Showing posts from October, 2011

Who Invited the English Major?

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I attended a Pure Romance party a couple months ago. It is common at such gatherings for the sales representative to lead the partygoers in a game of some sort. An icebreaker, if you will. At this particular party, the Pure Romance lady issued an invitation to the attendees: "Use the first letter of your middle name and then come up with a list of adjectives to describe your sex life." There weren't a lot of people there, so my turn came up pretty quickly. My middle name is Marie. The first adjective to jump into my brain was maudlin. No, no, that won't work. Mediocre? No. Musty? Crap!  Seeing that I was stymied, the hostess rattled off a list of M words that would make Dr. Ruth blush. "Moan, masturbate," and so on she went. I can't remember the rest but there were quite a few. An alarming number, really. "But, but . . . " I responded. "Those aren't adjectives."  Everyone turned to look

The secret language of families

I'd imagine that most families have sayings and references that mean nothing to the rest of the world. I know my family had plenty of them when I was growing up. When I was a junior in high school I wore black a lot (you know, a reflection of how horrible my comfortable suburban life was and how tortured I was by it). My stad would always ask me, "Who do you think you are? Johnny Cash?" To this day, whenever I wear black, I can hear his voice asking me if I'm about to belt out "Folsom Prison Blues" or something. You had to have a sharp wit to grow up in my family. We made fun of each other endlessly and mercilessly, even at one point having a game called "Who Am I?" where one of us would mimic another family member and you had to guess which one it was. If you pretended to sleep on the couch with your mouth open, you were my middle sister. If you pretended to fly into an apoplectic rage over nothing, you were my baby sister (she's got the red

Things I don't understand

Double-lane roundabouts.  My neck of the woods has gone ga-ga over roundabouts. They are everywhere. From a practical perspective, I understand the benefits. You're not sitting at a light for 30 seconds, so less idling = less emissions and whatnot. However, the double-lane ones give me an ulcer. I feel like no matter how I try to navigate through it, I will manage to screw it up in some colossal way. Sometimes I miss my exit out of the roundabout and just keep going 'round. "Look, kids! Parliament, Big Ben!" Ke$ha Spam. Here is a sample subject line from an email sitting in my spam folder: Enlarge you Penis Naturally Gain Up To 4 Inches In Length And Up To 25% Girth Increase . If I need to enlarge me penis, first I should go about obtaining one. Then I can also purchase the "vigara" that is also offered rampantly to my email account. I wonder what the conversion rate is for these spammers. They must get a sale here and there or they wouldn't keep sendi

Michael & Me

I've been part of an interesting turn of events over the past few days. I am elated, humbled, and in some ways mystified by all that has happened. Allow me to start from the beginning . . . I don't have HBO but regularly listen to "Real Time with Bill Maher" on podcast. Michael Moore was a recent guest. I am a fan of both gents. It occurred to me that I didn't have Michael Moore in my Facebook news feed, so I logged in, found his page, and clicked the "like" button. Not long thereafter, he posted that he was having a little contest on Twitter. His goal was to reach 900,000 Twitter followers and, once that milestone was reached, he would choose a random follower and donate $10,000 to the charity of that person's choice.  Now, I have to confess that I am not the most prolific Twitter user. And, generally speaking, my tweets are far from witty and/or insightful. My most recent tweet was an offer to give away my foster puppy to the first taker (way to

Terrifying things come in small packages

On Saturday night, P and I sat down to watch the movie "127 Hours" together. The flick is the story of Aron Ralston, the hiker who amputated his arm in order to free himself from a boulder that had fallen on him. In case you are wondering, no, I did not watch the amputation scene. I turned away and read a magazine until it was over. Watching my husband (a former Marine) freaking out over it was all the proof I needed to know I made the right decision. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from Kim, my friend and fellow rescue volunteer.  I took the phone into the office/spare bedroom to chat with her. "Whatcha doing?" she asked. "Not much," I replied. "Watching a movie, having a little wine, that sort of thing." "Do you want to foster a puppy?" She sent a photo of the ten-week-old pup to my cell phone. Kim had pulled the dog from the stray facility so as to save her life. Everyone knows I do not like puppies (I've been fostering

Seven Halloweens

We took the kid to the first of five Halloween-related events yesterday. It was the trial run for her fairy costume. Every year, she announces the following year's costume on November 1st. She never changes her mind either. Once she's made her announcement, she sticks with it. I pieced together this year's costume from various sources (I was trying to avoid buying a really cheap fairy costume that would never last through multiple wearings). I got the skirt and wand at Children's Place, the Danskin leotard on eBay, the tights and shoes at Target, the wings at a craft fair, and the leggings, purple hairspray, and face glitter at Goodwill (all were new). I can't remember where the crown came from. Sassy attitude was provided by my daughter. The biggest challenge with Halloween costumes is warmth. Many times, it's downright cold on Halloween. I liked it when she was little and I could wrestle her into a warm fuzzy costume. Now she prefers to sacrifice warmth for

Secret Project

I have no idea if/how I can pull this off, but I'm gonna try. Last week I bought a wooden vanity on Craiglist as a Christmas gift. My daughter has mostly outgrown the plastic kitchen set that lives in her bedroom, so I'd like to replace it with a vanity. The loss of the kitchen will be bittersweet. Bitter, because it means she is growing up; sweet, because we no longer have to pretend to eat plastic broccoli. I had been watching Craiglist ads for a while (while also pricing new vanities) and saw one a few weeks ago that seemed promising. The owner sent me a photo via text. And then I chickened out. It needed a lot of work and I wasn't sure I could smuggle it into the house and then work on it in secret over the next 2 1/2 months. I filed the text message and forgot about it. However, on Thursday the vanity owner sent me a text and asked if I still wanted it. I'm guessing that he must have had other leads that didn't pan out. I know from experience that a lot of the

Expanding my nephew collection

I added a fifth nephew to my collection yesterday (I've got two from each sister plus one from my husband's brother). My middle sister gave birth yesterday to a 9 pound 6 ounce boy. She had declared that she wanted him "on the other side of her" by noon but he held out until 1:12 p.m. My sister had been up all night and was ready to be . . . not pregnant. During the early stages of labor I kept in touch with her boyfriend via text message. My sister's childhood nickname is Cheech (I can't say that she's that fond of it).  I double-dog-dared her boyfriend to yell "You can do it, Cheech!" during the pushing phase of labor, but he declined to take the dare. What a pussy, right? Prior to the birth, I had been awarded the auspicious title of "head of the phone tree."  So, once the baby was born, I quickly fulfilled my duties and called the rest of the family.  I am several states away but I got to meet the new guy via Skype last night. He di

Rite of Passage

My baby got her ears pierced this morning. We had discussed it a few times over the past year or so. I didn't have it done when she was a baby because I figured, well, it's her body and she should be the one to decide if she wants holes in her head or not. I'm not planning to leave other decisions to her at this age, mind you. I think we'll mostly limit it to "what do you want to wear to school tomorrow?" and "do you want pancakes or waffles?" In any case, she decided she was ready for earrings so I took her to Claire's this morning (motto: ear piercing is free when you buy our outrageously expensive starter kit! ). The main thing we had talked about in advance was that once one ear was pierced, she had to have the other one done. I had heard horror stories about kids freaking out after the first shot from the piercing gun and then refusing to endure another. She assured me that she was ready for the whole shebang. She picked out the Hello Kitty

Mickey Stresses Me Out

A year and a half ago, we visited some friends out of state for a weekend. We had a few drinks and then cooked up the idea for all of us to go to Disney World together in the summer of 2012. At that time, it seemed really far away. I guess because it was. Now the trip is seven months out and is looking more and more official. We're starting to panic a wee bit, for lots of reasons. My husband and I first got a little nervous after talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a flight attendant. He sometimes flies the Orlando route and said something about parents who "hemorrhage cash the whole time they're down there" and then fly back home with their souls sucked right out of them.  Since then, we've had this troubling visual of currency flowing steadily out of every orifice. In July our out-of-state friends visited us and we sat down with my laptop and looked at some of the Disney-related options. When I learned how much it costs just to set foot inside a Disn

First parent-teacher conference of the year

My daughter has 23 school days under her belt for this school year. She has stayed "on green" for exactly 7 of those days. Not even a third of the time, if you're keeping track. She has been on red twice and on yellow the rest of the days. I never dreamed that an elementary school warning system modeled after a traffic light would occupy so much of my time and energy. Anyway, it was with that grim knowledge that I gamely strode down the locker-lined hallway to my daughter's classroom last night. I was expecting to hear words like "very social" and "talkative." In fact, I told P that I thought it would be fun to take a flask and then do a shot every time I heard one of those words. Well, let's just say it's a good thing I don't actually own a flask, as I would've been plowed before I left the building. Although, looking on the bright side . . . I would have been unlikely to injure myself in as much as I was perched on a chair with

Toad in a Hole

When my middle sister was a kid, our parents bought the Better Homes & Gardens Junior Cookbook for her. I think she made several recipes from the book, but the most memorable one was something called Muffin Surprise (or Surprise Muffins - something along those lines). As I recall, they had a bit of jelly in the middle - hence, the "surprise." Pop called them "concussion rolls" because they were, well, quite dense. If one were hurled at your noggin, we imagined you'd be struck unconscious on the spot. My sister didn't think that was funny at all. I've ordered the same book (new cover - not sure what else has changed) for my daughter for Christmas.  Last week she came home from the school library with a kids' cookbook. It's not the classic Better Homes & Gardens one, but it has some cute recipes. We tried one this morning.  Now, historically my daughter is not all that self-sufficient so I was a little apprehensive. She doesn't seem t