Friday, September 27, 2013

Made In Where?? A Goldmine Idea For You

Here's a little experiment for you folks to do over the next few days..... look at all of the stuff you own and see if you can find something that's not made in China.  MADE.  Lots of things are developed and designed here in the US, but very few are MADE here.  You might find even another country on your clothing labels.  MAYBE.

My friend Kerrie brought this to my attention before Allie was born and I had mentioned it to Justin.  I really didn't spend a lot of time looking into it, but Justin got caught up in it.  Almost everything we purchase is fully examined by him to see where it's made.  I'm used to getting the eyebrows-raised-preceded-by-the-attention-getting-throat-clearing "See!  Made in China.  Everything is made in China. What the f**k?"

And now, our daughter is in on it.  (Minus the profanity.)

We were on vacation at an amusement park a few days ago and we decided to get some souvenirs before leaving the park.  Allie walked thru the store, flipping things over and saying, "Made in China, Mommy."  And she was right, regardless as to whether she can recognize the word China or not.  It's not a big gamble to guess where everything is made.

My daughter is growing up in a world where things are made half a world away because it's cheaper to do so.  It's all about money, not about quality or providing jobs here in our own country.  Big Business is becoming a Big FAT Sellout!

At this rate I should probably encourage her to become a Chinese Translator or an International Business Woman, because they will be very popular occupations by the time she's ready to enter the workforce.

Let me clarify that I have nothing against China or the Chinese people or the Chinese manufacturers.  My problem is with the US businesses who are forgetting about the US people in the US workforce.

But you can bet your bippy that they are thinking about the American consumers when they're ready to sell.  They hire entire departments to analyze us and figure out what they can do to get us to buy their products.  THEN they PAY people to think about us.

Think about that.  When it comes to "what can **I** get from these people?" then they care.  Before that?   ZIP!  ZERO! ZILCH! BUPKISS!

So, onto my gold mine of an idea.  It may already exist.

I think that someone needs to open a franchise called Made In America.  It should sell everything.  If it's made in the USA, stock it up!

Think about how patriotic we all are!  Remember 9/11?  How about when we send members of our military to war?  And who doesn't cry when they see those videos of children being surprised by their military parents showing up at school/sports/plays?  So, why wouldn't we beeline for a shop where everything is made here in the USA?

I would be the first person in line and I would pay more money to buy stuff there.  It all comes back to us in the long run anyway.

Or we can just go for the cheapest price and think of ourselves and "what's best for me", just like those Big Business people do.   If that's the case, we should all take comedian Kathleen Madigan's advice on the subject and "you better go out and get yourself some Rosetta Stone and learn Chinese....cuz they're a comin'!"

The Europeans are already shaking their heads and laughing at us about it.  I think we're the only ones who don't see what's coming.

ps. If you have any good sites for things made in the US, please send them my way!

If you clickity click on the banner below, it will seem like nothing happened, but it did!  You can close the window as soon as it opens if you like.  T'anks peeps!
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Well, it certainly has been a busy few weeks.  I sat down to blog a few times and got distracted by....well.... life.  It started to get frustrating.

The funny thing about "life" is that it keeps going and interrupting things.  Ya' kinda want it to.  The alternative is less desirable.

As usual, the weather and my disdain for meteorologists has forced me to pause life and vent.  I'm just constantly blown away by fact that these people make a ton of money for taking a big fat guess at what Mother Nature is going to throw at us next. 

However, what I saw today was the final straw.  I sit here on my soap box in protest!

These weather people may be permitted to do guesswork every day, but when they start saying, "F**k it.  We have no clue.  We'll get back to you on this one." I think they are just really pushing their luck!
Shitty Forecasting - Exhibit A
Essentially, these people had an issue with next Wednesday but not Tuesday or Thursday.  They guess every other day of the week!  What about Wednesday was so damn perplexing?

In my head I see a bunch of meteorologists standing in front of a computer, totally stumped, having the following conversation:

"Jeez.  Look at Wednesday.  What's up with that?"
"I dunno.  What do you think?"
"I'm really not sure.  This one is a real mind bender."
"Well we have to put SOMETHING down."
"I say we just put a question mark on Wednesday and see what happens."
"Works for me!  Maybe they won't even notice."
"Sounds good.  Where's the question mark on the keyboard?"
"Who knows how to type?"
(they all look around at each other)
"No one knows how to type?.....Anyone?..... Bueller?...... Bueller?"

I totally should've went to Meteorology school.  Yes, that degree really does exist.  I don't know why.  It should be called "The Guess What's Going to Happen Outside Degree." Today I could've been taking a class on the Multi-Model Ensemble Prediction of Ethiopian Monthly-to-Seasonal Monsoon Rainfall if I was at the University of Oklahoma.  

They can figure THAT out but they can't figure out what's gonna happen on Wednesday next week??!!

For those of you who want to change the field of Meteorology to include accuracy, here's what you can do to ease the pain and suffering of those who have fallen victim to the pack o' lies presented by these overpaid, professional b.s.ers.  Anyone who has been on the back of a motorcycle trying to outrun a storm on a day that was supposed to be "Sunny" knows my pain.  

I had wanted to post photos from our vacation last weekend, but due to something that is either a cold or seasonal allergies, I have the attention span of a tsetse fly when it comes to scanning thru a hundred photos.  I'll get on it as soon as I find out what I've got so I can medicate myself correctly according to my symptoms.  

Anyone who knows about my wedding drama knows that I'm now extremely cautious about taking stuff without knowing what's really wrong with me.  I have Tylenol Cold AND Claritin ready to jump into action once I figure it out.  

One of the Commandments should be "Thou shalt not combine medications unsupervised."  It would be a bit far down on the list, like the 23rd Commandment or something, but it would be a valuable one, nonetheless.

In the meantime, I wish you all a fabulous week with a forecast as lovely as the one above (should it actually be accurate)!

If you were even slightly entertained please click the banner below.  It will look like nothing really happened, but something did.  I promise.
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Surviving Preschool And Doggie Drags

I apologize for my absenteeism the past week or so.  I had a bit of the "out and downs".

No, not the down and outs.  I went out and ended up down.  On the ground.  Twice in 48 hours.  I got my ass kicked by two 100+ pound dogs during leisurely walks around their neighborhoods.

I am woman, hear me fall! (On the upside, Operation Fattypants has left me with 18.8 fewer pounds to hit the ground.)

The first dog was an enormous one year old black lab who thinks every living being should be greeted with Marmaduke-like enthusiasm.  
Marmaduke-like Enthusiasm - Exhibit A
Unfortunately, if you're at the other end of the leash and not holding onto a tree when it happens, you will become very well acquainted with the surrounding grass and/or shrubberies.

I feel like I'm freakishly strong, but some things are just BV (Beyond Vic).  When he saw another puppy, he took off.  And I went flying as I stumbled, tripped on the sidewalk, and did a face plant into the grass.  I was a human kite. Very attractive and professional.

The second mishap happened two days later.  I was walking a large and sturdy Swiss Mountain dog when a potential customer approached me with her two dogs.  He lunged, pain shot thru my right side and off he went, as I caught myself on a conveniently placed holly (ouch!) bush.  

The only thing I could say to the woman was a deadpan, "Wow.  That must make you feel REALLY confident about my abilities, huh?"  Fortunately this dog has done this to his owner, so if only one of my 20 visits was a fail, I guess I looked pretty good. She hired me.

Needless to say, my body was killing me.  And I discovered that if I lost use of my right arm, I'm entirely unprepared to start using the left.  My mom asked if there was anything she could do to help and my answer was, "Sure.  Could you come over around 730am and shampoo the right side of my head?"  Try brushing your teeth with your other hand.  It's like you've never brushed teeth before.

Oh! Hey!  I survived preschool!

No one had to take me to the loony bin.  I thought for sure that Justin was going to be a mess, but it was me, not him, who started crying when we got in the car.  It felt like just the other day that I was getting to know this tiny, new being in the hospital.  Suddenly, she talks, walks, and bosses us around, and we are leaving her with strangers for 2.5 hours twice a week.  How in the hell did THAT happen???
As Phil Robertson would say, "Happy happy happy."
At the open house, I joked with the teachers to not be afraid if they see Justin lurking in the woods with camouflage and surveillance equipment.  He warned them not to worry about the string that would be running from her ankle and out the door, because he would be on the other end and just wasn't ready to cut the cord.
Allie and Daddy after her first day
She did very well when we finally left and I kept hearing your words of advice (extra thank you to Madeleine M.!).  The teachers said she was just fine and asked once where we were.  When she told Allie that we went to the store to get something, she suspiciously asked, "They aren't outside without me are they?!"  Leave it her to be worried that she might be missing out while we were playing with all of the awesome toys outside.
Serving me tea at our pretend tea party at school.  Shortly after this I was sobbing in the car .
Allie has wonderful teachers who are truly lovely people.  I'm so excited for her!  I'm also sad for us.  She has officially taken her first major step toward independence and education and a social life of her own.  I really hope I am able to help her navigate all of this well.

You all should hope that I don't have any of your phone numbers because I foresee me making desperate calls saying, "You'll never believe what she just did!  What in hell am I supposed to do NOW???"
Opening her very first "big girl backpack" that was delivered AFTER she got home, of course.
By the way, Happy 50th Blog Post!  I can't believe that no one hacked and cancelled my blog account 49 posts ago.  Yous guys/Y'all/Younz keep letting me ramble on, which still amazes me.  Thanks for sticking around, even if you just got here!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Pre-school Freak Out

I have to skip over the Giggles From God Part 2 for a moment to have a full fledged freakout about preschool.


I am bugging out a bit.  

Next Thursday my little Peanut will be venturing out of her bubble into the world of education.   Of course this was my idea, but as a concept it was a lot easier to deal with than the reality of it.  Suddenly, I cannot fathom taking Allie somewhere, giving her a hug and kiss, and leaving her with strangers for 2.5 hours twice a week.  

Way back in May it seemed like such a great idea.  Allie doesn't have a lot of time under her little belt with other children.  After all, Justin has been her playmate all week long for the past 2 years and 11 months.  Forty year olds are a smidgen different than 3 and 4 year olds.  First of all, they can't drive.  That totally inhibits the whole destination play date thing.  And then there's the whole "knowing where things are" benefit.  And let us not forget the ability to reach things above the counter.  Everyone knows that the really good stuff is just out of their reach.

So, preschool seemed like the obvious choice.  Now that she's talking up a storm, it was time to introduce her to groups of kids her age as well as a school environment.  In May I was very excited about her making new little friends and learning things that little people need to know.  

I narrowed the choices down to two schools and we went to both to see what it was all about.  I honestly had the worst time deciding on where to go.  Both were amazing.  However, a friend of mine, whose opinion I respect, sends his daughter to one of them and he sold me on one of them.  By the time I hung up the phone, I knew exactly where she was going to go.

Well, the time has come.  And I have all of these thoughts flying through my head.

Does she need a backpack?

What will she wear the first day?

Will she be excited?

Is this the start of her becoming influenced by her peers already?

Will she cry when we drop her off?

Will we be sobbing like big ole sissies when we drop her off?

And most of all, who in the hell is going to watch Justin all morning???  I need a husbandsitter if anyone is available.  I can't pay much but he's very chatty and knows how to fix pretty much everything.   You can bring your broken crap with you and if you have any dramas you need an outside opinion on, he can give you his seven-thousand-dollars-worth (dime shmime!)  Did I mention he was chatty?

Allie is going through a serious shy stage right now where she clings to us when she goes somewhere new.  If we try to create a millimeter gap between her and us during these moments, she cries.  She almost seems terrified.  She wasn't going through this in May.  Isn't this a lovely time for this phase to start?  What if it happens when we get there Thursday?  I really don't think they are going to let us hang out for the morning with the other toddlers (even though I bet Justin tries to blend in and do it!)

I know that there are people reading this who have been at this milestone and I'm sure everyone survived.  In fact, those people are either reminiscing about when they dropped their little crumb cruncher off at preschool for the first time, feeling sympathetic toward my situation, or they are laughing at me right now.  And after next week, I will be doing the same thing when someone else tells me this same story.  

I just wish she could stay sweet and innocent and small for a bit longer.  I'm very excited about the next step and all that she will gain from the experience, but it can be scary way out yonder when you're by yourself.  I wonder if I can hover?  I have visions of me peeking throughout a window, watching her play with other children, seeing something that is potentially bothersome, banging the crap out of the window screaming "Allie, don't you take that crap!" and scaring the bajeezus out of the entire group.  

This would be immediately before the owner of the school files a restraining order.

Okay.  I'm done with my rant.  I'm still freaking out a bit but I thank you for listening.  

(This is where you say "No problem" and tell me how everything is going to be just fine)

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Giggles From God - Part 1 (don't let the title scare you!)

You know you're having a true "bad parent" moment when the other parent looks at you and shakes their head in disbelief.  I had my first genuinely true "bad parent" moment on Wednesday evening.

Justin, Allie and I were sitting on the couch watching the BubbleGuppies when the theme song came on.  We are the kind of freaks that bust a move when those catchy little tunes play, especially since Allie gets super  excited when we do.  She was sitting on the footrest part of the recliner when she threw her arms up, started wiggling her tushy and began singing, "Bub-Bub-Bub, Bub-Bubble-GUP...."

And then she was gone.

Shimmied her shit right off of the recliner.

She literally fell backward off onto the floor.  And I lost it.  I'm losing it now just reliving the moment in my head.  It was hilarious.  

Immediately, Justin helped her up and she started to cry.  I knew she wasn't hurt, but the sudden fall scared her.  She climbed into this lap and sobbed, the poor thing.

I was sitting next to them, about 2 feet between us, rubbing her back and tears were just flowing down my face.  Stifling the laughter was so painful that I was actually crying. I couldn't even speak for fear that if I opened my mouth what might come out would be, "Ba! Hahahahahahahaha!"  What kind of mother laughs at her child like that?

Allie saw me and I know what she was thinking.  'Oh, Mommy is crying too!  She must be upset too!"  So she moved over to me for hugs and to comfort each other.

At some point she must've sensed that I was crying because I was laughing, not feeling sad.  She pulled her head back to look at me and got this very suspicious look on her face.  Then she crawled back over to her father.

And that's when I got the glare and head shake for poor parental behavior.  Mind you, once I was able to pull myself together and act like a mature adult, I was able to console her.  But I still felt like a bad parent while trying to stifle myself.

My point for telling you about this demented story is not to debate my parenting skills but to touch on something near and dear to my heart:  giggle-worthy gifts from God.

When something hilariously embarrassing, ridiculous, klutzy or brain-farty happens and you get to see it, I consider that "a little gift from God".  The one criteria is that no one gets hurt.  If someone sustains an injury beyond a minor contusion, all bets are off.  Then it's not a gift and I'm sure God does not want to be tied into it as something he did for your personal amusement.

(I really think I'm something speaking on behalf of God, don't I?  I'm merely speculating, people.)

I have a slew of these episodes in my past that I refer to when I need an silly story to tell or just want to amuse myself.  I will be sharing some of these with you over the next few blog entries, no holds barred.  I have plenty of moments of stupidity that a more sane person might find mortifying and want to keep under wraps.  Not me.  If you can be entertained by it, then it should be shared.  I wish you all could've been there to see it happen to me.  And I encourage you to contribute yours with others as well, should you be as much of a nutjob as I am.

There are two types of this genre of "gifts from God":  The First Hand Experience Gifts and The Observer Gifts.  I'm going to start with one of The Observer Gifts this evening.  It's a personal favorite and most definitely one of the top 5 in its category in my world.

Many, many moons ago, I was married to another man who shall be referred to as Al.  (I let him pick his own pseudonym and he came back with Al Hearst.  I have no idea why.  Maybe it's an inside joke that someone who is reading this will find funny.)  Al was a little older than me, very Italian, just as crazy as I am but with street smarts, and he had a very good job in the entertainment field.  Every day he took a bus to and from NYC.

Al hated this job.  On the days I drove him to his job (because not even busses ran that freakin' early in the damn morning....thanks, Dick!), he spent the entire time cursing his boss and the roads and his boss and people in general and his boss and the hours and pretty much everything that deserved (and did not deserve) to be bitched about.

By the time we got to Manhattan, I was so stressed from his misery that I wanted to throw myself into oncoming traffic.  Had I not driven the 35 minutes in my jammies, I might have considered it, but who wants to have their jammies be the ensemble they are wearing when an ambulance comes to scrape them up off of the side of the West Side Highway?

Al would work 17 hours and take a bus home.  Once he got dropped off in our town he would call me and I would go pick him up.  Here's where the funny part kicks in.

I guess it took me longer than usual to get ready because Al decided to start walking home.  I could see him walking slowly toward me, tired, wearing a heavy leather coat, carrying a big duffel bag and smoking a cigarette.  He saw me too and stopped walking.

What he failed to realize was that he stopped walking right in front of a pole with a firehouse siren on it.  Have you ever been "kinda near" one of those when they go off?  It's deafening.  People can't hear you talking even if you're screaming directly in their ear.  After all, it's meant to be heard by people miles away from it.

So, I'm beginning to slow down and suddenly,


The siren goes off.

Full blast.

So loud, I even jumped inside of my car and I was probably still a block away.

He fucking full-fledged freaked.  Freaked.  There's just no other way to put it.

It was like he got hit with a taser. Cigarette went soaring, duffle bag went flying, his eyes were like saucers, arms and legs went flying in different directions..... it looked a bit like this but in male form:

I laughed my ass off.  I laughed so hard that I stopped driving and drifted right into a mailbox.  I couldn't see through the tears.  It was one of those laughs where you seize up and you can't breathe in or out, you're just stuck in a moment of full-on hysteria.

Freakin' priceless.  PRICELESS!

The fact that I got to see it was clearly a gift from God.  It had been a crappy day and God knew I needed a chuckle.  He went above and beyond the call of duty to provide that chuckle that day.  He managed to place Al at the perfect place at the most opportune time to make it all happen.  He even made sure I moseyed along while getting ready to leave.  No sense of urgency that night!

Al grabbed his stuff and practically ran to the car.  When he got in, he was WIDE AWAKE.  He probably could've worked another 17 hour shift after that.

He was breathing heavily, his eyes were bulging out of his face and right away, his first words were, "J*sus Ch*st!  Did you HEAR that??"

That just sent me into a whole new round of laughter.  Did I hear it?!!  People in Guatamala probably heard it!  But none of them got to SEE it like I did.

Gift from God.  Amen.

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