NO WHY, JUST AM

Stop it. I’m hormonal and ya’all are going to make me cry.

Three things:

First, I did not die. I’m still around. I will continue to stalk follow your blogs. So stop acting so damned goofy.

Secondly, yes, Facebook. Learn it. Love it. I do. Here’s how to find me, but you’ll need to have an account to even see it. You can also throw my email into the search and find me that way, too. If you don’t know how to navigate facebook, you should. It’ll look good on your resume (but for the love of all that’s holy, do NOT friend your boss or stalker co-worker! If you’re not sure, just … don’t!). I actually can – and will – do “posts” there. There’s even a feed if you are savvy.

I also have a Flickr account. You won’t be able to see pictures of many pictures of ZGirl or XBoy unless you have an account there. Again, let me know if you want to become a contact and you’ll be in like Flynn (or whatever the fuck you’ll be in like). And guess what? You can subscribe to a feed there, too!

Lastly…Yeah. I could come back, but unless my uterus decides to pull a surprise pregnancy (oh, wouldn’t you all just LOOOOVE that) or I find out I’m dieing of some strange and funky malady OR more likely, I get so miffed about something that I just CAN’T bite my tongue another minute longer and I get no satisfaction from FB…well then, it could happen. On the other hand, I did tell my husband I quit and he’s happy about that.

OK. NOW, I’m done. All together now:

Good night, good night until we meet again
Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen ’til then
And though it’s always sweet sorrow to part
You know you’ll always remain in my heart

Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you
Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true
And now ’til we meet again
Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen
Good Night!

Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you
Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true
And now ’til we meet again
Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen
Good Night!

PREGNANCY PALS

I had a Pregnancy Pal when I was pregnant with XBoy. We didn’t start off as friends who had planned pregnancies at the same time. Instead we had met during our late 2nd trimesters at the YMCA where we both were taking the swim class. We even worked for the same company, but had never met since we worked on different campuses.

Pregnancy Pal and I were due within a week of each other in December 2001. We both were going through our first pregnancies. She was in her late-20s. I was in my early-30s. Looking at us as we climbed out of the pool you might have thought she was at least 8 weeks behind me as her bump was just that – a bump – whereas I bulged.

We became good friends.

Her son was born at the end of November. I remember coming to visit her and her baby and holding him and marveling at how small he was. Less than a week later, I delivered XBoy.

During the first couple of years, all four of us spent a lot of time together. We compared milestones in both our babies’ lives and our own. We dressed them similarly for holidays and took pictures. Soon we were talking about having our second children. Early summer 2004, she announced she was pregnant. By the end of August, I told her I was, too. We were again Pregnancy Pals.

I specifically remember how we packed up the now three-year-old boys in my SUV and made a trip to The Metro for a day at the zoo, something we had done the year before together. The boys were in the second row trying to outdo each other in noise levels, silliness, and snack consumption. My friend looked at me and announced, “Next year when we go, our baby girls will be in the second row and the boys will be in the far back!” jokingly said since neither of us knew the sex of our babies, but it was a lovely image to have.

As most of you know, in November 2004, the path my Pregnancy Pal and I had started on violently diverged. I miscarried at 15 weeks. She went on to deliver a healthy baby girl in the spring. Obviously I did not.

A rift was created that November between us. We still got together for play dates with our sons. We got together to discuss flooring options and pour over paint chips as we both were building new homes. But those times weren’t as often as before. Part of it was the constant time demand of dealing with construction decisions, but what went unsaid was the fact that we were no longer Pregnancy Pals.

Compared to her first baby, who I held when he was less than 24 hours, I did not see her daughter until she was almost two weeks old. She was on maternity leave and I was still working full-time so getting together to go for a swim, or lunch or shopping, were moments few and getting further between.

A couple years later, her husband was transferred to another region and they moved away. For the first year, she would call up when they had returned to town to visit family so that our sons could get together (XBoy took his friend’s move pretty hard, and he still talks about him), but even those times came to a stop. I don’t know when exactly the last time I saw her or her children, but I know it was before our donor egg cycle.

The other day I typed in her name on Facebook’s search and I saw her face for the first time in two years. It wasn’t just her I saw, either. Her profile picture was of her and flanking her, in a group hug, was her son and her daughter. They were both wearing back-packs. I assumed the picture was of their first day of school.

As I stared at the postage size picture on my screen, I saw what might have been.

Angrily, I also thought, what SHOULD have been.

I closed her profile screen without sending a friend request. I shut off the light above my computer, kissed my husband goodnight who was watching TV, and went to bed with my heart heavier than it has been in a long, long time.

I lost a baby and a good friend that fall. I really miss them.

THE IMPOTENCE OF A GUD EDUMACATION

Hi am from western,Nebraska i can see the concearn in this sitution. On one hand you have a old school that could be shutdown and kids would have to be consolidated. this is what happend to our town four years ago. And has not been the same since. Give this a thought there will be no friday night football games in the fall or baseball game’s in the summer. Also this will be good reason for the younger familys that are left in the community to leave cause there is no school there for there children to go to. Then what local businuss you have will start to close up plainly put with no school the town will slowly die off. On the other side of the fence is build a new school and spend allot of tax payers money wich probably is mostly older farmers and ranchers in the area wich have seen there kids go though school allready. And if they build it will it stay open in the next ten years. I would hope it would cause it might let some of existing young to want stay in the town they grew up in where they had wonderfull childhood memorys that they want there kids to have. And possibly take over dads farm or store or open one of there own. What this gets down to is without a shool you will just support the next town that keeps there school open and there business and will have to drive there to get grocerys and other items you use everyday. I hope the town XXXXXX will take the risk of building a school.

There are only 276 words in this comment to an article in our local paper. I think my eyes were bleeding by the 100th and my brain imploded somewhere around word 204.

This poor bastard is living proof of what happens when rural schools are consolidated instead of making major rennovations or building new. Please, PLEASE, don’t let this happen to your community and pay the higher taxes already.

SKIN DEEP

As ZGirl’s pediatrician predicted, ZGirl’s rash on her body cleared up within a week as did the other symptoms of a viral infection.

Unfortunately, her facial rash, which he suggested was contact dermatitis, a catchall for “hey, we don’t know what kind of rash it is or what the root cause is” kind of rash, has – as you can see – only proceeded to get worse.

2009 002

See how it’s even on her eyelids??

The picture captures one of the worst days. In the morning it looks less inflamed, but it’s definitely there. I try to put on a light coat of 1% hydrocortizone cream with a bit of vaseline over that, per doctor’s order. However, I haven’t seen any improvement whatsoever. I don’t know if it itches or burns as she doesn’t seem to scratch or rub at her face, except when she’s tired and she rubs her eyes, which is probably how it is getting transferred in the areas it is. At the onset of these symptoms, I did a little inventory of whatever I have changed. As I said in my first post about the rash, nothing has changed, except she’s on more regular foods and whole milk now.

We have her 15 month check up in a month. I’m not sure whether to ride it out until then or try to get an appointment with another dermatologist (which could take a 3-4 week wait anyway). I keep thinking tomorrow she’ll wake up and it’ll all be gone. And then I think it again the next day, and the next. It doesn’t seem emergent, but how long do we let this go on?

Thank goodness those gorgeous blues distract me.

2009 043

(BTW, the picture immediately above was taken August 24th while the first one was taken September 14th)

NINE

It’s getting late and I’m crazy-ass tired and yet – I am compelled to post. Let’s keep it brief and get to the points I wish to cover, shall we?

1 – My MIL wasn’t able to get around very well this weekend, complaining of pain in her legs. Monday a.m. she was admitted to the hospital. She needs to have her hips that she had replaced 15 plus plus years ago replaced. Mr. DD has spent every evening at the hospital as now she’s been running an unexplained fever. Once she recovers from the fever, she then will spend the next couple of weeks in a nursing home until the scheduled date of her surgery since she can’t go home as the FIL is also recovering from a surgery from a couple months ago. Getting old sucks.

2 – XBoy has brought home work every day from school that he refuses to finish in school. This on top of the regular homework, which includes 20 spelling words, like “autumn” and “September”. Is this normal for 2nd Graders? In the three weeks he’s been in school, we’ve already had the note about pushing another kid as well as the initial note about XBoy’s belligerence in refusing to do his work. How many more weeks before school’s out?

3 – ZGirl received her one year vaccinations including the first half of the flu (regular flu) shot. Mr. DD and I spent that night alternating between holding and comforting an arched-back, screaming hysterically, and feverish baby. Remind me to tell you how the next morning I opened the door on her head. I’m sure it’ll be funny in a week or two.

4 – The next day I stayed home with ZGirl since she was still running a low-grade fever. I was in the middle of getting her lunch in the microwave, running a load of wash, running the dishwasher and we lost electricity in the house. A car accident somewhere down the line. I called and bitched to my husband since he has some sort of magical power to make it come back on again if I get screechy enough with him.

5 – AND THEN tonight Mr. DD announces that we have no propane. Even though our contract with the natural gas company is “keep full” (which means to come in every month and top of the tank). The company has done this not once, but twice before. Instead of calling them tonight and fight with them later over the emergency service charges, he will call and have them deliver during normal business hours. No hot water for a shower or the endless dishes or ZGirl’s or XBoy’s baths.

6- My own post requesting advice on how to get rid of violets garnered less response than a post I didn’t even write. I’m wounded.

7 – Mr. DD and I had a huge fight. Huge. It was about money. Or should I say the lack thereof? Not being able to find a new job is wreaking havoc on our marriage. Is that oversharing?

8 – We received news a couple weeks ago that one of Mr. DD’s nephews and his wife were expecting their first baby. This weekend we heard she miscarried. Now instead of sending the congratulatory card, I need to find a sympathy card.

9 – I’ve caught a cold.

Excuse the multiple updates if you get this through a reader. I blame life right now.

Back to School Event – President Obama’s Speech to U.S. Students

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need.

Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them.

Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book.

Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

(President Obama’s speech in its entirety.)

SHRINKING VIOLET? I WISH!

Between my last miscarriage and the time we waited to be matched to a donor, I threw myself into the new landscaping around the house. Breaking a sweat alongside one of my sisters who was suckered into helping me felt good after months of months of trying not to physically exert myself for fear of….who knows what…shaking loose a potential embryo??

04.21 front yard before (5)We started with the long side of the house in front. While I think the clean and symmetrical lines of an English garden are very beautiful, that wouldn’t work on a hilltop acreage with rustic, albeit non-mountainous, views.

Last summer, the second growing season for many of the plants I was able to get in, weeds took up comfy residence in my rock bed among my grasses, hostas and hydrangeas. I could barely handle pulling weeds in the heat, much less bending over at 7 and 8 months hugely pregnant. The area suffered.

This year, while it has been better, I didn’t count on ZGirl’s obsession with the river rocks. Not the playing part; the EATING part. Now, I need to give her a bit of credit. She doesn’t actually eatthem. She puts them in her mouth and then walks around sucking off whoknowswhat from them. Is she mineral-deficient? I wonder. These aren’t pebbles I’m talking about. There are river rocks the size of figs, so big that she can’t close her mouth big. And while I can get her to spit it out immediately when I place my hand under her chin, it just gives her that moment to eyeball the next rock of her choosing.

Do I even need to mention that now is a poor time to even put her in the grass to play because the sandburs that spot the yard are now seeding? Ugh.

The weeds in the bed are way down this year, but now I’m fighting another insidious threat: the sweet little wild violet. (picture below is stock to show the spring blooms)

WildViolets

*as I shake my torch and pitchfork in fury!*

2009 103textThis is how the space pictured first above has progressed – if you want to call it that. I had a tree planted between the two windows. This summer I realized that it just wasn’t coming back. In fact when I went to dig it up, it basically just lifted out of the ground. That’s how dead it was.  The problem area is mainly below the porch.

2009 099Here’s a close up of “ground zero”. That’s a 5 gallon bucket full of violet corpes and yet it seems I’ve barely made a dent! All that green stuff in the rocks that are not either hostas or ornamental grasses? Those are allllll violets. Seriously, these little bitches are running amok in my planting bed. Searches on-line for a solution only find me in the midst of some wild violet forum where someone posts a similar plea for help and they are all but tarred and feathered for wanting to harm the sweet widdle fwowers and suggesting the Flower Hater dig up the plants and give them away to all the Violet Lovers of the world.

If I had that kind of time, I wouldn’t be looking for a way to kill them. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love violets. My aunt’s name is Violette, but she’s not taking over my landscaping, either.

Do any of you have a magic solution? If the darn things would just sprout up in the field instead of my landscaping beds, I wouldn’t be beseeching you for your help.

TASTES LIKE SUMMER

Mr. DD brought home sweet corn tonight. Even though it’s getting late in the season, many vendors around here plant in shifts about a week apart for several weeks so they don’t end up with one or two good weeks, but can sell corn for almost eight or more.

ZGirl has taken quite a fancy to it. It doesn’t even need to be cooked for her to enjoy. We can hand over an ear of corn freshly husked, and she’ll gnaw on that happily for some time. Of course, it’s much better (IMHO) cooked with a little butter and seasoning, but she doesn’t mind either way. She even stood up on the tippiest of her toes trying to grap the ears Mr. DD had just cleaned, and when she realized she just couldn’t quite reach them, threw herself into a tizzy.

cornmore

corn

 

corncheers

(Gotta wash it all down…)

cornsalute

 

Viva la corn!!

Did you notice the Husker shirt? You didn’t?

NOW did you??

270* DOWN, FINITE TO GO

Be honest with me.

Exactly how old were you when you became a responsible adult and remembered to pack tampons/pads/those crazy rubber insertable devices/etc. into your purse JUST IN CASE?

Please tell me I’m not the only woman who is most likely peri-menopausal with regular periods that STILL can’t get that right.

I’m even still struggling with getting my underwear on right-side-out on a regular basis.

Just so you don’t think I’m a total nincompoop, I have never applied a pad and THEN put my underwear on inside out. However, if you have, please fess up to take away a bit of my humiliation.

* The approximate number of menses** I’ve had.

** Funny how menses and mensa*** are so similar.

*** I bet menstruating mensa members remember to pack tampons.

IT IS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE (UNLESS YOU’RE TRYING TO GIVE AWAY YOUR CRAP, WHICH IS JUST NAUGHTY)

I threw out a couple pairs of shoes the other day. One pair was XBoy’s that he wore into the ground over a year ago, literally since there are holes in each heel and toes. The other pair, some Merrill’s I’ve had since before I got pregnant…in 2001, that after two (term) pregnancies no longer are comfortable on my now 1 size larger feet. *ouch*

I salvaged the shoe strings from the Merrills, but as far as I was concerned neither pair were worth keeping. Now my husband, who saw them sitting in the garbage, announced that he was going to give them to Goodwill instead. I looked agog at him.

As the first (and I can assure you, the ONLY) one to notice when an article of clothing needs to be retired, which is wisdom I’ve gained after YEARS of collecting, sorting, washing, drying, folding or hanging up said articles of clothing, I think Mr. DD’s sense of quality is a tetch…warped. Every season, I try to convince my husband to reduce the number of white t-shirts – emblazoned with either Big Johnson’s tacky sayings, Fox, or Losi graphics (yes, I really am married to a 14 year old) – from 30 to 24 (just a half dozen, that’s all I’m asking). I’m lucky if I can get him to part with one.

XBoy’s growth spurt that went first o u t and then UP left him with a nearly bare closet since I was harvesting outgrown, torn, and stained clothes at the rate a Lexion 590R combine in the north 40. For you non-farm-savvy readers, that’s a lot. Ooops. Pardon me, I think my hick is showing.

I probably take a boxful of clothing to Goodwill (or Salvation Army depending on what end of town I’m on) a few times a year. I wash and very neatly fold what can be washed and folded. If it has a hole in it, I try to mend it. If the zipper is broke, I get it replaced. If I can’t fix it, it doesn’t get donated. Mr. DD on the other hand, doesn’t quite understand why I put the effort into it. Can’t they wash/mend/fix that stuff themselves?

Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army should not be dumping grounds for stuff I wouldn’t make my own kids wear, yet people take their mildew and flea infested sofas and dump them in the back of the stores all the time. Mattresses of questionable smell and color are “donated” at night. Old tube-televisions with frayed cords that don’t even work are left daily because some people think they are the perfect “project” for somebody with some free time and spare change to fix.

Let’s just take a look at that last statement: free time and spare change. Right, because that’s EXACTLY what we all have, especially those who find themselves thankful for the services Goodwill or Salvation Army provide, Free Time and Spare Change.

So back to Mr. DD and his ridiculous suggestion that I give XBoy’s torn and worn shoes to Goodwill. His argument in this case was they’re probably better than what some kids have to wear. While that may indeed be true, then instead of giving some poor kid an opportunity to wear just slightly less than passable as footwear shoes as opposed to barks of tree ducktaped to their little feet, just go out and buy an inexpensive pair of NEW shoes and donate them. Don’t assume the people who shop at Goodwill are THAT desperate or have that little pride.

Give. Give generously. But don’t give generous amounts of crap just because YOU don’t want it anymore.

*trip -THUMP-bump*

Erm, sorry. That was me falling off a soap box I didn’t know I even climbed on. Silly me.

*THE* REVIEWER

During a vacation in Vegas many years ago, I was walking down the corridor of the hotel we were staying at to get some ice. I saw what appeared to be a crumpled napkin on the floor. As I approached it, I could make out the distinct printed scrolls that frame a dollar bill. I picked it up (of course), and unwadded it. It wasn’t A dollar bill. It was a hundred dollar bill!

I scanned up and down the hallway. No one. It wasn’t in front of a hotel door, and I’m sorry but I’m not knocking on a hotel door at 11:30 p.m. to ask the person who may or may not be a hooker if she might have dropped a hundred dollar bill.

I couldn’t believe my good luck, stumbling upon a tiny treasure – a nugget of gold! I tucked it away in my pocket for later, selfishly not wanting to share countered by my desire to whoop it up in excitement when I returned to the hotel room.

The other day I stumbled once again on a bit a nugget. Should I share or keep it to myself? But it was just too good and I am so lame that surely I was probably just the last to know about it. Kind of like the FAIL Blog. I mean, I would see posts and tweets about someone doing something they thought was stupid and then appending the word “FAIL” to it and it took me forever to figure out what the fuck you all were even talking about!

I’m oblivious like that.

So I was checking out this Sophie teething giraffe that people are going ga-ga (literally) for. I remember seeing it when I was still pregnant with ZGirl and thinking, boy, that’s dumb, but with all the hype I had a renewed interest in it (I would drop $250 on a pair of Uggs if I had the money, even though I find them atrocious – just because I’m a lemming!).

sophieHere’s Sophie. Cute, huh? Amazon has it and while I think $20 is outrageous for a teether, I did pay about the same for one of those wooden teething rattles from etsy that doesn’t really rattle at all and is way too big to teeth on. A dud, really. Anyway…Sophie’s got a bunch of reviews, a vast majority of them positive. But I like to read the one-star reviews first to get to the heart of a problem, if there is one. That’s when I read this review:

A conspiracy in the making

I find it alarming just how many parents are praising this thing. As a parent, you want to protect your children. When learning about all the protective measures this toy takes, most parents would be on board. But I know better. I did a little under-the-microscope research and have reached some alarming conclusions about this toy.

First of all, the name “Sophie” (a nickname for “Sophia”) is of Greek origin. A little known fact is that the ancient Greeks oftentimes ate their young for food or sacrificed them to their many gods. Giving a baby toy a name that descends from a line of baby-eaters is puzzling.

Even more puzzling is the deliberate use of a giraffe. There are no records of a giraffe appearing in Greece in the wild. How then are we supposed to believe that this thing can be both Greek AND a giraffe if the combination is simply not possible?

This choice of species is even more alarming to anybody who has read the Greek epic “The Odyssey”. At one point in the story, Odysseus and his crew arrive on the shores of Africa and encounter none other than a giraffe. The giraffe was seen as a demonically tainted horse and struck fear into the hearts of Odysseus and his men.

Still not convinced? Look at the gallery of customer-submitted pictures. The majority of these photos feature a baby masticating the face of their Sophie toy. A cute gesture, or the only defense a baby has against the demonic animal? Think what you believe, but my research points towards the latter option.

At first I was like, wow! what kind of crack is this person smoking and where can I get me some?!

I couldn’t help myself. From there, I just had to follow the link to the reviewer, which if his name is any indication, “THE reviewer”, I should have known things were going to get interesting.

“THE reviewer” has reviewed 98 items and they go back to 2005. He even has an Amazon review of Amazon.com:

Minor Flaws….., January 23, 2006

yeah,I like this place. I like writing reviews and what not.
I have 2 complaints:
-editing reviews,whenever you do this you have to choose your rating for the product again,which gets annoying. If i want to change it, I’ll change it.

-recommendations could be a little better.

thats all I have to complain about.

Once I press “save” this becomes property of amazon.com….yay?

Maybe you just want it short and sweet and you need a review of a gallon of whole milk:

I gave this to my cat and now he thinks he is Supercat! you should see him try to fly and jump off telephone poles

But it looks like he took some time off in 2008 and then snapped (in more ways than one – see the following paragraph) right back into in 2009 (thank goodness!):

poulanNothing gets the job done like a Poulan Pro 400E!, July 23, 2009

Hi. Allow me to introduce myself. I live in a remote village located in the rural outskirts of Spain. It’s a nice little place, and me and my people have thrived there for countless generations.

Lately, however, an American agent of some sort has shown up. He seems to be looking for some missing girl judging from the picture he once showed us. Now, I’m not gonna lie, my people are aggressive. We’re not infected monsters or anything like that, we’re just aggressive. So, when the agent kept trying to break the language barrier and inform us of this missing girl, one of villagers kinda lashed out a little. I don’t think that justifies a gunshot to the head.

So, the agent gave up on communicating with us and is now just killing on sight. I took refuge in my barn and thought desperately of a way to dispose of this American. A few minutes later and I had devised a genius plan. I opened my tool shed and got out my Poulan Pro 400E. Just holding it made me feel stronger! And then, almost without thinking, I emptied out a nearby sack of flour and placed it over my head. I don’t know why I did this, but I realized how menacing I would look once I poked eye holes out of it.

There I was, with my Poulan Pro 400E, ready to bust some heads. Finding the American agent was easy, all I had to do was follow the sound of gunshots. I eventually found him capping my people outside the chief’s home. I revved up my Poulan Pro 400E and began my pursuit. The second he heard this baby running he got a terrified look on his face. He quickly switched his handgun out in favor of a machine gun and pointed it my way. Ha! Those puny bullets merely tickled my body! It was as if I had became three times stronger just by holding my Poulan Pro 400E. The agent ran out of ammunition and switched back to his handgun. This time he took careful aim at my sack-covered face. I was amazed, the flour sack provided protection from the bullets, so much that they didn’t even phase me.

As I approached ever nearer, the agent turned and headed upstairs. I can only assume he ran out of ammo and began searching for the many boxes of ammunition that we villagers like to randomly place. I followed his trail up the stairs and caught him with his back turned. This was it. I lunged as fast as I could towards him, and he turned around just a moment too late. He was now on the receiving end of my Poulan Pro 400E with a look of pure pain on his face. After seconds of futile resistance, his head was sawed off with a nice clean cut. It dropped and bounced on the floor, much like how his limp body did soon afterward.

That’s my story. What it all boils down to is this; No matter the situation, a good Poulan Pro 400E can always help. It most certainly helped me!

Who knew Amazon reviews could be the next blogging platform?

Damn. Really, Amazon? No RSS feed? Mark that down as another complaint.

You can take this link to all his reviews. If you don’t find something to giggle about, then you are dead inside…

IT IS THE BEST OF TIMES

A couple months ago, I set a goal for myself. It should have been a simple and easily attainable goal, and in the weeks leading up to that deadline, I was convinced it was going to go as planned.

After ZGirl’s first birthday, I was going to give up blogging.

I have been carrying around delusions of grandeur for years, hoping to take this community by the nipples. You might assume I’m pretty full of myself to even think it, much less profess it here, but I’m not an egomaniac. I just never realized how much pull there was in the comments and emails of strangers who are willing to take a minute or two out of their own busy schedules to let me know I’m not alone.

When you grow up use to being a wall-flower, you take whatever attention you can get, you know?

There are some days I can’t believe I would ever think of leaving this behind. It’s the days that you’ve offered a shoulder when I’ve found myself shaken to my very core, or to side with me when I think Mr. DD is being a putz, and of course to share in the greatest joy I’ve ever known. And once in a great while, I get an email – out of the blue – by someone who thanks me for being me. That’s a beautiful and humbling experience right there.

But then there seem to be more days when it just doesn’t seem worth it to even log-in to WordPress. Those days I feel as if I’m forcing the anger or the funny. I ask myself is it because I’m not as bitter? Oh, but I am. Am I angry? Hell, yes! Did I lose my funny? Did I ever have it to lose??

Like most bloggers have confessed, I do go about my day thinking, “Oh! That’d make a great post!” so I sit down at my little desk, fire up my lap-top, my thoughts jumbled and still forming like a little cauldron but then Life outside the internet takes place:

 “I’m out of clean work shirts!”

“XBoy has a Time-Sucking Function to go to at 7:00. You want to stay here with ZGirl or take him?”

“Mom, will you play backgammon with me?”

“Mumum – mumum . . .  Mumumumum! MUMUMUM!!!”

While these things get to be annoying in their repetitive nature, I also find some peace in them, because it’s all I really wanted when I started blogging in the first place. Isn’t that what we all wanted when we started blogging (whether writing or just reading) (if you were/are an infertility blogger)? To get life back to “normal”, whatever that normal was?

I’m returning to the normalcy that I envisioned, but I just feel like there isn’t enough rage, bitterness, sorrow and sarcasm to satisfy whatever your needs still are. And quite frankly, I miss having one of my posts linked to when I wrote something that spoke to your heart, your head, or even your funny bone. In fact, I don’t think we link to each other as much as we did in the past (I say with three fingers pointed back at me). Maybe I’m out of touch, or maybe we become so overloaded that we’ve become passive, if not just plain indifferent.

After taking weeks to get this out (I know. It doesn’t seem like it, but I just can’t get it flow quite like I want), I’ve realized that I won’t stop blogging as I had planned. However, I’m giving myself permission to NOT think about posting; to stop reaching for the proverbial Blogging Brass Ring – an “in” to syndication, to publication. I’ll leave that up to those who find writing an unquenchable passion. For me? I just want to stay connected with friends who saw me through my worst and know that right now, this is the best I’ll be. I’ll no longer apologize if it’s not enough for some. It’s more than enough for me.