Saturday, December 31, 2005

Randomness galore

The bro's family is gone. They treated my rents to dinner Thursday night. The Dinks went of course and she had a blast. Then the SIL had to be the killjoy. She tried to take my kid's chicken fingers off her plate. The logic: "Well, she's not eating them." Thank goodness dad put a stop to that (I would have put a fork in her damn hand). He told her they were taking them home so Dinks could have them for lunch Friday. What's next is the best. Can you friggin believe that sow wanted to take MY daughter's chicken fingers for the road? Logic: "I need my protein. I have to have them." She is so lucky I wan't there. So my mom made the ungrateful bitch egg salad for the road. Grrrrrrr. I would have told her to jam a cheesesteak up her ass. There you go, there's your protein!


My work let me out early yesterday. I almost fell out of my chair. No, wait, I did. Anyway, on the way home, the mobile rings. It's Geo.

"The heater died."

(said as sarcastically as possible) "Oh THAT'S JUST GRAND!"

"Yeah, I went to wash my hands and only cold water came out. I checked the thermostat and it was 60 degrees."

"Did you call the oil company for service?"




"I was going to work. Besides, the account's in your name."

"Gee thanks babe."

"Not a problem. Love ya!"

"Love ya too."

What can I say, I call to order take-out so naturally something like that would follow suit.

So when I got home, I hit the restart button on the evil thing. It kicked over but made this unholy noise. Then it started banging and I smelled the oil. Flick goes the kill switch and the phone call was made. By 9:30, I had heat again. I love my oil company. I bought their Platinum Protection plan for 24/7 service on my heater and I use every bit of it.


It's New Year's Eve and we're spending it with our neighbors. Hey, I hate traveling on New Year's. I don't even care for the whole New Year's Eve thing. Honest, many times in my younger single days I wanted to spend it alone, in bed, asleep. I didn't care! But some people thought I was doing it because I had nowhere to go so I'd get invites to go out. What does one do when it's 10:00PM and you have a friend on the phone saying, "But, duuuuude, it's NEW Year's Eve! Ya gotta go out!" No I don't. But I would. I still wanted to really sleep. Now that I'm older and hitched, I go as far as 200 feet from my home. Let's see if I actually watch the ball drop this year (it'll be six in a row if I don't).

One New Year's Eve, I got tanked at my cousin's place. We watched Dick Clark rock in the year with Kiss. This was just before the men of make-up made their second comeback. I laughed my ass off watching 40ish guys with big ole guts wearing their party garb and thrashing their non-existent locks as they banged their heads and held up the secret devil hand signal. It was comical as all hell. Then I passed out. I remember barfing my lungs up at sometime during the night. The next morning, with a hangover that could have killed a five year old, her goofy husband walked by the room they dumped me in and said (a la Hugh Laurie from "Black Adder Goes Fourth"), "Tally ho, barf barf!!"


I have been such a slug lately at reading other blogs. It's just that there are so many! I could literally spend, minimum, two hours just reading and commenting. I suck so bad at time management. I'll get better.

What's great about the blogworld is that I never realized there are SO many talented, funny, and interesting people out there in this world. There are scads of them. We are so drowned by the likes of sports figures, entertainment idols, actors, actresses, and others of such ilk, that Joe Smith or Jane Brown often go ignored and unseen. That's what is so cool about blogging. You don't need to be an IT expert or a literary degree holder to participate. Just have a PC and access to the net and off you go!

I tip my hat to all I have met in the past few months. You are all some of the best people I have yet to meet. Kudos, hugs , and high fives all around!


Comcast sucks


I so desperately have to straighten my home. There's crap everywhere. If it's not a toy, it's a book or some type of WWII militaria or a video game or food that was cleverly disguised as a toy or important paperwork (really should put that away) or an item manufactured in China or etc etc etc. So what does one who bitches about the untidiness of their home do? They blog, of course.


I've given up on my "no cussing" agenda for this blog. It's too much of a pain in the ass to write what I want and then stop myself by thinking, "Oh, but you're trying not to cuss." Then the train of thought I had been writing suddenly derails and I'm left with this slackjawed blank stare. No more I say!


I have to go on iTunes and grab me some music. My iPod still has 13GBs to go. Damn but that thing holds a lot of tunes.


It's now nine and a half hours EST before the New Year. What's your resolutions?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It came from out of town

Nana and Pop-Pop have been watching the Dinks this week. Her daycare is closed for winter break so mom and dad have been righteous enough to watch her.

Oh wait, you wouldn't understand the "righteous" part. You're probably thinking, "What? Righteous with your parents? I thought they jumped on the nanosecond of opportunity to watch the Dinker."

They do, they do.

But this week is special. This is Christmas week. And that brings to my parents' house ...

[to be said with resounding echo] my brother and his family

Ooooo, spooky. And trust me, it is.

Let's give some background history, shall we?

My bro and his family hail from NC. Each year, they load up their sleigh and drive here to PA to freeload spend the week with my mom and dad. My mom gets very irritated looks forward to these annual gatherings. My dad wants to hide tolerates it to a degree. Both of my parents look forward to the sleigh's day of departure back to NC with flags in hand ready to be waived once the sleigh is out of view.

Including my bro, there are four of them. Simply put, they are a mix of the Addam's Family meets Village of the Damned in the middle of a Dead concert.

My bro is okay in a dead-head, hippie, atheist, electrical-engineer extraordinaire, beyond well-read sort-of way. He's a nice guy and we'll leave it at that.

His wife, my SIL, is another case. She is very sociable albeit a bit bossy at times. And she chews her food like a cow chews cud. You can actually hear her eating. Let it be known now that that's one of my biggest pet peeves. And she's also a bit ... how to say ... weird. I mean, I'm a raving loopy loon but she is just ... odd. "Odd how?" you might ask. Scenerio: when my bro and his wife moved from CA to NC, my parents went down to NC to help them get unpacked. Upon my parents return, mom called me with this little tidbit of quirk. My SIL packed and shipped from CA, of all things, empty egg cartons. Three moving boxes worth. And she also packed brown paper bags like the kind you get from a grocery store. These items are probably still in their boxes some twelve years later.

As for my niece and nephew? To meet them for the first time, you'd think they're just two kids. They'll say "Hi" and give the slight wave. Then they'll stare at you ... with this creepy gaze. You find yourself waiting for their eyes to start glowing (which to date has not happened).

My nephew is different. He loves magic (he's actually rather good at card tricks and illusions), computers, reading, and magnets. His social skills are finally coming along after years of being painfully shy and slighty immature. He's a nice kid and we'll leave it at that.

My niece, however, is overly sarcastic and she thinks she's funny sarcastic. Sadly, that's not the case. She just sounds obnoxious. But she not a smart-mouth like my other niece so that's a plus to her.

Take away those idiosyncrasies and they're actually a good group.

But take those little foibles, pack it all under one small roof for a week, and you get a 75 year old man who now feigns being deaf and a 72 year old woman who is contemplating the use of crack.

Togetherness is not all it's trumped up to be. Some things do not mesh well together. Take routines for example.

We all have routines. I, personally, get up in the morning, shower, dress, fix hair and face, get the baby ready, make coffee for Geo, make lunches for Dinks and Geo, pack the car, and out the door we go. Any deviation from this routine and I am mentally discumboobilated for the entire morning. My parents have daily routines. They've been in a quiet house all to theirselves for over sixteen years and like it that way. My bro and his zoo family have their odd-ass routines. When the latter two routines clash, it's not a pretty site.

Example of the clashing is as follows. My mom does her laundry a certain way. She sorts, pretreats, soaks, washes, and softens. My mom's laundry always ALWAYS smells good. If and when she washes the baby's stuff and I take it home, it's like soft smelling potpourri in the dresser drawers. And that's a scent that reminds me of my mom and her laundering craft. Then the DIL comes along. DIL washes her clothes and the kids' clothes. My bro is on his own for his laundry (I shit you not). Whether or not she uses her own laundry products is uncertain and there are some things I really could care less about. Anywho, she sorts, sniffs (yes, sniffs!), and washes. Then everything gets chucked in the dryer at Hades high until they all come out crispy. And just like at a laundromat, if there is something in the washer or dryer, she removes to go ahead with her own use. And not tell my mom. Mom then finds her stuff either partly air-dried in a heap in her laundry basket or scrunched in one of her laundry sorting bags - clean but now mussed because they weren't folded in time after being removed from the dryer. Not a good thing for a clean freak like my mother.

And that's just one of the issues.

I tell my mom every year to tell my bro to get a friggin hotel. He's not poor - he can afford to shell out the cash for a weeks stay. She pulls the martyr act and says she puts up with the inconvenience for the sake of the kids and my brother. I notice the DIL is never mentioned. Then she'll bitch about every little thing that happens all week. I tell her she chose misery. She calls me unsympathetic. She's right.

So Dinker right now is my parents' godsend. They are clinging to her as their one piece of sanity. When things with the others get to be a bit too much, mom puts all of her attention on the Dinks. Dad just keeps up the deafness charade.

Besides, Dinks has been tagging my niece like a three foot shadow and it's annoying the crap out of my niece. I'd say I had sympathy but I'd be lying.

Tomorrow, NC will leave PA. The locust will have scarfed all they could and take all that has been given and hightail it out of here via I-95. They will leave behind my flag-waiving parents and whatever remains of crumbs mom and dad can Swiffer off the floor.

And Dad will still pretend he's deaf. I think he likes his world that way.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy Birthday, Kelsey

Kelsey Briggs born. Dec 28, 2002 - This beautiful little girl is now an angel with God
Your family misses you, little one.

I only pray wherever you are, you are happy and warm and endlessly cuddled.
peace little angel

Okay, so the tree looks a little red

This was the tree last year. I must have snapped this year's pic when only the red lights were a-flashin'! Nuts.

Geo still wants to ditch it. I'm standing my ground.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two Christmas pics

Our sad little Charlie Brown tree. Geo hates it - I love it. I want to keep it. Geo wants to trash it. We'll see who wins this battle.

The reason why I am tired today. Geo and I put this togther Christmas Eve (just the table). I set-up the trains yesterday. She loves it. She played Godzilla by shaking the trains on the bridge. Then she played "Airport 74" by crashing the plane into the bridge. I personally hate bridges so the damn bridge got no sympathy from me for the abuse it received at the hands of my child.

I inadvertently bought way too many Thomas the Tank things for the table. She has so many trains now. We've decided not to put them all on the track. I mean, the ride around the track would be boring aside from the occasional derailment .

I pray my child does not expect pressies today. She'll be disappointed and I'll have to bear the brunt of her wrath. *sigh*

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas one and all

Wrapping the rest of my gifts. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I'm not a happy friggin camper right now. Thank goodness for hot chocolate.

This night is not going well. The baby walks undetected in the room where I am wrapping, picks up a Blue's Clues Note Pad, and shouts "I love Blue!" Tape and paper go flying 'cause she scared the hell out of me. I yell at Geo to keep the poor waif occupied while I finish the obligatory chore. So what is his idea of keeping her busy? He's playing Medal of Honor on the PS2. Knucklehead.

At the rate I'm going, my butt is gonna be visited by four ghosts tonight.

On a lighter note, until the next time I sign-on:

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all of my friends!

Results of my Seven Deadly Sin Quiz (no shock)

Lust:Very Low

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Twas the day before Christmas ...

... and the Dinks is sick. No, I'm turning this into a rhyming post. I'm grouchy and don't feel very festive.

Dinks has yet another 24 hour bug. I guess that's what one of her little friends in daycare decided to give as a gift this year to their classmates. Nice. It was the upper level of illness this morning. Poor thing couldn't keep anything in her tummy. Now it's migrated to the lower levels. I won't gross anyone out with that info.

Ow. I feel the migraine kicking.

I wrapped some of my gifts. Okay, I'm lying. The gifts were gift cards and I chucked them in itty-bitty gift bags. So sue me if I don't feel like curling ribbon and making origami tissue paper animals to place gently within the gift bags along with the cards.


Later I'm wrapping Dink's loot. We bought her one of those wooden train table sets that's compatible with Brio and Thomas the Tank plus a bunch of the Thomas the Tank stuff to go with it. Yes, my daughter LOVES trains. Throw in some Disney DVD's, Dora stuff, and other little doohickees and that spells out Christmas morning. But I still need to wrap them.

Pain in skull getting worse.

I need some egg nog and rum ... hold the egg nog (thanks for that advice MDM)

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Now Socially Acceptable to Regift

Hey, if SHE says so, it must be true!

Dear Abby OK's regifting

Mmm-Mmm, Now That's Good Eatin'!

This article didn't really bother me until I read the end.

I have a general rule when it comes to what is served on my plate. If I know for a fact that what I am eating was gentically altered in anyway, I don't want it. That goes for GMO grain and mutant fish.

Double-Mouthed Fish Pulled from Nebraska Lake

Sorry I haven't been around lately

I have been busy, busy, busy (said a la the magician in "Frosty the Snowman")!

I have been amazingly busy in work. Not to bore you with the details but I will anyway.

I blame the insanity all on the eco-geeks of this world. Why? Glad you asked. Some people in this world can NOT throw away paper. All must be recycled. Then there is the dilemma of unrecyclable paper (e.g., carbonless invoices). This garbage paper will sit on a shelf until it can be used. Let me stress here that the paper is truly worthless. Now, some of this paper deemed worthless to the rest of society sometimes gets "mixed in" with the paper that serves a functional purpose. Now, the worthless paper may have, let's say, a bad mailing address on it. Then let's say this bad mailing address gets to about 40 or so people, and these crazy people actually send the necessary correspondence (i.e., payments) to this worthless address. Mix all of that together and you have what's called a collector's nightmare. I just wish some people were as observant as our customers when this paper was used.

"Oh, lookie here. I just printed an invoice on very old invoice stock. The payment address on this invoice is for a lockbox that has been closed for four years. Being the observant person I am, I will dutifully cross out the old address and write in the new one so we can be properly paid. Heck, I might even use the rubber stamp with our new payment address which was ordered by the collector of our company because she thought something like this might happen. WHEW! Glad I was observant and this didn't turn into a collector's nightmare."

Of course, that didn't happen.

Hence, I haven't been able to really blog this week. I can comment, but not blog.

Let's just throw on top of that the holidays. I still haven't wrapped or baked a damn thing. I am so totally screwed. I'll be wrapping and assembling until 4:00AM Christms morning. Santa is getting Chips Ahoy - he can handle it I'm sure. As of yesterday, I finally got all gifts and/or cards for everyone on my list. And the office Christmas party is today. Bless Geo and his cooking skills. He made the pasta salad for me. If it's good, I'll give him the credit. If it's bad, I'll take the blame. Seriously! Anywho, thankfully the holidays are wrapping up (pun quite intended).

Now I need a nap.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Eeee-yep, I jinxed myself

I'm sick ... again. Now it's in my sinuses. I can't chew without feeling a new experience in pain. And whatever I have is slowly migrating to my lungs. Why was I born with a horrendous immune system?

Happy friggin Holidays!

I just have to avoid certain things to keep myself well. One of them are smokers. Geo's step-mom is a smoker. We're visiting his family this Christmas. Hence, the stay at his dad's house will be cut very short if I am to avoid a bout of pneumonia for the New Year.

And I will post on the Union League ventures later. Sorry, no pics. Dumdum me left the camera in her coat at the coat check.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

They spent HOW MUCH on Christmas decorations?

Geo and I are going to my Christmas Office party tonight. It starts at 6-ish and ends whenever my CEO feels like it should end. Did I mention the man loves a party?

It's at the Union League in Center City. We are talking jacket and tie for Geo and something more than jeans and a sweatshirt for me.

Oh boy.

I didn't think it would be all that at first. Then one of our execs, who is a member along with his dad, told me that the UL dropped about $30K this year on decorations alone. GULP! I decided to reread the invite.

Butlered hot hors d'ouveres. Top shelf open bar. Sit down dinner with a choice of some kinda chicken caper lemon or a fish called tilapia. Geo got the chicken; I got the fish (we're gonna plate share when no one is looking). More drinks after dinner and whatever else is happening. To top it off, our CEO reserved a block of rooms at the Inn of the League. Needless to say, Nana and Pop-Pop are watching the baby until tomorrow.

This ought to be an interesting night.

First, a quick update

It wasn't the flu! YAY!

It was a wicked headcold. BOO!

I bought all of these OTC remedies to combat it. YAY!

Not a one did jacksquat. BOO!

So I called my doctor immediately. YAY!

And she prescribed me two things that knocked it out in less than a day. BOoo .... um ... YAY!

So I haver been much better all week but I didn't want to jinx it. So I kept my blogging and all other mention of "feeling much better" until today.

Long story short: thank you all for the well wishing and now your Maidink is up and running and ready to get into trouble!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

I've been given a homework assignment

Well, kinda. It seems the CrankyProf sees it fit to tag me in yet another "reveal all" meme.

Let's begin:

Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:
1) Teller/CSR/Telephone Customer Service Rep/Loan Officer - this was a total of four different jobs between four banks over a ten year span. God bless bank mergers. And none of these banks exist today. How nice.
2) Cashier - it was retail with yet another defunct company.
3) Office Manager - this was a part time job. It was more of a glorified clerk job. Hey, it was in exchange for my first computer (I worked off the balance). And this company doesn't exist either. Do you sense a trend yet?
4) Accounts Payable Manager - that was my last title. Once again, it was more of a glorified clerical position. Ah, but this company still exists! So there!

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1) Princess Bride
2) The Muppets' Christmas Carol
3) Grumpier Old Men
4) Tommy Boy

Four Places You Have Lived:
1) Drexel Hill, PA
2) Millersville, PA

That's it folks. I live in Philadelphia PA now so I can't count it as a placed I HAVE lived. Pretty boring.

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1) CSI (all of them)
2) House
3) Touched by An Angel
4) Star Trek (all except Deep Space Yawn)

Runner-Up - The Family Guy

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation:
1) the Jersey Shore (that would be more than four so I thought I'd just lump them together)
2) Orlando FL (The Mouse Palace)
3) San Francisco CA
4) San Diego CA

Four Websites You Visit Daily:

1) Tony
2) ABB
3) CrankyProf
4) NinjaPoodles

I do visit a lot more but these were the first ones I visited today. There is also the obligatory GMail, WPVI Channel 6, and

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:
1) Really Spicy Chinese
2) Pizza
3) Seafood (steamed shrimp and crabs top that list)
4) Breakfast foods (I could live in IHOP if I didn't fear the high carb count)

Four Places You'd Rather Be Right Now:

1) Home
2) Home with my daughter
3) Home with my daughter and Geo

4) Anywhere with my daughter and Geo

Four Bloggers You Are Tagging:

I'm leaving this blank. Make it voluntary.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Back up from the keyboard and monitor

I am 85% sure I have the flu.


I can hear my mom's words ringing in my ears, "I told you to get that flu shot li'l Miss Know-It-All!"

Oh wait, that is her ... I put the phone down on my desk so I could type.

Boy, she's loud.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Three years ago today

Dinks - 24 hours old
Three years ago today, at the time of this post, I gave birth to my little Dinkerdoodle Potpie. Yes, I do call her that out of complete affection. Mind you, in three to seven years, I'll not be permitted to call her that in public (not without accompaniment of the evil stare from said daughter).

Dinks - 7 days old

Some Party Pics

I'll blog on the party itself later. For now, some pics.

The thing at the head of the table showing who's birthday it is

Yes, it was at Chuck E Cheese's. We had over 25 people and our house has a lawful max capacity of ten (as per me).

Hand-made Dora and Boots Birthday Cake by a Baltimore baker.  It says Happy 3rd Birthday, Georgeanne

Yeah, she wanted a Dora cake. A friend of our buddies from Baltimore made this.

Hey, lady, you dropped these.

It's tradition at a CEC party to throw "tickets" up in the air so kids can scramble like rabid squirrels after them. I personally don't like this; however, since I don't own stock in CEC, I guess my opinion means squat. Anyway (someone's fave word), here is Dink handing the tickets back to the employees that threw them. She thought she had to clean up. Though it's a happy thought, I doubt this obsession with wanting to help and clean will roll into her teen years.

I have one thing to say, sashay shante, shante, shante, shante!Here is an "afterparty" shot at our home. Everyone decided to come over anyway. Yes, my home is a disaster area so please ignore the mess (I do). Here is the Dinks modelling her new coat and hat from Nana and Pop-Pop. What a ham. My daughter - the clothes horse.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Santa Picture 2005

It went better than I thought.

Mom told me Dinks walked right up to Santa, shook his hand and said "Hi Santa!" He sat her down and she proceeded to give the list of stuff she wants. Well, she said she wanted presents, a cake, candles, and balloons. It's that "birthday close to Christmas" thing. The photo was snapped and VOILA!

I like how Ratty got in the picture. Ratty is her security net. Almost three years worth of drool on that thing.

Mom claims Dinks wasn't miserable. Could've fooled me.

"She was looking at the North Pole setting. Look, she's smiling."

"Mom, she looks like she's saying 'My Nana is making me do this.'"

Heck, I guess anything is better than a picture of the back of your child running as far as possible away from Santa.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Almost three years to the hour

Eee-yep, it'll be three years today that I started my labor pains. And Dink's birthday is this Sunday.

You do the math.

And the 2005 Word of the Year is .....

... Podcast!

Yeah, I know this is actually old news (PR Newswire 12/06/2005) but I just found out this morning. Podcast will be added to the New Oxford American Dictionary in its 2006 edition.

For those of you not in the know, a podcast is defined as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player".*

Once again proof that good marketing and a strong unwavering customer base will not only yield billions of dollars for a company that was once on the brink of extinction, it will get a well coined term to be honored and included in the dictionary.

And for those that are curious, as per Merriam-Webster (not Oxford), the 2004 Word of the Year was "blog".

If anyone knows the Oxford word of the year for 2004, please let me know.

* cited from The iPod Observer

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Missing Snow Globes ... is this a bad thing?

Snow Globes

Giant inflatable snow globes, the air-puffed rage of this season, are disappearing right off of peoples front lawns!

Didn't Burger King have this problem last year with their giant inflatable Sponge Bobs being snatched right off the roofs of their restaurants?

I personally don't like these things. Alas, my child does.

Translation: I'm going to tether my snowglobe and surround it with land mines.

Grandparents do come in handy

Dinks has been wanting to see Santa for the past two weeks. Actually, it's been since she saw him on TV at the Channel 6 / Boscov's Thanksgiving parade. Is it just me or did Santa look like he wasn't going to make it up the Art Museum steps? All I hear is, "We take ride and go see (with much jubilation in her voice) Santa!"

Wait, let's back this up a few years.

The first time Dinks saw Santa she was 22 hours old. She was still all cross-eyed and finger fumbly so she probably figured him as a giant piece of fuzz.

The next time was a year later at a pancake breakfast at church. It was a "Breakfast with Santa" thing. The food was ... okay. It was your all-American three-stack-high flapjacks with artificial maple-flavored syrup. And three sausages! ... can't forget those. Dinks managed a few bites of pancake when Santa rolled in. Santa looked like he tied one on the night before. He was cordial but a bit, shall we say, wobbly. Then the kids got the chance to line up for the traditional sit-upon and picture. My mom carried Dinks while I walked up to Santa first to show her there was nothing wrong. I didn't even get within two feet of him when the baby started shouting bloody murder, "MAAA-MAAAA!!" My mom tried to walk closer to Santa but the baby thrashed like a freshly caught swordfish. I told my mom to quickly abandon the plan and that was that.

Last year was much of the same. She saw Santa and ran, I mean took off, in the opposite direction. No screaming, no crying, just beating feet. She wanted nothing to do with him. Geo and I played "dodge shopper" as we went weaving through Oxford Valley Mall's crowd to get our child back from her marathon take-off. I was starting to think "Maybe I should have Dinks picture taken with the reindeer instead."

So this year, I got myself a plan.



"Hi, Mom"

"Oh ... hi, honey. What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I mean, can't I just call for no reason what-so-ever?"

"No, you don't."

"Ahhh, good point."

"So what's wrong?"

"Nothing! Sheesh. Well, I do have a favor."

"Yeeeess ..."

"I have to go to a meeting after work on Wednesday. Can you and Dad watch the baby for me? I wouldn't be able to take her to school since I wouldn't be able to pick her up on time."

"Sure! We'd love to have the baby."

Dad (in the background): "I don't want that little creep here. She eats all of my chocolate!"

Me: "Tell Dad he's not even allowed to have chocolate."

Mom (with phone speaker away from her mouth): "Your daughter told me to tell you you aren't even allowed to have chocolate."

Dad (still in the background): "Tell my daughter I think she's a creep, too."

Mom: "Your Dad called you a creep."

Me: "I see. Well, can you?"

Mom: "Sure, we'd love to."

Me: (with evil grin) "You can even take her to see Santa!"

Mom: "Are you sure you want us to take her?"

(there was a reason why Mom asked this one)

Me: "Yep!"

"And she wants to see him?"


So it was done. Mom and Dad were taking the little princess to see her jolly nemesis. That was one thing off my parental obligation list for the holiday season.

Mom was leary at first because of an incident ten years ago.

My mom and my Nan took my niece to see Santa. It wasn't completely intentional. My Mom, my Nan, and my niece were all at the Neshaminy Mall. My niece was two years old and she actually liked Santa for her age. When she saw Santa, she begged to go sit with him. Well, my mom was stand-offish but my Nan, the Battle Axe, told my mom not to worry that SHE would accept responsibility if anything happened. This would also be a good time to point out that my Nan was suffering from the first signs of dimentia. So, Mom had the Santa picture done.

When my sister-in-law picked up my niece, she was presented with the picture from a smiling Battle axe. My.sister-in-law.went.through.the.roof. She was positively livid! She damn near cancelled Christmas dinner at her house because of it. My mom was in tears. Battle Axe kept saying to my mom, "Don't worry, she'll calm down. She'll come to her damn senses. Why, I remember the time when ..." and she'd go off on some memory tangent. man, she did that a lot. I, personally, didn't see what was wrong with my mom having the picture done. Come to find out that some parents are a wee bit possessive over the "sitting with Santa" thing.

Whatever ...

I'm not. If they want to take her that's fine with me! Besides, they're old. They'll get a kick out of taking her.

And to think I married this guy

Dink's birthday is on 12/11. Her due date was 12/4. Geo was praying she would have been born on 12/7. I once was going to ask if he was serious when I stopped myself.

Some things I didn't want to know.

Pearl Harbor Day - the Day of Infamy

USS Arizona (BB-39)
On December 7th, 1941, at 7:55 AM Hawaiian time, the Japanese military executed a sneak attack on the US military in Pearl Harbor.

Over 2,400 people lost there lives that day - nearly 66% of them died within the first 15 minutes of the attack which was mostly due to the explosion on the USS Arizona. Of the dead, 2,008 wereUS Navy personnel, 109 were US Marines, 218 were US Army, and 68 were civilians. That a total of 2,403 dead Americans. The number of wounded American personnel was 1,178.*

The basis for the attack is mulitple. There was never, and hardly ever is, "one" ultimate purpose. Just like in any military action, there were the "in your face" reasons that anyone can examine. Then there are always the "X" reasons. This is information that is privy to the US government and whoever with which they will share the knowledge. Yes, that does happen in all forms of government and anyone who whines about "full disclosure" can go sit in a corner now and hold their breath 'cause that will never happen. So there we are, many different causes combining to one attack.

I'll limit the cause part by discussing two of the larger reasons - those were dominance and humiliation.

The Japanese Empire wanted to dominate Asia and the US was very much in the way of completeing this goal. To remove the US from the picture, the attack was seen as a necessity. Also, Japan was banking on the US and its multi-cultural background to turn against itself. Japan, like with many Asian countries, takes great pride in its culture. They look at victories as a source of great pride and defeats as a source of shame. Japan saw the US as a weak mongrel. The Empire figured a sneak attack would not only break the spirit of the US, but it would also shame the US into being more obidient with the Empire's demands for cooperation.

But all it did was piss off a country that should never be pissed off. All the attack did was make the US so angry, everyone, military and civilian, felt it our duty to fight until victory was ours.

Where the Japanese value culture, we value our country.

So on this Pearl Harbor Day, have a moment of silence at 12:55PM (the Eastern Standard Time of the attack). Take a second to remember those who sacrificed their lives in many yesterdays so we may live in freedom. And honor those who are still fighting today in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Give these Marines, soldiers, airmen, and seamen your prayers and support as they continue the fight for freedom that so many others have done before them.

* cited from FAQFarm

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Speaking of mail around Christmas time ...

... for anyone wishing a Christmas card from yours truly (and family), please send me an e-mail with your mailing address. All info is highly confidential - no identities will be leaked or posted.

Santa Claus tops Forbes Fictional 15 of 2005

Does anyone find this to be a shock?

I should hope not.

Who else but (as Forbes called him) "the North Pole's tubby toy titan" of unlimited wealth would head up Forbes Fictional 15? Between his never ending bank account and his lifetime endorsment of Coca-Cola (tm), I doubt he'll ever slip down to #2.

New to the list are #7 Jed Clampett, #11 Arthur Bach, #12 Ebenezer Scrooge, #13 Lara Croft, and #15 Lucius Malfoy.

Falling off the list this year were JR Ewing, Jay Gatsby, Gordon Gekko, Auric Goldfinger, and Charles Foster Kane.

Let's give a big ole congratualtions to those named and remember, the next time you see Santa, give him a "high five" for once again topping the list!

Monday, December 05, 2005

What's the Matter Here - 10,000 Maniacs

That young boy without a name
Anywhere I'd know his face
In this city the kid's my favorite
I've seen him
I see him every day
Seen him run outside
Looking for a place to hide
From his father
The kid half naked
And said to myself
"O, what's the matter here?"

I'm tired of the excuses
Everbody uses
He's their kid
I stay out of it
But who gave you the right
To do this?

We live on Morgan Street
Just ten feet between
And his mother
I never see her
But her screams and cussing
I hear them every day
Threats like
"If you don't mind
I will beat on your behind"
"Slap you, slap you silly"
Made me say
"O, what's the matter here?"

I'm tired of the excuses
Everybody uses
He's your kid
Do as you see fit
But get this through
That I don't approve
Of what you did
To you own flesh and blood

I'm tired of the excuses
Everybody uses
He's your kid
Do as you see fit
But get this through
That I don't approve
Of what you did
To you own flesh and blood

"If you don't sit
In your chair straight
I'll take this belt
From around my waist
And don't you think
That I won't use it!"
Answer me and take your time
What could be the awful crime
He could do at such young an age?
If I'm the only witness
To your madness
Offer me some words to balance
Out what I see and what I hear
All these cold and rude
Things that you do
I suppose you do
Because he belongs to you
And instead of love
And the feel of warmth
You've given him these cuts
And sores won't heal
With time or age
I want to say
"What's the Matter here?"
But I don't dare say
"What's the Matter here?"
But I don't dare say

Mail that creates my Junk Mail pile at home

1) Resident - for Pete's sake, if you can't take the time to find out who lives where, I won't take the time to read your mailing.

2) Mail addressed to my dead husband - he won't be needing that.

3) Mail in my first married name - oh yeah, this came from someone who knows me well.

4) Mail with self-addressed envelopes included - this is different from mail with just an envelope included. If you need to put a stamp on it, it's a bill. If it's postage paid, it's a beg-a-gram. If I had my way, both would be shredder bound.

5) Catalogs - being "tis the season", I don't mind these as much as usual. But ... holy chowder! I've received over twenty catalogs in less than five days! I don't shop that darn much. Least we mention the catalogs that I can't see how it was possible either Geo or I ended up on the mailing list. I'm getting catalogs like "Plow and Hearth". I live on less than 1/10th of an acre and we don't have a fireplace ... makes no sense.

6) Mail addressed my home's previous owners - okay, I've been living where I am at for close to a decade and I still receive mail from different organiztions addressed to the former residents. We even received a Christmas card last year. That was a hoot. Cards get sent back with a "no longer a resident" message scrolled on the front of the envelope. All else becomes future landfill bedding.

All mail that is leftover is opened and read ... which doesn't add up to very much.

Friday, December 02, 2005

That's it ... I'm going back to school

You Should Get a MBA (Masters of Business Administration)

You're a self starter with a drive for success.
You'd make a great entrepreneur.

Confessions of a mom

I have lost count on how many times I have wanted to throttle my child. I don't mean that euphemistically.

Dinks is going to be three on 12/11 and I want to buy a shirt that says "I survived the terrible twos".

No lie, at least once a week, she and I would get into shouting matches.

I'd tell her to do something and she would say "no". I'd tell her again and she would be defiant. My voice would raise. She would start to cry AND NOT STOP! And still not do what she is told!

That's when a little switch in my skull would click and I would find myself wanting to do something, anything, to make the child stop crying and have her do what she was told. It is not a pretty sight and it's really quite frightening. Here is an adult about to go completely insane because someone will not listen to reason. But not just any someone, a little girl not even three who is the mother's own flesh and blood. I'd be a liar if I said I never spanked her. But she is still in diapers so hitting the butt causes little to no effect. So you go for the unprotected areas (I.E., the hands, arms, feet, legs, back of head, etc). The crying doesn't stop but increases because now the poor child is terrified. You are about to lose your mind and think of quick and easy remedies to bring control back to your world regardless of consequences.

Thank God, each time, I was able to walk away, take a ten to twenty second breather, and go back. By then, Dinks is usually doing the heavy sob breathing thing and puts her arms up for a hug. She gets scooped and cuddled for however long time will allow. Now you have a parent who feels like hell after what just happened and a child who feels both scared and comforted by their parent. The match is over - neither side won.

Why am I telling you this?

I just read (and finally stopped crying over) the story of little
Kelsey Briggs. And little Sarah Chavez. And little Hannah Williams. Lord knows this is just a smattering of the death related child abuse stories out there. But one thing that caught my eye was the ages of these children. They were all two years old.

The terrible two age. The age when a child is testing his/her boundaries of what control "they" have over their little world. And we as adult survivors of this age just don't get why the kid is being such a pain in the butt. And sometimes, we lose control.

Am I siding with the abusers? Hell no! You are still bigger than the defenseless child and we adults should have more common sense.

What I am trying to draw attention to is the "terrible twos" and how terrible they really can be on the parent. We hear so much about postpartum depression being a factor in abuse cases with infants. The upside of this is the tons of literature, medication, and support groups there are for this syndrome. But what of parents with toddlers? Where is OUR specified needs support group? Is it that we are pushing our kids to grow-up so fast that we think they should be mentally capable of handling their emotions at two? As you can sense, this is a rather touchy open nerve subject with me.

Kelsey Briggs photo is on my sidebar and shall remain there indefinitely. It serves as a link to her memorial site.

If she was born for any purpose, let it be a way to generate support groups for parents and step-parents of toddlers who need help. I am talking specific help on how to deal with everyday life and raising a toddler. All two to three year olds are defiant to a degree, and parents need to learn to let that happen regardless of how big a crimp it puts in their day. Just trying to handle the situation as if you are dealing with another adult could have devastating or deadly effects. No child should die at the hands of those who are there to protect them.

Though she suffered greatly, she was born with a purpose. Don't let that purpose slip to the side with yesterday's headlines.

Note: I will be putting links on my site at a later date that go to various child abuse prevention sites. This is one issue I feel strongly about.

Looking at that last sentence, is that proper English?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

For World AIDS Day - a story about a walk

World AIDS Day 2005
It was October 1995.

I was walking with my girlfriend in the AIDS Walk here in Philly. I honestly lost count by this point on how many times I had done the walk (maybe five). My first walk was in 1988 - one year after the very first one. Boy, that Walk was tiny (crowd-wise not distance) - you could tell it was a pure grassroots effort. By '95, it had grown and developed a life of its own. And my girlfriend really wanted me to be with her at this one.

Her brother, 18 years her senior, was going to be there and he had full-blown AIDS.

We walked with his group.

That was the first time I ever met him. I had seen pictures of him at her home. He looked like a big hulking guy in his Army uniform. The picture was taken in Vietnam around 1969. It was there that he learned how to deal with the pain and stress of army life and warfare - he started shooting heroin. He tried to kick the habit. He even got married and had a couple of kids (my girlfriend's "niece" was born two weeks before she was). But heroin is not the easiest of habits to walk away from. Fifteen years and one dirty needle later, he contracted the HIV virus. It lay dormant in him for a time but eventually became full-blown by '94. And here he was one year later at the Walk.

I didn't recognize him at first. No longer the strappin' guy, he looked very thin and drawn in the face. He still had the same smile and glint in his eyes that I had seen in many photos. But he looked ... different.

There were a lot of people there in '95 at the Walk. There was one guy in particular I'll never forget as long as I live. He was in our group and in a wheelchair. AIDS had robbed him of his ability to walk great distances so we all took turns wheeling him. He had his dog with him, too - a German shepherd. That dog walked right next him the entire way (with the occasional potty stop). The guy's mom was also in the walk. She told me that the dog never left his side, not even for a minute. It was a living picture of the phrase "man's best friend."

My girlfriend and I split up about a week after the Walk. It was a rocky relationship from Jump Street and agreed on breaking up. We went our separate ways and lost touch.

A year later, she called me out of the blue (I was surprised she had my number) She called to let me know her brother had died. I'm pretty sure I told her I was sorry to hear - I don't remember verbatim. It wasn't that long of a call - she had list of people to contact.

However, she did give me one other piece of info upon my request of wondering how they were.

I asked her about the guy in the wheelcahir at the Walk and his dog. She told me the guy died a few weeks after the Walk. He had contracted pneumonia and took a turn for the worse. He was rushed to the hospital and never came home. With tears in her voice, she told me that his dog laid by the back door of the house, waiting for him to come home from the hospital. The dog died a week later. A vet said it was starvation. We both agreed it was a broken heart.

AIDS knows no age, no race, and no social boundaries. It doesn't care who you choose to sleep with - it kills gays and straights. We need to educate more than ever. Children, babies, are raped in some areas of Africa because it is rumored that AIDS can be cured by having sex with a virgin. Children are being orphaned. Lives are being destroyed. Something needs to be done.

Just because AIDS hasn't grabbed a national headline lately doesn't mean it has disappeared.

Please, say a prayer today for those who live with the disease, for those who help others with the disease, and for those who are working to find a cure.

"I think [AIDS] is one of the biggest problems on the planet, absolutely. It's something that's going to affect everybody in one way or another. I think that one of our biggest issues as humans is that we don't look at each other as part of the same life." -- Alicia Keys, US recording artist

Friday, November 25, 2005

An Addendum

To everyone who commented on my burn-out dilemma post, I want to thank you for all of your kind words of encouragement and empathy.

Yes, I am suffering from blogburn. No, I am not going to quit blogging. THAT will not happen. I've grown too fond of typing my thoughts (though my typing is sub-par) and I would miss all of my friends too much.

But I'm still in a burn-out situation. I've been doing a lot more reading (on book # 6 - HP and THBP) and I have been playing video games (have to put that DS to use somehow). Couple that with Christmas shopping - both on and off line aka the Mall - and I am slowly building up fodder for future posts.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have important business to tend to right now. I have to read "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog" to my sleepy daughter. For the encore, we'll read "Knuffle Bunny" and then, if a second encore arises, "Kitten's First Full Moon".


Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Yeah, better late than never.

I am the kinda of person who never buys just a birthday card - it's a "Happy Belated Birthday" card. Guaranteed, even if I buy it a week ahead, the recipient will get it late.

I'm still recovering from my turkey and carb induced coma from yesterday. There was one, count'em, O-N-E vegetable yeterday and that was string beans. Good gravy, no wonder I passed out after dinner yesterday.

Like I said, I know this is late but I am thankful for everything I have in my world.

I am very thankful for God for giving me life. I am ever so thankful for my family for being there for me no matter what. I am thankful for my Geo - my love, my husband, my friend. Lord knows I thank Him ever second of the day for my little Dinker. I am thankful for my job and my co-workers. And I am thankful for ALL of my friends - that encompasses the ones I can recognize in a crowd and my blog friends. Though I have never met any of you, I consider you all my good friends.

I raise my glass of wine to all of you and, though it be late, thank you for being you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Running out of steam

I have not been in the mood to blog lately. Since I mainly blog at work, anything work related must come first. And wouldn't you know these people think that's WHY I actually make my commute in the morning? No, not to blog ... to work! Sick-os.

Blogging at home is really not an option either.

And my life has been relatively benign lately; hence, I can't think of a blessed thing to blog about.

Even the local/world news and business world is boring. It's the same crap - "Troops should leave Iraq", "Cindy Sheehan at it again in Texas", "The weather is cold", "Christmas is almost here", "Deaths and muggings over the XBox 360", etc. Actually, that last one is bizarre.

It reminds me of when grandmothers were beating up each other over the Cabbage Patch Kids. Granted, I don't think granny was packing heat 'casue I never heard of anyone getting shot over the adoptable dolls.


I don't particulary like whining on the blog. Granted, I have done my fair share. But whining about the same stuff over and over is such a headache to me.

I whine - I adapt - I overcome.

I think I just need a blog break. And the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend is just about the perfect time to do so.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Four and a half out of five stars for "Goblet of Fire"

Hogwarts will host the Tri-Wizard Tournament
Over seventy-two hours and US$101 million dollars later, HP and GOF were the top grossing movie this weeknd at the box office int he United States. Oooo, color me "shocked".

And Time Warner who brought us this film is lovin' every minute of it.

Yes, I did see it. Yes, Geo went with me voluntarily. Yes, the movie was absolutely, without a doubt, great. It kept my interest from opening scene to closing credits. You won't even realize the movie lasts for over two hours.

Now, for those of us that have read GOF, PLEASE go in the theatre with an open mind. Don't try and predict what will happen in the next scene because you'll just tick yourself off. If you forget the book and watch the movie, you'll enjoy the movie so much more. Okay? Promise you'll do that?

Okay, good.

I mean, just imagine if they did do the book verbatim. You'd have to come back the next day for the second showing.

For those who have not read the book, so what? Don't try and cram over 2,000 pages of pre-teen novel in your skull before trotting off to the United Artist. Geo has never looked at a page in any of the books and he loved it. Honest ...

The movie was visually stimulating a la computer graphics but not so much that it looked fake. I really believed there was a horn-tailed dragon about to smash poor Harry into kibble. The scenes at the Quidditch World Cup and Harry's first task made you feel like those guys were truly flying (but of course we all know they weren't). Even though what was on the screen could never happen in reality (?), the effects crew gave the film a feeling of believablity that almost makes you want to buy a Firebolt as your new way to commute.

The acting was what you would expect from a bunch of teenagers mixing in with the adults - emotional roller coaster time. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is our reluctant hero battling dragons and stomach pains brought on by wanting to ask his crush, Cho Chang played by Katie Leung, to the Yule Ball. Ron Weasley, played by Rupert Grint, and Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson, are Harry's best friends. They also have a thing for each other (Ron and Hermione) and it really come sto light in this the fourth movie. But they go about it like a couple of little kids in the school yard hitting each other with their bookbags and shouting "Natty natty boo boo". At times it kinda reminded me of the O.C. or some other version of 90210, but that's the angst of growing up. The supporting cast of Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Alan Rickman (Serveus Snape), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) and, for the filming of GOF, Brendan Gleeson (Alastor "MadEye" Moody) once again proved it is possible to work with a gaggle of teenagers and still keep your sanity.

A bit of warning though for those with little ones under ten who are readers of the series. This movie is by far very dark and there are a few disturbing moments. It truly earned the rating PG-13. If you feel your little one can handle it, by all means take them. Just a warning that there are some creepy scenes that are only matched by the Dementors in "Prisoner of Azkaban".

If you like fantasy films, or even if you don't, I highly recommend taking the time to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (reading of all 734 pages not required).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Let's try that again

Well, West Lawn PA is out.

The seller got an offer and accepted it.

Could be just as well. Streats told me today the area we were looking at is known to be the Meth Capital of Pennsylvania. Call me old-fashion but I'm not exactly thrilled about moving my family to a place known as a Meth Capital.

We are still focusing on the 'burbs. Montco and Bucks are our first choices. We still like Berks and Lebanon Counties but that commute? Ain't happenin'!

So, anyone know of any nice family-like areas we should checkout?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pulling up the stakes and movin' on

We've decided (we being Geo and I) that it is time for us to move. We're putting our home on the market December1st.

I have lived in my home for over 8 years. I purchased it with my late husband. Quite frankly, I never considered it a real home for my family. I've been wanting to move for almost 4 years but little things like pregnancy, fires, and getting personal problems situated just friggin got in the way.

Now, we are married and we want to start over somewhere else.

And we have found a place. We just have to wait for all the wonderful pre-app garbage to go through and then we can place a bid.

Ahhhh, yes. And fun is only just beginning.

Midnight madness for Harry Potter fans

Everything is about to change
What has been considered by many Harry Potter fans as the best book thus far in the series will hit the big screen starting midnight tonight!

Normally, I am never excited about a movie premiering at the box office. I'm a DVD kinda gal. But this movie, I must admit, is becoming one of those "you have to see it on the big screen" types.

My own opinion on why this movie will turn into the "must see" Harry Potter movie has a lot to do with how it was made.

The director of movie number four, Mike Newell, is British. The other two directors were an American (Chris Columbus - Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets) and a Mexican (Alfonso CuarĂ³n - Prisoner of Azkaban). Nothing against any of the three previous movies - they were very good indeed. But this movie will definitely have that certain dark "British humor" flare about it. I feel Newell will finally bring to light on the screen what JK Rowling is able to bring to life with her writing.

Also, Harry Potter being a worldwide phenomenon helps at bit.

He is what every person to a degree wishes they were. He went from Boy Average in the muggle world to famous wizard in the magical world. He is the Mega Millions lottery winning ticket holder. He went from nothing to everything ... for a price.

That's what draws people to Harry. He is "the boy who lived". He's a powerful person who's still in training and finds himself in confrontations that astound the omnipotent and omniscient. He faces his fears, wrestles with his emotions, and defies authority to do what is right regardless of the rules or consequences. He is a reluctant hero.

And he is about to face his greatest challenge yet. And for those of us who have read the books, we know the future holds even more danger and more difficult decisions. Goblet of Fire is only the beginning.

Dark and difficult times do indeed lie ahead for you, Harry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Dark and Difficult Times Lie Ahead, Harry"

The Fourth Champion
... less than two days

Taking a break

I have a lot to do right now so I won't be blogging for a few days. I might do a benign post here and there ... nothing major.

And yes, there will be pictures. Just the ones that were taken with Geo's camera were not the most flattering. I've seen FBI profiles in the post that had more photogenic flare.

And none of your beeswax about the wedding night! This is a PG-13 rated site!