Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

So, it's New Year's Eve. We are about to pull the curtain on 2008 and usher in a brand new year. It has certainly been a year of change, don't ya think? Whether or not you wanted big changes in your life, times they are a changin.

Personally, this has been a tough year for our family. We moved...again (hopefully for the last time!!), and with me not having a steady job, it's been tough financially. But, we're working on that, and are hoping and praying for more stability in 2009. We lost a beloved family member in a truly horrible way, which has left all of us feeling kind of sad this holiday season. The economy has taken a toll on our savings and retirement and on our friends and family. The election, while exciting, has left many of us wondering where we fit in in this new world of ours. We at the STQ family are praying hard for our new President and truly hope he can fulfill the ambitious promises he has made. Our country needs him to be a fantastic leader.

2009 is going to be challenging, but my prayer is that it will also be a good year for all of us. As for tonight, we are having friends over and ushering in the new year with prayer and hope. We wish all of you a safe and happy New Year's Eve, and a year filled with blessings and answered prayer. God bless all of you, and see ya next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Southern Christmas

I packed up Chase, Divine Hubby and myself, sent the dog to "Puppy camp," put a giant bowl of food in the hamster's cage and we flew South for Christmas. My parents still live in the small town in SC where I grew up. It's funny that after being gone for 20+ years, I hardly recognize the place! It doesn't help that the 'rents moved and are now living in a different area of town, but really, it's not that big...

One of the things that hurts the most is that Baskin Robbins is gone. Location of my first job, and where I spent most of my free time during my high school days. Many good (and weird) memories there. It's now a Waffle House. That's just wrong... Also Cato - a cheapo clothing store where I worked (and the site of yet more weird memories) is now part of a gigantic Home Depot. sigh

Most of my friends have relocated around the country as well. There are a few still lurking around, but this was such a quick trip, there just wasn't time to visit with them. I did run into a friend I haven't seen since, oh, 1986...we had a great time catching up, and I feel like I have a new friend. I remember why I liked her so much in high school and hope we will keep in touch this time!

My brother and his wife also joined us for Christmas, and that was a lot of fun. Yeah, yeah, seeing them was good too...but they brought my 1-yr-old niece Haven with them. Not sure I remember actually seeing or talking to anyone else once she showed up! I love to hold and play with other people's babies, and it's particularly good when she's my adorable niece!!

We also enjoyed spending time with my 'rents and with my Aunt Susan who came all the way from California to spend Christmas with us! She is so much fun to be around - has a great big laugh and fantastic stories to share.

It was one of the best Christmases we have had in awhile - it was fun to be back in my home town and it was fun being with family there. Hope your Christmas was fun too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My eldest is all grown up

Meg is a freshman at Arizona State this year. We have enjoyed being so close to her - she's brought friends home and spent three weekends with us this semester! It doesn't hurt that Vegas is a fun place to visit when you're 18...

Meg has always been the easy-going child. Except for doctors and dentists, she has rarely shed a tear or thrown a fit. As a child, she had a sunny disposition and was really fun to have around. She enjoyed family get-togethers, had good friends and rarely gave us a second of trouble. As a teenager, she got a little more challenging...but still, no big problems. Just a little (ahem) mouthy and superior. Of course, I don't know anything about being a mouthy and superior teenager, right Mom and Dad?

She has always loved sports - specifically soccer. Meg started soccer when she was about 6 months old, I think. We spent more time at soccer fields in many different cities in Texas than anywhere else, I think. She's a fantastic player - long and lean, and has a mean corner kick that scored many a goal for her team.

There were times during her teenage years when we felt distant from her, and worried about our relationship with Meg. We tried not to hold her too tightly, while worrying that we weren't holding her tightly enough. She has a level head, a good sense of right and wrong, and is just generally good, so she got through (and so did we) with flying colors. Since she has started college, our relationship with her has changed and become more adult and less parental. (Except for that pesky paying for college thing...) Meg is beautiful, physically, and is really becoming a beautiful woman, all the way around. We look forward to celebrating graduation, career, marriage and grandchildren with her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My baby is growing up

The signs are all there. He can take showers by himself and dry his own hair, he can iron his own clothes (yes, really!!), he can change his own sheets, he talks on the phone to his friends, he cops a 'tude with the best of them, and now the child has braces. Yes, braces!! Well, the beginnings of them, anyway. They put an expander in his mouth yesterday, and we have the adventure of turning it every night for 28 nights to make his mouth bigger for the gigantic chiclets that are replacing those lovely little corn-kernel baby teeth he used to have.

I remember when he was a baby. Colicky, fussy, refused to breastfeed, very high-energy and high-strung. And that's all before his personality began to show itself! My Chase is most definitely his own man and has been since the word go. I have often said that we got what we asked for when we named our son an action verb...

But, despite all of the difficulties we've had, Chase has grown into an incredible young man. The principal at his school recently singled me out to tell me just that. And it was in the context of Chase being caught doing something wrong! The principal said he was so impressed with Chase's contrite attitude, apology, and willingness to make it right, that it made a real impression on him.

I remember one time when Chase was in the 2nd grade. When he got home from school, I told him I had missed him, and that it was lonely at our house when he was at school. He looked bewildered and said, "Mommy, you're not alone. God is here with you when I'm at school!" Brought tears to my eyes.

Funny, Chase was so (ahem) challenging as a little boy, I would have bet you cash money that we were going to have terrible trouble with him in school. The exact opposite has occurred. He's in the 5th grade, and every single teacher he has had has absolutely loved him. He is a good student, but I think even if he was pushing straight C's, he'd be a favorite. He's just a loving, kind, helpful, attentive, cheerful kid, and what teacher doesn't love that kid?

So, tis the season of the annual family brag letter. I didn't get my act together to get one sent (again) this year, so I thought I'd just brag here in my blog. Stay tuned - there is more bragging, um I mean info coming tomorrow!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Travel worries

We are headed back East for Christmas this year. Spending the holidays with my parents, my brother and his family and my Aunt Susan. My family is really fun, and we all enjoy hanging out together. I know it will be a great vacation.

HOWEVER...

Before the merriment can begin, we have to TRAVEL. (sigh)

Everyone loves to travel, except me. Now, don't get me wrong. I love going to new places, seeing new things, lying on new Caribbean beaches, etc. etc. etc. I just hate the whole process of getting there. Nobody is looking forward to the NTSA coming up with the whole Star Trek "beaming down" process more than me. I hate worrying about traffic and getting to the airport 3 hours before our flight leaves. I hate standing in line lugging bags. I hate getting stranded due to weather. I hate long flights. I hate sleeping sitting up. I hate turbulence. I hate finding the rental car place. I know, I know, I'm a whiner. But I honestly do hate almost everything about traveling!

I think it's because I am such a worrier. I don't really worry about the safety of the plane - I figure smarter folks than me have figured that all out, and I've flown enough to trust the airline industry. It's more missing the flight, forgetting our documents, losing our boarding passes, losing our luggage, not being able to find the rental car, flight cancellations, etc. Just the whole process of traveling is stressful to me. But, I have minimized our travel worries as much as possible. We are flying from a warm climate with no weather concerns to another warm climate with few weather concerns and we are flying nonstop. That means, once we get in the air, we're golden. Other than that, I'll have to just deal with the rest.

I'm not currently on any anti-anxiety or anti-depressant meds, but sometimes I think I should be. Maybe just for travel, I could snag a Xanax??? :) Might make the whole process easier and better for everyone involved!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My love/hate relationship

I have a cold.

The kind that makes me wonder if someone has snuck cedar into my house and is secretly putting it in my face soap. (I'm desperately allergic to cedar, by the way)

The kind that made me let Chase watch WAY too much TV and play WAY too many video games yesterday during our snow day.

The kind that makes me wish I could take Chase to school early just so I could be back in bed right now.

The kind that made me take the most dreaded of all pharmaceuticals: NYQUIL

OH, how I hate that nasty stuff! It is certainly better now that they have put it in a liqui-cap and I don't have to actually taste it, but it's not only the horrible horrible, vomit-inducing taste I object to. I object to how I feel RIGHT NOW. I know you're not dying to hear the list of my complaints, but it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. sob, sniff

Nyquil is good for only one thing. Sleeping. When I take that stuff, I sleep like the dead. That, my friends is a good thing. The bad part is waking up. I am convinced that Nyquil contains at least 12 shots of Mad Dog or something equally vile. When I woke up this morning, the room was spinning, and I wasn't sure exactly where I was. After realizing that the piece of carpet someone had apparently stuffed in my mouth while sleeping was ACTUALLY my tongue, I managed to stagger out of bed and stay upright.

Nyquil makes me feel fuzzy and thick. That is the best way to describe it. I will spend today feeling stuffed up, chilly, sorry for myself, fuzzy and thick. YAY! That's how I want to spend a Friday, how about you?

No Nyquil for me tonight - I'd rather be tired!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Toto, I don't think we're in Vegas anymore...

One of the perks of living in Las Vegas, is that we don't have weather. Other than HOT, of course. So, imagine my surprise when I looked out of the window and saw this:













And really, should a backyard pool look like this? Now, before you get too jealous, remember, it's a rental!!!
It's cold here, baby. 30 degrees and falling. And snowing. Of course, the streets are clear because it's usually 1000 degrees here, but I still saw many people skidding off of the roads while I was driving home from work this afternoon. The locals say it's because of all of the oil on the roads since it never rains... yeah, whatever. I think people are distracted by the foreign concept of ANYTHING falling from the skies here, and they are so busy looking at it, they are driving off of the roads.
But, it sure is beautiful, and reminds me of Denver...and Green Bay...two of my very favorite cities. And bonus - no shoveling of driveways, so we are very much enjoying the unseasonably-precipitous weather!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One of the perks of living in Vegas

...is the fact that it's a fun place to visit. We have had more people visit us in the 6 months we have lived here (can you believe it's already been six months? Me either...) than the nearly 2 years we lived in Denver! And NO ONE came to visit us the year we lived in Green Bay! My dear darling stepdaughter Meg has even come three times this semester! She is here this weekend with her friend Becca.

It's really fun having an adult daughter... well almost an adult - she's 18! She sure THINKS she's all grown up, that's for sure! And she looks all grown up too. She's gorgeous and full of spit and vinegar. She's got lots of personality, and has really become an incredible young woman. We are proud of her, and it's been fun having her come visit.

It's also fun having an 11-yr-old son. Chase is just so bright and full of life. He is great fun to have around, and has some great ideas about things, if you can get him to stop talking about Pokemon and talk about real things!! He's into lacrosse, karate, school and (of course) Pokemon.

So, all of that said - Vegas is starting to grow on me. It's finally NOT a thousand degrees, and I'm enjoying the cool weather. We love having guests, and there are just so many fun things to do here, it's astounding. So, if you are in the minority of folks I know who have not yet come to visit, call and make a reservation at our casa. We'd love to have ya!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adventures in Substituting Chapter 2

So, yesterday, I had the best day subbing I've ever had - bar none! I subbed in a pre-K class, and met the absolute most adorable, cutest and most fun little 4 year olds in all of Vegas! I loved it, and would sub in that class every day, if asked!

Today, I got a job subbing in a good suburban school - nice neighborhoods, certainly NOT at-risk, brand new school, etc. Subbing in a second grade classroom. I mean, how hard can second graders be, right? I have subbed in the 'hood, man. Where I am SURE the kids were on crack, if not outright dealing in front of me. I can handle it - I'm tough, and these are 7 year olds! Again I ask you, how hard can it be?

OH. MY. GOSH.

Let me just say that as long as I've been subbing, I've not been reduced to tears once. And like I said, I've subbed in the 'hood. I cried today by 11am. I had a 7-year-old take his cell phone (who knew 7-yr-olds had cell phones, but I digress) into the bathroom with him and call his mother to report that the substitute was HURTING THE KIDS IN THE CLASS.

I was the substitute.

I'm teaching to a fairly rowdy and difficult group when suddenly the Assistant Principal came in and gathered the kids around her to have a "chat." She then explained the situation (right in front of my astonished face) and asked,

AP: Now, children. Has Mrs. STQ asked you to do anything dangerous (huh)?
Angelic children: Nooooooooooo Mrs. Swan
AP: Has Mrs. STQ asked you to do anything illegal (what)?
Angelic children: Nooooooooooo Mrs. Swan
AP: Has Mrs. STQ hurt any of you in any way? (at which point I nearly lost it)
Angelic children: Noooooooo Mrs. Swan
AP: Has Mrs. STQ yelled or called names to any children? (nearly lost it again)
Angelic children: Noooooooo Mrs. Swan.
AP: Now, children. Let's talk about the boy who cried wolf.

And she proceeded to tell the kids the story of the boy who cried wolf while I was reeling from the accusation I was hearing towards ME!

AP: Now, children. Let's get back to work and let's all pay close attention to Mrs. STQ the rest of the day.

And she left. Just like that - no explanation or discussion to me, no secret wink that everything is ok, no nothin. She just left me alone with my accusers.

At that point, I WANTED to hurt the children...no, I didn't really, but I sure was mad and upset, can you blame me?

During my 15-minute lunch, instead of eating, I found the AP and asked her what the heck was going on! Apparently one parent was called from the cherub with the cell phone in the bathroom, and that parent called her closest friends with kids in the class and they were gathering an angry mob to run on my class with torches to run me out! (This was the part where I cried...a little)

Oh, do you remember that these kids are SEVEN? I repeat. OH. MY. GOSH.

I was then abused by these pint-sized terrorists the rest of the day (should have called my mommy to report it I guess) and left feeling like I'd been beaten with a stick. One of the other teachers said this as I left:

Mrs. Way-Too-Cheery-To-Be-Believed: Bye, Mrs. STQ - be sure to leave your phone number so we can call you again soon!

Me: (thinking silently, as I waved and ran as fast as possible from the building) Yep, I'm gonna just run right back in to do that. I'm dying to come back to this FANTASTIC place...

Can't wait.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Houston, funerals & family

Houston:
traffic was atrocious, steamy and 80 on Wednesday, great airport, airport VERY FAR AWAY from where we stayed, seeing nephew and wife's new and beautiful house, playing guitar hero (FUN!!), windy and rainy, BAD for STQ's hairdo...Very very bad...

Funeral:
beautiful service, fun reminiscing about Don, lots of great food, lots of great family, loads of laughter remembering Don and his big laugh, life and love, and loads of tears remembering Don, his big laugh, life and love.

Family:
Marcelle, Maresha, Sharlyn, Myrline, JC, Cathy, Ryan, Janie, Adam, Shannon and the STQ family. Plus the Laws family, old family friends and Don & Janie's friends in Houston.

The trip was grueling, the humidity was uncomfortable, the clothes were hot, but the family was close, the tears were shared and the love was palpable. So many people were surprised Chase and I went to the funeral, since he wasn't my brother, and it cost a lot of money and time to get there. I am so very thankful we went. It was a fitting goodbye to a big man who had a big impact on our little STQ family. I know I have devoted a lot of time to him in this usually random and kind of silly blog, but this has been a real tragedy for our family.

So, one last time - we love you Don. We miss you, and we expect to see you first in line someday at the pearly gates saying "KISS MY FACE" like you used to as you crush us in a big bear hug. I wonder if you can have the air crushed out of your eternal body like you can your earthly one? Well, I know he will try his very best.

Bye Don.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Memoriam

Donald Wayne Wood died at 9pm this evening in Houston, TX. Janie, his wife of 28 years was with him, and he had family all around. We will all miss him very much, and personally, I don't know how I will ever get over this unspeakable tragedy. I have peace in the knowledge that Don was a man of very strong faith, so I know where he is and that he is just fine. That really does make it better for all of us, to know we'll see him again someday. Like I told Chase, that is one of the very best things about being a Christian. No one is ever really gone and we will get to be together for eternity someday.

We will miss you, Don.

Thanksgiving/update on Don

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving - we went to East Texas, and Chase and I have arrived safely back in "Sin City." Divine hubby stayed in Houston, where his brother Don has been in ICU for a month. Thursday, the family made the awful decision to take him off of life support, and he is still hanging on. He is on incredible levels of morphine, is completely unconscious, and hopefully pain-free.

This has been an awful month for our family and we are all now praying for a quick end to his suffering. We would appreciate any and all prayers on Don's behalf. I will keep you up to date, and thank you for your prayers. We are saddened beyond measure at this terrible tragedy. Don was only 49 and had a LOT more life to live. We will miss him immeasurably.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Christmas resolution

I used to absolutely LOVE getting the Christmas tree, decorating it, decorating the house, driving around to see Christmas lights, etc etc etc. Over the past few years, I've kinda "lost that lovin' feelin" about Christmas, and it has started to show. Last year was so bad, we didn't even get a TREE! And it was even worse - we didn't EVEN put up the fake one we had in the basement! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

So, I'm turning over a new leaf. This year, we have already (kind of) started decorating, and I have actually bought a few new decorations, can you imagine? Did you know that JoAnne's already has their Christmas decorations at 50% off? I may have to do a little more shopping before it's all said and done, but shhhhh, don't tell Divine Hubby! :)

We probably won't get a REAL Christmas tree, but I'm ok with that. The fake one is in the garage and a few real garlands for the mantle will scent the house nicely without all of the mess and expense.

Divine hubby and I even put a pretty good dent in the shopping this weekend - and we really had fun together. Daniel, one of Chase's friends came to visit from Colorado, and his dad took the boys to the Hoover Dam on Saturday, so Divine Hubby and I had some shopping time. I know, I know, you are amazed that Divine Hubby would go shopping with me, but we have always really enjoyed Christmas shopping together. Divine Hubby is a GREAT shopper - we have the same philosophy and taste in stuff, and it's something we have always enjoyed doing together.

So, my Christmas resolution is to put the fun back in Christmas. Chase and I made some Operation Christmas Child boxes, we're decorating a little, and we're firmly in the spirit. AND, the neighbors have already paid big bucks to have their lights put up (cracks me up that people pay for that...), so the neighborhood is starting to look a lot like (a Vegas) Christmas!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Adventures in Substitute Teaching

I've been substitute teaching for a few weeks now, and have come to a couple of conclusions.


1. Kids just don't behave well for subs. (yeah, I know... duhhhhhhhhhhh)

2. It's really hard to get the attention of 30+ people of any age when they are all talking at once without shouting.

3. Sometimes shouting works.

4. Subbing is hard, and I'm not sure it will get any easier unless I take a long-term job.


I subbed in a fairly at-risk school this past week. I was a remedial reading teacher to 7th graders. I know, I know. Luckily there is a full-time teacher's aide in the class. Her name was Mrs. T#$%^^&*&^%%$#. Completely unpronounceable, so everyone called her Mrs. T. She was a GODSEND, let me tell ya. It was complete and utter chaos, nearly the entire day. Mrs. T said that it's pretty much that way every day, which made me sad. I don't think more than 5 of the kids all day did any work, nor did they get anything out of any of the lessons. Mrs. T was tough on the kids, and sent quite a few of them packing to the Dean's office. One boy felt that the scolding he got was unwarranted (and I agreed, frankly), so he stopped working completely and sat in the corner with his head down and a scowl on his face. I tried to talk to him and say that just because he felt like he was picked on was no reason to get an F on the day's work and ruin his grade in the class. His assignment at the time was a creative writing one. I told him to write about how it feels to be picked on and unnecessarily punished. He ignored me.

Then there was a boy named Robert. He was part of the worst group in the worst class I had all day. Talking back, refusing to work, refusing to sit in his seat, picking fights with other kids, you name it. He was completely disruptive ALL PERIOD. Finally, Mrs. T sent him to the Dean's office. He immediately freaked out and said he'd be expelled if he went to the Dean's office one more time and to PLEASE give him a second chance. So, she did. About 2.5 seconds later (and that's generous), he was picking a fight AGAIN. So, she said that's it! She sent him to the Dean's office, ostensibly to be expelled. As he was leaving the class, he tore a piece of notebook paper, wrote something on it and handed it to me. With a lecherous wink, he whispered, "Call me." The note had his phone number on it! Remember, this is 7th grade. He's probably 14!!! AND he's being expelled, as we speak. I told divine hubby to watch out - he's got some competition! :)

Then there was another boy who has haunted me since I left the classroom. His name was David. He was unkempt, his shirt was dirty, and he had awful buck teeth. So bad, he honestly could not close his mouth. He sat by himself, did his work quietly and didn't hang out with the other troublemakers. As a matter of fact, they ignored him completely. His work was nearly illegible, and the way he wrote told me that he is probably a barely-functioning illiterate. He had such a look of sadness, it was palpable to me. I am not sure why, because he had no visible marks on him, but I have a feeling he lives with something terrible, like abuse. I just got that feeling from him. I tried to interact with him, but to absolutely no avail. He has stayed with me. I hope I'm wrong and he was having a hard day, or one of his parents was sick or something, but I just got a feeling of hopelessness from David.

This is the main problem with subbing. You just don't get to know the kids at all. And they don't get to know you. I could take a long-term position, but that would take away the flexibility I enjoy in being a sub. I don't know what the solution is, but at the moment, I've got the week off for Thanksgiving, so I think I'll worry about it next week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Adventures in book clubbing

Since we moved here, I have been looking for a book club. Most of the people I have met are not readers (can you imagine NOT being a reader?? I can't...), or are not in a book club. So, I've tried a few "public" book clubs at bookstores, libraries, etc. None have really met my needs. But, there is an area here in Vegas called "Summerlin" that is a gigantic master-planned community and is jam packed with soccer moms in minivans. Perfect! So, I called the Summerlin library, and they have a big book club that meets once a month at the library. So, I slogged through a book I didn't really love (truth be told, I didn't actually finish it...) and went to the book club yesterday morning with high expectations.

I walked in the conference room and immediately realized my mistake. I was the youngest person in the room. By 30 years. There were more oxygen tanks than minivans, for sure. But, I decided to go ahead and stay for the discussion anyway. It was an interesting and entertaining morning!! Here are the highlights:

A woman who was at least 80 wearing an animal-print sequined ball cap, leopard-printed leggings (tight leggings, not pants), a not-long-enough tunic and about 10 wooden necklaces with large wooden African animals on them. Oh, and she carried a giant canvas bag that looked like a rainbow absolutely exploded on it...sequins too.

Two women who walked in together, sat together, finished each other's sentences, and seemed joined at the hip. One woman had dyed blonde hair and an orange shirt, and the other woman had dyed orange hair (I swear it was exactly the color of the blonde's shirt) and a light yellow shirt (exactly the color of the blonde's hair). Made me laugh!

A Jewish woman who, every time someone said anything was "the fault of the Jews" (in the book, not globally), exploded in a tirade.

A Catholic woman who, every time someone said anything was "the fault of the Catholics" (again, in the book), exploded in a tirade.

note: there were lots of things in this book that, it could be argued, could be the fault of the Jews or the Catholics...so it got interesting a few times!

One woman mentioned the word "bisexual" and the whole place went to pieces for about 5 minutes! I don't even remember WHY she said the word, as there wasn't anyone in the book who would fit that description, unless it was part of the book I skipped in an effort to finish the darn thing!

Then there was a discussion of euthanasia (only barely touched on in the book) and a woman started shouting "MURDER" randomly and glaring at the other women who disagreed. Just as a sociological experiment, I wanted to stand up and say "let's talk about ABORTION" and see what happened, but I was afraid for my life, frankly.

The moderator passed around some color copies of pictures from historically-relevant art and I never got to see them, because two of the women in front of me took the copies, folded them and put them in their purses. Even though they had passed through several rows before, somehow, they decided the copies were for them! Cracked me up.

It was a very interesting morning, but not really what I am looking for in a book club. For example, January's book is an 800 page biography of John Adams...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Update and thank you

First, I wanted to thank all of you who have emailed and commented to say you are praying for Don and his family. Please keep praying - he is certainly not out of the woods yet. He will probably be in the hospital for several months longer. We are still hoping and praying he will recover and with no brain damage. To complicate things, he has recently developed pneumonia in the hospital, but that seems to be clearing up with antibiotics.

Our family went to Death Valley last weekend, and I'll be blogging/uploading photos about that trip soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Donald Wayne Wood

My brother-in-law has been involved in a terrible accident. He is in the ICU in Houston and it is touch and go. He may not survive, and if he does, there may be brain damage. Our family is requesting prayers for both Don and his wife Janie and their son Adam. Please, if you are the praying sort, get down on your knees and pray for healing, and pray for strength, and pray for peace and rest for his family.

Don has always been larger than life. Literally. He is 6'6" and is built like a linebacker. He was a star football player in his hometown of Atlanta, TX. My mother-in-law loves to tell stories of how she would come home from work and the yard was FULL of cars, and the house was FULL of girls. He was quite the BMOC. He graduated and got a full-ride football scholarship to Rice. He met and married Janie Laws, and they have one son, Adam whom they have always loved passionately. Don's career has been in sales, and he has sold almost everything you can imagine. He owned a fish store for awhile, he has sold furniture, GPS tracking devices for truckers, telecom, office supplies, you name it, he's dabbled in it. He is an amazing salesperson, and has been extremely successful in his career. One of those "could sell ice cream to the eskimos" kind of guys.

He loves kids. He and Janie wanted to have a houseful of children, but God blessed them with one son, Adam. So, Don has always doted on all of the nieces and nephews in the Wood family. I remember one day when Chase was 3 or so. We were at Divine Hubby's mom's house and I came into the room just in time to see Chase balancing himself on the back edge of the sofa. Well, I freaked out, called him by all three of his names in that mom-voice and asked him what n the name of Jehozephat he thought he was doing. Don sheepishly leaned into my sight and said, "Um, he's jumping to me..." and Chase launched himself off of the sofa into Don's waiting arms. That's the kind of guy he is. He has taken Chase fishing almost every time we have gotten together, just Chase and Uncle Don. He always brings a BB gun, and they go out in the woods together and shoot soda cans off of logs. The last time we saw him, he gave Chase the BB gun, and it is one of Chase's prized possessions.

He is a teaser. He loves to say, in his big booming voice, "Kiss my face." Or, "Go play in the street." Then he swoops whatever kid is around up in his arms and tickles or rough houses with them until the kid can't stand it anymore. 5 seconds later, the kid is back for more. Don can play with kids for hours. He has volunteered his time at the local elementary school to teach Junior Achievement classes on handling money, credit, etc. and the class has a waiting list. Kids LOVE Don.

His wife Janie says that the neighborhood kids come around to ask to play with him. And Don is 50! He'll go out and play basketball for hours, laughing and rough-housing with the neighborhood kids, his big booming voice and laugh echoing down the street.

This big, vibrant man is now fighting for his life, and we are not sure what kind of life it will even be at this point. I ask you to kneel, where you are right now, and say a prayer for Donald Wayne Wood. If you will comment or email and let me know you prayed, I'll tell his wife how many people who don't even know this man, are petitioning God on his behalf. God moves mountains, parts oceans and sends Saviors. I pray He will listen to our prayers and heal this wonderful man whom we love so much. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations, President Obama

The USA has just made history. We have elected our first African-American president. I wish I could say I was enthusiastic about it, but I'm not. I wish I was excited, but I'm scared. I wish I shared others' happiness, but I'm full of trepidation and fear of this unknown and unproven man.

Now, you all know that I have gone out of my way NOT to make this a political blog. And it's still not. This is about me (go figure!!). I hope you will refrain from commenting negatively about my politics - this blog entry is about my concerns and hopes for the future, and I am speaking as an AMERICAN. Not a Republican.

Many of you know how involved I have been in this election. I have done voter registration, I have poll watched and I have campaigned for months now. John McCain was not my first choice, but as the nominee, I supported him. I was then, and am now very worried about Barack Obama. I am worried about his loyalties. In the Senate, he has been very liberal, much more liberal than I think this country would like their president to be, and I am worried he will continue on that path. I am worried about what kind of Supreme Court justices he will nominate. I am worried that he will expand the boundaries of Roe vs. Wade and continue the horror of partial-birth abortions. I am worried he will spend us into the ground. I am worried how he will handle an attack like 9/11. I am worried...I am worried.

BUT, a long time ago, I had to decide if I am first a Republican, or first an American. (A question I hope each of you will ask yourselves too.) It really took some soul-searching to decide this question, because if I say I am a Republican first, then I have to work against a Democratic president, hold my breath and wait for him to screw everything up. If I say I am an American first, then I will embrace whatever president my fellow Americans decide to elect and work with him or her to make this country even better than it is. It's a hard decision, because I am very conservative, and that value really goes right to the core of my being.

Ultimately, it is undeniable. I am an American. And as such, I congratulate Barack Obama on being elected president of the US. I also began praying for him tonight with Chase, a practice I will continue. I prayed that he will be an amazing president. I prayed that he will energize this country like we've never seen. I prayed that he will be blessed with health and wisdom. I prayed that in 4 years, I will be proud to vote for him for re-election.

During this election, I have learned a few things. I have learned that it really is fun and rewarding to be part of the process. I have learned that I don't ever plan to sit on the sidelines again, and am looking for my place in politics. I have re-learned that I am proud to say I'm an
American, and that I accept Barack Obama as my president. It's not easy for me, and I will not say that I am thrilled about the outcome tonight, but as my dear friend Kale said...God is in control, and God is NOT worried about an Obama presidency. God is bigger than any concerns I may have, and He has a plan that is being carried out. God never wrings His hands in worry, as I do. I did my part, now I need to step back and watch God do His. It's not mine to worry about, it's His, and no matter how much I think He may need my help, honestly, He can handle it without me (can you imagine??). So, I'm going to let Him handle it and I'm going to pray only for the best for the US. I hope those of you who, like me are feeling disappointed and worried tonight will join me in this prayer. It's in all of our best interest if President Obama is a fantastic president. I'm hoping and praying for that, will you join me?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Shack

God and I conspired and gave my mom a book (it's such a cool story, and I LOVE being in cahoots with God on something!!) while she was visiting here in Vegas. It's called The Shack and everyone's book club is reading it at the moment, so I'll bet a lot of you have already read it. I have just started it, but quickly am on page 120, to my shock. It's a fantastic read, and really speaks to having a personal relationship with God. In this book, a man meets God in a shack in the woods. When I say he meets God, I mean face-to-face with a real, live incarcation of God. Not some ethereal feeling or presence. God is present, and has a physical body. (The kind of body God has is a surprise that I'll keep to myself so you can read the book.)

When I was a child, both of my grandfathers died the year I turned 8. I was very distressed by these events, for obvious reasons. Death, loss, grief, watching both parents deal with the loss of their fathers, all had a huge effect on me, and I remember those days vividly. I had a "Shack-like" experience with God in those days. I had an incredible dream after one particularly bad night where I was sitting on a log with Jesus. I was allowed to ask anything I wanted, and He answered me.

Yes, I said He answered all of my questions. I still remember the questions, but by morning, I did not remember any of the answers. I felt so much better about everything after that dream. I have always loved that very personal experience I had with God. I know, many people have and will suggest that it was just a dream. God and I know better! I do wish I knew why grandfathers had to be taken away from 8-yr-old girls, but I remember that God's answer to my question completely made sense to my 8-yr-old soul, so I know there is a good answer to that question.

It's amazing when the creator of the universe comes to meet you where you are, isn't it? Sometimes when I'm feeling really low, I forget about that gift I was given. Thinking about that gift reminds me how important I am to Him. That's a great feeling! Reading this book brings back those feelings and I'm enjoying experiencing them again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegas Wildlife

So, you all know we live in Vegas. What you may not know is that there are three lakes in our neighborhood that attract all kinds of wildlife. I have taken some pictures to demonstrate:

**We have two gorgeous black swans with bright red beaks...which I saw last week...once...and didn't have my camera. So visualize with me...no photos, sorry. I'm still hopeful I will see them again.**


We have one other swan-y looking guy. He's not as pretty as the black swans, but ya know.








These are your basic wood ducks. I love the iridescent green look of the male's head. The poor little mousy female is swimming behind him, but she sure has a lot of these gorgeous guys fighting over her!








There are about a gazillion of these guys. They fight a lot (or that's what I'm calling it in this family blog anyway), which is interesting to watch. They have very white beaks.






And we have a ton of pigeons. Not so beautiful, nor rare, but there are so many of them, I thought it worth a mention (and a picture).








Then there is this guy. He is the weirdest looking duck I've ever seen. He's got kind of a turkey-head thing going on, and we've named him Chuck. He has a wife (who has a little of the turkey-redness but is much better looking) named Mrs. Chuck, and this summer, they raised a family with two little Chucklets. Not very original, I am aware, but it provided much entertainment for us this summer.





Sometimes, we get a flock of Canadian geese who will spend a little time on our lake, but they don't stick around long. I will keep an eye out for the black swans - they are so beautiful, I'll probably have to blog about them again.
And last, but not least, Chuck gave me a little dance this afternoon when I was taking his picture. I captured it on film, and thought you would all enjoy it. Listen for his little "hissing" in between the sound of the passing cars and the sound of the ducks quacking. It was hilarious and I was thrilled!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 9

Ok, so I'm done. I just cannot choke down the lemonade anymore. I have to give this experience an A+, though. I made it through 8 days, and I feel better than I've felt in a long time! I am down 11 pounds, and I have more energy than I've had in a long time. My ONLY complaint about this cleanse is the boring-ness of it. I tell you, I may never drink lemonade again... although, I'd like to make this cleanse an annual event, so I may end up drinking gallons of it again someday...

Hope you're not disappointed in me! I sure gave it my all - and I'm really glad I did! Now, what in the world will I talk about tomorrow? Who knows, but I'm going to talk about it with a cup of hot tea in my hand...I've sure missed it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cleanse...days 7 & 8

Hey, hate to "Reader's Digest" ya, but I worked all weekend at the early voting polls, and was just too exhausted to blog! Who knew...

Let's see. There's not that much to say, honestly. I'm still on the cleanse, my tongue is getting pinker, so I feel like I'm on the downhill slope. THANK GOODNESS, because I HATE HATE HATE that dad-gummed lemonade. Honestly, I am hungry these days because I just can't stomach 2 quarts of the stuff anymore. I know, if I would drink it, I'd be less hungry, but it's hard. So, I'm really on mostly water. I figure it's kinda cheating, but it's not like I traded the lemonade in for chocolate milk!

So, I would still recommend it, but say that it's hardest at the end. Not harder to resist the food, just harder to keep drinking the lemonade. I really feel healthy, energetic and strong, I have lost more than 10 pounds, and with 2 days to go, am hoping for another 2 or so. I'm looking forward to eating again, but mostly out of boredom. I have to say this has been a really good experience for me, and after I have forgotten how MUCH I HATE THE LEMONADE, I'll probably do it again someday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleanse...Day 6

Ok, so it's not quite Day 6 yet, but tomorrow, I am working as a poll watcher from 8am(yawn) until 6pm then going to Chase's school to help tear down the carnival that is happening all day tomorrow. I'm going to be exhausted and probably won't feel like blogging. So, I thought I'd get a jump on it!

Tongue: still white and furry
Tummy: kinda growling when divine hubby and Chase ate Subway for dinner
Willpower: still 100%
Weight: nearly 8 pounds (!)
Lemonade: officially hate it

The driving force now is that I've put in over 5 days on this thing, and I'm not quitting now! Again, I'm honestly not doing this for the weight loss, and I don't recommend it for that purpose - I'm sure the weight will come back when I'm back on solid foods! It is nice to have my jeans a little looser, though...and I enjoy getting on the scale every day too!

The lemonade has lost its appeal to me. I can still drink it (and am currently doing so), but I don't really want to. I'm chewing a lot of gum (no, I'm not really supposed to, but ya gotta do something...lemonade breath is awful!!) and drinking lots of water.

Wish me luck - I'm off to the polls tomorrow to make sure democracy is safe from those who seek to pervert the process! (Hand over heart, singing the Star Spangled Banner with a tear in one eye...sniff)

Cleanse...Day 5

I have been surprised by several aspects of this cleanse. Last night, I found a new surprise. I was watching my favorite TV show (CSI) and every single commercial was for food. Applebees, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut (mmmmm), you name it, they bought ad time on CSI last night. I was REALLY craving all of it. Honestly, I had almost decided to forget the whole thing and eat.

When the show was over, I got up and realized I really had to go to the bathroom. After I (ahem) went and was washing my hands, I looked in the mirror and realized that I didn't want to eat anymore. The craving was gone. I had read that if you have a craving, it will be gone as soon as you (ahem) get rid of the toxins that are causing the craving. Last night, that was proven to me.

Yesterday was the hardest day so far on this cleanse. Maybe it's because I didn't have a lot going on, and got bored? I really thought about and craved food a lot more yesterday than the previous days. Today there is a little more going on - Chase has a half day, so I'll pick him up around noon, then he has karate at 4. I'm hoping today will be easier. It's hard to imagine I can keep this up for another 5 days if I'm going to have cravings like yesterday. Luckily, Saturday and Sunday I am working as a poll watcher all day, so it will be easier to not eat at least those days. And it's the weekend, which means the early voting polls will be crowded, which makes time go faster.

So, status report:

1. Got hungry yesterday
2. Realized that hunger will go away after certain (ahem) events
3. Tongue is still white and furry
4. Day 5 is underway!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cleanse...Day 4

Yesterday, I had an incredible burst of energy that lasted all day! I took a 5 mile bike ride, took Rusty for a walk around the block, then came home and cleaned for 4 hours. Cleaned like, moved the couch and vacuumed behind it, kind of cleaned. Took the light bulbs out of the fixtures and cleaned the fixtures, kind of cleaned. Using the bleach pen to get the red wine out of the grout, kind of cleaned. I didn't get around to cleaning the soap scum off of the glass shower walls, but maybe today...

We went to church last night, and in our class, someone brought CAKE. Two kinds of CAKE. Now, if you know me, I love all things carb-y and sugar-y, and CAKE is high high high on that list. OOOHHH, CCCCAAAAKKKKEEE. :) But, I digress...

I didn't eat it.

Oh, I wanted to!

But, I didn't.

I don't have any willpower, especially when it comes to something like CCCAAAKKKEEE, so it of course did occur to me that "one bite couldn't hurt!" But, this cleanse is truly making me feel good. Even great, I might say. And I know that no matter how much my mouth loves CAKE, my tummy does not. And I don't want to feel yucky anymore now that I remember how great great feels. I'm sure I will eat CAKE again in the future, but I've invested nearly 96 hours into this thing, and I'd sure like to see it all the way through.

So, my tongue is still white and furry, the salt water went down even easier this morning, and I'm well into my first serving of cayenne lemonade.

Now, I have to take my car into the shop AGAIN (I think my mechanic is secretly sabotaging it to continue my business...) so it should be easy not to eat while I'm sitting in his dirty garage reading my book. Of course, today will be the day he gets Krispy Kreme or something...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tag, you're it!

I got tagged in a friend's blog, so I'm it. Here are 7 random things about me:

1. Open drawers and cabinet doors drive me nuts. I'll close them ANYWHERE I am.

2. I love to touch the etchings/stickers on glass doors, windows, etc.

3. I can't stand it when the toilet paper is on the roll backwards. I will change it if at all possible.

4. I love to lean on divine hubby's shoulder first thing in the morning while he's shaving. Weird, I know...

5. I cannot stop reading a book I have started unless it is truly offensive or absolutely boring, and even if those two conditions are present, I will still read until I just can't stand it anymore. I think I put two books down in the past five years since I've been keeping track of the books I read. Divine hubby thinks it's nuts to keep reading books I hate...but I do.

6. I used to be a mystery shopper.

7. Watching people brush their teeth gives me the heebie-jeebies. I HATE toothpaste commercials. Makes my skin crawl.

Oh, and I did write a blog about my cleanse...keep reading!

Day 3

So, are you sick of reading about this whole thing yet? I may not be able to post every day just about the cleanse...from what I've been reading, there won't be much different to say after the first couple of days.

I've gotten used to the cayenne, which means I can add more. According to the book, as the toxins leave your body, you are more able to tolerate the less tasteful aspects of the cleanse. Initially, I thought that was probably bunk, but I have to admit that certain aspects of the cleanse have gotten inexplicably easier. One of the distasteful parts of it is that you have to quickly drink a quart of lukewarm water mixed with 2 tsp of sea salt every morning. Yesterday, it was all I could do to get half of that down. Today, I approached the quart glass with trepidation, but honestly, found it much easier to tolerate. I drank the whole thing, and it really wasn't bad. I am amazed at the difference a day makes. I also am actually enjoying the cayenne. I put much more in today than yesterday, and no problems.

I have fasted several times before, and found it sheer torture to be around people who were eating. I could not stop thinking of food and planning when I would be able to eat again. It is a great way to get closer to God - you pray whenever you are hungry...which for me was nearly constantly. I know I am not exactly fasting since I can drink the lemonade, but considering I've had absolutely no food other than the lemonade (and the salt water) in over 48 hours, I'm truly surprised that I'm honestly not hungry. I'd still rather you didn't eat a Beau Jo's pizza in front of me right now, but I was able to sit with divine hubby and Chase while they ate dinner last night with no problems. Frankly, I'm amazed.

The other thing I have noticed when fasting in the past is that I felt physically weak at the end of it. Again, I am getting a fair amount of sugar from the maple syrup, I realize, but still! I can honestly say I feel great. I'm planning to go for a bike ride this morning - I have that much energy! One odd side effect is that my tongue has turned white and furry...but the book says that will go away when my body is free of toxins. I'll keep you up on that progress. (I know you won't be able to sleep wondering how my tongue is doing - well, tune in tomorrow, sports fans!!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cleanse...Day 2

I survived day 1 with really very little problem. My biggest problem was that I put too much cayenne pepper in the lemonade and then took it with me to my substitute teacher training for 7 hours. It was GROSS and I couldn't stomach more than a couple of sips. That left me with no sustenance until 3pm. I decided water was better than, oh, say, Taco Bell, so I got a giant bottle of Spring water and drank that all day.

But, once I adjusted the cayenne pepper, the lemonade is actually very good. I was kinda peckish last night, but I examined my motivation, and honestly, it wasn't hunger. It was just...it's night time, I'm playing on the computer and/or reading my book. Need something to eat. But, really, I didn't. I awoke around 1am and had my first "cleansing" experience. It was impressive and kind of alarming. I'll not discuss these things in too much detail for fear of alienating my audience...

This morning, I feel good. I'm supposed to drink a quart of salt water. It's kinda hard to get down. A quart is a LOT of salt water and salt water is pretty yucky. But, I want to get the maximum benefit from this cleanse, so glug glug. I'm also going to the bookstore today to get a copy of the book this cleanse is based on. It's called Lose Weight, Have More Energy and be Happier in 10 Days and it's by Peter Glickman. Kind of a cheesy title, I know. I'm not doing it because of the weight loss. I'm not so naive as to think it won't come right back when I'm eating real food again. It's more that I'm feeling very bloated, fatigued and downright yucky. And everything I have read says that cleansing really helps with all of that. And if it can jump-start a little weight loss as well, then I'm in, baby!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall cleaning

I've been reading a lot about the "lemonade diet" that isn't actually a diet at all, but a cleanse. I'm a little afraid to try it, but I've read a lot about it and it seems like a positive step for someone who is feeling *fat* and honestly, kinda bloated. Ok, so the chips and chocolate add to that bloating, but I've been reading so much about the fact that our bodies are chock full of (ahem) fecal matter and that is one reason for weight gain and lethargy. I have about a week before I can hopefully start working, so it seems like the perfect time to start something like this.

I'm one of those people who need a kick-start when I'm trying to lose weight, and this seems like a good, healthy way to do that. Anybody out there have any experience with this particular program? I know my friend Laura in Denver has done it - anybody else?

I'll keep you updated on my progress - might make for an interesting daily post, don'tcha think? I know you're all dying to read about the state of my insides...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Racism

Ooh, that's a provocative title, huh? :)

I had a discussion with a dear friend the other day that was very upsetting to me. It was suggested to me that anyone not voting for Barack Obama is racist. Now, you all know that in this venue, I strive to be non-partisan, and I have absolutely NO interest in having political debates on my blog (or in my life, honestly). But, regardless of whom I am voting for, I have trouble with this particular stance.

First of all, I believe it is dismissive of Obama's many achievements and accomplishments to say this. Whether or not you are voting for him, he is an amazing man. Regardless of his race, he rose from very humble beginnings, attended Columbia and Harvard, was elected to several local offices, is now a US Senator, and one of TWO people who will become President of the US. Not exactly your average guy, regardless of race, color, gender, etc. And he didn't get where he is by playing the race card, either.

Secondly, I believe it is inherently racist to vote for ANYONE simply because of his or her race. That being said, it is also racist NOT to vote for anyone simply because of his or her race. Racism is NOT limited to people of color. It is racist to vote or not vote for anyone if their skin color (even if that skin is white) is the only reason you are doing so.

Thirdly, I believe Barack Obama would be sickened if he heard my friend say everyone who doesn't vote for him is racist. I do not believe he wants votes simply because he is black. He just doesn't strike me as an entitlement kind of dude. I will bet you a gazillion dollars that if Barack Obama does NOT win the Presidential election, he will NOT be the one to play the race card. Accusing Americans of electing John McCain instead of Barack Obama because Americans are racist is simply wrong. I am certain, if he is not elected, that the Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons of this world will certainly play that race card, and play it loudly, but I absolutely believe it will be wrong and I believe Barack Obama will be opposed to its being played on his behalf. It also demeans John McCain and the amazing things he has done with his life. If I vote for John McCain, it will be because he deserves it, not cause he looks like me.

Fourthly, I am not so naive to think that there is no one who will vote in a racist manner. I realize that there are people who dismiss Barack Obama simply due to his race. I hope and pray that those people are in the scary redneck minority and mostly will be too drunk to vote anyway.

So, there, I've gotten political. I am not sure if you can tell my political leanings from this posting. I hope not, but honestly, I don't think it matters. Whether I vote for Barack Obama or John McCain, I support both of their right to run for this high office. And while I cannot truthfully say I am 100% non-racist (not sure anyone can say that), I can 100% truthfully say that the person I am voting for is neither black nor white. He is an American. He is an amazing man. He has accomplished a lot. He has overcome a lot. He has policies I agree with. He is the better candidate, in my never-to-be-humble opinion. And I believe he will do his very best with this country he is entrusted with. If you are voting because of ANY color, I think you should reconsider and get the facts before November 4.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The perks of living in Vegas, baby

Remember my friend Shelly here in Vegas? The one I stalked? (Refer to earlier posts if you're lost - it's a good story!) Well, one of the first things she told me she liked about living in Las Vegas is that people come visit all the time. That has sure been true! We've only lived here 4 months, and have already had more people come visit us here than the nearly 2 years we lived in Denver!

Also, remember that I turned (ahem) 40 in September? Well, before we even left Denver, our wonderful friends the Camps and the Flythes made plans to come visit us for a weekend. And that weekend is finally here! We are very excited and have made all kinds of fun plans for the weekend.

I have waxed eloquently about the value of friends, so I won't bore you again with all of that, but suffice it to say that we have sure missed these dear friends of ours and are looking forward to seeing them on Friday. We just haven't made friends here in Vegas yet. We have some acquaintances that have the potential to become friends, but it takes time, and we haven't been here long enough yet. We've been kinda spoiled because in Austin, of course we had millions of friends. Green Bay, we quickly met our neighbors the Wagners and the Gudgeons and had instant friends. Denver, we had family, a very kid-friendly neighborhood and wonderful fellow soccer moms, so our friendships were made quickly. Those friendships have not materialized here quite so easily.

So, I'm anxiously awaiting our friends' arrival this weekend!! One of them is even bringing their son who is Chase's age, so we'll all have guests to hang out with!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Leaks

First, let me say that I am done with voter registration! Whew. The pay was good, but Saturday it was hard to hang out at the grocery store for ANOTHER 8 hours! So, I'm done. I did my civic duty, if my candidate doesn't win, well, it's not my fault, and I earned the STQ family a little cold hard cash, which I haven't done in 5 months! Felt good. I am waiting to see if they are going to hire me to work early voting, but I doubt it since with Chase's school schedule and activities, I can't work all day. I'll keep ya posted.

So, you know we have a nice house with a great kitchen here in Vegas, right? Pool, hot tub, the whole 9-yards. We have had a series of problems with this house that has required professional assistance.

1. Both A/C's went out and one of them had to be replaced
2. Pool pump died and had to be replaced
3. Weird electrical problem that was investigated several times and magically fixed itself.

Now we have leaks. The bathroom faucet leaks, it leaks under the same sink also. The cold water shower handle has gotten stripped or something and is almost impossible to turn on or off. The kitchen sink is leaking under the cabinet. The toilet in the master bath runs all the time and the water softener leaked a river in the garage. (sigh)

I love that we don't have to pay for these repairs, but I HATE waiting for these people to get off their tushies and come fix things! Our landlords live in Chile. No, that's not a suburb of Vegas. It's in South America. So, we have a property management company. When something breaks, we have to call them, then they call the landlords (who live several time zones away) to get approval. Then the property mgmt company calls the insurance company for approval, then they have to get someone out here. We may drown before anyone gets here. As a matter of fact, the water softener issue has been going on for over a month, and it's still not fixed.

So, I sent a (how shall we say) pointed email to the management company explaining the problems, how long they have been going on and that we need them to be fixed. This week. And if they are not fixed within a couple of days, we are going to call our own plumber to fix the problems and take it off the rent. They aren't going to like that idea, so I hope they'll get off their keesters and fix our stupid leaks! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If you think the grocery store was weird, try hanging out in front of a gas station for 5 hours!!!

Yesterday, I did voter registration in front of a gas station called Grumpy's! Thankfully, the store is run by women who do not fit that name...they were nice and really funny. Every 30 minutes on the nose, at least one of them would come out and have a cigarette or three. So, after a couple of days at this location, I'll have to have myself screened for lung cancer (cough, wheeze)!

Here's the breakdown:

133 people had already registered
22 people aren't registered and aren't going to
only 10 people ignored me completely
8 good Americans registered by me
5 felons :)
4 were not residents (one was from Sweden!!)
1 asked me if I was registered (smart aleck!)
1 was a drag queen

The drag queen was hilarious - he/she got out of a tiny little compact car, and how he/she ever got into it, I'll never know. He/she was about 6'3", had a 5-o'clock shadow, an adam's apple so big it nearly knocked me down when he/she walked by, full makeup, dress and heels. When I asked if he/she was registered to vote, he/she answered me in a great Barry White voice. Cracked me up! I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore, Toto...

Of the felons (quickly becoming my favorite demographic), one guy rode his bike up and told me he hadn't driven a car in 25 years. I asked him how many miles he has on his bike, and he said he'd only had this bike for a few years, so only 30,000. THIRTY THOUSAND??? Wow. We talked for awhile. He was a hoot! He didn't tell me what his felony was (how do you ask that question, anyway??), but I hope it wasn't murdering blonde women who stand outside of gas stations...gulp

Then there was the guy who told me I should definitely vote for Obama. When I asked why, he said "wouldn't you love to have a black president?" I asked if that was the only reason he was voting for Obama. The guy said "yep - I figure a black president will help the rest of us black folks out. But I know you white folks aren't gonna vote in a black man for president." I quickly informed him that my choice for president is not at all determined by the person's skin color, whereas he told me he didn't know what Obama stands for, nor does he care. He just wants a black man for president. He asked me if I thought that was racist. Then he asked me if I thought Obama would be assassinated while in office. I said I sure hoped no one would be assassinated. He said he didn't think anyone would assassinate a white president. I reminded him of Lincoln...JFK...not to mention Garfield (somebody must have wanted his lasagna). Anyway, he was kinda funny, and the conversation was definitely interesting.

Then a guy pulled up in a fairly new Jeep Cherokee, said hi to me, rummaged through the trash for three aluminum cans, then drove off.

A lady in a Suburban ran out of gas in the middle of three busy lanes of traffic, ran across the street to Grumpy's, bought a gas can, gas and then stood in the MIDDLE LANE without being killed to fill her car up. She didn't bring any children in, and I was sure hoping that meant she didn't have any in the car...

Did you know people still use pay phones? 4 people stopped at this gas station to use the pay phone. One of them was a guy in a beat up old minivan who must have talked for 30 minutes to someone about some woman who stood him up for a date and now wasn't returning his phone calls. Funny, you don't hear a lot of men yelling and complaining about that kind of stuff - he was worrying it to DEATH like I would do! I really wanted to tell him the truth. "Dude, she's just not that into you." But, he was so mad, I figured he would take my head off. So, I kept my opinion to myself.

I counted 22 cans of Red Bull bought, 10 cans of Monster, countless cases of beer, something called heavy gravity ale, a million candy bars and 8 giant blue slushies. Can't wait to go back today!!! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

When you stand outside of a grocery store for 8 hours, weird things happen

On Saturday, I did an 8-hour voter-registration shift outside of a Von's grocery store here in North Las Vegas. I was told not to bring a chair or a table, since people really respond better if you are standing and addressing them on eye level. So, I stood non-stop for six hours. The last two hours, I must admit that I occasionally sat on the bench outside the doors. Gotta get a little break, ya know!

I decided, if I was really going to stand holding a clipboard, paper and pen for 8 hours, that I needed something to do other than ask, "Ma'am, are you registered to vote?" I'm kind of a counter by nature, so I decided to keep track of people's responses to my question. Here's the breakdown (now, remember, this is only people entering one door of a 3-door grocery store):

470 people said yes, they are registered
31 said no they weren't registered and they weren't going to
27 ignored me completely (I decided they were all deaf...)
3 said they were British
1 asked me "why?" when I asked if he was registered (he thought I was trying to get signatures on a petition or something)
3 said they can't register because they are felons

FELONS! I mean, I'm not so naive to think that there aren't felons around me going to suburban grocery stores, but honestly, if you were a felon, would you TELL the random stranger outside of a grocery store that you were? I think, were I a felon and asked if I was registered to vote, I'd say "Yep, all registered. Thanks!" And go about my business. But three whole people, all separate and distinct from each other, admitted to having been in PRISON! It was interesting.

And then there were the people from the "other side of the aisle" who asked me whom I was supporting and/or working for. I got harassed by 10 or 12 people total, telling me how stupid my choice was, and that I really needed to rethink it. Also, one guy suggested that I was going to shred any registration forms that were for the other camp. I told him that was a felony as well as being immoral, and that even if he didn't agree with my choice of candidate, I actually wanted him to vote for his candidate on election day because that is part of being an American!

Then there were the two guys who both wanted to fill up their 5-gallon water jug thingies at the Sparkletts water dispenser. At the same time. And they both had myriad tattoos on their necks and faces and looked dangerous. So, they decided to have a little "discussion" right in front of me that I thought might force me to jump into the bushes to avoid being hit! Luckily, 96 F bombs (each) hurled at each other seemed to do the trick, and they both backed off.

Then there was the older man who walked into the store, then came out a few minutes later with a 2-qt container of ice cream and a spoon. He sat on the bench near where I was standing, and in about an hour, ate the entire thing. He even scraped the sides of the container, then licked his lips, stood up, threw the container away and left.

And I met cute little blonde girls, adorable twin 3-yr-olds, several babies in carriers, a mom who was carrying I swear, the contents of an entire Toys 'R Us store into the grocery store to keep her children entertained, several people who disagreed with my choice respectfully, and many people who agreed with me and took a free bumper sticker!

All in all, it was VERY interesting. I'm headed back today, but only for 6 hours this time, and maybe I'll have more stories tomorrow. If you are NOT registered to vote, it's getting close. The deadline in Nevada is Saturday, October 4. If you ARE registered to vote, GREAT! And don't forget to actually go vote on election day. This is a very important election, and whether you agree with my political and philosophical views or not, I want you to do your civic duty. That civic duty is one of the reasons that, even with our current struggles, I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. And why I will always be proud to say God bless the USA!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm no politician

I'm no politician, and I will be the first to admit that a lot of this financial and political talk goes right over my head, but I am really worried about this country! The markets are in limbo, the banks are failing, the insurance companies are failing, the brokerages are failing, the politicians are saying they don't know what to do (specifically Harry Reid, our esteemed Nevada senator), and every day brings crazier and more alarming news than the day before.

Ok, so here is my idea. The people in charge have absolutely no idea what to do (again, quoting the lovely and charming Mr. Reid), so let's make me queen for the day.

The first thing I would do is impose term limits on these idiots. Politicians are the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION in this world. People whose job it is to stay in power, to get more power and then get more money so they can have even more power are corrupt, plain and simple. If they had two terms, and then that's it, regular people like you and me would run this country.

If you had 6 years, and every 3 years 1/3 of each house of congress was turned over, there would be no special interests, because why would anyone bother trying to lobby people who are ACTUALLY THERE TO RUN THE COUNTRY and not there simply to pad their pockets? I am so dadgummed angry with all of the politicians, and that includes both McCain and Obama. Fatcats are the reason we are all in such turmoil and why divine hubby isn't sleeping. Fatcat politicians and fatcat Wall Streeters.

There should be no such thing as a career politician. This country was formed on the premise of by the people and for the people. Which of these idiot politicians do you think is by or for any of us? They are only in this for themselves, and if, while lining their pockets with more gold and garnering more accolades, they happen to accidentally do something that helps the common man, well, great.

I am sick to death of someone else's greed and ambition messing up my life. There, I said it, and I feel a little better now. The second thing I'm doing as queen is resigning. This governing thing is exhausting!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Words

I've been thinking about words and how much power they have. Remember the old phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? That is so UNTRUE! Honestly, I think I'd rather have someone hurling sticks and stones at me than calling me names or gossiping about me behind my back.

I remember when I was in elementary school, there was one particular girl (Belinda) and a group of her friends who called me "Barbie Doll head" every day when I got on the bus. And I would cry. And try to find a way to get my mom to take me to school instead of having to ride the bus. It's funny that there are certainly worse things in life than being called "Barbie Doll head," but at the time, I would have had trouble thinking of them. I still remember the feeling I had every day when I scanned the back seat of the bus looking for Belinda. (Why is it the mean kids always sat in the back??)

And now, in this day of political-correctness, there are even fewer words we can say, with more and more groups being offended by more and more words. I was discussing that show "Little People, Big World" the other day with someone in public, and I said the word "midget (kind of loudly, I guess)." Did you know that is a bad word? Well, I didn't, but I sure do now! My friend shushed me, but several people looked around and glared in my general direction. I mean, who knew that was a bad word?? I may need to have lessons to make sure I don't offend the general public with my discussions!! I wasn't saying BAD things about "little people (apparently that is the correct term now)," we were just discussing the show!

I do not, in general, curse (anymore), and I do not use racial epithets to describe anyone. I always try to be kind with my speech and would be very sad to know that I have offended anyone. But these days, it is really really hard!! I agree that words can be very hurtful, but we have become a society of banners. I think many people look for reasons to be upset, and if they can't find anything legitimate (not too hard to find legitimate reasons to be upset right now!!), they make something up and then ban something.

Hmmmm, I have decided I am offended by blonde jokes. So, even when people are just being funny and are not actually insulting me or trying to offend, I am going to get all mad and write letters to the editor, stay up late nights finding blogs to scream at, call radio talk show hosts, etc to complain about blonde jokes. Then I'll get an ulcer, high blood pressure, have a "cardiac event" and fall over dead on the floor at the age of 40. And people will STILL be telling blonde jokes LONG after I have killed myself by looking for a reason to fly into a rage.

I think it's silly. And for the record, I love blonde jokes. Send me a few, if you have them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Taking a stand...sorta

When Chase was born, he was long and skinny (7 lbs and 22 inches long). As he grew into a kid, he has filled out a little, but honestly, not much. He's always been 95% on the scale for height and about 35-50% (and we were happy to get to 50, I'll tell ya) for weight. He's a tall, skinny dude. At the swimming pool, I have honestly been approached by strangers asking if I've had him checked for parasites...but I digress.

Pretty early on, he professed a love for football. Pretty early on, Larry and I said "Heck no." I mean, one tackle from one vertically-challenged husky dude, and Chase would be toast!

When we lived in Green Bay, all of the kids played football. And I mean TACKLE. And it seemed like a disproportionate number of them were vertically-challenged husky dudes. But, never to be discouraged by certain squashing and possible death, Chase begged and begged and pleaded and wept and cried...you get the picture. So, we relented. After much investigation into the local Pop-Warner program, and the discovery that they have excellent gear, great coaching and a very low injury record, we signed him up for tackle football.

Then we relocated.

In Denver, Chase wanted to play football, but the timing was off. We moved to Denver just in time for the cutoff, so he couldn't play that year. So, we found him a great soccer team. He immersed himself in soccer and never mentioned playing football again. Until now.

His new school has a football team, but thankfully it's a FLAG football team. Chase is in heaven.

We went to his first game last night, and after quite a battle, the Eagles were victorious 20-19. Chase pulled lots of flags, made one pivotal play that significantly puffed his parents up on the sidelines and loved every sweaty second of it. But I discovered that just because it's FLAG football doesn't mean Chase didn't hit the ground, oh, 47 times. But, those of you who know Chase know he has always really liked rolling around on the ground, so all is well.

Funny the things you say/think when your kids are young. "He's never going to play football. Too dangerous." or "I'll never overschedule my kid by having him in sports 4 days a week." Then they grow up and have their own opinions about what they want to do. Go figure - they have opinions!! And things change. All of the pledging you do about guarding their time and all of the disapproving you do of other parents' choices just go right out the window when it is something your child loves. I read once that being a parent means having your heart outside your body. The 11-year-old with my heart loves football. And I want that heart to be able to do what he loves. So, he's kinda overscheduled...I'll get over it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Love

So, Chase was surprised, Cirque Du Soleil was fantastic, we ate at every restaurant in town, and a general good time was had by all this birthday weekend! Mom and Dad made it in time to watch Chase's karate class, and he was thrilled to see them. My parents are really fun, and we enjoyed spending the weekend with them.

And, the big day has come. I am (sigh) 40. When I got up this morning, I looked hard for new wrinkles or grey hair, and I thankfully was able to straighten up without assistance. This whole 40 thing seems like it's going to be ok. It just sounds soooo very much older than 39, but oh well. As the bumper sticker says, turning 40 is sure better than the alternative! :)

I have a great family, a wonderful group of friends in LOTS of different states and a divine hubby who gave me a fabulous new bike and made all of us an incredible steak dinner last night. I am loved, and it doesn't matter how old I am. (But for fun, let's just refer to me as 30, k?)

Friday, September 19, 2008

More surprises (shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

This time, it's not a surprise for moi, it's a surprise for Chase! My parents, his beloved Breen and Grampa, are coming in to surprise him this weekend. As I type, I am anxiously awaiting a phone call saying they landed, found the car I left for them and are headed to see us! They haven't visited since we moved to Las Vegas, so it will be fun to show them our house, Chase's school, our church, etc etc etc. And tomorrow night, we are all going to see a Cirque du Soleil show called KA. Chase absolutely adores his grandparents, and it should be a really fun weekend and a great surprise for him.

I'm dying to have them show up so Chase will know he's being surprised - I think it is going to blow his little mind!!

I'll blog later and let you know how it all went down...have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sins of Omission

My dear friend Kale noted on my blog that my friend Mary might have come in for a specific birthday coming up. I noticed that for all my talking, thinking and complaining about it, I have not blogged much about the big day.

So, here I go.

(deep breath...inhale and exhale)

I'm turning 40 next Monday.

Whew! I said it.

I keep looking for grey hair, wrinkles, crow's feet, spider veins, lack of energy, weight gain, driving slowly, starting to say things like my mother used to say, etc. But I've seen none of that!

Oh, wait, I already have all of those things...are they supposed to get worse (shudder) next Monday?

So, I'll be 40 next week. I have been telling people all year that I'll be 40 in September thinking I may get used to the idea if I say it often enough. I love the idea that Hollywood says 40 is the new 30 (ya know, like pink is the new black??). How about we CALL it 30 if it really is? So, on Monday, I'll be 30. I like that better. 30 it is.

You still have time to go shopping - I like the new black (pink) better than the old black (black) if you're curious. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Surprises

Friday evening, Divine Hubby said something weird.

DH: Oh, by the way, my boss wants to take us out to breakfast tomorrow morning.
STQ: K...why?
DH: I don't know - he just asked what we were doing tomorrow and said he wants to meet for breakfast.
STQ: Just him?
DH: Yep.
STQ: K. That's kinda random.

So, Saturday morning, I got up at 7:30, showered and got dressed and we all left at 8:30 to drive to Henderson to breakfast.

We walked into the restaurant and DH said he was going to look for his boss. So, Chase and I hung out in line a little bit, me feeling like this was kinda weird.

All of a sudden, a very familiar face peeked around the corner. No, not Divine Hubby's boss (not sure I would recognize him, truth be told), but my friend Mary from Denver! Now, several of our Denver friends are coming for a visit in October, so at first, I was confused...

Is it October? How could it be October? Where is her husband? Is Beth here too? What the HECK is going on???

Then, I was delighted...

What? She is here to visit me? For a whole weekend? Just to see me??? :)

Then, I felt loved.

You know when someone shows up, and you know exactly who they are (and you are thrilled to see them), but they are in the wrong place (like, oh, say, 700 miles away from where they live), and you just can't quite figure out what is happening!

They surprised me (not easy to do, mind you) - Mary came in to visit for a weekend. And we have had a ball! Last night, she and I went to see Stomp, which was amazing. And, we have talked and laughed and made martinis, and generally enjoyed each other. What a great surprise!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Exciting times

I know everyone is sick and tired of all of the political ads and all of the rhetoric going on in the political world at the moment. Personally, I'm kinda sick of the ads, but I am not at all sick of the process. I love love love (did I mention love??) that people are so energized for this election! I love that most people are actually voting FOR someone they like instead of AGAINST someone they hate.

I love that when we went to our caucus in Colorado, they had to prop the doors open and hope the fire department didn't show up because they were WAY over the occupancy rate.

I love that during the primaries, there was record turnout.

I love that people tuned into the conventions in record numbers.

I love that we have a woman running for Vice President.

I love that we have an African-American running for President.

I just love that people CARE about this election. Everywhere I look, there are young people registering to vote. The school where I worked in Denver? They had a registration table one day. The kids were lined up down the hall to register to vote!

I love this country, and yes, I have my preference, but even if my preference is not elected, I can feel that at least more people participated in the process than in any time in recent history. I know it's still probably not even 50% who will vote (which is tragic), but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

God bless America! (Feel free to put your hand over your heart and sing...I am!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What ya take for granted

I grew up in South Carolina. I then moved to San Antonio, then Austin, and lived there 15 years. When you live in a constant state of perspiration, you take humidity for granted.

I now live in Vegas.

I no longer take humidity for granted.

I always thought it would be great to live in a dry climate. In humid climates, my hair flops, my makeup runs, I have to wear deodorant that says "XX" on it, I mean, it's a nasty, miserable existence when the humidity is high. In Vegas, there is no humidity. I laugh when I hear the forecasters mention it. "Relative humidity is 6% today." Laugh out loud. Why bother? It's like reporting on snowfall in August. Ridiculous.

But, it's funny the things you don't realize that are affected by humidity, or the lack thereof. I have to use a MAJOR moisturizer every day, twice a day, or my face dries out like the mummy. And me of the limp hair? Gotta use conditioner EVERY DAY! It's a challenge finding a conditioner that is strong enough to let me actually get a comb through the tangled mess, yet mild enough so that I don't have to put my hair in a ponytail every day. (I'll take advice if you have a product you love!!)

The other thing you learn in an arid climate is that EVERYTHING shocks you. When I say everything, I don't just mean the usual things like the car door, kids going down slides, metal objects, people dragging feet on carpet, etc. Oh, those shock you too, but have you ever been shocked by WATER? or WOOD? I have. Those handy-dandy automatic faucets in the bathroom at the mall? It's almost not worth washing my hands. If you forget to discharge your personal store of electricity first, the water will shock your hand as it comes out of the faucet. I kid you not. And the wood railing in my house regularly shocks me. What is up with that?

I miss a lot of things about Texas and Wisconsin, but NEVER thought it would be the humidity that I would complain about!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm raising a good little citizen

Well, divine hubby sometimes calls me neurotic. Especially when I make him pull over to the side of the road (only in a residential neighborhood, not on the freeway) to pick up a plastic bottle some idiot has hurled thoughtlessly out of the car window! I'm discovering in my old age, I've become quite the little Nazi about things like recycling, returning shopping carts to the cart corral (don't get me started) and wasting energy. If you look carefully, you can see I'm getting a little green around the gills, but don't tell Al Gore. He calls enough as it is...

I have noticed that every day, when I leave at 8:05am to take Chase to school, there is a river I have to splash through right by the entrance to our neighborhood that continues down the curb for nearly an entire block. No geyser is visible, but there is a swamp surrounding some big green plastic box-thingies in the grass, which makes me think they are related to the problem.

To make it worse, I live in LAS VEGAS. Not known for its abundance of H2O. So, I complained and wondered about it every day to Chase. Out loud, in escalating frustration.

Me: Look, that water is there again! I wonder if something is broken, or if they (who is they??) know this is happening? Hmmmmmmm.
Chase: bleep, bloop, deedle dum (he's mindlessly playing his Gameboy in the backseat)

**This exact conversation happens every day for nearly three weeks and then yesterday, wonder of wonders, from the backseat I hear:**

Chase: Yeah, somebody ought to call somebody about that. That's a big waste of water! bleep, bloop, deedle dum
Me: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

So, it took me 10,000 different phone calls to 10,000 different people who didn't know what the heck I was even talking about before I found the right person yesterday. Or at least they pretended to know what I was talking about while pretending to write down the information. I figured I'd give them until Monday, then I'd call again, because there was just no way I had actually FOUND the someone I needed to find to solve this problem!

This morning at 8:05 as I drove mindlessly through the entrance to my neighborhood, Chase piped up (tragically, the Gameboy was left in the car at the repair place, so he's a little more observant than usual).

Chase: Hey - where's the water? No lake this morning! I guess somebody fixed the problem!
Me: (Smiling, not actually having noticed the lack of water on the road) I guess somebody did.

Then Chase made me stop to pick up a Dasani bottle on the road...he's a chip off the old block!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Do I really want to be a substitute teacher??

I've got yet another interview today. This time, it's with the Clark County School District to be a substitute teacher. In my day, subs were simply somebody's mom babysitting for the day, right? Now, there are drug screens, criminal background checks, reference checks, and I'm hoping NOT to have a body cavity search, but I suspect in some schools here in Las Vegas, it may be a possibility. I recently heard of one district in Texas in which teachers are allowed (dare I say encouraged??) to pack heat when they go to school! Eeek.

You all know how I feel about the public schools here in Sin City. Not so great! So, why, pray tell, do I want to WORK there? Cause the pay is reasonably good, the hours are perfect and what other job offers the flexibility of just saying, "Nah, don't feel like working today???"

So, I got up earlier than usual and threw myself into the shower, I'm all coiffed and made up, sitting in my interview clothes and waiting for 10:45 when I'm leaving for my interview. I'm even kinda nervous!! Divine hubby brought up a good point last night - what will I say if asked what school my children go to?

Them: So, do you have children of school age?
Me: Yes.
Them: Which of our marvelous, award-winning, fantastic, incredible public schools is he enrolled in?
Me: Um. Did I say I have a child? Nope. Childless. Kid was either stolen by aliens a year ago, or I sold him to the gypsies, I forget. I CERTAINLY would have him in this marginal, um, I mean amazing public school district if I had a kid, don'tcha think?? Too bad I, uh, don't.

Um, is lying still a sin, or haven't they revised that yet?

I'm banking on the fact that employers are not supposed to ask about children, marriage, etc. If it comes up, I'm gonna hedge. :) But not lie.

I just can't imagine that anyone who has a college degree, hasn't committed (or at least hasn't been convicted of) a felony :) and can pass a drug screen can't be a sub! Especially in the 3rd largest school district in the US! Don't you think they must need 10,000 subs a day? Honestly, I should be able to start work today, I would think.

So, hopefully, after submitting my sample, getting my fingerprints done, donating plasma, giving money to a homeless person, quoting two Shakespearean sonnets, ripping out a few hairs by the roots and dancing naked over hot coals, I will be employed...by Christmas...as a substitute teacher. (gulp)

Pray for me.

Monday, September 1, 2008



My cousin Kate let me in on this really cool website! You can enter any text in and it will create art. I put in the Lord's prayer. Look how cool the image is! And you can hit the randomize button and it will re-scramble it, use new fonts and colors, and generally change it completely.

Thanks, Kate!!

Oh, and here is the website: www.wordle.net

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm a glutton for punishment

(Note: all interviews went well - I'm waiting to hear back if I get second interviews now. I have an interview to be a substitute teacher on Tuesday. I'll update you when there is news!!)

My friend Danielle loaned me a book called Beautiful Boy. Many of you are nodding in recognition, because apparently I am the ONLY human on the face of the earth who hadn't heard of it. I stayed up nights reading this thing. I read it in absolute horror, but like a nasty car accident where you just have to stay in the lane so you can see the dead body in the street, no matter how much you don't really wanna. Ya know what I mean? This book was AWFUL. It was beautifully written. The characters were compelling and believable. The storyline was amazing. So what, pray tell, made it awful? It was about a perfectly normal family who loved their wonderful, brilliant, well-adjusted son, gave him every possible advantage, and he became a meth addict anyway.

WHAAAAT? I'm sorry, I think I misunderstood. Perfectly normal, healthy, brilliant, talented, well-adjusted children do NOT become meth addicts. Sorry, it's just not true.

Meth addict children happen to people who beat their kids, or neglect them, do meth WITH them or leave them alone and unsupervised for days on end while they go sell heroin or something, right? They don't happen to Mr. and Mrs. Normal America (like me), right?

The worst part about this book is that it is a true story.

sigh

So, just because I wasn't tortured enough about the possibility of my sweet, innocent, darling son or daughter becoming a meth addict during THIS book, I am now reading a book written by the son telling the story from his point of view.

I must be insane. (Remember the illustration about the car wreck? Craning my neck to see? Yep, that's me.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interviews

I have two job interviews tomorrow and one on Thursday! Hang on a sec... (dancing a little jig) ok, I'm back. One of the interviews is at Borders bookstore. I'm kinda excited about that one because, I mean, who doesn't want to work at a bookstore?? As you, my 4 loyal readers know, I am a reader, man. I loooooove to read. When I was a kid, I would read the back of the cereal box at breakfast. I'll read anything. But, with anything, there are pluses and minuses of working at Borders.

PLUS: Very flexible hours

MINUS: Very sad pay

PLUS: They loan their employees books, so I can read brand new bestsellers without buying them!!

MINUS: It's retail - hours on my feet and did I mention the very sad pay??

PLUS: I am always recommending books to people at Borders anyway, they may as well pay me for it!

MINUS: Did I mention the very sad pay??

So, the question is, do the pluses outweigh the minuses? I dunno. We'll have to see when I have my interview!

I also have an interview at a Spa (oooh, ahhh). If they give employee discounts, I'm probably in trouble... "You want to pay me in free facials, manicures, pedicures and massages? OK!" It's a very high-end spa, so that might be fun. I'd probably meet some celebs, which is ALWAYS fun...but I know nothing about the hours or the pay.

My third interview is at Wells Fargo to be a teller. 30 hours a week. That might be interesting, and the pay will probably be good. I dunno if I'm cut out to be a teller...but ya never know.

I am also applying to be a substitute teacher at the public schools around here. I figure with 80 gazillion schools, they could probably keep me working all day every day if I wanna. AND I won't have to work holidays, AND I'll be off Spring Break, AND if I need a day off, I just refuse a job. Seems like a good plan to me. I think it might be combat pay, especially in the High Schools, but I suspect it will be interesting.

So, my options are wide open and it looks like I can be whatever I want when I grow up. It's exciting to have opportunities, and it will be fun having these interviews over the next couple of days. Stay tuned, sportsfans!!