Friday, May 29, 2009

A Love Letter

Dear [every restaurant that facilitates online delivery],

I love you.

I love you with every lazy fiber in my soft doughy body. My sand-blasted sinuses thank you. My gray, pasty, mouth-breathing face thanks you. My vice-gripped forehead thanks you. But most of all, my hungry boys thank you.

Yours forever,

The Chick That Just Ordered Two Pizzas

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Confounded Comments

Ok somebody help an old lady out here. For some reason, it seems Blogger is setting up people's blog comment entry form differently now. And also for some reason, it seems to be a format that is specifically designed to keep me from commenting on all my friends' blogs!!! Go ahead and call me a paranoid conspiracy theorist if you want. I don't care. JUST TELL ME HOW TO USE THIS NEWFANGLED THING!

Oh sure it looks all intuitive and simple and friendly. Sitting there looking all simplistic and not evil. But I assure you. It is an implement of torture, my friends.

This is what it looks like.

I select the profile (in the "Comment as:" drop down). I've tried the Google Account (because I have one), the name + URL, and a couple other. I fill in my comments, I select the profile and I hit Post Comment. I've even tried Preview. And all my comments just disappear.

Anyone know the trick? I know some of you have posted to these kinds of comments before. I'm wondering if it's a limitation of FireFox. Maybe I have to try it in Safari (I'm a Mac now so I don't do IE).

Whoever solves this issue for me will win my undying gratitude and a bit huge sappy blog post about how awesome you are.

You're all beautiful. Don't change.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How To Feel Old In One Easy Step

This past Friday evening, I was able to hang out with 4 really cool friends. Three of which are friends from my Boston music scene days.

Kay & USAMike were in town with their band Letters To Cleo. A million years ago, my band had opened for Letters To Cleo up in Boston. Kay & USAMike are now married and living in LA. They write, produce, manage, perform - they do it all. They're both extraordinarily talented. Kay is behind the My Friends Tigger and Pooh show on the Disney Channel. She wrote and sang the theme song and incidental music for that show. She also pitched that show to Disney and they ran with it. Kay has also written lots of songs for Hannah Montana and various movies (everything from Josie & The Pussycats to Care Bears). She voiced the singing voice for Josie in the live action movie. I have the soundtrack and it actually rocks. She and USAMike collaborate with a lot of other musicians. I'm just very happy for them that they are making a good living from music. It is an ugly business and can eat you alive. Fortunately, these two have figured out how to do it without being eaten.

Jess & Jeff are two friends now living in my area of Texas. Jess and I were in a Boston Rock Opera production of the Rocky Horror Show together. Seems like that was a million years ago. She's a total sweet heart and we've kept in touch - strangely - through our myriad of mutual friends. I would always see her commenting on a friend's page on MySpace or Facebook. Recently, we realized we both lived in the same area and started talking. This past Friday was our first successful attempt at actually getting together.

I was nervous about meeting Jess's hubby. Their Facebook pictures look very hip and cool. I am anything but hip and cool. They are in a band together - still doing the music thing. I've met enough rock-star-wannabes to be wary of people who are still in the music scene. There are enough of them out there who care too much about the cool/hip factor and it can make a normal person like me feel very out of place. So I was worried about meeting her cool hubby.

As it turns out, both Jess & Jeff are just completely normal goofballs like me. As we all kept saying, we are all quite dorkitudinous. [Spell check loved that word!] I immediately felt at ease with both of them. I mean, keep in mind, I haven't see Jess since before Pokemon Boy was born. Probably 1999. We met for dinner at a little pub down town. We hung and talked. We regaled her hubby with stories of the old Boston music scene. He's from Chicago so doesn't know much about the Boston bands.

Eventually, we texted Kay to get her where abouts. She was headed to the club so we all went over. It was SOOO awesome to see Kay again. I hadn't seen her since Jan 2008. So the last time she had seen me, I was mid divorce. I was also wrestling with depression, anxiety and had just started having migraines. I was also a lot thinner - ah the lovely Divorce Diet!

The last time I had seen her wonderful hubby USAMike...I don't even know. It was when Pokemon Boy was maybe...a year old? We had all gone to their house near Boston. So that would have been 2001 or 2002? Not sure. But way too long.

I hugged them both until their heads popped off. Well, not really. But you get the idea. We did all the intros and hung a bit backstage.

They toured the Texas leg with a band called Cruiserweight. They were awesome. Then Letters To Cleo went on. Now, I have to tell you, when I was doing music and photography in Boston, I rarely ran into these guys. I knew who they were but wasn't a big fan. At that time, there was an explosion of female fronted bands where the ladies were playing up the cutesy pie factor. As a chick who built her entire music persona on "tough chick", I couldn't stand the baby doll girls. I thought Kay was one such vapid chick. Over the years, God did his thing where he put us in close proximity and I realized she was an awesome person, ate some crow and got a great new friend or two out of it. But anyway, as a band, Letters To Cleo has really grown. I personally think they are so much better now than they were back then. Kay is a great front person. USAMike is a great guitarist. They're both awesome song writers. I'm very impressed and glad to know them both. The rest of their band are awesome guys, too.

During their set, Jess, Jeff and I amused ourselves by taking pictures with our various cameras. After the set, we went backstage to say our goodbyes. I'm telling you, at 12:30 midnight, I'm usually either in bed with my iPod Touch playing Sudoku or asleep. So when Kay texted me after the show saying, "Hang around," I wasn't sure I'd make it. Doesn't she realize I'm OLD?!

The band had a meet & greet to sign autographs. I knew I wouldn't make it that long. So we hugged the sweaty rock stars and headed out.

Once at our cars, we realized it had been about 5 hours since we had eaten. So Jess, Jeff & I headed out to an awesome all-night diner thang. I remember thinking, "I am too OLD for these late hours," but I wanted migas!

We hung at the diner for a long time just yapping and eating. I just had so much fun hanging out with these two. Eventually, we parted company and I drove home. I was so tired but made it home fine. I went to bed around 3:15am. This used to be normal for me - back in my 20s. Which was 20 years ago!!!!!

As we all know from multiple previous posts, my mom ROCKS (can I get an amen?). She knew I'd be out later than normal (I doubt she'd thought 3am, though). So she took my boys for a sleepover and planned a morning of fun for them so I could sleep in.

I had a blast. But didn't recover from the late night as quickly as I did 20 years ago. And I have to tell you, my self esteem was struggling. Nothing like hanging out in a club full of very fit and hip people younger than you to really feel good about yourself. HA!

I had a blast. But it reminds me that I have chosen the path in life that suits me. I love being a mom in the suburbs. I'm not a rocker chick any more. Singing backups in my church worship band suits me perfectly. I have never been more fulfilled musically. And I have the freedom to see my friends perform now and then.

God sure has put some cool people in my life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Conversation With Lil'Bro

A conversation with Lil'Bro today. I was putting lotion on my arms and he was on my bed playing his Nintendo DS.

Lil'Bro: What's that smell?
Me: Maybe it's my lotion. [extends arm for sniffing]
Lil'Bro: [sniffs] Oh.
Me: Do you like it?
Lil'Bro: [without looking up] It smells really bad.

Excellent. I'll inform Lubriderm immediately.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Updates and Unimportancia

I love making up my own words. It's fun. Unimportancia should be a word. Blogger spell check hates my made up words. I am glad it doesn't force me to correct them.

An update on my Blackberry adventures:
I went to the Blackberry website before accosting that poor boy at the Sprint store. He sells all sorts of phones. If I want Blackberry expertise, I should start with Blackberry. After searching through their website, I found a Q&A forum where someone had my exact problem. The resulting instructions were NOT intuitive and were nowhere in the manual that came with the phone NOR were they in the dowloadable PDF manual on the phone. So...apparently, in order to use your Blackberry, you either need to buy it from one of those stores that will do all the unintuitive setup FOR you, or you have to go searching on their website to get instructions. And a further mini-rant is that the instructions were in about 4 different responses in a conversational thread between an annoyed consumer like myself and some smug techie that answered as if his instructions should have just occurred to the consumer. Smug techies. [shudder]

So the things I want to work on my phone are working. I can get email from my two main accounts all in one email interface. Nice. I can Facebook. And if you know me, that's akin to saying "Oh good, there's oxygen here!" I can take a picture and have it uploaded on Facebook within 30 seconds. Which I like. So now all my friends know exactly what that Frisco Melt looked like that I had for dinner last night. They are also seeing many more casual shots of my kids. And let's face it, the world needs more pictures of my kids.

The one caveat that I'm still holding out on is the bill. The plan I got boasts unlimited email, texting, internet and "data". In my mind, this means I should just pay my monthly rate and then extra charges for roaming and going over my daytime minutes. A friend in Boston just dumped all her internet capabilities because the same plan ended up charging her for all sorts of "data" even though she was on the "unlimited data" plan. When she called to complain, they explained some vague lawyer-like stuff about how data going OUT was covered but data coming IN wasn't. Or something like that. She wasn't very clear. But she warned me to watch my bill for that kind of hook. Today, I will call Sprint and say, "Hey, can you define exactly what 'data' is in your contract here?" Because I use a LOT. The emails I get and the Facebooking alone could put me well up into the million dollar mark very quickly. So we'll see.

But for now, I love my Blackberry. So JenKneeBee, you were right. Big learning curve but well worth the effort. So far...

Things that I have thunk last night or this morning:
Should one really need needle-nose pliers in order to get the foil cover off of a local generic half & half creamer bottle? I believe the answer is NO. And yet, my needle-nose pliers remain in my kitchen drawer.

Stop stressing over Adam vs. Kris. It's just a TV show!!! They'll both do awesome and make way more money than you or I will. So just let it go, people.

Hmmm...Isaiah 54:5 doesn't really say what a lot of people think it's saying.

Why does Blogger spell check want to capitalize the word "internet"? Is it a person? Does it command respect? I'm not quite clear on this.

I'm still having problems with people posting pictures with titles like "Bob and I". I want to send them all links to a previous rant of mine on that very subject. But I don't want to be a smug techie.

He's just not that into you. And by "you", I mean ME.

Those car oil commercials with the sadistic Scottish/Irish dude running around yelling, "Think with your dipstick, Jimmy!" really annoy the snot out of me. Aside from the sophomoric penile innuendo that should insult most American males (because you see, this company thinks you'll buy their stuff if they make a penis joke. You get it?), it's just stupid and low-brow. And to prove what a lousy ad campaign it is, I don't even know the name of the oil. No matter how clever or annoying you think an ad is, if it isn't leaving your brand or product name on the lips of everyone who sees it, it ain't workin'.

An annoying commercial that does work? Head-On. Stupidest commercials in the world. But I don't know a person who can't tell you what the name of the product is! And even better, most people could tell you what the product is supposed to do.

Things I'm excited about:
Tonight, I will have to eat crow. I eat a lot of crow these days. Here's a little tip - a warning, if you will. If you sneer at something, make fun of something, think you're better than something/someone, you can pretty much bet money on the fact that you will end up having to deal with that something or someone later in your oh-so-smug life. You will eat crow.

I have always laughed at people that made a huge deal out of preschool graduations. Seriously, a cap & gown for 4 & 5 year olds? Do I look like I'm made out of money for frivolity? Wait. Don't answer that if you've seen all the frivolous stuff in my house. But my point here, folks, is - I thought preschool graduation was totally dumb. And anyone who buys into is an idiot.

Hello. I'm an idiot.

Tonight, Lil'Bro will graduate from his preschool. Fortunately, they didn't make us buy caps and gowns. I think they know all the parents are scraping just to pay for the school. But Pokemon Boy, my parents and I will head to Lil'Bro's preschool tonight to watch a little ceremony. And I'm thrilled pickles about it! I'm pure hook, line & sinker about this. So make fun all you want. I don't care. I own my hypocrisy. I own my former snobbery. I eat the crow with relish!! My boy is gradumificating from preschool!!!

I can't wait to see my friends' band this Friday night!!! Weeeeeeee!!! My mom rocks for taking my kids for a sleepover. I haven't seen Kay since January 2008 when she was doing backup vocals for a little show that popped through here. I haven't seen her husband USAMike'm not sure how many years. We chat here and there through Facebook but that's not really hanging out. So this will be REALLY cool. And I also get to see another former Boston rocker pal, Jess, who now lives in Austin, too! We haven't been able to get together so it will be a bonus to see her there, too.

Ok. That's it for today, folks. Randomosity and unimportancia for everyone!!! Peace out, yo.

[I'm so street.]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Jury Is Out

Every two years, I am allowed to keep up with the exponential progression of technology by upgrading my cell phone. Which is nice, seeing as how the most cutting edge of cell phones goes completely archaic 5 minutes after you get it home.

Today, I went to my local cell phone provider store because A) they have a new location next to the Starbucks by my house and B) I qualify for an upgrade. Yippee! I get to get a new phone!

What I really want is an iPhone. I love them. Like 5 to 8 year old boys love a Nintendo DS, so do I love the iPhone. I am an Apple marketer's dream. But alas, that phone is sold exclusively by AT&T. And when I priced the cost of switching over to said provider and phone and the plans you'd need in order to have it do all the cool and nifty things you want it to do? Twarn't worth it. I will stick with my iPod Touch.

I pondered the Samsung version of a touch phone. It was nifty. But had the same problem. To have it do all the nifty things you want a web enabled phone to do, you have to pay too much. And it just felt like a cheap immitation of the iPhone. If I get a touch phone, it will be an iPhone. Some day, my sweet iPhone. Some day.

I pondered all the other phones. I made the poor guy pull about 6 different phones out of boxes so I could actually heft them, feel the weight, check the size compared to my pockets, etc. If anyone is looking for some good "open box" deals in my area, let me know and I'll give you the address of the store.

I went with the Blackberry Curve (a red one - this photo is all I could find that matched my newer model). It's a cute phone. It's very functional. It has a full QWERTY keypad (ie - you don't have to press one button three times just to get to the 3rd letter on that key). It can handle web and email if you want but you don't HAVE to buy the plan for those features like the other touch phones. It comes in red. Very important. I'm pretty sure all phone designers have understood that you MUST offer phones in a minimum spectrum of black, red and pink. I am girly enough to wear pink Converse but NOT to have a pink cell phone.

I bought the upgrade, got the info on the $100 mail-in rebate, switched to a new number (goodbye old 617 Boston area code), transferred over my whole contact list and headed home. I called a few people so they'd have my new number. I emailed everyone on my email list to give them my new number. I put the kids to bed and then sat down with my new phone and the instruction manual.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking that if an instruction manual says, "From the home menu, select option A", there should probably be an option A on the home menu. Now granted, I did not graduate from college. And I've only been writing instructional and technical documentation for a good 13 years. But I feel pretty confident that the instruction manual that comes with a phone should actually represent what a consumer might actually FIND in the phone.

So while I've been able to change the display font to all sorts of silly and unreadable fonts and have called a bazillion people in my contact list, I still cannot get the web browser to work, nor have I been able to set up the email capabilities. I also have not found about 6 of the menu items the instruction manual insists I should find in the home menu.

I have 30 days in which to try out my new phone that is - I was told - the top selling phone in America. Even topping the iPhone. I am convinced I will love it. Because my church bass player likes his. And I trust him because he's a total technerdian like myself. But better. And more smarter.

Tomorrow, I plan to make the guy at the wireless store earn his day's wages. I will go back in with my lovely 30 day trial period phone. I will bring the oh so informational instruction manual. And I will ask him to show me where these elusive menu options are. And to show me how to set up the features I paid extra for. And when he shows me all sorts of steps that aren't in the manual, I will then ask him to please inform the Blackberry technical writing staff (which is, no doubt, NOT housed anywhere in America these days) that they kinda missed some vital info and to please stop half-assing it and write a manual that represents what their product actually DOES. OR...when he shows me that I totally didn't read something that is really obvious, I will come back and post a big ol' "DOH!" post telling you all how stupid I am. But I'm kinda thinking it will be the former.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Year Three: Hardly Any Tics!

Man, does God rock or WHAT!

Three years ago this month, Pokemon Boy was diagnosed with Tourette's. As with any diagnosis, your mind immediately jumps to the worse case scenario and your heart breaks.

We have attacked this diagnosis with prayer first and close monitoring by his doctors, therapist and teachers second. As I've stated in many previous posts, Pokemon Boy hardly has any physical tics. Most of his issues revolve around his anxiety issues and difficulty controlling his frustration and anger. And that last bit is pretty much something I still wrestle with so I'm not willing to lay it at the feet of Tourette's.

Today, we had a parent/teacher conference with Pokemon Boy's 3rd grade teacher. She came in around the holidays after his initial 3rd grade teacher "retired" with no notice. This replacement teacher has been an answer to prayer. She is awesome. She is very present and cares greatly about each of the students. The initial teacher seemed to be going through the motions and appeared very overwhelmed. So yay God!

In the conference, Ms. Rockin' Teacher told us (Pokemon Boy was there, too) that she hasn't seen any tics except maybe the one where he shows his top front teeth every now and then. I have to agree. That's about the only one I see. And it's quick and not very noticeable.

Also, his anger issues and meltdowns at school have been getting better. He doesn't seem to have a "nemesis" at school or at church any more (usually a girl with whom he feels competitive). Ms. Rockin' Teacher suggested that Pokemon Boy work on creating a tool box of tricks over the summer. Little tricks he can employ when he's feeling the frustration or anger get the better of him. One that he already uses in gym class is, if he starts getting angry or frustrated, he goes to get a drink of water. His gym coach suggested this one. So Ms. Rockin' Teacher suggested he use that in her class as well. So over the summer, we'll be working on things like that.

She really encouraged him. She told him that she feels he has the skills and tools to enter 4th grade and be very successful.

But the fact that physical tics are what clued us in to the possibility of Tourette's and now there hardly ARE any? That's purely God right there, man. Three years into it, he's at the age where symptoms can really start escalating. But he's not stressed about it. And neither am I. We both figure God's got it. No matter how it goes from here - God's got it.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Prayer Request for Donnie

For those of you connected to me on Facebook, you've already seen this. For the rest of you, I have a prayer request for all my warriors.

Don Perreault is a high school friend of my former boss, Michelle. Michelle has been a huge support to me in my recent life. She has done everything from babysit my boys to cover my butt at work during my divorce. She was the Mama Bear that protected her "kids" on our team with a ferocity usually only appreciated by us. She is a fiercely loyal friend and I'm so lucky that she will remain my friend even though both of us were laid off from the Big Ol' Financial Company.

That said: Michelle is a Facebook addict like me. She has been working tirelessly to reunite many of her high school friends. She recently looked up Don's name in Facebook, not expecting to find him. You see, Donnie had cystic fibrosis as a kid. Most CF patients don't live past their teens or twenties. Donnie has been beating the odds for 49 years now. He even ran - and completed! - the New York City marathon back in 1994!!! This guy is amazing.

Here is Donnie crossing the finish line of the NYC Marathon back in 1994:

Donnie's lungs are not doing well. He has described it to Michelle as having a totally clogged nose and having to breathe through a straw. Can you imagine?

Anyway, yesterday, Michelle told me that they were all excited and terrified because Donnie had received the call - a lung donor had been found! So off he went to the hospital. For some very serious business. A post from one of his friends on his Facebook support group page sums the terror and suspense up quite succinctly: "He called me en route to tell me. He was very nervous, couldnt talk. He texted and I called back. He said he would be in surgery for ten to twelve hours, and in a drug induced coma for at least a week. He then said he'd be in the hospital for six weeks on a ventilator."

So yesterday, I told Michelle that I was all over it. I started praying as we were IMing about it. I told my Facebook friends and I know lots of them started praying, too.

This morning, I logged on first thing and asked Michelle for a status. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is, the transplant didn't happen. Donnie was prepped and drugged and ready to go. When the lung doctor got a look at the donor lungs, he decided they weren't in good enough condition. So now he waits again. The good news is, the doctors recognized bad donor lungs in time.

As you can imagine, this is incredibly stressful and frustrating for Donnie, his family and all of his friends. If you feel led, please pray for them. Pray for good donor lungs to become available. I know that's a weird thing to pray for because someone has to die in order for Donnie to live. But it is a part of the great circle of life. I just ask that, if someone has to die, please let them be a donor and please let their lungs be viable for transplant. But also pray that Donnie's lungs can sustain him until the transplant. Pray for peace for him and his loved ones. Pray for God to be seen in this whole ordeal. Pray however you're led.

Thanks all. You guys are awesome.

If you'd like to join his Facebook support group, you can find it through my Profile/Info page. It's in my Groups listing. It's called Catch Your Breath for Donny.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Day Off With Lil'Bro

Most days, Lil'Bro asks if he can please PLEASE stay home with me. Seeing how my days should be filled with job-seeking tasks, I insist he go to school to play with his friends. Especially since his school is awesome, safe and costs me MONEY.

Yesterday, he asked again, knowing how I'd say no, you have to go play with your friends and have creative fun all day long. So when I surprised him by saying, "OK," I'm pretty sure he wasn't sure if his ears were working.

So yesterday, I kept Lil'Bro home with me. On the drive home from dropping off the elementary school boys, Lil'Bro informed me that, first, he would play his Nintendo DS. But once he was done with that, he would play with me. An itinerary at the age of 5. Nice.

We started by getting Burger King breakfast sandwiches and taking them home. This time, when the girl said, "Would you like to try some Cini-minis for a dollar today?" I actually said yes. I usually hate their marketing ploys. But today was a special day and we were going to have some Cini-minis!!

Lil'Bro was true to his word. We ate our breakfast and then he played some Nintendo DS. I started some laundry. After a short time, he informed me he was ready to play with me now. So we played Kerplunk! I never had that game as a kid. So was more than happy to buy it for my boys a couple of years ago. I love this game. Love it. It's genius is in its pure simplicity. After Kerplunk! (Lil'Bro totally won), he watched some TV while I cranked out 4 loads of laundry.

Lil'Bro was getting annoyed with his hair constantly tickling his eyes. So he suggested a hair cut (trim). Nice because he needed one. So he sat still for a haircut.

For lunch, I gave him the choice. Bad idea. Back to Burger King for some chicken tenders, apple fries and Star Trek toys. After lunch, we stopped by CVS, filled the car with gas and went to visit grandma and grandpa.

After picking up the school boys, they all stayed at my house. Homework was completed in record time. Then we had freezer pops and freeze tag in the back yard. There was only a few times I needed to intervene. Pretty much, they were all awesome and entertained themselves. I made lemonade, peeled a few oranges, handed out an apple or two. It was very nice and very low maintenance.



Neighbor E.G.:

Neighbor A.R.:

Freeze Tag:

This time off to pretend at being a stay at home mom is probably some of the best time I've had in my life. I wish had listings for stay at home moms. Darn.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Which Level Did Dante Have Spammers In?

Dear comment spammer "Sexy",

Thank you ever so much for spamming my comments with your strange Asian characters that were live links to who knows what kind of sites. Thank you so much for putting your useless and annoying spam comments on 10 of my posts, in no particular order, spanning 3 years of my entries. That was fun, going to each one and deleting your comments. Good times, that.

And thank you for forcing me to have to use Comment Mediation. Because, you know, I love having an extra layer of work to go read and approve comments on my blog. I'd like to thank you for making it difficult for my actual friends and family to see real-time comments in my posts. I'd like to thank you for making the choice to join the scum of the earth career path of spamming. You're only one rung higher than hackers, in my book.

So thank you for making me break from my usual attempts at supporting families of Tourette's children or spreading light and laughter. Because these kinds of asides are just uplifting to everyone. So, well done "Sexy".

Oh, and on the subject of your obvious misnomer, your spamming efforts are anything but sexy. Please feel free to do some emotional house cleaning and let me know if you join the human race.

Tourette's Mom - a new addition to the comment moderating bloggers