Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh look! I found a chicken!

Instead of thinking of posts, taking the time to write them, edit them, and then post them....I just dove right in. If it pops into my head, I type it up and then click post.  No real planning is involved.

Therefore, I was never really happy with the aesthetics of my blog.  I am still learning this whole process.  I have been to a few other blogs on Blogger and was quite jealous of how they looked.  Not jealous of the content (I am very happy that you have an amazing husband, with amazing kids, and an amazing time blogging about every miniscule moment of your day...but let's try using an amazing thesaurus, huh?), but jealous of the layouts.  I managed to find a free one (because I am all about the free...aren't we the land of the free?) with a CHICKEN!!! on it.  Yay me!  Granted, you can't read the text through the chicken's beak, but that's ok. 

So here I am on my third layout and probably not my last.  This whole thing is a work in progress.  And maybe people don't like reading my thoughts or ramblings, but at least I am having an amazing time doing it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ring in the New Year!

I am not one to make resolutions, because I am not much on follow through.  There was the time I decided to take up quilting, and now I have one closet almost completely devoted to unused quilt fabrics and half made quilts.  Then there was the time I decided to begin scrapbooking.  That is what is taking up the rest of the space in that closet...scrapbook pages, papers, scissors, and all kinds of other what-nots.

Therefore, instead of resolutions, I have chosen areas of "focus" for 2011.  I am going to focus on living creatively.  Step one was this blog.  Then I just finished some nursery pics for a very good friend of mine.  They aren't fantastic, but I loved working on them and I have a few more painting ideas up my sleeve.  Hopefully I'll improve if I keep at it.

In addition to living creatively, I am also going to try living frugally.  Stop laughing!  That's not nice.  Ok, maybe not frugally, that just isn't in my nature.  But I can work on my savings and not spending all willy nilly.  I went on a small spending spree after Joe, thinking that I "deserved" something nice to make up for sadness.  I would like to save for some things to do the house and I will need a new car within a couple of years.  So I will work on that as well.

And last but not least I want to reverse some of my Murphy's Law-Bad Luck Karma.  I am going to begin by volunteering.  I felt horrible over the holidays that I didn't donate to anything, I was too busy buying stuff for me.  Plus, with my new focus of spending less, I figured donations would not be the way to go.  Instead, I decided to give my time usually spent on my butt on the couch. I thought about the SPCA, but knew that I would come home with more animals than I would know what to do with (remember the thing on hoarders???).  I signed up to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity instead.  That way I wouldn't have to make the typical "get in shape" resolution, I could volunteer and work hard at the same time!  It's about time I put the ol' noggin to use. 

I'll keep you updated on my progress in these three areas.  Ok, maybe not the shopping part.  If I do fall off the not spending wagon, I'll just hide my purchases upstairs and keep that a secret.  But I will continue to share my creative pursuits as well as describe my muscle pain and missing fingers because someone let me use a saw while building a house.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Try and try again (and you still won't succeed)

Bailey's nails grow like weeds on steriods.  I take her to PetSmart at least once a month and each time I get a lecture about letting her nails grow too long.  I used to try to trim them myself but between her squirming and my ineptness with tools, we didn't get very far.  Then I let Joe (being a vet and all) trim her nails.  Unfortunately he trimmed them like Sweeny Todd would...he cut every single quick on every nail.  My back patio looked like a crime scene and I was in tears because he had caused my dog pain (hmmm...could this be why he is currently working in his fourth practice in a year?). 

I just took her to PetSmart and between the looks of death she gave me from the grooming table the groomer lectured me on her nails.  I felt like the worst excuse for a puppy mother EVER.  I'm really quite surprised I haven't been featured on Animal Cops yet.  Then the groomer told me to get my own nail grinder.  She said they were very easy to use and Bails was already used to them because they used them.  I searched for one on Amazon and now I am the proud owner of a Dremel Nail Grinding Tool. 

I excitedly tell my mom about it and she informs me that I have to read ALL of the instructions before proceeding (somehow she found out about the whole carbon monoxide detector incident..I wonder how?).  Direction # 2 under Personal Safety:  "Use personal protective equipment.  Always wear eye protection (I wear glasses - that counts, right?).  Protective equipment such as dust mask, non-skid safety shoes, hard hat, or hearing protection will reduce personal injuries." 

HARD HAT????  I need a hard hat to grind my dog's nails?  Non-skid safety shoes?  I am currently wearing my shearling lined flip flop house shoes....probably do not fall in the whole "safety shoe" category. 

Wait a minute...all of these fall under the heading of "General Power Tool Safety Warnings."  I always tell my students to read that part first.  I guess I don't listen to myself very well.  I sure am glad that the Dremel people were intelligent enough to include all power tool case I got my nail grinding tool confused with a table saw.  That's very easy to do.

I approach Bailey with it.  I let her sniff it.  I turn it on for her to hear it.  She just sits there.  I lift a front paw and start.  I just barely touch each nail to get her used to it.  She lets me.  Then the little light bulb goes on and she realizes that I am trying to trim her nails. DANGER!  DANGER!  DANGER!

She goes into flight mode and hides.  I attempt to get her out of hiding and she hides more (which means she hides her head.)  She also believes that if she can't see me, I can't see her.  Fine.  You win this time Bailey dog but we will get that other paw tomorrow.  At this rate it should take me about a week before I get all of her nails done. 

I bet I am back at PetSmart by Saturday to get her nails trimmed again.

I can't find her, can you?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Canaries (or silent death)

I was reading Ann Landers (or whatever her old column is called now) and this lady wrote in to tell in great detail how carbon monoxide detectors saved everyone’s life she has ever known.  I instantly decided that my life needed saving (although I didn’t know this lady, I was sure she felt the same way) and asked my mom to pick me up a carbon monoxide detector at the hardware store. 
I opened it up and read the directions.  According to these, my mom got me the inferior model, the better model has a digital readout of the carbon monoxide levels in your home at all times.  I needed that!  I had always assumed that Phoebe would be my canary in the mine; if she passed out, then I would escape for fresh air.  Now before you call PETA, I thought better of this idea (mainly because we would never really know what could have taken the cat out, it may or may not be an odorless gas – not to point fingers, but Bailey does hate the cat…..). 
I carefully read my directions and inserted my batteries as directed.  Then it told me to push the Test/Reset button.  I did this and nothing happened.  I assumed it was working and then the beeping started.  Oh my God!  The carbon monoxide levels were so high that it started beeping immediately!  How were we still alive???  Bailey was running around as my secondary alarm, yipping to tell me something was wrong (or telling me to stop the irritating high-decibel shriek beeps).
The beeping stopped and I breathed deeply in relief (not the best idea if my home is full of deadly gasses).  BEEP  BEEP  BEEP  BEEP – it started again!  Bailey was almost frothing at the mouth at this point and my canary in the mine had run off somewhere.  As quickly as it started it stopped again.  I took the moment of silence to read the directions on what to do if death is imminent from carbon monoxide.
“When the test/retest button is pushed, cover the speakers because the alarm will beep quickly and loudly, stop for 30 seconds, then beep again.” 
But now I am convinced that my home is full of rising carbon monoxide levels.  My directions for the detector had all of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  First comes the fatigue and headache.  I am always tired with a headache.  Check.  Then comes a severe headache, drowsiness, and confusion.  Yup, this describes me as well.  Check.  Next is unconsciousness.  Nope, but it is apparently only a matter of time.
Now I am paranoid that this machine will go off.  It will probably go off at some inopportune time (such as late at night while I am taking a bath or something).  Therefore I must remain dressed at all times.  I need to keep my keys and phone with me as well….just in case we have to leave the house quickly.  I am actually afraid to go to sleep tonight in case the machine beeps. 
Maybe it was a good idea to not have the digital readout.  Otherwise I would be constantly monitoring the carbon monoxide levels in my home. I’d probably carry the harbinger of death alarm around with me to see if the levels change. 
Obsess much? 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Traditions

Each and every family has its own traditions for the holidays, and we are no different.  Our traditions included a large meal on Christmas Eve, opening presents together while listening to Christmas music on Christmas morning, and then Mom would fix a large breakfast.  Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?
We had another tradition as well…baking sugar cookies.  Every year Mom had these visions of her three angelic girls working together rolling out dough, cutting cute Christmas-y shapes, and then decorating them with sugar.  And every year the same thing happened.  We started out excited about decorating our cookies.  We would gather around the kitchen table, and coat our little hands with flour.  We would choose our cookie cutters and begin working like Santa’s elves to get our cookies ready. 
“Stop copying my cookies!”
“I’m not copying your cookies!”
“I was going to use that cutter next…Mooooom!”
“Fine, use it.  I don’t care.”
“Mom, she took the same sugar I was going to use.”
“No, I didn’t.  You weren’t using it.  I had it first.”
“Her cookies look better than mine!”
“Aaargh, they keep sticking.  MOM!”
“You can’t eat my cookie.  I made that one!”
“I’m done.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  It’s stupid!”
And so on.  Every.  Single. Year.  I am sure Mom was muttering under her breath about never doing this again with such ungrateful kids.  But somehow she became blinded by the glimmering Christmas tree lights and we would recreate the drama the following year.  I don’t know why she unfailingly expected different results.  The Christmas sugar cookie tradition still occurs, but since we are in our 30s we are much better behaved now.  Except this year we kept getting reprimanded for our decorating color choices (Really? You made the rocking horse blaze orange?  Is it trying to avoid poachers or what?). 
Imagine how we behaved for Easter egg coloring…..
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you want purple or purple?

My external hard drive died the other day.  This is what held all of my iTunes music.  And since I had just bought Christmas classics from a variety of chart-topping groups (such as WHAM!), I was distraught.  I tried everything to get it to work again to no avail.  But, since I love to call places and complain, I called Western Digital.
The Indian lady was very nice as she tried to coach through ways of fixing it.  I had already tried all of these so she finally gave up and told me I could send it back and they would send me a replacement.  Wonderful!  She then proceeded to go through all of the directions of how I should wait for my new drive, then package up the old one and send it back.  I’m not really sure how many people found these directions difficult but evidently it’s bunches because she was very detailed.  I tuned her out just said “uh-huh” until she was done.  She may have told me to run around my coffee table three times before putting the old one in the mail for all I know.
The other day I received a phone call from “unknown.”  I never answer these.  Unless the caller calls back repeatedly, like this one did.  Usually, I answer the phone and it is some collection agency in New York looking for “T-Bug.”
“Sorry, you have the wrong number.”
“No I don’t.  This is the number listed for T-Bug.”
“Again, wrong number.  Stop calling.”
“What is your name?”
“I’ll tell you what it’s not, and that’s T-Bug.”
“Do you know where we can find T-Bug?”
“Do I sound like someone who would know where someone named T-Bug would be hanging out?  NOW STOP CALLING.”
So I answered the phone totally prepared to tell the caller that I was not T-Bug nor did I know where he was in order to settle his debt with Sears.  (T-Bug shops at Sears???)
“Uh, hello…this is Raj (from India).  Is this (some butchered version of my name)?”
“Well, hello. How are you today?”
“Fine.  Get to the point.  Quickly.  So that I can then tell you to stop calling.”
“This is Raj (got it) from Western Digital.  I hate to tell you but there is a problem with your return.”
“Really?  What?” (Getting ready for a phone fight because they owe me a hard drive.  They don’t need to know that I carried it around in my work bag like a rock.)
“Um, we don’t have your color in stock.  But we do have black, silver, pink, white, purple, and blue.”
“Did you say purple?” (I am currently holding a broken purple hard drive in my hand.)
“Yes, purple.”
“Fine, send purple.  Thank you .” And I hang up.
My hard drive arrived today.  Guess which one is the new one….
Sorry about the poor picture quality...I took it with my break-up consolation prize camera (ie. the one I stole from Joe) but couldn't find the cord for the camera.  Maybe I'll return it to him after all (sans cord).  Anyway, this is taken with my phone.  And now I have to figure out which drive is the new one...oops...

Monday, December 20, 2010

So Close to Being Featured on Hoarders

I opened up my bathroom vanity to get something and a pile of stuff fell out.  This is because I just pile stuff in it.  The panels keep popping off the doors because A) they are cheap and B) I have so much crap that it keeps trying to ooze out.  I decided it was high time to clean them out and organize.

I moved into this house a year and a half ago.  Most of the stuff in there got moved from my old place and just placed in the cabinets.  Also, when I "clean", I mainly just pick up stuff and shove it into empty hiding places.  Remember my old adage:  If you can't see it, it's not there.  But today I could see it as the avalanche of old cosmetics and hair gels came spewing forth.

As I went through my stuff, I found my school ID badge (I guess that is why I haven't worn it for over a year), cosmetics from every Clinique bonus for the past three years (along with the pretty bags - which are empty), used soap from my old condo (why did I pack that???), a couple pens, some pencil lead, and a box of half used hair goop.  I thought that since I was on such a roll, I'd clean out the bottles lining my tub.  Most of these were shampoo bottles with just a smidgen left in each one.  I always buy the same brand shampoo and conditioner together (if you read the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle, they always say "follow with *insert amazing brand that will make your hair salon beautiful here* conditioner").  Since I always run out of conditioner first, I set the mostly used shampoo bottle aside once the new set comes in.  You would think I was waiting on a world wide shampoo shortage and had to keep every last bit.  But I had to be strong and I parted with these today.  I threw out a trashbag full of hoarding materials from my single sink vanity today (sadly, it is still full - baby steps).

I was on a roll!  I ran into my bedroom to get to work in there but when I tripped over the shop-vac sitting in the middle of the floor I decided that it wasn't safe to continue.  I have a place for the shop-vac (in my upstairs closet), but that is currently blocked by my box of Christmas wrapping supplies.  In order to put the shop-vac away I would have to move the box of way too much wrapping paper for any sane person to own.  And I can't put that away yet because one of my wild animals destroyed a wrapped box today.  I could have moved that box around the corner but all of the boxes from my nativity set were sitting there (where they have been since I pulled them out of the attic last week).  I did finally get the nativity pieces set up....don't ask where those boxes are right now (not in their appropriate location - I can promise you that!). 

At some point this week, I might even throw away my month's worth of old newspapers...but let's not go too crazy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Hate Murphy

So far in the past couple of months I have spent close to a zillion dollars.  My car needed new tires (which I learned after being stranded on I-64 in the area of night).  Then it needed a new transistor so that it would continue to produce heat.  Which I need because apparently Virginia has somehow moved north on the globe since we have had average daytime highs in the 20s.  Then I had to pay for some expensive standardized test that I have to take in order to graduate with a third degree (Really?  Who needs that many degrees?  Especially since I won't see a pay raise out of it).  Now my car is making a really expensive screeching it needs a new timing belt.  That appointment is on Tuesday.

Here I am about one dollar from becoming homeless. 

Today, I heard the downstairs toilet running.  This is totally normal, I just go in there, jiggle a little thingy on the inside, and Voila! working toilet.  Only today I step in there and hear "sploosh - sploosh."  And my feet are very cold and very wet.  Ick!!  I am soaked from toilet water!  There is nothing more gross than toilet water.  Don't try to tell me "it's clean".  I'm not buying it 'cause do you know where it came from?? The TOILET!

I stand there for a second while my addled brain tries to process what has happened.  Finally it dawns on me to run upstairs and grab every towel I own.  As I mop up the half inch of basically sewer water off the floor (it came from th toilet!) I think " least no damage was done."  I throw all of the towels in to the washing machine at the hottest temperature and go to town with my steam mop.  I fix the toilet and go along my merry little way.  Then, as I step out of the bathroom into the hallway, I hear it again "splish - splish."  The water had run up under my laminate floors.  And what will ruin laminate floors?  You guessed it...good ol' H2O. 

So now, here I am potentially facing filing a homeowner's claim with a $500 deductible to pay for new floors throughout.  This is after the purchase of a shop vac to suck up the water underneath and the purchase of a dehumidifier to attempt to dry them out. 

Therefore, Mr. Murphy and his stupid little law can stop now.  I get it.  Never, ever, ever believe that things are ok.  Because according to Murphy who is apparently haunting me; if anything can go wrong, it will. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Handmade Christmas

One of my favorite websites, Curly Girl Design, is having a contest.  All I had to do was comment on her own blog entry of the joy of handmade gifts.  Here is mine:

I was working as a temp on holiday season and funds were scarce.  I came up with the brilliant idea of making ornaments for all of my family.  I (incorrectly) believed it would be an inexpensive and thoughtful gift.  So off I went to the craft store to stock up on clear glass ornaments, glass paints, glitter, and ribbon.  Let the merriment begin!

Now let me also add here that I was also the proud owner of a puppy and a cat; both of whom were very curious about anything (and I mean anything) I did and were always willing to lend a helping paw.

I sat at my little table and started to work.  I painstakingly painted little shimmery snowflakes and added a hand-tied bow to the top of each one.  I carefully laid them in their egg carton type container and left them to dry.

Can you guess what happened next? What attracts a cat more than catnip? Glitter-y break-y things with ribbon!  I think the wild animals were in cahoots...the cat knocked them off the table and the dog pounced on them once they were on the floor.  Only a few little ornaments survived the massacre.

Round 1 was won by the furry kind.  But I persevered and headed back out the craft store!

Round 2 was also devastating to the ornaments.

Round 3 wasn't much better (was I learning anything yet? Doesn't appear so).

By Round 4 I managed to keep enough ornaments in one piece long enough to get them into a box and wrapped.  Except by this point I was exhausted from painting all of those little snowflakes so the ornaments looked as if I had held the paintbrush between my toes and done them blindfolded.

And the best part??? I spent the same amount if not more than I would have on store bought gifts.

For some odd reason my family members still have these sad little ornaments and dutifully hand them on their trees each year.  My mom tells me she loves her ornament, but I think it is so the ornaments can still mock me. 

Will I win the contest?  We shall see....

Update: I did not win.  But have entered again with a story about holiday performances.  I like this prize way better.  Too bad I had to make up a story about holiday productions since I don't remember participating in any...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dress Code Violation?

Saw this t-shirt on a student the other day:  "My other t-shirt is on your mom".

When I read it I sort of cocked my head and raised an eyebrow.  Another kid came over and was making fun of the tshirt...not because he found it funny but because neither one of them had ANY idea what it meant.

Quandry - do I tell him to remove it and then have to explain to a clueless middle schooler what it meant or do I let it go and hope that no one else understands it either?  Let's just say I took the easy way out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to the Zoo

I had all of these blogs written about my break up and after writing them and sitting on them for a few days, I realized that he just wasn’t worth the effort.  I’m not over the break up, but I am over whining about it. 
But, while I was wallowing in self pity last week, by loving animals evidently wanted to remind me that they were here.  I was at class and my dog (Bailey) and my cat (Phoebe) decided to throw a party in anticipation of my imminent return.  At least they didn’t think I left them for dead which I believe is what typically goes through their head every time I leave the house.  Usually whenever I go anywhere Bailey climbs up on the couch with a sigh and hangs her head in utter despair.  Phoebe immediately runs upstairs to eat all of her food in case it goes bad in the few hours that I am gone.  It’s like she is a chipmunk trying to store it all for winter.  Only in her case, all it does is make her fat.  She hasn’t quite grasped that there will be more food tomorrow.  And the next day.  And so on.
Upon walking into the house, Bailey is wagging from head to tail in the remains of a dead toy.  I assume she thought that since I don’t let her hunt for real animals outside, she figured she would hunt toys inside.  As I walked over the mounds of stuffing into the living room, I found that Phoebe had redecorated the Christmas tree.  By redecorated I mean that she had flung the bottom ornaments all around the room.  Branches were bent down, and there were white tree remains on the floor (yes, I have a white tree.  If it’s going to be fake, at least make it all the way fake!). 
I sighed heavily and shook my head in resignation.  I just couldn’t muster the energy to clean it up so I just turned off the lights and headed upstairs.  Yes, I strongly believe that if you can’t see it, it’s not there.  Only upon reaching the top of the stairs I notice all of these white plastic stringy things all over the floor.  I get down on my hands and knees in order to study this curiosity.  White out tape.  At some point in the evening Bailey had demolished a full white out dispenser.  There were feet and feet of white out tape strung all over the bedroom.  It looked like an explosion of silly string.  I clean it up and drag myself into the bathroom to throw it away muttering something about the SPCA and how happy they would be to receive such well behaved animals.  I flick on the light and immediately turn it off (remember, if you can’t see it; it is not there).  When I am done whimpering, I turn the light back on and survey the new bathroom remodel.  Phoebe thought that everything on the counter looked much better in the floor. 
I turned around to see Phoebe sitting there with her head cocked thinking “What’s your problem?”  Bailey was so ecstatic for me to find all of her handy-work that she was trembling with excitement.  She couldn’t sit still and was grinning from ear to ear. 
Oh well, it is good to know they care. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What kind of title is that?

I have always told myself that I would start a blog.  I started with baby steps with a weight loss blog on  But now I want to write about things other than weight loss and I sort of haven't lost any weight in months.  Seemed a little like cheating to me.  Plus - this is free as opposed to the $17.95 a month at WW.  I think that is how much it costs...since it came out of my account automatically and I haven't kept up with a checkbook register since about 1996, it's a good guess.  I also like to sometimes use much more colorful language than WW would allow.  Not that any will show up here...I just like to have options.

About me - I'm 36 and single with two kids (well, really a dog and a cat - don't worry, I draw the line at birthday parties for them).  I teach middle school special education which keeps me on my toes (and gives me many, many stories...but I can't share them due to the fact that I like my job and would like to keep it for the time being). 

And what's up with my lame title?  I happen one of the 6,700,000 people who have ADHD (ok, I totally just made that number up, but go with it...this is also the secret to my mad banking skills).  Although I am the opposite of hyper (one side of my new couch has a permanent butt print already), I do get distracted easily.  People hate to go shopping with me because something will catch my eye and I wander off, never to be seen again until paged over the loud speaker.  So consider this my fair warning that my blog will have the same wandering and total lack of direction.  I'm ok with that. 

So sit back and enjoy!