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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bigger Really Is Better

I have some exciting news. Seriously - hold on to your hats people, because....

I GOT A NEW PURSE!!!

I know, you're having a hard time containing your excitement. It's always so exciting when someone else gets a new purse. Actually, however, you really should be happy for me because I've been wanting - no, needing one - for a very long time. As in, over a year. I don't know about anyone else out there, but that is a really long time for me in purse-years. (Kind of like dog-years, i.e., one purse year is equal to about seven people years. And seven is really old for a purse).

Anyhow. For at least six months I've been on the lookout for the perfect purse. When I choose a new purse, it must speak to me. I must LOVE it at first sight, and immediately be able to visualize it gracing my arm/shoulder, and enhancing my entire wardrobe.

I love purses.

This time around, I was looking for something smallish. Something with pockets - as I detest the big open holes most purses these days seem to have. I wanted a print, but nothing too light, because I hate purses that show dirt. And I only wanted one strap - because I hate when you have two, and one of them is continually falling off your shoulder. And I'm cheap. Before the lay-off, my purse-budget was has-to-be-under-twenty. Then the layoff happened, and purse-budget turned into pretty-much-non-existent-so-stop-looking-you're-only-torturing-yourself.

Good thing I'm not someone who has unreasonable expectations, isn't it? I'm sure you're amazed I didn't find this perfect purse long ago...

Then the other night it happened. I was going shopping with the girls to buy stuff for the honeymoon basket, and my mom slipped me ten bucks. (Thank you Mom!!!) We walk into Target, and what do you think we see RIGHT in front of us?

PURSES!! CLEARANCE!! 75% OFF!!!!!

We're talking five bucks. Yessssss. Five minutes later I had selected a VERY large, mostly-white-with-a-little-orange-print, two handled, one-pocket number that was totally cute, for FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY-EIGHT CENTS. And despite the fact that it is almost completely opposite of what I thought I was looking for, I love it.

It's amazing what a budget can do for indecisive, hard-to-please people, isn't it?

And I'm serious about the love. Ever since buying it I've been wondering why on earth I ever thought I wanted a smallish purse? I can fit my trench coat in this thing! Can I just say how nice it is too be out running around in a trench, think to yourself, "Gee, I'm getting a little warm in this coat," roll it up, give a shove, and realize it totally fits in your ginormous purse?

And what about this summer? It will totally double as a beach bag. The other day I shoved my water bottle, book, and Miss Two's coat in there with room to spare. Heck, on Sunday I fit my scriptures and TWO lesson manuals in this amazing (and possibly magical) purse.

Do you realize what this means? I can be that mom now - you know, the one who has everything under the sun in her purse at all times. It reminds me of a mother's day card I saw, and wanted to buy for my children to give to me in a decade or two. On the outside (with a pic of a fully loaded mom-purse) it said: Mom, Where ever we were, whatever we needed, you were always prepared...(open card and read)...It might have had a life saver stuck to it, but you had it!

So for now anyway, I'm sold. Who cares about back problems when compared with such convenience? Just today my husband was looking in the new purse for something, and his exact words were, "Geez, this thing is like a five gallon bucket."

But way cuter. (Insert imaginary picture, since I no longer even HAVE a computer to download pictures to). Thanks again mom - you're the BEST!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Because Apparently I'm Helpless

Okay, I need your assistance once more regarding our little bachelorette party. Just so you know, things are coming along swimmingly, and it's bound to be loads of fun. We have our fruity little drinks planned, and I'm building a luscious triple layer chocolate cake with fudge icing especially for the occasion. The guest list is out, the honeymoon basket is bought and half way put together - this party is going to rock.

But about our little mix tape. (CD, whatever). I need some help putting one together. I've just sent an email to the music-mixer master Camille (who really does have the BEST music ever at all times on her blog), but I also thought it couldn't hurt to get suggestions from Blogland at large.

So here I am, asking for suggestions.

First, do we want a romantic "honeymoon" CD, or do we just want an awesome love song CD? And are these two things synonymous?

Second, what songs? She's twenty-seven, so you all should know a song or two that are completely necessary for a CD of this type (that is, the type you all decide I'm making). Please don't leave me alone on this one! I'm counting on everyone out there to give me at least one suggestion - you know you can all come up with at least one song.

And just for the record, I remembered to go to work this morning. Things are looking up. (Although no one gave me any chocolate while I was there...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chocolate--the true cure-all

I just want to say that chocolate really does make you feel better. Truly. Here's my proof:

As you all already know, I am a substitute teacher. High school being the grade level of choice. I'm actually here at work right now, as a matter of fact. I generally work two to five days a week, depending on how bad I need work, and what's available. Currently, my husband is going on week five of being laid off, and the need is high. As in, I-MUST-WORK-AS-MUCH-AS-POSSIBLE high.

But this is a rotten time of year for subbing. There's a week of state testing, then Spring Break, then another week of state testing. This translates into very few sub jobs. So the few that I've managed to get this month - all whopping seven of them - I'm extremely grateful for.

So you'd think I'd have remembered that I was supposed to work this morning. That I'd have written it down somewhere. That I wouldn't be my totally irresponsible, scatter-brained self, and COMPLETELY FORGET THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO MAKE MONEY!

Especially since two days ago our brakes and alternator on the family wagon decided to fail simultaneously. To the tune of over five hundred dollars.

Alas and alack, however, I managed to space it. In my defense, she did schedule me for these days way back in January or February, and I wasn't at home by my calendar when she called. (I know this, because as soon as I got the where-the-heck-are-you call this morning, like a sudden flash it all came back to me). And I will say that in eight years, this is only my third offense. And it was much better than the first time, when I'd taken a call at another high school that morning and was actually working somewhere else. It was even better than the second time, when I was relaxing in the tub when she called. This morning, I was simply changing into my workout clothes, getting ready to sweat away the pounds.

Thankfully I wasn't already sweaty, because it wasn't like I had time for a shower. Heck, I didn't even brush my hair (unless running my fingers through it counts). I grabbed the first pants and shirt I saw lying on the floor of my room, and proceeded to put the world in danger as I applied make-up whilst speeding down the road on the five minute drive to work.

Now, back to chocolate and it's therapeutic properties.

I think I'm stressed. I don't feel stressed - actually I feel just fine. But apparently I'm not. I know this because when I went crawling in to the office to beg forgiveness, I started crying. It was supposed to be one of those ha-ha-at-least-I-wasn't-bathing-or-working-somewhere-else conversations, where we all sit around an mock my ability to function like a responsible adult, but instead I sat down in a chair and felt that awful oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-start-crying-and-I-can-do-nothing-about-it feeling. And then I cried.

On the up-side, it definitely got me forgiven. On the down-side, it was like a little glimpse into the inter-workings of my soul, and I can no longer pretend that I'm perfectly alright, and completely non-stressed. Frankly, I suddenly felt rather horrid.

And then the other secretary offered me chocolate. Well, actually, I asked if I could help myself to her candy jar - sensing that sugar was a vital need at the moment - and she offered me some of her personal stash. The wonderful angel gave me TWO Lindor's Truffles. And as I popped the first one into my mouth and tasted all that nice, sweet, creamy chocolate - I FELT INSTANTLY BETTER! Truly, I did. It was actually kind of amazing.

So my tip for the day, is to make sure there's some kind of really good chocolate in your emergency supplies, because in the wake of some disaster, you just might need the feel-good boost that comes with good chocolate.

Do you think she'd give me one more if I went back down and begged?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bitterness of Hell

Sorry to disappoint, but I am not Jenny, I am Annie (hence the melodramatic title of today's post). As for her absence, it's nothing personal, if she could I am sure Jen would be here right now, clicking keys faster than smoke to get one of her fantastically funny posts out to the blogosphere for all to enjoy.

But alas, Jen's dead. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. Her power cord is dead (and possibly her computer, but the jury's still out on that one). Considering her current budget, it will either be a short period or a long period before she's got her laptop up and running, we're not sure which (again with the absent jury).

But don't you think for one second that she's not going to be blogging, no sirree. She will be here just as much as ever--or as often as she can run to Mother's house and escape her four children (who I will not name at this time because she's afraid one of you pregnant ladies might steal her names and then the entire planet will be littered with American children with Irish names--ten points to anyone who can guess them).

And so I give my solemn oath as a Sister of Jen's Jingle that I will do everything in my power to ensure that she posts really funny stuff on a regular basis--despite her computer's uncooperative nature.

And if she doesn't you can always come visit me here. What? Like I would waste precious minutes of Junie's nap to post on her blog without any compensation? Come on, you know me better than that...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Put On Your Thinking Caps, I Need Your Brain...

So my babysitter Harmony is getting married. This would be the woman who brings her own two children (boys, ages five and three) to my house in the mornings, so that little Miss Two and C can get up at their leisure, and at least be at their own house - if not with their own mother - on the days Grandma is unavailable.

They love her. When I come home, Miss Two clings like a clinging vine (movie anyone?) to Harmony, and will have nothing to do with me. As in, her mother. The one who gave of my own blood and sustenance for nine months to bring her into this world.

The little rat. (Said with great affection, of course)

But aside from the ungrateful aspect of my two year old, just think what this says about my babysitter. One morning I had the audacity to be home, and when I went up to get Miss Two out of her crib (which Harmony does when she's here, since the child sleeps in till nine or ten), I walked in and saw her great big smile turn into a scowl as she yelled at me - "You're not Harny!" (throwing herself back into her bed, and using that whiny-cry-baby voice only a two year old can really master) "I WANT HARNY! NOT YOU!"

Nice. I mean, really it is. If you have to leave your children with someone, you do want them to love their caregiver - although I think MT is overdoing it just a tad...

But anyway, back to the topic at hand. Harmony is getting married. As you may have guessed due to the fact that she already has children, Harmony has been married before. She's been alone for awhile, and has recently found a fabulous guy, and on May 2, they're getting hitched.

And a couple girls and I are throwing her a shower.

Only other than the fact that there will be gifts, we don't want it to be a regular shower. We want it to be a bachelorette/girls night shower. In other words, we want it to different than her just-got-off-the-mission/blushes-at-lingerie shower.

So now I'm turning to all of you super-fun, creative women, because I need some fun (yet clean and appropriate enough for my mother) game ideas. After all, at a bachelorette/girls' night, you can't be making wedding dresses out of toilet paper. This has to be good. (And very unlike the one actual {non-LDS} bachelorette party I attended where they did some rather inappropriate things just before getting wasted on tequila shots. That is NOT what I'm looking for).

So if any of you have any brilliant ideas for me, (or you can't think of anything, but want to console me regarding my daughter's Benedict Arnold tendencies), just leave them in the comment box. Or email me. Or call me (if your privileged enough to have my number). And don't worry, Harmony doesn't read my blog, so there's no need to worry about spoilers.

I'm looking forward to what all you fun ladies will come up with - so don't disappoint me!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The First Frightening Signs of What's to Come...

So I had this conversation with my ten year old today:

Me: (looking admiringly at his handsome-cuteness) L, you're a good looking kid.

L: ("Awww shucks" expression)

Me: No, you really are. Do you know you're nice looking?

L: Not really.

(about twenty seconds of silence)

L: Mom, there's something I have to tell you. But I don't know how to say it.

Me: What?

L: Well, it happened a couple of weeks ago.

Me: And...

L: (getting close to my ear and whispering, even though no one was around) This girl asked me out.

Me: What! Who? What's her name? (the hussy, I silently think to myself)

L: Uh, (thinks for a second) I don't know.

Me: Well what did you say?

L: (with an appropriately shocked and horrified look on his face) NO! I said "Sorry, I can't have a girlfriend till I'm sixteen," what do you think I'd say?!

Isn't he a good son? Just look at him -






Any girl would want him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Desperate Moments Call For Desperate Measures

I've had it. Enough is enough. My new motto is just say no - to chocolate/birthday-cake/pie/chips/and everything else I've been eating with reckless abandon. And to prove how serious I actually am, I would like to make an announcement:

I HAVE STARTED EXERCISING.

As in this morning. And it's for real this time, too - as opposed to all those other times I've threatened to begin a workout regimen, only to give it up after a week or two. You may doubt me, you may wonder why I think this time will be any different from the last several attempts, but I can assure you it is. I know. I can feel it.

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You go along stuffing your face, laying around, taking a long bath, sleeping in, reading a book, or blogging with those few precious moments of personal time you get everyday. Meanwhile, you feel your muscles atrophying, your clothes get a little tighter, and you move from your cute, I-can-wear-everything-in-my-closet wardrobe, to the irritating, and much more limited I-can-only-wear-these-few-items-strategically-put-together-in-certain-ways-to-hide-the-fat-around-the-middle-that's-been-accumulating-since-Christmas wardrobe.

It's so irritating.

And if those of you who know me are tempted to leave a comment saying how I don't look any different to you, you're forgetting one important detail:

I'M ONLY WEARING A FEW ITEMS STRATEGICALLY PUT TOGETHER TO HIDE THE EXCESS FAT AROUND THE MIDDLE THAT HAS BEEN ACCUMULATING SINCE CHRISTMAS!!!!

And you want to hear the sad part? A couple more pounds and I won't be able to hide it. My secret will be out, everyone will know.

So, back to how I know this time is different. Once I go through all of the above, (and once I realize just how close swimsuit season actually is), I start having thoughts. These thoughts remind me of the time in fourth grade when my friend Miriam and jumped on my bed while eating out of a box of Grapenuts. Have you ever had Grapenuts in your bed? It's very uncomfortable. Like my thoughts. Thoughts like, "So what if I never do get back into those clothes?" and "If I never work out ever again, will I still be able to make it up the stairs when I'm fifty?" and "Just how far down my leg can my buttocks fall?"

These thoughts make me feel squirmy. They bother me. Apparently, they drive me straight toward the drawer where I keep my amazing library of workout tapes. (And yes, I said tapes. As in VHS. There are several DVD's in there as well, but somehow in my moments of desperation it always goes back to the tapes).

At first, I only think about it. I start thinking about how good it actually feels to have leg muscles. And about how nice it would be to get my backside back up where it belongs.

Then I start thinking about how I really don't like the answers to any of those Grape-nuts-in-the-bed questions, and I take a few pathetic stabs at working out. You know, the ones where you aren't really working out, but you kind of hope it will be enough anyway? But it isn't, so it doesn't work, and you give up a week or two later feeling discouraged?

Then something like Easter comes around, and I'm slapped in the face by my complete and total lack of control. Seriously. It didn't help that L and N both had birthday parties, and after L's I sat down and ate an entire bag of Doritos. And that was after the cake, the pizza, and the bowl of BBQ potato chips. I can't even talk about Easter - or that bag of Reese's PBCups I bought for "the kids".

And so it's begun. The official I'm-excited-to-work-out-and-feel-immediately-panicky-if-I-don't feeling has arrived. And it comes with an important little perk I always forget about - I'm just lazy enough that I can't stand to eat junk after sweating and suffering along with some over-zealous work out Diva.

I ACTUALLY PASSED UP M'S FORGOTTEN CHOCOLATE EASTER BUNNY THIS MORNING! THIS IS HUGE!

And so I'm off. I'm back in control, I'm exercising, and I'm headed back to all those cute clothes hanging in my closet. Okay, I lied. I have no closet. Most of these clothes are strategically "draped" around my room. Sad, isn't it? But I'll be wearing them, and that's the important part.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reality Bites

Hi, remember me? I'm the one who spent last week avoiding reality, partying with my sister, and doing some wild road-tripping across the fruited plains (and mountains of ice) of the land known as Wash-Ida-ta.

Reality's returned, and it's such a letdown.

Unfortunately, in the days before my (thankfully FREE) trip, my husband joined the ranks of the unemployed. In the carpenters union, becoming unemployed is a normal thing. Staying that way for any length of time, however, is not necessarily so normal. Unfortunately, we have reason to believe this could be an extended situation.

Which makes me desperate. Desperate enough to subject myself to the sixth grade two days in a row. Do you have any idea how desperate this is?

As a sub, I am used to high school. And the kids who are in high school classes. Kids who can sit quietly for extended periods of time being productive, and contributing to the learning environment with little to no help from me. There are exceptions, of course, but in the last seven years I have had few problems with 9th-12th graders. I like them, they like me, we're like one big happy family.

Sixth grade, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I like them - individually. Collectively, they kind of drive me nuts. They cannot be quiet for more than a few minutes. They cannot be allowed to talk without it erupting into chaos. They need help with everything.

Subbing in sixth grade is like having a real job. This is not what I signed up for.

Here's an example: When dealing with sixth graders, you cannot simply tell the class to quiet down and expect it to be immediately effective. Instead, you get something like this:

Me: Hey! You guys need to quiet down and get back to work. (generally aimed at one specific group of kids)

Kid in group - Yeah, be quiet!

Kid a few seats down - Would you guys shut-up!

Kid a few more seats down - Geez! Could everyone just be quiet already?!?

Kid across the room - Hey! She said to be quiet! Can't you guys listen?

Me - (Slowly going insane as this rebounds all. around. the room.)

And this lovely chain-reaction is set off continually. My favorite ones are when you're dealing with the I-love-attention-and-being-class-clown-because-I'm-eleven-and-proud-of-my-obnoxiousness-and-don't-know-when-to-quit sixth grader, and you tell them to settle down after they've made their little buddy laugh. Instead of be-quiet's, you get it's-not-funny's accompanied by a room full of giggles.

Did I mention headaches? Because you get those too.

Under normal life circumstances, I politely decline these jobs, and wait for something better. (i.e., older) (The elementary secretary stopped calling me years ago, and I'm not desperate enough {yet} to re-open that door). With our current situation, however, I just need to work as many days a week as possible. If that means the sixth grade, so be it.

I just won't be getting any books read.

And I'll use up all my patience reserves on them, and my family will pay. But at least we'll have food, right? (It's important I keep these important details in mind. It makes future forays into grade six a tad easier to deal with) (Emphasis on the word tad).

And I can't blog at the middle school either, so we may not be seeing as much of each other for a while. Try to deal with it as best you can - I won't mock your tears. (I'll be crying my own).

PS - FYI, that little link up there will take you to my sister's photographic montage of our crazy week. So right after you leave me that comment (the one I desperately need for my morale), you should go check it out and see what kind of a nutcase I have for a sibling...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Was Gone, I've Returned, and I've Been Nominated. The Timing Couldn't Be Worse.

We left Utah at midnight.

There was more snow. And ice.

Along the way, I learned that my sweet little two year old cannot sleep in the car if it's dark. (Which totally defeated our purposes, btw).

Four out of five kids (all under age 9, for those of you who missed the trip down) were sick. Fevers, and a case of pneumonia including a hideous, blood-vessel breaking cough. We spent the entire trip dosing out meds to keep everyone happy.

We made the twelve-hour trip in a mere fifteen hours - as opposed to the eighteen and a half it took to get there. Can I get a Woot-WOOT for progress???!!!!

And now, I'm tired. VERY tired. Way too tired to write a funny, noteworthy post for all the lovely readers coming to visit from MMB. I finally get nominated for something, and have no time/energy to take advantage of it. For the last two days, I've had a total of ten minutes on a computer. To make up for it, here's a few things from the bin that will hopefully give you a chuckle, and make your trip over here worthwhile: My Near Death Experience, Fat-Around-the-Middle, and Doing the Shuffle.

If something in there makes you chuckle, hopefully it will have been worth the visit. If not, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you.

Peace Out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hidden Dangers of the Tom Tom

Tom Tom's and every other brand of GPS thingies, may sound like a great idea to the rest of you, but I have a public safety announcement regarding the hidden dangers of putting these navigational tools into the wrong hands.

Hands like mine. Who don't know their left from their right.

Please, no lectures. No telling me that if I'll just hold up my thumb and first finger the one that makes the "L" is Left. And PLEASE don't tell me it's easy, and that I should just think of which hand I write with, or remember that the driver is on the left. If these things were that "easy" I would not have a problem.

And neither would my old Driver's Ed instructor, who was forever saying "Go left. No, you're other left."

I do want to say, however, that I am not to blame. I think it's genetic. I'm sure of it. My mother, you see, has the same exact problem - as does my sister Annie. (Except she fell off a horse when she was four and has a crooked right arm that doesn't touch her shoulder, so she just attempts the shoulder-touch and then she's kind of okay. Except that after almost three decades of doing this both arms now touch. Bummer).

Anyway, we have a problem.

So, as you know (if you've been faithfully following along with all my jingling) I am in Utah. I came down with a friend, and I'm currently staying at Annie's house. Last night I decided to go pick myself up something to eat for dinner, and took Annie's vehicle. Which is very large. (This info is important for visualizing things later on).

I initially was on the hunt for real food, like Mexican or Chinese, but somehow came around to the decision that Cutler's Cookies with popcorn and a diet coke really sounded way better. I didn't know where CC's was, but I did have a handy-dandy GPS thingie sitting right next to me. So I pull over, and put in Cutler's Cookies.

Bingo. It immediately tells me to pull out and head left. (SEE!! I just started typing right! This is pathetic). Thankfully, this one took zero brain power thanks to the bright green arrow. After waiting for a break in traffic, I turn left across two lanes and a turn lane, only to be immediately told to turn right.

Which way was right? There's two going-straight lanes, two turning (what I now know to be) left lanes, and one turn-only right lane. Feeling instantly panicked (because imagine if I never made it to Cutlers!), I head over to the right lane. Then, just as I start to enter the turn-only part, doubts assail me: "Is this right? Am I going the wrong way? Is the GPS woman going to yell at me? OMgosh, I think I'm going the wrong way!" Clearly I was too far gone to look for another green arrow).

I quickly checked for cars, veer across THREE LANES OF TRAFFIC - not even making it to the actual turn lane - and turn what I think is right (but is, in reality, LEFT), out of a go-straight-only lane. And there are cars coming. And I'm so busy stressing about whether or not I'm actually going right, I almost forget to yield. And come to a screeching halt in the middle of the intersection, looking like a completely deranged crazy woman in an over-sized SUV.

Which apparently, is exactly what I was.

Because I'm over thirty, don't know my left from my right, and was willing to risk my life (and my sister's vehicle) for a couple of cookies. (Fine, I bought a dozen. But I at the time of the incident I only planned on a couple, I swear!) Oh, and don't forget the wrath of the "re-calculating" navigational device that was thoroughly confused by my maneuver. When I headed back the right way and cut across traffic AGAIN after being in the wrong lane, the thing started telling me to head to the Interstate.

Do you think it was trying to save all the other drivers on the road? I mean seriously - by this time I was checking the rearview for lights. Surely it was only a matter of time before the erratic woman in the SUV was called in and picked up. I was literally starting to feel like a menace to society.

The good news - I've learned my lesson. People like me shouldn't be allowed to use navigational tools. It just. isn't. safe.

So my next question? WHY IS ANNIE USING ONE??!!! (Watch out Utah! She's on the loose!)

PS - when I got home and said "it's dangerous for people who don't know their left from their right to use those things", she said "I know." With emphasis. Like maybe this has already happened to her...

PPS - This is totally off topic, but..... Sue Q. gets a great big bloggy-hug for nominating me for MMB's spotlight blog award! Thanks Sue - you rock. (As will anyone else who nominates me :)