Monday, November 29, 2010

Two Heads Are NOT Better Than One with The Blogging Goddess

I am still in Arizona, and The Blogging Goddess is here to dispel a myth for you, and who better to dispel a myth than a goddess?

If you don't know The Blogging Goddess, she is a goddess...who blogs. And today she is blogging for me. I love reading the Blogging Goddess. She makes me laugh. Sometimes she does these great vlogs, always wearing a spectacular mask or costume (because you can't be looking straight at a goddess). She is super sweet, and her blog comments always make me smile. And now, onto the myth....

Two Heads are NOT Better Than One 
I was put into surgical menopause. The reasons were great and varied, but the bottom line is that my ovaries did not like me, and frankly, I didn't like them much either. So, we parted ways.  At the ripe old age of 43, I now am on what the menopausals call HRT, which to you period chicks, means Hormone Replacement Therapy. This is a strange invention.

Does it take care of hot flashes that you get when you no longer have ovaries that give off the hormone that keeps them at bay? Sometimes.
Does it help with the weepies, willies and sybilizing? Not really.
Does it keep the pounding headaches at bay? Mostly.

Here is what it does NOT do. It does not stop your body from breaking out like a 14 year old boy who has wet dreams every night and erections all day long.

Let me address the  “I am a 42 year old woman with no ovaries, no uterus and no cervix and zit” phenomena further. Yes, a story is coming up, so please make yourselves comfy, get your coffee or tea or whatever and put on your listening ears.

Once upon a time there was a young old woman named The Blogging Goddess. She noticed one morning that it hurt when she smiled. She gingerly touched her cheek and felt what was surely going to be a huge honking zit. It was red, it was large and it hurt to touch.  Now, you all know what I mean and have all experienced this, I am sure. If not, I hate you. Moving on.

The Blogging Goddess watched this for a couple of days, thinking that maybe it was not a zit, but a very large mosquito bite. Maybe an ant crawled on her face while she was sleeping and bit her. Perhaps it was one of those spiders that causes one half of your face to swell up like the elephant man.

She thought of covering it up with some kind of make up, but since she doesn't wear make up and has forgotten how to apply it, what was the point. Also, it seems as if those that do cover zits with make up just draw more attention to it.

These were some of the things The Blogging Goddess heard over the next few days....

Mom "Did you know you have a pimple on your cheek?"
Yes, Mom, I know, it is Mount Rushmore and Mount Vesuvius combined and will rupture and cover the world with puss it is so large.

Hubby "What's that red thing on your face?"
A ZIT! DUH!

Daughter  "Mommy, there is something on your face."
Gee, thanks for the 4-1-1!

The Goddess tried everything. She put drying cream at night, which just made it that much redder when she woke up. She tried hot packs. She tried cold packs. She tried to smash it back into her skin with a book. Nothing was working.

Until......

The Blogging Goddess woke up one morning and there it was. A head. But, not just ONE head, but TWO! This zit was so huge it grew two heads, and they were having a conversation. Discussing the weather. They were talking about growing up larger to see over the nose and see if the grass is truly greener on the other side. They were lovers and discussed having babies. They were friends and shared a cup of coffee and some chocolate. They were ALIVE!

She had had enough! She was going to show this two headed zit who was boss! She sat in her chair in front of her make up mirror and braced herself. She squeezed. She heard the satisfying pop and the puss flew.......

And thus the two headed zit was slain. Bells tolled and freedom rang throughout the land. Fireworks went off and the sun came out. The village threw a party.

And whoever said that two heads were better than one can bite me!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The November Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is Here

The November Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is up! Splinteredones has compiled some great posts this month and the theme is Holiday Triggers, so it is very timely.

Thanks to everyone who submitted this month, and thanks to everyone who reads and shows support to Splinteredones and to all of the contributors! With Thanksgiving just having past, I want to take a moment and say thank you to all of you courageous survivors for doing the hard work of healing and for sharing your story and journey with us, I am thankful for each one of you.

If you are interested in hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse you can contact me at fromtracie@gmail.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Next Time I'll Go To Kokomo...Alone with Snuggle Wasteland

There is a wonderful place that I love to visit. It is the blog known as Snuggle Wasteland. A place where I always laugh (and occasionally I laugh so hard that I snort. Don't tell anyone).

Snuggle Wasteland is awesome. She shares my flair for spelling names, my inability to do math, and sometimes when I read things that she writes or talk to her on twitter, I get confused and think that I am talking to myself, just a more humorous version of me.

Hopefully my visit to Arizona is going better than this trip that Snuggle Wasteland took a few years ago...



Next time I'll go to Kokomo...ALONE

Sometimes the best souvenir is one you make yourself.

Or one you buy with stolen money. I can’t decide.

Let me back up a little.

When my son was 14 months old I was forced to take him on a torturous family vacation in Aruba.

There are so many things I could tell you about the trip.

Starting with my shock and horror when I found out that my son did not have a seat on the plane.

(Even though the plane tickets were our Christmas/birthday gifts for the year.)

I had to hold a squirming, screaming toddler on my lap during the entire 7 hour flight to Aruba. My husband is 6 ft 4 and the lady sitting next to us (in the aisle seat) weighed about 400 lbs. And I’m claustrophobic.

Anypanic, when we arrived in Aruba my FIL’s wife (We must never, never call her step-mother.) insisted that our rental vehicle should be a compact car.

Because everyone knows that car seats don’t take up much room in the back seat of a Geo Metro.

Checking in to the condo, the FIL’s wife was most disgruntled to discover that the room with twin beds was too small for the circa 1972 rickety wooden crib that was provided for us.

So we got the bigger room with the ocean view. She and the FIL were stuck with twin beds facing the corridor.

I’ve blocked most of this out due to trauma but there was whispering about nymphomania and some heavy petting over the clothes. (From the in-laws NOT me.)

Nevertheless, they pushed their beds together and put on brave faces to soldier through the vacay.

You would think that the worst thing about the trip would have been the fact that my boobs popped out of my swimsuit and right in my FIL’s face.

You would be wrong.

(Note to all mothers of young children: Your spawn will not cease climbing you like monkeys on a banana hunt just because you are on vacation. If you’re going to the beach get a suit with strong straps.)

My husband, The Blog Fodder That Keeps On Giving, provided the biggest FAIL this time.

In an effort to smooth over my resentment at being treated like a maid, the in-laws offered to watch the baby one night while Hubs and I went to dinner.

Mind you we were not allowed to leave until he had been fed, bathed, and put to sleep. However, time away from bossy nymphomaniacs is precious so we took the deal.

After an uneventful dinner, Hubs decided he wanted to check out a casino.

Now I had already lost him for 13 hours during a prior trip to Vegas so I was hesitant to say the least.

One game of Blackjack quickly turned into 2 hours and I didn’t have a book in my purse was bored. Like an idiot, I left him there and went back to the condo.

Hubs stumbled in at 4 am drunker than I’ve ever seen him.

(He’s German and I knew him in college so that’s saying something.)

It wasn’t the puking all over the bed or the explosive diarrhea that angered me off the most.

It wasn’t the fact that I literally had to force Hubs in the shower as he was wallowing in his own excrement and vomit on MY BED.

Nor was it the fact that I had to get in there with him (and the hazardous waste) in order to scrub him, his clothes, and the shower as he was unable to follow simple commands or stand unassisted.

What really, really made me mad was that he woke the baby.

And then he passed out.

So I was left with a 14 month old toddling around piles of vomit and feces.

And I had to keep him quiet as the Lovebirds enjoy sleeping and canoodling till mid-afternoon.

What did I do?

The first thing I did was grab the video camera and preserve this touching family scene for posterity. Yes, I have footage of the spew and the drunk who spewed it.

And I have footage of my son’s commentary on the situation.

“Daddy seep.”

“Yucky.”

“Stinky.”

“No touch.”

Then I found Hubs’ wallet and started rummaging.

It turned out that the douchecanoe was a halfway decent Blackjack player – even when he was too drunk to make it to the John. He won about $500.

So I took it.

I never fessed up and Hubs never asked. (I’m sure he assumed that he lost.)

The next day I bought myself a very nice sapphire ring.

I earned it.

And I’m pretty sure that sapphires are a good luck charm to ward off cleaning up a grown man’s poop and puke.

What’s your best or worst vacation souvenir?

**Don’t criticize me for being ungrateful about the trip. It didn't really cost the in-laws anything. They used their frequent flier miles for our airfare and they have a time share.

**It cost me a whole lot more in terms of mental images that can never be erased.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Time Marie Callender Helped Me to NOT Blow Up the Microwave

I am still in Arizona, visiting family and staying super busy. An obnoxious amount of pictures and stories will be coming to you when I get back home in December. Hopefully you have been enjoying my guest posters while I have been gone.

In case you didn't know or haven't heard, I have a reputation. For some reason if I mention eating dinner to a friend or family member, they immediately suggest going out. My friend Angel has invited me to come live in a camper in her backyard just so she can feed my family (and don't think that I wouldn't take her up on that offer if I lived a bit closer to her!)

It all started with my exciting hot chocolate. (In all honesty it started a long time before that, but we don't have to discuss those other times, do we? I didn't think so.) In my defense, Thomas was responsible for the bottle of chocolate sauce that exploded. I was hardly involved. I think I could actually be a very good cook.....if the whole cooking part was left out of the equation.....which basically just means that I am a very good eater.

I bring up my special history with cooking and the microwave because I got this email a couple of weeks ago from The Motherhood. They wanted me to try a Baked Meal from Marie Callender's. I was excited and scared all at the same time.

"What if I put this in the microwave and it actually blows up?" was one of the thoughts that I had.

Then I saw the words "Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese" and I knew that I had to be brave and give that whole microwave thing another shot.

I am happy to report that the microwave is still in one piece. 
(which is really good considering I used the microwave at my Grandma's house!)

I read the back of the box and followed Marie's instructions exactly and was rewarded with extremely yummy Mac and Cheese. It was super creamy and tangy.


The box said that it would serve three and I was skeptical about that, but I split it with Grandma and we were both full with a serving to spare (which was just as yummy the next day for lunch when I re-heated it...successfully!!....in the microwave).

 Grandma cutting up strawberries with Katarina
Have I mentioned that I love my Grandma? Because she is awesome!

My grandma is very health conscious and reads labels on the food that she eats. She thought that 980mg of sodium per serving was high, but was happy with the 15g of protein. She was impressed with how creamy it was, and happy with the taste.

Okay. Is your mouth watering? Are you hungry now? Because I can send one of you a coupon to try some of this yummy Mac and Cheese for yourself (or you can try one of the other meals, the Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna is also good - but nothing beats Mac and Cheese) Leave a comment, or five, or ten, or however many you want, and I will be randomly drawing one of your names out of a hat on December 5.

Honesty Time: I was approached by The Motherhood and Marie Callender’s to try the new Baked Meals and write about my experience. I received two of the meals for free and I was compensated for my time. I wasn't required to say nice things, and all the opinions are my own, excpept for those that are noted as being my Grandma's...those opinions are all hers and they came to you for free! 


**The winner is Maureen's Thoughts! I will be sending your Marie Callender's coupons to you this week. Happy eating!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Go Lucky and Remembering Ducks with Erin at The Mother Load

When I think of Erin from The Mother Load, the first word that comes to mind is heart. She is a person who feels deeply, and writes passionately, and loves huge. I just love her heart.

While reading at The Mother Load, I have laughed, cried, and marveled at her openness, and her ability to write words and feelings that are in my soul, time and time again.

In a few years, I know that I will be in the bookstore buying a book written by Erin, while jumping up and down and telling everyone who will listen to me, "I know her!!!" (hopefully book sales will not be adversely effected by my scaring of the bookstore patrons, maybe I should apologize in advance. Sorry Erin!) I think she will understand because she is a book-loving, book-sniffer just like me.

Erin inspires me, and I am proud to call her my friend.



Happy Go Lucky and Remembering Those Ducks


Yesterday I was doing some shopping, and I found a little something for myself--an inspiring set of earrings from one of my favorite stores, Stuff. I love Stuff because it features the work of local artists, sells lots of environmentally-friendly, or "green" things, and there are always plenty of unique gifts to choose from.


(it may be hard to see, but the top one reads "lucky" and the bottom one reads "happy.")

I splurged on these as a reminder, because sometimes I get so bogged down by the daily grind that I forget how lucky I am.

This time of year the grass is getting greener, the birds begin singing their sweet songs again, and our allergies turn us into snotty, sneezy fools. And I'm reminded of the ducks that befriended me in late March of 2005.

One day while I was getting a drink in the kitchen, I heard some quacking coming from my front door. I thought I was simply delusional from all the fertility drugs coursing through my veins. But I looked out the window and sure enough, saw this pair cruising my front yard:



They let me get close and feed them by the 2nd day (I'd prepared with lots of cheap Wonderbread just in case).
We don't have the photos to prove it, but they also later ate the bread right out of my hand...

(I look like total crap, but in my defense I was going through a lot and was in a funk)

These ducks were the only reason I got out of bed every day during the last week of March, 2005. It was the end of the road---our second round of IVF (in-vitro fertilization). I was convinced that like all the other things we'd tried before, it was going to fail. But the ducks kept coming back each morning. I concluded that they were a couple, a male and a female, and sure enough I discovered their nest nearby with several eggs inside.

These ducks were sent to me. We needed each other. We needed hope. Just as they were foraging for food and tending to their eggs, my own little embryos were growing in a Petri dish in the lab:


Those ducks kept me alive that week. I looked forward to their visits and waited anxiously for them each morning. They didn't disappoint. I talked to them, told them about my fears in low whispers while they gobbled the hunks of bread from my hands. Their dark, probing eyes consoled me while tears dripped down my cheeks. They quacked that things were going to be alright. They embraced me so easily and so fully that I began to feel my dream of becoming a mother was just within my reach.

Then we got the happy call from the embryologist that we were ready to go. My doctor transferred two really good lookin' embryos to my uterus. And during my mandatory bed rest afterwards, my mom (who flew into town to make sure I remained horizontal) faithfully fed my ducks for me.

About 18 weeks later I looked like this:



And now we have these (pictured with The Father Load):


We are indeed happy. And lucky.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

There Really Is No Greater Joy with The Empress

Sit up straight. We all need to be on our best behavior, because there in an Empress in the blog today.....The Empress from Good Day Regular People

I blog-met The Empress a few months ago, and from the very first post I read, I was ready to join her empire. I just barely restrained myself from gushing all over her comment section and asking for the position of Lady in Waiting. If you don't know her yet, get ready, because I guarantee that you will love her.

The Empress is very sweet, and today she is talking about one of my very favorite things, joy.



There Really Is No Greater Joy
  
I remember staring at a placard, years ago,while in a Christian bookstore,that read, "There is no greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord."  This was before I had children, and I picked it up, and wondered at the words. I thought, "Yes, it's nice if your children believe what you believe, yes, it's nice if they have something rock solid in their lives, but why joyful? Maybe gratitude, but joyful?" I put the item down, and went on to look at other things.

I am now the mother of 3 boys, and our morning routine is to have breakfast, get dressed and washed up, and then we all walk to the front room window, that faces the sunrise, and we kneel to pray. One of our three sons takes his turn pulling out a biblical verse card that I have printed myself, making the words accessible to them. I've chosen simple verses, and underneath, I have written a small example of why this verse is one I felt important for them to know.

They have never squawked at this routine, they have never refused to nor questioned why we do this every morning. They each pick up their breakfast dishes, automatically head to the front room, and then bend down on their knees, and we begin our prayer. When we finish, I hug them all, and say, "God bless you in your day."

We all do this without thinking, it's as natural as brushing our teeth and making the bed. It is our morning preparation for the day. It doesn't matter if we are late, have run out of time, or are not in a good mood. We kneel together, and pray, everyday.

Last year, I needed some minor surgery done. I was sleeping downstairs on the sofa, to avoid going up and down to our bedroom upstairs. One morning, right after the surgery, as I was laying sleepily on the sofa, our 3 boys came down, had breakfast, got washed up, and began to prepare for their day.  I wanted to get up and remind them to pray, but I was very groggy from the pain medication I had taken the night before. I kept wanting to say something, but I felt so weary. I watched them through half closed lids, and slowly began to fall back asleep.  I heard my oldest son tell his two brothers to pick up the dishes, and get ready for the day. Then, I saw three shadows, one following the next, in a line, walking, headed to the large front room window. I saw them all stand in front of the window, stop together, then they knelt down. The oldest handed the verse card to the middlest, who then read slowly enough for the youngest to understand. Then I heard them pray for "mama's healing."

They finished, quickly stood up, and went about their day.  What I had just seen them do, on their own, lwithout a reminder from me, left me speechless and smiling with tears that slowly fell out of the corners of my eyes.

My children got it, they truly got it. Prayer was not an obligation to them, prayer was communication. Prayer wasn't something that their mother and father made them do, prayer was something that was a natural part of their life.

I smiled, joyfully, and the words from the placard I had seen so many years ago, blessedly came to my mind. "There is NO greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happiness is Flying

Happiness is flying through the air on a swing,
with your head held back and eyes closed.


What is making you happy today?


Photobucket


Tomorrow Katarina and I will be flying for real! 
We will be Arizona bound, airplane flying, and avoiding TSA molestation.
I'll let y'all know how that goes...and while we are gone, I will have some fabulous guest posters here to entertain you.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Vacation Choice: Naked Pictures or Federally Mandated Molestation

Next week my seven year old daughter, Katarina, and I will be traveling to Arizona to visit family.  It is a trip that we are both very excited about, there will be many special memories made while we are there. We both love to fly. In fact for a lot of years I thought about one day becoming a flight attendant.

Katarina and I will go to Arizona next week.

We might even just stay in Arizona.

That is not because of all the family fun we will be having. It is because of the AIT Full Body Scanners that the Transportation Security Administration is going to be using as primary security for Sky Harbor International Airport when it is time for us to return to Florida.

What is the deal with these scanners?

There are questions about the safety of the scanners, but that is not what I am concerned with today. Today I want to talk about the invasion of privacy.

I'm sure we all remember the TSA worker in Miami who was made fun of by a supervisor about the size of his penis, after going through an AIT scanner.

Earlier in the year, the UK said that children under the age of 18 must be exempted from going through the scanners because the images created would violate child pornography laws. In March that decision was reversed, because the government decided that "to exclude children risked undermining the security measures". This decision was made even though the security minister admitted that the scanners are only 50-60% effective and a week prior a security guard at Heathrow Airport was caught staring at images of a female colleague in a body scanner. Their reasons for scanning minors did not address the problem of the illegal images that are being created in the process or the violation that is taking place.

I have spent most of my day looking into this situation, finding out what our rights are where body scanners are concerned. I have been calling airports, airlines, the TSA, and researching online.

I know that TSA employees have to pass a background check before being hired. But as TSA officials said when asked about a TSA employee who was arrested for the statutory rape of a 14 year old girl, "Unfortunately these checks do not predict future behavior".

I understand that the person actually viewing the pictures is in a separate room and does not know the identity of the person pictured. This does not offer me any comfort. Often when perverts buy images of child pornography, they are not in the same room as the child being pictured and do not know the identity of the child. Does that make child pornography okay? Of course not. It is also not okay for a TSA employee to view images of my child or me where our naked bodies are visible. I will not consent to that.

I was told that we can legally opt out of walking through the scanners, and instead be patted down. When I asked for further information about what a pat down would consist of, people where hesitant to answer. One security employee at Sky Harbor told me that they are not allowed to discuss the pat down procedure over the phone. He said that I would have to "ask for it at the airport and see what happens".

That did not make me feel very good about the pat down procedure. The big news on the pat downs is that they have recently changed the way they are conducted. Some of the new procedures are covered in this video from ABC15 in Phoenix:



While the video shows snippets of pat downs happening, and discusses that breasts will be touched, it does not discuss what else will be touched.

After speaking with four different TSA employees on the phone today, I finally got one to be honest with me about what exactly the pat down would include. She told me, "They will touch you with an open palm. They will touch your breasts and feel completely around them. They will touch your butt.  They will run their hands all the way up your inner thigh and touch your crotch area."

I asked if that would apply to my seven year old daughter as well, and she answered affirmatively.

Let me make this very clear. 

The choice is: 
Allow the TSA to take images of your body where you will essentially be naked. Images of your children's body that in any other setting would be considered criminal. 

or

Allow a TSA agent to pat down your body in such a way that they will fondle your breasts and touch your crotch. An act that if preformed on your child in any other setting would be considered sexual abuse. 


Essentially, the choice is:
You can give up naked pictures of yourself 
or 
allow the federally mandated molestation.

These are your only choices when using an airport that has the AIT Full Body Scanners as the primary security.

After explaining the new pat down procedure to me, the TSA employee said, " you do not want your child to have to go through one of these pat downs. They are extremely invasive and upsetting". She didn't really have to tell me that, because I already knew from the description that there was no way I would allow anyone to touch my child in this inappropriate way.

I realized that we will not ever fly out of Sky Harbor International Airport again. This started my search for an airport that did not yet have these scanners in use. When I spoke with a different TSA employee about an hour later to ask questions about the airport in Tuscon, she wanted to know why I was trying to find an airport that did not use the scanners. When I explained to her about the pat down procedures being unacceptable, she told me that the agent I spoke to earlier should not have told me that. That they do not touch anyone's crotch at any time during a pat down.

Then I found an article from CNN. It details the experience of a CNN employee, Rosemary Fitzpatrick, with the new security pat down procedures. She clearly says in the article that the screener briefly touched her crotch. She also says, "I felt helpless, I felt violated, and I felt humiliated".

Michael Roberts, a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, has refused to go through the scanner or be patted down. He probably won't be able to keep his job, because not going through security means no flying.


I understand the need for security. I do not complain when they make me take off my shoes, or when they do not allow me to bring large containers of liquid on the plane. I do not complain when they rifle though my  suitcases. I wait in line and put my belongings through the x-ray machine and walk through the metal detectors. If a TSA employee wants to pull me out of line and hand search my carry-on, I smile and say okay.

I will not smile and say okay to inappropriate pictures of me or my minor child.
I will not smile and say okay to inappropriate touching of me or my minor child.
I will not be bullied by the TSA. No one has the right to touch me or view my naked body.

You might think that I am secretly a conspiracy theorist or that I am overreacting. That is your choice.

It is my choice to not have my freedom stripped away and my body violated by strangers. It is my choice to drive three hours to the airport in Tuscon to be able to take what will probably be my last trip on an airplane to return home. As the scanners get installed in more and more airports, the choices for molestation-free flight will become less and less.

Benjamin Frankin is often quoted to say, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserves neither liberty or safety."  I think that applies here.

What do you think? Would you go through an AIT Full Body Scanner? Would you put your child through one? What about the new Pat Down Procedures? Is that something that you would allow yourself or your child to be subjected to?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Happiness is a Bushel of Cookies

A few months ago I participated in this contest for Strawberry Milano Cookies. Write a short explanation of my "Milano moment" when and how I enjoy eating cookies.

Mine was something to the effect of: "My Milano Moment....at night. When everyone else is asleep. Cuddled up in a blanket with a warm drink and a book. Then I break out the Milanos. It is a relaxing time. And because everyone else is asleep I can eat as many as I want!"

This was an easy thing for me to think of, because as you all know, I love eating cookies. I got an email from them telling me that I was one of the winners and should be expecting a bushel of cookies. A bushel! How random is that? It was the big joke at my house for weeks. A bushel of cookies was coming......

Last week I checked the mail and found this:

I opened it up, and saw this:

Just to give you some insight into my mind:

Happiness is a bushel of cookies....and I am one happy woman! 




Photobucket


What is making you happy today?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Some Updates and a Tagging

Some updates. Here is a list...because I am in a bullet point kind of mood:
  • Marj from Survivors Can Thrive has given me a huge honor. She is going into blog semi-retirement, and has asked me to take over the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I am excited, and sad, and slightly nervous all at the same time. But mostly, I am excited to carry on this very important thing that Marj started back in 2006.
  • We already have a host set up for November (thank you Splinty!), but December and all of 2011 are open, so let me know if you would like to host a month over at your blog.
  • I know, dear readers, that I have left you in suspense. After my recounting of the Covert Mission you have been wondering what is going on. Did the Focus Rally people contact us? Not yet. We have heard nothing. Which, I'm fine about. Totally fine. I'm certainly not stalking the Ford Focus on facebook, or sending Vanessa desperate exclamation-point-laden emails every day asking her if she has heard anything. No. Those are things that I just wouldn't do. 
  • Also, I wouldn't ask you to tweet "I want to see Team Vanessa and Tracie ( @baptistness & @fromtracie ) on #Ford #FocusRally. Don't you agree @FordFocus ?" That is just one more thing that I would not do. 
  • In other news. I will be going out of town in November. Katarina and I are going to visit my family in Arizona next week. 
  • Not to worry, I have been setting up some fabulous guest posters to keep you entertained while I am gone.
  • Who wants to come pack for me? 
  • I realized last night that the airport I am flying in and out of has one of those full body scanners. Insert panic attack here. I will be spending today figuring out all my rights concerning this situation.
  • We found a used copy of the second season of Gilmore Girls at the dvd store over the weekend. Cuing the resurgence of the Jess/Dean debate in my home. Katarina is fully in the Dean Camp. She clearly does not go for the whole "bad boy" image...and I think I'm very okay with that, and hoping she will remember that when she gets older. 
  • Check out my friend Sunday at Adventures in Extreme Parenting as she Shouts Out About Autism today!

Now for the tagging. Jen tagged me with some questions, and here they are:
1.What is your perfect weather?
   -COLD! I love the cold! I don't get much real cold down here in Florida, but I long for changing leaves and cold weather and snow. I firmly believe that snow and I belong together.

2.Since yesterday was Halloween, what is your favorite candy or fall treat?
  -I have to pick a favorite? Just one? My favorite favorite is Godiva. No question, but that is more of a special occasion (read:expensive!) candy. For everyday treat indulgences I love Pralines, Heath Bars, Skittles, Reese's Cups, Twizzlers, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Nutella, Oreos.....really, I could keep going with this all day long. Sugar and I also belong together.

3.What is a favorite Halloween memory?
  -I grew up in a family that did not celebrate Halloween, so I don't have one of these. 

4.What day of the week is your favorite and why?
  -Mondays. Every Monday is a fresh start on a new week. Full of possibilities and promise. 

5.What do you splurge on that is just for YOU?
  -Books. Some of my books get shared with Katarina, or lent to friends, so maybe they aren't always just for me, but for the most part they are.

6.At what store do you spend the most money?
  -The Bookstore. No question. 

7.What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word Hallelujah?
  -This song:


8.It's a perfect day, what are you doing?
  -Cuddling up with Thomas and Katarina watching movies, reading books, and just spending the entire day together with no stress. Preferably in a log cabin surrounded with snow....and full of junk food.

Feel free to answer these questions. Or other questions. Or send me sugar and snow.