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Monday, May 30, 2011

Mock Me Monday - The One That Got Away

Ask any fisherman, and they all have at least one story about the one that got away.  These fantastical tales are too incredible to be believed, but far be it from me to doubt them out loud and to their face.  

I'm no fisherman, but I am an avid thrift store junkie, and we get the same looks of disbelief when we relate the deal of the century we snagged. Allow me to demonstrate:

I once found a brand new red leather purse from Wilson's (tags still attached) for $1.38...the deal sounds impossible, I know, but I still have the purse -- a little weathered now -- stashed in the closet.

Sometimes when the family schedule is tight, I opt to walk around the neighborhood instead of driving to the gym.  I actually have MORE time to exercise on these nights since I don't have to factor in driving time.  As luck would have it, there is a thrift store about a mile from my house so I thought I would stroll in that direction, browse for a minute, then head home.

Only I couldn't go empty-handed.  What if I walked in the door and *the big one* was there?  There's nothing worse than letting a fantastic deal slip between your fingers because you forgot your wallet, don't have the right vehicle to haul it, or don't have enough space to store/display it.  I stuffed my only $20 bill in my pocket, then on second thought slipped my debit card in.  You never know what you'll find in those stores, which is half the fun of going.  A lot of times it IS just junk, but sometimes it's not.

A little more than halfway, I stuck my hand into my pocket and shrieked.  The twenty was gone!  With a groan, I turned around to retrace my steps before someone else snatched it or it blew away.

Several blocks later, it hit me:  I had put the twenty back in my purse because if I had my debit card, I didn't need the cash.  By this time, I'd walked so far out of my way, I didn't have time to browse let alone buy anything.  

Obviously, my short-term memory sucks....which makes this a really ironic post for Memorial Day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lest You Forget

For you newcomers who may not have heard, I am on a months' long quest to lure one Craig Niedermaier to the blog for a Q&A or victory lap or something.

It all started with a funky dream.  I have bizarre dreams all the time like the one where Zac Efron flew up into the sky and killed a shark...and the one the other night where my mom married a zombie to stop the zombie apocalypse.  

The only thing that made this one different was the name.  I Googled "Craig Niedermaier" when I woke up and to my astonishment, there was a match.  I've been trying to attract attention to myself ever since.

I'd love to report that I'd received an email from the Craig-meister and that the search has ended.  But, unfortunately, the quest continues.  It's been awhile since I've posted about Craigster, so I thought I'd do it today.  Here goes:

Craig Niedermaier
Craig Niedermaier
Craig Niedermaier

There. That oughta do it.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and know Mr. Niedermaier, let him know we're all waiting for his cameo appearance over here so I can start a new quest.  

I'm not above bribery.  I've got a gift for you if you're the one who refers him to me...

Emails to MissVSpeaks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Any plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How an Optimist Operates

A lot of people claim to be optimists, but to really claim the title (and take perkiness to a whole new, unhealthy level), you gotta be able to find the bright spot in ANY situation.  

It's more than making lemonade out of lemons.  
Any fool can do that.  
A real optimist can make tea out of sweat socks. 

For example, once while driving somewhere with my dad (I was still in high school), the car broke down.  Make no mistake, this was a crisis in the family.  We only had the one car, couldn't afford to get it towed much less fixed, and posed a real problem that persisted for weeks.

And yet, I found a way to be grateful.  I convinced myself that the breakdown prevented us from getting into an accident further down the road.  Wouldn't you choose a dead car over a dead or injured self? 

There was THIS time when my son got the flu and threw up every half hour all night long.  I was ecstatic he got sick at home and not on the risers in the gym during his music concert earlier in the evening.

See?  No matter how bad something is, you can usually twist it into something worse and you'll be oh-so-glad THAT didn't happen.

Yesterday morning I went to check my gym bag to make sure I had the necessities.  It'd been a few days since I'd gone, (though in my defense, I'd been very active, so it wasn't like I was slackin'). I couldn't remember if I had packed my bag with fresh clothes or not. 

It was NOT.

That's not the bad part, though.

I noticed this teeny tiny maggot-like wormy things all over my pants...and my t-shirt...and towel.  I don't know if there were some eggs or something that rubbed off from the bottom of my gym shoes or if they'd crawled in there from the laundry room floor or what.  I dunno, and I don't care to know. 

I'm just REALLY REALLY glad I found them and was able to wash the clothes, bag and all.  If I'd found them in the locker room at the gym I would have screeched in a very unflattering, immature kinda way. 

So, I thought it was time to share my secrets to looking at the brighter side of things. 

To exercise your inner optimist, follow these steps:
1. Acknowledge the situation is not ideal.
2. Think of something worse.  You'll know it's the "right" alternative if it makes you shudder or wrinkle your nose in disgust.
3. Concentrate on this other situation -- think about how inconvenient/painful/expensive/humiliating it would be to deal with it
4. Now think back to the mess you're currently in. 
5. Smile. (make it a big one...people should be suspicious of the cheesy grin pasted on your mug) At least you don't have to deal with THAT.

So, who here is an optimist?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just sharing...

I stumbled across this awesome link on revision and  had to share. 

'Nuff said.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Distracted Driving

I'm peeved at Blogger this morning.  This was totally supposed to post on its own hours ago...


In the State of Iowa, you can't get your driver's license at 16 unless you've taken a driver's education course. As part of this education, the instructor brought in a highway patrolman to warn the kids of the dangers of driving.  They got extra credit points for bringing a parent, so away I went.

I agree in principle with the state trooper's message.  Kids are overconfident about their driving abilities and easily distracted by friends, music, or text messages.  His delivery, though, was convoluted and disorganized.  The grisly pictures everyone expected didn't make an appearance until the last five minutes and then I'm sure they've seen worse online and in the movies.

Two hours later, I made my way home.  Daughterling had a meeting for another class, so I drove solo.  About a half mile down the road, I noticed a spider on the windshield.  The wrong side of the windshield.  And he was moving.  

I don't do bugs.  Ordinarily a bug in the car is grounds for a complete freak-out. The humiliation of getting into a crash after a driver's ed meeting helped me ignore the beast...somewhat. I kept most of my attention on the road, but the bugger disappeared just before I pulled into a convenience store parking lot and I never did find him.

That didn't stop me from poking around the dashboard like a fool in the parking lot or toting a flashlight down to the garage later to give it a second go.

I just hope he's not off having babies in my air vent...cuz the safety of drivers in Eastern Iowa depends on it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who is your favorite...

Today is the 11th Annual Rocho Household Hookie Day.  Not sure how many of these things we'll be able to squeeze in to the schedule, but here's the agenda for the day:

miniature golf
movie (Rio)
art museum
history museum
pottery painting

Anyhow, while we're off whooping it up, tell me who is your favorite TV parent?  

I'm blanking out on this one -- don't really watch that much TV.  Maybe the Mom from Malcolm in the Middle?  She dealt with those juvenile delinquent sons of hers with humor and endless patience.  How about you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Three Bears

Just having a wee bit of fun with the story of the Three Bears.  We have inadvertently added "bear" to the end of each of our kids' names and there are plenty of days (weeks even) that go just like this:


Once upon a time three golden-locked bears lived in a cozy little house in the middle of suburbia.  One day, Mama Bear went into the bathroom and found towels on the floor.

"Who left these towels on the floor?" Mama Bear asked.

"Not me," said Courtney Bear. "It's too small for me."
"Not me," said K-Bear. "It's too big for me."
"Not me," said Cody Bear. "I didn't take a bath yet."

Mama Bear hung up the towels then found socks on the floor in the hall.

"Who left these socks on the floor?" Mama Bear asked.

"Not me." said Courtney Bear. "They're too small for me."
"Not me," said K-Bear. "They're too big for me."
"Not me," said Cody Bear. "I don't wear socks."

Mama Bear picked up the socks and threw them in the laundry, then returned to the living room where she found a dinner plate on the coffee table.

"Who left this plate in the living room?" Mama Bear asked.

"Not me," said Courtney Bear. "That plate is too small for me."
"Not me," said K-Bear. "That plate is too big for me."
"Not me," said Cody Bear. "I already ate a bean burrito."

Mama Bear picked up the plate and put it in the kitchen.  She flopped on the couch and growled.  "Who wants to give Mama Bear a hug?"

"Me!" said Courtney Bear, giving Mama Bear a great big hug.
"Me!" said K-Bear, giving Mama Bear a medium sized hug.
"Me!" said Cody Bear, giving Mama Bear a wee little hug.

Mama Bear sighed and hugged her little bears back, just right.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Thanks to Leigh & Lydia for hosting the Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest today.  I don't have a joke to share, instead I have some very helpful hints that will hopefully make your life just a little bit easier.

Without further ado, I present

(imagine drum roll here)

Vicki Rocho's 
Top Ten Ways To Tell 
It's Time To Buy A New Bra
(all of which I've committed at one time or another)

  1. It used to be white but now passes for gun metal gray
  2. At least one of the under wires is missing
  3. One of the under wires will be missing because it's stabbing you in a very sensitive area
  4. The elastic is shot
  5. The padding is misshapen and lumpy
  6. The gouges it leaves when you take it off are more than a quarter inch deep
  7. It has more holes than any of your lace bras
  8. It's been washed so many times you can no longer read the label
  9. It's see through and it's not supposed to be
  10. You bought it after your daughter was born and now she's buying bras of her own  
Click HERE or HERE to find a list of other participants.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stages of Weight Loss

I bet you didn't realize that the Stages of Grief are very similar to the Stages of Weight Loss.  Just take a look:

As in:
--These jeans aren't tight, they just shrank in the dryer.
--Is this jacket fitting funny?  Bah, no matter. It's almost summer, I won't need it until Fall.
--Are these pants tighter than usual?  Nah, I just haven't worn them in awhile, I forgot that they fit like this.  This is totally normal.

Argh! I don't have anything decent to wear. 
Grrr!  These pants make me look fat and I can't even zip up that dress. 
GAH!!!! There's nothing in this closet and I can't afford to  go shopping. 

Okay, so I'll eat this double chocolate brownie explosion sundae now and I'll get up extra early tomorrow to walk it off. Plus, I'll totally have salad for lunch the rest of the week.  Oh, and no more soda.  Nothing but water.  I swear.

Oh, why did I eat that sundae? It didn't even taste that good.  Now I feel like I'm going to hurl and the only thing that fits are these ratty old sweat pants. OMG, look at these flabby arms and my stomach -- it wasn't this big when I was pregnant! Waaaahhhhhhhhh.

Okay, I've gotta do something.  I'll just watch what I eat and try to be a little more active. I can plan my meals and snacks ahead -- it's really not that hard -- I'll go for a walk along the river over my lunch hour.  It'll be relaxing and good for me. Small changes really can make a big difference. I can do this.

These next few aren't part of the Grief Cycle, but I felt they needed to be added:

I'll get up early and go for a bike ride, then I'll take a walk at lunch and after supper I'll hit the gym.  The extra activity should totally burn an extra pound or two. Who cares if I don't have a life outside of exercise? I'll get one once I'm back in that size 5.

Oh.My.God. I can't move. Blinking hurts. Owowowow. How am I going to work today/take care of the kids/make it through the day? I can't exercise until I can walk normally again (which, as we all know puts us right back to Stage One).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Explain this...

 Will someone explain to me why the minute you get one area of your life to work reasonably well all the other areas fall to pieces?

I've come to the conclusion that balance doesn't really exist, it's just a catchy word we all fantasize about. Kinda like pi - it just goes on and on and on.  

I have in my drafts folder 147 partially written posts.  Yes, 147.  And I'm just back from the gym, still kinda sweaty and probably more than a little smelly. I could really use a quick and easy post so I can shower and head to bed...but nothing really resonates tonight. 


So I'm just gonna leave you with this Fry Pi I made the last time I took kids to McD's and ask the quintessential question:

Which is easier to find:  The value of Pi or Balance?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Part DUH

I already posted a Mock Me today, you can read that below, but I just pulled a grand one so thought I'd give you a two-fer today.

My kids don't have school today so I had a little extra time.  I was determined to catch up on my bloggy visitations.  I developed a system that works pretty well:

  1. Go to Google Reader
  2. Click "All Blogs"
  3. Click on blogger name -- this takes me to the list in Reader where all Joe Schmoe's or Jane Smiley's posts are
  4. Click through to Joe/Jane's blog.  Read & comment.
  5. Click back to Google Reader
  6. Click "mark all as read"
  7. Hit the back key (this takes me back to "All Blogs")
  8. Repeat from 3-7
Simple enough, right?  I've used this system before and find it's a great way to make the rounds because I'm doing it in chronological order and not alphabetical, so the end of the alphabet isn't penalized.

Problem:  I clicked "mark all as read" while I had "all blogs" highlighted
Which means I wiped out every unread post with one click.

I wish Google Reader had a Control-Z (undo) feature!

Mock Me Monday - The Child Within

If you ask my daughter, I am an overgrown child and need to be supervised.  I should not be allowed out of the house with socks visible above the line of my shoe -- never mind I'm wearing jeans and no one can tell if I even have socks on or not.  And O-M-G I'm not going to wear that to the store am I?

You get the picture.

Some of the censure is well-deserved though.  For instance, I'm a puddle splasher.  

When I was a kid, I'd ride my bike through puddles and watch the water fling in a hundred different directions at once. I would swing barefoot and drag my feet through the mud puddle under the swing.  Yeah, I always had to take a bath afterwards, but it was so much FUN.

My puddle-playing days didn't end when I traded the bike in for a car, though.  I love to drive through puddles that accumulate along the curb on rainy days and splatter water all over the windshield.

This drives said daughter crazy. Not sure why, but it does.

A few years back daughterling and I were headed out for the afternoon.  It'd had been raining most of the day, but had momentarily stopped. I saw one beautiful pool of rainwater after another along the edge of the road.  Some I couldn't get because of stop signs or cars parked in the way.  You have to hit the puddles at the right speed or they won't splash properly, you see.

But then there was a perfect puddle.  I swerved to the right and accelerated just enough.  The splash was magnificent.  It coated the windshield and sprayed everywhere.

And that's when I noticed the pedestrian I'd soaked.


Daughterling nearly died from embarrassment.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Still Time...

I hope to be pulling the mystery game together sometime this week, so if you haven't had a chance to leave a character sketch (from your WIP or just something you pull together), just hop over HERE to answer a few simple questions.

If this works the way I picture it, it'll be hysterical!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Cats & Onions

For an intelligent woman, I do a lot of dumb things sometimes.  I've provided you with a whole year's worth of Mock Me Moments, so you don't need to try to reassure me to the contrary.  Sometimes I do totally brilliant things and so they tend to balance each other out.

Today, for your amusement,I'm going to tell you what cats and onions have in common. 

For example (ahem, this falls under the stupid category not the brilliant), I go to Subway for lunch on a fairly regular basis.  It's quick, affordable, and better for me than fast food.  I have a problem, though.  Every time I go determined to stay clear of the onions and every time I hear myself including them in the lineup: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle.  I like the taste of onions, they jazz up a plain ol' sandwich.  When I was a kid, I used to eat green onions like crazy.  But after the sandwich is gone, the onions stay with me.  I can disguise the breath easily enough, but I can not stop myself from burping them for the next hour.

For the record, I also love cats.  They're so soft and cute.  I can't resist reaching out to pet them, though I know I shouldn't.  I'm allergic to those adorable little furballs and even if I wash my hands and face after petting one, I'm going to pay the price all afternoon with the uber itchy eyes. 

So, what do cats and onions have in common?  I should avoid them both, but just can't bring myself to make the sacrifice.

This connecting of two seemingly unrelated items ought to be a regular feature, so if you want to leave two words in the comments, I'll see what I can do.

Oh, and if you haven't left a character sketch for me, you can do that HERE.  You can't hear my evil laughter, but trust me it's there...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There's A Word For That

Watch in amazement as I connect the act of renaming a character to that little groove above your lip.  Yes, the two are very much related, just wait and see.*

*disclaimer..."related" is used loosely here and I shall be the final judge

I've been struggling to rename a couple of my characters.  Somehow most of them ended up with "D" names and while I liked them all individually, I didn't want that many collectively.  So, I thought I'd start by rechristening my villain.

The first name was easy. The last name I wanted something that sounded evil but not the word evil, y'know?  I wanted something subtler than Cruella DeVil.  I headed to the online thesaurus, looking for inspiration in the synonyms of his personality traits.  I quickly discovered the word I needed.   
(I'm not going to share it here because I did a quick Google search and there is a man out there with my perfectly evil name and until I've "found" Craig Niedermaier, I don't want to lure any other innocent men into my web.)

ANYHOW, in the sidebar next to the inspiration for perfect last name, was THIS list of ten words for things you didn't know had names.  And the #1 word was philtrum - that little groove above your lip.

I promised to tie this in to renaming characters, and I could quit here, but I can take this one step further.

Not long after hubs and I met, he told me he was watching late night TV and discovered that groove above your lip had a name. He said it was the flectium (Fleck-Tee-Um).  We called it that for years, even made jokes about people with large ones.  

Eventually, we learned its proper name was philtrum, so that body part was RENAMED.  Personally, I still like calling it the flectium, it has a little more pizazz.

Before you go, you should check out this list of insults.  You know, so you can insult someone without them realizing it.  It's an underpracticed art, I think.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Seeing Green

Let me just set the record straight from the get go. While I was born in Iowa and have spent most of my life in this state, I have never lived on a farm. 

I don't know if living in one of the biggest agricultural states in the country is rubbing off on me or if I'm just a glutton for punishment, but we decided to try our hand at a vegetable garden this year.

We were going to do it last year, I even bought all the seeds, but before I knew it the Fourth of July was staring us in the face and we never got a single blessed seed in the ground.

But THIS year, we vowed to do it.  And, to prove our commitment, we ran out and picked up those little cardboard seed starter thingies (see? I don't even know what they're called!) and one night I filled them up with soil and planted onions, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and even some watermelon. 

Although I diligently kept the soil moist for the next few weeks, and brought the babies in the house on uber chilly nights, only about half my seeds sprouted.

And therein lies the problem.

I have absolutely NO idea what sprouted.  I'm thinking it's the onions and watermelon, but I really, truly, don't know...and I kinda need to figure it out if we're going to make salsa in a few months.  What if I think it's watermelon but it's tomato and I plant a bunch more tomatoes?  I'll not only drown in ter-maters, I won't have any peppers for the salsa!  

I'm going to have to lure my sister or neighbor over to identify my seedlings for me before it's too late.  And maybe there's a Gardening For Dummies class I can take....