Friday, April 29, 2005

Scalzi Assignment - Off AOL Faves

Weekend Assigment #57: Share some of your favorite Journals, Blogs and Web sites not on AOL Journals. Come on, we know you go off the school grounds from time to time. Tell us where you go. 'Cause we want to go, too. Even just one pick is fine (no more than five, though. Pick the best to share). Also, just in case this was a temptation, my site off AOL should not be one of your selections.

Extra credit: Find a link you think your mother might like. What is it?

I admit, most every journal I frequent is an AOL one, but these two journals have a special place in my heart.

1st   Around the World with Cathe and Colleen  My dear friend Colleen and her partner did a crazy thing and sold all their belongings, bought an RV and are traveling the continent.  They're currently in Mexico and Cathe keeps an awesome travelogue with excellent photographs.  (Obviously I'm secretly jealous, but its something to look forward to when I retire!)  They're an amazing, beautiful couple and I love them dearly.

2nd    Point.Click.Jeff  Jeff found me one day and I'm sure glad he did.  He's completely adorable, and I love reading about his love, his life, his doggies and his happy-go-lucky outlook.  He's just wonderful.

3rd   (evidence of my truly sick sense of humor) DISCLAIMER:  IF YOU'RE EASILY OFFENDED AND HAVE NEVER HEARD A CUSS WORD DON'T CLICK THE LINK.  FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.  NO WIGGING.    ::iLL WiLL PreSS:: Home of Neurotically Yours - with that lovable, slightly sick squirrel Foamy and his human.  My all time favorites are "Jiggly Butt", "Amityville Toaster"  and "Amplified Bible".  Oh yeah and "Kavorkian Scarf" (that's the best one of all time). 

And....since I have to promote my charity .... stop rolling your eyes already.

4th   Apathy is Lethal  AIDS is the worst epidemic humankind has ever faced. The virus infects 14,000 people every day, leaving millions of people suffering and having a devastating effect on the world's most the link to learn more...


5th  Nonprofit AIDS.ORG is a leader in providing online AIDS education and prevention programs, and essential HIV resources.   Tons of resources. 

As always (I have to say it) Educate yourself, Donate if you can, and by all means GET TESTED

Extra Credit: 

My mother died tragically in 1997, but if she were alive today I think she'd like MY journal page (of course!!) and probably something entirely cheesy like THIS.   Heehee she's probably wanting to smack me right now for giving away her secret obsession. 



PS once again the flower photo is so old (it was a reference for a painting I did that is now hanging in my office) that I don't know who to give credit to.  If y'all recognize it please let me know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Words of Wisdom/Encouragement

Listen to the whispers of your soul,
and know how beautiful you truly are.
You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It's too bad that you want to be someone else
You don't see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours

The above (I'm told) is from the Koran - a friend of mine e-mailed it to me today.  I think its absolutely beautiful, and so appropriate.  So many women, including me and several people very close to me, are facing self-esteem and self-doubt issues daily - especially if we're overweight or insecure (or both).  It seems to exacerbate during periods of stress or change.

I know I have days where I'm feeling right on and beautiful and confident, and then the next day I'm wondering what I was could be catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, seeing a photograph, having someone question my professional judgement - anything can trigger a sudden spiral into self doubt. What's interesting to me, since I work around guys and was raised around guys, is that many of the ones I talk to tell me that there's so much more to beauty than just physical attractiveness.  We women tend to exaggerate the importance of physical beauty as well as our individual perceived flaws.  We're the ones that obsess about this stuff - its not really about them.

I know a lot of this comes from baggage - from rejection or our childhood or some significant event in our lives, but it seems this feeling is a resounding one with most of the females in my life.  Is this something we learn over time? 

We second guess ourselves and constantly value others wishes, beliefs, opinions, and views above ours.  I'm trying to get to the place where I know I've been before - where I felt empowered, beautiful, strong, loved, intelligent, and successful.  Its time to concentrate on my needs as well as everyone elses'. 

Crazy how so many of us are going through this same thing...

Anyway, read and enjoy.  I did.




ps that is so not a photograph I took - I downloaded it years ago with the intention of painting something similar, so I have no idea where it came from.  If anyone knows, I'd love to give credit to the photographer.  Just sayin'

Monday, April 25, 2005

Scalzi Photo Assignment- Hubble Pics

The Monday Photo Shoot: Show off your favorite Hubble Space Telescope image. Tell us why you love it.


I love this photo - probably because of the colors (my favorites - purple and red) and the multitude of amazing stars.  Its interesting also that the caption compares it to one of my favorite paintings - Starry Night by VanGogh.  For some reason it also reminds me of a giant red eyeball, but I like the Starry Night thing much better.  Its just brilliant.

'Starry Night'

This image resembling Vincent van Gogh's painting, 'Starry Night,' is Hubble's view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis. A red supergiant star glows at the middle of the image. (Hubble Heritage Team / NASA)


PS it is completely legal to borrow pics from this website and I've used them often - just be sure to save it to your space instead of linking to the site.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Em's big dance

Well, there she is.  The most beautiful 14 year old on the planet.  She made it to the dance, all glammed up and on time.  There's a little pic of the monkey, too.  They were going together, but not together.  What-ev-er.  I still say they looked adorable together.

Sigh!  My baby's growing up! 

I hope she has a wonderful night. 


I love you baby girl.

(isn't she beautiful??)


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

PSA for Dieters

The USDA has redesigned the good ole food pyramid, adding some more specific suggestions and guidelines.  Their new website boasts an individualized plan, with suggestions on what is right for you given your age, sex, and activity level.  It almost makes sense.  Check it out here:

Its all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 - sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA.  Basically its the same deal, but the pyramid values now extend from the base to the tip, in proporation to the amount you should aim for daily.  They give healthy recommendations on which types of foods to eat, such as lean meats, fish and poultry as well as green leafy and orange veggies.

I've tried to test drive this website, but its slower than molasses on Christmas and its irritating the heck outta me.  From what I can tell, its got a weight tracker, diet tracker, physical activity tracker, and food recommendations individualized for your specific needs.  There's also suggestions for eating out and physical activity ideas.  This is the kind of thing we pay tons of money to access online, whether through Weight Watchers, E-Diets, Diet Watch or the others, and its completely free.

The only problem is, its slow.  Its taken me the better part of the day to find out what it does, and that's only because I leave it loading in the background while I work on other stuff.  Once they get the bugs ironed out, it should be a great resource and tool.

The individualized aspect of the site can be found here - you just register as a new user and it saves your information.

Just thought I'd share...


Unedited Long Overdue Purge

WARNING:  The following entry makes little sense and follows no set pattern.  Its a purge in its most natural state.


A milestone. 

After 18 years on the road, I got my very first moving violation this morning.  61 in a 45.  $120.  Ain't life grand?  I've always successfully flirted my way out of every ticket I almost got.  Not this time.  Officer Spanky was obviously in a very bad mood, and didn't appreciate my smart remarks.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Yes.  I was speeding."  (duh? No, I didn't say that part)

"Are you in a hurry this morning?"

"Obviously."  (duh?)

I think I'm a changed woman, because I didn't even attempt a flirt.  I faked nothing.  I was completely annoyed, and it was obvious.  Is this what 30-something's like?  The "give me the ticket and let me be on my way" phase?

I will never hear the end of this one.  I'm just bummed that my perfect record is no longer. 



Rude People Stink.

Yesterday at my monthly professional organization meeting, I experienced an entirely new level of rude.  These meetings are held in an exclusive, expensive restaurant.  This restaurant is for members only, and is on the very top floor of the tallest building downtown.  I'd never be able to eat there on my salary, obviously.  Anyway, I found some people I like to talk to, grabbed a seat, took a drink out of the glass of ice water, and set my purse down while I worked my way around the room. 

As I came back to the table with my food I realized someone was in my chair.  The guy sitting in my spot happens to be the former president of the organization, but I still want to know where my purse is.  Turns out Mr. Formerpresident tossed my purse on the floor when he took my spot.  The response?

"Oh, were you sitting here?"

"Yes, I believe that's my lipstick on the glass.  Where's my purse?"

"Oh it must have fallen on the floor."


I swear some of these guys' mothers taught them zero manners.  None.

It worked out beautifully, however, because I got to sit at the current president's table with the hunky guy from the big CPA firm.  Right next to him.  We had a wonderful conversation, and I'm gonna help him with an upcoming event.

Take that, you purse tosser.


An adventure in the making.

I've decided I want to learn how to rollerblade so the kids and I can skate around UNM.  Hopefully I won't hurt myself or others in the process.  Its gonna be hilarious, that's for sure.


Flashbacks also stink.

I completely and totally abused a tech support guy yesterday over the phone, simply because he had the same name as my ex and sounded just like him.  The flashback was just too much to bear.  I later apologized and explained to him why he was weirding me out. 

Then he asked me for my number.  Big mistake.

Poor Omar Techsupportguy.


Spring Fever.

Its an absolutely gorgeous day here in the Land of Enchantment.  I can't wait to get home to spend some time outside.  For some reason, doing my homework sitting at the table outside is so much more enjoyable than doing my homework at the dining room table inside. 

That still doesn't make it any fun.


That's all.  Thank me later.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!


Friday, April 15, 2005

Scalzi Assignment: Creative Tax Deductions!!

Weekend Assignment #55: The IRS, in its infinite wisdom, is allowing you to deduct one thing from your taxes that you haven't been able to deduct before -- anything you'd like. What do you deduct and why? Yes, anything. And your reason for deducting it doesn't even have to be good -- this isn't an audit, you know. I'm just curious as to what you'd pick.

Extra Credit: Do you wait until the last minute to do your taxes? Or did you have them done ages ago?

My new deduction? I have a few ideas:

The annoyance credit, based on how annoying we find this whole process each year, as well as how much time we spend being annoyed elsewhere as a direct result of government dorkiness.  (Yes, being stuck in traffic due to poorly planned commute routes counts!)  If you're moderately annoyed, your deduction would be $9500.  If you're extremely annoyed, $12,500.  If you're so annoyed you're head is about to implode, you get a complete exemption.  (Extra points if you're a CPA during tax season.  Sleep?  What's that?)

I'd like to be able to deduct the cost of my mortgage payments each year, just because that's my biggest expense and I'm feeling a sense of entitlement just now.  I don't have a good reason, really.  Just because.

I'd also love to deduct an hourly fee for the time it takes me to prepare my taxes each year, in addition to a flat fee per schedule or form attached.  Heh. 

Extra Credit:

I'm an accounting nerd, so I usually have my taxes done within hours of receiving all the W-2's.  This year I knew we were going to owe money for the first time ever, so I waited until this last Tuesday (April 12) to get them done. 

grumble grumble taxes grumble grumble

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mama Bear

I took this at the zoo a couple of weeks back and never posted it.  Did I ever mention that I love flowers?  I should put an image of Emily up there, since this is about her, but I don't have anything new and exciting, so that'll have to wait until next week.  At least I have a steady stream of new photos to post, eh?

I have now discovered what it feels like to sit and think of how many different ways I'd like to slap (and/or beat about the head) a 40-something year old man for looking at my 14 year old daughter in a sexually predatory kind of way.

Yes, she's 5'10 and well-endowed, so she looks older than she is.  (Yes, she's even taller than the amazon woman!) Most people would think she was a high school student, maybe even a college student.  I understand that.  It irks me that men WAY older than her are checking her out.  I know she's beautiful, but to me she's still a child.

Example 1:  This actually happened with Olivia, but you'll get my drift.

Sitting outside the local co-op while Olivia runs in to get a bottled water, a 40-something year old man approaches my vehicle and tells me my sister is hot.  ::Blood starts boiling here.::  I maintain my cool, and let this man know that she's my daughter (step-daughter, actually) and that she was 14 (at that time).  The scumbag doesn't even miss a beat, and asks if I'm single, since my daughter's underage. 

I give him the one eyebrow up "you idiot" look, and just finish my cuss-word soaked rant by the time she comes out from the store.  Olivia gets in the car and we leave.

Example 2:  This happens constantly.

Sitting at a stoplight, my daughter's wearing what I affectionately call "the belt" (a skirt that's too short but I let her wear it because it has shorts underneath).  Dude next to us is scoping out my daughter from his truck.

Sitting in the car waiting to turn, while another dude in a concrete truck nearly wrecks from rubber necking at (guess who) my daughter.

I want to put a giant sign around her neck with big red letters that reads:

                      I'M FOURTEEN YOU PEDOPHILE.

I know, dads are supposed to take this role, but jeez, it bothers me.

So she's attending her first (semi) formal dance next Friday with the monkey, and I'm getting all weird on her.  I don't mean to, but my baby's first formal dance...its a big deal. 

She picks out dress styles online, and although I know she'll look great in them, I nix half of them for the two short/too low cut factor.  So we're going dress shopping tomorrow, getting monkey man a boutaneer (sp?), and I can't wait to take pics to share.  I promise I'll let her get something classy, yet cute.

I know she'll look amazing, and I know I'll be verclempt.  Everytime we have one of these events I'm reminded of the fact that she won't be under my roof much longer.  She's growing up into a beautiful, intelligent, wonderful young woman. 



Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Spring's here!

So there's the first tulips of the year.  (I just love flowers, obviously.) 

Kayla came running up to me when I got home the other day.  She was extremely excited, saying she had a surprise for me - she spotted these in the yard and knew they'd make my day.  They did.

Here's to spring, and warmth, and sunshine.

Happy Tuesday!!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Kayla Collage

This is what happens when Kayla's allowed to take a couple of self portraits.  (Of course I had to get her rockin' on out of the sunroof too) I just taught myself how to do this with Photoshop.  I just love that program!!

We went with the Girl Scout troop to the Animal Humane Association yesterday.  Their community project was collecting food donations for the animals there.  They got a tour of the facilities, including seeing all the animals waiting for homes.  It was SO HARD not bringing one home, but with 12 pets already....there's just no way.  Most of our pets are either from shelters or adoption programs, so I was really tempted to take a few home.  We were good though, and abided by our "no more animals" pact.

The girls collected about 20 bags of food for the animals, and learned about why its important to spay/neuter your pets, what to do when attacked by a dog, and how to approach a dog you meet on the street.  Of course they all earned their community project badge.

Now my kids want to volunteer this summer.  Louie made a good point..."They don't walk the dogs they have, why do they want to walk the dogs from the shelter?  They can walk dogs right here."  Leave it to Louie to sock it home with a well-aimed one liner.

I was asked to be a co-leader with another mom, and I had to turn it down.  No matter how fun it would be (and it would be a blast!!)  I just couldn't leave work early twice a month, and I also don't have any more room on my plate. 

I'm actually kind of proud of myself for saying no.  See, I'm learning!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Bless me.

Isn't that gross?

I just thought I'd share with everyone that I sneeze when I brush my hair.  If its really tangley, I sneeze a lot.

My daughter sneezes every time she eats something with a strong mint taste, or if I give her cough syrup.

My dog Peanut will sneeze if I make the dog sneeze sound at him.  Xena sneezes when she wakes up.



50 MPH winds today in beautiful downtown Albuquerque NM.  Everyone's sneezing.  Instead of frost on my window every morning, I have to towel off the dust from the windshield. 


Random.  Trivial.  Weird.

That's my Saturday.



Thursday, April 7, 2005

Scalzi Assignment: Wisdom

Weekend Assignment #54: Tell us all a single piece of wisdom you've learned from personal life experience. It can be a small thing, it can be a big thing, a simple tip or trick or the most important thing you've ever learned from life. But whatever it is, you should be able to state it in one sentence. That way people will remember it easier.

Extra Credit: Tell us: Would you have listened to your own bit of advice as a teenager? Be honest, now.


I've actually got a few of these, but I'll only grace you with the most important ones. (Thank me later!)

When you screw up, admit it.  This takes practice.  No one likes to admit they're wrong, and very few are able to recognize when they are.  Don't make excuses for your behavior, don't lie about it.  You'll get more respect from everyone all around when you just 'fess up and say something like, "You know, you're right.  I was wrong.  I screwed up."  or... "I was way out of line for making that assumption, I apologize."  (Try it next time you're aware of a screwup.  It blows people away.)  This is not to say you should take heat for stuff you didn't do or aren't responsible for, but it takes a truly confident person to be able to admit when they've screwed something up.  Think about it.  Bonus points for not only admitting the wrongdoing, but for the attempt at making things right.

Never work with family or friends.  It ruins relationships.  Family members and friends are the first to screw you over because they assume you'll forgive them, and you usually do.  What stinks is that the screwing over is usually in large proportion to your usual screwover, because they know you love them.  This goes along with....

Friendly, not familar, aka "Don't Poop Where You Eat".  Your best friend shouldn't be in your office/workplace, and neither should your lover/husband/wife/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/flavor-of-the-week.  I met my first husband at work.  Enough said.  It makes things weird.  It also goes along with the increased possibility of a major screwover (see above).

Extra Credit:  I never ever listened to anything an authority figure told me when I was a teenager.  Ever.  I still have problems with that today. (You know, the whole "Question Authority" mindset.)  So, no....I probably wouldn't have listened and I can't get too terribly angry when my kids blow me off.  However, I firmly believe that its a parental/old person right to be able to spew random wisdom and expect everyone to listen.  I'm a 30-something parent of a teenager, therefore I feel I've earned the old person right to spew.


***Spew Complete.***

Monday, April 4, 2005

Daylight Savings Time Stinks.

That's my little Peanut ("peenit") snoozing in his self-constructed hammock.  His little booty fit just perfect in the arm of my jacket.  I wish I could curl up and snooze like that right now.


There was just a whole bunch of hullaballoo about us Americans not getting enough sleep.  Remember that?  Last week?  The side effects include things like increased auto accidents, productivity declines at work, and even more serious things like heart attacks.  Turns out, even our sex life suffers.  (Mine suffers anyway, but its nice to have something to blame it on!!)  Just last week every morning show had a series about getting more sleep, how to improve the quality of sleep, how often to replace your mattress....all this stuff ring a bell?

(SIDENOTE:  On the Today Show, a sleep expert claimed that your mattress doubles in weight every ten years because of DUST MITES.  Yep, that's why old mattresses seem heavier - they double their weight in BUGS.  EW EW EW EW EW!!!)

Then, Sunday morning, we have to "spring forward", meaning we all lose an hour of sleep (or an hour of our weekend!!).  Of course we don't feel it until the alarm goes off at precisely dark thirty Monday morning.  Today mine went off at what felt like 4:16 AM.

My teenaged daughter was just a dark cloud of anger from the moment I woke her up until I dropped her off at school.  Everyone I'm talking to this morning sounds exhausted, I'm exhausted....and we do this WHY?!??!

Arizona bows out of the whole time change fiasco, and more power to them.  I don't care if we do one or the other, but lets stick to one from now on. 


Random Randomosity:  I curled my hair this morning and it looks very "1982".  Louie thought it was beautiful and that's what really matters.  Meanwhile the guys have called me "Farrah" all morning.  I guess there's worse things....


On a medical note:

My Louie has been diagnosed with an inflammatory nerve condition.  Its uncomfortable, his arms go numb, he drops things...but its not life threatening.  At any rate, his doc prescribed a prescription anti-inflammatory.  I asked her when she prescribed it if it would interfere with his antidepressant.  We were assured that it would be fine. 

When I went to fill said prescription, the hunky pharmacy intern informed me that the combination could kill him, cause seizures or stroke, or all of the above.  He printed out all the cases where people have died after taking the combination. 

Needless to say, I fired the doctor this morning.  It would have taken her three minutes to go find her PDR and look that up to be sure. 

She's fired.


Have a great (YAWN!!!) Monday !!

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Zoos are fun

Since we FINALLY had a nice day yesterday, the kids and I decided to head to the zoo for the day.  It was such a mood lifter to just be outside in the sunshine for awhile.  I hate having to force my teenager to smile for photos.  (Emily Kathleen we are not MOVING from this spot until you smile for me.  evil grin!)

Most of the animals were out all day too - I think they were feeling the same way.  The clouds are back today, but at least we got 12 hours of sun yesterday. 

....more photos coming.....the kids got sick of me taking pictures of wildlife, art and flowers.  (They'll get over it!!)

Happy Sunday! 

Scalzi Assignment - April Fool's Day Joke

I am an extremely gullible person.  Once I trust you and believe you, I'll pretty much believe everything you tell me.  Its a huge character flaw that's allowed me to get bamboozled by my well-meaning prankster friends, husband, and even an online predator.

Every year, Louie has managed to pull an April Fool's Day joke (this year, thankfully, he realized I had too much going on and a practical joke would have sent me spiraling over the edge).  The first year we were together, I had just given him a set of my car keys and he moved my car and acted dumb when I asked him, indicating it had been towed or stolen.  He waited a full half-hour to tell me he'd moved the car.  A few years later, he told me his truck had lost all its oil in the middle of Broadway, so I'm thinking the engine seized, now we need a new vehicle....after he started giggling I knew.  He was also smart enough to call me, so he was too far to smack when I figured it out. He didn't do anything this year though.  Whew!

The all time worst prank ever was pulled on me during my high school years by my "best" friends.  I had just gotten my driver's license, and I was still nervous on the road.  I'd just bought my first car so I was driving more often, and still learning about things like judgement calls and which streets led where. 

My "best" friends told me that all the stop signs with white borders were optional, and this dorkbrain believed them.  So I'm madly running stop signs all over town because I'm such an IDIOT and I didn't realize...


Until I got stopped.  When I told the officer that all stop signs with white borders were optional, he just about busted a gut laughing at me.  Then he wanted to know where I'd heard that.  Here I am all wide eyed, explaining to him that my best friends had told me about this obscure traffic law.

Teary-eyed from his hysterical laughing, the cop took pity on me and explained that I'd been played .  Stop signs are NEVER "optional".

So, now I realize I'm the easiest target for a practical joke (or other cruel things), and I try to plan for April 1st a little.