Thursday, August 31, 2006

An observation

Isn't it funny when men buy girly cars and try to make them manly? By girly car I mean any of the following:
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Mini Cooper
  • Mazda Miata
  • Volkswagen Rabbit (regular or convertible)
Out running an errand for work today when I saw a guy driving a Beetle, and to try to make it more manly, he chose the electric blue one, and got these fancy-schmancy wheels rimmed in the same blue as the paint. And I laughed. And thought, "Dude, it's still a girly car."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The First Birthday

Today was wonderful. Today was the day my daughter, my precious, beloved, adored, incredible, gorgeous, gift-from-God baby, turned one year old.

She woke up about 15 minutes before 7:32, so we had time to change her diaper and bring her back to bed with us, where we snuggled and cuddled and waited until 7:32 a.m., the exact moment one short year ago when she entered our world.

The year has gone by so quickly. It's amazing. And she's changed so much. While I miss the teeny tiny little creature who was so utterly dependent and immobile, I cherish watching her grow and change and learn. I love her independent streak, although I know I will come to be aggravated by it when she's in her teens. I love how she can look exactly like me and M at the same time, and still maintain her own identity. I love her little hands and her weensy toesies (piggies, we call them), and how she tugs on her ear and pops her thumb in her mouth when she's tired. I love how she smiles when she sees me, and how her fussiness is entirely predictable and easily fixable. I love how she knows that doing motorboat during mealtime is wrong, and sometimes she does it anyway. I love how sometimes she sounds more like R2D2 from Star Wars than a baby. I love everything about her.

Today M and I both took off work and we went to the Zoo. Zozo got to see lions and tigers and bears, oh my! She got to see the Bird House and Big Cat Country, and got to smell the monkey house. She got to see the new baby elephant and ride the train. It was a big day, and we all had fun. I'm including some images from the day at the end of this post, so stay tuned and keep reading!

After the Zoo, we made a quick stop at Schiller's, where Mommy got her flash (sweeeeeet! Nikon SB-80 AF Speedlight if you care to read up on it) and then home, where Zozo took a much-needed nap.

The rest of the night was spent playing and goofing off. All in all, it was a luxurious day of Quality Family Time. Right in the middle of the work week. M and I agree that we simply need to be independently wealthy so we can do this every day. If any of you have any ideas how to do this, we're open to suggestion. Especially from you, Saara, who earned a promotion a mere nanosecond after starting your new job (congratulations!).

So, that was my day.

Happy birthday to my darling little girl. Thank you for being my daughter, and for being such a joy to me.
Daddy and Zozo check out some colorful birds in The River's Edge.

We're waving at some animals here.
I don't remember which ones, but judging by the background, I think we're still in The River's Edge. This was the first place we went, to catch a glimpse of the new baby elephant.

Love seeing the zebras. Zebras are some of my favorite animals, mainly because I invoke their name almost every day of my life when spelling my own last name: " in zebra..."

She looks really worried here, and I'm not sure why. It's not like we're going to feed her to the hyenas or anything. Oh, funny note about those: When I first saw the sign for the spotted hyenas, I misread it. The "s" had been worn off of the spotted, so it looked like "potted hyenas." All of a sudden I got this image in my head of a drunk hyena and for some stupid reason I found it funny as hell. Zozo probably looks worried in this picture because her Mommy has a very questionable sense of humor.

Another shot from inside the Bird House. Our Bird House is pretty cool, seeing as how it was built by the Smithsonian for the 1904 World's Fair. I don't remember the name of this particular bird, but he was very friendly, and when we got close (yes, he let us get close), we could see that he has the most amazing aquamarine eyes.

Waiting for the train at the Red Rocks Station, which is near Big Cat Country. It was amusing to see the big cats doing exactly what our little cats at home do: sleep.

Ahh, the end of our day at the Zoo. Thumb in mouth is a sure sign that it's time to go home.
Good-bye, animals! See you next time!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pass the Ivory soap, please

It's a lovely day in spa-land. I've been the Marketing Social Butterfly this morning, starting out at our Chesterfield location to work with some Channel 5 folks on the Show Me St. Louis wedding. We're doing the bride's hair and make-up. Lots of fun. Then back to Brentwood for some training on a new piece of equipment we have called VISIA. It's a complexion analysis system that checks out spots, pores, wrinkles and other goodies, and compares you to a database of other men and women in your age group and skin type. Then it tells you what services and products you can use to improve your skin. It's very high-tech and cool, and backs up what our very-knowledgable estheticians already tell clients.

One of our hair stylists just had a baby, and she brought him in today for us to see. His name is Mason and he's just adorable. He's about 7 or 8 pounds and is so tiny. It's easy to forget that Zoe was smaller than that when she was born. I thought about going in to get her in the mornings or after naps now, when she's standing in her crib waiting for me. Can't believe it's been a whole year already. Feels like we were just getting ready to go into the hospital to have her.

Tomorrow we're both taking off work and going to the zoo as a family. I'm really looking forward to having some family time, and I know M is, too. I hope the weather cooperates, but I have a feeling that even if it doesn't, and we have to spend the whole day at home, we'll be just fine. It's a special day no matter what we do!

Beans gave me Duran Duran's Greatest Hits for my birthday (which means I now constantly have DD songs running through my head...yesterday it was Girls on Film, today is Hungry Like The Wolf) and two Audrey Hepburn movies, Roman Holiday and Sabrina. We watched Roman Holiday last night. It's a wonderful movie, and I think even M enjoyed it. That Gregory Peck, whooooo, he's a hottie. And Audrey is just delightful. Can't wait to watch Sabrina.

The one thing that I really noticed is just how accustomed I've become to cursing, crude comments, and sex on TV. Of course, watching an Audrey Hepburn movie on the heels of two straight weeks of Sex and The City is like eating McDonald's and then a creme brulee from Cafe Provencal. Anyway, I am now painfully aware of just how much I curse, as well, and how very unladylike that is. I know I can be very salty at times, and certain situations do call for an expletive or two, but now I realize just how much I sprinkle it throughout everyday conversation. Ugh. Going to wash my own mouth out with soap now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Damn you, Blogger!

Okay, so I had a giant post all typed in, and then when I went to publish Blogger burped and I lost everything.

Since I don't have time right now to re-type it all, here's the run down:

Friday: Bridal Beano and the Bridesmaids hit the town to get jewelry and try on dresses. Lunch (with alcohol!) was served, and everything was fun.

Saturday: Ran around getting things ready for Zozo's party Sunday evening.

Sunday: Ran around finalizing everything for Zozo's party. Zozo's party was great, lots of fun, wonderful guests with tons of presents (you all did too much). Pix to follow. Along with more information that I don't have time to type right now. Grrrrr.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Would it be "Choo, Jimmy" in the Yellow Pages?

Tomorrow is Girls Day Out for Bridal Beano and her Merry Bridesmaids. We're going to try on The Bridesmaid Dress, and The Gloves, and we're going to ABC Trading to look at jewelry (love love love that store...where else can you get a whole handful of jewelry for under $5?), and Payless to look at shoes (any time is a good time for shoe shopping). So yeah, total girly day. Beanie's bridesmaids are all very cool and fun (especially her maid of honor, which just so happens to be moi), so the day should be a blast. I'm really looking forward to it, because of the whole sister bonding thing, but also because I now have a legitimate excuse to buy a beautiful dress, gorgeous shoes, and lovely jewelry. "But M, I had to!" Yay!

Have been busily scavenging through my last three issues of InStyle to get ideas, which is always dangerous. It's dangerous because looking through InStyle, you start to get a completely warped sense of value. When you've got page after page of Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos, which are not inexpensive shoes, then suddenly $265 for a pair of Cole Haan's looks perfectly reasonable.

I'll just say this: my closet would be a lot more fun if I had unlimited financial resources at my disposal.

Not a whole lot going on today. Must work with the Yellow Pages rats to get our contract finalized for next year's book. I hate these people. It's impossible to see what you're really getting, and you always feel like you're getting screwed. The billing is indecipherable, so I'm always left with the feeling that we're paying a lot more than what we signed up for. I've had to handle Yellow Pages advertising since I was at the first Red Cross, and it's always been a burr under my saddle. My big bone of contention these days is that it's simply a waste of money, because people don't use the Yellow Pages like they used to. Can't tell you the last time we did at home. Nope...everything gets Googled. I'd rather take the Yellow Pages budget and apply it directly to my salary, which would then enable me to purchase quite a few pairs of the aforementioned shoes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I have arrived.

Well, it's finally happened. It was only a matter of time, really. I mean, with getting one so close to work and all, and not having to go out of my way and then decide which was less busy or had easier egress patterns for traffic...

I am now a regular at "my" Starbucks.

How do I know this, you ask? Well, because I stopped there this morning and ordered my coffee, as usual (repeat it with me people, "Decaf grande non-fat no-whip mocha, please!") and my cashier girly took my order, as usual, and then swiped my Discover (cashback bonus for drinking Starbucks...sweet!) and I wandered over to the community bulletin board, as I usually do, to see what's posted. Within moments my beverage was ready, and the barrista called out, "Mocha for Amy!" I replied with my usual cheery "Thanks!" because anyone who serves me a mocha gets a giant grin, and as I slipped my sleeve over the cup and turned to go it hit me: the cashier hadn't asked for my name when I placed my order. She knew it. Wow.

How freakin' cool is that?!

Or, if you're M, a little scary, because now it's blazingly apparent just how much I go in there.

I think it's the spa t-shirt I always have on when I go in there. I think that's what is identifying me. But let's go with "sparkling wit, gorgeous face and bangin' body" instead, because that sounds better.

My goal is to get to the point where they see me pulling in and automatically start making my mocha. $3.50 on the Discover and I'm outta there in seconds flat. Like a coffee pit-stop.

I tried to find a picture of my cute little Starbucks to post here (it's a free-standing little building that is absolutely adorable), but the Web site doesn't have pictures of their locations. Instead, I found a very cool initiative called "Read for the Record." M and I read to Zozo every night before bed, and she loves it. Her favorite book is called Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant, and it's awesome. So, anyway, if you have a little kid, or know a little kid, or just love to read, check it out and see how you can participate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Doodle doodle doodle

I keep waiting to post, hoping something exciting will happen that I can share, but alas. Life is just pretty basic and boring right now. Which I suppose is a good thing, as it would be pretty hard to be on a roller coaster 24/7/365.

Beano started school this week. Yay! Congratulations and kudos to her for going back. It's tough to do, but I know she can pull it off. She's a fighter, that one, and she'll do just fine.

Today Peggy brought me in a large Ziploc full of oregano, large leaf basil and red basil. My desk smells like a garden, and now I want to go home and make more spaghetti sauce.

Tonight is Walk Night with Doodle. We've been going for loooong walks, just through the neighborhoods around our house. Most of the homes are larger than ours, so it's nice to daydream as we perambulate through. There is one house in particular that I'm absolutely in love with. It's big, but not gigantic. It has the most adorable little pool house/guest house in the back yard (very large lot, obviously). I know, I know, it would be just another house to keep clean, but wouldn't it be cool to have a guest house? And wouldn't it be cool for your guests to have their own place?!

So, that's what we do. We walk (she rolls, actually) and we look around and daydream and wonder about the people who live in houses like that.

It's gorgeous outside. I tore myself away from my desk a bit ago just to get a breath of fresh air, and had to force myself to come back inside. Working on an industry award application, and I feel like I've been staring at my monitor for days now. I am really looking forward to getting outside later for our walk. After our walk we'll come back and Doodle can swing. We have pix of her in her swing, but I've been a rotten mum and haven't downloaded them into the Mac yet.

Well, I better get back to my application. Can't spend all day blogging about nothing, you know. Although I do consider this my "smoke break," only healthier. At least it doesn't come with a surgeon general's warning.

I just realized that I referred to my child as "Doodle" in this post, and that previously I've called her "The Bug." As you all know, we called her Doodlebug before she was born, so as to avoid saying "it" or "the baby" all the time, and to avoid giving away our ideas of baby names. Well, even though we gave her the lovely moniker Zoe Grace, we still call her Doodlebug, although now it's morphed, as it always seems to do at our house, into a million different nicknames. For instance:
The Bug
Air Doodleness (you'll have to ask M about that one; I have no idea where he got it)
All Her Doodley Goodness
Senorita Doodlina (Spanish)
Madamoiselle Doodelle (French)
Fraulein Doodleberg (German)
Doodlus Buggus (Latin, of course)
Darling Girl
The Little Girl

Poor girl...she's not going to know what to call herself when she gets older.

Have you ever written a word so many times that it starts to look weird to you? "Doodle" now looks very odd.

I'm also getting a nagging feeling that I've posted something like this before, but I haven't the time or the inclination to go back and read all the drivel from my prior musings. Many apologies if this is a repeat.

Monday, August 21, 2006

News of the weird

Well, nothing new to report this morning, really. Weekend is over (went way too fast) and another work week has begun.

We spent part of yesterday working on the basement to get it ready for Zoe's birthday party. It's really coming along, and will look great for the party. M took some time this weekend to clean out his garage, and so that even looks great, too! He made his own little pile of garage sale stuff, and now has more storage room. Very important when you're making year-round plans for Christmas.

Wow. I really have absolutely nothing to write about.

Okay, so I'll share one of my favorite links with you. Give ya'all something entertaining to write about since I'm dry this morning.

News of the Weird always cracks me up.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Okay, so it's totally pointless to wish my mother "Happy Birthday!" on my blog, because she doesn't read it, but it'd be my luck that today she'd check and if there were no birthday greetings on here my butt would be toast. So, to cover my bases, and because I do love her, I'm posting a very special birthday wish for happiness and a great year to Mom/Grammy.

Happy birthday, Momma!

I love you little
I love you big
I love you like
a little pig!
Oink oink!

I'll give you a basket full of kisses for a basket full of hugs!

Thank goodness it wasn't MY mailbox!

I was just getting ready to plop my butt on the sofa and watch some Season Three of SATC (a small reward for working my ass off to clean the entire house yesterday) and I realized that I haven't posted since Thursday morning. Wow. That's a long freakin' time.

I wasn't in the office much of Friday. We had our monthly O'Fallon staff meeting in the morning, where I presented without breaking a sweat or freaking out. That's major progress for me. I've also managed to slow down my rate of speech, which up til now I thought was impossible. I've improved so much that I no longer dread presenting, and actually look forward to it. It helps tremendously that I now have a year at the spa under my belt and can speak from experience. It also helps to be passionate about what you're presenting.

I even got call from Peg later in the day...she told me how she's noticed my improvement with public speaking. That meant so much to me. Peg has been not only my aunt but my career mentor for just about as long as I can remember, so besides the whole "new job" stress and "working for family" stress, I have been under the "I now see my mentor every day...and she's my boss" stress. It's all been very good stress, but stress nonetheless.

Friday was fun in that I had salad and pizza for lunch, and then salad and pizza for dinner. Shhh, don't tell M. He's all about not eating too much of the same thing. I, however, am perfectly content to gorge myself on salad and pizza for days on end. Not all pizza is alike, you see, so as long as you mix it up it's like having a whole new meal. Besides, the salad was Caesar at lunch and a homemade job with low-fat thousand island for dinner. Totally different, too.

Saturday was, as I already mentioned, Cleaning Day. I did start the day with a walk to Schnuck's with The Bug, so we could get fresh garlic, onions, stewed tomatoes and ground beef for my infamous spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti sauce and chili are about the only two things I can prepare in the kitchen any more (other than salads, of course, which a monkey could do) thanks to having M around as my own personal gourmet chef. So, anyway, I felt very French Women Don't Get Fat by walking to the market with my baby to get food for dinner.

Made my sauce (even going so far as to brown the garlic in some olive oil before adding it to the sauce...yum!) and got to cleaning, in between caring for and playing with Zozo. It was a great day, although my hands do still smell like garlic, which was good at first but is now highly annoying.

Later, Grammy came over, then Aunt Katie and Uncle Shawn, and we all had dinner before Uncle Shawn and M headed out to the Ram's pre-season game. The girls stayed home and made some weddin' plans. While at the game, Uncle Shawn asked M to be a groomsman, which is way cool, and Katie and I saw an idiot kid take out a neighbor's mailbox and give lawn jobs to that neighbor and the one next door. We heard the crash and I knew instantly, "Mailbox!" having experienced my own mailbox being taken out twice now. Of course, the idiot kid didn't stop. The woman who lost her mailbox refused to call the police, as her husband is out of town. I don't understand that. Women who are powerless to act without their men. As everyone who knows me knows, I ain't one of those women. I had my own cordless phone in my hand and was itching to call, but she begged me not to. "He's gone and I just don't want to open up a can of worms." WTF? Some idiot just took out your mailbox and half your front yard, you have two eyewitnesses who can identify the car, you know the subdivision he turned in to (another witness came back to tell us that), and you don't want to "open up a can of worms?"

I see women like this and I realize that's why it took us so long to get the vote. Good grief.

Today was our usual trip to mass, breakfast, trip to Sam's, and home to do more chores. I've got all the laundry done but the bedding (it's in the washer now, on the freakin' "sanitary" setting which is awesome but takes two hours and ten minutes just to wash), and it's all folded and put away, which is fantastic because sometimes I don't get to it and it's no fun living out of a laundry basket all week. I know all of you out there have done it, so don't sniff and act like I'm anything less than a domestic goddess for admitting to it.

M has run to Home Depot, and bless his heart he's bringing back Taco Bell for us for lunch. It doesn't take much to make me happy! (Sometimes.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can't we celebrate my birthWEEK?!

Ah, the post-birthday blues. This is the day reality sets in. Yep, I'm another year older, but no one's bringing me balloons or flowers. (Yes, for the first time in years, my hubby sent me flowers! Beautiful, beautiful, gorgeous Gerber Daisies - my favorite - arrived at my desk shortly before noon yesterday...he got major brownie points!)

Many thanks to all the generous people who showered me with attention and gifts made my day very special!

So, today, it's back to the ol' grind, which isn't half bad, actually. I like it when things plug along. Management meeting today, which means a yummy lunch (yours truly ordered the CEO Tenderloin samich again).

Cloyd had his first round of chemo yesterday, and was doing well enough to come into the office in the afternoon. I'm anxious to hear how he's doing today, as I know that there is a delayed reaction to all that.

M is fighting a head cold, which is icky. He's feeling better today (I let him sleep in) and will probably be at work in the next hour or two. Beano has a bit of a cold as well, so something must be going around.

I called Beano this morning and JoJo answered the phone. So cute! Here is the conversation:

"Hi JoJo! How are you?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Aunt Amy. Who is this?"
"Joey. Where's Doodlebug?"
"Doodlebug is at her grandma's."
"Where are you?"
"I'm at work."
"I'm watching Bugs Bunny. Love you! Bye!"

He's absolutely adorable. He took the phone to Beano, yelling "'s Aunt Amy!" This was the first time he answered the phone when I called, so I guess this means he's growing up. Sigh. Happens too fast.

Nothing much else to report here. Time to go get my morning beverage and finish my bagel.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Divisible By Eleven

Today is my birthday. Today is my birthday! Today is my birthday?

Beautiful cards from M and Zozo this morning, and lots of cheery birthday wishes from Mom and Dad Z. A birthday call from (brother)(uncle) Steve as I was pulling in to Starbucks, complete with song. Steve always makes me laugh at myself, which is a very good thing. Once in Starbucks, I treated myself to a mocha, of course, but I plussed it due to the birthday status: decaf VENTI (instead of grande) non-fat WITH WHIP (instead of no whip) mocha. Ha!

Came in to a giant flower balloon hanging out about four feet above my desk, clipped to a little bag that contained a little box that contained a gorgeous new necklace with matching earrings. Am guessing due to the smiley face on the bag and the flower balloon that these are from Dad and Judy. Another clue was the fact that the necklace and earrings are absolutely beautiful, and that usually means Jude. She has fantastic taste in jewelry (lucky me!). I'm already wearing them, of course.

Opened my e-mail box to discover e-birthday greetings from Dad and Judy (again! they are everywhere!), my sister, and my Aunt Teresa. Beano sent me a hilarious e-card that totally cracked me is perfect for us! While viewing my e-card Mom called on my cell and sang an equally hilarious rendition of "Happy Birthday" complete with off-key notes, out of whack pitches, and cracked high notes. She reminded me that thirty three years ago right now she was in excrutiating pain, but that I was worth it. Awwww. Thanks for having me, Mom!

Man, the rest of the day is gonna be a major bummer after this morning!

Last night Zozo and I went for a walk. We walked and walked and walked. Well, I walked. She rolled. You know what I mean. We walked about two miles. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely time. M went to Sam's and got gas, yogurt, fruit, etc. I think I got the better end of the deal with that one. I'd rather walk with Zozo than go grocery shopping at Sam's. Thanks to M for giving me that time with The Little Girl.

Well, now that I'm basking in the glow of birthday attention and adulation, I should probably get to work. They're actually paying me to be here today, you know, so I should try to be somewhat productive.

P.S. the title of this post is courtesy of Stef, who used the whole "Today I'm divisible by eleven!" concept a couple weeks ago on her own 33rd birthday. It's very witty and makes people think, and I'm unabashedly stealing it and using it on my own 33rd birthday. I can do that because a.) she's my best friend and best friends can always steal witticisms from each other, as long as proper credit is given and b.) she's out of town, so what's she gonna do about it?

P.P.S. Many, many thoughts, prayers and best wishes go out to Cloyd today, as he starts his first round of chemo this morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If it weren't for Mondays, we'd hate Tuesdays

Dinner out last night with Her Highness, which was actually quite nice. I had lasagne florentine, all you can eat salad (which was very, very vinegary, which normally I love, but this was obscenely vinegary), and a cannoli for dessert. A lovely glass of Pinot and some t-rav appetizers rounded out the meal. After we were all done stuffing our gullets, of course, Grandma announced that she had made a birthday cake for me and we were to come over to her house to eat it. Zozo had other plans, though, so everyone came back to our house for some playtime before the night bottle and bedtime. They all had cake, but my stomach was threatening to revolt if I crammed one more thing into it, so I saved my cake for today.

Today is a birthday lunch with my dear friend Ping from Red Cross. We're meeting at Kayak's, which is a great place that I highly recommend. Ping is one of those people, though, that you could meet at Taco Bell and have just as great a meal. She's really funny and very cool, so I always look forward to our lunches.

This morning M and I carpooled, and we had to stop and get gas (since we were on fumes, as usual, thanks to M always wanting to push the envelope). He estimated we'd blow $46. As the numbers ticked up, and we breezed past $46, he started to sweat. He pleaded with the car and the gas pump, "Please, please don't go over 50 bucks! It'll break my heart!" We both totally cracked up laughing when the pump clicked off precisely at $49.99. Guess you had to be there, but it was really funny, trust me.

I have to send lots of gratitude out to little sis Beans, who totally cheered me up yesterday with a hilarious e-mail. Here is the best part:

Life is too freakin short. So seriously, just sit back, take a deep breath and smile, think of M, Zoe and all the wonderful people in your life and smile knowing that you can't fix stupid, the weather (humidity), and if it wasn't for Mondays, we would hate Tuesdays!

You know, I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but it just kills me when my leetle sister comes up with wisdom like this.

Gotta go for now. I ate my breakfast bagel while sitting here typing, and now I have crumbies all over my boobies. Now that's professional.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday. Bummer.

The humidity is 108% and it's Monday morning. This week I turn another year older and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I have my customer training class today, which I was so looking forward to until my Spa Nemesis seated herself at my table and proceeded to take over every single discussion. Need I say any more about my mood this morning?

I had two bright spots in my morning, however. The first was seeing Zozo wake up with a huge smile, and feeling her hug when I picked her up out of her crib. That feeling is enough to send me over the moon. The second bright spot was getting to spend a bit of time with M on the way in. We carpooled today, and will for the next three days, as it's the end of our budget month and we're trying to save having to go get gas for the Blue Devil (i.e. his car). God, I hate having to count every single penny. I know it's totally fiscally responsible and "the right thing to do," but it's not fun at all.

My goal is to be independently wealthy...I'm just not quite sure how to get there. We always joke that we need to win the lottery, which would mean that we actually need to play the lottery.

So anyway, I do enjoy spending some time with M in the morning, although the control freak/worrier in me hates giving up my car for the day. What if something happens with Zoe? What if I need to go somewhere? Those of you who know me at all know that one of my biggest peeves is being dependent on others for a ride. Perhaps it stems from the couple times my mom forgot to pick me up after school and I sat there for a couple hours. Who knows why I am this way. I just am. Why don't you drop M off at work, you ask? Well, because it's more logical for M to drop me off (and we all know that logic rules in the Z house, because I'm married to the Vulcan Spock). You would think the boy would learn that it's not worth getting me all in a tizzy and that he'd just let me have the damn car for the day, but nooooo. Every time it happens, and my tizzy commences, he looks at me in utter amazement, to which I respond, "Don't even try to figure it out. I'm a woman and you'll never, ever figure any of us out."

Going to dinner tonight with Her Highness Grandma S. She's taking me out for my birthday to the restaurant of her choosing. We (the fam) always have a good laugh over that. She very generously offers to take each of us in turn out for our birthdays, and then she chooses the place. It's usually Rich & Charlie's, which isn't a bad place by any means, it's just really funny that she never allows the guest of honor to choose. I do believe we've celebrated M's birthday, Carol's birthday, Mike's birthday, my birthday and Carol and Mike's anniversary at Rich & Charlie's now. I think she might be getting kick-backs from either Rich or Charlie, or both, for all the business she provides. I wonder if they know she's descended from royalty.

Time to go get my green tea and practice my countess wave.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

T-Minus Two Days

Some days you feel like a nut. Some days you don't. And some days you don't feel like posting at all.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday/swim party at her house, so we were pretty much tied up the whole day there. Tired and still semi-intoxicated when I got home, so posting was definitely out of the question then. Today was a hodge-podge of stuff.

After church, we went for brunch at Bristol with Mom and Dad (Grandma and Grandpa) Z, and Her Highness Grandma S. I call her "Her Highness" because we recently discovered, from her, that she is indeed descended from royalty. We're not quite sure how true that is, but we've decided that M must be a count, at least, which makes me and Zoe countesses. Is that the plural of countess? Or would it be countessi? Anyway, we're royalty now, which is pretty damn cool.

The brunch was fantastic. Well, anytime you have a big dude named Steve whipping up kick-ass omelets to order it's gonna be good. Oh yeah, and the chocolate fountain didn't hurt, either. Many, many thanks to Mom and Dad Z for an awesome "early birthday" brunch.

Post-brunch was hanging out at home. M worked outside and I dallied around inside after Zoe went down for her nap. I managed to get the house picked up and some stuff cleaned, all while also getting in a few episodes of Sex and the City (SATC for those of us who are "regulars," and oh yeah, for future reference, the acronym SJP is the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker). Love that show, although it does make me want to buy more shoes. And clothes. And clutch handbags. Sigh. Steffi claims I have a bit of a girl crush on SJP, and I must admit I think she's right. She's cute as a button and can run down cobblestone streets in stilettos. Man, that's cool.

This evening was spent hanging out with M, making dinner and such, and then playing with Zozo. Well, playing with Zozo this evening was mostly cuddling and comforting her, as she's finally hitting the teething stage. We've figured this out due to two big clues: 1.) she can't keep her fingers out of her mouth and 2.) she starts crying for no reason (very unlike her). Poor baby. I know she's in pain, and I also know there's not much we can do for her...she's just gonna have to suck it up until those pearls pop through the surface. We gave her night bottle to her cold, to help ease the pain, and that seemed to work quite well, so we'll keep doing that.

After she went down we called Steffi back and got all caught up with her (although that does not mean you're off the hook with e-mailing, girlfriend; you better stay in touch!).

Not much else to report here. A relatively quiet and uneventful weekend, which is good.

This week is the birthday week, which is simultaneously making me happy and sad at the same time. This aging stuff sucks. Although I must say, thanks to my wonderful esthetician Erin and the regular use of Dr. Murad's products, my skin has never looked better. Now if I can only find a product that dissolves hips, thighs, and the tummy while toning arms and calves, I'd be in heaven. I hate the fact that the only way to get in shape is to actually work at it. What fun is that?!

Well, speaking of birthdays, just in case M reads this before Wednesday after work (when he'll do his usual stop by Schnucks to buy a coupletwothree roses for me...his predictability is adorable!), here's my birthday wish list for my husband:

1. Tiffany bracelet (you know which one)
2. Louis Vuitton purse (a real one, and not a wristlet either. A big one I can carry all my stuff in)
3. Nikon flash (just talk to the guys at Schiller's and tell 'em I'm shootin' a D100; they'll point you in the right direction)
4. Dinner at the new Busch's Grove (sans teething child, whose screams of pain would probably drown out the live jazz)
5. Flowers delivered to work (so I can make all the girls jealous)
6. A pair of Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choo's. Preferably one pair of each. Style doesn't matter, I'll just buy an outfit to match. Size 8.5 please. (These will also make all the girls at work jealous)
7. A four-hour shopping spree at Nordstrom, where you go with me and do not roll your eyes every time I try something on and say, "I think I'll get this..."
8. A year's supply of Waterway or Gas House Car Wash coupons, so I don't have to drive around in the crud-mobile any more
9. Turtles from Lake Forest Confections
10. Any of the books/DVDs/CDs from my wish list

See, I made a ton of room with all my cleaning out/purging, so now I gots to fill it with stuff again.

Just realized that in my recap of the weekend's events, I forgot to include Friday night. First of all, a giant thank you goes out to Aunt Beans and Uncle Shawn for watching The Bug for us. We really appreciate it! Second, a giant "nyah nyah" goes out to Ryan and Michelle, who's butts we kicked at miniature golf. Ha! I'm pretty sure Ryan was ready to wrap his club around a tree by the end of the evening, but I hope he had a good time despite his pathetic loss to us, and especially to me, who doesn't even try to aim when putting. I'll be posting the scorecard for that evening once I can get it scanned in, so the whole world can see. And, just so ya'all know, Ryan kept score, so it wasn't like we cheated. Ha!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Less is More

Kay from Parents as Teachers came by last night, and as usual our little genius impressed her. Zozo's progressing just fine, doing everything she's supposed to at this age, which is reassuring to her parents who have no formal training in raising a child, only 8 years experience in keeping two cats alive and relatively happy. We think they're happy. They're fat and they purr a lot, which I think is kitty-speak for "We're happy."

So we hung out in the library and played, and laughed, and danced to the music on the activity table. Then Zoe went down for her nap while Mommy and Daddy had a scrumptious dinner of baked salmon, fresh green beans, and salad. Daddy has been really experimenting in the kitchen lately, and he's concocted some fantastic dishes. Last nights salmon had a bit of olive oil, pineapple juice and some salsa on it. Holy cow. That was phenomenal. Love it when he gets creative in the kitchen (as long as he's not trying to sneak jalapeno peppers into my peas).

After refueling, we headed downstairs for yet another evening of cleaning/purging. This time our sights were set on our utility/laundry room. I'm pleased to report that it's all cleaned out now, and everything has a place (versus crap being stuffed everywhere). After we got done, we stood there looking at the mound of garage-sale-items we have amassed near the steps. It's really unbelievable how much is in there. Things we've had for years and never used, things we used to use regularly but have no need for anymore (i.e. the portable CD player). M said, "We need to make sure we don't do this again...we need to not buy so much stuff." I thought about it for a minute, surveyed what we had in the pile, and realized that we hadn't done this to ourselves. Our loved ones had! M reached the same conclusion at about the same time, "Wait, we don't buy a lot of stuff. Most of this was given to us."

Now, we're not ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, and we're not ungrateful by any means. We love our family members, and we appreciate everything they do to show their love for us. We just don't want any more stuff! So, currently, we're trying to figure out a way to let the fam know that gift certificates are probably a pretty good way to go if they want to buy us gifts. Then we buy what we want when we need it (i.e. when we have a place for it). I think restaurant GCs are a great idea, so we'd be set for Date Nights no matter what. How cool would that be? No more, "It's nearing the end of the budget month, so Date Night is gonna have to be Taco Bell." M loves his Home Depot GCs, as he gets to purchase new toys (I mean tools) throughout the year, and supplies to build/fix things. I love Schiller's GCs since I can then buy photo gear or consumables (ink, paper) guilt-free and with abandon. Any mall GC will be put to good use (clothes, jewelry and shoes, oh my!), as would any book store.

Or, even better, don't get us anything at all! How great would that be?! We're both developing a bad taste for over-consuming, which has been driven home by the sheer amount of stuff we've been able to clean out of our house over the past few weeks. And there is still more to go. I'm itching to tackle our guest room again (places we don't use regularly tend to become dumping grounds for things we don't know what do with).

We've reached a really good point, though, where we both feel like we can breathe again, unencumbered by being surrounded by lots of perfectly good items that we don't use or want. I like going to bed at night knowing that I can easily wrap my tiny little brain around everything we own in our house, knowing where it all is, why we have it, and that we use it regularly, or are storing it for a reason. Wasn't it Mies van der Rohe who said, "Less is more."? Does being firm believers in that make us Minimalists with a capital M? I mean, we're not ready to chuck everything and move out to the woods in a shack ala Emerson, but our clutter limits are probably lower than most people's.

Here is Wikipedia's take on Minimalism (in the form of minimalist design):
The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture wherein the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto "Less is more" to describe his aesthetic tactics of flattening and emphasizing the building's frame, eliminating interior walls and adopting an open plan, and reducing the structure to a strong, transparent, elegant skin. Designer Buckminster Fuller adopted a similar saying, "Doing more with less", but his concerns were more oriented towards technology and engineering than aesthetics.

I like the "doing more with less" idea, too. We saw Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House at the Henry Ford Museum a few years back when we were up in Michigan visiting Stef. It was pretty darn cool. M and Stef totally laugh at my fascination with the Dymaxion House, which is just fine. They can laugh all they want. They have their own quirks, too. (ahem, Trekkie Boy and Girl Who Loves Sammy Hagar)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Soooo Taguchi!

Had a little happy hour with some folks from work last night...very fun. Wish it could've lasted a bit longer, as I don't get out to happy hours much any more, but I'm glad I got what I got. Came home and finished printing the invites, which went blissfully smooth, thankfully. This morning, though, I decided that the 11 from the end of the last print cartridge have too many lines in them and that I should reprint those. So that's what I'm doing right now. Reprinting.

Not a whole lot in store today. Just more of the usual. Going to lunch with my Brentwood GM, which is usually okay. We're not best of friends or anything like that, nor do we have anything (at all) in common, but both of us are making an effort to get to know one another better and have a good working relationship, so I guess we do have something in common after all.

My Customer training feedback is going well. I consistently get fairly high marks from my peers, which is gratifying, but that old competitive student in me is coming out, and I'd know I'd be happier with A+ across the board, instead of A, A- and B+. P told me again that I have to sloooooow down my rate of speech, and listen more. I know I need to work on listening...I've never been a good listener. I'm always two or three steps ahead of whoever is talking to me, trying to solve their problem before they're done telling me what it is. I can't tell you how many times M has had to tell me, "Stop! Listen to me!" So that's my big goal...stopping and listening. As those of you who know me well can see, this is going to be a whopper of a goal seeing as how I'm just a bit of a talker.

M has been working his tushy off downstairs, bless his heart. It's about ready to go for the party now. Well, except for the ton of crap we're hauling to Beano and Shawntay's house for a garage sale. Beano is planning a sale for this fall, so it'll be at least a two-family sale. M is already planning to bring beer and doughnuts. Should be a fun time.

Congratulations to Shawn on his new job! Yay! We're so happy for you! We're sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt...God bless your family for all the tragedy it has seen recently. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

Cloyd is going to Siteman for his first visit today, where they should map out his treatment plan. Everyone keep praying for him and Joann. This is a big day, and hopefully the beginning of his journey to recovery!

That's about it from the Z House.

Oh, wait, token cute Zozo story:
She now does "How big is Zoe? Sooooo big!" on command, lifting her little arms above her little head and just beaming. Sunday at the Cardinals game, we created a new game for her. We ask, "How big is Zoe?" and when she lifts her arms we say, "Soooo Taguchi!" She seems pleased, as she's quite a big Cardinals fan already.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Not much. You?

Tra la la. Nothing much to write, really, but I always post something in the morning lest my dear sister check fifteen million times and there be nothing to read. Trust me...I'd hear about it.

Spent several hours last night working on Zo's invitation, and I must admit that not only was it fun, but I'm quite pleased with it. Well, I'm quite pleased with myself, really, for coming up with it. Yes, that's right. Today I do think I'm all that and a bag of Dorito's. And, to top it all off, I shall run to ArtMart (second in the pantheon of Great Stores only to Schiller's) over lunch to look at (which means purchase, but we tell M "look at" because it keeps him from hyperventilating) the materials I need to finish it. Hopefully we'll get the invite out the door and into your mailboxes by the end of this week. Sorry, friends, but we had to limit the invite list to family only. Even doing that we're up to over 45 people.

Ahhh, today is Wednesday. Wednesday is the day in the spa that Matt from State Beauty Supply comes. Matt is a hottie of the highest order (just so M doesn't get in a tizzy I'll state this for all to read: my husband is the hottest hottie on the face of the earth, and all other hotties pale in comparison to him) and all the girls get fired up when he walks in. I am anxious myself for Matt's arrival, not because of his hotness, but because the bastard hasn't returned my call about the OPI "Red-y To Help" polish that we've already sold out of and need to buy more. Other than that, I'll be working on several other big projects, and hopefully tying up some loose ends on some smaller projects. I have so much crap on my desk it's impossible to see the top, so that's the first order of bidness today...clean and purge!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Egad! My heads are clogged!

I hate it when my print heads are clogged. Hate it. And this time it appears I did it to myself.

I'm working on Zoe's birthday invitation and I printed two very lovely proofs. When I went to print the "real" ones, I decided to clean the print heads to get the very best possible print. That's when I inadvertently clogged them. Well, just the black one at first. And then a little magenta.

What really stinks about clogged print heads is that the only way to get them unclogged is to blow a shitload of ink through them, which means that ink, of course, can now not be used to print things.

Ink, in case you haven't figured out, is an expensive commodity. Someone (who has too much spare time) calculated out the cost of ink compared to the cost of champagne. If you bought a magnum of ink, it's something like five times more expensive that the most elite magnum of champagne. Now that's just ridiculous.

I'm unclogged now, though, and merrily printing away. Although I'm starting to get linesies in my printsies because it's not quite all the way unclogged, and yet there isn't enough ink left in the cartridge to blow out the print heads one more time. The prints are probably just fine for everyone but me, who is Anal Retentive with a capital A and a capital R when it comes to photographs.

Gotta go...The Hub (which is short for Hubby, which is short for Husband, for those of you who can't make the extreme leap of my slightly insane mind) is serving up cookies and milk for my evening snack and heaven knows I don't want to be late for that.

This just in...

Someone sent me an e-mail with this, and I rather like it, so I'm sharing it with you:

This is written in the Hebrew Talmud, the book where all of the sayings and preaching of Rabbis are conserved over time. It says: "Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of a man's rib. Not from his feet to be walked on. Not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal. Under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved."

Now, isn't that nice?

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Going through some old photographs last night (part of the cleaning-up-the-basement project) and it hit me all over again how fast time goes. We all look different now. I found photos of me and M back when we were first dating. Here I thought he pretty much looked the same all these years, but nope, he's aging right along with me. I was a lot thinner then, too, and I remember worrying about my weight back then. Some things never change. Now I'd kill to get back into those faded jeans.

Found some photos of my brother, and I realized that he's never met his niece. I wonder if he ever thinks about her, wonders about her, wonders how she's doing. I'm so confused, still, with how everything went south with him (and his wife). Not quite sure, to this day, what exactly I did that was bad enough to warrant being cut out of his life. If I had an explanation, maybe I could just let it go. But no one seems to know. It's bad enough that I've lost my brother, but my heart breaks for the fact that Zoe has never met her uncle, and it doesn't look like she will any time soon.

That's what I was thinking last night. He's missed a whole year of her. A whole year. He'll never get that back. Her first year is almost over and he missed it. Then my sadness turns to anger. He chose to miss a whole year of her. I don't care what I did or didn't do to him...Zozo didn't do a damn thing to him and yet she's being punished for my sins.

Anger quickly turns back to sadness. I miss him, too. I miss his wicked funny sense of humor. I miss just hanging out with him. I think about him a lot, although it's getting easier and easier to forget him with every passing day. Now, mostly, I just think about him at major life milestones. Like first birthdays.

I used to not understand how family members could have divisive rift that lasted years. And now, here I am, right in the middle of one of those rifts. And I'll be damned if I don't know what I did wrong or how it all really happened. Apparently it's all my fault, though. M says I should just stop thinking about it, because it's impossible to figure out as I've actually done nothing wrong. It's not like this is our crappy old neighbors or anything, though. This is my brother. Zoe's uncle. How am I ever going to explain this to her when she grows up? I can't hide the fact that she has an Uncle Matt who chooses not to be a part of her life. So how do I tell her that Mommy did something so wrong that Uncle Matt doesn't want to see her anymore? And how do I explain that Mommy doesn't even know what it is she did?

And how do I do this without my heart breaking and tears pouring out of my eyes, when I can't even type this and keep myself together?

Monday, August 07, 2006

When in doubt, unplug it

Some mornings, it just doesn't behoove you to get out of bed. Like this morning, for instance.

I woke up, on my own, at 5:55. Which is five whole minutes before the alarm is supposed to go off. Damn bladder...robbed me of five extra minutes of slumber. What was weird was I woke up in a total state of confusion: is it Saturday? Sunday? What day of the week is it? What the hell am I supposed to wake up and do? Took me a bit to figure it out before groaning, "Oh yeah. It's Monday."

After getting ready for work, we went out to discover we hadn't quite closed the freezer door all the way last night. It was still pretty chilly, but some ice had melted and we're pretty sure everything's gonna be frozen together in big blocks now. Cleaned it up and waited for the compressor to kick on. Nothing. We waited some more. Nothing. %$#@&. If we went through that 8-day power outage and now the freezer kicks the bucket and we have to buy a whole new fridge and new food... Let's just say neither of us was in a good mood at that point. I would like to mention here that I gently suggested, "Let's unplug it and plug it back in." To which my loving husband snapped, "No, Aim. We're not going to do that." He has his reasons, and I've learned when he's in a sour mood, talk to him as little as humanly possible.

Zozo and I got ready to head downstairs to get the fridge manual to see if we could trouble-shoot it while M pulled it out from the wall. We were just opening the basement door when I heard the compressor finally kick on. M said, "It was unplugged!" I asked how that was possible because the lights were on in the fridge and freezer, and if it was unplugged they wouldn't have been on. He scowled a bit and finally admitted that it looked like it was a little unplugged, so he pulled it all the way out and plugged it back in to the outlet on the bottom. Uh huh. I so wanted to do my little happy dance and yell, "I told ya so! I told ya so!" but I didn't. Now, though, I'm totally cracking up laughing at his feeble attempt to not admit that I was right in the first place.

As we were walking out the door to go to work, I did mention to him that it appears that I was right in my suggestion to unplug and replug the fridge, and his reply was, "They tell you to never unplug a refrigerator." To which I responded, smugly of course, "Well, what's it going to hurt if the damn thing isn't running anyway?" He had no answer. Score two for The Aimster.

Maybe it's not such a bad morning after all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Running the Bases

Today started at 7 a.m. and is just now winding down. After mass, we packed up and headed to Busch Stadium. All three of us. For the very first time. That's right: today was Zozo's first Cardinals game.

Cards played well (finally bringing home a second winner after something like eight straight losses), and Zozo's first homerun was by Juan Encarnacion, which is cool. She also saw a kick-ass flyover by an F-15 that was insanely low, to the point where I, and most people around me, actually ducked as it came over. Then the pilot whipped it around behind us and flew back over again, afterburners blazing. Way, way cool. Zoe, being the totally cool chick that she is, didn't even whimper. She gripped M a little harder but that was it. Cool under pressure, that one.

Zoe was awesome the whole day, going between me and M regularly before finally passing out on M's lap for a quick little nap. Then the game ended and it was time for the highlight of the day: Run the Bases. Since she can't even walk yet, much less run, her daddy was forced to take her himself. Yeah, it was real hard to get him to do that. Had to twist his arm and everything. They were so cute out there. I snapped some images but haven't dumped them yet. Am too tired to do much of anything tonight that requires actual thought, so you're just gonna have to wait to see 'em. They're good though. Trust me.

That was about it. Came home and fed Zoe dinner, then put her down for a nap before eating our own dinner. Now we've all had our baths and Zozo is down for the night and I think I'm not too far behind her.

Thank you to Mom and Dad Z for the tickets for the three of us. We had a blast at Zozo's first MLB game! She's already a true Cardinals fan! Not that she had any choice, what with the genes and all.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Be the change

Per the comment posted to my last entry: Martino! Finally! So I was all anxious to read your new blog, only to realize that you didn't really write anything so much as fill out a giant survey that asked questions that I already know the answer to. You have one entry posted. One. C'mon, son, you're gonna have to do better than that. Anyway, I've updated your link and added a couple others. I know, I know. It's a shock that I do, indeed, have friends. One last request to Marty The Party (which is such a frat boy name): can you please archive your posts from Hanging By a Belief somewhere on your new blog? Because they are really good and I like 'em and don't want to see them banished to a cyber wasteland.

On to my regular daily post:
Zozo and I had mommy-daughter time last night and it was delicious. We played a lot, and read some books, and snuggled. I thank God every single day for her. She is truly a blessing to me and I am so, so grateful to have her. Even when she's poopy.

Finished reading The Dress Lodger, which is an excellent book. I highly recommend it. It is one of those books that causes you to lose sleep because you just don't want to put it down and so you stay up reading it and then at 1 a.m. you're going, "Holy shit, I have to go to work tomorrow." or "Crap, I have to present at the staff meeting at 8 and shouldn't have bags the size of Manhattan under my eyes." So, while it was a great book, I'm rather glad I'm done with it so I can go back to sawing logs at 9:30 p.m. having just drifted off to The 12-Hour MBA.

M went to the game last night with Dad Z, and they brought home a stinker. Sounds like they had a good time, though, and the night was beautiful, so it wasn't a waste by any means. I vacuumed, picked up around the house, and loaded the dishwasher while they were gone (after Zozo went down), so I'm not feeling guilty for sitting here typing whilst M is out working. Well, maybe just a little. No, wait, he's working on his Christmas project right now, that's right. So yeah, now I really don't feel guilty.

Plans for today: continue working in the basement (I got a good 45 minutes in before getting bored and drifting up here to check my mail), have fun with Zozo, and maybe later take her to the park. M's workin' on his project a bit today (inside and out), and cutting the grass. Sounds like a lovely day to just sorta catch up on some stuff and play with the baby.

When I was little, I used to dream about being someone famous. About making a real difference in the world. Being an astronaut, or a writer, or a politician. Being a marketing director at a spa wouldn't have really tripped my trigger. But now, living my life and loving it, I see that to make a real difference in the world you don't have to be famous or rich. You just make an impact on those around you and that's the difference you make. It ripples out like a pebble tossed in a pond. So, my "grown up" goal is to just be the best person I can be. Taking time to play with my daughter is the most important thing I can do in the world, because then she'll have a strong foundation and someday she'll grow up to make a difference in our world. I think it was Gandhi who said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That's one of my most favorite quotes ever.

Okay, I have a giant pile of papers sitting in front of me, teetering on the Epson 2200 that has lain dormant for far too many months (I actually have a list of prints I owe people...sorry to ya'all!), and the pile is staring at me and calling my name, "Aiiiiim, come sort through me...I bet there's a lot you can throw away or recycle!" Am so in purge mode these days it'll be a miracle if we have furniture left to sit on by the time I get done.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pineapples and Robots

I don't have much of anything really good to post, so I'll take this opportunity to post some funny stories about Beans. This is in retaliation for her leaving my swimsuit picture up on her blog for waaaaaay too long.

I'll try to do these justice, but I have a feeling that it's one of those "you had to be there" moments.

First, The Case of the Missing Pineapples.
Picture this: our little Beano, shopping her little heart out in Shop 'n Save, gathering wholesome nourishment for her beloved family (JojoBean and Shawntay). "Ooo, these pineapples look wonderful!" she thinks, and carefully selects a perfect specimen. Within minutes, her pineapple is purloined! "WTF?" she thinks. Back she goes to choose another pineapple. Later, she's off near the dairy section, shopping for milks, cheeses, you know, dairy stuff. Turns back to the cart: missing pineapple. Not one, but TWO pineapples were stolen from her cart in one shopping excursion. I don't know why I think this is so funny, but I do. I guess I picture the looks on her face: first confusion, then anger, then resignation as she heads back to the produce department for the third time. I've never really heard of people stealing things out of other people's carts, but I suppose it does happen, and to Beano, twice in one trip. And with pineapples, no less. It's not like it was a tub of butter or something. Pineapples are big and have spikey tops, as you well know. How do you smuggle that away? I don't think I'd ever have the cajones to steal someone's pineapple.

Second, The Case of the Runaway Robot
I'll just post Beano's e-mail, which she sent me yesterday to cheer me up, and which worked because I cracked up laughing the rest of the day just imagining it.

"Thought you would get a laugh outta of the damn robots in the hall ran into me. I actually have a bruise on my leg. It was cruising down the hall and made this sharp left turn. I think someone needs to check that one out. Usually they slow down when they turn, that's why I didn't even know it was going to turn. Trust me, I move when those things are coming!" The robot in question is the little hospital robot that takes prescriptions and stuff throughout the hospital for staff, and it's programmed with a map of the hospital and an electronic eye that keeps it (or is supposed to keep it) from running into people. I'm completely mesmerized by these little robots. I think it's so very Star Wars and Star Trek to have little mechanical buddies running errands for us.

Wanting to know more about my sister's little robotic friend, I googled "hospital robot" and found an interesting article about a robot running amok at a California hospital. It's written a little tongue-in-cheek with a definite British sense of humor, which I quite like. So anyway, now ya'all know someone who has been terrorized by a robot and had pineapples stolen from her shopping cart.

Beano, thank you so much for your funny stories. You crack me up! I love you!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cholera Schmolera

Crabby this morning. Crabby Crabby. Wenchy. Bitchy. PO'd. Cranky. Full of piss and vinegar.

Methinks I shouldn't stay up so late reading historical fiction about cholera.

Thank you to Dad and Judy for coming over last night to visit! I had a blast just hanging out with you guys, and I know Zozo had fun, too.

I'm off to get some green tea. Maybe the free-radical-fighting antioxidants will kick my bad mood's ass. We can only hope. I'll try to write more later when I'm (hopefully) feeling more chipper. Meanwhile, the band of the day is CCR. Fortunate Son is a kick-ass song. Feel free to sing along.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beach Hut, Ecks Os, and a Birfday Song for Stef

All is right in the world once again. Meaning: Stef is back where I can harass her on a daily basis (sometimes more), Saara is back where she's communicatable again (is that even a word? I almost used communicable, but the only way I've ever heard that used is partnered with disease, as in communicable disease, and I certainly don't want to imply that she is that when she's anything but), and I'm back to doing lame-brained idiotic things.

For instance, last night I stopped at Shop 'n Save on the way home. Sole purpose: pick up food for Zozo. As in, if I don't buy food for my child, she will go hungry. I've never done that in the 11 months she's been around, but I'm assuming that would be a bad thing and therefore don't want to try it out. So I stop at the ol' SnS and shop away. Mind you, I had to purchase food for me and M as well, as we had to recently throw the entire contents of our fridge away, so it wasn't like I was popping in only for Beach Hut food (that's what M calls it after having glanced at the Beech-Nut label, and I think it's adorable so that's what I call it now, too).

So I shop, and browse, and peruse, and compare, and do all those lovely little grocery things, being sure to be extra courteous to everyone I encounter because I am indeed wearing one of my nifty spa shirts and am therefore still representing the company while I pick out my frozen Chinese dinners. I pay and bag, because at SnS you must bag your own groceries (bastards), and walk out into the blast furnace and start loading the car. That's when it hits me. I forgot the baby food. %$&*#@. It's not like I can just run back in, either, because it's 104 degrees and I have perishables that are already screaming in protest. So I finish loading and drive home, grumbling to myself and kicking my own proverbial ass the entire way. M said, "No problem! When we put Zozo down, one of us will just run back up there!" Cool.

I ran back out while M cleaned up dinner (he made this awesome salmon with a salsa/olive oil/spicy mustard concoction and it rocked). On the way to the baby food aisle I see an end cap I had missed on my previous visit, with Ecks O's. Ecks O's are a special little promotional cereal thingy (remember Warner's Crunch Time Flakes?) with David Eckstein on the box. We have the Crunch Time Flakes, and McGwire's Wheaties box, and Ozzie's Wheaties box, so I decide that M simply must have Ecks O's for his burgeoning sports-cereal collection (see previous post on the utter shit we collect), and toss a box into the cart. Proceed to the baby food aisle and load up on Beach Hut food and head for the checkout for the second time in a matter of hours.

I got all the Beach Hut bagged and had put the Ecks O's in a bag when the cashier started harassing me to sign the damn electronic thingy I had already swiped my card through. You can see where this is going. Yes, I'm going to blame the damn cashier for leaving my Ecks O's in the bag on the bag rack.

Halfway home I started thinking, "You know, I don't remember putting the Ecks O's in the trunk with the baby food..." Get home and confirm it. $%&*@# x 2. I wanted to scream in frustration. I called SnS and sure enough, they had my Ecks O's. Since I didn't really want to go to SnS three times in one day, I asked if I could pick them up this morning. So, I went on the way to work and picked up my Ecks O's and returned a frozen Chinese thingy (I believe it was chicken flied lice, as Dad Z would say) because I hadn't read the label and it had 19 grams of fat and heaven knows it's not good enough to warrant ingesting that amount of fat.

Sigh. Ever have one of those days? And to top it all off, on my many trips to and from SnS, I'm listening to my Customer training CD like a good employee, and there's good ol' Ron Willingham, with his southern drawl, telling me how unique I am. Yeah, I'm unique in that I'm a total bonehead when it comes to simple grocery shopping. Seriously, a trained monkey could've done better than me yesterday afternoon. Hell, an untrained monkey could've done better than me yesterday.

So, because I've been a total slacker photographer lately and not shooting any of my own pics, I will post three of Stef's from her voyage overseas. They are totally great shots, and I hope to see more, but these are the only ones she sent me.

Steffi is actually on a mountain here, with actual mountains behind her. This isn't one of those green-screen shots. She hiked her ass to this point. I'm quite impressed, and am contemplating what it would take to Photoshop myself in beside her.

This is a postcard if I ever saw one. Holy cow. What a great scene. Too bad her hiking companion was busy text-messaging while Stef took it all in...oh well, her loss.

Here is Stef partaking of a beer, which, if you know Stef, is a feat in and of itself. Stef doesn't like beer, she likes foo-foo drinks, preferably with little umbrellas. So the fact that she not only has a beer in this image, but is also smiling and the beer is half gone, is quite impressive. Sniff, sniff. My little Stefster is growing up.

Today is Stef's birfday!!!!

Yay!!!! Her motto today is, "I'm divisible by 11," which totally cracks me up. In honor of her birfday, I will sing one of her favorite songs, Easy Like Sunday Morning, with a few changes (of course):

Queasy Like Sunday Morning

Know it sounds funny but I just can't stand the booze, Girl,
I'm sleepin' on an inflatable raft,
Seems to me girl you know I've done all I can,
You see I've drunk, chugged and I've hurled.

Chorus: S'why I'm queasy ..... queasy like Sunday mornin',
It's why I'm queasy ..... queasy like Sunday mornin'.

Why in the world would anybody lock the bathroom door, yeah,
I've paid my dues to make it,
Everybody wants me to be the life of the party,
I'm so happy when I try to chug it, oooh.

Chorus: .....Bridge: I wanna be high ..... so drunk,
I wanna be free to know the things I drink are right,
I wanna be free ..... just me, oh foo-foo drink.

Chorus: ..... (repeat the chorus with "cause I'm queasy")

Okay, that was bad. Just as bad as the pun "queasy like Sunday morning," which, I must argue, is the poorest pun I've ever heard but which Stef thinks is the greatest thing since sliced bread, probably simply because she came up with it. Stef: I hope you have a rockin' birfday, dear friend, and may you not sleep on an inflatable pool raft tonight or have to eat a hamburger bun for breakfast, after worship the porcelain god (drive the porcelein bus...however you want to phrase it) early on in the party.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birfday to Melsypan!

Happy birfday to you
Happy birfday to you
(It's your's your birfday...)
Happy birfday dear Melsy
Happy birfday to you!

Hope it's a great one, Mellimo!

Where's the line in the budget for Starbucks?

Tired today...stayed up too late doing pretty much nothing at all. Don't you hate it when you do that? When you're looking at the clock going, "It's almost midnight, I should turn in," and then you keep reading the magazine? Stupid stupid.

Really wishing I had stopped and gotten a mocha on the way in. Hell, it's early enough I could run back out. Oooo, I could visit my new Starbucks just up Brentwood! Traffic was hideous, though, and it's a bit too far to walk. Especially as it's already 108 degrees and it's not even 8 yet. Still...a mocha might be worth it. Damn. No cash in the ol' wallet. That means I'd have to charge it, which means I would ultimately end up accountable to my Budget Overlord, also known as my loving husband. We have this running joke, he and I, about our budget. He is the Budget Overlord (so christened by me) and I am the Budget Maven (so christened by him). I'm pretty glad he's the Budget Overlord, because we wouldn't be living where we live and I wouldn't have near the photography gear I have if it weren't for him being so good with personal finances. Not that I'd ever tell him that. I prefer to whine about increasing our monthly charge bill allowance and drive him batty.

Budgets are important, and the rational part of me sees that, understands that, and even supports it. But the emotional part of me, the part that thinks no day is complete without a decaf grande non-fat no-whip mocha, looks around at all the people spending money they don't have and wonders, "hey, can't I do that?!" Sure, I could do that, and then we'd end up living in a cardboard box in a Starbucks parking lot. Maybe I could build a little dome out of their grande cups. Those cup sleeves provide pretty good insulation.

No, no. Today I'll stick with my decaf green tea, which I tell myself is better than a mocha any day because it provides antioxidants that fight free radicals (and therefore cancer and aging and all that other icky stuff that free radicals do) and that is enhanced with my wonderful honey purchased for me at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market by Steffi-poo and so it's made with a little bit of love and doesn't that make it better? Maybe if it had some chocolate in it...