Thursday, November 29, 2007

Damn "They". Where is my handbook?

Where is my Parents' Handbook? As a parent, there are just some things in life you are never quite ready for, and no one ever prepares you. Take, for instance, my kids and I were driving home from the mall the other day after having their pictures taken with Santa. While in the car, my 7 year old daughter said, "Hey mom, I don't know how to tell you this, but I know that the Santa we just met at the mall isn't real." I was quiet, not sure how to respond. "W-W-What? What do you mean? Santa's not real?" I asked pretending to be shocked.

"Well," she said, "Of course he is real, but I think all the mall Santas are fake and they are just filling in for the REAL Santa. The REAL Santa is too busy at the North Pole trying to get ready for Christmas and he doesn't have time to go to the malls. Plus, I don't think he wants all those kids sitting on his lap. I just wanted you to know that that Santa wasn't the REAL Santa." I couldn't help but smile. I looked in my rearview mirror and looked at my 9 year old son as he gave me a smile and a nod. Our secret smile and nod.

My son found out the "truth" about Santa, which I won't reveal here just in case some of you aren't privy to the truth, about two years ago. Ever since he figured it out, he seems to think it is very cool that he is in on the "secret". Whenever my daughter talks about Santa, I think he feels all grown up and gives me a secret smile and nod because he knows and she doesn't know. He puffs his chest out just a little, gives me a look, and well, I think he thinks he is becoming a man because he is in on the secret. He is growing up.

I wish I could freeze time and keep them little and innocent forever. I will miss the days of the letters to Santa and her hope that he will read her letter and bring her what she wants. I will miss putting out the cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer. It will be an end to something magical; as if the last of the childhood magic has be used up.

You know, this is the stuff "they" don't tell you about before you have kids. "They" don't tell you that it will make you sad when your kids no longer believe. "They" don't tell you that overnight they go from diapers, to riding bikes, to helping put out the presents. "They" don't tell you.

Part of me is sad that this could possibly be her last year of believing; I want her to be a little girl forever, but I know that isn't an option. I never knew something like this would make me feel sad. How come "they" didn't put this stuff in the Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't give me a Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't prepare me that my kids' growing up would make me feel sad? Damn "they".

(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rid Your Home of Cat Hair; Without Getting Rid of the Cat!

There comes a time in a person's life when one just has to grab the reins and take control of a situation. No more sitting helplessly on the sidelines, whining; no way, action must be taken. The problem must be solved by whatever means are necessary. There is a huge problem in my house and I am going to think of a way to fix it. I am talking about cat hair, people, tons and tons of cat hair.

We have two cats, Elvis and Daisy May, and we have a ton of cat hair. Gross, I know. I put on my glasses the other day and I kept wiping the outside of the lens as it seemed a bit blurry, only to come find out that it wasn't blurry and the lens was fine; there was a piece of cat hair on the inside of my lens. There it was, taunting me, on the inside of the lens. Bug! And again, gross!

This morning, I put on a pair of black pants, well, they used to be black, but this morning they were kind of orangy-grayish-whitish. Gosh, any guesses what colors our cats are?

The final straw with these hairballs, er, cats, was after I lint-rolled my black pants and I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail. Guess what the cats did??? Any guesses? Any? That's right, the little feline furballs decided to rub up against my leg all nonchalantly, as if I wouldn't notice, and left their hair all over the bottom half of my legs! Sneaking little buggers, aren't they? Not only did they leave their mark in hair on my leg, but some of it managed to crawl up and land on my sweater. I swear, how does it know where to find the black clothes? How does it know?

Well, I am not going to sit back and take this covered in cat hair anymore. I am putting my foot down. I thought about getting out the vacuum and giving them a once over, but thought that might not be a good idea, especially if they got sucked up or something. I thought about shaving them, but I don't like the look of hairless cats and my kids would kill me and I want to live a long time. I need another option. Let me think. Hummmmm.

Click! Ooooh, my light bulb in my brain just went on. Instead of having to lint-roll the second hand hair that has migrated to my clothes, what if I could cut it off at the source? Good thinking, I tell myself as I as I pickup the lint roller off the table. Instead of lint-rolling me while I am wearing my clothes, I could cut out a step and lint-roll the cats, thus, solving the problem of their hair on my clothes, hair on my glasses, and thus giving the cats a much longer life span. Total genius!Sometimes I just amaze myself. Here kitty kitty...Here kitty kitty....Here kitty kitty.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Collecting State Quarters. It Is All Good

For some reason, I have a few things I enjoy that my friends make fun of. It is as if they are secretly laughing at me or making fun of me. OK, my true friends actually make fun of me to my face, and I am looking into getting some new friends, but until then, I just figure that as long as I enjoy what I do, it is all good; laugh away, friends, laugh away. One of the things that I get all excited about that they just don't get, is, I collect State Quarters.

In America, we have 50 states. In 1999, the coin maker people decided to put out five different state quarters each year for ten years, which would make for 50 quarters, one for every state. The quarters come out in order that each state became a state and each quarter has a different picture on the back of it; something that represents the individual state. Did you get all that? If not, go back and read it again and I will wait.


OK, glad you are back. I have been collecting these quarters since the beginning; I even have a map that is pre-printed and has holes cut out so you can put the quarters in the little circles. Such fun! I get so happy putting the quarters by their state, it is like a puzzle, a ten year puzzle, but nonetheless, a puzzle.

I still remember my first quarter way back in 1999, I was at a fast food restaurant and I got a quarter back in change. It wasn't just any old quarter, oh no, it was a neewwwwww one. Ooooh, it was so pretty and shiny! I wanted to find more and I realized that I only had 49 more to go and someday I would have them all! (Insert evil bad guy laugh)

As of today, I only have seven more I need to find, and five of those won't be out until next year. Today, as I was at a quick mart, I got one of the three remaining ones I still need for this year. I looked at my change and let out a whoohoo! The lady behind the counter looked up from her magazine and asked if everything was OK. I told her it was better than OK, it was great-I had another quarter! Yes, one does get used to strangers rolling their eyes. Pretty soon, one barely notices it. Now, I am going to go put the new quarter in its little place on the map. Only seven more to go! Whoohoo! Oh, it is ok to laugh, like I said, it is all good. I am happy, you are happy, and I only have seven more to go. It is all good.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Check. Grumble grumble. Check Check.

Hot water in the tub? Check
Bubble bath with lots of bubbles? Check Check
Good book, great radio station, and lots of candles so I can sit in the tub and relax? Check Check Check

Time elapsed one minute.

Kid knocking, er, pounding on door wanting me to get out and yell at the other kid for who-knows-what? Check. Grumble grumble. Check Check.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life in the ER. Some Things I Will Never Know.

The last few days have made me realize how helpless I feel when my kids are sick. Sure, I can get them medicine, to a hospital, or kiss a booboo, but other than that, if they are sick, they are sick, and I can't stop it. I will always be there to hold a hand or rub a back and sometimes, it seems, just being there is enough. But what if you didn't have anyone to be there?

Yesterday I had to take my son to the emergency room. He would kill me if I were to say why, so I will only say it was a boy thing and he is much better today. I only wish I could say that about a lady, whose name I don't know, whom I had an brief encounter with at the emergency room.

The way an emergency room works, is, once you are admitted and they start the testing, there is nothing left to do but sit, wait, tell bad jokes, and make small talk; it is extremely boring. The rooms are cold, all you hear are doctors talking or patients moaning, and you just want to get out of there.

After about two hours of sitting with my son, I had to get up and move around. I walked up and down the hallway and was surprised at how crowded it was. There were people on hospital beds lined up against the walls; all waiting for a room.

One elderly lady caught my eye as she was parked, for lack of a better word, right outside of my son's room. Apparently, she was there with a broken pelvis. I watched her for a minute as she would try to grab anyone who walked by. I don't know if she needed medical attention or just some company but she was reaching out to anyone and everyone who happened to be within an arm's distance. I tried to walk by her and back to my son's room, and that is when she reached out to me. I asked if she needed anything and she asked if I worked there. I said no but I would get a nurse. I don't think she understood me as she asked me again if I worked there and I again told her no. She looked so sad and lonely.

I wondered where her family was, or if she had any family. I thought about offering her my phone so she could call someone, anyone, to come and sit with her, but she seemed a bit out of it so I didn't. She was very old and all alone in the emergency room. Why wasn't anyone with her? I know she was there at least three hours as that was how long we were there.

I went back to my son's room and after a few hours, the doctor told me that my son was better and he could go home. I was so relieved and couldn't wait to get out of there. As happy as I was to be leaving and taking my son home, a part of me, somewhere deep in my heart, wanted to stay with that lady. I just wanted to sit with her and tell her bad jokes to help pass the time. I hate that she was there by herself in pain. No one to make small talk, no one to get her juice, and no one to hold her hand. A part of my head is still with her as I am still thinking about her, but I guess all I can do is hope that someone came to be with her. I guess I will never know.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cindy's Christmas Song Game (c)

Cindy’s Christmas Song Game

It's almost that time of year again....Holidays, ornaments, giving, presents,and all the good that goes along with this time of year. I love the holiday season. I love almost everything about it, everything, that is, except three certain Christmas songs.

When I was ten, I went to the mall with my mom to buy Christmas presents. While waiting in one of the mile long lines to pay for our presents, I heard White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, and Little Drummer Boy. There was a guy behind me who was whistling the songs along with them. Nothing sounds worse than a Christmas song being whistled. Drove me nuts.

The next store we went to, we ended up in another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs! Uggg!

The third store we went to, we ended up in yet another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs again! I vowed from then on, I never, ever wanted to hear those three songs again, especially while standing in line buying presents, and hence, Cindy's Christmas Song Game(c) was born.

This game does not start until December 1 of every year, and it goes until Christmas. The rules are simple, and since it is my game, they are not to be broken, bent, twisted, or anything else, unless express written permission from me is granted; but, it won't be as I don't allow anyone to deviate from the rules. The goal is to make it to Christmas without hearing your three songs. If this happens, you win. If not, you lose.


1. Pick three Christmas song you do not want to hear from December 1 until December 25.

2. If you hear one of your songs, whether on the radio, the television, a commercial, the mall, the post office, the grocery store, if your in-laws put in a holiday song CD that they randomly decide to play, or anywhere else, when you hear your song, you get dinged and only have two songs left. If you hear over three seconds of any of your songs, THREE SECONDS ONLY, you are dinged and that song is out. No second chances. None.

2. Once you hear your first song, it is kind of a warning and you are on notice that you only have two songs left. Laugh now, but it gets stressful. You might be fiddling around with the radio and think, "I hope I don't accidentally click on a station playing a commercial with one of my songs." Or, "What if some carolers show up and sing one of my songs?" Or, "I hope the car next to me isn't blasting one of my songs." See? Stressful. That could give a person an ulcer.

3. Once you have heard all three of your songs and been dinged, you are out. Done. Total loser. Don't feel bad as I have been playing this game going on 26 years and once was out on December 2, not a good year. Only once have I made it Christmas only to have my in-laws play a CD, unknowingly, with my last song. Doh! Dinged. Out. Loser.

So, any questions? I am putting this up now so you can all get a head start and think of your songs. Pick good ones as once you pick them, you cannot change until the next year. I will re-post this on December 1 for a reminder. If you get the kids involved, they are awful and will make sure to point out your songs, just in case you missed one of them. Helpful little buggers, aren't they? So, you have a few days to think of your songs so write them down and no cheating!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

You're Not Pregnant? Are You Sure?

My kids and I went to the doctor's today to get our throats swabbed for strep throat, something I absolutely hate. As we were sitting in the little room waiting for the nurse to jam a Q-Tip down our throats, I thought of something funny and started laughing. I do that a lot, I think of something funny and then laugh; my kids seem to do a lot of eyerolling. I wonder if the two are related. Hummmm.

Anyway, I was thinking back to a few years ago when I was in the doctor's office and I overheard two nurses talking outside the door. Nurse 1, who sounded very angry, said, "This little boy just asked if I was pregnant." Nurse 2 asked, "Well, what did you tell him?" I think she asked because I think she also wondered the same thing. Nurse 1 said, "I told him no, that I was not, and that it was very rude to ask!" Then she continued, "The little boy looked at me again and asked, 'Are you sure?'"

pffffffttttt. Giggle Giggle. Hehe. Snicker Snicker. I know, it was very rude of that little boy to ask if she was sure she was not pregnant, but even so, it was kind of funny.

After thinking about what the little boy said, Nurse 2 couldn't help it and she laughed; finally so did nurse 1. Then she made a comment about getting on a treadmill and they both laughed again, so it had a happy ending. Whew.

So, back to me sitting there waiting to have the cottonball-on-a-stick shoved down my throat to see if I have strep, I was hoping like mad that some little kid would ask this nurse that same question. She was very skinny, but since she was making me miserable, I thought it would be ok to make her miserable as well, at least for a minute or two. Did I mention I hate have my throat jabbed with a Q-Tip? And that I get crabby when I am sick? And when I am sick and crabby I think bad things about the people who are poking things in me? Well, I do. Hey kid, where are you? How come I can never find a rude kid when I need one?
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tall Girls Have All the Luck

The other day I was watching a TV show that was showing old TV commercials. Most I didn't think much of, but one in particular brought back some memories. This commercial was the epitome of what I wanted to be when I grew up; it gave me hope that one day I could be a something, a someone, a somebody. This commercial inspired me and gave me hope. Was this a commercial for world peace? No. How about ending poverty? No. This was a commercial that changed my life; this was a commercial for Nair Leg Hair Removal.

In the commercial, the women would put Nair on their legs, it looks like shaving cream, and poof! the end result was long, tan, beautiful legs, with no hair, of course. It taught me that a woman could wear short-shorts after using the Nair and the men would love her. I swear, as a kid, I thought that when I got older, I would buy some of that Nair and I would put it on my legs and I would be Ms. Thing. Uh-huh. Snap snap.

My friends and I would sing the little song from the commercial, probably more than was a healthy amount. If you don't know the song or need a refresher, here it is (Who wears short-shorts? We wear short-shorts. If you dare go bare it's Nair with alovera), or something very close to that. The commercial had a bunch of women sitting at what looked like an ice cream counter in super short-shorts with very long, tan legs, and it was all due to the Nair, or so I thought. I just knew I would be one of those girls one day.

Fast forward about so many years and well, things just didn't turn out quite like I figured. First off, I am only 5'2" and I think those models' legs alone were 5'2, so right there I was out of the running to be a Nair leg model girl. I also hate the heat and am not a big fan of tanning, so again, there goes the tan part being that I am either white or pinkish or a dark red from a sunburn. As for beautiful legs, mine aren't too bad, but nothing like the ones those women had. Plus, at my age, it might be a felony if I were to wear the short-shorts out in public and I really don't want to be locked up.

It is funny how, as a kid, I really thought that that Nair would give me long, tan, beautiful legs. As an adult, I know better. Sometimes it would be nice to not figure things out and still have those silly dreams. Speaking of dreams, please do not even get me started on the Rockettes. I am speaking of the world famous New York Rockettes, the ones in the showgirl type outfits that perform the famous kick line. I thought they were perfect and really wanted to be one, maybe as a side job to being a Nair leg model. My dreams were crushed when I found out the Rockettes have a minimum height requirement of 5'6". I can't even tell you how much I wanted to be one of those ladies.

I have since gotten over my dream of being the Nair leg model/Rockette and maybe I should work on world peace or ending hunger, as those would be much more realistic dreams for me. Boy, those tall girls have all the luck; sometimes life just isn't fair.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Even Bugs Need a Proper Burial

My son loves bugs. No wait, he doesn't love bugs, he LOVES bugs.

While sitting at the restaurant the other night, I noticed he was only using one hand to eat and the other hand was in a fist and he was being very careful not to bump it. Not knowing if I really wanted to know, I finally asked him what was in his fist. Again, I wasn't sure I wanted to know, but knew I had to ask.

He slowly opened his fist, and I mean SLOWLY, as I think he wasn't sure if he was going to be in trouble or not. Inside his closed fist was a moth, a wounded moth; my son brought a wounded moth into a restaurant. Arrrgggg! He told me he found it on the sidewalk and it was hurt and he wanted to help it. I told him he couldn't have it in the restaurant so he offered to go wait outside. He would rather wait outside with his little moth friend than eat dinner. I told him him no, to stay put, and to keep the moth in his hand and we would get our food to go. Our waitress stopped by about this time and luckily she must have been a bug lover too, as she got him a to-go cup and they put the hurt moth inside. Awww.

That night my son put a wet cotton ball in for water and gave it a leaf to eat. I think he checked on it once or twice throughout the night. The moth only lived about one more day, and my son gave it a proper burial. A proper bug burial consists of an empty toilet paper roll for the casket with its name written on it, and wrapped in toilet paper. He digs a little hole and buries it. Someday, someone in the future is going to discover our bug cemetery and will have a good wonder at what the heck was buried.

My son has since moved on to crickets and he buys those little feeder crickets that other people use to feed their pets. He gets very upset when people feed them to other animals, it would be like giving a puppy to a lizard, or at least it is in his eyes. Crickets are only eight cents each so I can't complain about the price. Oh, yes, he does buy them cricket food and water and even cleans out their cage. They are so gross and I can't stand them, but to see my son taking care of them makes me happy and makes him happy thinking he is saving the crickets. I guess there are worse things a boy could do.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Help Wanted: Mom-For-Rent

I am now on day two of being home sick and I have decided to put the following sign in my window:
Duties include, but are not limited to:
Fluffing pillows, keeping the remote within my distance, making hot chocolate and soup, doing the laundry, the dishes, tidying up anything that needs to be tidied, and just making me feel better by not letting me do anything.

It's hard being sick when you are the mom; I want a Mom-For-Rent. Today as I was lying on what felt like my death bed with a fever, chills, headache, sore throat, and all over aches and pains, my son's school called and said he had the same thing and could I please drag my sick self down to the school to come pick him up. I offered her $50 to keep him, but she politely declined. I should have upped my offer. Note to self, next time offer more money.

So, looking worse than a mud fence after a rain and feeling worse than I looked, I crawled to my car and picked up my son. Luckily for me, all he wanted to do was sleep, which made it quite convenient for me to be sick and not have to move. As I was lying on the couch being miserable, I realized that the remote control was about six inches out of my reach. That was terrible. I couldn't move and didn't have the energy to reach six more inches. I had my cell phone but was pretty sure no one I called would drive to my house to move my remote the six inches that was needed to reach my hand. It was at that very second that the phrase "Mom-For-Rent" flashed in my mind. I bet someone could make a killing doing that. All she would have to do is take care of a mom when a mom is sick. Sometimes I am such a genius that I even amaze myself.

My son woke up a few hours later and wanted some toast. I looked at him and thought, "There is no way I am getting off this couch to make you some toast," and I thought that all the way to the kitchen, while standing the toaster waiting for his toast, and again as I was cutting his toast into little bite sized pieces like he likes. I was also thinking this as I made him a cup of hot chocolate to go with his toast that was buttered and cut into bite size pieces. Even moving to the kitchen hurt and I wanted someone else, anyone else, to make his toast and hot chocolate for him, and maybe make me some too.

I am cutting this short as I really do feel awful and just got up to get some aspirin for my aches and pains. It would have been so nice to have someone get that aspirin for me. Maybe a Boyfriend-For-Rent would be nice too, but then again, I would never get the remote from him and the constant flipping of the channels would drive me crazy. Plus, I would probably have to clean up after him, so that might defeat the purpose. Hummm. So, I am sticking with the Mom-For-Rent and if anyone decides to follow up with this idea, give me a call.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Holidays! I know it is early, but..

Jingle Bells...Jingle Bells...Jingle all the....wait a minute, it is only November. Rats! I can't be singing Jingle Bells in November, it is too early. Double rats! I am so ready for the holiday season to start, but Thanksgiving hasn't had its day yet. Rats, rats, and more rats!

Today I was in a store and they were selling the cutest little snowman ornaments ever. They even light up, so how could I not buy them? I couldn't, and I bought three. When I got home with my three snowman ornaments that light up, I needed a safe place to hang them, as they are glass, until I put up my tree. Where-oh-where? Hummm, how about the door knobs? No, we have cats and they would knock them off. The refrigerator? Naw, they would fall off when I closed the door. Next door at the neighbor's place? No good, they have kids and animals and that would be like leaving them here. Where could I put them? I concluded that the only good place to hang an ornament would be on a Christmas tree. Since my tree wasn't up, I had a problem.

Since I am allergic to real Christmas trees--yes, I really am, stop laughing, they give me hives--I keep mine in a box on my patio. As I walked around my place with the three snowman ornaments that light up, I wandered out on my patio and I swear I heard my poor tree begging to be let in so I could put the ornaments where they so rightfully belonged. It was saying that the holidays would be here soon, so why not get ahead of the game and put it up? I had to turn my back and ignore its pleas as being that it is only November, that is just way too early. It was all I could do to go back inside and shut the door.

All I can do now, I suppose, is wait. Wait for Thanksgiving to get here, as that is the official start to the holiday season. After that, it is acceptable to hang up the ornaments on their proper place on my tree. Nothing against Thanksgiving, as I love to eat and spend time with my family, but it just does not compare to the fun of good old December, the holiday season.

I love the holiday season and everything about it. I love how the weather is cold and I get to bundle up in a big jacket and crank up the heater in the car. I love how people seem friendlier. I love how the kids and I have more fires and drink more hot chocolate. I love how people give more money to charities and help others when that didn't seem as important during the rest of the year. I love how people donate food, clothes, and toys to help those less fortunate. I love how people deliver food to the elderly so they can have a nice meal. I love how people give a few extra dollars, or even a blanket to help a homeless person. I love the lights strung on houses. I even love those big goofy decorations people put on their lawns. I love it all!

The best part to me is that this time of year seems to bring out the best in people. No matter what their religion, or even if they don't have a religion, there is something that makes people want to share and donate and help others. Even if they don't celebrate any holidays, most people still seem to be more giving. I love that.

I have been on the giving end, and the receiving end of donations and let me tell you this: When you are down and out and there isn't much money to buy your kids presents, having someone help you, well, the feelings of thankfulness fill your heart to the brim and run over. You can feel your heart smile. When I have been on the giving end and have helped others, it is a different kind of happiness. It is such a great feeling to help make someones holiday special, and that is better than any present I could ever receive.

So, back to the snowmen ornaments that light up and my talking tree out on the patio. I think I will wait until Thanksgiving to put up my tree, or maybe the day after, as if I put it up any earlier, the neighbors might report me to the proper authorities, or egg my place. I don't want to be like the people with their Christmas lights turned on in July and I think putting up my tree this early in the year would be close to that. Since I like my neighbors, I will wait. I think I will put the snowmen ornaments that light up back in their bag and maybe take them out every few days and have a look, just to make me smile. They remind me of what lies ahead and that makes me happy. Happy holidays, I hope they are wonderful!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Huge Thanks to Anita Creamer

Today I opened the Sacramento Bee Newspaper and looked at the Scene Section. I was at the store reading the front page when I saw my name; I was speechless. Being speechless is something that rarely happens to me, so it was a big deal. The column I saw that made me speechless was about my blog and how it began. A minute or two later when I got my voice working again, I was so excited that I went over to a lady in the store and asked her to read the column. I showed a few more people and I would have shown the rest, but they were working and I didn't want to get them in trouble. The people I showed liked the story and before I left, I called my parents, sister and a few friends. I also text messaged some people. Ok, sometimes I like attention.

I owe a huge thanks to Anita Creamer, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee Newspaper, for writing her column about my blog. I am a huge fan of hers and have been since the first time I read one of her columns. She writes about people, and some of her stories have moved me to tears. That is a sign of a great writer, and that she is.

I knew there would be a story coming out, but I wasn't sure when or if it would really happen, I think that is why I was so surprised. I truly appreciate her writing about my blog and I hope to continue to provide interesting things for others to enjoy. If I could give her a hug over the Internet, I would. So, Anita, consider yourself hugged!

Thank you Anita!
Cindy Breninger
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If you would like to view the story, here is the link:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

With Death, It is ok to Live

Last night the kids and I bought two fish for our fish tank. When we woke up this morning, one of them was dead. Our hamsters have never lasted over a year or two, and my son's pet crickets, well, if they are alive for over a month, we know they have reached old age and it is just a matter of time. In a way, having pets come and go can make it easier to handle when it happens to a person. Having lost a pet that you love, you learn that life does go on, even without them.

I remember when my kids' first hamster, named Mouse, died. It was so sad. My son found him in the cage right before leaving for school. Both kids had a good cry, but went off to school. I was worried about the kids all day. Were they in their classes crying? Were they upset? How would they handle the tragedy of the morning?

When I picked the kids up later that day, they were both fine. No tears, no sadness, no nothing. I asked how their day went they both said they were sad in the morning, but once they started playing, they forgot about it.

I have lost a lot of people in my life, from my mom, to a best friend, to relatives, and everyone in between. Often, when I find out about someone passing, I want to be alone and not talk to anyone or see anyone. But, being a single mom with kids, that option is often not available.

I lost another friend a few weeks ago and was going to stay home, cry, and be sad. My sister called me and asked me to go to her house. At first, I didn't want to. I would just be a burden, all sad and crying and such. But she asked again and I decided I would. When I got there, we put on a funny movie and it made me smile. I felt guilty about laughing when I should have been crying.

When my kids found the fish this morning, at first they were sad, but then they said it was ok because we could just go to the pet store and buy another one. With people, you don't get to go buy another one, but somehow you just know that life does go on. You still have to go to work, you still have to pay your bills, and you still have to do whatever it is you normally do. Yes, there are days when I still cry and my heart is sad, but I also know that my heart will never forget the person and that it is ok to give my mind a break. It is ok to laugh, it is ok to love, and it is ok to live.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Normal Family? What is That?

My daughter once asked me if we were a normal family. Normal? Hummm. Good question. I didn't have an answer for her, but the question got me thinking about what makes a family normal or not normal. I started thinking about my own family and the things that make us, well, us. I figured that once I put some thought into it, I could decide if we were normal or not and give her an answer.

We have a lot of pets which include a whole mess of fish, a Russian Tortoise, two cats, and about 60 crickets. In the past, we have had an entire gaggle of hamsters, two stick bugs, a dog, a frog, and a moth. The crickets gross me out, but I don't mind them as long as my son catches them when they escape. But, I do draw the line at snakes and spiders as both scare the heck out of me. My daughter once wrote a letter to Santa and asked for a spider, so ever since then, I have had to put my foot down.

Sometimes, we take our tortoise outside for a walk. I imagine it must be a pretty funny sight to see the three of us walking down the street with our tortoise. My son is working on making her a leash, that ought to be a sight.

Every Tuesday we have spaghetti night. My son hates spaghetti sauce so he puts applesauce on it. I know, gross, but he loves it. I keep hoping he will outgrow this in a few years. My daughter, on the other hand, loves ketchup. She loves it so much, she even dips her bananas and strawberries in it. Ewww.

My daughter loves to put her clothes on her cat. The cat, well, she doesn't love it so much. If she could shoot darts out of her eyes at me for allowing my daughter to parade her around the place in a dress, I would be a dead ten times over. Sometimes the kids give their cats baths and there is nothing funnier than a wet cat shaking off its little paws all the while glaring at you. You just can't help but laugh when they are all skinny, ticked off, and shaking off. They always end up just fine and smelling so much better, so, glare all ya want kitties.

We sometimes wake up and decide to drive to the snow; or go for a hike; or go to the movies; or visit with friends; or or or...whatever we want! We almost always have a good time as we are all goofballs and laugh and joke around. Sometimes we turn up the music and dance around with the lights off and the disco ball spinning; or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie; or climb a tree; or look at the stars with a telescope. Sometimes we have those Saturdays where we want to do absolutely nothing, and we sit home and do just that, a do-nothing day, my personal favorite.

Getting back to wondering what makes a normal family, I don't know how to answer that. I think as long as the family has fun together, can laugh together, and enjoys being together, then that would be my definition of what makes a normal family. If I am wrong, then I don't want us to be normal.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Obsessed? I hope so!

Obsession, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an idea or feeling; also: an emotion or idea causing such a preoccupation.

Many have used this word to describe me when it comes to skiing. Just because I once took my skis in for a wax and tuneup in July in hopes it would bring an early snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I check the local ski resorts daily to see if, by chance, we have had any new snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I get happy when there is even the tiniest cloud in the sky, even in the summer, because I think it just might be bringing some of its cloud friends for some snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I literally dream I am skiing and wake up sad that it was only a dream, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I once skied on a little patch of man-made snow just to have my skis on my feet and snow under my skis, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I have taken my kids to the vacant ski resorts during the summer just to sit on the chair lift, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I once skied on my right leg as I put a tiny fracture in my left leg the week before from a bad fall, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I would get in the car at night with a friend and drive an hour to a resort for night skiing in 8 degree weather, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I would spend my last few dollars on a lift ticket instead of anything else, does not make me obsessed. Or does it?

I might be inclined to say I am a wee bit obsessed, but I love having something I love and am passionate about. How sad it would be to go through life and not have something that you are passionate about, dream about, think about, and get to be a part of.

I like knowing how much I love to ski. I like how if I am having a rotten day, I can hit the slopes and no matter what was bothering me, by the time I hit my first run, I no longer care. Bills overdue? Who cares! I can't pay them from the chairlift, so they just don't matter. Nothing can bother me when I am up there, nothing, and I like it that way.

I am beginning to think being obsessed is a good thing. I hope everyone finds at least one thing they can't live without. I have often said I could live if I physically couldn't ski, but honestly, not sure if I would want to. I would be glad to be around for my kids, but I know I would always be missing that part of me that loves to ski. It makes me happy. I also say to find something you love to do, and do it often. If not, why not?
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Ever See a Cat High on Catnip? It's Bad News!

Oh my word, one of the funniest and oddest things I have ever seen is going on in my place right this minute. We have two cats, Elvis and Daisy May. They are pretty peaceful, laid back, and prefer to sleep most of the time. I don't know a whole lot about cats, so I am lucky they are low maintenance. They are brother and sister, two years old, and I have always thought they seemed pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary, like say, a drug problem...or so I thought.

I was at the pet store today and bought a cardboard scratch board type of thing. I brought it home, took it out of the box and left it on the floor and went about my day. Normal enough, until Elvis, the boy cat, started sniffing around. I swear, if cats could smile, he was smilling from ear to ear. He put his nose up to the cardboard and wouldn't move, like his nose was glued to it or something.

The girl, Daisy May, was over near the outer box trying to rip it apart. What the??? What is up with the cats? They rarely move and now they are both acting like crazies. I took the outer box from Daisy May and inside was a little baggie containing some dried green leaves. It reminded me of the bags of marijuana that the police take from the bad guys on the show Cops. I re-read the box the cardboard came in and it said it contained one bag of "Catnip".

I had never seen Catnip and actually thought it was something that was made up; however, my cats knew what it was. They were acting like junkies trying to get high. I swear, they were smellin', lickin', and eatin' the cardboard thing. Geeze, hand them a lighter and I bet they would have smoked it. I mean it, they were trying to eat the cardboard to get to the catnip, or the smell, as that must have leaked onto the cardboard. Daisy May put her nose up to the board for another hit, er, smell, and Elvis full on smacked her on the head as if to tell her it was his stash and to go get her own. They were ready to fight over sniffing the cardboard. What happened to my sweet, mellow cats? They were fighting over a hit off the cardboard.

Even now, as we are about to go to bed, Elvis is sleeping on the drug laced, er, catnip laced board. Every time Daisy May goes near him, he hisses, and I swear, he about makes a fist giving her a warning that it is his cardboard. If he had a knife, I swear he would pull it on her. Good thing cats can't have guns. I am beginning to think he is an addict. If he starts following his paws around in the air seeing tracers, I am taking that cardboard back.

I think I am going to take them to Narcotics Anonymous tomorrow as they need to get clean. This stuff is bad news. Ever see a cat's brain on catnip? It is just like that commercial with the fried egg. Bad news.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Oh, for the Love of Children

Oh, the things we will do, er, eat for the love of our children. Tonight, my seven year old daughter was in the kitchen and she said she was making a surprise for me. When she brought me a plate, it had a taco that I knew she worked very hard on and made sure it was "perfect". She eagerly watched as I picked up the taco and took a bite as she waited for my response. When I said, "Yummy! This is the best taco ever!" she was so proud and pleased with herself that it made me happy. She had the biggest grin on her face and waited to make sure I ate every last bite.

The taco that I lovingly ate contained: one taco shell; one refried bean; a piece of shredded cheese; and the rest of the shell filled with sour cream. Ever taken a big old spoonful of sour cream and eaten it? No? Me neither. But, it was so cute how she wanted to do something for me and she tried to make something she thought would make me happy, how could I turn that down? Obviously, I couldn't, and if she makes another one tomorrow, I will eat it just to see her cute little face with that great, big smile!

You just haven't lived until you have eaten an entire taco filled with sour cream. I will never forget how happy she was to make me happy and there is not a better feeling in the world. Oh, what we do for the love of our children!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 2, 2007

War Against the Gnats

For some reason, this time every year, let's just call it the pumpkin rotting season, we seem to be infested with gnats. The gnats appear out of nowhere and invade our pumpkins. Once they leave the pumpkins, for some unknown reason, they make their way to our bathroom. We have never had a pumpkin, or food, or anything of interest to them in there, and I have never been able to figure out why they migrate to the bathroom, but they do. Every year the kids and I vow to fight off the gnats and kill them, and this year is no different. This is war, people!

One trick my son uses is, he waits until they are on the wall and then rolls over them with a lint roller, he has also left glue on a piece of paper hoping they would land there, and placed a cup of hot chocolate on the counter, again, hoping they would want a drink and then get stuck; we have tried everything, or so I thought.

My son stayed home sick today and was in the bathroom for a very long while. I knocked and asked if he was OK and he said yes. When he finally came out, he was smiling, and went back to sit on the couch. He had a big old grin and I asked if everything was OK. He said yes. He looked at me and said, "Mom, we are smarter this year and we are going to win the war against the gnats!" And that was all he would say. This made me a bit concerned.

I went into the bathroom and taped to the mirror, was an empty Junior Mints box that had a piece of chocolate taped to the inside, tape was all over the inside and outside of the box, with the sticky side out. What the? Why is there a sticky, chocolaty Junior Mints box taped to the bathroom mirror? SON!

I asked my son why that was on the mirror and he said, "Mom, when the gnats walk around on the mirror, they will see the chocolate and want to go inside. Once they are inside, they will get stuck and then no more gnats!" He said it with a bit of an evil laugh. I imagined an evil scientist rubbing his hands together after thinking of a brilliant idea, or world domination. He might be taking this a little too seriously. Humm. Worry about that later, must get gnats first.

I hope his little trap works as I hate the gnats. They freak me out as I don't want to walk with my mouth open for fear they will fly in my mouth, I don't want to breathe and again, have one in my mouth, or have one get stuck to my teeth or something. Ewwww. I hope the pumpkin rotting season ends quickly and takes its gnats with it. Yuck!

First update: My son just reported that he caught one gnat in the trap! Man your stations everyone, this year we will be victorious! The bathroom will be ours again!

Second update: My have now enlisted the kid next door. They are armed with two dustbusters, a lint roller and a roll of tape. Don't mess with us, boy, we are taking over!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.