Monday, December 31, 2007

Unexpected Good News

First of all, I slept until after 10am today. Upon waking at such a late hour, I immediately convinced myself that Belly had been kidnapped in the night - no way he'd let me sleep so late. Ran to his room to find him tangled in blankets, blissfully asleep. Nice!
Then I called a stinking government office about a very large sum of money they're trying to collect from me, that I've been fighting since 1996. Know what they told me? They granted me a waiver! I don't have to pay them!
When I was sure I'd just used the last of my good luck for the day, my co-worker called me. At home. That's not normal. In short, my co-worker has to attend a funeral this week. I'm scheduled to work only ONE day this week, since the kids are still on Christmas vacation. Anyway, my boss agreed to let me switch my days off so that I could work on the day my co-worker must be out. The catch - I get to work from home!!! So I don't have to go into the office at all this week!
So that's my fantastical day so far. It can only be downhill from here....

My favorite movie quote this week: Now be gone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Date Night

Woo hoo!!! DH and I are going out to dinner tonight, to a real restaurant - one without a kiddie menu. One where reservations are necessary and there's no drive thru.
This morning I took Belly out to play in the snow. We had a snowball fight, he made snow angels, and helped me shovel. For those of you that don't know, I hate snow. I hate cold. However, Belly was so excited that it was snowing again, that I just had to take him out to play. Then we came in for hot cocoa and marshmallows and at this very moment, I'm being serenaded by his 26 verses of "Where is Thumbkin?"
Golden Boy is battling a serious Wii addiction. Right now he's in rehab. Also known as Mom Needs Quiet Time.

Tonight I'm going to go out and enjoy witty conversation with my husband. I will not have to cut anyone's food. Won't have to take anyone to the potty. I'm kind of afraid that without the kids to keep me busy, I may, in fact, be rather boring!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hate Thy Neighbor

On Christmas Eve, all the stockings were hung, the cookies for Santa were placed lovingly on a plate, the children were in bed, and my dear husband and I just lay down to dream about sugar plums and such...

When the people across the street started their rip roaring party.

You see, there is only one apartment building on our block and it's directly across from our house. The second floor of that building is directly across from our bedroom windows. The tenants on the second floor were celebrating the birth of their savior with window shaking music, strobe lights and a disco ball. They've done this before, and we've called the police so many times they're probably tired of hearing from us. In Chicago, a police car isn't even sent out to answer calls about loud neighbors unless A) they're being loud during the commission of a class x felony or B) they're being loud next to a major campaign contributor's house. So I lay there on Christmas Eve hating my neighbors. If I thought I could throw a rock that far, I'd have chucked one right through their window. I bet the police would come then!

Christmas day came with no less than a bajillion dollars worth of presents under the tree. Apparently Santa is a techie this year, as there were all kinds of video games and gadgets, including my new digital picture frame. Fancy! The Nintendo Wii made the kids squeal like stuck pigs. Whee! The little hula girl dashboard bobble made my husband happy. Hooray! DH made a Christmas dinner fit for a queen - turkey, apple cranberry stuffing, roasted root veggies and the piece de resistance... frozen peanut butter cup pie. He made it all from scratch, including the oatmeal raisin gingerbread cookies we set out for Santa. Told you he's a great guy :)

And now there's a pile of trash, bags, boxes, molded plastic things, 400,000 twist ties that held toys, wrapping paper and other holiday paraphernalia that I'm afraid it will cause an avalanche if we don't get rid of it this very moment.

With the gift card I received from DH, I think I'll go buy a paintball gun. Next time my neighbors start their partying at 2am......

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays




Thanks, Kendra! It worked!!


Happy holidays, friends ~ from our nuthouse to yours :)




A Word on Music

The ipod is like a dear friend to me. It holds my memories inside it's tiny little hard drive, and pulls them out one by one when I want to hold them and turn them over in my hands. So many songs are held in memory with emotions, moments in time and places I've been. I feel very strongly about music, as I do with books, and will defend them and expound on their merit to those who don't understand. My choice of books is as eclectic as my listening habits. Tool, Prince, Blink 182 and Tchaikovsky meet with Bertrand Russell, Harlan Coben, Jennifer Crusie and Jodi Picoult. I'm sure they'd throw one hell of a party. Canapés anyone?
Here, in no particular order, are some things I listen to when the mood strikes.

Evolution of the human soul: Staind ~ Starting with Torment and running through 13 Shades of Grey, Aaron Lewis personifies all that's wrong and right with the human condition. Staind shows are like group therapy, total catharsis
Get your boogie shoes: KC and the Sunshine Band ~ Shake, shake, shake....
Sing your heart out: Mary J. Blige ~ every song she sings
Old school make out: Jodeci ~ Forever My Lady (when was the last time someone used the phrase "That's my lady"??)
When I want to be 10 again: Expose, Debbie Gibson and Cyndi Lauper ~ Electric Youth!
Straight forward cross dressing rock: STP ~ Fishnets and a bullhorn never looked so good
Straight forward non cross dressing rock: Chevelle ~ Need I say more?
Best non English album ever recorded: Jerry Rivera ~ Abriendo Puertas
When I want to be 16 again: Tupac and Notorious B.I.G ~ Not just another dead rapper
Headbanging fun: Coal Chamber, Slipknot ~ Not to be confused with Stone Sour
Because I conform: Hey There Delilah ~ Can't help it, it's catchy
Lost brain cells: Liquid Swords, 36 Chambers ~ Wu Tang ain't nothin to fuck wit!
Just for fun: Hot Hot Heat ~ Bandages
When I want to be 16 again, again: Bad Boys Blue ~ Save Your Love
Girlie Rock: Yeah Yeah Yeahs ~ Fever to Tell
When I miss Kurt Cobain: Unplugged in New York
When I don't: Foo Fighters
Anytime: incubus ~ okay, any time I have wicked thoughts about chaining a certain singer to my headboard....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday














Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Word on Marriage

Marriage is a lot of things. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy today, so here are a few of my favorites:

We've been using the same inside jokes for years. A word, phrase or gesture that the other person will always understand. If anyone else said "Ping the Baptist" to you, would you laugh??
Routine phone calls. We probably say the same thing to one another 3 times each day. But I like it just the same.
After a lot of years together, you have a conjoined identity. You're not sure who acts like who anymore, because you've morphed into one personality.
All the little neurotic things about you... someone gets it and accepts it. My husband knows I like extra salt on my popcorn, but it has to be separate from the bag so that I can continue adding salt all the way through the movie. He didn't laugh at me when I ruined 27 batches of toffee. He knows I love my cat and dog even though they're both total assholes. He lets me sleep in on Sundays.
His parenting style balances mine out so that the kids get a good mix of soft and stern. Sometimes when I lose my temper and yell like a lunatic he reminds me that as long as no one lost an eye, it's all okay.
He fills my ipod with all my quirky music tastes. Most recent = Naughty By Nature.
I can send him a love letter in a totally foreign language, and he will translate it and respond in another.

At this point, I've lived longer with my husband in my life than I did before he came along. My biggest fear when we got married was that one of us would have to die first- and I sincerely hope it's me. Morbid? Nah, just realistic. I simply cannot imagine waking up one morning and just not having him there. Not being able to share things with him, not having him to laugh with (okay, and AT) me. Not to mention all the obvious *ahem* physical perks of being married! But seriously, I believe you can die of a broken heart.

A long time ago I read a story about ancient humans having two heads, 4 limbs and one heart. They angered the gods and as a result, were split in two. Each one spent it's life searching out it's missing half. The theory goes that when you fall in love, you're really recognizing that missing half of yourself and rejoicing in it's return. I like that. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Grammar School Musical

Last night was the Christmas concert at school. Since we couldn't find Belly's tiny mafioso outfit, we stopped and got him a shirt, tie and sweater vest. He eagerly put on the shirt and tie, but started crying as soon as I pulled the sweater vest over his head. Why? Because he wanted a standard tuxedo vest instead, of course. I begged, pleaded, bargained, threatened him to get him to keep that vest on. Just as we got to the school I relented and told him he could take it off. Luckily as soon as he walked in and saw all of his friends, he ran to join them and forgot all about the offending garment.

Golden Boy chose a blue shirt and a blue striped tie, only to find that everyone else was wearing a WHITE shirt and BLACK tie. Never let it be said that he blends in with the crowd!

Belly was stationed at the far end of his class, so his teacher could easily pluck him from the podium when he decided to climb up there. The place was packed, the kids all looked great. The music teacher sang Ave Maria so beautifully that it was quite literally breathtaking. There's a girl in the choir that had a solo part and received a standing ovation. She has an amazingly strong voice for such a small body!

Here's the kids after the concert. Of course, I could have put up a pic of them smiling nicely into the camera, but this more closely conveys their usual demeanor toward one another.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Typical Mom Response

Yesterday I got home from a long day of work and shopping in 4 inch heels (so you know I was tired) when I saw my darling son sitting on the couch with his gym shoes. First of all, that's a no no. Upon closer inspection -which for a mom means a 3 second once over- I see writing on his gym shoes. His brand spanking new, expensive, just-got-them-the-same-day Nike basketball shoes.

As any mom would attest, I gave the Typical Mom Response, which went like this...

"WHY IS THERE WRITING ON YOUR NEW GYM SHOES!?!?!?!?!?!"

My unflappable Golden Boy said, "But Momma, Lance Briggs signed my shoes."

Yep, I'd forgotten that Lance Briggs and Brendon Ayanbadejo were at the school to participate in the What Moves U program to get kids excited about physical fitness. How cool is that? And what's even better is that one kid from each of the upper grade classes got to meet them afterwards, ask questions and get autographs. Well, yeah, my Golden Boy was the kid representing his class! We even got to see them again on the news this morning :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Life Changing Find

Finally I've admitted to myself (and apparently now, everyone else) that I'm no longer in possession of an 18 year old body, and that kids + gravity have moved and shifted some stuff around. Stuff I'd have preferred to remain where they were 10 years ago! Add a few pounds and viola! You have a typical woman who doesn't like the way she looks and complains often about clothes not fitting right, and those last 5 -okay, 10 - pounds that won't go away.
Enter Spanx.
Holy mother of.... how have I resisted them for so long?! They are so worth the hype.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random Sludge


1) Yesterday we put the hard top on Big Bertha. Not sure why that makes me happy. The soft top makes me think I'm going camping or something. This is what BB looks like, this isn't her, but one of her clones. Yes, I practically need a ladder to hoist myself up into this thing.


2) I've decided to dye my hair, but can't choose between red, light brown, or violet highlights. Decisions, decisions.


3) Forgot to pack Belly's lunch today. When I took him in, I explained to the woman at the door and asked if he could get the school's hot lunch today, and I'll send in the $3 tomorrow. She grimaced and said only if they had any extras. WHAT?! I just called the school and was transferred to the same woman. I explained again and she said, "Don't worry, I feed him! It's okay! We have extras. Don't forget next time" and told me to have a good day before hanging up on me. Why did this make me laugh? I'm not sure. She wasn't being mean, I'm sure she just doesn't understand how neurotic I am. Is it neurotic to want to make sure you kid is gonna eat lunch though?


4) Ever have those days when all your clothes feel too tight? This morning when I got dressed I seriously considered going out to buy Spanx at lunch.


5) Maybe it's time to go flex my Bloomie's card to get some new clothes.


6) Bad movies I've seen lately: The Reaping, Hannibal Rising, and Rocky Balboa.


7) Good books I've read lately: The Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England, The Abortionist's Daughter, and I, Elizabeth.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Word on Tattoos

Here's the thing about tattoos.... they're one of those dividers in life. Those who have tattoos and those who don't.

Kind of like women with kids, and women without kids.

When you meet someone else who has what you have, you talk about the similarities, the love, the pain. (I'm talking about kids here, try to keep up)

Since I am a lover of tattoos, I enjoy hearing the stories behind other people's pieces. One woman told me her sister got a tattoo in the shape of the state of Louisiana because she enjoyed her vacation there so much. Now that's interesting.

Of course I've got my share of uninteresting tattoos (kanji, anyone?) and if I tried to sit and talk through the chronological history of my tattoos, it would take too long and I'd get bored. Or you would. What I find interesting is that my kids are completely and utterly indifferent to them. My older son was only a few months old when I got my first tattoo and my body of work has grown right along with him. By the time baby #2 came along, I had plenty. In fact, the anestesiologist was especially nice to me because she saw the Sanskrit on my arm and talked to me about visualization and a blooming lotus flower to help control my pain. Incidentally, after she gave me an epidural, it worked great. You see, tattoos can connect you to people in ways you don't expect.

Recently I went to the tattoo shop -to see the same doer of tattoo that's been working on me for years- with two women that I NEVER in my life expected to bring there. Highly respectable, society type women. Goes to show you, that even people who don't want to be judged by their tattoos will still make judgements about others based on tattoos.

Anyway, one of them got her husband's name on her butt. The other got a silhouette of a woman on a motorcycle. It was a very interesting day. You learn a lot about people inside a tattoo shop. In some ways, more than you'll learn about them outside of one.



Here's a fun book about tattoos and kids. That's another obsession of mine. Books. All kinds of books. But that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Writing Lines

Remember when you’d misbehave in school, and your teacher would make you write something moronic like, “I will not stab the lunchroom lady”? Well, if you went to my grammar school that was what the “lines” punishment assignments were like.
My son came home with a directive to write lines about behaving in Spanish class. It was a long one, not something simple like I will not talk. The sentence took up 3 written lines and he was supposed to repeat it 100 times.
When he first told me on the phone, I got very quiet because I was angry. Not at him, but at the stupidity of the assignment. I don’t call him Golden Boy for nothing. He’s truly a great kid. Well behaved, smart, empathetic, etc. My first reaction was to tell him NOT to do the stupid lines. Then I reconsidered, only because I didn’t want him to get the idea that Mom will just write a letter to get him out of it when he doesn’t like something.
How do you strike that balance?? To lead by example and show your kid that A) You are part of a class and when the class gets punished, you have to suck it up and B) Stand up for what you believe in, and I believe in not paying hundreds of dollars each month to send my kid to private school to have him write lines.
Little man got so frustrated over the assignment and the unfairness that he started to cry, and once he started, he couldn’t stop. I sat down with him and explained that this is the oldest story in the world. That kids have been talking in class since the dawn of time, and teachers have been making them write lines just as long. Told him that if he unearthed an ancient school room, he’d see Sumerian tablets reading “I will not throw spitballs”. Also told him that his homeroom teacher was probably very embarrassed by their behavior, because during the day, she’s like a mom to those 15 kids in his class. In the end, we only had him write the sentence 25 times, and I sent a strongly worded letter to the teacher telling her to assign extra work if the class misbehaves in the future. If he’s going to be up past bedtime working on a punishment assignment, then he’d better learn something while he’s at it. I felt bad about doing it, because I actually really like his teacher. Is this the end of the issue?
No.
The teacher called me this morning at work. She apologized for the way everything was handled yesterday, and wanted to explain the background as well. The kids have been acting out in Spanish class (many of them speak Spanish already, and feel the class is like a free period) and yesterday la maestra got so frustrated with the class that she was in tears. She had a meeting with the homeroom teacher and the principal. It was the principal who dictated the assignment. The homeroom teacher apologized for being put on the spot and not working out an alternative punishment. She also said that she felt really bad for Golden Boy because he’s such a good kid, and he probably was talking but not causing trouble. That’s what gets me, he even owned up to talking and still said that the punishment was unfair. So we talked for a bit, mostly her apologizing and saying it won’t happen again, that the kids will be given a constructive assignment should they misbehave. She also thinks the Spanish teacher is giving them too much free time and that’s causing them to climb the walls. My opinion is that the kids need to respect every teacher, not just their favorite ones, and I told her as much. In the end, she gave me her cell phone number and asked me to call if there was ever any concern over the curriculum, assignments or anything having to do with my Golden Boy.
When I was in grammar school, the president himself could have written a letter about me not doing an assignment, especially a punishment one, and my teacher would have handed it back and told me to finish my damn work. Those teachers weren’t afraid of the parents, or the opinions of parents, or anything. I’m sure some of them have gone on to teach Navy Seals lessons about being tough. And they had to be. They dealt with gangs, kids who didn’t care, parents who didn’t care, teen pregnancy, kids who couldn’t afford lunch or warm clothes, kids from broken homes who cried all day. It was so much harder than just trying to teach us the proper way to use “caveat” in a sentence.
Yep, that’s why I send my kid to private school.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sentimental Fool

Yesterday I read a story about a woman who has lovingly kept some of her grandparent's Christmas ornaments for years, and had a mishap which ended with her tree falling over and three of the ornaments being shattered. Because I can understand her pain, I started to reply, and my reply got so long I realized it needed to come here to have it's own space.

I have very few things that belonged to my father, and my favorite is a felt bowler hat that he loved. I don't know why, as he kinda looked like a Puerto Rican Charlie Chaplin in it. Anyway, one day my youngest son begged to play with it. The tyke is named after my dad, although he came along many years after my dad died. I smiled and handed it to him and my hubby almost had a heart attack. He thought I'd gone crazy. You see, he knows how sentimental I can be about what other people think is just stuff. I calmly told him the story of visiting my grandparents in NY when I was very small. My grandfather had a pool table in the basement, and legend has it that he loved that thing more than anything else. Well, I wanted to play pool. Only problem was that I couldn't exactly reach the table. My grandfather told my father, "So let her play," and I proceeded to hold the cue up over my head and stab at the balls over the edge of the table. I'm told the felt was quite torn up when I was done, but I was happy and that made him happy. All these years later I swear I could hear my father say, "Let him wear the hat. It's just a hat!"

And so that's what I did. Makes me sad, though, that it's the closest my son will ever come to my dad.

Haircuts, Forts and CNN

Great Clips restored my faith in bargain basement haircuts (at least for kids) by correcting Golden Boy's hair yesterday at no charge. He was quite skeptical about letting them at his hair again, and I don't blame him. When the woman tried to ask him if he was unhappy with his haircut, he just looked at me. Way to put the kid on the spot, lady! I raised him to be polite and his interpretation of polite is to NOT tell a stranger that she did a shit job cutting his hair. Maybe tonight he'll sit still long enough for me to get a picture since he's just so handsome with his new 'do.

When we got home, GB realized he'd forgotten his math book, so he couldn't do his homework. Belly removed the bamboo table runner and used that and the dog's bed to make a fort in the middle of the living room. The cat flung another glass ornament off the tree. The dog used the game room as her personal latrine. Clean laundry was in a basket on the dining room table, so I started sorting it only to find my favorite socks now have large holes in them. WTF? Just thinking about making dinner caused my head to hurt, since Belly wanted bacon and eggs and GB wanted a bacon burger, making Belly cry. Why was Belly so wounded by his brother's craving for a bacon burger? The world may never know. So we had pizza and watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas. And just to appease The Belly, we put imitation bacon bits on his pizza. Sounds appetizing, no? Eventually I went to bed and left my husband to handle that other stuff. Well, except the dog mess.

CNN has an article about little boys and play kitchens here. I rest my case.

DO NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to eat Campbell's Won Ton Soup.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Doorknobs and Stirrups, Oh My!

Mistaken Identity
Friday my husband took our boys to Great Clips to get their hair cut before our pictures with Santa.
My little one came back fine. Golden Boy wanted to look like Zac Efron, but instead now looks like Dorothy Hamill. Poor kid. So I asked DH how this happened, and he says, "YOU said to just get it trimmed." Yes, but I did not say to use a bowl as the guide! So I had to call and speak to a manager, and we have an appointment to go in tonight and have his hair fixed. After that I'm going to suck it up and take them to a trendy joint lest this mess happen again.
<---- Zac Efron




<----- Dorothy Hamill




Saturday we had breakfast with Santa. Belly loved it and loved the jolly fat guy. Belly told Santa he wants his own skateboard. That makes Momma cringe. Of course I didn't get a single picture of both kids looking at the camera.

What goes around...
Saturday DH got sick, no doubt having contracted the plague from me. Did I complain about laundry and such? Noooo. But I did leave to go to a party, and stuck him with the little ones. Muahahaha! It looked like Armageddon outside but nothing was going to stop my brave friend and I from getting to the party. Not the ice covering the streets, not the chunks of snow blowing off the tops of trucks on the expressway, and not the green lightning. Yep, green. At the party our light pleasant conversation took a turn for the worse when it degraded into jokes about doorknobs up asses and something about sex with stirrups and morgue tables. "You know, for easy clean up" said one deranged party goer. Yes, a good time was had by all!

Species Reassignment
Our poor, mistreated betta fish is now having an identity crisis. First I thought he was depressed because we keep trying to kill him, because he just laid at the bottom of the tank and didn't move. But now he's convinced he's a Portuguese Man O' War. He floats with his top fin just breaking the surface of the water, with his beautiful tail and fins kind of hanging below him. He only moves around to eat, and to swim out of the way when the cat drinks out of his bowl. (Yum! Fishy flavored water!)

Corn Fed Kids
Saturday Golden Boy's basketball team suffered their first defeat, and it was big. They lost by 30 points to a team of kids that were all bigger than me. Do they have bovine growth hormones in the hot lunch at that school?!

One last thing, did you know that Campbell's now makes Won Ton Soup??

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sick and Tired! Well, Mostly Sick

This week something very close to the bubonic plague hit me, minus the festering pustules. Started out with congestion and quickly turned to aching, wheezing, puffy eyes, can't sleep misery. On Tuesday we had a 2.5 hour meeting in which I was barely able to hold up my head. Did anyone say to me, "You should really go home"? No, of course not. I'd probably have to pass out at the reception desk to be sent home.

So yesterday I decided to stay home. Well, 'decided' implies I had a choice. I couldn't move so really, I had no choice. I stayed in bed and just hoped to live through this. Belly came in to check on me at some point in the morning. He jumped on the bed and stuck his cherub face in front of me and asked, "Momma, do you got a sunburn on your nose?" When he realized I was half dead and he could probably get his way, he rubbed his hands together like a comical bad guy and asked if I'll play Spongebob Googly Eyes with him when/if I wake up. That's what he calls Monopoly because of the (you guessed it) Googly eyes on the box. Yeah, sure kid. Leave me alone.

Then at 11am Golden Boy's school called and said he wasn't feeling well, so my dear husband went to pick him up. He came home and started playing Spongebob Googly Eyes with Belly. On my way to get more of the useless decongestant I mentioned that he didn't look very sick to me. His smile faded and he looked at me very seriously over his glasses and he said, "Oh, but I am."

A few shots of NyQuil later and everything blissfully faded away.
Until the alarm went off this morning.
Got up with much effort and went to get the kids moving. DH didn't help with the kids, instead took himself a nice solitary shower. Golden Boy was moving slower than my dead grandmother. (Don't know where that saying came from, but I don't have any dead grannies) For once in his little life, Belly was the only one doing what he was supposed to. I handed GB his clothes, and came back in with a waffle and sausage for him. Instead of THANKING me, he yells out that he wanted cereal. This did not elicit a nice response from me. So I go upstairs mumbling about the ungrateful child and my dear husband asks if I'm on a laundry hiatus. I scream out, "I've been sick! What do you want from me!" and storm out of the room. The morning continued as such with me feeling like a maid (and a rotten one at that!) And now I'm at work, preparing for another meeting. This one should "only" last an hour I'm told. Yay.

I'm still not feeling so great. Well, at least there's NyQuil to look forward to!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ty-D-Bowl


Ty-D-Bowl not only turns water blue, but hands as well! Looks like I stuck my finger in a Smurf.

Attempted Murder, Part 3

Yesterday I was cleaning out the fish tank. The same little guy who hasn't been the same since Belly stirred his water. I couldn't find the little net thing to get him out of the tank so I had the brilliant idea that I could just catch him in a little cup as I poured the water out. Over a sink full of dirty dishes, no less. Belly was standing next to me and saw the fish go into the cup and promptly fly right out. He started screaming and jumping up and down, while I was trying to catch the slimy little thing as he flopped around in the dishes. I caught him by the tail two seconds before he'd have gone down the drain. He was saved by a puddle of milky water with some rogue Cheerios. Ew. But hey, looked like he had a good time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Being Thankful

Had one of those moments today that just reduced me to tears and not in a good way. Pity party, table for one. I don't have many of those. Some people cry - I'm usually not one of them. I prefer to point and laugh at those people. So anyway, I slapped myself around and got a freakin grip (I was embarrassed, even though I was the only one to witness it) and instead, in light of the passing of Thanksgiving, think about some of the many things I'm thankful for (damn dangling participles) Okay, in proper English.... some of the things for which I am thankful. Drum roll please.

My kids (duh) and their health, happiness, and humor.
Husband - he even helps with the dishes, what more can I say?!
My mom - she does so much for my kids, we'd be lost without her.
Friends - an amazing bunch. Sick, twisted, demented, the whole lot of 'em. I love you guys.
My pets. Okay, maybe just my dog.
Cartoon Network - keeps the kids busy.
Club Penguin - see above.
Belly still takes naps - giving me enough quiet time to think for one full minute.
ipod - Where else can Tupac and Elvis live side by side?
DVR - otherwise I'd probably never watch tv.
Library - no way I could afford to buy all the books I read.
Lastly, Golden Boy's burning need to jump out and scare his little brother every chance he gets. Today he helped me wrangle the tyke out of the Playplace at McDonald's. I went left, Belly ran right, Golden Boy jumped out and scared him so horribly that Belly screamed like a little girl and fell on his butt. Yeah, good times.

Alright that's enough of this introspective shit. It doesn't suit me!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dreaming of a White... Thanksgiving?!


Hope everyone's having a great holiday, and remember... Thanksgiving is never a good day when you're a turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Macaroni


Here I am rockin' my first macaroni necklace!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Decorator For Hire


When I got home yesterday, I set about my usual routine of dinner, helping with homework, loading the dishwasher, and keeping the kids from killing each other. Yep, just another day in the life of a mom.
It wasn't until the kids were in bed that I finally wandered upstairs toward the bathroom. Now, Belly's bedroom is right next to the bathroom, but he stayed in Golden Boy's room last night since he has bunk beds in there. So, I turn on the light and notice something different on the walls. Belly's room is painted light blue with green and orange planets and stars, it's his Buzz Lightyear room.
NOW there are red stripes on the walls, too. Not just on the wall, but on the window and the toy box as well. When it was time to paint Belly's room, I made sure to buy washable paint. Yes, I was thinking ahead! Belly foiled my plan by using a SHARPIE! I called my husband in and I said, "I blame you." Sometimes my husband feels that being in the same house with them is supervision enough. He adamantly denied any responsibility for Belly's redecorating.
This morning I had a talk with Belly about the rules. I asked him what his father was doing while he was coloring on every available surface in his room. He said, "No, Momma! I did it when Gramma was downstairs!"
She claims he was only up there "for a minute" but I'm telling you, this was some well thought out work - he was in there for quite a while. Here he is explaining his masterpiece.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Veeery Interesting

On Friday I was the devil incarnate. I was blogging from my own personal hell. Hormones took over my brain and my fingers, and if you got a nasty email from me, please disregard it. Unless you normally get nasty emails from me. In which case you should seriously consider withdrawing from this friendship.

What intrigues me is that the only two people who commented on my PMS pain are male.

Do other women not have these problems, or not admit to it?

Golden Boy's junior varsity basketball team beat the snot out of another team on Saturday. It was brutal. They won by 24 points. At one point the refs stopped calling the other team on their traveling and general screw ups, I think they just felt bad for them. Golden Boy played the whole game! Not because he's suddenly found mad ballin' skills, but because there were only 5 members of the team present. Once they were secure in their lead, they passed him the ball a few times. Each time he immediately passed it to one of the super stars. While it did nothing for his shooting, it did wonders for his confidence. He got more aggressive and was guarding kids twice his size effectively. Overall I'm pretty impressed with the kids on the team. Not because they win, but because they seem to play well together. My son is the youngest and smallest kid on the team, and it means a lot to me that they're nice to him. The other parents are great, too. We sat in the stands with our hot dogs and soda and we cheered, clapped and stomped. What a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There is a ...

...thing called PMS that will eventually make you hate even people you normally adore, and will make your closest friends avoid you lest they tell you what an irrational, mean, hurtful, insane person you are.
"Who, me?" you'll ask, while mentally lining up a crossbow with the offender's solar plexus.
Yes, yours truly is in a foul mood today. And yesterday as well. And tomorrow's not looking promising, either.
My husband keeps asking what's wrong. When I say, "Nothing" I really mean, "Everything"
The tiny part of my brain that isn't being held hostage by hormones right now is telling me that I'm giving significance to minor infractions and blowing them up to monumental proportions. Yeah, so? For some strange reason I decided I wanted to take the kids bowling tonight. (See: Irrational) When I found out that every bowling alley within 27 miles is booked with league play, I got very upset. Then I decided we'd go ice skating. The problem is that nothing is open on Friday nights until later in the month. This, too, caused me great anguish. That tiny part of my brain I told you about has been trying to tell me all day that I don't like either bowling or ice skating. I told it to shut up.

On the bright side, I got a phone call today from an old friend that I haven't talked to in literally years. I'm not always open to those kinds of calls, figuring if I don't talk to someone anymore, there's probably a good reason. Anyway, she called and it was so good to talk to her again. We caught up on our kids and jobs and talked about a lot of people we used to work with. We made plans to get together before the holidays hit. As we were chatting I realized that I've gotten back in touch with a lot of people this year. All of them very cool, ranging from grammar school friends, high school friends to former co-workers. Where were these people? Why exactly did we stop talking? Did we just get too busy?

Was it my PMS?! Just kidding :) Or am I?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Whole New World

Last night I went to dinner with my mom and the kids. It was late, I was ravenously hungry which means I was dizzy from low blood sugar and not in the mood to play referee between my little darlings. We went to Olive Garden - I loooove Olive Garden and I don't care how cheap/boring/mediocre anyone thinks it is. When we were seated I practically fell into my chair... bad idea! They have wheels. So, after apologizing to the woman behind me, I'm growling at the server to skip the pleasantries and bring me food. I'm sure this isn't going to be a pleasant dinner since Belly had already insulted the kid behind us who was crying by asking if he was a baby. He wasn't, and that made him cry harder. Then I ram the kid's mom with my chair. Can we change this to a take out order???

Then a strange thing happened. My kids started telling jokes and quizzing each other on their favorite cartoons. Golden Boy does a good Alex Trebek impersonation. For once, they didn't antagonize one another or fight over anything. They both ATE their meals. That may not sound like anything noteworthy to people without kids, but lemmetellya, my kids rarely eat anything they order. Not only did they eat their meals, they SHARED them. Yes, I wanted to stand up and sing like a Disney princess.... "It's a whole new world! A brand new place I never knew!"
They continued with the jokes and trivia through dessert. The women at the next table (no, not the one we assaulted) were pointing at us and saying, "Look, they're having so much fun!" We left there all smiles and hugs.

Who are these children, and what have they done with mine?


Me, after lots of cosmetic surgery ------>

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Last Resort

As far as music goes, most kids end up listening to what their parents play, right? I heard so much of the Beatles and Elvis growing up that I can do a one woman talent show based on their albums. Of course as I got a little older I developed my own unique tastes (Tupac and Nirvana go together in my opinion)

Last year we realized that radio is too risque for small children. So we started playing talk radio in the car. Sports and weather, yeah! That can't damage young minds! Except every commercial talks about erectile dysfunction. Then we started playing the Disney station but damn, that got irritating. So we plugged in the ipod and left it on shuffle. Did we stop to think about the collection of songs on there?

First came Golden Boy's absolute love for Linkin Park. We figured that was a good thing. Well, minus the exaggerated rap stance, think Run-DMC in 1989. If he keeps it up I'm going to buy him some old school Adidas with fat laces.

This morning Belly jumped up on the couch, threw his little hands up in the air and yelled, "Cut my life into pieces! This is my last resort!"

So, I guess it's time to go back to the Disney channel.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things You Never Knew

Speaking of positive reinforcements and stripper poles.... A Christmas gift catalogue came in the mail on Friday after I got home. On page 3 they advertise This handy contraption.

How many head shots does it take, to get to the center of Belly's brain?

This weekend Belly took quite a few hits to the noggin. Friday he was jumping on the bottom bunk (a favorite past time) and jumped too hard, hitting the top bunk so hard one of the wooden supports was displaced. Ouch.
Saturday he jumped off the couch wearing a Batman cape and landed on a knit cap. Knit cap + wood floors = head injury. I think he was feeling a bit concussed, so I didn't let him sleep after that.
This morning I was carrying him upstairs so he could brush his teeth, when he leaned out and struck his forehead on the wall. At this point I'm sure the school is calling DCFS the minute he walks in with enough lumps on his head to start a phrenology convention.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Positive Reinforcements

Positive reinforcements are very important (Child development 101) They also work with pets (Puppy Training at PetCo)

What I just learned is that positive reinforcements work incredibly well with husbands. You see, yesterday my dear husband was home all day. He did laundry, he worked around the house, he cleaned the first floor. For this, he was handsomely rewarded. We’re not talking pat on the back here.

This morning he got up early, made coffee, folded and put away laundry, got the kids dressed and THEN made French toast with bananas and whipped cream. If he keeps this up I’m going to have a stripper pole installed in our bedroom.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Screeeeech!!!!

That, my friends, is the sound of me dragging my feet and trying to stop the calendar's relentless march forward. Yes, my 3 inch heels are digging in here, trying to avoid slamming headfirst into the holidays.

All of a sudden Thanksgiving menu planning is upon me, closely followed by Christmas, New Year's, my pal's wedding, my *gasp* 30th birthday and then our 10th wedding anniversary. Stop the world, I wanna get off.

Right food ahead of me, left foot planted for balance, head and shoulders leaning back, yet time is clutching my hem with it's icky old man hands. And it's my favorite leopard print hem, too. How could this be?!?!?! The Holidays already?? Maybe if I whimper and cry I can get out of it.

It's not that I don't like The Holidays. When you have kids it's almost mandatory. Every year it's as if I stress so much over it that I don't allow myself time to enjoy it. Every year we say this year we won't go overboard with Christmas gifts just because we like to see them stacked 3 deep and 6 high around the tree. Then 3 days later they're broken and scattered around the house and we're asking ourselves, "Why did we do that again?" Although I must admit that Christmas music makes me happy. When I was about twelve I had the New Kids on the Block Christmas album. I love Tchaikovsky. Thanksgiving is overrated. I don't like turkey all that much. For my first Thanksgiving on my own, I ate White Castle and watched basketball. New Year's Eve we spend with the kids and a bottle of sparking grape juice - not exactly party central. Right now I've got no idea what to get my husband for Christmas. I haven't yet figured out what I want to do for my birthday, either.

No - I'm not avoiding it. I'm just surprised that all this came so fast at me. Yes, at me, like it's a personal assault :) Just look at the mish mash of thoughts above and you'll see what thinking about the holidays does to me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Email Etiquette

Have you ever felt the wave of nausea and panic after hitting "send" on an email that is, shall we say, not nice? Twice in my younger (and less professional) days I accidentally sent an email to the wrong person. Both times, the wrong person was in management. Oops! One was innocuous, I simply stated that the frog I kept in a tank on my desk had died. For that, my boss kindly sent her condolences, and probably wondered why I felt it necessary to share that news. The other time, the manager from a department I'd been promoted out of, sent an email rife with spelling and grammatical errors. I thought I was forwarding that email, with my own snarky comments, to a co-worker and it turned out I hit "reply" instead of "forward" - I took a deep breath and with knocking knees I went to apologize face to face with the woman I'd offended. Luckily, she was very nice about it.
This afternoon I received an email I didn't like very much. I forwarded it to my mom, along with some comments that are just not printable here. As SOON as I hit sent I felt like someone threw ice water on my head - I was that sure I'd just replied to the person who angered me. I'd have been far more diplomatic! I'd have omitted the extraneous use of the F word! I checked the sent file at least 5 times to be sure - absolutely sure - that I sent that email to my mom. It has her name there, it says I forwarded the message .... so why do I still feel like I'm about to get fired?? Never mind the fact that everyone knows you shouldn't write anything in your work email that you wouldn't mind being plastered all over the kitchen. I know this. My reaction to that email was just too fast and strong to remember that.

Panic and pending joblessness aside, Sunday was report card day. Now I don't mean to brag...

Don't you hate it when people say that?? If you didn't mean to brag then you'd just be quiet about it. Not write it all over the place and tell everyone who passes you on the street. So yeah, I do mean to brag - Golden Boy got straight As! Even he was surprised! His face lit up and you could just see how happy he was. I'm so very proud of him. He's worked hard this year and it shows!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween


Trick or treating was fun with Batman and Zombie Doctor. There was a guy dressed as Michael Meyers that I swear was following me. Lots of friendly kids and parents, orderly lines at the houses with the best candy, and plenty of Power Rangers, Supermen and Hannah Montanas. The only negative came when one woman grabbed her little ninja by his costume and threatened to "smack the **** outta" him. The rest of us stopped and stared at her, so she let him go, straightened his costume, and was overly nice the rest of the evening. I'm afraid she beat him when they got home though.

As we were walking home, we passed a police car with seizure inducing lights going. So I asked who was going to go up to the squad, knock on the window, and say Trick or Treat. No one?? Okay, fine. Then we passed driver of said squad car who was talking to someone on a front porch. Belly asked if that was the police. I said yes, then thought about it and said, "Unless he's just dressed like that for Halloween. Convincing costume, but I wouldn't go anywhere with him if I were you." That earned me quite a dirty look from him. No sense of humor!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Liquid Lunch


My office is a strange place. This is what I see in the closet each day on my way into the kitchen. What are they suggesting? And why don't they just keep it all IN the kitchen with the coffee and tea??

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And Lunch With My OB/GYN

In my post explaining the horrors of prednisone, I talked about my eye doctor that accused me of snorting coke and then mis-read my blood work and told me I had syphilis. This same doctor, he's a nice guy. Happily married, has a baby. Just always seemed a little too... familiar with me. He'd call me about an eye appointment and then he'd want to chat. He'd given me his email address, but I never used it. One time, he asked me about movies, I said my husband and I like all kinds of movies (because when a male is being too chatty, sometimes you have to repeat and reiterate "my husband" a lot) and he said his wife doesn't like horror movies, so as a result he doesn't get to see them. Yeah, okay, whatever dude. Then he gives me his phone number and says to call him next time we're going to go, and he'll come with. Weird. Who hangs out with their eye doctor? Yet every time I see him he says, "You've got my number, right?"

Last weekend my mother went to the dentist. He used to be my dentist, too. Really cool guy. He's into tattoos and motorcycles. Above all, he's a fabulous dentist and I trusted him like no other. Anyway - I last saw him when I was pregnant with my little guy who is now 4. He sold his practice and went to one that doesn't take my insurance. So, my mom goes to see him and she comes back and gives me a little sticky note with his phone number and email address. Huh? She said that he kept telling her "Jesse rocks!" and that we had always planned to hang out but never did. So I ask my husband what he thinks, does he want to go double date with the dentist and his wife? His reply, "Yeah I guess so, but who hangs out with their dentist?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fun with ipod Shuffle

This is what's played so far this morning:

Sheila E - Glamorous Life (wait while I tease my hair)


Grease Soundtrack - Title track


Coal Chamber - Dreamland (morning music)


Paula Abdul - Forever Your Girl



Elvis - Surrender (off the 30 #1 Hits of course)



Tool - Ticks & Leeches (Who doesn't love Maynard?)



Ashford & Simpson - Solid (..... as a rock!)



Vapors - Turning Japanese (My Golden Boy loves this song)



Atmosphere - Free or Dead (sing it, Slug)



Interpol - Rest My Chemistry (how did this even get in here?)



Scott Weiland - Where's the Man? (Scott's my dad.... long story)



Cold - Send in the Clowns (Whatever happened to Scooter?)



Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Bang (rock on)



George Michael - Careless Whisper (Stop acting like you don't know that song)



Norah Jones - I've Got to See You Again (I love Norah)



Now playing: 2pac - Holla if Ya Hear Me (Tupac was spotted at a KFC is Tacoma last week)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Green Eyeshadow and Other Random Thoughts

1. The mouse lived. Clementine, my demented and defective cat, is stalking the pantry now, waiting for it to come out.

2. My outfit looks like it was chosen by a blind person or a stylist with rage disorder. It's 5 shades of black and just isn't working. My sweater is itchy and my skirt is 3 inches too short.

3. Belly was sure he was Spiderman last week. Now he's a Transformer. He lays on the floor in the fetal position and says, "I'm a car." then jumps up yelling, "Shing! Ching! Fwing!" and is suddenly Optimus Prime. But you can just call him Sybil.

4. Dogs don't like celery, but mine will eat raw onions.

5. This morning I thought green eye shadow was a good idea. I was wrong.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hey, Mouse Breath!

Friday night was movie night at the kids’ school, so after our refugee day, we met up with a friend and went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas. The kids set up sleeping bags on the floor in front of the screen, ate hot dogs and popcorn, and had fun. My friend and I talked about a few women there that we went to high school with – amazing the stuff you suddenly remember when you start talking about it. Not all of it good, but most of it is terribly funny. If you have any juicy stuff on people from Lane, c/o 1996, pass it along! Jail time, nobel prizes, multiple baby daddies – bring it.

Saturday was Girl’s Night. The restaurant was pretty busy when we got there and I’m pretty sure our foul mouths – and not to mention Captain Cleavage and her indecent exposure! – ran off the other customers. Then we went to a friends beautiful condo with a view of the Hancock building (in the middle of winter, on a very clear day, if you stand on your toes) and really got into the spirit of the evening. We scared 2 younger girls out of ever having children. We yakked about mortgages and jobs. My god how old we must have sounded! This particular Girl’s Night was in the city… smack in the middle of Chicago. The suburbanites got excited when the police beat someone up out in front, then searched the area for contraband. After waving off my ride home, I eventually called a cab and tip toed in to find DH playing video games and not noticing my absence. Ah, love.

Sunday was a quiet day. Until – there’s always a catch! – my husband opened the pantry and saw a mouse scurry away. He asked me to bring Clementine, my demented and defective cat, over to catch it. I said, “She’s not a mouser! She’s not going to catch it!” Well she proved me wrong. Took her 3 seconds to nab the little thing. I picked her up and told my husband to take the mouse away and put it outside. Instead she drops it on the floor, it tries to run and leaves a bloody trail behind it. I put her back down and she got the mouse again. Picked her back up to take her outside, she dropped it again. This time though, the wounded little guy ran into the small hole in the frame where a door once hung between the kitchen and laundry room. And I’m sure it’s going to die there, too. So I called it a day, and asked my husband why he can’t simply put down a mousetrap instead of calling in the furry death squad and making the little mouse suffer and die an agonizing death. Walked to my room calling behind me, “And what did that little mouse ever do to you? Huh?” which prompted him to call me a mouse sympathizer. Is that anything like being a commie pinko?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Witness Protection and Relocation

Today I’m writing from a top secret location… even I don’t know exactly where I am!

My little darlings are off school today and requiring adult supervision, of course. I’d scheduled this as a work from home day so I could be with them while still fulfilling my responsibilities for work. Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? And it WAS until my husband informed me that our internet connection was down and he’d already called the phone company who said it wouldn’t be back up until tonight.

Panic. Worry. I have to log in and work – but where can I do that all day with the kids?? The library? Not all day. My grandparents house? No, too many dogs. Time to see who your real friends are. Called someone (a very nice person) and he very kindly agreed to letting me and the kids take over his house for the day so I could get some work done. Disaster averted! Grabbed sleepy kids, a backpack full of snacks, toys and lunch, and we ran out of the house. Met kind person to get house keys and directions. Oh yes, did I mention I'd never even BEEN to this person's house before!? He said the door is kind of tricky to open. Okay, fine. So I'm standing in a doorway with the kids, it's raining, they're whining, and I CAN'T get the door open. The lock won't budge. I push, pull, kick, plead..... nothing. I text him because I'm sure the neighbors are calling the police thinking we're breaking in. Of course, we look like refugees - sweats, backpacks, wild hair - except I don't think refugees travel with McDonald's coffee. Whatever. He sends me a text and explains why I can't get in. I'm at the wrong door!

Once I go to the right door, we're in like sly cat burglars. We get into the house and he even has the computer all set up for me. The kids are watching TV and being quiet and all seems well with the world.

Until I find out that my husband's work sent his direct deposit to the wrong bank!! So I gather my refugee children and run to one bank, take out what seems like a ton of cash and I'm so sure today will be the day I'll get mugged. We jump back in the truck and hightail it to the other bank, make a big deposit, run back to our safe house for the day. At this point, the kids are having so much fun I think they're good candidates for the witness protection program.

Another typical day :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Kitchen


So Belly had his birthday party. It was a Spiderman themed fete, with a Blue's Clues cake. Ah, nothing like a child's indecision. Every one of his presents was Spiderman or Power Rangers... except the kitchen set. What did my dear husband say when Belly opened it? "Who the hell bought that?! I hope you didn't pay more than $10 for it!" Belly loved it - as did most of the other kids. THEN Belly opened up a gift from one of his friends and it was a cooking set and a set of chef accessories :) Once the party wrapped up - and of course I forgot to hand out the kids treat bags, so they're all sitting on my kitchen table - Belly said, much to his dad's dismay, "Open the cooker set so I can have lots of fun!" Ah, that's my boy. I'm telling you, he invented the whole deconstructed movement that's so popular right now. Uh-huh, he deconstructed a PB&J sandwich and left it for the dog, he deconstructed a pizza and dropped the pieces in his brother's bed...

Silly me always thought that when kids get into school that life would slow down. No! This week's agenda was - in no particular order -
Birthday party
Student council meeting (for my Golden Boy of course)
Basketball practice for the junior varsity team (Golden Boy, again)
Movie Night
Snack Day

These kids have more bookings than the Queen of England. When I was a kid, our schedules went like this: Get home from school, play. (Notice, I didn't do much homework myself) Now my Golden Boy - I think I'll call him that from now on - wants a cell phone. Why? Because he wants to be able to walk to Starbucks after school by himself. STARBUCKS!?

OH and as we were having a party the mailman dropped our mail in the box and left it open in the rain so my box new checks are just a pile of mush. No, it's not as if I needed them to pay bill or anything! Go on and just leave them in the mud next time, Mr Postal Service!

When I get home tonight I'll spend considerable time assembling the kitchen set, cleaning up from the party, then picking up Golden Boy from basketball practice. Then I'm going to pop in a movie over dinner and we're going to have quiet time.

Yeah, sure.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Picture Day


Last week was tres busy for me, and this week is offering no breaks. Anyway...

My in laws are in from out of town, and while it's lovely to see them, I wish they'd give more notice than, "We're here!!"

Sunday my older son, who looooves Catholicism (go figure) did a reading in church with a few other kids from his class. We heathens sat in the audience and oohed and ahhed over how clearly he spoke and what a great job he did... all while making a long list of why we believe the Catholic church is simply a cult. Then they had a little reception so my kids got to run around for a bit while we tried avoiding their teachers. Just kidding - although teachers may have hidden from me once or twice. One of the other mothers came up to me and asked about my tattoos, then asked if I'm into the occult. Really now, what does one have to do with the other?? Well, at least she didn't ask when I got out of prison.

Yesterday I attended the board meeting for SAB. Walked out with 127 more things on my to do list. We're working on a new ad campaign, and one of the samples showed a woman handing a baby to a fireman. How do we know he's a fireman? He's wearing a hat and he's dirty. Someone else suggested a clean fireman, prompting me to respond, "No, I like dirty firemen!" and now I'll never be allowed to forget it. I got home at 9:30 and my little darlings were still bouncing off the walls because Daddy was in charge.

Which leads me to this morning, which is Picture Day at school. My boys were absolutely comatose after having been up so late last night (They didn't actually SLEEP until 11pm) so when it was time to get up and throw on some dress clothes, it didn't go smoothly. Normally, Belly loves his "party clothes" so much that he wears them all the time. So much in fact, that we have to remind him he can't wear them to school. Now we mess the poor kid up by telling him that today he HAS to wear them. So, my dear husband gets him dressed up in his pinstripe pants, matching vest, blue checked tie and white button down shirt. Even put on his little dress shoes. I saw him for a split second and he looked great. Then we both walked away. When I returned, I swear no more than 60 seconds later, he was standing there in his underwear with his dress clothes in a pile next to him. ARRRGH! After much fighting -he's a formidable foe- the clothes went back on. I have a feeling that by the time they actually TAKE the pictures, he'll only be wearing his crew neck t shirt and clip on tie.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

What is that, velvet?

Sorry, faithful readers, I was a bit distracted and forgot about you. Here's the 611 on that ... (has anyone seen Scary Movie 3?)

Attempted Murder, twice.
In my menagerie at home, there is a little blue betta fish. Since no one else was going to change his tank, I did. Oops, you mean you only need 3 drops of that water purifier? Fishie grazed the bottom of the tank for 2 days, then was put into a new (safer) tank. Just when he started to do better, Belly took a large plastic hand and stirred the tank. The fish just hasn't been the same since.

Life's dream, crushed.
Long story. Was told I'd have to start the recruiting process all over for the police dept. @%#@R^!^!#^@!!*!!!

Sunburn at the Pumpkin Patch
Took the kids to Bengston's Pumpkin Farm where Daimean fed a fainting goat and Belly rode a pony - which he emphatically said was a HORSE. Went on a hayride, through a corn maze, a haunted barn and watched pig races. This is extremely interesting to city kids. Smelly, but interesting. Came home with an angry sunburn and NOW it's cold outside. Ah, weather in Chicago.



1) Picking out pumpkins when it's 90 degrees is just wrong
2) Belly feeding a deer, but I missed it when he was assaulted by a hungry goat.
3) Gallows, the only way to control kids. I'm going to have those installed in the back yard.












Gender reassignment, again.
If you've read my Superman AKA Toddler Fever post, you'd know that Belly is secure in his masculinity - even in lipstick. Well, he'll be 4 next week and he asked for a kitchen playset for his birthday. My dear husband doesn't know that I've actually bought it for him. This will surely make DH crazy. In Belly's defense, all the amazing chefs in the world are men. He could be the next Charlie Trotter. But if he's not, and this causes him identity issues, he'll surely tell his therapist it's all Mom's fault anyway.

And last but not least, Blazing Saddles.
Yes, when my heart was broken and I was feeling low, I sat down and watched Blazing Saddles. Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges! Then I watched Shaolin Soccer and a mini Jon Stewart marathon.

What's next, you ask? Well, I'm not so sure myself... but I've got quite a long to do list and will let you know my next whacked out adventures as soon as I'm recovered from them.
I asked, "Can you guys think about sitting still for a second?" and this is what I got.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Sparrow


This morning, a sparrow awoke in her nest under the eaves of the blue house. The same blue house she’d seen every day, but today she noticed something new. She stood on her tiny legs and stretched herself out. She spread her delicate wings and felt the wind across her feathers. She swooped down into the lower branches of the tree to better examine this new development of consciousness that was threatening to disrupt the sameness of her days.

She heard something. No, she heard someone. Someone with a high, nasal human voice. The sparrow landed lightly at the window ledge and listened for a moment. Why was she suddenly interested in these people that she’d seen each day for weeks? Still not understanding, but taking little time to wonder, the sparrow found herself looking into the life of another.

The sparrow watched quietly as the human woman, a mother, fed her young. She listened while the mother spoke softly to her child about the wonderful day ahead. She strained to hear the soft song this mother sang to her child as she led him to the front door, just below the sparrow’s ledge. As the mother bent to hold her child close before sending him out into the world, the sparrow moved closer to see the smile she gave her son.

Thinking very un-sparrow like thoughts, she suddenly realized how like herself this human was. How she cares for her young, sings to him, and sets him out on his own each day. The sparrow was so impressed with herself for having made this connection, she took to flight around the woman as she watched her son walk away. She sang while she swooped low near the woman, and felt a lightness rare even for one so typically easygoing. She wanted to show her new friend that she understood, and that she loved her for her simple motherhood role.

A few feet away grew some small purple flowers. Not the kind the woman planted, which drew bees and hummingbirds, but forgotten flowers, hiding in the shade of the fence. The sparrow flew down and snatched one in her beak and returned to the woman, eager to bestow this gift on her new friend. As she hopped back to the woman, she noticed a change in her. As soon as the boy was out of sight the woman’s face fell. Her shoulders, which had been held high and tall a moment ago, were now rounded and bent as if something was literally pulling them down. Gently, the sparrow dropped the tiny flower at the woman’s foot. With a heavy sigh the woman looked down and reached for the flower. She turned, now moving very slowly, and retreated back into the blue house.

Sensing something wrong, the sparrow returned to the window to watch over her fellow mother. Now, sparrows don’t normally make connections with humans, so this was quite new for her. She saw the woman sit down in front of a stack of papers. The woman seemed to look at each page for only a second before dropping it into a stack at her feet. She made notes as she did this, and seemed to grow more agitated as she worked. The woman opened her purse and withdrew a small wallet. She opened it and removed smaller green papers. She picked up the stack of papers and sorted them, placing each into an envelope with a little bit of green paper. When she had no more green paper to place with the envelopes, she picked up the many remaining papers and held them in her lap for a moment before standing abruptly and throwing them to the floor.

Something made a loud shrill noise in the house, taking the mother by surprise. She picked up a small black thing and started talking into it. She sounded so sad. She said words that the sparrow didn’t understand, words like Rent and Groceries and Bills. The sparrow flapped against the window and called out to her. She wanted to comfort this mother. As the mother grew more agitated, so did the sparrow. The woman yelled into the black box, and her voice no longer sounded lovely and melodic as it had only minutes before. It sounded desperate. As the woman’s voice grew louder, the sparrow was overcome by fear and sadness. She tucked her head into her wings to try to hide from the pain she felt coming from this woman. Why should a sparrow feel like this? Why did she stay there, when she hurt so much from just being a witness to this person’s anguish?

With her head tucked down, she did not notice the woman had stopped yelling. When the sparrow slowly raised her head, she saw the woman was on the floor, with her head tucked into her arms very much as the sparrow had been. Her body did not lie still. It trembled and heaved. The sparrow beat against the window. She screeched while she battered her own little body in her fury. Seeing this woman prostrate and despondent filled the sparrow with so much wretched torment that it weighed her down as effectively as stones. The harder the sparrow hurled herself at the window, the more she knew it was no longer in an attempt to comfort the woman with her presence, but to escape her own torment at feeling even a small part of this woman’s anguish. Again and again she flew into the window until at last, exhausted and broken, she fell to the ground.

Many hours later, the son returned and, as children are wont to do, he noticed the sparrow on the ground. Gently he picked her up and cried out when he saw the blood in her eyes. To the woman he ran holding the ruined body of the bird. In her son’s absence the woman had allowed herself to fall apart but had regained her composure with his expected return. She took the sparrow, and realizing she was dead, explained to her young son that sometimes life was simply too harsh for such a small thing. Something stirred in this woman who had not even noticed the sparrow. Never before today, though the sparrow had been living right in front of her. And not once while she’d sobbed in despair at the complications in her life while her pain ripped the little sparrow apart. In her ignorance she envied the sparrow’s freedom from such tragedy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sensitivity Training AKA Save the Jell-o!

I’m all about cultural diversity. Really. Maybe I’m naïve but I believe anyone should be allowed to come to America in search of a better life. My family did. But when they got here, they learned the language and respected the traditions that were here long before they arrived.

My friend’s daughter is a teacher at the school in this news story. Noble profession, shaping the minds of younguns. There’s a Muslim family that has been raising hell for a few years now and making everyone uncomfortable. Once it was because the mother wanted to teach children about Ramadan in school. HELLO!? This is a public school! Do they want me to come in and explain transubstantiation?! (Grew up Catholic y'all so I know what it means!) But she pushed until she got her way. Then she pushed again because she wanted to remove pork from the school lunches – and anything gelatin based! – because it offended her Muslim sensibilities. WTF!? My kids lunch menu has a little asterisk next to anything that may contain pork. They can’t manage to figure that out and bring their own lunches that day? Who says you HAVE to eat school lunch? And what’s more – last year when some parents asked for peanut based things to be stricken from said menu when everyone suddenly had peanut allergies, they were told that was too drastic.

This woman (yes, the one quoted in this article) has now pushed to have all traditional American holiday celebrations stopped. So they’ve now sent a letter home saying there will be no more decorations or parties at school during school hours. Get outta here! These aren’t religious holidays at school! Easter is about the Easter Bunny, not Jesus. Christmas at school is about Santa Claus and presents, not Jesus. Halloween is about costumes and candy. Someone tried to say it’s a pagan holiday and it’s about ghosts and goblins. Tell that to the next fairy princess you see trick or treating. Go on, call her a little heathen when you see her trot by with her shiny dress and evil shoes.

And furthermore if they don’t like these standard American practices, they can send their kids to a private Muslim school. That’s right, you must pay for the privilege of telling the school what they can and cannot do. Take it from me – I pay quite a bit of money every month to send my kids to private school. Why? Because I don’t like the public school system here, that’s why. I don’t agree with their system of social promotion, the way they handle discipline problems and I don’t like ghetto ass parents, either. Yeah yeah, I know not all of them are ghetto, but the ones we dealt with certainly were. Surprise! If you stand outside calling your children horrible names, that’s how they’re going to talk to other people. No kindergarten teacher should have to deal with that.

If I moved to a Muslim country, I'd be expected to wear a hijab and dress conservatively, right? And I would do so because that's their culture, and in moving to THEIR country I would be making the choice to immerse myself in it, and respect it. I would never assume that another country should conform to the expectations I brought with me. If I liked the culture in my own country so much, I'd have stayed there.

So I got off subject here. My whole point is that public schools are exactly that – public. They are run with American tax dollars. They usually celebrate American holidays – who’d have thunk it?! Either accept it and become a part of it, or pay to send your kids elsewhere. You do have that choice, afterall, it’s a free country, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"The Talk"

My husband took our older son out last week to see Resident Evil Extinction. The horror! The closed eyes! The hands over ears! Am I referring to my son’s reaction to the movie? No. His reaction to “The Talk” his dad tried to have that night to open up some dialogue about the famed birds and bees. (yeah and the movie, too, if we’re being honest here)

Yes, my son says it just like that… The Talk. And he makes those little finger quotes, too. Apparently Dad didn’t get too far, bless his heart, because our poor son was mortified that his father was trying to talk to him about VAGINAS. In fact, my son threatened to hide under a table if asked to verbally repeat this horrible word. This was just in the most basic sense of “You know that girls and boys have different parts, right?”

Okay – it was my idea that my husband initiate The Talk since our son is in fourth grade. Now, I don’t know where you went to school, but in my grammar school, kids knew allll about the dirty things that adults did, and speculated about them often. A lot of that info was wrong, but a lot of it was surprisingly right. So when my son asked to get his own deodorant instead of swiping Dad’s, and then asked to use my hair dryer….. I figured now was the time he was becoming aware of his own body and as such, probably those of the fast ass girls in his class, too. (Just kidding, they all seem very nice….. so far) And remember my post not long ago – he did tell me he has an 8th grade girlfriend!

Wow I just realized I totally overuse the ellipsis...or as Wikipedia says, “colloquially, dot-dot-dot.”

I’m not quite sure at what point my husband gave up trying to talk to my son about his body or other people’s bodies but I do know that later on that night he was not too happy to have Mom try to revisit the conversation. I made some jokes to open it up, then asked him what he’s heard his classmates say about “this stuff.” He plays dumb, “What stuff?” I explain as gently as I can, “Sweetheart, you know, when boys start to be preoccupied with their penises.” Still he feigns innocence, asking for an example. SO in my parental ineptitude, I offer “schlong”. My dear sweet child finally stopped laughing long enough to tell me that one of the kids in his class calls it The Limo. Then he spouts out “how about long schlong!” and at this point I gave up, too. I just told him that we’re here to answer any questions he has without lecturing or going into too much detail, and believe me, he’s thankful for that. No one wants to hear their parents say these things. So we’ll revisit this in 6th grade when health class starts talking about things like erections…. At which point I’m leaving this whole thing to my husband. After all, he figured it all out, right??

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad start today :(

My little one -who normally LOVES school- started stalling for time when we got him to school this morning. First he started acting silly, then asking for one more hug, one more kiss, then kept saying he'd forgotten something at home. After 15 extra hugs and kisses he still wouldn't cross that threshold and go into class. THEN he started to cry :( he hugged my neck and wouldn't let go, insisting he had to stay with me. One of the teachers came over to talk to him and all he would do is bury his head in my shoulder and cry. Finally I had to stand up and hand over my miserable child to a very nice teacher who told him she'd take him for a little walk to calm down before going inside the class. As she carried him away, he reached over her shoulder and stretched his little hands out to me and cried "Momma! Momma!"

I felt like the Worst Mom Ever.

My husband had to then comfort ME because I felt so awful that I just couldn't walk away. I know everyone has bad days, and bad mornings, but this just makes me feel terrible. I have to work, as much as I wanted to say, "Okay baby, let's just go home" I just couldn't. All my vacation days are scheduled for when the kids are off for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

Just needed to share with other moms (or dads) who might know how I feel. They're having a birthday party in class today so they'll have cupcakes and get all hopped up on sugar, and it's their gym day so I know he'll feel better soon. It's just the horrible guilt of having to walk away when he's so sad. To go to work, to make money, to keep him in private school where he's so sad today.... it's a vicious cycle!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Great Great Grandma Rose

Every family’s got a story, right? A few years ago I tried building a family tree. What I wanted was to be able to tell my boys the story of how they came to be. What I found was that mine is more like a family bush. Small, tangled and sometimes thorny.

My mother is German, Italian, Irish, Danish, French-Canadian … or is that French COMMA Canadian? Great grandmother Marie Chartrand was certainly French, but Canadian?? Ah, who knows. My father was born in Puerto Rico. Over the years I’ve learned some veeery interesting things about my family. Fun stuff like this….

My great grandfather’s family came here from Italy and had to change their last name from Gorriano because they’d been known as horse thieves. My great grandfather had been in the Kaiser’s army in Germany. My grandmother claims to have started women’s lib by wearing blue jeans in the 40’s. At my grandfather’s funeral, five women showed up wearing diamond rings. He’d proposed to each of them while still married to my grandmother. I have a half sister that I haven’t seen in 15 years. Seventy five years ago, my great grandfather got Lucille pregnant, and called of his wedding to another woman so he could marry her. My grandmother still has the papers that her grandfather signed when he came to America, giving up all allegiance to Austria.

One thing I’d never heard in all this was that my great great grandmother Rose was Jewish. Now, I know the love story of Rose and George, and maybe someday I’ll even take the time to write it. But my grandmother mentioned on the phone last night that here had been a huge family fight brought on by Rose’s Jewish parents because she wanted to marry George, a Catholic. She said that she didn’t know how ANYONE didn’t know, as Aunt Sophie would tell anyone who would listen that she was really Jewish. Hmm, I guess that might explain the Star of David that Aunt Janice wore, too. I figured it was just because she wanted to impress Uncle Sol.

While I’m not religious, I’m absolutely fascinated by religious rites, beliefs and art. I’m not going to say I suddenly feel connected to the struggles of Israel or anything, but I was definitely intrigued by this little tid bit. Maybe I should go see my grandmother and have a notebook ready, before all this family history is lost to time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No More Prednisone!!!

Just got back from the retinal specialist (fancy eye doc) and they're taking me off of that vile Rx!!!

Here's the story.... get some popcorn, it's kind of long. And kind of funny. If you think STDs are funny.

In November last year, I went to see my regular eye guy because my vision seemed to be changing. He said everything was fine. By December, I had vertigo all the time but my vision had improved so much I didn't even need glasses anymore - and I'd been wearing glasses/contacts for 10 years. The doctors still didn't know why. Then one day in January I woke up and there was a BLIND SPOT in my peripheral vision. My eye guy sent me to the ER. My darling husband took me, made me laugh and kept me calm. After a CT and some basic blood tests, they said I didn't have any tumors pressing on my optic nerve. Great, but why am I going blind?! My eye guys suggests these things can be caused by cocaine use, and asks me very seriously if I'd been snorting anything powdery. No! Of course not! Fix my eyes, dammit! I don't need drug counseling!

3 days later I woke up with a blind spot smack in the middle of my vision. Alarmed? Yes. To put it mildly. Went back to eye doc and literally grabbed him by the shirt and screamed some not-nice things at him about it being his job to find out what's happening to me. I was terrified. All I could think of was that the next day I'd be blind and I'd never see my children again. So off I went to a retinal specialist.

This retinal specialist was a colorful character. Made jokes, really listened to what I was saying, and explained everything in very technical terms, which I appreciate because I'm a walking dictionary. He ordered some more tests and came up with a working diagnosis. We went to lunch, and when we were back in crazy retina guy's waiting room, my original eye doc calls my cell phone. He tells me that he got my first blood tests back and that I tested positive for syphilis.
WHAT?!??!!
So crazy eye doc calls us in and I'm in tears trying to tell him what my regular eye doc said. He flips through my chart and starts pointing at numbers and lines that mean nothing to me. He says my regular eye guy is reading the tests wrong!!! So what does my very funny husband say? "Well see, if you weren't such a coked out whore this wouldn't be happening" It made ME laugh :)

After an MRI, some more blood tests, a spinal tap, and a total neurological work up, crazy eye doc's diagnosis was confirmed and he started me on a high dose of prednisone. He said it might make me feel euphoric. I asked, how so? He replied, "Like you were dropped into the middle of a Bears game during 1st and ten" .... uhhh, okay.

Soooo I start the vile Rx only to find I can't sleep, I eat everything in sight, and suddenly no one wants to hang around me because I'm not a very nice person when I'm taking it. Did I mention the eating? Steroids cause puffiness around the face all on their own, but add a few pounds from indiscriminate eating and well, that didn't add to my lovely personality either.

Now, thanks to that quick thinking and wacky doctor my vision improved, my eyes are healed and all is right with the world. Oh, and I don't have syphilis ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You're old, and, and...

"You're old and, and... You're fat!"
That was a little gem said by my pre-schooler to my mother. Bless her heart, she said she laughed it off. Possibly after locking herself in a closet and crying for 20 minutes.

Last night grandma decided to treat the kids to Pizza Hut. Possibly because when I walked in the house and my little one latched onto my leg screaming that he was starving, I told him to go have a bowl of cereal. Or some Diet Coke. Whatever. It's Monday, and Mom's had a long day.

Soooo, we head to a Pizza Hut close to home and get 1 block away before Grandma decided she wants to go to a different Pizza Hut. Do you have any idea what kind of reaction that garnered from my starving children???? Seeing Pizza Hut only to then DRIVE AWAY?! Off we go, and Grandma decides to take the express way (We live in Chicago, "express" is a relative term) and misses the entrance. Then overshoots the next one. Will she give in and just take the streets?? Nope. The sun is setting and we're searching for the next entrance to get to Pizza Hut like it's a desert mirage.

Eventually we make it to another Pizza Hut. Little one decides the salad bar (another relative term) is a good idea. He will eat nothing but pineapple and bacon bits and doesn't even care that they've turned into pineapple chunks covered in bacon bits. Ew. The wonderful, nice waitress hears my little one saying (screeching - same thing) Grandma! Grandma! over and over so she comes and tells my mom that she's going to apply the senior discount to the order. This does not delight Grandma because she's not technically a senior (yet) So she turns to my older son, points to me and says, "Don't let her put me in a nursing home" and my darling child's eyes light up and he replies
"Yeah! You should go to a nursing home! You could live in one with a pool and I could come and visit!"
When I cleaned myself up -Dr. Pepper in one's nose is messy - I asked him if perhaps he meant one of the "55 and better" co-ops or condos instead of nursing home? At this point, he's off the subject so he doesn't really care about the specifics, so long as Grandma's going to live SOMEWHERE with a pool.