Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh, and by the way??

I DID IT!! :-)

It wasn't always edge-of-your-seat compelling.
It may not have always been the most thought-provoking.
But I finished what I started. Yay me! And yay to all the other NaBloPoMo-ers out there who finished.

Some people are thinking about continuing every day in December. For as cool as this was, I will not be one of them. I firmly believe in knowing when to say when.


The ugly truth behind cute Christmas cards

Remember in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas when the Grinch’s cold, shriveled heart grows to three times its size?

Well each holiday season, I think mine shrinks a little—at least temporarily—and I become a little more like that mean, old, cynical Grinch. This moment happens on the day when I attempt to snap a photo of my two children, clean and dressed in their carefully selected Christmas dresses, smiling angelically at the camera for our annual Christmas card.

Why, you ask, would such a seemingly fun and simple event cause such distress? Easy. Children (at least mine) do not wish to sit and pose and angelically smile at the camera. They would rather make faces, and run off, and pick their nose, and wave their feet in the air, and pinch their sister, and do all sorts of other annoying things that make capturing a “perfect” Christmas card photo tantamount to going outside and counting snowflakes during a blizzard.

And even if you do get really lucky (I have once) and get a great shot, it was undoubtedly preceded by about 100 bad ones, as well as countless amounts of time, energy and parental aggravation. Let’s take a little journey with the Ghost of Christmas Cards Past and you can see what I mean.

This was my first year of the Photo Christmas Card. Peanut was four months old, and I thought naively that gaining a great shot would be a piece of cake. But the first two sessions went really badly and I ended up with this:


And this:


And this:


After these were taken, I seriously considered using one of them on our card with the caption, “Don’t be a Grinch,” or maybe “Bah Humbug!” But I decided to give it one more try and ended up with what is undoubtedly the best Christmas card photo I’ve sent to date:


Note that she is smiling, in focus, looking at the camera, there is a Christmasy back drop behind her and her head is not cut off. This photo my friends? Is as close to a Christmas miracle as I ever expect to witness. The Messiah Himself coming down from heaven above and hand delivering me a digital camera full of perfect photos would only seem slightly more miraculous than this picture.

In 2004, Peanut was 16 months old. Again, my naivety was in full force. This year, I thought, "she can understand what I am asking of her and she will happily do what Mommy asks her to do." Wrong!

Instead of the happy, agreeable toddler I envisioned, I got a distracted, uninterested, cranky girl who wanted absolutely nothing to do with me or my camera. That year, there were several photo sessions involving various wardrobe and location changes.

First try:


Mmmm . . . choking hazard! Excellent!

Second try:


The non-verbal communication here is screaming toddler profanity.

Third try:


I remember this photo clearly. I am snapping my fingers vigorously at her and she is ignoring me. This is probably good practice for her teenage years.


She is clearly in a flash-induced state of shock in this one. And she should be: this is photo #151 in this session.

In the end, we ended up going with a totally spontaneous shot taken when she wrapped herself up in lights and ribbon the day we put up our tree. The photo is dark and the shadows made her face look like a jack-o-lantern. But with a shrug, I shaded it sepia, considered it “artsy” and sent it out.


For as difficult as ’03 and ’04 were, they were a smooch under the mistletoe with Brad Pitt compared to last year when I now had to get TWO smiling, happy children dressed up and looking at the camera at the same time.

I went back and looked and I took nearly 300 pictures to get our card shot. The bad ones were so plentiful, I could do a whole month of NaBloPoMo posts focusing solely on them.


We had this one, where I think Loaf actually fell over backward and needed to be consoled for several minutes before we could continue.

And then there are these two, where Mark’s hand is seen trying to actually push them into position. I remember thinking, “Fuck it. I’ll crop it out.”



I love the look on Peanut’s face in the second one. She doesn’t have the words, but you just know she’s thinking, “What the hell, Dad?” And Loaf is like, “All the parents in the world and I end up with these two? I want out!”

I have no idea what happened here, but the look on Loaf’s face kills me:


And then there are these two:


I think she is trying to do the “L for Loser” symbol. I think she is directing that at me.


Ah, yes, devil horns. Always a good idea for the Christmas card. I can just imagine my mother-in-law’s reaction to this one.

And in the end, we went with this:


Red eye. Heads cut off. But no one is falling over, or attempting to make evil hand gestures. Good enough.

This year, I started on Thanksgiving. And I’ve lowered my standards. It doesn’t matter if there’s a tree in the background, and it surely does not matter if they are dressed in their Christmas best. No food or snot on their face or clothing = Good Enough.

That said, we’re not off to the most auspicious start.

So far we have this:


I think Peanut is actually saying, “No pictures, please.”

The ubiquitous out-of-focus escape attempt:


Peanut “falling over:”


And lots of goofy faces like this:


I went looking online and found some cards where you can do “collages” of smaller photos, so that’s what I’m doing. I have good ones of them individually and I’ll just plop them together and call it done. At this point in my life, I really can’t afford to have my heart shrink anymore.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I am unique!

There is only ONE person with my name in the whole country - ME! :-)
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Problem solved

This morning, my children woke up in utterly awful moods. There was much whining. There was a lot of screeching. There was fighting and slapping and snatching of toys followed by more screeching.

So I did the only logical thing. I tossed both their grumbly butts in the car, drove to the gym, dropped them in the babysitting area and made them someone else's problem for an hour and a half.

I'm starting to think my love of the gym has nothing to do with exercise.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

Writer's block - time for a meme

I've gone 26 days without having to resort to a meme and I thought I could pull out the whole month, but nope. Unfortunately my creative juices (at least for today) have run dry. So here's a little holiday meme from my friend Beckie that I thought was cute. Besides, it's 65-degrees here and I need a little something to get me into the holiday spirt.

1. Snow? For two weeks prior to Christmas only. After that bring on the thaw.
2. Can you ice skate? Yes, though not that well.
3. Do you remember your favorite gift? Engagement ring, baby!
4. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Getting together with family and friends.
5. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Easy - iced sugar cookies. I could eat my weight in them.
6. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve with my mom, step-dad, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Sooo fun!
7. What tops your tree? A star made of grapevine and white lights. I love it.
8. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany . . . Huh? Did you ask me something?
9. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Tough call. I love so many. I guess I'd have to go with The Christmas Song.
10. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I think they're pretty gross.
11. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate hands down. Especially when made with real cocoa and cream. Mmmm.
12. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He just sat them under the tree for me, but for some insane (myhusbandinsisted) reason he wrapped them last year for our kids, which all I have to say about that is why Santa feels the need the to be up at 2 a.m. wrapping is beyond me especially when the children will be up exactly four hours later and tear through all his handiwork in about .0087 seconds. He has enough to do. I say save yourself the effort, Santa. Maybe you can have a little chat with my husband about this issue?
13. Colored or White Lights on the house? White, though Peanut is lobbying hard for colored. This year I get my way; we'll see about the future.
14. Do you hang mistletoe? Of course! I loves me some Christmas kissin'.
15. When do you put your decorations up? Usually right after Thanksgiving, but I'm a bit behind this year.
16. What is your favorite holiday dish? Lasagna, kielbasa, ham and cookies. (And we wonder why everyone runs out and joins the gym a week later.)
17. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Christmas Eve, waiting with my cousins to open presents. It seemed like the adults were purposefully torturing us by sitting in the next room making us wait for hours while they passed the time chatting. It doesn't sound like much fun, but it was. We would all egg each other on and send the youngest to go ask when we could open presents about 75 times. And we'd laugh and be goofy the whole time.
18. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? There was no big moment, I sort of just figured it out.
19. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open gifts with my mom's family on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day.
20. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? White lights with garland, ribbon and lots of ornaments collected in our travels through the years. Here's a picture of last year's tree:


Labels: ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Money well spent

Mini tree in Target's bargain section: $1
Garland for mini tree: $1
Ornaments for mini tree: $1
Colored lights for mini tree: $1
Star for mini tree: $1
Giving your child her own Christmas tree and making her so happy she actually squeals: Priceless



Saturday, November 25, 2006

22-pound toddler vs. 120-pound dog

This morning, Loaf (approximately 22 pounds) is walking through the house carrying a plastic toy golf club.

The dog (approx 120 pounds) walks toward her, wondering if said club is food.

He stares at her.

She stares back.

She raises club and whacks dog upon head.

Dog turns and runs full speed down hall.

Toddler wins.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Harry Hotter - I mean, um, Potter

How excited was I to see this today?

Yeah, baby! Only 7 months. Yes I am a nerd.

I'm also extremely embarrassed to admit that Daniel Radcliffe is starting to look kind of . . . well . . .um, hot. I'm really not sure which about this admission is worse:
A. Having a crush on the actor playing a wizard from a children's book series, or
B. Having a crush on someone who is 17.

Maybe I should go back to discussing the holidays. Eggnog, anyone??


Thursday, November 23, 2006


I’ve been following Priscilla at elvispug who is using NaBloPoMo to talk about something she’s thankful for each day, which I think is a really cool idea.

So on Thanksgiving, I thought I’d do my own mini version. I have a lot for which I am thankful – more than my tired brain will ever remember tonight. But this is a start:

My children—They are two of the most beautiful little girls, and I’m not just talking about outward appearances, that I’ve ever encountered. They’re both incredibly sweet, fun, cuddly, loving and polite. They have brought more love into my life than I ever imagined. I am so incredibly blessed.

My husband—From the silly (dancing in the kitchen) to the sweet (bringing me glass of wine while I was taking post-gym shower), to the romantic (a random note just to say he loves me), he makes me laugh, gives me love and is an amazing father.

The rest of my family, including the in-laws— I am surrounded by amazing, loving people. I really can’t begin to express how I adore them all.

My friends—From the ones I speak to weekly to the ones I speak to a lot less than that, I really have an amazing circle of friends. I’m so glad for that.

My home—Yeah, so it’s not my dream house. Far from it. But in the past few years it has been the warm, comfortable backdrop for numerous gatherings from birthday parties to Thanksgivings, Christmas to Halloween, and lots and lots of carefree weekend days and nights with friends.

Ice cream— There is no food more perfectly satisfying in my opinon. Now if I could only get a calorie-free version, I’d eat nothing but.

High heels—What can I say? I'm five-two (and a half). Heels are my friend.

TiVo—I’m not sure how I got through life without it. Commercials? What are they?

My calves—I don’t love much about my body, but I like my calves. I have decent shoulders too. And teeth. I have excellent teeth.

Aveda hair care products— Especially the Phomillient and the Volumizing Tonic. I haven’t had a bad hair day since I started using them in mid-October.

My cats— I’ve had many over the years and I’ve loved them all. From the purring in my ear to the bundle of warmth curled up next to me on the couch, there is nothing as soothing as a warm kitty.

My iPod—I have nearly 3,000 songs in my purse on a device the size of a deck of cards and I can listen to Barry White one minute and the Dixie Chicks the next. How cool is that?

New York City—My favorite place to kill some time.

Paris, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Southwest, the Berkshires—My other favorite places.

Hot cocoa—Comfort in a cup. You can never feel bad drinking a hot cup of cocoa.

Thanksgiving—The food, the fun, even the crazy prep. I swear I could live on my mother-in-law’s cornbread stuffing recipe. Mmmm. I look forward to it all year. (That said, right about now I’m thankful that it’s over).

Wine—Because Kimberly cannot live on stuffing alone.

Christmas—I love it, I truly do. Yes, it is commercial and hyped and over-marketed and sometimes stressful, but nothing else fills me with childlike wonder like seeing Santa at the mall, or gazing at a beautifully lighted Christmas tree. And seeing it through the eyes of my children makes it all the more wonderful.

So with that I think I’ll sign off. I hope you all had a really fantastic Thanksgiving, ate your fill of your favorite foods and got to spend some time with the people you love. Peace!

(Now bring on the eggnog!)


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We'd need an awfully big bush

Back in July, when my much-loved cat died, we planted a Rose of Sharon bush for her. Peanut helped us out and to this day she'll point to it and tell me that it's "Cottons bush" and it's there because she died.

She also is aware of a pretty weeping white cherry tree on the other side of the yard, planted for our other cat, Oscar, who died of diabetes in April 2003.

So today we're sitting in her room looking at a book about dinosaurs. The conversation went something like this:

Peanut: Did the dinosaurs have sharp teeth?
Me: Yes, they did.
Peanut: What sound did the dinosaurs make?
Me: Rrrrrrr!!!
Peanut: Dinosaurs scare me, Mommy.
Me: Well, there's nothing to be afraid of honey. All the dinosaurs are all dead.
Peanut: (thinking for a minute) Should we plant them a bush?


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To swear or not to swear?

So my husband read my blog today and while he likes it overall, he thinks the cursing is "beneath me."

I don't completely disagree, but I also feel like this is just about the last free place I can swear. I can't swear at work, and I certainly make a real effort not to swear in front of the Short People (not that one doesn't slip out sometimes, but I certainly don't make it a habit and I feel instantly guilty for my goofs). Besides, when I'm writing on here, I try not to be too gratuitous about it. I don't swear just for the sake of swearing; I save my curse words for the times when I feel no other word truly fits the bill. I mean how can you really talk about O.J.'s book without using the F-word, or calling it a piece of shit?

And Mark sees that, but he thinks instead of saying shit I should type "sh*t" or something, which really? What's the point? You're all adults and you'll still read it as "shit" in your head, right? It seems kind of silly to censor myself that way. But I'll throw it out there. So I'll pose the question to you, to my eight or so regular readers, what do you all think? Keep the swears or edit them? I'm not promising I'll do what the majority wants, but I am curious what you all think about the issue.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rupert Murdoch is reading my blog

OK, not really. But it makes me really, really, really happy that this stupid project is in the shit can, exactly where it belongs. Now we can only hope that we've heard the last from O.J. until we read his obit, which quite frankly cannot come a moment too soon.

Oh and two posts in one day! Can you stand it?

Labels: ,

No more Ms. Nice Guy!

So I'm working my butt off to get my house ready for Thursday, when 23 people will show up expecting succulent turkey, an array of fabulous side dishes, freshly baked breads and delectable pies. To make for a nice atmosphere, I am painting trim, hanging pictures, scrubbing floors and carving gourds so that I can stuff them with fresh flowers and turn them into lovely centerpieces. And, of course, I'm obsessing about the food, all so that I can attempt to create as close to a Rockwellian Thanksgiving as possible for my guests.

Which is why the little trail of mouse poo I spied on floor near the fridge today is seriously bumming me out.

You know, I love animals. I try to be very Zen in my approach to other life forms. Instead of squashing insects, I operate my own six-legged catch-and-release program. But mouse poop? On my floor? On my perfect little family Thanksgiving? Is un-FUCKING-acceptable.

I have tried to be fair to the MICE living in my home this fall. The humane trap has been clicking away day and night and each mouse that is caught is driven down the road to the golf course and released without harm. But those days are quickly coming to an end. Because I? Have HAD it!! I'm *thisclose* to picking up a gallon of poison on my way home today and killing them all. How dare they invade my house and leave their dirty, disease ridden feces on my kitchen floor.

This is a very big change for me. I am not a killer, so maybe this is some type of temporary insanity? But in any event, I laughed and laughed when I stumbled upon this earlier today. We are of one mind Bitter Betty. One mind.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 19, 2006


We woke up this morning just as Peanut was starting to stir down the hall. I sat up and looked at the clock - 7:30 a.m.

Seven-thirty! She hasn't slept until 7:30 since the week before daylight savings time ended. SCORE! "We've finally turned the corner," I thought gleefully.

We all got up and went into the kitchen. All the clocks in there said 6:32. What the hell??

So I went back and checked the bedroom clock. It seems one of our little darlings hit the "D.S.T." button (e.g. Daylight Savings Time) causing it to read one hour ahead.


And suddenly, I felt very, very tired.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No "if" about it, he did it

Just over 11 years ago, on October 3, 1995, I sat in a crowded restaurant a couple of miles from my office and watched the verdict read in the O.J. Simpson criminal murder trial. When the not guilty verdict was read, there was an audible gasp in the crowd and I looked around at the other people there in stunned, disbelieving silence.

Not guilty? How in the hell . . . ?

For weeks I walked around spouting about the verdict to anyone who would listen. The O.J. trial had been my obsession for months. I watched the Court TV recaps. I read every news article I came across that discussed the courtroom happenings. I, like many, believed he was guilty; I was confident he’d be convicted.

But somehow he got away with it and instead of devoting his life to “finding the real killer” like he promised, O.J. went back to the golf course and his Florida home, which due to laws in that state cannot be seized to pay his outstanding debt to the Brown or Goldman families. O.J. went on to live the good life, unpunished and unrepentant.

So now, when I hear about his upcoming book and interview I want to vomit. He is easily one of the most despicable, disgusting, deplorable people on this planet. What audacity to come out and talk about how he WOULD have killed the mother of his children. How he WOULD have sliced her neck so many times her head was nearly severed from her body. How he WOULD have stabbed Ron Goldman nearly 30 times. Who does he think he is fooling? I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around how morally bankrupt—how utterly devoid of decency—the people at News Corp (owners of both Regan Books and Fox) must be to have given this piece of shit the green light.

I really want to watch the upcoming interview. I desperately want to hear what this pathetic excuse for a human being has to say. I want to watch with my own eyes for those telltale twitches, pauses, and other clues that indicate he is yet again lying about his innocence. I want to see him squirm and cry as the previews promise. More than anything, I want to hear him admit his guilt, and this interview is probably the closest we’re going to get to that.

But I will not watch. I have no doubt this show will be a ratings bonanza for Fox, but I refuse to be a part of it. And I hope you won’t either. You can read what O.J. said the next day on the web or in the paper and not contribute to O.J.'s plan to continue living the good life. And maybe, just maybe, if this book and interview somehow flop, O.J. will finally taste a little bit of the sorrow he so rightfully deserves.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 17, 2006

The latest in manicure fashion

Yes, I am totally the coolest person ever. Really. Only the truly cool wear the center of a Sesame Street bandage permanently glued to their thumbnail like this:


Here's how you can be cool too:

1. While cutting up a bagel into 60 pieces so your toddler can eat it without choking to death, start talking to your other child and let the knife carelessly slip across the top of your thumbnail, slicing it partway across the nail bed.

2. Walk around like this for several days, continuously catching the edge of your partly severed thumbnail on various objects and each time screeching out in pain like you are on fire.

3. Decide to try to hold thumbnail together by wearing bandage around it 24/7.

4. When bandage keeps coming off at most inopportune moments, vow to fix severed nail bed by gluing it together. Use Gorilla Glue and wrap bandage around it while glue is still wet.

5. Realize, several hours later, that Glue seems to have permanently adhered bandage to your thumbnail. For full horrific effect, use Sesame Street bandage with giant Elmo face on it. ACK!

6. Try to gently pull bandage remnant off thumbnail, but realize no way is that bad boy coming off without taking the entire top of your partly severed thumbnail with it.

7. Give up and embrace the nasty, getting-more-brown-by-the-day bandage vowing to love it until it finally grows out, which in your estimation, could be weeks.

8. Do your best to be all, "I want this here; all the cool kids are doing it," when people ask you about it.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

30 days hath November

. . . and today is November 16th. Which means I am more than halfway through NaBloPoMo! And the best part is, no laundry posts to date (Rashenbo will be so proud, though I did post about my hangover the other day. Ooops. In fairness, it's the first hangover I've had in over four years, so it was really quite notable in my little world).

On a related note, it's been fun checking out all the other temporarily insane bloggers doing the post everyday thing. Lane from
Pink Elephants has come up with a fun way to do it called the randomizer. It's like the shuffle feature on an iPod; click the "view next blog" button and it serves up a new blog at random every time. Very fun!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lost without Lost

This morning I woke up, realized it is Wednesday and for about .00039 seconds, thought, "YAY! Lost is on tonight."

Then I remembered that no, sadly Lost was not again for nearly two more months. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Sun, and the others (as well as The Others) would not be back to grace my TV screen, captivate my imagination or keep me guessing about where the hell the show is going until February 7, 2007. Ugh.

Even though Lost has certainly, well, lost some of its shine, I still look forward to it each week more than any other. So for those of you also in Lost withdrawl, here's a little funny a friend sent me recently. Hang in there! February will be here before we know it.

How many LOST fans does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: 135

1 to notice the light is burned out.

25 to argue whether the light bulb is burned out or just off.

1 to check to see if the light bulb has a Dharma logo on it.

75 to discuss the significance of the light bulb and why it burned out exactly when it did.

2 to look up the “Meaning” of light bulbs.

2 to cite references in classical literature about light bulbs.

1 to stand around and bitch about how light bulbs have "Jumped the Shark."

10 people will come from out of nowhere to say how the hate light bulbs and how they’ll never watch a light bulb again.

10 more to complain that light bulbs were better in season 1.

3 to discuss whether the light bulb is a hallucination.

5 to wonder if Kate will fall in love with the light bulb.

1 to check the serial numbers on the light bulb to see how they match up with "The Numbers."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mom Jekyll and Mother Hyde

I am always The Calm Mom. The one standing middle of the milk aisle with her arms folded at her chest, staring down at the flailing, screeching bundle of arms and legs and voice that was moments ago A Child and calmly asking, “are you done yet?” until the answer is yes and the shopping trip can continue.

I am generally The Good Mom. The one modeling proper behavior by saying please, even when prefacing a pretty serious demand as in, “Do you want a time out? No? Then please come here right now.”

But today, I became The Nasty Mom. The one screaming at her kids in public while other people hurry by looking at the ground, or worse, furrowing their eyebrows in disapproval. It was only a few seconds, but it left me analyzing the situation all day long, trying to figure out to keep The Nasty Mom at bay in the future.

We were leaving the gym. I was carrying Loaf, balancing her on my left hip and supporting her with the corresponding arm. My right arm was weighed down with the gym/diaper bag at my elbow, and the truck keys, a sippy cup, and a picture Peanut colored in the daycare center in my hand. We leave the gym like this every time. And every time Peanut walks happily at my right side, on the sidewalk, or maybe skips a few steps ahead of me, but never too far. But not today.

Today as we exited the building she bolted—running full speed ahead toward the gym’s busy parking lot and oncoming cars. My head swelled with panic. I ran toward her, screaming her name. Thank God, she stopped right at the edge of the curb.

I shifted the keys, cup and picture into my left hand and reached for her, but she took off again, trying to run away from me down the sidewalk. This time I caught her by the hood of her coat and The Calm Mom reprimanded her.

“Don’t you EVER do that again. This is a busy parking lot. If you can’t walk like a big girl, then you’re going to have to hold mommy’s hand all the way back to the car.”

Everything went down hill from there. She didn’t want to hold my hand, whining, twisting and letting her legs go limp so her body dropped to the ground. I pulled her along inch by inch, the toes of her pink Mary Janes dragging on the cement.

The walk to the truck was endless. The parking lot is about a quarter mile long, and we were on the far end.

Other mothers passed me, walking alongside an endless stream of happy, amiable preschoolers and pushing cooing, smiling babies in strollers. It seemed at that moment as though my child was the only disagreeable one in the world. A couple of moms looked at me sympathetically, and one even said, “Good morning, hey?” but the majority tried desperately not to make eye contact. Worse, I caught a wisps of disapproval blowing my way from more than one woman.

About 20 feet from the car, the combined balancing act/tug-of-war became too much, and I dropped the keys and sippy cup. I had no choice but to let go of Peanut’s hand to pick them up. As soon as I did, she ran away again. This time it was up a small embankment toward the edge of a soccer field.

The Nasty Mom was gaining power.


Instead she just smirked at me.

“I’m NOT KIDDING! Come back here NOW or you’ll sit in your room ALL DAY INSTEAD OF GOING TO SCHOOL.”

She came to me, but the struggle continued.

By this time, my left arm was literally numb from holding Loaf with no support from my other arm. I was starting to fear dropping her.

At the front of the truck, I dropped the cup again, but home plate was in sight, so I continued on. I opened the side of the truck where Peanut’s car seat is and The Good Mom, tired but not yet defeated, asked her climb up into her seat.

“Please get in,” I asked.

But Peanut didn’t budge. She stood planted on the ground, refusing to move.

The mix of anger and frustration, and probably a little leftover fear from her run toward the parking lot, suddenly became too much. My body temperature rose and my face felt hot and flush. I felt like I was in a wind tunnel with no sound other than the whhhooooshh of blood in my ears.

And then I utterly lost it.

Grabbing her by back of her jacket The Nasty Mom hoisted her – somewhat roughly – into the back of the truck.


And it was then that I remembered that I was in a parking lot. With other people. Other parents. Other children. More importantly, I realized I was speaking to my child. My Child. This was not the standard I wanted to set.

My mind briefly flashed back to that woman who made national news a few years back when she was caught on a mall security camera slapping her child repeatedly as she strapped him into his car seat. Could I ever lose control that badly? Could that ever be me?

No. I really do know the answer is no.

Closing the door, I walked to the other side of the truck and took two deep breaths as I buckled Loaf in. I returned to the sidewalk to retrieve the dropped cup and took two more.

Walking back to the other side of the truck, I could see Peanut was still not sitting in her car seat. Cleansing breaths. Deep cleansing breaths.

Opening the car door I said firmly, “That’s it. Time out as soon as we get home. Now sit down.” No movement from her, but The Calm Mom was back in control. I buckled her in and drove the 20 minutes home in complete silence.

By the time we got home, I really didn't feel much like punishing her, but I'd already put it out there and she hadn't forgotten about it (do I still have to go to time out, mommy?) so she got her time out. I consider the car ride home to be mine. I think we both needed one.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I think my cat is reading my blog

Why? Because she totally caught a mouse last night. I spied her in the kitchen pressed as close to the fridge as possible. Every now and then she'd flatten her belly to the floor like a snake and stab her paw under the fridge.

I thought, "Bah! She'll never get it," and went to bed.

Not five minutes later she's at the foot of my bed meowing a very different meow than normal. Then I hear the bell from her collar tinkle and a soft thump on the floor. More meowing. More tinkling. More thumping. So I turn on the light.

And there is BadCat, tossing the carcass of poor Mr. Mouse into the air.

The thing is? We also caught one in the humane trap Saturday night. Mark drove that one across town and let it go in a field.

So now I'm wondering just how many mice are living in our house?!?! I'm not 100% I want to know, but we will reset the trap tonight. And maybe get ourselves another cat to work the day shift.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

10 things I learned at date night

1. Italian tapas make a damn fine meal. Especially when accompanied by 10-year-old Italian wine.
2. You will feel like a rock star getting VIP treatment at the Gotham Comedy Club until you realize that entails being seated at the exact geometric center of the stage (where every comedian of the night will find some reason to poke you) and being given complimentary champagne on top of the two other drinks you must consume during the 90-minute show.
3. When you get junk mail from a bank or credit card with a postage-paid return envelope, you should send it back empty, or better yet with a note reading, “fuck you, I’m not buying anything ever.”* Hee. I am so doing that.
*As told by Lenny Marcus.
4.This guy? Hysterical!
5. Only in New York can you find a place like this where you can walk up to a counter, order a chocolate shake, then go to the back lounge and get a shot of vanilla vodka poured into it. Mmmmm.
6. I can still hold my own dancing on the bar at Hogs & Heifers.
7. Late night shots? Still not a good idea.
8. Puking is the body’s defense mechanism. If you are feeling the urge after a night of drinking, purge, baby, purge. Not doing so will cause you enormous regret later.
9. Waking up still drunk is still as unpleasant as the last time I remember, but waking up still drunk when your mother in law is staying with you and wants to discuss Thanksgiving details? Sheer. Hell.
10. There are times in life when having a hangover is totally worth the night that got you there. This counts as one of those times!

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Date night! Date night!

Tonight is date night and New York City here we come! I cannot remember the last time I was in New York for an adult outing. I think it was in early 2005. Seriously.

Sure, we've taken the kids there for day trips and I've been there for work. I've met friends there for lunch. But a night out in New York? It's been a very, very long time.

Not to mention the last time we went out for dinner in "The City," I was about 7 months pregnant and suffering from virtually every related ailment: indigestion, sciatica, exhaustion. I hobbled around on my one good leg (the other one numb from Miss Loaf hanging out on all the relevant nerve endings since the end of the first trimester) trying to be a good sport. Glass of wine? Fuggetaboutit. I was so tired, I think we were home by 11 p.m. Fun date I was not.

I have high hopes for tonight's evening, even though Mark is sick, I have a cold sore the size of a second head on my upper lip and it's supposed to pour buckets sometime this evening. These are not things I am concerning myself with. We're going to NYC. We'll be with good friends, eating good food and drinking wine. Lots and lots of wine. :-)

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 10, 2006


The sickness that's plagued our house this week has forced me to be a virtual shut-in. No work, no gym, not even a trip to the grocery store. My two biggest outside social interactions this week were the two times I dropped Peanut off at preschool and the short conversation I had with the woman volunteering at the voting booth. It was so bad that last night I was actually a little happy to see the mouse in the kitchen just because it was a new entity with whom I could interact.

So in light of all that, I honestly could not get out of the house fast enough this morning. Driving into work, I blasted my iPod with the most un-kid-friendly music I could muster (The Black Eyed Peas anyone?)

And instead of retreating immediately to my desk, I stood in the kitchen chatting with my coworkers over tea and cereal for several minutes. I could actually feel my brain kickstarting—going through it's own version of a sun salutation with energy flowing to every lobe that's been on hiatus this week.

For lunch? I'm heading out with a friend here to gossip, giggle and talk about anything NOT related to small children.

I love my family - clearly - more than anything. But every now and then it's nice to put on nice clothes, step outside and be reminded that there's more to life than potty training, picture books and Sesame Street.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yo! Cat! How about a little help here?

Our mouse is back. Actually, I'm not 100% sure it ever left. It may have just retreated to the attic. A few weeks back I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and as I lay in bed I could hear the faintest scrittch scrittch followed by an even fainter thunk thunk coming from the ceiling above me. It kept me up for at least an hour and the whole time I'm lying there thinking, "you've got to be fucking kidding me? I'm being kept awake by a MOUSE?" I finally fell asleep and have given very little thought to our resident rodent since.

Until tonight when Mark yelled from the kitchen, "I think we still have a mouse."

Me from the living room, "why do you say?"

"Because it's swimming in the dog's water bowl."


Sure enough, there it was - middle of the water bowl - submerged to it's little neck, desperately trying to gain some traction to propel itself to freedom. And then it did. About .00067 seconds before Mark could slap a newspaper on top of the bowl. And all the while our cat was sleeping soundly in the bedroom, completely oblivious.

So our handy dandy humane mousetrap is loaded up with peanut butter, ready to go. Because Lord knows, we can't count on the cat to catch it.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Community giving 101

We’ve pledged to try to raise socially conscious children who give back to the community whenever possible. We decided our first step in this would be a bi-annual sorting of the toys, giving away whatever wasn’t played with to charity.

With Christmas — and the mountains of new toys that come with it — looming, the moment had come. This time around, I decided to involve Peanut. The process began with a little warm-up conversation.

Me: You know, there are kids who don’t have any toys. And you have lots of toys, some of which you and Loaf never, ever play with. Wouldn’t it be nice to give some of those toys away to kids who don’t have any?
Peanut: (blank stare)
Me: Because I think that would be a really nice thing to do. What do you think?
Peanut: (continuing blank stare)
Me: Don’t you feel sad that there are kids who don’t have any toys?
Peanut: (suddenly coming to life) NO!!!
Me: (trying different approach) Wouldn’t you be sad if you didn’t have any toys?
Peanut: NO! Grandma would buy me more.

Ooooh-kay. Obviously we just needed to dive right in.

I decided to start her in Loaf’s room, figuring it’d be far easier for her to get rid of her sister’s toys than her own.

I dumped a basket of small baby toys — stuff that has not been touched in months — out onto the floor.

Me: (Picking up first item) How about this rattle? You don’t play with this anymore and I haven’t seen Loaf play with it in a long time either. Should we put it in the bag?
Peanut: No! Blanket likes it.
Me: Blanket? Likes? It?
Peanut: Yup. She plays with it. (Snatches rattle from my hand and runs into her own room with it. Returns moments later with Blanket’s “arm”— yes, blanket has arms, as well as feet and a face — wrapped around the rattle).
Me: (sighing) Okay, okay, Blanket can keep that one. But what about this one?
Peanut: I used to play with that.
Me: I know you used to, but you don’t anymore. How about we put it in the bag?
Peanut: (long pause) Okay.
Me: Really!?! Oh, I mean, great. (Drops item in bag)

We went on like that for a long time, moving slowly through Loaf’s room, Peanut’s room and the toys in the living room. I’d hold up an item and she’d give the “yea” or “nea” on it. Multiple times she anxiously confirmed that we were not getting rid of ALL of her toys and that she in fact would still have some things left to play with, despite the fact that we were clearly keeping quite a bit of stuff and some things — like that damn annoying Sesame Street Teach and Go Train that blares, “BIG BIRD HERE! TIME TO TAKE THE TEACH AND GO TRAIN FOR A RIDE!!” at least 300 times a day was unfortunately not even under consideration.

In the end, she ended up agreeing to get rid of two grocery bags full of toys. I know it’s a total Mom thing to say, but I’m really proud of her.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day!

I voted today. I hope all of you do too. Even though once again I was not thrilled with either choice in the NJ Senate race, I made my decision and went to the polls.

In my opinion, not voting is one of the most grievous and unpatriotic things you as an American can do. People all over this planet die every day trying to sustain or attain that right. It’s shameful to take it for granted even if you (like me) find yourself feeling more and more cynical about politicians today.

If you’re still not sure who to vote for in your area, Fact Check is a great resource. It analyzes political ads from both sides and identifies areas where the truth was stretched or all-out fabricated. If nothing else, you might be able to make sense of the ads and know for sure whether your senator invited a known cocaine trafficker to his swearing in (TRUE) or whether he's under federal criminal investigation (FALSE).

I, for one, will be glad when this particular election is over. I’m sick to death of the pundits, talk radio people and other so-called “experts” trying to guess, analyze and hypothesize who is going to win this election. After today, I expect a few more days of post-game analysis, gloating by the winners and blame-gaming by the losers, and then let's move on. Please. This country needs strong, honest, focused leadership right now. I'm not sure the person I voted for will contribute to that. But I did my best. All I can hope is that he will do the same.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trying to find a glass half full

I was going to write this Really Cranky Post bitching about how I'm sick and Loaf is sick and Peanut is getting sick and how I have tons of work to do tonight/tomorrow morning and all I want to do is go to bed and how my house is always a complete fucking mess that I can never get ahead of, which on top of the work pressure, really stresses me out, but then I thought, "who the hell wants to read that?" Uck. DOWNER.

So instead I did a little Zen meditation and tried to think back to something that made me smile over the last couple of days and I came up with this.

In case the link doesn't work, it's a story about a bull that escaped from a slaughterhouse in Newark over the weekend. He ran amok though the city until he was finally lassoed and tranquilized. Apparently, the bill for his capture is more than he was worth at auction, so he's going to spend the rest of his days at farm for unwanted animals run by the Humane Society. I love it when the little guy (even if the "little guy" is a 600-pound bull) triumphs.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A plague upon your house

So let's review yesterday:

Sick toddler coughing my face all day? Check.
Wiping sick toddler's nose 14,392 times? Check.
Vigorous hand washing to the point where the skin on my hands was actually sore? Check.
Liberal use of hand sanitizer? Check.
Preemptive use of Zicam? Check.
Still waking up sick as a dog today? Check.

I guess some things are just unavoidable.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I woke up this morning full of ambition, writing out a long to-do list of projects big and small. Repot a plant. Dust all the pictures on the bookshelves. Clean my bathroom. Work more on painting the trim in the hallway (a project I started over the summer that's still not done).

But Loaf woke up sick. Quite sick. For about two weeks, the poor thing has been plagued almost continuously with a cold. It was better this week, and practically gone yesterday. But today it was back with a vengence and she demanded being held much more than ususal.

Sure, there were moments here and there when she'd get down and play for a while, and thankfully she took a pretty long nap this afternoon. But for the most part all she wanted was human comfort.

So my pictures are still dusty. My tub still needs a good scrubbing. That poor plant is still stuffed into a pot that's way too small. But for much of today, my sweet, sick, feverish baby laid her head on my chest and felt comfort, and that's really all that matters.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fall back (waaaay back)

Last Sunday’s return to Standard Time has really screwed with our household. Peanut, who has always been the better sleeper of the two, has taken to waking up at the asscrack of dawn. I think the latest she’s slept in since last Sunday has been 5:30 a.m. And there have been mornings – several – where she’s standing at my bedside at 5 a.m. or earlier. One day she got up at 4:15.

Now, I am an early riser. I prefer to get up and get going in order to make the most of my day. But 5 a.m.? Is just a little too early even for me.

The situation is compounded by the fact that Peanut generally refuses to take a nap. So by late afternoon she is exhausted, spinning out of control and melting down at every little thing. Last night she had a 10-minute tantrum because Loaf apparently drooled a bit on her bed.

Red-faced and sobbing, she mopped at the comforter with a hand towel and then tried in vain to strip the bed. A few minutes later, the trauma of having her sister’s saliva on her bed apparently passed, I walked into her room to call her for dinner only to find her nearly asleep. I had to wake her by carrying her into the kitchen, sitting her upright at the table and practically forcing her to eat a few bites of food.

Desperate to keep her up later than 7:30, I gave her a lollipop and an extra half hour of TV. But as soon as the Sesame Street credits rolled, she headed straight for bed and was asleep before I could even properly tuck her in.

I have always hated the annual changing of the clocks. I hate that it gets dark at 5 p.m. now, chopping our afternoon outdoor playtime quite a bit. But this sleep thing? Something’s got to change here because we’re all exhausted.

Today we implemented the “don’t get out of bed until you see light through your curtains” rule, and that helped a bit, though she was still up and playing her room instead of sleeping. I don’t know. I’ve considered keeping her up late one night to try to force a change, but I’ve heard that can backfire. Any suggestions? I’m open to trying just about anything.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I must be crazy

Yesterday, in a moment of temporary insanity (I was at work – that always makes me a little loco) I signed up to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), which means I have to put up a new post every day for the entire month of November. Including weekends. And um, Thanksgiving.


The good news is, this post counts for today. Right? RIGHT?!?! (Say no and I will find you and tie you up and make YOU come up with a new, interesting and engaging post for the next 30 days).

Check back often since I think this is going to be an interesting little experiment. In about two weeks when I’ve completely lost my mind and am logging posts about the thickness of the lint in my dryer, you will be able to say, “I knew her when she was a relatively sane person, so sensible and coherent. What a pity.”


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fall fun!

We've had a really good fall full of all the fun things that should come with this season: pumpkin farms, playing in the leaves, Halloween. Here's a little sampling of all that great stuff.

Peanut's preschool class went to a local pumpkin farm where they got to choose their own pumpkin from the field. She was very particular, examining and passing up several before finally settling on this one. Doesn't she look proud?


We've played outside a LOT (playing outside keeps Mommy somewhat sane). Last week it was pretty chilly, but we bundled up and headed out anyway.

Here is Loaf finishing off the last of the summer flowers from the garden:

Showing off her kill:

And Peanut got into the action too. Here she is getting ready to run through a big pile of leaves. Don't you dig how her jeans are tucked into her pink cowboy boots? I am proud to say she put that look together all on her own.


In her arms is the infamous Blanket. Blanket is a she, travels everywhere she does, used to be white but is now quite gray, and apparently is her daughter, but my baby sister. Try and chart that one on a family tree.

Halloween! Here she is: Daddy's little princess.

Loaf got into the swing of things very quickly, though about halfway through the night we noticed she was dropping as much candy as she was collecting.

Trick or treat! She liked to hold down people's doorbells for a really long time just to make sure they knew for sure she was there.

My two sweeties: