quickly in a scissor motion after I climb into bed can produce enough friction to take away the shock from cold sheets but in my world, the flannels world stay on year round. A good crank up of the air conditioning, reinforced with a couple of oscillating fans would combat the uncomfortable warmth in mid August although the rest of the members of my family would be in need of fuzzy footy pajamas in order to endure the evening chill. I could make that happen. I’m a giver.

Just the thought of snuggling in flannels for 365 days makes the corners of my mouth curve upwards. On the other hand, my husband would drown in a pool of sweat if he were subjected to flannels 24/7. I wouldn't want him to drown. Perhaps my husband would consider, if we were moved to Nome, Alaska. Do they have Starbucks in Nome?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Three Words to Avoid

If you do not love to exercise here are three words to avoid: mud, run, 5:00am. Okay so 5:00am isn't officially a word, but just the same it needs to be avoided.

On Saturday, I completed the six-mile Camp Pendleton Mud Run. I found myself on a team called, "Muddy Moms" by default. One of the members was unable to attend and I volunteered. For $45 dollars I could wake up at 4:30am, drive with some fun girls to San Diego, endure a freezing morning, get drenched by a fire hose on mile one, swim in muddy water, run up a one-mile hill with mud caked shoes, climb two walls which led to more muddy water, get sprayed with more water while climbing a very steep muddy hill, and come out smiling. Please refrain from any and all jealousy.

I will sign up again next year because I actually did have fun. I was able to hang out with really fun girls and chat for an uninterrupted seven hours. (We left at 5:00am and arrived home at noon, but the run was only an hour and 20 minutes.

All of my clothes and my shoes had to be thrown into the garbage. Even with my handy dandy high efficiency washer and dryer the clothes remained brown in hue. I had dirt in my ears and toenails and in many other nooks and crannies. Fun stuff, really.

Sign ups are in May. You have plenty of time to mark your calendar. Come on, it's fun! In case you are wondering, I have used the word fun five times. Okay so it wasn't fun like an amusement park, date with your husband, or week in Hawaii fun, but it was "feel like a kid again" fun. I'll stop now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Let the Skull be your Guide

Mysterious powers? Need inspiration and encouragement? Psychic messages?
Why turn to God for hope, inspiration, and power when you can turn to "Max." Absurdly enough, I read in the newspaper today that "a crystal skull touted as an ancient South American artifact" will be visiting the population in Orange County. Yippee.

As if we need more freakish deterrents from worshiping the one true God. This skull weighs 18 pounds and is reported to be 5,000 years old. You too can view "Max" for a mere $35-$50. With this viewing you can possibly communicate using psychic powers. Goodie. Oh, and if you want to have a private session with an crystal skull of an ape, you can spend much more money, that you do not have, and still walk away unchanged. Thrilling.

I am saddened by the fact that people believe an ancient, crystal skull could do anything more than just sit and stare at them. This ape has the same effect as knocking on wood, carrying around a good luck charm, or avoiding the path of a black cat, which has no affect at all. God is the only true ruler of all things. Amen?

According the the article in the OC POST "Trying to explain Max is like trying to explain an emotion, It just is." Or, better yet, it just is NOT! I will not be visiting Max.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Is is 12:00?

I am having trouble understanding when the 12:00 hour strikes. My kindergartner gets out of school at noon. Does that mean that the bell rings at noon and they leave the classroom at that time? Does that mean that parents should be there right at noon to pick up their children? Does that mean that parents need to be arriving at 11:58 so that their child can see their smiling face at noon. I'm confused.

If I get into the pick-up line at 12:03 my child is the last one sitting on the curb ready to be picked up and there are no signs of any other cars. If I arrive at 12:00 I am the last one in line to pick up my child, but there are cars in front of me. If I arrive at 11:57, I can guarantee a third or fourth place in line. I do not like having to arrive early in order to feel on time. I feel guilty for getting there at 12:03 even though school gets out at noon. It's hard to believe that three minutes after the hour is considered late. I wonder if people are pointing and staring at me when I am the last one at pick-up, on the other hand I refuse to arrive at 11:50 so that I can be first in line. School gets out at noon.

This is my current dilemma. I could be worrying about world hunger, why there are three lights illuminated on my car's dash, or how I am going to fit into my jeans in the morning after bowls and bowls of chocolate chip ice cream every night, but no. For now I am consumed with wanting to arrive at 12:03 to pick up my child who finishes school at noon, without feeling guilty. This may take a while.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Christmas in October

Since our church is a twenty minute drive from our home and the noise level in the car can reach ear piercing levels I suggested to each of the children that they create an early Christmas list. This came from on aftermath of a jog, where I saw men in a van situated near the gated entrance to a group of homes, assembling Christmas lights on the surrounding trees. I refuse to complain any more about the earliness of Christmas decorations and I am now embracing the idea. I bought an imitation tree last night and my whole house is decorated. Right! We still wait until the first weekend in December.

The lists were surprising and well unreachable in their requests. The four year old wants a BB gun and dirt bike, while the six year old wants a paint ball gun and seventy dollar Cardinals jersey with Matt Linert's number. I don't dare tell him that Matt Linert is on the bench for the rest of the season with a collar bone break or the fact that there is no way on God's green earth they are getting 2/3's of what is on their list. Disappointment is inevidable.

My girl wants a black Coach purse at the tune of $300.00 and a video i-Pod Nano. A girl can always hope. What happened to requesting stuffed animals and CD's?

My 11 year old boy wants a phone, i-Pod, and Razor scooter. No amount of convincing sways his brain into thinking that he most assuredly does NOT need a phone. (omg- as if!) A $30 Razor I can handle. Remember when the were $120.00

I bought myself three early Christmas presents. I purchased two identical down jackets from Costco, one brown and one black and a Tobi. (Note: picture at the beginning of post). I caught glimpse of an infomercial early Saturday morning and took the bait, which is absured, I have never taken the bait before. I talked them out of the $30 shipping charge and decided to splurge of a the unique, steam, wrinkle remover. We'll see how it works. I've given up on dragging out the iron every other day for unruly wrinkles. I have a hidden adgenda. I will teach my daughter how to use it and subject her to the daily wrinkle removal process - she loves gadgets - I hate wrinkles.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Two Extremes

I cannot help but notice the extremes prevalent in today’s society. On one hand, I hear on the news that more and more couples are spending their honeymoon assisting the poor and serving those in need in other countries. As well, families are spending their vacation time doing the same thing. Noble indeed. Ten years ago few folks visited Africa to reach out a helping hand, now, I can name 50 people that I know who have been to Africa more than one time not for a safari adventure, a fantastic change for the better.

On the other hand, sales of pet mansions, pet strollers and other over-priced pet accessories are topping sales charts. Today I was in a Starbucks waiting in line to purchase a slice of coffee cake and a small coffee. A woman out side, picked her leashed dog up, cradled him, and walked into the restaurant. Every inch of me wanted to shout, “Get your stupid dog out of the restaurant,” but I calmly waited for the barista to note the situation and handle the reprimand. He did not say anything until she asked if she could wait in line with her pet. It was then that he told her to wait outside and he would bring her coffee out to her. I hope that she left him a big tip. Shesh!

What happened to putting the loop of the leash under the foot of a chair and leaving your dog outside for three minutes? Was she afraid someone would steal him in the six minutes it would take to order coffee? Is the dog allergic to outdoor air? Is her dog treated better than her own husband? The dog was notable embarrassed. I whispered, "I'm sorry" to him when he gazed into my eyes begging me to take him home and place him outside on my welcome mat. I’m pretty sure she had a stroller in the back of her car for the dog as well as a pretty, pretty pet mansion back home. Oooooh.

Come on people. Let's spend less money on pets and more on helping others. Do I hear an amen?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is There Any Such Thing?

I need a house organizer. I am not referring to one of those people that comes into your home, discards everything deemed unnecessary and has a gigantic garage sale for you. I am clutter free. Things do not sit long in my home. I toss important papers simply because I have no where to put them, then reap the consequences.

My home is on the small side for six bodies. We have one living area where we all gather. I need more space without using a sledge hammer and two by fours. I would love for someone to rearrange my furniture and make my living space more livable.

My bedroom has a king sized bed, HUGE desk, and armoire circa 1982. My bedroom needs rearranging so that I have a sitting area to do my reading, and a computer desk that doesn't take up one-third of the entire room.

My dining room has a table for dining, brilliant, a large table with a computer on top and a fireplace that has been used once in nine years. These So Cal winters don't exactly require weeks of gas induced flames to warm chilled bodies. Our heater works great.

Without a large sum of money to uproot my home and rebuild one with more usable space, I am stuck trying to get creative. I do not hold creative credentials in the interior design area. Give me some markers, construction paper, and butcher paper and I will make you a fantastic "Happy Birthday" sign, or bulletin board for your classroom--hardly useful for a home.

Aren't there wonderful people out there who are just naturally savvy with home layout that love to volunteer their services? Perhaps I can make them a "Happy Birthday" sign in exchange for their design expertise. I'm going to start asking around. I'm sure that someone, somewhere is having a birthday soon and needs a sign--someone, hopefully with skills that I can borrow.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Allergy Gone

My youngest came home from visiting the neighbors. He was sweaty and anxious to tell me some very important news.
“C hit T!”
“What happened?”
“He was just riding his scooter and C hit him.”
“Are you sure that T did not do something?”
“I don’t know. His mom is talking to him.”
“What do you think happened with C?”
(with a very concerned look) “I think he’s allergic to people.”

I started thinking how sometimes I am allergic to people. I am particularly allergic to those who call me and talk incessantly before I can squeeze in a “No thank you and please take me off of your list.” They inevitable pronounce my last name incorrectly (the audacity) and I correct them, “It’s vie-know.”

I’m mostly allergic to the “college students” who appear at my door stop full of zest and energy reciting their desire to sell me magazines. They pull on your heartstrings by telling you that they are visiting from Alabama, desperate to see the world, or so I’m told.

They spin off “an amazing” offer for a magazine that, with your purchase, will seal their destiny in a seven week vacation to Hawaii. They are sweet and nice looking. After they show you every passport, business license, photo ID, picture of their family, and their bar graph illustrating the fact that they are the top seller in the field, you succumb to the babble, or so I’m told.

You invite them into your home. They are observably gracious. You choose to purchase the least expensive magazine with a stitch of appeal, or so I am told.

You sign the papers although you are worn thin by this time and just want this person to now take your money and leave. Five minutes have turned into twenty-five minutes and you are mentally drained, or so I am told.

You thought that you were spending $23.00 on a one year subscription but you can only sign up for two years and the total is now $46.00. After you tell him that you will not spend that much money on a magazine that you do not need and that you want to cancel the deal which is spinning into an out-of-control vortex, he tells you that he can do that, cancel the deal, but he will be have double his points revoked since the deal was canceled, or so I am told.

You start to cry because you are so frustrated and shove your money across the table. He apologizes profusely and leaves in a hurry, or so I am told.

Your allergy is gone. Since you have freaked out a college student you have made their DNV (Do Not Visit) list and these people never return to sell you anything, or so I am told.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Just Say...Maybe

Innocently enough my friend Mary sent an email at the request of someone she knew. This guy rescued, from the middle of the road, a crate full of black lab mix puppies. The picture was attached and they looked delightful. The were fresh-faced, with a patch of white fur on their cute little black bodies. Every one of them stared right at me wondering if I would not like to take one of them home.

If you read the previous post you'll know that although we own a dog, at this particular moment he is old, and the children just step over him as he lays around the house. He no longer curls up next to me on the couch, or "speaks" when I give him the command, and, I am sorry to report, doesn't have puppy breath.

After viewing the photo and reading the attached email I forwarded it to my husband inserting the word, "welllll?"

Here is his reply:

No, we have a puppy, his name is Truman. You need to shout really loud for him to hear his name, he sheds like a chicken truck heading to slaughter, sleeps all day long and is worthless as a watch dog unless he's stepped on, wanders the neighborhood at will acting as if it's his given right to do so, and begs for food as if he's been locked in a POW camp, but nonetheless he's our puppy!

I got it. No puppy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Until Death

I hurried home this morning after teaching a preschool gym class and jogging for 45 minutes. I was in a rush to clean my house a bit prior to my girlfriends arrival. I calculated that with a quick vacuum and using a wipie to spot clean the tile I could shove the nest of papers on my counter into a drawer, take a shower, and be springtime fresh for our soiree.

I entered my home and wanted to barf. The smell was toxic and smelled like seven unattended baby diapers got left under the couch - I have no baby in diapers. I quickly perused the rooms and hallways looking for a clue when suddenly chills ran down my spine and this thought came to mind. "What if the dog died and stuff oozed from his orifices?" He is 15 so this thought was not a stretch, even though he is in good health. What would I do with a dead dog when my friend and her baby were due to arrive in 40 minutes?

I glanced behind the sofa and saw the dog in a belly up position. No oozing was apparent, and as I bent down to check his breathing, his paw flinched. I didn't take the paw flinch as a sure sign so I checked his belly for any breathing motion. Praise the Lord, he was breathing. I now had to discover the culprit of the stench.

I walked down the hallway and discovered six, yes six pieces of Grade A, fresh, homegrown, dog poop. I was at T minus 30 minutes until my guests were arriving, and was smelling ripe myself. I woke the sleeping dog, kicked him outside (figuratively not literally) , and refrained from any reprimand since I noticed that his dog door was shut and he had been "locked in" the house. I spent the next 30 minutes cleaning carpet and placing candles in every room to mask the odor. Just as I was wrapping the cord on the vacuum cleaner my guests arrived.

My friend walked into the house and quickly noted, "Did you just workout?" (I was still in my jogging clothes since the shower taking was replaced with carpet cleaning and aerating my house.) "Well, not just, but if you smell something funky, just know that it is not me, it's dog poop." Too much information I'm sure.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Some Things to Think About

Driving 74 m.p.h. on the freeway in the fast lane is not fast enough - evidently.

When I take off my jeans, there is a seam indention tattooed on my thigh, that’s okay right?

When you are making a right hand turn on a green light, and a pedestrian is crossing the street toward your car, while you are waiting for the person to pass your car and hop up onto the sidewalk, it is okay for the cars behind you to honk since they cannot see the pedestrian.

When the children in your car are asking too many non-sensical questions, turning the CD up to drown out their voices is a great technique. Although, they will just yell at you to turn down the music and you tell them “No, I like this song.”

McDonald’s Ranch Snack Wraps taste good two days in a row, but not three. McDonald's fries at room temperature taste horrible.

What is the bra size smaller than an A cup? This is a must know situation.

If you set your alarm for 6:30 a.m. your youngest child will enter your bedroom at 6:13 a.m. robbing you of your last 17 minutes of sleep.

When you kill one fly, eight more will enter your home.

Do not attempt to make a smoothie using strawberry lemonade.

The minute you purchase pumpkins to decorate your porch for October the weather will heat up to 85 degrees. Do pumpkins melt?

Getting four children ready for picture day scares me. Thursday I will be waking at 4 a.m. Proper coiffing takes time. I will be armed with pomade, styling gel, and man spray.

Coffee tastes better when used to wash down a slice of cinnamon-topped snack cake.