Thursday, August 28, 2008

Music, Books, and Such

I really can't emphasize enough the impact that music has on me and my mental well-being. While the notion of "music therapy" might easily be poo-poo'ed by most, it works.

For example, back in the day when mornings around here were rough with two youngins' who didn't want to get out of bed, much less cooperate with me, I'd put on some music.

Rather than spend the time mired in arguments and fit-throwing, I'd put on some tunes. This often garnered me the title of "cool mom" as we all danced to "Busta Move," "Baby Got Back," or "It's Tricky." Really, how can you have a bad day if it starts with jamming to some Run-D.M.C.?

Sometimes, I will carefully construct a playlist on Rhapsody, picking out what I want to hear. Other times, I'll click "add playlist" and let some stranger decide on my music repertoire.

Today, I picked one called "Hey Old Guys." I promised myself that I wouldn't be offended if I did indeed enjoy the musical offering. I clicked shuffle and let the music take me where it would.

Several songs into the list, I caught myself smiling, wowing that I hadn't heard it in ages, and doing a little head-bobbing here and there as I folded some laundry. Song after song, I might have been mistaken for Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Radio."

"That's a goo' one. C'mon an dance. That's a goo' one!"


In other news, I stopped by the local Salvation Army type place. It's ran by the Ladies' Auxillary of the hospital. They take donations of clothing and small items from the community.

One thing I can say about their clothing selection is this - we are a poorly dressed community with no sense of fashion whatsoever. It was Hoosier Hillbilly Heaven. (Though, I must admit I almost bought an 80s style jean jacket, but my motivation was that it was almost like the one I once owned. I came to my senses.)

The book section is hit or miss. The last several times I've gone in, I've walked out with nothing. Today, I had my arms loaded up when I made my way to the check-out. You can't beat 25 cent paperbacks and 50 cent hardcover.

I beg of someone to analzye my selections because this is what I walked out with:

100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories - they appear to be fictional and not true accounts.

Sybil (The true and extraordinary story of a woman possessed by sixteen separate personalities) by Flora Rheta Schreiber - I can't recall if I've read this before or not. I do remember reading the one about the faces of Eve. Not sure about this, however.

Carrie by Stephen King - This was the second book by King that I read in high school and became an avid fan. Should I get bored, I'll give it another go.

Cell by Stephen King - I read mixed reviews about this, so I didn't rush out and get it in hardcover. Then it came out in paperback, and I guess I forgot about it. (Well worth the $2.50 I spent on all of these.)

Resistance by Anita Shreve - So what? It's a love story. I dig her prose. Something about a passionate love affair conquering all in a Nazi-occupied Belgian village.

Give Me My Father's Body (The life of Minik, the New York Eskimo) by Kenn Harper - The forward is by Kevin Spacey. I've been having a secret affair with him since I saw him sing on a tribute to John Lennon show. Yes, so secret that he doesn't even know about it. I've not clue what is so incredibly sexy about him, but I'd do him. The book is something about Robert Peary and his dumping off Eskimos as "live specimens" to be gawked at by the paying public at the American Museum of National History.

If life is a bowl of cherries - what am I doing in the pits? by Erma Bombeck- This was the first Erma book I read. I think I was about 10 and I picked it up off my mom's stack of books. I didn't really understand why it was so funny since I wasn't able to relate as a mom and wife, but I knew there was something about Erma that I loved even as a child.

And lastly....

The Benham book of Palmistry by Wm. G. Benham - Ehh, who knows what drives my interests. An Indian guy in a bar read my palm back one night in the summer, and it was fascinating. Perhaps it'll shed some light on my Simian line.

We Interrupt Regular Blogging to Bring You This Warning

Precautionary warning, brought to you by me:

If you happen to buy Pine-sol in the scent of "Wild Flower Blast," and you happen to have young children, or even an adult prone to dementia about the house, keep it out of their reach.

I'm not even close to kidding when I say that when I opened it, dumped some in my mop bucket, I had this bizarre urge to drink it.

I'm not the kinda gal who goes around drinking household cleaning products, but if you smell it, you might understand why. It's a sweet, fruity punch, berry Schnapps sort of fragrance. Don't get me wrong, it smells wonderful. Perhaps it would trigger this urge in someone who has a fondness for said Schnapps, not that I speak on personal experience on this. No, not me.

I'm not suffering from pica (an abnormal desire to eat things that should not be consumed, like lint, dirt, or chalk). I would rather like to think I've got a generous amount of my wits about me, but I couldn't help myself to say aloud to the dog, "This smells good enough to drink." Seriously. Of course, he didn't offer his opinion.

It's not the first time a cleaning product hasn't made me worry that I might absent-mindedly pour myself a glass of cleaner. The "Fabulouso" line of cleaners makes a red and blue one (not sure of the fragrances) that I once bought and thought hmm, Kool-aide. I'm not so sure a child or an Alzheimer's patience might be able to use the restraint that I did not to inadvertently ingest it.

Thus concludes this friendly advisory.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Memba This?

Okay, so maybe it's a nostalgic sort of day for me.

I read about Mr. Bubbles going out of business over at Tony's blog. Mr. Bubbles, by the way, was the work of the devil. Let's just say I wasn't one of those kids who couldn't sit around in a tub of bubbles and not experience distress later on. I was red. I was itchy. And no, you don't really want to know where it burned.

Anyway, I thought I had this vague memory of this bath foam sort of stuff. It was like shaving cream, and in my head, I could picture the Super Friends or Superman on the cylinder-like can.

Thanks to the internet, which I would marry if it were a tall, dark, and handsome man and not a thing, I found what I was looking for.

Crazy Foam! This stuff rocked and was so incredibly cool.

I guess after the Mr. Bubbles episode, my mom wanted me to use it sparingly. It might have been a whole lot less time, but I think that can I had lasted me from about the age of 7 throughout my early teen years. Did she ever ration that out at bath time.

But, I suppose when you've listened to your young daughter boohoo about her hoohoo, you don't take your chances.

Aye, Yi, Yi...

...we look like...cartoons!

Remember Kidd Video on Saturday morning cartoons? Cousin Oliver, Robbie Rist, from the "Brady Bunch" was on it. You can watch a video clip here.

There's nothing more to do with that. I just happened to think of it while I was aye, yi, yiing.

My 15 year old walked in yesterday after football practice and presented me with a folded up piece of paper.

"What did you do now?" I asked, sure that he'd gotten in trouble already for doing something senseless and utterly teenage-boyish. Undoubtedly, it was something that required my signature acknowledging that the school knows that I know what a heathen child I have raised.

"Look what I drew," he sniggered.

Now, it's been years since my baby has come home from school and presented me with artwork. As a matter of fact, he never brought his masterpieces home from art class. He'd throw them in the trash when he got back to the classroom, or stuff them in the bottom of his locker. Whenever the teacher deemed his locker as a health or fire hazard, he'd come home with a grocery sack full of crumpled construction paper.

How sweet, I thought. He's giving me something. A bonding moment, perhaps. I was touched by the sentiment, but I can guarantee it was short-lived.

I unfolded the paper, very unsure of what I might find.

The kids went through a period of time where they loved to draw pictures of each other, typically doing something gross. The both had a penchant for doodling scenes of the other one farting. No, I never really got what was so funny about that either.

Then they drew each other's socks, with vapors emitting and big holes, sometimes a big toe sticking out with a very nasty toenail.

After that, it was funny to draw each other holding hands with a fat woman. They'd mark the woman as so-and-so's girlfriend.

I don't understand boys. Never did, really. And, I guess it's fair to say I don't understand most men, but that's a whole 'nother rant.

So, anyway, no idea what his crafty little self is offering me.

There on the page is an elephant. I must say it was a decent drawing. A whole lot better than what I could do.

I noticed the elephant is drinking something. Looks sort of like a paint can. I held it up and out from my face because well, you know, I'm seriously considering getting myself a pair of those reading glasses because my vision sure isn't what it used to be.

I squinted a bit and read the label of the bucket, "ANTI-FREEZE."

"Umm, why is the elephant drinking anti-freeze, or do I want to know?" I questioned.

He laughed and said he didn't know.

"Okay, then. Great. This will come in handy one day when the psychiatrist asks if there were ever any signs of you being mentally disturbed," I said.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Schlitzie's Stone

This is Schlitzie. I didn't know him from Adam until I read about him here. He worked, or rather I assume, landed unceremoniously in the sideshow circuit. He also appeared in several movies.

Yes, yes, I know. I've got some bizarre interests.

He was born with microcephalus, or a smaller than normal-sized head. His mentality was said to be that of a 3-year-old. For many years, he worked the "freak shows," but you can read more about his life through that link.

After his legal guardians passed, Schlitzie found himself in the care of friends of his deceased guardians. In 1971, he died at approximately the age of 71, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Rowland Heights, CA.

I read stories like this and think how sad. Obviously, it's hard to know just what kind of life Schlitizie actually had. By some accounts, those whose worked in sideshows and carnivals loved the work they did, and they actually made the best out of the physical deformities they were born with. I'd like to think others were kind to him and he wasn't taken advantage of or treated poorly.

I would wager large sums of cash that Schlitzie helped to rake in some dough in his days; so what I found terribly sad was that his remains were buried in a unmarked grave. A grave that he shares with two others.

Evidently, I wasn't the only one who felt this way.

Self-professed "Death Hags," (a term coined for those who get into visiting cemeteries, gazing at dead bodies, and reading about both), rallied together on this forum and started chatting about Schlitzie and the fact there was no headstone set in rememberance.

"There are no family members to give permission," one person suggested. But that didn't stop them. So what did they do? Someone started making phone calls and checking around.

A member named "Colicky" found out that since it was a pauper's grave, someone could in fact reimburse the county for the burial and assume responsibility for Schlitzie's grave.

The problem, which didn't turn out to be such a problem, was coming up with the money. For $378.37, a headstone could be placed on his grave. A paypal account was set up, and the donations came in, even with some extra to purchase some flowers for the marker.

I checked the thread frequently, noting the account balance and how much more money was needed to meet the goal. The members celebrated via a message boards, congratulating each other, and taking pride in the good deed that was done. In a month or so, the stone remembering him will be set.

There are definitely some people who don't take "can't" as the ultimate truth. There are some people like myself when told, "You can't do that," will take it as a personal challenge, a throwing down of the gauntlet, if you will. Though, the self-inflicted "can'ts" are the worse, I think. When you convince yourself that you can't do something. Perhaps the "can't" is rooted in fear. Fear of stepping outside one's comfort zone. Fear of failure, too.

I'm not saying there aren't instances where something can't be accomplished. But, as illustrated by the quest to get Schlitzie a headstone, sometimes it doesn't hurt to try.

You just never know what you can do and accomplish.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Can't Dance and Stay Uptight

My writer friend Kristen asked me today, "What do you do for exercise?"

I'd emailed her sharing that I'd been feeling a bit on the depressed side as of lately. Actually, to say I have felt down would be misleading as I've felt downright miserable with everything in general. I lamented that maybe exercise would pull me out of my funk.

If someone asked me, "What's wrong?" about the only honest answer I could give them was, "Everything."

I don't need someone else to kick me when I'm down. I do a grand job of kicking myself. Following my no smoking campaign, and no diet soda, I couldn't see things getting much worse.

I suppose I could have remained in a proverbial heap on the floor, hoping some kind and gentle soul would come along, pick me up, dust me off, and set me on my own two feet. But quite frankly, I don't know of one individual who is equipped to deal with me when I'm in a mood, much less coax me back to reality. Some do try, but until I decide I'm done hosting my pity party, it's futile. (I do appreciate those who care, but one must do battle with her own demons.)

Monday, when I got the kids off to school, I put on some music. I didn't have too many opportunities this summer to crank some tunes and enjoy. It's unfortunate because I'm highly motivated and moved by music. It's like therapy to me. No, it's not like therapy. It is therapy to me.

Dion seranaded me from the living room as I did dishes:

"Oh, I'm the type of guy who likes to roam around. I'm never in one place. I roam from town to town..."

As he did, something funny happened. I felt like dancing. By the time Jerry Lee Lewis was suggesting I "shake it, baby shake it," I was wholeheartedly. Before I knew it, I dragged out my dumbbells and my aerobic step. One hour passed. I was left winded, sweaty, and exhilirated.

I explained to Kristen that I have my own work-out program. I dance, incorporating moves I've learned from all those videos in a previous post. I've got doing dishes and folding laundry while dancing down to a science. The dog and cats, after being kicked and stepped on inadvertently, have learned to keep their distance.

I really challenge anyone to listen to any of the following songs and not want to dance (a sampling of today's selection):

Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites
Wild Thing - Tone Loc
Get Down on It - Kool & the Gang
Crazy Bitch - Buck Cherry
Hey Ya - Outkast
Walkin' on the Sun - Smash Mouth
Love Her Madly - The Doors
Brandy - Looking Glass
Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest

I know some people find it very bizarre that I'll dance around the house when I'm alone. I certainly wouldn't do it with an audience, and I guess that I'm lucky I have the time alone to indulge.

Today, as I listened to "Crazy Bitch," I took down my hair and flipped it around as I danced. You know, like a rocker chick might do in a heavy metal video. It was likely the most insane thing I've ever done in the privacy of my own home, but strangely liberating. (As the evening progresses, perhaps a little hard on the ole neck, too.)

"You can't dance and stay uptight," is a line from "Dancing in the Moonlight." It's so very true. While I might benefit from hitting the gym or following a more ridgid routine, nothing makes me feel better than doing the twist or a little cha-cha'ing to get the blood flowing.

History of a Fat Girl

This is Joannie Greggains. She had a show called "Morning Stretch" back in the 80s. If you'll notice, this is a work-out LP, and I happened to own a copy of it. Though the information I can find says that it was released in '83, I think it was the summer after sixth grade when I acquired it. I know I wasn't very old.

My friend's mom had a copy, as well. We'd put on the record, being careful not to jump too closely to the stereo and make the needle jump, while we listened to her instructions and tried to follow along in the booklet to see what move we should be doing next.

One particular memory is of "picking daisies." A move done while standing, with one's legs spread-eagle. Then with great momentum, you move your arms from above your head to some point between your legs and well behind them. I adequately jammed the ever-lovin' heck out of my middle finger doing this.

I suppose one might question why a 12ish year old would own a copy of "Aerobic Shape Up." The answer is quite simple - I was the fat kid. Okay, so I wasn't obese, but I was chubby. I knew this, and at the age of 12, I felt great pressure to try to "slim down."

But before old Joanie came along, and by old, I thought she looked damn near ancient in the early 80s, there was this guy.

Say hi to Richard. He had a show on television back in the day. During summer vacation, I watched it religiously. It ran from 1980-1984. Richard loved me, and he wanted me to drop those pounds. He got so emotional over fat women, that he'd sit around and cry with them. If I recall correctly, he devoted a whole ten minutes of his show to exercising. Of course, it never occured to me that I probably needed more than ten minutes a day. The weight never came off no matter how often I tuned in.

I struggled with my weight throughout my high school days, though I was never bigger than a size 13. But there's a lot more to that story than warrants being told, so I won't digress. We'll just say once I got out on my own, I had control over what food I put into my body, and being allowed to exercise. (Yes, I had a step-mom who banned exercising in the house.)

I had various work-out cassette tapes at this point. I started riding my bike. I even started making my own work-out routines based one what I'd absorbed from other sources.

This is the first VHS work-out I ever owned. "Shape up, it's fun and easy. Shape up, you'll like what you see. Shape up! And here's Mary Hart...."

Then I graduated to Jazzercise with Judy Shepherd.

Bless Denise Austin's heart for motivating me after I gave birth to our oldest son. I'd record her 30 minute work-outs, and do three of them a day. Annoying, yes, but it worked.

Along came "Buns of Steel" with Tamilee Webb after I birthed child number two. I managed to work off the 50 plus pounds of baby weight between this workout and my exercise bike.

This guy romanced me briefly when I got caught up in the TaeBo craze. Effective work-outs, I must say, but when my VCR bit the dust, I never replaced it. No more Billy and feeling that burn.

I did actually replace some of "The Firm" workouts with DVDs. They say you can see a difference in just ten workouts, and I'd agree with that, however sadistic the routines are.

I've sweated to every oldie that Richard Simmons has put out. I find them the most helpful when I'm getting back into the work-out groove. I figure if those people on the screen can dance and sweat, so can I. Some might not care much for Richard, but his workouts are fun. I love the music. I love to dance.

Doing the math, I've struggled with weight issues for a good 26 years. I suspect I always will. At least technology has granted me the luxury of putting in a DVD. That's a far cry from those days of being afraid I'd scratch my record while doing jumping jacks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School

So, I got these children back to school on Monday, and as usual, it remains a bittersweet experience for me. Sure, they drive me this side of insane on a good day. I haven't had much time alone this summer. It's always an adjustment to go several hours without speaking to another human being. Not that I'm complaining because honestly, I do love solitude. Besides, my husband seems to be calling me every ten minutes or so.

But, this year is a bit different. Seems like just the other day I was ushering my oldest boy out the door to get on the bus as a kindergarten. Yesterday morning, I stood on the porch, wished him a good day, told him to be careful, and that I loved him. Instead of wearing a backpack bigger than him and climbing those steps on the bus, he hopped into his truck to start his senior year of high school.

The youngest boy climbed in the truck beside his older brother to venture off as a freshman in high school. My baby is a freshman. I don't know how it's possible. Aren't people who have kids old enough to be freshmen and seniors in high school like our parents age or something? Goodness.

"I'm proud of you boys," I told them as they left this morning.

"Oh, gawd, get in the truck. Hurry up. She's going to start bawling and telling child birth stories if we don't get out of here," the oldest said.

In all actuality, I'm proud of myself that I choked back the tears and realized kids grow up as they are all prone to do. And that growing up is at breakneck speeds. Open your eyes and they are wee little babies. Close them, open them again, and they grown into young men who will be making decisions on what to do with the rest of their lives.

Of course, it was a fleeting, emotional moment that lasted about long enough for me to move the coffee table out of the range of the ceiling fan before I danced on it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gazing at the Lizard King

I've found myself in the evenings not tired enough to sleep, and not bored enough to watch TV. While there are stacks of books here and there, there's nothing I feel like reading. This usually propels me to sit down at the computer and do some surfing.

I stopped back at Find A Death, only to realize they had a forum. After wading through posts about Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and John Belushi, I happened up Jim Morrison.

I'd always loved The Doors' music, but I'd never been compelled to read up on Morrison. Following one link to another, I was left with several thoughts. The first being it was absolutely amazing the writing he did in his short 27 years. I'd never realized he was so young when he died of an apparent drug overdose.

I also had no idea he was married in a "handfasting" ceremony. His story, however sad, was interesting. Then I started clicking on images because despite the fact he's been dead many, many years, he's quite pleasant to look at. I always felt as though I'd been born in the wrong decade, and the 60s would have been so much better than the 80s.

I came across these photos of him:

They proved to be quite "revealing." Giggling as I did it, I had to forward them along to FlipFlopMomma with a note confessing I saw the pics one night, and went back to find them again. I knew even if I couldn't quite formulate the words, she'd know just what I was driving at.

And, I was pretty sure that she would notice what I was noticing because she once did a blog post about "crotch gazing." She learned in those "growing up, congrats you've got your period" talks in elementary school that it was never nice to stare at a boy's crotch. You didn't want to make them feel bad that they were having changes going on with their bodies, as well.

Her response went like this, "His lady was a lucky woman. I can't stop looking at the crotch. I've got to go back and look some more."

I never got the lesson that she did about what you should or shouldn't look at. And, I've got to say, my eyes don't necessarily gravitate to that general area unless it's something so obvious such as these Morrison pics.

I've had several conversations with friends over the male parts and finer workings thereof. (So yes, if a woman says she never talks or thinks about such things, she's lying.) We've tried to figure out how it's something they can be so aware of, and then again, be so oblivious to.

One time, one of my friends carted her boyfriend off to the drug store. He was wearing those pajama bottom type of pants and going commando. She looked over just in time to see his pride and joy poking out, flapping in the wind. When she questioned him how he didn't know it, he said he had no clue. We really did assume that he would have noted a temperature change at the very least.

I've had to point out to my husband a time or two that he had a hole in his shorts and I could see the boys. When questioned, he totally denied that he knew anything about the hole and "how the hell was he supposed to know?" I was, of course, accused of checking out the merchandise and having a dirty mind always thinking about sex, but how couldn't I notice?

I can't draw any great conclusions about these photos of Jim Morrison, and whether he knew at the time he was going to get the desired reaction out of a couple chicks 37 years after his death. The one thing I do know is that Flip Flop Momma and I both have a sneaking suspicion why he called himself "The Lizard King."

Chantix and In Other News....

I mentioned in previous post that I'm taking Chantix.

A few other things I'm noticing is that it makes things taste bad, which I don't suppose is a bad thing. I've not really been hungry, and even something like a piece of cinammon gum just doesn't taste right. Now, I don't know if this is because my tastebuds are healing, but I don't recall going through the same thing in the past when I decided to quit smoking. I've been a little nauseous, too, which is a possible side effect.

The bizarre dreams, though, boy. I'll tell you, I've never dreamed the way I have this past week. It would be great if I didn't wake up feeling like I'd spent the entire night having deep, meaningful conversations instead of sleeping.

A few have been on the scary side. Take last night, for example.

Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf was driving a UPS truck and ran over my dog.
Yes, that Witchiepoo. She scared the holy hell out of me as a child. In fact, my mom had to place a ban on the show because she got tired of digging me out of the toybox or the hall closet when I got scared.

Witchiepoo got in my head and for whatever reason, my subconscious decided she needed to drive a UPS truck and take out my dog. Disturbing, really.

In other news, I've tried to run away from home twice unsuccessfully. The first day, I'd had my fill and thought I'd go for a drive. My mistake was once sneaking out of the house, I decided to get the mail at the post office first.

About that time, my youngest son saw me, and hopped into the car. We ended up going to get milk.

Again today, I tried to slip out to go to the grocery...alone. And again, I was caught and the youngest child again insisted he go. I really, really wanted to hear myself think, even if I had to do some grocery shopping to accomplish this. I didn't want a sidekick. I wanted to be alone. I don't mind saying this annoyed me, and it was probably apparent in the parking lot of the grocery store.

I was out in this bigger expanse of the parking lot when I notice this Taurus was heading directly my way at quite a clip. I was where I needed to be, but ole grandma must not have been paying attention or her eyesight was failing her horribly.

I stopped, and in that moment I felt like I was channeling Kathy Bates' character in "Fried Green Tomatoes," in some sense. I really didn't think she'd hit me, but then I started doubting myself because this old broad didn't seem to notice.

And when she did realize she was dangerously close to hitting my car, she swerved and smiled. Yes, she smiled.

"Oh, a smile is going to make that all better. Almost hit me and smile. Just smile. Opps, almost had a wreck, but I'll smile to show how sorry I am. A big smile makes everything all better," I rambled to myself.

"Just pay no direct attention to where you're driving or what you're doing, but be sure to smile big," I continued.

My son then said, "Uh, mom, you're weird. I'm not going with you the next time."

"Promise?" I asked.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Totally Awesome and Famous

This is "La's Totally Awesome Famous Multi-Surface Degreaser & Spot Remover, Lavender." If that's not a mouthful. I call it "that purple stuff." (Pardon the picture quality. It would have been too simple to find a photo of it online.)

Anyone but me notice how someone got font happy in the design of this label? The rainbow and flowers are a nice touch. Anyone notice that they are pansies and not lavender? Hmm.

I bought it at "Dollar General," where I'm prone to shop for cleaning products. It can be an interesting store to peruse. I don't know exactly how they recruit their workers, and I'm not trying to be flippant or rude when I say I think they come from Bi-County Services that caters to those who are lacking a little special something in the ole upstairs.

One guy who works there wears two pairs of prescription glasses. Yes, two pairs. I told my friend's daughter about it when we were discussing how scary the place can be.

"No, he really does," I told her.

"Nu uh, no way," she told me. A few days later, I got a text from her saying I was right. She'd asked her mom to take her to check it out.

This guy also appears like he could use a good scrub down with some degreaser. He's nice enough, but I automatically hold my breath at the check-out, trying not to breathe through my nose if I must inhale. I'm not taking any chances. You know, sometimes you can almost see the funky stench vapors like Pig Pen from "Peanuts" had emitting from his character.

When you're well-versed in prices, "Dollar General" can be a great place to shop. But one must be careful. Sometimes, bargains are not bargains. Take laundry detergent, for example. Not really the best buy you can get.

Anyway, this "La's Totally Awesome Famous Multi-Surface Degreaser & Spot Remover, Lavender" was marked "new" and "on sale" for $1. I do love the scent of lavender, and with two boy children and a husband, something is always needing a good degreasing around here. I bought it.

Now, I don't normally read the instructions on anything. I sort of figure if I don't have this "point, spray, scrub, rinse" thing down to a science by now, there's little hope for me. I know it's generally a good idea to use most products in a well-ventilated area. It's never a grand idea to spray yourself in the eye, mouth, or any other places that could cause unpleasant tingling sensations. That's really all you need to know besides it's not advised to drink the product.

It did a nice job of removing soap scum and hard water stains without an exorbinant amount of scrubbing. Not too much of a lavender scent, however, which was slightly disappointing. I guess you can't have it all for a $1.

Seeing as how the entire bottle was quite interesting, I did glance at the back of the bottle, mainly looking for typos. Of course, this was after I'd used half of on the shower walls.


Whew, what a relief to know that it won't harm your pet alligator or llama.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Story About the Boy

A story about the boy I wanted to marry....(second edition)

My friend, Shane, and I, decided to go to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was probably late 87 because I'm pretty sure I was still staying with my mom before I got my own apt. I recall this because she commented on my attire before I left to go to Shane's house.

Me and my big 80s hair, complete with the dark red mousse I used on my bangs at the time, oh, was it so cool. I was wearing a grey sleeveless dress, a black slouch belt that was alligator skin-like, and a black oversized cardigan sweater, of course with the sleeves scrunched up to my elbows. Such a get-up would not be complete without 3" pointy toed spike pumps.

But the shoes weren't the finishing touch on the outfit. Oh no. That would be the black hose with the seams up the back. The hose were what drew the less than approving attention of my mother. Even Shane's mom did one of those motherly sighs when he told her to come look. "You look like a street walker," she told me, knowing full-well that he and I would take it as a compliment.

I must say we looked good. He was dressed stylishly, as usual, with a blazer, pleated pants, a thin leather tie, and deck shoes. Shane probably was hands down one of the best looking men I've ever personally known.

We got into his little two-seater sports car, the kind of car is escaping me right now. A Datsun 240Z, perhaps. Off to Ft. Wayne we went. Because we were so terribly cool, we listened to Elvis Costello on the way there.

We walked in, and the hostess asked how many. We said 2. It probably looked like a date, which was fine with me, even though it wasn't. He was my best friend at the time, and it was strictly platonic.

"Would the bar be all right with you?" she asked us.

He shot me a look as if to say, "Don't screw this up with your good girl bullshit." He often suggested that I not be such a pussy.

So into the bar we went. "I'll be right back to take your drink orders," the waitress told us after flinging a couple menus in front of us.

"So you want to try it?" he asked me. It was more that he was telling me that we were going to order drinks, and that I could deal with it.

Every fiber of my being was screaming, "Oh hell, we're going to go to jail. We are going to get in trouble. My parents will find out. No good is going to come out of ordering margaritas."

We were, after all, 18 and 19 at the time.

Like a pro, he ordered a huge pitcher of margaritas. And we drank it. While my experience with alcohol at the time was fairly limited, including puking on a dog named Ralph at my graduation party, I never once thought to question the fact that one could get a little bit buzzed from a half a pitcher of margaritas.

We pulled it off without a hitch. No one asked to see our I.D., and I suppose since we were seated in the bar, no one thought twice.

We were probably a mile down the road from leaving the restaurant when he informed me that he was buzzed. My freak out over that was small considering my lips were numb and my face was starting to slide off my head. We made it back to his house in one piece, and I stuck around waiting for my lips to return to normal.

But didn't we do that more than once, was the next question I posed to myself.

Yes, we certainly did. Flashback to an evening in the winter not long after that. I know it was cold because Shane was wearing a trenchcoat. This time, Sandy drove. We went to the same restaurant, he and I sharing the pitcher of margaritas, and Sandy passing on doing anything illegal.

It's the ride home that I recall the most. I was sitting in the front seat, and Shane kept putting his feet on the console in the Dodge Omni, and on me. It was getting annoyed because he was getting dirt on my Salvation Army coat very similiar to his trenchcoat. It was an army green color with a paisley lining. I thought I'd hit paydirt when I found that coat for $5. I smacked him a few times, but it didn't stop him. It only encouraged him.

I then proceeded to try to tie his shoestrings together. My manual dexterity was lacking a wee bit due to the margaritas, and he caught me. I reached back and grabbed the scarf he was wearing...another hot 80s fashion accessory.

I don't know how it happened exactly, but I was pulled into the backseat. The scene in my head plays out much like something from a horror movie where someone is suddenly sucked into some sort of vortex. I was in the front seat, and suddenly, there I was in the back with him.
I had him by the scarf. He had me by the hair. And we proceeded to fight. It wasn't so unusual for he and I to get a little physical in that aspect. We'd fought before, but it was typically in a playful sort of way. (I guess unless alcohol was involved, but there's another story there about me ending up falling into a bathtub.)

We rolled around the backseat, the Omni swerving on the road with our movements, and I imagine it looked a bit like a cartoon fight. A bunch of dust flying with arms and legs protruding from the cloud every so often. At least from Sandy's prospective in the front seat.
It ended fast when I screamed out some obscenity and held my nose.

"You broke my nose," I told him.

Again, his response was something to the effect of to stop being such a baby or a pussy. I pulled my hand away from face, and blood streamed down my face, and all over the coat I was trying to protect from his dirty shoes in the first place.

I was livid. I wiped my hand on his trenchcoat, muttering some more obscenties, while from the front seat Sandy ranted about never taking us anywhere again.

And being prepared, and probably the only time in his life, he reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out paper towel from the bathroom at Bandido's. I've no clue what prompted him to take a stack, but likely it had something to do with cleaning his car.

The rest of the way home, I pinched my nose in effort to stop the bleeding. Every once in a while, he asked to take a peek at my swollen nose, and tell me whether or not it was still bleeding. The only other exchange consisted of me calling him something that sounded like "athhole" through my wad of paper towel, and him returning the love by calling me a bitch, and us smacking each other.

Boys I Want to Marry - Second Edition

Welcome to another edition of "Boys I Want to Marry."

This is Shane. The one on the right was his senior picture. The one on the left was taken in '87 with his little sister.

Shane came into my life during my junior year of high school. I signed up to take "Pub." Pub was Journalism, or more aptly, the school newspaper. We also had Algebra II together.

Going to a small high school, I knew who he was even though he was a grade ahead of me, but I didn't know too much about him. It wasn't long into the school year that Shane and I became friends. In even less time, I got the warm-tinglies for him.

My gawd, he was cute. I loved the mole by his mouth. And did he ever smell good wearing Grey Flannel. He had a sense of style that I admired. We started shopping together at Salvation Army and Good Will, and he helped me pick out my first trench coat. Hey, it was the 80s, and if scrounging in second-hand stores was good enough for Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink," it was good enough for us. We'd dress to the hilt to go have dinner together, him helping me be sure the seam on my hose was straight and my wide belt positioned just so on my outfit.

Shane was my Ducky.

He introduced me to all sorts of music. Elvis Costello, Billie Holiday, Jim Croce, and The Cure. He gave me books of poetry, and gave me poems to read by Dorothy Parker, Anne Sexton, and Marge Piercy. He wrote his own poetry that he shared with me, too. He was deep, brooding, mysterious. He loved Marilyn Monroe; I loved James Dean.

More importantly, he taught me about showing affection. I didn't come from a touchy-feely, show your love through a hug, sort of family. In fact, the first time Shane hugged me, I froze. He asked if he made me uncomfortable, I fumbled with my words, and he said, "Oh, my little Kelly Girl," and hugged me again. You better believe the first time he kissed me on the cheek when he hugged me that I melted right there in his mom's kitchen.

Shane was a vegetarian. When I decided to give up meat as well, because you know the lengths a girl will go to for the sake of a boy's attention, he introduced me to pizza with only veggies on it. He and I shared many a sandwich made from cheese, pickles, and condiments.

When he graduated high school, he moved away to CA to live with his dad. We kept in touch via letters and phone calls. The letters I still have to this day full of intellect, poetry, and smartass remarks. Because if nothing else, he was indeed one of the most sarcastic, and witty, people I've ever known.

We had our falling outs, here and there. By the time I dropped out of college and moved back home, he was on his way back to the college where I'd left. You see, I thought he and I were going to be at school together, but his plans changed.

I truly loved him with everything I had. It wasn't a "boy-girl" love, but a very psychologically comforting sort of love. He was one of the best friends that I ever had, even though our interaction at times left one wonder what we saw in each other. When we fought, it was bitter, hurtful, and passionate. all at the same time.

He invited me once to visit him at college. I'd planned to drive down early on a Sat. morning. We spoke on the phone to discuss the details when he said, "I hope you don't mind, but you'll have to sleep with me, but I won't sleep naked like I usually do."

I don't know what it was about his statement that scared me so much. I was 20ish, and had shared a bed with a friend in the past, and knew it didn't necessarily mean that something sexual would transpire. It scared me, however, and I didn't end up going to see him, which I think he held a grudge about for a very long time.

I visited him after I got married and was pregnant. He looked at me and said, "Gawd Kel, you look so married." It wasn't exactly a comment to be flinging around to a hormonal pregnant chick. He told me to call him the next day, and I could come over to spend some time, but I never did.

Anyway, it's been years since I've seen him or even talked to him. At least ten. I talk to his mom on occasion. I used to call him occasionally and leave a message. But when it became apparent that he didn't want to hear from me, I stopped.

There are people who come into your life and they leave a mark that lasts a lifetime. I guess, sometimes, though we get lost in the revolving doors of life. I think of Shane often. I miss him even though it's been 19 years since we were close. I still don't eat red meat. I know I'm in a rut if I start looking really "married." I can't hear Elvis Costello or read any poetry without thinking of this boy I wanted to marry. I carry a part of him in my soul.

Here's a poem he wrote, sitting in my living room when I had my own apartment. "Give me a piece of paper," he told me. This is what he wrote:

A Love Poem

My love for you

is a starving man

Lifting silver spoonfuls

of poison

to bleeding lips

Billie Holiday moans quietly

"Good morning heartache..."

She knows this cold companion

as I do

And that bones

Thin and clean

Never meant to carry

the weight

of a starving man,


SSK, 10:10 p.m., 5/11/99

Note: "Boys I Want to Marry" is not to be taken in a literal sense. If your first thought is, "Oh my gawd, she's married and she's making blog entries about other boys she wants to marry, why I never!" you shouldn't be reading my blog in the first place. It was merely how I expressed myself as a young girl. When I was seven years old and watched Rick Dees perform "Disco Duck" on TV, I announced to my grandma that I wanted to marry him. Because of course, I was young, and when you loved someone, it was in my estimation that the logical thing to do was marry him. My immature mind and vocabulary limited my ability to express triggered emotions. Perhaps they still do.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Gorilla on my Back

I tend to have an addictive personality. I'm not proud of it, but that's the way it is. I suppose it's better to know and acknowledge than totally deny and overlook.

I'm a smoker. I have been on and off since I was about 20. I stopped when I was pregnant, not starting up again until both kids were older. I've quit on other occasions, sometimes for up to three years.

The first cigarette I ever smoked, I was 18. I sneaked one of my mom's after I graduated high school one day when I was at her house alone. I hid in the basement and lit up. My first thought was, "What's the funny smell and flash of light I saw before my eyes?"

The answer - that was my bangs that I'd just singed. It wasn't such a great experience. I took a few puffs, not even realizing how to inhale. I didn't see the appeal, and being so afraid of getting caught, I extinguished and hid the evidence.

For some reason, it didn't matter to me that I was 18 and I wasn't breaking the law. In fact, in my lifetime, it was legal for someone of any age to purchase a pack of cigarettes. It wasn't but a thing for someone's mom to send them to the store and get her a pack of Virginia Slims.

I tried it, luckily didn't set myself totally ablaze, and I couldn't say I liked anything about smoking. That was until someone introduced me to a Salem Slim Light. I didn't know menthol existed up until that point. I didn't know the difference. I didn't care to find out. But, I was the quintessential "good girl."

As most will tell you, quitting is the easy part. It's not starting again that is the killer.

It only takes me a few days of no smoking to fully appreciate what a nasty habit it is. Within two days, my sense of smell returned to the point the dog nauseated me and had to be bathed. My husband is a smoker, and I don't ever see that changing. The smell of his cigarette doesn't make me want one. The scent of the ashtray permeates my nostrils and gags me.

Physically, once I make it past that three day mark, I'm pretty sure I'm passed that part of the addiction. My body is no longer going through withdrawl from nicotine. It's the mental, and I'll go as far to say, the emotional part of the addiction that gets me.

We're all pretty much creatures of habit. Smoking was a habit.

When I sit at the keyboard to write, I'd have a smoke when I finished what I was working on. If I were doing some housework, and decided to take a break while the floor dried, I'd have a smoke. I'm not totally sure my car would actually run properly while driving alone if I didn't smoke at the same time. When I get done eating, I think hmm, a cigarette would make a fine dessert. A cup of coffee and a menthol cigarette, well, it doesn't get much better than that.

So, as you might have caught the drift, I decided once again that it's time to quit. It's only rational that I'd throw something else on my plate since I'm battling with some weight gain. I also decided to cut diet soda out of my daily routine due to the fact that artifical sweetener can contribute to one's appetite and bloating. Naturally, I'm going to test myself to my limits and add no smoking, too.

I'm not exactly quitting because I fear for my health. I wish I could say that motivates me, but that's only a small part of it. A lot of it is financial with the rising cost of gas, I don't even want to know how much it'll cost to heat the house this winter. I'm trying to cut corners wherever possible, and it seems like smoking is less important than say cable internet.

I have a feeling there's something that definitely separates a smoker from a non-smoker. What makes me want to smoke is the mental part of it. Even if my brain isn't calling for the nicotine fix, my hands and mouth want to welcome a cigarette. To me, it was an enjoyable experience.

I've never been the type of smoker who MUST.HAVE.A.CIGARETTE.NOW. I never excused myself from a non-smoking facility to go smoke outside. Even when I worked, I only smoked in the evening at home. I think it's fair to say that I've definitely had a mental/emotional addiction to smoking.

Non-smokers will never get it. There's a lot more to just lighting a cigarette and smoking it. Since I've stopped, I feel as though I've buried my best friend, as pathetic and illogical that sounds. It gave me something to do with my mouth and hands for all these years. Albeit they don't call them cancer sticks for nothing, cigarettes were at my side for a lot of pivotal moments in my adulthood.

So, I'm taking Chantix that I got back in the fall, but didn't follow through with. Because, honestly, it wasn't the time. The few days I did take it, the Chantix gave me some freaky dreams. Not freaky as in most will say weird, vivid, and lucid. But freaky more in a nightmarish, off-the-charts sort of way.

One night, so far, I dreamed that I was wearing footie pajamas in the back yard of my youth. Ted Danson and most of the cast of "Cheers" were having a cook-out.

Last night, I dreamed that my friend and I were chosen to be on Flavor Flav's new show. At first, I was totally appalled because there was no way I was going to be on a dating show because I was married, and secondly, I had no desire to date Flavor Flav. It turned out that it was a stand-up comedy reality show, and the only thing my friend and I had to do was sit in the audience and watch. I was relieved. So far, no nightmares like the last time, though dreaming of Flavor Flav does come frightening close.

Anyway, I sure do miss it, and I'm trying to be an adult and make a wise choice. Technically with the Chantix, I should continue smoking for a week, but I haven't. It's not that I don't want to, but I'm trying to be bigger and stronger than this monkey the size of a gorilla that I've carried on my back for so long.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meeting Up with the Future

I had to run to the bank this morning for the youngest child to get his paycheck cashed. Since I was in the downtown area of the boomin' metropolis that is my hometown, I decided to stop into the herb shop.

I walked in, and the woman asked, "Can I help you?"

"I hope so," I sighed. "Since they banned ephedra, I've gained more weight than I'm willing to admit."

She gave me a look of compassion. Her eyes said to me, "Oh, honey, I know."

"Show me what you've got because I'm getting desperate," I told her.

Now, I know nothing beats healthy eating, exercise, and weight training. It's a double-edged sword of great size and portion. And speaking of great size, so is my ass. My once svelte physique has grown soft, lumpy, and downright middle-agish.

Okay, by svelte, I mean my once "built-like-a-chubby-12-year-old-boy" form has transformed into a "built-like-a-chubby-12-year-old-boy-with-Gynecomastia."

I don't suppose I should complain that I've got more boobs than I've had in a very, very long time. The problem is baby's got more back than she's had in a long time, too.

The lady at the herb store showed me a few things, which probably would have added up to about $300.54. Then she brought out a packaged two-week supply of the same ingredients. In years past, I bought the pre-packaged herbs, then containing ephedra, and I had great success with it.

That double-edged sword I mentioned is this - when you need to drop a few pounds, chances are you feel so much like a slug, you really have trouble getting back into it. When I'd take ephedra for a couple weeks, my energy returned. I'd notice inches dropping, and this would motivate me to get out the work-out DVDs and weights.

I didn't rely on ephedra to maintain my weight. But it did help give me the boost of energy I needed. If a couple pounds started sneaking up on me, I'd take it for a few weeks, and I'd get a handle on opposed to getting the lovehandles that I'm soon to be sporting any week now at the rate I'm going.

But as it usually goes, some asshats have to ruin something good for everyone else by abusing it. I somehow suspect that crystal meth was being made out of it as opposed to the actual worry that the dumbasses who were abusing it were dying from it.

So we'll see what happens.

Also, when I was out and about, I stopped by the grocery. I saw my future, and it made me smile a little.

This old woman, and by old, I mean she had to have been 80 at the minimum exited the check out lane and headed for the doors.

"If that bitch was any slower, she would have been going backwards," she proclaimed to the others she was with.

"I could have got behind that register and scanned my shit quicker than that slow ass. I guess they don't hire nothing but damn retards at this store."

What proved the point even further that this will be me in 40 years or so was her long, white ponytail.

I suspect by the time I'm 80, my hair will finally be that long. Because heaven knows, anytime my hair starts to get a decent, shoulder-length, I go do something stupid to it the inevitably fries it to the root.

And there was the white thing. I assume by the time that I'm that old, I will have given up on Miss Clariol.

If the woman hadn't been thinner than a rail, I might have actually thought I time travelled and witnessed my future self as an old broad.