Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Guess who?


I couldn't help giggling when I saw this picture from Emily's class party. The picture strapped across her face is her teacher, Mr. Dean. What's not to love, indeed!

Below is a picture of her crouched behind some of the donations that her class gave in lieu of the typical gift exchange. What a great experience for the kids to learn about giving to others in need instead of giving yet another gratuitous gift to a classmate or the teacher. Way to go, Mr. Dean!


Btw: Emily is in the pink t-shirt and sitting to her right (our visual left) is Makayla, Chris's niece.

One more Emily story:
Each of the girls dutifully filled out a Christmas list for Chris and I. Quite high on Emily's list was Tenko the Dog. Chris and I wore ourselves out looking all over town for Tenko the Dog.

Finally, after striking out several times, I said to Chris, "Look, let's just go to Toys R Us, they should be able to look it up for us and find out if it is available." So, we go to Toys R Us and track down an associate.

"Please," we beg, "Tell us where we can find Tenko the Dog!"

"Tenko the Dog? Tenko...the dog? I don't know....I've never heard of Tenko the Dog." Small pause. "We do have a Techno Dog, though."

Techno Dog! Duuuuh! Chris and I just burst out laughing. Why we hadn't figured that one out when we had spent two days looking at lists with words like " pink bead cutrains" and "Mary-Kate and Ashley perfum" I don't know!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Strip those titles

I am encouraged by the news that MADD cut its ties with Miss USA Teen when news of her hard-partying hit the media. In kind, I am also encouraged that Miss Nevada USA lost her title due to lewd and lascivious photos taken at a party where among other things, she was kissing girls and exposing private parts of her body for whatever jackass was pointing the camera.

I am encouraged by this news because I think Donald Trump's political correctness has trumped his more typical no-nonsense approach to handling challenges when he allowed Miss USA to keep her title. In a news conference earlier this week, he said that he thought she was a good person with a good heart and everyone deserves a second chance.

Ok, not everyone deserves a second chance. Here's an example of someone who does not deserve a second chance: a woman who kept her drug dependency a secret while she ran for a title that among other things, stands as the example of being a good citizen and a good woman to literally hundreds of thousands of young girls and teenagers all over the USA. A good citizen is not someone who hides a secret like that so she won't be disqualified from winning a title. A good citizen is someone who admits when she has a problem and takes responsibility for it. Instead, Miss USA only repented when she got caught. Now she's entering re-hab. Now she's getting help. Now she admits she has a problem. I'm sorry, I just do not believe that women who are picked to represent the epitome of good citizenship and to serve as a role model to young girls should be excused for what amounts to lying to the world about who she really is.

You know, I have five young women at home ranging in ages from eight to twenty-two. I don't want them looking at Miss USA and thinking, 'Wow, what a forgiving world we live in. I can go out there and make a complete mess of myself and guess what? The world will not only condone my behavior but give me a pat on the back for finally admitting I'm a mess.' I want my girls to see her stripped of her title and hear Mr. Trump say something like this, "This title is for the young woman who best exemplifies the values we all hold sacred; honesty, caring for others, helping others, doing good works, in short, promoting a good lifestyle. This young woman is none of these things and therefore is not worthy of wearing this crown or this title. She's done." I really want my girls to hear that so that they can say to themselves, 'Wow, there are serious consequences for messing up my life. Not only is it humiliating, but people can't respect women who make a mess of themselves. Therefore, I need to make sure I live a good life and don't make a mess of myself.'

Because, people, if we don't stand up and say what is right, how will our young girls and young women make those right decisions when the moment of truth comes? Do you think they'll choose not to do drugs if they see that it is acceptable in Miss USA? Do you think they'll eschew premarital sex if it is condoned constantly on TV and in the media? Do you think they'll make the hard decisions to go against the flow of all the stupid things the majority of kids are doing out there if we don't do the hard thing and stand up as a society and say, "Hey, bad behavior has bad consequences. We don't like it and it doesn't make you a good person, so don't do it."

Then and only then will the social ills crippling our society begin to right themselves. Until then, get used to jacked-up winners getting pats on the back for somehow being a good person in spite of their bad behavior. And get used to the idea that next week or next month or maybe five years from now, it will be your daughter or sister or niece doing the stupid thing, cuz that's where it is heading, folks if we don't do something.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Funny Business

One day you are opening the mail when you see a card to your teenage son with handwriting you don't recognize. You are burning with curiosity but just can't bring yourself to open the card and invade your son's privacy like that. Instead, you put the card on the counter where he can see it when he gets home, hoping he'll open it in front of you. The naive optimism of the suburban parent is but a myth – in truth, your mind starts sparking suspicious little thoughts of spurned affection. Has your son dashed some girl's hopes? Inquiring minds want to know!

When your son arrives home, he tosses his backpack on the counter with his usual plaintive whine, "What's to eat?" Suddenly his mood changes, however, when he sees the card. He swipes it off the counter, grabs his backpack and mumbles something about a test, making a bee-line for his bedroom.

Do you investigate? Of course you do! You may not go to the extent of rifling through his belongings, but a few polite inquiries wouldn't hurt, n'est ce pas? Any person with even a trifling of parental intuition would have their curiosity piqued by such circumstances, and would follow up by at least asking who sent the card. Right? Right.

So what the hell was wrong with Hastert? And how could Bush, in a good conscience, stand in front of America and defend Hastert's actions by saying, "He's a father, he's a coach..." Ok, if he's a father and a coach, why the hell weren't major warning bells going off when he was informed of the naughty communications between his aging colleague and his under-age pages?!?!?

Something is very, very stinky on Capitol Hill.

And the fact that Hastert has garnered support by the likes of James Dobson and Focus on the Family only further blurs the line between responsible behavior and negligent inaction. The only sane people out there right now are the ones calling for Hastert's resignation. The Wall Street Journal said it straight: Either Hastert didn't take the allegations seriously or he chose to just look the other way. Either way, he's guilty and should resign.

He's a bad, bad boy. Rowr.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've got something in my pocket.....

Thursday I was at home sick, sick, sick from eating at the *award winning* restaurant, Jack's, when I reached in my pocket and pulled out.....

A NEW JOB!!!!!!!

I realize, folks, that in the short time I've had this blog, I've had several jobs. Ok, ignore that fact because this is THE JOB. The One. And I'm not just saying that to justify my job-hopping. I wouldn't have been job-hopping if I could have made enough money working at the newspaper. But hellow - who can live on $500 a month!?!? So.....the radio station HIRED ME!

As any ketchup fan will tell you, good things come to those who wait.

Boy, that final interview was the clincher! I met the regional manager and chatted with him for about ten minutes. He walked out of the conference room and went right to the general manager's office and said, "Hire that girl." Yay for me! Apparently he was very impressed by the fact that I really knew where I was at and where I was coming from....and not in any rhetorical sense, either. I'm together, peeps. Smooth. Witty. Charming. And hired!!!

So, if you are ever in the 'hood, you can check out my productions at 92.7 the van!

I'm smiling. Can you tell?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gimme Life part deux

To tell the truth, I've been down. Not writing on the blog has been part of that. Not being able to talk to my best friend is part of that. And with my grandmother dying last week, I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I'm living.

Grandma loved it when I would post to my blog. Of course her favorite posts were the ones with pictures of the kids or cute stories highlighting what *unique* and *vibrant* children they are. But regardless of what I wrote, she was a fan and loved to post comments chiding me about my polarized world view. I loved that about her! But...life got busy, and our computer at home had a virus, so I just quit posting. And then Grandma died. I looked back at her last post to my blog: "Pleeeeeeease update!" Drawn and quartered in my soul, I was. Guilty. Bad. Neglectful. Dare I say selfish?

I don't want to lose another person in my life having to wonder if they knew how much they meant to me. I don't want to let go of things that bring meaning to my life just because I haven't gotten the upstairs bathroom cleaned and *should* get the work done before having fun.

Life is about LIVING. About experiencing life. I'm so caught up in whether or not I've sorted through every paper in each child's back-pack that I'm letting important things go in my life. Like relationships. Like my writing. And this blog is an important part of how I am developing my writer's voice. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is.....this blog is here to stay, bunnyjo fans! Now...if I can just get my pisse et vinaigre back.....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gimme life

For the first time in my overly-loquacious life, I am facing writer's block. There is a huge difference between talking and writing, by the way. I once bought a book called, "If You Can Talk, You Can Write." It was full of journaling exercises where I would write whatever was on my mind, and I found that 90% of the time I covered the same ground repeatedly. Since that time I have become sharply aware of my gerbil-on-an-exercise-wheel pattern of thinking. And my redundant, over-used analogies that show an extreme lack of creativity. Actually, it is mental laziness. Just sayin.

So, how about a useful bit of information?

I don't have any.

How about an update on my interview process?

I met with the General Manager again on Friday, but I am still waiting to complete my peer interview. Hopefully it will be tomorrow or shortly thereafter. It would be nice to have *some* sort of resolution. One way or the other.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Grandma,

It is so hard knowing that you will never post to my blog again or that I'll never see an email from you again. Knowing that you won't be at my wedding, you'll never be able to meet Chris or Brandie or see our beautiful house. I'm going to miss playing Balderdash with you, singing around the campfire, the many special times we spent together sitting on the porch talking. You meant so much to me, Grandma, and I am so sorry I didn't get to say goodbye. You have taught me so much about how to be a woman and how to be a wife. Thank you for showing me how to love and appreciate a man, how to truly admire him. Thank you for all the things you did for Kady and I; all the sewing projects, decorating the bassinette, encouraging me no matter how sick or discouraged I got. You taught me so much, Grandma, and my life would not be what it is today if you hadn't been such an important part of my life. I love you, Grandma, and look forward to seeing you again one day when we can all be together with Kady and Grandpa Leslie and Laura. What a reunion it will be! Until then, Grandma, I will be loving you and missing you with all my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you gave me.

loving you,

Laura

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The rest of the story

Here's a quick update for all my *faithful* fans. The second interview went like a breeze, although I must say, I was asked some rather tough questions. But, as always, Miss Bunnyjo was quick on her feet and wowed the prospective employer. As such, she was invited back for a third round of interviews!

The bad news, however, is that my third interview was supposed to be on Wednesday morning. As I arrived in Holland, I discovered a voicemail on my phone saying that the woman I was scheduled to meet with that day had called in sick. My third interview was moved to next Wednesday morning. Ugh!

In other news, I was nearly fired last week over an incident that will forever remain in my mind as The Great Post-It Note Incident. I am now prohibited from ever using a post-it note. Ever. They were surreptitiously removed from my desk while I was at lunch and, just in case I wanted to replenish my stash, removed from the general office supply stock. I now have to tear off little strips of paper and paperclip them to pieces of paper when a post-it note would have brilliantly sufficed. I am reduced to strips of paper and paperclips while the rest of the office plants brightly-colored sticky notes like so many wild flowers sprouting up everywhere. And I have to like it.

Which only makes me more determined to get the radio job. Nothing like back-handed office politics to make a body wish for more pleasant surroundings, I'll tell ya.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Not now, but soon

I just got the call yesterday regarding my second interview. I am going in on Friday at 11 am EST. Now, keep in mind that the interview process with this company entails three - yes, three - initial interviews before they make a decision to hire someone. If I am lucky and all the planets line up in the atmosphere just so, I may be embarking on a brand new career before another phase of the moon passes!

Meanwhile, down here in the insurance trenches, things are heating up. We've had 80% turnover in the last two months. I'm the last "veteran" in the marketing department and let me tell you, I'm not all that veteran! We had a new person start last week and because A. she lost her glasses and can't see, and B. she's a slow learner, she's not anywhere near working independently. And because we lost the other marketer, it's phone central station around here with me being the go-to person....which just makes me shake my head in wonder. So many people feed their egos by insisting on maintaining a "go-to" status. Lemme tell ya, it's overrated. I'd rather be relegated to the back of the class and do my job in peace! Like they say, the nail that sticks up gets pounded down.

So, wish me luck on the interview on Friday. Not that I need it all that much, but in truth, I need a bit of *something* to get me through this week at work!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oh, I'm good! Good, I say!

So I go in for my interview yesterday, and I said, "God, if this is meant to be, just let it flow." That was smart thinking, huh?

Yeah it was! The guy loved me and wants me back for a second interview. Yay! However, it will be a lengthy interview process primarily because the FCC (Fed Communications Commission for you foreigners) requires 30 days from the date of posting before anyone can be hired. So, they've got three interviews before they hire someone. I've made it to the second round and unless lightening strikes, I'll make it to the third.

The great, great, great news is that this radio station - oh, I better tell you what the job is - the job I applied for is Account Manager, i.e. radio ad sales. Ok, so this radio station is part of a radio conglomerate that owns 42 some radio stations, all privately held by a broadcaster in WI who loves the business and wants to keep making a lot of money with it. But, did you catch the important part there - PRIVATELY HELD. Family business. No stockholders! No CEO and Board of Directors! No Corporate Evil!

YAY!!!!

Salary, benefits, commission plus extensive training and current accounts to manage while I'm looking for new business. Per-effing-fect. ("Perfect," for those of you not up on my personal lingo.)

Someone's happy. :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Not Thursday

Hi everyone, just wanted to give you an update that I'm not able to go to my interview on Thursday. Oh, the office politics pool is fraught with rip tides. The Holy Macro lady is on yet another vacation for the rest of the week and my co-hort here at work announced yesterday he has surgery on Thursday. Oh, apparently him snipping his nether regions is more important than me finding another job! Sha! So, I'm going in on Monday afternoon instead. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Get this!

I received the following two emails today:

"ok I will out you down and the new contract for Oom's office ok."

Translated: Ok, I will put you down as the new contact for Oom's office, ok?

"it is contracting for equitrust ed needs to sign on the signature Mark Woods is writing a piece"

Translated: It is a contract for EquiTrust. Ed needs to sign it in order to appoint Mark Woods who has some new business to write.

And this from so-called business professionals!

Kiss my grits and grit my teeth!

Bad case of the gripes

Oh, do I have a bad case of the gripes! Ooo, I just wanna gripe everyone's head off! You ever have one of those days when you really want to have a good day and even though you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, you keep thinking to yourself, "Stay positive, don't let little things get to you." Well, it wouldn't work if you worked here, that's for sure!

You ever work for one of those people that need to take psychotripic meds just to get through the day? You ever work for someone who assumes that because they are losing their grip on their life, so are you? You ever work for someone who seems not to notice the amazing things you do on the job everyday, but seems to have a knack for zooming in on irrelevant issues? And then calling you into her office to drill you about it? That is the woman I work for.

Yes, I work for Cruella DeVille. Since she started working here in February, she has been on vacation FIVE TIMES. Five. First, she took a cruise. The next week she went to Mexico. She's taken days off to spend with her daughter. She took a whole week off to watch her daughter come in 27th place in a sailboat race. She went to Florida with friends after hearing that one friend was driving down there and wanted company. That was a two-weeker. Yes, she has taken all this time and more, and she actually had the audacity to ask me exactly how much time I expected to take during Chris's surgery. To be quite precise, I took.....the day of the surgery off, two hours the next morning, and two hours when he was dicharged. That was it! But, people, come on! Where was my loyalty? I really should have been here. After all, Chris is an adult, is he not? What did I need to be there for?

But that is not all. She called me in her office one day to ask me if my daughter had hacked into our system. My ten year old daughter! A snafu caused her name to be autopopulated by MS Office as the author on all documents I edited and saved. It was quite innocent, but that didn't prevent me from being called on the carpet about it.

THEN she called me in her office last week to ask me if everything was ok in my life. The reason? A new employee ordered the wrong mailer card from our lead company and 5,000 went out wrong. Another new employee paid an agent wrong. And then when I got some contracts together for her, I accidentally included two sets of the same paperwork onto the back of each contract. Ok, the first two things had nothing to do with me and the last? An irrelevant mistake. But she seriously wanted to know if everything was ok with me.

Well, guess what? It's not. I'm deeply frustrated. I took over this position from a person that had embroiled an absolute rat's nest of paperwork into his ever-growing pile of incompetance and then threw up his hands and declared it impossible. I reordered the entire department, designed a process that drastically reduced processing time for contracts and facilitated helping agents write business sooner. I'm doing double the volume of licensing than the guy who screwed everything up and to top it all off, he was doing a lot of things wrong. Me? I straightened it out and am not making his mistakes. But...yet I have to listen to her ask me the most ridiculous, inane, irrelevant questions about whether or not I feel overwhelmed. Or if I'm not happy with Chris or if his health situation is overwhelming me.

I'm finding that her little interrogation sessions with me are making my job almost insufferable.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Copping the Insanity

Andrea Yates is not guilty of drowning her five children, despite having systematically coaxed each one into the bathroom only to drown them in the bathtub. Number one was undoubtedly duped. But what about number two? And three and four and five? Did they not scream and cry and beg for their life, seeing their siblings lying still and lifeless in a tub full of water?

Andrea Yates was consumed with delusions about one son growing up to be a homosexual prostitute and the media bugging her home to catch her being a bad mother. Tops on the list? Not home schooling well enough. Hey, wouldn't any concerned parent drown their children after facing such horrific thoughts?

It is not that I don't feel that she is a sick woman. It would take an incredibly sick person to systematically destroy each child born of her womb one by one. And I have experienced first hand the mental distortions extreme religion can bring. Heck, I even got a little distorted myself once upon a time. I can relate to having deeply-rooted fears about the consequences of my rotten parenting. I've imagined the future counseling sessions where my daughters tearfully relate my early-morning rantings as I attempted to pry them out of bed or maybe they'll relate the time I threw their little tea table for no good reason. I can just see the counselor sadly shaking his head and making incriminating notes in the margins of his notepad about how I undermined my children's chances for happiness. And I've imagined my daughters growing up to become tragically involved with men who beat them or exploit them or get them hooked on drugs. I've played through hundreds of scenarios where their lives end in some self-destructive act because of the pain I inflicted on them as a parent. Oh, yeah, I have felt Andrea Yates' pain.

But here's the distinction: I honestly believe that there is hope as long as they are alive. As long as they are alive, I have a chance to do it right today. I can't take back the mistakes I've made in the past, but I can admit when I had been wrong and make an honest effort to do better. And I can show them that I love them, I can make better choices as a parent, and I can hopefully make a difference in their life.

With life, there is always hope. With death, the question of whether we could have ever worked it out is done. Finis. Exterminated. I feel for Andrea Yates and for her five children and for her husband and all the family and friends who will never be able to explore the possibilities for making a good life for those children.

But even as my heart goes out to Andrea, a part of me holds back. In my heart, it is perhaps too much of a leap for me to completely absolve her. But one thing is for sure: as long as she lives, so does the hope that somehow in some way, her life can count for more than the media hype of a juicy story. If anything can be drawn from the deaths of those children, it would be a better understanding of the devastating effects of postpartum depression and the desperate need these mothers have for professional intervention (not religious persecution).

Five innocent children died, but hopefully more will live because of what she has done. And countless loved ones will be spared the devastating grief and guilt and horror of living with the aftermath. No, I can't completely absolve Andrea Yates, but I can hope for a better tomorrow for the millions of women and children who are at risk, and hope that their lives, too, will go on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Whoah, Nellie!

Alright, everyone, in lieu of actually coming up with something cunning and witty to say, I have devised instead something meant to spark *your* intellect! You know how some people say things that they think makes them look smart when in fact they've misused the word and they look like a pretentious ass?

Oh, yeah. Gotta love it!

Here's a great example: My marketing manager was upbraiding a co-worker for not responding to an agent's inquiry properly.

Manager: "Geeez, Shawn," she said, "He's going to think you totally disked him!"
Me: "Did you just say disked????"
Her: "Yeah. Disked."
Me: "You mean like with a K? As in like a rubber disk?"
Her: "That isn't right?"

Ok, maybe she wasn't trying to sound smart, but in her snooty-patooty way she was trying to show she could hang and use the lingo from the streets but just ended up looking like she just crawled from under her pressed-coal rock. A wetback. Or is it greenback? Anyway, she's also the one who gave me the inspiration for the "Holy Macro" title to my blog posting a while back. Apparently she's not up on her fish.

So, do you have a good one? Share it with my readers and to the commentor with the best story gets a autographed picture of your's truly!!! Now, hey, who wouldn't want that, right!?!?

By the way, did I spell "whoah" right? It does have that "ah" combo, right? Ugh....how to exist without the little red squiggly lines that tell me I've typo-ed again, cuz we all know I wouldn't misspell a word, n'est ce pas?!?!?!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The future of this blog is threatened

As my readers have pointed out, my blog has become more of a "Chris-Watch" than the political and social commentary it started out to be. Part of the reason for that is of course my overwhelming love for Chris, and the entrenched involvement he has in every aspect of my life. Not to mention which, we've had some rather alarming developments lately.

In light of all this, my thoughts keep going back to the role that this blog has played and continues to play in my life. To be quite honest, I've seriously considered discontinuing this blog altogether. Once upon a time, I had a plethora of time on my hands to contemplate the world around me and devise clever and witty commentaries meant to spawn some serious thinking in my readers' minds - whether they agreed with me or not. As a matter of fact, I would often take a controversial stance just to provoke people into more clearly defining what it was they actually believed regarding the issue. That was fun. I enjoyed it.

Then, of course, I figured out how to post pictures to my blog like my good brudda, Chill Daddy. Then my thoughts about my blog began to evolve a little more. It became a way of keeping family members updated on life's carryings-on. However, as life got more and more busy, I found I wasn't even doing that.

And so the question of my blog's future hangs in the balance.

I'm not writing everyday because I simply don't have time. Plus, if I take time from my busy life to write, I want it to have meaning and purpose - especially purpose - and I'm not sure I have a clearly defined purpose for writing at this time in my life other than just a certain vain fulfillment I get in putting my words out into the world which frankly doesn't qualify as meaningful. I still think that using my blog to post pictures to keep my family updated is a good idea, but blogger is not the best medium for posting pictures. There are other on-line services that do a much better job.

So, I'm in a quandry. And my blog-world silence speaks volumes about that quandry.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

On the mend

Well, if my own eyes are any judge, Chris is faring far better after this surgery than he did after his shoulder surgery. He is in really good spirits and has been since he got out of surgery. First thing he did when his mom and dad and I got to his room last night was give his dad the victory fist. He's in pain but it seems to be a lot less than the with the shoulder. He's off the pain medication pump which means that he'll be going home as soon as the ooze coming off the bone remnant slows down. Sounds lovely, does it not? But his surgeon explained that when you take out a bone, you don't actually take out the whole thing because you need something to anchor the graft to, and the bone that remains has a tendency to ooze. The bad part about that is if you take the drain out too soon, the person could actually die. Well, Chris and I thought about that and decided to just keep the darn drain in. So, he's going home tomorrow instead of today!

As you may have guessed, the surgery went as good as it could possibly have gone. Chris's surgeon said that he expects Chris to start feeling good quite soon - not just "well," folks, but *good.* And to think we would have settled for a mere slight improvement!

I'm more happy than I can express at the improvement I see in Chris already. His whole countenance is uplifted compared to where he was a week ago. Even with the lack of cigarettes, he's going to be a lot happier recovering than he ever was pre-op.

Ok, now that we've got all that settled, back to the good stuff! I'll be back to posting my usual nonsense in no time! And Grandma, I PROMISE you pictures. Not tonight, but soon. SOON.

smiley face

Monday, June 26, 2006

Update

I don't know about the hotties that work with Dr. Eyke, but I can this about him: he's a spitty nerd. You ever see people that let the spit just kinda build up in their mouth? Yeah, he does that. It's gross. That's what I noticed. What Chris noticed is that he doesn't shake. Not at all. Like when he was holding his hand up to mark the MRI, his pencil didn't waver a bit. Chris felt a lot better about everything when he saw that.

Ok, update! We saw the spinal surgeon, Dr Eyke, on Friday at one o'clock and spent the rest of the afternoon getting fitted for the cervical collar and getting all his pre-surgical testing done. He will be going into surgery on Wednesday morning. It is rather amazing considering all the little details and scheduling availabilities that needed to line up to make this happen! Somehow though, the staff at Orthopedic Associates of Muskegon called in some favors and got everyone on board and making accomodations for Chris. It was faintly miraculous, actually.

The best best best news of all is that this surgery, if successful, will reduce Chris's pain by 50-80%, something that got Chris and I very excited! You have no idea the improvement in the quality of his life by just reducing the amount of pain he has to deal with everyday. Ooops. I forgot about something. Chris doesn't like everyone to know he's in pain so when you see him, just pretend like you don't know about his pain. But anyway, the other thing I am super excited about is that he is going to quit smoking. Dr. Eyke and Dr. Moulton told him outright that the surgery will fail if he continues to smoke. And Chris said in that head-on, deadly sincere way of his, "Whatever it takes, man, I'll do it because right now I've got nothing. Nothing." What he means is that he feels like he is not living up to what he feels he needs to be and do for the kids and I. And it is really making him crazy with frustration. I could tell him a hundred times that I'm not a materialistic person and it doesn't matter to me that he isn't making all kinds of money like he used to, but in his eyes, he just isn't a man. So, let's hope that the surgery not only restores his neck to working capacity, but also gives him a little better outlook on his life!

Anyway, everyone, we spent a wonderful weekend together and really enjoyed just being together with the knowledge lurking in the back of our minds that he isn't going to be able to do much in the way of fun stuff for a while. I want to thank all of you for your good thoughts and prayers. It means a lot! I will continue to update everyone as things progress! In the meantime, however, I'd better get my pictures posted here. I won't have a lot of freetime in the next two weeks or so!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm still shaking

This morning Chris and I went to see his orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Recknagel (the same wunderkind who patched up Paige's broken wrist) for a follow up visit to Chris's shoulder surgery (which was a radical reconstruction in lieu of a complete joint replacement). Chris and I both let Dr. Recknagel know how much pain he is in everyday. "As a matter of fact, my neck hurts worse than my shoulder," Chris said.

So Dr. Recknagel ordered neck x-rays in addition to Chris's shoulder x-ray. The minute he put the neck x-ray up on the big white glowy view thingy, he said, "This is bad. We will have to get this taken care of today." He turned to his assistant and told her to get Chris an MRI and an appointment with the spine surgeon today and start scheduling a neck surgery.

After saying that to his assistant, Dr. Recknagel pointed to the obviously jagged black line going through Chris's neck and said, "Your neck fusion is broken. We need to repair it immediately or you will most likely be paralyzed." Apparently, all it would take is for him to move the wrong way or trip and fall, and he would be permanently paralyzed.

You have no idea the terror of hearing a statement like that.

"I don't understand!" I said, "Why didn't the ER doctors see that when we were in there just a few weeks ago?!?!"

Apparently they were only looking for NEW fractures. To see a fracture in an old fusion was apparently not worth the trouble to consider a problem, despite the fact that Chris told them about the numbness, the tingling, the light-headedness. No, they sent him home to not only suffer, but potentially a lifetime in a wheelchair.

You see, Chris has broken his neck twice before and his back once. His first injury was when he was 15, and he broke his neck playing football. When he broke his neck again in his twenties in a car accident, the doctors finally went in and put in what is called a butterfly clip (not to be confused with those pretty things little girls like to wear in their hair, of course). We don't know if the fusion failed to heal or if the fusion was rebroken in the rear end collision a couple weeks ago. Judging by the pain and symptoms he's been having since then, however, it is a likely culprit.

So, we expect Chris to be in surgery sometime next week, and Dr. Recknagel told him outright that he won't be back to work for at least a year. A year. On top of which, he is facing either a re-scope on his shoulder or the joint replacement.

I'm still shaking.

However, having said all that scary stuff, as I explained to Chris, this is very hopeful news. To continue living with the pain he has been having was not an option. To be able to look forward to even reducing his pain by 50% would be a significant improvement for him. Between his neck and shoulder, he can no longer do the things that he loves; playing golf, hunting, fishing, playing football, working out, even riding his bike. But if he were able to get his pain under control, life would be so much more enjoyable and he might even be able to participate in all his favorite pasttimes.

As scary as it is to hear that that person you love has a broken neck and could become paralyzed, it brings a huge measure of hope that now that we've caught it, his life could take a huge step in the right direction with these surgeries. Let's pray!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Holy Macro


HI!!!!!

Since it's been so long since I deigned to even glance in the direction of my blog, I thought I would do something charitable and actually post something of interest. However, according to many of my readers, what constitutes "of interest" to them is anything sans the mushy Chris stuff, so now I am going to have to think hard to find something to say since almost every thought I have in my head is connected to him some sort of way.

Hmmm........

Ok, here's a thought. We live in the United States, right? At least most of my readers do (and for those that don't, put on your self-righteous, egotistical thinking cap and pretend your an American for a minute, ok?) Alright. Now, we're Americans. Our official language is English. Less than a third of Americans have had any foreign language instruction, and of those that have had foreigh language instruction, lets be generous and say 2% of them can speak the language fluently.

Ok, now....official language: English. Almost no one - from the order taker at McDonalds to the policeman that responds to my 911 call - can speak anything but English. And let's pretend I'm an illegal immigrant, ok? Now, my number one priority, you would think, would be to learn the native language of the population in which I am attempting to become a member. You know, blend in and everything.

But NO.........!

Every major corporation starts out the voicemail by saying, "If you speak English, press one. blah-blah-blah-espaniol-blah-dos."

Yesterday I went to JC Penney's and the door said, "Push" (which don't even get me started on why Americans are so retarded they have to be told whether to push or pull on a door) and then right below it was the gobbledy gook word for push in some other language (I am going to assume here it was Spanish.)

Ok, people. You live in America. A-Mer-I-Ca. We speak English. Comprende? Don't make us strain our brains to learn your language. Don't cost our evil corporations any more money having to say everything twice. Let us just stay nice and ignorant, speaking only one language and don't bother us with having to figure out what you are trying to say.

Oh, and another thing....about that accent.....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I sure hope trouble doesn't travel in 3's

Yesterday after Chris picked up the girls from school, he was plowed by some young chick from behind in a hit-and-run accident. We spent all evening in the ER. Luckily, there was little property damage and Chris is going to be all right, but it was scary seeing him so disoriented with his arms and hands tingling. He'd broken his neck playing football and has a butterfly something holding his head to his shoulders, so it was pretty hairy thinking he could have inflicted further damage. And to think of that woman who slammed into him and then just took off. Because of where the accident occured, she was able to escape through a parking lot and hop onto 31 south with Chris having no hope of catching her. Which was just as well, since he was so light-headed anyway. The last thing we needed was for him in his injured state to go chasing some crazed woman with the girls in the truck. Thank God, though, he'll be ok. And the girls were fine because they were strapped in and comfortably leaning back. His neck snapped because he'd been leaning over reading love notes Emily got at school from her crush Josh. Life can be so quixotic, can it not?!

So, today at work I got a call. My brother (ChillDaddy) and his wife (TrophyWife) were involved in a terrible accident around 7 a.m. this morning. A woman ran a stop sign and he absolutely t-boned her. There was no where for him to go and no time to do it. He knocked her vehicle into a parking lot and completely totalled both vehicles. Ray seemed to be ok, but Cindy was having a lot of pain in her back so she spent a lot of time in the ER waiting to see if there was anything wrong. They finally determined that she has whiplash and sent her home with a neck brace and strong meds. Again, thank God it wasn't any worse and the lady who ran the stop sign wasn't seriously injured either. The loss of their truck is going to be felt with their busy lifestyle and four kiddies, but again, at least everyone is going to be ok.

It just makes you realize how tenuous and how precious the lives of our loved ones are, and how important it is to make sure you remember that no matter how busy life is, or how irritated you may get at each other, each day is a gift that can't be taken for granted.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I suuuuuuuuck!

Yes, I truly do suck. Instead of posting to my blog and satiating my salivating fans, I spent my weekend doing fun, adventurous, cool things with Chris.

At first we were really disappointed that we didn't have all the girls because we wanted to take them to the cabin. Brandie has only been a couple of times and Grace, Emily and I had never been there. The cabin is situated on an isolated turn of the north branch of Muskegon River in an area that is lush, wild and teeming with river life. It has long been a refuge for Chris and his friends to hunt and fish all year around. You can only get to it by boat as there are no roads that go through within walking distance. All of which had me biting my knuckles with anticipation, I wanted to go so badly!

So, instead of hauling kids, cats, bags and wives up there, just Chris and I went. The cabin hadn't been opened, so when we got there we had a spot of work to do. I was dressed all in white (since it was a blistering hot day) but begged Chris to let me mow so I wasn't sitting there while he did all the work. So, we hauled out the two lawn mowers and began hacking through the jungle that had grown up around the cabin.

After a few hours of heavy work, we were both covered in sweat, grass and dirt. Chris suggested jumping in the river, cautioning me that it was quite cold, especially with the extra fast current brought on by the high water. I didn't care! He suggested going in my underwear, but not wanting to traipse about the rest of the day without it, I decided to just go nude. After all, Chris has done it for years and if anyone was coming we'd hear them long before we'd see them.

Chris left his underwear on as he had a change of clothes, but I stripped down to my bare skin and gingerly stepped into the swirling water. Ice cold water engulfed my feet and legs taking my breath away. I went waist deep and then began splashing water over my upper body to get off all the grass and dirt and sweat. I was actually beginning to enjoy it, Chris and I joking about him being Jeremiah Johnson and me being his Indian squaw "Poke-a-lottus" when all of a sudden he grabs me and pulls me over to him, hissing, "Honey, watch out! People are coming!" I shrieked and tried to grab the towel to wrap around my nakedness only to discover the towel had somehow shrunk to the size of a postage stamp as an innocent family of canoers came drifting down the river, paddles in mid-air and jaws hanging slack.

I ducked behind Chris and squatted down in the freezing cold river, completely overcome with giggles at the look of embarrassment and utter astonishment playing over the faces in the canoe. The wife stared stonily ahead, back rigid as her kids gawked, heads bobbing back and forth for a better look.

Chris shouted out to the canoe, "She's just taking a bath," to which the husband replied, "It's a good day for it," something which we laughed about later as it was sure to incite a tongue lashing from his stiff-backed wife. I laughed so hard I nearly fell down in the river.

By the way, you can get pretty clean with just a little Palmolive and cold current.

After our water adventures, we decided to go for a boat ride. He's an amazing river driver which was great because he's been driving the riverboat since he was in his teens; he knows all the shallow spots and logs that are hidden danger spots. He pulled the throttle wide open and I perched myself on the end of the boat in my new Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's hat threatening to fly off at every moment. Oh was it worth it! We jetted about the river for hours and then trolled while he fished and we chatted. We were in heaven! We then went back to the cabin and made a dinner of steak, salad, French bread and grilled asparagus. Yum!

I had picked up an antique copy of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and I read it while listening to the gurgling syrupy sound of the river swirling about me as Chris prepared our dinner on the grill. Chris thought it was creepy, and later, when we were shooting at targets around the cabin, he said he'll think twice before shooting a bird thanks to the Ancient Mariner. I can't tell you how cool it was to sit on the deck of the cabin with the sounds of the river and the smell of dinner cooking on the grill as a light breeze played over me and the archaic words of ol' Samuel Taylor C. dancing about the air around my head. Lover-ly.

It was too hot to stay in the cabin, so we ended our day with another long boat ride back to the boat launch and then a satisfying ride home. Which doesn't completely explain why I haven't posted my pictures (although I did forget my camera up on the river, damn it all!), but it does tell the story of how we spent our long weekend: playing, laughing and throwing off our cares for a much needed respite of R&R.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fighting well

I have a reputation in my family as being contentious. I believe this widely-held opinion is rooted in the fact that I tend to wear my thoughts and feelings on my proverbial sleeve. Hmph.

However, as Chris can tell you, I'm not so contentious, really, as toddler-ish. I'm incredibly loving, thoughtful, articulate and self-sacrificing at times, and then at other times I can be somewhat selfish, thoughtlessly dingy, easily confused and tantrum-y. C'est moi!

Luckily, Chris happens to adore this about me.

Like how I ran back into the house to turn my sweater around the front way today. Or how I told him what a knuckle-biter that scary movie was. Or exclaimed that was the best tree fort I'd ever seen when in fact it was a deer hunting tree stand. And how when we go somewhere together with me driving, I just take random turns here and there regardless of where we are actually going. You know, that kinda stuff.

The good news in all of this, folks, is that we fight really well. Like last night, which happened to be a beautiful, fun, peaceful and relaxing evening up until the point I got jealous because he told his ex-wife on the phone that he wasn't feeling well when she asked how he was doing. Now that's childish.

But maybe not tooooooo childish.

So after getting off the phone he bopped back to our chair in the living room and invited me to snuggle up with him. After snuggling for a few moments, I felt my feelings soothed to a point where I felt the release to tell him that it was an old habit of him to confide things to her, and he needs to just break that habit if he wants me to be happy. Or something of that sort.

Chris stiffened, took off his glasses slowly, and looked intently into my eyes and said, "Where in the hell did that come from?!"

A question we'd all like an answer to, no doubt. Including me.

After petulantly explaining to him that although I'd rather she never come any closer to him than the other side of the highway, I know that it is better for us and better for Brandie if we maintain a good relationship with her, but sometimes my strong aversion to her raises its ugly head and I get that creepy-crawly feeling all over my skin anyway. The fact that she is beautiful, of course, has nothing to do with my feelings whatsoever.

My explanation didn't make him feel any better. In fact, he said, it concerned him greatly. He, of course, was thinking not of his ex, but mine.

After an hour of me pouting and him with his sometimes silence and sometimes quiet, serious talking with significant questions and statements, and sometimes staring stonily at the ceiling or wall, we came to the peaceful conclusion that we both have a little bit of a jealousy issue with exes.

After that, we took a nice respite from staring stonily at the walls to stare lovingly into each other's eyes.

And that, folks, was the contentious toddler girl in a typical "fight" with the man who changed her entire life. And made it good. And love-ly. And fulfilling. And un-lonely.

This fighting well thing has something to be said for it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ooooo....I'm so excited!!!

I have to get my port thingy from work so I can download my pictures here at home and post them to the blog. I'm so excited! Not only has life been filled with wonderful experiences lately (as I've been promising I'd share), but I started a new photo series entitled, "My favorite views of home."

Can I just say, I have the best life in the whole entire world!??!

Every day I look at Chris and I think what an absolute transformation my life has undergone in the last four months and I have him to thank. If he is not the best human being in this entire world, I will eat my own head. My own head!

Anyway, the favorite views of home....unbelievable. I can't wait to share! Tomorrow is my day...Chris is fishing, Brandie is with her mom, Grace and Emily with my mom....I have the house to myself! Yaya~!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quick-quick-quick

I know I'm due for some serious blog-posting here. So much has been happening in my life lately, and I've recorded most of it on my camera, so I have a lot of pictures I want to share. Plus there are just so many cool thoughts floating up around in my brain that I want to inspire all of you with....but first I've got to find the time.

Anyone want to donate some for me!??!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Didja ever notice?

The fastest minutes of every day are the ones between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

The best thing about mother's day is what you do for someone else.

When people do something stupid in traffic, they usually feel really sheepish and embarassed about it.

People change their haircolor and their personality changes, too. Usually in a good way.

On rainy days, a hot cup of coffee and a donut tastes better than it does at any other time in the history of the world.

And sleeping in on a rainy day is the coziest feeling in the world.

And walking in a soft summer rain feels better than the hottest shower.

Hmm....maybe rainy days aren't so bad after all.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'M ALIVE!!!

As hard as it is to belive, considering my rarely-there posting as of late, I truly am alive! And kicking! And...enjoying my life immensely!

First you take two pretty cool and fun adults.
Then add five kids, all girls ranging in ages from 8 to 22.
Add two households complete with all the fixings being channeled into one lovely - but large and crowded - home.
And you mix it all up.
That's my life!

So if you are wondering where I am or what I am a-doing, picture this:
1. A lateral promotion that doubles my workload but doesn't double my pay
2. A hectic schedule of graduations, weddings, awards ceremonies, talent shows, dance classes, grandfather almost dying (but recovering), dad from California visiting and many other sundry activities sure to keep two said adults running from early morning until dropping exhausted into bed at midnight
3. Happily skipping to and fro as I go about the various activities that occupy my day

And that, folks, is where you will find me.

Monday, May 01, 2006

One little, bitty, important thing

Just because I say one crabby thing, it doesn't mean I'm in a bad mood. Or that I'm crabby. Or that I'm PMS-ing (because everyone knows I don't get PMS, comprende?)

It is just a momentary lapse in nice-ness.

Give me two minutes. Or two hours. I'll be nice again.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Six thingies I'll never admit to...except in my blog



My brother got this funny idea (yack) to tag a bunch of bloggers like myself to play a "game" where we write six random things about ourselves then tag six people to post six random things about themselves who would then tag six people and so perpetuate this degradation /humiliation /boredom throughout the blogworld.

So, I complied. Bien sur!

Thus, here are the six things about bunnyjo that no one person ever really wanted to know (but are forcing their eyeballs to consume):

1. I just discovered at 34 years of age that I like to be rocked and sung to: "Bye-bye baby bunting, daddy's gone a-hunting..." No wonder I've been miserable all my life. No one rocked me! This has nothing to do with the fact that *I rock* by the way.

2. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Emily, and I used to sneak away to the park to eat jelly donuts. No wonder she can't verbalize a linear thought....

3. I spent my entire life declaring that I would never wait on a man. I won't be his waitress, I declared! I twisted with disgust whenever I saw a woman running to fetch her man a cold drink. Pathetic, I'd think to myself! Now I wait on Chris hand and foot. I've realized that waiting on someone is only demeaning when it is expected by virtue of your sex, but waiting on someone because you love them and want them to be comfortable is incredibly fulfilling. Yay for me! And yay for Chris. We're pretty dang sickening, aren't we?!?!

4. I once was so frustrated to see the long, neat line of construction barrels along a quiet stretch of US 31, I ran my car into the whole line of them, knocking them all like dominoes into the woods about 50 feet. Ha! Take that, construction barrels! Too bad about the workers that had to go fetch 'em the next day, tho....

5. Although I will not fart in front of other people, I would often fart real hard with my cat on my lap to see if I could make her jump. Or run away. She must really like me - she never did either and came back for the torture time and time again!

6. I don't like romantic love songs and will probably have to search long and hard for something to play at my wedding. Right now I'm leaning toward "Live like you were dying" because it reminds me of Chris (I'm in awe of him) and how Chris and I make every moment together count by being tuned into each other, being kind and genuinely enjoying the everyday aspects of our lives lived together.

The six people I am tagging are:
1. Guyana Gyal because she writes meaningful things.
2. DCvR because he hates these things, and I wonder if he likes me well enough to comply :)
3. Radmila because she earned my respect by being a sincere human being and what better way to show appreciation than by tagging her ass? Plus I love her biting wit!
4. Melissa because I don't know if she still hates my guts, and I hope she doesn't, and since I didn't call her this weekend this might be a good way to find out if she's still mad.
5. Bonnie Blithe because she decided blogging was juvenile and hasn't been blogging which makes me want to stick my tongue out at her but instead I thought I'd TAG HER.
6. the dad because his alter-ego Chill Daddy is the one who started this horror and you know what Jesus always said, you reap what you sow. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What we've been up to

Coloring Easter Eggs!
From left, Brandie, Grace and Emily enjoy coloring - and then eating! - the Easter Eggs. So many eggs were eaten, in fact, we didn't have enough for an Easter Egg Hunt or the baskets! Oh, well! We experimented this year with the extra vinegar and got really bright eggs like the one Emily is holding. We also used a "marbelling" swirl kit that worked pretty well. Coloring eggs is a lot more fun now than when I was a kid! Sheesh!
A Fart Parade
Never at a loss of fun things to keep the kiddies entertained, after a competition to see who could make the best fart noises, Chris initiated the First Ever Fart Parade which was enjoyed by all. Leading the pack, of course, is Chris with his Magic Farting Flute, and playing their elbows are Grace, Brandie (who is hiding behind Grace) and Emily bringing up the rear.
Grand Haven Youth Orchestra Spring Concert


Oh, the girls were soooo nervous! Grace was bouncing off the walls and acting too cool for school as these pictures show. Brandie, who is a reserved child anyway, was grave and serious. I caught one quick smile to her mom during the concert, though! The girls both did a wonderful job although Grace tended to play to the floor more than to the audience! Afterward we had a wooonderful dinner at Big Boy to celebrate! It was our *first celebration* together as a family! One funny thing, Grace had picked out a cool bohemian skirt to wear to the concert which had a tendency to unexpectedly slide to her ankles when she least expected it! It was really funny when it would happen while she was walking!
Grace's Birthday Party
Chris had made a delicious cherry cake from his Grandmother LaPena's recipe and we had a wonderful time opening presents and eating that cake! Grace got a lot of cool Bratz things which were quickly put to use in Brandie's Bratz paradise spanning about 150 square feet of basement floor-space, including a Bratz hotel, apartment building, cruise boat, night club, restaurant...you name it! The girls had a blast, needless to say! Afterwards, as Chris and I unwound from the day's activities on the couch, we looked at each other and simultaneously said, "This is probably the best day of my life!" :) Oh, isn't love sickeningly sweet?!!?

Just Fun Stuff

This is Grace and Emily showing their stuff they learned at their new hip-hop dance class. Emily is also doing her Napolean Dynamite dance for the talent show, and Brandie has an upcoming concert for her special choir class she is in AND a young authors' reading event. Wow! We're busy, but busy has never been so fun!

And finally, here's a picture of Emily being her normal crazy self!

those that know me

This should go without saying for those of you that know me, but....apparently not, so here goes. Sometimes I am not a good friend. Sometimes I am not a good family member. Sometimes I am not a good communicator. Sometimes I let little life-y things get in the way of reaching out to people who mean a lot to me. It is selfish, I agree.

Consider it one of my few flaws.

This tendency has always been there, always been a part of my relationships. I've done better over the last couple years, learned to put more focus on my friendships and relationships, but in doing so, if the truth were to be told, I kinda neglected my family.

It really boils down to the way my brain works and the way I interact with the world around me. All my life, I've only managed to focus on a few main things at one time. If I'm eating right and exercising, it seems I get way behind in housework. If I'm going to church and keeping up on the housework, my yard and car get totally wrecked. Or my laundry overflows. The same is true with relationships. I've been so good at emailing and calling my friends, but rarely talk to my family (as they'd be glad to attest) unless I need something.

I'm so bad.

So, as most of you know, about two months ago I began seeing someone new. Chris. He and I both went into it wanting only friendship, but what began as a fun and interesting friendship quickly bloomed into a wildly exciting, consuming love relationship.

We giggle all the time about our "whirlwind storybook romance." After committing our whole hearts and souls to our prior relationship, our prior relationship sought greener pastures elsewhere. Instead of becoming embittered, wounded people, we were lucky enough to find in each other what we thought we had committed to in our prior relationships. Emphasis on the lucky part.

Anyone who has seen us together will have no doubts about how we feel about each other. About how happy we are. About how we genuinely just enjoy, support, encourage and treasure each other.

It's love, folks!

So, as is not uncommon is such situations, our involvement has us completely enthralled. We turn down all but the most important invititations in favor of spending yet more hours cuddling and talking and giggling and canoodling. We treasure every moment folding the whites, raking the yard, shopping for groceries. We cook together and clean up together. We even sneak away for surreptitious trips to the local ice cream shop. He's medium vanilla soft-serve, and I'm a peanut butter cup flurry. Yum.

So, in the midst of all this happiness and togetherness, if I forget - or simply don't have time - to call, please don't think it's because I don't care.

After nine years of being alone, it just feels so good to share my life with someone who I admire and adore with every ounce of my being. And I just can't quite get enough of that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My head almost popped off

If anyone had seen me, they would have sworn I was under the influence of some intoxicating agent. After laughing so hard my head felt like it was going to pop off, I got out of the van, still laughing, and was stumbling backwards when my heels hit the low-lying bush, and I began listing back....back....back....which only made me laugh harder. Bien sur!

Chris has this ability to make me laugh harder than I ever have in my entire life. He made me laugh so hard I almost fell over a bush. And that made me laugh so hard my knees buckled, and he had to rescue me before I hit the ground. And he does this every day. Every day!

Laughing is the best medicine I've ever experienced. It doesn't matter what has happened or is going to happen or didn't happen, laughing puts it all in perspective: I'm still alive, still able to feel, still able to enjoy life.

What a gift.

Monday, April 17, 2006

She's got my sympathy

Poor Brittany Spears. I know she's kinda white trash and kinda stupid and a lot of fun to make fun of, but can you imagine having a minor household incident become front-page news? MSN ran this story about her son falling out of his highchair. In addition, lil Brit has been vilified on the front page of Star magazine which blasted her with a headline "Brit's Baby Fractures Skull!" In reality, the incident was quite minor, but Brit and hubby K-Fed did seek medical treatment, covering their bases. No doubt they didn't want to serve any more foul-fodder for tabloids to lobby their way. So, they twist the story to indicate that Baby Sean had a brain clot. The tabloid has a brain clot if you ask me.

This story makes me angry for a number of reasons. It's not easy being a first time mom. You make a lot of mistakes. You eat a lot of crow for formerly-expressed opinions on child-rearing. You realize that you've got a LOT to learn. So give the girl a break! An accident occurred and she did the responsible thing. She sought treatment for her kid, and he was fine. Heck, one time I dropped Emily on her head onto cement from a standing position, and I never had her evaluated. She just seemed fine. Now I look back and wonder, what the hell was I thinking? Yet I consider myself a pretty good mom. As nasty as she is, Brit did the best she could under the circumstances. She deserves our sympathy and understanding, not our scorn.

But the REAL reason this story makes me boil is because it is downright irresponsible journalism to report such exaggerated accounts of a minor accident that happens in homes everyday across America. It is irresponsible, and it is dirty. It besmirches the journalistic integrity that so many journalists are struggling to maintain. And the editor that allowed that story to run should be fired. Making a journalistic decision to run a false report just to boost sales is unconscionable.

And anyone who exults in the exploitation of a young mom and an unfortunate household accident deserves a wedgie. I mean, it's not like she was dangling her son over a balcony by its leg. Sha!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Love songh

Baby, instant soup doesn't really grab me/Today I need something more sub-sub-sub-substantial/A can of beans or blackeyed peas/ some Nescafe and ice/a candy bar, a falling star/ or a reading of Doctor Seuss-Seuss!

Don't even try to wake-her-up!
Don't even try to wake-her-up!
I can always sleep standing up!
Don't even try to wake-her-up!

We've got to moogie, moogie, move on this one.

-REM, "Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

They are mucking up the works!

I received this article in my email today regarding yet more crazy Christians going off half-cocked and fecklessly ruining it for everyone.

Ruining what, you ask? Ah....good question, grasshopper.

This naive and narrow-minded child from Georgia Tech is tired of having to look at posters for the campus gay club. She thinks that insulting people because they live differently or believe differently is the Christian thing to do. It's her duty, people. Because if she isn't allowed to insult these people for what she considers a barrage of homosexuality on her campus, it violates her free speech rights.

Even worse, Christians are claiming that they are being marginalized by getting lumped in with racists because they protest tolerance movements attempting to make homosexuality more acceptable and understood by the community at large. Um, who the F cares if you are marginalized when you are spewing hate? And what about the free speech rights of people who want to educate bigots like this girl that they are human beings, too?

Look, I'm a Christian. I love God but a lot of times I think His people are just a bunch of flaming idiots. They don't think, they react. Here's the problem with what they are doing: if they succeed in getting tolerance laws overturned based on their religious belief, it crosses the line of separation of church and state, it opens the door for intolerance to be legally protected under the guise of religiosity (anyone remember slavery - hellow!?!?) and worst of all, it violates The Law all Christians are expected - nay, required - to obey: the Law of Love.

My ex-husband was fond of saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Christians - supposedly - are supposed to be out there doing like Jesus did, loving on everyone, being nice and helping people change their lives. But who is going to listen to you about how they need to change their life when you are a biggoted, intolerant, name-calling bitch? When you are parading in the streets with signs like "Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" or "Baby killers go to hell."

And what really kills me is that these short-sighted and reality-deprived people heading this crusade genuinely believe they are being attacked, that they are being discriminated against! So...ergo, they are fighting for the right to be rude and intolerant to a bunch of twinkle-toed fairies and bull-dykes. Makes sense.

Monday, April 10, 2006

And third place goes to....

...."Money swap from Perkins to Pell hurts students" by Laura J. Wilson of The Bay Window!!!!!!


YAY!!!! WOOOO-HOOOOO!!!!!
Go Laura! Go Laura!
It's your birthday~


Ok, it wasn't my birthday, but with the incredibly tough competition we faced this year watching the big schools hogging almost all the awards, winning third place sure felt like a gift.

But wow...even I with my big old vocabulary can barely find the words to express how much I enjoyed this year's Michigan Press Association Press Day competition. It really wasn't about winning for me, it was about sitting there with Chris's arm around me, reassuring me and his giant "whooo-hoo!" when I won that really meant the most to me. He said his heart was just full of love and pride for me when they called my name. Awwwww!

I didn't win any honorable mentions this year like I did last year. However, my faculty advisor, Sue Martens, has implented awards to be given by the Board of Whatever that oversees the paper, and I won for Best Column of the Year for "Rx for the Star Wars Blues" and "Voting Christians danger to mental health everywhere" about how otherwise intelligent Christians turn off their brains when it comes to voting. I guess I tied with myself. I am also winning for an art exhibit picture I took in the Feature Photo category. Yay for me!

Now, here's the meat of what I need to say. I am deeply gratified that Sue is implementing awards and recognition to be given on behalf of our college to the best of each journalistic category because we really got shafted at the MPA's awards this year. After winning eleven awards last year, we felt challenged to improve our paper significantly because we were very close to placing in the top five. That's a big deal, folks! So, after working our collective arses off this year we won a whopping three awards and a few honorable mentions.

I can tell you, I really felt for my fellow staffers as we sat as category after category went to the big four-year schools with 35,000 plus students and budgets bigger than most prof's salaries. But it wasn't just our paper that got shafted. All the small papers did. Out of the hundred or so awards given, only a handful went to small schools. A little, bitty pathetic handful. I could palpably feel the discouragement settle over my fellow journalists.

Here's the thing that is making me wonder. I can see why the big schools with their 24-page newspapers, four-color printing, fully-staffed graphics department and state of the art technology and equipment win for Overall Excellence. I can see where they probably have the edge on layout and ad design. But when it comes to the head-to-head article writing and photos, there is no reason other than possible bias why the big schools dominated.
Sure, our front-page attendance pieces may appear fluffy beside the big Lansing story about a murder on campus, but the question isn't how juicy the story is. The question here is the quality of the journalism. Does it stand to reason that they have better writers, or that articles with great layout and color photos and graphics just appear to be better? Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to take a look at the winning entries yet, but when I do you can bet I will be scanning them with a highly-critical eye. Dammit.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Seven chances to win....

Alright everyone, wish me luck. Tomorrow is the awards ceremony for my second Michigan Press Association journalism competition. I will be competing against college students all over Michigan with our published articles written over the past year in the following categories: news article, in-depth news article (three-part series on a college funding), feature article, opinion column (political - Christians who vote like idiots), opinion column (personal experience - Star Wars hooplah), photo essay and stand alone photo. That's seven submissions chosen by my editor and faculty advisor. Seven chances to win, folks, the max number of submissions allowed. They like me. :)

Now, whether or not I win is somewhat of a crap shoot, which is why you all need to wish me luck. Part of it depends on the submissions they chose (one of which I don't think was my strongest piece), the level of journalism exhibited by the other entries, and whatever the particular judge is looking for. Last year I won first place for in-depth journalism and an honorable mention for editorial (a category for which I didn't submit this year). I was quite fond of my editorial as it was on race relations, but my in-depth feature was frankly a snooze. My favorite submission last year was a funny piece about people eating like pigs in restaurants and blowing their nose while I'm eating (which I also posted to this blog). However, it didn't win because the judge thought it too broad a subject matter to address articulately in a 600-word article. Whatever.

So, the awards ceremony begins tomorrow at 2:30 and by 3:30 I shall know the worth of my journalistic output for 2005-2006. Sort of. Be assured however, whatever the outcome, I shall post the results here! Keep your eyeballs peeled.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I must've seen a ghost

When Chris and I canoodle together for our soft mushy-mushy talks (which are a daily requirement, you see) I snuggle right up underneath his arm with my head resting just below his chin. When we look at each other, I lean my head back with his shoulder cradling me. It is the most cozy, safe and warm place in the world.

So one day we were snuggling like this as we normally do, I leaned my head back to look at him, and he said, "Wow, look at all that gray hair!" and we giggled together. I had seen a couple gray hairs over the past couple weeks, like two, so we had a good laugh about his "old lady."

I wasn't worried. I mean, I am 34 years old and with age come certain unavoidable eventualities like drooping boobs and gray hair. Since I haven't yet had to contend with drooping boobs (thank you, Lord!!!) I simply don't care about two little bitty gray hairs.

Until I walked into the bathroom today.

You know how it's sunny outside and the sun is just lighting up everything it touches? Well, as I'm standing in the bathroom at work washing my hands, I glance up at myself in the mirror (checking my lipstick - hellow!!!) and what to my wondering eyes do appear but some premature gray with 18 tiny gray hairs!

OMG, WHERE ARE MY TWEEZERS!?!?!?

In all honesty, I can't pluck those offending follicles. I'm getting too thin as it is. I shall have to....

Wash that gray right outta my hair!
I'm gonna wash that gray right outta my hair!

Just kill me now. Youth has fled. And I've got a mini-van to boot. Hmph!!

....Which brings to mind a funny conversation Melly Girl and I had about aging recently. I was explaining how I have super hairs that grow overnight. There is one that grows on my cheek and sometimes I find these fine long hairs sprouting about the ol' nipple region. I told her that as time goes by I am going to have to be more and more vigilant that I pluck those things out so they don't take over and make my boobies furry.

Otherwise, I said, I'll be giving a whole new meaning to the words "heavy petting." OMG, I really do kill myself!

Monday, March 27, 2006

What I said

Shawn: Why are you so quiet today?

Me: I've been quiet for two weeks at least!

Shawn: (jumps to view computer screen and seeing blog page up just laughs) Just wanted to make sure you're not viewing porn.

Me: If I was viewing porn, I certainly wouldn't be quiet!

Oh, I *kill* myself!

Seen....in Grand Haven, MI

A young guy with a stocking cap on announcing he is a "SLACKER" in large colorful letters filling out an employment application at the local department store.

A sweet, white-haired lady straight from Driving Miss Daisy at the checkout next to me with her Easter Peeps telling me how wonderful they are when you freeze them so when you bite into them, they go crunch. As we both walk out, me marveling at her feckless naivete, she hops into her large, silver Cadillac with the following bumper sticker: Better be nice or I'll sic my flying monkeys on your ass.

An elegantly-dressed woman first wrestling, then viciously kicking a recalcitrant bag of sidewalk salt that just refused to get into the bottom of her cart.

An old couple in an SUV out at the pier on a mild Sunday night first gazing lovingly at each other before suddenly clenching each other with major make-out intention, like hands-in-the-hair, jumping in the lap, heavy panting, mushy-face. A true WTF moment.

Real honest-to-God snuff at the tobacco stand. Would have been a temptation just to try but for the $13.49 price tag.

Me falling out of my chair at work. Head-over-heels, topsy-turvy, one moment sitting upright reaching to throw something away, the next moment wheels in the air, ass on the ground.

Me walking through the parking lot at work simultaneously wondering why Bruce Sells is looking at me with such an odd expression and feeling a brisk breeze whistling through my breasticles. Button-up shirt wide open.

Me making undergarment adjustments repeatedly throughout the day causing an end-of-day, loud, cackling hen-party about the amenities of whitie tighties vs thongs when one of our agents steps into the office to announce that he has a client in his office and they've heard every word.

Could it be geographical influence? Cuz y'all know I never did stupid things before.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just cuz it's news doesn't mean it's true

This story about a guy who died at his desk and went unnoticed for five days appeared in several European newspapers and finally found its way into my bosses' email in-box. Being privvy to all email, I of course opened it when I saw the subject line: "FW: FW: Don't work too hard."

As snopes explains, just because a newspaper prints it, that doesn't make it true. Hm. Someone is singing my song!

What truth will do

Have you ever believed in something so compelling you invested your entire soul? I mean that deep-down-in-your-heart level of belief that is unshakably a part of how you see the world? It becomes a basic precept on which you evaluate the world. It becomes a foundation on which you build your life. It becomes an intrinsic part of who you are.

Then one day you discover it was all based on a lie. The reality that shaped the circumstances and decisions that led you up to the place life finds you today has all been based on lie after lie after lie after lie. What do you hold on to?

I'll tell you what you hold on to. You hold on to you. To the truth you know about yourself. You can't control what other people do; you can only control your response to what they do. But that doesn't mean you don't have power or control, because the greatest power and control a person can have is personal empowerment and self-control. These two things will take you right out of that bad place the lies deposited you.

I know I should have said something about God and how God sees you through. But isn't that exactly what I'm saying? It isn't the lofty God way up in Heaven looking down benevolently that has impact on a person's life. It is the internalized truths about what is good and right and noble and honorable that really make a difference. And in the hard moments when the very earth seems to be shifting under your feet, these are the things that you hold on to. These are the things that matter.

I traveled for a time in a place of smoke and mirrors, but now I have escaped, finding to my utter delight that there is a place where the sun does shine and good things happen and my day is not dictated by the anxious trepidation of what a phone call can bring.

Here's the last word on this subject, my people: it's not the places you've traveled that define who you are, it is how you conducted yourself on the road. I can look back and say that even though I gave myself to something that was entirely false, I was true to my own standard of what was required of me, what I knew in my heart was right to give. I gave love and honesty and openness and fidelity and truth in everything I did.

It is not me who failed, it was the object of my affection.

I don't have trouble sleeping at night. Anymore.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Where you'll find me

My life so far the last few years has been just Grace, Emily and I. Often times, when Grace and Emily were with their dad, I would go two or three days without seeing or talking to anyone. The house was quiet. Mei Ling and I, my pretty kitty, would thrrrp back and forth to each other. And enjoy the peace, the quiet. I would softly pat-pat around the apartment re-arranging the detritus of daily living so I didn't miss Grace and Emily so much. I would curl up with a book and some Chinese food. I watched my Netflix. I painted my toenails. I drew swirly figures in the dust. Life was good, even if it was a little bit lonely. I was comfortable.

Suddenly, that all changed!

Welcome to Grand Central Station, i.e. Chris' house. Kids, cats, bags and wives, let me tell you. A jungle. A madhouse. The we-have-to-lock-the-door-if-we-want-privacy kind of place. The kind of place you can't run around naked because you forgot your bathrobe when you went to take a shower. The kind of place you can't leave your panties on the bathroom floor. The kind of place where teenagers, young adults and pre-teens prance in and out in a steady stream of pre-and-post hormonal excess. In the sometimes overwhelming rush of cell phones jing-a-linging the latest ring-tones, instant messenger pinging, home phone ringing and happy children running to and fro, I found my soul expanding, my sedate complacency lifting, my little-bitty circle of family growing. Life opened its arms and embraced me.

Then, Chris had surgery. Kids, cats, bags and wives scattered. Cell phones were turned off. Cyber chat ceased. Home phone lay quietly where it was last placed. Doors stayed closed. And Chris and I snuggled up on the couch, my feet in his lap, and we looked at each other. A long time. And then he kissed me.

And my whole perspective on life changed.

Quality time is waaaaay under-rated, folks. I'd say getcherself some, but I'd recommend not having surgery to do it. Makes things rather difficult where canoodling is concerned. However, these things can be worked out....

And I'm getting a trip to the day spa. This nursing gig certainly has its privileges!

What makes us tick



Hamming it up together as a family













Lots of play time












Performing or being ourselves (depends on how you see it!)











Plenty of rest!







Yummy food we've cooked ourselves!











Family.....










Friends....







And a special someone who touches our heart, watches over us and gives the best hugs in the world....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Because I love him, I have to be honest...



....He's a complete and total ass. And to think he represents all of America.

Yep, that's it. I'm moving to Canada.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Your music is killing me, man!

We listen to the radio all day at work. We only get this one station - Star 108 - which is the musical equivalent to being served an anchovy pizza quiche with cheap chardonnay and salad. A little bit of good stuff thrown in with a bunch of crap. Like a few minutes ago they were playing Train's "Drops of Jupiter" which is a fairly cool song, right? Well, now that damn thing is belting out some chick song with "how can I live without you" repeated about fifty times. Puke.

Ok, so I admit it: I'm a musical snob. But do you - can you - understand the pain involved with endless cycles of REO Speedwagon, Mariah Carey and Phil Collins?!?! Not that those bands didn't have a good song or two (if you like that kind of stuff, which I don't). But let's face it, primarily their music was a little bit of good stuff thrown in with a bunch of crap. You know, that old industry-driven attempt to write another hit that merely results in sentimental rock-ballad drivel? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. That cheesy 80s rock. That pathetic 90s music to whine to. Just a bunch of freakin cheez and whine.

But back to the important stuff - my pain. Listening to this radio station all day is like an eight-hour equivalent of being in the gas station with that bad song blaring that gets stuck like effing super glue in your brain. A few days ago I woke up with the following song drifting through my head:

I wanne be your man in motion
Underneath the aerial quee
Da-da-da-da-dadada
St. Elmo's Fi-yi-ya!

I don't even know the freaking words and it was stuck in my head! Primal scream! Primal scream! Today I was actually singing - actually freaking singing "If you wanna be my lover, da-da-da-dadada-mmthing." Repeatedly.

Just kill me now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

As bad as politicians and lawyers

Aaaaaargghhhhh!!!!!

What is wrong with journalists and authors today!?!? It seems every week there is another scandal calling into question the voracity of published work we had all taken for fact. We've had Tuesdays with Morrie author and columnist Mitch Albom playing the part of the stupid criminal when he wrote a column on a basketball game as though he was there; unfortunately for Albom one of the athletes mentioned in his article didn't even play due to an injury. We've got James Frye grandly embellishing his memoir, Million Little Pieces. We've got Stephen Glass, a much-celebrated young writer of the The New Republic magazine fabricating about 85% of the content of the stories he had written for The New Republic, some of which were entirely constructed out of his apparently sexless imagination. Now it seems that Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code has been in court defending claims that he stole the main premises of his book from other authors! Where is their integrity? Where is their honor of their craft?!?

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. For every one author that gets outed, there are many more that go unreported by publishing agencies in a lame-ass attempt to save face. But even those that are reported usually result in a mere slap on the wrist. Poor Mr. Glass, for example, actually suffered some public humiliation before going on to graduate from Georgetown University Law Center and countless public appearances promoting his book, The Fabulist, which chronicled his journalistic fraud. Oh, and then there was the movie deal where Glass was portrayed by adorable and hunky Hayden Christensen. I'm sure poor old Glass cried all the way to the bank. So, answer me this: what is there to deter these dopes when committing an act of public betrayal only results in minor but temporary humiliation followed by book and movie deals?!?!

As a journalist I deeply resent this. Their dishonesty calls into question every word that is printed. I read a statistic yesterday that a whopping 3% of Americans think that politicians have integrity and honor their responsibility to the public as they carry out their duty thanks to the endless scandals riding the coattails of political life. Thanks to all the stinking bad journalists and authors out there (not to mention the bad tabloid reporting), journalists are going to get lumped in with lawyers and politicians before we know it. As someone who takes what I write for publication very seriously, I'd like to say this to all of them there bad boyz:

"Kiss my grits!!!"