Thursday, November 11, 2010

A surprising Veterans Day display

This morning when I was backing out of our driveway, I noticed this flag: I didn't put it there and didn't think Bill did either. I thought maybe someone who knew Bill served in the Navy put it there. But then as I turned and drove down our street, I realized that one of our lovely new neighbors is patriotic as the street was lined with these flags.

I was delighted by the display and it made me just that much happier that we moved into this new 'hood.

Happy Veterans Day to my husband and to those who have served our country. Thank you!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Way more than you think

Whenever people ask me about playing in a band, I always have to mention how much fun it is. The whole process is fun: practicing, writing songs, buying show clothes and rockin' out.

I love playing my guitar loudly. It's powerful.

Last Saturday, my band, Riveter, played a pig-roast barbecue at Peach Street Distillers.

If you haven't been out to the distillery and enjoy vodka, gin, bourbon and the like, make haste. I love vodka and used to drink Skyy, now I drink Peach Street's Goat Vodka and it's lovely.

My only warning about drinking at the distillery is that they pour stiff drinks. One Bloody Mary or Dirty Hippie has the equivalent of at least two or even three shots of vodka. And their drinks are so tasty, you could find yourself drunk there on a Sunday afternoon without even meaning to. Not that that's a bad thing.

We played to a great, big ole crowd Saturday and we kicked all kinds of pig-roast ass.

One of the things that makes playing with my band so a kick in the pants is my band mates. Kelley, Laurena and Scott are exactly the kind of people with whom I want to be spending my time. We get along amazingly, so much so that we and our spouses are celebrating my 40th in Vegas together.

We love to tease each other. Like if I saw this picture:
Instead of deleting it because it's not a nice picture of Kelley, I've been posting it around the Internet with comments that Kelley was having a fit. Because one thing Riveter is, is not very nice. And also because that shit's funny.

Our practices are most always a giggle fest and no one can beat a joke into the ground like we can. Our favorites are ones with dirty words. Recently we all saw this on the Internet:
Now, we try to say that to each other as much as humanly possible, even if it doesn't make sense which, of course, lead me to type this to Kelley yesterday: "Shut your whore e-mail."

Most of the stuff we say might not be funny to everyone (or Scott — who does a lot of head shaking and meditating during our practices), but we think we're hilarious.

And if you don't agree with us, well, you can just shut your whore mouth.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Discovering the best worst band ever

I read a discussion on a mommy blog somewhere about whether or not parents should force children to go to college.

Personally, I think forcing an adultish child to go to college is a bit fruitless. But what about other endeavors? Say, would you force your children to start a band?

What about if your superstitious mother had a premonition that you would have daughters that were in a band? Then would make your kids quit high school and start taking voice and instrument lessons?

Yeah, me neither. But that's exactly what Austin Wiggin Jr. did in the late 1960s.

In order to fulfill his mother's prophecy, he took three of his daughters, Dot, Betty and Helen, out of school and insisted they spend their days and nights practicing music and doing calisthenics.

They wrote songs and played gigs at the town hall and local nursing home for several years. Austin even used the family's savings to have the girls record an album titled “Philosophy of the World.”

When Frank Zappa heard that record, he claimed they were better than the Beatles. And even Kurt Cobain listed this girl-band as a major influence on his music.

So who was this band?

The Shaggs, of course.

Yeah, I had never heard of them either until this week when I saw this pictures:

I was immediately intrigued by this girl band from the 1960s of which I’d never heard, but served as inspiration to some serious musicians. Upon doing some web research, I came upon this article by Susan Orlean. It’s a thorough history of the three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire.

I find the story compelling, not just because when I listen to their music, I find it atonal, awkward and well, … just plain bad, but because many who are involved with outsider music, they find the off-beat, tone-deaf sounds of the three young girls to be epic.

Being in a girl band (uh, I mean, a mostly, all-girl band), I am always looking to be inspired by other female musicians. I believed since I could do it, anyone could. Then l I listened to The Shaggs’ Who Are Parents?

Knowing that these girls practiced day in and day out, playing Saturday-night, town-hall gig after Saturday-night, town-hall gig and yet they could never synch the drums and guitar makes me believe that some prophecies are better left unfulfilled.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hooray for Main Street and delicious sweet-potato fries

I just got back from having lunch with my mom at the Dream Café. For those unaware, the Dream Café is a delightful breakfast/lunch restaurant on Main Street.

Oh, I can hear the sighs and see the eye rolls of those who are avoiding Main Street because of the construction. And to those I say, come on down! Main Street is awesome, construction or not.

Yeah, you might have to walk a little further, but my mom did it and she has cancer in her bones, so …

And really, is walking a little further really such a bad thing? I like walking and especially like walking amongst the beauty of downtown.

Oh, I hear and see more sighs and eye rolls, but I think Main Street is still beautiful even with the construction.

I’ve enjoyed watching the workers transform the worn planters and sidewalks into their new, fresh incarnation. Plus they have left some of the original planter areas intact and they are full of spring flowers.

And they are working all the time. They are working evenings and weekends to get the job done. And for that I am thankful to all of them. It’s the busiest construction site I’ve ever witnessed.

The best part of the construction is that the stores, galleries and restaurants are still open and waiting for our business.

I know it’s got to be a struggle for those merchants to have construction hindering traffic, especially in a down economy. So I have made an effort to visit downtown more than I normally would.

One of the sacrifices I’ve made is eating often at Dream Café. OK, OK, it’s not a sacrifice. It’s a delight.

The café — which has made its home at the former location of the Crystal Café — is, in one word, yummy. They have several variations of Eggs Benedict, which are amazing. Plus their cinnamon rolls are crazy-huge and decadent.

Today, I had the Portabella mushroom sandwich with the absolute best sweet-potato fries I’ve ever had. Mmmm mmmmm!

So I’m still a big fan of downtown Grand Junction and encourage everyone to head on down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The key to a clean car

A few Fridays ago, Bill and I decided to get our weekend started right by going to the gym after work.

It seemed like a good idea at the time (now that just seems crazy and we've learned our lesson).

As we sat in the turn lane getting ready to pull into the gym parking lot, we got rear-ended.

Luckily no one was hurt. Our rear bumper did was it was designed to do, as it took the impact and left the rest of the car unharmed.

The very nice lady who hit us was also unharmed, but her car took more of the damage.

The big hole in her bumper is from our rear tail pipe. Ouch.

The other driver admitted that she looked away for a minute and when she looked back, blammo. We all stayed calm and recognized it as sucky, but we were lucky no one was hurt and our cars were still drivable. It could've been much, much worse.

After the accident, we pulled into the parking lot, looked at the damage, exchanged information and Bill called our insurance. They recommended we file a police report which we did.

Then a miracle happened. Without us having to do much, the other driver's insurance arranged an appraiser to come to my work and assess the damage. They sent the appraisal to the auto body shop and reserved a rental. And another miracle happened, I received a check made out for the entire appraisal price with a promise to pay more if more work was needed.

Just like that.

The only problem was the rental car. They gave me a white "crossover" — which essentially is a station wagon. *shutter*

But it was only going to be for two days, so I didn't sweat it that was until I went to turn it on the first time.

This was the "key" that worked the ignition:

Notice that there isn't actually a key there? Yeah, it's just a plastic end that goes into the ignition on the dash.

That was weird and felt a little un-American, even though it was a Dodge.

But the car drove nicely and I liked some of the interior features. Others left me a bit baffled. Like this button:

What the heck does that button do? It looks like a pig snout to me. I pushed it a couple times, but couldn't figure out what it did. And then before I could further investigate, my car was ready to be picked up.

Here's the after picture of our car:

Good as new and you know what the best part was? The auto body place not only washed the outside of the car, but they also cleaned the INSIDE. They cleaned the whole inside of my car which was filthy.

A new bumper and a clean car, who knew a rear-ender could turn out so well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just say no to fake heart attacks

Just look at those lovely flowers. Bill gave them to me the day after our 10th wedding anniversary last week.

No, he didn't forget. He never does. He just couldn't get them delivered on time because he was in the hospital.

Last Tuesday, Bill was on his way out the door to take Margaret to school when he doubled over in excruciating chest pains. My mom insisted that Bill go the hospital (when you lived with a husband who had heart disease, you know chest pains are no joke).

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. After two days of extensive testing, Bill's heart was deemed in excellent condition and he probably has an ulcer or some such malady. He is now feeling very well and raring to go. I chose to refer to the whole ordeal as "Bill's fake heart attack."

I, however, did not fare so well. After picking Bill up from the hospital, we stopped at the pharmacy to get some Prilosec. Apparently buying digestive medication is my last straw, as I announced in no uncertain terms right there in Rite Aid, that I would not be taking anyone (expect Margaret — nice of me to give exclusions to my own child) to the hospital ever again. Also I wouldn't be going to any doctor's appointment, tests, etc. any more in the future. I claimed I was done with sick people in general and everyone was on their own.

Then I went home and cried.

After three years of sickness, sadness, heart disease, cancer, death and wellness, taking sick days and vacation days to tend to those in need, it got the better of me.

But I knew even then when I was claiming I'd never set foot again inside any health care facility, that I was just whining. Once I got over my bad self, I discussed with myself that life happens. There isn't anything we can do about and sometimes it just plain sucks.

The trick is, of course, how you life your life in and amongst all the crappy parts.

So this weekend, Bill smoked the bejezus out of a whole host of food items in his new smoker (a gift from his whinny wife on the occassion of their uncelebrated 10th anniversary). We had friends and neighbors over. We rode our bikes. We went to see some live music even though we were really too tired.

Unfortunately, I was also stuck grading the exams I didn't get completed during the week while I was dealing with Bill's fake heart attack — but I did so while sitting outside in our backyard and enjoyed the glorious weather.

So when life hands you a fake heart attack, make smoked salmon ... uh, oh, ... you get the picture.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Making the call

This is how our kid looks these days.

She loves wearing dresses, wheeling around on her Heelies and ... what is that in her hand? Oh yeah, her cell phone.

Gah! We gave in and hooked our 9 year old up with a cell phone. It's something that we said we weren't going to do until she was old enough to keep track of her stuff. But we had to take my mom down to get her onto our plan. And since we were already there and upgrading Sean's phone, we decided to get her a voice and texting plan as well.

Oh man, if there's a way to delight a kid, get her a cell phone. And then wait for the storm of text messages that you'll get. Holy cow!

But it's already been convenient. Sunday she was at a neighbor friend's house and we needed to run to the store. We just called her up and made the arrangements. She wanted to know if she could go to the movies, so we got text message asking if it was OK. When she walks home from school and piano lessons, she can call us if there's a problem or whatever. So there is a sense of security in that.

Plus it was fun just to see how excited she was and is over the whole thing. Plus we can always use it as leverage to keep her on task with keeping track of her stuff!

Now the only problem is that my mom got the new Motorola Droid and I'm so jealous of it.

Bill and I just got nice Blackberries last October and then the Droids came out. Holy cow, do I want one of those phones. Those things are sweet!

I'm coveting my mom's cell phone ... please send help ... and a new Motorola Droid!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where the hell did I go?

I was looking at my Google reader this morning and I saw that someone out there had "starred" this post.

I remember writing that post and how it made some people uncomfortable with all the below the waist references and what not. But I just re-read that post and this post that was linked within it.

And you know what? Those posts were funny and edgy and nothing like the scrapple I've been writing lately.

What has happened to me? Where did all my funny go?

I know things have been changed in and around my life, but people still laugh at me and with me in many conversations. Just this last weekend on my band's trip to Moab, we laughed ourselves silly several times.

The girls drove to Moab separately from the boys and we were witnessed walking in a row like Shaggy from Scooby Doo to the bathroom at a rest stop somewhere on I-70. And we laughed over it.

We laughed over the uber hilarious things that our dear friend Tracee said Saturday night.

Japanese ice tea. Dinny's. "My eyes are up here!"

Holy crap we laughed our asses off.

But now I realize that all those things were other people's funnies ... OK it was my idea to walk like Shaggy. So maybe all my funny isn't quite gone yet.

How does one replenish their funny?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reminescing on the silliness

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about how Margaret and I have sore bums.



The first bike ride of the year causes that. Click over here to read my brilliant observations on butt soreness.

I had originally intended to include this picture of me riding my bike:
And then, of course, I didn't use the picture. But I did find a whole bunch of other pictures that made me chuckle.

From these pictures I realized that my kid has always had a great sense of humor. For that I will always be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Just a little Rivetergirl observation

You know those people* who only touch things in a public bathroom using paper towels? For all I know you could be one of those people. I have absolutely nothing against those folks and sometimes even I only touch stuff in a public toilet with paper towels.

It depends upon my mood and/or how dirty the restroom is or appears to be.

*Actually, I'm just referring to women as I have virtually no knowledge of what dudes do in public bathrooms. They could be walking around with their pants around their ankles licking the sinks, for all I know.

I have no issue whatsoever with this behavior. Actually I condone it as it makes the bathroom cleaner for the rest of us.

But I do have a question: What about all that stuff that gets touched AFTER one uses the toilet and BEFORE the hands get washed?

Think about it.

You use the toilet and wipe.

Everyone agrees that the hands are now dirty and need to be washed, right?

But what do we do?

We touch our drawers, we touch our clothes, we touch the door to the toilet stall ... ALL WITHOUT WASHING OUR HANDS.

Then there's the big production of washing and lathering and using the paper towels to open the door on our way out.

But whatever nastiness showed up after we wiped is now on our clothes.

So ick.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Passion and purpose

This post was written by my friend and jewelry designer, Cari Taylor on her blog The Craft Between. She gave me permission to repost it here.

Last Friday I attended a day-long "Conference for Women" workshop that mainly dealt with assertiveness and self-esteem training for women, but there was one topic that really held my attention: the one about passion and purpose. I've struggled with this concept all my life; last year when I was asked by (then) Scoutie Girl blogger/creator Jan to write a post about passion, it was really the first time I was able to put it into words. Here's what I said then:

"Passion is the biggest gift of my life. I spent years trying to find that ‘IT’ thing–the thing that people around me seemed to have that made them get-up the morning, lose themselves in, and could talk about for hours. I tried crochet, woodworking, graphic design, ceramics–nothing stuck. I had this artist stuck inside of me without an outlet to create. Very frustrating.

And just as I was about to give up and resign myself to a boring 8-5 life with no pizzazz–passion found me. As soon as I stopped looking for it, there it was, disguised as a pair of cheap pliers and a roll of 20 gauge craft wire I picked up on a whim. In those first few weeks experimenting with my new hobby, the fog just suddenly lifted. I had so many jewelry design ideas, I couldn’t sketch them out fast enough. I knew in that moment that what I was feeling was passion.

That elusive, enviable, abstract thing, was finally within me. It sounds very dramatic, but passion hit me on the head and brought me to life and continues to be such a surprising force.

Passion gives me purpose and unbelievable energy. Passion has brought me a sense of self-reliance I didn’t have before, a sense of ownership and confidence that I can take anywhere I go. It gives me the strength to work a full-time day job on top of building a business, and gets me through any bad day.

Handcrafted and passion are inseparable. The spirit of independence and creation is alive in every product an artist makes, every detail.

Whether it’s bags, clothing, jewelry, drawings, photographs, textiles–that essence of passion is ingrained within and comes straight from the artist to you. That’s such a big part of it; feeling the passion is one thing, but creating something and sharing it with the world and the people who appreciate it completes the circle."

Is all that still true? Big Yes. The only difference is my 'day job' is much more satisfying now that I've changed departments--which only serves to help me be more creative off hours. Bottom line: life is too short to not be living your passion. Go find it....ASAP.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rockin' Tenacious Brother's Pub

Big show for Riveter tonight. We're playing all night long at Tenacious Brother's Pub in glorious downtown Grand Junction.

I love downtown and I love Tenacious Bros. It's such a fun vibe and they have Stella Artois on tap WITH the fancy glasses. Oh glory be.

Tonight we're playing a whole host of Riveterized awesomeness including two new kick-ass covers and by popular demand, we're bringing back an oldie but a goodie.

Over the past months, we've been weeding out some of our mid-tempo and ballad-y songs, in favor of the more in-your-face rockin' ones that really say "Riveter." Because we're not really happy unless we're swearing and playing as fast as we can.

Long live rock 'n' roll.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'I have new boots' — sing it with me

Yes, I know this is a mommy blog, but I am also a woman who loves cool shoes — or in this case, boots (but just so you know, Margaret is doing great and I'm sure I'll have something to write about her soon enough).

As I mentioned earlier this week, I ordered myself a lovely pair of Valentine boots from John Fluevog. They arrived yesterday.

Even though I bought them with the intention of wearing them when my band plays and around for fun, I'm breaking them in today here at work. Everywhere I go, I'm singing in my head (to no particular tune), "I have new boots. I have new boots."

Yes, I am 12.

And I have new boots. Look how cute and retro they are:

Back in the day, combat boots/Dr. Marten boots were all the rage. These definitely give a nod in that direction, but they have style points amundo (Gah, I just made a Fonzie reference — help me).

And they aren't just ubercool, they are comfortable, too. They are made of fine leather with supportive insoles. And the outer soles are works of art ... heavenly art:

See? They have Fluevogs wonderful, original Angelic sole that is comfortable and durable. Do you see the angels inscribed into the tread? How cute is that?

Plus if you read the disclaimer, it says:

"Resists: Alkalai, water, acid, fatigue, satan."

My soles repel satan, so they are good for my soul, too.

Can your shoes do that? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Say it ain't so

I've been told on more than one occasion that my skin color is "very, very white" and it's true. I'm about as fair as one can get without being albino (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I'd like to have a little more skin color. I've always envied my stepson's gorgeous olive-toned skin. But I'm fair to the fairest degree.

I don't really tan and I burn very easily. Oh and I've had skin cancer ... on my face.

So I wear sunscreen on my face everyday (really, everyday). I don't try to tan — on the contrary, I try to not get sun for the most part. And now with my giant back tattoo, I'll be even more diligent about keeping the sun's harmful rays off my delicate skin.

I know I'm not the only one who fears the damage prolonged exposure to sun. I also know that many still prize a tan.

This, of course, has led to the rise in fake tanning.

And you know what? Fake tans look ... uh, fake. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Check this out, it's the blog "Pale Is The New Tan."

All I have to say is: Are you frickin' kidding me? 'the hell is wrong with these people? Do they really think this looks good?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If the shoe fits

Yesterday I bought a new pair of shoes. Yay! ... What?

OK, that's probably the least shocking news I could share. Any one who knows me, knows I like shoes.

I can scour a shoe-sale rack like no one's business in search of the cheapest and most-cool discount shoes I can find. But these days, I'm much more particular in what I'll bring home.

See, now that I'm 40 (OK, I'm not quite 40 yet, but I'm calling myself 40 because I don't like surprises and I'm fearful that I won't like 40 when it does actually happen to me, so I'm getting used to it ahead of time), I've grown tired of fake shoes. Pleather, faux leather, fleather (as I like to call it) is inexpensive and can make very cute shoes (I'm wearing a pair of fleather boots right now, because I am nothing if I'm not a complete and utter oxymoron), but I'm not buying them anymore. I'm saving my pennies and buying high-quality shoes made to last.

This is why I just had to buy these Fluevog boots last week.

No, these aren't shoes the I bought yesterday. I'm getting to that story, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to mention the new Fluevog boots I'm bought myself to go with the super-cute dress Bill got me for Valentine's Day (can't have a new dress without the appropriate footwear, now can we?).

Yes, I do have a shoe compulsion and that brings me back around to the pair of shoes I bought yesterday.

These shoes are vastly different from any pair of shoes I've purchased for myself in more than 10 years.

They are ... gosh, this is hard to say ... workout shoes. There I said it.

For the last 8 years or so, when I've gone to the gym or some other sort of formal exercise event, I've been wearing a pair of hand-me-down Reeboks from my mom. She didn't like them (I think she said they squeaked), so I took them. They fit well enough ... for the most part.

See, I have no problem forking out my precious money for some expensive, funky boots to wear when my band plays, but I've had a super hard time plunking down the cash for a good, functional athletic shoe that will save my back, feet, hips, etc, from stress and possible injury.

Yeah, it makes no sense to be either. So what made me finally break down and buy some sensible shoes?

Well, it was my toes. They were on the verge of revolt if I didn't do something about my footwear.

We've been going to the gym pretty regularly for several weeks now and if I'd spent any amount of time doing cardio activity, my toes would fall asleep.

I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that that is a bad thing.

We walked around the mall over the weekend hoping to find a good deal, but I was afraid I'd just end up with another pair of shoes that would send my piggies into a coma. So I didn't buy anything. Instead Monday, Mar, Bill and I went to Brown's Shoe Fit on Main Street.

What an experience!

Margaret needed new running shoes, too. Girls on the Run starts this week and the kid need something other than her knee-high Chuck Taylor's to run in.

The extrordinarily helpful and knowledgable saleman measured our feet (Mar now wears a woman's 6-1/2 ... holy cow!) and brought us several pairs to try on. With each pair that we tried, the saleman would feel our feet in the shoe and offer advice on the fit. In no time at all, we both had good shoes that fit well and both pairs were on sale!

So I got myself a good pair of workout shoes and you know what? They aren't even cute, but boy do they feel good.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Adversity schmadversity

Just like every family, mine is faced with challenges — big and little — every day.

And you know what? For the most part, we’ve been kicking some challenge booty. And I like it.

I mentioned recently that my mom has been improving and battling back against her cancer. Each day she’s getting stronger. And now she’s even driving.

Driving! Driving herself in her own car, her brand-new car that I was certain she’d never drive again.

So, suck it, cancer.

My husband is on his path to becoming a non-smoker (again), thanks to the miracle drug Chantix and his own perseverance and determination to become a healthier person.

Bill has been an on-again/off-again smoker for years. He likes smoking. He likes hanging out with his smoking friends and smoking. So it has been hard for him to quit.

He knew he needed to quit and wanted to quit, but could never do it cold turkey or even with the patch or gum.

But this Chantix is a different story.

Of course, it doesn’t work for everyone and it does mess with your brain chemistry so if you have to be careful with it. But it does work in a most profound way.

Bill hasn’t had a cigarette in almost two weeks and doesn’t even want one. He doesn’t even want to be around smokers. He came home from a friend’s house recently where there was much smoking and he was disgusted by the smell on his clothes and hair.

A good sign indeed. So suck it, cigarettes.

And then there’s Margaret. She demonstrated her strength of character yesterday in spades.

The three of us decided the snow was too delicious to pass up and starting gathering our gear for a day on the slopes.

Bill (as usual) couldn’t find half his stuff. He thought (as usual) that I’d moved it. Being that I was suffering from my monthly lady malady, I freaked out and spent a fair amount of time stomping around and yelling (oh, I’m such a delight — but really, I’m a hormonal being. I know we’re not supposed to admit such things as it threatens women’s fight for equality, but it’s true. I could go on about this, but I’ll refrain ... for now). Mar kept her disposition sunny and tried to smooth things over.

I got over my bad self and we headed up to the slopes — powder days are too few to let stupid hormones mess it up, even if I didn’t even touch Bill’s gloves.

We arrived at Powderhorn, jumped on the bunny slope lift and headed up the hill.

Just as we were nearing the top, the life ground to a halt. There we sat for 30 minutes getting soaked by the beautiful, yet wet snowflakes. We eventually got off, but the lift was broken down. We headed over to the Take Four lift. The three of us lined up and sat down, but only two of us made it on to the chairlift.

Mar took a scary tumble off the lift and faced planted into the fresh powder. I screamed, Bill jumped off and Mar shouted, “I’m OK mom!”

The lift operators were there immediately, got her up and checked out and the lift was going again. I got off at Midway and waited. No Mar and Bill.

I called Bill (thank goodness for cell phone service on the mountain) and they weren’t coming. Mar was too scared to get on the lift.

I couldn’t blame her.

I skied down and found them, skis off at the bottom of the run. Mar wanted to go home. I wanted to go home.

But the snow was awesome and we had just got there.

I pulled myself together and gently encouraged Mar to get back on the bunny-hill lift which was running once again.

She resisted.

But not for too long and we skied on over to the lift. We got on and that led to a fun day of schussing.

I’m so proud of her. So suck it, fear!

There’s always going to be illness, broken down lifts and missing gloves. But our days and our lives, for that matter, are what we make of them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Discounts and giveaways just in time for Valentine's Day

Ladies, what are you getting for Valentines Day? Men, what are you giving?

A card with a heart-felt note inside is always lovely ... and often enough. But what about when your Valentine is extra special and you want to give her something to show how much she means?

Do you give candy?

In the past, I’ve always loved getting a big box of nuts and chews. But again this year, I am participating in our office’s Biggest Loser challenge (Lose Muffin Tops! Lose!), so candy is definitely off the list of gift ideas for me this year.

I would, however, love to get a sweet SWEXY band instead.

As much as I love the name “Muffin Tops” for my Biggest Loser team, I don’t want to be known as the girl with the muffin top as I lumber around the track at the gym. The SWEXY band absorbs extra ... uh, perspiration ... and hides the muffin top. How awesome is that?

And you know what, you don’t have to buy yourself one (or for your Valentine), you can WIN one simply by clicking here and leaving a comment.

Easy as pie ... uh, maybe I should say, “Easy as getting to the gym” unless that’s not easy for you, then we’ll just stick with the pie.

Afraid that your Valentine doesn’t want work-out gear for the holiday of romance? Then click over here to find out how you can get a DISCOUNT on Cari Taylor’s gorgeous, eco-friendly, hand-crafted Wired Originals jewelry.

I love Cari’s jewelry. Her earrings are all I wear. I now have four pair which are in constant rotation. I never get bored of them and they go with everything.

And I’d still love to have more. HINT, HINT, Bill!

I’d love to add these to my collection. Oh and these. OK and these, too.

Who am I fooling? I’d love to have one of each pair of her earrings.

So if you want to buy me ... uh, I mean yourself or your Valentine some lovely, locally made jewelry on SALE, click over here by Sunday, Feb. 7.

Believe me, your Valentine will thank you!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Look out below ... er, above

I'm sore. Every joint on the left side of my body aches. I'm even bruised on the palm of my hand.

And I'm irritated, on the verge of angry. But my irritation has come a couple days too late. I guess you could say I'm a slow bloomer.

For once my bodily injuries are not self-inflicted and, no, alcohol was not involved.

I was run over by a teenaged snowboarder ... an unrepentant, teenaged snowboarder.

Sunday, Margaret and I journeyed up to Powderhorn with the intention of honing our ski skills with a lesson and a day on some really nice snow. The day started out great and our lesson was going well. Then Margaret had to go to the bathroom.

I've never been so thankful that she has a pea-sized bladder than I was Sunday.

While she trudged down to the restrooms (why are the bathrooms so far away?), I made a run with our instructor down the bunny slope. I was practicing making parallel turns (more French fries and less pizza!) and doing well when all of a sudden I was tackled by a speeding dimwit and went sprawling down the hill.

When I combobulated myself, I turned to see a teenaged snowboarder complete with stupid droopy pants and the pathetic start of a post-pubescent beard looking a bit dazed and annoyed as he sat in the snow. My instructor spent a good amount of time sternly explaining to the young man the rules of the hill and stressing upon him that if you can't stop, you shouldn't be on the hill. He assured her that he could indeed stop, but could give no reason for why exactly he chose to me as to impede his forward motion.

I found that I was OK and inelegantly got myself up and ready to continue. My first thought in my head was, "Thank goodness Margaret was in the bathroom."

That careless kid would have seriously injured her or worse.

It's those thoughts that make a mama shudder.

And while I assured my instructor that I was OK and I just wanted to continue my lesson, I was a bit shaken. OK, scared. There are't many situations where you get plowed into by a human being speeding down hill faster than gravity intended and even fewer times where you put your kid into that danger. But life isn't without risks and even sitting on the couch has certain dangers.

I didn't want my fear to ruin my day nor scare Margaret so, I finished my run, Mar and I finished our lesson and we spent the next couple hours practicing our parallel skiing again and again down the bunny slope.

Now, two days later, I sit in pain with a bruise the size of New Jersey decorating my left leg and wishing that I had taken the opportunity to "accidentally" smack that kid in the junk with my ski pole.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mama's cooking

Lately my mom has been cooking up some yummy, healthy dinners.

This is awesome, not just because we're eating healthy and eating good, but because my mom is cooking.

It takes her a while and she has to lie down when the pain gets too bad, but still she's doing it.

Monday on my lunch hour, we went into the bank on an errand, then to lunch where we had to walk a block down Main Street (because I can never remember where anything is) and back again.

She was able to do all of this with only a cane which she uses more for balance than anything else.

I realize most 66-year-old women can do these things, but for my mom it is monumental.

Last June, after suffering for months with debilitating back and hip pain, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer which metastasized to bones and had taken over larger portions of her spine. The prognosis was not good, not good at all.

She was suffering greatly. The pain prevented her from being able to do almost anything but lie on one side in bed.

When I brought her to Grand Junction to live with us, my mom could barely make it from the bed around the corner to the bathroom while using a walker. She couldn't sit for any length of time and walking was precarious and painful.

Luckily for us, she has a great team of doctors at the St. Mary's Cancer Center and was given effective treatments.

Now she walks around the house without even a cane, sits with her computer on her lap, keeps her room, cleans the kitchen and makes dinner.

It is glorious.

Her doctors are thrilled and as am I.

Mama's back and she's making us dinner.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

McCraquette ball

I've been Googling and reading the rules of racquetball.

I think it's important that Bill, Margaret and I actually know something about this game because what we did at the racquetball court last night bore no resemblance to any organized game. Instead, it looked more like a 3-D version of the old video game, Super Breakout.

But we did have fun. The three of us ran around smacking the ball as much as we possibly could. We cheered each other on and I only yelled at Bill a couple of times for trying to detach our retinas.

And it was way better than doing what Margaret wanted to do.

She wanted us to move ourselves around the jogging track ... by jogging.

Jogging is not something that I aspire to do.

I should point out that I'd like to have the aerobic capacity to be able to run for some respectable amount time ... you know, in case I was being chased by some horrible monster or if the ice cream truck was getting away. But I don't really want to be running just for the sake of running.

There's a kajillion things I'd much rather be doing. Number one on that list is lying down ... in my bed ... watching HBO (we only get HBO free for one more month, so I'm trying to get my money's worth — OK, since I'm not paying for it, I'm not actually getting my "money's worth," but I don't want it to go unwatched. Plus have you seen that series "Big Love"? Because holy macarolli, that's a crazy show. )

Really that is the problem that led us to sign up for a membership to the Mesa State rec center — I've been lying down way too much. It's all I want to do.

Bill and I have had gym memberships before and, honestly, I really liked going to the gym. But I felt too guilty being out of the house so many evenings during the week.

Now Bill and I can take Margaret with us to play racquetball (assuming that we actually learn the game. In the meantime, we'll continue playing McCraquette ball with exuberance), swim or even — gag — jog on the inside track.

I shouldn't really make it sound so bad, 10 years ago while pregnant with Margaret, I was a full-time employee of Mesa State College. My assistant and I would use the gym several days a week.

She'd use the machines while I'd walk on the treadmill. Then we'd walk as fast as we could around the then-much-shorter inside track (believe me, having access to an inside track during the middle of summer here while pregnant was essential) for three or four miles.

And I really enjoyed it. I'd like to think that all that exercise was the reason I had such a quick labor and delivery. Who knows?

So now, while I have no intention of bulking up to my pre-birth weight, I would like to achieve my pre-birth aerobic capacity ... you know, in case the ice cream man tries to deny me an ice-cream sandwich.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In sickness

As I'm typing this, I keep pausing to inhale the steam wafting off my herbal tea in hopes that it'll open my clogged sinuses.

It's that a nice way to start a blog, by painting a picture of a nose full of boogers and sickness? Yeah, well, it's that kind of day.

But I'm trying not to complain.

Trying real hard.

Margaret got sick several weeks ago and it working her way through a second round of antibiotics to get the evil cough to go away.

Sunday, my mom came down with some serious congestion and a loose, phlegmy cough (pretty, eh?).

Bill's trying to avoid any contact with anything we touch, breath on or even look at just in case. I don't blame him. I should've been more diligent.

But for now, I've dusted off the old neti pot, found the SinuCleanse, I'm taking Zicam and drinking herbal tea.

What do you for the common cold?

P.S. On a completely different note, sometimes it's a very good idea to heed the PG-13 rating on movies.

Last night, Mar, my mom and I sardined on my mom's bed to watch Julie & Julia while Bill sat as far away as he could get from the triumvirate of illness.

While the premise of famous chef Julia Child and a young writer seems an appropriate one for 9-year-old, I was sadly mistaken. At one point I had to answer Margaret with a bland, "You don't need to worry about that" when, in reference to a comment made by Julia Child, Margaret asked "What is a stiff cock?"

That Julia was a saucy one on many levels.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vegas is fun ... who knew

So I'm sure you all know by now, Bill and I went to Vegas.

It was fun, eat drank a lot (you can walk down the street with drinks, just like civilized people should), we ate a lot and I started out my family's Biggest Loser Challenge by gaining one pound (Bill reminded me that I should be happy it's only one pound considered all the eat and drink).

But because I can't leave well enough alone, here are some photo highlights from our trip:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

It's better than a slap in the face

I'm clumsy. I trip over stuff, fall up stairs and start to skid if I even look at ice. Basically, I'm awkward.

Because of this, I decided a while ago to forgo high fives.

I didn't choose to not high five out of malice, but because I'm afraid of accidentally slapping unknowing person in the face.

Also, I used to miss a lot and that just made me feel stupid.

So now when presented with a palm to slap, I have to say, "Sorry, I don't high five."

And you know what?

It bothers people ... a lot.

I realize that by not high fiving, I am rebuffing a socially accepted gesture of affirmation. I'm sorry about that. But still, I should be allowed to not high five, don't ya think?

Many people do not agree. I have been chased down in a vain attempt to force me to high five and there are numerous people who try to trick me into high fiving.


Now, I don't high five on principle. I'll shake your hand when appropriate, hug you if I like you, but don't ask me to slap your hand or I might just miss on purpose.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I think, therefore, I Twitter

I like social networking. I blog (obviously, eh?), I Facebook and I Twitter.

I can take a picture with my BlackBerry and when I upload it via Ubertwitter, it automatically updates my Facebook status.

In short, I'm a bit of a geek ... well, I don't write code or anything smart like that, so maybe I'm just like everybody else who performs these now-mundane tasks.

Through Facebook, I've been able to reconnect and stay in touch with many family members who I'd normally see only at weddings and funerals, as well as former classmates and long-lost friends.

For me, social networking is fun. I like it — for the most part.

There is a basic code of etiquette to which we should all strive for our online presences. Click here to read Brenda Powell's basic list of dos and don't for social networking.

Here are a few of my guidelines:

First, my kid, my mom and my grandms are all on Facebook. So I do try to keep my posts, pictures, stories, videos, etc., acceptable for their viewing enjoyment.

I break this guideline often.

I have been known to spend a Sunday morning or two deleting unsavory pictures and/or comments that I had posted the night before when my good judgment was clouded by my beer goggles and readily accessible Internet.

I try to make my updates at least marginally funny (to myself, anyway) or informational. I try (and, again, often fail) to avoid posting mundane facts, e.g., "I had lunch with Bill today," "I'm working at my desk," "I'm walking my dog."

All those things are true (well, I'm not actually walking my dog right now. She actually hates the cold. Thank goodness our dear friend bought her a dog snuggie), but in the grand scheme of things, who cares?

If I'm dead set on pronouncing my lunchtime activities, I try at least to include some entertaining tidbit, e.g., "I dazzled the folks in the Chipotle parking lot by falling off the 6" curb today after lunch with Bill."

Still not the most interesting thing in the world, because if you know me, you know that the probability of me falling off each and every curb I'm presented with is pretty high. But at least there was some effort to craft a statement worth reading.

Now while I'm not that interested in reading about what you had for dinner, I am interested in seeing your pictures. I'm a visual person. Don't write that you got a new haircut/tattoo/snuggie unless you are going to post pictures of the aforementioned item. I want to be able to judge for myself whether the haircut/tattoo/snuggie is indeed as awesome as you suggest.

One of my social-networking pet peeves is when people use their status updates to count down to their awesome vacations upon which I have not been invited (Daniel, I'm looking at you!).

While I love to hear what people are doing on their vacays and see pictures of the places they are visiting, knowing that they have 3 days, 15 hours and 29 minutes until their plane lands in Hawaii, makes me hope — just a little bit — they experience a bed-bug infestation.

I post links to my blogs on Facebook and sometimes to Twitter, not because I expect everyone to be interested enough to read them, just so that those that I've "friended" can, if they want to.

Honestly, I'm always surprised when I find out that people actually read my scribblings. That fact alone makes me strive to be more interesting, more funny, more profound.

In the meantime, I only can hope to be less annoying.

Monday, January 04, 2010

From the list of "Things I Do Not Want"

There are a lot of things, stuff, doohickeys that I'd like to have. This is not one of them:

Why don't I want it?

Because it's a teddy bear made out of human placenta.

As a matter of fact, I do not want any object make out of any part of a human person. But thanks anyway.