Monday, June 28, 2004

My Chihuahua, The Evil Genius

I have always said that my dog, Squirrel, was an evil genius. [See the sweater post a few days ago for an example.] Well, we had yet another evil genius incident the other night that still has everyone involved rolling.

My sister, her fiance and my friend, Jody, came over to hang out with Jason and I. Karen and Bill went to a Drum and Bugle Corp competition in the evening, and dropped Bill's dog, Sunny, off to play in our backyard. Sunny is a large, spirited lab mix. About a year ago, we babysat Sunny and a few moments after meeting Squirrel, stepped on his back paw. Squirrel cried bloody murder and started limping, whereupon he got lots of attention and "Oh poor baby"s. Our suspicions were aroused when we caught him limping on the wrong leg several days later AND noted with interest, that when Sunny was in a different room of the house, his limp would vanish entirely.

On Saturday night, nearly a year since Sunny had been in our house, Squirrel's limp mysteriously returned! Then five minutes later, switched to the other leg.

Evil genius.

A Wasted Weekend

I had a Wasted Weekend. Being a woman of routine, who also happens to be a homebody, I usually have my weekends quite mapped out by Friday evening. So when my plans are thrown for a loop, I assume that there was some sort of higher purpose.

I ended up spending most of the weekend with two different friends that I hadn’t seen for a year. On Friday night, I met with my friend, Melissa, for the evening. I was fairly tired that evening, so I meant to just meet for coffee and scamper home to bed. We ended up talking for four straight hours, and after I got home, I was still remembering things that I forgot to tell her. I love having friends with whom you can lose track of time, laughing and saying "I've always secretly thought that!". We talked about parenting (she is a new stepmom), theology, marriage and cluttered houses. It wasn’t like a stroll down Memory Lane; we just picked up where we left off.

On Saturday, my sister brought over our friend Jody. Our “catching up” ended up lasting 24 hours. He has had a very rough year. Circumstances happened to him that were life-altering and could have been life-devastating. He lost his job and his reputation in one large swoop. I have been worried about him for a year. However, an amazing thing has happened to him. He let God turn the negative into positive in his life. Which is a miracle, because even as he was describing the details of the events that had occurred, I found myself furious at the injustice done to him. He said, “Last November, I woke up and decided that I could either rot away in bitterness or I could pick up and get on with life.” So he got on with it. He said, “The best thing that has come out of all of this is that I will always know who my real friends are.” What an amazing thing to know, when you think about it.

It’s easy to forget how important relationships are. We just fall into our groove and lose track of some people, grow shallow with others and take close friends for granted. I find that I worry less about “making something of myself” and accomplishing fabulous things when I am connected to other people.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Just spent part of the morning perusing Awful Plastic Surgery. There's some scary scary stuff over there. You should check it out.

Nothing is really happening right now. By a strange coincidence, my friend Melissa, who I just discussed a few posts ago (the one who used to sing "A Secretary Is Not A Toy") called me out of the blue this week. We're hanging out tonight.

My chihuahua was pretty funny last night. He makes my husband and I laugh a lot. As we were both relaxing on our respective couches last night, my chihuahua nonchalantly walked by carrying his little winter sweater in his mouth and left the room. He hates this sweater. We deduced that he was using this summertime opportunity to rid himself of the detestable sweater, hoping that Mom and Dad wouldn't notice. It struck us as funny. He wasn't being sneaky about it. It was more like, "Dum dee dum. Act casual, Squirrel. You can do it. Just walk that sweater right out of there." I'm still not sure where he went with it.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


I am enrolled in a Wellness Program at my company. I do this because I get $500 taken off my insurance deductible, and if you meet some goals, you get a little spending cash around Christmas time. When they first started the program, three years ago or so, it was pretty easy to meet the goals. Attend some classes, wear your seatbelt, don’t smoke, exercise a little. Pretty easy stuff. Then twice a year, you got weighed and your blood taken to see how you have progressed.

The program definitely has it’s problems. The first time I took the blood test, I was given a personal nutritionist to give me a monthly telephone call, mainly due to the fact that my cholesterol was 259. The first time the chick called, she started asking me lots of little questions. Finally, she said, “How old are you?” I was 26 at the time. She then asked, “How much do you weigh?” “122.” She almost dropped the phone. “You weigh 122 and your cholesterol is 259?!” “Well,” I replied, “My HDL is 95.” (which, by the way, is the good stuff, and my number was double the excellent level.) “Oh,” she said. “Nobody gave me that information.” She never called me again, and the next time I looked at the goals, there was a stipulation about the acceptability of your cholesterol being high, as long as your HDL was good.

But, over the years, the HR department has upped the ante on the goals. We are all thinking that they were having to shell out too much money at Christmas. We have more hoops to jump through to get our money and complete the program. Pretty soon, we will all probably be forced to have computer chips placed in our brains to monitor our exact calorie intake. It doesn’t help that our HR department is full of morons who have no…well, human relation skills. There are have been grumblings and murmurings about certain aspects of the program. For instance, pregnancy is definitely frowned upon in the program. You automatically, just by giving birth, go over the insurance money usage cap. At one Wellness meeting, a Catholic friend of mine (fourth child on the way), complained to the HR director, “Are we being punished for having children?” The director replied, “Well, you did make the choice to have a child.” A couple of people snickered because three of my friend’s children were “oopsies.” The director then made a veiled comment about birth control, which pissed off a great many people.

Yesterday, I went to a “Nutrition and Fad Diets” class. I have been to about four of these over the years. (Okay. I get it. Atkins is really bad for you. Point taken. Let’s move on, shall we?) These classes always leave me slightly freaked out and scared that I am heading down the road to colon cancer. I am not the best eater in the world, but I do okay. I eat McDonald’s once a week. Twice at most. I only get a small cheeseburger and fries. Last time I even got a salad! And I eat my spinach and fruit. I’ve also gone to caffeine-free Coke.

But I swear, I always leave those meetings scared to death that a big blob of Saturated Fat is going to jump out from behind a bush and grab me, clogging my arteries and sending me into convulsions.

Oh! And now I’ve been informed by another employee that I am not eating right for my blood type. I don’t even know what my blood type is! Have mercy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


You will notice that my little Sugar In The Raw picture is gone from my header. Well, it's amazing what you can learn from statcounters. For instance, that copyright infringement lawyers happen to be checking out your blog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Classic Albums

In the spirit of my last post (avoiding work), I offer up my list of Classic Albums. Note: These are MY classics, and probably not “classics” in the true sense of the word. I can listen to these albums over and over and over again and I never get sick of them. Double Note: This list probably shows my Gen X age, but I don’t care.

Gordon- Barenaked Ladies
Amplified Heart- Everything But The Girl
Exile in Guyville- Liz Phair
The Blue Album- Weezer
Baby, Now That I’ve Found You- Alison Krauss
No Secrets- Carly Simon
Sports- Huey Lewis and the News
The Bends- Radiohead
Why Do Birds Sing?- Violent Femmes
The Great Escape- Blur
1984- Van Halen
Laid- James
Benny and Joon soundtrack
No Need To Argue- The Cranberries
Violator- Depeche Mode
So Much For the Afterglow- Everclear
Dookie- Green Day
No Strings Attached- N’Sync
Little Earthquakes- Tori Amos
Center of My Universe- Michelle Tumes
What’s the Story, Morning Glory?- Oasis
Sink or Swim- Waterdeep
Groundhog’s Day soundtrack

Hi Ho Hi Ho

I took a quiz the other day, that I found on Amy’s blog, that tells you what office moron you are. Since I am obsessed with the show The Office and work in an office, I was curious. Amy’s persona is Incompetent Egotist. Mine is Disarmedly Young Temp. It gave a description, which I can’t remember now, but it was right on. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it made me think. I do still feel like I’m temporary. Not that I started my job as a temp, but I really thought of my job as a jumping off point in the beginning. Four years ago, when my boss hired me, he said, “My plan is to slowly switch your job from a coordinator into a designer.” Whoopie, thought Ellen. Well, here it is four years later and he is still vaguely talking about it and I'm still archiving CDs and sending FedEx packages. But I carried on through that frustration and then resigned myself to it. I even tried to move around twice in the company, both times falling through for one reason or another. And here’s the kicker… I have managed to dabble in the design world a bit since being here, and realized that I don’t want to do that anyway. I stopped hinting around to my non-committal boss (who hates his job more than me) that I wanted to be a designer because frankly, I don’t. I’m hoping he’ll just forget it.

Every once in awhile, I sit at my desk and just look around and think, “How did I get here? And why am I still here?” I think, for one thing, that I am a fairly complacent (read: lazy) person, so not counting the few times that I have grasped for something new, I just resign myself. My husband even mentioned it last night, although he saw it as something different. He told his mom, “Yeah, Ellen hasn’t complained about her job for six months. She’s liking it a lot more now.” I thought about that. No, I do not like my job any more than I did before. I still feel brain/soul comatose during much of the day (interrupted by mild distractions of blogging and Solitaire playing.) I guess my mind decided that since there wasn’t much to be done about it, it should just get assimilated with the rest of the Borgs.

The other reason I’ve managed to ride out my time, is that I am quite secure in the knowledge that I am not my job. In fact, my talents are never used here, much less seen. I put in my money-time here, then I scamper on home to work on my real projects. I only wish that I could start making some money on those real projects instead of pushing paper around on my desk.

It’s just that I never meant for my work life to become this. I am very happy and satisfied in my personal life. I love my husband and we have a great time together. I have cherished friends. I have managed, in life, to find other members of my “tribe” and hold on to them, which is a blessing. I have a beautiful (though a pit right now) home filled with stinky, hairy animals. But let’s face it, my work life has consistently been mind-numbingly boring, passionless and soul-sucking. It’s difficult to feel good about yourself when you know that, without a doubt, a trained monkey could do your job. Not the smart monkeys. Those monkeys with the big red butts.

We have two new people joining our category right now. Our department is much more laid-back and unstructured than the rest of the company, so they are reveling in their new-found freedom. I see the hope in their eyes. They are excited by their new prospects. I felt that way for about a year. But my cubicle mate and I can’t feign even a minimal spray of “Let’s go, team” anymore.

I know that God has had a reason for me being here for so long. And He has provided some good friends, great benefits and lots of birthday cake along the way. (Has anyone seen the Seinfeld where Elaine refuses to eat office birthday cake? That was me for awhile. I caved.)

Maybe I'm just missing the point. Maybe you aren't supposed to enjoy your job. I mean, that's why it's called a job, right? Maybe resistance truly is futile, and I should embrace the assimilation.

I just don’t know the answer. I just keep praying that God shows me a purpose, an answer or a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Someone Else

My codependency tendencies are being tested again this week. I thought that I would have a hard time finding homes for all my puppies. How wrong I was. I’m actually having people beating down the doors to get to them. Well, that’s an exaggeration. But I do have a waiting list. For mutts. Isn’t that crazy?

One lady from Tulsa called me on Saturday wanting the littlest girl puppy. I had to tell her that she was spoken for. She was so brokenhearted that I promised to drive to the shelter and see if they had something similar there, which I did an hour later. Then another lady (who I thought was the new puppy owner) called and wanted to know more about her and when she could have her. I told her that I wanted to keep them with their mom until next weekend, and then I would take her as far as the town that is 30 minutes away. Somehow, in the course of the conversation, I ended up agreeing to drive to a town an hour and a half away on WEDNESDAY. After I got off the phone, I thought, “Now, how did that just happen?”

Today I actually found out that she was not the puppy’s future owner but an imposter trying to sneak one by me. I am calling her today and telling her nicely that I was misinformed and that her puppy was given to someone else. And even if the puppy wasn’t, she still won’t be getting her. Well, I won’t say that.

Codependents are a funny lot. The more I am reading my books, Grandchildren of Alcoholics and The Language of Letting Go, the more hopeful and the more depressed I get. Hopeful, because by realizing why I do what I do, and the traps and the hooks that I fall into, I can break from it and live a healthy life. AND I can break the cycle for my own future family. Depressed, because a problem that I thought was a puddle, I am now realizing is Lake Superior.

Another small codependent tendency that I am trying to break is being the force that drives group conversations. You know when there is a lag in the conversation (my sister calls them “Abraham Lincoln Moments,” for some reason) and it becomes obvious that it’s uncomfortable? Well, I’m always the one who tries to keep it flowing, even if I come off sounding like an idiot. (Example: [conversation lag, everyone looks around uncomfortably] Ellen: “…er, so I tried a new dishwashing soap yesterday.” This of course has nothing at all to do with the previous topic of conversation.) I have always HATED this. No more. I don’t care if everyone is sweating bullets, I’m not speaking up anymore. That’s a job for Someone Else.

I think that, as a struggling co-dependent, Someone Else is going to become my new best friend. Ellen, will you organize the next five wedding showers at work? No, that would be a job for Someone Else. Ellen, could you watch my annoying dog who constantly escapes from your yard, and generally makes your life more complicated for a week? No, you might want to talk to Someone Else about that. Ellen, would you work every Sunday at the animal shelter with the Brownie Troop, even though they only like to goo-goo over kittens while you clean the entire shelter by yourself? Hmmmm, I think Someone Else would be perfect for that job!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Friday Night with My Date, Mr. Blog

My handy husband is ripping out our carpet as I type. We went and bought the Pergo today, and we are pulling the carpet up so we absolutely have to finish the project instead of being half-assed about it. All the puppies officially have spoken-for homes, so it's just a matter of time before the little poop machines are gone.

We are trying out NetFlix this month. We figured that we spent at least a NetFlix monthly fee per month on video store late fees, so why not? We are watching "Sex and the City" right now. Pretty darn funny stuff, but here is my question: when I was in New York about a month ago, I saw Sarah Jessica plastered over half of the skyscrapers with "Coming Soon to WTBS!" printed next to her perky little in the hellfire are they going to turn this show into a primetime syndicated show? Honestly, the Samantha character is going to have to be completely edited out.

Do you ever get in the mood to get riled up just for the sake of it? When I do, such as this evening, I venture over to one of the many mothering bulletin boards (example) that exist out there in internet land, and read about one of the following topics: The Cry-It-Out Method (or the "Ferber" method) vs. Attachment Parenting, co-sleeping, working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, spanking, and pacifiers vs. thumbs. Mostly I laugh, but sometimes get pretty riled up. I've found that the thing that gets my goat the most is when moms insinuate (or bluntly say) that another mom is abusive and a hideous specimen of motherhood because they let their children cry or sleep by themselves, spank their children or place them in daycare. Hey, I'm down with other parents choosing not to do these particular things, but boy, do I get ticked off by the guilt trip tactics. Chances are, most of the children are going to end up fairly decent human beings, spanked or not. Just the fact that these moms care enough to argue about it online means that they are all probably above-average moms (or bored and have a whole lot of time on their hands.) My husband works with children who have been beaten, raped, molested, burned by cigarettes, left alone for six days with only a package of beef jerky...I wouldn't even put their parents past filling their bottles with Vodka. Letting your child cry in their crib for twenty minutes seems small potatoes.

Of course, none of these issues apply to me at all right now. I just like lurking on a good catfight.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lasting Effects

Sometimes I wonder if I know now what current people in my life will have a lasting effect on me. I really don't think you know the effect until years down the road, when you find yourself reminded of their doings and sayings on a regular basis. This thought came to mind today because when I was riding to work, listening to my XM Radio, I heard the song "A Secretary Is Not A Toy" from How to Succeed In Business Without Even Trying. Now, I have never in my life heard this song before, but my good friend Melissa used to walk into my office (at a former job of mine, where I was the receptionist/registrar) and sing that to me all the time. I practically know the whole thing by heart, and I've never heard it before.

I had another friend who used to say "Wounds Heal, Bones Mend and Chicks Dig Scars." Sometimes, when I am debating whether to do something or not, that pops into my head. He also thought the song "She Don't Use Jelly" by The Flaming Lips was a masterpiece. I think about that dumb song every time I'm sitting under the hair dryer, getting my hair colored. ("I know a girl who reminds me of Cher. She's always changin' the color of her hair. She don't use nothin' you can buy at the store. She likes her hair to be real orange. She uses ta-a-a-a-a-angerines...")

I have a working knowledge of The Punisher, the Evil Dead movies, comic books, Weird Al Yankovic, Faith No More songs and ska music from a penpal buddy of mine.

A college friend of mine used to call me Mrs. Schmelle. She introduced me to the world of ABBA (she knew how to harmonize) and we spent most of our senior year watching old Brat Pack movies on the fold out couch when we should have been studying. She was a friend who was very needy and constantly drove me crazy. But I'm realizing that she truly made me laugh and that's pretty rare in life.

I rarely, if ever, see or talk to any of these people anymore. As the years pass, I am finding that they are the people that I miss the most.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The Pits

My house is a pit. I gave up on our den because we are planning on ripping up all the carpet next week and putting Pergo down. It's a good thing, too, because the puppies have taken over and it is an absolute disaster. Puppy toys, poop, partially chewed dog food, formula stains. It's all there. A disaster. I get depressed just thinking about it, much less walking through the room. Well, I heard it's darkest just before the dawn. Maybe that applies to TV rooms as well.

I get defeated easily. I'm working on that right now. Actually, I'm working on a lot of things right now. Change is always difficult, especially when the change involves "letting go." Letting go of control, letting go of worrying, letting go of other people's opinions and comments and manipulations. It's hard because it involves simply removing your hands from the situation. Not trying harder or forcing things through. Those require action, so you still feel that you are doing something. "Onward and upward! I am in control of this person, this situation! Ha ha! I cannot fail!"

Letting go is about releasing your life to God, and just waiting peacefully. Much of the time when I attempt this feat, I find myself having to pry my own tight little fingers off of the proverbial juice glass. "Give the juice to DADDY," God says.

Letting go is just hard.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The Right Dress

My sister made an interesting comparison today. She is getting married in October and having a really hard time finding the right bridesmaid dresses. She has seven bridesmaids, all different sizes, and Karen’s goal is to find a dress that is inexpensive and her maids can wear again. I think this goal is very noble, but unrealistic. She is discovering this, and is extremely frustrated.

Every "maybe" dress that she finds is either way too expensive, comes only in the color avocado or isn’t something you’d ever wear again. She gets so close and thinks she’s found the perfect’s working...she has it in her sights...the search is finally over...and WHAM. It’s $250.

She told me today, "I don’t mean this to sound insensitive, but in a small way, this must be what infertility feels like." Hmmmm....I thought about that.

It is kind of like it. Except imagine, if you will...emotionally, fifty times worse, and it happening month after month after month. And every time you discover that the dress is $250, you also start bleeding profusely. And most of your friends and acquaintances are getting daily accidental shipments of free beautiful dresses that they begin wearing every day. You try not to be jealous, because those dresses are lovely, but they wouldn’t fit your bridesmaids anyway. Unfortunately, some of the receivers of the accidental dresses spend a lot of time bragging or complaining about their dress in front of you.

Well-meaning but clueless loved ones (and casual acquaintances) begin telling you that you are trying too hard to find the right dress, and even insinuating that it’s your own fault for being too picky. Some of them tell you that if you would just decide on getting pants instead (which are also lovely, but you are still wanting a dress at this time), then the perfect dress will just arrive at your door.

And sometimes, you will have to eventually put a second mortgage on your house to get the dress, because there is something wrong with your mailbox and catalogs won’t fit in it properly. Therefore, you pay the mailman a large sum of money to bring the catalogs directly to you every day.

Oh, and every time the mailman comes, he also sticks a large needle in your butt.

Hope this didn't offend. :)

Weekend Shenanigans

It was a good XM Satelite Radio morning. I heard The Partridge Family's "I Woke Up in Love This Morning," Roxette's "Dangerous," and Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitting." I actually never knew the name of that last song, but it's the one that goes, "I've been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding." I always liked that song.

It was a good weekend but it flew by way way way too fast. I had Saturday lunch with my two new mom friends (they are "old" friends of mine, but "new" moms.) They are coping with the lack of independence and sleep in different ways. Stephanie is drinking lots of coffee and delighting in squeezing into pre-maternity shirts. Sunny is smoking and peeing a lot. I don't know that the two are related. She smokes cloves, but I've heard those are really nasty for your lungs.

That night, we hung out with our family friends and their 14 month old son. We took him to a travelling "educational" petting zoo. Usually, I hate those things because I feel so sorry for the animals, but this one was nice. You could tell that the guy in charge truly loved those animals. Caleb rode the camel, and the dude spent 20 minutes telling us how the camel is God's perfect creation (his nose closes up for sandstorms, his hump stores water, his toes flatten for sand-walking, etc.) And he frequently kissed the camel on the snout and told him what a good boy he was. So I didn't feel too sorry for the animals.

In other news, my puppies have hit the toddler stage. They whine when they don't get their way, they run and fall over, poop everywhere and generally annoy everyone in walking distance. But they are so darn adorable, I just kiss them all the time.

I will miss them when they leave, but we're going to just pull up the carpet and tile the room where they currently live. It's a lost cause.

Friday, June 11, 2004


I am reading a new book (yes, I know that I am always "reading a new book." I have about seventeen books on my nightstand.) called The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie. She also wrote the book, Co-dependent No More, which had a big impact on me when I first read it seven years ago. I definitely have co-dependent tendencies. It's unfortunate that the word "co-dependent" strikes such a pop-psych pseudo chord now, because true co-dependency is very real and suffocating. "Letting go" has also been difficult for me in my life.

Anyway, last night, one concept that hit me was "detachment." It seems so easy, but for those of us who struggle with perfectionism, idealism, controlling and being manipulated...well, it's a foreign concept. Ooooo, scary...detachment! It seems so heartless. But in actuality, it is a quality that is imperative for being an emotionally healthy human being. It's accepting that you can only accept responsibility for one person--yourself. And there's only one being who has ultimate control--God. Today, I have tried to practice detaching myself from people and situations. And guess what? It's a new world! Someone said something to me that normally would have stung me. But it didn't. I found myself thinking, "I can let that get under my skin, or I can let it go." I let it go. And it was wonderful!

Ever since I was cleaning out my grandparent's attic several years ago and ran across a huge box of pamphlets from my grandfather's AA group, I have secretly wished that I could join AA. I remember sitting on the floor, reading through the 12 Steps booklets and thinking that I had found a box full of peace. I don't have to be in control! Deep down, I knew that I wasn't in control, anyway. I just didn't know that there was a world out there where you could experience freedom from yourself.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Inner Joy

I babysat Sadie for the evening last night. She had already been put to bed when I got there, but half an hour later I began to hear the plaintive wailing of "Mommeeeee!!" Shelley had given me permission to let her cry it out, but it was so darn pathetic I couldn’t stand it. I opened her door, she took one look at me and clammed up. I could see the confusion in her eyes... "Okay, when I got in bed, Mom was a confident blond. Now Mom is a hesitant brunette. Something has happened here."

We sat down to watch "Baby Week" on Discovery Health, where we learned all about in vitro fertilization and sperm washes. I fully expected her to just nod off (or start screaming. What child wants to watch a program about sperm washes?) but she seemed to be enjoying herself. Actually, Sadie almost always seems to be enjoying herself. She has, what Shelley has called, "inner joy." Most of the time, Sadie wanders about, grinning (sometimes sans clothing; see prior post), picking up objects and informing us of the name of the object in question. Apple. Keys. Sunglasses. Sharp Scissors ("Oh wait there, chickie, let’s just give those to Aunt Ellen.")

I think that I too would like to have inner joy.

In bed last night, as I began my nightly round of past worries, present worries and future worries, Jason stopped me and said, "Just enjoy yourself! Be happy!" "Who is happy?" I demanded. "Who are these happy people that you keep speaking of?" He pointed out himself, his father (but not his mother,) his brothers, my brother-in-law, my future brother-in-law...

"Those are all men," I pointed out.

"Hmmmmm," said Jason, "That’s interesting."

We thought and thought and thought and finally decided that my friend, Stephanie, is a fairly happy person (well, before her pregnancy and subsequent child temporarily turned her into a crying, mopey, uncomfortable individual.)

So what does this mean? That most women are incapable of being relaxed and happy? What kind of crap is this?

Jason said he might write a book on it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Lap Schmap

My laparoscopy has been postponed again, due to reasons involving anti-biotics, my heart and timelines. But don't cry for me, Argentina...I'm okay. Life sometimes throws you for a loop.

Party at Finding Normal

Went to a Pampered Chef party at Shelley's house last night. Let me just say, I've been to my fair share of Pampered Chef parties, but this one was by far the wildest. Usually, it's just a bunch of young to middle-aged women sipping coffee politely, talking about how they know the hostess and gushing over their baking stones. I stopped going to these things a few years ago, once I had bought everything on the cheap end of the catalog (guilt buying, for eating the hostess's cream cheese finger rolls for the evening.) I have the apple wedger, the orange peeler, the Sudser, the boil-over control and the bamboo tongs. Granted, except for the Sudser (which broke a week later), all were very good purchases. But I started feeling pressure to buy one of those dadgum baking stones ("Oh, you must get a baking stone. I use it for everything." "Yeah, lady, but I don't cook." "But you would if you had a baking stone!")

But I decided to attend this Pampered Chef shindig for my dear friend, Shelley, and even prepared to buy something substantial so she could earn some free stuff.

Again, definitely the wildest. I was the only one there who hasn't been motherized yet, and I spent the majority of the time sitting back and taking in the madness and fearing for my life. (I was already freaking a little from Tigger's post about the trials of motherhood.) The party had four blonde toddlers, a fussy newborn and a large dog named Lucy whose tail is a lethal weapon. The poor soft-spoken "chef" had no chance. We pretty much nodded at her from time to time and then ate all of her food.

Some of the more humorous and/or crazy events of the evening:

1) Sadie (Blonde Toddler #1) suddenly appearing out of nowhere, grinning ear to ear, without a stitch of clothing except her diaper.

2) One friend tiredly informing the group that her daughter (Blonde Toddler #2) had just ran off with someone's cell phone and keys. Ho ho, I thought, until the friend mentioned that it was a pink cell phone. Okay, that would be me. The friend continued calmly sipping her coffee, while I had visions of Chinese telephone numbers appearing on my monthly statement. Finally, I sneaked away and found it on the floor, covered with something gooey.

3) Blond Toddler #3 shrieking "Mommy!" in panic every five minutes or so, even though her mother was sitting directly beside her.

The main thing I noticed was how every mother took the chaos in stride. I felt paralyzed, but it seemed perfectly normal to every other woman there. One neighbor mother suddenly hoisted screaming Blonde Toddler #4 over her shoulder, mid-sentence, took her next door to give to Husband, and came back and promptly rejoined the conversation. Ice on coffee table? Coffee on floor? Cream cheese smeared on Kong-bearing dog? Not a problem.

The only other person who seemed slightly dazed was my friend, Erin. But I think that was mainly because she has a nine-week old at home and I think that most women with nine-week olds are dazed.

Monday, June 07, 2004


Saw "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" this weekend. Great movie! It's the sort of movie that I wanted the first two movies to be...dark, a little weird, funny. The wonderful thing about the books, that they didn't capture in the first two movies, is that the "magic" part is just a fun background. The stories are really about finding a place that feels like home. Maybe it is being at a far-off school where your teachers care about you, you can sit by the fire doing your homework and conspire at lunch with your best friends. Or maybe it's your best friend's home that is chaotic and crazy but somehow you blend in so well that his mom knits you sweaters with your initials on it. Maybe it's your owl.

In the first two movies, it was like "Let's all stop and look at this fantastic magical special effect." (Wow! Scary snake! Scary spider! Oooooo...Quidditch game!) In "Azkaban," I like that the magic part took a back seat to the relationships. All of the cool little effects, like a wizard's tea spoon stirring by itself or singing toads, were just quirky background candy.

Plus, the kids are truly becoming fine actors, which is a relief.

I know that I probably shouldn't care so much about this sort of thing, but I am very loyal to my little escapist worlds. The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Bloom County. Don't mess with 'em, man.

Friday, June 04, 2004

"Time Warp"

Okay, "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror Picture Show was on my XM Radio this morning. I've always missed a crucial lyric in this song and was wondering if someone could help me:

"It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
Put your hands on your hips
And bring your knees in tight
It's a _________?
That really drives you insa-a-a-a-ane
Let's do the Time Warp again."


Thursday, June 03, 2004

This Might Hurt

I started taking my "beta blocker" for my prolapse today. When I went in to get the prescription, the pharmacist called me over. "You might not feel well the first five days that you take this medication," she warned me. Which, in doctor/pharmacist lingo, means, "You are going to feel like you've been hit by a truck." Sort of like, "You're going to feel a prick" means "Here comes the blinding, searing pain!"

Speaking of medication, one of Jason's schizophrenic clients decided that she knew a better way to take her meds than the way the psychiatrist told her. He had to go up to the residence center because she was throwing all of her roommate's belongings out the window into the rain. He finally convinced her to go to the hospital, where she informed the nurses that my husband was a Russian and needed to be deported. So what's the lesson to be learned here, besides not messing with your medication? How about...."Crazy can be fun!"

And speaking of craziness, I started reading the book, Grandchildren of Alcoholics by Ann Smith, yesterday. It's never a good sign when, while reading a book on dysfunction, you run out of ink while underlining passages with which you identify. I've been meaning to read this book for years, but only recently found it online. Holy cow. If you are a grandchild of an alcoholic (I happen to have it coming from both sides,) you've gotta read this book. Here are some of the characteristics of an adult GofA:

1) Distorted family image but strong family loyalty.
2) Self-blaming and guilt.
3) Good at forming superficial relationships, but have a compulsive need for intimacy.
4) Difficulty asking for help
5) Struggle with compulsive behaviors and boundaries.
6) Tend to be secretive and fearful.
7) Prone to episodes of depression and anxiety.
8) Over-reacting, under-reacting and extreme thinking.

The big one that I identified with (practically underlined the entire section) was the isolation. Typically, adult children of alcoholics (our parents) created families devoid of alcohol, because they were determined not to have the family craziness that they grew up in. However, to quote the book, "When addiction to chemicals skips a generation, it does not eliminate the environment which is fertile for addiction." Mainly, because our parents did not have normal modeled to them, the dysfunctional, co-dependent problems are just repeated, sans the alcohol. Therefore, the GofA family is just as isolated as the parent's upbringing.

The difference is, our parents grew up knowing what was at the root of the pain and isolation. GofA, generally, had their grandparent's alcoholism hidden from them, so they grow up knowing that something is very wrong...but simply assuming that they are nuts to think it, since their family appears "perfect" to the outside world.

That hit me hard. I totally relate to the isolation angle. My entire life, I felt that my family was a little different than everyone else's. We were very involved in the community, church, school, what have you. But we were also alone, sort of separated off by ourselves.

I haven't gotten to the part of the book where it tells you how to fix it. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Grouchy Evening

Just sitting here in bed, slightly depressed, watching "Seinfeld," eating my Cherry Garcia ice cream...fending off all the animals attempting to eat my Cherry Garcia ice cream.

A friend of mine, who suffers from endo as well, has had all the HSGs, endo biopsies and laparoscopies done in the past two months. She is a very research oriented person, and a useful source of fertility information. She wrote me today with some statistics that are scaring the crap out of me. Every month, the normal woman has a 25% chance of getting pregnant, doing all the neccesary steps. An endo woman, apparently, has a 2% chance. 2 freaking percent.

So I am sitting here mulling and grouching about that. 2 freaking percent.

I went back to see Dr. B today. I have a slightly rarer form of the mitral valve prolapse. I've got some sort of weird click, too. He wants me to take beta blockers and aspirin everyday. So that's a bit of a relief to get that diagnosed.

...2 freaking percent.

Reality Check

The message boards are alit with the news of Julia Roberts' twin pregnancy. But it's not the positive response that you'd think. Her reps announced that it was a boy and a girl (at 9 weeks gestation), which you would only know at that point if you did IVF. However, Julia's reps are also saying, "Twins run in Julia's family, blah blah blah." The infertiles are pretty ticked off. If you have had infertility treatments, just be honest. Don't lie.

Like Geena Davis having her "miracle baby" at 47. It's no miracle of nature. It's donor eggs.

A month ago, I talked about getting your period being the gage of how you are really doing, not how you feel the rest of the month. Well, here I am again. I can feel it coming. And I'm not doing as well as I thought I was a few days ago. I'm having a hard morning. I just don't want to be around anyone.

As much as you don't get your hopes up, there's always that part of you noticing every twinge in your uterus and checking to see how full your breasts are. Two little voices battle in my head for two weeks; I'll call them "Maybe" and "Reality":

Maybe: "Did you feel that twinge on your right ovary?"
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "But my boobs hurt when I press on them on this spot over here..."
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "A headache! I've heard that headaches are..."
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "There's always hope! It could be a festivus miracle!"
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "Hey...what's this spotting right here?"
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "It could be implantation spotting...hand me one of those super-maxi pads, will you?"
Reality: "You're not pregnant."
Maybe: "Oh...damn."
Reality: "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!"

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Porn and Mothers

I listen to a radio talk show on my XM Radio at lunch, sometimes (XM 170, if you are interested). I used to listen to it on a local radio station but the boogers cancelled it. It's a Christian counseling call-in show called "New Life Live." [Actually, I flip back and forth between "NLL" and "The O'Franken Factor" on XM 167. Pretty opposite, but Al cracks me up.] "New Life Live" is sort of like "Dr. Laura" but without the harshness. I like them because they greatly discourage divorce. They are pro-"separation" so the participants can get some distance and try to work things out.

Anyway, most of the callers who call in are women (surprise surprise.) But here is something that I actually have found interesting...most of the calls are concerning their husband's pornography addiction. I swear, like three call out of five are desperate women who have discovered their husband's horrible porn collection stashed in the bowels of the computer. [Note: My husband always knows when I've been listening to the show because I get all questiony about his internet usage. "I'm not looking at porn! Stop listening to that damn show!"]

Today, my interest was peaked because it was a non-porn caller. The lady was crying that her mother didn't treat her right and always took her sister's side. "How old are you?" asked the therapist. "42." she whimpered. "Honey, why do you still need a mother?" That stopped her in her tracks and she started sobbing.

I realized that for several years after college, that was me. Mad at my mother for not being there and not being motherly. But I spent last Saturday with my mom, and I had a really good frustration, just a pleasant time. Hey! I don't need a mother anymore! It's such a relief.

The Office

Jason and I have been watching the DVD sets of a BBC British comedy called, "The Office." We are totally addicted. I picked it up because Matt Groening (creator of "The Simpsons") has a blurb on the cover that says, "...One of the funniest shows ever" or something like that. It's the truth. You know that a movie or TV show is good when it causes a physical and/or chemical reaction in you. Jason and I bury our heads in the pillow and yell "I can't take it anymore! Turn it off!" The boss on this show is so completely....there's no word for it. Insecure, ego-maniacal, embarrassingly unfunny, non-self-aware, ridiculous. We cringe through the entire half-hour. You can't believe that he could do anything more awful than he's already done....then it's worse.

It's like watching a horrible train wreck of an act at a Talent Show. I used to have to endure these monstrosities throughout junior high and high school. Some poor, poor girl with absolutely no talent would stand up and sing "Ice Castles" or some Whitney Houston crap. It would be an absolute travesty and I would bury my head in my hands, feeling the humiliation that the poor deluded girl wasn't feeling for herself. I couldn't stop her or rescue her, but somehow I would endure the pain for her. Oh, it was horrendous.

Anyway, this show is a bit like that. But, boy, is it ever funny. The first couple of episodes, we had to turn the subtitles on, because we couldn't follow the accents. But we soon got used to it and now we don't need them. We even understand the lingo. My husband has been calling me a "wanker" all weekend. I keep telling him, "That's a male term!" ...I think. Thankfully, the DVD sets come with a British/American translation guide.