Crafters, unite!

I have seen my future…and I am frightened.

BTW – did I tell you that I’m a knitter now?  I’m making some of my Christmas gifts because I have less money and more TIME nowadays.  But right now I’m exclusively working on gifts for women (Mom/Sisters/Friends – act surprised when you get your knitted Christmas gift from me.  What could it be?  What could it be?!).  Because that’s the irony of homemade gifts.  They’re mostly for women.  Made by women.

It’s hard to find gifts-you-can-make for men.  But I have an idea and I have my eye on a loom at the fabric store that will allow me to make gigantic men socks for Father/Husband/Brother for Christmas.  (Guys – you act surprised too!)

And lucky day!  I have a Veteran’s Day coupon good for 60% off one regularly priced item at Jo-Ann Fabrics (I’m a Preferred Customer naturally).  Loom here I come!

So I…along with all of the other crafters in the Western Hemisphere…were at Jo-Ann’s today using our 60% off coupons.

Is it just me, or do all the other crafters seem to be wackiest of wackadoodles?!  These women actually KNOW what all those weird, reminiscent-of-torture-device knitting needles are actually FOR!  Which is something to be admired.  But it’s the greasy hair and absolutely no fashion sense (ill-fitting dark velour sweatsuit sprinkled with dandruff and cat hairs anyone?) that has me concerned.  Oh!  And the fact that they’re all a good 20 years older than I.  Not a man in sight.  Surprise, surprise.

Is this what my future holds?  20 years from now, will I have stopped dyeing my hair (and washing it?  Thin AND greasy??  One or the other, Ladies.  We don’t need both)?  And stopped dressing like I care??

I care now!  And even for a trip to the fabric store where I knew it would be just us gals, I was dressed super cute – gold dangly earrings and jeans tucked into boots I’ve gotten tons of compliments on because they have a Ralph Lauren brown edging on the top of the black quilted leather (can you say Kohl’s 30% off coupon combined with Kohl’s cash?  Score!!) along with a deep purple, slouchy shirt with a gold colored rose-shaped applique all down one arm and on left hand side of it.  Totally cute, right?

But THEY were looking at ME like I was the wackadoodle.  Was it because they were all stunned by my beauty and the memory of what it was like to be a fresh-faced, enthusiastic crafter with a coupon?!  Or were they trying to figure out where I got the gold rose applique and how I ironed it on to my shirt?!?  (psst!  I bought it this way.  At a boutique.  Back when I had money.  Are you kidding me?  You’d never find something like this at a craft store!)

Field Trip

Hey!  Turns out there IS something worse than dealing with the unemployment compensation agency.  And that “something” is going on a 3rd grade field trip to the Museum of Nature and Science.

It all started last night when my son explained to me that they got to pick their own field trip groups.  And that he tried really hard to get some girls, but they were all “tooken” by the time it was his turn to pick.  So his group of 5 was comprised of all boys.  Or monkeys depending on how you look at it.  But thanks for trying to get some feminine balance of power in there for me, Sweetie!

Waaaaaay too much free time in the museum today.  In between lunch and the planetarium show, it was just free-time.  Hours and hours and HOURS of free time.

And when we have that much free time, we all tend to get anxious.  Take the boy who stuck close to me and wasn’t as monkey-ish as the rest in the group.  He was totally anxious about the time – all day long.  Even after I had proven that I could get them where they needed to be, ON TIME!  He just kept asking over and over, “is it time to go to the planetarium yet?”  and “how much longer until we should head towards the planetarium?” or “how about the bus ride home?  When do we need to get on the bus home??”

Ugh!  Enough with the questions about time.  After about the 23rd one, we came to an understanding that in today’s play, I would star as the chaperone who was totally keeping an eye on the time and he would play the part of the boy who was just having fun and enjoying himself on his field trip with his friends.  There was a subtle nuance to his role in that he was ALSO playing the part of the boy who was going to ask Santa for a watch for Christmas.

And yes.  Yes.  An 8 year old boy’s nose WILL bleed 15 minutes into the dinosaur exhibit especially if 1) getting to a bathroom means another 10 minute rush-walk out the other end of the exhibit 2) there are no tissues anywhere on God’s green earth or in the Museum of Nature and Science and 3) HE’S BEEN PICKING HIS NOSE ALL DAY!!!

Perhaps HE was playing the role of the mummy embalmer (the boys grossed themselves out over in the ancient Egypt Exhibit) who pulled brains out through noses?!  And I’m not even going to mention the extraordinarily weird one-off conversation I had with the Ear-Nose-Throat doctor in that same mummification section who felt it was necessary to describe in detail to me the way that he worked (past tense since he’s retired naturally and now spending his days at the museum BOTHERING ME!!!) with neurosurgeons  to remove pituitary glands.  The description came with “close talking” and overly descriptive finger pointing.

Perhaps the museum is actually located in another dimension where the weirdest stuff on earth happens?  And that’s why it takes so long to get there in the seen-better-days Greyhound bus??  (No, boys.  I know the candy is still wrapped.  And I agree, they DO look like a perfectly good Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars, but if you found them on the windowsill of this bus – DO NOT EAT THEM!!).

There was some reprieve in the “Discovery Zone” section of the museum, but it was way too short-lived.  And the whole time I had to keep an eagle eye on the worker WEARING the hissing cockroach on her cardigan like a jaunty brooch.   And based on all the crazy stuff the boys were touching and sniffing (??) in there, they’re all gonna get rhinorrhea shortly.

Also, the kids are studying Native Americans and the museum did have a nice little Native American exhibit going on, so we were able to get a little “research” in while we were there.  But that mostly consisted of everyone running through the life-size Navajo hogan.  And gawking at all the stuff you can make with buffalo bones.

At the end of the day I’m sure all the boys went home and told their mothers what a mean mother my son has.  Well – let them see what kind of rave reviews they get when THEY star as the chaperone in the next field trip play!

At least I didn’t fall asleep in the back of the bus like one of the other mothers.  And that was only after she had broken the rules about buying the kids in her group something.  She bought them all chocolate.  And she bought herself a coffee from the cafeteria.  Really?!  I didn’t even know there was a gift shop or a cafeteria.  I was too busy being run ragged by monkeys to go SHOPPING!  And SHE has the nerve to fall asleep??  She’s for sure not gonna win any Oscars for her chaperone portrayal.

The day AFTER Election Day

We’ve established that I live in Colorado.  And if you’ve paid any attention to the election…or the news…or the election news…you may have heard that Colorado passed Amendment 64 yesterday.  Amendment 64 allows those 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at specially regulated retail stores.  Possession would be legal, but not public use.  Adults could grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes.

Not sure who wrote this law.  Probably some brainiac smoking weed that he grew in his basement.

BTW – did I mention that I’m in the midst of fighting with the Unemployment Compensation Agency about my unemployment benefits?  The fight goes a little something like this:

THEM: You have received severance from your recent employer.  Severance is not considered wages.  But if we divided your severance amount by your weekly wages, we find that it’s like you got paid every week by your employer through the end of December.

ME: Sigh.  Ok, you just said my severance wasn’t considered wages, right?  And I looked up the Advisory Bulletin from the Colorado Division of Labor online and it said that severance pay is a benefit offered by employers at their own discretion.  It also said that severance pay is not wages or compensation.  So…while I received a BENEFIT from my employer, I didn’t receive WAGES or COMPENSATION – BY YOUR OWN DEFINITION!!!!  Arggghhhh!!!  So therefore give me my unemployment compensation ya %&$^#&%!  And also, if we’re being honest here, you (and by you I mean the government) took out half of my severance in taxes.  So if we’re sticking to the letter of the law, the wages I DIDN’T get paid DON’T cover me through the end of December.

THEM: You filed your appeal late.  Your reasoning as to why you are entitled to unemployment compensation may or may not be acceptable, but first you have to tell us why your appeal was late.

ME: Gaaaahhhh!!!  Ok, you gave me 20 days to file my appeal based on the day you sent my notice of denial of benefits.  You say you sent the notice of denial on this date in September.  Yet, the envelope was actually postmarked 2 days AFTER that date in September when you said you sent my notice.  And I didn’t receive it until 5 days after that what with those pesky week-ends and such.  So I sent my reply within 20 days OF THE DATE I RECEIVED THE NOTICE OF DENIAL!  Oh.  And also?  The two choices you provided for how to respond to my denial were counterintuitive.  One, I could reply by mail.  Yeah.  Right.  I saw how well that worked for YOU on the outbound trip.  And two, I could reply by fax.  Well, that there would be a really nice option if I were sitting in an office where they have fax machines galore.  But you see there’s a little catch.  I AM UNEMPLOYED SO I’M NOT SITTING IN AN OFFICE WHERE THERE’S A FAX MACHINE!  The only one who has a fax machine in this scenario is the unemployment agency and my husband at his place of employment but he travels constantly and so faxed it when he was able.

THEM:  Radio silence.

So…while they maintain their radio silence, I’m thinking of ways to earn me some of that there money everyone is talking about but which I don’t have.  ‘Cause I didn’t get paid wages, did I?!?

Makes growing those 6 plants referenced earlier look like a mighty fine option from where I’m sitting.  But if I sold anything from said plants, would it be considered wages?  And therefore would it effect my unemployment compensation??  Wait!  I have the perfect people to ask about that!!!

Election Day

As I learned from my 3rd grader during his recent study of the branches of the government: voting is both a right AND a responsibility of citizens.

So I voted today.

And all I gotta say is that we are the best country in the world.  So why can’t you people wash before you cast your ballots?!?

It was fine when we were standing outside in the bracing 32 degree/7 am weather…but once you get into the warm building and weave through the annoying amusement park ride line (as in wait! I thought this line was short but it loops back on itself and then goes into a whole OTHER ROOM!!!  Gaaaahhh!!!) – the lack of (others’) personal hygiene becomes evident.

And for the love of all that’s holy, more teeth brushing, Folks!  Please!!!

And to the dude in the blue North Face fleece jacket?  You gotta get one of those lint rollers for pet hair because either your cat has been sitting on your jacket or you’ve been sitting on your cat. It’s a total mess from where I’m standing (behind you).

And to the jokey group on my left?  No, those of us here before 7:30 are not having their names entered for a $1,000 drawing.

And to the lady standing behind me in line?  Good for you for voting for the first time.  The only question here is – how did you get to be about 50 (judging by the face wrinkles is all) without ever having voted before!?!

The “drive by” mail-in ballot arrangement they had going on in the parking lot looked pretty sweet and I’ve made a mental note to pursue for future years.

And it bears mentioning at this point that my husband was saving me a spot in line while I got the kids off to school (and possibly curled my hair & put on makeup), but then he had to go inside so I lost my place in line. Jerk!  Every citizen for himself apparently.

But the news cameras are here so perhaps the hair/make-up delay might be worth it in the end.  My big break might happen right here in the polling place! Surely if they’re going to interview an upstanding citizen, they would interview me over the chick still in her jammies?!?

For the record it’s really hard to vote:

  • while you’re worried you have to go to the bathroom pretty bad
  • there’s a guy aggressively sniffing his nose next to you
  • there’s a newscaster behind you reporting on the traffic (?!) and catching your worst camera angle (the fat a$$ angle, perhaps you’ve heard of it?!  Turns out big break was a big bust)
  • all while surreptitiously trying to remove your cute, floaty gray sweater from some weird Velcro tab on the voting machine without knocking down an entire row of lightweight voting machines made up mostly of black cardboard and Velcro tabs.

But all’s well that ends well.  I got me one of them there coveted “I Voted” stickers that you see plastered on the parking lot out front ’cause they fall off pretty easily.  I got it in a weird, unintended handing-out-the-diploma sort of way as I turned in my electronic ballot card there at the end.

Right AND responsibility accomplished!

I voted!

I voted!


Friday night’s gonna be all right

Big school fundraiser is a week away.  And while I’m not chairing it this year (like I did for the last three years running), I am still helping out.  Right now I’m knee deep in table seating drama.

Seriously?  Are we all still in 5th grade – or just our kids?!?  Open Message to All People Over the Age of 21: You will actually survive if you’re not seated with 12 of your BFF’s for an hour during a mediocre dinner.

Anyway…haven’t updated the blog in a few days – what with Halloween and table seating drama going on on this end.

But that song from the old Fame show just popped into my head today about Friday Nights and I wanted to share it.  By the way, does anyone else have 80’s songs popping into their head during random days/times?  Or is that just me?? (probably just me, but I’m hopeful it’s not)

In fact, it’s my firm opinion that there’s an 80’s song for every situation…and really the entire history of the world could be told through the lyrics of 80’s songs – ’cause there’s that many good ones out there!  (again, just me on this one?  Better not be because this is totally true!)

But I digress.  The lyrics to this particular one (really, who’s the band?  I think it’s referred to as The Kids from Fame??  Can you imagine explaining that on your resume during a job interview???) go like this:

Friday night’s gonna be all right

It’s gonna be right

It’s gonna be all right now baby

So get ready for Friday night!

And none too soon!  But I’ll probably feel the exact same way NEXT week!  And I don’t even HAVE a full time job!!!