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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You want to know WHAT?!

Yesterday at work, I found myself on the webpage of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency. (Just the name gets your blood flowing, huh?). I decided it would be a good idea to receive the agency's e-newsletters. So I started filling out the electronic form to register.

I immediately found the form to be a little strange. See exhibit 1.

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Well, that's not what it says on my paychecks for Employer, but since you auto-filled it, State of Indiana, I suppose that's right.

The next thing was even more odd. See exhibit 2.

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Can only people of a certain height receive the newsletter of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency? I'm only 5'2" -- hope I make the cut.

Finally it was time to enter my name. But not my whole name. Just my last name. And then I suppose, if I wasn't a member of the media, it would be ok to give them my first name, too. See exhibit 3.

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By this time, I figured the electronic form had to be built by someone who was bored to tears with their job and was just throwing up whatever junk came to mind to make the day go faster. No, I'm not a member of the media. No, I don't work for a for-profit company. Yes, I am shorter than the average Joe. Then I got to the last question -- the one that really sparked this blog post:

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You want to know WHAT?! As you can see in the photo above, I didn't think that was any of their business. The only people who get to know that are my doctor and the carney at the Indiana State Fair who works at the "guess your age or weight" booth.

I submitted my form with my version of "none of your beeswax." And guess what? Today I got an e-newsletter from them. Guess my weight wasn't to important to them after all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Well hello, Mrs. 4444s

Mommy's IdeaIt's been a crazy long time since I've done a Friday Fragments post for Mrs. 4444s weekly party. But I'm feeling fragmentish, so I thought it was high time I play along.

We're three days into Lent and I'm feeling the challenge. I gave up Diet Coke, which has been surprisingly easy. But I also gave up Facebook and my words games on Thursdays. I felt like I was being called to give up Facebook entirely for Lent, but I was going kicking and screaming. So I talked it over with a friend and came up with the concept of "Holy Thursdays." It's a day when I step back from all the "noise" and try to be more mindful of God at work in my life. Yesterday was hard -- but with some benefit. I was actually ready for work 20 minutes early because I didn't sit on the couch and nose around Facebook first.

Thanks for all the positive comments about my "Fat Tuesday" post. I wish I could just jump in and make a bunch of big changes at once. But that seems overwhelming. So I'm taking small steps. We'll see how it goes.

Do any of you have a kid that complains about being bullied? How do you decide if it's really bullying or just a sensitive kid? I want to be responsive, but I also don't want to be coddling. Would love some wisdom here.

Winter has arrived -- at least temporarily. It's cold here (in the 30s) and very blustery. And I was just getting used to not wearing my coat again.

PhotobucketNo coats necessary for the awesome trip being given away by Eversave. I don't get anything for telling you about it, but why wouldn't I want to share the chance to win a 6-day vacation in Todos Santos, Mexico? (Well, because I want to win it for myself!) But, I'm sharing anyway. Isn't that nice of me? So nice that I'm sure if you win, you'll want to take me as your guest. Enter by clicking the image to the right. (In case that doesn't work, you can click here too.)

If you are the praying type, I would love some prayers toward two special intentions, that I am able to hear -- and trust -- God's voice in two situations.

Thanks, friends. Hope you have a great weekend. Please stop by Mrs. 4444s place for some more Friday Fragments.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fat Tuesday, indeed

I have a little confession to make. Well, a fat confession, really.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've probably noticed or at least guessed. I am fat. Again. 

Not that I was ever skinny, but this time two years ago, I weighed nearly 30 pounds less than I do right now. Then I was deep in the benefit of the Go Red for Women Better You challenge. I was exercising daily, eating healthfully. Now?

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Now, I look like a Higglytown Hero. 

I know how it started. Summer 2010 knocked me off my exercise routine. Fall 2010 had me facing some enormous personal stresses at home. Winter 2011 brought ice storms and hours upon days on my couch. Then in Spring 2011, my mother-in-law died and the fat snowball just gained momentum. Unlike Dave Ramsey's debt snowball, this is not a good thing. 

It's not like I didn't notice. It was slow at first. Seven pounds. Then another five. And soon I was eating quarter pounders and fancy cupcakes without much guilt at all. Well, I had enough guilt to keep me eating them in the privacy of my own car. 

If only throwing money at fat would make it melt away. I don't dare count the months I shelled out hard-earned coins to Weight Watchers and the gym without so much as crossing the threshold of either place. But it's too much pressure, having those things hanging over my head. So I canceled the gym membership and scaled Weight Watchers back to online only.

It's not that I'm happy this way; I'm not. I'm uncomfortable and unhealthy and completely disappointed in myself. I get winded easily. I'm back to using the CPAP machine. I could do a stand-up comedy routine called "You're too fat when..."

You're too fat when...you keep hanging up on your friends because your fat cheek hits the "end" button on your cell phone while you're talking.

PhotobucketYou're too fat when...you can't put your arms fully down at your sides, making you look like a rotund penguin whose flippers stick out awkwardly.

You're too fat when...your son yells "Mom, come here! You have to see this" and when you get to the family room, he's watching an infomercial about some crazy weight loss product or program.

You're too fat when...you write down the URL of that crazy weight loss product just so you can check it out later.

You're too fat when...you dream about Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels coming to your house to kick your fat ass.

You're too fat when...

Oh heck. I'm too fat NOW.  There are fat clothes in my closet again -- though not the fat dress. It found its way to Goodwill long ago. I know I can't stay like this. I have to do something. And I will. 

I think I just did. I confessed. That's a start.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I was going post a new blog entry...

on Friday, but I drove about 100 miles within a 15-mile square and without voice-to-blog technology, it didn't happen.

I was going to post a new blog entry on Friday night, but I got a massage at 5:30pm and I was too relaxed to open the computer.

I was going to post a new blog entry on Saturday afternoon, but I ended up trolling a great antique mall instead.

I was going to post a new blog entry on Saturday night, but we started watching Season 1 of "Downton Abbey" on Netflix and Dowager Countess was fretting about fighting with Americans.

I was going to post a new blog entry on Sunday afternoon, but the Turkish ambassador died in Lady Mary's bed, and Mr. Bates was falling in love with Anna, and Mrs. O'Brien and Thomas were too nasty for words.

I was going to post a new blog entry on Sunday evening, but World War I broke out, and Lady Cybil went to work as a nurse, and Downton Abbey became a convalescent home for recovering soldiers and the Earl of Grantham is a really nice man who cares about his servants.

And I probably can't post a new blog entry tonight because Charlie has basketball practice, and we're having company for dinner and straight after, I will have to watch the last two episodes of Downton Abbey so I can see if Lady Mary marries that awful Richard and if Lady Edith finally gets the goodness she deserves and if Mrs. O'Brien gets the awfulness she deserves and if Mr. Bates and Anna can finally be happily together.

So much for posting a new blog entry.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It felt more like St. Patrick's Day

PhotobucketAhhh, Valentine's Day. The day when mischievous leprechauns wreak havoc on your life. At least that's what it was here.

The day started out perfectly fine. I got the boys up, fed and dressed in new red shirts -- Super Bowl XLVI for Charlie and Angry Birds for Robbie. I sent them on their way with Mike and sat down to write the requisite Valentine's Day blog post.

Post written, Annie got up. We argued about whether she would go to school today. She threw up last night, but I was pretty sure it was something she'd eaten. No fever. Felt fine before dinner, not so fine after. (I did not cook it.) She wanted to stay home. I said she had to go. She groused, but got dressed.

The carpool kid arrived. The girls got in the car and that's when the day came to screeching halt.

I could not find my keys. Anywhere.

They were not on the kitchen counter. Not in the drawer by the front door. Not in the front door. Not in my purse. Not in my coat pocket. After 15 minutes of hunting, I called the girls back inside and called the other carpool mom to ask her to take the girls to school. Then I sent a message to my office saying I'd be working from home until I found the keys.

I kept searching. Not on my dresser. Not in the pants I wore out to eat last night. Not under the couch cushions. Not under the couch. Not in my work bag. Not in the trunk.

I called Mike, thinking maybe they fell out of my coat in his car. No luck.

I prayed to St. Anthony -- "Tony, Tony, look around, something's lost and can't be found."

I sounded the "please pray I find my keys" alert on Facebook and Twitter.  One friend said she felt like St. Anthony was telling her I should look by the mailbox. I put my shoes on and went digging in the snow around the mailbox. I got cold hands but no keys.

They had to be somewhere. Maybe one of the boys had them? So I called the school and had the boys check their backpacks. Nada.

There was work to be done, so I set up my laptop on the kitchen table and got down to business. The rest of the morning went like this:

Type, type, type. Work, work, work. Search, search, search. Repeat.

I looked in the pantry, in the fridge, under all the bathroom sinks, in the basement. I looked under every cushion in the house. I went back out to the car, searched my coat, purse and trunk again to no avail.

I honestly began to believe that some leprechaun or gremlin had taken my keys. Ok, I also thought that they were probably in Mike's car and he just didn't look closely enough.

Then around noon, the real fun started. I got a call from the nurse at Annie's school. She'd thrown up at school and could I come get her. Oh, and Annie had mentioned to the nurse that she had been throwing up last night. Did I know that? (Insert guilty emoticon here.)

Well crap. I updated the missing key drama on Facebook and called Mike, who was unable to leave work for a while because of something he was working on. Thank God for Facebook and other people who check it on their smartphones like I do because my new BFF Kate, who I know from the Delta Gamma days in college, had responded that she was downtown and could pick Annie up for me. Praise Jesus (and Kate)!

Once I alerted the school that Kate would be picking up Annie (nevermind that Annie had never met her before), I called the Toyota dealer to see about having some new keys made. We'd have to go into the dealership after Mike got home to show proof of ownership and get the keys. I would deal with replacing my office keys tomorrow.

The latest crisis averted (well, besides not having a clue where my friggin' keys were), I sat down to work again. Somewhere around 3pm, I got a massive headache. After about 30 minutes of trying to ignore it, I decided to lay down. As I closed my eyes, I said a little prayer that I would have a dream that would show me where the keys were.

Two hours later, I woke up without the benefit of a dream. Mike was on his way to pick up the boys and I decided to renew my search. With a more clear head, I started in the car again. Nope. Looked in my coat. Nothing. Picked up my purse and searched the outside front pocket, the main inside compartment, the inside zippered pocket. Big fat zero.

Frustrated, I threw the purse down and it landed back side up. Hmmm...there is a zippered pocket on the back. A zippered pocket I don't think I'd checked before.

Yup. You know it. Those keys were there. Annie had searched the purse once. I had looked at least three times.

I don't think the keys were in my purse the whole time. I think someone took them, hid them all day, and then slipped them into that pocket while I was sleeping.

It was a leprechaun. I just know it.

Hallmark-worthy?



Roses are red. 
Beaches are sandy.
My butt is so big,
I don't need any candy.

Hmmm...maybe not quite right.

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
  1. I love thee when you put up the toilet seat and remember to put it back down.
  2. I love thee when you put gas in my car because you know I don't like to do it.
  3. I love thee when you give up the remote control, even if it means a night of Food Network.
  4. I love thee when you don't eat my restaurant leftovers so I can have them the next day.
  5. I love thee when you don't make a big deal that my "broken" computer was just unplugged.
Closer, maybe. 

Love. Just do it.

Simple, direct, a tad overused.

Hey Jedi Master, want to show me your light saber? 

Definitely appropriate for the nerd market. Maybe I should try the traditional approach again.

Roses are red. 
Violets are blue.
Pizza for dinner.
Is that ok with you?

Sigh...guess I shouldn't quit my day job.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three little words

Isn't it amazing how three small words can make your heart swell and your insides feel all warm and cozy?

Those words might be...

...I love you

...Thank you, Mom

...It's a girl -- or It's a boy

Or even...

...You were right

...Down a pound

...Triple coupon day

...The Giants win (Sorry - I still have some residual Super Bowl joy going on.)

Tonight as I was putting Robbie to bed, he snuggled into the bed next to me and said...

...Today was awesome.

And I was like butter, all melty and warm and feeling so lucky to be here in this place.

So, what three words do you love to hear?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

P.S.

Just had to share what happened after I posted yesterday in "Somedays I've got it (...all wrong):"

I needed to leave at 6:30pm to take Annie and two other kids to confirmation class. Simple enough, unless you can't find your keys. I finally found them at 6:40. Got in the car, all set to go, and...no gas. I had just enough fumes to make it to the corner gas station. Thank God for small blessings.

Today will be a better day. (I hope.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Somedays I've got it (...all wrong)

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I felt pretty good when I left the house this morning. One of those "look at me, I'm so on top of it" mornings.

I had looked ahead at the lunch menu and saw that school lunch was spicy beef and rice, a definite no-go for the boys. So I packed their lunches and while I was at it, I packed Annie's too. Then I even packed a lunch for me.

I'd made sure the boys "Teamwork Tuesday" t-shirts were clean and ready to wear today.

I told Robbie he'd be going to after care while Charlie went to the first day of his study skills class.  I made sure Charlie remembered about the class.

Before I left for work, I put dinner in the crockpot. Another small victory in the morning-time battle.

Then I left home and realized about 2 miles down the road that I'd left my cell phone at home. Hello, handbasket.

It was around noon when I realized that Teamwork Tuesday is next week. Oops. Pretty sure I'll be hearing about that one.

Then I looked at the lunch menu to see what tomorrow's lunch is, you know, so I can plan ahead. It turns out spicy beef and rice IS tomorrow's lunch. Today's was cereal and fruit. Something both boys would have definitely eaten. So now I have to make lunch AGAIN.

When I got to school at 3:30pm to pick up Charlie from study skills class, the teacher told me he was so eager and ready when he reported to her room after school...but that study skills class doesn't start until Thursday.

At least the dinner that was in the crockpot turned out to be delicious. I know this because I've already tasted it. Apparently 6oz. of fat-free yogurt, some pumpkin flax granola and carrots is not enough to call "lunch" because when I got home I was ravenous, so I dug into tonight's dinner. Just a small taste test, you know.

Fifteen minutes or so later, I heard my cell phone ringing. I found it (under a pillow on the couch) and saw that I had 5 text messages and 3 missed phone calls. Including one from the high school carpool saying that her daughter didn't go to school today and could I pick Annie up? Have I mentioned the school is 30 minutes away from home? In the direction I just came from 90 minutes ago?

 Happily, because I didn't return the carpool mom's message, she went ahead and picked Annie up. Well, that was a saving grace!

Nothing that happened (or didn't happen) today was tragic. Nothing was even urgent -- well, except making sure Annie wasn't stuck at school. But nonethless, I'm ready for Murphy to move along and take his law with him.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whew! It's over.

You know that feeling you get when you're working toward some big event -- your wedding, a play, a big fundraiser, a 1st birthday party -- and your whole life seems consumed with the task. Then it happens. And then it's over and you are just exhausted?

Yep. That's me today. Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis is one for the record books -- happily, with the right team in the W column, and I feel like I have been working out with the teams. I am beat.

It's been a week of emotional pride in my community; walking, walking; walking in Super Bowl Village; late nights to catch Jimmy Fallon and what new and wonderful things he might say about Indianapolis; Twitter and Facebook conversations to keep the energy moving; reading and watching and listening to report after report about the city and the upcoming game. And now it's over and I am worn out. I can't imagine what the people on the host committee must feel like now.

The kids have today off of school, courtesy of the Big Game, so I happily took off work to stay home, too. The prudent part of me knows this would be a great day to catch up on laundry, finally get the Christmas boxes back in the storage room (they're packed up, just waiting to be moved), and clean my bedroom. The indulgent part of me wants to move from this chair at the kitchen table and snuggle down under a blanket on the couch.

Having the Super Bowl in our city was a fun ride. I'm glad we got to experience it -- well, everyone except Robbie who doesn't do big crowds very well. I'm so proud of the way the city came together to put on an amazing show on a world stage. The way the television stations actually reported something other than what comes over the police scanner all day (not looking forward to returning to that). The accolades that came from media all over the country.

But right now, I'm glad for the quiet and for my blanket on the couch.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is something more important than the Super Bowl

Today is February 5. Super Bowl Sunday. It's also the first Sunday of the month -- the day that Charlie is scheduled to be an altar server at the 6pm Mass. Super Bowl kick-off is at 6:30pm. Mass will get out around 7pm. Does anyone see the conflict here?


When I realized about two weeks ago that Charlie was scheduled to serve during the Super Bowl -- the one that is in our very own city -- I flew to the computer to send an e-mail to the list of servers' families.

"Wanted: Server sub who doesn't care about the Super Bowl."

I sent the message twice and got zero responses. I wasn't surprised, even though I had been holding on to a tiny sliver of hope that I'd get someone who didn't know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal and who didn't care.

Charlie tried to argue that Mass could go on just fine with only two servers, instead of the usual three. And while he is right, I told him "what if the other two servers thought the same thing?"  So I was resigned to DVRing the Super Bowl, not listening to the radio in the car, staying off Facebook and watching the game on delay. Too bad this is one time you don't want to fast forward through the commercials.

Then, last night I received an e-mail from the server coordinator, asking if we'd found anyone willing to sub for Charlie at Mass tonight. I told her no, unless she knew of someone, we would be there.

She replied that she confirmed that the other two servers would indeed be there and they could probably handle Mass with just two servers if we couldn't make it.

Woohoo! Game on!

Until Mike had to open his big (and in this case, right) mouth. He pointed out that the issue is not that we can't make it -- we don't have tickets to the game, we don't have company coming over -- we just don't want to make it. By bailing on the 6pm Mass and Charlie's responsibility as an altar server, we would be sending him -- and the other kids -- a message that it's ok to shirk your responsibilities if something better comes along or if you simply don't feel like doing what you're supposed to.

So, Super Bowl XLVI is tonight. Kick-off is at 6:30pm, unless you're at our house, where kick-off will be slightly later and the first call is "Touchdown, Jesus."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

And the winner is...

Entry #7, selected at www.random.org -- Sadie!  (@Ohiocatfish on Twitter)

Sadie, check your e-mail for your giant fortune cookie certificate from Eversave.

Thanks to everyone else for the entries.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Party on (and win free food!) - GIVEAWAY UPDATE

The Super Bowl party is still rocking in Indianapolis! Yesterday, I took my Mom and Dad down to Super Bowl village to soak up some of the atmosphere. They had a blast. Check it out:

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The requisite pose in front of the iconic XLVI on Monument Circle

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As close as we'll get to the Lombardi Trophy this year


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Loving the mash-up of NFL with Indy Car


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My favorite Super Bowl XLVI image, I think


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An ad or a warning that Madonna is doing the halftime show?


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My mom said this was sacrilegious. I said I was just giving the Pontiff peace.
I think he was at St. John's praying Madonna won't do anything embarrassing


It is definitely "Party On" around here. And you can join in the fun!  

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Eversave Indianapolis is hosting a Big Game Bash party on Twitter at 1pm today. Follow #SuperEversaveIndy to join the fun to answer football and Indy-related trivia questions for the chance to win prizes. At 2pm, a grand prize winner will snag a $100 gift certificate to Penn Station East Coast Subs, which has locations in 14 states.

If you don't have a free Eversave account, you can get one here. It's one of my favorite daily deal sites.

If you don't have a Twitter account (and the previous information is Greek to you), don't fret. I'll be doing an Eversave giveaway right here on my blog today. Check back here or watch the 4th Frog Facebook page for more details. (If you do have a Twitter account, you can follow me at @4thFrog. Leave a comment below with your Twitter handle so I can be sure to follow you too.)

The Giveaway
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 You will be ever so fortunate to win this giveaway from Eversave Indianapolis -- especially because it's an internet deal and you don't have to live in Indy to win! One lucky 4th Frog reader will win 2 giant custom-message fortune cookies ($20 value). Shipping is on you and starts at $6.50. Eversave Indy gave me the same deal for hosting this giveaway. It might be a fun way to announce a vacation or something to the kids.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog with a fortune you'd like to find in a fortune cookie.

For extra entries:
  1. Tweet: My fortune says I win with @4thFrog and @EversaveIND http://bit.ly/wFekft -- and leave a comment here saying you did.
  2. Facebook: Post this message on FB -- My fortune says I win with @4thFrog and @EversaveIND http://bit.ly/wFekft -- and leave a comment here, saying you did so.
Entries must be received by Saturday, February 4th at 6pm.

If you don't have confidence in your own good fortune and want to snag the Save for yourself, click here to buy the deal for $10.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sad night on the Biggest Loser (spoiler)

Photobucket I knew it was going to happen. Nancy, the grande dame of this season's Biggest Loser, was sent home tonight. I've thought from the beginning of the season that everyone was just humoring the old lady as long as they had to.

What's really sad is that Nancy was the only one making sense and speaking wisdom in all the drama between Conda (who else?) and Adrian, of the turquoise team, who earned his way back to the ranch with his sister Daphne by losing more than a combined 50 pounds at home. Conda and Kim were really pretty mean and immature tonight, treating Adrian as though he'd done something wrong by coming back to the ranch. Adrian's mistake was not in coming back, but in being a little too braggy about what he'd done and was going to do.

The weigh-in for both teams was miserable. Neither team cleared a 2% weight loss. Ironically, Nancy lost 5 pounds and had a higher percentage of weight loss than 4 other people on the red team. Conda only lost a pitiful 2 pounds. But of course no one wrote Conda's name down under those silver domes. Why? Because she's a mean girl and everyone is afraid of making an enemy of her. The mean girl strategy (although I think this is all natural and not an affected strategy) served Vicky well in Season 6, so maybe Conda is on to something.

Nancy, who is 63 years old, has lost 42 pounds so far (18 while she was on the ranch). It was great to see her with so many of her 13 kids and 55 grandkids at the transformation moment, but I think granddaughter Cassandra is going to take it pretty hard when G-ma does not return to the house after the elimination room.

I was really hoping to see Nancy make it to makeover week. Hopefully some of her kids and grandkids will treat her to a makeover before the season finale.