Wednesday, November 30, 2005

And So It Begins

Can you believe that I received two, count them TWO, Christmas cards in the mail today? For cryin' out loud, it is not even December! This incident reminded me of the pledge I made last year to actually decorate my house, complete my shopping AND mail out my holiday cards all BEFORE December 24th. I realize that I am setting the bar awfully high, but as they say, "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll still end up in the stars" or some crap like that.

Of course I first cursed the two card senders for their organization skills. One of them even had the audacity to make their card BY HAND! Obviously this was a blatant attempt to rub my nose in past failures. This aunt just can't seem to get over my "Christmas themed Happy New Year" cards that arrived in March that one year. What a witch. Anyway, I decided that there was no better time than the present to begin my quest for holiday perfection.

I went to dig out my address book so that I could start making my holiday card list. When I finally found the stupid thing I noticed how out of date it is. After correcting a few addresses and adding in a couple of new ones from the scraps of paper and torn return address labels I had stuck in it, my hand cramped. There is a LOT more work needed to update this thing than I realized. I decided to pace myself and work on it later.

Perhaps it would be more fulfilling to work on the house. My show-off neighbor had her house lit up on Thanksgiving night. Certainly we will be able to get our lights up before the 24th this year if we start now. I set out to drag the boxes of lights out of the attic. Um, have you seen my attic? How the heck can I be expected to find anything in there? I'll just wait until this weekend when we can all sort out the mess as a family. C. and the kids just LOVE projects like this. No, really they do, sort of, OK not really, but tough cookies. It needs to be done and I cannot do it myself.

You would think that I was discouraged, but no. I still have shopping to do. I am not a big fan of lines and the crowds you find in the mall this time of year, so I prefer to make most of my purchases online. In years past I have ended up frantically trying to calculate shipping time to assure that the gift in question will actually arrive before the big day. Not this year, my friends! I'll just start my shopping IN NOVEMBER (never mind that this was the last day of the month) and skip all the hassle and stress of previous years. Upon logging on, I followed my normal routine. I checked my email, read my local newspaper online, checked out a few of my usual favorite websites, then decided to check here for comments. Of course I then had to surf the blogs of commenters, hit the sites on my blogroll and well the next thing I knew the baby was up from his nap, the kids were home from school, I had to make dinner, C. got home, we ate, the baby was hungry, and on and on and on. *sigh*

So today was a bust, but heck it is still NOVEMBER! I am not some super organized Holiday Nazi. I still have about 24 days. That is certainly plenty of time.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Little Turkey

This is what happens when you combine an 11 year-old-sister, a Grandma who is a pre-school teacher by day and an innocent baby. Yes, those are turkey place cards made out of pine cones and pipe cleaners in the last picture. I'd almost feel sorry for him if it wasn't so darned funny.

Hope everyone had a JOYOUS day!

Can You Keep a Secret?

I love to cook. Seriously, I really do. Thus, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that in all these years I have never produced a Thanksgiving turkey all by my lonesome. Forgive me Martha Stewart for I have sinned.

We celebrate the holiday here at our house every year. I like it that way for a couple of reasons. First, my house actually gets cleaned. Well, the downstairs gets cleaned. OK OK, the downstairs crap gets hidden in the upstairs closets. Whatever, it at least looks better than usual. I guess the threat of company kicks my normally carefree family into high gear. Of course it could also be my hysterical screaming, but I digress.

The second reason I love having the holiday here is because the rest of the family feels sorry for me. They actually believe that I have spent the week prior frantically making the house presentable and then work my fingers to the bone preparing this huge feast for the entire family. This false perception really works for me. You see, they bring things - food things. Pies and side dishes, appetizers galore. I think they don't realize what the others bring. I swear I do less cooking and get more credit on Thanksgiving than at any other time of the year. I LOVE this racket!

The best part of it is the turkey thing. My Mother always comes over early in the morning to "help me" get the bird into the oven. Don't get me wrong, I actually DO cook it. I make the herb butter and even spread it under the skin. My basting skills rival Emeril. What I do NOT do is stick my hand in the nasty thing to take out the guts, or the giblets or whatever that crap is called. In the words of The Little One, EEeeewww! I always make sure I am busy making something or at least that I LOOK busy when it comes time to *gulp* "wash the bird." It never fails, my Mom will say, "Hon, we really need to get the bird in the oven soon. Why don't I get it washed to save you some time?" I love that woman.

We always invite friends, especially if they do not have family nearby. There have been some years that my living and dining rooms have looked like a restaurant with all the card tables and chairs strewn about. To compensate, my Mother-In-Law began bringing a second turkey a few years ago. It has now become a tradition. This year we're only expecting 12 adults. My Sis-In-Law is bringing a ham to go with the MIL's turkey. Certainly, we don't need another bird. That would be excessive. It has nothing to do with the fact that my Mother informed me that she would be late to the house this year. *Ahem*

My friends, they bought the "overabundance of food" excuse. I am off the hook for another year. And there you have it. I am a Thanksgiving fraud and a sham. Let's keep this just between us, shall we?

(PS - To those of you celebrating this holiday, have a fantastic day! For those of you that do not, have a fantastic day as well! Let us all remember to be thankful for our blessings throughout the year, no matter what day it is.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Organization

I saw the coolest thing the other day on television called the Purse Organizer. This miracle of modern technology is a long strip of cloth that has many various sized pockets. The idea is that you keep your junk in the pockets and when you want to change purses, you simply roll it up and drop it into the new purse. I was enthralled! Finally a product that could bring some much needed organization into my life!

Honestly, purse changing is really not that much of an issue for me. If it holds all my junk, then it works for me until it wears out. HOWEVER, I am definitely organizationally challenged. I was giddy just thinking of all the time this wonderful invention is going to save me! My next move was to take an inventory of the contents of my purse in anticipation of my future streamlined life. Here is what I found:

Wallet/Checkbook Combo - It is completely stuffed to the gills and the seams are splitting. I am not positive, but I believe I bought it back when Clinton was President.

Sunglasses - I paid $1 for this pair about 7 years ago. Really. If I pay more than $5 for a pair of shades, I lose them. The speed with which my sunglasses are lost corresponds with their cost.

My "Main" Key Chain - Consisting of 8 keychains (Several of which were either made by my children or given to me as gifts from my children over the years), a frequent shopper card key-fob from a store I haven't frequented in about 5 years, a preferred customer card from a sports store that no longer exists, a preferred customer card from a jewelry store that I have made one purchase from - 3 years ago, my library card (conveniently in key-fob form), and two picture key tags of my kids from 2002. Oh yeah, and there are TWO keys on it as well: one for my house and one for my car, which I no longer drive very often.

A Second Key Chain - This one consists of a church key (that's a beer opener for those who are not familiar) and three keys: one to the SUVee action jeep (that I am driving now), one to the house that is so warped I cannot make it work and one to my in-law's house (I think), and the same two picture key tags of the kids from 2002.

An Empty Book of Checks - two website addresses are written on it that were found in a magazine at a doctor’s office for later surfing.

A Used Band-Aid

My Cell Phone - with a dead battery.

2 Melted Jolly Ranchers

A Drug Insert - From a medication I have never taken in my life.

One and a Half Packages of Spree Candy - Had I realized I had these, they would have been eaten by now.

2 Tubes of Lipstick - One the same color as my lips and one that makes me look like a streetwalker. I don't wear either of them.

3 Lip Balms - all different brands.

Cuticle Cream - Most of the product has melted away. That probably explains the greasy wetness at the bottom of my bag. I hope.

2 Highlighters - Both have gone dry.

7 Ink Pens - 3 of which actually work.

4 Crayons - My kids haven't colored in years.

4 Expired Gift Cards - None of which were given to me originally.

4 Appointment Reminder Cards - All for appointments last Spring.

Thirty-Three Pennies

7 Expired Coupons

3 Grocery Store Receipts - from June.

Something tells me that even the Purse Organizer won't help me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Searches That Found My Blog - Teenager Edition

Regular readers might remember that in the past, I have posted some interesting searches that have returned this blog. Truth be told, I actually keep a list because some of these searches really crack me up, and sometimes they shock me. Tonight I happened to be reading through the list and noticed a theme in several of my favorites. My friends, I give you the Teenager Edition of crazy searches that have found my blog and my responses to those poor misguided searchers - based on my experience, of course. Enjoy. OR OR OR "5'9" OR "5'10" OR "5'11" growing OR grown OR grew OR growth OR spurt height OR tall
Dear Mom: I feel your pain as #1 Son is now topping 6 feet at 14 years old. I cannot afford to keep him in clothes, much less food. Demand reparations when your kid becomes a successful adult. You are entitled.

What does it mean when my ears ring? Dear Mom & Dad: It means you have a teenager and he has a stereo. Don't even bother trying to drown him out with your own music. You cannot win. Instead, you might want to move and not tell him where you are going.

What can you buy with $37.03 for a teenager? Dear Parent: Absolutely nothing. Money is not the issue. What matters is that you picked it out. Save yourself the hassle and just give the kid the cash.

Teenager teacher crying Dear Educator: You are a Saint and you are not alone. I am sure it is perfectly normal for the teachers of teenagers to cry on a regular basis, probably daily. Hang in there and be thankful you are not their parent.

What does it mean when your left eye jumps? Dear Jumpy: It means you have children, most probably a teenager. Drink - it works for me.

We want a baby. Dear Parents-to-be: Can I interest you in an 11 or a 14 year old? They're hardly used. I guarantee they will make you rethink that "baby thing." Because I am not a total sadist, you can return them after you have put them through college.

What you can do with two kids,1 teenager and any part of the house to make money? Dear Entrepreneur-wanna-be: You found MY blog with that search?? Did you find the answer? WHERE! Tell me damn it!

What does a teenager want for Christmas? Dear Santa: Money. Actually they want the house without parents so that they can stay up all night, sleep all day, play their stereos so loud that their ears bleed and eat junk food until they barf.

What does grey hair mean? Dear Delusional: You have teens. The older they are, the more you spend on hair coloring.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gratuitous Weekend Picture

Just because I felt like it, here is a picture of the Milk Leech. I promise, dear friends, that I won't bombard you with baby pictures. You know that's not my style. I just thought I'd show you how I've been spending most of my time lately. Before you ask, NO he is not nursing, I have not grown a boob on my neck. He's asleep, which is the other thing he does really well.

ED NOTE: For those few readers who know me in person, I did not cut my hair off. It's just easier these days to pile it on top of my head.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sorry, Wrong Number

What is it with kids these days that feel they are entitled to a cell phone fresh out of the womb? Since when did it become a right, something that we are required to provide them for their survival? The number of teens and preteens with mobile phones is mind-boggling. I can name SEVERAL of my kids friends that carry their own phone. This, of course, makes my children covet these expensive little devices for their very own.

#1 Son has been bucking for his own phone since he was 11 or 12. Apparently I am severely depriving him by not allowing him to get connected. His arguments for having a cell have always amused me. The boy's reasoning ranges from the classical: "EVERYONE has one but me!" to the creative: "If I had my own cell phone you would always know where I am." That one is my favorite. As if I don't always know his whereabouts. Believe me he cannot escape me. I'm like the CIA.

His latest tactic is to point out how many of his friends are calling on their mobile phones. We hear lots of, "excuse me but I have to take this call from Johnny. He’s calling on HIS CELL PHONE." The kid has even resorted to programming his friends' cell numbers into our phone in a new "show Mom I'm the only kid in the world deprived of a cell phone" format. It looks something like this: Johnny CELL PHONE. My heart bleeds kid.

Secretly, I occasionally wonder if I am being too hard on him by sticking to the "no phone" rule. It is then that I will overhear one of his conversations with a connected friend. Most of the time they are either listening to music, or watching the same television show. Their only communication is the occasional, "that rocked!" etc. It is at that point that I feel sorry instead for the poor sap of a parent that actually fell for the "but you'll always know where I am" routine.

My kid will have a cell phone some day. That will be the day he has a job to pay for it. In the meantime, he can feel free to call Child Protective Services to report the abuse he is suffering. I will welcome their visit. The Social Workers and I will sit in #1 Son's room and surf the web on his computer or maybe play a quick Play Station game. If we're lucky, perhaps one of #1 Son's friends will call on his cell phone so we can check out the latest "My Chemical Romance" album.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

We traveled out of town this past weekend to attend The Little One's last big soccer tournament of the year. Despite being crammed into the SUVee action jeep (I cannot believe we actually need a bigger vehicle! Baby stuff doesn't pack as well as I would like), and traveling for the first time with a young baby, it was a pretty good weekend.

The worst part of the trip actually occurred on our ride home. I absolutely HATE this one stretch of highway (for those of you who are local, I'm talking about 58 between Suffolk and Emporia). It was on this stretch that C. received his first speeding ticket in years. Unfortunately, I am responsible. You see C. has a tendency to drive like a little old lady, especially when he is tired. I was also tired and therefore was anxious to get home. You can see where this is headed. I nagged him into speeding up. Well, not nagging in its purest form, it was more like being a smart mouth and goading him into it. No less than 3 minutes after increasing his speed, we saw the blue lights.

I cannot convey to you the guilt I felt, especially since I should have known better. There are ALWAYS people pulled over along this stretch of road. The speed limit is 55 mph and it is patrolled by the local Sheriff's department, not the more sophisticated State Troopers. I had hoped that Barney Fife would note C.'s stellar driving record and issue a warning, but no. He wrote the ticket and made sure to point out that he was "cutting us a break" by reducing the speed from 70 to 68 so it was not a reckless driving citation. Keep in mind that the fines are calculated by each mile you are over the speed limit - the more miles over, the higher the fine.

Here's the fishy thing my friends. Our cruise control was set at 62. People were blowing past us like we were still imitating Grandma on her way home from church. There is NO WAY we were doing 70 or more. My theory is that Officer Fife and his pals know how inconvenient it is for a motorist to travel back to Podunk General District Court to fight a ticket. They make out due to sheer volume. Perhaps they are on commission?

Interestingly, about a mile down the road we saw a HUGE billboard advertising a local garage that specializes in speedometer calibration. I'm betting Officer Fife owns a stake in it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Halloween Addendum

When I was a child of Trick-or-Treating age, I remember the "hysteria" of tainted candy. There were always rumors of razor blades being inserted in candy bars or even dangerous drugs infused hypodermically. Every year my parents diligently rooted through my candy haul and removed suspected treats. It was a shame that the alleged poisonous culprits were always my parent's favorites. They sacrificed to keep me safe.

As a concerned and responsible parent myself, I too have always been diligent about perusing my children's Halloween candy for the inevitable razor blade or needle mark. Tragically, I have always had to remove the Reese's Cups and Butterfinger bars from the kid's candy haul. The fact that those are some of my favorite candy bars means nothing. Ahem. To be truthful, I have never found any razor blades. Come to think of it, I've never actually seen any needle marks either. Needless to say, I have never admitted this fact to my children. I don't want them to become complacent. It is better to be safe than sorry.

This year The Little One was a step ahead of me. She walked in the house with her haul of candy and proceeded to dump it on the dining room table. She then went through and separated out all the Reese's Cups and Butterfinger bars. She handed them over to me saying, "Here Mom, you're just going to take them all anyway."

Ah yes, Grasshopper. I rule.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hell in a Hand Basket

What the heck has happened to Halloween? October 31st is one of my favorite holidays, second only to the kids' first day of school. What a bummer this one was. Halloween has turned into just another commercialized holiday. I actually saw orange icicle lights. What is up with THAT?! At least those people made an effort though. That is a lot more than I can say for children these days.

My own kids were a major disappointment. It is hard for me to believe we share any genetic material. They used to LOVE this holiday as much as I do, but now they are apparently "too cool." #1 Son went over to a friend's house to "help hand out candy." That is Teenage Boy Code for "play a video game." The Little One went Trick-or-Treating all right, but she ditched us to go around with her friends. According to the father that accompanied them, the girls started whining that they were tired after only a couple of streets and went home to listen to CDs. And what, you might wonder, did The Little One dress as this year? Did she top last year's costume? Not hardly. She went as a "punk rocker." PLEASE! She wore her regular clothes. The only difference was some eye makeup and blue hairspray. The sad part was I had a hard time telling her apart from her friends.

Despite being disappointed by my own children, I was at least looking forward to staying in with the baby last night and handing out candy. I couldn't wait to see what terrific costumes all the neighborhood kids came up with this year! I was dressed in my Pacifier With Feet costume (I'm getting really good at doing things one handed with a baby attached). The candy was strategically placed by the door. I was ready!

As it turned out, we only got about 12 kids this year. TWELVE! Where were the hoards of greedy little beggars from years past? Are they now too good for this holiday? When did Halloween become "uncool?" Do you have any idea how much candy I now have to eat? Rotten "cool" neighborhood kids. I should send their parents my dental bill.

(ED Note: C. and I actually got out to attend a costume party this past weekend - an annual event. Our friends get as jazzed about Halloween as we do. We went as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat." Unfortunately I will NOT be posting pictures. My MIL (who graciously offered to baby-sit) took them and she cut off our heads (if you know my MIL, this will not surprise you). The effect just is not the same.)

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.

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