Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The universe is mocking me.

You know those recent posts I've written about girls being easier than boys? Apparently God took that as a personal challenge.

I'm pretty sure Amelia has been possessed by a demon.

This picture is two years old, but you can sort of see the demon potential brewing.
By the way, the clothes she's wearing in this picture still fit her. I guess she's a pygmy demon.

In other news, we're heading out on a 1000 mile road trip early tomorrow morning. Two full days of driving, three days with my family in New Hampshire, then two more full days of driving home (with the above mentioned demon child and her boy-demon siblings). Yes, as a matter of fact we are insane. And don't worry. You'll be getting a blow by blow account of the insanity this week. It's probably safe to say there will be a few Houseguest Haikus.

Dear potential burglars who just read that we'll be gone for six days: We, ummm, have a huge pit bull guarding the house. Yeah, that's it. A pit bull. And booby traps like on Home Alone.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's not a tumor!

So, I have this little condition called Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum. Also known as "that ugly red thing on my right leg".

It started about 7 years ago. We were in Venice, Italy and I tripped up some stone stairs and gauged my shin. It healed, but it left a dark, quarter sized scar. I didn't worry about it.

Over the years it got darker and shiny. Still, I didn't worry about it.

Then about two years ago it started spreading. I panicked and was convinced that I had skin cancer and would lose my leg. Or, you know, die.

I went to the dermatologist and he took one look at it, asked me if I was diabetic (yes) and told me what it was. He also wanted to biopsy it because in rare cases it can spawn cancer.

Unfortunately, cutting it in any way is about the worst thing you could ever do. It doesn't really ever heal because the skin tissue is essentially dead (hence the necrobiosis part). So, now I have two craters in the center of it that are semi-healed lesions from the biopsy.

There's no cure. I'll always have it. It may even get worse, though hopefully not. I get biannual steroid injections all around the area which helps a little. It lightens for a few months and isn't as tender to the touch as it normally is (it's never outright painful even though it looks like it is).

The main problem is that it's an eyesore. For years I covered it with a band-aid. Obviously it's too big for that now.

I've considered wearing only clothing long enough to cover it, but really, which is worse? Making the public see my hideous, disfiguring skin disease or looking like I belong on a polygamist compound? I chose the former.

And honestly, I'm lucky. If you do a Google image search on the condition (Click that at your own peril), you'll see why I say that. Most people get it on both shins, and usually the lesions are huge.

I'm sure there are people out there who think I should cover it always. They can bite me. They are also probably the same rude people who ask me why I don't get my facial moles removed (Hello, do you think I keep them because I like them? Do you not think I'd have removed them years ago if I could have? If you'd like to pay for the elective plastic surgery for me to do so, by all means I'll make the appointment tomorrow).

Anyway, I was asked about the spot on my leg nearly twenty times yesterday (I think my red dress must have made it stand out more than usual), so I decided I'd address it. I'm not bothered that people ask me about it--all the inquiries were made out of concern because it appears painful. But twenty times in one day warranted a public explanation.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

As after as I'm going to get.

So, internets, I think this will probably be my last before and after photo for awhile. I've pretty much lost all the weight I'll probably lose. There's still those last pesky twelve pounds, but I don't think that they'd make too much of a difference in a picture anyway.

I'll post a picture when (or if, I should say) I lose nine and a half more pounds, because that will put me at exactly half the weight I was when I started. I'll also post pictures when I eventually get my tummy tuck (don't hold your breath on that one, though. It will probably be quite awhile before that happens).

So, here you go. The last after. I even wore red and black for the occasion. (Ben was the official photographer today, so I apologize that they're a little small and blurry).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fifth!! I finished fifth!!

Fifth from last. And I'm pretty sure that the five people who finished after me were planted there by the race commission so that people like me wouldn't have to go home with the shame of being dead last.

Before the race. Yes, it was raining. And cold.

My time was 24:10. Ben's was 20:30. Yeah, I totally got beat by my ten year old. And a bunch of little kids who were maybe six or seven years old. And a guy pushing a stroller. And a woman who had some malady that made her unable to bend her left knee.

Ben finishing

Me finishing

But I finished, and 24 minutes isn't too horrible for two miles, is it? Is it?? (Before you answer, please note that there is only one correct answer to that question).

And the three homeless guys under the 4th Street bridge were really supportive and cheered as I ran past, so that was nice.

I'm glad I did it, I'm glad I finished in under 25 minutes (my goal), but most of all I'm glad I can officially announce that I'm done running forever.

Holy crap, running sucks.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If you'd like to watch me get my butt kicked by children and the infirm...

...then show up to the intersection of Broad and Eighth in downtown Augusta, GA tomorrow morning at 7:30. I'm number 709. Ben is running it, too. I'm sure I'll get completely beat down by my ten year old son.

When I picked up our packets today there was a one-legged guy there picking up his. I'm pretty sure he'll beat me, too. And there was a woman who had to be ninety at least, and she was picking up her packet for the 10K. I decided against the 10K when I read that you had to complete it in 90 minutes. I'm not entirely positive I could do that.

So anyway, watching me and my bouncing pannus should be deeply entertaining if you stop by.

Lunchtime Poll Topic #13

Happy Friday!

Today's LTPT stems from a pet peeve of mine. I want to know if I'm weird for being bugged by it.

If you ask a stranger to take your picture, is it rude for everyone else in your group to hand over their cameras and expect the stranger to take a picture with all of their cameras too?

This happens frequently whenever I'm out with the BFFs, and I'll just say it--it makes me want to die of embarrassment.

We'll be out somewhere, and one of them decides they want a picture of us all. They wrangle some poor, unsuspecting stranger into taking one. Before they know what hits them, they've got three or four cameras being thrust at them. And often, someone asks the stranger to take two or three shots (cough*Sylwia*cough).

It mortifies me.

I got a small amount of vindication last week, though. We went out to dinner, and since it was our last outing before some move away, cameras were a-plenty. In the restaurant, the table next to us was celebrating a birthday and the table beside that was occupied by ladies from The Red Hat Society. For whatever reason, certain members of our group thought it would be fun to have our picture taken with the The Red Hat Ladies. Now, this wasn't just a regular restaurant. This was a Japanese Steak House, so the showmanship of the cook is part of what you're paying for (and in this case, waited hours for a table for).

So, not only did members of our party intrude upon the Red Hat Ladies' dining experience by having them pose for a picture with us, but the mother of the guy whose birthday was being celebrated was the one asked to take our picture (with four cameras!). The birthday boy was getting his special song and cake (which you had to pay extra for, by the way), when our group insisted on the photography session. The poor mother was trying to watch the performance being done for her son while also snapping pictures for us. She wasn't even looking in the cameras. She was just holding them up in our general direction and pushing the button. I'm pretty sure none of them came out. Karma, people.

So, that's my rant for the day.
What do you think? Is it rude to impose upon a stranger for pictures? Is it O.K. if it's just one shot with one camera (I think that's fine--I mean these are digital cameras. How hard is it to e-mail them to everyone else?), or is it always rude? Or do we just expect the world to be our personal paparazzi?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Girls don't do this.

See these little lightsabers that go with Star Wars action figures?

Yeah. Liam stuck one in his ear and punctured his eardrum this afternoon.

There was much ear bleeding and an ER visit.

Eardrum: 0
Lightsaber: 1

Thursday Morning Confessions: The Short List

O.K., so it's really afternoon. Cut me some slack.

This will be an abbreviated list today, because really I'm running our of things to confess.

1. This website cracks me up. It's "People of Wal-Mart." It's just pictures of the people (and sometimes the vehicles) you see in Wal-Mart. I think it's funny that the site owner has a policy against pictures of Amish/Mennonites and of people in Hover-round scooters. I think I saw at least two of each this morning when I was there. And a quick warning--while the site itself never uses profane language, there have been some pictures of people wearing t-shirts with profanity on them. You might also want to avoid the site if you're offended by mullets and butt crack.

One of my favorite pictures from the site because 1) her pannus is bigger than mine and 2) the fishnets remind me of Harmony.

2. If you're listening to your mp3 player while you exercise at the Y, it's nearly impossible to know if the gas you just passed was of the silent but deadly variety, or if everyone in your immediate vicinity heard it and thinks you're gross. Not that I ever pass gas. I'm just speaking in generalities.

3. On Sundays I let myself have a treat or two that I normally avoid. Last Sunday I decided I was going to indulge in some Cape Cod Jalapeno & Cheddar chips. I'd forgotten to buy them, so I asked Will to get a bag when he went to the store Saturday night. He had the audacity to bring home the wrong kind. Suddenly I was like a crack-whore out of crack. I'd have turned tricks for those chips.

4. There is a mountain of clean laundry on my couch that has been there for three days. Every time I sit down to fold it I fall asleep.

5. The TV gods must have smiled down upon me because we're suddenly getting Bravo. I have so much Top Chef and Kathy Griffin to catch up on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hold on to your ovaries.

Looky who I got to steal for a few hours today. Just be warned, you will ovulate immediately.

Oh how I wish I had that fancy camera I was once accused of having.
And some photography skills to go with it.

We talked baby talk.
We danced (he likes REO Speedwagon).
We napped a little.
I only returned him because I feared Sylwia's breasts might explode if I didn't.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking Applications

Are you fat? Have you ever felt fat, even if you're not? How about frumpy? Are you frumpy? Ever spend a whole day in your pajamas? Do you currently, or have you ever in the past, owned a pair of mom-jeans?

Do you like to get together with other fat and frumpy women to talk about sex? Engage in good natured (usually) debates with them? Eat with them?

If a friend called you up on Saturday and said, "We're picking you up in an hour to drive two hours to Ikea and we won't be back until late at night" would you be able (and willing) to drop whatever you were doing, kiss your husband and kids goodbye and go?

How about games? Do you like games? All kinds of games?

Do you think you can handle Sylwia?

If you can answer yes to these questions, I'm looking for you.

Do to the moving policies of the US Army, there is a vacancy (soon to be two) in the BFF's (Formerly known as the Fat Frumpy Five).

If you think you have what it takes, please take a moment to submit your application via the comments.

All qualified applicants will be accepted.

As long as you're not skinnier than me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Household Tips with Brandi

I love a good household tip, especially when it works. So, here are a few of my tried and true favorites. (None of these are my own ideas--they're all things I've learned from others, who I'm sure learned it from someone else).

1. Stuck on food? Fill the dish or pan with warm water and dish detergent. Add a dryer sheet. Let it sit for about an hour and the food will rinse away.

2. Use Windex (or, you know, the 99 cent generic version) to clean carpet stains. Just make sure you use the blue stuff. The other varieties don't work and can actually make bigger stains. I can't remember who told me this tip--someone in Maryland. Anyway, less than a week after getting the tip I had to put it to the test. It was the morning we were moving here to Georgia. The movers had come and gone, the van was packed. The house was empty except for a few last minute things on the kitchen counter. I cleaned the house the night before and we went to bed, ready for the housing inspection at 9 the next morning. We woke on moving day to find that Amelia had gotten up in the wee hours of the morning, come downstairs, found the red Sharpie we'd used to label boxes and decided it would be fun to color all over our beige carpet.

Our carpet steamer was already on its way to Georgia. Most of my cleaning products had been used up and thrown away. The inspector was coming in less than an hour. But I had a bottle of Windex and a rag and I remembered the tip. It worked like a charm. It took every bit of red permanent marker off the carpet, and with very little effort.

3. Use dental floss to sew on buttons. They'll never fall off again. (And they'll smell minty fresh!)

4. Hate cleaning the top of your refrigerator? Once it's clean, cover it with plastic wrap (the press 'n seal type is best). Then every few months peel it off and lay a new sheet. You'll never have to wash a dusty, greasy mess up there again.

5. Don't throw away old beat up cookie sheets and muffin tins. Clean them well, then spray paint them your favorite color (use a glossy spray paint made for metal for best results). Cookie sheets make great serving trays and muffin tins make great organizers.

6. If you're going to fry something particularly greasy, you can cover the rest of your stovetop with tin foil so you have fewer grease spatters to clean up. Important note: If you're out of tin foil, do not use wax paper as a substitute. I nearly burned down my kitchen that way.

7. Speaking of wax paper, my kids' all time favorite craft is to collect leaves in the Fall and then I iron them between two sheets of wax paper (place a towel between the paper and the iron). The heat seals the sheets of paper together, and it looks like stained glass with suspended leaves. They're really pretty hung in a window.

8. If you're going to put red sauce in a plastic container, spray it with cooking spray first. That'll stop it from getting that orangey red stain. Admit it--you have at least one piece of plastic wear stained orange in your cupboard.

9. If you want to eat fish but hate the fishiness of it, soak it in milk for a few hours before cooking.

10. Cheap hairspray (Aquanet is best) will take ink out of clothing. Generously spray the spot then wash as usual. Rubbing alcohol usually works, too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

As sassy as I get.

O.K., Marianne. This post is just for you. This is as sassy as I get.

(So, anyone know how to de-bulk my calves? Yikes.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last night was one of those nights where the stars aligned, fate smiled at destiny and they decided I should have a good night.

Around 4:30 we had a really bad storm and the power went out. The boys had just finished their homework, I had finished cleaning up the house, and it was still light outside. So, the loss of power wasn't a big deal. In fact, it just made for a quiet, peaceful house.

But around 5:30 it was still off and I couldn't cook dinner. Awww, darn. We had to eat out. What a tragedy--no cooking or dishes.

Then I needed to go to the mall (to get smaller Spanx. I now need the smallest size they sell, thankyouverymuch). I happened to go into Sears and as luck would have it, they were having the mother of all clearance sales. Up to 85% off the already marked down prices. There wasn't much that was cute clothing wise, but then I noticed The Coat was on clearance. This is a Land's End coat that I noticed months ago when I went in to buy a water filter for our fridge. It was nearly $100, and I was still flying through sizes at an alarming rate, so I couldn't buy it. But I loved it.

And last night there it was in all its poppy covered glory, 85% off. And there was one single solitary size medium left. It was all mine, for less than $10.

I wore it out of the store. In another stroke of luck, I happened to be wearing my poppy red shoes that matched my poppy covered coat.

Then we went to Wal-Mart and I had three different women come up and ask where I got it. I felt like the most fabulous person in Wal-Mart. 400 pound lady in the scooter, eat your heart out.

Further proof that I was destined for a great night: The kids got to wear their new raincoats that they've been dying to wear for a month, they all had enough allowance saved to buy the very thing they wanted and they were uncharacteristically well behaved, despite being up way past bedtime.

If the power hadn't gone out, we would have stayed home.

Ah, serendipity.
The Coat
If you hate it, feel free to keep your comments to yourself. You have no taste.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #12

O.K., so today's LTPT is a debate that comes up in my house about once a year. It's one of the few areas where Will and I simply cannot find any common ground. We try to avoid talking about it, but there's always some celebrity that puts the topic in the news (and today is no exception) and we inevitably argue about it all over again.

Do you think adoption should be limited to married, heterosexual couples only?

Umm, no. No, I do not.

What has put this in the news again this week is Elton John was trying to adopt a baby with AIDS from the Ukraine. The Ukrainian government told him he was too old, too unmarried and too gay to adopt this terminally ill child.

Now this is not about whether you think Elton John specifically should be allowed to adopt (or Rosie O'Donnell, who is often the catalyst for this debate around here). This is about whether or not you think only straight, married couples should be allowed to adopt.

The case with Rosie O'Donnell that started the first fight Will and I had over this was that she and her partner had been raising a foster daughter (in addition to the three adopted children they already had). They wanted to adopt the little girl also, but the state of Florida does not allow homosexuals to adopt (yet it's totally O.K. for them to be foster parents). There was another instance (also in Florida) that really set my blood boiling. A gay couple had been fostering kids with AIDS for years. They had had many of these kids in their home for close to ten years. I don't remember exactly, but I think they had seven AIDS/HIV positive children. The kids were happy and thriving and loved and cared for. The couple were in a committed and loving (though, yes, homosexual) relationship. The kids desperately wanted to be adopted by these men. They, like all children, wanted permanence. They didn't want to live under the threat of being placed in a new foster home at any time on the whim of the Florida department of family services. Let me remind you, these are kids with AIDS. These are older children. These are kids that most social services departments categorize as unadoptable. Yet when two capable people are willing and able (financially and emotionally) to adopt them, they are denied simply because they are gay. It's not so much the gay couple I feel bad for here, but the children.

Now, yes, Mormons, I know that the plan says a mother and a father who are married (preferably in the temple) is the ideal situation. I get that. I understand that if these children were adopted by a gay couple there is no hope of them being sealed to them for eternity. I really do get that.

But I don't think these kids should be denied the opportunity to be raised in a permanent home by people who love them. I mean, you'd rather see a child with AIDS live out its life moving from foster home to foster home rather than being adopted by a gay couple who will love and care for and adore it? Really?

And what about single people adopting? How do you feel about that? For me, there's no difference. Yes, two parents are ideal, but if you're a child in foster care, one parent is better than none.

And what about when we're not talking about foster kids and terminally ill kids? Should gays and singles be allowed to adopt the unwanted, unadoptable kids and leave the healthy infants for married couples? (Again, I say no, but I know I have less ground to stand on with this one).

O.K., sorry to get all ranty, but I feel pretty strongly about this one. I know many of you out there will disagree with me on this. I can't wait to see what you have to say.

You'll be totally wrong, but that's O.K. No one's perfect.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Morning Confessions: Photo Edition

Today there will be only one confession, and it will be in the form of a photograph.

The confession is this: Losing 144 pounds in 12 months has made my mid-section look like something from a carnival freak show.

And I'm going to show it to you.

Don't worry, you won't see any of my naughty bits, but some people may not want to see my freakishly saggy stomach. That's O.K. I understand. You should probably just leave now, though.

First, here--some kittens. This is my act of kindness for those of you who have it set so that the first image from a blog post is posted on your blog roll. I assure you, you don't want my rolls on your roll.

O.K., are you ready for the freak show? This is your last chance to turn back.

Remember, what has been seen cannot be unseen.

One of my friends, after seeing the horror of my mid-section, declared, "It looks like a butt!" Yup. It kinda does.

And this, folks, is why Spanx are my friend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just keep swimming.

There's a creepy guy at the pool who has decided I'm his new best friend.

He's older, probably late sixties. He's really, really short and overweight and is covered with scary looking moles. Hello, Kettle. I'm Pot. My, you're looking black today. He has a Hitler-style mustache (just bushier, somehow), gold hoop pirate earrings and he wears man-pris. In fact, just imagine Hitler older and fatter and friendlier and gay and there you go (though I don't think creepy-pool man is gay).

And he wants to be my buddy.

It started a couple of months ago when he shared the lap lane with me. Now, even if there are open lanes, he hops in mine. Fine, I can deal with that. But then he started getting chatty. He'd stop me mid lap to talk. I tried being polite. I really did. And after a month or so I finally just told him flat out that I couldn't keep stopping to talk because I only had a limited amount of time to exercise.

Didn't help.

So then I started moving to an open lane if he got in mine. He didn't take the hint. He followed me.

Then I got my waterproof MP3 player. I thought that maybe it would make it easier--I could totally pretend that I couldn't hear him talking to me. And I'm swimming, so it's easy to pretend I don't see him talking to me. Nope. Now he touches me to get my attention. I am not a toucher, people. I'm not a hugger. I'm not even a hand shaker (hello, germs!). So the touching was too much.

Today I snapped.

"Please, I don't like being touched. I'm here to exercise. I'm not here to socialize. I really would just prefer to swim and not talk anymore."

He said sorry. I swam off.

Then I saw him crying.

I made him cry.

Geez, people, I'm awful.

Especially because I pretended I didn't see him crying and just kept swimming.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So, I sort of forgot to officially announce what the next Bad Girls' Book Club pick was. It was discussed in the comments of our first discussion, but you may not have all seen that.

I think we'll make BGBC a bi-monthly event rather than monthly, so that means you still have a whole month to read this one.

The book this time is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Some of you hate to know anything about the plot beforehand (which I learned from previous angry e-mails), so I won't post it here. If you want to read the description, just click the link.

This is one of those books that people either hate or they love. I loved it. But I will warn you--there's a lot of swearing. There's also a little sex, though I don't remember it being graphic or vulgar in description. And there are some parts of the book that while not inappropriate, are disturbing.

This book stuck with me. A year after I've read it, I still sometimes think about it. I'm going to re-read it for the purpose of discussion, but to be completely honest I almost don't want to. I'll talk more about why when we have our discussion. I'd have to give plot away to talk about it now.

So, get reading! And going to see the movie instead of reading it is cheating (but if you're going to see the movie, call me. I want to go). And just based on the intricacies of the story, I know there's no way the movie can possibly cover the book completely anyway.

For those of you who want to get started on December's book, the overwhelming majority of you suggested The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. I haven't read this one yet, so I'm trusting all of you who said it was great.

And for those of you who are really over-achievers, February's pick, again chosen because of the sheer number of you who suggested it, is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

O.K., I'll see you back here on October 17th.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Like mother, like daughter.

So guess who turned 27 today? Oh wait, I guess it was only 4. I forget sometimes, what with all her eye rolling and talking back and knowing everything.

She got a few fun presents, but this was by far her favorite of them all.

I'm pretty sure there's a picture of me somewhere just like this one, only I'm older. In addition to Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, I have also received as gifts Doritos and Cambell's Cream of Broccoli soup.

By the way, she's already eaten three of them and it's only 1:00.

Yeah, I'm a bad mom for letting her eat them. Why don't you write me a big, long e-mail about it, and how I can improve, mkay?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wanna see something crazy?

So, this was me just barely over a year ago (with Tina at our joint birthday bash).

And this was me last Friday.

The before picture I normally post is after I lost 30 pounds pre-surgery. The picture from our birthday party was before I lost any weight at all. So, that was me at my heaviest (305 pounds, if you're curious).

So, that's what a 143 pound loss looks like (yes, you did your math correctly. I currently weigh 162 pounds. Just 12 more to go).

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So, I'm pretty sure that The Dharma Initiative has infiltrated my
rural Georgia town, and I think they want me.

First, there was the secret Dharma station under my AC unit at our first house.

Now there's this, just a few houses away.

If I spot Ben Linus, I'm outta here.
(If you don't hear from me for awhile, it means I spotted Sawyer and am, uhhh, occupied).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #11

Ooooh, freaky. LTPT #11 is on the eleventh.

In case you've forgotten (like I did last year), today is September 11th.

And I'm really happy that it's been named a national day of service*. While we should always remember what happened and those who died, I think it's good that the day can be something positive as well.

So, that brings me to today's LTPT:

What service are you going to do today?

I did mine yesterday. The women of our church congregation donated material and time and talent and got together last night and sewed 22 baby blankets. These will be donated to the local Ronald McDonald House to be given to families who are there with sick babies. You may think that a blanket is a small thing when these families are dealing with so much, possibly even the impending death of their child, but as someone who was the recipient of a few donated blankets during Liam's medical ordeal, I can tell you it means a lot. We may not have needed a blanket, but it was the sentiment behind the blanket that we needed.

What will you do today?

*I know that most of us do not need a day specified by the government to do service. However, I think that doing a little extra today is a wonderful way to honor those who gave their lives eight years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Morning Confessions: OCD Edition

So, I know that OCD is a real and debilitating disorder that many people suffer from. Lots of times I'll say I have OCD, but I know that in reality I do not and if someone who really does suffer from it ever heard me say it, they might slap me (after they turned the kitchen lights on and off 27 times and washed their hands raw).

But I do have obsessive compulsive tendencies, and today you get to read just how much of a freak I really am.

1. I have to take a shower after I clean the bathrooms. A good hand washing will not suffice.

2. I can't eat anything with corn mixed in it (with the odd exception of shepherd's pie). This isn't about flavor. This isn't merely a case of disliking a food. I love corn. But in my head, there's something sinister about it when I see it mixed with other ingredients. Corn chowder? From the devil himself.

3. I'm a counter. I count stairs, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, you name it. And I freak out a little if they're odd numbers.

4. Imagine you're riding in the front seat of the car and the street is dappled with sun and shade. If you're me, you will obsessively touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you drive over the shady parts and take it off as you pass over the sunny parts. If you mess up, something horrible will happen.

5. Hair (be it human or animal) in food or on the soap has the potential to send me into a full on internal meltdown. Have I ever told you about my experience at Subway? Remind me and I will sometime. I still have a hard time eating there.

6. I truly fear germs. This is not an exaggeration. I fear them. No, I don't think you understand. I don't just dislike them. I don't just think they're icky. I fear them like Clarice Starling feared Hannibal Lechter.

7. Crumbs in the butter will unleash my inner beast. If I'm having company, I buy a seperate tub of butter or spoon some into a dish for people to use because one single, solitary crumb will send me over the edge to the point of no return.

8. This probably falls into the fear of germs category, but I cannot share food or drinks with someone. Anyone. I will not even drink after my husband. Sometimes taking the sacrament at church is difficult because I see the little kids who get the tray before me touching all the bread or dripping their water into the other cups. I also have a really hard time eating something prepared by someone I don't know or who's kitchen I've never seen.

9. I need symmetry. If you come into my house, you'll see that the decor is perfectly symmetrical. I know it's stylish to stagger the heights of your art work or to have mismatched items, but I mentally can't tolerate it.

10. I need neatness and order to function. You will usually find my house clean and orderly (unless you show up on laundry day, because then my couch will have mountains of clean laundry waiting to be folded). This isn't because I like to clean (despite what my husband seems to think). This isn't because I aspire to be housewife of the year. This is because my whole world literally falls apart when I'm surrounded by mess.

There. Now you can go about your day feeling relieved that you're nowhere near as crazy as Brandi.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This one time, at band camp...

So, in case you missed it, I'm a band geek. I won't say "former band geek" because if there was a band I could join right now, I totally would.

I've played the flute since fourth grade. So, for 25 years. One would think I'd be pretty good by now, right? Yeah, not so much. This post is not an invitation for you to ask me to play. I'm still embarrassed about completely sucking when I played in church a few months ago.

Anyway, one of the few benefits of moving from normal, civilized life in Connecticut to the backwater known as Evanston, Wyoming is that the band in Evanston traveled. We went to contests that required many long bus rides and overnight hotel stays.

So, for those of you that were too cool for band, here's a small taste of what you missed out on. Just be warned--we band geeks can get pretty crazy. Especially when you put us on a bus and take us someplace totally wild, like Utah.

1. I once helped duct tape an oboe player to the carpet of her hotel room. And then we left her there. For hours.

2. We played a rousing game of "Will it burn?" in the back alley behind our hotel. Sugar doesn't burn. Hair styling products could get you arrested for arson.

3. After the discovery in #2, we went from window to window of the hotel spraying smiley faces on them with hair spray, then lighting them on fire.

4. Speaking of lighting things on fire, I saw all the male saxophone players come running out of their hotel room in a minor panic. Turns out they were lighting farts and one, umm, backfired.

5. Will (who was a french horn player) once fell asleep in the closet of my hotel room (I honestly can't remember why he was in there). We left him there half the night. And hid his shoes.

6. Band conductors do not like to get woken up at 1 am to be told by the hotel manager that some of his students are prank calling other guests. Repeatedly.

7. My friend and I didn't like one of the girls who was in our hotel room once, so after she fell asleep we stole all her underwear and threw them in the trash at the McDonald's across the street.

8. Band bus truth or dare.

9. Remember #7? We didn't throw all of them away. We saved one pair and hid them in the trumpet case of the boy she had a crush on.

10. We were jumping from bed to bed in the hotel, and one of the really tall girls hit her head on the ceiling and fell between the bed and the wall and got stuck. They had to come and un-bolt the bed from the floor so she could get out. Oh, and we were all wearing bras on our heads.

I hope you can forgive my wild ways and youthful indiscretions. I know, it'll be hard. I've settled down in my old age, though.

And just wait until someday when I tell you what the Academic Decathlon team did when we went to the state finals. If you thought band geeks were wild and crazy, you've apparently never known a team of nerds in the heat of a statewide nerd competition.

I feel sorry for the jocks and cheerleaders.

And you need to go watch THIS VIDEO (don't worry, it's just Sponge Bob. It's totally safe for work and children). It's every band geek's secret dream.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Camp Douglass

Oh Internets, how I've missed you. O.K., not really. I was too busy having fun to miss you.

This weekend I hosted Camp Douglass at my house. Two other families that we're friends with wanted us to all get together and do something for the long weekend. We talked about going camping, but hello! I don't camp. I don't even like to pee in public restrooms and you want me to use the woods, or worse yet, a campground bathroom? You don't know me at all. Plus, there's all the work involved in camping. It's like a week of preparation for three days. Oh, and I have no camping gear.

Anyway, after some discussion we decided that what we really wanted to do was hang out together the whole weekend without having to worry about going home to put kids to bed and giving them baths and all that. We wanted to play games until the wee small hours of the morning without worrying about falling asleep on the drive home.

So, the idea for Camp Douglass was born. The two families (The Bastians and the Pynes) came to our house on Friday morning and stayed until Monday evening. Combined, we have nine kids, so the other families brought their tents and set them up in the back yard for the kids and the adults camped out on air mattresses in the kids' bedrooms (except for me because I was not giving up my bedroom).

Each family was assigned a day, and they were responsible for providing and preparing the food for every meal that day. We had lots of really good food that I shouldn't eat but did anyway. It's probably the first time my kids have been offered anything but cold cereal for breakfast in years.

For the vast majority of the weekend, the adults played Settlers of Catan (I know, we're all such Utah Mormons) and the kids played and fought and played and screamed and played and got my house dirtier than it ever has been before. This is a testament to how enjoyable this weekend was--I don't even care that much that it took me more than three hours to get the house clean after everyone left. I was able to keep my OCD tendencies at bay because I was having that much fun.

As usual, I didn't take pictures, but Tina took 867,000. So, hop on over to her blog too see all the fun and chaos. Just don't look at me. In most of them, I hadn't showered and I look kind of gross.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

House Guest Haiku Volume II

cream and yell and cry
Up too late, awake too soon
Too many children

Anyone have clay?
Build a road, build a city
Settlers is awesome!

I will close my eyes
And pretend I cannot see
Messy, crowded house

Feeding six adults
And nine rambunctious children
Takes a lot of food

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #10

Let's get right to it:

Which is hotter--size 28 stretch pants or size 6 jeans?

110 pounds lost, 11 sizes smaller.

O.K, so that's not really the LTPT today. I was just so excited that I wedged my butt into size 6 jeans that I couldn't wait to show you.

Here's the real LTPT:

Boys or Girls: Which do you think is easier to raise and why?

You don't have to have experience raising either to answer. You can tell us which you think would be easier and why.

Personally, I think girls are easier until puberty sets in, and then boys are suddenly easier. But maybe that's just because I didn't grow up around boys. Whatever the reason, I stand by my assertion that girls are easier for the first 11 years. Amelia is by far easier than either of the boys.

So, how about you? Team pink or team blue?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday Morning Confessions

This picture has nothing to to with the post. I just thought it was really funny.

1. Georgia has sissified me. Our high temperatures this week have been around 82 (F). I've been wearing sweaters and pants because it's chilly.

2. I've gained two pounds but have somehow lost two pants sizes this month (I now wear size 8 jeans, and I bought some yoga pants from Old Navy and they're size 4/6!! Yeah, yeah, they're stretchy and have a drawstring waist. Don't. Even. Care. They're size 4/6).

3. I will not be keeping my children home from school on September 8th. Regardless of what I believe politically, I really don't think Obama's address to school age children that day will brainwash them. If he can manage to undo in 30 minutes on TV what you've done as a parent over the course of your child's entire life, then that's really more a reflection on you as a parent and not the fault of the big bad socialist brainwashing president.

4. The Duggars are pregnant with number 19. You already know how I feel about that family. On the bright side, at least they're not on welfare.

5. I'm actually writing this post Wednesday night because I won't have time tomorrow. Which is actually today for those of you reading this.

6. I really, really need some chocolate right now. A lot. Which is weird because I'm not normally a sweets kind of person. But today I need chocolate and I don't have any.

7. We found out that Liam will need his next open heart surgery next summer and I'm already freaking out over it. First, how do you mentally prepare a 5 year old for open heart surgery? How do you deal with a 5 year old who just had open heart surgery? And we'll be moving pretty much exactly when he needs to have it, so that sucks in and of itself.

8. There is light at the end of the potty training tunnel. Amelia peed and pooped on the toilet today. Of course she did both in her pull up, too, but I'm just elated that she used the toilet even once. She will be four in a few days, people. I thought she'd have been out of pull ups long ago.

9. Will swore up and down that raising a girl was going to be so much harder than raising boys. I said that until they're about 11, girls are easier and from then on it switches and boys are easier. I'm totally winning this argument this week. Totally and completely.

10. I'm having an adult sleepover this weekend. Three nights, four days, six adults. I'll let you and your imaginations fill in the details. I'm sure whatever you come up with will be far more interesting than what the reality is.

Heavenly Father says...

So, Liam and Amelia have been running around acting like little evangelists this week. They have discovered that we put a lot of stock into the things that "Heavenly Father says," so they try to use it to their advantage.

Amelia, when she wanted a doll at the store and I said no: "But Heavenly Father wants us to be mommies!"

Amelia, when Liam wouldn't let her play in his room: "But Heavenly Father says we need to share everything!"

Liam, when he was being punished for fighting: (Screamed through hysterical tears) "Heavenly Father is going to be so mad at you! He says you have to love me!"

Liam, who was asking for money so he could buy a $40 Clone Trooper gun and was upset when I said no: "But Heavenly Father wants us to pay tithing. If you give me the money I can pay tithing."

Amelia, out of the blue: "Heavenly Father says you should buy me a pink fish."

Amelia, to a complete stranger who accidentally bumped me in Kroger (and who did say excuse me): "Heavenly Father says you should say sorry!"

Amelia, 5 minutes ago, alone in her room, talking to her Little People: "Heavenly Father says I look so beautiful in pink dresses and I have so beautiful hair!"

Funny that when I try this trick, like when they're fighting and I remind them that Heavenly Father says they should be kind, it never seems to work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Project Runway is back!

So, I have apparently been living under a complete rock lately. First I forget my blogiversary, then I forget that Project Runway is finally back on after very long hiatus and a network switch.

Will had to work a 24 hour shift yesterday, so I took advantage of the alone time to glue myself to the computer (like that's anything new) and watch the first two episodes that have aired.

I was afraid that maybe it would be different now that it's on Lifetime instead of Bravo and is in LA rather than NYC. But it's still my same old Project Runway that I love.

First, I was so happy to see Tim Gunn again that I nearly cried. I absolutely love Tim Gunn. Not in any kind of romantic or lusty way--I just adore him as a human being. I think the world would be a better place and anti-depressants would no longer be needed if everyone had their own personal Tim Gunn to guide them and support them. But did anyone else notice that his hair was looking a little stringy and yellow? If it was anyone else I wouldn't care, but Tim Gunn is the epitome of refined and dapper. I missed his perfectly distinguished silver-white hair.


Second, I'm really glad they booted the freaks in the first two episodes. They seemed nice enough, but their designs were horrible. An eggy sling-like shirt? A silver lame' soccerball-like...thing (sorry, I don't even know what to call it)? Auf wiedersehen and good riddance!

And was anyone else disturbed by the fact that Lindsay Lohan looked old and haggard? She looked like an aging crack addict. Wait, I guess that makes sense. But seriously, she looked older than Heidi, who is nearly twice her age! Sad, really. And I have to wonder if she voted to boot off Ari (the silver soccerball...thing designer) simply because she looked exactly like her ex, Samantha Ronson. I wonder if Lindsay would have hated her even if her dress had been amazing. Because really, the resemblance was uncanny. Talk about awkward!

Apparently I'm not the only one who thought this.

Anyway, I'm going to predict that Louise, Shirin, Althea, Irina and Gordana will be the top 5. That's right, an all-girl top 5. Christopher has a shot as well, but I'm going with the ladies.