Friday, March 31, 2006

Here Come Da' Suds!

No, NOT beer. The lovely soapy goodness. As mentioned in this post, a world away and a lifetime ago, the grab-boxes are being made up. Here's the deal, as established before (and at which I am now looking, and thinking, "WHAT were you thinking, woman?"):

What we normally sell at $5/bar will be approximately half that, with a flat shipping fee of $5 per package (even to Canada--I'm just that full of love!) You have the choice of:

Package A: At least 5-6 assorted bars, $20 plus $5 shipping. Click button BELOW for this package, even if it is WAY below:

Package B: At least 9-10 assorted bars, $30 plus $5 shipping. Click button BELOW for this package, even if it is WAY below:

Package C: At least 18-20 assorted bars, $40 plus $5 shipping. Click button BELOW for this package, even if it is WAY below:

Package A saves you $10, Package B saves you $20, and Package C saves you $60!!

UPDATE: If you don't do PayPal, feel free to email me and I'll let you know where to send a check or money order. ninjapoodles at gmail dot com.

How can I do it? No packaging or fussy labels for individual bars, for one thing. Heck, I don't even have a printer hooked up right now. And I won't be having to fill orders, but just packing random soaps willy-nilly into boxes and shipping! Bars will be wrapped in tissue paper, with one label for the whole lot. Also, do you know how HEAVY a box of soap is, and what a pain it will be to move it all?

Anyway, there it all is, your PayPal buttons for each package size, just click and go! If you'd rather send a check, just drop me an email and let me know.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ch-Ch-Check It Out!

Just made 4 new designs for T-Shirts or other apparrel...go to* and select any of the designs, and you'll get a drop-down menu that lets you customize your selection further, if you like.

Back To Life; Back To Reality

Back to the here and now, and my job, and the whole world. This week has been the "slide gradually back into the big wide world" week for me, and as an extension, Bella. Lots of things have happened in our absence: Surveillance cameras have gone up over intersections in our town. New restaurants have opened. Bella's preschool has totally changed hands, and now she is one of only three children there! The new staff seems to be enjoying her, though. She's gone there for a little while each day this week, working toward her regular 4-hour day, which will pretty much be art/drama, lunch, story, and nap. I told them she was a natural for the drama, and she made me as good as my word today when they tried to get her to take a nap and in the course of her many arguments against this idea, she threw up her hands and said, "This cannot be happening." That's my girl.

My mom took me to lunch today, and I remarked that there was yet another restaurant behind the one we were at, that I had no idea had even been built, much less opened for business. She said, "Well, you've been holed up for about a year and a half." Ouch. That sounds crazy, no? I just said, "Yeah, well, so far I'm not that impressed by you Outside-Worlders." At the end of my time I'm dying to get home, but I haven't had any problems being "out," so to speak. So far, so good. Except that it's "that time" again, which means not only that I'm not pregnant AGAIN, but am in a tremendous amount of pain. Lovely husband is cooking and doing his best not to just royally aggravate me. I think he's just keeping his toes clear of the beartrap, which is highly advisable for the next couple of days.

He's been walking a thin line, though...earlier, when he was trying to compliment me as a "woman of beauty, quality, and substance," I asked, "Just how do you define 'substance'?" And he replied, as I just knew he would, "Baby, you're a substantial woman." Arrgh. This is the same man who is threatening me over and over with things he is going to say loudly and in his worst Southern/hillbilly accent when we are at BlogHer this summer, among people with whom I'd like to leave a good impression. One that he says he's going to raise his hand at a panel discussion and ask is, "Y'all got any a' them little weiners t'eat up in here?" Yeah. Like that. My favorite, though, so far, is his plan to draw a crowd in the hotel lobby and then to loudly declare, "Our room can't be up that high--the stairs bother my rheumatiz, and I'm a mite skeered 'a that there UPPITY-BOX." Thank you, Simpsons and Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel for adding a new term for "elevator" to my husband's vocabulary. I will be so proud.

As discussed a good two months ago--and you all know how great I am at doing things PROMPTLY--I will be packing up soap grab-boxes this weekend. Watch this space for details tomorrow, and help me get them outta here so I can make more! Fresh stuff! Caffeinated coffee-scented soap! Tons more castile soap! Ahhhhh...soaping.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bal--Er, Gutsy

He may be brave, but he's not stupid...else he'd be facing the other way. But still; that takes some, uh, cojones. Here's hoping he still has his.

KONG: Long. And SO Not For Kids

Yeah, we had the Big Monkey Movie Night (and don't start on me about how Kong was an ape. I know. But "monkey" is a waaaaay funnier word) last night.

I thought it would never, ever end. The first half was pretty good, and yes, the effects were great. But after about 80 minutes, I really began to get concerned, knowing how much of the story was remaining to be told. A long while after that, I asked Alex, "So, in this version, are they not GOING back to New York?" Really. This movie is long. I haven't even looked up how long, but it was well after midnight when it was finally over, and I know we put it on shortly after putting Bella to bed at something like 7:00...OK, I exxagerrate. But not by much.

I feel like Peter Jackson may have had some unfinished LOTR business or something. And I swear the heads of the giant bats (you heard me, giant bats) smacked of leftover orc costumes, too.

Again, good effects, and the performances were not poor (we couldn't love Jack Black more, but I'm thinking this role's camp/melodrama leanings suited him well), and they did a better job of "humanizing" the ape than has ever been done. That by itself was amazing. But I would not let a kid of mine see this until at least age 12, if that. Once they finally get to Skull Island, which takes a good 6 or 7 hours' screen time, the characters must face, and get attacked and usually horribly slaughtered by:

*The not-quite-human, Gollumesque natives--seriously, these are some scary "people."
*Dinosaurs, several varieties including T. Rex, raptors, something that looked like a mutant giant alligator, and The Dinosaur Formerly Known As Brontosaurus.
*Giant mosquitos (at the first appearance of these, Alex says, "Hey, did they film this in Arkansas?" Har, har.)
*Giant scorpions
*Giant centipedes
*Giant bats
*Kong himself (giant ape)
*Giant horrific leech monsters with double "Alien"-style telescoping mouths-within-mouths--THIS was where I just drew the line at kid-viewing, and I'd been plenty wary about it up to that point.
*Giant...wasps? Not sure on that one, but they fly up, grab your face, then sting you through the throat. Repeatedly. Nice.

The body count was stated, near the end of the movie (which occured about 14 hours after its beginning, by my estimate), to be 17. But if you'd asked us, we'd have put it closer to 40. Besides getting dispatched by the plentiful scary monsters, lots of people got maimed/killed as collateral damage, falling off cliffs, or getting slung into hard surfaces by various large scary beasts. Oh, but I forgot! Seventeen was the number given as dying in the party that went to Skull Island, but LOTS more people die after that in New York, too! Wheee! We have no idea HOW they got back after losing most of the crew, or how in the world they accomodated that enormous ape on that smallish ship, or how they kept him contained and sedated and cared for, but that's just nitpicking.

And speaking of nitpicking, a minor point that just annoyed me: Every animal on this island was GIGANTIC. Huge bugs, enormous bats, giant get the picture. So what I can't figure out is, how come the dinosaurs weren't just HUMONGOUS? They were standard dino-size, which of course made the T-Rex (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) of perfect Kong-fighting size. I guess the evolutionary quirk that made everything huge happened after the dinosaurs' era...but wait! The evolutionary chain is on its head! Apes came to be, while dinosaurs continued to be! What? Ah, well, just a movie. Just a movie. But still...the scene with the dinos caught in vines and swinging above the great Chasm O' Death and still trying to devour our heroine? Arrrgh.

So, I guess this one just didn't do it for me, though I'd watch it just for the Kong effects, which were pretty stunning, particularly his face. And Adrien Brody gets his smooch on in this one--way to go, A.B.! Worth watching? Sure. Would I be missing anything if I'd not seen it? Nah. Especially if I'd seen a "making of" special about it. Would I let a kid watch it in a million years? Nope, but that's just me. Hey, I was a precocious kid, but this thing would have given me the screaming nightmares; especially the giant alien leech-monsters. But then, I didn't grow up playing ultra-realistic video games and becoming accustomed to uber-realism in death and gore onscreen, so maybe today's kids aren't as phased. I dunno.

At the very least, I'd definitely recommend a parental screening prior to handing this one over to the kiddies. Language was mild, no nudity. But Oh! The Violence and Scariness!

And finally, you know you're not just swept up in the story when, as Kong swats an airplane out of the sky, you repeat one of your husband's favorite quotes, from a T.V. rodeo announcer calling a bullride in which the rider has just been thrown, trampled, and messily gored, "See, that right there's where y' gitcher death and serious injury." When I'm quoting Alex quoting television rodeo announcers during a movie, I'm probably not being sufficiently entertained.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Overheard In North Little Rock

At Haverty's Furniture store:

Man: "Oh, that's a really small town...does it even have enough people to count as a town?"

Woman: "Oh, gosh--there can't be more than a hundred people, including the animals."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up, Dog Hair, And 10-Second Movie Reviews

The movies:

Capote--Great film. Watch it. All thumbs raised over here. Should give P.S. Hoffman an extra Oscar. Suggest taking away William Hurt's ("History of Violence") for this purpose.

Derailed--AVOID. If required, RUN AWAY. Not even presence of hunky Clive Owen saves this one. Supposed to have "twists." Hint to moviemakers--you can't call them "twists" if we figure them all out in the first 10 minutes.

Dreamer--Recusing myself, as I AM a girl, and HAVE horses, and DID crush on Kurt Russell in my childhood, and DO currently crush on Oded Fehr, cannot possibly remain objective. Will say that equestrian innaccuracies were not quite severe enough to induce vomiting in horsemen/women.

Chicken Little--Deemed HIGH-larious by all ages in this household, and held Bella's attention all the way through. Toddler-rific, with enough laughs for the big kids.

On The Importance of Knowing Your Limitations:

On Saturday, I decided it was time to go ahead and put J.T.'s coat in oil--poodles have to grow such ridiculous amounts of hair that dramatic measures must be taken to grow and preserve as much of it as you can. And so began the laborious process of that first "putting down in oil" of the dog, which goes something like this:

*Mist the dog with conditioner, a bit at a time, and line-brush meticulously, using a fine-tooth comb to locate even the tiniest tangles, then picking them out by hand. Lose points for each hair that breaks off in this process.
*Bathe the dog with Orvus Paste, using care not to tangle hair in the process.
*Rinse the dog.
*Rinse the dog again.
*When you're certain all the soap is out of his hair, rinse the dog again, like you have OCD. At this point, if you've been keeping poodle show-coat for any amount of time, you probably do anyway.
*Squeeze all excess water out of the coat, using a towel if neccessary.
*Pour magic tangle-repelling mixture over the dog, paying special attention to the precious, precious hair of the topknot and neck. Make sure the elixir of disentanglement is worked all the way through the coat to the skin. Our particular "secret weapon" is 2 parts #1 All-Systems pure lanolin oil to 3 parts Coat Handler conditioner, diluted in a half-gallon of warm water.
*Squeeze excess moisture out of the coat.
*Towel-dry, by which I mean patting and squeezing, no rubbing. For the love of Pete's sake, no rubbing!
*Take the dog out to potty, if he can be trusted to keep clean for this short break.
*Have dog lie down on his side on the grooming table, and set your stand dryer in place.
*With stand-dryer going, line-brush the coat dry (or at least dry of water). For EVER. OK, not forever, it just seems that way.
*Take the dry but slightly oily dog and have him lie on the table in the pose of a library lion, with his precious little noggin resting on a neck-pillow, and separate his topknot-hair into sections with a knitting needle. You heard me. Straight parts matter. I don't know why, but they do. And the person who taught me didn't know why, either, but I now know that they do. Band the topnkot hair in sections, then connect the sections to each other in front to keep the topknot from flopping down into Little Lord Fauntleroy's eyes. TRY not to laugh directly at him afterward when he looks like this. Remind him that he will soon be a champion, and that this is what it takes. And also that when it's over, and that certificate comes, we will have a huge hair-shaving, dirt-rolling party.

OK, so you have an idea of the process. Here is where I tell you that during the entire confined-to-the-bathtub part of the process, Bella was at my elbow, like that little dog that used to annoy Spike the bulldog in those old WB cartoons. Talking, talking, talking, and asking the same questions over and over and over, most of which were some variation on "Can I help?" Just wait, child. You can help one day, all right, and help you will. At one point, I told her she could help when she was 5 years old. She stepped to the bathroom scale, weighed herself, and announced, "Mommy, I think I AM five!" Oy. Anyway, at my breaking point, and after having asked her in 1,001 different ways to please, for the sake of peanut-butter annwiches and Grandmommies, be quiet, she stopped. For long enough to briefly consider, take a breath, and then give me her decision: "I'm sorry, Mommy, but I just...can't." The period at the end of that sentence, I tell you, was audible.

(Oh, and the good news about the "oiling" of the coat is that from here on out, daily brushing is eliminated, and replaced with twice-monthly bathing and re-conditioning. Ahhhh.)

AND, reason number 2,011 that no one will ever question this child's paternity--the setting, fixing our hair in the bathroom post-bathing in the morning:


Mine and Bella's heads whip toward each other, and we lock wide-open eyes.

Me: "What was THAT?"

Bella: "What WAS that?"

Me: "I think someone stepped on a FROG."

Bella: (yelling gleefully) "I think I tooted!"

Me: (noticing my eyes starting to water and some paint peeling, then inhaling before I knew what I was doing) "GREAT JUMPIN' CATS, BELLA!"

Bella: "Heeheeheeheeheeheeheeeee!"

Me: "That was a STINKY toot!"

Bella: (still grinning, and cutting her eyes sideways at me) "But it was a GOOD one."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Madness, Indeed

It's taken me this long to talk about it because it was so disturbing. I am referring to the unsettling display of schadenfreude by my husband, in the aftermath of the LSU/Duke "upset." The play-by-play, the color commentary, the camerawork, and, indeed, the officiating for the entire game had been all about Duke. If you watched, you know this. If you didn't, just trust me. Whenever things went Duke's way, well, that was God's Plan. When LSU managed to get in there and do something, it was a fluke; it was Duke "letting" it happen; Duke was having "a bad night." My point is, the coverage of this game? Kinda one-sided.

So when the game was over, LSU having won in an upset, it was like the network just couldn't reconcile itself to the fact. The cameras stayed on Duke players, fans, and their coach--the one with the name spelled something like "krcvczkrzwskyz" and pronounced something like "Johnson." The camera was particularly transfixed on J. J. Reddick*, who was openly weeping. And this is what I heard from my normally loving, emotionally generous and empathetic husband:

"Awww. Is J. J. Reddick crying? Poor baby." He pauses momentarily, and when he resumes, I swear he sounds just a little bit like Gollum.

"I wish someone would save those tears in a jar, and mail them to me, so I could taste them. I bet they taste sweet."

At least he didn't say, "Precioussssss."

*Star player for Duke, called by Sports Illustrated "the most-reviled man in college basketball," but said by those who know him to actually be a nice sort of guy.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I Like My Sister Better Than Brownies

And that's saying something. She was over for a visit today with her son, and Bella's most favorite of all people in the world, Grayson, age 8. He's a supergenius (well, naturally, right?), and a lot of fun, and When Bella opened the door and saw him there, she SHRIEKED with delight. Seriously! When's the last time anyone shrieked or even squealed with pure, unadulterated joy at your mere presence? I can tell you I don't recall the last time it happened to me!

I love my family, and I am really crazy about my sister and her little clan. I love just talking to her, about anything, and especially love that she will laugh at anything that I even act like is supposed to be funny. That's the beauty of a younger sibling. We only live about 5-7 miles apart, but I swear, my ideal setup would be a 20-acre plot, with Andrea and I each having a house built in the squa middle of our own 10 acres. Oh, yeah, and our Mom would be right up at the front, OR she could just take turns going between our houses. We could totally share custody of Mom. Our husbands are spookily alike in many ways, and very compatible, so I'm sure they could stay happily occupied working out on the Bowflex to 70's rock music that might make mine and my sister's ears bleed, and doing "projects" with loud, expensive tools.A & G were only here for a couple of hours, and for me it was like a vacation or a spa visit, so refreshing it felt! What I'm saying is, I was happier when she left than I was before she came. And that's a nice relationship.

And the cousin thing! I love the cousin thing! Since Andrea and I have somehow both been hit with the mysterious complaint that is "secondary infertility," it appears as though Grayson and Bella may ultimately have only each other as "siblings." And I'm so glad that they do have each other. He's a neat kid, is my nephew, and all boy. I'm always amazed that within minutes of his arrival, he has my little diva, my princess, my girly-girl, running around the yard, tackling him, and whacking random stuff with sticks. So far, she hasn't convinced him to play dress-up, and the only Grayson-related interaction I've seen with Dora's Talking House involved some sort of household civil war that included the characters and furniture being used as missiles of some kind. It's nice that even though I have a little girl, I can vicariously enjoy the experience of raising a boy. And having my ninjas chase him.
The only mishap came when Andrea was trying to leave--this is always difficult with Grayson saying "no," and running away, and Bella wailing with despair and hanging on Andrea's legs--when Bella tripped on a limb and fell down as she and Grayson came across the yard. As he tried to help her up, she somehow hit the ground again, and wound up scuffing both her sweet little cheeks. At that first cry, I knew what was coming...this was one of those plaintive wails that meant that a boo-boo had been sustained that only Mommy could soothe. I took my first step forward as I heard her draw her breath and cry out..."ANDREEEEEAAAAAA! ANDREEEEEAAAAAH!" That's right. Not "Mommy." But those're the breaks, when your sister is as lovable as mine is.

Oh, and Bella's version of the accident, at that time? "Grayson stepped on my face." Spoken with much sincerity and seriousness. She now denies not only that account of event, but that she ever said such a thing. And really. Does this look like the kind of kid who would step on your face? Even accidentally?

March Madness Prediction For Tonight

In tonight's big match-up between U Connecticut and Washington U, I predict with total confidence and assurance that the winner will be:

The Huskies.

UPDATE: Huskies win in overtime! I am clairvoyant!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Happy Birthday To Dave, And Many Happy Returns To Bad Monkey.

Today is Dave Simmer's birthday. Insofar as he regularly displays awesomeness of the highest caliber, do stop over at his place and leave a felicitous comment (or a solicitous one; you never know what he's up for) in honor of this most auspicious event. Somehow I am shocked that he is even half a year older than me, but I am not surprised at the excellent DaveToon he has offered up today as his gift to you. Really, it's a must-see if you are a Blogography fan. And if you're not, well...why do you even have a computer? Seriously! It might as well be a big, unweildy, non-Bad-Monkey-lovin' paperweight! Sheesh.

Anyway, gaze with wonder at my own personal DaveToon, a rendition of our very own Reggie, from his show days, in full drag:I love DaveToon Reggie, even if he is brown instead of blue, and has no paws (I don't know where they went in the photo, either). Simply put, Dave rocks. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVE!


THIS is today's struggle. Will NOT get dressed. At least not in clothing you could wear somewhere. So she's walking around in a pair of Strawberry Shortcake panties with a blanket wrapped around her, putting on the mug in the picture anytime I mention getting dressed. As you can see, she did allow a bath, and now her hair is all up in a pretty braid. I have forcibly dressed her (I do outweigh her considerably, which is pretty much my only advantage, since she has the determination of a badger and the agility of a weasel. Also, I'm thinking she might be one of the mutants from "X-Men." Something like Elbira, Elbowettika, or just Elbow Girl*, because she has the ability to transform her body from that of a normal small human child into something with 17 elbows in the blink of an eye.) several times now, and as soon as I'm not looking, she whips off the clothes and is back into the princess nightgown. So I hid the nightgown, and now we're having THIS standoff.

I've tried timeouts. I've tried deprivation. I've tried REASON (note to self: save time and go bang your head against something hard and unforgiving): "Isabella, we have to go to the store and the office and places, and you cannot wear a NIGHTGOWN to town! And it's 40 degrees! It is too cold!"

"But clothes are not sparkle-y and pretty enough to way-errr!!"


Just wait until she's big enough to muck out stalls.

Oh, and she sprung this one on me, today, in what I swear was a Darth Vader voice:

"Jack is my father."

Now you know. Sorry, Alex. I didn't want you to find out this way.

*Edited to say that I have decided that, barring copyright infringements, her X-Men name shall be "Bowflex."

UPDATE: Success! Belated success, but still! The critter is now finely decked out in a little Hanes sweatsuit and, well...a pair of purple Crocs. A compromise, and at this point, she's not going outside, so I didn't kvetch about the no-socks Crocs. After all, when we go out and tend to the horses, what will her father and I be wearing? Crocs. Do as we do, and all that.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Painted Into A Corner, Part Three

Originally uploaded by ninjapoodles.
Who IS this mystery artist? This is the only clue I have--a pencilled signature on my print, with a single name. It looks like "Colin" to me, but I have Googled every imaginable variation of that name I can think of, and have come up with nothing. I love my cotton-pickin' picture, and would have more of this person's art, if only I could find it.

Any clues out there, Internets?

Painted Into A Corner, Part Two

Hearthroom Corner After
Originally uploaded by ninjapoodles.
Part The Second: After. With "Flowerpot" on the fireplace wall, and "Hopsack" on the other. The Flowerpot reaches all the way along that long wall and around the kitchen. This will be our dining area, and if we have guests, we can rearrange some furniture in this large room, putting the table in the center, in front of the fireplace, and adding up to 4 leaves. We have no plans of doing this.

Oh, and see that picture on the wall, there? It's one of my favorites. It's a limited edition, signed print of a cotton field and some workers and a cart...I love it. Here's where you come in, Internets. See the next post.

Painted Into A Corner, A Post In Three Parts

Hearthroom Corner Before
Originally uploaded by ninjapoodles.
Because Blogger is still not posting photos. Whassup, Blogger maintenance guys? Anywho, just a peek, since I'm still workding with the lesser of two cameras--that is, the less busted of the two we've busted.

So, since I can only blog pictures from flickr, I have to do it in three parts. Part the first: Before. In the lovely pea-soup hue.

I've Decided To Consider It A Term Of Endearment

Bedtime conversation last night, that began out of the blue, apropos of nothing:

Alex: "Hey, where do you go to find that--"

Me: (interrupting, and without looking up from what I'm doing) "I don't know, but I bookmarked it."

Alex: (exasperatedly) "You don't even know what I was going to say."

Me: "Yes, I do, and I bookmarked it."

Alex: (smugly) "All right, then, what? WHAT was I talking about?"

Me: "That website that shows the assessed values of homes, on a map. And I don't remember where we found it, I think Jesse sent it to us, but I bookmarked it."

Alex: (wearing a slightly creeped-out expression) "Did I say anything about assessing or maps?"

Me: "No."

Alex: "Then how did you know that's what I was thinking of?"

Me: (laughing softly, and leaning over to kiss his big ol' forehead) "Because I KNOW you."

Alex: (pushing me only half-jokingly away) "Get away from me, you freak!"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Personal Kryptonite, Davezilla-style

The brilliant and hilarious Davezilla posed what I found to be a very engaging question over to his place. He said: "There exists one thing in everyone’s life that makes them shiver with fear, double over with nausea or curl into a fetal position." He then lists ten such things that are true for him personally, and ends by asking, "So tell me, what is your Kryptonite?" I noted that I absolutely shared his #9, and added ten of my own:

1. having my nostrils pinched shut, even for a moment
2. actually smelling anything following the command, “Smell this!”
3. the mere thought of any medical/surgical procedure involving my feet, down to mere splinter removal
4. "LOL"
5. "irregardless" (and so many other non-words)
6. chunks of bell pepper cooked into any dish I’m eating
7. superfluous apostrophes and/or quotation marks
8. romance novels of the pulpy Harlequin variety
9. Benecio del Toro *shudder*
10. The Bridges of Madison County, book form. *death rattle*

And then I thought of a couple more I just had to add:

11. That people everywhere, intelligent people, are saying, "I could care less," when what they MEAN is, "I could NOT care less." I want to cry over this.
12. That no one seems to know the difference between "naseous" and "nauseated," including doctors.

And really, at this point I had to force myself to stop, because I could go on and on and on. And you know what's next, don't you? Comment it up. I want to know your personal Kryptonite. What saps your strength? By all means, go and leave your list at Davezilla's spot, but also here, so that I don't have to sift through all his many many comments to find my own peeps. OK?

Best. Spam. EVER.

I thought I had a new winner with the subject line, "waitress offspring," the other day, but this one had a whole unbelievable text built in. The way the email program is set up, you can open a message without exposing yourself to any possible virus, because once open, you have to go another step to enable links or display images, much less download anything. Plus, this didn't get caught by my spam filter, so I opened it. The subject line was, "spa sheepishly," which pretty much gave it away, but I figured it had promise, and boy, was I right. Here, in its entirety, is the text of this email:

"pizzazz the as landfill of bare-bones, that visage expatriate with aircraft floodlit dealing as catholic, the and gob a

obligatory that stopwatch autonomy to are that wallpaper rubber stamp outlaw it restraint, wick as interestingly gaiety self-conscious: was

hypothetically. at reissue area
acrimony, superstition of an centipede the puddle. at respirator the partial. bloodbath,
defenseless oaf enrage as spew of well-intentioned binder as
villa gas station. receiver ballistic, the environment,. is essential rave review Pole a adobe henceforth thaw. as microcosm of incongruous, congenital a comedy
movie theater toggle: passageway, a an no-no wide-eyed the noiselessly in this with time card trained came
nurse switchboard unnerving as
superbly, as homonym outspoken shoot as nut and it? melodious conical principally the criteria, frightened player, as goof fatty punch, of
hitherto is corroboration phallus alligator by

entrails opportunistic but wordy sniffle stalking, feel."

I have no idea what they're selling, or what kind of virus this might be spreading, and it was all I could do to keep from clicking through and finding out. That last line, it's practically poetry, isn't it? And please, may I never run into a phallus alligator.

The Migraine That Wouldn't Die, And The Toddler That Wouldn't Sleep

*Note--wrote this in the wee hours of this morning, and neglected to post it, I'm assuming, from the exhaustion:

I have to think it's something to do with sinus and allergies, but still...we had an emergency doctor visit yesterday afternoon for the headache, I spent the entire day yesterday and the night before that and the day before that alternating between being in pain and being in a drugged stupor, and I'm going back in a few hours to see if they can do anything about the painful pressure in my ears (steroids, here we come, I'm guessing).

AND Bella is up. I have no explanation for this; it's quite odd. She was up at an early hour yesterday, so she really should have gone right to sleep...we didn't even put her to bed until 9:30, and she's gotten into a nice pattern of going cooperatively to bed lately. But when I went to see what all the racket on the monitor was at 1:30 a.m., she hurriedly hustled to lie down in her little precious bed and cover up. I knelt to talk to her, see if anything was wrong, and she was just fine. She asked, "Did you hear me playing with my toys?" I just said, "Well, I heard a lot of noise when you should be sleeping." I reached to smooth her blanket, and my mother will be thrilled to hear that I found the entire furnishings from Dora's Talking House, as well as several members of Dora's family, under the covers with her.

As I started to clear away the toys, she protested, and began wailing, "But I just wanted to play with my TOYYYYYYS!" I told her no, bid her goodnight, and shut the door. The wailing got louder, and set off sympathetic wailing from the puppies. And then she got up and started baning on the door, which got all the grown-up dogs going. At this point, I can't risk Alex's sleep, especially since he spent the previous day tending to me and my stupid migraine and keeping Bella occupied.

And that, my friends, is why I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning, while rocking Bella on the glider and watching muted "Scooby Doo." Which is even creepier that "Scooby Doo" with sound. And that's saying something. I keep waiting for Bella's head to get heavy, for her to fall luck yet. And this, again, is weird, because the rocking usually does it for her, and has been a reliable last resort. I just hope I don't have to stay awake until time for the doctor's appointment...or that Bella does. Because that child, on too-little sleep? NOT FUN. Especially in public. When I tried appealing to her common sense and telling her we had to get up early to go see Dr. J. (not Julius Erving), she had this whole argument prepared, the premise of which was that we could party tonight, sleep in tomorrow, and then go see the doctor at night. A confirmed night-owl already. Great. If this keeps up, I'm going to start reading her some vampire stories.

And, I just now remembered, I never posted the results of my Johari window. I think you can keep adding to it, if you like, but here it is to date (I find the words that no one chose the most telling part of the thing, if you wanna know the truth):


(known to self and others)

giving, idealistic, intelligent, loving, sentimental, sympathetic

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, caring, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, friendly, happy, helpful, ingenious, introverted, kind, knowledgeable, logical, mature, modest, nervous, observant, proud, reflective, religious, searching, self-assertive, sensible, silly, spontaneous, trustworthy, warm, wise, witty


(known only to self)


(known to nobody)

able, calm, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, independent, organised, patient, powerful, quiet, relaxed, responsive, self-conscious, shy, tense

All Percentages

able (0%) accepting (9%) adaptable (6%) bold (9%) brave (12%) calm (0%) caring (46%) cheerful (3%) clever (25%) complex (12%) confident (3%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (28%) giving (15%) happy (3%) helpful (3%) idealistic (6%) independent (0%) ingenious (12%) intelligent (40%) introverted (3%) kind (25%) knowledgeable (21%) logical (3%) loving (50%) mature (3%) modest (3%) nervous (3%) observant (18%) organised (0%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (9%) quiet (0%) reflective (6%) relaxed (0%) religious (28%) responsive (0%) searching (9%) self-assertive (9%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (6%) sentimental (21%) shy (0%) silly (6%) spontaneous (3%) sympathetic (12%) tense (0%) trustworthy (25%) warm (25%) wise (6%) witty (50%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 21.3.2006, using data from 32 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view NinjaPoodles's full data.

In closing, good night, and wish me luck.

**Update: Without Alex here to rouse me, slept right through today's stinkin' appointment. And Bella didn't deign to awaken at any normal hour, either, having finally fallen unconscious on the loveseat in front of the fireplace sometime between 3-4:00 AM. So now I need to reschedule that, because my ears still feel like I'm either ascending or descending on a commercial airliner.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Scare Your Mule

He's in pretty good form in this one, with that perfect use of language and dialect for which I love him. I always knew cell phones were gonna make us crazy, just not how. Well, heeeere we go! Cell phones! Dooming us all! I'm giving Stephen King's "Cell" a Brain-Candy Thumbs-Up. Fast read, engaging, with characters you actually care about, and an ending that hearkens back a little to his early short stories, and doesn't cop out. (I'm lookin' at YOU, James Patterson.)


And one extra tidbit: My sister, her husband, their 8-year-old son, and my mom all took off on Friday for a 4-day weekend around Branson. Unfortunately, they didn't go to any shows, so I won't be getting an "I *heart* Andy Williams" t-shirt or a set of Presley Family novelty Hillbilly Teeth. It is too sad. And here's the thing, just to illustrate that Andrea and I each married a certain, um, "type" of man: As they drove through the main drag, passing the Yakhov Smirnoff Theater, Andrea says, "Hey, there's YAKHOV!" To which her high-larious husband responds, "YOOKOUT!"

Yep. It's high quality, sophisticated humor that those of us in THIS family enjoy.

And then we all got together and discussed Dostoevsky. For real.

Paint Tease And The Screamin' Memes

Originally uploaded by ninjapoodles.
Blogger still not cooperating with picture-posting, so just a few (five) painting sneak-peeks up on flickr. The colors are not exactly true, because the "good" camera, she is busted, and these were taken using the still feature on the videocam. The "old" color is a true, pea-soup green. Really. The new color is Sherwin Williams' "Flowerpot," and it's a very true, deep terra-cotta color. I love it SO much, I would marry it. Yes, I would.

And next, because I said I would do it DAYS ago, and because jess asked, and she's sweet beyond sweetness, and for the love of Pete's sake, she has FOUR KIDS. How could you possibly deny her anything, you cruel people? It wasn't a bad one, though, so if you wanna play, just drop a comment so we know where to look!

I Would, If I Could...

3 things you wish for (just for you):
1. TIME.
2. To ride my horses again. A lot.
3. Instant Fitness!

3 things you would do to/for yourself if there was no one to judge you (or if you had the guts to do it!):
1. Spa. For a month.
2. Have professionals take over the house moving/painting/repair debacle, at both old and new sites.
3. Big ol' pretty teeth--veneers on every single one. I would blind you with my giant, gorgeous, movie-star smile.

3 bad habits you have:
1. Sloth/Laziness/Procrastination.
2. Staying up too late.
3. Mutilating my fingernails/cuticles by hand.

3 insecurities you feel:
1. The bod, it is gross, and no one should look directly at it.
2. That almost every parenting decision I make could be done better, and should be.
3. That I might inadvertently offend/hurt feelings in others.

3 talents/skills you wish you had:
1. Computer/web design
2. Math/Algebra. Without throwing up.
3. Guitar, and a more beltin' singing voice for church choir!

3 things that you would do if you had more time:
1. Train my young horses
2. Art/Soapmaking
3. Competitive agility with the dogs.

3 things that bring you peace/relaxation:
1. Alex and GOOD moods.
2. My mom.
3. Prayer.

3 things that spark your creativity:
1. Reading (books, magazines, blogs).
2. Conversation.
3. Seeing things through Bella's eyes.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Aw, Just Go Here

Angler Fish
Originally uploaded by Pupsickle.
I keep trying to post pictures of the neverending painting, but Blogger is acting weird. So, in the meantime, do yourself a favor and go check out Erin's flickr set from the 2006 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. Where she LIVES. Seriously, since she was a kid! How cool is that? She's immune to the novelty of community moose encroachment! And she has a poodle. So, yeayy-ahhh.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In Entertainment...A Recent Collection


An open note to a certain #1 NYT Bestselling author of a certain thriller series: All right, you have gotten me hooked on this series because of the characters, particularly the main guy, and the action-packed plots, and the delicious opportunity to figure things out for myself occasionally. Lately, however, I have been disappointed. You're killing my guy, and my long-time love affair with this series, by slow suffocation. I have just a couple of main gripes.

First, go back to letting the plot and the action drive the narrative. We're smart, your readers--give us some credit, OK? We don't have to be told what to think/suspect/speculate over by a constant clutter of what would be, in a bad movie, voice-over narration. Here's an example, from smack in the middle of a high-speed car-chase by our hero of a mystery figure:

"Who the h*** was in the car? Why was somebody running? Could it be __________?"

STOP, already. Admittedly, these books are "brain candy," and not high literature. But how in the world is it that you could possibly not know that we, the readers, are already asking ourselves the above questions, and that we know that the hero is asking them, since we know by virtue of the context of this section that our hero IS CHASING SOMEONE WHOSE IDENTITY HE DOES NOT KNOW, and that _________ is the villain and has been throughout the whole darn BOOK? Stop it! I'm not five years old!

Also? I can appreciate the occasional use of the Deux ex Machina in fiction. Really, I can. But, Dude, when you put us through this whole complex, globe-spanning investigation and personal tribulation to our beloved characters, you do not, repeat DO NOT end the book by having the hero, IN THE FINAL TWO PAGES of the novel, end the story by just SPOTTING THE BAD GUY ON THE STREET BY HAPPENSTANCE, running him down, and then watching him poison himself. That's just bush-league stuff, and it robs us as readers of any real satisfaction. We don't get to see our hero (and by extension, ourselves) figure it out and find the Bad Guy through deduction, we don't get any motivation for or insight into the Bad Acts of Bad Guy, and finally, we don't even know if Bad Guy is really The Bad Guy, or if you're just setting us up for another one of these later. I better not.

You know who you are, multiple #1 NYT Bestselling thriller author who's had successful movies made from this screamingly popular series. Knock it OFF.


Can't tell you how much I love "Bones." It makes me so happy for so many reasons. First, I'm sick of stale, humorless CSI; all locations, and this is so so SO much better (maybe just because it's even MORE unbelievable, in the sciencey parts, than the CSI franchise). And this last episode was the BEST EVERRRRRR. After all those years of watching David Boreanaz as Angel not quite able to be human, the joy I experience in watching him goofily air-jam to Foreigner's "Hot-Blooded" is unquantifiable. And the Deschanel sisters, Emily and Zooey; love them. We'll get to Zooey later. Anthropology, sociology, and profiling fasinate me, so I love hearing them spouted about constantly, even if it's total hogswallop as far as I know.

And OH! Adam Baldwin! From "Angel" and "Firefly/Serenity," is here in this one! Cool! (No spoilers, my Australian friends.) Also good in this ep is Hodgins getting to see one of his famous conspiracy theories actually turn out to be true, AND getting to don body armor and play along. And yes, there is enough Angel-love left in me that seeing Boreanaz, battered and bloody, hurting himself to save the girl and be the hero...well, it just satisfies me. Mock at will. Favorite dialogue this week, between Boothe and Bones while Boothe lies in a hospital bed after being asploded:

Boothe: "I'm know...I don't even know if I have to stay here."

Bones: "You got blown up."

Boothe: "I've been worse."

Worst moment: Hearing Temperance (Bones) talk about "beating the soles of the feet with pipes..." STOP!!!

And now, thanks to JenB, I have the books on my queue that this show was based on--written by and about Kathy Reichs, real-life forensic anthropologist. (Seriously--how many of you, when you visited your high-school guidance counselors, were told there was any such butt-kicking job as "forensic anthropologist?" To hear ours talk, the world was totally made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, and the military.)

And my favorite show on television currently has to be "Boston Legal." (I reserve the right to change this opinion at a whim and/or weekly, but that's how it is now.) The writing is brilliant, the characters consistent and whip-smart, the actors excellent. I can't really say enough good things about it. I adore the conflicted, oddly-principled Alan Shore and James Spader's portrayal of him.

And of course, Captain Kirk's--I mean William Shatner's--turn as the dynamic, befuddled, possibly mad-cow or Alzheimer's afflicted, bafflingly lovable right-wing hotshot undefeated criminal defense attorney Denny Crane...there's nothing more delicious on television right now, for me. Best of all is the friendship between the two characters, one a raging, bordering on anarchist, liberal, and the other a rabid, mouth-foaming's a match made in heaven. My favorite part of the show has become their end-of-the-day waxing philosophical over cigars on the firm's balcony. This week's had a particularly wonderful exchange:

Alan: "You know what I miss most about our country, Denny? Not the loss of our civil rights, so our compassion; our soul; our humility."

Denny: "No--uhn-uhn-uhn-uhn. 'Soul;' that's a religious thing: State. Church. It's unconstitutional for the United States to have a soul!"

Alan: "Apparently. "(pause) We seem to be becoming a mean people. Learned Hand once said liberty lies in our hearts. And once it dies there, no constitution can save it.' "

Denny: "Just ONCE I wish you'd quote a Republican."

Alan: (momentary pause) "I want a kinder and gentler nation."

David E. Kelley earns his money.

Also in television, on Nick Jr.: Is it wrong to want to hurt one of "The Wonder Pets?" Particularly the baby duck, Ming-Ming? This is Bella's current favorite show, and every time that blasted duckling says, "This is SEWIOUS!" I want to pinch her fuzzy little head off. For whatever reason, the turtle and guinea-pig are not freaking me like that duck.


"A History of Violence"
Avoid at all costs. Depressingly bad action flick starring usually good actors turning in bad performances, and Viggo Mortensen's nekkid hiney. Not even the latter is enough to save this one. We were tricked into viewing by the Oscar nomination of William Hurt in the Best Supporting category. (SPOILER ALERT) Um, he appears in the last third of the film for approximately 10 minutes total screen time of unremarkable acting, then gets shot in the head. OSCAR? William Hurt, What do you have on the members of the Academy???
Quotable: Um, sorry, I got nothing here. See other movies for words worth remembering.


Meh. Depressing, so-so film about past events (Desert Storm) with predictable relevance to current events (Iraq war). Mediocre movie with some excellent, stirring performances (love me some Sarsgaarrrrrrrrrd, arrrrgh) including Jamie Foxx's and Jake Gyllenhaal's. Bonus material: A good bit of Jake's screen time is spent nekkid, and he's been working out. Reccomendation: Read the autobiographical novel by Anthony Swofford (played by Gyllenhaal in the movie) instead. Unless you just want to look at Jake Gyllenhaal's hiney; then this is your best bet.
Quotable: "I am 20 years old, and was stupid enough to sign a contract." --Anthony Swofford

"Good Night, And Good Luck."

Solid thumbs-up from us. Well-done small, depressing film about past events (McCarthy hearings, communism scare) with shocking--to many--relevance to current events (Homeland Security, terrorism scare). Top-notch cast, from the smallest roles to the biggest. Understated, using lots of actual footage from McCarthy hearings. Watch it, but prepare to be saddened at the realization, once again, that the new boss is, indeed, same as the old boss, the rhetoric never really changes, and we're all gettin' fooled again. And again. Possibly even zeldafitz will have to give Clooney some props for this one.
Quotable: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." --Edward R. Murrow

Depressing film (picking up a theme here?) about a teenage boy involuntarily committed by the legal system to a mental hospital, and his, and others', experiences there. Purely amazing performances by lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the littlest kid from the T.V. show "Third Rock From The Sun) and, as always, Don Cheadle. We're starting to judge movies by the "Cheadle Factor." Also, Zooey Deschanel does a great job in a supporting role (told you I'd get to her). A little film that needs to be seen. The kid (who is most assuredly an adult by now) carries it well.
THE DISCLAIMER: I'm not sure, if you were in an unstable state of certain mental illnesses that involve manic/destructive/self-mutilating/addictive behaviors, that watching this film wouldn't perhaps provide some negative "triggers." Approach with caution in this circumstance.
Quotable: Little, in this space, due to saturation of profanity, but much, content-wise. See for yourself.

I've been saving these in bits and pieces for a while, so I guess that's enough for now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Have To Tell You This

My husband--the man I had assumed knew me? He came home last night and handed me a sheet of paper, and said, "Here, fill this out."

"This" was an empty bracket sheet for the NCAA basketball tournament. Like this. Seriously--he expected me to make picks, and fill out every single bracket for every game. He's known me for over 6 years. He was quite insistent, too. So it's official, he has the March Madness, which is apparently an actual sickness that can affect your brain. Just ask Ariel. HE thinks it's OK to check the due date of your first child against the dates of the tournament. Good thing he's a great guy.

Oh, the bracket sheet? I finally took it, and wrote "GONZAGA" in the center spot. Because I like the look of the word, "GONZAGA." And they won tonight, in what was apparently an upset. And they have this big ol' black-haired guy who whangs himself on the head, HARD, with the basketball...when something good happens.

This morning, Bella was her usual world-o-happiness toddler upon waking. She opened her eyes, smiled, then put her little arms around my neck and just snuggled.

Me: "I love this little girl so much."

Bella: "This little girl loves her mommy so so SO much."

Me: "You're the best girl ever."

Bella: "You're the best mom in the whole, big world."

Me: "Awww. Thank you."

Bella: "You're welcome. That makes you happy? You are happy?"

Me: "Yes. I am VERY happy. Are you happy?"

Bella: "Yes! I am!" (snuggle) "Mommy?"

Me: "Yes?"

Bella: "Daddy told me to pull his finger, and, and, I did, and he toooooted...and it was SOOOOO funny!"

It was one for the scrapbook, there for a while.

And in other news...Check back sometime this weekend for the dramatic "reveal" of the no-longer-pea-soup-green-hearth room.

And? If you wanna boost your traffic? Post and/or respond to a controversial topic involving dogs. The debate has raged on into the night; several of them, actually, and I think may have just now died a natural death a few posts down, at The Fussy Dog Spot. My advice? Scroll down and read Sue's and Caroline's comments, numbers 50 & 51, I think (the last ones, last I checked). They say everything I wish I'd said. And Sue? With the Girl Scout analogy? She's funny.

And FINALLY: When I tell you people that I have NINJA POODLES, you believe me, do you hear? Do you see the black blur in front of the baby pony, here? That, my friends, IS a Ninja Poodle, totally freaking out my camera's auto-focus. And it's just ONE of them. So there.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'll Be Here All Week, Folks!

I swear, she was good ALL DAY. Really. Even while I was painting. Even while I was on the phone with the too-awesome-for-words Kelly. Even while I fed horses, took care of dogs, everything! She was! If I'm saying that as if it's an unusual state of affairs, it's because lately? IT IS. I have photographic proof, and post-traumatic stress to prove it. Anyway, today she was good almost until BEDTIME. It was a record. And then; and then...well, to see the whole series of events unfold, you can check the latest pics in the flickr set. They speak for themselves.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Input, Please--Come Out Of Lurkdom For This!

Some questions I need input on so that poor Karen can finally finish the redesign she's been trying to do for me for weeks now!

1. What browser do you use, and does this site display correctly in it? For me, in IE, the sidebar is way down below all the content, and in Firefox, my profile at top doesn't always show up, and my footer is crazy.

2. Do you use a feedreader (Bloglines, Feedburner, etc.) to read your blogs? Which one? Do you click through to the actual blog only if you want to leave a comment? Does this site display well on your feedreader?

3. White text/black background. What say you? I have not received any complaints, but would you prefer the colors to be relegated to the banner and sidebars, and just have good ol' black type on a white background for the posts?

4. Comments: Haloscan or Blogger? What I like about Haloscan is that you can link directly to the commenter's blog, and Blogger comments don't have that capability.

5. "Rent My Blog": Do you really click through? From my stats, 10% or less of you do. Just clutter, or interesting? I only rent to people I read myself, but I was thinking of just having my own "featured blog" that I want to send traffic to, kind of like Sheryl does with her "Mystery Blog," though I would probably run mine for a week at a time. (I got tons of traffic when I was Sheryl's Mystery Blog, and was like, "What the--the goddess noticed me?" It was great!)

6. Did Doogie Howser just sing "Part Time Lover" on "American Idol?" And if so, is it raining fire yet?

7. Did the resident Hot Chick from Lost really get knocked up by that hobbit?

I HATE Your Fast

The object of my advertising ire has a name! And that name is Crispin Porter + Bogusky, advertising agency. They're an award-winning ad agency, but here's the thing: They suck. Seriously. You know those Burger King commercials, with the freaky giant-plastic-headed guy that gives you nightmares? This one?

Yeah. Thought so. You hate it too, right? Who doesn't? From the first time I saw it, I screamed, "WHO IS THEIR AD AGENCY???" at the television. Well, now I know, and as it turns out, they are also responsible for two more of my personal currently MOST HATED commercials. I actually hate ALL of the VolkswagenGTI commercials which feature "My Fast," the weird little black devil-ball that looks like a combination of a webcam and a gargoyle/hobgoblin, has a voice right out of "The Exorcist," and seems to represent the Ids, or baser instincts, of young males...which I think we all know are pretty readily accessible most of the time, anyway.

Let it be known, CP+B: I HATE "YOUR FAST." And young 18-25 males, you powerful marketing demographic, you? You know that the one thing you want more than anything else in the world is sex. You know it. I know it. Every female you encounter knows it. And while "sometimes [your] Fast doesn't get along with [your] girlfriend," let me just assure you that you don't have to worry about that, because you won't have a girlfriend for long, because HER SELF-RESPECT DOES NOT HAVE SEX WITH YOUR FAST. The tag line from another hated commercial, "My Fast makes it hard to have a relationship," should really be a clue for you. Tell your girlfriend/wife that she is too heavy to carry along on an errand in your precious car, or that her "yakking" is interfering with your enjoyment of said precious car when she is politely asking you to roll up the windows, and you'd better hope said precious car comes with a blow-up doll...or a feature like the one from the SNL commercial for the "Mercury Mistress." (Remember that one, with Phil Hartman: "The car so sexy, you'll want to have sex with it?" Ewww.)

And finally, I heard on NPR, someone in the know who voiced my feelings about these awful Volkswagen commercials better than I can: Seth Stevenson.

If you feel the same way I do about these commercials, let the company know. I know I'd be happy to return to the easygoing "everyperson's car" vibe from the old VW commercials.

I'll get around to it, but first I have to find some way to vent my disgust at what happens to child-friendly cable-TV network "Noggin" after 6:00 P.M. More on that later, as Betty Friedan continues to roll over in her grave.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Fussy Dog Spot

If you're coming over from Fussy's, and you have a bone to pick with me (Whew, I slay myself with the humor! Dogs; Bones; Get it??) about anything I said over there, here's your big chance. No profanity, please, no ad-hominem or circular arguments, and no disprespect to each other, please. Also, no anonymous trolls. There. My door is officially open. And here are some gratuitous shots of Bella, at age two, with our precious Reggie, who many of you remember dancing in the sidebar.

Chase My Tenant!!

See how funny that is, when I leave out a comma in the title? A double-meaning! Ha-HAA, I am clever! But not as clever as she, so give her a click over there, and visit her site. Why, RIGHT NOW she has thrilling tales of airplane and helicopter flying AND terrifying chemical hazards!! Here is what she has to say about "her own self," as we say down here in Arkansas and Oklahoma:

"I'm Chase and I live in Oklahoma (yeah, I know). I'm 30-years-old, have a gaggle of wild beagles, and have an addiction to both coffee and sweet wines. (I can slur really quickly!) I love writing, reading, people-watching, and wasting every ounce of time I have on the internet. If you're reading, please comment - I'm a shameless attention whore."

And she totally IS! And she's a master-painter, too, and unfortunately just far enough away from me geographically so as not to be able to come and help me, and just close enough to me geographically to make the distance palpable and painful. (All you Canadians are probably looking at a map and saying to yourselves, "What? They're right slap next to each other!") So go see her, and browse back through her archives. You won't be sorry. Have I steered you wrong yet? Have I? (OK, maybe when I made fun of Mike Brown when, it turns out, he really DID warn the administration about Katrina ahead of time and they just ignored him--what a surprise--but other than that?)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Darlin'

Today is Alex's birthday. He is careening toward 40 (to borrow a phrase from nita) with grace and far as you know, anyway. My dear Alex turned 39 today. Those of you who know him, already love him. Sometimes in spite of yourselves--you just can't help it. Those of you who don't know him...well, you would love him, or if you're going to BlogHer this year, you soon will. He's that kind of a guy. Charm your socks off, he will, but you won't notice it until he's gone, and you're smiling, thinking, "He was really funny and nice...where are my socks?"

We've known each other just over 6 years, been married for 5, and have been parents together for 3 and a half years, to Isabella Faith. It was the first marriage for both of us, and we were in our mid-30's, when we (and our poor, grandchild-desiring families) had pretty much settled into our comfy single lifestyles. When I say it's been a rollercoaster, you have NO idea of how serious I am. He and I have fought some daunting foes together, and there have been times when neither of us knew what the next day would bring for "us" as a unit.

That love-at-first-sight thing? We believe. For us, not in a huge, passionate, swell of violins and romantic sunset beach-walking, dragon-slaying drama, as much as an immediate sense of, "I am more comfortable and happy with this person, not just than I have been with any other, but than I am with just myself." For me, that's what it is with Alex. He is an intrinsic part of me, and I feel most "myself" when he is with me. I want to share every cool, funny, interesting, frustrating, thrilling, or maddening thing I experience with him. And I do, whether he likes it or not.

We have fought, and continue to fight, the formidable demons of endometriosis (mine) and bipolar disorder (his). While both are something we will have to deal with the rest of our lives, I am proud to say that we have, at least, beaten them into submission and chained them both into corners of the deepest dungeons. The closest we've ever come to divorce including an actual separation, was during the fight with the Beast that is bipolar disorder. Mania takes no prisoners, except for the person it's inhabiting, and believe me when I tell you that, in the grip of bipolar mania, the person you know is gone. All you have left to deal with is the Beast. I have never cried or felt as desperate and despondent in my life as I did in that time. Agony is all it was, and I don't want to dwell. But I do mention it for the same reason I talk a lot about endometriosis--so that those of you who may be fighting this Beast, either as the afflicted person or their significant other, can KNOW that there is hope, that there is a light at the end of even the longest, darkest tunnel, and you CAN reach it. That is something that both these diseases have in common.

In our case, another thing that they have in common is that I'm not sure either of us would have made it out alive without the other, and that is not just hyperbole. In my situation, Alex is the one who really pushed for me to get to New Orleans and get the miracle treatment I needed. My parents made it possible, thank God, but without Alex urging me to take my own pain seriously and to continue to seek out better treatment in the face of the medical advice I was getting (telling me this was "the best they could do"), I would have most likely died the year that we met. The endometrial tumor that no one knew about would have perforated my bowel and killed me "by Christmas," in the top specialists' estimation, after it was all over. And without him there, the entire two weeks in the hospital after the surgery and its complications...he was just so intrinsic to my recovery, I don't know what would have happened had he not been there. Him and his Ray Charles CDs, fresh flowers, real spearmint essential oil, and warm, warm hands holding mine.

God, I love him.

And as for his situation in fighting bipolar disorder, it may be his determination to be there for Isabella and me that provided the impetus to his recovery; the inspiration for first taking hold of the tail of the Beast, and I have certainly supported him in this battle in every way I could, including the epically difficult task of providing "tough love" and ceasing to enable the Beast to control us all (truly, the most miserable I can remember being in my life were during the weeks and months that this monster kept me apart from the person I loved most in the world)...and yet, there is no one to credit for Alex's vanquishing of this particular monster but Alex himself. He has shown remarkable bravery, insight, and love in undertaking this long uphill climb, opposed by a slippery foe that denies its own existence and medications with hellacious side-effects. Heck of a choice, eh?

We are coming up on 2 years of blessed, remarkable, wonderful, peaceful life without The Beast, and I have my husband to thank for that, among other things. He is an amazing man, and a remarkable gift from God to me.

And just in case this has gotten too heavy or sentimental for you, this amazing man just informed me that, on his way back from an errand, he "saw two ducks doing it in the road."

You may visit Alex's site for his birthday gift to YOU, Dear Reader.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I Will Not Touch It

Actual conversation from our bedroom, late at night:

"Hey, Honey...check this out."


"No, here--feel this!"


"Come ON! Put your hand right here."

"NO! I am not touching that thing! I HATE that thing!"

"Please? Seriously! (grabs my hand, as I fight to get it back) Put your fingers right across here, and feel it!"

"Alex, STOP IT! You know that thing creeps me out, and I AM NOT TOUCHING IT!"


I scream bloody murder, and this all goes on for some time.

He has a piece of sharp, cast-iron shrapnel--from a really stupid accident involving a lawn tractor and a T-post driver a few years ago--embedded in the muscle of his right forearm. It occasionally migrates close enough to the surface so that it can be seen and felt, and when he moves his hand around, the metal chunk moves, and this all holds an extremely high gross-out factor for yours truly, a fact of which he is well aware. *shudder*

Filthy-minded little beggars, every one of you.