Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I have been tagged by my friend, Erika. I am supposed to tell you seven strange things about myself, one of which is completely untrue. You get to be the detective and guess which is which.

Lucky you!

Ok, so, hmmm...oh! I know! I am completely incapable of taking a crap in a public toilet. It doesn’t matter how badly I have to go; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Or, incredibly strong, depending on your point of view.

Also, it is physically impossible for me to go to sleep at night with dirty dishes in the sink.

I am addicted to Diet Pepsi but will not drink it out of a can or from a fountain. It must be in a 24 ounce plastic bottle.

One of my favorite snacks is a bowl full of sliced dill pickles covered with ketchup. I call it Pickle Chowder.

I can make myself puke just by thinking about something gross; a talent that I frequently utilized in high school when I wanted to ditch class to go parking with my boyfriend.

Likewise, I can make myself cry just by thinking about something sad. This comes in quite handy when dealing with nasty salespeople, airline counter employees and men, in general. Strangely, it never worked on my mother.

I have a near-pathological fear of head lice. I compulsively check the children’s heads for the critters once a week and, when an outbreak happens at school, I keep the kids home until I am certain the danger has passed.

So. Fact or fiction? You be the judge.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thank God It’s Monday

I never thought I would see myself write that but, with the busy weekend we had, I can’t help but be grateful for a day with a set routine even if it means a day at work.

The Girl had a splendid birthday which accounts for a vast majority of the weekend’s events. Thursday evening, we hosted dinner for Hugh’s family and, while we were enjoying our lasagna, the teenaged girls from my service club’s sister organization were busily adorning our front lawn with fifty plastic pink flamingos. The girls do the ‘flockings” as a fundraiser for their organization; people pay both to rent the flock and to have it removed.

The Girl has been fascinated by the flockings since they began a few years ago and she routinely reports on the flock’s whereabouts when she spies it around town so, I had a feeling that she would get a kick out having it visit her on her special day and, I was right. She discovered the birds Friday morning when taking Rowdie out for his morning break and she was so excited, she forgot what the birds were called and yelled "Mom! We got flocked! There are pigeons on our lawn!".

Giant pink pigeons, could you imagine? That is an acid trip gone wrong, my friends.

Not that I know. I mean, I never went on an acid trip. I swear Dad; I never. Um, where was I?

Later that day, Hugh surprised her with the delivery of a balloon bouquet, I took cupcakes to her class, she had five friends over for a slumber party at a local hotel where we ordered pizza and swam in the pool and I took all six girls plus the Man-Cub and one of his friends and Hugh’s twin nephews (who were visiting from Maine) to see The Bridge to Terabithia.

That would be ten children for those of you playing at home. And, yes, I am certifiable.

Needless to say, the child’s eleventh birthday was memorable and not just because the movie managed to make every single child cry (which is what they get for not reading the book like some people did back in the fifth grade).

Saturday morning, I dropped the girls off at their respective homes and high-tailed it to the school gym for the Man-Cub’s first wrestling tournament of the season. He wrestled very well, taking home a medal for second place.

Then I went home and took a nap.

Oh, I wish. No, I spent the rest of the day supervising the Cub and a friend whom he had invited to spend the night. I also frosted a three-layer checkerboard cake for dinner that night at Oscar and Emily’s, started the first of eighty-five gazillion loads of laundry, cleaned the house and dispensed medicine to The Girl who had caught a cold somewhere between the swimming pool and the movie theater.

By the time we got home from the family dinner later that night, I was exhausted and looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Sadly, that was not meant to be as the Cub’s friend became sick during the night and his parents were rather slow in arriving to retrieve him, giving me just under five hours of sleep for the night and bringing my two-day total to just under ten hours.

What? You think those girls slept during their sleep-over?

Sunday morning, we said goodbye to Hugh’s brother and his family as they headed back to Maine and I thought; at last, a nap! But, no. I still had laundry to do and a trip to the grocery store to make.

While we were at the grocery store, Hugh accidentally hit Rowdie while moving his car in our drive-way so we got to spend an hour at the emergency vet clinic. Then we got to go home and worry and fret over the puppy since our regular vet was out of town until this morning.

Grand total of sleep for the entire weekend, fourteen hours. Go, me!

Rowdie is at our regular vet now. He has a fracture in his femur and will have to have surgery to repair it. Hugh feels, as you would expect, completely awful even though it was not his fault. Accidents happen and, with any luck, the dog has now learned that “stay” means, well, stay.

On the brighter side, the weekend taught us that my car is far too small to transport our children’s ginormous collection of friends. Also, a back-up sensor would be a solid investment; car shopping begins tomorrow.

Tonight, I sleep.

On a side note, my baby sister emailed me just to tease me about the fabulous maternity smock that I was pictured wearing in my last post. I am too tired to defend my fashion sense right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Who am I kidding? I have no defense for that outfit.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Eleven Years Ago, Yesterday

Thursday, February 22, 1996. Six days past my due date and the baby shows no sign of wanting to leave the safety and comfort of my womb. I am in the throes of a severe sinus infection and I am miserable. My nose is so sensitive; it bleeds each time I blow it. I am retaining water with the efficiency of a camel, yet I face the indignity of producing a dribble of pee every time I cough.

I am so sexy, I can hardly stand myself.

I call my OB to complain about the injustice visited on me by not being allowed to take anything stronger than Tylenol; can she not see that I am dying? She laughs at my discomfort but instructs me to go to the hospital for an induction nevertheless. My whining powers are rapidly becoming legend.

Hugh is a whirling dervish of anxiety and excitement. He calls the aquatic facility where I work to let them know that the next item up for wager in the office pool will be the time of birth as the date is a foregone conclusion. Hugh calls his mother who plans to start the three-hour drive as soon as she hangs up the phone; she hopes she will make it on time. I secretly hope she will not. It is 11:55 a.m.

Checking into the hospital is a breeze as we have pre-registered and our paperwork is in order. We are assigned the only birthing suite in the entire hospital. The end is in sight. It is 12:30 p.m.

We make ourselves comfortable in the birthing suite. Hugh flips through the channels on the television. My mother arrives. The doctor stops by to make sure that I am comfortable and prescribes a humidifier for my congestion. No drugs for me, just warm mist. I do not care, in a matter of hours I will have a baby. It is 1:00 p.m.

A nurse swabs my cervix with a gel to soften it and to encourage dilation. She hopes, aloud, that we will not have to deal with the Pitocin drip. I second that emotion. It is 1:15 p.m.

Hours pass and the only discomfort that I am feeling stems from my sinus infection. I am blowing great gobs of green mucus, tinged with blood, from my nose, my head is pounding and the coughing continues, unabated. It is 3:30 p.m.

Hugh and my mother play Uno and eat hamburgers from McDonald’s. I only get liquids, chicken bouillon and green Jell-O. This sucks, but! In a matter of hours, I will have a baby. The nurse checks my progress and finds…none. I am hooked up to a monitor and it shows that I am, in fact having contractions, tiny, irregular ones. Emily, my mother in law arrives. It is 3:45 p.m.

Hugh and I walk the halls. We debate names, settling on nothing, save for the fact that, if it is a girl he will do the honors, if it is a boy, I will. The nurse does an internal check. It hurts and I wish that my uterus would fight back but, I am dilated to two! Progress! My doctor stops in for a visit; she has just delivered a baby boy. I am excited to think that I will be next. It is 5:00 p.m.

Emily and my mother leave the hospital for dinner. Hugh eats hospital food, chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and the ever present green Jell-O. I sip on spoonfuls of beef broth, which, oddly, starts to taste of copper. Hugh, a horrified look on his face, informs me that my nose is streaming blood which has fallen into my broth, polluting it. I burst into tears. It is 6:30 p.m.

Shift change. My new nurse re-adjusts the monitor. The contractions have stopped. More tears. The nurse calls my doctor who decides that a good night’s rest is just what I need. She orders a Pitocin drip for eight a.m. and prescribes more Tylenol. The nurse pours more water into my humidifier, places a moist, warm pad over my sinuses and bids me sweet dreams. It is 8:05 p.m.

The phone rings. It is my staff wanting to know if the baby’s birth weight and sex are still up for grabs in the office pool. Hugh tells them that, at this point, everything is fair game. Our mothers return from dinner. I have a coughing fit that leaves the sheet soaked with urine. I cry some more. Emily decides to call it a night. My mother rubs my feet and calves with peppermint lotion. The Tylenol is kicking in and I begin to get excited again; by noon, tomorrow, I will have a baby. My mother leaves for the night. Hugh falls asleep on the pullout sleeper. I try to sleep. It is 10:30 p.m.

The nurses come and go all night. I develop a slight fever. The nurse calls the doctor. The doctor says to keep an eye on it, if it does not break by morning we might as well go home and try again in a few days. I am too exhausted to cry. Hugh sleeps like, well, a baby. I think I hate him, just a little. It is 1:40 a.m. on Friday, February 23.

The fever breaks. A sleepless night has left me exhausted but excited, in a matter of hours, I will have a baby! More broth and Jell-O. The lactation specialist stops in for a chat. My doctor checks me. A nurse inserts an I.V. and takes some blood. To my credit, I do not pass out. The Pitocin drip is turned on. Suddenly, it seems so real. I feel the dull edge of panic; in a matter of hours, I will have a baby. Holy crap. It is 8:00 a.m.

Mild and irregular contractions begin. Hugh and I enjoy watching them on the monitor. It is so cool! My mother arrives. I chat on the phone with my sisters and friends. My dad arrives; he sits on the sofa and reads the paper. I ask him to save it for a time capsule, a historical record of the day of my baby’s birth. Hugh and I walk the halls and play Uno. I begin addressing the envelopes for birth announcements. It is 11:30 a.m.

My contractions are gaining in length and intensity yet remain irregular. Emily convinces Hugh to run home for a shower and a bite of lunch. Although we live six blocks from the hospital, I am reluctant to let him go. The nurse checks my progress. I am only dilated to three. I send Hugh home. My mom and dad keep me company. It is 11:40 a.m.

The monitor spikes dramatically. A contraction that leaves me as shocked as a mugging victim paralyzes my entire body. It lasts forever. Even the nurse is impressed. My progress is checked. I am dilated to seven. My mother’s fingers fly as she dials my house. Emily answers and informs my mother that Hugh is still in the shower. My mother insists that Emily send him back to the hospital right NOW! Emily argues that there is plenty of time. My mother tells her, in no uncertain terms, that she will get Hugh out of the shower; his wife needs him, now. It is 12:01 p.m.

Hugh arrives at my bedside. The contractions are regular, intense and, according to the nurse, highly productive. My body is one giant Charley-horse and I have trouble focusing on my breathing. In a gesture of love and support, Hugh strokes my cheek with his thumb. I bite him. Hard. It is 12:17 p.m.

Contractions. Breathing. My dad leaves the room. Emily sits on the sofa and watches television. Hugh and my mom practice breathing with me. I roll onto my side and grasp the metal bar of the hospital bed. I feel nauseous, but I do not throw up. My Dad comes back into the room to tell me that a friend of the family has just checked in and is laboring in the room next-door; she said to tell me that she would get even with me for taking the only birthing suite in the hospital. I laugh. It is 3:30 p.m.

The contractions are unbearable and I have not dilated any further. I beg for the epidural. The doctor agrees and the anesthesiologist is called in. I am rolled onto my side just as the whopper of all contractions hits. I temporarily leave my body. The view from above is quite humorous. Just as the anesthesiologist prepares to stick me, the phone rings. It is my best friend, Jules; she is calling from the aquatic facility to check on my progress for the office pool. Several people are eliminated from the running. The lifeguard who chose March 1 as the delivery date is starting to sound a bit too smug for my liking. The epidural is complete. It is 3:36 p.m.

The epidural fails. My legs are numb from the thigh to the toes. Contractions are still felt. Crushing, grinding, blinding pain. Hugh demands a second epidural. The anesthesiologist produces a waiver form the likes of which we have never seen. Although the list of possible side effects is thought provoking, the next contraction seals the deal. Hugh signs the release form. The nurse has to roll me physically onto my side as my legs are effectively dead and I cannot do it myself. The anesthesiologist goes in slowwwwly for the next poke. I feel a small popping sensation in my pelvis and I say “OH!” The anesthesiologist jumps, the needle mere fractions of an inch from my spine. Liquid gushes between my legs. “My water just broke!” I exclaim. It is the undoing of the anesthesiologist; he is shaking visibly from the fright that I have given him and Hugh orders him out of the room for fear that he will cause one of the umpteen complications listed on the waiver. It is 3:45 p.m.

The nurse checks my progress and I am dilated to ten! Hallelujah! The nurse changes the bedding and encourages me to “bear down” with each contraction to help bring the baby’s head down into the birth canal. The doctor comes in and starts to scrub up for the delivery. I am seized with sudden panic. This is happening. NOW. Hugh and I pant and blow. It is 4:00 p.m.

The nurse instructs me to place my feet in the stirrups. I cannot move my legs; they are still under the influence of the epidural-gone-wrong. Hugh and my mom each ease a leg into a stirrup. My dad sticks his head in the door to let me know that our family friend is dilated to eight and is doing well. Our babies will be born on the same day! It is 4:15 p.m.

I am instructed to “push”! My older sister once told me that it felt good to push. I push. My sister also once told me that I was left on the front porch by gypsies. My sister is a liar. I continue to push. It is 4:45 p.m.

I push. And push. And push. A flower deliveryman strolls into the room and sees my nether regions in all their naked, pushing glory. I do not care. I keep on pushing. The phone rings. It is Jules calling for a status check. I ask Hugh to hold the phone up to my ear. I tell her that I applaud her recent decision to remain childfree. It is 5:20 p.m.

Push. Pant. Blow. My dad sticks his head in to let me know that our family friend’s revenge is complete; she has just delivered a nine-pound baby boy after a mere four hours of labor. I ask him to give them my regards and I wearily flip them the Bird. It is 5:31 p.m.

Push,push,push. The doctor is growing tired of the stubbornness of my offspring, as am I. My mother continues to encourage me. Jeopardy! plays on the television followed by Wheel of Fortune. I concentrate on Vanna’s unnaturally white teeth and I push. The baby is stalled in the birth canal but its heart rate never falters. The monitor picks up the unmistakable sounds of hiccups-an everyday occurrence for this baby, but an unusual thing to have happen during delivery. It is 6:45 p.m.

The doctor pulls Hugh aside and I hear the dreaded “c” word bandied about. I plead for one last try at a vaginal birth. I know that I can do it. A nurse suggests that we try a catheter, I have not used the restroom in hours and, there was, after all, the “liquid” part of that liquid diet. The doctor agrees. The catheter is inserted and what sounds like forty gallons of urine is emptied from my bladder. Things start to move quickly, then. My legs are starting to shake off the effects of the botched epidural and I experience “pins and needles” in addition to the contractions. I notice that, with the pushing, is another sensation; I literally feel the baby moving down the birth canal and into my pelvis. The doctor does a quick and small episiotomy. I push and, in one precious “whoosh”, my baby enters the world. It is 6:50 p.m. on Friday, February 23rd.

It is a girl.

Suddenly I feel absolutely no pain. I feel, in fact, like the most powerful creature on the planet. I have given birth. I did that.

My baby, my daughter, gives a lusty wail as she is held up for my inspection. She is perfect. She is beautiful.

She is still beautiful.

Happy birthday, baby. You were so worth the wait.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Nine:
Thirteen Things That I Believe

This list is inspired by Izzie’s speech in last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, that speech, the one that made all of America want to slap Izzie silly. Hopefully, this post doesn’t spur the same reaction; I have a healthy fear of pain, people.

1. I believe that drinking Diet Pepsi cancels out the calories in pink frosted donuts.

2. I believe that, one day, science will prove that chocolate is the ultimate Super-Food.

3. I believe that some people really can see ghosts.

4. I believe that, if I ever saw a ghost I would pee my pants and faint.

5. I believe there is someone for everyone.

6. I believe that manners matter.

7. I believe in watching old movies on cold days, with a cup of tea and a plate of cookies.

8. I believe that I would weigh 300 pounds if I didn’t believe in exercise, which; I do.

9. I believe that, during times of extreme stress, it is just as easy to treat someone with kindness and respect as it is to blow up at them (I’m looking at you, nasty man at the United counter at the Portland airport last Thursday).

10. I believe that my family will always be there for me.

11. I believe that we make the choice whether to be happy or not, everyday.

12. I believe that a true friend forgives your worst faults yet will tease you about them without mercy.

13. I believe that every person on this planet was born with some unique talent, ability or capability. I believe in possibilities and I believe in miracles.

Whoops, that’s more like fifteen things.

Please don’t slap me.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things Could Get Ugly

Lent begins today and, as usual, I have chosen to give up chocolate. This means that, for six weeks, I will abstain from my regular diet of Milk Duds, Junior Mints, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and Little Debbie’s Star Crunch snacks in an effort to cleanse my immortal soul.

My family dreads this time of year since, the unfortunate by-product of soul cleansing is a really foul temper. Also, since Lent ends on Easter Sunday, the children always have to physically restrain me from Hoovering every last chocolate egg left for them by the Easter Bunny.

I happen to think that is a small price to pay for their mother’s immortal soul, however, so they will just have to suck it up and deal.

In other news, Hugh’s brother and his family arrived yesterday and we spent a lovely evening together. The ambience may have been slightly less than ideal considering we were in a rank smelling wrestling gym but, the Cub had practice and the boys were interested in watching, so... never let it be said that we don’t know how to entertain our guests.

Today, the kids are ditching school to go sledding with their cousins and they could not be more excited. I attended Parent-Teacher conferences last night and, since they are both doing well in their classes and, since neither of their teachers disapproved of them taking the day off; I feel only a smidgen of guilt in letting them do so.

I have no doubt they will have a fabulous time and I wish that I could join them but, I am scheduled to appear on an economic development panel this afternoon and I just don’t think that sledding with my family is sufficient excuse for my absence and, lying would be wrong.

See? Twelve hours without chocolate and my immortal soul is cleaner, already.

Now, where did I put the notes for that mother-&$%*&%#! panel?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

My trip home from Portland went well. Luck was with me and I managed to avoid the bad weather that has plagued DIA these past few months. I even managed to make my connecting flight with just a minute to spare and my luggage made it as well which surprised me.

Another surprise was the condition of my house upon my arrival. It was clean, people. And, I don’t just mean that the clutter was shoved under beds and into closets where I might miss it upon first inspection. No, there simply was no clutter. And, the floors had been mopped and vacuumed. And, there were hand-made Valentines posted on the doors for me to find as I wandered the house. Hugh’s valentine was a heartfelt thank you to me for everything that I do both for him and for the kids. He expressed genuine appreciation for how hard it is to run the household smoothly while keeping the kids on schedule with their homework and extra-curricular activities while working a full-time job outside of the home. He said he is so grateful for having me that he can totally over-look the credit card bill.

Ok, maybe I made that part up but, still;. I think it might have been the best Valentine I have ever received.

Can I just say how proud I am of both the kids and Hugh?

Yes, yes I can because this is my blog and I'll brag if I want to.

But, they really came through for me while I was gone. The kids got up and got ready for school every morning without complaint. The Girl set out the toothbrushes and reminded her brother to take his vitamin. Hugh managed to keep up with the house and to help the kids with their homework. He read every night with the Cub and he handled the pick-up and delivery of the $300 worth of pizza kits that The Girl had sold for her school field trip fundraiser. He was like Mr. Mom which I happen to find extremely sexy. Especially since it meant fewer chores for me to do this week.

This week is going to be busy; I start back to work tomorrow and, even though I went into my office on Saturday to sort through my mail and messages, I am anticipating a chaotic first couple of days back. Also, the Man-Cub started wrestling while I was away so we have either team practice or mini-camp every night this week. Plus, Hugh’s brother, sister-in-law and their three boys are coming into town from Maine so we would like to make some time to see them. Not to mention that The Girl turns eleven on Friday so, there are cupcakes to be made and a slumber party to throw that evening. Luckily, a couple of my Board members have graciously offered to host the party at their hotel so I will have a minimum of clean-up to do on Saturday which is super fabulous considering that the Cub has him first tournament that day.


I am so glad I had those two days in Portland with my sister; I needed the rest to get through the remainder of this busy month. Also, the Wonder Woman boots might come in handy when I get overwhelmed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thirteen Things, Edition Eight:
Thirteen Things Purchased in Portland

1. Facial products from Sephora. Philosophy’s On a Clear Day Serum, to be exact because my skin suddenly decided to behave as though it is sixteen as opposed to um, twenty-nine.

2. A kicky striped blouse from Nordstrom Rack. This shirt inspired a need to purchase appropriate shoes, hence:

3. Red stiletto pumps. In theory, these will look really cute with the kicky blouse and skinny jeans. However, the outfit would not be complete without the proper accessories so…

4. Red 80’s earrings. And, just in case the red is too much, silver hoops.

5. Red tote bag to finish off the look. Big enough to carry just about everything and purchased at a discount with a twenty dollar purchase at The Bath and Body Works.

6. Bath and Body Works antibacterial soaps for the kitchen and bathrooms. Purchased so that I would qualify for the discounted tote bag. It is an illness, people.

7. Sensible bras, purchased at Victoria’s Secret. They may not be sexy but then again, neither are boobs that bounce off your kneecaps.

8. Floaty tropical print shell and cami set. This was purchased by my sister and it compliments her coloring perfectly. Also, she used her bargain-hunting super powers to find it at Nordstrom Rack so I think it ended up costing her, like, $1.50. Heck, maybe they gave it to her. She is Super after all.

9. The boots that started it all. Sister spied these on the sales table at a fancy shoe boutique and she could not resist. Which led to...

10. the purchase of the red Wonder Woman boots that we now both own; we are the Wonder Twins, if you will.

11. Sister’s $19.99 Coach purse from the Portland Goodwill and a black purse that she got at For Love 21. On sale, of course.

12. Sexy negligee that sister bought for her husband for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure he will look ravishing in it. Also pictured, the massage oils that I recommended she purchase. I may not have super powers but I am a superbly bad influence.

13. Glycerin soap for The Girl. I also purchased a gag gift for the Man-Cub; a miniature guillotine that “magically” cuts off your finger. He can use it in his Gross Magic show.

We bought more but, Hugh still reads this on occasion and I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises. Like, um, how high the credit card bill is going to be this month.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Justice League Is Missing A Hero

My sister and I wiled away the past two days by shopping across Portland. I spent a lot of money on things for myself. It was selfish and self-indulgent and, I think I like it.

In addition to splurging on facial products at Sephora, I purchased a kicky striped blouse, a tote bag, a slew of bath products, some new earrings and two pairs of shoes, a pair of boots and a pair of pumps; both high heeled and lipstick red in color. I have never owned a pair of red shoes in my entire life but, now I do and; I think I like it. They remind me of the boots that Wonder Woman wore and she was my favorite Super Friend so, how could I be expected to resist?

Speaking of Wonder Woman, I have long known that my sister possesses a super-power. It is an ability that most women would agree is more impressive than invisibility. More awesome than mind reading and sweeter than the ability to fly; it is the ability to sniff out the best possible price on retail goods and services and she possesses it in spades. This week her abilities enabled her to ferret out the red boots at an End of Season sale in an upscale shoe store. The boots looked so cute on her, I couldn’t help but buy a pair as well; she has such good taste.

Also, I may or may not have evolved from lemmings.

I did however mange to resist the temptation to copy her when she bought the same pair of boots in white so, I’m not completely shameless.

Anyway, she got two pairs of boots for less than the original price of one pair and then, at the Portland Goodwill, she spotted a Coach purse marked at $19.99. We were skeptical of course but, we conducted a thorough inspection to ascertain its authenticity and she happily paid the $19.99 price tag. $19.99! For a Coach purse; $19.99! Seriously! Super power!

Later that day, we went to Nordstrom Rack and I swear I followed behind her, anxiously waiting to snap up her next big discovery which is how I ended up with the red pumps, kicky striped blouse and red plastic earrings that would make the 80’s cry with envy. By the way, have I mentioned that there is no sales tax in Portland?

Shopaholic nirvana, people.

Enough about my illness, though.

In addition to shopping, my sister and I also had a chance to catch up and to enjoy each other’s company. We ate some excellent food at Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Chipotle Mexican Grill (are you sensing a theme?) and we drank enough Starbucks coffee to buzz a caffeine addict. I played the part of the tourist by stopping to smell the flowers at a corner stand and she was kind enough not to tease me for it. She may have rolled her eyes and pretended not to know me but, girlfriend saved me a ton of money on fashionable shoes.

She left for home this morning and I miss her already.

And, not just because I would rather go shopping with her than work (although, there is that).

After all, not everyone can say that they have a sister with Super Powers.
Coach purse, $19.99.
Red boots, $29.99.
Spending time with your Super-powered sister, priceless.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Families are Like Fudge... Mostly Sweet With a Few Nuts.
~Author Unknown

My grandmother’s funeral was lovely and quite well attended which, considering the family, comes as no surprise. My grandmother, good Catholic that she was, took to heart the biblical decree to “Go forth and multiply”. She had ten children, thirty grandchildren, fifty great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, only a handful of whom were unable to attend the services. The house, as they say, was packed.

My mother and my aunts took great pains in planning the service; they debated each detail until it was perfect and it showed. The mortician, inspired by their dedication or terrified to fail them, did an outstanding job; my grandmother was stunning. Even the florists said they had never seen such a beautiful body and, they have seen a lot of bodies so I respect their opinion. Also, I am sooo glad I didn't go into the floral business.

Following the funeral, the family hosted a dinner at the Fellowship Hall, and then everyone congregated at my parent’s house where they drank wine and reminisced until well into the night. It was nice to catch up with relations that I have not seen in quite some time and my children were thrilled to practice their newly-learned sign language skills on my two deaf cousins who, god bless them, were patient as the saints considering the fact that my son doesn’t spell terribly well.

Of course, as with any large gathering, there were some tense moments; a few small arguments, a couple of skeletons accidentally let out of the closet and a few pranks that went to far, not to mention a rather unpleasant encounter between the Man-Cub and the girlfriend of one of my cousins.

The woman’s daughter had misplaced her shoes and, when it was time to leave, they were nowhere to be found. Following an extensive search and a rather intense grilling of the other children present, she resorted to screaming obscenities at the closest available child, a child who had absolutely no idea what the tirade was even about because he had been playing an adult-supervised game in another room (unlike some people’s children, ahem, trashy girlfriend, who were leaping over furniture, hiding from each other in the guest room shower, eating brownies on the carpeting and stealing candy from my father’s office, without so much as one reprimand from their mother).

I missed the drama because I was in another part of the house but, luckily, the wife of one of my other cousins was present and she ripped the trashy girlfriend a new poop portal in the Cub’s defense. She also assured the Cub that it was perfectly all right to dislike the trashy girlfriend since she is so NOT PART OF THE FAMILY.


Especially coming from a woman who, when she became part of the family twenty-eight years ago, was regarded with some dubiousness by my grandmother simply because she was, gasp....a mormon!

She totally went to the wall for my son and, as far as I am concerned, Mormons rock the smack-down. Also, she could not be more a part of our family if she had been soaked in Holy Catholic water till she was a prune.

But I knew that twenty-eight years ago.

Despite the unpleasantness, I can say that we honored my grandmother’s memory well. She would have enjoyed the funeral mass and the lively conversations, the bawdy jokes and the retelling of old stories. She might even have rattled some skeleton bones of her own because, differences aside, we are the family she built and she was proud of us, flaws and all.

Now, I must pack for my next journey, Portland. I will spend five days working my fingers to the bone for my employers. If I am lucky, I might get a few hours for sightseeing.

Ha! Who am I kidding? My sister is driving up (down?) from Seattle and, even though we just saw each other yesterday; we are totally looking forward to spending some quality time together.

At Sephora, squee!

So, the next time you read this, I will be posting from the City of Roses.

Double squee!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Little Black Dresses

I don’t get very many opportunities to dress up. My job is not such that it demands more than a “business casual” wardrobe nor, let’s face it, is my social life. In fact, prior to this weekend, the last time I wore a dress was to my college girlfriend’s wedding. In July.

Recently, however, opportunities have presented themselves.

Saturday night, Hugh and I attended the annual banquet for the Chamber of Commerce which is a fairly fancy-pants event as far as events in our little town go. A large number of the community’s leaders attend the banquet and I decided that it would be the perfect time to display my…um…assets by baring some serious cleavage.

I specifically wore a little black halter dress that, when purchased over a year ago, was described to me as being part of the store’s “Desperate Housewives line”. I am not exactly a housewife and, I try not to think of myself as desperate but, you know, the dress was fabulous.

In addition to the little black dress with the plunging neckline, I wore stockings and three inch heels which, for the record, put me almost eye level with Hugh who proceeded to complain about the fact that he could no longer peer surreptitiously down the valley of my cleavage.

So, there was some desperation, after all. Heh.

The banquet was nice. One of the evening’s featured events was a silent auction and Hugh surprised me by bidding on-and winning-a Get-Away Package for six. The package includes three hotel rooms, dinner at a nice restaurant and a limo for the evening. Hugh thought that it would be a nice way for my college roommates and me to spend some quality time together later this year. I was touched by the gesture and it helped to make the evening brighter; it helped me to forget for a moment.

To forget that I must dress up again this Thursday; when I will be attending my grandmother’s funeral.

Apparently, 95 was old enough for her. And, now we must say good-bye. I am, of course; sad. The world is a slightly less colorful place now, with her gone from it. On the other hand, heaven is that much brighter and, if you listen closely; I swear you will hear the sound of polka music. An angel in a powder-blue dress is dancing atop the clouds. She is with the love of her life and she is happy.

In her honor, I will don a little black dress and a pair of sensible black shoes. I will curl my hair and paint my eyes and I will look pretty at her going away party. Because I cannot think of another person for whom I would rather look nice.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Seven:
Thirteen Reasons Why I Am Smarter Than Most Girls in Horror Movies

1. When I rent a secluded cabin next to a lake with a bunch of my friends, I know better than to get drunk and sex it up with my boyfriend while everyone else gathers wood, toasts marshmallows, unpacks the kayaks or whatever the hell else one does at a secluded cabin next to a lake.

2.I don’t smoke weed. Or, crack. Or, whatever it is that you kids are doing these days.

3. And, I am a white female. Everyone knows that the skinny white prude is always the last one standing.

4. I know better than to assume that the guy standing in the doorway wearing a mask and holding a bloody knife is really just my boyfriend trying to be cute.

5. I know that time spent screaming would be better spent running.

6. Also, when running, it is unwise to look over one’s shoulder to see if the knife-wielding homicidal lunatic is still chasing one. In this case, it is safe to assume that he is.

7. When I run to the neighboring cabin seeking help and, I find the door ajar and the lights off, I know better than to go inside.

8. I am also aware that hiding in an enclosed space is just plain stupid. Because, if I turn around, I will find the dead body of one of my friends, causing me to scream thus alerting the super-human homicidal maniac to my whereabouts.

9. As opposed to most women in horror films, I have the ability to run without tripping over my own feet.

10. I know that one bullet, blow to the head, knife gash to the carotid artery, etc. is not enough to kill a super-human homicidal maniac. Therefore, I would never drop the gun, baseball bat or knife, and drop to my knees while crying in relief.

11. I would also not be stupid enough to lean over the “dead” super-human homicidal manic to make sure he is dead. He is never dead; hello, super-human!

12. I look in the back seat prior to getting in a car even when super-human homicidal maniacs aren’t chasing me with a bloody knife or a whizzing chainsaw.

13. Most importantly, I can get the key in the ignition on the first try.

Can you tell Hugh and I have been watching a lot of horror movies recently? Yes; I blame Netflix. On the other hand, in the unlikely event that I am ever stranded at a secluded cabin in the woods with a super-human homicidal maniac and I live to tell the tale, I will totally have Netflix to thank.

And, you know, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Also, this is funny.

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