Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You're Welcome, In Advance...


I just discovered this today (thanks to Pink is the New Blog) and it is some of the craziest, funniest shit I've ever had the pleasure to see. Plus, there are unicorns in it. Enough said.


This is just the first installment. So, visit them at Planet Unicorn to see more!

Vacation Situation

Well, dear readers, in less than one week, I will be here:

And then, here:

And I am totally excited. Husband and I will be traveling with his parents and another couple to the expansive frontier of the West. We are anxiously awaiting our departure this weekend, and I am trying my best to fend off any creeping sense of anxiety. It always happens, but I'm trying to control it as best as I can.

Am I alone here? I know a lot of people get nervous when they leave the house, but I feel almost ill whenever I lock the door and leave our pups behind to go out of town. Even though I am excited for the trip and know that it will be wonderful, I still have these overwhelming feelings of fear that something will go wrong and I will not be there to help or stop it.

It's possible I should be medicated. Very possible.

But I just can't bring myself to do it. I have taken medication for depression before, but have since learned that my depressive tendencies are almost purely situational, and because of that, I am not a prime candidate for medical help. But, this anxiety thing seems to be happening more and more frequently, and I am having trouble controlling it on my own.

I despise feeling powerless. And this damn issue makes me feel that way. I feel terrified and nervous. I feel like I want to miss the fun and turn around and go home. I feel like all the precautions I have taken are not enough. I feel sure that our house will burn down and the boys will be stuck inside. I just feel like crap.

Any tips? As I said before, I know that this is a common feeling when people are going on vacation, so maybe someone out there has some advice or a similar experience to share... if not, that's ok too. I have left town before, and can do it again. I guess I'm just wishing that it would be a bit easier.

On a much happier note: I am actually supremely pumped for this trip and am confident that once we land in fabulous Las Vegas I will be ready to flay my wallet and drop some cashola on the old roulette wheel. Who knows, maybe I'll even win something. Or I'll just jinx myself by blogging about winning something and come home poor.

PS: I have also decided that in addition to my successful bringing back of the word "rad" (Successful is defined here as, "I use it regularly and get weird looks/reactions") I am going to be endeavoring to bring back the phrase "Sufferin' Succotash."

Yeah, I'm rad. Spread it around.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


So, I just had a shocking revelation the other day. No, really. It was shocking.

My best friend is getting married on July 4th. When she and her husband-to-be got engaged last year, she called me to not only tell me the good news, but to ask me to be her maid of honor. Of course, I said, "Yes!" I truly believe it is a great honor to be asked to stand in someone's wedding, and so I felt all the more honored to know that among all the honor already flying around, I was going to be honored extra! (and now I can't write that word without pronouncing it "Hoe-norde")

I was touched and very pleased, to say the least.

Anyway, I was planning my own nuptials at the time and promised her that as soon as all the shenanigans with that were over, I would turn my attention full force to her big day. Then, the holidays happened. Then, New Year's happened. Then our dog got surgery. Then we went to Jamaica for work. Then we tried to relax a little bit. Needless to say, my MOHing had not been as good as I had hoped.

In truth, the MOH's main responsibility is to make sure she leaves herself open to helping the bride whenever possible and plans a really kick-ass shower and bachelorette party that spotlight the bride and give her a chance to relax. So, all in all, I wasn't doing too bad for not having done much.

We solidifed a date for the shower and decided to also do the bachelorette party that same night once the shower was over. Good plan. It worked for me, and we'd make it work great for her too. I started throwing the tenative details around, and with some help from my fellow maids, have finally gotten most of the specifics nailed down.

But, I tell you what. I think I'm going through some sort of "wedding withdrawl." Here's why:

I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm obsessing about getting the shower perfect and I have panicky thoughts that I've forgotten something crucial. I have made several unnecessary Excel spreadsheets that I eventually scrap because I have come up with "an even better Excel spreadsheet" to do my pratically self-explanatory job.

Basically, I'm a nutjob. A big one.

I was analyzing this yesterday and wondering what the hell was my problem? Because honestly, planning the shower and bachelorette party is nowhere near the headache of planning a wedding, and I haven't felt this way since I was deep in the throes of wedding hysteria. So, why am I treating it like it's the event to beat all events?

In my analysis, I uncovered several possible reasons:

1. I really love my best friend. She's great! And I want to make it a really special day that runs really really smoothly and allows her to relax.
2. I'm anal, and I have problems delegating responsibility (mostly because I've been burned with the whole delegation thing in the past. I will never forgive the slacker in college who read his portion of the presentation directly off of a sheet of paper and who did not bring a visual aid - which was expressly required - and who, therefore, pulled our group grade down to a B from the A it was suppsoed to be. Dick.)
3. I am having "wedding withdrawl." I am coining this phrase to mean: "The symptoms felt by a married woman who, in the face of planning an event of any sort, slips right back into her past wedding planning mode and the idiosyncracies that accompany it."

Pretty good, eh? I think it totally exists, and I think I totally have it. But really, I'm pretty sure that all of the above are true in my case. Making me both really nice and really screwed up mentally. Great.

In spite of all of it, I am pretty damn excited for the whole thing to go down. It should be a fun party. Or at least, it better be...

One last revelation, and this is the one where I cry silently into my palms after my shrieks of horror have finally subsided:

When she asked me to be her MOH, I was the maid of honor.


I am the MATRON of honor.

Is it wrong that that phrase makes me feel incredibly old? I mean, MATRON?! I feel like I should run out and buy a bonnet and wire-rimmed glasses and start talking exclusively about how expensive everything is and how when I was a kid a movie only cost $3!

Well, I kind of already talk about how movies used to cost $3. I mean, come on! They did! AND now they're like $12, and that's just, well it's ridiculous. Gee golly, gosh darnit! I'm going haul my old married ass over to my rotary phone and place a call to my congressman. $12!? Get serious!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Goodbye to a Friend

One bright Spring day in 1994 my big sister came home from school with a puppy. She and a friend had been driving along one of the country roads that ran near the high school when they saw a "free puppies" sign that they could not ignore. They swung into the farmhouse's drive and walked over to see the puppies in the barn.

They were adorable. There were several left, and my sister and her friend both fell in love with them all instantly. As they were playing with them, the owner of the dogs came over and asked, "So, do you want one?"

Of course my sister wanted one. But she knew my Dad would be furious. He did not like us to bring home pets, and we already had a dog at home. He would not allow it to stay if she did bring it back with her.

The owner continued as the girls mulled things over, "...'cause if you don't want 'em, we're just going to drown 'em."

Horrified, each of them grabbed a puppy and thought about grabbing more. How could anyone want to kill such sweet innocent creatures!? They took the two puppies and rushed back to the car.

No sooner had my sister sat down than the feelings of dread began. How was she going to spin this one? There was no foreseeable way that our Dad was going to relent and allow a second dog - especially one that would grow as big as this husky/collie mix was going to. No, she'd just have to beg. He'd see the light, he'd see they were saving her from certain death, he'd give in this time.

Yeah, right.

I was thrilled when she brought the little girl home. She was a sweet, wriggly little thing with beautiful coloring and bright eyes. We all loved her immediately. But, then my Dad came home and the arguments began. We tried our best, but we knew he was right... we couldn't keep her. There were a lot of solid reasons, chief among them was the fact that half our family is horribly allergic to shedding animals. We were all well aware of the fact that we could not have anything more than our wonderful, hypoallergenic poodle, Buffy. My Dad laid down the law: Find it another home within 24 hours, or I'll take it to the shelter.

After our tears ended and our feelings mended a bit, the phone calls began. Unfortunately for us, and for our sweet little puppy, it didn't seem that any of our friends were in the market for a big shedding dog either. We started losing hope.

And then my Mom stepped forward and grabbed the phone.

And called our Granny.

In all her years, my Granny had never paid one red cent for any of her pets. All animals that lived at Chez West were strays who were lucky enough to wander onto her yard. Her dog, Harry "Harrison Ford" West, had just passed on, and she only had Tweeter, her bob-tailed cat in the house, so my Mom thought that she just might be in the market for a new challenge.

She said yes. :)

She named her Heidi Savannah, and it was at this moment that little Heidi officially joined our clan. She was a challenging dog. She was highly spirited, and there were many years where she was so out of control, that we could barely walk her without running. But we loved her very much. She had this very long, very proud nose. And she had the darkest, most intelligent eyes. She was a beauty. And she'd communicate with little howls that would shape her big mouth into the tiniest little O. She was good-natured and lovely. And my Granny just adored her.

Many of you know from past posts that my Granny now lives in a nursing home. When we had to move her there, she was allowed to take her cat, but she was not allowed to take Heidi. This was really hard for all of us, especially my Granny. The hardest part was that, for a moment, Heidi was homeless again. We still couldn't have shedding animals, and now the sanctuary that my Granny had provided for close to ten years, was no longer available.

We spent a couple of days making the calls to the usual suspects, dog-lovers and people with other large pets, but no dice. My Mom had automatically begun to rehearse her speech to my Dad in her head where she somehow convinced him to let her stay with us, but it turned out, she didn't need it.

In a highly unlikely turn of events, my mom received a phone call from my Granny's only living sister. In the call, my Great Aunt said, "I know you're looking for a place to put my sister's dog. Well, I think I'd like to take her. She'd have to stay mostly in the garage and backyard, but I think it'd be alright." My Mom's jaw just dropped. My Great Aunt had not only never had a pet of any sort, but she was the white carpet type. The type with plastic pathways through her house. They type that did not have anything that would cause a mess. The type that was ALL WRONG to have a big shedding dog.

But our options were all tapped. This was the best offer we could get. And so it was that our Heidi girl moved into her new residence: My Great Aunt's garage.

It did not take long for the boundaries to weaken and expand. "Just the garage" became "Just the garage and kitchen." "Just the garage and kitchen" turned even more quickly into "Just the garage, kitchen, and living room." Pretty soon there were no boundaries, and my Great Aunt was hooked. She was head over heels for our gal Heidi.

What was most amazing to all of us were the changes we saw happening in our Aunt. She was becoming more sensitive and loving. She began expressing feelings and communicating more effectively with all of us. Our relationships with her began to grow. And it was no secret to anyone that Heidi was the reason. She had brought joy into her life. And it was so infectious that she couldn't help but share it. It was wonderful. And we all felt blessed by it.

I spoke to my Mom today, and she told me that our Heidi girl is gone. She was 15, which is a very long life for a dog her size, and it was time for her to go. My great Aunt couldn't make the call on her own. She didn't want to lose her. But our gal could barely stand anymore, and previous to that she had lost control of her bowels which caused her to look and feel ashamed. It broke both of their hearts, but they took her to the vet to explain the symptoms.

He agreed that it was time for her to leave us.

So my Mom and Aunt held hands and watched as our beautiful and loving Heidi finally laid her proud head down to rest. It was very fast and painless, of course. But my great Aunt and my Mom were just heartbroken. They both hugged her and kissed her sweet nose. And then they quietly said their goodbyes.

I'm trying not to be too sad about it. Heidi led a very full and wonderful life. I guess more than anything, I just wanted to pay her some tribute here. She brought joy to two old women who didn't have much before, and she brought our family together. She was a binding force in our hearts, and she is missed and loved immensely by many people and always will be.

I love you so much, and I'll miss you a lot, old gal.

Goodbye my Heidi girl, goodbye.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

MIA in Minneapolis


Aloha from the great state of Minnesota!

I've been here for three days. And I'm ready to go home. It's nice and everything, but three days away from Husband is difficult for me. Three days away from home and my dogs and all my stuff... it sucks, to be honest.

But, tomorrow, my ship sails! Well, really it'll be a plane, but it will be heading toward the great state of Illinois (home to world-class democrat, and my personal choice for el presidente: Barack Obama) and the fabulous city of Chicago (which, God love it, is one of the only cities still TOTALLY run by the mafia. Love it).

It can't come soon enough!

Oh, and what is it with people in Minneapolis being total A-Holes while driving!? I mean, I know how to drive in a big city, but this place is like an endless parade of complete mean-faces on the freeway. Don't get me wrong, everyone is perfectly nice (in that reliable Midwestern way that I love and adore) outside of their cars. But, magically, when they step inside their Toyota Camrys(would you spell the plural of Camry as "camries"? No way. It looks too weird like that - and PS there are like a bazillion of those damn cars in this place!) they all suddenly become rabid, shithead assfaces! I've been almost hit several times while trying to change lanes in traffic, and no one waves to say thanks when you let them in, and it's all a big mess.


Good thing I don't live here, because apparently it would require that I become a jerky driver, and I am staunchly against that. Staunchly.

Doesn't staunchly sound like a really good name for a mean, fat, sidekick character in a movie? Like a cartoon or something?

Just a thought.

So long twin cities! I'll be back later. Gators.

Mean, bad-driving gators with big chips on their "driving shoulders."

Friday, May 2, 2008



I'm never going to stop laughing at this. Ever. EVER!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Thank you, Husband! This is the funniest (and weirdest/potentially most scarring) thing I've seen.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Reminder...

I was grocery shopping the other week, and I wandered down the household products aisle just to stand indecisively in front of the laundry detergent for a few minutes. I knew that we were almost out (so it was definitely on the list) but, as I am known to do, I couldn't decide which one to try.

I rarely stick with any one product long. In fact, I frequently change all the products in my house and toiletry cabinet. I like to switch it up and experience new things. It's nice to have a change of pace - even if that change of pace is simply switching from lilac scented to lemon scented dish detergent. Plus, I'm a total whore for new and improved packaging (yep, I'm the sucker that remarks on how cute that bottle of ketchup is - I know, LAME).

So, I was studying the different brands and checking out the options when I realized that I had actually tried most of them. I wasn't interested in any of the Tide products because Husband hates them for some reason, and I did not see anything earth-shattering happening with Cheer, so I turned my attention to one of the only brands I had not yet purchased: Gain.

I'd heard good things about Gain. The commercials boast an impressive longevity in scent, and a college friend of Husband's used to finish her laundry, hold a piece up to her face, inhale dramatically and deeply, and say "Ahhhhhhh. Gain." So, I decided, what the heck, I'll give it a shot.

Life progressed and clothing got dirty and we finally had the occasion to use the Gain several days later. Several loads of laundry, and a special wash for my favorite "napping blanket" were done without much incident (in fact, I had almost completely forgotten that I'd bought the Gain at all). I folded the laundry (because that's my job), put it away, and cuddled up on the couch with my favorite (clean!) blanket to watch some TV.

As I was sitting there, I pulled some of the blanket to my face and took in the smell. It was lovely, fresh and clean, and over the next hour or so I probably smelled the damn thing 20 times. What struck me as strange, though, was that on that 20th smell, something hit me as achingly familiar. You know that feeling? When life suddenly slaps you in the face with a memory? A memory so stowed away that it could only be convinced out with a smell or sight or incident? It was one of those moments. I smelled that blanket and WHAM. I knew there was something there to remember. Something that made me immediately feel safe, warm, and happy.

It did not come to me right away. In fact, it was not until the next night when we had finished with dinner that I finally pinpointed it.

Husband was washing the dishes (because that's his job) and I had just sat down to relax a bit. I reached over to grab my blanket, and as I wrapped its warmth up around me, the reason for the memory came rushing in so quickly that my eyes welled up with tears and my heart filled with happiness and comfort.

It was my best friend.

Her clothes. The sheets on the guest bed at her parents' house. Hugging her and being near her. She smelled like this. It was the detergent that her mother used to wash her clothes in high school. It was the smell of being close to her and seeing her everyday, and living in the same town.

So simple. And so obvious at that moment that I couldn't believe I'd ever forgotten it. So many nights I slept in the double bed in her parents' guest bedroom. So many nights as teenage girls, we'd fallen asleep with this scent all around us and talked about all the stupid, simple, teenage things that we cared about.

It sounds silly, but smelling that blanket brought her back to me for a minute. For just a minute I was 17 and I was sleeping over at my best friend's house. For just a moment I was back there in that safe little place that always calmed my teen angst and rebellion. Her home had felt like my own during those tumultuous years. Whenever I felt misunderstood, she understood me. And whenever I was scared, she comforted me. And all of that love and all of that friendship was all wrapped up in the way those sheets smelled and in the way the scent called back how I would finally drift off to sleep feeling secure again, feeling like I knew myself again, feeling at peace.

Of course, we are still best friends. But, I don't see her or speak to her all that often. There used to be a day when I never doubted that we would always be as close as we were at 17. There used to be a day when I would have laughed at the idea of not speaking to her at least twice everyday. But that day is here.

It's part of growing up, and I know that. So, the lump in my throat was brief but poignant. I love her and miss her. And I remember us then more clearly than I have in years. And I will not forget us.

Thank you, Gain. Thank you.