Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Not Too Late

There's still time to enter my 100 post celebratory contest. I will be picking a winner tomorrow morning, so go ahead and enter - as many times as you like! If you need to review the rules, check the previous post for details. If you have time, go check out all the awesome comments. You people are so funny!

I was complaining recently about my 'spring cleaning' muscles, but I should have waited. It turns out that was only the beginning. I have started exercising again - something that is so long overdue, I almost don't remember how. I am walking at least 3 miles every day (outside if possible, or the treadmill if necessary) and doing some other form of exercise (I have a bunch of tapes and DVD's) each day as well.

Before any of you go and say anything supportive (do I know you people, or what?) I want to be clear that I only started this on Monday. Today is day 4 - a little early to be all impressed. I also need to confess that I am not all happy and cheerful about it. I whine and bitch about it the whole freaking time (although it's mostly whining in my own head, because I'm so out of breath I can't whine out loud).

But I have no choice. I am so out of shape I can't stand it another minute. I'm not going to be able to enjoy this gorgeous weather we're having if I can't move around and do stuff. I like walking on the beach, and playing frisbee with the dog and hiking up Bradbury Mountain for a picnic. I don't want to skip any fun activities because I have the cardio capacity of a 200 year old woman. It's time.

Which brings me to the pain. My muscles are screaming at me, which seems pretty ungrateful, since I'm finally taking them out for air after ignoring them for the last 6 or 7 months. They should be happy! You should have heard me getting out of bed this morning. There were some groans, a couple of grunts, several curse words and some other noises I really can't describe. Suffice it to say it wasn't pretty.

This past winter kicked the crap out of me in a lot of ways. Rejected by my birth mother, out of a job during a recession, and dealing with two separate foot injuries as well as some other personal issues, exercise was the last thing on my mind. I spent way too many hours icing my propped up foot, and now that it has healed, things have got to change.

Spring and I are going to wipe the memory of the horrible winter of 09 out of my mind - or we're going to go down trying.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Celebration Day

It's here. I've reached my first milestone in the blogosphere. 100 posts. I have written something and posted it to the web one hundred times since last fall. It's really quite amazing to me. I never would have expected to be at this point - me, who used to seriously doubt the value of blogging, but now one of its biggest fans.

I think back to how far I've come since the days of the little pink diary with the tiny key (which I hid in plain sight in my jewelry box - who would think to look there?) that I got for my birthday when I was ten. I tried journalling several times in my life, but I could never stick with it. I certainly never did a hundred entries, even when I was a teenager, and I was so convinced that I had the most dramatic life ever.

I think I know why blogging is different for me than journalling. It's the feedback. Even though I write whatever I want, and usually it's random stuff rattling around in my head, there's something about knowing that someone else is reading it that makes me feel better. I don't think it's a coincidence that I got interested in both reading and writing blogs around the time I lost my job and thus my daily connection with the outside world. Even on my worst day, I have been able to count on the fact that someone will read my ramblings and take a moment out of their day to make a comment, even if it's just to say hello.

That moment of connection means so much to me. I've said it before, but one of things that troubles me is how isolated I think we're becoming in this country. Increasingly, people don't live near their extended family; they don't know their neighbors; children spend time with computers instead of friends; even friends text instead of talk.

But here, in blog world, people are connecting. I'm both amazed and grateful.

So, in honor of my amazement, I'm having a contest!!!! With a prize!!!!

I'm not telling what the prize is (because I still haven't mailed poor Joanie's prize from my last contest, and it's the same thing! I promise to mail this one, and Joanie's, on Friday. I swear.) But it's a good prize. Ask Hallie, if you don't believe me - she knows what it is.

Here's the deal: I think that the internet is one of the most amazing inventions of my lifetime, which got me to thinking about all the other things that have really changed the world since I was born. I've come up with a list:

The 5 top inventions of my lifetime, in my opinion:
  1. Personal computers
  2. Cell phones
  3. The internet
  4. DNA technology
  5. Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
To enter the contest, leave me a comment about the inventions of your life. Or about what you think is the greatest invention of all time (the wheel? fire? contact lenses?). Or about the invention you WISH somebody would invent (permanent hair dying process that actually makes your hair grow out in that color, eliminating root issues? Maybe that's just me...)

I'll take comments through Thursday, and use one of those random number generators to pick the winner. Winner will be announced on Friday. Come play with me!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just Can't Wait

Well, it's almost here. My 100th post. I promised that'd I'd hold a contest by way of a celebration, and I will. Tomorrow's the big day, so be sure to stop back and see how you can win a fabulous prize. Well, to be honest, it might not be fabulous, but it is a prize, so it's all good.

We were blessed by amazing weather here in Maine this past weekend. Friday was sunny and warm; Saturday was sunny and warmer (around 80) and Sunday was warm, cloudy but the rain held off until after nightfall. It's amazing how much the weather can affect my mood. Somehow even the difficult things seem a little less horrible when Mother Nature shines on me.

I did notice that there is a lot to be done outside in the way of spring clean-up. I live on a major road, so all the trash that people toss out of their vehicles all winter blows into my front yard, where it hides until the snow melts. Time to put on the rubber gloves and pretend I'm working on the chain gang (I'm all about the role-play, baby.)

There are trees downed in wind storms to be cleaned away, fencing to be repaired, gardens to tend. We're going to need a stretch of the clear weather to get it all done, but what satisfying work it is. Unlike some other things I'm doing in my life, this work shows. I can see a stack of brush waiting for a burn permit, a pile of trash bags, an intact fence line. Some of the other things I'm working on don't really reveal a visible result or a satisfied feeling. I guess, all things considered, I'm glad I have some physically demanding tasks on my to-do list.

I did notice how there are a bunch of muscles that one uses for spring clean-up that one evidently doesn't use for anything else. Yikes. I'm making little noises when I move. Still, it kind of feels bad in a good way, if you know what I mean.

Hope you all had a nice weekend, and please stop by tomorrow to celebrate 100 posts and enter my celebratory contest!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Always on my Mind

Welcome to Friday Fragments - little bits of randomness that spill out of my brain during the week that aren't really worthy of their own post. I join the fun folks from Half Past Kissin' Time, as well as others, in this endeavor. If you're feeling in a fragmented mood, check them out here.

** I read somewhere this week that when we are born, our eyes are the size they will be for our whole lives. It's one of the reasons babies are so cute, because their eyes are larger in proportion to the rest of them.

I guess the person who invented Precious Moments already figured this out.

** I also learned that, even though our eyes don't grow, our ears and noses never STOP growing. I find this frightening. I wish I had know this years ago; I would have measured my nose then, so I could keep track.

** Why do some places with public bathroom facilities insist on stocking them with the cheapest, thinnest, most worthless toilet paper? Colleges. chain restaurants and highway rest stops are particularly guilty, in my experience. Note to those proprietors: You may pay half as much for each roll of inadequacy, but I use FIVE TIMES AS MUCH tissue. Even if I don't need to.

** I was shopping at the local dollar store the other day, picking up some temporary props for the play, and noticed something interesting at the checkout. They sell home pregnancy tests. Take a moment and absorb this. They sell home pregnancy tests. For a dollar. Now, I'm the first person to try to save a few bucks whenever possible, but do we really want to be trusting the results of a home pregnancy test we picked up at the dollar store? However, if you're okay with it, you can shop online and buy a case of 72 for the bargain price of - you guessed it - $72.

** I wonder who designed lacrosse padding. I wonder this because the shoulder/chest padding (for boys, anyway) covers their shoulders and about one-third of the top of their chests. I mean, it's not like, when your child has the ball in his stick and is running at top speed down the field, that the other team is indescriminately whacking at your child, trying to get him to drop the ball or anything. Really, what are the chances that some of those hits will land somewhere other than the miniscule part of him that is covered with padding? I'm sure there are no vital organs in those areas. I'm just grateful they have to wear a cup. I want grandchildren some day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Than a Feeling

We're through two rehearsals of the play, and it's been very interesting. I'm fascinated at the process of how a play gets from the point of being a bunch of words in a playbook to a fully-formed performance. Of course, we're very early in the process, but I can already see parts of it coming together.

It's especially cool to watch the director work. Andy, from A Long Patience, is directing, and he really seems to have this thing - this vision - of how it's supposed to be. He has an idea of what the characters are thinking and feeling, even as the actors playing them are just beginning to see it. I guess that's what directing is all about. The cast is working well together, and already showing signs of being a family. I've laughed a lot, even at places in the script I hadn't thought were funny. Hearing someone deliver a line in an unexpected way, with a little inflection I didn't think to inject when I was reading it, can give it a whole new meaning, and it can be hilarious.

Alex's first home lacrosse game was rained out (to my great relief - it was really pouring!) and is rescheduled for today. I'm looking forward to seeing him play, but my mom-sense (which is similar to spidey-sense) is worried about the whole danger thing. For some reason, Alex is playing in both the varsity and junior varsity games, even though he is only officially on the JV team. Evidently there are not quite enough players for varsity, so they bring a couple of kids up from JV, and, God help me, Alex seems to be one of those kids. That gives him twice the amount of playing time in which to be pummeled, tackled, slammed, tripped and generally maimed. Great. If you're looking for me at the game, I'll be the one chugging Pepto-Bismal.

I'm still dealing with this cold - spring colds are the absolute worst - and I keep wondering if it is actually possible for one's head to explode. Maybe I'll google it and see what I find. If only I didn't have a million other things to do, I could easily lie on the couch with a blanket and the remote and wait the damn virus out. Unfortunately, that's not possible, so I'll just keep working at that mound of laundry, and floors that suffer from mud season, and too many teenagers in my house during school vacation week. Oh, and somewhere in there, I'll keep applying for jobs, and work on figuring out how to blow my nose without blowing out my ear drums. All in all, I'm keeping busy, which is good, right?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

Remember that song? By the Carpenters - the brother and sister singing duo. Karen Carpenter had an amazing voice, deep and silky smooth. I loved them - still do. You'll find several songs by the Carpenters on my Ipod.(If I can find them on YouTube, I'll post the video at the end of this blog.)

The line in that song was "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down" and that's a little true for me today. I had a really busy weekend, and this is school vacation week, so I have an extra one or two teens staying here, which adds to the general hectic atmosphere. Then, for some reason, I seem to have caught the head cold that was going around, so I'm thick-headed and sluggish, to boot. (I know what you're thinking, but I AM NOT normally this thick-headed. And shame on you for mocking me when I'm sick. Hallie, this means you.)

Yesterday (Monday) was the day I woke up realizing that I was sick, and today it is rainy. Very rainy. 'Check the basement to see how bad the flooding is' rainy. Maybe even 'Noah, start gathering the animals' kind of rainy. After a week or more of really nice, sunny spring weather, the rain is really welcome. We need it, or so the forest fire guy keeps saying on tv. Anyway, we are not allowed to complain - I think there's a no whining ordinance that applies to spring rain after a particularly difficult winter. Here's the conversation, which you can hear at every country store in rural Maine - the place where the old guys drive their old pickup trucks 'down to th'stoah' for coffee and gossip:

Old Guy #1: (growling) Nice weather. The brook is coming up over the road down by the farm.
Old Guy #2: (also growling) Yup. Nice weather t'be a duck.
Old Guy #3: Now, now. Could be worse. We could be shoveling snow.
Old Guys #1 and #2: (chuckling and nodding) Ayuh. That we could.

(Ayuh, for those of you who don't speak Mainer, translates as "I agree" or, more casually, as "yessir", or "yessirree.")

I think we're all afraid to complain about rain in April. We've been slammed by late winter storms enough times to learn our lesson. Rain is better than snow, and don't anger the gods by bitching about it.

I might mention that today is Alex's first home lacrosse game - the first time I get to see him play this dangerous sport, since his other games were all away games - and I am not looking forward to standing outside, sick, in the pouring rain. But that might seem like complaining, so never mind.

There is some good news, too, of course. The Boston Bruins are now up three games to none in the first round of the playoffs. The New England Revolution (major-league soccer) is doing well at the beginning of their season. There are probably good things to say about the Red Sox or the Celtics, but you'll have to ask somebody else for that info.

I AM looking forward to my first play rehearsal tonight. It will be interesting to see the process from the beginning, and I can't wait to see what Andy is like as a director. I'm so glad it's a comedy. I need some comedy in my life. Thank goodness there's never a lack of things to laugh about.

Even on Rainy Days and Mondays.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Fever

It’s time to get rid of all the weird stuff that rolls around in my head all during the week. I present this Friday Fragments post in conjunction with the great folks over at Half Past Kissin’ Time. Mrs. 4444 lives there, and she's a scream! Pop over and read what her husband had to say about their daughter's sleepover birthday party. Classic. Best one-liner of the day.

I had a great time out with my college friends on Wednesdays. We went to Chili’s, which is a restaurant I had never been to before, but I admired how much fun everyone is always having there in the TV commercials. As it turned out, we had just as much fun as the folks in the ad campaign, but it didn’t have much to do with the restaurant. The food was okay, definitely not spectacular, but it didn’t matter. What we need in a dinner location is: decent food, refillable drinks, wait staff that doesn’t bug us too much, and business that’s slow enough so they don’t care if we hang around for three hours. Girls Night Out is all about the Girls, and not so much about the Out.

I got the latest James Bond movie from Netflix – since I missed it when it was in the theater – but I haven’t watched it yet. I’m not all that excited about it. I’ve been a Bond fan since I was a kid, but I have very strong opinions on just exactly who makes a good 007 and who does not. My first Bond flicks were the Roger Moore ones – out in the theaters - which I liked just fine. Then I discovered the Sean Connery Bond, and fell in love. He was the swagger-y, smirking, completely male spy, and I adored him. Still do. Of course, then Pierce Brosnan took over the role, and I fell into lust. He is, without a doubt, the sexiest Bond ever, and I love everything about him, including the updated, more politically correct version of 007 (after all, the Brosnan Bond came with new, nifty special effects!). Unfortunately, I’m not buying the new guy. He’s blond, for one thing. He’s not sarcastic enough (at least not in the first movie). He’s missing that special something – I think it’s attitude – and I don’t want to be his Bond girl.

Speaking of Netflix, I have been making a list of movies I want to see someday. I compiled the list after Yahoo put out their Top 100 Movies Everyone Should See list. I also went through AFI’s top 100, and their top 10 from each category (musicals, action films, comedies, etc.). I ended up with a list of about 40 movies that I want to see, or think that I should see, anyway. Ten or so of those are movies I’ve seen before, but it was so long ago, I want to see them with my new, grown-up eyes. If I accomplish everything I am supposed to do by mid-afternoon today, I’m going to cross one off: The Maltese Falcon. I know I saw this when I was a kid, but I don’t remember much about it, and I’m looking forward to rewarding myself for having made it through another week.

I might even take my laptop out onto the deck and enjoy the great outdoors with my movie. It is supposed to be 60 degrees here today. We’ve been in spectacular weather mode here all week, but the brisk winds have finally gone and we can soak up the sun without getting an eyeful of sand. I think Old Man Winter has finally lost his grip and slunk away, leaving us a little battered, but ready to embrace Spring. I swear I heard a collective sigh from the Northeast.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Tonight's one of my rare Girls Night Out events. Once every other month or so, I try to get together with two of my best friends from college. Lately we've tried really hard to actually do it, and not let it get pushed aside, which is what used to happen a lot.

Even though we usually just go out to dinner and talk, I find these evenings incredibly restorative. There's something about spending time with people who have known you for 30 years that's so freeing - after all, these people already know all your embarassing secrets. I'm really looking forward to it.

As I was thinking about the subject of friends, I realized that I'm lucky to have quite a few of them. They're all unique, and my relationship with each of them is different, but each plays an important part in my life and would leave a terrible chasm if they were gone. I've been especially blessed to find some new friends out here in the Blogosphere. I treasure my friends, and I don't think I tell them that often enough.

Which brings me to the story that I want to tell you. My friend Jocelyn recently said to me, "why don't you talk about me on your blog?" I explained to her that I usually only talk about people when they participate in or achieve an noteworthy event, so if she were to do something interesting, I would talk about her. (It's okay to talk to her like this - she likes my sarcasm. No, really, she does.)

I've known Jocelyn for over 10 years. We met when my family did a dogsledding demonstration for some high school age girl scouts. Jocelyn was around 16 at the time, and she fell in love with dogsledding. She volunteered to help us train the dogs, and soon became the best helper we'd ever had. Quickly she morphed into one of the family. She not only helped with the dogs, she helped me hundreds of times with other things - picking up the kids after school, or dropping them at their soccer practice, rescuing me when my car broke down. I've known her through a bunch of big changes in her life - high school, college, big-time scientific job, buying a house (only a mile away from me- YAY!) and now, planning a move (10 miles away from me - BOO!). Jocelyn even lets me bake stuff over at her house when my oven's broken. I'm old enough to be her mother, and she can cause me to have one of those 'lump-in-the-throat, my-little-girl-is-all-grown-up-now' moments. She's one of my favorite people, and even though I don't see her as much as I used to, I love her madly.

Anyway, we were talking on the phone yesterday, and she told me something that really made me laugh, and is totally blog-worthy. Evidently someone hacked her debit card number and used it to purchase some stuff. Now, I've heard of people having their stolen credit cards used for overseas phone calls, massive electronics or phone-sex calls, but not this time. Jocelyn's thief used her card to buy flowers (a big bunch, evidently for $180) and join a Christian Singles dating site.

Okay, am I the only one that finds it HYSTERICAL that somebody used a stolen credit card to join a dating site for CHRISTIANS???? Hell, party of one!

Jocelyn told me on the phone that when she called the companies to ask that the charges be removed, one of them mentioned the email address of the person who purchased the items. Unfortunately, she didn't write it down, but oh, the possibilities if she had. Jocelyn and I brainstormed some fun ideas of how we could torture the perpetrator. My favorite ideas involved signing up for fake email addresses and bombarding her with spam.

From: GOD1111@
To: Thief
Subject: You're a sinner
What do you think you're doing, using stolen money to participate in Christian dating? If you should ever meet someone, you will turn to a pillar of salt.

From: SATAN666@
To: Miss Understood
Subject: Your reservation
Confirming your reservation for a premium room in the Hell Hotel. Lava flow views and 24 hour access to burning and wailing.

Couldn't we have some fun with this? I know I have some pretty creative readers, so let me know what you think.

Don't forget, keep track of your credit and debit cards, and I hope you all have a Jocelyn in your life.!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nothing from Nothing

I'm feeling completely uninspired. I've been trying for three days to think of something to write about, and having no luck whatsoever. Yet, even though I have nothing to say, I know I need to post something, so I'm reaching back several weeks to one of those random meme's that I was tagged with. This one asked me to come up with 4 facts about myself that I haven't posted before, and here they are:

1. I'm not really a brunette - at least, not anymore. My hair is gray. All - or nearly all - gray. I started going gray when I was 16, and by the time I was 25, it was bad enough that I started coloring it. If I let it go too long, the tell-tale skunk stripe down my center part could positively blind you. One of the first things I'm going to ask my birth mother, if she ever agrees to meet me, is if this is a hereditary thing.

2. I am a cat lover, which you may already know, but each of my cats has an interesting story, and I'll use up three facts if I tell you, so... Midnight, my oldest cat, is about 10 years old and all black. When she was about 1, and our only cat, she got out of the house accidently and disappeared. I was heartbroken. She was gone for over a month - at the same time my mom was dying. I was spending all day working, then driving an hour and a half to the nursing home to spend a few hours with my mom, driving home to sleep a few hours, only to repeat the whole thing. Each day the doctors said, 'say goodbye, she probably won't make it through the night.' This went on for 3 and a half weeks. One weekend morning, as I fixed a travel mug of coffee for my trip to the nursing home, I thought I heard a little mew. A second later, I heard it again, and I went to the door, opened it, and in ran Midnight. She was a little thinner, but looked clean and healthy. She ran right by me and went to where the food dishes had been, waiting for breakfast. I burst into tears. The next day, my mother passed away. I firmly believe that God said, "I know how hard it is for you right now, with me calling your mom home, so I'm sending back your furry baby." She's my miracle cat.

3. Eclipse is my 'middle' cat, and a bit of a miracle herself. One night, as we were getting our frozen meat delivery (our dogs eat an amazing amount of meat, which is kept in huge freezers in our attached shed) one of my kids heard some faint crying. Upon investigation, he found three tiny kittens, eyes not even open yet, crying frantically in the attic of the shed. I had seen a feral cat hanging around our shed for several months, which isn't unusual, since we have dog food and meat hanging around. The day before, I had seen the cat lying dead on the road about a quarter of a mile down our very busy road, and had felt bad about it. Well, come to find out, she had chosen our shed to have her litter. These poor orphaned kittens hadn't eaten in at least 36 hours and they were very hungry. We brought them in, and nursed them by hand with tiny bottles and kitten formula. We gave two of them away, and kept Eclipse. She's the cuddliest cat I've ever known, having been raised by hand. She's what I guess you call a calico - she has fur of every color, with the main background being black. Sometime I'll dig out the baby pictures of my sons nursing the kitties. Their hands look huge because the kittens were so small. Who says boys aren't nurturing?

4. Last, but not least, we have a yellow tabby cat named Ursa. Ursa Major, really. She was another mostly wild cat who chose our shed to have babies in - twice! The first time, we didn't discover them until the kittens were several weeks old, and they were completely feral and terrified of us. We could never manage to catch them, and they eventually moved on, but Mama Cat stayed. I fed her (how could you not?) out in the shed, and prayed that she wouldn't get killed on our road. By the second time I noticed she was pregnant, she had become pretty friendly to us, and I began hatching a plan. One day, when I let my dog Bliss out to go potty, Mama Cat, who normally didn't pay any attention to Bliss, totally attacked her, hissing and trying to scratch her. Bliss, by the way, took off for the dog yard and refused to come back near the house - such a brave watch dog, huh? Anyway, I coaxed Mama Cat over and noticed she was bleeding slightly, which I knew meant she was going to have her kittens. I grabbed her, brought her inside, and set her up with a clean comfy place in our sunporch. She had only two kittens, and we kept her and the kittens inside until the kittens were old enough to be adopted. By this time, Mama Cat was very friendly, loved to be petted, and would even let us pick her up. Ever so carefully, we introduced her into our household, and, while they scuffle occasionally, all is usually calm. We finally decided to stop calling her Mama Cat, and so she became Ursa (although we forget and call her MC anyway).

Woo-hoo! I did it! I posted something. I am pathetically proud of myself. See what my life has become? Tomorrow is a GIRLS NIGHT OUT, so maybe by Thursday I'll have my mojo back.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank God It's Friday

Time for more random thoughts. I do this in conjunction with a fabulous blogger, Mrs. 4444 over at Half-Past Kissin' Time. She is really funny, and is happy to share even her most embarrassing moments, which I totally admire. Last week she chose me as her Favorite Friday Fragmenter, which makes me love her even more!

While I was laid up with my broken foot, I got caught a couple of times without the TV remote handy, and ended up watching some shows I would never have watched otherwise. One of those shows was Gunsmoke, which I don't think I liked even way back when it was on the first time. I'm not really a western-watching kind of gal. Anyway, I did learn something from Gunsmoke. Back in the western days, attempted murder wasn't a crime. Nope. If you shot at somebody and missed, nobody cared. Heck, a lot of the time, nobody even noticed. I'm not sure when this particular law got changed, but I'm glad it did.

Did everybody hear about what happened with the Sham-Wow guy? His real name is Vince Shlomi. Okay, let's all take a minute and enjoy his last name. Hee. Allright, now, if you haven't heard, Mr. Shlomi was arrested for an altercation with a hooker. Evidently, he hired a hooker for $1000 (I guess the Sham Wow gig paid pretty well!) and then had to beat her up when she allegedly bit his tongue and wouldn't let go. They both ended up arrested. Let me say that I do not condone violence of any kind, but I have to admit, this made me chuckle a bit. I mean, the first thing I thought about was that, if there was a mess, at the very least, he'd have something with which to clean it up (say it with me: shamWOW!). Most of all, however, I am supremely disappointed in my Sham Wow guy. He has a record now, and it's not for sales. Thanks to Becca over at Don't Get Me Started for alerting me to this troubling news.

I have a love of board games and jigsaw puzzles. I like doing puzzles by myself, but I like them even more with company. I think the reason I like them has little to do with the game or the puzzle, but more to do with the fun conversations that take place during them. I got this love from my parents, who loved to play games, and I've tried to instill it in my kids, with slightly less success. Back when I was a kid, we had only a few choices for fun: playing outside, playing games, or watching one of the three tv channels we had. Now family games have to compete with computer games, video games, MySpace, Instant Messenger and 500 television channels. Still, we actually wore out one of our favorite games, and I had to buy a replacement. The game is called Sequence, and I highly recommend it. It's one of those "one minute to learn, a lifetime to master" kind of games. I love love love playing it, even though Alex can totally kick my butt almost every time. He's very competitive.

Speaking of Alex's competitive nature - he is playing Lacrosse this spring for the first time. I knew he would like it - running around with a stick? He's all about that. His mom, on the other hand, is not at all sure she wants her baby out there getting beat up. I've decided the best thing to do is hold my breath and pray a lot. Hopefully that will keep him safe.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and a Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Winner Takes It All

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Yesterday I reminded everyone about my secret contest, and gave out a little hint. Actually, it must have been a big hint, because in hardly the time it takes to say Super Secret Giveaway, someone came up with the correct answer.

Before I announce the winner, I must say how much I enjoyed your comments yesterday. I especially liked those who said I was entertaining, or funny, or positive. Thank you! Bonus points to Claudia, who claimed I was a 'freakin' genius'. I love you. No bonus points to Becca, who asked if it was that I was whiny. Thanks for noticing. I love you anyway. But MAJOR EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS POINTS to Sue, who said, AND I QUOTE, "Every time you write you reach another level of rock star status?" Hey, Sue? You might be my favorite.

Yes, most of my blog titles are musical in nature. They are usually song titles, in fact. Congratulations to Joanie from Joanie's Random Ramblings, who was the first to comment on it.

I started doing this a while ago, partly because it can be hard to come up with a snappy title for a blog post. There are zillions of songs out there, all with perfectly good titles for me to steal. It's become a sort of trivia game that I play in my own head. I write the post, and then try to think of a song that fits. Oh, the myriad ways I devise to amuse myself!

Joanie - send me your address (via email) and I'll send you your super secret prize. I'm not going to announce what it is, because the prize for my 100th post contest is probably going to be the same thing, and I don't want to ruin the surprise.

I love music, and there's almost always a song running through my head while I'm doing other things. It's kind of like my own personal soundtrack. It runs the gamut - classics to current. I kept track of some of the songs I either listened to on my Ipod, or sang to myself yesterday while I was doing my household chores, and they included Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Jason Mraz, Abba, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Carpenters, Queen and Norah Jones. My musical tastes are eclectic, I guess, but so is my life. I have a lot going on in my head - it takes a lot of different songs to accompany me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do you want to know a secret?

I realized that I am fast approaching 100 posts, which made me think about my planned celebratory giveaway, which made me remember the SUPER SECRET GIVEAWAY that no one has won yet.

If you are a new reader - WELCOME! - and here is what I said about the secret contest:

If I ever make it to 100 posts, I will have a real contest, but in the meantime, I'm having a SUPER SECRET GIVEAWAY. Unfortunately for you, I'm not telling you how to enter. This giveaway is strictly for my own amusement, and so I made up the rules and decided to keep them a secret. I have identified a certain comment that I might hear from one of my fabulously smart commenters, and the first person who makes this particular observation, WINS.

See how fun this will be? For ME, I mean? You can't do anything to enter, except go on commenting, just like always. If anybody ever spills the super-secret phrase/sentence/observation, they'll be a winner. It's like a game that only I will know we're playing! Well, I'll be the only one who knows the rules. Genius! And there's even a prize. Which is also a secret.

You may think I've lost my mind - and you'd be correct - but isn't one of the purposes of blogging to amuse oneself? And, in case you're wondering, pointing out that I am certifiably nuts is NOT the secret observation. Sorry.

Well, here we are several weeks later, and no winner yet, so I decided to give you a hint. The super-secret observation will be something that someone NOTICES about my blog. Something that might be said about just about every one of my blog posts.

Okay. There. That's all you're getting. If nobody gets it before my 100th post, then I may decide to tell you the secret observation and add the prize to the big giveaway. Or I may keep it for myself - I'll pretend I won something and jump up and down and squeal. I'm just crazy enough to make that work for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Overture, Curtains, Lights

It was a dark and stormy night...

I've always wanted to write that. Actually, though, it WAS a dark and stormy night for the first night of auditions for the play. It didn't dampen our moods, though. I had a terrific time, trying to be helpful. I even read a bit when there was a hole in the casting, and I really enjoyed it. I don't know that I'm ever going to be an actress, but I think I'm a pretty good reader, and everybody should do what they can, right?

The play is going to be really funny, which is exactly what I need. I hope they need lots and lots of help. I plan to make myself entirely indispensable. The important thing was that for two and a half hours, I didn't think about any of my problems. It was practically a miracle.

I don't think I mentioned yesterday that this play is being directed by the very talented Andrew Scott Turner, a great writer, my good friend and the author of some of the wittiest comments you'll ever read out in the blogosphere. I had no idea he had directing talent, but evidently, his skills cover a lot of ground. I can't wait to watch him work, because he makes me laugh just about every time I see him, and that, too, is miraculous. He's back blogging again, in case you missed that post, over at A Long Patience.

Spending time with people I already like, and the possibility of making a new friend or two while participating in that grand adventure called theater...well, let's just say things could be worse.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hope For Me Yet

Let me be right up front with a certain fact. I've been having a difficult time lately, and it's been affecting my blogging. Many of you have noticed, and have sent me a variety of comments and emails, all of which I appreciate very much. It's interesting to see which of you try to soothe and comfort me, encourage me, motivate me, or holler at me. I'm not sure which method works best, but it doesn't matter. I miss my bloggy friends, and I miss blogging when I don't do it.

The problem is that I don't seem to have much to say. I know what you're thinking - that hasn't stopped me in the past - but it is hampering my creativity this time. I have decided though, that I am going to operate under the "fake it till you make it" system. I will keep on blogging, even if the subject matter is lame, until I start to feel better.

Speaking of making me feel better, I had a lovely visit with my dear friend Connie last week, and she invited me to go to a play with her yesterday. I LOVE the theater. When I was in high school, I was involved heavily in drama and music, but I haven't done much with it lately, even though I have been lucky enough to live in areas with thriving community theater groups.

I do go to see productions whenever I can, and I always enjoy them. I figure that if people are going to get all dressed up, memorize a bunch of lines, build sets, learn songs and perform for me - I'm going to appreciate the hell out of it. One of the high points of my life was the one and only time I went to a Broadway show (The Producers). I almost fainted from the excitement.

Anyway, the play yesterday was really terrific (Over the River and Through the Woods), and I really liked it. I laughed, I cried. It really hit home for me with its themes of family, food and faith (three things I really believe in). Connie, who's involved with the local theater group and is producing another show in June, invited me to come and help out at auditions this week, and perhaps find something I could do to help with the show. She thinks if I get out and do things, it'll be good for me.

She's right. So, I'm going to get back out there, into the world, and see if I can get my groove back. Hey, it worked for Stella. I wonder if Taye Diggs will be at the auditions...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So Rare

That most elusive of creatures - a teenager with a smile on his face. It's what I have to keep me going these days. That's his friend Stryder with him. He has one brown eye and one blue eye, and is part of the Lord of the Rings litter (littermates include Frodo, Rohan, Gimli, Legolas, and Arwin. You should see the kids roll their eyes when someone mistakenly thinks we said Leg-less; I mean, who would name their dog legless? Unless he was, obviously. And even then.)