I'm leaving, in a PT Cruiser......

So I have the chance to go camping with my BFF and another friend of ours tonight. Belle is keeping Colt until I return in the morning. I have to go take care of the BFF. Her oldest sister died Labor Day weekend 1999, while we were in high school. She needs me tonight. I'll be out of pocket until sometime tomorrow morning (as in, almost NO cell phone signal) and I'll check back then, and post something new.

And yes, Momma, Tony will have signal on his cell phone. Belle has the number if she needs me. AT&T just hates the location we're going to, so BFF and I will only have one or two bars of signal, at best. Tony has Verizon, and his phone works great out there.

And as a plus, tomorrow is Day 1 of the happiest time of the year. College Football!!!!!!!!!

ROLL TIDE! (oh, and GO TEAM for whoever you pull for. Me and mine, we bleed Crimson and White!)

Restaurant Review: Ruby Tuesday (more a service review than food review)

I usually don't go out to sit-down restaurants often. I have a child that yells, "French fries!" every time we pass a McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic or Hardee's. Not that we eat fast food that often. But when we do eat out, it's usually something from a drive-through while we're in town running errands. (My child also knows when we go to Walmart he can get "Pop chicken" in a cup, so we have to get some every time we go through the door there.)

Last Saturday was my Mom's birthday (Hi Mommy! no, I'm not going to tell how old you are. Even though you're younger than ALL of my friends' parents.). My sister and I wanted to do something kinda nice for it, since my mom doesn't get to eat out often. She has Celiac disease. She can never, ever eat anything with gluten in it. For the rest of her life. Nothing with wheat, barley, rye, and a host of other ingredients. Nothing that could have possibly been cross-contaminated with The Gluten. Unless you know someone who has had to go gluten free, you have no idea how difficult it can be for a heathen gluten-eater to prepare anything that can be eaten by someone who is GF (gluten free). We do, when we can, but it's stressful for us. We take extreme measures to prevent cross-contamination in anything our mother will eat. We get anal about food prep and serving. If we didn't, she would get really, really sick from eating the food we prepare for her.

So my sister had the fabulous idea of taking her out to eat. There are a few restaurants that offer gluten free menus. Olive Garden is one. But the closest one is in the next large-ish town over. We don't have one in our hometown. But we DO have a Ruby Tuesday, and they offer GF menu items. SO my sister and I decided we would go to Ruby Tuesday. Belle (my sis) also invited our grandparents to eat with us. Since it IS their daughter and all. We kept the location a secret from Momma.

Belle baked a gluten free cake for our mom, using brand-new never-been-used-before mixing bowl, whisk, cake pan, rubber spatula. Using a box of cake mix that probably ran about $4.00 at the local grocery store. Using GF butter and icing. She carefully baked and iced the cake and wrapped it for the ride to the restaurant. She arranged for the waiter to hold it until after our meal, then bring it to the table with clean plates.

Our waiter was fantastic. I have never had better service anywhere. He totally got that our mom would get very sick, and stay sick for several days, if anything she ate was cross-contaminated with gluten. He had a very lengthy discussion with her on what she could and couldn't eat. She listed what extra ingredients to look for in items her food was prepared from. He diligently checked the ingredients list on everything that went into her food. He ensured the chef would carefully prepare her appetizer and meal, so that cross-contamination would be avoided.

Momma looked over the menu and selected appetizers that we could all share in. (We got the Spinach & Artichoke dip, Cheese dip and Guacamole with corn tortilla chips. De-lish!) She ordered her entree. We all ordered our entrees. The appetizers arrived. After Momma spooned out her portions, we all dove in. (We waited to avoid cross-contaminating the dips before she got hers out.)

The entrees arrived, and we all dug in. Lots of conversation and laughs were had over our late lunch/early dinner (it was, like 4:00 in the afternoon. But we planned it that way to avoid the dinner crowd. With, like, four decent restaurants in our town, dinner time on the weekends is really crowded. no matter which one you eat at.)

After our meal, the waiter brought out the cake and a stack of clean plates. We lit candles (Belle's boyfriend, The Beast, bought those Magic Re-light candles. Excellent! Momma enjoyed the joke as much as we did.) GF cake was ingested by all.

After a while, we started getting concerned glances from the wait staff. Kinda like, "These people have been here for two hours. They've had appetizers, entrees, and a cake they brought from home. They're paid their bill and left their tip. They haven't eaten a bite of food in the last twenty minutes. And here comes the dinner crowd. When are they leaving?" They had been so gracious and patient with all of our demands. We understood that they would like to break down the two tables they had used to make ours with and get our mess cleaned up before they got every other table in the joint filled. After all, the wait staff can't make more tips if we're occupying their tables for over two hours. So we took the party outside, to the benches in front of the restaurant. After another twenty minutes, we finally decided to call it a party well done and part ways.

I would like to extend a heart-felt thanks to that poor waiter. He put up with us so well. He was very friendly, and never complained about our requests with my mom's food. At least, to our faces. We were definitely not his easiest customers that day.

The best part of all? My mom didn't get sick. Success! We took her out to eat AND served her a homemade GF cake, and she was OK. It's all thanks to our exceptional waiter, who went to great lengths to ensure she got GF food. I don't remember his name, but I thought about going in there just to tell him that he did excellent that day.

What about you? Have you had an exceptional experience at a restaurant lately? What made it such a great experience?

The Painted Bra Art Project

October is quickly approaching. We all know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I think every month should be breast cancer awareness month (along with several other conditions/diseases/disorders/causes).

With that in mind, I bring to you a very worthwhile art project. The Painted Bra Art Project is devoted to spreading the word about breast cancer, as well as raising funds for breast cancer research. Participants buy a new bra, decorate it any way they choose, and donate it to the project to be auctioned. Photos of each bra (or "Brasterpiece", as they are called) are posted on their Facebook page, along with the artist's name, Brasterpiece's name, bra size, who the bra was creaed in memory/honor of, and materials used. Proceeds from the auction will be given to the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund at the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

There have been 81 bras blinged-out and donated so far. Some are coming from other countries.Their goal is to have at least 100 before September 22, 2011.

Please help them by liking their Facebook page and telling all your friends about the project. Blog and tweet about it. Paint and donate a bra if you can. Bid on a brasterpiece if you can. There are some absolutely gorgeous bras in their photos that have been donated. Details can be found on their Facebook page under their info.

Men can participate, too. There are already several Brasterpieces designed and decorated by men that have been donated. Get all the men in your life involved in spreading the word or creating a Brasterpiece of their own to donate.

Remember, every little bit counts.

Product Review: Moodeez

Have you ever been frustrated to discover a new, unused tampon or maxi pad has unwrapped itself in your purse, rendering it dirty and useless? Has it ever been the last one you had in there? Was it at a time when you desperately needed one? I think every woman on Earth has had that happen a couple dozen times.

During a recent shopping trip, I bought both tampons and maxi pads. The box of maxi pads had a free gift, something called a Moodeez. I had never heard of it. I figured if it was total crap I could always trash it when I got home, or give it away.

As soon as I got the Moodeez out of the box, I knew there was no way I was going to get rid of it. It was stylish and compact. The quality of craftsmanship is excellent. This pouch is made of two layers of fabric (a printed outer fabric with a color-coordinated solid inner fabric) for extra durability and stability. I immediately loaded it up. In over two weeks of being shamelessly abused and tossed around inside my purse, all the contents are still in perfect condition. I have yet to find the flap has come open. Quite frankly, I don't expect to. The hook-and-loop closure isn't made of the heaviest-duty material out there, but it isn't made of the cheapest, either. It fastens really, really well.

Isn't it beautiful? This print is called Patti Paisley. I was able to pack mine with two ultra-thin maxi pads and five tampons (two ultra size and one each of the super, regular and light size). I think I could stuff either one more PDF or tampon in there, but that might be a tight squeeze. The manufacturer says this will hold two pads and 4-5 tampons, so I'm already maxing this poor thing out, I think

One of the perks is it's fabric. With no batting or other filler. It can be washed if it gets a little grungy. I totally plan on washing mine in cold water and laying it flat or hanging it to dry when it starts to look filthy.

These retail on their website Moodeez.com for $14.99 each, plus shipping. They currently offer 12 patterns to choose from, with gorgeous names like Cherry Wallflower, Dainty Damask and Happy Dots. They are all absolutely fabulous looking. For a limited time you can snag one free in a box of specially marked Tampax® or Always® products.

You can also like the Moodeez Facebook page for Moodeez giveaways and more.

And now, for the obligatory fine print: I got my Moodeez for free in a box of ultra-thin Always®. I just happened to notice some of the boxes had extra writing on them. Turns out it was the above-photographed feminine product caddy. Moodeez is not compensating me for writing this review, except for the good fortune I had at my local Walmart in finding one free in my box of sanitary napkins. The good people at Moodeez don't even know I'm writing this review of their stellar product. Also, I like waffles.

Android App review - Do It Tomorrow - FREE app

I found a totally cool, totally free app for managing my master to-do list. My written to-do list is my brain's dumping ground for every time I think, "Oh, yeah. I need to..." Paper lists frustrate the Dickens out of me. They look so... disorganized. Disheveled. They look like they should come with a raging case of bed-head and kickin' morning breath.
Not so with this app. You type in your item and tap on the Done button. That's it. Drag and drop makes reordering and prioritizing a snap. You can cross items off your list when they're complete, or move the items to tomorrow if you need to. If you don't complete a task by the end of the day it automatically gets moved to the next day.

There are even two font options. Regular looks just like a regular typeface. Handwriting is a really pretty font to give your list that pretty (duh) handwritten feel, but neater.

The only problem, for those who want to pencil in an exact date to do something, is you can only view today and tomorrow in the Android app. That doesn't matter to me, though, since I use this as my master to-do list. If I need to schedule and actual date or time to do something I write it in my spiffy momAgenda planner (more on that at a later date).
Do It Tomorrow is more than an Android app. There are also apps for the iPhone, iPhone HD, iPad, and a web-based version (found at www.tomorrow.do).  And if you have a need for more than one version (say, for instance, a phone app, an iPad app, and the web version) you can set it up to sync between all the versions you (or your family) use. You just have to use the same email address in each version that you want to sync. Totally cool!

I have personally only tried the Android app, but I love it. It caters to my ADHD.

And now, for the mandatory fine print: I have not been paid in any way to write this post. The good folks behind Do It Tomorrow don't even know I'm writing this. I do have the free Android app, which I stumbled upon in the Android Market completely by accident. No one recommended this app to me. I didn't read about it anywhere before I saw it in the Market. The opinions expressed above are mine alone. The only version of Do It Tomorrow I have tried is the Android app. I have no idea if the other versions are just as cool.

Ridin' Solo

This is something I've been dealing with the past month. No, I'm not talking about lack of a man in my life. I'm talking about running my household by myself. Sawyer didn't do much when he was here, but he did make sure the dogs and horse got fed every day and the grass was mowed on a semi-regular basis.

Of course, he tore up our lawnmower several weeks before he left. As a result, my yard has not seen a mower in over a month. It's baaaaad, y'all. I'm gonna have to break down and borrow a lawn mower soon. I don't care if it's a push mower. I have plans to buy a decent used push mower as soon as I can afford it. The extra exercise will be welcome.

Now that it's just me and my sidekick (AKA Colt) I have struggled more than before with getting everything done each day. It doesn't help that I have a million organizing and deep cleaning projects I want done yesterday.

This brings me to today's question. How do you manage to get everything done? Especially single parents with one or more toddlers running circles under your feet while you cook and do dishes. I have got to figure out some major coping and time management skills. Soon.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!

I realize I have let my blog lapse the past year or so. I've been a bad, be blogger. Please forgive me.

I promise to be more diligent in my posting. I have a list of several possible post topics, a few of which I hope to make regular features on my blog. I already have a few catchy names for these recurring topics. I just wanna do some research first and make sure I'm not stealing someone else's stuff and make some purrty badges and things for them and all that junk.

Now that I have landed smack dab in the middle of being a single, unemployed mom negotiating divorce terms, I have more time and peace-and-quiet to actually put blog posts together.

Also, if you've been here before, you'll notice I have added ads to my blog. I'm sorry you have to put up with them. I'm trying to come up with several ways to replace what used to be a very decent income. I have AdSense up and running, and am in the process of setting up Amazon Associates. They may stay, or they may go. I'm still learning the ups and downs of monetizing a blog. If any offensive content shows up in the ads please let me know. Also, tips on making money from blogs would be appreciated, if anyone feels inclined to share their knowledge. I'm not trying to "build my brand" or anything like that. If that happens, great. I'm just trying to generate extra money.

Y'all check back in soon for new content.

Just call me Daisy

O.M.G. My mouth feels like I tried to catch a softball with my upper lip.

Well, not quite. It's no longer swollen quite that bad. It no longer hurts as bad. And I can feel my nose and cheeks again. Finally.

This morning, bright and early, my dear sister dropped me off at my new dentist's office. (I LOVE him and his wonderful staff, by the way. LOVE, I tell you!) I had an 8AM appointment for my torture session, so I was promptly escorted to the dungeon (second door on my left) by C. (First name withheld to avoid her being charged with assault and battery, or worse.)

C proceeded to make molds of my current teeth and take a few more xrays to base the day's work off of. We made chitchat while she worked. She's a really nice lady and we get along well. Due to an accident in her childhood, she has dental work up front like I was to get, which was a factor in my decision to go the seven-tooth-bridge route. (Sidenote: due most likely to possible celiac disease and/or a preganacy followed by almost 26 months of nursing my son has resulted in diminished calcium and softened tooth enamel. Nursing: quit cold-turkey. Toothpaste and mouthwash: fancy Rx-only with extra flouride, courtesy of my dental hygienist. This all equals major dental problems.)

(Note to self: save the $$$ for celiac testing ASAP.)

Where was I? Oh, idle chitchat and nasty dental molding compound. AND, as a bonus, I was given the privilege of wearing a pig snout for the duration of my four (yes, FOUR) hours of dental work today. Want proof? I happen to have whipped out my cell phone and took a picture of my lovely temporary proboscis. Just for your enjoyment. Cause I'm so purrty with it. The gas tasted like bubble gum.

Then my gums were swabbed with a topical anesthetic, which worked before I could blink. Finally, Dr. H made his appearance. (We had just finished all the prep, so it's not like he was late or anything.)

So he looks around in my mouth again, we discuss the day's treatment, he tells C what tools he needs to start with. Then he tells me I'm going to feel a "pinch". Keep in mind I'm wearing my snout, and have never had dental work of this magnitude done before. The next thing I feel makes me want to slap that poor man. But I didn't. He was stabbing me. In the gums. And possibly inside my upper lip. With a needle. Repeatedly.

By the time he finished my right side and was halfway done with my left, I couldn't feel it. The half-dozen or so reeeeeally deep breaths I took from my pig snout didn't hurt. I didn't even feel the injections he did in the very front. But I tasted it. Oh, man, did I taste it. Eww.

After telling him a little warning of what was to actually come would have been appreciated (so I could have gassed myself up a little more before he began stabbing me in the mouth) and he apologized, he left to see to another patient while the anesthesia took full effect.

After some more prep from C, he was back. By now my lip is swelled to twice its normal size. I feel like I'm carrying a football below my nose. Not that I can actually, physically feel anything at this point. I was numb from the bridge of my nose to the corners of my mouth. Which is a good thing, given what transpires in the next three hours.

After drilling and root-canaling for about an hour, my teeth were proclaimed ready for the next step. During the root canal, he stopped to ask if I had ever seen what the nerve from a tooth looks like, and if I wanted to see mine. I'm a fiend for gross medical stuff (my mom and I have been known to watch surgeries on TLC while eating dinner without batting an eyelash) so of course I had to see it. It was impressive, to have come from a little bitty tooth.

During all the drilling and filing, he asked what type music I like. I told him what we were listening to was just fine with me. (Who can complain about Stevie Ray Vaughn, Blues Traveller, and the Black Crowes? Nothing beats listening to She Talks to Angels and Cold Shot in between the sounds of a dental drill.) At one point, Dr. H rested him hand right on top of my snout. I politely told him that wasn't a hand rest. While laughing at him. Thankfully, he got that I was joking. I was so numb I wouldn't have known he was doing it if my eyes hadn't been open.

After another round of dental molds and some other small tasks, it was time to set my posts and do the buildup for my bridge. Then came the joy of setting my actual bridge. Which wasn't bad, but by then they had taken my gas mask away. Dadgum it.

They cemented my temporary bridge on and did some extra filing to make my upper and lower teeth not scrape each other when I bite down. It turns out I have a really deep bite on the lower half (as in, my lower teeth almost touch the roof of my mouth in front. That deep.) so the back side of my front teeth almost hit each other when I bite down. Especially on the right side.

I get to go back September 14th to get my permanent partial put in. I can't wait. It'll be more durable, as far as eating, and will look even better than the temporary they attached today. Until then, I'm just glad to have whole teeth in the front of my mouth. And that I'm no longer walking around with a duck bill for lips. And that it didn't hurt as bad after the anesthesia wore off as I had anticipated.

The most disappointing part of my day? I couldn't talk them into a tank of nitrous to go. You know. For when I put my toddler in time out and he screams the ENTIRE TIME. For me, not him. To make the screaming less nerve-grating for me. Two minutes in the chair for him. Two minutes of happy-inducing gas for Mommy. They laughed, then denied my request.

Oh, well. I tried. I guess you can't win them all.

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