Monday, March 31, 2008

That was a close one...

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm in the menopausal years. One of the bizarre interesting side effects is that hair no longer grows on my legs, but shows up on my upper lip.

To combat this bizarre interesting turn of events, I discovered this handy little appliance...

Usually I stand at the mirror and use it. This morning I was sitting on my bed daydreaming watching the news, waiting for my husband to vacate the one and only bathroom we have in this old house. I reached over and grabbed my little trimmer and set to

I vaguely remember thinking that this scratching handy appliance really felt good on my face, and I started slowly moving it around my face, still spacing out watching CNN.

Suddenly I realized I went a little too high with my scratching
appliance and my heart nearly stopped. Yikes! I was afraid to look for fear I only had one eyebrow!

And I don't mean this type of ONE EYEBROW...

I mean THIS kind of ONE EYEBROW...

But fortunately I still had BOTH brows.

Which fall somewhere in between this....

and this...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I hate the telephone

I hate talking on the telephone. Any telephone. I view them as a necessary evil. I'm not sure why I feel this way. Maybe because the phone has always figured prominently in my work and when I'm home I don't want to deal with it? I'm really not sure of anything other than the phone (and answering machine) is not a priority for me.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, because I'm a gabby person. Run into me in person and I can chit-chat 'til the cows come home. Email me, text me, I'm right back to you. But talking on the phone - that's another story.

Perhaps because of this, when I was being lazy and watching movies on t.v. this afternoon, what struck me the most was how far we've come with phone technology.

The phones in the first movie were all big clunky desk phones (1970's).

Then we got more hip, more mod, and I saw Trimline phones (1980's) ....

The phone shown in the next movie was really high tech (1990's) ....

After seeing these phones in the movies it got me interested and I started looking up phones on the internet.

The Explosion-Proof phone I had never heard of this one

The Two-Person Listening Phone

The Genie phone

And of course, my favorite...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is there life without Cheerios?

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

You know how annoying it is when those danged Cheerios are always underfoot? The stray Cheerios that you step on with your barefoot on your way to the toaster. The shriveled, hard as a rock Cheerios that you find wedged in the crack of your car seat. The stuck-to-the-table Cheerios left from breakfast. Or the WORST - the Cheerios that have managed to get in between your sheets when Darling Daughter was watching a DVD in your room.

So you're with me with the annoying Cheerios thing, right? Now imagine that it lasts THIRTEEN YEARS. That's right. Annoying Cheerios - They're Not Just for Toddlers Any More.

My Darling Daughter is what you would call a picky eater. Always has been. When she was a baby she insisted on green beans at every meal. My mother thought I was torturing the child, but baby INSISTED on green beans, and if she didn't get them - oooh boy. (Now I wish she would eat green beans. But they're not on her Approved Food List.)

She gets upset when I reference her Approved Food List, but I don't know what else you would call it. Her list is only about 6 items long. You should hear us place an order in a restaurant.... "The chicken fingers basket please ... no sauce, no coleslaw, no applesauce, NO PARSLEY ON THE PLATE or remotely touching the chicken fingers." Or, "A short stack of BUTTERMILK pancakes syrup, no garnish, NOTHING ELSE ON THE PLATE. What, no buttermilk pancakes? Never mind then, cancel the order."

And that's it. Those are the only two restaurant foods she will eat.

One constant on the Approved Food List has been Cheerios. These have been a favorite of hers from the get-go. When she was a toddler I longed for the day when I no longer had a circle of dry Cheerios on the floor around her high chair. Now I realize I am doomed to have that Cheerios circle around whatever chair she uses in the kitchen. Specifically because she does not eat them in milk. She still eats them by hand, dry - hence the dropped Cheerios. I've learned to dread that tell-tale C-R-U-N-C-H when I step on them. And apparently Cheerios can only be seen by the amazing Mom Vision , because I am the only one who ever steps on them sweeps them up.

In fact, she has loved Cheerios so much that when she was three years old, she named her kitten after them. Here's a photo of Cheerios [now 10 years old] waiting for her turn in the kitty bed ...

Yes, I stand at the backdoor and yell "CHEERIOS!!" when the cat goes outside and doesn't come home in a timely fashion.

I guess it could be worse. All these years, I could've been standing at the backdoor yelling "CHICKEN FINGERS".

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I'm late, it's tired ... no, wait ... I'm tired, it's late. Worked later than I had planned today, then a meeting tonight, and worked another 4 hours at home afterwards. My meeting made me miss the latest installment of Big Brother, so of course I had to stay up and watch tonight's episode on my laptop. Hey just so long as I have my priorities straight!

There was some fireworks on the show tonight, one girl knew she was going to be evicted and decided to go out with a bang. She was offensive and rude - just the kind of stuff Reality T.V. lives for. I swear "Big Brother" is the only reality show I watch. Uh...except for that new one, "Class Reunion". That's it. Definitely. Big Brother and Class Reunion .. :)

Spring has not arrived in New England yet but you can tell it's on the horizon. Here's the proof...


This is all that's left of the huge mountain of snow and road sand the plow piled up near the end of our driveway. It used to be huge and white and imposing and now it's just a dirty ol' pile o' crud.

Bring on Spring!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Attitudes have changed in the 45 years since this photo was taken.

My uncle Raymond Nelson is the young man in the center.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cats for sale - CHEAP!

Or maybe I'd even give 'em away.

Ok I won't give them or sell them. But I sure do think about it sometimes and this is one of those times.

I have always rescued animals, and 99% of the time they have been cats. This has not been done on purpose, I love all animals. If I found a hippo running loose in a parking lot I would take her home and keep her (but I wouldn't give up my closet space).

Currently we have two elderly cats (10 and 14) and a recently rescued kitten (much to The Hubs dismay).

They are all driving me nuts! NUTS, I TELL YOU!

This whole new-cat-in-the-house situation has really upset the apple cart. Oldest kitty is still very frisky and would like to chase string and play along with baby kitty, which totally freaks out the baby kitty. Middle kitty, who has always been very timid (and not too bright - we call her our 'dumb blonde' - no offense) has suddenly gotten very possessive and territorial and totally freaks out if baby kitty comes into the room. And baby kitty goes into major hiss mode if either of the other two walk past.

I have Darling Daughter ignoring the older cats and giving all her attention to baby kitty, which just makes the older cats come to me for attention. The Hubs wishes they would all sail off someplace never to be seen again. And ME trying to mother the whole lot of them.

They are constantly under my feet and winding about my legs and practically shouting "Me! Me! Love ME!" (except for The Hubs - he has his pride you know). I've come close to tripping over one or more cats several times already and I know it's coming. One day I will be pecking my blog entry with my nose because I'm in a cast thanks to these dang cats.

Of course I have to give them SOME credit. I couldn't blog without them...

Hazel, checking my layout

Hazel, pointing out something she'd like changed

*deep breath*

Ok. Now that I've got that out of my system, I want you (yes, YOU) to go over to House of Jules blog as she has a very funny post and video. Trust me. You'll get a kick out of it.

Hazel and Kathy, signing out....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

This year, Darling Daughter is 13 years old.

I am not climbing into the attic to search for her Easter basket and the ziplock bag of three dozen colored plastic eggs.

I am not going to insert coins and chocolate into three dozen colored plastic eggs.

I am not going to get up at dark-thirty to hide three dozen colored plastic eggs filled with coins and chocolate.

I am not going to take pictures of Darling Daughter hunting for three dozen colored plastic eggs filled with coins and chocolate while wearing jammies with feet.

I do observe yet another sign of my daughter growing up.

Easter morning, we will all sleep in. When we awaken, I will give her Lindt chocolate bunnies. Because she will always be my baby girl.

And I will be well-rested.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Could somebody hand me a bib?

Sometimes I wonder why I'm even allowed out in the world without a keeper.

I went to Starbucks with a girlfriend today. Three sips into my caramel machiatto, I let loose with a big drip of coffee on my shirt. CLASSY.

(I suppose my first mistake was going out in public with someone several years younger, many pounds lighter, and way cuter. I was already at a disadvantage.)

I don't seem to be able to eat or drink anything without spilling. It's like a sacrifice to the Dry Cleaning Gods.

A woman at church told me I should be pleased that my spills end up on my chest as opposed to my lap, thereby signifying a large bustline. I guess I don't consider a bustline of any size attractive when signs of food and drink are dribbled upon it. But maybe that's just me.

My Grandma had this problem. Of course she was an elderly woman who passed away at the age of 85. Remains of your last meal staining your blouse are forgiven at that age - heck, they're even expected! Somehow it doesn't translate well to someone in their 40's.

(Okay, late 40's. Really really late 40's. ALRIGHT I ADMIT IT - the last final months of being in my 40's... Let's move on, shall we?)

Of all my Grandma's traits, why did I have to inherit this one? Couldn't it have been her Danish cheekbones or fair complexion? Her regal height or cheerful mood?

Nope. I inherited the 'spill' gene. I can't leave home without a pocketful of Tide Sticks.

That's just the way I roll.

I'm big, I'm bad, I'm messy - get used to it.

Life in a small New England town, Chapter 2

A story told at last night's Maundy Thursday church supper...

A previous pastor conducted the funeral service for an elderly woman. In his eulogy of this woman, a town resident of 90 years, he mentioned that she had arrived in town at the age of six months, when her parents moved here. She lived her entire life in this small town.

After the service, the minister overheard two elderly local women talking about the service. One said to the other, "I didn't know Margaret was from 'away'."

In New England, you need at least two generations in the local cemetery before you are considered "local".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stick a fork in me, I'm done

I'm the church secretary at one of the two churches in my very small, very quaint, very charming New England town. I enjoy it very much. With the exception of two times a year.

Advent and Lent.

Of course these are the BIGGIES in a church year. Christmas and Easter, we see folks in church that we never see the rest of the year (unless they need a wedding or a funeral...but that's a post for another day). During these special times of year, the church is usually decorated in a special way; there are extra worship services; attendance is up; there are special gatherings or meals. It's a very active and coming-togther time for a church. It's beautiful and awe-inpiring.

Unless you're the church secretary. In a small church, in a small town.

"Pay no attention to the secretary behind the curtain!"

(Or the Minister. But she can get her own blog. "Hi Boss!")

This week especially, when everything is really happening at once, I start wondering if my suit came back from the cleaners....

And I start to hope that I can get everything done in a timely manner before I am forced to don my OTHER suit...

I would be the one on the left...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Very busy week...

This is a VERY busy week in the life of a church (and their secretary-MOI). My postings will be slim because, to use the words of fellow church secretary June-Can't-Eat-That of Bye Bye Pie, "I will be busy holy-weekin' "

I do have a couple of great photos lined up for Wordless Wednesday though!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Happy Birthday to you, my Darling Daughter. Today you are officially a teenager, though you've looked (and acted!) like one for several months now. Happy, happy 13!

I'm tickled to see how pleased you are about being 13. I remember my own 13th birthday and the excitement that went with it.

You're a fantastic girl, moving quickly towards being a fabulous woman. I see you on the path to being a happy, responsible, caring adult. You're an amazing person and you're going to make such a mark on this world!

I know this is great thing. Yet, my heart breaks a little, for each step you take toward going out in the world feels like a step farther away from me. I know that's the way it is supposed to be. I remember taking those steps away from my own mother, and not thinking twice about it. There's a world out there to be discovered!

Now you, my Darling Daughter, are emerging from your cocoon of childhood, taking these steps away from me, and I realize what my mother went through.

I love you, my Darling Daughter, and I'm so very proud of you!

I just hope you remember to come back to me now and then.

And now, I think I'll go call Grandma.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A total CHICK warned..

So I'm down here taking a little mini-vacation with Darling Daughter and her BFF. Things were a little crazy before we left home so of course a few things were forgotten (like hair mousse and hairdryer - I look like Moe of the Three Stooges...).

This morning I realized I forgot to pack ... implements used in a monthly fashion by ladies ... so I am digging through my purse (BIG purse...LOTS of stuff) for a pad.

New pad, still in it's little paper envelope. I opened the 'envelope', went to take the strip off the sticky part ... big surprise - there is a quarter stuck there! What a shocker!

Now I carry so much crappola in my purse it is not totally out of the question for loose change to work it's way into this little paper envelope while jiggling around at the bottom of my purse. But this got me thinking in a whole new direction.

What if sanitary pads came with a prize like Cracker Jacks!?

Or the very least, a riddle or a joke like Popsicle sticks? Wouldn't that be something? It might actually make 'that time of the month' more pleasant. Maybe entertaining is a better description.

My D.D. started in 6th grade as did several of her friends. Sixth graders look fairly grown-up but they still have a lot of little girl in them, and this very grown-up thing was a little frightening at first. Wouldn't it be easier if there was a little humor thrown in there, like a prize or a riddle?

Obviously I have thought about this way too much. It must be the 'Guitar Hero' over load.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nobody puts baby in a corner! (with apologies to fans of Dirty Dancing)

This weekend is Darling Daughter’s 13th birthday. In New England, a March birthday is a winter birthday. Celebrating is confined to indoors. Unless it’s something involving a snow sport - and March snow is not as exciting as November snow.

D.D. decided she would like to celebrate with a weekend outing to Cape Cod, inviting her best friend along for the trip. A hotel with an indoor pool for the girls would be a fab get-away.

I got a great deal on two adjoining suites, thus ensuring that I wouldn’t be kept up until 2am while they played Guitar Hero (yes, they brought it along). Dear Hubs, sensing an overload of estrogen (and Guitar Hero), wisely decided to opt out of the weekend adventure.

We didn’t leave home until 7:30pm Friday night, for what would be an hour and a half drive. We were so hyped up and excited - we were PSYCHED!!

Half an hour or more down the road, BANG! Power steering was gone, lights on the dash were flashing, and broken belt clunking under the hood. VERY lucky for us, we were near an exit - I coasted off the freeway and into a well-lit parking lot . Whip out the cell phone, call The Hubs, call AAA. Of course tow truck can’t take 3 people, have to wait for The Hubs to come and pick us up.

The Hubs finally arrives in his little commuter car to get us and all our baggage and assorted crappola. I call this car the Clown Car because it’s small enough to be the car that arrives in center ring at the circus and then 47 clowns crawl out of. We’re talking small.

But we manage to squeeze all of us and all our stuff in, and start for home. My thinking was, drop Hubs off at home, take his car and get back on our way. (We are a three vehicle family). We start on the half hour trip home – and the Clown Car loses a hose and power steering goes out. Good Lord, must we call AAA again? No! The Hubs, being a manly man, boldly declares that he don’t need no stinking power steering – after all, the road is pretty straight all the way home!

We arrived home after 10pm. Tired Mom and Dad, disappointed girls. The girls are so disappointed to be back to square one, they ask if they can sleep in the CAR.

How pitiful is that? My baby’s special birthday reduced to sleeping in a clown car?

Are we doomed? Are the Automobile Gods angry at me for mocking seat warmers in a previous post? Is Darling Daughter destined to have a disappointing birthday?

Heck no! MY baby deserves a happier birthday! [shamelessly insert famous line spoken in Dirty Dancing]

After getting a good night’s sleep I did what any good mama would do – I called Enterprise Rent-a-Car. And look what they gave me! [Caution: Put on sunglasses prior to viewing...]

Isn't it the cutest thing?!? I swear just driving it takes 10 years off my age. (Except when I try to put it in drive and my windshield wipers come on).

And the girls are now happily swimming in a warm indoor pool and mom has her feet up and is starting a new book…all down at the Cape. The End.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heaven on wheels...

OHMIGOD. I found heaven...and it was in a mini-van.

Yesterday I rode as passenger in my friend's new People Mover. It has a seat warmer. A SEAT WARMER. It was a good thing I was in the passenger seat, having all that warmth flowing to my bum and lower back was so relaxing I was afraid I was going to nod off. It was pure heaven. I felt like this...

These new People Movers are really something. Add a potty and you could live in there. Multiple DVD players, satellite radio, seats that pivot around to a table, and bum warmers. It's decked out better than my house. To heck with adding on a family room - I'll just buy one of these all-the-frills minivans!

I can understand the thinking behind it - we mom's spend half our life driving kids around. My time transporting kids really began when my Darling Daughter started kindergarten. This was in 2000. That's when we got our People Mover. It was a bit of an adjustment - sort of like learning to drive a city bus - but I liked it. I was the envy of the preschool - backseat doors opened on BOTH sides - woo hoo!

But we've come a long way baby. All the high tech gadgets they put in vehicles nowdays are pretty amazing. Can't you just imagine what Great-Grandpa would say - "Back in my day we appreciated our automobiles more because we had to work for it! We had to get out of the car and crank it just to get it to start! And we didn't have paved roads, either! We bounced around so much we nearly lost our teeth! And while we're on the subject of you young people, what's with this new music and all the hipping and the hopping???"

The hubs and I have always said when we finally get rid of this People Mover we will get something smaller and more energy efficient. But I now know this: it will not have a seat warmer. Because me driving feeling like this...

...would be way too dangerous for everyone on the road.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...Life in New England

You're as old as you feel

"Age is an issue of mind over matter; if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." Mark Twain

"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you're a cheese." Billie Burke

"We don't stop playing because we grow old...we grow old because we stop playing." George Bernard Shaw

Have you had one of those moments when it hit you like a Ton Of Bricks, "Good God, I'm OLD".

I'm not talking about the half-hearted way we refer to ourselves when out with others. Not the "What, spend the night on the sidewalk outside of some theater to get tickets to some concert? NAAAH, I'm too old for that".

I mean the feeling where you stop what you're doing and can't make your mind go any further because it's still trying to process. And what it's processing is, "Holy crap, I'm OLD!!!"

My own story: Ten years ago I had our family babysitter come for an evening to baby sit Darling Daughter, who was then three years old. At that time our babysitter was in junior high school, 14 years old. Very sweet girl. I had a Huey Lewis and the News CD playing when she walked into the house. I was rockin' out, I kid you not.

The girl walks in and I tried to regain some semblance of being a Responsible Parent (instead of a looney-toon dancing around the kitchen shakin' the junk in her trunk) and I asked her if she liked Huey Lewis and the News. This was 1998. You know what she said??

"No, I'm really not into the oldies".

The oldies! What the heck? That song came out in...let's see...I was living there, and I was dating him...oh my God that song came out in 1982.

BAM. Hit me like a Ton Of Bricks. I'M.FREAKIN'.OLD.

That incident was ten years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Flash forward ten years to 2008.

I ran into our ex-babysitter at our church fair. We chat and catch up, and I find out she and her fiance are now in the process of buying the house next door to us. (We live in the country so 'next door' is a loose term).

In complete innocence I said to her, "Oh cool! When you have babies, Darling Daughter can babysit them!"

The little one she had babysat, now old enough to babysit her OWN children? The look on her face said it all. She had just been hit by the Ton Of' Bricks.

She was 24 at the time.

American Heritage·di·cat·ed: to get revenge for; avenge.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gee, I always wanted a big brother...

Having mentioned the t.v. show Big Brother 9 in a previous posting, I feel I need to come clean.

It's all my sister's fault.

I have never understood the "Reality T.V." craze. Women attempting to win a rose from some guy who can't find a babe on his own, or strangers living together under a rock, exposed to the elements and getting eaten alive by tropical bugs. There's usually a body part exposed and blurred by the censors. Totally NOT my thing.

Then my sister came to visit.

We live on the east coast and Sis and her family live on the west coast. Last summer they came for a two week visit. We had a WONDERFUL time. But. Three times a week the world came to a halt so that Sis could watch "Big Brother".

Being a polite hostess, I sat with her while she watched. At first I cringed at the awful things these people said and did to each other. But the sneaky thing is, CBS shows three episodes a WEEK. Three episodes a week!!! By the end of episode 2, I was starting to know the names of the players. By the end of episode 3 I was starting to see their strategies. Before I knew it, I was hooked. My sister went home after two weeks (and six episodes) and I continued to watch the blasted show! (big sigh)

That was bad enough. Now CBS has put on a WINTER version of Big Brother - the aforementioned Big Brother 9 - and I'm glued to the t.v. three times a week to watch!

I rush home from evening meetings just to watch this dang show. If I can't get home in time, I wait until 11pm when it shows up at and I watch it on my computer. (It's probably significant that I can forget to attend a meeting, but manage to remember which night Big Brother comes on).

WHY am I so obsessed with this? It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing to admit I watch it, and it's embarrassing to have people know how hooked I am. I guess watching Big Brother is kind of like driving past an accident scene on the highway...I know it's going to be bad, I know it won't be pretty...but I can't seem to pull my eyes away.

So, there you have it. Another deep dark secret revealed. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to watch Sunday's episode on my laptop.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Now where did I put that?

My memory's not so good these days.

Also, my memory's not so good.

My memory (or lack thereof) is a real problem. I've read that memory problems go hand in hand with going through menopause. That only makes me feel slightly better. And my husband, who understands NOTHING female, doesn't buy that as a reason.

I hear it's called "Destinesia" - the act of arriving in a room and then forgetting why you went there in the first place. The Today Show has coined a new term: "Momnesia". That seems as good as any.

I'm so easily distracted it's embarrassing. My daughter, clever girl that she is, figured it out long ago. She'll ask me for permission to do something, I say she comes over and starts massaging my shoulders. In a minute I'm so relaxed I can't remember why I said no to her. (I am aware that this is manipulation on her part but it feels so darned good.)

At work, I have the office equivalent of this:

Under all these post-its is a Jaguar. At my office the only thing you'll find under the post-its is an old desk and old computer. But they're covered in post-its, believe me. I should own stock in 3M.

Every time I see a news story about some woman in her 50's giving birth my thought is, how can they do that? You just KNOW they're going to put that baby down someplace and forget where they put it. It's trouble waiting to happen.

I knew I was in serious memory trouble when I agreed to attend two different meetings on the same night. At the same time. And then forgot to go to either one of them.

I've wondered if perhaps if asking someone to give me a thump upside the head like in the V8 commercials might help. I suspect I'd forget that I asked for it, and just turn around and thump 'em back.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Who, me?? But I’m Fatty McButterpants!

I had the most amazing thing happen. And I’m going to take a lot of time to tell you about it.

Today I had to make a run to Wal-Mart. I hate going to Wal-Mart, as I am a Target disciple and worship in the land of the red bulls-eye.

I really hate going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday, when the lines stretch to the back of the store and the parking lot is crazy-busy.

I really really hate going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday when it is pouring rain. Like today.

And I really really really hate going to Wal-Mart on a rainy Saturday when I have been too lazy in the morning and now it’s noon and the whole freakin’ world is going to be at Wal-Mart shopping.


But off to Wal-Mart I went. I managed to get the one thing I went there for, and of course while waiting in the ginormous line fell victim to my impulsive side and had to toss a couple more things in the cart. Finally get checked out and then have the misfortune of not remembering where I parked. (Hello - menopausal memory problems!!)

So I'm wandering around Wal-Mart’s parking lot (is anybody counting how many times I have said Wal-Mart in this post???) and the rain is coming down and I am not wearing a coat (menopausal hot flashes, remember?). I finally spot my People Mover (mini-van) and as I approach it I notice the car parked next to me is identical to the one I had before purchasing said People Mover. I am eye-balling this car and barely notice that a guy is walking past me on my other side.

As we pass each other, this guy says, “You’re beautiful”. Now, I’m still focusing on the car parked next to me, and I’m thinking, “Boy he must really have a thing for 13 year old Ford Taurus wagons”. I keep pushing my cart. Now the guy is past me and walking backwards and he calls back, “No I mean YOU”. Being married 15 years, with the big 5-0 looming on the horizon, I have not had this experience in many, many years, so I am still not completely registering. Then he calls out, “Are you single?” THAT’S when it sunk in. Holy crap! This guy is hitting on me. And he’s hot!!! If any of you are watching Big Brother 9, he looks like Matt only maybe 10 years older. If you do NOT watch BB9- I’ll just say, dark hair, blindingly white teeth, and good muscles.

I’m going to be honest with you. On top of being an old married woman nearing the half-century mark, I am a Fatty McButterpants. Plus size. Or as we phat chix like to call ourselves, a Big Beautiful Woman.

I smiled at this adorable man with the incredibly bad eye sight, told him I was not, alas, single; and got into my People-Mover. I then sat there and said a thank-you prayer for making my trip to Wal-Mart so darned WORTH IT.

Kick 'er in the ass!

My previous post about using the Dog Whisperer technique on my husband as he tries to TELL ME HOW TO DRIVE (grrrr) got me reminiscing.

I'm from one of the big square states out west. When I was a teenager back in the 70's, my dad was a merchandiser for a retail chain that had stores in many towns in that big square state. If you have ever visited a big square state in the western U.S., you know that there is more land than people, and there is quite a lot of open space in-between towns. My dad was on the road constantly, visiting these oh-so-far-apart town that his stores were in. He logged a LOT of miles.

He had countless stories of adventures and mishaps on the road. Several times he ran out of gas...and always, it seemed, just at the top of a hill, with a gas station at the bottom. Dad would coast on down the hill and into the gas station. He was a legend in our family.

With dad gone so much, my mom originally tried to teach me how to drive. She went out with me just one time. I had her nerves so jingle-jangled, when we got home she informed my dad that it was now HIS job to teach me.

Enter my dad - Driver Extraordinaire.

The first lesson he taught me was immediate. When I backed out of our driveway into our relatively busy street, me being pokey and slow and insecure in my new driving skills, blocking traffic from both directions....he would yell, "Kick 'er in the ass! Kick 'er in the ass! We gotta get outta the way!"

Ironically, now when I drive with dear husband, I hear "Slow down! It's not a race!"

Men. Seems like you can never make 'em happy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Dog Whisperer

In my house, we really enjoy watching the t.v. program "The Dog Whisperer". The man is amazing - he works with dogs that are so aggressive that they may need to be put down if they don't immediately change.

He has several techniques he uses to subdue the dog. My favorite is when he takes two fingers and gently 'nips' the side of the dog's neck, while at the same time making this little "chhttt" sound. It teaches the dog to be submissive to him, and lets the dog know that HE is the pack leader.

I've been thinking, wouldn't it be great would it be if this worked on people too?

Teenage daughter calling you OLD, and in a big booming voice lets anyone within earshot know that her mom is almost 50?


Mother-in-law won't shut up about how perfect your husband was as a child, so obviously your kid's out of control behavior is from your side of the family?


Driving, with your husband as a passenger, and he continually gives you instructions about HOW to drive even though you've been driving for 35 years? ("Why don't you pass this guy?"..... "You're using the brakes too much, you're gonna wear 'em out"..... and my all-time favorite, "It's not a race, SLOW DOWN!")


I'm picturing each of them afterwards...shocked and speechless. I think it just might work.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Life in a small New England town, Chapter 1

Things I love about living in a small town in New England:

You know almost everybody in town, including their kids and pets.

You know who has had surgery or is laid up, and a casserole brigade is started.

The police call log has listings like “Horses wandering in road” and “Sheep loose”…and the worst vandalism in many years is “Shampoo dropped in library book return”.

The high school doesn’t even have locks on the student lockers, and there is no theft.

Having one (ONE!) homeless person, his name is Charley, and he does not want your help, thank you. (He has assistance already lined up but chooses to live a hobo’s life)

Things I do NOT love about living in a small town in New England:

Everybody in town knows every member of your family, including eccentric Uncle Jack who left town to join the circus.

In the first month of moving to town, buying a cookie jar at a multi-family yard sale, you don’t know any of the families... and three days later being approached by someone not even AT the yard sale, asking if you would like the original box for that cookie jar, because they still have it in their attic. (I don’t know – is this a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it depends on how badly you want the box. At the time, being new to town, it made me feel a little like I was being stalked...)

You can never flip anybody off in traffic (traffic - hah!) because SOMEBODY knows who you are (especially if you are a secretary at one of the only two churches in town)

Being pulled over for speeding by one of the three patrol cars…and getting a stern warning from the Officer…who is also the middle-aged son of your knitting instructor (embarrassing!) (are you sensing a trend here?)

Saturday in-town errands must be completed by NOON because everything closes at noon – this means a trip to the general store, the lumberyard/hardware store, the transfer station (dump), the library-the-size-of-my-bedroom, and the post office. (By the way, our new post office has TWO windows at the counter! TWO! ! Count 'em!)

Even though each of these stops is within a mile and a half of each other, each stop takes a half an hour minimum because you keep seeing people you know and have to stop to chat. (This could go either way, depending on how much of a hurry you are in.)

Thanks to Verizon, when I call my next door neighbor I must dial 10 digits. (used to only have to dial four...."Hello Sara? It's Aunt Bea! Get me Andy down at the sheriff's office!")

And the biggest thing I don't like...snow, snow, SNOW! WAY too much winter!!!!

(OH, and being forced to use lots of italics and parenthesis when typing. It's in the town by-laws.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's a groaner but it made me laugh!

A middle-aged woman seemed sheepish as she visited her gynecologist.

“Come now,” coaxed the doctor, “you've been seeing me for years! There's nothing you can't tell me.”

“This one's kind of strange…”

“Let me be the judge of that,” the doctor replied.

“Well,” she said, “yesterday I went to the bathroom in the morning and heard a plink-plink-plink in the toilet and when I looked down, the water was full of pennies.”

“I see.”

“That afternoon I went to the bathroom again and, plink-plink-plink, there were nickels in the bowl.”

“I see.”

“That night,” she went on, “I went again, and, plink-plink-plink, there were dimes... and this morning there were quarters! You've got to tell me what's wrong with me! I'm scared out of my wits!”

The gynecologist put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“There, there, it's nothing to be scared about.”

(Ready for this?)

(I'm warning you.....)

(It's not too can still bail out!)

“You're simply going through the change!”

Monday, March 3, 2008

Best two hours ever spent!

"Hello, my name is Kathy and I am a bad housekeeper."

"Hi Kathy!"

Truer words were never spoken. I will deny it no longer. I'm coming out out of the closet...if I can manage to climb over the old curtain rods, rollerblades (2 sizes two small), rubbermaid tub of baby clothes my daughter outgrew 12 years ago, deflated basketball, and the box of craft supplies that I swear I am going to get to some day. I will stop my red-faced attempts at maintaining the facade of being a woman in control of my life. I am the WORST housekeeper in the world.

I blame my family.

I am but one third of the life force living in this house. One-fifth if you count the cats. HEY WAIT there's that hermit crab...ok, I am one-SIXTH of the life force.

And the only one who really doesn't make a mess around here is the hermit crab.

The thing is, see, I wasn't always like this. When I lived alone I had a tidy place. I loved my single-chick apartment. LOVED IT. I was a mostly-carefree career girl who loved to get out and go places, have adventures, see the world. Which is how I met and eventually ended up falling in love with a man who lived on the other side of the country.

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage".

Somewhere in there I lost it. I LOST CONTROL. I have lots of theories on the whys and hows. It all makes great sense. I could sit here for quite a spell and tell you all my theories. In fact, let's do that - I'll put the tea kettle on, we'll get comfy...and then I don't have to actually get up and FACE THE MESS.

Look up "Housekeeper" in the dictionary and it will say "NOT KATHY'. There will be a picture of me, smiling in denial... with a red slash across my face.

You get the point.

Now we get to the good part. (Good for me, I mean). Today my friend "K" came over to help me. Does that make me too lame for words? "I can't take care of my own house, waahhh!" Yep, I felt pretty lame. "K" is one of those artsy women, you know the ones. She can take a dead tree branch and turn it into a gorgeous wall sconce for holding votive candles. The kind that I always wished I could be but just don't have the knack or the talent. (She has one heck of a green thumb as well but since we won't be seeing anything green here in New England for at least another month, I'll wait to tell you those stories).

It turned out to be wonderful! Incredible! Totally FABOO!!! We focused on my baker's rack in the kitchen, which, while holding useful and important stuff, also tends to get clogged up with lots of not-so-useful and really unimportant stuff. Valentine's cards I bought six weeks in advance but never got around to mailing, birthday gifts for folks whose birthday is four months away, odds and ends that go someplace else but ONE of us was too lazy to put it back where it belonged. (One of us....I'm not sayin'....might be me....could be me....OKAY IT'S ME, ALRIGHT!?!? Enough already with the guilt!!)

We spent two hours visiting, tossing and sorting ...this goes back to the living room bookcase, that can go to Good Will, save this for the church yard sale, etc. (Yes, I am that lame.)

In fact we enjoyed the time together so much we're going to do it again. I figure, if she comes over for two hours every Monday morning, my house should be looking fabulous by the year 2010. July 17, 2010. Write that down. You're invited for tea.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My husband’s True Love

Why does it seem that every blog I read, the husbands all sound perfect and loving and supportive and…and….PERFECT? Am I the only one out here with a challenge for a husband?

We live in an old house on 8+ acres. My husband is a very smart man, an engineer who designs computer chips for a living. Yet, he always yearned to take a walk on the wild side. I only wanted him to be happy. That’s when I made my mistake. I weakened.

I can pinpoint exactly when things changed in our relationship. It was when SHE came into our lives. Oh sure, he’d talked about her, or friends of hers, for ages. I knew where his interests lie. Sure, she’s cute. She’s up for any challenge. She’s a little temperamental, which only means he gives her even MORE attention. Still, I didn’t think it was going to upset our family dynamic as much as it did.

Here's a picture of the two of them together...

This is the "other woman" in my husband's life.

At one time my husband's hobby was renovating this old house of ours. Those of you married to engineers will understand this immediately - being an engineer, he knew no one would be able to do the work as perfectly as he could. No professional contractor for us, no way!

Of course he didn't take into consideration that he is a workaholic who gets a nervous tic if he is away from the office for too long. So, yes, he COULD do all this work, but does he have TIME to do it? (that's a big NO, good buddy).

But I digress.

Ever since The Other Woman came into our lives, progress on the house renovation came to a complete stand still. Putting up sheet rock is boring when you could be outside moving dirt and REAL ROCKS around! (The point of moving all those rocks around escapes me - other than the chance to drive the tractor, I mean.)

So it's been a love/hate relationship between me and The Other Woman. I just know that if they made an indoor tractor, my house would be DONE, baby, DONE!

But now that we're a few years older, I've let my feelings soften towards her.

Yesterday's snowfall was a wet and heavy 8 inches of white torture. Being the good sport of a wife that I am, I cleared the snow off the unruly items (deck, steps, vehicles) but then I had to raise my white flag. That was it for me - I was too pooped to pop.

That's when SHE stepped in. The two of them cleared the driveway in no time. ["Huzzah!", the villagers cheered!]

Final wifely decision: Dirt and rock moving - silly. Snow moving - FABULOUS.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Melancholy Memories

I just read a very moving story posted at . It's the kind of story that leaves you thinking for a long time afterwards. It brought up an old memory of my own...

Way back in 1975, when I was a junior in high school, a boy in our class was killed in August, just before the start of our senior year. He was driving a tractor in a field, too close to a drainage ditch - one wheel of the tractor went down, the tractor rolled over on top of him and killed him.

I had known him since elementary school; we said hello to each other but weren't friends, per se. But he was a nice boy, and very smart - the type who would have gone on to make quite a mark in this world. His death haunted me for years afterwards, and every August I thought of him, and thought of his parents and how they must be feeling.

About 20 years after graduation I was visiting with an old friend from high school and I told her how Scott's death affected me. She suggested I write his parents a letter. (I was living in another state).

So I looked up his parents address on the internet, then sat down and wrote them. I told his folks what a great student and good person he was. I told them how I thought of him, and of them, every August. It was late July when I wrote and mailed my letter.

I received the absolute nicest letter from his mother. She shared memories of Scott, and what his loss meant to her family. She filled me in on her daughter's life (their only remaining child), and what a joy the grandchildren were. She told me how they were so grateful to think that a classmate still thought of him.

It moved me to tears. I still have her letter, tucked away.

Just another snowy Saturday...

I realize now that before I moved to New England, I had no idea what a real winter was like.

I'm from the Pacific Northwest of the US. Where it rains a lot. A LOT. The part of the country where we don't tan, we rust.

What I USED to think was winter, I realize now was more of an extended autumn with a long early spring. And then when July 1st rolled around, BANG, instant summer - long hot days with no rain until October.

Now I live in New England. Where winter ain't for sissies.

This year our snowy season started in early November. It is now March 1st and we are still in our snowy season. This is the time of year when Mother Nature likes to play tricks on us. Throws us a day like yesterday, beautiful blue sky and the sun was strong - oh sure it was 3* when I drove my daughter to school, and I only saw a high temperature of 19*. But it FELT like Spring was just around the corner. (Did I really say that? I guess I have lived in the Land of Winter too long!!!)

Truly it WAS a glorious day yesterday. Then ol' Ms. Nature decided to pull the rug out from under us. It started snowing around midnight, it is now 1pm in the afternoon and it's STILL snowing. I haven't looked in a couple of hours now but last time I checked there was about 8" of new snow on my deck. And the driveway. And the walkway. And the porch steps. And our three vehicles in the driveway.

This is when I realize I should have had more than one child. I could hand them all shovels and push them outside, and *I* could go make a pot of tea and sit down with a good book. (Yes, I'm sure that's what mothers of multiple children do - a lot of sitting down and reading good books! BWA HAA HAA....)

I'm off to put my boots on and grab my shovel.

Hello...Can you hear me now?

Here I go. First entry. I've been thinking of trying this for quite a while but didn't know if I could pull it off. There are so many great bloggers out there, it's pretty intimidating. I'll just do my usual ... jump in with both feet.

I'm 49 years old and fifty is coming up fast. I'm going through menopause which is a source of endless delight. Have you read the email going around full of jokes about menopause? I'm here to tell you they are NO JOKE but are the God's honest truth. Hair on my legs seems to have stopped growing...but now I have to keep an eye on facial hair! It's just WRONG, I tell you.

On the plus side, I haven't had to buy a winter coat in a couple of years. My hot flashes are enough to roast marshmallows with. This morning it was 3*, so I drove my daughter to school rather than have her have to wait in the cold at the bus stop. I took a coat along just in case we had car trouble - it's winter in New England, you have to be safe - but it stayed in the backseat the whole 20 minute trip. And I did NOT warm up the car first.

My daughter is 13 years old and has started her period. Between the two of us, our house is Hormones Gone Wild. My husband quietly retreats to his own little man cave and tries to stay out of the rough sea of estrogen flowing around him.

Our household also includes two elderly cats and a hermit crab my daughter has had for six years. I have to mention that, because every family I know who has ever adopted a hermit crab has had it go to that big beach in the sky within a couple of months. It's a double-edged sword - on one hand I'm impressed that we have treated him well enough that he has survived domesticity so long - on the other's a freakin' CRAB, six long years that aquarium has been part of the decor in my dining room. Enough already!

Well I guess that's more than you would ever want to know in one sitting about my life. Hope I haven't bored you to tears.