Thursday, September 18, 2008

A case of the blahs...

Today is shaping up to be a pretty bad day. And it's only 8:47am. Nothing particularly horrible happened, you see; just a chain of events that are getting under my skin. It doesn't help that I appear to have awoken on the wrong side of the bed. Except there's only one port of entry and departure on our bed.
Maybe it's all the sleep I'm missing from these horrible and bizarre dreams I keep having.

We're having an especially judgemental and white-glove wearing family member over for dinner tonight and I have to pick up something to cook and take my mom to the grocery store, clean the house and oh, there's about 4974 things I need to do at school. That's annoying to begin with.
Then, when I dropped Olivia off at school, I was getting weird vibes from people there. Maybe it was just me.
Naturally, I walked into a pile of crap at work and had to get straight to it instead of easing in by reading blogs all morning.

I've written a Sincerely 'Fro post but the photos are on another computer so that will post later tonight. After I'm not so ornery. I hope.

Monday, September 15, 2008

They are of what you make...

I keep having dreams that I'm having an affair. With the most random and sometimes repulsive people.

First, I had a dream that I was sneaking around with John McCain. Really? John McCain? That's the best my subconscious could come up with? Then, I had a dream that I was fooling around with the maintenance guy at my Mom's apartment complex. The man is nothing short of a troll and he really doesn't like me as a person.
How come I never get to dream about celebrity hunks like my boyfriend, George Clooney or even Bill Clinton?
Up next in my dreams: Former NY Governor Spitzer! It's that gross.

In related dream news; I'm trying to figure how to stop a reoccurring dream. For 8 years I've been dreaming about my childhood best friend. We didn't really leave off on bad terms; we just sort of stopped being friends. And while I made peace with that relationship long ago and feel nothing but positive feelings about that person now; clearly my subconscious has some unresolved issues with that relationship.
My dreams usually consist of sneaking around, doing bad things and running or hiding from people. Which would pretty much describe a day in our life circa 1997. My dreams featuring her are usually incomplete when I wake up and on more than one occasion, I've tried to force myself asleep and back into the dream just to have a conclusion but it's always futile. I guess that's consistent with the way we left things 8 years ago.
The point is, I wake up slightly distressed and sometimes sad. And after 8 years, I'm tired of it. Even though the logical resolution to this problem is to put closure to this old friendship but in waking life, I feel like I've got closure. Besides, I've never been one to follow logic. So how do I stop these annoying dreams? There must be a way.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ok - here's the thing....

My blog seems to be suffering from a slight case of schizophrenia. One minute I'm consistently writing about my life and family, the next I'm writing an organizing and craft blog and now she's turned into a hurricane blog. I like to call this being "well rounded".

Here's what I have to report: (I've got to get a job with Channel 7 News) Tropical Storm Hanna's outer bans (daymn - I'm fancy) are skimming us in South Florida. It's a little breezy with some good gusts and some scattered rain. Basically, a typical Winter day. (Oh, it's Summer?) Hanna is expected to go North and run into land somewhere along the Eastern coast. That's helpful.

Hurricane Ike? The flocker that's a Category four and churning away in the Atlantic? I can't really answer that question for you. The local news is constantly interrupting vital programming like Days Of Our Lives and People's Court for updates on the tracking of Ike. Their main message? We're in the middle of the 5 day Cone of Death but don't panic yet. Then, on their "Weather Blog", they go on and on about how the chances of an actual South Florida landfall for Ike is only 10% so don't run out and invest in Zephyrhills water or throw up your shutters yet. And when I stayed tuned in for the 11pm advisory tonight, they did a whole 10 minute segment from Home Depot about buying plywood and batteries and flashlights and water and you'd better be prepared now because Ike is a-comin' and we ought be scurred.

You can understand why I vacillate between ultimate panic and bright optimism.

I like to believe I'm a generally prepared resident of South Florida. I have a hurricane box that I pull out which contains batteries, flashlights, grill-safe cooking supplies and things of that nature. I keep a good stock of water all summer long and in the event that we're in the 5 day Cone of Death, I buy extra and usually include essentials like Starbucks Frappacino 4 packs and bacon.
In the event that we end up in the middle of the 3 day cone and Ike remains a BFH (Big Flippin' Hurricane), I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will evacuate. Not because they'll make me but because I have no desire to relive Wilma - let alone anything worse. Where am I going? I don't know - due North somewhere - like Hanna.

I'm either going to be up to my ears in water and tuna fish or feet don't fail me now to Kentucky. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rut Roh!

The good news is Hurricane Hanna is not expected to make landfall in South Florida this week. The bad news is, Tropical Storm Ike is expected to be a hurricane by Saturday and make landfall somewhere around South Florida. On Sunday. Which is Olivia's birthday and when we're scheduled to have a pool party. Last night, I sat Olivia down and discussed the possibility of having to postpone her party for one week - until the following Sunday. The news was nothing short of devastating and Earth shattering to an almost 8 year old girl. I know that she understands the meaning of postpone and certainly can compute the concept but you'd think we just told her she can't have a party, her puppy just died and I'll never let her wear knee-high socks again.
This is the peak of hurricane season and we've really been quite lucky in the past to have never had to cancel or postpone her birthday due to a hurricane or even inclement weather. Even though I've rolled the dice every year for the past 7 years and held her parties outdoors.

In addition to Hanna and Ike, Josephine is right behind although so far, it looks like it's going to stay out into the Atlantic and not threaten any US Coastlines.

Everyone in South Florida sort of gets this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion around this time of year. We're tired of our weathermen (and women), we're tired of schools closing, we're tired of standing in line at Publix for water and ice and we're really sick of "near misses" and "lucking out". That's not to say that we're not generally grateful when a storm ignores us, it's just that we always seem to be within the "Cone of Uncertainty" (or as I like to call it - the "Cone of Death") and have to prepare. Not only is it unbearably hot right now but there's always Hurricane Drama. No wonder why we're always so cranky.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What Would You Do?

Three years ago, Hurricane Wilma ripped through our County and destroyed many things in it's path - one of which was my office. Our home - which is only 8 years old and was built with very strict building code - shook with such horror that my picture frames were crooked after all was said and done. I can remember when the worst of it blew through and I called family members who were 40 minutes away and warned them of what was to come. For months, I had nightmares of the whistling of the wind and banging of my shutters. I will never forget how terrifying it was to live through those moments. Hurricane Wilma was only a Category 1 when it made landfall. Since then, I have vowed to never, ever stay put if anything greater than that ever threatened us.
This weekend, my thoughts have been consumed by Hurricane Gustav, it's Category 3 status (for now) and it's likely path to New Orleans.
I asked Danny what he would do if we were the target of Gustav or another hurricane of it's capacity - would he stay or flee? Naturally, I answered before he could - I would run, run, run so far and so fast that heads would spin. I would drive to Dallas or New York or even Vermont; all places we have family, if I had to but under no circumstances would I stay here. At first reaction, Danny said he'd go, too but then changed his mind and said he'd stay. Excuse me? He said he'd want to protect our home and things from destruction and most of all, looters. He's always so paranoid about robbers and looters. I told him he could stay if he wanted to but he'd be alone. He tried to convince me with promises of beer and my Mom but I'm pretty sure my Mom would be in the passenger seat of the truck as we drove far North.

I take this opportunity to ask: What would you do in a situation like the fine people in New Orleans? Would you be like me and run as fast as the wind or would you be more like Danny and stay to protect your property?

As Hurricane Gustav roars towards the Gulf, I join the entire Nation in positive thoughts and prayers tonight.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well, THAT was an anti-climatic ending!

So - only three people responded to my Great Card Giveaway of 2008 so all three people get cards. Two of whom have already received cards from me. If you're new here or just usually lurk and would like a card or two, please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll gladly share. That's how many cards I have.

I did some shopping in preparation for the long weekend which I fully intend on spending by making more cards. I felt like it took a long time to make a set of 4 so I decided to actually track it to see just how long it took. Turns out it takes two hours to make a set. That's a lot of hours! (My husband is going to send me a nasty email when he calculates the hours. That time could have been spent washing dishes.)

Six more hours were spent today. Take a look:

This was an adorable polka dot scrap paper I had. I was slightly distracted while making this set but when I came back to take the photo, I was pleasantly surprised by how they came out.

It's hard to see in the photo but this paper is pearlized (because I am fancy). There was a lot of loose glitter used on this set. I'm not sure how I'll ever part with any of these cards.

(Do not pay any attention to the bottom right photo which is upside down. Ahem.) This was a fun set. All the paper came from the same book so it was super easy to coordinate accent colors. I was pleased that I had embellishments on hand that went well with the theme.

Thanks to the (mere three) wonderful participants in this year's Great Card Giveaway!

Friday, August 29, 2008

And I don't even mention the DNC & Barack Obama's Speech

I've never discussed politics here for several reasons; the first being while I watch the news and consider myself a person who votes with knowledge, I don't know a lot about politics. The second reason is it's controversial. And I'd rather have people talking about me because of my exposed 7 year old boobies than my stance on politics. Simply for the record, I will divulge that I am a Democrat and think Hilary Rodham Clinton was robbed.
When it comes to local politics, I know even less than I do on a national level; which really is a shame because we all know it starts at home. However, when it comes to education and the way it's run in my community, I'm in the "need - to - know" category. (As in: I need to know everything.)
My child goes to a privately funded and operated charter school within the Broward County School District. I chose to send my child to a charter school for so many reasons - I cannot possibly list them all but public school here, in my opinion, is less than adequate. I was raised in public school and despite my klassy disposition and brighter than the stars intelligence (what? Stop laughing - it wasn't that funny.) , it did me no good. In addition to my own experience with public education, I've watched many of my family's and friend's children struggle and fail to thrive within the public school system.

Located just South of Broward County is Miami Dade County and their school district; the 4th largest district in the country. Miami Dade County School District's (MDCSD) superintendent is Dr. Rudy Crew. Let me tell you, Dr. Crew is in a heaping load of hot shit. Recently, the state's capital handed down educational budget cuts of historic proportions - mostly due to a "Penny Tax" which promises to lower property taxes by $200 per home over the next 10 years. These budget cuts were a serious problem for MDCSD because they were already up to their ears in debt since bringing on Dr. Crew in 2004. This week, Dr. Crew was asked by the board to balance the district's budget and come up with a plan that everyone could agree on. However, during this balance project, Dr. Crew and his team figured out that the school district was not $66 million dollars in debt as previously thought but $88 million dollars in debt. His reasoning for the astounding debt? He "over-spent" - that's what he says. Here are a few highlights from his "plan" to balance the budget:
1. Eliminated 254 teachers who are part of the bilingual programs (Spanish and Creole).
2. Eliminating 88 career specialists.
3. Cut paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff.
4. Eliminate assistant principals for community school programs.
5. Require administrators to substitute teach one day a month.
6. Eliminate 24 audio / visual clerk positions.
7. Take 22 million dollars from the district's "Rainy Day Fund".

What he did not suggest was reducing or forfeiting his $700,000 salary. He's willing to cut hundreds of jobs in addition to the hundreds of police officers, janitors, cafeteria staff and teachers who were already cut over the summer; but he's not willing to take a pay cut for himself.
How do you propose cutting teachers who are part of the bilingual program in a county where 70 percent of the student body's first language is not English? As for cutting paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff; I would expect Dr. Crew will be included in that plan, too. But he wont.
My biggest gripe is taking $22 million dollars from the "Rainy Day Fund". This withdraw will leave only 4 million dollars in the fund. For the entire year. For the entire county. Which is the 4th largest district in the US. When Hurricane Wilma ravaged through Broward County three years ago, Broward County School District lost $2 million dollars in food from the lunch program alone. That money was replaced by their "Rainy Day Fund". There are three tropical storms in the Atlantic as I type and we're not even half way through hurricane season yet. To say that MDCSD would be extremely venerable with a mere $4 million dollars in the fund is a gross understatement. The slightest emergency, need or unexpected funding would leave the district completely, flat broke. Living - on - the - street - begging - for - money - on - the - side - of - the - highway - broke.

Even though my child is not a victim student of MDCSD, I consider myself an advocate for equitable and decent education for all children. I'm simply blown away by the enormous insubordinate and neglect this Superintendent has shown this board, the county and poor souls who attend MDCSD.

All I have to say is: God Bless Charter Schools.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - The One Where I'm Naked

Kristen from We Are THAT Family operates this great Blog Carnival.
To view my entire archives of Sincerely 'Fro posts, click here.

Yep. That's me and my 7 year old boobies. And we're naked. I was exactly Olivia's age in this photo and where I come from, we don't do non-essentials like sunscreen or shirts.

This day is so vivid in my mind; it could have happened yesterday. We were moving from Florida to Dallas, TX and this was our going away party. It was held at a public park and there were lots of trees that I climbed on and damn, it was hot. Folks of the male persuasion were shirtless and I wanted to be, too. What? It was hot. I remember the kids were playing with water - water balloons, water guns, something like that. My shorts were soaked and I wanted to take those off, too.
Unfortunately for you - my Sincerely 'Fro readers - my mother had the sense to make me leave them on.

Thanks for paying me a visit - please scroll down for a special handmade card giveaway!

Great Card Giveaway of 2008

It turns out I've made more cards than I know what to do with so I'm going to give some of them away. Please read below at the several posts dedicated to card making or click here for the craft archives. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite set to be entered into the Great Card Giveaway of 2008. Three winners will be chosen by random draw this Sunday (8/31) morning and announced the same day.

Good luck!

Here are the most recent cards:

I really had fun with the loose glitter on this one - it's hard to see but it's everywhere. I was disappointed to see there was a glare on the bottom card from the flash but it's the same paper as the top right. There's only 3 in this set because I used one.

This is the Paisley set. Most of the accents come from glitter and ribbon with this set. It's difficult to see but the bottom right card has S.W.A.K in green glitter.

My favorite argyle paper. Like the paisley, there's a lot of ribbon with some flowers and more sparkle.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My method of recovery

I'm pleased to report that I've pretty much made a full recovery from Bronchitis Fest 2008. I give some credit to Zithromax but the rest of credit goes to crafting. I've spent most of my weekend laying around the house, cooking and - my new favorite thing to do - making cards. Here are some pictures.

The Aloha stamp was a Michael's $1 find and the paper came from the $1 scrapbooking section of Joann's. I love this set because it's a little more masculine than any of the others.
This paper came from the $1 store. I was pretty excited when I found scrapbooking supplies there and was all set to make an awesome set but I feel like I lost my groove somewhere after the first card. (Which explains why there isn't a 4th.)
This is a very funky set and my first use of loose glitter on cards.
This paper came from the $1 scrapbooking section at Joann's. I love the color combinations.
This might be my favorite set so far. It's hard to see in the photos but there is a lot of glitter throughout the paper. The card in the far right hand side is for my grandfather who turned 76 years old today.
I promise to have a decent blog post this week and Sincerely 'Fro Thursdays will return, too!

Friday, August 22, 2008

We now returned to our regularly scheduled programming (sort of)

I know I missed my Thursday Sincerely 'Fro post and I'm upset about it but it's nice to be missed, really. Thank you to everyone who sent me comments and emails with concern to both my disappearance (thank you, bronchitis!) and the hurricane. Information on Bronchitis Fest 2008 can be found here. As for the hurricane, it was nothing much to cry about - thank the Lord - it did drop a lot of much needed rain all across the state and has caused some flooding but we are fine here in the South.
While I've been sick, I've spent any coherent time making cards. Because it made me forget that my lungs were trying to escape via my trachea. Here are the photos.
These were my second set - none of the cards match other than the color scheme but I love them.
There was originally 4 but I used one today. As you can see, I'm lacking embellishments for the cards but I'm trying to make due until my collection expands.
This is my favorite set so far - I'm not sure if the colors come out great in the photos but it's pink, maroon, black, white and silver with glitter.
I hit a groove with this last set.
As I continue to recover (oh! the drama!), I'll make more and post the pictures.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drywall dust made a liar out of me.

Remember when I inhaled 5 hours worth of drywall dust? Turns out that stuff causes bronchitis! And when I'm plagued with an illness such as bronchitis - where I sleep less than 3 hours per night, spend the rest of my time coughing uncontrollably and crying from the chest and neck pains - I take medicine.

Here's the MasterCard version.

Spackle putty and sander: $8
Materials to make artwork: $25
Prescription Z-pack antibiotic: $20
Prescription cough syrup with codeine: $10
Prescription asthma inhaler: $38
Trip to ER: $100
Having a husband who'll pay for all of those things and hold your hand while you're crying hysterically when having an IV inserted and threaten to take a picture for your blog: priceless.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Halls Cough Drops are the devil

I wonder if cough drops contain caffeine? Because after a bag of them, I'm pretty awake - regardless of the fact that I feel like I'm on my deathbed. Also - the cough drops? Not helping so much. I digress...

Tabitha @ Roots & Wings has generously been tutoring me both via her blog and email on card making. She makes the most gorgeous cards - I wish I had the amount of talent in her pinkie finger in my whole being.

Here's my card-making debut:

Generally, there would be 4 cards in a matching set but I got really tired and lost all interest and creativity by the 4th card so I decided to do without.

Up close:

On the inside, each of them look like this:

I feel pretty good about how they came out. My supplies collection is new and very small so I'm slightly limited but I'm excited about expanding and creating more cards.

***The hurricane status remains the same - it's either going to hit the East Coast (where I live) or the West Coast of Florida sometime between Monday and Tuesday. We'll know more tomorrow, hopefully but in the meantime, I'm pretty prepared for the worst case scenario. Now if only I could get Danny to get with the program and put the shutters up on the windows and doors. (sigh)

MY 100th POST!!

New friends - as promised, I'm answering all your questions in honor of my 100th post. I know the rule is to post 100 facts about yourself but I'm a rebel, dammit - so the 100 facts will be my 101st post.
This was so much fun - thanks for participating!

Kim @ Ramblings of Kimberly:
When you do finally get knocked up with another gorgeous child... are you wanting a girl or a boy? Why?
I can't believe I'm going to admit this but I've become one of those people who said "I don't care what I have - as long as it's healthy". It's so cliche but that's because it's true. For honesty's sake, I will say that lately I've been leaning towards wanting a boy. Because boys love their mothers and pre-teen daughters are brats.
When you first started your period...what happened? were you freaked out? did it happen at the most inopportune time?
I started my period the day OJ Simpson ran from the cops in his white Bronco. It was also my Grandma's birthday. I remember being really, really tired and sleeping all day. My mother was so glued to the television that she made my dad go and buy "supplies". Bless his sweet heart. I felt very annoyed by the whole experience because everyone was making such a big deal about it and also very relieved because it was over with.

Jennifer @ Extreme House Wifeing:
What is your idea of the perfect day?
The perfect day would have to be at least 48 hours long because there's never enough time for me to do everything I want. It would consist of spending a good part volunteering, more time with Olivia doing really girly stuff, cleaning my entire house without becoming bored or exhausted and it would end with me getting knocked up.

Jennifer @ Dust Bunny Hostage:
Do you think Martha Stewart deserved what she got?
I know this was posted as a joke but I'm going to answer it anyway because I actually have an opinion about this. (Shocking.) (shut up) I have been a Martha Stewart fan since before it was cool to like Martha Stewart. I get what the negativity is towards her - she's pretty pretentious and kind of a fraud (we all know her "people" do everything and she takes the credit). But she's done so much in her life and has been successful at almost everything she's done - how can I not strive to be more like her? Besides - I like good things, too. With that said, I strongly feel that the only reason she was treated the way she was is because she's a woman and that's never okay. Katt Williams said it best when he said "Who can blame a bitch for gettin' a tip that her money was about to be gone and then takin' it all out?".
What is that THING that you want your kiddos to remember about you one day?
I want my children to remember that I was their best advocate their whole lives. I'm proud to say that I'm not the type of mother who puts her own insecurities and issues ahead of the child's best interest. I want them to know that throughout their entire lives; education, relationships, justice and everything in between, that I shouted the loudest and fought harder than anyone else for them. Although they'll probably just remember I shouted the loudest.
Is your life more Shakespeare of Dr. Seuss?
My childhood fantasy was to have a Shakespeare life but fortunately, God gave me a Dr. Seuss life. A lot of humor and silliness is required.
What is THE BEST thing that blogging has given you?
I think I am not unlike most other "mommy-bloggers" (Is there a more PC term for this?) who feel that blogging gives me a sense of self. In addition, it keeps my brain working - I'm constantly challenging myself here. Most of all, I've "met" some very kind people who've been so helpful and supportive during those not-so-Dr. Seuss-moments.
(PS - I would like to give a special HOLLA out to Jennifer @ Dust Bunny Hostage for asking the most questions!)

Mrs. N @ All That Naz
If you were a crayola crayon...what color would you be?
Gosh - I have no idea. I would just be a saturated shade of LOUD pink and it would be called SOPHIA. (Suggestions can be emailed directly to

Carianne @ Confessions of a Middle Aged Mess:
How do you think having a deaf mother influenced your life positively and negatively?
Leave it up to my sister to ask the deepest and most difficult question to answer. I've thought long and hard about my answer and have decided to answer in as much honesty as possible. Growing up with a deaf mother was incredibly hard and unless you've actually lived in those shoes, it's almost indescribable. The loneliness I felt was constant and I'm not sure if it's because my house was silent or if it's because I was an only child but it was profound. Naturally, there were perks like turning the music up as loud as I wanted and sneaking the phone to talk at all hours of the night. At this time, I've yet to gain proper perspective on the positive vs. negative impact but I know that my mother did the best that she could with what she had and that has forced me to do better in my own life. Which is what I think any mother would want.

Tabitha @ Roots & Wings
Did you name your dolls/Barbies as a kid?? What were their names??
I wasn't really a Barbie kind of girl - most of my dolls were of the Cabbage Patch form and they all came with their very own names. I usually chose Cabbage Patches based on their names (which you could see on the box) and never changed them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Evening Quickie

(Alternatively titled: Holy crap, I haven't been this sick since I was 9 years old - why, oh why God, do you smite me?)

I'm sick. I'm not really sure with what yet and no, I haven't gone to the doctor and no, I haven't taken any medicine besides Advil. I don't really do medicine because I'm a Scientologist. Just kidding. There are lots of reasons why but I only tell that information to people after I've slept with them. I'm going to get a little descriptive with my symptoms here so if you're squeamish to mucous, snot and other questionable liquids leaking from my head, I suggest you stop reading after the sentence before this one.

My sinuses are clogged with a lot of stuff - some of it I can blow out, others that I can feel dripping into my throat. I'm trying to avoid swallowing at all costs as to avoid an Olympic Event of Mucous Puking. I am also coughing but not an extraordinary amount and I"m not really getting anything up from my lungs. I have the weirdest sore throat, too. It doesn't hurt to swallow but it hurts to spit or cough. The good news is, I can still talk and eat copious amount of Twinkies and the such. The bad news is the Twinkies and such taste like boogers.

There is a hurricane coming. On Monday. Which is the 1st day of school. And I haven't been the grocery store for water and other essentials yet. In case you're wondering if I have any plans for tomorrow, I will be standing in line at Publix tomorrow for seventeen hours waiting in line to pay for those water and other essentials. Maybe I can cough all over everyone and they'll let me skip line. (I really doubt it - this is South Florida and we are ruder than the fine folks in NYC.)

This is officially my 99th post and it's not too late to ask your questions. I will be posting the final questions on #100 whenever I'm feeling better and / or Florida Power & Light restores my power after the hurricane. Whichever comes first.

*Edited to add - because when it rains, baby, it pours in the Brown Household, our a/c isn't working now. And it's 89 degrees at 10 o'clock at night. I suppose that's really quite convenient, though, seeing as how we won't have power pretty soon anyway.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sincerely 'Fro Me To You - The Mommy and Me Portraits Disaster

Kristen @ We Are THAT Family hosts this Blog Carnival posted every Thursday.
To read all of my Sincerely 'Fro posts, click here.
I started running low on Sincerely 'Fro pictures so I raided my mother's photo albums and I'm a little bit sorry I did. There are copious amounts of awfully bad and embarrassing photos - enough to last a Sincerely 'Fro lifetime. For this week's entry, though, I've decided to do it up right with Mommy and Me photos.
Here are the runner ups for Best of Worst Mommy and Me Photo:

This was my mom and me in 1982. I don't know how long my mother saved every bit of money available in order to afford this picture but I'm fairly sure it took my whole life of 6 months. It gets last place in the Best of Worst because I really do adore this picture. In fact, to this day, it hangs in it's original frame in my home.

Aside from the obvious hair issues I'm having here, I chose this as #3 because of the story behind the photo. My mother tells me she will never forgive me for ruining this picture. I don't remember any of this but her version is that immediately before this photo was taken, I was in impossible mode (ahem - again) and tortured my poor mother to tears. I'm pretty sure I wasn't completely at fault - being 9 years old and all - but she's never let me live it down. Let it go, Mom. Let it go.

I think I was around 13 when this picture was taken and I know that I'm wearing my mom's dress. By the look on my mom's face, I probably ruined this photo shoot, too. By this time, my mom was slightly (and I mean slightly) better off financially and so we classed it up and had these taken at Olan Mills (before they were in Kmarts). You may be wondering why this photo only placed 2nd and how is it possible that I had worse hair than the botched bangs (which I did myself) but continue reading...

Not only did we wear matching dresses and you can see the baby powder on her chest (she still does that) but the hair. Oh - the hair. This photo is in the true spirit of Sincerely 'Fro. When I pulled this picture out, my mom told me another story. She said that I begged to have this hair because it matched hers. Well, Mom is getting a little older these days and my memory seems to be a little sharper than hers and let me tell you - I did NOT beg to have this hair. I did not take myself the beauty salon at 8 years old and pay for a perm (a perm!). I also did not sit on the toilet seat of our bathroom and blow dry and curl and use 3 bottles of hairspray for the bangs. No, Mother, I did not. Besides, the proof is in the dress - she bought the matching dresses so it's evident that she was behind the very, very bad matching hair.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I want that pretty recycled one Dooce featured yesterday

I really need to get a small notebook to carry around because over the past few days, I've thought of some funny blog topics and even some hilarious sentences to go with them. Except I forgot them all and you're stuck with this hodge-podge of my life for this week.

While I was kissing and tickling Olivia, I told her I love her more than anything else in the world and she's my #1. She was very pleased with this information but her response was less than impressive (at least it was for me). "You're my number two. Daddy is my number one." This is why I want a boy next time.

My sleeping patterns are so jacked up this week. I'm writing it off to Aunt Flo but I need to resume to my regularly scheduled programming soon before I go insane.

Olivia goes back to school this Monday (hallelujah) but there is still so much I need to do at school, it's frightening. I'm off from work on Friday and that happens to be the same day as Open House. I hope I can spend endless hours there this week or else I'll never be ready in time.

My kitchen is a mess and I'm not trying to be facetious. The fish bowl is so dirty, poor Tommy the Beta cannot see out of it. The laundry is piled up to the ceiling and I haven't decided when there will be time to chip away at it. And that bathroom has that smell again.

It has rained every single day this Summer. I know it's South Florida so it's expected to rain a lot in the summer but seriously - this is enough. I've only been in the pool once and that's really disappointing. I'm hoping for a better weekend this weekend because I cannot go to the first day of school all pale.

Danny has agreed to let me paint the dining room wall whatever color I want. This is a huge victory in our home but now I can't decide what color I want. He doesn't care, as long as I leave him out of it but I need him to come with me to pick out paint colors.

Speaking of Danny, he recently insulted my artwork on the living room wall. My feelings were really hurt and I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I can do to improve the situation. I had a EUREKA! thought today and when I suggested it, he was very confused and told me he loved the wall with the quotes and why did I want to change it? I reminded him of his harsh criticism from the other day and he laughed and said "that's just what we do. We hurt each other's feelings. Some people buy each other presents and give nice cards - we throw insults." I haven't really resolved how I feel about this but if you know my husband, it was a sweet thing for him to say. Like the time he told me that "you don't give away a Rolls Royce just because it has a couple of scratches and dents" when I asked him if he would ever leave me.

I'm not sure if I'm coming down with a cold (in the middle of August) or if the all the drywall dust I took in last weekend has had an adverse effect on my respitory system but man, I've got a sore throat.

I've started my 100th post but have post-dated it. I'm glad to say that I've answered all of your questions with complete honesty. It's not too late to ask questions, though. Just leave a comment here with your question and I'll include it with #100.

The sin quiz

Tabitha @ Roots & Wings posted this quiz. I don't usually participate but I was curious about my results. Tabitha, looks like I'm going to hell way before you are.

Lust:Very Low

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on

PS. I'm pretty offended that all of my volunteer work has not offset my sins by very much. It's a good thing I like what I do. Also - I didn't know that "sloth" meant lazy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I didn't know we were a part of THAT family!

Kristen @ We Are THAT Family invites everyone to write about how their family is THAT family. This is my first official submission to this weekly and boy, it's a good one.
I've recently been telling the horrors of Brown Re-decorating episodes 1 thru a million but in order to do this story justice, I have to re-tell some points.
Because we are THAT family, I'd been using thumbtacks to hang precious family portraits on the wall. And because my husband only married into THAT family, he insisted we use spackle to cover the holes instead of say, toothpaste. He went to work, I couldn't wait and so I proceeded to apply the spackle with my gloved hands - it was not a good job. Each thumbtack hole had about half an inch of spackle and the hole wasn't even covered. He said he'd help me spackle but he took a nap first - I bet you can predict the next part - I couldn't wait. Using a .50 cent foam sanding block, I went at that spackle for five hours. By the time Danny woke up, my entire house (and by entire I really mean from one end to the other) was covered in drywall dust. This was including our brand new TV and entertainment center but was not limited to areas such as my hair.
While I was in the shower scrubbing my skin raw and washing my hair times six, I heard screaming. This is not unusual for my family. (I guess that should have been my first clue that I was part of THAT family.) Olivia runs into the bathroom like a crazed lunatic is chasing her with weaponry and with her shrieks are giggles. "What's wrong?" I said. "dfsdfjleurewiouqpc" she answered. Huh? Oh, that's all the shampoo blocking my line of hearing. "Daddy farted on me and he's going to do it again and it really stinks." Sigh. My first instinct was correct - a crazed lunatic chasing her with weaponry.
As she's escaping out the 2nd bathroom door I hear that scream - a blood curdling scream that can only come from a small child, usually a girl - when she's really hurt.
Picture this: I am in the shower with so much shampoo on my head that more of it has dripped into my eyes, nose and ears than it has cleaned my hair. I cannot see, hear or smell (thank God for the last sense lost) but my child is screaming. "WHAT'S WRONG?"
She slammed her finger into the door as she was making her big getaway from the FartDaddy.
So, friends. I admit - I did not know that we are part of THAT family but it's true. When your daughter gets hurt while running away from her father who's farted on her and threatens to do it again; there's no denying it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Art Projects - You can do it!

When we last left you, I told you all about my Organize THIS! project which involved crafty thing such as creating my very own artwork. Here are the details, photos and instructions.
First up are the Quote Canvases I made; they went in the main wall in my living room.
Like this: (Digression: I apologize in advance for my truly poor photography skills. It's embarrassing, really.)

This was so simple - anyone can do it. I purchased three 16x20 pre-streched canvas and painted them in pretty colors with yummy names like Robins Egg Blue, Plum and Carmel Candy. I would suggest purchasing a whole bottle of paint for each canvas as the Robins Egg Blue and Plum took several coats of paint. After they were dry, I hand-painted some famous quotes by my favorite back-in-da-day celebrities. Since the canvas was painted a solid color, mistakes were easily fixed with a little bit of touching up.
Here's how they came out:
Usually, I am very particular about everything being perfect but there was something about the whimsy of my less-than-perfect cursive that gave this art it's charm. (Olivia has been dying to be a part of this blog so her contribution to this post is her peace sign in the first photo.)
The monogram pieces were so easy that I'm going to make mass amounts of them and give them away as Christmas gifts this year.
I purchased three 8x10 flat canvases and painted them a glossy green. It's sort of a cross between Lime Green and Green Apple. I chose a glossy paint because it reflects nicely without being over-dramatic. Then, in the largest size of my favorite fonts, I printed our initials - D, S and O to use as a template. I used scrapbooking paper that I purchased with the paint so all the colors would go and traced and cut out the templates. I simply used Elmer's school glue (because it's what I had on hand) to place the initials on the canvas. I would probably use better glue when I make them for loved ones, though.
This next part of the project was my favorite! It was so fun I hope my friends and family ask me to make one for them, too. Here's where I used this piece:
And here it is up close and proper:
I used a 4th 16x20 canvas and painted it in glossy black. This time I chose a glossy paint because of the contrast it provided against the flat paper. Next, I chose 3 different scrapbooking papers all in coordinating colors but different patterns. Using a cup as a template, I traced circles onto the paper. With the squares and leaves, I did not focus on a specific part of the paper but because the circles and dots paper was so unique, I chose a specific part to cut out. I played with the circles for a while before I glued them with more Elmer's.
This week at Michaels and A.C. Moore, the canvas is 40% off. I'm going to purchase a larger canvas for my bedroom and do something else crafty with scrapbooking paper. (Scrapbooking paper is 2 for $1 at Michaels, too.)
If you try any of these ideas or have another art project to share, please post in your blog and leave a comment here to share!

Organize THIS! Re-organizing Walls

Every Sunday I post a new organizing project that I've completed this week in hopes to not only force myself but to inspire you. If you post an Organize THIS! on your blog, please link back here and don't forget to leave a comment to share.

This week was a multi-tasking project; not only did I re-organize several walls and purge them of much needed clutter but I crafted my very own artwork, too.
This is the main wall in my living room opposite the entertainment center. As you can see, it was a shrine to Olivia and was in serious need of help.

All of these pictures were removed and relocated (more on that later). Unfortunately, because when we do it, we do it big; we had to spackle all of the existing holes (aprx. 7 million and four). And by we I mean me because I was too impatient to wait for Danny to help me.
As usual, I killed an ant hill with a stick of dynamite and the result was this:
I thought a couple of swipes with the sanding block would fix it up right good. Except what you cannot see in the picture is that each of those patches had about half an inch of spackle. And I was sanding by hand. For 5 hours. Not only did I break my arm (not really but still) but my entire home now looks like a construction site from all the white dust. Also, Danny is really mad at me. (Sorry, babe!)
Once we were done throwing things at each other (kidding - maybe), I could hang the new artwork I crafted myself.

I left Danny's head in the picture on purpose because I wanted to show the permanent fixtures in our living room. As you can see, the sanding job was not my best work. But that wall has to be re-painted soon anyway so I'm really, really trying not to let it bother me. (More details on this and the other craft projects I did will follow this week.)

But wait! Where did those pictures go of that gorgeous family, you ask. Not to worry, they've merely been re-located to the entry hallway.
Here's what that wall looked like before:

This is how I've kept this space since we moved here 6 years ago. It functioned but it was time for a change.
Here's what it looks like now:
Close - ups:
This, so far, has been the most creative project I've taken on in my home. It was a lot of fun but did you know that you have to wash your hair six times in order to remove all the drywall dust? I also predict that I will have white boogers for the next three years.
PS. This is my 93rd post. In celebration my upcoming 100th post, I'm asking all of my new blog friends to post a comment asking me a question. All questions will be answered honestly in my 100th post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blog Etiquette and That Game We're Playing

Remember when I told you all it was my 96th post and that for my 100th post I wanted to answer questions that all of you, my new friends, asked me?
Um, yeah.
I thought it was my 96th post because Blogger told me so. But they were counting my drafts - which I was not. So, THIS is actually my 92nd post. Which, really - is great news because it means there's more time for you to submit your questions!
I ask (ahem - beg) all of you who visit to leave a comment asking me a question. The more random, the more personal, the funnier - the better.

Speaking of my 100th post. I found out today that it's Blog Tradition to post 100 facts about yourself (or something) in honor of your 100th post. Well, I've never been one to follow the rules and I'm sure as hell not going to start now. I'll post my 100 facts as my 101st post. TAKE THAT BLOGOSPHERE! (It's really quite sad how happy the slightest rebellion makes me.)

Know what else I learned about blogging today? That you're supposed to ask permission before you add someone to your blog roll. Rut-roh, Shaggy. I haven't asked anyone for any kind of permission. I feel pretty bad but not bad enough that I'm willing to go back and ask permission after the fact. But if you're on my blog roll and don't want to be, let me know and I'll gladly remove you. I will also stop reading your blog and possibly tell everyone about how rude you are. Just kidding. Maybe.

Uncle Roger

My Uncle Roger died last week. For 10 years, he fought the good fight against cancer; throughout random places in his body. I am pleased to tell you all that cancer did not beat him, he beat it; even if he died as a result. I really think he would like that we think of him in this way.

Before I go on to tell you more about Uncle Roger and the good fight, I should preface it with some background in the crazies (ahem - family). My grandmother was a divorcee in the 60's living in Brattleboro, VT with 4 children - two deaf, one with serious emotional needs and the cutest little boy who ever lived. Across the Connecticut River in Walpole, NH, my grandpa had just lost his wife shortly after she gave birth to their 6th child. She left him with a drunken teenage boy, two wild and loose teenage girls, another pre-teen boy, another girl with uncontrollable hair and of course, a colicky newborn. My grandpa had a good job, was responsible and had an ass-load of kids. My grandma; with 4 kids of her own, didn't mind 6 more and could make a beef stew like no body's business. They wed and piled all 10 of their children into a great farm house on a nice piece of land. Grandpa worked for John Deere, Grandma raised the kids, sewed dresses for the girls, slacks for the boys and only slightly struggled with what was an unusual situation during that time in America. But the kids got along and there was enough money to survive and the biggest battles were held over who got to use the only bathroom first in the morning. I imagine their land; on a hillside in Walpole, NH at the end of a windy road, was fertilized with more boy urine than anywhere else this side of the river. Things were so great, in fact, that Grandma and Grandpa thought it would be fun to have a baby together. Grandma wanted another girl of her own and grandpa's job was pretty secure and so they had their 11th (and thankfully, final) child. The story of how this family came to Florida is really irrelevant. Grandpa's oldest boy (the drunk) was killed in a car accident shortly after moving here in the late 70's. Some children graduated high school, some got pregnant on purpose so they could move out early, one even went to college. Throughout the years, our family would face feuds, deaths, births and run-aways.

Roger was the 2nd oldest boy for my Grandfather and man, did he love Roger. Roger got a decent job in New England, married and had 2 boys. He was more like my grandfather than any of the other kids; which I know Grandpa loves. In other families, favorites are not usually so obvious but Grandpa's love for Roger ran deeper than anyone could imagine.

In the early 90's Roger fell off Fall Mountain in New Hampshire and survived. This would serve for good story telling in the coming years because the guy obviously had 9 lives. That man could survive anything; which is why none of us were overly concerned with he was diagnosed with cancer shortly after falling off the mountain. You can guess correctly that he kicked that cancer's ass. And the other several cancers that would try to compete with Roger's pure will to live over the next 10 years.

Over those 10 years, his children grew up, he divorced and was lucky enough to have met the actual love of his life. They married this past March after a very, very, very long courtship. In April, while getting new, experimental cancer treatment, he collapsed in the hospital because apparently, his spine was ravaged by that bitch, cancer. He remained positive and confident as he signed up for more experimental treatments while we worried about his cancer.

Shortly before Roger passed, he called a family meeting and announced that the doctor has advised him to stop all treatments and simply enjoy life because he was not long for this world. Roger asked everyone to not be afraid and to simply make peace with him and enjoy what little time was left. He conducted this meeting with the same brilliance and dignity he conducted his life. I was not blessed with the presence of Roger throughout my life; he lived far away from us and our side of the family was not especially close with him. But I am so thankful that this summer, while vacationing in Vermont, I visited with him. I hope that Olivia will never forget the time Uncle Roger lay in hospital bed, located in his living room, and took a big whiff of her Crocs; "how does such a pretty girl have such smelly shoes?" he asked. We all laughed and laughed. Always a joker, that Uncle Roger.

I want to say - out loud and in writing - how proud I am of Uncle Roger. Not only for his bravery towards the end of his life but for all the joy he's brought to my Grandpa, too and for the legacy he's left for his two grown sons and brand new grandson.

Try not to fall off any of eternity's mountains this time, Roger and say hi to your mom for me.

They say He works in mysterious ways - I think he's got a sense of humor

This morning, just after I was greeted by That Bitch Aunt Flo, I read that Jenna Jameson and Tito Ortiz are having a baby. I thought - seriously? God gives Jenna Jameson and Tito Ortiz a baby as I sit here in a pool of tears over the lack of my own pregnancy? I wallowed that way for a good part of this morning until I read my horoscope:

It may seem like everyone around you is happy and getting what they want, while you are still stuck in the trenches, dear Sagittarius. Don't compare yourself to other people and make judgments based on their outside appearances.

Ok, now I feel bad for judging Jenna Jameson for her choice of profession and Tito Ortiz for being an ultimate moron. They deserve a baby just as much as I do and who am I to bargain with God on matters of life?

But still...Jenna Jameson and Tito Ortiz?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sincerely 'Fro Me To You - The Husband Edition

Kristen @ We Are That Family leads this Blog Carnival every Thursday.
To see my entire archives of Sincerely 'Fro posts, click here.

This week, I've decided to go a different route for Sincerely 'Fro and do a husband edition. Mostly because I came across these hilarious (and adorable) photos of his childhood and a little because I'm kissing his ass so he'll let me paint the dining room eggplant.

Danny was born with a different name; one I won't divulge here. (Kissing ass, remember?) However, even at less than a year old he was a stud. It reminds me why I want to carry a million of his babies.

When Danny and I were looking through these pictures together, he was excited to discover that he had a belly even at under 2 years old. "I'm not fat - I'm just deformed!" he shrieked with glee.

This is Boots The Siamese Cat - in all capitals - he's a Brown Family icon. Legend has it he used to crawl into Danny's crib and groom him. Want to know a secret? To this day, whenever Danny gets to thinking about Boots, he still cries a little.

It's nice to know that even back then, he enjoyed a nice breeze - if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

The house he grew up in during the late 60's & entire 70's was located in Carnarsie, Brooklyn. Which explains why I'm pretty sure this TV fell off the back of the truck.

Notice the ashtray in the back? DCF was a long ways away back then.

I wonder if he had a coat on under the costume? Otherwise, babe...? I think you were just fat.

This is my very favorite photo of my husband. This picture is going to be included with the living room re-decorating project. Although I'm in my right mind to believe that he threw this book to whoever the photographer shortly after the shutter closed.

The true beauty of this photo is the ring he's showcasing. His parents never wanted him to forget that he was raised in Mafia Country. He was ready to bust heads at 9 years old - if only he wasn't Jewish.

I think these pants are coming back in style.

Silly perverted child, that's a boy Indian, not a girl Indian.

He was kicking this kid's ass because his parents made him go to karate instead of letting him stay home to watch Happy Days.

Don't worry about all that hair hair, sweetie. In about 20 years, you're going to meet me and I'm going to fix you up right good.