Showing posts from 2012


Christmas has come and gone, leaving boxes and cookies and tiny little bottles of alcohol* in its wake. I suspect that 2012 is the last year my daughter will believe in Santa, so I wanted to preserve the magic as much as possible. After we got home from church on Christmas Eve, she set out cookies and almond milk for the big guy and even opened the little fireplace doors, just to make sure Santa didn't get trapped in there or anything. Together we watched Santa's progress on the NORAD website. "He's almost in Puerto Rico," I told her. "You'd better go to bed right away!"  And so she did. Her father and I, for once, got a little quiet time together. Thank you, NORAD! Although my daughter cannot be pried out of bed even with a crowbar on most mornings, she was up bright and early on Christmas Day. I was already awake, because the foster puppy apparently needed to get an early start on his evil-doing. He was up by 6:00 a.m. As any dog person will tel

Step into Christmas

After my last post, I felt like I was out of words for a few days there. Friday morning I received a pre-recorded message from the principal of my daughter's school. The school was scheduled to hold a lock-down drill yesterday and the message served as notification to the parents. Apparently, they've had a lock-down drill previously, because my daughter told me about it. I asked her what they told her to do if there is a lock-down. Apparently she is supposed to go to a specific area and curl into a ball. She knows she is supposed to stay away from the windows. She said the classroom door will be locked and the lights will be turned off. She also made this comment, which has haunted me ever since: "I have to stay in a ball so the shooter can't see my legs." I felt like crying, just knowing that my child has this kind of awareness now. Stupid reality. Leave my kid alone. In happier news, my sister-in-law visited us from Kentucky this week. She was supposed to

What to say

Like many parents, I could not decide what to tell my daughter about the shootings in Newtown. I didn't want to tell her at all. The tragedy at Sandy Hook also made me realize that I'd never really talked to her about security at school. I guess it just never occurred to me to say, "Hey, if a crazy person with a gun comes into your school and starts shooting everyone, this is what you should do." And even if I did, what sort of protocol would I recommend? Run? Fling yourself under your desk? These school shootings always seem very random as far as who gets gunned down. There doesn't seem to be much that a child can do to escape a bullet.  It's heartbreaking that we have to think about such things. At first I was pretty determined not to tell her. A lot of my friends were having similar debates on Facebook. Talk or don't talk? Most opted to bring up the topic in as much as they were concerned that their child(ren) would hear about it elsewhere.  On Saturd

You kinda suspected I was crazy

And now you have solid proof. I am currently fostering this eight-week-old puppy for an all-breed rescue. Augie (we call him Augie Doggie, naturally) is part hound (the rescue has his mom) and part "handsome stranger." Yeah, I didn't think Christmas was hectic enough all on its own. I decided that what we REALLY needed, when it came right down to it, was a small guest who might be inclined to swing from the branches of our Christmas tree by his teeth. And I should add that our guest has very poor bladder/bowel control. And razor-sharp teeth. Fortunately, just as nature intended, the cuteness prevails.


This amazing blog post by Amanda King went viral recently. I've read it a couple of times.  She's a great writer. I've been thinking about Amanda King's words a lot in recent weeks. She writes of her struggle to find beauty in herself and to set a self-confident example for her children. This is my struggle, too. My daughter is the most beautiful creature I have ever known. Her green eyes turn me into goo. I'm enamored with her wild curls, her contagious laugh, and her perfect skin. When my daughter leaves the house to go to school every morning, she doesn't worry about how she looks. She is always cute as a button in her fashion boots, stylish dress, and sequined beret. No matter where we are, she walks confidently (often with one hand on her hip). It's more of a sashay, really. What does she see when she looks at me?  I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that she hugs me regularly and calls me "beautiful mama." She draws pictures of me i

2012 Music

Here it is, the annual post that no one likes but which I insist on writing anyway. I get really excited about new music. I particularly like the Pitchfork app on Spotify, which really helps me weed through the gazillion albums that are released each month.  I also subscribe to several music podcasts.  At this point I've let all of my magazine subscriptions lapse - except Rolling Stone. I finally came to the realization that I wasn't that interested in fashion or make-up tips. Just music. My favorite songs released in 2012 (according to the play count on my iPod): Teenage Icon - The Vaccines Default - Django Django Fading Listening - Shiny Toy Guns Hot Knife - Fiona Apple (Every Single Night is up there, too) All of Me - Tanlines Doused - DIIV Would That Not Be Nice - Divine Fits Move in the Right Direction - Gossip Motion Sickness - Hot Chip Lonesome Dreams - Lord Huron Elephant - Tame Impala Babel - Mumford & Sons Guggenheim - The Ting Tings Electric Gues

A little bit crazy, a little bit wonderful

'Tis the season! We've got holiday-related events coming at us left and right. Two weeks ago we went to our local festival of lights. Last Sunday my daughter and I attended a Christmas production together. Although it was technically an amateur show, I have to say it was very well done. Flawless, really. It was two hours of singing and dancing and all kinds of Christmas-y stuff. I won the tickets in an auction and I'm glad I bid on them. The show was well worth the longish drive to the theater.  A few days later, we attended the holiday program at my daughter's school. One benefit to having a short child: she is always in the front row. Easy to spot and photograph. The second grade sang one song about pinatas and a Hawaiian song about Christmas. Mele Kalikimaka!  I heard that song for weeks before the concert. Oh, and she gets really pissy if you try to sing it and you call it mele kalikicaca. Or mele kalikiclickety-clackety. Some people do not have a good sense of hu


When my daughter was a toddler, we went through the typical episodes with biting and hitting and whatnot. We got a couple of calls and notes from daycare about it. When you're just a tot and your playmates piss you off, I guess biting them seems like a pretty good solution at the time. Then when she was around four, a boy at Kindercare was bullying her pretty heavily (he was a lot bigger than she was). Eventually he disappeared, so I assume that his parents had to pull him out. I think he had some more serious issues than what can be handled in a traditional daycare environment. In any case, I remember thinking that I wasn't sure which would be harder - having a bullied child or having a bully. Last Thursday I picked up my daughter from Kindercare as usual. She wasn't in the room where I usually find her. A staff person told me that she was in the back area. When I found her, she looked very sad. "What's wrong?" I asked. She looked down. "I calle

All she wants for Christmas is . . .

Compared to the loss of the other front tooth on Thanksgiving (flying face first into a moving treadmill), this one was much less dramatic. We stopped at Target after work to get a Christmas gift for my niece. A blew part of her allowance on a rice krispie treat and an Icee. She bit into her snack and then suddenly the tooth was hanging by a thread, quite literally. I convinced her to let me yank it out lest we find ourselves in the predicament of searching on hands and knees for a tooth hopelessly lost on the white floor in the toy aisle. All it took was a tiny tug and it was out. So, s's are a bit challenging now (I made her say theven, therendipity, and thuthpicious just for my own amusement) and also . . . the tooth fairy is going broke. Two more teeth are also loose. I mean looth.

No, not embarrassing at all.

Yesterday, I received this email from my daughter's teacher: Just wondering if A showed you her homework slip for reading last night? She said that she didn’t get it finished because she had chores to do all night and there wasn’t any time when the chores got finished. I had written on her slip that she needed to read chapter 3 and 4 (which she was supposed to do in class and write a summary). This was given to her group and they had 45 minutes to work on it. She chose to only read chapter 3 and then read other stuff. I told her that she needed to complete for group later on in the day. So when she came to group she didn’t have it finished and she was given as homework chapter 5. I'll just come right out and say it: my daughter's time management skills leave much to be desired. Sometimes I wonder why we are bothering to save for her college education, when the odds of her making it to her classes seem so very small. I worry about her future career and can only p

Customer Service

There is a little bath shop that I love. The store carries gigantic bath fizzy balls, soaps, fancy lotions, rubber duckies, and countless other products related to bath and body. For me, there is nothing better than a hot bath on a cold winter's day. And, if I smell halfway decent when I climb out . . . so much the better.  I'm a sucker for bath-related products. This particular store is located in a college town a couple hours from me. I stop in whenever I'm in that neck of the woods. My mom has accompanied me on one of her visits as well.  I've been in the soap store at least a dozen times, if not more. Guess how many times an employee has asked me, "Can I help you?"  Zero. My mom experienced the same thing when she was with me one time. Now, I don't know if maybe I just look like I haven't got any money. Or maybe I'm not hip enough for this upscale shop in a college town. I have no idea. I have noticed that behind the counter at this store the


Since I'm sure you were wondering . . .  Yes, the manhole cover turned out to be fully edible. And yes, I made my mom's dressing recipe without incident. My dressing did taste slightly sweeter than hers - I probably screwed up the bread cubes to cornbread ratio somehow. I also used less pepper than she does because, to quote my mother: "Claudia thinks a mashed potato sandwich is too spicy." She has also been known to call me a "candy ass" because I'm not big on spicy foods. And keep in mind that I am her favorite! The made-from-scratch cloverleaf rolls did cause me some angst in the afternoon when I began to fear that the yeast was not doing its job. The dough did not appear to be rising. However, eventually it thought better of becoming a failure and did what it was supposed to do. Homemade rolls are labor-intensive but oh so good. Carb heaven! The vegan gravy was pretty good. I can live without it but it wasn't bad. My daughter helped with th

You shoulda seen da other guy

My daughter is scared to death to pull a tooth out of her head. When she lost two bottom teeth last year, there was a lot of drama and trauma involved.  So, she decided not to tell me when her two front teeth started to become loose earlier this year. She didn't want me nagging her ass, I guess. I figured it out eventually, however.  I've been asking her about the teeth periodically for the past few months. "How about we pull them out today?" "No." "Tomorrow?" "Mo-om!" I just worry that the new teeth are desperate to grow and, if not given a proper opportunity to claim their rightful spot in my daughter's mouth, will revolt and grow in at a 90-degree angle just for spite. I've tried my best not to nag her too much, though.  Fast forward to Wednesday night. The three of us kicked off the four-day weekend by going to a hockey game. The kid insisted on sitting in her dad's lap for the entire game (might get a little awk

I'm a grown-up; I can do this

I'm preparing to make Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I ordered a turkey breast for my husband from Heavenly Ham. Yes, that's right. They sell turkey at the ham place. For me I bought . . . a Tofurky Roast. I have sandwiches made from Tofurky deli slices all the time, so I suppose I already have an idea of how it will taste. I am guessing that Short Stuff will decide to pass. Different or unknown = baaaaaad.  The Tofurky is stuffed with dressing and comes with a container full of vegan gravy. I'm pretty curious about how the gravy will taste in as much as I haven't eaten gravy since I was a kid. In addition to the main dishes, I am also making: Stuffing/dressing Cloverleaf rolls (from scratch, yo!) Mashed potatoes Green bean casserole  A brownie torte  After dinner, we are heading to a friend's house to enjoy some dessert (and, if a girl can dream, some wine). I am taking my brownie torte along. I brought it to my parents' house one year for Thanksgiving

Charity Schmarity

With the holidays upon us, I find myself wondering, once again, if I am doing enough to encourage acts of charity from my child. I am uncomfortable with the focus on charity reaching a fever pitch around the holidays and then lying dormant the rest of the year. Or at least that is how it seems to go for most families. For our family, we are heavily involved in a charity (Boxer Rescue) so for us it is a year-round affair (feeding and caring for dogs that don't belong to us, attending rescue events, etc.) However, we are still faced with the specter of our daughter's lengthy Christmas wish list each year. I feel the need to counter the "I wants" with at least one concrete, tangible "I give." Last year, we adopted an angel tree recipient named Bianca . I purposely chose a girl who was close to my daughter's age in case it might help A to identify with Bianca in some way. Well, I am embarrassed to admit it, but my kid did not lose any sleep over Bianca'

Don't forward stupid crap (please)

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure. - George Carlin I got this email yesterday: Distribution has begun...Refuse new coins!        True Americans will refuse these It has begun.. REFUSE NEW COINS This simple action will make a strong statement. Please help do this. Refuse to accept these when they are handed to you. I received one from the Post Office as change and I asked for a dollar bill instead. The lady just smiled and said 'way to go' , so she had read this e -mail.  Please help out..our world is in enough trouble without this too!!!!! U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins You guessed it 'IN GOD WE TRUST'  IS GONE from the front and back!!! If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!! DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE Together we can force them out of circulation..

Life and loss and unspoken things

See this handsome guy (with très adorable bébé)? His name was Andrew. He went to my church.  He died suddenly a couple weeks ago (apparently from a bacterial infection of some sort). Andrew and I were friends - not close friends, but friends nonetheless. I used to (jokingly) threaten to unfriend him on Facebook because he was always posting about bacon. So one time he posted an infographic about vegetables and tagged me, saying that he had only posted it so that I wouldn't unfriend him. Earlier this year Andrew became a dad and was thrilled beyond words. The posts about bacon became less numerous, and photos of baby Jaxon took their place. Andrew and Jaxon's mother were not together, but I know Andrew spent a lot of time with his son. It breaks my heart that Jaxon will not know his father, at least not in the direct, physical sense. I have a tiny confession, which is that even though I'm a happily married old lady, I had a small crush on Andrew. I liked his dark eye

Oh, the shame

I was rearranging some stuff in our home office slash guest bedroom this morning and came across my college diploma. I opened the green holder and took a gander. My Bachelor of Arts - English degree was conferred upon me by George Mason University. The diploma also includes lettering embossed in gold: "with distinction" - added because of my high GPA. (Me so smart!) I need to mail it back. I do not deserve to keep it any longer. I have a confession to make: I'm reading "Fifty Shades of Grey."  Each time I'm part of a gathering of women, the book eventually comes up in conversation and, without fail, I'm the only one who has not read it. I guess I wanted to see what all the buzz is about. Now, normally when the whole planet is into something, I dismiss it. I know that sounds snooty, but I offer you the song "Macarena" as proof. Something can be universally adored and still suck ass.  However, I also got curious about the buzz on "Downton

Well, thank goodness

With apologies to my conservative friends, I'm doing a little jig right now over the election results. Be glad you can't see it (my jig, not the election results - you are free to look at those). While I acknowledge that President Obama perhaps has not done enough for the economy (and has not succeeded in reducing unemployment as much as one would like), I think it's important to remember that he's one man and that he's accomplished quite a bit despite the erection of sizable roadblocks from the GOP.  (See, it is possible to use the word erection in a sentence and not have it mean something dirty!) Our memories are short, though. I had to do some Googling myself in order to be reminded of the President's many accomplishments . Although Mitt Romney may have a certain amount of business acumen, I'm not sure it makes up for all he lacks. During the campaign, he made his disdain for women, same-sex couples, and low-income families pretty clear. Had he becom

The one where I throw out my back and then whine incessantly

I'm home from work today, so I thought I'd bore you with some details from my weekend. My daughter and I left town Saturday morning and didn't get back until Sunday evening. I gave my husband two jobs while I was gone: 1. Turn the clocks back and 2. Clear off the deck. "I'd better write this down," he told me when I passed along my requests.  I can see how two items on a list might be pretty overwhelming. As far as why I'm home today . . . it seems that my on-and-off back problems have come to a head.  Before we left town on Saturday, the kid and I went to a craft show. As I was getting into the car, I heard my lower back say something along the lines of, "ZOINKS!" I was in pain for the next couple of hours on the long car ride. When we stopped for lunch at a deli, I sort of rolled out of the car and then muttered under my breath until my spine adjusted to the standing position. Once I'm upright, I'm fine. My back has established the fo

8th Halloween

It's my baby's 8th Halloween. Ack! Sometimes she seems so grown-up and other times, she seems downright helpless. This morning she asked me to help her get her tights on. "When you're off at college, will you still need me to do this?" I asked, gathering up each leg of the tights and sliding them over each foot in turn. "I'll have to show up at your dorm. 'Oh, hi! I'm here to help my daughter with her tights.'"  She shrugged.  I actually don't think it would bother her at all. I asked her if she wants to walk for trick-or-treating this year. "No, you can pull me in my wagon," she responded. "I might walk when I'm 13." I don't mind, though. I have some coffee herbal tea mulled wine which I will heat up and pour into a thermos.  It will keep me warm as I pull my child through the streets of our 'hood. Or at least I may not notice the chilly temperatures quite as much.  On the way home from work y

Buttering Up

(click image to open larger version) I think someone is planning to ask for a pony for Christmas.

Do you ever wish . . . ?

Last week I watched a new episode of Pit Bulls & Parolees . As a rescue volunteer myself, I fully appreciate what Villalobos Rescue does for animals. The rescue is run by a woman named Tia, her adult children, and a slew of other dog lovers - including several parolees, of course. What struck me as I was watching last week was something akin to a feeling of jealousy. Tia and her daughters sport tattoos, piercings, and rainbow hair. The daughters seem to have piercings in places that one wouldn't normally think of as far as piercing options go (I'm reasonably certain that the youngest daughter has her hips pierced in the back - right at the top of the sacrum). Now, I do not have a desire to tattoo my neck or anything like that. However, I do imagine that it must be very liberating to be able to roll out of bed and go to work looking however you want to look.  Since no one will pay me to pet doggies all day long, I have to work a legit, office-y kind of job. On days when I

How to make your marriage better

On the news program "Sunday Morning," they had an interview this week with a divorce attorney who's been married to his wife for several decades. When asked what factors seem to point to the eventuality of a divorce, he mentioned that spending too much time together is a prime culprit. Each spouse should have their own interests and activities. I've been saying that for years. You don't have to spend every waking minute with your spouse to enhance the validity of your marriage. So, after hearing that, I felt a wee bit better for abandoning my husband for much of the weekend. On Friday night I met a friend for happy hour. We then went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. It was really good but I did not feel well at all by the time I got home later that evening. I didn't even finish the glass of wine I'd ordered with dinner - which is not like me at all. I don't know if it was just too many spices my stomach had never met before or what. I went stra