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Showing posts from December, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Let's talk about guilty pleasures, shall we? You know, the stuff you love that you should be scoffing at instead.
Here are my confessions:
People Magazine. I have a degree in English. I even graduated with honors. I've read many of the classics, and have slogged my way through Faulkner with the best of them. As such, I should be embarrassed all to hell to read People. But, almost nothing makes me happier on a Friday night. If I can read it in a hot bath with a glass of Riesling (or a Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi) perched on the edge of the tub, so much the better.
Bad Pop Music. One of my favorite hobbies is scoping out new music. I actually spend a fair amount of my time listening to music-related podcasts and reading music blogs. Few things thrill me as much as finding an inventive new song and adding it to my music library. 2009 found me grooving to Metric, the XX, Animal Collective, and Thao. Why, then, do I have "I Can't Wait" by Nu Shooz on my iPod? And &…

The things a daddy does

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This is what all the fussing and cussing was about. To give you an idea of the size, it is 51 inches tall.

I always knew my husband would be a good dad. I never heard even a hint of "must have a son" from him (even though he does loves sports). Now that our daughter has gotten a little older, she is serving capably as a playmate for him. They play Lego Batman on the PS3, they talk about super heroes, and they rummage through the pantry (in search of baked goods) together. They conspire to keep things from me, such as a red light accidentally run and a hunk of toothpaste smeared on a freshly-laundered dress. Last night I was on the phone with my mom but could hear the two of them singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, replacing all of the verbs with the word "fart." They were both howling with laughter.

I took care of most of the Christmas preparations, but P took it upon himself to go out and get her four sets of super hero figurines. "Ugh," I thought. He …

You'd Better Not Pout, I'm Telling You Why

When I was little, we lived in an apartment in Maryland. I knew how Santa got into one's home and I was also well aware that we didn't have a chimney. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that, even as a young child, I was every bit as high-strung and fretful as I am now. I all but had a coronary event over this how-does-Santa-get-into-our-house issue. Seriously, I lost sleep over it.
My mom, in her infinite wisdom, told me this: "Santa takes a pill and it makes him very, very small. He walks right under the door!" As implausible as this explanation may seem now, I totally bought it. I think I just needed something, some reassurance that Santa would not face any obstacles in bringing me my gifts. You do NOT want to make things difficult for St. Nick, through such means as not having a chimney. I did briefly wonder how this microscopic Santa would get my full-sized presents under the apartment's front door, but I quickly dismissed it. Fortunately for us,…

Fourth Time's The Charm

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Gretchen and I recently completed the Pre-Novice Obedience training class for the third time. Now, please understand that most duos do have to repeat the class at least once. You have to be able to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the various exercises before passing into Novice Obedience, where the dogs are off-leash much of the time. Most do not make it through on the first try. So, I wasn't too surprised about having to repeat the class after we botched the first final evaluation. The second time we took the class and didn't pass, I was vaguely embarrassed but mostly took it in stride. By the third time, I felt like Gretchen had improved a lot. One of the hardest exercises is a "stand for exam." She has to remain standing while I move six feet away from her. The evaluator moves towards her and touches her head and then touches her back in a couple of places. The dog needs to remain planted and not move at all. We struggled mightily with this o…

My First School Concert

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I attended my first school concert (dubbed "Winter Wonderland") yesterday. Or at least, it was my first one as a parent. P's sister was in town so she went with us. A was very excited to have her parents and her aunt there. She dressed up for the occasion.
First off, some of you seasoned parent types could have warned me that getting there 15 minutes ahead of time would not be anywhere close to early enough. When we walked into the school gym, every parent and grandma in town was already there. A lady gestured to me that there were two seats open to the right of her, so my sister-in-law and I sat down. A coat was partially covering my chair but I didn't really think anything of it. It turned out that the lady to the right of me had been attempting to save two chairs, not just one. She started loudly saying things like "WELL, I GUESS IT'S GONE NOW" and "I GUESS THEY'LL HAVE TO SIT ON EACH OTHER'S LAPS." I turned to her and apologized fo…

Things That Suck (Issue #52): The Circus

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. - Albert Schweitzer

I was elated to see this recent Washington Post article about the training of circus elephants. Don't worry - the article is not overly graphic. Don't be afraid to check it out. When a former elephant trainer acknowledges that there is rampant cruelty in training these animals for circus acts, it's hard to spin it any other way.

Although I don't consider myself an animal rights extremist, I do hold firm the belief that animals should not be used for entertainment purposes. What is done to elephants and other non-human circus performers in the name of good family fun is truly unconscionable. There is nothing natural or fun about wrapping ropes around a young elephant calf (who has probably been forcibly removed from his mother) and forcing him to the ground. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I hope other parents will consider rejecting the circus as a form of famil…

That's Hobo with a B

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Giddy thought the stuff from Goodwill smelled mighty suspicious.

My daughter became a hobo today. She didn't know what a hobo was, so I explained to her that's it's someone who has no home (although I guess there's also a connotation that a hobo is sort of a purposeful vagabond, a lovable character even . . . but I didn't go there). She was playing the part of the train-hopping hobo in a Christmas play at church. The children were performing "An Orange for Frankie," based on a book by Patricia Polacco.

Let me tell you, it was a hard sell. I spun it as a "won't it be fun to wear a costume" sort of adventure, but she saw it a bit differently. A lot differently, in fact. She has worn only dresses for almost two years now. I went to Goodwill and picked up some overalls, a red shirt, a red bandanna, and some gloves (I cut off the tips of the fingers - very clever, ne c'est pas?). I bought these items in the boys' section. If my daughter…

Updates on Stuff

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A few random updates:

I had no idea that the mystery of the doll with the green thing on her head would keep people up at night. A few friends and aquaintances have posted various theories on my Facebook page. "Do you think maybe she meant Tinkerbell?" Or, "I saw this doll at Target - maybe this is the one?"

The good news is that A has mentioned fifty other toys since she first asked for the doll with the green thing on her head. My mom is getting her the Tiana doll from Princess and The Frog. Then, if that's not the doll the kid was talking about, we'll just say, "That's what we thought you meant." Case closed.

This "I want I want I want" business is precisely why I'm on a mission to have her buy a gift for the Toys for Tots program. Maybe it will hold some meaning for her if she can hand a doll or a game directly to a handsome, uniformed, too-young-for-Mama smiling Marine. I once read that kids aren't really capable of thinkin…

#400

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My 400th post! Please, hold your applause!

Seriously, though, I'd like to thank those who read my random little blog and those who link to it from their own. And the 26 souls who follow it on Google Friend Connect. I have to blow a kiss to my longtime friend J, who wrote "Obsessed with every detail of this fascinating and alluring woman's life" on his Google profile. Ladies, if you don't have a supportive gay male friend, I suggest you seek one out immediately. While I still have not met my goal of submitting my writing to various sources for possible publication, every day I inch just a little closer. The dream, it remains. Thank you for reading!

In other news, my friend Kari Beth came over yesterday to take some photos of my daughter. I still have not decided if I am sending out Christmas cards this year. I'm under a lot of stress at work right now and I'm really trying to enjoy the holidays without adding any additional angst. In any case, I've go…

Me So Smug

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My daughter asked for a Fur Real Lulu Cat for Christmas. Our cat hates her so of course she is obsessed with all things feline. She often pretends to be a cat and makes me rub her belly. When it is time for A to get out of the bath tub, she tells me I have to say, "Please get out of the tub, kitty."

So, when she saw the commercial for the Lulu cat, she said she wanted to add it to her list for Santa. And then began talking about it ad nauseum soon thereafter. I started doing a little digging online and found a message board entirely devoted to shopping at Target (seriously). One of the members indicated that Target had a coupon book offering great deals on toys, and that said coupon book included $10 off on the Lulu cat. Target didn't just leave this little goldmine laying around at its stores, however. You had to ask for it at the service desk (the coupons expired before Thanksgiving, so don't get any ideas). So a few weeks ago, after taking Gretchen to obedie…

Confession #47

Here goes: I have an intense dislike for "The Christmas Shoes," to the extent that hearing just a few notes of it when flipping through radio stations elicits a fairly violent response from me. Yes, "The Christmas Shoes," one of the most beloved songs of all time. To many people, this is akin to saying you don't like oxygen.
Here is a sample of the lyrics:

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Trying to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing around like little boys do
And in his hands he held
A pair of shoes

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say

Now, I love holiday songs as much as the next girl. I can Feliz Navidad with the best of them. I even have over 100 Christmas tunes on my iPod. But this cloying song with its treacly lyrics . . . I just can't hack it…