Kids say the darndest things

September 11th, 2008

While I was driving him home from school yesterday, Babyzilla took it upon himself to inform me, quite emphatically, of the following:

“You have options, see? You can make a choice between birthdays and having a birthday party or just getting some old trucks. Then you won’t be bad for speeding.”

Well okay then.

Maybe this was a roundabout criticism of my driving.

I guess it’s true what they say about insanity running in families….

And now for something completely different…

September 9th, 2008

An Ode To Lists

You keep me from forgetting things,
Even through my worst mood swings.

When I’m confused and full of doubt,
You get my life all straightened out.

I make lists, yes, lists galore,
And then I need to make some more.

Though not just numbered 1, 2, 3,
But parsed down to Part 6, Section B.

My life is a list, this much is true,
So if I finished my lists, what would I do?

From past experience I’d take heed.
I’d make lists of all the lists I need!

Down the rabbit hole

September 5th, 2008

The internet is freakin’ insidious, isn’t it? A few hours ago I started to do a search on ‘BlogHer’ (an online community for women who blog) because I was thinking of becoming a member, but I didn’t know the specific URL. Well, Google likes to give me helpful suggestions when I start typing into the Search box, and one of them was ‘blogher dooce drunk’. Well, who the hell could resist that? I read Dooce (for the uninitiated, a blog written by a woman named Heather Armstrong) sometimes; I’m familiar with Heather’s appreciation of adult beverages. This sounded like fun.

So, I gamely click ‘blogher dooce drunk’, and one of the results leads off with “Dooce vs. the Drunk Volcano”. This immediately conjures up an image of a very sauced Ms. Armstrong straddling a model volcano (a la high school science project) and riding it like a mechanical bull in a honky-tonk bar during an alcohol infused BlogHer event. Yes, I realize that it’s supposed to be the volcano that’s drunk, but the ‘random and disturbing images’ part of my mind doesn’t always line up all the pieces in a logical order.

Turns out that Dooce was not the slightest bit drunk, and the volcano was actually another blogger making a comment to Heather at the last BlogHer conference, held in San Francisco. There was an awkward exchange between the two of them, and a number of people construed this as some sort of blog-eat-blog smackdown. From the video I watched, the whole thing seemed fairly benign to me, and, in my opinion, other bloggers are just being petty about it, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Damn! I should’ve gone to BlogHer! Oh, the drama!” San Francisco is basically on my doorstep after all. I practically could’ve hosted my own drunk volcano-riding party. But when I first heard of BlogHer, I was pretty new to the blogosphere and not part of the social scene. The only other bloggers with whom I’ve had any personal exchanges at all are Kristen at Mommy Needs A Cocktail (LOVE her t-shirts) and Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored (she’s wonderfully ballsy and I think she’s Da Bomb). No, I don’t have a thing for people named Kristen….. Or at least I don’t think I do. Hmmm….

Anyway, ‘blogher dooce drunk’ and the drunk volcano led me to lots of other interesting posts about the weirdness of the BlogHer conference, how much people love/hate Heather Armstrong, Jon Armstrong’s defense of his wife, people who seem drunk when they’re really not, magical hobbits…….

Hours later, joining BlogHer has been all but forgotten. Never mind that it’s been on my ‘To Do’ list for over a month now. In fact, I’m about to do my celebrity morph. What could be more productive than that? That’s what I love about the internet –you suddenly find all these things you need to do that are so much more important than what you initially set out to do. After all, everybody needs a celebrity morph.

The Mad Mama Horror Show

August 15th, 2008

I do not sleep well. I blame this partially on my propensity toward insomnia, but I think the real problem is that there are things that go on in my house at night. Disturbing things. No, the walls don’t bleed Amityville Horror-style or anything like that. It’s much worse: Hubby snores like a damn chainsaw in a slasher flick. And the dog barks in his sleep like his life depended on it. He’s probably hearing hubby and dreaming that Leatherface is after him. (RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!) Additionally, Babyzilla has a tendency to wake in the middle of night and start chatting to himself loudly, occasionally even bursting into song. Once it was ‘Happy Birthday’. Another time it was Journey’s ‘Any Way You Want It’. This kid is going to be the life of the party in college.

The Olympics aren’t helping either. The other evening I stayed up well past midnight to watch the U.S. women’s gymnastics team have their perky little asses handed to them on a Chinese platter. My heart went out to the girl who fell during her balance beam and floor routines. How devastating for a 16-year-old, or anyone at any age for that matter. Whether it’s true or not, I’m sure she feels like she single-handedly lost the gold for the entire team. She certainly helped drive the final nail into the coffin and will probably be losing sleep over that for some time to come.

My own sleep problems have also been exacerbated by TMTD (Too Much To Do) Syndrome. My newly frugal self decided to join in on a neighborhood-wide garage sale planned for this Saturday, so pulling out all my old crap and trying to make it look like something someone else simply CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT is keeping me up late as well, crashing gymnasts aside. We’re also taking a trip out of town next week, and, as anyone with children knows, the preparation for going on a vacation with a young’un takes five times as much effort as it would with another adult. I’m looking forward to the airplane ride with as much enthusiasm as a Death Row inmate looks forward to the electric chair. Since Babyzilla completely lacks the ability to sit and color quietly like apparently EVERY OTHER THREE-YEAR-OLD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, this will be our own horror movie in the making. I can hear the blood-curdling screams already. Babyzilla will probably get upset too.

So, my weary and macabre (‘cause lack of sleep makes my brain do weird things) apologies to anyone who might be checking in here on a regular basis, hoping for a fresh shot of Mama Madness and not getting your fix. I can’t guarantee a daily post right now, but I’m trying to keep up, much like an ax-wielding psychopath with a buxom teenager. That is, an ax-wielding psychopath who could really use a nap.

I wonder if he would taste good breaded and pan-fried.

August 10th, 2008

Look at this dog!

He’s flat.

Flat as a flounder.

He’s the flattest dog ever! In fact, he’s not a dog at all; he’s a dog-shaped flounder. A lazy, furry, cheese-loving, snuffling, dog-shaped flounder.

Now, that’s a scientific anomaly, if I ever saw one.

Recessive Jeans

August 5th, 2008

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time I was on a self-improvement mission. No, nothing as noble as spiritual or intellectual self-improvement. I’ve learned not to try for the impossible, Tony Robbins be damned.

I mean I was attempting to make myself look better. Not an easy feat when you don’t have a lot to work with, but I wanted to break away from being Dumpy, Schleppy Mommy and be Hot, Hip Mommy instead. Yeah, laugh all you want, but there are plenty of moms who pull it off around here. That’s the problem with Around Here: Too many Beautiful People. Too many rail-thin mommies who’ve popped out three or four chitlins and still look bootylicious in their hipster jeans, not to mention their flawless makeup and perfect hair. Or even worse: The ones that look spanktastic without flawless makeup and perfect hair.

Then there’s me. Everything about my face is BIG. Everything about my hips and thighs is BIG. Hot, Hip Mommy does not come naturally. But I guess there was something about seeing the light after those first really difficult years with my son, about wanting to feel a little more attractive after living in sweats and old t-shirts for so long, about needing to reclaim my life a bit… I knew I wasn’t going to magically transform myself into a supermodel, but at least I could avoid getting jumped at the mall by the producers of ‘What Not To Wear’.

So I was doing it all: Regular workouts, pedicures, expensive haircuts, plus a much-needed update to my wardrobe. In particular, I decided I needed to trade my high-waisted ‘mom jeans’ for some of those cool hipsters. Not that hipsters are a great style for my body type (flat butt, chunkster thighs), but my Relaxed Fit Levi’s 550s just weren’t cutting it in the hot-n-hip department, or even the I-live-in-the-21st-century department. Pre-pregnancy, the entire low-rise trend had passed me by, but now I was ready to join the party.

Shopping for the right jeans was about as fun as getting a Pap test, but I persevered and finally ended up with a couple pairs that I liked. Now, I’d never been very good at bargain shopping. I’d always operated on the adage of quality over quantity, or “If I want it that bad, who cares how much it costs?” Of course I had my limits. I won’t let myself go into credit card debt, and the fact that I don’t particularly like to shop has been my saving grace. That being said, one of the pairs of jeans I ended up with cost almost two hundred dollars. Two hundred dollars. For a pair of jeans. Crazy. Yet I bought them because somehow I decided that these jeans were THE jeans. The jeans that looked the best, fit the best. The jeans that would launch me into the Hot Mommy stratosphere.

Fast-forward to the present. Gas is expensive. Food is expensive. The economy sucks, whether they want to call it a recession or not. Hubby and I are doing ok, but things are definitely tighter, and we’re a one-income family, which can be scary in times like these. I think about those jeans –-the jeans that ultimately turned me into Hot, Hip Mommy for about five minutes and just aren’t practical enough to wear on a daily basis –-and consider how much better the money could’ve been spent. Sure, they were a splurge that helped me feel better about myself at the time, but over the past year, I have become much more frugal. I clip coupons, shop sales, hunt for the best deal, or simply don’t buy much. I’ve given up pedicures. Expensive haircuts are few and far between. I’m not pinching every single penny, but my habits have changed a lot.

The funny thing is, as much as I disliked scrimping in the past, I now feel good about it. It’s kind of an engaging challenge to figure out ways to save and ways to help support the family. And I know there are so many others out there trying to do the exact same thing. That’s why I love the suggestion made by Kristen over at Motherhood Uncensored to make August ‘Blog The Recession Month’. She proposes, “If you read blogs, then for the month of August, make the “pledge” to click through from your feed reader. No obligation to leave a hilarious comment or send a long stalkerish email….. Just click through to the blog (not on ads unless you are so led) and if you’re feeling generous, click around to their older posts.” For a lot of bloggers, page views=revenue. This post is my pledge to help out my fellow bloggers and start clicking away. Why don’t y’all join in on the fun?

As for me personally, my latest scheme is to sell everything in sight –-garage sale it, eBay it, whatever. (Hubby had better hide his power tools.) I even considered selling those jeans, just to help out with our own personal recession. But deep inside, there’s still a part of me that aspires to be hot and hip. Frugal, but hot and hip.

Let’s blog the recession, people!

Acceptable or Unacceptable?, Vol. II

August 4th, 2008

This is a two-parter:

1) You drop part of your popsicle on the sidewalk, and then pick it up and eat it.

2) You let your kid do the same.

Acceptable or unacceptable?

Professional Wino

August 1st, 2008

At my suggestion, our little clan (Laziest Dog On the Planet included) took a nice camping trip last weekend. I felt it would do us all good to get away, breathe some fresh air, eat chili dogs, and lie in the dirt. Plus camping is one of Hubby’s favorite activities, so being the thoughtful, selfless wife that I am, I insisted we go, willing to endure being eaten alive by mosquitoes for his happiness.

Actually, that’s a bunch of crap. It was just an excuse to get us up there so I could participate in a wine tasting competition at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, a mere six miles from the campground! How convenient!

I figured I had as good a chance as anybody at winning a wine tasting contest. After all, I’ve been a Professional Wino for years. The winery had the competition divided into three levels: Novice, Amateur, and Professional. ‘Professional’ in this case meant those who actually work in the wine industry, not those that support it single-handedly, so I entered myself at the ‘Amateur’ level. I even called the winery just to clarify the difference between ‘Novice’ and ‘Amateur’, and the nice lady I spoke to explained that ‘Novice’ was supposed to be for those who generally weren’t very familiar with wine at all. I’m so familiar with wine, I don’t even mind walking around naked in front of it. Amateur all the way, baybee!

I arrived at the competition, scoped out the crowd, and felt a little nervous but sure I could at least give these people a run for their money. I even allowed my thoughts to stray momentarily to the “winner” fantasy, the Oscar moment where I stand at the podium, clutching my golden wine bottle trophy: “I’d like to thank Beverages & More and The Bottle Barn……”

Then the other competitors started talking about the hint of cedar you get in this wine that you don’t get in that, the purple color of one varietal in comparison to the really purple color of another varietal, the subtle differences between wine barrels made with 100-year-old oak cut down by French unicorns during a full moon as opposed to 101-year-old oak cut down by the Keebler elves at precisely 06:57 GMT on the third Saturday of any month starting with the letter ‘J’. I’ve always gone by the more pedestrian, “Yep, that tastes like a Cab,” and “Yeah, that tastes like a Chardonnay.”

Needless to say, I got my friggin’ ass kicked on the first round. Out of eight varietals (Cabernet, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.), I got one right. ONE. On the last two, there was the opportunity to guess the year, region, and winery as well. I didn’t bother to check, but I’m sure I wasn’t even close. The other tasters assured me that this was a particularly difficult round. As it turns out, they had all done this a gazillion times before. Regardless, I hung my head in slightly-buzzed shame. My Big Adventure In Winoland was over.

Then, a miracle happened. The wine gods smiled down upon the gustatorially impaired (i.e., the guy running the competition decided to go easy on losers like me), and I was advanced to the next round! I still had a chance at delivering my carefully prepared winner’s speech! The golden wine bottle would be mine, all mine!!

Actually, I went into the second round thinking, ok, I know I ain’t gonna win, but I’ll just have fun with it. I had gotten to know some of my competitors, and those people knew how to have a good time. (What Professional Wino doesn’t?) Well, I don’t know if it was those couple of glasses of wine I had during the break that, in my professional opinion, were essential for keeping myself primed for tasting, or if I just got lucky, but somehow I managed to guess six out of eight varietals! This round also had the option of guessing the year, region, and winery for every wine, and I got two of the years and one region. I had been redeemed! I was back, in all my alcohol-infused glory! Of course I didn’t win, but I was able to claim a rightful place among my fellow tasters. Once again, I could proudly hold my head high and declare, “Step back, everyone. I am a Professional Wino.

Step back, everyone…..

Acceptable or Unacceptable?, Vol. I

July 31st, 2008

A fork gets a piece of rice stuck in between its tines, and, inevitably, the rice doesn’t wash out in the dishwasher, but, rather, gets cemented firmly in place. Instead of rewashing the fork, you just pop the rice out and put the fork away.

Acceptable or unacceptable?

Nyaa nyaa nya nyaa nyaaaa!

July 17th, 2008

So, today when I dropped Babyzilla off at school, one of his charming classmates took it upon himself to yell at gently inform me, “[Babyzilla] was pushing Bobby today!!”

That’s great, kid. Now go play in traffic or something.

But seriously, I get it. Babyzilla, who’s one step away from juvy, pushed Bobby. I already knew about it. Obviously it didn’t happen “today” because today hadn’t even started yet. That’s one aspect I really hate about all of this –-the ‘tattle-tale’ kids and a lack of concept of time at this age. One incident turns into something that happened yesterday, today, tomorrow…. and is reported with great enthusiasm as often as a need for dramatic announcements dictates.

I’ve even been tripped up by Babyzilla himself, saying he hit someone as if it just happened, when he’s actually referring to something that occurred days, if not weeks, ago. A little more prying reveals that, for whatever reason, he’s just regurgitating a previous incident already known to me. (He’s undoubtedly trying to give me a heart attack so he can claim his inheritance before kindergarten.) This is probably why I’m convinced he’s nailing someone every five minutes, while his teachers seem relatively unconcerned.

Lord knows what the other kids are saying to their parents, though. The mom of this particular child seemed decidedly uninterested in his proclamation, but who knows? She could have whispered to him covertly, “Just avoid Devil Child for now and we’ll have you transferred to another class as soon as possible,” or, “We’ll commence with the witch hunt when the new school year starts in the Fall.”

Yes, I’m feeling defensive toward a preschooler. Perspective has never been one of my strong suits.