I've decided to keep my kids…

even though there were lots of promising offers. Ok, I’m lying.  There were NO offers, just a lot of “thanks but no thanks” type comments.  What’s with you people?  These are high quality kids!

Actually, I’m glad I got no takers on the offer to sell my kids.  They are precious and no one else understands me like they do.

For instance, this evening, Kacey was browsing through her school registration book to pick her classes for next year.  She mentioned she could take a web page design class.  I said I wanted to take a web page design class so that I could fix my blog.  I mean my real blog.  The territerri.com blog. The one with lots of pink which is still not fixed with some urgent WordPress update that it needs to become functional again. So I’m stuck here at territerri.wordpress.com until someone has time to fix territerri.com.  Because I don’t have the slightest clue how to deal with these things.

So Kacey asked me, “Why hasn’t Paul fixed your blog yet?”

And I said, in my best whiny voice, “Because he got a promotion.  And he has to WORK. And he has to KEEP his job so he can, like, feed and clothe his son. And he’s been busy at CHURCH!  I mean… WHERE are his PRIORITIES?”

And as I sat fully expecting my daughter to swat me on the shoulder and tell me how selfish I was being, even though I assure you I was being COMPLETELY facetious, she said to me, “I KNOW! Like feeding his kid is more important than fixing your blog? JEES!” (She really says it like that.  “JEES!”)

Who am I kidding? I’ll never find any other kids that are as warped and twisted as I am! Took me forever to cultivate them just so. Why give up a good thing?

Anyone want to buy a kid? or two?

Kacey: “Mommy? Will you sign my grade report?”

Me: (busy doing important things  reading blogs) “Yep.”

Kacey: “Do you want to sign it with a regular pen or a sparkly pen?”

Me:  “How about a regular pen so the teacher doesn’t think I’m an idiot?”

Kacey: “At least he’ll know the truth!”

Me: Glaring at my daughter with the big, fat, scary evil eye.

Kacey:  “Just kidding, Mommy.  You know I love you.”

Any takers?  She’s pretty sweet most of the time and I think she’s almost done growing….?  And those grade slips I have to sign usually have A’s on them.  Anyone?

Ok, if that one doesn’t do it for you, how ’bout a sixteen year old boy who just announced he wants to move to Germany so he can drive where there’s no speed limit?  He really only eats cold cereal and drinks chocolate milk.  He’s low maintenance!

Just think about it, ok?

These peeps cheer me up

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Robert gave me this cool little award because “many times I have made him smile!”  HA!  How cool is that?  Go check out Robert’s blog because not only is he a gifted poet and storyteller, but he’s funny too.  He shamelessy signs every post with a plug encouraging all to “hug a redneck” and sometimes even encouraging cyber hickies (but that was before his “managing editor/daughter” put an end to it.  He’s back to behaving himself as much as possible again.)  Plus, he’s on the verge of spilling the beans about a reunion that recently took place at his high school reunion.  Juicy stuff, I’m tellin’ ya!

I’m passing this award on to:

Abbynormal for breaking into her own house and for totally being the girlfriend I wish I had right here in my own neighborhood!

Darrin at Dad’s Dish for saving the world from scary donuts (complete with videographic evidence.  HILARIOUS!)

Reggie at I’m Always Mentally on Vacation for video taping and blogging about his drug dealer

And Judy, Where One Day Runs Into Another for embracing her lack of culinary prowess.

Thanks for making me smile, you guys!

 

Book Review

Last month I wrote a post about my participation in the Winter Reading Challenge. I’m happy to report that I’m reading to my heart’s content whenever I can squirrel away a few moments or sometimes a precious hour or so.  I’ve finished three of the books on my list.  (Three of them are in danger of being knocked off the list, but I plan to add others.) It occurred to me that I also promised to write reviews and so please let me tell you about one of the best books I’ve EVER read.

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At three in the morning, she was on her knees, forehead pressed to the bathroom floor, sobbing.  She had begun the life she had always expected she would want, but only while her husband slept, unaware, would she admit that she did not want to live it.  All alone, in the depths of the darkest depression imaginable, she began to pray.  This was the beginning of Elizabeth Gilbert’s search for inner peace.  And she would eventually find it, but her journey was not without adversity.

On the bathroom floor sobbing in desperation… ever been there?  Have you ever completely broken down over the state of your life, your children, work, family dysfunction?  I have.  I could relate and this is what drew me in to this book.

A painful and difficult divorce followed Elizabeth’s revelation that night on the bathroom floor.  She hoped that when the divorce was finalized, her path to happiness would begin, and she found hope in a new relationship.  Sadly, this too began to crumble and Elizabeth soon learned that peace and contentment were not things she could absorb from any other person if she didn’t first find them in her own heart.  The one good thing that came from this relationship was her introduction to her Spiritual Guru and she began to explore the world of meditation.

And so began a voyage of self discovery.  Eat, Pray, Love is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert’s yearlong journey in which she learns “how to live in this world and enjoy its delights,” while also devoting herself to God.

Liz had the privilege of taking a year’s sabbatical from her job to find what she was looking for.  This book takes her through four months in Italy where she immersed herself in the food, the people and the language of a beautiful country.  While in Italy, Liz builds on her faith by writing in a notebook whenever she feels her despair returning.  She writes notes to “God,” some as simple as, “I need your help.”  She then writes responses to herself, “I am here. I love you more than you know,” knowing those responses aren’t coming from her own mind, but from God.

After her time in Italy, Liz spends four months in India living and learning the art of devotion and then later, four months in Bali, discovering a balance between worldly pleasures and divine transcendence.  She eventually discovers her inner peace.  It is not a constant state, but Liz learns how to find that place when she needs it most.  Her journey is aided by the most unlikely of friendships, a young Italian student, an ex-junkie from Texas, and a very elderly Balinese medicine man. 

What I loved most about this book is that it taught me an enormously valuable lesson.  Finding your spiritual center does not have to involve a single set of rules or require conforming to the beliefs of a single faith community.  The message is, “Do what works for you.”  I learned that what we believe to be reality is not always so.  It is possible to face life’s challenges in such a way that things don’t always have to be so tragic, so gut-wrenching, so impossible as they seem.  There is joy and peace to be had, if only we will allow ourselves to experience it.

Now if I could just find myself a Guru and a wise old medicine man….

I got lucky with some 3-Way Action

The scene of the event was the Embassy Suites Hotel.  We were there for the annual company holiday party last night.  (Why they insist on calling it a “Holiday Party” is beyond me, since it takes place long after the holidays have passed.)

We joined my coworkers and their spouses or significant others.  We mingled and chatted and enjoyed some wonderful hors doevres.  Everyone was sipping on wine or beer or some other drink of choice.  The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.  Soon we were done eating and that’s when it happened.

The Casino Room was opened for the evening!

We settled ourselves at the 3-Way Action table.  For those who aren’t big gamblers (like me) and may not be familiar, 3-Way Action is a table where you place bets on three hands.  The first is High Card, which is just what it sounds like.  The dealer deals out one card per player, then a card to herself.  If your card is higher than the dealer’s, you win.

The second hand is Black Jack.  After the High Card hand is over, the card you were dealt is moved over to your Black Jack bet and each player is dealt another card.  Then you take a hit or pass and again, if you beat the dealer you win.

The third hand is Poker.  Again, you’re existing cards left over from the last hand are moved over to your Poker bet.  You are then dealt more cards to bring your total hand to seven cards.  You discard two, and the dealer deals herself the remaining cards to bring her hand up to seven.  If your poker hand beats hers, you win.

There were also a lot of bonus payouts.  So even if the dealer’s hand beat yours, if you had a flush, a straight, a full house, etc., the payout was anywhere from two-to-one on up to six-to-one. 

I am not a real life gambler.  I don’t like casinos.  But I ROCKED at 3-Way Action.  My system was this.  I only ever bet a $5 chip on High Card, because I NEVER got dealt a high card.  Then I’d bet a $100 chip on Black Jack, and a $500 pink chip on Poker.  Things just worked out and soon I had multiple stacks of those hot-pink chips. 

Our dealer was a sweet woman named Nancy and she kept us laughing all evening.  She would give advice as to what you might want to do in a particular situation and she cheered when she dealt herself a losing hand.  She really wanted us to win.

At the end of the night, we traded in our chips for prize drawing slips.  $1,000 bought one slip.  Between Mark and I, we had something like thirty prize slips.  Then we could go enter those slips in the drawing of our choice.  We did ok.  We came home with a few little prizes, such as this:

and this:

(This one was obviously Mark’s doing.  It’s one of those two-million candle power something or other flashlights. For those early morning hunting trips, I guess.)

We also got this little thing:

Yeah.  A whole table and chair set.  The one we already own is an old piece of junk.

And my favorite:

Some of you might remember that I had this on my totally selfish Christmas wish list.  But I did not GET this for Christmas.  I was so excited to have won it! I also won a whole basket full of chocolate, but I gave it away.  I was feeling bad because some of those in attendance won few or no prizes.  I found somone who was lacking in prizes and convinced her that she needed a basket full of chocolate.  I love chocolate, but there was a dangerous amount of it in that basket.

We put the quesadilla maker right to good use tonight and had a “make your own quesadilla dinner.”

YUM! 

I’m so glad I turned out to be such a natural at 3-Way Action!

A Day in the Life

Or how I spent my day off….

I pretended this counts as excercise.

Paid bills… mostly online…

Contemplated crawling under my blanket.  (Don’t you love my blanket?)

Decided I have NOTHING to wear.

Brusha, brusha, brusha!

Chatted with my BFF.

Found that the kids have been neglecting some chores.

There. That’s better.

Wished for the 100th time they’d finish this damn development across the road.

Think I need a car wash, but it’s too cold!  (Like my Park ‘n Place?  It keeps me from pulling in too far!)

Had to pick up a few things here.

Did my little volunteer thing at the high school, selling candy to the kids. (Actually, I end up buying it for them half the time!)

Wished my friend’s daughter a Happy Birthday!  I also made her a Happy Birthday poster and posted it outside the little store so ALL the kids would know it was her special day.

Stopped at my favorite lunch spot after volunteering.

Enjoyed the world’s best popcorn while waiting for lunch to arrive.

But it was too early for any of this.  (We were seated on the other side of the bar.)

Got my hair done, and called it a day.

I'm NOT watching Idol this year!

I do NOT want to watch American Idol this year.  I am NOT watching American Idol this year.  I’m NOT.

“Dude MOM! We have to watch Idol!”

“Dude Mom? Now I’m Dude Mom? What the……….Ok, we’re getting off track here.  I’m not watching Idol. You guys can watch all you want.  I’m not watching.”

I HATE the early episodes of Idol.  I hate suffering sypathy embarassment on behalf of those people that somehow convince themselves they stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting an approving nod from Randy, Paula and Simon.  I hate that feeling of wanting to crawl under my chair in the fetal position after watching some poor, stupid schmuck make an idiot of themselves on national t.v.  Nope.  Not going to watch.  Just going to sit here and read my book. 

Oh, but wait.  I can still hear the t.v.  There’s a voice that’s so good it gives me chills.  Maybe I’ll just take a peek.  I could be an American Idol JUDGE.  I don’t need a trained ear for this.  All I have to do is wait and see if I get chills up my spine.  If I get the chills, you’re going to Hollywood.

Damn it!  I’m getting sucked IN again!  I’m going back to my book!

But wait.  What the…..?  This guy is showing Ryan Seacrest a baggie full of fingernail clippings he’s been saving since the seventh grade!  Americans are so WEIRD!  But hey!  He can actually sing!

Ok, that’s it.  I’m going back to my book.

Alright, wait.  I’m just going to watch this girl.  She survived a near-fatal car wreck and she has an unbelievably positive outlook on life.  Look at the judges!  They LOVE her!  SIMON gave her the first thumbs up!  She can’t sing a lick, but SIMON said YES!  Sometimes I love him!  Oh, no!  Paula said NO!  Come on, Paula!  We all know she can’t sing but she’s so HAPPY and it’s addictive.  Randy?  Come on!  Say yes to this girl.  Please, please, please!  I’m shouting at the t.v.  Come on, Randy!  YES!  He said YES!  I’m cheering out loud now!

Damn it!  Look at me!  I knew this would happen.  I’m GOING. BACK. TO. MY. BOOK!

But wait.  I’m just going to watch this guy.  LOOK at him!  He’s awful!  They’re begging him to stop, but he won’t STOP!  He sounds like a wounded dog!  They’re escorting him out and he WON’T STOP SINGING!  I hope they’re taking him to a good psychiatrist.

Oh, damn it.  Look at me.  Book?  What book?  I have no time for reading.  I have to watch America’s favorite freak show.

Feeling kind of cheeky

This past weekend I bought new jeans.  Kacey picked out a pair just like the pair I got. (She’s getting so TALL!  Huh… wonder where she gets THAT from?)  Anyway, she wore her new jeans to school yesterday and I wore mine to work today.

All day long I kept noticing that certain twin body parts were feeling somewhat scratchy beneath my jeans.  I was beginning to get that annoyed feeling when you realize that an item of clothing you bought is not quite as perfect as you thought it might be.  I would forget about the scratchy feeling for a while and then it would resurface.  I found myself wondering if a few more washings would soften them up.  I was seriously beginning to think that maybe some underwear with a little more surface area might have been a good idea.

By the time I left work I was thinking how wonderful it would be to get home and slip on a pair of sweats and throw the new jeans in the wash. When I came in the door after work and Kacey saw that I had my new jeans on, she said, “Hey mom.  I realized something about our new jeans.”   

She proceeded to inform me of a discovery she had made after feeling rather uncomfortable in HER jeans yesterday.  Everything began to fall into place after her explanation.  I quickly ran to the bathroom and stripped out of my jeans, reached inside the back pockets and found exactly what she had told me to expect:

So THIS is what my cheeks had been trying to tell me all day!  For the life of me I can’t imagine why these little plastic thingies were placed inside the back pockets.  It’s not like they were attached to any kind of tag.  They weren’t visible from the outside of the pocket.  Maybe they are some kind of theft deterrent to irritate potential shoplifters into not stealing pants?  I don’t know.  All I know is my butt is still protesting.

Don't get too used to your name. We're not going to call you by it.

My family has a habit of picking up on potential nicknames and making them stick.  Sometimes, these nicknames make sense.  Take Brad for instance.  When he was little, my sister started calling him “B.J.”  It stuck.  As my family continued to use this little nickname, it eventually morphed into “Beej.”  One of my daycare kids asked why my dad always called Brad “Peach.”  (Just an episode of creative hearing there.)  Sometimes he was “Beej-a-roni.”

My brothers have a tendency to latch on to all things weird.  Don’t even ask me how or why, but for a while there, poor Jake was referred to as “Steakum Tator Tot.”  I’m sure it thrills him to death that he still gets called “Jakey.”  Kacey spent a fair amount of time answering to “Kace-Eraser,” then later (and still on occasion,) “Kay Dice.”  My little niece, Hannah will never be allowed to forget her Scooby Doo phase and the time she asked everyone to call her “Daphne.”  We still call her that even though the phase has passed.  Also, of course, “Hannah Banana.”  I may have mentioned before how my niece, Lauren was called, “Noreen,” “Lauren DeBecca Luda,” and eventually, “Deluda.”  (I know.  I told you my family is strange.  And family? I say that with the utmost of love and sincerity.)

The kids caught on quickly to the name game and at one time or another were calling their uncles, “Uncle Elephant” (because of his ability to make a realistic elephant noise) and “Hymay.” (I really have no idea where that came from.)  Uncle Jim is now stuck with the term of endearment, “Unk.” I was christened, and still remain, “Dewey.”

The renaming is not limited to family though.  My brother’s friends, whom my boys have camped and fished with, are not allowed to be called by their real names either.  Keith is “Beepers.”  Don is “Don the Bod.” (It is precisely because of Don’s lack of body fat that he is called this.)  However, these nicknames came along well before my kids.  My kids simply can’t resist latching on to them.

Our own friends get renamed as well.  Mark’s buddies (The Man Friends) are “Willie” (Bill, whom no one ever referred to as Willie before) and Paul is “Paulie” or “Paulie Balls.”  (His wife let that previously attained name slip and it has nothing to do with what you might be thinking.)

There may be a genetic predisposition to the name mangling game.  When I was young, my dad’s siblings, my aunt and uncle were still merely young adults.  My aunt convinced us to call my uncle, “Creep.”  He was a good sport about it even though the not-so-flattering name hung on for YEARS!