Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Prodigal AoM returns home

Yes, yes my kittens. I have fallen off the blogging train and been a bad bad blogger. Something called life got in the way. Deadlines for work, interviewees standing me up for phoners, kids starting school, volunteering myself to be the team mom for the academy soccer team, you name it ... it has happened this week.

I took my computer hard drive to the IT dude to clean it. The damn trjoans/viruses/whatever finally pissed me off to the point that I unhooked the damn thing and carried it to him. So, I'm relegated to the laptop, which gives me hand cramps when I write for too long.

I even had the Cowboys versus the Vikings on TV last night and I didn't blog about it ahead of time. MyVikes fans are very happy. I even found a Vikings T-shirt for my boy to wear to school today. His friends were teasing him yesterday that the Vikings were going to lose, so I can't let the child go to school without reminding them that the Vikes second string beat down the Cowboys second string in the preseason game. :) He has a Vikings lunchbox, too, that his dear aunt sent to him. He loves it!

Anyway. I will try to be a better blogger. Try being the operable word. Tomorrow, we have Anime Fest, so good God above, there are all sorts of opportunities for blogging and even some shots to send to V the K at Caption This (if you haven't been, go to my blogroll and visit, it is a hoot).

Ok, and now for another of the 511 Things Only Women Understand:
How to fold laundry correctly
and a bonus one
How to pack the trunk of the car correctly

And a joke to send you off this Labor Day weekend:
Jack wakes up with a huge hangover after attending his company's annual holiday party. He is not normally a drinker, but he tied one on and didn't even remember how he got home from the party. As bad as he was feeling, he wondered if he did anything stupid.

Jack had to force himself to open his eyes the next morning. The first thing he sees is a couple of apsirin next to a glass of water on the side table. Next to them, a single red rose. He sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. He takes the aspirin and cringes when he sees that he has a huge black eye staring back at him in the mirror. Then, he notices a note hanging on the corner of the mirror written in red with little hearts on it and a kiss mark from his wife in lipstick:
"Honey, breakfast is on the stove. I left early to get groceries to make your favorite dinner tonight. I love you, darling. Love, Jillian"

As he stumbles to the kitchen, he notices the house is sparking clean. When he gets to the kitchen, there is his hot breakfast along with steaming hot coffee and the morning newspaper. His son is at the table eating and Jack asks him if he knew what happened last night.

"Well, you came home after 3 a.m. drunk and out of your mind," the son says. "You fell over the coffee table and broke it and then you puked in the hallway. You got the black eye when you ran into the door."

Confused, Jack asks his son, "So, why is everything in such perfect order and so clean? I have a rose and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?

His son replies "Oh, THAT. Mom dragged you to the bedroom and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed 'Leave me alone! I'm married!'"



Will write for money

I know LabKat had to swallow her political pride when she took a job that goes against her political leanings. Now, I'm writing a story about how to reduce your carbon footprint and now I know how LabKat feels.

I just keep hearing the Imperial Death March.

I'm a bit of a dork when it comes to the environment. I do lots more than most of my friends when it comes to reducing, re-using and recycling. So, no one can accuse me of not caring. We do. It is just that I think some of the global warming stuff is a little over the top and I don't think all the figures being thrown around really are facts. However, this story should be fun to write. It just made me groan a bit when I got the assignment.

And another from the "511 Things Only Women Understand":
Why you need your own:
a) bank account
b) credit card
c) bathroom
d) closet
e) all of the above.

This can start all sorts of discussions here. Yet another area of life where I straddle the fence. I think all those things are important for a woman to have. However, I also believe firmly that a marriage is based on trust and partnership and we have all those things together. I do have my own bank account and one credit card that are for my business. I probably wouldn't have them otherwise and if I were in any doubt about my marriage, I would have them separately. But, fortunately, I'm married to a pretty swell guy (even if he thinks I'm as Type A as he is and if he accuses me of being prissy), so I feel pretty secure.

Gotta love an Outlaw

In July, we took our baseball team out to the Denton Outlaws (Texas Intercollegiate League team) game. We did the Field of Dreams package in which the boys could go out on the field with the players. Since all of our team didn't show up, my other son and one of his friends got to participate, too. Pickle ran his little butt off to keep up with his player. It was pretty cute.
Hot Rod enjoyed showing his glove to the Outlaws shortstop - the same position that Hot Rod plays most. He is also a really good first baseman.
Waiting for the National Anthem.
And, during the National Anthem. We made sure the boys knew to remove their hats and put their hands over their hearts.
The boys and coaches who showed up. Great value to do this kind of thing. The kids got to go out on the field with the players, get a hot dog and soda, the game ticket as well as running the bases after the game and autographs, too.
The Outlaws mascot has a great name: Dusty Bottoms. Cracks me up. He was a great mascot and the kids really enjoyed him being around.
Hot Rod, in the green dot, and his teammate in the red dot participated in the dot race. A bigger kid in blue won.
Little Bit's favorite guy: Jack. He was on our soccer team and I've adopted him as my fourth child. I love this kid. His birthday is just a day after mine, so we're both mischievous Scorpios. He is a doll, though. Very clever and cute and he LOVES Stinkerbelle. She asked me: Is Jack the coolest man on the planet or what? He thought she was right. He is the youngest in his family, so I think he likes going with us and having younger siblings. He is just cool.
The boys running the bases after the game.
And, getting the pitcher's autograph. This poor guy got lit up on this game night. It was a lot of fun. I read in the paper that the team left the league they were in. I hope they stay together. It is a nice family outing for a reasonable price. Good family fun.


For fellow Star Wars nerds

You can't lose out with a Sith Lord playing the piano while Weird Al impersonates young Obi Wan singing about Anakin.

Weird Al Yankovic - It's All About The Pentiums

Blogger finally fixed it so I can post videos again. Here is Weird Al's nerdy take on "Its all about the Benjamins." I think that is a P Diddy song, but I'm not sure. Any IT guys out there ... you'll love this and feel much cooler.

Fantastic voyage-coolio

Something about Coolio's Fantastic Voyage says summer to me. Ours is over today, officially. Not that I'm sad.

Happy Birthday Mom, Grandma, Mary

Today is the birthday of my mother-in-law. I don't have to tell anyone how lucky I am to have such a great MIL. Seriously. All the MIL jokes on the planet ... none are applicable to mine. She and I clicked immediately. Most of the family wasn't so eager to embrace the older woman/divorcee mother. But, she welcomed me with open arms, a check for the honeymoon and a bottle of champagne. Why was she ok with me? I remember vividly her telling me that she knew I was going to be ok when I took care of her son when he had surgery and she couldn't get to Fort Hood to care for him. I called her to keep her updated and gave her my number, too. She said anyone who loved her son enough to take care of him and keep her apprised of the situation - well, she knew that I'd take good care of her boy. I have done my best.

Happy Birthday Mary. I count you among my blessings.

Oh yeah, this is us making homemade pie crust for key lime pie for AoD and the Minnesota relatives in July 2006 at a family get-together in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


Something only women understand

No. 3 in the book: That friendships can be as comfy as old sweatshirts, but love affairs shouldn't be.

My son, the baseball stud

Last week, our local baseball association had "coach look" try-outs for the 7- and 8-year-old boys for the coach pitch league. The boys get ranked on hitting, baserunning, fielding grounders and flies, as well as throwing. One of our friends drafted the boy in the first round tonight. You can't tell I'm a proud mom, can you?


Things only women understand

I went to dinner tonight with LabKat and it was a nice, relaxing and all-too-short outing for the two of us. Party animals that we are *note the sarcasm* we met up at Olive Garden. She had a couple of sangrias and I had a pair of bellinis. I can't remember what we ate. Did we eat? Yeah, I think we did in between talking and drinking. :)

We dished, caught up and just had a good time. Then, we followed our time honored tradition of heading over to Barnes and Noble for a cup of Starbuck's coffee and our jaunt through the bookstore. We typically peruse the sections until we find something that catches our eye. Tonight, it was dream interpretation and "how it feels when XYZ happens." The dream interpretation one was especially good as we tried to discover what it meant when she had a dream about a giant spider coming out of the ceiling and landing in her bed. For me, it was a dream I had as a girl about the devil living on my bedroom ceiling. Amusing stories followed with lots of loud giggles. Then, I found the book about how it feels and it had everything in there from how it feels to get bitten by a shark to saving someone's live on your wedding day. Pitiful, awful writing. Awful, awful, laughable writing. On the back cover, it said XYZ author is a journalist. (I weep for that publication) and she has had four children by casearean section. Wha? Why is that pertinent to anything? So, when you've had four babies cut out of you, it somehow dims your intellect at writing? I mean, seriously. I think my favorite "how it feels" story was the one titled "How it feels to choke to death on a cheeseburger." I'm looking at this title and wondering if someone gave an interview from the grave, since choking to death implies that you actually died. Turns out the douchebag was clinically brain dead for 10 minutes or something and revived and in a coma for a couple of days.

Anyway. It was a good time.

I picked up The Bourne Identity to read once I finish my Harry Potter re-read. I also grabbed "511 Things only Women Understand." I think this book will create many fine blog posts. I contemplated posting each one every day. That gives me something to do for the next year and a half. Then, I read the first one and wanted to punch the author: The alarming difference between 120 and 121 pounds. Uh, ok. This might have been pertinent when I was 18 and weighed 118 pounds. I haven't seen that weight since 1989, thank you very much. Not a lot of sympathy for the 121-pound gal.

But, the next one was good: Only a woman understands why we're allowed to have guy friends, but he's not allowed to have women friends.

That one makes perfect sense to me. I know what I have and no one else can have him. If they got to know him, they might want him and I can't let that happen. :)


Friday round-up or scattered thoughts

I love living in the 'burbs in Texas. We were having a meeting of parents on the soccer team Wednesday night when I heard a moo from across the street. Then, I look up and the llama is right behind my son while he is playing keeper in the goal. Good stuff.

It sucks to be a dippy bleached blonde sometimes. While I'm not platinum, sometimes I should be. I wasted about 90 minutes today, thinking I had locked my keys in the car. Turns out, they were in my purse the whole time.

I have a pioneer woman friend. Sometimes, it shocks me that were such good friends. She has five children between 3-14 and she home schools them. They just moved to a 40-acre parcel of land and they're getting a herd of goats and a horse. Her husband suffers from a chronic health condition and he is going to get a vasectomy reversal so they can get pregnant again. Swear to God. *shaking my head* More power to 'em, I guess. I couldn't do it. The five children would put me in the looney bin.

And, I'm about to burst. We're taking the kids to Disney World in October. We're going to take a long weekend and take them probably to Magic Kingdom and Disney-MGM and then to visit Grandma for a day in Cocoa Beach and head for the beach. I'm so excited. We're going to try and keep this a secret. I know, I know ... me and my big mouth, this will be a challenge. But, I'm going to try. We'll tell them we're going to see Grandma on our way to the airport. Then, we'll let them be shocked with the Magic Express picks us up at the airport. Should be a blast. I can't wait. I've never stayed at the resort, so this will be fun.

I'm so ready for school to start. I love my kids, but we need a break from each other. Five more days. Of course, once they're in school, I'll miss the little buggers.


Treehugger at heart

It breaks my heart to hear the chainsaws. I knew what the sound was before I even looked out the back window.

The last wooded lot behind us is being cleared for another unneeded house. It just makes me sick to my stomach. They're cutting down trees that are at least 40 years old, at the very least. The acreage behind us had been an old farm home that had been abandoned long before we moved in 9 years ago. It was peaceful and pretty and wooded. Lots of little critters from racoons to roadrunners lived back there. But not any more.

The sound of the chainsaws and the chains pulling down the tree may be too much for me. We may have to leave and I'll write somewhere else today.

These are the times when my childhood ambition of being a forest ranger all spring back to the surface and I want to go throw rocks at these guys for felling these trees.


Reasons to join the NRA

Army of Dad is already an NRA member, so we didn't join at the Hunters' Extravaganza on Saturday, but we had to get a picture with that sign. And, yes, Kim, he is wearing your shirt. We also bought him a shirt that says I hunt and I vote.

Under construction

This is the view of the construction of the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium from The Ballpark at Arlington. I took this shot the night our car was broken into. *sigh*
This is the construction in mid-June from the Wal-Mart across the street. Ironically, the Wally World is the one where the bad guys used the credit cards they stole out of my purse. Assholes. Not that I'm bitter or anything.


Gratuitous cute children

No particular reason. Just showing off my cute kids. They are all so different, it is just funny. My eldest: dark headed with green eyes and the family artist. Middle child: blond haired, blue-eyed athlete and science/math whiz; and Little Bit: curly headed with brown eyes and as prissy as she is rough and tumble. I love 'em. Reminds me to count my blessings.

End of something neat

This summer marked the end of my days as a camp coordinator for the local soccer association. It was bittersweet to say the least. I had been the coordinator for three years and really enjoyed doing it. I think I was pretty good at it, too. Alas, me and my dear husband have struggled with the local soccer association since we started coaching here about eight years ago. We were disappointed with various aspects of the way they ran things, but no one would listen to us. Instead we got reprimanded, punished and lectured. So, we finally stepped down from all our volunteer roles there. Army of Dad quit coaching and I resigned as camp coordinator. I'm going to miss it terribly, just as AoD already misses coaching soccer.
I will still send the kids to camp and we'll probably host a coach just because the kids really enjoy it. If the local soccer association benefits from it, then they're lucky in that respect. I feel like they lost alot with all we gave them. We are gung-ho for any organization we give our time to.

This was the World Cup day at soccer camp this July. Hot Rod was on the Denmark team. We got a downpour during the cup, so the sign got drenched, as did the kids. But, their spirits were clearly not dampened as the smiles can show!

Little Bit loved Coach Tom. He was one of the fellas that stayed with us.
Coach Shaggy and the little kids loved playing in the rain. Not sure if the picture shows it or not, but the rain was coming down sideways and was pretty cold for July. That is Little Bit in the white and red right behind the coach.
Little Bit and Paul love each other. He also played soccer for me on the Upward team. Sweet little boy and a good soccer player.
During the Austin Powers game on Thursday, Hot Rod got to be "Fat Bastard." Of course, the coaches called him the "Fat Scottish Guy" to be a little more G-rated.
Here is the group of Austin Powers. The coaches are the Foxy Brown character of "a whole lotta woman." Too funny.


Does anyone know?

Who must one know or blow to get service providers to actually arrive within that window of time they give you for their arrival?

And, does anyone actually get them to show up on time? If they say 9-11 a.m., do they really show up at 9 a.m. somewhere? I've never had it happen to me.

I say this as I sit and wait for AC guy who was supposed to come in that time frame. It is 11:05 now.


We've got class

Twenty years. I still feel 18 on the inside, so why don't I feel (or look) 18 on the outside? Well, it could be that it has been 20 years since I graduated from high school in the podunk town of Kennedale, Texas. I graduated seventh in a class with 67 graduates. I was voted Most Likely to Succeed, Most Likely to Stay Sober and Most Spirited. I was a good girl in school. I only got in trouble a few times and when it happened, it turned the town on its ear. I was kicked off the cheerleader squad in the ninth grade and apparently the rumors were rampant as to why. The truth wasn't near as exciting - I broke curfew and was flirting with some boys who were interested in some other cheerleaders. *shrug* Anyway. I learned alot this weekend at my class reunion. First off, I learned that I was prissy in school. Prissy. You read that right, prissy. I have NEVER thought of myself as prissy, but apparently, it was a consensus among everyone (including my husband speaking of me in current terms). I was showing off pictures of my children and said my daughter is prissy and that I was surprised. Everyone looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my eyes and said, hello, you were prissy, why wouldn't she be prissy, too? The first one to inform me of my prissiness is Fuzzy, the cute boy in the blue button down. We were friends in school. He played on the basketball team when I was selected Basketball Sweetheart. He was all district in football, track and I think basketball, too. He was smart and cute. Of course, I adored him. :) He also beat up my boyfriend my senior year. He aged very well and got even cuter. He lost his dorky glasses (no offense, Fuzzy) and grew some really nice muscles in his arms and he got a hot wife. He is now an elected official and parties, apparently, with Nelly and other celebs. He also informed me that he had a mad crush on me in high school and thought I was a hot chick. I may have blushed when I learned this. And, no, I don't blush often.

So, let me start this off. I was one of three gals who organized our reunion. We started planning in January and originally hoped for a June reunion. Then, our site fell through. Robyn was getting married in June, I was planning a 50th anniversary party for my parents that month and Kerri was having a pool installed at her home. So, we said, screw it, let's shoot for August. So, we found a great room at Spaghetti Warehouse and we could get it for $15 per person and not have to pay ahead of time. Perfect.

We did simple decorations with green/white pompons, Kerri's cheerleading megaphones and paraphernalia, and old school yearbooks and scrapbooks. We did door prizes of adult products (which were pretty funny, too) and all was well.

After my shitty Friday night with the car burglary, my dear Army of Dad husband wanted to help me loosen up and relax and proceeded to liquour me up. I stood on a chair to get the crowd's attention and it started there with my first comment about dancing on the table for dollar bills. Then, I had my Cosmopolitan. We all talked and visited for about an hour before sitting down to dine. As we were milling about, several people asked me about the one gal who showed up looking like a hillbilly. It was pretty sad, but the gal had a beard. We were all shocked by this and tried to figure out why she didn't go see one of the little Chinese gals at a nail salon and get that stuff waxed off. Another classmate had cancer several years back (we think years of dipping did it to him) and had to speak with one of those voicebox things. He's a performer, so he was still very entertaining and it didn't slow him down one bit. He had a hot wife, too. One of my fellow volleyball players from freshman year was sitting near me. I told her husband how hot I thought she was in school and he proceeded to say that she still looked pretty good "except she has a bit of a stomach." Oooh, no he didn't. Yes, he did. I, apprently, shot him a go to hell look and told him it happens to all of us and walked away. AoD said if looks could kill, that husband would have been dead!

So, after dinner and in between door prizes, we took photos of everyone there who wanted one. I failed to get a picture with AoD, God love him, he was taking the photos for me. I am pretty lucky. But, I did get my picture with my best friend since the 8th grade. She graduated in the class of 88, but she was around me enough, that she was one of us. Aren't we cute?
Here is the fella with the voicebox thing. He won a vibrator for him and his little lady and he was VERY excited about it. Funniest part of it, to me, was someone asked what he got and the person next to her told her it was a flashlight. Ha.
Me and the gorgeous Kristi/Christy. I really shouldn't surround myself with beauties like this because I can't compete with the leggy hot blondes. But, I must admit that I have the prettiest friends on the planet. I thought my husband's jaw would never get off the floor after he saw these gals. They have certainly gotten even better looking as they've gotten older. Gorgeous.

So, hot chicks around me, I have to cop a feel. :) Boy, that got the guys' attention and gave all of us a good laugh, too. We were having a great time.
Then, all the girls present at the reunion gathered for a photo. Ok, gal on the back row, third one over from the left with her head just poking over the top - she's the one who I popped upside the head in the sixth grade. I'm like a little yappy dog picking on people bigger than me! And, cuz I'm short, I'm seated in front.
Here is the group of us that showed up. 20 out of 67. Not bad. At least one of our class is dead (bad drug deal and he was shot with his roomie) and I think a few just got out of jail and didn't make it. The guys aged really well. Two buffed and are firefighters now. My girlfriends all aged well, too. What happened to me? Gees.
So, I added a hurricane to my drink list to help loosen me up some more.
Back to how prissy I was in school. Kennedale High is the stereotypical small Texas town high school. And, like most classes we had the jocks, the band folks, the potheads, the folks who sort of blended, the pretty girls, etc. I was sitting and talking with the few of the guys that went to our school and it was discussed, yet again, how I was a nice girl and prissy in school. *sigh* I asked a couple of different people if they thought I was prissy and the response was "You drove a porsche!" And, yes, I did for like one year. That doesn't make me prissy, does it? Aw, come on. Does it? So, after a few drinks and no sleep from the night before, I was a little buzzed and flirting and having a good time. Mr. KHS the football stud kept flirting with me and asking me "why weren't you like this in high school?"
So, after we closed down the restaurant, we moved to a pub for karaoke night. My husband's first mistake was opening a tab. Ooh, bad. I fear I lost count, but I think I had three buttery nipples and three or four sex on the beach drinks. I had to teach the girls my toast (if you wanna know it, email me and I'll teach it to you!)
After a couple of drinks, I was ready to sing karoake. I'm standing with AoD while he plays pool when I hear the first few notes of Closer by Nine Inch Nails. I look at AoD and said, I have to go sing this. He sort of shrugged and I turned around and went straight up to the microphone. I picked it up and just started singing. I could hear the audible gasps of my classmates as they are thinking and saying WTF? Booty, the black dude in the T-shirt making hook 'em horns got up and helped me sing for a bit. Then, he sat down and I took that mic and went to sing to the guys I graduated with. I'm not sure what shocked them most - the fact that I sang it or the fact that I knew the words without reading the teleprompter thing.
Mr. KHS, whose lap I'm on, continued to follow me around whenever my husband wasn't nearby and make little comments pondering why I wasn't like this in high school.
Is she cute or what? Fuzzy really got handsome and did really well for himself. I felt pretty special to spend time with Fuzzy and his lovely Mrs.
The talented Rilla sang Blue among other things. She missed most of the reunion to go work at the pub, but we all joined her later. She also sang some duets with Ron and other fellas from our class. Ron - the dude flexing - and Booty also sang some old Michael Jackson songs and had us in tears from laughing so hard.
Bubba, the No. 1 dude here, grew up well. Very handsome and a firefighter now. He got up and told a really bad, but totally hilarious joke at the mic between songs:
A fella with a lisp is working at an ice cream shop when a woman comes in (you gotta say his lines with a lisp to make it funnier. It is also frigging hilarious when you're three sheets to the wind.)
Lispy: May I help you?
Woman: Yes, I want a scoop of chocolate.
Lispy: Ma'am, we don't have any thocolate.
Woman: Ok, I want a scoop of chocolate.
Lispy: I'm sorry ma'am, but we don't have any thocolate.
Woman: But, I want some chocolate ice cream.
Lispy: *losing his temper now* Lithen, we have vanilla. We have thrawberry. We don't have thocolate.
Woman: You mean to say, you don't have any chocolate.
Lispy: *really pissed now* Ok, wepeat after me. Is there a van in vanilla?
Woman: Yes, van in vanilla.
Lispy: Ok, good thob. Is there a thraw in thrawberry?
Woman: Yes, there is a straw in strawberry.
Lispy: Is there a fuck in thocolate?
Woman: No, there is no fuck in chocolate.
Lispy: That is what I've been twying to tell you. There is no fuckin thocolate.
I laughed hysterically at this point. I also decided I wanted to sing again. You know, I need to make a total ass out of myself at this point that I have no shame. So, I'm flipping through the song book and my husband is trying to get me to sing Kyle's mom is a bitch. I was not going to sing that song, although I did contemplate singing Chocolate Salty Balls. Even drunk, I decided against it. So, AoD chose another angry slut song and I promptly took the challenge. So, I went to sing You Oughtta Know by Alanis Morrisette. I think it was at this time, he said, that Kerri asked him if I have "always been like this." Apparently, shock and disbelief erupted through the crowd and AoM having a steamy side. Heck, in retrospect, I'm a wee bit disconcerted that I kicked up my heels in such high fashion.
The after action review included me being called Ms. Nine Inch Nails by my fellow class reunion organizers. Ahh, my legacy is now complete. From very nice Most Likely to Stay Sober to Most Likely to Sing Dirty Karaoke Songs ... my work here is done.


I'm invisible

Get out your hankees, you'll need 'em for this one. But, I don't think anything else could sum up how I feel so many days of the week. Day after day, one load of laundry or dishes after the other. One more day of rubbing peanut butter on a waffle and reminding children to tidy up the table after themselves. One more day of *fill in the blank with the chore of your choice.* This little anecdote seems to make the feeling of being unappreciated a little more tolerable. I dedicate this to all the moms. *I didn't write this, just by the way. A friend sent this to me in an email*

I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:"To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
* No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
* These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
* They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
* The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want himto want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,"You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

All boy

When we went to Houston last month, I picked up a Sunday Houston Chronicle. It had a poster of the Houston Texans cheerleaders in it.

Well, I had it in a stack of stuff I finally sorted out, so I just gave it to Pickle (who will be 13 in a few weeks). He blushed and sat down with it.

From the other room, I hear this exchange:
Pickle: Hey Hot Rod, look twins!

Yes, Army of Dad took notice of the twins, too, when I showed it to him.


Number three

We are now up to the third window to be replaced on our car. Apparently the bad guys tried to break both my front driver window and the sliding passenger door window behind it before they succeeded with the rear window. Insurance claims lady said they probably started with the passenger side windows to be concealed between our car and the SUV next to it and when they couldn't get enough force to break the windows like that, they moved to the back and threw the rock or whatever in from there. That looks about right as shattered glass was strewn all the way up to Stinkerbelle's car seat in the second row of seats.

I'm glad my deductible is only $100 or this would have been really costly to replace the three windows.

Jeers go out to the Arlington Police Department for not being helpful at all about this. They refused to come out and do a police report for us or the other two cars that were broken into. I had to do a report on the phone later in the night. They also didn't offer me any guidance on what to do regarding protecting my identity and credit. It was enough to keep us from wanting to stay in Arlington in that area when we were looking for a hotel Saturday night, too. Not a good way to make the city seem hospitable. One of the families in the SUV next to us was visiting the area from San Antonio.

We spent the better part of 45 minutes cleaning out more glass in the minivan this afternoon. I have small cuts on my knees and the palms of my hand from trying to get it all vaccuumed up. Apparently, the tempered glass shatters completely. I found glass under the front seat of the car, too.

I hate bad guys. I hope they get some rare form of herpes or syphillis and they get giant sores on their dicks and they ooze and hurt and then they go into the ocean and the salt water gets in the open sores and it burns. Then, and only then, do I hope they die. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

p.s. AoD remembered the post about Phil the Syphillus Sore.

p.s. p.s. I updated with a picture I took at the parking lot Friday night. The lights in the background - the Titan roller coaster at Six Flags.

Getting what he deserves

Sometimes, people reap what they sow.

HOUSTON -- A Texas man is suing a florist after an employee there faxed a receipt to his estranged wife showing he sent flowers and a love note to his girlfriend.

The lawsuit was filed this week in Houston. It asks to pay for Leroy Greer's mental anguish and the increased amount he now expects to pay in his divorce case. Greer's lawyers are asking the florist for $1 million, saying the once-amicable divorce could cost as much as an additional $300,000.

In April, Greer sent his girlfriend flowers, a stuffed animal and a card that read: "Just wanted to say that I love you and you mean the world to me! Leroy." According to the lawsuit, the company promised Greer that it would send nothing to his home.

But later sent a coupon and a thank you card to Greer's home. According to the lawsuit, his wife saw the card, called the company and asked for a receipt. The florist faxed her the receipt, which included the message on the card.

A spokesman for the florist declined to discuss details about the lawsuit. He added that they are not responsible for an individual's personal conduct.

Just a little piece of advice to Greer. Next time, keep it in your pants until your divorce is final. Secondly, perhaps you should pay cash for expenses associated with your illicit affairs.


Wacky weekend

Well, my wacky weekend is coming to an end with me going to bed before 7:30 p.m. I haven't done that since I was a little kid, but it is necessary.

I didn't sleep Friday night. I haven't pulled an all-nighter since the night I met Army of Dad *wink* (seriously). Couple the sleepless night with the stress of taking care of all the stolen purse crap and re-keying the house locks, etc. and it was a crazy day Saturday. That night was a blast with my reunion. That is a whole post waiting to happen as lots of fun was had. We closed down the restaurant and the after-party closed down a pub. I think I got five hours of sleep last night.

So, I'm off to bed shortly. But, first things first. Major League is on. It will be hard to go to bed with this on. It does inspire me, though. My list of best baseball movies:

Bull Durham
Major League
A League of Their Own
The Benchwarmers
Angels in the Outfield

Honorable mentions:
Eight Men Out
Field of Dreams
The Natural
Little Big League
The Rookie
The Sandlot

Now, I know the list is incomplete. There are lots of baseball movies I haven't seen yet. I want to see Fever Pitch, but never got around to it. Play ball.


Bad things happen when you do stupid things

Tonight, I had my purse stolen from my car complete with checkbook, a few credit cards and some keys. I'm really regretting the stupid act of thinking my purse was secure hidden under a few blankets and towels.

Never EVER leave your purse and important information and items unsecured in your vehicle. My husband has lectured me about this for ages and now I'm paying the price.

Don't let it happen to you.

What was a great day and likely a great weekend is now ruined with fear and worries of what this theft will bring, as well as all the associated costs that will go with it.


Cuz I'm white and nerdy

Yep, no question about it. I'm probably one of the biggest dorks on the planet, or my self-appointed title: Queen of the Nerds. Army of Dad and I took Pickle to his first concert: Weird Al Yankovic. I have loved this guy since the first time I heard him on the Dr. Demento show on Q102 when I was in junior high. So, this was a show I really wanted to see and I was not disappointed. He played most of my favorites. I didn't get to hear "I lost on Jeopardy" or "I love Rocky Road" but he played both his Star Wars tunes and of course, White and Nerdy.
Of course, he played his accordian. Then, he got down on the floor and excited all the dorks everywhere.
This was a takeoff on some rap song about "the Benjamins." This song was "all about the Pentiums." Too funny.

Then, of course, "Smells like Nirvana." This was a great one. He even had the smelly pirate hooker cheerleaders like the Nirvana song. The costume changes were great. The concert moved well and was really entertaining. I was smiling the entire time.


You say Halo

My boys (all three of them - AoD, Pickle and Hot Rod) were playing Halo 2 tonight when Hot Rod got all clever on us.

Hot Rod: *while killing his dad* Goodbye! *then, to the Beatles tune he sings* You say Halo and I say goodbye.

I had to just shake my head, but the fellas had to pause the game to laugh.

Put an asterisk by that record

It really is a sad day for baseball fans everywhere. Barry "Roid Rage" Bonds cheated his way into history this week and fans of the game everywhere are sad and disappointed to see Hank Aaron's record broken like this. Jim Reeves summed up all the feelings that I can't and he did it very eloquently. Sad thing is, Bonds was incredible without the 'roids. But, Galloway pointed out on GAC the other day that Bonds (and fellow 'roiders Raffy and McGwire) are the only big bats out there who hit more homeruns AFTER turning 32 than they did before. Uh, yeah, right. So many of us get stronger and better at sports as we age. Uh-huh. Whatever.

Just a sad day for baseball fans.

On a brighter note, congrats to Tom Glavine for 300. Sometimes, good things happen to good people.

Football and Futbol

Wow, what a Thursday. I have about a half-dozen loads of laundry to be done and five stories to be written by Friday.

So, what could keep me away from the wash-room and the computer? The TV. Flipping between Romo and the Cowboys and Beckham's" MLS debut. It was a testosterone fest for the eyes. For a few moments, Becks was topless. *fanning self* I will sleep well tonight with that image dancing in my head. I still can't believe I actually turned away from the Cowboys (even preseason Cowboys) for a soccer game.

Satan is getting out a windbreaker now as hell is starting to get a little bit chilly.

Why the 20th reunion is best

Hat tip to Mrs. DOF for this funny.
Only two more days till my reunion.

Cuz that's how I roll

I had to Simpsonize myself and I thought it actually looks quite a bit like me. I did the hubby and the kids, too. I don't think the one of AoD is as good a likeness as me and the kids, though. Good stuff, I have to say. If you want to be Simpsonized, you can go here. I thought it was pretty fun.


Happy Birthday Uzz

*sing to the tune of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band* It was 41 years ago today, Uzz's momma birthed a boy to play.

Oh hell, I can't make anything else rhyme right now. So, suffice it to say, that Pickle wishes his daddy a very happy birthday. Happy Birthday Uzz ....

*to the tune of Benny and the Jets* Uzz, Uzz, Uzzie and the peeps. Uzzie, Uzzie and the peeps ... peeps ....

Ok, enough obscure old song references. Happy birthday. Go wish Uzz a happy 41st.


Ain't nothing but a country girl

Every once in a while, I fancy myself as a big city girl. That is, until I go into the city. Those are the moments when I'm singing Thank God I'm a Country Boy to myself.

I'm not made for the high rises or the traffic. I went to Houston a few weeks ago and went to a commercial real estate media luncheon (yes, I know, rub down the goosebumps) in downtown Houston. I was instructed to park in a garage and follow the tunnel to the bank tower where the luncheon was. I'm thinking, no problem. In Dallas or Fort Worth, the tunnel usually connects directly to the tower from the garage. Not so in Houston. It has its own city down there. I got lost not once, but twice. Both times, I wound up having to go street level, where I walked down the streets crying and vowing to myself that I will never go into the city again. El Capitan had text messaged me about the possibility of me popping in to say hi and I thought, briefly, about texting him to come find me and help me find my car. It was pretty pathetic.

I felt similiarly the week before when I took my mom to the Dallas Public Library in downtown. I hate driving in Dallas. Fort Worth just doesn't seem that bad to me.

Regardless, this week, I've been driving Hot Rod to soccer camp each day in McKinney and what little country has not been devoured and developed with tract homes (not that I'm bitter or anything) has been refreshing. His soccer fields are surrounded on all three sides by country. One side is a big hay field, one side has horses, the other side has llamas (be careful, they spit) and across the street is cattle. Occasionally, the breeze doesn't bring pleasant smells, but it is comforting in a smelly sort of way.

Hi, I'm AoM and I'm a hillbilly.

Sixth grade bully

While lying in bed last night talking with my husband, the subject of my upcoming class reunion came up. I was telling him I got two more RSVPs from classmates and telling him a little about each of them. In the process, it dawned on me that I beat up both of these kids in the sixth grade.

The worst part was that AoD laughed hysterically when I told him about it and then, he teased me without mercy.

Child No. 1 - our class' only eventual National Merit Scholar. He and I took math and reading together with a seventh grade teacher and he was teasing me because he got 100 on his spelling test and I got a 98. He just kept ragging on me and ragging on me until I told him I was gonna clobber him if he didn't shut up. Apparently, he didn't believe me. I was wailing on him in the breezeway after school when the janitor, a man called Dollar Bill, yanked me off of him. The principal roasted me for this and I was punished big time with a little of everything from running laps to writing an essay.

Child No. 2 - she has always been a good six inches taller than me, but I whacked this girl upside the head after she yelled out to my crush that I liked him. I busted her ear drum and again, the principal severely punished me. Part of my punishment: he put me in his big old black Caddy and drove me to the girl's house and made me apologize to her mom. I can still see the daggers in her mom's eyes to this very day. Now that I'm a mom, I completely understand.

While I left my history of fisticuffs in the sixth grade hall at KJHS, it lingered for years and followed me into high school. In my sophomore year, I was in home economics when I overheard two boys at the table behind me:

New boy: what about her?
GM: Oh, that's AoM. You don't want to ask her out. She beats up boys.


Too clever for his own good

Last week, I couldn't get my laptop to fire up. So, I had Army of Dad (a former IT guy) get to work on it.

He fixed it quickly and told me he figured out the problem: it is my Kasey Kahne background. It made the computer crash and burn like Kasey's racing this season.


No more SPF

I was saddened to see that crazy old Kristine at Random and Odd has decided to put down Stuff Portrait Friday. It was a sad announcement, but it was too much for her to do and still have a life. I'm sort of sad. It is another passing in my blogging history. Sort of like me forgetting my three year blogging anniversary on July 25. It just sort of breezed by like a favorite saying of mine: I love deadlines. I especially like the whizzing sound they make as they fly by.

*sigh* Three years, bitches. Do you believe it? And, some of ya'll still keep coming back to read this crap. Don't you have lives? :) Seriously, thanks for stopping by and leaving nice comments. To you trolls: ppphtphopthohttttppphtptpppp.

Rest in Peace, Stuff Portrait Friday. I'll miss playing the game. But, that's how I roll. *LOL* I've just been wanting to say that because it is totally out of character for a woman whiter than sour cream.

Last 2nd grade party

The end of second grade couldn't have been made much better than water gun fights on the playground after a picnic lunch. Hot Rod was loving life.

Charlie's Angels in miniature. These were two of Hot Rod's friends.

And, the precious refills. Now, we have about three weeks until school starts again. Perhaps, one day, I will be caught up on blog posts that I have in my head. Ok, so I will always be behind. The story of my life.