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


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 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


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


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 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: