Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Mouth is Stuck Shut!

I feel it is worth noting that I'm home sick today. Little Jimmy got it first, and has since shared his wealth of germs with me (I'm hoping Kyla and Jim don't get them too). Despite overdosing on nyquil and halls cough drops and attempting a variety of sleep positions (upright, face into pillow), I succeeded in getting no sleep (beyond 10 -20 consecutive minutes) last night due to an ongoing and railing cough.
Upon getting out of bed (I really couldn't say waking up), I made a steamy shower - hoping to alleviate some of the coughing (which was to no avail). Later I sat reading and drinking coffee whilst filling the floor area around my chair with dirty tissues. It wasn't until attempting to eat an english muffin for breakfast that I became acutely aware of the fact that my jaw was stuck - shut. It's not stuck all the way shut, but rather can open about a half inch. I noted how bizarre it would look if anyone saw me attempting to shove food into the narrow opening that was my mouth.
This jaw problem has been an issue forever, but only recently has become a real problem. I've always had jaws that popped when I opened them, and eventually popping rather loudly so that other people nearbye might comment in astonishment to me, "Was that your jaw?". It's only been in the last year or so that it has commenced refusing to open on command. Usually it's worst when I'm laying down or when I'm really tired, and usually if I try to relax while leaning forward and massaging my jaw (I know - of all the ridiculous situations to find yourself in!) it will eventually open properly. But today - no luck. Fortunately, I feel so crappy elsewhere that it's really not too bothersome (that and the fact that I'm probably still a wee bit drugged from the nyquil).
So, should anyone who knows anything about this type of problem-o happen to be reading this blog, please send me some insight!!! While others around me may appreciate my sudden quietness, I find it to be rather perturbing. A zillion thanks in advance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beware of the Next Craze in Young Girls' Self-Image Disorders!

Being the mother of two children, I'm fully aware of the effects of peer pressure. Though it hasn't truly damaged either of my children's psyche yet (aside from an ongoing fixation with Hot Wheels cars for Jimmy), I'm still not letting my guard down! Young girls seem to be particularly susceptible to the myriads of advertising directed at their innocent minds. Take a look at the latest self-image problem our young ladies will now have to fight against. . .

Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fire in the Meat Department!

Tuesday evening I headed out for my weekly Wa-Ma shopping trip after cleaning up dinner and helping to get the kids ready for bed. I was tired, and I had way more stuff on my list than I really had the energy to shop for. When I arrived at the Wa-Ma everything was status-quo. The standard Wal-Mart greeter was there with his friendly smile, and there seemed to be a pretty typical number of patrons there for a weekday evening.

It was towards the end of my shopping trip that some real drama occurred. I had just collected some frozen chicken patties and was headed over to get some fresh chicken when a man called out to me: "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step away; there's been a small fire." Given my rather exhausted state, it took me a moment to process this extraordinarily bizarre information. ". . . Oh. OK." I answered as I backed away from the man and headed closer towards my destination meat cooler. "Ma'am - Please step away!" the man called out again as he took a step in my direction - as though he might have to intervene. "Oh! - you mean this cooler right here? I thought it was kinda warm." At this point I turned around and headed up to the produce section still fully perplexed by the whole situation, and periodically peeking back over my shoulder wondering if there was something more I had missed.

In all reality I hadn't realized the man was talking about the cooler I was headed for, as he and a few of his colleagues seemed to be more huddled around one of the open coolers in the middle of the floor. It dawned on me that he probably thought I was some sort of self-destructive lunatic woman perusing the Wa-Ma late at night looking for some trouble. Still, he seemed relieved when I finally clued into what he was saying, and it become evident that I was merely a slightly dense individual as opposed to a suicidal one.

Several moments later while gathering myself some hummus and trying to decide between the pine nut and the roasted red pepper types, I was truly shocked when I looked up and saw two fully outfitted firefighters (tanks, helmet and all) briskly following what appeared to be young gay guy who was leading them to *the scene of the crime*. The whole situation was so bizarre I literally could not stifle my laughter. The fact was, there was no fire - at least not at the moment; it had obviously already been extinguished. And yet, following procedure, some faithful employee had placed a likely frenzied call to the fire department.

I'm certain the firefighters were disappointed to discover no flames lapping at the sides of the cooler needing to be hosed down. And some of the shoppers seemed to be a bit rambunctious too. Several teenagers followed the firefighters from a distance hoping to get in on the action, but were immediately redirected by a rather stern manager who told them they needed to head the other direction (once she was out of sight though, they went back to get a better look at the non-fire happening in the meat department). One angry elderly woman confronted the produce boy who was stocking strawberries about when she would be allowed into the meat department as she wanted to rap up her shopping (I thought about suggesting she just get some tofu this week instead, but figure I'd better not borrow any trouble for myself).

All in all, I'd have to put that down as one of my more adventurous Wa-Ma trips. It was really invigorating to come home from shopping and to be able to share with my husband about all the action (I know. . we're really an exciting couple!). Generally, the Wa-Ma trip is not highly anticipated, but I'm really hoping to stumble upon some more bizarreness next week.

Mama's Boy

The following was a genuine conversation between Little Jimmy and myself which occurred this morning on the way to school.
Jimmy: I'm almost done with kindergarten; then I'm going to graduate.
Me: Yep, but do you know what grade comes after kindergarten?
J: Emmm. . . Fifth grade?
M: Do you mean first?
J: Ya, I mean first. And then after that we're all done?
M: No, there's more school after first grade. Do you know how many grades there are in school?
J: No, how many.
M: Twelve grades! And once you get through those twelve grades, then you can go to a different school that will teach you how to be what you want to be when you grow up. Like, if you want to be a doctor then you go to doctor school, or if you want to be a firefighter then you go to firefighter school, or if you want to be a banker then you go to banker school -
J: (interrupting) I want to do that!!!
M: (very confused) Be a banker?
J: Do they get lollipops?
M: Oh - they give the KIDS lollipops.
J: Ya, but if you do that, can you get a lollipop.
M: I guess you could get a lollipop if you worked there.
J: Great! Then after I've done all that I can come home and be with you?
M: Well, I guess you could. Most people at some point don't necessarily always want to be with their mommy. Usually people when they get a little bigger want to go out and do things on their own.
J: But I could stay with you if I wanted, right?
M: Yes. . . . . But when you turn 30 I'm kickin' you out!
J: . . .(silence). . . You're just kidding, right?
M: (realizing that Jimmy can't connect right now with ever not wanting to be with me all the time) Yes. I wouldn't kick you out.

While I frequently get some pretty hard core reality checks from my kids, I also sometimes get the sweetest ego boosts!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Target Commercial

Today - I hit the jackpot. I hadn't even intended to, but I did. After my husband got a few clearance items from Target last week, he suggested I head over there too. I intended to breeze in and breeze out this morning, but once I saw the super deep discounts, I had to stay a bit. I only found one item for myself that I really liked, but the kids discounted items were unbelievable! All the children's and babies' winter items were on super-sale (meaning, at least 50% - 75% off, plus an additional 30% off at the register!), so I purchased complete wardrobes for next winter for both Jimmy and Kyla. The total cost of my extensive shopping spree: $52.11. Just to relish my savings a bit more, I calculated what the items I purchased today would've cost at full price, and the number I came out with was $214.00 even. Shop today and save for the 2009 fall and winter!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Moving On

It is with much delight and relief on my part that another Christmas season passes us. I have to say Christmas is among my least favorite times of the year. Call me a Scrooge or a Grinch, but I really disdain the whole season.

For starters, I don't like the whole charade of Christians claiming this holiday as their heritage. It's not. It's a pagan holiday with pagan origins. I have yet to discover any evidence of Jesus' birth being on December 25th, or do I have any evidence found in the Bible of such traditions as a Christmas tree etc. I fail to see where God would be satisfied in any way with our over-spending in order to purchase a gift for everyone on our list in honor of his son's birth. Ya - not in my Bible. I have however noted some strong language in the Bible regarding the *traditions* of man. . . But if it's really all about celebrating Jesus, why is not this faith and joy acted upon on a daily basis as opposed to a yearly overly commercialized single day/season? A little less glitz and glamor and showmanship around the holiday, and a lot more sincerity throughout the year would likely be a more satisfactory expression of thanks to God. OK - I'll now step down from my soapbox on that one. (Also, I know that most people do celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, and for the record, this is not intended to be an attack on anyone; this is simply my perspective which I am well aware is not the norm.)

As far as the whole *Spirit of Christmas* - I hate it. There is absolutely no other single time of the year where people are ruder, crabbier, pushier, and more selfish. This is a large part of my annoyance with this whole season in general. Anytime I have to go someplace, you can bet I'll have at least one encounter with the *Christmas spirit.* I actually don't do any shopping at the holidays anymore. Children in the family get books ordered off of Amazon (I'd much rather make a big deal out of their birthdays), and everyone else pretty much has to accept the gift of my presence and non-Christmas spirit (as is defined by the all-encompassing crabbiness of the season). This is no surprise to anyone in our family; everyone has pretty much come to accept that this is just not a holiday we really get in on the way others do. And quite frankly, I think it's a relief to everyone. No one has to feel obligated to figure out some gift to purchase for us that we most likely do not need. In fact, I can say in all sincerity that there has never been a Christmas gift I have needed; I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards and plenty of clothing. Further, if we're all going to just go out and spend money for other people guessing what they may want, why doesn't everyone just agree to take "X" number of dollars and spend it on themselves for something they really want. Better yet, how about not playing into the commercialism of the season and not buying anything specific for yourself this season, and instead the next time you have something you really want, get it and consider it your super early/late Christmas gift.

While on vacation, I had two distinct *Christmas spirit* encounters. These are encounters which in my honest opinion, would NEVER happen any other time of the year; the only reason they happen now is because people are so stressed about spending and gift giving and combating the crowds, that they lash out at innocent bystanders and in general just become rude and obnoxious individuals.

One such encounter happened at a gas station. My parents had pulled over to get gas, and as there was a line at every pump, I decided I'd wait in the line next to them so we could chat while filling up. However, because my gas tank was on the opposite side of the woman's at the tank ahead of me, I had to pull in front of her in order to be on the correct side. I gave her plenty of room to get out, and she had no problem whatsoever with my waiting for gas on the opposite side of her while she finished filling up. Just as she was preparing to pull out, another car pulled in behind her and tactfully inched forward claiming the previous woman's spot at the tank instantly. I sat there, jaw dropped, utterly aghast. The woman looked over at me after a minute or so and hollered out dumbly, "I didn't see you waiting there if you were." She then proceeded to begin getting her gas. . . If she really wanted to take responsibility for her actions, she should've said nothing and simply moved when she saw me there. But the fact is, she saw my obtrusive van there waiting and decided she could butt in ahead of me - and did. I beeped a couple of times, but the woman remained unresponsive. Never in my life. . . I've had people race into a line ahead of me, but never when I've been there clearly waiting already. I can think of no other reason for such atrocious behavior than simply the Christmas spirit.

Later on during our journey home, we stopped at a Wendy's at 2:00 in the afternoon. The restaurant was just as crowded as the roads. After waiting over 30 minutes in line, my order was placed. When I received the order at the drive through (and yes, my mother was waiting in line inside - each of us waiting to see who got to order first), as usual I began quickly checking the contents of my bag to ensure all the items I had ordered were in the bag. I was immediately interrupted by the woman inside ordering me to move ahead. I hadn't been there 10 seconds when this woman piped up with this tidbit - and bear in mind I had already been waiting a half an hour. Again, never in my life has someone at a drive through so immediately and rudely demanded I move ahead. "I just waited 30 minutes for my food, so I'm going to check it to make sure it's all here before I get out of the way" I responded calmly. "Ma'am, out of courtesy to . . . " and out of respect for myself, I rolled up my window and sat there taking the next 5 seconds of this woman's precious time to confirm that my order was all in the bag.

What's worse, is I hate having to deal with people like this. I'm not an overly confrontational person to begin with, but I'm also not one to sit around while the world runs me over for fun. (I know - I need to learn to turn the other cheek, right? - just to keep in line with the real meaning of Christmas). I hate being forced to stand my ground or speak up for myself when someone else is absurdly rude to me. It bothers me that while minding my own business during this holiday season, I am forced to deal with people in the Christmas spirit. I'd just assume there be no Christmas at all - it's obviously too much hype and pressure for the general public to deal with without transforming into a sort of cannibalistic breed.

(As a side note to my Christmas rant, I feel it should be pointed out that both woman who were rude to me were of another race. I for one make an attempt to be overly courteous to those of another race so as not to be falsely labeled a racist, but it's funny how those of this other race made no attempt whatsoever to be mildly considerate to me. If I wanted to play their game, I could cry foul with the whole racism card. So did I experience reverse-racism? I guess racism is racism all the same regardless of which direction it goes. . Since everyone seems to feel so wronged by *the white man*, I think it's time we caucasions started speaking up too when other races wrong us. . . Still, it just doesn't seem worth it to me.)

All this blogging to simply say, I'm very glad Christmas is past. I love spending time with my family and friends, but the whole *spirit* of things gets weird with the public in general. I'm very happy there's a 10 month break period every year before the next Christmas season begins.

Ba. Humbug.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm Dreaming of Not Driving Near Christmas

In the past few weeks, I've come to realize yet again that I'm just not a big fan of people. I am not a people lover. Now I know that sounds badly initially, so allow me to clarify: I don't like large groups of people in pretty much any setting unless I know them - and even then it's not my favorite (did that clarification perhaps make it sound any less bad?). Maybe this qualifies me as a loner; personally I prefer to say I lean ever so slightly towards the more introverted personality than the extroverted one.

I was raised with the city of Orlando for the first 23 years of my life, after which I moved out to Lake County (still probably considered more of the greater Orlando area); finally I moved out here to the very outskirts of Ocala. Can I just say that I've enjoyed each location more than the one before? In other words, the farther we get away from the city and the crowds, the happier I am. I know living in the country comes with it's fair share of rednecks and fruitcakes alike, but the more urban areas certainly aren't in any short supply of these 'special' ones either. I just like my space - my breathing room if you will.

'What brought this self-discovery into such vivid focus?' you may wonder. In short, it was our trip back from North Carolina. It was the bumper-to-bumper, 30 miles per hour or less journey beginning in North Carolina and following I-95 all the way down to Florida. I have never in all my life seen such horrendous and ongoing traffic. It was a nightmare.

But if the sheer volume of cars alone on the road traversing at such mild speeds wasn't enough to drive a person batty, then the maniac, frenzied and road rage ridden drivers were. They weren't necessarily everywhere, but there were enough of them scattered neatly throughout our journey to distinctly raise my level of exasperation. We've all seen them before, the ones who gun it for the 10 feet between your bumper and theirs, and somehow in that time period manage to throw in a few crazy miniature swerving motions (just to demonstrate to all how mad they really are) and then slam on the brakes a scant half second before causing a fender-bender (and there were plenty of angry drivers who actually weren't able to stop in time and thus caused fender-benders, further delaying all the traffic). Or what about the ones who weave obnoxiously between the two ultimately non-moving lanes. . . Do they really think one lane is going to get them to their destination more than two minutes faster than the other one?

Really wishing to exact my own justice upon these lunatic drivers but feeling it not necessarily wise (what with other innocent drivers on the road and my own family in the car with me and all), I considered calling the police and offering vehicle makes and models and tag numbers so they could come out and scoot along through traffic to give these annoying drivers warnings or citations. Sensing though that law enforcement officers might not be overly excited about getting onto the jam packed highway and attempting to track down a single car out of thousands in a stretch, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My objective: public humiliation of poor drivers. While driving I photographed to the best of my ability the looney ones (I know - a bit dangerous. . but I felt a sort of higher calling on this one). I know the chances of these people ever stopping in for a visit on my blog is a slim to none possibility, but I figure I'd do it anyway simply for the sake of all of us looking at their vehicles and shaking our heads while mentally reprimanding them.

At this point, I'd like to ask for some reader participation. If you could just stop whatever else you may be doing and focus with me now on the two previous photographs in this blog. While you're looking at these pictures, if you could just think of some sort of demeaning or derogatory remark that would be great. Some examples of possible remarks might include such classics as: "He's driving like a bat out of hell!", or "Speed kills", or "Life is not race." You get the picture. As for me, I've decided to never again travel long distances on the weekend following Christmas. There are just too many merry folks on the road for my taste. I'll save my road trips for less 'festive' times.

Introducing Sanna!

After months of deliberation and consideration, we've finally taken the leap of getting another dog. Our dog Bear is such a good boy, but sometimes seems a little lonely for some canine companionship - thus, the thought of adopting a little friend for him. We brought Sanna home yesterday from her foster home where she'd been staying with the help of a rescue pet organization. It was sad for her foster Mommy to say goodbye, but she knows it's for the best for Sanna to be adopted into a forever home. Bear could not possibly be more thrilled; in fact, he's been so thrilled that it's almost to the point of annoying Sanna (I've been informed that like their human counterparts, girl dogs mature faster than boy dogs!). Still, all morning they've been racing around together and playing.

Sanna is a sweetheart. She's about 15 months old (which is exactly Bear's age too), and she's a black lab and Australian kelpie mix. She's very smart, and extremely gentle. As her foster Mommy told me, she was always the mother to all the foster kittens she took in - protecting them and ensuring their comfort. One thing Sanna was very excited about in coming to our house was our kids. She was hesitant to even come out to see us when we arrived to visit her, but once she saw Jimmy and Kyla, she came right over and snuggled up by them (as best she could with Jimmy and Kyla both running around, shouting and laying on her).

Compared to Bear, Sanna is a tiny little girl. In all reality though, she's considered a medium sized dog while Bear would be an extra large dog (he's over 100 lbs.). Still, as I've watched them playing and wrestling in a friendly manner, I've observed that Sanna is quite capable of holding her own when she wants to. Bear is going to need to learn to share his toys without making it a game of keep-away from Sanna - this is one thing that has begun to annoy her. Any toy Sanna goes for, Bear will race to get it before her; and any toy she has, Bear will try to wrestle from her.

We are very excited to have Sanna join our family. She's been an immediate hit. We hope she settles in quickly here and begins enjoying her new life with us.

Lake Lure, NC Vacation in Pictures

Friday, January 2, 2009

Real News

I had to do a double-take when I saw this video. For a moment, I thought I was watching The Onion instead of MSNBC. . . But no, this is for real.