Join the Madness

Friday, December 30, 2011


Tis the season for reflection and fresh starts.

Time to define success and identify failures areas for improvement.

My greatest accomplishment this year was going to my first-ever writer's conference.  Not only that, but I did it SOLO.  I can't tell you what a big deal that is. Way WAY out of my comfort zone...and it turned out to be one of the best weekends ever.

That's definitely on my list of things to repeat. In fact, let's put it on the list right now:

1. Go to another conference

I've also been atrociously (yes, that's an adverb.  I threw it in there to let you know just how bad things are) delinquent tending to my health.  I need to dust off the food journal and start moving again.  If not at the gym, I need to walk around the mall, do the Wii, or climb up and down my stairs.  


1. Go to another conference
2. Eat better and move more

I've got something for my creative side, something for my health, I need something for the family. That'll keep these goals well-rounded. So...

1. Go to another conference
2. Eat better and move more
3. Spend more time with the family

Those sound nice, don't they?  But if there's one thing I've learned about goal setting is that they need to be SPECIFIC and they need to be MEASURABLE.

I've got them broken down into smaller, quantifiable chunks, but I won't bore you with the specifics.  

So what are your top 3 resolutions for the new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Get Me Started

I'm a HUGE HGTV fan.  If I have the flipper, that's the first channel I turn to.  Don't always stay there, but it's my starting point every time.

The other night I was watching one of the buying-a-new-house shows.  These shows tend to get on my nerves because they have couples wandering through a perfectly functional house ripping it to shreds.  "Well this needs to be gutted."  Why?  The color of the kitchen cabinets is too dark/light for you?  The appliances aren't stainless steel?  In my world, you live with something until it is no longer functional THEN you replace it. 

But I digress...sorta.

This particular episode was devoted to a young twenty something buying her first place. 

My jaw dropped when I heard the budget.  $600,000.  I won't tell you how many of my first house you could buy for that amount, but you'll need more than one hand.

Yeah, I know some cities have really expensive real estate, that's not really the on.

During the search she had a complaint about every single house.  No parking. The rooms were too small (but somehow way bigger than the ones in my house). The lack of a yard. Blah blah blah.  Some of these houses were fantastic -- just not good enough for her.

So her Mama offered to "loan" her some cash to increase her budget so she could get a nicer place. 

Like a million dollar place.

Are you freaking kidding me?  I seriously don't even know where to begin. 

I could go on and on about fiscal responsibility and living within your means.
(Just because you can afford something doesn't mean you should buy it.)

I could offer my perspective on the materialistic nature of our society. 
(I'm pretty sure you can be happy without granite counters and matching appliances.)

I could observe that if her first house is worth a million dollars, what's there to look forward to? I shudder to think how much real estate she'll require when she actually has children.

But mostly I want to make the snarky observation that it's hypocritical to accept $300,000 from your mother when the whole point of you moving out of your parents' house was to assert your independence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Wonder Why...

Just a few of the things that I ponder from time to time:

People tell you NOT to drive into flood water -- but whenever it's flooding somewhere what do they show you on TV?  People driving through flooded streets.  DUH

Some cities have symphony orchestras and others have philharmonic.  What exactly is a philharmonic?  (Note: I actually looked this up...anyone have a guess without cheating with Google?)

I wonder why when someone asks for my phone number at work, I have to close my eyes to recite it?

Why do my nails get dirtier faster when they are clipped short than when they are long?  Wouldn't you think longer nails would "scoop" up dirt easier than short nails?

Some cities post mileage signs for every tenth of a mile.  This seriously drives me crazy.  With the prevalence of GPS these days I can't believe this was a wise investment of taxpayer dollars.

If someone steals your Social Security Number in order to get a job, do the taxes withheld from their paychecks go toward your retirement?

If there's something you just don't get, please share in the comments...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cody Quotes

It's been awhile since I posted a batch of quotes from Coders.  He has specifically requested a new installment.  I'm not sure when or how it happened, but he stumbled across my blog and is now my biggest fan.  (Hi, Cody!)

Cody is an expert researcher.  When he is interested in something, he likes to look it up online.  He loved malls there for awhile and would study mall directories. Then he loved elevators and escalators.  We took him all over town so he could ride them.  (Cody - do you remember what brand of elevator they have at the airport?)  These days, he's into computers and operating systems as you'll see by some of his quotes.

Cody: You were born in time for the release of Windows
Me: I was? When did that come out?
Cody: 1985
Me: Wow. I was 15.  I didn't have a computer though.
Cody:  When did you have a computer?
Me: I think it was 1993
Cody: What version of Windows did you have?
Me: I think it was Windows 3.1

(I just asked him when Windows 3.1 was released, and he said "Nineteen Ninety....question mark")

I happened to get a new laptop for Christmas (and it's a beauty!).  The minute it was unwrapped, Cody got a little growly.  A few of his gems:

"I always wanted a [Windows] 7, but I'm stuck with the nasty XP"
"This XP gives me a migraine"

I let him help me set it up.  I left him alone while I started prepping for dinner.  I hear him say "I'm bored with this." and then "I'm editing."  I went to check on him and he'd taken all the files from the flash drive and saved them on the desktop.  The screen was COVERED with document icons.  I can't work with that kind of visual clutter so I had to remove them (Sorry, Codes!)

One day, he took sister's glasses.  Amid a chorus of "be careful" and "don't break them" Cody announces, "I just want to see the world through Kiersten's eyes"

One morning, Cody was especially sluggish.  We're on a tight timeline in the mornings so I had to keep  waving his breakfast in front of him to get him to eat. After several bites, he asked for his chocolate milk which I provided. His sister says, "He's treating you like his slave." To which Cody replies, "Actually slavery is illegal now." 

Cody woke up, ran into the living room.  (looking backwards on the couch) "Mother, tomorrow is Thanksgiving"
Me: Yes it is
C: So I'm telling what I'm thankful for
(turns around and kisses my cheek)
C: I'm also thankful for the pugs.

While watching Alvin & The Chipmunks newest movie, I get this:

C: Mom, I have something to tell you
Me: What's that?
C: The blue one - he's smart just like me
Me: Yes, he is!

While trying to brush his teeth before school:
No wash cloth in the sink on school days. Quit being sloppy residents."

Cody, I hope you had fun reading these.  You can read your other quotes by clicking HERE

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mock Me Monday

See these? At the time I thought they'd be festive.  A sunny yellow with seasonal red and green, what could be more cheerful and fun?  (don't answer that)

But now that I've had a full night's sleep and the fumes have cleared, I'm having second thoughts.  All I can think is tacky tacky tacky.

And the weird thing is if you were to come in right now (assuming you are a female -- I hate to resort to traditional gender roles because I fully support the right of everyone to wear nail polish if that's what their little ol' heart desires, but the fact is that most of my readers are women and the few men that do come around aren't of the nail-polish wearing variety.  I don't think.  But maybe I'm wrong.)  

Where was I? Ah yes, if you were to come up to me right now with yellow nails and red and green polkie dots, I'd admire your nails.  I'd tell you how festive they looked and would even mull over the possibility of doing my own.  

But since I have done it to my own I'm feeling a little foolish -- kinda like I've got pig tails on my fingers.  Not real pig tails mind you because that's just a really mean thing to do to a pig -- I'm talking about the braided hair variety. 

You may not know this about me but I have a thing against anyone over the age of ohhhh say eight wearing pigtails.  Geez, I'm just being all kinds of judgmental and snarky today aren't I?  For the record, men who may or may not like to wear nail polish this pigtail thing is an equal opportunity discriminator.  But the only male I know who falls victim to this particular fashion crime is Willie Nelson and I'm pretty sure he's not going to be reading this blog and therefore won't be offended. 

So assuming my hair was long enough to wear in pony / pig tails (why are they named after the backside of animals, I wonder?) then I would be feeling incredibly stupid which is the point I'm trying to make about my nails.  I'm pretty sure it was a mistake, but what can I do?

Don't tell me to take it off because I'm at work as I type this and I don't carry nail polish remover with me.  And the only other person in the office is my boss and he is decidedly NOT the nail polish wearing sort.

The other weird thing - let's face it, my life is full of weird things -- is that when I was younger I used to do the most unusual things to my nails.  I had stripes and dots and little landscapes.  I'd spell things on them and even pierced my thumbnails when they were long enough.  I had this shirt with flags from all around the world and I would paint my nails to match it.  I really like those countries like Japan and France and Germany that have mega-easy flags to duplicate.  I think this prejudice against my nails, and pigtails, and  might be (gasp) a sign of me getting older

This this post make you a little dizzy? Maybe a little nauseous?  Sorry.  It'll wear off, let me just put the cap back on the nail polish...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Confession:  I'm so far behind this year that I didn't get my cards out. I bought them -- just didn't get the addresses/labels sorted in time.  So please forgive me and enjoy a virtual copy...

With any luck I'll get everything worked out in time for next Christmas.

...assuming the doomsayers are wrong about the Mayan calendar that is...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Me Being Literal

See this?

My mom used to tell me I should go to law school because not only did I like to argue the opposing viewpoint, I also had a disturbing tendency to taking everything literally.

Case in point:  I found this little container for paper clips.  It said "Staples" on it so that's what I filled it with.

I'll empty on January 1.  Anyone want to guess how long it takes to fill it up?  We could make a contest out of it...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Liner Wednesday

Private Message to Fred Flintstone: 
I know you're lurking.  Why don't you email me already?
MissVSpeaks (at) gmail (dot) com

Now that we've got that out of the way, take a peek at your WIP or current read and share the last sentence you wrote / read.

The last thing I wrote: 
Everything should be soaked and warped -- something doesn't add up.

The last thing I read: 
It reminds me of myself --seemingly perfect on the outside, but the inside is all mush. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (last line of chapter 1)

What about you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Tour Through My Draft

Busy night around the Rocho household.  A trip to the library AND the book store and helping kids with their homework haven't left me a whole lot of time tonight so I thought we'd take a quick tour of my drafts folder in blogger.  You see, I text and email myself ideas for blog posts all the time.  The problem is that sometimes I'm too cryptic so I end up with these really odd titles and nothing else to hint at what I meant to write about.  

Let me show you what I mean:

Flying Trog
Suicidal Squirrel
Clean Paper Pressure
I Wish I
Irrational Fears
Droopy Sweatpants Saggy Discolored Underwear (NOT ABOUT ME I swear)
Oxygen for Life
Trees First to Get Nekkid
False Teeth & Painted Eyebrows
River Analogy of Life (Oh so very philosophical and junk)
Dominant Nostril (I DO remember this one - future Mock Me Monday post)
Genocidal Maniac (just you wait)
Love Map (I know this one's AWESOME...but not a Rocho original)
County Fair Bras Optional

Thanks for bearing with me...I've gotta get back to the WIP.  I was extraordinarily productive this weekend and I wanna keep the ball rolling.  

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Hairy Beast

Now that I'm over 40, I'm officially 'getting older'.  Oh, there's plenty of life left in me.  In no way am I trying to say that being over 40 is old. But my children let me know all the time that I'm just not as young as I used to be.  And I can't really argue the point.


Anyway, one of the perils of getting older - at least in my world - is the increased growth of facial hair.  It started with one mutant hair -- which I plucked -- and was quickly followed by others.  It was kinda like trying to cut off the head of a hydra -- every time I plucked one troublesome hair two or three (or more) grew in its place.

So last weekend I looked in the mirror at my chin fuzz and calculated the number of hairs that would need to be yanked out by the root.

(answer: a lot)

I don't need to tell you that plucking can be painful, do I? 

As luck would have it I found a small bottle of Nair -- specifically designed for facial hair -- in the bathroom closet.  I vaguely remembered buying it, and decided to use it in the war against the downy forest on my chin and lip.

I followed the instructions almost to the letter. The instructions called for a thick layer to be smoothed over the area to be de-haired.  I opted for a thin layer.  I don't know why I deviated from the prescribed plan -- it would really suck to run around the house with a pink goatee only to discover NONE of the hair had been evicted.  But a thin layer it was and I thank GOD for this alteration because in the end it saved me.

No, I'm not being overly dramatic. It saved me.

The Nair kinda tingled when I first put it on, but I didn't think much of it.  The mocking words of my children stung more than anything happening on my face. I guess it's not every day you see your mother in a pink goatee, but they certainly didn't hold back!

I waited the 4 minutes (maybe not even that long) then washed it off. 


My face was on FIRE.  I wet a wash cloth and held it to my chin/lip for awhile, but it wasn't getting any better so I turned to Dr. Google and saw many people recommended aloe and/or something with lidocaine.  Off I went to rummage through my cupboard, wondering if I'd have to run out to the store to buy a truckload of concealer and foundation to hide the inflamed rash so I could go to work in a semi-presentable state in the morning.

(Note to self: You should save all cosmetic alterations for Saturdays so you have a full day to recover or camouflage if necessary)

I gasped when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I had a red rash all around my mouth (distinctly goatee shaped). 

As a general rule, I don't like goatees on men, so I dang sure didn't like the look on me. Especially since it was all red and puffy looking.  It looked like it hurt.

Luckily, I had sunburn relief gel on hand with both aloe and lidocaine.  I slathered it on and felt immediate relief.  It was still red and irritated, but it didn't hurt anymore.  A big plus.

It was about that time I remembered why I had stashed the cream in the farthest reaches of the closet. It would have been nice to remember this BEFORE I coated a big fat ring around my upper lip and chin, but one of the other perils of getting older is losing your razor-sharp memory.  Mine is now roughly equivalent to one of those cheap plastic knives with the serrated edge. 

First, Nair apparently irritates the heck out of my skin.  Second, when the hair starts to grow back my lip feels decidedly STUBBLY.  Ewwww.  Girls should not ever have prickly lips.  You'd think I'd have remembered that part at least.  Third, some of my hairs have trouble breaking through the surface again so I get a lot of boil-like pimples/infected hairs on my chin. 

Real attractive picture, isn't it?

The only good part is my husband has (ironically) been growing a beard so he'll never be able to feel my stubble as long as he's all bearded up.  I hope he refrains from shaving until I've recovered!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest

I had a hard time choosing a post for today.  I amuse myself a great deal and there are a lot of posts that make me giggle, even a year later.  But I think the one that makes me laugh most is this one.

Check out one of our fabulous hosts for other participants:  DL Hammons, Nicole Ducleroir, CreepyQueryGirl, and Lydia Kang


I go through phases with my underwear.  I understand this may be more information than you need (or want) to hear.  

I don't really follow astrology (bear with me), but as a Libra the one thing I've read about my 'kind' is that we love balance and have a helluva time making decisions.  Both true on my part.  And since I was like this long before I ever heard I was *supposed* to be like this, I know it wasn't a self-fulfilling prophecy thing.

So, you're wondering what the heck does this astrology lesson have to do with my underwear?

That whole balance thing...plays itself out in my underwear.

Okay, I need to back up and clarify. And QUICK.

Sometimes I buy practical underwear.  You know, plain, cotton, white.  It's comfortable.  It's wearable with white pants.  It's useful.

But sometimes I buy the pretty ones.  The colorful, the silky, the lacy, and/or the barely there ones.  They may not be comfortable but they make up for it because they're so pretty.

(again, probably more information than you need or want to know).

The two are diametrically opposed and therefore BALANCE each other out. (see?  astrology at work)


As luck would have it I recently purchased panties of the practical variety.  Plain white cotton.  Highly functional if not attractive.

But I hate them.  HATE them I say!

Two pairs in from a seven pair pack and I can't stand 'em.

Why?  (don't worry, there's no more astrology and no pictures)

Because they give granny panties a bad name.  These suckers are HUGE!  If I pulled them up to where they would naturally fall, I'd have a good three or four inches ABOVE the waistband of my pants/shorts/skirts. 

And no, I don't own any low-waisted pants.  (Bad look on me, just sayin')

Okay, so I lied about no pictures.  This doesn't count though because clearly they are not white so they are not mine. 

The problem -- beyond the obvious -- of my underwear extending so far above my waistband, is that I feel like they are screaming

"I want a wedgie!!"

THERE'S a bad image for you, friends.  A nearly 40 year old woman getting an old-fashioned wedgie.  You know, the junior-high school variety not the natural shift and slide kind.

Oh dear God, PLEASE don't let me get a wedgie in these (of ANY kind).  

Do you know how much excess material there is to WEDGE? ACK!

To cope, I kinda push down the waistband of the underwear so it will NOT peek outside the pants, but then there's this giant  wrinkly roll around my midsection.

Trust me when I say I don't need any extra wrinkles or rolls around my middle.

The sensible thing for me to do would be to toss them and start over, right?

But I can't.  I paid for them, and am now morally obligated to WEAR the damn things.

Besides, I tossed my other ones out.


My advice to you?
Choose your underwear wisely, my friends.  

Next time I'm consulting an astrologer first.

For other participants, visit one of our friendly blogfest hosts:
DL Hammons, Nicole Ducleroir, CreepyQueryGirl, and Lydia Kang

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Well I Never thought it would take me TWO WEEKS to pass out the goods from the Well I Never blogfest. My apologies!

Without further fuss, I have randomly selected the following participants to receive a special little box -- hopefully in time for Christmas.

Kellie Nicole of Moments.  A Glimpse of Life, Love, and Writing

Laurel Garver of Laurel's Leaves


Amy Sonnichsen of The Green Bathtub

Ladies, drop me an email with your address so I can send off your loot!  MissVSpeaks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Speaking of Blogfests, I've just signed up for the Deja Vu Blogfest co-hosted by DL Hammons, Nicole Ducleroir, CreepyQueryGirl, and Lydia Kang.  I wanted to put the fabulous button in the sidebar, but blogger has other ideas, so for now I'll just plop it below.  Come back Friday to see which ancient post I've dug up, dusted off, and reanimated. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Murderous Beasts

Rescued from my drafts - originally written back in August
It's no secret.  I don't wear heels except on the rarest of occasions.  I'm not graceful/coordinated enough to do them justice and besides that, they hurt my feet.  You can always tell I'm "dressed up" if I'm wearing heels and/or more than just mascara.

So it is really beyond my comprehension why I thought wearing these (edit out a string of expletives) fabulous green strappy sandals would be a good idea. 

Oh, they're cute and they go perfectly with this one adorable dress but I seem to have forgotten in my zeal that I actually have to strap them to my feet and then WALK in them.

Normally, this is no big deal as I kick them off while I'm at my desk and only really wear them for the walk to and from the car. 

I hope the neighbors appreciate all I do for them.

Anyhow, this particular day was different.

I didn't get to sit at my desk all day.  Oh no.  I had to register my son at school which means walking across the entire parking lot and into the cafeteria at the other end of the building.  There's an entrance closer to the cafeteria, but don't  you know they lock all the doors except the main entrance.

I guess they're doing their part to make sure we all get a little exercise.

After that, my feet were throbbing. But I only had to suffer long enough to get back to my desk.


But then daughterling calls in a panic. Her registration had been the night before, but her schedule wasn't in her packet AND she couldn't log into the school's website to print it out.  Could I "pretty pretty pretty please" go to the school to pick it up?

Shoes back on feet.  They're not looking nearly so cute now as I limp back to the car.

Trek across another parking lot
Up a flight of stairs
Stand in line....

Only to be told I needed to go to the main office.
On the other side of the school.

It's a big school.  It's actually faster to limp back to the car and drive around to the other side than it is to cut through the hallways.

So back I go -- down the stairs, across the parking lot to the car
vroom vroom vroom to the other side.
Forcefully march my screaming feet across another parking lot, up another flight of stairs down a hall to the office.

...Where I'm told to go to the counselor's office.

down another hall - stand in line again.

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow
My feet are KILLING me by now. I don't look down, but I'm pretty sure there are two bloody stumps strapped into these murderous beasts masquerading as shoes.

I get the schedule --finally!-- and walk aaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way down the hall, down the stairs, and across the parking lot to the car where I stripped of those tortuous contraptions...and didn't put them back on the rest of the day.  

The rest of the week I wore my most comfortable (pink!) shoes -- even if they didn't match the rest of my outfit. 

I'm pretty sure the neighbors didn't mind.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Change is Good -- I think

Recently, I browsed through early versions of my WIP and was greatly amused by the changes I've made. I'm getting closer, but I'm not 100% satisfied with the beginning.  For your amusement, I'm copying the first paragraph of each version below. 

It's kinda like looking into a house through different windows.  It's the same house, but you get a completely new perspective each time.

Take it away, Murphy:


Here we go again. I landed crossways in a large overstuffed chair. The air in the cushions expelled with a soft swoosh. I gnawed at a rough spot on my thumbnail and watched the spectacle. This was all so pointless, I didn't know whether to laugh or scream. I gawked instead.


My job blows. Literally. Take a look at this joker staggering through the door. He thinks he's tough sh*t but he ain't nothing but bluster and swagger. Oh, he puts on a pretty convincing show. He'll laugh when women cross the street rather than pass him on the sidewalk. Sometimes he'll cross the street and follow them just to mess with them. He'd never actually do anything, he just enjoys their quickened pace and nervous glances over their shoulders. He's a real pill all right. But give me two minutes alone with him – possibly less, depending on my mood – and I'll have him crying like a baby and seriously regretting all those facial piercings.


My job totally blows. I work ungodly hours doing the same thing year in and year out, and I have yet to see a paycheck. My sister,Cassiopeia, calls it the family internship. I say it's more like indentured servitude, and that's on a good day.


Three more months, I reminded myself. Just twelve lousy weeks until graduation and I could kiss this crap goodbye. I loathed my job. In fact, it blew chunks. Literally. I worked ungodly hours doing the same thing year in and year out and I had never once received a paycheck, much less a thank you. My brown-nosing sister referred to it as the Family Internship, but if you asked me, it was more like indentured servitude.


My next client staggered in, a perfect representation of everything I detested about my work. He had been calling to me for the last five minutes. Subconsciously, of course. A big toughie like him didn't need anyone's help. Least of all mine. He didn't believe in me, or the Boss either for that matter. Truth be told, it kinda pissed me off. He didn't believe but expected me to intervene. What a crock.


My next client staggers in. He's been calling to me for the last five minutes – subconsciously, of course. More brawn than brain, he'd be the last one to ever admit he needed help, least of all from me. He doesn't believe, but I gotta sit here and listen. With empathy. What a crock.


My last client of the day stumbles through the door. He assumes the position at my feet and continues the chant that brought me here. He criss-crosses his arms over the seat and lets his head hang over the watery basin. “Ohhhh, Gaaaawd.” His moans are muffled by the porcelain bowl. I don't bother answering – he can't hear me anyway.


I'm kicking back, gnawing on my thumbnail – something I only started doing to annoy my sister – when my next client flickers into focus. I recognize the room immediately. This pit could only the The Rat's Nest, a dive bar on the south side of Chicago. My subject stumbles into the dingy restroom. His incessant moans have summoned me and now I'm tethered to his side until he's finished, for better or worse, and trust me it's usually for the worse.


And currently:

God, how many more tortured souls do I have to deal with before I get a freaking break? I spit out the sliver of thumbnail I've gnawed off and lean forward, searching for the owner of the moan that echoes in my head.  I can't see anything, but I know he's out there.  They are always out there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Paranoia

Two weeks after future hubs and I moved in together, our neighbors had a party.  They made so much noise, we seriously considered calling the cops at 3 a.m.  We didn't want to start a feud, so we rolled over and went back to sleep.  A few hours later, we jumped off our balcony because one of these same neighbors passed out while smoking and started a raging inferno.  He died.

So all that is sad but not mockable, right?

Bear with me.

If you've ever experienced a fire first hand, you know it changes you in unexpected ways.  For me, it made me hyper vigilant about fire safety.  Fireplaces were not romantic objects anymore, they were a source of anxiety and paranoia.

So one night a couple months after the fire, I sat in our new apartment (alone) watching Backdraft.  

Big mistake. Huge.  (did anyone else have a Julia Roberts flashback from Pretty Woman just now?)

I don't watch scary movies when I'm alone because I know they freak me out.  Why I thought I could watch a movie about fires is beyond me.  It didn't take long before my imagination got the better of me.  I smelled something.  I ran through the apartment sniffing things. Outlets, light switches, the toaster and every other appliance we owned.  Anything that could pose a the remotest fire hazard.


I'd sit back down and a few minutes later I'd catch another whiff of *something* and I'd go tearing through the apartment sniffing like a purebred bloodhound all over again. 

Still nothing.

Was I losing my mind?

During the few minutes after we discovered the fire, chaos reigned.  It's crazy the fire safety rules you remember (and forget) from all those lectures as a kid. I know you're supposed to feel doors and handles to see if they're hot before opening them, but during the hubub, I yanked open the apartment door hoping to run down the stairs, but was met with a wall of flames.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

It was this memory of the fire burning just outside the apartment door that eventually prodded me into peeking out into the entryway to make sure there wasn't anything out there.

But there WAS something out there!  A little hibachi grill and sizzling steak sat on the concrete pad between our doors.

I wish I could say it was an isolated incident -- a one time behavioral blip. The truth is I regularly run around smelling outlets, lamps, and any other potential fire hazard. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Christmas tree to sniff.

Friday, December 9, 2011

World's Best Cupcake

You know the old cliche....

A picture is worth a thousand words

In this case I think a picture is worth a thousand calories.

Look at this awesome cupcake I saw at the grocery store last night. (No, I didn't buy it...yet)


Of course, if you eat all that frosting you'll be making an entirely different sound that I can't quite mimic on my keyboard....

Any fun or exciting plans for the weekend?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Santa

Still no word on my computer.  I'm typing this up on my lunch hour, so maybe I'll get a call this afternoon.

In the meantime, I ran across the BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD (pun sooooo intended -- you'll see)!  This is going at the top of my Christmas list, and if I don't get it from Santa, I will just have to purchase it myself.

Dear Santa ThinkGeek Elves,

I love your site.  You have so many unique gift ideas -- I directed the whole family to when searching for gift ideas for my son.  I know some followed my advice because there happened to be a cute little monkey sticker in some of the packages. 

What I want to know is where were these delightful USB Toast Hand Warmers when I spent hours pouring over your site deliberating over Christmas gifts for said son?   I could have easily slipped it into my order a couple weeks ago and no one would have been any wiser. Now it's too late -- I'd have to break the thirty day rule and that's too serious to contemplate.

I need these.  Do you know how cold my hands and feet get in the winter?  (OOOH! I have another USB port, can you guys make a line of USB powered slippers?  My tootsies would thank you.)  

I work at a computer all day.  It is so hard to type with frozen digits!  These suckers (errr toasters?) will increase my productivity, and save innocent bystanders! (I can't help but reach out and grab their arms to prove how icy my hands are).  You might even save a marriage.  Poor hubs is not at all pleased when I go to bed (after hours of toiling away on a manuscript) with sub-zero extremities. 

So,, won't you make a new (but oh-so-devoted) customer even happier by making sure these handwarmers make it under my tree? Email me for directions... MissVSpeaks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks so much!

Vicki Rocho


Okay, now that my blatant plea for help is out of the way, what's at the top of YOUR wish list this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Liner Wednesday

It's time again for One Liner Wednesday.  My computer is still in the digital hospital, so I'm really glad for a short post today.

You know the rules, just share the last sentence you wrote or read or spoke.

I haven't written anything (kinda hard with the computer in the shop)

The last thing I read was crochet instructions.  I won't bore you with the sc dc nonsense.

The last thing I said was "Good night, sugar!" to my kidling.

What's the last thing you wrote?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spammers Revenge

Let's face it, if you own a computer chances are good that you've had to deal with (a) spam (b) pop ups (c) viruses (d) all of the above at some time or other.  My computer is in the shop for the next few days which has left me plenty of time to plot revenge against said spammers/malware creators.  

So here are my list of things I wish I could do to those cretins of the internet:

1. I wish computers could have a "suit of armor" so no matter what spam/virus came at it, it'd bounce off the target and return to  infect the original owner.

2. I wish virus creators would catch a REAL virus.  Preferably something that requires a hospital stay....and lots of tests involving very large needles.

3. Oh, and some FOUL tasting medicine.  That has to be taken eight times a day. 

4. I wish the creators of those porn pop-ups would be reverse-infected with pop-ups for television evangelists.  

5. I wish spammers were restricted to an all Spam diet.

6. I'd like to sentence hackers and spammers and the like to a lifetime of living in the remotest areas.  No electricity let alone an internet connection. Yeah, that ought to do it.  

7. No, wait! I'd also like that remote location to be unbearably hot and have a thriving bug population -- you know like six inch cockroaches which they'd have to catch because it'd be their only food source.  

8. I'd like to publish their pictures all over the internet so their friends and family see what losers they are.

Your turn...what would you like to do to these cretins who live to take our computers down?

As soon as I get my real computer back, I'll announce the winner(s) for the blogfest last week.

Mock Me Monday - What Makes Me Laugh

I will be scarce for the next few days.  I've got a virus on my computer and I will not be logging on to anything requiring a password until it's fixed.  I'm using the kids' computer now which means I had to wait until they were all in bed before I got a turn.

I'm known for many things amongst my friends and family.  Most of these things we shall not discuss here.  The trait in question is my love of leaving notes.  I write them in the back of the kids' spiral binders.  I write them on Post-Its and hide them all over the house.  

My hope is that when they stumble across one of my haphazard notes that it will make them smile.  Sometimes it's just a simple hi.  Sometimes it gives a brief rundown of what's going on in the house.  Whatever the message, I always date the note because I want to know how long it takes them to find it.

My memory isn't what it used to be.  In fact, it kinda sucks.  If I don't write it down, it not only doesn't get done, but it is completely obliterated from the memory it never even existed in the first place.  

It seems natural, then, that I'd spend a good deal of time writing notes for myself. If I'm going to the store I'll jot down a quick list.  If I'm going on a trip, I make a "do not forget" list days ahead of time so I have plenty of time to remember everything that needs to be remembered.

Most of my notes to myself are of the electronic variety.  My daughter laughs at me because of the number of text messages I send to myself every day....way more than to anyone else combined.

So it wasn't too big of a surprise last Friday when I received yet another email reminder in my inbox.  But this one was different because it made me laugh out loud.  

Emphasis on the loud. 

It seems last year at about this time, I set a reminder on my Google calendar about a very special event in the Rocho household.  December 5th to be exact.

Yes, my friends, I'm happy to announce that today is my toilet's 21st birthday.  Yes, you read that right.  I set a reminder about my toilet's birthday.  It was a year ago today I discovered a date stamped/engraved into the porcelain on the inside of my tank.

How do you suppose one should go about celebrating a birthday of this nature?

Should we drop 21 lit birthday candles into the bowl?
Flush a little cake and ice cream?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mr. Niedermaier!

It's been a whole year and I've still not heard from the elusive Craig Niedermaier.

For those of you who are new, here's the scoop:

I frequently have very vivid dreams.  

Last December 1st/2nd I dreamed about an imaginary neighbor named Craig Niedermaier who (after only knowing me for a day) invited me to go to Morocco for the weekend with him and his daughters. I wanted to go, but then suddenly I remembered my husband and children and the last thing I know I'm trying to kill an infestation of bed bugs in the hallway of the apartment...they kept creeping down in the cracks of the hard wood floors which resulted in a comical game of Whack-A-Mole.


So, when I woke up, I Googled "Craig Niedermaier Chicago" and was surprised to find THERE REALLY IS SOMEONE with that name!  Thus began my quest to "meet" the man.

Now, if you do a search for Craig Niedermaier I come up as #3.  Muuuuahahahahaha

I had a contest between Craig Niedermaier and Peter McKay,  (If you don't know who Peter is, you should click over right now and read some of his columns.  Hysterical)  Peter won hands down, obviously.  He's good like that. 

Maybe it's a waste of time.
Maybe it's a little pathetic.
Maybe I should just give it up...but I don't care. 

I want to hear from him.

The only rule I have is that I cannot contact him directly...that's a copout.  I'm open to suggestions though.  

How do you get a total stranger to notice you?


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Well I Never Blogfest

It's here! It's finally here! I like simple blogfests -- things you can join quick and easy.  To join, just finish this sentence

Well I never....

Maybe it's something you have never done.
Maybe it's something you never THOUGHT you'd do.
Maybe you wanna climb up on your soapbox and tell us about something you'll never understand.


Things I've NEVER done:
--I've never mowed a lawn
--I've never changed a tire or had to do more than put gas in the tank. 
(I love my hubby...)
--I've never gone skinny dipping
--I've never tried to smoke.
--I've never told the truth about my weight on my driver's license
--I've never snuck out of the house
--I've never gone sky diving (and NEVER will unless it's a passenger jet about to go down.  Ditto that for anything involving heights)
--I never went to Prom.  Or Homecoming.

--I never learned to read music.  Not even a little bit.

Things I NEVER thought I'd do:
--I never thought I'd go to the bathroom outside
--I never thought I'd publicize my most embarrassing moments on the internet
--I never thought I'd make it past 500 posts
--I never thought I'd require personal assistance in the bathroom (that soooo needs to be explained!)
--I never thought I'd be mistaken for a Playboy Playmate (that also needs to be explained!)
--I never thought I'd willingly drink weird green (chaya) juice 
(see pic...mine is the one with the icky residue at the bottom. Bleh.)
--I never thought I'd LIKE New York City. Go figure.
--I never thought I'd have five men in my bedroom at one time (that's SOOO not what it sounds like)

Apparently I need to get out more.  Looking forward to the other entries -- here's the list so you can read all the entries.

Use THIS LINK for Mary, above.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Not Gonna Lie...

THIS made me a wee bit teary.

After 72 years of marriage, an [Iowa] couple dies within an hour of each other -- still holding hands.  What a wonderfully sweet/sad story.

Last chance to sign up...tomorrow is the big day!

A reminder about the Well I Never Blogfest December 1st. Just post a line or two about something you've never done, never thought you would do or something you'll just never understand. 
Sign up below:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blast from the Past

Twenty years ago today my husband and I went on our first date.  One of these days I'll illustrate THAT story, but in the meantime, enjoy this re-run of how he and I met:


November 26, 1991
Another dull work-day.  The building was built around a courtyard so I could look into the offices (all glass fronts) on the other side.

(click to enlarge)

Things were slow, and in the five weeks I'd been there I'd already reorganized everything I could think of, so I spent an inordinate amount of time staring out the window into the other offices.

Directly across from me was the broadcasting / travel school where my friend Karen worked.  She had told me about the job opening, and I was hired on my birthday. Students would often come up front and talk with her, and one in particular caught my eye.

I'd noticed him before.  He spent his mornings either in the radio booth or up front shootin the breeze with Karen.

On this fine day in November, I called Karen as soon as he went back to the booth.  Our conversation went like this:

"Hey. It's me. Who was that?"

"Who was who?"

"Who were you just talking to?"


"Is that his name?"

"Yeah, why?"

"He's got a nice ass."


And he did, friends.  He totally did! He'd just gotten out of the Marine Corps a few months before.  Need I say more?

She laughed...more from the fact that I'd called her up just to share my opinion than because she would even dare to disagree with me. 

Karen, of course, told Jeff what I had said almost as soon as we hung up.  I should have expected it, but in truth, I was just acting on impulse, and severe boredom. I about died of embarrassment when he walked in a few minutes later.

I don't remember our initial conversation except it was a little awkward, what with my face burning up all the oxygen in the room.  He asked for my phone number and I thought he would call me that night, but nope.  No such luck.  The next day, (Wednesday) he came back and asked me out for Friday.


I forgave him for not calling.

K-Bear saw my illustrations and decided to draw her own version.  So now, for poops and giggles, here is her version:

She tells me that is NOT a bug flying off her daddy's head....

Don't you think we look like green M&M's here or maybe lima beans?

A reminder about the Well I Never Blogfest December 1st. Just post a line or two about something you've never done, never thought you would do or just don't understand. 
Sign up below: