Thursday, September 27, 2007

Packing List for Chick Trip

Tomorrow evening I'm heading up north for a girl's scrapbooking weekend. Everyone shares responsibility for meals, and because of That One Time (Okay, those VERY FEW times) that I just happened to fill the cottage up with smoke in my attempts to make French Toast, I am in charge of "other." Here is what I have ready:

2 Rental Movies: "Evening" and "Music and Lyrics." Chick Flicks. There will also be the full series of SATC. We have been known to just put "Bridget Jones Diary" in and let it repeat in a continuous loop, but it's time for something new.

Ho-Ho's. Hostess brand, not the Little Debbie kind that I picked up once when I was in a rush, and will now forever be know as "Faux Ho's." Also Raspberry Milano Cookies, Gihardelli Mint Chocolates, and frozen turtle cookie dough.

Kettle flavor popcorn, Garlic Hommous, Salsa, and Chips.

Frozen Pizza Rolls


Margarita Mix

Oprah Magazine

Paper plates and napkins. I went with a red-and-white checkered theme. No one wants to do dishes.

Plus my clothes and gaint roller-luggage of scrapbooking supplies, ready to go.

I'm looking forward to a fun weekend. I hope you have a good one too!


We had a nice time, and I got a lot of pages done. I brought too much food (possible oxymoron?) and those two movies were BAD. I still don't understand why the nurse was wearing that white party dress. But it's always great to get away, and have fun being with the girls.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Cheater and a Thief

I decided to go shopping. I really needed to get some new clothes for work. I didn't get enough the first time and I've found that when I don't like what I have on, it really affects my attitude about the day. The only problem is that I'm just not a very good shopper. I don't have the natural knack for it like Mary Beth or Susie, and I'm also hard to fit, my proportions never seem to match up to whatever they had in mind when they constructed the clothes. And I don't put outfits together very well. What I think is a great "tweedy look" has been described by my helpful friends as "Miss Jane Hathaway." If there was some kind of service where I could just sign up to have perfectly fitting, in-style and appropriate clothing delivered straight to my mailbox every season I'd do that and skip the stores altogether.

I had mentioned to Mary Beth on the phone that I was thinking about going to Parisian on Saturday. After we hung up the phone rang and it was her again, making sure I knew that they were having a sale event where you get extra discounts if you bring in items to donate to Goodwill. She would have felt bad if she had let me go to the store without knowing this.

So I went down to the basement where I knew we had a bag of stuff that I set aside for our next donation. A lot of it was old sweatpants that really should have just been turned into rags. I wasn't sure how this was going to work, walking into a fancy store full of beautiful things with some old stuff and then saving money on new stuff. And what was going to happen when I got there, would one of those manicured sales ladies inspect my goods and then decide if they were discount worthy? Nervously I decided on quality over quantity and selected a polo shirt of Larry's that was still very nice, a pair of never-worn brightly colored slipper-socks that had been taking up all the room in my sock drawer, and a pair of expensive-looking black shoes that Becky had passed along to me because they fit her weird, and they didn't fit me right either. I put them into a bag and headed out to shop.

When I got to the store there was a lady at a table. I held up my bag and she said "Do you have five items in there?" I said, "Well, kind of..." As I considered whether a PAIR of something was one item or two. She just handed me a pack of 5 coupons stapled together, and told me to put my bag into one of the giant bins behind me. So I flung the bag in without anyone seeing what what was in it. Five coupons for 20% off of an item. But I felt a little guilty about it.

Right near there was the jewelry counter. I picked out a pair of tiger-eye earrings and some gold hoops. Then I went upstairs and made the circle around the ladies clothing department two times, but didn't find anything I even wanted to try on. I went over to the children's area and picked up sweatshirts for the boys, on sale plus the coupon makes it a very good deal. Suddenly, loud music started playing and a pack of little girls with makeup and hairpieces leaped out of an area labeled "Libby Lu." They wore matching clothes and had little backpacks with something about shopping on them. A birthday party, I think. Then a saleslady led them in a little dance, something about shopping. "Pay attention girls," I thought, "or you'll turn out like me!" I followed the parade of them down the escalator, to the purse area.

I have had my purse for a couple of years, it is my best fashion purchase EVER. I got it at a purse party at Heather's. Alisa and Lynn came along and convinced me to buy it so we could do a buy 2 get one 1/2 off deal and split the savings. It is very cute. So cute that wherever I go, women off all types shout out at me "CUTE PURSE!" But now it's getting old, the fake designer label has fallen off and it's looking a little ragged. And it gapes open because it's not big enough for all my stuff. So I began shopping for a new one. I had to shuffle around the things I was holding so that I could weigh the different choices, trying to gage how heavy each would be without the stuffing but with all my contents. I finally settled on this one because even though there are buckles it is lightweight and there is this little LIGHT in there that goes on when you open it! Now that I had five items I started towards the register but when I looked at my things...there was only ONE gold hoop earring on the little holder card thing. I furtively placed it on a counter with some tags and employee type things.

So you probably guessed by now that when I got home and transferred the things from my old purse to my new one...there was that other gold hoop earring! NOW what am I supposed to do with it? Bringing it back to the store would be inconvenient and waste a lot of gas, and would they ever be able to match it with it's partner after a few days? Find a needy pirate with a pierced ear? Any one out there want it? Please advise, dear blog readers, I will do whatever you say is right.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Machine for any Gender

Now that I'm back at work it seems like there is so much less time leftover for everything else. But I'm trying to keep my priorities straight, and remember that quality time spent with my boys ranks highest. Except that they are getting to the ages where their top choices for things to do aren't inclined to involve their mother. So this morning, even though I was feeling, er, tired after a late night out celebrating Alisa's birthday, I was agreeable when Jeffrey woke me up and told me all about his idea for a special project we could do today.

Jeffrey told me that today we could go to the fabric store and get some of the fuzzy fabric that he saw when we were there several months ago. And then we could make a new bed for our little cat Missy. Okay, we can do that! Never mind that Missy already has 2 beds and there are giant piles of laundry and dirty floors and dishes all around, my little boy wants to spend time doing something with his Mommy so that's what we'll do.

I have so enjoyed having sons but when they were first born I had that pang of regret that I would never get to to all the girl things that mothers and daughters are supposed to do together. Like go to the fabric store to get materials for craft projects. I see them around, dressed nicely and shopping together, holding up items and remarking about how cute they are. And I think about how different that is from me hollering down the aisle at two boys who are trying to see how far they can coast the shopping cart with both of them standing on it. But strangely enough, they do like the fabric store. And if you think about it, it is a cool place, all these colorful bolts stacked high, every one different, and all the gizmos and gadgets and organizers and things to see, and the possibilities they all hold for a new creation yet to be assembled. And there's nothing that says you have to be female to appreciate that.

I think that I have become hyper-sensitive about making sexist assumptions from having to overcome so much of that throughout my career of trying to be accepted as an engineer at an auto company. I eventually had to face the fact that there I was in one of the most macho saturated industries striving against the hard held belief that to deserve to be there you need motor oil running through your veins instead of blood. And I did not grow up playing with little cars and tinkering under the hood of my first jalopy like all of them. I played with a my Barbie camper and tinkered with my sewing machine. So now I believe that while Corvette worship may be a predominantly male characteristic, mechanical ability isn't necessarily gender specific.

Which brings me back to the situation of my son's fascination with sewing. If they are not already conditioned to think that it is a thing for girls, then you can see why they would be attracted to this object that has a speed-control pedal, and makes a choppy noise, and comes with a nifty tool kit including lube oil and you can make stuff with it. So we found some fleece with cat heads on it, and spent a long time designing and constructing this fabulous creation. Some real quality time, meaning that we had fun and enjoyed each other's company doing something together.

And I go on being the mother of 2 boys, and everything that comes with that, and if I ever feel like I'm missing out on some special female activities, well, I can just go and put a tutu on the cat.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Melinda

I had to go to the ID Center to get my badge security changed so I can use the back door and that really good parking area. Only problem is, I hate that place. Ever since That One Time a couple of years ago when I was rushing around like a maniac like I always was and some security guard stopped me and threatened to confiscate my computer if I didn't go right to the ID center and get a number changed on my property pass. So I went right there even though I was in the mode of trying to do about eighteen tasks at once and simply couldn't get it all done no matter what and now this. So when I got there and they asked me for my paperwork I think I kind of went ballistic. Dagger eyes and maybe a few dagger words too. So I half expected to see my face on a WANTED poster on the wall when I got there.

This time I had an email that said all I needed to do was fill out an online form and then forward it to my boss and one other person and all would happen automatically. So I did that, and got a message back that said I still needed to go to the ID Center. So I printed the form and got them both to sign it, and then drove over to the dreaded center. (at least I get to go outside) And when I got there I told the security lady why I was there, and she swiped my card through her machine and then said; "You're already approved, you didn't need to come here!" I looked at her name plate, and saw that she was the person who had sent the message.

Then the most remarkable thing... "Oh well then! Thanks anyways!" I heard New Melinda saying. How very curious. New Melinda isn't a stressed out wreck and therefore can handle these things with grace. She has new shoes with little fish on them. I think I like her a lot! Let's hope she stays around.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What did I do?

Now that I've gotten through the first week (well, 3 day mini-week) of going to work, and the kids going back to school, things seem to be falling into place. In a lot of ways they seem to be going back to the way they were before. Which makes it seem like the last several months hardly even happened. What did I do all that time anyways? Sit around and look out at the lake? Whoops, retrospective amnesia. Do you ever get this? I went and looked at some of my old blogs to see what I had been up to while I was home. Scrapbooking is also helpful for this. Then I can look at the things we've done and say "Oh yeah, we do things, go places, have a happy life."

I sometimes get this way on a smaller scale. I was reading Amy's blog where she lists all of the things she did over labor day weekend. Boy she did a lot! Made me feel my life must be BORING in comparison. So I force myself to remember what I did do. OK so we went to the Peach Festival, and bike riding, and Becky came over, and we spent the day with the Franchi Family, and there was church, and Cale's Big Birthday Party, and out to dinner and to see a concert (Hootie and the Blowfish) with Lynn and Alisa. But she has a picture of Joel tile-ing their bathroom. I wish I had a husband who did stuff like that around the house. Oh, wait, didn't Larry spend the whole day Saturday on a ladder painting the exterior wood trim? I almost forgot about that.

Anyways, now that I've got a few days behind me I'm not nervous about going to work so much. I'm still nervous about whether the kids will be ok but that's always there. It was 90 degrees out this week so I had to wear some of my older clothes (the new stuff is too wintery) but I did wear the new shoes. I have been spending most of my time reading up on what they do in that department. My only complaint so far is that there isn't a window nearby that I can sometimes look out of. I have also connected with some of my good friends from engineering. Which is nice except for being reminded of things from the past that I had finally managed to NOT think about while I was off. (This is where the retroactive amnesia can come in handy) And the people in my new area have been incredibly welcoming. Well, maybe not incredible, they could simply be normal, but compared to when...wait! Never mind! It would be even handier if I could somehow selectively control my amnesia episodes!

So everything is fine, thanks again to all of you for you support with whatever it is I'm going through, it really does help, as always I feel grateful for the many wonderful people I have in my life. (I don't so easily forget that.) I have to go now, I have things to do, such as...go sit around and look at the lake!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A beginning...the End?

I had my first day of work today. It went fine. But last night I didn't really feel like I wanted to go. You know how it is when you are facing some big change that is about to happen. It's like standing at the edge of a diving board, looking down. You know you don't really want to jump. Because everything is all nice and dry, the way you like it, and after this it will be different. Wet. And what if it isn't good, and you can't do it, and water goes up your nose and you are miserable, and what if you get hurt, or sink, or smack into something? What if this is the last moment of happiness you will ever have and then everything is wrecked and it's too late? Then you jump and it's here and your alarm goes off and it's happening and there are bubbles coming out of your nose and you're rising to the surface, and then you know it's going to be ok, you can handle it, make it all work out, swim to the side, even do it again, drive home.

So now that my first day is over I feel better about it, the people seem nice and there was cake. (Someone was leaving the department that day.) I got her desk, and a piece of the cake. And if you know me at all you know how I am about cake.

Maybe I should stop the blog now, end of story, but I think I'll keep it going. It is my artistic expression. I won't be writing about the specifics of my job or the people there. And I'll have less time for this. But I hope you keep on checking in with me, and we'll find out what happens next.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


I got an official looking letter in the mail. I have been ordered to appear in court! From what I can tell, this has to do with the rollover accident that I witnessed a couple months ago. You know, the one where the only thing I noticed was the color of the truck that rolled over. But I did give my name and address to the cop who showed up. I suppose I should call the lawyers and tell them how useless I will be, but I have never been a witness before, and I'm kinda looking forward to the experience. (And I can wear my new suit)

I am fascinated with the legal process. I was called to jury duty several years ago and the case was rather pointless but I was enthralled with the drama of it being acted out before my eyes. And I liked the deliberating part. The jurors quickly elected ME their foreman, and then we all admitted that we wished someone would have screamed out You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth! And when I got to read off the verdict I wanted to say "Not-guilty-AMUNDO" but I didn't.

Even though my father was an attorney I have had very little exposure to courtroom drama. He never liked us to watch legal shows because he thought they were fake and that he didn't like to bring his work home into his house. (Although I have come to find out that in other families the kids didn't have to sign a contract regarding whose day it was to do the dishes.)

So my knowledge of the courtroom process has come from sitcoms and soap operas. Such as last month on General Hospital where Liz had to testify about what she was doing with Jason on the night that Alcazar was allegedly killed, which calls into question the paternity of baby Jake. Poor Lucky!

I doubt if any paternity secrets are going to be revealed in this car accident case, but if someone shows up in a neck brace I am going to throw my briefcase on the floor.

Objection! Sustained!