Interstellar Adventure
Adventure: the pursuit of life — Daniel Roy Wiarda

Best Birthday Ever!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

And it's only 8 am! My kids sang Happy Birthday to me in the car on the way to school. Already several friends have sent cards. And Nick. Well, I tell you. That man is amazing. I am the luckiest girl on the planet! Heck, in the whole universe. OK, gag me, I know. He's soooo wonderful though! So now I'm actually "in" my 30's. This last year I was just standing in the doorway. Sitting on 30 and looking in. Seeing what my third decade would hold in store for me. And so far, I'm loving it! This last year has been so amazing! I've learned so much about myself and done so much more than I ever thought I would. HUGS! to you all and I hope your day is just as good as mine. MWAH!


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dangit. I had a whole rant going here, and I lost it. Maybe that's for the best. I'm trying to figure out if I'm just hyper-sensitive to this, or if I actually have a leg to stand on in this arguement. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the United States, and we do speak English here, right? I mean, they teach in English in the schools, English is the de facto business language, English is the de facto language of government. The US doesn't have an 'official' language, but many states have adopted English as such. So why does it irritate me that the menus in my local IHOP are printed in English with Spansih sub-titles. Why does it make me mad that Target has aisle signs in English and Spanish and does announcements in both languages? And the one that really blows me away is the idea that we come up with a mandate that principals speak Spanish. They don't have to be proficient mind you, just understand those with limited English skills. Teachers of ESL don't even have to speak Spanish. That makes no sense to me. I think that if someone comes to this country to live and work, then they should learn the language. Come here to better yourself, learn new skills, build a life, and make progress. But those that come here just to work and send money home and are here illegally? Well, why should we accommodate that?

The 'WOW' Factor: Redux

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Once upon a time, this girl walked into a Starbucks to meet a guy. It was their first date. They'd met online. He'd winked at her. She checked him out. He sounded interesting. But she wasn't sure. She checked him out a couple more times before she responded. The clencher? His picture. He'd wanted a recent photo. And the only one he had was one his brother had taken last Thanksgiving. Any guy that was brave enough to use a picture of himself hanging out of a tree was the kind of guy she was interested in talking to. They talked back and forth over email for a good while. Progressed to the phone. And the culmination of their initial communications? An hour-long chat over a couple of lattes. And at the end of that hour? He said "So, uh, would you, uh, like to...I'm never good at this. I'm trying to think of a way to ask you if you'd like to go out with me again. Would you like to?" "Absolutely." she said. He didn't hear her though. He was grinning like the cat that ate the canary. For their second date, she packed a picnic dinner and took him to a play. They enjoyed cheese and wine and pasta salads while watching a work of The Bard. He could quote The Bard. That impressed her. They continued to date. To get to know each other. She found him exciting, intelligent, romantic, imperfect, caring, handsome, warm-hearted, funny...the list goes on. He was everything she had been looking for. He made her laugh. He made her feel. One day, over breakfast, he looked up at her. They'd been talking about IT recently. You know, the hypotheticals, the "What if's". As they were sitting in front of the fireplace at "their" breakfast spot, he took her hand in his. She looked up at him. He said "Will you marry me?". She said "Yes." They've had this secret for a little while now. The holidays were going to be the perfect time to tell their families. On Thanksgiving Day, during dinner, he started to tell a story. "I was the Valedictorian of my High School class. Everyone told me I had to have a speech. And I said 'There's a speech?'. So for a week prior to graduation, everyone was asking me 'Have you finished your speech? What's your speech about?'. I had no speech. So when I got up on graduation day, I said 'Um. I'm really glad I graduated. Had some really nice teachers. Um. Thanks.' It was a horrible speech and my family cringed. Now, like then, I'm wishing I would have come up with a speech, because I have something to say that I knew I was going to say, but I have no idea how to tell you. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if none of you have any plans on January 26, 2007, we would like you to come to our wedding. I asked her, and obviously she said yes, or we wouldn't be inviting you. The first time I met her at Starbucks, there was just something about her. I heard the words to every cheesy love song from David Cassidy to Michael Bolton, and in the words of Al Green thought, 'Let's Stay Together'." Then he looked at her and said "I love you." She looked back at him and said "I love you too." And then her family erupted in applause and tears and cheers. Over the weekend, they went to visit his brother. They owed it all to him you know. He's the one that took the picture of this guy hanging out of a tree. On their way down, they talked about how to tell the rest of their friends. Since that picture from last Thanksgiving had everything to do with them being together, they decided it would be fitting to take another picture under the tree. Together this time.

Holiday Recovery

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Yesterday was a good day. Nick is a wonderful man. Made me breakfast in bed. No one's ever done that for me before. Then, he let me go back to sleep and recover from a long Thanksgiving Day. With no agenda, we bopped around a bit during the afternoon. One stop was the Video Rental Chain Giant to get a movie or two. Back at home, we warmed up some leftovers and popped in "American Psycho". Is it wrong of me to say I thought it was hilarious? The message and how it was delivered was just downright funny. At least I thought so. Ahem. This morning we're sipping some coffee and packing. Off on a little road trip today to meet Nick's brother and sister-in-law. Poor Nick met 75% of my family on Thanksgiving Day. He's sparing me and going slow with his. We're staying at a little B&B. I liked that option better than the trailer. The rest of the house is full with his sister-in-law's kids. Tiny Texas town ya know. Should be fun!

I've never cooked a turkey before

Friday, November 25, 2005

But damn! It was good the first time! My 23.54 pound bird went in the oven at approximately 7:12 am yesterday. Every thirty minutes I would baste it. Natural juices, chicken stock, and a white-wine herb-butter concoction. Toasty golden brown, juicy, flavorful. YUM! My cousins and my uncles were going to be the litmus test for my achievement. And I passed with flying colors! My youngest cousin Troy was the most complimentary, and that meant a lot to me. "I was so disappointed when my dad told me we were going out to eat for Thanksgiving Day. But when you invited us, I knew I would get a good meal. And that turkey was awesome. I look forward to this meal every year, and you did a great job." :) *sniff, sniff* I managed to fit seventeen hungry people around two tables, squeezed into my living room. It was tight, and we sucked in our full bellies as well as we could to manuever to chairs. And then it was quiet, and people were eating, and then there was laughter and good-hearted teasing, and the typical BS that flies around the extended family table, I was happy. People went back for seconds. They wanted turkey sandwiches to go. My mom's pies were delicious. I made my homemade mincemeat that only my grandmother and I like. But it was tasty. The Cowboys lost, but I picked Denver to win anyway. I still have one more secret for you. I'm almost ready to spill it. ;) Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Again with the weather!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh my. So some of you are freezing off your toes-ies. Well, not me. I'll be sweating my way through the kitchen tomorrow. Today's high is forecast to be 77. Right now it's 72. Tomorrow is forecast to be 70. No! No! No! Not when I've got the oven cranked to 450! This is autumn! Crisp air! Falling leaves! The aroma of burning wood wafting in the breeze! Dammit! Ever heard of sweater weather? Well, we've got sweat-weather. That's it. I'm packing my bags and headed for cooler climes. But probably not for another 11 or 12 years...

Pot Luck

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Welcome to the first annual Interstellar Pot Luck! Below I have shared the recipe for the dish I'll bring to our virtual Pot Luck. We all have recipes passed down to us from mothers and grandmothers, or we have recipes that we made up on our own. I love looking through cooking magazines. I have an entire binder full of recipes that were cut from newspapers or slick print. Recipes waiting to be copied onto note cards, then adhered to a page in the binder. I have to carefully remove it from the top of the fridge, balanced and at the appropriate horizontal plane so as not to lose a wisp of paper. I could spend hours or days working on my recipes. Then I've got those that I can make by heart. Not too many mind you. My quick-and-easy Blender Hollandaise is one. I'll bust that one out for you at Christmas. My jalapeno cranberry sauce is another. Jalapeno cranberry sauce? Yes folks. And my great-grandma loved it. The first restaurant I ever worked at served a turkey dish with jalapeno cranberry sauce. They wouldn't give me the recipe, so I just made up my own. My own concoction. 1 bag of cranberries, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar. Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Remove stems and bad cranberries, then rinse cranberries with cold water. Add the cranberries to the pot and continue to boil. Add zest of half an orange. Add 1 diced, fresh jalapeno. Seeds and all. And for those of you that really like the heat, well, add jalapeno till you cry. Reduce heat and simmer, bubbling for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate. I like to let it sit for a day or two, really letting the flavors and the heat develop. What are you bringing to the Pot Luck? And guys, no fair just bringing beer and chips!

Know a good maid?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ugh! I hate cleaning house. My family is great though, and my mom, my sister and Nick came over to help. I'm not a neat freak by any means, but I'm also not a slob. Lets just say my house is 'lived in'. But it needed more than just straightening the picture frames if I'm having 17-20 people over on Thursday. My mom did my least favorite task. Folding laundry. Ugh! We got the kids summer/winter clothes sorted and put away in the garage/bedrooms. This is OK considering we just last week got in the cold front that made the winter clothes necessary. My sister, bless her, helped the kids with their rooms. Elle is a torando & a hurricane all rolled into one. Zach is just a boy. Clean to him is the middle of the room doesn't have anything in it. Nick cleaned the bathrooms and helped me install a new porch light. It's sooo pretty! I was so happy to get rid of the old 70's style thing that was attached there. The new one has clear glass, so I need to get a bulb that's a little less bright. It almost blinded me to look at it. We rearranged furniture and vaccumed almost every surface in the house. I also cooked dinner for everyone. A salad, baked ziti and black-eyed peas. Well, the black-eyed peas were the protein for my vegetarian mom, and Elle ate some too. They totally don't go with baked ziti though. Elle called it 'gaziti'. I also told my mom that thing I've been needing to tell her. My dad is getting remarried. His new wife? Well, she's actually my age. Three months younger than me to be exact. She knew they were dating, but the marriage thing was what my sister has been worried about. We've known for a couple of months, and my littlest sister was freaking out over telling my mom. She was very worried about what her reaction would be. She actually took it very well. I was glad. So, two secrets down and one to go. Shhhh... I also bought the turkey yesterday...it's 23.54 pounds. The biggest one I could find. I wanted bigger...


Friday, November 18, 2005

Yeah, I haven't been doing much of it lately. I'm stuck and it sucks. I stare at my screen and my mind is blank. I hate saying I'm going to do something, then not do it. *sigh* Perhaps dramatic inspiration will suddenly hit me and words will pour from my fingers. Back in October I submitted a piece to an online publication (see item #4). Today I got back my first rejection letter! Yipee! The reasons for rejection? Editor 1: I'm not seeing a story of substance here. Editor 2: Not enough of a story here. Also, tension is diluted because events are heralded or told to us (e.g. "Suddenly, disaster struck."). Oh well. I didn't expect it to be uesd on the first go round! I actually think it's kind of funny. I'll try again. I'm not deterred. I've told my secret to 5 people now.

Thursday Thirteen, VIII

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thirteen things on my mind today: 1) I'm starting to feel like a bad Rocky movie or something, with those big Roman numerals in the title. 2) I still haven't told my mom that thing I have to tell her. She's coming over on Sunday to help me clean. Maybe I'll take her to get some coffee and tell her then. 3) I'm wearing pantyhose today for the first time in years. My boss said I should be wearing them to look more professional. 4) I hate pantyhose. 5) My birthday is two weeks from yesterday! Update: Haven't had it yet...still 13 days from now! 6) I now have eighteen confirmed for Thanksgiving Day. 7) There are seven more unconfirmed, which if they confirm, will bring me back up to my original 25. 8) I'm trying to figure out if I can get everything prepared in time for me to run The Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I did it last year and I would love to improve my time and make it an annual event. Dinner isn't until two. The run is only 8 miles, but it doesn't start till 9 am. And I probably couldn't run it any faster than a 1:35. Meaning I wouldn't get home until after 11. Probably not going to work. :( Last year's chip time was 1:46:35.10! I so want to beat that. *sigh* 9) I'm not sure if it's possible, but I think I have met and fallen for the sweetest, most loving, most romantic, funniest, most intelligent, most handsome man on the planet. I can't describe how it feels to be with him. Safe and good are two words, but they aren't quite right. 10) Zed got contacts. He was sooo excited. He called everyone in our family on Tuesday night. It was actually kind of funny. 11) I'm 9-0-1 in my fantasy football league. Yeah! Lass' Kickin' Ass! 12) I have another secret. Only one other person knows. If you're really good, maybe I'll tell you all soon too. 13) I can't figure out a final thing for my thirteen today, so this will have to do.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Sallwood 2. Carnealian 3. TexasIvy 4. BSTS 5. Musings from the Edge 6. UziCue 7. JustCara 8. Lisa 9. Marybeth 10. MommaK 11. Running2ks 12. The Toothfairy 13. Bone 14. Colleen 15. Mary @ Elsewhere 16. Leave your link in my comments and I'll link you here! Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! Leanne says: Thirteen things is all I ask for, and what do you get in return? Linkage! If you do it, leave a comment here and link me to your Thursday Thirteen. I will be sure to update my entry with links to yours, and then you can continue the chain if you like! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I have visions of grandeur, limited only by time and budget. My house is small and nothing fancy. Far from my dream home, but the schools are good, the neighborhood is quiet, and it's just enough house for me and my kids. But, 1970's Fox & Jacobs ain't exactly my style. Every room in that house needs work. I can't decide where to start first or with what. Entry: The floor is covered in brown linoleum. The walls are covered in a textured wall covering that I actually kind of like. But the floor has got to go. Living room: This room and the dining room have carpet that I believe to be original to the house. And white walls. To do in here? Paint walls, replace flooring, replace window coverings. Dining room: I've already replaced the window covering in this room. I found a very pretty paper shade with leaves embedded in it, and I found some pretty wine colored drapes. I also have a light fixture to replace the one that's in there, but I haven't done it yet. I can do electric, but it still makes me nervous. I'm also considering getting rid of the dining room furniture altogether and making this a sitting/computer room to allow more space in the living room. I don't use the room that often, and I don't see myself throwing grandiose dinner parties anywhere in the near future. Plus the furniture was my Ex's grandmothers, and no one else in the family wants it. Kitchen: I have the paint. I've had the paint for over a year. I just need to paint now. And I need to take the cabinet doors off, paint the boxes, and figure out a covering for the cabinets. The floor is also horrid yellow linoleum, which will be removed. Den: Again, replacing the carpet. I want to put wood floors in the whole house. The walls also need to be painted and the oh-so-stylish wood paneling on the walls will come down. Oh, and a new ceiling fan. Bathroom: This is the only room I've actually done. Pretty tropical colors. I still have to tile the floor. Kids rooms: Both rooms will be painted. Right now Zed has some flouncy curtains, remnant's of Grandma's days in the house. Elle's room has some horrid floral print wallpaper that will be removed. My room: I could say that my room is done, but the Ex painted it before I moved in. It's a pretty deep red color, but too dark in my opinion. I'm thinking a nice sage color on the wall. The bathroom is a mish-mash of 80's style wallpaper, early 90's style linoleum, and a new retro shower curtain. Again, this room needs work. Don't even get me started on my flower beds. As you can see from the photo, the right side of my flower beds grows, while the left side, well, they just kind of linger. And I don't like the bushes. Not at all. They're ugly little things. My grandmother is offering me up some plants. I don't know what kind. But I have a feeling that's what I'll be doing part of Sunday. Ripping out my flower beds. If you have any home savvy, have done your own D.I.Y. projects, or have any helpful hints, please leave me a tip or two. Donations to the Lass Home Decoration Fund will also be accepted.

30,000 Hits!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I go and mention this last week, and then I almost missed it! I got bored and decided to check my hits, and there it was. It said 30,088! Holy cow! So who was my 30K visitor? I back-tracked through the history. And there she was...
Laura @ Vitamin Sea!
I'm so glad that Ms. Vitamin Sea was my big visitor! She came to see me and comment on my *thud* post last night, and even offered help! So, *party horns blowing and confetti falling* step on over to see Ms. Laura, take a walk around her sunny Florida home. Maybe root for Tampa Bay this weekend. Either way, go say HI! to a great bl*g friend!


Yesterday I was catching up over at Petroville. I was lazy this weekend (well, busy) and didn't do much bl*g-reading. MommaK is one of my favorite bloggers around, always super creative and all. Well, she had a bit of a shin-dig going on over the weekend, and had soapbox.SUPERSTAR filling in for her. My memories of Thanksgiving while growing up are some of my favorite. My mom was really close to my great-grandparents, and we were there all the time, or so it seemed. There was never any question about where we were going for Thanksgiving. My mom is one of five. Johnny, my mom, Judy, Bob & Paul. My mom and aunt are average-height. My uncles, on the other hand, are giants. 6'8", 6'9" and 6'6", respectively. And they ate like it too. They used to go through the line, piling food up on food until it was a mountain of a Thanksgiving feast on their plates. They'd finish off those plates, then they'd go back for more. I swear they had a contest one year to see who could eat the most plates of food. My great-grandmother was a little woman. Probably not any taller than 5'4". She had an ample waist and bosom, and when she chuckled, her entire chest would heave under the giggles. You could see the twinkle in her eye as she watched those boys eat. And the trash talk! You'd never heard such BS. The three brothers, always competing to see who was the fastest, strongest, best looking, most successful, etc. An outsider only overhearing a brief snippet of the conversation might wonder how the heck all three of them could stand being in each other's presence. But the love they have for each other runs deep. One year, when I was maybe in 7th grade, I was teasing my Uncle Bob about something. I can't remember how we got on the subject of it, but we decided to run a race. Our own personal Turkey Trot. I didn't run, so I don't know why this sounded like a good idea to me. But I was sure I could beat the old man. So, my dad went out an measured the course (in the car) while we got ready. The start/finish line was my great-grandparents driveway. We took off, and I had no doubt he would tire quickly. I don't think the course was more than a mile and a half. We stayed together, neck and neck the whole way. After about a mile, I thought he was really starting to hurt. I was sure I had him. I was getting a stitch in my side, but I thought I could hold on. We rounded the last corner, and he looked down at me and said 'See you later kid' and took off. His legs, twice as long as mine, taking strides four times as long as mine, churning down the road. I watched, devestated, as he beat me. I don't know why that was so important to me, but I cried. He felt bad. Now, we laugh about it. When he found out that I was training for my marathon, he said "Well, I'm not running any more Turkey Trots against you." I think I could take him now...


Monday, November 14, 2005

Nick and I have decided not to go to Kansas City for Thanksgiving. He just started his new job, I just got back from San Fran, and then I might be going to see my dad (there's that thing I haven't told my mom yet). This means that I get to host Thanksgiving at my house. It might have been cheaper to go to KC. And the best part? There's a potential for 25 people to show up at my little casa. Anyone have a house expander?
Update: I've already made out a list and assigned foods and responsibilities to everyone. Thanksgiving: 2 pm Thursday November 24, 2005 Menu: Turkey & Stuffing (me) Honey baked ham (uncle) Sweet Potatoes (grandma) Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (grandma) Mashed Potatoes (me) Rice ('lil sis) Green bean casserole (me) Broccoli Rice casserole (sis) Cranberry jelly ('lil sis) Cranberry sauce (me) Sweet & Sour salad (grandma) Marinated Olives (Central Market) Rolls (sis) Pies (mom) Drinks (bro) Disposable plates (me) Disposable silverware (me) Table cloths (me) Napkins (me) Decorations (mom & kids) Now...who wants to come help me clean house? Oh. And the list is down to 19. Forgot the Ex has the kids, and one of my aunt's dads has had a third-time recurrence of his prostate cancer, so they'll be spending the holiday with him.

Happy Veterans Day

Friday, November 11, 2005

I'm not a fan of this current war, or the reasons that we're there. But, I am a fan of the soldiers. The men and women of the United States Army, the United States Navy, the US Air Force, and the United States Marine Corps deserve our thanks and appreciation. Their job? To protect our nation. And they do it every day. While the rest of us are at home watching TV, working behind a desk, mowing our lawn, shopping at the mall, blogging or whatever else occupies our daily lives, our soldiers are stationed far away from their homes and families, doing their job, living their job. My Grandaddy fought in World War II. He was 411th Infantry Regiment, 103rd Cactus Division, United States Army. Until about 7 or 8 years ago, I never knew this. He never talked about it, until I finally asked. He fought through France, Germany, Austria and Italy. My Grandfather and Grandmother on my mom's side were both in the Navy. In fact, that's how they met. My grandfather was a medic on Navy ships during the Korean war. My grandmother was in the WAVES. They met at the Annapolis Naval Base. My grandfather wears his Korea Veterans hat every chance he gets. My Great-Uncle was in the Navy too. But he was younger than my Grandfather, and so didn't serve in a war. He too met his wife through the Navy. They were both stationed in Hawaii. Their uncle, my great-grandmother's brother, was a pilot in World War II. He was almost too old to enlist, but he did. He was a veteran pilot and was determined to serve. During his last mission before coming home, his plane was shot down somewhere over Germany or Russia. They never recovered his plane or his body. My cousin joined the Marines. Against his mother's wishes of course. He's an only child. And he loves it. And, I enjoy occasional healthy debate with a soldier in Iraq. I admire Dorman and I appreciate his service. If you have a chance, make sure you stop by and say hi and thank-you to Dorman, or tell a veteran in your family that you thank them for their service.

Thursday Thirteen, VII

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thirteen things on my mind today: 1) Thank goodness Paris is OK. 2) Too bad this Paris isn't doing as well. 3) Saturday is the Rockledge Rumble 30K. I love running, but I'm going to be glad after the first weekend in January when I can take a bit of a break. 4) We lost one of our frogs last night. When I got home from work, Jerry was floating. He would do this sometimes, but this was different. I took off the tank lid and poked him and he didn't move. Poor thing. He was involved in a bit of an accident Monday night. We cleaned the tank, and he made a mad leap from his bowl on the counter to the kitchen floor. Then he got caught on a drawer handle as he tried to jump out of my hands again. I think he must have suffered some trauma, and that's the cause for his untimely passing. 5) I'll have to get to PetsMart and get a replacement before the kids notice. 6) Nick started his new job on Monday. He likes it pretty well so far. He's working with a kid fresh out of college. Evidently this kid is an idiot. 7) I haven't talked to my Ex all week, and I love it. I got my final, signed papers in the mail yesterday. Not only does the judge have an assembly-line, automaton script, but he doesn't even sign his name. It's ink-stamped on there. 8) I've got something to tell my mom. She's going to be upset. It's nothing I did or anything to do with me. I'm not looking forward to being the one to tell her. 9) I just had a yummy cranberry scone. 10) With a half-pint of milk. In a carton. Milk in a carton tastes better than milk in a plastic bottle. 11) I'm 8-0-1 in my fantasy football league. Still in first place baby! WOOT! 12) As of 9:15 this morning, I have 29,511 hits to my site. I'll be hitting 30,000 soon! What should be my special prize for my 30,000th visitor? Assuming I can figure out who they are... 13) I think they should have worried about making it harder to get divorced as a true step in defending marriage, rather than taking away people's rights to commit to each other. Make it harder to get married too. Turn marriage into a religious rite. Give everyone 'civil unions'. Don't legislate morals. It's been tried before and it ultimately failed. The only comfort I have in this is that one day this will be overturned.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Carnealian 2. Janey 3. Mar 4. Sleeping Mommy 5. Jen 6. Cori 7. Colleen 8. Mommy D 9. MommaK 10. TexasIvy 11. Running2K's 12. Jak 13. BSTS 14. Tommi 15. Coyote Mike 16. Squashed Toad 17. Crusty Crone 18. Keb 19. Terrilynn 20. Marisa 21. Lisa 22. LilyBleu 23. Mrs. Fun 24. Geronimo! 25. Mia Spiral 26. Leanne 27. JeeJ 28. Musings from the Edge 29. Marybeth 30. Heartsongs 31. M.E. 32. Chatty 33. Catherine 34. Leave your link in my comments and I'll link you here! Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! Leanne says: Thirteen things is all I ask for, and what do you get in return? Linkage! If you do it, leave a comment here and link me to your Thursday Thirteen. I will be sure to update my entry with links to yours, and then you can continue the chain if you like! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

My Arch Nemesis

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yesterday, I mentioned that I met my arch nemesis, Kate B., in first grade. And it's true. She didn't like me from the first day she met me, and despite the fact that I tried to become her friend at first, she would have nothing to do with me. You see, Kate fashioned herself the Queen Bee. She had made friends and formed cliques in Kindergarden or earlier, and she didn't quite think I fit the mold for her little group. She would say or do mean things to me. If I tried to join in an activity, she would shun and snub me in front of the other kids. She was just a nasty little brat to start with. She became the Girl I Didn't Want In My Class. Yet every year, under my classroom teacher's name, her name would be listed, always before mine. First through Fifth grade, we shared teachers, classmates, lunches, and she went out of her way to be cruel. I remember the Cabbage Patch Kid mania, and of course, she had one right away. I didn't have one though. She would bring hers to school and flaunt it in my face. In third grade, my mom enrolled me in Girl Scouts. Kate B's mom was the troop leader. Mrs. B. was the nicest lady. And she liked me, or at least tried to make me feel liked. She would make Kate let me play with things at her house during our troop meetings, even if Kate protested. For the next three years, Mrs. B was nice to me, while Kate remained as nasty as possible. I was good at selling Girl Scount cookies, twice earning trips to camp for the amount of cookies I sold. I chose Camp Bette Perot, the equestrian camp, because Kate was going to Camp Rocky Point, the sailing camp. In Junior High, I got a bit of a break. If you can call only having her in half my classes a break. I just couldn't get away! There she was, all the time. At the end of sixth grade, I had my heart set on being a cheerleader. I don't know why I thought I could be on the squad. Although I took dance, I had never done gymnastics, and while the jumps were easy, the flips weren't. I tried out anyway, and Kate actually laughed at me. Of course I didn't make it past the judges. Kate did, and then was elected by the student body. In seventh grade, I tried for cheerleader again. This time I made it past the judges and got to try out in front of the student body. I was psyched. But, then, as I cart-wheeled and round-offed down the mat, my glasses flew off across the gym. Nice. So, I did my cheer and my chant blind. This was probably a good thing. I couldn't see anyone looking at me. Elections were announced the Friday before Spring Break. At the end of the day, all cheerleader nominees went down to the art room with the Cheer Sponsors to hear the results. Lots of girls, flowers and balloons. Except me, I had a single rose from my mom. They were announced alphabetically. Someone with an A name was announced, then someone with an E name was announced. The next thing I heard was a scream of 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!' as Kate fell out of her chair, sobbing. She hadn't been elected. I didn't hear my name as they skipped over H, but I was fine with that. I was sad, yeah, but Kate didn't make it either. So it was OK. I felt a little twinge of vengance. You see, she had turned into an uberbiotch, and pissed a lot of people off. She spent the whole of the next year trying to be nicer to the people that mattered. I wasn't one of them. In High School I was still Cursed With Kate. She was in at least one of my classes my Freshman and Sophmore years. My Junior and Senior years she was in my homeroom. By that point we pretty much ignored each other. Still, for twelve years, five days a week, I had to see her. I saw her again at my ten year reunion. She actually talked to me. I don't know why. Maybe just to be polite. Perhaps she had learned that being a catty biotch at all times wasn't appropriate. Maybe, *gasp* she had grown up! Whatever the reason, we chatted for a bit, but it was still awkward. Of course I was sweet as pie to her. We never ran in the same circles, had any of the same friends. And she's the only person from school that I can ever remember being consistently 'my enemy'. Did you have a Kate?

The K-12 Meme

Monday, November 07, 2005

As originally seen on Bone's blog. I've seen it a couple of other places, and yesterday he told me I'd better do it too. Kindergarden: Mrs. Shepherd/Miss Shell: We had moved to Tulsa, OK for my step-dad's last year of residency. On the first day of school, Mrs. Shepherd was my teacher. I don't remember why, but we got a new teacher on the second day of school. It was very hard for me to say "Miss Shell" rather than "Michelle". Miss Shell wanted to put me in the first grade reading classes since I could already read, while the other kids were just learning their letters. The principal said no and gave me the first grade reading materials. I finished all of first grade reading in half the year. All this while the other kids had free play. Nothing like making a kid feel different. I also remember my favorite color was brown for some reason. First: Mrs. Miller: We moved back to Texas. It seemed everyone had already formed their cliques in kindergarden. I didn't quite fit in. I met my arch nemesis. Kate B. I would loathe this girl until high school graduation. We would repeat a lot of papers because it seemed most of the kids in my school were idiots. I got so tired of doing the same papers over and over again. So, one day, Mrs. Miller passed out the papers, and before she got done passing them out, I was back at her desk. I informed her that I wasn't doing the paper again because it was boring, and I handed her the paper. I had written my name on it and put a big "0" with a frowny face on the inside. I was willing to take a zero rather than do this stupid paper. Mrs. Miller thought this was hilarious and called my mom, not to gripe about me, but to share the funny story. Second: Mrs. Teague was the oldest teacher in the school. She was a mean old lady too. She looked like a big, skinny hoot owl, blinking watery old eyes behind gigantic plastic lenses. She got irritated with me one day over something smart-alecky that I said, probably about another boring assignment, and popped me on the butt. This is the year I got glasses. This is also the year I and about half the girls in class got head lice from Ann H. We all wanted to wear her rabbit fur jacket. Third: Mrs. Lloyd was absent all the time. We had more substitute teachers that year. She was allergic to chalk dust. Strange allergy for a teacher to have I think. So she used the chalk holders. I remember she had bright red lipstick. This was also the year I got in trouble. Click the link, read the story. It's worth it. This was also the year I met my best friend Heather. She and I are still friends. Fourth: I loved Mrs. Davis. She was one of the coolest teachers I ever had. There was a special reading nook in her class that was full of pillows and blankets. I loved to have my name drawn and get the chance to read in there! This was also the year I developed my first big crush. Byron S. He was repeating fourth grade. See? I was already picking winners. I also remember that in music class (Mrs. Bryan, I loved her), Byron was wearing sweat pants and, um, how to put this delicately, had an uncontrollable pre-pubescent display of arousal. I of course, was shocked by this and had no clue that happened. Fifth: Mr. Strain. Please see link above in Third Grade. He was the most awesome teacher I ever had. He had a couple of nicknames for me. He was also one of those teachers that if he saw a learning opportunity come up, he would abandon the curriculum and go off on a tangent in order to make his point. He was a short, African-American man and had blue eyes and a mustache. I loved to listen to him talk. He also wrote with a ruler to keep his lines straight, and so all of his letters like s's and c's were straight across the bottom. He would come back and fill in descenders like g, j, p, q, and y. Sixth: I started switching classes this year. Before the school year started, I decided I wanted a hair cut. I had always had long, straight, dark brown hair. But, instead of going for a cute bob or something, I cut it off short. Like boy short. Why I did this I have no idea. It was probably the worst thing I could have done for myself socially. I wore glasses still too. And my mom wouldn't let me wear makeup (of course not! I was too young!). Yeah, I was an outcast. I also was in band, which made my life even worse. And I couldn't play something cute like the flute, or cool like the trumpet. No, I played the trombone. How many girls you know play trombone? This was also the year I 'became a woman'...in science class. I was mortified. Seventh: Still nerdy. Still with short hair. Still an outcast. Still no social life. Boys made fun of me and stared at my chest. I also took shop because I like power tools and making things. I was the only girl in shop. This didn't help with boys staring at me. At least I was in Honor Band and was First Chair. This guy Jose used to 'challenge' me for Chair position all the time. Sometimes I would let him win and I'd sit in second chair for two weeks before challenging him again and taking back my rightful place at the end of the trombone section. It was a little game I played with him. Bwah ha ha. At the end of the year I started to let my hair grow, and I got contacts. Eigth: I started having more of a social life, finally. My mom started to let me wear a little makeup. I was still in band, and still First Chair unless I was toying with Jose. I played basketball too. I hated those little polyester shorts. Ugh! But it got me out of P.E. which was awful. I also had my first boyfriend this year! David. He was sweet, but was obsessed with Def Leppard. So, in all his 'love notes' to me, he would decorate them with 'Def Leppard rocks' and 'I love Def Leppard' and all that kind of crap. I talked to him a couple of years ago by chance and he still loves Def Leppard. Ninth: Freshman year of High School. I got a perm before the school year started. I would wear my hair permed for the rest of high school. I joined the swim team. This was also to get out of P.E., and none of the other sports appealed to me because there was actual sweat involved. David had moved over the summer and I was devestated. Boys still stared at my chest, but I ignored them. None of the guys that went to my high school were worth it. I started running with a bit of a different crowd. Less 'Stoner' and more 'Waver'. Oh gosh. I haven't heard those terms in forever! I had my Z. Cavarrici pants, colorful vests, thick-soled black patent leather shoes. I was pretty cute. I also started taking Honors English that year. Tenth: I got braces. Still didn't date that much. The one guy that sticks out from this year is John. He was a senior. Had long, curly dark hair. I still talk to him. I like his wife, and they have a very cute little boy that's just a little bit younger than Elle. Took a couple more Honors classes that year, English and History, plus added in a 'Zero' hour class. So, rather than going to school at 8:30 a.m., I was there by 7:15 every morning. This was completely voluntary. I'm such a nerd. My mom was glad when I got my driver's license. Eleveth: More Honors classes and still swimming. Still didn't date that many guys, and even if I did, it was never more than a couple of times. The guys at my school bored me. They were idiots or jerks. This year I took Anatomy and Physiology and got to dissect a cat during the second semester. That was totally cool. I also was in Academic Decathlon. The ubernerd class. Studied constantly. I was also in National Honor Society. What a geek. No wonder I couldn't get a date. Twelfth: Not just Honors classes, but AP! Earning college credit! My English teacher was a total weirdo, but I loved her. Mrs. Munro. She smoked and had a long grey streak in her hair. She taught me how to 'read' stories, look for their meaning, and take away more than just the written word. I got my braces off the last week before the deadline to take Senior Pictures. This was also the year I met Mark. My first real love. I met him through friends of my family. I didn't have a whole lot to do with my school other than classes. Once swimming was over, all my free time was spent either at work (concessions at the movie theater) or with Mark. I had my prom dress made rather than buying it off the rack. It was emerald green, to match Mark's eyes. (Gag me.) His cummerbund and bow-tie matched my dress. We looked fantastic. Graduation was awesome too. Oprah was at my graduation. I graduated with Stedman's daughter. Honest, Oprah sat right across the aisle from my mom. If I could go back and live any year over and over again, it would be this year. I made a lot of friends that year that I hadn't really talked to before. I loved all my teachers, my classes were interesting, and life in general was good. I had a lot of fun that year, and really good memories. No tags, but feel free to share the worst best years of your life with us!

Sunny and 86

Time to put away the winter gear that I only thought I was going to get to use this year. Bye Bye Fuzzy Sweater, maybe I'll get to wear you next winter. Hello Mr. & Ms. Shorts and Flip Flops. Long time no see. Really. I mean what, it's been like two weeks or something? At least I got to burn the dust off my heating coils once this season. *sigh* What is up with this!? Sunny and 86 today! I mean for reals people, this is November 7! N O V E M B E R. That's supposed to mean cool breezes, changing leaves, the air smelling like something other than sweat. You know, the month following October and preceding December? Being from Texas, well, it seems like good 'ol November is just another summer month. I recall spending Thanksgivings in Houston with my great-grandparents where we actually wore shorts because it was so warm. I also recall other Thanksgivings where we actually had snow on the ground (remember 11/25/93, Miami Dolphins 16 at Dallas Cowboys 14?). I mean, is it too much to ask for some consistency? Yesterday is a great example. I was going for a 2:35 half. A couple of factors caused that not to happen. The first? Well, on Saturday, Elle's soccer game was a forfeit because the other team only had three girls show up. So, we played a parent/kid scrimmage. I woke up yesterday morning with sore quads. Not good. The next? The temperature. Start line temp was around 62. Within an hour it had heated up to 66. And then to 70. Sounds nice doesn't it? Well, those really aren't prime racing temperatures. And around the lake, when there was no breeze and you were running directly into the sun? It felt a lot hotter. My final time? 2:39:59.4. Not too bad. An improvement over my previous half time of 2:54:23.50. Baby steps, right?

The Half

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Off to go run The Half. Should be a beautiful day, if not a little warm.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thank you all for the well-wishes and support yesterday. I knew that so many people were thinking of me, and I knew that as painful as this journey has been, it was the right thing. I made myself stop crying long enough yesterday morning to get my makeup on. Then I didn't allow myself to cry because then I would mess up my perfect makeup. 'Cause you all know when you go to divorce court, you gotta look damn good. My best black suit, highest heels (that would make me taller than the Ex), elegant hairstyle. Yeah, that should do it. I don't know why I bothered to call him for directions, because he's the most directionally challenged person I know. I was unsure about the ones I had from the County website. And, my instincts were right. He didn't really help much with "turn here, go a couple of miles and there it is". I get to where I think I'm supposed to be, search around for him, then finally find someone to ask. Nope, there's another court building where divorce cases are heard. Great. Now that I have the right directions I find the place. As I'm pulling into the parking lot, a song comes on the radio, Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off, that made me smile. I really needed to smile and hearing that gave me a little spring in my step and the energy to walk in the door. Fifth floor, Auxiliary Court 1. I open the door and see him on the other side of the mini-gallery. I say nothing. Simply sit and wait. He finally sees me and says nothing, but knows I'm there. I refuse to let myself cry in front of him, even though the emotion is welling up inside. The bailiff walks in, "All rise.", and we stand. The judge walks in with a stack of files and sits down. We all sit. He picks up a file and calls a name. No one responds. He hands the file to the bailiff. He picks up another file and calls another name. A woman and her attorney walk to the front. A series of scripted questions is asked, to which the woman responds with yes and no answers. A divorce is granted. It's like the judge doesn't even realize what he's saying. It all just comes out like an automaton. The woman, now divorced and with her maiden name, walks out the door. The judge picks up another file. He calls our name. He walks to the front with his attorney, I walk up and stand somewhat behind him. His attorney asks him a similar series of scripted questions to which he replies with yes and no answers. The judge asks me if I wish to testify. I say no. Again, I refuse to cry in front of him or the judge or his lawyer or the bailiff or the court reporter. I am stronger than that. The divorce is granted. Again, with the same automatic response. Look at him and then turn and walk out the door. Down the elevator and back to my car. I finally let the tears come. Not out of love lost, but out of disappointment. Years that don't seem like they matter anymore, but those that I put so much into. I drove home slowly, taking some backroads. I saw some gorgeous fall color along a small country road. I cry a little more along the way. He calls. "Are you OK?" I'm fine I reply. "That wasn't what I thought it would be." he said. No, it wasn't I say. "OK, well have a good weekend." I just hung up the phone. The jerk couldn't even bother to wear a tie to our divorce. I spent a little bit of time being quiet. Feeling sad but not needing to cry anymore. I went and had a quiet breakfast, read the paper, did the crossword. My friend Amy called to check on me. Then Nick called and came to join me for breakfast. His last day at work, and he went home early. He starts a new job Monday. We ate breakfast and talked. He was just there for me. Then we went and walked around the mall, talking some more. Then to Starbucks. We picked up the kids and went to a pizza place for dinner. Then went to buy Star Wars Episode III and watched it at home. After we put the kids to bed, we sat on the couch and talked more. He was just there for me. He even asked if I needed to cry more. He said, "If you need to cry more, it's OK.". But I didn't want to. I am finally done crying for him. I've almost been an unmarried woman for 24 hours now. It feels good. I have two great kids, a wonderful man in my life that I can depend on and trust. He taught my kids how to do this quarter trick last night. Put the quarters on your elbow, then catch them off the end. They're practicing it right now. Zed's up to $3.25. Elle's still on $.25. This is going to be good.


Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm off now to go make it official. My emotions are mixed. I've known it was coming, and now, in just about an hour, there will be a clear and final end to all this. I'm standing between two doors. Shutting one forever, putting the memories away. Ready to open the other, and start a whole new set of adventures.
Update: It's done.

Thursday Thirteen, VI

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thirteen things on my mind today: 1) Today is my mom's birthday! Happy Birthday Mom! 2) Nick is wonderful. 3) Elle had soccer pictures on Tuesday. She was adorable. But damn! Pictures are expensive! 4) Zed woke up on Tuesday morning and did some very strange things. He got out of bed the first time I asked him. He got dressed without me having to tell him once, much less the normal three times. He fed the dogs without me reminding him. Then, without asking, me telling or any other form of parent-child or child-parent communication, he proceeded to unload the dishwasher, reloaded the dishwasher, then asked if he could vaccum. I suggested instead of vaccuming, he could clean his bathroom. Which he did. Without arguing. 5) Later I came to find out that the reason Zed did all of those wonderful things was to see if I would give him a dollar so that he could pay off a bet he lost at school. I told him if he was going to be betting guys money over stupid things like making play-doh balls stick to the gym ceiling, he could pay them out of his own piggy bank. 6) My NaNoWriMo thing isn't going as well as I would like. I'm already kind of stuck. I think I'm trying to make it too good. I just need to get to the goal of getting the 50,000 words out, then go back and edit later. 7) Nick is going to meet my mom and my sisters and brother at dinner tonight. He's actually excited about this. I know he's going to do great. I mean, my grandmother liked him immediately! 8) Sunday I'm running The Half. I'll get another medal to add to my collection. My three medals have been lonely since April. 9) Just 24 hours and counting now. 10) I still need to post my photos from San Francisco! There are so many! 11) I'm 7-0-1 in my fantasy football league. First place baby! Too bad it's just for bragging rights and not money. 12) I did better in my pick 'em league this week. I only lost 3 games and I was in a 3-way tie for first going into Monday night. Except we all had Pittsburg winning. Both teams just didn't score enough points for me to win the tie-breaker this week. 13) I need coffee.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Texas Ivy 2. Jak 3. MommaK 4. Sallwood 5. Leanne 6. BSTS 7. Colleen 8. DeeJay 9. Tommi 10. Jen 11. Audra 12. Sleeping Mommy 13. Coyote Mike 14. UziCue 15. Jessica 16. Squashed Toad 17. Sandra 18. Keb 19. Janet 20. ToothFairy 21. Salt & Vinegar 22. Terrilynn 23. Carnealian 24. Leave your link in my comments and I'll link you here! Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! Leanne says: Thirteen things is all I ask for, and what do you get in return? Linkage! If you do it, leave a comment here and link me to your Thursday Thirteen. I will be sure to update my entry with links to yours, and then you can continue the chain if you like! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

48 hours and counting

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Exactly 48 hours from now I will be legally severed from my STBX. I am very happy about this. But, here's an 'etiquette' question...what the heck do I do with all the stuff from our wedding? I'm sure my kids will want it one day. Or maybe not. My rings, my dress, the pictures? Do I just box them up and put them in the attic? Do I ask STBX for his ring to put with all the stuff? Someone needs to write a divorce guide...

NaNoWriMo & Naked Blathering

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Starting today, and ending November 30, I will attempt to purge 50,000 words from my system. Hopefully the words will all form together into a cohesive piece of fiction. I will be recording each and every word over at my new 'writing blog' Naked Blathering. Now Coyote, before you get all excited at the thought of nudity, there won't be any. Just my exposed creations. I certainly know I can talk a blue streak, but can I write one? I sure as hell hope so. Your responses are welcome. How did it make you feel? What did you think when you read it? Did I totally jack up the grammar somewhere? Spelling? Punctuation? If you don't like it because it's not your style or taste or you think it's stupid...well, that's your opionion. Please be gentle. It's my first time.