Thursday, November 30, 2006

it's beginning to blog a lot like Christmas

So, as I was making the rounds this morning (before I went to work in case my boss reads this)
I noticed people are asking some holiday questions.

Don't Call Her Soccer Mom wants to know what my favorite present was.

Sara wants to know what my favorite Christmas carol is.

I decided to follow the trend and get your take on one of the most important holiday issues of all time.

So here it goes

the gotta know

your answer to

this all important question

before it eats me up inside! (can you feel the drama?)

Just exactly what does it for you...

One color, multi-colored or white?

Twinkling, blinking or always on?

(Please keep in mind I am referring to Christmas lights!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

fuzzy wuzzy isn't funny

I don't like to admit this, but I do have some minor idiosyncrasies.

When I first had my daughter I thought to myself--be careful, you don't want her to pick up any compulsive behavior. So for the last six years, I have been doing my best to pretend I am someone else. She is getting older now and she is catching on...

Before I get into this story I need to tell you I am not a germophobic. My house is not immaculate, although I have a slight Chlorox bleaching addiction.

I don't like people drinking after me and that goes back to my childhood. I also don't drink after anyone, including my own daughter. I don't share food off my plate or double dip anything and anti-bacterial soap is one of my closest friends.

And then there are stuffed animals. B-girl loves them. I hate them. She has too many of course so she doesn't notice when I steal them and subject them to washing, drying or a good Lysol spritz.

B-girl's stuffed animals are one thing because I know where they have been,
but then there is Fuzzy.

Fuzzy is the friend and mascot of Mrs. S's first-grade class. Mrs. S is a good teacher (even for a Wolverine) and I am quite happy with the B-girl's progress this year. There is just one thing about the class that bothers me and that is Fuzzy.

Every day Fuzzy whispers into Mrs. S's ear and chooses a student. That student gets to take Fuzzy home for the evening. Fuzzy has his own case. His case has a scrapbook, reading book and markers in it. The student brings Fuzzy home to spend an evening with the family and has a sheet of paper on which to write (and draw) Fuzzy's adventures for the evening. The student adds the sheet to the scrapbook, Fuzzy sleeps over and returns to class with the student the next morning. Along the way parents began adding pictures of their kid with Fuzzy in the book. The scrapbook is fun for the kids and Fuzzy also comes with his own bedtime book (about him).

Monday night Fuzzy came home to our house. There is already a photo of the B-girl and Fuzzy in the book because he has been to our house once before. I probably do not need to tell you this, but I don't like Fuzzy. Fuzzy is a cute little teddy bear who these kids adore. To me he is a menace. A germ carrier.

I was falsely relieved this time around because I know Mrs. S takes Fuzzy home on the weekends and washes him. This past weekend was the long holiday.

When I got to Daycare to pick the B-girl up she could not wait to show me her friend was back to visit with us.

"Mom look who I got today," she said with joy "Fuzzy".

Trying my best to hide my dismay, I said. "Well hello again Fuzzy."

B-girl looks down for a minute and says to her daycare person,
"My mom doesn't like Fuzzy."

"Why do you say that?" the babysitter said.

"She thinks Fuzzy makes everybody sick," the kid says.

"No I don't" I lied. "I am happy to see let me hug him"

I pulled Fuzzy close to my nose and could smell Tide Downy Fresh. That should have made me feel better, knowing it had been washed, but it didn't.

B-girl smiled and Fuzzy came along. Fuzzy went to visit Grandma, had dinner with us, played "Don't break the Ice", read the Fuzzy book and went to bed -- with my kid.

Now, I am no Howie Mandel brand of germophobe (although I do understand where he is coming from). I shake people's hands. Some people at work look at me funny because they think I go to the bathroom 20 times a day. If they followed me in, they would know I am just washing my hands most of the time.

So I wash my hands a lot. Still, I don't live in a bubble.

It's not that I don't like fluffy bears. It's just that passing around this wild animal is not a good idea. When I attended the Halloween Party at school I noticed all the kids passing Fuzzy around BEFORE he WENT HOME with someone that night! All the kids wanted him that day because Fuzzy was wearing a Halloween costume. He was dressed like a clown. I am not clowning around when I say Fuzzy is a dangerous, dangerous bear.

Why oh why does such a great teacher feel it is necessry for these six year old germ magnets to not only spend the day together, but to pass a stuffed animal around like trading cards?

Now that we are embarking on the cold and flu season I must ask is this really necessary? Can't Fuzzy go visit relatives in Florida until Spring, or forever?

These are the times when I wish my daughter would pick up some of my slightly compulsive behaviors. If she were as repulsed by Fuzzy as her mother, I would be glad. Of course B-girl has made it clear that Fuzzy is the subject of her own compulsive, or maybe obsessive, behavior...

At parent teacher conferences Mrs S and I discussed what a wonderful student my daughter is and her progress in all subjects.

"There is one thing," I said to the teacher. "She is preoccupied with Fuzzy. She needs to know every day which student took Fuzzy home and she feels the need to inform me every night. If she isn't paying attention she comes home and says to me 'Mom I don't know who got Fuzzy today' in a very frustrated voice."

"Perfectly normal," said Mrs. S. "The students take a real interest."

"I am sure they do," I said.

I did not say to her what I was really thinking. In my head it goes like this..

What can you be thinking? Letting a stuffed animal, of all things, trounce around in the cars, to public places, to numerous homes of little kids! Everyone knows that all little kids have to do is look at something and they get sick!

Fuzzy is a friend to the child, but sheer torture to the parent. When I see Fuzzy coming I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Somehow I managed to get through another visit, but I gotta' tell you, that bear is frightening.

Fuzzy went back to school today

and I can rest for another 25 or 26 school days

but deep in the recesses

of my bleached-out brain

I know that one day

when the weather is colder than cold


P.S--today the B-girl came home with a pretty bad cough.
Mmm. Now let me think...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

just check me out please

I have had trouble dealing with what I call the "intrusion" of check out people.

This is by no means a put down to anyone who runs a cash register because God knows I have been behind the cash register before. When I think back to my cash register days I am quite sure I was very polite. Not so with some people these days...

Last summer I ran into one of those genius offenders. I was at a grocery store buying some "Smart Water" for my mother. My mother will be 80 soon and I get her this water that is supposed to improve your hydration, electrolytes, etc. The young 20-something bimbo at the check out decided she had to make a comment.

"Do you think this water is smarter than plain water?," she asked with snot in her voice.

I was in a hurry, had a headache and did not want to even deal with this girl.

"Well I don't know," I said. "Let's ask it," I said while pressing a bottle up to my ear and pretending to whisper with the water.

"No it is not really smarter, it just thinks it is because it has an Ivy League education," I said in a huff, while the young man who was bagging my things laughed heartily.

More recently, I was buying some new yogurt and the check out lady asked me if it was any good.

"I don't know this is the first time I am buying it," I said with pain in my voice. I promised to let her know how it turned out. She just looked at me like I had offended her. Doesn't she really want to know if the product is any good?

Also at my grocery store is the check out guy I always avoid. I self serve before I go to him because he always comments on various purchases I am making. He creates an entire conversation based around my purchases. I have seen him do this to other people as well.

The other day I went to the drive-through milk depot. The store has two drive throughs. On one side you pull up at the driver's side. That is the one I usually swing through. At the other site they serve you through the passenger window, which, unfortunately, is the side I pulled up to that night.

The lady puts my milk on the seat next to me and says,

"Don't worry there is plenty of room here on the seat."

"Worry?" I replied confused.

"I don't even have any kids and we have more stuff in our truck than you do in your front seat, " she said, "but I see your daughter has taken over the back...I still think my husband has more stuff in our car than you do in yours."

"Well okay then," I manage to mumble. "Thank you."

It's true, I let the kid keep some toys in the back, but I have been cleaning it out regularly since that last time it got too full and I believe it was costing me extra gas money.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was in Walgreen's with the B-girl. I told her she could buy ONE lip balm. (We have a lip balm problem.) The lady at the cosmetics counter decided to come between me and my daughter that day.

While B-girl is picking out her $1 lip balm, Cosmetics woman with the silver hair and pink lipstick says,"We just got some new stuff in, would you like to see it?" Of course B-girl nods her head. Does the woman ask me if it's okay? No!

She lets B-girl behind her counter to see this $8 gift box of assorted Bonnie Bell lip balms and glosses that are definitely designed as a holiday stocking stuffer. I couldn't say no after the B-girl was invited behind the counter and all. I spend $7 more than I should have and I still believe I should bill that woman!

What's up with the comments from just about everyone who checks me through a line? On one hand I must appear approachable, which is good. On the other hand, I have no interest in the conversation in which these people insist I partcipate.

Just check me out and let me be on my way.

I don't want to discuss a new brand of food, lip balm, water or lack of car space. I am polite. I say thank you. I just don't want to hear long dissertations about my purchases.

Afterall, it's really nunna' your business. I don't mind discussing the weather, the beauty eminating from my daughter or other casusal fare but my personal purchases are my own!

Somehow I have the feeling this check-out problem of mine is only going to worsen as we enter the holiday shopping cycle. I may be forced to discuss a brand of cologne or a new toy.

Or maybe,

the check-outs

will be too frazzled

to ask questions

or make comments.

Now that would be the

gift that keeps on giving!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Your Brain is 60% Female, 40% Male
Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female. You are both sensitive and savvy rational and reasonable. You tend to keep level headed, but you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve.
What Gender Is Your Brain?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

so you think
you had a bad week?
not hardly...
I know this is a family blog, and only occasionally do I dig deep, but sometimes we "gotta go there." I promise to be more upbeat tomorrow, but as I take this journey through life, I sometimes find that certain situations feel like they are whacking me on the side of the head until I discuss them or write about them.
Earlier this month I spoke of the e-mails we receive in our spin city offices from the Governor's Office. Now of course these e-mails have been coming to us since the War on Terror began, but I thought I would post one of these in tribute today. If I posted each one my blog would become as depressing as the evening news yet over the last couple of days I have really been thinking about Thanksgiving and the wealth of bounty for which I am grateful.
This notice seemed particularly poignant as it involves three "flag-lowerings" in a row ironically leading us right up to Thanksgiving Day.
This Thursday my daughter and I will spend the day feasting and counting our blessings with all the people we love.
Some other Michigan families, however, will have heavy hearts this Thanksgiving Day...
Flags to be Flown Half-Staff
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
for Servicemen Killed in Iraq

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today ordered that United States flags throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters be lowered in honor of Michigan servicemen who lost their lives while on active duty in Iraq.

Flags will be lowered:

Monday, November 20, 2006, to honor Army Staff Sergeant Gregory W.G. McCoy of Webberville. Staff Sergeant McCoy, 26, died November 9 after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the Army’s 410th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006, to honor Marine Sergeant Bryan K. Burgess of Garden City. Sergeant Burgess, 35, died November 9 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Perrysburg, Ohio.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006, to honor Army Staff Sergeant William S. Jackson, II of Saginaw. Staff Sergeant Jackson, 29, died November 11 of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was assigned to the Army’s 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany.

Flags should return to full-staff on Thursday, November 23.

Under Section 7 of Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code, 4 USC 7, Governor Granholm, in December 2003, issued a proclamation requiring United States flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty. Procedures for flag lowering were detailed by Governor Granholm in Executive Order 2006-10.

When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the United States flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff or half-mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

When a member of the armed services from Michigan is killed in action, the Governor will issue a press release with information about the individual(s) and the day that has been designated for flags to be lowered in his or her honor. This information will also be posted on Governor Granholm’s web site at in the section titled ‘Spotlight.’

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Clash of the Titans

Ohio State

Bo and Woody
were arguing
from above!
Ohio State 42
Michigan 39, final

Bo will always be remembered for not only his football legacy, but also his tremendous fundraising accomplishments for cancer research on behalf of all the people of Michigan.

Friday, November 17, 2006

don't let it

It got away from me

the day.

First, I was running late.

Never a good fate.

I had something important to tell someone.

but I didn't get to meet my friend face to face in the morning.

By noon the day rushed ahead of me.

Work and meetings.

Phone messages and e-mail.

Places to go, people to see.

Someone I care about

got hurt today

because I let the day get away from me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

kid + confusion = one embarrased mom

Walking through the pharmacy.

People all around.

My kid stops and says, "Hey Mom there's your guy."

I, of course, am not paying attention while I look for the things I need

but my ears do perceive the faint sound of people laughter.


"No Mom it really is your guy and your school, member him?"

Louder laughter.

I finally decide to look up to see exactly what the heck she is talking about.

You know the feeling of embarrassment that not only is everyone at the store staring at you and laughing but you are convinced there must be a hidden camera somewhere so millions can laugh along? That was me and for a few seconds I was frozen in shock.

I attempt to answer her, while trying to remain calm and reeling from the discomfort of the moment in which I find myself.

"No honey that's not my guy and not my school."

"Mommy is a Spartan not a Trojan."

"What is a Trojan, Mom?" she asked inquisitively.

More laughter.

"Well, it's a guy from a school far away in California," I reply, completely ignoring the truth and the people laughing behind me. "See how his helmet is red and not green?"

"Oh, okay" she said in a still slightly confused little voice.

Now I ask you, do they have to place these things so prominently out there at little kid eye level accompanied with a big blazing poster in which to call attention to them?

What happened to the days when they were hidden behind the counter somewhere?

level playing field

The cost of healthcare.

Currency exchange rates with foreign countries.

The price of steel.

Limits on imports.

The issues are real

and the Big Three are finally

going to be allowed into the White House today.

Let's hope something "productive" happens.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Posted by Picasa

Can't we have thanksgiving first?

The Jolly One came to town on Saturday and as part of my Spin City duties I went there to take some photos. It seems like he comes earlier every year. Wasn't Halloween last week? Isn't Thanksgiving soon? The power of marketing's bottom line rolls onward.

B-girl went with me, of course, to see him. I took her cousin with us to watch the B-girl while I was working. I thought this is great, we will get the visit done before the December crowds and I will find out what she really wants for Christmas.

She wore her Christmas dress from last year because she wanted to look good. She had a great time at the event.

When we left, I asked her what she asked Santa Claus to bring to her this year.
Laying her finger aside of her nose, she replied
"It's a secret between me and Santa only."

Ho, Ho, Huh?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

michigan, we have a problem

I think Dan explains it quite well.

Three of my friends and/or colleagues have left the state.
I got "corporate downsized" once already.
My paycheck at the new job has been downsized as well.
If I did not have family commitments,
I would be packing my bags.

Friday, November 10, 2006

veterans day

Thank you to all the Veterans out there for serving our nation.

I am really reflecting on this day in light of our soldiers in Iraq.

I work in a public information office for a large city and every time a Michigan soldier dies we get these e-mails from the Governor's office asking for the flags to be lowered to half staff to honor our fallen solider. Every time I see one of these in my Incoming Mail my heart drops. Of course I read them from start to finish because they always give a name, the town where the solider is from and a bit of history. For some reason I believe I owe it to the soldier's family to read the entire notice. I want these e-mails to stop coming. We get too many.

Today is the government observance of Veterans'
which is officially tomorrow.

I am off work and the B-girl has no school today.

We are so happy to have a day off together, but the true meaning of this holiday has been discussed in my house. B-girl is really off school for end of term card-marking, but we talked about veterans today.

We also talked about the soliders who are serving our country now. I try to keep everything age appropriate for a six year old.

I don't want my daughter growing up to be one of these kids who knows nothing about sacrifice or the true meaning of such a "holiday."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Faith Hill -- Loo hoo hoo ser!

What happened to the days when stars carried themselves with some dignity?

Monday, November 06, 2006


I found this at Brains on Fire and believe it is something every girl should see.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paul died today

Thursday was a busy day. I had a lot of work to complete and I was working overtime at a spin city event. I got up early to plan and prepare for a busy day.I was on my way to work when my cell phone rang. It was a colleague from two jobs ago. Before I made the mistake of going to the healthcare system marketing dept I was Director of Public Information for the city next to the one where I live and work for now. I have learned in the nature of my work, not to burn bridges, so I still do some free-lance work for the good mayor next door. I keep in touch with his staff as well. M is his administrative secretary. And she phoned me to tell me Paul died.

Paul worked part-time in the cable TV department for R-town and I was their supervisor. Paul was over eighty years old. The part-timers in this department don't make any money, they make peanuts. They do it for the community involvement and for their love of videography.Paul would occasionally come upstairs to my office with a cup of coffee for me. He would pull up a chair and tell me what was going on in the cable studio. He would tell me about other things too like which senior lady he took out the night before (he was quite the ladies man). He told stories of his life in various eras though time including World War II the sixties, seventies and Vietnam.

At city events Paul and I would find each other. Paul knew that I liked his gentle company and that I was really interested in his perspective on life. There was more than forty years in age difference, but we were friends.

Paul would come into the cable department every Thursday night to run the public access programming. He would line up the shows and make sure they ran without technical difficulty. When I first began working there, we ordered some equipment that would do the programming job electronically. You could program it before 5:00 and leave for the day knowing the programming would commence. None of us had the heart to tell Paul we didn't need him anymore so we let him come in on Thursdays and do it the old-fashioned way. Now, the machine will take over where Paul left off.

I used to tell Paul I was going to fix him up with my 79-year old mother. He would laugh but I was half serious. When I told my mom about the kind, gentle man I had found, her reply was, "Stop talking silly."Paul and I weren't the kind of friends who visit each other's houses and know everything about the other, but we enjoyed each other's company with no commitment or great expectations. We enjoyed talking, and more importantly, LISTENING to each other.

After battling and conquering cancer for more than ten years, Paul died of a heart attack.M called before nine that morning so I would know before hearing from others. I appreciate her friendship for things like that. She knew Paul and I were close.After hanging up my cell phone I cried for the first time in a long time. I thought about how I saw Paul at the Pumpkin festival last month and gave him a hug and asked him how he was doing. He asked me how my job was going and told me I was needed back at the old place. He made me laugh and when I said goodbye I never realized I might not see him again.

Thursday was a busy and hectic day in which I saw hundreds of people celebrating the T-town Sports Hall of Famers. My job was to do the video camera work at the event -- a very happy event. All day long I did my job with a smile on my face. I talked to a lot of people and pretended everything was wonderful.

In the forefront of my mind, however, was that early phone call from one friend about another friend."Paul died today. I thought you would want to know".
Yes it's true.It's somethingI wanted to know.
It's also something
I never wanted to hear.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

to quit or not to quit

Wednesday I saw my hope rise and then fall again.

AT 4:00 I had a meeting with the big boss. When you have a meeting with the CEO, you cannot tell him you usually work 8:30 to 4:30 on Wednesdays to accommodate cheerleading class for your daughter.

I was running a half hour late by the time I picked B-girl up. Also because of work, B-girl had missed another cheerleading practice last week. So on the way she says, "Mom I think I want to quit cheerleading."

I didn't need time to think about this because to me it sounded like a great idea. I have taught her not to quit, but this cheerleading thing seems so superficial to me.

"Okay" I said, but you better be really sure you want to quit."

"You still have dance and that's a committment you cannot quit. I hope you understand the difference," I said.

"I do" she said.

We still had to go to the community center to pick up her new cheerleading outfit. When we got there I asked for the outfit. They wanted to sign B-girl in and I told them that she has decided not to attend anymore because I really can't make the 5:00 class. By this time it was 5:45 and she would have only been in there for ten minutes before class was over.

The lady at the desk said "No problem we will just put her in the 6:00 class!"

"No" I said. "She doesn't want to continue the class."

"She probably wants to quit because you two are always late," the lady said noting my punctuality problem.

"Well I have a job that I usually attend until 5," I said in my own defense.

"If we put her in the 6:00 class she will feel better about going into class, " cheerleading lady said.

"Originally we wanted the 6:00 class and they told me she had to take the 5:00 class," I stammered.

"We can make an exception now," the lady said.

In my head I was thinking -- what the heck are you talking about...your partner told me she did not have enough "experience" for the 6:00 class -- but I said nothing.

I looked at B-girl and she said "Mom, if I am not late to class I will cheer."

While I was glaring at the cheerleading lady with a furrowed brow B-girl says,

"My mom says quitters never win and winners never quit."

"You're mom is right," the lady said smiling, then she pulls out B-girl's cheerleading outfit and gives it to her.

When I saw the look on the kid's face I said

"Alright 6:00 class it is"

We went into the bathroom and she put her outfit on. I have to admit she looks really cute in it. As she went into her class I noticed a little strut in her walk while wearing her new garb.

I was supposed to get my hair dyed at 6:30 and have my wild (and permanently furrowed)eyebrows waxed that evening. I called and cancelled the appointment so B-girl could go to her new class.

So there you have it. We were this close to letting go of the cheerleading concept until others intervened. Now we are in the 6:00 class.

I have to find plain black pants and black shirt by next Wednesday for the costumes we are ALL going to make for their competition. I heard there is sewing and gluing involved. And the competition is in December. What kind of insanity is that?

So the score at the end of hump day.

Cheerleading 1

Mom's dream of no more cheerleading 0.

Can't a Spartan win anything these days?

I have now resigned myself to seeing this through until it ends in December so

last night

after we came home

I sat down

to watch some TV

and at the same time

I finally

fluffed those darn pom poms!