...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I recommend walking around naked in your living room

The list of things I will do while naked includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • International espionage
  • Dance to Garbage's Stupid Girl
  • Broker world peace
  • Wait on hold with customer service calls
  • Bask in adoration
  • Clean my house

That last one? I did that Saturday. That confession is either when you, dear reader, decides to simply stop reading this blog (which, I should add, I've spent time tweaking while sans), or "bare" (high five, sista!) with me to learn why I'd consider scrubbing bathrooms and Dysoning the carpets while unadorned.

Saturdays are typically the days when my family bolts, leaving me home alone for hours on end. My husband might call this "giving you some 'you' time," as he departs with the boys. Me? I see it more as "Now that I've paced the floors, paid the bills, gotten calendars updated, returned telephone calls, done six loads of laundry and mapped out the week ahead, what should I do? Oh, I know! Clean the house!" time.

So, to shake things up a bit (Sometimes quite literally. As much as I curse them, bras and my breasts - which I don't curse, obviously - were meant to share a Romeo and Juliet type of bond), I instituted these little "doff and dust" days. Honestly, I don't do it for some type of thrill or "fear factor" like means of completing my tasks. You have to have a lot of faith and excellent motor skills to use the furniture cleaning attachments on your vacuum if you plan to pull that hose out unencumbered.

You also need to remember that cleaning the windows isn't a job you do on these kinds of "jeans off jaunts." Unless you dig that kind of thing. However, dashing to my laundry room past the large front room windows with nothing but the basket of clothes I plan to launder strategically placed in front of me is as close as I've come.

As far as "cleaning" type things go, anyway.

So why clean naked? Simple. When I really want to clean, I go at it with passion.

Ok, that's a lie. I've never been passionate about cleaning up anything. Not my credit rating. Not my reputation. Most certainly not my closets. But I do like to get in there and really reach the nooks and crannies and work up a sweat. I figure if I'm going to pit out while pitting myself against stubborn stains on my kitchen floor, why not just ditch the duds? Then, when it's time to clean the showers, I can just jump in and clean up while scrubbing away at the soap scum build-up. Honestly.

A quick Google search indicates there's money to be made in being a naked maid, but I'm thinking some of the chores performed involve more than just a simple dusting of the knick knacks. The fact that I'm something of a perfectionist (and, more accurately, really broke), means I'll probably not be hiring from one of these services.

Give it a shot, this naked cleaning. But if you need tips on how to handle that vacuum hose, well, you might be on your own...


Friday, July 27, 2007

some things get better with age

Spaghetti-o's, however, do not.
These nasty oddities still remind me of what I imagine the stench of dirty underwear stewing in a pot of sweat would be like. The same heady rank I remember as a child when we thought it would be stellar to have this for lunch.
Don't even get me started if there were meatballs added to the mix.
I didn't eat this, mind you. I'll put stuff in my body that doesn't belong there (Costco? You owe me!), but I will not put Spaghetti-o's there. I'll feed them to my kids after they beg for them, though! Because I am that mom. "Give In Mom." You'd probably like her.
If you really want to get to know her, pay a visit to FTN or Cynical Dad today. Give a little love to the boys who were nice enough to endure me for a time.
Just don't come back here and tell me it was like breathing in the sweet perfume of old dirty underwear and sweat. They rock. I just hope I didn't ruin them.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

rock out with your little plastic game console guitar out

Hello suburbia! It's good to be back! Are you ready to rock?

I can't hear you!!


OOOHH Yeah! I wanna see you bouncin', suburbia!

Seriously, in the dictionary of lame (the collegiate edition), the entry under "loser" would be "Me - the girl who talks to herself a lot and fancies herself a rock star despite the fact she threw the clarinet down at her band teacher's feet the summer between seventh and eight grade and yelled, 'I'll never be able to hit that sharp!' and then cried while she walked home because what would she tell her parents!?"

But then, if you then flipped a few pages ahead to the entry for "totally awesome" it would read "That clarinet quitter who totally SHREDS at "Guitar Hero II in her living room, complete with an Angus Young strut and a propensity to yell, 'I gots your whammy bar right here, baby!'"

And there'd be a picture of me, totally giving you the "rock and roll salute" that I pretty much bust out at any time, be it to honor a truly kick ass dinner or as a thank you for of some decent sex. I'm just that alternative, baby!

Because I routinely like to get my ass handed to me by 9 year old boys who can bust me at video games (my dexterity sucks, man!), we decided this week to jump on the Guitar Hero fad for our PS2. I'd never played it before. I'd never seen it in action. But as soon as I saw this "Rocks the 80s" version in the Best Buy ad last Sunday, let's just say I've been a little obsessed. Like "change your panties, make a shrine, call your crush in the middle of the night, whisper "I think you're cute," then giggle and hang up" obsessed.

(And honestly, I need a reason other than blogging to suck the soul of time out of me. That's about it)

Yesterday, after letting the boys hover over me like flies on a chunk of roadkill for a good portion of the day, waiting for me to open up the game system, we made our debut. Twenty minutes in, I listened as my oldest son, the one we worked so hard with every night to help him memorize his multiplication facts during the school year, perfectly sing Cheap Trick's Surrender after his first exposure to it. Never missed a line. Of course, I'm so proud. But now I figure I have to bust out those weird Rick Nielsen looks and pretend to play a five neck guitar to get the principles of division down cold with him this school year. Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year? They'd be me. Thanks for asking.

Two hours into playing (honestly, technology is a demanding lover), I was a wreak in my living room. "This guitar playing thing isn't so hard!" I screamed over a Strutter lick. I'll believe anything. And, because I believe there is a rock and roll heaven (John Lennon at the right hand. Michael Hutchence prowling around in the back, waiting his turn at the mic), I relished in a bit of delightful irony just as I finished a steamy, sweaty version of the Crue's Shout At The Devil. At the final note, the doorbell rang.

At it?

The missionary boys from the RLDS church! Su-weeeet!

"Having a good day, miss?" they asked.

"Absolutely the greatest! I just kicked it to 'Shout At The Devil'!" I replied, while my screaming groupie kids ran around me.

"Oh! Heh heh," they tittered. "Well, do you have a moment for us to share with you some information about the one true prophet?"

"Honey, unless you're talking about the Messiah I like to call Bono, I have to get back out there! My fans are screaming for me!" I said.

They attempted to leave me a Book of Mormon (What?! No panties?!), but I told them I wrote the the book. The Book of Rock, that is (Rock and roll salute, my babies!). When Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount? I'd have been the opening act. First song? Primus' John the Fisherman.

Damn right.

But now it's encore time, and I have an axe to grind. In this topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful.
Or cheap plastic. I guess I'll stick with what I know.

(But hey! After you go, don't forget to head over to Chag's at Cynical Dad and check out the songs I've chosen this week for his "Song of the Day" entries! Then, if you feel the need to roll your eyes and talk smack about them, come back here and just try and take me on. I dare you! But leave Chag a nice comment. He rocks!)


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

'then we made our true love vow...'

Summer movie, had me a blast

Summer movie, didn't happen so fast

(Audio problems. Here's a clue. Check earlier next time!)

Went with some boys, cute as could be

Summer days, drifting away

To, uh oh, those summer nights.
The pictures? They suck. The movie? It didn't! Oh, don't go being a Grease hater and tell me it does because you know I am right and I will Pink Lady your ass if you bait me.
(And if you think you can then come in and say, "Well, Sandra Dee, if Grease is so good, then you have to admit Grease 2 sucks!" then think again! And then I'd say, "Hey, Wong Fu! You just can't walk out of a drive in."
Because I would totally combine a bunch of quotes from the movie and battle you! So when you say, "Bite the weenie, Riz!" you can expect me to gush "With relish!"
Had you been with me (and you know you wish you would have been!), we could have sang along to "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee." I may have with some of the strangers around me. It was especially cool to sing the line "Won't go to bed 'til I'm legally wed" with the six year old girl seated nearby me. Lousy with virginity, indeed!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get a hickey from Kenickie.
I hear a hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!
Plus, I love it when he talks dirty.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

things you think would be funny

  1. Running into a bookstore and screaming out the ending of the final Harry Potter book for the benefit of the shoppers and staff who haven't had the rapid fire time you've had to take it in. Thanks for letting me cross that off my 'to do' list, little missy. You're a gem. Hilarious. My lips may have been smiling, but my eyes were saying "ass."
  2. That's about it.


Monday, July 23, 2007

'make my stamen go beserk'

On our deck grows a veritable orgy of pepper plants. As we hit the end of July, I was beginning to think it would be early November before we ever feasted from the fruits of this labor ("Labor" being dumping seeds into a pot of dirt. This farming business is tough! Credit to those of you who feed the world!) But then this past weekend - magic! Tiny little peppers started popping out! Perfection!

Now, my knowledge of science, math and biology can only truly be credited to three things - Grease 2, Schoolhouse Rock and Nan, and the common theme that seems to run through my lessons is that talking to your plants has the potential to help make your plants grow.

Seeing as I have this raging desire to make stuffed peppers and adorn my salads with bright green pepper rings (or play ring toss after the kids go to bed. "Put your pollen tube to work" and all that. What? Nutritionists recommend up to five servings or more of fruits and vegetables a day, after all), I'm willing to turn my pepper plants over as a means of testing this theory.

Purely through research and extensive grant application processes, I've found there are (is) some sound waves out there, some voices, that seem to prove this growth theory in humans. Raise temperatures and such. At the risk of my peppers exploding everywhere, of not being able to adorn my meatloaves, I say screw ethics and lengthy lessons. Hit repeat and keep talking!
Hi, Internet!
I'm sure you've missed me, and so you pop over this Monday afternoon and find this rambling! Sigh. Trust me. It's roots are well intentioned, but come after a delish sleep-deprived weekend. Additionally, I've busted out some pure randomness two weeks straight. Eventually, you had to expect I was going to get to talking about, well, peppers.
In the midst of this nonsense, I want to send you all over to my friend Chag at Cynical Dad, and compel you to question his logic in having me be his guest dj for his "Song of the Day" inclusions on his posts. Of course, if you go there (and I suggest you do), you can expect me to be giving up the 80s love for my pretend husbands and lovahs! No one loves Simon LeBon like I love me some Simon LeBon. Step off, all you wannabe playahs!
You get that, too, when you come here. Really bad urban slang from a girl who has never been past the Nebraska border.
I'll try to have better ones later this week.
But voices? They rock...


Friday, July 20, 2007

if you'd like to end this call, please throw your phone against the wall and yell an obscenity

Thirty minutes into a once valiant effort to speak with a human at my local cable/Internet provider, I'm pacing my kitchen this morning like a cougar.

A cougar that can speak English and enjoys the different inflections her voice takes when she uses the "f word". And then picks the bones of the unheard dead she's trying to reach from between her glinty fangs.

Twelve automated hangups (after following all directory options to the letter! make that number!) later, I'm finally in touch with someone at a local office.

"Thank you for calling, how can I direct your call?" a lady asks.

"Let me direct this to you, though you're not responsible, and I know that, I get the feeling I'm not going to get to participate in the 'end of the call' survey I've been promised many times now," I respond. "You suck. Here's my telephone number as it appears on my bill. Look me up. Then repeat what I just said back to me, and when you do, I want you to say my name, bitch."

(That last part? OK, part of it is true. A lot of it was in my head. Though I'm a huge fan of "say my name, bitch" lately...).

"So...how can I direct your call?" I'm asked again.

"Listen. My cable? It's frozen on the Cartoon Network. Mommy needs to watch "The Young and The Restless" in an hour. How are you going to make that happen?" I ask.

Silence. I love customer service.

So I try another route.

"I've now tried calling via the automated number 12 times. Twelve times, after pushing zero, as directed to speak to someone in repair, I get hung up on automatically. I find that perplexing," I say.

"Oh! That's the problem!" I hear. "Don't press anything!"

"Um. That seems odd, don't you think? The directory gives you many options. Including an option to speak to repair," I say. "Never once does it say 'Don't press anything. Just hang on the line like an idiot who doesn't know how to work a telephone, say 'hello? hello? hell-oooo?' a lot into the phone and THEN get hung up on"

(Yes, I totally did the whole multiple 'hello' thing. Cut me a break)

I ask to be reconnected to try out this bit of magic she has suggested.

And get promptly hung up on. Again. After pressing no options. By now, guess what. I'm not happy. In fact, I said something about hating this company. In different, potentially uncomfortable positions.

So I call the local number again. Same lady.

"Guess who! Heard you missed me! Gimme some suga!" - in my head. Mostly I said "Hey, yeah, great idea. Not so successful."

She seemed shocked. At the very least, she feigned it well and if that be the case, I applaud her.

"Well, I know they're busy. They're taking lots of calls," she tells me.

"I can't imagine how that is even possible," I say. "Quirky, considering you also provide phone services. But who am I to split hairs."

"What is your customer service need, ma'am?" she asks.

"I need to not watch 'Camp Lazlo' all day. I need to be able to bring up my DVR recordings of 'The World Series of Pop Culture,' 'Dirty Jobs' and 'Ice Road Truckers' immediately. I can't do anything with my remote!" I say.

"Have you tried changing the batteries in it?" she queries.


Here's the part where you're going to think "Well, duh! The woman HAD a point with that idea! Did you? Did you actually TRY to change the batteries, Miss Smarty Pants?"

And I will tell you two things. First, I freakin' love it when you call me Miss Smarty Pants (what's my name, bitch!). Second, obviously, I changed the batteries! Well you should know my need to have the house stocked with various batteries in situations such as this and others that are, actually, sometimes more pressing then the need to change the batteries in a television remote.

I assure you and I assured the lady on the phone I gave that a hearty shot.

"Oh, well, you can just come down to the office and exchange your remote! We're open until 6 p.m. tonight!" she says.

And while I'm not that convinced that that option is actually going to solve my problem, while I'm irritated no one has suggested one of the company reps I see cruising around in their service vans out here just deliver me a new remote nestled on a red satin pillow, the fact is I do need another one. Because I tossed the one I was shaking at the television and trying to make work that way against the floor. Kinda hard.

You would too if you were stuck on the Cartoon Network all day, Smarty Pants.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

'i myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward'

In the event you're wishing to clean your house on the quick, I recommend the following soundtrack clamped loudly to your ears when dusting commences as a means of propelling you through your duties.

  • "Losing My Religion" - R.E.M. - You will think "I can't dance to this!" You would be wrong.
  • "Whiskey In The Jar"- versions by Metallica and U2. On a five-play repeat each. At least. (Note: Do not invite Metallica over to your house prior to cleaning it)
  • "New Sensation" - INXS. Dance mix if you can. And I can! Pause at all the appropriate places and jam back in. Then hit 'repeat' and kick that drum beat's ass.
  • "Hey Ladies" - Beastie Boys. Step to the rhythm. Step to the rhyme. This will slow you down a bit.
  • "The Globe"- Big Audio Dynamite. Where are you going, my beautiful friend? It's time to scrub toilets!
  • "Cradle Of Love" - Billy Idol. Stop and pretend you have a stripper pole in your living room. Maybe cat crawl across the floor. Pretend your stripper name is "Devon Double Ds." When you're done, check your knees for any errant dust.
  • "Get It On (Bang A Gong)" - The Power Station. Pretend you're making your world a lovelier place for John Taylor when he comes over to strum your bass. What's that? You're dirty and sweet, clad in black and he loves you? Hmmm. Interesting. Ponder stopping your chores and addressing other things.
  • "To Be A Lover" - Billy again. You've not been showing him the love lately. Well baby, I'm so sorry. But the bathrooms are nasty.
  • "Remedy" - The Black Crowes. Long enough to vacuum your furniture, if you're so inclined. And when I come on like a dream, the house is always sparkling
  • "Let Forever Be" - The Chemical Brothers. How does it feel like to wake up in the sun...that you can now see through your clean windows?
  • "Santa Monica" - Everclear. You may not want to do my sleepwalk dance anymore. But you will. Because "Father of Mine" is next.
  • "Bawitdaba" - apparently, his name is Kid Rock. By this point, your house isn't quite the pit it was before you started cleaning, but go ahead and get in it and try to love someone.
  • "Interstate Love Song" - Stone Temple Pilots. By now, you should be nearly done. Take a look around your place while making up your own lyrics. It's cliche, and god knows you dig some cliche.
  • "Whiskey In The Jar" - Metallica again. Dammit. Who knew you could shake the ass to this so hard? Me. That's who. It's why it took me 20 minutes to Windex two mirrors.
  • "Elevation" - U2. Have I educated your mind? Good. Plus, Evil Bono is just as hot as Good Bono.
  • "Icky THump" - The White Stripes. La la, la la la la la la la la la laaa laaa laaa. Your house is clean now!

Of course, if you're like me (lucky bastard!), you'll find that several minutes will have passed and you're just a sweaty mess in the middle of the family room floor from all the dancing you've been doing. Your dust rags and your hair just defeated, limp messes around you. It's OK. This would be when I suggest you're just too good to be cleaning your house and you need to take this act on the road, get famous and get yourself a maid.

Or just look around the place and think "Paint It Black" (U2 cover if possible, but remember what I said about digging cliches).

The dust won't show up as easily that way.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

better get yourself together, darlin'

So my husband has a birthday this week.

What's that? Oh, yes, I'll tell him a bunch of my anonymous Internet friends wish him well on his special day. Thanks!

Anyway, he's a tough nut to buy for. Always has been, probably always will be. So I've been racking my brain for gift ideas when it hits me. As I may have mentioned once or twice (or maybe three times), I'm a fan of the grooming. LOVE IT. While I've not gone so much for the full on "hey, let's remember we're grown ups, shall we?" kind of grooming, I do believe in the theory that "where hair grows, so goes some trimmers."

With that in mind, it was as if the Internet was a part of me last week when this popped up after I logged on one day. Problem - freakin' - solved, my friends! I was sold immediately, but the clip about how the Phillips Body Groom "saved the beach" pushed me entirely over the edge, where I expect to land in a soft pile of downy hair that falls upon my bathroom floor after this arrives.

Except that's gross.

(And will surely test the powers of the Dyson)

Firm on the belief that nothing says, "Happy Birthday, Hairy, I love you!" like a personal trimmer (especially in light of some of the gifts I've gotten over the years), I'm ordering this today and fully intend to be going "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" crazy with it very, very soon.

Thank you, Internet, for always being there to solve my problems.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

how come you're here at like the Gas 'n' Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers?

I've learned a great deal in my years of marriage. How to compromise on decisions (Check that. How to make a decision when no one else steps into one). That it's better if we don't share a bathroom. Always have a book to read when there's 12 episodes of "Farscape" on the DVR and his itchy trigger finger is on the remote. That even though someone says they believe they'll die if they eat onions, they won't actually do so when you cook with them anyway (case proven time and time again).

In all I've learned, however, there seems to be one thing I've forgotten.

How to date.

Of course, this is good news for my husband, what with the vows we exchanged and all. He's forgotten how to date, too, so props to us on that whole marriage thing working out so far.

But the gist of this is that in our amnesiac state - not necessarily brought on as a result of marriage, but perhaps contributed to - it does seem we have forgotten how to date each other.

Being a reader with a magnetic core that propels me toward the self help and sexuality sections of every bookstore I enter (I leave it at home on the nights I'm scheduled to work because aside from shooing away the silly 11 year old boys giggling over a drawing of boobs in some sex book, it really gets in the way of accomplishing anything), I'm well versed on the whole idea that dating your spouse helps keep the romance in marriage alive. It sparks conversation and makes you eager to be around each other. And, of course, these marital dates often result in sex, so you skip past that whole awkward "do you really make that face when you eat?" stage of getting to know someone. You know they already do.

They also dig lots of science fiction television and you can live with that. Because you have a book.

Anyway, before my husband and I created heirs to our substantial pop bottle redemption fortune, we'd often go out. We'd go for drives in the middle of the afternoon simply to spend the time together. We'd make out (that's code for "not just make out") at a drive in. We made those faces.

Fast forward a few years. The kids are little and cute and the grandparents loved to oogle over them, so we could visit them and then sneak out of their houses and have a couple hours to ourselves before they ever realized we were gone. Dating and swooning still well in place.

Hit the brakes on the present. We still rely on the naivete of the grandparents to care for our children (they've never had childcare other than a family member because honestly, I have to figure out a way to pay for my kids to go to college and I can't afford to be giving beer money to the teenage girl down the street on a regular basis). The grandparents are a bit older. The kids are a lot more responsibility. They're noisier and require a bit more entertaining. So we don't tend to foist them onto them as much. We wait around and hope that one of them will call and offer to keep them for a few hours or (jackpot!) overnight.

My mom offered to do just that this past weekend and I was ecstatic. I love these boys with everything I have, but sometimes I need to recover my house and restore my ability to mother them by not having them around for a few hours. Plus, I'm eager to spend some time alone with my husband. We do much independently of the other these days, just by the basis of schedules and abilities, I felt it was important we connect.

So Friday night, he returns from dropping the boys at my mom's. We're broke in the sense that cobwebs grow in our pockets, so we cooked a nice meal at home and ate it outside. In silence. Except for when my husband would talk about the boys. Or work. Or work the boys could do around the palace.

"We're on a date here..." I'd remind him.

Then we'd go back to eating quietly.

Granted, we're both stressed. We don't have the money to capriciously go out and do fancy things (or cripes, even not so fancy things). There's lots of things coming down the pike here that never make just relaxing and giving it all up that easy to do. But the goal of the night was to do just that. So my hopes were raised a bit when we ended up on the couch in our darkened living room. I've done some quality dating on a couch.

However, an hour later, we were still each on opposite sides, the sun has set and blackened the room completely, and we're debating (complete with eye rolling) the existence of hell as spurred by an episode of "20/20". Jealous yet? "20 - freakin' - 20"! I've not seen an episode of that since I was 12 years old.

An hour later, he goes to bed. I'm up flipping past the 12 episodes of "Farscape" on the DVR, and I'm thinking just show sucky the night was. Completely. That I should have just worked, as I typically do on Friday nights, that I'm irritated at the inability to have a conversation, and that I just simply miss knowing how to date.

Perhaps I put too much pressure on the idea of this rare time we get alone. Maybe I expect entirely too much. I may acquiesce to some of that. But not entirely, and not just because I enjoy debating things aside from the existence of hell. What do you think? Do you still comfortably date your spouse? Do you find that I lost my point in this entry about the middle of the third paragraph? Do you think we put too much pressure on the other person to be the one who comes up with stellar ideas? Do you believe in hell?

I do, just a little bit. At least it felt like last Friday night was a little like a low rent version of hell. And I believe the kitchen uses onions there, too, so you still can't get away with that whole "I'll die if I eat another onion" argument there, either.


Monday, July 16, 2007

'i don't mind the sun sometimes...'

Sometimes, when I remember to look around, what I get in return is worthy of pause.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

'you don't have to love me...'

In the event you've been recently reincarnated or broken free from some cloistered banishment, let me catch you up on a little bit of news: The seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - will be released at midnight Saturday!!

I add that extra exclamation point for the benefit of all those who've been quivering with anticipation for months about the culmination of 10 years of literary dominance this boy wizard has had on the world, and not because I'm a big fan of multiple punctuation marks. In *my* book, there is only the need for one thing in multiples. But now is not the time to drag things down to that level of thinking.

(Which, admittedly, is terribly hard for me, but even saying that has the potential to make me want to drag things down, and I only do that sporadically around here and more so when leaving my mark on the rest of you)

OK. Now it's time to share a little more news with you. A secret of such shame that I'm sure in the dark ages it would have resulted in my being burned alive at the stake or stoned to death. At the very least - and much less dramatic - maybe it would have prompted the immediate removal of my street cred as a bookseller:

I couldn't give a rip about Harry Potter.

Wow! It feels really good to type that. I can't say it to customers - some of whom have been genuinely weepy at the prospect of no new Harry Potter tomes after this week. Mostly I'm talking about the teenage boy who got all shaky when I reserved his copy for him and he admitted that his MySpace could be found by searching for "Wizard Lover," (In retrospect, I am hoping he was referring to his fondness for Harry Potter and not something else), and the countless women and men who have grown up reading these novels. Some genuinely want to read them. Others look as though they're succumbing to peer pressure. But all of them ask me if I can't wait until the seventh book is released. When asked, I can only smile and quietly cheer, "It's almost here!" so as not to engage them in battle at the risk of offending them. "We all have our opinions about them," I say.

I know. I know. If you enjoy the books because they've added to your already established love of reading, or if they've perhaps pulled you back into reading, then good on you. I truly can appreciate the power of a book to bring out the enthusiastic nature we all have about a character or a subject, and I am quite taken by the devotion to reading these books have had on children. Let me clarify two things:

  • I love books - in fact, there are some I'd probably roll around naked in, I love them that much.
  • I love reading - I was a moody teenager. Books were my survival. I've a long list of books I carry around with me when the opportunity to hunt down a title arises. Because I'm still moody.

However, I can't think of one book or series of books I've ever read where I've been so captured by the characters or the story that I've engaged in countdowns, plot outlines or played guessing games as to who may or may not die when the final page is turned.

(Perhaps I'm just too taken in by the imaginary love I feel rock stars have for me to give that much devotion to a fictional character. Let me push Michael Hutchence's hair out of my mouth and roll over to ask Bono what he thinks of my theory while trying not to wake up my 80s-era manifestations of Simon LeBon and John Taylor)

Before you raise your wands in an uproar, let me add that I have read the first four Potter books. In fact, I own the six released to date, and I had (have) grand plans to read them with my sons over the last year. But wow, life and whatnot! Really gets in the way! And dang if those books don't get longer!

I've not seen the various Harry Potter movies, either. I subscribe to the theory that the book is always better than the movie, and, well, what with my delays (i.e. "lack of interest"/"lack of commitment") in reading the books, you can see my quandary. Plus, dang if those movies aren't long!

I feel my confession to you comes justifiably. We've pimped this book for months, long before a title was ever released. It's been like getting ready for Christmas again immediately after you've put everything from this year's Christmas away. In preparing for Friday's grand celebrations preceding the official release time of 12:01 a.m Saturday, I've attended crowd control meetings and have had to sign lengthy "don't" lists that bar me from discussing the number of books we may have on hand, seeing the boxes within which the books are packaged, or touching the boxes in the event I accidentally stumble upon them (or perhaps not so accidentally with the aid of my cloak of invisibility! I toss that last bit in as proof that I'm not a total Harry Potter avoider). We've also been warned not to photograph the shipment boxes, and remove ourselves immediately should the media try to suck us in for information.

Additionally, I've weighed in on management conversations regarding the best place to hide the books when they finally arrive at the store. As you can imagine, the great "water damage versus fire" debate is a tough battle when you're looking to unload thousands of dollars worth of long awaited merchandise. Once that issue was figured out, the next conundrum was what to do about the rumored stampede of spoil sports who, according to the great all knowing Internet, plan to purchase their books, skip immediately to the final chapter and then run through bookstores yelling out the ending so as to ruin the final book for the normal people who have waited two years for this release and like to read their books from the beginning.

Quite honestly, it wouldn't surprise me to learn there will be counselors standing by at the store Friday evening to assist readers through the demise of this series. Should such be the case, maybe I'll talk to them about whether they believe in reincarnation, for I suppose there's a chance I could come back as someone who does give a rip about the fate of Harry Potter. Or a moody teenager with enough time to absorb nearly 800 pages without skipping immediately to the end.

But trust me, these seven books are not any I'd be rolling around naked in. Because even though I couldn't give a rip about Harry Potter, I've obviously given enough to post this entry. And the rolling around naked in them? Well, admittedly, that quirk is just odd, and maybe I should just leave that to "WizardLover" so he can share it on his MySpace..


Friday, July 13, 2007

'jai guru deva om..'

Yesterday afternoon, on a quest for groceries and pharmaceutical treasures, the boys and I piled into the mini and made haste to the welcoming arms of Target, that economic lover who embraces me warmly after every digression I make to Walmart.

I love you, Target. You and me forever, baby.

Anyway, the boys and I had just completed what can only be described as some stellar club worthy dancing to a little Information Society (goodness, I love me some of this song)) and then settled into a nice slow drift into transcendental happiness when the Beatles brought some calm back to the situation. I'm settled in, enjoying the quiet and the song, dodging traffic (wow, I do not miss driving in that every day) and the boys are acting as my navigators, alerting me to approaching roadway dangers when I made some off the cuff remark about the number of people out and about Thursday morning.

"Mama, there's just too much people in this world," my youngest replies.

And my heart warmed, because for a moment, I flashed on this truly intuitive five year old and thought about all he could accomplish in his life as some great sociologist or scientist dedicated to the efforts of making this world a more sustainable place for the growing populace.

I turned to smile at him, to agree, in time to catch him bopping his older brother in the head with his tiny little fist just as John Lennon gave me his final thoughts on his unchanged world and my thoughts were swapped out. From the looks of things, I wasn't - at that moment, anway - raising a boy who is so concerned with the world's population that he intends to grow up and create complex water purification systems or sustainable crop techniques to help his growing world.

No. What I've got going on is a little boy who intends to claw his way to the top of the world by any means necessary. First rung on his ladder is his unsuspecting older brother.

I suspect world domination may have taken place in the back of the mini before we'd ever reached Target's parking lot. However, before he could fully claim his rights, this charming little boy made his first decree by asking me to turn up the volume, for it was time to dance again.

And sadly, all those people in the world - at least those driving around us yesterday afternoon - witnessed us dancing in the mini again. Club mix. We're a pretty pathetic bunch.

For the time being, the world's probably safe. The kid's pretty happy just ruling the backseat.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

come on down to my place, baby

This glorious 78 degrees was our high temperature at 3 p.m. yesterday, and has been a common theme since Sunday afternoon, when we threw caution to the wind and donned long pants while throwing open the windows and basking in the breeze. We've had highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 60s all week. Where I live, that's pretty much unheard of in July. Hell (though using that word in reference to coolness seems quirky), we don't even see this as our low temperatures throughout the summer here. This is what we normally experience in early October. I've actually huddled under the blankets in the morning as the brisk morning air gushes through the windows. I can't seem to give up my natural way of sleeping, regardless of what that fickle minx Mother Nature tosses at us.

I'm sure we'll resort to blood boiling, ugly sweating, temperature bitching weather before the month ends. I've not looked at long-range forecasts because, honestly, I like to live in a pretend world for as long as possible. But I've been forced to admit that I'm pretty sure Al Gore and all his wacky rock and roll friends are on to something with all this global warming talk, so I'm off to sing another chorus of "Planet Earth" in my pretend duet with Simon LeBon and then head out and enjoy this while I can before the polar ice caps completely melt away and the coasts are awash in the rising tides.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

you'd love anything that sucked this well, too

"Oh...you're gonna love it," he said to me, his voice an enthusiastic whisper past my ear, the 'o' in the word love drawn out like a delicious tease. As if his voice tucked right in by my ear wasn't enough to push me over.

"God, I hope so," I replied, turning my head to glance back at him. "Honestly, it just seems like a bit more than I can take."

Sensing my anxiousness, he smiled, nodded and repeated the words I needed to hear again to make me feel relaxed.

"Everyone thinks that at first. They're scared," he said. "But trust me. You will love it. You'll want it all the time..."

"He knows me so well," I thought. "I have such a small threshold for self control."

"God help me," I whispered. "Let's do this, then."

So we parted, this stranger and I, and I returned my gaze back toward my husband and sons who were walking, as per usual, 3,062 steps ahead of me, and proceeded to push my loaded shopping cart through the Home Depot aisles toward the checkout counter.

To purchase a Dyson vacuum cleaner. With it's cyclonic sucking power that was first tested as it yanked the credit card out of my husband's wallet before it ever emerged from the box, and then literally grossed me out when we got it home and gave it a test run on our family room floor.

Let me just say that I am, by purely anal and obsessive habits, a neat person. Messes make me a bit crazy. Disorder robs me of calm. So I believed my floors wouldn't be some back alley crack den for dust mites and crap.

Damn you, Dyson, for proving me wrong. I'm humbled by your immense sucking power. My husband vacuumed the family room floor and pulled up a ton of things. First, I was amazed by the wonder of watching my husband actually vacuuming. After that, I was awed by what was being pulled up by the Dyson. Dust no doubt left by the home builders eight years ago. Gold doubloons. The skeletal remains of what may be a small ancient burial ground. A young Cambodian boy we've named Erik.
That mighty is the Dyson.

"Let me at it!" I screamed when it was time to go up to the living room. Then we "ooohed" and "awwed" and "what the hell'ed?" our way through the rest of the house. And the furniture! That my furniture is still standing after that gale force cleaning is nothing short of amazing.

"Why don't you take the boys and go somewhere? I want to be alone with the Dyson," I said to my husband. I had a bathroom floor to tackle.

I never thought I'd get a Dyson (sidenote: I think it's against the law to call a Dyson a "vacuum." I've only heard people refer to it by the brand name itself. We've said "it's time to Dyson the floor"). Not because I thought I was too good for such nice things. Oh, no. I just figured I'd have to return a lot of pop bottles for the five cent deposit money before I'd ever have the chance to buy one, and thus would just leave a pile of ashes from my dead body for my survivors to vacuum (excuse me - Dyson) up after I'd died in my quest.

And we still, technically, can't afford it. I did get a little shaky when we paid for it even though it was on sale and there were other discounts. But the old vacuum was to the point of screaming in pain whenever we turned it on, and now it cowers in the closet when we bring out its replacement. It awaits its eventual destruction.

So he was right, this stranger who enchanted me in the home appliance aisle of Home Depot. I do love it. I do want it all the time. And like him, the next time I'm shopping and see someone eyeing them, I totally intend to take their Dyson virginity, too.

Because they suck so good.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

'it never felt so good, it never felt so right'

Contrary to what this may appear to be at first blush, no, scientists have not discovered the fossilized remains of a prehistoric snake, fangs bared and prepped for attack.

These bastards are my two semi-new bras. Bras that demanded I deprive my children of food and necessities in order to buy them just a few months ago. Sadly, as kick ass as the rack is, I can't entomb it in bras picked up at Target, just tossed in my cart capriciously while shopping the clearance aisles.

I lovingly hand washed you and complimented your smooth and luscious fit when others were around, and this is how you show your gratitude? By performing exploratory surgery on my right breast while I was at work tonight? That machete of a wire boring a hole into me wasn't distracting and painful at all! Way to test my steely resolve for five hours, bra. In the end, it was no match for your own.

When the first bra defected on me a few weeks ago, I chalked it up to the power it was trying to harness. But tonight, when the wire in the second one decided to poke it's gleaming little pointy head out of the lining like some rodent on Groundhog Day and give a hearty "how's it goin'?" to my nipple, I wanted to scream. And I would have if I could trust the customers not to look at me funny.

So I gasped instead, because seriously, that damn wire is sharp. I figured if push ever came to shove, I could've used these bras as catapults to vault my way clear of danger, or used the cups as a floatation device-slash-water containment facility should I have had to drift across the ocean on some special assignment for the government. Instead, I'm ready to go "mano-o-mammo" in a knives out street brawl.

So thanks for confirming my sarcastic love of lingerie, you expensive bras. Thanks for slicing me as a means of lifting and separating.

And thanks for making me have to struggle to find something to reign these things in once again, because I so adore bra shopping.



Sunday, July 08, 2007

'back here at home there's nothin' to do...'

The word "vacation" is rather foreign to me. When I hear other people say it, I notice a gleam in their eye. An excitement that's on par with that of a child on Christmas when they look under their gluttonous holiday tree at every present they could ever have wanted.

My family didn't take vacations when I was growing up. Ever! I know! You're all saying "Aww!" and wishing you could adopt me and give me the childhood I so desperately needed, like I'm one of those poor kids they show on television in the middle of the night. The irony of my stagnant childhood lies in the fact that for a large portion of it, my mother worked for a travel company! So close, and yet so far! Going away to college a mere two hours away was like entering a foreign land where no one would speak my language and swindlers would take me for everything I had.

And because it was Missouri, that's partially true.
However, because Missouri holds a soft spot in my heart (which is more akin to a bruise on a rotting banana than an actual bosom clutching love), it's there that I return for a week every summer to spend time with my sister and her family. Because basically, my sister hounds me every June about when we're all coming and we just give in because she has the ability to track us down and will do so if provoked.
(OK, that part, along with any perceived annoyance I have with the state of Missouri as a whole, is probably a bit exaggerated. But only a bit)

So, because I've built up this little adventure I just enjoyed for the last couple of posts, I figured I'd share a glimpse of what I enjoyed last week with you all. Consider it my "wish you would've been there" postcard, broken down for you in small chunks, because you don't really get a lot of room to write on the back of one of those postcards. According to the map above (notice, btw, that keen ability to match fingernail polish with surroundings also never takes a vacation!), the new Super Walmart is approximately two blocks from "here." Trust me. I know this because I was there six of the eight times visits to the place were made by members of my family. SIX! I live ten minutes from a Walmart and I maybe go there once every three months. Because in all honesty, I'm a dirty Target whore, and if Target had the knock off version of Goldfish crackers I've pawned off on my kids, I'd never set foot in Walmart. Sometimes you just have to take it from someone else to realize how good you got it.

Because you can get almost anything at a Super Walmart, including a beat down in the parking lot by the looks of the security guards foisting their muscle on a shoplifter which we witnessed on visit number one on hour two of the official visit, my sister and I scurried over for the third visit in one day (Day 2, for those of you keeping score) and got manicures and pedicures. Because we're classy. Aside from feeling like my kidneys were being kneaded in preparation for harvesting while seated in the massage chair (honestly, for a time, I thought the staff at the nail place intended to chloroform us and drag our bodies to the back of the shop for some makeshift surgery - because soon, I think you'll be able to have that done at Walmart, too), it was money well spent. Actually, I'd pay to have someone follow me around and rub my feet with lotions every time I sat down. But I'm broke most of the time, so therein lies the real rub.

Come sundown, my sister's lovely home took on the air of a senior citizen's center, and with it came lights out at 10:30 p.m. I'm usually still at work at that time of night, so my body doesn't even begin to shut down until close to 1 a.m. Forced to wind down and stricken from a DSL connection to the outside world, I was compelled to turn my reading away from a computer screen to books. These wacky paper things I used to have more time for. I kicked out three while I was gone, and dove into two more. I'd have probably finished those, too, but as soon as we were loaded in the car to return home, my mom telling me the same stories I heard on the way down. By the second hour, I slipped out one of the remaining books in my cache and started flipping through it to cut her off. If I'm not careful, I'll soon be able to make actual book recommendations to customers when they corner me at the customer service kiosk rather than fumble my way through some half truth before dashing away to the reference section to hide out.

There was so much more to this visit, of course, including fireworks and trips to parks, screaming children, cold beers, and quiet desperation, but in all honesty, I'm of the opinion this is turning into the most boring post I've ever put up here. I'll blame it on the fact that, in spite of my prayers of thanks and gratitude about how truly well behaved they were while at their aunt's, my children reverted back into the rabid animals they are when in their own cave within an hour of our return. I'll also blame some of it on the lingering astonishment of discovering my husband hadn't turned the house into a crack den and allowed squatters to roost while enjoying his four day family reprieve. I was kind of hoping for a ticker tape parade in celebration of my return, but to be frank, I'd barely have noticed if there had been, because I fell out of the car in a dash to the bathroom to relieve the pressure that had been building up in my bladder about the time my mom crossed the bridge leading out of my sister's town and then didn't stop the car again for six hours (and only after sighing loudly, rolling her eyes and asking if I really had to go. Unable to speak, I grunted at the empty 44 ounce cup of Diet Mountain Dew I'd foolishly consumed over the previous five hours and I would've probably cried, but I was afraid releasing tears would have been like some signal to my brain that I should then release all fluids within my body). In case I've not mentioned it before, my mom is bionic and has the technology to remove her actual bladder and insert a titanium holding device she keeps stored in the trunk of her car for these kinds of occasions.
It goes without mention, of course, that despite my little respite, I still have a keen ability to concoct what appears to be the longest and most senseless sentences in the world of blogging. With that record intact, I will now allow you to argue amongst yourselves as to whether this was indeed my most boring post or whether you think I simply need a little hug. While you hash it out, I'll just wait over in the corner, giving myself a refresher on how to say "pop" instead of "soda" when I go to Kum & Go for my giant Diet Mountain Dew I.V.s, dreaming up ways to make this a little more thrilling from here on out now that I've settled in back at home, and assuming you're just going to agree that a hug is what I need because what you really want, even more than a post that says something, is a means to cop a feel of the kick ass rack.
And that right there? That just makes me feel at home.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

'hey, I heard you missed us! Were back!'

"...I brought my pencil. Gimme' somethin' to write on, man!"

Tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow, after I've washed the Walmart off of me, when I'm done quoting Van Halen tunes and I get back into my routine of being up all hours of the night, I'll get back to this and post something charming and delightful (no guarantees!) and catch up with you all.

I'll not admit this if you asked me or demanded it of me or flashed me parts of your body to tempt me, but I may have kissed the computer upon returning from my trip to the Ingall's little house in the big woods and their dial up madness to the "World of The Future" in my basement.

DSL. It's apparently my porn. I like it because when you do flash me parts of your body, I can see them much faster.

Ok, whatever. I ain't talkin' about love, but at least pretend you missed me at this point, eh?

(I have no excuse for the Van Halen. Seriously. I apologize right now)


Monday, July 02, 2007

the vacation of your dreams, all inclusive

So some notes from the great American highway:
  • You may read me and think "Wow! I bet that girl talks all the damn time! I bet she never shuts up! I'm glad I've never gotten trapped on the telephone with her!" Well, my friends, you'd be wrong. My mom began talking at 8:33 a.m. Monday morning as she backed out of my driveway and she never shut up for the next seven hours. Not. Once. Even to breath. I am overwhelmed.
  • She also took her reign in the driver's seat to mandate no stopping. Not once. By five hours in, I was clawing at the passenger side window, hoping to alert passing motorists to the horror movie this little journey had become.
  • Within one hour of my arrival at my sisters, I had played Barbies (thank you, Jesus), and did a little cheerleading. Complete with pom poms! Good to know that "fire cracker, fire cracker, boom, boom, boom..." has never gone out of style. You should see the one with the way sexy hip circles my 7 year old niece taught me after that.
  • My sister says "supposevly" rather than "supposedly".
  • As predicted, within in two hours, I was following like a sheep as we wandered aimlessly through this town's Walmart. And not just any kind of Walmart. A brand new, super shiny Super Walmart. Whatever. The highlight? The shoplifter that was busted as we walked out. So we had to drive by the four police cars that came to take him in. Because secretly, I'm an 80 year old woman who drives slowly anyway and this is the highlight of my week.
  • This comes to you via dial-up. DIAL UP! Two tiny fleas are housed within the computer, etching this magnificent writing onto stone tablets as I type this, so I imagine this post will show up about the time I arrive home. If I don't jump out of the car on the way home. It could happen.
  • Now we're watching Monday Night Raw. One day I will take a vacation where the climate is warm, the men are deliciously hairy chested and they bring me something other than Kool Aid to drink. But if they can do that hip circle cheer as they do it, it's all good.

josie's on a vacation far away

Well, sort of. My name isn't Josie and I'm not on a vacation far away.

In fact, I'm not on vacation at all. However, on Monday morning, I'll be leaving for a few days and going south.

To my sister's.

To stay with her family.

With my two sons.

And my mom.

By car.

Seven hours.

One way.

To do such fun things as shop the local WalMart and stare at each other for four days until someone asks (for the 20th time that particular day) "Whatcha wanna do now?"

And then I get to repeat the process on the way home.

So it's not so much a vacation as it is a test of wills.

I'll pop in from time to time because it's not like I'm going somewhere remote with no cable or Internet access and no one speaks the language. I've left you with the rambling treasures I so love below so it's just like you're carrying a little piece of me with you. Awww.

You know I'd do anything for you.


for in this world I'm bound to ramble

You've missed the rambling posts, haven't you? The "wonder what's going to spew out of her brain today?" kind of thing.


Too bad. Because I drained myself a little giving you so many glorious wonders last week (the sugar/hyper kids connection? You know you're thanking me for that study!) that I just have to dash off a few things that have been cluttering my mind lately and then I can be free. You know you're going to read it anyway. And comment (including those of you who lurk in the shadows. We're all very nice here. Oh, I say I'm sarcastic and all that, but I am a very nice person, so feel free to leave a comment).

So now, sit back and marvel as I give you, in no particular order, the following:

-- I sometimes think wrong numbers are actually a means of checking up on me. I’ve received several mistaken calls lately, and I often spend a couple of minutes assuring the caller the person they’re seeking isn't me (I am many things, to many people, but I am not Dean Wheatenhaven). What confounds me is that after we’ve chuckled about their misdial, the caller in need of anyone other than me repeats a telephone number so very slightly off of mine as if to question whether it was really me who made the mistake when they called. To perhaps catch me in some ruse. You all know what I’m talking about. We’ve probably all done it. If the inquiry continues, (“Are you sure Dean’s not there? He said he’d be there. I’m pretty sure I dialed correctly.”), I begin to think the caller is trying to find out something about me. Do they want to rob my house and are now all "Drats!" because I answered the phone?

-- Same with wrong numbers on my cell phone. I've gotten a lot the last couple of weeks. Naturally, these calls often come as I'm in the shower or have just started drying my hair. Sadly, yes, I do the whole "turn off the hair dryer, listen, nothing, turn the hairdryer on, what's that noise?" move. In this case, I believe the calls are not from strangers casing my joint, but the friend I've been doing the whole “caller I.D. dodge” thing with. She's probably getting other people to call me to see if I haven't actually died. That or it’s some of you people out there in the Internet, hoping beyond hope that one day you’ll crack the code and find me.

-- What is it about balloons that turn children into mindless lunatics? We ran an errand to a new store last Friday and a sales clerk asked my sons if they’d each like a balloon. Unable to insert myself into this Pavlovian prompt and say no, I instead watched as their brains dripped from their ears and they forgot they were in a public place and lost all ability to listen to us and follow simple directions. Some people hate clowns. I hate balloons.

-- If I ever become a rock star (fingers crossed!) I want my first video to be the requisite "life’s tough on the road" video. Just get it out of the way, and THEN do the edgier stuff. So I'll bust out like the old school artists did it. Warrant. Journey. The Hooters. (ok, not so much the Hooters. But I dig the song. Play along). There's me smiling on the bus. There’s me starting to look a little wistful as the night sky whizzes by in a blur of city after city. There's me conducting the same radio interview over and over again ("So why 'Penchant for Panties'? What's up with that? Do you REALLY like panties that much?"). There's me on the phone, calling home to the ones I love and finding they don't answer anymore. There's my smile fading. There's lighters (Screw cell phone screens. Old school, people!) lighting up the coliseum as I buck up and take the stage tonight. There’s the slow motion shot as my guitar players dance some crazy guitar player shuffle, my drummer tosses his sticks 20 feet in the air and executes a perfect catch and I turn my head slowly toward the screaming fans and smile, give a nod and then fall backwards into their open arms. Cut to the end with the white towel draped over my sweaty head, walking slowly and silently and alone down the tunnel toward another lonely night on the bus. Not so smiley anymore. The love that feeds me having left a mess of empty beer cups and panties on the coliseum floor. Then fade in with a cross edit of me staring at myself in a lit dressing room mirror. Nice. What's that? Yes. Yes indeed. I rock.

-- You probably just THINK I have this much time on my hands.

-- So tell me, was the world really clamoring for a Spice Girls reunion tour? And why, out of all of them, was it that Sporty Spice – seemingly the least busy of the spices - seemed to hold out the longest on agreeing? Did she catch Baby in that lucrative Prego spaghetti sauce commercial and think “Dammit, when is it my turn to cash in?” Perhaps she just wanted to give me yet another reason to shout out to the Spice Girls here.

-- There's a guy who has come to the bookstore on a nightly basis for two or three months. We’ve exchanged pleasant and brief chit chat, and while he knows my name, I don’t know his, so I call him “Barnsey,” because honestly, he’s become like the store mascot with his nightly routine. I’m careful not to slip and call him Barnsey to his face, but it’ll probably happen at some point. That it didn’t last Friday night when he told me I looked stressed and offered to give me a shoulder rub is a bit surprising. I mean, what’s up with that, Barnsey? You’re kind of cute in that quirky way I dig, but wow. I’ve never had hands laid on me in the fiction section before.

-- I'm about done with television and the whole concept of "ugly guy/hot wife" characters. I can pretty much tolerate the "we live in an environment well beyond our means based on the jobs we don't go to" but the plausibility of these personal pairings is confounding and irritating.

-- The other morning, I stopped short of giving my youngest son his breakfast when I passed the television and spied my Steve wearing shorts on Blue's Clues. Hello, sexy kneecaps. My son's plaintive cries for cereal were drowned out by the thought of delivering a clue to Steve personally. Did I mention Steve was ON his knees? Practically bowing to me? My clues aren’t suitable for preschool programming, thank you very much.

-- Last Wednesday, I took my oldest son to his morning camp absent of panties. Thursday, I dropped him off sans bra. Lucky for everyone that Friday wasn’t a complete “clothing optional” day; however, I simply need to get up a bit earlier to better plan for these types of neighborhood jaunts.

-- Absent of Panties, btw, is going to be the name of my band when the original members of Penchant for Panties refuses to reunite, Spice Girls style, and I'm forced to make a small clubs tour of the Midwest in order to pay spousal support to my string of former husbands. I'll be the Sebastian Bach, the Vince Neill, if you will, of Absent of Panties, singing the old hits without all the glitz.

-- Never underestimate the powers of two Pringles potato chips set into the shape of a duckbill and a keen ability to sound like the largest duck ever to calm a crying five year old. Patented soother and tasty snack. Thank you, junk food.

-- In case you were worried, my girly boner situation came back in full force with the triumphant return of Mike Rowe and "Dirty Jobs" to the Discovery Channel last Tuesday night. Yes, I love you "Deadliest Catch." Yes, I've thought about what it would be like to be the only chick on a boat with a bunch of manly crab fisherman. But it's Mike, and all is well with the world.

-- Consider this my Internet Tip O' The Week - If you wish to drive traffic to your blog, simply quote the song "Love Is Strange" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack in one of your entries. Goodness. A random check of stats here shows my blog is uncovered by people from all over the world searching various lyrics from that track on the average of 20 times a day. If that doesn’t seem to be the thing that attracts people here, the chimps dressed in suits that I included in this post seems to be a big hit, too. If I could find a way to get chimps dressed in suits actually singing that song, I quite think the Internet would explode. Oh, and yes, you can be sure I'm found by people looking for racks. Kick ass racks. And by the things some people want to do with one. Like have chimps with kick ass racks wearing suits and singing "Love Is Strange." Love is strange, indeed.

There you have it. My mind is clear now. And you? Yep, you're fighting it, but you're willing to admit you missed this, too.

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