Friday, November 30, 2007

The Old Couple And The Leaves

Last week, on a day that was exceptionally warm for November, I found myself observing people, as I often do. Bella and Grace, (the kids I'm a nanny for), and I, were outside on their front porch. The girls were painstakingly searching for the perfect leaves and sticks to use for their "taco stand", and I was enjoying the fact that I was sitting, and absentmindedly munching away on my "taco", when suddenly an old man and his wife emerged from the house across the street. I always love to watch old people. There is just something so interesting about them to me. I wonder about their lives, what joys and sorrows they have experienced, what parts of the world they have been to, what amazing stories they have to tell. There is something so beautiful about an older couple who have spent their lives loving each other, and are still holding onto each other lovingly after years of commitment. So, of course, I was riveted to the scene unfolding across the street.

They walked down the few steps to their driveway slowly, the woman's back hunched over, probably from osteoporosis, the man holding her to keep her steady. They didn't appear to talk much - they had a job to do. They each grabbed a rake and began to ever so slowly rake the huge amount of leaves all over their front yard towards the driveway. Every so often they would stop, and sit down awkwardly on the steps, breathing heavily, but still determined. The more they worked, and the longer I watched them, I found myself wanting to go over and help them. I even thought briefly about telling the girls we were going over to help, when I had an image of them running and screaming through the leaves, scattering piles that had already been raked, and thought better of it.

The couple worked for a long time, and I found myself looking at their house and the ones that surrounded it. I suddenly noticed that their yard did not have any trees in it! Not one. I wondered "Where did all those leaves come from?" Then, I saw the huge tree, two houses over from the one I was at. "How unfair!", I thought, "that they have to rake all the leaves from a tree that isn't even theirs!"

Suddenly another old man came out of the house with the huge tree. He walked over to the couple, and I could see they were exchanging pleasantries, chatting and laughing, and hitting each other on the back as old men often do. He pointed to his house, then left and went home. At this point, the old man, (I envision his name to be Stanley), started stretching a blue tarp out across the driveway. He raked the piles of leaves they had made into the middle of the tarp. Then, the old woman, (I envision her name to be Gladys) and Stanley started fiddling with the rope, and pulling and pushing at the tarp, trying to figure out how to wrap it around the leaves and tie it up. This is how the conversation my head, at least...

Stanley: "Grunt, grunt, groan".
Gladys: "Stanley, I don't think this is how it goes. What did the directions say?"
Stanley: "I don't know, Gladys. I threw them away. I know what I'm doing."
Gladys: "Of course you do, dear, but maybe next time you should keep the directions".
Stanley: "Yes, dear. You're right. I will".

Notice two things in my imaginary conversation. One, the wife remains calm, and tells her husband he of course knows what he is doing and lets him believe he is smart and all knowing, she is merely offering a helpful suggestion. Two, the husband, has the good sense to agree with her suggestion and tell her she is "right", regardless whether he will actually take her advice or not. This is why, I imagine, these old couples are still married and in love. They know what works.

Once they gathered the tarp around the leaves in a way that they deemed acceptable, Stanley started to carry the tarp haphazardly across the street, toward the huge tree guy's house. Why, I'm not sure. Meanwhile, Gladys kept up her slow and steady pace, continuing to rake what looked to be one of the last piles of leaves she would have to do. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind blew, and I watched, horrified, (as if in a movie's slow motion sequence), as all of the leaves that were left on the huge tree blew directly into Gladys and Stanley's freshly raked yard! I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. But then, I looked at Gladys. She stood in the middle of the driveway, looking up at the sky, shaking her head incredulously. She was saying something - her lips were moving. I laughed out loud, and she glanced across the road at me, and our eyes met. She laughed, waved, and shrugged her shoulders. Then, she picked up her rake and resumed her task.

And this, my friends, is the secret to a long and happy life, as I see it. When life throws another pile of leaves at you, you look up to the sky, say a prayer or curse God, (whichever works for you), shrug your shoulders, and then...get on with it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can't Handle the Cuteness

Since turning one, Dylan has been the pinnacle of cuteness, learning new tricks, and doing cute stuff all over the place. My tombstone will read something like this..."Here lies Jen. Her son was so cute, it killed her". He's cute with the helmet on, don't get me wrong, but when I take it off it's like looking directly at the sun. Must.Shield.My.Eyes.From.The.Cuteness. What I don't understand is, how did this happen? I never thought of myself as ugly, but I'm no Angelina, and Jim, while Gorgeous in my eyes, is no Brad, but when I look at Dylan I suddenly feel more Angelina-like, (lips poofing and boobs busting out of my too small bra).

This child, (who for the first four months of his colic filled life, cried with such intensity I thought my head would explode and splatter all over his meticulously painted nursery), can now make me melt with just a smile, or a laugh, or a touch. I'm weak at the knees and my heart's all a flutter. I haven't felt this way since I discovered Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street! Love - what a miraculous emotion.

He's been cruising around the furniture for a long time, and taking a few steps before tumbling awkwardly to the ground. But, on Thanksgiving, he started walking! Dylan's walk is comparable to that of a drunken sailor, or a guy doing a line dance. A few steps to the front, two steps to the left, two steps to the right, one step back, and shimmy, shimmy, shimmy! The look of pure glee when he does it is what gets me. Who knew walking could be so exciting?

This kid LOVES praise. When he figured out how to get his blocks into the square hole, on one of his toys, Jim and I were sitting there watching him, and we were so excited, we raised our arms up in the air and shouted "YAY!". You should've seen the look on his face, like "Now that's what I"m talking about!". He did another one, and looked at us. "YAY". Another one. "YAY"! Jim: "You realize we're going to have to do this EVERY time now?". Yep, and we do, and he still LOVES it.

Another thing he loves is books. As a person who would probably rather go to a bookstore than an amusement park (Yes, I am a nerd), the fact that he loves books makes me float around in mommy euphoria. He will sit and look at one after the other, after the other, and he is very discerning about it too. Not just any book will do. It has to have style, substance, and wit. Well, okay, the criteria might actually be tastes good to chew, has bright colors, and has pages that are easy to turn, but whatever. I read to him before his naps, and his daddy reads to him before bedtime. As soon as I sit in the chair he squeals, grabs a book and tries to climb up my legs into my lap.

He also likes to sit on the floor, surrounded by ALL of his books. I say ALL, because he never leaves any books on the shelves. I envision my clumsy self, stepping on a book and sliding across the floor on it, my body airborne, my arms flailing, so I put the books back on the shelves. This is what I imagine is going on in Dylan's brain. He is lying in the crib, snuggling the bumper pad, about to doze off into dreamland, when suddenly he senses something isn't quite right. His eyes shoot open, and he quickly scans the room, when suddenly he sees it! A clean floor! "Now how the heck did that happen"?, he thinks. "Who the hell put the books on the bookshelf? They don't belong there! What are these people trying to do to me? I am going to get out of this crib right now and put them back where they belong - ON THE FLOOR. If I can just lift my head. Oh, I'm so tired. I'll do it in a minute". His eyes start to flutter. "There is no way I'm going to be able to sleep with those books on the ....ZZZZZzzzzz".

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bringing Back The Funny

Okay, so I didn't start a revolution with my last post. I didn't receive 1000 comments saying "We're with you. Let's organize a protest, and march down at the city hall". The local papers didn't call to ask if they could print it, and I didn't receive any interview request calls. I got 11 comments, and I'm not sure if anyone else even read the post, or cared enough about the situation to give it a second thought after they finished reading. But, hey, you don't have to care about what I care about, when I care about it. You don't have to care at all, really. I don't mind. I don't sit around dreaming that I am the person who will single handedly change the world. I don't get upset when people don't join in my crusade. I don't sit around and cry, you know.

I know what you were all saying - "That Jen, she's lost her edge. She used to be fun and funny. Her blog used to make me laugh. Lately, she just writes sappy lovey dovey stuff to her husband and kid, and now she's off on some rant about China. Poor thing. She's obviously slipping. Wish she'd go back to the funny stuff".

Well, it is all about you, after all, so you want funny? Okay, funny....I can do funny...
I know! A joke...

Giving up Wine

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly
dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a
couple of dollars for dinner.
I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, 'If I give you this
money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?'
'No, I had to stop drinking years ago', the homeless woman told me.

'Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?' I asked.
'No, I don't waste time shopping,' the homeless woman said.
'I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.'

'Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?' I asked.
'Are you NUTS !' replied the homeless woman. 'I
haven't had my hair done in 20 years!'

'Well,' I said, 'I'm not going to give you the money.
Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my
husband and me tonight.'

The homeless woman was shocked. 'Won't your husband
be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty
and I probably smell pretty disgusting.'
I said, 'That's okay. It's important for him to see what a
woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments,
and wine.'

HAHAHAHA. Wait. Some of you aren't laughing.

How about someone getting hit in the face with a pie? That's always funny.

What about this?

Or how about this?

Or this?

You won't be satisfied until you see a funny video of Dylan, will you?

Hope you're satisfied. I'd do more, but I gotta look for some tissues.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pledge

So, hopefully if you have been reading my posts for awhile, there have been some that made you laugh. Maybe some have made you think. Maybe some have even made you cry. I sincerely hope that this one will make you think, at the very least, but I also hope it will make you ACT.

Those of you with children, or those of you who read newspapers or watch tv, or those of you who haven't had your head buried in the sand somewhere, know that lately there have been several recalls of various children's toys. But, maybe you haven't seen the list. I got an email with a list of toys that have been recalled recently, and I was appalled. It would take me 2 days to go through this entire list, to make sure I haven't bought or received any toys that could harm my one year old son. I don't have 2 extra days to spare, and I'm betting everyone else with kids doesn't either.

Where are the majority, if not all, of these toys made? China. I decided to do a little research, and this is a sampling of what I found in just 20 minutes of online searching...

-"The Asian and Pacific regions harbour the largest number of child workers in the 5-14 age group, 127.3 million in total. (19 per cent of children work in the region.)" - found on

-"At least 1,000 children aged between eight and 16 years have been enslaved in the illegal brick kilns in Shanxi province.
The letter, signed by 400 fathers from the central province of Henan, pleaded for help in their self-organised campaign to rescue the kidnapped children. It said the children had been kidnapped or forced into cars in urban Henan centres such as the capital Zhengzhou, then sold to factory bosses for about 500 yuan (65 US dollars) each." - found on

-"Over the last ten years China's economy has been growing at double-digit rate thanks to the labour of millions of migrant workers churning out goods for export in exchange for low wages. But, as the economy boomed labour disputes multiplies. more and more workers have gone to court or taken to the streets to protest poor working conditions and overdue pay." - found on

-"The Chinese government sees child labor as one way to combat poverty and does little to enforce the
laws against it. The companies are more interested in their economic investments than the status of
their workers. So far there have not been any convincing signs that the situation will improve or that the
issue has become a priority for the Chinese government." - found on

Am I the only one who thinks that this is not OK? I am MAD. I am mad as a mother. I shouldn't have to worry about the toys I buy having lead in them. Parents have enough to worry about. I am mad as a consumer. I should have the choice to buy a product that is made in the USA, or one that at least isn't made in China. I am mad as an American. These American companies are obviously turning a blind eye to what is going on. They don't seem to be concerned with our children, instead they just worry about the all mighty dollar. I refuse to believe that Americans would rather save a few bucks, and make a company rich who is using children as slaves to make their cheap ass products, than to spend a little more for a product that is safe, and made legally. Please tell me I am correct in this assumption.

After doing the research, I started looking around my house, turning over toys, books, and clothing. It makes me sick to tell you how many of the items in my home say in teeny tiny lettering "Made in China". Too many to spend my time counting. I don't know if you have heard the radio ad yet about Walmart. It says that 70% of the items in Walmart are made in China. That wasn't a big concern to me because I try desperately to avoid Walmart as it is - the place gives me the creeps. But, I was shopping in Target recently, a store I like, and every single item I wanted to buy was "Made in China". I left the store disgusted and with no items in my cart. Today, I found a bunch of items I would like to buy in a catalog. One problem - there is no way of knowing where they were made. I would have the same problem if I shopped online. Consumers are left in the dark about this issue. Well, I for one refuse to be left in the dark anymore.

So, this is my pledge. I will not buy or accept ANY gifts this Christmas that are manufactured, printed, or "Made in China". Even if that means I don't buy or receive any gifts this year. At least I will have the gift of peace of mind and a clear conscious.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things, but these two are at the top of my list.

1. I am thankful I have the Poison Control number easily accessible on my refrigerator. (If you don't, please think about doing so. Trust me.)

2. I am thankful eating silica gel is not harmful. Groan.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Two days before Dylan's actual birthday, we had a big party for him, complete with animal themed decorations and favors, a cake with his picture on it, and 37 people all staring at the birthday boy! As I looked around at all the people, I thought, "How great that Dylan has so many people in his life already who love him!" Despite being warned that a big party would overwhelm him, I'm glad we did what we did. It was fun, and a great memory.

On his actual birthday, just Dylan and I spent the day together. How appropriate, really, since that is how his life began. I took him to the mall, so we could go to his favorite place - the Mr. Rogers Playspace. Dylan LOVES that place. I put him down and whooooosh, he's off, like a rocket, crawling through tunnels, climbing the slide, toddling into the middle of the chaos that is a crowd of running, squealing older kids, and loving every minute of it. By the time we leave, I am a sweaty mess, and my back aches, and I have decided that if one more kid asks me why he wears a helmet, I'm saying "He's an alien. He is from Mars, and if you don't walk away, he will eat you!" (I make friends wherever I go).

While we were at the mall, I figured we might as well do some shopping. For Dylan, of course. I might hate shopping for clothes for myself, but I love shopping for clothes for Dylan. There are some women who are still dressing their 3 year old boys in cutesy wutesy teddy bear overalls that say "Too cute". Not me. I am not a girly girl - never was, never will be. I wanted a boy, a full throttle, rough and tough, down and dirty boy, and that is what I got. He's not a baby anymore, so for his birthday, he got some big boy clothes.

The skull hat might be a bit drastic, but my husband loves it! After the mall, we went to a consignment store. We walked in and I saw it (musical notes, harps playing, and angels singing). I moved closer cautiously, so as to not attract attention. I looked to my left, looked to my right, looked at Dylan, shrugged, and quickly pulled it into our cart. Then, I checked the price tag. Two dollars and fifty cents!! I looked around again expecting Ashton to jump out from somewhere, yelling "PUNKED!" I hightailed it to the checkout counter before he got the chance, while inside doing a victory dance and squealing like a little girl. This is what Dylan got for his birthday, for $2.50...

He is excited too...

Later that evening, Jim drove home like a maniac breaking possibly every law regarding operating a motor vehicle, for one thing. To sing Happy Birthday to Dylan at precisely the time he was born. What a sweet daddy! Me, I let him eat cake BEFORE dinner, so I'm pretty cool, too. What a great day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Baby is One

Dear Dylan,

One year ago your daddy and I were watching the Steelers play football and you kicked me really hard, as if to say, "Look out Mommy! Look out world, here I come!" Just three hours later, I was holding you in my arms, and I knew my life would never be the same. It was the most exciting day of my life, and my heart was overflowing with love for you.

You've been through a lot your first year of life - colic, ezcema, daily stretches, physical therapy, specialists, x-rays, doctor visits, and a helmet, and you have taken it all in stride. Those first four months that you had colic were rough, Dylan, but I knew there was a happy boy in there somewhere just waiting to get out, and you have! You are such a pleasant, happy kid, who loves to laugh, and who does so passionately! I love to make you smile, and hear your infectious laugh, and I love watching you make all your discoveries and reach each amazing milestone.

My life certainly has changed since you came along, but I love it! I love that every morning when I come in to get you out of your crib, you are smiling, and excited to see me. I love how excited you are to go anywhere, when you don't even know where we are going! I love hearing you babble in the backseat and see you smile at yourself in the mirror while I'm driving. I love watching the affect you have on the men in your life - your daddy, both your grandpas, and even your great grandpa. They all light up when you are in the room. I love taking you new places, and introducing you to new things. I love your little shoes lined up by the door. I love your little coat hanging next to ours. I love your tiny toothbrush (for your 6 teeth!), that sits amidst our giant ones. I even love the toys that have taken over the house. I love being a mom. More specifically, I love being YOUR mom. Even more specifically, I love YOU! More than I can possibly say with words.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Engaged!!

Jim and I met online in March 2000. I stumbled across a dating site by accident, and saw that they were offering a free 2 week trial. "Why not?", I figured. At the time, I didn't even have a computer. I was visiting my parents, and using theirs. I did a search, entering certain criteria, like that they couldn't be a smoker, they had to be at least 5' 10" (I'm 5' 11"), they had to have a job, not live with their mommies, not be criminals, you know, just the basic stuff. Then from the ones that matched my criteria, I chose a few and sent them emails. When I saw Jim's picture, I thought he was cute, and he looked really confident, and he had a sexy expression. I sent him an email, along with a few other people, then came out to talk to my parents before leaving. "I joined a dating site online, and I wrote to some artist guy", I announced.

I started going to the library on my 1/2 hr break at work to use their computers and see if I got any responses. When I got his reply this is what it said..."Hi Jen, I read your profile and must say that I enjoyed it. It's good reading. It was like looking into my own mind and soul. I have very similar views. (Hopes and dreams, plans and schemes). Only you're much cuter."

Fast forward to March 2002. We were staying overnight at The Log Cabin Motel. Our room had a jacuzzi, so we were going to relax in the jacuzzi for awhile. Jim got some candles out of his bag and started setting them up around the jacuzzi, and I thought "I love how romantic this man is!" We got in, and I noticed that Jim's face was getting red, really red! It was getting really hot, and I was worried he would pass out, so I suggested we get out. "NO!", Jim yelled. But, he kept getting more and more red, so finally I got out, but he refused to get out. He begged, "Jen, please get back in, please". It seemed really important to him so I did. I leaned my back against his chest, and he wrapped his arms around me, then whispered in my ear, "How would you like to make me the happiest man in the world?" "By doing what?", was my retarded reply. I honestly thought he might say "By giving me a half hour back massage". He showed me the ring, (which he had been hiding on his finger - that's why he couldn't get out), and said "By marrying me".

Fast forward to September 2007. Our home is broken into, and my engagement ring is stolen. I am heartbroken. I loved that ring, and the memory that went along with it.

Fast forward to this morning, November 18, 2007. I was in the kitchen washing bottles, (my favorite past time), when Dylan came in holding a piece of paper. Jim was following him. This is what it said...

My ring finger has a beautiful new ring, with a new memory to go with it. One I'll never forget. Of course, my answer was a resounding YES! Yes, I will, Jim. For now, and for always. I'm so proud to be your wife, and I'm so happy to be sharing this journey with you. I Love You.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Ride To Preschool

Those of you who have children who are talking, know that in order to survive a car ride to, well, pretty much anywhere, you must create your very own "happy place", that you can retreat to when necessary. Mine is a Dr. Pepper commercial. Today's ride went something like this...

First, the characters.
Grace - 5 yrs old
Bella - 4 yrs old
Lambie - a stuffed lamb that goes everywhere with Bella, and is in a VERY sad state of disrepair
Me - Dylan and I were up at 6am, and I'm tired, but I'm still smiling

Me: "Ok, everybody in!"
Grace & Bella: Plop, plop, THUD, THUD. "AAAHHHH!!!...GRACE!!!...BELLA!!!" (Climbing over each other to get to the preferred carseat)
Me: "Wait, Bella, don't shut the door until I..." SLAM! (Open door. Put her seatbelt on. Go around to put Grace's on. Roll eyes.)
Grace: "Miss Jen, you should get a haircut". (As my hair falls into my face, as I'm straining to get the X*&% seatbelt to click).
Me: "Yes, Grace. I should cut it all off, and go bald".
Grace: "Nooooo! Don't do that. Just cut it, Miss Jen!"
Me: "Ok, Grace". (It's much easier to just agree).
(Driving down the road)
Bella: "Miss Jen!?"
Me: " Yes, Bella?"
Bella: "Did you know it's Lambie's birthday today?"
Me: "No kidding! How old is Lambie? Four?"
Bella: "No, Lambie is thirty six seventeen!"
Me: "Wow! Hey Lambie! I didn't know it was your birthday! (Breaking into song) Happy Birthday to yooooouuuu, Happy Birthday to yooouuu, everybody sing.."
Everybody: "Happy Birthday to Lambie. Happy Birthday to yooouuuu!"
Lambie: ....
(Tap, Tap, Thud. - Bella starts kicking the back of my seat. Happy place time.)
Me: (Singing in my head) Ma, na, Ma na..Doo-Doo, doo-doo-doo.
(Tap, Tap, Thud)
Me: Ma, na, Ma, na..
Grace: "GREEN LIGHT!!!"
(I jump. The light has turned green. They laugh).
Bella: "We better tell Miss Jen when the lights turn green, okay Grace?"
Grace: "Okay".
Me: (To myself) "Goody."
(Tap, tap, thud.)
Me: (In my head) "Ma, na, Ma, na..Doo-Doo, doo-doo-doo..."
Me: (Upon feeling a cold blast of air on the back of my neck) "What the, Grace! Why is your window down?!"
Grace: "I want it down".
Me: "Grace! It's cold! Put it up!" (Upon feeling a cold blast of air from the other direction) "Bella! Put yours up too! NOW!"
Bella: "I put MINE up, Miss Jen".
Me: "Thank you..Grace?! Put yours up!"
Grace: "I tried. It won't go up".
Me: " Okay, move your fingers away from the window". (I press my button to get it to go up). "LEAVE THEM UP!"
Grace & Bella: "O-kay...GREEN LIGHT!!!!"
Me: (After I jump) Ma na, Ma na..
(Tap, tap, thud).
Me: Doo-Doo, doo-doo-doo.
Bella: "Miss Jen?!"
Me: "Yes, Bella?"
Bella: "Am I being good?"
Me: "Yes, pretty good, so far."
Bella: "My daddy said if I'm nice to you today (unlike yesterday), I can get a rainbow popsicle!"
Me: "Oh, really?"
Bella: "Yep! I love those!"
Me: "Who doesn't?"
Bella: "Huh?"
Me: "Nothing". (Note to self: Sarcasm is lost on preschoolers).
(Tap, tap, thud).
Me: Ma na, Ma na...
Grace: "Miss Jen? Is this your daddy's car?"
Me: "Yes, Grace".
Grace: "Why did you bring your daddy's car?"
Me: "Grace, I've explained this, like, 100 times, but here we go again. My car has Dylan's huge carseat in it, and I couldn't fit you and Bella's carseats too. I take my daddy's car and leave him with mine so if he needs to go somewhere with Dylan he can. Make sense?"
Grace: "Uh, huh".
Me: "Hey, Grace, don't forget to ask me the same exact question tomorrow, okay?"
Grace: "Okay".
(Note to self: Hello? Don't you listen?)
Grace & Bella: "GREEN LIGHT!!!"
Me: "Aaarrgghh! Stop doing that!)
(Tap, tap, thud)
Bella: "Miss Jen! Lambie wants to go on the rocky side!"
Me: "Hey Lambie! Just sit back and enjoy the ride."
Lambie: .....
Me: "That's what I'm doing". Ma na, Ma na. Doo-Doo, doo-doo-doo. Ma na, ma na. Doo-doo-doo-doo. Ma na, ma na. Doo-Doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Smell Beer...And Testosterone

My wonderful husband scored us two free tickets to the Steelers football game today, (Thank you, Monica!). Two free tickets only four rows back behind the team, baby! (You must add the word baby to everything for emphasis when discussing football - apparently). Try not to cry with envy, you fellow Pittsburghers, it's very unflattering.

I don't get to go to games often, but when I do, I am always incredibly amused - drunk guys and football, is there anything funnier? Us Steeler fans, we are passionate! I honestly didn't see a single soul who didn't have some sort of Steeler gear - jersies, shirts, and crazy hats... scarves, terrible towels, n'at. Well, I take that back, there was a blond chick wearing a fur, and high heels. I repressed the urge to scream "BOOOOO!!", as I looked around for some red paint. This is a football game, honey. You don't belong here.

There was quite possibly the only Browns fan sitting right next to us. He arrived drunk, and he got, well, drunker. He was too drunk to realize that he might want to keep a low profile, so he kept screaming and jumping around when the Browns did anything good. I was impressed with the Steeler fans around us. No one cursed him, or threw beer on his head, (I was waiting). He did manage to spill half a cup of beer on himself because he just couldn't get the hang of drinking out of a cup, I guess. That was really funny, or as Jim put it "You were laughing your ass off!" Check out this yahoo...This is him when he was putting a hex on our players and talking in tongues.

I am very thankful that the guy didn't puke on us.

Then there was this guy...

That, there, is Jesus, complete with the long flowing locks, robe, and a sign that read "Believe - Be Loud". Nice of him to take time out of his busy schedule to support the team. We appreciate that. He was pretty fired up, too.

The game was really, really close, (31-28), which made it all the more exciting, and we won, so it couldn't have been any better. Well, it could have been warmer, and not rained the whole second half, but whatever. The best conversation of the game didn't even involve football.

Jim: "Jen, why didn't you insist I bring my gloves?"
Me: "Hey, it's not my fault. I got them for you". (They were in the winter box - Jim didn't know where it was). "You decided not to wear them".
Jim: "You know I never know what I am doing".

Oh, man, why didn't I have my cellphone on Video for that? Crap! I love football. GO STEELERS!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm Joining The Nudist's Colony With Dylan

I am apparently a freak. Wait, didn't I start a recent post, "I am a moron"? Note to self: Be nicer to self. Look in the mirror each morning and repeat the phrase, "I am beautiful and smart and I can do anything". It's hard to feel beautiful, though, when you can't buy clothing that fits. This is a struggle I have had all my life, or at least since I started caring if my clothes fit. I try, I really do. I have watched many, many episodes of Stacy & Clinton on What Not to Wear. I know the rules - No pleated pants. No mini-skirts over age 35. Items don't have to match, but they do have to "go". I want to look modern, hip, and stylish, but I'm just happy if my boring clothes are clean at this point.

I picture myself strutting around confidently with my cashmere black turtleneck sweater hugging my curves in all the right places, my oh so chic denim skirt that makes my ass look HOT, and my kickass black leather knee high boots. The ensemble screams, "Look at me! Damn, I look good, and I know it"! Instead my black cotton turtleneck sweater is 2 inches too short in my monkey arms after only two washings, and my denim skirt that only makes my ass look so-so is still hanging in my closet waiting to be worn, because I CANNOT buy boots with my freakish size 11 Narrow feet. That's right, I said 11 Narrow. Luckily you aren't here, because I just know you'd be staring at my feet right now. It is bad enough that all shoes everywhere only go up to size 10. I can always order shoes in 11, but not in narrow width. Apparently if your feet are that long, they should also be FAT. Sorry, I missed that memo. I finally, after scouring the universe, found a store that could order my only boot option in a size 11 Narrow, and they came in, and we went to the mall yesterday, and they actually fit! My feet, that is. They were way too big in my calves. Jim said "You either need fatter feet, or fatter calves". Yes, Jim, fatter calves would just about make life - perfect.

Every year around this time I do the switch. I put away my summer clothes and get out the winter stuff. This year, I decided to go through all my clothes and get rid of the stuff that either doesn't fit, is out of style, or I just haven't worn for years for whatever reason. This morning I tried on every pair of jeans I could find. I discovered to my shock and dismay I have 17 pairs of jeans! Seventeen! That is ridiculous, people! These are 17 jeans that I tried on and said "These fit". After my initial shock, I thought about it, and I know why I have so many jeans. It is a never ending quest. The quest for the "perfect pair of jeans". The ones that fit like a glove, that are so comfortable that you would even sleep in them if you could. The problem is, and ladies please come closer as I am about to tell you a secret that will truly rock your world....THEY DON'T EXIST!!! Now you know.

The problem is, if you are anything like me, and you have a strong desire to be hip and not look like a grandma, you have tried on the jeans that are now in fashion. Low rise. The term also applies to your self esteem when you try these on, do the sit-down test, and your belly flabs out over the top of the jeans. Lovely. Then there is the inescapable fact that you WILL be exposing your butt crack to innocent passersby each and every time you sit down. You will feel a cool breeze between your cheeks, and you will give yourself a wedgie trying to pull your underwear up enough to cover your butt crack. You will wear these jeans for awhile, and make the statement "There is no way people can wear these and be comfortable"! Then you will put on a pair of your old jeans, the ones that go up past your belly button. You will look in the mirror and see an old, out of fashion, woman, who strangely resembles your mother, and you will put the low rise jeans back on. You will sigh, turn on another episode of What Not To Wear, and mutter, "I am beautiful and smart and I can do anything".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Don't You Hate It When

Don't you hate it when you get yourself into a predicament that you can't get out of?

Dylan: "I HATE that".
(Don't you love how after awhile, he decides to just make the best of it! He's got his bottle. What else does he need?)

Don't you hate it when you laugh so hard, you fall over?

Dylan: "That wasn't me. I don't know what you're talking about".
(Everytime he laughs, he gets the hiccups, that crazy kid!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Farts Are Funny

When I taught preschool I dreaded the "ketchup lunches". We all ate the same meal prepared by the culinary genius they had hired from the Pennysaver. Yes, the teachers also. We were supposed to "model good eating habits", thus being required to eat preschool sized portions of whatever crap they were serving. The days that the ketchup bottles arrived on the rolling carts holding our cuisine, I always cringed. They seemed to always have just enough in them to make THE NOISE. I would squirt some ketchup onto my mini sized fries, "Ffhhpptt", followed by laughter, snorts, and a regular giggle fest. I would try to keep my cool, while passing it to one of the many kids screaming "I WANT KETCHUP!" "Ffhhpptt" - more fits of laughter. Over and over the ketchup bottle would be passed, it would make THE NOISE, and I would try in vain to regain control of my lunch table.

When I was in my twenties the guy I was dating had me pinned, and was tickling me mercilessly, when suddenly he let loose the loudest fart I ever heard. The horrified look of embarrassment on his face was so funny, that I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. My laughing got him laughing, and we both were clutching our sides, gasping for air, by the time we regained our composure.

The first time I met his parents we went over for dinner. During dinner, his parents' dog suddenly decided to plop his big fat body down on my feet, (I had my shoes off), and farted on my feet! I tried with every fiber of my being to keep from snorting and spitting my drink out. I was doing a good job of controlling the laughter waiting to erupt, when the smell hit my date's nose. He gave me a look, like "You've got to be kidding me!", and that was it. I lost it. "It was the dog!" I exclaimed, while laughing hysterically. That broke up the whole table. We were all laughing so hard that their other dog went berserk. She ran around the table over and over, barking as if to say "What's wrong with you people?"

Even Dylan, at only 11 months apparently thinks THE NOISE is funny.

It is one of life's little mysteries. I don't know why, but let's face it, farts are funny.

The Boy In The Box

Jim and I had a much needed date on Friday. (Thank you, Rachel!!) We went to dinner, and saw the movie "Martian Child". In it, John Cusack plays a science fiction writer, who decides to adopt a little boy who thinks he is a martian from Mars, on earth for a mission - to learn how to be human. When he first goes to see the boy, he discovers that he spends his days in a big carboard box! He decides he is not cut out for that kind of drama, and rejects the idea. But, he can't stop thinking about that boy in the box, and he returns. I won't ruin it and tell you the whole story, but I will tell you, it is a must see.

This little boy (although just a character in a movie) got to me. There have definately been times in my life that I would have liked to just climb into a big box to keep from getting hurt again, or just to escape the harsh realities of the world. We've all had those moments. And, it IS hard to understand humans, especially ones who give up their children, or ones who harm children. As an adult, I am perplexed and horrified at the way some people treat children, so imagine how difficult it is for a child to understand!

I am blessed to have been born to two wonderful, amazing parents who showered me with love everyday. But, what if I hadn't been? What kind of person would I be today if I spent my childhood in an orphanage, or worse, moving from dysfunctional foster home to foster home? Watching the movie, I couldn't help but think, what if Dylan were that little boy? There are thousands of kids out there who are just as easy to love as my precious boy, and they deserve to feel wanted, to feel special and loved, and to be part of a family.

My husband and I looked into adoption. I searched tons of websites, did tons of research, and went to seminars. But, we felt that we couldn't afford it. At the time, I hadn't even considered fostering a child and adopting that way. Since then, a friend of mine decided to foster a little boy, with the plan to adopt him. When he was just a few days old, a friend of ours and I were going out, and she asked us to babysit him while she took her dog to the vet. When I held him for the first time, I remember looking down at this tiny person, so fragile, so innocent, so full of possibilities. When I thought about the life he might have had if he stayed with his biological parents, my eyes teared up. He deserved so much more! I held him up and whispered in his little ear, "You're going to have a great life, kid. I can feel it!" And here it is, over a year later, and he IS having a great life with my friend and her husband. When I think about it, my heart is happy. I feel in my soul that one day I will do the same thing for a child, and that thought makes me happier still.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

7 Random Things - My Way

Okay, so I was "tagged" by Shellie (at , to list 7 random facts about myself. Oh the horror! The rudeness! The injustice of being told what to write about! (I'm kidding, Shellie. I don't mind at all). But whoever thought up this particular cyber chain letter should at least be a little more creative. Seven random facts?! Suh-Nore! How about 7 things that make you go "Hmmmm?", or 7 scenes in movies you totally relate to, or 7 things that make you shoot milk out your nose they are so funny, or 7 things you've done that made you feel completely exhilarated, or 7 things you did you wish you hadn't, or 7 things you wish you would do, or 7 things you can't live without, or even the 7 kinkiest places you've ever had sex?

Since I am a rabble-rouser and don't like to color in the lines, I'll list one for each of those.

1. I gave my son macaroni and cheese for the first time today. This kid will eat anything - squash, rice and lentil dinner, fuzz, books, cat food, whatever. Macaroni and cheese he spit out with a face that would sink 1000 ships! Whose kid is this? I would probably eat roasted pigs feet if you smothered it in cheese.

2. One scene I totally relate to these days is in the movie "When A Man Loves A Woman", with Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan. In case you haven't seen it, Meg Ryan plays an alcoholic who goes off to rehab, leaving Andy's character to take care of his job as a pilot, the house, and the two kids. One evening he is on the phone with his boss, the kids are running around the house screaming at each other, and something spills. There are no paper towels. He starts carrying on like a lunatic about paper towels. "Where are the paper towels!! I NEED paper towels! When we're out of paper towels I need someone to go get me some paper towels!!", (he screams at the annoyed nanny). I can totally relate. You don't realize how wonderful paper towels are until you have children, and suddenly they are worth their weight in gold.

3. The scene in "Money Pit" with Tom Hanks where the bathtub falls through the floor, and he just stands there laughing at it, makes me snort milk out my nose everytime! Well, that is, if I'm drinking milk, which I don't - I'm allergic, and it's gross.

4. I could definately write a whole post on this one, but one of the times I felt completely exhilarated and alive was when my college roommate and I went to France and Italy on a whim, with no set plans or reservations for 2 weeks. Amazing.

5. Wish it wouldn't have taken me 3 1/2 years to realize "The Bozo", was just that. Then again, maybe I wouldn't appreciate Jim as much as I do, if I hadn't made that mistake. Also, thank God I didn't marry him. Wheew.

6. This one is easy. I wish I would publish a book. I wish I would publish MANY books. I wish I would be such a successful writer that I would actually turn Oprah down when she calls to ask me to be on her show. That would shrink her big head a bit, or just royally piss her off.

7. I just realized the other day I am an addict. I am addicted to Blistex. Don't laugh! It's true. I always carry a tube of it in my pocket, so I can put it on throughout the day. One day this week, I wore pants without pockets and went to work without my trusted tube of joy. I thought about it ALL day. I looked in my purse 3 times for a tube I might have put in there. All day I could just feel my lips starting to chap. I went out and bought several to stash all over the house. I need help.

8. Are you nuts?! My parents read this blog. I already gave you 7 anyway!

Feel free to take my "7 Things" list ideas and run with them, but at least give me credit for thinking of them, or you'll be on another one of my lists. I won't say which one.

(I tried to figure out how to link to other people's sites - I even asked a few people for help, and they tried to explain it. Either I am brain dead, or they are using PC's and on my Mac I need to do it a different way. If anyone is using a Mac and can shed some light on this, let me know, please. Sorry!)