Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I like women. Hold on, hold on, before you suck in your breath in shock that I'm revealing that I'm a lesbian, let me clearly state that I don't like like women. That'd make Super Ninja a beard...or whatever the equivalent cover-up terminology would be. A wig? Falsies? Yep. I'm going with falsie.

Anyway, I'm prefacing this post with a disclaimer about how I generally enjoy women's company because, well, I'm going to write about a trend that I'm noticing. And I don't want you to get all in a twitter that I've fallen into the "women are jerks and just bash each other all the time unlike men, who are awesome, and are only ever friendly and honest and supportive of each other."

Here's the thing: there are a couple of womens' blogs that I've been following that started out all snarky and edgy and unique, and now they've devolved into...well, the bloggie equivalent of Molly Shannon's Jeannie Darcy character from Saturday Night Live. Here are topics that I am banishing from this blog:

1) PMS.
2) An insatiable love for shoes.
3) Why men suck.
4) The myriad ways in which men and women are different.
5) Complaints about how being a woman sucks.
6) Diatribes against the American social norms for women, iff the social norms listed revolve around make-up, depillation, hairstyles, and shoes. (This is somewhat of a subsidiary of #5, but it comes up often enough that I thought I'd give it its own entry.)

[ADDED 11/29/2007]

7) An insatiable love for chocolate.
8) An awesome sale.
9) Having a frustrating dating life (note: STORIES about having a frustrating dating life are interesting. Repeatedly stating, "Jeez, I have a frustrating dating life" is not interesting.)

I know that there are more that I'm forgetting, but these are the ones that really grate on me, so I will endeavor not to put you through the same "I've heard this a thousand times" blah-ness.

Monday, November 26, 2007

For All of the Francophiles Out There (or, the end result of many years of French classes)

My nephew is in sixth grade, and is starting to think about the foreign language class in which he will enroll next year. Spanish or French? He's leaning toward Spanish, given that it is the most frequently spoken language in the world. He's nothing if not practical. Me? I was romantic, and I liked cheese, so when I hit the foreign language fork in the road, veered toward French. My sister asked me if I retained any comprehension, considering...

J’étudias le français pour huit années. HUIT ANNÉES! Six professeurs m’apprenaient. C’est étrange, n’est-ce pas? Huit années et six profs? Peut-être cette facte explique pourquoi je ne comprends pas la différence entre les mots masculin et féminin. Par example, le mot pour “country,” le pays, est masculin. Mais, touts les nom pour les pays sont féminins, sauf le Belge et le Canade. Qu'est-ce qu'il se passe en Belge et en Canada?

Une autre example: une stylo est féminin, mais un crayon est masculin. Pourquoi? Parce que le poulpe “donne le naissance” à l’encre?

Pardonnez-moi. Ma comprehension faible de la langue a créé des idées étranges. Eh, les rédactions de moi ne sont pas important. David Sedaris a écrit une essaie fantastique (et meilleure) de cette sujet en “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” En anglais. Bien, eh?

Je pense que cette poste a justifié huit années d’éducation et beaucoup de dollars, ouais? Combien d'erreurs grammatiques existent en cette poste? Une mille? Une mille mille*?
*Une allusion a "Le Petite Prince."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Post in Which I Reveal Myself to Be One of THOSE Mothers

On a scale of 1 to 10, I think my kids would rate about a 7 for appropriate behavior in public. The Boy hasn't quite learned what an inside voice is. And he's developed a fetish for a clean nose. Suffice it to say, he digs for gold about as often as Yukon Cornelius.

We're working on it.

But for the most part, they don't pinball around waiting rooms, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. They aren't particularly whiny or tearful. And they are usually pretty cooperative. So when I perceive that people in the business of rendering service to children are less than friendly, well, it's annoying.

Last night, we took the Girl to an ear, nose and throat specialist, to whom we were referred by her pediatrician. The pediatrician wanted her to be seen by said specialist because the Girl developed her first ear infection about a month ago. Despite being on Amoxicillin for 10 days, it became two ear infections. After second round of antibiotics (Cedifir, this time), the two ear infections raged on, and the Girl was placed on a third, different round of antibiotics which seems to have knocked it out of her system. Despite that, her pediatrician wants to diagnose the need for Eustachian tubes for the Girl early, if at all. Dr. G doesn't want to continue to pump her full of antibiotics, which I support, because I don't want the Girl to become resistant to their effects.

Wouldn't you think that a place to which I am referred for the treatment of a one-year-old, a place that accepts an appointment for a one-year-old, would have medical professionals who have a better bedside manner and equipment for toddlers? They wanted to weigh the Girl, but they didn't have a children's scale. They just asked me to hold her and stand on the scale with her. They didn't weight me separately, though, so they took my word for my guess as to what I weigh (we don't have a scale at home, so I honestly don't know). Yay for imprecision. Then they asked me if I happened to remember how long she is. I couldn't. But did they measure her? Nope. They just left it blank.

When the doctor came into the room, he asked me about the reason for my visit. So, I told him (I'd already told the physician's assistant, who typed it into a laptop where one would assume the doc could read it). He asked me if she seemed to be having trouble walking. Well, yeah, but that's only because she's one and doesn't really walk without holding onto to furniture. Then, he asked me if she's talking. Again, not really, on account of her being one year old. She's mastered, "Mama," "Dada," and "Bah" for bottle, but that's about it. He gives me one of those, "Oh really?" looks.

Now I'm feeling like my kid is behind the curve, when she's most assuredly at least in the middle of the pack for her age.

We've now arrived at the time when the doctor needs to look in her ears with the otoscope. Fair enough. But I have to restrain her so that he doesn't puncture her ear drum. The Girl is kind of big for her age, so this is no mean feat. Speaking of feet... Well, I'm not Lakshmi, so I couldn't hold onto her feet as well as both of her arms and her head, so she delivered a few good kicks to the doc's solar plexus. He briefly mentioned this after the exam, when he was sending me down the hall for another test to measure the amount of fluid he detected behind the Girl's left ear.

Great. So not only did he imply that she's not developmentally up to snuff, he also implies that she's, ahem, spirited.

I pick up my daughter and my work bag, and traipse down the hall to the other little room for the test. The tech says something like, "I hear you're a kicker!" She then explains that the test we are trying to do involves inserting a plug in the Girl's ear for about 5 seconds. Easy enough, right? Oh, except the test is invalidated if she cries. Have you ever tried stick something in a one-year-old's ear for five seconds, prevent her from ripping it out, and expect her not to cry? Didn't think so.

The tech and I had been trying to accomplish by distracting the Girl with toys for all of two minutes when the doctor poked his head in the office to see if we'd finished yet. We obviously hadn't. We tried a few different tacks, none of which panned out. The doctor came back after two more minutes, and said we'd just have to schedule a follow-up for a month from now to make sure the fluid had drained from the left ear. At that point he said to MY DAUGHTER, "And maybe we can schedule it for earlier in the day when you're not so tired."

This was a full two hours before her normal bedtime. She wasn't tired, she was annoyed. It could have been nine in the morning, and she'd still be grumpy about strangers poking things in her ears.

Yeah, so I think I'll be scheduling her follow-up at the other branch of this particular practice. You know, where they might grasp that a one-year-old will be docile during this kind of inspection if they are (a) asleep, or (b) drugged.


Monday, November 19, 2007

CNN Democratic Debate: November 15, 2007

In no particular order:

1) Kucinich was the only one who directly answered every question asked of him. Yay for that, but it will clearly knock him out of the race, which is a shame.

2) I wanted to pop the UNLV student (a woman, no less!) who asked Clinton if she preferred diamonds or pearls. Good Lord, young America, are THESE the questions you really want to ask of presidential candidates? I know you probably burst a blood vessel trying to come up with a feminine equivalent of "boxers or briefs?" Frankly, I would have been more impressed if you'd had the cajones to ask "granny or thong?" And I would have been equally impressed if one of the other candidates jumped in with a blood diamonds comment.

3) One of the post-debate-analysis talking heads commented that Clinton looked refreshed. I'm not sure if they would have made that comment about a dude, but whatevs. Me, I was distracted by her fresh visage 'cause she was clearly jacked up on Botox. Good genetics, you might argue. Well, there were a couple of points where HRC was valiantly attempting a look of concern, but her forehead remained as smooth as a slab o'clay. And don't worry -- I'd definitely be making this comment about any men showing signs of ye olde surgery plastique. We won't, however, open the forum on pancakey makeup, since all of the candidates looked like an all-day special at IHOP.

4) I'd love to hear a native speaker of Spanish's opinion on the quality of Senator Dodd's command of the language (he employed it when responding to the border protection "you voted for the wall" question). Folks used to crow about G.W.'s ability to speak Spanish, but it always sounded like twangy Spanglish to me. Incidentally, every time the candidates talk about erecting a wall 'twixt us and Mexico, I think of the play within "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in which a Wall has some pretty amusing lines. Do you see how being an English major can ruin a person's ability to focus?

5) Suzanne Malveaux tacked a question about abortion onto an audience member's question about Supreme Court Justice appointment criteria. Each candidate invoked the 9th Amendment's protection of the "right to privacy." I'm not going to debate Constitutional Law, because I'd have my ass handed to me in a heartbeat. But I think this amendment is about how to read the Constitution, meaning that we must abide by the spirit of the document and not the letter. Also meaning that Americans have a bunch of basic human rights -- like privacy -- that are not specifically enumerated by the Constitution but exist nonetheless.

Are you still reading this? I might not be if I were you. No one ever accused me of being scintillating.

Anyhoo, legalization of abortion was established by Roe v. Wade. And, from what I gather, the arguments in favor of legalization were made chiefly under the 9th Amendment and a woman's right to privacy. Since the words "right to privacy" were never inked onto vellum, you can see where folks might think there's still room to argue the legitimacy of the ruling.


Can we all acknowledge that those who are against abortion are not caring if it's a private or a public matter? Their main problem with the procedure is that they view it as the termination of a person, not a pregnancy. Pro-lifers are not rooting for the procedure to take place in a stadium or anything. They don't want it happening it all.

Don't misconstrue this as an anti-abortion rant. It's an anti-semantics rant. The operating-in-the-real-world part of me understands that the candidates don't want to appear like a radical left-winger this early in the came, because the truth of the matter is that most Americans don't consider themselves red or blue, but kind of a purply political mulatto.

6.) John Edwards looked thrilled every time he was addressed, either by a question or an insult. It also cracked me up when he busted out the Godfather's "It ain't personal, it's business" sentiment in response to the audience's clear dislike for negative comments about Clinton.

7.) Did you see the stare-down that Obama gave Clinton when she addressed his voting record? He turned his whole body toward her during the first minute or so of her response, like he was challenging her to continue. It looked like the mean girl in high school was caught scribbling something in a slam book, got caught, and could either backtrack or muscle through.

8.) Why is it such a problem for candidates to admit that they've changed their minds about things? Isn't it wise to allow yourself the flexibility to change your position if new facts come to light that make your previous position untenable? Some of my opinions have remained constant throughout my self-actualized life, but not all of them. New facts = new opinions.

Okay, I'm kind of boring myself now. Now, the real question is, will I watch the next Republican debate? Depends on what happens with the writer's strike, I guess.

Sometimes My Imagination Is a Little Too Active

So, this morning one of those liquid cargo trucks was pacing me on I-95. It looked like this:

Why highlight this mundanity? Because there was a big ol' Perdue logo decorating the barrel of that thar truck. Perdue as in chicken, and turkey, and all manner of poultry. Which begs the question: WAS THIS TRUCK FULL OF POULTRY GOO? I've heard many a rumor about the manufacturing methods of chicken nuggets, and this sighting kind of confirmed all of that for me. Okay, so this is not an earth-shattering revelation, but it is just not the kind of thing you want to think about at 7:17 a.m.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Helpful MDOT Signs

Crawling along at about 7.5 miles per hour last Friday, I had time to whip out my camera phone* and preserve this infinitely helpful message:


Thanks, MDOT sign operator. Had you not provided this bulletin, I might have plowed through the sea of stopped cars.

*Don't worry. I'm well aware that my camera phone stinks.

This Is a Dark Day at Our House

The Boy figured out how to open the baby gate this morning. He's nimble, so there's no fear that he'll go a-tumbling down the steps. But we liked knowing where he was. Now, there is every possibility that this intrepid three-year-old will steal out of his room, open the gate, (unintentionally) sneak up on me and cause my heart to explode in my chest.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank You for Your Service

Many moons ago, G. Gordon Liddy* stated on his radio show that the only proper way to respond to someone who introduces himself as an American veteran is, "Thank you for your service." I'm down with that. After all, my father's a veteran.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and served at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. His gimpy eyesight, which he lovingly passed on to me, kept him off the battlefield. Consequently, his war stories revolve around weekend passes in Tijuana, making fun of the awful movies that were screened for the boys, and pranks they'd pull on each other in the barracks. Not really the Stuff of Legend, but I'm pretty thrilled things worked out the way they did.

So, thanks Dad, and thanks to the men and women who have honorably served in their posts.

*Talk radio programs were thin on the ground in late 1990's Baltimore. I took what I could get.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

A crossing guard driving a minivan tailgated me almost the whole way to my daycare provider's house this morning. That's gotta be a harbinger of something, right?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

The Girl turns one year old today (coincidentally, my marriage turns eight years old today*). She woke up all smiles and blonde curls, and truly is my sunshine girl. Everyone says the time flies, and it does, so I won't belabor the fact. I mean, how often can you listen to a parent jabber on about her kid's squishy cheeks, three teeth, and wobbly steps? I'll just say that she's an adorable chubby wonder, and I'm thrilled every day that I see her that she came to join me, Super Ninja, and the Boy.

*Since our anniversary and our daughter's birthday fall on the same day, one might suppose that either of these events would be at the fore of our thoughts this morning. When I greeted Super Ninja in the Girl's bedroom this morning (where he was getting my wriggly girlfriend dressed for the day), he turned to me and very happily said, "Can you believe BOTH of them slept through the whole night?" And yea verily, this was the thing to celebrate. Betwixt teething and stomach viruses, last night was the first night that either of us enjoyed more than three consecutive hours of sleep since...since...since...

Mixed Messages

Hmmm...should a show that's been rated TV-14 have a toy line for children 10 years-old and up? Apparently, CSI has released a new line of toys. Click the link to see the CSI: Facial Reconstruction Kit, among others. The work of real-life lab technicians isn't necessarily more gruesome than that of police officers, doctors, and firefighters. And kids have emulated those occupations, well, since the jobs existed.

Stop to consider this, though: those occupations are also involved with prevention. My guess is a kid pretending to be a doctor is listening to a playmate's chest and telling them to breathe. Or asking them to drop trou in an effort to see what's happenin' down below. Not yelling, "GSW to the chest! Fire up the crash cart!"

CSI stands for Crime Scene Investigation, yeah? If an eleven-year-old is happily squishing clay around a plastic skull, trying to solve the make-believe mystery of who died and why, we're desensitizing the idea of murder. I'm not getting all Tipper Gore or put kids in an incubator to protect them from outside influences. The dissonance rankles me a little, is all.

If a kid under 14 shouldn't watch a show, he probably shouldn't play with the toy affiliated with it. So acknowledge they can handle the yick and let them watch the show, or don't market to the tweens if we think it's too much for them. My bias is for the latter, but I've been accused of being too strict with that stuff.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I Am (Almost) a Genius

Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to score ONE LESS than "genius level" on a MENSA test (or, at least, MENSA knock-off test)? Very, my friends. Very. Feel free to play. I got the following ones right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 32. So, if you need help, lemme know!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mental Note

If there's an iota of a chance that you will be violently ill, do not drink red Fruit Punch Gatorade to hydrate yourself. When the inevitable happens, for a split second you'll be horrifically frightened and convinced that you've just heaved up your innards.