I’m the Last Person to Post on This

Michael Jackson

I was waiting a bit for all the MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD! hoopla to end before posting this. That, and I’ve just been really lazy about posting lately. I know that we’ve all be tired about the Michael Jackson overload from last week, but hopefully we can go on with the rest of our lives. So just one more little thing before I move on with life without Jacko.

In the last decade or so, Michael Jackson had been a bit cuckoo. Marrying Elvis’ daughter, the molestation charges, hanging his baby off a balcony, walking around with his kids in masks and lets not forget how unrecognizable his face had become because of all his plastic surgery. I admit, I had written him off - until he died.

It’s almost like one of those “Where were you moments” that you have in your life - for me, several of those moments had been the explosion of the Challenger (we were in class, but were all brought into a classroom with other gradeschool classes to watch the news as our teachers told us what was going on), the death of Princess Diana (sitting at home watching Saturday Night Live) and 9/11 (was late to work after seeing the first plane hit the WTC, thought it was an accident). In this case, I had stepped out to get a really late lunch and came back to my home laptop and saw a bunch of tweets (Twitter postings) speculating his death. From then on, all that you saw on TV and the news was MJ related.

For as much has he’d been Wacko Jacko over the last few years of his life, those didn’t dominate my first thoughts in the wake of his death. Instead, I was brought back to 1984, as a little girl sitting on her grandmother’s bed, crossing her fingers and toes and praying with her whole heart that Michael Jackson would win all the Grammy awards he was up for. He was the king back then, and she loved him. My love for his music rushed back to me - not just the standard favorites, like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean”, but songs like “Scream” (with sister Janet), “Can You Feel It” (with the Jackson Five) and “Ben” (a song about a pet rat, but I think about my kid when I hear it). He really had some really amazing songs, and no matter what was going on behind the scenes, you have to admit that he was an incredible performer. If you look at the choreography today, you can see so much from his style - Chris Brown, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Wade Robson - they all give credit to MJ.

Even with the overabundance of coverage by the media, I couldn’t help but watching the funeral. There was a lot of potential for it to be over the top, but I think it was well done. The more that I listened to the people who knew him, who loved him, the more I realized that the craziness that was MJ before his death was more a result of the pressures and trauma of never really having a regular childhood, never leading a “normal” life. Someone who couldn’t rid himself of the demons that haunted him, that trusted too many. I held up pretty well during the memorial (you know, I’m a cryer), but misted up during Brook Shields’ emotional speech. I was ready for it to be over after the “We are the World” sing-a-long.

But then little Paris Katherine came up and spoke, and that’s when the waterworks began. It was totally unexpected that this little girl, who had been hidden from us for so long, would come up and speak about her father, a man we only knew from the stage and the tabloids. Her words were short and sweet, and she tried to say something I think anyone who has lost a parent tries to convey to express their grief - that her father was the best father anyone could ask for. The public could never completely grasp the relationship that those kids had with their father, how much he loved them, and how much he wanted to protect them.

Aaaaaaanyway….I’m rambling.

So he’s dead.

I’ll miss him. More than I thought I’d miss him.

…and I’ll go on with my life because really, I never knew him. But I’ll keep his memory alive by giving a big clap and “Aww yeah!” and a little groove each time I hear one of his songs - which is something I would have done anyway…

On a related side note: Yesterday we were driving home, and a sweet convertible with two studs sped past us. We looked at their license plate and laughed to see that it read “J E R K”. We came up next to them at a stop light, and to our surprise, they were blasting Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and totally singing along and jammin’. HILARIOUS.

Where the Fun Never Ends…til 2010

A couple weekends ago, we decided to go to Kiddieland, since we’ve heard good things about it and Dora the Explorer was going to be making an appearance. Kiddieland is a small amusement park in Chicago (actually Melrose Park) that’s been open since the 1930’s. This year is its last year - I did a little research and found that there’s a family dispute about the land (half of the family owns the park, the other half owns the land) and Kiddieland is not getting a lease renewal, most likely to make way for a more profitable gig, like a Costco or Sam’s Club. It’s a little sad - we just discovered this place this year, and it closes at the end of September, FOREVER!

That said, we’ll probably be going there a lot this summer, since unlike Six Flags, there’s a LOT of rides then Ben can ride here, on his own. He totally had a blast and didn’t want to leave. His favorite was the Mushroom ride, which is kinda like the Teacup ride at Disneyland. I couldn’t ride it more than two times in a row because I’d get so dizzy, but he got a kick out of all the spinning. I thought he was going to love Dora, but I don’t think he had anticipated that she’d be taller than Dave, which freaked him out a little, which is why he’s so far away from her in the picture…

Here’s some of our other pics from the day…


The kids in the back totally make me laugh.

More pics here

Scratching the Creative Itch

So as I’ve mentioned before, I really don’t have a lot of free time anymore. With a lot of changes going on at work and work responsibilities, and my other job - Ben, there’s not a lot of time for me to do…stuff. Actually, I have no idea what I really do with whatever time I have left over. Wash dishes, do laundry, pick up toys, cool meals…mom stuff. After that, the rest of my time is spent on my laptop, goofing around.

As I mentioned eons ago, I’ve been really wanting to be artsy again. I had always loved art as a kid, drawing, coloring, etc. So much that I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was in 8th grade. Anyway, one thing I have been making more time for is creating art on my computer. I’ve got a sketchpad, eracers, charcoal and pencils taht have been sitting my my garage, ready for me to use, but that will have to wait another time. Right now, I’ve been playing around with Inkscape, the poor man’s equivalent of Adobe Illustrator. I gave in and actually bought Adobe Photoshop, not ready to buy Illustrator yet.

So I’ve been playing around with graphics…getting some stuff together to create an Etsy shop together…once I make more sales and have more graphics together, I’ll share the shop address. Anyway, here’s a taste of what I’ve been doing…


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I’m 34.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was pretty non-eventful. Before, I was a little freaked out about getting older, but now, it’s like, “Dude, I’ve got so much other stuff going on right now I had even forgotten my birthday was coming up!” I had a pretty packed work day yesterday (enough to make me grumpy and whine inside, “Why do I have to work so hard on my birthday!?!?”) and afterwards just chilled at the in-laws. As much as I don’t want my birthday to be a big deal, I still think it’s a special day and that I shouldn’t stress too much. Note to self: take off on my birthday next year!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this thingamajig with some real content. Let’s see what’s been going on with me lately…

  • Still working. Had a lot of people leave the company, a lot of good people, some who I’ve been with for a long time. It was pretty sad and I’m definitely going to miss them, not just professionally but just having them around every day. This is definitely a new chapter in my professional life, and if I ever thought I was busy before, I had no idea what I was talking about! There’s a lot of changes going on at work, and I’m just trying take everything as it comes and not worry about the future.
  • Ben is potty trained. I would never have thought that would be a major milestone in my life, but seriously, I’m so happy I don’t have to carry around a massive diaperbag anymore. However, I now have to deal with the occasional, “I HAVE TO POO!!!” outburst in public.
  • I’d like to have another kid. So no need to ask (because EVERYONE asks). We’re working on it. A girl would be ideal, but I’ll be happy with just having another child. People go out and get drunk and get knocked up with no problem, but for us, it takes a little more time. I’m sure work stress isn’t helping, but we’ll see what happens. Ben’s starting to get a little bossy, so I’d like to give him a sibling to boss around instead of me.
  • Our house is still up for sale. I love our house, so I’m in no hurry to move anyway. But what I don’t like is living in this half moved/half not life. When people are interested to come and check out the house, we have this massive cleaning binge which is stressful. A lot of my stuff is in boxes, so when I need to get something I need to rearrange boxes to get what I want (if I even remember WHICH box I’ve put it into!) Also, the house that we really liked, that had been on the market FOREVER, was sold last month. We were kind of counting on the fact that no one wanted it and that it would still be available after we sold our house. Such a shame…Ben had even picked out which room would be his. Oh well, at least we’re not paying two mortgages.
  • Hmm…I think that’s all for now. I really miss my blog…but there are just so many things going on I don’t have a lot of time to devote to it. Poor yanowhatimean!

    Anyone still out there?!?

Happy Birthday, See-Star!

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little sister, Fatima. I don’t see her as much as I’d like, but when I do, it’s tons of fun. Can’t wait for sushi tomorrow!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Work has been pretty tough lately, which has left me in a pretty sour mood. The weather has been pretty bad here as well, which hasn’t helped. Years ago I bought a cheap Elmo kite at Target, but we never got a chance to use it. Ben found it again earlier this week, and has constantly been asking to go fly it. I’ve told him that the weather was bad, or it was too late.

But today was a gorgeous, breezy day, so Dave took Ben to the parking lot by our house which had a nice field next to it. The kite flew nice and high, and I was surprised how well it worked considering the fact that I only spent fifty cents on it. We even let Ben hold on to the kite, and he took the job very seriously. It was some nice outdoor family time, just what I needed after the last couple weeks!

Here’s a couple pictures of our adventure.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there. Before having Ben, I would never would have realized that motherhood would be such a wonderful thing, and worth every little challenge. I got this great thing from the wonderful Chariya, thought I’d share, with my commentary.

———————

Before I was a Mom,I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. (i just tripped out of bars)
I didn ‘ t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. (well, i never had any plants, period!)
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on. (actually, I did…in college. those crazy college days!)
Pooped on.
Chewed on. (by a human, that is)
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. (though it’s debatable if I ever had control of them!)
I slept all night. (if you can call sleeping 4-5 hours a night “sleeping”)

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. (let me tell you, your heart breaks when you have to do that)
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. (it’s incredible how much his smile can light up my day!)
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep. (even now, I still check him at night to make sure he’s breathing)

Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put him down. (because you know, as soon as you put them down they start crying and want to stay with you anyway)
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. (kisses can’t fix everything!)
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much…
I never knew that I could love someone so much. (sometimes i feel like my heart will burst with love when i watch him sleep)
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom, I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body..
I didn’ t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’ t know that bond between a mother and her child. (he’s my little best friend!)
I didn’ t know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy. (for the first time in my life, i’m taking responsibility seriously)

Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes
to make sure all was okay. (seriously, if i couldn’t tell if he’s breathing, i poke him)
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,
the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. (even now, it’s so hard for me to comprehend that these being grew inside of me and grows physically and mentally every day!)
I didn ‘ t know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom

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Have a great day, ladies! Hope your family treats you like queens today!

I Paid $50 For This?

So did anyone catch the Pacquiao/Hatton fight yesterday? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t…I mean, if you went to the bathroom, tied your shoe, or even blinked right after the fight started you probably missed it. It was an excellent fight, even though it was short - shorter than it took to sing the 3 national anthems, that is. Well, if they didn’t draw out the Philippine national anthem maybe that wouldn’t have been the case.

Anyway, I’d been watching the Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7 shows on HBO, so I was interested to see how Hatton would do against Pacquiao. Unlike the Dela Hoya version, they didn’t show a lot of Hatton sparring, so I didn’t know what to expect. But Floyd Mayweather Sr. was a big talker, and I almost believed him. Hatton looked like a guy who could punch - HARD. Could his hard punches negate Manny’s quickness? Manny was the same…working out, living with his entourage, loving every moment…he didn’t seem too worried, and I wasn’t worried.

The fight was AWESOME…for the first round, that is. Many knocked him on the floor twice, and Hatton seemed a little stunned at Manny’s quickness and the hurricane of punches that were flying at him. The second round was more even, with Manny getting a little sloppy and Hatton getting in some good punches. But right before the round was over, *BLAM* Manny throws in a left hook that drops Hatton to the floor. We were screaming and cheering, until we were concerned by Hatton’s wooziness. Once he started moving again, things were all good and we were rejoicing again.

Go Manny! Pound for pound best fighter in the world!

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On a side note, one of our friends in California got Ben the AWESOMEST present - a pair of boxing gloves, signed by Manny Pacquiao. Not only that, but it said, “To Benjamin, “What’s that smell?!?”" Anyone who knows Ben knows that he says that all the time, sometimes when it’s a little embarrassing (like when he’s talking to people).

Woody Lives Another Day

My father in law came over this morning to fix up our sump pump, and he told me that he was out in the backyard, and he saw that there was a rabbit caught in the trellis under our deck. “A rabbit?” I asked, thinking it odd that a rabbit could get stuck under there since they’re so small. “Um, you know, that one that lives under your deck”. “A raccoon?” I asked. “Yeah, a raccoon.”

So I went outside, a little freaked because I was out in the backyard earlier that morning with Ben and didn’t notice anything. Sure enough, we had a prisoner stuck under the deck.

Now, it wasn’t a raccoon, it was Woody the Woodchuck, who you may remember me mentioning before. We’d always wondered who lived under our lower deck - we knew there was SOMEONE under there because one day when my dad brought his dog Ewok over, he went crazy barking in one specific spot of the deck, and when we looked between the wood slats, we could see little beady eyes staring up at us. At the time we thought it was a raccoon, but now I’m pretty sure it was Woody.

So anyway, I see this guy with his head stuck in the fence, much like little kids get their heads stuck in banisters. I saw him trying to get out, using his little clawed paws to push against the fence, but to no avail. I didn’t want to get near him (the pic was taken with my zoom lens) because I’m always freaked about rabies. I decided to call animal control to come and help him out, since I knew that their people would have experience with this kind of thing.

I hopped on the internet to find the number for the local animal control center, and couldn’t find it, but saw that most police departments handle this sort of thing. So I called our PD, told her that we had a woodchuck stuck in our fence. First thing she asked is if it was alive, which I guess makes sense - being the difference of having someone clean up vs. someone to battle with the beast. She asked for my address, and said that someone would be over.

Not more than 10 minutes later, the doorbell rang and a police officer was there. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I think I was expecting someone in a full, padded body suit, like the ones you see on TV where people are training attack dogs. This cop was just wearing his regular uniform.

I led him to the backyard and he once again asked if it was still alive, and I said yeah. When we came out and he saw him, the woodchuck wasn’t moving so I thought maybe he had died, but then he started blinking so I knew there was still hope. The cop looked at Woody and said, “Man, how’d he get stuck in there like that?!?” It was this comment that started me thinking that this was going to be pretty interesting.

As Ben and I stayed on the top deck, Easy on the Eyes Officer 1 put on his long, thick, animal proof gloves. (had to mention that he was easy on the eyes because seriously, I have yet to see a cop in my hood that’s your stereotypical donut loving chubster) He stared down at Woody for a bit, and tried to put his hand on Woody’s head to push it back through the hole. Woody wasn’t having any of that, though, and started to squeal and growl, basically going apeshit ballistic and trying to bite. This caused us all to jump back a bit. It was then that I noticed the raw skin on the back of Woody’s neck, making me believe that he’d been there much longer than the early morning since all his fur had rubbed off from where he was stuck.

From my deck I could see that the cop parked in the parking lot next to us, and saw another cop car pull up. Thinking that this Saturday morning was probably a slow one for crime, I still found it a little funny that they sent in two squad cars to take care of a woodchuck.

So Officer 2 comes in the backyard, asks, “How’s he get stuck like that?” and tells Officer 1 to just push Woody’s head through the hole, and we tell 2 that Woody’s fiesty and isn’t making it easy. Officer 1 tried tucking back Woody’s ears, but that didn’t work and Woody just got angrier. “There’s so much fur!”

By now, this thing is totally turning comical, with these two young policemen trying to figure out how to get this fat woodchuck out of the hole, and Ben on the deck saying, “Help him! He’s stuck!” and “Where’s the police?” Finally, Officer 1 asks if he could just saw some of the wood out to get Woody free, so I go in the basement to get a saw. As I’m in the basement, Dave’s dad was talking to the cop out the window and telling him that he bites.

I come back to the backyard and Officer 2 is still trying to give Officer 1 ideas on how to get the woodchuck out. I hand 1 the saw and he looks at the fence. Thinking that there might be some carnage, I tell Ben to look away. I know that the thought of just killing the woodchuck and taking his lifeless carcass out crossed all our minds (except Ben, he just wanted to feed the thing). Then Officer 2 tells Officer 1 to try and pull off one of the wood slats, rather than cutting into it.

Officer 1 tries that, and with a loud *pop* and an “Ugh!” of effort, pulled off a slat of wood.

…and Officer 2 runs away.

It was hilarious! I guess he thought (as did we all) that as soon as that woodchuck got free, he’d go all crazy and kill us all, so when Officer 1 got the piece of wood out, Officer 2 just booked it outta there. However, Woody didn’t get it. As soon as that piece of wood was out (the bottom left piece of wood in the picture), he tried desperately to move forward, which he didn’t have room to do. Me and Officer 1 were both giving Woody encouragement, like, “Go! Run to freedom! Backwards! Back it up! You’re free!” but it took him a while figure it out and I know that Officer 1 was thinking to himself, “Damn, what if this thing goes after me? I don’t have a full, padded body suit!”

Finally, Woody figured that if stepped backwards he would be free, and as soon as he did that, he scampered back to his burrow under our second deck. We all jumped back at this because he was so freakin’ fast, and I immediately picked up Ben and put him back in the house, which he wasn’t too happy about. Officer 1 came up the stairs to get my name for his report, and we all (including Officer 2, who had come back from wherever he was hiding to see Woody’s scamper to freedom) had a good laugh about the whole situation, and I *think* I said thanks for the help, but really, things were going so fast by then I have no idea what happened.

So thanks, Officer 1 and Officer 2, for coming by to help a woodchuck in need, not killing him, giving me a good laugh for a Saturday morning and letting Ben have a grand adventure.

She’s a Streetwalker…For a Cause

Hey all you Chicago area people…this weekend is Misericordia’s annual Candy Days, where workers and volunteers get out into the streets of Chicago to get donations and give out candy. In the past it’s been Fannie May suckers, but this year they’ve got yummy Jelly Bellies.

As I might have mentioned, my sister works for Misericordia and I’d actually volunteered for Candy Days in the past (you meet a LOT of interest people when you’re standing in the middle of an intersection asking for money). Here’s a little more information on them:

About Misericordia: It’s a residential home for children and adults (about 560 total) with developmental disabilities, some with physical disabilities. All proceeds go towards upkeeping their homes, making sure they have great programming and overall maintaining the best care that they can receive to live life to the fullest. For more info, go to http://www.misericordia.org/.

So if you’re driving around and you see a volunteer in the intersection, dig up some loose change, make sure you don’t run them over, and get yourself some sweets, then give yourself a pat on the back for helping out. You might get lucky and see my sister out there (I’m not going to post it here, but I’ll post it up on twitter and facebook tomorrow morning.