Thursday, January 31, 2013


Today’s Theme Thursday theme is blogging and I’m cheating a tiny bit and combining 2 topics in one…blogging overall and my first blogging award.

See, I’m kind of new to this blogging scene. My page says that I started in 2009 but that’s not really true. I set up the blog in 2009 but I really just started lurking around the blogosphere then. I didn’t tell anyone about my blog, I rarely posted anything, instead I peppered my friends and family with emails that should have been blog entries. Then, in 2012, I started writing more, interacting more, and reaching out to other bloggers—who have taught me more in 4 months than I had learned in the past 4 years. One of those is Jenn from Something Clever 2.0 who hosts Theme Thursday and who recently awarded me my first blog award.

That award is The Liebster Award.

The Details: The Liesbster award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support each other.  Here are the rules:

1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them about the award.
5. No tag backs.

11 Random Facts:

1. I have a weird thing about eyeballs…I’m like Rachel in Friends, I freak out when I go to the eye doctor…I can’t even put drops in my own eyes. About 10 years ago, I had a really disgusting case of Pink Eye and every night I had to drive over to my parents’ house and have my mom put the drops in…which is embarrassing enough but I needed those drops twice a day. So, in the mornings, I had to have the English department secretary do it. This is slightly mitigated by the fact that the secretary in question was also my godmother, but still EMBARRASSING.

2. I also have a weird thing about germs…double-dipping, sharing the same glass, other people touching my food—ICK!

3. In spite of 1 & 2, I always thought I was easy-going. Then, Opie and I started dating and he mentioned that I seemed to get unreasonably upset about things. It was my only complaint about him, “He doesn’t think I’m easy-going!” I told a few people. It took my priest to set me straight and let me know that, apparently, no one really thinks I’m easy-going. “You should have asked me,” he said cheerfully. “I would have told you, you’ve got lots of great qualities but easy-going isn’t one of them.”

4. Speaking of Opie, we actually met in college. We even went out one time and he wanted to go out again but I was still deep in my “philanthropic dating” phase and wasn’t at all interested in someone nice and emotionally stable. I mean, wake up every morning secure in my relationship, knowing that I am loved? Dullsville!

5. I was a cranberry in my grade school Thanksgiving play…which was enough to convince me I didn’t have a huge future in acting.

6. I’ve been to the Oval Office. One of my mom’s best friends is married to a Secret Serviceman; when I was about 7 we went to visit them in Washington DC. Frank took us all over the city, showing us the sights…and, because little kids have strange priorities, what I thought was cool then was the fact that we didn’t have to wait in line anywhere, we just got to walk in with Frank. What I think is cool now is the fact that, since the president was out of the country, we got to go see The Oval Office.

7. I’ve set a Guiness World Record…most people dressed as Superman at the same time. Long story…suffice it to say my friend Eric and I go on strange vacations every year and once we went to the Annual Superman Convention in Metropolis, Illinois. It was hysterical…you can read about it here.

8. I went skydiving on a dare…this was back when I was young and single and a little crazier than I am today. It was fun but so scary that I bit through my bottom lip on the way down.

9. I love to cook but I hate to measure. This has caused some notable catastrophes (the first time I made milk gravy for Opie, it was basically a ‘meat flan.’ He was kind enough to eat it anyway, chunks and all). It’s also led to some delicious desserts…but, with the whole ‘no measuring’ thing, my creations rarely turn out the same way twice.

10. I have an interest in amateur ghost hunting…on those vacations with Eric that I mentioned above, we’ve gone to several haunted houses. Some of those (like The Lizzie Borden House) were fairly uneventful. Some, like The Villisca, Iowa Axe Murder House, scared the pants off me.

11. If there were one talent I wish I had, it would be singing…I love to sing but I only sound good in my car, when I’m alone. When someone else gets in, it messes up the acoustics and suddenly I sound like a cat being run over.

Jen’s 11 Questions For Me:

1. What is your pet peeve? Oh, geez, this list is embarrassingly long (see what I mean about not being laid back?) It drives me crazy when people honk at me in traffic (even though I know I'm not a great driver), when people cut in line, when people are deliberately rude, when they talk in church, when they talk on the phone in loud voices in public places....

2. If you had to have the same breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, alcoholic beverage and non-alcoholic beverage every day for the rest of your life, what would they be? (Calories don’t count.): This was actually easy, as long as the calories don’t count

Breakfast: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and a glass of milk—specifically, Krispy Kreme original with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. My husband makes a face whenever I say this because he thinks they’re too sweet. I say there’s no such thing.

Lunch: Homemade Pizza, cheese.

Dinner: Fettucini Alfredo with extra Parmesan cheese and garlic bread…and maybe a salad so I can pretend it’s nutritious.

Snack: Popcorn with lots of butter and salt

Dessert: My mom’s homemade English Toffee. She only makes it around Christmas time and that’s probably lucky since I throw that stuff down like there’s no tomorrow…In fact, I’m pretty sure the secret ingredient is black tar heroin.

Alcoholic Beverage: Merlot in copious amounts.

Non-Alcoholic Beverage: Diet Coke

3. If you had to be an animal, what would you be? Bird…I want to fly!!

4. What’s your favorite book? These I have to categorize because there’s far too many of them: Favorite Childhood Book: Peter Pan. Favorite Mystery: Hot Money by Dick Francis Favorite Fantasy: Wolf King by Bridget Woods Favorite American Classic: To Kill A Mockingbird Favorite English Classic: Beowulf…I could go on and on.

5. What is the weirdest food you’ve ever tried? Not too many weird foods in my life, I’m boring with my food choices…I had calamari once – YUCK. It was like eating a giant rubber band.

6. What did you do as a kid, that your kid(s) better not try? I have to plead the fifth on this one because my nieces read my blog and I already get in enough trouble for filling their heads with questionable content…(Side note to Haley and Abby—I was a CONSTANT DELIGHT to Grandma and Grandpa…boys are icky, parties are boring, you should stay home on the weekends and study).

7. Who is your favorite superhero? When I was a kid, I totally wanted to be Wonder Woman…that’s me in my Wonder Woman pjs one Christmas…I also had Wonder Woman underoos but I’m obviously not posting pictures of me wearing THAT. As I got older, I became a fan of Phoenix from X-Men because she’s got awesome super powers…but there’s no way I’d pick Cyclops over Wolverine.

8. Without Googling, name one of your congressmen. I sent one of our senators, Tom Colburn, an email just last week about the new gun control legislation…since this is Oklahoma (aka Gunville) I feel my opnions might have fallen on deaf ears

9. What color are your fingernails and toenails right now? Bright red…they’re almost always bright red. In fact, when Opie and I got married a year and a half ago, my manicurist was practically in a state of despair because I refused to go with the traditional French manicure and instead insisted on my signature red…I had to so they’d match my shoes.

10. Where would you like to live, assuming money is no object and you could bring everyone you love with you? Honestly, since right now I live so far from most of the people I love (except Opie, of course!), I can’t pick a specific place…all I want right now is to live near everyone I love…someday…

11. What was the last concert you went to? Before I left St. Louis, I went to see my friend Chris Wilson play saxophone with his band The In? He’s with Fat Pocket now and if you’re in the St. Louis area, you should check them out here.

My 11 Questions – and remember, I was an English teacher for YEARS so “and please explain why” should be implied

1. What household chore do you hate the most?
2. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
3. What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?
4. What do you miss most about being a kid?
5. What story does your family always tell about you?
6. At what age did you consider yourself an adult?
7. What’s one thing you wish you could “un-know”?
8. Where would you like to go on a deam vacation?
9. What is your first memory of being really excited?
10. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
11. What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

And now for the hard part, picking 11 other bloggers. Not because I don’t follow and/or admire other bloggers but because—as I mentioned above—I’m one of the newest bloggers I know! Plus, I can’t always figure out how many followers people have…if I nominated you and you have over 200 followers—or you’ve already been nominated and I missed it—sorry! Here goes:

Mommy Unmuted
Mom With Her Running Shoes On
Cloudy With A Chance of Wine
This is Mommyhood
Kissing The Frog
Seriously Kate
You Know It Happens At Your House Too
Rachael’s Insane Rants and Bizarre Musings
Twins Happen
Chi Town Mommy Mayhem

Check out the blogs above and check out other (probably more on topic!) posts at:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name

It’s Finish The Sentence Friday…well, to be honest, that was yesterday but I’ve been moving a little slowly this week—I haven’t even done the post for the award I got—so let’s just pretend I got finished on time (and be glad the link is still open!).  In any case, this week’s sentence is “When I was younger, I tried…”

Here’s my contribution:

When I was younger, I tried to get everyone to call me Kimberly instead of Kim…but I wasn’t assertive enough until I was much older.

Which most people probably think is silly…Kimberly, Kim what’s the difference? 

And that’s kind of a long story…a story that started when I was 5 years old and desperately wanted a cat. Unfortunately, the fact that I—and my whole family—are all wildly allergic to cat fur created an insurmountable hurdle.  I was devastated…and my grandmother decided to console me with the book One Kitten For Kim.  Except she clearly didn’t look at the book very closely:

 Notice anything odd about Kim? Anything that might upset a 5 year old Kim who desperately wanted a kitten?

Like the fact that the Kim in the book IS A BOY??!!

Which was a crushing blow to my self-identity….a boy’s name.  I had a BOY’S NAME.  Clearly, I was doomed to a life of androgyny and social exile.

Then, to make matters worse, I made one of the classic blunders: I confided in my brothers.

Now don’t get me wrong, my two brothers are good people.   They’re kind, compassionate, supportive…

At least they are NOW.

But at the time they were kids.  And BOY kids at that.  So when I said, in near hysteria, “Mom and Dad gave me a BOY’S name!”  They very helpfully explained that this was because when I was born Mom and Dad had really wanted a boy.

“Who’d want a girl?”  One of them asked.

“No one!”  The other affirmed.

(It is interesting to note that both of my brothers now maintain that this event never took place and turn the conversation to the time I told the younger one that we had found him under a bridge living with trolls…was everyone this mean to their siblings or were we just warped?)

Anyway, this revelation was enough to push me over into full blown hysterics.  I ran sobbing to my mom and started screaming about my boy’s name and how they didn’t want me and so on.

I think it goes without saying that I was a little high strung.

Luckily, my mom had one of those perfect parenting moments.  “I don’t know why you’re so upset,” she said.  “Your name is Kimberly not Kim.”

The fact that no one really called me Kimberly occurred to me but was just a new target for my obsessive personality.  It became a personal mission to get people to start calling me Kimberly instead.

It took 13 years.

Because when I was younger, I wasn’t that assertive.  I was a little too worried about people liking me, a little too worried about offending other people…so, I’d say “You know, I really prefer Kimberly but you know, whatever.”

It wasn’t until college that I got pushy about it, insisting on Kimberly instead of Kim.  And it worked.   Which was just fuel to the crazy fire...By the time I graduated and joined “the real world” I was flat out obnoxious about it, correcting people, pretending not to hear when I was hit with a “drive by Kimming”

A little over the top, I know.  But I couldn’t help it because, after all, Kim is a boy’s name.


For other childhood stories, click the link below:
Finish the Sentence Friday


Friday, January 18, 2013

The Bait and Switch

It’s Finish The Sentence Friday again (see link at the bottom of the page) and this week’s sentence is  “The last time I went on vacation…”

But I’m cheating a tiny bit and adding a couple of explanatory phrases before I start my story “The last time I went on vacation with my entire immediate family AND my husband BEFORE we were married, things were a hilarious disaster.”

See, even though we’re all grown up and out on our own, my 2 brothers , their families, and I all go on an annual vacation with my parents.  The year in question, 2010,  Opie and I had been dating awhile, things were getting serious but we weren’t yet engaged.  Still, my parents liked him and decided to invite him along.

And who wouldn’t say yes to a free vacation—particularly since we were going to Jamaica?!  He made immediate arrangements to take off work for a week and a half and come with us.

What he didn’t realize was that this was a total bait and switch vacation.

We offered him Jamaica…but if you remember watching the news in 2010, you might remember a little story that started with the line “Over 40 Dead In The Streets of Kingston!”

And the thing about drug wars is that they really put the kibosh on my family’s vacation plans…my parents are unreasonably sensitive about taking their children and especially their grandchildren to a place where drug dealers are stalking each other in the streets.


So, where did we end up?

The Wisconsin Dells.

We offered Opie a fabulous trip to Jamaica and ended up in The Wisconsin Dells.

It’s a miracle he didn’t sue us for fraud.

And now let me turn my attention to our no-star accommodations.  My parents had asked friends and family about a good place to stay—unfortunately, the recommended place was booked solid.  So, they decided to get a place on the same street.  Thinking that it would be of similar quality.

It wasn’t.

This was the view from my room:

Which probably doesn’t seem that bad until you take a closer look and realize that yes, there is a dirty disgusting mattress leaning against the shed just a few feet from the playground.

There isn’t enough ewwww to express how gross that was.   A situation not helped by the fact that when my dad asked the front desk for an ice bucket, they gave him a small plastic bag.  And when my mom let the custodial staff know that the trash in her room was still full of junk from the previous guest, the guy actually said “There’s a dumpster out back,” like she was making an unreasonable request.

If you know my mom at all, you know she DID NOT haul the leftover trash out…and I’m pretty sure she made the guy cry.

But my family didn’t care that we weren’t in the place we had really wanted to be, we just cared that we were all together…we had a great time.  We went to waterparks, we went to amusement parks, we went out to eat…we even did the cheesy “everyone dresses in personalized matching t-shirts for a day” thing.

Don’t hate—I buy the t-shirts every year and the whole point is that it’s cheesy and kitsch and completely unlike anything any of us would wear in our real lives.

Then my parents decided to up the ante and convinced us we should have one of those Old Time Photos taken…you know, one where we all dress up in period costumes and pose in an appropriate background.

But my mom took me aside and awkwardly suggested that, since Opie and I weren’t married or even engaged yet that, maybe, you know….

“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “He knows it’s a family picture.  He’s not going to feel left out if he’s not included.”

And all would have been fine…except no one explained this to my 5 year old nephew.

While we were all bustling around the shop, he tugged on Opie’s sleeve and asked “Why aren’t you in the picture?”

And, because Opie had next to no experience with children, he decided the best course of action would be to just ignore the comment and go about his business.

Which, as anyone who has dealt with a 5 year old knows, only convinces the kid you are either a little stupid or a little deaf.  Seth tugged harder on his arm and shouted each word as a separate sentence “WHY. AREN’T. YOU. IN. THE. PICTURE?!”

And Opie fumbled around, mumbling about how it was a family picture, and he wasn’t family, and it wasn’t a big deal, he wasn’t upset.

But Seth waved that nonsense off…after all, he had already seen right to the heart of the matter and wanted to make sure that he cleared things up for poor, slow, Opie.  “If you would MARRY Aunt Kimberly,” he said.  “You could be in the picture!”

Then, when Opie—a little wild around the eyes—related the story to my brother and I, my brother patted him on the shoulder and said sweetly, “It’s so easy, a five year old figured it out.”

Which is when I kind of wished I was related to other people…because these are the kind of things that happen when you vacation with my family!
Check out other FTSF posts at:
Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Allison Hiding In A Claire

This Thursday’s Theme Thursday topic is Which Breakfast Club Character Are you? And this one was tough for me…which is surprising because I love, love, LOVED that movie…I’ve probably seen it 150 times….I can get still get all fired up thinking of horrible Principal Vernon…man, I hated that guy when I first saw the movie. Then, years later, when I became a high school teacher myself and started dealing with a bunch of smart ass kids, I hated him even more.

Because there’s nothing worse than a teacher or principal who is burnt out and doesn’t like kids…I only met one or two of those when I was teaching; most of my colleagues loved kids, loved their jobs, loved making a difference.

But I know how much damage 1 bad teacher can do….and if you interacted with one of those, I’m sorry. Hopefully, you had enough good ones to make up.

Except, none of that answers the question: Which character are you?

And I think I was 2…on the inside I felt like the weird, neurotic basket case. I liked to write, I liked comic books and superheroes and I read everything I could get my hands on. And I worried and got worked up and generally felt like a basket case on a regular basis.

But on the outside I was definitely the Princess….This was me in high school:
(Side note: I wish big hair would come back in style because that’s the one thing these curls do easily!)

Anyway, I wasn’t Prom Queen but my best friend was runner up for Homecoming Queen. And I was on dance team and student council…I wore a little too much make up and I cared a little too much what other people thought of me (soooo glad I grew out of that!) but I think I was nice to people and I never intentionally hurt anyone's feelings or tried to exclude them.

But the main reason I think I was the Princess is because I was hopelessly, endlessly drawn to the John Benders of the world…the ones who are misunderstood, a little broken, and hard to reach. The ones who needed to be saved from themselves…philanthropic dating, you might call it…

Which probably explains why it took me so long to get married…I had to find a Johnny who had just enough Andy to love an Allison hiding inside a Claire.

For other Breakfast Club posts, check out


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Hidden Danger of Decorating

Putting away Christmas decorations was slightly more life-threatening than usual this year.

I mean, there’s always a bit of risk involved—climbing stepladders, carrying heavy boxes up and down the stairs while your insane cat tries to see how many times he can run between your legs, that sort of thing. 

But those are hazards I’m relatively used to and can prepare for…unlike the unexpected peril that reared its ugly head earlier today when I dropped an ornament on the floor in the living room.  One miniature Christmas ball roughly the size and shade of a red pretzel M&M.

Which probably doesn’t seem that dangerous…until you realize how fond—and how possessive—my dog Peek-A-Boo is of anything that could possibly be food.  He snatched it up and began sneaking out of the room in his famous “Pay no attention to the dog behind the curtain” trot.  Luckily, he was more focused on escaping with his prize than immediately eating it so I was able to grab him before he could bite down and hurt himself.

And that wasn’t the really dangerous part because, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, Peek is old and sick and not much of a fighter anymore.   I got the ornament out of his mouth, put it on the writing desk, and went back to packing boxes—completely oblivious to the threat I had just unleashed.

Until about forty-five minutes later when I took a break…and got myself a delicious handful of leftover red and green pretzel M&Ms.

Which I also put down on the writing desk.

Everyone see where I’m going with this?  I put a handful of red and green pretzel M&Ms down next to a GLASS ball the size and color of a red pretzel M&M.

Then, moments later, I threw a glass ornament that had been IN MY DOG’S MOUTH into MY OWN MOUTH.

And I didn’t even realize it until I—unlike Peek—chomped down, crushed the stupid thing, and filled my mouth with about a thousand tiny pieces.

I did NOT handle this well.

Of course, if you think I was upset, you should have seen poor Opie. There he was, whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon reading the hockey news, when his wife started shrieking about eating ground glass.

Have I mentioned that I’m not always calm in a crisis situation?

In any case, he came running and I began spitting out glass and chocolate and red candy coating that looked suspiciously like blood (which freaked me out even more) then I rinsed my mouth out as much as I could.

Then, I made the biggest mistake of all.

I researched “eating glass” on the Internet…which, as anyone who has ever researched any health-related issue on the Internet knows, is a terrible idea.  The Internet is NOT filled of charming anecdotes of how someone ate a piece of ground glass and magically produced a pearl…instead, it uses words like “rupture” and “internal bleeding” and my personal favorite “peritonitis.”  Which, in turn, makes me use words like “doom” and “imminent death!”

At which point Opie begins throwing around words like “overreacting” and “hypochondriac.”  But only in his head because he is not a stupid man.

To be fair, the odds that I actually swallowed a piece of glass large enough to do damage are pretty small.  And the odds that I will be contracting peritonitis are even smaller…but I have never been one to let facts stand in the way of a really good panic attack so I’m sure that I will be developing the symptoms shortly—whether I have peritonitis or not.

So, just in case, let me leave you with this final thought: If you haven’t put away your Christmas decorations yet, be careful…it can be deadly.

For a few other laughs this morning, check out:


Friday, January 11, 2013

Kimbo Started The Fire

First Sentence Friday again and this week’s sentence is: One of the most embarrassing things I ever did was:

And that is a LONG list to choose from…but the first one that jumped to mind was this:

One of the most embarrassing things I ever did was…set the high school on fire. Well, not completely. But sort of…and it wasn’t ALL my fault.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. High school librarians, while very smart, are not omniscient. If you, for example, say to them "Hey, do you think I can put this cup in the microwave?" and they reply "Sure, why not?" This is not a guarantee of the cup's safe experience in the microwave.

2. If you put a cup in the microwave that is NOT microwave safe (unbeknownst to you and the librarians), set the microwave for 2 minutes and walk away to go get a packet of tea, that cup can quite easily catch on fire.

3. If you see the cup on fire, yell the f word and then open the microwave, that does NOT make the fire go out.

4. If you set a fire in the microwave at a SCHOOL, which apparently has the most sensitive smoke detectors ON THE PLANET, the fire alarm will go off throughout the whole building.

5. If you call the building secretary and assure her that the fire in the microwave is out and not a
concern AFTER THE ALARM HAS ALREADY GONE OFF, that does NOT mean everyone can stay in the building. The fire department, you see, has already been notified and is on the way to the building with full lights and sirens to rescue all the children from the flames. Everyone must still exit.

6. If there is an emergency evacuation of the building during LUNCH, the administrators of the building find this slightly troublesome to deal with...this is definitely NOT the time to joke around and say things like "We always said we should see if we're really prepared for an emergency...heh, heh,'re welcome...heh, heh, heh."

7. When you return to the building, after having caused this disaster AND ruined the microwave and your favorite mug in one fell swoop, it is difficult, MAKE THAT BORDERLINE IMPOSSIBLE, to find someone to make you a cup of tea...even if your poor little nerves are so frayed you really need one.

For other more embarrassing stories, hopefully much worse than mine, click the link below:


Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The World According To Peek-A-Boo

Everything Important I Learned in Life, I Learned From My Chihuahua...

This is him, Peek-A-Boo, my long-haired Chihuahua who is convinced he is a person and therefore exempt the limits we have imposed on our other pets. AKA the most spoiled dog in the universe.

So, in a very large nutshell, here are my Chihuahua Life Lessons

1. Sometimes it’s ok to lie
Ok, let me just get this out there: I litter box trained my Chihuahua. Most people I know think this is weird; I personally think it’s genius (if I do say so myself!) At least for a chihuahua…I mean, if you had a big dog, that would probably end up being a disgusting mess…but Peek is a tiny little squirt of a dog. Cleaning his litterbox wasn’t any more disgusting than cleaning a cat box. And it meant I didn’t have to go out in the middle of the night, or when it was really cold….or, let’s be honest, when the vodka bottle sang its siren song a little louder than usual.

My training methods were simple: I bribed him with food. He began making “I have to go to the bathroom” moves, I put him in the litter box, and if he did his business there, gave him a treat. It didn’t take him long to figure out the connection.

And then he began to lie.

He began running to the litter box any time he wanted a treat—and he wanted a LOT of treats. He’d run over, jump in, and start barking until I came over to investigate. When I refused to give him a treat—on the grounds that he hadn’t done anything—he would even lift his leg. He wouldn’t pee, he’d just raise his leg in the air and bark a few more he was saying “Listen, treat lady, I’m going through the motions here—throw a dog a bone!”

A situation not helped by the fact that I usually gave in.

2. It’s Important To Express Your Emotions
 Considering my training methods (and the number of treats I gave Peek for “looking so darn cute”), it should come as no shock to anyone that he got a little chubby. To be perfectly honest, chubby might be an understatement. Fatty-boombalatty, as round as he was tall, el porko dog might be a touch more accurate.

Which the vet finally felt compelled to point out. “He needs to lose 2 pounds,” he said sternly during one of our annual checkups.

“Two pounds is NOTHING,” I retorted.

“It’s 25% of his entire body weight!’ The vet snapped back. “It would be like if I told you that you had to lose 25 pounds.”

Which, honestly, was a really kind analogy on his part.

Anyway, I started Peek on diet dog food the next day. He hated it. And to make sure I knew how much he hated it, he made a huge production of going over to the litter box and spitting mouthfuls of the new dog food inside. As if to say, “This stuff tastes like shit.”

Clearly, it was a battle of wills…and, because I understand how awful diet food can be, it was a battle he won. I switched him back to his old food, gave him half the usual serving and then filled his bowl with green beans. It took a little longer that way but it worked.

3. Money Is No Object
About 2 ½ years ago, Peek collapsed after his yearly shots. We went to the vet, had his annual check up, and as we were walking to the car, he collapsed in the parking lot. Since I am not the type of person who handles a crisis well, I picked him up and ran screaming back into the office. In retrospect, it was a lot like an episode of ER—a couple of vets came shooting out of different offices, they grabbed him out of my arms and I couldn’t stop shrieking insane orders like “You fix this right now, you understand me? Fix my dog!” Then, when they wouldn’t let me in the exam room, I called my finace Opie and basically started hyperventilating.

I bet that was lovely for the ten or twelve other patients in the office at the time.

In any case, I learned later that he had had some sort of reaction to one of the shots and his heart had stopped. They did manage to revive him but suggested I take him to a canine cardiologist to get to the bottom of the heart issue.

That’s right, a canine cardiologist.

And don’t feel bad if you didn’t even know there was such a thing; I had to tell my mom 3 times before she would believe that they existed and that I was going to take Peek in.

 “What does Opie think of all this?” she asked.

I had no I decided it would probably be a good idea if I called him and discussed the financial aspect of this situation…since we were getting married and combining finances, I said, we should probably come to some sort of agreement about how much we were willing to spend to keep one middle-aged dog alive.

“Ok,” he agreed.—sounding surprised that I was being so rational.“That’s probably a good idea.”

“I think five thousand,” I said firmly. “What do you think?”

And, to his credit, he didn’t immediately hang up. “Is it going to be five thousand?” He asked.

“I don't know,” I said. “I didn’t ask. Because I don’t care.”

“Let’s just wait and see what the cardiologist says,” he decided bravely.

And it wasn’t five thousand…but it wasn’t cheap…but I still don’t care.

4. Size Doesn’t Matter
When we got married, Opie and I worried about how his half-Rottweiler, Bubba, would get along with Peek.  Especially since Bub is about 7 times the size of Peek…which would matter if Peek realized that he, himself, is a dog. He doesn’t. He thinks he’s a grumpy old man in a fur suit. I mean, he’s glad I got him a dog…but he wants to make sure that he runs a tight ship. And his first rule is “No dogs on the furniture.”

 So, whenever he gets up on the couch, he makes sure to keep a close eye on Bubba. And if poor Bub puts so much as one toenail on a cushion, Peek is over in his face barking and growling and backing him off.  And Bubba always leaves because he knows that Peek isn't intimidated their size difference AT ALL.

5. Knowledge Is A Blessing And A Curse
 On October 17th, our vet told us it was time to start preparing for the worst. Peek is quickly approaching 13 and is in the final stages of congestive heart failure…and-although he’s not in any pain—he is slow and tired and on a shocking amount of medicine. The vet said he probably only had about a week or so live.

That was months ago and as I write this blog, he is lying on the floor of the shower (weird, I know, but it’s where he likes to sleep) snoring away. I call him Peek the Amazing Miracle Dog and I’m grateful for every day I get with him. I know I’m blessed to have this time, to have a warning that the end is near and to use the time to spoil him even more than usual…but I’m terrible at letting go, and I spend part of each day torturing myself by looking for signs that he might be getting better…and every day he’s with me tells me how much harder it’s going to be let go.

So it’s a blessing and a curse…but he’s worth it.

To read other Theme Thursday posts, click the link below:

Monday, January 7, 2013

On Patrol

I’ve been at the new Internet monitoring job for about 6 weeks now (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about and I’m happy to report that it is as hilarious as ever…the only struggle is NOT issuing penalties for the egregious grammar errors that I see every day…apparently, in the world of the Internet, not only is spelling optional but apostrophes can be thrown around with reckless abandon and common clich├ęs can be butchered at will. Like when a girl recently wrote that she was stuck “between a rock and a smart place.”

I don’t even know what that means but it sounds like a bad place to be.

But let me go ahead and address the issue I’m sure is in the forefront of everyone’s mind: penis drawings. Yes, they are still a constant thorn in my side…so much so that I’ve decided to go ahead and make a study of the genre. And my research has led me to determine that there are 2 distinct categories of penis artists. Two different aesthetics, if you will, in the somewhat narrow milieu of genital art.

1.  The proud rebel – the person who knows he isn’t supposed to populate the internet with these kinds of images and therefore seeks to get his message out as quickly as possible. He hastily slaps down 2 circles and an oval, adds a few more identifying features—sometimes even going so far as to thoughtfully label the picture ‘wiener,’ just in case we weren’t aware. He knows it’s going to get removed so churns them out one after another with obsessive zeal….continuing to do so until he is barred from the site in question.

2. The Rembrandt –this guy isn’t concerned with quantity but with quality. He takes his time, adds precise anatomical detail, and then—because he wants his drawings to remain on screen as long as possible—loosely attempts to hide them within other drawings. I’ve seen penis rocket ships, penis bananas, penis animals…it’s a veritable cornucopia of penis. My favorite of these was the graphic could-be-featured-in-Playgirl member lying on top of a hot dog bun…a picture which the author resubmitted moments after I deleted it—this time with a caption that said “NOT a penis.”

Which, honestly, was a little insulting.

Did he really think I’d see the caption and say to myself “Oh, of course, that’s not a penis, it’s a HOT DOG…I feel so stupid…”

In any case, as entertaining as penis patrol is, the conversations with the other monitors are still the best part of the job. Particularly when dealing with monitors for whom English is a second language. See, the company works all over the world and there’s just nothing like explaining the nuances of American slang to someone who grew up in Russia.

For example, the other day this monitor I’ll call Magda came in the chat room and announced that a user had reported someone who had just posted “Amy is a lesbo.”

“That’s ok, yes?” she asked.

And it must have been a busy time because the supervisor didn’t answer right away. After a few minutes another monitor—for whom English is also a second language—decided to help. “Lesbos is an island in Greece,” he said. “It’s fine.”

At this point, I decided I should speak—or in this case type--up. “It’s a reference to lesbianism,” I said. “And an inappropriate one. I’d remove it.”

3 other monitors jumped in to remind Magda and I that the guidelines allow references to homosexuality—particularly in sites for teens and young adults—as long as they aren’t offensive or graphic. “Leave it,” they all told Magda.

“But it IS offensive,” I assured them all. “If she had just said lesbian, that would be fine…it’s kind of like gay versus fag. Gay is fine but fag isn’t.”

At this point another monitor that I like to (secretly) call “Gregor the Insufferable And Usually Inaccurate Know it All” decided to throw his hat into the ring. “Kimberly,” he typed in what I assume was a snooty manner. “A fag is a cigarette.”

“Gregor,” I typed in a snootier manner while making faces at the keyboard. “Not in the United States. Not EVER in the United States.”

And it probably would have degenerated into a nasty dialogue of ALL CAPS, aggressive fonts, and angry emoticons >:-{ except that a supervisor noticed all the hoopla and ended the debate.

“Kimberly’s right,” she announced. “Lesbian is acceptable, lesbo is not.”

Ha! Take THAT Gregor! :-P

Then, when Gregor the Insufferable And Usually Inaccurate Know It All tried to debate, she got hardcore ALL CAPS on his ass, snapping, “I AM ONE AND IT’S NOT OK!” Which pretty much settled the argument…and—because I have the emotional maturity of an 8 year old—got me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair.

Honestly, it’s frightening to imagine what the future might hold.
A Mother Life</

Friday, January 4, 2013

Finish The Sentence Friday...

Here's a fun new blog hop from the ladies atJanine's Confessions of a Mommyaholic and  “Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine with My Morning Quiet Time?” called Finish The Sentence Friday.  They give the sentence and you can finish it however you want.  Today's sentence is : "I went to the grocery store the other day and..."

Here's my brief contribution:

I went to the grocery store the other day and since it was Saturday, there were exactly 1,756,987 other irate customers pushing through the aisles.  I spent 45 minutes trying to manuever the most jacked up cart in the store while simultaneously stuffing free samples in my mouth.

I'm pretty sure this is the experience that's going to get me my very own entry on

Read about other bloggers'  shopping experiences by clicking the link below:

Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Well, it's Theme Thursday again (thank goodness since I'm way behind on blogging!) and this week's theme is winter. And maybe it's the close proximity of the holidays that got me nostalgic but the topic got me thinking about winters back home.

I’m in Oklahoma now and the winters are pretty mild. But I grew up and lived most of my adult life in the Midwest and though I miss my family like crazy, I don’t miss those brutal Midwest winters…Sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow, and three ugly words: SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTE.

I learned all about SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTES my last winter in Illinois after a storm that dumped ten inches of snow overnight.

Did you know that if you live on a SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTE and you don’t move your car out of the street, they (those evil city workers) will plow the snow right over your car? Right over it! They don’t care that it’s your only mode of transportation, they don’t care that you didn’t know it was a SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTE…all they know is if it’s in the way, they will plow. And if your car is a cute yet tiny Mazda Miata, it is entirely possible for you to go out one frosty morning and find that the snow is literally taller than the top of your car.

Some people have been known to scream and throw horrible tantrums when this occurs. Guess how long it took me to dig my car out?


Though, to be fair, this is possibly due to the fact that I lived in an apartment then and didn’t actually own a shovel…instead, I was forced to use a kitchen broom. I truly believe that if my little neighbor boys hadn’t come by to help me dig and if these two hicks (nice guys but we’re talking men with no front teeth here) hadn’t come by in their truck and plowed around the front of the car, then the following spring city workers would have found my poor, dead body, still clinging to my frozen car door. NOT THAT THE CITY WORKERS WOULD HAVE CARED, EVIL FIENDS THAT THEY ARE! Think this saga is done? Oh, think again! I still had to MOVE the car, if I would have left it on the street, it would have been buried again. Plus I could have received tickets totaling two hundred dollars for violating the SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTE!

So, after this ordeal, I had to drive the car over to my parents’ business to park it in their garage. This should have been easy; the business is 10 minutes away.At least it is in the summer…or if you’re driving anything other than a Mazda Miata.

I think I can say with one hundred percent certainty that I was the only Mazda Miata on the road during that particular snow storm. And you’d be surprised how many people (mainly the people who stopped to push me through various and sundry snow-covered intersections) think this is not a car to be driven in the winter. Then, once I finally arrived, I couldn’t even get into the parking lot because it was very early in the morning and no one had been able to get out and plow yet.

Some people would have given up at this point and abandoned the car. Not me. I bravely decided to slide around the block and try to go down the back alley.

That’s right, the back alley. For some reason, I decided that the seldom-used, off the beaten path, back alley was going to be more plowed than the parking lot. Clearly, I was the victim of snow-induced hysteria.

In any case, it took me about twenty seconds to get completely, irrevocably stuck. Luckily these three guys in a truck saw me and came around, backed down the alley and hooked a chain to my car so they could drag me up the alley to the lot…which was great until one of them said, “We’ll probably be going pretty fast when we get to the top of the hill so slam on your brakes or you might slide into me.”

Not the most comforting phrase, to say the least.

Then, once I did safely make it to the parking lot, my brother came running out to help me push my car into the garage. This is when it sucks to be a modern feminist woman. He was in his best suit, I was in sweatpants; I couldn’t very well say “Yes, I’m a helpless woman, please push me.” As a modern feminist woman I had to say “Why don’t you steer? I’ll push.”

Luckily my brother is not a big believer in these ridiculous feminist sentiments and there was no way he was going to steer while his sister pushed the car.

I should have felt guilty but I figure it’s not my fault if this male-dominated society refuses to acknowledge my God-given right to wade in the snow.

We haven’t had anything like that in Oklahoma (yet) and I hope we don’t…because I still have a Miata and I still don’t want to push my car up an alley. But at least I have a shovel! Check out the other Theme Thursday posts at: