November 28, 2008

Holy Smokes, Batman!

So my father-in-law is being ordained on Sunday. Not as a minister, but as a pastor for his church, which is one of those born-again, non-denominational churches that looks more like an office building than a church. He's been going to their "school of theology" every Thursday for the last year and a half or so and I guess Sunday is his graduation. They've asked us to come. It starts at 10:45 a.m. and we have to drive 45 minutes to get there. I checked their website and that's when their Sunday service starts; I'm guessing the ordination is at the end of the service. So we have to sit through an entire service before the big event.

Oh, and by the by, we're Agnostics. Actually, Rob's more or less an Atheist. I'm pretty sure the building will be a pile of embers by the time we leave, what with our non-believing ways. I hope they have a cry room so I don't have to leave the baby with the daycare center. I have no problem leaving Beth in there, but Bubba still has a bit of a separation problem with me in that he loses it whenever I walk away from him.

With all that's been going on lately, though, I'm starting to wonder (actually, we're both starting to wonder) if a little faith wouldn't do us some good. I mean, my father-in-law has been "putting his life in God's hands" for years now and it's brought him more strife than peace...but there's a lot of people in their church that seemingly have few problems. They're always smiling, going around in their nice cars and clothes that aren't faded and stained because they can shop for clothes on the regular. They don't seem to have financial struggles and although they're all busier than mad hatters with that church, they don't seem stressed out. Is that because of faith or just good luck?

I don't know. Maybe it's just all the bummers we've been dealing with lately, or maybe it's the holiday season, I just find myself questioning stuff like that. What about you? Thoughts?

November 26, 2008


So as we approach the end of the year and a pretty big crossroads in our life, Rob and I have discovered that in order to turn things around, you have to wade through a giant steaming pile of shit.

I really can't let on about what's going on. All you need to know at this point is that Christmas is looking really damn bleak. Our daughter is so excited about Christmas...every time we go to the store, she finds all the Christmas decorations and babbles on and on about Christmas and Santa Claus and presents and the trees. She got so excited about it, we ended up putting our tree up yesterday.

I want to be excited with her. I do. But I'm having a tough time of it. I hate to be such a downer but it really sucks when all the Christmas presents you were going to get her and her brother will have to wait until their next birthday or maybe just be a random gift some time next year. All they'll have is whatever the grandparents send. AARRRGGHH!

Damn company my husband used to work for. By hook or by crook, you found one more way to screw us over one last time.

Hopefully my Thanksgiving post will be a tad more happy. Hopefully.

November 24, 2008

Another Award! Yay!

Many thanks to Denise at Laughing With Spoons! I don't know if I deserve one lately, what with my lack of blogging but I do appreciate it.

Here are the rules for this one:

1. Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you’ve posted your award.
2. Publish these rules.
3. Share 6 values that are important to you and 6 things you do not support.
4. Grant the prize to 6 people.

Six Important Values/Beliefs:

1. Find something positive to say about every day.
2. Trust is something you earn.
3. You get what you give.
4. Murphy's Law touches my life daily.
5. "Life's a dance you learn as you go."
6. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Six Values/Beliefs I do NOT support:

1. Adultery ever being okay.
2. Skinny jeans being "in."
3. That income = intelligence.
4. That taking away my guns (and the guns of law-abiding citizens) will solve the gun violence problem.
5. Abuse of domestic pets. Ever watch "Animal Cops?"
6. Bullying.

Okay, I don't have six people to award this little prize to, so I'm giving it to...

1. Slick at Slick Sumbich
2. AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl
3. Amy at Inside the McMind

November 22, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

We've just had so much going on here lately. Most of it I still can't confirm, but I can tell you this: the times, they are a-changin'. So I'm stealing a survey-type thing from Lazy Crazy Mama, and it's only stealing because she didn't tag me. I look like the Lazy Mama now. Ah well. Writer's Block has me by the tail. So sue me.


1. What is your funniest childhood story? Oy, I have to pick just one? This actually involves my cousin, Jake. Every Christmas Eve, my dad's family would get together at either my grandparents' place, my aunt and uncle's place, or my other aunt's house. For reference's sake: Grandma's, Uncle Ed's, and Aunt Marilyn's. So this particular year, it was at Grandma's and all but two of the cousins were across the road at Uncle Ed's. Steve, Maureen, Jake, Jess and I generally always retreated somewhere to get away from the raucous adults and older cousins (sorry Tracy, but you were among them!). Anyway, we were playing Pictionary and about an hour or so into it, we got a phone call from Grandma's that it was time to come back over to open presents. We get outside and it wasn't a particularly snowy year so we decided to race back across the road. Most of us were just lightly jogging because out in the country, you have only the moonlight to guide you anywhere. Jake threw caution to the wind and just took off. Took off and smacked directly into a giant fir tree. I mean, we actually heard the thump of his head hitting the tree. No worries, he was fine! But it was fun-nee!

2. What would your dream dress look like if you could design it? Um...I don't wear dresses. Ever. I wear a skirt maybe once a year.

3. What weird habit does your hubby have? He holds his head crooked. This affects his shaving habits in that whenever he shaves, his sideburns and goatee end up crooked. That's right: one sideburn is longer than the other and if you look at the goatee line under his chin, it's at a terrific angle.

4. How many cookbooks are in your kitchen? I'll go count. I have 24 cookbooks. HOLY CRAP! The best part: I only use one of them!

5. Granny panties or loyal Victoria's Secret girl? Here's my confession, everyone: I've never bought VS. Nope, not even once. I've been in there once or twice but I have always assumed (without actually researching the first point) that a) they don't make VS items in my size, and b) I can't afford to shop there. That said, I don't wear granny panties. I opt for boy-cut or bikini.

6. My favorite memory from 2008 so far is...the presidential campaign and election. Seriously. I know it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to but it was the first time in my life I've ever been seriously passionate about politics and how all of Washington's and Sacramento's decisions directly affect me. It was a very big turning point for me and despite the outcome, it's hands-down my favorite memory.

7. I Adam Sandler movies. Not the more recent ones, which I openly admit I like, but the old ones. "Happy Gilmore," "Big Daddy," and "Billy Madison" are among them. I play it off like they really annoy me and that I can't stand his roles in them, but it's totally the opposite. What does annoy me is Rob Schneider's token role in all of Adam Sandler's movies! What is up with that?

8. I could really go for...some Mucinex, Campbell's Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, a box of soft tissues, and some Carmex for my raw nose. I've been sick for all of 24 hours and I feel like I'm dying.

9. We are going to have a big snow storm and you will find me...standing at the kid's bedroom window with my face pressed against the glass, wondering how in the HELL we're having a snow storm the in the San Francisco Bay Area!

10. I knew he was the one...the moment I saw him. I'm not kidding, either. It's SO clichè, but it truly was "love at first sight." I loved his eyes, his smile, his voice, and a few hours later, the way he kissed. Most of you know the story but the Reader's Digest version reads: we talked every night on the phone for two months straight - while I lived in Pennsylvania and he lived in California - and then he moved in with me. It'll be seven years this week that we've been living together.

November 21, 2008

My Sincere Aplogies

I haven't been very bloggy lately and I'm sorry. We've had much afoot these days and it's taking up my internet time as well as preoccupying my mind. I'm going to try to blog a real post tonight, so stick with me!

November 18, 2008

I'm Going For Extra Credit This Week

I'm doing two prompts. Today's homework:


1. The last time I laughed really hard...

About a week and a half ago, Rob and I were sitting on the couch watching Ghost Adventures. I'm not a huge fan of the show but it is about ghosts 'n such, so I'm willing to give it a whirl now and again.

Anyway, we're watching it and during a commercial, we were talking about how these types of shows could be completely staged. You know, actors instead of real ghost hunters on a sound stage instead of a real haunted place, sound crew in the background making noises, props falling over, laser pointers, etc. Then my husband pipes up with possibly the funniest statement he's ever made:

"When I took a ninja training class..."

That's all I heard. He lost me there. I fell into fits of tear-filled laughter that went on for about five minutes. How many times in your life do you get to hear someone say that, let alone your husband? Besides, can you picture this guy learning how to be a ninja???

It was just too damn funny. When I finally got all my giggles out, he went on to tell me that when he and his brother were living in Pennsylvania with their mom, they came out one summer to spend a few months with their dad. The day they flew in, he picked them up at the airport and took them directly to this class which was being held and taught by his wife's brothers, both black belts in karate. So it was a legitimate class. I had just one question for him when he was done talking:

"So, did you get a little certificate or something when you were done? Like, you're a certified ninja now?"

He wasn't amused.

November 17, 2008

So I Wasn't Tagged...But That's Okay.

I'm doing it anyway, Mimi!
Truth be told, I'm very tired and have little to talk about. That's a lie. I have a LOT to talk about but only a small portion of it is set in stone right now. Hence, I can't really start flapping my gums until a few more things come together. Don't be mad. I don't want to hold out on you all but I kinda have to. For now. *mwah*

Five Things On My To Do List
1. Clean the bathtub. I cleaned the rest of the bathtub but I'm all out of Comet. Once I get the Comet, I clean the tub.
2. Clean the fish tank. I hate cleaning that damn thing.
3. Find gainful employment (more on that to come later).
4. See doctor about my nose on Wednesday.
5. Read "A Girl From Yamhill" before the 29th, when it's due back at the library.

Five Things I Like To Snack On
1. Cookies
2. Cake
3. Crackers and Sweet Pepper & Apple Relish
4. Pretzels
5. Chips & salsa

Five Things I Would Do If I Was a Millionaire
1. Buy a huge lot and build our own house in the country
2. Furnish said house with all new furniture
3. Sock away probably 1/3 of it for savings and kids' college funds.
4. Go back to school and get my psychology degree.
5. Boob job. No, I'm not kidding.

Five Places I Have Lived
1. Conneautville, PA
2. Slippery Rock, PA
3. Fremont, CA
4. Brentwood, CA
5. Hayward, CA

Five Jobs I Have Had
1. "Sales Associate" at Country Fair
2. Server at Cracker Barrel and Stable Pit 'N Pub.
3. Cashier at Giant Eagle
4. Receptionist at WHCI.
5. Mom. Best full-time gig I've ever had!

The Five People I’m Tagging
1. Amy at Inside the McMind
2. Jen at Cheaper Than Therapy
3. Diana at What A Novel Idea
4. That's it. I don't want to bother anyone else!

November 16, 2008

Mr. Lady's Contest

Mr. Lady is holding a recipe contest in honor of America's Thanksgiving - as opposed to Canada's, which was about a month ago - and food, glorious food (Oliver!, anyone?). You don't even have to enter a Thanksgiving recipe, just a recipe that you love. So to do my part and boost her number by one more entry, here's my recipe - er, Mom's recipe - for Pretzel Salad.


- 2 cups crushed pretzels
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons white sugar

- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

- 2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries*

1. Preheat your oven to 300º F.

2. Mix pretzels, butter, and 3 tbsp. sugar together in a bowl. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.** Bake for 8-10 minutes and set aside.

3. In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 1 cup of white sugar with a hand mixer until well blended. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread mixture onto the cooled pretzel crust, making sure to seal up the edges. If you don't, your gelatin layer will drip down to your crust and make it soggy.

4. In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Dissolve gelatin packets in the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and add strawberries; cook over low for about five minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pour liquid and strawberries over the cream cheese layer (this is why you sealed the edges in Step 3).

5. Cover dessert and place in the refrigerator; allow it to set overnight.

*If you buy the frozen blocks of strawberries, the strawberries in your gelatin will be a bit more like they are in yogurt. If you buy bags of whole strawberries, slice them into ¼" slices while they're still frozen and it'll look prettier and be neater to eat.

**I don't recommend using an aluminum pan for this dessert. The sides of those pans aren't very sturdy and tend to bend and get all floppy with too much pressure. Also, they tend to be ridged and that allows the gelatin to run down to the crust. You'll want to use either glass or metal.

Don't use this...

Use one of these...

November 14, 2008

The Friday Chronicles

Oh what a day. What a week. What a cruel, cruel world!

My day started at 5:00 a.m. because Boy showed up at 5:10 a.m. Rawr. I normally get up at 5:30 and so it was only half an hour, but it's that last half hour that means so much to me! Of course once he got here, my kids woke up and shortly thereafter, my husband. So much for any faint hope of catching a nap before the sun came up.

Boy was here for about 13 hours today. We tried to take the kids to the park just up the street after lunch, but we weren't there 10 minutes and some guy walks up with a brown paper bag - suspiciously shaped like a 40 oz. - and starts drinking it not 15 feet away from the kids. He took a big swig, put it down, and put his cowboy hat over the top of it as if to trick me into thinking he wasn't up to anything. We packed up the kids and went home. This guy was old and alone, who knows what he was hanging out at a park with little kids for? What, he couldn't go get drunk at home? Or at the Eden Greenway across the street? So I yelled at him as we were walking away, being all kinds of passive-agressive. Jerk.


So Rob was home sick through Wednesday. He tried to go back to work on Thursday. He calls me at 8:18 a.m. Thursday morning to inform me that he's on his way home; there's no work. He was told to call this morning before he came in to see if there was work, so he called. No work. His boss's instructions for Monday? Call at 10:00 a.m. to see if he was able to "scare anything up."

Rob's calling the service manager Monday morning and demanding to be laid off. That whole bit a while back about him going on the road? It never came to fruition, he's still in the shop. Not that it matters: all the shop mechanics are workless, too. So cross all available appendages that the service manager does, in fact, have a heart beneath his slicked-back hair and blanket of cologne and lays my husband off.


I think I have a deviated sceptum. A few days ago, my son head-butted me directly in the shnozz. It didn't bleed, it didn't swell, it just caused a blinding pain felt only twice in my life prior to that moment and that pain was felt about two and a half feet lower. I didn't think much of it until the headaches started the next day. Despite multiple doses daily of Extra Strength Tylenol, I haven't been able to shake the headaches, they just lessen and worsen throughout the day. Also, there's a big bump on my sceptum inside my nose. I'm waiting on a morning call-back from the doctor's office to try to get me in tomorrow afternoon.


Finally, in "How Darcie Managed to Look Like A Jackass" news: I wore my t-shirt inside out to the grocery store this afternoon. I had no idea. People kept smiling at me and I thought that maybe they were just happy it was Friday. Some bordered on laughing. I just couldn't figure it out. Then I got home and was walking back to our apartment when I felt something brushing against my arm as I walked. Sure enough, it was the tag. Then it all made sense. I was embarrassed for all of about five seconds. After that, I figured that I had done a good deed for the day without realizing it: I made several people smile. :)

November 13, 2008

My Weekly Writing Assignment

Time for my homework!

This week's prompts:

1.) Write a haiku about what you see out the window. (if you don't know what a haiku is click here.)

2.) Begin with "I thought I saw..."

3.) If I could live in any era of history, what would it be -- list 10 reasons why.

4.) Write a light hearted piece on how to get along with an enemy.

5.) The first time you...



I'd give my left pinky toe to have been born circa 1940, slightly pre-baby boom. How amazing it would have been to realize all the optimism of the post-war era versus the stagnancy of the new millenium.

Here are my 10 reasons (wow, I'm kind of a Top Ten whore these days, aren't I?):

10. The Music I know it's not for everybody, but I simply adore the music from the 1950s and 1960s. I also love music from the late '60s up through today, but the music from my mom's heyday (she graduated in the class of '56) is innocent, pure and had a really good beat. That's my seque into #9...

9. The Dancing People actually danced in the '50s. I mean, a boy and girl stood facing each other, assumed the dancers position and danced as a pair, and no groin areas ever really touched, and if they did it wasn't intentional or sexual. Dancing wasn't equivalent to dry-humping. I, to quote Denise, "super puffy heart" dancing and wish I could convince my husband to take dance lessons with me. I want to learn the jitterbug, swing, waltz, two-step, cha-cha, and even line dancing. I dance daily around our place. I don't need music, I just dance. My husband, unfortunately for me, thinks dancing is for girls and refuses. *sigh*

8. The Clothes They were pretty uniform and back then, girls didn't strive to wear as small a size as possible. Curvy was considered attractive. I'll grant you, I'm a bit more than just curvy, but still. Clothes were forgiving and brand names weren't really an issue then. Hell, it was still fashionable to sew your own clothes. And if anyone's interested, I found a really good site for Marilyn Monroe pictures. It's in Russian, but the pictures are awesome.

7. The Cars You can't beat the cars from that era. Cars built up through the early 1980s were built to last, bodies made out of steel, not plastic. The cars were roomy and designed to be aesthetically pleasing, not necessarily compact and efficient. They were showy. People took pride in their cars, washed them every weekend, serviced them regularly. They didn't cover them in bumper stickers, ignore the much-needed oil change, or allow Cheerios to be eternally lost to the backseat.

6. The Furniture Their furniture was...well...interesting. Odd colors, not that comfortable, but it belongs solely to that generation and they own it. I'd love to decorate a room with their furniture, namely my kitchen. It'd be themed a la the Prime Time Cafe at Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. We ate there during my and my mom's 1997 trip to Florida, it was awesome.

5. The Way They Reared Children It was a no-bullshit mentality. Kids did what they were told, there was no room for negotiation, and if you didn't do it, you were punished. I'm sorry if I offend anyone here, but in my opinion there are far too many parents out there who want the kid to make all their own decisions, have their own way, and by the time the kid is 16, they're a spoiled little brat who's never been told no and who will whine, cry, and lay down on the floor kicking and screaming until someone bends to their will. It annoys the everlovin' hell out of me! Kids NEED discipline and structure! They want boundaries! They need parents who say, "NO!" Bah.

4. A Handshake Really Meant Something My mom has a waterbed (purchased circa 1983, yeah, it's that old) with the drawers underneath it. In them, she stores old things: pictures, my drawings and stories from the first grade, my baby blankets, and most importantly, my grandmother's jewelry box. I sifted through it once. Mostly costume jewelry. But among all the big necklaces and clip-on earrings, I found my grandfather's credit card for Montgomery Ward.

Credit wasn't always so complicated. "Credit" meant you could go to a store, get what you needed and they'd keep track of what you owed them. If you didn't pay, it didn't turn into a dozen phone calls a day, credit scores tanking, and thousands of dollars in debt. If you didn't pay, your creditor (Montgomery Ward, Sears, the car dealership, etc.) showed up and took back what you couldn't pay for. Your word and your handshake were all that mattered. It's just not that simple anymore.

3. The Novelty of Technology Television. Your own private phone number at home instead of party lines. Electric kitchen appliances. We take it all for granted now but I'd have loved to see it all when it was shiny and new, making life easier for us. We get some of that feeling now, but it's more improvements on current technology than something actually new. We're a lackluster generation: nothing surprises us and we're always wanting the next best thing.

2. No Convenience Foods People were expected to prepare every meal from scratch. There weren't any individually wrapped granola bars, snack-sized bags of chips, big-as-a-Buick Costco-sized containers of pretzels. There were candy shops and TV dinners, but much like the cars I mentioned above, meal preparation was something women took pride in. Of course, they also used a TON of butter and even lard (EW.)

1. The Optimism Everyone was so damn happy! Happy to be alive, happy to have won the war, happy to get married and raise their families. People had dinner parties, they dressed nicely every day, they were proud of what they had and aspired to do more. The American Dream was alive and well in our little chunk of earth and I feel like it's all gotten lost amid politics, the rising cost of living, and a lack of hope. People are too willing to sit on their backsides and wait for life to happen to them - or the government to provide them a better life, but that's a story for another blog - and in the meantime, they're wasting precious time. You only get one ride around this sphere, make the most of it!

This is at a rest stop on our journey out west. We planned this adventure in a matter of about two months.

Rob and a brand-new Bubba

Beth and Me, summer of 2007

November 12, 2008

What Moms Can't Do

Growing up, I figured there wasn't much mom couldn't do. I knew she couldn't fly an airplane and that brain surgery probably wasn't in her realm of knowledge, but that aside, moms (and dads, of course) were all-knowing and all-able. Then I became a mom and boy, did I ever change my tune! So here's my Top Ten List (a la David Letterman) of things moms can't do.

10. You can't have five minutes of silence if they're awake. Inevitably, someone will yell, cry, shriek or come up with the neverending soliloquy. Then, as they have a way of doing, the other one will pipe up with one of the aforementioned verbalizations and all you'll hear is this loud drone of noise that drills into your brain like a Dremel.

9. You can't fix a plate of food and expect to have it all to yourself. No matter how yummy and scrumptious and enticing their food is, yours will always look better. Before you know it, you have a herd of strays at your feet meowing for a scrap. Crumbsnatchers.

8. You can't leave on a fifteen-minute shopping excursion without a chorus of goodbyes and sobs of despair - because you obviously hate them and will never return - and subsequently, you can't return without running into a wall of complete apathy. They spirits were broken when you left and they couldn't care less when you come back.

7. You can't go into another room without a barrage of questions. It's the Spanish Inquisition. ["The Inquisition" song, from History of the World, just popped into my head.] What are you doing, mommy? What are you making? Are you getting the butter? Are you stirring? Are we having lunch? Are we having dinner? Are you going potty? Wash your hands? Get a diaper? Jesus H.

6. You can't go grocery shopping without hearing about one specific item in the store that they simply must have the whole. damn. time. It doesn't stop! From the moment you pull into the parking lot till the moment you leave the store, it's all they can talk about. It gets especially bad if you don't buy it for them.

5. You can't watch R-rated movies anymore. You can't watch them while they're awake because the violence scares the crap out of them and you're too tired to watch them by the time the kids go to sleep. It's all PG-13 and up for the next 15 years.

4. You can't have a clean car. You swear up and down that you won't allow any more food in your car and you especially won't allow any in the backseat. A month later you're at the carwash, carseats sitting on the ground outside the car, vacuuming out four weeks worth of Teddy Grahams, Cheerios, a chunk of quesadilla, and a rock-hard chicken nugget. Or you have ants.

3. You can't have a clean carpet for more than a week. I must vacuum three times a week and even though we steam-clean every six months, there are innumerable stains on the damn thing. From forgotten apple pie cookies that got slobbered on and then mashed into the carpet to a wayward strawberry, your carpet ends up looking like a Jackson Pollock.

2. You can't get anywhere on time. You get there way late because it took you 10 minutes longer than you thought it would to get the kids dressed, three attempts to get out the front door before you remembered everything (including one trip all the way down to the car before you remembered you forgot the diaper bag), and then, as Murphey's Law indicates, you encounter traffic. Or, conversely, you get there entirely too early because you overcompensated for how long you figured it would take you to get everything done and you end up sitting outside your destination for half an hour.

1. You can't go to the bathroom alone. Believe me, I've tested this theory over the last 3.5 years. You can be by yourself in the bathroom with the door shut and locked - provided you're fast and move like a ninja - but rest assured that one, if not all, of your kids will either sit vigil outside the bathroom door and make noise whilst you do your business or will keep coming back and trying the doorknob to see if maybe you'd unlocked it yet, you know, just for them. Because you desperately need their assistance with everything.

November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it; it's an important holiday and I feel it's necessary that were remember all veterans today, living and deceased, and remember the sacrifices they've made. And let's not forget the sacrifices their families make: time with their loved one, nobody to help parent the children, many women have to give birth without their husband present, mom's watch their babies go off to war, babies watch their moms and dads go off to war. It breaks my heart to think of how hard that must be, no matter how many times you have to do it. I don't care where you stand on war, soldiers devote their lives to defending all of our great freedoms and I am full of pride, admiration, and gratitude not just today but every day.

My dad and his brothers were all in the military, as was my aunt. My mom's brother was in the Navy. My cousin, until very recently, was active duty Army. The woman I babysit for, she's active duty Navy. I had friends in high school enlist; some are still in, some left after their four years were up. I remember listening to two friends, one of whom was in the Army, the other in the Marines, argue about which branch of the military was superior to the other. I remember thinking at the time how they were acting like little boys with the whole, "My [insert whatever object comes to mind here] is bigger than your [same object]."

I have a much deeper appreciation for all that our military does for us now and I'm so proud to be an American. So if any of you are military families or are in the military, thank you so much.

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." ~Elmer Davis

November 10, 2008

A Fresh Start

So you'll all be happy to know that I'm moving all my political mumbo-jumbo to a new blog, aptly titled California Misfit. Let's face it, the only time my presidential vote matters is during the primaries, otherwise it's only for my own satisfaction and that of my party's. So anyway, you won't hear about it here! I'm getting back to parenting and family and life in general. It was getting way to negative in here!

As for life in general, things are peaceful here. We're not-so-pessimistic about Christmas this year. Provided work stays steady, we should be able to eke out a decent Christmas for the kids and not break the bank doing it. My husband, unforunately, is sick. He started not feeling well yesterday and between last night and this morning has developed hot flashes and chills, a very congested head, and aches and pains. He's home today with plans to return to work tomorrow, but we'll see. On the upside, the rest of us are okay. The kids both had their flu shots at the end of October so they're just starting to kick in. Beth had a low-grade fever two days ago and a little rash on her chest, and she's developed a bit of a night cough but I'm really hopeful that's all it will be. I feel so bad for kids when they get sick! There's no easy way to explain to them that it's only temporary and that they'll be better soon; you can only watch them suffer through runny noses and being hot.

So anyway, that's what's going on here today. Well, that and my unbridled enthusiasm to watch Chuck.

November 7, 2008

The Friday Chronicles

This week, despite one sad day - for a little less than half the country - smack dab in the middle of the week, went fairly quickly. And in the interest of not inciting a riot or ruffling the feathers of The Three Democrateers [D, I didn't mean to make you typescream at the computer. I know that's what you were doing. *smile*]of Pennsylvania, I'm done talking politics for a while. I'm tired of it, it's played out, and no one cares anymore. What's done is done and I'm sure there'll be plenty to talk about come February, so I'm taking a breather. Here's to the next four years, for better or worse!


Funny conversation I had with Beth:

Beth had just done something mean to her brother and I was working an apology out of her. We've been focusing on not just getting the "I'm sorry" out, but also on the "why" of the situation.
Me: Thank you for apologizing. Now why are you sorry?
Beth: Because I'm lazy? (A common affliction and cause for apology from her. She's now smiling impishly.)
Me: No, you weren't being lazy. Why are you sorry?
Beth: (She's looking at me out of the corner of her eye waiting to see my reaction) Because I'm a dingbat?

At least once or twice a day, Beth does something very Me-like - in otherwords, airheaded. So we jokingly say, "You dingbat! That's silly!" and we'll move on. Evidently, she's picked up on it.


I can't believe how cheap gas has gotten out here! When I make a trip to the drugstore last night, the gas station across the street has regular unleaded at $2.49/gallon. I almost had an accident! Automobile accident, not tinkling accident.


Mom left on Tuesday morning and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. We get along so much better when we aren't cohabitating. I think she knows that, but her memory gets clouded when she gets it in her head that we need to move back home. I know she's lonely back there. My aunt is still around but she has her kids and grandkids to keep her busy. All this weight rests on my shoulders, like it's my responsibility to make sure mom's taken care of, or at least that's what I imagine. I'm sorry that she's lonely and more or less alone, I really am, but I have to keep reminding myself (Rob helps me with this a LOT) that I have to do what's best for my family which is, at this point, staying here and treading water. There are too many financial uncertainties back there and for now, we're able to pay our bills without running into big trouble. No certainty of that back there. So tread water we will...


Did any of you catch "Grey's Anatomy" last night? How touching were those two old people? They say goodbye and kiss before each of her surgeries. I won't ruin the rest of that storyline for all of you who've DVRd it and have yet to watch, but make sure the tissues are nearby.


My son is really trying to talk now! He has:

~ Mama
~ Dada
~ Beh-ee (Belly)
~ Goo-ka (Cookie)
~ Beh (Beth)
~ Rob swears he tried to say "weiner" last night. Ha ha.

Beth can write her first name all by herself and can draw recognizable pictures of trucks, houses, Spongebob Squarepants, and fish. My kids are awesome.

November 5, 2008

"A peacefulness follows any decision, even a bad one." ~ Rita Mae Brown

I've spent all morning going back and forth in my head about how to handle today's post. I can't not address what transpired last night because it's like the big white elephant in our proverbial room. It's sitting there, staring at me, waiting for me to say something. It's also smirking at me. Bastard elephant.

We lost. Not by a grand margin with the popular vote- currently, CNN's reporting it at 7% - but by fairly remarkable electoral vote, which has given Obama 349 and McCain 163. I could go on about where I think the campaign went wrong, where voters definitely went wrong, and how terrified I am of the next four years. I could direct you to a couple sites that offer perspectives I agree with and I could rant for many paragraphs about how I really feel about Barack Obama. But I won't. What good would come of it?

So I'll report on how the propositions I was concerned about turned out.


Proposition 2. Standards for confining farm animals. Initiative statute.
- The long and the short of this is that farm animals raised for food - cows, chicken, pigs, etc. - be kept in larger, roomier cages allowing them to, "...fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around..."

Result: Yes. Damn. People just can't seem to think beyond the animals themselves. "Oh, those poor animals who'll be beheaded and butchered in a few months anyway and those awful cages!" Let's see how sympathetic they are when the price of their chicken goes from $2.99/lb. to $5/lb.

Proposition 3. Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.
- It would provide "...$980M in general obligation bonds towards construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of eligible children's hospitals..." It'll cost the state a LOT of money.

Result: Yes. I'm happy but a little nervous. It's a necessary thing, keeping up with current medical technology and accomodating all the needs of all the children, and one I'm happy to shell out for. But...$980M is a lot of money.

District Measure WW
- I'm assuming it's a measure, since it's not a proposition. All it's heading says is, "District." Anyway, it provides up to $500M to continue restoring urban creeks, protecting wildlife, purchasing/saving open space, wetlands/shoreline, acquiring/developing/improving local and regional parks, trails and recreational facilities in the East Bay Regional Park District.

Result: Yes. Yay! Hooray for nature!


So my feelings after all is said and done? I'm resigned to the fact that my candidate - who I'll maintain to the day I die was far more qualified than Obama to run this country without running it into the ground - lost the election and that come February, I'll have a man I'm terrified of as my president. I'm resigned to the fact that the Democrats still have house majority and damn near senate majority as well (although, thankfully, not the two-thirds necessary to complete the monopoly and really turn Washington and our great nation on its ear as well as eliminate the extremely-necessary system of checks and balances) and that the next four years will be riddled with liberal agendas, government-sponsored healthcare, and small businesses having to close up shop due to an increase in their taxes. In my mind, I see a very long, very depressing four years ahead of me.

I hope I'm wrong and I hope Obama and his administration prove me wrong. That's the great thing about pessimism: you're never disappointed and occasionally, you're pleasantly surprised. So we'll see. And with that said, congratulations to all my Democratic readers. You won, fair and square. Well, a little superstition never hurts either. *wink*

November 4, 2008

My Weekly Writing Assignment

So I caught a little flack for being predictable last week. I always write about my past, my memories, etc. However, what the commenter doesn't know is that I'm horrible with creativity. I took a Fiction Writing course in college and never wrote a fictitious story. I took stories that actually happened, changed the names, and submitted it. I swung a B in the class. So I'm sorry if it's disappointing to some, but with my weekly writing assignment, I'm going to be predictable yet again. Here are the prompts, though, if you're interested:

1.) You awaken with amnesia in what looks to be an igloo. You have $4 and a rock in one pocket, and a toothbrush in the other. Someone is staring at you. Write this scene.

2.) Write a 16-line poem (rhyming or non-rhyming) about a moment from your childhood that changed your life for the better.

3.) You're sitting at work one day and receive a text message from an unrecognized number. The text says, "I have the money and hid the body." You think this is a practical joke from a friend, so you play along at first. But the more texts you receive, the more you realize that it isn't a joke. Write the text conversation you have with this unknown texter.

4.) 10 of my absolute worst pet peeves...

5.) Fictionalize an event that happened to one of your parents, friends, or siblings.


    10 of My Absolute Worst Pet Peeves

10. Nonsensical arguments. Don't pick a fight with me, or try to debate me, if you have no basis for your side of the debate. You'll end up plucking total nonsense, seemingly out of thin air, and try to sling it at me like a fireball. You end up sounding incredibly stupid and I've got nothing because I can't argue with stupidity.

9. Dog-earing pages of books. My husband is totally guilty of this and it drives me up the damn wall. I don't care if it's our book, the library's or someone else's. You DON'T dog-ear pages! Preserve the damn book! Use a slip of paper, a string, or - here's a novel idea - a bookmark.

8. The fact that the California Drivers License Handbook comes in nine different languages-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
. This is AMERICA! Did you know that until 2006, we didn't have an official language? It's absolutely absurd to me that people are allowed to take their driver's license exams in one of 8 other languages - aside from English - and get their license. Of course, that brings me to Pet Peeve #7.

7. That one can become a legal citizen of the United States of America and not want to embrace our language and culture. It's infuriating that there are people out there who simply want to make money here, send it back to their home country for years at a time, and the whole time they're here, bitch about America. "America sucks, Vietnam's great!" is a tune Rob hears at work all the time. Yeah, but the money you make here, that's no so bad, eh? The guy who chants his America Sucks Mantra every day also dragged an animal trap into work one day. Rob asks him, "Hey [name here], what's the trap for?" The response: "Cats." Yeah.

6. Maintenance staff, mechanics (other than my hubby, of course), and any man I deal with in the general public assuming I'm a complete idiot and treating me like one. The maintenance guy I get up here every time something in our apartment needs fixed automatically thinks I broke whatever he's fixing and that I'm just some dumb woman. I'm not stupid, I know how/why/when it broke and how to not break it again. Jackass. My hoo-ha doesn't knock 40 points off my IQ.

5. The gap in between my two front teeth. I had it before I got braces in 1992. The braces I wore through 1994 closed it. Then I got lazy about wearing my retainer and by the time I was 19, it was back. Now I have a gap that food gets stuck in constantly. So if I'm eating, and I make a disgusting thhhhhhtttt sound, you know why.

4. Parents that refuse to restrain or even watch their kids in public places, namely stores and restaurants. There is nothing more irritating than trying to do your shopping or lunch-gnoshing while there are small children running around, screaming, knocking things off of shelves with nary a parent or guardian to be found. Who lets their kids run wild? Don't they worry about kidnapping? Or even something so simple as their kid breaking something and them being forced to buy it? Aye yi yi! WATCH YOUR KIDS! I've taken three children under three years old to a store before, it's not asking too much, I swear.

3. Holy Rollers. Bible thumpers. Soldiers of God. I don't have a problem with your Christianity. Believe what you want to believe, you won't hear a peep out of me because that's the beauty and whole premise of America: your freedom of religion. In that same vein, I enjoy the freedom of not having to believe in any deity or dogma, so please stop waving your bible in my face, stop reciting passages from it, and stop telling me that all of life's answers are in it. The bible is your cheat sheet. If you need a bunch of mostly-fictitious stories to answer life's tough questions or you need a printed and bound moral compass, then by all means. But it's not mine and you can't force-feed Christianity. Besides, what about the Golden Rule? My religious beliefs, or lack thereof, shouldn't be a factor, right?

2. The reset time on my digital camera. I get my kids all set for a second picture, or I get the perfect smile on someone, and then they have to wait for the damn thing to reset. By then, I've lost that wonderful smile, nobody's looking at the camera, and the moment's over. I need this camera in my life. Seriously.

1. Opportunists. I'm not talking about my husband, although he is an excellent example of an opportunists. I'm talking about people who know you're relying on them for something and take every opportunity to use you. Rob and I have this happen to us time and again and it's really very frustrating. We never want to slight people and we're both helpers: we help even when we really can't or shouldn't. It's a compulsion, really. Anyway, we're often taken advantage of and it starts to suck. You want to believe in people, you know?

Eager Beaver

Wow, that sounded dirty.

I, like the rest of America - and some of Canada - am champing at the bit to start seeing election results tonight. I've been watching cable news all day (and no, not just Fox News, there's some MSNBC and CNN thrown in the mix, too), watching random interviews, a few exit polls, and prattle about young voters. It goes without saying that a lot of young voters are going to flock to Obama; the same thing happened with Bill Clinton in 1996. I would know, I flocked with the young herd. I was 17 when he was elected, thus having no say, but I saw him on MTV and thought he was the coolest president ever. I guess it's all a matter of perspective, huh?

Anyway, I'm wetting-my-pants excited about the evening that lies ahead of me. Naturally, the presidential election is my top concern, but beyond that, there are a lot of propositions in California that are on my mind.

Proposition 2. Standards for confining farm animals. Initiative statute.
- The long and the short of this is that farm animals raised for food - cows, chicken, pigs, etc. - be kept in larger, roomier cages allowing them to, "...fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around..."

Initially, without thinking too deeply about it, I wanted to vote Yes on this. Then I really thought about it: if animal farms are forced to accommodate these new standards, it'll cost them money and space. They won't be able to raise as many animals. They may have to raise their prices drastically, move their business to another state or close up shop all-together. All of these effects will adversely affect California's revenue. a rise in the cost of meat will cause a lower demand, and a move to another state or a closing will deprive California of the sales tax.

Proposition 3. Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.
- It would provide "...$980M in general obligation bonds towards construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of eligible children's hospitals..." It'll cost the state a LOT of money.

I hate voting for anything that'll cost the state that much money, but I can't look at my kids and say no. Children are innocent; they don't ask for health problems and certainly did nothing to warrant the horrors of the types of illnesses that land them in children's hospitals. It just takes knowing one child who's in and out of children's hospitals, or seeing a commercial about St. Jude's, to realize how much these hospitals mean to these kids AND their parents.

District Measure WW
- I'm assuming it's a measure, since it's not a proposition. All it's heading says is, "District." Anyway, it provides up to $500M to continue restoring urban creeks, protecting wildlife, purchasing/saving open space, wetlands/shoreline, acquiring/developing/improving local and regional parks, trails and recreational facilities in the East Bay Regional Park District.

It's impact on property owners? No more than the current rate of $10/year per $100,000 of assessed property evaluation. My family and I love all the East Bay parks, especially Lake Elizabeth, Lake Chabot, Del Valle, Quarry Lakes and Niles Pond, and the Hayward Regional Shoreline. I want to see them stay around as long as I'm here! So much of California is a concrete jungle anymore and one can only imagine just how beautiful California was before "progress" came in and mowed it down.
All it takes is one trip down Highway 1 to see what I'm talking about. Or this...

Lake Chabot in Castro Valley

Central Park in Fremont

Del Valle in Livermore

November 3, 2008

It's just another anxious Monday...

I've got two things to yap about today, both of which are causing me great anxiety. First, we'll address The Eagle (for those just tuning in, that's codespeak for my mom who's been here since 10/23).

Tomorrow morning can't get here fast enough. I don't know if it's that we're too much alike, too different, or if the cheese is sliding off her cracker but we are almost constantly at odds. She's spent the better part of her stay here trying to overrule our parenting, browbeat me with reasons we need to move out of California - ignoring all the reasons we can't right now and won't be able to unless Rob gets laid off, fired, or we've paid off a vehicle - and make thinly-veiled jokes about our weights. I'm pretty sure 10 days should be the time limit. She's been here 12 days and I. Am. Done. She's still very much convinced that I know nothing about parenting and said as much. I was in the middle of addressing a disciplinary issue with Beth and was handling it just fine. Mom butts in and tries to overrule me again so I say to her, "Mom, I've been raising her for nearly four years, I think I can handle it." She says, "Yeah, well I've been doing it since 1959. I think I can handle it."


What???? For starters, she hasn't been raising Beth since 1959 and furthermore, she hasn't dealt with a four-year-old in 25 years! The woman needs to BACK OFF.

My other anxiety-attack-in-waiting is the election. I'm confident in my choice for candidate, can't wait to vote, and am eager to watch this election go down in history, no matter the outcome. However, I'm anxious because although I'd like to believe in the Bradley Effect, I'm worried about the Bandwagon Effect. What if America is full of lemmings and they all just vote for who they assume is going to win, just so their vote isn't "wasted" on a candidate who isn't going to win? It stresses me out that there are people out there who would actually do that.

That aside, we're eager as hell to be glued to the TV tomorrow night. Wheeee!

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