Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sapper!

My daughter just turned ten and, in her excitement, has taken to signing everything with her name followed by 'DD'. I only discovered this little gem when a (male) classmate's mother emailed me to ask what it stood for. In screaming hysterics, I assured her it wasn't an allusion to bra-size and promised I would find out. It turned out to be 'Double Digits'. Poor thing; even when I said that DD had another meaning, she guessed 'Dunkin Donuts'.

When I finally gave the giant boobs explanation, she was duly mortified and asked me if this was like the time she voted to name the newly-hatched class chick, Pecker. "Exactly", I said.

There's no way to walk the minefield that is our language without receiving at least a fleshwound but I'm trying to ward off as much embarassment for my kids as possible. They can recite most of the swear-word-alphabet (or say they can - for some reason they won't say it to me) but even there, Minx thinks the "s" word is "shut-up". More importantly, they fall short on the double-entendres and here's where I come in. There's nothing like a good British upbringing for finding rude hidden meanings in practically anything. I just have to tailor my talent to age-appropriate knowledge and remember that some prejudices must not cross the Atlantic (in America there's nothing wrong with the name Kevin). In fact, I fancy myself as a bit of a sapper, carefully seeking out and defusing verbal mines.

Speaking of which, I now have to go have a word with my son for making Minx sing Yankee Doodle, starting every word with the letter 'F'.

Think about it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Steak, Chicken, or Ear Plugs?

After much debate over what would constitute a fun, festive Christmas Eve dinner (last year's at-home cheese fondue having been more mess than success), we decided to go out to dinner at a Japanese hibachi place.

It was a perfect solution, really: no cooking, no cleaning, and a volcano made out of an onion. Merry, merry.

What we hadn't focused on is that we usually go to the hibachi place with another family, which means that our party usually fills a whole table.

On Christmas Eve, the four of us were joined by another family of four-- Mom, Dad, and two boys in their early 20's.

Guess what? It's actually pretty awkward to share a dinner table with strangers on Christmas Eve. The Club Med-bred side of me felt like we were supposed to engage them in conversation.

Fortunately, they were already talking amongst themselves. About one son's grades. Oy.

Now, depending on your point of view, I am either blessed or cursed with a highly developed talent for eavesdropping. I can't help it. I can't even control it. And, believe me, as dinner went on I was DYING to tune these people out.

As they discussed the son's two B minuses, two C minuses and one D plus, I tried very hard not to register my reaction. Adding to the awkwardness/hilarity of the whole thing is that in the midst of all this high drama the chef is juggling knives and tossing broccoli bits at our mouths.

Saving me from them (and myself), my daughter had to go to the bathroom (big surprise).

By the time we got back to the table, the stranger family had started debating politics. Dad assumed the loud, blustery, interrupting Bill O'Reilly/conspiracy theorist/what-are-those-liberal-college-professors-teaching-you role and the kids tried to point out the trouble brewing between North and South Korea and defend Obama. It was ugly.

Maybe I wouldn't blame the Dad for questioning anything that ever came out of his academically underachieving son's mouth (political or otherwise), but every time Dad was confronted with facts that he didn't like he would shout that he doesn't "have time to watch the news or read about all this stuff because he WORKS six days a week" (which later became "SEVEN days a week") and then he would blame Obama and the democrats for something. It was hideous.

Peace on Earth and goodwill toward.... Check please!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I've Got Mail (Damn it!)

I have communication issues. Unless someone is in my face, I just don't stay in touch well. Part of the problem is that there just is never a good time to sit down and have a quiet, uninterrupted phone call. The other part is that I hate talking on the phone.

To some extent email has saved me from being totally wiped off the holiday card list. It allows me to communicate at any hour of the day or night and not have to worry about screaming kids in the background. Or foreground. And my Blackberry makes email even easier. At this time of year when we are bombarded with offers from J. Crew, Restoration Hardware, and every online photo service in existence, it feels really good to erase 11 emails while standing in line at Starbucks.

Personal emails are trickier. I like the text-message-email, which has a specific question or request and can be answered in one line. Invitation emails are also fun, easy to respond to and paper-saving to boot. Obviously, spam is a big no-no (seriously, how many times do I have to put the Christian Singles Club on my delete list?).

Then there is the misplaced instant-reply email which gives false urgency to a friendship-maintenance-email: You get a message, you respond, and PING you get another email right back. No! No! No! I crossed you off my list! I didn't require a response but now that I have one, I owe you again. Basic etiquette must be to wait a few days, no? Otherwise, do you reply back instantly or wait a few days yourself?

I am such an ingrate.

What a Gwyndbag

Why oh why is Gwyneth Paltrow coming out with a cookbook?

It can't be the money. It can't be a big career move. It can't be that she fears she doesn't have enough media exposure.

Really, it has to be one of just a few potential reasons: the first is that she is trying to help me deflect some of my enormous hatred for Sarah Palin back on to Gwyneth, where it was cultivated and has thrived for so many years thanks to Gwyneth's inherent annoying fish stick-iness. Ladies, please, there's more than enough to go around!

The second possibility is that Gwyneth doesn't just come across like she thinks she is the cat's pajamas, she actually believes that she is and that others aspire to be just like her. And she wants to help them with their noble undertaking. What a generous soul! The cookbook would supplement Gwyneth's lifestyle website, the poorly named GOOP, where, as I understand it (lord knows I would never let any cookie anywhere register me as having visited the damn thing), Lady P. lets people in on all kinds of Gwysdom and Gwyfty Gwyft ideas. I just made those up, but I should totally file for the copyright before she co-opts them and becomes a macrobiotic Hasselhoff. Hoff with her head.

The only other thing I can come up with is that somehow, even with the acting career, the GOOP, the televised foodie trips with Mario Batali, the ruining Glee! for me, the yoga, and the celebrity matchmaking, she is bored. To which I say (cc: Jerry Seinfeld's wife), go spend some time with your kids! Help out at their school! Or do some volunteer work! Or get a dog! Whatever, just spare me from having to see your mug on yet more magazines and talk shows as you do publicity for the book. At the very least, please combine the book tour with the promotional tour for that movie in which you sing country music.

In case you think that Gwyneth can't possibly be Gwyneth in recipe form, here are a few lines from the book that were quoted on eater.com and that I masochistically read through:

"In the last ten years or so, cooking has become my main ancillary passion in life."

"The stove is really the epicenter of my house — I am never far away from it and most of the time there is something atop it, simmering away for my family."

"More often than not when I prepare desserts, I am thinking about keeping the sugar intake low, as well as limiting other ingredients that don't do us any favors."

"I am constantly thinking about ways to give my children something filled with as much nutritional value as possible."

GAAAAAAHHHH.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And to All a Good Night

After eagerly watching and waiting for my kids to clap, sit up, roll over, stand, walk, talk, feed themselves, give up diapers, get dressed on their own, catch a ball, throw a ball, hit a ball, wash their own hair, tie their shoes, snap, whistle, blow bubbles, read, write, and lose the training wheels, I have been completely blindsided by a milestone I hadn't even considered: last night both of my kids had their first "away" sleepovers.

And.... wow.

Success. On all fronts. Sure, my daughter ended up sleeping in her friend's mom's bed; and, okay, my son watched a wildly inappropriate Adam Sandler movie; and, yeah, they were crazy exhausted today. But-- and this is HUGE-- they both had a ball and my husband and I had a super date night that didn't end with a wallet-whomping babysitter payment.

And we got to sleep in this morning.

And they both went to bed early tonight without a hint of trouble.

A milestone to embrace. At least until we have to return the favor as hosts...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is "Great"

No, seriously. How could I not have created this site?

http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/

(Sorry. I can't make the link button, you know, "work")

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Santa ...

I vaguely remember writing letters to Santa when I was a kid, begging for that one item I desperately needed and then, like the kid in 'A Christmas Story', not getting it. Don't get me wrong, I was far from deprived, but there was definitely a disconnect between the fluff I wanted and the more practical things I got. Not so for today's kids. One of my son's friends (so age 7) was laughing about the iTouch he got for Chanukkah this year because (ha ha) he lost the one he got last year. Oh, and this one has a camera in it. Talk about the instant gratification generation!

On that note, I decided to publish my daughters' Christmas wish lists and see if you can guess which items will end up under our tree (my son didn't write one; he wants Santa to guess - great).

9-Year-Old:
Laptop
Wii Wipeout
Scooter
Felt Coloring
Remote Control Car
Mocha Frappachino
TV in my room
Paint by numbers
Pedicure and manicure
Sour candy maker
Snickers
To meet Mia Hamm
iTouch
Building kit
Smelly stickers
Mind Flex
Poster of Mia Hamm

(she's good for the candy, stickers, art stuff and poster)

Minx (5)
Markers
Cooking sduf
Coloring books
Harry Potter play toys
los uv candy
Camru
100 dolrs
New York toy
I wont to see Snta
Wke up on sevin frde (wake up at 7:30)
COTTON CANDY MAKER (this seems to be a priority)

I'm not even sure what some of it is. And truth be told, I'd rather not buy any of it and give the money to Smile Train or Make A Wish or any worthy cause because my kids need NOTHING. But then I think back to that Weeble tree house I SO desperately wanted, or the Barbie head you could beautify, or the Bionic Woman action figure (which cost $9.50 and ended up taking me almost a year's worth of pocket money to buy) and, once again, I indulge. Just a little bit.

Monday, December 6, 2010

When Bad People Happen to Good People

A very dear friend of mine always has crazy-neighbor stories to share. Most of the people on her street are genuinely certifiable and I delight in hearing the latest loony installment. Then I got a crazy neighbor of my very own and the shine wore off: It's just too close to home.

The first couple of incidents occurred at preschool, where this woman's kid and mine were students. In front of the teachers and a classroom full of four-year-olds, she gave me a huge bear hug (that lifted me clean off the floor), followed by a threefold locker-room pat on the bum. What the???? A week later, waiting to pick up our children from school, she admired my Keratin-straightened hair and asked if I'd had my "other" hair straightened too. EWWWWWW! So inappropriate.

Over the next several months we reluctantly learned exactly what she did to earn a fabulous new pair of boots from her husband and how she tells her husband she would never cheat on him because she doesn't even want to have sex with him; she is "all dried up". The children at the bus stop look on with saucer-eyes.

The cherry (so far, at least) was this morning. She strutted down the road, butted right into a conversation about a play date, and announced that she was getting old. My heart filled with DREAD. We laughed politely and continued with our conversation. But she wasn't done.

"I'm getting old, y'know why?"
"No ..."
"I just did a wee-wee in my pants." (verbatim, I swear)

Thank God, the school bus picked that moment to arrive. We busied ourselves with saying goodbye to the kids, then hastily beat a retreat, shouting excuses on the fly.
"Not much of filter on that one!' my other neighbor whispered.
No filter at all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peel and Stick it


Dear USPS,

Seriously? This is your idea of festive winter holiday stamps?

Couldn't you at least have added some snow to those muted-tone boughs?

I feel like you've sucked a fair amount of joy out of the holiday card season-- both the sending and the receiving.

These stamps have "utility bill" written all over them.

Bah humbug,

Weaselsnark

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Hairy Situation

The list of things that gross me out is long and, for the most part, not particularly original:

I don't like bugs (or, really, most creatures outside the mammal class); the smell and feel of raw chicken and-- shudder-- the "juice" inside the package makes me seriously consider becoming a vegan; I support corporal punishment for people who spit or blow snot rockets on the street; I'm gagging just from having typed "snot rockets" (all the words related to mucus are on my list); I'm not the one to go to if you need help baiting your fish hook; newspaper ink on my fingers sets my teeth on edge; and on and on. You get the idea.

My husband, on the other hand, is less easily shaken. Or he is better at hiding it. There are only a couple of things that really make him shudder: slimy things (like lotion, conditioner, or Carl Paladino) and cleaning out the kitchen basket strainer/stopper.

Unfortunately for my husband, he married the human equivalent of a golden retriever. I have crazy hair. And lots of it. And I'm a shedder. I could never be a criminal because I can't go anywhere without leaving behind a curly strand full of DNA. Sometimes I'll stop to say hello to someone and halfway through our conversation I'll notice that one of my hairs has somehow made it on to their coat. It's insane (and has, in all likelihood, earned me a spot on someone else's gross out list).

In the shower I use a hair catcher, which always seemed to do it's job. But recently I started hearing the tell-tale gurglings of a clogged drain. I tried Liquid Plumber but it didn't help. As time went on the drain got slower and I became concerned that there might be a real Problem (not with a clog but with the pipe itself-- it wouldn't be the first time our house had a hidden surprise for us).

Last night, out of his workroom, my husband produced a drain snake. (Who knew we had one?) And he got to work. What came out of that drain was like my husband's own personal Perfect Storm. A real horror, at once purely vile and purely captivating (especially for those of us-- me!-- who, during the months and months of nursing, derived great personal satisfaction from the removal of baby ear wax and baby boogers).

And this morning, the gurgle was gone. What a guy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Positive Sign

This sign has suddenly appeared all over our town.



As far as I'm concerned that cat has got nothing on the sign itself.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weaselsnob and her Amazing Monochromatic Dreamcoat

I'd been dreaming of a new coat; a short black number casual enough to wear at soccer games but tailored enough to assuage my biggest fashion fear of looking manly. I scoured the Internet, poured over catalogues and hit the mall but nothing suited my exacting specs until ... H&M!

It was perfect. It was short. It was black. It had a subtle military look to it without the double-breasted features that scream "SGT. PEPPER!" or the pea-coat toggles that belt out "PADDINGTON BEAR!" (to self-respecting Brits anyway). It was perfect and it was cheap.

But it was too tight! Rifle, rifle, rifle ... OMG nothing bigger than a 6 (and H&M runs small)! Quick, check in the back (there is no back), check another store (nope), I'll order it online (what do you mean you can't order online in the US?!). I left the mall in such a funk, thwarted and cross.

The next day I drove well out of my way to a very sketchy mall in a different county and there it was - Frederik, oh joy, oh rapture! -my coat! Merry Christmas to me! And even though the strap of my handbag often gets caught on the subtle epaulets and I wonder what good I could do in this world if I applied myself with such tenacity to unselfish pursuits, I smile every time I put that coat on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Travel Mug (Working Title)

There were a bunch of stories in the news this week about product placement and its role in advertising.

Evidently, Days of Our Lives has progressed from merely showing a sponsor's product on camera to working subtle-as-a-sledgehammer advertisements for Cheerios and Chex Mix (among others) into its scripts.

I think product placement can be mildly distracting-- it chips at the fourth wall but doesn't quite break it-- but I get the need for it. With people fast-forwarding through commercials and/or watching content on the internet, advertisers have to find new ways to reach consumers.

I'm kind of wondering if the next step in product placement is books. If we can credit Mark Burnett as the pioneer of prodcut placement on TV (and I think we must: remember that outhouse reward on Survivor that they dubbed the Casa de Charmin?), I think someday we will look back and point to Stieg Larsson as the Mark Burnett of literature.

What's the product that's being pushed? Coffee. The Swedes in Larsson's books drink an inordinate amount of coffee. They drink coffee with and between each meal. They drink coffee when they need to think. They drink coffee when they are tired of thinking. They drink coffee before they collapse into bed. If the plot brings two characters together, they invariably have some coffee. Cups and cups of the stuff (with an occasional espresso or latte thrown in for good measure). Coffee is practically a character in the books.

It's like Larsson made a bet that he could use the word coffee 5,000 times in each manuscript. Or, maybe, just maybe, he got paid by the "coffee."

Could "Stieg Larsson" be Swedish for Juan Valdez?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Could it be... Seven Ate Nine?

Some of the people in my life are habitual (chronic?) email forwarders: they send along jokes; product recalls; pictures of animals sleeping; urban legends disguised as police warnings; lists of myriad household tasks you never knew you could accomplish with a lemon, a pointed stick and a piece of gum; and all other emails that they themselves have been forwarded.

I have yet to follow through on my threat to reply "unsubscribe."

And now I may never.

The other day I received a forwarded email with the dubious subject line "Friendship."

Compelled to open it (I was bored), I braced myself for, at best, some cute animal pairs, at worst, a cheesy poem.

I was wrong.

"Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.

1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge
against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I
would probably want to be involved in.

4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I
get until you're NOT.

5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about
how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.

7. When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well
again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll
help you up.

9."

I have only two problems with this email. One, it sounds like I wrote it and I kind of wish I did. And, two, that's how it ended. Just the number nine. What is number nine? Was number nine cut off by the first forwarder? I'm guessing yes-- and that 10 was cut off as well-- no self-respecting list maker ends at nine (or eight for that matter).

Bad, bad forwarder.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bare Naked Ladies

I could write a book about the weird things women do in gym changing rooms. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit upfront that I am a class-A prude. If I shower at the gym I'll walk into the stall fully dressed, close the curtain and then disrobe. Getting dressed afterwards is always a lesson in "less haste, more speed" as I frantically try to don my ENTIRE ensemble in 0.8 seconds without slipping, tripping or otherwise drawing attention to myself in any way, while simultaneously clutching my towel with one hand.

Most of the other ladies are very free and comfortable with their bodies and to them I say, good on ya, mate! There is a lot of naked toing and froing between lockers and showers and mirrors, whatever the shape and size. Even some who REALLY shouldn't be displaying the Full Monty deserve credit for sheer chutzpah. OK that's a poor choice of words! I just mean that they are fearless.

However, I do object to those who go out of their way to be naked when there's absolutely no need: Example (1) The woman who stood in front of the mirror putting on make-up, wearing nothing but socks; Example (2) The woman who stood with one leg up on the bench and blow-dried (blew-dry?) her private parts; and DEFINITELY example (3) The woman who used one of those paper perfume samples from a magazine to freshen up her scent where the sun don't shine. Ouch.

I wonder if the equivalent goes on in the men's changing room ... Ew.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hai-kuuuu. Gesundheit!

The bell tolls for me.
Mooommmmyyy, it moans. No escape.
My girl is home sick.


How come nobody ever taught my kids that when you are too sick to go to school you are just supposed to lie in bed, watch TV, and eat toasted english muffins with lots of butter on them?

Don't get me wrong-- I'm glad she feels well enough to get out of bed.... but is it too much to expect that at some point during a day of books, art projects, 1,000 used tissues, and very intricate Little Pet Shop scenarios she might take one little teeny tiny nap?

Have I been had? Or have I just had a sniffly Mommy/Daughter day?

Gotta go. Duty calls. Literally.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Uptight Much?

On Friday, I volunteered in my daughter's kindergarten class. There were several Halloween-themed activities set up. I was stationed at the cookie decorating table.

Cookie decorating is really a misnomer. It was more like sprinkle Jenga: how many sprinkles can you pile on top of a frosted cookie?

There were two of us helping the kids; and we decided early on-- due largely to an insufficient number of spoons-- that the best way to preserve any semblance of control germ-wise would be if we put the frosting on the cookies and then let the kids go wild with the sprinkles.

The kids were evenly split between chocolate or vanilla frosting. And then I asked one of the boys in the class and he said "Both please."

I was tickled. Here was a kid who could think outside of the box. He didn't say it in a bratty or demanding way. He just wanted to have his cookie half chocolate and half vanilla. And why not? That's a tough choice to make. I was proud of him.

I made a comment to that effect to the other mother. "There's a future success story," I added. Or something like that.

Maybe she thought he was my son or that I was somehow insulting the other kids in the class because her response was "I was asking if they wanted vanilla OR chocolate."

Yeah, that's why I said he was thinking outside the box. Geez.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shalloween

As a kid, come October 1st, Halloween loomed large. We couldn't wait for my mom to take down the Big Bag o' Halloween Stuff. In addition to the beloved, well-worn (and well scotch-taped) pictures of pumpkins, black cats and bats, there were various dress-up accessories to inspire us in our annual costume selection.

My mother assures me that I was an imaginative child, but for some reason I tended to cling to the same costume ideas over and over. I was a rabbit in feety pajamas (accessory = plush headband with ears) for at least three years in a row. And when I wasn't hippity-hopping, I was almost always a gypsy (gold hoop earring) or a pirate (very cool hook and sword).

My mom was down on store-bought costumes. Fortunately for her, we never really thought to think beyond the realm of The Bag.

This year I could have used The Bag: my daughter just couldn't make up her mind as to what she wanted to be.

First she wanted to be a dog.

Then she wanted to be a dog dressed as a clown.

Now she is going to be her Zumbuddy. A Zumbuddy is a Webkinz butterfly. Sort of. Not surprisingly, there's no store bought option for something practically nobody has ever heard of. And so, I'm making her costume.

We're not talking about any heavy duty pattern making or sewing. There's just a whole lot of felt, fabric glue and purple cellophane. I've actually been having fun. The only problem is that I'm a control freak and my daughter wants to help. She attacked the felt with the craft scissors and actually did a pretty good job (for a five year old) of recreating the emblem that emblazons the chest of her Zumbuddy. But I could do better.

It's like a cartoon with the angel version of me perched on one shoulder, the devil on the other.

Angel: It's her costume! How wonderful that she had a hand in making it! It's not perfect but it's hers!

Devil: Ugh. It looks terrible. It will undermine all the other work you've done. You have to redo it. Throw hers away while she's asleep.

Angel: (sharp intake of breath, aghast)

Devil: MWA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

So.... my daughter will be a slightly less than perfect Zumbuddy for Halloween. Until then, I'll be smothering my controlling urges with peanut butter cups and milky ways.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jurrassic Park

I know it may come as a big surprise, but law school can be a little dry.

Compounding the inherent dullness of some of the material (I'm looking at you, civil procedure) was the dullness of many of the people.

Happily, like finds like. It wasn't long before my small section buddy and I were drawing on our hands like Senor Wences and dubbing them Learned Hand in a twisted homage to the celebrated judge and judicial philosopher.

For some reason, our Learned Hand spoke in a trilling vibrato and only spouted inane trivia. Our minds must have been filled to capacity with law stuff, because we were woefully weak in the trivia department. So Learned Hand mostly said stuff like "You may THINK that New York is the capital of New York... but it is actually Allllllbany!" or "The CHEEEEEETAAHHH is the fastest land mammal."

I only wish our Learned Hand had said something about modern day birds being related to dinosaurs because then I would have had the perfect lead-in for this picture that I took (with my phone) of a heron in the park.



S'awright.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Picture This

On Tuesday, my eldest daughter woke up with a very red and swollen face. The other two had small rashes - my son on the back of his neck and around his left eye and my little one in her hairline - but were otherwise fine. I racked my brain trying to remember what we had eaten the night before, whether we had used new soap or lotion. Nothing.

Concerned, I took her to the doctor who immediately diagnosed Strep and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. It felt wrong (why did the other two have very localized rashes then?) because the only symptom was a rash. Yes, her tonsils were huge, but then her tonsils are aways huge. And the quick Strep test came back negative.

On Wednesday morning my daughter was unrecognizable; channeling Eric Stoltz from Mask. "I look like that woman who threw acid in her own face!", she wailed. "No, you don't!", I reassured (yes, she did). Meanwhile, the other two were presenting classic symptoms of poison ivy. Ohhhhhhhh! The "nature walk" they went on with the sitter on Monday ...

Back to the doctor, who immediately stops the antibiotics and prescribes an intense course of steroids for a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy.

Wait, but here's the cherry on top: Wednesday was school photo day. You cannot make this stuff up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

None of the Above?

Growing up, my older sister and I shared a room. Our six year age difference doesn't matter at all now, but back then... well, let's just say that, back then, if you had made a Venn Diagram of our interests, the overlapping section would have contained little more than Rocky Lee pizza, the original Broadway cast recordings of Pippin and Godspell, and the New York Giants.

But, on the rare nights that we were both lying awake in the dark in our respective beds, we would play a game (a game I always thought we made up): Who Do You Like Better?

Poor grammar aside, the game is pretty self-explanatory: Player 1 serves up a choice to Player 2-- A or B? (Darien or Abby? Adam or John? Smooth or chunky?) The possibilities are endless and, to us, some choices were as difficult to make as Sophie's.

Imagine my surprise the other day when Howard Stern began to give the set-up before he played some on-the-street interviews his staff did. He said that his guys went out and asked people "who do you like better?" (it was clear from the way he said it that he had played the same game my sister and I did-- with the same butchering of the language).

In fact, what was asked of the people on the street was actually "Who is worse?" And it was Howard vs. Mel Gibson. Howard vs. Woody Allen. Howard vs. Roman Polanski. I don't have any proof, but I think they just asked my mom the questions over and over because, shockingly, I think Howard "won" every time.

Howard was incensed that he could be viewed as more evil than some pretty bad guys. So he sent his people back out to delve further, to give more choices: Howard vs. the mosque at ground zero (Howard). Howard vs. V.D. (V.D.) Howard vs. Bed Bugs (Bed Bugs).

I think maybe even my mom would have to choose Howard Stern over bed bugs.

Yesterday I learned that someone in my son's class has lice. Trying to keep the dark cloud of cuckoo away, I forced myself to admit that given the choice of lice or bed bugs, I like lice better.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mea Culpa

She doesn't have a dragon tattoo and she doesn't play with fire but on Sunday my daughter was the girl who kicked the hornets' nest. Well, to be precise, the girl who kicked her soccer ball into a hornets' nest, then went to retrieve the ball.

The first I knew of it was when I looked across the field at half-time and saw my daughter doing some sort of a dance and screeching. In defence of what I'm about to say next, we had had some issues in earlier games with the girls acting up at half time or when they were subbed off and not paying attention to the game. I had to have a conversation with her beforehand about taking herself and her team seriously. So it was with great dismay that I watched her side-line jig.

Striding around the field to lay down the law I became aware that the girls' trainer had tackled my daughter to the ground and was hitting her legs which were teeming with hornets from the knees down. She was stung four times (thank goodness for shin guards) and five other girls and a linesman were also stung. It took them a while to recover but the girls went on to win 2-0. Maybe, like a whippet with a sprig of ginger in it's bum (look it up, it's true), they were inspired to run away from the sting.

Boy did I feel guilty though. I vastly overcompensated by celebrating the victory like it was a World Cup win.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It

Five telltale signs that I am a housewife:

1. I have three supermarket tags and a gym pass on my keyring.

2. I own a crock pot.

3. I have tendinitis in my right hand, which mysteriously disappeared when we went on vacation (no cooking, laundry, driving - yes, I grip the steering wheel THAT hard) and is now back with a vengeance.

4. In the trunk of my car I have a first aid kit.

5. The highlight of my week was seeing Bill Clinton this morning (why, oh why, wasn't I wearing any makeup???)

She's a Very Freaky Girl

Newsflash: It turns out I'm a huge control freak.

I guess there were always signs-- I never liked group projects; I thought that, for the most part, meetings were a colossal waste of time; and I nearly always regretted delegating anything that required brain power (if you want something done right...).

But before I had kids I think I was like Sally Albright-- I was the worst kind of control freak: I was high maintenance but I thought I was low maintenance.

Having kids has forced me to recognize how pervasive my need for control is.

A baby is the ultimate enabler-- you have to control practically every aspect of that little thing's life in order for it to survive. So, yeah, I had a chart to keep track of feedings (and diaper changes). And at least six books on how to regulate sleep schedules (ha!). And baby gates. And outlet plugs.

As the baby grows, the control freak muscle adds additional daily workouts-- keeping track of the whereabouts of every resident of the Little People farm, each Sassy pop bead, and that week's must-have lovey.

Spotting danger becomes a full-time job. I'm convinced that most "helicopter" moms are not so much worried about their children getting hurt as consumed by how angry they will be at themselves for having seen the problem ahead of time and not having done anything to avoid it. Or.... maybe that's just me.

But I'm realizing that I have to be willing to relinquish control in order to let my kids grow up. They now live their lives wholly separately from me for hours at a time. And they are just fine. Thriving even.

I still see danger everywhere (watching my five year old learn how to ride a bike without training wheels was tight-shouldered, clenched teeth agony for me, even though she didn't fall once). And I have yet to make my kids assume control of certain aspects of their lives-- packing their schoolbags and making sure they have the right gear/books/etc is a particularly glaring one. But I'm getting there.

I'm even getting a teeny bit better at controlling myself. The other day I wrote a long email to my son's teacher to give her what I considered helpful information about his work, his personality, and how best to motivate him.

And then I realized that I was trying to micro-manage things. That he and his teacher can-- and will-- figure it all out for themselves. I hit discard. It was kind of exhilarating.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NORAD, Take Me Away!

" This is Air Traffic Control Tower to K09. You are all cleared for soccer. Do you have your ball and a water bottle?"

"Negative, Air Traffic Control. I am decidedly not ready, I repeat, NOT ready."

"K09, this is Air Traffic Control, I suggest you GET ready. There is a K07 right on your tail who needs to take-off by 18:15 to preserve his on-time record for basketball. Copy?"

"Roger that, Air Traffic Control, but there is a K05 in my line of sight who has stolen my water bottle and is currently emptying it all over the kitchen floor."

"K05? ... K05? ... K05, I know you can hear me! This is Air Traffic Control. If you do not cease current activity you will got to bed tonight without refueling. Do you copy?"

"This is K05 to Air Traffic Control. You are breaking up. Over."

"Air Traffic Control to K09. We now have a ground transportation situation. Your carpool buddy has arrived and you must take-off, repeat, you must take off."

"Tower, this is K09. Catch you on the flip-side."

"Thank God ... I mean, Roger that K09! You have a return ETA of 20:00 hours. Air Traffic Control to K07, you are now cleared for take-off. K05, wheels up."

"K07 to Tower, I didn't finish my flight log and it's due tomorrow."

"K07, looks like a long night. You can do it tonight after you land and refuel."

"Air Traffic Control this is K05. What IS the fuel tonight?"

"K05, this is Air Traffic Control. You're breaking up ..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Keep Your Sniglets to Yourself

The kids go to school for six hours a day. I go for one, sometimes two.

[It turns out that getting a new empty-nester to over-commit to the PTA is easier than beating a five year old at Scrabble.]

So... I sit through lots of committee meetings. Aside from the Type A(holes), the only part I actually mind is that the meetings are generally held in the school's cafetorium. {shudder}

You see, sometimes it's the cafeteria, sometimes it's the auditorium. Hey, I know! Let's give it a name that drives that point home. Cafetorium! It's like Bennifer! Or Brangelina! Ugh. I simply can. not. stand. the. word. I don't like saying it and I don't like hearing it. And I've been hearing it way too much lately.

So, it goes on the list-- right between phlegm and moisten.

And, also, jeggings.

Why are there leggings that look like jeans anyway? And, furthermore, why are there pajamas that look like jeans? Who wants to wear jeans to bed?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Referee!

I spent all day last Saturday with a Poodle, a Vampire and a Dragon. No, Hallowe'en hasn't come early and no, this is not the beginning of a very poor joke. Soccer season has started.

This year our kindergarten girls' teams are named after dog breeds and while I really would have preferred to be a Bulldog or at least a Terrier, I do take solace in not being a Chihuahua (there were no Rottweilers or Pit Bulls). Second grade boys are mythical creatures, so my son is a Vampire, dressed inexplicably in a green kit. It's early in the season but at some point someone on the opposing team is going to realize that vampires suck. Fortunately, he won his first game. We played the Cyclops who perhaps were hampered by their only having one eye.

My Dragon is neither scaly nor fierce and sometimes still picks Daisies on the field during the match but I believe a financial incentive of some sort might solve that problem. Paying for goals can light a fire under even the most soporific dragon.

If I were in charge of making up team names, I'd pick much cooler themes like World Cup teams or European "football" clubs; something soccer-related at least, and kick-ass, hoo-ah at best. Let's keep the 'creative' names for nail polish hues.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Your Beef?

That was the name of a steakhouse in upstate New York where my college roommate waitressed. I could never decide if that is a great name or, like Homer Simpson's babershop quartet "The B-Sharps," if it is a name that is clever at first but gets less funny each time you hear it.

ANYWAY, here's my beef: one of Weaselsnob's "high octane moms" (I prefer Type A(hole)) has taken over my kids' elementary school.

This mom has a son who has some very serious, very legitimate allergies. Can we please stipulate that I recognize how awful that must be? And how I would never want to put the health of a child in jeopardy? And how I can guarantee that I am in the top 99% of label-readers? Good. Thanks.

The problem is that this woman has conflated the protection of her son's physical well-being with the protection of his emotional well-being. Her goal is to eliminate any possibility of a circumstance in which her son might feel left out (or singled out) because he can't eat what other kids are eating.

So, instead of providing an alternative treat for him to eat on the occasion of a classmate's birthday celebration, she has forced the school to change the policy for all kindergarten classes-- no birthday cupcakes or any other birthday food-type celebration whatsoever.

This is a public school. This kid will be eating in the lunchroom (where four other grades eat as well). And, presumably, he will face the issue of eating with people in public his whole life. Wouldn't it be wise to teach the child to accept his allergy and get on with living? It is what it is-- you don't eat that because it will hurt you, but you can eat this. Don't dwell on it. This is just a simple fact of your life.

We don't cancel recess and gym just because there are kids in our school who are physically handicapped and it might make them feel bad to see other kids run and jump and play. I'm sure it sucks way more for them than it does for you not being able to eat a munchkin. Seriously.

Believe me, I understand the desire to shield your child from any kind of pain. But in this case I can only see the creation of a bigger problem. At some point the mountain will no longer come to this Mom-hammed. At some point this child/teen/college student will have to fend for himself in a world that doesn't care if he can't eat the cake. What's he going to do? How's he going to feel then?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Mom

I have long suspected that there are two sets of standards for parents in our town. One set for the wimpy, liberal-arts degree, play by the rules people such as me (blessed are the meek and all that) and another for the stay-at-home, high-octane professionals. Now I am utterly convinced.

Example one: the mother that rolled her eyes when I said that my daughter had got her second choice of compulsory musical instrument. "I only ever put down one choice," she laughed, "that way I always get what I want." Hmm ...

Example two: The three kids who got the coveted drum as their instrument all have mothers in the upper echelons of the PTA. Hmmm ...

Example three: We are (supposed to be) allowed to negative-request a teacher for our child only if a sibling has already had that teacher. Overheard: "I don't want either of my twins to have Mrs. ___. She's a yeller and my girls would not thrive in that environment." (Uh ... who would?!) Request accepted.

We all have to be advocates for our children, of course. Those of us who value good manners, respect for elders and a sense of community are outnumbered by the grab-all-you-can-for-yourselves who take grief from absolutely no one in this world, except for some reason, their own children. And we have to raise (lower?) our game to give our kids a fair shot.

I accept that reality, but I'm selfish. I'd much rather be liked than feared. And I sincerely hope my kids would say the same.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bingo!

In law school we played a game called B.S. Bingo (I hear they play it in boardrooms too): imagine a bingo card-- except, instead of numbers, the squares were filled with overused catchphrases or buzzwords. You would mark off a square anytime one of the words or phrases on your cards was said in class. If you completed a row, you'd say (or cough) something that sounded like bingo.

I haven't seen a B.S. Bingo board in a while but if I were playing with my friends and we were goofing on ourselves (as we often do), these are the kinds of things that would fill up the spaces on our boards:

"wait-- what was I talking about?"

"Do you see that I'm on the phone?" (said to a child)

"That's ridiculous"

"That's awesome"

"It's driving me crazy"

"I couldn't believe it. Can you believe it?"

"Why would anyone do that?"

"Are you serious?"

"Are you kidding?"

"I don't know why but I'm so tired today"

"Coffee?"

That last one would have to be the "free" space.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We're Ridin' Quattro

Our summer vacation plans required us to spend lots of time in the car. And, because, to my utter dismay, NOT ONE of the top car companies has seized upon my genius idea of installing a limousine-type partition between the front seat and the back, we figured we were in for our fair share of "don't make me come back there" type eruptions.

We were wrong. Two things soothed our savage beasts-- books on tape and the radio.

All of a sudden my kids love pop music. Taio Cruz, Katy Perry, Jason Derulo-- they sing along with all of it. My son's favorite is "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy because he gets to say the word frickin'.

"I want to be a billionaire so frickin' bad," he croons, heavily stressing what I assume he thinks of as the "F-word."

I let it slide (and blast the song) because I remember being a kid and singing along gleefully with Jim Croce: "bad, bad Leroy Brown, baddest man in the whole DAMN town..."

And as my sweet innocent little girl chirps about California girls (or gurls) being so hot they'll melt your popsicle I cringe a little bit; but then I remind myself that I missed every single dirty lyric as I sang along to Grease and that I didn't realize until I was about 30 that "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues was spelled n-i-g-h-t-s and wasn't about a bunch of guys from King Arthur's court inexplicably wearing sheets.

Happy September!
Oh, and 1990's me wants to remind you all that tomorrow is September 2, 2010. That's right: 90210.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog, Featuring Extreme Wit

You know what word I love? "Featuring". It has replaced it's homely and uninspiring cousin, "with". "Featuring" gets added to product descriptions in order to boost gravitas and it has all sorts of applications. Musicians use it: "Eminem featuring Rihanna", "Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys". It's a selling-point for DVDs: "with extras featuring cast interviews!". I went out to dinner the other night and all the evening's specials were [meat] "featuring" a balsamic vinegar reduction, picked radishes, raspberry coulis, etc. I even discovered a Cold Stone ice cream concoction that "features" M&Ms (not to be confused with Eminem -NOT tasty). I was only at Cold Stone for empirical purposes btw.

I wonder what would happen if I started adding the word to my everyday vocab to spice things up a bit. "Today's schedule will feature a mid-afternoon nap."

"What's for lunch, mom?" "Turkey roll ups, featuring baby carrots and drinkable yogurts."

"Please excuse my appearance. I'm featuring a giant pimple in the middle of my mono-brow at the moment. You can leave if you're grossed out or stay and feel better about your own face."

It's risky - like "awesome" it may become diluted with overuse - but I think I'll give it a spin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Five Stages of Summer Vacation

I'm not a psychiatrist and I don't play one on TV but I do believe that I can identify 5 distinct mood changes since school let out in June.

1. Denial - I really don't have to be the sole source of entertainment for the next three months, right?

2. Anger - What do you mean you're bored?! You've been dying for school to finish! Why don't you play with the gazillion games and toys we've accumulated over ten years or better yet (gasp!) go outside and look for bugs/have a water fight/kick around a soccer ball etc., etc., ad infinitum.

3. Bargaining - I know you said your camp is full to capacity but you simply have to make space for at least two, preferably three, children. Just for a week. PLEASE.

4. Acceptance - My kids are awesome. Annoying but awesome. And I really got to know them better this summer. We have some really fond memories of trips and family nights and learning all kinds of new skills.

5. Abject elation - T minus 14 days and counting.

Bless their little cotton socks. I will miss them ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oliver Stone's The Pencil Case

Toward the end of the school year, we received an email from the PTA: Would we like to have our incoming second grader's school supplies purchased by the PTA and delivered to our second grader in the classroom on the first day of school? If yes, please complete the form and submit it with payment of $45.

$45?! I looked at the list. Some markers, some colored pencils, a couple of glue sticks.... standard stuff. Surely not $45 worth of stuff.

To be honest, the cost wasn't even why I opted not to fill out the form. The real reason? I'm a sucker for supplies.

I loved back-to-school shopping as a kid. I loved deciding which lunchbox I would carry for that year (Scooby Doo! No... Jabber Jaw!). I loved selecting a binder-- I remember reveling in the high-tech-ness of the Trapper Keeper. And I really loved the pens. I could (and still can) test pen after pen, making beautiful rainbows on the "try me" paper.

Turns out my son was not quite as interested in the undertaking.

No biggie because Target makes it super easy. PTA list in hand, we cruised through the back-to-school section and picked up everything (minus some 3X3 lined post-its) in under 10 minutes for about $18.

$18 vs. $45. You can imagine how smug I felt.

A few days later I swung by Staples and found the lined 3x3 post-its that Target didn't carry. They came in packs of six. The list called for eight. Annoying. I bought two packs. Together they were around $10. Still smug.

But then... I happened to be at Target one day and noticed that Target (being awesome in a truly Target way) actually has copies of the local schools' lists available in the supplies section. I picked one up just to make sure I hadn't overlooked something.

What's this? A new parenthetical had been added to the list: eight pads of lined 3X3 post-its (NOT the pop-up kind).

Target still had no lined post-its whatsoever. And, wouldn't you know, the ones I had bought from Staples (the only lined 3X3 post-its they carry, mind you) were pop-up ones.

I had to order mine online. Even with free shipping they came out to $17.

Grand total (after I returned the "bad" post-its): $35. But when I add in the time-value of two trips to Staples and searching out the best online vendor I'm not sure I really saved $10.

I did pick up some great markers though.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quid Pro Woe

A few years ago, while on vacation, my husband took one for the team and watched Sex and the City with me on the hotel TV. It was a real stinker. And I've been paying for it ever since.

How? Countless airings of Bad Boys (parts one and two), some choice selections from the Nic Cage oeuvre, and any movie in which Jack Ryan is played by Harrison Ford. Evidently USA and TBS love these movies as much as my husband.

I kind of don't mind watching those same movies over and over because they require so little of my attention. I can read, flip through a catalog, mess around on the computer, change the laundry, or do a crossword puzzle without missing anything.

But I may be in some real trouble.

Last night, for the first time in ages, we saw a movie with no cartoon characters or animatronic guinea pigs. A real movie. In an-honest-to-goodness-theater. One small problem: the movie we saw was my idea (on the recommendation of every freaking publication I read)-- The Kids are All Right.

Eh. The kids (and the film) really were just all right. The acting was strong (Annette Bening makes a very believable lesbian) but it was a little slow. To his credit, my husband did not sigh audibly, excessively shift in his seat, or fall asleep.

As the credits started to roll, I looked at my husband and could not stop giggling. He asked why I was laughing and when I finally regained control I told him what had been running through my head for most of the movie.

Now I'm going to have to see The Expendables.

Yup.

Sigh.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Please No S'More

My husband is off work at the moment and rather than take a break from his normally hectic lifestyle, he has filled his two weeks off with ambitious plans. I am his reality-check/logistics manager but sometimes I have to just go with it.

On Tuesday, in a car filled with balloons and gift bags, on our way to our daughter's 5th birthday party, he suggested to the party girl that we go camping that night to celebrate. The kids screamed in delight. My reaction was ... (TUMBLEWEED)

Yep. My husband and I used to go camping a fair bit. Not K2 or anything like that, but Bryce Canyon and the like. All that came to a screeching halt when we saw 'The Blair Witch Project'. So it had been, what, ten or eleven years? since our camping equipment had been touched. We had two musty sleeping bags and a two-person tent. For five people. So we scrounged from neighbors, emptied the closet of duvets for padding and drove up to a park to our campsite. It was a stone lean-to.

We gave the kids the tent and my husband and I lay awake all night on the dirt floor (I even took a sleeping pill!), batting away bugs like lunatics, hiding under our sleeping bags then getting too hot, and freaking out at every twig-snap. At about 3am our youngest daughter came to sleep between us, forming an 'H'. I needed to pee for about 5 hours but dared not venture out and in the morning I had to pry my husband off the floor as he was crippled by back pain. We left by 7:30 am, with the kids asking all the way home when we could go camping again. My husband's response, thank the sweet lord, was "not for a while."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cor Blimey!

Having spent two weeks in England with my parents (although, in this case my mum is entirely innocent), my brother, my sister and her husband (who also happens to be my brother's best friend - awww!) my children desperately need a remedial course in how to behave in public. I can't go into great personal detail but needless to say a fair amount of colorful euphemisms have entered our vocabulary and we have readily adopted the great British obsession with flatulence.

It is inevitable, I suppose, that some amount of slang is absorbed. I always play a little game with myself as to who will be the first to run upstairs for their "jumper' or "trainers". And the various brand names of sweets and crisps are processed as though through osmosis. But there was an awful lot of "Christ on a bike!" and "Bloody Nora!" type statements as well and they can quote Cockney rhyming slang like proper little Eastenders.

For the most part, I blame the nightly, highly-competitive games of Uno, where alliances were made and broken in the blink of an eye and all comments were sung in the voice of Fine Young Cannibals singer, Roland Gift (long story), which caused great hilarity and a slipping of inhibitions; somehow, cursing doesn't seem so sinister when it's sung in falsetto. My three little sponges, so pleased to be included, took it all in.

So now we are home and I return to being just a parent instead of a child and sibling. I miss those roles as mostly now they are easier to assume but someone has to be the adult, right?! And when my nieces and nephews are old enough to talk, I will happily teach them some fabulous new words ; )

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vindication!

We re-did the bathroom and office downstairs. They looked great. I was thrilled. But....

There's always a but, right? (And in a house with a seven year old boy there's always a "butt." The word alone is enough to cause side-clutching guffaws.)

My problem was The Smell. Whenever I would walk through the doorway leading into the parts that had been updated I got a whiff of something between sawdust and body odor.

It should be noted that-- for better or worse-- I have a very good sense of smell. [SIDE NOTE: My brother-in-law literally has no sense of smell. He doesn't mind, he says, because as far as he's observed, most of the time people are complaining that things smell bad. Evidently no one is stopping to smell the roses.]

I attributed The Smell to the newness of the work that had been done.

But weeks passed. And, still, every time I went near the office I would be overcome by The Smell.

I don't know what possessed me, but one day I put my nose against the (new) door into the office. Ew. I had located the source of The Smell.

Repulsed and thrilled, I announced my discovery to my husband. As I recall, he took no notice. On the smelling spectrum, if my brother-in-law is a zero and a bloodhound is a ten, my husband is about a three. To him, The Smell was in my imagination. Or just-- gasp!-- "the way our house smells." He grudgingly sniffed the door and shrugged. Nothing.

Undaunted, I made all my friends smell the door. And good friends they are-- "this smells gross, here, smell it." And they did! And they all agreed. My contractor, on the other hand, couldn't pick up any smell. For a while, it seemed that The Smell was only perceptible to women and children. My husband insinuated that I was leading the witnesses.

The heat of this July had only served to empower The Smell. I constantly re-routed myself to avoid passing through the offending doorway. Something had to go-- me or the door. Not wanting to be too dramatic, I opted for the door. When my contractor finally surfaced, he had his partner in tow.

I restated my desire that they not leave my house without taking the offending door with them. Was that an eyeroll?

Minutes later, a call from downstairs. The partner: "I'm totally with you on the door. It stinks! It's awful! Gaah!"

The door is gone. As is The Smell. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So

I can't make up my mind about Evite.

Part of me absolutely loves it:
An Evite party invitation lets you peruse the list of people who were invited to the party and check out who is actually going to attend. And that's before you even reply! Advance knowledge of a party's guest list is some powerful information. To butcher the Syms ads, evite makes me feel like an educated party consumer.

But the other part of me hates it:
Evite's reply function provides space for a comment to accompany your yes or no. The comment portion of the reply is OPTIONAL. And, yet, most feel the need to fill the silence.

So you get your "no" replies with excuses, which, whether long or short, always read badly.

And, worse still, are the messages that accompany the "yes" replies. "Can't wait!!" "Wouldn't miss it!!!" "We're in!!!!" You think I'm joking about the exclamation points but I'm not.

A lot of my son's friends are doing evites these days. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to craft a response that doesn't look like I crafted my response (if that even makes sense). My problem stems from the fact that, because I waited to see who would be going to the party before responding, I've already read everyone else's repsonses. Since I don't want it to look like I read all the responses before responding (that would be shallow, wouldn't it?), I have to come up with something unique that I might actually say in real life. Impossible.

I'd leave the comment box blank but I imagine the party host is somehow deriving some kind of joy or satisfaction from the responses and I don't want to come off as cold.

Responding on behalf of my son adds an element of strangeness to the whole exercise. And makes the exclamation points seem even more ridiculous. "Wally is a yes!" "Wally will be there!"

My son's name isn't Wally. But maybe I'll start writing that Wally will be there as my go-to yes reply.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Holiday?

On Monday I flew trans-Atlantic with the kids to see my family, as we do every summer. When they were very young, this journey was a lesson in survival but this year they were old enough, I thought, that I didn't have to worry too much about behavior on the plane. And I was right. I should, however, have worried about everything else.

My husband drove us to the airport and helped get us checked in, which basically consisted of entertaining the kids while I was patient with the newbie at the check-in desk. I was so relieved to be done with him (check-in guy, not my husband) and seated all together that I didn't question our seating arrangements. Then, we were held up in security so long (because SOMEONE in our party was carrying a pair of craft scissors which won't even cut paper) that we just made the flight. So it was quite a relief to be on board at last.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that we had been put four across in a row that was flanked by the bathrooms. If I put my arm straight out to the side I could lay my hand flat on the bathroom door. Ditto my daughter. So, as well as the pongy smell of airplane toilet all night, we had the squeek/bright light!/squeek/CLICK/tinkle/FLUSH!!!/click/squeek for eight hours. Not to discount being bumped by people waiting for the toilet (nothing says 'STAY AWAKE!' like a handbag to the face). Needless to say, noone got any sleep.

Eventually, we made our destination only to be told that the gangway had broken and we had to wait half an hour for a set of stairs to arrive. I have to say that at this point the behaviour did begin to deteriorate. When we finally made it out, walking across the tarmac in the pouring rain - yes, the string of lovely, summer weather broke that morning - it was with the relief of a rescued claustrophobic. Clearing customs and immigration was thankfully quick and we walked limply through looking for the sunny face of my sister.

Sadly, her car had broken down.

Air travel used to be such an exciting adventure, we even got dressed up for the occasion. Now I look at it the same way as I view giving birth. You look forward to the end result, while you are doing it you vow to never do it again, and then with time you forget the pain and agree to do it again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Wrote Mighty Mouse a Love Letter

My kids have discovered Tom and Jerry. They love it. Who could blame them?

But Tom and Jerry is our gateway drug.

It's on Boomerang, a 24 hour commercial free classic cartoon network. For better or for worse, "classic" basically means the stuff that I eagerly soaked up on Saturday mornings. Back in the day, there were only a handful of shows for kids on PBS during the week-- I remember stubbornly sitting through Villa Alegre, which was mostly in spanish, just for something to watch.

But Saturdays were a different story. All three networks had cartoons on on Saturday mornings. If you sat right up near the dial you could flip from show to show and maybe catch a "Dear Alex and Annie" or "Schoolhouse Rock" segment during commercial breaks. [And, yes, I said dial. Shut up. The first "remote" was still a couple of years away and even then it was really more like a typewriter connected to the TV by a wire.]

And the cartoons would run almost until lunch (and even beyond if you got desperate enough to watch Davey and Goliath, the even less subtle precursor to Veggie Tales).

I loved them all. I remember day-dreaming that my best friend and I would be the next Hanna-Barbera.

So.... is it any surprise that I'm having a hard time turning back to Disney, Nick Jr. or PBS for the kid's allotted TV time? The old shows, even though they were originally broadcast in order to satisfy the FCC's "children's programming requirements," didn't actually try to teach you anything. And they weren't all preachy and squeaky clean. They were just funny.

And they still are. In addition to Tom and Jerry, I'm especially enjoying re-watching Wacky Races, which pits a bunch of different cartoon characters against each other in various road races.

I had forgotten about Dick Dastardley and Muttley. Growing up, my brother and I co-opted "rassafrassa" and general incoherent under-one's-breath muttering (a la Muttley) to protest perceived slights. It's all coming back to me..... "En garde Monsieur Pussycat."

I'm off to go WishList the Laff-A-Lympics.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

THE SCENE: The showers at our pool club. Two little girls were in the showers being helped by their older sister, while the girls' mother stood just beyond the spray shouting in helpful things like "Put on your flip flops!" and "Get the shampoo out!" A short while later, as my daughter and I exited the showers, we could hear the mother talking to one of her girls in the dressing room.

MOTHER: "Did you pee in the shower?..... Good."

I can only hope that the girl's response-- which I couldn't hear-- was no.

But the flip flop thing has me a little concerned.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Watching You Watching Me

We took the kids to a water park today. It turned out to be the best place to spend a 100 degree day. We all had a great time.

Part of the fun for me--as is always the case when I go to any amusement park-- was the people watching. Bathing suits only add to the fun.

I remember going to Hershey a few months after I had my little one. We left the baby at home with her grandparents so that we could make the trip something special for the new big brother. I was still wearing maternity pants and just felt all loose and gross and doughy. Because the baby wasn't with me, I was worried that nobody would know why I was all squishy.

[Remember, we've already established that I'm crazy and think people are actually paying attention to me and the things I do.]

To my post-partum delight, at Hershey my not-quite-fighting weight still qualified me for "lookin' good!" status.

There's not a lot of middle ground at amusement parks from what I've observed. Generally, people seem to fall into one of two camps-- either they are a Jack Spratt-type or they look more like his wife.

But it's not the relative sizes that are interesting. It's the pairings. And the ink. And the piercings. And the clothing choices. And the children (or are they siblings?). There are so many stories going on. As I wait on line I try to figure them all out. Sometimes I just try to take it all in and enjoy the show.

And, like I said before, throwing bathing suits into the mix takes the whole thing to another level.

We left all our dry stuff in a locker near the entrance to the park, which meant we spent the whole day in our suits. Evidently, I do not have the self-esteem that some park-goers have: I wore a simple one-piece with a rash guard over it so as not to actually catch on fire.

Because everyone is in a bathing suit you get used to being in one pretty quickly. We even ate our lunch--inside, at a table-- in our wet bathing suits. As we were leaving the restaurant, a large table near the door burst into laughter. The crazy me assumed for a second that they were laughing at me. Wait, that can't be, I reassured myself, because I'm practically wearing a burka and, besides, all the parts that are showing are my best parts.

Not so fast Private Johnson.

Turns out my inventory of parts was incomplete. A minute later my husband came out and informed me that my bathing suit had split up the back. ACK!

All the SPF and rash guards in the world couldn't save me from the color red I turned. I can only hope that it happened at lunch and not earlier (as in before I had climbed into inner tubes and onto water slides). Fingers crossed that all phones and cameras were safely tucked away in lockers.

Sigh. I'm going to be wincing about this for months.

Of course this only feeds the crazy. You're not paranoid if it turns out people actually are talking about you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sticky Business

My ubiquitous 4-year-old, Minx, is going through a new phase. Every weekday morning she is awoken at 5:30 by my husband going to work and refuses to go back to sleep. I've tried everything from threats to incentives to keep her in her room but nothing works. She JUST DOESN'T CARE. I settle for her coming into my room so that she doesn't wake up the other two kids but she never goes back to sleep. She fidgets, makes squeaky noises rubbing her hands slowly along the sheets, burrows to the bottom of the bed, and slithers feet-first off the bed inch by inch to escape downstairs and watch TV.

Lately, she has added a new segment. She has always helped herself heartily to the food in the pantry, leaving a trail of Goldfish detritus all over the sofa and floor in the family room. Now, in this warmer weather, she has discovered the joy that is the freezer. On Monday I lifted a throw off the sofa to fold it and discovered a bright green puddle with a wooden Popsicle stick laying neatly in the center. She must have hidden it under the throw when I came downstairs.

After a couple such incidents, I sent her to her room for a major time-out. She went rather too willingly and soon enough I discovered that she had bypassed her own room and gone straight to mine where she was lounging in bed, watching TV. So I took her and her piggy bank to Target where we bought a child lock for the fridge-freezer.

This morning, the lock was busted open and there was a bright red puddle (again, centered with a Popsicle stick) on the rug under the TV table.

This, too, shall pass. This, too, shall Pass. This, too, shall pass ......

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Real Funny Pages

I grew up in a New York Times house. I'd even go so far as to say that my dad is addicted to the Times. If my parents are away from home he'll settle for national editions or even the Times Digest (nee the Times Fax), but as soon as they return to local soil he will actually go back and read-- cover to cover-- the papers that were delivered in his absence.

As a kid, the Times wasn't all that enticing-- no funny pages, no jumble, no horoscope. I didn't even like touching the paper (I didn't like the way the ink and paper felt. It's better now, they changed the ink I think).

When I was about ten, my mom started writing pretty regularly for a section in the Sunday Daily News, which meant that on Sundays there was now a choice of newspapers. I don't want to overstate it but remember that moment when Dorothy opens the door to the technicolor of Oz?? Not only did I get the aforementioned comics (in full color!), jumble and horoscopes but there was Parade Magazine and coupon circulars and the TV guide. I spent hours poring over all that junk.

These days I read the Times online. I don't miss the jumble or the horoscopes. But even though I don't follow the funny pages anymore I am loving The Comics Curmudgeon

Read a few of the old posts. Read some of the comments even. It's hi-larious. It kind of makes me want to pick up one of the "lesser" papers for the comics. Don't tell my dad...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Less is Less (or is it fewer?)

When my son was a baby and first started using bottles, I dug up a three-pack that someone had given me. The whole supplementing with formula thing took some pressure off, but I was always washing one or drying one or matching up the pieces (all to the soundtrack of my son wailing). Eventually, I realized that this was a stress I could relieve and that the solution was both easy and obvious: buy more bottles.

Then we moved on to solid food. But before I could serve dinner I'd have to wash the Thomas the Tank Engine plate by hand because the Elmo plate (our only other) was in the dishwasher. It took me a month or so, but I eventually had the same epiphany: buy more plates.

Evidently, I am not a quick study. I've had to relearn the "sometimes more is more" lesson over and over again: wipes, sippy cups, drinking cups, washcloths, underwear, reusable lunch containers, running clothes, and, most recently, socks.

But, what's this? Is it possible I may be getting slightly better at identifying a problem (or my problems)? After a mere two days of our summer schedule-- camp in the morning and pool in the afternoon-- I'm thinking I may need a few more rash guards. And maybe some extra bottles of sunscreen.

You know, so far I've been lucky: the things I've needed to make my life easier and less stressful have all been available in bulk or at a reasonable cost. Well, except babysitters. And masseurs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Want to Come Up and See My Etchings?

THE SCENE:

My five year old daughter and one of her closest friends working on some kind of craft project.

GIRL: (looking at mood ring) My mood ring is blue, which means I'm happy.

BOY: (looking at his own mood ring) Mine is yellow, which means I have to kiss you. On the lips.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jolly Hockeysticks, My Good Man!




Tony Hayward (BP) and Michael Sheen (Actor: '30 Rock', Frost/Nixon)











Tony Hayward (BP) and Michael Sheen ('30 Rock', 'Frost/Nixon')

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fishy Fishy Fish

One day last spring I left my mom persona behind and went into the city to have lunch with my parents and my sister, who was in town visiting from California.

My husband stayed home with the kids. They were six and four at the time so I didn’t have to annoy him with a litany of rituals and minutiae particular to their care and feeding. I left town confident that everything would be fine.

I might have jumped on the train a little too quickly. After a lovely day, I came home and my kids were practically bursting with news. “We went to a fair! We each won a fish! We had popcorn!” Wait. What? Could you back up please? What was that about a fish?

Sigh. Even if I had run through my ridiculously extensive list of dos and don’ts, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to say “Don’t play any fair games for which the prize is a goldfish in a bag.” Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

So we added a fish to our family. The world’s most resilient fish. Spots has never been pampered in a fancy tank. No, sir. His home is a big Rubbermaid bin, which has basically been kept outside. No treasure chests or little Jacques Cousteau figures for Spots. His d├ęcor is eco-chic: dirt, rocks and falling pine needles.

He has survived ice cold water, sporadic feedings, infrequent (I’m being kind) tank/bin cleanings, and the movement of his tub by workers who didn’t know there was anything in there other than some nasty pondwater. A weaker fish might not have made it.

Scratch that. Weaker fish have not made it. There was Dots, who was won at the same fair but was found cut in half by one of the rocks in the tub on Day 2. And then there was the algae-eater fish who, even though he was acclimated to the water temperature while still in his little baggie, died upon contact with the frigid water Spots was happily swimming about in.

And, just last week, there was Brownie. We bought Brownie for my daughter. Somehow it was decided that Dots (the one that got split in two) was the fish she had won. I think my son perpetrated a fish version of the old “I dropped your ice cream cone” scam. I mean, really, how can you tell two goldfish apart?

So Brownie got introduced to the Rubbermaid and Spots. All was great. Until Day 3. I was making dinner when I heard blood-curdling screams from outside. I practically teleported to the front yard because I was convinced that someone was lying in a pool of blood. Both kids were in tears. My daughter was practically pulling out her hair. My son managed to tell me that Brownie had died.

Trying to calm them both I went to the tank to deal with the dead fish. I didn’t see anything. “Are you sure he’s dead? I don’t see him….” I was hopeful.

“He’s here” my daughter said, thrusting out her hand. With the dead fish in it.

Eeeeeewwwwww. Ewww. Eww. I broke my own landspeed record (set just moments earlier) getting a bucket for her to drop Brownie into. And then broke that record saying goodbye to/flushing Brownie and making sure my daughter washed her hands 100 times.

And, still, Spots swims on.

My daughter wants a turtle.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

I had to go to a couple of business events this week after months of not doing anything remotely work-related and it was uber-intimidating. A very dear friend/colleague of mine had published her first book and people turned out in numbers to celebrate her well-deserved success.

It was so strange to put on corporate garb. I removed all the crayon from my handbag and spaghetti sauce from my hair, I put on my white trousers at the last possible decent moment, I WORE MAKE-UP!!! (none of the kids cut themselves open), and then I went into a roomful of people I used to work with/would die to work for and was struck mute with terror. What could I possible contribute to a conversation? My grasp on current events is tenuous at best (I read most of the newspaper on weekends but all other current events I glean from the 5 minutes of the Today Show I manage to watch each morning before the Lucky Charms fight begins) and I was standing next to a book editor from Newsweek.

Fortunately, with the help of a few glasses of Chardonnay, I soon remembered my two new mantras: 'Deflect Attention' (people love to talk about themselves) and the related 'Less is More' (if you don't talk too much, people assume you're more intelligent than you are - it helps if you arch an eyebrow at relevant moments too).

My phone is certainly not ringing off the hook today with job offers, but neither did I make a complete fool of myself (and nobody heard me snort that one time when I laughed too hard at a joke - bonus!). I am entirely satisfied to have broken even.

FC Nightmare

Small town politics ain't got nothin' on Girls U10 soccer. There is a bitter Cold War going on in our town between parents of girls who play for the town and parents of girls who play for private clubs and while I am not one of the key players, I am most definitely a satellite. Call me Ukraine.

My daughter has always loved soccer and is a reasonably talented player. I have no illusions that she is the next Mia Hamm (unlike some parents, cough, cough) but she's good and with the right training she could be really good. Until now she has played on teams which do not require tryouts but we are not in Kansas anymore (figuratively speaking, because we never were actually IN Kansas, thankfully).

In February, during a winter soccer clinic, my daughter was asked repeatedly to join a private club for the upcoming season. My husband and I were thrilled for her but she wanted to play for our town with her friends so we let it slide. Repeated requests to try-out came in the spring so my daughter decided to give it a whirl. Bottom line: she tried out, they turned her down. She played well but existing team members were guaranteed their spots (because Daddy bought the team outdoor lights, cough, cough) and there just wasn't a spot for her. How to explain that life lesson to a 9-year-old? Shit happens?

Fortunately, she made the 'A' team for our town and is playing with her friends and is happy. Now we are struggling to find a coach for them. I know they are desperate because they asked my husband to coach and, while very fit and motivated, he has never played a game of soccer in his life. There is a wonderful candidate - the father of another girl on the team - who played through college and is everything you could hope for in a coach, but his older daughter pulled out of our town team to play for a private club and so he is blacklisted. We are starting a campaign to reinstate him. I wish I were kidding.

What message does this send to our girls?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Author! Author!

I love my house.
I have two cats.
I have a couch under my bed.

And that's all there is. Intriguing, no? The brief work of a newly-published Kindergartener.

In our elementary school we run a Publishing Center-- the kids come in with stories that they have written in class, we (parent volunteers) go over the stories with them, and, ultimately, the story is typed up and bound into a very low-tech, often hideous, wallpaper-sample-covered cardboard book.

I really enjoy sitting down with the kids and going through their stories and illustrations with them. Some stories are completely random. Some are hilarious. Some just talk about which Wii games they like to play. And some stories provide a vivid peek into a child's life at home (let's just say that I don't have to worry that I'm the mom with the shortest temper).

Also a treat is the "About the Author" section. Kid authors are about all kinds of stuff. Exactly how old they are and what sports they play = very important. As are: favorite foods, favorite colors and pets (or the unfulfilled desire to have pets).

Today I read an "About the Author" that included this juicy gem: "He once got a dragon tattoo that lasted for ten days." How awesome is that? It kind of reminds me of when Dudley Pippin recites his kid resume to Naomi on Free to Be... You and Me: "and a ball of tin foil five inches across..."

If I ever write a book, I'm going to remember the Publishing Center when I craft my About the Author. Let's see... I like blue. And dogs. And cheese. And I hate eggplant. Huh. I may need to get some more pets to flesh it out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Can't Believe... Well, This.

This is:

a) Selling-out personified;

b) So random that it's kind of awesome;

c) Like a bad dream; or

d) Evidence that Megan Mullally received really bad financial advice during her Will & Grace boom years.




p.s. Cybill Shepherd called. She'd like her lens filter back please.

Friday, June 11, 2010

ADVIL!

Boy, do I have a headache. My daughter had a friend over for a playdate after school today and he brought his trumpet. I guess they decided about a month ago that they were going to perform a duet for the rest of their class at school (she plays the piano) but conflicting schedules meant that we didn't get the practice-makes-perfect playdate until now. And of course it was at our house because, natch, a trumpet is more portable.

OMG. It was like sitting on an aircraft carrier next to the horn for the Fleet Week kick-off and it lasted for an hour. We ran through 'Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gun Tree', 'Mary had a Little Lamb', and 'Yankee Doodle.' I think. And sometimes they played in a round, just to maximize the cacophonous discord. I had to smile encouragingly while inside reeling off a string of bad language that would mortify a pimp.

My daughter had a great time and her friend is terrific. But when his mother came to collect him, she offered to reciprocate and have the kids at her house next time, "not to play music, just to play." My jaw fell open. That was an option???

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Really?

Sometimes I feel like Seth Meyers and Tina Fey are perched on my shoulders like the angel and devil in cartoons:

"You just spent ten minutes rearranging the dishwasher to make room for that one little bowl that you could've washed by hand in less than a minute? Really?!"

"Instead of ironing that clean shirt you just threw it back in the hamper? Really?!"

"Chicken nuggets? From the freezer? For dinner? Really??!"

"You're going to let the kids skip their bath because at least they went swimming today? Really?!! Isn't the pool the most persuasive argument in favor of a bath? Really!?"

"Your kid found some of the "art" projects that you stuffed in the recycling bin and you blamed the cleaning people? Really?!"

"You spent all day complaining about how bloated and fat you felt and now you're going to sit there and eat peanut butter off a spoon? REALLY??!"

Really.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cabin Fever!

This whole post-tonsilectomy/adenoidectomy recovery has been exhausting and I'm not even the patient. My son is up like a newborn at night and refusing to rest during the day, wanting to be entertained instead and it REALLY doesn't help that pre-school is over for Minx, who has made it her mission in life to torture her brother. He draws a picture, turns around for a second, and she draws a single Alfalfaesque hair growing out of his alien's head. Or she walks over and toe-taps his carefully constructed block city. Aaaaargh!

Being tired and grouchy and stuck at home with a fridge full of jello, ice cream, sorbet and pudding is a dangerous thing, especially when, like most mothers, I eat my kids' leftovers. 'Always leave a clean plate' was our mantra growing up and it's a hard habit to break. Fortunately, after a while, liquid food is highly dissatisfying (for this reason alone I poo-poo the new 'Baby Food Diet' fad) and I have to hide in the closet to consume something crusty.

Hopefully, the recovery will be fast, my son will be pain free and will stop sounding like Mos Def in '16 Blocks'. If we go through another week like this, I may never leave the couch again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Separated at Birth?

Joran Van der Sloot Puck from 'Glee'

By the way, I don't know what if anything 'sloot' means, but we lived in Holland for a few years growing up and we called the mucky, stanky canal behind our house, the 'sloot' (My brother was forever in there and being warned not to do so). That would make our dear Joran something akin to a swampbeast. Ha.










Sunday, June 6, 2010

One-Piece, Won Peace

It's pool club season. Time to make peace with the whole bathing suit thing. I'm not just talking about me and and any issues I have with my body and being in a bathing suit. I also have to get used to seeing other people in theirs.

I grew up in the city. We spent our summers at our country house (passing grey poupon, natch). The people I saw at the beach I only knew from the beach. Seeing them in bathing suits each summer seemed totally normal.

Now I go to the pool with some of my nearest and dearest friends, along with some hi-bye friends and some people I only vaguely recognize from town. For most of the year I see all these people fully clothed: winter coats, scarves, big bulky sweaters, jeans, boots. Now, all of a sudden, we're all in bathing suits.

It feels more naked somehow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This Wasn't in the Manual

Yesterday my son had his tonsils and adenoids removed. The dentist pulled a 'while you're in there' ... and so the surgeon also cut his lingual frenum (the thingy that attaches your tongue to your palate). And by the way, I might pull a 'while you're in there' if/when I next need surgery. How great would that be?! But back to my son.

I had been told that he would be pretty much laid up for a week with little to no appetite and not much energy so I completed my external to-do list, filled the fridge and pantry with liquid temptations and raided Target for puzzles and coloring books. I was a Girl Scout, you know. I'm prepared.

Firstly, we were in and out of the ambulatory center within four hours. What ever happened to staying in a hospital? Then he gets home and is all jazzed up! "What do you want to play, Mom? You want to do Wii with me?!" He even wanted to stop at Borders on the way home from the surgery. And he was ravenous. He ate and ate and ate. All day. This wasn't in the post-op list of symptoms! I was afraid I might run out of appealing mush! I was afraid of getting Jello elbow!

Things went pear-shaped at about 6pm (so what's new?) when the pain became almost unbearable and we were two hours away from the next Tylenol/Codeine fix. He went to bed and only woke once in the night for more medicine. Today, he's much more reticent and subdued thank goodness. As horrible as it is to see him suffering, the pain is forcing him to slow down and heal in a way that I couldn't. What happened yesterday was just plain weird. Today is by the book which is how I like it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Name is Inigo Montoya

My son tried out for a travel soccer team today. The team will be made up of boys from all around the area, not just our town. As a result, I knew some-- but not all-- of the mothers there with their boys.

Because I had my daughter with me I mostly watched the try-outs from a playground next to the field. After spinning my daughter on a tire swing (at her request) for so long she actually fell over when she got down, I ended up chatting about the tryouts with another woman (we'll call her Vizzini). As we were talking, a woman I know from my town came over (we'll call her the Dread Pirate Roberts). In the course of our conversation DPR asked Vizzini whether she lived in our town. Vizzini said no and told us the name of the town she lives in. DPR evidently has family there and was very chatty and friendly.

After DPR walked away, Vizzini let loose with some surprising vitriol. "How pretentious. 'Do you live in [my town here]?' It's like she doesn't even know that anyone from anywhere can be on this team. It's so pretentious. The coach isn't from [my town here] or anything."

"Well, I'm from [my town here]," I say. "She probably just thought that since we were talking that you were from [my town here] too. She's actually very nice."

Vizzini ignored everything I said and continued to rip my town, the people in my town, the kids in my town, the people (and their kids) in neighboring towns, and all kids who have to look beyond their own siblings for playdates. More than a few offenders were incorrectly (at least in the context of what she was complaining about!) slammed as, you guessed it, pretentious.

The whole time I was seeing Wallace Shawn's head on her body. And so, to you, Vizzini, I say: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

A scenario in which I would willingly hang out with her again of my own free will? Inconceivable!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Timing is Everything

This time last year I ran in a 5K race. I’m not a strong runner. I don’t run. And yet, as it turned out, I won me a trophy (second fastest time for women ages 30-39). A gen-u-ine trophy! For about a week I was really cool in my hyper-competitive, sports-loving son’s eyes. He even showed off my trophy to his friends.

This year I didn’t run. Wise move. The woman who finished third this year beat my time by more than ten minutes. Don’t tell my son.

p.s. Today my son ran in a one mile long, non-competitive race for the kids. They called it a “fun run.” Isn't that an oxymoron?

I'm Not Shellfish


I was walking by a house yesterday and spied two of these fab lobster Buddhas flanking the driveway. I had to share him :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Funny, funny website

shitmykidsruined.com

Daniel Boone was an Ass


Wow. If anybody actually read our blog I might be in real danger from the DAR. My daughter finally finished her coffee can biography of Daniel Boone today and not before time. I didn't know much about Mr. Boone other than that he wore a coon-skin hat which apparently is utter bunkum!

So I decided to read the book that my daughter used to make her timeline and cue cards (which reside in the coffee can - isn't that clever?!) and discovered that while incredibly brave and self-sufficient, Daniel Boone was also kind of a jerk. He disappeared for long stretches of time into Indian territory, returning home it seems only long enough to father 10 (TEN!) children, several of whom were kidnapped/killed by the Indians in retaliation. Fabulous.

Anyway, here's a picture of the project for your amusement. And if you think that's funny, you should see the model of Jesse Owens.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Sorry, I Can't

I live in a society of volunteers and it's SO annoying. I could book myself to the hilt and would still look completely lame compared to most stay-at-home moms in my town. This one woman who has two children who require fairly intense therapy is perpetually out there: class mom, head of publishing center, town clean-up committee, theatre chair, PTA jack-of-all-trades. Omnipresent. Pththpbbthbth!

I'm helping out here and there but my only title right now is Cookie Mom for my daughter's Brownie Troop (I even get a badge ... though no instructions on where I'm supposed to put it).
My therapist has told me not to over commit myself but it's hard! The busiest people attract attention because The Others know they will get things done. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

A friend of mine whose son was recently hospitalized confessed that the one good thing to come out of her experience was the falling off of sports and other commitments (only one soccer match per weekend!!!). It smacks a tad of Munchhausen Syndrome but sometimes when my kids are not 100% a small part of me loves to have an excuse to regroup and turn down requests. My son is having his tonsils and adenoids removed next week which buys me about two weeks and the best part? I get to spend it all with him.