Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Request for Designers

OK, The Poem Company should be up soon. I would like to provide customers with a list of designers to choose from. I think for now, a referral type situation will work the best.

For those of you who are interested in being included in the list, could you please send me an email with a link to your shop/portfolio? I'm looking for all styles, so don't be shy! Feel free to let others know about the offer, or send me links to people you think might be interested.

My email is jules[at], but you can also just click that email link for add rates.

Thanks! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Tinderbox

The weather has been unbelievably hot lately. Even on days where it only reaches the low 90s, the air is so still, so heavy with the city's sweat, it feels closer to the low 100s. And as the temperature rises, so do the tempers. The town is a tinderbox, and a flippant remark or careless driver can set off a firestorm as easily as a dry bush under the midday sun.

Fast food consumption goes up when it's hot. At least that's my pattern. It's too hot to cart the kids in and out of car seats and across parking lots only to spend the next hour pleading with them to hold out for just five more minutes while I find the right brand of cereal. They smell my fear like predators and poke at me with cries, whines, and constant requests to go potty down every other aisle. I sometimes get so flustered I forget half the items on my list, and so there are days I open the refrigerator and am shocked to find only a withered cucumber. Didn't I just buy that loaf of bread? And what happened to the peanut butter? I am still learning to shop with two growing boys in mind. I bought a pint of blueberries the other day thinking it would last the week. They ate the entire carton at snack time, and Nicholas had the nerve to look offended at the site of his clean plate. On these days I glare with envy at their slim, bottomless tummies and head towards McDonald's with just the slightest bit of guilt.

Under these circumstances, Omar had to know he had it coming.

At my McDonald's there is a driveup where you order the food. After which you make a sharp left turn and stop at the first of two windows. At window #1 you pay; at window #2 you pick up. I finished ordering and made the sharp left turn only to narrowly avoid hitting a pimply-faced teen standing in the drive-through and leaning languidly into window #1.

What the?!

My thundering engine 5 inches from his body was no match for the harp-playing angels and chirping birds floating above his head. This young man had eyes (and ears and brains) for no one but the beautiful young maiden, Leticia, perched inside window #1. I put the truck in reverse, made a 10-point turn in the curve of the drive-through, and re-approached.

"Hi. I almost hit you." I looked at his name tag. Omar.

Omar slowly tore his eyes away from the furiously texting Leticia and looked at me. I looked back, and played connect the dots with his pockmarked faced. It spelled out Dude, I'm in love. I gave him a look that said Dude, I'm in no mood. Leticia was too busy texting to give me my total, so Omar hoisted himself into window #1 and stole a quick glance at the register before sliding back down.

"Your total is $11.52." He rested his right elbow on the window ledge, propped his head on his fist, and held out his left hand for me to place my money, all the while staring at Leticia. I looked around for hidden cameras. Finding none, I determined that this pathetic exchange in time was my reality.

I gave him my card and watched as he hoisted himself into window #1 to process the order. Naturally, perched as he was like a freakin' lovebird, he fumbled for an indeterminable amount of time with the machine. Leticia entered an order and smiled at a reply to her previous text. Omar handed me back my card and receipt and resumed Leticia Watch. I waited, then realizing Omar would not be moving again, collapsed my side-view mirror, put the truck in reverse, and created enough berth between me and him so as not to hit him. I inched past Omar and made it to window #2. I looked in my rear view mirror and watched as the next driver behind me maneuvered around Omar.

Young love. It's sweet, passionate, endearing, and a pain in my ass. As I watched Omar hoist his scrawny little body into window#1 again, I knew I had no choice but to quash that little Love Connection like the Anti-Chuck Woolery.

As luck would have it, the manager was working the window. The manager who, if his frazzled appearance was any indication, was covering for Omar on break. It took me three times to explain to him that one of his employees was blocking the drive-through. Poor fella couldn't comprehend what I was trying to say, so when he followed my thumb and saw Omar's dangling ass outside window #1 (he was processing an order) he had to catch himself to keep from falling out of window #2.

"OMAR!" Nothing.

"OMAR!!" No response. Never underestimate the racket harp-playing angels and chirping birds can make.

"OMAR!!!" I watched to make sure the shower of spittle didn't hit any of my fries. Through clenched teeth the manager advised Omar to "get his ass back inside." I adjusted my sunglasses and didn't even try to hide my chuckle of delight as Omar slinked his way past the long line of lunch-hour cars and into the kitchen.

Love burns hot, Omar. But a hot, pissed-off mom paying for a bag of fried heart disease burns hotter.

See you next time, Romeo.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The High Dive

Last night the Mister had a dream Mikey was trying to captain a fishing boat on a rough sea. Mikey was all alone on the ship, and the Mister was desperately trying to reach him before a large wave tossed him overboard.

This morning I reminded the Mister that Mikey's last swim lesson was at 10:30. He looked at his calendar for the day, but his full schedule prevented him from making the lesson.

Uh huh.

Perhaps the Mister's dream and his packed schedule had something to do with today being the day Mikey would jump off the diving board. I talked to the Mister right after the lesson and he confessed that, yes, he was a touch too weak in the knees to witness this:

{Mama, I did it! But we don't need to do it ever again, ok?}

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Party Is Over...

I just finished cleaning out our sideboard, and I found a pile of greeting cards. I tossed out the ones from friends, but the ones we've given each other are just sitting there.

Pile of Cards

Should I toss them? Keep them? For how long? Do I keep just the special ones? (Isn't every birthday/anniversary/holiday with family special?) This is the sort of thing that makes me wish really hard for that house gnome. He would know what to do.

What do you do with your cards after the party is over?

Where are my Manners?

So a couple of weeks ago Cathe had the grand opening for her shop, Feterie. I've worked with Cathe in the past on numerous occasions, so I planned on announcing the good news here. But I didn't. Because I have the attention span of a gnat. I need to redeem myself.

Cathe emailed me this morning to remind me of an awesome giveaway she is hosting with mi Spa, July 21-August 1. The giveaway is simple, too. You just sign up for a chance to win right HERE.

But, wait! There's more! {I've always wanted to say that.}

There's another painless way to increase your odds at winning. All it requires is pretend online shopping. Like we don't do this already?! You just check out Cathe's new Imprintables line and tell her which design you like the best in the comment section of THIS POST. Two lucky winners (one per week) will win a selection of fabulousness from both mi Spa and Feterie.

You can also enter to win with each order you place at mi Spa and Feterie, in case all your pretend shopping makes you itch for the real thing.

Thanks, Cathe, for letting me know the latest with your shop and being so generous with your goodies! :)

Monday, July 21, 2008


(Tine K Home. See more HERE)

Yesterday I showed to the Mister this picture of a china cabinet that inspired in me a radical idea. Let me start at the beginning.

I love a clean home. I just don't love dirtying my hands making it clean. There are a million other things I would rather do. Usually, I do them. My mother-in-law, Grandma Fern (the Mister's most awesome grandma--Hi Fern!!), neighbors, friends, and my mom are always quick to point out that the house is far from filthy. It just looks like two very young boys live there. ;) My perfectionist nature fights their logic. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed at the impossibility of keeping it perfect that I wind up doing nothing. Not good.

So I've been reading up on organization and simplicity and maintaining a peaceful environment. There is a common theme with everything I've read. We, the dishelved, all have too much crap. Gadgets, gizmos, and gimmicks bust from our drawers and clutter our homes and minds, and according to everyone the first step is releasing from your environment everything you don't love or need. Since coming back from vacation, I've been trying to purge what I can. I gave to Goodwill 95% of my closet. Next up, all the furniture that is taking up real estate in our garage.

Back to the china cabinet. It got me thinking about dishes and how much I hate to do them. We have a service for 10, and our usual routine is to pre-wash and rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher for a final clean. As you can imagine, we put off running the dishwasher until just before we run out of clean dishes. Then we have to unload a full dishwasher. What a boring waste of time.

We had already planned to replace our dishes this year, but what if, I asked the Mister, we replaced our dishes with a simple service for four? We are a family of four, after all. The caveat: we would have no choice but to keep up on our dishes. No more dishwasher full of plates and glasses waiting for the last minute. If we use it, we clean it. Otherwise, we don't have anything to eat off. As luck would have it, it is easier to clean 4 dishes through out the day versus 10 all at once. The bonus is the service that once took up two-and-a-half cabinets in my kitchen will now fit on one, maybe two shelves. No more bulging cabinets.

I haven't forgotten about guests. First of all, we're anti-social. We never have people over. But in the event we do, that's where the china cabinet comes in. In that I will store china, glassware, and linens for our guests. I can store artfully what we use only on occasion. Perfect.

I already have a china cabinet. It's just a cheap old thing, but I'm going to try prettying it up. I plan on working on it in August, so I'll be sure to post befores and afters.

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Have you done something similar, and did it work? I curious to know if I am the only one who feels weighed down by their possessions.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Favorite Moment

I love it when a story comes first circle. This week I started off with the Petrie Dish Boarding Facility. They thought Buddy was sick, a humming, buck-toothed, cyclops was left in charge, and we came home from vacation early to find two healthy, pissed off dogs and almost $400 in boarding fees. Oh yeah, and an additional $136 in ER fees. Today I ended the week with none other than Petrie Dish Boarding.

When I answered my phone late this morning I decided, solely on the lack of nervous tics, I was not speaking with my usual contact. This person thought she was returning my call. Of course, that was not the case. I never make the first move! Curiously enough, she called the Mister at work instead of me. It appears my reputation precedes me, and she was trying to avoid speaking with me at all costs. The Mister, naturally, wanted no part in any of it and gave her the home number, my cell phone, all four of my emails, and my weekly schedule in case she wanted to catch me at Mikey's swim lesson.

Verdict: The owner decided to write off Buddy's boarding fee, and so our account is now clear.

Score one for the good guys! She decided this on Tuesday, which is the same day she turned over the boarding facility to a new owner. Did I make her sell her business? We'll never know, but according to the people who have argued with me in the past (my mother) it is possible. I didn't get a chance to speak with the owner; an administrative assistant delivered the news.

So that's it. Completely anticlimactic, and I can't help but feel a little guilty. Would our $175 gone towards the old owner's mortgage? Did she make enough money in the sale to feed all her cats? What does the future hold for her, and would our money have made a difference? I think I won fair and square, but I can't help but feel like it was taking candy from a baby.

Then again, $175 is a nice purse. Some good shoes. And, [gulp] not quite a law school loan payment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monkey Business

I have a friend named Steve. We've known each other since high school and since I've known him, Steve is always almost getting into fights. Now that we're older these near-miss altercations are few and far between, but in school I could guarantee Monday morning would bring news of some affront to Steve's character that almost resulted in a fight. I almost got into a fight this weekend, Jules. Lather, rinse, repeat 52 more times. After a while, I was ready to resort to fisticuffs and my first words to him when he sat next to me in Mr. Mead's biology class were usually, "So, who's ass did you almost kick this time?" Well, Steve, this one's for you. This morning I almost got into a fight with a woman at Curves.

I didn't want to go, but I knew today was the end of my first month and they would be measuring me for progress. And they did. What did 5 days a week for a month get me?

  • I gained 3 pounds
  • I gained .1% body fat
  • I lost 1/4 of an inch off my hips and thighs.
Now, I know what you're thinking, and the poor woman responsible for measuring me was not the woman with whom I almost fought. She was just the messenger, and I pretty much stood there blinking my stinging eyes. I really wanted to turn on my heel and leave, but I decided to stay and work out even harder than I had the prior 4 weeks.

The woman who's ass I almost kicked is quite fugly. Frankly, she looks like an orangutan. She has tan, leathery skin and dyes her naturally dark hair apricot--the closest she will ever get to the blonde she really wants. She is an enormous stove pipe on two, small feet. I wager she's 5 feet, 250 pounds. To compliment her compact, troll-like body is an enormous attitude. She spends most of her workout looking down at people from behind an unfortunate pig snout equipped with dime-sized, cavernous nostrils. In my mind, her name is Cornelia.

I was talking to a woman working out next to me about my results. She could tell I was disappointed and was trying to cheer me up. A woman working out next to Cornelia jumped in when I mentioned to my neighbor that I was doing Curves 5 times per week.

"That's why! They say you should only work out 3 times per week." She is obviously someone who had great success with Curves and was looking for a reason why I wasn't as fortunate.

"I read you should do some form of cardio 5 times a week."

"You should do more, then!"

"I started walking with my neighbor at night last week, so maybe..." I was going to finish by saying maybe I'll see more results next month when Cornelia looked at my stomach, rolled her eyes and turned to the woman and said, "She's still eating." Eating. As if she shrinks to the size of a pen at the end of her workouts, hides inside my back pocket, and watches me eat all day long. The other woman turned and looked at me and said, "Ooooooh," while she shook her head. Cornelia had disclosed to her the obvious, and now she felt stupid for not realizing I spent my days with my head buried in the refrigerator.

It took all my willpower to keep from hooking my fingers in those enormous nostrils and throwing her into traffic like a discus. I opened my mouth to ask her how she was privy to my eating habits, and that, perhaps, she could direct comments about me to me. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. Someone so rude and nasty would only get a rise from me responding. I didn't want to ruin it for the rest of the members, so I spent the rest of the workout imagining how many times a day people mistook her for an apricot ape.

An hour later I was telling my mom about my lackluster results. She listened to me complain about how hard I was working out and patiently waited until I ended my tirade on the unfairness of life. Then she quietly asked, "Well, have you changed your diet much?"

My diet may not be pristine, but I did cut out Diary Queen. That, for me, is huge. Each small blizzard can be up to 500 calories, so at the very least I expected to maintain my weight instead of gain. I told her all this.

She continued speaking, choosing her words carefully. "I think to lose a significant amount of weight you need to monitor what you eat very carefully. Cutting out the ice cream is good, but you might need to do more. Maybe you can try being as strict with your diet as you have been with exercising."

I knew my mom was right. I also knew I wanted to record her uplifting speech and play it in the Curves parking lot from a giant boom box held high above my head while Cornelia lumbered inside. That's how you motivate people and dispense advice! You could learn a thing or two from my mom, you furry little primate.

But it's all good. I'm now even more motivated, and now I have a goal. I want to lose 36 pounds by my 36th birthday on November 30th. I might start another blog to keep track of my progress so I don't bore everyone or, I might be totally selfish and post here and keep a weight loss ticker front and center. I haven't decided. All I know is come November Cornelia will be choking on her bananas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Parting Gift

Everyone has a nervous tic; hers was to end every sentence with an annoying hmmmmmmm.

"Let me get this straight. You're telling me you've had a Kennel Cough problem the last few weeks and you think Buddy has it and now you need us to pick him up right now?"

"Yes, that is correct. hmmmmmmmm. But we can't guarantee he got it here. hmmmmmmm. It's highly contagious. hmmm. He could have gotten it anywhere. hmmmmmmm."

"He's been in your facility since Tuesday. Today's Sunday. When did he start coughing?"

"He coughed three times last night. hmmmmmm. Yes. Well. OK. I think he got the Kennel Cough here. hmmmmmm."

"So if you have a problem with Kennel Cough, why didn't you tell us when we booked the appointment. Obviously we were going on vacation!"

"Yes. Well. Ok. hmmmmmm. We did have signs posted. hmmmm."

"Signs don't do a person much good WHEN YOU'RE DROPPING OFF YOUR DOGS TEN MINUTES BEFORE YOU LEAVE ON VACATION! I think you should have let us know about your issue with COMMUNICABLE DISEASES when we called to make the appointment. Especially if you don't have a vet on site and expect SOMEONE ON VACATION to pick up the dog WITHIN THE HOUR."

"hmmmm. You'll be here soon to take Buddy to the ER for and examination and treatment? Buster is fine!"

"Really? Buster is fine? Well thank heavens for frickin' miracles. No, I won't be there soon. My brother-in-law will be there soon to drive 30 more minutes to take Buddy to the ER. But my inlaws have a dog of their own, and can't take care of Buddy afterwards so we will have to cut our vacation short."

"hmmmmmm. I appreciate your dilemma."

"I...You...Uh...GAH! OK, look, I really would like to rip you a new one and make all sorts of commotion and demand an adjustment to my bill but I know you are not in a position to make decisions. So, I'm going to ask that you please discuss my situation with the owner and see if she can reduce Buddy's boarding by the amount we will have to pay in emergency room fees and medications."

"Thank you for understanding I don't have much control here. hmmmmm. I will speak to the owner on your behalf."

I hung up the phone and had 15 pretend fights in my head with the owner, all of which ended with me get free boarding for life.

We tried to enjoy our last day, but all we could think of was poor Buddy. The temperature was supposed to reach over 100, and we were nervous about shade and water. Our neighbors assured us they would check on him often and would turn a deaf ear to the barking our indoor dog would undoubtedly resort to when he found himself still outside at bedtime.

We were also sad, imagining poor Buddy coughing up lungs and gasping for dying breaths--until my brother-in-law called to say the vet could find nothing wrong with Buddy. No Kennel Cough. In fact, no cough at all. Buddy was most likely clearing his throat and the morons at the boarding facility panicked and instituted a Kennel Cough Red Alert at our expense. Mind you, this is a ridiculously expensive boarding facility. It's one of those crazy doggie hotels with private rooms, gymnasiums, spa treatments, and, basically, more luxurious accommodations than we would be enjoying on our vacation. (We procrastinated and our vet was unable to accommodate our dogs. The Petrie Dish was the only facility available for the holiday weekend. Gee! I wonder why?)

The next day, after an 8 hour drive, I arrived at The Petrie Dish to pick up Buster and was angry to find him in a small crate in what appeared to be a makeshift quarantine room. I was also surprised to discover the nervous tic my phone-friend had was the least of her problems. I made an effort to ignore teeth that could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence and tried to figure out on which of her crossed eyes to focus. Stick with the right. The left has a white spot. Doesn't that mean retinal damage? You see? You shouldn't have thought mean things about her nervous...

"Are you here for Buster?"

"Yes, but why isn't he in his room?" I couldn't figure out what eye to look at. Buster heard my voice and immediately starting barking like mad.

"Well, he was in contact with Buddy. We are taking necessary precautions. hmmmm"

"It turns out Buddy has nothing wrong with him, you know. But whatever. I would just like to pick up Buster and head home, please." I waited, credit card poised, to receive my offer for free boarding for life.

"Right. Well, I spoke with the owner and she said NO."

"What do you mean, 'she said NO?'"

"I mean you need to pay Buddy's full boarding fee."

At this point I opened my mouth and words flew out like daggers. In fact, by the time I was done she was spread eagle on the wall and looked very much like a knife thrower's assistant, but instead of knives she was outlined with verbs, adjectives, and exclamation points. I asked her to put the owner on the phone, and she refused.

"We posted signs about the Kennel Cough. Leaving your dogs here was the risk you chose to take."

"NO. Leaving our dogs here was the risk you forced us to take. There's a difference." That last zinger made her eyes straighten, but only for a second.

In the end, we were at a stalemate. She refused to discount Buddy's ER visit and medications from his balance. I told her that she would take the reduced fee or nothing. She agreed to take nothing. I decided she had three braincells, and they were fighting.

So I left. I paid Buster's balance and told the bucky-beaver-cyclops that I was very eager to speak with the owner and clear up the balance without things escalating. I reiterated my position and asked her to have the owner call me as soon as possible.

I have yet to hear from the owner. She may have decided to forgo the balance. When you factor in the ER fees there was only $40 left on the account. Then again, she may just send me to collections. If she does I will pay it. Then I will turn around and sue her in small claims court for Buddy's medical fees and costs. Maybe I'll get to use my law degree, after all. Because that's why I went to law school and have all those loans: to go to small claims court.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The vacation was fantastic, but sandwiched between two unfortunate moments.

We were enjoying the scenery just outside Bishop when some random trucker decided to give us a parting gift as we passed him. Thanks, Bergart Trucking from Carson City, NV! Oh, and removing your company from every possible listing service across the nation so no one can get in touch with you? A touch of brilliance!


Luckily we arrived safe and sound and spent the next few days doing a whole bunch of this.

First Swing

Old Pro

Going Down the Slide

Triple Pump


Wind in My Face

Sommer Designs Purse
(Purse everyone stops and asks me about by Sommer Designs)

The other unfortunate moment? That deserves it's own special post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


(Image borrowed from If you haven't been to Truckee, GO!)

I finished all my outstanding projects!

Now all I need to do is start packing. I'll see you soon, my sweet. Very, very soon.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July! I'll be back late next week. :)