Feb 28, 2006

Default Friends

The Time I Tried to Put a Voodoo Curse on My 4th Grade Teacher and My Two Best Friends by - Me

I’ve always been a loud mouth, bossy, opinionated woman and that’s because I was a loud mouth, bossy opinionated kid. In 'girl world' this is a little threatening and as a result I usually only had one friend at a time. It didn’t help that I was bussed to the ‘smart kid school’ from a rough part of town and my classmates were bussed from the marshmallowey suburbs, where they swam in each other’s pools all summer. I on the other hand spent my summer learning things (see previous post) or running through the sprinkler in the back yard trying desperately not to step in dog poo. My classmates wore Izod shirts and Sassoon Jeans, while I had, well... hippie parents. Did you ever beg a hippie for $60.00 LA Gear shoes that you knew you’d outgrow in three weeks? Well you might as well just poop in one hand and wish in the other and see which fills up first. In short, I was the lone kid of blue collar Democrats in a school of white collar Republican kids during the Reagan years. So as you can imagine I was not the popular girl.

It’s ok, there was always at least one other girl in class nobody liked and by default that made me her best friend. She was, the chubby girl, or the tall girl, or the freckled girl, or the poor girl, or that one black girl, it never seemed to be the same girl for more than one grade, they either switched classes, moved away, or surpassed their untouchable status without bringing me along. Well, my God, in 4th grade I hit the jackpot; there were three of us outcasts, the hippie kid (me), the fat girl and the red head with uncontrollable hair. We were practically a clique!

Of course, there was always the bottom of the bottom, Cootie Boy, who sat behind me all through grade school because his name was next in the alphabet. He was ludicrously rich and ludicrously smart and ludicrously fat, he also used to talk so fast drool would end up all over his shiny lips and then at the end of his sentences he’d slurp it all back in (shudder). Every year I had to sit next to him, but at the very least he was cootier than me so I had something to feel good about. (BTW, I’m sure Cootie Boy grew into a very handsome Cootie Man and is now the CEO of some ludicrously successful international Cootie company).

So 4th grade was great, I had a clique, I was looking forward to growing boobies and there was someone cootier than me. Then Mrs. P. who I’m sure hated me anyway after I barfed on the floor during our class Halloween party, informed us of the new seating arrangements. I was delirious with the freedom of picking our seats and
I forgot to lock eyes with either of my best friends to promise my undying love and devotion to share study space. I don't remember what I was doing, perhaps I was saying something mean to Cootie Boy as I bid him farewell. Anyway, the room happily buzzed and kids found their most bestest friend and moved their desks together all cozy and happy, among them Mrs. P. asked for certain chatty couples to promise good behavior. I panicked inside, nobody would even look at me, and my two default best friends already moved their desks together, oh the horror. And soon everyone was seated! I volunteered to sit by myself!!! I like to be by myself!!!! Please oh please oh please oh please let me sit by myself!!!! Mrs. P. (who I hope has since barfed in front of a group of people at a party, because that’s the worst ever and she deserves it) said to me “Nonsense Jenny! We have an even number of students, both you and Cootie Boy need a desk-mate” and she walked over and cheerfully pushed our desks together.

Feb 27, 2006

Family Vacation

When I was a kid my parents thought it was important to take a family vacation every summer. We would pack up the car with a week’s worth of clothes, camping supplies and food and drive to Yellowstone or someplace equally educational. My dad was one of those guys that had to read every Historical roadside sign – aloud while we kids sat in the back seat rolling our eyes and wishing for a big falling rock to land on the car. I’m not sure why the Grand Canyon was Yawnsville compared to the allure of what Tommy Bartlett’s’ Robot World billboard promised, but I can tell you we begged to see countless tacky ol’ fiberglass Dinosaur Parks. Our parents responded to our pleas with their own barfing noises of refusal “Barf bleeaack ack! Why would you want to go see a fake dinosaur when we can go see real dinosaur bones?” I’d reply dripping with sarcasm “Um gee, because it's so fun to go stare at really, really old bones”. I think my poor parents were just looking for a little peace and quiet out there camping on the side of a mountain and we kids were looking for Space Mountain. I did get to see Devils Tower, Old Faithful, Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Pike’s Peak among others wonders of America which held all the charm of a history class for me. And there was one astonishing summer we spent in a magnificent compromise at Slide Rock in AZ, which is a kind of natural water slide carved into the mountain. But, I would’ve given my pinkie toe for Santa’s Village (I can hear my mom barfing right now). Dan grew up spending his family vacation at Disney, Epcott, MGM, Walldrug, Ski-boat filled lakes, Six Flags Great America, Circus World Museum and every other cool roadside attraction/hotel/water slide/pool and Hostess filled cornucopia of fun. His dream vacation is to take Ella and me on a tour of Civil War battlefields of the Northeast and read every historical roadside sign we pass. I want to take her to Disneyland, but this year we are going to Vegas (Thank God).

Where do you go on your family vacations?

Feb 26, 2006

I Love those Hockeys

We went to the hockey game last night. Ella was so excited to see her little buddies; she recited their names in the car the whole way there. During the first fight in the first period the girls stood up with us craning to see over the crowd. I saw the horrified looks on their pre-teen faces and realized I had also just lifted up my two year old to better see the action. Yes, the kid who’s eyes I cover when Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion I had just lifted up to see two grown men knock each other's teeth out on the ice. Ahh yes, there one for the baby-book, "Baby's first fist fight". All this I did with a beer in hand. And if you’re taking snapshots for mother of the year awards please come and see me next week.

In the 3rd period it was tied 1 to 1 with 5 minutes left and our team scored 2 more goals, it was awesome. We were part of the largest crowd of the season (over 6,000) and the 4th largest crowd in franchise history. Let me tell you, when you get that many excited people yelling and tooting horns in one place it’ll freak a two year old out. My kid went from yelling and hooting arms in the air to wide-eyed and clinging to my neck for dear life, when the last two goals were scored. In the van on the way home we asked her if she had fun and she told us “I love those hockeys”.

Memerable quotes from Saturday night:

Judo Boy (shouting): Hey Mom! I'm eatin' nerds and they are puuuure sugar!

Mimi (exasperated): On the TV in our bedroom, you have to actually get up and push the buttons to change the chanel.

Mr. BlahZeeBlah (rollng his eyes): I never thought we'd all be standing her reminiscing about the olden days.

Feb 25, 2006

Broken Pearls

I woke up unprepared for you dear internets. Usually I write in the evenings but I stayed in bed doing Sudoku puzzles last night. I just woke up and there’s nothing to tell you. My thoughts seem a broken strand of pearls; each is nice when on a coherent string but really just quite silly when rolling across the floor it's own.

Pearl: I dreamt I was robbed by the notorious “splint on the arm, karate chop bandit”.

Pearl: My bathtub has a broken cold water feed and so I fill the tub at 8:00 with hot water and at 10:00ish it’s cooled enough to bathe. The parts are on order.

Pearl: I saw
Mrs. Henderson Presents and in it, I saw Bob Hoskins penis and a few others too. We were the youngest people there by 30 years and I complained I couldn’t hear it and Dan got up to pee 3 times.

Pearl: Ella likes to walk around in her big giant tent tube like
Mummenschanz she calls it her “dinosaur back”. The wild dinosaur back was illusive but finally captured on film on Friday.

Feb 24, 2006


Maddie (aged 8): “Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, you know what? I had a pop tart today, I love Pop Tarts, I ate it for breakfast not for lunch or anything, I didn’t even eat any lunch yet, my aunt is going to make me lunch, Emmie’s my aunt you know and she has to watch me today because we didn’t have any school, that means I don’t even have to learn anything today if I don’t want to and plus it’s President’s Day that means that it’s George Washington’s Day, oh, wait no he’s the first president, our president right now is George Bush and today is his birthday and that’s why I didn’t have to learn anything today.”

Me: “I like pop tarts too Maddie.”


Me: “We need to cook something before Daddy gets home honey, what should we cook?”
Ella - with index finger pointing upwards: “I know Mommy!”
Me: “Tell me, what should we cook?”
Ella: “Dinner!”
Duh Mom


Ella - as she puts a blue rubber band around her wrist: “I gotta bracewet from da nosepaper.”


Ella: “Mom you get da ball.”
Me: “Ok what do you want me to do with this ball?”
Ella: “Put it in da sky!”


Ella: "Count my toes."
Me: "Ok, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! You have ten toes."
Ella: "I count Mommy’s toes?"
Me: "Ok"
Ella: "I get ‘em out… 1,2,3,4,5 and 1,2,3,4,5 five and five!"
Me: "So how many toes do I have?"
Ella: "You have two five toes Mommy."

Feb 23, 2006

The End of a Romance

"It’s my second year a Lincoln Junior High and the cutest boy noticed me this morning when I went with Shawna to ‘the Alley’ before school. He asked me if I wanted a cigarette and I said “nah” and he said “then what are you doing in the alley?” and so I smoked a cigarette, it really wasn’t that bad, it made me just a little dizzy, but it was cool. He is so cute; I can’t wait to go to ‘the Alley’ tomorrow."

Welcome to my after-school special and the beginning of my romance with nicotine. I only planned to smoke for a little bit, not long enough to get cancer like my Grandparents or anything, and besides one more pack isn’t going to do anymore harm than I’ve already done. (Go ahead - roll your eyes). Then all of a sudden, I was 29 and reaching the point in my life where I had smoked longer that I had not smoked. I had to quit.

I tried, I cried, I promised, I slept, I withdrew, I bitched, I smoked. Someone sent me a newspaper clipping for a University study on quitting smoking. I called and signed up even though I would have to drive and hour and a half to Milwaukee twice a week (now that’s a commitment). They would be giving 33% of the people an antidepressant pill that was found to inadvertently help people quit smoking, paired along with nicotine gum. Another 33% would get the antidepressant pill and placebo nicotine gum and the last 33% would get placebo pill and placebo gum. That gave me a 66% chance of getting the pill to help me quit.

I tried, I drove, I took surveys, I was counseled, I quit, I was fine. I would have to wait a year to find out which part of the study I was in. It didn’t matter, I had quit, almost pain free. I gained 10 or 15 pounds but it landed in all the right spots and so I am feeling pretty healthy these days. I highly recommend for anyone who is trying to quit smoking to either get in on one of these university studies (free drugs) and or get some counseling and or to talk to your Doctor about it. Don’t do it alone people, it’s much easier when you have the tools you need.

Unfortunately, I still like to second hand smoke about once a month, but I'd like to be able to quit, with the added bonus of smoke free clothing when I get home from a night out with the Casseroles. I need the help of my lawmakers on that front; we need to pass Illinois House Bill 4338, to enact a smoking ban in most indoor public places, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and casinos. Then I won't ever have to see his face again.

Feb 22, 2006

Baby You Rich

She is tapping me on the forehead and I hear “Mommy? Mommy? You gettin’ up?” I slowly open an eye and am greeted by my very own marabou headed Fraggle. She puts her eyes inches in front of mine holding my cheeks in her hands, spreading a gigantic grin on both of our faces. “I saw ‘orsies Mommy!” she is telling me about her horsy dream again. She’s had quite the fascination since we watched Black Beauty. The sun is a ribbon of light falling through the curtains into the bedroom and I can hear the dog’s old bones creaking as I move my own sore back into position. “Yep, I’m getting’ up” I say. Ella rolls the covers off and puts her toes into the air testing out the day. She sits up and blinks several times while she announces “We’re getting’ up! Wait fer me Day-day” to the dog who is stretching the first big doggy stretch of the day, every paw and toe extends and then her long pink doggy tongue curls out into a big doggy yawn. Ella leans down to the dog and asks “You gotta big nyaaawwn?”

I ask - how can
365 million dollars make my morning better than that.

Hear a bit of “Baby You Rich” by the Mighty Blue Kings here.

Feb 21, 2006

Come on Inventors Get on It!

  • A heated mouse and mouse pad for my cold fingers
  • Shirts for little girls that don’t have snaps in the back (their hair gets caught)
  • Cough drops for children on a lollypop stick
  • Children’s socks with a little tab of Velcro so you can put those tiny suckers together before you wash them
  • A touch screen computer for toddlers (I’d even spend a couple hundred bucks for this one)
  • A blow up kiddie pool with built in shade and pool cover
  • Antibiotics shaped and flavored like Skittles

and while you're at it

  • Sunglasses that tell me where they're hidden
  • Deck paint that heats up in the sun and melts the snow/ice
  • Houseplants that water themselves
  • Riding vacuum cleaner (for the kids to play with)
  • Permanant mascara
  • A hair clip/tie/barrette/rubberband that will stay in baby thin hair

Feb 20, 2006

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

I know a mother who thought her laundry detergent was too starchy from the clumps of gross she was pulling out of the dryer only to find out her son was putting mashed potatoes in his pocket when she served them at dinner. Ella tried to pull her very first wool blanket over our eyes this weekend. Observe below the chicken quesadilla tightly wrapped up and hidden in Ella’s napkin. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. Next week she’ll be telling me that she’s going to Grandma’s while she’s really at a toddler party in the next town over drinking Pepsi Cola and eating marshmallow peeps by the row. (Again, I can hear my Mother laughing)

Feb 19, 2006

About the Food

Select excerpts from a birthday celebration:

“We’re not sure what it is. It’s the chef’s choice. But we're gonna eat it.”

“Ok we’ll get the fillet, but just because everyone else is and now we can hang with the cool kids.”

“Here comes the flaming onion.”

“Oh yeah, he’ll eat anything, especially if you give him a dollar.”

“Don’t feel like to have to choke down the pineapple just because it’s my birthday.”

“I don’t think Jack Daniels and raw fish mixes very well.”

“I eat bananas every day.”

“I’ve got lots and lots of the shrimpiest burps ever – sorry people.”

“Oooh! This Goldschlager stuff rocks!" "Yeah, you’ll be pooping gold flakes tomorrow.”

“I’m going to eat this whole row of delicious thin mint Girl Scout cookies because they are so delicious.”

Feb 18, 2006

He's Safe

My friend Ben called today and put my world in perspective by telling me war stories. He’s just finished his second tour in Iraq and fought heavily in Fallujah. He told me some very sad stories about watching fellow marines and friends get killed and we talked about how happy we are he is out of Iraq and safe and we talked about his dear daughter Emma who was born on 9/11 last year. We talked about politics and the lack of war coverage in the news. We talked about tactics (yes, this tree hugging pacifist agreed with the Marine on tactics) and we concluded that we should either pull everyone out or go all the way in and that this half ass stuff was just getting people on both sides killed too often. We talked for an hour. I miss him and I’m proud of him and I’m glad he’s safe.

Here's an old one for ya Ben

Feb 17, 2006

Friday Editorial

Today’s paper has a story about teen blogging in it. The focus is mostly how much information one puts out there. I agree it can be dangerous to publish all your thoughts and feelings and vulnerabilities AND you address and phone and what time your parents are leaving for Jamaica. Probably more prevalent and dangerous is the feelings one can hurt when using your blog for diabolical purposes. Every girl out there knows what it feels like to be left out, but imagine on top of that you happen upon a website that betrays you in a way that breaks your heart. And what can be done? Really, nothing, can’t run to ‘blogger’ and say “That’s not fair! She's just being mean!”. I think we just need to teach our sons and daughters what it means to take the high road and be respectful of others even when we don’t like them, and to do that we must lead by example.

So dear internets "Henceforth, I promise to never intentionally use my blog to secretly make someone else feel bad, or hurt their feelings." aka "If I've got something to say, I'll say it to your face/on your blog."

Feb 16, 2006


I woke up to the sound of someone walking in our house. I sat up quickly and realized it was hail hitting the windows. Sleet is dumping from the sky today. I opened the back door to let Wednesday out, she looked at me like I was crazy and I had to bribe her with a milk bone thrown out onto the porch. To save her little canine hiney from getting cold and wet she just peed on the deck. This will be another waning day mired by weather, spent in the house. It will be filled with:

building blanket forts

bugging the dog

taking close up shots


and lolling around in a mind numbing stupor

Feb 15, 2006

I Don't Get it

Originally Dan and I were to drop Ella off at Grandma’s and go about the very romantic business of buying a new vacuum. Yeah, you heard it right; buy a new vacuum on Valentines Day. We couldn’t bring ourselves to do it – it was just too depressing so if you come over please don't look down. Instead we dropped Ella off, went to Panera for a quick dinner and saw The Pink Panther. It was a nice date and the movie was funny enough. I do suggest renting it, but please don’t pay the extra for the theatre experience.

Upon picking Ella up, Mom gave us the rundown of what she and Ella played. There were puppets, and then dinner, then dog petting and then they got the "Marching Paper" out. Apparently Ella likes to unroll a tube of Christmas wrapping paper out onto the carpet in Grandma’s living room and then she charms Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Andy into marching across the paper with her while singing some kind of marching song. On the drive home I thought all about the nonsense games kids play. Ella also plays the "Run and Scream Game" where you mostly just run, and scream, and sometimes there’s even jumping. She also recruits our dog Wednesday to lie next to her on the floor, she says "'Mon Day-day, way down!" and our dear dog obeys and Ella whispers secrets to Wednesday. This is the "Nigh-night Game" and Ella thinks it’s just rolling on the floor, knee slapping hilarious. I don't really get it, but this just tells me I'm officially no fun.

When I was a kid we used to play "Sandwich" with the neighbor kids. We would gather up all the throw pillows in the living room (in my mind they were gigantic) and you would build layers, neighbor kid, pillow, me, pillow, other neighbor kid, pillow, other neighbor kid, pillow, little brother pillow etc. and we’d keep building till the whole thing fell down in a pile of bonked heads. No point to it, other than squishing the farts out of the person on the bottom. Or sometimes my brother and I would play “Alligator” in which we would try to break each others necks, literally. My brother’s mattress had been put on the floor because too many ‘monkeys’ had been jumping on his bed. Well, this just facilitated a more dangerous game were you tipped the mattress up against the wall and then my little brother (who usually went first) would have to run all the way across the box spring before I slammed the mattress back down onto his head. I remember making all kinds of elaborate rules; like you can’t start running with your left foot first or you have to sing “Jingle Bell Rock” while you run. And you couldn’t be the alligator until you could escape. I'm sure at the time my Mom never understood the charm of "Sandwich" and she's horrified that we ever even played "Alligator" but now I know she likes to participate in "Marching Paper". Because when you become a Grandma a magic switch flips and you get it again.

What stupid games did you used to play?

Feb 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day!

August 4th 1993
…I’m going to be starting my second year at community college. I love it so much more than high school. I think making your own class hours makes all the difference for me. I met a guy last spring named Dan. Oh boy! I could’ve fallen for him in a big way. Chin length hair, bright blue eyes, smart, two different color converse shoes (black & white with neon green laces) and a love for Historical movies (I met him in Film as Lit.) He has the most kissable looking lips – God! But he has a girlfriend named Jennifer (she’s an artist too). I felt like telling him he’s with the wrong Jen - couldn’t do it. He gave me his # and I gave him mine but neither of us has called all summer. I wonder if I’ll see him this semester, I hope so…

August 13th 1993
…Tonight is the last night of the meteor shower. I watched it on Wednesday night, I made a little wish on each falling star. It’s silly, I know – but you never know what can happen. Dan finally called me, we talked for a while and he asked me to go to a party tonight, but I am leaving for Colorado. Total BUMMER! I promised to send him a post card from vacation and maybe we could have lunch or something when the semester starts, I can’t wait. I just love him!...

December 26th 1993
Dan asked me to marry him, I said yes.

September 8th 1996
It is truly strange to think I’ll be a married woman in less than two weeks. People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I can only say that I am excited about being married and worried that I don’t have everything finished. Tomorrow night Dan and I are going to the church to meet with the woman who is marrying us and then we are going to buy our rings. I am too excited to sleep.

May 7th 2003
Dan helped me plant some sunflowers, morning glories and daisies a few weeks ago. They’ve started to grow, this week some of them peeped their heads out of the dirt. It’s all very exciting!

January 22nd 2004
Ella was born January 5th. There is love all around.

February 14th 2006
I posted all my favorite journal entries on my blog today.

Feb 13, 2006

30 Reasons

There has been a lot of complaining around town. Our school board is trying to pass a referendum and honestly I don't think it will. People are thinking that families will move out of town in droves if their kids can't play football. I still think our little town has alot going for it and not just because my husband is involved in our govt. I present to you dear internets -

30 reasons I love our little town

1. Charming neighborhoods
2. You can still get a hot beef sandwich and coffee for less than $10.00 downtown
3. We have great looking kids
4. Our playground rocks!
5. Neighbors will help dig your car out of the snow
6. Drinking fountain on the way to the ice cream shop
7. A nice place to go fishing
8. People smile and wave at you, even if you don’t know them
9. There are no drive by shootings
10. I can walk home after having a few drinks downtown
11. You can see the stars at night
12. People don’t look at you funny if your wearing big rubber farmer boots to the grocery
13. Our old water tower states very plainly “Bruce Loves Melody” and how sweet is that?
14. Our Memorial Day Parade kicks your Memorial Day Parade’s butt
15. We have boy scouts
16. Corn on the cob for $2.00 a dozen
17. The mayor is in the phone book
18. High speed internet access
19. Trick or Treating is still a tradition
20. You can take a walk without being accused of casing the neighborhood
21. The old trees
22. There’s a secret history all around, you just have to ask
23. We have a beautiful new school and a neat old one room school house
24. I don’t feel like I have to lock the doors when I’m home alone
25. I can give out my phone number to people in town by just reciting the last 4 digits
26. I’m less than two hours from three major cities where I can go see mummies, baseball, whales and “Phantom of the Opera”
27. Indoor swimming
28. There’s always a good piece of gossip going around to make you feel like your part of something
29. There really are characters in town called "Doc", "Cheeseboogie" & "Haystack"
30. My tap water tastes pretty good

Feb 12, 2006

3 Things plus Links

Thing One: I had to go buy a new tooth brush yesterday. The last time I brushed my teeth with the old one was right after I barfed and I couldn’t bear to use it again. I know, I’m totally admitting to not brushing my teeth for a whole day, but I BARFED people, I barfed. I also know that I’m dwelling on the barfing a bit, but it was that awful.

Thing Two: We are planning a big dinner for all our friends joining us in Vegas to renew our wedding vows on our 10th anniversary. We are also renting a big house (think “The Real World” only with kids*). I started contacting caterers and chefs to see what we could do for dinner at the big house. I am really looking for someone’s nice ol' Aunt Nellie to bring groceries over and cook 12 people (and 4 kids) a wonderful dinner and then do the dishes and leave. Simple right?

Andréa got back to me with a quote for: staff, flowers, table linens, silver place settings, center pieces, sushi rolls, vegetable crudités, cheese trays, two salads, family style service of filet mignon, free range chicken, salmon cooked on a cedar plank and “Dessert could be done buffet style with all sorts of mini cakes and cookies, etc to get everyone moving and mingling” at a price tag starting at… drum roll… $5,000.00. I should’ve known by the acute accent mark in Andréa's name. Maybe when the ‘e’ in your name needs an eyebrow people we should just expect a highbrow attitude to follow. (Ok, that's a bigoted remark and a pun - sorry to anyone whose name has an eyebrow and anyone whose sense of humor I just tormented).

For $5,000.00, I’m pretty sure I could buy each family a cow and have it butchered and I'm sure Margaritas will get them mingling easier than a "mini cake". I was tempted to tell her “No thanks. We’re sorry, but even though your price is right we are looking for something a little more casual”. My conscience (Dan) got the better of me. I just told her "Thanks for your time blah blah blah." Perhaps I wasn't clear enough when I described this dinner as "very small, informal, quiet, low key, simple, convenient, relaxed and uncomplicated". I thought those were all polite code for "we'd just like to do something a little nicer than throwing frozen pizzas in".

*more on this in future posts

Thing Three: Dan discovered a new kid’s website
MooseAir it has some really cute songs. These sites are really few and far between if you have a toddler so I thought I’d share a list of ones we frequent. Some aren’t specifically for kids but Ella loves them and asks for them anyway. They are in order of importance to Ella. Enjoy.

Noggin – The cable station with all our favorite shows including Move to the Music which is Laurie Berkner videos and Lisa Loeb videos and Dan Zanes videos (I have to tell you if you are sick of “The Farmer in the Dell” give it a listen). There’s Play With Me Sesame Ella calls this one “Ernie game game” and I think watching Grover dance is fun. And of course the all important Oobie’s Letter Game, it’s nice and short, “three stars you win!”

Monster Jam – aka Elmo Dance (Ella freaked when she heard the same song on the Grammys the other night)

Singing Horsies – Ella can sing each part, this is one of my favorites

Boobah at PBS Kids – Has lots of things to click on, but the Boobah dance is what she loves.

BBC Pre-School – Includes all kinds of stuff Ella can hit the “space” key to play like Teletubbies “More than one”, I enjoy the “Little Animals Activity Center” it has a funny tune.

Playhouse Disney – Yeah, yeah, “Jojo’s Circus” and “Rollie Pollie Ollie Band ” and all that other hoopla

The following sites don’t really get asked for by Ella, but sometimes one can only handle so many Ernie game games.

Afro Twister – a freaky frog with a fro dances to a funky beat
Create a band – where we always name Ella’s band “The Puny Petes”
Lil’ Fingers – Storybooks for toddlers read by someone else, you just click. “Time for Potty” is worth a click just for the weirdness factor
Charlie & Lola – I just love them
Super Fun – When Ella wants to just scribble the mouse around this is fun
Lovin’ Your Momma – Totally catchy disco tune with video
Happy Happy Joy Joy – from Ren and Stimpy but actually sung by anime characters
Sesame Street Workshop - Has Sesame Street Radio (takes me back, I actually heard “Disco Disco Duck” sung by Ernie the other day)
Pancake Mountain – I think I’ll be ordering these DVDs soon.

Feb 11, 2006

1000 times better

Thank you for the well wishes dear internets. Six ginger snaps, four waffles, two chocolate chip cookies and a cup of coffee down the gullet since "the terrible incident". It’s such a traumatic event for me to barf that I am likely to measure everything else in my life in terms of wheather it happened before or after the barfing. I’ll be thinking “Yeah, Ella was born before that time I barfed”. Today I feel like I drank a fifth of vodka and danced all night at a Pimps concert, my stomach is still slightly wonky, I’m deeply dehydrated, my neck hurts, I can feel my heartbeat on the top of my head and the sun keeps poking me right in the eyes. I’m on a crusade to drink a bucket of water this morning to get my cells re-hydrated. I’m still 1000 times better than serious barfing.

Feb 10, 2006

Not for the squeamish

Ella’s better but I may be dying. Today on the internet I am researching the difference between the flu and food poisoning. I’ll give you one guess why. Yes dear internets, I barfed - all night - while Ella cried from our bed “I want my Mommy!” and Dan just did his best. I haven’t barfed like this since I had the 24 hour flu in the 3rd grade. This is like serious barfing. Some of you are thinking “Isn’t all barfing serious barfing?” No, morning sickness is easy in comparison, a quick hurl first thing in the morning followed by coffee and lots and lots of food. This is the kind where everything is coming out of you and you are wondering how you are going to breath and then your whole body is sweaty and then you are freezing and then you are washing up in the sink trying to figure out how to gargle with your nose cause you pretty sure you just got your take out dinner lodged into your sinuses. I don’t know if I’m over it, I feel slightly better this morning but I am only drinking water today just in case.

Feb 9, 2006

Just Checking

Exchange between Tater Tot and me yesterday:

I saw your blog post and immediately felt guilty that Sugar Lips brought the “ear infection” germ to your house on Sunday. Yeah…we suck…sorry.

You can't catch an ear infection from another kid with an ear infection. You can only catch a cold and then the ear gets infected as a result of the cold. This happens to toddlers because their ear tubes aren't mature enough to be pointing downward and drain down their throats, instead they're up all night jumping on the bed getting hopped up on snot and learning other bad habits. I guess you can't expect much from immature ear tubes. I hope we didn't pass the cold to your family or Sweet Potato and Judo Boy. You don't suck. I'm finding no prevention for ear infections besides never letting Ella catch a cold - Girl in a bubble. How's sugar lips?

He’s good, I think. Mr. Tater Tot called me at 11:30 this morning just to tell me that Sugar Lips had been sitting and crying/whining for an hour and he didn’t know what was wrong. He didn’t ask for anything and everything that Mr. Tater Tot offered was answered with a “nope”. Not really sure why he called to tell me that, since I just said “OK”. Maybe he was going a little crazy and needed to tell someone. Do you ever do that to Dan?

I do it to Dan all the time. I'm sure that the following very frustrating conversation or some variation of it happens at least once a week:

Dan: hello?
Jenny: I just stepped in pee
Dan: Ooookaaay?
Jenny: and we're having our 2nd bath today because of a tragic butter and glitter accident
Dan: hmm.
Jenny: I just wanted to tell you
Dan: Ok? -
Jenny: I'll see you at 5?
Dan: yup, love you
Jenny: love you

Really some days I am just checking to see if anyone cares and some days I am making sure that he isn't planning to escape to Tahiti without me after work.

Feb 8, 2006

Sick & Tired

I kept her home from school today. I took her to the Doc and she has double ear infections and a weeze in her chest. She's barely eating, fever of 101.3. She coughed so hard this morning she barfed - in my bed - at 5am. She is nursing like crazy wich is good 'cause I'm over the same cold, but it's making me exhausted. I don't know why every little piece of snot turns her ears into mush, this will make 3 ear aches this winter. I'll be researching prevention on the internet, any advice is welcome. That's all I have the energy for.

Feb 7, 2006

Embarassment: in Three Acts

Act I
Dan and I went to a fund raiser for a fellow Politico last week. It‘s wonderful to see old friends but I should’ve known that I would be asked for more than just my admission. I found myself all wrapped up in the ‘volunteer frenzy’ and totally volunteered to make 100 phone calls for the campaign from my house (because I have all the time in the world while I’m home with Ella, go ahead and laugh at me now). It’s pretty easy since Dan is home today sick. Ella is pestering him to play tea party and I am getting lots of phone calls made.

Act II
Ella has learned a few ‘choice’ words from Dan and I. Her favorite one is unmistakable; she says it clear as day and totally in context. She is fiddling with the bottom of her toy vacuum, she has a pretend screw driver and out of her angelic lips we hear “Dammit! Heavy sigh Dammit.” Usually, we try not to make it a big deal, we figure she’ll either forget it eventually or we’ll have to have a talk about “words we can ONLY use at home”

I am on the phone with nice ol’ Mrs. SweetPepper-ButterPie who’s about 75 and not sure about a political yard sign in her yard. She says I’d better call and check with Mr. SweetPepper-ButterPie and ask him, he’s down at the Church, and I’m writing down the number as I’m saying “Thank you very much Mrs. SweetPepper-ButterPie… oh yes, ma’am I’ll keep warm, you too… ba-bye.” I dial the church and ask for Mr. SweetPepper-ButterPie and the woman says “You mean Pastor SweetPepper-ButterPie?” I say “oh, yes Ma’am.” The voice of James Earl Jones with a dash of molasses mixed up into it gets on the phone and I am explaining about how I talked to Mrs. SweetPepper-ButterPie minutes ago and she said I should call him at work and we were just wondering about the yard sign and the candidate is a real nice fella and I’m doing my best to remember all my manners and I am rambling and then I decide to just stop talking and wait to see what he thinks of this crazy lady on the phone and I bet you see where this is going? As I force my self to just. shut. up... Ella is in the background on my end of the phone working on her vacuum again and she is yelling “Dammit dammit dammit! C’mere bacume! Dammit!”... !! ...Where is my dear husband? In the bathroom howling with laughter.

the end
There will be no encores - we are all in time out

Feb 6, 2006

My Mommy Gauge is Broken

Ella woke up this morning mostly over her cold and very excited that Dad was home sick from work. She didn’t have a fever, all her limbs were still securely attached, she had a little snot peeking out of one nostril and her hair looked terribly under the weather. I said to her, “Let’s get up and eat breakfast, you get to go to school today!” the whiny response was “Ella no wanna go coooooool.” My reasoning faltered and I didn’t know what to say. I know this is slippery territory. I could be setting a terrible precedent, that will cause her to miss whole weeks of third grade while she stays home to perfect the ability to move a thermometer to 99.7* with the heat from her radiator? Should I send her to school were she will cough up her spleen and the teacher will call me and say “What were you thinking Mrs. Bombadee, are you stupid or something, come get your plague ridden kid from my classroom.” I asked Dan what he thought, he shrugged and said “Whatever you think honey” (Thanks for all your wisdom Dan).

I took her to school and I asked the teacher what to do. “Um, hi, Mrs. Teacher, I’m not a very good mom and I don’t know my kid at all, can you please tell me what I’m supposed to do here?” She said there weren’t going to be many kids there today and she thought it’d be fine. Ok parents, how do you gauge it? When do they get to stay home? In my house fever was the indicator, no fever, no staying home and certainly no watching Capt. Kangaroo.

Feb 5, 2006

Jelly Bean

We babysat for friends last night who don’t have any Grandma’s close by. This was really their first date with each other since the baby. They went and saw the Chronicles of Narnia they were gone for 2 hours and 15 minutes to see a movie that was 2 hours and 12 minutes long. They were afraid their little jelly bean was home screaming his lungs right out of his chest. I could almost see their hearts fall when I said “No, he didn’t really cry at all, he was so easy.” Even Ella took the evening in stride. Only a couple of times did she tell jelly bean “No, that’s MY Mommy.” I got a little taste of toddler on one knee and jelly bean on the other and Dan said “Are you sure you’re ready for that?” and I said “Sure this is easy” totally putting out of my mind the possibility that Ella will flush the cue ball from our pool table down the toilet while I’m changing her future little brother/sister’s diaper. Perhaps… (Throw some new baby mojo our way this year) The babysitting gig was nice they paid us in Oreo Cookies, Cable TV and the satisfaction of having their little jelly bean sleep on my chest for an hour.

Feb 4, 2006

I Thought You Liked Art?

Let me preface this story by saying that by no means do I wish to alienate or hurt the feelings of any of my friends or belittle their hobbies and talents. It’s just that some things I take very seriously and my art and my evenings out are two if them.

I live in a small rural Midwestern town. On any given afternoon you can find a minivan with Cherrios on the floor parked at our local grocery store. Inside is the driver, she is just picking up some snacks for the kids so they will sit quietly and watch Madagascar while she and the ladies do their scrapping. She is also picking up a bottle of $5.99 Chardonnay and some Carl Buddings chipped beef, cream cheese and pickles. She is planning to make those
fancy little pickle wraps where you roll up the pickle in the middle (aka hillbilly sushi). Her husband has been shoed out of the house for the night he will be at one of the five bars downtown this evening swilling Budweiser and playing darts till at least 9:30 he knows if he comes home early there will be 7 or 8 women at his kitchen table clucking away and furiously snipping photos. He plans to just stay out. The women will no doubt have the following conversation:

Amy: I thought you invited Jenny this time

Lisa: I did

Melissa: I don’t know why she never comes, I always see her with her camera out taking photos

Amy: Plus she took lots of art classes in school, so I know she likes art. JOSHUA TURN IT DOWN!

Melissa: You know, I always see her at the
craft supply store. Can you hand me that stamp, please?

Amy: She showed me one of her oil paintings and I told I bought a mat-board cutter, so I could mat it in any color she wanted and do you know she said no thanks. JOSH I TOLD YOU TO TURN IT DOWN! DO YOU NEED A TIME OUT?

Melissa: What a waste, you have all those colors! Oh that could’ve been

Tammy: I didn’t know she liked art and stuff, how come she never goes to the
craft show then? They have such cute things there.

Amy: I know that’s where I got this
Easter sweater, see look it has little removable sequined duckies in the knit eggs, cute huh? I just don’t get it I know Jenny goes to the art museum whenever she can. JOSHUA-ZACHARY! MOMMY IS SCRAP BOOKING RIGHT NOW… ONE! TWO! TWO AND A HALFFF! Damn kid pushes my button whenever he can.

Tammy: Maybe she doesn’t think she’d be good a scrap booking. I love your sweater Amy!

Melissa: Yah, way cute sweater!

I know, I'm sooo cultured. Yeah, while this converastion took place I was probably home watching "Survivor" and eating Doritos.

Feb 3, 2006

Culture, a Weeks Worth

I've been getting a lot of culture this week. I thought I’d share, plus it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something besides mass entertainment consumption.

The New World
I have to start by telling you I had no idea this story was about Pocahontas. I’m sorry if I ruined it for you just now. Maybe I was the only one that didn’t know. Dan picked the movie so I was expecting a Collin Ferrel discovers the new world and with lots of battle scenes and cannons, scalpings, syphilis, rape, thievery and blood. I was braced for it and was NOT however expecting a beautiful art film with grand sweeping landscapes that made me want to be outside, a wrenching love story and a movie score that evokes the same emotions as
‘Ode to Joy’. Plus, now I get to believe that it was all true – every last bit of it.

Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister
It was another addictive story by Gregory Maguire. I ate it up, and enjoyed it even though it was predictable. Although that’s the point, we all know the story of Cinderella and how it ends so I’m not sure why I was surprised that it was predictable. I loved all the talk of paintings and art, it was inspiring to me. All in all a good airplane/beach read.

Hi I’m Jenny and I was a thumb-sucker. I remember what it was like to have my parents fret about my thumb and they thought this shameful habit would somehow lead to my demise. Despite, the begging, pleading, bribing, reminders, hot pepper sauce (Grandma), and pretty nail polish I still have an overbite. I don't feel mentally scarred, but I did have a very bad smoking habit for several years. I remember what it was like to have my grandmother come and yank my thumb out of my mouth in the middle of, well, some very private time between me and my thumb; it’s enough to wake one right out of a dead sleep. I remember thinking “It’s just a thumb people!” This movie reminded me of all those things and plus it was very very good.

The Fear That Kills
"Appalling new evidence reveals that female soldiers serving in Iraq made fatal decisions in their attempts to avoid rape… several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark…Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," "

This is the pendant I secretly wish my husband would buy me for Valentines Day even though I would berate him to no end because I would know what he spent on it. (I’ll just file it under “If we win the lottery).

Gauging the Economy via the 'Bad Barista Index' (listen 3:22min.)
While worshipping at the caffeine cathedral Mark Rovner figures out how to “divine the state of the overall economy by the looking deeply into the rhythm of life at the cathedral… Those awesomely talented baristas get lured away when the economy cranks up. They leave the espresso life for better paying and less demanding jobs like practicing law or going into politics…”

Ok I watch enough TV to choke a very large TV horse and I love it all.

Feb 2, 2006

The Job I Never Wanted but Almost Got

It’s odd to write with the knowledge that someone will read it. It sometimes changes things. Sometimes you cease to write for yourself and you begin to write for your audience. It can be the death of you trying to decide who your audience is and what they’d like to read and if you are writing something worthy. Well, I’m not used to it – I’ve been writing for only me for too long. So, dear internets, this one was for me. Taken straight out of the stacks and posted for your approval (or not).

The Job I Never Wanted but Almost Got

I arrived at the law offices towards the end of the work day. People were leaving the building as I walked in and no one recognized me from the last two weeks I had temporarily spent in their midst filling their database. That’s ok, I tried to be invisible while I worked, who really wants to make polite chit chat with a bunch of people you don’t care to know. I walked in and the young lawyer I had found occasional witty banter with flashed me a thumbs up and a smile through his doorway while he paced, his shoulder pressing his phone to one ear. The secretary led me to the door at the end of the hallway and smiled faintly as if trying to tell me not to be nervous. I wasn’t, I hadn’t really been after a job, I wasn’t even sure what the job was but they had called Marissa at the temp agency and said they would like to see me.

I went in, was introduced and shook hands with two of the partners. I sat down in one of the hard brown chairs opposite Mr. Interviewer. He surveyed my resume and I surveyed him. What kind of boss would he make? Would he be willing to let me wear jeans to work on Fridays? Would he grant NPR a presence at my desk? Would he care if I asked for an occasional Monday off because we would be going to Vegas on a long weekend? Would it be a job I can quit without remorse? Looking around his office revealed no secrets, the leather club chair screamed MASCULINE, the rows of leather bound books behind the desk yelled SMART, his shiny desk top shouted MATICULOUSE. I would have to just hear the answers to my questions.

We talked about my job history, the data base I filled for him, mine and his son’s common schooling, we were pleased with the conversation, and it had flow. He asks how fast I can type. I admit I really don’t know. I attempt a guess, 30 words a minute? I really don’t have any idea. “Pretty fast,” I offer “I can think and type at the same time without stopping the thinking part to catch up with the typing part”. He seems surprised that I didn’t know, but moves on to ask the golden question to which all interviewers are waiting for the perfectly brilliant, deliberate, groveling reply “Jenny… what makes you think you’d be good at this job?” I respond “I don’t know that I would be.” He laughs long and hard. He is laughing at his own implied importance and my unimpressed and plain answer. “That’s the best answer I’ve heard all week!” he tells me. We shake hands now genuinely smiling at each other and wishing each other good luck and I believe we both went on to have some – good luck that is.

American Idol (yeah I watch it)

Did anyone watch American Idol last night? Holy crap! The last time I saw such a giant group of people in denial like that was the 2000 election. Texas - you can't sing and you have bad hair, there I said it.

Paris Bennett (audition #2) is my pick already. This girl had phrasing like Ella Fitzgerald, I think I would buy a record of her signing the phone book. Here’s the only website I could find that had a clip, (click on “Paris Bennett – Audition”) and it takes a bit to download but it’s totally worth it. She gave me chills.

Feb 1, 2006

The State of our Union

We all know how I feel about our state of the union and the war. Here are a my thoughts about economics and immigration. When the baby boomers start to retire, who will fill those jobs? If we filled those jobs would there be enough people paying into social security to keep the old white whale going? I would guess that the answer is yes. Hmmm, how could we fill those jobs and grow our workforce? If only there were lots of people who wanted to come to our country and work really hard and pay taxes and become citizens.

Am I stupid to think that growth in a community is a good thing?

Please also see Tater Tots Thoughts
and Sheehan removed from speech

My Mother is Laughing

I think my dog is setting a bad example for my daughter.

Upon getting out of bed it is our dog Wednesday’s delight to roll through the dirty clothes left on the floor. This morning Ella joined her. The two of them lay on their backs squiggling around in dirty socks, Wednesday marking her people with dog smell and Ella just happy to be playing something with the dog. We sauntered downstairs ready to start the morning ritual of peeing. First Wednesday goes out, then Mom, then a fresh diaper for Ella ending with letting the dog back in. Well this morning after the dog and me, I found a dry diaper on the toddler and decided to take her to the elusive potty. She sat and sat and sat singing “Here comes pee Mom.” I waited and waited thinking of the treats I would lavish on my daughter. “Nope, no pee Mom.” She says and walks out into her play room. Crap, I grab a fresh diaper and follow her out almost stepping in a puddle of you guessed it. Ella proceeded to berate the puddle of pee as if the dog put it there (the dog was still outside). Fretting and pointing to the floor she laments “Oooooh Nooooo, pee on da four Mom!”

Heavy sigh, I can hear my Mother laughing right now, and I know you are Mom.