Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's none of my business what you put in your mouth

Truly, I know it is none of my business. It shouldn't matter to me if you want to put corn, sugar, soda, cauliflower, penises, or - God forbid - coconut in your mouth. But, may I share a minor rant? The recent surge in the popularity of bacon?  Getting on my last nerve. It's everywhere I look, from tee shirts to memes to random jokes on Facebook.

I know that divorcing ourselves from having an understanding of where our food comes from is so common as to be a non-issue. It's the American way, really. It's is hard for me to understand why we care so much about dogs and cats but not other creatures. I won't try to depress you with any facts, but Google the term "gestation crate" if you want to learn a little about where your bacon comes from. Factory farming is truly horrifying (by anyone's definition), and I struggle to understand why so many of us actively support it.  Personally, I am not worth that kind of suffering. There is plenty of other stuff for me to eat.

The other problem with the popularity of bacon is that the more popular it is, the more the food manufacturers feel the need to throw it EVERYthing. I have to read the fine print on every package and every restaurant menu to make sure they haven't found a way to make seemingly vegetarian dishes . . . meaty.  By the way, not that I'm a big fan of Applebee's but did you know that every single salad on their menu has meat in it?  Sure, I can ask for stuff without meat but seriously, we are talking about salads here, ya'll.

Vegans and vegetarians make some people nervous. I mean, I get it. I eat out with friends all the time and do not comment on their food. Considering my long-standing angst over my weight and my failings in that department, it's pretty clear that I don't make the wisest food choices myself. Most vegetarians and vegans prefer not to make a big issue out of their diet and are not in the habit of commenting on what other people eat. But if others insist on making bacon jokes every five minutes, it starts to feel a little like being backed into a corner. It's annoying. 

Okay, I'm done with my rant. As you were, soldier. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

It hurts me more than you, kid

One of the greatest challenges of parenting is that when you make threats, eventually you have to follow through with at least one of them. I was in that boat on Sunday. We need to leave for church at around 9:45 each Sunday. This is nothing new - we've been going for six years and church has always started at 10:00. I should also add that my daughter knows how to tell time.

She was awake by 7:30 a.m. yesterday. So, if you are following along with the math, she had over two hours to get her act together. I gave her a couple several about a hundred thousand warnings that she needed to brush her teeth, comb her hair, and make her bed. I passed her bedroom at around 9:40 and observed that she was lying on her back on the floor, her feet propped up on her bed. She was fiddling with a roll of masking tape. Lately she is on a kick that involves making stuff out of paper and masking tape. She makes these little origami frogs and can churn them out at a rate of 10+ per hour. In any case, I could see that she was not ready to go anywhere.

Her dad was in bed, nursing a headache. "I'm about to leave you with a very bad scene," I warned him. "There is no way she can get everything done in the next five minutes. I am leaving without her."  He nodded.

I grabbed my coat and my purse. The kid could see that I was leaving.  She jumped up and frantically started brushing her hair. "There's no way you can get it done. You have to stay," I told her. She started to cry.

"No, mama, no!" She wailed as though I'd just canceled summer or something.

I walked out the garage door and got in my car. I could hear her frantically brushing her teeth.  She grabbed her coat and ran out the door after me. By this time, I had started the car and was about to back out of the garage. Normally, I would have opened the sliding door on the passenger side to let her in, but I didn't.  I could see her tear-streaked face in the window. She smacked the window with open palms and pleaded with me to let her in. "No, mama!  I want to go!"  I felt my heart lurch but I wanted her to learn a lesson. She needs to learn that church starts when it starts - not when Her Highness arrives. Just then, P came out into the garage and made her come back inside.  I could hear my daughter wailing as her dad tugged her back into the house.

I pulled out and closed the garage door. I swallowed hard. Man, this parenting stuff is not easy. I turned right out of our cul-de-sac and drove a few blocks.  Then I pulled out my phone and called the house.  I wanted to get P's input as to whether or not I should come back for her. I could hear Miss Procrastinator still wailing in the background. He and I chatted and agreed that she had probably learned her lesson. I drove back and picked her up. It was a very sullen and contrite little girl who climbed into my van.

I will be honest. I only went back for her for one reason. The RE (religious education) teachers put a lot of time and effort into preparing the lessons each week. So, I didn't want the RE teacher to go to all that trouble and then not have many students. The Grade 2-5 class is pretty small. Next time, though, I will not go back for her.

When she goes to college, I hope she doesn't sign up for any early classes. I'm pretty sure it's a recipe for disaster.


The clock is from here:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/100644339/whatever-im-late-anyway-clock-black?ref=pr_shop

Saturday, February 23, 2013

You look lovely, m'lady

I just finished dressing the little lady for the Daddy-Daughter Dance. I felt like a lady's maid from Downton Abbey. Although, now that I think about it, I don't recall Lady Mary yelling at Anna to "GET THE DOGS OUT OF HERE SO YOU CAN TAKE MY PICTURE! THEY ARE TRYING TO EAT MY CORSAGE!"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The things we do for love

For several years now, my daughter has been asking if she and I could have our photo taken together. As in, professionally. I always shake my head and tell her that we'll have pictures taken of her (by herself) to commemorate her birth instead. Every year, I take her to a studio and have that done just before her birthday. I then distribute the photos to her adoring fans far and wide. She is exceptionally photogenic and loves having her photo taken. Last year, she even gave the photographer some suggestions for poses she thought would work well. I, on the other hand, would rather eat glass than to have my photo taken.  And, let's face it - the market for photos of me and my daughter together is pretty small. I can picture my own relatives, scissors in hand, trying to figure out how to crop me out successfully. Don't feel bad for me - I'm used to my lack of popularity by now. A few weeks ago, when I attended the annual meeting for the rescue (an adults-only sort of affair), a couple of my friends/fellow volunteers asked me, "Hey, where's A?" My father (the bio one) is coming to visit in May.  This is the first time he has visited us since I moved away in 1995. He keeps blathering on and on about how he can't wait to see his "sweet grandbaby."  I hardly have the heart to break it to him that I'll be around during his visit as well. I'm all like Eeyore up in here.

Despite my considerable trepidation when it comes to having my photo taken, I scheduled a photo session for the two of us. Stupidly, I scheduled a haircut the day before. My bangs had been excessively long, a la Old English Sheepdog.  Now they are excessively short, a la Kitten, the youngest daughter from "Father Knows Best."* Next, I asked my daughter what we should wear. I pushed for jeans and casual attire. She pushed for ballgowns. She dug through my closet, looking for sparkles and glitter and sequins.  Finding none, she eventually gave me permission to wear a nice sweater and jeans. At one point I held up a v-neck cardigan sweater and asked her, "How about this?"

"What would you wear under it?" she asked.

I shrugged.  "Nothing, I guess."

"Mo-o-om!" she shouted, horrified.  I selected a different sweater. However, I think she is still secretly wondering if I really would have shown up for a family photo with my bosom fully on display. I'll just let her wonder. I'm also blessed with the ability to touch my tongue to my nose. I told her I might pose like that for the photo.  She frowned and shook her head.

As much as I wanted to lose 30 pounds, do something about my bangs, have my teeth whitened, etc. before having my photo taken, I suppressed all of that and did it for my daughter. The results are below.  Maybe, in ten years or so, she will look over at the mother-daughter photo on her dresser and, in a moment of sentimental clarity, will reel back her plans to have her ne'er-do-well boyfriend, Scab, bump me off because I won't let them be together. Maybe.

p.s. Just before posting this entry, I saw a link to this:  http://myfriendteresablog.com/so-youre-feeling-too-fat-to-be-photographed/ True dat.

*Lest you read the "Father Knows Best" reference and wonder, "Christ almighty, how old IS Claudia anyway?" I should point out that my mother is a fan of old TV shows and so I saw every episode of "Father Knows Best," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "I Love Lucy" in perpetual reruns when I was a kid. I also know more about "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" than I would like to.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

My daughter seems to be caught between two worlds. At times she is desperate to be all grown up and at other times she wants to be babied. The other day she told me that she would like to invent a time machine so that she can go back in time and be an infant once more. I told her that I enjoyed her baby days but that I am not all that interested in wiping her butt all over again.

Even while waxing poetic about being a newborn, she is simultaneously asking me for a pair of shoes that have a bit of a heel on them.  A few weeks ago, I bought the kid a new pair of dress shoes.  While I was at the shoe store (alone), I spotted a pair of black shoes with a small heel. Small, but slightly higher than I was comfortable with. I put them back and opted for a dressy ballet flat.  In the back of my mind, I knew she would have wanted the ones with heels, but I could not seem to bring myself to buy them.  "She's too young for that," I thought.

I bought the shoes (the flat ones) with the upcoming Daddy-Daughter Dance in mind.  I picked up a sparkly dress for her as well. She cannot wait to go to this dance.  It must be a special thrill to her to cavort with her friends while leaving her socially awkward father standing around like some sullen chauffeur.  He doesn't mind taking her, though. The other day I reminded him that he needs to order a corsage for the dance. A few minutes later, he came to me and asked, "The corsage is for her, right?" No, it's for Sarah Palin. I thought it would look pretty on her. I love that guy I married but remain perplexed about how his brain works.

Now that the dance is coming up, my daughter has started lobbying for a pair of shoes that have a heel. I told her that I will think about it, provided I get nothing but perfect behavior from her for the week leading up to the dance. I think her shoe request is two-pronged. One, she simply wants to be taller. Two, she wants to be fancy and grown-up. For a mom, though, this feels like a slippery slope.  When my fourteen-year-old niece was visiting last summer, she mentioned several times that my sister does not give her enough freedom.

"Blondie thinks you should cut her some slack," I told my sister. "She's a good kid."

"I can't cut her some slack," she responded. "Cutting her some slack will lead to her smoking meth under the stairs."  My niece is an honors student and the worst thing she's done is probably something like going to bed without brushing her teeth.  But, I get where my sister is coming from.  This is why the idea of buying heels for my daughter led me to think that these tiny heels will somehow, someday lead to six-inch Lucite heels and a stripper name like Autumn Summers.*

But, the sane part of me knows that my daughter just wants to be a little taller, a little cooler, a little more grown-up.  And so, today I stopped at the store and bought her a pair that looks a lot like this:**

*I am tempted to Google this and see if there really is a stripper by that name, but I'm going to resist the urge. 

**Don't tell her I bought them. I'm planning to extract a couple more days of good behavior out of her. You call it extortion, I call it creative parenting. Tomato, to-mah-to.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Even togetherness and celebrations must end

We just got back from our weekend out of town. The final tally:

Visits to the play area: 3
Visits to the pool: 3

All were extended visits, so I think she got her fill. Oh, who am I kidding - we could've taken her a hundred times and it wouldn't have been enough.  The good news is that the kid is old enough to get in the pool without us. I swam with her twice but sat out for one swimming session. I've also signed her up for some more swimming lessons at the Y. The next round of classes starts on February 27th. When she was swimming in the resort pool on Saturday (while I sat nearby, reading a book), at times I could see an expression of frustration on her face. She had managed to befriend every kid in the pool, but was restricted to the 3-feet depth area by her height. There's nothing I can do to make her taller, but at least I can try to help her be a better swimmer by taking her to classes.

When we weren't swimming or hanging out at the indoor playground, we read, watched TV, played games, and ate.  We went out to lunch and did a bit of shopping on Saturday.  All in all, it was a wonderful weekend - very relaxing.  It was wonderful just to sit around and not feel like I needed to be doing something constructive. The kid trashed her room (we had a two-bedroom suite) and I didn't say a word. If you know me, then you know how hard it was for me to suppress that urge. The three us of spent a lot of time together.  We ate too much junk, I'm sure. I need to get my act together or my spring/summer clothes will not fit. Instead of getting me a birthday cake this year, my husband went to a bakery and ordered six fancy gourmet cupcakes. They were good in a way that makes me think they should probably be illegal.

I'd have to say that the highlight of family togetherness came on Saturday evening when I heard my darling child standing outside the bathroom door: "Mom! I hear you peeing!" 

So, I guess we are done celebrating my birthday now. We can get back to focusing on my daughter's May 3rd birthday, which is definitely her preference anyway.  I still have one iTunes gift card (thanks, Rach!) to spend and a check from my grandma. I have been doing a good job of spending other people's money lately. I also received gift cards from Lush, Bath & Body Works, and Amazon. My middle sister got me a chalice necklace (the chalice is the symbol of my religion).  My mom got me a watch and some earrings. My husband and daughter got me a beaded Boxer I've been fondling for months. I made out like a bandit, ya'll!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sure I need to yell at somebody about something.

Raise your hand if you wish you had curls like that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You say it's your birthday!

Well, if you have been saying that, you should stop. Cuz it's not your birthday. It's mine. Neener neener neener!

As a kid, I sometimes felt like I got short-changed on a few things in life. I had to deal with having three different auto-immune conditions. My parents (the original set) had a tumultuous marriage and subsequently, a yucky divorce. One bonus I always had, though, was my Valentine birthday. To this day, I still think it's awesome that my birthday is on Valentine's Day. Thanks for the spectacular timing, Mom!

So, how am I celebrating today?  Well, first I'm going to work all day.  Then (and please try to contain your jealousy here), I am going to the grocery store. P has to work tonight. Shed not a tear for me, though, because tomorrow the three of us are going to a resort for a couple of days of swimming and sleeping and shopping and tomfoolery. ("Can we go to the pool? Can we go to the play area? Now? How about now?")

When the kid and husband get up in an hour or so, I have some little Valentine's goodies for them. I swore I would not buy one more stuffed animal for my daughter, but it seems I lied.

In other news, this blog post is my 800th. Woot!  Thanks, as always for reading. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I had a quiet week last week, so no weighty topics to discuss. I think the most exciting thing that happened to me last week was that I picked some scabs off Gretchen's back. Her case of the creeping epizooties remains mostly unsolved.  Last night we attended a really fun event at church. It's an annual service auction fundraiser, an event that might sound boring but there is wine and chocolate involved, which in Claudia-speak translates to "an offer I can't refuse."  One of the church members couldn't be there but wanted to bid on three items in the live auction (we also had a silent auction). He was at a basketball game and wanted to communicate via text. I was volunteered to be his texting buddy. I warned my "texting buddy" that I would be drinking wine while bidding on stuff for him. Fortunately, I was able to get him two of the three items he wanted. The bidding got a little heated on a massage package. As the bidding soared higher, the massage therapist (another member) who was offering the massage wanted it made clear that she was just offering a massage and not a "happy ending."  So I tapped it out into my phone: "Vicki sez: 'no happy ending.'"  Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I love the fact that I love my church. So many people dread going to their place of worship, you know?

In other news, it occurred to me that I should take a peek at the Google Analytics for my blog - something I had not done for quite a while. I logged in today. Looking at the stats, a couple of things are clear:

1. Fame and fortune are still pretty far off.
2. People find my blog by searching on some very odd words/phrases.

Here are a few of the weird ones from 2012:
  • eardrum doesn't move
  • I hate this time of year (Moi aussi, mon ami. Moi aussi.)
  • yeller thing
  • mom smut 
  • mother, washing machine is now broken (Ummmm . . . )
  • exhibitionist mom (um, I think you may have me confused with some other kind of mom - like maybe the naked kind)
  • mom pee party (I was invited to one of those last week but couldn't go because I was out of town)
  • easter bunny with empty basket (now that's just tragic)
  • mom cooter (seriously? and two people searched on that term and got to my blog!) 
  • am i the only mom who screams at her kids (I think it's safe to say: no)
  • are there muzzles for the elderly (WTF?)
  • fudge sticks are addicting (tell me about it! let me know if you find a support group or anything)
  • how to disguise a turkey to look like something else  
  • buttocks massage alabaster (no happy ending for you, buster)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Boy Genius

I tried to take a video of my boy Gideon exhibiting his confusion related to doors that are partially open. For example, say I'm in my bedroom, folding laundry. And let's say that the door is partially open. Instead of pushing the door open, he will just stand there on the other side with half his face visible. I always feel like he is saying, "I sure wish we could be together but this hunk of hinged wood is in the way!" It has never occurred to him to push it open. He is around 9 years old so I'm thinking there won't be a bolt of lightning any time soon. Anyway, I tried to videotape that oft-repeated scene, but he wouldn't cooperate. So instead you get a video him him doing a whole lot of nothing.

He is not working on his PhD in his spare time, but I do love him so. My boy!

Monday, February 4, 2013


My daughter will be eight in just a few months.  Her birthday is on May 3rd and she always starts talking about the next birthday on May 4th each year, so it's not like there's any chance of her dad and me forgetting about it. I remember doing lots of things for myself at the age of eight. My kid still makes us help her get her tights on. She requires us to carry her from time to time. She still likes to sit on my lap at church. She's very petite, so she's not denting my femurs or anything when she does that. In some ways she seems rather grown up but in others, she's still vaguely helpless.

Yesterday I pulled the primary-colored plastic table and chairs out of her room and replaced them with a "big girl" desk. I had been checking Craigslist for a while and finally spotted the perfect desk. It's an IKEA set that includes shelves and a whiteboard.  She was really excited about it. I hope this leads to some sort of renewed motivation to get her homework done in a timely manner, but I am not holding my breath.

Although my daughter doesn't change by leaps and bounds physically, one sure sign of her progression is the change in her room. We went from Sesame Street to Barbies, seemingly overnight.

When she was a baby, her room looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

Do you see any spots where a prepubescent boy might try to hide in a few years?  I hope not.

Before she was born, I bought a CD player for her room. Together we listened to the Lion King soundtrack and various lullaby collections at bedtime. Now, she uses it to play Kidz Bop 23 over and over and over.  Gosh, I hope nothing terrible happens to that CD.  She sits at her vanity and combs her hair all by herself. She writes secret things on pieces of paper and then slips them into her the drawers of her vanity. She has sleepovers and giggles with her friends.

And then she asks me to pour her some fruit punch and zip her jacket. It's an interesting age, aye.