Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Random Tuesday: They Can't Count


I ARE SICK. So I am reposting my "48 question Meme" from Facebook. Except it's really 45 questions, because the yahoo that made the meme numbered the questions incorrectly (I fixed it for you.) To visit bloggers that aren't cheating on their random posts, visit Keely by clicking the pretty purple rectangle up there.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My father said that I was named after graffiti on a barroom's bathroom wall, "For a good time, call..." Class all the way, baby! My mother emphatically states that I was named Angela because it's a family name on the Busalacchi side. She also states, just as emphatically, that I was NOT named after my Great Aunt Angela. She's dead to us.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Last week, while arguing with Jesse. I've always wished he were one of those guys that are destroyed by a girl's tears. No such luck.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yeah, I was just thinking the other day that I really like my signature. It's even and feminine but not girly, and I can see the influence of both of my parents and my Nana in it.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Coming out my ears-lol! A girl and two boys, ages 10, 5 and 2. I still toy with the idea of another one, and if I felt that we could responsibly support another life financially I would totally do an end run around Jesse for one more baby. But four's my limit. I think.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I'd like to think so. I would need to approach myself first...okay, now I see why my husband said that if he ever saw a clone of himself he'd kill it. *shudder*

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? WTF do YOU think? Side bonus: my kids are fluent in sarcasm. That's considered a second language, right?

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes, but my daughter doesn't. She had them taken out this past summer and it was awful! The nurses came flying down the hall early to fetch me from the waiting room because she had such a hard time coming out of anesthesia. As soon as they opened the sound-proof doors I heard my baby screaming like an animal. Maybe Jesse and I should've considered the drama and aggression in our bloodlines before reproducing. Nah.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Absolutely not. Would someone please explain why one would purposely seek the sensation previously reserved for those who were unfortunate enough to fall from a cliff? You know, to their death? 'Cause I just don't get it.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Quaker Oat Squares. Although, if you want a bitchin' bowl of Cheerios, throw in a handful of peanuts and raisins. All four food groups-yum!

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. I don't have a single pair of shoes that tie. No tennies, nothing, since high school. I wear girl shoes that slip or buckle on, period.

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Butter Pecan or English Toffee. Dove bars or Caramel Pretzel Klondike bars.

13. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their eyes and their voices, I think.

14. RED OR PINK? Red is second only to black and white. Pink has it's place, too, but red is best.

15. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I'm impatient. I'm vain, too, but I can live with that. The impatience not so much.

16. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Nana. My Nana, my Nana, my Nana.

17. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THIS LIST? No! Not unless I tag you! Unauthorized use will result in me personally hunting the culprit down and beating them to death with my laptop! Who writes these questions?! Srsly.

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black dress with white polka dots. Barefoot.

19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My bella figlia, hammering open a coconut in the kitchen.

20. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Fire-engine red. The color of love, passion, rage and...fire engines.

21. FAVORITE SMELLS? Last night I laid down for a few minutes with West at bedtime. It wasn't bath night, so he smelled of milk and play dough. I just breathed him in, thinking, "This is what childhood smells like." I love the smell of Sissy's freshly shampooed hair, my mother's perfume, chicken marsala, the "green" smell of the garden in spring, Jesse's pillow, the nape of Walker's neck.

22. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Doug. Jesse was going over to hang out with the guys, and since I was going to the grocery store anyway, Doug asked me to pick up some ingredients for Beef Stroganoff.

23. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes. Chris Bidler was one of my dearest friends in high school, and has seemingly only gotten cooler since.

24. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I just answered this earlier at Stacy's Random Thoughts this morning. I'll tell you what I told her: "I'm so impressed that you can follow football! My first response to your question is, "No. Not until musical theater is legally declared a sport." Actually, that is the only answer I have-lol! We're an artistic family, much more likely to draw a football than watch one. Oh wait! Do the Olympics count?! 'Cause I do love me some Olympics..."

25. HAIR COLOR? Boring brown.

26. EYE COLOR? Boring brown, again.

27. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I used to wear them daily, but as I've gotten older and my migraines have gotten more frequent and severe, I've limited them to special-occasion-wear only. Besides, contacts don't come with rhinestones. ;)

28. FAVORITE FOOD? Shell pasta with fresh peas, tomatoes, dill and a little butter or olive oil and salt.

29. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings (but not cheesy, predictable happy endings-the characters have gotta work for it for it to be worth the payoff.)

30. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? I saw Inkheart in the theater with my sis Lisa and Bella Figlia. I hadn't gotten a chance to read the books (a shame, as I do love young adult fiction) and thought the movie was darling. Also, Paul Bettany is in it. Bare chested. Yes, I am that shallow.


32. Summer or winter? (Spring and) summer.

33. HUGS OR KISSES? Kissing, definitely. It makes my husband sad that, with children in my lap/face all day, I've become decidedly anti-hug on the adult front.

34. FAVORITE UTENSIL? I love soup spoons. I don't know why I haven't bought more of those over the years. Note to self: buy yourself some damn soup spoons, already!

35. FAVORITE DRINK? Chai tea latte. Pomegranate anything. Pepsi. Blackberry wine.

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I am re-reading "Fast Women" by Jennifer Crusie. In between new books, I tend to re-visit favorites, especially Crusie novels. My sisters and I can quote whole passages and talk about the characters like real people, as in, "Doesn't that remind you of when Agnes said, 'Be nuts or cunning, not both, you bitch!'?" Kind of the literary equivalent of comfort food.

37. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Who needs a stinkin' mouse pad?! I live on the edge...

38. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? I didn't watch any television last night, but a few nights ago Jes' and I watched the uncensored version of Carlos Mencia's "No Strings Attached"-flippin' hilarious!

39. FAVORITE SOUND(S). My children playing (nicely) in their room. My husband's laughter. Little voices saying, "Mama?" My mother's (and sister's) voice(s).

40. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? I love the Beatles. Most everything they played, really, especially "Lady Madonna", "Hey Jude", "When I'm 64", "Get Back", "Blackbird"...okay, you get my point. I like the Beatles.

41. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Indiana? Ohio? Where's a map?!

42. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Diplomacy. I can tell anyone almost anything and come off as sane, reasonable, persuasive.

43. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Old St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee, WI.

44. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL? Europe, especially St. Elia- Sicily and Germany (where my families emigrated from.) I'd also love to vacation in Hawaii(Lilo and Stitch), Australia (Steve Irwin), China (Amy Tan), Japan (Shogun).

45. HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER? I was standing in the lobby of our HS dorm with my then-roommate Heather Eckloff. Jesse and I made eye contact with one another from across the room. It was a moment. His roommate had warned him that I was crazy and that I should be avoided at all costs. Being the contrary guy he is, Jesse made a point of walking over to introduce himself. He even introduced himself as "Jesse" instead of his nickname "Jester." 'Cause he knew I was special. As he walked away, I told Heather, "That's the man I'm going to marry." She smirked. Who's laughing now, Cookie?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weary Wednesday: Why I Wish My Walls Would Wash Themselves

The table's unclean
the dishes are piling
On the floor I see something
stickish and defiling

The windows are printy
the couch is askew
I am simply surrounded
by too much to do

The bathroom's unpainted
the kids' room is scary
they've a talent for messy
and my skillz can't compare-y

The laundry is sullen
the pets and kids snotty
between diapers and the yard
I'm surrounded by potty

My laptop is calling
my rumpled bed's wide
if it weren't pouring rain
I could go play outside

But sooner or later
I will have to give in
the nature of messes
ensures I will not win

So I'll scrub and I'll polish
'til it's sparkly and then
I will get up tomorrow
and do it again

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday Scribblings: I come from...

I come from:

3274 Downer Ave, Milwaukee WI, where my beloved Nana and Grandpa lived. Nana was Sicilian, the daughter of Stephan Busalacchi (from St. Elia, Sicily) and Mary Belante (the daughter of emigrants from St. Elia, born in San Francisco, CA.) Grandpa was German and Polish, his mother Viola the daughter of Katherine Peplinski (from Chojnice, Pomorskie, Poland) and Teofil P. Libecki (from Wielkie Chelmy, Chojnice, Westpreu En, Germany.)

I am the oldest child of their youngest daughter, Patricia. Here is a picture of her in front of 3274 when she was about 12 years old with one of her dogs.

She met this handsome devil, Peter Noll. Betcha know what happened next!

I love this photo of 3 generations: Nana, Mom and me.

Now I'm "from" my own family, the family I've made with this guy. How lucky am I?!

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Liberace Love

This post would've been up this morning if this song hadn't been stuck in my head all week and I hadn't used every spare minute of my day figuring out how to turn an mp4 from itunes to an mp3 on my desktop so that I could make this:

In February, Target had some really beautiful candles that I wanted for Valentine's Day. It turns out that telling your kids that, "If Daddy asks what Mama wants, tell him about these!" does not achieve results. I couldn't buy them for myself because a) by no stretch of the imagination are candles a necessity and 2) at over twelve bucks a candle they were definitely a splurge item. Fast-forward to this week when we were at Target as a family: I saw those candles on clearance for half off! I said, "Oh, honey! These are the candles that I wanted!" My honey said, "So get one. Hell, get two!" So just to sum up: One candle for $12.99=too expensive, I couldn't possibly spent that much on a candle! Two candles for $12.99=the deal of a lifetime, clearly not extravagant, this is another $12.99 altogether. I am mental!

On the same trip, as I was already going to hell in a handbasket, I decided to throw a Martha Stewart magazine into the cart (did you hear that? It was the sound of another $5.00 flying out the window.) I have yet to read that magazine, although I'm sure that when I do a staff of 4,000 will appear as if by magic and transform our duplex into a masterpiece worthy of the finest magazines in the land!

I've started to keep my garden journal in a second (third) blog. I had a lot of fun setting it up, but am not keeping track of what I'm doing/planning as well as I was by hand. Then again, my laptop is easier to find than a notebook, so eventually I may improve...

Speaking of my plants, my mother gave me paperwhites for Christmas, which was a nice change from the Amaryllis' I've grown in years past. I admired the tall, green spikes until they bloomed. They stink to high heaven! Yech.

Yesterday I was making a tuna pasta salad when I ran out of Miracle Whip. I was that commercial! ("Oh no!" scrape-scrape-scrape, "We're out of Miracle Whip!!!") I briefly considered adding some sour cream to the mix (it's creamy and...dairy. Although, come to think of it, mayo isn't dairy...) Then I remembered that the sour cream was slated for a cheesecake and decided that the pasta salad would just have to deal. I mean, hey...priorities!

My daughter crawled into bed with me this morning and discovered a misplaced...adult item. I played it cool, gave her a nonchalant answer to her query and swiftly swiped the damn thing into a drawer. She pressed the issue. I pulled out the standard, "It's something for grown-ups. It's Mama and Daddy's." Her face twisted and she said, "Forget it! I don't wanna know!" and fled the room. Well, shit.

My hair got long again when I wasn't looking. My husband mentioned it, but I didn't think much of it until I was driving today and fell the pull of it trapped between the seat and my back as I turned my head to check the side-view mirror. Holy-run-on-sentence, Batman! I know that at a certain age women are supposed to go shorter rather than longer, and wonder how long I can get away with it long before it makes me look even older than I am.

I began a post on Saturday night, but got horribly sidetracked. The Sunday Scribblings prompt was something like, "I come from..." I thought, "Oh! Easy-peasy!" Until I logged onto ancestry.com to check the name of the city that my grandpa's family emigrated from. Four hours later, I was still playing with my family tree, hence no weekend (or Monday) post. Beware ancestry.com, people!

For more enticing Tuesday random posts, stalk Keely at The Unmom!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spin Cycle: There is No Write Way

The written word and I have a love/hate relationship. Hand me a pen and paper when I'm in the depths of despair, and the perfect muse will speak through me, scrawling poetry in shining lines across the page. Should I try to write something involving plot or character, however, the experience becomes not unlike attempting to drain the ocean with a sieve. I've had a blank Word document saved on my desktop for the last 6 months titled, "Here is where I will write a bitchin' story". I'm tortured, really. Very sad.

Despite the horror, I have selected three pieces to post for this spin. The first is a picture book that I wrote when my husband wanted something new in his portfolio. I wrote this, and then he put our niece Codi's tennies on the deck railing and drew the accompanying illustration:

The Walk
I was walking 'long the sidewalk
not much looking where I was going
when I slowed to inspect an anthill
and some flowers that were growing
inside a fence, around a tree
and as I bent to sniff a leaf
I felt a tapping on my shoulder,
turned, and to my disbelief
saw a magic little man
mouth agape in obvious surprise
"You have lovely, dainty shoes, " he exclaimed,
"and they look just about my size!"
Now I loved those little shoes,
they had sparkles and red laces
and with a marker on the toes
I'd drawn two funny little faces
(so that I'd never be very lonely
with my shoes to share the view)
but when I looked apon the gnome
I thought, "Might he be lonely, too?"
So I untied my loopy laces
and comforted him, "There, there,
you may have my friendly shoes
as I can make another pair."
Well that man was so ecstatic
you see, he was so very glad
because, he explained,
the holey shoes he wore
were the only shoes he had.
And then he thanked me most profusely
as I reveled in bare feet
that scrunched in spiky, greeny grass
as he skipped gaily up the street.
So I headed for home and saddle shoes
that have been quite transformed, I think
by the sequins and the sparkles,
purple laces and the ink.

Illustration by Jesse Mohn 2000

I'm a huge fan of Jane Yolen, and in her book Here There Be Dragons, she writes about how she was invited to join a bunch of writers that were contributing to a book made up entirely of 100-word stories. I have a hard time with editing, and so tried my hand at writing 100 100-word stories as an exercise (I wrote 8-lol!) Here's my favorite one:

Yuck. Only the love of her man would lead her to make baked beans. Taking up the can opener, she held her breath before continuing. When she resumed, thick white smoke poured from the can, spilling downward to roll along the floor. Yelping, she cleared the kitchen floor in one bound, head turned, looking fearfully over her shoulder. From the smoke emerged a small man. Hours later when Jesse came in the door, he didn't seem to notice the new palatial size and furnishing of his apartment. Lifting a silver dome from a platter he said, "What, no baked beans?"

This last is a work-in-progress, a romance/murder mystery (I think.) I'm kinda unsure as to which direction I want to take with this and my sister Natalie has been less than helpful:

Me: "What if Maribeth finds a body in the freezer? Or wait! What if she kills Cade and puts him in the freezer!?"
Natalie: "No! What's wrong with you?! The heroine can't kill the hero!"
Me: "Okay, what if they fall in love and then she finds out that they didn't meet by chance, he planned it because he is looking for his biological sister and she may or may not be it?!? Then she kills him."
Natalie: "What?! No! No incest!"
Me (in a last ditch effort): "Okay, I've got it! He's a recovering meth addict!"
Natalie: "No, Angela! We're supposed to like him!"

Clearly, I have issues...anyway, here it is:

On a particularly lovely April morning, love found Maribeth Hoyt as she stood unsuspecting beneath a broken umbrella waiting for the bus that would take her to the restaurant that employed her as their associate manager. The moment was lost on her initially, as she was busy lamenting the ruination of her new heels, now standing in a puddle the size of Canada that would, she was sure, prove to be much deeper in the middle. For a second, she imagined that the water would swallow her up, closing over her head for a count of eternity when she tried to board the bus and feed the correct change into the correct slot with cold, wet fingers. Overwhelmed by the thought, Maribeth did not notice that the bus had arrived and the other passengers begun to stream toward the open doors until she felt a hand close over hers, and the handle of the umbrella she held.

Instinct caused her to pull away from this intrusion, until she found herself staring into the face of a man that she’d never met before that looked, on top of amused in the area of his eyes and grim around the mouth, like he knew things about her that she’d never even admitted to herself.

"This is garbage." He said matter-of-factly as he twisted her functionless rain gear out of her fingers so quickly and deftly that if he hadn’t addressed her, he could’ve made the switch (for that is what he had just done she realized) without her being any-the-wiser. The umbrella that her fingers now curled around was of a much higher quality than she was accustomed to. "Oh no, I couldn’t!" Maribeth tried to laugh, but her breath caught when he turned her masterfully and, with a hand at the small of her back, marched her through the puddle-of-death and up the steep corrugated steps of the bus, paying for both of their fares effortlessly, with one hand and no counting or groans of impatience from the peanut gallery. "You can give it back to me tomorrow if it’s stopped raining. The umbrella, not the change. No arguing." Maribeth tried to summon the outrage that came so easily to the heroines in romance novels but could only gape and then blush when he winked at her. He looks slick, she thought, but in a really appealing way.

The next morning, he met her at the bus-stop. Handing her one of two insulated cups from Starbucks, he took a sip of his own coffee before accepting the umbrella that she held out to him. He tucked it under his arm before assisting her up the steps with a hand on her elbow, again paying her fare and sitting reassuringly beside her before winking as she got off at her stop at the restaurant.

"What’s this guy’s name?" Denise demanded, standing in the closet that the restaurant boasted as its office. Denise’s hair was currently red and worn in a spiked fan at the back of her head, held in place by bright lacquered chop-sticks. She wore a skin tight black t-shirt with the store’s logo on it, a black denim mini skirt, and rainbow striped tights along with her steel toed work boots and air-brushed acrylic claws that were currently brandishing a gleaming spat for emphasis.

"How in God’s name do you cook with those damn things and where is your hairnet?" Maribeth asked for the millionth time, and smiled to herself as she sat back to appreciate Denise's ability to escalate.

"I told you, these nails are…stop evading the question! Seriously, spill it! Where did you meet him, what’s his name, and when do we get to meet him?"

"And I told you, ‘at the bus stop, I don’t know and shortly after never! Break’s over, Niecy."

Denise narrowed her eyes and pointed a talon in Maribeth’s direction. "Well that’s just fine. You just remember that while you’re back here playing with inventory and schedules, I’m going to be informing the girls up front and I swear in the name of Prince and the Revolution that I will get the details from you eventually and eviscerate this guy if he harms one boring hair on your head. He sounds like a total psycho, take it from a girl who knows!"

Maribeth raised a hand self-consciously to the mahogany chignon she preferred for work as Denise stomped toward the cook’s line . Her hair was too coarse, too curly to be given free reign while at work. Soon she would be finishing up morning numbers and calling them in to her regional manager and then heading to the floor, where she would likely find herself carrying at least a few trays on her shoulder out to tables before making rounds to the guests and letting the servers go one by one as the day went on. She glanced at the right shoulder of her new suit jacket ruefully, resigning herself to the likelihood of scorch marks from the trays before the day was out, thinking for the thousandth time that the company should either allow uniforms or offer a clothing allowance in addition to management’s meager salary.

By the time Maribeth made it to the front of the house, breakfast was in full swing. Servers swung in and out of the pantry, twirling through like modern dancers in a careful ballet to choruses of "Food up!" "Tray in!" and "Behind you!" Maribeth watched a server named Julie swipe a fry from a plate that showcased a gigantic omelet. "I’m starving!" Julie grinned. "Knock it off or I’ll break your fingers!" Maribeth smiled back, "Now get this food out of my window!" "You know you love me!" Julie sang as she carried the tray as big as she was out the door like it weighed no more than a feather. "And that will be the death of me!" Maribeth quipped.

Hours later, exhausted and trying to talk herself into being enthusiastic for the remaining three hours of her ten hour shift, Maribeth gamely tried to count down the drawers from the morning while her assistant manager smoked a cigarette and grilled her. "So basically what you’re saying is that you don’t know this guy from Adam, and that he could, for all you know, conceivably be a mass-murderer learning your typical movements before snatching and killing you." At this point in the conversation, Sarah offered her boss and friend a cigarette, eyes laughing as she watched Maribeth’s internal war with good and evil.

"Sixty, eighty, hundred, knock-it-off-I-quit-smoking, one twenty, one forty.."

"Is he hot?"

"One six…" Maribeth looked up, "Gorgeous. Mysterious. Exciting. Which is a problem, because as you know I am average, ordinary, and boring. This is the kind of thing that happens to Denise, which is why we need her. So we can live vicariously through her while the rest of us go home to an empty apartment and a cat or a husband and several children that need to be fed, the irony of which should not be lost on you. Now I need you up front, and I need to count this drawer so that I can make the deposit and take your place up front, thereby allowing you to go home. Or is that not the goal?" Maribeth stared at Sarah’s little face pointedly.

"We’re not done talking about this, and you are not ordinary and boring you are sneaky and scary smart, which is why we’re all so worried that you’re being so dumb about this. It’s almost as bad as flying to Alabama to meet someone that you met over the Internet. We do not approve." And then as Maribeth resumed counting, Sarah leaned in to whisper, "Seven, fifty-two, eleven!" before scooting out on a laugh as Maribeth gave a deep sigh and started counting over.


Cade Nelson pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot, turned off the engine to his car and wondered why the hell he had driven here after the bus had dropped him off near the park-n-ride. So what if she hadn’t been on the bus for the ride home. What if she had only headed into this restaurant for breakfast these last few days before going to work somewhere else nearby? Why hadn’t he at least gotten her name? He sighed and started the ignition, and then turned it off again. He’d been trying to play this cool. Having learned early on that if you said as little as possible and looked agreeable, most people, good people, when left to determine whether they liked you or not generally decided to like you on very little evidence. He figured that it was because they could imagine that he thought the same things that they thought, which he sometimes did. The stutter and speech impediment of his early years were long gone, but the lessons he’d learned to cope back then were more than useful all the way up to the here and now. What the hell. Worst case scenario he could eat a dinner that he didn’t have to make himself.

"Omigod, omigod!" teenaged server Emily burst into the office as Maribeth zipped the deposit bag closed and slipped one arm into her red overcoat. "There is a really cute guy asking for you at the register!"
"Me me, or manager me?" Maribeth asked, trying to prepare herself for the worst, like being yelled at for forty-five minutes over a serving of lukewarm corn.
"Neither!" Emily crowed. "He described you. He asked if you were a regular customer or an employee. Sarah’s giving him the standard, ‘We can’t give out information about our employees’ spiel! Get out there!"

Maribeth fought the urge to bolt down the hall, telling herself, "It isn’t him. Who else would it be?! No, it isn’t him." Reaching the front counter she asked Sarah, "Did someone ask for me?"
"Uh-huh!" Sarah’s arms were folded and she nodded to the table she’d sat last. "Mystery Bus Guy?"
"Mystery Bus Guy." Maribeth realized that she was fighting for breath only when Sarah slapped her hard between the shoulder blades. She could just turn and walk away, she thought, and as if he’d heard her, Mystery Bus Guy lifted his handsome head from the shadow of his folded menu, met her eyes and half rose to his feet. "Excuse me," Maribeth reached for a normal voice before turning on her heel and clipping back into the pantry.

"How did he describe me?" she asked Emily who was even now half over the cook’s window relaying details to Denise. Shit.

"Really pretty girl who only wears black, white and red. Marginally prepared for disaster." Emily’s wide mouth managed to look mocking while her eyes sold innocence.

"He did not say that!"

"I swear to my mother!" Behind Emily Denise’s face looked like a thundercloud, and Maribeth could hear her acrylic nails tapping menacingly against the cutting board.

"Em, get back on the floor! Denise…" Maribeth tried to think of something managerial to say and then decided against it. Denise was one of the few that never needed babysitting. She always did her job and Maribeth considered her a dear, personal friend. Besides, she didn’t believe in being bossy for the hell of it. "Neicy, don’t look like that!" Maribeth scooped up a carafe of coffee and two mugs in one hand, a dish of creamer and 2 small glasses of water in the other. The familiar weight of the drinks on her hands steadied her. "I’ve still got it." She murmured to herself before heading toward her mystery man and some answers.

Cade felt himself vibrating in his seat as he watched her speak briefly to the tiny woman at the register and disappear back into the unknown bowels of the restaurant, only to appear minutes later, hands full and headed his way. She walked…efficiently, he decided. She seemed different here than she had during their short acquaintance on the city bus, more deliberate, less anxious. It suited her, he decided. He appreciated facets. He smiled as she slid a coffee cup his way, poured it half full and then set the cream and ice water in front of him as well.

"So now I get to buy you coffee," Maribeth announced in what she hoped were round, dulcet, non-insane tones. He nodded sagely, silently. Well, fine. Two could play at that game. Maribeth took a sip of hot black coffee, telling herself that it would weaken her position were she to fuss with little packets of sugar and non-dairy creamer. Rather than grimace at the bitterness of the strong brew that her patrons either loved or hated, Maribeth watched his face over the edge of her thick white cup. Finding his eyes steady on hers, she set down her coffee and laughed softly.


"I feel like we’re playing a game of mirror gone bad. Did you play that game as a kid? You know, I raise a hand and you copy?" Maribeth mimed several exaggerated movements for him to demonstrate.

Smiling, Cade ran a hand though his hair. "Uh, no, I didn’t play that game, but I think I know what you mean. What is your name, Umbrella Girl?"

"Ah. Now we’re getting somewhere. Maribeth." She slid her right hand toward him for a handshake and wasn’t too surprised when he held it instead. Pulling her hand from his, Maribeth added with a definite edge to her voice, "Do you have a name, or should I just call you ‘Stalker’?"

Hiding the alarm he felt, Mystery Bus Guy asked, "Is that something you have to worry about often?" He meant it as a joke and was surprised at how serious his voice sounded.

"Only once." Maribeth shrugged.

"You’re kidding."

"No, no kidding. A boyfriend of mine had a friend that didn’t understand…boundaries. After my boyfriend went to college, I’d just turn around and he’d be there. At the grocery store. At the library. At my college dorm. He drove right onto the lawn at my parents place and got out of the car with a huge vase full of roses, a big smile on his wide-open face. He scared the hell out of me. Luckily, my dad scared the hell out of him and that was that."

"Christ. I’m Cade, and I promise not to stalk you."

"Fair enough." Maribeth took another shot of caffeine and noticed Denise coming toward them. "Danger, Will Robinson! This girl’s always loaded for bear."

Cade looked to see a young fury bearing down on them and had just enough time to recall one stanza of the wicked witch of the west theme before she was upon them, sliding smoothly into the booth beside Maribeth, displacing her with apparently little to no effort. The baby-faced medusa bared her teeth at him in a flash of pseudo-friendliness before speaking in a dangerously sweet sing-song, "I’m Denise. Who are you and where do you live?"
Maribeth wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. So much for a beautiful, mysterious romance.

"Denise! You don’t have to answer that, Cade. Denise, what are you doing here?"

"Checking with you before clocking out, of course." Maribeth narrowed her eyes, as both women knew full well that this was something neither of them had bothered with once they’d determined the other to be trustworthy. "Seriously. Steve came in late so I need your key card to authorize being on the clock past my scheduled time out. As for you, I suggest that you do answer my questions. Less painful that way, you know. That is, unless you enjoy having a hostile chaperone while attempting to get the girl." Maribeth shook her head ruefully and made a small strangled sound.

"Cade Nelson." Cade reached into the inner pocket of his suit jacket and handed Denise a business card. "There’s my work address and phone as well as home phone, cell and email address. Maribeth, " he handed her a second card, "you should have at least as much information as our friend Denise."

Satisfied that she had enough information to give to the police should Maribeth turn up missing, Denise reverted to her usual darling self and said goodbye.

"I don’t suppose there’s any point in asking you to dinner." Cade smiled at Maribeth ruefully.

"No, but you can stay and have dinner while I run to the bank before it closes. If you want to stay until eight we can take the bus together."

"Actually, I brought my car. I usually drive my car into the city and then park it and take the bus. That’s why I’m here, really. I hadn’t realized that I was looking forward to seeing you until you weren’t there tonight. I’d seen you head this way the last few days when you got off of the bus and so…I could drive you home when you’re done with your shift if that’s okay with you."

Maribeth thought for a moment and then decided that if this guy was going to break her heart, he would at the very least be a very good time up until that point. It had been a too long since her last very good time. "Deal!" She stood and reached out a hand for a menu from the dinner hostess just coming onto the evening shift. "Dinner’s on me," she said, and felt a curl of anticipation twist low in her belly. "I’ll be back."

For more creative writing spins, visit Jen at Sprite's Keeper!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cute Kid Interview Meme That I Hijacked From Jen@Coconutbelly

I asked the kids seperately, and was surprised by how similar their answers were:

1. What is something mom always says to you?

Winter: "Rise and Shine!"

West: "Um, behave?"

2. What makes mom happy?

Winter: "Flowers."

West: "Um, gardening with me?"

3. What makes mom sad?

Winter: "When I don't sift the cat litter."

West: "Um, me not paying attention? Me not spending time with you."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Winter: "Dun-hammm, dot com!"

West: "Um, doing silly things like going, 'Doing!' (rolls eyes)."

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Winter: "Older. The oldest."

West: "Uh, Pokemon? You was silly? Uh, mom, I really don' know!"

6. How old is your mom?

Winter: "36."

West: "32. I learned that from Sissy."

7. How tall is your mom?

Winter: "Good question. Taller than I am just by a bit."

West: "42 inches."

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Winter: "Garden."

West: "Um, garden! Plants."

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

Winter: "Sleep."

West: "Um, I, you, come to me or I come to you?"

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Winter: "World's Best Gardener."

West: "Um, you will be famous for having your own garden store?"

11. What is your mom really good at?

Winter: "Reading! and gardening."

West: "You're really good at...singing?"

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Winter: "Um, singing the theme song for 'Tokyo Mew Mew'."

West: "Um, you're not very good at doing magic?"

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Winter: "Go to Nana's and help clean."

West: "Um, she gets money? She pays money!"

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

Winter: "Ummm, hm. Good question. I really don't know. How about...pierogies?"

West: "Um, lasagna?"

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Winter: "That she cares and loves me."

West: "Um, proud...proud...proud...getting a new toy for me."

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Winter: "Probably not the road-runner, I can tell you that! Serena's mom Ikuko (from Sailor Moon) Actually Usagi's mom. Usagi means "moon rabbit."

West: "You would be uh, Garfield or um, Nermal."

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Winter: "Watch movies, garden, cook."

West: "Um, we garden?"

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Winter: "We both have brown hair, glasses, brown eyes, and we're both tall."

West: "We both have brown eyes, we both have the same color hair (he's blond-lol!) and we like to sit together in your chair. We're not the same tall, I'm only twenty inches and you're twenty-nine inches."

19. How are you and your mom different?

Winter: "I'm ten, she's thirty-six, I mean thirty-two!"

West: "I dunno."

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Winter: "Easy, she always says!"

West: "That's easy. You always say so!"

21. What chore does mommy not like to do?

Winter: "Do the cat litter, clean."

West: "I just want to skip this question."

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?

Winter: "Hunh. A flower nursery."

West: "Uh, go buy a flower. I mean buy some."

23. How do you know mommy loves daddy?

Winter: "Easy, she always says!"

West: "You always say so!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Paddy Cake


I hate the power cord for my laptop! The stupid thing keeps falling out and I keep shoving it back in and no amount of swearing corrects the problem. I've considered making it snugger (it's a word, shut-up!) by placing aluminum foil on it like 40 gazillion times but then I remember that I'm pretending to be classier than that.

Yes, Katie is my dog. She does super cute things like hoover up dropped fruit snacks at the speed of light and crawl into pillowcases to nap, but she also does things like show me how dumb I was to push the dining room table against the back of the couch (by walking along the back of the couch and onto the table at dinnertime.) Also, she would sell me up the river in exchange for any processed meat-product in a heartbeat. Really. She is a Processed Meat Whore.

Unassembling, washing and reassembling car seats is a pain in the ass! Also, cleaning a car seat + giving your toddler chocolate ice cream in the van the very next day = STOOPID.

WTF is wrong with Culver's?! How hard is it to add the words "Custard:" and "Entree:" to their billboards? Grosses me out every time I see them...

I am not convinced that Half Price Books saves me money. I used to think that I just bought twice as much, but yesterday I took the kids there and only allowed one book for each of us. Fifty dollars later, I'd like someone to 'splain this to me, Lucy!

The warm weather has resurrected the feral gardener in me. It is taking all of my power as we speak (as I type?) NOT to start my plants indoors. It's TOO EARLY here, even if all the seed packets and websites say otherwise.

Am I the only one who can't resist buying new cleaning products and is then shocked that they don't actually unpack and apply themselves? Because I am disappointed, every time.

I got my kids St. Patrick's Day bug-style head bands (shamrocks on top that say, "Kiss me, I'm Irish!") West, who is just learning to read out loud, said, "Kiss my...thingy?" I'm going to put green dye in my husband's beer and call it a day.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! You Sham-ROCK! (I'm so sorry, I just couldn't help myself!)

For more festive random posts visit Keely. Do it. Now. I'll wait here...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spin Cycle: Exit, Stage Left...

In the spring of 1994, I was just shy of turning 18 and had been anorexic on-and-off for 6 years. All seniors at the Arts High were required to complete a "senior project", so in addition to academics, senior class theater rehearsal and daily out-patient treatment at the University of Minnesota, I had agreed to be in a musical directed by my dear friend David.

By that point, I had reduced my intake to 6oz of water a week, which I used to take either a box of diuretics or a box of laxatives (I alternated every other week.) I remember throwing up the blue dye from the pills and mornings spent crawling to the bathroom in order to pull myself into a hot tub , the only thing that helped the pain. My dad told me that several doctors instructed him to start choosing a casket. Nice, huh?

The day before the first performance of David's show, I had some sugar-free jello. You know, for energy. When the time came, I stepped onstage and sang and danced my heart out, until a segue halfway through the show where the cast turned it's back to the audience and sang while a video montage played overhead. To relay what happened next, I must rely on the accounts of friends and family to round out the few details that I remember:

When we lined up, I stood next to my best friend and room-mate Kristen. In that moment, I knew that I was not okay but had only a split second to think, "Oh, shit." before the world swooped around me. As I lost consciousness, I reached for Kristy and my hand slid into her back pocket before I fell off of the stage and into the orchestra, almost taking her down with me. I'm told that my mother came flying up the aisle from the audience before anyone else realised what was happening, and that she just missed catching me. As it happened, I took out the percussion section and my mother caused further destruction on her way to my side.

I remember crawling toward the lights beneath the stage and hearing my mother screaming my name. She says that she yelled for someone to call 911 as she shook me, held my face in her hands, tried to get me to respond. I remember a flash of Kristen's face as she ran alongside the gurney as the EMTs rolled me to the ambulance. I pressed her hand in mine and made her promise to sing my part for me. (Incidentally, my solo in that show began, "Can your God love me? My life of such debris, this mess of my own making?" Scarily fitting...) I remember drifting in and out while the guy EMTs discussed how I was probably just a dumb pregnant slut. (Really?! Assholes.)

At the hospital, tests showed that my white blood count was so low the doctor said that by all rights I shouldn't have survived, and my blood pressure was that of an infant's. They pumped me full of fluids via an iv before sending me home to sleep it off in my mother's bed. Someone (my mother? my boyfriend Ryan?) talked me into eating some kind of cream soup and...happily ever after.

Years later, as I reminisced with my mom and a friend that was in the audience that fateful night, I mentioned crawling under stage toward the lights. When they exchanged a look, I asked, "What?!" It was then that my mother told me what she hadn't been able to tell me at the time: namely that there were no lights under the stage. Good news, everyone! Dying doesn't hurt. Good news! I grew up, I healed, I survived.

For more survival spins, visit Jen at Sprite's Keeper.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: PBS is trying to tell me something...

I smoked my first cigarette in over three years at my mother's last night. (I know, I know! Don't start.) The thing is that by my fourth drag the migraine that I've been fighting for 3 days didn't hurt at all! Which just goes to prove that no good deed goes unpunished and only the good die young.

I made hard-boiled eggs this morning, and as I was shelling (de-shelling?) them, my daughter said, "Aw! I wanna peel them!" I told her no, I was peeling them, go eat. I then proceeded to mangle each and every one of the remaining eggs. Figures.

I have a terrible weakness for baby jade plants. I bought another one yesterday, but happily my husband cannot possibly notice the new addition nestled amidst my indoor jungle. (He doesn't read my blog, so I'm safe!)

Dear Katie,
I know that it's cold and wet outside, but if you pee in the kitchen one more time, Daddy just may punt you! He loves you, but you are roughly the size of a football, so I wouldn't chance it. (As for me, all I have to say is, "Thank you, thank you for peeing on the tile!" Sometimes good enough is good enough.)

My littlest sister just had her ultrasound yesterday and she's having a boy!!! My BFF Teressa is also expecting, so I'm having a Marisa Tomei moment or twelve. ("My biological clock is tickin' like this!") I tried to convince my husband that one more little baby really wouldn't be much trouble at all, but he said, "No! That's another 18 years of parenting!" so I said, "No it isn't! It's only an extra two years (our youngest is two), and if we kick the fourth kid out at 16, it'll work out fine!" He said that he might actually consider it if he thought for a second that I would allow that...the tables are starting to turn. Excellent.

I am totally useless today. I'm off work, and SITS is throwing it's Spring Fling (literally hundreds of giveaways, check it out!) I am hosting my first blog giveaway, too, so go enter (you know you wanna!) Is it really that wrong of me to leave PBS on all morning? Also, am I the only one that is concerned by the fact that Sesame Street could, at any time, decide to brain-wash our children and we would never know because we've been lulled into complacence by twenty-some years of award-winning programing? I'm just sayin'...

I really should figure out what day Easter is this year, hunh?

I can't find my W-4 forms, but I did find a bumper sticker that I bought myself awhile back. It says, "You're wrong for thinking I'm wrong...so that makes you wrong twice!"

Jesse and I watched a PBS documentary called Alone in the Wilderness the other night. We'd seen it once before a few years ago and it just blows my mind. Basically, in the 60's, this guy named Dick Proenneke hiked into Alaska's untouched country and built himself a log cabin. By himself. With no power tools. In ten days. Srsly. I now have absolutely no excuse for not getting things accomplished.

I had a bunch of random thoughts that I'd planned on posting as I drifted off to sleep last night, but they elude me now...for more randomy randomness, visit Keely at the UnMom!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome to my SITS Spring Fling giveaway!

UPDATE! THE WINNERS ARE (drumroll, please!):
For the coveted purse set: Sassypants Wifey!
For the book/journal set: Just A Chic!
For the scrapbooking set: Dee!
(How I determined the winners: I listed all applicants, in order, for the set the applicant requested. I then added new and old followers to the appropriate list(s). Last, I hopped over to Random.org and generated a random number for each giveaway item. Voila'! Congratulations to the winners! I will be contacting each of the winners in order to get the information needed to mail the prizes out. Winners have until 10pm Friday to respond, after which I will be forced to generate a new winner.)

So here's the thing: SITS is having it's Spring Fling today! They are giving away prizes every hour, so head over there and comment on their roll call and check out the blogs of the AWESOME SITStas over there and all of their giveaways! But not yet-lol! Stay and gimme a little love first! (I am stupid excited about this, because having a giveaway makes me feel like a real blogger that knows what she's doing! If you've ever checked out my blog, you know that isn't true, but if you're willing to suspend belief so am I!)

First up, we have a beautiful set of Victoria Robert's purses! Since they have a paisley pattern, they just aren't my bag, baby...but they can be your bags!

Next we have an awesome bookish set: The new Laurell K. Hamilton hardcover Blood Noir, a black "Anything Book" journal and two sets of twelve book labels.

Last, but not least, a darling scrapbook with ten gender-neutral pages and a cute footprint kit to preserve baby's tiny toes!

To enter my giveaway, simply leave a comment telling me why you need the set that you want. (Originality totally counts!) For a second entry, follow my blog! (If you already follow my blog a) I heart you in your face and 2) you automatically get one entry for each item.) Be sure to enter your email address into the comment form so that I can send you an email if you win! (Winners will be determined by 10am Wednesday the 11th.) Good luck!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quotable Sunday: Kindness

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~The Dalai Lama

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~Mother Teresa

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spin Cycle: Adventures in Babysitting

Does anyone else remember this movie?! It came out in 1987, so I must have been at least 12 when I saw it (on VHS) for the first time. Yesterday's (okay, this morning's!) post had me copy-and-pasting embed codes like a mad-woman, so I can't help myself: I'm including some of my favorite scenes in this post (and then I'll stop adding a ton of video to my posts. Honest. You, however, can watch all of Adventures in Babysitting, parts 1-10, on YouTube if you wanna!) I highly recommend watching it with your favorite preteen! I remember the adolescent thrill I got when a pre-Leaving Las Vegas Elisabeth Shue cried, "Don't FUCK...with the babysitter!" Brad, his pervy friend Darrell and the cutie little girl, the boyfriend's vanity plates proclaiming him, "Soooo cool!" Thor, God of Thunder! Brenda without her glasses at the bus station mistaking a rat for a kitten?! Awesome, awesome, awesome! For more adventures, visit my pal Jen at Sprite's Keeper!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love Thursday: I Love Lucy

I love Lucille Ball. She didn't have to be a comedienne. She was absolutely beautiful!

Unbelievably glamourous,

but chose to make us laugh! Happy (Belated) Love Thursday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Hedgehog

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: A Rainbow of Ineptitude

My toddler grew overnight. Srsly, he climbed into bed with me this morning and he was bigger, and definitely speaking more clearly. I need another baby, now.

You'd think I wouldn't be able to say a lot about soup (but you'd be wrong.) Last night I came home from work late feeling clammy and sickish, so I stood at the bottom of the stairs and told my husband that I was going to go straight to bed. He looked at me and said, "You haven't eaten. You need to eat first." He knows me too damn well. I agreed to a bowl of soup, mostly because I figured soup would be better than a Lean Pocket if I tossed my cookies. That guy heated up my favorite soup (Campbell's Italian Wedding) which I love for more reasons than the fact that it has the word "Italian" in it. It has spinach and little meatballs and teeny pasta thingies and I didn't even hurl-points for me! My littlest guy LOVES soup, which is a surprise because his siblings won't touch it-mostly because it's easy to make and has more than one discernable ingredient, I think.

I'm a sucky mom. I feel like hell, and kept my daughter home from school today because a) she said that her bruised arm hurts b) I was too sick to roll out of bed on time and c) I really like her and miss her when she's gone.

Whoever invented, manufactured, marketed, distributed and sold these farking Sesame Street K-nex needs to rot forever in a pit full of hellfire and damnation. My son is completely obsessed with the damn things, and screams like a mental case every time his creation falls to pieces, which is like, every 1.6 minutes. Kill me now.

Spring Hill and Breck's sent me their gardening catalogs, which is terrible because I promised myself last fall that I was only going to buy three plants this spring: this one and this one and this one. Breck's is offering 3 free Switzerland Begonias in a wooden wheelbarrow with ANY PURCHASE! Bastards. Speaking of wooden wheelbarrows, these are NEVER okay. Along with artfully arranged old rusty farming machinery and wagon wheels leaning against boulders, that shit just needs to go. Ditto for half barrels "spilling" petunias. If your landscape sports any of these things do not pass go, do not collect a hundred dollars, just get outside and burn that shit! You'll thank me later. You're welcome.

My daughter wants to type her story and my son wants to play Spore. Clearly, this supercedes my right to blog (to hear them tell it, anyway-lol!) For more randomness, visit my coolin' pal Keely at The Unmom!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday's Muse: My Bella Figlia

When you're raising a bunch of little artists, you tend to find lots of little drawings and notebooks full of elaborate storyboards lying around. This week, I commissioned a piece from my greatest creative inspiration-my beautiful daughter, Winter. Here is her take on my extended bloglessness, due to a computer virus and then connectivity problems (I'm so glad to be back!) Kudos to my husband and our pal Lucas for breathing life back into my pretty pink laptop-I love you guys!

For more creative inspiration, visit Monday's Muse!