Saturday, October 30, 2004

Like Heroin, but Less Expensive.

I sat down for just a moment to relax with some of the fab blogs I've blogmarked while surfing Blog Explosion.

That "just a moment" was TWO HOURS AGO. During the past two hours, I have supposed to have been making and decorating a cake which needs to be delivered by 9:30am tomorrow morning to a bunch of little kids who will not accept "Oh, sorry, children; I was catching up on my blog reading" as an excuse.

It is past 11:00pm now. I face a solid two hours in the kitchen. And I am hearing noises upstairs which means the kids are not asleep and I need to spend some time playing Gestoppo Mom with them before I can get to my buttercream magic.

Blog Explosion...you are the monkey on my back.

Feh.

Halloween...Not

Our Astronaut-in-Training does not go out for Halloween. He doesn't want to.

Now, we're not big on Halloween. Dressing up, trick or treating, it's fun; but our household is not one to indulge in all the spookiness and creepiness about it. Personally, I like to focus on Nov. 1st, All Saints Day (I prefer to embrace the good overcoming the evil, such as depicted in the "Night On Bald Mountain" sequence in Fantasia, where Chernobog is thwarted by Goodness. Yeah, there's almost always a Disney reference for me).

Nevertheless, we appreciate the childhood experience of dressing up in something fanciful, going through the neighborhood at night (gasp!), and reveling in a power unknown to little children the rest of the year: to knock on strangers' doors, magically get them to open those doors upon your command and give you goodies, and return home with a surprise package of treats to dig though, hoping your mom won't confiscate the best pieces.

Our son, however, has not taken an interest in this endeavor. His first Halloween, he didn't have much say in the matter and was strolled around the neighborhood as Superbaby. His second Halloween, he dressed up as Bob the Builder and did go out, but after visiting about a half-block's worth of houses, he said, "Go home. Go home." Third Halloween? With resistance, he did dress up (pirate, this time), visited I think only one house, and then declared, "I've had enough". Last year, he stayed home and cheerfully passed out candy to the visiting kids. A three year old, passing out the candy to the kids!

Lest we assume he didn't want to go out this year, the following conversation ensued:

"Honey, what do you want to be for Halloween?"

"I don't wanna go out for Halloween."

"But you get to dress up in a costume, and go out, at night, and roam the neighborhood, and get candy!"

"No, thanks!"

"Don't you want to dress up like an astronaut? Or a rescue hero? Or --"

"NO, THANKS!" (he is a very polite, if steadfast, boy)

"Don't you want to go out with the other kids and get a lot of candy?"

"NO. I want to pass candy out. You will go out; I will stay home and give candy to the kids."


Well, I suppose I'll save a ton on annual costumes in the years to come.

Any of you have kids who forego trick-or-treating of their own volition?



Aspire To Mediocrity

I need an ice pack for my funny bone NOW.

The ubiquitous motivational signs that hang in offices nationwide (perhaps, for all I know, around the world) get their come-uppance:



Other favorites: Get To Work, Delusions, Bitterness, Consulting (perfect for Merlin), Sacrifice, Underachievement, Adversity, Irresponsibility, and naturally, Despair.

I would show you all the pardoy posters by E.L. Kersten, Ph.D here if I could. Heck, I'd show you the whole site here, even down to the Customer Disservice department's submit button menus, were it not for the overbearing bandwidth such an endeavor would require. Serendipitously, these posters, and the entire collection of Demotivational items and articles already have thier own site, allowing me to aspire to one of their lofty goals of laziness.

So dash off now with you then to Despair.com and see all the other demotivational signs they've created. Just try not to order a gross of them for your workplace. I dare you. (Be sure to order them using the name of your supervisor. He'll think of you as a "team player" for your participation.)

Friday, October 29, 2004

She's Not Homeless; She Just Acts That Way

She ambles across the room aimlessly, like she's looking for something, but doesn't know what.

In her arms, she clutches a box of cake mix, a plastic beaded necklace, a foam picnic plate, a new shirt tags-and-all still on its hanger.

The cargo is carried close to her person, as if to send the message to any potential raiders that the treasure is HERS. Do not attempt to remove anything from her arms, lest you suffer the wrath of She Who Owns.

The cries of "MINE!" and "I NEED this!" are exclaimed intermittently as she looks upon the pieces in her collection, huddled close to her heart, brow furrowed with concern of raiders.

As she moves from room to room, some items are set down, intentionally just for a moment, in order to allow the admittance of a new item to the collection. Sadly, the unattended items are almost immediately forgotten, and she wanders off without them, focusing on the new addition to her bounty. Her armload gallery is a constantly revolving exhibition. Accidentally discarded bits of her menagerie trail around the house like a bread crumb path leading out of the woods.

This goes on and on throughout the day. As she succumbs to slumber, her collection piled about her (mustn't let anyone take the Precious!), her little rainbow dreams are interrupted as her subconcious mind prompts: "heyyyy...what happened to that little wooden box I had this morning?..."

"MOMMMMMMMMYYYYYY!!! MY BOX! MY BOX!! I NEED MY BOOOOOOXXXXXX!"

All she really needs is a shopping cart and a dirty street.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Glory...The Grandeur...the Fantasy Revealed!

WOW.

If you are anywhere near the Disney fan I am, you too may eeek a gasp of joy at this picture of the newly refurbished castle. Still has a bit left to do, but, Golly Bob Howdy, is it looking swell!

Can't tell for sure whether they still kept one spire free from the gold leaf, just as Walt originally did as a gesture to keep his word to brother Roy -- who held the purse strings -- that Walt would not cover "all the spires in gold".

Thanks, Darkbeer!
via The Disney Blog

Boogers, Weasels, Going...Going...Gone

There's a man I love to wake up with, particularly on Sunday mornings. He does things to me that no one else can. And now he's leaving me.

NOW who's gonna make me spurt my morning coffee out my nostrils?

Dave Barry is a longtime journalist, author, and Pulitzer Prize winning humor columnist who has made me shake so hard with laughter that on many occasions I have been certain my muscles woud fall right off my bones. I have, indeed, peed my pants laughing so fervently at Dave's observations of life. In times when I have been ready to crawl under a pile of clean, folded, but not-yet-put-away laundry, where nobody would ever find me, Dave coaxed me out to face the day and give the ol' life another try.

And now he's leaving me.

Okay, well, he'll still be around, writing books and doing speaking engagements and even checking in occasionally on his blog, but his column space will be startlingly empty. I pity the poor fool who will receive his spot in the Miami Herald. Them's big shoes to fill, Mister. Let's see you consistently use words like "booger" and "weasel" to successfully keep the masses guffawing.

Dave, take a relaxing, well-earned break. But don't enjoy it too much -- I want you back. C'mon, we can make this work out.

If you've been living in some forsaken place (in a cave? On Mars? Elko, Nevada?) and you don't know who Dave Barry is, then pray speed thyself hither, with wings on your feet. Because as of this writing, there's only 63 days left, and counting...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

If Architects Had To Work Like Web Designers

For anyone who designs or uses customized software, there's a solid message inside this hilarious piece.

Quick Quote:
Dear Mr. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Thanks for sharing, robertdw! And thanks to Merlin for submitting this item.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Pumpkin Went WHERE?

Words you don't want to hear...

Astro: "Mommy, it wasn't me; she was playing with the pumpkin and it went down the stairs and broke. It's HER FAULT!"

(Which went down the stairs???)

Instantly I am running over to the staircase, fully expecting to see pumpkin guts splattered all over the cracked remains of my little Rainbow, and on the instant heels of that thought, I am thinking about her bleeding disorder and the fact that her medicine does not get delivered to our home until Wednesday.

Never have I flown faster from one end of the house to the other.

What I found was one of our (not yet carved) pumpkins resting at the base of the stairs with a lovely crack along half its perimeter, and, perched up on the landing, the mischievously grinning face of Rainbow, giggling with glee.

I heaved a sigh of relief, thanking God that it was just a gourd.

That sound you hear? New grey hairs sprouting.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Things Not To Do On A Roller Coaster

Meet Fred.



I love this site for its way kewl roller coaster films, many of which let you "ride" a preview of the attraction (so you can check it out before you go on the ride for real; or, re-live the memories of favorite rides). It's been a roller coaster travelogue that has introduced me to rides and parks that have consequently been added to my I Gotta Go There list. Plus it's a great way to experience the fun and flavor of parks I'll probably never make it to, jet setter that I ain't.

My kids love the site too, but for them, the biggest attraction is...Fred.

Did This Really Happen?

Unbelievable. For the first time in four years, I spent an entire night without children showing up in our bed.

I awoke at 8:00, instantly furrowing my brow. "How'd I sleep in so late?", I quietly queried myself. I started the half-asleep acrobatics of twining myself out of bed carefully so as not to disturb the little sleeping bodies snuggled up in our bed. But, Lo, no little bodies there. Hm. Guess they already made their way to the play loft. Why didn't I notice them leave?

On my way downstairs for a cup of coffee, I check the loft. It is silent and empty. I stop in my tracks. Where are the kids? Tentatively stepping along the upstairs hall, I discover the two cherubs happily cuddled in the Astronaut-in-Training's race car bed. Oh, they're still asleep.

Still asleep...

...still...ASLEEP...

THEY SLEPT ALL NIGHT LONG AND NEVER JOINED THE MOMMY AND DADDY BED!!!!!!!!!

New Rule: It is Always Okay for them to sleep together in the same bed. Well, ya know, until they get too old for that kind of stuff. But for now, it's Rule Number One in our house.

I feel like I just found a magic cure. Someone get me a Nobel Prize.

Fluffy Little Feather

Rainbow's observations and reactions to the wonders of nature.

We were at a homeschool park day, on one of the last, warm, lovely days of summer's fond farewell, when the breeze was just enough to caress a warmed cheek with a kiss of autumn's arrival. Overlooking a lake, at the top of a grassy knoll, we relaxed beneath the vine-draped white trellises of the arbor-covered picnic tables. My little Rainbow had just suddenly gasped a cry of delight, her little hands flying up to her cheeks with her sudden discovery of a downy feather on the ground, a gift from a white bird who had at some recent time perched nearby. Her golden locks danced around her smiling face as she cocked her head in epitomal Little Girl Fashion, actually interlocking her fingers together at the side of her face a la old Shirley Temple movies, as she quietly cooed in a sing-songy voice, "Ohhhhhhhhh, fluffy little feather...." She lovingly held her endearing gaze upon this magical item for a few moments...and then, quickly changing voice, facial expression, and physical stance, proclaimed, "I'm gonna smash it!"

Yes, that's my precious little pearl.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I Make Cakes

I've been decorating cakes for over 25 years now (ouch, it hurt to write that). Here's a bit about my history and experience with cake decorating. You'll find pics of my cakes in other entries coming soon to Golly Blog Howdy.

It all started because, as a budding young teen, I wanted to have some spending money.

So I took a job scooping ice cream for the Baskin Robbins corporate-owned stores. Most BRs are franchises, but (at least way back then) BR held a few corporate-owned stores which, in addition to serving the typical ice cream-clamoring public, would serve as the training ground for new franchisees learning how to run their new businesses. These people who had just invested thousands of dollars in a new venture were essentially being trained on the job along with us goofy kids who just wanted to earn enough money to go to the pinball arcade with our friends (yes, that's how far back this goes...I did say "pinball arcade", not "video arcade").

I became interested in and trained in decorating those cool ice cream cakes BR was famous for. It eventually became my near sole occupation with the company such that I hardly ever scooped any more but focused most of my working hours on creating edible concoctions of art. I loved it. I ended up training the new franchisees on the methods of decorating and the little secrets of icing a cake with ice cream (very tricky, if you don't know just what to do). It's a rather something to consider that BR stores across the nation and even across the globe have been churning out cakes based on the training of a 16 year old. But then I look at other people's cake decorating skills, and I am instantly humbled again.

Over the years, I grew up and got Real Jobs, none of which were near as fun and exciting as cake decorating (well, Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf was a close second). So although there was a great expanse of time when I didn't do it professionally, I always kept my tools at the ready and made lots of cakes for family, friends, and colleagues. Then after the birth of the Astronaut, I decided to stick my fingers back into the buttercream and taught cake decorating classes for Wilton. This was great fun and I really enjoyed it. Then, when I was nine months and ten minutes pregnant with Rainbow, I finally took a break from teaching, fully intending on returning. But once my Dear Daughter was born, it was clear to me that with a toddler and now also a newborn, it would be just too much to take care of the both of them in the way I had wanted and also get more involved with additional classes and such. So once again, I walked away from a job doing something I thoroughly loved. Because I loved them more.

Ah, but you can't take the buttercream outta the girl...and so, I continue to make cakes. And I guess I always will.

One of the best tidbits I ever gleaned from my time with Baskin Robbins was a John Ruskin quote which hung on the wall of every BR store. The quote read:

There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey.



Sleeping Beauty Castle Preview!

A peek at what's in store for this hallmark of the Happiest Place on Earth.

AH!!!! A top portion of Sleeping Beauty Castle has been loosed from its tarps, and what a glorious sight it is! I cannot recall ever seeing the castle look so clean, so fresh, so vibrant, so...royal. I can hardly wait to see the whole finished product!

Go to miceage and scroll about halfway down to get a preview of how glorious the castle will look for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.

I actually teared up when I saw the spires. God bless Matt Ouimet.

Meet the Golly Blog Howdy! Family

Mellie Helen: Me, your gracious hostess, the Mom

Merlin: Dear Husband, computer geek, does math for fun...

Astronaut-In-Training (A.K.A. "Astronaut" A.K.A. "Astro"): Dear Son, born in 2000, always introduces himself with his full name which is appended with the phrase, Astronaut-in-Training, like that's his last name.

Rainbow: Dear Daughter, born in 2002, precious, adorable, All Girl.

Cat: Our 12-year-old feline in residence. He says, "Meow".

A...PRECIOUS Rap Song?!?

Never thought I'd like rap music, and I most CERTAINLY never thought I'd actually tear up at hearing one. Don't miss this, even if you hate rap.

Ya just gotta wrap your ears around this one. Google it up or find it however you can: Will Smith, "Just The Two Of Us."

If you use the iTunes Music Store, you can purchase the song.

Daddy Rap!

von Wille--wha?

Learn along with me about this most common of bleeding disorders called von Willebrand Disease. Yeah, I'd never heard of it before, either. Then my DD was diagnosed with it.

Murphy's Law, I believe it's called.

Due to a change in my husband's employment, our health insurance was ending June 30th of this year. No big deal, we thought; we'd secure some basic coverage for the kids and even more basic for us. We are, thankfully, almost never ever sick, and have no medical issues, so we weren't panicked.

On July 1st of this year, I got a call from our pediatrician. Seems the blood test they performed at Rainbow's 2nd Year Check-Up came back with a little surprise: she tested positive for von Willebrand Disease.

"Mellie Helen, you've just run out of health insurance. Now what're you gonna do?"
"I'm gonna get my daughter a life-threatening disease!"


von Willebrand Disease is a genetic disorder (really it is a disorder, but was named "Disease" in the 20s, so who's gonna change the name after 80 years?) wherein the platelets of one's blood decide to do an Anti-Velcro act. When you get a cut, your little platelets are supposed to rush to the scene to bond together, hugging and embracing one another just long enough to let other cells form what's called a fibrin clot, thereby allowing your body to make one of those attractive natural Band-Aids called "scabs". BUT -- if those first platelets fail to bond together, then the fibrin clot fails, and the entire thing just falls apart. Try painting with watercolors on a slick plastic surface without first priming it properly, and you'll see the problem here.

The reason those platelet party poopers may not be clinging to each other for dear life (literally!) could be due to a low "factor" count (means there's not enough von Willebrand factor in the blood to do the job), or it could be that there's plenty of factor, but they don't behave properly (perhaps they were never disciplined properly in vitro). Whatever the cause, the result is more bleeding than you really want to experience.

Rainbow, thankfully, has the mildest form of this disorder, which means she will live a mostly normal life, punctuated with sudden nosebleeds, and tinted with colorful bruises all over her body, created by anybody gently exhaling in her general direction. The hemotology center has provided me with a letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern" explaining the ramifications of her disorder, so that her Sunday School teachers, playgroup leaders, etc., won't be misled to think that we use Rainbow as a bocci ball and consequently report us to Child Services on a weekly basis. She will occasionally require infusions of medicine (which means DH and I get to learn how to prepare and give an I.V. -- Golly Bob Howdy!). But for the most part, she'll get to have a Regular Kid life.

Since it's genetic, and nobody on either side of the family seemed to have any issues with bleeding disordered whatsoever, I had myself tested, and discovered that -- WHO KNEW? -- I have this disorder too! My factor count is only 1% higher than Rainbow's, and both of us are WAY below the "normal" level. Yet for some reason, my activity is "normal". That is to say, although like my daughter, I too have a very low amount of factor, the amount I have does the job of a normal person's factor. Which is why I've gone 42 years blissfully unaware that I am diseased. (Or is that "disordered"? Naw, that can't be it; I have in fact known that I've been disordered for years now...)

Merlin and the Astronaut-in-Training have been tested: Merlin is well within the "normal" range, but Astro has the lowest possible numbers to still be considered within the normal range, and that could likely mean a false negative for him. He prolly should be retested, but since he has no symptoms, we're holding off doing that again until we have to (e.g., before any scheduled surgery).

What this all means is that the disorder was passsed down through me. But how did I get it?

About Golly Blog Howdy!

I enjoy reading blogs. I do. I subscribe to a number of them, and, as my day allows, I sneak in quick little visits as mini-vacations from the frantic pace of daily life. But I've pretty much always been a Blurker (one who only lurks on blogs and doesn't post). See, I never did watch soap operas, so I guess I felt it was about time I catch up on the phenomenon of Vicariously Living the Drama of Other People's Lives. As if I don't get enough drama in my own. But I had been content to take it all in by merely reading other blogs, without shouldering the responsibility of Getting Involved via commenting. Who has time for that?

A friend who has her own blog (while also raising her son as a single parent, home schooling, and working outside the home too, thank you very much, may she be eternally blessed with the abundant amount of energy she currently possesses) actually suggested that I start my own blog. "Ha! Ha!," I thought. I had just related to her my enormous joy at getting my kitchen almost clean enough to perhaps eat in. This was my big success story of the week, and she's suggesting I sit down and pound out witty, inspiring, compelling, thought-provoking and entertaining tidbits that would edify and enlighten others, while I'm on a regular diet of 5 hours of sleep (on a good night). Yes, of course! It makes perfect sense! Why didn't I see it before???

So if you take any issue with the quality of my blog, it's all her fault. Rant to her on her blog, Oro Et Labora.

Oh, one more thing -- why this blog is called "Golly Blog Howdy!" Well, ya see, when you become a mom and you have starry-eyed little angels looking up to you and watching (and listening to) your every move, you find that when you, oh, say, accidentally slam your hand in the door of the dryer, the list of vocabulary from which you may choose reactionary exclamations becomes severely limited. I therefore selected a phrase made famous by Slinky Dog in the wonderful Pixar made/Disney presented movie, "Toy Story". That phrase is "Golly Bob Howdy!", spoken as "GOLly Boooooooooooooooooob HOWdy!" I have adopted this phrase to serve in place of "Man, that's incredibly great news!" to "@#($*& I just stubbed the very same toe I just stubbed seven minutes ago!" to "YOU THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO SMEAR PEANUT BUTTER ALL ALONG THE BANNISTER TO MAKE IT EASIER TO SLIDE DOWN AND GIVE THE ANTS SOMETHING TO EAT AT THE SAME TIME?!?!?" So you see how versatile it is.

The evolution from "Bob" to "Blog" was inevitable.

PBPGINFWMY

Simple advisory that this blog is nowhere NEAR ready for visitors. Kinda like my house.

I'm so new to creating and running my own blog that I could very well accidentally publish this before it's ready, releasing extraneous bits of mayhem out across this Wide Webbed World of ours, sending unintended recipients into panic attacks and interfering with the mating habits of the endangered blue-throated wild chickadee. Who knows what might happen?

So I hereby absolve myself of poor site design, uninteresting content, and any other negative aspect of this newly hatching blog. I'm just going to do my best to keep it cozy and warm, singing to it softly in a rocking chair, and cooing into its ear that it's the most precious blog on the planet until it comes to believe it.

Put more plainly: watch out for construction, redesign, re-engineering, or other whimsical changes. Reminds me of the little phrase I used to see all the time growing up: PBPGINFWMY (Please Be Patient: God Is Not Finished With Me Yet!).

UPDATE 10/22/04 6:15pm: Okay, two days have passed and I still cannot figure out how to make the comments plug-in work. This is why I decorate cakes and Merlin is a computer programmer. I shall, nevertheless, persevere, because otherwise this becomes a very self-serving blog. Like it's not that, already.

UPDATE 10/23/04 10:40pm: So I got SO MAJORLY GOLLY BOB HOWDY FRUSTRATED at trying to set this up on Another Blog Location that I have finally relented and come here to BlogSpot, where I heard it was much easier to set up a blog. No kidding. In, like, five minutes I was up and running here. Hot diggity dog. Thank you, Joyce!

Blog Wrangling

My second attempt this week to try to get a blog rolling along. Let's see if this technically challenged yet persistent blogger wannabe can Make It Happen.