Saturday, February 27, 2010


Happy Sunday Everyone! Let's get straight to the task at hand!

Good Sunday Morning Peeps! And here we are, it's been EIGHT WEEKS of Manic Mommy donations and it's the final Sunday Bloody Sunday posting and why not start it off with a Feisty Irish Wench!
Trish is not only a universal donor, meaning EVERYONE can have her blood, she is also an alum to Manic Mommy's blood drive, although one year she was unable to donate because she "fell" pregnant (I hate that phrase!), with her FOURTH child! But now, she's back to donating and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her selfless gift. Plus, after this donation, she got pizza AND a nap. Sounds pretty good, yeah? Thank you, my Feisty Irish Wench! And how can you NOT love a girl with a name like THAT? Go check out her blog and thank her for SAVING THREE LIVES!

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And here we have Mike, from California, who I met through a writer friend via Twitter and Facebook, who says it simple and true: "Finally dragged my ass in to do it...sorry for the delay, wuz about to go three weeks ago and I got the flu and had to take antibiotics... Anyway....thanks for inspiring me...I used to go all the time and then it fell off my priority list...they told me today it had been since 1998!!!! Holy cow... I'm back to giving!!"

Hey Mike! Thanks so much for going back and giving! You can bet you'll be reminded now EVERY EIGHT WEEKS cuz those vampires at the blood bank will be calling you all of the time now! Isn't it a great feeling to give! Keep it up, and glad you're feeling better too! And how on earth did our friend Jenna NOT know I was holding THIS blood drive for the past TWO MONTHS?!?! She says she's going to go donate on Monday! To anyone reading this, if you donate Monday, I will STILL qualify you for the contest if you get me a photo on Monday!
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Next up is Brenda from St. Louis who is working on her SEVENTH GALLON of BLOOD (she's been keeping track since 1985 when she got married but donated before many times in college but didn't keep track then!). Brenda and her husband were in the Army for over 20 years and just retired ... CONGRATULATIONS BRENDA AND HUBBY! She says they gave blood everywhere they were stationed and their three children who are old enough to donate do too. Their youngest is 11, but plans to donate when she is old enough. I LOVE that Brenda! I tell my three kids ALL OF THE TIME that when they turn 16, I am taking them each to get their driver's license and then right after that, THEY will drive me to the blood center where we will donate blood together on that day! (In fact I told them that TODAY when they were with me as I donated.) I agree when Brenda says, "I think everyone who is eligible should try and donate." Amen Sister! And thank you and your family for being such advocates and for all the donations you have made! And you look GREAT doing it! (Love that you are wearing RED!)

Also, thanks Brenda for finding me on my friend Dawn's blog!

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Up next is my pal Kristabella, who has been Full of Snark since 1977! She is also an alum Manic Mommy donor and a former blogger blind date of mine! Cabbies all over Chicago adore her and bartenders fear her! Check out her blog to learn more about what makes Kristabella "One cat shy of Crazy Cat Lady" and when you do, thank her for saving THREE lives with her beautiful pint of blood!
Speaking of Crazy Cat Lady, her kitty got into the festivities too -- Here's Simba, supporting the cause!
Thanks Kristin, for the awesomeness that is you and for your blood!

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 Everyone say hi to Alum donor Michelle! This is Michelle's third year donating, and FINALLY, FINALLY, they decide they will let her have her photo taken IN THE CHAIR! For some reason, the people at her location didn't approve of photos there, but today, they said YES! And lucky thing too, because doesn't Michelle look glorious! She's had a rough go of it too; as a regular 8-week donor, when the Manic Mommy drive came about, Michelle was all set to donate in January, but when she went, her iron was low. Flu season crept in, work schedules and travel got in the way, and knowing this was the last week of the drive, she kicked the iron into gear and went in today ready to go! Her iron: 14.8. She was good to go and I am so happy to have her on the books! You can congratulate her yourself over at her blog, Honest & Truly. And yes, if you must, you can even yell at her for not being happy about having to eat a Snickers bar so early in the morning. But thank her for saving lives first, will ya?

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Last but NOT least, we've got my pal Carlos. Did I ever tell you about Carlos? Well, Carlos is my buddy from high school so I've known him forever. We were buds. This is how much of a buddy we were. Yes, Carlos, I'm telling THAT story. So, I'm a junior in high school and I was only allowed to shave my legs just past my knees, DON'T ASK ME WHY. Also, don't ask me why I obeyed my mother's dumb rule. So, at a basketball game in high school, I'm sitting next to Carlos and he goes, "Steph, you got more hair on your legs than I do!" So, after that game I went home and shaved my legs ALL THE WAY UP TO KINGDOM COME and probably told my mom that it was so stupid that she said I could only shave just past my knee, and thank God for Carlos to tell it to me straight cuz I was so embarrassed my whole life walking around with those hairy upper thighs. THEY WERE HAIRY!

But, that's not the point of this post. The point is that Carlos is just THAT good of a friend. He will tell you what you need to hear without hurting your feelings. And 24 years later, he's still that good of a friend. He makes a promise; he keeps it. He told me he would donate blood, he was there. He also told me early in the blood drive that he would donate some money toward prizes, and as he promised, he gave me that money today. So THANK YOU my Friend Carlos! You are the best! Because of Carlos, I can give away some more fun prizes!

Our little guys, shown in the picture below (Jason, next to Carlos; and my Tukey, making a face behind Carlos) played against each other in basketball Saturday morning. Not saying who won! Afterwards, we all went to the Heartland Blood Center and donated blood.

Our kids ate about 16 bags of chips, a case of pop, and 42 packs of brownies while we were donating, and Carlos donated first. He was bragging it up about how fast he was bleeding and when he was done, he said he finished in at 5 minutes and 33 seconds. I was like, "Wow, that's good. There's no way I'll beat that." But yeah, I like a challenge right? So, when I got stabbed, my wonderful phlemotogmotogist (I like to spell it THAT way!) said I was going pretty fast. So I told Carlos, "Wait, I might beat you." And so, the race was on! Of course, we did have to stop to pose for a picture. Here are my darling children hamming it up behind me as I "speed-bleed."

And when I was done, my time was checked, and Boo-Yeah! Timed in at 5 minutes and 25 seconds! I beat you Carlos! But actually, we BOTH won because we ROCKED at saving lives today! All of us here did, so pat yourselves on the back and congratulations for jobs well done!

When I was done donating, my needle-sticker-lady asked me how I was feeling. I told her I was feeling "Euphoric" because I truly was. That's really the feeling I get after I donate blood. It's just an amazing feeling coming away from doing something so good and so pure, to know that this is a gift I give freely of myself, and that it saves lives. That's all it does - IT.SAVES.LIVES. It can't be any more simple or more clear than that.

Just amazing.

And doing this drive is amazing. I connect with wonderful people. I hope I inspire some people to continue to donate every eight weeks. I will be sharing info in the coming days/week about the prize drawing. Every one of you (aside from family and my neighbors) will be entered to win the grand prize, which is a Southwest Airline ticket, and other prizes such as Target gift cards, Starbucks and a great Suave Beauty Basket. And it's all because of the generous donation of the selfless gift of your blood.

It might be too late to get in on the prizes, but it's NEVER too late to start donating blood. You'll be amazed at how it might change your life. This is the third year I've hosted this Virtual Blog for Blood Drive and it gives me a great sense of joy when I click on my email and get a photo of one of you sitting in that chair. Take a look back at the photos from each Sunday where the donors have been featured... Every single person has a brilliant smile.


Because they are saving lives.

What could be more amazing than that?


Absolutely nothing.

Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And those families who will never know you personally, whose lives you have saved, you have to know they would thank you too, if they knew who you were. So thank yourselves, for an amazing job.

And don't forget, when your eight weeks is up, give again!

P.S. Check out next post to see if my lucky numbers paid off!



So we have this lucky number in our family, 1-4-3, that signifies I LOVE YOU. There's this story that comes from Massachusetts about a lighthouse dude who would go to work and flash the lighthouse once, then four times, then three times to his family to signal I LOVE YOU. Here's the lighthouse, Minot's Ledge, near Scituate, MA, one of my favorite places we visited as children.

We write 1-4-3 in everything, cards, notes, etc., signal it with our fingers when going somewhere, say it out loud, as in, "One-Four-Three," when we're heading out the door. Everyone in our family knows it is ours, and some have taken it as theirs too.

So today, when I went to donate blood (the picture will be up tomorrow in the final Sunday, Bloody Sunday), they took my iron count.

Guess what it was?


Then, when it was time for me to get the needle, I was challenged by my buddy, Carlos, with whom I was donating, to race him in the blood-letting, because he donated in a record time of 5 minutes and 33 seconds. I figured there was no way I could beat him - he's a big strong guy with an iron count of over 15, and I know men have a fast-bleed rate.

I started flowing and Chez, my blood gal said I was going pretty fast. I asked her how long it had been and she looked at the current time.

Guess what it was?

1 minute and 43 seconds EXACTLY!

Interesting huh?

So I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I have a shot at beating Carlos in the blood race?"

A little bit later, I asked Chez again, "How long has it been now?"

Guess what it was?

3 minutes and 41 seconds ... Do you know what that is BACKWARDS?


Too weird!

At this point, I'm thinking ... time to buy some lottery tickets!

So, I finish bleeding, and Chez asks me how I'm doing, and I tell her how I'm doing, honestly. I say, "I feel euphoric."

Cuz I did. I don't know if euphoria equals woozy cuz I had bled so fast? But I felt really, really great. I just donated blood, and knew that I had saved some lives! Plus, Chez had me check out my time, and YEP! I beat CARLOS!

I came in at 5 minutes and 25 seconds! I do think that's a record for moi!

Speed Bleeder! That's what I am!

So, we leave, and head out for lunch cuz not only am I euphoric, I'm also starving. I glance over at this jeep in front of us...

Guess what the last three digits on its license plate were?

No lie ...


Crazy shit.

And then, after lunch, I pull out my brand-new credit card because hubby lost his in Denver so we had to get new ones. I take off the sticker reminding me to sign it. And you frickin wanna know what? You know how there are four sets of 4 numbers on your credit card? Well, the last three digits in the third set of numbers ...


Can you freaking believe it?

And yes, I went right to the nearest gas station and bought me ten bucks worth of lottery tickets.

Watch this space for the big, "I WON THE LOTTERY" announcement tomorrow. And if that's not the news, you'll at least be able to see the final batch of awesome blood donors!

PS... Diva was just playing a game on her iTouch that times her and you have a minute to finish the game. She finished with 1.43 seconds on the clock that she just showed me AND IT'S 4:13 RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!
More updates ...

at church one of the Bible verses was Matthew 14:3(6).

And if you read the blog post titled Sunday, Bloody Sunday, dated Feb. 28, you'll see Feisty Irish Wench is the first one to leave a comment, which she left early this morning. She wrote that she should be in bed but instead she was "piddlin" online late night. The time she posted the comment: EXACTLY 1:43.

Someone is watching out for me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Prologue: Am just posting this without even pre-reading …

So here it is and I'm just gonna start writing and at the moment I'm in a good frame of mind and not crying but who knows how I may feel as I type. We might be moving to Arizona. OK, I wrote that and didn't tear up. So that is good. We've known all along since Mr. Manic lost his job then got the consulting job back in May that things may change up around here but I don't know, now it's becoming "that time." His severance with the old company is up. The new company has presented him with the official contract and offer to move and for a while we thought maybe it would be to Denver, and really, I don't want to go anywhere, and if we would have to go somewhere, I would eventually want to end up back east somewhere -- I have most of my family east, NO ONE IS WEST, NOT ONE EFFING SOUL. So there's that, but we thought Denver would be an option and that would have been cool. Now it's looking like AZ. So, in no particular order or rationale, I'm going to share the mixed up, fucked up way my mind has currently been processing how I feel about this and things that I think about if we were to move to Arizona. Here goes, and again, it's totally fucked up how I think, but if you've been a Manic Mommy reader for a while, you already got that memo, right? ...

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which ones belong in the PRO or CON category:

It’s fucking hot there. I know I was born in Florida but I don’t want to live in a place where people describe it as living in a 400 degree oven. I don’t care if it’s a dry heat.

Brown desert. I like green. I like white. I like seasons and spring.

I will have to get a light beige or a white car. I hate white cars. My hands and ass will burn upon getting into a car every single time.

I am not attractive or thin enough to live in Arizona.

I do like air condition.

I never want the responsibilities of owning a swimming pool, but living there it would be a requirement.

I could become a recluse and write another book.

I love the fact that here I can go to Starbucks and run into 4 or 5 people that I know in a matter of 5 minutes.

It’s exhausting making new friends.

This is a whole KID category:
I worry about my kids starting a new school

I worry about them getting on a bus for the first time

I worry about them having to sit by themselves the first day of school

I worry about them getting lost the first day of school

I worry about them not liking it there

I know they will adjust because I managed at the age of 16 to adjust from Fla to Chicago, but it IS a hard transition, but I DO know kids are resilient, so you don’t need to tell me, and I know this list is crazy, but it’s MY list.

Here are more of my crazy things:

I can never leave a lipstick in my car.

I hate tumbleweeds and cacti and stone yards.

I have NO family there.

I hate the idea of having to find new doctors, hair stylists, gyms, etc.

I hate figuring out new grocery stores.

What if our house doesn’t sell.

OK, wait, I guess I should put some good things in here too, right? … OK, here are some …

No more stupid boots.

Get to go house-hunting!

No more stupid jackets (although I did just score that nice mink coat I won’t get to wear anymore, DRAT!).

SHORTS! (I do like my legs, got that going for me)

The winters are better there than here.

Won’t ever really be able to enjoy a hot latte, cuz come on, how can you drink HOT coffee in Arizona? THAT just sounds STUPID!

Positive: Thank God the internet is UNIVERSAL!

What if Mr. Manic has to travel all of the time and I am stuck there all alone and do not know anyone and we’re all lonely and it sucks and I’m in a place where I don’t know anyone?

How am I going to meet people if people never go outside since it’s so G-damn hot all day long? Who’s going to be outside in order to meet me and find out I have such a fucking glowing personality in the first place?!? HUH?

There’s not even a fucking beach nearby? What’s the point of a place with beautiful fucking sunshine weather if there’s not even a beautiful fucking beach for me to lay my sad ass upon and mope? That’s ri-fucking-diculous isn’t it?

What if when it’s time for college and my kids want to come back to ILLINOIS and then I’M FREAKING STUCK IN ARIZONA and all my kids come back to the Midwest and I’m like all stuck out there twiddling my freaking thumbs thinking to myself, “WELL, isn’t this freaking grandiose?”

What if I just go and we all have a great time and make new friends and it’s a great experience just like I did when Ajers was one year old and we moved to Philadelphia and I knew no one and then when Ajers was 7 and Diva was 5 and Tukey was 3 and we moved back to Illinois and I met a bunch of great new people and so yeah, why not just look at it as a great new adventure to my already amazing life and trust in God that He will continue to take care of us and provide for us as He has for my wonderful life of 40 years already?

Why can’t I just do that?

It’s OK for me to be scared though, right?

Cuz I am. But a little excited too, but mostly, scared, sad, worried, frustrated. Living in Limbo is a hard place to be, but my kids are healthy, my husband is healthy, we have a great marriage, I love him to death, have always trusted him in whatever decisions he makes for our family and our lives, so I do know everything will be OK with whatever is to happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SuNDaY BLooDy SuNDaY, PaRT VII, FeB. 21

Another Sunday, another bunch of great Manic Mommy blood donors to showcase to you! First up, we have the aweome Travis and his lovely wife, who are from Amarillo, TX! I can't remember when I first met Travis on the 'net but it was probably through the elusive and famed Miss Snark, God rest her Snarky soul, even though she is not dead, she is still a wondrous mystery to many of us writers who is greatly missed for her wit and writing wisdom! Travis is a cool dude and he has a great following on his blog, OneWordOneRungOneDay which I almost called One Word One Ladder! Check out what he wrote about his blood donation and penises HERE. He's very funny. Thanks Travis, and Mrs. Travis, for taking one for the Blood Team, and for helping to spread the word! One Rung, One Day, One Vein at a time!

And as a man of many words, here's what Travis said when he sent in his blood photos:
"Here you go. Both me and my wife, Jennifer donated and of course you were what inspired us."

Next up, we have Melanie's beautiful arm, and how awesome is Melanie because SHE does this for a living! No, she doesn't DONATE blood for a living, but she works for the Red Cross in Montclair! She saw my Tweet on Twitter and posted her pic there and Retweeted to me (see, it DOES WORK!) and there ya have it! Another donor for the Manic Mommy Blood Drive, and now we are FB friends and all that!

Thanks so much Melanie! And give that cute little Blood Drop guy a hug for me! You know what I mean! I wanted to post his picture too but couldn't find him on your FB page!

And I'll let Ashley tell her amazing story right here for you all:

Hey Manic Mommy,
My name is Ashley W. and I'm from Kirksville, MO. I've been donating blood since I was first eligible at age 17. I always saw my mom and older siblings doing it, so it just seemed like the natural thing to do! I missed a few valuable years of donating because I thought you couldn't donate when you are nursing. I talked to a few friends and they said they thought the same thing! So I just want to get the word out there that you CAN donate when you are nursing! It just has to have been at least six weeks since you gave birth. And you need to drink lots and lots of water! I'm currently nursing a 9 month old and I've donated 3 times in his life with no problems at all. It is so, so easy and so many people aren't eligible - so those of us who are need to do our part! Thanks for doing this!

Ashley, thank you so much for sharing this information because I had no idea about this either! And what a gift you have been giving for so long! I want to teach my children what you have been taught - that donating blood is good and natural and can be done at an early age and can help so many people! Thank you for sending in your beautiful photo and for donating while nursing and letting other nursing mothers know this information! I hope you are enjoying your new baby boy!

And everyone out there who's been reading these posts for the past SEVEN WEEKS thinking about donating blood, you still have a full week where you can get out there and get to your local blood center and GIVE A PINT of your BLOOD to save three lives! It's IN YOU! Please, do it for the LIVES of someone who really needs it. You never know, you may need it from someone someday.


All the details can be found here:

Please, donate a pint of your lifesaving blood or share this post with those you know! All who donate are entered to win prizes including a Southwest Airline ticket, Suave products, and various gift cards!

Thank you! From the bottom of my heart!

The Blood. It's in you.
Give it to someone who needs it to live.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CoNFiDeNT MoMeNTS oR BeT you THiNK THiS SoNG iS aBouT you

So I’m taking this 6-week course at the Health Club called “Ready Set Action” which is a small group personal training segment that incorporates direction, attitude, motivation, celebration, commitment and support throughout the weeks. The first week kicked my ass, but in a good way. This coming week, tomorrow, we are focusing on attitude and part of our homework assignment is to list ten of our top confident moments of our lives. Easy right? No to the Hell. How do you think through the past 40 years to figure out 10 achievements that were confident moments? When I stopped using diapers? When I picked up a fork for the first time?

So I’ve given it some serious thought, knowing I can’t use “giving birth” as three of my choices, and I thought I’d make myself REALLY accountable and list them here. It’d be fun for you to try it too, if you’d like, and I’d love for you to share some of your achievements in the comments section!

Here’s my list, Ooh, and I’ve just checked and happily, I’ve come up with EXACTLY ten of them! …

And in no particular order, here they are:

1. The first time I took two babies out on my own, one was nine months old, the other a newborn, and then after I had my third child, when I first took my three children out on my own, ages newborn, 2 and not quite 4.

2. Completing my novel, 40 Weeks. Yes, even though it never got published.

3. Securing my agent for my novel, which took a very long and angst-ridden time. It was a great learning experience.

4. Having two successful VBAC births, specifically noting that one awesome push that got my daughter out and the feeling of accomplishment knowing that I had finally done it, after pushing for almost two hours, fearing another C-section was necessary.

5. Landing a job with a 33 percent raise after current boss had told me I didn’t have what it would take to get a promotion within, and telling him I was leaving company.

6. Being sought after for writing jobs on the internet.

7. Making goal with Weight Watchers / Lifetime and losing 60 pounds and being one of Weight Watchers Success Stories on their website.

8. Spearheading/Hosting what I think is the only Virtual Blog for Blood Drive on the Internet and continuing it now for three years, having saved hundreds of lives by doing so. Still time to donate through Feb! GotBlood.

9. Total vanity on this one: Spring Break 1988 and 1989 – my bikini worthy body back then!

10. Walking down the aisle toward my husband in 1993, and upon reaching him, saying over and over, “This is so easy, this is so easy,” and having him tell me to just “Be quiet and enjoy it!”

So what are some of your big confidence-building moments in your life?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SuNDay BLooDy SuNDay, PaRT VI, FeB. 14

Here are my Valentine presents! Up first is Tanya! Isn't she ADORABLE!? She is an alum donor of the MaNiC MoMMy Blood Drive and I was so excited to see her smiling beautiful face again! Thanks Tanya for sharing your gift of blood to those who need it again for this great cause!

And here's Paula, who I just discovered her donation sent in on Twitter! She snuck in! What's with these beauties and their blood! I'm loving it! Thank you ladies for your generous donations!

Now, what's stopping YOU from donating a pint of blood this month? We've only got two weeks left of the blood drive and some great prizes to give away:

Grand Prize: Southwest Airline Ticket
Suave Beauty Basket
Starbucks Gift Card
Target Gift Card

The country really needs your donation, and I love to see your smiling faces on my blog! For all the details on how you can enter, check out this blog post here: GotBlood?

Please consider donating blood. You've got two weeks. If you're not sure where to donate, RedCross has all the info you need.



It’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve been married to the same man for almost 17 years. We’ve celebrated nearly 17 married Valentine’s Days together, and one or two prior to that. I can dig through this house and unearth easily 60 Valentine cards from both of us because we always give one another a funny and a mushy card. And I’ve never thrown a single card away.

Last year was the first year he didn’t give me a card but his excuse was that we spent Valentine’s Day downtown Chicago at a black-tie event. Me? I got him two cards last year. A funny and a mushy card.

Today is Valentine’s Day. I brought out bags of treats for the kids and a bag for Mr. Manic. We don’t always exchange gifts for each other, in fact, I don’t believe in giving gifts for this holiday. A nice dinner out or an event shared together is a good way to celebrate. Just to acknowledge we love one another.

A card. All week I kept thinking to myself, “He’s not going to get me a card, he’s not going to get me a card.”

Do you see where I’m going with this? Yup.

I don’t usually air this type of dirty laundry on the blog, because too many people in the family read this, too many of my close friends read this, and I hate that about this blog. They’ll think I’m dissing him. That I’m saying bad stuff about him. He’s an awesome husband, a way-beyond belief father, everything you could even ever imagine or want in a husband, friend, father, provider. He’s everything to me. But he fucked up today. In my book. Made me so angry and upset. I’m mad. He didn’t deliver. Maybe he’s preoccupied about our family’s future (and there’s a LOT going on there that I haven’t divulged on the blog that I will soon), but still. All I was hoping for, SERIOUSLY, was that funny card, and that mushy card. That two that I’ve come to look forward to.

So, this morning, I gave the kids and Mr. Manic their gift bags and cards. The kids got candy and itunes cards. Hubby got some treats and a Dave Matthews CD. BUT, when he got the gifts, no thank you, but a “I didn’t know we celebrated.”


We DON’T celebrate Martin Luther King. We don’t celebrate Sweetest Day. We don’t celebrate Groundhog’s Day (well, actually, we DO acknowledge Groundhog’s cuz that’s the day we met), but WE have ALWAYS done something to share and show our love for Valentine’s Day.

So, then later, he left with the boys to go to the health club to work out and I took to Twitter to bitch about his lack of love on this day of love, saying things like ‘If he comes home with grocery store flowers, I will say, “That really wasn’t necessary” and toss them in the trash.’ And truthfully, I didn’t know if I would be more mad if he came home with flowers and a card or if he came home empty-handed because that would mean that he really didn’t give a shit about my feelings at all. I have just been so hurt by this today. Still, thinking about it now, it just bugs me that I am an afterthought, so taken for granted, and it makes me think, “Am I taking him for granted?” Is this what we have become?

Are we at an impasse? Ha, to quote Patrick in Spongebob.

So, back from the gym and voila! He approaches me with a small bag that I realize is from the Spa at our health club and announces that he has scheduled and already paid for an hour-long massage for me on Tuesday at 10:00, whereas Ajers chimes in, “IT WAS MY IDEA!”

Strike Two for Daddy. He didn’t even think of it on his own. My SON had to suggest it to dad as a peacekeeping tactic.

As graciously as I am able to, I say thank you and set off for the gym, because I have been going 5 days a week, and at this point of aggravation, I have a lot angered energy to expend and why not get on the treadmill and elliptical to rid myself of it. But first I stop at the Spa.

“Hi, I think my husband just stopped in and scheduled a massage for me?”

“You’re Stephanie?”

“Yes I am.”

“Yeah, he did just come in.”

“Well, I’d like to cancel that appointment. I don’t want a Valentine’s gift that’s an afterthought. So I’m not coming in on Tuesday for that massage, but I will reschedule it on my own time.”

She totally laughed, and believe me, I will use that massage when I’m damn well ready to use it, but he could have actually spent eight bucks on two cards to just tell me how much I meant to him, how much he appreciated me, how glad he is that I am the mother of his children. That’s really all I wanted from him on this day. That’s all.

And he went and screwed it up. Are all men this clueless? I don’t get it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

MoNey MoNey

So, in another crazy attempt to get my kids on board in helping out around the house, I concocted another hairbrained plan. Once I tried to give them a dollar a day if they stuck to a list of chores. Once I decided to give them a set amount of money per week that they could use as they wished for all our activities we would do (movies, books, ice cream treats, outtings, etc.). This time, it's something new. It's Day One on this new financial incentive plan.

It's called MONEY RULES, and here's how it works. We googled "Dollar Bill Images" and photocopied (apparently illegally, but not full-sized, double-sided) dollar bill images. Then we cut out a bunch of them to use as our weekly money ... (Well, I'll just copy and paste the instruction sheet Diva and I made up for everyone):

Each Monday each kid starts with 10 singles. Weekends are exempt to money but not to helping being a team member of this family! You can lose a dollar but cannot gain dollars back. Once it’s gone for the week, it’s gone. In the beginning, as we learn the program, I will give you one warning. If there’s something that needs to be put away, I’ll tell you once to put it away. If it’s still there, a dollar is gone. End of the week, you get to turn in the "fake" money that you have left and get real money.
Chores/Expected Behavior:

Lunchboxes brought to me, icepacks put away.

Cups in sink, rinsed out.

Breakfast plates cleared, lunch, dinner cleared.

Towels hung, soap placed on soap holder in shower. Washcloth rung out and hung on shower door or over faucet.

Clothes put in dirty basket when dirty or folded and put back in drawers when not.

Any fights/arguments/tears/ automatic dollar taken, no giving back.

Help with laundry when asked.

Help with garbage/recycling when told.

Brushing teeth/peeing in a.m. and at bedtime without being told.

Backpacks in laundry room.

Coats/shoes in laundry room or garage.

No talk back or freshness to me.

Trying to what you are supposed to eat without drama (specific to Diva).

Clean up room when told.

Going to bed when told.

No attitude.

Keep personal belongings in your room and out of the family room (itouch, phones, toys, etc).

No nudity around the house.

Thank you! Management

~~ ~ ~ ~~

I don't know. I give it three days. Four tops before they say, "Screw it mom, keep your effing money."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

SuNDay BLooDy SuNDay, PaRT V, FeB. 7

Well, awesome readers and aweome donors, I had been down and out about the response from my blood drive but I discovered my emails were not coming to my main email address and some of these entries were NOT getting to me. So I'm very happy to report that I have a bunch of great donors to highlight today!

First up, we have Patricia, who can tell us all how desperately your blood is needed Her story is great:

I gave blood today!! Lots and lots of blood.

Thought you might like to here the other side of giving blood. I work in Cardiac Surgery and today my day started with a call to the blood bank ordering blood for my patients that would be having open heart surgery.

My first patient needed 8 bags of platelets. Our hospital only had 7 (for the whole hospital!) This happens on a daily basis. We had to get an emergency shipment and when I left last night there were no more platelets in the hospital and none to be found. The need for blood donors is huge!

Here's what I gave today (TO ONE PATIENT!)~

8- units of blood; 12- 6 packs of platelets; 6 -fresh frozen plasma; 4- cryoprecipitate

That was in addition to the cell saver blood we gave back (patients own blood). This was all for one person over the 9 hours they were in the OR. This patient would also be getting blood and blood products through the night while in ICU. This happens on a regular basis. There is never enough blood. Thanks for encouraging others to donate. YOU ROCK!!
So guys, can you believe ALL THAT BLOOD IS NEEDED FOR ONE PERSON!?!? Crazy shit, isn't it? Thanks Patricia for giving us all a little insight on what really goes on behind the scenes. And thank you for being a blood goddess, deliverer of the goods, and for taking care of the patients! Love this story!

Next up, we have Michelle B, of Cary, NC who is an alum Manic Mommy blood donor and here's her story. Michele donates platelets every Friday, or tries to when she's feeling well, and she says the hardest part is making sure your iron is up high enough! :
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's super easy to donate! Passing the iron test is the hardest part, and wiggling my fingers before they take the blood seems to have fixed my problem! Stupid poor circulation! After that, you just sit in one of these awesome chairs and wait for two hours! As you can see with the guy behind me, that screen pulls down in front of you and you can watch a movie, if you'd like. I usually have a book on my iPod, and I'll listen to that, instead. This Friday, I actually just listened to music for the whole time :)

So! Yes! Super easy, super fun, and you can totally eat snack cakes guilt free at the end! :)

You can read Michelle's full post over at Naiadkitty. Thanks so much Michelle! You are a wonderful person!

Next up, we have Holly from Ohio! Here's her story:

Hi! my name is Holly S.

I am glad you are having the virtual blood drive again this year! I told the nurses about it today! I am a VIP donor with the Red Cross which means I pledge to give blood 6 times per year! Except when prohibited by pregnancy, a piercing or my job (before I became a Mom),I have been a loyal donor since my first blood drive in high school!

I try to give six times a year to keep my Red Cross VIP status. I started giving blood when my high school sponsored a blood drive my senior year. My chosen occupation kept me from donating for a long time, but now that I am a SAHM, I am back to giving regularly! I hope your virtual blood drive gets lots of new blood donors!

Holly, thanks so much for taking part in this, and for pledging to donate six times a year! I don't need to tell you what an amazing feeling it is to donate blood, or how wonderful it is to know you are saving lives! But from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! I hope your story and what you do will impact others to go out there and donate too! PS--I LOVE it when donors get the blood workers involved in the photo shoots as well! It's always so much fun!

Anne from NY found out about the MaNiC MoMMy Virtual Blog for Blood Drive through Twitter and I'm so glad that she did! She's got a great story to share on why she's donating!

I am reporter/producer for Parents TV in New York City. In college, I gave blood regularly and have been looking to give again in the years since, but haven’t really gotten to it. When I came across MaNiC MoMMy’S Virtual Blog for Blood Drive Challenge on Twitter, it seemed like the perfect opportunity! Because I am a healthy, active, 26-year-old who is able to donate blood and has done so many times without incident, I feel it is my duty to donate. I have no excuse! There’s no reason for me to pass up such a simple way to save lives.So glad people have been donating!

Anne, it was MY pleasure to have YOU be a part of this! You're an inspiration to the younger generation, although really, I'm not old enough to be your mother or anything like that, I'm just sayin' you could reach a lot of impressionable people! Thanks for donating, and keep up the great work! And you looked beautiful doing so!

And you know what, if you tell a friend, maybe she'll tell a friend too! This is what happened when donor Susan Hines (featured in January 17 blog post) donated in January and told her friend Crystal, from Indiana, about the blood drive. Here's Crystal's story:

Susan told me about your contest and took a picture of me in the blood donation chair, just as I was finishing up. I started donating blood when I was 17 or 18 (whatever the minimum age to donate is), because my grandma had just been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood and bone cancer. At the beginning of the disease, her platelet counts plummeted regularly, and blood donations saved her life several times until the cancer treatments stabilized her condition. She lived in Aurora, IL, so the blood I donated never went directly to her, or to replenish supplies in her area, but I figured someone else's grandma needed blood transfusions here in Indy. I got out of the habit of donating in college (no blood drives on campus, and no car to get to the blood bank), but my workplace holds a blood drive every 60 days, and I've been donating regularly for about a year now. So, that's what drives me to donate.

Thank you Crystal! And how amazing that at such a young age, you knew the importance of giving blood to help, even though you knew it wasn't going directly to your grandma, you knew it was out there helping someone, and in turn, that would help her. Good karma, good karma.

And here ... here is the type of story I LOVE! Reagan, from Athens, GA, has been a long-time Manic reader and I consider her a pal. She waited very patiently for a CD I had promised her that she won and it took me like 8 months to send to her. I finally sent it to her after I had heard she and her boyfriend had gotten engaged! (Actually, I sent her two cuz it took me so long!) So what does she go and do? She goes and donates BLOOD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER ENTIRE LIFE, FOR THE MANIC BLOOD DRIVE! Total awesomeness!

Hi, Manic!

I donated blood for the FIRST TIME EVER yesterday, just for you! I've always had "bad" veins, and have terrible luck at the doctor's office just to get blood drawn for my own tests, so I had never wanted to even try to donate. But this year, it just felt right. My lovely fiance went with me for support, and the staff was awesome, and they got my vein on the first try!!! Unheard of!! Thanks for the inspiration- I'll definitely be donating regularly now!

Sincerely, Reagan B.

And Beth E, from Tennessee, well, let's just say, she's no newcomer to the old needle! This donation brought her up to a GALLON DONOR! How incredible is that, to know that she has been able to save easily at least 24 lives with her own BLOOD! And when you think of it, she has done more than that, because with every life she has saved, she has always healed FAMILIES with her generous donation of blood. In Beth's own words:

I donated on January 18, 2010. This donation made me a gallon donor! It blows my mind that I have potentially saved 24 lives with my blood donations! I donate to save lives. I look at my children and imagine if they ever needed blood and it breaks my heart to know there are people who do need blood and not enough people donate. Like many women, I have to really pay attention a few days before a donation and get my iron up. This time I even ate some raisins, which I don't care for, but my hemoglobin was great! Thanks for raising awareness for the Red Cross and blood donation!

Thank YOU so much Beth, for doing what you do, and here's to another gallon!

Here's another great donor who happens to live very close to me! Maybe we will have a field trip someday to my favorite Heartland Blood Center to donate TWO pints!
Hi ManicMommy,
I have been reading your blog for a long time and I think you are great. This is my first time donating blood since college (eek! 18 years!). I did it because you made it sound so easy and it was! The people were so nice and I was in and out of there fast. When I donated, I found out that I am blood type O- which is a universal donor and very rare. Therefore, I will definitely make an appointment to donate when the reminder comes in the mail -Donna W.

Thanks Donna! I'm glad you were inspired and that you felt it was easy to do. I think someday I may want to work at a blood center, not as the needle-sticker-person, but maybe as the snack-giver-outer! I love how you wore red for the occasion! Was that in case they spilled a little blood onto your shirt? ; ) Haha! Just kiddin'!
Karen M. of Phoenix braved the elements and went out to donate some blood (Karen, that's a little joke there, seeing as I'm freezing my butt off here in Chicago and in fact, my husband just got home from a biz trip in Phoenix the other night!). Karen's actually not "frigid" when it comes to donating as she's a "Gold Card Donor" through United Blood Services, donating three or more times per year. Here's what got her into the groove of giving:

I started donating on a regular basis after my father had a massive heart attack in December of 2006. He needed many transfusions and I realized how incredibly important blood donations are. He would have died without it. Since then I donate on a regular basis and bug, bully, guilt and coerce my friends to donate too. (Oh man Karen, I LOVE THAT LINE!) I figure even just one donation is extremely valuable, especially during the holidays when donations tend to be very low.

I am a huge proponent of blood donation and I thank you for pushing it on your website! It is an easy way for people to give and actually has some health benefits for the donor. :)

I took the attached picture myself with my cell phone (as if you couldn't tell.) I am just too shy to ask the staff to take a picture of me! One of these days I will have to make sure I have a camera when I bring a friend or my husband. Regards, Karen M.

Karen, you seem to have the same attitude as I do! Let's get anyone and everyone to donate a pint! In fact, giving blood should be mandatory for everyone who is physically healthy and able to do so. If a person wants to drive a car in this country, drink a beer in this country, have health insurance in this country, then they should also fork over a pint of blood every couple of months. Whadda ya think?! Am I crazy or what? HA! Probably. Should we start a petition? I bet Obama would love that one!

Next up is a MaNiC MoMMy alum! Alicia donated last year for my virtual drive, but that wasn't her first time to the needle! Nope! Alicia has been donating for 26 YEARS and is up to 19 GALLONS! Talk about incredible! Imagine lining up 19 gallons of milk (except envision them filled with RED BLOOD in them. Ewww, but WOW, really, really cool, cuz man, that is some LIFE-SAVING stuff in those gallons! And those 19 all came from Alicia! (Well, not all at once, but ... you get the picture!)

I usually donate platelets once a month, but we had a blood drive for work yesterday (I work for the police department), Battle of the Badges, versus the fire department. The police department kicked butt! Anyhow, I was the first donor of the day and donated a double unit of red blood cells. I love giving blood as I feel I am doing my small part to help others in need. I am also registered with the National Bone Marrow Registry, and think that would be the most selfless thing one could do for another. It is very cool what you are doing to get more people to donate blood. There is always a shortage in our area. Thank you! Alicia W., Hersperia, CA.

Alicia, I love it when you donors thank me because it's YOU I have to thank! I'm not doing anything! Thank you for helping to promote this and for always being the people out there who DON'T QUIT giving! I truly believe once a giver, always a giver, and you're a true case to this point! And YAY to the police department for kicking butt, but I can say that only because I don't smell any smoke at the moment! : )

This one especially gives me goosebumps. Monique T. donated last year directly to her father who was having major, major heart surgery. This is what she wrote to me this year when she sent in her photo:

Gave and continue to give b/c someone gave my dad a new heart and the least I can do to say thank you is to donate my extra blood to someone who needs it.

Monique, you remind me why I spend almost three months of every year focused on doing this blood drive. Thank you. And give your dad a big hug.

And here is Donald from Houston! Hey Donald! Donald has been a part of this drive for as long as I have been a part of this drive! He's donated from the get-go! That's pretty cool if you ask me! I don't even know if he reads the blog. Each year I just send him a note, "Hey Donald, send me a picture; I need your pint!" and what does he do? He does it for me! That's pretty awesome! So, here are his words of wisdom to anyone out there who may be a little bit, shall we say, "on the fence" about this whole donatang-thang:

Hi Stephanie -

I'm pretty sure I've been in all three years of your blood drive. Went to a different Blood Center location on Saturday. This location has a TV and Directv at every donation chair, so it was nice to be able to flip around some college hoops while giving double red blood cells.

For those who have a thing about needles, some experience, strength and hope from someone who has given over 5 gallons of blood - don't look when they put the needle in! :) Take care, hope you get a good turnout in the next month.

You might not be donating directly to a person you know, but hey, I always believe in good karma, and one day, you may need that pint of blood and like Patricia mentioned at the very beginning of this post, that one person needed EIGHT bags of platelets and there were only SEVEN bags at their hospital. You just never know who may need blood or when it may be needed. God's given you this gift to share what's inside of you for FREE. It's there, it's available. If you're healthy, and feel like you've got it in you to do it, why not take an hour out of your day to give. It will make you feel like you've done something positive and it truly WILL change the lives of a person, or two people or three people. You just never know when it's needed. But, there's one thing that is known for sure. IT IS NEEDED. Every day, the gift of blood is needed.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and those who need your pint!

Some housekeeping notes:

There's still PLENTY of time to jump on the bandwagon and donate! You've got until February 28. That's THREE full weeks left, so I'd LOVE to get at least 20 more of you to commit to giving me a pint of your blood. Last year I had about 50 donors, and I'm not anywhere NEAR that yet. I don't know what's holding some of you back this year? It's frustrating, for sure. Because it's such an easy, generous, satisfying, gracious task that actually leaves you FULFILLED.

Prizes: If you've donated a pint or platelets, sent in your picture and have been featured on a Sunday, Bloody Sunday, you're entered! We're giving away a roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines, Suave Beauty Basket, Gift Cards, and whatever else I'll be able to dig up from now until the end of February so if you have something you'd like to donate as a prize, let me know!

If you want more details on how to enter, they can all be found at GotBlood. If you have questions, email me at stephanieelliot @ If you send in your blood donation photo and don't see it posted the following Sunday, email me again as there has been a technical ERROR.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

i BRoKe uP a FiGHT aT MCDoNaLD'S

So today, I broke up my first fight. Wow. To think I could have been slugged in the face, punched in the ribs, hammered in the guts, or spat into the face by getting in the middle of a real live fight where the COPS were involved. I can’t believe I’m not shaking as I type this. Wow.

Let me start at the beginning. The kids all had dentist appointments after school and they all received a clean bill of health, so of course, I told the dentist and the whole staff they have no cavities because I feed them absolutely no desserts or sugar and only organic foods.

Then I took them to McDonald’s to celebrate their cavity-free clean mouths.

While at McDonald’s AJers ran into a friend on his basketball team who goes to another junior high. He was with another kid and his girlfriend. So AJers wanted to sit with these kids and I said OK. They sat at the very next booth. I thought that was kinda cute cuz if I wanted to ditch my mom, brother and sister, I would have gone all the way to the other side of the restaurant so I could talk like I would talk without any parents nearby.

So it’s the four of them sitting right by me, Diva and Tukey, and these hoodlum looking kids came in. One tall one, one medium one, and one super short looking gangsta-bad-ass looking one who I could tell by the looks of him was a trouble maker from the get-go. He came over to the table where AJers was sitting and started talking to the kids from the other school. Nothing crazy, but he did drop an Eff-Bomb or two. But I wasn’t gonna get in the way of my son being cool by his friends. Then a McD worker guy came over and it was apparent he knew the super short gangsta-bad-ass looking one and that he was friends with him. By the way, super short gangsta-bad-ass looking one (SSGBALO) was not older than in the eighth grade. None of them were, probably more like seventh grade. So, these three new gangsta kids were just talking to AJer’s friends when suddenly SSGBALO spots some other kids outside walking and he tears out of the McDonald’s and starts chasing down one of them.

Seriously chasing down one of them. Like on the Animal Planet Channel how they have the lions chasing the gazelles in slow motion and then the lion grazes the foot of the gazelle and finally grabs its prey. Like that.

The kid he starts chasing comes running toward the McD’s with true terror in his eyes and when he reaches the door to McD’s he doesn’t get in fast enough and SSGBALO starts wailing on him and beating the crap out of him with the intensity of a real cage-match fighter dude. I sat there in shock for a minute as I watched SSGBALO punch the kid in the face, get him on the ground, kick him and spit on him.

Finally, I asked the other kids, “Do you guys know that other kid?”

They did.

I ran out there and I can’t remember if I pulled SSGBALO off him, but I must have and I said, “Hey, stop that! What are you doing?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!!?”

SSGBALO who I will now refer to as FUCKING ASSHOLE looks me in the eye, straight in the eye with pure hate, and obvious no respect or fear for adults, and he says to me:

“I’m your worst nightmare.”

I think I said, “Oh, you think so?” when I should have said,

“You don’t know my worst nightmare.
My worst nightmare is my husband in a
thong bikini buddy, and if you don’t stop
this shit right now, I’ll throw your ass in the
back of my minivan and take you home and
make you sit there and look at my worst nightmare!”

But I didn’t have the quick wits about me to say that.

Instead, I asked the kid who got beat up if he was OK and he said yeah, but he didn’t look OK, and I took him inside, and by then the manager at McD’s was there asking if there was a fight and two seconds later there were two cop cars, and three seconds later there were four cop cars, and they got the weaselly kid into the back of the car and my kids were really freaked out and they keep saying that was the scariest thing they’d ever seen and they were so glad nothing like that has ever happened at their school.

I offered to take the other kids back to their school where they were going to watch the basketball game but they were afraid to come out the door with me cuz the SSGBALO was in the back of the cop car and they didn’t want him to see them so I said I would go out and get in my car and come to the other side of McD’s and pick them up. When I did that, I stopped by the cop car where they had the kid and I stuck my face right up to the window and made a horrifying face at the asshole kid and yelled,


Then I took his picture with my camera phone. Not really, but I soooo wish I did. I almost did. But I didn’t want to embarrass my kids. Some things I think I want to do that in my mind seem cool would probably mortify my kids and I don’t want to mortify them totally yet. There’s still a lot of time for that.

So, when I pulled around to get my kids and the other kids, there were a total of five police cars, one unmarked, and a firetruck had arrived along with an ambulance. And my phone rang. It was my neighbor who had just driven by and seen my minivan.

“What’s going on there, is everything OK!?”

“Oh, Diva didn’t get the Happy Meal toy she wanted so I tried to exchange it for the one she wanted and they wouldn’t do it for me so I got pissed and called 911.”

Haha. Just kidding on that one too. I told my neighbor what happened but SERIOUSLY, to anyone driving by, you would have thought that there was a hostage situation going on in Lisle, Illinois today, and not just some delinquent fucker who was probably held back two grades already, has idiots for parents, has a shitload of behavioral problems, and was just handcuffed in the back of a police car today. And he’s in the seventh grade. That kid’s got a bright future ahead of him for sure.

And me, I’m a freaking hero! I stopped a fight. I just wish I was brave enough to do what I really wanted to do, which was smack that little fucker so hard and make the bastard cry. I wanted to put the asshole in a headlock and yank out all his hair and tell him he was a mean little shit. Because he was.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

SuaVe Day oF BeauTy

Looking for the Suave Day of Beauty photos? You'll have to go here to see them now:
BeautyDay ... but here's a sneak peek ...

Monday, February 01, 2010


So I've been VERY bummed out thinking no one has been donating blood, but here's what happened for those of you who have sent your photos in who didn't see your bright and smiley faces up here on the blog:

My manicmommy email account usually gets redirected to my stephanieelliot account but somehow they stopped coming to my main email so I wasn't receiving these emails.

I have ELEVEN MORE DONORS that I didn't know I had and all of you will be showcased next Sunday! I spent all of today organizing all your stories and photos and I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to donate your precious pint of blood for the cause!

Also, would like to take this time to let you know what some of the prizes are going to be if you don't already know! We are giving away a Southwest airline ticket*, Target and Starbucks gift cards, a Suave Beauty Basket with some of their great new products (some friends and I got to sample some last week and I'll be posting about that later!) ... so check back and thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your generosity and for taking the time to donate and for sending in your photos! There is still all of February for you to donate, and all the details can be found at Got Blood? Be GREAT and DONATE!

*Airline ticket will have an expiration date; you must agree to be able to use ticket before your name goes into drawing. Grand prize is not eligible to my immediate friends/family. Other stipulations may apply.