Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Morning Routine

The Boy and the Girl are upstairs right now getting ready for school. I can hear them giggling, which I like. Giggling often turns into goofing, though, which then turns into me pulling on my Mantle of Stern and yelling, "What's going on? Is everybody dressed?"

See, the typical, 95%-of-the-time morning routine is this:  I hit the downstairs by 7:15 a.m. and make breakfast. (Often, the kids are already snuggled up on the couch. If not I haul them out of bed, literally). Next, if I haven't done myself a solid and made lunches the night before, I slap those together while they eat their cereal/pancakes/yogurt goo.

On late mornings, I'm sit down with my gourmet breakfast of non-fat Chobani and coffee at 7:45 a.m.  This is when the Goon Squad is supposed to shuffle off to their bedrooms to get dressed, then brush their teeth, and return to the downstairs for shoes, hair brushing, and shoving their schoolwork and lunches into backpacks.  We're out the door by 8:15 a.m. so the Boy can catch the school bus, and then the Girl and I zip off to Pre-K.

As I type this, there was a large thump from the upstairs hallway, and it sounds like the Boy has shut and locked his door. That usually means the Girl is pestering him while he's slipping into his clothes.


It may turn into one of those Volume-Gets-Things-Done mornings.I don't like to yell. Can you imagine me yelling? I avoid conflict like it's a needy drunken sorority girl with a mean streak.

My kids make me feel like Bixby-Hulk sometimes. "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

It's only 7:55 a.m., so I still have my hopes up that they'll arrive momentarily and just need a little help with the shoe-tying and the pig-tailing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Shouldn't Love Inanimate Objects

Ew! Get your mind out of the gutter. This is the objet de mon affection:

Regina Andrew Small Mercury Glass Clove Table Lamp

It was my "yay, I did our taxes and we got a small return!" lamp. Now, it is stupid, STUPID, to love a highly breakable lamp. Especially when I have:

  •  a 7-year-old who would like to be CM Punk and regularly practices patented WWE moves in our living room,
  • a 5-year-old who embodies the spirit of 'Maniac' better than Jennifer Beals,
  • and a 2-year-old, who is, well, a 2-year-old.

In fact, as I gaze lovingly at the sweet curves of my treasured lamp, this guy is parked next to it:
Little People® Wheelies™ DC Super Friends™ Superman™

The Man of Steel vs. a glass lamp? No doubt of the victor there. The real question is, WHY did my toddler need to get all vroom-vroomy near the new lamp? Why not host a Little People drag race near the old metal lamps that I bought from IKEA?

It's like he targets what I actually care about and tortures me. I know it's my own fault for spending more than $10 on a lamp, okay? But I couldn't help myself. The beckoned.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brief Thought for Today: Ballet Class

I would like for the little girls' leotard industry to have a summit with the little girls' underpants industry so that they can agree on the angle of the cut of both of these things. This will soothe my OCD nature. Why? Because at ballet class, I have noticed that slices of EVERY LITTLE GIRL's underpants peep out from underneath the leotards. I mean, what are they supposed to wear? 5T thongs?

(By the way, I shudder to think of what yucko bots will happen upon this post. If I get any suspicious trackbacks, I will SHUT IT DOWN.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

So, I Just Got Back from My Quarterly Workout

And I was outpaced by a blind woman. Now, I know that being blind has nothing to do with how fast your feet can fly.  But still. There is no ego boost in being bested by a disabled person, no matter what the disability is. I had a water bottle in the little cup holder on the digital program display. She had a white cane.

She wins.

In high school, I ran an eight-minute mile. Today, I ran a 16-minute mile.  This is fair, I think, considering I am now twice as old as I was in high school. Also slowing me down is that my bra-size is twice as large. Have I ever shared the system I have in place for preparing to work out so that I don't accidentally knock myself out with an errant breast bounce?


First, I get dressed in my normal business-like undergarments. They do not make pretty in this size. Oh, sure, you might get a tiny afterthought of a satin bow where the cups meet. But there is no lace, no frills.  And CERTAINLY no color. Nope. This here is a Soviet bra.

Then, on top of my normal sling, I strap on a sports bra.  This is no ordinary jersey-and-lycra comfy sports bra. This one has hook-and-eye closures. TEN OF THEM. I think it actually has more fasteners than my wedding gown did.

So, yeah, I have to double-up in an effort to get my breasts to stay put while I bound through my "run." Why the quotations? Because I'm pretty sure that my form, given my time, is the same as that guy who furiously pumps his arms while crossing the street against the signal, but isn't actually moving his feet any faster than normal. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We've Exceeded Our Nerd Conversation Quotient for this Evening

Conversation #1: While watching 'Up All Night':

Ava's stepmother has entered the scene...

Me: Is that Keiko?

Super Ninja: I think so.

Why this is a nerdy conversation: You would have had to (1) watch Star Trek: the Next Generation often enough to know the supporting characters' spouses by name; (2) have seen her so much via that syndicated series that you recognize her dialogue-less appearance a 18 years later; and (3) you would have had to like ST:TNG a lot to rank ST:TNG over some of the other critically acclaimed stuff that Rosalind Chao has done (The Joy Luck Club, Six Feet Under, the A-Team).

Conversation #2: Post the Post-Dinner Errand Run to the Liquor Store and the Comic Book Store:

Super Ninja: So, I was in the comic book store reading a Next Gen novel...

Me (not asking him to explain why he was reading a next Gen novel): Yeah?

Super Ninja:  And these two teenage girls come into the comic book store.  And they didn't really look like the type of teenage girls that you would expect to see shopping in a comic book store.

Me: They had normal-colored hair and they weren't wearing inappropriately tight clothing?

Super Ninja: Yeah. So, they stood at the door, looked around and they made a beeline for the counter. The guy at the front said, 'Hi, can I help you?' and they were like, 'Um, no, that's okay.' And then one turned to the other and said, 'Was that him?' And the second one said, 'This was a complete waste of time.' And the first one said, 'There are a lot of comic books in here.' And the second one said, 'It smells funny in here.'

Me: Was there a new 'Saga,' 'Buffy,' or 'Angel & Faith' this week?

Super Ninja: Nope.

And, scene...

Why this is a nerdy conversation:  Really?  You REALLY need me to explain the finer points of the nerdliness here?


This is our third spring in this house, and this will be our third battle with ants. I don't remember requesting that particular conveyance when we bought the house. Or the curtains. Yet there they are.

Anyway, they are not the scary giant irradiated kind of ants. But they are BOLD. Whilst lounging on the couch earlier today, I thought, "Huh, something on my wrist tickles." I looked down.

Agh! Ant!

One flick sent the scout sailing across my living room and I was back to my novel. But ick, right? Listen, I'm not a bugophobe or anything like that. I pinched cicadas off trees with them best of 'em in 1987 and 2004. This is the first year that they invaded my lazy space, though, and I'm not having it. Tonight, Super Ninja hosed down their normal party surfaces with Raid and more bug traps are on order.

I have a Plan B for the chemicals, though.

My daughter is the official bug cruncher in the house. She tracks the ants and the box elder beetles (a.k.a., stink bugs) that lazily kamikaze our lamps, squishes them, and scoops them up and pitches them in the garbage. There's no squealing, no histrionics, just a very business-like, methodical stalking and dispatching.

Hmm.  Maybe I should be worried about that?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I had a dream about my mother on Monday night. Listen, you don't need to roll your eyes. I usually start to glaze over when someone starts a story with, "So, I had this crazy dream!"


But, if I don't write about it, images from it'll keep rolling around my brain like a coin dropped into one of those spiral wishing wells at the mall.


We were sitting at a picnic table; my father was there too. My mother looked just as she did before she got sick, and that's the first time that I've seen her like that in a dream. Honestly, I've only dreamed about her three times since she passed away, and the other two times, she appeared ill, wearing her white baseball cap, and she was kind of... well... droopy. Beaten. Tired.

But this time, she was just as I've seen her a thousand times: enjoying the sun, wearing a striped t-shirt, glasses, and sporting a granny ponytail. We didn't talk. There were no life truths that I told myself via the dreamscape. But it felt good to see her animated and not have it be through a computer screen..

It felt good. Reassuring. If you believe in the heebie-jeebie, which I do, it's a message that she's OK. If you believe in the everyday, which I do, then its a message to myself that I'm getting to be OK.

Either way is good, no?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Top 8, Ahem, Interesting Social Media Behaviors

Why eight? Because I couldn't think of ten. Ten's overrated. Learn to enjoy eight.

Anyway, I'm no expert. It's not like I've written a thesis paper on social media; I just use it. (Digression: If you write a thesis on social media, do you tweet it to your professor? Because you should totally tweet that shit.)

Before we begin, it is important that you know how I perceive the usage of social media. This is a far-from-exhaustive list.

Twitter: You're at a big party in your honor, but you know only some of the people in attendance. The rest are three classes of strangers: (1) those who wandered by the open front door and thought it looked like a good time, (2) they like the cut of your jib, but you have no actual history with them, and (3) porn bots. Anyway, at this party, your brain has glitch that causes you to shout out observations at random intervals. All partygoers hear you; some choose to respond, some don't.

Facebook: It's your wedding reception. You are the best of friends with some of the attendees, related to many others, co-workers to some, and some of them you don't really know, but your parents made you invite them. Many strata of intimacy, but you did actually invite all of them to come, so you probably know them a tiny bit better than some of the yokels who follow you on Twitter.

: Newsletter, postcard, whatever, tacked to a bulletin board. It's out there, people can read it, but you don't force it on them. They come to it. Also, since this is a medium that allows you some time to ponder before you press "Publish," you'd better have spell checked it. (I know that blogs aren't really social media unto itself, but people tweet or status update references to their blogs all the time, so here we are.)

Oh, also? I'm leaving out the gaming requests, because everyone already knows they are annoying. I won't be shedding any light there. Okay, here we go, in ascending order of ahem, interestingness (one = mildly annoying, ten = face meltingly uncool):

1) Taking pictures of your meals.
Unless you work for Food & Wine magazine, chances are excellent that the photos are (a) out of focus, and (b) make your food look pretty unappetizing.

2) Posting your location.
Why? Why do I care if you're at the Melting Pot? Especially if I'm not invited. Just makes me feel like you're bragging. Plus, you're telling everyone that you aren't home. It's an excellent way to lose a plethora of valuables, yes?

3) Posting your running stats. I have no idea why I know so many runners. When did that happen? Is it just among my circle of friends? Or does everyone run and I'm out of the loop because I'm busy changing diapers when everyone else is running? I don't know. But I do know my playwriting classmate's personal 5K best.

4) Not being able to complete a thought in 144 characters or LESS. Twitter posts things in real time, right? So if you can't edit, and you burp out your thoughts in three or four tweets, you reader probably stumbles on the last tweet and is all, "Wha?" It's not like it's breaking rocks to scroll back through a series of tweets, but it's annoying.

5) #Putting #a #hashtag #in #front #of #everything #you #write.

6) Uploading a hundred pictures from a drunken weekend and tagging everyone in it.
Look, for good or for ill, employers are checking out employees' Facebook pages. So, if we happen to be a party together and I act a fool, I really don't need you to throw it out there for the world to see.

7) Posting totally inaccurate news stories. The politically ranty among us do this at an alarming rate. See, here's the thing: you're posting via a connected medium. This tells me that you have access to the internet, and could therefore fact check a thing or two. It's called, people. Bill Cosby didn't produce an "I'm tired, welfare is stupid, everyone's lazy" rage. That is the masterwork of former state senator Robert Hall. Know how long it took me to find that out? One minute.

8) Christening your collective of Twitter followers. ESPECIALLY if it is your own name. Patricia Heaton uses 'Tweatons.' Ugh, right? I don't have a problem with fans having a collective name in general, like 'Trekkies.' But I don't think Gene Roddenberry named them, you know? He probably just called them fans. He certainly didn't call then "Roddenberrites."

9) Only using these sites to shill. It's a given that comics, authors, actors, musicians, etc., will take the opportunity to notify their fans of upcoming performances, publications, broadcasts, whatever. Totally cool. But it'd also be nice to hear a thought or two direct from the source, you know? That's part of what makes it "social" media. Otherwise, why wouldn't I just go to a fan site?

10) Announcing major life events to people with whom you are supposed to be close. Seriously? You're telling you sister you're getting married by switching your Facebook relationship status from "In a relationship" to engaged?

[Editor's Note: I COULD think of ten. I added two after surfing Twitter and catching other things that made me roll my eyes.]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Don't Hide Your Light Under a Bushel Basket

I had a Facebook chat recently that made me laugh out loud, so I thought I would share. Because that's not obnoxious or anything, right? Trying to get additional giggles out of conversation leftovers?

Anyway, names have been removed to protect the innocent and all that jazz. Here's the background: one of my friends, we'll call her New England, posted a petition on her Facebook account to ask Republican leaders to denounce Rush Limbaugh. Someone she knows (let's see, clever pseudonym...), we'll call him Dummy, spewed PAGES of vitriol and invective in response. A mutual friend of New England's and mine decided to taunt him. She will henceforth be known as Same Name.

In case you live under a rock (no offense, Coober Pedy!) and don't know why anyone would be posting a petition to protest Rush Limbaugh (besides the obvious, I mean). Here's the fulmeroar*: Sandra Fluke, a student from Georgetown University Law School, testified before Congress on the necessity of including contraception in health care plans.

Rush Limbaugh responded to her thoughtful, intelligent testimony with crude assumptions and insults. In his cloacal ramblings, it's clear that he misunderstands how the mandate is being funded. He thinks it's paid for through taxes. Nope. The mandate requires that private, non-church/temple/mosque/compound employers include contraception in their plans, and if they choose not to, that the insured has the option of obtaining it directly from the health care provider, at the provider's cost, which they would be okay with, 'cause guess what? Birth control pills are less expensive than BABIES.

Taxpayers funding health care plans that provide birth control may be in our futures, what with the introduction of universal health care. Although, I repeat: birth control pills are less expensive than BABIES.

The problem in oh, so, so many ways, is that Rush Limbaugh has way more access to the ears and minds of America than, say, C-SPAN. This means an unfortunately large swath of people believe what Rush said is true. And one of them has access to the Facebook page of my friend.

Here is the conversation that Same Name and I had about New England's page after the fact:

Same name: Dear lord, have you seen this craziness re: [New England]'s post?
I know it's wrong to poke a bear, but sometimes it's just so, so hard not to.

Me: I did -- she sent me an e-mail about it (including [her brother]'s response). That individual clearly needs some kind of medication or hug. Or medicated hug. And he needs to learn that he's misinformed about who's paying for what.

Same Name:
Medicated hug is brilliant. I really need to stop before he hunts me down and kills me. I imagine him like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man coming for me.

Me: Yes, and he would also be sucking his thumb. And waving a box of condoms at you. So, is this the kind of non-mommy-group intellectual stimulation you were looking for? Because if so, you know, FAIL. Also, I think medicated hugs should be applied by pandas wearing capes.

Same Name: More brilliance. Where's the petition to get that covered by universal health care?

Me: It would pass in a heartbeat.

...and, scene.

*One of Super Ninja's former co-workers totally ganked up the word falderol, which was so perfect, I now choose to use fulmeroar.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

PartEs [sic] that Don't End Up Well

There's a metric ton of infuriating news right now, much of which I have opinions about. Started writing a blog post about it, even. But, then I thought, "Why pepper everyone with thoughts and arguments that are much more eloquently and cogently made by people who are paid to do so?" Plus, I started getting bored about a paragraph in, which is just never a good sign for a blog entry.

So, instead, I bring you my son's first foray into serial cartooning:

The misspelling is on purpose; it adds some hipster flava.

Cartoon #1: Man Wets Himself at Party

Looks like Mr. Party Guy had a little too much punch and couldn't restrain his bladder. And it just happens to be party that has a spotlight, which is trained on him at this inopportune moment. Quelle situation gĂȘnante! And the hostess is trying to keep it together, forcing a smile to gloss over the situation. My favorite part? The pretzels that were dropped on the floor.

Cartoon #2: Groom Spills Communion Wine on Bride

Now we find ourselves in a church. We can trust that the reception will not end up well, though, because the groom's gone and spilled the communion wine on the bride. The pillowed rings go flying. And again, while the guests are aghast, the bride is smiling, keeping her cool.

Something tells me this kid is going to make a wad of dough someday.