Sunday, October 23, 2011

Even the Tripe Made Me Sing

The waiter wheels out the tea cart. The gold-plated teapot sat on the gold-plated heater.

“I will prepare your tea now,” he says. From the 4 potted plants on the tea cart, he clips branches and puts them in the tea pot. After steeping for 5 minutes, he pours a sample into my cup. “Has it finished?” he asks.

I sniffthe bouquet (mint, lemon, chamomile, something I can’t identify...) and sipp. Yes. It’s perfect. He pours my cup. Then, he brings out a box of nine different types of sugar for me to choose from. Normally, I’m a purist, but how does one say ‘no’ to 9 different types of sugar? I select the honey-gel that has been rolled in natural sugar.

Can heaven come in a cup? Oh, sister, yes it can.

And that was just the herbal infusion.

Who knew that spring waters from southern of Italy had different characteristics than waters from northern Italy, and that you could taste the difference? I found out, after looking over the 4 pages of Italian water on the menu. I didn’t even get to the rest of Europe. You may all call me "water snob" now.

You should have seen the carrot foam (which might have made me cry) or the 5 types of seafood on a salt brick. One course, The Sea, simply Was. A pure fish stock, added at the table, to a bite of conch, a bite of sea bass, a bite of squid. I put the conch in my mouth, bit, and it dissipated through the broth. No chewiness, no rubber, just fish and then sea. By that point in the meal, if Heinz Beck, the chef, had prepared it, I would have eaten rock dust.

There was a palate cleanser, of course. Followed by a silver box with 3 drawers per side, for a total of 12 drawers. Each drawer contained 2 bite-size sweets--marzipan so light it melted; cannoli thinner than your pinkie; jam-print cookies no larger than a quarter but with a lighter flake, more perfect butter than I’ve ever tasted. 12 different sweets. And then came the dessert.

Hal had the Gran Dessert. 7 courses, 3 cold and 4 hot, that mimicked a boat, an island, a bit of tiramisu...

And then the chocolates. 20 different one-bite chocolates, filled with hazelnut, or fruit, or dark chocolate cream.

4 hours after arriving, and 39 different tastes (“courses” makes it sound large, but they were all proportioned to get the taste without becoming overwhelmed) we finally rolled out. We spoke with the chef twice (I may have cried again) and left thinking our lives were complete. The staff was attentive (if you left your chair, they picked up your old napkin with a fork, and delivered, via a silver tray, a brand-new napkin) but not aggressive. The waiter, smiling at our "oooh's," explained the 20 different cheeses (my answer was “Pick your favorite 3 for me, thanks,”) and then, when I couldn’t decide, he selected my dessert (I don’t do alcohol, coffee or tea leaves and he delivered what I can only describe as perfect raspberries capped in a cloud topped with apple yogurt ice cream.) What I feared might be a stuffy experience turned into a life-altering, heaven-glimpsing night.

This was our first 3-star Michelin dinner. La Pergola, in the Waldorf-Astoria overlooking Rome. And, honey, let me tell you, food has never made me cry before, but after eating a poached quail egg on amaranth, I have become an acolyte to the only German-born Roman god I’ve ever met.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goodbye Sex

Just an update: our local paper ran an article about the libraries. One sentence reads: Computers will now block sexually explicit images. I love it when the good guys win (and by "guys" I mean letter-writting mamas, of course.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Best One So Far

I've been receiving a lot of opportunities to save Nigerian Princesses, Chinese Emperors and multi-millionaires stuck in foreign countries. These official documents find their way to my inbox and even the spam filter doesn't kick them out, so I know they're bona fide. This one came today, and I thought I'd share it because it is, by far, the best one. I have a friend who works for the FBI, so I forwarded it to him and asked him to please not take me to the law for money laundry. I have enough regular laundry.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Food, No Drinks, Yes Sex

Does this seem ironic to you: our local library allows adults to use the internet filter-free. If they want to look at porno, they’re asked (not forced, but asked) to use a privacy screen (picture cardboard wings attached to the side of the computer.) When questioned about it, I’m told that the computers in the children’s section do have filters, and that children are free from porno. In the children’s section. But not if they have to walk with their mommies to the “Learn Italian in 10 Easy Lessons” section. And not if they walk out of the children’s section on their own 2 feet because they are teens and would like to read something other than “Mr. Putter and Tabby Paint the Porch.” And, just because they’re children doesn’t mean they can’t use the adult computers.

Second, I’m told that it’s free speech.

Excuse me?

Last I checked, pictures were not speech. And nude bodies on the streets are not allowed anywhere except Oregon because that’s indecent exposure. So, why are nude bodies on a computer screen suddenly called “speech”? What makes the real thing a no-no but a picture, touched up and posed, okay?

Now, I’m not going to argue that Tom Thumb can’t do what he wants to do on his home computer. If the law allows it in private, and he and his spouse think it’s hunky-dory, fine. In private. But why should I, or my children, or the little boys who may grow up to date my daughters, come across someone’s sex drive on a library computer? It isn’t really a free country, Mr. Washington. It’s set up to protect the innocent, to promote the good of the majority, and to get Bad Hair Reps reelected. It is not set up to provide Has to Buy It with a public spot to enjoy a little looky-looky. And I resent that in a time when the libraries have to close early and stay closed an extra day and have canceled Story Time 3 months of the year because we’re facing a budget crisis, some of those dollars are going to provide What’s Happening in His Pants? with a peep-show.

On a good note, I think the teen boy was appropriately embarrassed. Not enough to leave the library, but enough to step away from the computer. Hope they sanitized that thing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Moment

I’m waiting to turn right at a red light. There’s a truck in front of me with two cowboy hat wearing 20-something men. I’m not in a rush. I don’t inch forward, hoping that somehow the light will sense my impatience and turn green. I’m not trying to edge the truck into the crosswalk so I can snake around him. I’m just sitting. A model of Zen.

The guys in front of me, they’re different than I am. They like music that makes me want to pour acid in my ears. They think a few scraggly hairs on a chin is called a “goatee”, I think it’s called “go shave until you grow up”. They drive a truck and wear cowboy hats. In suburban Big City USA.

But the driver glances at my “got all day” face, pulls his truck hard to the left and edges out a bit. I have a wide turn lane, now. And as I ease forward, I roll down my window, wave and call, “Thank you!”

They wave and call, “Welcome!” back.

I like them.

It’s funny how quickly I can remember that I do, in fact, think human beings have mostly evolved and are mostly worth the sheer energy that required, back when we crawled from whatever DNA swamp that was.

Except Glenn Beck.

I’m so sorry, Norway. I feel heartsick and I wish I could be there to commune with you. I wish I could help.

And I’m sorry that people like Glenn Beck get their ugly faces plastered all over the news, spewing their hatred.

I’m also sorry that he claims a part of the same church I believe in.

In the history of my church we tell a story. In the 1800’s, members of this church were driven from their homes, had their belongings burned, stolen, etc. They were forced to move. During the winter exodus, many people died, most of them were the ones we feel most protective of: the children, the grandparents, the women giving birth. One family carried with them a daughter they knew to be dying. She hadn’t eaten in days. Well, none of them had, but when you’ve got a sick child who won’t eat, well, you know the panic. They passed a farm that still had a few potatoes in the ground. The girl saw the potatoes and begged her parents for one. The father, cap in hand, approached the door to the farmhouse.

Now, here’s a moment for you. It could be beautiful. “Yes,” says the farmer. “Bring your daughter inside. Sit her by the fire. I’ll get the potatoes.”

There are stories like that.

But this is not one of them.

The farmer ran the father off his property.

And I wonder. How did the father not let hate consume him? How did the father return to the wagon, to his wife with her mother’s heart dying, and his daughter who only wanted one small potato, and how did he not fill his life with fury?

I wonder if Norway will be filled with hate, now. Or if they will close their ears to the sound of the Glenn Becks, the stupid, ignorant voices of men who have more screen time than brains. I hope so. Because there are those of us out here who would give whatever we could, if we knew how.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Someday My Prince Will Come

“You’re so pretty,” I tell the 8 year old after she finally bathes and brushes her hair. It’s the first time this week that soap has seen her body and I’m trying to encourage that behavior.

“Good. Then I’ll get a good husband.”

“What? If you’re good, and kind, and smart...”

“Sure. And if I’m pretty.”

Who is raising these children and why isn’t she instilling any values in them? ‘If I’m pretty I’ll get a good husband.’ I swear, Trophy Wife-to-Be has not received any training from me.

The surprising part of all this is who the comment came from. I would expect it from Youngest Daughter who truly believes that looks are the most important part of any project, personal or otherwise. She and her friends are well on their way to being cheerleaders who know more about clothes than they do math. But the 8 year old? She’s the one who, just this week, asked a camp instructor of they offered a week-long kayaking intensive camp. She dresses according to comfort, not fashion, and has her hair in a ponytail because she doesn’t want it touching her skin. She has no use for boys, as far as I can tell, and hasn’t since she was 5. She climbs mountains like she has suction cups on her feet and she plays basketball like she inherited a different gene structure. So why this belief that looks will get her a good husband?

And define ‘good’. Does she mean a gentle, funny man who loves her and encourages her to pursue goals? Or does she mean Prince Charming, who might be rich but has no lines? Or does she mean some sort of 8 year old-defined boy, who chases her on the playground but leaves her alone during reading time?

And why is this a topic she’s thinking about at 8? I certainly don’t talk about her future marriage. I talk about college, about world travel, about her next outdoor adventure. I do not talk about boys.

I would love to delve into her mind a bit more, but she hasn’t had time for me lately. Between mountain biking and hiking and kayaking and canoeing and climbing, she’s been reading the 4th Harry Potter book and doesn’t want to be bothered. Not with me, and not with things like baths and teeth brushing. How that fits into her world scheme of beauty=good husband I have no idea.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Hello, my dearest friends. I’ve missed you. I have not missed the computer, TV or incessant phone ringing, but I have missed the connection, no matter how electronic, I have to my friends in the blog o’sphere.

For instance, my sister is getting married. Her colors are white, black and pink. I’m in charge of helping her find a wedding site and thinking of decorations. When I linked back in to the world of blogging friends, what did I find? My decorating guru had worked her magic on a wedding and posted pictures.

Check off one item on the list of things I should be doing but am avoiding. See, friends? Avoidance works.

Another way it works: on the car trip home from our mega-visit to family on the other side of the Rockies, our check engine light turned on. Outside of Rock Springs, Wyoming. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of touring, by car, that great state of Wyoming, but let me tell you, it is not the place to stop just for fun. In fact, we try not to stop at all. So how did we handle the check engine light? By ignoring it, of course. Now, I don’t recommend this practice in general. But we knew the oil was full and the coolant recently topped-off, so what else could possibly be wrong? And what was the result? The light turned off all by itself. Like magic. When the demon that is our car realized it could not force us to spend extra time in the land of manure and sage brush, it gave up that battle in defeat. I’m sure it’s plotting a new strategy. The constant beeping because it thinks the emergency brake is on can be overcome by turning the radio up louder. The door-light that mysteriously turns on can be ignored, mostly. The fuel gauge that never gets to full can be monitored by time (I know it takes about a week to use a whole tank of gas driving the way I normally drive.) I’m waiting for the car to figure out how to randomly eject the driver, or how to fill the car with noxious fumes.

We need a new car. This most recent car trip settled it. We had all 4 kids, suitcases, loveys, food, drinks, portable DVD players, booster seats, car seats, DS games, etc, piled into the car. There was room to breathe, but only by taking turns. We need a car that can hold our gear, our kids, their friends. We need a car that has a window that divides me, the driver, from them, the screaming noisemakers. We need a car that is it’s own drive-thru so we don’t have to stop in Wyoming for food.

Unfortunately, the cars that fit the above list also destroy the entire world. Yukons, Suburbans, Expeditions--these are what we have on the list. I can’t commit. Buying the minivan was bad enough, but going Texas big on a car? I’ll have to buy a cat-o’nine-tails and do penance for the rest of my life.

I haven’t yet seen a friend blog about her car guilt. Am I the only one who has this dual need: the need to fit comfortably in a car and the need to breathe oxygen? I can’t believe I’m so far removed from everyone else. It must be a conspiracy of silence. So, please, break the silence and help me figure out what to do. Before it’s too late. I hear my minivan honking in derision as we speak.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How to Be a Weiner

Here’s how it to rise through the levels of the World of Political Stupidity game. I’ll outline it for you so that if you ever become a politician, you’ll know what to do.

  1. Commit an indiscretion. This is important. You must actually be guilty. (Don’t worry. When you walk through the doors of Congress, you’ll have to check your morals, so this won’t be as hard as you think it is.) Now, this indiscretion will be one of two types: monetary or who-who.
  2. Get found out. Someone will tell the media. Someone always tells the media.
  3. Categorically deny everything, including even knowing the people involved. I don’t care if it’s your momma who turns you in, you’ve got to play innocent.
  4. After clear and indisputable evidence comes to light, admit to some guilt, but maintain your overall innocence. This is a good time to yell ‘conspiracy.’ If your indiscretion is of a monetary nature, you’ll stay on level 4 for a long time, and then you’ll eventually be made Secretary of State. This is a good thing. You just won the game.
  5. If your indiscretion involved a who-who, either yours or someone else’s, you’ll need to move to this stage. Admit all guilt. Hold a press conference, preferably with your dying loved one standing by your side, and apologize. Make sure you include a)your constituency b)your spouse, whom you’ve hurt and greatly disappointed c)your children d)your mommma e)the general population of the US, who has had to see your ugly face on every newscast for the past week. Refuse to resign.
  6. Resign.

Now, the only change to this plan is if you are President or a Supreme Justice. They don’t resign. They have to stay on level 5 for a very long time, and every 10 years CNN will run a “where are we now?” update on all the players involved, but you get to keep your job, your interns and your aides. You just won the game.

Here’s the question I have: what moron, who uses the media to win a government job, sends photos through that same media? What was that thought process like? “Oh, I know, I’ll just snap a picture of my nasty and send it via this very private forum to a woman, or young girl, who is not my wife. I think that will end well.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sleeping Together

I’m so tired. I spent from 4:00 AM on being smacked awake by Hal’s 50 lb. arm. His theory is that he fell asleep too close to the middle of the bed, instead of hanging onto the edge like he’s supposed to do, and so I felt the windmill that he is at night. My theory is that since he can no longer keep me awake with his moans, hums and snores (thank you, earplugs) he had to find a different way to torment me. I give it 2 more nights and then I’m moving to the guest room. It’s a more comfortable bed, anyway. Of course, then he’ll take up sleepwalking or some other get-Mama-out-of-bed ritual.

Sleep is not what it used to be. When I was in my 20’s, many long years ago, I could fall asleep at 3:00 AM, sleep until noon, eat breakfast, take a nap until 3:00 PM, and repeat. If a noise woke me up at night, which I don’t recall ever happening, I could immediately fall asleep again.

But now. Ah, now. I lay awake for hours. I doze and wake again. If I open my eyes after 3:30 AM, I might as well just get out of bed because I’m not going to be able to sleep again until I get behind the wheel. Or until we go to a park. Somehow, those 2 places seem the best spots in the world to nap, which I never do, that whole survival thing, you know.

I’ve tried lots of different things. I work out like a dog, so it’s not that I just don’t need the sleep. I’ve tried a calm-down routine, usually involving muttering incoherently to myself. I’ve tried Tylenol PM and Unisom and Advil PM. I won’t try Ambien because of some of the very scary side effects. My current cocktail of choice? Nyquil, cherry flavor. I don’t drink alcohol, but a little medicine mixed with that lovely burn, well, that’s been helping.

Until Hal decides to practice his javelin throw in the middle of the night.

If you find him standing on your doorstep with a suitcase, please let him in. He’s a very nice houseguest. But he’ll need his own bed. Sleeping with the man can be a life-threatening situation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Made for Walking

The Oldest Girl now has high heels. And I mean, very high heels. At the beginning of this school year, I tried to convince her to get a pair of low mules. She’s never worn anything except flats and tennis shoes and she resisted. But something happened this year. I think it may have been called “Continuation”. All the girls except 2 wore heels. Those two girls were my daughter and her very un-cool best friend. So, the day after Continuation, when I suggested we go shoe shopping, she was overjoyed.

I was thinking she’d try some mules. After all, heels can be tricky, not to mention the whole fear-of-heights thing she inherited from her father.

To my surprise, not only did she choose 2 pairs of low tacones, but she also chose a pair of 3 inch sandals. At first, I thought about nixing the sandals. After all, she’s only 12. But then I thought about the shoes the other girls wore, and about what it means to go into Junior High, and I decided to honor her knowledge about her peer group. It’s a fine line, this wanting a child to fit in but to also be more than just a peg in the social machinations. After all, I kept her out of cheerleading in Texas. What more can a mother do?

She’s been practicing, and so far, there are no broken bones. It reminds me of when she learned to walk. Those teetering, Frankenstein steps, grasping out for a handhold on furniture and walls. By the end of yesterday, though, she could do stairs with confidence, if not exactly grace. But these are the mules she’s trying. We’ll see what happens when she tries to play Dragon Warriors in her new sandals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Tribe Ya'll

I have the great privilege of putting together the 6th grade Continuation slideshow, filled with pictures and songs permanently recording this momentous year. I say privilege, but I really mean “guilt-driven responsibility because I was raised by an Irish/Catholic/Jewish/Mormon mother/grandmother (have I insulted everyone?) and I also have a need to control all media experiences.” The email sent by the teacher went roughly, “Last year, an overachieving parent put together a slideshow for the graduation which we symbolically call ‘continuation’. Since that parent set the standard, your children will all feel unloved and will suffer for the rest of their lives if one of you doesn’t step forward to volunteer to put the slideshow together. You will get nominal help from us and absolutely no support from any other parent because they all know that a) no one will watch the DVD and b) you’re going to screw up somehow and will anger everyone.”

So, with a sell job like that, I shot back an email saying that I’d love to do it and it would be a breeze. Of course, I hadn’t actually made a slideshow on this particular computer before, so the term “breeze” may have been an overstatement. Also, since getting the job (only one other parent volunteered and she was going into surgery 2 weeks before Continuation, lucky dog) I’ve done nothing but complain, so I haven’t really loved doing it. What can I say? I’m a total liar.

But I’m also smart. Or, rather, I remember being a pre-teen. The kids nominated songs. I read all of the lyrics on one of the reliable lyrics websites and tossed out all but 9. Then I tossed out 2 more because they were too old. One was Motley Crue, one was Modern English (while I love M.E., no 12 year old except those who are overly-controlled voluntarily listen to M.E., and I happen to know that the parents of the child who nominated that song do, in fact, control every facet of her life. Even more than I control my children.) Then, I threw out Stronger by Kanye because you just can’t get a clean version. And I threw out Moment 4 Life by Nicki Minaj ft. Drake because it’s stupid and because Drake just can’t help himself, he’s rated R.

Now, this next step is important, and you should take notes in case you are ever asked to put together music for 12 year olds.

After verifying that the lyrics were clean, I YouTubed the videos.

Because I know that what I read as an adult and what the kids see as 12 year olds is completely different.

One of the songs nominated was called Howlin’ for You. Pretty bland lyrics, all about a dog who likes a girl. Catchy tune, made it to my list of possibilities.

But the video? OHMYGOSH, I need to scrub by eyeballs with bleach.

I feel so dirty, so used.

And I promptly balled up that song request and tossed it in the garbage. I did not even recycle the contaminated paper it was written on.

So, in conclusion, out of 9 songs, I narrowed it down to 4 we could use, which was the exact number I needed to be the backdrop for the stunning visuals that are the focal point for this scintillating full-length (16 minutes) feature. The songs are (in case you need to do the same thing this year and I can save you the trouble): Firework, Katy Perry; Unstoppable, Rascal Flats; One Tribe, Black Eyed Peas; Forget You, Cee Lo Green.

Now, I know Forget You has been changed from the original. I debated that. But, in the end, I needed 4 songs and the clean version squeaks. Oh, and if you’re doing this for school, I recommend not putting One Tribe on while you show pictures of the administration. One of the lines says, “Forget about all that evil, the evil that they feed ya.” While it may not mean much to the kids, it may make the adults burst into gales of laughter, and laughter is not allowed at Continuation.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Linwood Delong

Linwood Delong had just sent me an email promising “no carnal breakdowns 120%.” I’m not sure what the percentage refers to, and I don’t think I can bring myself to begin a conversation with a man called “Linwood Delong”. He also tells me that “Best cures for male libido are sold here on the web!” Is that a cure for women who have male libidos, for men with a libido, or for one or the other who would like to have a male libido but don’t? He also implores me to “Try on lowered prices now!” I think I look better in full-prices, but I’m open to trying on lowered ones, too.

Do people respond to those emails? Is it a good business move? I’m trying to picture, or not picture, I should say, the many sitting at his computer who says to himself, “Yes, that’s exactly what I need.” I imagine he doesn’t do much more than sit at his computer, which makes me sad and more than just a little grossed out. He probably also wins at solitaire and has several games of World of Warcraft going. Poor balding, smelly, hairy, toe-picking, Journey concert-shirt-wearing man.

Hal has gone on a Facebook hiatus. Maybe he was tired of communicating with me via that private forum. He had something he really, really wanted to post, though, so he made me do it for him. It involves a video camera, a troop of Boy Scouts and the title “Campgrounds of Doom.” It is exactly as bad as you think it is. A friend of ours wrote, produced, directed and filmed it. A genius he may be, but if he ever replaces Lucas, I’m going to hold this early movie over his head until he pays me loads of money and promises to name his first born child after me.

For my part, I am not on any sort of hiatus, unless it’s a cleaning hiatus. May has become the new December around here, not only because it’s still snowing, but because the school has thrown in every sort of program, recital, performance and party they can think of. Each child has an end-of-school project, an end-of-school performance and an end-of-school graduation ceremony. I’ve got an end-of-school need to sleep which is not being helped in spite of loads of Tylenol PM. I might need the heavy stuff. I might need a new bottle of Nyquil.

Or maybe I should reply to Linwood’s email. He might have a magic snake medicine that will help me sleep. I’ll let you know if he does.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Raisin in the Sun

I walked into the gym prepared to battle the treadmill for 11 miles. I have Baby Boy on one hip, my Ipod fully charged and a bottle of zero calorie Vitamin Water, which is nasty and bitter unless you’re dying of thirst. I’m wearing shorts because I hate clothes touching my sweaty body but I haven’t yet found a private nudist gym. Very private, as in only one member--me. I check Baby Boy into the nursery and tell him to be good for the next 2 hours. I’m not a fast runner. I walk to the treadmills which are on the opposite side of the gym. I’m ready. I am a warrior. I am a running maniac. I am...

Wearing a squished raisin on my knee.

I’m not very astute when it comes to fashion, but even I know that wearing big chunks of food should be avoided. Unless you’re Lady Gaga, and then you can only wear meat, it seems. The vegetarian version of that outfit is not nearly as comment-provoking.

But it did get me some good stares, which is why I noticed it.

I would not make a good politician. First of all, because I say stupid things all the time, and stupid things always seem to make the news. Second, because I walk out of the house without checking myself in the mirror. I’m rather surprised that I haven’t had raisins coating my body more often. Third, I have morals. Not high ones, and not anything Mother Teresa would recognize as being moral, but more than politicians have.

So, here’s Mitt Romney. I don’t like him. I don’t trust people with hair that perfect. Aside from his hair, I don’t like his remade political views. But I’ve got to hand it to him. Massachusetts is dying over the ballooning costs of the health care system he put in place, and instead of back-pedaling, he’s chutzpah-ing through it. Man is either stupid or has cajones. I’m still not sending him money, though.

I think Palin and Romney should be on a ticket together. It could be called the Hair Team.

I hate politics. But worse than politics is the lack of a functioning political system. Think of the Congo, where it’s estimated that 1,152 women are raped. A day. That’s 48 women per hour. It takes political control through fear to a whole new level.

Here’s a quote from an 18 year old soldier. “We rape women in order to beat the enemy.” One-third of the rapes involve children, and 13 percent are against children under 10.

This is what I would like to see politicians figuring out. The most powerful nation in the world, at least until our rating is downgraded because we can’t pay our loans, and we’re worried about raisins on our knees instead of the state of our sisters. We’re more worried about seeing Obama’s birth certificate than we are about the suffering of the whole nation of Congo.

Excuse me now. I’ve got to step off my high horse.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Words Words Words

There. It means a place, a location, as in “over there, under there, in there.” It’s easy to remember: it’s the same as “here” only it takes longer to get there.

Their. It means that the something in question belongs to them. Their download, their heir, their stupid spelling mistake.

When you post a message on YouTube, if you are silly enough to do so, please use the correct their/there. I realize that most people comment on videos are 1) drunk 2) 12 or 3) in a locked correctional facility. But you’d think that they could at least get it right. It’s not like they couldn’t double check--they’ve got time.

We frustrated English majors have nothing better to do than obsess over such things, but I swanney, nothing makes me write off what someone writes faster than a misuse of their/there.

But lest you chalk this up to the rantings of a housewife who shouldn’t even be viewing Black Eyed Peas videos, this is important, people. One misunderstanding, one wrong use, and we could have a new world war. Troy fell because of a misspoken word. OJ was acquitted because the Prosecution misused a word. Oedipus became his own stepfather and killed his dad, all over a word.

Okay, none of that’s true, but you weren’t sure, were you? It could have been true.

These are the things that keep me awake at night, that offer me joy and self-aggrandizement.

On my gravestone, I want you to carve “She knew the difference between their and there.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Selling It

When not wiping noses or cursing nap-time-door-bell-ringers, I’ve begun using my free time to wisely peruse Etsy. The addiction began innocently enough. I’m doing an on-line art class with my girls, and the artist in charge has an Etsy shop. Cute stuff, you can find it here. But, like car wrecks and Johnny Depp movies, one look led to another, which led to another...

Some sites I enjoy, like this one that appears to just be a Canadian girl with her markers. Fun. But some? Like this one. What Warhol-would-be needs a planter shaped like a dinosaur? Oh, sure, put the prickly cactus in the dinosaurs back and watch all the kids run screaming for Mommy. “I was just attacking the Diplodocus with the Ichthyosaur when the needles poked me.” Is it a toy? Is it a plant? I need a clear separation between my vegetation and the things that get thrown to the basement when guests are expected.

I also had no idea that so much could be done with felt. You may be getting some of these for Christmas.

And, like Ebay, watch out for the “vintage”. That’s just internet speak for “I found it in my garage and thought I’d sucker someone out of $50.” Olive green boots from the 1970’s? Do I need to say more than “1970?”

You can also buy enough vinyl to cover your entire house with pithy--or not so pithy--sayings. That’s actually a great idea because then you don’t have to have books in your house. You can tell your kids to just go read the walls. If your husband is like mine, though, you may find the words rearranged to have a completely different meaning. I have some wooden blocks that spell “FAMILY”. He rearranged them to say “I Am Fly.” Which is even funnier, given the cottage look of the blocks, the completely suburban house in which they reside, and the uber-white person they were supposed to describe.

I might open an Etsy shop. It’s spring cleaning time, and I’m just itching to get my hands on the middens my children call “bedrooms.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


If you bring your child to my house and expect me to be the sole care provider for any amount of time, this is your warning.

  1. If it’s nice outside, your child will get dirty. If your child doesn’t like dirt, your child will not like being at my house. My children love mud, and frequently paint themselves and each other, including guests, with mud. I call it “creativity”. It washes off, so don’t panic. If i† isn’t nice outside, you child will almost certainly end up with paint or nailpolish or makeup all over. Even if he’s a boy. My son prefers his lipstick on his forehead, but yours might like to put eyeshadow there. It’s body art. Be happy I didn’t pull out the Sharpies.
  2. If your child is a picky eater, bring food. I don’t stock chocolate milk, Oreos or PowerBars (yes, I had a child who only wanted chocolate milk--from the container, not mixed--and PowerBars. Don’t know what idiot feeds a child PowerBars, but it isn’t this idiot.) In fact, it might be a good idea to bring food even if your child isn’t a picky eater. My children can eat your child’s Goldfish, and your child can eat my bananas.
  3. If you have a barely-2 year old who you think is now potty trained, pack pullups anyway. I promise you that very few 2 year olds are ready to be in a strange house in panties. Padding is required. And if you don’t pack pullups, you might find your child in a diaper when you pick her up. Because even when I remind her every 15 minutes to go potty, and even if she’s piddled 3 times, she will still poop in her pants and be horribly embarrassed and start crying and I won’t have any little girl panties her size so she’ll have to use a pair of left-over pullups that you’re lucky I could find so next time, just put her in the stupid pullups to begin with!
  4. I don’t like kids jumping on my couch. If you’re watching your child jump on my couch, tell her to stop. If she doesn’t stop, be the parent and put your foot down. If you don’t, and if you leave your child with me, I will pull out those Sharpies and tell her to pretend she’s going on a Navy Seal Op. and there can’t be any white left on her face or she’ll be captured by the enemy.
  5. I really like having children play at my house. I like the smell of Play-do, I don’t mind Moon Sand too much, I make cookies and ants on a log and sandwiches that look like butterflies or hearts. I enjoy loud voices outside, and don’t mind semi-loud ones inside. I like it when all the toys are pulled out and there’s an elaborate game going on. I will be kind to your child, I will try to comfort if comfort is needed, and I will watch any number of plays, talent shows, performances, or baking demonstrations. I will eat cupcakes and icecream made out of dough, bark, sand, or mud, and a few worms thrown on top doesn’t phase me. But I don’t like having the TV on if there are kids to play with. Unless it’s a sleepover and your child has been here more than 3 hours, warn her that I will not let her turn the TV on. And under no circumstances will she be watching The Bachelor, thank you very much. Kid TV is limited to DVDs I supply and 3 stations, none of which play Desperate Housewives or Ghost Whisperer. At your house, you may have different rules, but I don’t care if it’s the last episode ever, it’s not on at my house.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Runaway Imagination

I’m laughing at myself. All day long, I’ve been imagining William and Kate. Thinking about how sweet, to live in a farmhouse, how fun to wake up in the country to the sound of nothing but nature, how wonderful to be newly married. Okay, I know they’ve been living together for a long time (must be hard to live in the same house and not have sex.) But it makes me remember the fun part of being together in the beginning. Without children. I love my children, but it isn’t the same. First of all, I wear a mouthguard, thick man socks and flannel pajamas to bed now. I don’t imagine Kate wears a mouthguard and flannel pjs, and I certainly can’t picture her wearing man socks to bed. At the very least, her flannel pjs don’t look like mine. I have one pair that has a safety pin holding the shirt together. Well, it would, if I hadn’t taken the safety pin out to use it somewhere else and now it’s lost. So, the shirt has nothing but a couple of threadbare buttons to keep it closed. And it’s 2 sizes too large for me. Talk about sexy. I won’t post a picture because I don’t want your husbands getting all interested in my hot flannel night garb. But I can tell you where to get your own, if you want to tone down the spice in your marriage. Land’s End, my friend, Land’s End. Tell Minnesota Grandma ‘hi’ for me when you call.

Not only have I been thinking about how fun it must be for Balding William and Amazing Kate right now, but I thought about what it would have been like for them to partake in our Sunday Night dinner.

First of all, every single child in my house had the Loud Giggles. The three girls were out-pacing each other in the “no, listen to this!” dinner conversation. The baby refused to sit in his chair, and instead sat on the table. He burped, and when the girls laughed, he practiced burping again. Burp, laugh, burp, laugh... It’s upscale behavior like this that made me start giggling as I pictured the looks-like-a-queen Kate and reserved William sitting with us.

Then, our meal wasn’t exactly British fare. In fact, we had an homage to our ancestors. Bacon, johnnycakes served with maple syrup and strawberry/rhubarb sauce, root beer and strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert. Yummy, but I’m picturing the royal couple sitting at our table, trying to be polite as they nibble fried cornmeal and listen to the entertainment.

But I’m such a little girl inside, still. I love stories of princesses and weddings and first-blush romance. I can’t wait for the Duke and Duchess to have babies, first of all, because I like to encourage boob sag wherever possible. Second of all, because I’m happy for them, and I want all the joy I can think of to be theirs. Nothing makes a better meal than 4 kids who make a game out of squishing the food between their teeth so their siblings can say, “That’s disgusting! Watch this.”

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mad Hatter

Poor, poor Eugenie and Beatrice. The ugly cousins to balding-yet-handsome Prince William and scruffy-yet-charming (except for the whole nazi thing) Harry. It must be hard to be chunky, or over-eyelinered, or to have a bow poop on your head, when you’re in the company of a couple who was, I must say, dazzling.

When I get married to a prince, I want to be coiffed and tailored and perfectly put together, too.

But I’m much more likely to be the ugly cousin, adjusting the waistband of my dress because it’s too tight. And ducking the wrong way out of the car because I forgot that my hat is 3 feet high. I’m glad birds didn’t nest in it. It had plenty of branches. Of course, royal birds wouldn’t make that mistake. Only American ones would think she’d worn the hat out of some Earth-day homage.

I’ve got to say, Eugenie’s dress/coat thingy was cute. It would look very good on me. Beatrice’s dress would look good on a 50-year-old time-traveling from the ’80’s. 3 bows on the top? Why? To accentuate the tapestry she’d stolen from Buckingham?

Here’s the only thing that bugged me about the royal couple. While they were sitting in their chairs enjoying the music and speeches, or thinking about FINALLY having sex after having dated for so long, I wanted him to take her hand. Oh, I know, they’re Brits and they’re only allowed to touch at proscribed times. But, I really, really wanted them to hold hands during the entertainment.

When my son becomes a prince and gets married, I’ll tell him to hold her hand.

And when he does, I hope I look as good as Carol Middleton. Classy, classy woman. The fact that she didn’t wet herself while standing next to Queen Elizabeth and Hot-Pants Camilla, well, that shows how much chutzpah she’s got.

My favorite moment of the day: youngest daughter sees Prince William from behind. “He’s bald already?!? That’s gross!” The one thing she grabs onto, out of all the hats, dresses, pomp and horses, is the bald spot on the groom’s head.

It’s just proof I’m raising my kids with an idea of what’s truly most important in life. Looks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reporting on Thorns

This year, the Easter Bunny was threatened. “Give me chocolate, and I’ll eat you for dinner, you freakishly large rabbit.” He did not give me chocolate. Instead, he gave me a blackberry bush and 2 rose bushes. It’s been a thorny year.

The Easter Bunny is a wimp at heart. Well, he’s a rabbit, so I suppose it’s hereditary. He hides eggs, for Pete’s sake. Eggs? My children died 20 eggs this year, and have eaten exactly none of them. Okay, they’ve eaten 2 of them, deviled, and were pleased, I’m sure, to discover they each had another one for lunch. Wanna know how many we still have in the fridge? A friend takes her kids to a big hill and they all chuck their eggs down the hill. Sounds a bit Canadian Hillbilly to me, not to mention vaguely vandal-like, but at lest they don’t sit in her fridge and mock her. “Hey, so much for your environmentalism. Do you know how much waste is produced so you can buy your $1/dozen Grade A Large Eggs? And here we sit, rotting, just like that swiss chard you swore you’d do something with.”

My fridge is full. It must be time to get rid of the moldy things. Not only the swiss chard, but the mysterious items in Glad plastic bins. Hal has been making a good dent in the extra chocolate buttercream frosting I told him I would totally use if he made, and which I haven’t even looked at since, but it’s frosting. It’ll keep for months. I really need him to start taking spoons of the sauteed carrots and leftover roasted potatoes. How come he never sneaks bites of those? And why do I never catch him sticking his fingers in the almost-wilted spinach? I need KH to make me some spanikopita. Or I need to get over my hatred of working with puff pastry and do it myself.

We have rhubarb going blazes in the front yard. It’s pretty. It’s also only good with about 7,000 tons of sugar and a few strawberries doesn’t hurt, either.

I wonder if rhubarb and wilted spinach would taste good with buttercream frosting?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taming the Wilderness

I have a new Summer project. I want a patio in my backyard. To be specific, I want an all-natural flagstone patio. When my children move out of the house and I no longer have nightmares about them drowning, I’ll put in a stone water feature and rock-wall that curves appealingly around the patio. But for this year, I want the patio.

Hal has gone on strike, and this is my problem. In theory, I could build the patio myself. In practice, I don’t think I can single-handedly lift 4 tons of flagstone, which is what the expert rock people said I would need to cover the area I want. In theory, I’ve seen plenty of HGTV shows with the couple digging out, leveling, laying gravel, weed block, sand and finally, the flagstone. It takes them a weekend. There are contests with prizes such as a new grill. There are friends who drop by to lend muscle, to eat pizza, to nod their heads sagely as they contemplate the many hours of peaceful dialogue they will have with the homeowners around the new patio.

Did I mention that Hal is completely, 100%, absolutely, refusing to move flagstone for me? I considered hiring the neighborhood teens to do it. I may still do that. But, suddenly, with no help from Hal (usually, his “help” turns into him doing it all, which may have something to do with his lack of enthusiasm now), I find myself thinking that I can’t do it at all. Who am I to think that I can shovel 400 square feet of dirt just to level the area for the patio? What, am I Cro-Magnon woman, come to defend the clan against the enemy? No. I am Flabby Middle-Aged Housewife who looks at decorator magazines a little too often. I am a woman with 4 children, a huge garden, and more projects than brains.

I tried convincing my dad to come spend a week “helping.” I think Hal warned him. As I recall, the conversation went something like this:

“Hey, Dad, since you’re finished with your backyard, maybe you’d like to...”

(Interrupted by convulsive laughter. Long, long interruption.)

“Like I was saying, maybe you could come work on my...”
(More laughter. You get the picture.)

If I ever get it finished, or even started, I’ll take pictures. In the meantime, if you know anyone who needs a good workout, I’ve got an open air gym with no start-up fee and low monthly dues. They just need to know how to move rock.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Letting the Universe Know

Dear People Who Annoyed Me This Week,

First, I’m sorry that you’re a man wearing a Statue of Liberty costume. That really sucks for you. It also says a lot about your study habits in High School. But, please, don’t wave your “3 Days Left to File” sign in my direction. If I’m forced to stop my car for a red light and you are on the corner next to me, do not sing your Metallica song in my direction. Do not give me a thumbs-up and ask me to honk. I will not honk. If you were to stand in front of my car, I still would not honk. I might gun the engine and drive quickly over your poor, needs-a-different-job body, but I would not honk. I don’t like being accosted by men. And on a day when you’re reminding me about taxes, I would rather hit you with this dirty diaper that’s been sitting in my car for 4 days because I keep forgetting to put it in the garbage can than give you a thumbs-up in return.

Second, dear lady at the gym, there are two rows of showers. Each of these rows has a series of 4 shower heads, sectioned off by clear plexi-glass. If there is only one person (me) showering, DO NOT TAKE THE SHOWER NEXT TO ME! There are rules, and one of those rules states that you should choose a shower in the opposite row. I don’t want to see your ugly naked butt. I do not want you to see my ugly naked butt. This is not a bonding moment: it is a moment that makes me want to kick your legs out from under you. Men understand the “don’t stand next to me when I pee” rule. Why, oh, why, do you not understand the “don’t stand next to me when I shower” rule? And, if I’m in the shower closest to the drain, you cannot be anywhere in the same row. Because your nasty shower water will wash over my feet and I’ll feel your cooties and I may be tempted to pee on you. I’m just sayin’.

Third, sweaty gross man, ellipticals are for women. Be a man and go lift free weights or jog or do whatever it is that men do, but get off the elliptical trainer. And, if you feel you really must go “swish, swish, swish”, don’t do it next to me. The gym has, count them, 4 rows of ellipticals. There is absolutely no reason for you to put your eu-de-stale-cologne-and-sweat stench in my air space. I can smell you. And it makes me want to puke. So instead of feeling the thrill of going 60 minutes up an elliptical hill, I now need to take a Percoset and sleep. Besides, you think that this is a social occasion and you try to talk. My friends can talk to me while I’m working out. We talk about boobs and vaginas and you don’t have any of that, so keep your body and your chat out of my workout.

Ahh, that feels better.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Steve Jobs Reincarnate

“My teacher has the coolest thing. It’s an actual tray that you put in the freezer and it makes ice! We should get some of those.” 8 year old is amazed by the technology. Imagine, not having to rely on the ice maker, but actually being able to put the water in a tray and put the tray in the freezer and then having ice cubes.

Maybe I’ll buy some of that new technology for one of the 3 weddings coming up. Making ice together can be a unifying activity. It can remind couples of the need for patience, for perseverance, for remembering to fill the freakin’ tray if you take the last cube. Of course, it could also be a recipe for disaster, along the lines of “where do you squeeze the toothpaste tube” and “toilet seat up or down?”

When Hal and I were first married, he never put the seat down. I gently let him know that he was a fool, but he didn’t listen. Until he dropped his hairbrush in the toilet. And I laughed, heartily, as he reached in to retrieve it. For the next 15 years, he lowered the seat. We solved the toothpaste issue by buying separate tubes. When he almost smacked his elbow into my nose while doing one of his “launch and twist” sleeping moves, we got a king size mattress so he had elbow space and I had nose space. I thought God had smiled on us. On me, particularly.

Until 5 months ago.

5 months ago, Hal stopped lowering the toilet seat.

What, I need poop bacteria all over my face rag? I want a disease from brushing my teeth? Sheesh.

But, we’ve solved that problem, too.

I have my own bathroom, now.

It seems that the best way to function in our marriage is to have totally separate, non-confrontational lives. That way, we only connect on things that are pleasant, like haranguing the children and ridiculing the neighbors. The best way to get along is to avoid all unpleasant situations.

This is the life lesson I’ve taken away from my 16 years of marriage.

It’s just a good thing we’ve never disagreed on where to live.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Big Bag of Cow Manure

Spring is here! Oh, wait, no... There, I think I see it... Nope, not that, either. I’d rather have 80 degrees one day and 50 degrees the next than all in the 50’s, but even I’m getting a bit tired of the back and forth, snow then shorts spell we’ve been having.

I’m getting tired of the government, too. All of ‘em. They have one job to do--run the government. That’s what they were hired to do. At this point, I’m not even expecting new, beneficial legislation. I just want them to pay the workers. Just sign a stupid budget already! If it were up to me, I’d spank ‘em and send ‘em to bed until they learn to get along.

I wonder what would happen if everyone worked as well as Congress. Microsoft is the only real-world analogy that comes close--will it turn on? Will it save my document? Will that stupid little paperclip pop up on my screen yet again? Which may be why I switched to a Mac. If an outfit looked as dumb as the US Congress looks, I’d wear it to punish my children. If a maid thought she may or may not clean the toilets, may or may not mop the floor, may or may not show up for work, she may or may not eat, and that’s the end of that career. If I took care of my kids the way Congress is taking care of the people, CPS would step in sooner than you can say “government shutdown”. I could go on all day, but there are tulips in my front yard and I think I’ll go shovel some manure onto my garden. There’s another analogy in there somewhere, but you get it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


“We took pictures, we cooked. It was like she was never missing.”

Except for those 23 years.

The story of Nejdra Nance, or Carlina White as she is on her birth certificate, kidnapped as an infant from a hospital and recently reunited with family.

How could it be like she was never missing? Last time her mom saw her, she pooped her pants, drank from a bottle, and didn’t know how to say “911”.

The sentence bothers me. I’m trying to make it fit with my own imagined feelings of what it would be like to have a child returned after 23 years, all the experiences we would have missed together.

No first date. In fact, Nance had her own child before being reunited, so no sitting in the waiting room for the 1st grandchild to be born, either. No first bike ride, no first fight with a friend, no first anything, really. Well, first “reuniting with birth family” but I don’t think that makes up for it.

Maybe the sentence means that she fit in. There was laughter and good feelings and joy, and maybe some “Oh, yah, I do that, too!” moments. And everyone felt connected.

My mother was adopted, and when she found her birth mother, they had some stuff in common. My mom had this “oh, this is why I am this way” thing happen to her. Of course, having BiPolar in common doesn’t seem like the happiest way to connect, but whatever. Other than that, I don’t think they were really so similar. There’s a lot to be said for nature. But here’s the other thing I know. There’s a lot to be said for nurture, too. My mom became who she was in large part because of the parenting of the people who raised her. Why did she like raspberry jam? Because my grandfather made the best frozen raspberry jam in the world, which we put on everything from peanut butter sandwiches to ice cream. Why did she sing “I see the moon and the moon sees me?” Because my grandmother sang it to her. Why was she the worst practical joker, once convincing me that an ex-boyfriend had called me after 2 years of no-contact? Because her mother took great delight in fooling people, too. Her adopted mother, that is. The mother who wiped the boogers off her nose, who taught her about menstruation and acne and how to shave.

What activities would Nance have enjoyed if she’d been raised by her real parents? Maybe she wouldn’t have had a child at 17. Maybe she would have learned to speak Japanese. Maybe she would have discovered that she really loved mixing the stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner, and so that would have become her job, and every year, from the time she was 4, her family would tell the story about the first time she pulled a chair up to the counter and took over the stuffing.

The inside jokes, the glances that mean “I know what you’re thinking, don’t you dare say it”, the nudges that mean “can you believe that happened again?” Those are the things the family will never have, that make it exactly like she’s been missing for 23 years.

But maybe the sentence is a way of dealing with it. Because if my child went missing for 23 years, I think the heartbreak would cause me to find a fantasy world where my arms weren’t empty. So maybe the sentence is a way of saying, “We’ll fit her back in and we’ll be okay in spite of the 23 lost years.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Into the Gap

Thank you, Gap. I just bought a pair of skinny jeans that are HIGH RISE. Oh, blessed waist that sits where a waist ought to sit. I would like to buy the whole world a pair of these jeans. I’m so sick of seeing butt cracks. And I don’t care how fancy your dental floss undies are, I don’t want images in my head. It wasn’t attractive on plumbers; it isn’t attractive on you.

I’m also sick of pulling down my shirt and hiking up my pants. Because I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see my butt cleavage, either. It wasn’t pretty pre-kids. It’s not pretty now.

But, Gap, I have to tell you. Why in Thor’s name would I want to buy my daughters low-rise bikini undies? Do I want people lookin’ at their pert little bottoms? No, I do not. Do I think it’s adorable to sell my children’s sexuality at age 5, or 8, or 12? Uh, no. Do I think that pre-emergent adult behavior is cute? Well, when they sweep the floor, or fold the towels, or diaper their babies, then, yes, that’s cute. But low-rise bikini underwear? That is not cute. I don’t think this is a case of me grousing about the evils of the rising generation. This is me saying that “sexy” shouldn’t be an adjective applied to children. Ever. And the only time I wanna see kid undies is in the package or when the kid is hanging upside down on a chair singing a song about boogers.

Except my son. Right now, he’s in his 10-hour-old diaper (read: sagging to his knees), standing on the table, throwing a box around. He thinks he’s Hercules. I don’t know what’s in the box. It’s addressed to Hal and I know it isn’t a present for me because I haven’t emailed any websites with possible Easter ideas, so for all I know, Baby is breaking some valuable Man Item. But probably not. Probably it’s full of something nasty and completely useless, like Muscle Milk or extra-large foam fingers. Oh, those are sexy, let me tell you...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quilted Northern

“It has to keep me clean while getting me clean.”

EEEW! Do I need Random Matrons to describe to me what toilet paper is supposed to do? No, I don’t, Newton. I’ve got that all figured out; years of experience, you know.

What is it with commercials giving too many details? Take Viagra. I don’t need the visuals, Mr. Hefner. I totally understand what Viagra is for, and if I don’t, I’ll just ask my doctor. I don’t need a bathtub, set out by the ocean, and a man and woman looking all sexy at each other. Gross. If I wanted to think about other people having sex, I’d pick cute famous people, not ugly strangers.

Same goes for the Axe commercials. First, as though a smell would get some greasy, basement-dwelling World of Warcraft playing 30 year old any girl, let alone multiple girls. Everyone knows that if you’re that man, you’d better also be a rock star, or there’s no sex for you, buddy. If you are a rock star, you can have your pick of supermodels. Funny, that. Men who are flatly disgusting can’t keep the girls off if they have a hit song to back them up. Really? Do you think Mick Jagger should ever have been able to reproduce? Not in a normal world.

Back to the Axe commercials. I truly hate them. Not only because they are so unreal, but because they make my stomach heave. Clearly, I am not their target audience.

Quilted Northern has had its share of bad commercials. Remember a few years ago, when they had all the ladies sitting around the tp “quilting” it? Well, the first few weeks they ran those adds, all the women had knitting needles in their hands. I’m not sure who was in charge of research on that, but I hope they got fired. Like they couldn’t google “quilting” and get a bunch of pictures of grandmas with quilting frames. I was offended. I pictured some NYC 20-something saying, “Yah, I saw a lady quilting in the airport. She had all this yarn and some sticks and they kept making a clicking noise...” Premio for being stupid.

And the baby talking commercials? Where they super-impose talking lips on babies? Creepy. It does not make me want to buy your baby food, but it does make me want to take a few Percoset.

I miss the cat food commercials with dancing cats, though. “Meow meow meow meow...” You know the one I mean. There’s nothing like a dancing cat to make me wish I had a reason to buy Meow Mix.

And, I’ve got to fess up, I also love the Old Spice commercials with the Man. You know who I mean. I’m thinking about buying Hal a pair of those pants, but that might be TMI.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Photo Op

Three of my children are sick. Patient Zero at our home was the now-recovered 5 year old, who is upset because she has to go to school while everyone else stays home. I’d rather go to school. Not only do I want to pull my hair out by the 3rd episode in the Suite Life on Deck mega-marathon, but Nothing is what Youngest Child wants. Not to be held, not to be put down, not to be fed, not to be hungry, not to read a book, not to... You get it.

It seems that my children aren’t the only ones who have the mysterious “no fever but my tummy hurts and I can’t eat anything” disease. How do you treat that? I’ve heard from 3 other families today, all saying their kids are sick.

It must have spread.

Illness, that’s the olive branch I’m holding out to our military.

Have you read this? And, no, it doesn’t come from some liberal, granola-crunching recycled newspaper. It comes from Germany. Well, originally, it came from Afghanistan, but Germany printed it.

I read it, and I still feel sick. Sick in my stomach. Sick in my heart.

I’m sorry for the victims. I’m sorry for their families, their villages, their countrymen. I’m sorry for the soldiers, who thought that wearing a uniform made it okay to be barbarians. I’m sorry for the soldiers’ families, who sent little boys off to fight in a war and instead of returning proud men, they’re returning full of ugliness and horror.

And I’m sorry for myself. Because the little girl I used to be, the one who waved a flag on the 4th of July, doesn’t want to see that our army isn’t always good, that it has moments of brutality and blood lust, and that makes us more like the bad guys than I’m comfortable being.

So, except for the 5 year old, all of us at my house are sick, and there isn’t a Triaminic that covers what we have. The two oldest girls might benefit from less TV. Boy might benefit from 10 more hours of sleep. But Hal and me? What panacea is there when you’re heart-sick and feel like vomiting?