Cross THAT Off the Bucket List

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I’ve been playing musical instruments since 4th grade, starting when my mom brought me back a little silver fife from Williamsburg, Virginia. I played it for hours. My brother Sean, a first grader at the time, tried to play his but he couldn’t and said it was “stupid” and “girly” and then I had two fifes.

(He would later go on to be a fantastic trumpet player that could hit the highest of high F’s after not playing for a year, but gave that up for FOOTBALL…)

I played flute in 5th grade, then Mom then dusted off her clarinet and I started playing that in 7th. I couldn’t stop practicing, I loved it so much. I would tape myself on a cassette recorder (for the youngins, it was something we old-timers used to record music with) playing one part, then rewind and have a duet with myself.

Good times.

I played all through high school, then packed the clarinet away before leaving for my freshman year at Kent State where I was majoring in elementary education.

That year, I was MISERABLE without playing.  After 6 + years of playing my clarinet, I missed it, but what could I do? I was too shy and figured everyone at the music building were Juilliard caliber players.

Then it happened.

I heard the soundtrack to “The Little Mermaid” and decided right then and there to change my major to music. I went home, got the clarinet, and practiced in the dead of night at the music building so none of the music majors could hear me in case I sucked real bad.

I auditioned, made it into the school and got a scholarship to boot. I was so excited to change majors.

I met my best friend, Diane, the 2nd day of my sophomore year, the fall of 1991. I walked into the band room, and had NO clue where to sit. You have no idea how terrifying that is…everyone knew everyone, and I was freaking out that I would accidentally sit in the flute section, the HORROR.

Thankfully, Diane recognized me from our clarinet class the day before, and yelled: “Hey, come sit by me!” I loved her that moment, and 24 years later we are still best friends.

In college, I played clarinet, then became the Eb clarinet player (it’s like a piccolo clarinet) for the school. At least I played it for most of the pieces, unless a greedy clarinet grad student took my part because there was a great solo in it. BUT I’M NOT BITTER.

I’m still bitter. 

With all the opportunities,  I wasn’t satisfied with just playing clarinet, I needed to play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily I was indulged greatly by the music faculty, and during my years as a music major I played: piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, Bass clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, and accompanied soloists on the piano.  I was the person that played what no one else wanted to.

One thing I really wanted to do, though, was direct sing. I thought I had a decent voice, but was so unsure of it that I botched all of my singing auditions in high school. One time, I pretended to have a cold when auditioning for “My Fair Lady” and ended up getting the role of a MAN with 3 lines.  My singing was then limited to a few karaoke sessions at dive bars but only after a few wine coolers.

Hardcore.

I eventually sang in church for a few years, but was always uncomfortable. I decided that one day, I would find the opportunity to sing with a band and belt out something before I die.

Then the community band director mentioned needing a vocalist for “Blue Moon.” In a rare moment of “OMG I WANT IT, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEMME HAVE IT!” I asked if I could audition right there. He looked startled and had an “oh-crap-what-if-she-sucks-then-I’ll-have-to-figure-out-how-to-say-no” face, but he let me, and next thing I know, I’m in.

I made it!

So the concert was June 20th, and I got up on stage in a middle school auditorium and sang my heart out. I was not even a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why. Before a clarinet recital in college I would be ready to hurl 3 seconds before going on stage then break into uncontrollable yawning.

Not this time. I had a lot of friends and family come to see me. The best parts were my husband waving to me like a goober from the very back of the room, my twins yelling: “That’s my mommy!”, and my own mommy beaming at me from a few rows from the front. (She told everyone afterwards: “This is my BABY!”)

Scratch that off the bucket list.

I need to get started on my other items, such as finishing my novel and making millions of dollars, meeting Jon Stewart, and getting my 5 year olds to wipe their butts consistently.

That last one is going to be a doozy!

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Weirdest Death Threat, Ever…

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Just to ease your mind right off the bat, the death threat was NOT to me. Most death threats directed towards me are probably from behind someone else’s steering wheel.

A friend of Mr. Who and mine came over the other night, and as we were generally chit chatting, he mentioned that after 12 years of having to work with the Worst Coworker in the History of Coworkers, the Worst Coworker was being moved laterally, horizontally, and possibly Hokey-Pokied into another department within the next 30 days.

Said friend, we will call him Ray Finkle for story purposes, told us this while gleefully rubbing his hands like Mr. Miyagi getting ready to HEATMELD Ralph Macchio’s leg back together. (Does anyone else do the Flamingo Kick when they’re alone? Oh, no? Yeah, me either…)

Now, I’m a bit vague on the details, the when, the why, the where, the how, but Ray Finkle told us that the Worst Coworker made a death threat to Ray and some others in their office. And I cannot wrap my mind around the improvisational intricacy of it.

It’s possible the Worst Coworker had thought this out long beforehand, eagerly awaiting the right moment to lay the Worst Coworker Smackdown on Ray Finkle, but if not, this was on the fly, and…well, I’ll just tell you.

Worst Coworker said:

“You better hope I don’t get a diagnosis of cancer with only 30 days left to live or you will have a shorter life span than me.”

That’s a seriously elaborate death threat right there. Like, he not only mentions possibly dying from cancer himself , but he’s planning on taking a few Good Coworkers down beforehand.

That’s kind of evil. Or ingenious. I’m not sure which. I just know that in the event I would ever make a death threat to someone, it would be more in the form of : “Oh, yeah? Well, I hope you get…uh…eaten by something…uh…large…and hungry, yeah!…with teeth the size of my leg, yeah, so TAKE THAT!”

I’m hardcore.

Hard.

Core.

So the moral of the story is: always have a really awesome death threat at your disposable. Just try not to wish cancer on yourself doing so.

Tastes Like Chicken…Unfortunately

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*Disclaimer, I am not a spokesperson, nor am I paid to discuss the food here, but I wouldn’t say no if someone wanted to pay me to eat*

I like to try new foods, and occasionally land on a gold mine of delicious combinations.  Most of the foods I love now are things I would have turned my nose up, way into the air, not even 5 years ago.  I never liked spicy foods, but thanks to a prescription for Prilosec, I’m the queen of the spicy, and am known in my community as The LouSpice.  True Story.

My newest obsession are wasabi peas, oh-em-gee they are so good. There’s an art to eating them, though, and my general rule is: 1 wasabi pea is good, 2 are better, and 3 makes all the hair in your nose dissolve.  Don’t even ask me about 4 peas at once, I am still having nightmares about it.

Jalapeno Cheetos, Snyder’s of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel pieces, and this fantastic green tomato salsa recipe that Mr. Who and I can each year are on my “to eat” list.

I like sweet stuff, too, and unfortunately my sweet tooth is a major contributing factor to why I’m not a size, 2, 4, OR 6.

Lemon Heaven popcorn from Popcornopolis is dreamy, Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter World is what I hope Heaven tastes like, and World Market’s Pumpkin spaghetti sauce makes me drool.  I am also a Peanut Butter M&M lover, and would love a few pounds of those for my birthday next month…hint hint.

Mr. Who and I were watching either Kitchen Nightmares, which reminds me of one of my favorite memes:

or Man vs. Food (oh, Adam Richman, I hope your arteries are healing) when they went to a restaurant that specialized in the chicken and waffles combination.  At first I made an “eww” face, but then when I saw the delicious fried chicken and syrupy waffles all lying together on the plate like something out of a sexy romance novel, I changed my mind.

Imagine my delight when I saw Lays Potato Chips in Chicken & Waffles flavor at the local grocery store! I was extremely intrigued to try these. Mr. Who really, really wanted his best buddy to try them, so he made me wait a few weeks until Buddy came over.

Finally, that day arrived this weekend. We bust open the bag, and the smell was…well…funky. Like a bag of dried chicken.  I cautiously put one in my mouth, hoping it tasted better than it smelled.

It was so gross. It was like I bit into a chicken bouillon cube while sniffing Mrs. Butterworth.  Mr. Who and Buddy seemed to like it, but I don’t buy it.  I made quite a fuss about the gross-osity (yep, new word) of the chips, so of course those two manly men had to swagger on over and proclaim them to be good. Personally, I think the Orange Shandys they had that night were a large contributing factor to their approval.

My Girl Buddy was there to taste test them, and she didn’t like them either. She was classier than I was though, and ate the whole chip, not give away a half drooled on piece to anyone else in the room.

Buddy asked us if we would like to order items off his daughter’s fundraising paper, and I said I would only give him a check if he took the chips with him. He happily obliged. Mr. Who did not protest the bag leaving the premises.

So I have officially voted meat flavored chips off the Lou Island, except for Shrimp chips, because those are really nummy.

You have been warned, and you’re welcome.

If the world ends, well, then it ends…

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I am steering clear of the radio today because I am positive my brain will explode from hearing R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”.  It’s probably on a loop on about 137,000 stations across the country, and I am not falling for it, dammit.  I’m not.  Although, the station Mr. Who and I woke up to this morning has a horrible and lazy practice of letting the listeners choose the songs, and whoever chose the 6:45 a.m. song must hate everyone in our area badly.  Worst. Song. Ever.  I don’t even know what it was, but it made “Gangnam Style”  Academy, Grammy, and Tony Award worthy.

So, the end of the world.  I think the majority of the population know the Mayan Calendar theory of the end of the world has been disproven, but you know there are a few people out there, holed up in a panic room under their houses eating Cheetos while looking around proudly at their stockpiled goods of toilet paper, bottled water and Hormel chili (hopefully with no beans). They are rubbing their cheesy, greasy hands gleefully while listening to the one or two radio stations not playing that damn song, waiting for the sounds of newscasters’ death screams.

They will be waiting for awhile.

Besides, if it’s the end of the world, won’t the world, well…end?  I mean, I always had the impression that if it were the end of the world, the earth itself would explode, implode, dematerialize, go through a wormhole, or be smooshed by that HUGE asteroid from “Armageddon” (I still get misty thinking about Bruce Willis dying at the end, and if you’re mad that I gave that ending away, he’s dead throughout “The Sixth Sense”, too, Mr. Angry “I Wait 15 years to see a Movie” Pants). The earth in general would just not be around anymore.  Gone. Finito. Kaplooey. Hasta la Bye Bye! It’s not like a select few people will still be here.  That would be “Left Behind”, you cannot get the Rapture and the End of the World confused.

It’s the end of the world, not the end of parts of the world.  Martians and Venutians and Jupiterians will be teaching their schoolchildren that there used to be 9 planets, then Pluto, like totally fell from grace, and then there were 8. Then Earth got creamed and now there are 7.  So all those poor alien children have to come up with yet another mnemonic (not the Keanu Reeves kind) device for the planets: “My Vaporous Mother Just Served Noodles of Udon”.  Hmmm.  Pluto will get back on the political bandwagon to be declared a planet again, you’ll see.

Hey!  So, it’s snowing where I live.  That in itself might be a sign! I live in northeast Ohio.  It’s 12/21/12 and except for one snowyish day so far, this is the most we’ve seen this year.  Ruh-Roh, Raggy!

For me, signs of the end of the world would be in the forms of the following: Browns winning the Superbowl, my teenager saying: “No, mom, I don’t want to play video games anymore, I would like to study hard and get all A’s”, my twins not whining or hitting each other for one day, a project going completely right for Mr. Who just once, and one day where I can get everything done I actually set my mind to.

That would be the end of the world, and I’d feel fine.

See what I did there?  Did you see?

Musings at a Memorial Day Parade…

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My oldest is in the marching band, and I had the pleasure of seeing him march on Memorial Day in the million degree Ohio heat.  Poor little redheaded sweaty thing. I was sitting at the last leg of the parade where I got to see everyone at their most exhausted, sweaty, “Dear Lord, take me now!” moment.  I don’t particularly care for parades. I just want to see my child and leave.  I know, I’m awful.  Knowing I would have some time to kill, I brought a journal and wrote down some things I saw while sitting there.  My husband turned me on to the fun that is people watching, and boy, can it be fun.

1.  The Knights of Columbus Squires wear capes, tuxedo looking outfits, a feathered cap, what looks like a rapier/sword/walking stick, and a sash.  Why?

2.  Helloooo, it’s called a bra, lady…they have those at LOTS of stores. But thank you.

3. A 50-60 year old representative for the city (who looks alarmingly like a cross between Hilary Clinton and Felicity Huffman) is wearing a skin-tight, hot pink, sleeveless, knee-length dress, no hose, and I’m not kidding, at least 4-6 inch heels.  She is walking behind her car.  WALKING.  This is a 3.7 mile parade, it’s 9:30 am and already 85 degrees, and she is walking. In HEELS. And she’s not sweating.  She must be a robot.  She has to be, no one has Stepford hair like that and isn’t one.

4.  Bagpipes are annoying as hell, but I like them, and would love to have my own.

5. Why do all rollerblading chicks look like they could totally beat me up?

6.  Holy crap, there’s a Klingon!

7.  Walmart would totally kick out the WHOLE group of women standing in front of me…just saying…

8.  Why in the world would anyone think it was a good idea to make huge, ginormous, hairy dogs walk in a parade?  One sheepdog just collapsed in front of a bowl of water and won’t let the other dogs have any.  There might be a dogfight.  I have a $10 in my wallet and I’m betting on the one that’s laying down, he has nothing to lose.  The parade has halted a tiny bit while the owner is trying to get the dog up.  Someone needs to get a spatula to scrape the poor thing’s tongue off the pavement.

Don’t vote for Judge Gallagher, he obviously hates dogs, in fact he’s trying to murder three of them right out in the open.  Hmmm, maybe that’s his strategy.  “Don’t mess with me, criminals! I kill dogs in the streets, what do you think I’d do to YOU?”

9. Sweet! A 90-year-old woman on a Harley.

10. The public library has a grim reaper, a skeleton, a princess, the weird bird creature from “The Village” walking in front of six workers doing a synchronized spinning of bookshelves on wheels.  I don’t get it.

11. Why is Oktoberfest in September?

12. Whoa, a dude with absolutely no neck just walked in front of me…I think his neck was separated into two parts and put into his upper arms.

13. A karate squad (yeah, I know that’s not the right term) are doing their routine and they are doing it really bad.  The kids are probably 9-12 years old and they are just done. You can FEEL the hate for the dungeon master, err, sensei, and  I could totally deflect those lazy kicks.  If I had a few drinks in me, I’d think about doing the Karate Kid flamingo right out there in the road right now…

13.  Oh, there’s my son, all changed out of his uniform and trying to cross the street.  He looks frustrated and in desperate need of a cheeseburger.  Oh! He made it across.

And Holy Moly, he knows the Klingon…

“I think something’s wrong with your child…”

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I’ve got a second in between laundry, sweeping the floor, a shower, and staring sadly at the inside of my refrigerator to write this.  I’ve got the time because the kids are napping.  And when I say napping, I mean their eyes were completely closed while watching Elmo for the ten minutes I put it on so I could get the laundry together, and right after I carried their limp bodies upstairs and into their cribs, they suddenly became raving lunatics and are still up there jumping up and down and screaming something about “car Mama” and juice.

I’m staring sadly at my fridge because although I spent a half hour last weekend rearranging the whole thing to my liking, we had to empty a bunch out of it to move it in order to get my tile.  We hastily put the food back, thinking the fridge was going back in the kitchen that night, but the tile wasn’t quite ready for it, so here we are two days later and I still can’t find anything.  My magnetized spices are not in alphabetical order any more either, so you can imagine what kind of catastrophic head game that is creating for me.

My friend and her almost three-year old son came over today to keep me company, and it did take help me take my mind off my inability to quickly find the grape jelly.  We took the kids outside and had a really nice time playing, she helped me pull some weeds,  we drank a whole bottle of Jagermeister together, haha, I’m kidding, just water, and then it happened.  I pulled out the box of glazed Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins I had bought this morning and offered it to everyone.

My twins came running over as usual, Twin A stuffed twenty in his mouth, and Twin B carefully poked around the box to get juuuuuust the right one, no two, nope three donuts.  My friend took one, as did her son.  He took a little bite of that moist deliciousness, that melty goodness that was still warm because I forgot the box in my car, and he did the unthinkable.  HE PUT THE DONUT BACK IN THE BOX.

I’m not even kidding.  My serious face is on.  I looked at my friend and said: “He doesn’t like them?”  She looked in the box and saw the donut with the one little bite taken out and was embarrassed.  She said: “Oh, wow, sorry about that!” She grabbed the donut and ate it, and turned as if there was nothing wrong.  I don’t understand.  What can I do?  I don’t want to say anything and lose her friendship, but this is serious!

I turned to her and said: “I think something’s wrong with your child.”

She looked at me and laughed and asked why. “Hello!” I exclaimed.”He doesn’t like glazed donuts.  From DUNKIN’ DONUTS! That’s not normal.  Come on,  we’re going in the house, I’m giving him a chocolate chip cookie. If he turns that down, we’re going to the Emergency Room.”

She just laughed and said: “Oh, Carrie.”  Then carried on as if everything were fine.  Poor dear.

Thinking on it now a few hours later, I’m wondering how that phone call would be:

“Good morning, Dr. Eclair’s office, how can we help you?”

“I would like to make an appointment for my son, I’m really worried about him.”

“What’s the problem?” says Dr. Eclair’s nurse.

“My son doesn’t like glazed donuts.”

…silence…

“Oh honey, this is bad, you need to bring him in.  You have insurance, right? Please, come right in, we’ll call for a police escort.  We’ll clear the doctor’s schedule for the next two months. You might want to pack a bag.”

I told you…

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