This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

But the bigger question is...where are the corn chips?

Quite possibly the most ridiculous thing women do in the name of beauty is wax their eyebrows.

Those of you who read this blog know I do battle with unwanted hair every day, but today, in preparation for my weekend away at WisRWA Conference, (three days with a hundred middle aged women...why am I getting hairless for this?)  I went to my local discount hair cutting place  (I will never let them touch my WANTED hair again)  and got my eyebrows waxed.  While doing this, I pondered just how silly this practice is.

The eyebrow is a fairly small patch of hair, when you really think about it.  And, after all, who really notices eyebrows?  (So long as there are TWO, that is.)  When was the last time you heard men having this conversation:

Man 1:  Wow, take a look at that bombshell over there.

Man 2:  Which one?

Man 1:  The brunette with the kickin' curves!

Man 2:  Oh yeah, she's hot.

Man 1:  Pity though, she's so gorgeous, but then there's that...issue.

Man 2:  What, what's wrong with her?

Man 1:  Look at those eyebrows.

Man 2:  Oh....yeah...that's too bad.  Heavy eyebrows...she's disfigured.

Man 1:  How can she even be out in public with eyebrows like that?

"NO MORE EYE BROW WAX
EVER!"
See?  It would NEVER happen.  Well, unless you're starring in the lead in a "Mommie Dearest" revival, and then you probably should just bag your head until those brows look human.

Not bad for a Wednesday night!
But I'm sitting there in the chair, letting a stranger put hot wax on my brows and trusting that she isn't going to make me look like Bette Davis in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"  (Although, given the state of my roots, I'm a pair of pigtails and a good coat of lipstick away from that look anyway.)  and I notice something:

Her hands smell like corn chips.

Seriously..is Frito Lay making soap now?
So there I am, getting hot wax painted on my eyebrows by a pair of corn chip smelling hands.  And then she rips away the unwanted hair.  Then she plucks the strays, which is my least favorite part because if I WANTED to PLUCK the hair, I would stay home and do it myself.  What I want is one brief, blinding flash of pain, and then nothing.  Plucking is endless tiny little pains, like the headaches you get when your boss tells you a joke you just don't think is funny, but you have to laugh or he'll monitor your Spider Solitaire usage on the work computer.

Today the eyebrows must have been super unruly because I thought we were done and I opened my eyes 

(NEVER OPEN YOUR EYES DURING AN EYEBROW WAX)

to see Corn Chip Hands hover over me with SCISSORS!

WHAT!!!!!!!??????????!!!!!!!!!!!

She did a bit of trimming...and I was done.  She held the mirror up to my face...I was still in a reclining position and as we all know, fat falls backward so it was, quite possibly, the ugliest reflection of myself I've seen in a while, especially since my bangs were pinned back, revealing my halo of white hair...and said, "What do you think?"

Well, I think I'm old and fat. 

Oh, the eyebrows.

Hey, they look great.  I'm good for at least another six months, which is about the time I'll have to go back again and get them ripped off because I'm sure I'll be doing something else social that will require me to have perfect eyebrows.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Parents are proud of the weirdest things!

Good morning all!

When you become a parent, you lose all logic as to what makes you proud.  There are things all parents are proud of in their children:  Good grades, any sort of awards, an athletic accomplishment, a kid who wakes for school without a series of sonic booms for an alarm.  And then there's a whole closet of weird stuff that sort of makes our parental chests swell with illogical pride.

The other day I came home and Peaches, Skippy, and one of Peaches friends, we'll call him Buddy, were sitting in the living room.  The TV was off.

This raised an immediate red flag for me.

"We have a surprise for you,"  Says Skippy in a very, very cheerful voice.

More red flags.

He then walked me into the kitchen. On the counter sat the laptop computer.  He turned on the computer.

And there was something really, really wrong with the screen.

I'd never seen those big black ink spots before.

"We were goofing around and I jumped onto Peaches' lap and she had the computer on her side and I landed on it in an awkward way."

Now as a parent, you've got two choices in a situation like this.Typically I lose my mind and shriek for about fifteen minutes.   Except, and this is something I brought to mind the moment Skippy showed me the computer:

I've never yelled at the kids for breaking anything expensive before.

In the files of my mental Rolodex I went through all the electronics the kids have had access to and I realized they haven't broken or lost any of them.  Ipods?  Phones?  Computers?  The car?

None of them.

(Okay, the car got broken three times in Skippy's care, but each of those times he wasn't in the car, it was parked in a lot or a driveway, and someone hit him.  So I really can't fault him for that.)

That's when I took a deep breath and said, "Well, it's really your father's computer.  You'll have to tell him what you did."

So we then all sat down in the living room with the TV off and waited a bit for Hubby to come home.  He knew instantly something was wrong when he walked in.  I'm never in the living room when the TV is off.

Skippy went through the whole speech again with him.  And, to Hubby's credit, he didn't howl either.  (He rarely does.  The kids figured if I didn't kill them, they were home free.)

Later, when the kids were gone at their various activities, and I was pondering how proud I was of them for not trying to hide the broken computer, I heard hubby laughing.  He called me into to the office.  There, on the main computer, the first screen that came up when he signed in was a Google page of sites to visit when you need to fix a laptop computer screen.

Yep, the kids were trying to be resourceful.

Brings to mind my very first car accident and how I tried to cover that up.

But that's a story for another day.

Now, lest you think my kids are all the way grown up and responsible, as we were remarking how responsible they'd been, I got a text from Skippy. He was at a book store and wanted to know if I would pay for some of the books he was picking out.  (Our deal is I pay half for books, but nothing for games, Cd's, or anything like that.)

My response:  Computer screen...

His response:  Oh yeah.  I forgot.

So we've got a ways to go.  But for now, I'm pretty proud.  Proud of my computer screen breaking kids.

Parents are weird.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The "How is this fair" awards goes to...

Good evening!

So last week Peaches got her very first honest to goodness, go to fill out a W2, job.  She's going to wash dishes one of my favorite eateries in downtown Waukesha. 

Those of you with teens who recently got their first job, you know what I'm about to ask:

How is it fair that the kid gets a job and before they can start, I've gotta shell out $100?

See, Peaches is 15, which means we need to get a work permit. Now, she could just get that from school, (fee of $10) BUT, she needs a copy of her birth certificate. THAT means one of us, Hubby this time, had to leave work early  (Hourly pay lost:  $20)  and pay $20 for a copy of the birth certificate because the records office is conveniently open ONLY from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM M-F. 

THEN, Peaches is informed she'll need some clothes to wear to work.  No problem.  She needs some plain white shirts, a pair of black bottoms, something she can wear in the hot of a kitchen, and some non skid close toes shoes.

That involves a trip to Kohl's, because she apparently has none of those things.

Bill at Kohl's: $70.

And thusly, I'm out $120 and the kid hasn't started work yet.

For $120 I might have gotten my bathroom cleaned a couple times and maybe a week or two of laundry done. 

The real kicker is that I've offered to pay Peaches many time to wash dishes.  She loathes it.  Somehow, however, if you put a black apron on her and pay her minimum wage, she's all over it.

Meanwhile, the owners are getting married.  Now, I'm as happy for them as anyone, but Friday, after Peaches' first night at work, she got a little envelop addressed to her and to me.

It was an invitation to a wedding shower.

For the boss.

Whom we've known for one day.

I'm not going...but now I've gotta get a gift.

The kid is working, and I'm going into dept!

How is this fair?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Poor Hubby...he tries so hard...

Good evening!

So yesterday was Mother's Day, and I have to say, Hubby and the kids always do a pretty good job.  Granted, I can never expect much actual TIME from the children, they have places to go and things to do, but we did have a very nice brunch that included a spirited conversation on many, some very cringe worthy, topics.  (My children have inherited my love of bringing up topics that are cringe worthy, and then making them funny.)

Hubby, however, lives for one thing and one thing only:  To never do anything that gets him put in this blog.

On that count, the poor guy failed.

It really wasn't his fault.  He found some very fun, and interesting gifts.  He thoroughly cleaned and waxed my car.  He replaced our tattered bedroom shade with a new room darkening shade.  He got me season Two of "Mad Men"  AND "Breaking Bad."  He got me a CD and a book and a very pretty ornament that said "I love you."

He got me yoga socks to go with the yoga mat he got me for Christmas.

And he got me a lot of tea.

I have grown to love hot teas.  I drink it in the afternoons now because coffee is a no no after noon.  So I love heating up some water and popping in a tea bag and sipping it.  I also like tea cold, so tea pretty much works for me in any weather.

Now hubby wanted to up my tea game.  So he went to Crate and Barrel, one of his favorite fantasy store, and he got me some very nice loose leaf tea.  Then he got me a tea infuser.

Are you familiar with this item?

Here's a picture:

You're supposed to pull this apart and put the loose leaf tea in this and then put it back together and stick the clear end in your cup of hot water to let the tea steep.



Now, maybe it's because no one in the family is great about reading labels.  Maybe it was because I was so full of BACON  (another mother's day gift...Hubby made me grits and bacon.) that I was not thinking clearly.

But I must have seemed confused...so my children...who are very helpful...said, "Why did Dad get you a tampon holder?"

We laughed about that for ten full minutes.  Hubby threatened to return it because, as one of the children pointed out, this would definitely get him in the blog.

And it has.

And he hasn't.

Because I still love my tampon holder/tea infuser.

Hey, I love anything that is a multitasker.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Salute to Mothers...and their children.

Good morning!

So today is Mother's Day here in the US.  Normally I'm against the whole fake holiday thing, but Mother's Day and Father's Day are okay in my book because, well, if done right, parenting is, next to marriage, the most difficult, heartbreaking, amazing job you will ever take on.

So here's to you, MOM!

What makes a Mom? 

Well, first you have to have children that call you "mom."  They can be any age, they can still live in the house or not, but they have to, at least a couple times a year, call you "mom" and you had to have, at some point, changed their diapers/held their hair when they barfed, washed  vomit and blood from their clothes, and kissed their boo boos.

You also had to have yelled at them for missing curfew, failing to turn in homework, sassing you, not cleaning their room, or leaving candy wrappers all over the house.

To be a mom, you had to have cried, prayed, sweat, cheered, and raged in private, because being a mom is sometimes a very private thing.

You have to be a person who can love another person so completely that no matter what your child says or does, you are willing to hold them in your arms and want only the very best for them.

To be a mom, you have to be willing to teach them everything you believe and stand for...all the while knowing they will likely, either for a short time or for life, adopt beliefs and causes opposite of yours.  And you have to be okay with that.


Back in the day...
With that in mind, let me tell you about my kids.  I've got the boy child, Skippy...he's a surly looking kid who did very well in high school, but hates the idea of school in general.  He's very smart, but has no desire to do anything.  Yet he reads...he reads endlessly and thinks about things.   His views about the big issues of the day are rigid, but there's a compassion there that brings me to my knees every day.  The only thing he cannot forgive is hypocrisy. 

He may seem to be directionless to the casual outsider, but he knows exactly who he is and where he wants to be.  He's just waiting for the world to offer him a path he's interested in taking.

Then there's Girl child, Peaches.  Like her brother, she suffers no hypocrites, but she's slightly kinder to people.  She has an enormous capacity for love, and she champions the fringe dwellers of our society, while demanding that those around her take responsibility for themselves.  She is the most self sufficient child I've met at 15, and the most self aware.  She has a tremendous flair for style, though some of her outfits draw criticism from the more stodgy people in her life.  She doesn't care what people say, she's going to express herself through her dress, and I rarely have to ask what her mood is.  I usually know just by looking at the color of her tights.

To someone who doesn't know my children well, Skippy and Peaches might seem like odd, slacker kids with rebellious streaks and no respect for authority.  To be honest, it's never easy raising strong willed kids who don't march to the lock step beat of society's expectations.  Any parent with a kid who falls outside the guidelines of "normal" will agree with me. 

It's not that they don't respect authority.  They just don't respect hypocrisy, and they certainly don't respect those who try and make up their minds for them.   As they get older, Hubby and I may not always agree with our kids.  But we taught them to take responsibility for their actions, to pay their own way, to work hard, to bow a knee to God, and to always be honest, no matter what the cost.

They'll never make it in politics, and they will make me crazy until the day I die.  But I love them and I know they are going to be okay.

So Moms, especially those of you who have kids who aren't always clean, who aren't always sweet, who don't keep silent, or who don't feel like talking, here's a salute to you. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I can't wait for her to ask me where I keep the horses.

Good evening!

It's a story I enjoy telling, how I came about the name of my heroine in my second novel Lies in Chance.  The heroine, Shara, got her name years ago when, on a marching band bus, a chaperon asked me my name.  "Sarah,"  I said.  "With an H,"  I added, because those of us named Sarah always have to clarify how we spell our names.
Oh yeah...that's me.
The woman, bless her silly heart, wrote my name down, "S-H-A-R-A."And a character's name was born.

I'm telling you that so that you can help me understand why on EARTH Noelle C. would possibly think that "Lies in Chance" is actually ABOUT ME. 

See a couple days ago we got to talking, mostly because NBM was out of the office and that means that Noelle C makes a beeline for my desk to chat about this and that and what freak show health thing she's latched on to because she read it on the Internet.  Oh yeah, AND she's really, really deaf.  I mean deaf like you have to shout at her or she won't know you're in the room.  How she manages on the phone I do not know but she does and so I plow on through her massive set of crazy.  At least she doesn't microwave trout.

Anyway, we were talking and I told her about my books.  And she's a dear thing, she doesn't read, but she'd really like to. So she said she'd buy my books.  So today I brought them in, signed them, and she was very excited.  Not excited enough to actually READ one of them during her lunch, but whatever.  At least she read the back cover.

And I know she read the back cover because she came up to my desk and said, "Well, this does sound like you."

Now, all authors struggle to find their voice, that magical thing agents and editors demand we have in order to succeed in authoring.  So I was pretty jazzed to think that Noelle C, a dear, goofy, insane exhibitionist could pick out my voice in just a few short paragraphs.

"Yeah, it sounds like just you...oh, wait, it is you!"

That's when I realized she was reading the AUTHOR paragraph on the back of the book.

Did I mention she's deaf?  I tried, I really did, to tell her that no, the book wasn't about me it was by me.

"Well, I can't wait to read this book about you."

And I can't wait to have her ask me where we keep the horses...and why I'd be working at Dunder Mifflin if I am an heiress.

File this under "Gone but not forgotten."

On the first of every month our snack guy comes buy to collect the money in the honor box for the snacks we've stolen...I mean eaten.  He came a bit late last month, on the second, after Elsie W was...you know, relieved of her duties.  He counted the money and left a happy little note suggesting politely that we PAY FOR THE SNACKS.

So today he stopped by to pick up the cash and NBM asked him how short we were last month.

$1, or whatever you feel is fair.
"$11.37."

Friends, the honor box is $1 per snack.  I get paying in change, and I get forgetting to pay or not paying at all when you're relieved of your duties on the 2nd before you can write that check to the snack guy.  BUT, $11.37?"

So at one point she dropped in 63 cents and said, "Close enough!"

Oddly enough...this month...we were not short one penny.

The difference between a Meijer employee and a heart attack? Not much.

Good afternoon everyone and Happy Holidays! When I was little I lived in Michigan, home to a wonderful store called Meijer's Thrif...