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In Bad Form

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

Aha! I found the keyboard under the mess!

I don’t know about you, but I have been buried in mail and paperwork for days now. Amazingly, it’s not all political propaganda, either! 

Somewhere in between the stack of bills I need to pay and the stack of magazines I need to read is a pile of forms that I need to complete ASAP. These are the big, hairy, time-consuming type of forms. The kind that ask you about your second-cousin-once-removed’s shoe size and what your third grade teacher thought about President Carter and the severity of your grandmother’s gout. (Not that my Grandma has gout…)

It’s all strangely reminiscent of having to fill out the FAFSA form to get financial aid for college. Hoo boy, now that was a booger of carbon-backed long form goodness. There’s nothing like having attendance at your chosen campus hinging on a nit-picky form.

To my high school’s credit, they did have a workshop to teach us how to fill out the form before sending it in. (Wouldn’t it be great if someone introduced that concept to the IRS?) I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention, though. I still managed to leave one of the boxes blank. That one empty box was enough for the powers that be to deny me a grant my freshman year. And the real kicker? It was a box to fill in my GPA, which was stellar! Duh, I are smart!


In a strange twist of coincidence, The Man (before we had ever met, mind you) made a similar mistake on the same form. He was denied a grant as well. We both fell for the dummy clause. He was the Tweedledee to my Tweedledum. We were meant for each other.

We now have an accountant fill out our income tax forms. Just in case.


Down and Dope-y

>> Saturday, October 16, 2010

In a strange slice of coincidence, right after I posted about the FaithWriters website, the server died and the site went down. How’s that for timing? Thankfully, our fearless leaders have it up and running again! (God bless Scott and Deb!) Alas, I shall have to wait another week for my yellow boxes. Bring on the chocolate.

Speaking of going down, is anyone else ready for the pre-November mudslinging to stop? We have a gubernatorial election in California this year, so you can imagine the frenzy of political ads. Honestly, I’ve started to tune them out. Don’t get me wrong—I am very much an advocate for being an informed voter—but if I get one more piece of junk mail touting Jerry Brown’s straight talk (with Meg Whitman’s face plastered all over it), I will be able to re-wallpaper my bathroom!

And in other “truth is stranger than fiction” election news…there is a proposition on the ballot to legalize marijuana. They want to make it legal for anyone age 21 or over to be able to have, grow, or transport weed legally. If it weren’t such an awful idea, it would almost be laughable. I can see the headlines now: “California Passes Bong Bill, Still Bickering Over Budget.”

Advocates for the prop say it will weaken drug cartels and generate tax revenue. Opponents point out drivers will be able to consume marijuana right up until the moment they get behind the wheel, thus endangering public safety.

Things could get very interesting if this sucker passes. Visions of psychedelic potlucks are dancing in my head. Bring your own picnic basket, folks. Who knows what Joe Schmo put in those brownies? Sigh. What a waste of perfectly good chocolate.


Yellow Box Addiction

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hello. My name is Kristi and I’m an addict.
(Everyone in unison now…Hello, Kristi!)

I have an addiction to little yellow boxes.

You see, I’m a writer. I write because I enjoy expressing creativity. I write to honor Jesus Christ. I write because my mouth can’t keep up with what my mind wants to say. I write because if nobody wrote anything, what on earth would we read? I write because it’s in my blood, baby!

The thing is, we writers rely on readers to regularly read our writings. There’s something supremely satisfying in seeing someone savoring our scribblings.  (Say that ten times fast!)

Allow me to annotate without alliteration.

Writers need somebody to read their work! We thrive on feedback from others, whether they enjoyed or destroyed our work. The little yellow boxes provide that fix.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

A couple years ago I got involved with a website called FaithWriters. Aptly named, FaithWriters (henceforth known as FW), is a site for Christian writers. FW is quite possibly the coolest place on the web. You can check it out here.

After more than a year of being distracted by everyday chores, I found my way back to the FW site and joined up as a platinum member. FW has a weekly writing challenge to help writers discipline themselves to write to topic, within a certain word count, and by a set deadline.

The Official Writing Challenge is now back from its quarterly hiatus, and all of us at FW are salivating like stray dogs in a butcher’s shop! I’ve already written my piece and submitted it. Now I wait.

Wait for what? The yellow boxes! Once the weekly contest ends, all of the pieces are brought online anonymously for FW users to read and critique. The little yellow boxes are what pops up when someone has given you feedback. Those boxes are just plain addicting, like chocolate is to a premenstrual woman!  Little yellow boxes are what keep us going until the judges announce the winners and the new topic.

If you have even the slightest inkling to put pen to paper, it’s worth your while to check out FW. Come wait for little yellow boxes with me! Bring your own chocolate—I need mine.

And yes, I can quit any time I want. Really.


Movers and Shakers

>> Thursday, October 7, 2010

A couple days ago we had a 4.4 magnitude earthquake. Can’t say I felt it. I was in a building with the fortitude of a 1950’s bomb shelter, evidently. Didn’t feel a thing.

A 4.4 is a pretty minor temblor for these parts. We get a little shaken, but not stirred. Nope. Stirred would be the 6.5 magnitude rumbler we had back in January. That was one to remember.

The January quake caused quite a bit of property damage around town. Some still hasn’t been repaired. Our house was almost unscathed compared to the damages sustained by the local merchants. Our bathroom and garage cabinets emptied all over the floor and we lost a knick knack or two.

Of course, stuff all over the floor isn’t a new concept to us. One of Monkey Boy’s favorite pastimes is chucking things all over the floor. Like my buddy Ray would say, “The floor is the biggest shelf in the house.” Let me tell you, Monkey Boy puts lots of things on that shelf. Constantly.

Yup. Monkey Boy is our own personal mover and shaker. He’s constantly on the move and he’s always shaking something up. It’s not uncommon to see dinner scattered all over his bedroom carpet, toys mixed in with the recycling, or the occasional rubber duckie tossed into my pot of boiling supper. (Don’t worry. No duckies were hurt in the making of this post. Said duckie was promptly airlifted to safety.)

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of our stuff crash and burn at the hands of our little mister. We don’t need no stinkin’ earthquake! We make our own disasters, thank-you-very-much. In fact, we’ve tried to stop taking mental inventory of all of the possessions that have been broken. It’s all just stuff, right?

We have what’s important. Our faith, our family, our lives. Some of the folks in Haiti’s earthquake weren’t so lucky.

God had his hand over us and our little town. We have been truly blessed.

Even our material stuff—the extra stuff that isn’t life or death stuff--made it through just fine. We’ve been through multiple moves and a major earthquake, and I can still say I have my grandmother’s china set intact.  Many times I have packed and unpacked that family heirloom, trying to be oh-so-delicate as I placed the dainty teacups in their positions.

Enter Monkey Boy. He darted around the room, stopping here and there to push my buttons. He climbed up the fridge. I pulled him back down. He climbed the fridge again. I pulled him down again. He climbed some more. I pulled him down ad nauseum!

Finally I tired of his little game. Whatever. Climb the fridge. Knock yourself out.

He does this all the time anyway. Why should this instance be any different? Why do I fight against the instinctive urges of the suburban Monkey Boy in his natural habitat? He must climb. It’s what Monkey Boys do.

Monkey Boy smirked with that impish gleam in his eye and scurried up to his fridge-top lair. He watched me as I observed him from the low ground, like some scene from a National Geographic special. I could barely blink before – CRASH!

In a split second, Monkey Boy scooched over to the adjacent china cabinet, stuck his hand down through the safety-locked doors, and knocked over one of my grandmother’s precious teacups.

My china makes it cross-country in a U-Haul (twice!) and survives a natural disaster, and it’s felled by a six-year-old?!

Inhale. It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff. Exhale.

The instinctive urges of suburban Monkey Boy mamas when their natural habitats have been disturbed are…well, disturbing. It’s a good thing God made Monkey Boys cute! Their survival depends on it.


When I Throw Up, I Wanna Be Just Like Dad!

>> Monday, October 4, 2010

Warning: This blog is written by a mom of boys, and as such, will contain barf, boogers, and bathroom humor. If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to read this post.

Ah, the first sick day of the year. DSguy stayed home from school today with a fever and a strange smell emanating from his room. To put it bluntly, it smelled like puke. It even looked like there could have been a hurling incident. The mystery is, DSguy himself doesn’t remember throwing up.

Wouldn’t most people remember hacking up their guts?

Maybe he barfed while he was asleep. (I’ve seen someone do that before. It’s really rather disgusting.) Maybe he just spit out liquid medicine and doesn’t remember doing it. Acetaminophen isn’t particularly tasty. Could have been an involuntary gag reflex. Perhaps the Upchuck Fairy thought it was Christmas and left him a special gift. Who really knows?

Stranger things have happened.

Like the time The Man got the flu. Hoo boy, was that an exercise in creative cookie tossing! He threw up so violently that it came out his nose.

The Man is rather inexperienced with the whole retching thing. He can count on one hand how many times he has thrown up in his entire lifetime. It takes all of my fingers and most of my toes to count how many times I barf in one bout of illness.

So The Man is in bed filtering his vomit through his nostrils, and I hear a horrible man-scream. “AAAAAAAAGHH! Honey!” Now The Man is not one to screech like that unless there is a potato bug involved, so I came running. What I found was—well, I’ll spare you the Technicolor details.

Poor DSguy. He and Monkey Boy both got my proclivity for pukeage. Maybe they’ll grow out of it and they truly will be like Daddy when they throw up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m getting nauseous.


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