So I hope all you Mofo’s had a FABULOUS holiday, whatever you celebrate. I must tell you that I had the most entertaining, wildly hilarious, most memorable and BEST Christmas yet! My family and I treked up to the North Country (also known as Chicagoland area) to spend the holiday with our family up there. It was my daughter’s first Christmas, so that automatically made it special of course, but there were many more memorable, pee box (hehe Linz) moments than I ever thought possible over a 6 day period of time. My cheeks (the ones on my face, don’t get dirty on me people) hurt from laughing so hard.

We drove up Tuesday evening after Mark got off work, and I think my BEST move EVER was to book a babysitter for travel day. I am always a complete BITCH on days we travel from the stress of getting us all organized and packed, plus taking care of the baby. SO, this time I decided to have our sitter come over at about noon so that I could focus on packing/organizing/last-minute shopping, while SHE took care of Hayden. I tell ya what, I think Mark thought for SURE I had taken 3 xanax or something because he could not believe I was as calm and collected as I was when we pulled out of the driveway…and the ENTIRE 5 hour ride in the car. Woohoo!

So Wednesday evening, I received the BEST Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten. My sister took me to the spa she works at (Weis-Morris) in Rockford for a facial and a pedicure. It was SOOOO relaxing and lovely! However, before that we went to a Tapas restaurant right next door called Five Forks Market.

Now, if any of you have ever had Tapas, you may have known what to expect. I, on the other hand, was completely stunned. My sister told me that this was basically a deal where you each order an “appetizer” and then share amongst each other. SUPER, right?! So, Mark ordered one, I ordered another, and then my sister ordered one. I ordered this butternut squash ravioli with seared scallops. Sounds fantastic, right?! Well, I think if I had eaten more than half of a scallop and 2 raviolis, it would have been! Seriously, folks, we shared THREE plates and Mark and I just looked at each other like, is that all???

So I ordered Jimmy John’s while I was getting my pedicure…But hey, I tried something new, and I learned that if you want appetizers, go to Applebee’s…or Chili’s…or Friday’s…well, you get the idea.

Another notable moment was Christmas morning. Santa had come…or my step-mom kept saying it was my dad. So I really couldn’t tell ya who it was. But somebody came down the chimney and put candy in our stockings and gifts under the tree. Barb (my step-mom) kept mixing Santa and my dad up. I can see why, after all, my dad DID grow a snowy white beard this winter…Anyway, after Santa came, we decided it was time for Hayden to open up all her presents…over Skype with my mom and Grams in Arizona…

They were kind of in a rush so we had to help her along, and while I was helping her, I noticed my step-mom was opening up her presents as well. My dad had encouraged us all to open our gifts and said he would wait until the end to open his (which is actually tradition in our family for some reason), and so everyone just went for it…step-mom included. I was helping Hay and looking over at Barb thinking, gee, that present looks EXACTLY like the one my mom sent for ME…same wrapping paper, same shape box, everything. Well, I didn’t think too much of that and continued with Hayden and trying to keep her from smashing the keyboard on the laptop while trying to get to her Grandmas on the screen…and then Barb opened the box to find a pair of jeans…in my size…And sheepishly she said… “Oops, I don’t think this is mine…” Sorry Mom! Barb opened MY present!!!

So after all of the excitement with my mom and grandma, Mark and I exchanged gifts. He opened his gift from me, which was a pair of noise cancellation headphones…that he didn’t ask for but DESPERATELY needed and he completely flipped out about it! I LOVE it when that happens, you know? You get the PERFECT gift for someone that they didn’t even ask for. So then it was my turn, and he told my dad to make sure he had the video camera on because I was FOR SURE going to cry at the card he got me because it was so mushy…No such luck. I’m not a crier, folks. It’s just not me. Soooo, after recording my non-reaction to the card, dad turned off the camera just in time for me to open my gift from Mark…the UGLIEST pair of “slippers” I’d ever seen. O. M. G. I didn’t know what else to do but laugh…and so Mark felt terrible and decided he had ruined Christmas. I told him that it wasn’t true at all and that he had given me something to write about! Although I did ask him what on EARTH posessed him to buy them, to which he replied, “your sister told me you’d like them.” Note to Mark, my sister and I have VERY different styles and she has NO clue what I like. HA.

So all-in-all, it was a great trip. Those are just a couple of highlights from my very memorable holiday. I hope all of you mofo’s shared as many laughs as we did. And I hope you shared just as many Captain & Coke’s as we did as well. ;)

Til next time…

Dear Victoria,

It’s not a secret anymore. You suck. Big time. Your store has gone from being my ONLY go-to place for everything under my clothes (and sometimes even just clothes) to my most despised store in the mall. Your inadequecies are multiplying like the H1N1 virus, and it’s quite disturbing.

Your employees have no friggin clue how to measure someone for a bra. I was measured by 2 different people who both measured me completely differently. Are these people really trained? Come on, let’s be honest. They’ve got about as much expertise as the Walmart lingerie department employees.

I actually went into your store TWICE in 2 days, hoping I’d have better results when I came with my husband…not so much. The first time I couldn’t even find anyone who worked in the store who could help me find what I wanted. The second time, there was plenty of staff…and they were all equally rude. In fact, one woman who was coming back from a break would NOT step aside and let me (CUSTOMER) by with my stroller!

I tried on well over 15 bras, and none of them fit. I tried on everything from a 36C to a 38D and everything in between…3 bra boxes, ladies (for those of you who know what I’m talking about)…and none of them fit properly. Whatever Victoria’s Secret to finding a properly fitting bra is, she’s NOT telling me.

So, Victoria, it seems our affair is done. I now shop Macy’s for all of my underthings, and thanks to Calvin Klein, my boobs are much happier anyway ;)

Okay, parents. I’m THAT mom. You know, I’m the one who only lets her kid have organic foods, nothing with added sugars or sodium, nothing processed…well, you get the idea. So, my dad came in for Thanksgiving, and we went shopping on Black Friday…and that’s when he teamed up with my 8 month-old, and together they broke down my defenses…and I lost the battle to the KING of fried foods…

So my dad, step-mom and I all ventured out with my daughter (8 months at the time) for an afternoon of shopping. The shopping was great, besides my dad making me spend like TWO HOURS in Dick’s in the hunting section. I mean, seriously, how many camo coats/vests/over-alls ARE there??? However, that’s not the interesting part of our Black Friday adventure.

Before we got our shopping on, we decided to have a nice lunch at Houlihan’s at Castleton Square. This place was SUPER fantastic in the service department and really dealt well with the challenge of a super-picky new mom with a GINORMOUS stroller. As all moms do, I came prepared with toys, high chair cover, and a bottle. What I wasn’t prepared for was my daughter’s distinct rejection of the bottle in favor of some other form of nutrition. Me being who I am, I ALWAYS have to forget something, so this time I had forgotten to pack the “puffs” in the diaper bag. This meant I had NO solid food for her to snack on and play with…and when my dad suggested…FRENCH FRIEs.

O
M
G

FRENCH FRIES?!?! Well, the screaming ensued…and so I gave in…and it was love at first fry :( So, this is when I learned a very important lesson: LIGHTEN UP! That, and sometimes you just have to improvise. She was definitely ready for “people food,” and I just didn’t know it because I hadn’t been adventurous enough. Since then, we’ve tried a variety of table foods, which she enjoys much more than anything I can give her in a jar. She’s FAR too independent and impatient to allow me to feed her from the jar anyway. So thanks, Dad, for making me realize that a french fry never killed anybody…And now Hayden gets a few french fries anytime we go out to eat :)

As a person who has TWO friends suffering from some form of kidney disease, I found this story awe-inspiring and FANTASTIC.

Last year, Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Miranda Bailey pulled out all the surgery stops and lined up a “domino surgery” for 12 patients who all needed kidneys. Each had agreed to donate a kidney to a friend or relative, but the problem was that they didn’t match. So, through this domino surgery, each patient was matched with a donor.

Although the real-life version of this didn’t take place in one hospital OR in one day, it’s still quite amazing. It involved 2 hospitals, Georgetown University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center, mixing and matching their donor and recipient lists to come up with the 26 person (13 donors and 13 recipients) “domino” surgeries. The surgeries took place over a period of 6 days, with doctors performing transplants on 2-3 patients each day.

How was all of this possible? Well, there’s a new trend among hospitals specializing in organ transplantation called “paired kidney donation” in which one incompatible donor/recipient pair is matched with another pair in the same situation so that the donor of the first kidney gives to the recipient of the second, and vice versa. Obviously, the larger the kidney exchange, the more donors and recipients are mixed and matched, giving more people the chance to obtain a new kidney.

Pretty cool, people. So I thought I’d share…And yeah, I KNEW there was a reason (or 20) why I just LOVE Grey’s Anatomy.

Xile out.

All right. Let’s talk about this. Nobody else has, so you know I’ve got an opinion. Adam Lambert (runner-up last season on American Idol) performed on the American Music Awards a couple weeks ago, and it was quite controversial. His subsequent performances on ABC were cancelled, and he made no apologies for his performance.

I did not watch the AMAs, but I did make sure to check out this performance. I did this not because I wanted to see 2 guys make out, but I wanted to judge for myself what all the huff was about. I don’t know why everyone was so concerned with the man-on-man make-out with all of the other completely OBSCENE crap going on “for your entertainment.” WOW. This was meant to be a FAMILY show on primetime network television. Let’s just count some of the things I’d be pissed about if I was a network exec:

1. Simulating fellatio (just ice the cake by making the simulation with a male dancer-truthfully that I couldn’t care less about)

2. Crotch grabbing

3. S & M outfits

4. Pole-dancing

5. Flipping off the crowd

6. Oh, and making out (again, ice the cake with it being a dude)

*Please note that I am ALL for gay rights and have lots of gay friends. I want to be clear that for me, if Adam had made out with and/or simulated fellatio with a WOMAN, I would still find it completely inappropriate for network television.*

Adam says that editing his performance for the west coast feed was discrimination. I say I hope they just ELIMINATED it. Frankly, I have no idea what I would have done had my daughter been watching this with my husband and me. I probably would’ve changed the channel and then had a discussion about appropriate behavior in public. Adam defends his performance by saying he was “honoring the lyrics” of his song. I’m sorry, but for me this is about taste. If you KNOW you’re performing on prime-time network television, I think as an artist, you should think about catering to your audience, especially when your album comes out the NEXT day. Isn’t the whole idea to get people to buy your record? Personally, I won’t pick it up, especially after seeing THAT obscene display.

In an Access Hollywood interview he said, “You know honestly, if I offended some people…it’s apples and oranges. I’m not an artist that does things for every single person.” Um, okay? EVERY artist is not for everyone, but there’s no reason to be obscene. I wasn’t offended by his performance, but I was repulsed. He also compared himself (how DARE he) to Lady Gaga by saying that after she “[tore] it apart on stage” that he was inspired and got caught up in the moment??? I’m sorry, but as unique as Lady Gaga is, she’s not obscene. She’s different and definitely pushes the envelope, but it’s TASTEFUL and awe-inspiring. I think Adam could use a little coaching in that department.

For me, this doesn’t come down to gay or straight. My husband mentioned the 3-way kiss between Madonna, Britney and Christina several years back at the VMAs in comparison. I told him what I will tell all of you: that was MTV. It’s expected, and my 7 year-old (someday when I have one) won’t be watching the VMAs. The difference is that this was on network television and a show meant for families. It’s not ABC being discriminatory. It’s ABC protecting its own integrity. Adam said it himself when he said his music “isn’t for everyone.” It’s certainly not appropriate for the daytime audience (in most cases).

One of my great friends said recently: “come over to myspace so i can twitter your yahoo until you google all over my facebook.” I think that about sums it up, right? There used to be a place I could go and speak freely about what was on my mind mostly anonomously in cyberspace. NOW, it seems that I have to edit all of my posts to make sure I don’t offend my DAD? Or my BOSS? Or anyone that I would usually be bitching about in cyberspace. W-T-F, mate?!

Don’t get me wrong, I am HUGELY excited that I have been able to reconnect with some of my long-lost friends and met some really cool people, namely my very best friend Linz, on Mojo. However, when I got a request from my Grandma AND my dad on Facebook a couple months back, I started thinking about WHY I am still ON Facebook…And NOW I even have an estranged family member face-stalking me. SO, this begs the question, WHAT is a technologically savvy and super-networked girl supposed to do?
Last week, when I received a much dreaded message from the stalker, I made all of my videos on youtube private, changed my privacy settings on facebook to make myself all but unsearchable and then sat and stared at my screen for like an hour. I was just thinking, what am I DOING?! I’m driving myself crazy trying to privatize myself while still staying public? I mean really, I laughed at myself after doing all that because the only way for me to keep my business MY business would be to just delete my facebook profile, cancel my youtube account and go hide under a rock. This is HIGHLY unlikely, being that it’s pretty much the only way I stay connected with people. Heaven forbid we pick up the PHONE these days! I mean, does anyone even HAVE a phone anymore? If you have a PHONE, you might as well BE under a rock. If you don’t have an iPhone or a Blackberry, your social life is pretty much non-existent. Okay, maybe not, but you get what I’m saying.

I have to say that I’m hanging onto one last shred of dignity by completely avoiding Twitter. I mean, at least on Facebook you only see what I’m doing if you go out of your way to check. And the same goes for me. I only see what you’re up to if I CHOOSE to look at my facebook page. I get enough junk texting that I don’t need updates on when my friends are showering…

I guess my point in all of this is that although I think that social networking is a fabulous concept, it’s ruining my life at the same time. I mean, my ex husband actually cheated on me and left me because he reconnected with his ex-girlfriend on MYSPACE…back when myspace was all the rage. It’s hard to believe I actually met my husband in PERSON with no help from any social networking site!

So if you happen to meet me at some mojo event, I’m Xile. And if you’re offended by something I say on here, at least I have an opinion. I’d like to thank Mojo for giving me a place to be my cyber-self. And I’d like to thank my Grandma and my dad for NOT joining. HA!

Good day ya’ll.

Man, I couldn’t even decide in which CHANNEL to post this! Sports? Local News? Entertainment? Take your pick. Either way, I know I’m not the only one who is TIRED of hearing about Tiger Woods. Men cheat. LOTS of them do. Women go crazy, hell, most of us ARE crazy. Just because he’s a pro athlete doesn’t mean he’s a god, okay? And frankly, I really couldn’t care less. He’s a fantastic golfer, the best of our time, right? No one pegged him as the guy with the best morals, the best husband, the best ANYTHING but a golfer. So that’s what I care about: his golf game. That’s what I want to hear, on ESPN. Other than that, I don’t care, and none of us should either. Let the man live his screwed up life, just like the rest of us NON-perfect humans.

I mean, first of all, is anyone surprised that he cheated? I’m not! He’s constantly away from home and bombarded with beautiful women. And these days, what politician, pro-athlete, actor or any other celebrity HASN’T cheated or done something less than savory in the eyes of the general public??? When are we going to learn to stop idolizing these people and start realizing that if they’re good at their job, whatever it is, let them do it. Beyond that, just understand they’re all screwed up. And if they haven’t screwed up yet, they will at some point. Since when is ANY person perfect?

As far as cheating, let’s be real. Humans were not made to be monogomous; we have to WORK at it. How many of you have been cheated on or been the cheater? I don’t care if people say “once a cheater, always a cheater.” That is circumstantial and in many cases, untrue. Now, in Tiger’s case, it probably IS, but that’s not the point. The point is, he’s the best golfer on the planet. Is it wrong that he’s a big cheater, of course!

All I’m saying is that I don’t care how much of a sleaze he is. How’s his golf game? I don’t care who’s coming out of his house on a stretcher at 2 am, or why his wife threw a golf club through the back window of the SUV he slammed into a tree in his own driveway. So unless he’s yelling at a ref (not likely being that he plays GOLF), taking some kind of performance-enhancing drugs, or somehow cheating on the GOLF COURSE, I don’t need to know. I’m tired of hearing about his personal problems. Let’s move on to something meaningful, like healthcare…okay, CNN? Okay, NBC? Okay, EVERY single news channel…

That’s my rant. Xile, out.

Yes!!! A blogger’s HEAVEN is the event that took place last week at the White House! Who knows if they were invited or not, but truthfully, I hope they weren’t. AND I think they should get a medal. A great big PLATINUM medal. I mean, what better way to show what a JOKE our Secret Service is, right? Not to mention, let’s go ahead and make a mockery of a fancy dinner for the Indian Prime Minister while the rest of us are trying to figure out how to pay for our Thanksgiving dinner!

I am seriously in LOVE with the Salahis, and I think if there are charges filed, they need to be brought against the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, who seriously dropped the ball. He said it himself that the Agency is “deeply concerned and embarassed” at the major breakdown in security. But hey, don’t worry, Mr. President, they went through the same screening procedures as everyone else for weapons! As they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game, right? I mean, this was an absolutely HUGE move! Bold, over-the-top, FABULOUS.

Some people are saying we shouldn’t “reward” the Salahis with their spot on the upcoming reality show, The Real Housewives of D.C. In fact, some are saying they should do some jail time or worse?! I say they should get their OWN show! They should write a BOOK on how to crash a party. Now even if you don’t think they should be “rewarded” with the reality spot, they should at least be rewarded for exposing our inadequecies in security. Hey, at least they weren’t some terrorists, okay? Now the Secret Service can re-evaluate their definition of “secure” for the future.

As far as this dinner is concerned, it’s a joke, okay? Our unemployment rate in this country is well over 10%, which only includes those CURRENTLY receiving benefits. It doesn’t include those who exhausted them NOR does it include people like me, who were self-employed. It doesn’t include people who took jobs flipping burgers at McDonald’s who used to run companies that went under due to this suffering economy. We’re HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of dollars in debt to China, but hey, let’s throw a party! Does anyone else see a problem here?

I challenge the White House staff to throw an equally expensive and much more expansive dinner for some of the people in this country who can’t afford groceries. I challenge them to stop throwing big fancy dinner parties and to start putting their money where their mouths are. Let’s put the money used for these parties back in the American people’s pockets. After all, it’s the taxes the American people pay which PAY for these engagements…or maybe it was China. Either way, I challenge the White House to give back. Give that money to the food banks who can’t keep up with the demand. Give it to the homeless shelters who are over capacity. And hey, Mr. President, why don’t you spend that time helping out the communities in your home country by serving at a soup kitchen or working at a food bank.

So, in my humble opinion, I vote that the Salahis are heroes, and they shouldn’t be charged with anything except being absolutely FEARLESSLY bold.

Til next time…

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the headline: U.S. Won’t Join Landmine Ban, Administration Decides. Can you? Our “Mr. Nice-Guy” President, shaking hands with the Chinese, Mr. Diplomacy chooses to go rogue from NATO. We are the ONLY country among the 28 in the alliance who did not sign this. 156 nations have signed this ban, and folks, that’s right, we are NOT one of them. Not surprisingly, neither are Russia or China. Hmm, interesting.

Ian Kelly, State Department spokesperson let us all know to have no fear, though, because “We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention.” Well, that’s comforting, isn’t it? Let me just recap this policy for ya.

The new U.S. landmine policy as of February 27, 2004 can be summarized as follows:

*Eliminate all persistent landmines from its arsenal

*Continue to develop non-persistent (self-destructing/self-deactivating) landmines that will not pose a humanitarian threat after use in battle

*Continue to research and develop enhancements to the current self-destructing/self-deactivating landmine technology in order to develop and preserve military capabilities that address the United States transformational goals

*Seek a worldwide ban on the sale or export of all persistent landmines

*Get rid of its non-detectable mines within one year

*Only employ persistent anti-vehicle mines outside of Korea between now and 2010, if needed, when authorized by the President

*Not use any persistent landmines — neither anti-personnel nor anti-vehicle — anywhere after 2010

*Begin the destruction within two years of those persistent landmines not needed for the protection of Korea

*Seek a 50 percent increase in the U.S. Department of State’s portion of the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program over Fiscal Year 2003 baseline levels to $70 million a year

Well, isn’t that just FULL of sunshine, roses and humanitarianism??? This policy uses clever wording. “Persistent” landmines vs. “non-persistent” makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Because self-destructing and self-deactivating mines are much better, right? They pose no humanitarian threat, right? First of all, this terminology is a bunch of rhetoric bulls***. They’re called Anti-personnel mines. Landmines are landmines. Just because they’re self-destructing doesn’t make them okay, and here’s why:

The time when the mines are armed and when they self-destruct or fully self-deactivate can be as long as NINETEEN WEEKS. And let’s face it, technology isn’t perfect. Mines can be damaged during delivery, 2-5% of self-destruct mechanisms fail, and up to 10% of the mines fail to arm properly. This means that a part of these U.S. mines would always remain intact on the surface of the ground without any indication whether the mine is live or not. Since aircraft or artillery remotely deliver these mines in large numbers, they are not required to be marked, fenced, or monitored to exclude civilians. From a deminer’s perspective, all mines encountered must be treated as though they are live. As such, the same procedures that are used to clear live mines are used to clear self-destructing and self-deactivating ones. And any assurances that Mr. Kelly or anyone else makes as to the reliability of these types of mines are inconsistent with the cautions outlined in our Army field manuals. Suffice it to say that no mine is a safe mine.

So you may be wondering why we would choose NOT to sign such an unprecedented movement with regard to human rights. Well, folks, it’s all about the Benjamins, right? That, and the POWER. According to a 2004 report, the U.S. stockpiles 10.4 million antipersonnel mines and 7.5 million antivehicle mines making it the world’s third largest

So my life suddenly makes much more sense this week. For anyone who knows me, and anyone who’s read my blog, you know that my relationship with my father has been strained over the years. That is an understatement. He has dealt with mental illness for many years, although he always tells people he has depression. However, recently he made a bit of a slip-up when he had a conversation with my sister in which he said he believes his doctor incorrectly diagnosed him with Bipolar Disorder. This was confirmed by my cousin (also Bipolar) when she told me in casual conversation that he had spoken with her about going off medication. I was speaking with her about the fact that I’ve just come to realize and understand that my dad suffers from mental illness and so I choose not to take anything personally. He says and does a lot of things that most people (okay ANY person) would find offensive and hurtful, and I just let go. It’s better than getting all upset and having no relationship with him at all. Unfortunately, my younger sister is caught in the crossfire: he’s been hurting her recently, which is really difficult for her because they’ve always had a very close relationship. That’s just about when my cousin interjected that Bipolar is difficult. It’s difficult for the person who has it, and it’s equally difficult for family and friends of the diagnosed. Say WHAAA????

Now, let me say that for many years this was my suspicion, but I’m not a doctor…what do I know?! What I do know is that I lived with a roommate in college who was Bipolar, and I have a cousin who also suffers with it. I know what to look for, and when to fade into the background and let the episode happen…and when to pray that it will be over soon.

I guess I’m writing this because although my life makes SO much more sense now, I wonder why there is such a stigma associated with Bipolar Disorder. Why does my dad feel he can’t tell people that he has it? And why does he lie and say that he’s been diagnosed with Depression? He feels that people will judge him, I suppose. And again, I just can’t understand this because I would be able to wholeheartedly forgive him and UNDERSTAND him if he had just been honest. Not only this, but we ALL (family and friends) would be able to help him cope. We could recognize as a family when it’s time for him to go to the hospital, take the credit cards, or even when to just go see his doctor…

Unfortunately he hasn’t been honest with me, or with himself apparently. So we all still have to tip-toe around the elephant in the room that is Bipolar. I hope one day that he’s able to realize that this doesn’t have to be a big deal and that we can all come together as a family and help him cope with this disease. And I also hope that my sister can understand that our dad isn’t like every other dad in this world and not take the things he says and does personally. That’s the definition of unconditional love: love him when he’s unlovable and respect him when he’s unrespectable.

So I’d just like to say that I love my dad, Bipolar and all. And I hope that everyone out there can think before judging someone who suffers from this affliction, or any other mental disorder for that matter. This is the time of the year to be mindful of what we’re thankful for, and I’m thankful to have my dad in my life, flawed and all.