Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Slap a Post It on it Tuesday

The following post it note should have been slapped on the back of the guy standing in line in front of me at the DMV:

The following post it should have been slapped on the forehead of the woman who took my picture for my drivers license. I've had the same picture on my license for 8 years and had quite a rude awakening when I compared the new one to the old one. Aging's a bitch. Come to think of it...so was the lady that took the picture.
The following post it should be slapped on the forehead of every bank short sale negotiator I've ever had to deal with:
The following post it should be slapped on my husband's forehead:
The following post it should be slapped on my forehead:

Monday, June 28, 2010


Happy Crappy Monday!
Well, I hope your Monday isn't crappy...I just said that because so far mine is, but no matter because Monday's are when we show our ihappys, not our icrappys. As a side note, I'm finding that I say "no matter..." alot these days - sorry if that's getting old. I think it's kind of like when Scarlett O'hara says "Oh, I'll think about that tomorrow..." in Gone With the Wind. It's a dismissal of the bad and a searching for the good. If we can be happy with small things, most of the time we really don't have to search far.

So here's my ihappys:

Our scrappy, scruffy doggie, Gracie Lou
Doesn't she look like Yoda?

Babs is short for Babette. She's my pretend female butler that stands in my living room patiently waiting to hold my cocktail while I lazily recline on the couch, Scarlett O'hara style, and read my library book. If only I could teach her to clean for me.

Finding good books to read at the library

Watching my lovely daughter dance

My daughter, Sissa, had her first dance solo this weekend and she danced it so beautifully I cried.

You know what would be another ihappy I wish I could add here? Blogger images working right! It's not cooperating with me in this post, so I'm surrendering to it. 

But I'm still happy.

** This is a meme from Brenda at Mummy time, by the way, to take pics of things that make us happy with our non-existent i-phones.  I forgot to put that at the beginning of the post.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toon Down the Stress

     Can I just share with you all my newest short-lived obsession?
Homemade Comics!
My work has me feeling extremely under-pressure these days and
making these goofy things has been a huge stress-reliever for me.

Then there's the toons modeled after our family, which I call the Dysfunktionals. I posted one Thursday then made a few more.
This one was an actual dialogue between me and The Girl, my 17 year old:

Hubby and I joke about our kid's selective hearing, which prompted this one:

Then there's Hubby's punny one-liners - loads of inspiration there:

If you haven't tried cartooning your family (or workmates, or neighbors, or anyone else who provides you blog material) you should give it a try. It's way easier then I thought. You can even make a widget for your sidebar with all your cartoons in it and readers can "cheer" or "jeer" you.

Don't pay too much attention to the jeers though, because to be honest, I think it's teenagers monitoring the site. I'm basing this assumption on the types of cartoons that seem to get the most cheers. Alot of them I really don't get. But maybe that's just me.

No matter, because it's still fun cartooning everyday stuff. The site is toondoo.com.

Comicly Yours,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Let's Just Share Some Fitness Funnies, K?

Do you dream about food? I used to dream alot that I was in a donut shop and I couldn't decide which one to get. Then I got the better of my sweet tooth and now I dream I'm at a buffet. Even in my sleep I have to battle temptation. 
I don't have an inspiring story about how much weight I lost or how much I sweated exercising this week. I wish I did. But wishing won't get me anywhere, now will it?

I haven't gained. That's all I got. How about some funnies?


While we're on the topics of comics, I found a site where you can make your own comic strips and I'm so excited because now I can put more funnies in my posts and I don't have to worry about silly old copyright laws. 

I call this one Liquid Courage:

Ok, so it's not Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts, but cut me some slack, it's my first one! I'm going to have sooo much fun with this site. Imagine all the the real life diet dilemmas and exercise folleys that can be broken down into a couple of word bubbles! If you want to give it a try, here it is.

Here's to keeping our sense of humor and our self-control!

Weightily Yours,

The Fountain is His Leg Lamp

     Most of the time hubby and I get along famously. He puts up with my Honey-Do lists and I put up with him not doing them. But every once in a while a storm hits the Fred 'n Lori resort and a little thunder and lightening ensues.

It all started last Summer when I discovered HGTV's Rate My Space. I'm a huge HGTV fan and get all hot and excited over decorating ideas. Hubby says home decor is my porn. I think he's jealous.
At Rate My Space, People can post pictures of a room they've decorated and you can rate it and comment. They can also post pictures of a room they'd like to redecorate and ask for suggestions.

So you get to play decorator and make helpful comments like, "I could be wrong here, but if you lose the moosehead you might have less of that 'lodgey' feel that you're tired of," or "Where did you get your decorating ideas - Better Trailers and Junkyards?"

Funny, I don't get too many appreciative responses to my comments.
No matter, because I've stopped visiting the site due to the marital strain its caused us. You see, I thought I would post pictures of our living room because it's quite unique, in my opinion. We have these super-high ceilings which mean super-high walls and those can be a challenge to adorn.

In case you're wondering, "super-high" is an architectural term used by decorating insiders. It also describes the condition of my shaggy haired cousin - God love him - when he painted said ceilings with a power sprayer and failed to cover the carpet.

It may also describe my condition when he asked me if he should cover the carpet and I said to him, "No, don't worry about it - we're ripping it out anyway." You'd be surprised at all the places paint goes when it's being applied with a sprayer by a "super-high" person.
Where was I? Oh yes, posting pictures to the site. I wanted to show everyone our lovely unique living room and how creative we were in figuring out what to put on those super-high walls. I would like it to be duly noted that I'm giving credit to hubby here.

Do you see the fake vines up on the right? Those were hubby's idea. It was his idea to fill in the higher wall spaces with some strategically placed silk vines. They're on the left over the small, useless windows that the builder brilliantly placed there and they're on the opposite wall over the other large window. 
I thought the vines were a great idea and my hubby was very smart and creative to have come up with it. Not only did he think of them, he helped me shop for them because not just any vines would do. They had to look realistic, with just the right amount of fullness without being pretentious. Because nobody likes pretentious vines. 

His anal-retentiveness in the correct placement of the vines added to the lovely outcome. They had to have just the right amount of curve at the proper angles to look like they were growing naturally, right out of the wall.
So I decide to share this bit of decorating brilliance with the Rate My Space readers. I perused the site looking at other people's living rooms and dining rooms. I see modern, clean, uncluttered spaces decorated in trendy chocolate browns and blues and plums. 

I leave the computer screen and look down at my living room with its fru-frus and vine-covered walls and I have a disturbing realization. I have an old lady's house. Old lady eclectic is how I would describe it. No, maybe geriatric eclectic. Whatever you want to call it - clean, simple, and modern it ain't.
I decide we need an updated look. I no longer want to post pictures for fear of nasty comments like the kind I leave other uncouth decorating oafs.* The first thing that needs to go is the vines. I didn't discuss this with Hubby first, mind you.
My decision happened to coincide with my cousin Gina's need for some silk vines for a trellis in her yard. So in my hasty I-need-to-update-our-decor-right-now ferver I grab the lowest of the vines that I can reach and give them to my cousin. It was these:

Ah, the introduction of the fountain. You can't see all of it in this picture, but it's a beautiful, indoor/outdoor lionhead fountain. The soothing sound of running water was a lovely addition to our home's ambiance...our old-lady, old-fashioned ambiance.
Don't get me wrong, I really liked the way our house looked - vines, fountain, and all. It has a sort of Tuscany meets Mediterranean feel with the old-lady whimsy thrown in. But I liked it considerably less after visiting Rate My Space. Really, isn't 6 years of the same look long enough?
Most of the time hubby leaves the indoor decorating to me. He makes suggestions, does whatever tasks require a ladder, and smiles and says it looks great when I'm done. Pretty much the same response he gives when I ask if my butt looks big in my jeans. When he got home from work the day I took the vines down, however, I got a much different response.
It was as if I'd kicked his sand castle. He looked at the blank wall, looked at me, didn't respond to my explanations of why the vines were gone, and trudged upstairs throwing forlorn, harumphy looks at me over his shoulder.
I felt a little bad because I had no idea the vines meant that much to him. I explained and apologized for hurting his feelings, but it was to no avail. So then I got miffed. It just vines, for crying out loud! If it were shag carpeting and psychedelic posters on our walls would we be stuck in the 70's forever just because he strategically placed them there? I think not.
It didn't help that I didn't exactly hop on the redecorating train immediately following my vine ripping frenzy. I knew I wanted a change, but I wasn't sure exactly what to do. So that one little wall with the fountain on it remained vine-less and unchanged for about 7 months. 

To hubby it was just a constant reminder of my thoughtless deed and the lone fountain was the only imprint left of his decorating influence. This illicited discontented mutterings from hubby every time he walked by it.
Then, sometime in April, Changeivitis hit. I didn't paint or do more vine-ripping (heaven forbid), but I moved things around. This meant the fountain needed to go outside on our patio and not because I didn't like the fountain, but just because it didn't go with the new updated look I was going for.     
Hubby avoided eye contact with me every time he passed through the living room while I huffed and puffed moving furniture around. I finally got everything in its new place, except for an entryway table that needed to go where the fountain was. The fountain is very heavy you see and had to be moved with a dolly. I put the dolly next to the fountain and hoped I could have my brother do the dirty deed while hubby was napping. 
To my surprise, while passing through the living room, hubby simply said, "So, you need this outside then?" He nodded towards the fountain while avoiding eye contact with me. I told him yes, if he didn't mind and just like that, it was done.
Ah, but it wasn't done, you see.
For instead of moving the fountain onto the patio, near our patio table, where we could enjoy the sounds of trickling water while we ate, he put it in the un-used, spidery storage area. He still felt inclined to let me know that he and his fountain were slighted that they were not included in my redecorating plans. If I didn't want to enjoy the fountain inside the house, then I was not allowed to enjoy it at all.

Then do you know what he did to this lovely piece, just to spite me? He covered it up with an unused door! Really. He was behaving like a put-out little boy. And all because I wanted to redecorate. I blame Rate My Space for the whole unfortunate incident.
The fountain is still outside, sitting in the spidery storage area. He finally took the door off of it, but only because we were hosting a wake and he knew it looked ridiculous. I expected him to put the door back over it afterwards, but fortunately laziness trumped slightedness. We don't talk much about the incident because we both have quite strong opinions of the whole thing.
That's the story of our leg lamp. It's not quite the same as the famous Christmas Story leg lamp ordeal, but you can see the similarities. I don't understand men's aversion to change. I think deep down they're afraid we're going to want to change them
I just want a new look for my living room. Is that too much to ask?

*  I really don't make snarky comments on Rate My Space. That was inserted purly for entertainment value. I'm not the snarky kind. Except once in a while with hubby. 


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Post it Tuesday With a Ninny

*Foot note:  Google reader will tell me "no unread items" for some of you, then I go to your blogs and I see google was LYE-ing. So sorry if I've missed some posts. The Google God strikes again. Now he's deciding which posts live and which posts die. I say we rise up and revolt! 
...Right after I google "bathroom decorating ideas"...Ooooh, there's a pretty one....I might be awhile...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Father's Legacy

     It was September 12, 1999. I pulled into the Jack-In-The-Box parking lot to use the payphone to call my brother because I was trying to get to his apartment and thought I might be lost.

As I got out of my minivan and headed for the phone booth, a woman approached me. I don't remember what story she told, but she needed money. I told her I didn't have any to spare.

I told her my dad had just died and I had just driven in from Vegas and was trying to get to my brother's to plan his funeral and I just needed to use the phone. She said she was sorry and I looked at her and saw her bedraggled hair, the dark circles under her eyes, her pleading look, and I realized my dad would have given her some money.

As she turned away, I stopped her and gave her $5.00. She smiled gratefully and I watched her head into the Jack-In-The-Box.
That's the legacy dad left us - my brother, my sister, and I.  It wasn't a tangible legacy, yet it was perceptible. It was the qualities he ingrained in us - generosity, consideration, kindness, the infallible belief in the good in people.
The day prior, I had been cleaning my house when my sister called and told me dad was gone. My brother had gone over to dad's little apartment to check on him because he hadn't talked to him in a couple days and found him.

Dad had just moved into the Senior Citizen complex that very week. It was near my brother's place in Orange County, California and he had helped dad move.

The last time my brother had seen our dad, they were sitting in the little apartment, having a beer together and chuckling over the free cable my brother had managed to...we'll call it, procure...for him.

That was a Wednesday, and my brother found him, lifeless, on Saturday. He'd had a heart attack.
My priority that day was no longer my dirty house.  It was trying to remember when I last told my dad I loved him.

I knew he knew. I just couldn't remember telling him.

We had talked on the phone about a month or so before...maybe longer. I was busy trying to hold my marriage together and take care of my kids and I knew my brother was looking after my dad, so I wasn't worried about him.

Then all of a sudden, I wouldn't ever have to worry about him again.
Dad didn't always need to be looked after. He worked hard for most of his life and provided for us the best he could. He made his living repairing televisions and running a small janitorial business. We didn't have everything, but we had what we needed.

He was able to buy his first house in the Spring of 1973. How we loved growing up next door to our cousins and across the street from our elementary school. Dad was proud to be able to give that to us.
As far as I remember, dad never had to ask for help in providing for his family. He was industrious, but he wasn't materialistic. He knew memories of time spent together would last much longer than anything money could buy.

Most of our family vacations were camping and fishing. The outdoors made for cheap accomodations and nature's attractions made his kids grateful for simple things.

This would be another legacy from dad for which I'm grateful.
Dad tried hard to be a spiritual man. He and mom brought us to bible meetings three times a week. All of our friends were of the same Faith. It made us humble and honest (except for the cable TV incident) and self sacrificing.

However, it was a faith that did not tolerate weakness. Dad, despite his big heart and strong work ethic, and love for his family, had his weaknesses. These made it difficult for him to live up to what his religion required of him. They were like his demons and he battled them daily.

He was the oldest of four kids. His father was an engineer, and a Mensa member,  who finally got his master's degree when he was in his 50's.

I still remember my grandfather posing for pictures in his cap and gown on his front lawn. He was a driven man who expected his first born to have the same drive. My dad never could quite live up to what his father expected of him.
Despite their differences, they battled the same demons. My grandfather's father made a pact with his siblings that they would all commit suicide in their old age to keep from being a burden on their families.

I'm not sure, but I think this qualifies as a mental illness.

He fulfilled his promise by hanging himself in my grandfather's garage while my dad and his siblings were at school.

There were other skeletons in the closet of my dad's childhood. They would morph into those demons that he would battle his whole life while trying to give a normal life to his kids.

Isn't that what parents do? Try to make normalcy out of chaos?
He chased away the demons of mental illness and low self-esteem and childhood traumas with alcohol, just like his father. But like his father, he wasn't a drunk. He was a hard working man with a big heart, a kind nature, a need more for the spiritual then the material, a sense of humor, and a love for his family.

He was just coping, in the best way he knew how to. He wasn't a drunk, but he was an alcoholic.
I didn't start this post to write about dad's weaknesses. But since they're there, I'm not going to go back and delete them. It's who he was, the good and the bad.

I started this post to thank dad for what he's given me and my siblings and to say I miss him. So let's get to that part.
I arrived at my brother's apartment that Sunday and the three of us, my sister-in-law, and my mom (who had been divorced from my dad for 20 years by then) planned my father's funeral.

We stayed a week with my brother. He had a one bedroom apartment and we all slept on the floor, side by side. We reminisced, and cried, and laughed.

We drove by the little apartment in Long Beach where we lived for a few years before moving to Vegas. We gathered photos and made a collage of dad's life. We bought flowers, and ordered remembrance cards, and organized a service, and a wake, and a viewing, and a cremation.

We went through dad's apartment and smelled his scent on his pillow and his clothes. We gathered with his family - my grandmother, his brother and sister and their families. And through all of that, a strange thing happened.
We realized we missed each other. We needed each other. Maybe we needed to see our dad in each other. We just realized we needed to be closer. A few months after the funeral, my brother and his wife moved back to Vegas. I saw my sister more after that, and it would be a few years later, but she eventually moved to Vegas too.
The real bonding between us happens each year when we go camping together. For a while, after dad was cremated, we didn't know what to do with his ashes.

Then it came to us. Let's put him where we used to camp. We all had fond memories of those times and he loved the outdoors, so it seemed fitting.

A year after he died, we packed up the camping gear, put dad's urn in the back of his old station wagon (another legacy he left to my brother) and headed up to one of our favorite childhood campgrounds. I don't think he minded getting jostled around between the rolls of toilet paper and the marshmallows.
We sprinkled him near a creek, and shared a Colt 45 as we said good-bye. We go back every year, all of us, to camp and fish and to say hi to dad. He would have really liked that.

Philip Mikkelson 06-23-1937 to 09-11-1999

Father's day makes me a little sad every year. I wish dad were around to thank him for teaching us to be caring, hard-working, empathetic souls and to thank him for his sense of humor and optimism and faith in the human spirit.

But most of all, I want to tell him I love him and that I understand now, how hard it is to be a parent and to always do the right thing, when you're battling your own demons.

Happy Father's Day to everyone and a toast to all dads...no matter where they are

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Funky 5 Meme

Yesterday I was in a funk. Like in Glee when the kids were feeling like they were going to suck at Regionals, so they broke into song and instead of being in a funk they just got funky and then all was right with the world. (I know that wasn't exactly a complete sentence, but let's pretend were just talking and I said it instead of wrote it, ok?)

Only I can't sing. So my world's not quite right yet, but a better night's sleep and then my 20 minutes with bumble bee socks girl helped. I just can't seem to get the posts rattling around in my brain down onto paper this week. They require a humor that I can't muster up at the moment. So, I'm going to do this meme that the very funky Aussie Lori from Random Ramblings of a SAHM tagged me for. And away we go:

Where were you 5 years ago?
Right here. In this same house. Doing the same thing I'm doing now. Only not blogging about it. We had more money because that was at the top of the housing market and that's the business I'm in, but my stress level was higher. I was extremely busy playing taxi driver for the kids and keeping up with my business. Money is tighter now, and in many ways the business is more stressful, but I have more time to destress, so in the end life is better now. That's a good thing.

Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
In an RV traveling the country and blogging about it. I'm still trying to convince hubby how fun and simplistic this life could be. Guess I'm a trailer park girl at heart.

5 things on your to do list today
  • Get the funk out of this funk
  • Take a shower (it's noon)
  • Do laundry
  • Start prepping the girl's bathroom for paint
  • Clean my bathroom
5 snacks you enjoy
Is this a trick question? Because there's what I enjoy and then there's what I'm settling for in the interest of dropping some weight...most days. So here's both, what I like and what I should substitute:
  • Parmesan flavored cheese nips and wine (chedder flavored rice cakes spread with roasted red pepper hummus...and wine)
  • Chips and salsa (celery and carrot sticks and salsa)
  • Doritos (there's really no substitute for these, is there?)
  • Carrot cake ( I don't know...carrots dipped in low fat vanilla frosting??? I'm reaching here...)
  • Popcorn (this one's guilt free as long as I eat the microwave "light butter" versions, which are actually pretty good)

What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?
Whatever the hell I want! But I'd like to think I'd be generous and kind hearted and start charities that help homeless families get back on their feet or find homes for abandoned and abused animals or fund research to cure diseases that strike children like aids and childhood cancers. And maybe get a tummy tuck.

So here's the 5 people I'm tagging:
Karen from Muffin Fixation
Susie from A Slice of My Life
Ok, so it's only 4.

Have a Funky Day! 
(In a good way...like fun and different...not like "don't take a shower today" funky)


Monday, June 14, 2010

iHappy, Pappy Monday

iHappy Monday!
This is beautiful Brenda's meme from Mummy Time. Her rules are to take pictures with your iphone (because she's an iphone snob and things everyone has one) of things that make you happy and post them. If you're an inobody like me and have a phone that takes crappy pictures, then you can just go ahead and post your icrappies and that will do just fine. Please don't actually take a picture of crap because that would just be gross. 

Here are my ihappys:

*The Hawaii pic wasn't taken with my crappy camera phone, because if I were in Hawaii, I wouldn't be writing this post, I would be on the Beach IN my happy. But thinking of Hawaii makes me happy. So there you have it then. Hope everyone has some happys today!

*I'm having trouble getting the Mclinky thingy to work today, for the rest of the ihappys, hop on over to Mummy Time