Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On The Road To Womanhood... Wearing Roller Blades???

I went to bed Friday night the mother of a tween, but awoke the next morning the mother of a teen.  How scary is that?  Yes, Mikayla is a true teenager now, having turned 13 at 12:57 a.m. Friday night/Saturday morning.  Oh the horror!  I'm OLD now!

It's hard to believe that the tiny, 6 pound, 13 ounce baby that I delivered is now nearing womanhood.  I say nearing... she's still got plenty of growing to do!

Thinking back on that labor and delivery I can both laugh and cringe.  The pain!  Oh, the pain!  Why did I not get an epidural?  Having Mom and Jill in the room should have been so comforting to me, but the blasted pain was so bad that I was delirious for most of the labor.  Speaking unintelligibly, moaning and groaning as if that creature from Alien was in my belly, not a sweet, innocent baby.

And let us not forget the most profound thing uttered from my lips during labor.

"Doc!  My hoo-hoo HURTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

But now look at her, my beautiful fiesty girl.

Always with the mismatched socks that match not her outfit, or even each other.

The child looks nothing like me.  She's all Oko.

She's a short little thing, but with legs that go for miles.

She's a playful thing when the mood strikes, but if she's not in a happy mood?  Watch out world!

Twice that day she made me sing Happy Birthday to her in my "funny" voice.  I do believe she recorded it and posted it on Facebook.  Little stinker still doesn't get it that it takes a lot more than that to embarrass her mama!

Here she is decked out for July 4th... on July 3rd.  Ermmm?  Huh?

One of the neighbors organizes a kids parade to celebrate Independence Day and for some reason, this year it was held the day before.  It was totally adorable, the kids, adults and dogs being led by two motorcycles and one quad driven by a retired Marine.  Yeah baby, yeah!

That's my little Jordyn, my favorite kid in the neighborhood, aside from my own.  And that's her proud daddy, Tom, who has fought for our country with bravery and pride.  Thank you, Tom!!!

They're at the ready!  Can you spot Strudel's ass?

And they're off!!!

Hope all of you had a fabulous holiday weekend. Mine was spent in the house by my lonesome, feeling horrendously weak and tired. I just found out that I'm anemic, so hopefully after a bunch of iron pills are consumed I'll start feeling my normal crappy again.


Friday, July 2, 2010

I Smell A Rat!!!

Sniff sniff.  Do you smell it?  Smells like rodent to me!

But not that rodent.  He's just too weird looking.

I'm talking about this rodent...

And she doesn't smell at all.

Try to tell me that's not a face you could love?  I'll tell ya what, I love that face.  I love this rat!  

Unfortunately, she's not mine until I kill her owners and steal her.  Her name is Cheesy and she is Madison's friend's beloved pet.  But for the next week, while Cheesy's family is away on vacation, I get to rat-sit!!

Ya know, while the rats mice are away...

I know you're all thinking I'm some kind of ratshit crazy, but... I adore her.  I adore almost all critters, but I especially love ones that will snuggle and cuddle, wrap their tail around you and lick you senseless.

And that's exactly what Cheesy does.  She's kind of like a dog, but with a disgustingly scaly tail and little beady eyes.

I think Strudel wants to eat her but we can't have that, no no!  So Cheesy is spending time between Mikayla's and Madison's rooms upstairs, with playtime downstairs while Strudel is confined to the bitch cave.

I'm in rat heaven!!!!

Did I mention that I lurvs her?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cloudy With a Chance of Electrocution

There are very few things that I enjoy about summer in Florida.  I could count them on one hand.

I love all of the lizards and tree frogs that come out to play at this time of year.  Any day now the tree frogs will sing their mighty songs each night, especially after a good soaking of rain.  I can't tell you how much I love that sound.

I love love love the powerful storms we get at this time of year.  Lightning strikes hitting the ground, great claps of thunder that will scare you right out of your seat... love it!!!

Except, the thunder usually doesn't scare me right out of my seat and there are times when maybe it should.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting out here in the bitch cave, playing on my laptop and enjoying the raging storm around me.  Any normal person would be enjoying said storm from the safety of the inside of the house, but not me.  Oh no, I'm much too stoopid for that.

So, I sat here enjoying myself until a huge fork of lightning came down in the woods directly behind my backyard.  At the very moment it struck, the sky let out a crack not unlike a sonic boom, but before I had a chance to jump out of reflex I felt a jolt that went from my thumb resting on the space bar, up my forearm, way past my shoulder, and up to my right ear.

I had been zapped.  Not badly mind you.  If it had been bad I wouldn't be here to type the tale.

But it did stun me enough to get my hiney indoors immediately.

Okay yeah, I grabbed my computer first.  But then I ran inside immediately.

My forearm was actually aching for quite a while, but this was my first zapping and I had to let someone know!  I quickly called Jimmy to excitedly tell him I'd just been electrocuted.  The conversation went something like this:

Jimmy:  Hello, this is Jim.

Me:  It's me!  Guess what just happened?

Jimmy:  You iced somebody in Mafia Wars.

Me:  Well yes, but not that.  I was zapped by lightning!

Jimmy:  Well, you're obviously not dead, so can we talk about this later?  I'm late for a meeting.

Hmph.   Thanks for sucking the excitement out of my victorious battle with Mother Nature.  Next time I'm calling Jill.  At least she would show some appreciation for my near-death experience.

This is not the storm that nearly killed me (pause for drama) but it sure was a beauty!

Jill was here that day and once the storm broke loose, we stood on my front porch to capture some of it.  Listening to this makes me cringe because I thought my NY accent was basically gone.  Not so apparently!  Blech!

And then a little more video for your viewing pleasure.

I bet you're feeling mighty jealous of my beautiful storms, aren't you? Well, don't be because along with the lizards and the frogs and the storms, comes the devastating heat and humidity. The other day it was 100 degrees with a heat index of 123.

Melts the skin right off your face.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The World According To Jill

It has not escaped my notice that I've had very little to say about Jill, her Jillisms and her wacky life experiences lately.  Of course, I've had little to say about anything as of late, but I know you'll forgive me, right?

I wish I had tons of stories to tell you, but Jill has once again fallen off the stupid wagon a bit.

Did I ever tell you the story about her flying cell phone?

One day, while doing yard work, Jill placed her phone on top of her friend's car and said, "Friend, whatever you do, don't drive away with my phone on your car!"  So what did her friend do?

She drove away with Jill's phone on her car.

Now by this time it was nighttime and black as pitch.  When Jill finally realized that both her friend's car and her cell phone atop it where gone, she despaired of ever finding it.

But then Jill had a brilliant idea, and you know how infrequently that happens to my sister.  She thought, I'll jump in my car and repeatedly call my phone.  Maybe I'll be able to see it lighting up when the call goes through.

Would you believe she found that damn phone, about a mile from her house, sitting in the middle of a busy road, flashing for all it was worth?

And now that I've written this out, I do believe I've already shared this story.  Well crap, sucks for you!

Jill always seems to find herself witness to things that the rest of us would never see in a lifetime.  For her, they're common occurrences. 

A couple of months ago while driving home, she rang me on her cell and said, "Justine, you're not gonna believe this!  I just saw a car EXPLODE!"

Now in Jill-speak that could mean that a car backfired... you just never know.  So, I had to be very specific while questioning her.

Me:  You literally saw a car explode?

Jill:  Yes!  Right on the exit ramp!  It EXPLODED!

Me:  But did you actually see it happen, or did you just hear it?

Jill:  Well, I can't remember now if I actually saw it happen at that very moment, but I heard a huge BOOM and then flames shot up in the air!

Me:  Flames in the air, huh?  Or was it maybe just a smoking, overheated engine?

Jill:  Justine!  I'm telling you, the frickin' car exploded!  It's on fire right now, right in front of me!  That's it.  I'm hanging up to take a picture to PROVE it to you.  Sheesh, you never believe me!

Case closed.  Jill indeed saw a car explode.  My bad!

Co-cooking with Jill can sometimes be fun, especially when it means I don't have to do all the work.  Last month she and the girls were here and I decided to make her a nice meal of chicken cutlet parmesan, and left her in charge of making spaghetti with garlic and oil.  I wish I could spell out the Italian way of saying that but I have no clue how.  I'll just tell you that it sounds like "Spaghetti ahoyeeoh"

Once the spaghetti was done, Jill was on the hunt for a colander to drain it, but instead she asked me, "Do you have a restrainer?"

Me:  Excuse me?  A what?  You want to put a restraining order against your pasta?  What?  Is it not al'dente enough?

Jill:  A restrainer?  A retainer?  Shit!  What am I trying to say?

Me:  A strainer?

Jill:  Yes!  That's what I need!  A strainer!

Me:  No you don't you moron, you need a colander.  This is a strainer (grabbing one from the cabinet to show the dummy)

You need a colander, dipshit.  What kind of Italian are you anyway?

Fast forward (or maybe it's rewind... I can't keep up with this stuff!) to a day when Jill was having our parents to her house for dinner.  She was making meat loaf, or so I thought.

Jill called me from Publix.

Jill:  "Hey, how much pot do you think I need for my roast?"

Me:  Erm... what?

Jill:  How much pot do you think I need for my roast?

Me:  Well, that depends on how stoned you want to get our parents, you idiot!  What the hell are you talking about?  You're making meatloaf, right?

Jill:  Oh shit, what did I say now?

Me:  Oh never mind!  Two pounds!  Two pounds should do it!  

Then another relaxing day with Jill and the girls here for a visit.  We were sitting outside in the bitch cave when Strudel ran up to Jill excitedly, shoving her snout at her for some loving.  Jill squirms away saying, "Ewww.... Oh how I love having a wet ass up my nose!"

Now the last time I checked Strudel's ass was not plastered to her face, nor have I ever seen it wet, so I have no clue where this Jillism came from.  All I could do was laugh and grab my notebook to write down her words verbatim.  

I don't know what to tell you, I don't even know what to think about my dear sister.  There must be a really wild party going on with the relays in her brain.  Maybe her neurotransmitters are dancing the flamingo.  Did I ever mention that she honestly thought the Latin dance, the flemenco was in fact called the flamingo?

I shit you not, people.  I shit you not.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stay Tuned Right Here For Another Great CSN Stores Review!!!

If you're like me, you love shopping online... no crowds, no rude employees to deal with, and hey, you get to sit on your butt while shopping.  What could be better than that?  What's better than being able to shop for anything from clothing to furniture, to even a new vanity for your bathroom?  That, my friends, is pure luxury and what better place to shop than CSN Stores with over 200 sites to choose from?

I want you to be on the look-out in the next few weeks for a personal review from me on a product I'll be purchasing from CSN.  And you know I'm always honest!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Eventful Week

It's been quite an eventful week around here, what with the last day of school on Wednesday, and Mikayla's 13th birthday party that same afternoon.  She's not officially 13 until July 3rd but she wanted her party at a time when kids would be less likely to be away on summer vacations, so the last day of school it was!

This was, by far, the largest party Mikayla has ever had, 13 being a pretty monumental birthday.  So, when she requested an inflatable water slide I was only too happy to make it happen.

Little did I realize the damn thing would be this enormous!

You'll notice the dead queen palm tree.  Just more evidence of the exceptionally cold winter we had up here in North Florida.

Becau$e a water $slide tend$ to be quite expen$ive I kept the cost of the party down by not serving actual food.

Wait.  That made it sound like I served them crap on crackers or something, but no, I just kept it to light munchies.  Chips, pigs in a blanket(s) and a fresh fruit cocktail I made and put into a hollowed-out watermelon.  Please, if I ever get the idea to try and be creative with a knife again, implore me to drop the idea.  I suck at it.  My "basket" looks like it's lined with jack-o-lantern teeth.

Jagged fruit aside, the party was a smashing success.  About 16 bikini-clad teens in my back yard, squealing constantly while flying down the slide.  What impressed me so much about these girls is that none of them seemed put- out by 4-year-old Gianna and 3-year-old Jasmine, that wanted to be escorted down the slide.  Many of them pitched in with nary a complaint.

Look at my Poopy Pants in her 'kini!

Mikayla's biffle, Katy.

There goes Alexa, catching some air!

Jessica on the left, Mikayla holding baby Jasmine on the right.

At one point Jimmy started filling bowls with ice water and threw it on the girls as they came down the slide.  I got some pretty cool shots of flying water.

Of course there was cake.

And presents!  Mikayla made out like a bandit with tons and tons of gift cards.  Yay!  Shopping!

Some slide video...

That night, Mikayla went home with Jill to spend a few nights and met up with us yesterday at my brother's house for my nephew, Jonny's graduation party. I don't think I ever showed you any of the pictures from the play of his I went to months ago, so I'll throw some in here now.

Click to play this Smilebox photo album: Jonny

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

She Ate It

I'm here, yet I'm not here and it's driving me bonkers.  I don't know why I suddenly stopped wanting to read blogs or write my own, but it has surely happened.  I tell you what, it had better be temporary because this blog of mine has been such a creative and emotional outlet for so long that it's become a part of me.

I guess I'm just a flake, eh?

Anyhoodle, it's been a long time since you all have gotten a Strudel the Destructo Dog update.  If you remember back quite a few months ago I told you I had a box in the closet where I was throwing all of the things Strudel was eating so I could prove to you that yes, she eats everything.

But like so many other things, after a week or so I kind of forgot the box was there, so what I do have now is nothing compared to the real thing.

I give to you, the contents of The Strudel Box, Dum Dum Dum!!

A mish-mosh of many different mangled household and even doggie items.


A $400 cell phone...
This used to be Madison's friend, Jordan's, flip-flop.

Note to self:  Buy Jordan new flip-flops.

All that is left of my Crocs... just a chewed-up strap.  Oh and a pencil.  Strudel loves pencils!

She also loves paper of any kind.  Paper plates, magazines, textbooks, etc.

Most dogs love to play with tennis balls.  Strudel prefers to eat them.

A dog toy isn't really worth her time unless she can rip it apart.

So yeah, anyone want a golden retriever?

I wish I had a picture of what she did to me last night.  She was upset that I took a paper towel roll away from her... I mean come on, she was having a great time shredding it, right?  So, as soon as I turned my back she bit my ass!!!  

Ten minutes later I went to feel the spot because it was stinging.  Blood.  I was bleeding all over my nightgown from an ass bite!

I then had to stick my tail between my legs and ask Jimmy to apply a bandage.

To my ass.

I'm wondering when, nay, if, Strudel is going to grow out of this biting thing.  I mean I know I'm quite hairy, but not so much that she'd mistake my hair for dog fur.  Why must she "play" with all of us as if we're part of her pack?

Stru, get the message... I am the alpha bitch in this house.  Get it?

Don't fool yourself into thinking this redeems your less than stellar behavior.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Burning Desire Wound Up Burning Like The Fiery Pits of Hell

In my youth I was an avid sunbather.   From the time I was a tween I have memories of laying on a lounge chair in my back yard with baby oil smeared from top to bottom.  I don't ever remember burning in my younger days, but instead turning this beautiful Italian-like nut-brown.

But for some reason, as soon as I hit the teenage years my skin changed, going from my old Italian olive- tone to sickly looking sallow.  I don't know how or why this happened, but it's the God's honest truth.

This, of course, did not change my desire for nutty-toned skin, so each summer I would lay myself out like a lizard to soak up the rays.

Who the hell thought of wrinkles and skin cancer back then?  Certainly not I!

In May of 1985 my boyfriend, Matt, and I went to the beach, even though the temperature was only in the mid 70s.  It was our first taste of summer that year and we were grasping it wholeheartedly.  So what if he was a redhead and could burn on a stormy day?  I was ready for some rays and off we went on his moped, me with a Stephen King book in hand.

Me and Matt, 1986, his Junior Prom

Damn that book was good.

And geez, the weather was so cool and delicious.  No need to go in the water.

In fact, no need to ever flip over to my other side because hey, it was only May, it was cool out, no way was I going to burn.

Matt told me many times that he thought I was turning a little pink and should turn over.

But my book was so good, I didn't want to put it down.  And hey, it's only May.  I won't burn!

Four hours later, Matt got very insistent with me, that I either needed to turn over or we'd have to go.  I was no longer pink, but a mean, dark red.

So I flipped over.

Big mistake.


It immediately felt like I had laid my body down on a bed of hot coals.  I stood up quickly but holy shit, my skin now felt like Matt was holding a blow torch to my legs and back.

And back then, even my one-piece was quite skimpy so quite a bit of hiney was showing.  Previously very white hiney.

All I could think was, "Get me the hell out of this evil sunlight, NOW."

Let me tell you, sitting on a hot moped seat in this condition was not a good thing.  I've basically blanked out the entire drive to Matt's house, which is probably a good thing.

The next thing I remember is laying on my stomach on his bed, screaming and crying that my legs were on fire.  His mom standing over me not knowing what to do.  Finally, one of them had the idea to blow a fan directly on my legs.  Ahhhhhhh... that felt so damn good, but if someone even so much as stepped in front of the fan, blocking the air flow to my sizzling skin, I would once again scream and whimper.

Matt somehow got me home that day, where I proceeded to lay upon my bed, barely able to move for the next 3 days straight.  My mom had fans blowing on me constantly, and several times a day she would crack open an aloe leaf and spread that cool goodness all over me.  The pain of her touch was intense, but at least I got some temporary relief once she was done.

At one point, when Mom came in to spread the aloe, she said something like, "Justine, this isn't looking too good.  Your skin is turning purple and bubbling.

Purple???  Bubbling?  Like, little tiny bubbles?

Oh no, big, quarter-size bubbles.  That were purple.

It would be at this point that most parents would take their kid to the ER or something, but not my mom!  Nope, she'd just keep that aloe coming and I could just keep duck-walking to the bathroom because my skin was so tight I couldn't bend my legs.  I would eat laying down on my belly and just lay there being miserable.

After 3 days I would be forced to go to school for a few hours to take a final.

Standing up the entire time.

With gigantic, oozing bubbles on the back of my legs.

I won't even go into detail about what it was like when those bubbles started popping open.  I'll just tell you that there was wet skin flapping everywhere.

It was the worst burn I've ever seen a human being get from sunbathing, and if I sit here and really think about it, I can remember the pain like it was yesterday.

That was not my last bad burn, although, thank God, it was the last super bad burn.

I still rarely use sunscreen, but I also rarely lay out in the sun these days.

The best medicine for a major burn?  Definitely fresh aloe.

My best advice?  Don't lay out in the sun.  Or if you do, use sunscreen!

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, and the prompt:  "What was your medicine?  Write about a time you remember being ill." 

**Note to self:  Call dermatologist tomorrow and make appointment for a baseline examination.**

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some Kind of Wonderful

My girls have always given me a special morning on Mother's Day, but this year they went beyond any expectations I could have had.

Jimmy has been in Germany, so they were on their own this year and I have to say they out-did themselves!  Maybe because Jimmy is in Germany?

They know I don't like to eat until I've been up a couple of hours, so no breakfast in bed this year.  Instead, I got to have my computer time outside and made a reservation for brunch at 11:00.

When I went inside, there was a hostess stand (folding table) set up where Mikayla handed me my buzzer (her cell phone) that I was to take into the lounge (family room) to wait until my table was ready.

When my buzzer went off I was led to the table where I was handed a menu that the girls had made together.  Madison did the table/graph part because Mikayla forgot how, and Mikayla did most of the decorating of it.

I opened my menu to find this.

 Check out beverages.  Water:  If tap, free.  If not, one hug per pet.  Heeheehee.

I made it super easy for them by ordering a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, a side of cottage cheese, a cup of coffee and some ice water.  (Not tap).

Those fuzzy pipe cleaners are flower-shaped rings they made me.  Awwwww.

One of my personal chefs toiling in the kitchen.

Wow, the kitchen was a mess, wasn't it?

Before I began eating, I was instructed to look under my plate.


One of my favorite gifts was this poem written by Madison at school.  I sense Jimmy's influence in some of these lines but the purity and innocence of this poem had me giggling and beaming with pride at the same time.  My girl so gets me!

Now tell me that's not the best poem ever!

My girls gave me the best Mother's Day morning EVER, so I just had to bring them out shopping as a thank you.  New bathing suits, shorts, Silly Bandz and lots of (in Mikayla's words) lollygagging around, made for an exhausted but very happy me.

After our dinner of grilled NY strips, I finally got out the cordless drill so the girls could stick straws in the coconut we'd bought and drink the coconut water.

Aw, look at sweet Strudel!

It was fairly easy to do... when the drill wasn't in reverse.  Ahem.  Thank you, Mikayla, for pointing that out.

And then it was time to take a taste.

Madison looks on with anticipation.

Well?  How is it Mikayla?  Is it good?  Did we pick a perfect coconut, or what?


How was I supposed to know it was rotten on the inside?

Mikayla said it tasted like...

I can't even say it, so instead I'll use Madison's term...

It tasted like...


I'm still feeling guilty about the mouthful of rotten coconut water Mikayla swallowed.

Next time?  Smell first, sip second!