Monday, March 30, 2009

Poor, poor Sandrie Annabelle

I received this spam and it was just too entertaining to simply delete:


I am drenched with tears while writing this short message to you. It was heartbreaking news to me few previous days when my doctor notified me on complications on my heath condition which he officially made known to me. He further stressed that the complication I had in my human mechanism as a result of a secondary liver cancer which have destroyed all the organs in my body system. According to him, his said that this complication will lead to my imminent death since no medication can alleviate the high system of deformation I am encountering at this point of time in my system.

In the view of the above, I’m quest to find a trustworthy and upright individual whom I will entrust a reason sum for my investment in charity organization. I was brought up from an orphanage home where l got married to my late husband for twenty years without a 2kids, who died in a fatal motor accident recently. Before his death we were true Christians. We were trying to work on a project for the less privilege before this current situation. I will make available to you all information and officially authorized document which will endorse your claim as the beneficiary to the fund in question in the finance house where the fund is lodged. I have map out the modality on how the fund will be used to build a very big charitable or orphanage home of your in your locality of your choice provided you can manage this project to yield income.

Upon your acceptance to this investment proposal kindly get back to me urgently
In God we trust
Sandrie Annabelle

My response:

Dear Sandrie Annabelle,

I am truly saddened to hear of the complication in your human mechanism that is leading to your imminent death. I am unfamiliar with exactly what component of the body a human mechanism is, but I must assume that it is a very important mechanism. Perhaps you should be careful of the tear-drenching, as that could easily cause a short-circuit in one of your other mechanisms. It is also a shame that you are encountering a high system of deformation in your system. I imagine that must be scary to watch.

I am sorry for the loss of your husband and that the two of you spent 20 years without a 2kids, whatever that may be. You say that before your husband's fatal accident, you were true Christians and were working on a charitable project. That is quite admirable. I am somewhat saddened by the fact that you know of no one who you feel is a trustworthy and upright individual and that you have to reach out to a perfect stranger for such qualities, but I am honored that you consider me a trustworthy and upright individual and that you are willing to entrust a fund to me. I understand you will make available to me whatever I need to claim the fund. I appreciate that greatly. I think, however, that I can make things a little easier for you. Rather than dealing with all the red tape that no doubt the finance house where the fund is lodged will require, since you are so close to death, we should expedite things if possible. So let's do this: Cash out the fund yourself and then send me a cashier's check made out to my name to an address I will provide later. I will solemnly swear upon the life of your late husband that I will use the funds as you had originally intended. Oh, wait. You don't actually KNOW my name. That's OK. Just make the check out to "CASH."

Sincerely, in the name of our trusted Lord, your beloved,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another book giveaway and a poll

I know that I said that each time I read a book I would then let you vote on the next book I should read. Unfortunately, it seems that I read faster than I can find time to look up links and post, so the result has been that, while I HAVE been faithful in reading the books that won the elections, I have also read several books for which you did not have the opportunity to vote. To try to remedy that, today I am listing SEVEN potential next-reads for your voting enjoyment. Also, I am asking that you select TWO novels from the list. The top THREE selections will be my next three reads. I hope that by increasing the number of books you choose for me each poll, I can find the time for another poll before I am done reading the books on which you voted, so I will NEVER HAVE TO SELECT MY OWN BOOKS AGAIN!!! The poll will be open until 8:00am Friday, March 27th (Hopefully EDT, but who knows, really?). Your choices this time are:

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond,

High Five by Janet Evanovich,

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury,

Fatal Flaw by William Lashner,

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey,

Pandora by Anne Rice and

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Also, it has come to my attention that my prolific library-sale-and-bargain-table purchasing has led to my having two copies of yet another novel. This one is Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich. It is a hardcover that I purchased for $1.00 from a library sale and it is missing its dust-jacket. Still a perfectly good read, and really, isn't a dusty dust-jacket just as big a pain-in-the-ass as a dusty book sans jacket? If you would like me to send you this novel, just leave a comment. If you are familiar with the series to which the novel belongs, tell me how you are like the heroine, Stephanie Plum. Go ahead, you can admit it here. :) I will randomly select a winner to be announced as soon as I get around to posting again after Friday morning. POSSIBLY as soon as THAT DAY, but don't hold your breath or you'll turn blue.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why my house is a disaster area

At the end of last month, I went out of town for a few days, leaving my husband and children home. The house fared as well as could be expected, which is to say, it was still standing. To give credit where credit is due, the kitchen was clean (but then, no REAL meals were prepared, only take-out and kid things like hot dogs and nuggets were eaten) and Mr. Picklebottom had helped Jo and Beth to pick up a portion of their room, which is to say that SOME of the clutter was picked up in PART of the room. To be honest, after I got home I was not doing a fabulous job of catching things back up to the NORMAL level of squalor, but I had plans. Big plans. Getting down and dirty floor-scrubbing plans. Then I got sick. And simultaneously, so did Mr. Picklebottom. The kind of sick where doing ANYTHING AT ALL short of lying there in misery is impossible. There were four kids, though, who WEREN'T sick. So you can imagine what happened to the house when there were no adults functioning at a level capable of keeping the chaos in check. Which brings us to today.

After ingesting enough antibiotics so that by last Thursday I was functioning normally, or as normal as it gets for me, I was sick enough of all the mess to sit down and write down the things that needed to be done today WITHOUT FAIL. First of all, though it won't help the overall state of the house, the laundry still must be done. So I got it started. I loaded the dishwasher and washed dishes so the sink would be empty and I could FINALLY, after WAY TOO LONG, clean the little fish tank in which Jo's pet fighting fish, Calypso, resides. [The fish tank hasn't been done as yet, but it will be as soon as I publish this.] I also decided to hunt down and kill the dust bunnies right where they live, in their nests under Amy's dresser, crib and changing table. HOWEVER, while dressing Amy after her bath, Beth came in with her magnetic earrings, which basically attach to the earlobe with really strong, yet tiny, magnets. She pulled a necklace over her head and the earrings were pulled off her earlobes and proceeded to bounce across the hardwood floor. After gathering up what we could see, we were short one magnet, specifically one of the earring backs.

Now I couldn't vacuum those dust bunnies, because Beth was CERTAIN that the magnet had gone under the dresser, and heaven forbid I vacuum it up. So I had to first find the magnet. Since it was a really strong magnet, I thought I would just pass something long and metal back and forth over the floor under the dresser, the magnet would stick to it and I could go about my cleaning plans. So I went to the garage and came up with this:

After getting on my hands and knees, sticking it under the dresser and dragging it around for a while, I came up with nothing but dust. Lots of dust. So then I dragged the dresser away from the wall and ran the wrench around the baseboards, since there was a tiny gap between the bottom of the baseboard and the floor into which the magnet could have slipped. No dice. So then I followed the same steps underneath the changing table and the crib. Finally, I was left with sore knees and a very dusty wrench, but no magnet. In frustration, I let out a big sigh, looked down, and there was that damn magnet. Right in the middle of the floor where Beth and I had looked and run our hands over and finally determined that it must be under something. So YAY, I found the magnet, but my 5 minute dust vacuuming job turned into a much longer job that required a lot more effort. I will say, though, that Amy's dust bunnies have been vanquished. of course, after lugging the vacuum back downstairs, I noticed a couple of cobwebs. Next time...

You'll recall that I had started laundry. Well, I went downstairs to do the whole process of removing clothes from dryer, transferring clothes from washer to dryer and starting another load in the washer. I managed to get everything out of the dryer except one of my bras. A bra that I have only owned for a couple weeks now, as a couple weeks ago I was down to ONE raggedy bra and finally went to the store and purchased several so I could, you know, ROTATE their usage. It wouldn't come out of the dryer. WHY would it not come out of the dryer, you ask. Well, because of THIS:

One of the hooks had somehow hooked itself to the dryer drum. For the life of me, I could NOT unhook it. Now you would think that, hey, it got hooked on there somehow, so if I just REVERSE how it got hooked, it will come UNhooked. Yeah. That's what you would think. Thinking is overrated. And WRONG. No matter what I tried, and I tried every possible angle, it would not unhook. When I did finally get it out, which took A WHILE, it looked like this:

So there goes one new bra into the trash. At least I buy cheap-ass cotton bras from Target. Tell me these kinds of wonderful things happen to you. They happen ALL THE TIME to me.

So now, after cleaning Calypso's tank (only because I can't justify NOT doing it, the poor guy has been suffering long enough), I am going to sit down with a warm brownie and some ice cream rather than finish what I wanted to finish, since OBVIOUSLY everything I try today is subject to sabotage by the fates. I just hope Calypso and his tank survive the cleaning, it has been THAT kind of day. And that is why my house is a disaster area. Because I myself am apparently a walking disaster.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

November notes

Now that it's March of 2009, let's talk about November of 2008. I'll do it quickly, in bullet form:

  • Due to my grandmother's failing memory, I decided to make a quick trip to SC to ensure that we would have at least one more visit while she could still remember my kids. We had a nice time, and even took her on a couple outings to see the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights (A-MAZ-ING, and it gets bigger and better every year, you really must go sometime) and to Charles Towne Landing.

  • On the way down, right at the bottom of Exit 266A (366?, 166?, help my memory Alice) in VA to be exact, my car died. It lost its ability to shift gears. So we transferred to a rental, left the car at a dealership in Alexandria and continued on our way. It was a much bigger hassle than I made it sound like here. Then on the way home, we had to do the whole transfer thing back to our repaired car. Overall, a royal pain in the ass, but it could have been so much worse; the dealership (Mazda) and the rental car agency (Enterprise) made everything go extremely smoothly. I'm sure it didn't hurt that one of my brothers-in-law works for Mazda Corporate, but hey, in that situation you'll take any advantage you can get.

  • Meg's marching band unit won The 2008 Calvacade of Bands Grand Championship in its division.
  • For the first time in, well, EVER, we stayed home for Thanksgiving due to a marching band performance that day. Now, I am one of those who feel that the matriarch of the family deserves to relax on a holiday just as much as everyone else, so I don't do the monster meal thing. Our Christmas tradition is grazing heavy hors d'oeuvres and sweets all day long. So for Thanksgiving, we had pretty much decided to order in a Thanksgiving feast or go out. UNTIL my husband went to Sam's Club. We had a ghetto Thanksgiving meal that I challenge you to rival. Here was the menu:

    - Hormel sliced turkey in gravy
    - Country Crock mashed sweet potatoes
    - Country Crock stuffing
    - Canned cranberry sauce (OK, that's the same EVERY year)
    - Pillsbury crescent rolls

    All microwavable except the rolls, which take less than 10 minutes to bake. Verdict? The turkey was pretty crappy, but Country Crock does a pretty decent job on their stuff. So, um, yeah. I am SO ready to head to the in-laws' place this year.

Some of my mom's boyfriend's family's pets:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just call me Her Royal Highness Fiona... HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Jo had a school project she was working on this week on ancestry. She had to create a family shield, which was basically a poster board shield divided into quadrants with family info, such as the countries from which the family originated, words that describe the family and activities the family enjoys. The last quadrant was basically free-space, where she could put whatever she wanted. First she put our last name in big puffy letter stickers. Then we decided it would be neat to go back several generations on both sides (mine and Mr. Picklebottom's) and put all the different last names of the families that came together to ultimately result in Jo.

[Some background: My father has this cousin who is WAY into genealogy, and for some reason there was a point at which she sent my mother a bunch of genealogy research stuff and family trees. My mother had given it to me (because what did she care, she and my father were divorced and it wasn't HER family) and I had stuck it in a box in the back of my closet where it's been for YEARS. The only thing I remembered from it is that there is a note in the margin of the Queen of England's family tree with an arrow that said something like "These are your great-grandmother's parents. You and your brother are 10th cousins to the Queen." At the time, I thought it was pretty cool, until I realized that the royal family has been SNUBBING ME all these years. I never got an invite to a royal wedding or even to the Queen's big birthday bash. What's up with THAT?]

So because I couldn't come up with all the last names off the top of my head, I headed to the box to see what I could find. Turns out I'm serious frickin' royalty, dude. The Emperor Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, several King Edwards, King Ferdinand, lots of other kings, hell even Old King Cole (he WAS a merry old soul) was WAY WAY back there after one of the Caesars. All this is well and good, but I'm wondering... where's my share of the inheritance?

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's the 'F' word?

That is what Beth walked in the door and asked me after school today. Yeah. So. It caught me a bit off guard. I told her it was a word that wasn't very nice and she shouldn't use it. She still wanted to know what it was. I refused to say it. Her response to my refusal? "It's OK, you can just spell it." HA!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Looks can be deceiving

While it APPEARS that I have once again fallen COMPLETELY off the planet, I am in fact still around, though I am finding myself with NO TIME WHATSOEVER to post anything here and/or read and comment anywhere else. So once again, I will regale you with tales of coming attractions. Keep in mind my tendency to fall off the planet, however, and don't hold your breath on the aggressive execution [BOOYAH!] of said coming attractions. (The booyah will only make sense to you facebookers who are my friends. And then only if you read my wall. It will make sense to the rest of you after I post the story of my grandmother's memorial weekend, which is one of the coming attractions I will list below.) Since I am starting to get ahead of myself in the parentheses, let me go ahead and list coming attractions now. Some of them have been listed before in previous posts like this one, but as they haven't been done yet, they are still coming. So I give you, in no particular order, the COMING ATTRACTIONS:

  • November notes
  • December digest
  • The first part of January before I started posting again... something (yeah, I'm still working on this one)
  • Buncha books, issue 8
  • Bumcha books, issue 9 - the James Patterson edition
  • Buncha books, issue 10 (yes there are THAT many in the queue)
  • My grandmother's memorial weekend trip
  • Another thing or two that I had thought of before that now I can't remember
  • Another look-alike thing where I say something about the American Idol contestant Danny something-or-other looking like Robert Downey, Jr. Oh, scratch that since now I've already said it.

Now that you're all BREATHLESS WITH ANTICIPATION, I will depart until next time. Except for one thing...

Becky, you might have noticed you never received the book you won. Let me point out the obvious: The US postal service, which for the most part does a pretty decent job, sometimes SCREWS UP. It seems that sometime between October and now (which, WTF? it's MARCH), the package was destroyed, except for CONVENIENTLY the portion of the wrapping containing the delivery and return addresses and the postage (what is up with THAT?), which they returned to me with an apology form letter. So Becky, I feel bad. I owe you a book. No winner on my blog should end up empty-handed. So here's what I'm going to do:

I mooched a book called The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond from Bookmooch. After three months of not receiving it (you know what THAT'S like), I mooched it again from another person. Both copies showed up within a day of one another last week. I will be sending you one of the copies. I hope that's OK. I'm sorry the original prize didn't make it.