Army of Mom

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

12.31.2008

New Year Blessings

There are times when I feel so completely low that I don't know what I will do. The post-holidays tend to do that to me. There is such a build-up of excitement, plans and love in the air that once it is over, I usually feel sad. This year has been such a whirlwind that I hadn't had that anticipation for the holiday that I usually do. There were too many things to do. Too many events. Too much work. Too many obligations. I seldom had any time for myself. Maybe an hour here or there and usually I spent that time sleeping, when I could.

One of the things I've been particularly blessed with is an abundance of friends. I've often attributed that to the fact that I'm a good friend, too. But, as of right now, I don't know what to think.

Tuesday was a really awful day. It started out okay as I treated myself to getting my hair done. That is one of my special things I do about every two months. But, one of my best friends essentially let me know that I made her feel as if I were too busy for her. So, she essentially wrote me off without even telling me. Then, later in the day, another of my best friends pretty much told me that I take more than I give. After the year that I've had, I'm not surprised. But, I am shocked to hear this friend tell me that I've let him down. Both of these announcements caught me completely offguard. I never saw them coming. I spent most of Tuesday in tears. Not just a drip here and there, but full-out sobs. Last night? I couldn't sleep. I finally got up about 3:30 a.m. (after bad dreams for the few minutes I did sleep) and put away the laundry and started cleaning house.

I am not even sure what to think or do.

Today, I went to put some cards in the mail and saw an envelope with my name and address typed on it. No postage or return address. (After being a daily newspaper reporter and receiving death threats and the whole Unabomber thing, this gave me great pause.) I made sure I was not around the kids when I opened it, felt around in it and didn't feel metal, so I opened it slowly. No white powder. (yeah, I'm THAT paranoid). I read the typed letter:
See James 5:16 (NLT): "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
Never understimate the power of prayer.

And, then in the envelope was one of those money envelopes the bank gives you with your cash. And, a fairly large sum of bills inside. No clue who it is from or why they gave it to me. My first guess is a prayer chain that I'm on at the local university. I've asked for prayers over the past year to be a good steward of our finances and prayed for God's hand in helping pay the bills as we lingered on the unemployment rolls for a long time.

I'm just speechless about it. Amidst the sadness from the anger of two of my best friends - here is a stranger (I assume, or maybe a friend) who felt strongly enough about me to pray for me AND bless me with this gift. It is going in our savings account for future emergencies. (God knows, we'll have 'em.)

So, sometimes, in the darkest moments, a little sunshine - make that Sonshine - will sneak in. Sort of like Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock.

This may be a good year. Will it be all peaches and cream? I highly doubt it. Life seldom is all good. But, how boring would it be without the valleys and the peaks?

A favorite movie quote (you had to know I'd have one) is from Parenthood. The 1989 flick with Steve Martin takes on more meaning as my family grows.

Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was 19, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story. (said with sarcasm)
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up life. 2008 is almost over. And, you know what? I'm glad. It was one of the hardest years of my adult life. I've had plenty of those, too, so that is saying something. 2009 will be better. I hope it is better for every one of you, too. God Bless You!

12.30.2008

Prayers and Good Wishes

I'm sending out a holiday request for you to send a holiday card - maybe a Valentine at this late date, to this little girl, Hannah Faith. Go check out Day by Day for the details. She is dying and loves to receive cards. Prayers for this family are also in order.

And, please say a prayer for Jenelle's mommy, Kelly, as she battles leukemia. She heads back to the hospital in a few weeks for her second round of chemo. This gal is such an inspiration to me and has been even before this battle. She's beautiful inside and out and I have loved being able to watch her family from the outside as a blog stalker. She reminds me of one of the strength of one of the women that Stinkerbelle is named after. Pickle was diagnosed with his birth defect while Namesake was battling terminal cancer. She was there to comfort me when I was scared and alone despite her own circumstances. Kelly has been there for me, too, (via email) while I was down and worried about Pickle (yet again) and the things we encounter in his education.

God bless her and take care of her. Please say a prayer for Kelly and Hannah.

12.29.2008

The new phone

Totally rocks.

Really. Outstanding. Rockage.

It has an MP3 player on it. And, I got 50 free downloads if I acted before Dec. 31. So, I wasted lots of time today. But, I'm in love with my phone. It has a Walkman capability. And, if I push the little W button and shake it - it goes to the next song.

How effing cool is that? I mean, seriously? I'm so excited.

Now, the best part ... I'm going to join the local rec center and start *gasp* working out. *sigh* I was assisting Army of Dad in replacing my brake pads and I'm such a wuss. My arms got tired holding the flashlight and then I couldn't get the cap back on the Maglite when I replaced the batteries. That is how big a wuss I am. In high school, I could almost benchpress my weight. I was strong and now I'm a gigantic lard-ass wuss. Then, the other night, I was dancing ever so briefly, but my damn thighs were sore the next day. So, that was the final straw.

So, this Wednesday or Friday I'm going to the local rec center and joining up. I'm even going to spring for a personal training session or two to show me what to do and how to do it to maximize the weight loss and enhance my strength. I hope by this time next year, I'll be significantly smaller.

So, I'll be using my Walkman on the stairstepper, treadmill or whatever other torture device there is.

On my playlist that I got for free from eMusic.com (which is an indie site):
Tears for Fears - the entire album of Secret World (Mad World, Shout, Head Over Heels and more)
The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation; Monkey Gone to Heaven; Debaser; Here Comes Your Man
Gary Neuman - Cars
Information Society - Pure Energy (What's on Your Mind)
Ottmar Liebert - Barcelona Nights
Chaka Khan - I Feel For You
Gene Loves Jezebel - Desire
Berlin - Sex, I'm A ...
A Flock of Seagulls - Wishing; Space Age Love Song; I Ran
Level 42 - Something About You
Modern English -Melt With You
Asia - Only Time Will Tell; Heat of the Moment
De La Soul - Me, Myself and I
Coolio - Fantastic Voyage
Sarah McLachlan - Dear God
Freedy Johnston - Earn Enough for Us
World Party - Ship of Fools; Way Down Now
Lisa Loeb - Stay (I Missed You)
Steve Burns - Song for Dustmites
The Alarm - 68 Guns; The Stand; Strength
The Bad Girls - Constant Craving
Violent Femmes - American Music
The Judybats - Being Simple
Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
Ben Lee- My Life
Rhett Miller - Girl
Vallejo - Just Another Day
Sevendust - Black
Eminem - Lose Yourself
Peter Murphy - All Night Long

I'm going to have to add some current stuff, but this is a good start. I'm soooo very excited. I know ... simple pleasures. This is just not something I usually treat myself to, so I'm pumped up. I wanted an Ipod, but - honestly - this is probably even better.

12.27.2008

Women's Words/Phrases

NINE WORDS/PHRASES WOMEN USE

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying F-- YOU!

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

AoM sidenote: Hat tip to Yolanda for this one. Good one, gal. I'm still giggling because I do all of these with the exception of No. 9. I don't do it myself; it remains undone. Although, my dear husband replaced the garbage disposal today and is now battling the brakes on Wheezy McWhistlemobile (i.e. the Kia Sedona). I'm not sure which of these applies to me most, but I think the sigh is the No. 1 of my female phrases followed closely by Whatever, Fine, Nothing, Five Minutes and That's Okay.

Tiny Dancer

Little Bit's ballet recital was last week. She was a white swan. And a pretty one, at that.
videoLife has been crazy. I hope everyone has had a Happy Hannukah or Merry Christmas or pleasant atheist day - whatever floats your boat. Mine has been nuts. I stimulated the economy in a mighty fashion today. I got a new coat, new lipstick, two new blouses and a new telephone in a pear tree. It is a seriously cool phone. It is forest green - my favorite color. And, I didn't pay THAT for it. But, I'm so loving it. I got some ring tones, too. Addicted for Army of Dad and The Kill for my overall ringtone. I have a few others interspersed in there including Local H and Katy Perry. I gotta find a really good one for a few other people. My mom is going to probably get Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. *snickering to self* My kids will pay me back in giant ways, I'm sure.

12.22.2008

Better late than never

I finally finished addressing and mailing my Christmas cards today. Somewhere around 100 were mailed out. And, that was cutting down on people, too.

*sigh*

I used to be that gal that sent out cards the Friday after Thanksgiving. Alas, that was about two children ago. Now, I'm lucky if I get the wrapping paper put up the day after Christmas.

Someday I'll be organized again. Maybe.

Merry Christmas Darling

Another of my favorite Christmas songs. I'm sure there are many military husbands and wives listening to this song, too, this holiday season. Thanks to all of you - both those serving and their families - for making the sacifice of being away from your families at Christmas (and the rest of the year) to preserve our way of life. God Bless You.

My son, the shepherd

There are times when someone tattles on your child and you want to crawl under a rock. Then, there are other times when your heart wants to burst out of your chest with joy.

Hot Rod is one of those kids who gives me both of those kinds of moments.

Recently, my encounters at school have involved his teacher informing me that Hot Rod has not been doing his homework and was endangering his gifted and talented program time because she couldn't justify sending him for that when he wasn't doing his work. I'm hoping *knock on wood* that we've fixed that from being a continuing problem.

Then, on Friday, I went to school for his class holiday party. One little boy - who has proclaimed himself an atheist - comes up to tattle on Hot Rod to me.

Atheist kid: Mrs. AoM, I need to tell you something. Hot Rod has been trying to convert me to Christianity.
AoM: *taken aback briefly* Well, atheist kid, Hot Rod feels strongly about his faith and I'm sorry if he's making you uncomfortable. He tells you these things because he cares about you, but I will ask him to stop.

The whole time I'm saying this, I'm thinking about how proud I am of my child for sharing the "good news" with others - especially the ones who may need it the most. Atheist kid is not well liked among his peers. Ok, that may be the kindest way to say it. Hot Rod is that kid, though, who is well liked, but is nice to everyone. His second grade teacher (the one I've stayed in touch with) told me back then that Hot Rod was the only child in class who would befriend atheist kid and how sweet Hot Rod is to be kind to him when no one else will.

So, I've told Hot Rod to cut back on the witnessing stuff and just demonstrate God's love by example to atheist kid. Sometimes that is the best way to do it. Regardless, if someone is going to tattle to me about my children's antics - that was a great tale to be told.

Holiday Websites

Just for a giggle, here are a few funny holiday things.

This one came from a public relations firm I work with occasionally.

And, this one was forwarded to me from my son's second grade teacher. Yeah, there are some teachers who you just form a relationship with and stay in contact years later. She's one of them.

You can Elf Up at JibJab.

Get out

Every time I see this commercial I giggle. Mostly because it makes Hot Rod laugh hysterically. But, it is a good one. Unfortunately, good commercials don't help business - Carmax Inc reported third-quarter sales fell 23 percent to $1.46 billion. Not that the $1.46 billion is bad. I'd take it, but it is down. *sigh* Like everything else, it is down.

Get out. Seriously. *snickering*

12.21.2008

Four Days Left

This has been a bummer of a Christmas season because I've had little time to enjoy it like I usually do. It has been a whirlwind of writing deadlines, substitute teaching, classroom parties at school, wrapping gifts, etc. I've got a few more deadlines to meet, but I should be able to handle them. I guess it is good to be busy workwise.

I've been counting my blessings the past few days. Due to money issues, we had to wait until this past weekend to shop for Christmas gifts. We're having a modest year, but the kids are all getting the one or two relatively big things they asked for. So, it will be wonderful. Looking at some of the families around us at the store made me realize just how fortunate we truly are. While I'm counting my pennies to buy the $70 Guitar Hero video game, I'm looking at people who have so very little and the Catholic guilt kicked in. We have it pretty good. Army of Dad even said the same thing to me before I brought it up.

I also subbed as a teacher's aide for the severely mentally retarded students at one of the high schools. My heart broke. These poor kids have so many challenges in life. Their caregivers are special people. I could not do that every day. But, those children were so special in their own ways. I am truly blessed to have such tremendously gifted children. I won't ever take them for granted again.

My faith has taken a hit this year and while it may be a bit shaky, I know I am blessed despite the challenges and obstacles. I've got an incredible family and circle of friends.

Ok, enough for the sappy post. The snark will resume soon. I also have some hilarious pictures of the kids at their school holiday parties and some adorable videos (sweet enough to give you cavities) of my daughter at her dance recital.

Have a great week. I still have a to-do list a mile long, but I'm thinking the week after Christmas may be relaxing. We'll see.

12.17.2008

Beautiful Ballerina

A gorgeous photo that Uzz snapped of Little Bit during her spectacular performance Sunday afternoon. That has got to be one of the cutest costumes in the history of The Nutcracker. Or it could just be Stinkerbelle inside of it that makes is so damn cute. I actually didn't cry like I thought I would - although the pride did well up so much that I could have exploded! She's excited about next year already. Me? Ok, yeah, I am, too. Never thought I'd be a ballet mom.

Unfortunate Name

I often wonder if my name is some slang term for muffin-top or fat ass or something in another country. I remember the name tag of an Asian girl working at some fast food joint when I was in high school: Fang. And, we all couldn't help but giggle at her unfortunate name and what it means here.

Today, I ran across another unfortunate name while perusing news for a story I was writing. This poor fella's name is Anurag Dikshit. I still can't help but wonder if that is for real. It looks real enough. He's On The Rag Dick Shit.

*speechless*

12.16.2008

Quote of the day

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit."
- author anonymous
Hat tip to my friend: LR

12.15.2008

Double Dumbass On You!

I don't know what made me think of this today. I guess it was some douchebaggery in the form of driving going on around me. But, I just wanted to say "double dumbass on you!" to the fella in the car who raced around me.

One of my favorite movie lines.

Sir Duke

Just wandering down Nostalgia Lane while working on deadline. I love this tune. It just reminds me of summer time as a girl.

12.14.2008

Little Bit's Big Moment on Stage

video Little Bit made her ballet debut this afternoon and enjoyed herself immensely. First thing I noticed was she moved the wrong way to start. It was the first thing she noticed, too, when she watched the video. She said "I stepped wrong to start, but I fixed it. Nothing I can do about it now." Then, she happily danced away. I love that in her. She has a grace that her poor mother never had - both physically and emotionally. I was one proud momma today.

12.12.2008

Get out the tissues

If you don't shed a tear at this story, then you must be the Grinch.

Somehow my broken (or whatever is wrong with it) thumb doesn't seem like such a big deal after reading about what this woman is going through. It is a sad story, but it has a semblance of a partially happy ending.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

I'm not sure what is more disturbing - this song or the fact that it is one of Little Bit's favorite holiday tunes.

Rest in Peace Bettie Page

Bettie Page died Thursday after being taken off life support. That poor gal had a helluva life and I never realized the full extent of all she had to endure. Seems like some of these people who influence our lives (as celebrities) have some of the crappiest lives to accompany their fame.

Finally rest, Bettie.

12.11.2008

A loooooooong meme

Info

[ x] I am shorter than 5'4 (/163cm)

[ x] I think I'm ugly sometimes.

[ x] I tan easily.

[x] I wish my hair was a different color (I pay good money to fix this).

[ x] I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color.

[ ] I have a tattoo.

[x] I am self-conscious about my appearance.

[x ] I have/I've had braces.

[x ] I wear glasses/contacts.

[x] I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free (hell, I did it anyway!).

[x] I've been told I'm attractive by a complete stranger.

[ x] I have more than 2 piercings.

[ ] I have piercing in places besides my ears.

[x ] I have freckles. (in places most people don't see)

Family

[x ] I've sworn at my parents.

[ ] I've run away from home.

[ ] I've been kicked out of the house.

[x ] My biological parents are together.

[ ] I have a sibling less than one year old.

[x] I want to have kids someday .(have 'em)

[ ] I've lost a child.

School/Work

[ ] I'm in school (does working or volunteering there count?)

[x] I have a job (two or three actually)

[x] I've fallen asleep at work/school (that’s always charming).

[x ] I almost always do/did my homework.

[x] I've missed a week or more of school. (I missed most of first grade at M.D. Anderson in Houston for cancer).

[ ] I failed more than 1 class last year.

[ ] I've stolen something from my job.

[ ] I've been fired. (laid off)

Embarrassment

[ ] I've slipped out a "lol" in a spoken conversation (only as a joke).

[x ] Disney movies still make me cry.

[ x] I've peed from laughing (I've given birth to three children, what do you think?).

[ x] I've snorted while laughing.

[x] I've laughed so hard I've cried.

[ ] I've glued my hand to something.

[ x] I've had my pants rip in public. (ohmigod, this happened at DisneyWorld last year!!!! I was running to get to the rental car place because they were closing in five minutes and I wasn't sure where I was going and I tripped and ripped the whole inner seam of my leg out.)

Health

[x ] I was born with a disease/impairment

[x] I've gotten stitches/staples

[x] I've broken a bone (I think I have a broken thumb right now)

[x] I've had my tonsils removed.

[x] I've sat in a doctor’s office/emergency room with a friend.

[x ] I've had my wisdom teeth removed.

[x] I had a serious surgery.

[x] I've had chicken pox.

[ ] I've had measles

Travel

[x] I've driven over 200 miles in one day

[x] I've been on a plane.

[ ] I've been to Canada.

[x] I've been to Mexico.

[ ] I've been to Niagara Falls.

[ ] I've been to Japan.

[ ] I've celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

[ x] I've been to Europe.

[ ] I've been to Africa.

Experiences

[ x] I've gotten lost in my city.

[x] I've seen a shooting star.

[x ] I've wished on a shooting star

[x] I've seen a meteor shower.

[x ] I've gone out in public in my pajamas.

[ ] I've pushed all the buttons on an elevator.

[x ] I've kicked a guy where it hurts.

[x] I've been to a casino.

[ ] I've been skydiving.

[x] I've gone skinny dipping

[x] I've played spin the bottle.

[ ] I've drunk a whole gallon of milk in one hour.

[x] I've crashed a car.

[x] I've been skiing.

[x] I've been in a play.

[ ] I've met someone in person from Myspace.

[x] I've caught a snowflake on my tongue.

[ ] I've seen the Northern lights.

[ ] I've sat on a roof top at night.

[x] I've played chicken.

[x] I've played a prank on someone

[x] I've ridden in a taxi.

[x] I've seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show .

[ ] I've been snowboarding.

Relationships

[ ] I'm single.

[ ] I'm in a relationship

[ ] I'm engaged.

[x ] I'm married.

[x] I've gone on a blind date.

[ ] I've been the dumped more than the dumper.

[ ] I miss someone right now.

[x ] I have a fear of abandonment.(big time, ask poor AoD)

[x] I've gotten divorced.

[x ] I've had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.

[ ] I've told someone I loved them when I didn't.

[x] I've kept something from a past relationship.

[ ] I've had a crush on someone of the same sex.

[ ] I've had a crush on a teacher.

[x] I've been kissed in the rain.

[x ] I've hugged a stranger.

[x] I have kissed a stranger

Honesty

[x] I've done something I promised someone else I wouldn't.

[x] I've done something I promised myself I wouldn't.

[ ] I've snuck out of my house.

[x] I have lied to my parents about where I am.

[x ] I am keeping a secret from the world.

[x] I've cheated while playing a game.

[x] I've cheated on a test.

[x] I've run a red light.

[ ] I've been suspended from school.

[x] I've witnessed a crime.

[x] I've been in a fist fight.

[ ] I've been arrested.

Death and Suicide

[x ] I'm afraid of dying. (only b/c I don't want to leave my children motherless and who would take care of my family if I did?)

[x] I hate funerals.

[x] I've seen someone dying.

[ x] Someone close to me has attempted suicide.

[ ] Someone close to me has committed suicide.

[ ] I've planned my own suicide.

[ ] I've attempted suicide.

[x ] I've written a eulogy for myself.

Materialism

[x ] I own over 5 rap CDs. *ok, lightweight rap, I have Will Smith, Eminem, Beastie Boys, DeLaSoul and Vanilla Ice (at one point, don't make fun of me, word to your mother!)

[ ] I own an iPod or MP3 player. *sigh* I wish.

[ ] I have an unhealthy obsession with anime/manga. (nope, that is my 14-year-old son)

[x ] I own multiple designer purses, costing over $100 a piece.

[ ] I own something from Hot Topic.

[ ] I own something from Pac Sun.

[ ] I collect comic books (I have baseball cards galore, does that count? Oh yeah and my sci-fi autographs).

[x ] I own something from The Gap.

[x] I own something I got on e-bay.

[ ] I own something from Abercrombie.

Random

[ ] I can sing well.

[ ] I've stolen a tray from a fast food restaurant.

[x ] I open up to others easily.

[x] I watch the news.

[ ] I don't kill bugs.

[x] I hate hearing songs that sacrifice meaning for the sake of being able to rhyme.

[x] I curse regularly. (what kind of fucking question is that?)

[ ] I sing in the shower.

[ ] I am a morning person.

[ ] I paid for my cell phone ring tone.

[x] I'm a snob about grammar.

[x ] I am a sports fanatic.

[ ] I twirl my hair.

[ ] I have "x"s in my screen name.

[x ] I love being neat.

[ ] I love Spam

[ ] I've copied more than 30 CD's in a day

[x ] I bake well.

[ ] My favorite color is either white, yellow, pink, red or blue

[x ] I've worn pajamas to school. (on pajama day)

[ ] I like Martha Stewart.

[x] I know how to shoot a gun

[ ] I am in love with love

[ ] I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.

[x] I laugh at my own jokes.

[x ] I eat fast food weekly. (if Sonic drinks count)

[ x] I believe in ghosts.

[ ] I am online 24/7, even as an away message.

[ ] I've not turned anything in and still got an A in a certain class.

[ ] I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room .

[x ] I am really ticklish.

[ ] I love white chocolate. (love is a strong word. I strongly like it.)

[ x] I bite my nails - only when I snag a nail.

[ ] I play video games.

[x ] I'm good at remembering names.

[ ] I'm good at remembering dates. (ha, ask my husband if I know our anniversary).

[ ] I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Stolen from Gadfly.

My dear, sweet husband

He sends me this sweet email:
We need to get your stress levels down a bit…

I'm thinking a night away, perhaps a nice pedicure or hot stone massage.

Nope. The link is for an article titled: More sex, less stress.

*shaking my head*

Financial fiasco

I have pretty much kept my mouth shut on the financial crisis the country is experiencing right now because I don't feel completely qualified to comment. But, there are times when I get really frustrated. Army of Dad has had to listen to my same rant for the past 10 years. I am still angry at the model home salesman who tried to get us to buy more home than we could afford simply because we could qualify for it. In the past few years, we have had the same conversation in various forms about how many people were buying homes they couldn't afford and at some point, the whole housing system was going to crumble. Funny how a simple country girl like me with a fine arts degree can reach that conclusion and many of our elected leaders and financial gurus didn't see it coming. Now, we are experiencing one of the scariest periods in my lifetime. Aside from 9/11 when fear dominated my world, this is really frightening. I've felt like President Bush guided us through the threat of terrorism and we've been safe there. So, that fear is not as strong. Of course, I fret more now with a new administration who thinks chatting with Iran's leader is going to accomplish something. I've never seen a playground bully who could be reasoned with. *shrug* Poor analogy, but it makes the point.

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. What I was trying to say is that fear is once again at the forefront of my emotions almost daily. But it is a fear for our way of living and for my children. We've had tough times in our 10 years of marriage. Early on, when he was a low-paid soldier and I was a low-paid daily newspaper reporter, we managed to make do. There were weekends that we scoured the roadside and parking lots for aluminum cans to pay for a dinner out at a decent restaurant. But, we made it through. Our ability to live pretty well has been a roller coaster and the only thing to help us in seven months of unemployment was that we had been saving money and working multiple jobs to have that income to make up for the loss of the job. Common sense things.

I just fear that common sense isn't common. Sheila Bair, the FDIC chairwoman, saw the writing on the wall and encourages all of us to go back to using our common sense. It is hard to save money when you're not earning any, but now that Army of Dad is employed again, we'll be putting money back in the savings account again. Lord knows, we'll probably need it.

And, as far as the bailouts go ... my gut tells me that the government shouldn't step in. I fear over what may happen if all of these monster companies fail, but why would we want government in charge? Aren't they ones who got us a trillion dollars in debt? Seems like I recall stories from my youth about hammers costing hundreds of dollars, etc. Seriously, though. Government isn't in the business of running businesses. I just don't see how any of this is going to end well. *sigh* What was it I was saying about being fearful? Oh yeah. This fool will not be parted with her money easily any more.

12.10.2008

Little Bit's Debut

Little Bit had her dress rehearsal tonight and I broke about a billion rules in surreptitiously shooting it with the video feature on my camera. But, this is too cute not to share. I cut off the last part because the lady behind me started bugging me and then some little girl moved RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and it isn't like I could move around for a better view when I was going to get yelled at for taping it to begin with. I did manage to get her looking adorable really quick in the lobby on the way to getting her "professional" photography done (i.e. pictures we have to pay for), which was ok. *shrug* There were very few moms who weren't sneaking a snapshot of our adorable little girls. Are these costumes not the cutest thing you've every seen? I mean, seriously. I'm sure every other mom thought the same thing about her little darling, but in my case, it is the truth. :)
video After the little ones pop out from under the skirt, Little Bit is the one on the far right (in the shadows unfortunately).

Plaxico Burress PSA

No, I'm not talking about him having a blood test for prostate cancer. I'm talking about *snickering* his public service announcement for *giggling hysterically* gun safety. I dare you not to laugh. I tried not to, but in the end, I was laughing out loud.

Noooooooo!!!!!!!!!

While grocery shopping last night, I was looking for cereal bars. I couldn't find them in the cereal aisle, so I thought maybe in the cookie aisle. They weren't there either, but what I did see was a sign that Mother's Cookies and Archer had gone out of business.

For the love of all that is holy, how could this happen? This means no more Circus Animals. NOOOOO!!!!!!!

Although, if you want to spend about $10 a package, you can buy some. Gees.

12.09.2008

Bettie Page

I have neglected reading the papers for a few days and when I wasn't being accosted by some New Yorker today, I managed to get a few pages read and discovered that Bettie Page suffered a heart attack and is in a coma. That just really made me sad for her. She had such beauty and a comfort in her own skin as a young woman. I would love to have just a small percentage of that appeal. She just exudes something in her eyes and her expression that makes you think she is having the time of her life in just about every photograph ever snapped featuring her. And, the sexy body and lack of self-consciousness. Yeah, that is very alluring. She may have singlehandedly got the ball rolling for us gals to be happy as sexual beings. Hang in there Bettie. There are many of us that consider the world a better place for you having been here and we hate to see you depart now.

You May be a Texan if ...

Tamales are considered part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

or

You consider a Christmas without tamales to be lacking considerably.

With that said, our school is taking orders for Christmas tamales as a fundraiser. Mmmmmm. I loves me some tamales with Army of Dad's chili on top. Mmm mmm good.

Total Weirdness

Sometimes the damnedest (is that a word?) things happen to me.

I've been really wanting some Hooter's chicken strips lately, but we are working to conserve money, so I haven't been in a long time. Well, the past two days I've busted my ample backside to meet my deadlines this week and I have accomplished a lot. So, I thought I would reward myself with some chicken strips while catching up on the past three days of newspaper reading.

I go to the local Hooter's and all the tables are full. (this is what I get for going at 12:30) No worries, I figure, I'll just sit at the bar. I guess that was my first mistake.

I sit on the very end and there are about four or five empty seats between me and a couple of dudes also sitting at the bar. I place my order and begin to bury myself in the local newspaper.

Then, some guy walks up carrying his beer. He sits two seats over from me (leaving just one in between us). He tells the waitress that he has moved from a table and didn't know if he needed to let the waitress who took his beer order know. Then, he leans over to me (like I care) to tell me that he hated to use a table when there were so many seats at the bar. Then, he proceeds to ask me if I'm dining alone or if someone is going to come sit next to me. My first instinct is that perhaps he doesn't want to have to rub elbows with whatever guy is coming to have lunch with me. Then, I get that ooged out feeling from him after I say, no, I'm dining alone with the newspaper.

Personally, I would think it is obvious when the person next to you is reading a paper, that they really don't want to visit with you. However, he continues to try to make idle conversation. At this point, I'm thinking, ok, this is beyond just being polite. I think this guy is hitting on me. So, I make a point to let my wedding ring show prominently. He makes some idle chatter about cars and I mention that my husband likes to drive cars that are fuel efficient. He mentions that he is traveling on business and I comment that I could tell from his accent that he wasn't from around here. Then, I proceed to mention how my husband is from Minnesota and his accent pops out when he's talking to his family.

This guy can't take a hint.

He then *get ready for it* asks me if I "come here often." Swear to God. I keep going back to reading the newspaper, but I can feel him looking at me. He keeps bringing up references to things he sees I'm reading in the paper, so I finally just offer it to him. Another mistake. He starts talking about the new Mustang listed in there and how he might just look at buying one (like this is supposed to impress me, I guess.)

It just kept on and on. He finally got up to go to the bathroom and leans over and rubs my arm while thanking me for sharing the paper. I thought I was going to hurl. The waitress comes over and apologizes. "I kept thinking of ways I could rescue you from that guy, but I got nothing," she says kindly. "It ought to be obvious to him that you're not interested when you keep reading the paper and mentioning your husband."

Ok, dude. Even the cute little boobie-licious Hooters girl is bright enough to realize that I'm not remotely interested in you with your New York accent and leather jacket. I have to admit that he was very attractive and I guess I should be flattered, but I just wanted to read my stupid newspaper and eat some chicken strips in peace while occasionally looking up to watch SportsCenter highlights from time to time or admire the cute little girls while wistfully remembering when my boobs stood up like that and my ass didn't drag the ground.

Anyway. It was a really bizarre lunch to say the least. I guess I still got it.

I'm calling BS

I am SOOOO calling bullshit on this one. I'm 5'2 and don't weigh 200 pounds and this woman claims she only weighs 200? Uh-uh. No way. Just don't tell anyone your weight or simply embrace the number if you're going to *ahem* reveal it. Don't act like you're coming clean on your weight and then lie about it. Looking around on the Web and everything points to Oprah being 5'7. Uh, honey. I am just not buying the 200 pounds at 5'7. And, before people start ragging on me, I'm not a tiny gal and I don't disclose my weight. That's my privilege and it is hers as well, but if you're going to "come clean" about the number, why lie? Unless she has lost weight since this September photo, I'm not buying 200 pounds and 5'7.

Annual Santa Picture

This is possibly the best picture I've ever had taken of my children in a group. Of course, the boys aren't dressed all that great, but they are all smiling. ALL three children. Smiling. At the camera. No one is making a goofy Calvin and Hobbes face or anything. Of course, this has to be the Polaroid the bank took and not my nice digital camera. Awww, they're so darn cute. This was the first year that Pickle didn't get his individual picture with Santa. :( But, I guess 14 is a little old, huh? I've managed to do it for 13 years. I'll take it.

12.08.2008

I Hate People

Bah, humbug.

I've been in a foul mood this holiday season. Ok, maybe not foul, but just not as jovial as I normally am at Christmas-time. I love "Scrooge" which is the Sir Albert Finney musical version of A Christmas Carol. This song has been my mantra for years now. But, this holiday season ... it is especially appropriate.

Sad News for the BO Crowd

Doesn't look like the change you all were looking for. I guess I should be happy about that.

12.07.2008

Hints for Husbands This Holiday Season

Ok, guys. Pull up a chair and listen up. Take notes, if necessary.

First off, don't ever tell your wife that her hair looks like a Cocker Spaniel. *I would think this one should be self-explanatory.*

Second off, make sure if you give her a toaster oven for Christmas that you give her some bling or something, too. I mean, it is a thoughtful gift to help make her chores more easily accomplished. However, on our birthday, Valentine's Day, our anniversary and Christmas, we want something pretty, special and NOT practical. UNLESS we request something that is helpful or whatever, like the year I asked for a new flat-screen monitor. That was awesome. But, I'd rather have something that makes me feel special and not something that makes me feel like a housewife with Cocker Spaniel hair. Uh, wait, did I type that outloud?

Nevermind. What made me think of all this was the Doghouse video. Go have a giggle. And, men, stay out of the doghouse.

p.s. Army of Dad is pouting now and asked me to add that the year I got the toaster oven (which I use all the time and love) is the same year I got the monitor that I had been asking for. There, honey, are you happy now? I do love my toaster oven. It is very handy and would make a thoughtful addition to any busy mom's kitchen. However, I would NOT wrap it up and give it as a gift ... just bring it home with some flowers to "make her life easier" and let her know how much you "appreciate all she does to take care" of you and your children. It might go even farther if you put a gift certificate on top for a massage or day of pampering.

Good reading

I'm not sure why it has hit me so strongly this past year - ok, maybe it has been an escape mechanism - but I've really been engrossed by books.

I keep one with me all the time and try to read whenever I have a spare few moments - whether it is while eating lunch or while standing in line at the post office.

I read Water Like a Stone in the spring by Deborah Crombie after finding it on the bargain rack at Barnes and Noble. What made it catch my eye was that Ms. Crombie had just addressed my writers' group just a month or two before that. So, the familiarity of the name and the bargain price for the hardback made it a winning combination. I've been looking for her work ever since and stumbled upon it at Borders a few weeks ago. I picked up two paperbacks (because I prefer paperbacks over hardback books) and just finished And Justice There is None, which was a really good story. So, now I'm about to start on A Finer End.

The books are mysteries and are essentially based on the same law enforcement characters, Emma Jameson and Duncan Kincaid. *shrug* I like them. She tells stories wonderfully and details them without making you wish she'd just get to the point. They're really enjoying and I find it hard to put the books down because I want to know what is going to happen next.

Of course, the book has taken all my time this week, so now I'm behind on Christmas cards, decorating, cleaning ,deadlines. You name it. :) But, it was fun putting off the work.

12.05.2008

Men in the News

Why men aren't romantic:
Look what it got this poor fella when he was trying to be romantic. That's pretty awful.

Why you don't hire a male babysitter off CraigsList: This could happen.

Yet another reason people can hate airports.

12.04.2008

What kind of blog do I have?

I've always considered myself the Seinfeld of blogs: it is a blog about nothing.

My Bloginality is ESTJ!!!

As an ESTJ, your personality is Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging. As an ESTJ, you are Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging. This makes your primary focus on Extraverted Thinking with Introverted Sensing. This is defined as a SJ personality, which is part of Carl Jung's Guardian (Security Seeking) type, and more specifically the Supervisors.

As a weblogger, you may fufill responsiblities as a leader in group weblogs. If you are really interested in blogging, you'll follow it through and post regularly. Because you appreciate social order, you may be likely to take on a responsibility just to keep a project going.

That does describe me pretty well. *shrug*

Stolen Meme

I've seen this on a few different blogs, so I'm not sure who I stole it from. Maybe Baboon Pirates. Hmm, is that it? I bolded the ones I've done.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain. *no, but a I climbed a pyramid in Mexico City*
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. *church choir, 4th grade - Music Machine musical and Endless Love in the Miss Fort Worth Teen Pageant*
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris. (Paris, Texas)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. *watched a shuttle launch from the ocean if that counts*
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. *taught myself how to quilt*
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. *yep, you guessed it - as a teenaged girl*
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. *hello, I'm from Texas*
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. *does March of Dimes WalkAmerica's five-mile walk count?*
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. *as a kid with a hole in a piece of notebook paper*
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run. *hit it really freaking hard b/c I'm slow*
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. *been up the sand dunes in Marathon*
40. Seen Michelangelo's David. *in a book*
41. Sung karaoke. Uh, yeah.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. *I've contributed*
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted/drawn. *still have it*
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class. *one class, instructor's assistant started calling me and telling me he wanted to be a ninja, uh yeah*
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. *no, but I ate my weight in them when pregnant with Hot Rod*
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. *we tried while in Berlin and no one would tell us how to find them*
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt. *see No. 14*
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. *laid off counts, right?*
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. *elbow, twice - but I got the bitch out at the plate!*
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. *it was a textbook*
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. *hello, newspaper reporter*
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. *didn't get to go in b/c of some damn foreign dignitary or some such*
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. *AoD has in my kitchen sink, thank you very much. Ick*
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. *again, newspaper reporter*
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. *three*
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

What I learned in school today

I was a little apprehensive about subbing for a high school health/PE class, but thought it couldn't be too bad.

It actually wasn't pretty interesting. A gal from the local health department came to talk to the students about STDs. Yippee. Complete with a powerpoint and everything.

I was fascinated by some of these things. The top six STDs in the U.S.:
HPV/genital warts (not curable)
gonorrhea (curable)
chlamydia (curable)
syphillus (curable)
herpes (not curable)
HIV (not curable)

I was shocked some of those are still the prevalent. Syphillus? Really? Apparently.

Random facts:
*Chlamydia has the most reported cases of all the STDs followed by gonorrhea. Additionally, she said, most people with AIDS have multiple STDs.
*The District of Columbia has more STDs than any state in the union. Nice, huh?
*You can get chlamydia in any opening of your body except your nose and ears.
*You get syphillus by direct contact with an open sore.
*Herpes outbreaks can be caused by stress. (if you already have herpes, obviously, duh)
*80 percent of women will have one of the 100 strains of genitval HPV infection by the time they are age 50.
*If you have AIDS and have unprotected sex without informing your partner beforehad, it is a crime in the state of Texas. You can be charged with attempted murder.

We learned lots more stuff, too. But, these were the ones that stuck out to me. They prompted me to come up with some tips for sexually active individuals:

*If you have to scrape a scab off someone's naughty bits, it is probably best not to go there.
*If someone has open sores on their body - especially on their naughty bits - it is probably best, again, not to go there.

See, you learn something new every day.

12.03.2008

I don't like people

I hate these moments when I really don't like people.

I had a phone interview set for 1 p.m. today. I made a point to be sitting there and doing nothing else. Call at 1 p.m. and the lady is on the phone. So, I leave her a voicemail and assume she'll call back as soon as she's done with her call. No dice. So, I figure something came up and she'll call me back later in the afternoon to reschedule. Nope. Apparently, she emailed my editor a nasty email about how I'm 90 minutes late and still haven't bothered to call her. ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Adding insult to injury: another editor called me and their budget has been slashed (again). Good news is I don't have to get up at 5 a.m. any more starting in January. The bad news is I'm taking a $300 a month pay cut (back to what I was making in October and before) and now I have to go back to daily reporting, which will cut into my availability to substitute teach. So, now we have to sit down and determine what is the best way to use my time to maximize my income. *sigh* I hate thinking too much.
So, now, regardless of me telling the truth that I was on time and she clearly wasn't available, I'm going to look like a liar to my editor. Great. Thanks. This just makes it REALLY hard to write a nice profile about this lady after she got me reprimanded for doing what I was supposed to do.

If I wasn't in a pissy mood before, this cemented it.

File under WTF

I'm sitting in the Toyota dealership waiting for Army of Dad's car to have the oil changed, tires rotated and car washed ... I brought my laptop and have been doing some phone interviews. But, it is hard to keep a straight face when the PA system keeps paging Michael Vick and Clayton Williams. I keep waiting to see who will be paged next.

If they say Justin Timberlake or DeMarcus Ware, I'm so heading to the front desk.

Cuz that's how I roll

*snickering* I always giggle when I try to sound like I have some street cred. *hee hee* I just did it again. Street cred? Like any believes I use words like diss and dawg. *shuddering* My blue-eyed blond-haired 9-year-old tries to do that upon occasion. Those are the occasions I whack him upside the head, too. Word to your mother.

Anyway. I digress.

I have little quotes plastered all around me. For instance, on my hard drive are these two gems:

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. - John Wooden

You will find your strength within you; in places deep inside that you have not yet dared to visit. - Ruth Fishel

and my latest is a button from the BFF:
If stress burned calories, I'd be a supermodel.

Amen, sister.

On my fridge, I have these little pieces of wisdom:
You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. - Davy Crockett

I gave him the skinniest years of my life. (true, Uzz you got the young body with firm boobs, damn you!)

When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. - Romans 12:13

Be joyful in hope. - Romans 12:12

(how odd is that? Two different magnets that I received from different people years apart and they're only one verse apart. I've never noticed that.) But, the whole BO thing has ruined the use of the words hope and change for me forever. *sigh*

I also have the Bill of Rights and a bread pudding recipe up there on magnets, too. Yeah, I know. I'm weird. I have all sorts of magnets, but that is a whole other post.

You can't stop the signal. That's another one on my bulletin board. Gorram work. Mal. Now that is a lovely thought for the morning. Everything's shiny.

Crazy Bitch

I'm going to be so tired in the morning. Up late working, but crawling off to bed. Heard this song on the radio on the way home tonight. :) Made me grin. I have a few anthems, but I think Army of Dad may vouch for this one.

12.02.2008

Screwing the Little Guy

This is a guest post from my childhood friend, LR. She and her husband were moving on up, ala George Jefferson style, when they got tripped up with a bank that yanked the rug out from under them. Things are getting worse and not knowing how much I can help, I told her that I'd share her story with whoever I could get to listen.

This is LR's story in her own words:

I am a friend of Army of Mom and she wrote an article about me and my husband last year about how we lost our business when our bank called our note unexpectedly. Suffice it to say, we were not late on any payments, but banks can call notes pretty much whenever they feel like it.

All that happened 21 months ago and we are still living the nightmare.

Today was, literally, one of the worst days of my life. The bank just received a defiency judgment against us personally, as we personally guaranteed our notes (not an unusual practice). Now that all the assets of our estate have been sold (I mean been given away by the bank and the bankruptcy court), we are left with a debt of $579,000 give or take. We only owed $1.2 million to begin with.

We had to go to an asset hearing where the bank has their attorney try to see if we have millions hidden a Swiss bank account. *what a joke!* We were happy to go to an asset hearing because we literally have lost everything already. We had to sell our home, we cashed out life insurance policies in order to have money to live on, etc… We had nothing to hide.

Well, we did have one thing left of value … MY WEDDING RING. They had an order to seize my wedding ring. I never would have believed this could happen in America.

This debt was the banks doing. We weren’t behind on our payments. They called our note and we couldn’t ante up $1.2 million that fast. They wouldn’t even give us six more months to try to secure alternative financing. So, they cost us our business, cost 25 people their jobs and then (they and the court) gave away all of our assets and NOW they have stooped to taking a woman’s wedding ring … Is nothing sacred?

*LR wasn't going to name the bank, I encouraged her husband to name them unless they were concerned the bank could do anything else to them*
Oh, and FYI, without naming the bank, (it is the Bank of Oklahoma) I will tell you that a member of this particular bank’s Board of Trustees took $180 million dollars from his company and invested it personally and lost. His company is billions in debt and in Chapter 11. This one person almost broke this bank LITERALLY … and they are coming after a Mom and Pop and taking the wedding ring off my finger!

Well, I lost it! I would not let them have my ring. And I ended up being put in handcuffs and taken to a jail cell. I have bruises all over my arms and upper body. Funny, I didn’t think we had debtors' prisons in the good ole’ US of A … I did finally end up relinquishing my wedding band because it was that or be formally booked on resisting arrest and contempt of court.

I was once a pillar of this community. I was a member of the Junior League, for God’s sake (should I send thank yous to all the deputies?) I am the only person I know who can honestly say that I have never used drugs … not even pot! I am so goodie-goodie. Before this, I had a 750 credit score … Now I have to get a co-signer to pay cash! And what has all that gotten me? It got my wedding ring taken from me after I was dragged through the courthouse in handcuffs.

I would love to answer any specific questions anyone might have about my story. I am sure Army of Mom can put you in contact with me or forward me your questions.

My closing advice to any reader is be leery of banks and bankers. And if you ever have to go to court, leave your jewelry at home. Marriage is not sacred to these hyenas.

*if you have anything useful to offer to my friend, please feel free to email me and I'll put you in touch.*

12.01.2008

Star light, star bright

First star I see tonight.
Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

Bad news. It probably isn't a star that you're seeing. However, it totally rocks to see the sky tonight. Fortunately, Army of Dad sent me this article about how tonight a slender crescent moon, just 15percent illuminated, would appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter. Totally freaking cool. All three of my kids went to give it a look. The two youngest were mesmerized. Hot Rod grabbed a journal, pen and a chair to sit outside and write his observations. Seriously. My 9-year-old. *wiping tears from my eyes*

According to the article, sunlight is responsible for the slender crescent, yet the remainder of the moon appears to shine with a dim blush-gray tone. (this was cool. You could see the whole moon; just the majority of it was a dark circle) That part is not receiving sunlight, but shines by virtue of reflected earthlight: the nearly full Earth illuminating the otherwise dark lunar landscape. So earthshine is really sunlight which is reflected off Earth to the moon and then reflected back to Earth.

Keep in mind that this head-turning display of three celestial objects crowded together will be merely an illusion of perspective: the moon will be only about 251,400 miles from Earth, while Venus is nearly 371 times farther away, at 93.2 million miles. Meanwhile, Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than our natural satellite at 540.3 million miles. (how freaking cool is that?)

Such favorable circumstances are quite rare for any given location. For example, the last time London was treated to such a favorably placed Venus occultation such was back on Oct. 7, 1961. And after 2008, there will not be another similarly favorable Venus occultation for the United Kingdom until Jan. 10, 2032. (wow! I called my neighbor - the teacher - and she came out with her three kids, too. They were loving it, as well.)

Wow. Space is so cool. I'm sure someday, Hot Rod will be orbiting the Earth while forecasting weather in the off-season. :) Pickle will be creating artwork of the occasion and Little Bit will write and perform a song about it. It's cool to be their mom.

The Kill

Jared Leto is incredibly hot in that metrosexual kind of way. (Yeah, I know, not typically my type of guy, but hey, I'm an equal opportunity man-watcher.) But, I LOOOOOOOVE this song. It's a bed-breaker. *evil giggle here*