Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TV Review: The Black Donnellys

Did anyone happen to catch The Black Donnellys Monday night? In protest of NBC canceling Studio 60, I vowed not to watch it. It looked rather dramatic, even clichéd. Plus, do I really need to spend more time in front of the TV? Sometimes a cancelled show is a great opportunity to, say, clean up the house or do something else that I ‘don’t have time for.’

While I sat in shock over the Heroes preview for next week, The Black Donnellys started with a bang. It dug its hooks deep into my brain and kept them there for an hour.

It was definitely dramatic. It was a little clichéd. But it was good.

It also was very violent and I hate that. I couldn’t believe that there are actually people who regularly beat people to death, but I’m from Suburban Minnesota, so what the hell do I know?

In one hour, the sweet, on his way ‘out’, Tommy was the new leader of the Irish Mob (there’s an Irish Mob???), his “chick magnet” brother is on life-support, and the love of his life confesses she loves him too. As The Man said, “Wow - Where do you go from here?” Word, Baby…word.


I don’t think I really spoiled anything, so if you missed it, check it out Thursday after 30 Rock – yep, in ER’s spot. Seems someone finally realized ER needed some medical attention – stat! That show has been losing me the past year and I finally gave up watching it at all a few weeks ago.

Conclusion: My ass will be firmly parked at NBC from eight to ten p.m. every Monday. But please, please, please bring Studio 60 back!!! (Replace ER!!!)

You can also see a good recap HERE.

Update: BuzzSugar has an alternate ending!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Every mile is two in winter.

~George Herbert

"The worst is yet to come," … Says the Star Tribune. The weather is pretty nasty right now. I am not going anywhere tomorrow. I had quite enough of Minnesota Winter driving today, thank you!

I should have known that this was what the snow was waiting for…me to need nice driving weather!! I mean, really, all winter with practically NO snow…I plan something that people have to drive a ways to and BAM … SEVERE WINTER WEATHER IS EXPECTED TO BRING HAZARDOUS TRAVEL.

It turned out great, anyway! My SIL made it out with my nephew. My step-dad’s parents came. My mom always has, like, a regime of preteens there. Actually, if anyone else had shown up, they’d have been hungry. Those kids can eat!!

We ended up with 24 bags. Not bad, right? I kept telling everyone, “There will be 24 kids who are getting birthday presents this year because you cared to help!”

I wish my kids would have gotten more involved, but Ninja Boy was tired from basketball and Sunshine likes to do her own thing - especially when things are a little crazy. They knew why we were there, and I hope they took something from it. My nephew inspected the toys for us. I felt kind of guilty passing on toys that failed, but then again, I think he was a little biased. My SIL filled bags like it was nothing while I tried to meticulously plan them all out (failed, btw). Then we let the younger and older ladies take over the finishing touches.

It really sucked that so many people weren't able to make it, but I wouldn’t have wanted anyone in the ditch on the side of the freeway because they tried to drive out ... or home. We got some rockin’ stickers from Karen at Cheerful Givers. I asked for THIRTY. I used 10. J Guess I’ll be saving the rest for the next Birthday Bag Blitz.

But you know, the absolute worst part about doing stuff like this is that I don’t feel like I accomplish anything when I’m not. You know, like making such a difference with one afternoon of work…then going weeks without doing anything special.

Come on, Powerball. I swear I’m not like the other guys…I really will use the money for good!!!

…Any day now…

Until then, here are some pictures…

Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours." ~Robert Byrne

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday's Gone

I'm getting Anti-Work right now, so I thought I'd take a break before it got hostile.

Ms. Vacations-Up-The-Yang is gone again.

One o'clock Friday afternoon I was getting ready to leave for lunch and to do a little shopping for my Cheerful Givers Party. I'd worked overtime all week to ensure I'd have a couple hours to do this. I planned it out so that I could be gone at JUST the right time. Then Ms. Vuty drops STACKS of files and papers on my desk and starts flying through what needs to be done, what can *probably* wait and what I "probably won't need to worry about." I was SO PISSED that she'd screwed me on my break, I threatened to quit - loudly - a few times throughout the afternoon. Thank goodness Boss was gone.

I had a lovely weekend, to get completely off the subject but stay in time frame. The Man and I had a great dinner Saturday after we played a game on the golf simulator (So. Fun.) and spent an ass-load of money on clothes. Seriously, $25 at one outlet store got me a TON of clothes - including new yoga pants ($3) and a suede jacket ($5...yes, $5). Then I spent FORTY DOLLARS on a pair of running shoes. Like, OMG, FORTY DOLLARS. Remember me all excited over my new Payless peep-toes??? Half as much as these babies! I'm kind of excited and a little sick. Spending money does that to me.

The next day, on our way to pick up the kids, we hit up Kohl's. The Man went on a total shopping spree. Okay, maybe that's the cheap-ass in me, but he got a LOT. It's nice to see him picking out new clothes, though. When we started dating, his sister chastised him in front of me for not even attempting to wear a t-shirt without holes. So, he's come a long way to be buying NEW ones.

We picked up the kids and went SHOPPING AGAIN! We took them to Marshall’s, where I got a Roxy swimsuit for $16 that looks good on me. Also a cool bag.

Having Monday off, we set out on our day-long hunt for the perfect (read: inexpensive but not cheap) beds for the kids. Which we found at four. The Man's reliable BFF showed up an hour later to pick him and the beds up. (Two trips = four hours, jsyk). Nine o'clock rolled around, the kids were sleeping soundly in their new beds, I had dishes yet to do, hadn't made it the grocery store and OMG I MISSED HEROES!!! Not a good ending to a long, headache-producing day.

Also, not a good start to a long, headache-producing week. Which brings us back to NOW. Now I sit here, having freshly realized I HAVE NO IDEA how to do Vuty's work. None at all. This should be fun. I'm imagining all the things I can say to take the heat off me when my boss comes to find out why the shit ain't getting done. Obviously, it's Vuty's fault, right? I mean, SHE didn't bother to make sure I knew what she did before she left. I get so sick of everyone here using "You're smart, you'll pick up on it." as an excuse to not thoroughly train me. I keep trying to think of excuses and in my head, the conversation always ends "I have high blood pressure. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. I'm TWENTY FOUR, in decent health and I have HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE." And then, me quitting in a Half-Baked-esque way.

I know I can't (financially) leave this job. But I am so scared that it's going to kill me if I don't. I used to think I was dramatic saying that. But now I have HIGH FREAKING BLOOD PRESSURE. At TWENTY FOUR.

How's that for dramatic?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Thursday!!

Whoo-hoo! My favorite day of the week! You know…must see TV night???

I have a few points of interest for you today:

*This month’s Small Change Challenge is to make small sacrifices to free up some donatin’ money. Read more about it here.

*Ready to party? Check out my new button for the Ultimate Blog Party. If you have a blog, go get yo’self a button and join the party March 2nd – 9th. If you don't, I'll be using this as an opportunity to get to know bloggers outside my current 'network' and you can too!

*I also just want to share that I love The Man SOOOO much. He always buys me exactly what I’ve been wanting – and I don’t even have to tell him to buy it for me! I will be sharing many more photos and videos now that they won’t be all yellow and fuzzy (and the videos silent).

Two years ago, he took me to see Sweet Charity for Valentines. That was the last time I wore a fancy dress. Two. Years. Ago. Love you still!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Small Change - Month One Recap

January’s Small Change Challenge was to get involved with Make A Child Smile.

Make A Child Smile’s January featured kids were Nicky, Ashlee and Caroline.

I didn’t make a huge production out of it, I just said “Hey, Sunshine, I’ve got an idea!” I showed her the kids’ pictures and told her (mildly) why each child was spending so much time in the hospital. I got her to empathize with them by asking, “Wouldn’t you be so sad if you had to be in the hospital all the time? Do you know what we can do to cheer them up?”

She really doesn’t need an excuse to get crafty, but she was very excited that I was going to be sending her art to someone and had been assured it would, well, make them smile.

She got to work and carefully chose items to paste onto the cardstock.

As soon as the neighbor kid left, Ninja Boy became highly interested in what we were doing. He started asking questions about the kids – which Sunshine promptly answered. She carefully explained to him that these kids were all very sick – even gave him general descriptions of their ailments. She said, “And I’m making them cards that say I hope they feel better.” I was a little surprised when he wanted to help. He’s not a super-crafty guy and also has a really hard time empathizing with people. But he got in there and made Nicky two cards (a guy thing, I guess).

We decided as a family that we would do this every month. We spent about an hour making them – the hardest part of it all was getting them to the post office (note to self to buy bigger envelopes this month!).

I’m getting very excited about my upcoming party for Cheerful Givers. Next week, I will be hosting a Birthday Bag Blitz at my mom’s house (it’s so much bigger!).

My mom and I have been buying out every good deal we can find. I’ve known that I was going to do this for a while now, so when Target clearanced out their excess of Christmas toys, I hopped on it! (Seriously, “guys” for a DOLLAR!) I’m also going to a surplus store at lunch tomorrow to see if I can pick up a few more things.

It really wasn’t hard to plan the party. I used evite to send out my crafty invitation and also posted it a couple places around my office. We’re planning a small lunch that day, so I’ll have to get to the grocery store, too. I’ve been stocking up on toys, bags, tissue paper, etc. The plan is to meet at my mom’s house, sort the toys by age/gender, then form an assembly line of sorts. I’m going to print some cute little tags today to write the contents on. That’s not a requirement, but I think it will help the parents and organizations get the kids something they’ll really like, given there is enough to choose from.

The kids were initially confused about what was going on. They found the bag of toys and thought they’d hit the jackpot. After they were over the shock that they weren’t for them, they started to get excited. Sunshine has been trying to get me to buy just about everything for it. Hats, candy...even a pinata! However, I’m not big on cone-shaped hats. Especially ones that require an elastic string around my face. And with all the kids that are going to be there, I think candy would just fuel the fire.

The hardest part was getting people to RSVP. Seriously, even with evite, where all you have to do is click a button…it still looks like this:

I even updated it and re-sent it, asking people to please respond. This just doesn’t settle well with me. I can handle a “No” just fine…I can NOT handle not knowing how many people are just going to show up that day. I mean, what if all 22 unresponsive people just SHOW UP?? That’s a far cry from the ten adults (and X amount of kids) I’m expecting. I’ve been planning for a few extra with the seven “I don’t knows”. What if there’s not enough food? What if I don’t have enough bags? OMG, what if I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH BAGS???

Okay…I’m alright. I guess I’ll just buy extra. Really, who can’t use more gift bags?? Right? Okay, NOT FRANTIC AT ALL.

I’m definitely looking for more ideas on how to get people to respond to invitations if ya got ‘em. (I have this problem with all kinds of invitations, even birthday invitations that have “Please respond by XX-XX-XX” written right by the phone number).


You’re going to have to check back tomorrow for the new challenge, as Beth has been very busy lately. That’s okay, though, because it’s Valentine’s Day and I have some egreetings to send.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Morning You Sure Looked Fine

Highlights of my weekend:

~Worst part: My new gyno, “Wow! You sure got the stretch marks, didn’t ya?”

~Strangest Part: We stopped at Wendy’s for dinner Friday night, but they were absurdly busy. While we were waiting in line, some guy came huffing into the place, threw his money down on the counter and said, “I’m just going to have to give you this, I can’t use any more gas out there!” Oh, I get it…you can’t afford to burn your gasoline for five more minutes, but you can afford to pay for food you will not be eating?? Maybe he was running really low, but still…Why The Hell Did He PAY For It??? Also…you could see that they were busy before you even got to the lot. If they’re parking people at the drive thru and you’re low on gas…just use common sense!

~Ahem…The best parts...

~I paid full price for a pair of jeans at Tarzjay. To wear with my new shoes (also full price). Not exactly the Maddens and Baby Phat items I’ve been lusting after, but a nice change from Nothing At All…(even CLEARANCE CLOTHES!).

~I finally bought the new Killers CD - which is awesome. (Can you tell yet that I was mad when I went to Target?)

~I bought The Man’s stinking fishing pole offline so it will actually be here BEFORE his birthday.

~I made plans FOR his birthday! We’re going to play virtual golf. Which is actually going to be awesome for me. I got into golf last year, but we never had time to play a real game. Also, I was scared. This way I can get the feel of it without breaking anything, injuring someone or spending the day looking for my ball. Perfecto.

~Valentine’s Day is also Small Change Day…so make sure you check back for the new challenge!

**Title, in case anyone didn't get it, is from Fleetwood Mac...I've been really feeling lyrics lately, thinking about incorporating them more.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Do You Annoy Your Co-Workers?

I came across a great 'quiz' today...see how you do!

Do You Annoy Your Co-Workers?

By Kate Lorenz, Editor

Every office has at least one jerk, pest or loudmouth who drives the rest of the workers crazy. Could it be you? Take this quiz to find out how annoying you might be: How many of these statements describe you?

1. You make provocative statements to "foster dialogue" or needle others.
I don't know what you mean by this, Kate. I'm a bitch sometimes, if that's what you're asking, but it's because they needle me - not the other way around!

2. You often find yourself delivering a discourse consisting solely of buzzwords and catch phrases.

3. You make up nicknames for all of your co-workers and refer to them only by these monikers. (e.g. "Good job, Chachi!", "I'm going to have to disagree with you there, T-bone!")

4. Your office is completely decorated in your children's pictures and artwork.
Yes and so effin what if it is???? (Also, Dilberts and pictures OF my kids).

5. You have plastered your cubicle with photos of yourself taken with famous people.
I’ve never had my picture taken with a famous person – but one of the women I dislike (death laugh one) has framed articles about her hanging up.

6. It is your trademark to recite rhyming or other cutesy messages as your voicemail greeting.
Come on, who does that, really??

7. The questions you ask at meetings are preceded by long monologues of your views and accomplishments.
If I ask a question at a meeting it is preceded by “Wait, wait, wait…WHAT???”

8. You routinely eat odiferous lunches at your desk.
I’m not sure if my lunches are ODIFEROUS (That is TOTALLY the word of the day!) but the lady who sits next to me always brings in stinky leftovers.

9. You bring in dishes that you tried to cook, but didn't turn out quite right as "special treats" for your co-workers.
No, but GREAT idea!!

10. People seem tense -- even panic-stricken -- when they see you coming their way.
I wish.

11. Others back away from you as you speak.
I stay in my bubble…it’s these Others that I back away from.

12. You send flurries of e-mails to the rest of the company telling them what you are doing. (e.g. "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom.")

13. You vigorously chew or pop your gum.
YES, I actually do! Sometimes, I get multiple bubbles going. It’s fun. Job is boring. Deal with it.

14. You wear strong perfume or cologne.
I’m sensitive to allergic or asthmatic people's needs, so I try not to.

15. You assume your co-workers are fascinated by your personal problems and exploits.
Assume? They live for my stories!!

16. You interrupt others while they are speaking or are deep in conversation.
I'd like to...oh, would I like to!

17. You are moody and don't care who knows it.
So. Guilty. I even curse loudly and assume it will be okay since I’m in a bad mood.

18. You often give others assignments as they're walking out the door for lunch or to catch the train home.
Another one that goes the OTHER WAY AROUND (and I WISH we’d get a damn train!).

19. You borrow staplers, scissors and tape from others' desks and forget to return them.
That’s not called borrowing, sweetie. And I use my own items for fear of Office Germs.

20. Your dialogue with others often end with the other person shouting "You are so annoying!"
LOL, not yet.

If you only counted one or two... not to worry, you can quickly make changes before you're labeled a pest.
Oh, good...I'm only SLIGHTLY annoying. (They deserve it, anyway.)

If your actions match three to five of these statements... take heed.
You are on your way to becoming the source of many an eye roll.
If you do six or more of these on a regular basis... chances are you are already on the office watch list and have been anointed by your co-workers as annoying.
It's time to do a reality check and make some changes.
Ask your boss and colleagues for feedback, and be ready to listen.
If what you hear doesn't fit your self-image, ask them to help you understand what they are saying by giving examples.
You might say: "Tell me more about what I do that leads you to believe that."
Then listen, without arguing, defending or justifying your actions.
Remember, there are countless ways to aggravate co-workers -- you can even annoy them by trying too hard to please or being too nice!
As long as you avoid the aforementioned behaviors, use your energy for the good of the organization and treat others as you would like to be treated, you should be all right.
And remember, it's perfectly OK to annoy others sparingly. It reminds them that you still exist!
Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Other CareerBuilder writers contributed to this story.

If you’re actually looking TO annoy your co-workers…try this. (SO Funny!)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

When I Was Nineteen...

Ten things I would have never believed six years ago:

1) That I would someday care about how much another being was eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom.
2) That I would get excited over 4th grade “how-to” speeches.
3) That I would spend minutes a day muttering about people who litter, smell like cigarettes or don’t recycle.
4) That junk food could actually make you…FAT.
5) That I would someday be the “old lady” at the concert.
6) That I would consider our town’s new grocery store a conversational topic – with people who didn’t live in our town – or have even heard of it.
7) That I would have more friends online than in person.
8) That everyone’s bodies really do sag.
9) That I wouldn’t consider buying a car without four doors.
10) That being alone can be blissful, not boring.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

My So-Called Poverty

I've been very antsy lately, compulsively checking my bank account to see if my tax returns have been deposited yet.

You see, it's been at least a year since I bought myself a new piece of clothing.

Thankfully, I had my mom and SIL providing me with clothes while I lost thirty pounds. If I hadn't had them, I would have been wearing maternity jeans and The Man's shirts for a year.
I’ve also starting skimping on my beauty products. I’ve never been able to afford “fancy” products like Philosophy and even gave up using Olay. When we started needing to make budget cuts, I switched to Dove. The last time I bought moisturizer, we couldn’t even afford the $6.99.

I bought Equate Beauty Lotion:

“Beauty Lotion?“ More like cheap sunscreen in a tiny bottle. It smells medicinal, to say the least. But it was like two bucks and it does the trick.

I’ve used that as my argument on why The Man shouldn’t be allowed to eat fast food for lunch every day. I mean, I can’t spend $6.99 on something that will make me feel good (and will last months), but he can spend that on a value meal at Burger King? I’ve been very bitter about making my sacrifice. He never asked me not to spend the money, I did on my own, because I keep our bills organized and I know how tight our budget is.

But I realized something not too long ago. Here I am, always bitching about my life: I drive too far to get a job that sucks to sit through every day. Then it takes me forever to get home where I have to help with dinner, then clean it all up. I hurry to get the kids tucked into their beds, usually cursing about the house being such a damn mess all the time. Then head to my own bedroom and watch TV (SO not HD) until I pass out in my FULL size bed. And I have to use GENERIC moisturizer in the morning when I get up!

Have you ever taken the time to look at your life through the eyes of another - someone who doesn‘t have all the luxuries you do?

I have a car (three actually, in the household), I have a job - a GOOD job - with benefits and an understanding boss. I have a family waiting for me when I get home. I have a house - that I own (when I pay the bank off). With a garage. I have food in my kitchen. I have someone who makes me dinner and only wants a little help once in a while. I have running water, dish sets and a dishwasher. My kids have their own rooms and beds to sleep in. They have a multitude of blankets and so many clothes, they hang out of their dressers. I not only have a TV, I have multiple TV’s…even one in my bedroom. I share a bed with one of the greatest men in the world. Who tickles my back as I fall asleep. And when I wake up in the morning, I have beauty products and a working shower. I’m able to give my kids choices for their breakfast. I have insurance to help me pay for my son’s medication. I drop them off at a great daycare. Then I drive my car to my job.

I guess I don’t have it so bad, huh?

So the next time you feel like you're getting a crap deal, try imagining your life through the eyes of:




It sure turns all your problems into blessings.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Go Red For Women Day - February 2nd

Did you know that February 2nd is Go Red for Women Day?

Can you believe that only 13 percent of women view heart disease as a health threat, even though it’s women’s No. 1 killer??

1 in 3 women will get heart disease.

Visit the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Day website and sign up (for FREE) to join their them reach their goal of 1,000,000 people!!

They'll even send you a FREE Red Dress pin!

And don't forget to wear RED February 2nd!!

Mary Gill, age 44, mother of four and heart disease survivor.

The West Witch - mother of me (and others!) and heart disease survivor.


Do you remember when you started wearing Girbaud?

I FINALLY got enough status in my family to get name brand clothes – and then the ‘cool kids’ stopped wearing them. Suddenly, they weren’t the “cool” jeans anymore because us 'losers' could afford them. I held on, though…I had wanted name brand clothes forever. Then the next thing I knew, my mom went out, bought a pair and ruined the whole damn thing. anyone else starting to feel that way about blogs?

I remember reading about Belle de Jour in the paper sometime early 2005. I had heard of these "web-logs" but they weren't something I was thinking about ‘getting into.’ She caught my attention, though - she intrigued me. I spend my nights reading the past posts of this mysterious London call girl. Like reading the diary of her dealings - full of sex and wit. Piecing together the details of her life until she became, almost, like someone I knew. Like a movie character...only real, and unpredictable. She had me hooked, coming back every day to see if she'd posted. Then she published a book and went on hiatus. I went about my life and haven't found the time to catch up on her story since she started blogging again.

So, when I found the mommyblog scene through ClubMom, I wasn't entirely new to blogs. I was new to COMMENTING on blogs. Yes, yes, yes. Commenting opened a whole new world that I hadn't known existed. Belle's comments were full of male 'callers' trying to get her to notice them. Mommyblog commenters had...mommies (and some daddies and non-parents, too). They had people who engaged in conversations about whatever it was the blogger brought up. It was like having LOTS of friends to whom I had no commitment.

I have to admit that I chose 'my' blogs from their names and the first name that I thought looked interesting was Cooking With Whine. Then Cheeky Lotus. Who led me to Suburban Turmoil and The Idle Receptionist. Again, with these women, I found myself intrigued. They are all so unique and so funny - but all so very different. And I really hope that they take my multiple hits a day as a compliment and not something to pursue a restraining order for. Their comments are almost as good as the initial post.

Not too long ago, I jumped on the bandwagon and moved my blog from myspace to Blogger. I became familiar with this group of women, and slowly found myself adding more blogs to my list of TO READ’s. Oh, you know how it is…you spend so much time reading all the back-posts that all you have left to wait for are the NEW posts. Posts that require work on the part of the blogger. You start checking multiple times a day in an effort to avoid doing your boring-ass work. (Selfishly thinking, “Yeah, yeah, so you have kids to feed…make me laugh already!!”) Then you start realizing they can see how many times you visit them and don’t want them to misconstrue your boredom-induced compulsiveness as psychosis, so you find another interesting blog to read.

In adding all these people to my Favorites, I started to realize that EVERYONE has a blog.

So, anyway...I got to thinking...

Does anyone else feel like this Blogging thing isn't so cool anymore now that the Banker on Deal or No Deal has one? No? How about the guy my Fox station hired to "Blog about Idol" with viewers?

To me, it kind of feels like Mom trying to borrow your Girbauds.

I just hope the Cool Kids who started this fad don’t back out now that us "losers" are doing it.