Friday, January 29, 2010

Over the Hills and Through the Woods, to Kallay's Place We Go

Happy Champagne Friday!!

To celebrate, Salt and I have whipped up a little guest post for Kallay while she's doing all things wedding-related in Oregon. You're should NOT miss this....after all, Salt has PhotoShop...that's all I'm saying.

Dearest Kallay,
We hope you're having fun. Please don't kills us. You did grant us access to your WordPress and Facebook accounts so...really, you had it comin'. Smooches!
Love,
Ally

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life as We Know It - Brought to You by Kiera @ Imperfect Daisies

Dear Readers,

Give Kiera some love. She's bustin up this joint with tales of early 20's gone astray. Also? She just compared me to the little baby Jesus. Neal has proclaimed that I'm already impossible to live with...this will only escalate the situation. I can dig it, though. So, check out Kiera's post and then run straight over to Imperfect Daisies and follow her. She sometimes blogs about the *joys* of P90X AND she posts everything she eats on Binge Thursdays. What could be butter?....er...better? And I'm over there today, beating some sense into her hubs, Mr. Incredible. Apparently, he needs to be coerced to read her blog. Bleh! Men! (Oh wait, I don't real Neal's blog...hmm...but really....too many Mhz and KB for me. If he wrote about pink Uggs and cardamom cupcakes, I'd be all over that...like a shark on an open wound.) Enjoy!!

~A



To preface: I do not want to be that person who starts his or her ‘speech’ saying, “while sitting down, thinking of what to say...” or, “commencement: the act (pause, look up) or instance (pause, look around) of commencing (purse lips, nod head); (clench fist) beginning.”

......

So here I am, up against (no, I know, blogging with) Allyson. Allyson of Magnolias and Mimosas. Seriously? Seriously. Imperfect Daisies. Think about these two titles. Imperfect- not perfect. Daisies- that flower that everyone knows and there about one million varieties of. Now think of this one: Magnolias (honestly when I think of Magnolias I think of Steel Magnolias) are those beautiful, wonderful, anxiety ridding flowers. And we all know what Mimosas are, hmm? aka wake.up.and.drink. (lemme hear a helllllls yea...)


In a nutshell I’m like the drummer boy with no gifts to bear to baby Jesus. Allyson= baby Jesus.


However, I do see a speck of light in the tunnel. Since, as you, Dear Readers of M&M do not know, this week is Incredible Week over at my virtual place. Which means this week is dedicated solely to football, sports, beer, and football. And beer. Incredible? I think not! The truly Incredible part? I get to blog all of my imperfections on M&M today! (Rundown: trying to get my husband (Mr. Incredible) to read my blog. He only reads things that contain the aforementioned. His number one reason for not reading my blog: “it’s not funny because I live it.” ...I thought that’s why it is funny.)


The imperfection that I’ll be shamelessly happy to share with you today is my unpredictability. I am about as unpredictable as a tv with antennas. “It’s raining? It’s RAINING?” shut down. nap. “oh no you didn’t step in that corner of the room.” static.


And so the story goes.


In college, I partied. I partied like it was Nineteen Ninety Nine, baby. There are so many stories and so much blog space, but I won’t be that shameless ... Okay yes I will. Stats: I held a record at a frat for the longest keg stand; I’ve never been beaten in a chugging contest, including a football teams worth of chug; more than once I’ve fallen asleep in a bar to wake up and go to class in the morning; I may or may not have punched a few of my friends’ boyfriends; and Allyson, to answer your non existent question, I did wear a (pink mini) skirt to my 21st birthday party (fattest years of my life)(actually I think it was my 19th birthday, but I sure did act like it was my 21st). Oh, the glory days. So party hop 2 years ahead:


i’m pregnant. I’m Pregnant. I’M PREGNANT. !! I’m Pregnant! I’M TWENTY! I’m Twenty. i’m twenty. But I fell crazy. in. love. with this baby. (And was already in love with Mr. Incredible.) When I mean crazy, I mean crazy. I went crazy. I stopped talking to all my friends, suddenly went uncharacteristically holy, and stopped listening to music. No correlation. There was one time (20 times) I became fuming mad that Mr Incredible went out for drinks. I think I turned Amish for 10-18 months. I was equally as nuts after the baby was born. When she was approximately five days old I was sure she was crying because she was scared. I called her a newborn until she was ten months. True story.


Thank God Mr Incredible is more like Verizon Fios. Stuck with me through the storm. The flood.


Two more babies in and a few peaks on the graph, I’m finally evening out. I’m learning to deal with what’s thrown at me much better. I’m now more like the Weather Channel as opposed to licking your thumb and sticking it in the air.


Thank you to Allyson for having me on your blog today! What an honor.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Housekeeping!

Don't you sometimes wish you could do blog accents? Like French or British or Italian?? I'd be all over that right now.

So...we do have a winner. And shame, shame on me...it came in very early yesterday, but I was having so much fun reading your guesses that I'm just now calling Uncle.

And the winner is....Salt from Salt Says! What alarms me is that I'm pretty sure she was not born anywhere close to the 1960's. In fact, I'm almost positive I've got at least 5 years on her...and yet...she totally got it. So, how she remembers this and I don't is puzzling. I blame marijuana. Or maybe that one time Taco Bell tried to kill me via a chalupa. At any rate, congratulations, Salt...it was the Nik-L-Nips...which sounds so much like nipple lips to me that I'm surprised it ever made it past the test marketing. Maybe Mama Virgo, AKA Mama Psychologist, was trying to protect me from years of Mommy Issues...issues that my husband may or may not possess.

More of a visual person? Here ya go:

My only question is where's purple? You're going to tell me that blue became a flavor before purple (which can legitimately be classified as grape)? Hmm..I'll take Flav R Ice (which is apparently the same as Otter Pops on the west coast...thank you, Surferwife) over this concoction anytime.

I swear they're called Flav R Ice in the south....

So, honorable mentions go to DG @ Diary of a Mad Bathroom, Queenie Jeannie @ Jeannie's Happy World, and Debbie @ Suburb Sanity, who agreed with Salt. I'm sure if you're super-nice and tell her how pretty her wedding hair is, she'll share the accolades (which basically come in the form of Atta Girl...You so smart. Which is decidedly better than You're so pretty...).

Next item on the agenda: Thursday and Friday.
Tomorrow's Magnolias and Mimosas post will be brought to you by Kiera @ Imperfect Daisies. We call this a blog swap...sort of like a wife swap but without all of the cursing and poopy diapers. She will post to my blog and I will post to her's. It's a guaranteed good time because nothing is more fun than crashing someone else's house and drinking all their beer. Plus, Kiera makes me giggle.

On Friday, we will have a black-out on Magnolias and Mimosas to urge all readers to join us on Kallay's blog, Kallaydoscope...where Salt and I are crashing while Kallay is fighting off the hippies and the fir trees in Oregon. I'll put up a reminder on Friday morning, but that's all. Because seriously, you will have to check it out. Kallay granted me access to her Facebook page before she left. She probably should not have done that. Just sayin'....

And next week, I will have to post something about how my mom keeps offering up blog topics. Does it really suck so bad around here that I need suggestions on what to write about? And she wants me to know that it's not for all intensive purposes, it's for all intents and purposes. I don't actually think I was born with a Type A personality, I think it was groomed in me. While I'm at it, perhaps I should mention that I lay on the bed while drinking they're beer and could care less. How's THAT for abuse of the English language? Thanks, Mama Virgo.

Back to our regularly scheduled program on Monday. Until then, enjoy the swinging!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Like That One Thing...

Photo credit: www.xanafan.com

Sometimes living with Neal is like playing a perpetual game of $10,000 Pyramid.

Neal: What was that one restaurant we went to?
Me: Can you be more specific?
Neal: The one in Chicago.
Me: Again, we've eaten at fine dining establishments all over that city...I'm going to need more.
Neal: Really loud.,.
Me: Uh-huh...and?
Neal: Wine.
Me: Quartino's?
Neal: That's it.

or....

Neal: What was the name of that play we saw that they made into a movie?
Me: Um...well, we've seen a lot of plays.
Neal: We saw the play first and then the movie...
Me: The Vampire Lestat?
Neal: No...
Me: Phantom of the Opera?
Neal: No...There were jail bars...
Me: Chicago.
Neal: That's it.

or....

Me: I found a picture today of you at a concert. What concert was it?
Neal: Hmm...I don't know. Where was I?
Me: I don't know. In some non-descript hallway of an auditorium.
Neal: Not sure.
Me: Have you really been to so many concerts in your life that you can't narrow it down and decide on one?
Neal: No...I just can't remember them all.
Me: Well, you had Gary and Deb with you.
Neal: Hmm...yeah...no clue.

And for the record, when I "need" the answer to something, that's when he plays the "no clue" card. When I ask him about why England's Parliament is so rowdy, that's when he tosses 17 different ideas into the ring, silently hoping I will believe one. This happens a lot. (Tomorrow, I'll tell you about how I learned of the origin of honey. Last night. In bed. While watching Keith Olbermann...who, I admit, is a left-wing wackjob, but I didn't learn it from Keith so it's OK).

Well, now I'm asking nicely for your help. If you don't know, it's quite OK to say "I don't know." And even if you don't know and throw 17 theories at me, hoping one will stick, that's OK, too. But I'm a child of the 80's...I grew up on Kool-Aid and Fraggle Rock and kulats. I honestly have no idea what Neal is referring to and while I'm sure this conversation has slid right out the back door of his brain, it's vexing me. And do you know what you get when you Google "liquid in a pouch?" Well, nothing you can show your Mama, that's for sure. So, here's how it all went down...

Setting: Watching TV as we're getting ready for bed. Some commercial about children's medicine in a to-go packet initiates the whole discussion.

Neal: Huh. It's like those little packets of liquid they used to have.
Me: What little packets?
Neal: Y'know...liquid...in a packet...you'd open it up and suck the liquid out....
Me: Capri Suns?
Neal: No...
Me: Flav R Ice?
Neal: No...y'know...liquid in a packet...
Tip of the day: if you are trying to describe something to someone in hopes of remembering the name, you should use more than just the same 2 words over and over again.

So...I ask you all...what liquid in a packet? Neal was born in the late 60's so I'm assuming it was something very popular in the mid-70's. If you answer correctly, I promise not to automatically assume that you, too, were born in the late 60's. Or earlier. I will simply guess that you have mastered keyword searches. Because as everyone knows, we are all 25.

Rock the Truth

It is said that a blog (and a Facebook profile, and a Twitter account) are all just variations on an ego...that it is a one-way conversation meant to put your impressions onto the world without the inconvenience of argument. I don't see it that way. I see blogging as a way to open the door between personalities, opinions, and cultures. If I express a belief or an assumption that my readers disagree with, I not only hope but actually expect them to speak up...to challenge me and the reason behind it. How can we ever presume to have an open dialogue about the matters of our world (or even the matters of our households) if we don't encourage a two-way communication? And that is why my comments forum is always open. It is your opportunity to express your agreement, disagreement or even pure disgust with what I have written. Although I was the most sensitive child, being married to Neal has taught me that it's not personal. It's NOT personal. It's an honest conversation between adults. And honesty is like trust...without it, we are only 2 (or 10 or 500) people existing in the same space, sharing oxygen, and plotting our next manipulation. That is not my world, even if my world sounds to some like a utopia of sorts. I have also been called naive and gullible (sometimes in the same sentence, which makes me want to buy that a person a thesaurus). I believe in the truth. I don't want to waste my time convincing someone to deliver it (which is probably why I never pursued that dream of FBI interrogator), nor do I want someone to sacrifice it just to appease me.

It is also often said that like attracts like. Massage school was rife this with mantra. Afraid you're going to book a client who doubles as a child molester? Well, are you a child molester? Like attracts like. What if you are booked with a murderer? Are you a murderer? Like attracts like. OK...those are extreme examples and I'm not so sure that murder actually ever came up in the clinic, but it was emphasized that our practice will cosmically draw clients that are most like us, fundamentally. I believe the same to be true about blogging. I follow blogs because the writers and I share the same sense of wit, irony, and truth. In all but 2 cases, I have never met any of these bloggers, face-to-face, but we are bonded by stories about husbands, children, parents, in-laws, and experiences in our daily lives. Could we all be professional fiction authors with plots and character structures scribbled out on napkins stashed our keyboards, just waiting for the next "chapter" in our blogs? Sure. But that could also be the case for your neighbor or your uncle. Chance are, we are writing from what we know...the daily life in its truest form.

I posted Mandi's story on Saturday because I believe in her. No, I've never met her. Yes, she lives in what I consider to be the Frozen Arctic and the only way I would ever visit is in July. But she has been courageous enough to ask for help during an age of suspicion and apprehension. That takes fortitude and, what I believe to be, the guiding hand of God. Do I know with absolute certainty that my money is going to a woman in Minnesota to buy a plane ticket to travel to Haiti and provide medical care to earthquake victims? No, I don't. And I won't until she returns with photos...but even those can be photoshopped to show her holding Haitian babies in a devastated city. What I do know is that is a dreadful life to lead, to question everyone's motives and honesty. My life is full of choices and I choose not to assume guilt until proven innocent.

And a word about the telethon. As Brooke has so accurately stated, the Hope for Haiti Now telethon was a wild success...and I'm glad for it. I maintain that celebrities have an obligation to use their status to improve the lives of others, whenever they can. Is it fair? No. They are merely doing a job that, unfortunately, comes with a set of principles and expectations. We would not expect a construction worker to lobby for better pay in the nursing field. But we all must do what we think is right, even if it does not always seem fair. And it was very, very right for the world's most famous stars to shuffle schedules and cancel appearances to bring hope to Haiti now. I just can't give them my money. But I'm ecstatic that millions of other people did. It is my desire to help someone in the most direct manner I know how and that is why I support Mandi with my blog and finances.

I can only say that I speak of this firsthand, as I was a volunteer after Hurricane Katrina. Working for the YMCA at the time, I was looking for any way to help, physically. Donating money was difficult for me because for all intensive purposes, I was living paycheck to paycheck. But I knew that if I could just get there, I could make a difference. The hurricane struck in September and in November I got a call to go with a team of 12 (from 7 states and 2 countries!). The camera crews were long gone but the devastation and the demoralization remained. We worked mainly in Long Beach and Gulfport, Mississippi...what was considered "the eye of the storm." Tent cities littered the neighborhoods and meals were planned because restaurants only opened when they had staff to work. I could write a whole series of posts on what we did, the survivors, and the work that continues...but what I know now is that I made a difference...one child, one adult, one survivor at a time. But I had to get there first.

I want to thank you all for your honesty, your comments and above all your time. I hate sticking to a 500-word maximum (obviously) because I love adjectives and description like a lemon-frosted Twinkie. I ask that you keep it comin', keep it real, and don't ever be afraid to offend (unless of course you start dissin' on my jewelry and then I'll have to take you to the gun show). You guys make this fun and that is the most I can ever ask.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

From Here to Haiti

I know that you are all in the prime of your lives and would consider a Friday night at home to be the 12 dimension of Hell. BUT...if you were home last night, you would know that the stars united and aligned (which is something that never happens in Hollywood) to bring Hope for Haiti, a telethon complete with singing and....OK, to be quite honest, I didn't watch it so I don't know what else. That's right, I found the one channel of 219 channels that did not show the telethon.

Dear HGTV,
I heart you and your House Hunters (not to be confused with Ghost Hunters which is just a waste of time and intelligence) programming, even if you did air re-runs and I knew exactly who chose which house the whole time. It was still better than seeing Justin Timberlake in a vest.
Grazie,
The Miller Household

I know, I know...I should be grateful that LA is joining together in a moment of peace and solidarity to show and raise support for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. What I do not appreciate is the fact that sometime (maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow...but soon) they will return to their Hollywood lives, complete with 12 elite cars, 11 hair stylists, 10 maids a-milkin'...well, you get the idea and forget about those who are suffering. Except for maybe Brangelina because they do seem to have a genuine passion for those in need. (How Angelina ever ended up with Billy Bob Thornton is completely beyond my realm of logic). I know that in 2 months, the TV cameras will be gone and the celebrities will have moved on to the next world crisis in hopes of boosting record and movie sales. And the Haitians will still be wandering through rubble, abandoning the only home most have ever known, and battling violence because when our military leaves, it will disintegrate into survival of the fittest (or the ones with the most fire power). So, sorry Hollywood...I just can't back your Me-a-thon with my time or my checkbook. But I can back someone who truly makes a difference.


Enter: Mandi @ Mandi Speaks. Full disclosure: I am a relatively recent follower of Mandi's blog so I don't know all the details, but I consider myself to be a pretty good judge of character (OK Mom, ex-fiance #2 was a big mistake...I blame the pot). Mandi is a registered nurse who worked in Haiti some years ago, but then life happened, as it tends to do. She married, she had kids, she couldn't return. Until now. She has been given an opportunity to return to Haiti as an RN and provide what they need most...medical care. I want to go with her...I want to stow away in her Samsonite and nibble on Ritz crackers until we land. And then I want to gather up the first dozen children I see and bring them home with me. But I can't. We will have to go through all of the appropriate channels and waiting periods to realize that dream. I can, however, help send Mandi to Haiti. She's asking for donations for the plane ticket. As I type this, she's raised $163 of her $1000 plane ticket. Any donations above or beyond that will go directly to Heartline Ministry's Haiti Relief Fund (if you click on that link, you will see that their biggest needs right now are prayers, funding, and medical staff). She will not use any of this money for her own personal use, aside from her plane ticket.

I don't discourage texting donations to Red Cross or the IRC, I'm merely saying that sometimes you don't know where that money is going. You're sending it and hoping that an accountant is not fudging the books and a PR person is not using it for fundraising. You give it to help the people in their dire situation. This is a chance to make a direct impact. It can't get any more direct than helping to send someone to Haiti to put hands and heart to work. It's like going to the farm and picking the strawberries. And who doesn't love that??

I urge you to pop over to Mandi's blog because in all of her infinite wisdom, she has written a post explaining just who she is, spelling it all out much better than I ever could. To the right is a widget that connects to Paypal, where you can donate securely. If you have time, please scroll down to her next post where she confirms her plans to go to Haiti and asks for your help. I know that many of us have already given toward this disaster....but if you have anything left perhaps you will consider Mandi's mission.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We're on day 6 of rain with at least 2 or 10 more to go. It's dreary and soggy, but we're warm and dry with a pantry overflowing with food and no one pointing guns at us to take it. Could we be any more blessed?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All For You, Blissed-Out Grandma

Because she called me out and said that if I didn't post the photo, then it was a major violation of the rules. Here's the picture:




And here's the post: Match Point, Neal. I hope you're so blissed out that your eyes are rolling into the back of your head...if they aren't blinded by such a brilliant flash of the 90's.

Also?? Jeeves McArthur and I really are friends, but those are fists clenched in rage. He must have forgotten the corsage. And when's the last time you saw a magenta candlestick coupled with a Paul Sawyer print? Only in the 90's. Awesome like an angioplasty.

Open Letter to an Industry of Douchebags

Dear Reader,
You should know that I've been brewing about this for over 2 weeks. I have a lot to say on the matter. Grab a cup of coffee or a shot of Buttery Nipple and stay awhile.
Love,
Foaming at the Mouth

Dear President/Owner/Head Money-Hungry Whore of Gold's Gym (AKA Urban Active, AKA Everything-That-Is-Wrong-With-America),

Let me first say that this is partially my fault. There is a whole tribe of folk who do not need or want a gym membership. Their cabinets are overflowing with kickboxing, Yoga, and dance DVD's...their Wii-Fit exists in a perpetual state of "ready"...they are not distracted by a sink of dirty dishes and cat puke on the rug. They can exercise at home. Successfully. I am not one of those people. I need the membership card, the perky tween wishing me a very happy workout (which, coincidentally I've never had...except when I fell asleep in Yoga), and the smell of sweat mixed with the smell of chlorine mixed with the smell of naked old lady buttcrack. I need this. We are limited to basically 5 gyms here in Bluegrass Country. I have been fired from 2...so that brings us to 3 (tip of the day: if you spread malicious rumors about the new management while trying to convince the new management that you deserve a pay raise, you will inevitably be fired).

I had all of the flashing red signs I needed when I toured your facility the first time, in 2003...when you were called Gold's Gym. I had just returned to UK to finish my degree in Kinesiology (and yes, you should make all of your staff Google that term before their 1st day on the job. I do not work with dead people....if you knew your Latin, you would see the root word, kinesis which has nothing to do with post mortem). While touring the cardio theater, the sales guy asked me what I was studying at UK. I told him and mentioned that I was hoping to sit for the ACSM exam after graduation...at which point he waved his hand and muttered, "I don't know what all of those letters stand for." I would like Only the Most Recognized Certification for Personal Trainers for $600, please Alex. But hey, I'm sure he was hired because he could sell sand to Saudi Arabia. Fair enough...it's a business. Although knowing the basics would be refreshing. We didn't join the gym specifically because he thought I taught the alphabet to dead people....but that was only after we were locked (yes, friends locked) in his office for over an hour while he did everything short of knocking us unconscious and forging our names on checks made out to Gold's. I should have known. That's a giant clue, isn't it?

Do you know what's an even bigger clue? When the gym changes names. Red flashing sign. With strippers on either side (but not beautiful-look-once-and-then-look-away strippers...these would be Sideshow Bob strippers with 7 fingers and all possible genitalia).

And yet, when BFF Crazy Sue asked me to join with her while Neal was off fighting for our freedom...I said yes. I went into it knowing that Urban Active was formerly Gold's Gym. Except that they had classed up the joint a bit with customized Pilates training and a boutique featuring Ed Hardy-esque wife beaters. Deep inside the memory muscle of my brain, (reserved for fights had with Neal and all of the ways big business has wronged me) I remembered that you were number crunching, customer service munching sons of whores and...I said yes anyway. I blame the war and the ensuing loneliness that comes with working out alone.

Well, Neal came home and proceeded to grumble (although less frequently at first) about the extra 20 minute drive to your nearest location. Your Palomar center is nestled nicely between Panera and my bank so it was never an issue for me. But for Neal, who has a narrow window of time in which to work out, it was a hassle. His answer? Just skip it. My Army Strong husband was softening in all the places he used to ripple and we were now donating to your establishment. Fortunately for us, Snap Fitness is literally 2 miles from our house. No pool, no track, no customized Pilates training...but they do have treadmills, strength training machines, and we could walk to it...in our sleep. Plus, they were waiving enrollment fees at the end of December and the one thing we don't pay is enrollment fees. Ever. Eventually you'll get desperate enough and waive them. We'll wait.

So, we decided to cancel our memberships with your fine (yet fairly dirty) fitness center right after Christmas. We brought in our membership cards and spoke with the well-mannered, customer service-oriented, 20-something* working the front desk. She gave me the appropriate paperwork to fill out, informed us that it would cost us an additional $10 in processing fees to cancel and that we would owe until the first of February (because y'know, there's a 30-day processing period. Kids, I managed a gym. I know that it does not take 30 days to process my cancellation. It's not being shipped to Bombay, it's being walked to the office in the back of the gym. But somehow, over time, this has become an industry standard. I tried to explain it to Neal. All I got were eye rolls and explicatives). Fine.

Although...this was not really fine because when I joined, the sales guy (read: piranha in a golf shirt) convinced me to pay my last month's dues up front. He explained that when I was ready to cancel, I just did so without paying any more money. I had never heard of this tactic. It was like Urban Active was doing me a favor (First name: Easy, Last name: Target). So, I wrote a big fat check with a smile on my face. I was being screwed and I was smiling about it.

We left the gym, went home, and were preparing for our marathon trip to the Windy City when 20-something called my cell phone to say that she actually needed paperwork on both of us. One form = one membership. I listened to the voice mail and made a mental note to stop by when we returned from the North Pole.

At my next opportunity, I headed over to finish the paperwork (did I mention this place is not really convenient?). 20-something remembered me (probably as Neal's nicer half...he gave her a lot of eye rolls, too) and handed me the form. I filled it out, handed it back to her and asked her about the billing for February. And then it all went to Hell. It went a lot like this:

Me: So, our last billing cycle will be in February, correct?
20-s: Let me take a look (clickety-click-click...think of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents as he's trying to get a flight, any flight, away from Robert De Niro). Oh here it is...your husband's last payment will be February 15th, yours will be March 1st.
Me (the sound of the abacus adding up payments in increments of $50): Wait, what? Why won't mine be February 1st? They were supposed to be canceled at the same time.
20-s: But you just now filled out the paperwork for yours.
Me: Yes...but our intention was to cancel both of our memberships. Both of our names were on the first form.
20-s: You didn't say you wanted to cancel both memberships.
Me: Both of our names were on the form. What else could that possibly mean?? (At this point, I'm dangerously close to losing all of my cool. But I've been the 20-something front desk staff enough to know there's nothing she can do about it). That's fine. Can I speak to your manager?
20-s: Sure. Just a sec.

Manager: Can I help you?
OK...when I say that this 20-something was the front desk staff just last week, I'm not doing so for dramatic effect. She was just last week folding towels and checking people in and cleaning toilets. I am all for the hands-on managerial style...but she was NOT a manager last week.

I explained my dilemma...that, while unfortunate, this was not my error and that I didn't feel it was offering good customer service to make me pay for their mistake.
Manager: Well, she called to tell you that we needed another form, right?
Me: Yes, but we were headed out of town.
Manager: I'm sorry, but we did everything in our power to let you know that you needed to fill out another form. You'll be charged for March.
Me: I don't understand why you can't backdate this form to match the other.
Manager: We just can't.
Me: This is not my fault (now using my outdoor voice because that's what being shafted out of $50 will do to a girl).
Manager: Well, this is not our fault either. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding.
Me: No, misunderstanding would imply that you are not intentionally screwing people out of money to pay for this Hell-hole. This is just fraud.
Manager: Hmm....
Yeah, you ponder on that one while I plot my revenge and possibly the destruction of every pane of glass in this joint.
Me: Let me speak to whoever is above you.
Manager: There isn't anyone above me.
Me: I think I may have chortled or at least slipped a snort here. YOU'RE it?
Manager: Yes.
Me: Well, that explains a LOT. I think this is disgusting customer service and I'm putting it on my blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter profile.
Manager: OK! Have a great day.
Not wanting to spend another night in jail, I restrained myself from lunging at her with the sole purpose of wrapping my jagged claws around her esophagus and strangling the life out of this snotty, arrogant, entitled little bitch. But it did cross my mind.

And that is why, Gold's Gym AKA Urban Active AKA Whatever-You-Have-to-Change-Your-Name-to-Next-Because-We-Are-On-To-You-Like-Pantyhose-On-Hoover, you will never see our bank account again. Will this rage-fueled post read by all 30 people make a difference in your bottom line? No. People need a gym membership in January like they need 7 loaves of bread before an ice storm. I know this has David and Goliath written all over it...but you need to know that these are not the principles that a good business are built upon. Screwing the customer will only work so long before Karma raises its ugly, pimply face and bites you on the bottom line. I hope I get to see it.

Sincerely,
An opinionated housewife with a big mouth and access to the internet

*
My apologies to most other 20-somethings. I know that you are not all worker bees in the hive of the devil.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allen Poe (which was actually yesterday but I am incapable of gathering news from any source other than CNN and they just reported it 5 minutes ago).
Dear Ted Turner,
You look a little bit like my high school Psychology teacher, who I'm convinced was a pedophile, but you have created an excellent "news" station...even if it's not "fair and balanced"...
Love,
A Fan Who Wonders Just How Much Brylcream Y'all Use Every Sunday for John King's Hair

(The pennies are symbolic of the "Penny Campaign" that area schoolchildren created to raise funds for a proper headstone for Mr. Poe. The ravens and the beating heart under the floorboards told them to do it). Credit for photo: goes 100% to me. Been there, done that.

And because Kelly @ Dare to Be Domestic (yes, I double-dog dare you) is en el fuego with organizing lately, I thought I would prod her (read: blatantly brag about my own Virgo-inspired closet). No, I did not color-coordinate for the sake of the picture...this is my life on a daily basis. Yes, all of my spices face the same direction and my clothes are hung according to sleeve-length and formality. And no, I will not come do the same for you. I thought about becoming a professional organizer for about 7 minutes...until I googled professional organizer and began clicking through their photo galleries of before and after. The before gave me drowning-in-a-sea-of-doll-parts-nightmares and the after humbled my Wonder Organizer cockiness. I have no desire to force emotionally unstable people to choose between a phone book from 1976 and the chipped candlestick their grandmother found at a yard sale a week before her death....although to me, the choice is obvious. When I walk into a living room that resembles most people's basements in the number of cardboard boxes and overflowing trash bags sitting around, I don't want to divide and conquer...I want to throw up in the hosital-grade, folding toilet stashed in the corner and bolt out through the nearest clear exit. Certainly, professional organizer is not my calling. But hats (and hospital-grade latex gloves) off to the men and women who do it. My own house, on the other hand, is a museum of drawer bins, labeled Rubbermaid containers, and fully adjustable shelving units...as evidenced by this:
I blame my mother. And pretty much anyone born in the month of September. So, there you go, Kelly...grab that 3-box system (trash, fix, keep) and make that house your bitch! We are all so proud *tear* of your dedication to eliminating the chaos and finding your favorite pair of jeans in less than 20 minutes. It's a whole new world...

That wasn't exactly wordless, was it? Oh well...rules were made to be broken. Or just ignored altogether. Stand by (yes, Wolf Blitzer is my non-sexual, made-for-TV crush) for tomorrow's account of how I almost punched the gym manager (read: 23-year old hired because they didn't want to pay real money for someone with any real authority) in the neck.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Klassy Like a Buick

Sometime after New Year's, Salt posted a picture of her at a party, swiggin' "champagne" from a brown paper bag. Personally, I think the shape and size of that bag had Olde English written all over it...but I'm not a hater so we'll just let it go. I then promised pictures from our wedding night where I was caught doing the same thing, sans bag. To give you a little bit of background...the only ones left standing at this point were me, bestie Queen Elizabeth, RJ, and Neal. Everyone else had crashed out in their respective rooms (or bathrooms, in the case of one couple). Note to self: the next time I get married, do not provide a "wedding house" that sleeps 16...makes it way too easy for people to cash out and crash out before the party even gets started (although in their defense, we had been going since 8 AM. But whatevs...we should have been running naked down the beach and doing the macarena in the ocean). So, Queen E and I were dancing to Tone-Loc on the pool deck, guzzling moscato (which is basically sugar-flavored champagne that will make you feel like death eating a cracker the next day), RJ was lighting firecrackers and Neal was capturing it all on film. So, here ya go, Salt...and anyone else who wants to see me at my klassiest (m'kay...maybe not my klassiest...that would be my 21st birthday and if Queen Elizabeth ever releases those photos there will be retribution and public humiliation. Just remember boys and girls: do not wear a skirt to your 21st birthday party, no matter how cute it is).

At the time, it seems like such a great idea. And then you wake to find your head has exploded right off your body.

You may ask, "what is the most indisputable sign that you've had too much to drink?" When you look like this, my friends. It takes that much concentration to dance (wave yo hands in da air) and drink at the same time. And it's a pretty good indication that you'll be having either White Castle for 4th meal or Sonic for breakfast.

But why drink when you can play with fire? RJ toasts us with a sparkler.

So...there you have it..my wedding in 3 pictures and 400 words or less. Now time to get to work because Champagne Friday will be here before you know it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Match Point, Neal

I will be the first to admit that I'm a lot of things, but observant is not one of them. When Christmas rolls around, Neal doesn't have to bury jewelry in his jockstrap or tape a gift card to the underside of our lawn mower. He just hangs it from the dining room light fixture and calls it a day. I never see it. I've probably even bumped into or inadvertently moved a gift or two and it never registers. I can spot a crooked picture frame from 100 paces, but hang a diamond from a ceiling fan and somehow I will walk around it. For weeks.

This brings us to last night's festivities. Seeing as I swallowed a porcupine on New Year's Eve and was in no mood to ring in 2010 with anyone other than Sergeant Nyquil and his Merry Band of Naked Dreams, we canceled our Rockin' New Year's Eve Party (which, coincidentally, also involves a number of people who can't count backwards...especially after we start mixing drinks based solely on color...word to the wise: stay away from blue). Last night was our Rockin' New Year's Eve: Do-Over. Yes, I hung the Happy New Year's Eve banner outside and used the Happy New Year's Eve napkins. Save your judgment for Pat Robertson, I'm just a white girl trying to spread the cheer. So yesterday was a flurry of cleaning and cooking (I'm sorry, Kallay. I didn't use your fondue recipe and I tried to make it with shredded Kroger cheese and apple juice. It was the magna cum laude of culinary disasters. But my friends pink puffy heart me and raved about how good it was...even though it tasted like gooey, stringy ass) and I even did a spinning class (because raspberry-flavored vodka has about 1483 calories per ounce...never mind 12 ounces). Not once did I stop to look around. I just knew that there were 5 dips made with a variety of cheeses (sour, cream, off-brand shredded), the house was clean, the Wii was ready, and I was rockin' another Daisy & Elm original (made with furry, gray beads which my sister insists on referring to as hamster testes).

Not long after the party started, as I was mixing a yummy new concoction called Firefly and everyone was gathered in the kitchen, someone said, "Uh, Allyson...why is there a picture of you and Jeeves McArthur* on your bulletin board?" I almost knocked a perfectly innocent drink to the ground as I spun around.

"WHAT???" And there it was, in all of its 1994 glory. Me and Jeeves in front of my mother's fireplace on the night of basketball homecoming. It was the height of the broomstick skirt (what? You missed the broomstick skirt trend? You must have blinked...) and gold chain-link belts. And, apparently, Jeeves was bringing back the gray suit. Oh little shop of horrors, how in the HELL did that photo get THERE? On my wall, in my kitchen? During a party? My mother had gotten it from Jeeves' parents at the Christmas Eve service (small town = about 4 churches and if you're not southern baptist, then really just 1 church and there we all were...) and I assumed that Mom had kept it...silly, naive Allyson. I now realize that Mom had passed it on to Neal, who had stuck in his back pocket, anticipating a day and an opportunity just like this one. Everyone had a hearty hardy-har-har-har over it and I turned the exact same color as my cocktail. Et tu, Neal? I wondered which knife he had used to stab me in the back. I thought I used them all during the fondue prep. He must have used a dirty one. That bastard used a dirty knife to stab me in the back. Well, revenge is a bitch...a nasty, tranny bitch with an extra roll of duct tape.

This morning, after the vodka fog cleared and the whole incident resurfaced one thought at a time, like Vanna White and her vowels, I asked Neal about it. Well, maybe accused would be a more accurate word. I threatened retribution. I threatened public humiliation. Neal turned to me and said, "Public humiliation? Really? At least I didn't post it to my blog.** We're even. Game, set, match." And when you put it that way, I seem to have come out way, way ahead. Well played, Captain Miller...well played.

*Jeeves McArthur is obviously not his real name. I'm not in the business of slaying a man's reputation simply because he thought gray was the new silk.
**Yes, Mr. Wonderful has a blog. It's incredibly dry, with his discussion of digital antennas and internet speed. But if you're just dying to know...here ya go.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Heard You


Do you know what's shocking? How many of you have secretly (or not so secretly) been wanting to email me about...well, I don't know what about, but you're a very devoted bunch. So, I spent about an hour of my Friday night trying to figure out how to change my settings so that the email address on my profile works. I tried to ask Neal, thinking that in his infinite Chief Technology Officer wisdom he would simply blink and BAM! Instantly fixed. Not so. There were some hmmm's and some uhhhh's and finally I just took back over. Again, this is not because I have control issues. Hush it. But the good news is, I think I fixed it. So, who wants to be the first to try? I fully expect there to be 25 unanswered emails when I wake up tomorrow! And to those of you who have tried to email me before, I apologize. Apparently, I missed the memo on this very important piece of blog etiquette. But I got it now. Word. (175 to be exact).

AND do you know what you need? A snazzy new apron. And you could win one right here. Salt is celebrating her 100th post with a Great Apron Give-Away. But this is not your mama's apron. You could wear this apron (and only this apron) to greet your man after a long day at the grind. Of you could actually..er..cook in it. But wearing an apron without actually cooking is the new black.

Word Count: 252

She's a Southern Doodle Dandy

Not to be confused with the Yankee Doodle Dandies, who are known for sticking feathers in their caps. We southern girls like to reserve our feathers for more useful purposes...like masquerade balls or Thanksgiving table decorations or a rousing game of "Hide the Feather". And on occasion, we have been known to torment an unsuspecting banister with pheasant feathers.

Queenie Jeanine is official. She has taxation with representation. What a gift that is...because taxation without representation can make a person very cantankerous...just ask anyone living in D.C. Besides, it's all very British and now that she's renounced Queen and country, she can quit those pesky United Kingdom habits...like muttering God save the Queen and drinking tea all day. Although, to be quite honest, I make a dreadful colonist...seeing as I prefer Wellies to Uggs and sometimes Oh bloody hell slides right off my tongue. But give me tea instead of coffee and I will punch you in the neck.

The drive down was rather uneventful...except that it took 15 hours to make a 12 hour drive. Apparently, Army Dad and Suzie Stepmom like to stop for breakfast after about 3 hours on the road. And when I say stop for breakfast, I don't mean drive through McDonald's for a slab of heart failure between 2 slices of obesity. I mean, they like to stop, go in, sit down, and order...like with a waitress and a pot of coffee. And that's only 3 hours into the drive. Do you know what I'm doing 3 hours into a 12-hour drive? Fishing out a bag of grapes and a Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper as I eat with one hand and steer with the other. Sometimes I will stop to pee. Sometimes I play the game of can-I-hold-it-until-the-next-state-line? Usually I can. Usually. But I got a completely free trip to Florida...free of gas expenses, free of food expenses, and free of driving responsibilities, so a girl really can't complain. But I can blog...

The ceremony was held in the local college auditorium, with a stage for the Immigration officers to speak from and an aisle in the front for the new citizens to walk across and receive their certificates. Personally, I think Queenie got a tad screwed on this. I mean, if you've paid thousands of dollars to an immigration attorney, kept every utility bill for five years, and taken the citizenship test 3 times because, even though you passed with 100%'s you still get denied for some other ridiculous reason, don't you deserve to walk across the stage?? But you know the government...stages are reserved for important people, aisles are for the commoners. They did manage to squeeze all things American into 30 minutes...the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, Lee Greenwood's God Bless the U.S.A. (which I detest simply because he says "I ain't." If you're going to write a song that will be played a blue million times after this country gets bombed, can you at least use proper English? It doesn't have to be the Queen's English, but it should use words that are found in the dictionary...), and the full history of how our national anthem came to be (which I knew already, thank you audio tour of Fort McHenry in Baltimore). After all of that, I was ready to become an American citizen. Again.

Queenie's new shiny citizenship comes with a perk: her 2 daughters, Sleeping Booty and Repunzerella receive their citizenship papers automatically. So, when we busted out the chocolate ice cream cake, all decked out in red, white, and blue, that Queenie's husband, King of the Scots, had purchased, we stuck candles on the top and Sleeping Booty began singing "Happy birthday to myself, Happy birthday to myself...." She's five. And she hasn't mastered that "r" sound yet so it comes out sounding like "Happy booiuerthday to myself..."

It was such a short trip that we only swigged one pitcher of mojitos and made three necklaces. No scrapbooking. No organizing (she needs it and I dig it. She is the yin to my yang). And, unfortunately, no Hobby Lobby raids. But I did get to finish a book while she was at work on Monday...Revenge of the Innocents which is all about child abuse and the LAPD. I don't recommend it. Unless you have to read it for your social work classes or you want to have seriously disturbing dreams. And I got to pillage Queenie's craft closet for anything I could use and she could part with.

So, here are a few pics from the trip. And then it's back to the business of reading blogs (I hope you all don't mind if I don't exactly get "caught up" on all you've blogged about since Saturday. I do have other projects today...like finding clean underwear and getting the house ready for the New Year's Eve 2009 Do-Over Party. But I promise it's my last absence until I convince Neal to book us a hotel somewhere warm with umbrella drinks and palm trees). And I also want to divert your attention over to The Scholastic Scribe, who has posted websites for legitimate charities accepting donations for Haiti. I encourage everyone to do something. And wonder of wonders, you can now text your donations, even if you don't have a text plan. Cellphone providers are waiving their text fees for all donations...except for Sprint, who said "standard text messaging rates will still apply."

Dear Sprint,
There's a special spot in Hell for you.

Love,
Those Who Give a Rat's Ass About Something Other Than the Bottom Line.


This is a disaster of colossal proportions and we each must do anything we can to ease the burden for the people of Haiti. Anything. Except board a plane bound for Haiti because apparently that's something they don't need right now. But anything else.

And in answer to several of you faithful readers who have asked me to link up my email address to my blog, here's the problem, yo....my blog is linked to an email address that I no longer use regularly and thus, have forgotten my password. Not to mention the fact that I have 3 other email accounts that I must check regularly. I have tried to edit my blog settings so that it will accept one of these 3 email accounts but it is denying the edit. If you have a fix, I am all ears (and one very cute butt, thank you Couch to 5K app). Otherwise, I will just have to email you with my personal email on a case-by-case basis.
Sorry,
The Management

And now...the God Bless America slideshow....
The blonde head is my sister's. That's what my hair used to look like. Before the red and the black and the highlights and lowlights. Ahh..those were the days. This is the taking-of-the-oath.

Her first steps as an American. See that lovely necklace she's wearing? Yes, that's a Daisy & Elm original. It only took us about an hour and a 1/2 pitcher of mojitos to pick out this outfit.

Since Uncle Sam had to work all week, Aunt Samantha made a stop over to congratulate Queenie on her new status. Yes, we actually own this outfit. Apparently, if I had worn it to the swearing-in ceremony, I could have made a small fortune from photo ops. I'll know for next time. Silly me...I thought it would come across as mocking and the one group I do not want to mock is the U.S. government...at least blatantly, anyway.

And now for our late-night creations...

And in other news...it has been brought to my attention (via a challenge by my uber-competitive husband) that technically a blog post is only supposed to be 500 words. I'm pretty sure I blow right through that limit everyday. So, to prove that I can be less wordy, more succinct and still quite witty, I'm going to do a word count and only post when I'm under 500 words. I'm not sure what 500 words look like...but I fear it will be just about the time that I really get going. Oh bloody hell....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Time for a Toga Party, Stars and Stripes Style

Let me first say that I feel some love up in here. I mean...some LUUUVVVVV!!! Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on my Dear Diary moment. We now return to our regularly scheduled Happy Hour.

So...it's here! It's here! It's really, really here! My big sister, AKA Queenie Jeanine, AKA The Other Blonde is being sworn-in on Tuesday. No, she's not being elected to office...we are an honest bunch...we prefer to marry into our money. She's becoming an American Citizen (which is sort of like Citizen Kane, but with a much smaller fireplace and no Rosebud. It's Florida. Sleds are just a pipe dream). How, you ask, does your sister become a citizen of a country to which you already belong? That is such a good question. And one that I can't answer without margaritas, loaded chili fries and Queenie Jeanine's permission. Nonetheless, it's happening this week! I got all of about 36 hours notice from my dad who called to say QJ had received her swearing-in date and he would be pulling out of the driveway at promptly 06hundred Sunday morning. That's 6 AM for everyone who is not a daughter of or married to the Army. Do you know what 06hundred is for me? It's the middle of the night. I only see it when I'm still up from the other side of 06hundred. But tomorrow morning, 06hundred and I are going to share a cup of coffee, a bra and possibly some quality time with the flat iron. We'll see. I asked my Magic 8 app if tomorrow is going to be a ponytail day. It said it is decidedly so.

So, off to the Sunshine State we go. Me, Army Dad, and Suzie Stepmom in the car. For 13 hours. I have 5 hours of The Rachel Maddow Show, 8 hours of The Splendid Table, and another 9 hours of Stuff You Missed in History Class on my iPod. Does this make me a left-winged, foodie and history geek? Possibly. Does it suggest that I'm trying to avoid 13 hours of Army/Computer/Book conversation? Absolutely. And if that fails, I will have New Moon which I haven't started yet, but should finish somewhere around Knoxville...if the sun is up by then. When I'm at my sister's, it's all mojitoes and making jewelry and scrapbooking. There is very little internet time. And she's not wireless. And the family next door that was wireless (in that I'll-share-my-connection-with-anyone-within-range-because-I-like-my-internet-like-I-like-my-STD's: free-and-rampant kind of way) moved. So, now it's just me and my Blackberry. Have you ever blogged on a Blackberry? It's the 8th dimension of Hell. That means I'll see you when I return home (AKA The Frozen Tundra). Until then, here are some pictures to get you in the God Bless America mood:

I have no idea who this guy is on the right, but he's wearing a flag as a toga and that makes me feel very patriotic (I do not want to think about what he did in that flag later, as the vodka flowed and the Armyhookerwhores...er..I mean female guests showed off their cleavage..um..dance moves.) That "guy" to the left? Yeah, that's my husband. Yes, he's wearing panty hose. No, he will not guest blog about it. What? You can't really get a good look at him? Let me see if I can help...
All better? If you sit on it, it gets bigger (that's what she said)...
And here's a fun factoid: These pictures were taken at Neal's Officer Basic Course (OBC) about 9 months before he was deployed to Iraq, and about a year before I "met" him. I found the hard copies of these pictures about a month after we got married. In the mix was some of the Armyhookerwhores...damn...female guests posing for the camera. I ran them through the shredder and then mixed it all in with the cat litter. Is that wrong? Well it felt good and you can't take that away from me.

On a different note, I was awarded this:
by Shandal at My Life in 3D. I am supposed to list 10 things that I love which you can view here and give it to 10 other bloggers. It is now 11:40 PM (or 2340) and that means I have 20 minutes to shower, dry my hair, brush my teeth and get in bed so that I can have 6 hours of sleep (I don't even know what I look like on 6 hours of sleep. I am picturing something catastrophic involving a cornea and L'Oreal) . So, if you see your blog in my blogroll, come get ya some of this because I love all of y'all. Like Suzanne Sugarbaker loves a tiara. And go visit Shandal. She'll make you laugh, she'll make you nostalgic, she'll make you almost want to buy P90x. Almost.

Ciao loves! See you after the party!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Turning the Corner

When I started on this blog journey, and more specifically, when I started the post-Shep years, I mentioned something about how this blog was for me. And while I love readers and followers and comments like Victoria's Secret models love a lemon wedge for dinner, in the end...it's all about me. (And now as I type that, my mother's voice is echoing in my 13-year old brain: Allyson, everything is not always about you!" Clearly, she was confused). I have such a spotty record with journaling (it has to be the perfect journal and the perfect pen and the perfect time of day with the perfect spot on the couch...that sort of thing) that very rarely do I actually capture the moments that would provide insight into my life later down the road. Instead, I end up writing about how Oprah had Chris Rock on and he made a really funny Joe Biden joke. Or how, for the first time in my entire adult life, I did all of the laundry without forgetting any of it in the washing machine for 3 days. These are not life-altering events. They really don't even give a clear picture into how my life is right now so that in 20 years I can crack open that journal and recall the smell of mildewy laundry and laughing at our VP's guffaws. What I would really like is to have a scene straight out of Bridges of Madison County where I die and our children are packing up the house when they discover my journals and read about the life I had that they never knew about. Although, that life would never include sleeping with a photographer from a famous nature magazine. I promise, Neal. Swearsies. Actually, I'm a pretty open book so I have no idea what it would include, but surely there would be a juicy tidbit, revealed only after my death. Surely.

All of that to say that my blog is my journal now and I've done better at keeping up with it than I ever have with paper and a pen. And so, this is one of those days where I put it all out there for me. Want to comment? Go right ahead. I love them and I get all new-pink-purse-giddy when I read them...but please don't feel obligated. I just need to have this documented so that I can look back in a year or 5 and say "that's right. That's how I felt then. I remember it now."

I can't believe it, but I seem to have turned a corner in dealing with Shep's death. It's only been 4 months, but I can actually conceive of the idea of getting pregnant again (oh I made a pun! Almost as good as irony). Two things happened this week that have convinced me that I am moving forward, even though I still have days where it feels like I took 3 steps forward just to take one giant leap backward. (Red light, green light...red light....green light. Although, a more accurate description would be: Red rover, red rover, bring Allyson's sanity over).

1) I went to our new, super-snappy, 24-hour gym in the middle of the day for a nice long workout. Days of Our Lives was on and, honestly, nothing makes the run go by faster than to see if Bo is going to choose Carly over Hope. Plus, it keeps me abreast of all the latest hair and clothing trends since Kentucky remains hopelessly behind. Anyway, as I was walking in, I ran into a former colleague of mine who asked how I was doing, where I was working now, y'know...former colleague chit-chat. I said that I was making and selling jewelry online now, that being pregnant and doing massage was not going so well. She nodded eagerly...like too eagerly...like she completely understood. Then she raised her sweatshirt and VOILA! She's pregnant. "I'm due in March! Can you believe it?" Um...no...actually I can't. "When are YOU due?" Yeah, I'm not. Anymore. Now you ask: why do you have to bring up the whole pregnancy thing all the time? It makes people who ask about it feel like dog poop when they get the answer. Especially pregnant women due almost exactly one month after you were. And to you I say this: If I deny Shepherd's existence in this world then, in effect, I am denying him. I am denying a human life. My human life. And I absolutely, flat-out refuse to do that. Last summer, I knew 5 pregnant women and now, there's only 1. Miscarriage (and I HATE that word. I didn't "miscarry" anything. I didn't "lose" anything. Something was taken from me. Somebody. If I could find an appropriate synonym, I would coin it immediately) is common and we can't just sweep it under a heavy wool rug and hope it never crawls back out. I'm not saying it to make you feel sad or bad or any of the other 1584 emotions. I'm saying it because it happened, like "I drank too much espresso yesterday" happened and "I hit the garage with the car" happened.

But something else happened. After we parted ways, I did not get back in my car, drive to the first bar and drink my emotions from a shot glass. I did not go into the bathroom and throw up from jealousy and fear and anger. I went into the gym, got on the treadmill, and ran 5 miles, knowing that I will not be able to do that when I get pregnant again. And when Lightening Crashes streamed through my Blackberry, I did not switch it over to rap, nor did I sit down on the treadmill and cry until my head throbbed and my heart splintered. I kept running.

And when I got home that night, I did not pour a double with my favorite redneck bourbon. I made dinner and sprinkled it with bleu cheese...something else I forbid myself to have when growing a fragile being.

2) Neal and I don't have Showtime, and yet we are consumed with the wit, irony, and hellagood writing on Dexter. So, we watched the first 2 seasons on Netflix streaming. Now we are so caught up that we're relegated to waiting for the mail to arrive every 3rd day so we can watch season 3 on DVD. (Read: we have the 1-DVD-at-a-time plan. That fact alone makes me wonder just how long the USPS can survive). If you're a Dexter fan you know that season 3 is where Rita, wife of creepy-but-somehow-still-hot Dexter, gets pregnant. If you're not a fan but wanted to become one, well...whoopsies. Is it too late to post a spoiler alert? Anyway, sometime around her first trimester, she starts bleeding and her new friend (the wife of Jimmy Smits' character - who I cannot watch without thinking about all of his nekkidness on NYPD Blue) rushes her to the hospital. She's fine and they all go about their business; Rita being hormonal and whiny, Dexter stalking and killing people in his own clever way. The point? I did not turn off the TV, yank the DVD from the player (which is much less dramatic with DVDs than VHS tapes. Isn't that annoying? I can yank a VHS tape from a player with every bit of the scorned-woman-fury I can muster, but it is just not the same with a DVD), and haul it off to the mailbox. Nor did I get up to pour myself a double so that I could finish the second episode. I watched. I enjoyed. And I took a deep, cleansing breath. I'm not sure I can say the same for Neal, though. He's so protective. *Kiss*

These are not, for most people, reverse-the-spin-of-the-Earth revelations. For me, they are huge. HUGE. I know I still have a long road ahead. I refuse to get pregnant again until I have appropriately grieved for my first child. But this just shows me that I am moving forward and through the grief process. It's slow and it's painful and some days I do hide in the house and eat Nutella from the jar. But those days are getting fewer and fewer and for that, I am exponentially grateful.

Thanks for letting me put this out there. I know I have a lot of new followers and I don't want you to think this blog is all death and dying and taxes, but sometimes you just gotta let it all out. Tomorrow will be better. I almost punched the Gym Manager in the throat on Wednesday. Doesn't that just scream Situation Comedy Hilarity? Yeah, thought so.
xoxo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tell 'Em What They've Won, Bob

Remember in elementary school when, at the very end of the school year after the books were turned back in and everyone's brains were collectively vacationing at Disney World, the class had Field Day? Field Day was supposed to be a day to play games, eat hotdogs, and run fast and loose with school rules. There were "events" and "ribbons" and Elementary-School-Allyson crying in the bathroom because her fat ass couldn't sprint unless it was on fire. I hated Field Day. To this day, when someone says "It was a field day out there!", I picture a battlefield strewn with the bodies of the slow, awkward, and unathletic (yes, that's a word. I just googled it), while the gold medalists load the buses with smug looks and that unmistakable Field Day tan. Anyway, I went home with ribbons in colors like yellow and green and pink. Those are not Olympic colors. They are "thanks for playing...here's a ribbon so you don't have to explain this to your therapist in 10 years colors." My point? I have no idea where those ribbons are now (although if I had to venture a guess, I would say they're in my Virgo-Mother's plastic storage bin marked "Allyson" and I will get them back when she moves or dies, whichever comes first), but it really doesn't matter because now I get awards. Blog awards, to be precise. Which I love like Paris Hilton loves a party with coke. No, I cannot run and then hurl my fragile, German frame into a strip of sand hoping to slide past the 6 foot mark (nor do I want to. Sand burn is not a good look for me), but I can write like a mo-fo and these just go to prove it. So, to all of the Field Day blue ribbon winners: munch on that! Yo mama so fat...oh wait...sorry...ahem...

Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for the awards I've received since October. I am terribly sorry for taking so long to pass them back out. Life is hard, with 2 cats in the yard...

And these awards all have rules but for the life of me, I can't remember what they are so..sorry about that. It's a 2010 resolution to be more prompt in handing out awards, along with not drinking so much bottom-shelf liquor. Perhaps they go hand-in-hand...

My first award was from Foxy. Please go check her out, if only for the post before the most recent one about unassuming board games using sex toys for game pieces. If you don't love her after that, you are not my people.
I'm handing this one off to Sarah @ The Anti-Journalist. If you're not sure she's worthy, simply read her post about the janitor. That, my friends, is what beautiful prose looks like.

My next award came from Surferwife, who loves all things Chelsea Handler and just started a new blog about her triathlon training. Read her first blog to be thoroughly amused by famous people she's run into, read her second to get inspired to run 5 miles after a 2-year hiatus (and consequently curse her when you can't stand up from the toilet).
I'm passing this on to Nathanael @ This is How it Feels because truly, he is fabulous. I love his bitchy rants and his fashion sense. And he just decorated his new apartment with Ikea furniture. What says fabulous more than Swedish furniture? I'm also awarding it to Queenie Jeannie @ Jeannie's Happy World because what's fabulous is her posting a video clip of her husband Wii-dancing. A full 3 minutes of her husband's backside as he jiggles, wiggles and does the "surfer" move. That, boys and girls, is fabulous.

Next up is the one I got from Salt Says. I truly love this award because I do indeed kick ass. Just ask my fan club. Go visit Salt and give her some bride-to-be love. As a former destination-bride, I can tell you that the last 60 days are maddening. What time is the sun going to set? Do the guests have the right directions? What happens if the officiant we chose from an online directory has a mole?? I mean, a moooooole. She needs all the love you can give her right now.
This one goes to Kallay @ Kallaydoscope who has just successfully switched over to Wordpress and now has a Coffeetalk tab, thus demonstrating her awesomeness. She cooks, she uses a new word everyday (like having a "constitutional"...who knew it didn't just mean "being regular in the bathroom"?), and when it comes to decorating for Christmas, she makes Martha Stewart look like a 4th grader with a glue gun and safety scissors.

And the last 3 are new awards that I've just recently acquired. First up was from Sarah @ The Anti-Journalist. I'm not sure about the meaning of this award...I mean...I like lemons and lemonade and especially Jack Daniels Lemonade, but I don't think that's the point. According to Sarah, I'm supposed to award this to 10 bloggers. And the next award is supposed to go to 15 bloggers. And that's all well and good but people, it's 20 till 12:00 and if I don't do something today other than blog, Neal will spit venom into his dinner (AKA cereal at this rate). So, I'm bending the rules a little. But I also direct your attention to my blogroll...which is full of reading-goodness. I don't follow anyone that isn't 100% fan-freakin-tastic.
This one goes to Cindy @ Consider the Lilies and Brooke @ From Bluegrass to Grass Skirts. I can't think of any 2 Kentucky girls I'd rather have lemonade with...or Jack Lemonade. Cindy has Obe Wan on her side and Brooke just survived a flight with The Craziest Woman EVER. They totally deserve this!!

Now, Salt has taken it up on herself to create a Chuck Norris award, which I got all green-monstered over when I saw it on someone else's blog. But then she gave it to me, too, and now we're BFF again. The only rule: you have to list your favorite Chuck Norris-ism (which is embarrassingly easy for me). Crop circles are Chuck Norris' way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie down.
This must simply go to Vodka Logic (because she Chuck Norris'd snow all over some rebel teenagers this week), Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic (because Chuck Norris CAN make the rolltide roll!), and Surferwife (because to Chuck Norris, a triathlon is Pain, Pain, and Pain).

Last, but certainly not least is this beautiful award from Vodka Logic. It's supposed to go to fifteen (I spelled it out just so the italics can emphasize the enormity of it all) new bloggers. Well..I'm only going to award it to 5 and they are not necessarily even new to me, but they are most deserving.
I award this to Foxy @ The Fox Den (because she needs something to make her blog PG again, with all of the butt plug posting and Team Edward tongue), DG @ Diary of a Mad Bathroom (because she legitimately IS new to me and I'm loving every minute of it), Shandal @ My Life in 3D (because with a husband who finds himself in lock-up after getting rowdy at a football game, what this girl needs is a teacup full of pink roses. Plus she has 2 ridiculously adorable children), Lauren @ Salt Says (because that girl is under-read, under-appreciated and can do weird pretzel-like things with her body), and finally to Nahl @ Bonfire of the Impassive (because she is a Pakistani woman who somehow found me and now I find myself anxiously awaiting each new post. Do you know how random that is...a Pakistani woman and an Army wife to be bloggy friends? What would we have ever done if Dan Quayle hadn't invented the internet??)

OK...now I absolutely MUST go do something that does not involve a laptop, a Snuggie, and espresso. Like my taxes. Or run my business. Oh yeah, I almost forgot...I own a business.
Focker, out!