Sunday, September 15, 2013

Miss America 2014 Already?

First of all, didn’t we just do this a few months ago?

Secondly, after the extremely weird shoe parade I have decided Miss Kansas gets my vote, for rocking her uniform and combat boots when all the other girls were wearing heels (and weird ugly heels at that). Also, it’s rotten she didn’t get to do archery as her talent. That would have been the best talent ever! The best part of Miss Kansas was that she was herself through the whole pageant, tattoos and all. Probably has something to do with being in the military.

As usual, most of the introductory statements were stupid. Except Miss DC who joked about listening to phone calls and Miss South Carolina who cracked a mobile home joke. At least Miss Utah didn’t mention the Osmonds or our high birth rate, again.

So here we are back in Atlantic City, which is where the pageant always was when I was a kid. So why is it airing so late at night if it’s back on Eastern Time? My kid isn’t going to get to bed until after 10:00!

And how awesome is it that the current Miss America posts pictures on SnapChat of her without makeup and is upfront about the fact that she has gained weight while traveling and that she is no longer following the crazy pageant diet.

It is nuts that Miss Florida is still competing after tearing her ACL during practice while twirling batons. So unfair they don’t let them do fire batons. If she wins I bet she ends up needing surgery. And only 11 girls in Alaska competed for Miss Alaska, and they all got at least one year of school paid for. So that’s pretty cool.

Miss Marylands evening gown was my favorite. It was white and sparkly and had a train and covered the essentials! And the sexy Belle gown, it was a fail. Belle would never wear that. Sorry Miss New York, I hated your gown.

I don’t get wearing a midriff baring shirt with a fancy skirt for talent, it was too distracting. If the top had been two inches longer we would have paid more attention to your singing and less to your belly. In fact, it was so distracting I forgot which contestant it was!

My favorite part of the pageant is how Miss New York is never paying attention when her name gets called and is always genuinely surprised that she is moving on. She did a traditional Indian dance for her talent, and it was definitely our favorite talent of the night. So fun to watch.

Miss Kansas is a butt kicking beauty queen. She had to switch talents five weeks before the pageant because they have a rule about projectiles (she was going to do archery). So she learned an opera song from You Tube. I wanted her to win and was really bummed when she didn’t move on.

I’d rather watch Irish Dancing than clogging any day of the week.

Miss Texas sang jazz, which was a refreshing change from show tunes.

Miss Florida twirled 3 batons on a torn ACL. Loved the bedazzled knee brace, and she made it to 3rd runner up. $15,000 in scholarship money isn’t too bad.

My favorite answer to a question was Miss Minnesota, who took a stand on marriage that probably isn’t popular, and may have cost her the crown, but she owned it.

There is no way the questions were evenly matched, as a question about Miley Cyrus twerking is in no way equal to questions on Syria or income disparity among minorities. And poor Miss Florida ran out of time trying to answer her question.

The worst outfit choice of the entire pageant was Miss America 2013’s final gown. It looked like a dress that an Egyptian Pharoah would wear, and the cut out in the front made her boobs looked squished, and the bare midriff was not only distracting it called attention to her waist in an unflattering way. Maybe the fact that she’s getting gypped in her reign by only being Miss America for a few months made her not care about her outfit.

When it got down to the final two contestants I decided I wanted Miss New York to win. Even though her evening gown was the worst out of the contestants, her talent was fabulous. Plus I was hoping she wouldn’t realize her name got called and that would be funny.

It turns out that for me to be at my snarky finest I need an actual keyboard (not my ipad keyboard) and some snarky friends. Unfortunately my pageant peeps were unable to come over tonight, so it was just me and Brent, and we tried to keep the snark in check because we were watching with our 8-year-old daughter, being careful to point out the ridiculousness of a fitness portion of the pageant which was really just about how you looked in your swimsuit. And it is a fine line to walk because while I love watching pageants, I do not want my kid to ever be in one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trash Can Redux

After hosing down the trash can multiple times, using vinegar and baking soda, and bleach twice, there is still a lingering smell of decomp on my trash can! Luckily my trash can is broken, so I am working on getting the city to get us a replacement one. The good news is that it isn't nearly as potent as it was, and I really think if I give it a peppermint oiling I could get rid of the smell for good. I just haven't gotten the peppermint oil upstairs yet. I will probably do that Thursday, so after trash pickup Friday I'll give it a whirl and see what happens. No maggots have returned.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I Googled "There is Decomp In My Trash Can"

I am probably on some government watch list somewhere due to my Google history. And it's my own fault. I bought too much meat at the store and needed to clear some room in the deep freezer, so I went thru it and tossed anything that had a date of several years ago on it, or looked freezer burnt. This included lots of meat. Unfortunately, this was on a Friday afternoon, and trash pickup is Friday morning. By Tuesday the garbage can reeked. It practically had wavy stench lines above it, so I moved it out to the curb so we wouldn't have to smell it when opening the garage door. By Thursday you could smell it from the street. On Friday, after trash pick up, I went out to deal with it, figuring I would hose it down with some soap and water and it would be fine. Alas, there were maggots crawling all over the inside of the can, and at the bottom was some sort of gray sludgy mess that was teaming with disgusting little critters. After dry heaving, I went back inside and started Googling. Due to my years of watching crime shows, I recognized the smell of decomp, and I knew that's why there was an infestation of maggots in my trash can. I was also pretty certain bleach would take care of the problem, but I wanted to double check. So I googled "There is Decomp in my trash can" and discovered that I am not alone in my stupidity, and that there is a whole town dealing with this issue because their trash pickup went to bi-weekly rather than weekly. Gross. After doing about five minutes of research, as I had one hour before I had to get to a PTA meeting, two hours before I had to go to a parents day at my kids day camp, and three hours before leaving for camping, I went out and hosed down the can, enough to get all the maggoty critters into the bottom. I then added what bleach we had, which wasn't much, in order to kill the little grimy critters. Then I dry heaved some more, went inside and showered. Then I basically had a break down because I didn't have time to deal with this mess, and my husband volunteered to deal with the can. So off I went to shower, and he rinsed out the can, dumping the maggoty mess into the gutter on the advice of the neighbor. He said the can no longer smelled. I went out and smelled it, dry heaved some more, and went off to my meeting, had a panic attack, came home and discovered the can still stunk. I then dumped four boxes of baking soda (3 from the fridge and freezer and one new one from the pantry) into the can, hauled it out to the curb so the neighbors didn't have to smell it, and left for day camp and camping. Three days later the can still smelled, although not as much. So I dumped a gallon of vinegar into it, making the worlds largest baking soda volcano, and let it sit for awhile. Then I rinsed it out. The smell of decomp was still there, although considerably lessened. I then dumped almost a gallon of bleach all over the trash can, and let it sit for a few hours. Alas, the decomp smell remains, although considerably lessened. At the moment I have some dryer sheets that were soaked in bleach sticking to the sides of the can, and a small cup of bleach sitting in the can, in addition to the garbage. I will see how the can smells after garbage day this week, and plan to try some peppermint essential oil to get ride of the smell. It worked the time I left raw chicken in the microwave for several months. Time will tell if we need a replacement can or not.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun with Essential Oils

Every so often I play with essential oils, the hazards of being an Aromatherapist. I have made some crazy concoctions, and some that are pretty fabulous. Today I let H make her own bath salts, and after having her smell various essential oils and fragrance oils, she came up with Cranberry Sweet Orange, a bath salt that is marginally medicinal, but boy does it smell good. Her friend ended up making Cranberry Sweet and chose yellow food coloring for the color. I also made some Lavender Vanilla as a sleep formula, mainly because I had an old jar from Bath and Body Works that had Lavender Vanilla on the label, and that way I could just reuse it. I made Lavender Sandalwood as another relaxing blend, and let me tell you the sandalwood balances out the lavender wonderfully. Then I started thinking about how bath products are mainly geared to girls, which makes sense because most men I know wouldn't admit to taking a nice soak in the tub even if they did it. But I know little boys like to take bubble baths and play with bath paints, and they often gets bumps and bruises. Especially my little nephew Taz (not his real name), who really could use a punch card at the ER where he gets a free visit after five. So I created my Boys Will Be Boys Blend, which is 3 drops of Lavender, 3 drops of Cypress, 3 drops of Lemongrass, 3 drops of Frankincense, 2 drops of geranium. I might have to increase the lemongrass, as it is a not so great smelling blend, but is great for bruising and swelling, and let's face it, boys will be boys, and they will bruise, bump, and bleed. For added measure I'm adding some Complete Tissue and Bone Powder from the Dr. Christopher product line, as that is possibly the most fabulous herbal combination ever. And the flecks of brown look cool in the bath salts. As it's geared for little boys I'm going to color it blue, then the trick will be getting some little testers to tell me how it goes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why I Still Don't Homeschool

I have a couple of neighbors who are homeschooling. This post is not about the merits of homeschooling vs. public school, although I will say that there are cases where homeschooling is the best fit for the child, but in a few cases I've seen the kids are begging to go back to school. H is now in second grade, and I still think that public school is the way to go for us. And here's why:

1. H and I need a break from each other. If we don't get that 6 hour break that school provides us, we fight. It isn't pleasant for any of us.

2. If she didn't have to get up and go to school, she would sleep in half the day and never get out of her pajamas. I know this because while my body forces me to get out of bed, I am often in my pajamas unless it is a day I am volunteering at the classroom.

3. Social skills. As an only child, H needs all the help with social skills she can get. And she likes people.

4. It is fun to volunteer in the classroom. You get to see what your kid is like at school, you get to know the other kids, and the kids are excited to see you. Plus this curries favor with the teacher.

5. I still suck at math and science. I can't teach those things to H.

6. I suck at teaching H anything that isn't related to Star Wars. And much like I don't like learning things from my husband, H doesn't like learning things from me.

7. Seeing how your kid compares to the rest of the class helps eliminate "special snowflake syndrome" when you find out while your kid is advanced in one subject, she is average in another.

8. It is still fun to buy school supplies, and even more fun to be the class hero when you supply whiteboard markers for the whole class.

9. If you suffer from a lack of follow thru, like most of us, homeschooling is not for you. I know someone who said her mom had an issue with the school system, so she pulled her kid out of high school yet never actually bought a curriculum or anything. I think eventually she got her GED. We attempt to do summer homeschooling in the summer, it lasts about a week and then we just give up.

10. The best way to learn how to deal with peer pressure is to experience it.

11. Class parties are really fun, and it doesn't matter what you do, the kids love it.

12. I think it would break H's heart to see all the kids going to school while she has to stay home with me.

13. If you put your kid in public school and then volunteer, you are helping to make the school, the community, and the world a better place.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Grief

It is so hard to lose a loved one, but around the holidays seems especially hard. Everyone around you is celebrating, and your world just ended. I personally can't think of anything worse than someone saying "Merry Christmas" to you when you are making funeral plans. What set me off was seeing a friend's Facebook status about a recent loss. Someone posted in their comments that they made sure to add this poor family to their caroling list. The last thing that family needs is a group of happy people showing up at their house to sing holiday songs for them. What that family needs is to be left alone, with visitors who are close family and friends who mourn with them. So here is my guide to mourning with those who mourn.

First of all, do not buy them a plant. About a month or two after the funeral, that stupid plant is going to die, and it's not helpful for the healing process to have a stupid death plant laying around. I didn't keep any of the live plants we got when my mom died, I gave them all to family who can actually keep a plant alive.

Do not say it was their loved ones time to go. Even if it was, that's not a comforting thing to hear. Let them come to that realization on their own. It's been over 3 years since my mom died, going on 4, and I'm only now accepting that it may have been my mothers time. There were a lot of signs that we just didn't see, because we didn't want to accept it. I still don't.

Say something like "I am so sorry for your loss." The best thing anyone said to me when my mom died was my neighbor, who was quite a bit older than me. She said "I remember how hard that was." Yes, she got it. She had been there. If you haven't lost a parent, a child, or a sibling, you do not know exactly how that person is feeling. Even if you have lost someone, you still don't know how that person is feeling. I was mad as hell when my mom died, and my friend (whose mother was actually the midwife who delivered H) lost her mom a few months later. Her outlook was completely the opposite of mine. So don't say "I know exactly how you feel." You don't.

Think about your relationship with the mourner before you go visit them. They don't need everyone in the neighborhood or church group over at their house. If you are not super close, just go to the viewing. Even better, wait a month and then go and visit them. Everyone comes over in the first week, when things are hectic with funeral planning, notification, and sometimes out and out shock because this came out of nowhere. But a month down the road, everyone else seems to have moved on, and those who have experienced a loss are still floundering, and alone.

Donate money to the family to help pay for the funeral. My mother's funeral cost us around $12,000, and I downgraded the casket because I knew she wouldn't like any of the ones in the price package we were being shown. If a family is struggling financially, anything can help. Did you know you have to pay the funeral home before your loved one gets transported to the cemetery?

Take food over, but take good food. If it's something the family can make themselves--even the grief stricken can open up a can of beef stew or order pizza delivery--maybe you'd better rethink it. Horrible food can make a bad situation even worse. And don't bring over spaghetti, or anything containing spaghetti. And a watermelon isn't dinner, so please bring something else.

If the family has lost a child, be extra sensitive. When my sister Heather was stillborn, people said some of the most insensitive things. My mother never fully recovered from that loss, and honestly, neither did I. I still can't think about my little sister, that I never knew, for long without breaking down in tears.

Don't tell someone it was God's will. It's hard enough not to rail at God for allowing someone to die, much less consider the idea that He did it on purpose. Someone told me God needed my mother more than we did. That person is lucky I didn't punch them in the face. How could He need my mom more than my dad, my siblings, her grandkids did? My youngest brother was on a mission when she died. Did God need my mother more than my little brother needed stability at home so he could stay focused on the work in the mission field?

Watch out for the health of those who are grieving. My dad is a diabetic, and he required some close monitoring to make sure he was eating right and taking his insulin. And if you know someone in the house is diabetic, don't bring desserts over.

The most helpful thing someone did for us when my mom died was dropping off a deli meat and cheese platter and a bag of rolls. It made it easy to grab something fast, and it was helpful to have protein around.


It occurs to me that I'm still fairly bitter about my mothers death. My earliest memories are of my grandmother who died when I was 3 years old. I know what it's like to grow up without both grandmas. I have seen my brothers grow up have no memories of their paternal grandmother. My daughter doesn't really remember my mother, she only knows her through stories. My nephews will never know their grammy.

Grief is blinding.

My aunt, whose husband drowned during a family river trip, on the 4th of July , told me that some years are easier, and some holidays are easier than others. Sometimes Easter is easy to get through, and Halloween makes you want to crawl under the covers and never come out. She was right.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Restaurant Rant

So tonight we went to Hires Big H, which has to be one of the best hamburger joints in Utah. The main reason was because I was craving a root beer freeze and cheese fries, and no, I'm not pregnant so don't ask. Being that we're in Utah, and that its November, it's no surprise that the rain turned to snow. So I had very little sympathy for the chick at the restaurant who was wearing a tube top. We get snow from October to June at random. Tube tops are not a wise wardrobe choice here. Sweaters and boots, that's what you want. And if you are stupid enough to wear said tube top in the snow, you don't have any room to complain about being cold.

On a different topic, if you are a parent potty training a little boy, you really should wipe the seat off after your little spawn of little guy piddles all over it. I mean, it's really irritating and disgusting to be the next person to use the can if there is pee on it. And maybe the little guy should sit down for his business if he's using the ladies room. Or lift the seat if he must stand.

Also, if you are a waitress, unless you are working at Hooters wearing jeans low enough to show off your thong isn't going to get you a bigger tip. Seriously, they sell belts for ladies.