Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Teachable Moment

Recently, I asked an elementary school teacher friend what was her favorite thing about teaching.  Her answer?  "It keeps me off the streets and out of Target." 

Right on, Sister.  I feel you, yo. 

Here lately I've been working a lot, and it is really keeping me on my toes.  This week alone I have taught Art to every grade between kindergarten and 5th, then had a full day of kindergartners.  The rest of this week is 3rd graders.  Lord, have mercy. 

Teaching, for me, is so different now.  In my former career (if you could call it that) teaching middle and high school, teaching was more than anything about surviving.  Get to school on time.  Try not to strangle anyone.  Keep breathing.  SMILE.  Just get through the day.  Add to that Going Through A Divorce, Getting Pregnant By Your Roommate, Your Grandpa Just Died, Your Boss is An Asshole, and Mom Has Cancer, and you've got a shitstorm.  But after a multi-year hiatus from teaching to be a Mommy, along with a chunk of gained wisdom and maturity, it's completely different now.  Maybe it's just teaching elementary school, although I know for a fact that before I had kids there is no way in hell I would have even considered dealing with the little ones.  Now though?  They're kind of a trip.  It also totally helps that I don't have to be there with them every single day.  Honestly?  That would likely PUSH ME OVER THE FUCKING EDGE.  I look at the teachers I work with and I think, "Holy shit.  She/He's A GIFT FROM JESUS."  Nothing makes you appreciate a teacher like being one, THEN having kids of your own who depend on these people to help shape their lives.

It's really easy to forget that that randomness of your children, when they are SO DAMN CUTE and they say the funniest things, ISN'T NECESSARILY ALL THAT ENTERTAINING WHEN YOU MULTIPLY IT BY 30 AND IT HAPPENS FOR 7 CONSECUTIVE HOURS, NONSTOP.  And when the kid that says it is NOT YOUR OWN, but rather the offspring of some random entity who expects YOU to take responsibility for everything his or her child does.  AND when it happens when you, yourself, are talking.  And the buses are being called.  And your blood sugar is low.  WELCOME TO A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TEACHER (and substitute teacher).

But then, there are the good moments.  I am NOT a hugger, but it's kind of hilarious when you walk down the hall and get sporadically hugged by fifteen minions whose names you couldn't recall if your life depended on it, but whose faces you (sort of) recognize.  Or when you ask the kids to help you think of words that rhyme and their response is "Pajamas Majamas!"  Or when one of them asks me "What did your Mama pack in your lunchbox?"  For the first time in my life, I'm seeing the humor in kids and actually kind of enjoying it.  A dear friend who moved away last year recently nearly had a stroke when she found out I was subbing elementary school.  She would likely keel on over and die if she heard me admit that I (usually) like it. 

It doesn't matter how much I ponder and mull and stew it over, I'll never know if things are different now because I'm older and have different life experience, or because of the specifics of the job (which are, admittedly, much easier for substitutes).  What I do know is that I have really fucking awful days sometimes.  And I have really amazing, memorable days sometimes.  Just like everything else in life, the job has its ups and downs.  But I can't help being a little in love with the ups.  I can't help feeling good about my day when I come home, even if the day kind of sucked.

B once told me, when I was frustrated and having a really horrible day subbing, to stop and consider that school might be the best part of some of these kids' days.  I like to think of that now.  I hope I'm the best part of some kid's day.  Even just every once in a while.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Learning From Our Mistakes

A couple of nights ago, I went into the bathroom to get the dirty laundry just as B was getting out of the shower.  Toweling himself off, he said, "Hey, come check out my belly button."

Um.  Okay.

Wondering what the hell he could possibly be talking about, I walked over and peered into his belly button, only to see three angry-looking red dots inside.  They looked like.....burns.  Puzzled, I looked up at him with my "WTF" face (it looks something like this:  right eyebrow raised, mouth pursed, a vision of complete disdain, yet laced with slight confusion).  It seems that the night before, when B had been eating popcorn in bed (naked--he's ALWAYS naked) he had lifted a handful to his mouth, only to have three hot, unpopped kernels escape from his palm and land inside his belly button, burning his flesh in three little spots.  

Sweet Jesus.

Now, before you start thinking, "What a dumbass," (which is exactly what I thought myself, as I laughed at him and asked his permission to blog about it) let me remind you that B is essentially a genius.  Like, for real.  I have known some really smart people-- doctors, lawyers, engineers.....shit, my Dad built a fucking airplane FROM SCRATCH (that, for the record, is still in my goddamn garage)--but I have never known anyone as smart as B.  He can fly planes, play multiple musical instruments, speak several languages, AND navigate the New York City subway system while he's so drunk he can't even remember his own name.  He kicked my ass on the GRE without ever picking up a book and I'm not only intelligent, but also an excellent test taker.  But I've also seen him make some REALLY STUPID CHOICES (like not putting on pants when he takes the dogs out to pee--I'm like, "Dude, you'd quit getting mosquito bites on your junk if you'd cover that shit up."  But does he ever learn?  NO.  He doesn't.). 

The point is, everybody does dumb shit.  It happens.  Some of us more than others, but, you know.  So if you are currently beating yourself up over something stupid that you did five minutes (or five years) ago, let it go.  It's over.  It'll heal.  Give it time.

And maybe next time you'll know to wear a damn shirt when you eat popcorn.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Older and Wiser

On Wednesday evening, we celebrated the 66th birthday of my Father-in-Law.  Many of you know that every year I am commissioned to make him a cake (you may remember seeing photos of the black Chewbacca cake from year-before-last, or of last September's "Moses Parts The Red Sea" cake-- two of my greatest achievements) but this year things have been busy and I put off the cake making to Farm Fresh, who made Phil a perfectly lovely birthday cake featuring a photo of Lola (below) whom Phil affectionately refers to as "Jimmy Jaw."

As expected, it was a hit (though not nearly as fucking awesome as my homemade cakes, obviously).  Sitting there surrounded by our family, ranging from Sutt, who is 7, to Papa, who is 92, made me consider just how much life changes from beginning to end.  How much we change.  How life bends and molds us, from an energetic youth for whom not even the sky is the limit, to an elder, marred by age but rich with experience.  The distance between is so very far, though I suspect it passes even more quickly than I realize.  Because, personally, I think life is long.  Despite dying at 55, I kind of think my Dad would have agreed with me. 

The past couple of years have been a growing experience for me.  Maybe it's getting older, maybe it's getting further down the line after losing my Dad.  I know that I identified with him so strongly and for so many years that when he died, it was like part of myself was gone too.  Suddenly, I was missing not only my sweet Daddy, but also a huge chunk of my own identity.  I feel like coming to terms with that and finally understanding how I felt has allowed me to forge ahead in filling that hole that his death left in me.  Or maybe his death only widened a hole that was already there.  All I really know is that for years I would forget to eat, could never sleep, everything was worry, worry, worry all the time.  Fears that normal people have-- flying, heights, spiders-- never bothered me but things like worrying that a serial killer would slit the window screen, crawl in, and murder us all with an ax during the night if I left the window open could make me half crazy (note:  I still have this fear.  I do NOT like to sleep with any windows open but MY bedroom windows, because I know I would hear an intruder and TAKE HIS ASS OUT IF HE TRIED TO FUCK WITH MY FAMILY).  But finally, FINALLY, I'm learning maybe I shouldn't worry so much.  Maybe Belly WILL survive even if she didn't wear socks with her boots, maybe B CAN be trusted to feed himself if I neglected to make his lunch.  Turns out that even when I fuck up, which does occasionally happen, the world doesn't stop spinning.  Nothing falls to ruin.  Life goes on.

So I'm happy to say that at 36, I may still have irrational fears.  I may still miss my Dad.  But I'm growing up.  I'm getting wiser.  I'm learning to embrace the moment a bit more.  I'm learning that things aren't always as bad as they seem.  There's a lot of good in the world.  That maybe those people who say they are "too blessed to be stressed" aren't the complete fucking morons I always thought they were (I'm still on the fence about this one, for the record.)  But there's hope.  And hope is always a good thing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Murphy's Law

Let's talk about how the last couple of days have been.

On Tuesday, I had a ton of shit to get done, just like every other day.  I had a list, everything was planned out:  gym, grocery store, tidy house, cook dinner, get Sutt ready for scouts.  All this was to come AFTER the cable guy came, which was scheduled to happen during a "Guaranteed" two hour window, falling between 10am and 12pm.  Why was the cable guy coming in the first place?  Because B's sanity had finally snapped over Verizon's shitty Internet service and he told them to take their Internet and shove it.  Unfortunately, since Verizon bundled our Internet with our landline phone and our Direct TV, we were also losing the Direct TV, with whose service we had been perfectly happy.  HENCE THE FUCKING CABLE GUY.  Goodbye, Direct TV, hello, Charter.

I got everything done that I could around the house, and at noon, there was still no cable guy.  At 12:09pm, I got a phone call from Charter telling me that the guy was running "way behind schedule" and wouldn't be there until "2 or 2:30."  Okay.  I was unhappy, it was an inconvenience, but you know what?  SHIT HAPPENS.  People run behind.  Fine.  I can deal with it. 

So the cable guy shows up at 4pm.  Yep, two hours LATER than the already TWO HOURS LATE delay.  FINE.  I'm still holding it together.  B was home by then, so I left him with the cable guy and ran Bells up the street to the library.  We were back in 10 minutes, and the cable guy was already gone.  HE COULDN'T HOOK ANYTHING UP BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH OUR HOUSE WAS WIRED FOR CABLE, THE WIRES HAD BEEN CUT AT THE GROUND (likely when the Direct TV was installed).  In order to install everything, he would have to run a wire from the box between our yard and the neighbor's yard, bury the line, BORE A HOLE UNDER OUR CONCRETE DRIVEWAY TO BURY THE LINE BENEATH IT, and come on around the house.  This involved a lot of apparently much more advanced tool usage and brain power than the guy in the little white cable truck had.  But we didn't need to worry, because everything with Verizon would just stay the same until a couple of weeks later when Charter was able to get the cable buried, hooked up, and have us good to go.  Sweet.

At this point, I'm irritated, but I'm mostly okay.  Sadly, not only had all the shit I needed to get done that day not all gotten done because of the Charter Time Schedule Clusterfuck, but Blaker's ginormous, hairy (and constantly shedding) hound, Earl, who normally lives with B's Mom had arrived for a "vacation" with us while B's Mom was in Maryland.  Earl is 11 years old.  He's a sweet boy.  He's good and well-behaved and a gentle giant.  But that damn dog loses more hair in an hour than most dogs grow in their whole lives.  He walks through the house and it just floats off him in big Earl Hair Tumbleweeds and sticks to the furniture and your clothing, rolls through the house.  It's an OCD girl like myself's WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE.  I can't STAND having animals that shed in the house, it's just disgusting to me.  BUT HERE WAS EARL.  I love B, so I also have to love Earl.  (My rule, not his.)

By 6pm, I was already drinking (obviously) and trying to warm up leftovers for B and Sutt, while dodging all three dogs that were underfoot in the kitchen.  We had to hurry to get Sutt to scouts, and I didn't have time to cook, but we had enough leftovers for both of them to eat and I would figure something else out for me and Belly.  The boys had pork chops, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and polenta.  Just as they finished, B decided THEY WEREN'T GOING TO SCOUTS.  Sutt didn't care-- it was the Popcorn Kickoff, and he felt that he already knew everything he could ever need to know about selling popcorn (yeah, WTF?).  All that rushing for nothing.  I sighed, poured another glass of wine, and made eggs for Bells and I to eat.

The next morning I got up, and found a message from B saying that I needed to not only feed Earl (which was fine) but also give him two pain pills and a glucosamine, none of which he would take willingly (which was NOT SO FUCKING FINE).  After wrapping the pills in cheese, chasing Earl around the house and headlocking him, I finally managed to get ONE pill in him.  Fuck that shit.  I just stuck the others in his food bowl, and got the kids ready for school while simultaneously trying to check my email and see if there were any available sub teaching jobs.  Only, as it turns out, WE NO LONGER HAD THE INTERNET.  Remember how those fuckers at Charter said everything would stay the same until the cable was in and all good to go?  BIG FUCKING LIE.  What made it even BETTER?  WE ALSO HAD NO TELEPHONE SERVICE.  Somehow, Direct  TV had managed to screw up and NOT turn off the satellite, though, so we DID still have Bravo (The season finale of "Tamara's OC Wedding" made things a minuscule amount better.)  Still, I couldn't get a sub job (no phone, no Internet), couldn't blog, couldn't get rid of the shedding dog who smelled like a barnyard because B's mom never bathes him, couldn't do a hell of a lot of ANYTHING I needed to get done.

I called B at work.  He didn't seem to think there was anything he could do.  I considered taking a shot of vodka and chasing it with rat poison, but instead went to the grocery store since it hadn't been done the day before.  When I was out, I got a call from B that he was on his way to the Charter office to try to get a temporary cable run until one could be buried.  High five for B!

ALL OF THIS BECAUSE VERIZON SUCKS DONKEY NUTS.  And, I guess, because B's Mom was in Maryland.

Deciding that it was time to pull my shit together and find something I could do for a sense of accomplishment, I went into Belly's room to open the window and leave some laundry.  However, upon entering Belly's room, I realized that HER ROOM SMELLED LIKE SWEATY KID, DIRTY HOUND, AND ASS.  Times infinity.  Sure, it was a little unkempt (she's messy as fuck) but it shouldn't be DIRTY.  Confused, I peeked into the closet, only to find that the entire thing was waist high in a plethora of kid shit.  I started digging around and found clean clothes, dirty clothes, outgrown shoes from two years ago, lots of toys, books, some suitcases, a thermos (that had been missing for months) STILL FUCKING FULL OF WHAT APPEARED TO HAVE AT ONE POINT BEEN APPLE JUICE, peanuts (yes, you read that right), broken crayons, a set of sheets, a half-drunk Powerade, two Carolina pom-pons, and a the empty box from the game Twister.  AMONG OTHER SHIT. 

This, friends, is WHERE I FINALLY LOST IT.  I COULD TAKE NO MORE.  Because now, not only did I have no Internet, no phone, dog stink and dog hair on every surface of my home, and a child's bedroom that could have qualified as a bio hazard, but I also seemed to be coming down with a cold AND (wait, it gets better) I also had been hit by the realization that day that my sweet 13-year-old BFF Yorkie Mimi had likely developed diabetes.  (She had been overweight, super lethargic, and extremely thirsty for a while, but she had also reached the point where she thought she was starving so often that she spent her days--when not napping-- barking at the dog food tub and whimpering at any of the human family members who dared to eat in front of her.  This had only come together in my head a couple of hours earlier.)  All of this had led to me knowing that I really needed to wrestle her down that evening and try to check her blood sugar with my own meter (I had studied this carefully on YouTube in preparation).  It was gonna suck.  BUT HEY, EVERYTHING SUCKED.  WHY NOT LEARN THAT MY BABY IS DIABETIC WHILE I'M DISCONNECTED FROM THE WORLD, CAN'T WORK, AND AM STUCK IN MY DOG-FUR COVERED HOME WITH THE STINKY DOG, AND HAD PROBABLY CAUGHT THE BLACK PLAGUE WHILE TRYING TO DELIVER CLEAN LAUNDRY TO MY DAUGHTER'S ROOM.  WHY THE FUCK NOT?

Pouring a Haley-sized glass of wine, I went out onto the deck and started to cry.  Just as yet ANOTHER cable guy showed up to run the temporary cable.  B let him in and helped him get situated, although I'm pretty sure he was curious about the sobbing crazy woman talking to herself (that's me, for anybody who's too dumb to follow) outside the open living room windows.  Then I wandered in, face smeared with mascara, and dragged Bells into her room to start intensive cleaning.  I also cooked dinner, except for the chicken that B was supposed to grill (I'm not allowed to use the grill--or the lawnmower.  Too many previous accidents.)  At 8pm, the temporary stuff was hooked up, I had everything ready to go, but despite my having mentioned it twice, B had forgotten to cook the chicken.  SO, while he went out to grill, I went into the bedroom to attempt to program the DVR on the cable box.  EXCEPT I COULDN'T BECAUSE NOTHING WAS SHOWING UP ON THE GUIDE.  EVERYTHING SAID "TO BE ANNOUNCED."  FUCK YOU, CHARTER CABLE.


By 11pm, B and I were exhausted, frustrated, and lucky we had not killed one another.  Earl kept repeatedly getting on the sofa and leaving a blanket of hair behind (he's not allowed on the furniture), B didn't understand why that drives me insane, and we both wanted to strangle the other because EVERY FUCKING THING THAT COULD GO POSSIBLY GO WRONG, HAD.  Not to mention that I had spent over an hour with him trying TIME AND TIME AGAIN to check Mimi's blood sugar, pricking her little ears, and had never been able to get enough blood, so I was STILL worrying and worrying without knowing about her goddamn potential diabetes.  FUCK ME.  AND FUCK YOUTUBE.

We gave up and went to bed.  After lying there for approximately three minutes, I remembered that the tooth fairy had neglected to come YET AGAIN (Sutt had awoken that morning in tears because his tooth was still in the box where he left it).  I mentioned it to B and we both started scrambling for cash, change, whatever.  But, since neither of us really carries cash, we had nada.  So B ran out (naked) to his car, dug around and found some coins, and deposited them in exchange for the tooth.

Only it turns out the coins were (somehow) Canadian.  WHAT THE FUCK?  Seriously.  How did the ONE FUCKING TIME WE HAVE NO OTHER OPTION BECOME THE ONE FUCKING TIME THAT WE'RE STUCK WITH A FUCKING CANADIAN PIECE-OF-SHIT COIN.  (Side note:  I fucking hate Canadians.  This is a new thing-- it only started today with the Canadian debacle.)  And, turns out, we didn't even REALIZE the coins were fucking Canadian until Sutt pointed it out at breakfast.  Awesome.  Which happened about thirty minutes before I put on a bikini and hoisted a 75-pound Earl into the bathtub with me for a decent bath, covering both myself and the bathroom with wet dog fur.  (I posted photos for the non-believers.)

At least he smells better.

These past two days have been THE MOTHER LOAD  OF ALL DISASTERS.  I am so tired.  I am also nauseous, have a cold, and want to stab out the eyeballs of everyone at Verizon and Charter except the guy who ran the temp cable.  There is not enough wine in the world to fix this shit, and everybody who knows me knows that I am a firm believer that enough wine can fix anything.  Thank God we leave for Italy in just a few weeks.


Monday, September 16, 2013

The Rundown

I know lots of people who are runners.  They run for fun, they run for exercise, they run to clear their heads, they run solely for the party and the beer at the end of half-marathons.....you get the idea.  I AM NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE.

"Oh, but Haley," you say, "Didn't you break your foot while running back in April?"  Why, yes.  Yes, I did.  Which I promptly took as a sign from Jesus to STOP FUCKING RUNNING.  I get that it's great cardio, but I hate it, it's awful.  I hated it then and I hate it now.  You know how some people joke around and say, "The only way I would run is if someone was chasing me with a knife," when the topic of running arises?  Well, I wouldn't even run then.  I would straight up throw down and go all Krav Maga on that knife-brandishing maniac before I'd run.  (Mom, I know you have no idea what Krav Maga is, and if you try to Google it, you'll end up spelling it wrong, which will somehow lead to you coming to believe that it's some sort of perverse sexual act.  THEREFORE, I will just tell you that Krav Maga is a form of Israeli Street Fighting which is far more badass than "twae kondo"--this, readers, is how my mother believes "tae kwon do" is spelled AND pronounced, hence the explanation I have just given.)  Anyway, bottom line?  I don't fucking run.

Where am I going with this?  I'M GETTING THERE.

I have decided that one of my Purposes In Life is to spread message of "Don't Run" to others and to share in fellowship with other non-runners and reformed runners who no longer run.  Therefore, I have compiled a list of REASONS YOU SHOULDN'T FUCKING RUN BESIDES THE OBVIOUS REASONS LIKE "IT SUCKS" AND "I'M NOT SURE I HAVE THE CORRECT FOOTWEAR" WHICH, WHILE GOOD REASONS AND PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE WITH ME, DON'T SEEM TO HOLD ANY WATER WITH PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY LIKE AND PRACTICE RUNNING

*Disclaimer:  If you ARE a runner, I do not hate you and think you are stupid.  I just think you are one of those people who regularly makes BAD CHOICES.  I'm here to help.  LET ME HELP YOU.

1.   RUNNING MAKES YOU THIRSTY.  I hate being thirsty.  And since you really can't run while carrying a water bottle (or a glass of wine) without feeling all awkward and out-of-sorts, running makes you dehydrated.  And you know what happens when you get dehydrated?  You pass out (at least, I do-- this happens a couple of times a year).  So when you get back from running you have to drink fluids to rehydrate your body.  And you know what fluids DO NOT WORK WELL TO REHYDRATE YOUR BODY?  VODKA OR WINE.  That, my friends, is a fact.  If you go running, then come back all sweaty and disheveled and NEED a dirty martini, you're probably going to vomit.  Or faint.  Or vomit several times, then faint, then wake up a few hours later on the bathroom floor with your kids leaning over you having a heated discussion about whether mommy is "dead or just sleeping."  (Don't ask me how I know this.  Just FUCKING TRUST ME.  I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.) 

2.  RUNNING FEELS WEIRD.  I never know what to do with my hands.  I've looked at other people's hands while they run and I get the impression that this hand placement confusion is a worldwide pandemic.  Some people run with their arms bent at their waists and their hands just flailing around.  TO THESE PEOPLE:  THIS MAKES YOU LOOK EERILY LIKE A TYRANNOSAURUS REX-- (remember how, in elementary school, you'd see photos of dinosaurs in your science books and the Tyrannosaurus Rex always had those creepy, useless, dangly little arms?  I REMEMBER.).  Some people run with their hands curved into fists.  TO THESE PEOPLE:  WHEN I SEE YOU RUNNING THIS WAY, IT MAKES ME THINK YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A FIGHT.  AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO TANGLE WITH ME BECAUSE I WILL KICK YOUR ASS.  Besides the hand thing, running makes your boobs bounce all around, regardless of the strength of your sports bra.  I barely even HAVE boobs, so if mine are bouncing, I know a lot of you ladies take a solid  beating when you run.  (This means YOU, Rebecca.)  How is this not a miserable experience?

3.  RUNNING IS DANGEROUS.  One time, I read that Reese Witherspoon was knocked down by a car while running.  SEE?  DANGEROUS.  Another time, I got tangled in Lo's leash, kept trying to run while I untangled myself, was looking down, and ran right into a stop sign.  It hurt AND it left a bruise on my forehead.  DANGEROUS.  I could go on all day listing the injuries I've incurred just from running, but won't because I've got better shit to do.

SO.  I feel like I've made my point.  I have shared my truth.  I have graced the world with my knowledge and experience.  I hope that you have learned something from this blog and taken it to heart, as if it were a public service announcement or the realization that yes, that is YOU in that "People of Wal-Mart" photo.  Take heed, my friends.

You're fucking welcome.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In the Pink

Today at the gym, while sweating my way through an hour on the elliptical and swearing at my blood sugar for bouncing all over the damn place, I saw my friend Betty.  Betty lives a couple of houses down from me and is the epitome of Black And Fabulous.  Betty is a Gemini like me, and "gets" me, whereas a lot of people just think I'm an hateful bitch.  Betty knows that sometimes I AM a hateful bitch, but we get along just fine.  We're a lot alike except that Betty gets cool black girl hairdos and is very fashionable, whereas I am usually running about wearing yoga pants with my white-girl hair twisted up in a bun. 

**DISTRACTION:  Lola (our junkyard dog, and a main player in this blog I'm trying to write) just launched herself at me and is now sitting halfway on my laptop, licking dried cookie dough off of my tank top.  THIS IS ONE OF THE PERILS OF BAKING.  I ALWAYS END UP WITH STUFF STUCK TO ME AND THEN EVERYBODY THINKS, "OH, SHE HAS FLOUR ON HER.  I BET SHE WAS BAKING COOKIES.  SHE MUST BE SWEET AND MATERNAL."  THEN THEY WANT TO BE FRIENDS, AND SHIT JUST GOES DOWNHILL FROM THERE.  Nobody ever sees white powder on my pants and thinks, "FUCK!  I BET SHE GOT THAT ON HER WHILE SHE WAS DOING A LINE IN A BATHROOM IN PORTSMOUTH."  Anyway, the point is, I am now writing this AROUND A DOG.

And what a dog she is, which is exactly what I was getting to with the story about Betty.  When Betty ran into me at the gym, she wanted to know what in the hell happened to my dog, which is a question a lot of people have been asking lately.  WHAT HAPPENED TO LOLA? 

WELL.  A couple of weeks ago, I was streaking Bellamy's hair with pink dye (permanent dye, because I am a kick-ass mother who is supportive of my child's desire for individuality) and I noticed that we had a lot of color left over.  Lola came wandering through and I thought, "HEY.  Lola already has a black skull collar, I bet if she had pink hair she would look AWESOME."  So I wrangled her down and punked her 'do.  And now she looks like a badass.

Was I drinking when I did this?  MAYBE.  Am I pleased with the outcome?  OBVIOUSLY.  But the BEST part of the whole situation is that now when I take her for walks, people do double takes or look at me like I'm fucking INSANE.  Lola was already kind of a funny looking (spastic mixed-breed shelter pup) animal, but now she's a fucking rockstar.  ROCK ON, LOLA.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

God Bless America

When I was a little girl, my Dad always emphasized to me that we Americans were a very lucky group of people, to live in the United States.  Dad was really into the whole idea of American, freedom and equality, pride of country and whatnot.  At this point in my life, living in a community that is filled with our nation's military families, I find that this patriotism runs deep in so many individuals, which only adds to the strength and awesomeness of our United States.  On the anniversary of September 11, it warms my heart to see American pride on display even more so than usual.  Because of this and in my own, personal way of saying "Fuck You, Assholes" to the monsters who terrorized our country twelve years ago today, I am making a list of SOME OF THE MORE UNUSUAL THINGS I HAVE EXPERIENCED JUST TODAY THAT MAKE ME PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN AND MAKE ME WISH EVEN MORE SO THAN USUAL THAT MY DAD WAS STILL HERE SO THAT HE, TOO, COULD REMIND ME DAILY OF WHAT A FABULOUS NATION WE LIVE IN.

1.  While running an errand in Portsmouth (no, I don't go there often, as I value my life and my hubcaps) I saw a blond woman riding a big, blue bicycle.  On the back of said bicycle, was a large, silver basket.  Inside said basket WAS A MIDGET.  Now, before the midgets of the world get all pissy with me for calling them "midgets," let me just say that yes, I understand your desire to be called "little people."  I am all for that.  BUT IN PORTSMOUTH, I'M PRETTY SURE YOU ARE CALLED MIDGETS.  To make matters even MORE interesting, it was a WHITE midget being toted about by a WHITE cyclist (obviously both a minority in P-town-- FREEDOM AND EQUALITY, YO).  All of these things together?  Straight up mindfuck.  And as far as I know, none of this was illegal because WE LIVE IN AMERICA, PEOPLE.

A little while later I also saw....

2.  A man in the grocery store, wearing a fanny pack.  Tucked carefully inside this fanny pack was a rolled-down brown paper bag with a tomato plant PLANTED in it.  Like, with soil and everything.  Yes, you read that correctly:  a man in a fanny pack that had a tomato plant growing out of it.  As a blogger, an observer, and a purveyor of freakishness myself, I STILL don't even know what the fuck to think about that.  (Side note:  In case you are wondering, he appeared to be shopping for lighting fixtures. How many countries do you think allow home improvement shopping while sporting fashionable vegetation?  NOT FUCKING MANY.)  Once again, FREEDOM.

And on my way out of the store I saw.....

3.  A child-molester van (you know, white, big, kinda rusty, no windows).  Painted on the side in crooked stenciling (you have to stop and wonder, WHO WOULD STENCIL CROOKEDLY?  I mean, if you are going to all the trouble to use a damn stencil, MAKE THAT FUCKER STRAIGHT) were the words "GOD IS ALL THAT MATERS."  (Oh, yeah, and while you're straightening out your damn stencil, LEARN HOW TO FUCKING SPELL. JESUS HOLY CHRIST.)  The point of this rant?  Religious freedom, ese.  We Americans have got it.

And this blog?  I can say whatever the hell I want.  I am not persecuted for it (though I am likely judged harshly and prayed for about it, at the very least by my Mom--thanks, Mom), or censored regarding it.  If I wanted to, I could wander through the streets, reading it out loud after I posted it (or, ride a bike through Portsmouth while carrying a midget who was wearing a fanny pack that was growing a tomato plant while we were all followed by some genius driving a van who knows that God is all that "maters.").  For this, I am a lucky girl.  We are a lucky people.  GOD BLESS AMERICA. 

To this my Dad would have said, "Damn skippy."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Open Forum

Happy Tuesday, One and All.  As a special treat for you today, I have decided to compile a list of some of your questions to me over the years and give you a little Q and A.  I have kept the names of the "askers" anonymous in most cases for their own protection, although I will admit that this is mostly just because I only know many of my readers by their Google Display Names.  I totally did not keep questions anonymous from people I know well.  Please feel free to ask your own questions, should you have something terribly important you want to know.  You can comment here or email me at haleystarr@gmail.com

Q:  Why don't you quit writing that stuff you write and become a Christian Romance author like my friend in Texas?  I could probably get you in touch with her about how to get it published if you wrote one.  ~ my Mom

A:  Well, Mom, that is a REALLY FUCKING GOOD QUESTION.  Obviously, I would be an excellent Christian Romance author due to my sweet, conservative Christian ways and also because I'm just fucking awesome at everything I do.  I could possibly even model the first novel after my own life-- you know, the one where I was a Pagan for a while in grad school, ran an erotic literature blog for several years from home, got knocked up outside of wedlock, and let a photography company use my boudoir photos for advertisement.  I could call it FIFTY SHADES OF FUCKED UP.  I'll get right on that.

Q:  Why are you so mean? ~ B

A:  I'm not mean, I'm honest.  My motto:  It's not mean if it's true.

Q:  What is your problem with Asians?  ~ Anonymous

A:  Asians piss me the fuck off.  Have you not ever noticed how fucking happy they look ALL THE TIME?  Their world seems to be all chopsticks and rainbows.  NOBODY'S LIFE IS THAT HAPPY.  QUIT SMILING SO MUCH, ASIANS.

Q:  Do you talk the same way around your kids that you do in your blog? ~ Anonymous

A:  Yes, I do.  For example, when I was in Tennessee I had to take the kids grocery shopping.  They kept picking at one another and it was getting on my last damn nerve.  I finally turned to Belly and snapped, "Touch your brother again and I will break your fingers."  The looks I received from the disapproving folks around me were possibly surpassed only by those received the time I said to Sutton in Target, "Quit whining or I will punch you in the face."  My children know me, and they know that when I threaten violence it means they need to pull their shit together or things are gonna get ugly.  Will I really break their fingers or punch them in the face?  Probably not.  They usually just laugh and straighten up when I threaten violence.  But you never know when the stars will align and my blood sugar will be really high and I will snap.  YOU.  NEVER.  KNOW.

Q:  Do you write all of your blogs while you're drunk?~ Anonymous

A:  WHY DOES EVERYBODY ALWAYS THINK I'M DRUNK?  JESUS.  No.  I'm hardly ever drunk.  When I get drunk, I get really happy and I tend to take off my clothes.  Does this sound like my blogs?  NO.  IT DOESN'T.  My blogs are full of unbridled disdain and merciless disgust for the world at large.  Does that sound like the ramblings of a happy, naked Haley?  That's what I thought.  IDIOTS. 

Q:  Why did you unfriend me on Facebook? ~ Anonymous

A:  This question could have a couple of answers, depending on who you are.  I shall give them all to you.  From there, you're on your own, because I really don't know who emailed me this question (which makes it pretty freakin' hard to answer, Supergenius Who Sent It).  Possibility #1:  A couple of years ago, I canceled my FB account because I was too busy to use it and it was getting on my nerves.  At that time, when you canceled your account, although it still held onto your user name and password in case you came back, it erased all your friends and your personal information.  So when I came back to FB, I had zero friends and had to start from scratch.  About half of my "friends" are still missing, but I'm so busy drunk blogging that I haven't had time to refriend them all.  Possibility #2:  You are one of the rednecks I mentioned in my last blog, and I got sick of your statuses about Nascar, professional wrestling, and football, as well as the photos of your half-naked, dirt-covered babies learning to hunt small game.  Possibility #3:  You are one of my relatives and I hate you. 

Q:  Does the stuff you blog about really happen, or do you make it up?

A:  SERIOUSLY?  I am a magnet for crazy people, have no filter, and possess a terrifying knack for making poor choices.  WHAT DO YOU THINK, ASSHOLE?  I don't even get around to blogging about the really good stuff that happens most of the time.  I am a Hot Mess of Awesomeness, and I have learned to embrace it.

I hope that clears a few things up for you.  If you want to ask me something anonymously, give yourself a really awesome Google name like "Priest of Death" (yep, he's a reader) and send it to me.   Points for who comes up with the most creative display name.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Deep Thoughts on Wine Wednesday

It's the last Wine Wednesday before the minions go back to school, and the first Wine Wednesday in which I haven't been crazy busy in a while.  In the past few weeks, we've gone to the beach, I've driven to Tennessee (where I was present at the birth of my VERY FIRST NIECE and got to go rafting on the Ocoee with my Michael, all within a 24 hour window) and back, gotten back-to-school shopping out of the way, and made all the reservations/bought all the tickets (plane, train) for our anniversary trip to Italy in October.  Time for a breather.  And a list.


1.  Everyone related to me should really give me the naming rights to their offspring (this includes kids, dogs, the random turtle or ostrich-- you know, whatever butters your muffin).  I am the THINK-UPPER OF AWESOME NAMES.  In fact, that should really be my official title.  Instead of "Mom" or "Wife" or "Psycho," I should be called "MADAME THINK-UPPER OF AWESOME NAMES."  For example, I have a new niece.  From the beginning, it has been known that said niece's name would be "Mia."  However, the middle name was in question for months, and continued to be in question until two days after her birth.  My brother decided on "Mia Claire," which is a lovely name.  Sadly, "Mia Claire" is not nearly as lovely as my top two choices, "Mia Saurus" and "Mia Potamus."  NOT NEARLY AS LOVELY.

2.  I meet a lot of people whom I DO NOT LIKE.  Oftentimes, there is no reason for me to not like them (well, no reason that you people are going to find rational, anyway), I just get feelings about people and some of those feelings are FUCKING BAD and therefore I DO NOT LIKE SOME PEOPLE.  These people I choose to ignore at all times, even if they, say, live next door to me.  And you know what REALLY irks me?  When other people I DO NOT LIKE make friends with the first people I DO NOT LIKE, and then it's like a fucking army of UNLIKEABLES.  It's not that I care that these people have banded together-- I mean, frankly, if you suck that badly you really do need the support of some other people who suck, but DO YOU HAVE TO WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD ALL THE TIME TOGETHER?  REALLY?  Fucking Unlikeables.

3.  For some people, Facebook has become solely a VEHICLE FOR WHINING and it's making me crazy.  Like, STAB MY OWN BRAIN OUT WITH A CHOPSTICK crazy.  A couple of years ago, after a bad friend break-up, I decided to make my life a little simpler and delete all the redneck assholes whose friend requests I had felt obligated to accept on Facebook because I did, indeed, KNOW them (mostly from high school) even if they weren't actually my "friends."  (In reality, I have approximately five friends.  Wait, nope.  Make that four.  I just counted.)  As I suspected, once they were deleted I did not miss them and everything was fine.  Which only taught me that, at this point, what I need to do, if I really care about the virtue of my FB account, is delete pretty much everyone else.  I mean, for now the only real point of it is that I can post photos of the kids on FB and my family (and my Mom's extended family, whom I do not claim) can see them.  It keeps my Mom off my back.  But in return, every time I log in to FB, I have to face the statuses of two different groups of people:  The Boring People (whose FB statuses are always something super exciting like, "Went to work!" or "TGIF!") and The Whiners (where every status post is a HUGE DRAMA, overflowing with how many terrible things have happened to them today, seemingly posted so that all of their hundreds of friends can tell them how wonderful and awesome and fabulous they are in an endless stream of status comments.)  GET OVER YOUR FUCKING SELVES.  These people-- these FB FRIENDS who rush to console you when you're worried that you're too fat or not a good enough housekeeper or feel overwhelmed by your kids?  THEY GIVE ZERO FUCKS ABOUT YOU.  That is why they are FB friends and not REAL FRIENDS.  JESUS.  Now, I understand that occasionally FB friends and real friends overlap so that some people are both and you DO have them in your lives and you DO have a place in their hearts and that FB is a great way to stay in touch when people who ARE good friends move away, but most of the time?  THAT'S NOT THE FUCKING CASE, SO SHUT THE FUCK UP ON FB AND GET SOME REAL FRIENDS.

*We have now gone from Wine Wednesday to Vodka Wednesday.  Just so we're all on the same page.  Feel free to attend to your own cocktail needs before resuming your reading.

4.  Officers of the law DO NOT RESPOND WELL to one quoting the lyrics of "99 Problems" to them when they pull one over for, say, doing 85 in a 60 zone.  In fact, if one says, "Do I look like a mind reader, sir, I don't know," when asked if one knows why one is being pulled over, it actually goes over OKAY.  However, if one follows that up with, "Nah, I ain't passed the Bar but I know a little bit, enough that you won't illegally search my shit," it DOES NOT GO OVER WELL.  (I hope you're writing this down if you are not a Jay-Z fan, and yes, I realize that far too often Jay-Z lyrics come into play in my blogs.  Get over it.)  Please use this information as needed.

5.  Because I have to have an odd number (despite the OCD meds that are, actually, working pretty well and currently coursing through my pretty veins) I will tell you a little story.  On Saturday night, I was in Tennessee, tired and sunburned from the Ocoee, when I started getting texts from my brother that the birth of Mia was imminent.  Z had taken his miserable, laboring wife to the hospital once already that evening, and the nurses had checked her and sent her home with directions to "rest."  LIKE SHE COULD REST WITH A PERSON TRYING TO BURST OUT OF HER QUEEN VICTORIA.  After a couple of hours, she demanded that my brother take her back to the hospital because she knew that things were only getting fucking worse.  Once they arrived at the hospital and she was checked, a physician agreed that she was most certainly having the baby, and that it was time to admit her to Labor and Delivery.  As my  brother was helping to get her squared away, the person working in admissions was taking down all of her information, including medical history, and was apparently required to ask her if she had ever had any suicidal thoughts.  Her response was a GOLDEN, "Yes, asshole, about two fucking hours ago when you people checked me and sent me home."  I'd like to reiterate how much I adore my S-I-L.  She's fabulous.

More later.  Good night, All.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Baby Daddy

Pretty much everyone knows I was married previous to my current marriage.  (I like to think of it as the time I CHOSE THE WRONG GUY, GAVE HIM THE WRONG FINGER.)  Luckily, when that train wreck went off the rails, we were able to make a clean break.  We had no kids together, and I took custody of the dogs because, well, they were my fucking dogs and I wouldn't have trusted him with them anyway.  It all worked out for the best, hip hip hooray, onward and upward.  Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have it that easy and have to go through the nasty business of sharing custody, alternating holidays, and living trapped within the state lines of their ex.  (This is the reason I have a basket of hand-me-downs that need to be shipped to Florida, and why I'll be spending this coming Sunday at a roller rink in Greenbrier, but I'll spare you all the details.)

I'm definitely grateful that Husband #1 and I produced no offspring, and even more grateful that I started making better choices before choosing Husband #2 (though, considering how our relationship unfolded, I probably should credit the Almighty Fate for that, rather than the maturity of my decision making).  However, I can't help but wonder how people who share children with an ex can do so as gracefully as many of them do.  I mean, Belly looks exactly like a girl version of B.  If he and I ever split (which we won't, because he adores me--rightfully so--and I'm pretty fond of him most of the time) I would be fucked.  There's no way I could look at or be around Belly and not think constantly of B.  And if B was an ex, thinking constantly about him is probably the last damn thing I would want to spend my time doing (unless I was plotting revenge against him for something dreadful he did to me-- I DO enjoy some good revenge-plotting).  Likewise, Sutt looks like MY side of the family (and, randomly, laughs just like my Grandpa did), which means that B would be in the same situation whenever HE had time with the kids.  (Actually, no, he probably wouldn't.  Guys don't seem to think on levels that deep.  It would most likely never even cross his mind.  But it would MINE, and that's all that matters here.)

I watch B's stepbrother and his wife seamlessly share custody of their daughter with her Dad (the two Dads even coached her t-ball team together) and B's half-sister and her fiance' share custody of their daughter with her Mom, and I think, "How in the HOLY HELL do they DO that?"  There doesn't seem to be much arguing or swearing, and there has certainly been no assault or kidnapping, all of which would be going down if I was trying to co-parent with an ex.  It makes me think that those little people must REALLY bring out the best in us, their parents and role models, after all.  Maybe being "Mom" or "Dad" or "StepGrandma" or "Half-Aunt" is as good as we get, regardless of how short-tempered or frustrated we may sometimes be with it.

It's something to think about, at least.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lots of Frosting, Plenty of Wine

Yesterday marked my 36th birthday.

Since I hit my 30's, birthdays have been a little bit of a struggle for me.  Thirty itself was fine, but 31 came only a few days after I found out my Dad had cancer and, well, the birthdays that followed have been on the rocky side.  I really expected the same of 36.  The week prior to my birthday had been an awful one-- we lost a very dear family member to cancer who was no older than we are; I watched a little boy I know be pulled, with no breath and no pulse, from the bottom of the neighborhood pool; I bought the first Father's Day card for my Mom's new husband.  It was seven days of travel, memorial services, and sadness.  Wednesday started a new week, a fresh week, and my birthday.  And, amazingly, it was a good one.

No, I didn't do anything particularly special to mark the day.  I spend a solid two hours at the gym and got my first great, endorphin-rush workout since I broke my foot.  It felt so good to sweat and push myself and mentally bleed out all that "wrongness" that had been stirring inside me-- death and stress and despair.  The entire time I was at the gym I marveled at what a gift it was to have two healthy feet (hooray for healed fractures!) and a job that allows me to choose not to work on my birthday (hooray for substitute teaching!) and cooperative blood sugar (I don't know what to hooray here-- this is a tricky one, and something that usually doesn't happen, so it might be something like hooray for a blood sugar birthday gift from Jesus!).   I left, dripping wet, with tired muscles and a peaceful mind.

The rest of the day was equally low-key, but satisfying.  I showered and painted my nails (purple, in honor of my birthday) and reveled in the sunshine and the silence.  I spent some time at Maddie's grave (the one-year anniversary of her death is Friday).  I read beautiful cards that came in the mail from loved ones who were kind enough to think of my birthday and send me some cheer.  I met Blaker for a late lunch, and came home to find the house decorated with pink and purple balloons and streamers and general festivity (B had snuck home while I was running errands before lunch and decorated).  I got to hug my babies and talk to them while they had dinner, then have a later, "grown up" dinner with my sweet B.  There were fancy cupcakes, and at 36, it was as Anna Quindlen would have said-- "Lots of candles, plenty of cake."  It was a lovely day.

Last night as I was lying in bed, I started thinking about WHY the day was so nice.  WHY did I enjoy my birthday for the first time in a while?  My actions on this birthday weren't all that different from recent birthdays past.  It was my first birthday with most of my friends gone.  I definitely wasn't getting any younger.  But in time I came 'round to the thought that I was definitely getting wiser (I know-- you're thinking, "HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?").  I'll explain.  For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to enjoy my birthday and not feel guilty.  Since losing my Dad, joy is something that always seems to come with guilt.  I hadn't ever figured out that it was possible to miss my Dad and find happiness at the same time, without feeling like I was doing him a disservice.  Yesterday, I missed my Dad like hell.  I would have given a decade off my life to have spent one more hour with him.  But I was also able to find joy in what I still have-- a wonderful husband, beautiful and healthy children, my sweet Mimi dog, the ability to listen to an old voicemail my Grandmother sent me before she died last year, telling me how much she loved me--and appreciate it simultaneously with missing my Dad.  I didn't have to choose between heartache and happiness, I found that it IS possible to have some of both, and to even reach out with both arms and embrace the happy. 

Maybe I woke up a little more mature at 36.  Maybe my epiphany was a gift from my Dad.  Or God.  Or both.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that life has its ups, and plenty of downs and is full of moments that feel like falling off a cliff-- scary and fast and out of control.  Perhaps that's kind of the point.  That in itself, my friends, could be the meaning of LIFE.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Settling Down

Thus far, 2013 has been an interesting year.  By the end of January, I had already traveled across the country and back, skipped my own wedding in lieu of having cocktails with my favorite celebrity (and her dogs), worn shorts in Virginia on a 72-degree day then a week later bundled up for four inches of snow, had a kid get two teeth knocked out, and entered rehab.  I'll write about some of that another day.

But for now, let's talk about rehab.

First of all, this is Emotional Rehab, not rehab for something cool like an addiction to Jack Daniels or opium, so don't start high-fiving me for being a rockstar. It's a forty day program that is supposed to shift my way of thinking from constantly expecting the world to backhand me across the face to believing that the Universe really DOES have my back.  These past four years have been the toughest of my life, and left me feeling really broken and angry.  Once I finally realized this myself I knew that I needed to do something about it, and The Course is what I have chosen.  At this point, it's fucking hard as all hell-- believing that I can let go of the death grip I have on always being in control and know that everything will always work out for the best.  It has been a bitter pill to swallow learning that having loved people intensely and then lost them completely is better than never having had them at all.  But hey, nothing really good is ever easy.  I'm starting to learn that if I give a little, I can get a lot back.

I know this isn't a funny, sarcastic Haley blog (I promise regardless of my attempted mind-shift, my sarcasm and inherent cynicism really won't be going anywhere)  but it's where I'm at.  It has helped to quit using Facebook to communicate with my friends (I rarely use it for anything but adding the occasional photo so that my Mom can see it from wherever the fuck she is in the world at that moment) and actually attempting to create interpersonal relationships.  Turns out that I LIKE getting together with friends on a Saturday night for no other reason than to be around good company.  Who would have thought?  Never anti-social me, that's for damn sure.  I know it sounds all hippie-ish and shit, but I'm supposed to quit focusing on everyone as different people, and instead see our sameness-- we're all spirits who are in this together.  We're on this earth to learn and grow, THAT'S the purpose of life.  It doesn't matter if we're black or white, Baptist or Buddhist, surgeon or secretary.  We all have our own light.  We all have our own peace.  And struggle as I might, I think I may finally be finding a little of mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Slog Blog

I had originally hoped to write a blog on New Year's Eve, sending off 2012 and recapping, perhaps, what I learned from the year.  I sat and opened up my laptop and started trying to think and write and then I realized that every single thing that came to mind-- the deaths of Grandmama and Maddie, Mom getting married, all my friends moving away, the entire family getting the flu over the holidays--BLEW DONKEY BALLS.  So, I gave 2012 the finger, closed my laptop, and made a martini.  THEM'S THE BREAKS, 2012.  THANKS FOR FINALLY FUCKING OFF.

Now it's 2013, and I'm eight days into the new year.  I survived Sunday, which was the fourth anniversary of Dad's death.  I survived the day BEFORE Sunday (also known as "Saturday") when my Mom somehow managed to forget that my Dad died on the 6th, Facebooking about how it was "bittersweet" to leave on her honeymoon on the same day anniversary of Dad's death.  Jesus, woman, get your shit together.  You left on the 5th.  IT WASN'T THE SAME DAY.   AND THOSE TWO THINGS ARE HARDLY COMPARABLE.

By the time THOSE two days were over, I was DONE WITH IT ALL, so I spent yesterday afternoon drinking two bottles of champagne and getting caught up on the new season of "The Walking Dead."  (Side note:  I LOVE ZOMBIES.)  The kids came home to find me happily propped up in bed, two glasses and half an episode in, taking notes about things I would need to collect, store, then carry on my person during a Zombie Apocalypse (hatchet, wet wipes, and a backpack with Mimi in it).  It was a good afternoon.

Today is the 4-year anniversary of my Dad's memorial service.  It is the 7-year anniversary of Sutt being diagnosed with meningitis.  (At this point you're saying, "How do you REMEMBER this shit?  I'm like Rainman with dates, yo.  I JUST DO.  I remember the dates of EVERYTHING, both good and bad, including but not limited to the birthdays of everyone I've ever known, --ironically, for the record, there seem to be an abundance of assholes born on July 18--first kisses/get together/breakup dates with exes, and start and end dates of all the various jobs I've held except for my brief stint as an assistant to a pot dealer-- I measured and bagged--although I KNOW that was sometime in the fall of 1995.)  ANYWAY, what I'm getting around to saying is that today is historically not a good day but I plan to slog through it despite that because that's what I've learned to do.  Slog, that is.

And if I can just keep on keeping on, I will be rewarded at the end of the month.  As a Christmas gift, my sweet B gave me a trip to Vegas from January 23rd-26 to see Coco Austin (my favorite celebrity/entrepreneur/significant other of rapper Ice T) perform in the burlesque show "Peepshow" AND to renew our wedding vows, hopefully at the tackiest wedding chapel in Vegas, and hopefully officiated by a cross-dressing black Elvis impersonator or something similarly fabulous.  IT WILL BE EPIC.  But then, everything I do pretty much is epic.  Likely, I will blog about the trip despite the mantra of "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," if for no other reason than to reassure you that I did not die of alcohol poisoning or get arrested for prostitution, unless of course one or more of those things happen and if that's the case, well, I've got bigger problems than you wishing I would blog.

Which reminds me that I should blog more often.  I've collected some GREAT stories over the past couple of months.

But for now I gotta go.  Time for some slogging.