Monthly Archives: September 2008

I Can’t Wait!

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The whole month of September, Burgh Baby’s Mom has been generously donating all her ad revenue to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. She decided to end the month on a (really) high note by having an awesome contest. Go check it out. Since ad revenue is determined by page views, all that she is asking in return is that you click around and help raise some money for a good cause. It’s the last day, so warm up your clicking finger and go crazy. Maybe you’ll win a cool prize in the meantime.

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So, it’s four day until we leave for vacation and in typical pre-vacation fashion, I am freaking! out! I have a million things to do and no time to do them. Work has been crazy lately and between scouts, swimming lessons, drum lessons, karate and gymnastics I can’t quite seem to muster up enough energy in my “free time” to start packing. I have managed to go shopping for essentials like sunscreen and toothpaste, though. But strangely, I have a new shower curtain, rug, bathroom accessories, some cute shorts, a candle, clothes for the kids, clothes for mr b, four chocolate covered marshmallows (OK, I had those), a princess costume, beer, a picture frame, and 600 read pages of Brisingr. But no sunscreen or toothpaste. Vacation Planning: FAIL.

Although I did get a new lip balm and since it has SPF, I’m counting it as a huge vacation planning success.

I have a feeling I am going to be up to the wee hours these next few days getting ready. I have something going on every evening through Thursday, so the only time I will have to pack will be around eleven or so. OK – I could actually do it between 8:00 and 11:00, which would be more reasonable, but the new falls shows are on and I’m not insane. Well, yes I am. I’m insane and addicted to TV. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, maybe a little ashamed. But we’re all friends here, right? RIGHT??

Of course when I am at work and can’t possibly do anything vacation-related, I can’t concentrate because my head is too full of anticipation and All! Disney! All! The Time!! I get all OCD-girl and start running through the lists of things I still have to do and then I get all stressed out and I’m like Work? What work? And then I drift off to daydreams of monorails and Mickey bars.

Friday, I will be going to bed at approximately 7:00, since I have to wake up at 2:30 am to get ready. Because my only options for a direct flight was either Dawn: Buttcrack of or sometime in the late afternoon which would be a huge waste of the day. And forget connecting flights. They’re a waste of precious Disney time and a terrifying spin on the roulette wheel of Will The Preschooler Lose Her Mind On The Plane. So no. Dark Thirty it is.

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Runaround Sue

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I met Tammy in 1st grade and we hit it off immediately. We lived in a small neighborhood with it’s own elementary school and everyone walked. Some days I would walk home for lunch and Tammy would go with me. Other times, she’d come over after school to play. We were inseparable back then – if you saw one of us, the other was sure to be nearby. We giggled and talked and sent notes to boys – the “Do you like me? Check yes/no/maybe” variety. Sometimes we had to sit on opposites sides of the room so we couldn’t chatter away during class, but it never really stopped us. We learned the sign language alphabet and kept on talking, albeit silently.

We both loved to read, even at such an early age, and we could often be found in the school library, both of us engrossed in books, not talking to each other (it was the only time we were silent), but even then, a bond was evident.

The first time I ever got in trouble in school, Tammy was there. It was in first grade and we were outside at recess, standing by one of the big gray metal doors and talking about books or boys or sleepover parties. We noticed that some kids had carved their names in the paint of the door, and we thought it would be a great idea to do the same. We found a pop-top nearby (remember those?) and got started. Of course, carving our names wasn’t enough. We wanted to really make a statement. That statement? “Gina and Tammy love Donny Osmond.” We got as far as Gina and Tammy love Donny before the principal, Mrs. Carson caught us. We had to go to her office and get a lecture about damaging property, but nothing worse – we were still young enough not to know better. When she caught us, though, a boy named Donny was standing nearby and she naturally assumed that he was involved. I can remember sitting in her office, Tammy and I as cool as cucumbers and Donny crying hysterically. For some reason, he was wearing a big sombrero edged in little red pom-poms and I can remember Tammy and I looking at each other and trying not to laugh as those pom-poms shook while he cried.

We were two peas in a pod, and looking back, I am sometimes surprised that I wasn’t jealous of Tammy. She was the one that all the boys wanted and all the girls wanted to be. She was tiny and blond and cute. We used to play Wizard of Oz at recess and Tammy always got to be Dorothy. She was always picked first for things. She was loved. But I never felt like second fiddle with Tammy – we were too close for that.

As we got older, Tammy kept her title of The Cute One. She was a princess without the attitude. She was the first to get boobs, the first to get her period, the first to have a boyfriend. She educated the rest of us in all things womanly. While she often had the boys attention, she never wanted it all for herself. She was always making matches, diverting some boy’s attention from her to one of her friends. She truly wanted everyone to be happy.

She was there for most of the milestones of my life. She fixed me up with my first boyfriend. She gave me advice on my first kiss. She covered for me when I needed her to. As we got older, we stayed close and our interests stayed the same. We still loved to read and constantly traded books. We wrote bad poetry and cried on each other’s shoulder. On my 13th birthday, she bought me my fist diary and I still remember how much I loved it. It wasn’t anything I ever thought I wanted, but it was one of the best gifts I ever got. She knew me.

In high school we drifted a bit. We stayed friends, but not best friends. We started hanging out with slightly different crowds. She was a cheerleader. I was a majorette. Her new best friend was a Mean Girl type and sometimes Tammy got caught up in that. But mainly, we stayed pretty close.

We had times when things got between us. The biggest was that she was Eric’s prom date. She was one of the girls that believed the worst of me. Actually, she never really accused me of anything, like some others did, but she never defended me either. Or even asked my side. It took me a whole to forgive that, but forgive her I did. I started to realize that even thought Tammy seemed to be the It Girl, she was just as insecure and wounded as the rest of us, if not more. As we got older, I realized that her life was different than mine in ways you don’t see when you are a child.

The other big thing that came between us was a boy. I started dating Bill during our senior year. Bill and Tammy were very good friends. It didn’t’ bother me, though – one of my own best friends, Milo, was a boy. What did bother me was that Tammy seemed territorial about Bill. And she seemed to want to rub their friendship in my face. Her locker was exactly opposite of mine – they were back to back. I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her. And she knew it. So she was always saying, “Biiiiilllll this” and “Biiiiillll that.” Her mother did some sewing and she fixed Bill’s jacket. And Tammy waited until Bill was scheduled to be out of school for a wrestling match and she wore it! Bill was actually pretty mad at her for that. Not that she wore it, but what she was implying. He always made it clear to me that they were just friends, and I believed him. I had no reason not to – if we weren’t in school, or at sporting events, or sleeping, we were together. There was no opportunity. And also – I truly trusted him, and he trusted me. It was then that I started feeling a little sorry for Tammy. I knew that her insecurities were driving her behavior, but it still hurt that someone I was once so close to was trying to hurt me. Of course, we still hadn’t totally recovered from the Eric thing, so I’m sure that didn’t help either.

It was a while before we really got past it. We were still nice to each other, we talked and laughed and danced and partied, but it wasn’t the same until the following year. I was home from college and so was Milo, so I went to his house for the evening. It turned into an impromptu party and Tammy showed up. After we had a few beers and got to talking, we realized how stupid it was to throw away a friendship like ours and we made up for real. I didn’t see her much, since I was away, but when I came home, we usually ended up together at some point.

After I left partyschool and moved home for a semester, I saw Tammy regularly. She and my friends Tee and Amos and I used to go out every weekend. Even after I moved to the city, I used to come home often and we’d all hit the clubs. It was around this time that something about Tammy started to change. She wasn’t the happy-go-lucky girl we always knew. She became very quiet, and seemed depressed. She didn’t smile much and she sighed a lot. She lost the sparkle in her eye. She always seemed distracted. Her movements became slow.

We all wondered what was going on and worried about her constantly. We didn’t know if there was something secret going on in her life that made her so depressed. When we asked, she claimed everything was normal and she was fine.

After a while, her parents took her to a psychiatrist and she ended up on anti-depressants. We kept waiting for them to kick in, but they never did. We kept worrying and she kept insisting she was fine. But she wasn’t fine. She was very much not fine. It turned out that Tammy had a brain tumor and that was the reason for her behavior change.

It was unfathomable to us. Sure – people get cancer, people get brain tumors, but not the people you know. Not the people you love. Not beautiful, sparkling, happy girls in their early twenties. Not Tammy.

We couldn’t believe it and we didn’t know how to deal with it. We didn’t know what to do or what to say. At first, I think we all acted like nothing was wrong, but it was Tammy who changed that. She knew that we could not continue normally because things weren’t normal. She introduced us to the big, nasty, son-of-a-bitch of an elephant in the room and only then were we able to be as normal as we were going to get.

We still got together and went out to eat and went dancing – Tammy always liked oldies and we’d be the youngest ones in the room. But in between, there were surgeries and radiation and chemotherapy. We laughed about our lives and jobs and stupid guys. And Tammy helped us laugh at cancer and wigs and turbans. When I went to visit her in the hospital after an only somewhat successful surgery, it was Tammy who made me feel better and not vice versa. But once she got me past the initial shock of what I was seeing, and once she made me realize that it was OK to feel like I did and OK that I could do nothing, she helped me realize that I could help – by telling her stories and dirty jokes and making fun of the nurses and making vaguely pornographic balloon animals from latex gloves.

It was shortly after that surgery that it became clear that there was little else to be done for Tammy. Part of the tumor was inoperable and no amount of chemo or radiation would help it. There were some fundraisers to help pay for some new experimental and herbal type treatments, but it was around this time that Tammy started talking about dying. No one knew what to say or how to react, but we all realized that she was dealing with things the best she could. In the beginning, we all played the “think positive, you’ll get better” game, but eventually we just listened to her and watched her get more fragile and then called each other afterwards and cried.

Tammy’s last birthday was September 23rd, 1991. She was twenty-three.

There was a big birthday party that year – a rented hall, food, cake, gifts and a DJ. So many people came and Tammy was thrilled. The atmosphere was a happy one, but it was almost a desperate happiness. We all knew deep down that we were celebrating more than just her birthday that night – we were celebrating her life. We were happy and sad and confused and angry. But mostly we were happy because Tammy was happy. The DJ played lots of oldies for Tammy and we danced the night away. The very last dance I shared with Tammy was to the song Runaround Sue. To this day when I hear that song, my heart breaks a little. But every September 23rd, I listen to it nonetheless, to remember that night, all of us spinning each other around the dance floor, everyone laughing while, for the couple of minutes while that song played, we forgot what was coming.

It came not long after that night. It came too soon. Years and years too soon. And even though we were prepared for it, we weren’t ready. You’re never ready.

Happy 40th Birthday, Tammy. I hope you’re dancing…

Friday 5: Animals

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First off, I just want to say thanks to you guys for helping me out with the diabetes walkathon. Your generosity means a lot to me. I want to give you a big fat kiss – with tongue! Or, you know, if you’re not into that – a nice, firm handshake and a pat on the back. Regardless, the walk is tomorrow, and between your donations and a couple cash donations that I have, I am almost to my goal. I’m hoping I get there, but if not – it’s still a big boost for a very deserving cause so thanks – you guys are awesome.

Friday 5: Animals

1. What’s the cutest of the small, furry animals?

Puppies. No, kittens. No, chinchillas!

2. What predator impresses you the most?

Raptors of any kind – hawks, eagles, falcons, whatever. They are too cool. I want to be like them – flying around, all free and beautiful and then when I get hungry, just swoop down and snatch up a rabbit or something. Only instead of a rabbit, I’d snatch up a corn dog and a funnel cake.

3. After which animal will you name your professional sports team?

The Sloths. We won’t be particularly competitive or tough, but damn, will we be well rested.

4. What’s an unusual animal that you know a little something about?

The duckbilled platypus. In grade school, we had to do a report on an animal and that was the one I picked. Because hello? Duckbilled Platypus!

5. Your high school probably had some kind of mascot or symbol, but based on your
memories of it, what animal should REALLY have been the emblem?

Hmm. . .I mostly liked school, so I don’t know. There were a lot of dickheads though, so maybe the Cocks. Or the Boozehounds. Is that an animal? Because we drank a lot. Or maybe…let’s see…what animal does a lot of fucking?

This Makes Me Very Uncomfortable

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I have never done this before and I am just putting it out there – no pressure.

On September 20th, I am walking in the Juvenile Diabetes walk. Almost exactly a year ago, my little cousin Ava – then only 5 years old – got very, very sick. For a short time, no one knew what was wrong with her until they tested her for diabetes and then suddenly her life changed dramatically.

I could give you facts and figures about juvenile diabetes, but a google search will get those for you easily. What I would like for you to know is what this disease does to a child and their family.

Since Ava’s diagnosis, she has endured hundreds of insulin shots and thousands of finger pricks. My hope is that someday no child will have to endure either. My friend Hedge can attest personally to the kind of havoc juvenile diabetes wreaks on a child and their family. Her son, Squidward, was diagnosed at just two years old – a baby who had no idea what was happening to him. He was lifeflighted and hospitalized and almost died. To date, he has endured more than 15,000 shots and finger pricks.

The parents of kids with diabetes worry constantly. They worry about the damage being done to their kids’ organs. They worry about what their child is eating when they are not in their sight. they worry about dialysis and transplants and life expectancy. They don’t sleep, because they have to wake up – often multiple times a night – to check their kids’ blood sugar levels.

The kids don’t sleep well, either – imagine having to have your finger pricked or get a shot in the middle of the night. They have parties in school and can’t eat the cookies or candy or birthday cake. They can’t have sleepovers with their friends because their parent isn’t there to check them in the middle of the night. On Halloween they go trick or treating but aren’t allowed to have any of the candy they get. Or they don’t go at all. They need special medicines, because most of the ones out there have sugar in them. They miss school and parties and sporting events and field trips because of illness and doctor’s appointments.

Juvenile diabetes is a debilitating and sometimes deadly disease that affects 3,000,000 people in the US, with 15,000 more children being diagnosed each year. Right now, there is no cure, but we are hoping to change that. So if you feel so inclined, please check out my walk page and donate:


Click here to go to my page

But seriously – please don’t feel pressured or feel bad if you can’t donate. I mean what I say in the title – asking for stuff makes me very uncomfortable. Even as a child, I would no sooner ask for a piece of gum than I would ask for somebody’s firstborn. And I never participate in this kind of thing, simply because I hate to ask for donations.

But when I heard about “Ava’s Team”, I thought about that sweet, smart, beautiful little girl. And I thought about Squidward and I thought about the millions of other kids who are affected by it. And I figured that this time, I would deal with a moment’s discomfort and put it out there. Because that slight discomfort can’t compare to what these kids deal with every single day.

WTF, Dog??

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So the impromptu I-didn’t-know-I-was-having-it party on Saturday was a lot of fun. Only a few of the invitees were able to come and I ended up extending the invitation to a few of my family members and friends, and our neighbors dropped by (no – not crazy the asshole neighbors), and it turned out to be a great time. There was drinking and game-playing and karaoke singing and crazy blond wig wearing and terrible, untalented move-bustin. And good food.

And other than the fact that the dog seems to hate my cousin’s husband, John, for no reason – a good time was had my all. Except by the dog. Because he hates wearing crazy blond wigs almost as much as he hates John. (which, seriously – wtf, Dog? Wigs are fun. And so is John. He’s loved far and wide by dogs and kids alike. And the dog used to love my cousin, but he’s not too wild about her either, now that she’s carrying his spawn. So clearly she has to divorce him now, which is too bad because he’s a nice guy. WTF, Dog??) We had a ton of alcohol left over from my birthday party, so it was a good way to get rid of it. Except that everyone brought something to drink and we somehow have more booze than when we started. Isn’t that just awful? I think I’ll go console myself with a glass of my choice of seven different wines. Or a beer. Or a mojito. Or a daiquiri. Or a rum and coke.

Oh – also – for my birthday, Hedge and Rapunzel gave me a blender, since I was lamenting not having one (I have broken two in the past 6 years by making frozen drinks. And not smoothies – big surprise). So anyway, I inaugurated it Saturday night and was feeling all warm and fuzzy about my friends being so awesome and giving me a gift that clearly shows their love and affection for me (because nothing say love like a delicious frozen alcoholic drink). Until I realized that they were trying to kill me. Yes – my dear friends clearly rigged the blender so it would malfunction and cause my death.

You see, I made a batch of daiquiris – non-alcoholic for my pregnant cousin and the kids. And since they didn’t have any extra liquid (rum) in them and I was too drunk stupid to replace the rum with another liquid – like water – they were very thick. I had to spoon them out rather than pour them. I got drinks my cousin and non-drinking SIL (not my BFF SIL, Weenie – by midnight, she was half passed out on the dog pillow – you guess if she’s a teetotaler) and was trying to spoon the last of it out for the kids when the bottom of the pitcher (with the blades) fell off and landed on my foot. At first, I didn’t realize the magnitude of my injury because it just hurts when something lands on your foot. But then, a split second later, I looked down to see my entire foot covered in blood and a growing puddle of it on the floor. My first thought was, “Holy shit, I cut my foot.” My second thought was “Goddammit, I just cleaned this floor!”

Then, I spotted something on the floor. It was pale pink and toe-shaped and covered in blood. And my next thought was “Oh my God, I cut off my toe!” I sat down to inspect it before I got anyone upset about my toe-ectomy and discovered I hadn’t in fact cut off my toe – it was just a toe-shaped drop of extra-thick daiquiri, which was definitely good news. But the bad news is that my toe was still bleeding like crazy. Everyone was running around like crazy with towels and bandages and Neosporin (except for my faints at the sight of blood friend who expressed her concern from the relative safety of the family room). My non-passed-out-on-the-dog-pillow SIL was insisting that I needed to go to the ER, and all I could think about at this point was that if I had to go to the ER, it would ruin this party.

We eventually got it to stop bleeding, after approxmately 10 paper towels, lots of pressure, 16 feet of gauze, 8 pounds of cotton, and 8 Dora band-aids. Needless to say, I didn’t go to the hospital. Which isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Because even though the current version of the story involves almost bleeding to death, an explosion, a desperate dive to safety, snakes, giant, whirring blades that narrowly missed my carotid artery, and – depending on how hungover I am when I’m telling it – insane ninjas, it really wasn’t that bad. Except for the profuse bleeding. And the ninjas.

I Love You Guys!

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I really do love you guys, but I’m actually referring to the drunken version of “I love you guys.”

You know – the kind where your husband has a surprise party for you for your 40th birthday and you are so excited and touched that everyone came.

And then you drink, and you get all, “OMG, I am so lucky to have these people, they are awesome!

And then you drink some more and you’re like, “You guys rock! I wish you were here EVERY DAY!!”

And then you have another mojito and start with the “I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!”

And then you have yet another mojito and get all, “This is so much fun. We need to do this more often. How about next Saturday? Everyone can come and we’ll have a big girl’s night party and you’ll all stay over and IT’LL BE AWESOME!!!!!

And then you have a couple more drinks and then you pass out go to sleep and then you don’t think about it again.

And then five days later your sister-in-law calls you and asks if you are still on for tomorrow and you’re happy because you were planning on SIL and N(iece)IL coming down for a the night and you say, “Yeah – I was hoping you were still coming!” And then she says, “ALL of us?” And then you start hearing the Psycho shower scene music in your head, because you have no idea who “all of us” entails and have no recollection of inviting anyone except Weenie and Scabs. But you know you get all “I Love You Guys” when you drink and OMG he has a huge family and even with just the girls there are six sisters and countless nieces and niece-in-laws and great nieces and Oh! My! God!

But then you remember that you finally have some room for people in the house and you have been waiting for years for just that so you could entertain, and there is HELLA leftover beer and wine and rum, and they will all bring food, because they don’t know how to go anywhere without gobs of food, and so what if you have to clean the house and all its crevices tonight and tomorrow (and again on Sunday) and know you will have a great time because YOU LOVE THOSE GUYS!!

Friday Five: Orange

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1. What’s your favorite orange-colored food?

Dude – Cheetos.


2. What’s the best way to drink orange juice?

I don’t really drink OJ all that much – it gives me heartburn. But when I do, I like it either a) freshly squeezed and full of pulp, or b) mixed with alcohol.

3. Which candy’s orange-colored pieces taste best?

This is a hard one. I tend to not like orange-flavored candy. Oooo – I know – peach Jolly Ranchers – they are orange-colored, but not orange-flavored! Do they still make peach Jolly Ranchers? OMG – I don’t think they do and now I need some right now! Well, if that’s the case, then I’ll have to go with Jelly Bellys in cantaloupe. No – peach!

4. What are your feelings about orange soda?

I feel that orange soda is not what this country needs and that if we elect orange soda, it will be a terrible mistake and that we will be heading further down the path to destruction that we are currently on as a country. Oh wait – that’s John McCain, not orange soda. Anyway, Um…like John McCain, I don’t like orange soda.

5. When did you last wear an orange item of clothing?

Last week, I wore an orange shirt. I have quite a bit of orange in my warbrobe.