Saturday, December 30, 2006

Say Yes! to Michigan

Does anyone else remember that stupid advertising slogan Michigan used to have? "Say yes! to Michigan. Say yes, yes, yes!" Somebody had fun with that one.

Speaking of yes, yes, yes, Eric's cousin's daughter got married last night, which is why I happen to be in Michigan. It was a very nice ceremony, and remarkably short. They looked happy and excited. The reception was held at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which was pretty cool.

Eric was happy to see cousins that he grew up with until he moved to Wisconsin at age 12. It was fun for me to put faces and personalities with names. I'd met the bride and her family, but that was it.

Today there is a brunch. If my family ever gets out of bed, we'll go.

It's weird being in the Eastern time zone. People don't start their day until later. It makes me a little batty. I lie in bed at home, waiting for the world to begin, and here I have to do the same thing since they don't do anything until later. We're only barely into the Eastern time zone, so even though it's 8 a.m., it's hardly showing any light outside. I suppose that's why they don't get up.

There is a Krispy Kreme a few blocks from here. Kelsey is itching to go. We don't have a Krispy Kreme where we live. My sister used to have one in her town, but theirs closed, and I haven't been back to see her since!

I wanted to go to the Gerald R. Ford Museum here in Grand Rapids, but they've closed it until the end of next week. Well, the lobby is open, but none of the exhibits are open. Whoopdeedoo – a lobby. The library is in Ann Arbor and is also closed except for the lobby, where you can sign a guest book. I think I'll pass.

We spent yesterday driving around Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids, looking at stuff from Eric's youth. Eric grew up in East Grand Rapids, and there is quite a difference between plain Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids. His back yard abutted Dick Ford's. Pretty hoity toity area. The only way we'd ever afford to live in such a place is if we won the lottery.

It really shows how differently Eric and I grew up. It's a wonder we can stand each other.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On The First Day of Christmas...

Christmas eve: We finished our shopping, picked up the house a bit, and brought my mom over for the night. She likes to spend the night so she's here to watch the kids open their presents in the morning. It was shaping up to be a pretty quiet Christmas. My sister stopped by with her husband and their son for a little while. Another nephew and his female friend came by. Very nice to be with family. We had a late dinner of homemade pizza, lit some candles, and had a little settle-down time before putting the kids to bed.

I wrapped presents, and made Christmas come. I fell asleep sometime after midnight.

Sometime after 1, I woke up. I heard a yowling. I heard a yelping.

"Amy! Oh, Amy! Come!"

Eric and I jumped out of bed and up the stairs. My mom was shuffling frantically back to bed, gasping and asking for an aspirin. She flopped down onto my bed, holding her chest, saying, "I think this is what it feels like to have a heart attack." Gasp, pant, howl.

Eric is very good at settling people down. He speaks so calmly and nicely.

I called 911, hoping that the ambulance wouldn't arrive before we got our pants on. We did get our pants on. Well, not my mom. She doesn't care, especially while clutching her chest and making use of a bucket.

It made for a bit of excitement in the night. Our neighbor Millie came down to check on us and offered to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital.

Kelsey got up, but Kayleigh slept through the sirens, the EMT's radio going off repeatedly at about 200 decibels, the howling, the three strange men in the house.

I sent Millie home, put Kelsey to bed with Eric, and followed my mom to the hospital. The security guy at the hospital wondered if I knew what I was talking about when I said my mom had just been brought in by ambulance. Apparently they're not accustomed to women being taken to the VA.

Anyway, they're not sure if it was a heart attack or not. It may have been the congestive heart failure having a big holiday fart. We'll know more today. Since it was Christmas and the VA is a government facility, it was a skeleton crew and not much diagnosis went on. They worked to get her blood pressure down and the fluid out of her legs, feet, and lungs. She's had a hard time getting doctors to do anything about the fluid in her legs, but this experience seems to have gotten their attention.

I was a little dismayed to hear my mom say she didn't want to be resuscitated should the need arise. I already knew that, but in a moment of a possible heart attack, it really sucks to hear it aloud. "I just want to die," she said.

So, it made for a tired Christmas somewhat less full of cheer and peace than I was anticipating. My mom was in pretty good spirits considering what she'd been through and spending Christmas in a hospital.

Like she always says, you just never know what the next day will bring.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Semester's Over!

Ah, I fixed my age. Somehow, in switching to beta, my year of birth was put at 1756. So, I'm back to being 36, a double adult.

You may have noticed I changed my profile....

My semester is done. Phew! It's a load off the shoulders. Just in time, too. Kelsey has started sucking her thumb and holding her ear again. Regression is sad. It's been tense and lonely around here, it would seem. So, I'll be adjusting the way things work around here. And Eric will be home every evening next semester, which is nice.

So, I feel long rambles coming and I don't have time. L8R.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

250 years old? Me?

Wow. So, I'm looking over my blog.

When I logged on yesterday, I decided to switch to the new beta version of Blogger. Mistake.

Today I checked my profile. I'm apparently 250 years old. No wonder I'm so uninspired. All the links on "favorite" crap are no longer links. And it's really jarring to go from that blue to a tan background when I look at my profile. There's no going back to the old version now that I agreed to the beta. Silly me. I should have known better. Especially after 250 years of experience in this world.

Tampon craft credit

I neglected to acknowledge Kath in sending me the link for tampon crafts. Thank you, Kath. You're a bloody good friend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Almost Done


The semester is almost over. Phew! I just have to study for my final, take it, and write an essay by Sunday night. The final has four parts. The first part is 25 T/F, MC, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions for 50 points. I get half an hour. The other three parts are essay questions. I get half an hour per question. Two are worth 30 points, the other is worth 40. If I get a zero on the exam, I have a BC in the class. I don't think I could handle a BC.


So, the printer screwed up our paper. I showed up at school, and the issue wasn't there. Except I saw a few copies on the table.

I said, "Is it here?" Mikk and Lauri chuckled and muttered.

Mikk handed me our "special insert" and said, "See how long it takes you."

So I looked. I opened it, and there, on page 2, was page 5.

"Oh, nice," I said.

"The fastest yet!" said Mikk.

Our designer about squeezed a peach pit out her butt. She was worried it was her fault. But it wasn't. She pissed and moaned about that insert like you wouldn't believe, and then to have it show up wrong – oh, I wish I'd been there. Well, I'm glad I wasn't, really. Scary, scary.

New Style & Links

So, what do you think of blue? It's very blue. I don't know how well I like it. But I have links now. I'll be adding more later. Let me know if you want to be on the link list.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


My little play was performed on Tuesday night. It was fun to watch, and my husband ditched work early to join me. They did it just as I'd envisioned it, which was pretty satisfying. The writing was clear, apparently.

My friend and colleague, Lauri, had a play performed that night as well, but she didn't come! She was home, ill, barely able to lift her head off her pillow. What a bummer. I liked her play. It was called "Complaint Department." Eric didn't like her play because it reminded him of his life in the before time.

Speaking of play, there are some fun things you can do with tampons. Check out I didn't look it over thoroughly, so I don't know if it has my favorite tampon plaything: a slide whistle. You just take the applicator, blow across the top like a pop bottle, and slide the skinnier part up and down to play music. I got pretty good, actually. I've always wanted to make a pan flute out of tampon applicators, but I've never been that inspired/bored. This web site,, has some pretty funny stuff and one little thing that grossed me out a bit, but made me laugh, and I like to laugh.

The holidays are in full swing, just pull the string and make something a little different this year.

More paper stories...

I was a bit behind on the paper this issue, and I never actually read the letters to the editor until they got on the page. They were sent to the opinion editor, and she popped them on the server, so the designer dropped them on the page. Eek. One of them was a bit racist, and used some swearing, which I don't allow in the paper. I let it go in – taking out the swearing, though – and I don't like it that it's there. People are entitled to their opinions, of course. I'm entitled to say, in my "professional" judgment, yuck. I don't know if I made the right decision to leave it in. We were pressed for time and just needed to get the stupid paper to the printer. I think the guy who wrote it makes himself look like a total asshole, but I don't want readers to associate his ideas with me or my paper. But why wouldn't they? I printed it. I guess I'll see what responses I get.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My "Interesting" Blog


Last weekend, my copy editor and I went to a luncheon hosted by the Madison Civics Club. Our fine senator Russ Feingold spoke about Post-9/11 effects. I'm a fan of Russ. He was very much a politician, which irritates, but as politicians go, he's among the best. He also said a lot of interesting and important things about the world and Americans and war. I took notes, of course. Then I stopped being a story whore and just became a celebrity whore and had my picture taken with him. Too bad the hopeless chickie who took our picture didn't know how to use a camera. My boobs are quite grand, but I'd like to see our heads more than my sweet softness.

My Journey into Investigative Journalism

This week I dropped a bomb on the IT department at school. As the editor in chief of the paper, I get access to the higher-ups that an ordinary student wouldn't. When I find a problem, I instill fear in a way that an ordinary student wouldn't.

So I asked to meet with the VP of infrastructure (I was pleased to see a copy of The Importance of Being Earnest on his desk; he's directing the spring play – the Guthrie just couldn't hold him). I whipped out my laptop and showed him the megahole in security that I'd found. He said in a very face-saving way, "Cool!" Then he got on the phone and asked for three more people to join us.

My tape recorder died shortly after I started my little demo, but they weren't saying much. Their jaws were hanging too close to the ground. They asked a lot of questions to me and to each other, then told me that this would be a good story "some time." I assured them it wasn't my intention to embarrass the school or print damaging information that would cause problems for any students. They were much relieved, but over the next few days, reminded me that it would be a bad idea to show everyone how to do what I learned how to do. Nevermind I learned how to do it in about four seconds of trying.

Anyway, I have a phone interview with a VP of the software provider on Monday. It's all going to be in my story, published next week. My advisor was so excited he stopped talking about his buck for about half an hour. Wow.


I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving, that you ate lots of pie, laughed with your loved ones, and plotted your shopping excursions. That's what we did. We didn't bust our butts cleaning our house – right? (Sorry, it just wasn't in me.) We had three kinds of pie, not nine, but what can you do? There was way more food than any of us could eat. My mom made a turkey, I made the gravy. I hope it was good; I wouldn't know. I've never made gravy from drippings before since I've never had drippings before. When I ate meat, I did enjoy Yorkshire pudding, which is made from drippings. Mmm. Fat and flour and salt.

So, our shopping consisted of going to Menards. Not very exciting. But we got a few things the kids wanted and a few things we wanted, and then we went home. We don't have any more money right now, so we didn't get too excited about sales.

Sammy the Rat

Our rat Sammy developed a tumor. We had it removed. Mistake. She chewed her stitches out. Gack. So we had her stapled back together, and as she started to chew her staples out, we took her back to the vet. They put an E-collar on her, like they do with dogs. It looked ridiculous and it drove her insane. She couldn't clean herself or eat by herself. We had to hand-feed her, including liquids. That's devotion, I tell ya. She was pretty upset by it all.

Today she got her staples out and her collar off. Except she has developed an infection, so we have to shove these pills down her throat. She does not like having pills shoved down her throat. I hope she recovers from all this. The tumor was easier to live with, and I don't think we'll have rat tumors removed anymore.

Poor Sammy pushed me over the edge last week. With Eric's crap and my crap, the Sammy crap was more than I could deal with, and I let fly a little on my blog. I want everyone to know, we are all doing well. Well, except Sammy, I guess. Thanks to everyone who sent their good wishes my way. I really appreciate the support you've given Eric and me.

Thanks again.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I feel better today. Had a cry and a talk with Eric last night. I still have too much to do, but I can start chewing at it today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spinning plates

Today I found out that a play I wrote will be performed by the Mercury Players Theatre. They do a round of plays called Short Shorts every month. The plays have to be no longer than one page in length, although some they have done must have had some very small fonts and very wide margins. At one page, it is hard to write a beginning, a middle, and an end, but it is do-able. I think my play is good; I do say so, myself. It's called "Break a Leg."

I am at a point in the semester where I don't care if I ever go back to school. I'd be happy to stay home and bake cookies and watch all the DVDs that people send me from all over the world. I like my job at the paper, but it's really hard to focus on school and the paper and my family. I want to do a good job at all of them. I hate letting things slide and just hoping for the best, but I really have to at this point.

Eric's been going through some crap of his own, and his crap is serious crap. My attention is there right now, not at school, not at the paper. There are times when families just need to be together.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a week

So, here I am with Dr. Drew Lipinski. He signed some copies of our newspaper. He was at the newspaper convention with and we ran two articles about HPV. So, go us.

Going to the convention really messed with school, and now it's mid-term, so we're all inundated with projects and tests and don't have time to work on the paper.

I finally got the paper out today, two days late. It's my first late paper, and I hope my last. Ah, well. I think it's a pretty good paper, though. Except for the mistakes, of course. Heh.

Now I'm going to sleep.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Still swingin'


Not so good. Kayleigh's friend abandoned her at 4:50. Too short notice to find someone else to trick-or-treat with. So she went with Kelsey and her friends. Joy. She bugged out early, only to find someone had stolen all the candy off the front porch. Lots of people around here do that--put the candy out and hope that people are honest. We won't be so naive again.

Growing pains

So, as the mom, it's hard for me not to want to cause great bodily harm to anyone who hurts my baby. I know 12 is a crappy age for kids. So many changes can be just mean to suffer through. Kayleigh sat on the floor, stuffing her face with chocolate bars, and asked, "Why does chocolate make you feel better? And why does it wear off so fast?" We got into talks of drugs and endorphins and depression and exercise and facing what's bothering you and turning to your family for help and...the questions she asked made me worry. She seemed to be finding comfort in the idea of drug use. That is a sad, scary road I hope she never goes down. The girl needs love and success.

St. Louis

Some members of my newspaper staff and I went to St. Louis last week for the ACP/CMA convention. I went to some cool sessions where I didn't learn much, but I had a good time. I also went to some kind of boring ones. Ah, well. I was hoping to learn a bit about lead-writing, headlines, and cutlines.

There was another one that sounded cool--The Myth of Objectivity. The speaker was good, but we didn't talk much about objectivity. Much of the time was spent just introducing ourselves. That was OK. It was interesting hearing where people came from. He went at the girl from Calvin College a little, wondering whether she was even allowed to be objective. I thought he would be a hoot at a party. He seemed like he had a lot to offer, but needed a lot of time to offer it in. Professors.

Anyway, we came home with seven awards. We took 2nd place, best of show for our category of newspaper, honorable mention best of show for our special Halloween issue (I was a cereal killer--the photographer never understood it and kept telling me I should have blood-red around my lips, not a milk mustache), honorable mention for our online newspaper, which is a freakin' joke, honorable mention for staffer Melissa Stelter (they spelled her name wrong) for Story of the Year, editorial, and Pacemaker Finalist. We got two CMA design awards; 5th place for an ad, 2nd place for sports page design.

The World Series

We were lucky to be in the nation's most dangerous city for the World Series. My advisor got into the 4th game for $80, the big bastard. (Taste me, I'm bitter.) The final game went for around $1800. It was incredible to be there when they won and everyone was so excited. We got into the stadium after the game. I called home from behind home plate. I talked with a lot of people. My trusty reporter Mikk will likely have a good story for the sports page. I gave him my notes. I'm a little bummed not to be writing the feature, but that's the way it goes. I had other stories to write.

Anyway, I went out the next morning, and the previous night's revelry was scarcely apparent. A little bit of broken glass on one street, and that was it. Around here, they'd've cut down trees, broken store windows, and set cars on fire. It was so great to go out the next morning and not have to dodge piles of drying puke.

I found St. Louis to be a very friendly, welcoming city. Even street people asked us if we were enjoying our time in St. Louis.

The biggest bonus was that I got to see my niece Sarah and her fiance, Dan. We had a nice evening together watching the game on the giant screen, wandering the streets, and having a light, late dinner. My advisor, who doesn't want to meet families on trips but was present when Sarah arrived, said she was very nice and liked her a lot. He even hung out for a while--before going off to game four for $80, the bloody bastard...OK, covered that already, deep breath. Row 18, even! (inhale...exhale...)

The family

They survived without me, but barely. Eric was sick the whole time. Turns out his meds were way hosed but the doctor called the wrong number to leave the message that said, "Go to the pharmacy now! We've upped your thyroid dose!" (Insert further swearing of your choice.)

Back in the saddle

Now I'm back. Craparama. I'm waaayyyy behind in my school work. I was given an extension in my mass communications class, but this week's work is dependent on last week's, and he offered no extension for this week, so I can plead, or I can just suck it up and do too much and have it all be crap. Crappish, anyway.

UPDATE: My teacher gave me an extension for both weeks, so I get the same amount of time to work on it as everyone else. Phew!

It's nice to be with my family, though. School work, be damned. I missed 'em.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


What's the deal with that word? Vituperative. I see it everywhere these days. Remember when iconoclastic was the word du jour? Or automaton? I'm going to make it a point to never use any of those words.

So, a midweek update. I'm supposed to be writing a paper, but the words aren't flowing well today. Mostly, I want to take a nap. And eat deep-fried cheese curds. Oh, so warm and crisp and gooey and salty and fattening...mmm.

Yesterday Eric got stung by a bee. While we were at American Players Theatre. Five minutes before the show started. He took a drink of his root beer, but he didn't notice that a bee had landed on his cup. He pressed the cup to his lip, and the bee was not terribly pleased about being squished and swallowed. So it stung him.

Eric started flailing and spitting. He threw his cup down and clawed at his lip. I figured out what happened. He said, "I just got stung by a bee."

I said, "Shit."

He pulled out his epi-pen, stretched his pants tight against his leg, and fired. He held it in a good, long time. I was impressed he remembered to leave it there long enough.

I said, "This is one play we are not going to see."

You see, a month ago, we were supposed to see this play. But someone in the family (OK, I admit it) got the time wrong, so by the time we would have gotten there, the play would have been nearly over. We were all disappointed and angry, but we bought new tickets, taking another gamble that an outdoor theater would have excellent weather the day we wanted to go.

It was a tremendous waste of money, but to miss it again! AAAHHHHHHH!

So, I'm sort of drained today. Eric is especially drained, but he is on a prednisone buzz. Poor guy.

Anyway, my paper. Eric says it is good. The feedback I got on my rough draft was warm, but not glowing. I just can't get interested.

And my newspaper has to go to the printer tomorrow. Gawd.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I wrote my first last-minute assignment on Sunday. I hate doing that. I write such crap that way. But it was in two minutes before my deadline, and it only had to be a rough draft. It was certainly rough.

All this working on a laptop in my bed has destroyed my back, neck, and hips. I wish I had a modular body that I could construct as I needed it. My legs really get in the way sometimes.

I'm having trouble with my news section. My very experienced news editor and copy editor both want a simple telling of facts: Here's what happened, here's what the people involved have to say about it, here's what people in the community have to say about it. No interpretation or analysis allowed because that would be biased editorializing. I just don't agree. But I also am unsure how much "biased editorializing" is OK in a news article. I think it's OK to consider possible ramifications of an event or situation. I think it's OK to be descriptive, even though that means making a judgment. I am expected to make judgments simply to determine what is news we're interested in printing and what is isn't, for cryin' out loud. It's my ability to make good judgments that got me this job. Well, that and the fact that only one other person applied for it....

Kelsey is reading a book about mountain gorillas. It says a gorilla eats shoots, stalks, and leaves. I really want to play with that one.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not much to say

Three papers in a row out on time. I wonder if I'll ever be satisfied with a paper. My advisor said that when he was editor at his paper, he couldn't even look at it after a couple of days because he could only see the mistakes.

Kelsey had another soccer game tonight. She scored a goal! Go, Kelsey!

She missed last week's game because of dance. She had an absolute fit about it, saying she would choose soccer a hundred times more than dance. She was utterly livid, punching the air and having a tantrum fit for a two-year-old.

Kayleigh is getting her homework done earlier in the day, which is making for much nicer evenings.

I can't believe how big she is getting. When she wears shoes and I don't, we're about the same size.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fall and funerals

So. Wednesday. Uh...

I can always tell when it's fall because I go out and buy hot drink mixes like instant cappuccino and odd-flavored teas, Kelsey comes into our bed three or four times a night, and I start thinking about buying new furniture. Never fails. Fall is upon us.

I flicked on the TV this morning, and they were showing Steve Irwin's massive funeral at Australia Zoo. (He was at Australia Zoo the day I was, but I never saw him.) I was shocked when I heard he died, but not surprised given the risks he took. Kelsey was very upset because he died on her birthday. Anyway, I hadn't really been fazed by his death. I never paid much attention to him. But seeing the funeral clips got to me, little Bindi so easily reading that piece of notebook paper, tracing the words with her finger, and Terri having to keep it together, holding Bob in her lap. I'd hate to have my grief so publicized. It's hard enough to suffer the loss of the love of your life, and with your family so young.

Australians seem very proud of how "Australian" Steve was. I wonder how they feel about him marrying an American.

When we were at Australia Zoo, whoever was holding the microphone in the croc show asked who was from America. When I raised my hand, a guy going past said, "American?! Achh!" He held out his hand to me and said, "Here's a ticket. Go home!" So much for that reputation of being such nice people. What a dick. I wonder if he'd say that to Terri. Fortunately, he was the only Aussie ass I met.

I think everyone should travel a lot. Get out of what's normal to them to find out that there are lots of normals in the world and that those normals are OK, too. Easier said than done, of course. When I went to Mexico when I was 16, I thought it was bizarre that most people wanted everything to be the way it was at home. Why bother going anywhere? There's more to travel than a nice view. And there's more to the world than my little way of doing things.

It's just as annoying, though, when you go somewhere and people scorn you because you don't do things the way they do, as though you're handed a rule book to memorize when you step off the plane. Of course some things are serious cultural infractions. But little things just don't matter.

Oh, dear. I feel a serious rant coming on. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I've done enough of that recently.

How about those Packers, huh? You know, Soldier Field is a little closer than Lambeau...ha! I'm kidding! I'm no fair-weather fan. But I'm saving myself the disappointment and not watching the last nail get pounded into the Packer coffin. These things cycle. Ten, fifteen years, man, we're gonna kick some ass.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fun times

Instead of getting our work done, we had a family day on Saturday.

Kelsey had her first soccer game. She was delighted and a little scared.

After soccer, we went to Ski-Hi, a local apple orchard. We bought some apples, some carmel apples, some cheese curds. We had a good time just hanging together.

They have a sense of humor at Ski-Hi. A bench next to a sign reminding you to put out your cigarettes.

A crate of nasty apples that they used to sell as deer apples, but that's illegal now, so who else would you feed but your horse?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It has come to my attention that my daughter reads my blog...previous entry edited.

I'm better today.

I don't want people coming to the conclusion that I'm always bitchy. I'm not. And I'm not stressed out over my job. I really enjoy my job. Certainly I wish people did their work on time, but that's something I'll have to deal with forever.

Anyway, anyway--I'm better today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If you were gay that'd be OK, I mean, cuz, hey-I like you anyway...

I hate it when books or TV shows are inconsistent. I hate it when they change the core of a character or rewrite history. It's flocking annoying and totally cheap.

So, I'm supposed to be making dinner. Flock that, too. None of us look like we've missed too many meals.

My second paper came out on time today. Wow. Two in a row. My advisor says it's a record. It's not a great paper. The design diva made a crap page, and we didn't have time to change it. I didn't write my news article until the day before it went in the paper. I didn't even give it to an editor. I am the editor. Besides, they would have made me change something because it was crap, and I didn't have time to change it.

I'm in a foul mood. Oh, well. I'll go listen to Avenue Q's "It Sucks to Be Me."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

So much for Wednesdays

I just have to deal with the fact that I am irregular person. In so many ways, but not in the way that requires high-fiber cereals, thank you very much.

So, it's Thursday already, not Wednesday. I didn't update my precious blog on Wednesday. Flog me.

I broke my cell phone yesterday. I was trying to reach my keys and balance my backpack and my phone with a couple of fingers. It didn't work. The phone fell on the blacktop and made a terrible noise and spewed itself all over the ground. I tried to put the battery back in and turn it on. Very funny.

Fortunately, because I am such an irregular person, I had a spare phone in my dresser at home. So I had a new phone working in no time.

I am avoiding writing an article. I've done an excellent job of procrastinating. I piss around doing everything – anything – but write the bastard thing. I just don't know what I'm doing and I can't get started.

Ah, well. I better try again. I can procrastinate later.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's not even Wednesday

Does anyone else smell onions frying?

I stopped taking my medication (One of them, anyway - ha!) about a week ago. It's a nasal steroid. When I don't take it, I can smell things. When I do take it, I can't. Out of laziness, I didn't take it for a couple of nights, then I deliberately didn't take it. I felt like shit for a while, but then I felt better again. And I can smell again, which isn't always a good thing.

Do you know how good food tastes? Wow. I've been delighting in everything that's been going into my mouth. (Don't even touch that one.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Tonight Kayleigh asked me, "What happens when you have sex during your period?"
I answered after a moment, "It's pretty messy."
She said, "Isn't it always?"
I laughed.

Got the first paper of the new school year out on time on Monday. I think everyone was pretty excited. I was, too, but not as much as I thought I'd be. I was thinking about the next issue. My advisor said that's the way newspaper people are - once the paper's done, they've moved on.

Here's a link. The graphic on the front is from last year's final issue, though. Oops. I'll have to nag tomorrow.

We'll see if that link works. I have trouble with links.

People have been walking in all week wanting to work. That's great. Three have already bagged out of their stories, though. At least they told me now instead of just running away never to be seen again.

So, let's just say from now on that I'll be updating my blog on Wednesdays. It seems to be all I've got. Most of what I write is fairly insipid, stream-of-consciousness BS. If you all wanted a theme or something profound, you're SOL. It's been my experience that my family and friends enjoy my babbling more than my deep thoughts anyway.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Suffering from CRS

Oh, balls.

I just remembered that the painter is coming tomorrow. That little detail is just one of probably several dozen that I can't keep in my head.

We got a bill today for the brake job on our van. We weren't able to pick it up while the repair shop was open on Friday, so they left the key and a bill in the van, and we were supposed to pay Monday. We forgot.

I forgot to mail a letter to one of Kayleigh's friends. She wrote it three weeks ago now. I forgot to fill out a form at Kayleigh's registration, and now I keep forgetting to stop by the school and do it.

There's probably more. But it's all forgotten for now.

The painter is coming because of the roofers. On their first day, they got as far as tearing off the old shingles and laying paper down. Then they left for the weekend. Except it rained all Saturday. Sunday morning, we had leaks in the kitchen. There was water dripping off the light fixture and there were spots above the stove and sink. Then they got bigger. Then they turned brown. Eew.

We tried to see where the water was coming in, but we couldn't tell. After the rain stopped and the skies weren't so black, we could see that the paper had pulled back in rather a large area.

So the roofer said he'd send a painter to fix it. Tomorrow is the day. And, as luck would have it, since our kitchen ceiling hasn't been painted in so long, he has to paint the whole thing because he can't match the colors. Heh, heh, heh.

Guess I better clean the kitchen tonight. Damn.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bloody roofers

I'm about to leave for the grocery store. What international oddity should I buy today? Hmmm....

The roofers left on Saturday. We're still finding nails, but at least they're new nails, not nasty old rusty nails full of black goo from old shingles. We went with the cheapest bidder. We'd used him before at our old house, so we knew it would take a while for him to get to us and that once he started, it wouldn't be a one-day rip and tack operation.

The problem with waiting for him is that we've spent all the insurance money. You see, in spring we had a fabulous hail storm – it was the biggest hail I'd ever seen – big as baseballs, some of it. It was very exciting and somewhat frightening, too, and I was really glad I'd put the van in the garage. Our whole neighborhood got reroofed this summer.

So, on the roofers' first day, the owner's grandson, who's 22 and looks like he'd rather be playing God of War on the PS2 or having a nice toke, ripped a lovely long gash in his hand. He climbed down the ladder and asked Eric for a band-aid. Eric tried to help him wash it, but it was gushing blood all over our kitchen. Eric wrapped it up and told him he needed to go to urgent care.

About then, the poor boy started turning a greener shade of pale. His grandma pulled up just then to get him some more water, and Eric pushed him into the seat next to her. Then he started to shake. Grandma couldn't look.

He ended up with four stitches and came back to work that afternoon.

But now we're done with all that. Thank goodness. Hopefully we won't need to reroof until we're so old that we just sell the house as-is and check into assisted living.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cooler-than-thou and diva butt

Today we registered Kayleigh for school. According to her, all things school related are soooo lame. She even rolled her eyes when they tried to take her school picture. I wish they'd've taken the picture with the eye-rolling. It would at least be an accurate recording of this stage of her life. Frizzy hair, greasy skin, mouth agape, eyes rolling. Yeah. And her face really would have stuck like that. In print anyway.

My house is a complete disaster.

Tonight Kelsey asked, "How do you spell diva?" I laughed. I told her how to spell it, too. She wrote it on the butt of her Doodle Bear.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Talk to my agent

I got home from work on Monday, and my daughter was in my husband's office. By the hushed tones and unintelligible words, I could tell they were talking shop. I smiled a little smile, happy that they have that time to geek out together. It's great to see Kayleigh growing into a capable, curious young woman.

Tuesday found me at a student leader retreat at a sleazy park. The less said publicly about the environment the better. The retreat was OK. I learned a lot, actually. I wasn't happy to learn some of it, though. For instance, one young student leader said, "Like, what is The Clarion? I see it around, and I don't know what it is. Why would I even want to read it?"

I said, "Pick it up!" I didn't smack her.

Then a confirmed rabble-rouser started in: "You know what the problem with The Clarion is?" and he spouted off for a good, long time. Such emotion, such vehemence, such scorn.

I do have my job cut out for me.

Wednesday was decidedly more pleasant, although when the day started, I worried. I looked in the mirror, and the bags under my eyes were even bigger and darker than usual. Just beyond those giant bags, I was green. I thought, "Great. I look completely hungover. At least if I were hungover, I'd've had the pleasure of getting myself into that condition. This is not how I want to appear on film."

Yes, Wednesday was my day to film the New Student Daze video. It will run as a loop in the theater, apparently, welcoming new students to school and telling them what they'll be doing that day to get them ready for the first day of class and beyond.

Did I really want to appear before thousands of students looking like I major in recreational drug use? Not especially. And especially not especially since I wasn't going to get paid. [Have fun with the syntax on that one, folks.]

Add to that, my right contact lens wouldn't stay in place, and my pants have shrunk by about 12 pounds since school started last year. Ah, well. Imagine the demographic we'd reach by my appearance.

After a slow start to the morning, we got filming underway. There were five of us student actors. The Student Life staff appeared in one shot, too. We had trouble with our lines, and the teleprompter was so slow that none of us could actually speak that slowly. So we worked around longer lines by changing the script, handing off lines to other actors, and using cut-scenes. There was a lot of ambient noise and general busyness in the school, so it took a long time to film. We were all over that school and even at the bus stop.

I was the narrator. I originally expressed interest in that part because I thought I could do a voiceover and not actually subject the public to my face. I also thought that since I have a rather monotonous vocal quality (soothing, it's politely been called), people would expect a boring narration, and I'd be perfect. Ah, but I hadn't looked at the script carefully.

We all did a fine job, I think. Major kudos to Penny and Walter, though. Great work - they should do this sort of thing for money.

As for me, well - no autographs, please.

Now - no more bitching that I haven't updated my blog in a week! I'm trying....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What was I thinking?

You know, I've had it pretty good for a long time. I've been home with my kids. And they're good kids. They're pleasant (most of the time), they're smart, interested in the world, funny, cute--all that good stuff. My husband is a nice guy--a wonderful man, according to my mother, and even my feminist friends who hate men like him. He's kind, thoughtful, smart, hard-working, goofy. He keeps me nicer than I would otherwise be. And he's made enough money so that we can have a fine life and I can stay home and be a mom.

I'm grateful.

So why did I go and cock it up by getting a job? I mean, for cryin' out loud, I've got it made here! What was I thinking?! Suddenly I've got deadlines and people expecting me to know what the hell I'm doing and expecting me to do something. I don't do things; I float from task to task in a lovely, leisurely manner and have a little snack in-between.

My kids aren't back in school yet, so I drag them along to my office or, worse, leave them home while Eric tries to work in his little corner of the house. (It's August--babysitters are hiding. They've been so terrorized by their June and July babysitting disasters that they've very inconveniently scheduled themselves beyond any availability.)

Sure, my mind has been on a long recess. So I was happy to use my brain again, happy to be with adults, happy to do something not focused on a family member. I needed those changes. Going back to school and work has been fun and exciting and rewarding, and in a lot of ways, I wish I'd done it years earlier.

But holy buggering barnyard animals. This is going to take some getting used to.

(Speaking of sex with barnyard animals, read the book Farm Boys, by William D. Fellows. There is one section in there that--well, I read it repeatedly. I heard that the book inspired Brokeback Mountain, but I don't know if that's true or not.)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Gathering

We've just returned from The Gathering of the Knapp Clan in honor of John's 90th birthday. We spent a few days at Lake Yawkey, enjoying lots of food and, more importantly, the whole fam-damily. We got to see siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and in-laws, depending on where on the family tree you're growing.

Here's John, the man of the hour, with his kids. We all got matching T-shirts to commemorate the day.

The babies were cute, of course, and I got to hold this gorgeous little one as he chucked all over the pickleball court. (No photos of that, unfortunately.) I forgot just how much one tiny tummy can hold. It was fun to be around babies again, all such darling and intelligent and sweet-tempered things.

We played in the remarkably clean lake, and Sarah got buried in sand. Sand castles were placed strategically over her body parts. I lamented there was no plastic crab to put in one particular spot. Here are her toes. We chicks spent Saturday morning celebrating Sarah's bridal shower while the guys ate a monster breakfast at Paul Bunyan's. I'm glad I'm a girl.

The visit was busy and brief, which is the way family get-togethers should be. Until we meet again....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Grass Jelly Drink

I finally got together with the family to taste my Grass Jelly Drink. The kids think I'm nuts. Eric wouldn't try it, either. I must say, it looked pretty nasty. It came out of the can as a dark water, like you get when you mix all the Easter dyes together when you're finished coloring your eggs.

I flashed back to the time I barfed on my parents' bedroom floor when I was nine. That color looked familiar...

It tasted like flat pop. If it weren't for those chunky gel bits, I bet you could call it energy tea and people would drink it without another thought. Like most gross things, it sounds much more appealing in French: boisson aux gelees d'herbe.

The ingredients were pretty simple: water, grass jelly (whatever the hell that is), cane sugar, corn starch, and honey. I suppose, since there's cane sugar in it, it's not technically vegetarian, so I have an excuse never to drink it again. But as I say, it's not so horrible. Not so good, either. But I could drink it. Maybe just strain it first.

Mmm. Grass Jelly Drink. Good to the last drop--er, chunk.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We've made it 14 years. Yep, two seven-year-itches under our marital knots. So to all of you who said I was too young or he was too old--well, you had our best interests at heart, so thanks. But--nya-nya-na-nya-nya!!!

Eric spent the morning with Kayleigh in Milwaukee at Apple Camp. I spent the morning with Kelsey bowling (I'm still sore--man, I can't handle those balls the way I used to). Eric spent the afternoon & evening working the IT open house at work. I spent the afternoon watching Ice Age: The Meltdown at the cheap seats and the evening at Borders with the kids. Eric joined us eventually and we had some expensive treats, all four of us on an anniversary date.

Today was just a day. Went to the bank. Went to work. Went to my mom's. Came home. Oh! We went through a car wash on the way home. Kelsey's been bursting to go through a car wash, and today was the day. Woodman's, $3. It's adequate. You get what you pay for.

Also cheap at Woodman's right now are the one-pound boxes of Whitman's Samplers, only $2.99. They expire next week. (That means their sell-bys are next week, for those of you in other parts of the world.) Eat quick. That's not a problem here.

Tomorrow we go up to Eric's sister's for a family reunion, birthday party, and bridal shower. My, they are an organized bunch. Eric's dad is turning 90. Way to go, John! May we all live so long and so well.

I don't know if I'll have internet access while I'm away, so my random thoughts may not grace cyberspace again until next week. Take such care, everyone.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's academic

Gonna get me a education
I registered for school today. I'm not in a program, so I had to wait until open registration, which often makes for lots of busy signals over the phone and transfers to different departments. Today it also consisted of talking to real people--in person. Whoa.

I haven't taken the requisite course (English 1) to get into my Intro to Mass Communication class. I figure since I've already had Advanced Comp, three semesters of creative writing, two semesters of lit, and being the editor of the paper, English 1 is probably not necessary. And the English advisor on duty at the time ("He's the one sitting by the sign that says 'English Advisor.'" --yeah, thanks; I thought so) agreed, so I can stop feeling quite so arrogant.

So, I'm all set to take a history class--I honestly thought I'd make it through college without ever taking a history class--and my mass comm class.

Back to the subject of food...
As I drove home from school/work today, there was a flavor posted on the Michael's Frozen Custard sign which I'd never seen before: Kahlua fudge. So after dinner, we had to go there. Kahlua fudge was good. It was a lot like the cappuccino almond fudge, except it didn't have any almonds. I think I like the almonds. (Do you still have your nuts on your desk, M?)

I gave the grass jelly drink can a shake tonight. It sounds really revolting. Tomorrow before dinner, I'll pop it open and have a suck. Do people really consume grass jelly drink? Or did some marketing genius in the Philippines come up with some drunken bet with a buddy that he could get Americans to drink gelled grass?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sweet Jackfruit

I've just returned home from the grocery store. I usually hate grocery shopping, but today seemed OK. My kids were with me; they were very pleasant and only asked for about 4000 Calories of chocolate each. I was moderately indulgent.

I love the ethnic food aisle, as it's called. Soy sauce and taco shells don't seem very ethnic to me, but there they are--along with the aloe juice, basil seed drink, and Rice-A-Roni. Go figure. Earlier this year I saw a can of glop that was really disgusting but fascinating, as well: Grass Jelly Drink. There it was again today. For 49 cents, I thought it would be an excellent entertainment value. So I bought it, and to go along with it, I bought a jar of Tasty Joy brand Sweet Jackfruit.

I tried the jackfruit first thing. It felt sort of like a canned apricot, kind of soft and squishy. But it was a bit stringy, too, like a mango or a pineapple. It was ridiculously sweet; if they were peaches, they'd be the heavy syrup kind. It tasted sort of peachy, sort of mango-y. The pieces were about the size of pineapple chunks, but sliced much thinner. I couldn't manage to actually chew them into anything smaller than they already were, and they got slimier and goopier, so I pulled a French abortion and spat them into the sink.

I'm waiting until my grass jelly drink gets cold in the fridge before I try it. Somehow, I think cold grass jelly would go down better than warm.

None of my family will try my ethnic gastronomic curiosities. Wimps. When it comes to imports, they don't venture much beyond Toblerone. Last month, however, I bought a tin of Spotted Dick at an import store, and they did try that, I must admit. It was like a very wet, sicky-sweet muffin in a can. It wasn't bad.

But if I'm honest, I'll take the chocolate over Spotted Dick or Sweet Jackfruit any day. The jury's still out on the grass jelly drink.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hijacking the blogwagon

After much nagging from family, I've finally (finally!) started a blog. Hi.