Monday, March 30, 2009

Random Tuesday un-Thoughts

I think Elmo is about the cheeriest fellow around. I mostly love his chuckle, and that it's generally about something dumb or inane he just did in the third person... "OOPS! Elmo just flushed his bunny down the toilet.. UH oh! Hee hee hee."

I can't win with this head cold that (YES), I still have. I can't hear anything, my voice is still hoarse, and I'm starting to sound really whiny. What's that? You noticed? Guess where you can stick those powers of observation?

UNC is in the Final Four! UNC is in the Final Four!

My 21-mo old toddler can open the fridge and get his own milk out now. He says, "MILLLLL--? MILLLLLLL--?" exactly TWICE, and if unanswered in 14.2 seconds, goes and gets it himself. I'm waiting for him to be able to drive me around and cook me breakfast, too. Maybe that's when it will dawn on me why I had kids!

I wish we'd get a sustained market rally. Then I could really earn my keep.

We had friends over this weekend that have a new (10-month old) puppy; she is a bird dog pedigree and they were still deciding whether to have her fixed. All of a sudden one day, her "glands" were red and swollen "back there," and she started "leaking". They realized with horror and sudden anxiety, that she was in heat. So they got advice from a humorist, who told them to put toddler underwear on her with several pads, which would then have to be changed daily. As soon as I heard this story and stopped laughing, I informed them that I had to post this on the blog. Pictures to follow. (Her appointment to be fixed has been made.)

My toddler calls the television "Tivo". As in, "turn off Tivo? Turn on Tivo?" He calls this thing I'm banging away on 'puter. When it dings for a new email, he says, "Uh oh, 'puter."

This Thursday, the greatest television series of ALL TIME will be ending.. the series finale of ER.

This post reminds me of every phone call with my Mom. Apple doesn't fall far..

Feeling random? Reading this post got your Random Post Generator revved up? Go check out other randoms at Keely's place, the Un-Mom. Tell her she looks really fit today.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Speed of Light and Other Constants

First, I must apologize for the SNAFU with my 100th post; somehow, it's fitting, for me, to have such a dramatic 100th. Nothing I do is short in the drama department, I'm not exactly where this originates.. probably from my being very dramatic. Anyhoo, when I initially posted the Kevin Costner post, it was picked up by a couple fan sites that have major worldwide exposure and it quickly overwhelmed my sense of a 'private showing' to my loyal blog readers. Naive? Sure.

But the more important moment of clarity I experienced was the why. Why in the world was I prompted to post something I knew, deep down, would generate some attention? Even if I promised some readers, (so many posts back that there was no hope they'd remember) that I'd tell that story?

Because I'm an attention hound, always have been, and always working on counteracting this. I'm the youngest of three children, in siblings are seven and ten years my senior. Making me the doted-upon, attention-lavished, never taken seriously child that has always been viewed as "the baby" in my family.

Ever since I could remember, I would struggle to get a word in edgewise, in heated family dinner table debates (normally centered on physics, quantum mechanics, and other useless useful Laws of the Universe. I appreciate my Dad making us think. I really do, especially since he'd never give us the answer. He made you think.

If you're standing on the end of an accelerating train, and you have a flashlight, and there is someone out in space with another flashlight, shining the light towards you, and you both have a clock, and you look down and read the clock at the same time...

When I was mostly concerned with getting a boy to notice me, or keeping all my friends in middle school, I was hardly worried about what Einstein thought, or how he proved light as a constant. But that is what we talked about. Ideas. Theories. Everything is relative.
It's hard to get attention as the youngest in that mix.

Even now, as a 30-something adult, lavishing my own attention upon my firstborn, my beloved mini-masterpiece of a Toddler, I see him hamming it up for the crowd when we're out to lunch. Or showing off in Hola Baby spanish class. Or parading around with the drum in music class. I see the twinkle in his baby eye when he gets the teacher to notice him, flashes his toothy grin for the camera.

I was the star in the school's 2nd-grade play, Peter Pan, when I was too little to understand showmanship (or, was I?) The entire family went berserk with the idea that I was bound to be an actress after that performance. And maybe I've been playing that role ever since.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Big 100: Costner is Still the Coolest, Ever

I had to take the original post down. This in itself might make an interesting post at some point. But I felt the need to explain a litte.

For my loyal confused, misled readers of this blog, you have heard me yammer on about how great KC is for a while now. And he still is. I simply had to take down the post detailing all the reasons I think so. (Hours after initially posting it. Can anyone say "internet" and "fanatical?") For you all, just the basic facts: Yes, I did get to visit his place in Aspen (twice) with some fortunate others. That is still true.

(And sorry, to my previous commenters!) I had more hits on that post than.. well, than all other posts combined. I had included pictures of the inside of the house, other cool details like the hot tub pool, the snowmobiles.. you get it.

But, in an important moment of clarity, I'm going to grow my blog readership through my own content; not piggyback on someone else's. And thank you, SiteMeter, for letting me know how this here "internet" works.. connectivity abounds.

Still go out and Netflix EVERY Kevin Costner movie you can get in your queue.

The Guardian

Before you ask.. no, he was not there. It's way cooler that that .. at the time, he was off filming The Guardian ('06) with Ashton Kutcher.

And if this isn't all enough to make you click the link to buy the Guardian, then on to Netflix to get every KC movie into your possession, let me show you, my fellow bloggers, why he is the coolest celebrity alive. Really.

The Kicker
Now click here (do it! You'll be glad!). (Hint: it's a BLOG.)
Look closely, and I promise: you'll agree with me.

He's just the coolest.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuesday's Random Thoughts: #99

This is my 99th Post!! Brought to you by Keely at the Superheroine blog, the Un-Mom. And brought to you by the letter 'R'. And the smiling cherub at the end.

I have completely lost my voice. This isn't a random thought, it's a random fact. I sound like a barking seal when I talk. The machine-like robotic grocery-checkout-gal did a double take. On the phone, my mom didn't know who I was. The worst part: it is physically impossible to sound threatening when every other word is a whisper. The dogs and toddler have completely lost respect of my authority. I saw my yellow Lab roll her eyes at me today. (But she is really insolent sometimes.)

Don't buses have the most unusually unique braking sound? They do. When you hear it coming, careening around the corner, you just know it's a big yella' school bus.

Is it just me, or does it seem like most technological innovation has stalled in the U.S. for a time? Let's not count the iPhone, or Wii. Those are fun toys. We're still behind in cell phone banking, unlike Western European countries, and nearly all of Asia. Social networking/media seems to be the most significant innovation stateside in some time.
My husband insists that I include his addendum to that last point: do we really need to BANK on our cell phones? Can that transfer really NOT WAIT, that we have to do it on our PHONES?

Speaking of lightening fast banking needs, hip, hip, HOORAY for the market rally today! And hooray for me selling my winner (BAC two weeks ago: $3.65; BAC sold today: $7.40.) I do NOT recommend putting any capital at risk that you can not risk losing. At least short term.

Grocery store chains seem to be doing more lately to win my business. I have my pick of at least 10 major stores within a 2-3 mile radius, and each time they have new and innovative ways of winning my loyalty. I got five bucks off my bill today, for some Safeway game they were playing!

He did this himself. Then let me know how pleased he was with his innovation.
I think we're going to have to suck it up and buy a minivan. END OF POST. END OF YOUR LIFE. THANKS FOR PLAYIN'.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spin on My Quirks

Quirks, not Quarks. We'll leave physics and math for another post.

You may not have noticed my being MIA from your comment fields (or maybe you have!) But I got sick. Then, taught my kid yoga class anyway, took a 2-hour nap, got a little better, went to a friends' going-away party/stayed out too late, fell a few rungs on the wellness ladder, napped, got better, went to brunch, fell some rungs, you get the pattern. Oh! Then my laptop decided to crash.

But I'm back to Spin on my own quirks, because I have so many. Not all of them are funny, so I'm warning you now. Check out the other quirky Spins while you're at it!

:: I once bought new underwear in college, because I ran out of clean and wasn't doing laundry often enough. I was traveling on the weekends for the college drinking ski team, and our apartment didn't have a washer/dryer. Worse, I went to a CVS/Pharmacy to buy them.. discovering that CVS does not, in fact, sell undies. Don't ever tell undergraduate friends this, if you try it. (I still hear about this.)

:: I must remove my shoes and put on my slippers immediately upon entering my house. Not everyone else's house, just mine. We bought a 1949 Cape Cod house with no basement, which means it's close to the cold ground, which means it's a little like walking on a giant, flat iceberg. Not one of the melting ones, though.

:: I stand on one leg when getting ready for bed. I don't always know that I do this. Often, my husband will come in, laugh, and make a comment about my being a flamingo, before I realize I'm doing it.

:: I can only whistle by sucking air in. The toddler loves it. No, I will not be posting a video of this. Also, just one tone.

:: When cleaning up play-doh, I separate the colors out and try to find the corresponding top. For those of you that have been away from toddlers for a while, this is IMPOSSIBLE.

:: I prefer to have the radio news on (NPR) when I'm cooking dinner/feeding my son. I have to. Often I talk back to what it's telling me. Part of the conversation.

:: If my son gets a puzzle out, then his toddler A.D.D. kicks in before he does said puzzle, I must stop everything and put the pieces back in. I cannot walk away. Let alone put it back on the shelf incomplete. What if we lost a piece?!

:: When eating pancakes, waffles or french toast, I spread the butter and add the syrup, then cut the entire entity into 1,000 tiny bites before taking a one. This is the only example of cuisine for which I fail to cut five pieces of an item, pause, pass fork from left/cutting to right/eating (authentic American style) and polish off before cutting the next five. Pancakes bring out the worst in my table manners, it would seem.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Spin on Creating: Flying Blind Pt. 2

Previously posted: [Her head was pounding. A thick, clouded pounding that can only result from days of dehydration, being elevated several atmospheres above the Earth, and some mind-numbing alcohol. Not that she really drank that much. It was just hard when you went all day eating nothing but pretzels and chewy granola bars, and an occasional half-can of diet Coke.


The 5:00 AM Charlotte flight was bound to be on time, so she indeed had to wake up to the first alarm. Struggling through her dark blue polyester pants, she tried to clear the clouds from the two previous evenings. When she got to the precipice of her memory, where she might jump off the cliff, and, in falling, suddenly remember all the various horrid things she had done on the stage, in the spotlight, and under the table, she decided to hold back. Hang on to the edge of that cliff, too scared to look down and too strong to let go.


She sighed, brushing her teeth. Thank goodness she had packed herself last night; the silver lining in the midst of a solidly dreary morning. Soon that would change, and she hoped her outlook would change with it. But it was doubtful.

Stepping across the threshold onto the Boeing 747, her hair was still slightly damp, something the airline had made clear was not acceptable in its latest internal “grooming” memo, and she tossed it back over one shoulder as she quickly loaded her carry-on into the attendants’ space. This was going to be a long day.


Nineteen hours ago, she was blissfully caffeinated, and five hours after that, blissfully drunk. Drunk on liquor, drunk on love, and not knowing where the two blended. This was typical in her secondary profession. But she rarely admitted it to herself. Nobody else in her life knew about her dual worlds, and there was no reason to change that now.]

She flitted among the seats, among the suits, never losing her stride or allowing herself to jump off that mental cliff. A tune was playing somewhere in the background of her mind, which she had chosen to finish her set with two nights ago. Dusty Springfield, "Son of a Preacher Man." Benny had turned it up as loudly as the system would go, and the blur of tequila and limes stung her lips now, memory defiantly reminding her.

Benny had been threatened with a trademark-infringement suit on two disparate occasions, over his naming of the establishment "The Hardrock." Apparently, the real Hard Rock didn't like a "gentleman's" club being of similar vestige. But he ignored them, and, after pursuing a visual inspection of the aging, nondescript white cinder block building, the law firm representing the real Hard Rock dropped it. Apparently they were satisfied that their restaurants were not "so similar that it was likely to deceive or to cause confusion or mistake on the part of the average purchaser."

She paused and looked up at the man requesting an apple-cranberry juice. His face was familiar; he traveled this route frequently, and she'd smiled at him before. And been smiled at.

"We have apple. And we have cranberry. I could .. mix them for you," she said breezily.
"Please. That would be refreshing." He had dark, serious eyes. Probably an attorney. Maybe a consultant. But they looked kind when he smiled.
"Sure," she elevated her voice above the noise of the jets. Her mind was reaching, farther back into her memory. Was it just from this flight that she recognized him? She passed him the drink, and his eyes met hers one more time. He was having the same struggle, and her heart leaped, unexpectedly. Surely he wasn't one of her regulars, down at the Hardrock?

"Miss?" A man was motioning from two rows down. "Miss, I need help." Her thoughts shifted, attention re-focused, back on auto-pilot. Her mystery man would have to remain that for now.

* "flying blind" has been continued as part of the weekly Spin Cycle, over at Sprite's Keeper. Check her out!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Keep it Clean!

This is a perfect day; this has been on my mind to write, and it fits perfectly into Mama Kat's third prompt for Writer's Workshop this week;

3.) Describe a time you allowed your child to do something that you normally would not let slide.

I work in my son's co-op preschool classroom once a month or so, and Tuesday was my last day as "lead", which means two things, 1) I cherished this last little nugget of time being his "teacher" and observing how he interacts with the other toddlers, and 2) I'm FREE, FREE, FREE and FREE for the rest of this session. Next Fall, he'll go to a 'traditional' 2's program, no co-oping.

We Moms do the curriculum, and the suggested craft activity for this, my teaching Tuesday, was fingerpainting! "Oh, crap," I thought as I read the suggestion to get out the smocks, the finger paints, and have each very busy, very unsteady set of toddler fingers paint a Rainbow.

"Go for it," said the unaffected, will-be-far-away-at-work husband, with a grin.

Always the under overachiever, I announced to the permanent teacher my intention for the craft that day. She gave me a long look. Then, as if resigning herself to not roll her eyes, got out the table cover, smocks, large sheets of paper. We started with 2-3 kids at a time, quickly whittling it down to 2, while the other Mom watched the balance of the kids.

The result amazed me. Each kid was tentative, at best, to the idea of smushing his/her hands into some kind of paint, and getting messy! Before my disbelieving eyes, each child reluctantly dipped one finger, or two, into the gloppy paint, then delicately put the finger to paper and wiped it around a bit, as if to rid the clean finger of said gloppiness. We encouraged, we incented, we even demonstrated. My own mess-loving toddler took a moment to verify I was "okay" with his fingers (and subsequently, clothes) getting completely bamboozled with bright red, yellow, blue and green.

Once they understood that this kind of atrocious messying-up of their fingers was allowed, they got into it. Really into it. The youngest one, at only 14 months, wouldn't STOP once he got going, and kept sneaking back over to our half of the classroom to begin getting brightly colored again. With joy, I saw my own toddler's independent use of the "handprint" style.

But...One child in particular wouldn't do it. He was the oldest, at 2.5 years, and said, "No, Thank you," when told it was his turn to make a picture. We sat him down and convinced him that Mommy might truly enjoy a picture, or at least a little handprint. He dipped one finger, no more, and slide it across the paper to get it off. When he was done 4.5 seconds later, he popped up, hands straight out in front of himself so as to not touch anything, to get his hands washed. His face, clothes and psyche stayed relatively unmarked. Well, I can't vouch for his psyche.

The thing is, kids are supposed to get messy. And we, as parents, are supposed to clean them up. But I saw first hand how much they have been trained, encouraged, educated, prompted and threatened, to stay clean at all costs! We wash their hands to prevent germs. We wash hands after coming in from outside. Touching someone else's toys. Sneezing. Petting the dogs. Farm animals. Our own butts.

I'm the worst offending OCD-Mom there is. I wash my hands just after I've washed them. The point is.. how much are we stifling our kids' creativity? By just... keeping them clean, at all costs?

Now. If you'll excuse me. I need to finish scrubbing the dirt out from under the dog's paws.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Riddle Me This Pt. 2

Jenners is at it again, Fun and Games with Jenners, except THIS time, she got the idea from this very blog. Since we here at Fingers & Paws are so easily swayed by flattery (try me,) I must immediately participate in said game. Go check her very cool riddles out, make your own, and link up!

The game is a riddle. I post pictures, forming a riddle. You guess in comments. I'm going to make this one a lot tougher than LAST time though, because everyone got it right away.

I don't think this is any more tough than last time. I'll keep working on it. I'll stump you guys one of these days.


Random Tuesday Thoughts

: I'm guest posting over at What It's Like to Be Mie today, so go check her me us out! Happy St. Patty's! It's her Terrible Two-Versary. Wish her luck.. Terrible Two's are YIKES. (And my son is 22 months old.)

: Everyone knows about those "My Child is an HONOR Student at Superstupendousamazing Elementary School." I've been wondering lately, what is the checks-and-balances system behind this bumper-sticker distribution? If a class slips through where she/he just couldn't quite cut it and got a 'B', God forbid, do they come through the parking lot and remove said stickers off the offending vans? Do the parents protest the removal, or hide shamefully in the bushes? Are there fights? Teacher on parents? Principal on parent? B.F. Skinner on Homer?

: I really love Random Tuesday Thoughts. It allows my brain to act naturally. For example. Ben Bernanke is kind of cute, in an erudite sort of way. I'm going to pretend he doesn't resemble my Father-in-Law.

: After teaching my kid yoga class Sat., I was starving. My husband I agreed to meet out for lunch near the house, he'd bring the toddler. (Lest he fend for himself at home.) Chipotle near Home Depot. Ok. So, I'm sitting at the Chipotle near Home Depot, waiting, by myself. Ordered, sitting, still waiting. Problem is, he's at THE OTHER Chipotle near THE OTHER Home Depot, across town, waiting. At a TOTALLY different restaurant near a totally different Home Depot.
This is how the phone call went:
"Are you at Chipotle?"
"Yes! Are you here?"
"The one near Home Depot?"
"Which Home Depot?"
"The one near our house!"

: Chocolate chip cookie dough, frozen, is quite possibly the most addicting food that exists.

: My yellow Lab's butt is starting to stink. Because of the blogosphere, I think I need to have her anal glands checked. She will be absolutely furious with me for telling you all this.

: I asked my husband for a completely random thought, as he was extending his hand to me, in a loving pitch to get me to come to bed. His response: "Yesterday was Monday."
(I'm typing this today. As far as I know, today is Monday. He's way ahead of himself.)

: Happy Random Tuesday! Go check out more Randomized Randomness at Keely's place.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Letter to Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer

Jim Cramer (Mad Money, and Jon Stewart of Comedy Central went head-to-head late last week, and here is my letter to both networks in response):

I'm a huge fan of both shows. You entertain me. And I'm talking years here.

I'd like to think that both Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer are in this position, of collecting 2,000 comments on the blog immediately following the airing of their toe-to-toe battle interview, because they want to be. As willing, educated, brilliant and active participants in our democratic process and civil servants to the debate of the free market system. And, a little bit because they both love the limelight. As entertainers.

Certainly, both men have impressive resumes and historical measures of their respective brilliance. Big brains. There is no denying that. However, both of them failed to place blame on where Wall Street bumps into Main Street, and the Universe collapses on itself: Original Sin.

Isn't, to a certain extent, human nature to blame, in this current debacle? Aren't we all pleased when we find out a stock we bought yesterday went up 30% due to some unexpected news? And likewise, isn't a 7-year old selling lemonade just delighted when the heat index breaks 100 degrees and there is no other liquid to be found nearby? Aren't all of loyal Cramerica fans dedicated to the idea that with sane, thorough, fundamental analysis of stocks, you, too can profit handsomely with your investment dollars?

Don't we all like to laugh at Jon Stewart's brilliant rhetoric?

Yes, yes, and oh by the way--we're all a little greedy, too*. Who didn't appreciate their home increasing in value (an unsustainable) 20%, or their stock portfolio increasing four-fold over the same number of years? Nobody wants nothing for their work and labor. It's called Human Nature.

I believe that those who have more, should give more, and those who don't, can get help. I strongly believe Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart, deep in their hearts, feel the same way, ideologically.

However! There are very complex financial instruments out there, which beget complex financial markets. I only understand a tenth of it having worked on a trading floor in MARKET RISK MANAGEMENT. I was measuring Market Risk for equity derivative trading portfolios.. and.. guess what?! Traders are smart. Traders are sneaky. Traders like to WIN. And they like to make money. And.. add some overleveraged banks, not enough capital, mortgages defaulting and de-valuing assets across the board, credit seizing up, commerce halting, the People getting caught in the middle and... here we are.

Jon Stewart asked the excellent point-question: "What is our role as journalists, if not to reveal the very shenanigans going on behind the uninformed Public's back..if we know about them?"

Certainly, Jim Cramer is not the face of whom we blame. His network? Could they have done more?

One of my favorite quotes:

Integrity is what you do when nobody is watching.

What about when we are?

* Note: NOT that I blame what has happened in the current crisis on the People, per se, simply that it was too easy to allow current market conditions to be ripe for bankers/traders/etc. to reap the benefits of (us) it in the capital markets.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Time to Be Honest

First, please offer up your prayers, your positive thoughts and your kind words to Braja in her time of healing.

Let me be honest. I'm way too honest. To a fault.

I went back through my "Edit Posts" feature, and found that some posts that I had drafted had never actually been published; but they "count" in the post "count". Point? I'm more like nine or ten posts away from my 100th post. Some of you that are the very sharpest tacks in the drawer picked up on my late "makeup" posts that I posted deep in the Archives late last night. Good catch! I even made up my own meme because I'd said that I would (honesty thing again.) Examine your heart at your own risk!

It was my husband who said, "100 Posts? Really? Is that possible... already?"

Time does fly, my friends. Birds are starting to visit the new birdfeeder; my toddler has learned to say "I seeeeeeeeeee you," whilst hiding; my yellow Lab is not racing in a mad dash up the back yard steps to chase squirrels with her brother. Spring is trying desperately to sprung. My legs are still sore from the run on Thursday, so that I had to explain why I was adding extra stretches to my kid yoga kids this morning. (Embarrassing.)

Time marches on. Sometimes slipping by, unnoticed, until we look up from our intensely busy days. Sometimes with the exacting barometer of a child, who seems to transform into a new version of himself overnight...advancing his knowledge, language, and dramatic acting skills daily.

And, finally... this blog. Your blogs. Look over at the left-hand side of mine, and whichever side your archives are on. How much has been written! How much sharing has been done! How much time have I stolen from you while I riff about life? How many moments have flown by, while life is desperately beside us, trying to keep up!

Hold on, tightly. Savor those moments until they slowly dissolve, leaving a whole new flavor in your mouth.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Favorites

I hopped aboard the VentHardNow Train yesterday, and now it's time to hop off and head for that greener pasture. It's time for optimistic, numbered joy-sharing. Friday Favorites, sponsored by Janna Bee (in her words, "Friday Favorites are the things that got us through the week, big and small.") Lezzgo.

1. Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, policeman and firemen and civil servants have the roughest, most thankless jobs for which we should be MOST thankful. And I really am**.

2. So, this is a makeup post, then? (No!) You felt a little bad, though, right? (Yep.)

3. My husband.

4. Gifted French Truffles from my adorable Aging Asian Yogi.

(Yes. They are open now.)

5. All the new Followers* of Fingers&Paws. Strap yourselves in!

6. Black Mountain Pinot Noir.
7. The nursery at the gym. See #4. And every previous post referencing Thin Mints.
8. Ad-hoc post-meeting Happy Hour with the girls, where I picked up the phrase, "That REALLY flipped my pancake". Also, much sex talk. Also, $2 drafts.
9. Being a guest poster at What It's Like to Be Mie on Tuesday.
10. Coming up with a brilliant, enlightening post for my 100th post.. which is coming up next week. (Finally. The Kevin Costner post.)

IF I come up with something brilliant for OMW's Friday Fiction, I'll post it for the weekend. Let's ask the Magic Eight Ball...

"Looks doubtful."

* Capitalizing F makes you sound like Disciples, and I PROMISE that is the furthest thing from this raised-good-Catholic-and-still-tries-hard-to-make-Mass-though-lack-of-a-nursey-and-screaming-toddler-just-does not-work Mom.
** I have a lot of people in my life that have dedicated their careers and lives to serving the needs of others in the form of federal government, law enforcement, intelligence, and .. my Mom. They can never know how much I appreciate and admire them.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Crime and Punishment

Mama Kat's Writing Workship (workship? What is that? Are we all out to sea? A ship you work on? Like a navy ship?) Workshop chosen prompt:
4.) What inspired you? Write about a time when you were impassioned to write.

Dear Mr. F'x County Police Officer Who Gave Me a Parking Ticket In Front of My Own House Last Week:

I understand there is a budget shortfall the likes of which you've never experienced in the County. I understand better than anyone Sir, because I bought a HOUSE in this County. That makes me a TAXPAYER. That means I pay YOUR salary. And just because harsh reality bites, and there is no more money in the police budget for doughnuts, it does NOT mean you get to go around ticketing random cars. In the rain. At 7:30PM at night. All sneaky, when we didn't see you do it and the useless dogs didn't alert us to the moonlight sanity RAID.

It was bad enough peeling the wet ticket(s) off our TWO cars that were sporting TWO tickets... God forbid we see any curtains peeled back for idle snickering from neighbors.

We had a lot of SNOW last week, and our road was covered in the white fluffy stuff ALL DAY because the COUNTY did not come to plow it. This has been the case the past two winters, and up until now, has been acceptable. Because I did not have to PAY to park in front of my own HOUSE. This is no longer acceptable.

Honestly, if I saw you do it, I think we would have had a raucous laugh:
"Oh, what in the world do you think you're doing? I live here, Sir!"
"Oh, ma'am, do you live here? What a nice place. Listen, I need ya to swing her around for me."
"Swing her around?"
"You're parked facing the wrong way."
(Here, I would pause, with a half smile creeping over my face.)
"Oh, you're KIDDING! You don't ACTUALLY spend POLICE time keeping track of which way people are parked in their NEIGHBORHOODS, when bad guys are out there STEALING CARS and FIRING UNLICENSED WEAPONS! Right?"
"Ha, ha. Yes, ha, ha. Got me. I was only joshing. But it woulda sucked if I'd given ya a ticket! Yeppers!"

That could have, would have, and should have, been a funny story for my blog. INSTEAD, I am forced to write this nagging letter explaining to you why you are wasting valuable tax dollars using up gas to patrol around looking for CRIMINAL PARKING ACTIVITY.

Because this crime was so ludicrous in nature, and because other crimes I have committed that went unpunished were SO MUCH WORSE, I have decided to write my Congressman and tell him that we need you to direct traffic at the preschool for the next nine years.


Mad, Mad Ma'am


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spin on Surviving Madmen in March

A recent, actual conversation involving college basketball, about which my husband feels more passionately than the three S's virtually anything:

Me: "So you must be pretty psyched about the Tournament this year, huh?"
Husband: "YES."
Me: "And if we win all our games, leading up to the Final Four?"
Husband: [quivering] "YES! Very excited."
Me: "And our TV will be only allowed on...."
Husband: "College basketball, baBY!"
Me: "And what if we are IN the Final Four? Where is it this year... in Texas, right?"
Husband: [pause] "Yeah. Right. In Texas North."
Me: "Texas Nor..."
Husband: "Otherwise known as Detroit."

So, where's the survival part?--I'm being totally serious here, I finished the last sleeve of Thin Mints while my husband was working late. Then I emailed him to let him know.

Payback is hell.

For newer, shinier Survival stories from the street, visit Jen at Sprite's Keeper!


St. Patty's Day Post

Today I'm guest poster (3/17/09) at What It's Like to Be Mie. Mie graciously asked me to guest post in honor of her Terrible Two-year old Blogoversary. I think this is a fantastic accomplishment and cannot imagine why she would allow me to take over her blog for the day. But! It's her party and she can cry (later) if she wants to. Plus, she's a nurse, and can likely handle any minor skin irritations I present.

Getting started, we've already established that I am:
guest posting, right. And as a circus poodle, I'm prone to any number of entertaining qualities (keep it clean, fine readers!) Though, you would not believe the porn out there when "Kiss Me" is typed into Google Images. Suffice it to say, those ladies didn't even look Irish.

It's a good thing poodles are hypo-allergenic, because Mie is having issues with her allergies right now. I would not want to send her into a sneezing fit!

Anyhoo! I promised poetry, already provided pictures, and perhaps a peck of alliteration prose. Since it is St. Patrick's Day, a limerick (or two) seems most appropriate.

There was a young lass called Mie
Who caught the blog bug and named Me
Her guest poster du jour
By consequence I adore
Her every word, post, tweet and feed!

St. Patrick's Day came with a hurry
Spring attempting to chase away flurries
Wear some green, if you dare
Don't get pinched anywhere
Bottoms up that Guinness in a fury!

Mie's blog is about to turn TWO
It is read by the masses, and you.
We celebrate her success
But to come is the best
When it's back to Mie crafting, adieu!

Kiss Me, I'm Guest Posting!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

It's so totally random that Keely chose Tuesdays to share random weekly thoughts. It's all part of her master plan. Go check out the other RTT posts.

Why are oyster crackers called oyster crackers? Do they contain evaporated oyster juice? Do you have to have them with oysters? Was the inventor just looking for a catchy cracker-phrase, and happened to be eating oysters at the time?

Every time I gain a new Follower, I feel as if I have a new best friend lease on life. The highest of the highs. Everything is coming together, exactly as it should. I am where I am meant to be. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. And then I go back and read my last post and think, "what are they thinking?"

When I see that a fellow blogger is holding a giveaway, and that they chose their winner based on a Random Number Generator, I always, without fail, think to myself, "Why didn't they just ask me? I can pull random out of my ____!"

You can't always get what you want. But if he could, I'm pretty sure my husband would quit his job, forward his phone, toss his laptop, hole himself up in front of a large HDTV and watch the entire college basketball post-regular season including every conference tournament and NCAA tournament coverage non-stop without eating. This scares me.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. When will we get out Of this economic gloom?

Apparently, I have a deep-seated sense of entitlement about Girl Scout Cookies (don't worry, it doesn't go further than that.) At Trader Joe's this weekend, the little cherubs were camped outside, calling directly to me as I left the store. I bought a make-up box of Thin Mints, (and makeup Tagalongs) which I proceeded to plow through even before arriving back home. Note: when I said you can't always get what you want, I did not mean me. As I type this, I'm finishing my husband's Tagalong.

Wait, not ready to dump that subject yet. Last time I mentioned my pummeling of a box of Thin Mints in three days, I got "amateur." "Shows restraint." "Talk to me if it's three hours." What I failed to mention, joyful commenters, is that after said Thin Mints, I finished an entire bag of Mint Milanos, package of frozen cookie dough (had help there), and nearly the balance of playgroup brownies that my husband didn't off.

One of my Asian Yogis gave me a present after class today! As I took the shiny gift bag from the adorably sweet 76-year old, I had the thought that it could be a bag of rancid bananas, and I would still be so touched and thrilled. (It wasn't. Apparently even my Asian Yogis know about my growing addiction. See below.)

Doesn't this just describe your addictions perfectly? It does mine!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Joy Is.. Hungry, Hungry Hippos

I feel like I haven't posted in DAYS. That's because I haven't. Count your blessings.
But! I am a total freak and had to share why. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees after a millennium of cold, freezing dreariness. I don't know how my Irish ancestors dealt with clouds. So I'm coming home from Trader Joe's avoiding the return home back to my visiting mother-in-law, taking a detour to take further advantage of free babysitting and rolled down all the windows, opened the sunroof, cranked up the Yes song that was on XM ("Roundabout",) not generally a groovin' & cruisin' song, but hey. This is my high that we're on. And I proceeded to sing, careen around corners, unable to see for the hair blowing in my face, and swerve around children it was grand.

In other joy news, we are lucky to have a kick-a** zoo down the road, where the elephants are trained, good sports that they are. Joy is... being a kid again while watching your own revel in his youth. Amazing, these giant ton-weighing hippos eat the same thing for snack as we do: apples!

There were also gorillas and orangutans hanging from the rafters.Speaking of apes, don't miss watching Dook crumble under the pressure of our Carolina Tarheels this afternoon! A more suited rival we couldn't have..


Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Favorite: Loyalty

(Today's photo on Pictures, Poetry and Prose is mine!) Thank you Laura Jayne! Here is how it inspired me:

and appeasing
Dying to be
Please, toddler,
Stop teasing
I really want to rest.

To avoid all the
And cold outside
Carpe Diem, my
Gazing up: you're the best.

I intended to do an entire list, but, in his quiet resilience to all that is hardship, his undying love for his patron Toddler, and his steadfast sureness of foot and playful of heart, I give you.. my Echo.
Friday Favorites is sponsored by Janana Bee, check her out! And her cool button:


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writer's Workshop: All of That and More

Start: 10:18 PM
My evening was pulled out from underneath me through no fault of my own because I procrastinate. Something about a college basketball game, tomorrow's playgroup brownies being attacked by my husband (guess he's bitter about the Thin Mints), and a Lifetime movie based on a book I just finished (Memory Keeper's Daughter. SKIP IT. READ THE BOOK.) That's right. Lifetime. We ALL watch it. Only I admit it.

Check out Mama Kat's Writing Workshop, rocking it on Wed. night! The prompts:

1.) Write a limerick; 2.) Normal is...
There was an attention-starved Lady from Normal
Dressing up and then down for the formal
Pretty lace that she wore
Fluttered fast to the floor
With the help of the gent who had scorned her.

3.) Describe a memorable camping experience.
Set up the tent two feet from the banks of a gushing river in CO, thinking that would be a nice sleep aid. It kept me up ALL NIGHT because I kept having to pee.

4.) What's the best thing that has happened this week?
I went with my 21-mo old toddler to a friend's house to play this morning. It's been a rough week, he's getting over his fifth ear infection and was a total peanut-sized a**-- train wreck every day. One or two of the days I'm pretty sure he was trying to kill me. This wore on my nerves and started to grind me down, causing me to revert to my childhood where things were solved by yelling, making menacing faces and exasperated, drawn out sighs.

This friend was a quiet, calming influence, everything smooth, nothing is that big of a deal. Her daughter is a quiet, calm sweetheart. In one powerful moment, I saw my child growing up to be a yelling tyrant if I didn't change my actions and - more important, equal and opposite reactions. Starting today and everyday thereafter. And that's what I've done. I brought the savasana back to our daily lives. Focus on the breath.

5.) Did you have a childhood hideout? Where? Describe it.
My diary.

6.) Words that hurt me.

I'm a red-headed, fiery-tempered, mostly Irish, partly (1/12th) Cuban, youngest of three, female Scorpio... everything bothers me!

(But what doesn't kill you... makes you smarter.)

End: 10:48PM


Monday, March 2, 2009

Random Tuesday Memes

And thoughts. Vodka Mom passively-tagged everyone to post 10 Random Things about themselves, as she did (in 8.) This fits perfectly with Keely's Tuesday Random Thoughts. I realize I posted my 25 Random Things meme just a month ago, but if I hadn't said that, you'd never have known. Plus, this one is intended to make you laugh. Let's see.


1. When I was 10, I was skiing all day with a friend near where I grew up in Upstate NY. I had to go to the bathroom very badly, but was stuck in the middle of the mountain, waiting for her. Since it really helped me to do the "pee dance" when I had to go even now as a kid, I wriggled and wriggled my butt back and forth, trying to focus my attention on my skies instead. So, I was bent over, literally wriggling my ass off , when I heard shouts from behind. I turned and was astonished to see the entire lift line above me, previously undetected, laughing their asses off.

2. Continue the theme. The thing that freaked me out the most when I was pregnant was, henceforth after the delivery, peeing a little when I laughed. I read this in one of those make-you-laugh-even-though-pregnancy-is-way-freaking-harder-than-anyone-warned-you books. An easy thing to obsess over!

3. Just after we'd adopted our two crazed, mentally-unstable, anxiety-ridden but adorable Labrador retriever mixes mutts Meritage blends, my husband, in grad school and "studying" from home, brought them to meet me for lunch. We tied them to the leg of my stool, where we were sitting outside the sidewalk cafe. When a man slammed his door shut a very scary 10 feet away, both dogs FLIPPED out and bolted, knocking me off and dragging said stool behind them. The line snapped, the stool bounced off of a nearby (newly dented) Explorer and the dogs went running around downtown Charlottesville. Traffic stopped, I ran after Echo, hubby ran after Cayuga, passersby pointed. "That way!" I nearly despaired several times, broke down to a traffic cop, followed the pointing. Broke down again, ran more, nearly got struck by several vehicles. And FOUND THEM. Scared, but safe.

4. I'm tired after all that running. Love Thai, hate Brussels sprouts.

5. I finished an entire box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints in three days while my husband wasn't home. (That's not funny, is it? That's disgusting.) 'S ok, I weigh less now than before my child was born and before my wedding in 2003.

6. This past Saturday, at the kid yoga class that I teach, we had an energizing, somewhat chaotic class and were in the middle of our imaginary "trip" to the "Magic Forest." Since it was Magic , anything was game. One kid said a frog prince. Another, a princess. A talking horse. Then, there was a quiet beat and one little girl said with a deep sigh, "a BED?"

7. I have very poor vision (-7.0) that only gets worse. I have always been self-conscious of this. At my last eye exam, I lead the witness teased my eye Doc that I was legally blind, "Right?" He said, carefully, "well.. the definition of legally blind is that you are not able to see 20/200 without correction. But you can be corrected!" Sweet.

8. Between this blog, your blog(s), comments, email, comments to email, Craiglist, freecycle, cyber stalking, trading alerts, playgroup reminders, writing, editing, re-writing, Mom's club listservs, "Hookah Times", Nigerian email scams, Facebook alerts and my Mom, I could spend all day long on the internet. And usually do.

9. For a short time, I worked at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. One day, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg* made a surprise visit and the Director at the time asked me to take some photos of her around the grounds--incognito, as a tourist. This after several other employees turned down this hot, sought-after job. He handed me a disposable camera, and I started hiding, like regular paparazzi. When I spotted secret service types in the bushes spotting me, I turned the camera around and acted like I was taking my own self-portrait. To make this act more believable, I half-heartedly joined a group of tourists grouped, listening to a guide.. I never figured out if it was Japanese they were speaking.

10. Growing up, we had a wood-paneled Chrysler station wagon which, by the time I was 11, only had one door that was operational - the driver's side. Various incidents and accidents, mostly my Mom, were responsible, including the time my brother left the back left door open and she backed out of the garage, wrenching the door beyond its flex. Once crammed shut, never to open again. Thus, every time we went somewhere, we'd climb in and hop over seats. This is also the car whose engine we discovered a raccoon hiding out in. We kept him and named him "Bandit." (True story. I fed him hot dogs.)

* NOte: UNauthorized use of her name. She did really visit, and is a lovely person. But doesn't like cameras.


Surprise! Snow Fear

I wasn't going to post this morning (see Friday.) But a wondrous thing happened:

Snow Fear

Splashes of blue upon a white canvas, daybreak, cantilevered light
Snow bunnies buried in nests, look about. Then hiding in fright
Gusting, swirling and gusting, blinding with wind and with white

A pile so thick our door stays shut, Nor'easters' lesson: snowed in like King Tut
The risk exists that one little twist makes me a blissful nut:
We're very well stuck here all day, it would seem, caught in a veritable rut.

Change the outcome, realign the maligned focus, treat it like non-annoy
Channel the innermost memories and remedy the way for childlike joy
A huge red sled, two siblings and gravity pulling us down with a ploy.

Screams and shouts of happiness, ignoring wet and cold at our peril
Fresh tracks and smiles, memories solidified, forever with me carrying
Savor moments as these in perpetuity, forever etched, ne'er impaired.

Bundle up my love, and enjoy uncomplicated paradigm of Play
The sheer, unadulterated joy of a young child's first Snow Day.

(The sun has come out since I've composed this. Can't wait to devour this with the 35 mm!)




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