Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A conversation from last week that still makes me laugh

HIM: Now tell me again where you're going?

ME: I'm going to a cookie exchange.

HIM: What exactly is a cookie exchange?

ME: Well, dear, as the name implies, everyone shows up with cookies, and we exchange them with each other. You know, a cookie EXCHANGE?

HIM: So, does that mean you'll be bringing other people's cookies home with you?

ME: That is the general idea.

HIM: Why would I want to eat anyone else's cookies? That's like having an affair with a really ugly woman.

[By the way, he did end up eating other people's cookies. Should I be on the lookout for an ugly girlfriend now?]

Monday, December 29, 2008

The 13-day hiatus comes to an end

Oh, hello there little blog. My, how I've missed you. Is anyone still here? Anyone? Anyone?

I am sorry to have been away for so long, but for the first time in several long months, I have actually had a husband around.

While for most of you this is an everyday occurrence -- in my world, it is not. It is a rare treat, and one which I have enjoyed to the fullest. We have spent every waking second together for the last two weeks. And guess what we discovered? We actually like each other.

I know, right?

While the Husband is not heading back to work just yet, I am finally ready to return to you, my other true love.

I'm kidding.

You know my other true love will always be Mr. Darcy.

Anyhoo, semi-regular posting will resume shortly. That is, if any of you are left to read the drivel that gets churned out here at Stie's Thoughts.

And sadly, taking a hiatus doesn't make me any funnier. I apologize in advance for the disappointment. But dang, it feels good to be back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My love affair with the mailbox

One of my favorite things about the month of December is the good mail.

- The samplings so far this year -

Instead of the usual bills, home refinance offers, bills, realtor advertisements, and bills (did I mention the bills?), my mailbox brings me love in card form.

As I have said in the past, I love to send them. But I love even more to receive them.

I savor that half-hour after the mail comes, reading each card over and over. I study the pictures of long lost friends. I smile, as I notice just how much their kids have grown since last year. I read the Christmas letters. Yes, every. single. word.

I love them.

But I had to laugh when the mailbox yielded a few unexpected cards this year:
Looks innocent enough, right? When you open the inside, you see this:

Yes, our trash man left us a card this year.

How nice of him. Now when I see him dumping our gigantic piles of waste into the garbage truck, I will feel just a tad bit guilty. I'll think, "Sorry, Terron, for the gigantic piles of waste." Instead of my usual thought of, "Oh, there's the trash man."

I hate feeling guilty.

The other card that made me laugh came from some of the Husband's closest, best, and most special friends. The outside looked like this:

And the inside looked like this:

You know you are traveling WAY too much when one of the many hotels you frequent sends you a Christmas card.

And what's worse? He actually knows most of the people who signed it. Me thinks it might be time to stay home for a while. Get to know some of the actual people who live in Missouri.


How about you, internets? Gotten any unexpected cards in the post this year?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rock star

This chick has serious 80s rock star hair every morning at the breakfast table. It goes well with her nightly concoction of mismatched pajamas and a summer swim dress -- which is best worn over the jammies. I mean, duh. How else would one wear a swim dress in the middle of winter while one is sleeping?

I have given up creative control when it comes to her wardrobe, and that includes the night time. She is far too stubborn for me to ever win anyway, and I decided I would save that battle for another day. Like if she ever tries to peg her jeans and wear her bangs straight up, six inches higher than her forehead.

Which I totally know is going to happen someday. That kind of bad stuff has a way of repeating itself.

She is definitely not a morning person (wonder where she gets that from?), and usually spends a good half hour in silence, with a look on her face like this one:

Don't worry, girlfriend. I can totally relate.

But eventually she warms up to us, and starts talking. Once the talking starts, it doesn't stop until her tiny head hits the pillow at night. Which is where the hair magic happens all over again.

Dang, I love this little girl something fierce.

Still, she will probably kill me when she sees these pictures.

And if that happens, remind the Husband that I forbid him from ever marrying anyone who doesn't outweigh me by at least double.

And no, dear husband, I do not weigh a mere 55 pounds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why he may now always request to sit by old, ugly, very large men

Last night, the Husband got home from a business trip. He had a funny little experience on the plane, and I feel that I must share it with you here, in the event that any of your loved ones travel, and could benefit from this valuable lesson.

Due to the high frequency of the Husband's business trips, he is one of those annoying people in the "more special than you/able to sit in the front of the plane/and board early" group. If there is room, he is automatically upgraded to first class. He has a special waiting room at the airport which has comfortable seating, drinks, snacks, and free WiFi.

I know. I never even knew that room existed, nor have I seen the inside of it.

Anyway, he was seated semi-comfortably in coach on a completely full flight. There were two empty seats left on the plane, and one of them was next to him.

Two people were in the aisles, heading to the last two seats. One of them looked like this:

And one of them looked like this:

He swears that merely for the comfort factor, he was silently praying for the attractive woman to have the seat next to his.

Yeah, right. On what planet are we expected to believe that one, Husband? Pffftt, puhhleease.

As [my] luck would have it, the woman was NOT seated next to him, and proceeded to take her seat a few rows back. The male passenger squeezed into the middle seat, right next to the Husband.

Within 30 minutes of take-off, there was a loud retching sound heard a few rows back. Further investigation revealed that the attractive woman had gotten sick mid-flight and thrown up ALL OVER EVERYONE in her row.

Let me repeat that in case you're not clear.


And had the Husband gotten his secret wish, she would have puked all over him, his laptop, and any remaining shred of his manhood.

And so, let that be a lesson to you, dear Husband. Sitting by attractive women on your flights will only result in BAD things.

VERY, VERY bad things. 'Nuff said.

I just love it when life lessons are handed out in neat little packages like that, don't you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Last week, my friend Annie did a post in which she revisited the ghosts of Christmas past -- in card form. It was so fun to walk down memory lane with her.

And since there are no gorgeous, half-nekkid, singing men to post about today, I thought I'd take you on a walk down our family's memory lane. On seeing these old cards, I found myself full of emotion. Some of them made me laugh, and some made me cringe. But most of them simply made me smile, and I caught myself wiping a tear or two away, as I wistfully noticed just how big my babies have gotten lately.

First up is our Christmas card from 1999. In this picture, McKay was about 21 months old, and Chase was probably two months old. The Husband traveled out of town every week, Monday through Friday, for a year-and-a-half during this period of time. It was tough. It was definitely the first test of my independence as a wife and mother.

I must have fared rather well, as he is still traveling up a storm today, and I don't find it nearly as hard.

Please note that a child ABSOLUTELY had to be placed in front of my body, as I was not yet recovered from the pregnancy weight gain and looked like a bloated cream puff, held up by thighs the size of tree trunks.

I also had really bad hair. Kind of like right now.

The next card is from 2000. This photo was actually taken in Seattle, right before we moved to Boston. McKay was two, and Chase was not yet one. This angelic photo was just weeks before THE INCIDENT. Oh, if we only could travel back in time. What we'd tell ourselves, no?

And, at this time, I was still quite the porker, and couldn't risk long-distance friends and family seeing that.

Just in time for Christmas of 2001, I was five months pregnant with Hannah. That fact alone explains away the absence of a family picture. Do you sense a theme here? [Quit judging. You know you do it, too.]

This was also our way of announcing the impending arrival:

[Please note her due date. Her actual birthday is April 25th. Why couldn't my babies be born on-time? WHY? Was that simple request too much to ask? UGH.]

In 2002, I was finally part of the picture again. Not because I was trim and slim, but because it had been so many years, and I worried people would think I had run off with the mailman.

Which, I'll be honest, I considered at times. Having three kids in four years will do that to you.

Skipping ahead to 2005. Here, we sent our first "top ten list." I kept a journal handy and wrote down funny things the kids said throughout the year, and we had them printed on the inside of our card.

It's become a tradition we still do today. The funniness factor, I think, was maxed out two years ago, in 2006, when some of our top ten items were:

"Dad, if you get pulled over one more time, you're getting a van." (Chase)

"But I just can't find a man to fall in love with." (Hannah)
"The directions don't tell you a damn thing!" (McKay)
"Be a peacemaker or I will stab you." (Chase)
"You should never get mad at me because I am so pretty." (Hannah)

Yeah, we'll totally never top that. Best top ten list ever.

So stay tuned next week, internets, and I'll post our card from this year. I just mailed my last big stack today, and I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn't gotten theirs.

Play along, won't you? Let's see some of your Christmas card ghosts.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In which his words come back to haunt him, beat him, and kick him where it counts

Today we were driving to church, and the familiar banter between siblings filled the air. Elbows were dug jovially into rib cages. Treasures were held out just slightly farther than little hands could reach. Shoving ensued, and was promptly followed by the unavoidable, yet completely annoying, tattle.


All this before we were even out of our neighborhood.

So, in an attempt to find a little peace in my heart on the sabbath, I put on a CD, and declared that the car was now a talking-free zone. The Husband raised his eyebrows quizzically when the opening number of Joseph filled the air.

I shrugged my shoulders, and proceeded to lose myself in Donny's melodic, "Any Dream Will Do."

Then, in a flash of brilliance, I announced that we would be watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tonight for family night.

Groans immediately filled the air.

[And they all came from the Husband.]

His protests were naturally matched by those of his boys. I was preparing to dig in my heels for battle, when suddenly, from the back seat, a tiny little girl voice spoke up.

"But, Dad, aren't we supposed to be flexible and try new things?"

His very words to them less than 12 hours before, when a plate of foreign-looking food was placed in front of them, had now come back to haunt him. I smiled sweetly, awaiting his reply.

I'm pretty sure that grunt and roll of the eyes was his surrender.

And so tonight we all watched Joseph. Two of us loved it; three of us didn't. Any guesses who loved it?

Although, how anyone could not love this is beyond me:

[Note to self: Must stop posting pictures of half-nekkid men on the blog. Eh, maybe tomorrow. This is just too delicious. And it's about the Bible, after all. How wrong can that be?]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Having my cake and eating it, too

On a post I wrote a few days ago, Calibosmom left me a comment that really got me thinking.

She wondered if it would be possible to have James Bond AND the chocolate cake together in one place.

I figured that was the epitome of having your cake and eating it, too. Which I am most fond of in any way, shape, or form.

So, I rolled over and asked James what he thought. This was his response:

Which we did.

After we burned down a hotel in the desert, and saved the water supply for Bolivian villages everywhere, of course. We spent a lovely few weeks on his yacht and private island together. He had called in sick to his boss, M, which basically left the entire world unprotected.

I didn't mind, though.

Because, as James said, I was looking a little too thin. What with four days of thanksgiving food fully packed with butter and sugar. I needed some tending to, you know, me practically wasting away and all.

But, alas, I had to leave James and go on a series of press junkets for my other movie.

Yes, it's been a busy year for the little Stie.
I know a lot of you didn't like it. But hopefully the next ones will be better for you. We're hoping to have a lot more money this time, and actually be able to pay someone to do our makeup. We had to do a bit of it ourselves, as you can see. But it's been great to be here with Edward. He doesn't like to let me leave his side for a moment. If I'm not right there with him, he sneaks into my bedroom at night and watches me sleep.

Which is not at all creepy. Or stalkerish.

Finally, after all my press conferences, interviews, and parties were over, I flew home to be with my one and only true love:

He missed me a lot.

Don't we make a handsome couple?

We get that all the time.

I know you're totally jealous. Don't be stealing my imaginary boyfriends now. As you can clearly see, they belong to me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to lose the Christmas spirit (before you've even really gotten it yet)

Step one: Annoy your husband by demanding he haul the extra large, extra heavy tree box up from the basement. Annoy him further when you ask in your nicest wifely voice if he will also bring up the two large bins of ornaments/decorations. Ignore his grunts and grumbles and be glad he is so strong.

Step two: Turn on the Christmas music that you burned onto your oldest son's i-pod (as your i-pod has recently died a slow and painful death). Smile sweetly when he complains about this. Think of his painfully difficult birth that was done without the use of an epidural, and decide he owes you this, at the very least.

Step three: Untangle multiple balls of mangled lights that you could have sworn were rolled neatly last January. Begin hanging the untangled lights on the tree.

Step four: Finish hanging the lights, go to plug them in, and realize (to your horror) that half of them are burned out. Begin searching for the bulbs that are burned out and suddenly realize you cannot see things up close. Wonder exactly when that happened, and blame it on your recent 35th birthday. Make a mental note to start shopping for cute bifocals. [Wonder briefly if that is an oxymoron.]

Step five: Give up searching for burned-out bulbs and remove all lights from the tree. Test another tangled ball of lights to make sure it works before hanging it on the tree. When lights appear, hang the second tangled ball of lights. Go to plug them in (and realize AGAIN to your horror) that half of them are burned out. Wonder exactly why the universe hates you. Decide you hate the universe, too.

Step six: Try hard not to lose heart, in spite of the universe hating you. Grab your purse, and head to Target for replacement lights. Sing loudly in the car on the way there. Be proud of yourself and your unusually positive attitude in a situation like this.

Step seven: Get home and call madly for the children to come back and help with the tree. Realize they have lost interest. Pull new lights out of the plastic Target bag and realize (TO YOUR SHOCK, HORROR, and SHEER FRUSTRATION) that you have purchased lights with white wiring, which will not look too good on your green tree. Momentarily consider hanging yourself with them.

Step eight: Decide against suicide, grab your purse, and head BACK to Target. Say lots of four-letter words out loud in the car instead of singing. Return white-wired lights and pick up new boxes of green-wired lights. Stand in line and try not to throw things at people in front of you.

Step nine: Come home yet again. Ignore the children who could now care less about the tree decorating. Silently curse that annoying Christmas music in the background. Hang the damn lights on the damn tree.

Step ten: Start hanging ornaments and have the children suddenly take an interest in the tree decorating.

Step eleven: Find your ice-cold heart of stone slowly melting. Finish decorating the tree. Stand back, sigh, and be mildly grateful for the season.

Step twelve: Angrily throw old lights into the trash. Vow to buy new lights next year before beginning this process. Turn off the lights on the tree. Go to bed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How I spent my Thanksgiving vacation: By Stie

Oh, hello there. Did you think I had forgotten you?

I haven't.

I was just extra busy hosting a turkey dinner, watching my sister-in-law repeatedly clean up after seven children (three of which were mine), and making time to stuff myself silly with about 19,459 calories in three days.

It was a most excellent Thanksgiving weekend, to say the least. I was able to spend time with some of my favorite people.

People like them (even if they were cheesy, poorly budgeted, and over-the-top at times):

I also got to spend time with extra hot people like HIM (who I really wanted some alone time with, I'll be honest):But even better than that, was the time I spent with people like them:

People like them:

And let's not forget people like them, who I love most of all:

Not only was my life richly filled with those that I love, but my belly was full of food that I love. Food like this:
And our favorite gut-busting Thanksgiving tradition, food like this:

There was a lot of card game playing (with some cheating, cough*Opa*cough), hotel swimming, and late night laughing. There was very little sleeping done, but nobody seemed to mind.

It was so great to be surrounded by family, good food, and fun. We hope they will all come back again soon (especially that Daniel Craig. He's welcome to come any time).

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Her inability to love and appreciate herself fully

I just got a call from a friend who had been helping out with the first grade thanksgiving party at the school.

She had been sitting with a group of children doing an activity, and Hannah was part of her group. The children were taking turns sharing things they were thankful for.

Some were thankful for their families. Some were thankful for their homes. One or two kids were even thankful for school.

It came time for Hannah to share something she was thankful for. Guess what my sweet, selfless girl said?

"I am thankful for myself."

Um, yeah.

Healthy self-esteem, anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Teepee Cupcakes, revisited

Remember how I made these last year for the cub scouts? I figured I could try and cute them up a little bit for this year, as well as provide you with clearer instructions.

Aren't you excited?

[On a side note, the Husband has been mocking me all day because I have been touting my creativity for inventing these. He does not believe that I came up with them. It is surprising, yes, as I tend to not be all that creative. But these are my one and only contribution to the universe, such as they are.]

Yay me. And yay for you, universe.

So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Mix a cake mix according to the package directions. You will need to get a disposable aluminum baking pan. Turn the pan upside down and poke a few small holes (maybe a half inch wide). Fill your sugar cones two-thirds full of batter and stand them up in the holes in your pan like this:

They tend to topple as the batter rises, so you need to keep an eye on them in the oven. You may have to stick your hand in the hot oven and right the toppled ones. Be very careful when doing this. Hot ovens can burn you.

Stellar instructions, no?

Also, you should put your oven rack on the lowest shelf possible, so as to keep the tops from getting too brown. The bottoms will be very brown, but we will take care of that later on.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until the batter springs back lightly when touched. Remove from the oven and immediately snip off the bottom of the sugar cone (which will now become the top of our teepee). You must do this immediately when the cone is still warm and soft. Otherwise, it will break into pieces.

You can also snip off the cupcake if it's too rounded, ensuring that your teepee will stand flat. The bite you cut off goes in your mouth. Do not skip this step. It's very important. You must not discard those bites. Eat them. Eat them now, dammit.

Then take three pretzel rods and stick them on the top of your teepee. I used bamboo skewers and/or toothpicks last year, but a reader gave me the pretzel rod idea, which I totally like better [thanks, tallkate!]. I also found the whole pretzel to be a little long, so I broke each piece in half before inserting it into top of the teepee.

Your teepees will now look like this:

While they are adorable, they are not quite done. Melt a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir until smooth. Dip the bottom of your teepee in the chocolate like this:

Doing that kind of seals the cupcake in and prevents our friend gravity from pulling it downward. Then roll it in green sprinkles for grass (or autumn leaf sprinkles for leaves), or pink barbie sprinkles, if that's your thing, and so on. I went for the grass and leaves. I'm such a traditionalist, I know:

Take a little of the melted chocolate and pipe around the pretzels to hold them in place (and provide a delicious bit of chocolate pretzel to eat later).

And voila! A happy little Indian village to decorate your table at Thanksgiving.

Any questions?

You're totally welcome, universe.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

God bless the Italian people

If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Boston, be sure and stop in at Mike's Pastry on Hanover Street in the North End. On a Friday or Saturday night, the small pastry shop will be wall-to-wall people. There is no line to stand in, as the clerks there will attest.

Unfortunately, most of the people who go there don't know that. You must boldly push your way through the crowd, shout out your order to a sales clerk behind the counter, and happily ignore the dirty looks when you walk out with your white box tied up in blue string.

All the hassle will be worth it, of this you must trust me. For nowhere else will you find a better cannoli than at Mike's.

Now imagine my delight, when my favorite UPS man (I know, I really must stop referencing that awful story) rang my bell for a package delivery today, and I spied THIS on the outside of the box:

Only good things can come from that box. VERY good things.

And imagine my further delight when I opened up that box to find this:

And this:
The card inside was unsigned, but I suspect the giver of such a fine gift was none other than Christina. Am I right? Was it you?

Christina, who was my best friend growing up, moved to Boston several years ago. It was unfortunate that we had lost touch over the years because we were both living there at the same time and didn't know it. How I would have loved to share one of these with her in person, right there on the street.

Because who can wait until they get to the car to eat something from Mike's?

But today, I will proudly eat one here in my kitchen, raise my cannoli high, and toast to good friends like her.

Oh, and when the Husband comes home tonight, sees the empty box with the Mike's logo on the outside, I'll be sure and tell him it was a recycled box that somebody used to send us, um...well...oatmeal. Yeah, that's it. Oatmeal. Someone sent us oatmeal in a Mike's box. Wasn't that nice?

Definitely not cannolis. And definitely not cannolis that were all eaten by me, right?

Thanks, friend. Love you forever!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Laws of Stie

Our universe has laws which are absolutely indisputable.

Laws that cannot be stopped. Rules that cannot be broken. Our world cannot exist without these laws, such as gravity or motion.

These laws are woven into our very existence and keep life, as we know it, going.

My universe also has a few laws. Rules I am unable to break, even if I wanted to. Thought I'd share them with you:
  1. There is always room for dessert.
  2. Diet coke is to be consumed daily.
  3. Pedicures are best left to the professionals.
  4. When buying something on sale (that you expected to pay full price for), the money saved is a profit and should be spent immediately.
  5. Never go into Walmart without make-up or in sweatpants. (Just because you shop at that store occasionally, does not mean you have to look like it.)
  6. No diet is worth doing unless it allows you to eat chocolate.
  7. Exercise must happen every day. See numbers one and six for questions on this.
  8. Cooking when the Husband is out of town will always consist of pancakes or frozen waffles.
  9. A clean house equals a happy heart and a clear mind.
  10. Bad pictures should be taken every day to ensure at least one good picture now and then.
  11. Spontaneously breaking into song and dance daily will lengthen your lifespan (and embarrass your children, thus doubling its benefit).
  12. At any given time, there should be no less than five good books on your nightstand waiting to be read.
  13. Muddy shoes should NEVER enter the house.
  14. Playing the same music over and over is not at all annoying.
  15. Children should never go to sleep without a kiss on the cheek.
What are the laws of your universe?

Monday, November 17, 2008

I wanna talk about me: the finale

Today, at 8:29 a.m., I turned 35.

I know, did you feel the universe celebrating?

I have had a fabulous day, felt loved and adored, and am pleased to be another year older (though there is no evidence to say I am actually a year wiser. Just ask McKay's teacher).

In honor of this, here are a few things I have learned this past year. May it help you, as it has me:
  • Biggest lesson of the year: Never run up the front stairs without clothes on. Getting caught by the UPS man will be horrifying (though, probably more so for him).
  • A little cookie dough will cure what ails you (unless what ails you is chubby thighs. Then it's the worst thing possible and should be avoided at all costs).
  • When wanting a haircut, it is wise to listen to your husband when he tells you NOT to cut your hair. He will turn out to be right.
  • Road trips are a great way to spend a vacation, and are most fun when children are not dying of the plague and old ladies wear depends, as god intended them to.
  • My husband is a good man who loves me in spite of myself. And I'm kind of partial to him, too.
  • It is still 900 degrees and humid here in the summertime. Apparently, that doesn't change just because I wished for it last year.
  • Money spent on broadway musicals is always money well spent. Shows I've seen this year include: A Chorus Line, The Drowsy Chaperone, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Sweeney Todd. All were excellent. Go see one today.
  • Taking pictures makes me happy, even if I'm no good at it.
  • Living life surrounded by family who loves you and friends who you love is the key to happiness.

So, happy birthday to me. I promise to stop talking about myself now.

At least, for a day or so.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I wanna talk about me: High School Prom Edition

And so we come, dear readers, to the extremely awkward, slightly embarrassing phase of my life: high school.

I have a lot of really fun memories from my high school days.

Sadly, my junior prom was not one of them.

The boy who asked me was a casual friend, and not necessarily someone I was looking to begin a romance with. He seemed nice, and, honestly, I was just plain happy to be going to prom with anyone.

About a week before prom, he invited me to go limo shopping. Score, thought my inexperienced 16-year-old self. A limo! I could hardly wait.

The night of prom arrived. I happily scrunched, moussed, and curled my permy hair. I slipped into my peach Jessica McClintock and pulled on my white tights (with sparkly gems going up the back leg - remember those?). Oh, I was hot stuff. And this Cinderella was ready for the ball.

When the doorbell rang, my heart sank slightly when I looked out and saw that my carriage to the ball looked like this:

My date explained away the absence of a limo with a very implausible, very lengthy story involving lawsuits and limo drivers, none of which made any sense to me. Still, I was hoping to have a good time, and was determined not to let it get me down.

This optimistic feeling lasted all of 6.4 seconds. I watched in horror as he pulled my corsage out of the box and slipped it onto my wrist. It was plastic.

Yes, Mr. Classy got me a corsage with fake flowers.

We doubled with another couple who were making out like crazy before we even got to the restaurant. Dinner consisted of the following: A food fight, spilling of drinks, attempted groping, yelling at the waiter, burping contests, and nose picking (no, Daniel, not by me).

Once we arrived at the dance, I found every excuse to meet my girlfriends in the bathroom for commiseration and lamenting. And being the solid pack of teenage girls that we were, they all happily ignored their dates to comfort me in the ladies room for the bulk of our time there.

And to add another touch of class to the ultra-tacky situation, the fake flowers began to fall off my corsage. Everywhere I went, there was a trail of cheap plastic flowers behind me.

Finally, the dance ended and it was time to go home. My date thought he had earned some post-prom smooching and proceeded to drive to a scenic lookout. The other couple with us was completely horizontal in the backseat.

And at this point, I was having none of that.

I mean, hello? In those days, I needed AT LEAST a real corsage to make out with someone I didn't really like.

So, I told him I wanted to go home. Clearly mad and disappointed, he slammed the car into gear, drove 90 miles an hour, and practically threw me onto the curb at my house.

I slammed the front door behind me, threw the remaining corsage into the trash, and started sobbing. What I had hoped to be a promising night full of memories, turned out to be a disaster.

Lucky for me, my love life has vastly improved since then. True, I may have had to kiss a few frogs along the way (or not kiss them, and totally tick them off), but I did find my prince in the end. And the Husband does not promise limos when he can't deliver, bring plastic corsages, or try to grope me on the dance floor.

(He only tries that at home.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I wanna talk about me, part duh

Olivia Newton John in Xanadu. Ever seen it? For me, that was a defining film of my childhood. Once I saw Miss Olivia bee-bopping around on her skates while singing with her provocative off-the-shoulder dress, I knew I just had to be her.

So, I started skating.

Unfortunately, I'm not the most graceful sort. I have been known to go from standing to falling flat on my face without taking a step. I'm a natural at the ungracefulness, really.

me, all dolled up and ready for yet another surgery, 1988. Nice sun-in hair coloring job, eh?

And so, when I was 10 years old, I fell while practicing my skating moves in front of my parent's house. I knew immediately from the unnatural way my arm was hanging that some serious damage had been done.

Once I convinced my brother Matt and his friend that I wasn't "faking it," [their words] my mother was brought to the scene, and I was rushed to the local emergency room. Surgery was scheduled for the next morning, in spite of my protests and pleadings. Screws and a metal plate were put on the broken bone.

I cried. I hurt. I healed. (Do you like how fast I'm skipping over lots of parts? Don't answer that.)

Anyhoo, Quack number one told my parents they never take the metal plates out of kids' arms.

If only we had known.

Fast forward to me, age 13, ice skating with my best friend Christina's church youth group. My fine skating skills landed me face down on the ice with yet another disturbingly unnatural hang to my arm.

Yes, the same arm.

This time, both bones were broken. Another visit to whatever-doctor-shows-up-at-the-ER, and surgery was scheduled immediately. Unfortunately, as the first doctor had left the previous hardware in, my bone had grown completely around the plate. This doctor had to chip away at the bone in order to remove the plate, before attaching new ones to both broken bones.

Quack number two decided it would be wise to chip out eight inches of bone and insert a four inch plate, causing my arm to actually grow crooked.

I'm not kidding. It was bowed. Like this: (only no arrow sticking out of the flesh. That would have been a little creepy).

It was really gross.

Quack number three was called in a few months later to repair the damage done by quacks one and two. Over the next two years, I had four more surgeries, a bone graft, and months and months of physical therapy. It was traumatic, painful, and should never have happened.

Now, I have three four-inch long scars around my arm, and a one-inch scar on my wrist.

Moral of the story: Get a second opinion. Doctors aren't always what they're 'quacked' up to be.

And, yes, I have accepted that I will never, ever be a skating/singing muse. After all, there really only was one. And she was brilliant.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I wanna talk about ME

In six days, 158 hours, and approximately 9,439 minutes, I will be 27 er, uh 29 -- okay, 35 years old.

I know. I don't look a day over 23. I get that all the time.

So in honor of my fine self, and my upcoming 35th birthday, I thought I'd do a series of posts about myself for all of you.

I know, I'm like the gift that keeps on giving, aren't I?

Any relatives who have actually known me since birth can attest to one, indisputable truth: I was a dork, even as a kid.
Don't let this adorable picture fool you. There was a little devil hiding inside that navy blue jumper and multi-colored plaid blouse.

I was born on a cold day in November (really, are there any other days in November?). I was six pounds and 12 1/2 ounces of pure perfection. The doctor even told my mother to take off all my clothes and study every inch of my perfect, lovely self.

Yes, I was that beautiful.

And no, she doesn't do to me that anymore. That'd be, like, really weird.

Immediately upon my birth, my older brother, Craig, wanted to give me away. Overnight, I had joined his peaceful kingdom, stolen his crown, and turned his legions of adoring fans my way. Sadly, he's never had attention like that since.

Sadly, neither have I, come to think of it.

As a little girl, I was always fascinated by things I was not allowed to do. One particular time, my mom, grandmother, aunt, and I were all shopping together at a downtown mall. I have no doubt that it was the longest shopping trip in my four-year-old history, and my patience was wearing thin. I spied a bubble gum machine and proceeded to beg my mother for a penny.

Yes, you could buy gum for a penny back in the dark ages. As long as you got out of your covered wagon without a dinosaur killing you, you were all right.

What? Shut up. Okay, back to the story.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, that penny was denied me. Frustrated, I sat down near a fountain at the center of the mall, most likely to sulk. I was a good sulker (still am). Much to my excitement, I saw a whole bunch of pennies just sitting on the bottom of the fountain - waiting to be taken. Nay, begging to be taken. As carefully as I could, I reached down to grab one.

Yeah. You know what happens here.

I went tumbling head-first into the ice-cold water. I remember actually coming up out of the water and wondering if I could shake enough water off that my mom wouldn't notice. Unfortunately for me, someone shouted, "A little girl just fell in the fountain!"

Stupid tattle-tale.

An army of women immediately came rushing over, helping me out of the fountain, all while stifling their laughs. As a mother now, I can just imagine my own mother's embarrassment. I mean, who wants to step up and claim the dumb kid that fell into the fountain? Oh, the horrors. No wonder this unfortunate incident happened to me. Stupid karma.

Still, I never did get that bubble gum. But I did get an entire new outfit to wear, and a coloring book from the store. Which is not too shabby, considering all I wanted was a little, itty, bitty gumball.

I would say that I learned a valuable lesson that day- when you don't get what you want, go shopping for a new outfit instead.

It's a lesson that has served me well for many, many years.
Stay tuned for upcoming tales of woe: surgery, bad dates, and surprise happy endings.