Dec 30, 2008

Dear Sandwich Eater,

What is it that makes you take bites out of the same place in the sandwich over and over until the jelly filled bread reaches your cheeks and then fans out until it threatens to fill your ears with sticky? This makes you smell like jelly all day. If we lived in the rain forest you would have bugs stuck to your cheeks like a sweet little fly strip. This is why I have to catch you and wash your cheeks with a warm rag, I can't stand the thought of random germ filled animals stuck to your face.

Dec 29, 2008

Fun Concentrate

It's the beginning of another back breakingly fun week of errands and shopping and parties. Oh - when will the festivities end?! We should all be so troubled. Why we don't just spread this stuff out into the cold of January a little and then the monotony of dark snowy hibernation will be dotted with occasional presents and sparkly sweaters? I'd plan something, but just yesterday I was promising myslef I would not plan anything (beyond what I've already taken on) and it's not even the new year yet. Can I possibly break my New Years resolution even before I've sealed it up with the wax off a cork of Merlot and sent it into 2009 with a handfull of confetti and a kiss?

Dec 28, 2008

Time Off

So this would be where I count down my accomplishments of 2008 and count up what's going to happen in 2009. Where I make a grand list and plans on how to accomplish it. Instead, I've decided 2009 is going to be a big surprise. I'm going to just see what happens. No expectations, no plans, no goals. I'm going to just coast for a bit and see where I end up. Bohemian Slacktitude here I come.

Dec 26, 2008

On the Second Day

Here I sit in the midst of our three Days of Christmas, trappings and bits and bobbles all over the floor and sticky dishes on the table. Kiddo is vegging out in front of the TV I haven't let her turn on in two days and my dearest is back at work leaving me to wrap the remainder of the presents and make the orange jello salad for the party tonight. Later we'll have martinis and hot toddies at the bar in the basement and when we've sufficiently taken the edge off (whatever that means) we'll convene to the living room and there will be cousins, the crackling fire, presents, glee and bits of wrapping paper flying all over the place while adults hurl "Don't get it out of the box right now you'll loose the pieces" at the kids. Yes, it feels like I'm stuck in the 50s today with all the cooking, cleaning, child rearing and homemaking and to make it worse I am actually hoping to get some sewing done today.

Dec 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Internet!

From the Mermaid that lives here and her Mom, Dad, Dog and pet lobster.

Dec 23, 2008

Interview with a Blogger

DD Hunter posted this earlier this week and I wanted to play along. (Some of the questions are changed slightly to keep my anonymity, I hope you understand DD. Also, this was fun, thanks.)

1. The little three bedroom ranch down the street is for sale, the asking price is u
nbelievably low, in the 50's or 60's. Would you sell your place and buy the ranch? Why or why not?

No way. I don't really care for ranch homes. And we're only ten years from owning this place. Despite all it's problems and even in light of all the practicality and warmth a ranch offers this really is my dream house. Plus where would we put all the stuff we've accumulated?! (Although I have to admit, I have thought about that old three story Victorian on the historical registry up the street that's for sale.)

2. What is the most important characteristic you hope your child will pick up from your example?

Foremost I hope she is an optimist and in general a happy person but beyond that, Persistence & Focus. It's a rare thing to first of all know what it is you want out of life (or what will make you happy) but rarer yet to devise a plan and then have the persistence to actually do it.

3. In 1998, where did you see your life in 2008? How is it different from your hopes? Are you happy with the way it turned out?

I hoped to be almost exactly where I am now... we had a plan and here I am. Perhaps the one thing we haven't done that I'd hoped for was getting further along on our house. Oh, and roller derby, I don't think I could have dreamed that up in 1998, that was a nice surprise that just added to the grand happiness and perhaps the reason we haven't worked on the house so much.

4. A big name store wants to build in your community, it will mean hundreds of jobs, more revenue, tax dollars, etc... The problem is the store is a Wal-Mart. Would you support the possibility or shun it?

Shun shun shun, I support controlled growth while maintaining the intergrity of the community. A bedroom community like ours already has a work force that drives to the next city over to make a living, shunning a big box store wouldn't hurt the work force and anything else it may benifit isn't enough to outweigh the integrity of the village. Shoot, I don't even like those subdivisions where all the houses look the same (even if they are $250,000.00 homes - bleah.) Now ask me about an aeronautics facility or a sci-tech silicon shop, or a green widget maker and I might be on board as long as they will be good nieghbors (environmentally, socially etc...)

5. Hollywood has decided to make a movie based on your life. What would be the title and who would you like to see in the lead rolls?

Ok trying to sum up my whole life with one movie title is too silly, I just can't think of one unifying theme, perhaps something really minimal like the when the Beatles put out the White album... something like "Woman" or "J." Ok, ok, that's not very fun how about "The Lady that Lived to 110" or "A Late Life Trip to the Moon" but then the movie has barely been written. How about a movie about my life in the last decade or so and we'll call it "Midwestern Eccentricities." Marisa Tomei will play me and Christian Slater will play Dan it'll be a weird love story revolving around this couple that bickers all the time under the oddest circumstances and yet they have this uncanny connection. It'll be narrated by a grown up Ella played by Zooey Deschanel and then in the last 3 minutes she'll walk up to a podium to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for solving the conundrum of universal particle theory, and it'll tie together all these little odd adventures from earlier in the movie, like that time we took Ella to the beach when she was four and we argued about if sting rays were dangerous to stand in the water near and the movie will in a single epiphanic moment make sense relating to Ella's amazing new physics theory... what?! It's my movie! Obviously M. Night Shyamalan will have to direct it.

How can I resist, look at how totally cute we were in the 90s.
Oh, wait that's not us that's from the Untamed Heart - oops.

Bored and looking for ways to pass your day?
Care to play along?
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Dec 21, 2008

I've Always Liked Heat Better than Ice - (with many parts... but not that one)

Part I
The mermaid costume is finished and awesome and wrapped and ready. Thanks Mrs. Claus - you are the coolest seamstress, as well as pretty smart and interesting, someone should buy you jewelry to thank you for pulling that present out of thin air. Maybe they should buy you rubies and emeralds to commemorate Christmas. Maybe if Mr. Claus had and extra $80.00 lying around...

Part II
We have two furnaces and one of them didn't work today. Usually it's not a big deal accept that today it was -8 with a wind chill of -20 so with one of them running the house maintained a cool 54. After checking it out, Dan decided he needed a part, a pretty generic part but none the less there are no parts departments open on Sunday and we didn't want to pay Sunday rates for a service tech. I called around and found a guy in the next village over who had it. The 10 minute drive to get it turned into a 45 minute drive when Dan got stuck in a 5 foot snow drift in the middle of the road and had to pay a passing tow truck $80.00 to get him out. They closed the road right after that and Dan never did get to the next village over for that part but it turned out he didn't need it after all which worked out because the universe decided we needed to step outside and throw $80.00 into a snow drift. But really what I'm trying to say is Dan is awesome for getting the furnace going today, you are the coolest most handsome, smart and interesting furnace fixer I have ever met.

This is totally off subject so we'll call it
Part G:
Ella spent the day in front of the space heater watching Escape to Witch Mountain part one and two and then chased it with Bedknobs and Broomsticks. However, we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carey last night and the Grinch was super scary, like hiding behind the couch scary, like watching the TV between your fingers scary, like confirming with your mother before bed that the Grinch is in fact make believe scary.

Dec 20, 2008

The Toys Shop is in Full Production Today.

My dear child asked Santa for an Aerial the Mermaid Dress and Mr. & Mrs. Claus figured they'd run out to Target last week and pick one up. Next to the forty two hundred other princess frocks at Target was an empty space where the mermaid dresses used to hang. Mr. & Mrs. Claus then went to K-Mart, the other Target, and Toys R Us, they called two costume shops to no avail and finally when all other ideas were exhausted they decided to visit the devil and ask him for a mermaid costume, but Walmart didn't have one either. Finally in sheer desperation Mrs. Claus went to JoAnne Fabric and bought green sparkly sequined mermaid tail fabric, some seaweed type material and gobs of purple felt. She will be sewing her ass off today when Dan and Ella go shopping together and hopefully see a movie and perhaps pick up dinner. Mrs. Claus is going to need a good four hours to pull this thing together and afterward she would like a brandy spiked egg nog and a neck rub.

Dec 19, 2008

Snow Day

Today is a snow day. No school, cars plowed in and 8 inches of white fluff blocking the door. So far I've managed to make a waffle for kiddo, a cup of coffee for me and stare out the window at least 3 times. My big accomplishments today will be laundry and vacuuming (gotta set goals right) later I'll reward myself with Christmas shopping, sushi and cosmos with my pal T, who's husband and kid will be at my house entertaining my family. Yep, I'd call that a pretty terrific plan, now if I could only get out of my pajamas and get this day started.

Dec 17, 2008

Crusts cut off, hold the oil

I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I quartered it diagonally making four very dainty triangles and placed it on the plate next to two celery stalks filled with peanut butter and raisins. I placed it in front of my daughter with a small glass of apple juice, dashed back to the kitchen and washed up the dishes. Feeling very pleased with myself, I sat down on the couch to bask in my house-wifeyness and found my daughter with the bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil that I've been slathering on her skin so she doesn't scratch herself to bits in this dry weather, in one hand, in her other hand a oil saturated triangle of PB&J and a tell tail smear of coconut shine on her bottom lip. The ingediants of Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil sound as yummy as they smell but I'me pretty sure you aren't supposed to eat cocoa seed butter, kiwi extract and papaya with lanolin and aloe on a pb&j. Poison control agreed that one shouldn't eat those things together but assured me since she ate it with bread and it was at best three bites she would be just fine.

Dec 16, 2008

20 Questions for Bernard Madoff

Where does one hide after stealing 50 billion dollars? Is he wearing a disguise now? Does the disguise include a wig? Is he wanted world wide? If caught will he have to return the money? Can you buy a self sufficient island for less than 50 billion? How do you sleep at night knowing you scammed charities? Is 50 billion dollars enough to leave family and friends and your whole life behind? What do you do when you get sick, don't you need your medical records? How close was he to getting caught? What was the defining moment in which he realized it was time to run? What was the original plan, did he hatch this from the beginning or was he planning to start out legit and he went crooked a little bit at a time? What kind of faith does a crook like that hang on to? Does he believe in karma? Life after death? Is he happy and sitting on a beach somewhere or scared and sitting in an evil lair/cave somewhere? What do you have for dinner when money is no object? What's his cover story wherever he is? What did he take with him? What do you do with your time after you dedicated your life to making money and now you aren't?

"When the tide goes out you start to see who's swimming naked" - Warren Buffet

Dec 15, 2008

The Little Purple Bus to School

Last week it was so snowy that walking the kids to school took an inordinate amount energy. Picking one kid up off the ice to balance myself long enough to pick another up off the ice, I ordered "That's it everyone hold my hand" and discovered I only have two hands. Telling one four year old to steady another four year old on ice by holding hands is like asking drunken derby girls to be serious for one minute, it’s only going to last 3 seconds before someone is laughing and on the ground. So, last week when it snowed again over the thin layer of ice on even the sidewalks that the vigilant neighbors shoveled I grabbed Ella’s big purple sled and told all three kids to get on. I dragged them to school in less than 6 minutes; a new world record for walking preschoolers two blocks. Though everyone had to disembark the sled and walk across the street when necessary, not because I’m overly cautious but because the stupid village trucks salt and it’s not slippery in the street, it was still less time than the usual trek and I was warm at the end of the trip (almost sweaty.) Today it’s a frigid 1° and though I was hoping for more snow and ice so our little caravan can move fast, the sky is a clear blue with high clouds, so I am getting three layers on to prepare for the long parade up the street, the little purple sled will have to wait.

Dec 11, 2008

Dear Santa, I Like Christmas but I'm Really Bad at the Presents Part

I went to four stores and in total purchased two things. I fail as a shopper. I just can't get excited about the giant universal remote larger than your head and nose/ear hair clippers with the car dashboard adapter (and who wants to clip their nose hairs with something that's just been in their ear and vice versa, and in the car!) I have some ideas of what I'm looking for now and also have the sneaking feeling I may need to get ordering on the internet to actually find it all.

I'm not even sure what I want for Christmas, perhaps a winning sold out roller derby season and a closet. The first is self explanatory and the second well, as I think I may have said before, we live in a old place and there are very few closets. We own wardrobes and dressers but oh how I yearn for one more place to put my stuff and a door to shut it on. When people come over, often times my sewing machine is right there and my roller skates are right there and the birthday wrapping paper, scissors and tape right there. Everything we own is out all the time ready for you to look at right now. It presents a particular problem when children come over and I have to answer "What's this?" five kabillion times... "It's a lint shaver.... That? it's an egg timer.... oh that, it's a box of dice... it's my flash drive." all the while I'm wishing I had a place to put them so that the child wasn't touching it and I wasn't explaining what it is and why they can't play pirates with it.

It's not that we're cluttered (well, actually we are) but I'm going to maintain we would put these things away if we had a place to put them. Perhaps this is what has me hesitant to buy anything new for Christmas. I mean really where will we put another Thing? We been just fine without another Thing. Maybe Santa could just bring me Niecy Nash. She and her cohorts can come over and be appalled at my hot mess and tell me to put at least 15 pairs of black shoes in a garage sale and pare the toys and books down by half and then send us to the
Clocktower while they save my space. Yes, that sounds good.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for my skatey ladies to kick some butt this season and Niecy Nash to come over my house and be soo appalled she wants to clean it.

Also, I've been very good.


PS The usual wishes still apply, good health, world peace,
million dollars etc...

Dec 10, 2008

Tis the Season

The festivities have started in an attempt to forget that it gets dark just after lunch and the temperature is steadily at freezing you ass off. Today the sun is out, the sky is blue, my pretend stocks are up and I'll be out doing a little shopping tonight. I have no idea what I'm hoping to find while out shopping but I'm going to give it an honest try while sorting through all the automatic gadget winders, designer custom knitted nose warmers and the dust catching home collection accessories. We put the tree up last weekend and I've almost finished rotating the ladder and getting all the ornaments up. I swear next year I'm getting a confetti gun and loading it with hard candy and just aiming at the tree. There's eggnog and Tom & Jerry mix in the fridge and brandy in the cupboard to get rid of the shakes after I've almost tipped the ladder over while standing on the top, which would really explain why it's taking an entire week to get this tree together, and we are happy for the season.

I hope you and your house are keeping warm and cozy this season dear internets.

Dec 9, 2008

Open Letter to Rod Blagojavich

Mr. Blagojavich,

I am pissed. You have no idea how many times I have personally defended you and fought with my family and friends over how you do things. I stood up for you and it turns out you are a shyster in the worst way. You are the reason politicians even the honest ones who work their tails off are regarded as unscrupulous. I believed in you, how dare you put a (D) behind your name. That means you are supposed to stand up for the unfortunate. Really? - withholding funding for Wrigley Field and a Children's Hospital? You should know better than to mess with Cubs fans and I'm pretty sure God was pissed about the second one. How low can you get?... oh wait I guess you could put the Senate seat left open by our President elect up for sale. UG.

A Loyal & Disappointed Democrat in IL

Dec 8, 2008

The Year End List

Every where you look you can see the Listiest Lists of 2008 and so here's mine:

10. Zac Efron - I don't know why, I just can't get away from him and so here he is.

9. Twitter - moving closer towards the hive mind every day.

8. NYSE - the best reason to be glad I have no extra money.

7. Roller Derby - because "If the good lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates." - W. Wonka.

6. Television Commercials - RIP.

5. Lead & Phthalates - two reason not to buy more crappy toys.

4. Ira Glass - just so I can say that I love him again on my blog.

3. Pink - the color of Pepto Bismo and everything my daughter wants and loves.

2. Obama - The reason SNL was ever worth watching again.

1. The Gulf of Mexico -

Dec 7, 2008

I Don't Care

I slept until 10:30 today. Actually I dozed. I woke up at the usual time and then continued to nap in small chunks until 10:30 at which time I could hear my inner crumudgeon complaining about how my day was being wasted, but here's the thing, I've had a headache in the back of my head and in my sinuses and around my eyes for like three weeks. So this morning as I dozed and realized my head wasn't hurting it became blazingly obvious that it's caused by stress. So today I'll be padding around the house in my socks and making pasta for some out of town pals coming by and I may be drinking some expensive wine. (I'm certainly not exchanging one head ache for a cheaper headache tomorrow.)

I know, I know what in the world can I possibly be stressed about?! The Preschool Christmas Program? The upcoming Roller Derby Season? How many cookies I didn't agree to bake to for charity? My poked thumb? Here's the thing, should I choose to think about "why" too long it may add to the knots I've created up there and so today I don't care. Send the lion in!

This brings me to Ella's preoccupation with stories that contain tragic death and destruction. She's been addicted to the above video, I bought the album and it was the first song she committed to memory the second song which she proclaims her favorite is the one where this character dies gasping and clutching at his throat while choking on a tiny bone in his soup. She's asking for fairy tales that include a stolen or abandoned children, cannibalistic witches, killed parents and the removal of hearts from young maidens. On top of this she wants to watch that movie "the Corporate Bride" (she means the Corpse Bride) and or
Beetlejuice, neither of which we own, but caught on TV in October.

So to quell her, we watched the 70s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night. When Charlie and Grandpa Jo go floating up to the ceiling from drinking fizzy lifting drinks, about to be chopped up in the fan, Ella shrieked and cried "I can't watch!" and then ran behind the couch and peeked out through her fingers. Then we talked about it for the next ten minutes, how she thought they'd be chopped up and it was going to be blood everywhere. While I tried to claim I'd never let her watch a movie like that, it did occur to me we had just sat through the Wonka takes his boat through the tunnel while singing maniacally and all sorts of horrors are projected onto the screen scene. I suppose the first time you see this movie it has one soo off kilter that it seems totally feasible little Charlie may be chopped up. It's not the sort of movie you can trust, it changes so fast so often.

Dec 5, 2008

In Which I Ramble on and Whine Like a Pro

Last century Dan took me to Las Vegas for my birthday and I bought a giant red bag from the site where Showgirls was filmed, Wayne Newton played and the movie Casino was based on... the Stardust. Shortly after we were there they tore it down. I love my giant bag, it's made of red soft plastic like those jelly shoes (I'm sure it's leaking phthalates all over me) and so you can kinda see what's in it through the side and the bottom is made of black rubber, so it's ideal for taking to the beach or any soggy place where you may want to set your bag down. Plus it says Stardust on the side.

Last month I discovered the handle was breaking off. So last night I set to work trying to sew it back together. I knew it would be difficult more like sewing leather and I grabbed a thimble but it really involved alot of muscle and my thumb didn't fit in the thimble and so I was improvising with a piece of plastic. This is when when my hand slipped and I stabbed myself with the blunt end of a needle about two or three millimeters deep right in the pad of my thumb. It didn't bleed more than a couple of drops but by the time I went to bed my thumb was all swelled up and throbbing.

I know there are folks with real woes and my entire injury can only be seen under a magnifying glass and even then I have to point it out to you. So I can't even complain about it to anyone accept the internet, because no one else will listen without making fun of me but this is my blog and I can cry if I want to even if it's silly. Poor internet putting up with all the privileged sniveling about poked thumbs in the world. But on top of that it's 6° this morning and I am told it feels like -4°. I am not happy about any of this.

PS the red Stardust bag is fine.

Dec 3, 2008

Larry vs the Snow Bunny

More snow today and I dug my long johns out. I am wearing the warmest pair today because walking the kids while it's snowing is extra slow just as predicted. They spend a good extra 10 minutes making snow angels and or catching snow flakes on their tongues and how can you really not find that so cute you let them frolic, plus their little legs are short and we've just increased the width of them by at least 50% by making their wear snow pants and boots and they really do end up walking like little penguins, so I cope by dressing warm and imagining how fast I can walk home by myself.

But anyway my warmest pair of long johns are these whole body suited red ones, the kind w
ith the buttons on the butt so you can use the facilities throughout the day without stripping down, but those little buttons aren't so little and when wearing jeans over them you can see the little lumps through the jeans and it's just weird looking. On top of that I've confiscated one of Dan's flannels because men's clothes are always warmer and then I'm wearing a snow cap in the house. Honestly I just didn't have to ooomph to take it off after getting all the other snow gear off and all that walking home so fast, plus it's holding all my body heat in. Then, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and decided me and my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl ought to get some nicer looking cold weather gear out (YIKES!). I'm off to dig through the tubs of stuff I put up last season and find a hat that doesn't involve fur ear flaps and or a brand of beer and a sweater that doesn't hang down to my mid-thigh. On the other hand I'm hoping I owned some things that will actually cover anything that could be frost bitten, and perhaps I'll even find something made of fleece that compliments my eyes.

Dec 1, 2008

Extra Dilly Dally

I woke up this morning to find a chunk of snow fell out of the sky and landed atop my portion of the planet. This is going to make walking three kids to preschool full of extra dilly dally. I'm already practicing what to say when the first handful of snow is being packed into a tight little ball. "Hey! No throwing snow... it's the rules" I love blaming the rules. I even sometimes say after much moaning and groaning about not being able to do somersaults in the neighbors yard or smoke cigarettes in the back alley while swigging whiskey "I know, I know, it's not fun but it's the rules." and I shrug my shoulders like there isn't much I can do about it.

Discipline is such a weird abstract kind of thing these days. Ella learned from observing other kid parent interactions that counting is totally bad and the whole world may implode should Mom ever make it to three. So when all reasoning has been thrown out the window, on occasion I will holler "I'm about to start counting!" at which time Ella stops pretending she can’t even hear me and wiping jelly on the couch and stands at attention. I have no idea what would happen if I got to three or even if that's where I should stop. My understanding is that's where other parents stop; I think it’s the universal amount of time one can keep whacking the dog in the head with a foam sword before your mother chases you down.

It'll get weirder, soon there will be grounding and removing privileges and I'll be forced to take responsibility for making the rules. There will be long drawn out lectures about "choices" and "what kind of person you want to be" and then hopefully the mother of all kid controlling apparatus will take form... GUILT and it will steer her through her teen years until she can regain some sanity and actually figure out what kind of person she would like to be. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have made good choices as a teen without my Mother's voice in the back of my head, but I do know that hearing "I’m disappointed in you" was way more crushing that being grounded. Those words can hang on your shoulders like a wet blanket reminding you why smoking in the back alley and swigging whiskey may sound fun but isn't such a smart choice. So I'm going with what I know.