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March 2006
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May 2006

New Graphics!

So here is my new design - all thanks to Steven, graphic designer extraordinaire!  I asked if he would make me a (single) logo and a (single) banner.  Instead, he made me a whole slew of super cool and FUN graphics that could be used all over the place.  I am so excited!  Here is a sampling.

A wg logo (he did more than one treatment).

  Wg_sil_black_sm_copy_2

Just hanging out.

Wg_hand_on_hip_rt_copy_1

Emoticon heads.  Strangely, these actually capture my real-life goofiness.  For example here is me mouthing off.    

Head_3_copy_3

Me (or rather my character) as a superhero in my killer car, speeding off to fight crime! (or succumbing to road rage)  How cool is that?!

Wg_car_drive_copy

I had a lot of fun on this project (and I think Steven did, too).  Because I work in marketing as a project manager who can also write/edit, I’ve produced a lot of different materials.  Basically, someone (usually paid better than I) comes to me and says, “hey I need a datasheet / promotional ad / newsletter, etc.” and my job is to get it done.  I’m usually the one pulling all the resources together, working with the designers, working with the writers or writing the content myself, making sure everything gets printed the right way and delivered.

This is the first time I’ve ever had graphics done for me.  What a rush.

And hopefully I wasn’t too much of a pain in the butt for Steven.           

           – the weirdgirl


Why is the Word Monkey so Funny*?

Today completely got away from me.  (I’m not even sure how it happened.  Damn runaway days!  Always loitering in front of the 7-11, smart-mouthing honest folks and dressing atrociously.  Get a job, you!  Be productive!)  Therefore I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

It was just brought to my attention that my blog was experiencing problems in Safari.  Mad thanks to Eric who both pointed out AND helped me with the HTML issue. Eric, you rock!  I think I’ve got the problem fixed, but if anyone sees anything strange in Safari (or any other browser) please give me a shout.  Thank you all!

I’m in the middle of doing some redesigns for the site.  Stay tuned and if I don’t post for a couple of days it’s ‘cause I’m playing with colors in typepad.  What?  I like to play too, and they keep taking away my crayons.             – the weirdgirl

*I’m so tired that first I’m finding the word monkey incredibly funny (OK, I think it’s funny all the time), and then second, I started looking up quotes about them.  Obviously my brain just stops functioning after a certain point.  But here’s what I found:

“We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.”   - Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

And a bit of sage parenting wisdom (in this typing monkeygirl’s opinion):

“If you raise three children who can knock out and hog tie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right.”   Marge, The Simpsons


The Agony

I have this strategy I employ when I’m really in a hurry; I let my son play with inappropriate toys.  (Bad mommy, BAD!)  See, if he’s having one of those particularly clingy moments (which luckily doesn’t involve so much of the clingy but the need to be within the same three feet of me) and, say, I’m trying to get dressed / put on makeup / dry my hair I’ll let him dig through the bathroom cupboards or unroll the toilet paper roll into a pile on the floor or play with my feminine pads.  It keeps him happy, lets him stay in my vicinity (and theoretically in sight), and let’s me get ready somewhat peacefully. 

Recently that strategy bit me in the butt.

One of his favorite things to do in the bathroom is dig through my makeup drawer.  And who can blame a kid, right?  All that cool packaging and bright colors.  Little boxes, and bottles, and cool pencil things all shiny-like and pretty, perfect for little hands.  He was quite entertained and I could get ready for a luncheon with girlfriends I hadn’t seen in months.  I was going out, baby!  All by myself (I mean, sans kid) and I was going to hang with other chicks and we were going to do chicky things and eat good food in peace and wear nice clothes with no little hands smearing stuff on them.

So you can see I was a little distracted. Distracted enough not to see Chance manage to wrestle my expensive face powder out of it’s wrapper.  Nor to see him make his way to the toilet (where I had idiotically left the lid up).  It was the slight motion out of the corner of my eye and the PLOP that got my attention.

AARGH!!!

In a split second I had plunged my (nicely moisturized and perfumed ready-to-go-out) arm in and fished it out.  And then I had another decision.  Do I throw away the expensive makeup that just fell in the john?  (Well, you say, why are you still buying expensive makeup anyway?  What are you, one of those narcissistic moms?  Expensive because at almost 35 I am still occasionally breaking out and, yes, the expensive shit really does make a difference.)  OR do I just wipe off the powder (it didn’t look like it absorbed any water) and pretend it didn’t fall in the toilet?  Maybe figure out a way to disinfect it later after my lunch? 

Guess which decision I went with?  And then, because I was still distracted and now in a hurry, I forgot to set aside that particular powder for later disinfection and instead it got mixed up with my other packages of powder.  (What?  You don’t buy makeup in bulk?)  I no longer know which one got dumped in the crapper. 

I could very well be wearing toilet powder at this very minute.  Is that a metaphor, or what?

(Strangely enough, I haven’t had a breakout since that incident.)      

             - the weirdgirl


Sharing the stories, part two

In continuation from yesterday, here is the second story I promised Cynical Dad, the FBI Bugging Story. 

As you may have gathered from past posts, and in direct contrast to my conservative grandparents, my parents were hippies.  They even belonged to a “commune” at one point.  Commune is in parentheses because I have to preface this story with a few notes first.  My parents were hippies but they weren’t such extremists that they never washed, walked around barefoot singing kum ba yah, and made their living weaving hand-crafted hemp baskets that they bartered out of the back of their VW bus*.  My dad had a job (in, ironically, high tech even though for years he was a complete technophobe) and my parents owned a house.  The commune they were part of was actually a local church (Episcopalian), where a number of the congregation all lived together in an adjoining house.  The church ran a number of outreach services, such as a Crisis Hotline and counseling services, out of the house.  Except for all living together and adhering to hippie aesthetics and principles the church never sounded to me like it was all that extreme or different from other churches.  But in our (then) small town most of the townspeople apparently referred to our church as “those damn hippies” and eventually the city council succeeded in getting the house condemned so they all had to stop living together. 

Alright, back to the story.  So a good friend of my parents and one of the members of this church/commune was a priest named Brother John.  It was a really tight community and they were close enough that he was even my older brother’s godfather.  This was also still during Vietnam and everyone in the commune was very opposed to the war and were pretty active about protesting, but it had always been peaceful protest.  Well, one day Brother John walked into a local government building and set fire to the room containing all the draft records.  He then helped several ladies out of the building and waiting calmly outside to be arrested, giving himself up to the police.  It was a very strong, though not very passive, anti-war statement.  He went to prison and served time.  I don’t know how much the other church members knew or not about what he was planning to do, but it has always been my impression from the stories that Brother John acted alone.  This was before I was born so I never got to meet him.  I think my parents also lost track of where he ended up over the years (I’ll have to ask them).

The fallout of Brother John’s torching of the draft was that most of the church/commune was under heavy surveillance for quite some time by local authorities.  Most of the group assumed that they were also being bugged by the FBI and federal forces as well.  I always thought it was kind of funny how both entirely convinced and nonchalant they all were about their “government files”. 

I don’t know if my family was really bugged, but that’s the story I heard. I do know it was the 60s and “herbs” were freely available. 

I’m sure some would say that the government is probably still keeping tabs on us “radicals” (and children thereof) today.  And if that’s true I kinda feel sorry for the poor agents bugging my house… ‘cause that’s gotta be the most boring tapes EVER! 

Agent 1: Wait, it sounds like she’s got a “package.”  I can’t get a clear signal… can you confirm, Sparrow?  Over.

Agent 2:  Yes, she has something… hold on, I’m getting audio… it’s poops in the pants.  I repeat, poops in the pants.  Sounds like 2:00 diaper duty.  Over.

You know an agent really screwed up somewhere if he/she got stuck doing home surveillance.         

What kind of crazy stories did you all inherit?         – the weirdgirl

(*My parents did own a VW bus, though.  They had to use it once to drive everyone at the commune to the hospital when they all got food poisoning.  My parents were the only ones who owned a car.  And we did sing kum ba yah, but only at church… and sit-ins… and sometimes camping.  OK, and my mom did weave but that’s only because she’s really into textile crafts.  And she never used hemp.)


Sharing the stories…

So Cynical Dad finally shared his famous (and scary!) death threat story after several of us pestered asked him about the details.  I, in turn, promised to share some stories as well.  So here goes…

The Nuclear Weapons Story

My grandfather worked in the labs where they were developing nuclear weapons after the second world war.  He had been in the Navy where he was trained in electronics, and at the time training through the military and working for the government put you pretty much on the cutting edge of technology (well, unless you went to MIT).  For example, my grandfather learned all about TV and radio equipment repair before TVs were found in every household.  (OK, TV repair isn’t a big deal now, but it was then.)  Anyway, he worked in labs in both California and Nevada. 

I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know exactly what he did in the labs.  You know how it is when you’re a kid… you hear these stories, but the questions that occur to you as an adult never cross your mind as a child.  Now that I’m a grown-up I’m a lot more curious about the details and I want to learn more.  I know he wasn’t a scientist, but he was definitely part of the developing/testing teams.  (I know there are even a couple of books out there about the nuclear labs with his picture in them.)  I imagine that he was a technician.  This part of my family has mechanical aptitude in spades.  My grandfather can build anything.  He’s built instruments (such as my hammer dulcimer), electronics, a working spinning wheel once for my mom, he brews his own beer (and built all the equipment), etc.  For his last project he decided to build one of those pop-up campers.  You know those ones that fold down into a little u-haul-looking trailer?  He’s in his seventies and he built a CAMPER!  From scratch.  With folding down beds, toilet, and working electrical.  Then he made my poor granny go camping.

OK, so here is the freakiest nuclear story (at least, I think so) of the family stories and the one that I wanted to share.  While my grandparents lived in Nevada, there used to be this testing site they called Doomstown.  It was basically a whole little town the testing facility built, and they used to drop bombs on it so they could see what happens.  At the time they still didn’t fully understand how long the radiation lingered at a test site and its effects (this is, after all, one of the reasons why they continued to do such extensive research for so long).  They thought that the radiation levels of the town were pretty safe to walk through only two weeks after a bombing.  They regularly took the local elementary schools on field trips through Doomstown!  My mom was still in grade school while they lived there.  My mom (and obviously, my grandfather) was seriously exposed to nuclear radiation.   

(I keep waiting and waiting for my mutant superpowers to appear but to no avail.  I probably should just shut up and be happy.  Anyone see the Hills Have Eyes?) 

I’ll save the FBI bugging story until tomorrow (if you all still want to hear it).  That one features my hippie parents (in direct contrast to my conservative grandparents).  Is it any wonder I came out strange?         - the weirdgirl


Things parents should be able to include on their resumes

Special Skills:

Highly adept at wrestling others into submission (children… co-workers… what’s the difference, really?)

Ability to sniff out poop at fifty paces (extra valuable against the office practical joker who always takes it too far)

Skilled at cleaning up other peoples’ messes

Immune to unpleasant odors or tense office meetings (or sometimes both) 

Extensive experience saying “no” consistently and in a firm voice until all foolishness stops (again, children, warring co-workers, what’s the difference?)

Ability to spoon-feed as necessary

Management-level conflict resolution training (i.e. tantrums)

Proficient in accurately categorizing employees (children or pets) for maximum efficiency; applicable knowledge of who to promote (pets)

Knowledge of the value of “incentives” (i.e. toys)

Other skills include mentoring expertise, multi-tasker, take charge attitude

Compensation Requirements: office with locking door; unsupervised potty breaks; unlimited caffeinated beverages (none of which are prepared by me)

References are attached.  Thank you for your consideration.  Sincerely, the weirdgirl


A Day in the Life (of a dingy smartass)

This is an example of the kind of dingy crap I’ve been doing lately. 

Walk into the kitchen to get a fresh cup of tea. 

Think about chocolate.

Rinse out cup, put it on the counter.

Because I MUST multi-task, also start water for Chance’s next bottle and wipe down counter.

Think about laundry.

Start filling cup from water cooler that has dual hot/cold water taps.

Think about the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt. (I have no idea why this popped into my head. Something about differing generational expectations… or something.)  Try to remember how old I was when it happened. (10)

Finish filling cup with water.

Walk to microwave, put in cup, start to punch numbers.

Stop.

Furrow brow. Think, “Why am I nuking it? Did I fill it with cold water?”

Stick finger into scalding hot water to check temperature.

Pull cup from microwave, put in teabag.

Contemplate the Bugs Bunny line, “What a maroon.”

Wonder if pregnancy permanently addled my brain.

Think about the color maroon.

What I’ve actually been doing is working through another (work) crunch period, taking care of my poor emotionally-regressed little boy (he has another cold), coordinating some playgroup items (wha? how did that happen?), and forgetting about a million other things.  Par for the course.  But I’m still blaming it on pregnancy.  In fact, despite how busy I become or how harried I feel, I have identified the TRUE recurring themes in my life. It is not, as you might imagine, “family, friends, work, blogging.”  It is instead, “family, chocolate, blame pregnancy, desire sleep, caffeine, writing.”  Please expect an anguished poem with these themes any day now.            – the weirdgirl

Alright, I couldn’t wait on the poem.  Envision with dramatic pauses and “significant” looks.  Oh, and I’ll be wearing a beret.

The thinning cry drifts

shallow down the hall.

Chocolate drips like tears…

like mucus…

robbing me from sleep. 

Muffled brain shuffles incomprehensively

across label:

the children’s Tylenol glares.

My stretch marks sing soothingly.

(OK, I’ll stop being a complete smartass now.)


Let’s Stick With the Basics…

“Carob is a brown powder made from the pulverized fruit of a Mediterranean evergreen. Some consider carob an adequate substitute for chocolate because it has some similar nutrients (calcium, phosphorus), and because it can, when combined with vegetable fat and sugar, be made to approximate the color and consistency of chocolate. Of course, the same arguments can as persuasively be made in favor of dirt.”   - Sandra Boynton (a children’s author I can really get behind)

“You go back. You search for what made you happy when you were smaller. We are all grown up children, really... So one should go back and search for what was loved and found to be real.”   - Audrey Hepburn

“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”  - Peter De Vries

“The only truly happy people are children and the creative minority.” 

    - Jean Caldwell

The three C’s: children, chocolate, and creativity – and they laughed at me when I said I was going to keep growing younger.           – the weirdgirl

(Plus, chocolate is an analgesic for, you know, when kids and creativity get you in trouble.)


Bunnies Wrapped

The end of another successful visit with the relatives. (Successful meaning I survived without getting really annoyed at anyone.)  I kid. (sorta)  It was nice.  But I know I’m tired because I tried to wrestle the foil off a chocolate egg and it took me a couple of MINUTES!  I mean, this aint brain surgery.  Once upon a time I could husk a Hershey kiss in the 1 ½ seconds it took to pick it up off the table and raise it to my mouth.  No one ever mentions the small ways we feel our age, do they?

I’m really looking forward to the years when the kiddo will get excited about meeting the Easter bunny or Santa, when he chooses his own costume for Halloween, when he sets up an ambush for the Tooth Fairy.  (What?  Admit it, of all the made-up holiday figures when you’re a kid the Tooth Fairy is the ONE character where you’re not too worried about getting on her wrong side.  Presents and candy versus a quarter for your tooth?  Psssh!  I think most kids will risk the quarter on the off chance they could catch a real fairy. Think of the street cred!)  There is something about watching young children still immersed in the wonder of the holidays… so much fun.  It’s the experience of it that’s a gift, more than the gifts of chocolate or presents.  You know, it’s that wonder and magic (both religious and not) that we parents really give them.  (And give ourselves.) 

Ah, I’m getting all sappy.  Chance isn’t at that point yet, but I bet it’ll start next year.  Until then… I get ALL his chocolate!  Bwa ha ha!  (It’s really been an evil laugh sort of week.)

On a completely different note I’m hoping some of you might help me.  Keen took a video on our digital camera that is now sideways when I downloaded it to my computer. Can anyone recommend a good video editing program (preferably cheap or free)?  All I really need is something basic that will let me rotate the frames.  Oh, and being able to add sound would be cool too.  Any suggestions?           – the weirdgirl

P.S. Additions made to both the Happy Preggers Day post below and The Things They Don’t Tell You in Lamaze.


Thursday, Thursday, so good to me

Today is Thursday (and you’re all thinking “duh” – but it is a feat for me to know what day it is, just so you understand).  Thursdays I drop off Chance for “bonding time” with his grammy (my MIL).  Usually I then run around on errands, stuff I didn’t get done the rest of the week, maybe with a little indulgent food or shopping thrown in.  Or work.  Thursdays are definitely used to get caught up on work.  But not today.  This Thursday, I’m came back home to a nice quiet house to catch up on my blogging*.  BWA HA HA!  (I didn’t really need to do the evil laugh, I just wanted to.)

I’ve been tagged by both Black Belt Mama and J’s Mommy (Another Mommy Moment).  It turns out that I was also tagged for this meme in February (I had to go back and check) which you can see here (those are probably the more interesting ones).  But for the sake of the game I’ll try to come up with six more weird things.

OK, six weird facts:

1. My mom apparently used to talk to me in Old English when I was baby (she was taking it at college).  I think this explains some garbled dreams I used to have as a kid.

2. I like to own several pairs of glasses in different colors so I can accessorize with my outfits.  (You know, like Sandra Oh on Arliss?)  Since getting pregnant and becoming a mom I only wear one set all the time.  (I now often unconsciously color-coordinate my son’s outfits with mine.  How much sadder is that?)

3. I find myself absolutely UNABLE to leave the house in sweats or pajama bottoms

4. I can play the hammer dulcimer (well, at least I used to)

5. I don’t get jealous (or very, very rarely, it’s happened maybe a handful of times in my life).  I have been told that this is strange and unusual(?).

6. I can remember changing my youngest brother’s diapers (he’s 13 years younger than me) and now he makes comments about his sex life in my presence.  (He is unfazed by my reaction.)

Now for six tags.  Please feel free to play or not. (I’ll try to pick people who I don’t think have done this meme; but forgive me if you have).  Zygote Daddy, Siren (if you’re not too busy moving), Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored, Cyndi at Times and Places, :p fuzzbox, and Stella at Finding Zen.  I just want to see what they’ll all say.

Good night folks!             - the weirdgirl

*Since beginning the writing of this post to finishing it several hours later, some work emails and calls I had been waiting on came in.  I didn’t get very far in my blogging after all.  DAMNIT!