Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Howl-o-ween!!

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Hello, my pretties!

And a fine All Hallows' Eve to all you guys and ghouls!

Optimus Prime says hello.
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So does Mr. Grumpy Codsgone McNocostume, who I've taken the liberty to photoshop.
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Quite a professional job, don't you think? You'd never know that wasn't the real Mr. Spock unless I'd told you, right? Unfortunately, my darling hubby is a Squidward when it comes to these things, so I have to work with what's available.

(I told him if he doesn't change his attitude, he's gonna have more than one kind of empty sack this Halloween, but vasectomy humor isn't going over well these days. Can't imagine why.)

Anywho, since I am keenly aware of the dangers associated with this most fesitve of nights, I feel obligated to pass along some information that just may save your life:

Chilling stuff! Here's something else to make your blood curdle:

Yes, not since "Snakes on a Plane" has there been a more horrifying cinematic concept than that. Make sure you buy your tickets early. They're gonna sell out fast...

What? It already came out?

Hey, I'm on my way to Blockbuster!!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Avery Groban?

So I'm totally addicted to this site that Emma Have you checked it out yet? Look at all the fun stuff you'll find:

(Take that, mother-in-law!)

So, who would play you in the movie about your life?

Monday, October 29, 2007


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I laughed hysterically the first time I saw that. That is my humor in a nutshell. Stating the obvious. Because there is humor in the obvious, isn't there?

And it dawned on me that this is perhaps the best example of the way a child's mind works. You say, "Find X." Not, "Solve for x." Nope. "Find X."

"Here it is." Simple.

Subtlety and nuance are lost on children, yet we expect them to understand such things as idioms. I've lost my mind. He hit the books. Her heart was broken. Just figures of speech.

Common. You hear them everywhere.

When I stopped and spoke with the director of Ethan's school this morning, she said, "He's a very literal boy. He requires very specific instructions."

In other words, she believes idioms are somewhat of an enigma to him.

I'm not so sure about that. We have a wonderful book by Tedd Arnold called "More Parts" (buy it at Amazon today, together with the first book, "Parts", for the low, low price of $11.98!) which deals with this very subject.

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We chuckle at the part where the grandma tells her grandson to hold his tongue, or when the dad asks his son to give him a hand. And I say, "Does he really want his son to take off his hand and give it to him?"

Ethan laughs and says, "No, help him." At least as far as the idioms in the book go, he gets it.

But I will definitely be more mindful in the future of what I say to him. Like when I say, "You're driving Daddy to drink." Instead I'll say, "You're causing Daddy frustration, which leads him to drink."

Yeah. That's much clearer.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MemeFest 2007!!!

It's what you've all been waiting for! Three memes, one post!! How do I do it?

Well, you'll probably wish I hadn't when I'm done. (Do you realize I have to tag 17 people for these? That's right. 17. Duck and cover, but it ain't gonna help!)

Alright, let's kick things off with the meme Candace so kindly tagged me with last week. It doesn't have a name (that I know of), so I'm calling it '4 Things':

4 Things

4 jobs I’ve had:
1) Night shift manager at fast food restaurant
2) Customer service supervisor at an office supply store
3) Team lead at a semiconductor manufacturing plant
4) Domestic engineer at Gray, Inc.

4 movies I love to watch over and over:
1) Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth)
2) Office Space
3) Emma
4) Zoolander

4 places I have lived:
1) Oregon
2) Washington
3) uh…
4) next!

4 TV shows I enjoy watching:
1) The Office
2) The Colbert Report
3) 30 Rock
4) Best Week Ever

4 Places I have been:
1) Lake Tahoe, Nevada
2) Victoria, British Columbia
3) Tokyo, Japan
4) Seattle, Washington

4 websites I visit daily:
1) Yahoo
2) This one
3) My crit group
4) Google reader

4 favorite foods:
1) Swedish meatballs
2) Pad Thai
3) Lasagna
4) Enchiladas

4 places I would rather be:
1) Parrot Cay, Bahamas
2) New York City
3) Stonehenge, England
4) Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

4 people I am tagging:

Well, that wasn't too bad. Here's the one Jo so kindly bestowed on me.

Ultimate Life

The rules are:
Answer the questions as realistically or unrealistically as you want.
Copy the rules into your meme post.
Link back to the person who tagged you.
Tag 5 others

1. Where would you live?
I'd probably stay in the Pacific Northwest and have several secondary residences all over the world.

2. What would your job be (or if unrealistic) what would you do all day?
Job? What's that? I'd spend my days being pampered head to toe, shopping, paying monkeys to write my blog.

3. Who would you spend your time with? Doing what?
I'd spend my time with my family and my friends. And maybe Ben Stiller, but only if he's doing a David Blaine impersonation. "I call it 'Snakes on a Blaine.'" Oh yeah!

4. What kind of holidays/vacations would you take?
Any kind I wanted! I'm filthy rich!

5. What luxury items would you own?
Maybe a better question would be what kind of luxury items wouldn't I own. Because I'd have 'em all. Everything in the Sharper Image catalog, no matter how asinine, would be mine! All mine!!

6. What charities would you support or represent?
I'd build the Trump Tower of all homeless shelters in every major metropolitan area. And then hire the inhabitants to comment on blogs everywhere. (I'm so giving.)

And I'm tagging:
4)Ba Doozer

Finally, Piper pegged me with the Mack Daddy of them all. I'm calling it '8 Things':

8 Things

8 things I’m passionate about:
1) Family
2) Marriage
3) God
4) Freedom
5) Independence
6) Choice
7) Justice
8) Topiaries

8 things I want to do before I die:
1) Write a novel
2) Raise a good man
3) Hold a grandchild (preferably one of my own)
4) Take up Bingo
5) Travel
6) Garden
7) Replenish my wardrobe with sequined appliqué sweaters and elastic waist pants
8) Write a ton more novels

8 things I say often:
1) Curses! Foiled again.
2) Crap!
3) Know what’s not funny? Syphilis.
4) For the love…
5) How was your day, dear?
6) What do you want?
7) That’s how I roll.
8) Yah, you betcha.

8 books I’ve read recently:
1) “Flowers from the Storm” by Laura Kinsale
2) “How Murray Saved Christmas” by Mike Reiss
3) “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon
4) “Chowder” by Peter Brown
5) “Lily” by Patricia Gaffney
6) “The Perfect Rake” by Anne Gracie
7) “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” by Doreen Cronin
8) “No Rest for the Wicked” by Kresley Cole

8 songs that I could listen to over and over:
1) “Africa” by Toto
2) “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurhythmics
3) “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner
4) “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco
5) “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco
6) “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels
7) “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean
8) “Mary, Did You Know” by Rescue

8 things that attract me to my best friend:
1) He’s smart.
2) He’s droll.
3) He loves me to no end.
4) He provides for me and my son.
5) He’s a great dad.
6) He shares my views on most issues.
7) He gets me.
8) He puts out.

8 things I’ve learned this past year:
1) Basic HTML
2) My tolerance for “Chutes and Ladders” (once a week)
3) The number of loads of laundry that pile up after two weeks (16)
4) That I can love my child even more (who’d have thought that was possible?)
5) That the Buzz is an awesome place to meet other bloggers
6) That my husband doesn’t like me to talk about his gonads
7) That an iPod is a wonderful tool for a lazy parent
8) That squirrels are taking over the world

8 people who should do this meme and not complain:

Is it done yet? Oh, thank the Lord!

Let it be known, Avery Gray is on meme hiatus until the start of 2008.

You're welcome.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catching Up

Thanks, everyone, for all the well-wishes for my hubby's goods. He's doing just fine--resting right now in bed with the requisite bag of frozen peas on his crotch. What a trooper!

I told you I would post about the procedure. Well, there's really not much to say about that. He was in and out in about 20 minutes, walked out of it without even a limp. With all the whining he'd done beforehand, he was surprisingly spry and chipper on the walk back to the car. Of course, he was hopped up on Valium and Diet Coke Plus. (They put crack in that, you know. That's what the "Plus" is.)

But I think the most memorable part of the whole experience actually took place on the ride to the doctor's office. On the last leg of our journey, what song should come on the radio? "The Final Countdown" by Europe.


So, yes, my husband's balls were cut off. Figuratively, of course. And so far so good. But I'll be sure to post if they turn purple and fall off or anything. Now that would be great blog fodder!


Alright, I am getting terribly far behind on memes. I was tagged by Candace, Jo, and Piper (wenches!) for three completely different ones. So, tomorrow, it's

MemeFest 2007!!!

(Does saying like that make it more appealing? No? Well, what if I promised to take a meme hiatus thru the end of the year? Better, right?)

MemeFest, it is.


Did I mention my husband is bound and determined to kill our child in the guise of quality father/son time? Who thinks this looks like a good idea?

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There's my son, poised at the top of our driveway in a box with wheels. Hubby says it'll prepare him for all the future soap box derbies they're sure to be involved in. My question is, don't those derby cars HAVE STEERING? And...oh, I don't know, BRAKES?

Semantics, I suppose. Here's an action shot of the little daredevil.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Today's the Day!

{Pause the music at the bottom of the screen before playing}

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Own Meme

Right now, you're groaning.

Another meme? Why does she hate us so?

I don't! I love you guys! You guys are like a virtual family to me, which is why I feel that it is time for you to get to know me.

Oh, not the sunshine and rainbows and unicorns me. No, the real me. The me that wakes up in the morning with a severe case of bedhead and eyebrow-singeing halitosis. The me that feeds her kid cookies in the morning before school because she hasn't made it to the store and cookies were all she had. The me that has strong opinions and ain't afraid to share 'em.

The Controversial Me

Controversy? Now that does sound appealing. Tell me more!

Alright, I will. I have deduced that there are some views I hold that people may or may not agree with. Because I believe good, honest debate is a healthy way for individuals to come together and get to know one another, I've chosen to get the ball rolling and share 20 of my most controversial opinions. And here they are:

1) I believe Carrot Top is somewhat overrated.
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2) I believe smoke detectors detect smoke far too often.
3) I believe there are times to put the cart before the horse.
4) I believe Comanches all looked like Fabio.
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5) I believe tightropes should be wider so they're easier to walk on.
6) I believe blenders will someday be obsolete when every home has a robot of its own.
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7) I believe "phonetics" is spelled wrong.
8) I believe "wrong" is spelled wrong, too.
9) I believe J. Anthony Holloway is kind of a funny guy.
10) I believe lint has many practical applications yet to be discovered.
11) I believe Germans love Hasselhoff.
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12) I believe Speedos are unfortunate.
13) I believe buttermilk is quite tasty.
14) I believe the time has come for clothes to be self-washing.
15) I believe sliced bread was not so much an invention as a discovery.
16) I believe the children are our future.
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17) I believe decorative shutters are pretty useless against alien invasion.
18) I believe Great Danes are just small horses.
19) I believe control-top pantyhose are uncomfortable.
20) I believe Amish people don't get out much.

So, there you have it. Wow, I feel so exposed! But this is good! This is the start of productive communication between myself and all of you out in Blogland. And I think we should keep it going. We all have opinions, right? Isn't it time you got yours off your chest? So, I'm tagging all of you to put yourselves out there. Open yourselves up! It'll feel like you're wearing nothing at all...
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Nothing at all...

Nothing at all...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ah, Karma

Sometimes God looks down from his lofty perch to smile upon me at the times I need it most. Like right now, for instance.

I've told you all that my husband broke my beautiful washer.

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Gorgeous, ain't she?

Well, what I didn't mention is that the repairman who came to fix her said she would require a new drum and some other parts, which would have to be ordered. Then, when they came in, it would require the services of two of them for at least four hours to do an entire tear-down of the machine. That was a week and a half ago.

I got a call this morning that the parts are finally in. A caustic-toned biddy informed me of that news for which I should be exuberently grateful, apparently. After having gone without a washer for the past two weeks, and been saved numerous trips to the laundromat only out of the kindness of Lovey's heart and the use of her laundering services(and I also have to give props to Dapo for offering), I was in no mood to deal with that receptionist wench.

"When's the soonest you can have someone out?" I asked.

"Two men? November 2nd."

November 2nd?!! That will make three weeks, people!

Now, at this point, my husband is suffering the worst sorts of revenge torture fantasies in my mind that you can imagine. You don't even want to know how twisted my imagination can be when it comes to me having my retribution for this egregious insult.

So, I go to mark it on my calendar, and what should catch my eye?

Friday, October 26th, 9:30 a.m.--my husband's vasectomy appointment.

God does love me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Thing Mine's Short

My new blog friend, Lilacspecs, has tagged moi with a middle name meme. Here are the rules:

1) You have to post the rules before you give the facts.
2) Players must list one fact that is relevant to your life for each letter in your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, then use a name that you like.
3) When you are tagged, you must write a post containing your own middle name game facts.
4) At the end of your post, you must tag one person for each letter in your middle name. Don’t forget to comment them telling that they are tagged and to read your post to get the rules.

Sounds simple, right?

Yeah? You might be changing that tune when I tag you!

Alright, here goes--my middle name is Anne:

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“A” student

And you thought I was just a pretty face! Nope, there’s brains ‘tween them there ears! I ain’t sayin’ I was the first in my class or anything, but I graduated with a 3.95, and went on to drop out after my first year of college. (D’oh!) Which leads me to…

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I am as lazy as all get out! And I love to sleep! Man, I love to sleep! If it weren’t for some people--*cough*Ethan*cough*--why, I would sleep all day. But then I would miss out on so much. Like…

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Nose potatoes

That’s what Ethan calls boogers. And I am the Queen at harvesting them with my pinky nail. What? Does that gross you out? Hey, thanks to Momo Fali, I know I’m not alone. But even if I were alone, I’d still be…

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It means stable. Not easily swayed. Solid. Dependable. Reliable. I’m a rock, baby! I frickin’ rock! And like a rock, I get pooped on by birds a lot. But that’s for another list.

Okay, you unlucky saps, I have to choose four of you. I’m trying to spread around the love so I’m not always tagging the same ones, but Lovey’s sitting in the front row frantically waving her arm around and saying, “Pick me, pick me.” So, I’m gonna help a sister out. Tag, Lovey! You’re it!

Hmm… I don’t think I’ve tagged Piper yet. Oops! I just did. Boo-ya!

And how about Jo Beaufoix and Christina? You guys up for a little meme action?

Let’s see what you got!

My Husband's Leaving

After 8 years together, he's walking out the door. To go to the airport. To catch a plane to Phoenix. For two days. Then he'll be coming back.

What? Did you think he was really going to leave all this sexy goodness? No way, sister! Or, uh, brother. He'd have to be crazy!

Because even if he wanted to leave, we made a promise to each other a long time ago that we wouldn't allow it. Plain and simple. One person wants to leave, the other gets veto power. Kinda like the checks and balances system, only for crazy-in-love people. And, thankfully, neither of us has chosen to test the system.

Our friends envy laugh at us because we can be a shall I say this?...mushy.

A little mushy?

Shut up, Lovey.

I love you more. No, I love you more. No, I love you more.

I said shut up! It works for us.

Anyhow! Whenever he leaves, I have a little ritual I like to do. (Lovey doesn't know about this one, but I have a feeling she'll be having a heyday with it.)

When he gets up in the morning on the day of his flight, I get up at the same time. (Which, in itself is quite a sacrifice for me, since he gets up at an ungodly hour.) Then, while he's taking a shower and getting dressed, I make him a token of my love. I cut a small lock of my hair, and I sew it into a felt heart.

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Corny, I know. Y'all are probably gagging by now.

Well, y'all can kiss my

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Did she just make a butt out of felt?

Darn tootin' I did, but I digress.

You'd think that my husband would be treading lightly after the whole washer fiasco, right?

Yeah, you'd think that.

There I sat, 5 o'clock in the morning, bleary-eyed and exhausted, but working diligently at my task while he showered and dressed. Normally, this would be the time that he packs his suitcase and waits for me to hand him the finished product. This morning, he leaned down to kiss me instead.

"Have a good day," he says, turning to go.

My brow furrows in confusion.

"Aren't you going to pack?" I ask.

"Flight's not 'til tonight," he replies.

My bleary-eyed gaze quickly becomes a dagger of rage. "Then what am I doing this for?" I demand accusingly.

He hesitates. He knows me well. One wrong move, and he's toast.

"I'm sorry, sweetie. I should have told you. Why don't you try to get some sleep? I love you."

The beast within me growls, but is led without incident back into its cage.

"Oh, and I need some clean clothes. Could you make sure you have some washed before I get home?"

Methinks he may not live to catch that flight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Which One is Dumbledore Again?

Alright! All you Harry Potheads take a chill pill! I know which one Dumbledore is. He's the old wizard guy, right?

And, it turns out he has a thing for the fellas. Who knew?

Well, in honor of this fictional character's outing post-mortem, I'd like to share with you something that Lovey inflicted on--I mean, shared with me.

I dare you not to get this song stuck in your head!

[Remeber to pause the music player at the bottom of the screen before playing]

My Apology to "Don"

Dear "Don",

I know in the past we've had our differences. I was the irate American woman who questioned your language comprehension abilities, despite the fact that you know at least one more language than I do passably well. You were the frustrated Indian man with a crappy call center job, squeezing a much-abused stress ball and sticking pins in an Uncle Sam voodoo doll. Understandable. You bring out the worst in us, what can I say?

Well, I can say this--"Don", I'm sorry. I was wrong, you were right.

Does that make you feel any better? Probably not, since I doubt you'll ever see this, but it's enough that the sentiment is floating around the interweb, isn't it?

See, "Don", I'm just a stupid woman. When my husband hands me an explanation for anything technical, I just nod my head in wonderment at his amazing brain powers. And occassionally he is proven very, very wrong. Especially when it's his fault and he's trying to cover his tracks. Silly boy!

The washer incident was one of those times. When he told me the dent in the washer drum was due to it hitting a component inside the washer, I nodded my head, as per usual, and he scratched me under the chin and fed me a treat. Oh, what a happy stupid woman I was that day!

Come to find out, it was my husband's fault. He left a screw in the pocket of one of the pairs of pants he put in to wash, and it went through one of the little holes and caught on the outer plastic drum. And the rest, as they say, is history.

"Don", it takes a big person to admit they're wrong, and an even bigger person to admit they're wrong AND married to an IDIOT!! So, I hope you'll accept my apology and let bygones be bygones. After all, it's not like we'll ever be speaking to each other again in our entire lives. Best to let it go, right?

But while I have you here, check out my answers for the meme Dan Leone was suckered into. Bernard Pivot's Questions from 'Inside the Actor's Studio':

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
A working washer--wait, that sounds dirty!

4. What turns you off?
Call centers

5. What is your favorite curse word?

6. What sound or noise do you love?
The hum of my beautiful washer

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Alarm clock buzz

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Interior decorator

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Call center operator

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Your husband’s been waiting for you a long time.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

5 Things

The lovely, precious, beautiful Christina tagged me with a meme. It doesn't have a name (that I know of), so I'm calling it "5 Things".

What were you doing ten years ago?
1) Working
2) Living on my own
3) Pursuing a dead end relationship
4) Wondering what was wrong with me
5) Dancing the Macarena

What were you doing one year ago?
1) Being a mom
2) Developing an appreciation for bleach pens
3) Loading my iPod
4) Yardwork
5) Wasting time

Five snacks you enjoy:
1) Popcorn
2) Wheat Thins
3) Lunchables
4) Cheese and grapes
5) Beef jerkey and buttermilk (don't knock it 'til you've tried it)

Five Songs you know the lyrics to:
1) "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic
2) "Roscoe" by Midlake
3) "Everything I've Got in My Pocket" by Minnie Driver
4) "It Had to Be You" by Frank Sinatra
5) "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1) Travel
2) Buy a new house
3) Buy a new car
4) Shop
5) Set up a trust fund for my son

Five bad habits:
1) Picking at zits (they drive me crazy!)
2) Leaving my hubby with no toilet paper
3) Cracking my knuckles
4) Being passive-aggressive
5) Checking my e-mail a hundred times a day

Five things you like to do:
1) Spend time with my family
2) Sleep
3) Eat
4) Blog
5) Laugh

Five things you will never wear again:
1) Gauchos
2) A bikini
3) Scrunchies
4) Jellies
5) Leggings with heel straps

Five favorite toys:
1) My computer
2) My iPod
3) My other iPod
4) My digital camera
5) My scanner

Five things you hate to do:
1) Housework
2) Yardwork
3) Homework
4) Busywork
5) Any work

Okay, so I guess it is my turn to tag someone. Since this is a meme of 5 Things, I think I'll tag five people whose Buzz names start with 'M':
1) Mommin' It Up
2) Marianne
3) Momo Fali
4) Misssy M
5) Monkeys and Marbles

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Emma Ruined It

Yep, that's right. You can all blame Emma. She ruined it for everyone.

What am I referring to? Why, today's post, of course! It was gonna be great. There were going to be photoshopped pictures, possibly of me in front of an American flag. Also a delicious stuffed mushroom recipe, and a series of provacative "would you rather" questions. But she had to go and pull the rug out from under me.

Why would she do such a thing?

Because she hates puppies! And small children. And probably hippies.

Well, everyone hates hippies. That's nothing new. What did she do?

Well, I'll tell you. It all began with this confrontational post, wherein she details the requirements which must be met to get on/stay on her blogroll. (It really is a funny post. You should read it!)

'There's nothing to fear,' I tell myself. 'I'm sure I'm on the blogroll. I'm freaking hilarious!'


About the being on the blogroll thing, not the freaking hilarious thing. Because I am. Freaking hilarious. But I'm not on the blogroll. Or at least I wasn't until yesterday, when she so graciously added me.

And blew my Emma Sometimes Blogroll Campaign.

[Insert photoshopped picture of me in front of billowing American flag]

See, now doesn't it make sense?

I was going to woo her with things like this:

My Fortune Cookie told me:
You may be infinitely smaller than some things, but you're infinitely larger than others.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

and this:

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And quotes like this:

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"I've enjoyed my reign as romance icon for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! and believe the time is right to pass the torch to the hunk who best represents the new generation of romance and fantasy and can embody the fresh, butter taste of the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" --Fabio, March 2006

Good, funny stuff!

But, no! She goes and steals my thunder clean away. Well, I have one thing to say to you, Ms. Sometimes...

Thank you so much. That was very sweet!

(Quick question--how does one "embody the fresh, butter taste of the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"? Sounds like antibiotics should be involved.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thank You.

I wanted to thank everyone for your wonderful comments regarding my post "For Ethan". I know it sort of came out of the blue, and I didn't really explain myself. I thought I should do that now.

Ethan has always been a very active and happy child. Healthwise physically, there's nothing wrong with him. He was early to develop his motor skills--rolling at 3 months, crawling at 5 months, walking at 9 months, running at 9 months and 1 day. So, in that way, he always excelled.

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He was a late talker, though, and when his vocabulary hadn't improved appreciably by 20 months, I took him in for his first evaluation. Since then, though his word acquisition did eventually accelerate, he's always been markedly behind his peers in language development. In the past two years, he's had three more evaluations. They've done tests on his hearing, his motor functions, his speech comprehension. They took samples for blood work. Nothing ever came of it. All inconclusive. His pediatrician said, "Just give it time."

So, we did. I enrolled him in school, and he did well for awhile, until he was moved up into the four-year-olds class. The first day he was there, his teacher told me, "He comes across as slow," because he sat at the table all day and played with Legos. He didn't want to join the group.

Despite his lack of tact, I suggested it might just be because he wasn't used to the class or to his new teachers. "Just give it time," I said.

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The next day, that teacher told me Ethan wasn't slow. He was a "master manipulator". Later, when he also told me that Ethan was a "silent predator", we decided to find a school for him where the teachers weren't clinically insane.

And we did. We found a wonderful little school out in the country where Ethan felt right at home. They have animals there that the kids get to help care for, and a garden the kids get to help plant. Plus, they are constantly making cool things in the classroom--a beaver dam for the kids to crawl in, a rocketship for the kids to play in--hands-on stuff that Ethan took to right away. He loves building things, and he's always been so creative.

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He really came to shine. His teachers told me he was the sweetest boy, that he was very intelligent, a joy to have in class. He listened well, he participated, but once the newness wore off, they noticed he wasn't being included by the other children. They said he was a "baby" and called him "weird". And the teachers themselves reluctantly told me, "He's just...different. He says the strangest things."

"We want to have him evaluated."

I wanted to burst into tears. Not because my boy is different, but because I know that he is, and I feel powerless to help him.

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Another evaluation. What will they find this time? Nothing? Just like the last three times? I told my friend Shannon that as horrible as it sounds, I wish they would diagnose him with autism and be done with it. Then at least I could get help for him, and I would know how to help him myself. But as much as he exhibits autistic traits (trouble communicating, lines up toys in a pattern, memorizes car emblems, is mesmerized by spinning objects, etc., etc.), he also exhibits traits that are incongruent with that diagnosis (warm and affectionate, extremely social, is very empathetic towards the feelings of others, shares his accomplishments, etc., etc.).

Seems he's a conundrum.

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I know that autism is a spectrum disorder, and he could have a varying degree of it, and that everyone with autism is different--some more able than others. And if that's what he has, I will love him and care for him and devote my life to helping him deal with that. And if that's not it, whatever it is that is causing him problems, I'll be there for him no matter what. But I want to know what we're dealing with.

I just want to know.

Because he's a bright, funny, cheerful, amazing boy who just happens to see the world in a different way, and I don't want anything to change that.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

For Ethan

You came into my life when I needed you most. And since then, you’ve always known just how to make me smile.

When you were very young, we had some difficult times. Tests and evaluations—none of them conclusive. You were a trooper, even if you didn’t understand.

And today, when you saw me cry, when you put your hand on my arm and said, “It’s okay, Mommy. Don’t cry,” and looked at me with concern in those big blue eyes, that was the bright spot of my day.

You are always the bright spot of my day.

You take my pain on your shoulders. So much to bear for someone so small. But you are determined to ease my burden.

When did you get to be so strong?

I thought we were past the worry. I thought we could finally get on with life. No more tests, no more questions, no more fear about what lies ahead for you. But life is a constant test. Don’t we know that by now?

You will have challenges in your future. And I will face them with you, whatever they may be.

I don’t care if you’re not like the other kids. I don’t care what they find. “Different” can be good. No one ever made history by being like everyone else.

One day, I fear, you may be angry with me. You may wonder if there was anything I could have done to make a difference earlier in your life. My answer to you would be that I did my best. Sometimes clarity can only be achieved through time.

But if I’ve failed you, if I’ve made your life harder, or taken away chances that might have been available to you if not for me, know that I grieve. But come tomorrow, you will see no tears. Come tomorrow, we move on. We get up, and dust ourselves off, and leave our regrets behind. Because tomorrow, there is only determination. Tomorrow has not been written for us yet.

But today, I hurt.

Because I bruise easily for you... heart, my love, my son.

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How My Dad is Saving the World... garbage disposal at a time.

This is my dad, Jerry.

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He's the Frankenstein in the middle. That's me on the left, the fairy princess with tin foil accessories. My brother's the one on the right. I don't think he dressed up that year.

(Also note my mom's flair for wicker-centric wall decor. Nice.)

Whenever I introduce my dad, I always refer to him as "a swarthier MacGyver", for a couple of reasons. One, for a white guy, he's fairly swarthy. And two, he's freakin' McGyver.

For those of you too young to recall who MacGyver was, here's a hint:
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"Wait," you say. "Isn't that the guy from Stargate SG-1?"

To which I reply, "Come on. I'm telling a story here. Focus!"

For those of you who do remember MacGyver, you already know what a resourceful guy he was. Kinda like the Professor on Gilligan's Island, he could use just about anything to get out of all sorts of scrapes. I never knew a gum wrapper had so many practical uses until I watched that show!

So, how is my dad MacGyver, you ask? Well, let me send it over to HIS ROBOT to explain...

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Yep, that's me and his robot, Zoom. The one he made out of parts from an old dryer, a security light, an intercom, and some scrap metal.

Like MacGyver, I like to think of my dad as a pioneer of the recycling movement. He was reusing junk when reusing junk wasn't cool. Something he's still doing to this day.

About eight years ago or so, my dad, who lives on a windy hill, must have had some time on his hands because he came up with an ingenious idea--turn old garbage disposals into wind powered generators!

Off he went to his lair--I mean lab--to start the process.
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(Now y'all know why I have a magnet on my fridge that says A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. I learned from the best, I did!)

And he turned this:

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into this:

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He came up with the name himself. Catchy, isn't it? Yes, my dad is awesome, if I do say so myself!

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Now, my brother on the other hand...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Action Day 2007

Tomorrow is Blog Action Day. Have you heard about this?

"On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future."

If you're interested in participating, click on the banner at the top of the right-hand column--->

Heck, people, even if all you post is, "The environment sux," DO IT!! Then everyone else can throw rotten food at you, and you'll be well on your way to establishing a successful compost. Very earth friendly!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Am I a Racist?

Allow me to introduce you to the twins...

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I've affectionately dubbed them "$3000 of love" because I told my husband if he loved me, he would buy them for me. And coincidentally, his love for me has an approximate cash value of $3150, so I had enough left over to get some new shoes, too!

Yes, I gots me a good man, ladies. Keep your grubby mitts off!

So, what does this have to do with being a racist? Well, I'm getting to that.

See, twin #1--we'll call her "Washer"--isn't quite feeling like herself lately. She's shaky and loud, and now she's got an internal injury. Yes, somehow the drum of the washer got a dent from striking one of the components outside. There's quite a noticeable bump in the metal.

As a concerned and caring owner, I promptly called the manufacturer, who shall remain nameless.

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Now, I'm not a marketing genius, but I'm clever enough to deduce that when someone calls the manufacturer, it is probably not for the purposes of congratulating them on their fine craftsmanship or exceptional engineering. No, when one calls the manufacturer, it is to tell them what lousy pieces of crap they had the gall to inflict upon the innocent denizens of the planet Earth (even if those denizens had spent the past 6 months singing the manufacturer's praises and encouraging anyone who would listen to throw their hard-earned money at them in return for products which were finely crafted and exceptionally engineered.)

I was placing the bad kind of call, so the last thing I wanted to hear was a chipper recording telling me, "Life's good."

Shut up! Life's not good! My washer's broken!

I don't think the recording heard me because she continued to spout off extensions.

"If you are calling about a delivery, press one. If you're calling about an existing order, press two...

...If you're calling about a refrigerator, press 95. If you're calling about a washer, press 96. If you're..."

Nine six.

"Thank you. A customer service representative will be with you shortly."


"Hello, my name is Don. How can I help you today?"

Indian call center. I immediately tense up. I have not had good luck with Indian call centers in the past.

"Uh, yeah, my washer's broken. I need someone to come out and fix it."

"Don" asks for the model number, the serial number, date of purchase, mother's maiden name, square root of pi--all the relevant information. I give it. (Aren't you impressed that I know the sqaure root of pi?)

"Thank you. Now may you tell me what is the problem?"

"Yeah. My husband put a load of clothes in the washer, and it started shaking and making loud noises, like clanging. So, we stopped it and took the clothes out, and we found a big dent in the drum. It was dented in, so it must have struck something inside the washer."

"The drum is dented?"


"What did your husband put in the washer?"

"Uh, clothes."

"What was in the washer with the clothes?"

"Uh, soap? Water?"

"What other object was in the washer?"

"There was no other object. He put in clothes. Jeans, tee shirts. Maybe some socks. Just clothes."

"Ma'am, clothes would not dent the drum."

"Yeah, I know. That's why I'm calling. It was dented from the outside, not from the inside."

"Hold one moment please."

Ugh! He's not getting it. "Don" and I are not on the same page.

Waiting. Waiting. Fifteen minutes go by. You could steam vegetables on my head.


God, how I hate being called that!


"Ma'am, there's nothing we can do for you."

"I don't think you understand. The drum was dented IN. Dented IN!" As though yelling it will help him understand me any better. "Not out. IN!"

"Yes. As I told you, there's nothing I can do for you."

"Nothing you can do for me? It's under warranty! We bought the extended warranty! We own you for the next FOUR YEARS!!" Okay, I didn't say the last thing, but I was thinking it.

"Ma'am, the warranty does not cover owner negligence."

Oh, my friend, it's on now!

What followed were words I thought I would never say:

"I want to talk to someone who SPEAKS ENGLISH!!"

By now, I'm sure "Don" had already written me off as a psycho nut job, so he gladly relinquished my call to his manager "Dave", who spoke flawless English and was extremely helpful. The repair was scheduled and I was satisfied that it was, in fact, covered under warranty.

But I still felt bad for the way I had spoken to "Don". It is so not like me to lash out at anyone, sarcastic jabs aside. And especially not for something as trivial as a misunderstanding. If I'd just asked for his manager before I lost my cool, the whole thing could have been avoided.

So, what do you think? Was I justified? Or am I a blight on polite society, destined to live a life of shame and isolation?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Drumroll, please...

Novembrance, bless her heart, tagged me with the "Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This" meme that's been going around. I know she didn't mean to.

Well, I'm spreading the love. Here are my answers. I think you'll find a pleasing mix of high- and low-brow selections (just 'cause I'd be hard pressed to keep it all high-brow. I just can't stay away from the books with the Fabio-like covers. It's my secret shame. Don't tell anyone.)

And they are...

10. Mr. Knightley from “Emma” by Jane Austen
Yes, after Mr. Darcy, Knightley is the perennial favorite of lists like these. And there’s a reason for it—he’s the perfect gentleman. While Mr. Darcy appeals to our secret “reform the Squidward” fantasies, Knightley is nearly flawless. He’s unfailingly kind, morally upstanding, and completely enamored with Emma. What more could you want in a man?

9. Phantom from “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux
Okay, so the guy’s partially deformed and has stalkerish tendencies. When you look like Gerard Butler, I don’t care! (He’s hot!!)
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8. Natty “Hawkeye” Bumppo from “The Leatherstocking Tales” by James Fenimore Cooper
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‘nuff said.

7. Gilbert Blythe from “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Oh, Gil. My first love. What girl didn’t long to be his “Carrots”? I spent many an adolescent night swooning over Gil. Aw, heck. He still makes me sigh.

6. Zsadist from “Lover Awakened” by J.R. Ward
Talk about tortured heroes. This guy takes the cake. Though I've read all of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series, I didn't really care much for any of them, save this one. And Zsadist is the reason why. The guy's been through a lot. A whole lot. But the sacrifices he makes for his ladylove... Wow.

5. Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx from “Flowers from the Storm” by Laura Kinsale
Another tortured hero, Jervaulx had the world on a string until he suffered a debilitating stroke. Still brilliant, but trapped inside his uncooperative body, Jervaulx had to relearn everything--how to speak, to eat, to dress himself. But his devotion to his Maddy-girl made him strive to be a better man.

4. Robert Knight, Duke of Hawkscliffe from “The Duke” by Gaelen Foley
First book of the amazing, amazing, amazing Knights Miscellany series, it is still my favorite. Hawk, much like Mr. Darcy, is stiff and unbending, but he has good reason. And like Mr. Darcy, he learns to open up and be more trusting, less contemptuous of those who life has dealt a bad hand. And his moves? Fugetaboutit!

3. Daegus MacKeltar from “The Dark Highlander” by Karen Marie Moning
Hmm...let's see. Tall, handsome, rich, intelligent Celtic Druid (who happens to be possessed by the souls of thirteen evil spirits) takes one look at you and growls, "Mine." What you gonna do?

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2. Roarke from the “In Death” series by JD Robb
Ask any romance afficianado who their favorite hero is, and chances are the name "Roarke" will be on their lips. And it's no wonder. He's wealthy, Irish, and sexy as all get out! But he lets his woman do her thing, even if that thing is being a tough-as-nails Detective, like Eve. Now, that's what I call a man!

1. Lachlain MacRieve from “A Hunger Like No Other” by Kresley Cole
Lachlain. Oh, Lachlain. What can I say? He has it all and then some. And then some more. King of the Lykae, he's got teeth and he knows how to use 'em. He's unerringly loyal, fiercely protective, and dashingly drool-worthy. Plus that Scottish brogue is just plain hot! Yep, he's the best of the best.

All right. There you have it. My top ten. Now it's my turn to tag some poor saps. I think I'm going to mix it up and get some male perspective on this important topic, so I'm tagging Radioactive Jam, Conceptual Drudgery, and an unsuspecting Pixelation to join in the fun. And the ladies--Emma Sometimes, Loveyh, and Le Bec.

Show us some love!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Call me Ishmael--er, Avery

Crisis. Existential in nature.

How do you describe yourself?

I read my “About me” and I cringe. It’s not funny. And I think I’m pretty funny. I mean, I photoshopped red eyes on a squirrel. That kind of comic gold doesn’t just happen, right?

So, then I think, well, maybe I should just put something nonsensical, like a movie quote or something. But does “I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey” really encompass the totality of my persona? Does it impart my essence, per se? No, I can’t really say it does.

Unless “I’m gonna come at you” means I’m going to visit your profile and comment. Then sure, I’m gonna come at you. Often. But not like a spider monkey. I happen to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and spider monkeys aren’t really known for their benevolence. Plus, “I’m gonna come at you like a benevolent monkey” just sounds ridiculous.

So, fine. Scratch the monkey idea. I’m sure there are other avenues to explore.

How about an amusing personal anecdote?

Well, let’s see…

Oh, did I ever tell you about the time my brother cut off his own finger? On purpose?

You know, now that I think of it, that’s really more about him than it is about me. Though it is quite an amusing tale. (And maybe I’ll post about it if you ask me nice enough.)

Okay. What now? Make stuff up? I can do that. I write fiction after all.


Oh, did I ever tell you about the time my brother DIDN’T cut off his own finger?

That story’s not quite as amusing.

Well, people, I’m out of ideas! So, help me out here—

What have you always wanted to know about Avery Gray but were afraid to ask? Now’s your chance!*

*I reserve the right to blow you off, but still…

--Little FYI here: The venerable Novembrance has tagged me to list ten literary characters I would totally snog if not for the fact that I am happily married and said snoggable characters were not imaginary. Be looking for my answers tomorrow!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Somebody stop me!!

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Yes, fall is here. The time of year when the leaves change colors, and everything begins to die.

Good times.

And, as always, the season is heralded by the ceremonial changing of the flag at the Gray house.

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I know it's hard to tell, but it's a cornicopia. Very pretty. Very festive.

But there's a side to this season that's not very pretty, and not very festive. A dark side, hidden in shame and shadows. A side so hideous, so terrible, the very mention of its existence strikes fear in the hearts of men...who care about their lawns.

Yes, I'm talking about SLUGS!!!!!

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Dun dun dun!!!

Living in the Pacific Northwest, you'd be hard pressed not to have a yard full of slugs between now and the middle of next spring. Heck you can't even set foot out the door without stepping on one. Case in point:

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Sorry. The photo is kinda blurry, but believe me when I say it's for the best. All those sluggy entrails. The death, the destruction!

Oh, the humanity!!

Or inhumanity?

Can I not even set foot out the door without killing another living thing?!!


Well, at least Christina loves me. She gave me a "Breakout Blogger Award", my first award ever! So, thank you, Christina! I will proudly display it on the right-hand column above my random books with cheesy covers.

To show my appreciation (and for the benefit of all you looky-loos), here's something funny:

[Be sure to pause the music player at the bottom of the screen before playing]

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Show Your Desktop

Jo “The Ostrich Lady” Beaufoix did this on her blog. I guess she was tagged, but I don't play that way.

I'm Avery Gray, b****!

(Oh, now see, that was uncalled for. I apologize. You're not a b****. You're just opinionated.)

So, the deal is, you have to post a shot of your desktop. Well, prepare to be blown away.

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Are you properly blown away? No? Well, don't blame me. It's Jo's fault.

(And you've been tagged. Go out and post those desktops!!)

The Creatively Bad Sentence Contest

Dapoppins is hosting this one, and there are a litany of prizes to choose from, including CASH MONEY!! Five cold hard dollars in electronic cash!! Check her site for the rules. (FYI--there are no rules, but she will very wordily explain that.)

Here's my entry:

Prickly thickets ticked quickly betwixt the rickety pickets of the fence of the sickly spigot licker, Rick “the Rickster and Wicked Rhyme Mixer” Finnster, who, while sitting on the porch with his mix Spitz-Pinscher, Bob, wished icky thing might befall his twisted sister, Esther, the elderly welder, and sometime whale gelder, who, with the help of the spelling legend, Edward “Onomatopoeia”—a moniker he acquired from the 1954 Durham County Spelling Bee and Tea Social, where he first tried English Grey and met the lovely Ruby DeLynne and her sister, Mildred, a beautiful red-headed girl—O’Brien, caused him, as a young lad, to acquire a taste for freshly-pumped well water straight from the source, which led to his current disorder and his paralyzing fear of wolf spiders.

Intimidated? No? Fine, then you go do it!


You heard of this one? A post a day in the month of November--think you're up to the challenge? Check out Radioactive Jam's blog for more info.

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(RaJ, put a shirt on! There are children around.)

And finally...

Here's a picture of a Swedish band.

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No reason.