Saturday, May 26, 2007

What's in a Name?

We're hanging in Northern Virginia for the holiday weekend... As we made our way to only the VERY best shopping that ever was created, 'The Container Store' (woot!) we passed a giant corporate building with this title emblazoned on the side 'NADA'... My son, ever the comedian, pointed out the building and made the following comment:

"I wonder how they came up with their corporate slogan, maybe the CEO asked, "Whaddya got?" and the publicity committee replied, "We've got nothin'!"


Friday, May 25, 2007

Camera Shy

A couple of months ago my trusty-rusty Olympus C-2100 digital camera with the 10X zoom, took a terrible spill... A fall so tragic that it was left with it's little digital dial hanging by a single thread of a wire. If cameras were to bleed, I'm certain the red-cross would have been little help to my poor broken camera. That camera and I, Oh we went places! The things we saw... The pictures we took... Vegas, Southern California (twice!), Key West, Florida and The Bahamas. Not to mention the Weddings and the Baby's and just the quick shots we'd take around the house.

I'll admit my eye wandered during our partnership. It was when my trusty-rusty Olympus started to show her age by taking an eternity to start up or even allow me another frame while I'd try to capture a shot of my niece who moves at warp speed, I would curse her (the camera, not my niece.) More than once I would whisper under my breath or sometimes shout to my husband, "If ONLY I had a Canon EOS!" The fact is I wasn't worthy of the quality pictures my sweet Olympus produced for me. She quite simply, made me a far better photographer than I could've ever hoped to be. *sniff*

Last night I made the decision to replace my dear old Olympus and today I'm the proud, yet reluctant owner of a sharp little 'Canon Power Shot S3 IS'... Ask me how many pictures I've taken with it.... NONE! I spent the better part of the morning just figuring out how to attach the neck strap. In my defense, the instructions were rather vague... Probably because the people at Canon figured if the mook who bought the thing couldn't put the freakin' neck strap on, then how in the hell did they even THINK they could manipulate this camera? I've looked through the many booklets that accompany my little 'Power Shot' but I'm tired and it's much like reading Greek. I know what I really need to do is JUST start shooting pictures, JUST DO IT! But I'm daunted... I knew my old Olympus so well... This thing, it just has SO many buttons... So many different screens, modes, settings, etc.

I'm waiting for my son to come home from school. He has this innate sense with electronic equipment... He just seems to somehow KNOW how it all works (WITHOUT having to read a freaking manual.) I figure if he's around he'll be able to walk me through the process... Introduce me to my new little friend, so to speak. I think I'll get used to this little guy (why this camera is a 'Guy' I'm not quite sure) before too long... I just need to pick him up and start taking some pictures... Did I mention he has a 12X zoom?! :-)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Tale of 2 Wholesalers

I'm working with a friend to decorate the office space of her husband (my first semi-professional job! Yippeee!)... We spent part of our day together yesterday perusing suppliers of high-end office furniture. The first store we explored was in a rather upscale industrial park, tucked away in a part of New Castle I'd never seen before. We entered the shop a little disappointed that there wasn't more to choose from, but appreciated the well appointed style and settings of the various pieces on the floor. The guy that waited on us was helpful, friendly and gave me two lovely catalogs to share with my client. He explained that he used to work for the competitor (which we had on our list of destinations) but when the 'Old Man' who ran the place died last year the place had taken a serious downward turn. So, he and a co-worker opened this space. He informed us that he would beat any price the competitor offered and assured us that delivery and set-up were included in the price. His shop also offered the service of plugging the measurements of the room and style of furniture we were interested in, into a computer in order to show us a 3D image of what our choice would look like in the space... Cool! We thanked our new friend and explained we were on our first fact-finding mission and might be in touch with him again.

Next we travelled over to the competitor which was in a seedier part of town... One of those big steel frame wharehouse type places. We walked in and instantaneously a small dog ran yapping at our feet, luckily he/she didn't bite! This however was no where near as disturbing as the woman who as my friend said, "Looked 2 minutes from dead." that was laying bolstered by pillows, covered with a ratty blanket across one of the office sofas for sale on the showroom floor... Can you say Eeeewww? This second store had a lot of stock to choose from, the majority of which was either scratched and dented beyond belief or was covered in so much dust you couldn't SEE the scratches and dents hidden beneath. One of the desks was a model we had seen at the previous store except this one had so many scratches on it we had to re-think it as a possible choice.

I'd seen enough and was ready to leave when the saleman approached us... That's when I really wanted to get out! Our salesman was a really sleezy looking guy... Roughly 70 yrs. old, leisure style pants, shirt buttoned down to there, with a few gold chains, slicked back hair and a "You gotta have it!" style. My girlfriend threw a few questions his way, while I looked over my should to make sure the lady on the sofa still appeared to be breathing. Eventually we made our way to the front of the shop where 'Mr. Slick' shuffled through the mounds of paperwork on his desk and eventually handed me two seriously bent and slightly muck covered catalogs to take with me.

I don't know about my girlfriend but I'm SO NOT planning on going back to the second store.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


My daughter told me yesterday that one of her friends informed her a while back that "Because of our falling out...." (A speed bump they hit in their relationship a few years back).... My daughter, was going to have to work hard to make it up to her, IF they were ever to get back to where they were as friends.

Ummmmm? WHAT?

Friends often go through periods when they have mutual disagreements but never have I heard of one placing conditions on the other in such a manner. I hope my daughter doesn't feel like she has to cow-tow to this girl in order to win her approval as a friend of hers again.

So, we listened to some 'Mika' because his music is so cheerful... I think this was the perfect song for her to help the message hit home.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This morning my as daughter was putting together her lunch for school I overheard her humming a tune to herself. I immediately launched into singing a song that stuck in my head from the clock radio I'd heard earlier (Arms Race by, Fall-Out Boy.) My daughter heard me (of course) and said, "That's NOT the tune I was humming!" To which I replied, "No, but it's the tune I want to hum!" Her reply, ".....Nnnnnggghhhhhh!" And since I'm so incredibly mature I replied with, ".....NNNNGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!" This went on, back and forth, for the next several minutes with each of us replying in longer and louder "NNnnnnnnGGGGhHHHhhhssss"... Some of which included other syllables and consenants, like... "Nnnnnggggggyyyyyyooooooouuuuugggghhhhhhh!!!" Yes it was Me, the Mom, who continued this give and take of conversation all the way out of the kitchen, up the stairs, into my bedroom and bath until I finally stopped to brush my teeth.

I Love it when I can relate to my kids on a level we can both understand.

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Friday, May 11, 2007


This morning I decided to dress up a little bit as we're heading out of town this evening... So I thought, I'll put on my wedding ring (which I don't wear much anymore due to the fact my hands are often fondling clay), some earrings and a necklace to complete my matching skort set. My daughter on the other hand decided to really get dressed up as there's a dance at school this evening. Have I mentioned that in the last say 20 minutes or so she's turned into a blonde bombshell? It's like one minute she had the body of a 12 yr. old and the next she sprouted incredible boobs and a curvaceous figure, which makes me weep for the days I used to have that shape. Yesterday she exited her room wearing a new pair of spandex style shorts and a fitted lycra v-neck t-shirt and I resisted the urge to stifle a scream... Oh my God, the HOTNESS! What happened to my little girl? I immediately moved to my sons bedroom door and said, "Good morning, I'm closing your door because you're sisters too hot for you to look at." Which made my daughter beam with pride. Later at breakfast he commented that everything appeared to be "Too tight on her." I said, "That's not tight, it's just fitted and she now has a body that quite simply "Fits into it." Mind you she was dressed quite tastefully. We went with the bicycle style shorts because she and I both agree that any short which only consists of a length only 2" from the crotch or LESS is FAR to short!

Anyway, back to ME and my dressiness. So, I dropped my kids off at school and my daughter always likes to hang back and sit in the car with me to say a long goodbye. As we were sitting there I told her, "You really look beautiful today!" She smiled brightly and said, "And you look decent." ???????????? I replied with, "Well, I was going for pretty good, but I'll settle for decent." She said, "Oh Mom, you know what I mean... You look beautiful, the problem is every time I tell you that you say, No I don't because... of this or that. Besides, Decent is a good word."

It is, I'll take it and in the future I'll try not to be so self-depricating.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Conversation between the jeans in my closet...

Pair #1: "I really don't think I can take much more of this... My seams are stretched beyond all reason."

Pair #2: "I'm okay with it, I guess. After a washing, it can be quite painful at first, but once she does a few deep knee bends I'm able to stretch out enough so I can pretty much relax.

Pair #3: "You two are lucky... At least you get to see the outside of the closet once in a while! She outgrew me months ago and the way things are going I'll end up with hanger creases for the rest of my days.

Pair #1 to Pair #3: Always complaining #3... At least you don't need to worry about stretched-out pocket seams... I'm beginning to look rediculous!

A low booming voice sounds from the top shelf at the back of the closet... Oh HORROR, it's the FAT JEANS.... "MMmmwwwwhhhaaaaaaaaa!!!! My reign is nigh... I'm going to over-take you ALL!"


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

07-07-07 The Perfect Date?

I read in the paper yesterday that couples everywhere are struggling to find a venue, limos, catering and 'The Works' for their JULY 7, 2007 wedding date. The article went into all the superstitious mumbo-jumbo that makes the date so desirable.

Listen-up folks! It's not about the limo, the dress, the place or the date. Take it from couples who have been married for a while (at least 20 yrs.) who have marriages that are still going strong and are happy to wake up to the same loving face every day... It's all about the commitment... Yes, the Commitment! All that wedding stuff... It's over in a day... It's a party, a celebration but all the money and planning in the world... And EVEN the perfect date aren't going to amount to much if you aren't willing to work on the marriage. Work? you say... Hell yeah! It takes maturity to admit when you're wrong and kindness to not rub your partners nose in it when you're right. It takes time to work through all the differences you encounter when you begin a life with someone other than just yourself. There will be times when one of you feels neglected... Times when you'll need to ask yourself what's most important. Once kids enter the mix the work gets even more intense because there are so many more circumstances that require a meeting of the minds. No matter HOW fantastical that wedding celebration was nor the amount of money you threw at it... I doubt you'll spend a second reflecting on it while your in the middle of an argument with your spouse. It's all the things you've done together between the day you fell in love and now that will play out in your mind when your life together is wonderful, difficult, adventurous, trying, beautiful and frustrating... All the emotions that come with simply living a life.

Not long ago my husband gave me a list, single spaced, typed on the computer... A page full of titles. The titles were a brief description of all the special moments we have shared together as a couple. The list includes Dates we went on 'Numero Uno Pizza in Toluca Lake, California', 'Surprise picnic on Malibu beach after work'... Trips we took 'Disneyworld', 'Honeymoon in Maui' and 'Art Galleries on Cape Cod'... He included the most amazing moments of our lives together 'The day our son was born'... 'The early morning our daughter was born'. I cried as I sat and read the list he created. My husband isn't much of a romantic but when it comes to romance THIS was the most... Simply THE MOST! I ended up formatting the list, typeset and printed it out on acetate. It's framed in clear glass and hangs on our bedroom wall.

I should note that our wedding pretty much sucked! I hated the dress that my grandmothers seamstress friend completed the day before the wedding... Family members had to come together who quite literally hated one another... My mother was WELL medicated throughout the day... My step-sister bridesmaid decided before the wedding to dye her brown hair white and get a mohawk... Our best man forgot to give a toast, lucky my brother-in-law filled in and my evil step-monster made her feelings known by wearing black. It's a good thing we weren't pinning our hopes on a wonderful life together based solely on the outcome of our wedding day.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Poor Clifford

This weekend I helped out the Art Space on Main crew with a booth at 'The North East Garden Show'... Or as I like to refer to it, 'The Poor Man's Wilmington Flower Market.

'The North East Garden Show takes place every year at the St. Mary's Episcopal Church Graveyard... Yes, you read that correctly, the GRAVEYARD. Initially I had a bit of a problem with the idea of buying and selling items in what I believe to be a solemn setting where respect should be shown. Then it ocurred to me that this might be a very old graveyard, more of a tourist attraction... But still I wondered if that should really matter.

Thursday afternoon the girls and I packed up all our pottery, a tent, potters wheel and supplies and caravaned over to St. Mary's. Once there we met up with the woman organizing the event (her first year) and she pointed us to our booth location. To my extreme horror our booth was situated directly over a fresh grave site. I knew this because of the wilted mums gracing the plastic cross and the not quite settled sod which covered a 4x6' area just below the cross... Just so we wouldn't be at all mistaken a 2x4 lay down the middle of the sod emblazoned with black sharpie reading -Please respect the grave site - Oh sure, no problem... I'm just gonna hock my pottery here, but I'll be respectful about it.

The rest of the group started unpacking the truck while I stood there gape mouthed trying to insist that this just wasn't right. THEN, the organizer lady told us we could set our tent AROUND (meaning, OVER) the grave as long as the poles weren't touching it... We could also set our table just in FRONT of the grave, but not on TOP of it... And we must be careful not to STEP on the grave... Oh and by the way, "His name is Clifford, he died 10 days ago... Would you like to see his picture in our church directory?"

Now, I'm from Southern California... It's been said that we're all a little crazy out there... But I've NEVER in my entire Southern California existence attended a craft show in a graveyard, on top of a freshly dug grave no less! The situation literally made my stomach turn. I couldn't help but worry that Clifford's widow was going to show up and lambast us for desicrating her husbands grave. Not to mention the need I had to fight off visions of nearly every horror show I've ever seen that took place in a graveyard... Remember the end of the movie Carrie?

The girls all thought I was being goofy and yes, even made jokes about Clifford being thrilled at the notion of having 7 lovely women on top of him. I eventually made SOME peace with the idea by telling myself that 'Poor Clifford' probably attended the Garden Show every year and loved it so much that he wasn't bothered with the idea of being smack dab in the center of it. Luckily we never had to deal with an upset widow... I'm not sure she attended the show... She's probably still mourning... And I just want it to be known that whenever I had to step over Clifford I apologized every time... I'd do the same for any stranger, dead or alive.

That's Heather (the owner) "selling" Art Space on Main... And some pottery. Clifford is directly behind the bakers rack and table in the middle under the tent. I'm on the other side of the road, so I don't have to apologize again. The picture following, is Jane showing a group of kids how much fun it is to 'throw' a pot.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Sponatenous Pnumothorax

Last time I posted it was regarding my sons mustache... Today I'd like to say I don't care what he has on his face... Today, I'm just happy he's home from the hospital.

Saturday morning he woke up and mentioned his chest ached. Not much more than that, not a lot of complaining. My husband and I just shrugged it off with a "You're fine, probably indigestion and a bit of post anxiety achieness." (He played his first live musical gig the night before and was pretty tense about it... but played wonderfully and was on a "Look at the money we made in tips!" high the rest of the night.) He mentioned the discomfort in his chest a couple of times throughout the day but didn't seem terribly distressed... We watched MADtv, he laughed and appeared fine before going off to bed. Around 1:30am he came into our room and said the pain had awakened him... We said, "Take a tums, that should help." (I know, amazing parenting skills dontcha think?) However, somewhere in the back of my head I thought, "Hmmmm, pain all day and tonight? Maybe we should take a trip to the emergency room." You see, my son is quite thin and the thought that ocurred to me was maybe it's his heart? So we made the 4 min. trek down to the hospital (it's nice to be close!)

Once in the ER we explained his symptoms. He was asked, "On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you've ever known, what number would you say you're feeling now?" His reply, "That's a tough question, I really don't know, I guess I'd have to say a 3... But when I walked up the stairs it was a 4." A 3 or a 4?... Shoot, when I went into the hospital with the infected hang-nail (blood poisoning) I told 'em I was a 9! So I figured he wasn't too bad off. They sent us to x-ray not long afterward, which following a nurse, we walked to. A half-hour later the ER physician was telling me that my son had a hole in his lung or a 'Pnumothorax' and this meant his chest cavity was filling with air. They were going to need to insert a tube into his chest to vacuum out the excess air in order to allow his lung to expand and begin to heal. I was also told that gone undetected my son would have suffered greater and greater distress, his lung would've shrunk as the trapped air increased and the result could've pushed his vital organs aside.

This is a lot to digest at 3:00 in the morning! This is what was going on inside my head, "You mean you plan to cut open my son and stick a tube in him?"... "Are you sure you don't just want to give him an antacid and send us on our merry way?" Cut to me in the emergency room entrance calling my husband to arrange someone to stay with the girls (my daughter had a friend sleeping over that night) and get over to the hospital ASAP! Even as I write this it sounds like I was frantic but in reality I just went with the events as they unfolded... Listening and trying to understand exactly what was going on.

Most individuals who suffer from a tear or a whole in the lung have suffered some sort of trauma... Either a car accident, gun shot or knife wound. My sons tear ocurred spontaneously and I was told that it's not uncommon in someone with his body type... Quite tall, thin and lanky with long fingers. One of his nurses said, "I knew what you looked like before I ever laid eyes on you, when I read you had a spontaneous pnumo." You learn something new every day I guess.

Before too long my husband was at the hospital with us and an I.V. had been administered. That's when they started giving my son morphine to help ease the pain for the procedure. I now know for sure that my boy has never used drugs because of his reaction once the morphine took hold. He giggled uncontrollably at the feeling he was experiencing, "Whoa, this is Great! Morphine Rocks!" He had the nurse and I, well... in stitches. And what a comedian he was... At one point saying, "I wonder if this qualifies me for an 'Extreme Makeover - Home Edition'? Yeah right, poor sick kid who lives in a 5 yr. old home on a golf course community... I'm sure Ty and the gang'll be right over.

My son is the type that needs info to deal with unknown circumstances so he grilled the doctor and nurses quite extensively during the surgical process of getting the tube inserted. He kept asking, "What are you doing now?" and "How about now?" With the morphine and the local anesthetic he never felt a thing... Thank heaven! However, the pain and discomfort of having a tube hanging out of you for any period of time is in no way enjoyable. This is when I think about all of the parents who've had to watch their child in serious pain and distress and it makes me want to weep for them. I knew my boy would get better but what about the child going through chemo? Watching my son lay there with pain etched across his face made me want to reach over, snatch it from him and take it for myself... But the sad reality is all a parent can do is try and make their child as comfortable as possible. In our family we tell eachother "I love you" a lot... But the "I love you's" came out in a constant stream over the last few days... It's good to know, it's nice to say but it's even better to hear.

This morning the tube was removed from his side and almost immediately my boy became a new person, ready to jog laps around the hospital wing. Next week he goes in for a follow-up x-ray and visit with the doctor. We've been told there's a 1 in 10 chance this could happen again, but there isn't much we can do to prevent it... However, I can assure you if he complains about chest pain we won't be offering him a tums next time.

My boy is sleeping now... All legs and arms draped across the family room sofa. A peaceful look on his face replaces the pained brow that was there yesterday. Before he drifted off he said, "Oh man, I've wanted to get in this position for 2 whole days, it feels so good." We're all pretty tired and it's nice to have lasagna from the next door neighbor baking in the oven so I don't have to worry about making dinner. Even though the last couple of days have been exhausting and stressful it makes my heart swell to be reminded of how many wonderful people we have in our lives who care so deeply for our welfare. The kind words, the offering of meals, the flowers, the hospital visitors, our friends taking care of my daughter and getting her back and forth to school, the phone calls offering support... It makes us feel so humbled and grateful and above all thankful.