Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I hate tuna!

I don't like to lie to my kids. No, really. I don't. But sometimes it's a necessary evil. Like when it comes to food.

Nick hates tuna. Hates it like it wronged him in another life. Hates it with a passion. But he's never actually tasted it.

So, the other night, I made tuna noodle casserole.

"What are you making for dinner?" he asks.
"What kind of food?"
"The kind you can eat."
"I'm making noodle casserole."
"Oh. Why do I smell tuna?" he asks.
"Um...I don't know. I can't smell anything."

Dinner is served.
Delaney and Sam dig in.
"I hate this!" Nick complains, which is the usual dinner refrain, no matter what I cook.
"At least pick out the parts you like."
He very carefully separates the tuna from the rest of the casserole, until he has a nice little pile of it on one side of his plate.

"I'm just going to eat the chicken," he informs me. And proceeds to eat all the tuna.

I still haven't told him it was not chicken.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Phone Phobic

I hate talking on the phone. Hate it. Despise it. If it rings, I most likely will not answer it. You can leave a message, but I probably won't listen to it. My husband will see the light flashing on the machine and listen.
"You have 17 new messages," the stupid thing will announce.
"Do you ever check this?" my husband asks.
He sighs and checks the messages. I'm pretty sure he didn't realize how neurotic I was when he married me.

I looked it up and found out that it's called telephobia. It's actual real thing. I'm not afraid of the phone, I'm well aware that it won't strangle me while I sleep (at least now, since it's cordless), but that doesn't make me like it anymore. It's always been like that...even in high school. I was never one of those teen girls that would spend hours on the phone. (Except to my boyfriend. But that was different. We couldn't bear to be away from each other for more than a few hours, so we had to talk often, to ease the pain.) I read the common reasons people are telephobic, but I don't know if they necessarily fit. I'm perfectly capable of being ridiculed and misunderstood while not on the phone. If anything, I think I come across less of a freak on the phone than I do in person. I just hate it.

                Bad things can happen when you're on the phone.

I would much prefer to email, or write a letter, or use smoke signals. Just because I don't call you back doesn't mean I don't love you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Grade Casanova

The first full week of first grade has come to a close...and Nick has already come home with a girl's phone number. He gets off the bus and hands me a scrap of paper with big, sloppy numbers written lopsidedly across it.
"What's this?" I ask him.
"Oh, that's Hope's phone number. I'm supposed to call her," he said.
Oh. Of course.
What exactly do six year old children talk about on the phone?

Otherwise, things seem to be going well for him. When I ask how his day went, I usually get a "I don't remember." But he really likes recess and the fact that he had pizza today for lunch.

Sounds about right.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hampton Chain-of-Friends Sweepstakes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.

We all need time away now and then. Mostly now. And then. And again. So how about entering to win a free weekend stay at a Hampton Hotel? During their current Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes they are giving away free weekend stays for the winners and three friends, daily. And the grand prize? The entire hotel for the weekend, just for you and 100 of your closest buddies. Yep. The whole hotel.

Personally, I'd grab my husband, my brother and his finance and spend the weekend in the Denver Hampton. Maybe have some cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and wander up and down the 16th Street Mall. And with the money I wouldn't be spending at the hotel, maybe we could take in a show at the Buell Theater. I think I'm going to go enter right this second...OK. There. And if I win the grand prize, I've already decided that I will be hosting a blogging convention there. Since I've never been able to make it to any of the other ones, I guess I'll just have to sponsor my own. You'll come, right? Please?

Now it's your turn. Go, enter. Everyone and anyone is eligible!Where would you go? Who would you take with you?

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Visit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Monday, August 23, 2010

He who castrates...

Delaney and Sam were playing together the other day and I could hear them talking.

"Sam," Delaney said. "You can be the castrater."

Um...what? I decided it might be time to check and see exactly what game they are playing.

They are playing store and Sam is the cashier. With the cash register. Cash register. Castrater. Close enough.

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship (sponsored post)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Woodrow Wilson. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships seeks to recruit, prepare and retain effective teachers for the students and schools who need them most.
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is offering recent college graduates and those who would like a career change with a $30,000 stipend to complete a master's degree program at one of 14 different universities. Applicants must be in the science, technology, engineering, or math fields and have completed an undergraduate degree in one of these STEM fields before June 2011. Candidates must have graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate commitment to the program. 

Those chosen will complete a field-based master’s degree in teacher education, be required to teach for at least three years at the high school level and will receive considerable mentoring and support in the classroom.

It is a highly selective program and the 2010 fellowship competition drew in 7,000 applications for the 80 available spots. Fellowship spots are contingent to passing the required state certification tests.

This year's application deadline is September 1, 2010, so act quickly! Visit www.wwteachingfellowship.org

for more information and to apply.

Visit my sponsor: The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship

Lions! Tigers! Thunderstorms! Circus fun!

My mom bought the kids and I tickets to the Merriweather and Culpepper circus. While I am not a circus fan, I knew the kids would have a good time. It rivaled Christmas, they were so excited. We opted for the 5:00 showing and showed up just after 4:00 to enjoy the "Fun for All Ages!" midway. As we approached the field, the tent loomed into view and I realized why they push "pre-sale" tickets. If you were to see it before buying tickets, you wouldn't buy any.

The tent was a wreck; filthy and ratty, filled with holes and more patches than original material. And the midway? Non-existent. Then it started to rain and a thunderstorm warning was issued. They canceled the 5:00 showing and re-scheduled it for 7:30.

We took sad kids back to my mom's house, 20 minutes away. The rain let up and we headed back to the tent of doom. Walking to the tent, you could suddenly hear the roars of the big cats and Sam started  crying. Delaney stopped walking, screamed that she was going back to the car and started crying. So, I ended up carrying two crying kids into the tent. Inside, the poor tent's condition was even more apparent and the bleachers were covered with water from the leaks. Nick immediately starting begging for a cheap, plastic light stick. Or an expensive blowup animal. Or...or... I bought him cotton candy so he'd stop talking. The show started and they had a lion and 2 tigers that kept spraying everything, a juggler, unicycles, a clown, a girl on a trapeze (Delaney said, in awe "She's wonderful!"), a girl with hula hoops, ponies, peanuts...circus stuff. We had conveniently chosen seats directly behind a support pole and a lot of neck contortion was required. A little girl in back of me kept hitting me in the head with her blow up snake. Accidentally, I'm sure.

Sometimes, I wish I was little again. To be able to overlook the tawdry and crass and see the magic beyond the ratty tent. I failed miserably. At least Delaney and Sam enjoyed themselves. Nick is still mad at me because I wouldn't buy a light stick...

Boost Mobile (sponsored post)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

Boost Mobile is a no-contract wireless company and is part of the Sprint pre-paid group. They have a wide selection of phones to choose from, including the Sanyo Juno, the Blackberry Curve, the Samsung Rant and the Samsung Seek. All the phones they offer are "social in nature" making it simple to update a status on Facebook and Twitter. They offer a variety of easy payment plans, like the "BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited" service which is unlimited nationwide talk, text, Web and email for $60 per month. They also offer the "Monthly Unlimited" service plan offering unlimited nationwide talk, text and Web for $50 per month.

An impressive feature is the Re-Boost program which makes it simple to make payments. You can pay online, on the phone, in person or set up an automatic payment plan. When you set up an automatic payment plan, you are given $20 in credit for ringtones, wallpapers and downloads. Plus, you get a $2 credit every time you use the Auto Re-Boost plan. If necessary, friends or family can even make payments for you.

Boost Mobile phones are available at over 20,000 major retail stores, including Radio Shack, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Visit my sponsor: Reboost

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

School For Husbands

I just finished reading "The School for Husbands" by Wendy Holden. Unless you like weak, whiny characters I wouldn't suggest it. It annoyed the heck out of me. But the premise of the book is a husband who tries to save his marriage by attending the "School for Husbands" where the courses include things like closing the toilet seat after peeing, helping with housework, general hygiene and the importance of keeping chocolate in the house. Basically, it says that it's the little things that end up being the one big thing that will end a marriage. And I do see the point. On the cover, it asks "What Would You Teach Yours?"

It got me thinking...what would I teach my husband? He always closes the toilet seat and his aim is perfect, he showers daily and he doesn't leave hair on the soap. I know people whose husbands demand dinner at a certain time everyday; my husband doesn't care if we eat at five or eight and he usually cleans up the kitchen after I cook. Even if dinner ends up being a experiment and it goes horribly wrong, he will eat it and say it's good. If I need wine, he will go to the liquor store and get some for me. He always puts his dirty clothes in the hamper. He's been known to borrow my car simply to put gas in it, because he knows that I hate doing it. He's never criticized me and only once in our 12 years together has he laughed at my shoe choice. He knows that I'm a slob and he knows how disorganized I am, but he tolerates it without comment. Even when I misplace important paper work or forget to make an vital phone call, the most I get is a sigh and an eye roll. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how...dare I say it?...lucky I am. ( I hope he doesn't read this...we don't need to inflate his ego.)

My biggest complaint is that he works too many hours, but I know that he's doing it for us, so we can afford what we have. How can I be mad at that? (Actually, depending on my mood, it's pretty easy to get mad at that. Right now, however, I'm feeling grateful.)  He's compassionate, thoughtful and usually manages to say exactly the right things. Most the time, he's more patient with the kids than I am. And he almost always takes the trash out without asking.

If I decided I wanted a puppy, he'd go out and find me one. If I decided I wanted another baby, he wouldn't hesitate to unzip his pants... He's supportive of this blog, even if he doesn't quite understand it and he wouldn't hesitate to hand over the TV remote if I were to ask. He even loves to go grocery shopping.

So...what would I teach him? Wow. I don't know. Maybe he could take a cooking class...it would be nice to have someone else cook for me now and then. Oh. And actually, it would be great if he could figure out how to turn on the vacuum. And give me pedicures. But aside from that...I'd have to say I'm pretty lucky.

So...what would you teach your husband? (Or wife! )

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Inspired by a recent conversation at a family gathering...

My brother is Bipolar. It does not make him less of a human being. It does not make him a loser or a criminal. He may have made many manic-induced bad decisions over his lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that he’s stupid or deserving of ridicule and eye rolling.

I don’t claim to be an expert and sometimes I get just as aggravated at him as everyone else, but I am tired of the judgment and criticism of him. From members of his own family. From people who have never taken the time to learn anything about it. People who equate “not feeling good” as being hung-over. Being manic does not equate being drunk.

In my experience, people who are not familiar with mental illness, bipolar or otherwise, tend to have skewed images of the issue. Perhaps the view they have is due to the numerous shows on TV which portray the mentally ill as criminal or dangerous. Maybe it is just ignorance. Either way, it’s not justifiable. If there is someone in your family, immediate or extended, someone at work, or maybe just a neighbor, there really isn’t any reason not to learn a little about their affliction. There are countless sources online or at the library. http://www.nami.org/ is an excellent source of information.

Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is characterized my major shifts in mood, energy and the ability to function. The cause is unknown and it effects men and women equally. The shifts can be subtle or dramatic, last for days or for weeks. While manic, behavior may include elation or extreme irritability, increased physical and mental activity, racing thoughts and increased talking at a much faster speed. In my brother’s case, his vocabulary also changes when he’s manic. Risk taking and impulsiveness are also characteristics. While in the depressive stage they have low energy, have no interest in anything or anyone are often easily annoyed. They suffer prolonged sadness, worry excessively, have abnormal feelings of guilt and worthlessness. They often contemplate suicide.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 10 million Americans suffer from bipolar. It’s more common than you’d expect. This number does not, however, take in account all the families of those who are effected by bipolar family members. Spouses, parents, siblings, who all try their best to “be there” and to understand. And there is nothing more disrespectful than the uninformed who undermine the family’s intentions.

While that sounds harsh, it is exactly what happens when someone says something thoughtless. It puts the family member on defensive and they immediately feel to need to protect and explain, which often falls on deaf ears. Due to my brother’s rapid cycling, he is often absent from family gatherings, either because he is too manic or has fallen into a deep depression. Trying to explain his absence is very difficult to people who have not taken the time to understand. To his immediate family, when one of us say “He had a bad night”, we instantly understand. You say that to someone else and they smirk and comment about his drinking and give each other knowing looks.

Even in this day and age, when technology and the medical field have advanced so far, there is a stigma to bipolar and mental illness. It’s really inexcusable.

If you want to be a help to the family, the main thing is to be understanding. Ask questions only if they are an honest attempt to understand. Be there and be willing to listen. Do not judge and don’t offer advice.

Sometimes, the only thing the family may need is a compassionate, fellow human being who will not judge and make assumptions. Someone who makes an effort to understand.


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