Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's almost 2010...

Well, at least it will be in thirty-one hours, Dear Readers. Mr. Realist and I are going to go to the Baker home and have some good nosh and some fun on the Wii and some card games and we might even bring over one of the Trivial Pursuit games we have. I really don't have to go out and get dressed up and inebriated (although I have been drinking an awful lot of wine lately...).

My friend Jessi and I have decided that just once, we want to go to Times Square and watch the ball drop. At the rate I'm going, I should have the money saved up for that in about thirty-seven and a half years. :) Mr. Realist, however, said that we could make it a girls thing, cause he sure in the fuck ain't going to New York City on New Years'. Don't blame him - he doesn't like crowds. Always getting pushed and shoved and he's afraid someone's going to steal his wallet. I love him :)

I'm setting myself some goals for 2010, Dear Readers.

1. Lose 30 pounds. It seems a bit unrealistic at first, but I'm pretty sure I can do it. When I was in high school, I went from a size sixteen to a size ten in three years. I didn't really do much - portion control, running or biking, and a tiny amount of weight training (to tone). Mr. Realist and I are rejoining the gym in our town after the first of the year. I've decided I can keep part of my 'hippo ass' if I could lose the front and look good in a pair of jeans again. I'm damned determined to look good in my bridesmaid dress in August for my sister-in-law's wedding. Considering that if I were to get down to just over my fighting weight from high school, I'd have to lose almost sixty pounds...and in one year, that's just too much.

2. Start back to school. When I first started college, I was sure I wanted to be a criminal psychologist. I took two semesters of psychology, and got tired of listening to people complain about everything. But after twelve years, I've learned that most people just need someone to listen to them, and they work their shit out on their own. Within the last six months, it's what I'm leaning towards. I don't think I could be a teacher anymore. Kids are rotten ass punk wannabe goth/metal/preppy heads who think they are the coolest shiz around. Dude, you're as delusional as I am thinking that I'll ever be famous for writing/singing/being the first commercial underwater basketweaver/psychologist (don't ask where that came from, cause I sure as shit don't know).

3. Finish a fucking book. Not reading one, Dear Readers. Writing. I have approximately eleven stories in various stages of completion, and I'm stuck on all of them. I read back through what I've written, and even two and three ... later, most of the parts can still make me laugh or cry or whatever I felt when I wrote it for the first time.

Three. Three Resolutions are good, right? Right?? Fuck calling them 'resolutions.' They're my goals, dammit. Goals sounds so much better. Best thing you can do in soccer is score a goal, right? Right.

My Three Goals. 

Sounds like a sitcom that only made it to the pilot episode.

Heepwah, and be safe out there.

Editor's Note:
I did this, not thinking of the Fourth Challenge from {W}rite of Passage. 
"Anything about resolutions will do. Do you believe in them? Have you ever done them? Beliefs? Success? Goals?"

Pit your resolutions against these:

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Twelve Days After Christmas

Dear Readers,
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It's not Silent Night or Love Came Down At Christmas, but The Twelve Days After Christmas. It was written by P.D.Q. Bach, somewhere between 1742 and 1807. It's a beautiful song. The general music is close to the original Twelve Days of Christmas, but there are some changes. I'll give you the lyrics...then, you'll probably go YouTube a group singing it.

"The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight.
And so I chopped the pear tree down, and burned it just for spite.
Then with a single ca-a-a-artridge, I shot that blasted pa-a-a-artridge
My true love (my true love), my true love (my true love), my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas, I pulled on the old rubber gloves
And very gently rung the necks of both the turtle doves
My true love (my true love), my true love (my true love), my true love gave to me.

The third day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup.
I had to use the three French hens to make some chicken soup.

The four calling birds were a big mistake for their language was obscene.

The five gold rings were completely fake, and they turned my fingers green!

The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay.
I gave the whole darn gaggle to the A.S.P.C.A.

On the seventh day what a mess I found - 
All seven of the swimming swans had drowned!
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

The eighth day after Chri-ist-mas, before they could suspect
I bundled up the
Eight maids-a-milking
Nine pipers piping
Ten ladies dancing
Eleven lords a'leaping
Twelve drummers drumming 
(well, actually I kept one of the drummers...)

I told my true love
"We are through, love!"
and I said in so many words,
"Furthermore, your Christmas gifts are for the
four calling birds
three French hens
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree-e-e-eee!"

Enjoy :)

Heepwah, and be safe out there


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Silent Night.

Holy Night.

All is calm.

All is bright.

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.

Holy infant so tender and mild.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

May blessings be upon you and yours this Christmas and into the new year.

Merry Christmas.

Steph, Tom, and the Zoo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting to know me...Christmas-style

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire post. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then post this on your blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Depends on the gift. If it's a odd-size, I bag it. Boxes get wrapped. This year, I have a silver/blue theme.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial...but I LURVE the smell of a real tree. Hubster wouldn't water it or pick up the needles.

3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever I'm feeling up to it. Hubster is not a Christmas person.

4. When do you take the tree down? The tree always stays up until January 6th (Epiphany - when the Wise Men made it to the stable)

5. Do you like eggnog? Nog of the eggs is like...well, I won't go there. Let's just say that I will never, EVER drink that noxious poison ever again.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Um...well...probably my first new bicycle.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My aunt and uncle - if they want something, they go out and buy it. Bums.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Ach - NO ONE! Tom's so indecisive, so probably my niece. Cute clothes and toys (she's eight)

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but I haven't gotten them out yet.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I always have the best intentions, but they never seem to happen. Maybe if I wrote them up in September? (totally stealing this answer from Mrs. Gamgee!)

11. Worst Christmas ever? Heartbreaking, but nothing that I'd like to rehash.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie(s)? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Dear Readers, I have not seen that in such a long time! Tom's fave is "A Christmas Story." Blech.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday. Before then, I really don't care.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, and it happened in the same year!

15 .Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Grandma's ham...I'm drooling just thinking about it on Christmas Day this year!

16. Lights on the tree? Pure white. Have to accent the beautiful ornaments.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I have several. O Holy Night. Silent Night. Love Came Down At Christmas. And The Twelve Days After Christmas

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Ever since we got married, we've spent Christmas Day by ourselves at home in order to not piss any of the families off. I'm so bored by 2pm it's not even funny. 

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph :)

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Usually one on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas morning. This year, it will probably be mostly on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I work for a sporting goods manufacturer - it's Christmas and Bowl Game season. All at the Same. Damn. Time.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Old ornaments. The ones we made when we were young and the ones that we've collected since we've been together.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Basically it's Thanksgiving at my Grandma's house with the addition of a Christmas ham!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Diamond earrings. You know, hubster has hinted that what I'm getting as my big present I'm only getting because he found it on sale. Wonder if it's my earrings?

Now it's your turn. If you play, please leave me the link so I can read your answers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Gift...

Tom and I had only been dating just over three months. This is Christmas. His mom's house.

"Here, honey. This one is for you."
"Um, wow...that's quite a big box."

*unwrapping sounds*
*removal of paper stuffing*

"Aww, isn't that sweet? You're trying to trick me!"

*unwrapping sounds*
*removal of paper stuffing*

"Um, Tom?"
"Keep going."

*unwrapping sounds*
*removal of paper stuffing*

With raised eyebrow "Are you serious?"
Just a smile.

*unwrapping sounds*
*removal of paper stuffing*

"Ok, not that I'm trying to sound ungrateful, but seriously?"
A snicker.

*unwrapping sounds*
*removal of paper stuffing*

There is a rock (not a diamond, but a run-of-the-mill garden rock) duct taped to the bottom of the box with a tightly folded piece of paper taped to it.

*unfolding the paper*
*reading to self* 
"Ha Ha!! Check the backside of the TV stand clock. Love ya. Merry X-mas. Thomas"

"You ass!" 
Mind you, this is in front of his mom, sister, and stepdad.
*checking the back of the TV stand clock.*

There is a small grey box.
It holds a ring. 
A pink ice heart with two tiny diamonds on either side.

"It's a sweetheart ring. I love you."

Week #3 for {W}rite of Passage
Write about the Christmas Gift you remember the most. Why? Who was it from? Where were you? What is the significance of it?

When I read the Challenge for this week, this is the memory that flashed first. I'm sure there are others, but this one makes me smile.
This was my first piece of jewelry from my now-husband. We were in the living room of his mom's house (we were in college during the year), and by the time I was done opening my "presents," there was wrapping paper and newspaper stuffing and boxes strewn all about the tiny living room. 
This was the first time he'd said "I love you" in front of anyone else.

I haven't worn this ring in several years due to its smaller size. 
I type this as light catches the pink heart and tiny diamonds on the ring finger of my right hand, where it fit, twelve years ago...the same as it does today.

I love you, Thomas.

More than you know.

See what everyone else received for Christmas:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Le Sigh - I'm OK.

You'd think that if you live in Illinois, you'd remember how to drive in slick snow and wet roads from year to year.

You'd think that if you are from Illinois and you live in Illinois, you'd know not to keep your brakes on if you're starting to slide. They teach you that in driver's ed.

You'd think, right?


Today, I went to Springfield to finish up Christmas shopping (not for me - for my relatives to give to my niece). I was going to spend the day with my mom and then go to Kiku for dinner with my Pampered Chef posse (was so looking forward to steak and shrimp, Dear Readers).

We were turning out of the parking lot in Parkway Pointe by Walmart and


Jolted forward, Mom's sunglasses flew off of her head, and we were shoved into the road. Thank GOD no one was coming from the left! Pulled up a bit, turned on my flashers, and stepped out of the vehicle.

A woman in a Honda Pilot had rear-ended us. I was examining my car first while she profusely apologized and my mom was calling the police.

"I was trying to brake, but I'd slid from the stop sign back there!" Are you fuckserious? My mom (I love her so much), made a point to say "You're not supposed to slam on your brakes - didn't you know that?" Her response was "Oh, no, I didn't know that!"

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with my car. There are no scratches, no dents, no chipped paint.

Her Pilot? Nothing. No scratches, no dents, no chipped paint. She certainly hit us hard enough to fling sunglasses off of someone's head.

We exchanged names and phone numbers, and I wrote down time, place, her license plate number, make/model/color of her vehicle. Mom told them that there was nothing wrong with the vehicles or us, so we wouldn't be needing them. They told her ok.

Freaked me out. I dropped Mom off at home, and called Missy and told her I wouldn't be at dinner because I was going home.

Took me two hours to drive what normally takes 45 or so minutes.

Saw at least twelve vehicles off the road, seven different tow trucks, and three separate sets of cops in that two hour drive home.

I will be visiting my insurance agent tomorrow with the information, just in case her insurance needs to pay for my chiro visits.

Stupid people.

Learn to drive.

For fuck's sake.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Brown Paper Packages and Hard Metal Boxes

Challenge #2 from {W}rite of Passage:
The Lunch Box Essay. Take fifteen minutes to write about your elementary school lunch.
Describe. Remember. Smell. Touch. Who is there? Where are you? What are you eating?

I went to a Catholic school. We didn't have hot lunch - had to bring your own. Depending on the weather, I remember sitting in the gym with the girls in my class (there were only seven of us) or out in the schoolyard. 

For the longest time, I remember carrying a metal (do they even make those anymore?) Care Bears lunchbox. The thermos normally held Kool-aid (milk was supplied for us); soup on cold winter days. There was always a sandwich (bologna or peanut butter & jelly), chips, sometimes sliced fruit or veggies, and something sweet. 

I remember trading cookies and whatnot for a tiny pinch of Andrea's Fruit Roll-Up or string cheese. 

When I was too old for Care Bears and the Ghostbusters plastic one that came later, there was the obligatory brown paper lunch bag - Mom would always write our names in her pretty script on the bags in marker so we could see it. Of course, there was always hell to pay when you forgot it at home and she had to run it back to the school!

Once a quarter, they would do a special lunch - hot dogs or hamburgers or pizza. Everything was ordered in advance and doled out by the room mothers at lunch. It's funny that we all went to lunch at the same time - squashing first graders all the way up through the eighth graders into the same small gym.

As much as you think it would, I don't remember the gym smelling like you would expect a gym to smell - old sweaty socks and rubber balls. It was my favorite room (except the tiny library).

In the gym, you could always count on to be sweating or freezing your ass off, depending on the time of year. There are days when I miss the white button-down shirts with the Peter Pan collars and the blue plaid jumpers that you had to wear shorts under so the boys didn't see your undies in gym. Once you hit sixth grade, the jumpers turned to just the blue plaid skirts. Funny thing was, even though it was a Catholic school, no one thought anything of the girls removing said skirts in front of the boys when you were getting ready for gym class.

Sigh. I miss those days.

I write of lunch, but there is so much more behind that. There were seven girls and eleven boys in my eighth grade graduating class. I can still name all of them - me, Andrea, Colleen, Maryalice, Mary, Lisa, Tara; Jimmy, Brad, Chris, Tom, Mike H, Mike M/K, Eric, Matt, Pat, Zeb, and William. 

Being the only girl on the co-ed soccer team. 
Earning your ribbons. 
Being on patrol and an officer. 
Songleading in church when it was our class's turn and when the second graders completed their First Communion. 
Being the eighth grader picked to get to miss all of your classes for a day to help the Kindergarten class with their program and graduation. 
Getting to have class in the convent (nuns' home) or in the rectory (Father's home) where it was air conditioned when it became too unbearable in the classroom.

Great. Now you've made me want to take out pictures.

But I'll always remember Brown Paper Packages and Hard Metal Boxes...all with the smell of food.

Have a taste of these Lunches:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sean (Challenge #1)

Sean. Seventeen. Junior. Plays basketball. Part-time desk jockey at the hole-in-the-wall gas station just up the road from his house. Today he's dressed in a well-worn pair of jeans, a faded AE red and cream striped polo, brown Doc Marten boots, and his favorite off-white John Deere baseball cap. He knows he's going to be a farmer, like his father and grandfather before him. Hell, his family has owned the same thousand acres since the mid-1800s. Instead of doing his homework, he's daydreaming.There's not much business this afternoon, and he's only working until 7:30.

"Hey, Sean. How's it going?" Sean hears as the bells over the door sound.

"Fine, Mr. Clark," he says, getting up from his seat behind the counter. Mr. Clark comes in every day, right at 4pm. Gets the same thing - a Pay Day and a Diet Coke. He's dressed in his faded overalls, navy blue tee shirt, boots and old straw cowboy hat. Mr. Clark picks up his two items.

"Dollar seventy-three," Mr. Clark says, slapping his money down on the counter. The old man walks out the door, popping the soda open and taking a swig. Sean pulls the latest issue of People from the rack and flips it open.

What seems like hours later, a young woman walks in and he looks up from his magazine with the welcoming smile that he uses on every customer. She's different. She's of average height. Slender. Short blond hair. Her brightly colored tie-dyed shirt is like a beacon on this dreary December day. She wears her faded jeans low on her hips, and surprise! she's wearing Doc Martens like his.

And then she smiles at him as she heads for the restroom. Thousands of butterflies take up an excited, frenzied dance in the pit of his stomach. He's always had a picture in his head of what his perfect girl would look like, and she comes awfully damn close. Minutes later, she walks out to see Sean standing behind the counter with a bemused, daydreamy look on his face. She smiles tentatively.

"You ok?" she asks, and it shakes him out of his reverie. He looks into deep blue eyes and nods. She gives him a true smile as she's heading towards the door.

"Ha-have a good day, ma'am," Sean stammers. She looks back and finger waves at him as the bells jangle. Suddenly, he can't hold it in. He has to know her name. He vaults over the counter and heads for the exit. As he steps out into the parking lot, he sees her silhouette in her silver car as she leaves the station (and him) behind.

"She steal something?" he heard Mike ask from his right. He turned to his friend as they both go back inside.

"Nah," Sean answers out loud. But in his head, he hears "only my heart."


This is our first challenge from the {W}rite of Passage. This week's topic: Character.
"Find a person in public today and study their character. Make a story surrounding them. Build them in to your shorty essay."

After you're done here, check out these Characters:

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I'm not really writing a prologue here. I'm going to give you some insight into the story.

Ashley Elizabeth Sanders: 17, chestnut hair and green eyes. About 5'7", slender.

Andrew Michael Hale: 19, dark brown hair and blue eyes. Right at 6', strong. He attends the University of Alabama studying business and law.

Ashley's mother died a year after Ashley was born. Every other Thursday, Cole (Ashley's father) takes her into Hattiesburg with him and they spend the afternoon together. Cole and Andrew's father Paul are partners in a law firm. Andrew is home for the summer. (although it sounds a little far-fetched, trust me when I say 'they've never met.') Andrew's younger sister Catherine is gifted (both she and her aunt can 'see' things) and knows of Ashley the moment they meet. A ball occurs, an evil man hatches a plan to get what he wants. Months pass, and two weeks before he's scheduled to go back to school, Andrew proposes. Another dance. A week later, Ashley is taken from her home. Days later, they find her, but her spirit's been broken. Even Andrew can't bring her back...but it's not the end.

I'll bring you into Ashley's world tomorrow, but for now, I leave you with this...

"Mornin, chile," Matilda, one of our housekeepers and my personal maid said, drawing back the curtains to let the morning sun in. It was a brisk April morning in Mississippi - the kind that started off cool enough to need a wrap, but made it completely useless by afternoon. I stretched under the soft down quilt my grandmother had made years ago and threw a pillow at Matty. She laughed that deep, beautiful laugh of hers, picked up the pillow, and threw it back at me. I ducked under the covers and it bounced off of my head. I came out of hiding to find her standing at the side of my bed. After seventeen years, I still couldn't figure out how she moved so quickly or so silently! She sat on the edge of the bed and brushed the hair out of my eyes.
"What dress we gon' wear today, Miss Ashley? The blue lawn or the green poplin?" What day was it...Thursday, and it was my twice-monthly visit to Hattiesburg with Daddy! Today, we were going shopping.

"Matty, I think that I will wear the blue lawn. It's my day out with Daddy!"

"Goodness, it be two weeks already? How time does fly! Where you gon' today?"

"Last time, Daddy surprised me with a trip to New Orleans for the weekend, so I think we'll just be in Hattiesburg today. I do love spending the day with him," I grinned at her.

"I know you do. Your daddy a fine man. It be good to still have you after your momma died." My mother had died of malaria just a year after I was born. I almost died as well. I remembered the first time I was old enough to understand to ask Daddy where Mama was...

Keep going?

Be safe out there, and heepwah

Open Your Whore Mouth!

1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream?
Hells to the no. DQ Soft Serve gets crunchies.

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why? Retarded. Sure, I used to use it on a practically daily basis. That was before I met Beanie.

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be? My husband says I would be papaya (have not a fucking clue why). I'm still up in the air on it.

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis?
Sex? He he he...nah. Picking up after myself. There are days I swear I have MPD. The little one likes stacks of things, while her adult counterpart likes organization. If you ever come to my house, you'll immediately see who's the one in charge the most.

5) Of all the nicknames I’ve ever had in my life, Aunt Becky is the most widely known and probably my favorite. What’s your favorite nickname? (for yourself)
Steph. I was Duckie for a while in college, but there's only a couple of people who still call me that.

6) You're stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they?
Steven Sondheim
Johnny Cash
Alanis Morrissette
Weird Al Yankovic

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false?
Bacon is so full of the awesomeness: true.

8 ) If I could go back in time and tell Young Aunt Becky one thing, it would be that out of chaos, order emerge. Also: tutus go with everything. What would you tell your young self?
Everything the stepfather ever told you was a lie, and you are not useless.

You may ask where the flying refrigerator I got this. Check out Mommy Wants Vodka dot com. Aunt Becky is like bacon - full of the awesomeness.

Mommy Wants Vodka

Be safe out there, and heepwah.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New! Improved!

Nah. Just wanted to see your reactions, Dear Readers.

There are going to be a couple of changes around here. For example, if you've read my last post, you'll see that I have accepted a {W}rite of Passage. Doing so has made me want to reach out to you and show you what I mean by the '300-ring circus of an imagination' in the title of this lil' ol' blog o' mine.

In addition to writing the challenges, I'm going to try to post snippets of stories that I have written. I'm going to start you out with a romance that is not yet named. I had posted it months (and I do mean months) ago on myspace (which has since been abandoned and deserted). I'm always looking for ConCrit (constructive criticism), and I will let you know here and now that I write like I speak. You have to suspend your disbelief. If you come across something that you know about (that I obviously don't), please, feel free to shoot me a comment and let me know.

The first story is about Ashley and Andrew. It's set in the 1850s in Mississippi (I should use this story - which could make it into a novel - as an excuse to vacation for a week in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas). There is a plantation. There are slaves, but Cole is not a hard man to work for. Prayer goes a long way.

Dear Readers, if you are not a romancy-kind of reader, you can skip over these chapters. I'll let you know via the title if it's a chapter or a post.

I know there's a lurker out there (hi, bena!), and she's read this already. Hopefully, there are enough changes that she's pleasantly surprised.

Friday evening shall come the first chapter.

Be safe out there, and heepwah

Mrs. Dreamer
Be safe out there.