Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad

My father would have been 69 today.

It feels weird to type that. He's been gone eight and a half years already, though it doesn't seem like that long.

We didn't always get along. In fact, we didn't really get along at all until I turned 21 and graduated from college. But when that happened, it was like a switch was flipped somewhere in the universe. For almost eight years after, we had that perfect kind of golden father-daughter relationship that the Lifetime Network loves.

He was a strong presence. One of those people who took over wherever he was--from the marina docks to the boardroom--without trying to at all. It just happened. His viewing was packed. You almost couldn't walk across the room, it was so crowded. People came out of the woodwork. And almost no one knew he'd been sick; his death was sudden to them. So it was shocking for my mother and my brother and me to see what seemed like half of Baltimore crammed into a funeral home parlor to say goodbye.

He had three passions: our dogs, his business, and his boat. The last dog died about three years before he did. The business was packed up in boxes and eventually shredded. And the boat was sold a few months after he died, but not before someone raided it and made off with the GPS, radar, and (inexplicably) a little lighthouse sculpture, which was the only thing my mom wanted from their floating weekend home.

Knowing my father, he's CEO of the afterlife by now. And he has that 50-foot Hatteras he always dreamed of outside his back door and a yard full of labrador retrievers.

At least, that's how I like to picture him.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I read this article the other day and cannot get it out of my head. It's bugging me like a flock o' gnats in July.

The article is here. I know what I think...but what do you all think? I'd love to hear.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Easy Peasy!

Good morning, thank you for calling L.L. Bean. This is Brenda. How may I help you?

Hi Brenda. I have a question. I placed an order online on Wednesday, and this morning, I got an email saying you're offering free shipping. Is there any way we can make that offer retroactive?

If you'll hold on just a minute, I'll see what we can do about that. Is this Kim *****? (she pulled up my name and order number from her caller ID)

Yes, it is. Thanks.

wait...about five seconds. Literally.

Mrs. *? We've taken care of that for you. So there will be no shipping charge on your order. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

That should do it. Thanks so much.

Thank you for shopping with L.L. Bean. You have a great day!

And THAT, my friends, is how you make a lifetime customer. For all of $8.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Achin'...

I have a confession to make. A wrong that needs to be righted. A terrible belief of mine that's been proven horribly incorrect, and I feel so badly that I need to tell you all.

I always thought yoga was a crock.

I mean, give me a break. You sit and roll and pose and chant. How on earth could that be fitness?

Um. As my dear mother would say, don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

I've been exploring my workout video options lately--weird school schedules and work schedules and sick kids and such are making it difficult for me to get to the gym as often as I'd like (and it's seriously two blocks from my house...pathetic). I've done the Leslie Sansone, the Shape and Self, the Crunch and Firm, the Tae Bo, the Windsor, the Denise Austin (she rocks by the way, annoyingly chipper or not). Been there, done that. *yawn*

The other night, I saw a neighbor for the first time in a bit. And she looks fantastic. When I asked her what she was doing, she said yoga. Sha right, said I, what are you really doing? Yoga. Twice a week. Period.

So what the heck, let's give yoga a try. I got a video, popped it in, and started with the prayer pose, trying not to giggle and trying really really hard to get my "Eat, Pray, Love" on and actually center myself.

Half an hour later, my body ached. My forehead and back of my neck were drenched. And--shockingly--I was feeling way peaceful, way centered.

Well whaddayaknow?!

As of today, I'm addicted. I'm specifically addicted to this series of videos, which are short (half hour for the most part) and upbeat and fun and don't require any special equipment or props. I've collected five of them so far and ordered another three today. And honest to God, this conservative Republican Catholic is finding that starting my morning with one of these DVDs (after coffee, of course) is really a wonderful way to kick off the day. I hurt--everywhere--but it's a good, healthy kind of hurt. The kind that just feels good, you know?

Thought I'd spread the word. I apologize for anyone I've snickered at in the past for this. This is a real workout and a very good thing.

I'm off to find more...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rock on...

A 35-year-old friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer eight months ago. Amazingly, she's doing great with treatment and attitude and has no intention of giving up.

She emailed me the other day about a walk she's doing to raise money for PC research. The walk's in two weeks in Baltimore. I had nothing going on that day that couldn't be shifted, so I signed up to walk with her. Set up my fundraising website and sent emails out to most of my (personal) address book about it.

72 hours later, I've raised $500 for the walk, and our team is the top one for fundraising for the whole event! YAY US!! And YAY to my friends who've donated--THANK YOU GUYS!!! ***SMOOCH***

(if you want to find out more or donate and help a girl out, email me thru my profile and I'll send you the link to the site.)

Best Hair Stuff Ever

Sorry to have been gone for a few days and to re-join you with such a lame post. We had a long night last night and I'm wiped out. So this is as good as it gets this morning.

Got my hair cut Saturday--new style. And the hair lady asks me if I use hair spray. Why, yes. So she says, "Try this. It holds your style and gets rid of frizz, but lets your hair move."

Sha, right. Heard it before. But you know what? She was *right*. Three drops in my dry hair and it's magic. Magic. I am in love. Sunday found me at Ulta buying a container and chucking my can o' hair glue.
So that's my wisdom for the day. Hair magic in a little squeezy bottle. I'll have something more profound tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I got nothin' of substance to say today, so let's talk about my dinner.

A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago and I took her dinner the other night--remember my catastrophe/shooting star story? And ever since, I've been thinking about how good it smelled despite being literally tossed together from my pantry and freezer. So today, I made it again and we'll eat it tonight.

I thawed a pound of large (41-50) cooked, tail-on shrimp and hacked the tails off (sorry, shrimp). Then I minced up three cloves of garlic and put some whole-grain spaghetti on to boil.

Once the spaghetti was in, I covered the bottom of my favorite skillet (Calphalon rocks, my friends) with extra-virgin olive oil and heated it up on medium. Tossed the garlic in and let it swim around until it started talking to me, and then stirred in a can of diced tomatoes (drained), a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a scant palmful of Italian Seasoning.

I let that very gently simmer (don't burn the garlic!) while the noodles cooked, and then drained them. Stirred the shrimp into the sauce, let them get nice and warm, and tossed the spaghetti in there. And then I stirred in a handful of shredded Parmesan.

We'll steam up some broccoli and have ourselves a little, very easy, very yummy feast tonight. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Moment Today

Dear Person Who Knows Me Well Enough:

Next time you're talking to me and trying to explain why a certain Midwest town sounds like hell on earth and the main reason is that "people all go to church on Sundays," I want you to stop and think for a minute.

I'll wait...

See? Is your personal light bulb blinking on? That verbal filter kicking in?

One more thing on the topic: next time you're in a room full of people and you're about to say something really derogatory about Catholics in that tone and with your nose sniffed up that way, see if you'd say the sentence out loud with either "Jewish" or "black" inserted where the horribly offensive faith was going to be.


Aaaaaaaaaah. Point clear enough?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm Sure There's Something Meaningful Here

DH has been away all week. That coupled with my apparently insurmountable sense of chaos at the whole back-to-school thing has made life a little bit hectic. Kind of like my normal life, only on fast-forward.

I went to dinner with a dear friend last night. She asked about another friend, which reminded me that I promised the second girl dinner tonight (she just had a baby). Crap! I tried making one dinner late last night. Disaster ensued. Just when I'd given up and decided that a chicken from Whole Foods was acceptable, I spied a bag of Trader Joe's shrimp in my freezer. That, plus olive oil, plus garlic, plus a few spices, plus spaghetti, plus some chopped tomatoes would make a great scampi.

So this morning, when the WDCL woke me up at 5:15, I rolled out of bed and started assembling ingredients. Discovered that the dishwasher had, once again, trapped the detergent in its little cup instead of using it to actually clean the dishes, so started that up and faced a sinkful of other dirty dishes.

By the time WDCL and I walked out the door for her morning constitutional, my brain was racing. Dinner to make and deliver, school to get kids to and from, about six phone interviews today, ballet class this afternoon, time to get outside, and six or seven house-type things I wanted to accomplish today.

It was dark out. WDCL stopped to sniff at something and I looked up...just in time to see a shooting star. The second one I've seen in my life. At that time of the morning, it was totally silent on my street, and something about that streak of light shining through the blackness and the quiet made me breathe a little deeper, relax a little bit, and enjoy the peace for just a moment.

I'm trying really hard to hold onto that moment today. It wasn't quite meditation (which has never done it for me in the relaxation department. Too much pressure to relax!), but it let my muscles un-tense and my spine shift a bit and my brain take a bit of a respite from the September craziness.

My wish for all of you is for a shooting star, in whatever form it may take, sometime in your day. Breathe...

Sunday, September 16, 2007


You wanna feel old?

Take your first-grader to Family Fun Night on the field at his school. The big party with the four moonbounces and the cotton candy and the face painting and the DJ who's booming loud enough for the whole flippin' neighborhood to hear. (Those wacky Catholics!)

Get your dinner at the barbecue, escort the kids to the moonbounces, socialize with the grown-ups. And then, when the line dancing starts and the DJ yells something about everybody getting a prize, race up to the front of the field with your kids to make sure they don't get trampled.

You're might as well dance.

YMCA. Check.

Macarena. Check.

Electric Slide. Check.

I Like to Move It. Check.

Shout. Double check.

Cha Cha Slide.

what the hell...?

New Dance Alert! New dance to a song you've never even heard of before!! And all the kids are doing it! EVEN YOUR KID! WHO'S SIX!!!!!

Come home, watch the damn thing on You Tube, and convince yourself it's not all that bad. You were the queen of Fell's Point back in the day, dammit...a regular at Sanctuary! You had the moves! The clothes! Every! Single! Song!

And now...a minivan in the driveway. You're the dorky mom trying to keep up to some hip-hop song. Ack.

Who ever heard of a Catholic event without beer, anyway? *grumble*

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where I Rank

DS is in first grade at a Catholic school (let the flogging commence!). He has a nifty religion workbook--really fun stuff. He brought it home last night to be covered on Contact paper and DH and I flipped through a bit.

On several pages, he's asked in a few different ways who teaches him about God. And they all say "Mom." Some have drawn pictures, some are just the word. But over and over. Mom.

Can you see my heart swell as I type that? I rule!

Tonight, as we were breaking land-speed records despite D.C.'s rush hour (it's a long story) and he and his sister chilled in their jammies, chomping on Ritz Bits, under strict orders to please, please, please be quiet and just let Mommy drive for the love of all that's holy, they started chatting about school.

I hear him mention the book and how much he likes it. And he starts telling his little sister about these pages, where he's asked who tells him about God.

"Well," he says. "I could only say one person, and we have two priests at school and I couldn't pick."

OK. That's valid. We go to church every week as a family and he goes every other week with his class. Priests are huge in his life right now. Cool. I'm second to a monsignor. I can handle that.

Then he says, "And I was going to write 'teacher,' but that's a really long word to write. And I don't know how to spell it. It would have taken a long time. So I didn't put that."

Uh huh.

"So," he finishes with a shrug (my nifty Odyssey has a mirror just for watching kids in the backseat. Despite my Mario Andretti maneuvers tonight, I was watching this), "I needed somebody with a short name that I could spell. And I like writing 'M's.' So I put Mom."


That was my formerly swelled heart, deflating just as fast as I was driving, and my parenting ego flying right out the sunroof.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


We spend the whole summer thinking things will be easier once kids are in school, but you know what? They're not.

My son's finishing up his second week of school, and my daughter has been in almost a week. I am a *wreck*. Two back to school nights, thousands of forms and papers to fill out, soccer practices, ballet lessons, scout activities...and it's week TWO. Our schedule is a mess. It doesn't help that they're at two different schools on two different timetables, and that one is a co-op which requires my participation on a few levels.

I feel like the hamster on the wheel right now. Rushing to drop kids off, rushing to run errands, rushing to finish work, rushing to pick kids up...make lunches and dinners...get here and there...fill out everything ASAP... reply to emails and phone calls, and find some time for myself in there (yeah, right). My house is a mess. My calendar looks like something from A Beautiful Mind. My desk is covered with papers and Post-Its. I'm totally lost.

We'll hit our groove. I know we will--we always have. It doesn't help that we're all tired and that the schools just can't seem to get their acts together, so everything is a last-minute emergency. And DH is traveling a lot and working a lot, so most of this is falling on me alone. Everything but Scouts, come to think of it. And I do know that lots of this is optional, but I'm feeling like soccer and ballet and scouts are really important in my children's overall development. I should be able to suck it up and deal with this and breathe.

I've been up since 3:30 this morning. My eyes just popped open like roller shades and that was that. I filed a bunch of stuff, did some laundry, worked on some articles, went through my calendar...and I still feel totally behind.

Time for soccer. Then, there are three textbooks to be covered in Contact paper (I don't even know how to do that!!), dinners to be made and cleaned up after, children to be bathed, paperwork to finish up, interviews to schedule for the rest of the week. A class brunch this weekend at one school; "family fun night" at the other.

Like the great man said, stop the world. For the love of God, I want off...

Monday, September 10, 2007

On Britney

I didn't see the VMAs so I can't comment on her performance there. And yeah, she's a train wreck.

But if that's a "beer belly" on Britney Spears and completely offensive to the rest of the world...I am in serious trouble.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday 13

Haven't done one of these in a long time, and I'm feeling generally pissy. So...

13 Things That Are Pissing Me Off Today

  1. The money being spent to look for this Fossett dude in the desert. I said it when the Croc Hunter got his and I'll say it again: flirt with danger long enough and it's going to do you in eventually. Stupid testosterone.
  2. The general chaos surrounding tuition payments (and missing tuition payments), soccer, uniforms, etc. I mean, the school's been operating for like 60 years. Summer happens every year and classes start up again every September. What is the deal with the complete and utter panic, disorganization, and complete lack of information? Seriously, people, I have high blood pressure as it is. I cannot take this.
  3. DH.
  4. This freaky attachment that my DS (God love him) develops to every material thing in his world. I had out last year's Halloween costume to sell in a big yard sale this weekend--this huge stuffed dinosaur costume that has literally been hanging in his closet, untouched, for the last year. Can you say hissy fit over it? Dear lord.
  5. They don't make soccer cleats in an 11 1/2 for kids. They make a 10 1/2, and a 12 1/2, but no 11 1/2. Which happens to be the size the child is. What...the...hell...kind of system is that? Huh? Or is the Sports Authority chick just lying to me and there's some kind of rogue shortage in that size in my particular store that spans every color and every brand?
  6. The moron who wrote "Heaven has a tenor" as the headline announcing Pavarotti's death on this morning. Oh puh-leeze!! I'm all about the heaven thing and the life-after-death thing, but I sincerely doubt that old Luciano is up there belting out Madame Butterfly in some opera house in the clouds. *Retch*.
  7. Sally Foster fundraisers. Dumbest rip-off idea ever. And telling kids they can win prizes if they stalk their friends and relatives into buying this crap is just a load of manure. I refuse to participate in this one. Fifty percent...guess who's making the other 50 and getting rich AND getting a massive tax break for their "corporate donation" at the end of the campaign? Sickening. I'm telling you, give parents the option to write one check to the school and take a pass on the ridiculous fundraisers and 99 percent of 'em will whip out the old checkbooks right there on the spot. (Yes, our catalogue came home today. It's out on the curb in my recycling bin.)
  8. People who fling Jolly Ranchers off parade floats. Um, OUCH.
  9. Free community newspapers that pile up in driveways and turn into some kind of disgusting mushy street compost after several weeks. We don't want your free papers--if we did, my guess is they wouldn't be free. Quit chucking them in our yards!
  10. Did I mention DH? I really should...
  11. All the bitching and moaning about gas prices. Don't want to pay it? DON'T DRIVE. Or give up your big honkin' SUV for a Honda Fit or something. (I love big honkin SUVs, but I don't bitch about gas, see?). Visit Europe. Do the math and figure out that it equates to about an extra $200 per year per family at the moment over last year's prices, and shut up already. You're not entitled to cheap gas. Suck it up.
  12. The research company that calls my house at 6 p.m. every stinkin' night.
  13. Blockbuster Online. Which compensates for our rabid movie habit by shipping movies via pony express. Or snail. I'm not sure which.


  1. Child abductions are extraordinarily rarely carried out by strangers.
  2. Parents don't generally leave their young children alone in hotel rooms in foreign countries while they go party the night away.
  3. The whole Madeliene McCann thing smacks so hard of JonBenet I can barely hear over the din.
  4. Ditto for Susan Smith.
  5. Cops keep interviewing the parents.
  6. Mysterious forensic evidence has surfaced in the hotel room, including droplets of blood on the walls.
  7. You know what I said about abductions and strangers? Like, triple it for child murders.
  8. And that world opinion seems to be turning just a wee bit...little Madeliene's parents are suddenly calling off their in-person search and heading homeward.

Sorry, McCanns. I'm calling bullshit.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


First day of first grade seems to have gone well. DS was happy when I picked him up this afternoon, which is usually a good sign. I'm already drowning in paper from the teacher. Ack!

So I have homework for you guys. Find me a new purse, please! I'd like something brown leather, maybe a hobo style, maybe with a buckle or something on it, for a decent price. I love the Dooney Lock Sac, but boy, that's outta my range. And I got a cute Coach from Ebay, but it's just too small. It'll likely be re-auctioned.

Anyone got a good source? Anyone? Bueller?