Penguin Poop

Santa delivered this lovely little penguin to The Husband this past Christmas. Yes, there IS a Santa. I have proof!

Proof before the post? Fine. Have it your way (you’re acting really demanding today, by the way).

How I know Santa Claus exists:

When I was 7-ish, and my belief in Santa was waning, I received a sign. Directly from Santa himself. He knows everything, right? He’s got that damn naughty/nice list so I really have to watch myself. He must have known I was losing faith, so he did something about it. On Christmas Eve, we had a fire, as usual, because my mother’s side of the family had been over to celebrate and open some presents. On Christmas morning, I went into the living room and some of the ashes from the fireplace were on the floor. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that a shoe or black-Santa-style-boot (the obvious choice) came down from the chimney, landed in the ashes, and scattered them all over. My parents and brother were as amazed as I was…..and clueless as to the instigator. It was just the four of us in the house. I certainly didn’t do it. My brother was just a toddler….and, frankly, not that bright. My parents both shrugged off any responsibility. Therefore, henceforth, and ergo, it HAD to be Santa. I rest my case.

Now, can we get on to the real topic at hand?? Thank you.

So, The Husband receives this cute little penguin in his stocking FROM SANTA (have I made myself clear?). It pooped little brown candies. We thought it best (and definitely more hilarious) if we waited for TMPCTEL before we put the penguin into action. TMPCTEL came over and brought his parents. It was penguin time! I secretly placed the brown candy in the proper slot and wound the penguin up. It waddled around and pooped the candy out of its little penguin ass. It was side-splitting. Of course, TMPCTEL loved it. What could be funnier to a six-year-old boy than a pooping penguin? For a minute anyway. Once he showed everyone how it worked, and consumed all the candy, the show was over. The magic was gone. No more penguin poop. No more penguin poop hilarity.

Until last night…..

The Husband and I were playing a game with a friend, and related the story of the penguin (no, not a drinking game, as apropos as that may sound). So The Husband told our friend how the toy shit brown candy, but all the candy was gone.

So I said…..wait…for…it……”So now, it doesn’t do shit anymore.” Needless to say, we all cracked up (me especially). I mean, it was like the funniest line of the whole fucking night. You get it, right? It’s a pun.

Sheesh! I guess you had to have been there…..

Have you had a great experience that doesn’t quite translate in the re-telling? Did you tell it anyway at the risk of looking like an idiot?

Have you been there?

 

I Need More Information!

English: Krúpova hoľa, Low Tatras. Information...

Image via Wikipedia

I have gotten myself into some trouble recently because I didn’t get enough information up front.  Sorta like if someone asks if you want to run an errand to the bank with them, and you find out that “the errand” is a bank robbery. OK, maybe not quite like that, but almost.

One recent example was agreeing to dog-sit for some friends on vacation. The request was made back in November for a February trip. Sure! No problem! Happy to help! The only thing I knew for sure was that there would be two dogs. I didn’t know how long the trip would be, and I didn’t ask. Probably just a long weekend, right? Nope. Ten days. Ten days with four dogs in the house. I was glad we could help, really and truly, but ten days is a long time with four dogs who may, or may not, get along. Ten days with four dogs who like to bark at passersby…..frequently. Ten days with four dogs  (+us) in our bed at night. Ten days with four dogs who want to play, need attention, and tended toward jealousy. It was a long ten days.

Sometimes instead of recognizing I need more information, I make assumptions. This tends to cost me money. Not good. I ordered a whole tree’s worth of stationary and business cards. I didn’t like our old email address because it was just too frickin’ long, so I created another one for the stationary order…..before checking if it was available…..or long enough. The stationary was gorgeous! Lovely! Beautifully businesslike! And wrong! Turns out that the email address I created cannot exist because it was too short. The trees made their sacrifice for nothing, and The Husband has decided he will place the order from now on. Smart man.

The problem with not asking for more information is that, once I say yes, I’m stuck. I don’t want to renig….that’s not cool. I hate throwing money away. And I’m not too keen on the surprises I get when I finally find the information I should have obtained in the beginning….prior to dog-sitting commitments and stationary orders.

Here’s my current dilemma. I offered to pay for a course for my daughter…..before checking out the actual cost. Then I found out. Holy moley! That shit is expensive! It costs about five times more than I thought it would (no lie). Checks or credit cards gladly accepted (or left tit/right nut depending on your gender). I’m sure it’s totally worth it, and her life would be changed forever, but I wasn’t prepared to spend that much. Now what?

Anyone wanna run by the bank with me? I need some cash……

Have you found yourself in a sticky situation because you didn’t have enough information? What did you do to remedy this (clearly, this is an area where I could use some suggestions!)?

Have you been there?

 

Let’s Talk!

CommunicationCommunication is key to successful relationships, and talking is one of our primary forms. I have had to learn how to communicate appropriately and effectively. I somehow missed Communication 101 along the way. But, over the years, and mainly because I’ve screwed up sooooo many times, I’ve learned a few things. I didn’t magically acquire these gems; they’ve been passed along by caring friends. No doubt, you’ll recognize yourselves. 😉 In addition to the tips on communication, there is a very important message about fashion. Read on:

Every communication involves three parts: the sender, the receiver, and the message itself. Since the sender and receiver are both human beings (in this instance, anyway), and since human beings come with baggage  that colors perception (whether we like it or not), mis-communication is guaranteed.

Here are some handy-dandy tips to smooth out the rocky road of communication:

  1. It’s cliché, but you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more than you talk. And when you listen, look the receiver in the eyes. Well-endowed women, especially, appreciate this. I know whereof I speak.
  2. “No” is a complete sentence. It’s unnecessary to explain, justify or expound. Many times I’ve gone into a long discourse in order to validate my “no” (which may, or may not, have involved a white lie…or two) and convince the receiver that my “no” was legitimate. I look like a babbling idiot. “Wanna go with me to buy this cute little plaid pants and striped shirt outfit I found the other day?” Trust me, “no” by itself, is sufficient.
  3. If I say something more than once, it’s nagging. Saying the same thing fifteen different ways doesn’t work. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing. It frustrates you and annoys the hell outta the pig. And “once” doesn’t mean once an hour or once a day. It means one time. Period. This goes hand-in-hand with numbers 4 and 5.
  4. If I need to make a point, I try (as in: give it my best shot, with maybe a 50% success rate) to impart my “wisdom” or request in 10 words or less. Tricky proposition, fo sho, but worth the effort. The actual number of words is not the issue. Make your point as clearly and concisely as possible. “I statements” are also a good idea, as in “I’d prefer that you not mix stripes and plaid when we are together in public.” OK….maybe 15 words. The stripes and plaid mix is a real no-no. As in two complete sentences! (see #2)
  5. Another frequent flier: Pick your battles. One way I do this is to ask myself two questions: How important is it? Would I rather be right or happy? I invariably choose happy. Trust me, it is a choice.
  6. Avoid superlatives like “always” and “never” especially when paired with “you.” Both are hackle-raisers and put the receiver on the defensive. (It pisses you off, right?) You always wear that godawful outfit. Always? Really? 24/7 every day of your life? Nope.
  7. Phrases that will end a stalemate or thwart unsolicited advice: You may be right, I could be wrong, and I don’t know. These are golden — really!  “You would look so pretty if you put that striped shirt with the plaid pants.”  You may be right (but don’t you dare do it!). It ends the I’m right/you’re wrong merry-go-round in a timely but non-combative manner.
  8. Almost every decision can be postponed 24 hours. There’s no need to lay down the law in the heat of the moment. Unless, of course, someone is bleeding profusely. Or if bad fashion sense is involved.
  9. Stay in the present moment and within the present discussion…..not two years, three months, and five days ago, when he/she wore that hideous plaid/stripes ensemble…in public.
  10. Always communicate from a place of kindness, compassion and understanding in your words, tone, and body language. Tone and body language speak volumes. Make sure your words match your unspoken messages. Telling someone you love their plaid/stripes combo while covering your eyes and holding a cross in front of you is definitely sending a mixed message. Which one would you trust? ‘Nuf said.

Have you had communication issues? Do you find that messages (sent and received) are often misunderstood? Have you needed some handy-dandy tools?

Have you been there?

St. Juanita: Patron Saint of My Kitchen

I look weird but it was probably just jubilation.

Before you go any further, if you haven’t met Juanita, you MUST do so or none of this shit will make sense!  Some of it might , whether you read it or not, but you’d be totally missing out on your intro to St. Juanita herself.

You’re back? Cool! Isn’t Juanita AWESOME? Yeah, The Bloggess is OK too, but Juanita totally rocks.

Which is why I had to buy a Juanita apron. Two actually: one for me, and one for my friend.

Kat McCullough is owner of the ever-glorious Parachute Promise which has the most amazing way to express your gratitude. You MUST visit (or I will hunt you down, like the dog you are, and give you a very firmly worded comeuppance). Go now and come back. We’ll both all feel better. www.parachutepromise.com in case you need the URL itself.

Hey! Welcome back! Whadja get? Something cool, I know. Isn’t Parachute Promise the best site ever?

In spite of Kat’s brilliance in business (see www.parachutepromise.com) and photography (also see www.parachutepromise.com), the kitchen isn’t one of them. She’s trying, bless her pea-pickin’ li’l heart, but I’m afraid she’s more “challenged” than most. Which is why she was the proud recipient of the Juanita apron. It’s especially funnily ironic (or ironically funny….I get ’em confused) for Kat because she’s never even tried to make a souffle.

I, however, have made a souffle.

Way back in the olden days, when microwaves first appeared on the consumer market, I bought one. It was HUGE and cost about $700 (that is NOT an exaggeration — that shit was expensive!). It came with a cookbook which I needed since I had never cooked in a microwave. And I wanted to actually cook in it, since I’d spent that small fortune on it, instead of just reheating shit I’d cooked the regular way.

I came upon a souffle recipe. I happen to love souffles. My sweet Oneida made the most gorgeous souffles you’d ever hope to eat — light, fluffy and a true work of art. I thought a souffle would be the perfect thing for my new oven, so much so that people would probably beg me to make a souffle for them in their new $700 microwave. I was going to be the new Queen of Microwaved Souffles!

I beat the egg whites into perfect peaks as Oneida taught me. I ever-so-gently folded in the cheese sauce. I placed this magnificent creation into my souffle dish (yes, there are dishes especially for souffles. The fact that I know this is further proof of my Queenliness) and set it in the microwave to begin the cooking process.

The recipe called for 50% power, so I set it accordingly.

For those of you who use nothing but 100% power levels on your microwave, let me clue you in to what happens (in my limited knowledge of all things scientific). At 100% power, the oven  cooks 100% of the time; at 50% power, it cycles on at 100% for however-many-seconds, and cycles off for the same amount of time, and continues to do so in equal intervals until your food is cooked. Actually, this may not really be the way it works, but it works like this in my mind, which is all that really matters. To me, anyway, and it’s my post.

So, my souffle is in the oven, set at 50%. Since this contraption was new, and since I’m a little strange, I watched it cook. (I’ll probably get some form of eyeball cancer because I stood in front of it, staring. But it was totally worth it.)

This is what I saw: when it was cooking at 100% the souffle expanded…..at 50% it fell.  100%….up, 50%….down, 100%….up, 50%….down….  It looked like it was growing with each cycle, then “resting” in the intervals. OMG! IT’S ALIVE! <<<<< CLICK IT!

It wasn’t remotely on par with Oneida’s souffles, but it was edible….sorta….and a little chewy (definitely un-souffle-y).

I may try another souffle someday, but not in the microwave. If it’s awful, St. Juanita will share my angst. And then we’ll order pizza.

Have you experienced cooking disasters? Did you have Dominos on speed dial, just in case? Have you blatantly over-promoted a friend’s site in a completely unrelated blog post, just ’cause you could? It’s a special day for her (pssssttt…site launch of, you guessed it! Parachute Promise! 😉

Have you been there?

The Only Bright Star In My Dark Night

Disc Golf

Disc Golf (Photo credit: battlecreekcvb)

The Husband suggested we play a little video disc golf tonight. And I, being the smart ass I am, suggested we play on the snowy course because he tends to have a hard time on the snowy course. “Hard time” for The Husband is a relative term. He excels at everything, which is incredibly annoying. And it makes me want to stomp his face in whenever we compete.

Sadly, he wasn’t the one who had a difficult time tonight. I started out well — one stroke under. He caught up and we were even throughout most of the nine holes. Until the last one…..

I grabbed my disc, certain I would surpass him on this, the final hole. I was confident, secure in my abilities, and ready to kick some ass! I threw…..it was beautiful…..it headed toward the pin……and right over the side of that motherfucking mountain.

Maybe I can magically throw it up over the side of the mountain and into the basket. Sure I can! That’s the ticket!

Shaking off this disastrous turn of affairs, I picked up my disc and THREW! And I threw AGAIN! (By this time, The Husband is laughing hysterically…..naturally.) And AGAIN! I couldn’t get that disc up over that hill to save my soul. The Husband is now turning purple from laughter.

Finally, another throw or two later, I made it! Glory hallelujah! Until it slid on the ice  back over the side……

My avatar fell to the ground in ignominy and disgrace.

I felt her pain.

The Husband laughed so hard is cheeks hurt. I asked (with hope and great interest) if it was painful. “Very,” he said.

*sigh* The only bright star in my dark night……..

Have you been in a competition of dire importance, and everything went wrong?

Have you been there?

A Tantalizing Tease (I hope!)

What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
~Lao Tzu~

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
~Henry Ford~

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves otherwise we harden.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
~George Bernard Shaw~

Can you guess? Any ideas? Have you ever dropped intentionally vague hints to promote curiosity and interest?

Have you been there?

Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama

My bike and snazzy helmet

I wasn’t always a Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama. In fact, it scared the hell outta me! I had to grow into it. Luckily, I did!

My motorcycle experiences began well over a decade ago. I was dating a guy who had a bike and I loved, loved, loved riding on the back. Bike Guy went away and took his bike with him. By the way, he’s back in the starring role of The Husband, but that story is another post.

Since I enjoyed riding so much, but had no guy to ride behind, I took matters into my own hands. I was determined to learn to ride on my own — no guy necessary! I took the motorcycle safety course and spent a HOT weekend in July (required clothing: boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirt. Trust me, it’s waaaaay too much for a Texas summer). I dropped that little 250cc bike twice! Once when I was practically at a standstill. Soooo embarrassing (and more than a little painful to my body as well as my ego). But I’m a stubborn cuss and persevered through the class. My plan was to buy a used bike  (someone else was gonna ride it home), and I received lots of well-meaning advice from my biker friends about the size and type of bike I should get. My pea brain simply couldn’t process it all and make a decision. If you’re my age-ish, picture the robot from Lost in Space flailing his corrugated tube arms screaming “Danger, Claire Lopez! Too much information! Cannot process!”  (This is a super secret peek into the convolutedness-ness of my brain. You have been warned!) So I procrastinated. Shortly, the money I’d put aside went away — poof! — like extra money tends to do.

Fast forward a decade, more or less…..

Once Bike Guy, a.k.a. The Husband, was back in my life, it was time to re-up. I spent another weekend (in the summer again…what was I thinking?!?) re-learning the intricacies of riding a motorcycle. I was more comfortable on the bike in this session (I didn’t drop it! YAY!) and passed with flying colors. We already owned a 750, so my next challenge was to make the leap from the 250 to the 750. BIG leap for me. Huger than huge. My feet barely touched the ground so we lowered the bike. I continued to struggle, but I gave it my best shot (stubborn cuss, remember?). I simply could NOT get comfortable on that bike. However, The Husband shared that it was his fondest wish to be able to ride alongside me….on my own bike. No pressure, right? Riding that huge, heavy 750 scared the shit outta me. I was ready to give it up and stick with riding on the back.

The Husband’s solution, brilliant man that he is? Buy a used 250cc and ride it until I was comfy cozy on my own. I wasn’t sure if it would take a week, a year or a decade but it was the perfect solution for me. Granted, when I was on the freeway, I was sorta batted around (they are relatively light bikes), but I continued to ride (mostly in residential areas). The Husband devised practice routes, with him in the lead, that became progressively longer. SUCCESS! It wasn’t long before I was zipping around town on that little 250.

I ran across an old friend who was selling her bike — my beloved 750 — which I bought. It came with bags, my snazzy helmet, Cobra pipes and lots of other cool accessories. It’s UT burnt orange — not my favorite color, but since I’m a TexasEx, it worked. Go ‘Horns!

Now I love to ride. I love the smells, the feeling of the air around me, the freedom! The BEST thing about riding my bike has nothing to do with my surroundings, the bike itself, or even my snazzy helmet. It’s about conquering my fear and feeling empowered. It’s about becoming more authentically me (even at 54, I’m still a work in progress). It makes me feel like Rose’s alter-ego, Vicki. Invincible! Unconquerable! Self-confident and fully alive! Trust me, it’s awesome!

Hey, you! I need a name for my bike. Any suggestions?

Rose a.k.a. Vicki a.k.a. Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama (me!)

Have you conquered a fear and reaped the rewards? How did you feel? Do you ride? Let’s go!!

Have you been there?

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