Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ghosts -- and no, we're not talking about a Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore sobfest

The other day I saw this article that said nearly 1 in 4 people polled believed in ghosts. At the bottom of the article was this explanation of the poll: The poll, conducted Oct. 16-18, involved telephone interviews with 1,013 adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points -- so, I don't know how representative it is of the American public or how scientific a survey it is, but it got me thinking.

Do I believe in ghosts? I'm not sure. There is a family story -- which, unfortunately, I can't remember right now -- that details an encounter with a ghost. The person to whom the ghost appeared was one of the most credible and no-nonsense people I've ever known so I tend to think she wasn't being hysterical or given to vapors or anything like that.

When Fred died I had a couple of very realistic dreams about him in which we had conversations. In one of them Fred kept telling me how sorry he was. How he would take it back if he could. When I woke the next morning I realized that the previous day had been Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. Fred was Jewish. So that was kind of weird.

For a while after he died I was always seeing something in my peripheral vision. Some movement. Something. But of course when I would turn to look, there would be nothing there.

Linda, the leader of the SOS group I attended for a while at Nuci's Space told me about a dream she had about her son Nuci. She felt that it was absolutely a visit from him. My dreams about Fred might simply have been my subconscious working through my grief, but I choose to believe that they were visits from Fred.

The only other experience I've ever had was at my mom's house. She married my step-dad about 10 years ago and his family has always joked about George, their resident ghost. When Punkin was small my mom kept a crib upstairs so we could put the kids down for a nap or put them to bed if we were staying over late. Bubba always slept up there with no problems, but Punkin never would. We always had a baby monitor up there so that I could listen and make sure she wasn't getting too upset, but usually I had to go up and get her.

One night I put her down and turned out the light. She fussed for a few minutes and then was quiet. Woo hoo! When we got ready to go home I went up to get her and the light was on in the bedroom. I am quite certain that I turned it off when I left the room and no one else had been up there. Hmmmm.

So I'm curious. What do you guys believe? Have any of you ever had an experience? Or know someone who has. Share! It's Halloween -- I could use a good spooky story!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I've Learned and What I Wish

With the ghost of bad decision past coming back to haunt me and Mr. Daddy in the last day or two, I finally figured out what I would write about for the meme that Colleen at Wine Please tagged me for ages ago. (Sorry it's taken me so long, Colleen, but you have two kids too so I'm figuring you're willing to cut me a little slack).

Without going into a lot -- okay ANY -- of the details of our bad decision or its repercussions what I've learned is this: When you make a decision and it turns out to be a bad one, you cannot beat yourself up about it forever. A little while, okay. But then let it go. This has been a hard one to learn. You make the best decision you can at the time with the information that you have at the time. Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control that send the train of your life off the track (Hurricane Katrina, anyone?). Sometimes it might be a choice you willingly make that makes everything go kerfluey. But done is done. To my knowledge, no one has yet invented a time machine so that I could go back and make a different decision. So, I have two choices. I can sit and wallow in my worry, my anxiety, my I WISH WE HAD NEVER DONE THAT. Or I can go forward and learn from the decisions I've made in the past. The wallow, the anxiety, the wishing does nothing but give me more gray hair. And trust me, I don't need that. And who's to say that if we hadn't made that decision that our lives would be so perfect? I don't have a crystal ball either, to see that alternate reality. Who knows what would have happened?

The tagline on Mir's (of Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda fame) blog is a quote from Arthur Miller -- "Maybe all we can hope to do is to end up with the right regrets." I'm not sure that this "ghost" that's coming back to haunt me right now is a "right regret," but that one decision did lead to a myriad of other events in my life that have been good. Either way, all of these decisions have made me who I am today and right now I wouldn't change THAT for anything.

What do I wish? What DO I wish? Wish is not the right word for me. It implies too much wistfulness. I mean, I wish I could win the lottery. I wish it would rain. I would rather ask what I HOPE FOR. I hope that I can raise my children to be forward looking, not dwelling on the past, on their mistakes. I hope that I will raise them to be "glass half full" people when they need to be. I hope that THEY will be a positive influence on other people.

That is what I've learned. That is what I hope.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time for those tough questions

As a parent, I dread when the time comes for the "talk." You know, about the birds and the bees. I hope that I'll be able to handle it maturely and honestly without causing too much embarrassment for either party. Bubba has had a few questions already and we've tried to call spade a spade -- or a penis a penis as the case may be. BUT, I think you have to give them the information that they're ready for, information that they can process and handle without freaking them out too much.

So that's why, last December, when we were reading a story about Mary and Joseph and Bubba piped up with "How do babies get out of your tummy?" I was a little panicked. How much is he ready for? How much am I ready for?

"Let's finish the story and then we'll talk about it."


And fortunately by the time we finished the story, he had forgotten all about it, which had been my plan all along. Bwah ha ha ha.

By the time the question came up again a few weeks later, I was ready for him. I had been thinking about what I would say the next time.

"Mommy, how do babies get out of your tummy?"

"Well, Bubba. I had what is called a c-section and they cut you out with a knife." I said (while sending up a silent prayer of thanksgiving for c-sections!)


And that was it. For a LONG time.

The other night as we were getting out of the tub Bubba asked, completely out of the blue, "How do the babies get knives inside your tummy?"

WHA? "What are you talking about, Bubba?"

"How do the babies get knives inside your tummy to cut themselves out?"

"Ohhhh." Everything clicked into place. "The babies don't have knives. The doctor has a knife and he cuts the baby out. Do you want to see the scar that I have where the doctor cut to pull you and Punkin' out?"

"Mmm hmmm." I carefully pulled down my sweatpants to expose the scar. He looked in horrified fascination.

"What was I doing in there?" he asked.

"You were all balled up in a tiny little ball."

He got a devilish gleam in his eye and he laughed and said "Was I playing with your GUTS?" Only little boys.....

Friday, October 26, 2007

What would Freud have to say about this?

For most of my life I have had a very active dream life, which I have enjoyed. Upon waking I used to be able to remember most of my dreams and for the most part they were entertaining. If I dreamt something weird I could usually go back over the previous couple of days and find something in real life that had triggered said weirdness.

But lately I don't dream. Well, I guess it would be more correct to say that I don't remember my dreams, which I find to be kind of sad. I don't know if it has to do with my ever present exhaustion or what. I suspect it has something to do with which phase of sleep I'm in when my alarm goes off, but I'm not sure.

So, anyway, when I do remember my dreams these days it's kind of entertaining and as I keep telling you guys, I get my entertainment where I can these days.

Two nights ago I dreamed that David Beckham (yes, soccer phenom and tabloid staple David Beckham) was hitting on me. In a major way. He was flirting like crazy with me and then proceeded to tell me that he thought my body was beautiful. That I had the PERFECT body. But not for America.

For Iraq. IRAQ!

That the people of Iraq love women with my kind of figure.

Um. WTH?!

Anybody wanna take a stab at where this one came from? Anybody? 'Cause I got no clue.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My horrible Thursday Thirteen

In honor of Halloween I'm going to do my 13 favorite scary movies. I'm going to try to do them in the order that I watched them in my life, but I may get a few out of order.

1. Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things .I don't actually know how old I was when I saw this movie, but I do know that I wasn't supposed to be watching it. I know that because I was hiding behind my cousin's couch while she and my mom watched it. Since I found the a review on BadMovies.org, I probably wouldn't think very highly of it today, but I remember that it was horrifying as a child. I mean the title alone...sheesh!

2. Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Again, I was young when I watched this movie and as an adult I don't really remember anything about it except that it used to scare the C-R-A-P out of me. Going back and reading the review does bring back some memories -- mostly of a very creepy lake.

3. Friday the 13th (Part I or II -- after that, too cheesy) When I was in the 4th grade, I met my best friend Kendal. We had so much in common -- one of those things being scary movies. Just about every weekend we were together we would rent one of the Friday the 13th movies. I can remember one night my mom finally gave up on us and went to bed with a "BE QUIET" warning. No sooner had she given her command than Jason appeared on the screen -- not doing anything, mind you, just standing there -- and we let out a bloodcurdling scream! Ah, good times. Good times.

4. Halloween -- This is my all-time-favorite yet most-hated scary movie. I almost cannot watch it at all and certainly not by myself. This was another favorite of mine and Kendals. In college I once watched this alone in my apartment but had my boyfriend on the phone the whole time -- LONG DISTANCE!

I have a tremendous phobia of people who just stand there and don't say anything (see: Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers!). Mr. Daddy loves to exploit this fear by turning off the light of whatever room we're in and then just standing there. Not saying anything. Not moving. I try to keep my cool and I usually manage for a few seconds but then I start running for whatever light is closest and screaming like a little girl.

5. Nightmare on Elm Street (Part I). In the summer before 6th grade, Kendal went to go live with her dad in the northwest corner of our state. We kept in touch and visited fairly regularly. Our birthdays were exactly a week apart and she invited me up for her birthday. Nightmare on Elm Street had JUST come out on video and a whole group of 7th grade girls gathered around to watch. Did I mention that Kendal's dad lived out in the middle of NOWHERE? Next to a very creepy lake? And that there was a purported monster who lived on the lake called the Cootiewah. Let's just say we didn't get a lot of sleep that night.

6. The Exorcist. When small girls start speaking in the voice of the devil, well, that generally scares the pee out of me (not to mention what she does with the crucifix! Yikes!). Also, by this point in my life I am starting to be more scared by things that seem like they could actually happen than I am raging homicidal maniacs with mother/sister issues.

7. Night of the Living Dead. This movie has been remade several times, but the original is the best. The fact that it's shot in black and white gives it a very gritty, realistic feel. It was the first movie (that I know of) to feature the shambling, flesh hungry zombies.

8. Silence of the Lambs. Okay, this is not a traditional scary movie in the same way that the others are, but still. If you can watch Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and not be scared and revolted and fascinated all at the same time, then you are a better woman/man than I am.

9. Scream. The scary movie that made scary movies cool again (along with reviving Drew Barrymore's career) (OH! AND uniting Courtney Cox and David Arquette!). I loved how it played on the "rules" of scary movies and yet was still scary.

10. Rosemary's Baby. If I had to guess, I would say that this is my mother's favorite horror movie. And for many, many years I resisted watching it. Guess when I finally watched it? Go on, guess. When I was pregnant. With Bubba. And already paranoid about every damn thing that could happen. Sometimes now I wonder if I DID give birth to the devil's child -- that seems like it could be the only explanation for certain behaviors -- but I never ate raw liver when I was pregnant, so I think I'm safe.

11. The Others. This movies stars Nicole Kidman and was one of the best spooky, give-you-goose bumps movies I've ever seen. Although Mr. Daddy fell asleep in the theater, he still says he enjoyed it (he says the dark atmosphere and the fog in the movie overwhelmed him and put him to sleep). There is something really creepy that happens in the movie but I won't spoil it in case you haven't seen it.

12. 28 Days Later. The main character of this movies wakes from a coma to find that he is one of the last people left alive in London. The rest of the city is populated with zombies that have been infected with a rage virus. BUT, these zombies don't just stumble along. They RUN. Fast. It gives me the willies just thinking about it. There's a scene in a tunnel that is one of the most nerve jangling things I've ever watched (through my fingers!). On the upside, there's Cillian Murphy to look at. And that's never bad.

And finally,

13. Shaun of the Dead. Made by the same people who recently brought you Hot Fuzz. Although technically a comedy (and it is hilarious), this homage to traditional zombie movies does have it's own scary moments. Since I'm no longer really a fan of scary, gory movies, this one is right down my alley.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cheese, Glorious Cheese -- Finally!

The other day I was being all mysterious about this "commitment" I had. Like I said then, I get my excitement where I can. But this was truly fun.

I was invited by The National Dairy Council and the 3-A-Day of Dairy to attend an event at Super Suppers in Decatur, Georgia that is designed to help get the word out about the importance of getting at least 3 servings of dairy daily in your diet (hey, alliteration again!).

Now I'm all about dairy, especially cheese. I don't know if this has to do with the fact that my grandfather owned a dairy farm when I was growing up or not, but dairy is definitely in my blood. In fact, Mr. Daddy likes to make fun of how much shredded cheese I buy at the store every week, but the truth of the matter is that the stuff comes in handy. I make a lot of casseroles -- hey, they're easy to put together the night before and the kids usually dig them -- and casseroles usually call for cheese. I make so many casseroles that my kids probably don't realize that all food doesn't come mixed together in one handy dish.

But back to the event. Several of these "create a week's worth of meals" places have opened up nearby but I had yet to try any of them so I was doubly excited when I got the invitation.

Of course I got there early. I always get everywhere early. It's just a thing I do. But look what awaited me:

You know it's going to be a party when there are balloons!

When I got inside there was a whole host of ladies from the National Dairy Council who were so friendly and welcoming. And of course there was food -- with dairy! And wine! And sangria! (it was, truth be told, the MOST delicious sangria I ever had) (Don't worry, there WAS milk to drink later. With the brownies. Don't hate me. They just wanted to get us liquored up first so we would talk about our blogs. AS IF! Like Miss Zoot said, "Free food and people who want to listen to us talk about our blogs! Does it get any better than this?")

They let us wander around and graze while we got to know each other. Guess where Madame Queen ended up? Right by the food. You never have to tell me to get in line for food. I'm always willing to be first in line.

I have to confess that one of the reasons I was so excited to go was because I got to meet two of my favorite bloggers -- Lulu and Sophie. I was sort of nervous. Kind of like going on a blind date with someone you've only met online. But I read their blogs daily and so as soon as I saw them I felt like we were old friends.

Finally they put us to work! Around the room were six stations, each set up for one particular recipe. All the ingredients you would need were right there, all with the correct measuring cup inside. And that was a big deal to me. I'm big on following measurements. I know there are lots of people out there who can just throw things together and have them be delicious, but I am NOT one of those people. If I'm following a recipe and it calls for 3/4 Tbsp., I'm going to put in 3/4 Tbsp. Because that's what it calls for! Whoever came up with the recipe came up with that measurement for a reason. Who am I to go changing it, you know?

And the food looked delicious. I wish I had some photos of it. I cooked the pan seared ravioli last night and it was delicious. Bubba didn't care for it, but he eats (and actually likes) so little these days that frankly I'm surprised he has the energy to get out of bed every morning, much less be the whirling dervish that he usually is.

We made 6 meals, which was absolutely awesome. I immediately started trying to decide if I wanted to give myself sort of a cooking vacation and cook them all in one week or spread them out a little. I've ultimately decided to spread them out. It makes the enjoyment last a leetle longer. But we had so much food that we actually had to use a cart to get it out to my car. See!

They also sent us home with so much stuff! A free 3-A-Day apron, some 3-A-Day drinking glasses, a ton of dairy-friendly recipes (aw yeah!) and a ton of new blogs to read!

And truly, for me, that was the best part. Getting to meet all the other bloggers. Here we all are, doing our "milk toast."

If you want to check out their blogs, they are:

Miss Zoot

A Hole in the Fence

Lulu's Laundry

Gypsy's Musings

The days...by Michelle

The Lovely Mrs. Davis Tells You What to Think

Breaking the Dress Code

and last but certainly not least


If you ever get a chance to go to a Super Suppers, or similar establishment, I highly recommend it. Especially if good friends, good food, good sangria and good conversation are on the menu!

Technical Difficulties

Ladies and gentlemen: The Madame Queen is TRYING to post about her fabulous Super Suppers event. HOWEVER, @#$(*@#($*@ Flickr is NOT cooperating. We will return soon with your regularly scheduled programming.

(in the meantime, if someone could tell me maybe what I'm doing wrong -- or if perhaps I'm just an idiot -- I would GREATLY appreciate it.)

UPDATE: Okay, I finally figured out what to do. Please bear with me. I WILL post today, but now I must actually do some real work. Ahem.

Monday, October 22, 2007

They may be down, but they're never out....

I have one word to say about this -- Woo hoo! Okay, that may be two words, but WHATEVER.

And on to The Series we go.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

If a fortune cookie says it, it must be so

So my friend/co-worker took me to lunch for my birthday to this chinese-ish/noodle place here in town. We got a fortune cookie. Mine said:

"It is quality rather than quantity that matters. Do a good job tomorrow."

Is that like "Free beer tomorrow"? Does this mean that I can start doing half-assed work all the time and, like Scarlett, promise to do a better job tomorrow?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Haiku Friday

Haiku Friday

In honor of Bubba:

Yuck. Gross. Disgusting.
I don't want to hear those words.
Don't like it? You cook.

Want to see more haikus (or is it just haiku? haiki?) Then check out this link here. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Begin Radio Silence

You guys may not hear from me for a couple of days. The next 3-4 days are going to be supremely busy. Busier than usual, even, if you can believe that.

Here's what I've got coming up:

Tomorrow night I have a "commitment." I'm being a little vague because I'm going to be blogging about this "commitment" and I want to build suspense and add intrigue. I'm sneaky that way. (Also. I get my excitement where I can find it.)

Thursday is my BIRTHDAY! Yes, this is a shameless plug for birthday wishes. I'm very much a birthday person. I pink puffy heart (with sprinkles!) birthdays. I enjoy all birthday's but most especially my own. I think my mom did this to me. She used to throw awesome birthday parties and make me fabulous cakes. We once went to the zoo for my birthday. We went camping once. She rented a bus and took a whole bunch of us roller skating. She borrowed somebody's giant truck and took us all on a hayride and cookout. Since my birthday is in October, my cakes usually had a Halloween theme. I had several orange jack o' lanterns over the years. A couple of years ago she crafted a spider web with black icing on top of my cake and wrote "Some Girl" in the web in homage to Charlotte. (Have I mentioned how awesome my mom is? She deserves her own post -- which I WILL do soon. I'm missing her terribly right now. She's been gone about a month and a half on a cross country camping trip. I think they're coming back Friday or Saturday.)

In full disclosure, however, I did have a few birthdays that sucked. Once when I was small (I think it was my third birthday) we went to my dad's restaurant to get some ice for my party. I was playing with the hinge on the door when my mom opened it to go outside. Ripped that teensy fingernail right off. When I was about eight or nine I wrote my autobiography and when I recounted this story I qualified it with "She didn't mean to." As though that needed clarifying.

When I was two I woke up vowing to my mother that I was going to be royally pissed (pretty sure I didn't use that word, though) if anyone sang Happy Birthday to me. When everyone commenced with the singing I got down out of my high chair, stomped to my room and slammed the door. Such a drama queen!

For a couple of weeks I've been giving Mr. Daddy ideas of things I'd like for my birthday, but today I realized that I am in desperate need of shoes. I got my brown dress shoes out the closet this morning and remembered that the heel was broken. It wasn't COMPLETELY broken, but I was concerned that it wouldn't last the day. I did not relish the thought of hobbling on one high heel through campus and down to the parking deck should the heel decide to give up the ghost, so I chunked them (they weren't repairable). So, I called Mr. Daddy and asked if I could buy a couple of pairs of shoes for my birthday.

"Well that's not very exciting. There's no surprise."

"I don't need surprise. I need shoes. And it's all our money anyway. Just get me a cake on my birthday and we'll call it square. And maybe a card."

"Okay, whatever."

So today I went and bought these:

I bought another pair, too (Payless was having BOGO), but my camera battery died right after taking the first picture and frankly I didn't feel like charging them up. But they are a cute, round toe high heel. Brown, natch. Sort of suede-y. With a bow.

And LAST (but certainly not least) on my To-Do calendar for this week is the greatest birthday present I will receive (that I know about). My dad and step- mom have offered to come and get the kids on Friday night and let them spend the night. They're also going to pay for me and Mr. Daddy to go out to dinner. To a REAL restaurant. I spent most of today trying to figure out where in the heck I want to go. You can't waste an opportunity like this one -- this will be our first child free night since JUNE. This town has some great restaurants. Some I've tried, some I haven't. There's a part of me that feels like going to one of the nicer ones. You know, dressing up a bit. Putting on some perfume. Maybe a little lipstick. But the reality is that I'm really a simple girl at heart. All I really want is a good steak and a cold beer. And Mr. Daddy to make me laugh while we eat.

So it will probably be Saturday before I can post again. Actually, scratch that. I've already drafted my Haiku for Friday so there will be that. BUT otherwise, I'll be incommunicado. Well, scratch that, too. I'm sure I'll be obsessively checking my comments (as usual!). But other than THAT, nada. I hope you ALL have a lovely week. I plan to.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm going to tell another dirty secret about myself. Sometimes I get burned out coming up with blog topics. . Shhhhh.

Actually, I think all of you know how I feel -- at least I hope so! And of course sometimes life gets in the way of our blogging (imagine that!). And sometimes I feel like there's not enough hours in the day to read all the blogs I want to read. And then I get frustrated and just think "What's the point!" (Did I ever mention that I can sometimes be a "glass half empty" kind of gal?)

Anyway, that's why sometimes I'm glad a meme comes along. Today All Adither tagged me for this meme. Well, in all honesty I sort of tagged myself because the old creative well was feeling a little dry, but after I asked if I could tag myself she told me she had planned on tagging me anyway. So all's well that ends well. Or something like that.

4 Jobs I have had:
•National sales manager for a gourmet cookie company
•Floater at a bank (filled in for tellers, customer service reps, etc. wherever needed)
•Sales assistant for a national brokerage firm
•Development/Fundraising associate in academia

4 Movies I love to watch over and over:
•Bring It On
•Valley Girl
•O Brother Where Art Thou
•Gone With the Wind

4 Places I have lived:
•Hilton Head

4 TV Shows I enjoy watching:

•Grey's Anatomy (well, I used to. I haven't been able to watch it this season. Not sure I want to invest in it this year)
•The Office
•30 Rock
•What Not to Wear

4 Places I have been:
•New York

4 Websites I visit daily:
•Go Fug Yourself
•Entertainment Weekly
•Numerous, numerous blogs

4 Favorite foods:
•French fries
•Hamburgers (looking at this list is it any wonder I can't lose these last 10 -- okay 20 -- pounds?)

4 Places I would rather be:
•the beach
•in a cabin in the mountains with a fire in the fireplace and a glass of wine. What? Too specific?
•Cooperstown, NY
•Boston, MA (never been but dying to go)

4 People I am tagging:
•I'm not going to tag anyone because I just recently tagged some folks. BUT if you want to tag yourself, you go right ahead!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I WILL be writing a letter about this...

UPDATE: McDonalds information is below. I'm actually going to write a real live letter instead of an email in hopes that it will get more attention. This may be a pipe dream, but maybe if enough of us do it we can make a dent.

McDonald’s Corporation
2111 McDonald's Dr
Oak Brook, IL 60523

You can get other ways to contact off their website. You should go and look around their site. It's kind of laughable how they talk about corporate responsibility.

Mattel appears only to have a phone number, but I will definitely be giving them a call. The number is 800-524-8697.

So today my stepmom called and said she and my dad wanted to come and get Bubba and have him spend the night. Since Punkin is sick it was okay that they didn't take her too. She hasn't been sleeping that great and I wouldn't want to inflict her on anybody, especially someone that I might need/want to call on for overnight babysitting duty down the road. Let's don't burn ALL our bridges.

I decided to swing by McDonalds on the way home for some fast food. We don't really eat fast food all that often, maybe once a month. We usually have pizza on Friday nights but we've sort of pizza'd ourselves out. Of course I got the Happy Meal for Punkin'. I know I should request the "Under 3" toy for her, but the regular toys are usually pretty innocuous and don't have small parts (and we're really vigilant about that kind of thing because everything is still going in her mouth). I looked up at the board to see what the girl toy was. Hmmm. My Scene. Never heard of it. Oh well, we'll see.

So after dinner, we pull out our toy and this is what we have. Behold My Scene Madison:

and this:

Uh. What exactly is her "scene?" A porn star convention? Jeez Mattel, give me a break. "Madison" is one of the Roller Girl My Scene dolls. Um. Wasn't Roller Girl the name of Heather Graham's character in Boogie Nights? And what was she? Oh yeah. A PORN STAR! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD!?! And miracle of miracles, Madison actually makes the Bratz look demure. THEY at least are wearing more clothes.

I showed it to Mr. Daddy. He said "Well, you should have requested the under three toy."

"And this would be okay if she were three?" I asked.

He conceded my point.

I will be writing a letter. To Mattel and to McDonalds. It may not do any good, but at least I will feel like I have made a stand for our daughters. Laurel at The Tea Party Place recently had a similar post (although hers was more eloquently written). Laurel, I think we gotta get rid of these chicks, too.

And now My Scene Madison is in the trash. Where she belongs.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Henri Bendel and the makeup factory

One of my proudest achievements while working at the gourmet cookie company was getting our product back in Henri Bendel. A quick tutorial for for those of you who don't know what or who Henri Bendel is -- or how to pronounce it -- I was calling it En-REE Ben-DEL, you know, all French like. FORTUNATELY, when you call there they answer the phone "Henry Bendel" and I never made a fool of myself. Anyway, Henri Bendel is like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for cosmetics.

I'm a makeup slut. I love makeup. I always have. My mom used to have a drawer full of outcast cosmetics that I guarded with my life. I was an expert at putting on makeup by the age of 3. So Henri Bendel is kind of like my Mecca.

The bottom floor holds every makeup line you've ever read about in any fashion magazine and some you haven't. It is literally almost too much to behold. Too many choices. Too many colors. Too many fragrances. In other words, too wonderful. The three upper floors contain beautiful clothes and purses, but I'm a cheapskate at heart and after seeing the outrageous prices on everything never ventured upstairs again.

I had arranged to do a demo of our products because that will sometimes will help tip a buyer over the edge. You might wonder why a cosmetics store would be carrying cookies, but the product my company sold was very "gifty" and the colors of the tins that our cookies came in perfectly matched Bendel's summer theme.

I arrived early because I wanted a makeover. I scoped out the different cosmetics selections and ultimately chose Laura Mercier. I don't remember why I chose her line but it probably had something to do with the packaging. I'm a sucker for cool packaging and I love the color brown. Her line is sleek and all in brown, so there you go.

I almost changed my mind when the Laura Mercier consultant approached me. She was slightly frightening looking and her makeup was....well....let's just say she applied it with a heavy hand. It's kind of like when you walk into a new salon and you meet your stylist and her hair looks like a bird has nested in it for several weeks and you think to yourself "Does she think that looks good?" and whether the answer is yes or no you're in trouble. But all the other girls at the LM counter were busy and I was running out of time.

I sat down and she went to work on me. We talked about how much makeup I generally like to wear (not much), my skincare regimen (very simple), etc. And then we got to the lips. Now I'll be the first to admit that I have kind of a thin upper lip. And we've all heard that if you want to make your lips look fuller that you should line them slightly outside of your natural lip line. Well, she went to town on my lips. She lined them, lipsticked them, and glossed them. And then she handed me the mirror.

Everything was great -- a little more foundation than I normally wear but you kind of expect that when someone else is doing your makeup. But y'all. The lips. She had lined them a good quarter inch outside of my natural lip line. They looked grotesque and swollen. And sloppy. And fake! It was OBVIOUS what she had done. I mean, it's not like anyone would have been fooled by her makeup trickery (for the record, her OWN lips also looked like this so I should have known). I mean, if I were on tv (have you SEEN that home shopping network lady??) or on stage where the audience is so far away I MIGHT have been able to get away with it. But in real life?

"What do you think?" she asked.

"It's great! I love it. I'm not really sure about the lips, though."

"Oh, it looks fantastic!"

"Yeah, well, I'm getting ready to do a demo in here and I'm not really sure I want to wear THESE lips to do it. I'm going to wipe it off, if that's okay."

"Okaaaay. But you have to promise me you'll wear it like this sometime, okay?"

"Okay. (on HALLOWEEN! I screamed inside my head)

So I ended up buying most of what she used on me that day. I did buy the gloss and the lipstick but NOT the liner. While she was away ringing me up, I was mentally trying to tally the damages. I've done makeovers before, albeit usually a the Clinique counter, so I know how quickly things can add up.

"That'll be $253.87."

WHA?? GULP! And of course at that point there's no way to say "Oh, well, you know, maybe I don't need the foundation prep cream after all. Or the concealer brush. Or the concealer, for that matter." You pretty much have to suck it up and fork over the cash. Fortunately, at that time the bank where I had my car loan gave its customers the option to skip a car payment in July and December -- you know, so you'd have a little extra cash for vacation and Christmas presents. I had elected to skip my July payment so I would have a little extra cash to spend in New York. Guess how much my car payment was? $254.

So, I walked out with my cute little Bendel's brown and white striped shopping bag, which, in NY especially, is as iconic as Bloomingdale's Brown Bag and Tiffany's blue one. I was walking on a cloud and vowing never to tell Mr. Daddy how much I spent (and I actually managed it until today's post. Hi honey!)

I went back to Bendel's every time I went to NY after that, but I never dropped so much cash there again. In fact, the only thing I ever bought there again was my Benetint, which I still love. And if I go to New York again -- and as God as my witness I WILL go again -- you can bet I'll be back. With my nose pressed against the glass.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Start spreading the news....

(This post will be in installments -- it turns out I have so much to say about New York. Who knew?!)

I WISH I was leaving today. I want to be a part of it....New York, New York! Susan over at One Woman Show has been writing about her recent trip to New York and it has made me think about my trips to the Big Apple (I wonder if New Yorkers hate that as much as Atlantans hate Hotlanta? I doubt it.)

When we lived in Savannah I worked for a gourmet cookie company in their wholesale division -- one of the leaders in the gourmet food industry, in fact -- and got to travel quite a bit. New York 2-3 times a year, Chicago once a year, West Palm or Miami every now and then. Ahhh, the good old days. This was before I had children and still had money. And my figure.

My first trip to NY I was so excited and nervous. It was in July of 2001. I was in the best shape of my life. I had been doing kick boxing 3-4 times a week and hip-hop cardio every monday night (I must admit, I can shake my groove thing. Or get jiggy with it. Whatever the terminology is these days. Hey, I can dance, but I never said I was cool). One of my goals in life was to meet with the gourmet food buyer from Saks 5th Avenue, Charles Goldfine. My company had private labeled for Saks for a while, but they had phased us out their gourmet program and I was bound and determined to get us back in there. I am nothing if not determined. Nervous as hell about meeting Mr. Goldfine -- I mean, he was the main gourmet buyer for Saks after all AND a New Yorker -- but determined.

Before I left I went out and bought a killer black suit. It was only from The Limited, but I was a size 6 at the time and it looked awesome on me, if I do say so myself. I bought some killer shoes and headed off to NY.

And if any of you know ANYTHING about New York it is that killer shoes and NY do not mix. By the time I walked all over the city all I had at the end of my feet were two bloody stumps. AND no meeting with Charles Goldfine. "He's not available" his snooty receptionist told us, even though I had expressly called and told him when I'd be coming.

And that was just day one of my trip. I still had 5 more days to go and a whole trade show to do. OY! Let's just say I learned a valuable lesson that day. And went out and bought some Keds.

BUT, I still had a great time in NY and a great time every time I went back. We often would go up a day early so that we could do "demos" for some of our customers. We would stand around in a store, offering free samples to customers to encourage them to purchase the cookies from our customer. I did a demo once at Grace's Marketplace (Grace Doria was a Balducci. Her son, Joe, who was my contact, used to scare the pee out of me when I would call him. He was so brusque! So business-like! And not AT all charmed by my southern accent as many of my northern clients were!) I also did a demo once at Henri Bendels and got a makeover that cost the same as my car payment, but that's a story for another time!

New York is a walking town (hence the importance of good, comfortable shoes) and I loved to walk in it. You can take cabs, but in the summer it is so much better to walk. That's the best way to get a real feel for the city. I can remember the exact instant when I was walking through one of the small neighborhoods and thought "I could live here. I can see myself here." And that was very surprising to me, a girl from a very small town. New York had always seemed so huge, so foreign, so other.

I've done all the things in NY that you're supposed to do. I went to the Rainbow Room. I went to Times Square. I ate at Famous Ray's pizza. I had a very expensive, very delicious watermelon martini atop the Marriott in Times Square. I bought a bag (okay, a teensy, tinsy makeup bag, ON SALE) from Kate Spade. I shopped at Century 21 (pre-September 11th -- I was, frankly, disappointed. I hear, though, that they've re-done the store after 9/11). I walked all around the financial district a mere month before 9/11. I only went back once after 9/11 and did manage to go to ground zero. I almost felt that it would be dishonorable to be in NY and not go. I tried to go to the Statue of Liberty after it re-opened. I even bought a ticket, but when I got there and found out the wait was five hours just to get on the ferry, I decided to skip it. I've done the open air bus tour. And I would kill to go back and do it all again.

(Okay, I just looked at this list and saw all the "things you're supposed to do" do not include any museums or concerts or anything cultural. BUT in my defense, I was always working, usually from 9-6 for 5 or 6 days in a row, on my feet all day, and exhausted by the time the day was over. I promise that the next time I go I'll do something cultural. Pinky swear. Tomorrow's installment -- My day with Henri Bendel. Or as I like to call it "Who needs to make a car payment when cosmetics are involved?)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And now for your moment of zen....

At night, when I lie on my left side, I face one of the windows in our bedroom. The streetlight outside casts a shadow of the leaves on the trees in our yard in perfect relief on our window shade. Black on white. So still. When the wind blows, the leaves undulate becoming like black fish swimming in a white sea. The wind is the sea washing the day's cares away. A never ending tide of renewal.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bang! Pow!

If you don't like violence, please turn away. I'm about to beat myself up. See, I'm a big old faker pants. A giver-inner. A not-stand-your-grounder. A one-step-forward, two steps backer. I'm no baby whisperer, that's for sure.

I gave Punkin' her higgie back.

We did really well with the taking it away. REALLY well. All week, every time she asked for it I would remind her that we put it in the trash and she would say "Oh. Okay." (She always sounded so resigned when she said this it always made me a little sad, like "Why did I have to say we threw it in the trash? That sounds so wasteful." My mom compared to having someone tell me that they threw chocolate in the trash. The horror. The horror!)

So anyway, she woke up Saturday morning with the beginnings of a cold. And THEN she refused to take a nap on Saturday. For the record, this is the second time this has happened since we gave up the higgie. I am NOT ready for her to drop her nap. NOT READY AT ALL! Back to the story -- for the most part the day was good, but on Saturday evening the you-know-what hit the fan. The cold plus the lack of sleep made her uber-cranky. And when Punkin' ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. She makes this lovely whining sound (and when I say lovely I really mean nails on the chalkboard annoying) over and over. And remember? If she cries a lot, she'll throw up. Yay!

So, I decided to put her to bed early to compensate for the no nap. With no higgie. And she whined. And she cried. And she whined. And she gagged. And gentle reader, I couldn't handle it anymore. When Mr. Daddy suggested that we give her higgie, it was already in my hand (we had never really thrown it away. What am I, NUTS?). I went into her room in the dark and handed it to her. I could tell she was confused at first. It didn't go into her mouth right away. But then she made this little noise -- it could only be described as a little mew of contentment-- popped that sucker in and rolled over and went to sleep. And she's had it ever since.

I know I'm going to regret this down the road. And I knew it Saturday night when I gave it back to her. But ahhhh! The sound of silence! Like a balm for the soul. And the ears.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'm it! Now you're it!

Laurel over at The Tea Party Place tagged me for this meme. I like doing these kinds of memes because they make me think, something I try not to do very often! Too tiring, that thinking stuff. Here we go.

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Working at the same institution where I work today, only in a different department. My job was to convert the course names and numbers from the quarter system to the semester system. I also was part of the course creation and approval process.
2. Moving from our tiny, one-bedroom, newlywed apartment into my mother's house back in my hometown. It was sitting empty and she offered us a chance to live there -- CHEAP! We were so poor that we couldn't turn it down.
3. Joining a social sorority in my hometown, something I never imagined myself doing. But it was so much fun and a great group of women.
4. Working on four months of marriage. Mr. Daddy and I hadn't been together very long when we got married, so we had a lot of adjusting to do.
5. Falling in love with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the tv show. I had been very suspicious of the show (let's face it, the movie was just so-so even if it did have Paul Rubens in it as a vampire). But I watched it a couple of times and got hooked. I'm a sucker for doomed romances.

5 Things on my To-Do List Today:
1. Hang out with Mir.
2. Watch the Bulldogs vs. the Volunteers.
3. Attempt to make guacamole with this giant avocado someone gave me. (Yes, that is a regular sized coffee mug beside it. Sorry for the picture quality but it was made with my cell phone. Mr. Daddy has the camera today.)

4. Fold my laundry that is in the dryer and the clothes basket in the bedroom.
5. Fix the worn out velcro on Punkin's Sunday shoes.

5 Snacks I enjoy:
1. Chips and salsa and guacamole
2. Pita dipped in hummus
3. White cheddar popcorn
4. M&M's
5. Salted peanuts and an ice-cold Coke.

5 Things I would Do if I were a Billionaire:
1. Pay off the house that we own but don't live in. (long story, don't ask!)
2. Buy a new, bigger house.
3. Give a gift to my employer so that we can finally build the new building for which we've been raising money for seven years. I would request a naming opportunity and name it for my mother, who always encouraged reading and education.
4. Quit my job. Figure out what my passion is and volunteer for that cause.
5. Travel

5 of my Bad Habits:
1. Holding things in when I'm mad instead of just talking it out.
2. Procrastination
3. Not washing my face sometimes before going to bed.
4. Letting what other people think influence how I feel.
5. Eating too much junk food.

5 Things I will Never Wear Again:
1. Shoulder pads.
2. Big bangs.
3. Leggings.
4. Parachute pants
5. polyester.

5 Favorite Toys:
1. Computer
2. Cell phone
3. Ummmm.
4. Ummmm.
5. Ummmm. (I'm not really a toy/gadget-y kind of person. In fact, I think I'm one of the last people alive who doesn't own an i-Pod.)

4 People I Tag: (I'm only tagging 4 because these are the only people I feel comfortable tagging!)
1. Esme at Blowtorch in the Middle
2. Stay at Home Mom Going Quickly Insane
3. Lulu at Lulu's Laundry
4. Sophie at A Hole in the Fence

On your mark. Get set. GO!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

In which I seek your advice

So, I need some feedback from you guys about something that just transpired. Mr. Daddy and I both feel that we've behaved reasonably, but I'm just curious to see what other people have to say.

On September 22nd, I purchased on eBay a Knight costume for Bubba for Halloween. The seller had an option that said "If you choose the Buy It Now" option, you will receive free shipping. GREAT! So, I chose Buy It Now, but when I went through Pay Pal it charged me $10 in shipping. I went ahead and paid it but immediately emailed the seller and asked about why this happened and asked if she would be refunding my money. By Sunday night I still had no reply to my email, so I sent a 2nd email, slightly more terse in tone asking about the refund. Monday morning I had a reply and by Monday afternoon our $10 had been refunded. GREAT!

On Tuesday of this week I realized "Hey! Where's Bubba's costume? It seems like it should have been here by now." So, we emailed the seller again. Nothing! No response. On Thursday we got an email saying that the item had been mailed and we should be receiving it any day now and in fact when we got home that afternoon the costume was waiting for us. It seemed to me that it took longer than it should have for the package to arrive -- we've always received things super fast when we've bought from eBay-- but whatever. It was here. All was right with the world.

And then we opened the box. And everything inside REEKED of cigarettes. Well, there was no getting the costume away from Bubba at that point so we let him have it, but GROSS! We've had the costume for a couple of days now and it still reeks. Mr. Daddy is an occasional smoker and even he was grossed out by it.

Of course when you buy anything on eBay you're supposed to leave feedback. We decided not to mention anything about the lack of communication or the slow shipping, but we did mention that the costume smelled like it had been made in a cigarette factory (we didn't use those exact words, but we did tell the truth). I felt that was only fair. As a buyer, I would definitely want to know that kind of thing.

And this morning we had a hateful email from the seller. She said that she was trying to raise 4 children and that we had "ruined" her business. AND she left us negative buyer feedback and said we were "difficult to work with." I say that if she's SO concerned about her business she shouldn't smoke around her "merchandise" (not to mention her KIDS! Hello!).

Were we wrong? I don't think so. But I'm curious to hear what you guys have to say.

UPDATE: The seller has emailed Mr. Daddy AGAIN saying that we shouldn't have put negative, that it should have been "Neutral." Mr. Daddy said "Well, I didn't have a NEUTRAL reaction when I smelled the cigarette smoke!" Actually, he just blocked her so he doesn't have to get any more emails from her!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

In honor of the beginning of the post season and the Red Sox going to the American League division playoffs, tonight's Thursday 13 is 13 things about the Red Sox, their players and my family's membership in the Red Sox Nation. I hope I'm not jinxing them. I'm not QUITE as superstitious as Nomar Garciaparra -- well, at least I don't have a pre-blog ritual like his pre-batting ritual! (My apologies to those of you who either don't care for or don't follow baseball!)

1. This is hanging in my hall right now. It hangs there year-round. I was worried a little at first that it might seem a little sacreligious, but surely God is a Sox fan. Right?

2. Mr. Daddy painted (free-hand, I might add) on Bubba's wall in our old house and his wall was Green Monster green. That's the only thing I miss about our old house.

3. The Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry. There's nothing like a good
old fashion grudge match. Down with the Evil Empire!

4. This is what we do to traitors of the Red Sox Nation. Johnny, we hardly knew ye.

5. It's hard to see players come and go. But it looks like the new crop is doing pretty well. A no hitter. Huh. Have any of the Yankees gotten a no-hitter this year? Huh? I don't think so.

6. Do you know what that is? That is Dave Roberts stealing 2nd base in the ninth inning of game 4 of the American League Championship series. That steal kept the Red Sox alive. They went on to win that game, plus three more which sent them to the World Series.

7. Cowboy Up. Started by Kevin Millar (one of my faves that I miss). This was the rallying cry of the Sox on their way to the World Series.

8. Jason Varitek. What a cutie! And he's a local boy, sort of. Graduate from Georgia Tech, which we'll let slide. He's the Captain of the team and an all-around good guy.

9. The Bloody Sock. Some people claim this was staged. I loved Curt's response to the doubters -- "It was blood. You can choose to believe whatever you need to, but facts are facts. The 25 guys that were in that locker room, the coaches, they all know it. In the end nothing else really matters. The people that need to believe otherwise are people with their own insecurities and issues. Someone gave me a great idea to end this once and for all. No one will ever need to bring it up again. I’ll wager 1 million dollars to the charity of (anyone’s) choice, versus the same amount to ALS. If the blood on the sock is fake, I’ll donate a million dollars to that person's charity, if not they donate that amount to ALS."

10. The Idiots. You gotta love a team that don't take themselves seriously.

11. Matt Damon's a fan. So, even if you're not into baseball you can still watch in hopes of catching a glimpse of this cutie in the stands!

12. Curse? What curse?

And for the coup de grace....

13. Red Sox win! Red Sox win! Red Sox win!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Nosey Rose

I have a confession to make. My name is Madame Queen and I'm an eavesdropper.

It's rude, I know. But I can't help myself. I'm fascinated by relationships and I love getting a peek at the inner workings of other people's lives (Perhaps why I'm drawn to blogs? Hmmmmm.) I am an excellent reader of body language and facial expressions and I find I'm particularly drawn to people in conflict with one another. Why are they fighting? Why go out to dinner if you're fighting? Did the fight start in the car? At the table? Who started it? Who's playing the martyr? So many questions.

I used to think I was pretty good at eavesdropping unobserved. The first rule of eavesdropping is that you don't talk about eavesdropping (Does anybody here get that?) No, really, the first rule of eavesdropping is that you never actually look at the people you're listening to, except for the first cursory glance so you get an idea of who the players are. After that, you have to keep your eyes focused on the distance while listening to their conversation all the while keeping up with the conversation at your OWN table. Which is NOT easy, my friend. And apparently I'm NOT very good at it, according to Mr. Daddy. He says he can always tell when I'm doing it because I get this blank look on my face and I stop talking. BUT, I don't think I've ever been caught by any of my, um, subjects. So that's good. I guess.

Lately I've found myself imagining what the lives must be like of people I encounter. When we went to Charleston back in August, on the highway we got behind a woman in beat up, old rust-red colored El Camino. She had a couple of bumper stickers -- one of which was a Harley-Davidson logo -- and one of those roach clips with the feathers dangling from the mirror. (Aside here, WHAT were our parents thinking letting us wear those back in the 80s??! It was DRUG PARAPHERNALIA!!) Anyway, when we pulled alongside her, I noticed that she was what I call a woman of indeterminate age. It was pretty obvious that life had been hard on her. I turned to Mr. Daddy and said "She looks earthy."


"No, earthy as in her personality. She probably smells like warm polyester that's been stored in mothballs. And cigarettes. I bet she cusses like a sailor."

And then I was off and running...thinking about her life. What does she do for a living? Does she have children? Grandchildren, even? I even found myself hoping that she had a good life. Maybe she'd had a rough road 'til now. But maybe her luck was starting to turn. I guess this is the kind of thing I do when I can't read a book. Make up my own stories.

UPDATE: I just learned today, via Lulu that today has been designated as The Great Mofo Delurk Day by Schmutzie on her Milkmoney blog. The purpose behind this is to draw out lurkers on your blog. I think I have some based on my blog stats and some of you have outed yourselves recently and I have come to love YOUR blogs. So, if you lurk, let me know! I'd love to meet you!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm special

Before I get started: October is National Breast Cancer awareness month. This is a cause near and dear to my heart -- in more ways than one! Don't forget to do your monthly self exams!

Sometimes Mr. Daddy and I will be having a conversation and then a few minutes later I will come out with some comment, seemingly out of left field. Mr. Daddy will be like "Huh? Where did that come from?" But in my mind, the the conversation and my comment are totally related. Sometimes he'll make me take him for a ride on my train of thought, after which he'll usually reply "It must be hard being you."

This post is going to be a little like that.

This weekend I was watching my requisite TLC shows and saw an advertisement for a show that was tailor made for me. The show follows brides-to-be as they try on wedding dress after wedding dress in search of the perfect one. (I was going to link to it, but amazingly, even though I must have seen the commercial a go-zillion times this weekend, I can find no reference to this new show on TLC's website. Huh. Your loss TLC!) Anyhoo, I love wedding dress shopping. I've only actually done it twice -- once for myself and once with my sister-in-law -- but I could happily go wedding dress shopping every weekend if I could get away with it. I think, though, that the salespeople would start to get wise to me after a while.

And I must say that wedding dress shopping with my sister-in-law was COMPLETELY unfulfilling. First of all, she's like a size two or something and she knew exactly the kind of dress she wanted and was not willing to try on anything else. Maybe it was my inner princess coming out, but I loved having fluffy dress after fluffy dress brought to my dressing room and having my bridesmaids zip and button me up. When else do you ever have a chance to try on such gorgeous dresses and feel completely like a princess? She tried on two. TWO. And she bought one of them. Pitiful. Just pitiful. By the by, if ANY of you out there are going wedding dress shopping anytime soon, I am MORE than happy to go along as a personal assistant.

Then, thinking of wedding dresses made me think of one of my favorite Friends episodes, the one where Monica, Rachel and Phoebe are sitting around in wedding dresses. I have a memory of a scene -- I think it's the one after the credits, although I can't find it online anywhere -- where Monica says something like "I just know that I'm never going to feel this special again."

And then I started thinking about when was the last time I felt special, like the center of attention? And it was probably my wedding day. Which was ten years ago. Yes, I got some accolades when my kids were born, but we ALL know that from that point on it's really about the babies. Yes, you carried them for nine months, you went through umpteen hours of labor, you delivered them either the old fashioned way or via c-section -- either way, no easy task -- but really, the star of the show is the baby. On my birthday right before Bubba was born, my boss at the time gave me a card in which he had written "Happy Birthday. Enjoy it. This is your last birthday as Leandra. From now on you'll be Bubba's mom."

And you know what? He was right. I quit being Leandra and started being Mommie. I have put aside myself in so many ways. We all do, I think. We HAVE to, to some degree, to be good parents I think. Babies don't care if you want to finish your chapter, if you want to go out with friends for a rare night out. Try to plan something--they'll be sure to come down with latest virus to come down the pike. Dont get me wrong -- I loved every minute of it. But there's a difference in putting yourself aside and losing yourself completely. And I lost myself for a little while. I quit reading. I didn't have any outside interests. No hobbies. If you asked me what I wanted for my birthday, Christmas, I couldn't tell you.

And then I started thinking about my blogging and I realized that this has been my way to reclaim some of myself. Writing down my thoughts has helped me remember who I am, what I like, what I want. This is the first forum I've had in a long time to talk about ME. Which sounds very selfish when I see it written here in black and white. But do you know how long it's been since I talked about me? I've talked about my kids endlessly. I've talked about poop. I've talked about spit-up. I've talked about lack of sleep (and YES, I do blog about these things here, too). All of these thing AFFECT me, and my relationship with my children has helped make the person I am today, but they're not ABOUT me. The inner me. The me-ness of me. I missed me.

And THEN I realized (are you still with me on this roller-coaster thought-train ride?) that I like reading blogs (and bloggers' comments) because I'm learning about YOU. Because you're special too. Don't forget that.