Spencer The Fearless


spencer the fearless

He looks brave, doesn’t he?

It was one of those days. I woke up knowing it was one of those days. Truth be told, I wake up every day knowing it’s one of those days. I just never know what is going to happen to make it one of those days.

I get up and remind the kid to let the dogs out. I remind the other kid to feed the dogs. Then I yell at the dogs for good measure and out the door I go to take the kids to school. This particular day, I come home and start working on the hor d’oeuvres for that evening. I volunteered to make hors d’oeuvres for our local theater company’s open night. Silly me. The dogs do not like it when I cook because they are barred from the kitchen which is their favorite place to be what with all the food falling or just sitting idly on counters waiting to be stolen.

Anyway, the kids come home. I drop one off to a friend’s house and come home to continue my hors d’oeuvres crafting. I pop the stuffed mushrooms in the oven and run the two younger kids to karate. I come back and I notice there is smoke coming from the oven. This isn’t the most unusual thing I have ever seen, so I just wait and watch. I open the oven door and smoke rolls out in great waves. But being a relatively mellow person, I simply shut the oven door again and wait. For what I am not yet sure.

I do this open and close with the oven door a few more times and my anxiety level starts to rise as does the smoke level in the kitchen. I start to get nervous about the fire alarm going off because it is connected to my security system and I don’t remember any passwords or numbers to
punch in. I have no idea what I will do if it…..SHIT! The alarm goes off!!!!

Now, the sensible thing for me to do would have been to shut the oven off. But who can be sensible when there is this nuclear bell ringing and the dogs have broken down the barricade and are now practically up my butt. I run to the key pad and start punching in random numbers….nothing. Except now Spencer has started pawing at my thighs as if that will help me to shut the alarm off.

My leg is bleeding and the alarm is going off, the smoke is still happening, and the phone is ringing. I run into the dark living room to the only phone that is currently working. The dogs are both trying to hang on to my legs as I run. Worse than scared children. I am tripping and kicking them as I go.

I answer the phone and it is the securities lady. I can’t hear her with the alarm going off, but I manage to give her my password and I hear her say something about a code I can punch in and that the fire department has already been dispatched. I thank her, hang up, turn around and step right in a HUGE pile of dog poop compliments of Spencer the fearless.

I go hopping back into the kitchen with the dogs still trying to jump into my arms. I punch in the code and the main alarm stops. I still have the voice saying “Fire. First floor. Oven” and it won’t shut up. That’s just humiliating. I am still not sure if it was a voice in my head or if it was coming from the alarm system. It very well may have been Spencer.

I hop over to the sink and scrub my foot off. I finally shut the oven off and
open the windows. I grab plastic bags and walk back to where the poop is
waiting, cleaning up all the little turds along the way. I do this with a
quickness as the fire department could be there any second!! At this point,
Spencer has given up on me and is trying to save himself. He is at the backdoor, on his hind legs trying to punch through the glass. Emma, the good dog, is sitting between me and Spencer waiting to see which one of us will survive and then she will decide where her loyalties lie.

I check the time and see I am now 10 minutes late picking up the kids from
karate. So, I leave a note on the front door : Hi Firemen, Nothing on fire here. Went to pick up kids. Be right back!! Spencer gave up trying to bust out the glass and is now concentrating on the door knob, cursing his lack of thumbs.

I get back and still no firemen. It had been over 20 minutes at that point. I am hoping that the security lady canceled them and it wasn’t personal thing (it’s a small town, you never know). Now, with all of this commotion, I am scattered. I have to regroup and figure out what I need to get done so that I can get these hors d’oeuvres to the show. What needs to be kept warm and what needs to be kept cold on the 45 minute ride to the theater. On a good day this is difficult because I have to think ahead so that Spencer doesn’t nab my food on the way out the door.

And he is still trying to escape the house. I am walking things from the fridge to the car, and he is trying his damnedest to push past me and get out. He’s such a drama queen. The smoke had cleared, the alarm was off. But he insists on acting the part of scared dog. He doesn’t know when to quit.

Meanwhile, my mean cat Cecelia, who has been gone for 4 days, shows up at the door. Cecelia is the meanest cat alive and no one understands why I keep her. But this is why. When my dog, who is supposed to be my best friend and loyal to the end is confronted with a bit of smoke and a fire alarm, he poops knowing I will step in it with my bare feet and then tries to break down the back door and save himself. Cecelia, on the other hand, who will never allow us to pet her, or even look at her, hears the alarm and decides she best come home and see if there is anything she can do for us.

Nature vs. nurture. Spencer has withdrawn his application for fire dog as of




Sparkling By The Way's Blog

danceology 1Being a dance teacher is what I do. It has become who I am. I have had great teachers over the years. Not all of them were kind, not all of them were good. I learned as much from the “bad” ones as I did from the good ones. I had one teacher who was incredibly mean. I believe her goal was to weed out the kids who couldn’t hack it.

I could hack it. I stayed and was abused and scared, but I loved what I was doing enough to stay. After all, criticism is really just a way to be kind. Abuse is just another form of love. Especially verbal abuse. Verbally abusing a child is really just shaping and molding them for their own good. Now, I know that’s a load of crap, but there are so very many who believe that.

I also had a teacher who…

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Pop Music Makes My Brain Hurt


Got my head x-rayed today after years of being told “You should have your head x-rayed” in response to every decision I have ever made. Apparently, x-rays can show why I make bad decisions. Technically, it wasn’t an x-ray. It was an MRI. Whatev. Same thing only different. I was so excited about  this I accidentally went yesterday, a day early. So, I went back today for realz.

I had no idea what to expect. I spent all day yesterday filling my brain with funny and interesting thoughts so that the technician would think I was brilliant and then gather all his colleagues to look at my incredible brain and then I would be the subject of a medical paper which would lead to a big budget movie starring Will Ferrell as me. I didn’t really think about what an MRI is like. I found out today. It is not as bad as a root canal but not as fun as a Disney ride.

The laid me down on a skinny, hard table. They put ear phones on me and then a helmet. This did not make me feel very sexy.  They gave me a thing to squeeze if I needed them and then I shut my eyes and tried to think good thoughts. They put on some generic pop music which was more annoying that the actual sound of the machine. The music made me think bad thoughts, like all of the people who have dissed me, my broken heart, my friends and family who have died…morbid. That’s what Kelly Clarkson does to my brain. Keeping my eyes shut, I yelled “Can you please change it to NPR?” The guy said “We don’t get that station, sorry”. He’s a liar. He said it would only take 3 minutes. Well, being a dance teacher for over 20 years I can tell you that a top 40 pop song is at MOST 3 minutes 30 seconds. I was in that helmet for over 5 songs which equals 15 minutes. Liar. I was going through Diane Rehm withdrawal.

After 7 hours of Taylor Swift whining about boys she has dated and all of the haters in the world, The Liar came in and told me they were going to shoot me up with some dye. Since he has a history of lying to me I asked for a second opinion. He laughed, shot me up, stuffed me back into the machine and cranked some Demi Lovato. At this point I realized I was missing my opportunity to WOW this guy with my hysterical thoughts and really informed opinions so I had to concentrate. The only thing that popped into my head was this:blog post Which made me giggle which my head move which got me yelled at. But it was too late. I was suddenly flooded with memories of doing my other best guy friend’s hair with mousse and a hair dryer and it looking like this : blog post 7 and the time when my then-6-year-old daughter yelled “SPAR” and went karate krazy on her big sister who was not expecting it: blog post 8and this picture when I got a hand made boob warmer for my birthday blog post 4  and my beeeeAuTiFUL children blog post 5 and when I dressed my dog up as a punk rocker for halloween blog 6 and the time my kid was not impressed with her banana hat blog post 10 and the time my mean cat refused to let us go down stairs blog post 9 and the time I sliced the tip of my finger off blog post 11

And just as the pictures in my mind started to go down hill, The Liar said “Ok we are done” and pulled me out of the can and took off my helmet and the ear phones. I asked if he liked what he saw and he looked at me with an expression I can only interpret as “you have the most incredible mind I have ever seen”.

Nothing more to do now but wait for the call from Scorsese…


I Was A Village People


Sparkling By The Way's Blog

village people 4 I grew up in the village that my mother grew up in and her parents grew up in and her father’s parents grew up in. My mother’s mother moved to the village from another state when she was 8 months old…a fact that she was never allowed to forget. Seriously. When the village honored lifetime residents, my grandpa and his mother were honored in a big ceremony right in the middle of the village. The mayor gave them both plaques and said a few kind words. My grandma was pissed!!! I mean, she had lived there since she was a baby….but it didn’t count.She wasn’t BORN there ya see….

Growing up, I knew everyone in the village. And I was related to more than half somehow or another. I knew every “family” home in the village. There was at least one on every street. The house my grandma grew up in always got…

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Maybe I Should Take Up Knitting


Today, I finished my bathroom floor tile project. I didn’t WANT to finish it. I wanted to give up, leave it half done and take a nap instead. Not because I am lazy…well, partly because I am lazy. Mostly because I was having a dizzy spell. Between us, I sort of enjoy my dizzy spells. It’s like being drunk without getting sick or pregnant. Seeings how I am not drunk or pregnant, I knew I needed to finish this project.

First, I had to fill in all of the blank spots with cut tile pieces. I cut the tile pieces with my handy dandy hand held tile cutter. I used the box of tiles to cut on. Because I’m a bad ass. Once I had those pieces glued down, I had to go pick up the kid from her job. When I got back I mixed up the grout. But, I didn’t have a big stirrer thing so…I improvised with my Cuisinart. Genius. Maybe I will start my own floor tile business after all! Grout mixed. Started grouting. Got about 1/3rd done and ran out of grout. I think the one 10 pound bag would have covered more of the floor but I felt the need to grout my pajama bottoms too, so…

I went to pick up the other kid from school and made her run into the store for more grout. Got the last 10 pound pure white bag. Sometimes my life works out like that. Sometimes I step on a dead mouse. Comme si comme sa. I mix up some more grout and grout grout grout. I am grout. In between grouting sessions I wipe down the tile with that big ole yellow sponge. And I dump the grouty water down the tub drain (I audibly heard a collective groan from the handymen in the audience). Yeah, I know. Grout is essentially cement and dumping cement down the shower drain could conceivably put me right back where I started. I started with having my bathroom floor ripped up so that the plumber could get to the pipes that were about to explode. But I don’t always believe the rules really apply to me. I also don’t believe in that whole Fall Back Spring Ahead bullshit but you already knew that.

And so, as I was finishing up, I notice that my tub is no longer draining. At all. Seems legit. Step one : fork the drain. Now, if you have ever lived with girls (or boys with long hair) you know that hair gets all stuffed up in the drain. It’s so nasty. But I take a fork and spaghetti twirl the hair from the drain. Step two : have the kid go to the store and get two bottles of Liquid Plumber. Step three : pray.

I dump in one bottle and we have to go drop the kid to rehearsal. I come home and run the hot water whilst I clean up my groutastic mess. I know I should hit the floor one more time with the polishing sponge but I am so dead tired I want to pinch you really hard on your upper arm. You know that shit hurts. Lucky for you that I can’t  really bend my fingers. My hands are so dry that they feel like they are going to blow right off my wrists if the wind blows just right. My cousin said that’s because there’s alot of lye in the grout. I, of course, misunderstood him and thought he meant I should LIE in the grout. Not sure how having my entire body submerged in grout would make my hands feel better…maybe it would dry out my whole body and then my hands wouldn’t feel so weird? Logical in a way. You are starting to see why I am the way I am aren’t you?  I guess the ultimate test will be when I take a shower in a few minutes…if my feet aren’t burned off because of Liquid Plumber back up then I will call this two day affair a HUGE success.

Overall, I am satisfied with the result. Would I do it again? Well, if I HAD to I could…I say the same thing about marriage. And bangs. And jazzercize.

I bought this for myself 4 years ago and never used it. Until today. Surprisingly, there was no grout drink in the included mixology booklet...Lame.

I bought this for myself 4 years ago and never used it. Until today. Surprisingly, there was no grout drink in the included mixology booklet…Lame.

Pedicure RUINED. This is why I can't  have nice things.

Pedicure RUINED. This is why I can’t have nice things.

Almost finished. It's not polished very well and I see some spots that I will pretend I am going to fix and never will...but let's pretend it is perfect and give me a nice round of applause...

Almost finished. It’s not polished very well and I see some spots that I will say I am going to fix and never will…but let’s pretend it is perfect and give me a nice round of applesauce…

I Wish I Had A Hobby


Last night I decided that I needed to do something about my bathroom floor. Immediately. Because it’s been 10 months since my bathroom died and left  a giant hole in my bathroom floor. Flash forward to last night : I went to amazon.com and lowes.com and then pintrest. By about 1am I had decided that I would do a faux leather floor using the paper bag technique AND do a penny border…I woke up this morning, rolled out of bed with purpose and drove to Lowes. After spending an hour debating the pros and cons of peel and stick vs. fake wood snap together, outloud, to myself, I went with snap together fake wood. Just one box so I could see what it would look like and if I would like it. I knew I wasn’t going to like it. I wanted tile. But I had talked myself out of tile because I have very low self esteem and exceptionally bad handyman karma.

As I was driving home I had a session with myself about why I felt like I didn’t deserve tile. I can do that because I have a degree in psychology. That’s about all I can do with my degree so I do it often. Makes me feel better about not defaulting on my student loans.Why did I think I wasn’t capable of installing a tile floor? I am 42 years old and I have accomplished more than I ever knew I was capable of. Like cleaning various smelly, runny, moldy and dead things from numerous places in my home and installing a screen door. Granted, the screen door only lasted about a month until it fell off…but what a lovely month it was…I have wanted to tile my bathroom floor since I moved into this house 9 years ago. Ya know what? I deserve tile. Not only that, tile will be much easier to work with. Because I am going to get the small tiles that are held together with webbing which I do not need a tile saw to cut. Decision making skills are sort of my super power.

Since I was half way to the other Lowes, I went there and bought 3 boxes of tile, grout, and mastif (it’s not mastif but that’s the only word I can think of at the moment…) and I drove home. Now, I know that I am supposed to start in the middle of the room and work my way out. But…I’m sort of a rebel. I start where I want to. I know that it is a bad idea to start around the toilet but I do anyway. I lay out all of the tile and step back and look…And from what I can see I am going to need about 7 more boxes of tile. Because measuring is for losers. At this point, I wasn’t fully committed to actually installing the tile. I was on the fence which is why I had only grabbed 3 boxes. So, after seeing the tile laid out I decided that I needed to commit or get off the pot. Back to the first Lowes I go!

I go right to the flooring department and grab 4 more boxes, even though I had guesstimated I needed at least 7 more boxes. Why? Because doing things the hard way is the way I was raised. I never have the proper tools for the job, I never begin or end the easy way. I drive home and lay out the rest of the tile. It seems like it’s all sorts of uneven. I guess that’s what those spacers are for huh? I stand there and have to talk myself into doing this the right way. Spend the extra money and do it right. I will be happier. In my moment of doubt, I call a flooring guy from craigslist. But he didn’t answer so I left a message. Anyway,back to Lowes I go for spacers, a tile cutter, tape for the gaping hole in the floor and a grout smoother thingy.

I got home and cracked open the mastif and started gluing that shit down! And by shit I mean my elbows, my shorts, my hair, some tile, and my pinky toenail. I’m a messy worker. I know this about me so it is not a surprise or anything. I was almost fully covered in tile glue when I stopped and again had a small crisis of faith. Who did I think I was? This is going to look like crap, I am going to hate it and be so disappointed in myself. And just then, the phone rang. It was the craigslist guy. He said he could do it for me…for 300 bucks. Yeah, my faith resolved and I suddenly had a burst of Bob Vilia and I said “Thank you craigslist guy but not today! Today, I tile my own floor!” And I hung up and went to town on that mofo!! I cut a couple of tiles with my hand held tile cutter, I glued down every piece of tile I had, I taped the hole and glued over it. As I worked I remembered that I have a sense of humor, that every house in town is crooked and no one has even floors and that the Native Americans design a mistake into every pattern they make to stay humble. So, my bathroom floor is a tribute to my humble sense of humor. Or maybe it’s a tribute to Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. I’m not really sure. Those mastif fumes were pretty intense.

This is not the end, my friends. Tomorrow, I grout. Four trips to two different Lowes today and I have to go back one more time. It may not be the easy way but it is my way…it’s Frank Sinatra’s way…Stay tuned for the final reveal.

After the second trip to Lowes...scared to commit.

After the second trip to Lowes…scared to commit.

Some people use gloves and tools and shit...they all fancy...I'm an American. I'm an American with tile glue in my eyebrows.

Some people use gloves and tools and shit…they all fancy…I’m an American. I’m an American with tile glue in my eyebrows.

This is how it looks tonight as I go to bed...tomorrow I will buy one more box and grout the snot out of it and then, THEN I will be happy. I think it was Buddah who said "lay your own tile floor and find the path to happiness" Pretty sure he said that...

This is how it looks tonight as I go to bed…tomorrow I will buy one more box and grout the snot out of it and then, THEN I will be happy. I think it was Buddah who said “lay your own tile floor and find the path to happiness” Pretty sure he said that…

So, What Do You Do For Fun?


Woke up and the pipes were frozen. So, I throw on my coat and my daughter’s faux Uggs and walk out the back door, down the ice covered stairs, over the Mountain of Snow And Random Garbage That Spilled From A Bag Back In November and into the basement. I looked around for leaks and saw none. I gingerly opened the door to the Random Animal Morgue (never have I found an actual dead animal body in this room but it seems like it would be a perfect place for an animal morgue) to check the furnace and the water heater. Everything looks normal. Well, excluding me. I look like a freak. And then I notice the window…the only window in the Animal Morgue…it’s open. I walk over to inspect the situation and find the window pane on the floor, unbroken. Very odd. The window had been nailed in. This is the first time in my day that I wish I had a partner to turn to and discuss the weirdness with. I don’t have a partner but I do have an imagination so I just talk to myself about the strange situation…which I am guessing is also the reason I don’t have a partner? Paradoxical right?

I put the window pane back in, go upstairs and get the space heater, bring that into the Animal Morgue, plug it in, shut the door and say a prayer. My prayer went something like “Dear God, please let that work because it is 6am and I have so much to do today and ya know, I have already done the frozen pipes thing TWICE this year so…I’m pretty sure I have met the quota. Thanks. Bye” I walked out of the basement and forgot to duck (because the basement door is slightly shorter than I am) and slammed my head on the frame. Hard. I guess I deserved that. Because…..yeah.

I came inside and went upstairs to get ready for my day. No way am I going to let some frozen pipes and a slight concussion stop ME from living my life! And then the dog poops on the rug. It is now 6:15am and I have dealt with so much, just, so much. But I’m not going to let a little dog poop get me down! No sir!!

I’ll skip the rest of the day part except to tell you that about 8am I started having the most massive, unusual stomach pain I have ever experienced. Not cramps, more like a tennis ball with razor blades rolling around my body cavity. It was INTENSE!!! Every 15 minutes or so I would stop what I was doing and grimace in pain, sweat, cry and then it would pass only to come back as if I had swallowed  some demented Serena Williams and she was living in my abdomen batting around a razor blade tennis ball. Get out of my abdomen Serena Williams!

And then I made the first good decision of the day and I went to the ER. No one was there so I was waited on immediately. That never happens. Remember that time I sliced off the tip of my finger and they made us wait for like 3 hours with my poor daughter holding the severed tip on a paper towel. Ew. The Dr came in and asked if I was pregnant or the Virgin Mary. Neither. Odd question. After a few more questions like ” What’s your favorite color” and ” What classic movie character are you” he ran some blood tests and ordered a CT Scan. The best part of the CT scan is the contrast dye. Contrast dye makes me giggle. Only veterans of the CT scan will know why.

While I was downstairs giggling about the contrast dye, they moved a drunk guy into my room. Now, it wasn’t MY room per say. Just…I was there first…so, I claimed it as mine. Drunk guy didn’t care. He just wanted a samich. As I waited for my Dr to come back and tell me all they found on the CT was a giant fart and I was being a big baby, Drunk Guy went into the Spouting Off Profound Shit part of his drunk and said “It’s fun being crazy but it’s not fun being insane” And just as I was about to agree and meditate on that he said ” Unicorns are what’s killing our economy. If the people would stop feeding the unicorns we would all be better off. This ain’t China ya know. We don’t get to only have ONE baby.” Cue my doctor coming around the corner with a diagnoses for me. It wasn’t just a giant fart as I had both hoped and feared. It is a massive bladder infection. I had put all my money on gallbladder. Now I am broke because I lost AND I have a bladder infection. What a way to end the day. They shoot me up and give me pills, tell me I will feel shittier before I feel better and send me out the door. Drunk Guy blew me a kiss and then gave me the finger. I thought that was an appropriate send off. Here’s a picture of the tube thingy sticking out of my arm.

bloody tube arm