Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sports is sports

Saturday already!

Last night we saw an awesome Cardinals game with our friends Tammy and Garrin. Tammy and M worked together way back in the day at Magpowr, and we like to hook up with them every once in awhile and just catch up. Fine folks, with two adorable children. We always have a blast. Last night's main topic of discussion was the theory that Jim Edmonds is gay. I strongly believe he is not, Garrin strongly believes he is, and M and Tammy fell somewhere in the middle.

This all started at Mike Shannon's, where we ate dinner in "Red's Corner," named, of course, after the great Red Schoendienst. Our table was shaped like home plate. Food was spectacular, and surroundings were fantastic. I always thought that a sports restaurant had to have some kitsch to it, but Mike Shannon's is done so well that it feels like fine dining even though you're surrounded by baseballs, bats, jerseys and other memorabilia. Anyway, on the way in I spotted a rack of new ALIVE Magazines, and snagged one because the October issue is the first issue we've run a full-page ad for the spa.

Jimmy is on the cover, looking fine as usual, and Garrin commented that he wears eyeliner. This, of course, kicked off the discussion: eyeliner or thick eyelashes? gay or straight? either way, on either question, there is no doubt that he's a helluva baseball player.

There are two enclosed booths at Mike Shannon's called "snugs." At the beginning of each season, Mike names each snug after a current Cardinal player who has performed well. This season, one is the Chris Carpenter Snug and the other is the Jim Edmonds Snug. We decided that the next time we visit Mike Shannon's with Tammy and Garrin, we're requesting the Jim Edmonds Snug, just so we can then tell everyone that Garrin was in Jimmy's snug.

I had a 12 oz. strip sirloin with garlic mashed potatoes and a mixed salad, and I highly recommend it all. M had Shannon's Mixed Grill, which consisted of half a fillet, a chicken breast and some beer-battered orange roughy, and a bowl of clam chowder, all of which he highly recommends as well. He ate under a great black and white photograph of Red and Whitey.

After dinner we headed to the ballpark, where we had a great time watching the Cards whip up on the Brewers. For half the game, fans spent much of the time watching the outfield scoreboard that shows game updates around the leagues. We all were specifically watching the Atlanta-Houston game. When it went to 4-1 Atlanta in the 9th, Cardinal fans started chanting and performing the tomahawk chop. It was hysterical. Finally, the game ended and some wise soul in the Cardinals organization put the final score on the big jumbotron, and the crowd erupted. I'm pretty sure at that point the entire fan base was chanting and doing the chop. It was hysterical. I'm hoping that if our game was televised somewhere (ESPN, ESPN 2, wherever) that they showed us, because it was pretty funny, and probably the only time you'd see that spectacle.

After the game we headed home to relieve Grandpa Ray and Grandma Judy, who swore that Zozo had been a perfect angel all night. I hope she was, and I hope they had a good time. Thank you Dad and Judy! Zozo loved spending time with you!

This morning Zozo had her hearing and vision screening at Parents As Teachers, and everything checked out just fine. She was adorable, as usual, and a breeze to work with. I think she's just the coolest little girl in the world.

So, now that I've posted an update here, I'm getting ready to close out our budget for the month, Zozo is napping, and M is running around the yard trying to get it cut as quickly as possible so he can come in and see the rest of the game. Tonight is our neighborhood block party, and tomorrow Grammy is coming over to watch The Bug as we are going to the Rams game. It's a sports-filled weekend around here!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Daddy and His Zozo

He's home! Yaaaaaaay!

My boy is finally home, and I am very happy and excited about that.

So is Zoe. I could tell when she gave him her coy little smile this morning.

There is nothing sweeter than watching a father and a daughter connect. They were so cute this morning. M couldn't help but tickle her, and touch her little button nose, and they smiled and laughed and just loved each other.

M doesn't always wear his heart on his sleeve, so it's incredibly endearing to see him open right up for Zozo. He's not a big proponent of sneaking into her room at night, after she's asleep, because he's worried about waking her. I'm always the one who wants to creep in and just look at her. Last night, though, he went in with no hesitation. He stood there, bent over her crib, and took her all in with his eyes. She was a visual feast to him. I could tell he wanted to hold her so bad, but didn't want to wake her. I almost cried with the sweetness. After what felt like an eternity (he was making up for being gone since Sunday morning, so technically, he hadn't seen her since she went to bed Saturday night), he finally kissed his finger, touched her back, and crept back out. I could tell all was right with his world again, just having gotten to see her.

We're going to the game tonight with friends. Dinner first at Mike Shannon's, which we're very excited about as neither of us has ever eaten there. Oh! That reminds me! I was listening to the game last night and Shannon gave me a primo Shannonism. You could hear the organ going at the ballpark, and Shannon said, "And that's Ernies Hays...the organeer for the Cardinals..." I'm pretty sure "organeer" isn't a word.

Thanks to Grandpa Ray and Grandma Judy for watching The Zo tonight! You guys will have a blast!

Congratulations to Mama (Grammy) for getting her new job! Yay! We're very happy for you, and excited about your new adventure.

Congratulations, too, to Beanie for finally updating her blog. Dang, girl. Seriously. What you got goin' on? It's not like you're working a full-time job, raising a child, taking college classes and planning a wedding and stuff. Oh...wait...

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Take away my diamonds, my pearls, my gold and my silver. Banish me to the ugly world of no jewelry. I don't deserve to wear pretty things.

Last weekend, bringing a giant laundry basket of clean clothes up from the basement, I ran my hand into the banister and jacked up the setting on my engagement ring. Grrrr.

Yesterday the pendant fell off my necklace and hit the floor, breaking a huge chunk of the decorative enamel off and thereby ruining it forever.

Today, just now, trying to get some bottled water for the management meeting, my hand slipped off the case and hit the wall...ring first, of course. The setting on my blue sapphire ring now will accompany the engagement ring to the jewelers to be repaired. This time I actually knocked the stone completely loose (I have it, thankfully, and it's now taped to a piece of paper and sealed in an envelope so I don't do some other knuckleheaded thing and lose it altogether).

The jewelry gods are punishing me for buying cheap stuff at ABC Trading.

The Dancing Queen(s)

Carpooled to work today with Billie Joe Armstrong and the rest of the Green Day bunch, and was busy belting out Holiday as loud as I could without shattering the windshield when I happened to glance in my rearview mirror. In a white minivan behind me sat two Salvation Army folks. I know about Sal Army folks because I volunteered for them back in the day (coerced by a pushy neighbor, so it wasn't entirely altruistic).

As I sat there screaming lyrics that deride the policies of the American government (what can I say, they're catchy) I watched them. They were like the portrait "American Gothic," by Grant Wood. Was it Wood? I think it's Wood. Hold on...lemme Google...ah yes, Grant Wood. Damn, I'm good. Anyway, the Sal Army couple sat there, in their stiff white shirts with epaulets stating that they're majors in the army or what have you, not speaking, not singing, not smiling. They looked downright miserable.

I remembered when I volunteered for Sal Army and a group of us planned a fundraiser for the Women's Auxiliary. Mind you, the Women's Auxiliary has been around for many many moons and is quite successful, but frankly is in danger of dying off. Literally. My neighbor and I were the youngest women there by about 50 or 60 years. I was never able to participate in their weekly meetings because they are held on Wednesdays. During the day. When I work. (Memo to groups like this and our church's women's are dismissing an entire segment of the population because you assume that women do not are wrong, and you are shortchanging your groups by not including some damn fine, strong, independent women who could be valuable contributors if you'd only meet during an evening or on a weekend. Wake up already.)

The Sal Army Women's Auxiliary holds a few fundraisers during the year. A card party, which sounds like fun but is also scheduled during the day. When I work. A fashion show, which is quite lovely and scheduled, that's right, during the day. When I work. Are you getting the picture here? Their other main fundraiser is an "arts & crafts" type show, at which I am willing to purchase virtually nothing even though it's actually scheduled over a weekend so I could attend. I'm just not that into plastic canvas and other household items fashioned from yarn. Not to say it's not perfectly's just not my bag, baby. Although once, in their used cookbooks section, I did find a rare gem that slipped through the Sal Army censors: a book called "Patio Daddy-O" which is a completely tongue-in-cheek take on 1950s men and their grills (and their wives who carry two cantaloupes on a tray at chest-level...seriously, that's one of the illustrations). The book is hysterical, and is now proudly part of the Zlatic Family Library.

But I digress (as I often do). Bear with me here, I do have a point. I think. Maybe.

So my neighbor and I were trying to plan a fundraiser for the Women's Auxiliary that would hopefully also serve as a new member recruitment tool. New members as in younger women. Women like us. Women who could proudly continue to carry the Women's Auxiliary banner and keep the tradition alive. And maybe schedule some meetings and events after business hours. Several ideas were bantered around, and I suggested a nice dinner/dance.

The members of my table looked aghast. I started trying to fish out whatever food was apparently caught in my teeth. One of them leaned over and whispered, "Oh no, there is no dancing at Salvation Army events. That's baaaaad." What? Are you kidding me? I immediately felt like busting out with a rendition of Footloose but somehow managed to contain myself.

I do believe that was the demise of my volunteer relationship with the Salvation Army. Yeah, I worked some special events here and there, Toy Town and the Wherenberg Cans Film Festival and such, but my days (well, nights really, since I work during the day) with the Women's Auxiliary were over.

I am a person who loves music. Who has to sing when a great song comes on. Who can't help but move in tune with the beat. I can't control it. I just do it (much to the horror of my family, friends and acquaintances, and innocent strangers who happen to be around). Zozo has, fortunately or unfortunately, I haven't decided yet, apparently inherited this trait from me, as she wiggles to everything from her activity table music to the Lou Fusz commercial that plays on our classical music station. She ignores Mozart and Wagner, but loves the Fusz jingle. What's up with that? (If you'd like to listen to the Lou Fusz jingle, and dance to it yourself, all you have to do is click here. Try it, and tell me what you think. And admit danced, didn't you?)

So, back to my original Sal Army musings. Someone please tell me how dancing is wrong, or immoral, or evil, or work of the devil. Because I simply do not understand.

This is all what ran through my head this morning, as I looked in my rearview mirror and watched the Sal Army people sitting quietly in their minivan. And I felt sorry for them, because they are missing out on a tremendous joy in life by not being able to get their groove on to a catchy tune.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Human Resources

What do you do when you put a troublesome employee through two very good (and very expensive) customer training courses, coaching and guiding along the way, and the end result is that the only thing the employee gains from said training is the conviction that she really is great at her job? When, really, she's quite horrible at it. And not only is she incapable of seeing that (much less changing her attitude about it), but now she has an inflated sense of worth and contribution.

What do you do when that happens? I say, "Can her ass."

But then again, I am not her boss.

Birthday greetings for Margaret

Happy birthday to you...
Happy birthday to you...
Happy birthday AUNT MARGARET!
Happy birthday to you!

Hope you have a great day, and that you get your name on the Celebrity Car Wash marquee (among other things, of course!).

We love you!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Look, Ma! No cavities!

When your husband is gone on a business trip, many things occur to you. Things such as, "Wow, caring for a child alone is hard." And, "Lift with your knees next time you take out the trash, you stupid idiot."

Then there is the typical stuff, like turning in to bed at night and feeling all alone. Or coming home to an empty house. Or seeing one of the cats do something really crazy and having no one to laugh with. (At this point, I typically just resort to talking to the other cat, who is usually quite happy to agree with me.)

But what really surprises me, over and over again, are the little "pows" that hit you when you least expect it. Like getting ready for bed at night and opening the toothpaste drawer and seeing only my toothpaste in there, all by itself. Pow. Normally my Crest likes to snuggle with his Colgate. (Yes, we use different toothpastes. He was raised on Colgate, I on Crest, and neither of us is willing to budge one inch and admit that the other person might have perfectly fine toothpaste. Although, when I was pregnant I didn't care for the taste of my Crest and temporarily used his Colgate. I never told him. Hee hee.)

Or in the morning when I open the mirror cabinet over the bathroom sink and there are holes where his deodorant and brush normally sit. Pow.

Or coming in the door at night and not having to kick his gigantic Birkenstocks out of my way. Pow. As much as that annoys the heck out of me when he's here, I'd wouldn't mind it at all to have to do that tomorrow.

I miss you, M.

Forgot to tell you

Yesterday I saw more trucksticles. Silver ones this time. Hangin' loose. Hangin' low. On a big silver truck. It's always nice to coordinate your genitalia to your car, don't you think?

If you don't know what trucksticles are, please see the post from September 1.

I shall continue to document sightings here until the world is rid of them. Which cannot happen too soon.

Season Premiere

You know what really, really blows? To wait, all summer long, for your favorite show to come back on the air, because they left you hanging, waiting and wondering and speculating as to what on earth could possibly happen when finally, finally, the season premiere comes on and by the're really no further along than at the beginning of summer.

That, my friend, blows. And if I'm ever a big fancy schmancy producer person I promise I will never, ever do that to my loyal fans.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Parade Images

I've been remiss in posting images lately...many apologies.

Here are some shots from the Affton Day's Parade a couple of weekends ago.

Waiting for the parade to start.

My family, on the parade route.
L-R (seated): Auntie Betty, Granny, Grammy and Joey.
L-R (standing): Beanie, Zozo and M (Daddy)

Here it comes, Zoe! Wave! Yay!

Obviously he's done this before.
Who can resist an adorable boy in camo pants and cowboy boots?
Obviously not many people, as his bag was stuffed with candy by the end.

Breaktime. Picking up candy is hard work, so sometimes it's good to take a breather by sitting on Grammy's lap. Methinks Joey needs sunglasses. I think Ray-Bans would complete the ensemble.

How cute is our little patriot?

She was so cute, I just kept clicking.
The guy ain't so bad, either.

The parade ends. Zozo sleeps.

A striking comparison

I read this recently, and thought it was powerful enough to share with you:

"The president was wary: 'The troops will march in, the bands will play, the crowds will cheer, and in four days everyone will have forgotten. Then we will be told we have to send in more troops. It's like taking a drink. The effect wears off, and you have to take another.'

America fell off the wagon... The New York Times editorialized that the was is "a struggle this country cannot shirk." The Yanks arrived with their can-doism, their gung-ho, more-is-better mentality.

Some called it the 'John Wayne syndrome.' They sized up the war in strictly military terms and boasted they'd be home by Christmas. Their generals, ignorant of the country's history and ancient political and cultural divisions, believed they could save it by overlaying America's democratic institutions onto it as they would iron a heat-transferred slogan onto a blank T-shirt."

Then there is some information about the war starting to drag on, with the American side not making much progress.

"A contrarian band of journalists wouldn't 'get on the team,' reporting instead that the war was going from bad to worse for the Americans.

The U.S. generals...kept predicting that the troops would be home by Christmas, but stopped saying which one. The ambassadors succesively watched the light dim at the tunnel's end.

The grunts...flying in by the thousands, arrived with conviction and hope. They left in body bags, on stretchers, or aboard charter flights that landed them 'back in the world' where their own disillusionment festered. Routinely men who 'had to destroy the town in order to save it' were transformed...

It became the most documented killing field in history. Television and print media delivered images of death and violence as dependably as a milkman."

This excerpt is from a chapter in a book I've just finished reading called "Requiem." It's dedicated to the 135 photographers of different nations who are known to have died or to have disappeared while covering the wars in Indochina, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It was published in 1997, before 9/11 happened, before we went to war in Iraq. The section reproduced above was written by Tad Bartimus. I did take the liberty of removing direct references to Vietnam and to presidents, generals and ambassadors so as not to date it...driving home the point that an article written in 1997 about a war three decades earlier could very well apply to the situation we find ourselves in today. The president who is quoted at the beginning is John F. Kennedy.

Who was the walrus, really?

Wow...Darvocet is some really powerful stuff.

I am the eggman, he is eggman, I am the walrus, goo goo ga joo.

I did my speech today, and while the content was good the delivery sucked. I got nervous, which hasn't happened in months, and therefore I sucked it up big time. I blame the pills.

Here's my speech, which is, apparently, better received in written form rather than verbal:

Thank you to Peggy, Mitch, Chris, and my fellow classmates and coworkers, for giving me your time, energy, feedback and tools.

What I’ve learned through this class is that I now have resources to not only do my job better, but live a better life overall. I have a toolkit, if you will (hold up toolkit), to be a better person.

This is my toolbox that I made in 6th grade shop class. Yes, that’s right, in addition to marketing our day spa, I can also rivet sheet metal.

When I told Peggy I was going to use props today, she looked puzzled and asked, “In two minutes? Aren’t your speeches supposed to be two minutes?” Yes, “Doer,” I can use props in less than two minutes.

Let’s see what I have in here now.


  • My trusty The Customer Pocket Guide. Very handy.
  • My Feedback cards, which tell me that I need to continue working on:
  • Listening (hold up iPod ear buds)
  • Making you feel important (hold up blue ribbon that says "First Place")
  • Some tools to work better with other behavior styles, including:
  • Calculator, so I can go in front of my Doers with the bottom line
  • Palm Pilot, so I’m totally organized for my Controllers
  • Employee Handbook, so I know I’m workin’ the process for my Supporters
  • And for the Talkers, well, I’ll just bring my big mouth. As a talker, it’s practically impossible for me to not relate to other talkers. Just ask Chris, the Queen Talker. Or my Supporter/Controller husband, whom I talk to death nearly every night.

All these new tools, and others I learned in The Customer, will help me be a better Marketing Director for The Face & The Body (hold up business card), a better mother to my daughter (hold up Zozo pic), and a better wife to my husband (hold up M pic).

I have learned that I can choose to take responsibility for my success and prosperity (hold up small sign), and that when I do so, amazing things can happen.

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned these past 8 weeks is that you all have your own toolkits, with your own resources, and now that I can see that, I have even more respect and admiration for each and every one of you. Congratulations to everyone here, and thank you, again, for sharing so much of yourselves with me.

Hooray for Darvocet!

Greetings earthlings. I write to you today from the land of Back Pain Hell.

When you get married, you take vows to love and honor one another. You promise to be faithful and to be there for your spouse in sickness and in health, blah blah blah. What is unwritten, but perfectly understood by everyone in attendance, is also the silent clause of, "The husband takes the 4 tons of trash out to the curb every week." This is nature's way. It's the order of evolution. It's the way things are because, as my father-in-lawn once (in)famously said, "It's the right thing to do."

This only applies, of course, if the husband is not in San Diego on a business trip.

Yes, in hauling the trash to the curb last night, yours truly tweaked something in her back. Amy is in pain. It hurts Amy to sit, stand, walk, or move. Amy was in pain for the entire 15-minute commute into work, and she took out her frustration in a 10-second delay on an innocent trash truck blocking the road by screaming profanities. Amy thought it was pretty ironic that a trash truck was blocking her progress when the pain in her lower back is a direct result of hauling trash herself.

Amy apparently likes to refer to herself in the third person when under the influence of Darvocet.

Weekend recap: Friday night was spent at Beano's, pricing our garage sale crap. She made an awesome chili dinner (thank you Beanie!), which we all snarfled up like we hadn't eaten in days. Then we (Beanie, Shawn, M and I) adjourned to the basement to price. We discovered that feeding four adults a bean-filled meal and then confining them to a 10-square-foot area in the basement wasn't the smartest idea. Sure made for a lot of laughs, though. Thanks to Grammy for watching the kiddies while we worked.

M and I were back at 6:30 a.m. Saturday to haul our treasures out for sale. We set up the tables, and got all but one wrapped in plastic when the rain started. We ended up sitting in the living room debating whether to wait it out or call it a day. The rain eventually let up, and we put out the goods. It was slow going at first, but then we'd have spurts of busyness in between spurts of rain and wind. Many thanks to Shawn and M for practically running the show. You guys are garage sale kings! Meanwhile, Beans, Grammy and I took advantage of a slow time to order the wedding invites on-line. Yay!

Around noon Grammy made the run to White Castles for lunch and we ate more gas-producing food. What is up with my family and the gaseousness? I swear that is not how Beanie got her nickname.

We called it quits around 1 I think, and while we cleaned up Grammy played banker and tallied up the pot. After lunch, each couple cleared a whopping $26.50. Wooo wooo. Hold me back so I don't spend it all at once. It's still in my wallet, and I feel a little scared carrying around that amount of cash. Will the ATM take a deposit that large? Hopefully by now you can see the sarcasm dripping from these words. Anyway, what we didn't sell went over the front yard fence and sat next to the road, where it was snatched up by passers-by before the evening ended. We were all pretty bummed by the low cash flow, but Shawn said, "Don't think of it in terms of money...think of it in terms of cubic feet!" Brilliant! Our two basements are now clear, clean and organized, and that is priceless.

Thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Z. for watching Zozo overnight Friday night and most of Saturday. She had a blast, and we hope you did, too!

Saturday night was a wonderful dinner at Yia Yia's in Chesterfield to celebrate Joann's birthday. We got to catch up with the O'Grady's and with Stuart H., and just kind of hang out with the fam. M and I both got the yellow fin tuna (as rare as you can make it, please!) which was excellent. Zozo was a wonderful little girl, as usual. We are so blessed to have a child whom we can take out to a nice dinner and not have to worry about her melting down. One of her meltdowns is like an average child's good day.

M flew out very early Sunday morning, back to San Diego. This time, though, he got to upgrade to first class, which is great for a long flight like that. I started missing him around the time his car pulled to the end of the driveway to leave.

This, of course, meant that it was just me and Zozo for mass Sunday morning. We did just fine, but my left arm felt like it was made of lead by the end. My baby is getting heavy! Out to breakfast, then a trip to Sam's for gas, milk and other sundries. Home to grab the movies due back to Blockbuster by noon (we turned them in at 11:50...yeah! take that you late-fee Nazis!), then some lunch and playtime before our nap. We had fun yesterday, just me and Zozo, but we miss Daddy so much. I can tell he misses us, too, which breaks my heart even more.

Today is my graduation from The Customer training class here at work. We have to stand up and give a speech in front of our classmates, the trainer, the CEO and the CFO. I wrote mine Friday and think it's decent, but the key will be to see how well I deliver it under the influence of prescription pain killers. Weeeeeee!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hamster Dance

Do you ever keep going and going and going, and even though you're productive and contributing and everything seems to be running just feel like it's never enough?

This morning, after getting myself ready for work, and Zozo ready to go to her grandma's for the day, I emptied the dishwasher, sorted the laundry and threw a load in, fed/watered the cats, took more recycling up to church, came back home and put the pack 'n play in the trunk to be sure we wouldn't forget it tonight, loaded a dead computer into my car to take back to work, and stopped by the dry cleaners on the way to work to take in M's dress shirt for his business trip next week. M made our lunches, helped get Zozo ready to go, discovered that the computer is dead, then took Zozo over to her grandma's. We both ran around like idiots this morning. Then we went to work.

And yet, I feel like there is so much we didn't get done, that it doesn't really matter what we did get done.

For instance:
1. The litter boxes need to be cleaned. Again. Which is a direct result of the aforementioned feeding/watering the kitties. I guess this is all part of being a pet owner, oh, I'm sorry, I meant "companion guardian."

2. I need to get Zoe's bag together for her overnight stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Food, jammies, bibs, know. The usual.

3. There are still two loads of laundry that need to get done before M flies out at 7:15 Sunday morning, and we have plans tonight, tomorrow morning (Garage Sale at Beanie's: 5 a.m. through probably 2 or 3), and dinner plans at 6:30 tomorrow night. Which means I have to cram laundry in here and there, in between coming home and leaving again. Plus, I still haven't gotten the laundry put away from the last two weeks. It's sitting downstairs, piled in the laundry basket two feet over the top, folded, mind you, but not put away. It's now so large that I cannot carry it upstairs myself, and must ask M to do it, which of course only adds to his also ever-growing list of things to do.

4. I have to remember to stop and pick up M's shirt from the dry cleaners today after 5. If I forget, we can get it tomorrow, in between the garage sale and dinner, while trying to spend time with our daughter who thinks Mommy and Daddy are insane because all they ever do is run around.

5. I still don't have the hall closet cleaned out, which means we're in danger of being overrun by plastic bags from Target, Shop 'n Save, Home Depot and all the other places we shop. I swear we don't buy that much, so I can't figure out why they are multiplying like rabbits in there.

6. Beans is making us an awesome chili dinner tonight for our little garage sale pricing party, and I can't figure out what to offer to bring. Mainly because I don't have time to make anything and M has a complete fit when I suggest purchasing something already made. He's very Martha Stewart like that. This comes, I presume, from being one helluva cook. Which I am not.

7. The house needs to be vacuumed. Again. Even though I just vacuumed Wednesday night. See aforementioned "companions."

You know, this whole being-a-grown-up thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Even Billie Joe Armstrong and his Green Day pals couldn't cheer me up on the way in. Should've just gone to Starbucks.

I'm a hamster on a wheel these days.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

'Cause I'm a woooooman...

Daddy's home! Yaaaaaaay!

It was so cute to see both their faces light up when they saw each other last night. I'm not sure who was happier. After vacuuming the house, participating in a telephone survey about state politics (McCaskill v. Talent), caring for Zozo and preparing a delectable meal (baked chicken, peas, julienne potatoes and fresh peaches...yes, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...), I let them have Zozo/Daddy time in the library while I cleaned up dinner. They read books and flipped through nature flashcards.

After Zozo went down for the night, M and I relaxed and watched the taped Studio 60 from Monday night. If they can keep it up, the show will rock. First one was great, I thought. I mean, it's no West Wing (nothing will ever replace West Wing), but it was smart, quick and witty. There were also moments of drama. How can ya beat that?

Nothing exciting at home, really, which suits me just fine. It was a lovely "normal" evening. M leaves again Sunday morning, which totally stinks, but it must be done. He'll return Thursday night.

I've been in major organizing mode again, both at home and at work. Yesterday afternoon I cleaned off my desk and my set of bookshelves. I feel like I can breathe again. I had a ton of paper and old industry magazines, so I stopped by church this morning before coming into work and emptied my trunk into the paper recycler.

Ugh. I'm not feeling particularly witty this morning. I keep typing sentences, reading them, and thinking, "Well, that sucks." and then deleting them. Which is why you're getting discourses on my recycling efforts.

All right then. Let's just end this right now, shall we? Will try again later. My apologies for the boring post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beanie's Blog

So, after an unsuccessful foray into the world of blogging at, Beanie has decided to join her friends on MySpace. Apparently MySpace is quite the deal, as something like a hundred million people are on there, and cousin Marty (the Party) jumped the ship and went there, and now Beanie has her space there. I added a link to her page over there on the right, with my other links.

I shall, however, stay here in my humble digs at blogger. You know all those posts I did about hating clutter and such? Yeah, MySpace is so not for me. It is, however, perfect for Beano, as she's done more in the short time she's been on there than in the months since she started her blogger page. You really must visit...there are photographs of our adorable children posted. And you can play with her virtual pet, a brown dog named Mocha, which is suspicious since she actually owns a brown dog named Mocha. It's a kick though, and I just fed a bunch of doggy treats to her virtual pet.

Speaking of pets...have ya'all heard about the insane In Defense of Animals campaign to raise awareness about animal rights? Yeah, um, apparently they've decided that "pet owner" is a derogatory term and that humans don't own animals. Tell that to my checkbook, which has shelled out hundreds of dollars for the two furry creatures I brought into my home and have sustained for years. Anyway, animals aren't pets now, they are companions. And humans don't own them...they are guardians for them. Because two cats live with me, I am now a companion guardian. Whatever. Get over it, people. There are much bigger problems in the world than worrying about offending the already over-inflated egos of my kitty cats. Look, I'm all for decent, humane treatment of animals...actually, I'm all for decent, humane treatment of all living things. But in my world, thanks to the food chain and the size of my brain, people...come...first.

Laclede Gas Rant

M is coming home today...hooray!

Last night was a very relaxing evening hanging out with Zozo. We read lots and lots of books, had some milk, and then went to sleep. An hour after bedtime, though, as I was relaxing on the couch, I heard a squeal. First thought: "One of the cats is yowling." Second thought: "The cats are both right here, and they look as surprised as I do." Apparently Zozo had either not gone to sleep yet, or had woken back up to talk to her stuffed animals. She stands in her crib and talks to them across the room. I know this because I do what every good parent does. I spy on her.

Today I'm feeling a bit kicky, mainly because my man is coming home and I miss him so much, but partly because I'm decked out in pink. Well, I can't really be decked out in pink because our dress code calls for only boring earth tones, black and white. So I rebel with accessories. I'm wearing a cool hot pink scarf my mama got me that has "A's" all over it, a hot pink watch with a square face and rhinestones around the bevel, a hot pink "pearl" necklace (I put pearl in quotes because I'm pretty sure real pearls don't come in hot pink...perhaps I should have just written "faux pearls," but even that gives them more credit than they're due), and my dangly earrings with pink rhinestones.

At this very moment, in an office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Stef is retching into her trash can. (She hates pink. Hates it.)

Today I have to call my buddies at Laclede Gas. We received a letter in the mail a couple of weeks ago stating that they need to inspect our piping and metering equipment. Blah blah blah. We just had a new freakin' meter installed near the end of last year, so I figure it was pretty much inspected then. Stuck the note in my "to-do" file and then promptly forgot about it. Last night there was another letter from Laclede...if I don't call them to schedule the appointment now, they will turn off my gas and then charge me a $54 reconnection fee. Bastards.

Just called 'em. The snippy pre-recorded on-hold lady told me my wait was going to be between 10 and 13 minutes, and offered to have someone call me back. I chose to wait, and a very nice man picked up within a minute and a half. The on-hold lady should coordinate with him, because that was quite a short wait compared to the 10 to 13 minutes she threatened me with. Someone will be at our house on Saturday, October 7 between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Which means they'll knock on the door at 11:59 p.m.

Let me just state here that I despise Laclede Gas. I have had to call those people more times than I care to remember, mainly over their billing screwups. For about six months in a row late last year/early this year, we kept getting "adjusted bills." Except for November, for which we weren't billed at all because they claimed we overpaid. You don't say?! Grrrr. Reading their bills is like me, an white American Catholic girl, trying to decipher the Koran. Doesn't help when I have the Budget Nazi leaning over my shoulder asking, "What does that mean?" After many rounds of "discussions" (M thinks calling them discussions instead of fights makes them sound doesn't, trust me) I finally made him call Laclede himself. He couldn't explain it any better than I had, but at least he finally saw what I was dealing with.

I'm absolutely amazed at the ease with which I just scheduled this appointment. It's the first time ever, in dealing with Laclede, that I didn't feel like throwing the phone across the room.

I have to send a belated thank you out to Grammy for babysitting Zozo last Friday night while we had Date Night. This is what happens when you don't post in two or three days. Things slip through the cracks. Bad blogger...bad! Grammy brought her Magic Toes with her that night, as Zozo was completely mesmerized by her bright nail polish and cracked up laughing whenever she saw them. They had so much fun together that Grammy did what grammies are supposed to do...she kept her up a bit past her bedtime. So anyway, thank you to Grammy for staying with Zozo that night and for having fun with her. It was good Zozo/Grammy bonding time!

Since Zozo was calling me "Bob" for awhile, Papa decided that Grammy should be GramBob, and he'd be GrampBob. Grammy, as you can guess, is not appreciative of her new appellation, but it cracks me up everytime he says it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Boob Tube

Last night I hung out with Zozo, played for a bit, organized our hall bathroom closet (we finally hung the plastic shoe rack on the closet door, and it's now fully stocked with all our linen closet goodies, which means we don't have to riffle through a stack of towels and wash clothes to find the allergy medicine), watched some SATC, and was in bed by 10:30. Which is very good for me.

Mom and Dad Z finished watching The Blues Brothers, which is by far the greatest movie ever made. Yes, M, it is better than 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hate to burst your bubble there, buddy. I was a bit worried about loaning it to them, after all the hype I had done about how great it was, but I think they were at least amused by it.

Tonight I plan to watch Sabrina, with Audry Hepburn. Have never seen it, but love Audrey, so can't wait to plop down and watch. This is definitely a good movie to watch while M is out of town (see above 2001 reference for "his" kind of movies).

Over the weekend we rented Syriana, with George Clooney and Matt Damon. In case you haven't seen it, don't bother. Holy cow, what a snoozer. You know, I really don't like it when a movie, a flick, makes me feel stupid. I'm not the only one, though. M couldn't follow it either. We just kept watching, every once in awhile asking each other, "Are you getting it yet?" "Nope." "Maybe if we just keep watching..." Finally I started dozing off from sheer lack of interest and inability to discover what in the hell was going on and how all these random people were related, and we called it a night. Have no idea how it ends, and couldn't care less. Clooney looks like a worn-out geezer instead of his normal studly self, and while Damon is always eye candy, even he wasn't worth schlepping through this one. Thought it was supposed to be good, seeing as how it was nominated for a ton of major awards and Clooney even won an Oscar or something for it. Methinks the Hollywood establishment didn't get it either, but thought they should, so they tried to show how intellectual they are by nominating it all over the place.

Actually, the plot was strong (well, the description of what the plot was supposed to be on the DVD box was strong), and the acting was good, and most of the dialogue was decent, but I think the editing was what caused it to suffer. It was so freakin' choppy, and I got the distinct impression that the editors got "too close" to the film and didn't realize that the viewing public couldn't follow the leaps. At least, we couldn't follow the leaps, and we consider ourselves reasonably intelligent people.

We put it on par with The Thin Red Line, which also had an all-star cast and which we never bothered to finish either.

Last night was the premiere of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, otherwise known simply as Studio 60 because the former is a really long title. I'm curious about this show for several reasons: a.) it's by the creators of The West Wing, which is my most favorite show ever, b.) it's got Matthew Perry of Friends fame in it, and I'm curious to see him break outside his Chandler mold, and c.) it's got Bradley Whitford in it, whom I think is simply adorable and one hell of an actor. Whitford played Josh Lyman in The West Wing, and was my favorite character, outside of Martin Sheen's President Jed Bartlett. Now see, The West Wing was a show for intelligent people, and we followed it reasonably well and enjoyed watching it, so I'm not sure what crack pipe the makers of Syriana were smoking.

Anyway, I taped Studio 60 to watch later, with M. We watched West Wing together from the beginning, and are in need of a new "us" show. By "us" show I mean one that we can watch together, instead of me falling asleep during Monday Night Football (which is now Sunday Night Football, thanks to the programming clowns) and him rolling his eyes through Gilmore Girls.

What totally cracks me up is how, despite his best efforts, involved M is with SATC. He's behind now, since I've watched a few episodes without him. But it was funny to be watching SATC while he "worked" on his laptop, and seeing him not really working but instead watching the TV intently over the laptop screen. I knew I had him hooked when he started saying things like, "I can't believe she did that to Aidan" and "I bet Miranda ends up with Steve." Hee hee. Gotcha!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Leavin'...on a jet plane

M and I have been married almost nine years (our anniversary is next month!), and for a good portion of that time, he was a true road warrior. In and out of airports and hotels...too many to remember. He knows what the best seats are on which airplanes (exit row, two-seat side, aisle), and he knows where to find outlets for his computer and phone chargers in all the major hubs. He calls flights "segments" and he even had a waiter he knew by name at the Chili's in Chicago. He woke up once in our bedroom and wondered briefly what city he was in. One week he had something like six or eight segments.

So, you would think that I would be used to saying good-bye to him when he leaves on another business trip. You would think.

Reality is that when I send him out the door, in his crisp dry-cleaned shirt and freshly laundered black pants (looking very handsome, I might add), towing his wheelie luggage with his laptop bag perched on top, cell phone clipped smartly to his belt...I still tear up.

This morning I didn't have to send him off alone, though. Zozo and I kissed him good-bye together and waved to him all the way down the street, until we couldn't see his little blue sports car any more. And yes, I cried. Even though he'll be back Wednesday. Zozo waved, and then stuck her fingers in her mouth to feel her new tooth for the umpteenth time.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend Recap

Apparently my "new" viewers are a little freaked that I haven't posted since Thursday, so, to Papa, welcome to my blog! Every once in awhile I go dormant for a few days. Normally because I get really busy and time just slips past.

Friday I didn't post because my day was all screwy. It's always like that when I have to be at our O'Fallon spa for an 8 a.m. staff meeting. Plus, I stopped at Chesterfield on the way back in, so I didn't make it into my office until almost 11. That throws a girl off her schedule.

Funny thing about Friday...I got to try on an obscenely expensive pair of glasses. Clarkson Eye Center is right next to our Chesterfield location, and we work a little discount deal with them. Only problem is that even with our discount there, I still can't afford the place. My officemate, however, can, and she had to stop in there Friday for something (we carpooled to O'Fallon). While there, trying on funky glasses of course, we spoke with Bill or James or whatever the guy's name is who helps my officemate. I was pretty psyched about getting to wear a pair of Chanel sunglasses (it's the only time in my life I'll ever get to wear Chanel), when he had me try on a pair of "regular" frames. The side pieces were sparkly, but other than that they were nothing to shout about. Turns out those sparklies were genuine Swarovsky crystals, and those frames were $1,380 without the lenses. Damn. I have Nikkor lenses that didn't cost that much. So that was my excitement Friday.

Friday night we had Date Night at the ballgame, and I watched the entire thing clearly through my $80 Sam's glasses.

Saturday morning we were up early and on the way to Affton for the Affton Days Parade. There's just something about a parade... Got some great shots, but haven't dumped them into the Mac yet. It was Zozo's first parade, and she loved it. She waved a little American flag the whole time, tiny patriot that she is. Have some shots of her, too, of course, but they're on the same card as the aforementioned ones, which means they're not in the Mac yet either. Spent the rest of the day cleaning the house while M ran around the yard. That night we went to Macy's, where yours truly got some much-needed dress slacks for work, and a funky red faux croc purse. It's very cute. I tried to find a photo on the internet to show you, but can't, which is odd, because you can find photos of darn near anything on the internet. Well, you'll just have to wait 'til the next time you see me to see my fabulous new bag.

Today we did a Target run, which was desperately needed as we haven't been to Target in about a month. That was pretty much it. Farted around the house. M did get our garage door fixed, which is great. Rams lost, which stunk, and Cards got rained out, so it wasn't a great sports day for The Lou. Bruce Sutter did, however, get his number retired by the Cardinals today, so congrats to Bruce!

So now, here I sit, trying to write while M gets ready to leave on his business trip in the morning. I say trying to write, because so far I've had to break off to find his stack of frequent flyer membership cards back from when he was a true road warrior, his supply of mechanical pencil leads, and his ream of graph paper. We're a pretty good team, he and I. I can find everything he loses, and he can fix everything we break.

Okay, so since I didn't post yesterday I didn't have the chance to send Birthday Greetings to Michelle and Aunt Mary. Happy Birthday to you both! Also, today is Angie's birthday, so a warm Happy Birthday to you, too! Dang...what is it with our family and the September birthdays? There must be something happenin' in January! Tomorrow, in case I forget, is Margaret and Jim's anniversary - 24 years! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to you! Now if that doesn't make it to the Celebrity Car Wash sign, I don't know what will. Seriously though, Jim, you gotta get her something more than a posting on the car wash sign. Perhaps a ceiling fan.

Thursday is the Feast of Saint Matthew, and Saturday is the official start of Autumn. I know this because the family calendar is hanging right next to me, and I'm on a roll with posting special events. So, if I missed yours recently, many apologies, but I don't always post while sitting right next to the calendar.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Okay, first things first...meaning, I have to type it while it's top of mind so I don't forget once I get on with my ramblings...

Happy birthday to Aunt Jo and Aunt Shelly!!! We hope you both have a great day, and we love you very much! Today is also Uncle Jerry's birthday, but since he no longer speaks to any of us, I'm not going to send him a birthday shout-out. I'll send a birthday whisper though, because everyone, even jerks, deserve to have a nice birthday.

Now back to the musings of my mind.

Last night we (M and I) totally jammed on our Things To Do list. The TTD is this never-ending Word document that we continually e-mail back and forth to each other, always adding new things and, on good days, deleting what we've accomplished. On bad days, we add more than we delete.

Last night we got a bunch more shrubberies planted, Zoe's clothes sorted and organized (it was time to clean out her drawers as I was sick of poking through 3-month sizes to get to the onesies that fit her now), the guest room cleaned up (which means Steffi is free to come visit anytime...really...anytime), the oven light replaced (it hasn't worked since we moved in, so this was a big accomplishment), and Zoe's birth announcement sent to the UMR alumni magazine. Yeah, I know, we're only a year late, but whatever. At least it finally got done. There are other birth announcements in there that are over a year late, so I figure Rolla alums are just extremely busy people.

This morning I emptied the dishwasher, stopped by the bank, and recycled the steel helium tank from Zoe's party balloons, a telephone book and four giant trashbags of clothes, all on the way in to work. It feels really good to have an empty trunk.

Our empty trunk (and garage), of course, means an overflowing truck for Shawn and Beans. They came and picked up our enormous pile of garage sale goodies (thank you Shawn and Beans!). Beans swears that the pile tripled since the last time she saw it, but alas, it's the same pile. We're having our joint garage sale in a few weeks, during which we'll blow all the money we're making on beer and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We have our priorities. I just realized that I typed "joint garage sale" and that it might be misconstrued. I meant joint garage sale as in multiple families. Not a garage sale of pot. Weed. Hash. Mary Jane. Hey Beans, you can hide your weeeeeed in there.

Nothing much else to report, except that we're both extremely tired, but happy to be able to delete many lines from the TTD list today.

Oh, I need some input from ya'all. We were discussing anniversary presents last night, as our 9th wedding anniversary is right around the corner, and we need some help. Big time. Because all we could come up with for "joint gift" ideas was a new ceiling fan for our bedroom, or shutters for the house. Methinks shutters are not the most romantic presents in the world, nor are they the appropriate gift for a ninth wedding anniversary. I think shutters are for 13 years, actually.

Seriously, how boring are we that the best idea we can come up with to show our love for one another is a ceiling fan? Although, to be fair, I must admit that it would have a remote, which means that we'll no longer lay in bed at night going, "Get the light." "No, you get the light." "I did it last night. It's your turn tonight." "I can sleep with the light on...can you?" Come to think of it...a new ceiling fan might actually be just the thing to strengthen our marriage.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mein Haar ist dunkel...ja, das ist gut!

Well, it's official. I'm dark for winter. My hair, that is. Dark dark dark. Kinda shocking at first, but I'm getting used to it. Being a raven-haired beauty, that is. Actually, I'm more of a chestnut-haired beauty, but who's nitpicking? Really, I think I just look even paler now. The dark hair is a great excuse, though, to wear "big" make-up. I have darker brows now, because no-brows combined with dark hair make one look like little orphan Annie in the black and white comic strip. Not very attractive. So, I put on my darker brows this morning (how come men never have to put on brows?!), and then played around with my lipstick. Turns out that I can now wear the brighter colors. Well, actually, I have to or my mouth disappears altogether. Also not attractive.

I was a bit worried that Zozo wouldn't recognize me when I got home last night, but she was fine. She's such a cute little Bug. Every morning during The A.M. Diaper Change, we practice saying, "Mom" together. It comes out kind like "Mum" or just "Mm," as the vowel gets cut pretty short. Usually it evolves more into "Bob" or "Bub," but I'll take whatever I can get. This morning she was a little cranky, though, and I was Bob right out of the gate. Maybe it's the hair.

M was a whole other story with noticing the hair. I was walking outside to go pick up Doodle when he pulled in. I walked around his car and stood at his open door. We greeted, he got out, gave me a peck, then walked around to get his things out of the back. He began telling me about something when he finally actually looked at me for the first time. Mid-sentence, his mouth dropped open and his eyes went huge. It was pretty funny. Poor guy, I never tell him when I'm going to do something drastic with my hair. I just show up with a short cut, or highlights, or now darkness. It's my little way of sticking it to The Man. I think he likes it, but given that his first response was, "How much did that cost?" it's hard to tell.

I'm thinking the dark hair is sort of reminiscent of my "Black Days" in high school, as M and my mother called them. My Black Days didn't involve dark hair so much as black clothes, all black, complete with black Converse high-tops. Loved those shoes. Listened to The Cure a lot, and Depeche Mode and Erasure. Considered myself a bit punkish. Shot black and white photography and was snobbish about color film (real artists don't need color...color photographers just use it as a cover for sub-par art photography). My, how things change. Still wear lots of black (mainly at work due to dress code), and I now have two pairs of Chucks, although they are navy blue and hot pink (thank you Steffi!), and I shoot both color and black and white. Well, technically I shoot all color, then convert to b/w. And I don't even use film anymore. What's the world coming to?

There is a sign on my Starbucks bulletin board for German lessons. It's so cute...under the headline, "Learn German! Take German lessons!" it says, very small, "Ja, das ist gut." Which, in German, of course, means, yes, this is good. It struck me as funny, and I think that might be my little slogan for awhile. Ja! Das ist gut! I took German in high school for a couple years (however long it took to be just short of the foreign language requirement at Mizzou) and then for three kraut-packed semesters at Mizzou. About the only things I remember are how to ask for a beer and where is the bathroom. Oh, and ja, das ist gut!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Houston, we have a tooth coming in

Last night we went to the ballgame to celebrate Uncle Milt's birthday. Dad/Grandpa Z bought us a whole group of bleacher seats and we all surprised Milt by meeting them there. It was a great time. Perfect night, and great to see the field from a different vantage point. Cardinals were hot, too, and we got to see yet another stellar game by Carp. Mom/Grandma Z even caught a ball tossed by the Astros centerfielder after he warmed up!

We left early due to being parents of a small child and all. Doodle was her usual perfect self and watched some of the game in between slurping on her hand and grossing out her dad. Big news on the Doodle front...she has a tooth coming in! Finally! It's her lower right front tooth, and you can see it just below the surface. She's going to look so different with teeth! We're very used to her gummy little grin now.

Not much else going on. Oh, I'm getting my brows done today (thank God!) and I'm getting my hair colored. Shhhh on that last one. Don't tell M. He doesn't know yet. I figured I'd just surprise him by showing up with different hair tonight. I'm not going all wild or anything like that...just dark for fall/winter. Time for the highlights to go. I never used to do anything to my hair until I started working at the spa. Now I have seasonal hair colors. Go figure.

That reminds me...September 19-21 is our Fall Color Event, where we are debuting our Fall/Winter make-up colors. You can come in and get your make-up done (for free!) and receive complimentary food and beverages (wine!), the latest and greatest tips and tricks to look fabulous, and even a special gift-with-purchase from Cargo Cosmetics. For those of you who haven't tried Cargo, I highly recommend it. It's make-up that doesn't look like make-up. High quality, too. Cargo mascara is the only mascara I have found (and trust me, I've been looking for years) that doesn't end up more on my face and less on my lashes by the end of the day. Good stuff. You can check it out yourself by coming to our Fall Color Event. Make an appointment, though, because the slots get filled quickly! Your truly will be getting hers done, because she hasn't done a thing with her make-up for about five years and really should branch out a bit and maximize her most fabulous self. Besides, I'll need new make-up colors to go with my new hair color.

In the meantime, I'll continue gimping along the last little granules of face powder I have left, since I think it's fruitless to purchase a new compact when I'll be getting all fabulous with new stuff next week.

Well, now, I suppose I do have a lot more going on than I thought, didn't I?

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's a rather gloomy Monday, which sorta fits my mood right now. No particular reason to be gloomy really, just feeling a bit Eeyore-ish.

One thing I do not have to feel gloomy about, is my hubby. He was a rock star in the yard this weekend. The boy spent all day Saturday (and I do mean, all day) plugging the yard. Then he spent most of Sunday purchasing shrubs and landscaping goodies, and then digging holes and planting. The only reason he wasn't out there the entire day is that we went to mass in the morning and out to eat with the fam for Uncle Milt's birthday. Happy Birthday Uncle Milt!

So anyway, I'm totally jazzed about the front yard. I have to admit, I've been rather dreading that project, as neither of us knows diddly about landscaping. But my boy did good. Our front yard is going to look so beautiful, and he deserves all the credit. I hid inside with the baby and he took charge. When he's got a vision, he's got a vision. Just you all wait until Christmas (wink wink!).

Perhaps I'm a bit gloomy today because of the date. Can't believe it's been five years since 9/11.

Perhaps I'm a bit gloomy because my stupid phone keeps ringing and I'm not in the mood to talk. To anyone. Grrrrr.

Perhaps I'm a bit gloomy because the weekend flew by and I already miss Zozo today.

Perhaps it's hormonal. I'm a woman, after all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 THAT'S what she ate for dinner

There are many great things about family. But, two of the best things happened tonight. We went out to eat for Uncle Milt's birthday and our baby, precious little girl, blew chunks at the table (that's not the best thing that happened...stick with me...I'm getting to it). This tiny creature has the worst gag reflex I've ever seen, and that last little bit of pasta triggered it. Anyway, our whole family looked at us with sympathy, a collective "been there...cleaned that up" sort of look. Then the womenfolk kicked in and helped. There was no judging or looks of disgust or comments about how we must be idiot parents for shoveling that last spoonful of mostaccioli in her piehole. How cool is that?!

I did notice that the very pregnant woman at the table next to ours looked on in horror. I must admit I chuckled a little bit at that. Hee. Just wait, sister. Your day will come. I remember that feeling, though, and deciding that we simply would not leave the house until Zozo was in her teens. But that gets old quick and you soon learn to not care about what other people think when your child is in need because she's covered in her own vomit.

The other great thing about family is when your little girl (yes, the aforementioned cookie tosser) does "sooo biiiig!" with her hands and the entire room of adults follows suit. I don't remember how many times she conducted us like a symphony, but it was many, and it made my heart sing.

So thank you, Z family, for your caring, compassion, laughs and love. You will never know how much I appreciate you!

An early happy birthday shout-out to Uncle Milt! Hope you have a great day! We love you!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Well, things are looking up. I'm not despising my own work any more, and am back to being somewhat pleased with it and ready to hang it around the house. The only issue now is that my picture-hangin' dude wiped himself out in the yard today and is in no state to drill into the walls of our house. That project will have to wait until another day.

I typically have a love/hate relationship with my work. It is rare for me to love something when I first shoot it. I come home, dump the images into the Mac, and comb through them. The little voice in my head clicks off as I click them open, "Shit...shit...shit...more call yourself a photographer?!" So then I let them stew for awhile, and come back to them later, grudgingly thinking that one or two might be decent. As more time passes, I accept them more and more, and eventually admit that I have useable material that I wouldn't be embarrassed to share with others. Then, even more time passes, and I start hating the "good" ones again. Actually, I start hating the fact that a lot of time has passed since I made decent images. Which is usually a pretty good proverbial kick in the butt to start making images again.

Besides managing to get the house clean and caring for Doodle, I was also a printing fool today, after blowing out my print heads of course. I've had a growing list of prints to make, and finally just sat down today and cranked through them. That feels good.

One of the prints I made is a 4x6 of this:M received a hand/footprint kit from his folks for Father's Day, and it includes a mat with three cut-outs: one for the hand, one for the foot, and one for a photograph. We got the hand and footprint on The Bug's first birthday, and have spent since then debating which image to put in the frame. M chose the one above, which I suppose means it is one of his favorites.

Making the image was considerably easier than getting the hand and footprints, by the way. It's a good theory, to capture your child's hand and footprints on a milestone day. In practice, it's very, very difficult. Akin to herding cats, I believe. The impression material is quite attractive to little fingers and toes. They like to grasp the impression material, which makes for an impression that looks nothing like your adorable one-year-old's hand but rather like something from the X-Files.

We ended up "tricking" her. Mommy held her and played the "One Two Three!" game, whereupon we bounce on one and two, then drop suddenly on three. She likes the drop, and usually gives a good squeal or two. So while Daddy plied the impression material to get it all ready, Mommy bounced around the kitchen. When he had it ready to go, and positioned on the edge of the counter, I worked my way over with Zozo. One more "One Two Three!" and down we went. Daddy was ready, and he grabbed the unsuspecting hand, pressed it in and pulled it out before she could dig in. Success! Repeat as necessary to get the foot impression.

To be parents, you have to be sneaky. And vewy vewy quiet, to quote the wise Mr. Elmer Fudd.

Shots in the arm and the ego

Date Night was good. Dinner at Brio, then off to the St. Louis Art Fair. M was disappointed, as his two favorite artists were not in attendance, those being "The Rollercoaster Ball Guy" and "The Curvy Furniture Guy." I, however, got to see a few good photographers, two or three really great photographers, and a couple crappy ones. The other art media were well represented too, don't get me wrong, it's just that I tend to hone in on the photographic arts. We were home by a little after nine, and spent until midnight putzing around.

This morning we were up early to get a jump on the day. After feeding Zozo and ourselves, we all buckled in the car for a trip down to SoCo to pick up my prints. A few years ago I hung some prints in the tanning place where my mom rents a room to do her electrolysis, hoping to sell some. I sold two. Not a great return on investment, but whaddya gonna do? Lately I've been thinking about them, and decided that if the prints were going to hang somewhere and not make me any money, I'd rather them at least hang in my own home where we can enjoy them.

I think I had built up the excitement too much about getting them back, because I was quite disappointed when I saw them. Maybe it was coming on the heels of seeing those few really great photographers last night. Maybe it was that my taste in frames has changed since a few years ago when I mounted, matted and framed them (I now prefer thick, heavy black frames to standard silver gallery frames). Maybe it was that I feel that my work has evolved and changed, and that I feel capable of much more now. Maybe it's that I'm sick and tired of seeing all my old work, even though it's comforting to look at it and think, "That's not half bad!" Regardless of how I felt upon seeing them, it was good to retrieve it all, even if I do feel like I took a shot to the ol' ego.

Many thanks to Grammy for meeting us there and taking them all down for us. And for holding on to ZoeGirl while we packed the car. I know that last one was really a chore for ya!

After packing the car with boring art, we headed to Babies R Us to return a couple things, then to Dr. Flug's for Zozo's one-year check-up. She's doing quite well, despite the fact that she has no teeth and, so far at least, has developed an extreme dislike for her sippy cup. We're to up her caloric intake, which I find highly ironic since Mommy is currently desperately trying to lower her own.

Zozo received two shots in her little arm, during which she screamed like a banshee, but within a minute she was back to her old self, although a bit grumpy due to lack of morning naptime. Back home and down she went for a too-brief nap before lunchtime. Lunchtime consisted of spaghetti and whole milk, and then bits of cheese to the point where M asked if I was trying to fatten her up all in one day.

So, now, she's back down for her afternoon nap. M is out in the yard plugging away, which means he pulled a bunch of crappy-grass plugs out of the front yard, and zoysia grass plugs out of the back, and is switching them. He's such a good hubby, working so hard to make our home nice for us. Later this weekend we're going to the nursery to select shrubberies and other landscaping goodies to spruce up the front yard.

As I type, a crew from Laclede Gas is diligently working across the street to repair/replace our neighbor's gas line. There's big truck and two heavy equipment thingys that I'm pretty sure my nephew Joey could tell me the names of. All I know is that they're making a heck of a lot of noise and our whole house is rumbling. Easy boys, this place needs piering as it is.

One of the crew has been out wandering around our road, signaling when it's safe for cars to pass and when they have to stop for the backhoes or whatever they are to pull out of the yard. What cracked me up is that after 45 minutes of waving like a madman, he finally walked over to the truck and pulled out a hand-held stopsign to use.

I have such a craving to go over there with the D100 and ask if I can shoot, but they all have official-like hardhats on and they don't look like they're in the mood to be trifled with.

Besides, I hear The Bug making noise, which I do believe means she is not napping as she should. Plus, it's the 9th of the month, which means it's Bill Time. Not fun, but necessary so I might as well get it over with.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The power of photographs

Went to Great-Great-Great Aunt Helen's funeral last night. Lovely affair, considering there wasn't any peppy music playing.

The best thing about funerals, if there can be a best thing about a funeral, is when there are photographs posted everywhere of the deceased's life. I got to see photographs of Helen on her wedding day, and that's when it hit me, again, that there is so much to a person's life other than just what I see. Aunt Helen was beautiful on her wedding day. Just lovely. She looked so fresh and young and innocent. She was still smiling in the photographs from her later years, and you could still see the traces of her younger self in her older face, but there was wisdom in her eyes, and experiences and a life really lived. The photographs captured the growth at different points in her life, and it's amazing to see.

Nothing else can do that like a photograph. Not even video. Video is great, but it's moving...fleeting...transient.

A photograph captures a moment in time. One split second. A photograph stops time temporarily, and allows you to study the moment for as long as you want. One of the networks did a fantastic "slide show" a few years ago, maybe on the one year anniversary of going to war in Iraq. The anchor talked about how powerful a still photograph can be compared to video, which I thought was incredible given that his bread and butter is in the broadcast video industry. He showed a bit of footage, then he showed still images taken from the same time. The difference was amazing. Instead of the chaos on the video and too much to look at because it moved really fast, you got to see the anguish on the soldier's face, the tear tracks in the dirt on a child's face, the torn clothing and patched boots. It gave me chills.

So, I don't care how sophisticated we get with video and high definition and instantaneous broadcasting from around the world, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a powerful photographic image. Just check out James Nachtwey's site (it's over there in my links section to the right) to see some examples. (Nachtwey is The Man, just in case you were wondering. He is a photographic journalist god. I'd give my eye teeth to buy him drinks and listen to his stories.)

Last thing: want to send out a special thanks to Dad/Grandpa Z. for staying home from work to watch Zozo today so Mom/Grandma Z. can go to Helen's funeral. Thank you so much for being there for us, for Zozo and for Mom. Thanks too, to both of you, for watching Zozo last minute tonight for us, so we can have a good Date Night. We love and appreciate you!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My pants have seen better days

Today I'm wearing my favorite pair of black pants.

And it strikes me as funny that they are my favorite pair despite the fact that one hem is being held up by duct tape (on the inside, of course) and that the buttons and hooks used to secure the pants at my waist are dangling by threads so the pants are currently buttoned by a giant safety pin. Go ahead and laugh, but I'll tell you this: I'm a photographer, dammit, not a tailor!

Don't tell anyone about the duct tape and the safety pin, because you can't tell just by looking.

Celebrate life, don't mourn it

I'm really tired of funerals. Really. I'm tired of learning of the passing of loved ones and friends. I suppose I'm hitting the age where I will be learning of this more and more, and it sure does stink.

Tonight we are going to the funeral of M's great-great aunt. Zoe's great-great-great aunt. Beans is waiting to hear when her friend's body will be shipped home and when a memorial service will be scheduled. She has attended so many funerals and services in the last few months that she's got to be even more tired of them than I am. I can count five in my head; her friend's service will make six.

It makes me think of what I want in my own funeral. So I'm gonna lay it all out here so there are no questions. First of all, I want it cheap, cheap, cheap. I'm dead, so don't blow any more money on me. Cheap wooden box...let me return to the earth, please. No mausoleum. Those things creep me out. There's not gonna be much left of my body anyway, as I want as much of it donated as possible. It's a pretty good body, except for my eyes, which make me blind as a bat without glasses and which wouldn't serve anyone else very well, either.

Have lots of food. Good food, like toasted ravioli and really good chocolate. Good music, too. None of these funeral dirges. I definitely want the Beatles "Let It Be." That's about the slowest I'll go, though. The rest needs to be things like U2's "Vertigo" or B-52's "Love Shack." "Funky Town" is always a safe bet.

I don't want any tears at my funeral. I want people to tell funny stories about me, so that everyone laughs and has a good time. Like the time I ran out of gas b/c the idiot light in my car didn't come on. Or the insane story of my getting ready to have Zoe via c-section (it has to do with a foggy shower, a razor, a mirror, and very pregnant belly...just ask M).

I'd love to have lots of my images there. All the photographs that I've made over the years. Because I figure a.) that's a guaranteed way to get a show and b.) no one's gonna rip on a dead person's work, so it'll be a resounding success.

Yeah, that's about it. Just make sure it's a celebration of my life, not a mourning of my passing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

For Chris, who I didn't have the honor to meet

Yesterday my sister and her fiancee learned that one of their friends, one of their own, had been killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.

I don't know what to say to them, except:

I'm sorry.
I love you both.
I am here for you if you need anything.

So, everyone, please, take a moment and offer a prayer in his name. His name is Chris, and we owe him dearly, for he gave his life to protect our freedom.

Thank you, Chris, for making the ultimate sacrifice for me, my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends. For all Americans. May God bless you and keep you.

Putting it "out there"

Well, nothing new to report from the roadways of St. Louis this morning. Boring drive in to work...nothing sexually explicit or anything. I must admit I'm not too upset about that. I like to have a nice, calm, morning drive in without testicles or requests (no matter how polite) to show my mammary glands.

One of my dear friends reviewed my work from Grandma's house and had some very kind things to say about it. Which, of course, always makes me feel great. We are currently having an e-mail discussion about the merits of "putting your work out there," which I thought I was doing by posting on the blog but really is just the weenie version of "putting it out there" because "out there" on the blog actually only consists of people who love me or, at the worst, like me. It's a biased audience, so to speak. It's a safe bet that one of you all aren't going to send me a message telling me I suck, even when I do. Although I'm guessing that the deafening silence I'm hearing from my "audience" (other than my one friend) about the images from Grandma's house pretty much means that I do, indeed, suck.

Anyway, my friend, A, suggested that I really put it out there. Send it in to LensWork magazine for review and possible publication (if it ever got past the review stage), get it hanging in some little galleries or coffee houses around town, that sort of thing. I told her I'll die of mortification when it gets rejected, but she had other ideas. So, basically, I just want to send a shout-out to A and say thank you for supporting me, and for encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone, and to ask which print you would like to buy. Just kidding.

I was thinking about my photographer side this morning, and what I can do to inspire and motivate myself to shoot more. I'm very happy when I'm making images, so it would probably behoove me to shoot on a more regular basis. One of my standard go-to motivators is reading Edward Weston's Daybooks. Edward Weston, in case you don't know, was a very talented photographer from around the Ansel Adams time. In fact, they were very good friends (much like me and my friend A...two creatives who respect and admire each other's work, and who always have a good time when they finally manage to hook up). Edward, as I like to refer to him because I've read his Daybooks so much that I feel like I know him, was a highly emotional little man prone to extremes. Like me. Except for the man part. And the little part. Regardless, I think it's time to haul Daybooks off the shelf and have another read.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Laboring on Labor Day

Many apologies for there being no post yesterday. We spent Labor Day laboring...I cleaned the house and did laundry, and M helped clean the house and did some projects. It was a great day, and a good way to start the week. It's always nice to start a short work week with all the laundry clean, the house swept and mopped, sheets freshly laundered, litter boxes cleaned, trash taken out, and all of us squeaky clean. I'm sure by Saturday there will be tumblefur floating throughout the house again, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

So I was thinking about my blog this weekend, and how much I enjoy writing for it, and posting my images to it, and I was thinking about other blogs I read. There is one on that I check every so often, written by a stay-at-home mom of two boys. It's usually quite hilarious and many times thought-provoking. She writes that she is a "professional blogger." By professional I'm assuming that means she gets paid to post. Which is a sweet deal, and which makes me wonder how exactly does one get that deal. Because, really, even though the feedback I get from you all is wonderful and inspiring, it doesn't really translate to cold, hard cash. Moolah. Buckaroos. Dough. Which I could then parlay into new photo gear, clothes, shoes and jewelry. Oh yeah, and food for my child. Not necessarily in that order. So, if any of you know how I could get paid to do this, just let me know.

In keeping with my previous posts about things I see whilst driving on American roads, this morning I was behind a food service truck that supplies the "country's finest restaurants." It pulled into TGI Friday's lot, which of course completely negates the whole "country's finest restaurants" tag, but more than that, there was a message written in the dirt on the back door of the truck. "Show tits please." Which made me laugh, because whoever had written it has obviously been schooled in manners along with their depravity. Show tits please. Most pervs would simply write "show tits." I wonder, are there women out there who actually obey these commands?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Grandma's House

Here's my photographic take from Grandma's house. Perhaps these images mean something to me only because they are of Grandma's house and Grandma's belongings. Perhaps they are beautiful only to me because Grandma was beautiful to me. Perhaps if you didn't know Grandma, these images will mean nothing to you. Perhaps not.

This image was made in Grandma's bedroom. I was alone upstairs and passing through when the scene caught my eye. So simple and gentle and beautiful. Like Grandma. Just a bit of lace in a bureau drawer, with gorgeous light coming through the curtains. As is my style, I did not move anything to make this image, but just tried to capture exactly what I saw and felt.

Grandma's bookcase, with these old encyclopedias, was in her dining room.

Just outside the basement door, before you go up the steps to the backyard, you are standing under the end of the back porch. If you happen to look up while you're standing there, like I did, you'll find these boards mixed in with the other plain boards that make up the floor of the porch above you. They say "Ferguson Broadway Bus Lines...Ferguson 21 MO." Grandpa worked for Ferguson Broadway Bus Lines. And Grandpa built this house.

Do people still use chains on their doors? Or are we a deadbolt society now?

Grandma was fond of skeleton keys. This one hung downstairs.

My dad showed me how these skeleton keys hung on the hook on the bathroom door. He placed them there, and then chuckled as I made my image. I don't think he saw what I saw.
Until now.

This is actually the first image I made Saturday. I was sitting on the basement steps, listening to my loved ones laugh and joke as they went through old, forgotten belongings in the basement. The light was hitting the door just right, and I could see the texture of the old paint and the sturdy metal doorknob. And, as usual, I don't really know exactly what drove me to make the image, but that little voice in my head said, "You should shoot that." The little voice hasn't told me to do anything crazy yet, so I listen to it.

A hinge on one of the kitchen cabinets, which perhaps doesn't mean much to you, but does to me. You see, this hinge has probably been there for many, many years. It opens and closes, and maybe it squeaks now and then, but it gets the job done. We have a hinge on one of our kitchen cabinets that is much, much newer than this one, and that M has to repair about once every two weeks or so, when the screw falls out and the cabinet door falls off. So I appreciate a good, solid, strong hinge.

My Papa pointed this out to me, with a bit of reminiscing. "I forgot, we used to have our Cub Scout meetings down here." I like that I now know that my dad was a member of Den 8 Pack 364.

Handle on one of the kitchen windows.

Another chain. This one goes with the basement door knob from up above.

Grandma's kitchen ceiling always intrigued me. I liked the funky, modern/retro design of the wood. I liked the texture and the shadows it created. I figured Grandma and Grandpa had style. Dad told me it was to keep the ceiling from caving in.

This, in my opinion, was the best piece of furniture in Grandma's whole house. It's a funky chair with awesome celedon green upholstery. It's got no arms, but it's comfortable as heck. It didn't go with any of Grandma's other furniture. Amy Dawn talked about taking it. I hope she did.

What is Smile's Prid Salve, anyway?

In all the years of visiting Grandma, I never noticed this adorable hook. It hangs on the door between Grandma's bedroom and the one bathroom in the house. The other door to the bathroom is off the kitchen. Always freaked me out to have two doors going into that bathroom. I lived in fear that I'd forget to lock one and someone would come busting through while I was doing my business.

Another doorknob and lock that takes one of the skeleton keys shown above.

When M and I moved into our current house, we went around and removed all the light switch plates, replacing them all with extra-large (to cover the paint globs from the folks before us) white plastic covers. We love the clean look and how they all match. Grandma's didn't match at all (see this image and the next two), but they sure are fun to look at.
These dolls were in a box of items in the middle bedroom. I'm not sure where they are going, but they caught my eye.

Ah, the old wardrobe in the basement that held Uncle Tony's stuff for many years. There was talk of trying to take it, but apparently the only way to get it out, according to the family, is to dismantle the darn thing and haul it out piece by piece. Which makes me wonder how, exactly, it got down there in the first place.

A note on the images: I converted all these images to black and white, and then tinted them with a sepia tone, except for two. The scene from Grandma's bedroom and the boards under the back porch both were more powerful in color, I thought. The sepia tone on the rest is meant to convey the old-world/timeless feeling I got when making these images. I think they just work better that way.

2/3 of our 3-Day Weekend

It's been a very busy couple of days. Friday night we went to the ballgame, where we saw "lights out" Carpenter pitch, me for the first time this season. Holy cow. It was the shortest game I've ever been to, which was good except that I'd have loved to have stayed all night and watched Carp. He was on fire. It was a beautiful night, and Date Night to boot, and we had fun.

Saturday we went to Grandma G's house for the last time. It was under the pretense of finishing cleaning out the house, but was really more of an excuse for all of us to get together. There was lots of laughter throughout the day, especially when a group got together downstairs to go through what was left. The only real treasure I saw was Uncle Tony's Iron Maiden poster from eons ago, but I think there was something for everyone. A few of us stayed outside and enjoyed the weather, wisely choosing not to partake in "Shitfest 2006." Uncle Tony did find another old camera for me, which was way cool.

Many, many thanks to everyone for the birthday gifts for Zoe. We love them...and you!

I took the time to not find anything else to bring into my home, considering we just went through our own pile 'o crap in our basement and got it all cleaned out, and instead wandered Grandma's house looking at everything through my photographer's eye. As usual, a place that I know well becomes completely different when viewed through my lens. It becomes even more beautiful, and even more loved. I got some good stuff, I think, but of course that remains to be seen by you lovely critics. I'll start working on it tonight and see if I can't get something posted by the end of the long weekend.

Note to everyone who gave me Schiller's gift cards for my birthday: you all rock. I used them to purchase a flash, and man is it the coolest thing ever. Well, it's the coolest thing since my kick-butt tripod from last year. This flash is so sweet. I was able to get shots yesterday that I wouldn't have sans flash. Whole new worlds are open to me now. Wondered why I waited so long and then I gear is expensive. So, anyway, thanks to ya'all for funding the AZ Poor Photographer's Fund. It's much appreciated!

Today was another Cardinals ballgame, and this time we took the family's littlest Cards fan. It was Run the Bases Day again, and it was Mommy's turn. I'd just like to say that I think I run pretty decently for a girl, even though I'm a little top heavy, but when you're trying to canter along with an extra 20 pounds gripping one side of you it's a bit more difficult. It was well worth it, though, and I had a blast. I hope Zozo did too, even though she's already forgotten it. We do have photographs of the event, though, thanks to M, and even a video, thanks to Grandpa Z. Anyway, Zoe was a doll for the whole game, as usual. I think she's a natural-born Cards fan, which is only logical considering how nuts her father, grandfather, and late great-grandfather are/were for the team.

So that's how our weekend is going so far. We've scheduled absolutely nothing for tomorrow, hoping to actually get something done around here. M has a project list a mile long, and yours truly desperately needs to vacuum the house, if nothing else. Laundry would be a good thing, too. And, of course, a little Photoshopping and printing. Ahhh, heaven!