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Where you're either looking for a fix, or just plain bananas

No more moving...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
written by Monkey

Moving is probably the most masochistic ritual in the known world... at least thats how I feel about it today... it's kinda like giving birth... ya know... how they say the female brain blocks out the memory of the pain from childbirth because if not they would never have children again... if I remembered how terrible it was to move into our 3rd floor apartment 2.5 years ago I would have never agreed to move out of it. So here I am... saying that we're never moving again... until the next nice place in our price range comes along...

The Teflon King

Monday, May 29, 2006
written by Monkey

Some of you may know I'm not a big fan of the current administration in charge of the US. The word Kleptocracy comes to mind when I think about what they've done over the last 5 years. I've even gotten into shouting matches with my own mother over their practices and the way they run this country (New Orleans recovery in particular). So I just got done reading this article and thought I'd spread it around.... go ahead and read it... I'll wait..........

I love how the article states that the FCC is investigating the television networks... HOW it's possible that Bush doesn't get investigated over ANYTHING is beyond me. Did everyone forget about the fact that he authorized "Scooter" to out an undercover CIA agent? Of course it's ok cause he says it is. He can get away with anything he wants and for some reason people just accept it. Just like the whole signing statement thing... with every bill he signs into law he puts a little note along with it saying essentially that yes it's a law but he doesn't have to follow it.... what? how? why? huh?

I just think it's wrong that there's no mention about the state department or the administration being even looked at over providing fake news to the American public. Again another immoral and unethical piece of history for the thugs that run this country.

I just pray that some day this guy is judged for the horrid things he has done.

If you think I'm wrong about this... here's another article for you from yesterday in case the local/national media "forgot" to talk about it.

One of those days...

Sunday, May 28, 2006
written by Monkey

Ya ever feel like you have to be the only person online right now? I'm too bored to watch TV, too tired to play video games, and it's too early to go to sleep.
We did some more of our moving today, we've been putting off going back to the apartment for nearly a month. Today we remembered how much it sucks moving from a 3rd story apartment in 90 degree weather... we were all dog tired afterwards and there's still so much to do and so little time to do it. :P

Troubles in Our Bedroom, Making Babies, and other Random Intimacies.

Friday, May 26, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Needing some comforting:

Back in December I posted a one sentence blurb about having to stop the "new kitty" from climbing up the Christmas tree. What I didn't post was the whole story of the "new kitty" or NK as I'll call her for posting purposes.

A few nights after Christmas we were walking in from the parking lot when we saw a man that lived in the adjacent building gently shooing a kitten that was probably 4 - 6 months old away from the door. Monkey and I took one look at each other and knew that even though we were having a relatively mild winter that we couldn't leave this poor lil kitten outside to freeze for the night. I stepped out of the car and walked over to chat with the man to see if he knew who the kitten belonged to while Monkey got the boys out of the van.

The man didn't know but she was obviously not a stray. Her white fur on her black and white coat was quite clean, she had no ear mites or fleas or any other signs of vagabondadgery and she was quite friendly. I scooped her up and met Monkey and the boys halfway down the walk. Again, another look, and we just started towards our own building. We didn't have to say what we both knew: 'We'll let you stay until we figure out who you belong to."

Well, we ended up not being able to do either. Both of our cats, who have all of their claws and are pretty big male cats, beat on the poor lil thing constantly and as a result she wouldn't come out of our bedroom, etc. Within a couple days we found she was peeing on our furniture. Our bed, our couch, etc. Now mind you, my cats have never gone to the bathroom anywhere but their box unless, for instance, they were accidentally shut into the bathroom (my cats like to lay in the tub - I know, they're weird.) Knowing cats like I do, however, I knew that if one cat was going to pee on something, the probability of it always peeing on it was high. So unfortunately we couldn't keep her.

We washed our sheets, blankets and mattress cover, and thank goodness the couch was leather so easy to clean up. But cat pee never goes away really unless you get rid of the protein crystals it leaves behind when it dries or is cleaned up and it wasn't long before we moved that we noticed our comforter again smelling like cat pee. We realized one of the two cats we have now had peed on the same spot the stray did to mark his territory. And out to the dumpster the comforter, sheets, mattress pad, (and since it was a matching set) dust ruffle and shams went. We didn't really need to worry about warmth because in our apartment, even in the dead of winter with the heat off it was routinely 80 degrees. So while we looked for a new set we both liked we just used a quilt my Grandma had made.

A week ago we found our new set. Two nights ago we washed it. An hour later this is what our washer produced :

It ripped it to shreds in the spin cycle. There are at least 2 other spots just like this on our brand new comforter.

It's all under your head.

After Monkey was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and put on a CPAP machine, the doctor also recommended an orthopedic pillow. Monkey ran out and bought the first memory foam ortho pillow he could grab. Turns out he hates it. He tried to get use to it but after over a month it was just obvious that he was going to need a new pillow. So when we bought the comforter set he also picked out a new pillow. A new hypoallergenic pillow. I draw your attention to that word so that you might be able to guess what Monkey and I have decided must be the source of my rash. You got it, once in awhile I found myself napping on Monkey's new pillow. I toss my hair up over the top of the pillow, exposing my neck, lay on my side, exposing my face and ear and sandwich the lower outside corner of the pillow between my forearms. Two nights ago when I was slipping into unconsciousness I was wondering if I should drape a towel or something over my pillow because everywhere I was rashed was touching.. the .... pillow....

Cue cartoon light bulb icon above my head.

We ran it through the wash last night hoping that it was whatever industrial detergent they used to wash it with at the factory before it was shipped. I'll let you know.

Our new babies, the fruits of my...

Yard. We're now the proud parents of baby fruit. Peaches, cherries, and apples. Possibly the grapes, blackberries and blueberries as well but I was still in my nightie when I ran out to scoop these up for this pic:

Beautiful, aren't they? I couldn't be more proud! :)

On a side, only peripherally related note, I'll give big imaginary bonus points to anyone who can guess what this is that came from our yard:

and here's an end shot:

and last but not least

I even love your stink

You know it's true love when you're sleepily waking up to your honey scooting close to you to snuggle, you lazily crack open your eyes expecting to see the face you want to spend the rest of your life waking up to only to find your nose smack dab in his hairy arm pit and all you can do is burst out with a full out belly laugh.

Should I cry or scream? Aka May the Begging Begin!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
written by Java Junkie

I've been trying to find a problem in some CSS coding that I'm working on (new blog design) for over a week and I just can't find it. I've run it through two analyzers and they come up with nothing. The problem? The page is only scrolling just so far, which isn't very far at all (about 2 short posts worth) and then stops no matter how many posts are below that point. It's driving me insane. I know it's just got to be something I'm over looking, something that as my eye skims the code it just jumps right over. But for the life of me I can't find it.

If you or anyone you know is versed in CSS and are willing to take a look I'd be forever in your debt. Just leave any contact info in a comment to this post and I'll email asap.

Self Portrait Challenge - Introduce Yourself, Week 4

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
written by Java Junkie

The UN-Pack Rat

Since there's really no way in hell I'm going to take a picture of myself today, with rash still covering my neck and face, I went in search of a picture of me that could say something about me. This is what I found. What it says isn't apparent to any of you, so I'm going to tell you about myself and then why the photo says that.

If I had a "List of 100 things" it would most definitely contain that I've never lived anywhere longer than 3 years. I changed schools 13 times before I graduated high-school, which believe it or not, I graduated with a 3.8 from. It wasn't because I was a bad kid, or an army brat. It was simply that my family moved a lot due to various circumstances. My mother's three divorces, various job changes and promotions of those perspective husbands, cheaper rent.

After I moved out on my own, my nomadic lifestyle continued. In with these friends, out with this friend, here with this boyfriend, here on my own. Half of the time it felt like I wasn't even done unpacking before I was packing up again. This is probably why I'm so neurotic about the placement of various things within whatever house I'm living in - simply so I can make sure I can find them... If they're not there, then they're probably packed up somewhere. At least that's what my sub-conscious thinks more than likely.

Growing up that way, to many, might seem like it would be hard on a kid. The fact of the matter is that I wouldn't know. It's what I knew. It's all that I knew. And to be perfectly honest, I'm actually glad that I got to experience so many different places. Country and city, small town and big. I've gone to school down the street from auto plants and next door to pig farms. I've lived mere miles from a state wild life preserve and from a Six Flags Amusement Park. All of it has given me a larger understanding of how different each and every place is. How unique each city is, and how each area operates on it's own mechanics. Dialect and dress, pastimes and pressure. They're all different from place to place. And somewhere in all of that diversity I was able to come up with a much better picture of who I was, and who I am now. Most importantly I grew up with a much larger real understanding of the challenges we all go through. How hardships differ from place to place, yet there are always still hardships. How to enjoy diversity amongst people, learn from it, grow from it, and become a better person myself, rather than fear it, judge it or look down upon it.

Through all of the moves the one habit I have that I will always have is that I am NOT a pack rat. I don't have the corsage that I wore to prom. I don't have my wedding dress from a decade ago. I have exactly one year book and one journal from my teenage years. I have ONE photo album of my teenage friends. I have one set of dishes, one set of silverware. If I haven't used it in the last 6 months I throw it out with very small exceptions, which include:

Other than those things, I have clothes and holiday decorations and that's pretty much it. I don't keep junk around thinking "I might use this someday" or "someday this might be valuable." I'm forever hounding Monkey to throw out the bajillion computer parts he keeps as spares, until, of course, he makes $200 selling them on ebay.

Now - how does the above picture tell this story one might ask. The answer is simple. I love the picture. I took it two or three months ago when the snow was melting off the ground. But I only kept the size you see above. I didn't keep the original size because I never intended to use it for anything other than a blog profile pic. If I'm not going to use it, even I get tossed. So allow me to introduce myself, the UN-pack Rat.

Fate, I know thy name! Or.. I dahda towd

Monday, May 22, 2006
written by Java Junkie

I was suppose to go up to see my family, and more specifically my Daddy this weekend. I was suppose to see my sister for the first time in 20+ years. I was suppose to smother Muffinest with pink lipstick kiss marks. But I didn't.

Monkey only gets one out of every four weekends off, so trips home are somewhat carefully orchestrated. Not the time that we're there, per say, but more just going. I make sure that I will be able to see as many of the people I love as I can. My Tover's family, my Dad, my (step) Mom, my Grandma and Grandpa.. You get the point. This weekend my Dad specifically asked if I could come up and see him, so the whole trip was sort of about him. There were only 2 other "people" I really wanted to make sure I saw. Niki and my Tover's family, specifically da Muffinest who looks like she's growing way too fast for Auntie JJ's liking ;)

Unfortunately my Dad had forgotten that he had asked us up and scheduled gigs and would essentially not be around all weekend. He asked if we could come up in another couple of weeks. Monkey would have to switch with someone but it shouldn't be a huge problem. But I so wanted to see my Sister and my Tover's family. I downheartedly made the call to my Sister to inform her I wouldn't be coming up for another two weeks. She was very understanding about it, but I could tell she was bummed. I was too. Until the next morning.

Friday morning came like Friday morning's do. Parker wakes us up when his voice comes over the monitor, either playing with Raul or crying to be let down out of his crib. When I cracked my eye open I noticed I was itching my wrist. Then I noticed, when I moved my hand away, there was a blotchy rash that looked a little like Poison Ivy. Oh great. So I placed a HUGE band aid on it so that it wouldn't inadvertently touch Parker or anything Parker touched, washed my hands and got him up for the day. By the end of the day, however, there was no band aid big enough. The rash now covers my face, neck, some of my chest and both arms. When I say cover, I do mean cover. Front to back, top to bottom. Even my ears have rash on them. Needless to say this is NOT how I want my long lost sister to see me for the first time in 20 years, with creeping crud all over my face.

Since Monkey switched his NEXT weekend off to get the first week in June off, he still had this weekend off. A small town about a half an hour drive from here was having a "community" garage sale so we headed out there after my morning nap. *Sniffle* We had a blast *sniff* for the most part. After a few hours of walking around, however *sniiiiff* we were ready to come home. Monkey was suffering from a bad stomach and *sniff* I was starting to feel cold and achy, probably from walking around all morning because that tends to happen when I do too much. *Sniff* or NOT. By the time Sunday morning rolled around I had a full blown head and chest cold. Coughing, blowing my stuffy nose, I slept most of the day while Monkey angelically took care of Parker and Lou kept his noise level down.

So here I am, rash covering my face, snot dripping out of my nose, eye crusties gooing up my vision. I'm truly a sight to behold. Not to mention that mother nature decided to NOT postpone her monthly visit for a week this weekend, so you can add bloated and crampy to that list. While I really and truly and desperately want to see my Sister, I want to give Fate a big, cootie free hug for bringing things together in such a way as to keep the monstrosity that I am this weekend away from her. Thanks Fate, I owe ya one. ;)

Be Afraid...

Sunday, May 21, 2006
written by Monkey

So my boss sells a lot of stuff on ebay... not like... hundreds of things a day but a decent amount... So a few days ago he gets a message from someone asking if they can fax their drivers license and credit card to him instead of using paypal... no biggie... we're a retail shop so we take credit cards all the time...
About 20 minutes later we get a fax thats all blank pages except they say "DHS" at the top... ok dude doesn't know how to send a fax and works for "DHS" whoever that is... we get an email a few hours later from the guy asking if we ever got his fax...
His signature on his email said Mr. so and so, Department of Homeland Security...
The people in charge of our protection don't know how to send a fax...
Be afraid...

Ten D Things

Thursday, May 18, 2006
written by Java Junkie

My Sister-In-Law tagged me with D and I'm too tired to come up with anything interesting or witty on my own right now so here goes

Diapers - For the last 3 or 4 days, Parker's been waking up with diapers that are absolutely soaking. I don't mean "boy these are really wet" diapers, I mean the kind of diapers that have soaked through the diaper, through his jammy pants and even a bit of his blanket. It's very odd since the amount of liquid he's consumed hasn't increased, nor has the time between diaper changes. I've also noticed the pudginess of his hands has decreased a bit and I'm wondering if he's just dumping a ton of water weight and if so, why? And why only while he's sleeping? His after-nap diapers are more wet than usual, too.

Dreams - Along with the prison break/coding dream I've been having some pretty strange dreams lately. The kind of dreams one has while sporting a fever and taking some sort of codeine laced cough syrup, which I'm not. For instance I just woke from my afternoon nap having a dream about catching a beautiful blue and black butterfly that, at first, turned into a little human girl with short black hair that sparkled like there was glitter in it, then into a semi-adult male that ate all of the shrimp my mom had hanging on the clothesline for dinner. Yeah, I know - the weirdest thing about the dream AFTER waking up was not that a butterfly turned into a human, which is actually kinda cool, but that my mom was hanging shrimp on a clothesline. I've also had a dream about living in a farm house in the middle of nowhere with the girls I use to be a nanny for that had baby peacocks the size of chicks running around everywhere. I had 3 cats in the dream (the two I have now and the one Betty had when we lived together) and was worried they would eat the baby peacocks. Although in real life none of the cats are related or look similar, in my dream the two I have now looked identical. I could go on, but trust me, just really strange dreams.

Dining Table - I just realized the other day that my eldest son has only lived in a house that sported a dining table for 3 of his 14 years. Well, that's not true, we had a dining table before we moved to Toledo but we stopped eating at it once one of the chairs cracked under the weight of a normal size person sitting on it. It was my grandmother's table set and it was in pretty rough shape. I still own the table and still dream of refinishing it once we have a place that has a formal dining room. Currently we're eating at a card table lent to us by Monkey's parents because the dining table we picked out wouldn't fit where we wanted to put it so we canceled the order and now are stuck because we need a whole different kind of wood finish than we had planned on. But for most of his life Lou has eaten Japanese style at a beautiful marble top coffee table that sits really low and is perfectly square that I happened upon. Some day I'm going to refinish that, too. :D

Come to think of it, I didn't eat at a dining table much growing up either. We ate in the living room on TV trays.

Drips - It's been raining since Mother's Day here. Big, fat drips that SPLAT!! when they fall. The ground's so soggy Monkey can't mow the lawn and Parker can't go out to play. Every day he brings me my hat or my purse or a shoe belonging to him or myself. Every day I have to listen to him fuss while his cabin fever takes control. I'd take him out in it but it's also pretty chilly. So instead I catch him reorganizing my kitchen cupboards.

Dog - For some odd reason dogs have been a peripheral part of my life lately. My mother's dog is now a happy member of my Tover's family. My mom (step) had to have her Yorkie, Teddy, sniped instead of studding him out like she intended because he wouldn't quit peeing on her refrigerator. This completely crushed my dreams of owning Teddy's offspring and naming her "Bear." If you would have asked me a month ago I would have told you I was pretty apprehensive about my in-law's dog, Louie, being around Parker. He's old and doesn't understand babies and can get grumbly and has even tried to nip a little. But the last time we were there Louie put me at complete and total ease when Parker essentially was laying on him and Louie just grumbled. If he was going to ever bite Parker it would have been then and he didn't even try. He just grouched a bit, and who wouldn't? Someone your same size just comes and lays on you, uninvited. Parker still has yet to learn that cuddling things SMALLER than you means gently petting them, not laying on them like he does on mommy and daddy when he cuddles.

Dancers - No not the topless kind (although that's what my mother-in-law thought Monkey meant when he told her I "use to be a dancer")! When I was pregnant with Parker I realized how long it's been since I went out dancing. Nothing says "I am so UN-hip that I make the bible belt look like Paris" like dancing the drunken white girl dance while sober, 8 months pregnant and dancing with your mom in a bar while your dad plays drums to "When Josie Comes Home." I'm surprised Monkey didn't run screaming from the place. But then again, he witnesses me doing stupid little dances all day long.. The "happy ice cream" dance, the "I'm going to see my family" dance, the "Parker's got a yard" dance. You get the point. Dancing is still part of who I am, but it's no where near ALL that I am. I guess it was fate that I injured my ankle in high school and my dreams of becoming a choreographer were pretty much crushed because to make anything of yourself as a dancer that's WHAT and WHO you are, in your entirety. I am so much more eclectic.

Dora - Lou wanted me to put this one - said I HAD to... Because the only imitations I can do on demand (and I do them really well actually) are voices from children's shows, including "Swiper" from Dora the Explorer. I do Swiper from Dora, Blue from Blue's Clues, and a couple of others. I can also do Chris from Family Guy but not on demand. I'll have to post an audio file of me doing them for you sometime. I'm quite proud. I'm sure my mommy and daddy are, too.

Dark Age of Camelot - Ok for those that aren't officially nerds, let me explain that Dark Age of Camelot, or DAoC, doesn't have anything to do with Sean Connery, or renaissance festivals. It's actually a MMORPG... Or Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game. The "role playing" part really has so very little to do with these kinds of games anymore that gamers have come to call them just MMO's. Think of a video game that you can play with literally hundreds of people at the same time. With or against them. DAoC was the first of it's kind really. But it's not why I write about it here. I write about it because DAoC gave me my life. And, quite literally, Parker's. I played DAoC for about three years total. One year before I met Monkey while playing and two years after. Yep - I met the love of my life and the father of my child in a video game. I was the leader of a huge guild (sort of like a club) and some friends of mine that were in my guild asked if she could join. You read that right, when I first met Monkey I thought he was a girl. Lest you question his preferences, a LOT of male MMO players pick female characters to play. The reasons vary from "Norse chicks are hot" to "People give female characters free stuff" to "It's as far away from who I am in real life as I can get." to "All the male characters run really dumb." And most do it for a combination of these reasons. Regardless, he and I became really good friends even though I still thought he was a girl. It was when I started to crush on him hard that I figured out he must be a guy. I was right, thank God, and that, combined with the facts that he was single and only lived an hour from me and four years later and you have Parker. :)

Doors - To close my bedroom door all I need to do is yell out "My door is closed." It would be really super cool, sort of like house of the future voice command, except for one thing. My bedroom door is invisible. As in, it doesn't exist. When I yell out "my door is closed" that's simply my way of telling my eldest that I'm changing and to not come into my room or into the part of the kitchen that adjoins my room. This, despite the fact that there ARE four OTHER doors, not including closet doors, in my room. Yes, my room has a door to the front yard, a door to the back yard, a door to the laundry room and a door to our private bath, but it has no door to the rest of the house. Needless to say, closing the door this way doesn't always work when you're talking to a 14 year old listening to System of a Down on his Ipod and we'll be hanging a REAL door very very soon.

Downy - After about the first three months that we lived in the apartments that we moved to here from, we had un-softened clothes. This was because the laundry room was in the basement and we were on the third floor, unable to hear when the washer would go into spin cycle. For awhile we tried using a Downy ball, which I had been using for years previous anyway, but they kept getting stolen. That's right - if you left your laundry in the washer for even 20 minutes after it had been finished, your clothes would end up in a soggy, wet pile on top of a filthy folding table (unless your basket was by the washer, then they would be tossed into that at least) and your Downy ball would be missing. Unfortunately after we stopped using Downy balls we still had two nearly full bottles of fabric softener, which we kept. The first load of laundry I did here in our new house I was excited beyond belief to be grabbing for one of those two bottles... and ... *glump* promptly learned that if left for over two years, Downy dehydrates and turns into concentrated fabric softener sludge that has yet to be reconstituted properly.. I keep adding water and shaking the shit out of it but all it seems to do is make the glumps into lumps. Watery glumpy lumps then stick to your clothes and you have to wash them twice. But I'm not giving in! I will be victorious! For this is not just a war against scratchy laundry! Or against glumpy lumpy fabric softener! This is a war against ball stealers everywhere!

There you have it, my list of 10 D things. Whew, and I thought this post would be easy. o.O If you'd like to be tagged for it, just let me know and you'll get whatever letter Parker eats last in a handful of Alphabits.

Prison Break Brown

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
written by Java Junkie

So ever since I started this blog I've taken it upon myself to learn CSS. Mind you I can only do this for about 10 minutes at a time between the baby, laundry, my flair, naps, lunches, snacks, dinners, homework, mopping, and so on. But I'm getting there.

Believe you me, it's long over due considering I use to make a pretty decent living building websites for people. Although I use to be in charge of the graphics and layout, and the coding was left up to my partner, I still had to have a pretty good knowledge of what could be done (read: html.) Learning code comes pretty easy to me except for the fact that I find IT SO BORING! Well, usually anyway. This CSS stuff I'm not bored with at all. In fact, I'm designing websites even in my sleep!

Yesterday morning's conversation between Monkey and I when I first woke up:

Me: Ok now I'm designing websites in my sleep.

Monkey: In your sleep? You mean instead of actually sleeping?

Me: No I mean WHILE I'm sleeping - all night long I was coding the new look for our blog.

Monkey: Heh, you sure you weren't just doing it instead of sleeping?

Me: Well considering I was in prison and trying to decide what shade of brown I liked best on one window and planning a prison break in another... yes, I'm pretty sure.

Monkey: Oh. Well how'd the website turn out?

Me: I'll let you know as soon as I can figure out how to get past the tower guards.

If your children eat McDonald's... McDonald's will eat your children...

Sunday, May 14, 2006
written by Monkey

One of the biggest problems (pun intended) in our country right now is obesity.

So I'm at a customers house a few days ago and saw not one, but TWO "Get in Shape" DVD's (btw you'll look just like the girl on the cover if you work out 15 minutes a day and eat McDonald's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) from McDonald's... and I thought... "There's something seriously wrong with someone if their first step to getting in shape is buying the value meal at McD's to get the free 15 minute workout DVD. "

I'm sure McDonalds' big plan for giving these out is to help people get in shape as well... That's why they still use partially hydrogenated oil's in there fryers. ::roll eyes::

If we ever plan on fixing the obesity problem in this country we should probably start with NOT eating at McDonald's :P

Not my mother

written by Java Junkie

On almost every blog in my favorites folder there's a post regarding Mother's Day. Some have wonderful mothers and pay tribute to them, some celebrate the other mothers they know through blogging, some give thanks for being blessed with children. Now that I have the chance to breath, today, for my Mother's Day blog post, I'm going to write about two women who have shown me love and support and comfort and acceptance, encouragement and courage. Two women who are not my mother. They are my sister and my sister-in-law.

Some twentyish years ago I saw my sister for the last time that I've seen her. Forces were what they were, history was what it was, and we were torn apart. I heard from her years later through a letter once shortly after I had my first son but I was so intimidated by the fact that she was attending college and I had not I foolishly ran away from the opportunity to get to know her better then. Thank God she never held that against me.

Nikki came back into my life through this very medium - on the blog I had immediately proceeding this one, As Crazy As it Sounds. She left a message on a post regarding a Self Portrait Tuesday image and story I had posted and I didn't even have any idea that it was her. I read the reply, found it very interesting and got side tracked with a few life changes before I could answer. A few days later my Tover and I were talking on the phone and he told me she had left a comment. My life, and who I am, have been forever changed since.

The more I get to know her the more of a kindred spirit she feels to me. I mean let's face it, 20ish years is a long time to create a whole different person. She could have ended up a Mennonite or an undercover spy and we would have exactly zero in common. Or I could have. But neither of us did and here we are, decades later, finding all of the things we DO have in common while finding enough that we don't have in common to crave getting to know each other more. At least I am.

If you're not a spiritual person than you should probably skip the next paragraph. If you don't, then just know you've been warned. But I truly believe God brought her into my life again right now. She has been the soft hand on my shoulder, tenderly saying "I am here for you" during one of the hardest six month periods of my life. She has been the gentle soul that cares enough to be there, despite her own tribulations, and loves enough to understand when I'm feeling a bit withdrawn from the world. She's corny (her words) enough to make me laugh and silly enough to get my jokes. She's just as weird as I am and I love her in all her glorious wonder and amazing light. She knows what a chocolate pie day is and she says words like "swoon" in every day use. I love her, every bit of her, and I am thankful that I now have had a second chance at getting to know her. She's a mother, a friend, a beauty, a free spirit, a caring hug, and most importantly, she's my sister. I am truly blessed to be able to call her that.

Oddly enough not long after I last saw my real sister I met the woman that would become my sister-in-law. I have to admit I didn't get to know her well at first. She was raised very differently than I was and being young and prone to the selfishness that the young are prone to, I sort of just let her and my Tover go about their lives together while I went about mine.

I got to know her a bit better when my first son was born. Strong and smart, candid yet caring, I "got" who she was right away. Or at least I think I did. I've never seen her cry yet have no doubt that she can, I've never heard her scream but have no doubt that it'd be intimidating, I've never seen her break down though I know she's gone through some pretty damned scary and emotionally hard times. She's the kind of woman that makes you want to BE a better, stronger woman. She's a pint sized powerhouse and my Tover is lucky to have her.

Through the years life has brought us together. I was actually her back-up coach for her first son and had she not been whisked away for an unscheduled C-section I'm sure I would have ended up being the ONLY coach since my brother almost passed out just from them giving her an epidural. She held my hand while I was on the phone with my first husband trying to get him to tell me where he had stolen my child off to when I told him I wanted a divorce and she was my sanity when I almost went insane from boredom when I was ordered to bed rest for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy for my second son. She's also my "go to" lady when I want to know about a new product on the market, especially anything made by Swiffer ;)

When I have new and exciting news, it's her I call, it's her I share it with. When I want an honest opinion, it's her I call, it's her that I ask. When it's a fighter in my corner that I'm looking for, it's her I know I can depend on. When it's a name someone's looking for when they ask who my best friend is, it's hers that comes from my mouth. She's her own person, like her or leave her, and she's EXACTLY the way I love her.

So to both of my sisters, I love you. Happy Mother's Day.

As for my own Mother's Day - I got THE BEST present in the entire history of the world. My 17 month old baby said his first "real" word today - meaning he said his first word and knew what it meant and wasn't just imitating. He said "Mama."

If you love something, set it free.

Saturday, May 13, 2006
written by Java Junkie

One of the things my family likes to do when we get together is to tell stories of my childhood. The type of story always depends on who's present. If Monkey's around or anyone else that wasn't diapered by these crazies, they're bombarded with funny stories about how I told my Grandma to "cool (her) jets" when I was 3 and she was angry at my dad or how I added a whole 6 months to my age when I met some cool girls down at the swimming pond behind my grandparent's house. Or how I told my grandpa "right after Grandpa Season" when he asked me when (hunting) cat season opened. As these stories are recalled you'll find me off to the side with a playful roll of the eyes and a mischievous smile.

When it's just my Dad and I, however, the stories are always of the things I did when I was little that endeared me to him. Like the way I use to watch him shave every day because I was so concerned for his safety or how I colored pictures of flowers and rainbows all over his new drum heads that he had to play on for two months before we could afford to replace them and by the time we could he wanted to keep them anyway. Of how the first time he came home from an out of town gig with his drums in their brand new leather cases he found me dragging them along the sidewalk into the house, scuffing them to all hell and gone, because I was too little to carry them but I wanted my Daddy home. All the while you'll see me cuddled up to my Daddy, with my eyes closed, a soft smile on my face, remembering those times - and selfishly not sharing the memories of him that endeared him to me.

I don't know why I don't share them. Why I don't tell my dad how I use to look at him in awe as he lovingly polished his set or how I use to love riding on my dad's calves as he walked around the house or laid on his stomach on the floor bringing his feet to 900 not just because it was fun but because it was a guaranteed hug I could give to my dad that lasted well after a real hug would have. I've never told him that I use to lay underneath the coffee table until he came home from work where he would kiss me because I was playing I was Snow White or Sleeping Beauty and he was my Knight in Shining Armor. I don't know why I don't share them. I know it's not because I don't want him to know. I adore him with all of my heart and I hope he knows there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. I'm a "Daddy's girl" through and through - but not because he spoiled me, we were just too broke. I'm a "daddy's girl" in that my eyes light up when my dad's around, my heart fills with happiness and my soul with laughter. I keep these memories of him as close to my heart as I do my child's first word, but I'm fiercely more protective of them. I keep them in the fear that sharing them will somehow set them free and by doing that they won't be mine anymore. That somehow, with time, they will begin to fade, be mis-remembered, or even forgotten. However, knowing how loved it makes me feel when he recalls memories of me I now realize how much of an injustice it is that he doesn't get to have the same in return.

We're going up to visit my family on the weekend of the 20th. I've shared some of these stories here now with you but I will share them all then with him.

Addiction Brings the Death of Prairie JJ

Friday, May 12, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Being a long time sufferer of insomnia I've come up with a few "inventive" ways to try to quiet my mind for the day while laying in bed. I draw the most elaborate numbers I can from 100 to 1 on my bed sheet with my finger, I spend lotto winnings, I design and build buildings, I decide what I would do if I had a time machine that could take me back to the old west. Sometimes it works but sometimes I end up realizing I'm having too much fun to fall asleep. The last is one of my favorites because what I actually do is try to decide which inventions would be best to take back to that age and how I would make a living as a fairly independent woman being transported to a time before women's suffrage. What comforts of today I would have to live without really was never much of a concern as long as I could have the most important element in my day to day life besides my family, coffee.

So on my fantasy would play. I would shock everyone by taking daily baths and how nice my skin and hair would look because I would know secrets to keeping them healthy with avocados and mayonnaise. How I would help medicine by helping to debunk many of the wives tales "doctors" relied on for diagnosis and treatment. How fresh and unprocessed the food would be.

Five days ago something happened that will forevermore keep me from being Prairie JJ. Something so drastic that I realize I have a problem, an addiction. Something that made me realize how frail and weak and dependant I have become to this thing, this control over my life.



Our microwave broke. Monkey found me shivering in a ball in the corner.

Commandments of giving blood...

Thursday, May 11, 2006
written by Monkey

I gave blood on Tuesday... Every time I do I feel like I'm going to Confessional... Forgive me father for I have sinned... it's been 6 months since my last donation...

Then they start asking all the questions... "Next question sir... have you had sex with a dead drug addicted Mexican hooker while getting a skin graft in the UK since 1986?"

The other thing I love is the sticker they give you to put on the blood bag while they're "not looking" with the bar code on it... one sticker tells them to use the blood and one tells them to throw it away... why the heck am I here sticking a pencil in my arm just so you can throw it away???

Oh and Chris Daughtry getting voted off American Idol is crap ><

The Electric Amish

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
written by Monkey

Seriously though... since when did the Amish discover the internet? If you search amazon.com for dinette sets there's over 400 made by the Amish! Did I miss something? Have the Amish arisen from their humble roots to take over our world?

Don't mind me, I'm just having another emotional breakdown

Monday, May 08, 2006
written by Java Junkie

First of all, welcome to the first draft of Java Junkie and The Monkey. I can't promise this is where we'll end up for good because I'm still trying to get Monkey to agree to let me register our own domain so that I can host our own blog. After having my own web dev business for 5 years I'm just neurotic about being able to do what I want, how I want, where I want. Simply put, I'm a web site control freak :D But more than likely this is where we'll still be long from now and far from here.

I can only imagine the impression I've given those of you that have only met me through blogging. For about the last 2 months on my most recent blog,
As Crazy as it Sounds I've done a fair amount of pouting, complaining, ranting, and whining. Mind you there were some fun moments in there as well but by and large much more drama than I really am accustom to. And here I am again to add yet another post that literally hurts my chest, physically and emotionally, to write.

I debated whether or not to write something at all for a couple days. I kept going back to the fact that I wasn't even sure my Tover knew so I didn't want to write it in fear that he would find out this horrid news that I learned last Wednesday through a blog. Last night, however, I spoke to him and found out that he did, indeed, know. And now I write in hopes to better be able to cope with what I need to. To find courage somehow through typing out all of the crippling emotions out here. A blind hope that somewhere, some magic word, some post, hitting "publish" - will somehow give me the strength that I need for myself - and for others.

Wednesday while I was out spending 3 hours being x-rayed and poked and prodded at a Rheumatologist's office to be told that yes, I did indeed have CFIDS but there was nothing he could do for me, my Daddy left a message on our answering machine saying that he was living up to his promise and that he had a "bit of bad news, nothing earth shattering" that he wanted to tell me about. I called him as soon as I heard the message only to play phone tag with him. He called me back within minutes.

Someone kicked my knees out from under me... And then they hit me with a 2x4 across the back, skillfully removing all air from my chest and paralyzing my heart in a vice in one instant motion. Even now, almost a week later, as I type this, words cannot describe the fear, the pain, the anger, the irrationality I feel as I think of the words he said to me. "My last PET scan showed two dark spots on my lungs."

Awhile ago I had listed my dad's 5th year anniversary surviving stage 4 lymphatic cancer as one of the top 10 moments in my life. In marriage the 50th anniversary is the "big" one.. With cancer, it's the 5th. After surviving cancer without relapse for 5 years the patient's chances of having a relapse drops drastically and their chances of living a full and normal life span increases to 90% or better, depending on the cancer. Now that date, that moment, that number, just seems so unreal to me. Not SURreal. Unreal. Inconsequential. Five and a half years after my dad's cancer was removed, along with most of the muscle from his left ear down to his left shoulder and the nerves that control the left side of his tongue and he was radiated and chemo'ed until he lost all his teeth, 80 lbs, contracted a permanent systemic staph infection that at times renders him essentially quarantined from children and elderly, his thyroid became almost unmanageable, and he can no longer eat most solid foods, they have now retracted that percentage and thrown in a big, pile of "too fucking bad" to flush it down the toilet with.

He tells me that there is a 20% error rate on PET scans, and that they'll be doing 2 CAT scans within the next week to cross check. He tells me that if it IS cancer, that it's actually GOOD that it's in his lungs and not in his neck where it was originally because they wouldn't be able to treat it at ALL there. He tries to encourage my spirits by reminding me that there wasn't anything on his last PET scan 3 months ago and so if it IS cancer they caught it early. But all I can hear is "My last PET scan showed two dark spots on my lungs" "two dark spots on my lungs" "on my lungs."

Every minute, every single second that it enters my mind, which is about 389 thousand times an hour, I pray "Please don't take my Daddy away from me, God. Please let my Daddy be ok." And that's all I can find the strength to do before I have to wipe tears from my eyes, try to find at least some of the breath that 2x4 knocked out of me again, and go read
Mr. Brown Can Moo for the 10th time that day.