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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Small Town

The thing I hate most about living in a small town is the same thing I love. Doesn't make much sense, I know. But whenever anything bad happens, you always know the person. Same for the good things. Everyone here knows everyone. We celebrate together and we mourn together.

Over the weekend there was a fiery crash the took the life of a pregnant 31-year-old who used to teach at my kids' school. Her husband who was 37 and the son of my daughter's former teacher, along with their 4-year old daughter, died instantly.

The 33-year-old who hit them head-on, also died. He was fleeing the scene of another accident he caused.

There was one survivor, the 3-year-old daughter. Some passersby were able to pull the baby from the car.

This little town is in mourning. At the same time, we are all praying and hoping the little one recovers. She was life-flighted out to a pediatric intensive care unit out of state. A memorial fund has been established for her. If you would like to send a card or money, send me an e-mail and I will provide you with that information.

On Sunday at church, the priest was talking about God's plan. I can't help but want to argue those statements. What good could possibly come from these types of losses?

And not that I wanted to be there, but why weren't we? My whole family was in a car traveling on the same road, in the same direction, five to seven minutes behind them. Who knows why we would stop for a car wash on a whim while on our way to the mall. I can't even remember the last time we went through an automated car wash.

My mom tells me not to question God's plan. She has told me all of my life that everything happens for a reason. I really try to buy into that but in times like these, I just don't know.

Q & As will be back tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ask Lois Continues

Dave wants to know how I developed such a great pair of guns. Like Popeye, I eats me spinach. Muscle is easy to obtain as long as you keep your body hydrated (64 oz of water everyday) and your fat intake low (no more than 25 grams). I used to use free weights but they really hurt my back. Likely caused by poor posture while lifting.

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As much as I love the LO Racer 2006, I also use one of these when I exercise. If you get 15 minutes in a few times a week, you'll see muscle mass in less than a month (in your arms, abs, legs, shoulders and back). What I love about this thing is it costs about 6 bucks, takes very little time, it's low impact like doing girly pushups and it works your whole body. Sure, the first few days, you'll ache like an old whore, but you'll be glad ya did.

Dave also wants to know who I feared most as a child. Clearly that would be my mom. Dad was an old softy and Mom ruled with an iron fist. Or a frying pan, slipper, wooden spoon or anything else she may have been holding when I was caught in the act of being less than an angel.

Hoss wants to know if I am aware of my Chicago accent. I guess I am mostly aware of it when I talk to those northwestern folks.

He also wants to know if I have kept track of all of the animals we have rescued. I don't have a tally sheet but I'd guess about 30 cats, 1 bunny, 3 opossums, 1 hedgehog, 5 dogs, 15 birds and 1 field mouse. Yes Hoss, the opossum story was the wildest of all.

For the final question of the day, I don't know if I am going to make the trip to Vegas. I'm still hoping. I have my fingers, legs and eyes crossed.

If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Eternal Flame

Sunday we had a get together in honor of my dad. First we went to church. Can you imagine our crazy brood in church? There were about 25 of us there taking up three pews. I was sandwiched between my mom and my sister Mary. You know how when you were little and you had a friend who always said stuff to make you laugh during the most inappropriate times? That was them. They tried to behave but they just couldn't.

When the collection plate was being passed around, Mary said, "I'll take some of that."

My mom pulled a wad of singles out of her purse and began passing them out so everyone would have something to offer. As she passed singles down the pew, she said, "All of that dancing really paid off."

The dollar my mom gave me was passed down to Mary because she didn't have any money, and didn't want to be left out. My mom saw I didn't put anything in the collection plate and asked, "Where's that dollar I just gave you?" And Mary, that lying heathen loudly said "She put it in her pocket."

The priest was nice and welcomed our lovely bunch of coconuts and said some nice stuff about my dad. He was actually the priest who came to the house to give my dad his last rights. We were surprised he remembered him and our family. I guess it's hard to forget such a big group of crazies.

There was a somber moment thrown in but mostly, we celebrated his life happily by being together.

After church, we went to brunch. Mom thought Anita called ahead of time and Anita thought Mom called. We showed up, 25 people, with no reservations. Amazingly enough, they accommodated us. Aunty Shorty and Uncle Giant sat across from me and told me a couple of cousin Joey stories to share on the blog.

Since my aunt and uncle have been sick, my cousin Joey has really stepped up to the plate. He is as helpful as he can possibly be. I really am proud. But not so proud that I can't make fun of what his folks told me.

Aunty Shorty sent him to the store for Italian bread. Joey went over to the bakery section. You know how they package fresh bread with half of it sticking out of the bag? Well, Joey saw that, ripped off the part that wasn't in the bag, and put it back in the bread bin, taking only the bagged portion. He thought that was just how it's done, like bananas, I guess.

As the filled tables roared with laughter, Uncle Giant said, "Oh, that's nothing, how bout that candle?" Joey turned four shades of red and Uncle Giant continued. "We had these candles burning and Tony was over. He asked Joey if he smelled the candle. He said it smelled really nasty. Joey said he hadn't, so he picked it up, gave a sniff and the flame shot right up his nostril. His eyes were about this big and you could hear his nose hair getting singed, tttssss, sssstttt. Oh my God, you should have seen the look on his face."

Looking at Joey as his father told the story, he had tears pouring down his beet red cheeks. Another classic Joey moment.

For a day I was dreading, it turned out to be one of the best.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Angie Wants To Know

My sister Ang wants to know what my favorite concert was. It's really hard to pick just one because I've seen so many. Gotta love the press pass. Since most everything is in the company you keep, I'd have to pick the Country Thunder series I saw with my best friend Honey. She posed as my photographer and the two of us had a great weekend in the sun.

Country Thunder is like hillbilly Woodstock that takes place annually in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. People camp onsite to watch some 50-plus country music stars do their thang over a four-day weekend. The campers shower outside, which was much too funny not to stick around and see.

Cowboys, oh boy do I just love that kind of eye candy. Yum! Oh, where was I? Oh, music. Yes, they have that there too. I think. I mean, who can get beyond the tight jeans, cowboy boots and shirtless tanned abs that flow freely there year-after-year? I would happily trade a keg for a six pack of that. Ahhh, so dreamy.

A-hem... Ang also would like to know what color my pants are. What kind of sick little monkey are you anyhow Ang? You know I blog nekkid. Sheesh! Which I guess also answers Biscuit's question.

Yes Sista, I always wish on stars and sometimes those wishes come true.

She also wants to know what my favorite holiday is. It changes for me year to year. Christmas is always special but not always my favorite. I think I'll go with National Arbor Day. Fine, I love them all! Every one is special in its own way.

My favorite place to read is in that big comfy chair in my living room. You know the one everyone fights over when you guys visit. I used to have this lovely Tiffany lamp with a humming bird on it, on the table beside my favorite chair. But, your mother stole it. So now the lighting near my favorite chair is less than perfect so my eyes will probably stop working sometime really soon. I also used to have a lovely floor vase on the other side of said chair. But if memory serves me correctly, Anita ran off with that.

For you readers to get a grasp of these crazy people I love, also known as my family, whenever one of us has a party, the rest of us, the guests, if you will, go shopping in the hostess's house. I've actually taken paintings off of my mother's walls. Who's having the next party guys?

Weekend Extra

A few months after my dad died, Mom and I were on the phone. She was taking life in stride and trying her best to continue on the way Dad wanted her to. Granted she was sad but almost confused. It was as if she didn't know what to do next. Finally, she said "Now what?" Like the hardest part was over and she was seeking answers of how to carryon without the man she spent her life with.

When we got off of the phone, I hacked out the lyrics below. My musical buddy Vince rolled with it and sent me a rough draft. You can listen here.

Now What?

Every promise meant forever
Ever day you swore you'd never
Let me go
Never let me go

I get up every mornin'
No more nights with all your snorin'
No more touch upon my face to
Let me know
Ohhh to let me know

I keep trying to go on livin'
But all those nights that we been missin'
They let me know
Oh they let me know

Now what?
What am I gonna do
Now that I've lost you
I don't wanna start my day
Without lookin' at your face
Now what?

People ask if I'm okay
Don't know why they can't see
Just look at my face
Time hasn't healed the pain

So many nights of me cryin'
Too many years we spent trying
Not to go
Never letting go
Oh never letting go

I keep trying to go on livin'
But all those nights that we been missin'
They let me know
Oh they let me know

Now what?
What am I gonna do
Now that I've lost you
I don't wanna start my day
Without lookin' at your face
Now what?

I gave you up to bigger hands
Thanked the Lord for the time we had
We'll meet again in better times
Ohhh in better hands
Now, what?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Since You've Been Gone

Today marks one year since my dad lost his battle with cancer. It's hard to believe he has been gone a whole year. And sometimes, it seems he has been gone forever. Death is weird like that. I never knew how much I would miss him. I guess we never do, right? I think about him so much more than I could have ever imagined.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad. We were at Brookfield Zoo and he was pushing me in a stroller. As you can tell, Dad was no sex kitten. He was never into frills and thrills. He was just your basic guy enjoying life.

He never said much but when he did, it was always something incredibly funny. He had the most amazing quick-witted sense of humor of anyone I've ever known.

We had to torture him by ripping out his leg hair to get a negative reaction from him. He was always the calm parent. Sorry Mom, but you were the disciplinarian, the yeller and to this day, you remain the warden. (She hates when I call her that.)

Angie and I used to crawl under the kitchen table and rip Dad's leg hair out, just for shits and giggles. He would fake a kick to either of our heads, tell us in a sarcastic tone how cute we were, and then would go back to reading the newspaper or drinking his coffee.

Ang and I were attention whores. Dad didn't give enough reaction the first couple of times, so we persisted. That was usually followed by him flaring his nostrils, rolling his tongue and biting down on it. When he made that face, we knew he meant business, but it never failed to make us laugh.

Sometimes after crawling out from under the table, with a handful of leg hair, I would smack his newspaper out of his hands. One time he saw me winding up and held tightly onto the paper so it wouldn't be ripped out of his hands. My Kung Foo action tore that sucker in two. That man rolled his tongue at me that day.

I don't know why he never beat any of us. Not even a little crack on the ass. But no fail, we would run as if he was about to give chase. Every once in a while he would whine Mom's name as if he were another one of the kids telling on us for acting up. We were amused by that too.

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A big guy like my dad could be scary or intimidating, but he had a kind trust that oozed out of him. (Lane 1 5-years-old)

Thinking back on the last year, it's been really hard not having that man around. It's kind of funny in a way. Whenever I called my parent's house, I always just talked to my mom. I would ask her to tell Dad certain things but before he became sick, I didn't talk to him very often. That is, until he got a cell phone.

Initially, we were all excited for him. He was coming into the technology age and had his first real gadget. Each of us kids programmed our phone numbers into his phone so he could use it more easily. Every night he would clip his cell onto his belt and go off to work the night shift. He had his specific call times during his breaks and lunch. Mom has always been a night owl so it wasn't unusual for him to ring her at 2 a.m.

When it's 9 p.m. in Oahu, it's 2 a.m. here. Dad thought that would be a good time to call my brother Mark who lived out there. It never failed, Dad always forgot what kid was what speed dial number. If my phone rang at 2 a.m. now, I would be worried that someone somewhere was hurt, but back then, I always knew it was my dad misdialing. It was during those accidental calls that he and I did the majority of our talking. He would always begin with, "Oh shit Honey. Sorry to wake you. I thought Mark was number six." Those accidental calls were the best. I don't know why he had so much more to talk about when it was an accidental call than when he was intentionally calling, but it always struck me funny.

One time he bumped his cell phone, which resulted in him accidentally and unbeknownst to him, calling me. I could hear him whistling, coughing, talking to people and then, I heard him start to pee. That was where I gave up my efforts of trying to scream "DAD!" into the phone and hung up. Okay, so maybe those accidental calls weren't all that great.

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When we lived in California, my mom and dad came to visit. It was the first time he ever saw the ocean. He stood in awe, taking it all in, until a wave crashed over him, giving him "beach balls."

Those are just a small handful of memories I don't ever want to forget. How his angry face looked, how his eyes twinkled when he smiled, how the smirk crossed his lips when something sarcastic was about to pass them. I guess in a way I'm worried that time and the sadness of him being gone will erase them.

Q & As will return tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jamie Dawn, Pirate and Marybeth Want To Know

In yesterday's ask Lois post, I only shared my first newspaper experience because it was my favorite. Maybe because it was my first. I learned as much as I possibly could and moved on to the next path of my career.

Home Fires went on to be published in ten other papers and I was signed on as a partner of a nearby newspaper. That was by far the most boring yet stressful newspaper job ever. I did very little writing compared to what I was used to, which made it that much worse. Being an office monkey and boss does not suit me at all. The few times I had to fire people, I always blamed it on my partners.

Jamie Dawn wants to know if I am good at math. In a word, no. She also wonders if I have traveled outside of the US, again, no. Well, yes, Mexico once but it was a quickie trip to buy a hooker and some drugs. No wait, that was Vegas. Um, yes, one time to Mexico but I was not a fan. I'm hoping my first trip overseas will take me to see my pal Michelle in Oz. She has a couch there with my name on it.

Jamie Dawn also wants to know if I have any phobias. Only one. My kids dying before me. I already told them that isn't allowed, but every time a young life is lost, that fear sweeps over me.

And finally food, Jamie Dawn wants to know what my favorite restaurant is. None of you would know it because it's a little place out here in the middle of nowhere. It's a steak pit run by two Greek brothers. The grill is in the center of the restaurant and the brothers are always there, usually arguing about something. They have high-back leather chairs that are comfy enough to sleep in, and after that one time when I tried a Long Island iced tea, I almost did.

Pirate wants to know if I like the top or bottom bunk. Truth is, I never got the chance to sleep on the bottom bunk. My sister Angie was afraid of heights so I got the top by default. I loved hanging upside down over the edge, making her think I was going to fall, just to scare her.

Marybeth wants to know how I like my coffee. I love my coffee more than I can express. And I take it like my men (as if I have an entourage of those layin' around haha!). Hot, sweet, tan, strong, smooth, satisfying and good enough to keep me up all night long.

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bud Buckley Wants To Know

So few questions yesterday. I guess that means I have been over sharing and you already know all there is to know about me. This whole thing (ask anything you want to know about Lois) started after Cooter Ang sent me a getting to know you questionnaire in an e-mail. My sister Angie is guilty of sending the same, repeatedly. Maybe those Angie chicks just think alike.

Every once in a while one of my sister's answers are really off the wall. It's her way to see if anyone is paying attention to her. While I read all of the senders answers, I rarely send these surveys back. So that is what prompted this ask Lois segment.

Bud wants to know about my newspaper days. What I liked and didn't and what beats I covered. Although I still freelance for newspapers, I am thrilled to be out of the newsroom on a full time basis.

I started at a small local paper and covered everything from school boards, city government, county government, park boards and community news. There wasn't much crime there to be reported but when it did come up, I covered that too.

In small towns, the newspaper people basically cover everything. I was the editorial department, writing Home Fires plus some local editorial, both once each week. I also designed the newspaper and took photos.

It took four years before burnout took over and my job wasn't my dream anymore. I worked 60 plus hours every week. I wrote 12-15 byline items every week, and I covered a ton of meetings. I think the meetings were what I hated most. Politics.

Being a people person, I was and still am totally into feature stories. Anything about anyone is my favorite thing to cover. One of my hardest but best interviews was with a former Chicago police officer who had moved out in the middle of nowhere after serving 25 years with the Chicago PD. He investigated some of the most high profile cases, including the John Wayne Gacy murders.

When our former governor (George Ryan) tossed out a blanket clemency order for all Illinois death row inmates, I thought, this former Chicagoan would be a good person to ask what he thought. I thought it was a good way to localize a national story.

We sat in the newsroom for five hours one day and two hours the next. He told me some of the most fascinating and disgusting things about his job. He showed me pictures from thousands of crime scenes and explained how evidence was gathered. He brought a suitcase filled with evidence collection tools and showed me how they worked.

He knew there were a couple of bad apples at the PD who may have coerced confessions, but assured me the blanket clemency was a huge mistake. He said had the governor worked each on a case-by-case basis, he would have seen 99% of those on death row, were right where they belonged.

Interviewing him was like watching one of those CSI shows in person. By far the most fascinating interview ever.

Outside of the people stories, I love writing Home Fires. It has always been about the family but it has always been a much more tame version of what you read here. And that's just because newspapers frown upon bad words. Stooopid newspapers.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Getting To Know You

After receiving the 35th Getting to Know Your Friends e-mail this year, I thought I'd do like lots of other bloggers have. I am opening up the comments to your questions. What do you want to know about Lois Lane? Try to refrain from hogging all of the good questions.

Answers to your questions will result in posts in random order through the rest of the week.

If you would rather send your question in an e-mail, please send it to

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mad Dog

Two days at Home Fires devoted to the dog, weird. Most of you regulars are so used to the cat stories and an occasional bunny or opossum story, you may have thought you were reading the wrong blog. While I'm on a roll (over and play dead). I thought today would be a good day to share the story behind the angry Little Lois picture on my sidebar.

It all began the day I was born. No, I didn't come out angry but it was soon after I exited the womb (with the lousy view) my mother told my godmother that I looked like a bulldog. I was appalled too. Can you imagine giving birth and saying that baby is anything but beautiful? Well, y'all know how evil my mother is so it may not come as much of a shock to you. For me, however, I was a newborn with a complex as big as Texas. Not exactly a good way to start life.

My godmother (Cousin Benny's mom) was so pissed off at my mother for saying such a terrible thing. My mother didn't care and persisted, "Look at how fat she is. And checkout those jowls." The final straw for my godmother was when my mother bought a can of Alpo for me to really piss her off. My mother claims it was a joke.

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With such a negative start in life, you can imagine why I'd be a bit angry. By the time I was four months old, I learned that smiling a little might melt my mother's icy heart. All it got me was a leash.

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But when Grandma was around, I was really happy. She thought I was cute and not at all bulldogish. She said something about how if my mother would drink, she'd think I was cute too. (Me front and center stealing the spotlight from Angie, who appears to be holding her crotch happily, Mary is behind her with the bows in her hair and Anita is getting a headlock from Grandpa I think.)

So when certain guests were around, I felt pretty, oh so pretty and all that stuff. But when those guests went away, and it was just us again, the anger would spill over.

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That brings me to the picture of me being angry. See this picture of my dad and his daughters? Now you see my sister Lucy using me as an armrest? You'd be angry too. That is, unless you were hanging onto your crotch like Angie. I guess some things never change.

You folks have yourselves a doggone great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bad To The Bone

Sticking with the dog theme, I thought I should tell you guys about our dog Sydney. I was volunteering in an animal shelter in California. As an animal lover, that can be a really bad place to spend time. When a lady brought Sydney in, I was madly in love. I'd only been there helping for a few days and I'd already found an animal I wanted to take home. She had all of the cute puppy powers, which were by far stronger than any of the other dogs in the entire pound.

She was one of nine pups born to a mom whose family no longer wanted her. Since all of the pups were weaned, the mom dog was adopted almost immediately. The pups had to be immunized and checked over a little more then their mom.

Out of all those babies, Sydney was the social one. She would make her presence known without being a barking fool. Anytime I was near the kennel, she would get up from a sound sleep, crawl out from the bottom of the doggie pile, tilt her head to the side as if to ask, "Whatcha doin'?" Yup, I'm a sucker for cute and that puppy was oozing with it.

She was quick to learn tricks and was going potty outside in no time. She loved to run and play frisbee, and she was great at herding the kids when they would run in the house. She would nibble their Achilles and it would stop them dead in their tracks. She never hurt either one, but they always listened when Sydney "told" them to stop running. She was by far the smartest dog I've ever been in contact with.

That is, until she began teething. My daughter was the only 4-year-old on the entire planet wearing crotchless panties because of that damn dog. Every pair she would find, she chewed the cotton crotch right out of. It didn't matter if they were clean or dirty, the dog chewed until there was nothing but a big hole. And she only did that to Lane 2's drawers, which I guess I should have been thankful for.

The first day I left her home alone while she was teething, was a day I'll never forget. It was the day I learned how smart she wasn't. It was a day that made me laugh until my guts hurt, which made being mad almost impossible.

I had to go grocery shopping but knew how she had been chewing anything left in her reach. Although I bought her tons of chew toys, bones and rawhide, I opted to close her up in the laundry room rather than trust her free-roaming in the house. All of the laundry supplies were in the closet and there wasn't one thing laying around for her to get her teeth on except her chew toys.

When I came home an hour later, she was whimpering so loudly, I had to let her out of that room fast. She sounded so pathetic. As I opened the door, I couldn't believe my eyes. She had tore up the entire linoleum floor and was stuck to the pasty underside. She had a pile of what used to be flooring in one corner of the room. She had a small piece of linoleum stuck to her nose and several stuck to her legs.

As she tried to walk toward me, her paws were slowly pulling from the destroyed floor, making this velco ripping sound. She tried to get out of that laundry room but every step she took made that same sound. She began with fast happy to see me tail wags, until, crrrrrraaaah, and then she tucked her tail under her ass. She would hold still a second, wag some more, and than crrrrrraaaah. It was one of the funniest, most pathetic things I have ever witnessed.

I got a bucket of warm water and dumped it on the floor to help melt some of the glue. I guess she thought I was trying to drown her because it scared the shit out of her, literally. With the floor completely gone, the dog's pads on her paws practically being ripped off by the glue, my laundry room soaked and loaded with shit, all I could do was laugh.

She finally let me pick her up and take her out of the laundry room. Once I cleaned her paws, I could see there wasn't any visible damage.

After that fateful day, she was terrified of that room. If I left the door open she would creep by with her tail between her legs. Sometimes she would sit a few feet away from the door whimpering. I tried to help her get over her unnecessary fears as soon as I replaced the floor. I put treats and some of her favorite toys in there but it was no use. The only way was to keep the door shut. Out of sight out of mind I guess.

Sydney stayed with us until we had to move back to Illinois a couple of years later. Our new place didn't allow pets so we had to find a new home for her. We were lucky to have a friend with a farm who wanted to keep her. A friend who knew all about the crotchless panties and that fateful day, but was brave enough to take her anyhow.

P.S. Did you guys hear about the dog that ran away following the Westminster? I bet she was pissed that ugly ass colored terrier beat her. Renting Best in Show this weekend, thanks for the suggestion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Little Bow Wow

Animal lovin' dorks that we are, watched the dog show last night. We caught a couple of the earlier rounds the night before but just had to tune in to see the finals. Dorks, I tell ya.

Anyhow, they showed this beagle that was mere inches from dragging his belly on the ground. A real low-rider. Lane 2 said, "Holy cow! That bagel's biscuits are going to trip him."

It took me a second to realize she meant beagle and balls. "That's pretty disgusting sweetheart. And he is a beagle not a bagel."

"I know Mom. And those aren't biscuits either."

She is growing up to be such a lovely lady.

We made fun of the whole show, from the way the handlers run like girls, to the way the judges feel up every single dog. My daughter also learned, the uglier the dog, the better chance it has to win.

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This is Lane 2 with our Australian Shepherd, Sydney. She was much too cute to win any dog show.

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That is, until she grew up a little. Here is Lane 2 with Sydney a few months later. We were already madly in love with that dog, so it was okay that she wasn't cute anymore.

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And finally, Lane 2 with Ginger my mom's dog. Again, much too cute to win a stupid dog show.

So tell me, are Lane 2 and I the only dorks in the world to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm Lookin' For A New Love Baby

I'm Only Human

Hard to pick a title on today's thoughts. I wanted to share a warm fuzzy love story with you fine readers but I'm not really into making people barf, so I'll skip all that crap and tell you the dirty truth. What I thought was love at first sight was just a strong fondness. As I get older, I learn more and more what true love really is.

I know I shouldn't have started looking for a new love before the old love was completely out of my life. It's okay if you guys hate me for that. I am pretty disappointed to know I am capable of this myself. I suppose I am only human after all. I thought the butterflies would stay in my tummy forever. I thought I would never be like others who just throw away love. I don't like to think of it as throwing love away necessarily, I am simply saying goodbye before all is lost. Ending this on a good note, if you will.

The truth is, I've had a wandering eye since 2002 and yes, I talked to Mr. Lane about this. I wanted to be open and honest. I guess he thought I'd settle down, set my feelings aside and continue on as if I'd not met the other. But I met the other years ago and I've tried to put him out of my mind. I just didn't know how. And now I have a chance to begin a new commitment and I want to. Desperately.

We weren't meant to be sooner. He was out of my league. And I know better than anyone, you can't rush a good thing. Good things come to those who wait. If you love something set it free and whatnot. So I did and now it has come back.

In 2002 I picked my second choice. A Buick Regal. I have truly loved him as much as I could possibly love a second choice. He was three times cheaper than my real true love.

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For this Valentine's Day, I am professing my everlasting love. Sorry Regal Beagle, we just weren't meant to last forever.

There wasn't a day that went by where I didn't secretly think of you. When one of my in-laws came for a visit from California in 2003, and I saw her with you, I was green with envy. It should have been me gripping your leather steering wheel. It should have been my bum being warmed by your heated leather seats. It should have been my hair whipping in the wind, with the sun beating down upon my face through your moon roof. But my mother in-law had you.

I can't tell you how badly I felt when I saw you and her together. I was jealous, enraged and hurt. I tried to tell myself I had moved on. I tried telling myself and my Regal Beagle that we were meant to be, but my heart and lead foot knew differently.

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In two weeks you will arrive. And I am so ready for that day to come. I've made lots of plans for us, so rest up. I will see you soon my love.

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, and to my wonderful husband whom I love almost as much as the new car he is getting me.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Calling All Angels

Thanks Odd Todd for making me your Sunday Blogger. Welcome all of you fellow Odd Todd fans. Todd is a really cool guy. A couple of months ago, he sent in a reader testimonial when my agent search began. He said "Home Fires is real-life goodness that my mind ate up like a cupcake sandwich." That was by far the cutest testimonial I ever got. Besides being a cool guy, Todd has some of the funniest cartoons available on the internet.

He and I have ties through many people. He is a friend and fan of Dutch West TV, where I have been moonlighting. He is a buddy to my pal Deni. Another of our mutual friends is drawing the cover of my book. Plus I've "met" some very cool people via the Odd Todd TV Bored.

It's kind of like the six degrees of Todd Bacon or something like that. Anyhow, thanks Todd. For any of you readers who have never heard of him, please take a few minutes out of your day to checkout his cartoons. You won't be sorry.

On with today's post:

It happened. I tried to make it stop. It just wouldn't. My baby boy is now officially taller than me. I thought about buying clogs or platform shoes but it's time to face the truth. I even made the old man take the boy for a haircut, hoping on hope some of his height was in that dreaded Napoleon Dynamite hairdo. It helped a tiny bit but he is one quarter of an inch taller than me. Just one more indication my baby boy is growing up fast.

Friday night, my son, Lane 1 went to another school-sponsored dance. Since his return, our phone has been ringing off of the hook. I swear to god that kid must have been giving out business cards or something. (Finger gun, click, click, handsome guy smile) "Give me a call babe. We'll do lunch." A mother's mind is a bad scary place.

The dance was at another of the small neighboring schools. They call them filter schools because the students for many little communities all filter into one main high school. The dances are a way for the kids to interact and get to know each other before moving on to high school together.

When he got in the car, I began with the typical questions. He rolled his eyes in my general direction.

"Come on, son. It's my job to ask how things went."

"And bug me about who I danced with."

"Well, yeah."

"I danced with everyone Mom."

"Really? Good."

We had a talk earlier in the day about girls. Not that talk. We had that one a long time ago. This one was about feelings and vulnerability. I told him this is a very difficult age for girls. I let him know that everything he says and does at this dance will be remembered for the rest of at least one girl's life. And I told him to be kind. If asked, say yes to a dance. It doesn't have to go any farther than a dance.

He opened up during the talk and said there is a girl named Jena who really likes him. "Every time she passes me in the hallway at school, she says, 'Hi Lane.' and then her face turns bright red. It's really cute."

I told him she would likely be the girl to remember this dance and him for the rest of her life.

"Yeah but no pressure, right Ma?!"

All of his classmates are beginning to date. So he was nervous about someone, specifically Jena, asking him to be boyfriend and girlfriend. I reminded him of my no dating until he is 16 rule.

Just about the time those eyes of his were thinking about rolling at me again, I said, "Think about what a great excuse that is to not be pressured into saying yes to date someone. 'Sorry. Can't date until I'm 16.' You don't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings."

After the dance he admitted it was a good excuse. One he said he used four times. Since the dance, all four girls, and all of their closest friends have been calling. Hourly.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Cat Scratch Fever

My mom has this magnetism that draws in freaks. It's almost as if she wears a sign that says, "Come bug me, please." She lives in a huge apartment complex and "meets" new neighbors every day while out walking her dog.

A few days ago, she was out, allegedly minding her own business. She saw a man walking a cat on a leash. Although Mom is a cat lover, she thought it odd and wondered if the dude ever heard of kitty litter. She held back her eye roll and giggle and continued to walk.

As they got closer, the man inched his way to the edge of the grass to be as far away as possible from my mom and her dog. Because my mom's dog was raised with cats, she didn't make any attempt to give chase. As they passed each other, the man said, "I don't like your dog."

"Lo, I really wanted to say, 'Who the fuck asked you?' I have been trying so hard to be a nicer person. So instead, I simply said, 'Why? Because she is smarter than you? By the way, I feel really sorry for Fluffy.' and then I walked away."

"You showed good restraint Mom. I would have yelled to the dog, 'Attack!' and watched him shit himself before getting licked to death by Ginger."

"All this nice shit isn't getting me anywhere. It's as if someone opened a door for all assholes to walk in and annoy me. This guy's leash for his little tabby is so thick you would swear to God that dumb sonofabitch was walking a fucking mountain lion."

Since her encounter she has resigned herself to stop trying to be nice to certain people. Can you guys to come up with a tactic for her to use as a way to fuck with Fluffy's dad, since she isn't going to be nice to him anymore?

Don't forget to visit Dutch West TV where I am the guest blogger on the Dutch Oven.

I will also have a post up over at Cyber Hikers, later today.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

This Is Why Home Fires Needs A Newsletter

Here are some of the random tidbits going on in my world.

I've been moonlighting over at Dutch West to soothe the savage writing beast within. If you want to checkout my latest insanity, go here.

I was also invited to participate in Cyber Hike, which is a blog for a virtual hike along the Appalachian Trail. Stacie talked a bunch of us bloggers into working together through walking, running and cycling to cover the 2,160 miles of terrain. I'll post something over there this weekend.

On days that the weather cooperates, I like to get out and walk or jog. Since it is February in Chicagoland, there aren't many days that I am able. With the LO Racer 2006, nothing is stopping me from participating. I am logging about ten miles each day.

I was also invited to Las Vegas for a blogger convention next month. I am still trying to finagle a way to go. My brother Mark lives in Vegas and I thought it would be really cool to get a two-for-one out of a weekend trip. (This is where you should talk my mother into going with me, since I hate to travel alone.)

Should Home Fires have a newsletter for all of the boring not really post-worthy stuff like this?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I Smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

There are so many things going on. Life is crazy. I wish I had time to update yesterday but, thankfully some decent work came through. When I say decent, I mean stuff that can actually cover the cost of a bill or two.

My mom gets pissed when I don't blog. And strangely enough, I feel bad when I don't. Anyone know why that is? I also feel bad for not having time to visit everybody else's sites. Is it lame to say I've been thinking about all of you? Well not all of you. At least not at the same time. And certainly not when the mister and I are having quality time. But other than that, I really have.

This morning my daughter was in the school spelling bee. So was Kayla, my friend Sissy's daughter. Lane 2 was out and four others were left on the stage. The painful part was watching my friend's daughter lose to my daughter's nemesis.

Chucky is what I'll call him. (Think of the scary doll in those horror flicks.) Anyhow, I think because Chucky's parents work at the school, the words were stacked. With just Kayla and Chucky on the stage, Kayla had to spell "strephosymbolia" and Chucky got the word "basic". (Slight exaggeration on my part maybe but not much.)

I know the rest of the day is going to suck for my daughter because Chucky is in her class. The two fight for smartest all of the time. Last year when Chucky beat Lane 2 in the spelling bee, he teased her for weeks. As this spelling bee approached, he made sure to remind her what word she missed and repeatedly misspelled it the way she did. Did I mention I hate that little fucker? Haha!

So by now you might be thinking, what does, I smell trouble, which is the title of today's post, have to do with any of this. So now I'll tell you. Every time the spelling bee comes up, I think of the Travis Tritt song I Smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E. In the song, he actually sings the letters of the word trouble.

Most of you know about my husband Mr. Lane, AKA Mr. Mondegreen. When that song came out I heard him singing, "I Spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E." Yes, he spells it not smells it. God I love to make fun of him for that!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Let's Get Physical

I went to visit my mother this weekend. We have been talking about failing health a lot lately. We've seen so many family members going through various illnesses, which is what got us discussing better living. She already has improved her eating habits and said she wants to start exercising. She's even mentioned envy of my LO Racer 2006.

I told her that I had some low-impact equipment I could bring that would help her get started. I have this kit that has been sitting in my garage unused for quite a while. It came with 1-pound weights for wrists and ankles, a jump rope, hand grips, and a thigh master of sorts.

She sounded excited about the thigh master so I brought it to her. After hours of sitting around shooting the shit and drinking tons of coffee, our discussion turned to getting in shape. It wasn't long before she attempted her workout.

She sat on the edge of the couch, placed the thigh master between her legs. She pressed her thighs together and let out a holler. Mama done broke her cooter bone on the thigh master. She had it crammed too far back and when she squeezed, the center hit her right in the cooter.

I tried not to laugh at her but there was no controlling the giggles. She assumed she had the thigh master turned the wrong way, and while I was laughing my guts out, she tried again. She turned it pointing away from her cooter. She squeezed her thighs together one more time. The thigh master slipped off of her jeans and out from between her legs and whacked the dog in the head.

I was rolling. She dropped to the floor next to the dog and started rubbing her head and apologizing. She ran into the kitchen to get an icepack for the dog, and that just killed me more.

Whoever said that exercise never killed anyone, never asked Mom's dog.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hungry Like The Wolf

My daughter Lane 2 and I were reading the news online the other day. She spotted a link for bizarre photos of 2005 and asked me if we could look at them. This was one of the first to show up.

Image hosting by Photobucket

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged a protest in Rhode Island by placing themselves in containers resembling supermarket meat trays.

My 11-year-old daughter didn't really get the concept. I explained that the folks at PETA think eating animals is as bad as eating people, and their protest costumes were their way of showing what they believe.

Although she was disgusted at the way the group tried to make a point, primarily because they were naked, she thought it was good for them to stand up for what they believe in.

Our conversation turned to vegetarianism. She said she couldn't be a vegetarian. "I mean, I love animals and I hate the idea of them dying so I can eat them and stuff, but vegetables just aren't that good to be eating all of the time. I'd have to eat macaroni and cheese a lot. And then I'd be a noodletarian."

I reminded her of the time she became a vegetarian, which lasted two whole days. We took a road trip with her dad. We were behind a cattle hauling truck. We could see the animals looking through the holes in the trailer. They were all babies on their way to becoming veal.

The bumper sticker on the trailer said, "Beef, it's what's for dinner." Mr. Lane and I thought it was pretty funny, in a morbid sort of a way. Lane 1 and Lane 2 both were appalled. Neither ate meat for a couple of days.

I said, "So the way I see it is, PETA should really stand for People Eating Tasty Animals."

To which Lane 2 said with a smile, "I am going to pray for you in chapel, Mommy."

"Yeah? Well, while you're praying, can you thank the big guy for me for making animals so darn tasty?"

"I'm going to have to get the whole school to pray for you after that little comment, Mom. Otherwise, you're going down, way down."

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Finding My Way

I'm copycatting today because I find myself amazed how so many people find me on the net. I have seen many people post what others are inputting on various search engines to find their site and I thought I would do the same.

I like to think it is the story telling that brings readers in, however, that isn't always the case. Search engines are a good chunk of my visitor numbers.

I have a tracking system on the bottom of my right side bar. It's the little purple globe. If you click on it, you can see all of the statistical information about Home Fires.

On the main page there are options including, summary, unique visitors, inclu. excl. reloads, geo tracking, system tracking, referrer tracking 1 and 2.

The referrer 1 is where the searches are located. Several people find me while searching for lyrics because so many of my post titles are also song titles. I was surprised to find "I'm on the top of the world looking down on creation" one of the most popular of song titles I've used.

You remember when my husband, the mondegreen (big fancy word for people who sing lyrics incorrectly) was singing Harlem Black Girl instead of Hollaback Girl? Apparently many other people thought that is what Gwen Stefani was singing also because hits for that search were aplenty.

This one search scares me a little. Someone searched for, "is it okay for my husband to suckle?" That search turned up with Home Fires because of my breastfeeding post where I wrote about chasing my husband with my gushing geysers.

And finally somebody searched for, "ass big tit teen mom anal sex." To the person who somehow found this wholesome blog with that oozing nastiness, I say unto you, what the fuck you dirty nasty?!

So all of that got me thinking, how did you find Home Fires? If you can't remember, share some of your blog's odd searches.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You're Beautiful

Mr. Lane is down but certainly not out. Not only did his personal truck breakdown, yesterday his semi-truck did too. Thankfully the guy he works with wasn't too far away and was able to pick him up. Another good thing is we don't have to eat paper and shit money to be able to pay for it to be fixed. And if Mr. Lane were still running his own company, this expense would be ours. (Eating paper will not cause you to shit money. Do not try this at home.)

His coworker Randy came to Mr. Lane's rescue on the side of the road. He hopped into Randy's truck. As they were driving along Mr. Lane realized he has never spent much time with this guy. He was unsure of what to talk about and asked if he could turn on the radio.

He asked Randy what kind of music he likes. He said, "I listen to everything."

"Stop me if you hear a good one," Mr. Lane said as he began flipping through the stations.

Before Randy could stop him, Mr. Lane heard a song he liked. (This is the part where he called me.)

My old man has a really cute something about him. Sure, he does really weird shit sometimes, but when he calls just to play a song for me, I can't help but smile.

First he told me about the breakdown and explained he was in Randy's truck. He softly asked if I could hear the song playing in the background. I couldn't. He turned it up a little but I still couldn't hear what song it was. In a quiet yet squealing high-pitched mimicking voice, he sang into the phone, "You're beautiful. You're beauti-f-u-u-l. You're beautiful, it's true."

As I was telling him how adorable he is, Randy asked, "Are you singing, dude?"

Mr. Lane hurried off of the phone. That kept me giggling most of the day.

He called me later to say goodnight and of course I teased him about getting caught singing.

"Lo, I really got Randy thinking. After we hung up there was this really awkward silence. I tried to make small talk but it was forced, you know? So we finally get to the shop where the truck was towed, and since he already decided I must be gay, I thanked him for the ride and suggested he and I go see Brokeback Mountain together."

Just one more reason why I love that crazy man.