Sunday, January 30, 2011


I arrived a little early to pick up my son from a birthday party today. The kids were still eating cake. Ever the opportunist (esp. where cake is involved), I happily accepted a slice and sat down at an empty table within earshot of the following:

Third Grader (a neighbor of the second grade birthday boy): Have you guys started studying heroes yet? [The second grade play is about famous Americans] My favorite is Harriet Tubman. She is so cool. If she were alive-- and, you know, my age-- I'd totally marry her. She is just so cool.

How long before this awesome child is brought down by the Kardashians? Sigh.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Separated at Birth

The cupcakes I made for my son's in-school birthday celebration and.....

beloved oatmeal and "diabeetus" tester pitchman Wilford Brimley.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Isn't That Special!

Even the people who wear sporrans, psychedelic trousers, and have legs like a mangled chicken should be judged by the content of their character.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Home Alone (with two kids and one incredibly needy dog)

Another week, another snow day...

Today we were pinned inside by grey skies and icy, sleety rain. Silver lining: my son's birthday was yesterday so we had a bunch of new games to play and legos to build.

At about 4PM, the house of brotherly (and sisterly) love started to show signs of an imminent cave-in; I decided to put on a movie. Yes, I get all my parenting tips from Roseanne.

Weeks ago I had Tivo'd Home Alone, figuring that its Tom and Jerry-like violence would appeal to my kids. I was not wrong. My kids howled as the Wet Bandits repeatedly fell victim to the booby traps set for them by crafty eight-year-old Kevin McCallister. Woo-hoo! Kids rule, grownups drool! I totally get it.

Interestingly, their big take-away from the movie was not the iconic shot of Mac dousing himself with after-shave and shrieking. It was not even the montage of Kevin doing all the things a kid would do if no parents were home to stop him (jumping on the beds, eating a giant ice cream sundae, etc.). No, it was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line uttered by Kevin as he paws through his brother Buzz's things: Kevin picks up a framed photo of a girl, winces, and says "Buzz, your girlfriend-- woof!"

It's been about three hours since the movie ended and my kids have quoted that line no less than 100 times.

Please, please, please let there be school tomorrow. No whammies, no whammies, no whammies......

Monday, January 17, 2011

JK Rowling's Biggest Little Fan

We went to New York City today on a culture trip to see the King Tut exhibit. It was interesting, especially the work being done to analyze the mummy's DNA. The artifacts were beautiful too but definitely second tier, ie. no sarcophagus.

So, we're walking through the crowded rooms and my youngest, Minx, is instantly bored. She can appreciate shiny gold baubles as much as the next girl, but not if she can't see them. I was trying to give her an abridged version of the history and explain how the ancient Egyptians put little statues in with the dead to give them protection in the afterlife. "Harry Potter's mother needed that!", she responds. Okaaaaay. At least she's making connections and relating, right?

On the way out, we buy the kids "papyrus" scrolls with their names written in hieroglyphs (spurious, as even the silent letters were translated) and Minx turns hers into a marauder's map.

Then we head to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch - the kids have been STARVING for at least an hour - where we are seated in front of a giant poster of John Lennon wearing his New York t-shirt and signature little round glasses. "Look", Minx squeals, "Harry Potter!!!"

Apparently, we need to get out more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Salon Selectives

I love going to the hair salon. Not only do you walk in with gray roots and a frizzy, triangular do and walk out with a gleaming helmet of style, while this transformation is taking place, you get to paw through a thousand shiny magazines! And unlike Doctor or Dentist visits, you actually have time to do due diligence.

At my last reincarnation, I read publications I didn't even know existed. I spent almost an hour gleaning articles and came out armed to the teeth with ideas for what books to read next, continuing education, girls' holidays, anti-aging products, and hotel ideas should I ever get to Austria. I also read a number of personal narratives, including one in More magazine where the woman tried to be a perfect mother and finally realized that all she wanted was for the kids to realize she did the best she could. What an epiphany! I teared up and had to fight to find my hands under the protective cape so that I could administer a tissue (sob!).

I left feeling very informed about the world at large and more importantly, the world of celebrities. I also felt empowered and rejuvenated. Reading at the salon is a little like the fries that come with your burger, secondary but often more satisfying: a sensory treat.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Razing Arizona

The part of sociopath Jared L. Loughner will be played by...

Michael Rappaport (Boston Public, Friends) OR

Drew (on the right), from Season One of The Amazing Race.

Sarah Palin's part in the mess (no cameo role, mind you) will be played by Tina Fey, natch. Or maybe by that witch from Maryland. Special appearance by Charlton Heston's ghost.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Party Crasher

We had my son's birthday party at our house again this year and as with every year, I set off with noble plans to make the BEST CAKE EVER and ended up having a sub-par, food-coloring-laden behemoth that no nine kids could possibly eat. It's a recipe for disaster for an incompetent perfectionist like myself. Needless to say, by the time party day arrives I am wound tighter that a frozen viola (that's tight!) which goes some way to explaining my ire at the gatecrasher.

Yes, that's right, we had a gatecrasher. It was only a sibling of an invitee but it was a 5-year-old, chronically misbehaving, disruptive, nose-picking, no-please-or-thank-you sibling who walked straight into our house trailing snow and proceeded to interrupt the magic show in progress. Her mother rather impudently asked, "It's alright if she stays, right?" and I began my passive-aggressive seething.

So straight after the magic show, the kids sit down for pizza and piggy-wiggy nose-picker starts bawling that there isn't place for her at the table (that's cos you weren't bleeping invited, you little @*&*). I manage to wedge in another chair at our already overcrowded table and immediately demands fly for juice and pizza, and more juice and more pizza. She out-ate every 8-year-old boy at the table. You can imagine the reaction to there not being a loot bag. And this is with her mother present!

My husband wants me to let this go so I'm hoping that writing it down will prove cathartic. I'm sorry to stay that the whole affair soured my party mood considerably and took my attention away from my son. Thankfully his experience, being less petty, was a happier one.

... Nope, I'm still angry.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wait a Minute Mr. Postman

Before we firmly shut the door on the idea of baby #3, I spent an inordinate amount of time weighing the pros and cons of adding to our brood. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that some of the "pros" I gave considerable weight to were purely silly, superficial things-- like getting to come up with a name for the new baby and that small window of time after the baby is born during which you feel like you have real news and people send you lots of presents.

I do so love getting mail.

With each of my kids, it felt like something new arrived every day. Until he could read, my son called the UPS truck "the Present Truck," because UPS brought something for his then baby sister practically every day for like two months (okay, it was probably only a few weeks--infant months are like dog years).

You get spoiled. I remember feeling more than a little dejected as the flow of gifts started to trickle.... and then stop. It was Post-partum depression (see what I did there? Post, like mail? I'm here all week).

Which brings us to the New Year. It's happening. It's over. The boom days are behind us.... not a single holiday card in the mail today. And no more packages from Amazon left by my garage (it doesn't matter that all those packages arriving daily in December were things purchased by me, they were PACKAGES!).

Talk about winter doldrums.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adieu Noelle

As I take down my Christmas tree, it is with a strange mix of relief and regret. Every year it's the same: Putting up the tree is wonderful - we light a fire, make hot chocolate, put a Christmas CD on and set to work. There's always a point, just after the lights and earth tone baubles, when I want to stop (I remember my mother reaching the same conclusion when I was a child) because it looks so elegant and sophisticated. But the kids always push on with the preschool creations, the wooden donkey, the metal airplanes, the crochet angels from grandma and the Star Wars figurines (from the bar scene in Episode 4) from my brother, to name but a few. Every ornament has a tale to tell.

[Hmmm, I wonder if my parents still have that weird-looking gingerbread man that my brother dubbed "the octopus" ...]

Anyway, it's a happy mess and cleaning it up - which always ends up being a solo endeavor - is so bittersweet. BUT I have my son's magic-themed birthday party here in a week and, digging deep to rustle up some enthusiasm, I push onwards and upwards. I could really use a little magic myself if you know what I mean.