Monday, July 31, 2006

By George, I think she's... addicted!

Thanks to Whoorl, I am now addicted to a game. Unlike Whoorl, I have not been asked to stay off my feet because I am 38 weeks pregnant...where playing a game for hours at a time would be a good thing to take your mind off the fact that it's hot and you can't go anywhere (how's THAT for a run-on?!?!).

I'm not even pregnant at all! I just HAD to go and click on that link to see what the mystery game was all about. And now I'm hooked*. Oh, and I PAID to get hooked.

This is worse than crack. Or mothballs.

*I've made it past Master Detective status and am currently in the middle of the next level, called Prime Suspects. Someone just shoot me. If I hit Dungeon Master**, I beg of you... someone pry me away from the computer.

**No offense, D&D fiends. Well, maybe a little. Sorry.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Return of the Friday Why Files…

WHY #1: Why am I hooked on Project Runway?? I didn’t watch the other two seasons while they were new. I’m not a huge fashionista, although I do love to watch What Not to Wear on TLC. I’m a Stacy-wannabe… and I have been tempted more than once to distribute fashion police tickets. No one, and I mean NO ONE, regardless of size, should ever ever wear white, see-through spandex. And especially not to work.

Anyway, I rather enjoy watching Project Runway. It’s the one reality show where I feel the results are truly based on talent. Sure, everyone can have a bad day and blow it (hello, Melan), but them’s the breaks.

WHY #2: Another teacher… another kid. *sigh*

WHY #3: An April Fool’s Joke turns into a World Strip Poker Championship. Eww. Have you SEEN the people who play on the World Series of Poker? Naked Phil Hellmuth? No thanks.

WHY #4: Now we’re huffing mothballs? I think I’m at a loss for words. Seriously.

Here’s the thing about me… I joke about needing a good stiff drink… or 10. But honestly, I’m a total lightweight. Have been for about 10 years now. In college, I could drink a lot and not get very drunk. But I did that for about 3 or 4 months and then decided it was a total waste of my time. I just don't drink that much... it doesn't bother me that other people do. I just don't.

While I was in that stage in college, though, I only drank stuff I liked. I hate beer. I will not force myself to drink beer just to get buzzed. Sure, I drank some truly cheap-o stuff (Mad Dogg 20/20 for one)… but it tasted okay. I can’t even stand the smell of beer, so I’m not going to drink it. So, basically, I don’t need a buzz so bad that I will imbibe (or inhale) something that I don’t like.

That’s why this one is so completely unfathomable to me. Mothballs? Ewww. They smell soooooo nasty! The girl in this newsstory even “chewed half a mothball a day for two months.” Excuse me. I just threw up a little.

And that concludes today's Friday Why Files. It's good to be back.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I feel so betrayed!

If you know me at all, you know that there are two experiences that I absolutely adore: eating a veggie burrito at Chipotle and going to Target. The latter is the topic about which I will be ranting tonight.

Last night, Daughter #1 and I stopped at Target to gather supplies for her birthday party*. Of COURSE, we have to go to Target. Actually, it was Super Target... which is oh so much better!

She wanted me to make a cake rather than get one from a bakery, so we had to get all the necessary ingredients for that. Additionally, we needed some decorating stuff... you know. The whole shebang.

Giddily, we ran around the ginormous store, gathering everything on our list. Oh, and we stuck to our list. Yes, we did. Except for the Zippo Mini Multi-Purpose Lighter. It wasn't on our list. But I needed it. That's how it is when you go to Target. You find things you didn't even know that you need.

All in all, we were probably there for about 15 minutes. We were on a mission, and it was getting late anyway. We hit the checkout lanes.

Now, there are 35 checkout lanes at this store (if you count all the express lanes). Of course, at 9:15pm, only 4 of them are actually open. 2 on the very west end, and 2 on the very east end. We parked on the east end, so that was the logical choice. The first lane I spied looked awfully busy: three shoppers deep with some pretty full carts. The next lane, only two shoppers deep... not so bad. So I opted for the second lane.

Have I ever mentioned that I own the record for number of times choosing the wrong lane/line for just about EVERYTHING?!?

Not only is this checker slow, but she's chatty. And apparently not too bright. Shopper #1 finally moves on, and it's now Shopper #2's turn. She needs a rain check for Five Star notebooks, because her fabulous offspring must have at least 10 of them. And they're on sale. And there aren't any left on the shelves. So, Missy the Wonder Checker calls for help. And. Stands. There. And. Waits.

No, really. She just stood there. She didn't scan Shopper #2's other items. Not a one of them. She just stood there and waited for the Magic Target God in The Sky to return her call. By now, I'm already extremely impatient. We've been in line for 10 minutes. The line next to me is moving along quickly... the guy that I would have been behind is long gone. Unfortunately, all my crap is already on Missy's conveyor belt. I turn my back to her, roll my eyes at Daughter #1, and loudly say, "For the love of God, please start scanning something." Missy doesn't get the hint.

Another shopper eyes the lane next to us, notices it's longer, and starts to get in our line. I tell her, "You don't want to get in this lane. Seriously. We've been here for over 15 minutes now. Run to the next lane."

Finally, after the Magic Target God in The Sky returns Missy's call, she gets all the information she needs for the ever-important Five Star rain check. She finally starts scanning, and proceeds to comment on each and every item. Shopper #2 and her fabulous offspring, sans Five Stars, but carrying a pretty nifty rain check, leave the store.

YAY! It's our turn now. Missy jovially calls out to us. Clearly, she doesn't notice the look on my face. She scans the ingredients for the chocolate cake and the brownies... grins... and says with a cheeky little voice, "Ahhhh! I know what YOU guys are doing!" At this point, I bite off half my tongue to avoid yelling at her, "STFU and scan my fooking groceries!!!" Daughter #1 is laughing her ass off at me.

THIRTY MINUTES after getting in line to checkout, we finally leave the store. I'm nearly in tears. Missy has officially ruined Target for me**. I'm thinking of having her fired... and then recommending her for a job at Wal-Mart.

*Tonight, she has about 30 of her closest friends over-- and I have retreated to the bedroom. Sunday, family will be here for another party. I don't like birthdays so much anymore.

** I'm sure that won't last forever. I could never NOT shop at Target (ooh, I do love me a double-negative).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Don't mind me... I'm just meandering about....

Don't you hate it when there's something you REALLY, REALLY want to blog about... but you really, really can't?


In other news, if I see that freaking Jessica Simpson roller-skating video one more time, I might commit hara-kiri.

When we were kids, we pronounced it "harry caray," which, as you know, is something/one altogether different. We convinced our neighbor kids that commiting 'harry caray' would turn you into some old guy with big glasses who liked to yell "HEY!" a lot*. They were skeered.

Speaking of Harry Caray, have you ever been stuck in O'Hare on a layover that was way too long? Yeah... Harry Caray's restaurant is a lifesaver in that place. You'll probably end up ordering a heart attack on a plate, but everything is mighty tasty.

Hey! Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs? I would!
Hey! If you could be the top scientist in your field or have Mad Cow Disease, which one would you pick?

That's all I have today, friends. Thanks for following along on Grumpy Frump's Wide, Wide World of Digression.

*No hate mail, please. I loved Harry Caray, even though I'm not from Chicago.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I got busted drinking alone...

... or at least, I THOUGHT I was drinking alone.

Last night, I was under the impression that the Farm Boy had already left to take his kids back home. It's a 3 hour drive, round-trip.

My kids weren't home. I've been stressed. I thought it might be okay to have a drink by myself.

So, I pulled the ingredients out and put them all on the counter: Sprite Zero, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice (100% juice, not that crappy juice cocktail crap), Grenadine, and Absolut Berry Vodka (Skyy Berry is better, though). My glass was filled with ice.

I poured my ingredients into my glass... grabbed a straw to stir it all up... started to put everything back... but I wasn't quick enough. In walks Step-Daughter, who is 13... almost 14.

Step-Daughter: What are you doing?
Me: Just making something tasty.
Step-Daughter: What's that? [points to grenadine]
Me: Oh, it just adds a little cherry flavor and color to drinks. [I notice that the grenadine bottle is in front of the vodka bottle]
Step-Daughter: Oh, like what they add to make a Shirley Temple. Yeah, I know what that stuff is.
Me: Yeah, that's it. I'm just putting everything away now. I thought you guys had already left?
Step-Daughter: Nope. Not yet. [sees the vodka bottle] OOOOOH! You're making a drink with alcohol! And you were going to sit here and drink alone! You alkie! [runs outside to tell her brother and father]

Great. So now I'm an "alkie." Who drinks alone. In the eyes of an almost-14-year-old step-daughter. Gah. I did make a point of telling her that I probably drink less in a year than most people she knows drink in a day. But yeah... I'm not sure she was buying it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I feel like the chihuahua...

The Definition of Stress: "The confusion created when one's mind overrides
the body's desire to beat or choke the living shit out of some asshole
who desperately needs it."

... or you can also go here for a graphic depiction.

I'm not good at managing stress. Gee, what a shocker.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is THE busiest time of the year for me in my job. Additionally, it's the part where I have a huge responsibility. I'm not going to get into specifics, because that would be breaking rule #25, also known as the quintessential rule of blogging. I don't want to get dooced.

The point is: I have to learn to relax. I can't delegate responsibilities in this situation, and I have a lot to get done in a short amount of time. Stressing out isn't going to make anything better. Although I do tend to work better under pressure... and the adrenalin rush really gets me moving... it isn't going to help my health or the insanity I bring home with me everyday.

The weekends definitely help. I can sleep in a little and choose to completely break free from everything work-related.

I'm not looking for suggestions... I know what I can do to relieve stress: exercise more, meditate, take deep breaths, walk away from my desk at work every hour or so, get massage, blah, blah, blah. I guess I just wish I knew WHY I am the type of person who gets so stressed. My Farm Boy is so laid-back, even when there are stressors getting at him. I envy him sometimes for that attribute.

My brain tells me, "It's not worth getting all worked up over this. Worrying isn't going to make things any better or accomplish things any sooner. You're just killing yourself over this for no reason." My body doesn't listen though. When I do go in and get a massage... anytime I go to someone new... they are shocked that someone my age can have back and neck muscles so knotted up. Then I have to go through the whole spiel again with them. Gah.

So there it is. I know it will get better, and I'm not depressed or anything. Maybe I should just drink through it. I don't think anyone will think badly of me if I decide to have a little cocktail tonight, right? ;-)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I went to Chipotle for dinner tonight. That helped a lot... especially since I'll have the leftover half of my burrito for lunch tomorrow. Huzzah!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Site Meter Surprise... no, not really.

Occasionally, I'll check out my Site Meter reports. My favorite is the referrals, of course. I have to tell you... some of the search engine hits I get are pretty strange, but I think that's pretty common. Nabbalicious has some very interesting examples in her sidebar. I used to post some of the hits that brought people to my little bloggy, but I'm too lazy to make it a regular gig.

There is one, however, that has made a regular appearance since December. Every week, there are at least two referrals from a search engine looking for a picture... of a certain tiny, brown, holiday figure from South Park. I'm not going to type his name here, because that would only bring more people to my page. And I'm pretty sure that they are a little peeved when they find out that I don't really have an image of that tiny, brown, holiday figure... just some really screwed up cookies I made that resembled him (although they looked tragic, they were actually very tasty).

Are there that many people on this planet who need to find a picture of the tiny, brown, holiday figure from South Park? I mean, for a week after Ann Curry cut her hair, I had about 25-30 search engine hits about her. That made almost made sense to me... it was 'news.' And if South Park were a new phenomenon, then I wouldn't be surprised about this either. It isn't, though. So this is a puzzlement. Any theories?

Oh, and on a COMPLETELY unrelated note... I am currently in what I consider my busiest, most frantic time of the year at work. Gah. The muscles in and around my shoulders are so hard, you could use them to crush diamonds (yeah, so I'm tired and not so good at analogies right now. Sue me.). If I leave a comment on your site that is mostly gibberish or sounds like I'm drunk... I'm not drunk. I'm just brain-dead and stressed to the max. My apologies in advance. In three weeks, I should be better. I hope.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Do I really want to be a HOT mom? Not really...

The other day I saw a link for an online article titled, "How to Be a Hot Mom." I'm not adding the link, because it pissed me off.

Besides the instant frustration I felt, I wondered if my mom ever read articles in Redbook or Good Housekeeping about how to keep herself looking hot and sexy. I already knew the answer to that. There were the occasional articles about how to keep the 'spice' in her relationship ("buy a sexy nightie that only your husband will get to see," or "when he opens the door after a long day of work, make sure you're standing there wrapped in cellophane," etc.). There were no articles, however, about how to make sure your daughter's boyfriends drool and forget all about your daughter.

I know that our society is always grasping for new and better ways to get us all to be insecure about ourselves. We must look younger and sexier all the time. However, all the "fabulous bods at 40" aren't really all that fabulous, since they're mostly fake. I don't want to look like Demi Moore when I'm in my 40s, because I'm not willing to shell out the samoleans* to get there. Nor do I want my girls to be up to my neck when I'm in my 70s. I just want to look real... you know... I want to look like ME.

Now don't get me wrong... I truly believe in looking good when I walk out the door. It's important to me that I don't embarrass myself in public, of course. But I don't go on shopping quests for clothes that are sexy. I have children. And I don't want to embarrass THEM.

The last time I wore a bikini (other than a cruise where there were no children around) was about 10 years ago. I took my daughters to a public pool. As I took off my outerwear, my daughter (who was about 6 or 7) gasped and said, "Mommy! Put your shirt back on! People are STARING!"

I wasn't naked... I had on a bikini. But apparently, the modesty lessons that I had instilled into my children since birth were also meant for me. From then on, I started wearing one piece suits to the public pool and saved the bikinis for the backyard with the 6 foot privacy fence.

Here's my point: I'm 37. My husband thinks I'm hot (or at least he lies well and tells me that I am). That's all that really matters. I don't want other people to think I'm unattractive, but at the same time, I'm not out trolling for attention. I'm so over that. And let me tell you, if I'm being honest with myself... I think it's a really great phase to be in.

So, enough with the 'hot mom' articles. Desperate Housewives? Puh-leeze. If celebrity women get any thinner, and implants get any bigger, the majority of them won't be able to stand up. And it's pretty difficult to look hot when you keep falling over.

*the form of currency native to Sweethaven, home of the one-eyed sailor.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hot Weather yields a Lifeless Frump...

Yuck. It's HOT. I don't mean warm. I don't mean kinda hot. It's like Africa hot here. No, I take that back, because I'm sure there are parts of Africa that are less miserable than the weather here.

I just can't function in this kind of weather. My tummy starts to hurt, I'm lethargic, and all I want to do is sleep. Of course... today was my first day back at work. How can anyone be effective when all you can do is sit and puddle?

Yeah, I'm not looking for any suggestions. I just want to whine. ;-)

Oh, and I did FINALLY post some more pictures from San Diego. If you want to see them, click here. Eventually, I'll get more up there... maybe by autumn. By then, the weather will be cooling down, and I'll actually be able to move beyond my current tree sloth pace.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Random memories from my latest trip...

1. Apparently, Summer Breeze (the Seals & Crofts version from the 70s), was THE theme song while I was in San Diego last week. It's easily been years since I last heard or thought of that song (I think). Yet, last week, I heard that song once each day. No lie.

The first time was a very poor rendition from a 'needy' man along the street in front of Anthony's Fish Grotto*. This 'needy' man was playing tunes on his guitar and had a bucket in front of him for donations. Let's just call this the most interesting of the versions I heard in San Diego. Blowing with the jasmine in my MIIIIIIINNNNNND! (imagine this last part in a falsetto voice and very, VERY out of tune)

Another time, it was performed en espagnol at a cafe in Old Town. Good version. The last two times, the actual Seals & Crofts recording was played in a couple of restaurants. I just thought it a little odd that I kept hearing this song every single day!

2. While eating crab-stuffed shrimp at Joe's Crab Shack, I actually heard Xanadu on the muzak that was playing. Seriously. If you are as old as I am, you might remember the movie too. All I know is that someone was doing some major shrooms when that one was written. Love Olivia, but yeesh.

3. On our way back from Old Town last Thursday night, we were sitting at the America Plaza station for about 20 minutes. When the trolley finally approached, a very happy construction worker appeared out of nowhere to hop the trolley on the orange line... same as where we were headed. When I say happy, I mean this guy was feeling NO pain.

Happy Construction Worker guy [reeling around, waving a half-empty bottle of wine]: "WHOOOO! It's time to PAR-TAY! WHOOOOOO!"

Me [eyes as round as pie plates]: "Okay... someone is glad the workday is over."

Scared Midwestern Lady With Me: "Just don't make eye contact with him and everything will be okay."

Me [laughing]: I think this guy is the least of our worries. All you'd have to do is push him over and run. He wouldn't be able to get up!"

Happy Construction Worker guy: "Who wants to join me? I gots plenty of this stuff! WHOOOOOO!"

His joy was so obvious, plus he was providing oodles of entertainment for my group. Sadly, right as the trolley pulled out of the station, two uniformed men joined us for the ride and headed straight for Happy Construction Worker guy. They confiscated his half-empty bottle of wine. Still laughing, he tells them that it's okay... he has more. So then they confiscated all the bottles of wine he has (three). He was still laughing and joking with the officers, right up until the time they started reading him his rights. Then he wasn't so Happy anymore. Much to our chagrin, we pulled up to our station and had to leave the wonderful scene. I was going to take a picture of it all, but my friends thought I might anger the officers.

4. As I was leaving my hotel room, lugging all the bags I brought with me, I glanced at the clock. Guess what time it was? Yep. 11:11. *shudder*

I'm actually feeling half normal today... I'm going to try to post all my pics on my lame photo site later.

*BTW, if you've never been to Anthony's, put that on your Top 10 list of things to do before you die. Yummo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This sucks...

I always get sick after I travel. ;-(

Will be back to posting when I'm feeling better.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Greetings from Sunny San Diego...

... where it's a lovely 75 degrees F (24 C) and holding.

The convention is pretty decent, and I'm only 2 blocks away in my hotel from the convention center. Everything we've done so far has been within walking distance, and the weather has been perfect for that, too.

The night of the 4th was great, watching all the fireworks over the marina. Very impressive.

Tonight, we'll probably do a little 'tourist-ing' and head over to Old Town. I'm crossing my fingers that my travel group will go with me to the haunted Whaley House, listed as THE most haunted place in America.

Don't have much time to post more... but I could probably add a photo or two. More to come later.

I call the second photo "the best part about San Diego."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Hope you have a nice 4th of July! Even if you aren't American, it's still technically July 4th, right?

I'm off to San Diego today. I hope to update daily, but who knows.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm a compulsive keeper...hanger-onto-of-crap...

Hi... my name is Grumpy F., and I am a packrat. *groan* When I die, I'll be that old lady who makes the news for living in a house filled with papers, books, boxes, and other crap that is literally taking over the house. (no cats, though... I'm allergic.)

I can't help myself. I somehow super-glue emotions to inanimate objects. EVERYTHING has sentimental value to me. And for everyone around me, that means clutter. And mess. And stepping over everything that I cannot, for the life of me, just freaking throw away. Sometimes, it's that tiny thought in my brain that says, "Don't throw it away! You're going to need it as soon as you do." I hate that little thought. It makes me feel a little OCD.

Since I'm so busy at work during the better part of the year, weekends are pretty precious to me. I do NOT want to spend my 'free' time cleaning. Ugh. So, that means that the clutter becomes hills. Then mountains. Why can't I just throw this crap away?!?!

I did finally do some major work yesterday at home. I needed to do as much laundry as physically possible (man, I have a lot of clothes!) before I leave for my conference*. I also needed to get all the off-season clothes stored away. Farm Boy finally kindly brought me the storage containers from the basement. I filled those suckers up.

As I was working on all of that, it just morphed into clearing out some of the clutter. I'm telling you... I could bag up all the garbage of a third world country with all the plastic bags that I save. Here are some of the things to which I tightly cling:

-plastic bags from grocery/discount stores
-shopping bags (the nice, sturdy paper ones with handles)
-receipts (TONS of them)
-old mail
-empty envelopes
-shoe boxes (I have a huge shoe tree AND a shoe cabinet... why do I keep empty shoe boxes?)
-all other boxes (tiny, small, medium, large... all of them)
-greeting/birthday cards
-wrapping paper
-tissue paper
-socks I've had since the 1980s (not that I wear them in public or anything... but sheesh! I got those pink and green striped ones in LONDON. C'mon! I have to keep those!)
-my main character costume from the musical I was in my senior year in high school
-old cell phones
-clothes that I will never want to wear again in this lifetime

... and the list goes on. Yesterday, I made myself throw out the plastic bags, boxes, and containers (all will be recycled), and I put some clothes into an AmVets bag. I threw away the receipts and old greeting cards. The expired coupons made it to the trash, and so did some of them that are still good. What do I need with a two-fer pizza coupon anyway? The only boxes I saved were for a couple of seasonal shoes and boots.

It's a start. Oh, and I can see the carpet in my walk-in closet. I feel better about it. A little. And if I need something that I threw away, I'll just have to go buy another. Which leads to my next compulsion... shopping. But let's save that for another post, shall we?

*I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a conference in San Diego. But of course... I'll be checking in, because I have to post my fabulous photos. Plus, I'm going to catch a ghost at the Whaley House. On camera. So, I'll post that, too. ha ha