Month: November 2007 (page 2 of 4)

Procrastination At Its Finest

I can think of ten other things I should be doing right now. But, I couldn’t resist this. I blame Pam. She did it first.

If you’ve ever wondered what Dave, Julia and I might look like as dancing elves…

Wonder no more.

Click! Go! YOU MUST!

Here! Hop In My Time Machine. Let’s Go!

Veronica, one of my newest blogging pals, has tagged me for a meme. The Crazy 8 Meme! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did it before. But this time, I’m doing it with a twist! It’s the The Crazy 8 Meme – High School Version. Specifically, my senior year of high school.

Awesome idea, isn’t it? I know! It wasn’t mine. Michelle at Scribbit did it first after being tagged for the same Random Things meme a few times. She did a high school or teenage version, which was just brilliant. So, I copied stole was inspired by her idea and decided to apply it here.

Now, here we go! Back to 1994.

High School Graduation 1994Things I’m Passionate About:
1. My boyfriend
2. My hair
3. Becoming a neurologist
4. Beverly Hills 90210
5. Well-defined calf muscles & a bikini-worthy tummy
6. Pepsi
7. My clothes
8. My hair (I know I said it once, but really, it was very important to me.)

Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
I consulted my Senior Book for accuracy on this one. Here’s what I found listed as my “Dreams and Goals.”
1. Get married
2. Have children (Specifically a boy and a girl, in that order. Yeah, I actually wrote that down.)
3. Visit Ilka in Germany
4. Visit Australia
5. See The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
6. Own a BMW
7. Design & build my own home
8. Stay married to the same person my whole life. (I went on, at length, about how I never, never, never wanted to be divorced. Oh, how disappointed 17-year old Leslie would be in me. But it’s okay. She doesn’t know what I know.)

Things That I Say Often:
1. I’m sorry. (My nickname could have been ‘Door mat.’ I apologized for everything. I don’t do that anymore.)
2. You go girl!
3. Schwing!!!
4. Does burping count? I did that a lot. I could burp words…so, yeah. I just decided. It counts.
5. Excuse me. (Okay, I burped a lot, but I had manners.)
6. Later. (This was how I said good-bye. I know. I oozed cool. In college it grew into “Check ya later.”)
7. Chica. (I called all my girls Chica. Because I’m hip with a Spanish flair. Or something.)
8. The double pistol finger raspberry (Okay, technically this isn’t something I said, but it was a gesture that included sound from my mouth. And it communicated a specific message. I’m including it.)

Books I’ve Read Recently (Or Am Reading):
1. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
2. The Bible (This is actually the most read book in my life. I’ve read it cover to cover four times and read it daily when I was a high-schooler. You know, preacher’s daughter and all.)
3. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
4. The Entity by Frank De Felitta
5. Christy by Catherine Marshall
6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
7. The Tiger Lily by Shirlee Busbee – This book inspired many a night of self-love. It’s very sexy. And I’ll even let you in on a very naughty secret. But first, Mom, Dad & Grandma – close your eyes and hit scroll. Okay. Here’s the secret: I used to read the sexy parts of this book to a guy – a guy that was not my boyfriend, but oh, I wish he had been – over the phone. In a seductive voice. It was really out of character for me as I was, truly, a pretty good girl. It was the effect of that book. Damn, it was steamy. And that guy. He was steamy, too.
8. Story of O by Pauline Reage – If you thought the last book was scandalous, I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor. You’re probably wondering how this book could be on the same list as The Bible. But, if you really think about when you were a teenager, you may understand. Teenagers are curious and searching and discovering who they are. This was all part of that. And part of dating an older guy.

Songs I Can Listen To Over And Over :
(And I’ve linked ’em up to YouTube so you can listen to them over and over, too!)
1. The Sign by Ace of Base
2. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
3. Can’t Help Falling In Love by UB40
4. Mr. Jones by Counting Crows
5. I’d Do Anything For Love by Meatloaf
6. No Rain by Blind Melon
7. Two Princes by The Spin Doctors
8. What’s Up by Four Non Blondes

What Attracts Me To My Friends:
1. Sense of humor
2. Fun-loving spirit
3. Shared experiences
4. Openmindedness
5. Fashion sense
6. Good hair
7. Loyalty
8. Trust

Things That I Learned That Year:
1. A great tan can make you look thinner. And hotter. I mean, freakin’ hot.
2. A girl can only live so long on a diet of plain baked potatoes and Diet Pepsi.
3. A true friend will let you puke in the back of her car and never say a word.
4. You’re never too old for a slumber party.
5. Being kind is always worth it.
6. Gullibility can be a real character flaw.
7. The church can often have very little to do with God or righteousness.
8. Never assume you’ll have time to fix something later. You never know when you’ll say good-bye to someone for the last time.

This time, I’m tagging my husband, so he can quit whining that I never tag him. Or link to him. And he can see how challenging this meme really is.

Have fun, Grimm. *insert maniacal laughter here*

Why I Look A Little Lopsided

I spent the day making Buckeyes. I guess I was doing it a pretty long time and getting real tired, because I had an accident. I got my boob caught in my KitchenAid mixer. For real. I can’t really explain it. It happened quite quickly and I was distracted by the intense pain that came soon after.

A Quarter For Your Thoughts, Julia

Yesterday, my mom, Julia and I were exiting Pizza Hut when Julia spotted a bank of gumball machines. She ran over to them, jumped up and down and began begging for quarters. I informed her that I had none. My mother said, “Here, let me look in my purse.”

As mom began rifling, a woman sitting nearby, waiting on her pizza pulled a quarter out of her purse and handed it to Julia. “Here’s a quarter, Sweetie.”

Julia thanked her.

I dug into my bag and handed the woman two dimes and a nickel, “That was so kind of you. Please, take this twenty five cents.”

The woman refused saying, “It’s just a quarter.”

I was thanking her again when my mom struck quarters, “Oh! Here Jules. Quarters!” She handed her two of them.

Julia handed the woman her quarter back, then plugged Grandma’s quarters in the SpongeBob Squarepants themed machine. Once she’d claimed her treasure, I took her hand and we headed for the exit.

Julia exclaimed, “That was so nice to give me a quarter.”

I smiled at the kind woman and said, “It most certainly was.”

She smiled back, watching us leave.

Then Julia declared, ” And that man. He was beautiful!”

I immediately looked down, breaking eye contact with the woman and quickened my pace toward the door. I told myself that she probably didn’t hear Julia call her a man, but I wasn’t brave enough to look back. I just kept walking.

We were almost to the door when I whispered to Julia, “Honey, that was a very nice woman.”

Big. Mistake.

Julia turned around, pointed and shouted, “No, Mom. That person with the quarter is a MAN!”

Then, I yanked Julia out the door.

I bet that woman never gives away a quarter again.

I Love…

Photo Hunt

Best Friends

…my husband.

This & That

I told myself when I signed up for NaBloPoMo, that I wasn’t going to blog about how hard it is and how it’s kicking my ass and stuff. But here I am, halfway in and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

People, NaBloPoMo is hard. It’s kicking my ass and stuff.

And once again, I’m down to the last hour of the day and have written nothing. So, I’m just going to write. About whatever. Like my day. Want to know what I did today? I’m going to tell you.

I took Julia to Kindermusik. It was cool.

Then, we went to get our hair cut. Julia had her bangs trimmed. My hair was cut all over. When I sat in the chair, the lady asked, “Whadddya want?”

I said, “I want something that looks decent with absolutely no effort.”

So, she cut my hair. When she was finished, I asked Julia what she thought. She told me I look like a boy and that she was going to start calling me Mommy Boy. I told her that was fine, but then I’d have to start calling her Hashbrown.

Then, we grabbed a bite to eat and went to play with one of our playgroup friends. There were pumpkin muffins. It was awesome. Until we had to leave. Then, it was not. Hashbrown refused to go and ran from me. I finally resorted to threatening to tell Daddy on her. She agreed to come home with me.

When we came home, we practiced the piano. For an hour. Julia has lost interest in the piano in the past two weeks. Probably because I boasted too much about her progress before. So, I’m trying a new system to motivate and inspire her to practice seriously. We’ve implemented a chart.

Julia's Piano Chart

Each row contains an objective. If she meets that objective during practice, she earns a sticker. When she fills up the rows, she gets a reward. If she stays on task, in 17 days we’ll be going to see The Bee Movie.

(Speaking of my daughter’s musical ability, this morning she sang me a song she made up while we were in the bath tub. While there was much I didn’t understand, her chorus was, “Our friendship has wings and it means everything!” I mean, awwww. Is that the cutest thing ever or what?)

Later, we had Subway for dinner because I didn’t want to cook. I had a Classic Italian BMT with meat, cheese, mayo and vinegar. Why? Because I’m pregnant.

Oh! I bought some maternity clothes. Three long-sleeved t-shirts (in blue, orchid and black) and a cable knit sweater, from JCPenney. Because they sell size Pregnant Hippo. And I purchased one pair of maternity jeans from Lane Bryant. They cost enough to feed a hungry child overseas for an entire year. I do not feel good about this. But alas, I am clothed.

Now let’s just hope I can get my blogdiggity mojo back.

The Skin Of My Teeth

I’m almost brain dead today. But I didn’t want to screw up NaBloPoMo. So, at 11:57 p.m., this is my post.

I guess they all can’t be awesome.

Let’s Talk Turkey

I hosted our playgroup yesterday. And while each of us normally hosts only once every other month, I’m also hosting next month. Because I freaking LOVE the holidays. And having kids here is a great excuse for me get all up in that holiday spirit.

Yesterday, we celebrated the turkey. Because three-year olds get turkeys.

You may be thinking that it’s the month of Thanksgiving and perhaps we should have been giving thanks at playgroup. But I struggled to come up with a gratitude game. And I really wanted to make a hat. It is common knowledge that turkeys make great hats.

The turkey hat.

Here is Julia posing in her hat. See that arm up there? High fashion modeling.

Julia in her turkey hat

And then, we had a Turkey Hunt. I hid a bunch of them all over our family room. Then, I set the kids loose to find them. Once we’d gathered them all up, we attached them to a big piece of orange paper. Because orange makes me think of Thanksgiving. And three-year olds really like to stick things to other things.

The results of our turkey hunt.

I was also sure to plant my new turkey pumpkin in the center of the table, so everyone would have to look at how cute he is.

My turkey pumpkin.

And I made a turkey-themed snack. Turkey tracks! Ritz-like crackers smeared with a cheese spread and topped with Chow Mein noodles fashioned to look like a turkey footprint. I did not get a picture, because we ate them all.

Before everyone left, we drew names for a Christmas gift exchange that will go down at the playgroup Christmas party at our house next month. It’s gonna be awesome! Gifts, food, fun and a visit from the man in red. I cannot wait! Until then, if you have any great ideas for Christmas games, snacks and activities, I’d love to hear them.

Takin’ Care Of Business

The blogosphere can be a fulfilling place, especially when you have readers like I do.

I appreciate your visits. I adore each and every comment. Well, maybe adore is too weak a word. I love them! I treasure them! I store them in a sparkly pink box deep in my heart and they keep me warm at night.

If you’re not a commenter, that’s cool. That’s fine. Keep reading! But, I really encourage you to comment. Because, well, I’ll just tell you, that comment number? I use it as a measurement of my self-worth. And if that number is too low, I punish myself by repeatedly chanting a phrase from the Latin Requiem mass and hitting myself with a board.* That’s not a guilt trip or anything. I just want you to realize the amazing power you hold at your fingertips.

Truly, there is nothing like the thought of you all, stopping by to check in and maybe even share a little something to brighten my world. Especially on days when I’ve handed out more time outs than I love you’s, cleaned up one too many gross things or am barely able to breath from the tightness of our budget. It helps to take a moment to check in here and find something you’ve said to let me know I’m not alone; that there are other people out there with things to say that are funny or touching or a fresh perspective.

Simply put, I’m grateful that you come here and acknowledge my existence.

I’m not sure there’s a word for what I feel when one of you recognize me in some special way. Like with an award. Like JerseyGirl did.

Wonderful Women of the Web Award

And that award? She gave it only to me. I wasn’t number 8 or 10 in a long string of recipients, or even an ammended add-on to a formerly published list. It came straight to me. And just me. That made me feel pretty damn good, especially coming from her.

And so, I’d like to pass along to her this award.

The Nice Matters Award

I got it from Jenn in Holland, recently. And my blogging bud Toni a while back.

I don’t always pass along awards or memes that I receive. Often, it’s because so many bloggers just don’t care about it. And it’s not a great feeling to give someone a web goodie just to have them chuck it in the virtual trash. But Jerseygirl will appreciate it. And she most certainly deserves it. I can rely on her comments and support here and I look forward to reading her blog each day. The more I get to know her, the more I love her. She ranks at the top of my list of bloggers I’d love to meet in person. She’s hilarious and honest and brilliant. So check out her blog. Or her other blog. You won’t be sorry.

As for the Wonderful Women of the Web Award, I’d like to pass it along to Jenn in Holland. If this woman isn’t reading your blog, you’re missing out. Because Jenn doesn’t just read your blog, she becomes a fan of your blog. I imagine her sitting at her computer, wearing my t-shirt with a giant Leslie’s #1 foam finger, doing back flips and turning cartwheels in support of me. She gets excited about my ideas and efforts and celebrates my success with as much enthusiasm as she would her own. Don’t we all need a friend like that? The amazing thing is, she gives that much to every blog she visits. I guess that’s why, if you’re quiet, you can probably hear a chorus of us singing her praises right now. She leaves thoughtful and encouraging comments everywhere she goes. And I never feel as if she’s doing it just to promote herself. She’s genuine. I feel lucky to know her. Meeting Jenn in Holland face to face is on my list of things to do before I die. And meeting Jenn ranks higher on the list than meeting Oprah Winfrey. She’s that awesome.

So, here’s a big Congratulations and a Thank You To Jerseygirl and Jenn. And a giant hug to the rest of you. C’mon, hug me. I smell good.

*Blatant Monty Python reference.

The Writing Game. And It’s Nothing Like The Crying Game. Although Some Tears Were Shed.

Today, I’m trying something new. I signed up for Jen at A2Eatwrite’s Writing Game. What’s the writing game? Well, a gaggle of us submitted a list of things we’d like to write about, a list of three characters, and a list of conflicts. Then, Jen mixed ’em up and handed them back out and we each wrote a story from the information we received. Here’s what I got from Soccer Mom in Denial:

Things To Write About:
– Night train ride
– A love affair through letters
– A family funeral

Characters:
– A student (age 18-20) traveling alone
– A parent
– A child with the parent (age 3-4)

Conflicts:
– the family is from that country’s undesirable class and the student is aware of that
– the parent strikes the child, causing a significant bruise
– the child breaks the student’s music player.

My story is below.

But first, I have to tell you that this experience has given me a new respect for fiction writers. This stuff is hard to dream up. What is more, it takes an enormous amount of courage to put your ideas out there for the world to view. What I do here on my blog is easy. I write about the facts of my life and most of the words come from the characters who are my family. This fiction stuff is something else altogether. This is my first go at it. Please, don’t judge me too harshly! Once you’ve read this, be sure to visit Jen for more and better stories from the other participants. Believe me, it only goes uphill from here.

***

She gazed out the window into the darkness. The allure of the scenic train ride had faded with the sun. As her son lay sleeping against her chest, she was left only with her thoughts and the sound of the train.

Clickety clack. Clickety clack. It reminded her of fingers on a keyboard. Her fingers, typing the message, “I’ll be there. Saturday. 11 a.m. I can’t wait to meet you.”

Just thinking about it made her lose her breath. What was she doing? Was she crazy? People just don’t meet strangers from the internet like this.

But, he wasn’t a stranger. She knew him well. Not his face or his body, but his heart and his mind. They’d been corresponding for more than a year now.

Still, she was nervous.

She ran through the plan for the following day. Her sister would meet her at the train station and take Sammy to the Children’s Museum. Her brother-in-law would escort her to the cafe where she was scheduled to meet him and hang around nearby, just to be sure everything was okay.

What would she say to him? What would they talk about? They shared so much on-line. Recently, they had begun writing letters by hand and exchanging small gifts through the mail. Perhaps she’d say something about mix cd she’d sent him. It seemed to say all the things she couldn’t. It filled the space between her words.

She wondered what he would think of her. She studied her reflection in the window. Would he think she looked old? Why hadn’t she given herself more time to get ready? She hadn’t thought about how she might look after spending the night on a train with a four year old. It would be the first time he saw her. Shouldn’t she look her best? Maybe she hadn’t thought this through.

Her sister’s word echoed in her ears, “Jim’s been gone three years now. It’s time to move on. What’s the harm in meeting your friend? He’s all you can talk about. Meet him. You don’t have to marry him. Just meet him. I think it’s more than a coincidence that he would be visiting our little town when you were already planning a visit. It’s fate. Sammy’s spring break came at the perfect time.”

As if on cue, her boy began to rouse. He sat up and peered at her through sleepy eyes.

“Hey, little man. Have a nice sleep?” she cooed softly.

He fidgeted in her lap until she let him sit next to her. He began to kick his legs against the seat and sing loudly. For the first time, she looked around at the passengers that shared their cabin. An older man with salt and pepper hair and glasses sat next to Sammy, reading a thick book. Across from him was a middle-aged woman, knitting quietly. Next to her was a young man with a backpack, a college student, reclined with eyes closed and headphones in his ears.

Sammy shouted, “I’m Superman!” as he stood up on the seat, bumping into the man next to him. The man cleared his throat and shifted his weight away.

“Not in here, honey. Settle down. Would you like to read a book?” she asked, reaching for her bag.

“Watch me fly!” Sammy shouted as he jumped off the seat and lept into the seat between the knitting woman and the college student.

“Sammy, no!”

As Sammy jumped back off the seat, his foot caught the cord to the student’s headphones, pulling him out of his trance and his cd player crashing to the floor. The lid had popped off. The cd had jostled loose and slid next to her foot.

“Sammy, sit down!” she said, pulling the boy into the seat next to her. She knelt to collect the cd player and lid, handed it to the boy and said, “I’m sorry.” As she returned to her seat, she reached down to pick the cd up. She turned it over in her hands and reached out to hand it back when she noticed familiar handwriting. It was her handwriting. It was the mix cd she had sent him. Her heart skipped a beat. She looked at the boy who barely made eye contact and said, “Yeah, thanks.”

He put his cd player back together, placed his headphones back in his ears and returned to his reclined position. All she could do was stare. Was this him? Could this kid be him?

Sammy tugged at her arm, “Mom, I’ve got to go to the bathroom.”

“Okay,” she said soberly. She grabbed her bag, took Sammy by the hand and left the cabin. They never went back inside.

When they arrived at the station a few hours later, her sister and brother-in-law were there to greet them. They hugged and kissed hello and her sister asked excitedly, “So, are you ready to meet him?”

“Bad news, Sis,” she lied as she saw him walking past in the distance, “He canceled.”

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