Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Cue

I had to produce these in a rush as it was two days before Christmas and one day before my daughter's birthday and she wanted cupcakes to bring in to school for her classmates. Ack!!! They were fun and pretty easy to make but I wish I had had some green felt to put underneath.

Pool anyone?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Rockefeller Christmas

My six year old's note to Santa, as written:


To: Santa
Love: [full name]

this is What I Want!
A Whole Stable of thoroughbreds!
thank you!


I tuch
cellabee staFat Anamel
And More! A BOOK that I Would like


As it turns out, the "whole stable of thoroughbreds" is actually something she saw in a toy catalog. Too bad. I kind of liked the shoot-for-the-moon approach to the Santa letter. But then, I guess she has about as much of a chance of getting an iPod touch for Christmas as she does a collection of racehorses.

Don't cry for her Argentina: between the eight days of Hanukkah AND Christmas, she'll make out just fine.

The Gift Git

When we were first married and before we had kids my husband and I were THOSE people who give other people's kids inappropriate gifts. We gave my niece her first Rollerblades, a mini drum set and a karaoke machine all before she turned 5. Eleven years ago, with the birth of our first daughter, we finally gained some perspective but, alas, inherited a "THAT guy" uncle of our own.

My two eldest kids have late December/early January birthdays so every year around this time I perform the great pre-Christmas purge. It's a time-consuming, but ultimately very cathartic way to make room for the latest round of stuff. Anyway, I decided to document all the idiot gifts I found that said uncle has given my children this year (because that's the kind of mood I'm in, bah humbug):

A toy gun that fires hard paper pellets
A toxic, "may stain", paint-spinning art kit
A build-your-own dinosaur kit involving superglue
Giant cheapo candies that are sticky even before the kids make contact
NFL shirts that support my husband's mortal enemies (ie. not Dallas)

Need I say that most of the above have a recommended audience age of my kids' ages plus 10.

He's coming to visit next week, so ... I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Mother is Trying to Ruin My Life

This is the title of the book Minx checked out of her school library this week. Apparently, I am being sent a message. I am no longer allowed to kiss her within sight of her friends/the school bus or make any suggestions as to her wardrobe or activities (although I refuse to relinquish absolute veto power). She actually ran away from home briefly, making it to the end of the driveway before my casual warning to look out for bats persuaded her that she could tolerate living with me for a little while longer.

Then she caught a real humdinger of a cold. Her fever spiked to 102.7 for two days solid. And for 48 hours she refused to leave my side. Of course, that kind of shadowing has its drawbacks as you can imagine. The house is a disaster and we have no food in the fridge or pantry. I can pretty much guarantee that I will be infected just in time for my older daughter's birthday party on Sunday.

But to have Minx all to myself, snuggling and loving and falling asleep in my arms, even if it is for only a short time? Absolutely priceless.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Survival of the Fitness

I get on the treadmill at precisely 6:37 every weekday morning. Not out of any compulsion or superstition, it just so happens that my post-alarm (6:22), pre-workout toilette takes exactly 15 minutes.

Not a whole lot is on TV at 6:37am. I flip between our local NBC affiliate's morning news program and VH-1 (at 6:37 they actually play videos-- only two videos sandwiched between each set of extensive commercial breaks and waaaay too much Daughtry and Lady Antebellum but still, actual full-length videos).

Morning news shows spend a lot of time on traffic and weather, which, you would think, would be a drag for me because I'm trying to distract myself from my workout and weather and traffic are not even in the same galaxy as entertainment.

But that is not the case with my morning TV gang. The weather man is very dry and very funny. I may even have a tiny geeky crush on him. And the traffic gal, as I've only just recently realized, is Mrs. Malaprop.

Last week, she alerted viewers to roads where "flood waters are starting to reside" and the other day she gave us an update on the earlier report of a tractor trailer that had been on fire, noting that all flames "had been distinguished." How fantastic is that!?

I have got to be the only non-commuter waiting eagerly for traffic on the 4s.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bag Lady

My husband is getting me a not-brown handbag for Xmas. I know this because he told me. And he told me because, while there are many things I am fairly good at, faking I like a present that I clearly don't is not one of them.

So we went shopping together.

I enjoy shopping with my husband because having him there somehow quiets the incessant debate in my head over whether an item is worth its price (it rarely is). It's like I don't have to edit myself as much if there is another rational adult there who co-signs off on the purchase.

Back to the bags. Remember when it seemed like every socialite and infamous former White House intern was developing her own handbag line? They weren't alone. There are a lots and lots (and lots) of bags out there.

It quickly became clear to my husband that finding the right bag for me was not a job he ever could have undertaken on his own. It's almost like Ollivander's Wand Shop-- you have to find the one bag among the many for your arm, for your shoulder: the right leather, the right color, the right heft, the right hardware, the right handle length. It's a very personal decision. Nothing spoke to me. Not even the bags that cost more than most mortgage payments (not that those were ever actually in the running).

My husband pointed out how ironic it is that some of the biggest price tags are for so-called "hobo" bags. Talk about the rich making money on the backs of the poor... Occupy Neiman Marcus!

New Feature: Free Plugs (Products We Love)

Thursday morning at about 8:30 the phone rang. Calls that come in before the school bus are never welcome. Not just because they threaten to throw off the timing of our morning routine but also because they generally bring unwelcome news: neighbor emergencies, cancelled play dates, snow days, etc.

This call was no exception. It was my hair salon calling to let me know that my colorist was sick and would have to cancel my appointment that day. And the first availability that would work for me was in one week. Ack!

Princess problems, right? Perhaps, but the fact of the matter is that, as of Thursday morning, I was already a week overdue to get my roots done. Yikes. Is that a calico cat on your head? No, just my roots. Another week was not going to be pretty. And you can't wear a hat all the time (I'm talking to you, Gavin DeGraw).

Enter Sephora. That's what I did. I told the saleswoman there my tale of (hair) woe and she introduced me to my new favorite product: Rita Hazan Root Concealer.

I was skeptical but desperate. The Sephora lady sprayed this stuff on my rooots to test the color and PRESTO! It looked like I had just walked out of the salon. Truly unbelievable.

My husband, aghast to see me spraypainting my hair, made me promise that I wouldn't lean on Rita in lieu of actually getting my roots done. And I won't. But I will surely be keeping a bottle in the house. (Or two. Shhh...!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Eye of the Tiger Cub

As testament to how seriously we take kids' sports these days, I had an email from my daughter's soccer coach asking to set up a time to do a half-hour phone evaluation of my kid as a player. The call (which my daughter was required to be in on) consisted of an incredibly detailed assessment of her technical, tactical, physical and psychological abilities. Each of these categories was broken down into offensive and defensive subsets.

It was suggested that my daughter perform some kind of ritual pregame like putting on her right shinguard, sock and cleat, then the left and separating herself from the rest of the team for ten minutes to listen to inspirational music on her iPod to truly focus her thoughts/energy.

She's 10.

So I went on the Internet to try and find suggestions for psyche-up songs that postdate the '80s (I can only throw in so many big hair classics!). Unfortunately, I could only find heavy metal play lists for body building. One whoknewitevenexisted moment came with a CD of "Songs for Jocks" but ... eh, not so much.

Any and all thoughts welcome.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Animal Magnetism?

Last Monday I was watching TV with my husband when I noticed movement in the dining room. It was a bat. Bat #4, in fact, in the space of 9 years (same one, perhaps?). By using detached screens doors, a plastic file folder and a shoebox we managed to get it outside with no one hurt.

Tuesday, my dryer stopped working and in an effort to save money I detached the vent hose and vacuumed in the hose, machine and wall myself. THWUMP! Sucked up a dead mouse and accompanying sunflower seed kernels. Smelled like the inside of a Turkish wrestler's jockstrap.

This morning as I took my daughter to school I noticed a large deer lying on the main road just at the junction of our side street. Five minutes later, on my way back home a policeman was standing over the "corpse" and just as I turned into my road there was a deafening blast as he put Bambi out of it's misery with his gun. Is that even legal btw?

I'm really hoping that bad things do happen in threes because I am more than ready to return to my "Snow White" relationship with animals.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coal? No Fracking Way, Santa

Like the mighty gladiator deftly swinging his sword, I wield the power of Santa with no mercy.

If I have to contend with Christmas music in stores and Rudolph specials on TV days before the Thanksgiving hand-turkeys have even hit the recycling bin, then you can bet your fir tree that I'm going to take full advantage of the one upside to the ever-earlier start of the holiday season: the naughty/nice distinction.

That's right. Santa Claus is coming to town, kiddos. So please put down that Wii controller. Stop teasing your sister. Clean up those littlest pet shop critters. Let's stop screaming. Wash your hands. Feed the dog. Stop bothering your brother. No fighting. Get ready for bed. Get back to bed. Go to sleep.

See, it's not riding them about their behavior; it's protecting their interests (in receiving presents). I think that secures a spot for me on the nice list too.

It's the most wonderful time of the year....