Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Inappropriate Content

This morning my sister, Kathy, told me that where she works, they installed some new thingamajig whatever for checking Internet sites through their whatchamacallit network computer system doohickey whatever. Yeah, ok, that's enough technical jargon.

Anyway, she told me that finally she could read her daughter's blog at work (of course, while on her lunch break), but that when she tried to go to my blog, this very blog you're reading now, it wouldn't let her... due to inappropriate content.


Well, ok, I do occasionally use the odd cussword or such... but I don't swear. (Hi, Mom!) And maybe I am sometimes a bit irreverent about propriety, but hey, one man's propriety is another man's pain in the ass. I don't believe I've been outright profane or obscene... have I? Anyway, if you're keeping track of that stuff, then you're in the wrong place, baby. Inappropriate content indeed. Harrumph.

I do like to occasionally use a particular word that has a special brand of unpopularity among certain individuals. (Hi, Mom!) Ah, yes, that word... the frequently fashionable, frighteningly ubiquitous and fabulously familiar “F word.” That favorite expletive of inferior persons. That flawed fixation of the English language. That red-headed step-child of slang. That poor, misunderstood “F word.”

How illogical it seems to me to assign such importance to a simple acronym. Well, I suppose that’s not really true... notwithstanding the genius of album titles from the early 90’s. A simple ‘net search yielded the fact that being arrested in long-ago England “for unlawful carnal knowledge” is simply an urban legend.

To me, it’s just a word. And why that particular word has such a dreadful reaction when the other words used instead of it, but meaning the same thing, are A-OK. Like freakin’... kids everywhere use freakin’ all the time... Hey, give me back my freakin’ stuff. Hey, keep your freakin’ hands off my stuff. Most parents not only don’t correct their kids when they use that word, they use it, too. And what about frickin’ or friggin’ or flippin’? They all mean the same thing. Just like darn, dang & damn. (And now we hear damn on TV all the time... just you freakin’ wait... you’ll hear them all before too long...)

So back to me. To me, it’s just a word. When you’re really mad, like when you get not just a paper cut, but a cardboard-file-cut, the sharp bark of the “F word” has a nice, comforting effect. When you’re really frustrated, like when you’re looking for your 2005 income tax file and it’s not in any of the places you thought it would be, a variation like, say this one... Flap! Flappity, flap, flap, FLAP! has a somewhat calming effect. I like it. So arrest me. Just not for unlawful carnal knowledge.

One of my favorite discussions about this word was from a Patricia Cornwell novel, “Point of Origin.” I used to listen to recorded books a lot, and when I would hear a passage that I found particularly moving or interesting, or just plain neat, I would write it down in a book I kept in my car for that purpose. Here it is:

“Whenever Merino was tired or half drunk, he said 'f---' a lot. In truth, it was a grand word that expressed what one felt by the very act of saying it. But, I had explained to him many times before that not everyone could deal with its vulgarity, and for that matter, some perhaps took it all too literally. I personally never thought of 'f---' as s--ual intercourse, but rather of wishing to make a point.”

I think if Patricia Cornwell was my neighbor, I could be friends with her.

Wednesday morning

Sammy is participating in the middle school play this year, it's called, "Is There a Doctor in the House?" or something like that... He's having fun being involved in the after-school play practices, which are every single day. It's kind of a worry-free thing for him, since he has a very minor part; I believe he has something like 3 lines, and the last one is said while he "flirts" with some girls. Right up that boy's alley, that's for sure.

Yesterday he had to miss play practice, though, for an orthodontist appointment. This is the 2nd time he's missed practice, the first was when he & his dad went down to a Red Wings game. The rule is that you have to give the teacher a note if you are going to be absent, but Sammy forgot the first time & didn't give her a note. He said that if you have 2 absences with no note, then you're kicked out of the play. Sammy made sure to write a note yesterday. I asked him this morning if he gave the teacher a note, and he said, "Yes, I wrote in math class, then between classes, I walked down to her room to give it to her, but she was in the hallway, so I told her."

Me: But you did give her the note, right? Because the rule is to give a note.

Sam: Yes, I gave her the note. I told her & I handed her the note.

Me: So you did both - you told her & you gave her the note? (Now, I realize this may sound redundant & silly to you, but I know my boy... and sometimes you Must Make Sure Very, Very Clearly Exactly What Happened. And then repeat.)

Sam: Yup. A double-dip.

Me: Good.

Sam: A double dose of MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! [sound effects included]

Oh yeah, he's a cutie-pie and a half!


Also this morning, after I dropped Sammy off at school, I was flipping through the radio buttons and I heard the same song for 2 different commercials, 2 different stations. The song was "I Can Help" by Billy Swan, and one commercial was for a car dealership and the other was for some electronics sale, like iPods, etc. I haven't heard that song in years and years, and then I hear it twice within 5 minutes on radio commercials... strange. And the really weird thing is that in both commercials, which I totally stopped flipping through stations to listen to (coz I like the song), the song did not seem to fit the sales situation at all. But now, thankfully, that song is in my head. Replacing the song in that Adam Sandler movie, "Anger Management," where he sings, "I feel pretty, oh so pretty..." Sammy mentioned this morning that he had that in his head all day yesterday. And just great! brought it up & talked about it and then it was stuck in my head... his, too. But now I'm hearing "I got two strong arms, I can help..." Yes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rogan!

...and Susan, Sara & Bob!!!

Yesterday evening, my sister, Janet, had the family over to her house to celebrate some family birthdays. Primarily, of course, her grandson, Rogan’s 5th birthday. Also her 2 daughters, Susan & Sara, and her hubby, my brother-in-law, Bob’s. All 4 birthdays occurring within a 3-week period. Now, that’s good planning.

Here’s Rogan enjoying being sung to (& no, Great-Uncle Bob did not start the “Happy Birthday” song off, even though at least 3 family members made the suggestion)...

And with his momma, Susan, here's Rogan insuring his birthday wish...

Rogan and Sammy showing the love...

We got Bob some Whoppers (milk-chocolate covered malt balls, his favorite) and a gift card to Wal-Mart... and we all got a good hoot out of the gift card’s theme of “My Little Pony”...

Since Kathy & Bob got him a Wal-Mart gift card also, theirs with a Sponge Bob Squares Pants theme, I guess that tells you something about our birthday boy, Bob!

Here are the birthday sisters, Sara & Susan, also showing the love...

I did get a nice, normal photo of them also, but this one is so much more representative of their personalities, that I had to include it.

Joyce’s new beau, Kyle, came to the family get-together with us, and he seemed to fit in well. He took all the teasing in stride & was a very good sport. With our family, new boyfriends (or girlfriends, as the case may be) have to be able to handle the teasing, or they just don’t last long. One wouldn’t describe our family as shy or reserved, that’s for sure. And that’s a Good Thing, as Martha would say. Here are the 2 little lovebirds (see, I told you!) with Joycie getting a thank-you-hug from our Rogan.

And judging from the photo of his appendage, below, I would guess that Kyle enjoyed himself.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Shampoo to movies...

The hair stylist I’ve been going to for years used to co-own a shop that sold a variety of “high end” hair products, among those the Matrix Biolage stuff. She’s now the sole owner of an “Aveda concept salon” so no more Matrix. I did buy some from a salon at the mall, but that was years ago, and none since. Too much money. And since I’m a long-time user of Suave shampoos and conditioners, I like their identical version, “biobasics.” Seriously, it is identical. I know this for a fact... companies like the one that produces Matrix Biolage will license out their formula to companies like Suave, and then whenever Suave makes money on biobasics, Matrix Biolage gets a cut. Companies of high-end personal care products, particularly shampoos and the like, do this because they know that the wealthy &/or snobby people that buy their name brand would never lower themselves to purchase Suave at Wal-Mart, and those of us [smart shoppers] buying Suave are not going to buy the pricey stuff, so it isn’t like they are cutting themselves out of a market. Intellectual property licensing is a good deal for all!

So this morning, I’m using my biobasic, which got me thinking about the Matrix movie trilogy. My nephew, Michael, is a big fan and owns all 3 DVD’s, which Sammy recently borrowed. I’ve seen the Matrix and Matrix Reloaded before, but never got around to actually watching Matrix Revolutions. After the debacle that was Matrix Reloaded, I lost interest. However, I just watched Matrix and Matrix Reloaded again, in preparation for finally getting to Matrix Revolutions. Again, I’m stalled. Matrix was great, I think I finally understand it better. But Matrix Reloaded?... what were they thinking?... Ugh. It’s so awful in parts that it took me something like 4 days to get through it. Some of the fight scenes are so cartoonish that I was fast-forwarding through them. Thank goodness for fast-forward, because those fight scenes were far too long and drawn-out. I remember hearing bad reviews about the 2nd one, and oh yeah, totally justified. I don’t recall the reviews about the last one at all, because by that time, Matrix had ceased to exist for me, filed away in the compartment of my brain under So Not Important. I do intend to watch the last movie, but I plan to have plenty of Bud Light on hand to help me through it. Maybe Reloaded would have been better that way... just not sure it’s worth going off my diet & drinking beer to get through it... hmmm... will have to think about that.

Speaking of bad movies, if you have not seen or yet rented the DVD, “Conversation(s) with Other Women,” do yourself a big, fat favor and DON’T. First of all, the (s) thing is too cutsey... too “I think I’m smart.” And the split-screen thing... AACCCKKKK! Awful. Awful, awful, awful. The split-screen thing is that the movie is divided into half, vertically, and the director is showing the same moment in 2 angles. I hated it. What was the point of it, anyway? It’s like the director thought, “hey, if I do this artsy-fartsy split screen thing, then the lowly, much-more-stupid-than-mighty-me viewers of my movie-that’s-too-good-for-them will hopefully realize that when 2 people are talking to each other, there is really 2 sides to the conversation.” Ummm... duh. We got through about 15 minutes or so of it last night, when husband began falling asleep. This was before 8pm. That movie is CRAP. Turned it off and were then much entertained by the recorded episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Men in Trees. One zillion times better.

We were home early and watching TV because both children were gone. Sammy to a friend’s house, then to the basketball game, then to – prepare yourself – Hooters for a birthday dinner for his friend, Brandon. Hooters. The horror.

Joyce also went to the b-ball game, then to the Winterfest dance at the high school afterwards. Where she had an amazingly wonderful time. She has a new beau, and she is very, very happy. New Beau is coming over this evening for dinner, then joining us at a family birthday party. Should be fun and interesting.

So yesterday with the kids' plans all settled, Kev & I drove into work together, and he picked me up after work at 3:45pm. We were sitting at a booth at Buffalo Wild Wings and drinking beer by 4:15pm. A very nice start to the weekend. Got some shopping done and had a good time together.

And now, I must go take the towel off my newly shampooed head and get ready for Sammy’s last No. 2 team basketball game this morning. I have to admit, I’m glad this is the last Saturday morning game... because I have things to do on Saturday mornings! More on that later...

Monday, January 22, 2007


Well, I care what I had for lunch today. I brought from home an orange roughy fillet, grilled, baked butternut squash and steamed asparagus. Sounds good, doesn't it? For some reason it was all awful. The squash tasted like soap, the asparagus tasted like a cellar smells and the fish was blah. Dammit. Lot of work for nothin'.


After I parked my car this morning in the parking lot at work, I walked around my car and kicked off the "snow boogers" (as my kids call 'em). Now my right big toe hurts.


I have a page from one of those page-a-day calendars on my cubicle wall from November 5, 2000... I think it was one of the "stupidest things ever said" kind. It has a quote from Monte Clark, former Detroit Lions coach: The key to this whole business is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.


I sent my daughter a smart-ass text message to her cell the other day, and all she sent back was a text that read "w/e". I could not figure that one out, and I had to ask Sammy... Whatever. She knows I hate that response. She sure got me on that one.


Sammy told me this morning on the drive to his school that his arms hurt from playing tennis and boxing. On the Wii. Oh, right.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Today I did 2 things I've never done before...

Sammy (and Joycie, too) have been wanting a Wii, like a million other kids. They are mostly not available in any stores near us. We finally heard that Target and Best Buy were going to get some in today. When Sam called Target the other day, for the umpteenth time, to inquire about a Wii, they told him that beginning at 7:00am on Sunday the 21st, they would hand out "tickets" to people in line and when the store opened at 8:00am, anyone with a ticket could buy a Wii. Best Buy doesn't open until 10am... so Target it is...

Sammy and I got up at 5:00am this morning and left the house by 5:30am. By 6:00am we were out near the mall, did a run through the Starbucks drive-through and got to the Target parking lot about 6:10am. There were some vehicles there, but the closest parking spot was open, so we parked there. As we parked, there were about 5 guys heading away from the front of Target, and they all got into their vehicles and started the engines. We think they were in line, and they were warming up... it was close to zero degrees out this morning. At about 6:35am, people started getting out of their cars and trucks and heading for the front, and Sammy and I joined them. We were No. 5 in line, and finally got our "ticket" at 7:05am. One guy said to the Target employee, an older woman, "so what? we can leave, go to church and come back later and get our Wii?" She said, "Oh no, you can't do that - this ticket just guarantees your spot in line when we open at 8am. If you have a ticket when the store opens, you get a Wii before anyone not holding a ticket. If you leave, then we won't hold a Wii for you." Actually, the whole thing was very well organized. They had 27 Wiis available, and gave tickets out for all of them. More people than tickets.

So Sammy spent every penny to his name, plus some additional by Joycie, and with a little help from me, and now there's a Wii in our house. And I have to admit, it's pretty cool. I still can't believe I stood in line and froze my toes for it. Sam was beyond excited, so it was worth it. I really can't think of anything I don't have that I would want to purchase badly enough to get up that early and stand in line in below freezing weather like that... Sam called it an adventure. I call it something I am likely to never do again.

The other thing I did today that I've never done before was to watch my daughter sign her name to a lease for an apartment. She and 3 friends are going to be renting a 4-bedroom, 2-bath apartment beginning this August for college. After doing all the paperwork in the office, we got to view a model, though it was a 3-bedroom, 3-bath apartment. It was very nice, and the complex is very nice, too. It has a 24-hour fitness facility, game room, computer lab and tanning dome, all included. It has free shuttle to the campus and other areas. A nice, big outdoor pool and hot tub, a basketball court and a sand volleyball court, also a nice picnic area with grills. The apartment has a full-size washer and dryer, dish washer, garbage disposal, and cable TV and high speed Internet access included. It's a helluva lot nicer than the first place I rented years and years ago! The girls are hoping for a 2nd floor apartment, with their balcony overlooking the pool area. They're gonna have fun.

It started snowing again while we were in the complex office, and it's not let up since... almost 4 hours ago. Big, fat flakes coming down fast. It's beautiful!

On the drive home, on the West side of our dirt road is a hedge of wild brambles that grow between the first house and the 2nd house (and last house, before ours), which is a distance of probably a city block. On the other side of the brambles is a big field, and then the neighbor's big pond. Almost every day I see bright red cardinals in those brambles, as well as the pretty muted rosey-brown female cardinals. I've tried more than once to get a photo, with little luck. I took some today... but will keep on trying for a better shot. The dark mish-mash of the brambles against the white snow is pretty, but with those cardinals in there, it's dramatically pretty! My photos in no way do it justice. Especially today, with the snow falling...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Chelle Belle!

My niece, Michelle, had her 20th birthday this week. Since she was away at college, her birthday celebration with the family was yesterday evening.

Joycie got a present, too... her Aunt Kathy made for her this adorable hat and scarf.

And you see that yarn that Kathy is holding... it'll soon be matching mittens!

Michelle wished mostly for cash for her birthday, since she's planning a nice Spring Break vacation with friends... her momma & poppa complied with a wad of ones. A very happy birthday girl...

When we all gathered in the dining room to sing "Happy Birthday" to Michelle, it took a while to light all 20 of those candles. Michelle's dad then attempted to start the singing... but his lone voice just petered out... You see, it is always Kathy who starts the birthday song... always. (She has the best singing voice of us all.) You kinda sorta had to be there, but it was hilarious... as we all looked at Bob while the song was dying away in his throat and we all cracked up, including the birthday girl.

Kathy started the birthday song, and Michelle was successful at blowing out all the candles. Ain't she a pretty birthday girl?!!

And look how tall Sammy is getting compared to his grandpa, grandma & Uncle Bob!

Then the goofiness began... Joycie and Michael hammed it up a bit...

Then Aunt Janet had a brilliant idea, and we arranged the kids however we wanted & took tons of photos...

This is Mike (Michelle's boyfriend), Joycie, Michelle, Michael & Sammy...

And our beautiful girls...

Yet more goofiness...

Wave bye-bye for the camera...

Love those kids!

Friday, January 19, 2007

A flash on the future

I took today off from work because the kids don't have school today (semester end) & Kev is off today, too (he starts his day shift tomorrow, with day-12s on the weekend).

Up early this morning, still kinda dark out, and we're already on our second pot of coffee. Why is it always so much easier to get up out of bed when there's no alarm???

I'm playing around on the 'net, catching up on some blog reading, and Kev & Sammy are in the living room watching some sports news shows on the TV. Kev and I have been taking turns filling up our coffee cups. When I delivered Kev's full cup back to him just now, I took the opportunity to whisper something sweet and dirty in his ear, and I was rewarded with one of his laughs. On my way back to the computer desk, I said to him, "Just think, someday I won't have to whisper that kind of stuff to you and can just blurt it out loud." Kev laughed again. (Poor Sammy.) And then I said, "So will that be more fun or less fun?..."


Monday, January 15, 2007

Snow Day

We finally got some snow. Not a whole lot, and not as much as was predicted, but enough to call off school for today. Joyce and Sammy were very happy about that... me, too... so I took a vacation day. Unfortunately, Kev’s working midnights, so he was sleeping most of the day. But it’s been a nice, quiet day. We’re toasty warm in the house, since Kev stoked the fire well in the wood stove when he got home from work this morning at 8am. He also did some shoveling. He’ll have to do more, and some plowing, too... it’s still coming down.

I went outside briefly and took some photos. It’s amazing how our landscape changed overnight... I’ve been wanting snow for what seems like so long now, and it’s finally here. And it’s gorgeous.

When I went to go outside, Reilly wanted to go with me, but since I was hoping to maybe see some wildlife, I made him stay inside. When I was on the deck taking the last photo, Reilly was staring at me through the french door. I took his photo with the reflection of our snow-covered deck in the glass. He looks so sad...


Kev got up and is already out plowing snow. The 3 dogs are out with him, and they love it. Barney, our yellow lab, is Kev's constant companion when Kev's on the tractor... actually, when Kev is doing anything outside.

New Year's Eve... better late than never!

Now that 4th quarter & year-end close is done for me, I can finally take a good breath and get some stuff done... like catching up on my blog.

We had a super fun New Year's Eve this year. Most of the family made it over to our house, and we all made our own personal pizzas. It was a blast, and the pizzas were pretty good. I picked up a box of those frozen pizza dough balls at Gordon's Food. (And there are a lot of balls in that box. They won't go to waste, though... they're really good.) We had a bunch of different toppings ready. Fun to experiment. Kev was making margaritas, and experimenting there, too. This is Kev and Bob in the kitchen, where all the action was.

The kiddos & I decorated with an Italian motif... and I found a music station on the satellite TV playing Italian operas. I listened to them while I was chopping veggies and slinging pizza dough... I enjoyed them, but some people voted and turned them off. This is Dad, Kathy and my 2 brothers-in-law Bob enjoying themselves at our pizza fest.

And as it was Kathy's birthday a few days earlier, we gave her birthday present to her at the party... isn't she cute?!!

When we'd all ate our fill, and all made pizzas for taking home (I thawed way too much pizza dough!), we all took our drinks downstairs and commenced the 2006 Air Hockey Tournament. We drew names to start the first round of pairs. The kids kept track on their white board...

It was funny that my niece, Michelle, was paired up with her boyfriend, Mike... who we all got to meet for the first time that evening. Super nice guy. Very tall, too... 6’6”... very nice.

Mike won, but Joycie kicked his butt later in the 2nd round. I also got a butt kicking in the 2nd round, by my nephew, Michael.

Notice the ping pong ball in mid-air. We had a lot of photos of the air hockey tournament featuring a flying ping pong ball. The final match came down to Joycie and her Uncle Bob. Some serious air hockey commenced.

It was pretty close, Joycie was leading for a while, but Bob came back strong and kicked her butt.

Bob showing his gratitude to the accomodating puck. Or the lucky puck. Whatever way your skirt blows.

And admiring his trophy as the 2006 Air Hockey Tournament Champion.

That was a fun time... everyone hung out in the basement together, playing ping pong, watching the air hockey games and watching a bunch of Comedy Central Presents episodes we’ve recorded.

After the conclusion of the tournament, we all went upstairs and watched the ball drop. That part wasn’t as enjoyable as previous years. It’s great that Dick is still around and doing so well now; I’m sure his family is very thankful. But, man!, seeing him that way did not make me feel happy... it made me feel keenly the serious advancement of time, how the days go by so fast, making the years disappear, how your children turn into adults before your very eyes, leaving you wondering when it happened, how quickly you grow old, how in the world it’s already 2007... Maybe the network thought it would be uplifting for America to see old Dick back on the ball, but I found it morose and sobering... I think we all did. Kinda killed the party, along with the happy buzz I had going... and everyone was gone by 12:15 am. So the four of us popped in a DVD and watched a good old, favorite movie together until well past 2:00am. Now that’s the way to start a new year.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Year-end Song

While eating my breakfast this morning at work, I composed a short song in honor of year-end/4th quarter close here at work. Sing to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".

Oh, oh, oh, year-end
Madly, hear me scream
Stressfully, anxiously, nervously
That’s my daily theme

Oh, oh, oh, year-end
Numbers in my dreams
Puzzling, confusing, perplexing
Nothing’s as it seems

Oh, oh, oh, year-end
Frustration reigns supreme
Crazily, urgently, seriously
I could use a drink.