Friday, September 16, 2005

Mystery Solves... Sorta

The Blond Girl
Optimistic Realist, that's me. Life isn't always easy, but having a blond perspective sure helps!
Friday, September 30, 2005
Happy Birthday, Blond Girl!

Warning: A truly narcissistic post will now ensue: Happy Birthday to me! I am 40 years old today. I can hardly believe it. Funny; I feel younger now than I ever did when I turned 30. Here's some reasons why:

10 years ago I:

* was single and thought I'd never find anyone.
* had no children and thought I'd never have any.
* lived with my parents and thought I'd never own my own home.
* was answering phones for a living and hating it.
* wondering if I had heard God right years before about marrying a minister.
* was convinced that once a woman turned 30, she had to cut her hair off because only "loose" women over 30 had long hair (man, was I messed up or what?!?).
* Weighed around 260 pounds and hated getting dressed up.
* Looked about 40 years old.

Today I:

* Am married to a wonderful man who loves me almost as much as I love him. We will celebrate our 7th anniversary in 10 days.
* Have a lovely 5 year-old daughter who never ceases to amaze me with her love, good humor and sweetness.
* Own my own home and, interestingly enough, my mother now lives with me (and yes, that is different than living with your parents!)
* Have a fulfilling career as a Communication Specialist with a world of opportunity before me. I love what I do. (Though it does get stressfull now and again, but what job doesn't?)
* Know that I heard absolutely correctly that I was NOT supposed to marry a minister, but rather a quiet man who knows more about serving and selflessness than any minister I ever met.
* Am absolutely convinced that I can have my hair any length I want. And right now, it is long. And this does not mean I am "loose".
* Weigh about 150 pounds and love finding reasons to dress up.
* Look about 32 years old.

My birthday statement to everyone I see today is "this is where you tell me I don't look 40!" I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

And now for the truly narcissistic part: if you want to leave me a happy birthday comment, please do. I will love it. And if you want to give me a great birthday present, tell your friends to come and wish me a happy birthday. I'll cherish each one as testimony to the blessings God has given me in love, family, friends and life.

It is time now for Champs and me to take Sweet Girl to the Mall of America to celebrate my birthday. And then Champs is taking me out tonight. And then Geekwif and Curly Girl and I are going out tomorrow.

Isn't life sweet?

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BG's Question of the day for Friday

Today is my birthday, as you already know. So far, it's been perfect; Champs gave me a diamond ring, Sweet Girl made me a painted 3-can pencil and paperclip holder (5-year old perfection) and my mom gave me a colbalt blue stained glass angel (I collect colbalt glass).

As I said, perfect.

So how about you? What would be the perfect birthday gift from the people in your life?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

I should have posted this on Tuesday of this week, but today is the first day I've been able to sit down and devote some time to writing.

It was two years ago on Tuesday that my father passed away. It wasn't unexpected; he had fought two battles with lung cancer. He won the first one and the prize was 5 years more. In those 5 years he got to see me get married and meet his youngest grandchild, Sweet Girl. In those 5 years he mellowed and learned, somewhat, how to connect with people in his life. But in thos 5 years he also watched 2 of his brothers and 1 of his sisters succomb to lung cancer. When his time came, I think he just decided not to fight. He was gone 5 months after the second diagnosis.

The funny thing is, those 5 months were a blessing to our family. He connected more during that time than ever before, especially with Sweet Girl. I think he knew he only had a short time to make an impression on her. He did; she still talks about him.

My dad was so much like Archie Bunker! My niece and nephew who are now in high school used to call him "Grumpa" when they were children. It fit him and the moniker stuck. Being a child of the 30's and 40's, he was raised to be stoic and distant. His family life instilled more of this. His father was a drunkard who never supported his family. My dad wasn't. He may not have always been nice, but he was solid as a rock. I only saw him drunk maybe 5 times in my life (always at weddings) and he did everything he needed to support our family.

I'm rambling; I should have this lovely, cohesive and touching tribute to my father and if I wanted to write and rewrite, I would. The point I want to make, though, is that he was here. He touched lives and I miss him. Sweet Girl misses him.

We were visiting my dad at the hospice about 15 days before he died when I took the picture above. He was taking Sweet Girl to see the bird cages at the hospice. I think it personifies my dad: He didn't always talk much and he wasn't always sweet. But he did take your hand and go with you where you needed to go. Just like he did with Sweet Girl.

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BG's Question of the day for Thursday

I used to be an "E.R." fan. I had to watch it every single Thursday night. Funny thing is, I used to worry constantly about losing Champs and Sweet Girl. I lived in fear of something awful happening to them. Then one day, Geekwif pointed out that E.R. and other shows like that which I enjoyed were probably helping to fuel my fear. I thought about what she said and agreed. E.R. was out the window and I cut down on watching shows like "Law and Order: SVU". My fears started to get better and although I still worry, I am not paralyzed with worries like I was a couple of years ago.

It's funny... Now I can't STAND E.R.! When it comes on, I can't change the channel fast enough. And, if I don't get to see the other shows, it's really no big deal. TV has really lost its grip on me.

How about you? Do you have any shows that you used to watch all the time and now you can't stand them? How come?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I should be sleeping but I'm not, Part 5

This post brought to you courtesy of stupidity.

I tried to think of a different adjective. Ignorance? Forgetfulness? No, they didn't work. Bottom line, I did a dumb thing and that's why I'm awake right now.

Last night before bed, I checked my blood sugar as I always do. It was well over 200. This mildly surprised me, but I figured that the two oreos I had eaten earlier as I cleaned the kitchen were the reason for the high reading. So I took one unit of short acting insulin and my normal two units of long acting insulin and went to bed.

Now I am here. As I was getting something to eat so my skin would stop buzzing, I realized that I made a stupid mistake when I took my reading last night. I had just changed vials of test strips. Glucometers use little strips upon which you place a drop of blood to test. Each vial has a code on it and you must enter this code into the meter in order to get an accurate reading. If you have the wrong code entered, your reading can be wrong by as much as 35%.

I didn't code the new vial number into my meter. Duh!

I've been doing this now for 7 years. I know what to do. If I had changed the meter, I am pretty sure my reading would have been a little high, but probably just under 200. If that had been the reading, I wouldn't have taken the extra insulin. And I would still be sleeping now. And you wouldn't be reading this post, brought to you courtesy of stupidity.

Well, my skin has stopped buzzing and the alarm is still going to go off at 5:20. I am going back to bed. Nighty-night!

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Monday, September 26, 2005
"ST" means Shaky Triumph

There will be some people who know me who will read today's entry and not believe that it is me. They will say "Blond Girl?!? You did THAT? No Way!!!" And I will reply, "WAY!"

Today I rode on a motercyle for the first time since I was 9 years old! It was so much fun! A friend at The Big Company wanted to thank me for helping him successfully post for a new job. Since he is a motorcycle enthusiast who has a Honda ST touring bike (much like the one in the picture above), I asked him to take me for a ride.

You see, Champs has this dream of owning a Honda Goldwing Aspencade and touring with me through the US. His dad had one and when he got sick, he sold it. Champs was always bothered that his dad didn't give him the chance to buy it from him. Since I know this is Champs' dream, I figured asking for a ride would be a good thing.

At lunch we went out. My friend gave me a helmet, a heavy jacket and gloves and then explained the following rules:

* Get on from the correct side and put your leg all the way over; don't slide on.
* Put your feet on the pedels and leave them there. DO NOT put your feet down!
* Lean when I lean, in the direction I lean. The bike will do the rest.
* Hold on carefully; the bike will jerk you a bit when we start.

When we got to the hold on part, I asked him if I had to hold on to the handles behind my seat or if I could hold on to him. He said I could choose and you better believe I chose him! I didn't want my hands behind me! He helped me into the helmet and I put my glasses back on. Immediatly, my glasses began to fog up.

And so away we went. I was scared. I was nervous. I was praying! I held on with all my might; great fistfulls of his jacket were in my hands and my legs were clamped securely around the seat. I felt pretty good when I successfully leaned with him around the first corner. Then we took the second corner... I was breathing carefully, trying not to make any reactions in my fear that might distract him. As we started to move, my glasses cleared up.

At the next corner, he headed for the highway exit! I asked him, shakily, if we were going on the freeway. He said yes. I fought everything within me to avoid asking him not to and just prayed harder. I knew he was fine, but I was worried I would get scared and do something stupid.

He was a gentleman, driving very respectfully; no silly tricks. I was so releived when he took the off exit. Of course, we had to go back downtown. When he got back on the freeway, I could feel the power of the bike and the wind. I was wearing my heaviest black leather shoes and I could feel the wind on my toes!

The helmet was only 3.5 pounds, but going fast, that is a lot of weight to control. I would try to lean into him to lean as he leaned and I must have bumped my helmet against his at least 10 times. As we were driving on the freeway, my breath was coming in little spurts; it reminded me of the Lamaze breathing I did when I was in labor with Sweet Girl. I kept asking God to make sure we were safe. Just keep us safe, Lord. I was scared, but also in awe. As many times as I'd driven down that freeway, I never felt the speed the way I did on the motercycle!

I was so relieved when we got off the freeway. I began to feel like I could look around a little and enjoy the ride. It was so much fun and pretty soon it was all over. I hopped off the bike and pumped my arm in the air. I was scared, but I had done it! I was thinking, "I'll do this again, and I will enjoy it, but I am glad I have awhile before I need to do it again." My friend told me that on the freeway on the return trip, he had gotten the bike up to 90 mph at one point. That made me so glad I couldn't see the speedmeter as we were driving!

All in all, the open road was a wonderful experinece. I wonder how soon I can help Champs get his Goldwing Aspencade (kinda like the one below)?

Posted by Blond Girl @ 9:47 PM Reveal this post.
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BG's question of the day for Monday

I so wanted to stay home from work today. I really wanted to stay home. However, I had a meeting with a director and I'd waited four days for him to come back to the office, so I had to go. I had no choice.

Since I couldn't stay home, I wanted to dress comfortably - read, some form of soft cotton on top and on the bottom. Unfortunately, due to meeting with said director, I had to look professional, darnit. So, I dressed very nicely in trousers and a comfy sweater. And it was ok. But not great.

So how about you? How do you dress for work? Do you ever have to be "professional" when you'd rather be "comfortable"?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Sunday, September 25, 2005
My 40th birthday present, early

This coming Friday I will be 40 years old. As explained (ad nausuem) in my post, The Saga of the Rings, Champs bought me a 5-diamond anniversary band to add to my wedding ring and the anniversary band he bought me for our 6th anniversary. All three rings were sized and soldered together. It is beautiful.

As promised, here is a photo. It doesn't do it the justice of seeing it in person, but you can get the idea. Happy Birthday to me!

I still have two more entries for today, so read on!

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The Truth-in-Blogging Meme

Meme from Trusty Getto's site. Trusty tagged me for this one and since I love to be tagged, of course I am playing along. I have no idea who wrote it - some of the questions are pretty odd, but what the hey, right?

1. Do you try to look hot when you go to the grocery store just in case someone recognizes you from your blog?
No, I don't bother. I tend to run my blog as an "anonymous" blog. Those who know me in real life and know of my blog know me well enough that I don't have to try to look hot for them. Besides, I'm always hot! (yeah, right!)

2. Are the photos you post Photoshopped or otherwise altered?
Photoshopped, no. Altered, no. Planned, yes. You see, as I mentioned, I like to have my blog wrapped in anonymity. But I do like to post photos. The challenge then becomes to post photos that tell something of our lives and who we are without showing our faces. I enjoy the challenge.

3. Do you like it when creeps or dorks email you?
If you had read Geekwif's post on dorks and putz's (read the comments, too), you'd be laughing your butt off; I know I am! In anycase, I enjoy emails, but I prefer them from people who have read something in my blog that they connected with. Thankfully, I haven't received any e-mails from creeps. If you're not a creep and you want to e-mail me, please do. I'll even answer - eventually.

4. Do you lie in your blog?
Nope. Got burned lying a few years back and I don't go there now.

5. Are you passive-aggressive in your blog?
Is a bear catholic? I am Minnesotan. We invented the term passive-aggressive, right before we went to church and just after we attended the casserole potluck. I think I (along with other Minnesotans) do this because we want to be nice, but eventually we've had as much as we can take and we snap. If you want to see an example of this, just check out my unpredictable elbow post.

6. Do you ever threaten to quit writing so people will tell you not to stop?
No, that just smacks of desperation, and that's not my game. If I threaten to quit writing, it's because I've had as much as I can take (see question 5).

7. Are you in therapy? If not, should you be? If so, is it helping?
No, No and, um No.

8. Do you delete mean comments? Do you fake nice ones?
I only delete spam or comments that are so incredibly liberal that I can feel the diodes in my computer melting in protest. I've never faked any comments.

9. Have you ever rubbed one out while reading a blog? How about after?
Um, NO! I don't read those kinds of blogs (are those kinds of blogs even allowed?). I had to laugh at my naivete, however. I wasn't sure what that meant, so I checked out Trusty and all the folks he got it from and then asked my husband if it meant what I suspected it meant. He confirmed that it does and this confirms my suspicion that a guy wrote this meme; no woman I know would have used that term much less asked the question in the first place!

10. If your readers knew you in person, would they like you more or like you less?
I think they would like me more. At least, those who know me in person and know I blog will read my blog, but still prefer to be with me in person. I am looking forward to someday meeting someone who's been reading my blog to see what they think of me in person. Interestingly enough, I've been writing this blog partly for the benefit of my hubby's family in Another State. My sister-in-law, Princssis, has been reading my blog. Since her brother moved here to marry me, I think the blog is helping her to know me better and, hopefully, like me more. I know her blog is doing that for me. It will be fun to see how our relationship has progressed when we move to Another State in 2006.

11. Do you have a job?
Yes, and it's full time and it pays pretty well and I like what I do. How lucky am I? I am a Communications Specialist and I write for a living. And yet I still come here to blog. There's almost something sick about that, isn't there?

12. If someone offered you a decent salary to blog full-time without restrictions, would you do it?
Hell yeah! But would I get a bonus for comments? That's what I want to know!

13. Which blogger(s) do you want to meet in real life?
Michele, Sharon, Heather and E. I already know Princssis and Geekwif very well. :-)

14. Which bloggers have you made out with?
Well, my hubby, Champs, has a blog he writes in occasionally. He isn't as committed to daily posting, but I enjoy his perspective. Oh, and I have made out with him!

15. Do you usually act like you have more money or less money than you really have?
I pretty much act like I have exactly what I have. If I'm short cash, I don't get to buy anything. If I have a few extra dollars, I buy a couple of things. If I have a lot of extra money, then I planned for it and I have a specific purchase in mind. Living without a credit card forces you to keep a pretty realistic perspective.

16. Does your family read your blog?
Yes, they do. Mostly the family in Another State, that is. My mom, who lives with us, made me laugh like crazy the day she told me she wouldn't read my blog as she considered it an invasion of my privacy. If that's the case, then all of you are guilty of invading my privacy, too. Now don't you all feel guilty?

17. How old is your blog?
I started it on June 19 of this year. It's not even 6 months old yet, so I guess I am a blogging infant. I'm loving it though.

18. Do you get more than 1000 page views per day? Do you care?
No, I don't. According to site meter, I get about 100-200 hits a day. Obviously, most of them are lurkers or are me. Yes, unfortunately, I do care. I wish I had the readership Michele has. I guess I'm not as good at drawing people in as she is. I think that's mostly because I write so much instead of asking for opinions as much as she does. Oh well, every time someone adds me to their sidebar or considers me one of their "daily blogs", it makes me happy. How silly is that?

19. Do you have another secret blog in which you write about being depressed, slutty, or a liar?
No, but I am considering starting another secret blog for the benefit of all the women out there who need a safe place to let off mother-induced steam....

20. Have you ever given another blogger money for his/her writing?
No. That's why blogging is free. Although I have considered buying Lightning Bug's Butt and Paul's books. Books are different than blogs, you know!

21. Do you report the money you earn from your blog on your taxes?
I don't get NO money from this, baby!

22. Is blogging narcissistic?
No. If I thought I was the best blogger out there and spent money convincing others of the same, maybe. But since I have a healthy view of my writing (ok) compared to others (better than some, nowhere near as good as others), I think I can safely say I'm not being narcissistic when I write. (Oh, and get this; I went to to be sure I had it right before I started writing. I did; it's an excessive love of self, among other unhealthy things. :-)

23. Do you feel guilty when you don't post for a long time?
Yes. How sad is that?

24. Do you like John Mayer?
I had to Google him to find out who he was and then I could place him. I think he has good musical talent, but I was offended by the song "Your Body is a Wonderland". I mean, they played this all the time on all the stations and we wonder why our teens struggle with staying pure? Whatever!

25. Do you have enemies?
I'm a conservative Christian. Of course I do. I deal with it.

26. Are you lonely?
No. I used to be, but now I have a wonderful husband and a very active 5 year old girl. Not to mention my mom who moved in when my dad passed away. I'm not lonely; though I am often trying to find just a few minutes to myself....

27. Why bother?
I could take this so many ways:
Why bother blogging? Because it gives me an outlet to write creatively and make connections with people, as well as letting our friends and family keep up with the ongoing adventures of Blond Girl, Champs and Sweet Girl.
Why bother believing? Because the measure of grace I've found in my life leaves me in awe and suffused with love for my maker and my savior. And because the Bible makes the alternative pretty clear. I'd rather go to Heaven.
Why bother living? Because every day, no matter how hard it is to get through, is a blessing and a gift. It took me a long time to learn this lesson and I don't want to turn my back on that.

28. Who are you tagging?
Normally, I specifically name people and then only half of them do it. Instead, I am going to ask all of you to consider playing along and then send me an email if you do. Of course, Paul, I need to challenge you since you say you are opposed to meme's but you did such a great job on the last one! ;-)

OK, read on for my question of the day, ya hear?

Labels: Memes to enjoy

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BG's question of the day for Sunday

Aside from the time of worship each Sunday (which I really enjoy and, after a week of craziness, need), one of my favorite moments in church each week is when they release the children from the service to attend children's church. They have the kids stand up and everyone extends their hands to the kids to pray for a blessing for them. They used to gather all the kids at the front of the church for the blessing and I wish they still did. Actually, when Geekwif's husband, The Geek leads the service, he still gathers the children. It's one reason I enjoy having him lead the service; but I digress.

The children are prayed for and then all of us mothers lead the kids to their classes then get a few rich moments of talking on our way back to the sanctuary. I suppose it's a silly thing to identify as a favorite part of church, but there it is.

How about you? Do you attend church? What is your favorite part of the service?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Saturday, September 24, 2005
Cranky Couple's Capricious Cubital Crisis

And so we venture forth on our vocabulary lesson for today:

adj: Characterized by or subject to whim; impulsive and unpredictable

adj : of or relating to the elbow

n: An emotionally stressful event or traumatic change in a person's life.
n: A point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved.

If you have noted the bolded words, you now know that this couple, consisting of Champs and his Blond Girl, has experienced an emotionally stressful event relating to an elbow and, somehow, it must be resolved.

Here's the story: Champs is on vacation this week. Being that today is Saturday, I promised him last night that I would get up with Sweet Girl this morning. We went to bed knowing that he would get to sleep in and that I would have to get up early. Now, the thing about us is that Champs is a very heavy sleeper while I am a light sleeper. Being that it is vacation and he does get to sleep late, I thought he might wake up in a, um, loving mood sometime during the night. And being the light sleeper that I am, almost every time he awoke, I did as well.

He woke up searching for his pillow, which I put back under his head. At some point he woke up to go to the bathroom. When he returned, he got into bed and promptly turned away, falling back to sleep. Later, I snuggled up close to him and he rolled away again. Clearly, the only thing on this man's mind was sleep.

Well, not the only thing. I think he also had revenge or destruction or something else on his mind. Because somewhere around 6:30 this morning, it happened: I got W-H-A-M-M-E-D in the back with his darn elbow at about Mach 7! For some reason, Champs loves to batter me with his elbows as he sleeps. He turns from his side to his tummy. His hands go under his head and his elbows go akimbo. He doesn't perform this maneuver slowly and gently; no, he flips over quickly. And every time - EVERY. FREAKING. DARN. TIME. - he gets me with that elbow of his!

This morning took the cake. The impact of his elbow square in my back jolted me out of sleep with a shocking intensity. I felt this bomb of pain exploding and radiating through my back. It took my breath away. I flipped over and banged on his elbow 8 or 9 times, beating it back. Through my tears I said "I HATE that stupid elbow of yours!" Champs just looked at me blearily, moved his elbow and rolled over. He didn't apologize or even realize what he'd done. He just fell back asleep.

Where he still is. And will be for awhile yet.

I'm not mad at him - hard to be mad for wanton destruction performed while sleeping, right? But I'm not feeling overly loving, either. How do you teach a man who can sleep through WW3 that he can't be beating up his wife with his elbow? I'm telling you, this is an emotionally stressful, tension-filled event that must be resolved!

Editor's Note, 11:02 am: I was just checking my e-mail and came along the bible verse of the day that I get from Air 1. According to them, today's verse is: So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing.(1 Peter 2:1 NLT) How appropriate, huh? tee hee

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Friday, September 23, 2005
Excuse me? I'm high maintenance?

Pretty much all of you know that I had a gastric bypass and that I am diabetic. Well, because of this, I take a liquid multivitamin as well as liquid iron and calcium supplements every day. I'm not fond of the flavor if I take them full strength, so I tend to order a frozen fruit smoothie at the coffee shop at my work every morning and have them blend in my vitamin mix. Since I'm diabetic, I have them put in the liquid vitamins, then add about 4 ounces of water and only use 4 ounces of the smoothie base, instead of the 12 ounces that the recipe calls for. This helps to reduce the sugar and keep my blood glucose levels in check. I've been buying my smoothies this way for more than a year now. The gal who makes them is pretty used to the "ritual".

Not only that, but everyday I come in and grab the blender cup and put in my vitamins. I get it all ready for her to make it easy. If she's with a customer or putting out other pastries, I assure her that I am happy waiting. I approach her station with infallible good humor.

So imagine my reaction yesterday when she started to pour in the smoothie base and I asked her for the water so I could add some. She glared at me and muttered, "you're really high maintenance, you know that?"

W... T...H!?!
I am high maintainence?!?!

This same lady fixes double-mocha-decaff half-lattes with half skim-milk, half whole-milk foam and a shot of caramel every 10 minutes all morning to all the other customers and I am high maintenence because I asked to do something like add water to my smoothie? What was I thinking?

Of course, I apologized profusely for being high maintenence... In her dreams!

Read on for my question of the day!

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BG's Question of the day for Friday

Champs starts vacation today and he couldn't be happier! He walked in from work and immediately called out "Vacation is officially starting NOW!" One week of some projects, some fun and a lot of sleep. We're not taking any trips; we're just enjoying ourselves (well, he's enjoying himself. I will only have Thursday and Friday of next week off).

So how about you? What would you do with a week off?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Thursday, September 22, 2005
Uncle Jim takes a walk

It's been awhile, so I figured it was time to tell another story from my family history. This one took place about 50 years ago and features my Uncle Jim and Aunt Irene. Believe me, this same story wouldn't play out the same these days.

One day my cousin Penny was outside playing in the park across the street. She was about 7 years old and back then it was generally safe enough to let your kids go down the street to play, even in the city. Now we don't even let Sweet Girl play in the backyard unsupervised. Anyway, Aunt Irene was in the kitchen getting dinner ready to put on the table and Uncle Jim, a barber, had just returned from work when Penny ran into the kitchen, crying.

"A man showed me his pee-pee and asked me to play", she said, trembling. Her shocked parents asked her what happened next. Penny said, "I ran away!" Uncle Jim took her in his arms and calmed her down, then asked Penny to take them to the park and point out the man she had seen. The three of them went off and walked about 3 blocks before Penny finally pointed out a man. "That's him, Daddy!", she said. Uncle Jim knelt down and hugged her, telling her she was a good girl. Then he told Irene to take Penny home and call the police. "Tell them to come to this street. Tell them someone was hurt." Then he walked off alone.

When the police arrived, they found Uncle Jim standing over a very bloody and beat up pervert. Uncle Jim greeted them and explained that this man had exposed himself to his 7-year old daughter, so he followed him until they could get there. They thanked him for apprehending the culprit and, noting his cuts and bruises asked what had happened.

Uncle Jim replied, "I dunno. I think he tripped. 4 times." The police thanked him and took the man away.

Now that wouldn't happen today, but there isn't a father in the world who wouldn't play it out exactly the same if it was his little girl having her innocence shattered at the local park. Having said that, I pity the fool who ever tries something like that with Sweet Girl! I also pity me, because I'll have to do the single parent thing while Champs cools his heels in jail. Because if someone hurt Sweet Girl (or me for that matter), I know Champs wouldn't stop until there was just an oily spot on the ground! I hope the cops would understand when they asked "what happened?" and Champs replied, "he fell. 39 times."

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BG's Question of the day for Thursday

My favorite radio station is a Christian radio station, KTIS. I listen to it in the car and on-line at work. I really love the on-line option because I can listen no matter where I am. The morning show manages to be funny and uplifting without being overdone and raunchy. When we move to another state, that's going to really be nice for me. I'm going to enjoy connecting with something from "home" when I'm in our new home.

So how about you? What radio station do you enjoy listening to?

Labels: BG's Question of the Day

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The Saga of the Rings

Blong Girl sez: Hey folks, I wrote this post yesterday but I couldn't post it! Everytime I tried, I got this nasty error. I tried everything to fix it but it wouldn't work, so I finally gave up. I saved my post as a draft and sent an e-mail to Blogger. They wrote back today that there was a server down last night and the problem should be fixed.

So this was one of the "stream of conciences" posts I was talking about. It spans 7 years so it is one of my longer posts. When you see "today is Tuesday", remember I wrote this yesterday. I hope you enjoy our saga!

No, this isn't the Lord of the Rings and it doesn't feature hobbits or elves, though it may seem as long as the trilogy by the time I tell this whole tale. This is the story of Champs' and my wedding rings. It is long and full of details. In the interest of retaining history for my family and to celebrate Champs' 40th birthday present to me, I tell it now:

The story begins before I even knew Champs. One day at the Mall of America, I stopped in at Whitehall Jewelers and fell in love with a blue topaz ring. It featured a large oval stone in a basket setting. I put the ring on layaway but only got it about half paid off.

After I met Champs and it became obvious that we were going to be married and equally obvious that neither of us had much money, I gave him my layaway slip and told him he could pay off the ring and give it to me or return it and put the money toward another ring. I assured him I would be happy with whatever he chose.

As it turned out, he visited the store without me and the only option they would give him was to pay off the layaway and take the same ring. In April, when he was home, he called them to send the ring to him in Illinois. Even though he had paid it off, they called to get my permission to ship it to him. Man, was he pissed off! He wanted it to be a surprise for when I came to visit him in Illinois, and they ruined the surprise. Oh well. He still managed to surprise me when he proposed and there I was, engaged with a fashion ring.

Champs was bummed that I had a ring he hadn't had any part in choosing and so we agreed that once we had some money, we would go about choosing a new ring for me before we got married. On a side note, I offered Champs my school ring to wear until we got married; kind of like his own engagement ring. He liked the idea and took the ring gladly. That felt pretty special, especially since we were living in different states the first month of our engagement. About two days after we were engaged, he lost the ring as we were out walking at the University of Illinois Arboretum and he was frantic about it. We searched and searched, but couldn't find it. The next day, we went back and traced our steps methodically. After about 10 minutes, I found the ring! Relieved, he wrapped the ring in yarn to make it fit snugly. He wore it on his left pinkie right up to our wedding day.

Fast forward a few months. We planned an October wedding. In May, Champs moved to Minnesota and we took out a loan on his truck to help pay wedding expenses. It wasn't a large loan, in fact, we had it paid off in a year, but it gave us some cash to work with. About this time, Mongomery Ward's went out of business and offered all their diamond jewelry at about a 65% discount. My sister-in-law and I went over and found a gold ring on clearance for about $200.00. I knew this was not a ring I would want to wear; it was a cocktail style ring with five rows of small diamonds that proceeded diagonally across the ring. I also knew that it was worth more than they were asking for. I called Champs to discuss it with him and bought it, my heart in my throat.

Thankfully, I was able to sell it the next day at work! I had a friend who had been a jeweler and still had friends in the business. She took the ring to her friend who offered me $550.00 for it. I was ecstatic! I had turned a tidy $350.00 profit and escaped a ring I knew I could never enjoy wearing.

By now, it was time to get serious and pick out wedding rings. In September, we took some of our wedding money (including my little profit) and went to the Shane Company. We spent hours looking d looked at rings for each of us. For me, we bought a beautiful ring with a heart on each side. Inside the hearts are one small marquee diamond and two small round diamonds. We had the stone from my original engagement ring mounted on it (trust me, there was no way we could afford a diamond to put in it!). Now, the blue topaz is about a 2 caret oval stone, so it is huge. They had to use a 6 prong setting to hold it and when I got it, I was amazed at how high off my finger it sat! Remember, it had been in a basket setting. Even so, it was just the most beautiful ring! Champs said that we would start out with this ring, but in five years, he wanted to have me transfer it to my right hand and he would buy me a diamond wedding set.

We also choose a ring for Champs. It was gold with a "waves" that went up from either side of the ring and crossed diagonally paralell to each other with a white gold stripe that flowed diagonally across the band between the waves. It had 3 diamonds set in the white gold. Like Champs said, why should the woman be the only one to get diamonds?

Once we had our rings picked out, we discussed a wedding band for me. Shane Company didn't offer custom jewelry, and the shape of my band dictated that I have a ring specially made to fit into the niche of the band. I went back to my friend at work and she agreed to make a gold band with a small marquee diamond to fit into the niche. It would be small, since we didn't have much money to spend. She took my engagement ring and casted a mold to use to design the new band. Unfortunately, the mold broke in the kiln as they were casting my new band. This occurred two days before my wedding and, given the amount of time needed for molding, casting, firing, etc, there was no way I would get a wedding band. So, on the afternoon of my October wedding, I took off my engagement ring, tied it to the ring bearer's pillow, and that is the ring that Champs put on my finger. My engagement ring had become my wedding ring. I didn't mind at all; lots of women have just one band for their finger.

Fast forward 4 years. One day Champs was helping my brother trim the trees around the soffets of his house. One branch that he was holding snapped out of his grip, slicing his left hand badly enough to require stitches. Champs took off his wedding ring and, he thought, put it in his pocket. It was the last time he ever saw the ring. We searched everywhere in Paddy's house and yard to no avail; his wedding ring was gone.

I put a claim on the insurance for his ring and when we got the check, we went back to the Shane Company. Champs couldn't find his original ring and they didn't have anything he liked. So, we went to Helzbreg's, where we found a similar ring, but not quite what he wanted. Looking for more options, we went to Goodman jewelers, who have been in Minnesota for years and years. They had a beautiful ring that looked almost exactly like his old ring, down to the three diamonds. Only this one was nicer; it was heavier and had the "comfort band" that is so nice. We had to add a bit of money to the insurance settlement, but that was fine; we got the ring for him.

A few months later, it was our 5th wedding anniversary. We had just bought our house. Champs had always said he wanted to get a new ring for me at 5 years, but it was out of the question. We didn't mind. But the next spring, we decided it was time. Actually, we were forced into deciding it was time. As I mentioned earlier, the stone in my ring sits up quite high, so I am notorious for taking it off. I can't sleep in the ring, and when Sweet Girl was a baby, I left it off for days at a time to avoid scratching her. Due to my propensity to take the ring off, I was forever losing it for a day or two at a time. Once, over Christmas, I left it in the woman's bathroom. I went two weeks before I put out an ad on our company's classified ad site in desperation, hoping someone had found it. It got a call in 20 minutes! The janitors had my ring; they just didn't know whose it was.

Anyway, one day in April, I took it off to go to bed. The next day, I couldn't find it. Nor the day after that and so on. We had two cats at that time and I determined that one of them had to have taken it since I know for certain I put it on my dresser and they had been known to do this before. I searched and searched for my ring for weeks. I felt so naked! During this time, we went to Illinois for Champ's brother Moter's wedding. I felt awful being there without a ring, so between the wedding and the reception, I went to Walmart and bought a $15.00 3 mm gold band. Anything to prove that I was "legit" and to keep me from feeling naked. Champs just laughed and laughed at me, but I think it also helped him understand how I was feeling not having any wedding ring. After weeks of searching everywhere, I gave up and admitted defeat. I called the insurance company and put a claim on that ring so we could put the money toward a new ring. Champs promised me that I would now get the diamond he had always planned to buy me for our fifth anniversary.

We went back to Goodman's and picked out a lovely wedding set consisting of a thin, plain gold wedding band and an engagement ring with 3 diamonds channel-set on each side and rising up to cup the center stone, which is set in a tulip setting. It was perfect! It's not a large ring, but that's ok since I don't have very big hands.

About 5 weeks later in May, I was home on a medical leave after having had my first hernia repair surgery. One day, Mom was throwing away old facial products and shower gels that she didn't use anymore. I was pouring them down the bathroom sink, and decided to check to make sure nothing was getting clogged down there. I leaned way over and looked down the sink. Imagine my shock when I saw a glitter! I turned on all the lights and looked again. Yes, there was a decided glint down there. I got a flashlight and shined it in the drain. There, way down where the trap curves, was my original blue topaz wedding ring! It was suspended between the stone and the plastic snuggie I had put on it (after the gastric bypass, it got so large it kept falling off, so I put it on as a stop gap until I was ready to have it resized)! I yelled to Mom to bring me a hanger. After fashioning a long hook, I hauled it up in utter amazement. After nearly three months in the drain, it was disgusting but beautiful! I couldn't believe I had it back. I cleaned it up and put it on my right index finger, where it still is today (except when I take it off to sleep, of course :-)

The saga, of course, continues. On our 6th wedding anniversary, Champs and I went back to Goodman. I bought him a ruby ring that is beautiful, and he bought a 5-diamond anniversary band to go with my wedding ring. Now I had 4 rings that all proclaimed "I belong to Champs!".

Well, 4 for awhile, that is. In January I was late to work and put all my rings in my pants pocket and ran out the door. When I got to work and pulled out the rings, the plain gold band was missing. I have never found it. I suppose if I had to lose one, I am glad it was the plain gold band - but Champs wasn't too happy about it.

Being a fussy woman at times, I chaffed and chaffed over that missing wedding band. It felt odd to me to have an engagement ring and anniversary band, but no wedding band. A few weeks ago when we were in making a payment, I put on another anniversary band with my two rings for the fun of it; one 5-diamond band on either side of my center stone. I loved it! Champs thought it looked a little too flashy. So, I asked if they could order in a new plain wedding band. They could and they did. I explained to Champs that, for my 40th birthday, I wanted my ring to be complete; all the pieces there and soldered together to make it harder to lose.

About two weeks ago, the plain band I ordered came in and Champs and I went in to look at it. What had been good at the beginning now just looked wrong. The band was too thin and low compared to the width and height of my engagement ring and it looked really bad with the 5-stone anniversary band on the other side. I asked them if they ordered the right band in, and they assured me they had, even though it didn't look right to me. So, I tried on another 5-stone anniversary band again. I still loved it. The price had gone up more than $100.00 since we bought the first one, and even with discounts they quoted me a price $80.00 more than we had paid the first time. I told them we wouldn't buy it unless we got the same price we paid at our 6th anniversary. The salesgirl balked, but then I explained it to the manager who agreed right away. Quick as a wink, Champs said yes and I had my new ring. We spent some time determining what size I needed (a 6) and wrote up the work order.

You would think the saga would be over, but there is one small bit left. We were to go over this last Saturday to pick up the rings all sized and soldered together. The only problem was, the salesgirl didn't write the order to size the rings! Since I had bought them at different times, they were all different sizes; a 7, a 6.5 and a 7.5. For some reason, the jeweler didn't question soldering together three different sized rings; he just did the work. Since they were all different sizes, the 5 stones didn't line up correctly at all, and you could see the different levels of the rings. I very nicely put up a minor stink and they promised to rush and correct it. At first the salesman there tried to get me to take it ("just take it and see how it feels for a few days") but I stuck to my guns. He wasn't too happy with me, but then another salesgirl came over and she understood immediately what I was explaining. She promised to have the rings separated, sized and then re-soldered. She said they would be ready on Tuesday.

On the way home, I kept asking Champs if I had done the right thing being so insistent, since that manager had so clearly wanted me to just take the rings as they were. I was bummed that Champs hadn't had the chance to go get them himself and do whatever he wanted to about giving them to me. Champs made me feel better when he pointed out that we have put a lot of money into the rings and he would rather that they be right, even if it meant that I had to pick the rings up myself on Tuesday.

So, here it is Tuesday. I called in this morning to assure that they were separated, each ring sized to a 6 separately and then resoldered. They were. Sweet Girl and I went over there tonight and picked them up. It was hard going without Champs (who is out of town on his route), but he told me he wanted me to go get it (I think so that he didn't have to listen to me talk about feeling naked anymore!). I told him that with the ring all soldered together, it should make it harder to lose. He agreed, and then in true husband manner, told me that, while he didn't get mad at me when I lost the orginal pain gold wedding band, if I lose this ring, he WILL be pissed. I said my duitiful "yes dear!"

So I have it.... And it is be-a-U-ti-ful! Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me (in 10 days)!

I'll post a picture of it as soon as I can. And thus ends the Sage of the Rings... For Now!

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BG's question of the day for Wednesday

Happy 21st Birthday, Tank!

Today is my brother-in-law Tank's 21st birthday. He is a member of the Army National Guard and is currently on duty in Iraq. I think it is a common thing for young men to celebrate coming of age in a foreign country as part of the military. My brother Guitar Man was in Korea with the Army over his 21st birthday and my Brother Paddy was somewhere under the Atlantic ocean in a Navy submarine on his 21st birthday.

My heart goes out to Tank; I miss him and I know Champs misses him so much more, being his little brother. I am proud of him and his drive to defend the things that make this country great. I have to admit that I get pretty mad when I hear people saying "oh, these Army Guard boys, they didn't sign up for this! They just wanted an education." I beg to differ. Tank signed up for the Guard after his older brother, Moter, had already pulled a tour of duty in Kuwait with the guard. Our country has been fighting in Iraq for more than 4 years now. There is not one enlistee who didn't count the cost before joining up. They joined because they saw something wonderful to protect, something honorable to defend and their lives and freedom to fight for and I can't help but stand in defense and pride of them.

How about you? Do you know anyone serving in the military?

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
23 Things about me

23 Things About Me

23 Things About Me ~ Stolen from Geekwif, who stole it from Angie's blog. I have a longer blog entry coming, but this is to kind of "fill-in" until the other is ready. Besides, for some stupid reason, I really like memes! Say, that reminds me: I asked but no one answered. Is it pronounced "meme" as in "me-me" or "meme" as in "meem"? Geekwif and I can't quite agree....

Anyway, here goes:

1. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to go back in time and fix all your mistakes which would you choose?
A million bucks. I've made it through too much crap to want to go back, even if I could fix stuff.

2. When you look at yourself in the mirror, what's the first thing you look at?
My eyes.

3. How much cash do you have on you right now?

4. Favorite plant?
Well, if it is a plant, then I would have to say a jade and for no other reason than my father liked Jade plants and he rarely let on to liking anything. If it is a flower, then a tulip and if it is a tree, then a flowering tree such as an ornamental pear and if it is a bush, then definately lilacs. (I'm not very good at one word answers!)

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
My husband. And this was a good reminder to go plug in my phone!

6. What is your main ring tone on your phone?
For Champs, "How Sweet it is to be Loved by You" For Geekwif, "We Like to Party (the 6 flags theme song)" and for everyone else, "Mission Impossible".

7. What shirt are you wearing?
A blue cotten ribbed camisole.

8. Do you "label" yourself?
All too often. Some are good, like "strategic thinker", "excellent communicator", "loving mommy", "devoted wife". Others are not so complementary, so I won't list them here.

9. Name brand of your shoes currently wearing?
Cheapies from Target. Man, I need new shoes!

10. Do you prefer a bright or dark room?
Bright, as in light paint and bright sunshine.

11. What did you have for breakfast?
A vitamin packed fruit smoothie, like I do everyday.

12. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping soundly.

13. Last thought you had before you had a wreck?
"Man, I wish Dad would have traded cars with me like I asked! These roads are so icy and this storm is terrible!"

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell phone say?
Hubby letting me know his day was busy and he's ready for vacation.

15. What's an expression that you say a lot?
"Oh, Holy Hannah!" or "Dagnabbit!"

16. Who told you they loved you last?
My hubba-hubbalicious, Champs.

17. Last furry thing you touched?
Sweet Girl's "sleepy-sleep" blanket as I put her to bed. It's a fleece tied blanket that I made for her last Christmas and she never sleeps without it. Middle of summer and hot as hades? Doesn't matter; she needs her sleepy-sleep blanket! Thankfully, she understands that sleepy-sleep can never leave the house!

18. How many hours a week do you work?
Too many! I used to work around 55 and now I am trying to get myself to an orderly 42-44. Now that Sweet Girl is in kindergarten, I'm doing better with that, but it means that I must be very orderly in my work and be as efficiant as possible. Ah, the joys of being salaried!

19. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
None. But ask me how many digital film pictures I want to have printed and that number will jump up exponentially!

20. Favorite age you have been so far?
Hmm, hard to answer. Each year has its challenges and its rewards. For the fun of it, we'll say 32, since that's when I met Champs, 33, cause that's when I married him and 34 since that's when Sweet Girl was born. Of course, I'll be 40 in 10 days, so I am hoping that I will have a great 40th year....

21. Your worst enemy?
My own mind.

22. What is your current desk top picture?
A picture of Sweet Girl kissing Champs on the cheek. It is the happiest picture and sometimes I minimize all the stuff on my desktop just to spend a moment soaking in that picture.

23. What was the last thing you said to someone?
"I love you honey, now Good Night!" (to Sweet Girl, who was on her second forray out of bed and who knows better).

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BG's question of the day for Tuesday

Sweet Girl's parent-teacher conferences are coming up soon. Grandma Bina, who lives with us since my dad passed away, wants to attend the conferences with me and Champs. I told her probably not; that's why they are called "parent-teacher" conferences and pointed out that my grandmother never attended them (neither did my father, but that's another story). She said, "Well, Grandma didn't live with us. I live with you."

I have to ask Champs what he thinks. But I am also interested in what all of you think, too. So, what about you? Would you invite your mother along? Do you think I should invite Grandma Bina to go with us?

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Sunday, September 18, 2005
Palm Pilot wishes...

Wow, do I ever wish for the ability to create a "stream of conscienceness" post! I've been working like a dog all day; this morning Champs and I sanded and power washed our deck to prepare it for painting. After that we went to Geek & Geeekwif's home for a taco lunch (very yummy), then I came home and started doing laundry, cleaning the basement and packing away books. I am almost done now; the final load of laundry is in the dryer.

Anyway, about the stream of conscienceness: As I was sanding the deck, I was creating the perfect post in my mind. How I wish I could have made like a Palm Pilot and beamed it to my computer! The sanders were so loud that any communication other than the cursory pointing to the hammer and a loose nail was pointless. I had so much that I could have talked about - and did! - in my head. I want to tell you all about my ring, about the new blog I want to start, about the joy a power washer can bring to a man; so many things!

And yet, here it is, 10:24 and I am beat. I can't take the time to blog about all the things on my mind. So, I am hopeful that maybe you'll give me an "atta girl!" for getting so much done and check back with me tomorrow to see if I've found the energy to post "the saga of the rings". Maybe you'll even tell me if you want to hear about the saga of the rings... In the meantime, goodnight.

Sleep well and I'll see you tomorrow!

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Saturday, September 17, 2005
What Dessert are you?

Well, I need to get to bed and I've got no time for the LONG post I want to write, so I am sorry; I'm giving everyone a filler post tonight.

I got this from Crouching Mommy, Hidden Laundry. It is soooo true! And now, dangnabbit, I want a cookie! Sheesh.

You scored as Chocolate chip cookie. Your perfect dessert is a chocolate chip cookie! You are intelligent and original. You are a leader not a follower. You like cookies! Sometimes you can be on the wild side and get a midnight snack...(stealing the LAST COOKIE from the cookie jar...) If this isn't you take the quiz over.

Chocolate chip cookie


Strawberry Shortcake


Vanilla Shake






Chocolate cake..mmm


Bananna Bread


::.what dessert are you?.::
created with

Labels: Blog Things

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Thursday, September 15, 2005
Mystery Solved... sorta

For those of you waiting for an answer to my Sweet Girl mysteries, I offer this update:

Sweet Girl did not get the "deliquent account" lunch. It just so happened that one of the offerings that day was PB&J and my girl chose her "usual" over the chicken sandwich we had discussed. We are now discussing the menu each evening and making a choice. Next we have to teach her to stop choosing chocolate milk everyday. Her little tummy can't handle it!

I met the boyfriend! And the brother! Her boyfriend is a first grader (that's my girl, after the older men, oh yeah!) and his brother, Anton, is a kindergartener in the other kindergarten class. I asked her boyfriend what his name was and I didn't understand what he said - he kinda whispered. I met the boy's mother and I asked her what his name was and I can't remember what she said! I've never heard anything like it before; it was Amani or something like that. It sure helps me understand why Sweet Girl still doesn't know her boyfriend's name. When we got home, I asked Champs if he remembered the boyfriend's name. He said (in typical daddy fashion), "I didn't hear it but it's dead meat if he tries anything".

So the mysteries are solved, sorta. Now if we can just get her to choose real food over PB& J, juice and water over milk and learn her boyfriend's name, we'll have all the bases covered.

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