Winter Pictures

January 30, 2009

It's funny, but somehow four degrees doesn't seem to bother me anymore. Sure it's a shock at the beginning of the winter, but by this point it's like "Eh, four? I really don't think I need my pants if it's four outside..."

Okay fine, I usually wear my pants when I go outside. But the mittens and the hat? Not so much. I guess the body just adapts to these things--hot or cold. When we first moved to Dallas, for example, I only felt the need to sit on my porch in my underpants for sixty days or so. After that point I was completely able to cope with a full one-piece bathing suit.

Today I wanted to give you a taste of what winter looks like in my neck of the woods. So, without further ado, please feast your eyes upon my super crappy photography.

This first picture is the snowbank on the left side of our driveway. And let me tell you, I'd happily give Jared's right nut in exchange for a snow blower--we built that thing with our own four hands. If you look to the left of the shovel and up a little bit, that black dot is the top of our lamppost--fer real. And I also took the liberty of measuring the shovel, it's five foot four, almost as tall as me.

This second picture illustrates the fact that this snow bank isn't only tall, but that bad boy is long, too.

Jared and I like to keep these cross county skis conveniently propped in a snowbank next to our side door--simply for the fact that it makes us look cooler than we actually are. When people come to our house they're always like, "Did you just get back from skiing?" And I'm like "Yup," and then I cough the words 'in November' under my breath. Cross county skiing my ass--I'm far too busy watching Biggest Loser reruns to do something cold and ridiculous like that.
And finally, here in Maine, lots of our roofs look like this:
They're metal, the snow slides off on it's own (otherwise you have to shovel your roof), they come in every color of the rainbow (seriously), and they supposedly last forever. My sister thinks they're ugly, which is funny, because I think stinky guy who hangs out at the bus stop in front of her house is kinda ugly, too.
Oh, and I'd like to point out that the roof up there belongs to my neighbor. I'd never let my trim look all raggedy like that--trust me, I'd have my Dad paint it before it ever got to that point.
So there ya have it, a little taste of winter in Maine. Stay tuned for the ice fishing shacks...


January 29, 2009

If you're looking for some Lawson, you can find me over at Happily Average. It's a guess post all about Rite Aid coupons. Oooooohhhhh....

Something Cleverish

January 28, 2009

I really don't care that we're in the worst credit crisis/recession/national freakout since the Great Depression. Each and every one of you should whip out your overused credit card, forget about the distinct possibility of foreclosure, and order this book immediately.

Don't worry about talking it over with your spouse, I hereby grant you immunity from those silly little household money rules.

The book is called "Something Cleverish," it has an adorable little bird on the cover, and c'mon, it's less than twenty bucks. And think about it--what can you even get for less than twenty dollars these days? A Big Mac will make you chunky, a hamster will drive you insane without offering an ounce of joy, and a cheap hooker? Well, I'll be honest here, a cheap hooker will give you a roaring case of chlamydia.

And geeze-um, you don't want a vintage STD do you?

I didn't think so.

Here are two more reasons you should buy this book:

1) All of the proceeds go to benefit the lovely Mr. & Mrs. Nielson. In case you haven't heard, she's a far better homemaker than I'll ever be, and they were critically injured in a plane crash last August. You can learn more about NieNie and her family here, or here, or here. Or now that Nie is back to writing (as best as she can with hands that are hard to get working), you can read her own blog here.

2) I'm in the book. Actually, I'm the third of forty-two entries, and as long as the editor wasn't going by the "save the best for last" rule, I think that's pretty fantastic. My entry has never been featured on this blog, so if you want to know something new about yours truly--specifically my nipular region--you'll have to buy the book.

And if I haven't convinced you yet, read this little snippet of fan mail I got today:

I couldn't finish reading it I was laughing so hard…so here I am at work with NO MORE MAKE UP ON…cause I cried it all off…you KILL ME…thanks for making me laugh…

That came from a nice, random lady named Miranda. A lady who I've fallen in love with.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Knitting. And Other Hopeless Endeavors.

January 27, 2009

Guess what I don't like (aside from the fat, naked, hairy guy who keeps walking out of our refrigerator in my dreams).

Knitting. I really don't like knitting.

But guess what I do like.

Knitting with my friends, at a bar, with a giant plate of french fries, a couple slices of chocolate cake, and a long drawn out conversation about boyfriends. That's what I did last night.

I decided to work on a grey wool scarf for James--mostly because it sounds very small and very easy. Think about it--it's got to be super narrow, and short enough so my three-year-old can't inadvertently suspend himself from the ceiling fan. No problem, right?


When you suck at knitting everything is a problem.

I had three false starts, needles were flying all over that dang restaurant, and in all honesty, I came home with three inches of scarf to speak of. My friends on the other hand, each walked out with--I don't know--a super fancy lace sweater with six colors that was big enough to fit a 600-pound woman?

Seriously. They're far more adept than I'll ever be.

Maybe the fries are too distracting. Or maybe I've found the one thing on the planet that I suck at even more that I suck at swimming--and honestly, I never thought I'd see the day.

True story...

When we lived in Dallas, I decided to take a private swimming lesson at the YMCA with an instructor named Salvador. Sal started the lesson like this: So Amy, show me what you can do. So I stood there in the shallow end, blew some bubbles with my lips, splashed around with my arms a little bit, and showed Sal how I can easily pick up a full-grown Italian man when I'm in a swimming pool.

Sal was confused.

By the end of the lesson I was wearing a life vest, using a kick board, a floaty leg device, a pool noodle and I still couldn't swim to the other end of the pool all by myself.

Sal was like, "Kick, Amy, kick!"

And I was like, "Go to hell, Sal, go to hell!"

And well, that pretty much sums up my swimming career.

So last night I got home from knitting with my project hidden deeply in the corner of my bag--you know, the same place where I store all of my gum wrappers and parking tickets. Jared, being the sweet and supportive husband that he is anxiously said, "Soooo....let's see what you made!"

"Oh, it's nothing, I replied. I'll show it to you some other time."

"Oh come on, Amy! I really want to see your project," he continued.

"Fine." And I pulled it out of my bag.

Jared looked at my knitting, kind of squinted his eyes and cocked his head to the right. "Well look at that! It's a moon made out of yarn! That's really cool babe!"

Actually, it wasn't a moon made of out yarn at all.

"Well, it's supposed to be a scarf," I said. "For James."

"Oh, yeah! I can see that now! I love how it looks like a monster took a bite out of the corner down there. James is totally into monsters lately, he'll love that!"

And it wasn't a scarf with a monster bite either. It was supposed to be a rectangle. Just a plain old rectangle.

I explained this to Jared and he pulled me into a hug. "You kind of suck at knitting," he said into my ear.

He's right. But the fries were good!

Grown Up Fun

January 23, 2009

Now that I'm a firm 28 years old, and decidedly past my quarter-life crisis, there are so many things that I completely love about being a grown-up.

For example, one of my closest childhood friends is a dentist right here in Maine. She and her also-a-dentist husband own their own practice and bring home approximately four gazillion dollars a month. They live in an enormous old house with secret rooms and maids'-quarters, and honestly, it's nothing short of radical.

Trust me, there are some raging games of hide n' seek going on in that house--after the kids are sleeping, of course. Now don't you worry about the children feeling left out--they're not coordinated enough to wear the moon shoes anyway.

Much like me, this friend absolutely stinks at managing the responsibility of a cell phone--drops it, kicks it, accidentally wipes with it--you know, the works. So it's almost impossible to get hold of one another--which stinks when you all of the sudden come up with the best idea in the history world.

And last week I did.

So I said, "Screw the cell phone! I'm a grown-up! I'm calling Meghan at work!"

This is how it went down...

RECEPTIONIST: Hello! This is the dentist office! Can I help you?
ME: Yes. This is Amy calling from Dr. Lawson's office. I need to speak with Dr. Baker and it's urgent.
RECEPTIONIST: I'm sorry but Dr. Baker is with a patient, can I take a message?
ME: I said it was urgent.
RECEPTIONIST: Can I put you through to the office manager?
ME: (in an exasperated tone) Fiiiiiine.

So the office manager, who also happens to be Dr. Baker's brother, picks up the line...

OFFICE MANAGER: Hello! This is Brandon!
ME: Bran, it's Amy, your receptionist sucks. I seriously need to talk to your sister right now. Are you dating anyone yet?
OFFICE MANAGER: No, not dating anyone. Hold on.

And then I finally, finally got to speak with the woman in charge...

MEGHAN: Hello, this is Dr. Baker.
ME: Go stand in your supply closet.
MEGHAN: Okay, I'm in.
ME: What's up biiiiiiitch?!
MEGHAN: Oh, not much. You know, doing a root canal biiiiiitch!
ME: So I had this idea. You should come to my house this weekend and pay for my lunch.
MEGHAN: Only if we can take the kids to WalMart and get their pictures taken with the most hideous backgrounds ever.
ME: Only if we leave food on their faces and dress 'em up ugly and make sure they're completely overtired.

Told you it was important.

Things like this make me love being a full fledged grown-up. Back when I was still 23, still struggling with who I was and what I wanted to do with my life, I never would have dreamed of steppeing out of a meeting to text my husband that: WE NEED OLIVES FROM THE STORE. U R HOT. But now that I'm an adult there's simply no question--when you need pizza toppings, you need pizza toppings...even if it is during the middle of an Executive Committee meeting.

I'm no longer intimidated by adults--turns out they're all just as broke and amused by potty humor as I am.

And if they're not? I'll just call them at the office and make fun of 'em for it.

I love being a grown-up.

Natural Disaster

January 22, 2009

I don't even want to tell you what happens when a three-year-old decides to feed an entire plate of tater-tots and corn to a greyhound with moderate to severe stomach issues.

Let's just say it involves a freezing cold husband and combinations of words that I've never really heard before.

Oh, and it covers the surface area of Orange County California. Approximately.

I'm sending this dog to boarding school.

True Story: The Wedding Stopper

January 20, 2009

I'm not sure why this is on my mind today, but two days before I got married an old boyfriend tried to stop the wedding.

Isn't that cool?

Seriously guys, it's awesome on a number different levels...

1) Call me crazy, but I think my ex-boyfriend was definitely still in love with me--and to this day, that's a major self esteem boost while I'm in the throws of my ugly moments.

So what if he's since married an ivy-league educated skinny blond girl from Hollywood Hills? I know, deep in my heart, that every time he passes a donut shop he feels a deep and desperate pang in his heart for the one and only Amy--because du-uh, most American boys won't admit this, but they like a little something to hang on to.

It's true.

2) When Jared starts at me with his sanity-piercing nagging habit I like to wave my hands around in the air, call for silence, and say something like, "So what if I spilled some Slurpee on your side of the bed? Just be grateful that I didn't call the whole thing off."

Jared loves that.

3) When I have PMS and start to feel angry for no reason, Jared generally likes to ask me ridiculous questions like, "Amy. Why are you suddenly feeling angry for no reason?" Unlike most women, I have an excellent reply..."I'm not feeling angry for no reason, Jared. I'm feeling angry because Jennifer told me that Herb's in Hawaii. You only took me to WalMart today..." and I walk away shaking my head.

I know what you must be thinking: Amy, doesn't Jared get tired of hearing about this Herb fellow over and over and over again?

Well, no. No! Actually he doesn't. In fact, Jared likes to work Herb into our conversations every now and again, too.

For example...

ME: Oh my gosh, you're disgusting! Why'd you have sit on the toilet while I'm in the shower?!?!
JARED: Guess you should have married Herb.


ME: Dude, Jared, why'd you have to go and eat my last piece of leftover pizza?
JARED: Herb sounds like a really thoughtful guy. Maybe you should have married him.
ME: Well maybe I'll marry him after you die.
JARED: Yeah that's fine. I really don't care. Just let me eat your pizza in peace.

See? It's a win-win for both of us.

Now I say the Herb tried to "stop the wedding," and honestly, that might be a touch too dramatic. In all actuality, Herb tried to get the FedEx guy to stop the wedding.

My wedding was planned for the 3rd of August, and on the 1st the FedEx guys came to my parents' door with an overnight package from Los Angeles, California. I honestly had no idea what it was until I ripped open the envelope and a knight-in-shining-armor (plastic and four inches tall) tumbled into my hand.

"This," I thought, "can only be the work of one person." When I removed the letter, the scratchy handwriting immediately confirmed my suspicion--it was Herb. To be quite honest, I can't remember anything that letter contained...except for its tie-dyed paper and this line..."The thought of you marrying someone else makes me want to crawl out of my skin backwards."

"Well that's funny," I said to myself, "because the thought of you sleeping with Marcy McGee while we were still dating used to make ME want to crawl out of MY skin backwards."

Me and Herb, we could really relate to one another.

After I read the entire letter--which has since been lost (darn it)--I wasn't entirely sure how to react. I processed my feelings, and lo and behold, they turned out to be absolutely non-existent. I wasn't happy, sad, excited, confused, nothing. I just wanted to marry Jared. And I was still feeling annoyed that the place cards came out a little bit crooked.

I decided to do nothing.

And then my sister talked me out of it..."What if he flies in, shows up in his parents' mini-van, and messes the whole thing up?!"

She was right, I wanted no drama at my wedding, so I overnighted a letter back to him.

It was simple...none of the "Ten Reasons I'm Marrying Him Instead of You" stuff that some brides would resort to. Instead, I wrote something plain and straightforward. I can't remember exactly, but I think it said something like, "I'm really happy. Someday I hope you can find someone who compliments you as well and Jared compliments me."

I read it to my mother, I read it to my sister, and they both agree that it was appropriate.

But then, then!, I turned the page of stationary over and in the bottom righthand corner I wrote, in script so small that it was barely legible, "If you screw this up for me I will tell everyone we know that you have erectile dysfunction."

He never showed up.
Honestly, it's a true story.

A Proud Moment in Parenting

January 19, 2009

We usually say a prayer before dinner, and lately James has been bouncing out of his booster seat to be the one to offer it. He's only three, so he's still a little bit young to be able to compose it on his own. Usually Jared will say a line and James will repeat it.

This is how it went a few nights ago....

JARED: Thank you for this food.
JAMES: Thank you for this food.

JARED: Please help it to give us strength.
JAMES: Please help give us some drinks.

JARED: Bless us that the Holy Spirit will be in our home.
JAMES: Because I am very thirsty.

JARED: And we thank you for Jesus.
JAMES: And we thank you for cheese sticks.

Right from the heart. Well said, James. Amen!

The One and Only Rocky

January 17, 2008

I spent the better part of my sixth grade year begging my parents for a dog. It didn't matter how many nos I received, I simply couldn't dismiss the Norman-Rockwellesque images of me and my Golden Retriever. I had it all planned out...we would go fishing together (even though I didn't fish), he would run alongside my bike as we raced through open fields (even though we lived in a busy suburb), and someday, someday, he would save my life on the side of a lonely mountain.

It was a very detailed and hopeful painting in my imagination. But my parents? Not so much.

And then it happened. One morning, in the summer between sixth and seventh grade (when my father was out of town), my Mother uttered the sweetest words I had ever heard: Amy, Katy, today we're getting a dog. My mom had settled on some breed called a Cairn Terrier. "It must be some kind of a variation on a Golden Retriever," I thought.

Well, turns out that a Cairn Terrier is the same breed as Toto from the Wizard of Oz. Not quite what I had in mind, quite a bit smaller actually, but I could work with it. After all, Toto was loyal, Toto rode in Dorothy's basket, Toto bit that damn witches ankles.

When we brought Rocky home from the breeder, he looked a lot like this:

And seriously now, how could a female seventh-grader-to-be not fall in love with that?

Rocky and I had a great relationship at the very beginning. He would happily ride in my back pack, and let me swaddle him up in my A.L.F. towel and rock him to sleep like a baby. I could often be seen carrying him around town in a hot-pink milk crate--that teeny guy was the size of my hand, and I didn't want his legs to get over tired. One day a little girl stopped my family and asked if she could pet our guinea pig. My mom said yes, but the whole time she was petting Rocky, all I could think was "That's a dog...a loyal companion ya dumb butt."

Seriously, what a flaming dumb butt.

Contrary to popular belief, at the beginning of his life, Rocky and I were the closest of all. I was a latchkey kid and my sister was in high school, so Rocky and I spent a whole lot of one-on-one time together. Every day after school I would take him for a walk to the elementary school with my two friends and their dogs, Ranger the Black Lab and Charlie the Springer Spaniel. We'd let them all off their leashes--even though we weren't allowed to--and let they'd run all over the soccer field.

And I'll tell your what--for a little dog, he could sure help me work up some speed on my roller blades.

In my continued effort to mold my Cairn Terrier into the large, loyal, bed-sleeping dog that I had always dreamed of, I signed him up for obedience school at the Elmwood Community Center. I'd say he fell right in the middle of his class--he was a better sitter than Susie the Basset Hound, but never responded to "come" as well as UConn the Husky did.

He was average. Average was good.

When he graduated from obedience school, I proudly hung his diploma on the wall next to his crate. And then, twenty-four hours later, he tore it off the wall with his teeth and ate it. Seriously.

The next thirteen-or-so years of our relationship were rather tumultuous. Rocky was growing into the Cairn Terrier than he was always meant to be--one might describe him as sassy, or scrappy, or spirited--and my oh my, it was all true.

See this picture?

Cute, huh? Well, I can tell you exactly what was going through his little dog brain in that picture..."You'll give me a bite of your sandwich or I'll rip your pants to shreds and bark until next Tuesday. Got it?" And he was serious.

That dog could bark like no other dog I've ever encountered, and it only took a squirrel to set him off. One lonely afternoon in 1995, I decided to time one of his infamous barking spells. He was completely drowning out the sound of Saved by the Bell, so what else was I supposed to do with my afternoon?

Three and a half hours, folks. My dog barked for three and a half hours straight.

Rocky was also partial to running away, and if I remember correctly, it was one such episode that prompted me to swear for the very first time. I was chasing his little eighteen pounds ass through the woods in a pair of flip flops, trying to wrangle him in, when I heard myself say, "What the hell is wrong with this damn dog?"

Well, my mom heard me too and let me tell you, it was a long two weeks in solitary confinement.

It might sound like Rocky and I had a complicated relationship, and at times we did, but I'll let you all in on a little secret...he was my dog, I always loved my dog. Sure I never fed him people food, but he never (literally never) barked at me for people food. I gave him bones and biscuits instead--but never when he barked.

I hated it when he barked.

As the years went on, Rocky started barking less and less. He settled into life as a calm, sweet old guy and really seemed to like Gracie. Here they are this past Christmas, happy to share a pillow:

Rocky was perfectly content to lie in the sun all day, and ride around in my Dad's work van. He like to sit on peoples' laps and be scratched between the ears. He had an excellent coat collection and didn't mind being picked up anymore. He even let the grandkids pet him if they promised to do it gently.

He was my father's sidekick. Those two were always together.

I like to think that Rocky came full circle in his life. He came in as a sweet little guy and left as an even sweeter little guy. Sure he went through a bit of a mid-life crisis, but really now, don't we all?

Rocky's story came to a close yesterday afternoon. My childhood dog is gone. If by some off chance, he's up there reading blogs, I'd like to tell him one thing:

Golden Retrievers are totally overrated.

Just a Quickie

January 16, 2009

I have approximately thirteen minutes to write a post today, and I'm just not sure that I can be funny in that little window of time.

We'll see....

I had a one on one meeting with the President of a local bank today. We sat in some really cushy chairs in the sun room of his office. No seriously, his office has its very own sun room. My house barely even has its own bathroom.

What a showoff.

So there we were, using each other's first names as often as we possibly could--because that's the way successful schmoozers do it--when his personal assistant walked in.

I stood up from my seat to shake Heather's hand (and use her name while I did it) when I noticed a funny look in her eye. She wasn't looking at my nose, so I knew it wasn't a booger seeking freedom that caught her attention. Obviously, that girl just had a problem.

When Heather left, I talked with the President a little bit more--asked about his kids and such. After all, that's what you've gotta do when you're looking for a five year donation that's large enough to fund your own salary.

He introduced me to a few other bankers--all three times my age, income, and importance level. And I'll tell you what, they were giving me that same damn look.

"They're all doing drugs," I told myself. "It's got to be cocaine."

Then, finally, when I had schmoozed, and begged, and asked if I might be able to make a presentation to the entire Board of Directors, it hit me like a cinder block from the sky.

I was still wearing my winter pom-pom hat. And I had been the entire time.

Pumps, a power suit, and a lime green pom pom that's a recipe for success.

Cr. Ap.

Some Things Never Change

January 15, 2009

Check out the picture of yours truly that appeared on facebook last night:
The kid next to me doesn't even have a plate in front of her!
And what the hell, Mom? Her mini crown was way cooler than my lame-o cone hat.

Being Mary J.

January 14, 2009

If there's one thing that I simply cannot resist, it's Mary J. Blige and Bono wrapped into one sizzlin' hot package. No no, I can only wish that they were having a baby together--but if it were to happen, they should name her Shebang. Don't you think?

So no, as far as I know, Shebang Blige will not grace the cover of People Magazine any time soon, but Mary J. and Bono have still managed to produce something ragingly fabulous--a duet of the old U2 song "One."

Now I'm not sure if you're a music fan like me, but the combination of her sexalicious voice and his sexalicious voice makes me cough up my chocolate milk and mess my pants every single time.

Really. It's that good.

Now I've had this song on my iPod for six or seven months, but somehow it never ever seems to get old. On the contrary, it almost seems to gain an element of greatness as it ages--like fancy wine, or expensive cheese, or a roll of Smarties in the chest pocket of my winter coat.

Last night, as I was chugging along on my stationary bike, I was really happy when my song came on. After all, I was twenty-seven minutes into my workout and it was starting to seem more than a little monotonous--you can only convince yourself that you're Lance Armstrong for so many minutes, ya know?

So now I could be Mary J.

As soon as I heard the intro music, I sat up straight, cleared my throat, and told myself what I tell myself everyday: Amy, you are smooth and sultry and attitudy. Amy, it doesn't matter what they say, you can sing. (and you don't deserve to be fired, either).

I picked up the pace considerably--because a good song will do that--and turned my workout into something of a voice lesson. I'd listen to Mary J. sing a line (like an angel with some snap), then I'd pause my iPod and try to copy her exactly. Then I'd rewind and try the whole thing over again. And then I'd do it again.

Finally, after fifteen minutes of this exercise in vocal precision, I decided to sing the whole song one time through. So I went for it. I closed my eyes and belted out as much as I could muster in the midst of a spinning session--and I was pushing it hard.

I sang, I huffed, and I wiped my forehead with the hem of my shirt three or four times.

When the song finally ended, I opened up my eyes to downshift, and you'll never guess what I saw planted firmly in front of me.

Seriously, you'll never guess.

I saw that Mormon missionary--who's really growing on me, I just can't help it--standing in my den, smiling his big old Utah smile, giving me the double thumbs up.

Apparently the dynamic duo was feeling a little bit cold and a little bit hungry, so they landed on our doorstep looking for some heat and leftovers. I was too busy, too 'caught up in the moment' if you will, to hear the knock on the door, so my husband answered it on my behalf.

The missionaries were like, "Hi Brother Lawson."

And Jared was like, "Dude, come stand here and stare at my wife until she opens her eyes. She'll think it's funny."

Yes. Truly hilarious.

And on that note, I hope Jared thinks it's funny when I send the IRS into his office later this afternoon.

She Could Teach You a Thing or Two...

January 13, 2009

My sister is the coolest. She was a complete troll in junior high, but these days I swear I could go on and on about what makes her so stinkin' fabulous.

For example, my sister makes approximately one gajillion dollars an hour running her own part-time business as a book group facilitator for kids. Seriously, who can pull that off? Who else can turn to a parent and say, "Congratulations, your child has now completed the entire Oprah-endorsed series and discussed it in detail among friends. That will be one gajillion dollars."

She can. And they all love her for it.

Another example lies in the fact that my sister has two children who are sixteen months apart in age--her son just turned two, and her daughter is 9 months--and she is cool as a cucumber about the whole dang thing. Now me? I would be running around the neighborhood with my hair on fire--just as an excuse to get some alone time. But my sister? You can find the woman whistling children's songs about Jesus as she tosses another load of cloth diapers and homemade wipes into her water saver washing machine.

And finally, my sister has impeccable (and expensive) taste. She wears a kickin' pair of hundred-dollar boots, she only wore the expensive maternity jeans when she was knocked up, and come spring, you'll see her pushing her mucho-chic Phil n' Teds stroller all over the city of Boston.

How does she do it?

Coupons. I shiz you not, the woman uses coupons.

She's the type of girl who pays seven bucks for a cartload of groceries--and seriously, seriously, CVS pays her to take things like toothpaste and shampoo out of the store. Last month I did some shopping with my sister I'm not exaggerating here--I somehow left the premises with a ten dollar bottle of cover-up, a six dollar gift card, and paid three dollars for it.

I'm really not sure how it happened--my head's still spinning.

If you're interested in learning her ways--you know, so you can save on toothpaste and use your extra cash to buy a giant TV--then you should check out her fun new blog.

Katy will hold your virtual hand and gently walk you through the steps of saving some cash. Trust me, she makes it straightforward and easy, and completely takes the dork-laden-douchebaggery out of couponing (even though that's a super-dorky and slightly douchebaggish verb).

Now seriously, why pay even a penny for your dental floss? Go check her out.

Caught in the Act

January 13, 2009

I just signed into Facebook and noticed that I'd been tagged in the following picture:
Can you find me? Yup, there I am on the bottom left, blatantly ignoring the cue to smile--you know, just in case my ice cream bowl sprouted some legs and decided to scamper away.

I hate Facebook.

And please, don't send me a friend request unless I actually know who you are. I prefer to limit the views of my flabby forearms to my most loving inner circle.


January 9, 2009

Now that my child is approaching the advanced age of four, I'm starting to feel pretty darn sick of doing every little thing for him. As a result of my mounting maternal laziness, I've recently implemented a few new household rules:

1) Wipe yer own damn rear. And yes, that goes for Jared, too.

2) Put your own shirt on your own body. And if your find yourself hopelessly tangled up? Cut your own shirt off your own body (please be sure to ask for permission before using the scissors).

3) Make your own snacks. And drinks. And appointments with the pediatrician.

Yesterday afternoon James blitzed into the living room short of breath with his tongue hanging from the corner of his mouth. "Mommy," he heaved. "I'm firsty. Can I haf...(heavy breathing)...some water?"

"Rule number three, buddy. You need to get the water yourself." And he blitzed back out of the living room, into the dining room where I could hear him dragging a chair over to the cup cabinet.

"Got it, Mom!" And I heard him trample into the bathroom.

James, you see, prefers to fill his cup from the bathroom sink--thanks to the foot stool the faucets are far easier for him to reach, and there are no mountains of pots and pans to contend with.

James filled his cup and carefully walked back to the living room to show me his accomplishment. He stood in front of me, smiling big and still breathing hard. He had a wet upper lip and an even wetter left arm.

"How'd you do, Buddy," I asked?

"Uh, good Mom. Today I dunked my cup."

Yesterday's Daring Rescue

January 8, 2009

It was three o'clock in the afternoon and the weather was getting really, really bad. It had snowed in the morning, which turned into sleet, and eventually morphed into freezing rain. Schools were cancelled and businesses were closing up shop early. It was cold, cloudy, slippery, and already starting to get a little bit dark outside.

And that's when the phone rang.

It was my husband.

"Amy," he said, "I locked my keys in the car. I have a patient coming in an hour and I'm locked out of my office."

At that very moment, all I wanted to do was scream into the phone receiver with such volume and force that my beloved would have to hold his cell approximately eighteen inches from his ear to preserve his sense of hearing

So I did.

"YOU DID WHAT," I hollered in my most ferocious, unforgiving voice?!

I know it probably seems unkindly of me to treat my spouse in such a manner at his time of desperate need, but this man has an absolute knack for locking himself out of important places at the most inopportune times. It always seems to happen while I'm in a private my gyn's office...wearing no pants. Or when Oprah's going on and on about how fat she is.

Certainly not convenient.

(Side Note: The fact that I locked my keys in the car late at night in Boston last month, or the time I locked the keys in the station wagon at Jared's Grandma's funeral, making us late for the procession to the cemetery are 100% irrelevant at this juncture.)

Jared apologized over and over again, promising gummy worms and date nights and thousands of dollars if I'd just come and save his deliciously skinny ass one more time.

"What about your spare key that the hairdresser has," I demanded?

"She's closed because of the weather," he replied.

"Then what about your hide-a-key," I asked in my very best impatient voice.

"It's in my desk drawer," he said.

"FINE," I spit, "I'M COMING..."



I know what you're thinking: That Amy I'll tell ya, she's just a peach! A real life sweet heart!


I tiptoed upstairs and gently ruffled my three-year-old son awake. "James," I said, "it's time to get up, we have to go and rescue Daddy."

And just like that, in the blink of an eye, my toddler went from sleep mode to alert mode. He sat up straight, and with wide eyes and an incredible case of bedhead he exclaimed, "Rescue?! Daddy?!"

"Yup. Daddy's stuck. We need to go and rescue him."

"Den we will need a wope," my little super-hero boldly exclaimed! "We will need a wope!"

"You're right," I played along. "We can't save Daddy without a rope!"

So we suited up in our winter gear, took a bundle of black rope from the wall of the garage, and embarked on a slow-going twenty mile drive to go and rescue Daddy. As we drove along, James used his little arm to demonstrate the cowboy-style lasso technique that he envisioned us using. Apparently I'd rope Jared (gladly) and James would pull him out of the tree.

Well okay then.

Right in the middle of our rescue planning, things got very quiet. I glanced in my rear view mirror, and sure enough James was conked out in his car seat--which offered me the perfect opportunity to call Jared and fill him in on the plan.

When he picked up his phone, before he could even say hello, I said "Get your ass in a tree."

He was like, "What?"

"Get your ass in a tree," I said. "I told James that we were coming to rescue you, and he told me to bring a rope. The kid wants some adventure."

"Uhhhh, okay," he replied, "but how far away are you?"

"We're really close by, we'll be there in a second, so go get you ass in a tree!!!!!"

I was lying, we weren't close by at all.

Twenty minutes later James and I pulled onto Main Street, and honest to goodness, there was Jared, perched on a tall branch of a little dogwood tree that was planted in an embankment in the parking lot next to his building. In the freezing rain.

I pulled up next to the tree, rolled down James's window, and gave Jared the 'action' sign.


"Do it again," I commanded!


We did this three or four more times.

Finally, Jared called me on my cell phone. He was like, "Dude, when are you actually gonna come and rescue me with the rope? It's freaking freezing up here!"

And I was all, "I swear I'll come and rescue you as soon as James wakes up. It's just that I really don't want him to miss it!" And with that, my husband jumped out of the tree, walked around to my car window and glared at me with the death stare that I've become all too familiar with.

Jared unlocked his car, and tossed the keys back in my direction with his left hand--he was using his right hand to obviously hide something behind his back.

"So," I asked, "What's behind your back?"

"Ummmmm.....this," he said, reluctantly revealing a bulk-sized box of Mentos fruit flavored candies." One hundred and eighty rolls to be exact. "I ran out of Mentos, so I closed the office so I could go to Sam's Club and buy some more. That's how I got locked out."

Totally worth it.

Recapturing My Joy

January 7, 2009

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but a few months ago I finally broke down and bought a treadmill of my own. There's only so much old-person flab-slapping this girl can handle, and at a small-town gym like mine, I'm overloaded every single time.

Since I'm reluctant to join the gym, I live in the tundra, and I'm a girl who likes to be able to fit her rear-end comfortably through all doorways, I finally decided that it was time to take the plunge.

I found the treadmill on Craigslist, and at the moment, it appeared to be a really great deal. It was two years old, my internet research revealed that it originally retailed for $1,295, and according to the friendly woman on the phone, it had only been used twice.

When I arrived at the house, the woman's honesty was confirmed. Based on the cavernous dents I saw on the ass cushions of the recliner couch, I'd say that she was right--the treadmill had only been used a ghost or something.

I gave the treadmill a whirl and found it to be a little bit jerky, but nothing I couldn't live with. After all, the treadmill only cost two-hundred dollars--and besides, it was probably only jerky from a lack of use. And from being used as a drying rack for all of those humungo-ginormous bras for the last two years.

We moved the treadmill into our basement, and up until last Sunday, I'd been logging twenty-or-so miles on it every week since--a jerky twenty miles, but twenty miles nonetheless.

And then it happened, my dreaded day of doom. At mile 1.8 the treadmill came to a screeching halt and hurled me right into my trophy shelf (I like to keep the trophies right behind me--that way it sets the scene when my husband walks down the stairs to say hello. He's like, "Wow, I really did marry a superstar...").

When he heard the noise, Jared bounded down the stairs as fast as he possibly could, sat me down on the futon and said, "Whoa, Amy, are you okay?"

And I was like, "No, I'm not okay! My treadmill's broken so I'M NOT OKAY!"

He hugged me.

"I don't want to be hugged," I said. "I want my damn treadmill to work again!"

Then I sobbed and heaved as I rambled on about the unjustness of being alive. "Ninety percent of treadmill owners never step on the thing," I exclaimed, pulling statistics straight out of my sweaty little bum. "I'm the only person in the entire universe who actually uses their treadmill and it goes and breaks on me! This isn't fair, Jared. THIS IS JUST NOT FAIR!"

"Maybe you can run outside until we get it fixed," he suggested--always the level headed one in the relationship.

And that made me sob even harder because, "I don't want to run outside, Jared! I have to wear clothes when I run outside!"

See, the thing is, shortly after I purchased my treadmill, I discovered the true beauty of at-home exercise: You can do it while your naked.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not a nudist or anything, but for the last several months I'd been racking up my miles in nothing but a sports bra and a pair of Nike Frees. I won't lie, it really was quite exhilarating, but my motivation was simpler than that: it reduced my laundry burden like crazy--one trillion percent to be exact.

For the next week I moved my exercise routine to the stationary bike, which you most certainly cannot do without wearing a nice pair of thickly padded shorts. What a freakin' drag.

But this morning, I am very pleased to announce that I will commence running in my birthday suit immediately, at once, if not sooner. The slippery belt has been replaced, the pulley has been repositioned, and thankfully, my heart can sing once again.

I'm thankful for the little blessing in my life.

The Holiday Aftermath

January 6, 2008

I was really proud of myself last year--after all, I paid for all of my Christmas presents with cash.

The GeoTrax? Cash.

The shotgun? Cash.

The bread machine? Cay-ash.

Every time the woman at TJ Maxx would so thoughtfully ask, "Would you like to save 10% off your purchase today?" I'd interrupt her right there, and snicker as I pulled the cash out of my coat pocket. "Um, no," I'd reply with all of the attitude I could muster. "I'm using cash." Then I'd entertain an overly snarky thought about all of those half-brained raving lunatics who charge all of their Christmas crap.

Hoo boy, I was feeling pretty darn good.

And then I opened my credit card statement.

And suffered from a mild heart attack as I spit the phrase, "OH SH**!" right out of my soft and innocent lips. Oh, and it was the real word, not some cheap imitation.

James cocked his head in my direction, and over a table full of PlayDoh (purchased with cash I might add), he curiously repeated my explanation, "Sh**? Is dat what you said, Mommy?"

"Yup. That's right. Sh**."

I generally restrict my credit card use to three purposes...1) It automatically pays our phone bills, 2) It pays for my website at work, and 3) I use it for emergencies.

Well, apparently I had EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX DOLLARS worth of emergencies during the month of December and now Bank of America is asking me to pay it all back with interest (those heartless beasts).

In sifting through the transactions on my statement, I quickly came to notice that the bulk of my "emergencies" occurred at the Blue Canoe gas station and Shaw's Supermarket. I also had an emergency when Happy Town Fuel topped off our tank with kerosene, and another one at my local garage.

As a result of that fine story, my financial tip of the day is as follows: If you use all of your grocery money to buy Christmas presents, you'll probably still get hungry and want to eat something later that day. And I don't care how innovative you are, it's almost impossible to commute to work on a GeoTrax train.

So plan ahead, people. The last thing the world needs is a bunch of toddlers running around, saying the word sh** over and over and over again.

Maine, The Way Life Should Be

January 4, 2009

As far as I remember, my sister and I were raised by the same parents, under the same roof, with nothing but a thin wall between our beds. But in the last ten years, since we've both been on our own, we've taken two very different paths in life.

I, on the one hand, am a successful young (and beautiful) working mother. My sister, on the other hand, is hopelessly addicted to Day of Our Lives and methamphetamines.

Okay fine. That was a lie.

We actually have the exact same taste in music, clothing (frumpy), make-up (none), snacks (lots), and swear words (the really bad ones). We both have twenty-zillion on-line friends, we both complain about our husbands, and we both wretch about our weight as we pull through the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru to order a jelly-filled.

Aside from practicing different religions--she likes to drink Merlot, while I prefer to drink up the sweet promises contained in the Book of Mormon--we're like photocopies of each other. Except for one thing: I'm a little bit country, she's a little bit rock n' roll.

In other words, she lives in Boston and I live in Maine.

I honestly cannot imagine this woman ever leaving that traffic-laden city. She's like, "Sometimes I get mugged on my way to play-group, my car's been stolen twice, I can see seventy other houses and thirteen billboards from my front steps, and I LOVE IT HERE!"

Then there's me. I'm all, "I lost my dog in a snowbank, my nipple in an unfortunate rifle accident, and I LOVE IT HERE!...Now get the hell off my 40-acres."

This past weekend my sister and her family came to visit us here in Maine, and the visit started in standard fashion--with my sister calling from her cell phone, shrieking, "Uhhh!!! Amy!!! I'm not gonna see a dead deer tied to the top of someone's car, am I?!"

I'm telling you, the girl is absolutely ridiculous--deer hunting season ended a month ago. It's squirrel and crow season now, and those little vermin can easily fit inside of someone's glovebox--no need for bungees or a roof rack.

This time, when Katy and Rob visited, Jared and I were determined to show those two a good time. On Saturday afternoon, we babysat their two kids while we sent them off to a nice little trail system to do some snow shoeing. As they were layering up and preparing to go, my brother-in-law started emptying his bag and rummaging through the gear he'd packed for their little outing. The man had--and I kid you not--two compasses, a head lamp, a mylar warming blanket, a set of walkie talkies, a box of water proof matches, and (seriously) a small mirror to be used for signaling an airplane if they should happen to find themselves hopelessly lost in the wilderness.

I was like, "Dude. If you get lost, just call me from your cell phone. I'll come and pick you up."

They returned three hours later, safe and sound, and never even had to use that signaling mirror thank goodness.

Later that night, Jared and I decided to take Katy an Rob out for a night on the town--Maine style. We settled on our favorite little place for local music, The Solid Ground. It's the same place my husband and I end up every time we hire a babysitter. It's a funky coffee shop during the day and a quirky bar at night--not your typical Mormon hangout, but then again I'm not your typical Mormon. Got that fat ass?!

Okay fine, I'll admit it, I scrapbook. But let me make this unmistakeably clear--my layouts are totally edgy with captions like "This is right before I ravaged my husband in the restroom of the cruise ship gift shop" and titles like "The Day I Came Dangerously Close to Leaving my Three-Year-Old in a Dog Crate at Petco."

Seriously edgy.

So there we were, sitting at a table at the bar--my brother-in-law was drinking a Sam Adams, Jared was drinking in the atmosphere, and I was dipping my tongue in my sister's wine glass, desperately hoping to get a buzz off three drops of Shiraz, osmosis, and a keen sense of smell. No luck.

Anywho...we're sitting around, shooting the shiz, when two sixty-something people at the next table over start making out like crazy. Like crazy. In all seriousness, I saw that man touch that woman's booby, more than once.

I'm 99% certain that their thirty-something-year-old son was sitting with them at their little tiny table--and let me tell you, he looked uncomfortable. Almost as uncomfortable as my sister looked when I yelled "OH NO HE DIDN'T!" when I caught the old dude copping a feelio in a very public setting.

When we finally decided to leave, my sister was like, "Okay, so I still think you live in the strangest place on Earth."

And I just smiled and said, "A-yup."

Boston be damned--I love it here.