Sunday, October 31, 2004

Doompa Dee Dee

Ah yes. As The Little One is a female, she changed her mind about the costume at the LAST minute and went back to her original plan to be an Oompa Loompa this year. When I say last minute, I'm not kidding. We had spent quite a bit of time in our local Party City store picking out the perfect scabs, road rash, and compound fractures for the skateboarding accident. Spirit gum, prosthetics, spirit gum remover, fake blood...we were set. As we headed for the check out she hit us with, "you know, I really think I want to be an Oompa Loompa." *sigh* After clenching my teeth hard enough to give myself a rocking headache, I decided FINE. Oompa Loompa it is. Why sweat the small stuff, right? Back it all went - the scabs and blood, the spirit gum and compound fractures. We ended up buying a green wig and orange and white makeup. Then we were off to the local Mart to pick up the rest of the costume.

4 hours and counting: Our high end french mart, Target, didn't have what we needed, despite several trips around the store. They had some things that "might" work, but weren't exactly perfect. *sigh* I did tell you that we had offered to help her with her costume several times over the past two weeks, right? Why do it the easy way? It's much more fun to watch Mommy's eye twitch. The headache began to throb. We were going to have to bite the bullet and head over to trailer park haven - Wal-Mart.

3 hours, 30 minutes and counting: Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon is exciting by any standards, but add Halloween into the mix and the place is packed with more than the usual freaks. If I had had the time, I would have camped out to people watch. As it was, I was on a mission. We had a deadline to meet (suited up and ready to rock and roll by 6:00pm). Despite watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory more than 7,000 times, The Little One wasn't completely positive about the shirts worn by the Oompa Loompas. After much trivial discussion (and pain from my throbbing head), I left C. and the kids to power walk to the electronics section. Surely they would have the DVD so we could check out the box. Score one for cranky Mommy! We grabbed the DVD and huddled up. Everyone was given a quest and we were off.

3 hours, 20 minutes and counting: Women's white sweat pants - check; plain brown shoes (that she will hopefully wear again at some point) - check; What about brown and white pom poms for the shoes? No problem. Mom was a Girl Scout so brown & white yarn - check; Brown and white striped socks equal fancy pant socks in the women's hosiery department - check; White ribbon for the suspenders - check. Then we hit a wall. All we needed was a simple plain brown shirt. Apparently this animal does not exist. C. was in theatre so plain white boys shirt - check; Rit fabric dye in chocolate - check. Cheap white gloves - check. We were ready. All troops moved to the checkout lines. I am not good with lines. I never have been. If I pick the shortest line, inevitably the woman in front of me will have forgotten her checkbook in the car or the register tape will run out. This is a known fact. I don't know why, then, that my family insists on following me through the gauntlet that is known as the Super Wal-Mart check out stands. They're behind me like baby ducks. A smart comment to C. and the situation was remedied. We fought through the lines and were on our way.

2 hours, 45 minutes and counting: Off I went to dye the shirt. Have you ever dyed a shirt using Rit dye? It's a fun experience when you're not surrounded by a 10 year old dancing the potty dance while asking "Is it brown yet?" every 9 minutes. As the shirt was being transformed, I went to work on the pom poms. I learned the trick to home-made pom poms, as I said, when I was a girl scout. Once I learned, there were pom poms everywhere. Since I showed The Little One how to do it by demonstrating the first one, I can only imagine the dust bunnies will have to fight with a zillion pom poms for space around here until Christmas.

2 hours and counting: In case you were wondering what C. was doing all this time, he was cleaning the house. We invited one of The Little One's soccer playing buddies to go trick or treating with us. I certainly didn't want her mother thinking we actually LIVE this way. We DO live this way, but no sense letting other people know we do. The brown shirt was now brown, but I had to run it through another short wash to "set" the color. Pom pom one was complete, pom pom two was in the works. Unfortunately we were all snapping at eachother like a pack of starving timber wolves. It turns out that we were actually starving. No one had eaten. Bless C. for calling Pizza Hut. It was time to move on to the green wig.

1 hour, 45 minutes and counting: It occurs to me, after much searching, that #1 son has used up all his hair spiking glue, which we need for the green wig. It has also occurred to me that I will need to immediately run a solution of laundry detergent and 2 cups of bleach through a hot high load in my washing machine unless I want us to wear brown clothes from now on. I look jaundiced in brown, and I was out of bleach. Damn. Off to the Walgreens down the street.

1 hour, 10 minutes and counting: Back from the Walgreens and the pizza had arrived. Just in time for us to choke down slices of ooey goodness, standing up, while completing our tasks. So much for Sunday dinner. #2 pom pom has been completed. At this point I realize that I had forgotten to put the newly chocolate brown shirt in the dryer. Back to the laundry room. We assembled all the costume components, minus the shirt that was turning in the dryer, to expedite the transformation. It was at this point that we realized that I had picked up the wrong ribbon for suspenders. I got the filmy gauzy sheer roll. Damn. C. swung into action and found a white dress shirt that #1 Son can no longer wear.

35 minutes and counting: Shirt is still in the dryer. This is making The Little One a bit anxious. I assure her that she will be much more comfortable with a dry shirt versus a damp one. C. and I began to cut the ex-dress shirt into strips with dull scissors. Time out to search for the "good" pair. I find those and we're back on track.

20 minutes and counting: The shirt is for the most part dry. On it goes and I prepare her hair to go under a wig. Up go the pants and we proceed to pin up the legs. It took a bit of contortionism to get the suspenders pinned on without drawing blood from either the pinner or the pinnee.

10 minutes and counting: Make-up time! Orange smear everywhere. Her wig went on next and I swing into hair cement mode to get the proper curl in this neon green monstrocity. Simultaneously someone was putting on her socks, pinning up her pants and tying on her pom poms.

2 minutes and counting: The white eyebrow make up goes on and we have, as a family, given birth to an Oompa Loompa. Schew!

I have to say that I thought she looked fantastic. Apparently everyone in the neighborhood thought so as well. I can't tell you how many times I heard that fargin song from passing parents and homeowners as they gave her the loot. People thought it was the coolest, most unusual costume they had "ever seen." She even got extra candy from some people for her "originality," and more than one neighbor asked to see her Oompa Loompa dance.

So, another year, another Halloween passes sucessfully. The Little One is ahead of her time, as usual. After the remake of Willy Wonka starring Johnny Depp comes out sometime next year, our neighborhood will be rife with Oompa Loompas and Willy Wonkas. It will be just like all the Spidermen we had this year. There must have been 11 of them. But just for tonight she was on stage and got to be the most original trick or treater in the neighborhood. She was the center of attention and was praised endlessly for her creativity.

Now if I could just get that damned song out of my head!

Howl 'O Scream & the Costume Crisis

Busch Gardens has outdone themselves again this year. I am hoarse - no not A horse. Maybe a horse's ass at times, but tonight just plain hoarse. Howl 'O Scream was kick butt. I screamed like a school girl. I jumped. I clung to #1 Son. The Little One clung to me. We learned that C.'s attempts to walk while his wife and kids are clinging to him makes it very difficult to move forward. He's a strong guy, though. He got over it.

There are four haunted type houses/attractions at the park this year. The first two we had done before so we skipped them tonight: Escape from Pompeii, which I walked through clinging to #1 Son with my eyes closed almost the entire time, and Festa Dementia, which was the one with the day glo paint, strobe lights, fog... oh yeah and all the creatures that jumped out at me. Tonight we went for the attractions we missed last year. The first was the Sea Dog cemetary. It's a walk-through graveyard filled with dead pirates. Lots of zombies and psychos here. Now the rule is that they will not touch you, but they'll come MIGHTY close. Some of them (and this is standard throughout the park) have these shakey cans full of rocks or something that startle the crap out of you. Others just scream, a scream that belongs in a B movie. The zombies are the creepiest. They just walk up to you, stare and get real close. Of course everywhere we went the park players seemed to key on The Little One. She wondered why this was. I said, "Perhaps it's because you're little, you're cute, AND you are planted in my arm pit!" Well Duh!

I think our favorite tonight was Sleepy Hollow. They did a fantastic job of turning the old Drakenfire building into a haunted mansion. The story goes that Ichabod Craine walked home from a party one night and met up with the Headless Horseman. He was never seen again. They take it a step farther saying the Horseman went back and killed all the remaining party goers. This was the party mansion. What a great job! No sooner were we in the door than I started screaming. I'm not exactly positive that I ever stopped. I do know I heard #1 Son scream like a girl, so either I had lowered in my intensity or he hit a higher pitch. I was holding my own until we walked through the very narrow hallway where the bodies were hung by their feet. I could SWEAR one grabbed my ankle. Really! Puffs of air blew around our feet. Doors would open and you'd get startled by some goul screaming at you. Yup. Great family fun.

All in all it was a great night. We even got out of there without purchasing an expensive dinner (definitely unusual for us). All through the park, no matter where you walked, you were in danger of being jumped at. There were pirates in England. Psycho clowns in Italy, Gypsies in Scotland, werewolves in France and undertakers in New France. All had the potential to be hiding just around the next corner or behind a trashcan. They all seem to have taken lessons from last year's pstcho clowns. They stand or sit completely're never quite sure if they are a person or a dummy (and there are LOTS of those around the park, too). Eventually people will get brave and go near them...that's when they pounce! My favorite incident of the evening involved a werewolf that had to have been about 6'5". He was leaning against a fence. I swear this guy never moved a muscle. The group of girls in front of us were convinced that they had his number and went up taunting him. Unfortunately they never saw the bush attack them. Yes, the bush. People are dressed as flora and fauna in the park. You walk around all night never knowing if a bush or tree will jump out at you and chase you or if a trashcan will start following you. It's scary and oh so fun all at once. I can honestly say that this was one of my more enjoyable visits to Howl 'O Scream. And yes, I am hoarse.

On the way home from the park, we finally resolved the costume crisis. #1 Son went trick or treating last year, but he got bored after one street, remembered we had crap tons of candy at home (I'm always scared of running out) and decided to go home and hand out candy with his NaNa. I think he also wanted to play on his computer, too. He had already let us know, back in the summer, that he has no desire to go begging this year. Since July The Little One has insisted that she wants to be an Oompa Loompa for Halloween. Unfortunately anytime we tried to help her with her costume she copped an attitude and said she didn't need our help. OK, fine. Well, here it was (yesterday) 2 days before Halloween and her costume was not ready - it was not even started. I took her to the store. "Tell me what you need. Tell me what to get for your costume." Here comes the sulk: "Forget it! I'm not going trick or treating!" Huh? What the heck happened there? She then decided that she was NOT going and wanted to stay home and watch scary movies instead. Fine, if that's what she really wants. But aaaaahhhh, if you have a young daughter then you KNOW that's not what she really wants. She wants to go trick or treating. *sigh*

Before I go on, please keep in mind that my idea was to use her grim reaper cape from last year, we'd paint her face and voila! A costume. No joy. Please also keep in mind that I have always made the kids' costumes. I don't actually sew, so if sewing is needed my Mom helps out. The Little One was an AWESOME penguin (her idea) last year. We've gone all out on other costumes in previous years, too. The problem lies in the way kids trick or treat as they get older. Gone are the days of them strapped in the stroller, eventually falling asleep, yet still hitting all the houses. OK, that was my bad. Gone are the sweet days of them holding your hand and toddling up to a few doors on your block hollaring "twikertweet." Now it's all about volume. And volume means hitting as many houses as possible before their lights go out. Volume means SPEED. Apparently big elaborate costumes do not lend themselves to exessive trick or treat speed. So what happens? We get halfway around our first block and the kids are shedding parts of their costume like they are dancing on a pole. Where do these implements of the costume end up? You got it. C. and I end up wearing and carrying them. I have many pictures of the kids' costumes throughout the years. What I WISH I had taken pictures of is C. and I as we straggle back to the house at the end of the night wearing wigs, beaks and hats, carrying scythes, bones, staffs and pillows. We must look like the 75% off sale at the Halloween Store on Nov. 1st.

All that being said, please know that we can pull together a stupid Ommpa Loompa costume tomorrow afternoon between her soccer game and the bewitching hour. C. and I have this last minute Halloween Costume gift. But that was not her decision tonight. Tonight she decided to be a skateboard accident. Yes you read that correctly. At least she decided. Tomorrow morning before her game we'll be scrambling to get all the needed materials together. We'll call my BIL (C.'s brother - the professional clown) to borrow makeup and protheses and damnit, we'll have a skateboard accident. I'll try to snap a picture and BEG her to let me post it. Since she found out about my blog she's been funny about letting me post pictures of her. Feel free to comment and beg her. I have no shame.

Happy Halloween my friends!

Friday, October 29, 2004

It's All About the Costume

First, I have to tell you I have been fighting with my scanner all night. I have been trying to scan in various pictures of Halloween costumes C. and I have worn over the years. For some reason my scanner insists on creating pictures that look like the viewer (you) is on acid. In the interest of getting this post up, as I have a busy weekend planned and hey, I'm just too lazy to deal with my photo editing program, I give you my brother. Yes, that's him above in his costume this year. He's Frankenberry. If you take a peek at his website you'll get the feeling that he takes Halloween very seriously. Go to the "Other Junk" link. You'll see just how serious he is. Mark has two costumes each year. My personal favorite is his Gene Simmons get up. You'd swear that you were looking at Gene in his heyday.

For now, just know that I had a really funny post about costumes and kids in costumes that I wanted to share. But I'm not going to. I have edited and re-edited and now I've had a bit much to drink. More important, we'll be getting up early in the morning and I need all the strength I can get to deal with the kids.

Happy Halloween case I don't update before then. I plan to, but you know what they say, though...the road to hell...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

It's Haunted? Move out!

I am a wuss. I freely admit this. I get scared easily. I fell asleep with the covers over my head and the hall light on until I was at least 10 or 11. I was scared of the dark then and it still makes me uneasy to this day. When I would get up in the middle of the night I'd turn on lights as I went. You could sit outside and track my progress through the house. I still do this. Mock me if you must.

I don't watch gory horror movies. Thrillers are OK, just not that Freddy Kruger blood and guts crap. Those movies give me the DTs like an alcoholic after a 3 day binge. I've tested this theory before. I once "watched" the entire original Friday the 13th with a pillow in front of my face. My "friends" thought it was funny. Of course they assured me that all was well at the end when the stupid girl was floating in a boat on the lake. Yeah. So I watched and Jason jumped out of the water. Incidents like this keep my therapist in panty hose.

I have the distinction of being the only person in my group of friends who has broken up with someone for taking me to a horror movie. Seriously. It was an otherwise good evening that consisted of a nice dinner and a movie. This guy knew how I felt about gore and guts, so what did he take me to see? The original Hellraiser. He had somehow convinced me that it was one of those Animal House or Porky's type movies. Yeah, I'm a moron. You don't have to remind me.

Haunted Houses are the worst. I read "The Amityville Horror" as a kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I'm with Eddie Murphy. He used to talk about haunted houses in his stand up routine. Remember? "Get OUT!" I can totally understand that. Why is it then that my friends and family are constantly trying to drag me into these houses of terror? Do they want to see me urinate in my Levis? Do they want to test their CPR skills? It's not like I have tons of life insurance or anything. They're not in the will anyway. None of them. I'm leaving it all to Casey, my dog. At least she loves me.

This weekend we're going to Howl 'O Scream at Busch Gardens. We go every year. That's a scary experience. I wish my family would just leave me alone to ride the rollercoasters in peace. But no. "Please Mommy, come into the gory house of death with us." There are two haunted houses at Howl 'O Scream. The second one is this quaint little hell hole where the walls are splattered in day glo paint. There is lots of smoke and strobe and black lights, so you can't see the doors in the wall where some psycho sadistic college student dressed like Leather Face comes after you. Good thing I don't have a seizure disorder. Last year I almost ran over The Little One trying to get out of there when what looked like a pile of rags tried to grab me and send me to the great laundry room in the sky. And to think it was The Little One's idea to go in. And how did she spend the last part of her walk through psycho-town? Clinging to C. with her face planted in his neck because she wanted to be carried. She was (/begin whiny voice) "scared" (/end whiny voice). I was planning on clinging to him. Brat.

Tonight was yet another installment in the "Let's Get Mommy" sweepstakes. The Little One's school had their annual haunted house. It's a fun activity where the kids have to do a math worksheet to earn a ticket to get in. The teachers are the ones who put this on, dress up in the costumes and set up the "house." In past years I have gotten out of this "forced fun" by feigning lots of school work to do and C. has ended up taking them. No such luck tonight, as he was late getting out of work. Lovely. I figured, "How bad can it be? This is an elementary school. They have kids from Pre-K to 5th grade. Certainly it's going to be tame." All I can say is that the teachers must have some pent up aggression that they want to unleash on the kids. Not that they don't deserve it, but if I find that rat bastard that jumped out at me with a chainsaw I'm going to shove it up his or her ass. I don't care if it takes me until Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 25, 2004


I have planned a series of posts this week in honor of Halloween, one of my family's favorite holidays. I'll get around to that, but before I do I want to tell you about REAL fear coupled with a near miss.

The Little One was diagnosed with pneumonia when she was about 8 months old. It was BAD, and we almost lost her. She spent a week in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the hospital in an oxygen tent, with an IV in her little bald head. The day the doctor told me, "we've done all we can do. All we can do now is wait and pray" I thought was the worst of my life. Long story short, of course you know she made it. She's fine. But that's not the point of my story. Tonight she made it again. I am saying prayers of thanks.

Once a week the entire club that she plays for (the under 13s anyway) gets together for a practice. It's just intensive skills drilling, and it really is amazing what they learn. The progress they have made is very apparent each and every week. They hold the "academy" at the local university because one of the club directors is the coach of the university team. The field is immaculate, as you can imagine a college soccer field is. Huge bleachers on both sides, and a concession stand facility that's made of brick - it's a stadium. Unfortunately, the backside of the far stands (where the concession stands and the bathrooms are located) is not lighted. Well, not when the club practices anyway. Also, please keep in mind that the university is located in a rather large city and the surrounding neighborhood is not one of the most desirable.

As I was standing at the fence watching and talking with another parent on The Little One's team (too damned chilly to sit on metal bleachers), I noticed said Little One and one of her best buddies on the team headed back to the bathrooms together. I realized in that split second that it was probably not a good idea. This was because 10 year old girls tend to do stupid stuff like play in the bathrooms when an adult isn't standing over them. Less than two minutes later I saw The Little One and her friend come tearing back onto the field like their hair was on fire. I knew that they had not been back there long enough to go to the bathroom, so I figured they were just screwing around. I decided to have a talk with her about playing around at academy.

Not long after, this really creepy gangbanger looking guy came up to me and the other parent (a rather large man...I wouldn't mess with him) and asked what was going on. I say creepy mostly because he seemed like he was on something. His pupils were HUGE and he didn't make a heck of a lot of sense. He otherwise looked like a normal person. We told him that it was soccer practice. He asked how old the kids were and we said 13 and under. Then he launched into one of the longest run-on sentences I have ever heard (worse than me):

"I just came up here because I saw the lights and thought my buddies were playing football but I guess they're not here so I can't wait for Halloween because we're going to scare the shit out of kids all over this neighborhood and I just scared the shit out of two little girls I said you come here but they screamed and ran away but we're going to get them good on halloween." It was then that I realized he was talking about OUR girls. Normally any perceived threat gets a Mama Bear reaction out of me, but for once in my life I used discretion, lest this high moron had a gun or something. We turned our backs and said basically, "no football here" and he went away.

The Little One finished up her practice, because that's how she is. She LOVES this game and didn't want to quit. Afterwards she was still pretty shaken. The other girl's Mom and I talked to them, praising them for doing the right thing, mildy "scolding" them for leaving practice for the bathroom without a parent and basically commiserating with eachother.

I am still a bit rocked right now. Wine helps. Lots of wine. And Tylenol PM. I will regret this in the morning. I don't care.

After I came home, I made a report with campus police, which quite honestly are much better than most rent-a-cops. I wanted to be sure they were aware of non-students, quite possibly cracked out of their minds, trolling around campus. A couple of parents and myself have rehashed this incident this evening. One theory is that the crack-head pedophile (and I am not convinced he was on crack, but it sounds good) came up to tell someone about trying to "scare" the children because he was afraid they would report the incident. Who knows? I just thank the Lord that my kid and her friend were smart enough to know what to do. They screamed "NO" and ran to the nearest trusted adult.

My friends, unless you are a parent I don't think you can possibly know what kind of terror mixed with homicidal rage I felt this evening. I can only thank God that things turned out as positively wonderful as they did. I considered being PC and apologizing for mentioning the "G" word and faith, lest some of you might be turned off. But screw it. These are my beliefs, this is my blog and it's my kid. I believe He watched over her tonight. I'm good with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Odds and Ends

You know I have several posts in various stages of completion, none of which I feel like finishing tonight. Instead I figured I'd cop out and just give you a boring update of the weekend. If you're looking for a humorous anecdote, you probably want to move along. Only one hysterically funny incident happened - I laughed until I had tears running down my face, my stomach hurt and I had to run inside to pee, lest it run down my leg - but I think you had to be here.

We attended the Old Dominion University women's soccer game against Drexel Friday afternoon. The Little One was a ball girl and she was pretty psyched. It was a great game, if you were an ODU fan as they dominated and ended up with the 2-0 win. They were having a drawing for students, and as we walked by the table C. asked if I had gotten in it. I said "No, should I?" and was interuppted by some little witch saying in a snooty nasal twang, "Sorry, it's for STUDENTS only." That got my attention (and my bitch radar going). "Really?" I replied all dripping in stainless steel sweetness, "well I AM a student. Would you like to see my ID?" "Oh," she said, which sounded a bit like "ugh." I wanted to scream "Hey BITCH, my GPA's bigger than yours!" But no sense getting into a pissing contest worthy of the High School chess club.

After dropping the kids with their Dad (my ex was getting married this weekend - a separate post about my feelings about that might be in order. Not sure though - let me know what you think), C. and I were headed to a hockey game. Yee Haa! Since there is no NHL and we are in mourning (going through the stages - I'm moving out of denial and am now hitting anger), we attended the match up of our two favorite AHL teams. Our Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins were in town to play our Norfolk Admirals. GREAT game. The Pens finally got their first win of the season. It's hard to watch them play, as our loyalties are torn. So, we just scream for everything. And drink beer. The concessions are definitely better this year. 32oz. beer for $6.

We have started a little tradition of surprising each other for anniversary activities. The first year C. planned an amazing romantic evening that began with my now favorite restaurant. The second year we took a short cruise (we LOVE to cruise!). Last year I surprised him with a trip to Pittsburgh to stay at the William Penn Hotel (is it a 3 or 4 star?) and we saw his beloved Penguins defeat the Detroit Red Wings. It was fabulous. No hockey anniversary weekend this year - no hockey. So the AHL game will have to do. It was a blast - and a blast from our dating past - so we're happy. The coolest thing was that Marc Andre Fleury (the 1st round NHL draft pick last year) was the goalie in Friday's game and was ALSO the goalie in the Pens game we saw last year. We've now made a pact that around every anniversary we're going to see Fleury play, no matter where. I can only hope it's not for some local league team in Upper Saskatchewan or something.

Saturday was a gorgeous, though cool, fall day. There are a million things we could have gotten done, that we wanted to get done, that we just plain wanted to do. Instead we totally slacked off and met my in-laws for a craft fair and a long lunch. Great food. Fun company. By the time we got home, it was too late to hit the mountain bike trails, so we did what any self respecting food lovers would do. I spent 2 hours researching restaurants online and we went to dinner. Pitiful, yes?

After dinner we hit the local Blockbuster. C. & I watched "Man on Fire." Oh I love me some Denzel! The kids got home and it was off to bed. Today dawned much like last week - rainy and dreary. Such a good scrapbooking day, but alas The Little One had a game. At this level they play even in "inclement weather" as long as the fields can hold up. They played the #2 team in their division (they are #3). The only loss this team has had was to the #1 team, who is undefeated (they beat us the first game 3-1). The Little One's team lost 6-2, but she scored the 2 goals (amazing shots!), so it wasn't a total bad day for her. Her coach was happy, it's just that the weather got to some of her teammates a bit. Ah well...they'll be better in the next rain bath.

Then it was home and everyone into comfy sweats (after we stuck The Little One in a warm shower of course) for a movie. We watched "The Day After Tomorrow." Very cool movie. Excellent special effects. I was dissapointed that there weren't more special features on this DVD though. C. went off to play his hockey game. We called it "lummox day," which quite honestly are some of our favorites. Dinner was total laziness. Ramen noodles and cheese bread. Yummy. I had planned to make something better, but everyone wanted to just cuddle on the couch and watch movies I think our greatest accomplishment today was that The Little One and I did our fingernails. To hell with the clutter. We had a slow enjoyable day.

As referenced above, there was only one funny incident that I am pretty sure you won't find near as humorous as I did. Saturday I opened the car door to get the Entertainment book (dinner, remember?) and Casey plopped herself in the car. Now you see, Casey has the brains of an ice cube. She ALWAYS wants to ride in the car. Sometimes it means she'll end up at the beach. She LOVES the beach. Sometimes it means she'll end up at a park, or better yet the local dog park or some other fun place. Lots of times it means she'll end up at the vet, which she hates, but she chooses to repress those incidents. Either that or she has no long term memory (or short term either). I vote for the latter.

Anyhoo, Casey plants herself in the driver's seat and will not get out. Then it hit could see the exact moment in her vacant eyes. After viewing my brain dead senile pooch lean over and shove her head completely under the front of the driver's seat (getting stuck momentarily) and then jumping to the passenger seat for a replay, I used my amazing powers of motherly deduction to figure out that the kids have yet again shoved old cheeseburgers and fries under my car seats. Do you remember my post the last time they were forced to clean out the car? Well, if you do you've got a better memory than the kids do. It took C. and I both to fling open all 4 car doors and lunge for the dog. Said dog then jumped in the back seat and began her wolf imitation, lunging into the rear floorboards devouring anything in her path, old cheeseburgers and their paper wrappers, petrified fries, etc. No sooner would C. boot her out into the front seat and out the passenger door (as I closed it behind her), Casey would lunge into the backseat growling down everything in sight. She was like a ping-pong ball, all the while scarfing up everything, edible or not.

At this point I was laughing so hysterically that 2 neighbors came out to see what was going on. When we finally kicked her in the head enough to disengage her jaw from an old happy meal bag (complete with toy - how ugly would THAT be coming out?) and get her out of the car, I was doubled over in painful laughter. One look at the dog circling the car hoping for an entry point was enough to send me running for the bathroom. I'm pretty sure the neighbors are convinced we're nuts (not like they weren't already). It was HYSTERICAL , worthy of America's funniest home videos. If we only had the camera. I can imagine what the neighbors thought.

Then again...I guess you had to be there.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Is the 4th the Styrophoam Anniversary?

I ask that question because #1 Son asked me that today and I honestly don't have a clue. Today C. and I celebrated our 4th Anniversary. After dating for three years he apparently smoked a little too much crack and asked me to marry him. Joke's on him, huh? I was going to write and tell you how wonderful he is as a person, but he's got a birthday coming up so I'll save that for later. Instead, I'll tell you why our marriage works.

First, we have never had a fight. Honestly. Don't get me wrong. We discuss, and we have disagreements. But we don't go toe to toe. This is refreshing for me as the ex and I used to have knockdown drag outs on a very regular basis. Nothing physical, just lots of screaming fights. It's nice to actually WANT to be home and not have to walk on eggshells.

We have this great "good cop, bad cop" routine that works in all kinds of situations. For instance it works well when stupid things happen like our homeowner's insurance gets cancelled for non-payment because the insurance company never sent the bill to the mortgage company like they're supposed to. It also works when we're overcharged for services; we're negotiating the price of something, etc. Good cop handles stuff and when necessary my bad cop kicks in and makes stupid people sorry they tangled with us.

C. puts up with my type AAA personality. I function on a high level of stress coupled with a bit of frenzy. I function "up here" while he is steady "down here." I am sure I spice up his life (to put it nicely), while he grounds me.

There are two days out of every month that C. avoids me. I don't have to say anything. He just knows.

He is my best friend. We can talk about any and everything.

We have the same tastes in most everything, but we have enough differences to keep things interesting. We like a lot of the same music, but his tastes are far more eclectic than mine. Because of this I have learned to love bands and cds I have never heard of before. Sometimes this can be a bad thing. 10,000 Maniacs are all right, just not non-stop for 4 hours straight on a road trip. He will also sing 80s songs with me at the top of our lungs as we're driving home late at night.

He loves food and loves to go out to eat fine food as much as I do. He also loves wine (though he prefers red, I prefer white). We're pretty funny in a restaurant swirling the glass and sniffing the contents when we have no clue what we're doing. This is our inside joke. He enjoys beer as well, and he has broadened my horizons far past Michelob Light.

We both love movies, but I hate horror flicks. I don't begrudge him going to see them with his friends (or sometimes mine). He also doesn't make fun of me when I hide my face behind a pillow in thrillers.

He doesn't question why the house is a wreck yet I have 6 new scrapbook pages to show him.

We have opposite talents that work really well together. He does dishes every night, I cook. He is not good with money, and I'm a better manager (when I actually do it). He will do anything around the house if need be. I am not as patient doing homework with the kids. He'll dive into a project with him like his job depends on it. Sometimes I have to remind him that he's already finished 4th grade, so it's best to let the kids take the lead. He will also sit for hours listening to a child stumble over big words in a book, when all I can think of is that I could get through it a lot faster myself.

Finally, the most important reason why our marriage works (even though there really are a zillion others I haven't written about) is because we make each other laugh. After all these years we can still crack each other up, and we do so often.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Frumpler. I'd happily marry you all over again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Live and Learn

Things I learned this weekend:

A brand new roof makes the rest of the house and yard look like crap.

A demonic force possesses mulberry trees. If you cut one down and fail to remove the stump, it grows back with a vengeance.

Mulberry trees can grow over four feet in 3 months when they think they've been "pruned."

Mulberry stumps are almost impossible to dig out of the ground.

Children are motivated by money. I knew this one already, but it is amazing the amount of yard work they will do when one dangles the financial carrot in front of their noses.

Ivy is evil. Whoever thought it would be "pretty" and planted it in my neighborhood 100 years ago needs to be strangled with the stuff. Assuming they are still alive.

I am too out of shape to spend an entire weekend pulling out ivy.

Old aluminum gutters fetch a pretty penny at the recycling center.

Transporting old aluminum gutters is a logistical nightmare.

No matter how good your host says the Box 'O Wine and the Jug 'O Wine are, you will suffer a massive headache in the morning.

Mixing Box 'O Wine and Jug 'O Wine is insanely stupid.

Box 'O Wine and Jug 'O Wine should never be followed by Woodchuck Cider. The results are not pretty.

Laundry breeds. This is not a new one on me, but I was reminded of it again this weekend.

We own more clothes than we could possibly wear in a month, much less a week.

Finding folded clean clothes mixed into the dirty clothes pile makes me homicidal.

It is virtually impossible to explain the Cold War to children in the 5 or 10 minutes before you watch the movie "Red Dawn."

Pausing a movie every few minutes to explain it to children makes the movie run much longer than planned.

Children are incredibly cranky when they have not gotten the amount of sleep they are used to.

Cranky children make me crabby.

You cannot reason with a tired child. This one I knew, too. Unfortunately I am an optimist who continues to try.

I have the greatest in-laws in the world. They will bail us out of a near tragedy that was created by our own stupidity without a lecture or so much as an "I told you so."

Monday, October 18, 2004

Mad Cows

The Build-a-Bear store is one of The Little One's favorite places. If you don't have one of these, let me explain. Kids can go there and create their own stuffed animal. They get to print up a "birth certificate" for their new baby. Then, and this is where they get you, the kid picks out an outfit for their new creation. You see, these stores have outfits for every occasion, every profession, every game, etc. There are pajamas and robes, foul weather gear, even shoes and slippers. There is no end to the outfits that you can purchase, not inexpensively either, for your stuffed animal.

Over the last year or so, The Little One has built 2 cows. She calls them "The Moos," as in Mr. & Mrs. Moo. The Moos are a rather active couple. They were married in a ceremony (and expensive wedding dress and tux) complete with a marriage certificate created by The Little One. The Moos are also soccer players and of course soccer players must have a uniform (little Moo cleats are not cheap). They have a red union suit for pajamas. Casual clothes consist of jean shorts and baseball t-shirts (mini sketchers tennis shoes aren't free either). We have a Moo size soccer net and soccer ball, a Moo size skateboard and Moo furniture. I don't think I will offend him when I tell you Mr. Moo prefers boxers to briefs. Now let me stop for a minute to let you know that it is not C. and I alone that purchase these things. Other family members encourage her with gift certificates. The Little One will spend her own money on the Moos as well. She's always on the look out for anything she can use in "Moo world." Her birthday money was spent last week on Halloween costumes. Mrs. Moo is a witch, while Mr. Moo is a devil.

A few months ago Mr. Moo started appearing in a basket, his head wrapped in an ace bandage, covered in band-aids and his leg in traction. Obviously something terrible had happened. I asked The Little One what the deal was and she informed me that Mr. Moo had been struck down with Mad Cow Disease. Mr. Moo passed away, plunging Mrs. Moo into mourning. Luckily, though, I was able to give Mr. Moo CPR and bring him back to life. Good thing, as I can't imagine how expensive a black funeral dress and a proper burial suit might be.

Further heroic medical efforts are no longer required of me. This weekend The Little One went to the birthday party of a friend that was held at - you guessed it - Build-a-Bear. She came home with a bear this time, dressed in a doctor's coat and carrying his own stethoscope. His name is Dr. Snuggles and he has been charged with maintaining the health of the Moos. You can't beat a live in doctor if you're prone to Mad Cow I suppose. The Little One is not, however, taking any chances. This weekend she drew up the last will and testament of Mr. Moo. What follows is the document in its entirety (spelled as it appears, I'll try and translate the more creative spellings):

If I die, I want to be bared (buried) not cremated. And if I'm on mashens (machines) don't keep me on them. I want to die natraly. All my belongings to Mrs. Moo. If shes deid I want them to go to my mom The Little One (her complete name is spelled out). And ill be in a better plase. I'll always love Mrs. Moo. And tell my doctor he was the most greatest and best doctor I ever had. And can you please tell him that. Tell him I would tell him persenoly (personally) but of cours I can't...

(Signed) Mr. Moo
I'll always love Mrs. Moo.

Perhaps The Little One watches too much television.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Your Dog WHAT?

I saw an interesting bumper sticker today. It was on an expensive, late model Mercedes SUV along with several political bumper stickers: the driver's choice for the presidential election (twice on the rear and once on a side rear window), Congressional election and the local General Assembly election. There it was, bright red background and white letters: "My Dog Votes!"

Huh? I don't get it. I suppose I am not the brightest bulb in the box. Maybe I only have book smarts. I do have a rather twisted sense of humor. Despite that, I just don't get it.

I spent my entire drive to school thinking about this bumper sticker, all 15 minutes of it. Would you REALLY want your dog to vote? I certainly wouldn't. Though we love her, our dog is one of the stupidest creatures on earth. She's a 10 year old Labrador cross. WAY overweight, Casey resembles a keg with feet. Seriously. She's built low to the ground and is almost as wide as she is tall. For our last Halloween bash, we painted white marks on her and said she was dressed as a killer whale. I'm certainly not saying that fat people are stupid. I'm saying that this fat dog is stupid. We're absolutely convinced that what she hears in her head is the noise of a test pattern (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewww). Maybe she hears the white noise of static. But certainly nothing that would turn her into an informed, intelligent voter.

Consider Casey as a member of society that could wield the power of a vote. This is a dog that used to function in "society." She has now lost all her faculties. She attempts to eat out of the trash, something she KNOWS is a bad, bad thing. And she does it right in front of me, like she forgot that I am RIGHT there. When I yell at her, she goes into her guilt mode, "opps, I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!". She went through a phase about 6 months ago where she forgot she was housebroken. THAT was pleasant. She has resorted to tearing the toilet paper off the roll, something she hasn't done since she was a little puppy. She forgets things as soon as they happen. The roofers we've had here recently have scared the crap out of her. Does she remember this now? I say no. Because if they are quiet for an hour or so then go back to making noise, she barks like it's their first trip here. Casey's best talent is that of "speed bump imitation." No matter where I need to walk, whether it's running for the phone, out the door or getting up in the darkness of night to use the bathroom, Casey is an expert at strategically placing herself in the best position to send me sprawling.

If you knew Casey as intimately as we do, you'd know that there are only three concerns on her miniscule brain: eat, sleep, poop. She could care less about Iraq. She wouldn't know what that is unless is was made by Purina and came in a treat bag. Economics? Not a chance. Health care? I believe she'd want to abolish it. She's not real fond of the vet. Terrorism? That's what we do when we force a bath on her. So I ask you - would you really want Casey to cast a vote, a vote that might negate yours?

If anyone can explain this "My dog votes!" bumper sticker to me, please do. As far as I can determine, there are no prominent animal rights issues on the national front in this presidential campaign. There are no issues of this type in Congressional races. There are certainly no issues dividing local candidates in the upcoming election that have anything to do with animal rights. So help me my friends. What does your dog have to do with it?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Double Digits

It is amazing to me that today The Little One hit a milestone. Today, October 11 my baby hit "double digits." She has turned 10. It seems like only yesterday I was holding the most precious 7lbs 2oz I had ever seen in my life. I know that I write alot about "trying episodes" in our lives. They're all true, but sometimes I sound like I'm complaining. I'm really not, as I wouldn't have it any other way. So I thought I would sit down tonight after she's gone to bed, and tell all of you what I told her this evening - why I think she's the coolest little girl I've ever met.

First, The Little One has always been incredibly sweet. Not always to me, of course, but there is a sweetness and kindness about her that I admire. She was a sweet baby who rarely cried, slept well and smiled ALOT. Now at 10, I see these qualities in her and I am so proud. She loves old people. She likes spending time with them, she's interested in what they have to say. She gets very sad if she sees an old man or woman she thinks is alone, eating in a restaurant or out on the street. She also loves animals, and cares very deeply about them.

The Little One possesses great empathy for other people. Once last year her teacher fell off a chair. The teacher told me the other kids were barely phased by it, but The Little One was right there all worried about her and helped her get up. She then cautioned the teacher for the rest of the year anytime the teacher thought about standing on a chair again. Of course, if she found me splayed out on the floor, she'd probably just step over my body to get to the fruit roll-ups. But she feels so deeply for others. There was a girl in her class awhile back who always ate lunch by herself because none of the other kids would sit with her - they thought she was weird. The Little One sat started eating lunch with her, which really touched the other kid. The Little One sat with her and asked what she was drawing, etc. and they became friends. In fact, since The Little One is pretty popular, other kids started sitting with this girl at lunch too and even playing with her at recess.

The Little One is an individual. She's a leader, not a follower. She has her own style, that I've mentioned before. It's kind of a punk skater jock thing with some Elmo thrown in. Kids copy her style, which annoys her sometimes but I think she's finally beginning to understand that it's a form of flattery. I love her style, too. She revels in her individuality. It's something I was always afraid to do - to stand out. I wore what everyone else was wearing. The Little One, on the otherhand, is a trend setter. She doesn't care what others think. She likes riding her skateboard to and from school when we have time. She's the only girl on her soccer team that wears black nail polish and now that it's colder, a skater knit hat to practice. She paints her nails purple and black (she's wearing a purple and black french manicure thing right now) and neon green, blue, orange and/or yellow. She likes plaid and monkeys. She wears what SHE likes. To heck with everyone else. She has courage.

The Little One is creative beyond belief. She draws for the sheer love of drawing. Recently she has created her own card game - like Yu Gi Oh or Neo Pets. She made up the game, created all the cards, even the packaging. Once I sent her to her room with the instruction that she not come back down until the room was cleaned. After not hearing anything from her for 2 hours I snuck up and checked in. She had shoved all the crap out of the middle of her floor to the sides of the room. In the middle she had built, out of construction paper, and entire city in 3D. Castles, markets, ponds, etc. She was inspired by the town in The Princess Bride. Not quite what I had in mind when I said "clean your room," but what can you do? Her creativity amazes me. Her art teacher loves her. The teacher pointed out what she called The Little One's "special talent" in an assignment they had to do, where everyone had to copy Van Gogh's Sunflowers. The whole class painted flowers in a vase, as did The Little One, but all the other kids used the colors of the original - subdued golden tones. Not The Little One, though. Her vase and flowers were multi-colored and vibrantly painted. I think that's how she sees and lives life. Vibrantly.

The Little One is a study in contrasts. She's fearless and tough as nails, taking an elbow to the jaw without missing a beat and going on to score a goal. She revels in a successful slide tackle on a larger boy. She will take on any hill or jump on her skateboard, roller blades or bike. Road rash from a wreck? No problem. Huge bruise from taking a cleat on the thigh from an opposing player? No biggie. But she doesn't tolerate a small scrape or papercut with out lots of kisses, boo boo cream and a band-aid.

The Little One has a song in her heart. She loves music of all kinds. Everything from Blue Man Group to Evanescence to Avril Lavigne to 10,000 Maniacs to Anne Murray. If she's not listening to it, she's singing it. She makes up some of the most incredible songs. There are times I walk by her room and just stop and enjoy listening to her when she doesn't know I'm there. She'll sing for hours, and she doesn't require accompaniment.

The Little One is my cuddler. She loves to snuggle up in my lap. The most difficult times I have getting up in the mornings occur when she has crawled into bed with me and burrowed in. I could stay cuddled up to her for hours. She loves kisses and hugs. And while I am no longer allowed to embarrass her (I still do) with my funny dances or songs in front of her friends, she still gets a kick out of me in the privacy of our home. She will still run up and hug & kiss me in front of her school when I pick her up, regardless of who is watching.

The Little One loves her family, though she certainly wouldn't admit it out loud. She's her brother's biggest defender, even if he doesn't need it. She adores movie night, where we rent old movies from the 80s and early 90s, all snuggle on the couch and eat popcorn. One of her favorite activities is playing board games with us. It doesn't really matter all that much to her what we play, as long as we're playing together. Some of her favorites are Clue, Disney Trivia, Parents vs. the Kids Trivia, Roller Coaster Tycoon and Life. She even loves putting puzzles together as long as we all participate. She won't admit it, but she really likes when the whole family, including all her grandparents, attend her games to cheer her on.

The Little One has an amazing sense of humor and the most wonderful, contagious laugh. The big joke in our family is that The Little One actually lacks the ability to tell a good funny joke. She always seems to mess up a punchline. Sometimes she makes them up on her own, and they are BAD, which makes it all the more funny. Her made up knock-knock jokes are infamous. And if we refuse to say "who's there," she just answers for herself and moves on to the punchline...which never makes any sense. She cracks herself, and us, up.

I love The Little One for about a googolplex reasons (inside family joke). She amazes me. Tonight I went in and watched her sleep and I had tears in my eyes. I am so amazed that this incredible person is my daughter. That part of me made her. I am truly blessed. So yes, I may sound frustrated sometimes when I write about her, but I know it's her job to make me crazy. Just so you realize that *I* KNOW she's one of my most incredible accomplishments. Her and #1 Son. I thank God everyday for them.

Happy Birthday Chooglie. Mamma loves you.

Friday, October 08, 2004


I am the meanest mother in the world. I know this to be true because my children told me so. Here is a list of sins I have committed against them this week:

Forcing #1 Son to attend his sister's soccer tournament (I am not stupid enough to leave a 12 year old boy home alone for an entire day, especially one who is grounded)

Telling The Little One to get off the phone until her room was cleaned and forbidding the caller to call back that day (said friend had called FOUR times in an hour span asking if she was "finished cleaning her room yet")

Refusing to go to the store before soccer practice for Gatorade (we have perfectly fine water here and all she really wanted was a jumbo sugar laden Rice Crispy Treat)

Finally Yelling at The Little One to pick up her shoes/socks/underwear/backpack/pajamas from the floor (for the FIFTH time that day)

Making The Little One turn off the television to do her homework while Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was on (it's on TiVo, she can watch it any time)

Not allowing #1 Son to walk home from school with his best friend (they play on the way home and he is, again, grounded)

Being 10 minutes late to pick them up from school (#1 Son's teacher had called as I was walking out the door to tell me about his talking problem and to "give me a heads up" about his dismal grade that I was going to see on his progress report)

Forcing The Little One to try numerous foods she's "not into" (what's new?)

Threatening to throw away a pack of Neo-Pets cards/colored pencils/Hamtaro figures/Gameboy games/etc. (that have been strewn all over the den for days)

Badgering #1 Son to create folders and notebooks for each of his classes AND making him show them to me (to hold the papers and notes that were strewn all over his room being crunched and stepped on with no hope of being located in the off chance that the teacher might want to go crazy and give a test)

I'm sure there are other horrible things that I have done to them this week that don't instantly come to mind. But I'm tired. It's been a long week. My work here is done.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Be Careful What You Wish For

You asked for it. C. and I at his bachelor party, circa 2000. Unfortunately you can't see my boxers and cow slippers. The only pictures I have that are full length have other people in them and I didn't want to post anyone's picture on the Net without their knowledge (had to crop some people out of this one as it is). Funny story about the scanner problem, which is now obviously fixed. I'll post about that later. If you're just joining us, read the post below for the explanation.

Where Oh Where Has My Little Boy Gone?

First - I had a FANTASTIC picture to go with this post. Unfortunately my scanner is acting up and I can't get it to connect. Maybe tomorrow when I feel like working with it. Suffice it to say it would have been worth it.

School for the Prince and Princess started one month ago tomorrow. In this month's time I have received phone calls from no fewer than two of #1 Son's teachers. Oh, and he's been in detention once. Why you ask? And if you knew him you would REALLY be asking, because he's such a good sweet kid. Well, it seems Chatty Kathy has quite the social life going on in school. I guess he's trying to be cool. He has contracted a bad case of diarrhea mouth in class. Short of force feeding him Pepto until it runs out of his ears or beating him to death, I am at a loss. Apparently he just talks and can't help himself. It's time to pull out the big guns. It's time to help him MYself. I have been waiting for this moment.

Tonight's call came in from his English teacher. Same song and dance. "He's such an intelligent student. If he would just put as much effort into his work as he does in socializing, he'd be much better off." As usual, I am embarrassed. I am not one of those parents who thinks little Susie or Johnnie is perfect and the teacher is wrong. Oh no. I beg forgiveness from the teacher and promise it will never happen again. And I mean it. It is time to pull out the "Respect speech" and couple it with *THE* Threat.

After dinner tonight C. and I tag-teamed him. The "Respect speech" consists of equal parts guilt and stern references to respecting all elders. I go on about his teachers who work for mere peanuts only because they live to teach snot-nose kids like him. I appeal to his sense of empathy (which he really has) and try to get him to put himself in his teacher's position. I then move into visions of the future when I am a professor. Would he want students to treat me so rudely? That one usually gets him. But tonight...tonight was special. I pulled out *THE* Threat.

In the past *THE* Threat was reserved for skipping school. If I ever caught/catch him skipping school I would know instantly that I can't trust him and will then need to treat him like the child he is. Which means I would arrange with his principal and all his teachers to attend class WITH him. ALL classes...EVERY class. Now that's the kiss of death socially. *THE* Threat has kept him in line. He knows better than to skip class, much less a whole day of school. Tonight I modified *THE* Threat a bit. Keep in mind that his excuse is always that "someone else talked to me, I was answering someone," etc. etc. It's ALWAYS someone else's fault. Boy that sounds familiar! In all fairness, he has gotten this annoying trait from his father, my ex. The one who is never responsible for anything. It has got to be genetic. I told #1 Son that HE is in control of his actions - HE controls himself. HE knows what's expected of him. If he cannot control his diarrhea mouth, I'm going to school. Period. This tends to strike terror in #1 Son's heart. Because you see, he knows I'm dead serious. Oh, the boy knows. He's seen the pictures.

Flash back to C.'s bachelor party. September (maybe?) 2000. My BIL planned it and made all the arrangements. He rented a theater. There was enough alcohol to float one of the local battleships. Several of C.'s friends, lots of BILs friends, lots of mutual friends and...well I'll put this PC - strippers (I was going to say whores, but hey even crack addicts need to make a living). 4 of them. Not only did they strip, they jello wrestled, etc. (don't ask me the etc. - all I know from my dear guy friends that were there is that C. did nothing....others didn't get away as unscathed)

The POINT is that I crashed that bachelor party along with several friends. We showed up in curlers, wearing mud masks, P.J.s, fuzzy slippers and robes. Yes, we had been drinking. Now in our defense, we did NOT storm the place. We waited until they went outside for a smoke break. Of course the whor....uh...strippers took one look at us, freaked out and ran inside. The rest of the guys came outside. They LOVED it! My drunken soon to be Husband even thanked me saying that he would have been disappointed if I hadn't pulled SOMETHING. Well I pulled it alright. The only people pissed (that didn't get the joke) were the whores and my BIL. We were there a grand total of 15 to 20 minutes.

Flashforward to tonight. #1 Son has seen the pictures. He has heard me threaten to show up in class in full mud mask and curlers to attend every class if he ever skips. I cannot express to you the look on #1's face tonight. He knows this is serious. He is facing something worse than death.

Now keep in mind that I would not go into full make-up (i.e. mud mask and curlers) to attend class with him. I would never torture him like that. But he doesn't know that. Fear is good. I WOULD, however, sit with him in a class that he is having problems controlling himself in. It is my duty.

And P.S. - If I ever get this stupid scanner working, you'll be able to view the aforementioned picture of me in full bachelor party crashing regalia. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Shut Up and Act

I’m all for more voter participation, especially by people who truly care about our country and take the time to learn about the issues. This does NOT mean watching MTV, mind you. I think NONPARTISAN campaigns like Declare Yourself are fine, if they encourage INFORMED voting. What’s the real answer to the apathy of young Americans? I have no idea. What I DO know though, is that the last thing we need are people voting based on the views of movie stars and other celebrities. Talk about UNinformed and even whacked out!

Take, for example, the lovely Cameron Diaz. She appeared last week on the Oprah Winfrey show in an episode titled "Oprah’s Voting Party". Oprah had lots of brain trusts on the show like P.Diddy (I can't even bring myself to comment about that) and Christina Aigulara (however she spells it). I ask you: What does Cameron Diaz know about elections? Well obviously a lot since she won one herself. She DID win the Best Burp award by popular vote at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards a year or so ago.

Unfortunately, this victory did not educate Ms. Diaz about the United States government and politics in general. Our friend Cam seems a bit fuzzy on some issues. She seems convinced that the United States “used to be the strongest country in the world” and apparently the US has now lost all support. To hell with our economic and military strength. That stuff's all fluff anyway in "CamWorld." In fact, Cameron was so upset about the imminent Third World status of the US that she was moved to tears. Here’s the transcript from Oprah's website:

During the show taping, Cameron is overwhelmed by emotion.

Oprah: Cameron is having a moment. What is this about?

Cameron: Well, I'm so proud of my friend [Drew Barrymore]. She took a whole year out of her busy schedule. She's a producer, she's an actor…she did this to take the time to educate people about it. And then I started listening to people saying, 'Oh, I don't vote because it just doesn't affect me. And I just got overwhelmed, because I think this is the best country in the world. And it just scares me that we're just going to squander it all away. That we're going to lay down and let people take it away from us.

Cameron: I'm really scared. I don't know if you guys know this about our country…but people—we're all alone right now. And, where we used to be the strongest in the world, we're alone. So, that's the beginning of something terrible, and so it's very important to go out there.

Ms. Diaz also seems convinced that a vote for George Bush would be a vote for legalized rape. This from the same show:

Cameron: We have a voice now, and we're not using it, and women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. We could lo--if you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, and you have a right to say what happens to you and fight off that danger of losing that, then you should vote, and those are the...

I have no idea how her thought processes work, but I can only assume she believes that Bush is going to repeal Roe v. Wade in his second term. Perhaps old Cam needs to visit a high school government class to see that a President cannot single handedly accomplish this.

And my friends, lest you think this was a misstatement of her point, that perhaps she really doesn’t believe something THAT extreme, I give you this transcript from a November 2000 interview with BeatBoxBetty with the fair Cam and her Charlie’s Angels buddies:

Betty: Cameron, can you tell us what you'll be thinking about when you go into the voting booth to pick our next President?
Cameron: Yes. I will be thinking about our rights as women and our environment. We want everyone to vote.
Lucy: We're not saying you have to vote for...
All: GORE!!!
Lucy: But you should just go out and vote.
Cameron: But voting for Gore is the best choice you can make at this time. People don't think that their choice makes a difference.
Drew: They also think they'll always be protected and that's not true.
Lucy: God, we could possibly be really screwed if we don't pay attention and wake up.
Cameron: But the issue is that there is a man out there [BUSH] that's going to take the rights away from women and tap into our natural resources.
Drew: But there are people out there that think "What do you crazy Hollywood girls know?" We just have to vote at this election!

Yes Drew. That’s exactly what I think.

Unfortunately the message to the MTV generation is not “Be an intelligent voter.” The message is “Just Vote”. And many celebrities have taken it upon themselves to influence your vote. If you're stupid enough to vote for someone just because some bimbo actress like Cameron Diaz tells you to, then do us all a favor and don't vote. Or better yet, do what you did during high school elections and just write in Garfield. $20 says you didn't know he was the 20th US President.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Home is Where the Mortgage Is

How was your weekend? Ours was a bit hectic. Here's an idea of what Sunday was like. After a two week delay due to the remnants of hurricanes moving through, the roofers came. Today. The dog has completely lost her mind. She doesn't like any loud noises. Thunderstorms really freak her out. She also has a fear of baths. And she's a Lab, go figure. Of course she's happy as a clam to roll around in nasty stagnant mosquito breeding ground water. If there's some kind of poop in it, all the better. We can now add re-roofing to her list of phobias.

The place is basically great. It was built in 1941. It has hardwood floors, real plaster walls, tiled bathrooms and brick all around. But, as with all houses that have some age one them, it needs work. All the time it seems.

This has been a "bad house year." If you have been reading for awhile, you might remember the tree fiasco early in the summer. That was loads of fun. The picture in the archives speaks volumes. You also might remember the reason for this new roof fun we're having. I think I am a very tolerant person. I draw the line at rain in the house. For a short time I was playing it off like one of those fancy in home waterfalls, but no one was buying it. So here we are.

There are a lot of things I would like to do to the house. Painting, decorating, remodeling, etc. Our next project needs to be new windows. Our current windows are the originals. They can no longer be scraped and painted. I'm sure the gas and power companies will be highly disappointed when we finally get around to replacing those babies. They'll see a sharp drop in our consumption. I'd also love to remodel both bathrooms. The tile is great. The 1940s color tile is not so great. Retro is one thing, but I can't wait until this stuff comes back in fashion. And the blue must go. Yes blue. Not a pretty blue. More like a Williamsburg blue. We've been waging war on it since we bought the place. Apparently there was a sale on this hideous blue paint at some point in the distant past in our city. Our large livingroom was painted this blue. Our bedroom is painted blue. The Little One's room was originally painted blue, though she was having none of that when we moved in. Her room was the first one painted over. Oh yeah, and my kitchen cupboard doors are guessed it. Same blue. There were FOUR cans of the same blue paint in our garage when we moved in. Just in case we wanted more, I suppose. Of course, we also need to get the backyard jungle under control, landscape the front, etc., etc., etc.

We'll get around to all the things we want (and need) to do around here as we have the money for it. The new roof? That was our next cruise. Time is a factor, too. Of course as I tell people, we have a 30 year mortgage. We've got time.

Cauliflower For Those Who Asked

OK, nothing scientific or complicated here. Also nothing precise. You need:

1 head of cauliflower
4 Tbls. Helmans Dijonaisse
2 Tbls. Mayonaisse
one small finely chopped sweet onion (about a 1/4 cup)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Trim the green under leaves and was the cauliflower. Leave it whole. Place in a microwave safe casserole dish. Add 2/3 cup of water, cover and nuke 10 minutes or so until very tender. Drain water.

Mix the dijonaisse, mayo and onions. Spread mixture on steamed cauliflower, sprinkle with cheese (I use lots, at least a cup - just know that there are two things I never measure and cheese is one of them!), sprinkle with paprika. I put the cover on and the cheese usually melts fine while it sits. You can nuke it again briefly to melt.



Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

See my complete profile

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