Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As is the custom on Thanksgiving, it is time to give thanks. Here are the top 5 things for which I am most thankful:

1. My family.
2. My health (and that of my family).
3. A roof over our heads and an income to pay for it.
4. The opportunity to continue and finish my education.
5. A new president.

I'm certain that everyone else's list is identical for at least #1 and hopefully #2. Aside from family and health, what are you most thankful for?

I hope everyone has a very wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birth Day Reflection

I am currently doing two things:
1. Avoiding homework.
2. Reflecting on the birth of my oldest child.

Today is my son's 16th birthday. I know I've already discussed my melancholy over this day in a previous post. But something I have always found quite interesting is that birthdays always seem to trigger a reflection about the actual event of being born.

I don't know if it's the same in your family, but in mine when your birthday rolled around, you were always treated to a retelling of the story of your birth. Birth stories are family legend. It's a tradition on the level of turkey on Thanksgiving, Christmas trees, and fireworks on the 4th. Birthdays involve birthday cake, presents, and birth stories.

So, here I am, avoiding database design and construction (BORING), and thinking about my oldest child and how he came to be in our lives.

We had miscarried once before him, which had left us quite nervous. Other than having had a problem with preterm labor and a month on bedrest, the pregnancy went well. My water broke early in the morning, and although we lived an hour away from the hospital, there were still no contractions by the time we got there so they started me on pitocin (which, in my opinioin, is an extremely evil medication). Contractions began as suddenly and painfully as if I had been hit by a Mack truck.

Hard labor lasted for several hours (or rather an eternity) and then it was time to push. Keep in mind that throughout this entire experience I had no medication of any kind. No epidural, no other meds, nada. I was young and idealistic (perhaps stupid). When it came to pushing I had no idea what I was doing. Nobody teaches you the nuts and bolts of shoving a watermelon through a pinhole. It didn't help that this child was 9 pounds and had a big head.

After two and a half hours of pushing and no progress, he started having decelerations in his heart rate and the doctor was seriously concerned for his well-being so she pulled out the forceps. These are another of the most evil medical inventions ever. The doctor managed to grasp my son's head and as I pushed, she braced a foot on the bed and leaned back, pulling with all of her strength. I'm surprised that when he finally gave up and entered the world the doctor didn't land on her butt with the baby in her lap.

Thankfully we were none the worse for wear and proudly bore the scars of the ordeal: I with dozens of stitches, he with the only blackeye he's ever had (the doctor got the forceps on crooked in her desire to get him out quickly).

Now, 16 years later to the day, we will share the day again by celebrating our family, consuming birthday cake, taking pictures, opening presents, and reliving the story of how he came into the world and made us a family, rather than just a couple.

Happy Birthday Scooter!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Daily Giggle

Never do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics.

Conference Relief

For those of you who read my first "Conference" installment, "Conference Jitters," you know that yesterday was my senior seminar conference where those of us who are graduating from the English department this year were required to give a presentation regarding the papers we've written as the capstone project of our degree.

All I can say is that I'm so incredibly happy that ordeal is over. However, as with most situations we dread it was, of course, not nearly as bad as I anticipated it would be. In fact, it ended up being pretty anti-climactic. Next week we will receive all of the comments from the instructors who were present, so that should be interesting. Thankfully, no matter what the rest of them thought, only the instructor of the course will be grading our efforts!

So, now all that's left is to finish writing the paper. I set out to write 3 chapters from a proposed novel. I have two and a half completed, so it shouldn't be very difficult to finish. Of course, then I have to begin the arduous process of completing the entire novel. I think I will make December my personal NaNoWriMo month since I just haven't had time to participate in it this month. We'll see what kind of progress I can make on the entire novel by Jan 1!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Language Laziness

Over at Written Expressions today's blog is a rant on the misuse of "I," "me," "us," "we," and "them." (Me and him are best friends, etc). I agree that this is a seriously irritating epidemic. It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

However, my personal language laziness rant has to do with the misuse of "less" and "fewer."

For instance:

Diet soda has less calories than regular.
10 items or less.

Apparently advertisering copywriters everywhere have less intelligence or education than they need to do their jobs!

(p.s., the misuse of "your" versus "you're" gets me irritated too....)

So, what's your language laziness pet peeve?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daily Giggle

Typos: tehy mkae ilfe mroe ufn :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Can't help it. I love this piece of facebook flare.

Daily Giggle

A classic is a book that is much praised and rarely read.*
*C'mon, admit it. You didn't read ALL the classics you were assigned in college. You faked your way thru some of them, didn't you?

Conference Jitters

This Saturday is the conference for my senior seminar course. We're all going to be presenting the very long papers we wrote as our English capstone project to a group of professors and audience who are all only vaguely interested because they're obligated as university professors and family/friends to attend this conference.

There are 10 of us graduating from the English department this year (it's a small university) so there are 10 papers to sit through.

This year, for the first time, along with the option to write a painfully dull academic research paper, the instructor gave the option to write a creative paper. Oh Joy! Because I did not want to write a super long and boring academic paper.

So, I chose to write 3 chapters of a novel I'm working on, and I'll be presenting one of those chapters at the conference on Saturday. I was the only person who chose the creative writing option. The rest of the paper subjects consist of:

1. A biblical analysis of Fellowship of the Rings
2. A feminist gender analysis of Katherine Mansfield's "Bliss"
3. An analysis of how Hawthorne's story "The Great Stone" is symbolic of man's connection to nature
4. An exploration of the tendency of Victorian authors to revere the dead female form
5. A paper by an English ed. major on the importance of teaching reading for deeper comprehension
6. A feminist analysis of Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager
7. A feminist analysis of Hawthorne's "Blithedale Romance"
8. A feminist critique of Kerouac's "On the Road" and "The Subterraneans"
9. A feminist analysis of romance novels as a genre.
10. My novel chapter.

(There's only one guy in the class...can you guess which paper is his?)

Lucky for me, I drew the very last spot on the conference schedule, so if anyone is either a) left in the audience, or, b) still awake, I get to close the show with a literary reading from my novel-to-be.

Needless to say, as the only creative piece in the bunch, I'm a nervous wreck. On the one hand, I feel like I lucked out because I haven't had to kill myself researching, citing sources, making airtight arguments, etc. Blech. On the other hand, I feel like because I haven't done that work, because my whole paper is fiction, that perhaps I will command less respect for not having worked so hard on an academic analysis of something.

So, I have 2 more days to polish my presentation, practice reading my chapter out loud, and trying to squeeze the whole thing into 10 minutes.

Wish me luck...and send me all your positive vibes on Saturday! I'm hoping I can make my little creative piece shine in comparison to all the high brow academic work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Giggle

Why do they put Braille on the drive-thru bank machines?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daily Giggle

Is there another word for synonym?

Absent. . .

I haven't written anything for the last 2 days because we're in a desperate search for a house. We finally sold our house, after 3 summers of trying, and now that it's sold we have nowhere to go. This is causing us some serious anxiety. Unfortunately for us, the housing market where we live (the windswept boonies of North Dakota) has not suffered the same fate as the rest of the country, (at least in the small towns the houses sit collecting dust as the tumbleweeds fly by) and houses are still overpriced and selling before they even make it to the MLS. There are no rentals and no for-sale-by-owner.

We have to be out of this house by December 12th. I can hear the clock ticking.

We made an offer on a house today which the seller bought 2 years ago and is now selling with an asking price of 20,000 more than they bought it for. They rejected our offer because we offered them a mere 2000 under their asking price. They won't budge a dime. That pissed me off. Unfortunately, it's still the most reasonably priced house in our price range. Dang.

Our realtor told us she could get us a great rate at one of the hotels in town. So where do we put everything we own while we're living in a hotel? Park the U-Haul in the parking lot and stare at it from the hotel window? I don't think so.

So tomorrow we're going to look at another house we can't really afford, and a possible rental that is a mere yards from the major north-south highway in the state (there's one major north-south highway and one major east-west highway in's a simple state), and 13 miles south of the city, where we really wanted to move in the first place.

On top of all that, if we ever find a place to live, we'll be moving right in the middle of finals week.

Can anyone say nuclear-event-stress-meltdown?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Daily Giggle

Accounting is accrual profession.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daily Giggle

(something new...)

Never moon a werewolf.


Well, Small Footprints was tagged earlier today and added some spice to the game by tagging everyone who commented on the post. I commented, so here we are!

So, 8 things about me:

1. I'm proud to say I've been happily married to the same man for 18 years and we're still in love.
2. I'm 42 years old and excited to FINALLY be finishing my Bachelor's degree (and hopefully moving on to an MFA if I can get accepted into a program!)
3. I hate housecleaning, so I avoid it.
4. I'm a feminist.
5. I'm painfully shy and hate to have my picture taken.
6. I'm left-handed.
7. I'm a new blogger and currently addicted to it (though I don't have nearly enough time to read all the blogs I want to!)
8. I'm not a fan of organized religion, but I am spiritual.

Now, here are 8 bloggers who are being tagged!

1. Suldog
2. C. Beth Blog (cuz she loves the attention!)
3. My Own Velvet Room
4. Written Expressions
5. Alana at Random Thoughts of a Crazy Liberal
6. Brian at The New Author
7. Eavesdrop Writer
8. Up the Hill Backwards

The tag rules are as follows:

Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag eight people and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Word of the Day - A Very Short Story

I originally wrote this as a very short play, but thought it would make a cute very short story, too. Hope you like it!


Jake walked into the break room and poured himself a cup of coffee, then sat at the table and shuffled through the newspaper until he found the sports. Then Amanda walked in. Jake groaned to himself and wondered if he could slip out unnoticed, but since he was the only other person in the room he figured that might be tough. No matter. He knew he had to make a run for it before it was too late.

“Hey Jake, how’s it going?” asked Amanda. Damn, too late, Jake thought to himself.

“Not too bad, how about you?” he answered as casually as possible.

“Pretty good. Are you going to the sales meeting this afternoon?” she asked. Jake cringed at the tedium of the small talk. Now he knew he was stuck. He had to escape the conversation before she got to the calendar. As he stood up he answered.

“Um, yeah, see ya there!” With that he thought he was home free. He strode confidently toward the door, hoping he could make it before:

“Hey, Jake, it’s time for ‘Word of the Day’,” said Amanda cheerfully. Double damn. So close and yet so far. Jake pondered his choices:

1. Suffer through the Word of the Day humiliation where Amanda reads the word of the day and Jake doesn’t know what it means and Amanda makes him feel like a small, stupid man.
2. Protest the ridiculousness of her daily ritual with heated indignation.
3. Leave.

He reasoned that if he just left, she’d follow him until he caved and went through the humiliating ritual anyway, this time in front of coworkers. He’d seen her do it before. Every other person in the office had been her target at one point or another. If he protested then the whole scenario could last longer, get louder, draw a crowd, and then he’d just have to go through it anyway. So he sighed to himself and, not for the first time, cursed Amanda as a linguistic bully.

“Okay, Amanda, let’s get this over with. What’s the Word of the Day?”

“Today’s word is ‘ineffable’,” she proclaimed.

“What kind of word is that?”

“It’s an adjective. You know, a descriptive word?” she said.

“I know what an adjective is, Amanda. I’m not that dumb,” said Jake. “I meant, is it a real word? Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the value of it, I just think it’s kinda rude.”

Amanda seemed confused.

“I’m not following you. How is the word ‘ineffable’ rude?” asked Amanda.

Now it was Jake’s turn to be confused.

“Well, isn’t everybody effable? I mean, some people are less effable than others, I’ll give you that, but for the most part I think pretty much everyone’s effable, give or take a few exceptions,” he said.

“Are you serious?!” she asked.

“Now I’m not following you. You said the word of the day is ineffable. I get it. I’ll even use it in a sentence: Becky is so effing ugly she’s ineffable,” said Jake, pleased that he had finally beat Amanda at her own game.

Amanda just rolled her eyes in disgust.

“Wait, that’s not what it means?” he asked. He couldn’t believe it. He’d been so sure.

“No, not even close. It means: Incapable of being expressed in words; indescribable; as, the ineffable joys of heaven,” she said.

Jake just stared at her.

“That’s just stupid. Who’d ever use that? My definition is much better,” he said.

“But it’s wrong!”

“Who says? I reject your definition and substitute my own!” Jake said. He was tired of playing her game. He marched over to the coffee machine and refilled his cup, then headed for the door.

“It’s not my definition,” she said. “It’s Merriem-Webster’s.”

Jake turned and faced Amanda defiantly.

“Well, he’s dead, isn’t he? He’ll never know if I don’t use his word properly. Besides, with a name like Merriem Webster, I’d be willing to bet he was ineffable, too.”

Amanda looked stunned. Jake couldn’t believe it. He’d never seen her speechless before. He’d won!

“I give up. You’re insane,” she said indignantly.

Amanda huffed and pushed her way by him as she left the room. Jake was delighted he’d finally beat her, and couldn’t just let it drop.

“Nope, not insane, just impudent!” he said as he followed her toward the maze of cubicles. Drunk with linguistic power, he couldn’t control himself. He didn’t really know what impudent meant, but he knew he’d at least heard the word before.

“That’s an adjective, too!” he said. “It means. . .”

Amanda stopped, turned around to face him, and he watched as a sly little smile spread across her face. He suddenly had a bad feeling.

“Yes, I know. It means you can’t perform,” she said triumphantly as she turned and disappeared into the sea of chuckling coworkers who parted to let her pass. Jake knew he’d been burned. His linguistic impotence had allowed her to use her damned “Word of the Day” to emasculate him yet again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Santa's Wish List

I can't think of anything profound to write today because my brain is completely wiped from work. So I'm posting a picture of one of our cats. His name is Klitschko, after the boxing Klitschko brothers (because, well, he's 20+ pounds and looks like a big scary Russian boxer). But he's really a big...pussy cat. You see where he's laying? On my work. He comes into my office and jumps up on my work space without regard to the fact that I'm WORKING!
For those of you who believe in fate, or answered prayers, or Santa Claus, the story of how we came to adopt Klitschko the cat is a sweet one. Two years ago at the end of November, my daughter, who was 9 at the time, wrote a Wish List for Santa and posted it on the fridge. The first thing on the list was a "kitty who will sit on my lap and let me rub its belly." (You see, our other cat is not so friendly. If you try to pet him you're likely to pull back a bloody stump.)

About 3 days later, in freezing snowy weather, what do you think happens but this poor bedraggled, half-starved stray cat shows up at our door with sweet pathetic puppy-dog eyes. Of course my daughter fell in love instantly, and Mr. Klitschko became a member of the family.

He has definitely lived up to her request, too. He lets everyone rub his belly, and sleeps on everyone's beds, and sits on everyone's laps (and makes me sneeze).

So, that's my story of the wonder of fate, or karma, or unity in the universe, or Santa, or whatever you choose to call it.

Hope everyone has a great evening!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bittersweet Sixteen

My oldest child is about to turn 16. This has caused me some anxiety. Not just because it makes me feel old to realize that I have a near-adult aged child, but also because I dread the day he wants to leave.

Here's the thing: No one ever told me when I gave birth to that red screaming bundle (who, by the way, didn't really even want to be born in the first place and caused me screaming agony as the doctor literally ripped him from my body), that time would suddenly shift into overdrive and as the years flew by in a blur I would almost instantaneously find myself 16 years later wondering where my baby went.

We have a very close family, and aside from being a really rotten infant, this son of mine has been a wonderful child and has turned into the kind of adolescent everyone dreams of having: well behaved, intelligent, considerate, responsible. Not only is he my son, but he's my friend and I enjoy spending time with him every day.

I am having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to let him leave and have a life of his own in a couple of years. How does anyone raise a child who is so much a part of your own identity and then figure out how to live without them in your life every day? It's a concept I'm currently unable to wrap my mind (and heart) around.

Although I have always had a rocky relationship with my mother, I'm beginning to have an inkling of sympathy for her (whereas in the past she just plain annoyed me) every time she says, at age 63, that she is still suffering from "empty nest syndrome."

My only scrap of solace is that this son is somewhat of a homebody. He likes to be at home with us. So I'm hoping that he'll want to spend at least his first year of college at home, giving us all the chance to wean slowly into his adulthood. Is it greedy of me to hope for this? I certainly don't want him living at home when he's 30 or 40. That would be pathetic. But 18 is only 2 years away, and I'm just not ready to let him go.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Veggie Pizza Recipe

Friday night is pizza night at our house, but we live in a tiny town where the only takeout pizza to be found is from a gas station; so needless to say, we make our own.

Since pepperoni is the kids’ favorite, that’s what we usually make, but my husband and I were craving something a little less pedestrian, so we started experimenting and came up with an awesome vegetarian concoction that makes me wish every day was Friday!

Keep in mind that this recipe is flexible. You can use whatever veggies you want, add chicken if you like, use more or less sauce to taste, etc. I’ve written the recipe the way we like it, but feel free to experiment.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures for you (because we ate it all), but you can use your imagination. Give it a try! It’s easy to make, and absolutely delicious!

Veggie Pizza Fabuloso

2 packages of Jiffy pizza crust mix prepared per package directions
¾ cup ranch dressing
1 tspn garlic powder
Chopped spinach
Broccoli florets
Finely chopped white onion
Chopped Roma tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare pizza crust per package directions. If it’s too sticky, add some flour. Be sure to allow dough to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. (I boil water in a coffee mug for 3 minutes in my microwave so the inside of the microwave is nice and warm, then put the bowl of dough in for 5 mins).

Chop, dice, mince your vegetables. I didn’t put quantities in the list because it’s really up to you how much you want to pile on.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Roll your dough to desired thickness (for this pizza a thin crispy crust is yummy). Place the pizza crust in the oven for about 5 minutes to prebake it slightly.

Mix the ranch dressing and garlic powder in a bowl.

Take the slightly prebaked pizza crust out of the oven and top with the ranch mixture, veggies (including tomatoes), and then Mozzarella cheese on top.

Put the whole pizza back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is slightly brown on the bottom.

Remove from oven, cut with a pizza wheel (or any other cutting device), and enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winter Weather Update

Here are the latest pix after 24 hours of snow. We literally had to shove the front door open this morning, there was so much snow. Some of the drifts were several feet deep. Schools were closed, and if you know anything about North Dakota you know that's remarkable because they NEVER close anything. Needless to say, the kids had a great time all day long!

Finish This Line:

Many of us have jobs that make us crazy. My "real" job is sending me over the deep edge recently.

I telecommute to my job with an office in my basement, and spend hours on IM with coworkers, often commiserating about the insanity. Today has been especially stressful, and in a moment of giddy madness we've started this ongoing fill-in-the-blank challenge in order to ease the strain.

It's a sort-of stress management writing prompt (I'm multi-tasking by combining work and blogging!)

I'm wondering what kinds of things you can come up with? Let me know how you'd finish this sentence:

You don't have to be crazy to work here .....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Welcome Winter!

This is the weather we woke up to this morning. I took these pictures out our front and back doors. It's definitely winter in North Dakota today! Supposed to snow all day and into the night. We'll see how much we end up with.
Welcome Winter!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My thoughts this morning are still on the election yesterday. I have to admit to feeling a sense of relief that the last eight years are finally behind us, and beyond that I'm beginning to feel a growing sense of joy. I know the economy's a disaster, and we've got two messy wars to deal with, but I can feel change in the wind and it's very refreshing.

I work with people all over the country and the concensus of opinion from everyone I've talked to this morning is the same: overwhelming happiness.

It's nice we can all finally come together. It's the way America is supposed to feel.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Jitters

Here we are at election day...finally! I have to admit to being somewhat of a political junkie. I'll be up until all hours watching election results and hoping that it will be decisive enough that we don't go through another debacle like 2000.

However, I really worry about all the "political pundits" and talking heads like CNN's "Best Political Team on TV." What are they going to do with themselves after today? Is there someplace they can go in order to rehab? I imagine detoxing from a political campaign isn't easy. I hope someone takes care of those poor people and makes sure they get the help they need....

But, we still have to get through today. Hopefully things will go smoothly, no major hanky panky, no Supreme Court involvement and with any luck Americans will choose more wisely this time than they have in the recent past and we can look forward to getting our country back on track.

The most important thing, though, is TO GO OUT AND VOTE!!!!

(I voted absentee so I won't have to stand in any lines!)

Good luck and good voting.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lollipop vs Sucker

This is leftover Halloween business.

We stumbled upon a philosophical question Halloween night after the kids had dumped their monstrous bags of candy on the floor and were sorting the hordes into categorized piles (i.e., "how many Snickers do you have?" "I don't know, but I have 8 Butterfingers," etc).

My youngest son (he's 10) had separated his suckers/lollipops into two piles and we asked him why. He said one pile was suckers and one pile was lollipops. So we asked him how he defined the two. He said suckers are the round blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick, and lollipops are the flat blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick.

My husband and I were amused that he'd even made a distinction. As far as I'm concerned, they're all the same. So, today I spent some time researching lollipops and suckers (yes, I do have a life, but this was moderately interesting, so I wanted to resolve it!)

I discovered that technically speaking, the official term for any blob of hard candy on the end of a stick is lollipop, and that sucker is a synonym and/or dialectic reference to a lollipop which apparently originated in about 1907. I did find an interesting discussion about the subject on which generally seemed to support my son's assertion of the difference between the two, but that's not necessarily a reliable source - more like a poll.

So, I'll tell my son what I discovered when he gets home from school, but I'm sure it won't change the way he defines his candy. He was pretty adamant about it. Let me assure you, if anyone knows about candy, it's a kid and you never want to get between a kid and his candy.

How do you define a blob of hard candy on the end of a stick?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prisons Going Green

I saw this article on Yahoo news, and thought it was worth passing along. It's good to see that prisons are making efforts at conservation, sustainability, and reduction of their impact on the environment. Kudos to them!

"Green Prisons Farm, Recycle, to Save Energy, Money"

Sublime Irony

For any of you who read my post yesterday, you'll know that I spent it complaining about having to clean the house so that another realtor can show it to another client who won't buy it. I admitted to the world that I and my family live like slobs, and lamented that they'd have to haul our cold dead bodies out of here because it'll never sell.

Well, guess what? The irony is that these people made an offer on it. Go figure. Just when we've completely given up and become unrepentently jaded, fate steps in and says "gotcha" (which, of course, fate is wont to do. That's why they call her fickle).

Now we have to find somewhere to live. Tomorrow, the search begins....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shipshape - NOT

Today is Saturday. Our house is for sale, and although I have little hope that it will ever sell and that we will live here for eternity until they haul our dead bodies out in black zip-up bags, we still have to go through the motions when a realtor calls, like one did last night, and says they have a client who wants to take the tour.

The problem is that we are slobs. Deep down in my soul of souls I know this. But they say that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. At times like this, when I know strangers will be looking at every cranny in my house, the stark reality of what we are is unavoidable.

It's not that I want to be a slob, or ever set out to be one. I would like to live in a pristinely clean, magazine-cover worthy home. But I just can't seem to manage it. We live in clutter, disarray, chaos. I work full time and I'm a full time student. As you can imagine, that leaves little free time, and what free time I do get, I guard jealously. Who wants to spend that time as a drudge? Certainly not me! I can think of dozens of things I'd rather do with my pitifully small reprieves from commitment: read a book, watch TV, play with the kids, go for a walk, bake a cake, go shopping, take a nap....anything but clean. YUCK.

I also do not subscribe to the idea that just because I am mother, wife, woman, the chores of the house fall to me by default. No way. I'm a liberated feminist. I've raised my kids on the mantra of: "You live in this house too; if you contribute to the mess, you contribute to cleaning it up." However, slovenliness doesn't seem to bother them so much. They clean when my husband and I crack the whip, but not before.

It is somewhat of an inconvenience for them when I tell them they can't have friends come in the house because I'm mortified by how we live. At that point they tend to resort to whining and begging, rather than cleaning up. They spend a lot of time at their friends' houses rather than the other way around. Sometimes I quiz them when they come back, asking them to compare the state of their friends' houses to ours. I don't have the chance to see many other peoples' homes, so I often wonder where ours falls on the cleanliness scale.

So here I am, admitting to the world that we live in a cluttered, messy, disheveled, and sloppy condition. I've taken the first step. My mother will be humiliated, since she raised us in a home so clean it bordered on sterile. But there are times when you just have to let go of the weights that drag you down. Is having an immaculate house really that important in the grand scheme of things? Would I be proud if after I died and the best that could be said about me was "she kept a darn clean house?" I say there are bigger fish to fry, better ways to spend my time.

So I'm admitting my faults, and letting them go. I want my epitaph to read: "She had better things to do with her life than worry about dust bunnies."

Unfortunately, we still have to dig out so the realtor can show the house today. Damn.