Wednesday, December 31, 2008

23 Mashups

Here is a list of my mashup ideas for 2008. (Here is 2007.)

1. Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats / Barbara Streisand - The Way We Were

2. Stevie Nicks - Landslide / Sammy Hagar - Dreams

3. Tina Turner - Simply the Best / Missing Persons - What Are Words For?

4. Linda Ronstadt - Different Drum / Eels - Last Stop: This Town

5. Joey Scarbury - Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not) / Jennifer Hudson - You're Gonna Love Me

6. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven / The Monkees - Goodby Sleepy Jean

7. "Horse Racing Song" (William Tell Overture) / ABBA - Take A Chance On Me

8. CCR - Proud Mary / Children's Song - John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

9. Alannah Miles - Black Velvet / TV Show Theme - Green Acres

10. Roger Whitaker - Whistle Stop (Sample) "Hampster Dance" / The Four Seasons - Oh, What a Night

11. Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water / Lipps Inc. - Funky Town

12. Elastica - Connection / Blind Melon - No Rain

13. Black Sabbath - Iron Man / Harry Chapin - Cat's in the Cradle

14. Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs - Wooly Bully / Donovan - Sunshine Superman

15. Heart - Tell It Like It Is / The Beatles - Oh, Darling

16. TV Commercial for McDonald's - "Ba-Da-Ba-Ba-Ba (I'm Lovin' It)" / Disturbed - Stupify

17. The Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK / Judy Collins - Both Sides Now

18. Paula Adbul - Forever Your Girl / Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Tears of a Clown

19. Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Know / Steve Miller Band - Take the Money and Run

20. John Cougar Mellencamp - Pink Houses / Neil Young - Into the Black

21. Standard - Danny Boy / Alro Guthrie - City of New Orleans / Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah / Simon & Garfunkle - The Boxer / Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

22. Shawn Mullens - Lullaby / Green Day - When I Come Around

23. ABBA - The Winner Takes it All / Anne Murray - You Needed Me

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My, My!

I finally got to see the movie "Momma Mia!" last night. It took all of a minute for my family to ditch me. For the whole first little while it was hard to get into. About a third of the way in, I felt so silly I almost ditched myself. But if you can hang in there long enough I does have its touching moments. ABBA wrote really great lyrics, yet somehow made them work in songs. Now they are stuck in my head. Yay.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Take a Chance on Me" and "Little Bunny Foo Foo"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Toledo Drift

I hope you are having a lovely holiday. My kids got an XBox 360 and they're having fun now.

The weather here has been cold then warm then cold again. Everything is ice. When I took my mom home, I slid around the corner and kept going, slowly slowly sideways. I thought I was going to get a pretty blue dent from a Kia Sephia, but I stopped about 8 inches away. Whew! : )

My mom said, "Why are we stopping over here? Shouldn't you drop me off closer to the door?"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fly on the Manger Wall

Between work, physical therapy and a visit to the new foodie store, I heard so much Christmas music yesterday my ears are sore. Choruses, synths, Yngwie Malmstein-esque guitar, (literal) bells and (literal) whistles...

Why don't the radio stations carry more gentle music like the actual treasuring of a baby?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Alive

I have been to physical therapy 3 times. It is so great to get moving in the pool. I feel much better than when I got in.

I'm sorry I haven't been on the internet at all lately. I am back to work full time and it's rough for me. The elevator broke Friday night and I took the stairs up and down yesterday. By the time I got to the bottom I couldn't make it to the car and my friend had to help me. (Thanks so much!) Today my boss walked me to the freight elevator. (No jokes, please. :)

I had to Christmas shop this weekend. I walked through a certain dyslexic toy store for an hour. Then I rode a scooter through Meijer's for an hour and a half.

The way the money fell this year, we had to buy presents on the "dreadit" card. You wouldn't believe how badly I feel about that. It's the worst trap of all, needing to use a credit card. It was tough last spring, if they charge you interest faster than you can pay it's 2 steps forward 1 step back, 3 steps back if you buy anything else. Between Christmas and the trip to Pittsburgh it's more than $700 on there. I'll just have to make it top priority and pray for stability.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gosh I need Twitter

I am on my way to physical therapy! No canceling for me! Wish me luch.

Dot your p's and cross your q's

One thing about being back at work and only part time. There are so many things that come up, including some very squeaky wheels... The trick to rebember for being effective, is knowing which wheels really need you, whether they are squeaking or not...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This weekend we went to Pittsburgh to visit my dad in the hospital. He's doing okay. It was a lot of walking but good to see him. It was exciting eating breakfast at the hotel buffet with all the cowboys and Steeler's fans.

I'm working but I don't have enough energy to make it to physical therapy too. Here's looking at Wednesday.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gingerbread Ninja

Did you know there are 568 references on Google for "Gingerbread Ninja"? My son came up with it so I wrote it down. But it already exists. Maybe it's just the sound of it... Zshee... Zshaa. Now I have to go search for Zsa Zsa Ninja... Nope, Nada.

I told my son I read that Obama will be pledging $15 billion/year towards alternative energy. We talked about that and thought instead of being one of thousands of people going after a biodiesel grant it might be more fun to look into alternative-alternative energy. Like gravity power: Drop a whole bunch of rocks on a paddle wheel, scoop them up the other side and drop them again. Or maybe harness the power of the melting glaciers and use them to save themselves.

The real news: This morning I did not wake up in pain.

Is the Mouse Gone Yet?

Found this pic from October 2004. I was trying to channel Jim Morrison but you can tell I knew I'm a dork! : )

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unconventional Dance Moves

Really cute. (Somebody else's kids, but that's okay! : )

It's interesting how the boy on the right obviously wrote them, but the boy on the left treats them more as if they were actual dance moves.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Common Bonds

Sometimes in a relationship, problems can arise from lack of common interests:
No appreciation for the things that are important to you. No participation or maybe grudging participation... Lack of interest in discussing and growing from a shared experience.

Or instead, it could go like this: "They really don't have much in common, but somehow it works. Opposites attract!"

You could have some things together and other things separately. You do things with your pals and he does things with his buddies.

You could even just be happy partners in domesticity. Never underestimate the value of having someone who wants to feed you.

There are a lot of different configurations... I think basically, you can make anything you want to work work. The secret ingredient that will superglue anything together is LOVE.

That being said, when someone stomps out your love like a cigarette butt... and you find yourself in a vacuum of leadership, interests, moral guidance, and influence... a tabula rasa desperate for anyone to give a shit... Before you go ahead and get out the kindling to try again, you might want to actually make a conscious choice. Do I really want to go there? Why????? Being unhappily married might just be one of the worst things in the world. I might just fix it just to stop the pain. But I am so strong and have nothing to lose that I could also do anything I want to. Roll down the mountain like a speedy fat Sissyphus, scoot up the half pipe on the other side and do a 360 right over your head... Who knows?

I think I'm meant to help people someday...

I don't want to be a train wreck. I started blogging wanting to be somewhat entertaining...

Schadenfreude? : )

Just an Update

I worked 4.5 hours Monday. Yesterday I had physical therapy for an hour in the morning: exercises, stretches and stair-climbing. Then I worked 3.5 hours. When I'm done, my brain closes the gate and that's it. Embarrassing to leave yesterday and not be able to tell my boss everything I'd done.

Last night I also went to the company holiday party at the zoo. My work is so nice, they rented a scooter for me. It was nice but we only stayed long enough to eat. We left about 8:15.

This morning I woke up in so much pain I had to take the good medicine instead of Ibuprofen 800. (Downgraded from Percocet to Vicadin.) It just kicked in as I'm writing. I don't know what I am going to do about work today.

Funniest thing I heard "today": Jeopardy clue: "New Orleans mayor Nagen warned a post-Katrina Mardi Gras crowd that it's bad luck to drink a toast with this beverage." Contestant: "What is a hurricane?"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday, Blue Saturday

We were thinking about getting a TV for the family for Christmas. I was sorely tempted by a Panasonic 42" Plasma HDTV $699.99 doorbuster at Sears. It's just a gorgeous television at $300 off.

But it's a "No".

I can't blow the whole budget on one thing. The kids would agree to just one family gift but would never believe Santa wouldn't come through for them in the end, because he always has...

This might be more than our budget anyway. I'll be working part-time for the next pay period and even though J's working on a house that should last a few months, he doesn't get paid for "snow days".

Our TV converter box coupons are ordered, so we'll see how that works out.

Anyway, I ran around to several stores yesterday. Too much walking. I woke up in so much pain this morning I had to take one of my last 3 Percocet which I was saving for emergencies.

They say these pain pills are addictive. I know what a craving for cigarettes is like. I had good luck "deliberately misinterpreting" those cravings. I'd hold my left arm up for a few minutes. The body can tell something happened, all the fluid drains out of your arm. But it doesn't get the craving anywhere, does it? I don't know for sure but I'd like to think it made the cravings go away faster.

I'm just worried, what about pain medicine? What is the craving going to be?? Pain???

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Plane Crazy

Today's my husband's birthday so here is a video of him flying his OMEI plane.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Down the Block and Across the Street

Today I go see my surgeon and I find out about going back to work. Maybe he can do something about my energy problem.

UPDATE: I'm going to start physical therapy this week and go back to work part time next week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yay, I posted!

Sorry long time no see! My computer and I were both down.

Right now I'm having an Ensure: "The meal that eats like a drink!" : )

Yesterday I had a freshman parent teacher conference. I am happy that all his teachers like him...

The day before yesterday I went in to work for our monthly Fun Day lunch to visit. I can't believe how much I missed everybody. I walked in and saw everyone and it was like "Oh, wow, I know all these people! It's so good to see them!!" I had to tell my boss that I'm not ready to go back to work yet. I feel bad because he needs me.

I can't do very much walking and everything wipes me out. Back when my kids were little-little, I knew I could only take them out and do three things, tops. And one of them had to be eating.

This week I can only do two things. And one of them has to be a nap.

"Star Wars" - an a capella tribute to John Williams

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Health, Schmealth

Happy Veterans' Day. If you know any High School age children, here is an essay contest they can participate in next year.

I am a little disappointed in my healing speed. I hoped to heal up in one week and then go on vacation. :P

I still have a sleep, walk, sit cycle going. I need to let my pain meds run out before I do anything I can be held accountable for. Friday night I logged in to my work email, saw there was a lot to download and took my kids to the video store on the corner... I got home and it was still downloading, then I looked at it. There was a spam attack and I had like 1,000 spam. I deleted the junk but then I had to take my medicine again so that's all I got done. :P (Yes, this is the emoticon of the day. Don't worry, it's not aimed at you! : )

I should not be required to talk to my boss on the phone in this condition. He now knows all about my plans to study for Jeopardy, write an open-mic night comedy routine, take a two-week vacation, and study for the CPA. Dammit. Now, I'm jinxed. :P

Name this logical fallacy: You didn't do the dishes. Therefore, you don't love me.

I had a problem last week. I had my timing wrong. I can't fall asleep late afternoon and wake up at 6 in pain and rage because the house is dark and the pots are cold and I've got one boy on computer games, another boy on PS2 and some guy in the garage at the workbench. So yesterday I went to sleep early so I could get up in the late afternoon and be more involved. So I had a real nice time talking to my teenager, in a good mood. But then it shut down when it came chore time. Hmmm.

So I've got a new plan. If you do dishes I will come sit by you and talk to you and it will be fun. If you don't, you are going to be so bored. :P

Funniest thing that happened "today": I was throwing socks in the washer, straightening them out and I told my son, "You need to unroll your socks before you put them in the laundry." He said, "No, I don't." I said, "Listen, mister, yes you do. They're your socks!" He said, "No, I mean I don't have to unroll them. They come unrolled automatically in the washing machine."

Aaahhhh! :P

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Juicy Details

The funnest part about watching the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer infomercial for the 3rd time this week is trying to calculate how much the glass of juice they're making would cost...

an apple: 50 cents
a carrot: 40 cents
3 cups of strawberries: $3
carton of blueberries: $5
carton of raspberries: $5

Glass of juice: priceless. : )

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Roll and Roll All Nite

Hi! I'm alive! I am living the truly cosmopolitan lifestyle: Up half the night and asleep half the day!

Fun facts: I woke up from anesthesia 15 minutes after I got into the recovery room. I started yelling "Put ice on it! Put ice on it! Put ice on it!" All the nurses ran over, "Already? That was really fast!" Then I yelled for bandaids. Then I yelled for Neosporin. But all they would give me was morphine.

Little things mean so much, like will someone sit next to you? I would like a cat so much today! : )

I watched my son play toys for an hour, both of us engrossed in the Epic Battle. Finally I asked, "Why are they fighting?"

I enjoyed watching "Misery" on TV last night, completely without irony.

The most interesting TV shows come on at 3 am. I saw an expose on the Iraq war and then a documentary on Valery Gergiev, this awesome Russian who travels the world teaching orchestras to play the "Rite of Spring", and more... Also, there's going to be a special edition of "Frontline" Tuesday at 9pm and again on Wednesday at 3am to help us decide who to vote for. ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


From Eric: My mom is home and I'm happy she's here. Her operation went OK.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just My Luck

I just realized why I got all those dirty looks in the very crowded parking lot of the early voting station yesterday. I got out and hobbled around the back of my car and my 11 year old was getting out and about ready to close the door, forgetting to grab something I needed...

I yelled, "My cane! MY CANE!"

Waiting For To-Go

I'm so glad my surgery is coming up soon because I am in nasty pain. I'm taking 2 pills instead of 1. (It's allowed: "1 to 2 pills every 4 hours as needed." Just not able to drive like that.)

Not so into food. The other day at work I made my frozen dinner and it smelled funny so I tossed it out. Then I had a bite of a cupcake and it tasted funny so I tossed that out too. I'm pretty sure it was subconcious. Or maybe my friend is absolutely right about these dinners smelling funny. (When Z and I were at the chemistry thing, I overheard a conversation about "food grade antifreeze". Ew.)

Sometimes I think about the part of my brain that does not speak english, or in words at all, but it has so much control anyway. The part that sends up cravings once a month for a McDonald's salad. And it knows, since you're there and since you're having a salad, and since it's only a dollar, and it's been a month, it will get a hot fudge sundae too. Other times you're just dying to go karaoke since it's been so long and you while you're out you may as well bum a cigarette too. The deep part of the brain, when you're at the store, will drag some little baby's cries like fingernails across your heart...

Mashup I am not going to make: "Lullaby" and "When I Come Around"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My husband and son went to the "Weak Signals" R/C plane club and caught this video. The guys who owned these planes didn't seem too upset and said they should put the video on Youtube. Here it is:

Monday, October 20, 2008


Here's my news: I am expedited for a discectomy and laminectomy next Wednesday. L4-5 is the problem. I go for pre-tests tomorrow afternoon. I will probably be in the hospital at least one day and up to three weeks at home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Aside From That...

For the past two years I've had big trouble with my back. It's been off and on. More "on" than I'd like, but I've always tried to have a tough "make-do" attitude and I'll put up with a lot and try not to dwell on it...

I've been in and out of physical therapy three times. (Gym is physical therapy. But I do work hard and I do break a sweat.) I seem to get somewhat better and then do a slow progressive backslide to horrible. The past few months have been really tough; I can barely walk... I don't even know how to answer the question "How are you?" "I'm fine" is too much of a lie. (My husband helped me with this tonight. From now on it will be "Hangin' in there!" : )

I finally have some daytime pain pills that take the pain away enough so I can be more efficient at work. It's like Tylenol would be, if it actually worked for me. I am almost caught up at work, in spite of being down one staff accountant. (I'm kind of conflicted about that... In order to go really fast I have to use every trick in my book. Which is contrary to delegating... I hope someday I'm caught up enough to port my methods from SQL and Excel VLOOKUP's and pivot tables to reports that are sleek and simple to run for everyone.)

My sciatica's been so strong the past few weeks, now I have night time pills I can take in the evening and so I can sleep. But they don't make me smart or creative... That's why I've been so dead to the internet lately. Sorry!

My doctor was somewhat anti-surgery/pro-physical therapy until recently...

I had an MRI last night and saw the pictures. It was much worse than I'd imagined. I can't even find a herniated disc picture on the internet as bad as my disc looks. It's like a jelly donut smashed flat and all squished out. Crushing my spinal cord flat on one side and the sciatic nerve on another side. Apparently it's a miracle I'm not peeing my pants (and can walk at all).

I have my first appointment with the surgeon next Monday. I'm scared. But I'm hopeful for my future life.

Funniest thing I heard today: My son went to the carryout to help me get a gallon of milk. He wanted to get Slurpees. He had a little assembly line going, filling the cups with cherry flavor, then coke flavor then putting the lids on carefully, then filling them up to the top of the lid, then slurping off the excess. I said "You're very efficient. Just think, in a couple of years you could be doing that at the drive thru." He said "No. They wouldn't let me slurp the tops off!"

(New Category!)
Made-Up Stats: 90% of the things people buy inside carryouts are just stupid.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

They're still here, and they're on sale!

Ugh, I just lost 12% of my 401k.

I am having a hard time explaining the market to my 14 year-old. He keeps coming back to "Yeah, but where did all the money go?"

The only huge variable in my budget is the groceries. Seriously, there are $200/week to be won or lost. Here's my new trick: Stop at the new fresh market gourmet store carefully spend $30 on specialty items to jazz up the fare. They have incredibly beautiful baked goods. Last night, I got a coffee flavored coffee cake. How decadently redundant! : )

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Big Movie Marathon

I've been sick this week so there's not much going on, but I have watched the following movies:

The Third Wheel A really unusual romantic comedy about a date gone wrong. A fun watch. (I'm starting to wonder if Ben Affleck can act. I'm going to search for proof later.)

Iron Man Again. Fun super-hero action flick.

Dr. Strangelove I'd never seen it. Black comedy. Gotta love it.

And Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Really cute but kinda racy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fe Fi Faux

photo credit

Did you know they have a Lorem Ipsum generator to make dummy Lorem Ipsum text for layouts? Is this because the original is too distracting? "Dude, wait, I'm looking for the part about pursuing pleasure instead of pain..."

I've been worried for quite some time... What is it that motivates us? Is it pride? Looking at me friends, everyone has something. "Yes, am organized and here's how..."

Since April, with the big political brou-ha-ha about elitism (7:09), I've been feeling kind of guilty. I'm happy that my friends are awesome: professors and chefs and mensans and poets and programmers and mathematicians and rescuers and comedians and writers and artists and musicians and spiritual seekers and hard-working and super-moms and all-around bad-ass chicks...

My guilt was alleviated slightly when I was driving home Friday night. And I realized, I don't know anybody who isn't totally awesome in some way or another. So, hah! Egalitarian, after all... We all rock.

Funniest thing I read today: I was reading my son's issue of Science Illustrated. It mentioned a tea that can be used for weight loss. The plant is called Rauwolfia Vomitoria. Hmmm...

(Mega) Mashup I am not going to make: "Danny Boy" and "City of New Orleans" and "Hey There, Delilah" and "The Boxer" and "Kiss Me"

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm kind of bummed today for several reasons. One is I don't get to see my friend Amy who is in town from New York. I am more happy that she's getting to see all of her relatives. Don't I know about vacations that are too short.

I noticed today I really do have the same accent. I do say "Yah" instead of "Yeah", but only when agreeing, not when starting a sentence.

I put my earrings in a little dish when I got home from the store tonight... A few months ago I went with a friend from work to an art festival. I hate to go and not get anything, I had up to $40 to spend on art. (I'm weird. I hate spending any money unless it's on gifts/charity, food, books or art. I take care of my family, I just mean above and beyond that.)

Just that morning for breakfast I had a handful of sunflower seeds. They were rolling all over my plate. But a bowl would have been overkill; I would have taken too many. We were walking around the festival and it started to pour! It was not supposed to rain. She said is there anything you wanted to get? And there was, I had spotted a little handmade and hand painted rectangular dish that struck me as perfect for a tiny snack. On maybe it could even hold a deck of cards? It was just a few booths back. I got it and we got out of there. People were freezing on the shuttle bus until the driver turned the air off. The dye from my friend's purse ran and ruined her outfit. But other than that it was fun.

When I got home, my husband said, "Oh, you got a soap dish. It's nice."
"Oh. Duh." And now I keep my earrings in it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There was storm damage in Detroit and Cleveland from high winds yesterday. Hope everyone's okay...

Monday, September 15, 2008

How is it over there?

When I was in Long Island, I found out that different parts of the country have different squirrels. They are not all reddish-brown. New York has the coolest dark grey squirrels... I was just wondering this weekend...

1. What kind of squirrels do you have?

2. Do you have a lot of willow trees?

3. Do you have sea gulls in your parking lots?

4. Anything else you can think of?

This morning I watched the "Today" show. They don't have to spin much hyperbole with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and the collapse of Lehman Brothers... The one really scary thing: They had Scott Cramer as a guest and he was totally calm and rational.

I removed the link to the video of Scott Cramer ranting... Here's a funny ninja cat video instead. : )

UPDATE: You know what? I'll find that video later. I want to discuss emotions and effective arguing with my teenager...

UPDATE: Z did watch it with me. He said "Wow, that guy could see the future."
Mashup I am not going to make: "Pink Houses" and "Into the Black"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One Single Impression Poem

Well, the good news is that I have an opportunity to write a poem on a meme from the One Single Impression poetry blog (via Sue @ Sunflower Roots).

This week's prompt is "defenses down".
So here's my poem on that and goodnight.


I am sick.

Stupid high grocery prices,
Made me cook instead of pitch.

They weren't even expired,
But I feel like I might.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Attack of the 40-foot Pile

Only 4 inches, really.

I tend to gather papers... But they aren't usually things I want to keep permanently. Vendors, Customers, Schedules have their own place in the file cabinets... I have oddball things: mistakes to be fixed, accounts under analysis, notes on projects in development... I've tried making file folders for them, but it doesn't really make sense. A lot of things, once I record what the problem was and what I did, I really don't need the paper, a scan, maybe.

Here's what I did last night. I have high hopes it will work...
I had an underutilized Desk File/Sorter, one of those blue books with the 31 tabs for days of the month. I took my current pile and sorted it into that, using Post-It notes written in pencil to define the categories. I had some overlap and the result was just 2 Post-It notes leading to the same tab.

When I'm done with something I can decide whether to keep the file permanently.

It isn't as bad as I thought. I'm only up to tab number 10.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

No White-Wall Tires Required

My tire had a leak. Went to get it fixed at Tom's Tire on Alexis and Jackman. There is a really neat car show on Jackman Road today from Noon-4 across from the UAW Local 14. If there is anything better than going to a car show, it would have to be sitting a half mile and an hour away from one. The sheriffs even stopped traffic briefly to let a parade of cars through. Vrooom, Very cool! We saw a black truck with hydraulics and chariot style hubcaps with huge spikes. We didn't get too close to that one.

I'll have to snag my husband's car and make him take me cruising (the) Miracle Mile at 5:00! : )

UPDATE: I had to go out in the evening for gas. The cops were there to try to prevent them from drag racing...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Magnum, Inc.

Hey, wow. I just realized I've been at my current job 19 years today. And in all that time, I don't recall that my boss has ever shaved his mustache. You wouldn't either if you were him. It looks great.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


(My Z used to say 'Cause-Why as a toddler to mean both why and because. Supercute.)

Okay, so I got off my self-pitying butt yesterday and went to the store to go buy something. He's right. I am hard to buy for.

I hate junk and I hate spending money. The only bike I like costs almost $400. That's a lot for a bike just to have a bike. I'd like a new recliner but never enough to spend $700 on a La-Z-Boy.

My birthday money is $70. Maybe I should give Craigslist a try. Maybe I can use it for shipping on my 11 free cd's I've earned with music points. Or maybe I should buy some things from my Amazon shopping cart. Or a new outfit, or two. I don't want it to turn into grocery money again.

(Note to self, In mid-August next year, write your husband a note telling him that it would really mean a lot to you to get a birthday card.)

Mashup I am not going to make: "I Don't Know" and "Take the Money and Run"

Monday, September 1, 2008


Not sure why I still get my hopes up for a card and a pre-bought gift, instead of just permission to go buy something. I ought to know better by now.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Got the Wrong Aid

We're going out to dinner for my b-day tonight! : )

Funniest thing that happened "today": I went to the drug store last night. The two ladies up front in their bright blue jackets were talking about something. They walked to the back of the store. I was ready to check out so I waited in front of the counter. I was there for 3-4 minutes and one of the ladies came up and stood by the side of the counter for a while. I looked at her and she looked at me... She didn't say anything but eventually walked to the back of the store. After another couple of minutes I walked back to find them. She looked at me and said, "Looks like there's a customer who's in a real hurry." I said, "Well, I waited up front for about five minutes." She said, "I know, I was up there too." I said "Don't you work here?" She showed me the different name on her work uniform jacket and we had a good laugh and I checked out at the pharmacy counter. No wonder she wouldn't help me.

Something interesting: In the stock market report this morning a local solar company has stock selling at $276 a share. I just get nervous when stocks are valued that high. Is the next economic bubble going to be a green bubble?

Another strange thing: The Dickies belts I bought for the kids barely fit through the holes in their Dickies pants. We like the pants because they're tough and really last. Tuesday we'll try putting them through the loops before they put the pants on.

Friday, August 29, 2008

At The Power House

Wow. This is something. Here is the article.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pizza and Cake, So I'm Still Awake

We had a really nice family b-day party for Z. All the local grandparents like to come over for the birthdays. We had a nice time talking about the boys' first day of school, cameras, how one of my stepmom's coworkers had her purse stolen in Michigan, other robbings over the years, the housing market. We had pizza and triple fudge cake with peanut butter chips.

Z did not get shoes. He got a decent gift card for the sporting goods store. He had asked for a weight bench but we told him we weren't sure we'd have room. But the husband will take him shopping and we will make the room. We'll have to make a rule: No laundry on the weight bench.

I'll never forget, one of my school friends told me about his Christmas one year. The other kids got toys. He got money. Christmas Day all the other kids were playing with their toys so he got out his money, flapped it a little, folded it different ways; did some origami, sorted it. Didn't make a paper airplane though, not a good idea with money...

So Z also got a little fluff. HALO figures, a Rubik's cube, a slinky, a light-up frog, a pieceless puzzle.

His gift card isn't quite enough to cover the weight bench. Whenever the kids have money they want to spend, they spend it right up to the penny and I pay the tax. I tell them "Children shouldn't have to pay taxes."

Monday, August 25, 2008

What's New

We went to the German American Festival Saturday with my Dad and stepmom. It was fun. Last year was more fun because they had a band and dancers who were not only good, but were actually on the stage. My dad is doing really good; he can walk a lot farther than he could a few months ago.

Neither of my boys would dance with me. E said, "Buy a German record and I'll dance with you at home." But I said, "Wouldn't that be even weirder?"

The big deal is my son Jeremiah is turning 14 and starting high school tomorrow. Last year I was worried about which side of the toy store was for him. (Wow, it's cool to know what you were doing around this time last year.) Now I don't even think we're going to the toy store.

(Z, stop reading this, spoilers ahead.)

I think we're going to the shoe store.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Working In, Working Out

I've started working out after work 3 days a week now. It's been 2 weeks.

Funniest thing I heard "today": On the radio show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" they asked the panel what Michael Phelps would be doing now that he's conquered the Olymics... "He'll return to his old job as Mayor of Atlantis."

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Spread fingertips,
One hand,
Hand on top of ball.

Whole arm,
Waist high,
Eyes on the court.

Feet moving,
Ball moving,
Stop = shoot or pass.

(I found this in my son's gym class notes and I thought it was a poem about basketball. Punctuation is mine.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Play it Forward

(Left my post in draft yesterday...)

So far, for 2 whole days, I've been able to carry the vacation attitude forward. It really actually helped me.

It was very helpful to learn that all very capable women are extremely busy at work. It's just the nature of the thing. It didn't need to be another week behind at work, but it turned out I did need to be another week behind at work.

Other things I learned on vacation:

1. I need to consider more factors when going out to eat at restaurants.

2. I need to consider a keyboard tray. Many days of not typing on my desktop really kept my shoulders relaxed.

3. I need to ask for towels for my birthday. My family is extremely paranoid, yet oddly generous about having our towels.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New York

We had a wonderful vacation! It was great to go visit our friends in Long Island, Amy and Rob. It was so good to see my friend Amy and hang out on the patio. Rob was a great host. And he makes excellent cheeseburgers and Italian sausage!

The beach in Long Island was nice. The walk along the boardwalk over the dunes at Robert Moses park was enjoyable. Such an incredible diversity of plant life packed in growing wild beautifully! The guide at the Lighthouse power house told us all about the ocean rescue crews. My husband Jerry asked so many questions, he was fascinated. On the beach, the kids played in the waves. The Atlantic is so green and the undertow powerful. I got caught off my feet and Jerry stepped out to help me up, a little scary. My son got sucked under and Jerry reached in and grabbed him out coughing, a lot scary. We decided to walk west to the lifeguarded part of the beach, but it got interesting quickly so we decided to take the boardwalk back instead.

Driving in New York is very exciting. I didn't do any of it. If I had, my car would probably need a facelift. It was a little tense for Jerry at first, but he got the hang of it and started to enjoy it. We took the B.Q.E. for some sightseeing.

We pigged out because it's vacation. The reuben sandwich at the Lindencrest diner is so big it's scary. It arrives open-faced, trying to appear bigger to scare off predators, I guess. : ) No thousand island dressing, mustard is the New York topping. The Manhattan clam chowder was truly awesome. The salad dressing was so good.

We also went to Mulberry Street. The pizza parlor was full so we had pasta in the fancy restaurant part. It was good. And we went to Popei's for a seafood feast, well not the seafood feast, which was all you can eat crab legs. I can't believe no one got the crab legs... My family wanted lobster.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Love Them Hens

Last night we went to a Mud Hens game and it was really fun. We won! But my son lost his voice "screaming for ice cream". He's all hoarse today. : )

Funniest thing I heard "today": Last night, on the way home, we saw a cherry-picker and the truck it was on was red. We were trying to figure out if it belonged to the fire department or to the city. My little one said, "Not all red vehicles belong to the fire department. Look! A fire car! Another fire car!!" Z said "I've got a fire sports car. If you have a fire, I can get there really fast! But I can't do anything."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuning In

The other day my 11 year-old brought me his student guitar and said "Look mom, I tuned it. It was really awful but I fixed it." I plucked through the strings and only one of them sounded slightly off. I said, "That's pretty good! How'd you do it? Did you find the pitch pipes?" He said, "No, I just remembered what you hummed when I saw you tune it." Which I haven't done for a year, dang! But this is the toddler in the morning who would be humming songs he heard in Dad's car on the way home the day before. (Is that Smoke on the Water?) And the one that blew us all away on the musical perception test.

This weekend I watched the movie August Rush. I liked that movie. (I like all movies about kids overcoming things, like Akeelah and the Bee, and Second Hand Lions, and even AI.) August Rush is about a boy who is a ward of the state searching for his parents. It's melodramatic but nice anyway. In one of the scenes he basically learns to read and write music in one day. Z said that was far-fetched. But I don't think so. Not if he had something in his head he really needed to write down.

I remember the week after I graduated from high school. My dad got me a nice keyboard for a graduation present. I played with that thing day and night for a week. I learned some Bach. Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, the whole thing, which took 3 days. Part of the first Goldberg variation, another day. And Bouree, which I learned in the wrong key because I couldn't find my tape. I used to think that in a past life, I could have been... somebody who really liked Bach. : )

Maybe I could have been a musician. But I tried to learn to read music, and I couldn't stand it. Looking is not hearing. (But it's cheating, isn't it?)

I do know I need to notice my kids talents and nurture them. Definitely steering that one towards orchestra!

Funniest thing I saw today: A dreamcatcher, hanging from the rear-view mirror of a car.

(New Category!)
Movies, Movies, Movies: Recently we saw the movie "Vantage Point". It looks pretty good in the trailer, and it is an okay movie, all in all. But the way they rewind the movie over and over to show the scene from different perspectives is extremely annoying. "Aw, geez! Not again!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jill in the Box

Hi! Sorry I haven't been around for a few days. I've been working hard.

Chef Nick wanted me to post the link to my old band, so here it is.

To download our songs, just click the download link under each song.

I added some pictures, circa 2004.

UPDATE: Apparently you have to be logged into MySpace to see MySpace pictures, so here they are on Flickr.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conveyor Belt 3

It took a while. But I've got my space back! : )


A TV commercial shows ceiling fans pouring out money. I think medical bills from ricocheting pennies would eat up all the profits.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trading Influences

The kids did the dishes and I went off to fold laundry. Two boring minutes later, I remembered my son's iPod. "Hey! There are a lot of good songs on here!" Of course. I had loaded it for him with all my favorite songs from my favorite cd's. Heavy on the rock and light on the folk for him...

One of my guilty pleasures is the show, "Trading Spouses" where they send a parent to live with a different family for two weeks. Even though the show is a production, and the families seem mixed for maximum conflict, and edited for emphasis, and some of the scenes are as real as wrestling, I never fail to learn something. It's fascinating the different levels of intensity vs. laid-backness, or different values that surround each family.

Last week the "new mom" confronted the father about indoctrinating his kids with the evangelical Christian lifestyle. He basically said yes, indeed.

And so I've indoctrinated my children with my taste in music? (It happened to me, Roger Whitaker was funny!) And TV, must watch NOVA, must watch Jeopardy, must watch Nature. And food, my husband eats what I cook. (Or mostly, I eat what he cooks.) And talking to each other, we form a consensus. Or stick to our differences which we can tease each other about. (Or use as alternate solutions.)

It's like a house is a very tiny little world. (It's got all the best people, the ones whose faces make or break your day.)

Funniest thing I saw today: This little turtle is a cute overload!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hey, America

My husband and I were watching a news story about the mortgage crisis and how the government may step in to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. My husband said, "The first thing they need to do is change the stupid names." I said, "Freddie Mac makes me think of Freddie Mercury, you know, the singer from Queen." He said, "Not me. It's makes me think of Bernie Mac: 'Hey America, I lent you all my money so you could buy your house and now you won't pay me back. Why won't you pay me back, America?'"

And so I logged on to post this cute story and I find out Bernie Mac is in the news for making an inappropriate joke. Way to ruin my cute story. But at least I'm topical now. : )

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Conveyor Belt 2

Ha! I have boys, with muscles, who can carry boxes to the shed. All I have to do is supervise.

Sometimes I wonder if it is stupider to complain about everyday, normal life or stupider not to complain about everyday, normal life.

Conveyor Belt

I heard "Stayin' Alive" on the radio and thought, "Wow, I'd like to learn that bass line." When I got back to my office/library/music room I see how things really are. I don't have room to get out and play my guitars let alone set up my PA because in reality, my family has piled my office with stacks of Rubbermaid boxes with miscellaneous stuff for me to "go through". While I've been sleeping my family has turned my space into a junk room. It inches up on you and then piles up on you. (My own fault for letting others drop their crap on me.)

Mashup I am not going to make: "Forever Your Girl" and "Tears of a Clown"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Elbows vs. Melons

Funniest thing that happened today: My son is sitting here because he's wants to show me a new game called "Spore" as soon as I will let him. : )

He bent down to get his shoes from under the table. I put my hand out, blocking his head from the table. ("Watch your melon!")

He hit his head on my elbow on the way up instead!

Well I'm off to see "Spore" now. Maybe I'll make a melon. (With elbows!)

Less Paperless

Why we'll never go completely paperless: Because the guy out back with the fork truck and the pen--anything he scratches out and writes on your form is way more important than whatever the computer thought and archived to pdf.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You've Seen Nothing Yet

Sometimes I listen to my morning AM station for local issues, but they have a guy on there who rants about normal things almost as if he has no idea how anything works. I'll make up an example: "And the city requires vendors to have the contracts notarized... And they leave it up to the vendors to find a notary... And the vendors have pay the notary fee themselves!

Anyway, I listened to NPR yesterday and there was a protest group chanting and the chant I remember was "We'll be back! We'll be back!..." This chant does not have a lot of punch.

It just goes to support the rule: Plan it out ahead of time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Under The Rainbow

There was a big storm this afternoon. A tornado spotted in town. The rain pelted down. Thunder. My boss said get away from the windows. My back was bothering me and I went out to the middle of the office to sort some paperwork... After a bit I went back to my office. I heard a loud noise that sounded like a tornado but I think it was just thunder... Made a fool out of myself by running into my boss's office "Did you hear that loud noise???" I am such a wuss.

I'll never forget one tornado: 10 years ago I was taking my toddler and baby to the babysitter, Chery's. The skies darkened dramatically on the way. Just when we got there the rain started to pour, in sheets. I got the car seat/carrier detached and grabbed little Z by the hand and headed up the walk. I got halfway up and Chery's daughter came out to help. She grabbed the baby from me... but Z had disapeared!

Suddenly, overhead, I heard the sound of a hundred freight trains, a deep groan. I spotted Z, he was back in the car. I ran back to the car, I don't care what, and got in with him and waited a while for the sheets of rain to die down. We went in and watched the TV weatherman spotting the tornados where we were. I called in to work to tell them I would be late. My clothes were as drenched as if I'd jumped in a pool. Chery lent me an outfit to wear to work. I was about an hour late.

We saw the top of her willow tree had been broken off by the tornado. It's taken about 10 years but it almost looks like a normal willow tree now.

The strongest thing my Dad's given me, and I hope I've passed on to my kids is the work ethic. The dedication.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Shoe Suede Blues

I'm going to see Peter Tork and the Shoe Suede Blues right now! Had to miss the Weird Al Yankovic show for this, but that's how it goes...

UPDATE: I got there too late and they were sold out. I asked for a peek and got to stand there for a minute, cleverly saving myself $20. I saw him, just didn't see much...

Friday, July 4, 2008

From The Back of Your Head

I told my son I was pretty sure he was going to grow another foot. He looked at me, confused, and said "From where?"

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Silently Blessed


I just sneezed and then immediately said "Thank you." My office neighbor is not here today. Boy, am I spoiled or what? : )

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

All Clear

I'm home. My mom's home. She's doing really well. No C!
: )

I've Seen Worse

Okay, so I'm on my way to spend the day at the hospital with my mom. I'm getting ready to leave and I was going to bring a comic book my friend lent me because I'll have plenty of reading time... Wait, can I really sit in a hospital with a book called "The Walking Dead"?

Thank goodness for book bags.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Futility is Resistance

I like that title. Maybe it will trick me into more power!

What a week. Worried about my sick parents. No good post ideas. Nothing funny happened, except my little one did ask me why the sign on the front of the carryout doesn't say anything about pants. I didn't eat dinner three nights in a row even though not eating makes me feel doomed and vice versa. Projects make daily work suffer and daily work makes projects suffer and delegating is more work than work.

UPDATE: Interesting, "Futility is Resistance" is a slogan of a group called the Ludic Society. If I'm understanding it right, they're messing up technology by adding fake information?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Are you old enough to drink coffee?

I want to write a note to the coffee drinker who not only doesn't know how to work spoons, but also doesn't know how to work paper towels... But what do you say to a person like that???

Friday, June 20, 2008

P*tty Mouth

This post on the Velvet Blog about the new Mike Myers movie made me realize something: Potty humor is really prevalent in a house full of boys. It even comes up when I'm trying to discuss statistics. (At least the upside is having someone on hand who thinks plungers are fun.)

Anyway, that post and the fact we just had chinese food last night reminded me of something we do. On the TV show "Friends", when they open their fortune cookies, they read them out loud and tack on the phrase " the bedroom." But that's not appropriate or even funny for kids. What's funny in a bedroom for them? Snoring! Putting someone's hand in warm water!

I tried our fortune cookies with a couple of phrases: " the hospital" and "...during an earthquake." Results were hit or miss.

The very best fortune cookie tag for kids is " the bathroom." Works every time.

The Things I Cannot Change

Okay, trying to get a handle on some issues with the software we use...
I just accidentally reinvented the Serenity prayer. LOL!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What We Had For Lunch

I used to have an internet pen-pal. We weren't very well-suited to each other. She told me I talk like Frasier. (And I didn't even do anything to deserve it!)

Eventually the whole exchange devolved into her writing me every day and telling me what she had for lunch. It was always either a baloney sandwich and chips or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and chips. She only liked grape jelly. So, I told her what I had for lunch, which was usually a Healthy Choice entree. But I had like 20 different kinds to choose from, see... Eventually, we noticed it was pointless and broke it off.

I hope all the personal stuff on my blog lately hasn't bored you too much! I will try to get back to being interesting as soon as I think of anything interesting. : )

In other news, pics are up!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home from the You Be the Chemist Challenge

We're back! We had a really great time in Philadelphia.

Jeremiah (Z) studied in the airport, studied on the airplane, we got to the hotel too early so he studied in the visitor's center, studied in the salon while I got a haircut. We went to the rehearsal and then to dinner at the City Tavern. Z fell asleep studying at 9:00.

The contest was tough, all the kids were so smart. He was eliminated in the 2nd of 5 preliminary rounds. When it came down to the finals, they were tied for 2nd and 3rd and had to do a "lightning round" to choose who to eliminate. The lightning round went on for 40 questions before anyone missed anything. The winner was Christopher Pillay. 2nd was Ethan Li and 3rd was Nabil Shaikh.

The You Be the Chemist Challenge was a privilege. They treated us so wonderfully. It was fascinating to learn so much about chemistry. He is going to have a leg up in his science classes in high school. It was a good experience. He's never studied so hard for anything before and that's a good skill. It's good to be challenged.

Treva Jeffries, the science director from Toledo Public Schools came to support Jeremiah. We were so grateful. Thank you so much for everything you did to organize it in our area and give TPS kids the opportunity! : )

After the contest was over the tone changed and all the kids were able to relax and have fun. They took us on a double decker bus. I got whacked by a tree branch. If you ever sit on a double decker bus, sit on the left side. : ) We went to the Franklin Institute to see the IMAX movie, "Wild Oceans". (I still saw swirling shoals of sardines when I closed my eyes that night.) After the IMAX we saw the "Real Pirates" exhibit about the pirate ship, The Wyhdah, that was salvaged. It was a great exhibit. Then we went to dinner at Dave and Busters and the kids played games. My parents and I had a lovely time talking to Christopher's dad, Prem. My dad left early and we also talked to Cori's parents and Treva. We got to meet and hang out with such nice people! : ) I peeked into the game room and saw Jeremiah and the other boys laughing and talking. It was neat because he'd been so quiet before.

Saturday we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We really enjoyed it. We love art. Going to the 3rd largest museum in the country made me feel extra proud of the Toledo Museum of Art, which stacks up well. Come see us! : )

We also went to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Yes it would have been sweltering in there. Our founding fathers rock!

We missed everyone and we've glad to be home. I'll put pictures on flickr soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008


We are so busy studying for the YBTC contest this week!

But we figured out why one of the hamsters was so fat, she had babies!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Secret Signs

Here's something we noticed while we were out and about.
Do you see the "A" in the circle?

Hmmm... Maybe that's how the sign hanger really feels about towing "all others"? Did he think this would ever see the light of day?
Did he even use enough glue?

Ha! : )

I wonder how many other signs are covering up other signs?

Mashup I am not going to make: "Anarchy in the U.K." and "Both Sides Now"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lunch, the Universe and Everything

I'm worried about food. It's not like I snack all day long or anything but I know that when I have a headache, my lunch is going to make me feel better. I am trying to replace my crunchies: carrots or celery instead of chips and my fruit: an apple instead of applesauce. But, I know that a bowl of lettuce is not going to make me feel better. :(

My husband once said to me during a discussion about housework, "How can you call it work if you're just sitting there?" Cold, but true. But not true. I've had lots of days where I come home feeling like I just took my SAT's again. It is what it is.

I'm thinking about doing the Atkins diet again. Not because it doesn't stink or anything, but because it works fast. But extreme diets cause total food obsession.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Ba-Da-Ba-Ba-Ba (I'm Lovin' It)" and "Stupify"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Aack. I'm getting interrupted so much, it's making me flakey!

It's like the right hand doesn't know what Sybil is doing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


We put our economic stimulus check in the bank to pay bills. But I did get to spend a portion of it for new photographic equipment

...which I used to take a picture of these cameras.

Scared you and your PowerShot, didn't I? : )

Seriously, dozens of people at the NASA open house had incredible cameras. Most of those people were reporters. These belonged to a regular guy with a hobby who sat at the next table for lunch with his wife and baby. The reporters had lenses that stuck out at least a foot. How do you walk through a crowd with that? They did.

I got a really nice Kodak, that I probably wouldn't have gotten without the check. (Got the two-year accident warranty. Suckahs!)

Hope that affects the economy somehow... Mostly hope it affects my photography skills. Might have to bother to "learn how".

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Commencing Countdown

We spent the day yesterday at the NASA open house. It was a blast! You can see more photos on Flickr.

Friday, May 30, 2008

No Perfect Pitch

Here's a link to Mariah Carey "tossing" out the first pitch as a baseball game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Close One

On the way home from work a piece of sheet metal flew up on the highway and hit my husband's car. It skidded across his hood and he could see it flying at him so he ducked his head down as far as he could get. It did not hit the windshield. He managed to stay in his lane while he was ducking. The grille is broken and the hood is all scratched and dented. We just dropped full coverage on this car 2 months ago.

Glad I started praying again today.

Talent Like It Is

(This was going to be a comment in response to Sue and Nick's comments on Stand Up and Fall Down But it was getting long so I'll make a new post.)

Sue said, "I think being a stand up comedian is one of the scariest occupations in the world -- takes far more courage than just about anything else I can think of."

And Nick said, "Yeah . . . it's probably pretty close to having to give a speech to 500 people.

Or standing up with your guitar and a microphone . . . I've done it a million times but it never gets any easier. And you NEVER want anyone to be laughing . . ."


I think comedians do it because they have to. They've always been smart-alecs. Just like singers have to sing because of their voice and drummers have to drum because they bang on stuff.

It would be terror at first but then a rush.

Eke-ing out a living might be tough but you could do it with a room mate or a working spouse. (You might save money on childcare, working nights.) I know I made enough off karaoke in 1992 that I could've paid rent. But I lived at home and hence the book collection.

I think some of the same rules might apply for comedy as for karaoke. Your confidence comes from having practiced at home and being sure everything you're going to present is good. Never experiment onstage, go be weak somewhere else.

Be careful with your persona. A couple times, I warmed up on a country song. When I turned out to be rock and roll, I'd get disappointed people coming up to me... But do my thing and throw the country song in later, and impressed people come up and say Wow, you also do country?

Be ethical. Don't sing your competition's signature songs. (I did have the thought well, what if I sang a different song by that artist and upstaged them that way? Didn't feel right. Never did it.) I guess this would translate to don't steal jokes, which I doubt anyone good would do.

Hmm. Well this was kind of a joke but it's kind of intriguing.

I work on one real project and one fun project. Real projects are: raise our credit rating, purge books, develop a better grocery budget. Fun projects are: start a blog, join a band for six months and play out at least once. I was with my band for 2 years, learned bass, wrote songs and played out a few dozen times. (We only got laughs from the pool players. Emos were empathetic.)

Another fun project would be to try out for Jeopardy. But I've been thinking about that for a while and never took any steps other than to read Brainiac, and that was kind of discouraging.

Right now, our project is chemistry. But let me start thinking about open mic night. ; )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Tell It Like It Is" and "Oh, Darling"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Like Metal and Water

Trying to help my son stay fired up about the chemistry contest next month. You might enjoy this video:

Stand Up and Fall Down

At the lunch table, my friend mentioned she watched the premiere of "Last Comic Standing". She said, rhetorically, "Did you ever want to do stand up comedy?"

I said, "Sure, that's my next project." : )

And no one laughed.

That's a really bad sign.
Or maybe it's a really good sign!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Just noticed a paradox that was tripping me up.

Books and articles about writing always say "Don't use the passive tense"! Use action verbs!

Action! Do things! It's all about Getting Things Done and if you aren't GTD then you aren't GTD'ing enough! And so you beat your nose against the grindstone and suck it up and try harder and throw hours at it, HOO-rah.

But this is wrong. I'm not talking about the work-life balance or anything right now. I am talking about this whole approach is totally wrong. I am skilled but limited. How can I do more than I can do? The truth is the opposite of action. I can make you tools and design you processes and I should use words no more active than "Make it so" and actions no more creative than "review".

(Sorry. There's probably a book I should read somewhere, instead of just requiring life to repeatedly bonk me on the head to teach me things : )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Off With Her Day!

~Hello!~ : )

I had the day off work today for my son's field trip to see a Mud Hens baseball game.

I got to break out the DVD player in the car and all the boys watched part of Ratatouille on the way.

It was wonderful. The weather was beautiful and the game was very exciting. It was nice to sit behind a couple of people who know a lot about baseball. I learned a lot and it made the game that much better. The boys wanted to roam around a little bit but we kept them in sight. One of the boys got a Chicago hot dog that had tomatoes, peppers and pickle slices on it. It looked interesting. I'll have to try that someday... Not! : )

Funniest thing I saw "today": Driving home, I saw what must be described as a "Monster" car. I'm sure it took a lot of work and money, but I just could not stop giggling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

States of Matter

We've been studying the Periodic Table of the Elements. So far we've learned Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, South Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Montana, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

It's not so hard.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Woolean Boolean

When you're looking for things that are neither "this" nor "that", filter for things that are not "this" AND not "that".

But that's neither here nor there.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Wooly Bully" and "Sunshine Superman"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Iron Mom

Me and the boys took my mom to see Iron Man for Mother's Day. It's a new Mother's Day classic! : )

I just want to say, there are not that many Audi's in real life. Clearly those cars were free. (Call me, we'll make a deal.)

It was raining this year... Last year, we went to the Zoo because women get in free. Several had mustaches.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Iron Man" and "Cat's in the Cradle"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good at Math

The other night I took my 11 year-old to the pet store. Once you've got hamsters, you have to accessorize with tubes.

My son told me, "Mom, you know I'm really good at math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication. Division if I have paper and pencil. I don't like fractions but I can do decimals. Let me help you with your work. I can help you."

I told him "Honey, thank you so much. But I don't feel like working tonight. Could you set up the DVD player so I can watch my movie?" He said sure, he'd even watch it with me. It was boring and we both fell asleep. : )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Connection" and "No Rain"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tree-Lined Sky

Driving home from work last night, Spring hit me with how nice it is around here. You can't look in any direction without seeing trees. (My kids point out this is not true for straight up and straight down. But I point out this could still be true if you were standing in a tree.) Even the gas station on the corner has an apple tree. Not sure they're safe to eat though.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Smoke on the Water" and "Funky Town"

Superpower of Marginal Utility: (Contributed by Z) Being able to tell what's being written by listening to the pencil movements.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oh, There Goes a Rabbit

We went on a road trip Saturday. We went to Detroit to shop for R/C propellors.

Driving on 8 Mile Road is like a game show. 7 out of 10 cars go way too fast, while 3 out of 10 go way too slow and are placed randomly. The popular strategy is to switch lanes often, in case you get lucky. Red lights are like the wheel on Wheel of Fortune. You think it's stopped, but Oh! There goes another one. Oh! There goes another one.

On the way home we saw a Hummer Limo. Is this better or worse than a regular limo? General consensus: Worse. If you're going to get crazy, get crazy. I want to see a stretch VW. But there are probably a lot of amenities in the Hummer. My husband's thought: a voice-activated bar. When it can't understand what you want, you're done.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We Take Your Picture, Not Your Soul

When I was a kid, we used to drive the highway to this big fancy grocery store. Once in a while we'd check out the rest of the plaza, which contained an Olan Mills portrait studio. We'd look at the pictures in the window.

Okay, pretend you're ten and put this all together:

You saw a news story about puppy mills.

Your cereal is made by General Mills.

What's an Olan?

Oleo is fake butter that tastes like plastic.

The portraits have some weird sheen on them like fake brush strokes.

You heard that certain religions won't let their pictures be taken.

You saw the movie Soylent Green on TV.

You go to a funeral where an Olan Mills portrait is prominently displayed.

Glad to get this one sorted out! : )

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tricks Are For Ids

Finally, sweet, sweet Friday! What a week of working lots of extra stressful hours. I knew I'd have a monster day so I threw all these tricks at it:

1. Dressed comfortably in bright colors.
2. Ate breakfast.
3. Took my vitamins plus extra magnesium.
4. Wore lipstick AND earrings.
5. Made my son take the bus to school so I could go in early.
6. Closed my office door when I really needed to hurry.
7. Went to lunch early off-site someplace I hadn't been for a long time.
8. Listened to rock and roll instead of NPR.
9. (Forgot one.) Put a picture of my family on my "desktop". What a lovely surprise between tasks! : )

Sorry if this is boring for you, but I may need this list later! It must have worked, I'm through the day.

Stupid things to do: When you're a junior in high school, spend a week's worth of afterschool hours learning to sing "Alone" by Heart. Practice the high note even though it sets off some kind of resonance in your head that makes you pass out. Do this every day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What to Do With Bad News

Mitigate it.

I like this quote from an interesting article:

"For example, one toxin handler at a transportation company was told by her boss: "Tell those idiots out there to get their act together and finish the job by Friday, or else they'll be sorry!" Her response was to pull her staff together and put the directive in a form that conveyed the task but not the sentiment. "The boss needs us to complete this task by Friday," she told them, "so let's put our heads together and see what we need to do to meet this deadline." By taking the sting out of the boss's message, the toxin handler helped everyone to focus on the challenge rather than seeing the directive as an attack on their capabilities."

I screwed up once, I passed along the news to my guitarist that the guy who arranged a benefit show we were in didn't even put us on the list to play and the sound guy was desperately trying to squeeze us in.

Two things: First, don't play in benefit shows unless you have a lot of time on your hands. They are organized by people who don't know what they are doing. And the band member who books your band should be the busiest most practical one not the most bored. Second, facts are not to be passed on all dramatic and juicy like gossip. There is no point. Waiting is waiting and the reason won't change a thing. Actually if my loved one was in surgery, I wouldn't want them to come out and tell me, "It will be just a little bit longer. We're trying to stop the bleeding."

One of my friends has a strategy. After talking about something, say it's no problem. Leave it up to the listener to decide if and how much of a problem it is. Not conveying anger at all, just gee, this is interesting...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Time, Time, Time

Woke up this morning thinking about what it would be like to have a time machine. Wouldn't it be cool to go back and redo things, take the opportunities? How hard would it have been for me to pull out "Silent Night" for my boss at the Christmas party instead of letting a moment pass awkwardly frozen?

I'm pretty sure I would mostly use my time machine to cancel out mistakes. Like don't comment on someone's tailgating if there is no actual accident. I think eventually, given enough time, which I would have, I'd probably end up canceling it too far.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spinning Wheel

Hamsters are nocturnal. Just thought you should know. (The pet store should've had a big sign.)

E spent his birthday money and they are cute. The camera is broken. They're like this except one is brown. They don't have names yet, both girls.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Hamster Dance" and "Oh, What a Night"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Love in the Time of Algebra

I dropped my son off at school this morning and saw a boy and girl walking down the road, holding hands. How cute! How scary!!
8th grade.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You MIght Be a Chemist...

...if you win first prize in a chemistry contest!

Here is Z and little bro, E. Z won a chemistry quiz and he's going to the Nationals in Philadelphia in June! I am so thrilled. It was exciting. At the end of five elimination rounds, two kids were tied. So they had a tie breaker. That was also tied. On the seventh round he came out ahead. We are going to be chemistry studying fools now!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Having trouble with a project. My boss just told me to split it apart and continue forward with the 90% that is fine and set the other 10% aside for more work later. Wow, that was so obvious and helps so much! : ) Will do. Right after lunch.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life is Like a Box of Shrimp

(This is just Zatarain's with some okra and black beans, but it was yummy!)

I read an article about Wolfgang Puck's L.A. Bistro. (Couldn't find the article, here's a link to some reviews.) It's supposed to be a hybrid restaurant, with fast food at breakfast and lunch, then become a fancy restaurant at dinner time. I don't think it's going to fail, but I'm not sure it will be a raging success either, because it's too mixed up. (Actually, this idea could work with the right transformative lighting.)

I started thinking "The key to major success, is cohesion of theme."

It's an interesting thought, but I'm not sure if it's right. Helpful for designing a product. Helpful for living? Okay, my theme will be: eclectic.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Green Acres" and "Black Velvet"

(New Category!)
Cheap Thrills: Put your car keys in your other jacket pocket.

"Funniest" thing I saw today: We were driving on the highway and a car was weaving in and out of traffic, trying to get ahead. He finally got ahead alright. We watched as a cop pulled him over. He got a $100 driving lesson.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Camel Back

When you're carrying an armload of groceries and someone says, "Here, take this box of straws." and you can't hold it all, you never drop just one thing. Usually, it all goes flying.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Detroit Rock City

I had fun commenting about my first rock concert on 17 Seconds, a really neat music blog, by Ed, a teacher in Scotland and also a worldwide music aficionado.

I hope no one minds, I'm going to copy it here and fire up a meme:
"What was your first concert like?"

(Adam and the Ants was my) first concert without parents. First was really when my dad took me and my brother to see the KISS Dynasty tour at the Pontiac Silverdome in '79 for my brother's birthday. I helped him with his Peter Criss makeup and it looked awful. We were not the youngest kids there by a longshot. The stage was so far down it was more like a movie. It was so loud the seats were thumping and we kept tearing bits of paper off our popcorn bags to try to make earplugs but it didn't work very well [unsic]. My dad bought us some for $5 each. KISS' first song didn't sound very good and the audience started chanting "Bring back Cheap Trick! Bring back Cheap Trick!" This went on for a few minutes. I couldn't believe it. Well, Cheap Trick were really great and everybody loved "Live at Budokan" and it's much easier to recreate a live album onstage than a slickly produced one. But KISS won us over, I think Gene Simmons blew flames or something. I think I remember Space Ace came down on ropes or a platform or something and my favorite song was New York Groove. Also, we lost the car and had to walk for miles through closely spaced lines of traffic and wait two hours for everyone else to leave so we could find it. Not a good time for my dad who had to do all this while listening to 2 kids whining "I'm tired!."

Tag, you're it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

If You Can Dodge an Oven...

My son Z just told me about his dream: He dreamed he was in a baking contest. He baked muffins then frosted them white and sprinkled nuts on top. Then he rode a conveyor belt into an arena where everyone threw their muffins at each other!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"_______ City"

Circuit City is changing their name to "The City". I always liked the name "Circuit City". I imagined in five or ten years I'd be visiting their showroom to look at row upon row of shiny new robots.

Why are they doing this? Maybe electronics don't have circuits anymore and this name is now as cool as "Analog Town"? ("Chip City" would soon lead to a common nickname along the lines of Taco Hell and Burger Thing...)

Is it to save us the trouble of uttering one extra syllable? Just like Prince's symbol, it won't work: "You're going where?" "You know, to the store that used to be called Circuit City." See, that's 14 extra syllables right there.

Well, as confusing as it will be for customers, it will be great for the employees. "I've been City Manager for about five years. I think I'm ready to run for mayor."

Go for it! : )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Proud Mary" and "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"

Funniest thing I heard "today": I was driving my son to school Friday and he said "Mom, the city finally did something about all the potholes. They turned them into bumps!"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mmm, Candy

Tastes exactly the way I remember eating crayon tips!

There's a whole blog about candy called Candy Blog. Very cool!
Found the link on The Velvet Blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cartesian Product

This post was supposed to be good. I jokingly said my 100th post would be good and that tripped me up a little this week. I wanted to write something important, with sentence structure and everything. But now I figure I'd better just show up.

A while back, like two years ago, not handling transition well, I remembered a book I read in high school about a guy who threw away every idea he had so he could rethink and reorganize his beliefs. I found Discourse on the Method and started reading it again. I saw the first thing he put back was God. That helped me the most. Then after four pages of "if I smoosh it flat is it still a ball of wax?", and putting aside any nominalist vs. realist debate, I just wanted to scream in the book's ear "Dude, it's wax!". And then the book fell apart in my hands.

But it's been helpful to turn things over and look at them, to notice the silly things I believed when I was six. To put things out there and question them. To say to myself, what kind of mom are you if your kids are so lacking for attention they sneak up and pull your grey hairs out? {FLIP} Are you kidding me? My kids are so loved. {FLIP} Well, you could do a better job with their haircuts. {FLIP} Okay.

Sometimes all you have to do is write something down to see if it works. T or F, Sweetheart of America = Anchorman Gravitas.

I realize I don't believe that people are fungible, interchangeable like mushrooms. I think we all have special skills that should be prized and that what we have in common is our kindness, loyalty and willingness to show up.

Mashup I am not going to make (contributed by Z): "Horse Racing Song" (William Tell Overture) and "Take A Chance On Me"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Songs From the Brood

One of my most favoritest people had her baby boy last night! This reminded me of songs I used to sing to my babies:

"...There's a shadow hanging under me, I'm twice the woman that I used to be, Oh I believe in pregnancy."

Dat Da-Da Da-Da Dat-Da, Dat Da-Da Da-Da Da, Dat Da-Da Da-Da Dat-Da... "Formula!"

"Shake your bootie, shake your bootie, shake your mitten, shake your mitten, shake your bonnet, shake your bonnet"

"One way, or another, I'm gonna find ya, I'm gonna gitchee-gitchee-gitchee-gitchee!" : )

Safety Note: You don't actually shake their head when you say "shake your bonnet", you just ruffle it gently. ; )

Monday, March 31, 2008

Skating Away

We went roller skating again. It was like "America's Funniest Home Videos: Live on Stage".

Mashup I am not going to make: "Stairway to Heaven" and "Sleepy Jean"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Everything Bad is Good Again 2

46 words

I took this typing test last week via Sunflower Roots.

I wasn't too proud of it last week. All my efforts with report design, mail merges, MS Query, etc. have paid off and ruined my typing skills. I'm fast enough to impress my kids but they like all my stupid mom tricks like writing antidisestablishmentarianism in backwards cursive. Or reeling off the alphabet backwards. Yes, backwards is super impressive!

But actually, this revelation about my typing speed has helped me. Every time I've been tempted to "just enter this real quick", I've remembered "You're not that quick, give it to someone else." Awesome. Work for others, more time for my own job.

Just don't test me on ten-key. Please.

Superpower of Marginal Utility: Speeding up time.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What? Free's not a good business model?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Posture Chamber

Last night I saw Penn Jillette (the big, talking, pony-tailed one from Penn & Teller) on Dancing With the Stars. During his practice they made him wear this yoke called a posture bar around his shoulders so he would stand up straight and hold his shoulders back. It was pretty small and he was clearly very uncomfortable. In a funny moment in rehearsal, he leaned up against the dance barre and tore it right off the wall. Then he put it over his shoulders and said something like "Now here's a posture bar that's big enough for me!"

When they did the performance, his shoulders were back but he looked really stiff. The judges said he really needed to work on his footwork. I told my husband, "They spent all that time trying to straighten out his shoulders and they finally got them straight but what did it help?"

At a certain point you have to say, "You know, I don't think the straight shoulder thing is going to work with you. We gave it a shot but... What could we do with you instead? Could we use your wacky charisma and have you do jitterbug jazz-hands all the way through?"

People can end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there they are. They don't have "this" but they have "that". And that can get the job done anyway.

If it must be done, turn the screwdriver over and pound.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Believe It Or Not" and "You're Gonna Love Me"

P.S. One of my kids' favorite movies, Blast From the Past, has a really awesome dance scene.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

B-Day Boy!

He's eleven.

Friday, March 21, 2008

40 Hours Per Week, Babycakes

My husband's back to work after a month and a half laid off! Whoo-hoo!

(I don't know if it was nationwide, but there used to be an appliance commercial: "50 watts per channel, babycakes")

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure

My friend said, "Did you choose to have a good day or bad day today?" The rest of us said, "You get to choose?" : )

To have a good day, you had to have gotten a good night's sleep, eaten decent food, brushed your teeth, done your laundry, gone to school and learned how to do things, paid your electric bill, gassed up the car, set the alarm clock.... There's quite a lot that goes into a good day.

Run into the guardrail, say a few choice words to your boss, to your spouse... Having a bad day is easy!

Mashup I am not going to make: "Different Drum" and "Last Stop: This Town"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sweet Little Lies

I had to wear a rare green dress today because I wore my other green outfit last week. (And I'm dorky enough to dress for holidays.) But this dress is so ugly I've only worn it once before.

Anyway, I came out of the bathroom and my boys both said. "You got a new dress. You look pretty." "Yeah, you look pretty."

Ladies of the future, you can thank me later! : )

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cool Tools

Here are three apps that are handy and interesting:

Google Desktop: A program that runs in the background and indexes the files on your computer so you can search it just like the web. It indexes files, web browsing and emails.
Why you might like it: It's helpful for finding things like words in files, things you remember you read but not where. It's much faster than Windows search. It's useful as a timeline. You can tell exactly how long you worked on what. It's an easy way to keep track of the kids activities online. Why it might be annoying: It can slow down an old computer. It's not good at searching for numbers. You can download it here.

Bloglines: A website that tracks feeds of blogs or any site with an RSS feed. Why you might like it: It's handy for seeing at a glance which blogs you follow have new posts, so you don't have to go to them every day to see if there's anything new. Why it might be annoying: Some sites post multiple times a day and it can get out of hand. You can check it out here. A social-networking website where you can store your links. Why you might like it: You can add tags to your links to categorize them easily. You can see other users who have saved the same links and view their links to see what else they've got. You can add other users to your network to create a whole network of interesting people to share links with. Why it might be annoying: It's addicting! You can sign up here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Last night I had dinner with 2 members of my old band, because our drummer was visiting from Portland, Oregon. She made a MySpace page where you can download our music for free! Someone once asked me if we meant to be funny or meant to be good. We couldn't decide.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Seem to Have Lost Swann's Way

Proust has come up a lot in the last few weeks... In an Oscar-related radio review about the music from Ratatouille... In Sue from Sunflower Roots post about drinking and not drinking coffee and the reason behind it.

Robin Cook's name came up the other day in a discussion about mystery authors. And I remembered I'd read "Coma" when I was 9 or 10.

As soon as I read about the coffee incident I thought to myself, "That's why you can't stand scary books and movies, you read "Coma" when you were a kid." Because I was too old for my " I Can Read Books" and it was in the decorative Coca-Cola crate full of books my mom didn't take with her.

So I looked for the Proust book, which I barely began. I remember thinking after the first few pages, "So this guy is stuck in his bed, thinking about stuff. Yeah, this is going places..."
And now the book is gone.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Simply the Best" and "What Are Words For?"

Monday, March 3, 2008


Saw another Coca-Cola truck this morning. On the wet, grey road with the sun's glare so harsh it turns the colors black and white again... totally different.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Couldn't sleep in for worrying about stupid things, like this...

See the video of the JC Penney commercial, about 17 seconds in, a girl steps into a large cake as everyone applauds. Why? Why is her mom not doing sommersaults through the air to stop this?

Okay, it's just a commercial, but still. They supraliminally turned me off. Is this typical "American Living"? Indulgent wastefulness? In this economy? Some extreme Antoinette-zi, "No cake for you!" What will the world think if they see this?

I'm glad I got up and looked into it. Cake-stepping is an international problem.

But it's okay for babies. : )

Now I can go sleep for another hour. Good morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Found this card last night with jokes Z wrote for the talent show and got his permission to post them here:

"I wish Isaac Newton hadn't discovered gravity... Wouldn't it be more fun to just float around in space?

Actually Isaac Newton didn't discover gravity. The first one that discovered it was... A ROCK! 'Help! I'm falling! I'm falling!'

I don't understand how there can be gravity on other planets... They don't have apples."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snowy Days Ices

The husband and the boys got a snow day. Hope they have fun! I got a shoveled driveway and practically door-man service from my little one who carried my lunch, my purse and even opened my car door. : )

As I was pulling out onto my local main road, the trees looked like the were practically made of snow. I waited for my spot among the dozen cars, and what should I see when I turn my head, but a Coca-Cola truck. I'm not sure why it looked so beautiful, or made me so happy.