Fill in the Blank Friday...

TGIF. Seriously.

I am on day 6 without wheels. And the guilt thing I was carrying on about? Gone. I asked my mom about borrowing her car for the week, and they told me that they sold it the day before.

Don't get me wrong: I don't expect my mommy to come to the rescue every time I'm in a crisis. I'm 45 years old, for Christ's sake. I shouldn't even have crises at this age. But, to drag out my favorite trite expression, it is what it is. And just between you and me, I am super bummed out. Not because I felt like they owed me anything, or because I expected her help. It's because just two weeks ago they had dangled that big, juicy carrot in front of my desperate face: a solution to some of my worries, a way to get a teensy, weensy bit ahead for a change. I'm so stupid...after they mentioned giving me the car, I went ahead and built a little dream scenario in my head: all the money I'd save on gas, selling my giant, money and gas guzzling truck and finally having a holiday season that doesn't make me want to crawl into a cave.

I'm sad and bummed because for a little while, I was hopeful. And now I'm not. Now, it's back to reality and to be honest with you, my reality is pretty sad. Not HORRIBLE, nowhere near as bad as I know it could be, but it's certainly not the bowl of cherries I thought it would be.

Ok, my boo hoo fest is done, thank you for letting me vent. Although my reality is sad, I still manage to find the awesome in it. And today I had a whole lot of awesome. I went to the Science Museum with William's class, and while I watched him and his posse run around, conduct experiments, monkey around with with all of the wonderful gizmos they have at that place, I felt my heart swell with love. Or maybe that was the near-heart attack I had after climbing 6 flights of stairs. What's up with that, Science Museum of Minnesota? What do you have against escalators? Whatever...it brought back a flood of memories, and made me realize how fast time is slipping by me. How can it be, that this kid is in 6th grade? How can I have a high school senior and a daughter in 10th grade? Weren't these kids just drinking out of sippy cups and wearing pull ups? Weren't they all wearing tiny footed pajamas and watching Toy Story just yesterday?

My life may not be ideal. I may not have the comforts that I thought I'd have at this stage in the game, but I do have something that no money can buy: I have the memories, and I have that certain feeling of surety, knowing I did right by my kids. I have been there for countless field trips, just like the one I was on today. I have been lucky enough to be able to be there and watch each one of my kids explore and learn and just be KIDS. I've been able to get to know their classmates, their teachers, the other parents. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

And now, off my weepy soapbox, and on to the blanks that need filling:

1. When I was a kid I wanted to be either a writer or an actress when I grew up.

2. As an adult, my dream job would be duh...a self sufficient writer. Author. Person who gets paid to write.

3. When I was younger I wanted to be just like Gilda Radner. I used to watch her on Saturday Night Live, as Roseanne Rosannadanna, as Emily Litella, as Lisa Loopner and I wanted so badly to be that funny.

4. The childhood Halloween costume I remember most was when I was a This is just sad. The only costume I remember was Mary Poppins. It was one of those FREAKY plastic masks, and my mom made a cape thing for me to wear. I loved that creepy plastic mask. Even though the edges cracked, the elastic band caught my hair and broke about 3 minutes after I put it on, I loved that damn mask.

5. My favorite childhood toy was a tie between the toy Winnebago camper and the Skipper doll that grew boobs when you raised her arm. Obsessed with both. Seriously considered buying both on eBay back when I had a cash flow.

6. The time I got into the biggest amount of trouble when I was a kid was The neighbors were gone for the day. My other little neighbor friend and I knew that they didn't lock their doors, and so we went into their house. Just walked in, and hung out in their house for a little bit. I remember being absolutely thrilled, and terrified, and feeling like a big time robber. We got busted, of course, and I will never, ever forget my mom yelling at me, and grounding me. I was in 3rd grade.

7. I get daily inspiration from Two sources: first source, my kids. They are growing up in a less than ideal situation: we don't have much money. They get free lunches at school. They don't have fabulous clothes. They don't get the things their friends get, things like braces, or driving lessons or family vacations. And yet, they are happy. They get up every day, they go on about their lives, they have friends and they make plans. They know that their lives are different, that they have less than most of their peers, but they just keep going. And I love them for that. The other inspiration? Some of the kids I work with at school. The little boy with Downs. The kid with cerebral palsy. The autistic kid. These amazing individuals show up at school every day. They walk through the front door, and face their days with more courage, more guts, more strength than you or I could even begin to muster. I love them for that.

And that, folks, wraps up another scintillating Fill in the Blank Friday. I am now logging off, and enjoying my Nick @ Nite Friends marathon. God help me.


Let the good times roll...

Because my car sure isn't rolling anywhere soon.

Sigh. The downside to being divorced, and destitute (ha! Did you catch that? The downside? I crack myself up), is when stuff like this happens. On Sunday I noticed that when I put my car in reverse, it felt like the brakes were on. Then I'd hear a big thump, and it would drive ok.

But then I noticed the smell. The kind of smell that brings to mind images of smoldering clumps of wires, of your car bursting into flames while you're driving down the road. That icky, chemical-y, burning plastic kind of smell.

So what do I do? I went into a panic. Of course I don't have any extra money. I'm that person they're talking about when they talk about the people who are one crisis away from being in big trouble. My mind started to race, as it's wont to do in these situations. Who could I call? What am I going to do? The panic quickly snowballed into mental slideshows of me and the kids wearing snowshoes and walking to the grocery store in the freezing winter. If I had been in a movie, that would have been the perfect time for someone to slap me. Of course it wasn't a movie, so I mentally slapped myself.

I thought rationally. Really, who could help me? Yes, it's true. Car stuff sucks, and I don't have a husband who would go outside, take a look at it and either fix it himself or take it to someone who could. I let myself feel sorry for me for a wee bit, and then got back to all the rational thinking.

I have these awesome neighbors. They have 6 kids, the four youngest are boys who are all in the same grades as my four kids. My boys are all BFF's with all of those boys, and the one Molly's age would make a very nice boyfriend (I keep telling her that but all she says is "GROSS MOM"). These fine boys have two older sisters, both of whom are gorgeous Irish beauties. The elder sister happens to be dating a guy who is, get this...a mechanic. He's in mechanic school (I'm sure that's the technical name for it) and also works in a garage. He loves fixing cars. And he'll do it CHEAP. Like, parts-only cheap.

So I called my neighbors. This wonderful young man is very busy but will be able to take a look at my car in the next few days. Huzzah!

It takes a village to raise Jenny.

However, that leaves me without wheels for this week. So far, it's been ok. I rode my bike to work on Monday, and despite the fact that I looked like a circus bear and when I got to work I had to extract the bike seat from my lower intestine and as of today (Wednesday) my girly bits still ache, it was fine. Apparently a lot of kids saw me, and apparently I made quite the impression because all day long kids ran up to me and said, "JENNY! I SAW YOU RIDING YOUR BIKE!".

I think the fact that my legs and my crotch are both still sore may be a big hint that I need to ride the bike more. Because the way the kids were reacting gave me the impression that seeing me doing something active was kind of like seeing Halley's Comet. They were shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

The next rational thought I had involved my mom.

My mom hasn't been able to drive for quite some time, due to her illness (she has Parkinson's). She has a cute little SUV, a Toyota RAV4 that she bought, brand spankin' new, just a few months before the Parkinson's started getting really bad. She and my stepdad have mentioned giving me that car, kind of in passing, like a thought said out loud..."We should just let you have it". That sort of thing.

She let me borrow it for my trek to Wisconsin the other weekend (I guess it also takes a village to get me some nookie), and I marveled at how awesome it was to drive something that wasn't like a monster truck. I marveled even more when I went to fill it up. It was like $35 dollars. When I fill my truck (like if I filled it up to Full, rather than my usual "just a few drops short of half a tank") it costs around $160. So yeah, I would LOVE to have that vehicle.

But. I know that it kills my mom to lose it. I know, she can't physically drive it, but I cannot imagine how it would feel to officially let go of the freedom a car represents. It makes me cry, actually, like tears streaming down my face this very second, to think of what goes on in my mom's mind as she processes this. I know I'm going completely apeshit crazy being without wheels and it's only been a couple of days.

So I have asked to borrow my mom's car, again, but this guilt I feel makes it so very hard.

The guilt also helps put things into perspective for me. This "disaster", my broken car...it's not the end of the world. The truck will get fixed, I'll find the money to pay the neighbor's boyfriend, life will go on.

The good times will roll once more. And I need to do more for my mom.


The Show I Wanted To Love and The Show I Wanted To Hate

Weird! Me talking about about t.v. Just roll with it, friends.

So...just about everyone I know loves the show Big Bang Theory. Seriously. My mom, several of my BFFs, a couple of my kids...everyone! And since I so desperately want to be in on everything, all the jokes and references and whatever, I have tried watching it.

Several times. A couple times with Uncle Lorie, a few times with my kids, and yes, even once or twice on my own. I laughed, a little bit, but not heartily. Don't get me wrong; it's not for lack of understanding most (like maybe 92%) of the smart-person jokes, or the academia silliness. I get it. But it's just not funny to me.

And I'll go ahead and admit it right here, right now (hellooo Jesus Jones, where ya been???): I cannot stand the character Sheldon. Nor can I stand Blossom (what's her name? Mayim Bialik or something like that). And Blossom speaking in monotone? Bye.

There, I said it. I feel better now. Yes, I know they're supposed to be the poster children for uber-nerds and the fact that they're so scary smart is what makes them ironically funny and impossibly lovable, but for whatever reason the voices, the mannerisms, for the love of God even Sheldon's face and his posture grate on my nerves like Walter's coarse foot pads grate on my lower back while we sleep.

So I've given up on Big Bang Theory. I hope we can coexist peacefully in this world, and that there are no hard feelings.

The show I wanted to hate? Up All Night. When I first saw the promos, I was all "oh great. People have discovered that parenting can be hard and funny all at the same time! I thought I was the only one! Thank God someone finally made a show about it (said in an overly obvious sarcastic voice)." It's kind of like how Gwyneth Paltrow became the Saint of Parenting when she became a mom (clear away, all who have come before me. I am here now to spread the gospel of proper, whole parenting. So sayeth the Gwyneth). It's like the hipster/parent thing: now that you have gone and procreated, the past thousand or so years of world history has crumbled like an Oreo submerged in milk and you alone are carving, hacking and clearing a path through this brave new land, PARENTHOOD.

Yes, it's been done before. True, being pregnant is way cooler now, and you have way cuter baby gear, but it's all been done before. Get over it. Call me in 14 years when your adorable Silas or Hazel comes home with whiskey breath and a hickey. I'll still have your back, but I will be mouthing "I TOLD YOU SO" behind it.

So I thought this show would be awful. I thought that since I am so far removed from days of diapers and explosive poop and colic, this show couldn't possibly entertain me. I tuned in only because of my love for Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett and especially Christina Appelgate. I love her. Did I ever tell you that one of my most guilty, secret-pleasure movies is "The Sweetest Thing"? It is.

I thought it would be bad, but guess what? It's awesome. Much to my delight it doesn't dwell on the "baby" stuff. Don't get me wrong..there's a baby in there, and the stroller humor and diaper wipe humor but it goes way beyond all of that. They delve into a myriad of topics that are relevant to all of us parents, not just the new ones: juggling jobs and families, longing for your life before kids, lame and annoying neighbors, and trying to maintain friendships with your friends who are on completely different paths.

I found myself guffawing out loud during the pilot and then sat on my butt and watched the rest of the shows available on demand (most of the episodes are available for FREE on the CBS website, link above!). And they really had me during "The Birth" episode, when the first song on their "Birth Mix" was the same one I karaoked to at my 45th birthday party last month. In front of people. Where was this show when I was a new mom??

Dare I say, and this is borderline blasphemous...it makes me laugh in a 30 Rock kind of way.

Sorry if I have offended any Big Bang people. I tried! I really tried. Believe me, with the way my life is going right now, I am desperate for diversions. But sorry...it's more of a Big Yawn to me. Maybe it has to marinate for a while, and in a couple of years I'll go back and embrace it.

In the meantime, I will be giggling at Up All Night with the 80's references and jokes about wine. And kind of, sort of, missing those early days of parenting. But not really.


Hausfrau gets some culture..The Burial at Thebes, Guthrie style!

Please note: this is a THEATRE review written by a self-confessed television addict. This self-confessed television addict tends to see everything in a high-def sort of way. This self-confessed television addict will also readily admit to being somewhat confused and more than a little frustrated when she cannot hit "pause", "mute" or "rewind" during real life. That said, here goes!

So. Lucky me, I was chosen by the gorgeous Minneapolis theater, The Guthrie, to take part in their Blogger Night At The Theater program. I'm still a bit bewildered over the fact that they chose me, of all people. I feel kind of like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, if you know what I mean. I'm saying I'm not the first person who pops into mind when you say "theater-goer". But whatever...I was, and am, beyond thrilled to be able to participate in this bold new venture.

The first performance I saw was "The Burial at Thebes", a succinct but rich adaptation of Sophocle's renowned tragedy, "Antigone". If you're not familiar with the story of Antigone, here's a windy synopsis:

Antigone, daughter of Oedipus. If you can remember back to the days of required reading, Oedipus is the fellow who killed his father and then married his mother. Remember when I mentioned that Antigone's life makes mine look like an episode of Friends? Well, it does. So, Antigone, begotten from a dysfunctional childhood, grows up to be...wait for it...a slightly dysfunctional woman. She's engaged to be married to Haemon, the son of Thebe's king, Creon (are you still with me?). Creon also happens to be Antigone's uncle via her mother.

Antigone had two brothers, Polynices and Eteocles. Both brothers were supposed to end up as sort of joint rulers of Thebes, but both end up dead in a conflict. One died with honors (Eteocles) and is given a full, proper and customary burial. The other one? Not so much. Polynices, you see, was on the side that was trying to take Thebes down, and when he turned up dead, Creon decided to give him a burial fitting for someone who has committed treason: which is no burial at all. Polynices was to be left uncovered, his corpse given to the birds and animals and left to rot out in the open, for all to see. And this is where "The Burial at Thebes" begins.

Antigone is what we would call "a tough cookie". She's horrified at the thought of her brother being disgraced in this way, and decides to go against Creon's orders (he said if anyone was caught trying to bury Polynices, they'd be killed) and give her brother a proper burial. She sneaks out, covers the body and is caught by a guard. Brought before Creon, she fights her fight like a good sister should, but in the end is condemned to be sealed into a cave. Creon is given many opportunities to change his mind but holds fast to his decision, even though you can practically see the doubt creeping into his head.

This is a tragedy, so of course it ends tragically. Antigone kills herself in the cave, Haemon finds her and kills himself, Creon's wife kills herself after hearing of Haemon's death. It's rife with tragedy, people.

But...that doesn't make this a downer of a production. Quite the opposite.

Writer/poet/Nobel Prize recipient Seamus Heaney has infused this ancient tale with a twist of irony, a dash of humor and a bit of his own Irish pathos.

Let me start with the set: absolutely gorgeous. A stark stage dressed as stone catacomb/tombs is all we see throughout the entire play, and believe me...it works. My guest for the evening, the lovely Uncle Lorie remarked, "It feels like we're inside a furnace" and she wasn't talking about the temperature. Kudos to the Guthrie for a fabulous job on setting the stage.

After the set, the next thing that strikes you is the color-blind casting. It's a veritable rainbow onstage, and I believe that makes for a richer experience.

Oh, I wanted to make sure and mention the completely kick ass music. The score was written by our very own JD Steele, of the iconic Minneapolis musical Steele family. Several of the songs had a downright gospel feel, especially when coming from the impressive pipes of Robert Robinson who has been cast as part of the wonderful Greek chorus. This dude has a massive presence, both literally and auditory-wise. His voice, combined with JD Steele's hypnotic musical pieces, gives this production its soul. Amen, Robert!

As for the performers: Antigone is played by Sun Mee Choment, and she does a fine job filling the big shoes she's been given. Creon is played by Stephen Yoakam, and although I did lean over and whisper into Uncle Lorie's ear "Holy crap...he sounds just like J.Peterman on Seinfeld" he quickly won me over and took the award for my favorite performance. His acting is such that you almost immediately forget that he's acting: when he's speaking, you are listening not to someone being all actory and theatrical, but you're eavesdropping on Creon himself. Great job, Stephen.

The chorus consists of four men, and provides the much-needed comic relief. The standout performer in the chorus is Richard Ooms. I can't find out his exact age, but if I had to hazard a guess I'd say he's around 70. But don't let this fill your head with visions of a doddering, slow old man. No...Ooms steals the spotlight from the other members of the chorus with a wit and charisma that made me want to invite him over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. Seriously..I want him to read "The Night Before Christmas" to my kids and help me make sugar cookies. Well done, Richard.

Several other wonderful performers contributed to the goodness, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the nicely ripped Ernest Bentley who plays Haemon. Thank you for that, Ernest.

Now, of course there is a lot that can be read into this performance. There are people who say that this is a retelling of George Bush and 9/11, or that it can be seen as an interpretation of anything from citizenship to state control to civil disobedience. Maybe it can. But if you know me at all, you know I'm not that deep. If I had more than a couple of hours to chew on it, mayhap I too would come up with some super profound comparisons. But to be honest, it was all I could do to not worry about what disaster my kids were creating at home while I was gone (bless their little hearts, all I came home to was some sort of explosion in the microwave and the fact that they discovered, and ate, my Halloween candy stash). Moral of the story: read into it what you will, but if you're like me and set that bar pretty much flush with the ground, you'll be just fine.

All in all, I would highly recommend "The Burial at Thebes" to anyone. Look at me, I consider Tosh.0 one of the highlights of the week and I was completely enthralled by this presentation. I felt smarter after leaving the theater. Of course, when I found the parking ticket on my truck (for taking two spaces, naturally. Because this here Country Mouse finds city parking pretty dang confusing) I felt somewhat less smart, but nevertheless...this was one dose of culture I'd be happy to take in again. Oh yes, just remembered: there is no intermission, so make sure you stop for a ladies room break beforehand. Just saying. All of those who have given birth, you understand, right?

I'd like to once again express my profuse thanks to the Guthrie for providing me with this awesome experience. You have no idea how nice it was for me to be able to take a break from my less-than-relaxing real life, sit down in your lush velvet seats and be entertained for a blissful 90 minutes. THANK YOU!!!!


Bad Blogger! Bad!

Yes, I'm admonishing myself. I've been so neglectful of all things blog lately.

I blame the fact that I've been up to my eyeballs in work, kids, "stuff".

Work...I'm always thankful for that. Being a sub is funny...the first few weeks of the school year you hear nothing. Crickets. Then, about 3 weeks in- BAM. A friend and I were talking about it and we decided it's due to the fact that for the first couple weeks of school, everything is like a new pair of shoes: clean, shiny, happy. Then you get them broken in, maybe spill stuff on them, perhaps step in some poo. The shine wears off, is what I'm saying. And that's when the substitutes get calls. Not that I don't appreciate it, believe me. I'm semi-excited for my next paycheck, which is saying something.

Kids: I'm still giddy with excitement over the terrific year all four of my angels are having. In particular, my William. He's always been the odd man out as far as my kids and schoolwork have gone. I mean, don't get me wrong, there have been many tears shed over some of the other kids' grades, believe me. But in those cases it wasn't a matter of them not understanding the work, it was them not wanting to DO the work. With William, everything always seemed to be more of a struggle. Especially spelling, reading, all of the Language Arts stuff. The other kids, I swear, have never had to study for a spelling test. Really. Not once. They inherited my geek super power of PERFECT SPELLING. Too bad it wasn't something a wee bit more useful but hey, I'll take it. And yes, I am living, breathing proof that those who get the geek super power of PERFECT SPELLING don't always have the sidekick power of PERFECT GRAMMAR. Pffffft.

But now? This year? William is shining. He's doing his homework, and even better? He GETS it! I think part of this can be explained by the teacher he has. The three older kids all had the same teacher, a sweet and lovely woman. But last year, at William's conference, his 5th grade teacher and I talked about maybe putting him in with the lone male 6th grade teacher. I wanted him to have some experience with a guy teacher, partly to get him ready for junior high where the males are more plentiful, and partly because I think it's a good idea for him to have a strong, positive guy role model in his life.

Whatever it is, it's working. But little dude has so much homework...his class is reading the book "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen, so William and I have been reading it out loud, together, at home, at night, usually in my bed. Which makes me sleepy, which has been totally cutting into my night-time computer activities (and I'm sure people who are friends with me on facebook are totally missing my "witty" late night comments...).

Listen, I've been so busy I haven't been keeping up on my shows! That's the true indicator of my busyness. I did manage to watch American Horror Story on FX last Wednesday night though...yowza. I haven't felt such a creepy mixture of fear and total turned-on-ness like that in a long time. Fear because, HELLO...there are scary dead ginger twin boys, a ghost wearing a shiny latex gimp suit, a tiny scary old lady/kid basement-dwelling demon, and the whole thing has a very distinct "The Shining" vibe about it. The turned on part? Naked Dylan McDermott. Need I say more? I'm going to tune in again tonight and see if it holds up. Oh, and I can't forget two rocking ladies, Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy (the matriarch of the "Six Feet Under" family, love her!!). Jessica brings the funny, believe it or not.

I have renamed Cabin Boy. His new moniker is TeenMan. Because he is a teenager trapped in a 50-something's body. And before I say, "Well, aren't they all?" I'll stop myself because no, they aren't all that way. Just the ones I happen to find myself doing this bizarre, middle-aged mating dance with. He's asked me to come up to his cabin on Saturday. I would have gone up for the whole weekend but Friday night is devoted to my hens. So yes, Saturday will be a blur of shaving, Ped-egging my heels, tweezing in the magnifying mirror, driving and hopefully, fun. I'm going to make him watch Bridesmaids with me, and have requested that he has the makings for dirty martinis on hand. It's supposed to be a beautiful, perfect fall day in Wisconsin this weekend. I'm hoping it's just as nice inside. If you get what I mean, hardy-har-har. I'll keep you posted.

My book: can we talk? I had this beautiful, gauzy vision of what this fall was going to be like: kids in school, me having a few days during the week where I could just sit and whip out a book, one chapter at a time. In reality? I scrapped the first several chapters I'd started a while back, and now find myself staring at the blank screen with a vacant expression on my face. I'll get these bursts of inspiration, where actual paragraphs form in my head and I'll think to myself, "Self! Get that written down!" but then something will happen, like work or kids or "stuff" and whatever fabulous prose was in my head just up and disappears. I still have a few people to talk to, also, and will be getting on that SOON. Now I feel like there are two books I want to do: a collection of short stories, essays about what women have done when their husbands leave. And then the fiction one, which is slowly turning into more of a "Jenny Memoir", which is basically what this blog is. So yeah. I'm thinking it might be time for me to go back on Adderall.

And one more thing: lately I have been hankering to go back to school. I was all set to go back, right before Big Daddy stopped paying everything. Like, had applications ready to go, everything. But then, of course, I had to put everything on hold. And now the feeling is back again. Only this time I don't have any idea how I'll do it. I have some amazing friends who have gone back/are going back (yes, YOU, Amanda, you ROCK!) but it seems like none of them have the responsibilities that I do. I have to work, because I'm the sole breadwinner for my family. I don't know how on earth I can do it, how I can add one more thing to my already too-full plate. But I really, really want to go back. Where there's a will, there's a way, I suppose, but dammit. I really wish I had either a husband or a winning lottery ticket. That would make life so much easier. Well, the lottery ticket would.

On that note, I bid you a fond farewell. Time to go to work, and by work I swear I don't mean play "Words with Friends".


Ten on Tuesday!

Yes, I did jazz up the title with an exclamation point. Because it looked so naked and vulnerable without it.

I failed to comply with the "Fill in the Blank Friday" thingie that my blog friend Lin does, partially because I checked her blog way too late on Friday night and mostly because I've been lazy. So I have checked in with her nice and early today, which leads me to today's thrilling Jenny installment of TEN ON TUESDAY.

And I'm feeling needy today..so buckle up, hombres.

1. Yes, it's true, you may have heard through various media outlets: I had a cold. But I AM GOING TO BE OK. One bad thing about having an Iron Man immune system? When something does get through it really knocks you for a loop. Again, I'm grateful that all I had to deal with was a cold, but damn. It was a doozy. All I have left now are the random coughing fits and that "head is still half stuffed with cotton balls" feeling. Please tell me I'm not the only woman who feels like her entire reproductive system is about to plop out during a coughing fit? Please? Because it's kind of freaky.

2. I had a wonderful bonding girl's weekend with some of my favorite hens, in particular the lovely Uncle Lorie. Did I ever share the story of how Lorie and Jenny became Uncles? Here's the condensed version: Lorie is a divorced mom like me. She has three kids and a really spooky ex-husband who makes mine look like a big, soft fluffy Care Bear. Lorie and I met through a mutual friend of ours, Whitney. Our first "date" was seeing the movie Borat, and as we slunked (slank?) down in our seats to avoid seeing most of the movie, we bonded. The bond has continued. Last winter we spent so much time together our kids started referring to us as "Uncle Lorie" or "Uncle Jenny". Like, one time Henry and I were talking about World of Warcraft. He said he wondered if anyone we know plays it. I said, "Well, Lorie does." Henry said, "Uncle Lorie?" (because I have so many friends named Lorie)(really, she's the only one). It was a HA HA moment that I still laugh over now.

Anyhoo, it was a great weekend. Lots of good food, another viewing of Bridesmaids, a few glasses of vino and some other drinkies. And as always, lots of laughs.

3. It's 85 degrees here today, supposed to be 90 tomorrow. In Minnesota. In October. There is something inherently wrong about sweating your ass off while walking through crunchy piles of leaves. I want autumn back!

4. Walter's breath is horrible. Like, "there's something above and beyond the normal dog stink" breath. If you have a dog, you know what I mean when I say I'm dreading taking him to the vet. Because if you have a dog you know it's never ever a quick, $25 visit. "Oh ok Dr. So you say the stink is from a piece of garbage he ate that got stuck in his teeth and now that you've flossed it out everything is ok? Thank you!". No, it will almost always be more like, "What do you mean, he has two dead teeth and they have to be pulled but only while he's under general anesthesia and it will require an overnight stay?". Sigh. But I can handle just about anything and his mouth stink is almost making me barf, so he has to go in.

5. The effing mice are back. We saw one down in the mancave last night, and I found the evidence of them in the freaking dishwasher, of all places. I wrote about them for Smartly last year (you can read it here if you're interested) and for whatever reason (I'd like to believe it's my eternal optimism rather than my incessant obliviousness) I refused to believe that they'd be back this year. But they're back. And now I have to go buy more killing stuff.

6. An old friend recently connected with me on facebook. I won't divulge any specifics, but I will say this person was a very important part of my life at one time. We've exchanged a few messages, spent a while reminiscing about our old lives and the memories we have. And I find myself with very mixed emotions. Happy that this wonderful person has turned out to be the kind of man I always thought he would be: hardworking, successful, a good dad. It's also made me incredibly sad. Silly, huh? But sad sums it up. Sad because talking to him is like the past waking up from a decades-long nap, stretching, yawning and then looking at me and saying, "Way to go, Jenny. Bravo. Great choices you made, dumbass!". Don't get me wrong...it's absolutely priceless, being able to go down memory lane with someone who knew me before I was the person I am today. It's nice to know that someone out there remembers me as I was: young and happy, with the whole world out there just waiting. But to paraphrase Big Head Todd, it's bittersweet. Oh, and somehow Encyclopedia Brown found this little blog o' mine. Which adds a whole 'nother dimension of awkwardness to things. But that's how I roll.

7. Paul Giamatti. The movie "Win Win". Watch it. Heads up: it's SLLOOOWWW going at first but trust me. Those of you who know me well know that I have a bad, wrong crush on Paul Giamatti and I do believe he has never looked so averagely Paul Giamatti-ish as he does in this movie. But I still love him...and I loved this movie. Especially touching if you have teenagers who have been through some shit.

8. Remember my tuna salad kick? Watch out. Now I'm on to roasted vegetables. Tonight it's brussel sprouts, tossed lightly in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and a fabulous spice from Penzey's (thanks Jen!!). Yes, my house does smell like funky ass but seriously...close your eyes and they almost taste like french fries.

9. Changed my mind. Two and a Half Men is awful now. And, to my surprise, Ted Danson is very watchable on CSI.

10. Back to school shopping absolutely KILLED me this past month. We are going to be doing some creative dining here at my house for the next couple of weeks. And by creative I mean "clearing out the freezer, fridge and cupboards". If you know of any good recipes that call for kidney beans, chicken breasts, hamburger buns, onions and Progresso soup, let me know.

And that's Ten on Tuesday. Now I'm going to take my swamp-mouthed dog out for a walk on this hot fall evening...enjoy your night!
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