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I’ve been having the strangest dreams, and I wanted to get them written down before I forget.

Last night was especially detailed, in color and strange. My mother was getting remarried. (I have no idea where my dad was…not in the dream. Both of my parents are living in RL, though I don’t speak to them often, we have a somewhat estranged relationship currently.) She asked me to make the cake, and I said I would. She asked for a very specific cake, with three very slim layers, a spice cake layer, a chocolate layer, different flavors frosting…one was lemon and one was blueberry…the whole thing ended up looking cute, but she hated it.  So she went to a bakery and asked them to make a cake, with the wedding the next day.  She brought the cake I made to show them what she wanted, and once they said they would do it, she paid for it, and then threw my cake in the trash. I was livid, because she didn’t even ask me if I wanted some or all of it.  I went to the trash can (which was brand new in the dream, thank goodness, because…eeeew) and pulled a couple of pieces out of it and put them on a paper plate to bring home and let others try if they wanted.  I knew I wanted to at least.

Then we drove home, and an ex-boyfriend of mine from college who recently re-entered our lives was there. He was helping out with the wedding. (His name is Mick, and he happens to be my middle son’s father.) None of the kids nor my husband were in the dream, but Mick was…like he and my mom had this great relationship.  Talk about odd.  Then the dream shifted.

Now I’m in a dark, nice restaurant. Two of my friends from the Renaissance Festival (Jon and Butch, our former King and Lord Mayor) were there. For some reason the staff of the resort (which the restaurant was part of) had put my dinner in my bedroom, on my bed, by the pillow. So I asked Butch if he would join me when he had a moment. He said he would, and then never did.  I then ran into Jon, who noticed I had a new tattoo.  It was heart shaped and pink,  with a lot of flourishes. it was a lighter tattoo, and small, on the side/back of my neck on the right. I thought it was really pretty. It was a “mark”, which correlated to a scent which I picked…and it became my scent and my mark. Jon, knowing I had joined…whatever organization I joined, asked to see the tattoo. I showed him, and he admired it.

Then I woke up.  When I got my first tattoo, my friend Jon was with me and took pictures for me. That may explain about the tattoo, but the rest of the dream was just strange!


Merrick’s birthday party was a raging success!!

We started with the kids gathering at 2pm at the house, and we took them to an undisclosed location: Chandler Mall. There were a couple hiccups (Paul Schmidt, sorry you didn’t get your straight razor shave, that would have been fun to watch.) but otherwise, their Amazing Hunt (Amazing Race/Scavenger Hunt) was a great time. The teams were boys vs. girls.I admit, I was surprised. I thought I made the clues pretty obscure, at least for 12-13 year olds. I tested them on a few younger adults, and they had a difficult time. See how YOU would have fared:

*Go to Ray (Kroc)’s Place and get a small drink.
*This will cost you two bits.
*Functionne la bain et corps.
*Head to the Royal Palace, you’ll be dressed like a princess.

The girls got the Ray’s Place clue first, and ran for the Croc’s Store. (Hee hee!) It never occurred to me that they would make that mistake. Obviously, it’s McDonald’s…the boys got that as their LAST clue, and Merrick Schmidt was a WIZ at ALL the clue. I read the clue outloud, and as soon as I got Ray Kroc out of my mouth, he shouted, “Micky D’s! Let’s go!”

For the boys, it was lucky they HAD Merrick. In no way did I make the clues easy for him either! If not for Merrick, his team may not have been in first place! With the exception of their first error, the girls were spot on all day. One of the girls was learning French, which I didn’t know when I made the clues, so she figured out Bath and Body Works pretty quickly! (Great job Patty!)

Merrick was a champ, though. Not even the adults got the “two bits” clue as quickly! (And since he knows the mall pretty well, he made short work of leading his team straight to The Shaving Company on the first floor. (Two bits will get you a “Shave and a Haircut”. (You know when you knock on the door, knock, knock, knockknock, knock….knock, knock. Tthat’s “Shave, and, a hair, cut…..two bits”.) He didn’t even hesitate!

Then the boys got this clue: If you’re late, you may have to tell a little one of these.” If they didn’t get it, they got a hint: NOT a big black one.) They figured out White Lie, which is a great jewelry (for body and hair) store. One of the other boys figured out “what you get if the barber at the Shaving Company isn’t careful”. (Nick) So the boys hussled to Nick’s and each had to dress up in a suit or tux, and tie a tie. (It took longer for the ties, than the suits!)

The boys finished at Ray’s Place, while the girls struggled to get their last item. While the boys dressed up, so did they girls, in beautiful gowns from “the Royal Palace”, WINDSOR…the clothing store! However, the item I asked them to hold was buried beneath so much other stuff that the employees there couldn’t find it. Finally the manager was able to locate it, but the boys had passed the girls by.

Though the boys “won” everyone had a blast. We then got in the cars and went to Golden Gate, a wonderful Chinese restaurant on Baseline, just east of the Loop 101, on the North side of the road. The location was perfect, the food was great, the service was nice…and the kids got their next clue. Each child was given a phrase…The Eagle Flies at midnight… which they had to match with another phrase…Some days you’re the statue, some days you’re the pigeon. That matched up a boy with a girl…except one girl didn’t show up…so poor Dominic had to have me as a partner. He did great though, and was a good sport about the whole thing. After dinner, the boys took their lady’s chair and then pushed it back in, and escorted their lady to the door. Dominic pushed me out to the parking lot. He was an absolute gentleman!

After dinner, we headed back to the mall for the movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”. (We were originally thinking Batman, but more than half the kids had seen it. Only one girl, we found out after the fact, had seen “Odd Life”.) While it was a bit of a tear jerker, everyone liked the movie.

Then it was over to our house for the last two challenges: Learning to dance was the first! We taught them the basic “Step, together, step, together” step, and they all did great. Then we made one of the fathers dance the girl’s part…that was a great photo!! We taught them all how to hold a “frame” and then they learned a basic box step. I was impressed with some of the boys! They caught on quicker than the girls!

After dancing, we went on to hanky dropping. I hand embroidered a handkerchief for each girl with her initial, and they used that to “Ooops! I dropped my hanky!” ala 1590’s. 🙂 I used this as a fun bit at Renaissance Festivals, and it was a blast then. It was a great teaching tool now. The boys learned to bow, the girls to curtsy. The boys then retrieved the dropped linen, kissed the lady’s hand (or not…they air kissed it, as was proper.) and then handed back the hanky.

After all the challenges were complete, the kids went outside and roasted marshmallows on the fire and made s’mores. (Thank you Paul for the fixin’s and thank you to Kevin’s dad Kelly for building the fire for us!) We also had homemade cheesecake made by James, Jon’s future son-in-law..Oh was THAT good!!) Then the kids got the tent up and their sleeping bags out, and settled in for the night. The girls slept in the front room and I slept on the couch there. Doug slept on the couch in the tv room and the boys slept in the tent outside. We made absolute certain that parents had nothing to worry about when it came to the kids intermingling at night. Many of the parents were nervous about having a boy-girl sleep over, so we were very specific in our communications with them, letting them know that the boys would be outside, the girls inside and two adults between them. I had a couple of them thank me for it, so while the girls were upset that they weren’t able to play pranks on the boys, I feel like we did the right thing.In the morning, Morgan Dockham made pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon…and then he cleaned the kitchen afterward!!Who is this child, and where is my 17 year-old?

It was the best surprise I think I’ve had in years! I was stunned, and so grateful. It was the perfect ending to the perfect party. The kids finished eating, packed everything up, called their parents and headed home with their thank you package…each child got an item from the Amazing Hunt…for the boys, everything a young man needs: razor, an item from The Shaving Company, an Italian silk tie, chocolate from Godiva, etc. The ladies got items that a young lady will need for special events: a star flower crystal small hair stick, a black shawl, eyeshadow from Bare Essentials, a couple items from Bath and Body Works, etc. Some of the girls are still tomboys, but I told them that while they aren’t ready for the items now, just hold on to them. There will come a time when the items will come in handy. 🙂

I was so impressed with the maturity of these kids. Some of them said that their favorite part was that they learned how to dance, and a couple of the guys said their favorite part was that they got to dance with a girl for the first time! These were things that surprised me, and in a very good way. 🙂 The parents that watched all had smiles on their faces, and the kids were laughing, and while some were embarrassed, they were laughing and having fun, too.

And who had the most fun? I did. Never in my life did I enjoy myself more, watching these young people racing around the mall, using their brains to figure out the clues, all of them were well behaved and kind to their parent chaperons, they were brave and tried new and exotic foods, they were ladies and gentlemen in their actions, and they got over their fears and did things they weren’t expecting. They even traded gender roles, and the boys dropped the hankies, while the girls kissed the boys’ hands.

All in all, it was the perfect party. I’m so exhausted, and spend all of Sunday sleeping. I don’t remember anything from that day. *laugh* Oh, wait…I remember Doug made me some soup for dinner…I’m pretty sure I ate some of it…but I can’t be sure. 🙂 It will take a few days to recover, but when I do, then it’s on to the next party to plan. Morgan turns 18 in March, and I definitely have something in the works for him. 🙂 Just you wait and see.

There are a few people that I could never have done this without, so I have to thank them from the bottom of my heart:
Jon T Benda
Paul Schmidt
James Apryl
Lisa Koeller
Bill Stewart
Kelly (Kevin’s Dad) (He showed up just in time to be the best firemaker I’ve ever known!)
Morgan Dockham
Of course, my Saint Doug DeAmbra
And all the kids that came and made the party a huge success.
Last but not least, Merrick, without whom this would have been for naught. Happy birthday baby. You deserved it!

Just don’t expect it EVERY year! 🙂

I feel sorry for my husband. I kicked him out of the bed.

I didn’t ACTUALLY kick him out of the bed. He kicked himself out of the bed, but it’s my fault.

No, we’re not fighting or anything. Our felines had surgeries three days apart, so I have two cats (one kitten, really) with really big cones on their heads laying on our bed. In addition to two cats, there is me, my laptop, a couple of books (Barby Ingle‘s RSD and Me! and ReMission Possible), my water cup, my meds, the cats meds and my plates from all three meals today.

The older of the two (in the pink cone necklace) is Inara. She was declawed. The younger cat (a kitten, really) is 8 months old, and is named Chiana. She was declawed and spayed. (And you totally get bonus points if you know where both of these names come from. I have a dog named Anoushka, or Anouk.  My next animal will be named Echo. If you know where all four names come from, I will figure out a totally great prize for you, because you totally rock.)

Both cats have been laying curled up together in various positions on my bed all day.  It’s just too damn cute!  I have been giving them meds every 12 hours, the day Inara ran out, Chiana came home and I started hers.  Talk about some stoner cats!! I wished I had video taped them.

Inara acts as if the cone is SO heavy that she can’t always walk right. She jumped up on the bed just fine, but the minute she did, her head became “too heavy” to hold up.  BONK! She gives this look as if to say, “Huh? Oh yeah.”  PLOP! She just plops down right there saying, “I’m done!” What makes it really funny is their EYES. They are ALL pupil, with a very thin ring of blue. They have really pretty blue eyes, but when you get almost nothing but pupils, you know they are just stoned!

That is not why my husband is camping out on the couch.

He has allergies. Normally, it’s no big deal. This week, however, these two beautiful cats have been living on our bed, thus shedding for 24 hours a day on our bed. My husband finally decided that the couch would be a better place to sleep.  At least if he wants to breathe.

I guess he does.

And I’m ok with that.  Breathing husbands are much more interesting than non-breathing ones. Not that I’ve ever HAD a non-breathing husband, I can just suppose that they aren’t as interesting. It’s an assumption.  I know, an assumption makes an ass out of “u” and umption. (Another great movie. Anyone?  Anyone?)

Hopefully when the cats (one cat, one kitten really) feel better I will get to sleep with my husband again.  No, I really do mean Sleeping. Anything else would be great, too. (I’m sure my husband, should he ever head this, will turn BRIGHT red. He’s cool like that.)

I just got back from the book signing for Jenny Lawson’s, aka The Bloggess, book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, A Mostly True Memoir, and IT WAS SO TOTALLY AWESOME!!!

It was a great date with my husband, and we laughed our asses off. Although it was a amazing turnout with standing room only and even that was full, that also means that no matter how low you set the air conditioning everyone is sweating their asses off and waving their programs in their faces.

Mrs. Lawson is such a sweet lady. I, however, am such a horrible person…

I made her cry.

I know, I know, I said it already, I’m a horrible person.

Actually, I really DID make her cry. For a second. Almost. Sort of.

Now, I know her book is hilarious, and if you haven’t read it, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?? It’s only been on the New York Time’s Best Seller List for 14 weeks! Ok, you can always get the audio and catch up. We’ll wait.














Are you done?

OK, great. Moving on.

So, she read aloud a chapter…the one where she O.D.s on ….oh, sorry. I don’t want to give anything away. See how I totally made you want to read it for those that STILL haven’t read it.

Then there was a great question and answer session. After that they did the book signing. I have to give a HUGE shout-out to the Changing Hands Bookstore in Chandler. They not only had a seat reserved for us, but because I discussed my condition ahead of time with them, they put me right at the front of the line for signatures so I could get out of there with as little risk of being bumped as possible, and so I was there as little time as possible. I really appreciate that more than you will ever know, and have a thank you card all ready to go. But I had to write this first because I want you all to know just what a great time you missed.

Sorry, maybe next time.

So, Mrs. Lawson, (because I STILL haven’t been given permission to call her Jenny. At least not to her face.) signed our book and took a picture with us. When I asked if I could get a hug, she was like, “Absolutely you can have a hug!” because she’s just that awesome. She put her arms out like any normal person. This means, of course, that I take her hand, crossed it over her chest, and hugged HER, since to BE hugged hurts like all hell. And she was SO COOL about it. Then I said, “You changed my life.”

That is when we both teared up.

I was all emotional . I’m sure she was just crying because we’d been in a room overfull of people with air conditioners that were trying, and failing, to keep up and had been sweating the entire time. While I had used deodorant, it only works so well.

We got out of there right away. I didn’t want security to see us and say, “There she is, that’s the lady that made Mrs. Lawson cry!”

It was an awesome night. Maybe next time I will just tell her how awesome she is without making her cry.

You think YOUR life is strange.

Everyone does I suspect. We ALL think our lives are harder, or stranger, or whatever, than everyone else.  It’s the basis of every fish story, tall tale, and every conversation between two Irishmen.

Every really good story I’ve ever heard starts like this:

No shit. There I was.

So I guess that’s where I’ll start.

No shit, there I was, sitting on the bed, when my husband throws a paperback book at me.  It was small, old, and pretty thin. (The book, not my husband.) This book was NOT something that should cause agony.  I, however, have RSD.

“What the hell is RSD,” you ask? I am so glad you asked!

RSD stands for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Imagine pouring gas on your foot, setting it on fire, and letting it burn, and burn, and burn….THEN, put shoes on and walk around in them. Of course now your are wondering just WHY would ANYONE want to DO that, much less IMAGINE IT! It really is the only explanation I have for this disease. The one thing we all agree on is the BURNING pain. And yes, it really is that bad for the worst of us. Clothing is painful, bedsheets are torturous, and a good stiff breeze makes you wanna curl up and die. Forget taking a shower.

Yeah, I guess I could have left that part out.  I don’t stink or anything. Much. Ok, it’s not bad at least. My doctor recommended a “whore bath”, which is just spritzing perfume on the areas that count. I think I’ll deal with the torture that is the shower.

There is a pain scale called the McGill Pain Index that gives people an idea of how much things hurt.  The scale is out of 50. At the bottom you have things like splinters, stubbed toes, sprained ankles, etc. Then you get things like broken bones. At about 25 is cancer pain, which many people think is the worst pain there is, partially because it DOES hurt a lot, and partial because, unlike childbirth or broken bones, it’s not going to get better.  It’s what we call a “chronic pain”.  In the mid-30s you get prepared childbirth and the upper-30s unprepared childbirth. At 40 you get amputation of a finger or toe without anesthesia.  Let me repeat that….WITHOUT ANESTHESIA!!

RSD is 42.

42 out of 50.  That means that when you are at the hospital, and they say, “On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, what level is your pain?”, if you have RSD you START at a 8.4.  NOW, add broken bones, surgery, etc.

Now you have a starting point of how I normally feel. Yes, I have great drugs.  No, I am not sharing them with you.  I’m a generous person, but I like being in as little pain as possible.

Now then, where was I?  Oh, yes. Night time…

I’m getting ready for bed, and my husband throws the aforementioned book at me.

I said, “Ow!”

I did NOT say, “Ow! That shit hurt you inconsiderate motherfucker!” nor did I say, “Watch what you’re doing you jackass!” What I said was “Ow!” meaning, “Ow, I am in pain.”

My husband responds, but instead of saying,

“Oh gosh honey, I’m sorry. Are you alright?” ala Ward Cleaver. (If you don’t understand that, you’re not old enough to read this.)

HE says,

“Geez, I’m sorry. I didn’t know your leg was there. It wasn’t like I did it on purpose.” ala Al Bundy or Ralph Kramden. (What the hell do you mean you don’t know who Ralph Kramdon is?! You know what, nevermind.  I’m not talking to you!)

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a saint.  Really.  He was born on March 17th! I call him St. Douglas…and March 17th is St. Douglas Day in our house.  I even had Happy Birthday Saint Douglas put on his cake.


Yes, our lives are stranger than most. I have  a particularly bad case, and because of  the RSD (CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) I am in a wheelchair and am bed-bound for the most part.  So yes, I am a lazy bum. Though bum seems like such a GUY word.  Bummette seems so much more feminine.   You’ll hear a lot more about me in coming days, but now you know some of the highlights. You’ll meet the family next time, and our kids.  Not our children, but our kids.  See, we have our children, our pets (which are LIKE children) and our kids. And on that note, I will leave you guessing.

Until next time…

Oh. My. God.

No, I’m not being stingy. You can have him, too.  God, that is.  Shit, one sentence and already I’m off topic. Let me start again.

Oh. My. God.

I mean, what the hell was I thinking?  I’m starting a damned BLOG?? Who do I think I am, Jenny Fucking Lawson.  (No offense to Mrs. Lawson. And no, Fucking is NOT her middle name.  It’s not even Fu King!  She’s not even Chinese!!!) I’m no Bloggess, to be posting about my boring life and turning it into something SO funny that millions of people read my blog and it turns into a New York Times NUMBER ONE RELEASE, and takes me on a tour or the country marketing my book!!  *pant* *pant* *pant*

Then again, Jenny Lawson’s life is FAR from boring.  I’ve never had ANYTHING thrown at me that wasn’t made by Nerf or Wilson.


If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then I suggest these three simple steps to help.

  1. Crawl out from under the rock,
  2. Go to the local bookstore. Any one will do, and
  3. BUY HER BOOK, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened“, or
  4. Check out her blog, Read the blog about Beyonce, the Metal Chicken. That’s where most people start. 

Though if you don’t understand the Wilson comment, rent the movie Cast Away, after following item 1.

This sucks. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Lawson (who will remain Mrs. Lawson until she gives me permission to call her otherwise) is a great Blogger, sorry Bloggess, but my whole FIRST BLOG POST seems to be about her.

(I hope to hell she doesn’t read this, she’ll think I’m a stalker or something! Ok, well, if I lived closer maybe, but from 2 states away it’s tough to stalk.  You really have to be a serious stalker to do that shit.  And, well, I’m not. Serious. Or a stalker.)

Well, since I spent my entire first post talking about ANOTHER blogger (Sorry, ess) I guess you’ll have to wait until my next post to find out about me.

I know, try to keep your depression in check. It’s just not all that impressive.  Promise.

(My marketing personnel have told me that I’m an idiot for saying I’m not impressive, and that I should tell you how wonderful I am, so on the advice of a 17 and 12 year-old, here goes.)

So, try to keep your anticipation in check. It will be hard, but it will be worth it when you get to finally read my very first REAL post, finally feast your eyes on words that will make your heart soar, your soul sing and your eyes water…I mean cry. Tears of joy.

Oh hell. I quit.

I’ll come back tomorrow.