Monday, December 31, 2012

Page Me 2012

2012 was a good year for reading.  Five days in 2013 is looking to be even better!  I'm starting my fourth book.  It's been cold and gray.  What's better than curling up next to the fireplace or snuggling under the covers with a good book?

Here's what I read in 2012:

People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
I Still Dream About You, Fannie Flagg
The Dry Grass of August, Anna Jean Mayhew
Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
My Life, Starring Dara Falcon, Ann Beattie (I FINALLY finished it after TWO years of it eating space on my nightstand...)
The Giver, Lois Lowry
The Silent Boy, Lois Lowry
Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry
The Shack, Wm. Paul Young
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
The White Queen, Philippa Gregory
Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard (Another one that collected dust for far too long.)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon
Voyager, Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Autumn, Diana Gabaldon (Yes, yes... I've been sucked in by a series. A long series. With lots of books. Some over a thousand pages. I'll have to take a break soon!)
This Momentary Marriage, John Piper.... wow.
The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon (My least favorite in the series thus far. It took me three months to muddle through. Here's to hoping the next installment is better.)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Diana Gabaldon
An Echo in the Bone, Diana Gabaldon (I'm finally finished with this series... until the last book comes out next fall).
Inside Out & Back Again, Thanhha Lai (Beautiful. This is a children's book that won the National Book Award and was a Newbery Honor book. The story of a ten year old Vietnamese girl's exodus to Alabama is told through poems. I highly recommend you put this on your bookshelf to read to children six and older.)
Wicked, Gregory Maguire
The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls

I have an enormous stack waiting to be read in 2013.  My mom, Miss Noteworthy, RNR, and I went to the used bookstore a couple of days after Christmas and did some serious damage.  It should take us a a few months to make a dent in each of our stacks!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Golden Crack Rewind

Because Gnar Fox and Homicidal Kyle need a fix, and I like to make it easy on people.

Behold, the recipe for GOLDEN CRACK.

I hope you and yours are enjoying this Christmas season.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Breaking Promises and Purposeful Mommy Fail is Overrated

It's been a challenging few days.  Bonus doesn't feel like obeying.  He has spent at least twenty hours in his room, supposedly cleaning his room, since Sunday.  His room still looks like a garbage truck backed up and unloaded at the door.

Unfortunately, Bonus has missed out on some fun opportunities in the Christmas vein because of his unwillingness to mind his mommy.  He has promised that he would finish cleaning his room each day since Sunday, and each day he has broken that promise.  Without going into the sordid details, it just hasn't been pretty around here any night this week.

We had a little discussion about the importance of promises. I asked him if I made promises to him that I did not keep. He said, "No."  Next, I asked him how he would feel if I did break a promise to him.  He said, "Bad."  I thought we were getting somewhere.

And then he still did not clean his room yesterday after school.

So, to prove a point or win or I'm-not-sure-why, I decided that I would have to give him a taste of his own medicine.  We has planned to go chase down Santa last night.  He goes down every street in our little hamlet, and he is supposed to come down our street tomorrow night while we are attending Miss Noteworthy's All-District Band concert.  RNR and Bonus were disappointed that they were not going to get to see Santa and collect the candy he throws at the children.  I promised we would go where Santa would be last night.

I broke that promise purposefully when Bonus failed to clean his room after promising to get it done for four days.  When I told him I would not take him to Santa, he said, "You promised."  I then said, "You promised to clean your room."

I now hold the title of "Meanest Mommy in the Whole World" and the word hate was used quite liberally with my name last night.

So, we both got to eat a big spoonful of disappointment last night and neither of us liked it very much.

There is one more chance for Bonus to see Santa on the firetruck tonight.  I looked up his route, and IF Bonus cleans his room we can catch Santa right before we have to leave for the concert.  We talked about the possibility on the way to school today.  I reminded Bonus of the expectation I have of what needs to happen in the hour between the end of school and the beginning of jiu jitsu.  The room MUST be cleaned or no Santa.

Of course, Bonus promised he would do it.  And then he immediately offered his excuse for not doing it all the other days.

Mommy, it's just that cleaning isn't in my blood.

Although that gave me a little giggle, I sense another round of broken promises on the horizon. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Speedy would have wanted it that way...

A month ago we flushed Speedy the goldfish to rest.  Today I was dealt the difficult job of disposing of his personal effects. 

Yeah, yeah....

I let a fish-less fish tank sit in Miss Noteworthy's room for a month.  I kinda forgot about it until I was hanging out in her room with her yesterday.  Bonus came in and asked if he could feed Speedy.  I had to remind him that Speedy had died, and then he got a little teary.

It was time to clean out and remove the tank.

I got right on the job after I dropped the kids at school.  I removed all the water I could, and then, I gingerly picked up the tank off of Miss Noteworthy's chest and carried it into the childrens' bathroom to empty the rest.  Whew! I made it to the vanity with no mishaps!

Speedy's fake plants and rocks were removed and rinsed. The filter, feeder, and thermometer were detached with no damage to the tank, the equipment ,or myself. Things were going swimmingly, and I was brimming with confidence that this cleaning of Speedy's tank would be unlike any of the previous cleanings.

You see, I was still completely dry (other than my hands, of course).  I had managed to avoid splashing myself with the disgusting water.  A first!

As the water was nearly drained, I felt sure I could complete the job without incident, wash my hands, and go on my merry way.

I tipped the edge of the fish tank over the sink to get the last inch or so out quickly, and as I worked I started making a mental list of the tasks I hoped to accomplish today.  Get rhubarb from Central Market, grocery shop, swing by Sam's, vacuum carrot chips out of my car, laundry, find gift boxes, wrap gifts, cook dinner...

The six pounds of gravel shifted unexpectedly, and I was doused with month old dead fish fish-poop water mid yawn.  It may have splashed all over my chest and face, and I may have swallowed reflexively before I fully realized what had just happened.  Since it was the last bit of water from the gravel I knew I had ingested the strongest concentration of fish excrement possible in the whole ten gallons. 

Spit, rinse, spit, rinse.  Brush, rinse, brush, floss, rinse. Mouthwash. Mouthwash. Mouthwash.

I tried to reason with myself.  Afterall, I have swallowed both ocean and lake water innumerable times, and therefore, I have surely swallowed fish poo more times than I can count.  I really couldn't convincemyself.  Somehow, this just seemed a little more disgusting than that, and I began to feel a little nauseous.  


More brushing.  More mouthwash.    

The next time you see me, I may still be a little green around the gills.       


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rotten Pumpkins

Yeah, so these Halloween pics of my rotten little pumpkins are a little late.  

Yeah, Miss Noteworthy is too cool to dress up for the Fun Fest at church anymore.  Although it is apparently ok to wear fake eyelashes, glitter, and blue lipstick.  Bonus is the "inquisitve wizard."

RNR as Cindy Lou Who.  I loved how her makeup turned out.  Doesn't she look fab with turquoise eyebrows?

Not too cool to dress up for the Halloween Mashup at House of Quad.  She is dressed up like one of her favorite songs: Space Age Love Song by Flock of Seagulls.  Yes, I am totally raising her right.

I love any opportunity to wear these shoes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fantasy A La Derbyville

Let's start this with a little conversation from Saturday's dinner....

Me:  "My armpits are killing me."

RNR:  "You don't hear that everyday."

My armpits are killing me.  So are my pecs (like I have pecs....), my triceps, my quads, my glutes, and all the muscles I don't know the names of in my back.  Push ups with Annie get me everytime.

Practicing for three and a half hours on Saturday nearly crippled me.  I have hobbled around ever since.

So, derby peeps, painful pits and all, I'm back to dreaming the derby dream.

Last Wednesday's night scrimmage was interesting.  It was the first time I skated for a solid scrimmage hour with girls from the new Muertas line up.  We had some nice successes and a few miserable failures, but all in all, I thought it wasn't too shabby for girls who, for the most part, had never skated together.  Coach Buttermaker may disagree with that, but I haven't asked him. 

I spent a great deal of time up close and personal with the floor (which seems to be a major trend with me right now), but I was particularly proud of two hits that evening.  The first hit was me hitting Lucky while he jammed.  It was not a particularly hard hit, and it did not slow him down or move him or anything.  I did make contact with him though, and that is a victory for me. 

The other hit...  This is the one where I can now retire from derby feeling satisfied (I'm not retiring, so don't go all kuh-razy viral on me.  I don't want to show up for practice on Wednesday to find my spot on the roster has been filled.).

Matomic, Luke "Shortbus" Powell, and a couple of other guys (who have completely escaped my memory at the moment) were in a tight wall, and I knew my jammer needed some help to get to get through there.  I was hanging out in the back (as I am wont to do) and had enough space to get some speed into the hit. I basically barrelled into Luke with everything I had.  And it surprised him.  And moved him a little.  And he said, "Whoa!"

I don't know if I helped my jammer or not.  I have no idea what happened next.  I was just elated that I had made Luke say, "Whoa!".

When the jam was over, Luke told me "Good job!".  This is why I can now retire (don't start rumors, people....) happily.   I don't think I'm able to capture the ecstasy of this moment properly.  Oh well.

So, here is where the derbyville fantasy comes in.

When I returned home, Miss Noteworthy asked me about practice, and I related the me-hitting-Luke story.  As Miss Noteworthy has an active imagination like her mother, she added on to the story for me.

Her fantasy ending goes like this:

"And then Matomic fell to the floor and cried.  Everyone was shocked,  the crowd was quiet,  and no one was quite sure what to do with his sobbing mass on the floor, so the confused refs called off the jam."   

Yay!  Don't you like her dream for me?  Ah...  I'm just going to go bask in that fantasyworld victory for a bit.  Don't bother me.    

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For My Next Trick...

Apparently, sometime between yesterday afternoon and lunchtime today, Bonus lost his eyeglasses.  I'm sure they fell out of his backpack without either of us noticing.

Since he had not noticed his spectacles were missing, I was not on the lookout for them.  Which means that they certainly did not cross my mind when I backed out of the driveway to go run a few errands.

Just as I pulled into the parking lot of CVS, Mr. Incredible phoned to ask me if I had noticed anything unusual as I left the house.


I had run over the glasses in their case. 

Now that I have had a few hours to think about it, I was the one who pulled his backpack out of the backseat yesterday.  And I have a vague recollection of thinking something fell out of the backpack, but when I looked down, I saw nothing and went in the house. 

What was this doing under my car?

It used to close...

Miraculously, this now sad looking case did it's job!

Wonder if he has a little Clark Kent in him?

Apart from the chewed on earpieces and scratched lenses (from being dropped on cement), Bonus' specs are damage-free!

I wish I could say the same for the two GIANT jars of strawberry preserves that fell out of my trunk when I opened it up after running my errands. 

You win some; you lose some...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Speedy has come to a complete halt

With a heavy heart I sadly report to you that Speedy, our $.03 goldfish, who Miss Noteworthy purchased the week of her eighth birthday, has passed away following a brief battle with air bladder disease.  He was five and a half plus whatever indeterminate amount of time he swam in the feeder tank at Petco before we brought him to our home. 

Following a brief service attended by members of his human family, Speedy was flushed to rest in the powder room.

Miss Noteworthy called Speedy "The Fish who Lived" because she frequently forgot to feed him, add water to his tank, and change his filters, but he was able to overcome her neglect and survive until this weekend.  He not only survived but thrived and grew larger each year.  We had started to make plans for him to accompany her to college.  Plans have changed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It Still Is Some Kind of Wonderful

A month or so ago, I was having a hard day.  I don't remember why.  It isn't really relevant, so drop it.  Seriously, you people can be so nosey at times!

Mr. Incredible knew I was down and wanted to cheer me up, so he VOLUNTEERED to sit down to watch a movie with me.  And not just any movie, but Some Kind of Wonderful!!!!  I just love this movie, and the soundtrack is still amazing--Flesh for Lulu, Lick the Tins, The March Violets.  It was coming on television in a few minutes, and Mr. Incredible said he would forgo a football game (please check hell... I'm sure it must at least have a little frost on it) or some other programming that he would normally choose in order to sit on the couch and spend a little time in the same room with me.

If a John Hughes movie is playing, I'm in!  I quickly took him up on his offer before he changed his mind.  Then, I considered that Miss Noteworthy had not seen this particular flick yet, and as it was on television, it would be edited for content and, thus, suitable for a thirteen year old.  I asked Mr. Incredible if it was okay if I invited her to watch with us, and he agreed.  Excited, I raced up to her room.  Miss Noteworthy was hunkered down in her room (as usual), and when I told her one of my favorite movies from my teen years was about to start, she decided she could break herself away from texting long enough to take in a show.

We settled in to watch....

I think my daughter pals around with too many boys.  She could not enjoy the romantic elements in this movie at all.  She thought it was sappy and ridiculous.  Boo.  When the times comes, hopefully, RNR will be able to appreciate it with me.

I enjoyed the movie despite the continual disparaging banter from Mr. Incredible and Miss Noteworthy against Watts, Keith, and Amanda Jones.  I had to tell them to shut it multiple times because they were making me miss the best parts.  I can't believe Miss Noteworthy hopped on the dock with Mr. Incredible and sold me down the river.  Her comments were as bad as his.  They took turns making cracks and trying to ruin my enjoyment THE WHOLE MOVIE. 

Miss Noteworthy did have one good point though.  Near the end of the movie, she asked why the movie is called Some Kind of Wonderful.  And, you know, there is nothing in the whole film that alludes to the title.  Usually there is a song title or a line said by one of the characters that makes it all click.  But, not in this film.  Nope.  Apparently, the movie was titled for a song that isn't in the movie.  Huh.  Lame.

I'll agree that the characters all look like they are in their twenties (which they were).  I'll also agree that there are a few (ok... many) obvious editing problems.  And the montage with Watts playing the drums is a little pointless and melodramatic.  But who doesn't love Duncan showing Keith the picture of what his girlfriend would look like without her skin and the line, " Anytime someone from the outside lifts a woman from a gwat like Jenns, we can all find cause to rejoice." 

And what girl could resist hearing the man she is in love with saying that she looks good "wearing my future"?  Yup, my kid.  That's who.

Well, I'm going to think twice before I invite Miss Noteworthy to watch Pretty in Pink.  She would probably want Andi to wind up with Duckie and crack on Blane the whole time. 

I don't care what those two say, for me it really is still some kind of wonderful.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Down and Dirty

Sometimes, you gotta stop the skate and clean things up.  Today was the day here.

Yup, it's time for making everything pretty and shiny.  And it seemed like it would be more fun to clean up my skates than my house (which is a complete disaster because I've been a little under the weather and incredibly busy).  Don't judge.

This is a little tutorial for my new hunnies who either don't know how to take care of their goods or don't know that they should.

And I'm no expert.  This is just what I do.  There are lots of other options.  And sometimes, I just buy new bearings and toss out the crunchy ones, but other times, I have better things to spend $30 on and decide a little sprucing up will buy me some more time. 

Gather your supplies and get comfy.  You are going to be here awhile.  You need scoopable kitty litter, a good skate tool, mineral spirits (do yourself a favor and get the low odor variety), a bowl, a bearing cleaner bottle (or something to shake your bearings in), some towels, dish soap, and a sink (or bucket).

And in my case, you need oatmeal. Because you still need to eat some breakfast.  And you sit it on the table to cool while you are getting things ready!

I'm doing four sets of bearings and four sets of wheels today because I hate this job, and I like to get it all over with at one time.  Plus, it's been a really long time since I've done much skate maintenance.  I'm overdue.  Shhh!  No one tell Fubar I have been blowing his posts off... ;)
I use a Bones bearing cleaning bottle.  You don't have to.  You could put one bearing at a time in a plastic bottle with a lid and shake it up, but I don't have all day.  I highly recommend this little gadget.
That's one grungy bearing.  Before you put it in the bottle for cleaning, you have to take the colored plastic disk off.  I use a push pin.  Stick it under the lip on the inside circle of the bearing and CAREFULLY pry that off.  Set it aside.  You need to be careful so that you don't bend the disk.  If you bend the disk, you will be spending your $$$ on new bearings because they won't roll correctly. 

Place them in the bearing bottle with a couple of tablespoons of mineral spirits and shake.  It will be disgusting.  See how dark the spirits are in my bottle.  After only three shakes.  Eek!  Pour the dirty mineral spirits into a bowl of cat litter (to absorb and easily dispose of the spirits) and refill with clean spirits.  Repeat until spirits stay clear.  Let all your bearings drain on a towel for a bit.  While you are waiting, wipe the colored bearing disks off with a clean towel.  Then, wipe each bearing with a dry towel and snap disk back in.  Give each one a roll between your thumb and forfimger to make sure it still rolls.

Make a nice warm bath for your wheels.  Dump 'em all in at once.  Let 'em soak.  Use a nylon brush to get any gunk off.  Rinse them with clean water.
Ah! Four sets of clean wheels!  It's been soooo long since I could say that...

Although it takes me about 3 hours start to finish, cleaning these bearings saved me over $100.  If I can do it, so can you.

I'll be one happy skater tonight!

Who needs a Bass-O-Matic? RNR does.

Anyone else love the Bass-O-Matic?  The silence is deafening.  Bueller? Bueller?

As with any family, sometimes our dinner conversations get a *little* strange.

Sometimes, RNR will pop out with something unusually unusual out of nowhere.

RNR: What should I do?  Buy a blender or go fishing?

Us: Why can't you do both? And why do you need to buy a blender?

RNR:  I might need a blender.  I can't do both.

Us:  Why can't you buy a blender and then go fishing?

RNR:  If I take the time to get a blender, I won't have time to go fishing.

Us:  You're nine.  Why would you need a blender?  And we have a blender.  You can use ours.  Why don't you just go fishing and stop worrying about the blender?

RNR:  I want my own blender.  And I want to go fishing.

Us:  I'm afraid we can't help you.  Apparently, you have a choice to make.

Sigh.  This is the child who asked for a Cinderella toaster for Christmas a few years back because she wanted her own toaster.  I wonder which small appliance is next....


Friday, October 26, 2012

Potty Mouth

Looks are deceiving.  I clearly am a serious potty mouth. 
The mom of Bonus will not let me kiss her with this mouth anymore.
This is Sid.  Sid is a good pal of Bonus.  Sid is also a giant sloth.  Sid and Bonus are particularly close right now.  Sid has even traveled to the movie theater and around town with us. He likes to ride in a backpack with his head sticking out on the back of Bonus.  If you come over to our abode, you might find them together at any given time. 

Possibly even in the bathroom.

Poor Sid has found himself head first in the potty two times in the past week. I really have no idea how this happened, and I'm a little afraid to ask.  But nosediving in the toliet means that Sid has also been wrapped in a towel and had his head stomped on an awful lot lately. And been doused with liberal amounts of Lysol and other disinfectants. 

And now, Sid has been banished from all bathrooms.  Bonus was a little woeful about this pronouncement, but when he was informed that the alternative would be the extinction of Sid, he decided he would comply.

In other bathroom stories, Bonus recently came to me griping about sharing a bathroom with his sisters.  He said, "I hate sharing a bathroom with [my sisters].  There are all these yellow things floating (tampon wrappers) in the toliet, and I don't know what they are.  And there are all these bigger yellow things in the trash can.  I think they have something to do with her Pull Ups (pad wrappers)." 

I consoled him and reminded him that his sisters don't enjoy sharing a bathroom with him either.  He frequently forgets to lift the seat.  They don't enjoy his tinkle sprinkle.  They think he is a disgusting pig.   

At this point, I sent him off to play and laughed heartily at his expense like any good mom would.  And texted my friends...

This little convo with Bonus reminded me of the time a couple years ago when I found him "fishing" in the toliet with a 40 pack of Tampax. He was having a grand ole' time, so I let him continue until the game was over.  And then I told him that there would be no more "fishing" of that sort because mommy needed to have her fishing poles available in the event of a flood.  Period.  (See what I did there?)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Neck and Neck

I would show you my face, but then I'd have to kill you...  Instead, I'm showing you my neck waddle.   

Depending on which news source you follow or which poll you think is valid and reliable, it appears that this is going to be a race until the end.  

Yesterday, I headed up to city hall and cast my vote for the POTUS and a variety of other seats that are up for grabs.  For my little city, I was surprised at the number of people who had the same early voting idea I did.  It was packed out.  I had to wait in line to show my ID and then wait for an open booth.  Keep showing up people!!!!

I'm not going to get all political on you, but I do want to tell you to get out and vote.  Do your part and utilize this right.  If you don't vote, don't gripe when you get something you don't like.  That's my PSA for today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Quick Tip for Wanna Be Hipsters

If you have to advertise....

The recent influx of the Ford Flex in my neighborhood is crazy.  Since I got one in March, I think every other minivan-ditching family has bought one, too.  There is even another one exactly like mine (red with white top) at Miss Noteworthy's middle school.

Wouldn't it be hilarious (and possibly permanently scarring) if she wasn't paying attention and hopped in with the wrong mom?  I'm not sure if that would result in laughter or tears on Miss Noteworthy's part, but I know the other mom and I would be trying not to pee in our driver's seats.

As I drive carpool, I keep landing behind the same blue Flex with a silver top.  It's a nice car, but it's the personalized Dallas Cowboys license plate that grabs my attention.  I wish I had a picture of this particular plate to show you, but the ever present "cherries and berries" in my little city frown on the use of cellular apparatus in school zones. To the tune of nearly $300. And there a ticket given at almost every pickup. With Christmas right around the corner, I better mind my p's and q's. Santa doesn't want to have to disappoint the kididdles. No one has ever asked for a ticket instead of an iPod... 

It says:


I'm not even kidding.  It really says that.

Lady, do I need to tell you that if you have to pay the state extra money every year to tell people about your swagger that you ain't gots no swagger at all? 


Nothing even remotely resembling swagger in there. 

Swagless is what is coming to mind. 

Your middle school child most likely wants to disown you now, too.  More than before. 

While you may indeed be entirely swagfree, I am sure you do have a closet full of blinged out Dallas Cowboys shirts.  (The horror.  Mommy, make it stop. Please.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Incidents of Wild Imagination

I ran into a friend last night, and we started laughing about one of RNR's unwise choices.  RNR has an incredibly delightful friend.  She loves this friend dearly.  This friend loves her dearly.  When they get together, they are the type of duo who bring the roof down.  And this is why the friend's mother and I have learned to keep an incredibly close watch on them when they are together.

About two years ago, they got the idea that if they poured an entire bottle of shampoo on the bathroom floor that they could then ice skate in the bathroom.  And this is the incident about which we were laughing.  There might have been an abrupt end to that playdate....  It's a good thing the mother and I are dear friends, too, otherwise, I would be so horribly embarrassed by such incidents of wild imagination (and destruction) on the part of my child that I might pack up my family and move to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. 

So, my friend and I started talking about how if we had thought of shampoo skating on the bathroom floor that we probably would have tried it, too, because it would probably be pretty fun.  And we agreed that the idea to skate using shampoo was imaginative.

In the middle of all this, I remembered a time when my sister and I had very vivid imaginations.  I shared this childhood memory with a friend yesterday and later with my family at dinner.  Miss Noteworthy laughed so hard she had to wipe tears from her eyes.  I got to thinking that you might enjoy this little tale, too.

Once upon a time there were two sisters who secretly called each other HoHo and Mogi.  Hoho and Mogi sometimes played together in the bathtub FOR HOURS.  Sometimes when they played in the bathtub (which was just an average tub, not of the roman, garden, or whirlpool variety), they pretended that they were swimming in Olympic races.  One of them would perch on the edge of the tub while the other swam the breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke, or our own rendition of the butterfly. 

When Hoho and Mogi played this game, our Olympics was always sponsored by Dr. Pepper.  I have no idea why this was an essential part of our game, but it was.  This might reasonably make you think we drank Dr. Pepper which hopped us up and gave us the idea to expend vast amounts of energy swimming in a foot of water.

But, no. 

We would swim our "race", usually win the gold medal, do a press conference, and then, need a Dr. Pepper to refuel us for the next race.

Only our Dr. Pepper was not real Dr. Pepper.

The friend I told this story to yesterday thought, perhaps, that we had used Dr. Thunder or some other Pepper Impostor.  Or even a cola.

But, no.

Our Dr. Pepper was a just plastic cup of water.  We would swim for a while, and then breathing hard, grab the cup of water drawn the bathroom faucet, and greedily gulp it down saying  "Ah!  I needed a cold Dr. Pepper."

And although I am still a Pepper, I think that the Dr. Pepper during the Olympics was probably the best I've ever had.

The End.

Remembering this story and recalling the highly imaginative nature of the games of Hoho and Mogi, I may have snorted, laughed so hard while telling the story that I could not be understood, and nearly peed my pants.  My nephews will be greatly DISAPPOINTED to hear about the near pee.  They prefer stories where I laugh so hard I ACTUALLY pee in my pants next to the ferris wheel at the Irvine Spectrum.  And then over by the fountain in front of H&M, too.  What can I say my sister is the funniest person I know.

Hoho and Mogi masquerade as wives and mothers and  invented two dances called "Heave Ho" and "Do-do-Dee-do-do".  Occasional performances can still be caught by highly select audiences in unusual venues.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Do NOT Break This Chain

Now, I'm not talking about a ridiculous chain letter here, and I know that you are all relieved and delighted to know that I am not insisting that you HAVE to send this out to 75 people before noon tomorrow or your mother-in-law's cat will die.

You can thank me later.

I'm talking about team sports, and the mental game that accompanies individuals who play team sports.  And how a mental game can go awry and lead the player into a cult of despair without her realizing she has been drinking the Kool Aid.      

You'll have to hang with me.  This is going to be a long, convoluted, rabbits-in-rabbits-out-squirrel post.  I've barely started, and I know I am going to be all over the place.  Never a particularly good sign.

So, let's start with this fact: Derby has become an incredibly large, important area of my life in a fairly short time.  I've played for less than two years.  I've just finished my first season on a team, but I already cannot imagine not being a part of derby culture long after I hang up my skates.  My league's redraft for next season was this past Sunday, and while the new teams are all settled, the rosters have not been revealed.  I'll find out if I'm a Muerta, Mafia, Hooligan, Trauma Queen, or Nightmare on Saturday night at our first ever DERBY PROM.  So. Very. Exciting.  Like everyone, I have a preference scale for who I would like to play for, but, in all honesty, I just really want to play.  And I want to be played.  I want to be the best player I can be for whatever team I made.  It's the politically correct answer (although I am strongly against the whole notion of political correctness and the shell game of "quantitative easing" and the overuse of the word "vet" by politicians, political commentators, and other people who want to sound culturally relevant, but that is a post for another day.)   

The redraft is where all this mental game wrestling match all started for me.  And it starts way, way back in April. 

There was an announcement that there would be an expansion to five teams (it's wonderful that our league is growing, but with growth come those pesky growing pains), and, thus, a redraft was essential to spread out the talent.  And a blue funk settled on many of us.  Myself included. We didn't mean to succomb to the blue funk, but we were sad, probably all for slighty different reasons that stemmed from one change.  Although I was sad that the wonderful group of women known as the Original Muertas Locas was going to be busted up, what I was really fretting over was that I would have to be picked all over again.  And it was possible that I wouldn't be picked at all because there were all these new girls coming in the doors week after week.  And they are good skaters.  Plus, there are only so many spots.  When the spots are filled, they are filled.

Meanwhile, my team experienced a couple of bad losses, and I didn't perform the way I wanted to in those bouts.  I didn't get played as much.  In fact, sometimes, five or six jams would pass, and I would not be played.  I took that to mean that my coach, captain, and bench manager thought that I would muck things up if they put me in.  So, I played a couple of games where I skated four jams.  I tried to enjoy those four jams and the good things I did in them. But the truth is, it was terribly discouraging.  I began wondering how I had ever made the team in the first place. And if I had never really earned my spot but was given my spot because someone liked me.

I added all these things together and started thinking that I must be the weakest link on my team.  

Which of these is the weakest link?  All of them, and none of them.  It depends where the swing is in its arc.

And then, in July, more was revealed.  We would have to retest in order to redraft.  Additional skills would be included.  We would have to pass the test in order to be eligible for the redraft.  I couldn't do some of the additional skills, and I was nursing an injury to my knee and ankle that I had incurred while practicing one of those skills I did not yet possess.  But I wasn't so hurt that I wasn't skating.  Hurt enough that working on a turn-around toe stop to the outside was not feasible.  And the funk suffocated me.

As the healing of my knee and ankle progressed, I was able to begin working on the skills I had never had and the skills I hadn't used in over a year.  However, I felt incapable of passing this new, improved test in the time period given.  I *may* have had a little sobbing breakdown to Annie Orphan Maker at practice one night.  And then she may have told me to get a hold of myself.  I'm sure she wanted to slap me for a minute, but, instead, she grabbed the training director and the two of them talked me off the ledge.

Let me tell you.  Anyone who says there is no crying in roller derby hasn't really looked around much.  There's LOTS of crying in derby, but most of it happens in the bathroom, the locker room, the parking lot or behind the front desk counter.  Although I would personally know nothing about the front desk counter....  Ahem...  Just know that if derby causes you to lose tears, you are not alone.  You are in good, if secretive, company.

It doesn't really matter if other people tell you that you are a good player and teammate if you aren't getting played much and if you are unable to hear what they are saying because the inner voices are screaming far louder.  Or if you are getting picked last for scrimmage week after week.  Or if you are getting yelled at by other players--players you respect and admire. 

If you are me, you might have a revelation that you are stuck in the seemingly unending cycle of a confidence crisis, but not know what to do to get off the ride that is making you vomit.

Please, for the love of all things derby, do not follow my lead on this one.  You don't want to establish residence in this place.  It sucks.  You feel like a pariah, people start treating you like a leper, and BINGO, ipso facto kalamazoo, you find yourself outside the gates of the city with torn clothing and unkempt hair shouting "Unclean!" at every skater who rolls past.  (If that reference is totally lost on you, have a look-see at Leviticus.).   

Now, I realize that for the bulk of you, not getting played, getting picked last, and being yelled at by other players would be a motivator to do better so that you might be able to avoid those things in the future.  I don't work that way. 

If you tell me or let on that you think I suck, I'll show just how bad I can suck.  Set me up for a bad scrimmage, I will most definitely have a spectacularly bad scrimmage.  I will go down in flames.  People will be talking about the lightshow three counties over.  I will exceed your expectations for ruling as the Queen of Suckdom.

At the same time, I know that there are things in Derbyland where I'm not half bad.  Actually, I'm GOOD (dare I say it) at bowling one of my teammates into the opposing jammer.  I knocked down the most feared jammer in our league (although she is now skating in Arizona :) ) in this manner, and instead of popping up and getting back in the game, she sat on the floor and yelled "What was that?" at me and the ball of teammate I threw at her and got madder and madder. It was a spectacular spectacle to behold.  You should have been there.  Or someone should have had a video camera.

And I knew I had other successes where I hit opposing jammers or blocked them well or made a hole for my jammer, but it seemed that whenever I had one of those successes that no derby person who mattered ever saw it happen.  They were tending to an injured player or not in the building that night. 

It seemed I just couldn't catch a break.  And I was in desperate need of a break.

The retest was quickly approaching, and I was working to increase my skills.  I was still concerned that I wouldn't pass. My test anxiety was in full effect.

After a particularly humiliating practice, Mr. Incredible stepped in and reminded me that my original goal had been to make a team and play one season of roller derby.  He also reminded me that I had not had one single doubt that I could do it when ShelbiTron Prime skated up and recruited me at InterSkate.  And that I had acomplished my goal and surpassed it by making a team, being a co-captain, and being appointed the mentor of our new skaters program.  And BTW, he reminded me that I was on the team who won the league championship. (Cue "We Are the Champions" here.)

He was right. 

So, I started thinking about my perspective and how it had gotten skewed.  I knew I needed to do something to stop the madness.  I decided that I was focusing on the wrong things.

I had been asking myself these questions:

"What if I am the weakest link on my team? What if I get picked last in the redraft because no one wants me on their team? What if I don't pass the test? What if I don't get picked at all?  What if I get a spot because people feel sorry for me?  What if I haven't performed well enough to be here at all?"

Le garbage.

I needed to reframe my situation and ask myself new questions.

What is a revelant question in this situation?

How 'bout...

Do I want to be part of the chain?

And that answer is so easy to answer.

Yes.  I want to be part of the chain. 

Every chain has links of differering strengths, and someone will be the weakest link in any given moment.  That is completely irrelevant in my new question.  What is relevant is that each link is a part of the chain.

A couple of Wednesday nights ago I did something incredibly difficult for me. Something I had been dreading and fretting over.

I took my league re-test. 

I passed. Honestly, I barely squeaked by on a few of the components.  It was not my best performance and certainly not a good indicator of what I can do on the track.

More than one of the coaches and trainers commented that it wasn't my best day, and it wasn't. I had far too much anxiety about my ability to pass particular skills and be eligible for the re-draft for it to be my best day.  It was probably one of my very worst days in roller derby.

I'm thankful that I have some good friends inside derby and outside derby who helped me improve and cheered me on. And reminded me that I am far more than a derby girl.  I'm fabulous.

And I took out the remaining mental garbage the following week.  Thanks in part to this note.  That I will keep.  You never know how one encouraging word might change someone's whole outlook.

This note *may* have caused crying on the bench.  Which is really not a secretive place.  
I choose to be a part of the chain.

And with that answer, I put on new clothes, pull my hair into a ponytail, and step back on the track with a clearer mind. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laser Hair Removal: Go Fourth and Prosper

See what I did there?  Go fourth... like forth... get it?

Okay, I'll quit explaining my jokes like Mr. Incredible does....

This past Tuesday was my fourth session of laser hair removal.

Because it's me, and because I can't go anywhere without some kind of calamity following me, I have another story.

Yeah, I couldn't believe I would still have a story after the fourth session either.

It all started as I arrived at the med spa.  I pulled in, parked, chose to take the stairs (see?  I did something for derby today... and that will be lost on most of you...), and approached the door.

I can hear the television through the door.  It runs on a loop and tells you all about the myriad procedures you really NEED because you are getting OLD and OLD is SURELY a DISEASE and a FAILURE and something you should AVOID at ALL costs (I was having fun with caps.  I'm probably done for right now).  Anyway, it's essentially a commercial that points out everything that is wrong with you and plays on every insecurity you may have.  It's interesting to sit in the waiting area and watch the other women respond to the information on the screen.  During the segment on facial resurfacing, I once watched a woman pull a compact out of her purse and look at her crow's feet.  And then smile and frown.  And smile and frown.  She was checking to see if she needed the procedure based upon the images she had just seen.  She didn't, although I'm pretty sure she thought she did.  She looked like she was about 30, and she had Plano Barbie Trophy Wife written all over her--crazy expensive shoes and purse, giant rock that made her hand drag the ground with its weight, size 25 bling jeans, and long, stick straight blond hair.  She was gorgeous and needed nothing, but I'll bet she has bought a package of facial resurfacing.

I've gotten really off track and I'm going to get off the soapbox now, too...

So....  Standing at the door of the med-spa, I stuck my hand out and grasped the handle.  I tried to turn the handle.  Nothing happened.  I jiggled it a little.  It didn't turn.  I took my hand off the handle and looked at it.  Then, I tried again because surely I did not drive all the way to Plano to find that no one was there and the door was locked.  Ahem... I tried to open that door three times.  It was still as locked as it was the first time, and I'm not sure why I thought it would change.  I guess I was checking to make sure I still knew how to open a door.

The door was locked.  I knocked.  No one answered.  I knocked again.  I stood there in the hallway listening through the door to the soothing voice tell me that I had unsightly spider veins and that no man could possibly ever be attracted to anyone who had such an imperfection on her body.  It was 10:55, and my appointment was supposed to be at 11.  I decided to call the aesthetician directly. 

Well, although I know I have called before, I quickly realized that I had never saved the number to my phone.  And I had no appointment card to refer to because I always put the appointment in the calendar on my phone.  I had to Google it.  And the connection was slow.  Eventually, I found the number and dialed it.

Two rings.

"Hello.  Med-Spa.  This is [Aesthetician].  How can I help you"

I replied, "Hello.  This is [Reckless Housewife].  I have an appointment at 11.  I'm standing in the hallway because the door is locked."

She giggled.  "Oh, I'm so sorry."  And then I could hear her rushing toward the door to unlock and open it for me.

And she did what I did.  She tried the handle several times because she was sure it couldn't possibly be locked.  It had been locked though.  She apologized profusely and said someone must have turned the lock as they exited.  She looked embarrassed and perplexed.

I was just thankful that I had not driven to Plano for nothing.  Or to find that my Med-Spa had gone under and run off into the night with the balance of my package. 

I sat for a moment, and then she called me into the room.

She asked me about the results of the previous treatment.  I explained that I had only had to do a minimal amount of shaving ONCE since I had been in.  It's really working.  She looked pleased and surprised.  She began the treatment.  Zap, zap, zap. 

She stopped.  "I'm going to turn it up a little.  If it is too painful, tell me.  I'll turn it back down."

Zap, zap, zap.

"Your pain tolerance level is very high. You are good at this."

Well, it's nice to be told you are good at something, but not wimpering while having your hair follicles singed to death is probably not going to rank among the accomplishment of which I am most proud.    

Zap, zap, zap.

"Why aren't you getting full hair removal?"


Seriously?  She remembers that I play roller derby and am generally covered with bruises on my thighs and calves, but she can't remember that I DON'T WANT TO LOOK LIKE A PREPUBESCENT GIRL. 

So I say, "I don't want to look like I'm nine.  And my husband doesn't want me to look like I'm nine either."  Hmphf!  Why am I explaining myself to this lady?  Again?

(I'm going to follow a little side path off the main trail here for a minute: Let's talk about pubic hair.  Most adults have it naturally.  A few people I know of Native American ancestry are pretty much sans hair down there.  But, it's textbook for most of us who have navigated the painfully awkward waters of puberty.  Although I think it fine if women (or men) want to change the landscape, so to speak, and mix it up by taking it all off or changing the outline from time to time, I want to know what is with the current cultural push for women to be entirely hair free.  I really don't get it.  I figure God put that hair there for a reason.  I have no real idea what it is, and it can be a little annoying at times. That is beside the point.  I look at the arrangement of a woman's body and think, "Hey, this patch of hair down there is like a arrow that says, 'Here.  Right here.  This is where the good stuff lies hidden.'"  I may just be old and old-fashioned. 

I'm there at the Med-Spa getting a little taken off the edges because I get embarrassed beyond measure when I'm at the pool and look down to see that something is hanging out of my suit.  I realize no one is has probably noticed or cared, but this goes back to high school when I NEVER went to the beach without a razor in my beach bag.  I was known to RUN to the bathroom if a hair was visible and scrape it off.  I would have been mortified for a BOY to know without a shadow of a doubt that I had pubic hair.  If he imagined it in his head, I could do nothing about it, but if he saw it with his own eyes surely I would fall over dead of embarrassment.  My then D cup breasts were certainly enough of a sign that I was maturing in the normal course; I didn't need to show anything that wasn't protuding from my chest. 

And all that may go hand-in-hand with the time one of the boys I liked and his two friends accidentally pantsed me as they were dragging an unwilling me into the ocean.  I was fighting going into the cold Pacific with all my 110 pound might.  Which may have caused my bottoms to fall down to my knees exposing my lower half to the multitudes on the beach at T-Street on a Sunday afternoon and most of my youth group from church.  And the boys may have all dropped me onto the sand and turned their heads away.  And we may have never spoken of the event and pretended it didn't happen.  But it did.  And it apparently scarred me for life. 

Or not. 

As a forty-one year old, I have the wallet and the technology to change this for myself.  I don't have to carry a razor and later have that sensitive skin broken out with a razor burn that looks infectious.  I don't have to smell Nair.  I don't have to have my hair pulled out at the roots every few weeks. I can remove the troublesome hair and live my life.

I realize that my choice is not for everyone.  If it doesn't bother you to have the hair that is growing down to your knees out and about for the whole beach or pool or lake to see, good for you.  That's a no-can-do for me, and I will continue to shave my armpits until I die, too!

Aside finished.      

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...)

And then she tries to sell me on facial resurfacing. 

ARGH! (In my head, this sounds just like it did when Charlie Brown screamed it.)

I say no.  I think my skin is just fine.  "However, I will book an appointment for a plain old European facial for next Friday."

Just so you know, a facial is my favorite pleasure at the spa.  Feel free to gift me in this capacity at any time.  It feels great, and there is no nudity whatsoever.

Zap, zap, zap.

The procedure is complete.  And she didn't even tell me I was going to need more than six treatments. 


Finally, she doesn't call me Sasquatch to my face. 

Small victories, people.  Small victories.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Picture This

So Monday was the first day of school in these here parts.  And can I just say thankyouverymuch and amen.  A week ago I was a little sad about school starting again, and then right on cue, I had a terrible, horrible, no-good day involving the temper of Bonus.  I decided it was time for school.
Everyone got up and ready on time.  Yes, including me!  So, at home the morning went off without a hitch.  Each child had lots to tell when they got home, and the younger two were cranky, cranky, cranky because they had been up since before dawn. 
Calm, cool, and casual, Miss Proper is ready to rule the school in eighth grade.

The obligatory front step shot.  RNR is in 4th this year, and Bonus would tell you, "I didn't get held back."  First grade will hopefully be friendlier to my child. 

"You are so cute.  Let me take your picture out of the window before you walk away."  I think the face says, "Really, Mom?  Can you please hurry up before someone sees?"

"Mom, I'm already late.  Can you take my picture and get out of here already?"

"I'm trying to pretend she isn't still here.  Do you think it's working?"


But Tuesday was a whole 'nother ball of wax.  RNR and Bonus resumed their usual bickering at the breakfast table, and I had to do what I refer to as "divide and conquer."  Why do they insist on irritating the snot out of each other? 

After they had been delivered to their campus, I returned home to find Miss Noteworthy in the kitchen waiting for me to fill out approximately 9,000 forms.  Mind you, I had asked her on Monday evening if she had anything I needed to fill out, and she had replied, "A couple of short forms."  Also, mind you, we had been up to her school the week before school began to fill out another 9,000 forms.  So, I wrote until my hand cramped and told her she could was going to have to pack her own lunch.  It didn't hurt her a bit. 

But here's where this day gets really comical....  Tuesday was PICTURE DAY at Miss Noteworthy's school.  Yes, pictures on the SECOND DAY OF SCHOOL.  My father would roll down his window and call the people who scheduled this morons. 

While I'm filling out this ream of papers, I notice that Miss Noteworthy has on this epic black t-shirt.  One of her favorites.  It looks like it has a name tag stuck to it that says, "Hello.  My name is  Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father. Prepare to die."  Since I am a huge fan of The Princess Bride, I think the shirt is awesome, but I wouldn't wear it for PICTURE DAY.

So, I ask Miss Noteworthy, "Are you sure you want to wear that for Picture Day?"

And, of course, she says, "It will be fine.  You never see my shirt in the pictures anyway."

I say, "Okay, if you are sure."

She says she is sure, and we head out the door for school.

At pickup I ask her how pictures were.  She laughed a little hysterically and told me that this year they took a full body shot.  She said she was at least glad she had worn an outfit that matched.  But, she was pretty remorseful that she had not listened to her mother and changed into a blouse. 

She also told me a wonderful little story about how her hair had gotten very bushy and out of control through the day, and she panicked as she was waiting in line to have her picture taken.  She recruited some friends to fix her hair.  When you see the yearbook, that will be my child with her hair in a side ponytail.  Wearing an Inigo Montoya shirt.  Please know that I did not encourage this look. 

Fortunately, she has a friend whose woes far surpassed hers.  He picked picture day to wear a shirt that said, "I'm a Brony."  For those of you who do not speak Rainbow Dash, this translates into "I'm a dude who likes My Little Pony."  That makes a side ponytail and Inigo Montoya look like a really smart fashion decision.  Anyway, that image made me laugh uncontrollably. 

We're off and running....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sound the Alert

After thirteen years of shunning green vegetables, tonight at dinner Miss Noteworthy ate sauteed zucchini and LIKED it.  She even got seconds. 

The zombie apocalypse must be beginning.  Run for your lives.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Mama, I think this is stuck"

Don't try this at home.

If your six year old tells you he is bored and you then tell him that he is responsible for his own fun, be prepared to use force to remove round Legos from his canine teeth. And have your phone handy so you don't miss the photo op. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Postcards from the Edge (of the Atlantic Ocean)

It's seven p.m. Sunday evening, and I would like to collapse in my bed. As per usual, I could use a vacation to recover from my vacation.

We have just returned from a week in Crescent Beach, Florida, and I have the dark legs and peeling back, chest, and shoulders to prove it. 

Oh darn!  It's hard to take a picture of your own legs... Green toes, green dress... proves it's me!  My dad might have a picture of my face.  Dads are good for things like that. 

Aside from a few thunderstorms, the weather was glorious.  The temps were in the high eighties, and the breeze was divine.

"Hurry up, Mama!" 

And, GASP!  RNR and Bonus had moments where they actually enjoyed one another. 

Well, they weren't fighting anyway... RNR was at least happy to be on a walk with me.

Miss Noteworthy spent the week trying to build the ultimate sand fort.  She was a girl on a mission.  Time, tides, and thunderstorms thwarted her efforts until the last day.  Her perseverance paid off, and we all enjoyed her success.

Miss Noteworthy sporting her cool 80's shades from surf camp

The final product 
We were face to face with wild creatures more than once....
Our tortoise friend who walked out of the dunes and right through the middle of our beach spot to cool off in the water.  How cool is that?   

Ok, so these birds weren't so wild.  We got them to catch pieces of buffalo cheddar popcorn mid-air.

The girls also had dolphins swim by them while they were at surf camp.  RNR was amazed!  We also spotted crabs, baby sea turtles, fish, and, apparently, one baby shark.  I wasn't around for the shark; I'll have to trust Bonus on that one. ;)

More to share later when Grampy sends his shots.

Wish you were there!