Monday, December 31, 2007

A Thought...

A Thought to start out the new year:

Why don't "empty" calories weigh less?

(No scientific answers, please. We no likey science here.)

Have a SAFE and FUN night!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reinventing the Wheel

Trying to make your 2008 Resolutions?

You could use the old stand-bys of "Lose weight, make more money" and the like. could resolve to make changes where they'll really matter to you.

One of my favorite People Who Don't Know I Exist, Kimberly Wilson of Hip Tranquil Chick fame, had this as a suggestion in her book, Hip Tranquil Chick. It's easy and eye-opening all at once.

Take this life wheel (or draw your own) and color in each section in relation to how satisfied you are with each element. For example, if you are partially satisfied with your career, partially fill up the section labeled "career." (I told you it was easy!)

Do it right now. I'll wait.

Mine looked like this:

I'm pretty well satisfied with my home life. There's always room for improvement in any situation, but as a whole, I am happy. Same goes for relationships, though I know I need more close relationships in my life.

My health, finances, creativity and spirituality all fall at about 50%. I haven't been eating very well or getting any exercise but I'm pretty healthy besides that. My finances need some work. And though an easy answer would be "MORE MONEY!" I know that if I really worked hard at it, I could arrange my finances better - but again, I'm not poor or even really hurting badly for money. My creativity. Hmm...has anyone else noticed a little dry spell around here lately? Though I love to blame lack of time for not posting, a lot of it was that I didn't have any of those "OMG! I have to write about this!" moments - the kind of moments that drive me to be creative despite my lacking time. And finally, Spirituality; I've talked about this before. I struggle with finding a place to call 'my own' that shares my ideals. No big surprise there.

Now those little measly green ones: Career and Self-Care. Obviously the areas that need the most improvement, they actually fell a spot from when I did the wheel the first time. I can't give them a zero, because my job is somewhat fulfilling. It's fulfilling my bank account, anyhow, and that's more than a lot of people have. And I do small things to make myself happy. Though this mostly includes eating cookies and that drags down Health.

Step two is to think of a few things you could do to improve your most low-rated areas. I'll be honest, this is not as easy as coloring. But it is the important part. They have to be things you can do RIGHT NOW. Unlike my rationalization that "Once I lose weight...then I can buy a nice dress...THEN I can start going to church." (I know! My way of thinking surprises even me sometimes.)

So, starting with those little green guys, here are my steps:
1. Get a hair cut. I've longed for a nice cut for over a year. I finally got a gift card (I guess that makes it only partially "Self" Care) to my favorite salon, so this will be easily accomplished. I know it will give me a better attitude when it comes to getting myself ready every day.
2. Practice Yoga more frequently. I'm always saying I'm going to do this and don't. But it always gets put off because I ENJOY IT and things enjoyed are always pushed behind things that are NOT enjoyed. The Rule Of Mommies, no?

Completing these steps would put SELF CARE at least to 50%.

1. Keep resume polished and keep looking for jobs - I've applied a couple places, but haven't put forth a full effort. Part of me is very scared to leave this job - I've taken it on as a large part of my identity. But the other part of me is scared to stay and just be "used to" being unhappy with my days.
2. Keep a happier attitude at work - Change your mind and change the world, right? You are only as unhappy as you tell yourself you are. Since I told myself this a few weeks back, I've made a big effort to deflect people's bad attitudes instead of absorbing them. It's working pretty well. And for the time being, it makes this job a whole heck of a lot better.

I can't guess how happy I'll be if and when I leave this job. The main part is going to be keeping up with #2 - despite my employer.

1. Eat healthier
2. Exercise more (Big DUH's, eh?)

1. Plan grocery list better so I'm not spending so much unnecessary money (geez, I can't believe the place I blow all my money is the GROCERY STORE! Blech! What kind of woman am I!?!?)
2. Pay bills on time. Avoid fees. Keep happy creditors. Win-Win.

1. Carry a notepad again so I can write down ideas when they strike
2. Follow through with crafty ideas. (In other words, instead of saving all that fabric, actually MAKE SOMETHING. Oooh. Bright Idea!)

1. Attend service at a church. Just one. To see how it goes. If it doesn't work out...
2. Attend service at another church.

Looks like Mid-February or so, I should have one magenta-filled Life Wheel! Or, maybe a tad longer.

I'm really anxious to find out what ratings your Life Wheel got. And...what you plan to do to raise them up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On Abusing Generosity

Due to the ever increasing workload lately, we’ve taken on some new employees.
The D’s each got a “new girl” to help with their work and I’ve been training in a rather gloomy, but pretty smart young guy on CAD.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the new girls. They really liven the plastic-lined (remember the flood?) place up. But today I came to a point where I don’t want to get to know one of them anymore.

See, both the new girls (I call them “girls” but they are both older than me) are African American. They are both from the city. They are both single mothers in college. However, one likes to talk about the books she reads while the other talks about the bootleg DVD’s she watched the night before (and she “got any one” I want. Only $5.). One talks about how she spoils her kid with love and attention and is glad that’s enough because Christmas is going to be tight this year. The other…well…that’s why I don’t want to know any more about her.

She likes to announce things to a quiet room. We’ll be silent, working, and she’ll blurt something out. This doesn’t really bother me much. But today she said, “I need to get me some Toys For Tots or something.” I looked at her. “I broke, man. Bah-Roke. I need to get my babay some toys.”

I went by her to talk to her about it. “The Salvation Army runs a program with Lite FM called ‘Operation Joy,’ I told her, “I bet they could help you.”

“Operation Joy. Yeah. I got their number and I called, but I didn’t get no answer.”

“Well, I volunteered in their offices last year and they have lots of people answering the phones all day, you should try again in a little bit. Otherwise, I know most counties hold some kind of program.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll do that.” she said.

Twenty minutes later, she blurted out, “You know on this ‘Cyber Monday;’ they estimate there was [a mass amount of money] spent!?!?”

“Wow.” I replied, mostly uninterested. Internet facts are her favorite thing to blurt out and I’m a tad bit irritated that she spends so much time on the internet while mine has been set “off limits.”

“Yeah, I got me a laptop for $250!” She said.

I stared. “Really? Where’d you find a deal like that?”


“Wow.” I said again, trying to contain my anger.

Here she is, spending her WORKING time on the internet and finding good-hearted people to buy her kid Christmas presents because she’s “Bah-Roke” after buying herself a fucking computer. I wonder how many of those “good-hearted citizens” got THEMSELVES a laptop on “Cyber Monday.”

I can tell you what. Not THIS one.

Now is NOT the time for me to meet people who can successfully destroy all faith I have in man kind. I do NOT need to be thinking when I take that afternoon off to do data entry for Operation Joy, “Gee, I wonder what they blew all THEIR money on that need to use this service.” I just DON’T.

So my solution is to not get to know her anymore. I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I have to. Because I just can’t know people who become stereotypical leaches on society. Other girl, however, I plan to get to know a LOT better. Because I could really use some empowered people in my life right now. Someone who will make me believe that there really are good people out there doing what they can and not asking for handouts. Someone who isn’t afraid to go without frivolity so she can plan a better life for herself. Someone who won’t make me feel like a fucking fool for giving up MY hard-earned vacation time to spend on programs on Operation Joy - or any other charity.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

1 Year Old

It's my first birthday all over again!

Except this time it's the Garden's birthday.

And I get to blow the candles out all by myself.

Honestly, I can't believe I've stuck with it this long.

If I hadn't made friends like you all, I probably wouldn't have.

So THANK YOU for being a friend. In a totally Golden Girls sorta way.

Here's to another year of bitching, soap box ranting, and random edjumacating.

And many mooooooooore.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This is probably why she claws my couch

Alternate title: I need to find better things to do with my time off work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Simple Request

Excuse me, Mr. Grosspants.

Mr. Grosspants of Aurora, Ontario, Canadia.

Mr. Grosspants with an IP Address of

Mr. Grosspants, who uses Aurora Cable Internet for their provider.

I just wanted to tell you: Please stop coming here.

It's obvious that you have some problems. Not only because of your search term (circled in red because I don't want MORE searches for it landing people here), but because of the fact that you are repeatedly coming back after having found me by searching for that term, when you should have been sadly and disgustingly disappointed.

You are creeping me out. You are making me scared for my kids. You are making me regret hosting a fun, informative and SUPPOSED-TO-BE innocent little blogging event. You are making me want to close this blog.

Again, not only because you are looking for that particular sort of thing, but because

So please. Just stop. Don't come back. At all. I will know if you do. And I will be pissed. And when I get pissed, I get vengeful. So just don't. Go about your sick little life somewhere else.
That is all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Search Me.

When time is tight, it's best to enlist help. The help of my READERS (or rather, random searchers that landed here expecting...something very different, I'm sure).

Brought to you via Statcounter, by request of Melissavina (it’s more than a one-liner, but generally the same idea, right?) and completely idea-pilfered from Cherann, The Effed Up Ways People Come Across My Blog:

"insane ways of torture" (Work for my company!)

"beautiful redneck wedding" (Trying to include tulle AND Nascar?)

"sexy gyno stories" "gyno fetish stories" "gyno play" "horror gyno pics" (The list goes on, I knew talking about my girly parts would bring in a bad crowd!)

"milf garden" (This is a new take on an old search, do they just grow right out of the ground now?)

"women who have three boobies" (Really? I've decided this searcher was about eight years old.)

"should pastors marry non-christians" (Sure...why not?) favorite:

"chocolate syrup bad for vagina?" (I'm no expert, but I would guess it is.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007


We had a water main bust at work, flooding out half of the offices. We are all working in stations set up in meeting rooms and the auditorium. Then on top of that, my boss just mandated 50 hours a week. I’m now seriously searching for a new job.

I need a break, guys. When it comes down to putting something on hold, I never wanted it to be my blogging. This keeps me sane. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. Like I have FRIENDS or something.

But in reality, my job and my family have to come first. Even though this job has gone from kinda crappy to almost unbearable (okay, not in terms of “well, they dig in mines all day” but in terms of “This is not the job I took four years ago”). But it is still what puts food in my family’s mouths and pays the mortgage. Until I find something that allows me just a little personal time, I have to give up the personal time I took here and just do the work. I have to do my best for the big faceless corporation. And family…well, I know you all get that. With an extra ten waking hours out of the house, my time with them is already limited enough.

This isn’t “Good-Bye,” just “See ya later.” I might find time to post here and there, but in case I don’t, I wanted to let you know that YES! I AM okay. I miss you all (you know I’m a whore for the comments – and by that I mean your comments keep me company and keep a smile on my face!) and I will try to stay caught up on your blogs.

I have the whole week of Thanksgiving off and I’m going to use that as my little beacon of hope to get me through it all.

I will also try to post some pictures from Halloween tonight.

So until next time…

Friday, October 26, 2007

On My Own

The song "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake is probably as cheezy of a song as you could pick for a "Life Soundrack." But if I were to sit down and figure out a soundtrack to my life, that song would pop up several times.

Every time I made a change in my life, I'd get in my car and turn on the radio and Whitesnake would be playing, "I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time. So here I go again."

It seemed so routine. I felt like it was a sign from God to keep me strong. I know, "Sign from God? On the radio? Take it easy, crazy lady!" That's not the point.

I had it down. I knew when my time somewhere was up. When the tension builds between you and the friend you're staying with or you find a piece of paper in your boyfriend's wallet that says Hot Blond - 612-555-9008, you pretty much know you need to be moving on. I could have everything I owned - anywhere I was staying - in my trunk in under twenty minutes. Then I'd hop in to take off and that song would play. And for some reason, it always made me feel better, like everything was going to be okay. Whether I'd left a cheating boyfriend, lost a friend in an argument or had another blowout with my mom - I knew I would be okay. Even when I didn't have anywhere to go, I knew I would be okay.

I guess that's why being on my own never scared me much. I'd left home at 17 out of what I saw as a necessity. My life after that - for four years - was a whirlwind of safe havens, crack houses and mirages of home. I did what was necessary to take care of myself and never really saw a reason to be afraid. Covering myself with my clothes so I could sleep in the backseat of my car, sleeping on disgusting carpet - whatever it took, I had the strength to get through it. I just always felt like the two people I trusted the most - God and myself - were on top of everything.

So while I do suppose I owe Whitesnake a good amount of gratitude for helping me through all those crazy years of my youth, I have a message for them:

Dear Whitesnake,

You wrote the song that kept me strong through every bad boyfriend, ill-fated friendship, job loss and family fued of my young adult life. Could you please write one for me now? Something rockin' with good guitar riffs and a catchy chorus about working too much and needing a vacation?

Thanks! Love you!

Forever Your Fan,

Amy of the Butrfly Garden (My Official Title)


This post was written for Novemberance's October Writing Project and is cross-posted in my Cre8Buzz blog.


Monday, October 22, 2007


I was driving down my street, slowing to turn into my driveway when I saw a pink streak zoom across the road in front of me.

When Sunshine realized I was turning in, she scooted her bike out of the way and waved.

“Sorry.” She said through my car window while pulling off her bike helmet.

“Sorry for what?” I replied.

“For parking in your way.” She didn’t understand where my sharpness had come from.

“Oh, I see. I thought maybe you were apologizing for racing across the road on your bike without checking for cars.”

She put on her “Busted” face.

“We’ve talked about this. This is your last warning. The next time I see you do something dangerous like that, I will take your bike away. I would rather you not have a bike than me not have you.”

“Okay.” She said, sounding a bit defeated. I felt bad for yelling at her as soon as I got home.

“Are you coming in?” I asked.

“No, I’m going to ride my bike a little more.”

“Okay – you just make sure you’re CAREFUL. It only takes a second to look for cars. You’re not too busy for that!”

I went in the house and started on dinner. The Man was downstairs playing games with Ninja Boy.

Twenty minutes later, the spaghetti was nearly done and I called my boys up and asked NB to call for his sister.

“She’s not out there.” He said a few minutes later.

This was not the first time she’s been late coming home. It was not the first time we called for her and she had gone out of hearing range (usually inside a friends’ house). I walked down our sidewalk and called both directions for her, then went in to eat.

“Well, her dinner will just be cold, then.” I said, trying to cover my anxiety.

We all ate. Then started to clean up dinner. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I shut of the water and threw on a sweatshirt. “I’m going to walk to the end of the block.” I called as I ran out the door.

I walked up the block, then back down to the other end. I peered around the houses to check the back yards. I looked for her bike hiding by bushes. I called her name.

Stopping back at home, The Man informed me that her bike was there the whole time. She had switched to her scooter. So we both walked, again, up and down the block searching for a sign of her.

I walked down to the park that, even though it is out of her “play area” in the neighborhood, is not too far for her to get to. No luck there. I walked back through the field where some kids take their bikes to “jump.” That was when the feeling flooded my body. I had fought it off, disguised it as anger, pretended it wasn’t there. But there it was, full on and fierce: fear.

I have an absurd knack for envisioning the worst situation possible. Not just thinking, “Oh, I hope THIS didn’t happen.” No. Perhaps it is due to all the graphic images my mind has taken in over the years, but I SEE the worst happening. My ‘visions’ come more when I’m driving, but they are never as bad as when I’m looking for my child in a vacant field.

What if someone snatched her? Just pulled up and grabbed her? What could she do??

What if they didn’t TAKE her, but just harmed her and left her somewhere? How would we ever find her?

I tried to shut it off. “That didn’t happen. She’s fine. She. Is. Fine.” I muttered to myself repeatedly.

I went back home and told The Man I couldn’t find her. He got in the car to patrol the neighborhood. He could see my lips quivering and told me to wait at the house in case she called.

I looked at Ninja Boy with desperation in my eyes and asked him if he would be willing to go door to door to check for her. He obliged.

I walked calmly in the house, into the bathroom. I closed the door, then fell to my knees sobbing.

“Please, God. PLEASE. Bring my girl home okay.” I cried over and over.

My crying was interrupted by Ninja Boy, who burst through the garage door yelling, “HERE SHE COMES!!!!”

I thanked The Lord, wiped my face and ran outside.

Sunshine met me with a smile. “Oh, no!” I cried, “Where WERE you!?”

“At…my…friend’s house.” She said meekly.

“What friend?”

“Um. My friend right down there.”

“So…you went to someone’s house that YOU don’t even know their name…and you thought that would be okay!?? You didn’t think we would be worried!?”

She didn’t know what to say. She knew she had done wrong.

“I’m not even going to yell at you because Daddy is very mad and I know he will.”

She sat, sullen, at the kitchen table. I put her plate in front of her and kissed her on the head. “I was very scared, doll. VERY scared. I didn’t know where you were and I was scared and upset. I love you so much.”

She got her Daddy Lecture, choked down her cold spaghetti and went straight to bed.

When I tucked her in later, she told me she was sorry she had scared me and “I’ll never do that again!”

“That’s good, baby, because I don’t think I could handle worrying about you like that again.”

But I know – I have eleven more years before she’ll venture off on her own. Eleven years – mostly teenage – during which she is going to forget to call or be she’ll be late getting home. During which she will get a driver’s license and go on dates. Trips with friends, sleepovers, lock-ins, parties and The Yet to Be Determined. And then she’s going to leave me to be a grown up and I’ll have a whole new mess of reasons to worry about her.

I think I had better trade up for a stronger heart.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Because I really should get some work done...

You can entertain yourselves with this...

Or this! (Thanks, Judy!!!)

Aren't I GORGEOUS??? I love me in cartoon!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Children...They're not so bad.

Over on "The" network for bloggers, Cre8buzz, I learned about something I had to participate in from Cable Girl. It's called Blog Action Day.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
It didn't even take a second thought to know what I wanted to write about: Kids.
The efforts we take today will mean very little if we don't teach our children why we do the things we do. It's easy to get caught up in just getting our tasks done and not stop to explain the "why's" and "how's" of daily life to our kids. But we have to remember that once these guys are on their own, they become the consumers of America. They become the people buying products and throwing them away. It's our job to teach our children how to take care of themselves - but it is also our job to teach them to take care of the place they live.

Getting them involved doesn't always seem easy. I try to get the kids involved with making our family sustainable without shoving it down their throats. I don't want them to resent recycling or composting, I want them to embrace it as the way they live and will continue to live their whole lives.

Mainly, I've done this by making them the honoree compost taker-outers. While I realize this is not a very cool job, I do what I can to make it cool, like needing it done when they are grounded or need to be getting ready for bed. I'm still working on a way to make taking the garbage and recycling out fun.

There are more subtle ways to pass a green attitude to your kids. (Seriously, peeps, it isn't that hard. You know me. Impossibly easy. Impossibly easy lifestyle changes, that is!)

Some ways I do it:

~I've stopped saying "Throw it away" as a blanket statement and replaced it with "Recycle it." I would say , "Go throw this away," assuming they would know that I meant for them to recycle it. Could I really blame them when their school papers ended up in the garbage? When I make a clear direction for it, they pick up on it. Now they ask me ifsomething is recyclable.

~I ask them for ideas. When we have a container that is going to be recycled or thrown away, I ask if they can think of something else to use it for first. They don't always think of a use for it, but at least I know I'm getting those wheels turning.

~I talk to them. I point out things that are eco-friendly and things that are not. I explain why for both reasons. I know that they know that trash doesn't disappear when the garbage man comes.

~I don't buy them everything they ask for. In fact, I hardly ever do. We too often (and I was so guilty of this until a couple years ago!) make purchases that we don't even need. A little toy here and there never hurt anyone...but that insanely plastic-filled package it came in will. I also let them know why we make these decisions - so they can take that knowledge and ask for something with less packaging remember it the next time they ask for a toy.

~I don't let trash rest outside. Whether it's in my yard or at the park I always make a point to pick up trash I see on the ground. Long-time readers may already know this, but my Sunshine has become quite the complainer when it comes to litterers. When she sees garbage, she immediately picks it up and disgustedly says, "Why couldn't they just THROW IT AWAY!? Sheesh! I'll do it!"

~We bring up the Energy Hog. This creepy character was introduced to our family over the summer. He serves as a reminder of what we don't want to be. "Lights on? Let's not be an energy hog!" "Shower's a little long! Let's not be an energy hog!" Because the character was already introduced to them in a much cooler environment than home, they caught on to this pretty quickly.

These are just a few simple ways to introduce a greener life to your kids. Find what works for your family.
Change what you can. Work on what you can't. Be proud of the changes you make and the ideal you set.

If you'd like some more ideas on teaching green, check out this link from iVillage.
Also check out some more of the Blog Action Day participants at!

October 15th

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, I wanted to share this poem I just got from Robyn Bear, founder of

Comments are off for now.

Tonight we light a candle for Isabella Grace.

And for all the other babies who left the world too soon.

"A Pair of Shoes"

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

~Author unknown

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


As much as I like to joke about the churches in my area labeling me a “sinner” and refusing to marry me because The Man and I have been living, well, in sin – It’s mostly a cover-up.

“Ooh, those Baptists!” I say as we drive by. “Too good to let sinners like us in their church!”

I stick my tongue out at the beautiful Swedish Lutheran church on the lake between my mom’s and my house. Because they never even bothered to answer me when I inquired about their “strongly request” statement.

And I do it all with a smile on my face. “Haha, just kidding!” I say.

But really – I’m not kidding. I’m angry with them. I’m angry that they took it upon themselves to judge me – not knowing a damn thing about me, except that I live with my fiancé. I’m angry that they made me feel like I was less of a person because of the life I’ve chosen.

I want to ask them, “What would make a better Christian? Someone who took on two children to raise as her own – with no legal binds, no monetary supplement, no promise of any future. Or someone who passed up that opportunity because doing so would require that I live with them and that just doesn’t fit what you call ‘God’s Plan.’”

I have fought the urge to call them up and ask just why they still felt that be so necessary. Why they feel the need to make ME feel like I am just trash.

I had the opportunity to say something Wednesday. See, someone from the office of the Swedish Lutheran church responded to my membership inquiry asking if someone had gotten back to me yet.

Some of you know that my tongue can be awfully sharp. I don’t always think about things before I say – or type (and send) – them.

I wrote what I felt and then edited it to make it a little more appropriate. I was polite and expressed my thanks for getting back to me.

But I left in one line that was not friendly, but also not spiteful like I tend to be – It was just honest.

I have started driving to my old church in _____ and plan to have the wedding there now. Location means nothing when acceptance is the real issue.

That was immediately returned with a rush of apologies.

I'm so sorry that you didn't receive a response to that inquiry. I have not heard that this church has a policy regarding living together before marriage, and doubt that would be an issue regarding your upcoming marriage. We (the church) are in the midst of a search for a pastor (Pastor M is our interim pastor) and expected to call a new pastor in October. Pastor M may have assumed he would not be the pastor who would be here when you plan to marry. I sincerely hope you will attend a service here. The members of this church are friendly and caring. Pastor M is a wonderful minister. Please let me know if I can help you in any way. And thanks for the quick response! Since I have your address, I will send you our October newsletter.

That was nice. It was nice that she reached out to me. It doesn’t give me back the night I spent crying in bed feeling like trash because yet another church deemed me ‘inappropriate.’ And it’s too late to change my plans now. But still, it helped me feel better.

Then, shortly after, I got an email from Pastor M. titled, “sorry for the misscommunication![sic]” Among his apologies for the “lost” email and an explanation of his interim duties was something that angered me again:

The only policies Spring Lake have concerning marriages are in the info I sent you. There is no policy concerning couples living together.

Because I am neurotic and save EVERYTHING, allow me to pull the fourth paragraph out of the file he is talking about…the one called “Wedding Policies:”

Our congregation prays that you will be happily married "as long as you both shall live." We hope that you treat each other as gifts from God. We also hope that you will hold off in some things until your marriage date. Our congregation strongly requests that couples refrain from living together and from fully expressing their God‑given gift of sexuality until that time. It is worth the wait!

Since he IS the interim Pastor, there is a good possibility that he didn’t write the policies. There is a good chance he’s never even really read them. And there is an even better chance that he never saw the email in the first place. I appreciate and accept the apologies. I will let it go and might even stop in for a service.

But I learned something through this misunderstanding. See, when the Baptists wouldn’t marry us, I wasn’t that upset (not until it became a pattern, anyway). The Man had told me they were a pretty strict bunch. But I was raised Lutheran and had never in my life been harshly judged by one. They not only left me feeling like trash for the decisions I’ve made – they left me questioning where I even belong as a Christian.

I once again found myself in the embrace of the United Church of Christ. The church that was there for my single mom when she needed them. Who provided an apartment for our family while they had people working on our house. The church that provided - with no fees - the pastor who baptized my daughter and then the sanctuary in which we held her funeral.

Even though the Lutherans weren’t being as judgemental as I had thought, I never even had to question it with the UCC church. It never even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be welcome there.

It was kind of like home to me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

From Behind The Stir-Ups...Your Worst Ob/*Gyn Stories

Hi, there! Look at you, all dolled up your paper gown! You look cold, dear. Why don’t you hop up on that table and I’ll get your blood pressure taken.

You seem nervous…everything okay?

What’s that? Bad experiences here at the OB/*GYN office, huh? We get a lot like you. A lot.

So many, in fact, we started to document it. Just look at them all (We're also documenting them at Brillig's place, don't forget to add your link there as well!):

From Behind The Stir-Ups...My Story

**UPDATED 11-20-07 - If you're a damn pervert looking for porn, look elsewhere you sick bastard. Thank you.**

The story that started this whole gynecological fest was about my old doctor, Dr. H. I thought it was only fair that I talk about him again.

When I got pregnant, it was a … surprise. I was at a time in my life where I was just starting to live a responsible life - working, taking care of a family. But I had yet to get myself on a regular schedule with my physical exams. And yes…even my gynecologist visit. I still went every year, it was just randomly done in response to my mom’s nagging. Usually because she wanted me to make appointments for both of us. So we could go together! (So, you’re starting to see how this whole experience has been for me, right?)

That led to me calling every professional clinic in the area of a certain suburb asking if they had a female doctor named Chris. Because that’s all I knew about ‘my‘ doctor.

So, back to me getting pregnant. I thought it was time I started seeing, you know, ONE doctor. Maybe learn his name, get to know him a bit. So I looked at the pictures on the internet and whittled down my selections.

“She looks like a beeee-otch!” (She did, like the bad lady in Austin Powers!)
“He looks too old.”
“Hey, Dr. H, huh? He looks like a nice guy. Good looking, but still too old for me. That’s my doctor.”

Turns out, that is NOT the best way to pick your doctor. Hmph.

Dr. H was a nice guy. And he was good looking but too old for me. But he was also very timid when it came to talking about my lady parts. I would like that in a regular guy, but not my gynecologist. After all, it IS his job.

When he did my b*reast exam, if I looked down, he looked away.

He stammered and blushed any time he had to say ‘b*reast’ or ‘v*agina.’ And, of course, anything associated with the br*east or v*agina.

And I mentioned before how chronically late he was, but just to document it again: Standard hour wait in the waiting room and half hour wait in the exam room. An hour and a half. Of just waiting.

But all these flaws were just minor things. Crap, it’s not like I’m marrying the guy, right? He’s just gotta keep an eye on my goods for almost a year.

That all changed the day he called me fat.

I must have been eight months along. I knew I was putting on weight. I may not have understood the way calories worked exactly, but I knew eating brownies, marshmallows and chocolate syrup on chocolate ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery wasn’t exactly keeping me slim. But, HELLO? I was PREGNANT! That’s what my family said! “Honey! You’re NOT fat - you’re PREGNANT!”

Yet here this man, who asked me about my sexual partners in a ‘round about way’ was flat out telling me, “You’re gaining weight too fast, you need to watch what you eat and start walking more.”

“Well, I TRY to walk, but it’s been a hundred degrees outside! That can’t be good for the baby!” I pleaded. How the hell could he be telling me to this??

“Then try walking at night.”

“At NIGHT? That’s not safe!”

“Sure it is.” He said smugly.

“Where do you live? Edina??? Because where I live, it is NOT safe for a hugely pregnant woman to go walking by herself late at night!” And it wasn’t.

I went home that night more pissed than I ever had been at a doctor. I had doctors tell me I was overweight before. (I lived with my grandparents for a while when I was younger. They liked to feed me.) But I had never had one do it with so much arrogance.

I kept him on as my obstetrician until the end of my pregnancy with my 6 week exam. But ONLY because I loved his nurse and she knew a lot about me.

But after the boob incident, that sucker was outta there.

VirtualSprite said of male ob/gyns, “My feeling, if you don't have the parts, you don't have an opinion.”

And I couldn’t agree more. My new doctor is a woman.

**Don't forget to throw your link in the post up top and then head over to Brillig's place to read hers and add your link there, too!**

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007
See that perty little button? Schmutzie says "Delurk, Mofos!" And I have to agree.

I understand lurking. I do it myself from time-to-time. Sometimes, you just don't have anything you'd like to add to the conversation. Or some other excuse.

But today is a special day for bloggers in which our lurkers come out and say "Hi! I'm _____. Not a psycho stalker!" And that makes us feel a little more secure in the fact that our "Returning Visitors" number is much higher than the number of comments we get. It lets us know that you're out there.

So, if you would kindly...DELURK! And we'll all be a little happier. Well, I will anyway. :D

(I'm talking to YOU, too, People Who Know Me In Real Life! Please! Let my e-friends know I really do know people in real life! Click "Comments" below...You can even do it anonymously and just sign your first name, okay? )


Monday, October 1, 2007

On High Expectations

I don’t think I ask for a lot.

Even when it comes to my wedding – something I’ve been secretly planning in my head for at least ten years – I don’t think I set really high expectations. At least not compared to a lot of the “Bridezilla” stories I’ve heard.

This is what I wanted:

We marry in a small, white country church near our house. All of our friends and family move on to the cocktail hour at the banquet hall while we take pictures out front by the steeple.

When we arrive to the beautifully (but simply!) decorated banquet hall, everyone greets us, then we move into the dining area where we feast on our moderately-priced dinners.

After dinner, The Man and I bust out our dance moves for the first dance, then everyone joins us on the large dance floor to groove to our DJ – my iPod (which I have, for no reason, named Sam).

After cake and dancing and night of fun, the adults are happily (but not overly) intoxicated and shuffle into the rented bus back to their hotel.

Simple, right? I don’t think that’s too much.

So how can one girl encounter so many problems with such a simple plan?

The only churches that resemble my vision met us with this response: “We expect couples to honor God's design and purpose for marriage by not living together before marriage.”

Hmm…would it be better if I went to live with my mom for a bit? Does the fact that we’ve already had a child play into this at all?

I thought I had found a loophole when one pastor wrote “we strongly request that couples refrain from living together…” and responded with “Strongly request? Does that mean you’ll accept us if we ARE?” To which I never received a reply.

We have found a church a little closer to the city. My old church, as a matter of fact. A Congregational church, where they only care that you love Jesus, not how you’re loving your mate. They don’t make me feel like a dirty whore. I like that in a church.

On to that banquet hall…the only places I’ve checked are golf courses. In my area, there is an abundance of golf courses. Some are very nice and some are a little run down. To avoid making visits to places I couldn’t afford, I got all their menus and policies from them via email or their websites and added up every amenity, gratuity, fee and tax I could think of. And realized that I can’t afford it. Any of them. Okay, maybe the one with the wood paneling, brown folding chairs and dance floor the size of a bathtub – but do I really want it there? No.

I have called off the wedding three times (only to people that know I will change my mind, of course) and have given up on the planning at least fifty times.

I would really like to get us some more time. After next year, we’ll have a little equity in our house that we could use. We’ll have another year of tax returns to put toward it. We’d have more TIME.

But then I’m met with “You can MAKE it special. It’s not about where you have it – it’s about you two getting married.” Which sounds nice and all, but it’s kind of a lot of bullshit. I don’t really want to spend $4,000 on the caterer to eat it in the basement of the VFW. I don’t really want my family to fly in from all over the country to eat KFC (which, judging from my disappearing money outlets, is going to be our caterer of choice). I’m secure in our relationship. Especially now that I have my ring. This wedding is supposed to be the “grandest party” we can throw to celebrate our choice to be together forever.

Is it really too much to ask that it be just a little bit like I’ve pictured it??

Friday, September 28, 2007

G*yno From Hell?

So all my dirty talk the other day got Brill pretty excited. Oh, now that just sounds bad, doesn't it?

Let me start over.

My post the other day brought to mind that there are probably A LOT of horror stories from the OB/*GYN office. So Brilliant Brillig came up with the idea of a group writing challenge. Because I’d follow her to the moon, I eagerly accepted to co-host.

We call it "From Behind the Stir-Ups - Your Worst Ob/G*yn Stories"

Most women have at least ONE story about a trip to the gyn*ecologist gone awry. (Not that a "normal" visit is all that much fun!) And in hindsight, those bad experiences can either be educational or just damn hilarious.

So start digging up those repressed memories because Thursday, October 4th is the day the internet will explode with tales from down-under.

To play along, just visit Brillig and I that Thursday and put your link into our Mr. Linky. (Why does everything seem so dirty to me today?)

I’m hearing a lot of excuses over at Brill’s place like, “I can’t think of anything.” That’s why we’re giving it almost a week. My most recent bad experiences have been posted here, so I’m really going to have to think as well.

It doesn’t have to be the most horrifying thing ever or the funniest thing ever. It could be as simple as a comment they made, like this gem from my new doctor:

“Wow! We sure got the stretch-marks didn’t we?”

So play along, because that’s what all the cool kids are doing. You DO want to be cool, don’t you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Some of you fine readers may have noticed that I don't speak much about...well...unspeakable things. I don't talk about things that go on in the bathroom, the bedroom, or any other room I take my clothes off in.

But pay close attention, because I'm about to use a word I may never use on here again: The "N" word:

I had myself a little scare a while back in which my (here it is, folks. Brace yourselves.) n*ipple inverted. What. The. Hell????? That had never happened before! I told The Man. He gave me a weird look and told me to go to the doctor. I told my mom and she gave me her patented, "Honey, I'd go see a doctor!" So that's just what I did. I saw my gynocologist. The same man who made me wait an hour and a half (on a good day) for routine pregnancy check-ups. The same man who was always dragging students in to check out my womanlies. The same man who blushed when saying "v*agina." (GASP - A two for one!)

After my customary Waiting Room Nap, I finally saw my doctor (and his student, of course!). I told him what had been going on and he uncomfortably asked me questions, felt up my b*oob and said, "I ... think ... that's normal."

"You think it's normal???"

"Ah, yeeeah. I think it is. Come back if you have any more problems."

"But, Doctor H, I was kind of scared that it might be IBC."

He laughed. (He FRICKEN laughed!) "What's IBC?" Asked his student.

"Inflammatory B*reast Cancer." I stated, hoping my snotiness was noticed.

", I don't think so." He said. "Come in if you have more problems."

And just like that, my $200 worth of my doctor's time (five minutes) was over. And I felt no safer than when I walked in the door 95 minutes earlier.

That was a while ago. I never showed any more symptoms. But I did switch doctors - to a woman who readily answered any questions I had about IBC and checked me over again for it just in case.

You know how I heard about IBC? A chain email. One I actually had to check out on Snopes because it sure looked like one of those hoax diseases made up to scare women.

It sure isn't a hoax. WhyMommy knows that all too well.

I know I'm awfully late jumping on this bandwagon and I hope they don't mind. But now that I have the chance, I'm spreading the word here at the Garden. It's too important to put off any longer.


WhyMommy has a form of br*east cancer that was not found by her monthly exam and feeling a lump in her b*reast, like most of us would think. Hers was more subtle than that. This is her story:

We hear a lot about brea*st cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with b*reast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of b*reast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that br*east cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly b*reast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have b*reast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/*GYN because my b*reast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a b*reast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory b*reast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory b*reast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/*GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your bre*ast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one b*reast, persistent itching of bre*ast or n*ipple, thickening of brea*st tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the n*ipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your G*YN is familiar with inflammatory br*east cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of b*reast cancer. Inflammatory b*reast cancer is the most aggressive form of breas*t cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our bre*asts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones.

It’s important not to miss this one.Inflammatory b*reast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their br*easts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have b*reast cancer.

P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.


PS - You can read an interview with WhyMommy from Parents magazine's GoodyBlog!


And, in other br*east-related news, Worker Mommy told me about a new contest from our girls over at 5 Minutes For Mom! Dyson has introduced their Pink Dyson exclusively at Target, where they donate $40 from every purchase to br*east cancer research. If you're poor like me, take a chance at winning one at 5 Minutes for Mom by leaving a comment and spreading the word.


And this will conclude the usage of words such as Br*east, Va*gina, Nippl*e and the likes at The Butrfly Garden. For the most part, anyway.

From Austin, With Love

We have Sunshine's birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and I’m trying to get her more involved in the planning process this year.

Last weekend, we were trying to make a list of guests to come to her "Makeover/Fashion Show" Party.

She tried several times to invite boys, particularly a boy named Austin.

"Does Austin like making bracelets and playing dress up?" I asked.

"No...but...he can watch. Or take pictures!" Sunshine replied.

"I think you should invite people who will enjoy the activities that we have planned." I stated. I was NOT about to plan a whole new party with all new favors (plus, doesn’t that sound a little creepy?).

I know she has been hanging out with the boys more this year than in Kindergarten. Her dinnertime stories usually involve playing football at recess or some boy trying to take part of her lunch. But I didn't think that meant she didn't have any girlfriends at school.

"No girls like me." She confessed.

"How do you know that? Did they say it, or are you guessing?" I prodded.

"They don't talk to me."

"Have you tried talking to them?" I asked.


Ninja Boy thought of plenty of girls around the neighborhood and bus stop that would want to come, but I was still worried about why the girls at school weren't taking to her.

Then Saturday morning as we were getting our bags in the car to go to the cabin, she pulled a folded piece of notebook paper from her bag and handed it to me.

"That's from Austin." She said.

"Wow. Love, huh?" (They're starting so young nowadays!)

"Yeah." said Sunshine, "I told him, 'How can you love me? I'm just your friend!'"

"Good girl." I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

The note convinced me that her 'he's the only friend I've got!' story was probably more fiction than reality. That, or the rest of the girls are just jealous. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2007


Thank you all for your sweet words and thoughts for Bella and the family.
We had a very full weekend and I'll share more pictures throughout the week.
We went out of town and didn't get back until very late last night.
I just wanted to let you all know how much I truly appreciate your comments and emails and I will respond to them as soon as I can.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Two years ago today was the worst day of my life.

Two years ago today my life was turned upside down.

Two years ago today we learned that Isabella would not be born alive.

Today is not an easy day. Especially to be at work. I’ve always blamed this place a little for losing her. It’s really hard to be here today. And I’ve only been in for twenty minutes.

I will look forward to Saturday and hopefully that will get me through. Saturday is a bittersweet day for me. As sorrowful as that day was two years ago, it was also a very proud day for me. I was proud of my family for sticking by me through it all – waiting all day for me to give birth when they knew what tears would follow. I was proud of The Man for how strong he was through everything and the strength he gave me. I was proud of myself for making it through what I thought would be impossible. But most of all, I was proud of the life we created. No matter how short it was – it was perfect. Perfect in the way that all she ever felt was love and adoration.

That day I finally got to meet the little girl who had spent nine months kicking my organs and flipping around inside me. I finally got to see her beautiful face – and it looked exactly how I had imagined it would. Exactly.

So I will, today, suffer through the hurt and pain of the memories of two years ago. Because I know that Saturday will be spent remembering a beautiful child who lived a beautiful life. Remembering how much everyone loves her. Remembering how everyone came to welcome her to the world and hand her over to God. Remembering that she is NOT a painful memory – but my beautiful baby who I will one day hold in my arms again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

And This is Just the Tip of the "Internet To-Do" Iceberg

I made a little progress Sunday, but it only took a few SOS participants and a some hot celeb gossip to bring me right back up into the HUNDREDS of posts that I have yet to read.

Just know: It's not you, it's me. Wait. That sounds wrong. I'm really trying to get to reading and writing, but that's going to mean I need a few days off.

See, some nosy asshole higher-up in another department took it upon himself to spy on our department and report anything we were doing that didn't look like work. Even eating lunch. He is using this as basis for his arguement that we should all be working overtime. To make my boss look better and to avoid more overtime, I decided to not go on the net at all at work for a couple weeks. Or take lunch. (Damn my human body with these organs! once cyborg surgeries become available, I'll be the first in line, there, Timmers. Then I won't need to use those personal "pee" minutes, either!)

I'll see you for Wordless Wednesday at the very least.

And...*sniff*... I miss you all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hard Work Hasn't Killed Me Yet

And there are pictures, so that meant I didn't kill anyone else, either. (Celebrate the small victories, people!)

After days of digging and raking, we spent another tamping the dirt down, trying to get it level.

Even though we were very tired and wanted to quit, we knew we couldn't. For my cat would never be clean again.

Another day of laying the paver base and leveling out the sand. Then another laying the blocks.

And just one more adding the final touches (like my solar garden lights!),

and the patio was finally DONE.

Now we're too broke to buy chairs to sit on the patio, but it still looks nice, right? Right?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Stolen Soul

It wasn’t very special.

At least not on the surface.

Just a plain manila folder.

But inside that boring old folder were scraps of paper.

On those scraps of paper – every poem, story, deep thought and dark secret my teenage life spurred from 15 to 19.

Even throughout the most turbulent times in my life like when I was living out of my car, that folder stayed with me.

It was my best friend. The only thing that ever understood me. The only thing that knew all about me. The only thing I could tell everything to and it would stay by my side. Without judging, without laughing. It gave no response at all. Just stayed with me.

It held the story I wrote about my brother dying – a story I’ve yet to re-write because I just don’t want to live through it again.

It held poems that to this day I still consider ‘good’ – but can only remember portions of.

It held lots of poems that would probably embarrass me now, but told the story of my life none-the-less.

It held a letter to a baby I never met.

It held deep, twisted reflections of the depression I suffered many of those years.

It held ME.

And it was always with me.

Until one day, I noticed it was gone.

I had been staying at The Man’s trailer – split-shift babysitting with Scari while he worked. That had to be the last place I had it. Yes! I had let The Man read my story about Tommy. I know that’s where I left it.

It’s probably obvious where that folder went. They probably read all my scraps while laughing, teasing, joking and judging. Yes, probably.

It’s not so much the fact that I lost everything I’d ever written. That hurt. I can’t lie – even for the sake of my pride – it hurt. But the part that hurt the most is that I didn’t write again for years. The one inanimate object I’d chosen to be my eternal friend had left me. I couldn’t even trust a fucking folder. So instead, I kept my feelings inside me. Something I’d been taught long ago – with the exception of using writing as an escape. (My mother is an excellent writer.) But I no longer had that escape. Those thoughts, feelings, reflections – all stayed in my heart.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that folder lately. A LOT. I’ve been wishing it would magically show up and my undeserved writer’s block would be dissolved. Wishing I’d have a reason to believe that I could pour my heart onto paper and allow only those I wish to see it.

But that won’t happen. I’m sure it is destroyed. I’m sure it was fun for them.

I hope someday karma repays them. Shows them what it feels like to have your head and your heart ripped open for all to see – for all to judge – for all to laugh at. I hope then they will understand what their actions meant.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Laborious Day

Are all Labor Days this labor some after you become an adult? Or is it only after you become a homeowner?

They give me an extra day off work and that somehow warrants an eleven by nine foot patch of dirt in my yard, a gaping $400 hole in my savings account and at least three more days of work.

It all started when we noticed all the dandelions that had made their way back into the yard. If you only knew the sunburns I’ve endured - the endless hours I’ve spent hunched over or kneeling in my yard digging those bitches out! Not that our hard work hasn’t paid off - I would say our lawn is 50% greener and more plush than it was in its miserable state last year. Even after the drought. (Thank you, Week and a Half of Rain.) But still, they reared their yellow little heads on a day that I had no plans.

“We’ll just pull all the little heads off, so they can’t seed. Then we’ll get them again next year.” I said to The Man on our way to get some coffee Saturday morning.

We soon settled on only doing the front yard. We both scoffed at the amount of crab crass in and around the marigold bed. And then noticed all the wild life that had moved in on the field we had now surrounding our foundation.

After coffee, we passed by Sears, who - even though I swore I would never shop there again (It’s a different location, at least) - had a CLEARANCE banner up.

“Let’s stop in and see if they’re clearancing out weed whackers [Why is it grammatically inappropriate to make “clearance” a verb? Like, “to clearance,” right?] - we’re definitely going to need one next year so it would be best to get it now while they’re cheap.” I suggested.

Thrilled beyond thrilled that I suggested we go to Big Blue, he hurried in and wasted no time selecting his new semi-power tool.

But once he cut the talls grass away from the house I noticed the grass that was growing there was sticker grass!! I’m pretty sure that’s not its scientific name, but it’s grass that grows burrs - burrs that I HATE pulling out of feet. Especially my own.

So I pulled. And pulled. And The Man edged. (The driveway. Then the sidewalk.) He got lost in his chore and I in mine. Some time later, I needed a break. I looked at my work - I had a HUGE pile of crabgrass and sticker grass and a large lot of yard that was mainly dirt and a layer of old dead grass. The Man marveled in my Super Weed Pulling Skillz and noticed what I had - it was the perfect size for a patio. I’d even made it a perfect rectangle - because if I don’t set limits, I often get in over my head.

Speaking of setting limits, do you know what happens when I don't??

Two Days. Two days of digging. And sifting. And hauling to the compost.

Two days of talking about how easy this patio was going to be. Pshaw! What, like, twenty patio blocks…some sand…maybe some rock? We could probably add some rock. Yeah, totally! This is going to be AWESOME!

Went back to the home supply store this morning.

This is going to be hard!

Seriously - the design thing put FIFTY PATIO BLOCKS on my list. FIFTY.

We also needed: a metal rake, a tamper, LOTS of sand, LOTS of paver base and did I mention all the digging?

We tried to decompress a couple times during some welcomed breaks. My nephew turned FIVE. Just in time for KINDERGARTEN! He had a rockin’ Pirate Party with a ton of people. Even though we were extremely late, we were fed yummy food and drank lots of gin raspberry tea. They even branded us with their rebel symbols and didn’t make us walk the plank. (Although they did sick their emo on me.)

We also had a BBQ at my mom’s Monday night. All I can really say is after the conversation that went on, I’m glad I opted for the chicken.

We put a little more effort into this so-called patio tonight, but tomorrow is the first day of school and we couldn’t make the kids work all night again. We had papers to fill out and clothes to set out.

I sincerely hope that in a few days, I will have a picture of a cute little patio to share with you. I hope - because I don’t think I’ll be taking pictures of any of the alternative scenarios.

Friday, August 31, 2007

My Little Sparkly People

Why is it that when my light turns green, I have to wait for the people to finish going through the intersection before I can go?

Why is it that when I’m driving five miles over the speed limit, people glare at me as though I’d set out on my day intent on making them drive “slow?”

Why is it that people feel so little value for my life that they will risk it just so they don’t have to wait for me to pass them before they get to pull onto the highway?

Why is it, that I wonder these things every. damn. day, yet I still haven’t found a job that doesn’t require commuting an hour down the one of the deadliest highways in the state?

Just wondering.


My Google Stars have been piling up, as I haven’t posted them in a couple weeks.

Today, I’m going to do it differently. You have to read at least one, because I want to hear your thoughts on it in the comments. Yep, I am telling you what to do. But only because I care! And while a couple of these are merely for entertainment, a few of them are really important and NEED to be shared. So, don’t be all crabby about it and just do it. Love and hugs.

In order of date starred:

* Chesca the Ex-Skindiver – poetic as always - had a Midlife Epiphany – not to be confused with a Midlife Crisis.

* Shauna Loves Chocolate had a loving (read: funny) post faux-written by her husband.

* Momma’s World comically Beat a Port-A-Potty to Death (a post she won a contest with!).

* Tabetha at Think Bigg shines some light on a terrifying disease that kills 50,000 people a year – yet is basically ignored.

* Ms. Think Bigg also debunked my theory that it was okay to use all my disposable water bottles – because I recycle. (Oh, the shame I feel!)

* With school starting up, Cooking With Whine’s Becki shares her hilarious list of tips for getting out the door in the morning.

* And just today, our WhiskeyMarie is celebrating her eleventh wedding anniversary. (Honey, that post you wrote for The Mr. – makes ME want to marry you!)

There you go, Oh Peoples of The Garden…

Now what have you learned today??

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Like Their Parents Before Them

"Rolling Down The Hill"

(No children were seriously injured in the Rolling Down of The Hill)

(Semi)Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

100 Year Flood

Sorry for the disappearance, loves. I’m here. Working my little hiney off.

I took Friday off work and headed south to my old ‘hood. Down to the river valley, where they have been devastated by flash floods. Luckily, my grandparents’ house survived with only a little water in the basement. Just a couple miles south of their house, campgrounds were washed away. Streets closed. Houses evacuated. There were two houses that slid right down the bluff.

Driving down the Great River Road, we missed most of the devastation. We saw several roads closed, areas where the water hadn’t receded yet and piles of junk appliances building up on the side of the highway. We saw the emergency relief stations set up in Winona and bluff sides that had been washed away.

That was nothing compared to what happened to other areas. Check out this link my grandpa sent me. The pictures were hard for me to look at. I used to live in Rushford. It’s not a very big town – the whole thing was under water. I also used to live in some of the other areas around there that got hit so hard. It’s heartbreaking to think of all our old neighbors who lost everything. Some even lost their lives.

I can’t help but feel like we’re being punished for something. Flash flooding all around the country – wherever there isn’t severe drought and fires, that is. It just seems like we’re paying for something to me. I don’t know – maybe I’m a little crazy. Okay, maybe I’m a lot crazy.

Anyway, we did have a pleasant time down there and I’ll share *happy* pictures tomorrow.

Monday, August 20, 2007

You MIGHT be a MN Redneck...

I was ecstatic.

The Man and I had finally settled on our wedding colors.

Plum and Gold.

Perfect for a late summer wedding.

I lay in bed reading a bridal magazine and envisioning my colors in the dresses, the decor, the flowers. "Deep purple rose petals with...I guess we'd have to have yellow instead of gold." I thought out loud.

I pictured Sunshine's petals hitting the aisle.

"Shit." I blurted out. "We picked the damn Vikings colors."

Back to the drawing board.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Two Harbors

Busy at work again.

Here are some more pictures because I know ya'll miss your Butrfly Girl.

Two Harbors - The first stop on our drive up the Superior coast.

(Kate talked about her husband's "Go-To" shirt...this is one of The Man's two. )

When it was time to leave, we both had to use the bathroom pretty bad. There were tours of the lighthouse on shore for $2.50 with a big sign that said something like "Nice, Clean Restrooms." I found out that was pretty much a lie, but we got to go up into the lighthouse.

The Man reading in front of the lighthouse/Bed and Breakfast (there are areas you can't go in because they're being used by guests).

There should really be a sign that says "Don't Look Down." It was here that I started to get a little sick.

The Inner-Workings of the lighthouse. We weren't allowed to touch. Dammit.

I wonder what windows like this are called in a lighthouse. I will call it a Port Hole because it's fun to say.

View from the top.

The lighthouse also had a captain's cabin from a boat that had shipwrecked near here. (Thus, requiring the construction of a lighthouse).

There were so many cool things to play with inside! We even took turns manning the ship.

Yes, we are geeks. Completely compatible geeks, though. Don't worry for us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My New Favorite Place

The Sunday we were coming home from Duluth, we headed North up the Lake Superior shore first.

We stopped in Two Harbors, where I spent so much time trying to get a PERFECT picture (to no avail).

Heading toward Split Rock Lighthouse, we saw a State Park sign and thought we'd use the opportunity for a bathroom break.

Little did I know what we would find.

Gooseberry Falls is now my new favorite place. I am going to buy me a little tent and just go live there. Okay, maybe not (there is no internet...dear, sweet, internet.) but I REALLY want to go back - THIS year. With the kids. They would LOOOVE this!!

We never did make it to tour Split Rock, we'll have to save that for next time. We did stop at a rest stop and take a picture, though.

Next Time: Pictures from That Saturday!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sweet Charity

Chesca from Skindiving recently awarded me this button:

I am very proud to have received it. I haven't been doing much lately and that's been making me kind of feel bad. I naturally want to throw out an excuse like, "I've been so busy" or "we're really broke." But that goes against my main belief about charity - which is that we all have something to give. I can make time and I will.

However, I also believe that being a good philanthropist means knowing your stuff. It means not falling for the lies of people who prey on helpful souls. Even in the wake of tragedy, there are always people looking to make a sucker out of a good, honest person.

That's why it is so important that charities' volunteers know their stuff as well.

When I was home last week, I was very busy on the computer cleaning the house when the phone rang.

I looked at the caller ID:


I thought it might be the bill collection place that calls here a couple times a week and leaves messages. I’m pretty sure they’re calling for the guy who used to have our number and wanted to tell them to QUIT CALLING, so I answered the phone.

“Hi Ms. H. This is _____ calling on behalf of police officers in the Minneapolis area. Blah blah blah for two full minutes I can’t let you get a word in or you’ll tell me no so I’m just going to keep talking and not even use punctuation because that would give you the opportunity to shoot me down Our tax refundable donations start at just twenty five dollars but you can be a Gold donor for only thirty so how much may I put you down for Ms. H?”

“Do you have a website?”

“Uh. Um. Well. I…don’ t know what it is.”

“Really? Well, why don’t you call me back when you have that information, okay?”

“Well, ma’am, we can take your donation right over the phone.”

“So…you are calling me and telling me that you are Someone, collecting for Something and I’m just supposed to take your word for it and give you my credit card number - even though you don’t even know the website of the company you are representing?”

“Well, it’s just that I’m talking to YOU right now and…I can get someone to verify this for you…”

“You can get someone else there with you to tell me what you just told me? Impressive.”

“Well, they’re my supervisor…”

“Honey, I am BUSY. Why don’t you get that information and give me a call back when you have it, okay?”

“That sounds fair, ma’am. Thank you.”

Asking for donations is a lot like selling things. Really, you are selling your organization. I wouldn’t buy something from someone who didn’t have any information on their product. I also don’t buy things from telemarketers. Charities need to figure some of these things out if they plan to *sell themselves* to the future generations. Because we're smart, suspicious and critical.

And calling me "ma’am" repeatedly just makes me mad.