This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sarah's Boss Says, "Can you do me a favor?" And Then This Happens.


Good evening!

I'm emerging from another bout of whatever this sickness is that's keeping me down the last couple of months.  I thought a good freeze would get rid of whatever bug was lingering from the fall and my over whelming feeling of exhaustion would go away if I drank enough water and got into bed at an earlier hour.

Well we've had a good freeze now, thank you and the combo of water and normal human bedtime has only helped my FitBit  since I now get up MORE during the night.  The good news is that my doctor has decided I'm "very anemic" and he's put me on a rather large does of iron supplements.  This has caused me to feel nauseous in addition to exhausted, and in the process I've lost nine pounds in the last four weeks!

That's a silver lining I can get used to!

Anyway, today was a weird day, even for me.  I got a phone call from my boss shortly before the end of my shift (and the start of my nap) asking me to print out a letter, go to the post office, and mail it priority.  He would normally do this, but he was on his way to the airport in another city and wouldn't be able to get this letter out and it needed shipping TODAY.

Not a problem. I could do this, run to the post office, which isn't far from my house, and get it all done really only a smidge past my normal quitting time,

I mean...what could possibly go wrong to hold me up?

Well let me write you a list:

First, print out the letter.

Okay.  I hate changing the printer cartridge in my printer because, well, I hate my printer.  If I could, I would take it out and bash it with a baseball bat ala "Office Space" because most days it's a little whiner and refuses to work properly if I push the "on button" with the wrong attitude.  Changing the ink cartridge is invasive and unless I get Hubby to do it, I wind up being without a printer for at least a couple days.

Why?

The alignment page.  I can print the front but I can't get it to print the back. I do exactly what that digital piece of monkey business tells me to in its tiny, tiny little instruction screen but I can't get it right.

Which is why today I was in a tizzy because I'd been delaying putting in a new cartridge for about...oh about a month.  I'd do that thing where you print one page and then wait an hour for the ink to sort of settle and then print another so you'd just get enough ink on each page where you can read it almost clearly in the perfect brightest light.

But I can't send a piece of paper with a bunch of ghost letters on it, can I?  No.  So I had to change the cartridge.

That did not go without incident. The alignment page befuddled me.  But the printer must have been in a magnanimous mood because right about the time I was screaming, "I AM putting this in face down your stupid piece of crap!"  It sent me a message saying it couldn't detect the alignment page and would now return to default print settings.

Ah....music to my ears.

So, letter printed.  Addresses set.  Coat on.  Purse in hand.

Next:  Get in the car.

Our driveway is a bit of a circus act for the neighborhood.  We can't park any of our cars in our tiny, over cluttered garage, (although hubby swears to me once the Christmas lights are up he'll make it so I can park in there. We told our neighbor that. He laughed really hard.) so all four of our cars are out on the drive.

The person who has to leave first (Hubby) is never the person last in the driveway so our day ALWAYS starts with someone moving someone else's car onto the street.

I always nose my car right up to the garage door perpendicular to two of the other three cars. Those two park next to each other with the last car at the back of the pack.  Once the morning move is done there are two cars in the drive:  Mine and one behind me.Today it was Peaches' car behind me. I hollered for her to come up and move her car.  I waited as she came upstairs and got her coat and shoes on.

Finally...LEAVE THE PROPERTY.


While Peaches and I  were exiting the house, Rocket got out.

Rocket is Peaches' cat, and new, sort of, to our family. He has escaped a few times from her previous domicile, and is always interested in THE DOOR, especially when it's been open. We've been quite careful when opening the door so that he doesn't get out, it hasn't been too much of a bother.

Until TODAY.

Today, when it was the coldest it's been in eleven months, Rocket darted out the door and into the freezing world for the first time. He immediately dove behind the row of shrubs we have outside our house.  The shrubs are four feet tall and four feet across, about fifteen feet long and very dense all the way to the ground.

Peaches stood  on one side, shaking a bag of treats. You've seen the commercial where the cats are tearing apart a room full of Christmas decoration and then someone shakes a bag of these treats and they all come running?   That's usually how it works with Rocket.

BUT NOT TODAY.

No, today he was determined to stay right in the middle of that row of shrubs.  It took us a few minutes of some quite creative cussing in cutesy "cat" voices to get him to come back to the house.  As Peaches dumped him in the house I turned to get into my car...and neither one of us made sure the screen door closed.

And out Rocket went AGAIN!

Another couple of minutes of louder sing songy cussing and treating shaking.

By the time I got into my car to go to the post office I was sweaty and flushed.  And this on top of the fact that I'd gotten up this morning PROMISING myself I wasn't going to leave the house, so I was dressed in my finest grey sweats, mussed hair (although it was clean, I get points for that) and very minimal make up.

That actual task of mailing the letter went off without a further hitch. I used to run the shipping department for an online toy store, so the post office is no mystery to me.  And, after further review, the delays really only added about ten minutes to the whole project.

It just seemed like more because time stops when you're fighting with a piece of office equipment or crawling behind your hedges saying all the words you tell your kids and your Sunday School classes not to use.

But at least I was saying them in a nice tone of voice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

22 hours, 5 states, an over affectionate hockey fan, and finally finding the perfect public restroom.

Hello all!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week  then Happy Thanksgiving!  

In the US this is the official kick off to the holiday season and we've gotten a bit crazy with the shopping. I mean, Black Friday should mean...you know...FRIDAY.  I give stores that are normally open 24 hours a pass because that's their regular schedule, but for the rest of the stores (I'm looking at YOU, Kohl's) there is no reason to make your employees miss a holiday with their families just so the rest of us can buy a discounted sweater and/or holiday ornament ten hours earlier than we would have anyway.  Black Friday should mean getting up in the dead of night, like 3 AM, grabbing a hot breakfast at your local 24 hour diner, and heading out to the stores around 4 or 5 AM on FRIDAY.  That's the way God intended it.  LOL

As for our family, we just got done last week celebrating my birthday and Skippy's with a quick trip to Detroit to see my beloved Redwings take on his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning at the historic Joe Louis Arena.  (Which they are tearing down at the end of the season.)

It was not going to be a long trip. Hubby and I, being old, planned on driving to the game Tuesday, watching the game Tuesday night, and coming home on Wednesday.  But...then Skippy said this:

"You know, we could just drive home after the game. Then you'd have a whole vacation day off instead of being in the car.  I do that drive all the time. It's a piece of cake."

Now, that might seem like a crazy idea, but after thinking about it and doing the math, we realized that yes, if the game got out at 10:30 Detroit time and we hit the road right away, we'd be home really no later than 4:30 Wisconsin time, allowing for stops and what not.  Skippy could do the bulk of the night driving and I would sleep in the back seat.

With this brilliant plan in place, we left for Detroit.  (Peaches opted to stay home with the cats.)

A rare picture of me...and my two favorite guys.
(I'm in the middle.)
The trip there was uneventful, as expected. We stopped once for food and made it to the Joe without incident. Well, okay, we missed the turn into the parking garage, but other than that, no problem.  We'd driven through part of four states:  Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.  The plan was to take the same route back. It was a route we all know very, very well.

Take that, Avs fans!
Being at the Joe Louis Arena, "The Joe," is a pretty awesome experience. I mean, it's really not that much to look at. It's old.  The seats are not comfortable. There are no cup holders. And there's no leg room.

But then you look up in the rafters, where the championship banners are. There's almost no ceiling space left.  The Redwings have a long and beautiful history of championship wins and retired greats of the game.  

The game itself was a good one.  Maybe not for the guys sitting behind us, who were true Detroit fans in that every word out of their mouths was unrepeatable and they had little good to say about the home team.  Until the home team started winning at the end of the second period.

It was during the second intermission that I decided I should break one of my rules and find a bathroom.  Now, have I mentioned The Joe is old?  how old?  Let's just say that the bathroom facilities for women were not...ample.

I got at the end of a line that stretched a hundred feet into the back end of the other line for the other ladies room.  As I stepped into the line, there was a little tap on my shoulder and a blonde woman with a smoky voice said, "Don't go there, I know a better place."

Now, I realize that this is the start to many different types of fantasies and believe me, I was skeptical.  However, if I stayed in the line I would miss a good portion of the third period and I had not ridden in a car driven by someone else for six hours to stand in a line and not see the game.  So I followed the blonde.  She wove her way through the crowd to a staircase and then she vanished.  I looked at the staircase. Yes, there was a restroom at the top, but in line were probably 200 men.  I saw no women in line.

Wait...

There were no women in line.

For a restroom.  At a sporting even.

I watched as a couple women sprinted up the stairs and vanished through a concrete arch.  What did I have to lose?  So I, well I didn't sprint, but I moved  pretty quickly up the stairs and at the top was a man who pointed me to a door where there were no women...

Inside...

The most glorious of all restrooms!  There were 50 stalls. I know this because they were numbered. They were clean!  The restroom smelled GREAT.  There wasn't a speck of dirt or a drop of water on the floor.  I saw steam rising out of the sinks, the promise of actual hot water!

Friends, most of you know my trials and tribulations when it comes to public restrooms. I'm here to tell you, I've found it!  I've found the absolute MECCA of ladies' rooms. It's the pinnacle of peeing!  I was in and out of there in under five minutes and there was no back up on the stairs, why?  Because there was a second door and stairs to go down.

At the bottom of this second flight of stairs I bumped into the blonde who recognized me (pink hair stands out in most crowds) and she said, "I was right, wasn't I?"  I nodded. I had no words for the magnificent loveliness she'd shared with me.

But back to the game.  

It was a good game, but the Redwings lost.  I was happy for Skippy because his team won. I guess that's all part of being a mom. Anyway, as we walked out of the arena, the guys decided they had to use the facilities. I would have shown the the staircase, but they are men and it would not have been as magical for them.  I told them I would park it next to the pillar next to the statue of Gordy Howe.

And now, for an "It can only happen to Sarah moment":

I stood there smiling, watching fans filter out of the building. I didn't feel crowded at all.  I was happy. This had been a great night!  And, we'd decided to take a short jaunt down to Toledo, OH, and hit a Waffle House on the way home. It wouldn't increase our drive by more than twenty minutes, the guys decided, so why not?

As I was thinking about the Waffle House menu a very, very tall Redwings fan and his buddy walked up to me.  I didn't think much of them, a lot of people brushed past me.  But this guy stopped.  He stopped and he leaned down to my face level.  Which, since he was so tall, meant all of my viewing space was full of him.

He put his arm around me like he was going in for a kiss or something.  Instead, he leaned a bit closer to my ear and said in a tender, moderately inebriated tone,  "We lost.  It's a sad f---ing night."

"We did. But we're going to be okay," I responded.  I mean, what else are you going to say to that?

He seemed satisfied that we'd comforted each other and he and his buddy went on their way.

Okay then.

We drove down to Toledo  (Thereby hitting our fifth state of the day) and had a lovely meal at Waffle house. I had a grits and eggs bowl.  It was fantastic. I have friends who think I'm nuts, but I love Waffle House.  

By this point it was one AM  Eastern Time.  (Game ran long, it had taken longer to walk out of the Joe than expected, and we lounged a bit at Waffle House.)

We did the math. We still thought we'd be home around 5:30 Central time.  Confident the guys had it in hand, I curled up in the back seat and tried to sleep.

And then we hit the death fog.

Death fog like I've never seen it.  We'd drive along for a couple miles at 70 and then BAM.  A while wall of no visibility for several miles.  This went on through half of Ohio and all of Indiana.  We had to stop twice in Indiana  (Once at a gas station that wasn't open, but thanks to some GUY who just happened to be driving around at 3 AM, he informed us the station wasn't open and neither were the pumps, but that if we "drive up the road there a piece" we'd find all manner of open gas stations.)  We did, and by this time I was FREEZING in the back seat. The guys, in an effort to stay awake, had turned off the heat.  We didn't have a blanket in the car.

I'm now the proud owner of one of those silver plastic sheets, the kind they wrap accident victims up in. They sell those for $3.99 at the gas stations in Indiana.  Wrapped up in that I was warmer, and I also resembled a baked potato...or Jiffy Pop Popcorn.

By the time we hit the Illinois border, Skippy was asleep and the sun was starting to come up.  I had to be the co pilot through that last leg home.  

We pulled into our driveway and it was nearly 8 AM Central time.  the guys went directly to bed.  I needed to thaw off my feet, so I took a hot shower, checked in on the conference call at my job, and then hit the couch and spent that whole lovely full vacation day...sleeping.

And so my friends, here ends my story.  The moral of the story is that I'm too old to stay up most of the night and it's going to be a long time before Hubby and I drive across Indiana and Ohio again.

With that, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remember if you are making the dessert for dinner: 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sarah stars in her own weird after school special.

Good evening!

It's been quite the couple of weeks here.  I released a new book:  Superhero in Superior, the second book in the Nora Hill Mysteries.  

I've been sick with some sort of mystery illness that makes it impossible for me to do anything other than drink Vernor's and binge watch BBC mini
series on Netflix between naps.

And last week I broke every fashion rule I've set for myself and those around me.

I bought purple leggings.

Here's how this went:  Because I've invited everyone in the world to more Partylite parties than I can count I get invited to a lot of in home parties. A LOT of parties.  

Seriously...I get invited A LOT.

It's a normal thing, I get it. I invite, people come, they shop, I benefit with free candle stuff. In turn, they have a party, they invite me and fully expect me to show up and shop so they can benefit.  It's how those in home parties work.  

So when an adorable daughter of a church friend of mine bounded up to me wearing THE MOST ADORABLE piano keys leggings, and invited me to a Lula roe party, how could I say no?  Besides, the young lady said, "It's fun clothes and I know you're fun, and you'll love these!"

How can I turn down an invite when I'm told I'm fun?  My kids don't tell me that.  Sometimes it's all about the ego!  

So last week Friday I headed off to the party.  Hubby came along because, well, my friend lives out in the country and I can never find the driveway in the dark.  We weren't alone. When we got there, it was clear that a lot of the women couldn't find the driveway in the dark, given how many husbands where in the dining room.

Lula roe, if you're not familiar, is an in home clothing company that is all about comfort.  With sizes for children as well as fluffy girls like me, I have to admit there was a lot of cute stuff there.  We walked around the various rooms of the house where the clothes were displayed, chatting with friends and acquaintances along the way. As in home parties go, this one was great!

Until...

"Sarah, aren't you going to get some cool leggings?"

Now, I can see how my church friends might think I'd be all in when it came to leggings with splashy flowers and prints.  I mean. I have pink hair.  How can I not get excited about loud clothes?

Regular readers will know, however, that my fashion rules for myself and others include this:  NO PANTS for adults should be any color other than black, blue, all shades of brown, and grey.  White is allowed only rarely and then only on women over 60.  And leggings should never, ever be worn as pants by anyone over the age of 9.

And yet, here I was.  after some cajoling, walking up the stairs to try on (and thereby breaking another fashion rule for myself, "Never try clothes on anywhere but at home") a pair of leggings that were ORANGE and had big, bright triangles all over.

Worse yet, I put the leggings on, put on a long gray top, and emerged to model for my friends.  (Breaking yet another rule, "Don't model clothes for anyone but Hubby and Peaches and if they say it looks good wear it.")

From the base of the stairs, all the women in the room cheered!  "They look SO CUTE ON YOU!"

(This from a group of women who, by the way, did NOT buy any leggings for themselves. Except for Kirsti, who looks fantastic in leggings and who can wear a maxi skirt upside down as a full on halter dress.   She's just awesome in fashion.)

I was unsure, and normally I would have called Peaches up to make me see sense.  But Peaches was working. So I had Hubby look at them.  All he said was, "I like orange, but I don't like big patterns."

Okay, I put the leggings away. But then....

"How about these? The pattern's not that big!"  

Purple, with yellow flowers.

I tried them on. Everyone cheered about how cute they were.  Ever the people pleaser, I bought them.

I got home and the next morning I explained to Peaches about the party and the leggings.

"Mom, you bought leggings?  For yourself?"

I showed them to her.

"Oh mom...you're not eight."

(This is funny because when she's shows me clothes I say, "Oh Peaches, you're not 22."  I've been saying this since she was 12.)

And so, I decided I had to return the leggings. I couldn't were them, I'd never get the idea out of my head that I looked like a second grader.

But, lucky me!  Kirsti asked about the leggings Monday at choir rehearsal. I told her my issues.  She said she wanted to buy them from me. After a bit of friendly haggling over Face Book this week we agreed on a price and tonight I will be, once again, legging-less.

The moral of the story, kids, is that peer pressure is a real thing.  Those after school specials told the truth! You have to be careful and be strong, otherwise you might find yourself owning a pair of purple leggings.  That or, you know, you'll have a drinking problem or start smoking or something.  It's all peer pressure.  

The cruel thing is, Kirsti is going to wear them and look like a super model in them.

But she's got normal colored hair, so it's a trade off, I guess.

Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend. I'm off to do a craft fair where I will be signing and selling Superhero in Superior.  Stop on by....10025 W. North Avenue, Wauwatosa. Saturday, November 19, 10-2  Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. I

I'll be the one with pink hair and regular pants.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

And then there was this conversation with my mother...

Good evening!

I'm taking a break from watching my beloved Green Bay Packers lose because...well, I can't bear to watch them lose.  But also because I have one announcement and one funny thing to tell you this week.   First the funny thing, because this is why you read this blog, right?

My good friend Marie described our generation as the "sandwich" generation. You know, kids are still home, and now you have to start taking care of your parents?  Well, I thought to myself, this is true for Marie.  Her son is in college but still living at home and her mother lives near her but Marie stops in several times a week.  Now, my kids are still home, that's true, but my parents are healthy and living in their own home a blissful 30 minutes from my house.  (Close enough to visit on a regular basis, but too far away to just drop in without calling first.)

Ah, be careful what you think your life is because God has a magnificent sense of humor.

Thursday night I got this text from my mother:

Mom S.:  We can't get net flick.

(She has a flip phone and getting the words all correct is a lot for her.)

Me:  Pull the cord out of the back of the blu-ray player and then plug it back in.

Mom S. :  We don't have a blu-ray player.

Me:  Yes you do.

Mom S.: No we don't.

At this point I dial her number because texting her takes too long.  "Mom," says I. "You have a blu-ray player. I bought it for you for Christmas two years ago when we also started your subscription to Netflix."

"No, we don't have a blu-ray player. We have a VCR/DVD player combo TV downstairs. That's where we watch most of our movies and such."

Clearly both the blu-ray player and the subscription to Netflix are not being used to their capacity.

"Mom, you have a blu-ray player.  Hubby connected it the week before Christmas two years ago.  We had to get it so you could get Netflix."

"Well we've never used a blu-ray player.  We just turn on the TV and Netflix is there."

It's at this point that I realize something that could only happen to my parents  (you didn't think I came by this magical life by accident did you) is happening.  "Mom, go get Dad."

I hear her yell for him downstairs.  My father, since his retirement, all but lives in the basement. My mother has no idea what he does down there, and it bugs her.  I suggested she ask him.  She said she didn't want to disturb him. Then I, in a moment of unbridled snark, suggested he was watching porn.  She, of course, pooh-poohed this. I mean, of COURSE he's not.  But still...it's a joke worth carrying around a while, especially since she complains that she doesn't know what he's doing but she refuses to ask him.

Anyway....

As I listen to my father stomp up the stairs I tell my mother to look at her TV set up.  I say, "What do you see?"

"The TV.  The Direct TV Box...and oh....there's a little box right there!"

"MA!  That's the blu-ray player!"

"Donny!  Look at this! We had a blu-ray player!"

"We don't have a blu-ray player!"

Then I hear them mumble some sort of disagreement.  When that breaks up my mother says, "But there's no place to put a DVD or a blu-ray."

"MA...you have to open it with the remote."

"We don't have a remote."

"Yes, you do.  Go check on the table by dad's chair."  I know full well they have several remotes on that table.

"Oh yes, here we go.  But it's not working."

"Are you pushing the eject button?"

"Yes."

At this point Hubby has arrived home. Now I would normally just drive up there and fix this myself, but given how technology NOT INCLINED my parents are, there's a good chance they've done something to their WiFi in the process of trying to get Netflix to work, so I know I'm going to need him.

As I'm explaining the situation to him, I hear laughing on the other end of the phone. It's my mother.  "We figured out why the remote won't work!"

"Let me guess...no batteries?"

"Right!"

As we drive the 30 minutes to their house, hubby and I decide that they knew, at one time, about the blu-ray and that they removed the batteries, probably to put in some other remote because Hubby set that thing up to WORK batteries and all.

When we get there it takes us about four minutes to sort out the problem. Apparently, for the last two years my parents have had the blu-ray player ON and so yes, when they turned on the TV they had the option of Netflix.  But at some point all good technology must hiccup and thus theirs did.  Had they been aware of their player, they could have simply unplugged it and plugged it back in I could have eaten dinner at a normal hour.

While Hubby is sorting through the pile of remotes on my dad's table, and instructing him which ones to throw out, I'm resetting my parent's Netflix password because, my mother, several months ago, forgot the password and CALLED Netflix to change it.  (First of all...called? ) Then she wrote the new password down and forgot where she put it.

I introduced her to the "forgot password?" button.

Now, my mother's reasoning for this complete lack of...I don't know, what do you call it when you completely forget you own a piece of equipment that's sitting six inches beneath the TV you watch every day?...is that her life is so busy with stuff.  Then she read a list of things she "HAD" to do the month after we gave her the blu-ray player.  (Now, first of all, she was able to put together that list in the 30 minutes it took us to drive up there, but she didn't remember she HAD the thing in the first place?  I see a problem in priorities.)

That started a big argument between her and my father about why he takes naps during the day. Hey, he's retired.  He should be able to eat when he wants to and sleep when he wants to. He's not the one who bogged his schedule down with church and social activities, most of which involve driving someone to a doctor's appointment.  (Seriously, her whole list of stuff for one week was driving half a dozen people I barely know to appointments.)  I suggested that he be allowed to stay up all night if he wanted to and sleep all day. It's what I would do.

My mother said, "NO!  It's annoying!"

I said, "To whom?"

She said, "TO ME!"

Okay then.

With the password updated...and written down...and the useless remotes tossed and the blu-ray player fully functioning, we got in our car and headed home.  On the way home I told Hubby about my secret book of passwords, a book I use to keep track because I swear I need a password for everything.  I also informed him that when we are retired (which will be about three months before we die of old age since given our current political and economic climate we'll never get to retire) I'm going to stay up all night if I want to and nap all day.  I do now, anyway.


And now the announcement!

Today I've released the second in my Nora Hill Mystery series:  Superhero in Superior in print form. Those of you who read things on devices will just have to wait one more week!  

I'm very excited about this book and where this series is going and I hope you enjoy it too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sarah looks in the mirror and says, "OH COME ON!"

Good evening!

Not much funny has happened around here lately. We in the upper reaches of the US are gearing up for winter, or as many women my age call it, "hairy leg season."

And speaking of unwanted hair, I realized something knew in my never ending battle with my body hair.  But before I reveal my latest folicle fail, let's review my past issues with body hair:

1)  The hair on my face is coming in black. The hair on my head is coming in white.

2)  After decades of leg shaving, my leg hair growth has FINALLY slowed....but only on half my leg. This isn't a top half/bottom half issue. This is a left side/right side hair growth. Like I have line running from the top of my thigh to my ankle and on the right there is no hair, but I still have to shave the left side of both legs.

3)  My skin has become sensitive to the act of shaving, regardless of what kind of moisturizer I use before or after.  My skin burns for at least day after I shave my legs or my underarms....so...it's sort of like Woodstock most of the time for me.

And now...as if THAT wasn't enough hair war, I noticed something new and disturbing the other day, while sitting in the chair getting my white head hair dyed pink so that I don't look like an old lady with white hair.  Yes, I prefer to look like an old lady with hot pink hair, thank you.

So I was sitting there and my hair girl asked me how I liked my hair cut.  She's a dear family friend I'm going to call Sweetie. (She loves
steampunk and Dr. Who and Lord of the Rings and honestly, I looked up 'steam punk heroines" and this picture popped up and I think it looks just like her!)------------------>

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and was horrified. Not by my head hair, which always looks great after Sweetie's touched up the pink and given it a good cut and then styled it.  No, I was horrified because...

MY EYEBROW HAIR IS TURNING WHITE!

OH. COME. ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because my continuing war on my upper lip, my chin, and my throat, my eyebrows have sort of been allowed to just be what they are.  I never liked tweezing my brows, and yes, I went through a fairly unfortunate period of Nads overuse.  (Self waxing my own eyebrows with a stick and a piece of cloth?  What could POSSIBLY go wrong?  Spoiler alert:  I spent one summer with almost no eyebrows after trying to "just even things up.")  So I decided about fifteen years ago to just have "strong eyebrows."  You know, like Brooke Shields.  I was just never, ever going to be one of those women who would pluck out their eyebrows and then draw them back in. Nope, I had thick, lovely black eye brows and I was happy to accept it.

Until last week when I looked in the mirror and realized the outside half of both of my eyes had...faded.  Faded to almost invisible.

WHAT?????????????

Beard and mustache firmly, fully black. Eyebrows, the one bit of body hair that has NOT REASON to do anything other than be what it's always been, are now vanishing into a white that blends with my skin. And in order to not look like some...I don't know..."dear leader"  ------------------> 


I'm going to have to DRAW THEM IN.


Or maybe I could just get really edgy.
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Who am I kidding?  I'm basically Kim Jong Un with pinker hair and lighter skin.  Oh, and no desire to cause any sort of international uproar.  I'm too busy trying to make myself look, you know, FEMALE.

Anyone who doubts that there's a God and that He has a rich sense of humor has never had to deal with unwanted facial hair.

I can hear the Almighty laughing right now.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sarah returns to the gym and discovers...a superhero sauna?


Good morning!

I'm deep in final edits for "Superhero in Superior" (Due out November 14!!!)  So if you don't hear from me for a while that's what I'm doing.  When you're a self published author and you set a release date for a book and then you don't write the book...well, then you have to lock yourself in your office and not come out until it's done or you can't stand the smell of yourself, whichever comes first.

But I had to share this with you:  This past week I started going back to Xperience Fitness after not going since April because, well, of course, I was exercising outside.

Sure.  Which is why I gained seven pounds since April.

At this pace I will truly be my own Thanksgiving Day float in two years.

Anyway, I decided swimming was a good idea since I'm having serious issues with my right foot and my knees have always been a bother.  So in addiction to getting my 12000 steps a day, I thought I'd add some pool time  a few days a week.

Let's talk about what it takes to get me into the pool.  First, I need  a swimsuit I feel comfortable in.  That's not likely. The last suit I really liked was six sizes ago.  Now I'm in some cobbled together tops and bottoms, and the bottoms don't fit right.  And I hate having that much of my leg showing.  But then I discovered something amazing...SWIM SHORTS!

I know, now swim shorts have been around forever. But these are LONG swim shorts. they go nearly to my knee!  Apparently surfers wear them. So that makes it cool, right?
Me.
Okay, me with more hair, less clothing coverage,
and about 90% less body fat.

One problem:  I couldn't find plain black swim shorts to go with my patterned tops. The best I could do Was a pair that has sort of a snakeskin print on the side.  Which really clashes with my black white polka dot top.

Which would matter, except I'm in a pool at 1 in the afternoon with people who...let's just say...make me look a little less awkward comparatively speaking.

Well, until I add that one other thing: The swim cap.  I need to protect my lovely pink (expensive) hair color.  So I figured wearing a swim cap would keep the chlorine/salt water off my head.  (Spoiler...it doesn't.)  I couldn't find a plain black cap so I wound up with a red cap.

Let's review:  I'm in a red swim cap, a flowing black and white polka dot top (that really isn't all the flowing once I cram my body into it) and swim shorts with a snakeskin print and legs that cover my thighs like I'm out of the 1920's.

Very, very sexy.

Whatever. I don't care. I want to be comfortable, I want to protect my hair, and I want to swim some laps and take off some weight. The fashion police, as always, can go pound sand.

So I'm back at the gym, in the pool, which I actually have not used up until now.  At the far end of the pool is the sauna. A dry sauna, so the signs tell me. I doubt I'll ever go in there.  Outside the sauna door is a bench.  I was doing laps and didn't give the bench a thought at first until I started seeing guys coming out of the sauna and sitting on it.  I looked around and realized that the pool was full, sort of, there are three lanes and three people were swimming.  Now, it is common in gyms such as this to share a lane with someone if neither of you is a splashy swimmer  (Yeah, guy in the way too small swimsuit with the hand paddles, I'm looking at you).  I'm not a splashy swimmer, I tend to swim then walk and so on.  So I thought I'd offer to share my lane with one of these guys.

But that's when I noticed something.

Now, OBVIOUSLY  I'm not wearing my glasses in the pool. That would just make me look odd, right?  So my eyesight isn't exactly 20/20, but up close I do okay.  And here's what I notice about the guys coming out of the sauna:  They all look like superheroes.  

THERE'S NOT ENOUGH ROOM IN THE SAUNA!
I'm not making this up. The first guy out looks like a non green version of The Hulk.  He sits on the bench for a bit, watching the really old lady, the guy with the walker, and...me, swimming.  Five minutes later he goes back into the sauna and out comes and guy who could be Tony Stark/Ironman.    He sits on the bench for a bit, and then goes back in. 

Now I'm thinking, okay, it's two guys who just happen to be sort of buff (way more buff than anyone
I've seen in this gym before) so what?

And then the door opens....and out comes...

THOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously!  Thor walked out of the sauna.  Granted, instead of a hammer he was carrying a three ring binder.  (Thor...doing homework in the sauna.  That's a mind bender.)  But that guy was ABSOLUTELY THOR.

So now, well now I have a huge reason to go back to the gym.  I need to see what other superheroes are in that sauna!  

If Batman shows up...I hope it's the Christian Bale Batman, not the Ben Affleck Batman.  Because...ew.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I was going to blog about crotchless sweatpants, but then this happened.

Good evening!

Saturday, as some of you know, was a busy day for me. I had errands to run,  I was seeing Cary Elwes speak after a special viewing of the world's greatest movie "The Princess Bride" and I had a wedding to go to. (Cary was magnificent, watching the movie with a few hundred other people who laughed in all the right spots, recited the lines correctly, and cheered and booed along with the movie was a big treat!  Hanging with a couple girlfriends was the Cool Whip on top of the pecan pie!)

But this blog isn't about my lovely evening spent enjoying my favorite movie. Nope, it's about the wedding I went to...and what happened before and after said wedding.

See, the wedding was almost two hours away, so we knew that driving back home in time for me to be ready to get picked up for Cary Elwes was going to be tight.  Plus Hubby was going to sing in the choir during our church's Saturday service which started at 5.  

The wedding was 2 and by the time we got home Hubby had to basically drop me and go to get to church before the service started.  I had no house keys, but that's never a problem at our house because we have a garage code and we never lock the house door inside the garage.

Repeat:  We NEVER lock the garage door in the house.

In the ten years we've been at that address, I believe we locked the door once, and that ended in someone, probably Skippy, getting locked out and having to use the neighbor's bathroom, which was uncomfortable for the person locked out as well as the neighbors. (Let's just say it was one of those bathroom uses that leaves an impression.) The four of us swore we'd never again lock that door.

Until Saturday.

 I had about twelve minutes to get in the house, freshen my make up  (Because we were in the 18th row and YOU NEVER KNOW, we had an extra seat, one of my friends couldn't make it, and I did put on Twitter that Cary should sit with us.  You don't put out an invitation like that and then NOT touch up the make up.)  In that time I also really had to use the loo.

BUT...the door.  The. Door. Was. LOCKED.

I have no key.  Hubby is in church, Skippy is at work.  So I call Peaches who was out and about with Junior, who was up for a visit.  Peaches is a good child. She answers her phone when I call, she doesn't just let it go to voice mail...

I calmly explained to her the issue and she began apologizing profusely. See, she's just come home to live after living in the St. Louis area for five months.  I don't know what kind of hardened criminal activity she was seeing in the mean streets of the St. Louis suburbs, but she was all about locking all the doors.

No problem, she said, she'd run home and unlock the door for me.

They estimated they'd be to the house "shortly."  Knowing where they were, I estimated eight minutes. Which gave me about four minutes to do all the Cary prep I had to do. Oh and also I really had to use the loo.

Peaches and Junior get back to the house and Peaches says, "Fun fact, I don't have a key."

They'd been in Junior's car all day and Junior doesn't have a key for our house on his ring.

I might have to give the boy a key.

So there we are, all locked out and I now have about four minutes to reconstruct myself into something Cary Elwes would like to have maybe have lunch with on the outside chance he sits in our extra seat and decides I'm funny, cute, and cool enough to take to lunch.  (Yes, the middle aged woman's fantasy. It's not silk sheets or walks on the beach. Nope, that's for the twenty-somethings.  Now I want a good lunch so I'm home in plenty of time for "The Voice.")

We have two options:  1)  Send Peaches to church to get her father's key or 2)  Break into the house via the patio door.

Well, the more fun route is to break in to the house. And also, I wasn't thinking clearly. Did I mention I really had to USE THE LOO?

I'm not going to tell you how we did it.  Let's just say I'm glad we keep the patio door propped open so the cats can go in and out of the back screened in porch when we're not home.  The door is only open about five inches, but Junior and Peaches, both being slender, figured out a way to get into the house so that I had roughly forty seconds to prepare for what had now (in my head) become the ultimate dream date with Cary Elwes.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm a little nervous that it didn't take those two all that long to break into my house...


But, Sarah, you promised us something about crotchless sweatpants!

I know, I know, don't worry, I didn't forget.

We got to the wedding VERY EARLY on Saturday  (not knowing exactly just how long it would take us to find the place. Sure, we had Google Maps and whatnot, but you still have to allow for a wrong turn, construction, or lack of parking.  So we got there really early.  We had time to walk around, enjoy a street fair nearby and do a little talking.

I was wearing a skirt.  I don't wear skirts all that often and I almost never wear dresses. I don't have a dress that fits me right.  Given the size of my gut at the moment, the best fit I've been able to find in a dress is by dress makers named "Oh what a blessing" and "Here comes the stork."  So I have a couple skirts I wear on the rare occasion that I have to look more dressed up than my black pants.  Weddings fall into that category.

Still, it wasn't a dress, and I wasn't wearing heels.  (Those have officially gone by by now that I need foot surgery. )

I expressed to Hubby how I felt under dressed. He said, "But you're wearing a skirt."

I said, "It's jersey material. I'm basically wearing sweatpants with the legs cut out."

He said, "Ah, so crotchless sweatpants."

And then we laughed.  

It's moments like that when I know I've got my soul mate.

As for Cary Elwes, the evening was tops. He's a great guy. And if you have no idea what the "Princess Bride" is, I suggest you find it and watch it right now.  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Women communicate in many ways. Men...not so much.

Good morning!

I'm giddy with glee today because tonight I get to spend an EVENING WITH CARY ELWES!

Those of you asking "Who is Cary Elwes and why does Sarah care so much" clearly are not close friends of mine, or have not had an actual conversation with me ever because if you are or if you had, you'd know that my number one number one favorite movie ever is "The Princess Bride" and Cary Elwes is the lead "Westley."  I say IS because let's fact it, actors become their most iconic part forever. Cary Elwes is, was, and always will be Westley.  Sigh. And some friends and I are going down to a fancy theater tonight and watching "The Princess Bride" with Cary.  

Some might suggest that paying money to watch a movie I own in every media form just so I can share a room with 1000 other people, one of whom happens to be the lead actor might be a bit...stupid.

To you I say..."BOOOOOOOO!"

Anyway, before I get fancy and go off to a fantasy world for a couple hours, I have to share this moment of real life with you all.

Let me preface this by saying I read once that girls speak 20000 words in a day while boys speak 7000-8000.  Male communication is far more nonverbal or it's in the form of sound rather than words. I believe after yesterday there is no room for doubt on how valid that stat is.

Yesterday I was running some errands with Peaches and we were wondering what we should do for dinner.  I sent a text to Hubby. He made a suggestion of beer can chicken, which is a family favorite.   the following is our text exchange after we agreed beer can chicken was a good idea.

Hubby:  I'll pick one up on my way home.  Side dish?

Me:  I'm going to Brennan's so I'll find something.

Hubby:  Need me to get the bird?

Me, thinking, "Didn't he just say he was getting the bird?"

Hubby:  ???

Me:  Yes.

Me:  We can make asparagus and corn and I can make some more oven potatoes too.

Hubby:  Ok. Prescriptions are ready at Sam's.

Me, thinking, "What prescriptions?  I haven't had anything called in, and he gets his by mail now."  I check with Peaches, who has not had anything called in. Skippy didn't say anything about a new prescription.  I'm befuddled.  But I have edits to do, it's late in the day, I've just decided I'm going to make a dessert for dinner, and stopping at Sam's is NOT on my to-do list. Frankly, if I'd known I had to stop at Sam's, I would have skipped Brennan's and just gone to Sam's and I would have gotten the chicken.

I share all this with Peaches, and then I wonder if Hubby is telling me about the prescription just as a share of information, or if he wants me to get whatever it is that is there, because sometimes he picks up the meds because he's on his way home or something.  So I have Peaches text back because I'm driving.

Me:  Are you picking them up?

Now at this point I have to drive past Sam's.  We wait. We wait. We wait for a response. And then we drive past Sam's.  And then we're 2/3s of the way home when I get this:

Hubby:  No.

Fantastic.  

See, if he'd said up front that Sam's had a prescription ready for us but he couldn't pick it up I would have skipped Brennan's  (An excellent produce and cheese...and wine...store) and just gone to Sam's and gotten what I needed including the prescriptions.  But he didn't say that. He just said the prescriptions were in.

So now I'm almost home, I've got ten things to do including finishing my final draft of my new novel, "Superhero in Superior, Nora Hill Mystery #2" and running BACK to Sam's seems...stupid.

But I need more information.

Me:  What prescriptions are they?

Hubby:  I don't know. I got a text.

THAT DOES NOT HELP ME.

I mean, depending on who the meds are for, I might be able to wait until tomorrow, right?

Now I'm all the way home. The only person who might have something at this point is Skippy who is home sick. He's been having some stomach/food issues lately. I stick my head into his dark room, something I do not like doing at all.  Turns out yet, his doctor did prescribe something for him. and since it's a new one from the doc he just saw this week, I know I have to go get it.  Of course, I would have been prepared for that HAD HE MENTIONED IT TO ME.

Yet another breakdown in communication with a man in my life.  

So I go back to Sam's.  And I send  the following series of texts to Hubby. Why?  Because I am a woman and I know how to communicate completely:

Me:  I'm at Sam's If you haven't gotten the chicken I may as well.

Me:  But if I don't hear from you in the next ten minutes I'll figure you got it.

Me:  Forget it. I'm here.  I got them.

Me:  Do not get more chicken.

Hubby:  Ok

And thus ended the communication. I got home, exhausted and about two hours behind in the schedule I had for my day.  But we got the meds, I made the dessert.  

And we decided we were too tired to make anything else. So the beer can chicken has to wait until tonight. I'll be spending the evening with Cary Elwes and some of my friends while the clan, Hubby, Skippy, Peaches and Junior (who is up for a visit this weekend) will be enjoying beer can chicken.

 AND, oh yes, Skippy didn't need to take the meds until today.

That's my life. I can't make any of it up. Don't hate me because I'm awesome.

In the end I know Hubby, dear Hubby, is going to read this and say, "HEY! How did I make the blog this week?"  Poor guy. It's all so simple, at least to me, a woman. Had he just put two sentences into the text instead of one, I would have been forced to find a different topic.  




Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Story From My Childhood: Why I love/fear potlucks.

Good afternoon!

So my church had it's 75th anniversary today and, as most churches do, there was a potluck dinner after services.

Ahhhhh, potluck dinners.  

There are a couple things you should know about me when it comes to potluck dinners.

1)  I have been to more potluck dinners than pretty much anyone I know other than my parents. I love them...and I fear them.

2)  I cannot, CANNOT resist that smooshy pie filling/white stuff on a graham cracker crust dessert. I can't. Never have been able to.

Keep those two points in mind as you read the following:



When I was a kid my parents were both what you'd call leaders in the church. My dad was the principal and upper grades teacher of the parochial school attached to the church. My mother filled in where ever the school or church needed a pair of hands: Sub teacher, art teacher, cleaner, hot lunch lady, organist, all of that. Both were in the church choir, and both were always at everything all the time.  Which means I was as well.

Pot luck dinners,  for those of you who don't know, are dinners put on by a group, generally a church, where everyone who is going to eat brings a dish to pass.  It can be anything, although it's typically a dish that's easy to tote, like a casserole, a pasta salad, or a dessert of some kind.    The food is laid out on a table and everyone can go up as often as they want to, and eat as much as they want to.  Growing up, this was pretty much how my brother and I got fed on Sundays.  We belonged, over the years, to a couple churches that did pot lucks a lot.  We had pot luck for any reason:  Church picnic, anniversary of a pastor or a teacher, church anniversary, even a funeral or two, although funeral pot lucks were very different from regular pot lucks:  More ham, less dessert.

My mother would generally make the same thing every time:  apple cake.  Now, this is a delicious cake made with actual apples, and topped with a lush layer of cinnamon and sugar.  And when we ate it at home, we also got whipped topping of some kind.  When she took the cake to a potluck, however, the container of whipped topping stayed home because it was a second dish and a pain to drag around. What this mean was that her fairly plain brown cake was not noticed on the expansive table over loaded with fruit pies, cakes buried in frosting, or frothy Jello desserts (which were actually passed off as salads...which might be a reason I have a weight problem now.) Therefore, her cake would not get eaten. Or touched.  Which meant she brought it home.

Which meant we got dessert that week...with whipped topping!  (My health conscious mother didn't make dessert often.)

There was one pot luck where my mom was behind a woman who was actually taking a piece of her apple cake.

"I always look for the dessert or dish no one's touched," said the lady.  "I take some of the because I always feel bad when no one touches someone's dish."

She had no idea she was cutting into our dessert. LOL

Anyway, I'm telling you that story to tell you this one, about why I both love and fear pot lucks.  It has to do with plate size.  

Spoiler alert:  I'm going to tell you how they aren't big enough.

See, at a normal dinner you would NEVER, NEVER pile food on top of other food.  You wouldn't. It's weird. It makes things taste weird.  You'd have spaces on your place for meat, potatoes, veggies, and a separate plate for salad.  You'd know you could always ask for seconds.

But see, a potluck is different. You get one pass to get first crack at the dishes. After that, you may not get to taste something you thought looked good. So you pile it up.  And because it's just not proper to take and fill two plates right away (because you have to walk past the people who are waiting to get in line and you don't want to look like you're greedy) you pile it higher.  My dad used to complain that all the food at a potluck runs together on the plate and tastes like nothing.

At some point in my childhood, they switched from actual real china plates to those paper plates with the dividers.  That helped the ladies who had to clean up after the meal, but it didn't help the piled up food problem, in fact, it made it worse because those dividers took up space on the plate that would normally be there for food.

I'm telling you all this because this afternoon while eating at my own church, I was reminded of the day I got into some of the worst trouble I was ever in as a kid. Not THE worst trouble, my Sunday School kids will tell you THAT involved, yes, a church dinner, but not a plate of potluck. That involved a potato, a glass of milk, and a hymnal.  

That's a story for another day.

No this story was a rare outdoor potluck.  For whatever reason, the organizers decided not only to
have it outdoors, but to have it under the trees on the far side of the parking lot. The food line, of course, would still be inside. This meant that we'd fill up our plates, walk 50 feet across blacktop, and find a seat at a long table outside. Oh, and try not to dump anything on the way or spill any one's milk when you tried to scoot your chair closer to the table over rocky, uneven, tree shaded ground.

The oldest I could possibly have been at this even was 9.  It was the first time my parents didn't demand that I go through the line or sit with them. I was drunk with freedom.


I loaded up my plate like I generally did.  But, upon reaching the end of the table where the desserts were, I noted that my most favorite dessert of all EVER, the smooshy blueberry graham cracker thing, was there....and it was going fast.  Typically, potluck protocol says you eat the meal then you go back for dessert...but people who hadn't piled their plates the seven layer salad and six kinds of hot dish casserole were taking it, and I was not about to miss out on this!

My plan was to race to the table, set down my plate, announce loudly that I'd forgotten a fork  (the only reason someone who already had food was allowed to go back to the table before everyone else had gone through, grab a piece of the dessert on a dessert plate, and come back to my seat. My parents would be occupied with my brother and all the other church people, they'd never notice.

The first couple steps of my plan worked well. Bonus, I found a seat as close to the building as possible, and it just happened to be next to my best friend, so it didn't look odd that I sat there with her.  I went back into the church to get my dessert and I was excited to note that I was alone...no one else was there to tell me not to take the dessert.

There was one piece left. One beautiful, glorious, smooshy, blueberry filled piece.

I reached for a small plate.

There were none.

Not a one.

In fact, there were no bowls, nothing. All of the paper plates were being used.  What was I going to do? How was I going to get that dessert to my plate outside, fifty feet away?

I would carry it.  

In my hand.

I got it loaded on the flat of my hand just fine.  However, it was a warm Michigan day...and in Michigan warm usually also meant humid.  By the time I'd crossed the parking lot, the dessert was no longer a piece, it was really more of sauce I managed to set atop the rest of my food.  I looked around for a napkin to wipe off my hands.

Guess what?

I had actually forgotten a napkin.

So there I was, dessert oozing like a thick lava across a fully loaded plate of now cold and congealing hot dishes.  My hand was blue and gooey.  And I had no napkin and, IRONICALLY, no fork.

It was a  this moment that my best friend's mother, a lovely woman who had a very loud voice, said, "Boy I'm glad I don't have to eat that plate of food."  And then she saw me standing there, blue handed, and she said, loud enough for pretty much everyone to hear, "OH GROSS!"

My parents have sort of a sixth sense about certain things...and they know when someone raised their voice at a church function, there was a good chance one of their kids was involved.  

I don't exactly remember what my punishment was, although knowing my mother, it involved no TV for a week.  (As you all know the worst trouble you're going to get into is when you embarrass your parents in front of relatives or church people.) I do remember my father directing me to pick up my plate and follow him into the church where we discarded the mess and I was left getting a second plate made up of stuff that hadn't been eaten already.  If I recall correctly I ate green jello with carrots and raisins in it and several pickles.  

And I'm pretty sure I had a piece of my mom's apple cake.


So yes, today while everyone else was remembering 75 years at church, I was remembering that day in Michigan, some 40 years ago.

And now I want blueberry pie filling.

Two adults discuss...achieving their Fitbit goals.

Many of you know that I've been getting up before work and taking a walk for my health and weight loss goals.  (Don't get ex...