Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Sky Is Falling!!

Yep, I'm a Texan.  It's 40 degrees here right now, and our local ABC Affiliate has already started with the Winter Weather Closings page. LOVE it!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Beginnings

I find myself oddly at peace right now. If you knew, dear reader, what kind of day I have just endured, you would find that sentence wildly out of place. Usually, my life is a whirling dervish of do this and wash that and pay this and be there and don't forget that. Today was my first day back after a very long holiday away from work - thank you HW for that - and it played out just about as I expected it to.

I came back to a stack of emails too complicated to answer from my iPhone on the road and voice mails that I am ashamed to admit I didn't even check. Many of the questions required brain time and research and tactful language, all of which I find difficult to muster when my instinct is to go go go go go, do do do do do. And yet, I found time to think things through, investigate, and respond diplomatically.  Well, to most of them, barring that one guy I told to take a long walk off a short pier using really, really nice words.

Anyway, by all accounts, things should be crazy for me. But here I sit, with the television off, with LittleG and MrG parked in front of their respective electronic babysitters, while I tap on my keyboard and try to pull all of those words I have floating around in my brain into some sort of coherent little ditty.

And what do these words in my head want to talk about tonight? The implosion of the married world around me.

Everywhere I look, I see women whose marriages have fallen apart.  One fell apart years ago, but for whatever reason, this couple stayed together. Together in a home filled not with love, but apathy, for more years than anyone should have to bear. My friend finally called Time of Death and pulled the sheet up over the carcass of her unhappy union.

Another friend, whose life is so much like my own that I keep checking with MrG to be sure he's happy, saw her marriage self destruct some months ago when her husband abruptly announced he was no longer in love with her, then promptly moved out. 

A blogger that I read and for some reason feel like I know, even though our paths have never crossed, had the rug pulled out from under her when her husband revealed one infidelity, which ultimately led to more stories of infidelity and some deep deep betrayal from someone very close to her.

Another friend who has lived apart from her husband for nearly as long as I have known her finally had him served with divorce papers.  The final chapter in a long sad story.

These women have all had the "till death do us part" taken out of the equation. Suddenly, they are no longer defined as Mrs. Anyone. They are free to come home from work as late as they wish, cook whatever they want for dinner, or make absolutely nothing. They can clean the house, or not. Or watch whatever they want on television. Or go to the gym, or work in the yard, or see movies with their girlfriends. Their lives, once dependent upon the whim of another human, have become their own again.

Of course there is the other side....there's no one there to cut the grass, no one to change the light bulbs, to share life's dreams and goals, to be a partner.  I've got news for you. If you're stepping out on him or he's stepping out on you, that shipped sailed a long time ago.

What's remarkable to me about all of these stories is that these women seem remarkably resilient. Life has handed them warm shit pie, and they've just squirted whipped cream on it and gone about their business. 

My first friend filed for divorce and escaped a loveless marriage. She has found someone new and is happier than I have ever seen her.

My sister from another mister has flourished, no, reveled, in her new life. She's traveling now and totally unencumbered by He Who Shall Not Be Named.  Her children are adjusting, and thankfully, she and HWSNBM are civil enough to co-parent two really great kids.

My blogger friend (can I call her that if I've never technically met her?) is happier than I have ever seen her, and I have been reading her work for years. Many of you know her, because you link in from her blog. I think you would agree that life is much, much happier for her now, and she is almost oozing a sense of optimism, during what should be the darkest time of her life.

My friend with the on-again off-again spouse? Well, I think she's finally moving on, too.

All of these women have put one foot in front of the other and slogged through the muck. And while it's not all bluebirds and butterflies, they are happy more often than not. It is resolve?  Have they just been beaten down so badly by life that they have hung their heads and given up?  I think not. They have found whatever it takes to get through a really, really tough time. And I think beyond a doubt, that once they come through it, they will be stronger, and surer, and happier than ever.

So why would I call this post New Beginnings when all I've really talked about is the end of these marriages? Because my friends aren't looking at this right now as the end. They all see this as the beginning of their new normal, how life is going to be from here on out. The world is theirs now, from the color of the paint on their walls, to vacations they choose, or new loves if life so deems.

And while I have been terribly torn over the demise of these relationships (it's never easy to watch a marriage dissolve), I am truly optimistic for each of my friends that, as Max Ehrmann once wrote, "the universe is no doubt unfolding as it should."

So I am going to be happy today with what I've got. A really hard job and a marriage that, while not always a bouquet of roses, is at least intact. And I will celebrate (if that's even the appropriate thing to do) as my friends jump off and begin their new lives as Ms. Someone.

Go hug your spouse tonight, or your divorce attorney, whatever the case may be.  Oh yeah, MrG?  I love you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

60 Miles. 3 Days. The Experience of a Lifetime

I have not put pen to paper, or in this instance, keyboard to screen, just yet, because I just don't know that I have the words to describe my 3-Day Walk two weeks ago. But I have to get it out there, even if I don't do it justice.

Remarkable. Inspiring. Gut wrenching. Amazing.  All of these words, and many more. These words aren't just for the three days I spent on the walk, but for the nearly 10 months I spent getting ready.  

I walked this year, truly, because my friend Shelly walked for me last year, and I knew she wanted me to go with her. I didn't think I could do it. I honestly didn't know when I signed up that I would even see it through. She was so right to ask me to come along, because it was life changing for me.

My sister, after some degree of cajoling (I believe I stopped just short of begging) came down from Chicago to walk with me. Having her here with me, encouraging me, walking beside me, sharing a tent for those twelve minutes I was actually awake, was a huge factor in me getting through the experience.

My friend Vicki walked with me most mornings this summer, at the butt-crack of dawn, in unbearable heat and humidity.  She never complained, and she never once backed out on me.

Friends, family, clients, and businesses I frequent made donations. Some more than I ever would have expected or imagined. My precious baby girl brought me a fist full of one dollar bills one evening, saying, "Mom, this is for your walk." Sometimes total strangers took me by surprise by donating, some of them very, very generously.  I asked everyone I came in contact with for a donation. And then I asked some more.  At the end, I had raised over $6,000.

My dear sweet friends at work supported me and encouraged me and put up with me talking about the walk again and again and again.

MrG was tireless in his efforts to be sure I was properly outfitted...sleeping bag, camp pad, blow up pillow, a funny little flashlight to wear on my head. Heaven knows he has no idea what I spent on shoes, shirts, socks....and since I do sales and not math, not even I will ever know.

After all the training and fundraising and worry, the first day of the walk dawned clear and cold.  Bundled in layers, adrenaline flowing, we finally began our walk. We encountered shortly an elementary school with students cheering, flags waving, and pink balloons floating in the air.  It was here the lump formed in my throat and I swallowed back tears. That lump stayed with me all three days.

All along the walk, cars passed us, honking, waving, sending encouragement from inside their warm little cocoons.  Homeowners came out, offering candy, water, encouragement. Cheering stations were set up along the walk path, and sometimes I think they just randomly formed, like a flash mob of love. You cannot imagine how much the cheers of strangers can mean when you're trying to put one foot in front of the other, over and over again.

I will never forget what happened shortly after lunch on Friday. We had a chance to sit down, take off our shoes, wiggle our toes and rest for awhile. We ate a healthy lunch, rehydrated and headed back out.  It is so much harder to start once you've stopped. About a mile or so in, I honestly thought I was not going to be able to make it.  We came around a corner, and I saw on the right two signs. One said "Go Stephanie," and the other said "You Can Do It." Jokingly, I said to my teammates, "I am going to pretend that is for me - it will keep me going."  Right about that time, Vicki, my summer walking partner, jumped out and hugged me. It kept me going all right, just as it's making me tear up as I relive it right now.

We finally made it to our campsite that evening where some lovely college students pitched our tents for us. It's good they were there, because my legs were so sore that if I had knelt down, it might have taken 911 to get me back up.  We had a hot meal, a hot shower, and slept very, very soundly as temperatures hit a low of 39 degrees.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Day 2 was cold. We got an early start after a hot breakfast and walked hard. We had enjoyed light chatter and laughter for most of the walk, but after lunch, we all sort of pulled inside ourselves, willing one foot in front of the other again and again. Saturday was very hard as the physical and the emotional effort weighed heavily on all of us. The high points on Saturday were the cheering stations, and of course our Walker Stalkers, my BFF and my mom.

God bless them. They were there for us at every stop, bringing coffee, cookies, mom kisses, and allowing us to offload layers of clothing as the day warmed up. I will say this without hesitation. I could not have done this without them. Just knowing they were 2 or 3 or 4 miles down the road was enough to keep me going, and they cheered us and fed us and encouraged us all along the way. I will never find the words to tell them what their support meant during those three days.  LittleG and MrG were honorary Walker Stalkers on Saturday and Sunday, and seeing my sweet baby girl and her Daddy really lifted me up when my spirits were down.

Somehow we made it back to camp at the end of Day 2, fed ourselves, showered, and fell again unconscious in the cold night air. We woke on Day 3 where some nice Boy Scouts helped us take down our tents and get our gear to the gear trucks, and after breakfast, off we went again.

The trip on Sunday was shorter, and when we finally arrived at the finish line, we walked across it together, hand in hand with our team, and went through a group of crew and other walkers who cheered us in. I can't tell you what it's like to have a thousand or so people cheering you on at the end.

We cheered the last walkers in, and they got us lined up to move into the closing ceremony. Because I'm a survivor, I separated from my team and moved into a holding area with the other survivors. The sea of white shirts parted as those of us in pink walked through, and thousands of women celebrated our success. I will never forget what it felt like to walk through the applause and tears, through the sea of white.

I could write for hours and still never describe what I saw or do justice to what it felt like to walk those 60 miles. Men in bras and pink skirts, women still bald from chemo, crying as we passed them on the street. Men holding signs thanking us for walking for their wives. Thousands and thousands who cheered for us. Popsicles, candy, even hot french fries and ketchup, shared in love with total strangers.

I have thought for some time that I do not want my life to be defined by breast cancer.  I got it, we caught it, I beat it. My life was never in danger. I had some extremely frightening times, some painful ones. But this thing was never going to kill me. And yet, I get to wear the badge of Survivor, to walk proudly in my pink shirt, surrounded by people celebrating my success.

I raised over $6,000, and I did it without cheating, or without backing from national corporate sponsors of the event. I got up on summer mornings, when I much would have rather slept in, and walked in the heat. I stuck my hand out and asked for money again and again. From friends and family and strangers. When that wasn't enough, I asked more people. I bought a sleeping bag, for the love of all that's holy!

I walked more in one day than most people walk in a week. Then, I slept in a tent. On the ground. In the cold. And I got up the next day and did it again. Twice.

My blisters and sore muscles have healed. Physically, I've recovered. But I don't know that emotionally I am there yet. And I'm not really sure I want to be.

I don't want my life defined by my breast cancer. But my breast cancer walk? That's a different story.  I am proud to say I challenged myself physically and emotionally and I did something I never truly thought I could do.  Besides becoming a wife and a mom, it's the biggest thing I've ever done. And it was life changing.

So thank you Shelly, Rhonda, Leigh Ann, Vicki, Mom, Jimz, MrG, LittleG, and countless donors, supporters, and cheer squads, for the experience of a lifetime.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Editors and grammar snobs, rejoice!

Today, friends, is a big day.  Many of you won't know this, and most of you won't care; I will share my excitement nonetheless.

It's a big day for those of us who deem ourselves "grammar geeks."  Celebrate with me, if you will, the 7th Annual Punctuation Day®. The Official National Punctuation Day website says today is "A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis."

Can I get an Amen?

I don't make my living writing, thank God! And I don't make my living editing. But I do appreciate a finely written piece, properly punctuated and spelled correctly. I have no tolerance for newspaper articles, web news, blog posts, and user comments that are just grammatically wrong. How can these people publish this with their names attached?

I'd like to think I don't make punctuation mistakes, ever. I know, though, that I'm totally guilty of misusing and overusing the ellipsis.  Maybe I'll make that my plan for next year: to learn to use the ellipsis correctly.

Or maybe, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing all along, standing in judgement (privately of course) of the horrid writing I see so often.

I'm seriously hoping there is a "National Your/You're Day," followed quickly by a "National I/Me/Myself Day."  That would SO rock!

Do all of us grammar geeks a favor if you will - if just for this one day - and try to use those little punctuation marks correctly.  We'll work on spelling and proper pronoun usage when the time comes.

Lady Steele
English minor and grammar snob (EMAG)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I'm a pink warrior!

I haven't written much about my upcoming 3-Day walk, because frankly, training for it has sucked up all of my time, energy, and words. I am training every morning with my neighbor, Vicki, who gets up way earlier than she has to because she knows I need the help. We walk 2-3 miles, beginning at 5:30 am, or as my best friend says, "the butt crack of dawn." Amen, sister.

I've thrown in a handful of 5 or 6 mile treks at the gym on the treadmill, and I almost always do hill intervals when I'm there. So it's not just five miles of flat boredom. I've also done some random 3-5 mile trips on my own around our neighborhood.

Yesterday, I took it to a new level. One of the local teams held a training walk - 14 miles. The group meets in a city north of me and the walk started at 5:45 am. Butt crack of dawn indeed, since I had to get up, get myself fed and dressed, and across town in time to walk with very perky people for much longer than I've ever walked at one time on purpose. One of them sang a team song. Egad.  Another one brought an MP3 player speaker thingie, so everyone around her got to listen to her music. Cat rocks while she walks!

The first seven miles went extremely well, with the exception of a very steep hill at about mile 6.5. Once we crested the hill and my heart stopped feeling like it was going to burst out of my chest, my body calmed down, and I felt pretty good by the time we got to the halfway mark.

We rested for awhile, rehydrated, and carb loaded for the trip back.  On the return leg, that nice steep hill was a lot better going down than it was coming up, but my body was challenged in other ways by trying to slow down the forward momentum.

I did just fine until about mile 10, and at that point, I was pretty sure someone was going to have to come pick me up and take me back to my car.  My bag, which previously felt so light, began to weigh me down, and I could not find a comfortable way to carry it.  The sun, all 82 degrees of it, felt white hot on my exposed skin, and I felt like it was laughing at my feeble attempt to shield myself with only SPF 85.  I was sweating - honest to God sweating - my clothes soaked through, and sweat running into my eyes.  I was decidedly feeling not so fresh.

And that's when I started to feel the dreaded "hot spot" which indicates a blister is forming.  On the top edge of my right heel, an excruciating little burn grew bigger with every few steps.

In the dark of the morning, I had failed to notice that we were walking downhill for about the first mile.You guessed it; that means the last mile was uphill. And a damn long last mile it was.  I fell further and further behind the front of the pack and had to stop more than once to cool off.

But I made it.... 5 hours and 45 minutes later... hot and sweaty, sunburned and pale, somehow both at the same time.  My heart was racing, I had sweat running into places I didn't know I owned.  But I made it. And I wasn't the last person to make it to the finish line.

I was a rickety mess for the rest of the day as the lactic acid moved in and out of various muscles.  Physically, I was exhausted, but mentally, I was doing jumping jacks and push ups.  I took only a brief nap, about an hour, while LittleG enjoyed some time with a friend.  After that, I felt like I ought to at least be awake and in the same room with her, even if I was being still and quiet.

I dreaded how I would feel this morning, but as morning dawned and I began to stretch into my day, nothing really hurt. I've been up about three hours now, and my shoulders are sore, but my legs and back feel pretty good. My blister still hurts like a mo-fo, but I think I'll live.

So while that last four miles felt like torture and I was so sure I would never recover, today I don't feel so bad.  I'm so glad I took the time and made the effort to make this walk, and hung in there even when I thought I couldn't make it. It showed me that not only can I do it, but the morning after is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

But Lady Steele, you might say, you only walked 14 miles, and just two months from now, you'll be walking 20 miles a day, three days in a row.  Well, dear reader, some things will be different on the actual walk.

I will not have a heavy pack to deal with. That one thing, more than any other, affected how well I walked and how I feel this morning. I learned my lesson about what I need to carry, and what I don't. I do not need an entire day's worth of calories in various varieties. Power bars, carb bites, electrolyte jelly beans and gooey packs on their own don't weigh much, but an entire side bag filled with them is total overkill.  We stop every three miles, so carrying an additional 24 ounces of water is a waste of energy.  My BFF will be at all the stops, and if I need to jettison jackets or pants, she'll be there to take them from me so I don't have to wag them around with me.

I will prepare better for blisters - I will be moleskinned, band-aided, padded, and protected. A blister will not be the reason I don't finish.

I know that whatever pain I'm feeling while I'm feeling it is short term and will pass.

Finally, my sister will be there with me.  And while she is in much better physical shape than I am, she has said she will walk beside me at my pace for as long as it takes.  So even if we are the last ones to make it in, by God, we are going to make it together.

I have four requests, dear reader. First, please donate to my cause if you can.  It's easy...just click the "Donate" button on the 3-day widget to the right. You can pay online with a credit card, or print a donation form to mail in with a check.

Second, if you have been touched by breast cancer, whether you've fought it yourself, or loved someone who has, I will walk for you or your loved one. Even if you don't donate! Put the name of the person in the comments below, and let me know if this person is a survivor or not. I'll have these names on ribbons, hanging from my pack, so others will see them as I walk, and so they are a constant source of encouragement to me.

Third, any time you're driving and you see a group of people walking together, such as might happen when they are training for a walk, please please please honk your horn, wave like crazy and shout words of encouragement. You cannot believe how much the simple acts, like these, of total strangers, makes a difference to those who might be thinking that they just won't be able to make it.  And if you're the couple in the silver Honda CRV who passed me yesterday when I was just about to throw in the towel, thank you. You might be the reason I made it.

Fourth, if you've not done so this year, please go get a  mammogram.  Yeah, it sucks. It is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and can be expensive without good insurance. It was a regular screening mammogram that caught my cancer.  Mine was caught early, and consequently, my life was never in danger.  Had I waited or skipped the mammogram altogether, the outcome might have been very, very different.

I have just two months to go until the event begins. I need $1,400 to get to my fundraising goal, and at least three more good training walks. For more information, go to Keep those cards and letters coming, friends..

Pink out,
Lady Steele

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


You can't see me, and it's a good thing, because I have been skipping around my kitchen in a sweaty sports bra and shorts.....this is what the weather guy has in store for us, and I am absolutely GIDDY with excitement!!

I might need a hobby.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drop it like it's hot

It's that time of year in Texas again.  The ground is parched and cracked, and if you listen closely, you can almost hear it begging to be watered. The long grass along the highway, formerly regal and tall, is now brown and leaning plaintively, having surrendered its last drop of moisture to the hot summer sun. Trees are drooping, long fields of grass have gone brown in the heat. Even the swimming pools, which usually provide some cooling relief, are superheated. For more than 20 days this summer, we've been over 100⁰.  We had a streak of 100⁰+ days that ran for 18 days in a row, and it's beginning to wear on all of us.

My favorite euphemism for the heat is "hotter than the hinges of hell."  Apparently, I've used that phrase a time too often, because my officemate recently sent me an email with these phrases. Nothing else, just these. She made her point. 
  • Hotter than a hen in a wool blanket
  • Hotter than a two-dollar pistol
  • Hotter'n love in hayin' time
  • Hotter than a nanny goat in a pepper patch
  • Hotter than a nun's bug
  • Hotter than a half-made fox in a forest fire
Anyway,  it has been hotter than the hinges of hell, and all of the above.  At this time of year, electric bills soar, tempers flare, and we all just wait for good news about cooler days ahead.  And I think that's what we got this week....

That's right, folks, I am excited about highs in the high 90s.  How damn hot does it have to be to take a screen shot of your weather forecast, especially when temperatures that high would have the majority of the country calling uncle? The answer is...very.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out picking up dinner when a summer storm popped up unexpectedly.  Big fat raindrops fell from the sky, and I kid you not, everyone in the lobby went to the window to watch the few drops that made it to the earth.  I stepped outside and drank in the smell of fresh rain, if just for a moment. While I was out there, a little girl in a white car rolled her window down about two inches, stuck a tiny hand out and caught raindrops. I envied her because she touched the rain, when I just got to smell it.

I heard on Friday, I think, that summer only lasts for 35 more days. It's a shame I can't just huddle in the dark, curtains drawn and ceiling fans swirling, until the final days of heat pass. But I will get up every day and head into the heat and wait for cooler days ahead.

Soon, the hot days will pass and we'll be looking at a nice mild winter while the rest of you dig out of snow for three months.  But for now, my life sucks more than yours.

I'm off to find a slurpee and a hand fan. 

Thursday, August 05, 2010

California Gurls, indeed

2 backpacks...........................................................$40
School supplies.......................................................$56
School uniforms.......................................................$143
New shoes, three times............................................$174.89
Watching your mom humiliate you at graduation........priceless

2 women charged in kindergarten graduation brawl
Associated Press
Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) – Two women have been charged with misdemeanors for a fight that led to a brawl during a Southern California kindergarten graduation ceremony.

San Bernardino County investigators say the women were arguing and it got physical in a field near the June ceremony at Puesta del Sol Elementary in Victorville.

Several men got involved and the incident turned into a brawl, forcing school officials to place the school on lockdown until deputies sorted things out. No one was hurt.

Court records show misdemeanor charges have been filed against 31-year-old Queiona Burt and 29-year-old Marina Ruth Vargas.

Prosecutors say they face up to six months in jail if convicted for interference with peaceful conduct at a school and 90 days in jail for unlawful acts committed on school grounds.

I'm from Texas, and we usually reserve our humiliating bar fights for places like bars.

Maybe those Daisy Dukes and bikinis on top are a bit much.  Or is it the sand in their stilettos? Way to represent, California!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Sister

I can't ever remember a time without her. 41 years ago, my parents brought a tiny baby home and introduced me, still a baby myself, to my little sister. I don't remember life without her, so as far as I'm concerned, she has been here my entire life.

Her job, although I was two years older than she, was to protect me. She protected me at night, kept my piggies safe from the big bad wolf, and everything else that goes bump in the night. As family lore tells it, she kept me safe from most things that go bump in the day, too.  She was always the brave one. She kept our room clean, let me sleep with her when I was scared, and took care of me when I got sick in the night.

Although she's younger, it seems like I've always lived in her shadow. She did everything better than me. She cleaned house better (I regret I never got the urge). She made better grades. The teachers liked her better. She had more friends. She was better with the boys. She managed her money better.

She definitely snuck out better, as our mother discovered late one summer evening when she came in and found me tucked safely in my bed, with my sister nowhere to be seen. It was some hours later when my sister snuck back in and tried to slide between her covers, only to find Mom laying there, mad as a wet hen, and I'm certain just as disappointed. I don't think I made it any easier for my sister when I tried to console my mom by telling her, "don't worry, she does this all the time."  Oopsie.

My sister saved me from some terrible decision making when she drug me off to college with her before what should have been my junior year. We lived together for years after, laughing hysterically as only sisters can do. I will never forget one morning as we were reading the paper, when she asked me with a quizzical look on her face what in the world a "toe-aster" pastry was.  "Toaster pastry?"  I replied.  I will never look at a pop-tart without thinking of us, sitting at our kitchen table, laughing until tears rolled down our faces.

The Toe-Aster pastry is just as funny as the time we came home together in her car.  She drove a stick shift, and for some reason, I was driving that night. We'd just driven three hours with a squirmy puppy in the car and were rounding third base headed for home when I exited the freeway and inconveniently forgot to downshift.  The car lurched wildly, my sister frantically held on to the puppy, trying to tell me what to do, while, I, confused as hell, hysterically yelled, "This is not my car!" as I tried to avoid killing either us or the car. Good times indeed.

For some reason, despite the fact she seemed better at most things than I, she often turned to me for advice growing up.  I always gave it. Some of it good, some of it not so much. When she had a big decision to make about her career a few years ago, she called me and we talked for a long time about it. It struck me as odd that she, stuck between the offer of a partnership at her CPA firm and an offer to be a CFO, called me to discuss her options. After all, she's the one who did my taxes, and she knew damn well what tax bracket I fell in. It seemed ironic to me at the time that she was asking me for advice when either of the two jobs she had in front of her paid many, many, many times what I brought in.

My sister has made the decision to come walk the 3-day Komen walk with me in November. Under duress, I might add, as I spent an entire day convincing her that she can, indeed, raise the minimum necessary to walk. It took me two months to raise my money; it took her just about a day. And she is now the #1 fundraiser in the Dallas-Fort Worth walk.  Not by much, but by God, she's at the top of the list.

When I congratulated her yesterday, she said she was proud, too, but knowing that I was proud of her meant even more. It dawned on me then that I've never said I'm proud of her. I think sisters are like an old married couple. So many things are left unsaid because you just know the other person knows what you're thinking.

So, here you go, Adnohr.

I am so proud of the child you were and the grown up you've become. I am proud you left a miserable relationship that was eating you up to marry a really, really terrific guy who loves you and supports you. I am proud of the ridiculous amount of money that you make and the stunning home you own. I'm proud of your expensive toys, although most of them frighten me to some degree. I am proud of the support you give the people you love and the sacrifice you're making to walk with me in November. I am ridiculously proud that you've raised over $10,000 to eradicate breast cancer forever, when you were worried you couldn't raise two grand.

I'm proud that you're well read and interesting and fun to be around. I'm proud to be the sister of the life of the party. I'm proud you take care of yourself and those around you, even when the ones around you make it hard sometimes. Your sense of family and purpose are astounding at times, and that makes me proud.

I think all sisters love each other, by default, because that's what we're supposed to do. But it's another thing entirely to hold your sister in high esteem, to love her and honor her.  They say pride is a sin, but I'm not buying it.

So, Little Sister, today is for you. I love you and I am so so proud of you! 

ps - I didn't buy a card. Again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unequally yoked

Oh, the joys of targeted marketing.  NOT!

Here's what I had in my inbox this morning:

It's not that I'm opposed to the person of color. In fact there are several "Black" men (it's ok to refer to them that way if the ad does, right?) that I find wildly attractive. Sterling Sharp, Blair Underwood, Taye Diggs. All very, very yummy.  But I digress...

I think we all know that my tastes run more to the Brown than the Black.

As a reminder, here's what I look like:

Yes, those are freckles. And blue eyes. Oh yeah, and I've been married for 11 years. To a Mexican.

You'll see if you look closely enough, that there is an "opt out" option at the bottom of the email, and I've tried to exercise that option several times.

So, I tried a different approach today. Since the email at least appears to come from a human's email address, I emailed him back a picture of me. And one of my Mexican husband. And asked him nicely to include us both in his database of singles if he thought we would be a fit for his service. Otherwise, would he kindly remove my address from his system? I'm really, truly, not interested. Unless of course, Taye Diggs is on there and wouldn't mind a dalliance with a 40-something married white chick

I'm now taking bets on whether or not I'll get another email from our friends at

You want in?

Peace out,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If it's not Sex, it's Lesbians. Good gosh, y'all.

First it was The idiots at ABC, now it's our Holy Grail of Radio, KERA.

LittleG and I were on the way to the "lye-bary" on Saturday, and the good folks at National Public Radio were interviewing people who make movies. Safe enough topic, I think to myself.

Turns out I was wrong.

The subject of the interview during that timeslot was the woman who wrote the book or the screenplay upon which The Kids are All Right is based. This is not going to end well, I think to myself, remembering the storyline of the movie, and my inquisitive little sponge in her booster seat right behind me.

I act quickly to change the station to some far more kid-friendly selection, maybe Lady Gaga, Ke$ha or 50 Cent. Unfortunately, I don't hit that button fast enough.

"Mom," says LittleG, "what is a lesbian?" And there it is.


If you've read me at all, you know I just don't swing that way. I do tend to be pretty liberal in my views on "others," be they a different religion, skin color, or sexual persuasion. I don't always understand the other guy, but I do my best to accept them.

For the benefit of one of my extremely conservative readers, I should throw in here that we've all sinned and fallen short and I don't think I or any other human has the right to judge another. Those aren't my words, and I've paraphrased just a bit, but I think you get the gist of it.

Anyway, just because I am reasonably comfortable with the concept of a lesbian doesn't mean I'm ready to explain it to my six year old.

I know, based on six years of dealing with this child, that I had better answer her question, or she'll just keep asking it. And the more she asks, the more interesting the concept will become.

So I walked a fine line and said that sometimes moms love moms instead of moms loving dads, and in our family, we don't judge people like that. Everyone is different, and that's ok.

And my beautiful, precious, perceptive little girl says, "I get it Mom. They are just different than us, just like if their skin was another color. Can we get another Mudge book when we get inside?"

Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one. I'm a little hacked off at NPR that I had to have that conversation with her at this point in her life, but perhaps by having a simple conversation now, the harder conversations yet to come will be a little easier.

Gotta go - I need to go burn a "safe for LittleG" mix tape for the car.  Wonder where I put that personalized Veggie Tales CD?

Monday, July 12, 2010

All comments welcome....well, almost all!

Dear 峻帆峻帆峻帆, 玉苓玉苓, and 雅芳:

I've received several comments on my blogs from you, and while I'm sure you're all lovely people, your comments are written entirely in an Asian language that this particular ugly American cain't quite git the gist of.

Plus, you've got those annoying html codes in your message, and I'm not willing to approve your comments. Who knows what kind of whacky site those links take you. I'm not about to find out, nor am I going to expose my ever-dwindling reader base to the links.

Please do us both a favor and quit trying. I'm not going to approve your comments, and I'm frankly, a bit tired of refusing them. Please stop.

Thanks a bunch.
Lady Steele

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Dear Dominos Pizza,

You've gone a little far in your attempt to personalize your marketing message to my family. Back in the day when you were keeping us hopped up on free chocolate lava crunch cakes, I was all about it.  An occasional free coupon for bread sticks keeps MrG feeling happy. We love that.

What we don't love is receiving emails like this:

I realize it's cool right now to personalize marketing efforts to your prospects. Heck, I do it all day myself.

But I resent like hell that you assume, based on my last name, and perhaps my zip code, that you should be marketing to me in Spanish. Isn't anyone out there paying attention, for the love of Pedro?  Check out the photo at the right.  You darn near can't get any more non-Hispanic than I am.

How are you deciding which customers get which version of the email? Do you have some brain trust in a little room having conversations like this? "Oh, his name is Dominelli - send him the Italian one."  "And her name is Silja - she should get the Indian one." "And his name is Kalniņš - send him the Latvian one."

I don't know how the decisions are made, but I sure recommend someone pay attention to what's being sent out, and think about the effect your message is having on the people receiving it. I don't want pizza now. Instead, a big plate of steaming enchiladas seems more in order. Don't you think?

While researching this piece, I found that Garcia is actually the 15th most popular last name in France. If you're going to send me marketing pieces I can't read, can I at least get them in French? I love the little squiggly things over the letters.

Hasta la vista,

p.s. My next door neighbor to the west whose last name is Flores doesn't speak a lick of Spanish either.  But the guy named Brown on the east side does. So can you be sure they get the correct email? That ought to send the brain trust into a tizzy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A day "home" with LittleG

LittleG has strep throat. Or, rather, she's recovering from it. As I have missed some time from work lately and am already planning to take Friday off, I felt it in the best interest of my illustrious career that I not be the parent to stay at home today. In other words, MrG drew the short stick.

I called them around 11:00 this morning to check in on them, and here's how the conversation went:

MrG: Hello?
Me: Hi. What are you guys doing?
MrG: We are out shopping. (use your suspicious voice when you read this to yourself.)
Me: How is my baby?
MrG: She is feeling much better.
Me: Can I talk to her?
LittleG: Hi, Mommy. (use your sad pathetic voice here)
Me: Hi, Baby! How are you feeling?
LittleG: My throat hurts.
Me: Where are you?
LittleG: At Best Buy.
MrG: (in the background) Don't tell her we're at Best Buy! Tell her we're at Petsmart.
LittleG: Mom, if Dad tells you we're at Petsmart, he's a LIAR!

Ha. Short stick indeed. I left him at home with her so I didn't have to call the $10 per hour sitter-in-a-box. And my Dearly Beloved is at Best Buy spending the family fortune.

Praise the Lord and pass the Augmentin! And the checkbook......
Lady Steele

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Happy 70th Birthday, Dad

Dear Dad,

You would have been 70 years old today, if cancer hadn't taken you from us. Instead, we took you on that sunny beautiful day to the Veterans Cemetary, where men and women in full uniform saluted as we brought you in for our final goodbye. It seems almost fitting that I will be sitting today with another family who has lost someone they love.

Things are going pretty well for us. MrG and I still like each other more often than not, and after eleven years of marriage, I think we've finally got the swing of things. We're one payment away from paying off the van. I know you were so proud when we brought over the first car I ever bought without your help.

Your precocious little granddaughter continues to grow and amaze pretty much everyone around her. She stands physically head and shoulders above most of her classmates, and seemingly has the self confidence to pull it off with grace and finesse. We have had her in soccer the past two seasons, and it has been so good for her, both physically and socially. She has emerged as a real team leader and it has been so good for her self confidence. It's too bad her playing skills aren't quite as refined as her leadership skills, because she would certainly be a force to be reckoned with if that were the case.

She is blowing it out of the water at school. You're probably rolling over in your grave at the thought of her learning Spanish, but she's doing it, and she's doing it well. She placed in the Gifted & Talented program at school in all four subjects, and her work is so good that they will be using it as examples for the teachers in a G&T workshop this summer. She is so sassy and has the vocabulary of a fourth grader. This is not always a good combination, as you might imagine!

Your other daughter and her husband have continued to collect very expensive toys, as is their right for their station in life. They brought home the most beautiful boat last month, which would both delight and terrify you, I think. She has had a very trying two years, and I know you would tell her, if you could, that it's the challenges that make us stronger. She has certainly had the chance to become stronger, and I know she misses having you here to help her.

Your son, believe it or not, has finally gotten a real job. After 20 something years of doing his own thing pretty successfully, he's decided that being his own boss is not all it's cracked up to be. He's doing the 9 to 5 thing, day in, day out, just like the rest of the world. He now spends his evenings and weekends with his son playing baseball or riding motorbikes and with that lovely daughter of his just radiating in her pure beauty. She is so much like you at times that it's heartbreaking. She was born on Mom's birthday six months after you died, and there is not a one among us who doubts that she brought parts of you back to us.

Mom is as busy as ever. Church and bunco and bridge and who knows what else all keep her social calendar booked. She went home last weekend for a class reunion and when I fussed at her for not checking in with me after a 200 mile trip on her own, she reminded me tersely that she is a grownup and she has a job. Not much has changed in that regard. She is going this summer to Mongolia, and this holiday season to Bethlehem to sing with the choir. Although you found your faith late in life, I know that her commitment to the Lord would bring you a sense of pride and contentment.

As for me, I am still doing the sales gig. It's been a decade now, and I truly love what I do. I work with nice people. I make decent money. And what I do makes me happy. That's a lot more than a lot of people can say. Jimz is still my very best friend in the world, and we see each other as often as we can. I am on the PTA board at LittleG's school, and at least three times a week, I turn into a total soccer mom.

We miss you here, Dad, and we hope you are happy where you are. I'll try to write again soon.

Lots of love,

Monday, May 03, 2010

Everyone deserves a lifetime

Pretend, if you will, that I'm your local Public Radio affiliate and that it's pledge time again. I'm going to ask you, every so often, if you can help me reach my goal. As soon as I get there, I'll quit asking. In the meantime, I need your financial support. If you come here and are entertained, please take a moment and donate what you can. And tell your friends. And ask them to tell their friends!

I am walking in the Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in Dallas in November, and I would like to ask for your help. I have to raise a minimum of $2,300 for the privilege of sleeping in a tent and walking 60 miles in just three days.

Why in the world would anyone want to lace up her tennis shoes and subject herself to that? I’ll tell you why….

I’m walking for the 40,000 women who will die this year alone from breast cancer, and for the 200,00 women who will be diagnosed with the disease in the next twelve months. I’m walking for the 400 men who will die this year, and for the 1,500 who will be diagnosed.

I’m walking because my grandmother died from breast cancer, and because my mom and I both had it and beat it. I’m walking because I don’t want my six-year old daughter to have to fight this disease someday, or to ever feel the terror that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis.

I’m walking for my grandmother, and my mother, and myself, and my daughter, and my sister, and my aunts, and my nieces and my friends. And I’m walking for yours.

Can you make a donation to help me reach my goal?

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is the largest source of nonprofit funds in the world dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. Money raised by Susan G. Komen programs funds research, screening, and treatment for breast cancer. Virtually every major advance in the fight against breast cancer in the last 27 years has been impacted by a Susan G. Komen grant.

Please click the fancy widget on the right hand of the page, and donate if you can. Easy payment plans are available if you pay by credit card, or you can print a donation form if you prefer to pay by check.

If you or someone you love has had breast cancer, it would be my honor to walk in your loved one’s honor or memory. Please email me the name, and I will walk every one of those sixty miles for you or the one you love.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. Help me help the women and men who will come after me, because everyone deserves a lifetime!

Lady Steele

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I love Sam!

Here is the only thing that made four hours of back-to-back birthday parties worthwhile on Saturday....

Sam, by the way, is the artist that drew us.  I think he nailed it. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Take your sense of entitlement and stick it!

I am pouting like a petulant child.

There's something in my life I feel like I have earned, and yet, I've been denied it.

There is really nothing worse than being a grown up and feeling like you've really earned something, be it an increase in a credit limit, a coveted position on the PTA board, a promotion at work, or finally landing the ever popular position of Team Mom for the soccer team, and being denied it based purely on what someone else thinks about what you think.

I won't go into this here, for reasons of personal privacy. But there is something out there I think I deserve. I found out today I didn't get it. And I am not one bit happy about it.  Suffice it to say that I do not agree with the powers that be AT ALL about the reason they gave me for not giving me my golden ring.

In fact, I cried myself home today (and in case you've not been paying attention, I am not a crier). I am giving myself one red snotty faced, crappy assed night to cry over spilled milk, or whatever label you want to give it, and then I'm done with it.

Truth be told, my feelings are hurt.  I felt like I deserved what I thought I had coming. And when it didn't come to me, I felt like my legs had been kicked out from underneath me.

You might want to remind me that superheroes don't cry.  Oh yeah, tell that to my pile of snotty tissues. You might want to remind me that good things come to those who wait. And to that I would say, how damn long does one have to wait?  A month? A school year?  A decade?

So, tonight, I'm pouting like the spoiled entitled little brat that I am. Tomorrow, I will put on my big girl panties and head back into my day.

Screw 'em all I say.  You want a big fat happy face? That's what you'll get. In the meantime, I am gonna have a good cry and most of a bottle of merlot.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm sure it will dawn fresh and bright. 

Ever forward, friends.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm a dirty, dirty superhero!

From a CNN report...

"As the country was sinking into its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors cruised porn sites and viewed sexually explicit pictures using government computers, according to an agency report obtained by CNN...More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000."

I'm not a particular fan of porn, but I'm not opposed to cruising porn sites all day if I'm bringing home a salary in the low 200s.

Call me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Smack on the playground used to mean something else entirely

Thank God I'm from Texas! Here, we just worry about handguns....

Third-grader had heroin at Pennsylvania school
by Associated Press
Posted on April 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM
Updated today at 4:12 PM

WILKINSBURG, Pa. — Police near Pittsburgh say they have confirmed that more than 60 small bags a third-grader was handing out to classmates were full of heroin.

The 8-year-old boy brought the bags to Turner Elementary School on Tuesday before a teacher discovered them. Wilkinsburg police said at a news conference Wednesday that some of the bags were found empty in a trash can but there was no evidence any of the kids ingested the drugs.

School officials sent a letter home to parents about the incident.

Police say the bags had the words "trust me" stamped on them and would have a street value of about $1,000.

Police have contacted the boy's parents. The investigation into where the boy got the drugs is continuing.

Ya think??

Left, Left, Left, Right, Left!

Have you been missing me? If so, it's because my left brain buried me.

As my last post said, I've signed up for the 3-day walk, and I have expended a huge amount of mental energy planning and preparing for the task ahead. As a sales person, I'm already pretty focused on chasing the Almighty Dollar. But this is different, and I've had to approach it differently. So I've done all kinds of thinking about what will work, what won't work, and how to raise an inordinate amount of money so I don't have to pay it out of my own pocket. (Click the link to the right if you'd like to help me reach my goal! I'm just saying.)

I also got tapped at work about three weeks ago to assist on another sales team temporarily.  While I know my product inside out, upside down, front and back, I know only a teeny tiny bit about the other product they've asked me to sell. I've been selling for a decade, and I'm pretty good at what I do, but being asked to change horses mid-stream has had me absolutely bumfuzzled.  I work the other team in the morning, then return to my team in the afternoon. So I spend a big chunk of each day having to re-orient myself to the appropriate product.

At home, the balancing act of time and energy management continues. MrG made me fire the maids, so now, we have to do our own housework. (I don't like him much right now, for the record.) Luckily, he's been much more willing (and able, I should add) to assist in the housekeeping chores, and LittleG is a whiz with a Swiffer. After six and a half years of having someone else worry about the dusting and scrubbing the bathrooms, I now have to work that into our schedule. The laundry never seems to stop, and for some reason, those people that I live with insist that I feed them at least daily, which means grocery shopping and kitchen chores.

Anyway, my point here is that I have been compartmentalizing all the "stuff" I have on my mind. At work, I'm focusing on just where in the building I'm sitting at the moment, and what that particular product requires of me. At home, I'm balancing the chores I've been used to, as well as working in the ones someone else has been handling for me.  I assign myself the title of Soccer Mom for practices and games, and PTA Board Member when that time comes.  With all of my free time, I'm thinking about how in the world I'm going to rasie the money for Komen.

So my left brain has been working overtime. Planning, scheduling, putting continengcy plans in place in case my original plans fail. I haven't had the smallest itch to be the tiniest bit creative.

But a beautiful thing happened yesterday.  I found my right brain!  I wrote. I baked. I decorated. And I created a cake that I may be as proud of as any other I've ever decorated.  See?

I should note for the record that I'm an Aggie, and this is an Arkansas Razorback cake.  It pained me to make it, but my friend who asked for it has promised a nice donation to my Komen pot, so I struggled through it.

I don't have any grand delusions that my right brain will ever trump my left. I think all that we can hope for is tiny glimpses into my emotional, creative side.  Hopefully my right brain will have its moments of brilliance and greatness through interesting blog posts and beautiful cakes (even if they are cakes with red and black pigs).

At least that's what I'm planning for!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The sound of silence

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." ~ from The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

This poem has hung in my mother's sewing room my entire life, although since my dad died and she got the house repainted, there's really no way to know where it is has been relocated. Regardless, during my years at home, it hung there, and I saw it, maybe a million times, and still take its words to heart.

I heard yesterday that women spend something like three years of their lives shopping. As a working mom, I'm not surprised by that at all. My stolen minutes of shopping time - be they at the grocery store or the mall - are often my only quiet times of the day. I work in an office surrounded by people who make noise, a lot of it. I leave my office and drive five minutes away, where I pick up LittleG, who makes noise, and a lot of it. Once I get her to bed, MrG and I have our grown up discussions, or time in front of the TV, neither of which is quiet time. So I spend my days surrounded by noise.

When times get tough, as they often do, I will slip away to pick up an item or two at the grocery or drug store. I often find myself uncharacteristically dawdling during these trips. After all, a trip to the store for band-aids should be just that - in, out, done. But I tend to wander the aisles, looking at the pretty shiny things. During this time, my mind is my own, with no intrusions from coworkers, clients,or needy family members. In these days of horrible customer service, I rarely have to worry that my quiet time will be intruded upon my a store employee. But that's another blog.

I had some time alone after work yesterday. LittleG had soccer practice, and I somehow convinced her father to take her so I wouldn't have to go. They left the house, and I started dinner and pulled out a work project that still needed some attention. I worked quietly by myself until they got home about an hour and a half later, bringing with them a a swirling dervish of noise and mayhem.

I didn't realize until they came in just how quiet it had been. I had not turned on the TV, radio, or iPod. I was in the kitchen, where the only sounds came from the flipping of my paperwork, and the bubbling of food on the stove. Even the dogs were quiet.

My dad used to ask for "peace and quiet" for his birthday every year, and now I understand why. As a textbook extrovert, I tend to thrive on the noises from people around me - laughter, chatter, quiet conversation. But as a mom who is stretched pretty thin, silence has become therapy for me.

I haven't shared this news with many people yet, and now is as good a time as any, I guess. I've made the decision to walk the Komen 3-day walk in Dallas this November.

Beyond the obvious benefits that come from participating in a walk like this - comraderie, friendship, exercise - I will be giving myself the gift of silence. I will have to train for hours and hours, and most of that time, I will be alone. Even when I'm walking the days of the event and I'm surrounded by others, I have to think that some of my time will be spent in silence. The sheer determination that it will take to push my body to walk 60 miles in 3 days will dictate quiet time.

So I will push forward during this next seven months, remembering the peace there is in silence.


P.S.   My sweet aunt pointed out I should make it easy for my dear readers to donate to the cause. If you're so inclined, click the widget on the right of your screen to make a donation online!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My brilliant, brilliant child

LittleG: Hey, Mom?
Me: Yes, LittleG
LittleG: Does the Crimson Steed have a name?
Me: No, LittleG
LittleG: I have the perfect name for her, then
Me: What should her name be?
LittleG: Vanessa, cause she's a van.

I don't name my cars, and I always kind of felt like the Crimson Steed was a big old boy horse. But really, how do you argue with logic like that?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Buy that kid a pony!

As if being a working mom who travels every now and then is not hard enough, I found this in LittleG's room while deep cleaning during my "day off" this week:

For those of you who are not fluent in the Language of the Six Year Old, please let me translate:

Where is my mommy? At Las Vegas."

The picture shows either a really sad child with pigtails and big fat tears in her eyes, or a praying mantis in a dress. I'm not sure. Either way, this creature is very unhappy.

Orson Wells once said that there were only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror. I'd like to add a third to that....guilt!

Leave the light on for me, LittleG - I won't be gone long!

Mom of the Year

Monday, March 08, 2010

A family in need

A coworker of mine delivered twin babies last week at only 24 weeks. Both children are in the fights of their lives, and the medical bills are mounting for Mom and Dad.

One of our exhibitors has graciously donated a Barcelona 6-person spa (a $6,500 value) and an Infra-Red Deep Heat Sauna (a $3,000 value) for us to raffle off. The tickets for the spa are $20 each, and for the sauna are $10 each.

If you are interested in helping a family who is in dire straights, please click the link below for more information.

Kosa Babies

If you would like to purchase raffle tickets or place a direct donation, please contact me at sdfgarcia67 at gmail dot com. I will work something out with you through Paypal. If you are local in the DFW area, I can give you directions to our office where you can purchase the tickets yourself.

The raffle will be held on Wednesday, March 17, and ALL proceeds from the raffle will go directly to the family. The spa and sauna will be shipped direct from the manufacturer to the winner of each of the raffle drawings.

Please link back to this post as many times as you can. This family needs our help, and you or someone you know could be a big winner!

Those of us who can help should help.

Peace and health,
Lady Steele

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A record shattered.....almost

I should have known what I was about to be up against when I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror late Sunday night. It was gray and ashen, the color of a corpse. Sweat glistened on my cold clammy skin as waves of nausea rolled across my body, and a toxic cold fluid filled my veins and squished through my intestines. It was clearly going to be a really long night.

It turns out, it was a really long 36 hours. A. REALLY. LONG. 36 HOURS.

I'm not one who throws up. I have horrible memories of vomiting as a child, and as a grownup, I will go to nearly any length to avoid ever doing it again. So many lengths, in fact, that I've not paid homage to the porcelain god Ralph since August 19, 1987. It's a strange thing to keep track of, I know, but there is some degree of significance attached to the date.

I've been sick twice on alcohol in my life. The first time was in July of 1987, and the second was August 19, 1987. I remember the second time the best because my sister and I had just moved away to college together and I got stinkin' drunk with a boy I had liked for a handful of years. I matched him beer for beer through a 12-pack, then we made the rather questionable decision to go out after more beer, and for some reason, barbecue. I remember throwing up and passing out. The next morning, I vowed never to do it again. The throwing up part, of course, not the drinking part!.....

And so, I haven't. Through my years of bar crawling as a college co-ed, a pregnancy, and six years of living with a little petri dish who drags home every gastrointestinal germ known to man, I have been vomit free. I cleaned up kid poop and kid puke and dog poop and dog puke, I've picked up the remnants of the former living, now rendered lifeless by one dog or another, without a single gag or retch.

But on Sunday night, my internal fortitude was sorely tested. I sat, naked, sweating, and shivering (how is that even possible?) on the side of the tub and prayed to just let it all go. Barf out whatever horrid germ was tormenting my insides and rid myself of the misery. And yet? Nothing.

I am almost jealous of the people who can feel sick and just puke it all out. I have a girlfriend who throws up every time she has a headache or gets stressed out. This is a trait she has passed along to her daughters, lucky devils. In hindsight, it seems rather perverse that I was sitting naked on my bathtub thinking about my girlfriend and her daughters. Until you've been there, don't judge me people!

Regretfully, according to Murphy's Law of Stomach Flu, what does not go up must certainly go down. Most of my readers are pretty smart folks, so I will leave some degree of mystery and let you wonder exactly how I spent most of the next 36 hours. Not a fun day and a half, I assure you.

At any rate, it's now Wednesday evening, and I felt for the first time today a gnawing hunger. I've fed myself like a fussy toddler for the past two days....a juice box here, a handful of dry cereal there, maybe a piece of toast or some watered down sprite. But this evening, hunger came to call. And I've never been so happy to want food in my life.

And so I indulged.

So far, so good.

Like a clear fresh morning dawns after a dark summer night's storm, I feel like I might just live to see another day, maybe even to stretch the limits of a long held record. Praise the Lord and pass the Taco Bell!

Wait! Not so fast!! LittleG just called out from the hall bathroom, "Mom, will you come look at my poop?"

Yes, Shelly, even modern superheroes fall victim to earthly illness. Just hopefully not more often than every two decades or so.

Hugs and Lysol to you all,
Lady Steele

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Oh. My. Goodness. And Ouch. And Wow. That's all I'm going to say on the subject.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh Holy Day, Indeed

I will apologize in advance, dear readers, because I know some of you will read this on Ash Wednesday. It's inappropriate and will be offensive to some of you. Sorry. I mean it.

I am in the show business. Not the "there's no business like show business" kind of business. I am in the Trade Show business. And my show is next week. There's no way to describe how frazzled and full my brain is, but let me take a shot anyway. This is the equivalent of April 13 for a CPA. It's December 23 for anyone in retail. It's the last day of the month for someone who sells cars. It's the weekend before school starts for anyone with kids. Are you getting the picture?

I have a bunch of last minute stuff to coordinate. I have to time perfectly the haircut, the manicure, buying enough milk to get the family through my time away, without overstocking the fridge. There's laundry to do, bills to pay, outfits to coordinate, and a whole host of personal care items that must be addressed. And even though I've known for a year this day is coming, it seems to slip up out of nowhere and run me down like a bus driven by an angry man.

I realized at the PTA board meeting two weeks ago that Ash Wednesday falls two days before I get on a plane to leave for a week, right in the middle of Pre-Show Hysteria Week. My days are carefully scheduled to be sure nothing falls through the cracks, and I realized that night that I have no time to celebrate Ash Wednesday service as I have in the past.

I am a really terrible Catholic, but I have always attended mass on Ash Wednesday, and I wear my ashes proudly and keep in my mind what they symbolize.

Last year, I committed myself to living consciously during the days of Lent, and rather than give something up, I pledged to write something every day. Some of it I published online, some of it not so much. I kicked off the days of Lent by celebrating with dear friends at Ash Wednesday service over lunch. The church was beautiful, the message right on target, and the company could not be beat. And I did pretty darn well with my pledge.

This year, my dear sweet friends will meet again to go to church over lunch and to reflect on the days past and more importantly, the days to come. They will kneel together and sing and walk down the aisle for communion.

And you know what I'll be doing? I'll be getting a Brazilian wax job.

That's right, folks. As my friends kneel together in prayer and reflection, I will be getting my lady parts sugar-waxed by a lady aptly named Kim Lower, who owns Pretty Kitties salon. Really, girls, you can't make this stuff up. Google her.

Anyway, I'm hoping God will forgive me this year for over-scheduling and overlooking the uber-holiday that is Ash Wednesday. I'm pretty sure I'll be serving my own type of penance while my friends go to church.

One of my coworkers (yes, this has been a subject of great interest to my friends at the office) suggested that rather than going with the standard full monty or landing strip, perhaps I should consider leaving only a cross. That would sure keep the Lord on my mind for the next 46 days.

Peace be with you.
Lady Steele

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This conversation brought to you by the idiots at ABC

Last week, ABC dunked me and LittleG face first into a conversation I was hoping not to have for awhile. Some genius at ABC decided it would be ok to run a promo for the Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice crossover where McSteamy drops trou and ends up with Addison on top of him on the floor in her office. All of this at 7:30 pm. And so it went like this.....

LittleG: Mom, is that sex?
Me: Yes, LittleG, that is sex.
LittleG: Mom, do you and Dad have sex?
Me: Yes, LittleG, all married people have sex.

This would have been a whole lot easier on both of us if MrG had not been in the room about to either burst an artery or hyperventilate. Thankfully, we only skimmed the surface of the subject. We still have all those fun things to cover, like how sex works, and how sometimes unmarried people have sex, or people married to other people have sex. I think I'll go burst an artery now.

C'mon ABC, she's 6, and I'm having this conversation with my Kindergartener?? I hate to sound like a fuddy duddy old mom, but for the love of all that's holy, can we keep the naked guys off t.v. at that hour of the night?

Prudishly yours,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The old switcheroo

Some substitutions are easy ones to make, and they work beautifully.

Are you out of buttermilk and need some for a recipe? Substitute plain white milk with a bit of lemon juice or white vinegar. Sour cream and plain yogurt are interchangeable just about all the time. Rum works as well in eggnog as bourbon does. Shower gel makes a nice replacement for bubble bath if you can squirt it in the tub when your kid isn't looking.
Plain water in a squirt bottle works exceedingly well when you are out of Monster Spray.

All of these are good. Some, I've found, are not. My dad suggested one time that instead of baby wipes, I use the Clorox wipes in his bathroom to clean up LittleG. God bless his soul, he meant it.

Here are some other examples, from my real life, in the past two months. I have been either really distracted, or I am a total loser. You really can't make this stuff up, folks.

  1. Do not squirt Shout onto your counter top in place of 409. It definitely does NOT Shout the stains out, and it does make one big greasy mess.
  2. Just because your carton of Eggnog looks just like your carton of Heavy Cream, you cannot make mashed potatoes with Eggnog. Well, you can, but they are truly awful.
  3. You should not attempt to wash your hair with conditioner. The bottles look the same. The result? Not the same.
  4. You cannot substitute a brown shoe for a black shoe, even if they shoe styles are exactly the same. Someone at Starbucks will notice, and that's just embarrassing.
  5. It's a bad idea to buy a big tub of Eucerin creme to use on all your dry scaly places when your big tub of hair goo looks just like it. Turns out hair goo is no better on scaly places than Eucerin is in your hair. Yes, I've done that switcheroo both ways, with equally catastrophic results. Sometimes a girl just gets busy and doesn't pay attention.
  6. Don't wash your face using the moisturizer in the EXACT same packaging as your cleanser. Write your own joke here.
  7. Part 2, don't put your facial cleanser on your face in place of your moisturizer, then get halfway through your makeup routine before you diagnose why things just don't feel "right." Laugh out loud at your own joke here.
  8. Don't use baby powder in place of carpet freshener. You will be cleaning a fine mist of baby powder off of your baseboards and flat surfaces for as long as you live in your home. Don't judge me people, I had a musty room and a linen closet full of powder I was NEVER going to need for my now school age child.
  9. A plain old tissue works well for cleaning up a smudge on reading glasses. A Puffs Tissue with Lotion, not so much.
  10. Skittles may look like M&Ms, but they are clearly not candy coated chocolates. Therefore, you should not make cookies with them.
  11. You can add a splash of boxed mashed potato flakes to thicken up mashed potatoes with too much liquid. You should not add Bisquick instead.
  12. Hair Spray and Air Spray sound alike. But boy do they have a different effect on your hair. I'm just saying.
And one more I don't have experience with, but I find it hysterical to consider. Don't ever take your little blue Ambien pill in place of your little blue Viagra pill, or vice versa. Seems like no good could come from either switch.

Ever forward friends, until we meet again!
Lady Steele

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I've struggled for a long time with this post - it is a sensitive topic, but it's been on my mind for a long time now. I hope I do it justice.

First, a little background. I am White. Lily White. Pasty White. I have blue eyes and freckles. Oh So White. My maternal grandmother traced our genealogy, and I'm pretty sure we are Scotch/Irish all the way back to Adam and Eve. MrG is Mexican Hispanic. His mother was born in Mexico, and his father was born in Texas to Mexican immigrants. Legal, I will add, not that it's any of your damn business.

LittleG is a perfect mix of me and her dad. She has beautiful brown eyes and long flowing dark hair like his side of the family. She gets her freckles and her temper from mine. She is quite possibly the most amazing White Caucasian Mexican Hispanic ever born. She also just recently found out she's part Mexican, and the news did not go over well.

We had never addressed the issue of her heritage with her, because for us, it's not an issue. My parents did not teach me to see skin color. Race was never discussed in our home when I was growing up, and clearly it wasn't an issue for MrG's family either, since they took me in to their very family with nary a bump in the road. And thank heavens for that.

And therein lies the problem. Skin color doesn't matter to us, so I guess we just assumed it wouldn't matter to her. Oopsie.

The face that little adorable Juanita makes in the clip above? EXACTLY the one we got when LittleG found out SHE is part Mexican. She is also part Lily White, but that doesn't seem to bother her much.

The only time skin color or race has mattered to me personally is when I've been asked to categorize the race of my daughter. I don't know how to answer that question. She is as White/Caucasian as she is Hispanic/Latino. And yet, there's no box for "Both" when it comes time to assign a race to your child. You're forced to pick one, thereby arbitrarily assigning her to a demographic category that will follow her for the rest of her life.

We saw this last winter when the headlines screamed "Black Man Elected President." Really? The guy is every bit as White as he is African American, but nobody was saying anything about "Half Black Half White Guy" getting elected to anything. I guess Mrs. Obama was forced to choose a box for her kid 48 years ago, and she selected African American over White/Caucasian.

Please don't misunderstand - I TOTALLY get it that we as a nation celebrate the fact that an African American was elected, even if he is part white. African Americans were, for far too long in our country, held as second class citizens, and Barak Obama's rise to the most powerful office in the land has historical significance that we are probably only beginning to understand.

But I don't celebrate his election because he's black. I celebrate because he was the right guy for the job. I voted for him, and in spite of current popular opinion, I would do it again. His skin color didn't have a damn thing to do with why I voted for him. And it shouldn't have mattered to anyone else as far as I'm concerned.

And there's the rub. We just can't look at him as a man. We have to see him as a black man. But as I said, he is as white as he is black. So WTF?

Minority groups have for decades asked for equal treatment - fighting for it, losing their lives in some cases. The civil unrest brought about by folks like Rosa Parks and nine brave students from Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas certainly shook things up back in the 1950s. Cesar Chavez and his band of farm workers took a stand in the 1960s and forever changed the face of migrant farming in our country.

And yet these same groups fight now for recognition and celebration of their races that would never be tolerated for Whites/Caucasians. We have Black Heritage Month, Asian Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanics have their own scholarship programs, 100% race based. We have
Essence Magazine, "the black woman's guide to what's hot now."

History months and scholarships, and magazines, oh my!

But what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander, at least where skin color is concerned.

Can you imagine what would happen if my white brothers and sisters suddenly created their own White History Month? What about their own White Scholarship program? I can hear the motto now, "money for college, but only for the white kids!" And what about
Lily White Mag, what every white skinned beyotch needs to know?

The outrage that would follow our celebration of our skin color to the exclusion of others is almost unimaginable. And yet, it's ok for minorities to celebrate their heritage and race, and we are not supposed to complain? Again - WTF?

As our racial groups become more blurred, I think the question of race becomes even harder to answer, and perhaps less important. What happens, for example, if LittleG ends up married to a man who is the son of a Pakistani man and a Korean woman? What little racial box will her kid fit in? Furthermore, why the hell should we care?

I think the answer is that we should just all go blissfully, stupidly colorblind. You want to celebrate your skin color? Do it, whether you're black or brown or white or red. But don't deny me the opportunity to do the same. You want to marry someone who is a different color than you are? Do it. I did, and it worked out pretty damn well.

Until we do go coast-to-coast colorblind, we'll still be forced to fill in our little race box when it comes time to apply for a job (for demographic purposes only, of course!!), get a drivers license, or fill out a a census. We'll still be able to read our racially biased magazines (or not, for us white folks). We'll still check a box on a birth certificate to indicate the racial make up of our child, even if it's only half right.

I think it's just a crying damn shame that my little Mexican kid might have opportunities available to her, or denied to her, that my little white kid might not have. It's too bad colorblind couldn't get here a generation ago.