Monday, July 31, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - Yikes Edition

Friday afternoon, after coming home from work in the Vanpool, I discovered the the Honda wouldn't start. It would try, but couldn't quite turn over. I had to drive the van home, and all the while I said to myself, "See? You were right! Good thing you didn't get rid of the Minty Squirrel!"

The next morning, I took the van back. I was armed with a wire brush for scraping the corrosion off the battery terminals. It was a bit of a shame though. That blue granular stuff is so pretty! My favorite color actually.

I also brought a gas can, because, well...I drove the car to the Vanpool meeting site on "E". Hey, it was payday, and the gas station is really close, and I could easily fill up the car after work.

It was out of gas.


And although feminist around the world (including me) will cringe when I say it - I am such a girl sometimes.

Saturday was spent with the girls. My last day before they went to Montana. I tend to panic a bit, worrying about if I am doing enough things to properly say goodbye. I make them their favorite food, I kiss them incredibly often, I even took them for a carriage ride at the Farmer's Market - and we waved to the backed up traffic as if we were princesses. It was a great day.

It may be a bit morbid, but I always feel like we need to have an extra-special time before they go. I know the odds are against it....but what if something did happen to their plane? Or something happens when they are over there and this is the last time I get to ever see, touch or kiss them?

Ugh. I am normally not a worrier.

Sunday morning rolled around after I spend the majority of the night waking up worrying that I wouldn't wake up.

I stuffed some money in my purse, thinking that I would have enough money to get them a special coloring book when we got there. However, when checking in I realized that I had to pay $30 for the escort to get them safely on and off the plane.

I had $32.

Parking was going to be at least $6.

I actually started sweating right there at the ticket counter thinking about being trapped forever in the airport. How the hell was I going to get out of the parking garage? My first thought was that I would bother telling the girls about the predicament and just get them on the plane before I worried about calling someone. Then I realized that they expected those coloring books.

I sat them down and explained what had happened and coloring books were not in the cards right now. They weren't even worried about that, they were worried about me getting out of the airport.

"Call Kristy! Hurry Mom!"

So I did. It was $1 per call and when I called her voice mail picked up....

"Um....Hi Kristy? It's Shari. I'm at the airport and all I have is $1 and I can't get out of's a long story. Anyway....if you get this, could I maybe borrow $10? I will be outside baggage claim at the Alaska Airlines sign.....if you get about 10 o'clock...."

It was horrible. Where was she? Would she check her voice mail?

No matter. It was time for the girls to start boarding.

The planes that fly to Montana are not your typical jets. They are larger prop planes, and you actually have to walk out onto the Tarmac to board them. The man came to escort the girls, an old lady in a wheel chair and a girl with a broken ankle to their plane. (At this point I started to wonder exactly why did I have to pay $30 dollars when my girls were with a bunch of other people...I should have only had to pay $10! Then I would have had enough money to pay for parking and coloring books!)

The escorted passengers walked on to the elevator. The old woman waved to her two 50-ish year old daughters standing beside me, "Goodbye girls! I love you!"

They yelled and waved back, "Bye Mom!!"

At the same time my girls were standing next to the old woman, jumping up and down, yelling "Bye Mom!!"

As I was tearing up, waving and yelling, "Goodbye girls! I love you!"

It was my present and my future -right there.

Then, I felt sorry for the poor girl with the broken ankle who no one was waving or yelling to, so I yelled, "Bye broken ankle girl!" and ruined the whole moment.

And I didn't out-and-out cry, but I did have to wipe some tears as they headed toward their plane. The motley crew of passengers that needed a little help. They were so adorable.

When the plane took off, I reached in my purse for my last dollar. My last chance at not becoming Tom Hanks in "The Terminal". I couldn't decide if I should try Kristy again, or somebody new. I finally settled on Kristy, and dialed with shaking hands....

And her daughter answered the phone. She was laughing and yelling, "Hey Aunt Shari! We're here! We're parked right by your car! My Mom brought you a latte!!"

How the hell she found my car in the humongous parking garage with 6 levels, and the fact that I chose hourly parking and not general - I will never, ever know. Kristy just insists she knows how I think.

So, I walk to my car - that is full of gas - getting hugs, and elbows in the ribs, and a $10 bill, and a coffee for the drive home.

I guess I'm not alone after all.


Friday, July 28, 2006

I Am Losing My Muse

The girls are leaving on Sunday to go on their annual summer vacation to Grandma's house. They will board a plane here and fly off without me. It's the third year that they have done this, but it is difficult every year.

I actually enjoy my kids, and when people say that it should be "so much fun" or a "much needed break" I feel like I want to strangle them.

I also realize that I do need to work on not needing them so much. But, you know what? I'm sure that will all happen on it's own when they hit their teenage years. I'm in no hurry.

And there will be less Barbie/Ken photographic opportunities.

Damn. And I was just getting in the swing of things.

Ken (II) was sadly run down by an innocent looking barbeque.

But Prince Eric dances on, unperturbed by the grisly accident only feet away.
I feel that I must point out that all Barbie/Ken photos are unposed and taken in their natural "found" state.

This was taken last summer, and is by far my favorite picture of all time. A horrible scene, isn't it? *shudder*

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I am unsure whether my negativity towards men has had any effect on my children.

*This Ken doll was not harmed in the making of this post. This is a work of fiction. It is a product of the author's imagination and is fictitious and should not be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Monday, July 24, 2006


It's always interesting when you answer the phone and the voice on the other end says, "Hi Shari! Here's a voice from your past..."

It was Rena.

In high school I didn't really fit into any clique - I was "popular" but didn't' hang with those kids, I participated in tons of sports but I wasn't a jock, I smoked WAY too much weed but I wasn't a stoner.

I hung out with Jim. We were our own clique. We did everything together - bouncing between other groups like a ball on a pin ball table.

Rena was the outcast, the untouchable. Every class has one or two, you know the ones. She was hyper and inappropriate and over-friendly. And people were incredibly mean to her.

When I was in fifth grade I came to school with my book bag full of little presents to give my friends. Rena rode my bus and that day I felt this overwhelming need to make her happy, to include her in the Christmas goodwill. I gave her one of the presents.

And she was so happy.

Throughout the rest of our school years she always gravitated toward me. I wasn't mean to her, really, but I wasn't nice either.

She was on same basketball team in high school that I was. We would do a drill where there was one person in the center with the ball and four or five other girls around them would do everything they could to get the ball from that center person.

When Rena was the center person everyone changed from basketball player to torturer. People would elbow her - really hard. They would slap and pinch when they thought the coach couldn't see. I didn't participate in that - but I said nothing to stop it. And sixteen years later I still think about that and am ashamed of my lack of integrity.

Rena called to ask about Jim. I had to tell her about his suicide. It was very hard to do. But the hardest thing came at the end of the conversation.

I apologized for my lack of compassion. Doing nothing can be a very shameful thing.

And you know what? She said she didn't remember it that way. She said that all she can remember is that I was the only one that was ever nice to her.

And that, I think, is the saddest thing of all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maya and Sophie's Blogs Have Been Updated

And Sophie had blessed us all with an audio blog.

Oh yes she has.

I'm Sooooo Bored

Maya's pre-teen angst has been building of late.

The sighs. The flopping. The whining....

"I'm bored....."

She says this in the middle of concerts at the park where there is enough stimuli to put someone with ADHD in a fetal position just to get away from it all.

She says it at home. No computer, television, shelf of books, room full of toys or sister's room full of toys can persuade her that there is something to do.

It makes me crazy.

We had a long talk while the chicken was barbecuing tonight about attitude and boredom. She is grounded through the weekend for acting like a bored and pouty brat to her nanny and I am already feeling the repercussions of the I-am-grounded-and-pitiful boredom

And, oh, let me tell you.....I will not take it lying down.

I pointed out to her in a 15 minute lecture that the two things in the world that you can have total control over is your attitude and your level of boredom. It is entirely in her 9-year-old power to find something to engage her and maybe, just maybe, make her happy at the same time.

She was tearing up and angrily wiped tears from her cheeks during my tirade. But she was not going to vocally cry. She was forcefully holding it back.

I asked her if she could think of anything that might change her mood and put her in a better one. She, suprisingly, couldn't think of anything.

So, helpfully, I suggested (in a terribly goofy voice), "Fuzzy wittle bunnies? Pink poooodles?"

And finally, FINALLY, she smiled.

It actually turned her around I think. The rest of this evening has been full of both girls playing happily. No flopping dramatically on the couch, no tears, no's great.

But the best part was, when we were bringing the chicken in from the BBQ I said, "Since you are so bored, you can set the table!"

She looked a me for just a moment, her eyes sparked a bit, and she said, "Hmmmm...I chose not to be bored anymore."


Monday, July 17, 2006


Yesterday Blogger decided not to let me post any more pictures, so I made do with what I had. But, these two I just couldn't get away with not posting anyway....

This is taken from Packwood. To see Mt. Rainier from this angle is surprising. You don't expect it to be visible - but there it is - almost playing with you.

This one you really should click on to see in a larger image. I love it. It is taken on the drive home. Maya and Sophie are passed out, heads lolling toward each other in the back seat. AND, we are being followed by a pack of 20+ motorcycles. I think that they were a bit irritated by my slow cornering on the mountain highway, but any faster would have called for much head clunking.

Plus you can't drive fast when taking a picture like this, you know.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - Packwood

About thirty miles out of town I took a breath so deep that it popped three vertebrae in my back in rapid succession. It was a release so violent that it almost knocked the wind out of me.

And it felt fantastic.

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story....

Admittedly, not to most pristine pic of Mt. Rainier, but I wanted to get a picture at the top of this hill because it shows up so well. Just ignore the house, vehicles and telephone pole.

This was waiting for me on the floor of Dave's cabin along with a box of matches and a can of white gas. I love the underlined words in the directions. And the smiley face.



The creek behind Dave's cabin was not running very hard, but we still had a bit of a waterfall in which to subject the Barbie doll's to "water slide fun".

The girls with Dave's dog Juno.

Scary white poisonous looking fungus-flower like ghost things.

I'm not sure what the face is about.

Sophie playing with Dave's Grizzly Adams hair. He vacillates between "I'm a respectable businessman" and "Grizzly Adams hair". This more appropriately fits his character.

I stayed up until three or so in the morning talking with Dave and drinking, over the course of the entire night mind you, an entire bottle of wine and a few beers. It was well worth the headache that I woke up with.

Oh! And I tried to get a picture of the funny slug in the cabin's bathtub, but the batteries died in my camera and I had too much wine to find them. But there was a slug. And it was very funny.

I'm pretty sure you had to be there.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

My very favorite Dr. Suess poem is "Too Many Daves".

I love it. Well, I might like "The Sneetches" more, but the "Daves" one fits this story much better.

I, fantastically enough, have a friend named Dave. And the fact that Dave and I are friends astounds me.

I am not usually the type of person who relies on first impressions. I give people a lot of time -too much time in most cases - to show me who they really are. But I hated Dave immediately.

I was working at a Finance company and Dave was newly hired on. He walked in and I quickly and without trepidation plunked him into my "Used Car Salesman" category. He was loud and pushy. And he said things that I didn't like to hear.

If I had to classify myself, I would have to venture down the "liberal, free-thinker" path. Dave does not take this path. His path veered from mine a very, very long time ago. He took the "conservative, faith-driven" path.

Not a terrible path. No path is BAD, really....but I wouldn't have chosen that one in a million years.

The worst thing about Dave is, he thought he was right.

He would argue (Gasp! Can you imagine?) with me over such trifling subjects as marriage, religion, politics, name it. We were diametrically opposed on all counts.

But for some reason I grew to kind of appreciate him. He could stand behind his belief system. He made great arguments. He made me think. (But not change my mind...oh, no!)

And then one day I realized that I absolutely loved Dave.

Not in the mushy non-productive and imminently destructive sense of the word. But I loved him because of what he believed in. I loved him because he believed in these things and had the balls to let people know it. To fight for it.

Even if he was wrong in his opinions -dammit, at least he had some.

I judged him immediately, but he never judged me. And although it makes me uncomfortable, he probably prayed for me and loved me through my bitchiness because of his faith.

And there must be something to that.

It's been almost a year since I saw Dave. He doesn't live far away, but we have different types of lives. He had a girlfriend and was heading toward that "marriage" thing for all he was worth. And that is time consuming, I hear.

He called yesterday and it was just like we had been keeping in touch forever.

At the beginning of this blog I posted about going camping at his property down by Mt. Rainier. The posts are here and here.

And guess what?

I am going camping there again.

I will not clean under my refrigerator!

I will not drain and clean the pool in the backyard! (I think it may be considered a protected wetland at this point, anyway...)

I will not do laundry!

I will not yell at my kids because I am feeling unfulfilled!

I will go to Dave's! I will visit Dave and his friend Bubba (really, not making that up)! I will take that one bottle of really good wine that someone gave me as a thank you! I will make Smores! I will listen to Dave's weird collection of records that he has at the cabin!

And I will relax.

I don't want to be like the "Too Many Daves" poem where it ends,

"And she didn't do it.
And now it's too late."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Isn't It Funny.....

I have been spending a few hours each day at work learning a new position. It is stressful in many different ways. The largest stress is that this job is done - and has been done for many years - by one person. No one else knows how to do it.

Chris, who does this work, will be leaving for China to adopt a baby any day now. And when he goes there will be no one to ask, no one to call, I am totally on my own. Fantastic.

I could easily use a full month of eight hour days to learn this information. But, I get an hour a day for three weeks.

A major part of the job involves manually auditing the payroll files for the entire company. Read into this: Shari has the oppurtunity to really screw up people's lives.

I had my first bad dream about this last night.

I must say, though, my training has been quite enjoyable. Chris is a man after my own heart in the fact that he is wickedly sarcastic and cynical.

He often will wonder aloud, "I have no idea why the hell they picked you for this. It makes me nervous."

To which I utter something like, "I HATE you."

We get along famously.

Finding someone as un-PC as myself in Human Resources just doesn't happen every day. (Most people like us have probably already been fired.)

Yesterday we were discussing how, if you have the right attitude, you can say anything you want, laugh, and get away with it. I laugh all the time. It's genetic. I don't even realize that I'm doing it.

It doesn't have to be a cynical thing, or a funny just happens...all the time.

"I am really sad..." hahahahahaha

"You are a total, unequivicable asshole." hahahaha

"I despise you, your family, and everything you stand for." hahahaha

"This is my Power Point presentation regarding your 401-K retirement plan." hahahahahaha

It can be optimally used as a defense mechanism, but also as a coverup to improper behaviour. Unfortunately, it may cause your supervisors/managers to not take you very seriously.


Monday, July 10, 2006


My monitor has been out of commission for three days thanks to an over zealous 7-year-old blogger - but all is well now.

Thanks to everyone for supporting Maya and Sophie's blogs, they are having such a great time and will be back at it tomorrow evening. It's really good for them. They are keeping up on their journaling that they did in school this way, and learning about the internet.

I have used this to teach them about the fun of it all, and about the dangers. Hopefully through this they will learn the right and wrong way to deal with others in cyberspace. Plus, I like Blogger better than My Space for them.


I have been in a semi-funk. Nothing serious, just irritation. I want to get all these projects started, but don't seem to have the energy to dive in. Work is great but overwhelming right now. But there is a re-write of the job description and a raise in the immediate future.

I can't decide whether to scoop up the girls and spend and entire weekend camping or clean under the fridge.

A cunundrum, that.

Bear with me. I have still have enough stories to carry on for some time.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Family That Blogs Together.....

I would like to announce two of the most exciting blogs to hit the blogosphere for quite some time. Maya and Sophie are no longer just guest blogging, they have their own.

Maya's is called Cat! New Cat! and can be found here.

Sophie's is called Friends! Friends! Friends! (it's about friends). It can be found here.

Please comment and support them.

I, of course, am moderating the comments to weed out the undesirables.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I am not a big fan of fireworks.

Hate them, in fact.

I don't know if it started when my Dad lectured us over and over that staring at the welding sparks could make you go blind, or if it was before that.

I have always hated loud and unexpected noises - and couple that with sparks raining down on you from above....well, who can really like it? I don't get it. Hair is flammable, people.

I spent many a July 4th evening in my youth huddled underneath the kitchen table with numerous cow dogs. All of us whining. All of us with damp noses.

And through the sparks and the noise and the fire hazards of the upcoming evening, I will be out there...punk in the evil things.

Because that's what Mom's who hate fireworks, AND the thought of a significant other, do.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I had to get the emissions test done on the Honda this weekend. The Minty Squirrel looked smug when I pulled out of the driveway, as if he knew what I was in store for.

I pulled in, there was absolutely no line. I was calmly driving down one lane when a DOT worker waived me to the far, far right lane. I had to really crank the wheel to get over there, then crank it really hard to the left to straighten into the lane.

The woman who worked there was very nice and we chatted while she checked the gas cap. It passed and it was time to move onto the next phase. The man waved for me to drive forward. I pushed the gas.....and the car quickly and dramatically lurched to the left. I corrected before I hit any essential equipment and drove onto the rotor things.

He chided me a bit by saying, " had me worried there for a minute." We both laughed it off. Then he asked me to get out of the car. At this point I had to turn around to give the girls "rules". (As yelling, no giggling too loud, stay seated, no bouncing, listen to the nice man.......)

And when I turned around in my seat to talk to them my elbow hit the horn.

The testing is done in a long garage with about 6 stations total. The horn reverberated back and forth, back and forth....

And everybody looked at me.

And the man holding my door sighed really loud.

I got out and went to sit in the little glass enclosure while he revved the engine and sodomized the poor car with some sort of stick. He then waved me back to the car, asking me to PLEASE not step on the gas while the last test was being run.

You will be happy to know that I followed his request flawlessly.

He handed me my readouts saying, "I have good news and I have bad news..."

(Shari groans)

"The bad news is I won't see your pretty smile for two more years, and the good news is your car passed."

(Shari gets a little grossed out)

As I drove out, trying to look non-grossed out, I popped the clutch and killed the car.

Sheepishly, I finally got out of there - with my wheels pointed in the correct direction, smoothly shifting gears......

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