Dec 31, 2007

Joy

When I was a kid I just knew that when I was grown I would wear a fabulous sparkly evening gown and drink Champaign at a party in the penthouse of a very tall building in Chicago on New Years Eve.

In October of 1999 it became painfully apparent that I didn't know anyone that lived in a penthouse in Chicago or that was throwing a party that required evening gowns. Since my heart was already there, we threw a party and told people to dress us in their most expensive and sparkly frocks, the bridesmaid dresses only ever worn once, the suits bought for funerals and the feather boas only worn on Halloween. We bought cases of Champaign and rearranged furniture, strung soft white Christmas lights everywhere and lit candles in every corner of the house. We collected bebop and dance music from the far reaches of our world and moved our stereo into the center of the house to turn our home into one resonating box of happy. We put giant popcorn bowls of plain white confetti on every table. We turned the heat up and I donned a long silk gown the color of Champaign paired with black heels comfortable enough to dance in and curled my hair, Dan wore his best suit, wing tips and skinny tie. We moved all our TVs into a group on top of an old desk and tuned them each to a different channel in case there was something to see outside of our party.

Friends and family and neighbors and guests arrived in gowns and suits tuxes with dishes to pass and music to share. It was the fanciest potluck in the history of potlucks. We danced and ate and drank until the big countdown when the lights all stayed on, the computers made it past the last second of the nineteen hundreds, everyone kissed and threw giant handfuls of confetti at each other and hugged and danced some more. At three-thirty AM the party's straglers and I sat at the bottom of the big stairs listening to "Ode to Joy" so loud I'm sure that's why the neighbors to the right wouldn't say hi to me for a full three years after. Soaking it all in, the operatic voices climbing high into our consciousness lifting our hopes for the new millennium, I was happy where I was sitting.


Sometimes you can’t wait to get invited to a grand party; sometimes you just have to throw it yourself.

Dec 30, 2007

Something Had to Give

Dear Friends and Family,

No, you didn’t drop off my Holiday card list, I didn’t send any (gasp!) Not a single one. Dan and Ella made them and stamped them; I just didn’t sign them or send them. They would’ve said we had a fabulous year and Ella is loving preschool and Dan loves his new job and I love my new roller derby league. I also would’ve included a picture of our family that makes us all look adorably cute. Instead I sat home and drank hot coco with a little Irish in it while we watched Disney DVDs and ate popcorn. I feel kinda bad, but something had to give this year and the good news is next year I’ll have a jump start!

Full of excuses but less stressed,
Jenny

Dec 28, 2007

Before the War

It's snowing like crazy and we have company coming tonight. Good friends from out of town are here for the holidays and so we're getting the old crowd together with kids at our place. I'm cleaning like mad and soon we'll put away any toys that Ella doesn't wish to share and vacuum. Dan's picking up Papa Murphy's Pizza (yay!) and I'm putting the booze on ice (yay!) It'll be nice to catch up with everyone.

It's weird to think we used to spend every day talking to each other on the phone and hanging out together every weekend and now we only see each other twice a year. Alas, that was pre-munchkins and we barely had lives of our own then. Back in the day when people knew each other’s phone numbers by heart, because you actually had to dial them, Dawn was the queen of political statistics, reading precinct print outs like Bill Gates reads code, Mike knew everyone and played golf with them but alas didn't even have a refrigerator in his apartment as he found it easier to eat out every meal and Dan and I wrote speeches and ad campaigns for fun but still lived in a basement. We used to obsess over the local scene together scathing about who was jockeying for what position in the county board and state legislature, sharing donuts at 7 in the morning before canvassing a subdivision and spending hours organizing dinners and county fair booths. At 1:00 in the morning election night 2000, when they finally announced Gore had NOT won FL, we cried over a pitcher of beer together in a smoky old neighborhood bar on the Southside.


That's marked in my memory as the beginning of the end of the good old days.

Dec 27, 2007

My Own Lists

So everwhere on TV there's somebody's best and worst of 2007. Here's some I'd like to see:

The best strategic plans used in Iraq
Top 20 free songs on the internet
The 10 days Britany wasn't in the news
The best toys made in the USA
The worst dressed bitchy fashion correspondent
25 very fun things to do for free
5 most overrated blockbuster movies in 2008 you should just wait for on video
Funniest you tube videos that I can watch with my kid still in the room

Some I swear to you I saw but wish I hadn't:
Top 10 Hollywood babies
Best Britany Meltdown
Best Vacuum of 2007
Best Games that Remind Me of Your Mother
The Best 12 Days of Golf
Best Celebrity Mugshot


and finally some I liked:
Dickheads of the year
AOL's Best Nature Photographers
Best Surfing the Net with the Kids
America's Best Restroom
Best Visual Illusion of the Year
Best & Worst of 2007: Shameless attempts at cashing in on '15 minutes'
Best & Worst Buzzwords of 2007

Dec 26, 2007

Celia Rivenbark, I Think I Love You

Yesterday, I received a hilarious book by author Celia Rivenbark, "Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank." The first chapter details a trip to Disneyland fulfilling her family's utter craving for "total escape and plastic happiness." I was laughing so hard in the first three pages I had to read it aloud to Dan. She also wrote "Bless Your Heart, Tamp" and "We're Just Like You, Only Prettier" which I will probably order this week as I'll be finished with the first book this afternoon and together they'll have enough snark in them to balance out all the gooey sweetness of the holidays.

Excerpt here or if you prefer your funny in smaller daily chunks, Celia's column is here.

Dec 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve Internets!

Last week I bravely accepted an internet dance challenge agreeing to post a home made video of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend". Little did know at the time, it's a four minute song and so I asked to amend the challenge to include friends and family (thank God.) A handfull of my friends helped saved my ass from jerking around wildly trying to dance for four minutes by giving me the best gift I could get this season - their own dancing on video, and so now without further ado I present to you...

The best thing you'll see in the internet today...

video

Dec 21, 2007

Wine Women & Song

After a rowdy SRDD Christmas Party my inner guitar sting has been tuned down a few octaves and isn’t so close to snapping in the middle of the song. Thanks ladies, you are truly good for my soul.













SRDD Pictured December 2007 - Front Row: The Governor, DD Hunter, The Warrior, Emma Hurtin'U, Middle: Redneck B. Yotch, Velvet Vendetta, Tally Tumoil, Bombadee, Annsanity, Sinwagon, Subpoena Envy Back Row: Constance Chaos, Lil' Loca, Jacki O'No, Stiletto Steel, Vamp Helsing, Liberty Bella, Sgt. Chesty, Racy Tracy, SLOCO.


Dec 20, 2007

Blink

I have an infinite list of tasks to accomplish in the next five days and my eye has begun to twitch in that way that if I were in a combat situation my peers might start avoiding me and whispering behind my back. Instead I find myself standing in line next to seven other housewives with the thousand-yard stare, and no one knows for sure if they are spotting something down isle 15 on sale, or ready to disembowel the next person that asks them if they’re all ready for Christmas. Even the children sense something very dangerous brewing deep within their mothers, not daring to whimper or whine for checkout isle candy. Ella seems in her own world all together humming quietly to herself and playing with the thread slowly unraveling from my sleeve. She sleeps in the car and while I carry her into the house, thankfully allowing me to get cargo in the backdoor unencumbered. Now, I sip an instant coffee in front of my blog, a few spare minutes alone, planning to put homemade chicken pie in the oven, while the curser blinks back at me… blink… blink… blink…

Dec 19, 2007

Concentration




























"Santa will be so proud of my snow man faces."

-Ella Dec. 2007

Dec 18, 2007

Just A Friend Christmas Dance

Because of this post.

Cameo and I thought it would be fun to have the occasional "dance off" with each other. After a few e-mails, the deal is done!

Here is your official invitation to join the first ever Tromping/Bombadee Dance Off.

Our first song will be Biz Markie's "Just A Friend."

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to dance - dance your freakin' heart out. Dance with your kids, dance with your dog, dance with the vacuum and video it all!

Dance I say!

Then proudly post your dancing ass for all the world to see on Christmas Eve - a sort of blogosphere gift (um, okay) to each other. Then sit back and enjoy the spectacle of life!

There are no rules.
You can sing and dance.
You can dance with your fingers.
You can dance on the roof or at the McDonald's drive-thru.
And costumes are optional (encouraged, but optional).

So, get to it folks!

You only have 6 days!

Go!!

(Come on KTJ - you know you want to!)

Interviews

video

Dec 17, 2007

The Adventures of Bat Girl

So we had a full holiday weekend. It kicked off with a Christmas program of eighteen 3 and 4 year olds fidgeting their way through Five Little Snow Men and a grand finally of We Wish you a Merry Christmas complete with giant arm swishes. I of course, took lots of pictures and videoed 30 seconds of the 5 minute program and then I secretly videoed all the parents’ videoing. We were parodies of ourselves, the mama-razzi lined up in front of the children yelling Paris! Paris! Over here! What are you wearing today? I felt really silly after that and couldn’t bring myself to record any more and lowered the glass eye and just watched her through my own squishy organic eyes.

I often wonder if Ella is going to be utterly embarrassed by my documentation of her life. It’s why you see a glaring absence in the potty training posts, though it would’ve made great blog-fodder. It’s bad enough when your Grandma shows your butt pics to your fiancĂ© can you imagine having the procedure in which you were toilet trained outlined for the populace of the world, or at least the 40 or so people who read your Mom’s blog? Besides, I’m sure I’ll give Ella plenty of reason to be utterly embarrassed with all that driving her to school in my PJs with my hair in pigtails and my striped derby socks and glasses on.

I digress.

So, after the school program, we hopped through the snow and across the street to the local drinkery and had hot cocoas, beer and fried things for lunch. Ella’s uncles were unexpectedly sitting at the next table over playing Euchre and so when she tired of eating fried cheese and poking things with those little plastic swords she popped over to the next table to ask the fellas about their cards while we finished off the last of the beer and paid the bill. The rest of the afternoon was spent at Granny’s visiting with cousins and taking pictures of snowflakes and the evening spent with friends playing cards and romping in front of the warm glow of holiday TV.

Ella doesn’t get to wrestle around with boys very often and so when they would get particularly wound up, the boys wrestling around wildly, Ella would shriek with laughter and jump in the middle scaring Mrs. Hostess into putting her cards down and yelling into the other room “You boys better tone it down a notch and be gentle!” and I would shake my head and say “It’s ok, she’s having a blast.” It was nice to sit in a warm dinning room with a table full of chips and chocolate and cookies and wine and share stories with old friends and their families while the kids tried hard to bust their heads on the coffee table. It reminded me of all the wonderful people my parents played cards with and their children.

Pictured left to right:
Wolverine, Super Ninja & Bat Girl just before they put their jammies on.

Dec 14, 2007

Dec 11, 2007

Brain Vacation Derailed

So it started I was watching film trailers at Apple and I clicked on “Step Up 2” one of those break dancing movies like the ones I loved so much in the 80s and I heard a song had to have. I spent the next 30 minutes tracking it down, it’s Cupid’s “369” and it samples “the Clapping Song” by Shirley Ellis (1965) which I hadn’t really heard either, but I used to hear the girls in the neighborhood singing this while playing double-dutch or clapping hands and so I paid a dollar for Cupid's version and Ella and I listened to it at least 5 times in a row last night and twice this morning.

While buying the song I decided to look for another song that was in an 80s dance movie called “Breakdance 2 Electric Boogaloo.” I used to skate to it in the 80s and recently at practice the new rink we were at dusted it off and played it. I’ve been thinking of it since then and it took me a considerable amount of time to figure out what it was called... it’s Din Da Da by George Kranz. I didn’t pay a dollar for surfing around trying to find it I did find Artemisbell on You Tube dancing to it. She dancing with such abandon, it’s so raw and true I almost feel like I’m intruding by watching. I went on to watch her do Zoot Suit Riot, Groove is in the Heart, Little Pretty One, White Wedding, Proud Mary, Rico Suave and the Safety Dance. She writes

“Have Fun...Do what you want to do...even if you're criticized.

This is a Dance Mania debute! If nothing else, perhaps you'll like the music. It's a new hobby for me anyway. It's my workout too! I'd like to thank and pay tribute to all the great song writers and musicians and celebrate this great music with my dance.

Dancing is not my discipline, but it sure feels good. I'm having the time of my life!
Thanks for watching and sharing my fun…”

On the third song I realized there’s a different painting in the background of each video and then I realized she’s a painter. So I backtracked and read:

“I'm an artist and if you like art, feel free to visit: http://www.dianacampanella.com/

I visited her website to have a closer look. She’s in Scottsdale AZ and it turns out she put out a magazine from Aug.1994-Dec. 1995 called "Art & Politics", focusing on challenging vending laws and testing the 1st and 14th Amendment Rights, and how the Supreme Court finally ruled that Art, as it is speech, and is protected. I wanted to follow this train of thought more but about that time Ella fell down the stairs and bonked her head pretty good and I had to read Thumbelina while holding ice to her forehead. She's perfectly fine, just scarred and fully comprehending why we tell her not to walk down the stairs with a blanket wrapped around her whole body.

Anyway - go watch Diane dance and hear Cupid's 369 it'll be fun.

Dec 8, 2007

Quad Cities vs Stateline Divas

It's scrimmage day, we leave for the Quad Cities around 2:00 and that'll give us time for check in, dinner and warm up. I'm so excited, send some protective juju my way today so that nobody breaks anything more serious than a skate.

Dec 7, 2007

Seriously?!

Do we really need to specify products we use shouldn’t have poison in them? Seriously?

Go Listen to NPR's Story "...toxic chemicals exist in many of the products we handle every day — agents that can cause cancer, genetic damage and birth defects, lacing everything from our gadgets to our toys to our beauty products. And unlike the European Union, the U.S. doesn't require businesses to minimize them — or even to list them, so consumers can evaluate the risks...."

it's 39 minutes that will change the way you think about everything.

Dec 5, 2007

Looking at my Palm Trying to Predict the Future

So I've been getting the blue screen of death unexpectedly over the last few days, making me edgy and also making it unwise to start any major projects. I spent the entire day yesterday backing up all of my docs onto the network. Corrupted files all sorted and disposed of and everything safely held in PC purgatory, I finally figured out that the blue screen of death only appears when my screen saver attempts to start. So I turned the screen saver off and no ominous shutting down... anyone heard of this? Is it a virus? a Glitch? Spy wear? A setting? Do I really need to re-install windows and every other program I hold dear to my everyday workings? Is it just a matter of time before I have to pick out a new machine? Should I upload all my address books and calendars to my Palm?

Dec 4, 2007

Run Run as Fast As You Can

During our first snow storm, as we pulled up to the house, we discovered we had just missed the illusive Gingerbread Man.

Dec 2, 2007

It's all about the toes

Dear Santa Claus,

Hello, hope you and the Mrs. are keeping warm and doing well. We are doing great, looking forward to your visit, in fact I'm sure I'll be calling you several times in the next few weeks to give you regular updates on the kid. However it feels more appropriate for me to tell you what I'd like for Christmas in writting, so here goes: for Christmas this year I would like to have a new floor space heater to keep my toes warm and a couple new pairs of socks to keep my toes warm and it would be nice to have a pair of stylish boots that have a fluffy wool on the inside to warm my toes, a new rug for the bathroom as the old one wore out and that floor is COLD in the winter and last but certainly not least a new kingsize feather filled beadspread so at night my toes stay warm.

Love,
Me

Dec 1, 2007

December 1st

It is finally December and I can give in and let Christmas descend upon us. Little town’s Christmas walk is today and we are in the thick of it having volunteered to read books and make ornaments with the kids today to hang on the tree they’ll put up at village hall. We are looking forward to a few inches of snow this afternoon as Ella’s new snow boots have yet to tromp through anything more glorious than cold wet leaves and to his relief Dan can put the tree up. I have coupons to spend and need a place to put my wrapped presents. This year the magic that flows from Ella’s head has swirled around our whole house and we find ourselves in the first Christmas where Santa Clause plays a central role. Where elves whole heartedly peep in on us from the snow globe at the north pole to make sure we’ve all eaten our veggies and washed up for bed and where wishes are easily granted if only you refrain from pouting. Hark the Harold Angels sing – the month of magic and miracles is here.