Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Reading Recap (AKA A Really Boring Post)

Remember that time I asked the library for a record of the books I've read? And they wouldn't do it? And so I had to do something else?


I started tracking my books as of January 1, 2010 and much to my surprise, I read a total of 25 books this year. How I find time to do this is what boggles the mind... but the numbers don't lie. In fact, they'll even tell you that I quit reading 2 other books due to massive suckage on their part. And, I read a parenting book but am not including that here.

(Imagine if I tracked every single thing I read. Crikees.)

How do I pick the books I read? Suggestions or pretty covers or, since going digital, cheap and/or free. I by no means am trying to replace Oprah's book picks, but I entertain the idea that I'm a pretty decent book picker.

Without further ado, I present my 2010 reads:

Couldn’t Put Down
A Million Little Pieces – James Frey
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire – Steig Larsson
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Loving Frank – Nancy Horan
Push – Sapphire
Saturday – Ian McEwan (currently reading)

Humor / Easy Reading
The Apothecary’s Daughter – Julie Klassen
Ask Again Later – Jill A. Davis
Bright Lights, Big Ass – Jen Lancaster
Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins
Half Broke Horses – Jeannette Walls
Hick – Andrea Portes
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Life and Times of a Boomer Baby – LK Campbell
Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) – Suzanne Collins
My Fair Lazy – Jen Lancaster
Pretty in Plaid – Jen Lancaster
The Sculptor – Gregory Funaro

Meh, Bleck or Kind-of-a Waste of Time
Bound – Antonya Nelson
Life’s a Beach – Claire Cook
Love is a Mix Tape – Rob Sheffield
The Writing Circle – Corinne Demas

ACK This is Awful and I Quit
Composed – Rosanne Cash
Sourland – Joyce Carol Oates

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Are you on If so - click over there on the widget and we can become goodreads friends. If not - how do you track what books you've read? Or do you? Or why not?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The One That Isn't Titled Because I'm Not Sure What I'm Even Trying To Say

The economy is in the toilet.
Paychecks - assuming they exist - are tight with no raise in sight.

The recession is supposedly turning back around, but much like our taste in music and clothing, the Midwest is always a season or 7 behind and we’re still feeling the pinch. People are looking to stash a few pennies here and there and every news source (credible and otherwise) is whipping up a shiny new list of ways to save in 2011.

But. Well. These lists are common sense.

Considering he’s a banker and I’m a full-fledged Type A, you can bet our credit is clean enough to eat off of. Hell, it’s cleaner than the bathtub. And yet, I click on these articles and read through to see if there’s anything above the average “DUH” idea to cut out the extraneous expenses.

Stop eating out. Only order water if you do go out. Check out books, magazines and cds from the library. Avoid late payment fees. Pay more than just interest on a credit card. (How about – try not to carry a balance at all?) Don’t pay for gym memberships you don’t use. Limit gift-giving. Take your lunch to work. Don’t buy a $5 coffee every morning. Buy generic.

I read one of these articles this morning and their fresh, new suggestion? Drink water in place of pop (or soda for my outside-the-Midwest readers) to save $1,100 over the course of a year.

And while these suggestions are fine and dandy – and even good to those that don’t add up the shocking amount spent at Starbucks each month – I’m waiting for new ideas. We’re, luckily, not in the position of desperately needing to go quarter-diving through couch cushions but most everyone could (and perhaps should) stand to save a little more and spend a little less.

But what if you’ve already trimmed the fat from your budget?

You can only stop drinking pop once.

Surely there are additional ways to save some scratch... so why doesn’t anyone write about those and call it something honest like “What to do when you legitimately can’t save any more money and still don’t have enough for food, clothes and/or heat.”

What creative ideas do you know of?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seckmans Say Ho Ho Ho

By now, most of you should have your very own copy of Seckmans Say Ho Ho Ho in your hands. If not, go here to check it out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together. Thank you to Katy for the idea and to Brenda for all of the design work. And, of course, to Fred for putting up with me, supporting this idea and for labeling and stamping each one.

Merry Christmas, friends.

- - - - - - - - - - -

The blog has been a little quiet lately and I've been a lot busy lately with work and sewing and quilting and laundry and an almost four year old and eating out and shopping and wrapping and mailing and the husband and birthdays and cleaning and more sewing and stuff and stuff and things. I think there's a correlation there.

I hope we can get back to 'normal' in 2011, wherein 'normal' involves me clacking out hilarity a few times a week right here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where to Draw the Line

At what point does blogging about something cross the line?

We don't talk politics, religion or too much pro-crazy-mommy stuff here and that's because I don't like to hurt people whether on purpose or not. But, if I post a funny (now) story that will embarrass Elliot (15 years from now), is that crossing the line?

I'm honestly not sure what to do on this one and I know I can tell the story from a perspective that is less embarrassing but the bottom line ends the same way no matter how I tell it. It was 98% my fault but that doesn't help either.

And, will he even know what a "blog" is in 15 years? Or care?

I like to tell stories. It's what I do. I'd like to believe Elliot will have the same sense of humor that Fred and I do someday but there's no real way to know if he'll find it amusing or horrifying.

What would you think if you found your mom's PUBLIC JOURNAL from 15 years ago when you were 18 years old and she just told the world you peed all over the bathroom floor like a horse that hadn't peed in a week because your mom put you in a one-piece zip up for the first time ever? And that you stood there, cute and naked with your clothes at your ankles jamming your fists down saying "I'm so upset!" How your mom had to actually turn away and grin because the situation was so cute? And how your mom couldn't even get you and comfort you because there was SO MUCH PEE between you and her and she didn't want either of you stepping through it? So much that it took 2 towels and the bathroom rug just to mop it up?

I mean, really, how would you feel?

I'm just not sure if I should post about it or not.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trashy Hopes and Dreams

E: Mom.
A: Yeah?
E: Where's college?
A: Well, it depends. There are a lot of colleges.
E: Where's college?
A: There's a college here. It's called the University of Nebraska.
E: Okay. Is college a far time away?
A: Yes - you'll be all grown up.
E: (Thinking)
E: Okay. I got to college for to be a doctor, then I be a trash truck guy.
A: What? Well, I think you should skip college then.
F: Not if he wants to run his own business.
F: Elliot, do you want to own your own trash truck?
E: Nope, just be the squisher guy on the back.

Side note, I spent a combined 5 hours this morning trying to find the Tri-County Landfill and Sanitation Garbage Truck from Toy Story 3. I know someone who will be very happy on Christmas morning.

And - the traffic, bitchy, pushy shoppers and crabby store clerks reminded me why the majority of our gifts this year are handmade. So I get away with being bitchy, pushy and crabby, duh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Find What You Were Looking For?

I was going through the stats of this blog the other day (mostly I just like to look at the pretty map showing where every visitor ever has visited here from) and found the Search Keywords part. It's in lovely shades of green. Oooo. Ahhh.

This list is what someone typed in and got me from. Some are boring but some are somewhat amusing and I wonder how many of them were actually looking for me.

matthew p. damon (duh!)
"cavities filled"
seckmans in tecumseh, ne (hmm, looking for Fred's family?)
seckmans radio repair (Fred wishes)
matthew p. damon death (WHAT?! I WOULD NEVER!)
"mommy haircut"
mitsubishi lancer (not sure I've ever typed those words?)
pickleman's lincoln ne (know how that ended!)
peanut butter and jelly pj pants (my stupidity is a legend...)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When Mistakes End Well

I have a lot to do. Like, A LOT.

I decided this year Christmas would be a handmade holiday and while I am happy I chose that (and Fred agreed) I think my crucial misstep was the part where I decided to make everything myself instead of purchasing a few handmade items here and there.

Is that the downside to being a decent sewer and quilter?

Anyway. I was looking forward to this weekend to get a good jump on the list of things to make: nook cover and 4 mug rugs, 2 sets of pj pants and a robe, 1 pajama set for a dude, two quilts with the possibility of a third, Super Secret Seckman Gift, blocks, another pj set, handprints, another pair of pj pants and something yet tbd. Gah.

Working strategically, I worked on special orders first - ones that have to be shipped out before Christmas and were/are paying customers. Before I knew it, it was 1am and I only had one full order done (but, it was 5 items) and I went to bed. This morning I got up and started working on the pj pants - a matching set for the dad of the little girl that will be getting a set already in the shop. Cut them out, pinned evenly, sewed straight.

Flipped them right side out and... Shit.
The fabric is upside down.

I stared at the pants (maybe the fabric would magically turn around?) for a solid 5 minutes before throwing them to the floor, packing up and making a trip to the fabric store. And as I paid I did the math - I'm officially not making 1 penny on this set of pajamas due to my mishap.

And thus the cloud of doom and gloom.

I grumped and frumped and listed some extra mug rugs I made in the wee hours of the night on Etsy until I reminded myself its not the end of the world. A huge, frustrating loss of time (and money) but not the end of the world.

Sewing through my finger would've been worse.
Sewing my finger TO the pants would've been worse.
Tearing a hole in the finished pants would've been worse.

At least this way I get a new pair of pajama pants with my favorite things on them: peanut butter and jelly. And that makes me smile.

Know what else would make me smile?
Ha, kidding. Well, sort of.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The One That Will Likely Piss You Off

I’m not sure why I still facebook.

I originally joined and enjoyed finding people, updating and collecting flair. Most times lately, I delete and hide and log out not having learned anything of interest.

I’m happy that your farm is prospering. If you haven’t noticed me accepting your gifts of hay or returning with a barn nail by now, I don’t play games on facebook. Horoscopes are cool – I just don’t need to see YOUR daily one pop up in MY feed. I don’t care what your best number of the day is or who your soul mate is. Congrats on your high score on [insert name of game].

There are ways to keep this to yourself. Try it.

Also, I’m the jerk that doesn’t wish everyone a fb Happy Birthday. I won’t lie in that it’s nice to be recognized but when people come out of the woodwork to wish you the best day ever it stops me in my tracks. Do you even know what would make it the best day ever for me? I doubt it. If I know you, I’ll attempt to tell you Happy Birthday in person or some other way. But if you actually do know me, you know I’m horrible with dates and don’t remember your birthday. And you’ll like me anyway! You don't need to blast out a ridiculous “Thanks to everyone that didn’t say Happy Birthday, I had a good one” on your status.

Cause that? Makes me angry. ANNA SMASH.
And? I don't really care.

We all have a family member we’d like to see, someone in the service and on and on and on and I’m really tired of reading that as your status. I abhor that as much as I do junk mail and forwards. And the latest one – put up a picture of a childhood cartoon for violence against children. I’m sorry, but me putting up a picture of Jem and the Holograms is not going to stop some asshole from abusing his child.

We should go back to the roots of social networking and when facebook asks “What’s on your mind?” you tell it. I want to know what you’re thinking about or doing or something cool you saw or found.

Maybe it's my old age and I'm exhausted from yelling at kids to stay off my lawn, haven't taken my meds or are dealing with a flareup - who knows.

What I do know is that this is why, dear readers, I have started tweeting. It’s no nonsense. Easy. Simplified. And? Chock full of status updates ONLY. I get what I want and nothing more*.

I won't be quitting fb because it is the only way I keep in touch with certain people. I just might frequent it a little less often.

But that doesn't mean I don't love you, you or you.
Except you - I can't stand you.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
*Believe it or not, this post was not sponsored by Twitter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mr. Pickleman, Can I Have a Pickle?

Dear Pickleman's,

I'll start by telling you how happy I am to have you in my life, so close to where I work and so SO full of delicious food. (Seriously, the Tomato Basil Bisque is to. die. for.) Welcome to downtown and good luck.

That said, I do have one tiny complaint.

For a place named Pickleman's, and using a pickle as a major part of the logo, why do I have to purchase the pickle? Most toss one on the side but you... well, you charge me an extra buck and that kind of sucks.

If I ate at a place called Tomato Joe's, I'd assume there would be a tomato somewhere on my plate. If I were dining at Breadsticks and Sauce, I'd imagine I'd be getting a breadstick. You can imagine my surprise when I didn't have a pickle with my sandwich from Pickleman's, right?

Now, let me say that this will not get in the way of our friendship and I will continue to eat at your fine, and close, establishment. And, while I'm not threatening you, I do want to inform you that downtown Lincoln is absolutely full of (too many?) sandwich shops - most of which give a girl her pickle - and that could be a deal breaker for some.

My solution is the same that I give to airlines: just raise my initial charge. Just as I wish they'd up my flight cost to INCLUDE MY BAGS (only reason I heart Southwest Airlines), I wish you'd simply up your sandwich cost and throw in the pickle for "free." It is a smashingly awesome kosher dill ... but it just seems wrong to pay Pickleman's an extra buck for a pickle. Doesn't it?

No need to respond. Just give it some thought, Mr. Pickleman.

Anna Seckman

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saying Hello

Did you miss me? I missed myself. (Good one, me!)

Instead of doing an actual post on how ridiculous it looks when you have handcuffs hanging from your car's rearview mirror (hint: VERY ridiculous), I'm just going to say hello.

Hello, pants that are shrinking. WHAT?! THEY ARE I SWEAR. Hello, drunk guy that came close to hugging me this morning. Hello, cold Nebraska winds. Hello, person that had information due to me last week for a deadline I needed to meet today. Hello, overdue library books. Hello, lunch date that bailed on me.* Hello, people that crochet tampons and sew fleece pads - you provided a lot of hearty laughs over lunch with coworkers. Hello, list of things to make before the holidays. Hello, new custom order that I just added to my growing list. Hello, sister via email.

Later tonight: Hello, Sommer the haircutter.

- - - - - - - - - -
*In all fairness, she rescheduled at the same time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thankful Week

A lot of other bloggers and fb'ers are listing something they're thankful for each day of this month, or just this week. Over here at Seckmans Say What, it ain't gonna work.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Or, realistically, I just don't get on here every day. If I shared my wit and hilarious-ness with you ever day, what would be left for the voices in my head?

So, here's a list of things I'm thankful for, in no specific order:
1. Elliot's preschool/daycares. I'm thankful to pay for them to raise him over these last almost 4 years... otherwise he'd still be a knuckle-dragging caveman. Now, he uses utensils at meals and sings the alphabet and sometimes that "Quarter After One" song.

2. The Internets and Webs. How else would I research anything? Keep up with the Newman family? Self-diagnose my sicknesses? Find new recipes using bacon and cheese? Find crafty ideas and bloggy BFFs? Find out about crazy projects like the Public Isolation Project? Know what those zany celebrities are up to?

3. Fred. He does everything, and I do mean everything from laundry, to oil changes to cooking dinner, dishes and scrubbing toilets. He schedules the DVR (which, DVRs are like GOLD to me), tells me about new music and keeps me laughing. Most days. And he lets me out for weekends to Denver or to Craft my brains out without any major guilt trips. Also, he's mostly in charge of pick up and drop off to E's preschool.

(Sidenote: Fred is likely NOT thankful for his lazy wife.)
(Sidenote 2: Why is he still with me? Jeez.)

4. Thanksgiving. It may be weird, but it is my favorite holiday. I love that there's no expectation of the perfect gift or the stress of money and who we should or shouldn't buy for and knowing, already, that YET AGAIN we won't end up getting Christmas cards sent out. I love white turkey meat, mashed taters and a slab of jellied cranberry from the can with a tub of Cool Whip and a slice of pie for dessert (am I right, Bill?).

(Note to Self: Find elastic-waisted "Thanksgiving Pants")

5. Sommer, my hair girl. I'm thankful that she doesn't yell at me (to my face anyway) when I go for an average of 5 months between haircuts, causing her to lop off inches at a time and likely getting carpal tunnel. I'm also thankful that her cuts are so awesome that it doesn't look terrible after those 5 months. (Or should I be thankful that I at least think that?)

6. Paying Employment. Without it, Elliot wouldn't have his fabulous preschool, we wouldn't have our new house and we wouldn't have gone to Disney World earlier this year. We wouldn't frequent Lazlo's (hi Eric and Tatum!) or have a sense of security in knowing that bills can get paid, we could get new tires when we needed them and there is always something to eat in our house. We have fitting shoes, warm coats and some left over change to toss at Elliot's College Savings Plan.

Life is good.

(And I'm not just talking about those clothes, even if my PB&J shirt - kinda like this one - is one of my all-time favorite shirts I've ever owned. Ever.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

B&B for some R&R

So I went to a little dealy called "Get the Craft OUT Yo House" this weekend at a local bed and breakfast. Local crafter Kait put this event together and while it was the second one, it was my first.

Because Kait thanked me publicly (read: facebook) for flaking out on the first, I'll have you know that Yes, I totally did. I was paid up and packed and read to go when my good ole anxiety took hold: I don't know anyone! They'll hate me! I've never been here before! What if they hate my craft? ACK I can't do this! And so I shut down and didn't go.

That was SOOO 8 months - and bottles of medication - ago. So I show up, unpack and plug in. Then I realize I forgot some crucial elements at home. More and more show up and soon we have taken over the entire house and everywhere you look are irons, sewing machines, stacks of scrapbook paper, scissors, pencils and even fancy cutting machines.

And that's when the flair comes out.

A shiny little button reading "Craft is my Crack" spent the rest of Saturday on my shirt. It also served as a constant reminder that I missed the first one where (apparently) the flair read "I'm a Crafty MotherF*#%$r." Damn.

I got done what I could get done without my integral pieces and spent the rest of the time enjoying myself and those around me. I helped a friend with her giant wall pieces, I advised a new friend on the wonders of fusible web (in lieu of - get this - puffy paint!) and then cuddled into bed with tired eyes, a sore staple-gun-wielding hand and an aching back.

The next morning, I packed up my half-done projects and headed home.

Not sure if it's an actual sickness or just craft hangover, but I slept all day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Junior High

In a scene pulled straight from jr. high school came my day yesterday. It was one of those too ridiculous to even be taken seriously but I'm still torqued about it kind of days.

And it all boils down to this: if you have a problem with ME, take it up with ME? Seems simple, but it must be incredibly difficult because instead of talking to me (and, honestly, a simple "what?" would've cleared the whole mess up...) you talked to someone who talked to someone who talked to someone who only then talked to me.

This took over a month - which is why I'm laughing so hard AT YOUR EXPENSE. A whole freaking month over something you either didn't hear right or just plain lied about! BWA! HA! HA!

You see, I don't care. I know what I said, and it wasn't what I got fed back to me via this fun little game of telephone. Meanwhile, you've been stewing and talking (and possibly plotting my demise) this whole time while I was completely oblivious and only wondering why you weren't as chatty lately.

Shame on me for not being more paranoid.

What I do care about is how it all went down and how many people between you and me think I'm a total jerk when that is truly not the case. (Well, I can be a jerk but I wasn't in this case.)(No, really, I wasn't.)(Shut it.) I can only wonder who all has this wrong information... and that is what makes me feel sucky.

The best part?
I've been told to drop it.
Stay out of something that I supposedly started?

We are, you know, in Junior High.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tweety Tweets

I am tweeting again.

I'll follow you!
We can be internet besties, yo!

Proud Parental Moment

Yesterday, Elliot's preschool class was discussing Thanksgiving. Everyone took a turn telling the class what they were thankful for; many said their mother, father or sibling.


"I'm thankful for bacon. I really like bacon."

Atta boy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family Traditions

Every time I hear the word 'tradition' I think of watching Fiddler on the Roof in my high school senior year English class. And now that I typed that, I am flooded with memories of Ryan sitting behind me (whatever happened to her?) and learning about Melissa's fight with anorexia and wishing I wasn't re-reading Shakespeare (in Nebraska, that was soooo 7th grade). Ryan and I built Hamlet's castle out of Rice Crispy Treats; it was awesome.


There was no point to that, just sharing a memory.

Fred's family has had a long-standing tradition of having popcorn and malts for dinner on an occasional Sunday night ... something I can totally get behind.

So there we were - me, Fred and Elliot (or Mr. Lollipop as he's been demanding to be called lately) - in the basement, huddled under blankets watching Up while we slurped down malts and bowls of popcorn all while Elliot uncontrollably giggled when the house was lifted up in the air by all of those balloons.

Reason 483 I'm happy I married into this family:
"Malts and Popcorn for dinner" tradition

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Writing Well

Stumbled upon this little helping of soul food yesterday.

Learning the rules of language is important, otherwise it can be pretty difficult to communicate effectively. But if you're hung up on perfect form and accuracy you can end up impeding your own creativity and the development of language in general.

In Matthew Rogers' hypnotic video ... Stephen Fry argues that the enjoyment of language is far more important than pedantic accuracy. Playing with words, and even creating new ones, is what makes language great. Seeing these new developments as new possibilities for, rather than casualties of, writing and speech offers more freedom and creativity in how you communicate. We should still aim to write well and communicate clearly, but choose our battles of language wisely. Personally, I can say my life was a little less stressful the day I accepted the place of "texting" into the vernacular.

Enjoy the video here.

[Edited to add: I found this link via Twitter at @amrucker.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And to Combat the SuckFest? Awesomeness

By now all of you should know that I'm much more a Negative Nancy than I'll ever be a Positive Patty but in an effort to even out the Suck-titude of that last post, let's discuss some things that I find to be awesome.

Cake. Whether its birthday, wedding or just because - cake is awesome. I do prefer it in cake form over cup cake and am anxious to try cake balls. Sugar-filled, gritty frosting is best on top of chocolate cake. Or my momma's German Chocolate Cake. She could probably settle WWIII by serving that up. Right, Dad?

Grandma Judy. I don't have any grandparents left and she's a kick-ass one that has taken me in as one of her own. Who else watches Y&R as faithfully as I do?

Flu Shots. I love, love, love that I only have to pay $24 for Elliot to get a shot. What do I love more? That I also have to pay $35 for them to administer it! This, after having to take off time from work just to pick him up from preschool, make it out there in time for their ludicrous appointments, drop him back off at preschool and get back downtown to work.

The word Facetious. (1) joking or jesting, often inappropriately: waggish, (2) meant to be humorous or funny; not serious. Get it? Flu shots aren't awesome? Heh.

The new house. I love the new house for a variety of reasons but my number 1 is my sewing room. Sure, Fred tried to take over a corner of it but I think I have slowly and surely edged him out to where he's hardly in it. But he practically has the basement to himself and the guy has a BEER FRIDGE so don't think he's being too neglected.

Thanksgiving. It is, hands down, my favorite holiday. It's one filled with family and food and no present-buying-and-giving stress. If only Fred's family would serve cranberry sauce from a can, I'd be set.

Consumer Reports. Specifically, the online version. Fred is a huge fan of reviews and research and knows all there is to know about something we want at least a month before we purchase. I like this because I don't have to think or care about it and just trust that CR won't lead him astray. And, it makes me sound smart to my co-workers when I can tell them all about the Whirlpool Cabrio collection.

Elliot. I love that he is not a morning person, just like me. He comes in my room around 6:50 and crawls up in bed and cuddle with me until about 7. (Yes, we both growl at Fred.) Any other time of day, he's shooting at me, killing me, telling me I'm on fire or tying me up 'to jail.'

My blog. Having a place to shart out all of my wisdom and the dumb things that people do is somewhat comforting. And knowing that other people enjoy it as well? That's awesome.

Got anything you think is awesome?

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the SuckTastic Winner Is...

It should be no surprise that we Seckmans can't make decisions ...

I gave Fred the four comments that listed something sucky and assigned each a number. I had him read each and then pick out the one that sucked the most. Truly, a sucky way of doing business because it's not random or weighted with any real measurements of value. His options:

1. Drivers
2. The Griswold's
3. Pants Off
4. Bananas

His response: I agree with 4 cause I hate bananas although I’d pick 3 hands down were it not for my hatred of bananas.

And here's where the dilemma lies. I LOVE bananas. LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Cut up in my cereal, cut up in my oatmeal, mashed into bread, dipped in chocolate, or just out of the peel. I HEART BANANAS. I cannot vote for someone that hates my favorite food.

So - we have two winners: Brenda and Kait!
I'll be contacting each of you soon.

And what did they win?

A homemade goodie from yours truly (see that coming?).

I've been whipping up these 'mug rugs' lately and just love them. A mug rug is like a fabric coaster, but large enough for your mug and a little snack and/or your spoon. This weekend, I made a matching pair and instead of listing them in my shop, I plan to give one to each of the winners.

Shameless plug: There is ONE mug rug left in my shop right now, so if you want it you better hop over there and snatch it up! There's other cool stuff so feel free to buy everything.

Coming soon: A post of things I think are awesome.

I know, y0u can hardly stand the wait.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I've been listening to the new Ben Folds cd all week and there's one line in one song that makes me laugh every single time I hear it: Some guy on the 'net thinks I suck, and he should know - he's got his own blog! (Ben Folds, Lonely Avenue "A Working Day")

I have to laugh because I have read some of those bloggers and while I don't entertain the thought that I am one of them, I did decide to come up with a list of things that I think suck.

Here's hoping the library doesn't come after me again.
Why? 'Cause they're still on my list.

Waffles. Who are you trying to kid? You're just a crusty pancake with butter traps and I just hate when I have to stick my knife in there to dig it out.

Geography, as it relates to family. I think it sucks that we have a lot of family and friends living all over our fine country. (Hi Cleveland! Hi South Carolina! Hi Chicago! Hi Georgia! Hi New Mexico! Hi Colorado! Hi Arizona! Hi Florida! Hi Ohio!)

Growing. Hold your horses, I'm not going to complain about being fat. Again. I am, instead, STILL complaining about how my feet grew an entire size while I was pregnant. I'm all for body changes and what not - but really? I had to replace my entire shoe collection.

Politics. Just coming off an election, I am growing to really hate politics. It seems like races aren't even about the candidates and what they stand for any more.

The Chiller. I wish I knew what this actually meant... The vents in our office are blowing out arctic cold air and we were told it's because they haven't "drained the chillers yet" - whaaaa? I've lived in colder climates for most of my 32 years on this planet and this is the first time I've heard of chillers (?) needing drained (?).

The Library. I'm sorry, but you're still on my list for not letting me see what I've read. I do, though, have to give you major kudos (read: hugs and kisses) for getting the eBooks up and going... hello free books for my nook!

Flying. I realize it's that age-old story of one guy ruining it for everyone but come on. Flying is become such a huge and sucky inconvenience that I'm considering driving out to Ohio this summer for a friend's wedding. From paying for the flight and paying more for having a bag to scans and pats and sourpuss workers shuffling us onto planes full of stale air - I'm kind of over you.

Family: Part I. It sucks when members of your family leave too soon and you don't get to know them very well. I haven't had any grandparents for over 10 years and before that I only had one set since I was about 8. I hardly remember them. (But I suppose the silver lining here is that the memories I do have are fun, funny and all mine.) And as much as I would love to believe it won't happen, Elliot won't have very many memories of Great Grandpa Chuck.

Family: Part II. This is for the family member(s) who suck, themselves, so much that you don't want to really be associated with them. I think we've all got those though, don't we?

Mornings. I am not a morning person by nature but it makes it significantly harder when I'm curled up and warm and KNOW that it's freezing outside of my cocoon. Fast forward 15 minutes and it sucks to have to get out of the steaming hot shower knowing it's freezing outside of my fiberglass cocoon. And, I suppose, compounding this is knowing that those darned chillers are still on at work!

Bodily Functions. Specifically, I'm talking to the jackass that pooped on the floor in our office and then built a toilet paper wall around it. What is wrong with you? Now unless I want to go while staring at your fortress of poop-itude, there is only one stall for all 15 or so of us to use.

I'm sure I left some things out that are major league suckers (speaking of major league, it is sucky that the Cubs didn't hire Ryne Sandberg as manager) ... so feel free to add something in the comments!

Maybe... just maybe... the person with the best "I think XYZ sucks because" story will win a prize!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Celebrating Women's Co-Dependence

Here we are in 2010, a bunch of liberated women no longer the man to help us out. We're liberated! We're strong! We're independent! We don't need no man!

Well, unless there's a bug somewhere near me.
Or, like, the plants need watered and it's a hunnerd degrees.
Or when sumptin' needs fixin' on the car.

The tires on my car have been looking a little sad lately and we've known that they'll need replaced before winter. Thankfully - or not - winter seems to be coming a little later than usual as it's November and still above freezing. So when Fred took my car in for an oil change last week, the guys at Wal-Mart actually did their jobs and measured the tread.

And made Fred sign a waiver. A WAIVER!

This waiver stated that he knows he is sentencing the driver (his wife) to a death drive (get it? like a death march only using a car instead of - ohnevermind.) but doesn't feel like fixing it right now. This way, you see, when I kick it and take 17 of the closest drivers down with me when my front passenger side tire explodes, Wal-Mart will not be held responsible.

Phew. For them.

I thought it was just us... just the lazy ole' Seckmans but after a quick chat this morning I discovered that it seems to be a trait that runs rampant alongside the "husband" gene. For this next story, we shall call her "Kristy" and him "Dahve" to protect their innocence as all characters in my stories are completely (read: not at all) fictationalismed-ized.

Kristy is driving a hand-me-down car from Dahve and he informs her, after months of driving it, that she needs to check the tire periodically as it has a slow leak. Kristy takes it in and they lecture her for driving on a tire with next to no pressure and they were surprised it hadn't blown yet and now that slow leak would need repaired! And Dahve has the audacity to blame her for not checking it, as though she knew it had a leak.

All of this makes me wonder a few things:
1. Do they realize we drive with our lead foot on the highways and interstates and that we could blow a tire at any minute? (BTW, if any coppers are reading this, I'm only kidding and always go 1 mph under the limit.)(Anyone else, not really, I go like 9 over.)
2. Have they recently upped our life insurance policies and are trying to set up an accident? (Co-workers, feel free to chime in here if you know anything.)

Or... 3. Are they just trying to support our independence?

If so, quit it, cause that was soooo 1960's. We're back to needing you for everything and we wear our bras instead of burning them. Except the things we want you to butt out of. You'll figure it out. Because I'll let you know when you're wrong.

I am, after all, an independent woman.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

Here are some videos of Elliot singing the trick-or-treat song he learned at school. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Love to Hate You

I love to hate people on tv. Admit it, you do it too. And if you don't - then you're missing out because there are LOTS of people out there to hate on.

Amber from Teen Mom? Enough said.

My current favorite? Gretchen on Project Runway. She's evil and conniving and manipulative and just downright witchy. And then? She goes and pulls a stunt like she did on last week's episode and has the audacity to make me ALMOST care about her.

She made it into the final 4 and that means you go home with a pile of cash to design your runway show. Only when she went home she found an empty house, no boyfriend and a drained bank account. And just when my cold, black heart started to flutter I remembered back to some of her other shenanigans and decided that her boyfriend was probably counting down the days until she left for NY to be on the show.

Does it excuse his behavior? No.

But did she talk to or about him at all during the show? No.

So... your relationship was already sketchy to begin with and I hereby declare that you are not worth the time and effort to start up this old ticker.

And? Your designs are HIDEOUS.
I can't believe -- spoiler alert -- you won.
High waisted, pleated pants?

I swore that I'd be done with Project Runway if she won - and well, she did. And that combined with all this crap that's gone down with Marie Claire (and the most fabulous rebuttal of all here) this week makes my decision final.

Project Runway? You are out. Auf wiedersehen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Riding Elevators

Our office outgrew its space some time ago and we now have space in parts of two floors. Because we're proudly lazy, we tend to ride the elevator up or down that one floor instead of walking 15 yards over to the stairs.

Earlier this week, a co-worker got busted on the elevator hopping on to ride down one floor but the door opened and other passengers were waiting for her to get on. In a moment of self-conscious panic she decided to ride all the way down to first floor to give the appearance of not being so lazy and casually picked up a paper from the lobby as they all left the building.

She immediately hopped the elevator back up to my floor and came into my office laughing about what just happened. (And how, duh, she should have looked like a super-worker and mentioned that she was going to the basement storage to ... organize or something.)

Today she got on the elevator and something magical happened. The guy in the car had a bag full of crispy treats from Noodles and she expressed her love for the treat.

He asked if she'd like one. Heck ya!
He asked if she liked Noodles. Heck ya!
How about Noodles for the whole office tomorrow? Heck ya!

I immediately declared tomorrow "National Elevator Day" wherein you are to avoid taking stairs whenever possible because great things can happen in elevators, and my co-worker is living proof.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Being Justified = I'm Not Crazy

I was talking to Fred last week about my gym class post and how I had just discovered that that instance is likely what made me hate sports so much. His comment?

"You sure seem to be making a lot of discoveries lately."

Not knowing how to take this (is he calling me a liar?!), I said that I should be, considering this is like an online journal that I've been doing for over 3 years and left it at that. But it stayed with me all weekend and led me to wonder if anyone believes the crap I spew out here even though it is true, to the best of my knowledge? I know my mother (hi mom) thinks it's made up or "just more talking" as she put it, but Fred?

So you can imagine my surprise and believe that I damn near fell out of my chair when I was reading the latest issue of Parents where on page 46 is an article titled "The Coach-Couch Connection" that justifies what I said.

"Kids who have a bad experience with a gym teacher or coach may grow up to be sedentary adults ... [a gym teacher or coach] who's demeaning can give a kid a negative association with sports and /or exercise ... [and] can damage kids' self-esteem."

And when I held this article in his face to read, you bet your ass I told him (politely, of course) to SUCK IT because it is real and I'm not crazy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Open Letter to The Famous Mouse

Dear Mickey Mouse,

Welcome to Lincoln! I completely forgot you were going to be in town this weekend until my drive into work. I hope you find our cool weather pleasant and take note that we haven't had any snow yet. The Mayor is holding that until after your trip because we know how displaced you're feeling right now.

I assume you use a trucking company and don't just let Goofy or Donald drive so I would like to file a formal request to the trucking company you're using to make sure all of their drivers are properly licensed. I'm just not convinced that he needed to block ALL 4 lanes of traffic and then back in and drive out 6 (yes, I counted) times just to get the truck in the loading area. For a truck driver, I would think that's an essential part of driving a truck.

And six trucks? SIX! Seems someone has a lot of baggage.

Also, the tour buses: I counted 3 buses. THREE. Which, for the relative size of you and your closest friends, isn't that many and I question why you don't have more? Surely Daisy requires her own bus?

While I do appreciate the joy you bring into the lives of children (and suck out of parents for the amount of money they fork out for anything related to you), I am hard-pressed to find the fine elements of Mickey Mouse roadies, blocked traffic lanes and complete lack of parking. On that note - it had BETTER be your roadies creating the thick fog of mary jane smoke and not you or so help me...

Anyway, I better get going. I have to keep pretending like you're not here so that Elliot doesn't demand to visit with you to sing that obnoxious hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog song.

Anna Seckman

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THIS Says it all

funny graphs - Green Means Wait, Yellow Means Go
Credit: GraphJam

Am I right, Auntie D?
Yeah, I thought so.

I Loved Volleyball Once

I played volleyball in sixth grade; I was a Blessed Sacrament Comet dressed in my red-and-white uniform and bulky white knee pads. I still have a team picture somewhere. I was a decent player but never played again after that year.

I loved it.

Fred scored some tickets to the NU Volleyball game last night (wherein we gave Texas Tech a healthy, corn-fed beating) and I tried to remember why I never played this sport I enjoyed beyond sixth grade. In seventh we switched from private school to public and ---


I don’t remember her name, but I can picture her plain as day: my seventh grade gym teacher. Always in a tee-shirt tucked into her high-waisted warm-up pants, she had short hair in tight curls (perm?) and she – SHE – made me forever hate participating in sports.

It all started during a friendly game of field hockey in which we were explicitly told to catch the ball before it went out of bounds so that the game wouldn’t get delayed. I was running after the ball when my fellow teammates yelled let it go! It’s out! while the teacher’s voice played in my head don’t let it go out! As it rolled out of bounds, I quickly retrieved it only to get yelled at in the most inappropriate way from across the field.

Hey Girl!
Girl in the PINK SHIRT!
Why did you let that go out?
I said not to let it go out!
Get the ball, PINK SHIRT!

And my drive was gone in a matter of seconds. I didn’t want to be called PINK SHIRT ever again so I just stayed out of the light, hanging back as far as I could to still get the passing mark but not have to be called out again. I often wonder two things: would I have felt different had she used my name (mine seemed to be the one she didn't know), and does she remember this incident?

I sealed my fate later that year while playing volleyball. I was desperately trying to avoid having to hit the ball.

And then it happened.

The other team hit the ball and up-up-up it went into the giant lights and it was gone. I swear it took a solid 45 seconds before it came down again – right on top of my head, smacking me so hard I nearly fell down. I got it again.

Why didn’t you hit that?
Why weren’t you looking?

Not a quick check to see if I was okay and no acknowledgement that we were all sort of looking around wondering where the heck that ball went. (Has she ever tried to look up at an old gym ceiling, stare into the lights and find a volleyball?) I failed her again and she let me and the entire class know.

I never played – or wanted to play – team sports again after that.
And I wonder if she ever realized what an effect she had on one student.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Preschool Tuition Pays For

Sometimes I question what Elliot learns at preschool. I see some progress in letter writing and manners (and even sign language) but its instances like this happen that I wonder:

E: Don't say that.

A: What?!
E: Don't say what I say.
A: What?
E: Don't. Say. What. I. Say.
A: What did you say?
E: Jesus.

A: What? (clearly still baffled)

E: I dropped my toy.
E: Jesus.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting to Know Anna Seckman

Here we go for Round 2 of getting to the know the Seckmans that are Saying Things here. This time, spotlight is on yours truly.

You might be wondering how this all came about and well, I'll tell you. I actually wanted to play a 'Dating Game' kind of game where he had to answer things about ME. But. Well. He didn't. So now I'm making due with the answers I had already provided.

Without further ado:

What is your idea of a good date?
Dinner and a movie

You're stranded on an island, what three things would you have?
A book, sunglasses and a boat

Your house is on fire. What do you grab?
Sewing machine

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Go back to sleep

Do you see a glass half-empty or half-full?
I don't even have a glass

What do you see yourself doing when you retire?
Driving around the country to see things

You are driving and get lost. What do you do?
Panic and then blame Fred or yell at my mom's Garmin Guy

You've just been told you have a few months to live. What do you do?
Travel - a lot

How do you impress a date's parents or friends?
By breaking their chair at dinner (right Jim and Cindy?)

A kid comes up to you and kicks you in the shin. What do you do?
Cuss and yell at him and imagine kicking him back

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who and what would you talk about?
Amelia Earhart and flying

Your work lets you out early. What do you do with this free time?
Go home. Nap, read or sew.

A cashier gives you too much money back. What do you do?
Try to give it back (I can't steal pens either)

If you could work in any profession, what would it be?
Something relating to fabric

What are some nicknames you've had?
Banana, Rekicnew, Dorothy, Roomby, Lardo, Weinerbutt Wenciker

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Well, there you have it. I'm mostly shocked I made it through that without throwing in a Y&R reference! Holla to Victor Newman! Ooops, spoke too soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting to Know Fred Seckman

In a world where a high percentage of marriages end in a divorce, it was nice to read that after you make it through the first (blissful) 5 years, it drops to a 10% chance. Sitting pretty at 6 years and 2-ish months, I think we're one of the 90 that are going to go all the way.

Because really? Fred is all kinds of awesome.

His name is Fred Seckman and he's the other half of the Seckmans that are Saying Things. He's a bright young man (C's get degrees!) that is nice to his wife and child and isn't getting paid to do so - bonus! Born in 1980, he is a young lad who specializes in sarcasm and has a general dislike of all people.

My people, meet Fred:

What is your idea of a good date?
September 14, 2015

You're stranded on an island, what 3 things would you have?
A boat, satellite phone and GPS

Your house is on fire, what do you grab as you run out?
My ass

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button

Do you see a glass half-empty or half-full?
Depends on what liquid is in the glass

What do you see yourself doing when you retire?
Nothing. Isn't that the point of retiring?

You are driving and get lost, what do you do?
Find myself on my phone's Google Maps App

You've just been told you have a few months to live, what do you do?
Jump out the window to prove the doctor wrong

How do you impress a date's parents or friends?
Not meet them

A kid comes up to you and kicks you in the shin. What do you do?
Trick question. No kid is quick enough to kick me in the shins, therefore the kid in question must be a super powered kid. Thus, there would be nothing to do unless I had super powers, which I do not. So I would then be forced to work on being bitten by a radioactive spider or finding a power ring to endow me with sufficient powers to see the child out for to achieve retribution.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Myself and we'd talk about me

Your work lets you out early, what do you do with the free time?
Another trick question. All time is free, do you see a time store somewhere? Do you have to pay for your time? It's work that must buy my time.

A cashier gives you too much money back. What do you do?
I use electronic payment therefore this question does not apply to me. If an ATM gives me too much money the bank should look for the programmer that allowed the error and get their money from him/her.

If you could work in any profession, what would it be?

What are some nicknames you've had?
Most of them are inappropriate

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Wow. Enlightening, right?
Tune in next time for my responses.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten Years Later

I did about a 2 year stint at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. For 11 of those months, I lived with Danielle and Rosie nearly lived with us. For 10 of those months we were the best of friends.

Rosie, Danielle and Me - 2000

Then things fell apart (I won't bore you, will just note that we were 20 and 22 years old stupid girls) and we all went our separate ways.

Enter facebook.

We found each other and started talking and in August we decided we were going to Denver to celebrate Danielle's 30th birthday, booked flights, booked a hotel and anxiously waited to see each other again. That day was this past Friday.

Within 5 minutes of meeting Rosie at her gate, we were laughing and hugging and on our way to find Danielle. Within 2 minutes of climbing in her car we were completely reverted back to that age and acting as silly as ever. And laughing until I was choking. And then laughing some more. By the time we got to the hotel, my stomach hurt and I was in tears.

The girls were back together: Hose, Smell and Banana.

There's a really good reason why friends like us should really only meet up with each other. I would feel sorry for any "outsider" that would laugh along at our comments but have no idea what we're actually talking about.

Remember that time that Larry was over and then you went to Kevin's? HA HA HA Remember your cute little Home Depot apron? Remember when all the cooks from Bennigan's showed up at our apartment? HA HA HA Remember when we had that accident with that bicyclist? Only Rosie said HA HA HA to that one. Remember when Omar tried to tell you it was 'Back That Thing Up' and you proved him wrong? Remember the girls next door? HA HA HA

You're annoyed, aren't you?

It was as if it really hasn't been 10 years of kids, husbands, mortgages and, instead, like we'd all just gotten home from work or class and were ready to watch some Springer. That is, of course, if Rosie wasn't too busy "listening" to her alarm clock radio.

Rosie, Danielle and Me - 2010

I'm looking forward to 2020 when we meet again.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It Starts at the Age of 3

Setting: Old Chicago
Actors: Fred, Anna and Elliot

E: Dad, is this the place we play the games and shoot the aminals?
F: Yes, last time we played the video games here.
E: We play tonight, maybe.
F: I don't think so, I don't have any money.
E: Yes you do.
F: No, I don't.
E: Mommy?
A: Sorry, I don't have any money. All we have is plastic.
E: (Laughing) That's silly.
E: I hafta go potty.
F: Me or mommy?
E: Mommy.
E: (Quietly, in bathroom) Mommy?
A: Yeah?
E: You have money I can have?
A: Honey, I don't have anything.
E: I can have some money maybe?
A: I have exactly ZERO (making a zero with my hands) dollars.
E: (Grinning) I'll take that!
A: Oh no, zero means nothing, nada. I don't have any money.
E: Oh. That makes me sad.
A: Elliot did you go potty just to ask me for money?
E: I probally did maybe.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Things That Make Me Laugh: Toy Recalls

The latest round of toy recalls has me in a fit of giggles.

I’m all about safety, but at what point have we taken it too far? At the rate we’re going, it’ll be required to send children outside in layers of sun block, protective clothing and head-to-toe bubble wrap all while in a 5-point safety harness of some kind, lest the wind should blow up again and potentially knock you over.

Anyone else climb out of the back of a station wagon after hopping the seat and run around all day barefoot* and in the sun while playing kick the can?

That’s how I learned to NOT step on bees. It’s how I learned to NOT leave your Cabbage Patch Doll out in the sun (hint: her head caves in). That’s also how I learned to NEVER play flashlight tag in a backyard you’re unfamiliar with (I may or may not have run into someone’s clothesline)(with my right eye)(and failed at pretending it didn’t happen). And why you should ALWAYS wear shoes while riding a bike.

We lived and we learned.

If you didn’t get hurt – you weren’t playing hard enough.

But now... the sun could burn them. Dirt is for nothing more than carrying germs and gross-ness. They rarely leave the house without shoes. That wood hammer could crush their skull. That hinge could close and pinch their wee finger. If they gnawed all of the printing off of 483 blocks, they could possibly maybe get a teensy bit of lead in their system!

My brothers made a skateboard ramp from plywood and 2x4s and it kicked ass. It also kicked our asses numerous times but that didn’t stop me from riding my bike over it. We had guns that were made for the sole purpose of shooting rubber bands.

Rubber bands! My sister got shot in the eye with one** and before that I was persuaded to shove one up my nose.** Oh the horror. I fell out of a tree** and knocked the wind out of myself. My mom was yelled for and responded with “pick yourself up, Anna, you’re fine.”

But she was tough. My mom is from the “walked both ways uphill in the snow with one boot and a dress on” generation and has a gnarly scar on her knee from playing on a heavy duty piece of farm equipment with about 387 circular, and sharp, blades on it. No doctor visit, no stitches, just a “you’ll be fine” and she was sent on her way.

And guess what... she IS fine.

And all four of her children are fine.

And when Elliot falls?

Oh don't listen to him, he's JUST FINE.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

*If I was wearing shoes, it was to show off my new clear, glitter jellies.

**All the more reasons to not provide a sibling for Elliot.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Open Letter to My Husband

When your wife is fighting the nasty cold that you and your son gave her (thanks, btw), please remember to open the flue on the fireplace so that the smoke doesn't set off the alarm and wake her up at 7 am.

Your Wife

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why I'm Not Following Your Blog

I recently embarked on the task of all tasks - I cleaned out my Google Reader. It was a somewhat painful task as I had accumulated 243 blogs that were demanding my attention on a pretty regular basis. More and more I found myself marking specific blogs as "read" more than any other so I jotted down what I didn't like.

And then the fun began.

I printed out a list of the blogs and then, taking a total of 8 seconds, I deleted EVERY SINGLE SUBSCRIPTION out of my Google Reader. Yep, every last one of them.

Yep, even you. Sorry - nothing personal.

Friends and family were absolutely added back in, no questions asked. (Yes, even those of you that haven't posted since some time in early 2009.) Then I applied my rules and added back 102 subscriptions ... these folks didn't make the cut:

  • You have cats as the focus of nearly every picture – and not the funny i can has cheeseburger cats.
  • I have to click through to your blog to read the post.
  • You blather on about the exact same thing every single day.
  • Sewing blog specific: your fabric choices suck. Regularly.
  • You are annoying and talk about how much you love your "hubsie" every day. No one loves their "hubsie" every day. NO ONE. IT'S NOT HEALTHY.
  • Product placement is obvious in movies but even more so when a usual mommy-blogger starts ranting on (DAILY!) about what great product she just got! And oh! look! it's free if I just review it right here on my blog! and force you to read it! and pretend to care! Isn't that fabulous?
Did I leave anything out? What annoys you on blogs?
And if you say that I annoy you, I will only subscribe to you harder.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's My Deal?

Fred's friend Nate's wife Nicole reads our blog to Nate. Nate's a teacher and a former Barnes & Noble employee, so I'm not sure if he's unable to read or has to use his finger and is embarrassed or what. (Perhaps Nicole just has such a melodic voice that it soothes Nate's soul when she reads to him?) Nate commented to Fred that I've been feisty lately.

"Yeah, I don't know what her deal is," Fred said.
"What's your deal?" Nate asked me.
(Rolling my eyes.) "Seriously," I said.

Didn't know I was being feisty so I'm not sure what my deal is. But I do know that I'm cooking up a little post on how to clean out your Reader. What's a reader? If you have to ask then I should give you a big, hearty hug for coming here directly to see if anything new has posted.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It is with a heavy heart that I clack out this post as my thoughts are entirely consumed by the passing of Fred's Grandpa Chuck.

I believe that everyone should have a Grandpa Chuck. He's the guy that always stopped to chat, enjoyed a good laugh and doled out wisdom as needed:
  • If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly
  • It's just as easy to keep the top half full
  • I was lookin' for a job when I found this one
  • If it's free, take two

Last year we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in style (read: cake). From the day they got married, Chuck promised Judy he'd give her 50 years and, staying true to his word, 50 years is what he gave. Their 51st anniversary would have been next month.

I don't know what the future holds, but I know I want my future to include 50 years with Fred and still be the couple that Chuck and Judy were. Laughing both, with and at each other and telling our grandkids the stories of our young lives as though it just happened yesterday.

We should all be so lucky.
In love, and being loved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adjusting My Attitude

I had a post drafted but deleted it. I'm struggling with taking things too personally lately and the reasons I do that are unknown to me. The original post was entirely too heavy. Necessary for me to write maybe, but just too heavy.

That personal introspection led me to this: I don't want to think that everything anyone says is a personal attack on me.

Guess what? I don't have to.

I don't have to get all worked up when someone that doesn't know me scoffs at the idea of formula, saying "Of course I'm breastfeeding, do you think I want my baby to die?" I don't need to feel like I am a disgusting 400 pounds if Fred mentions hearing about a gym class somewhere and thinks I would enjoy it. Canceling lunch with me to go with someone else doesn't have to mean that you never wanted to have lunch with me anyway and that you were thankful that something better came along. I can stop trying to figure out what I did (this time) to make you hate me (again) and accept that the friendship is gone. And, just because you're scaling back on your digital presence, craving (and giving yourself) more of the here and now friendships doesn't mean you don't want people not living near you in your life.

The strangest part of all of this? I know it's not personally directed at me but somewhere between your words and my ears, my heart gets there before my logic does and screws it all up.


I am putting myself in a 3-second time out. I am permitting myself a solid 3 seconds of thought before I decide how I should hear your words. And, with any luck, they'll be a little more like the bluebirds you intended and a lot less like the machine gun shots I imagine.

It is - after all - my body, my choice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Apologies

A seemingly long, long time ago, I pushed a little human out into this world and he was quickly whisked away from me and into the nursery for a teeny tiny issue. (See? Not even a "problem" it was so tiny of a thing.)

That was at 5:01 p.m. on January 24, 2007.

I didn't see him again until a little after 7:00 p.m. and even then he was still in the nursery and under some fabulous heat lamps. (Hey, it was January in Nebraska... heat lamps rule.) And I held him. I held him and held him and held him.

But didn't name him.

He was finally brought into our room for us to keep a little after midnight.

Then we couldn't name him. We couldn't decide which of the two names we had so thoughtfully picked out would best suit him. Suddenly it became a huge task - give this 7 pound darling a name that will stick with him forever. Forever. For. Ever.

Relaxed a bit, made a joke of it and had the baby choose.

He chose Elliot James and I think he nailed it.

And while I love our story and love that his name actually took us a little bit to officially determine, it is driving me bat shit crazy that Steph hasn't named her baby yet.

I mean, really, Steph. You've had that little human in the world since 3 a.m. and you still haven't named him? Sure, I tortured the world... but only for 7 hours! I can't believe I'm sitting here, 8 hours later, and still don't have a name.

Do you know what this is doing to me?
Yes, ME? (It's always all about me.)(Duh.)

But it sort of came full circle in that this is what my closest family and friends were likely thinking. The first baby report is standard: weight, length and name. I had no idea at the time that it would cause such anxiety for a baby to go nameless.

For that, readers, I apologize.
I had no idea! The torture! The trickery!

Steph: relax and a name will come. But hurry the hell up because I'm incredibly impatient and need to know if you named the baby 'Handsome' or not. (That was Elliot's suggestion.)

And seeing what time it is, you might be watching Y&R . . . one can only hope you'll name him Victor Newman. (Am I right, Great Grandma Judy?!)

[Edited to add: Baby Boy has been named!
Welcome to the world, Henry Everett!]

Friday, September 17, 2010

I (And 5 Million Other People) Hate Dentists

I don't have a good history with dentists. (Who does?)

In high school, I was getting multiple cavities filled each and every time that I was at the dentist office and each and every time I would tell my mom that I didn't know why I was getting so many. One more visit and 6 more cavities (no, I'm not kidding you) - my mom finally asked him what he thought was causing it.

His response? Pop and candy.

That was when my mom lost it, informing him that I don't even drink pop and really didn't eat candy either. She took me somewhere else for a second opinion. Any guesses?

No cavities.

When I moved back here, I started seeing a dentist that I liked but the drive was ridiculous so I went to one close to my apartment. Turns out I had a big cavity in one of my teeth - bummer. So I went in to get it fixed and during the procedure the dentist cracks my tooth and a chunk of it goes down my throat. I, of course, start gagging.

His response? Stop gagging. Your gagging caused me to break your tooth and now you'll need a crown for that tooth. You shouldn't get so upset about this, I saw the piece of tooth and wouldn't have left it in there forever.

(Has this guy ever even heard of a gag reflex?!)

I moved on to a chick dentist to do the crown work that he created. First visit and she found a total of something like 13 areas that needed fixed. WTF? Good joke! Oh, you're not kidding? What? Fine, you can do one or two at a time. Ugh. Wait, what now? You want me to replace a crown I got not that long ago?

Um, second opinion.

I go back to the first dentist that did the crown and he did all new x-rays showing that there was nothing wrong with the crown or any other of my teeth for that matter. DAMNIT!!

I call the girl and tell them to cancel any future appointments because I'll not be returning. My dentist sent her his x-rays and a scathing letter about me not needing any additional work.

Funny, she's not in business anymore.

And just when this story couldn't get more ridiculous...

It was time for my cleaning and I googled up my dentist to get his office's phone number. Why, what do you think I found on that first page? He got in trouble by prescribing pain pills to himself via his assistants for his pill addiction! And he's an alcoholic! He got a hand slap essentially but what I was ONLY THEN able to put together is that it's likely the reason he changed his practice's name.


So yeah. I had a dentist appointment this morning with Fred's dentist who, at this point, I really like. He gives me the frowny face and tells me about old silver fillings and how they're only meant to last 12 - 15 years. A majority of mine are between 14 and 20 years old and one of them is cracked and leaking and now he has to reconstruct part of my tooth.


Further, he says, I can expect the next few years to involve having to change most of them out because of their age. Yay.

I get out of there and talk to Fred, telling him that IF insurance covers it, it'll still be about 300 bones to get this fixed. Here's our exchange:

F: That sucks about your teeth. That’s not a bill I’m really looking forward too.

A: Yeah. My thoughts too. And that price assumes insurance covers 50%.

F: Wow Wow. We better start listing our new house now! I think we should have had all your teeth pulled and just gone with dentures.

A: Yes, lets. Let’s buy a house that’s under 100k so that I can quit my job and just wallow in my tooth self-pity!

F: Well you’ll need to stay home because it will take you all day to gum your food enough to swallow it.

Good one, Fred.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Because Matthew P. Damon is Awesome

I've officially pranked the interwebs and tubes and nets! Matthew P. Damon and I have conquered the Google Search!

First, I'd like to thank Matthew P. Damon's mom and Matthew P. Damon's dad for hooking up and making a darling little guy. Then I'd like to thank Matthew P. Damon and thank him for being so adorable and kick-ass and funny and for giving me enough substance to scratch and claw my way to the top of the Google Search.

Next, I'd like to thank Aunt Becky for having the great epiphany that ultimately led me to pranking the internet by making myself the important reporter of all things Matthew P. Damon. In fact, just the sheer amount of mentions (and links back to) her blog comments, she has become #3 in the world of Matthew P. Damon Google Searches WITHOUT EVEN TRYING. If that doesn't get a hearty "Hells Yes" then I don't know what is!

I'm a helper, yo.

Just like Matthew P. Damon and his quest to help Africa. And just like how Matthew P. Damon and Benjamin G. Affleck helped each other shoot to super-stardom in Good Will Hunting. I especially like how Matthew P. Damon helped the world see Sarah Palin for what she could've been: The Hockey Mom President.

Matthew P. Damon is a helper, indeed.

Now, Matthew P. Damon, now that I have single-handedly (with the assistance of the FINE Aunt Becky) have rocketed your full name into search stardom, wanna meet up? Yeah, I thought so. I'll be waiting, Matthew P. Damon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Climbing to the Top via Matthew P. Damon

As you know by now - and shame on you if you don't - Aunt Becky is my bloggy hero. And she decided that we (the collective we), her Merry Band of Pranksters, don't do nearly enough pranking. Her diabolical plan is simple: mention the hell out of someone, such as Matthew P. Damon, in a single blog post and see how far up Google you make it.


You can get up close and personal with Matthew P. Damon's life by reading Matthew P. Damon's Wikipedia page.

As you all know, I'm in love with Matthew P. Damon's character Jason Bourne. He's super duper kick-ass and adorable as a baby kitten.
Oh, Matthew P. Damon, you and your alter ego Jason can protect me from the evil CIA - or any other bad guy - any day.

Matthew P. Damon has been in a slew of movies but the first time he really caught my fancy was playing smarty pants Will Hunting. Sure, he was a total basket case and made fun of Robin Williams' painting (which, Matthew P. Damon - SHAME ON YOU) but in the end he went after the chick and I was proud.


Because, duh, Matthew P. Damon could be coming for me next! I should probably come up with some form of enticement to get you to ditch your hot wife, Mrs. Matthew P. Damon, to come to the cornfields to find me.

I will make cookies. I wonder what kind of cookies are Matthew P. Damon's favorites? I hope to hell not the Tollhouse ones because I can't ever, ever EVER get that damn recipe to turn out. That, and those are my current husband's favorite cookies so if I made them for Matthew P. Damon Fred might get annoyed.

We do have some commonalities that cannot be ignored. Matthew P. Damon didn't finish college and neither did I! Matthew P. Damon has been on Oprah and I've watched that show before! Matthew P. Damon donates to places that support Africa and I once did a piece of embroidery of Africa! Matthew P. Damon's character in Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen was named Linus and I once donated a quilt to Project Linus!

One thing I will not do for Matthew P. Damon is spew out babies at his whim. His poor wife, Mrs. Matthew P. Damon, is pregnant AGAIN and Matthew P. Damon spends his day dodging her punches. Maybe we could work out an agreement where I don't have to have babies but could still use Matthew P. Damon as my personal punching bag.

But I wouldn't want to mess up Matthew P. Damon's lovely face!

Speaking of, I leave you with this:

[Updated to add: I'm on TOP baby! Google up Matthew P. Damon and whattaya see? ME!]
[Also, for more drooly love fests, check this out.]

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Another Morning

Me: Hey. Do I look okay?
Fred: (distracted) Yeah, you look fine.
Me: Fine?
Fred: Yeah, what? What do you want me to say?
Me: I don't know, you weren't even looking.
Fred: Yes I was.
Me: Uh, no you weren't.

Fred: You ask me every day if you look okay and every day you do. For like 6 years now. You look fine, you always look fine.

Me: Well. Now I KNOW you're lying.
Fred: What?
Me: You didn't even look and I know I don't look okay all of the time.

Fred: You always look great - it's your great personality.
Me: ...
Fred: ...

Me: I want to kill you. (leaves room)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Navigating the World of Social Acceptance

I stumbled on an interesting article that made light of how the author's choice to not drink bothers her friends – something I can relate to.

Now, I’ve done my fair share of drinking (mom and dad, sorry - I’ve been drinking since I was 18) but for years now I’ve had maybe one drink every 2 or 3 months. No, seriously. I’m just not a drinker and while I have my reasons, that’s not the point of this post.

Over the years, I noticed how differently I am treated because I don’t drink. I am not always included in the conversation and many times am left behind at a table by myself because everyone else got up to get a drink and then flitted off elsewhere. Which is fine. Except that now I’m just that loser sitting at the table by herself. That – OMG! – isn’t drinking! What is wrong with her? Couple this with the fact that I am extremely shy (yes, really) around people I don't know and it's a recipe for social disaster.

(And, poor Fred, is left sitting with me alone at the table, wishing he was anywhere but sitting with me and looking all around to make sure he’s not missing out. Which, he is, because I’ve been deemed ‘a total drag’ by the drinkers and the ring on his finger makes him feel obligated to sit with me.)

That’s just it: nothing is wrong with me. I choose to drink water, or tea or whatever else is there. It’s as if the grounds of inclusivity involve having a drink in hand with anything less makes me strange. I completely agree with this author in that not drinking doesn’t make me humorless or judgmental... I’m married to a guy that brews his own beer for crying out loud!

I was reminded by an on-and-off (and currently off now)(I guess)(more on that some other day) again friend the other day to not make her decisions into my problems. Same applies here.

You drink.
I don’t.
Big deal.
We can still be friends.
We can still be social.
You just have to be willing to talk to me to make it work.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here.
People decide to do things and not do other things every single day.

So why is alcohol such a deal maker and/or breaker on being socially accepted?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Long Weekend Done Right

- Long drives in the sun with music blaring
- A perfectly adorable son who was well-behaved and polite
- Movie with the ladies - Gma Judy, Steph and Cindy
- Seeing pregnant Steph for likely the last time she's pregnant
- Wishing I could get my hands on that new Roach baby
- Nights on the deck, cool enough for a sweatshirt
- Cleaning out the craft room
- Nachos for dinner during the Nebraska game
- Sunday morning paper, followed by Monday morning paper
- Sleeping in until 8 and pajama day Monday
- Coloring with Elliot on brand new paper
- Working on a special project for a certain person *wink*
- Hanging out with Fred after E goes to bed
- Watching "a show" with Elliot before he goes to bed
- Catching up on 'Project Runway'
- Think Gretchen on PR is a huge b$*@&
- Answering all of the why's with minor annoyance
- Made headway on some things on my 'to do' list
- Hearing Fred explain football to Elliot
- Great kids clearance at Target for next summer's clothes
- Grilled hamburgers and a bag of Doritos

And, as soon as 'Blue's Clues' is over and Elliot's in bed?
- Sewing time ... just me, myself and I

Friday, September 3, 2010

Panic at the Preschool

Fred picked up Elliot last night and was informed by the teacher that he should wear his Husker gear today.

"I not have any!" a panicked Elliot said to Fred.

Now before any of you blackshirts come banging down my door - he is always equipped with at least one shirt but we just haven't picked one up for him this year. Well, until last night, that is.

The guy at the first store asked what I needed and I told them: a Husker shirt for my 3 year old boy. All staff within earshot chimed in with some comment on necessity and not going out in public without one and disbelief that I would allow my child to not have a fitting Husker shirt at all times. The Horror! But they didn't have anything decent* that fit him so off I went.

My drive to the second store was wrought with anxiety and fear that I would get pulled over and arrested for not having "gear"for Elliot. I'm pretty sure there is some kind of State Statute regarding this. You don't even plan a wedding for a game day unless you have a reception facility with numerous televisions tuned to the game. You don't make any vacation plans for game days unless there will be a television at your final destination. Husker is a way of life and seeing that THE STADIUM becomes the third biggest populated place in Nebraska on game day, I can kind of see why.

The second store is solely dedicated to Husker gear and I easily picked out a shirt for him and drove home.

This morning, he showed up in my room fully dressed and said "Ima wear my Hukskers shirt today! Thank you mommy!"

As if I didn't already know, that kid is definitely just like his father.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
* The guy really did try to talk me into a black jersey, sized 7/8, and suggested I tie a knot in it. Um, no. First, it's too big. Second, my son is a HE. Third, it won't make me buy it if you tell me all the skinny college girls are buying them.