Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where Oh Where . . .

Has my creativity gone? Maybe it is the cold weather, or the busy season, or the weird sickness I had before Christmas, but my blogging creativity has gone down the drain. I don't think I have an anti-muse like someone else does, but I'm not quite at my top blogging fitness level. Maybe that's what I should have put on my Christmas list instead of a new iPod Nano. Too late . . . and I really like my new iPod.

Anyway, here I am again stealing a blogging idea from another blogger. I figure it is OK since (1) she stole it too, (2) I think she's awesome and probably one of the best additions to the blogosphere this year, and (3) the ethics police don't seem to patrol the blogosphere in Peoria, at least judging from the viral outbreak of anonymous assholes commenting lately. So, I am safe.

I digress. Best get on with my unimaginative blogging, the last one of the year. 2008 is quickly coming to an end. So tell us exactly what happened in this unfor​gettable year.

How old did you turn? 37. Yikes. But, with that 37, I have to learn not to focus on the number but on how old I feel. I don't feel 37 and, if I do say so myself, I don't think I look 37. Well, maybe in the morning . . . but that doesn't count.

What school did you go to? None, thank god. I'm done with school. Never going to school again. I think the only school I was in this year was my kids' preschool.

Tell us about something good that happened: Oh, so many good things happened this year. My girl came back to live with me, I finally paid off all of my credit card debt left over from law school and before, I gained another nephew, I won a few cases, my grandfather turned 90, my parents celebrated their 40th Anniversary, and too much more to discuss here.

Did you change much? I'm sure I did. Anyone who doesn't experience even the tiniest changes everyday has stopped living a fulfilling life. I'd like to think I changed for the better, but who knows?

Are you happy with who you have become? Absolutely.

Tell us a song you were hooked on: Just in the last two weeks or so, I cannot stop listening to "All I Want Is You" which is the first song on the soundtrack from the movie Juno. It has a folksy sing-a-long quality that makes me smile. Plus, I can listen to it with kids in the car, which has an added benefit.

Did you go to the beach? Not technically, although I was on the beach of Puget Sound, but since it was October, it wasn't really beachy.

Did you get really dressed up for anything? For something special? Probably . . . I don't really remember. Nothing formal or anything.

Tell us a funny thing that happened? I think the highlights of my funny year were probably chronicled on this blog and include: my failures as a mommy, throwing my underwear around in public, being called a crook by my child, making up the song "Bubble Got Back", my son peeing on my head, learning that my nephew sleeps with a rice cooker, and various adventures in cooking, pet ownership, and motherhood.

Tell us the saddest thing that happened? I don't like to dwell on it, but the thing that happened in February, the thing that happened in March, and the thing that happened in October. Those are the three things that made me question my sanity and my happiness this year.

What are your plans for New Year? For the first time, I am having a party at my house. Actually, I should be preparing for it rather than writing this post.

What are you most looking forward to next year? The adventure is not knowing. Something in particular is going very well right now and I'm excited to see what happens next year with it.

Tell us something you plan on changing for next year? My kitchen. It has got to go. I didn't have the financial reserves to do it this year, but I am going to do it next year.

Think back to the beginning of the year and now think of now what’s different: I think the most significant difference between the beginning of the year and now is that I am no longer single. There are other differences, but that one is pretty big for me.

Are you happy with what happened this year? Overall, yes. I would love to be able to change some things, but they are things I can't change, so yes.

Was 2008 your best year? Probably not. It was a really stressful year. I'd like to hope my best year is always in the future. (Good lord . . . when did I become this non-cynical? I used to be such a pissy bitch. Must be the old age.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

And Now, a Report From Our Man Down Under

While reading my parents' local newspaper this morning, I saw the headline, "More Holiday Time Leads to More Sex." Intrigued, I read on. Apparently, in the modern age, people have more sex during Christmas and New Years. To assist in this important article, the author contacted a spokesperson from Trojan. His name is David Johnson.

In addition to Christmas and New Years, the spokesperson added:

"The long July Fourth, Memorial Day, and Labor Day weekends also produce spikes in condom sales, Trojan's Johnson said."



That's what he said.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Christmas List

No - not that kind of list. A Christmas meme I made on my own (by stealing from several different ones I found on the internet - now that just screams Christmas spirit, doesn't it?) For some reason, my creative juices have needed a little sparking lately and I am bound and determined to post more individual posts than I did last year. After all, in 2007, I only blogged for 6 months and posted 117 times. This year, I have blogged all year and I am only just over 100. So, expect a lot more crappy half-assed posting from me in the next 15 days.

(1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I despise gift bags. They create extra waste and show an extreme lack of individuality and creativity. Not that I EVER refuse a gift, but I might appreciate it more if it is gift wrapped.

(2) Real tree or artificial? I would love to have a real tree but I can’t seem to get over my extreme fear of fire and real trees. My parents have always had a real tree and I don’t get worried about it at their house. But, for some reason, I have this feeling I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night worrying about a real tree catching fire in my house. So, I have a fake tree.

(3) When do you put up the tree? Whenever I get the time. We just put it up last night and that’s about normal for my family - about 10 days before Christmas.

(4) When do you take the tree down? Again, whenever I get the time. Sometimes it comes down on Christmas Day because we don’t do much of anything else on Christmas Day. It is always down by New Year’s Day, though.

(5) Do you like egg nog? In small doses, yes.

(6) Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my 1970s split-level doll house. It is fabulous. I still have it, as a matter of fact. It even came with teeny-tiny little silverware and magazines. And all of the appliances were Harvest Gold.

(7) Hardest person to buy for? My sister-in-law. She and I have next to nothing in common and she hates normal every-girl type of gifts like lotion, candles, or accessories. Her hobbies are chess and mathematics. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? Plus, she objects to gift cards because "it is just like giving someone money." And tell me . . . what exactly is wrong with that?

(8) Easiest person to buy for? My kids. It’s not that hard to make kids under 5 happy.

(9) Do you have a nativity scene? Please. No. Everytime I'm even near a nativity scene, I have this strong urge to steal the Baby Jesus.

(10) Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Emailed Christmas cards are tacky. Plus . . . how would I make fun of you if you don’t write me those dreadfully boring and unintentionally hilarious family update letters?

(11) Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My brother and sister-in-law gave me a hot pepper plant which was infested with aphids. Not only do I not like hot peppers, the plant gave aphids to the rest of my houseplants and they all died.

(12) Favorite Christmas movie? Scrooged. Or The Sound of Music, even though it isn’t really a Christmas movie, but they always show it at Christmas.

(13) When do you start shopping? Whenever. I refuse to shop the day after Thanksgiving, so I usually start around now.

(14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Well, I recycled that pepper plant right into the garbage . . . . Seriously, though. I have recycled many a Christmas present.

(15) Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies. I love Christmas cookies.

(16) Lights on the tree? My tree lights are white. My parents’ tree lights are multi-colored, however, and I would be really offended if they changed them to all white.

(17) Favorite Christmas song? Non-religious - Santa Baby, preferably by Eartha Kitt, and Happy Christmas (war is over) by John Lennon. Religious - The Little Drummer Boy, What Child is This, and Silent Night.

(18) Travel at Christmas or stay home? It just depends on the year. We mostly travel to my parents’ house.

(19) Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Not without cheating.

(20) Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. Our family trees have Santa Lucia on the top of them. The Lucy on top of my tree was made by my mother the first year my parents were married. When I bought my own house, my mother gave me that one and we made a new one together that currently sits on top of my parents’ tree. When my daughter has her first house, I hope to give her the old one so we can make a new one together. Every year, my dad has to make a comment about shoving the tree up Lucy’s ass. Every year. It never gets old.

(21) Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is for sitting around watching movies (marathons of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or James Bond), playing with your Christmas toys, and doing jigsaw puzzles.

(22) Most annoying thing about this time of year? Asshole shoppers. My one Christmas season working in retail, a woman threw a stack of books at me on Christmas Eve. Christmas spirit my ass.

(23) Favorite for Christmas dinner? We have a standing rib roast every year on Christmas Eve.

(24) Favorite ornament theme or color? All of my ornaments have a special story or meaning to them. I like to buy at least one new ornament every year and I particularly like Santa Claus ornaments.

(25) What do you want for Christmas this year? Well, that would make it too easy for you, wouldn’t it?

(26) Do you hang mistletoe? No. The way I figure it . . . if you want to kiss someone, just do it.

(27) Favorite holiday memory as a child? As a child, we always spent Christmas with my dad’s parents because he’s an only child. I can’t remember one memory in particular, but I remember loving the feeling of Christmas time - everyone sitting around the living room talking and having fun, singing songs, playing with their new toys. It is the most overwhelming feeling of warmth and happiness I remember as a child.

(28) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Never. I always knew the truth about Santa since we didn’t believe he was real. Just like all other fictional stories, it was a nice story but we didn’t believe it was true.

(29) What’s the most important thing about the holidays? Giving gifts to people you love and spending time with family.

(30) Favorite Holiday tradition? I have so many, so it is hard to pick one. I love Advent calendars, I love all of the baking with my mother, I love wrapping presents, I love singing Christmas songs, I love celebrating Santa Lucia (and, yes, I do wear a crown of real candles on my head. Nothing says "Christmas" better than hot wax in your hair) . . . . Probably the best one we have as a family is that everyone has to open gifts one at a time and everyone else has to watch them. It was torture as a child, but I like the focus it puts on the giving part of Christmas, rather than on the receiving.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Too Smart for My Good

I'd like to go back to that time in parenting where you can get away with lying to your children. Specifically, I would like to go back to the time where I could eat something in front of my daughter and she didn't have to have a part of it or know exactly what I was eating, mostly because I'm eating something I would never let her eat. Usually, it is something with either a lot of caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, or on a good day . . . a lot of all three.

Last night, my daughter was in her first Christmas pagent at school. It was very cute and very chaotic as it was an all preschool production of semi-recognizable Christmas songs shouted at the top of their lungs. About 80% of the kids picked their noses on stage (including mine), several girls managed to show off their underwear by lifting their fancy Christmas dresses, one child had to be removed from the stage in tears, and only a few boys got in fist fights. Good times.

But, I'm going to have to rely on my excellent memory if I ever want to look at pictures of the evening again because Bad Mommy forgot her camera. I suck. Although I enjoyed the show, I sat there the entire time thinking about what kind of mother I am that forgets to bring a camera to my child's first Christmas pagent.

Anyway, I was feeling a little down when we got home and decided to fix that with some sugar and chocolate. I really had a craving for S'mores, and for the first time ever, I actually had all of the necessary ingredients in my house at the same time. And they weren't stale! (This is mostly because we still have Halloween candy sitting around.) Being the only one awake in the house, I poured myself a little drink, put on my pajamas, made S'mores, and watched a re-run of Grey's Anatomy.

(In case you are wondering how I made S'mores inside my house without a campfire, I will let you in on a little secret. If you have a gas stove, you have a perfect S'more making device. It is much easier than using a candle or the fireplace, but you have to be careful because the heat from a gas flame is much hotter than the heat from a candle or wood flame. Do not be surprised if your marshmallows burst into flames within the first 5 seconds. Given some time, you will discover the perfect technique.)

After a gripping episode of Celebrity Rehab (boy, that Shifty is really fucked up, huh?), I dragged myself to bed, completely forgetting the S'mores mess in the kitchen. In the morning, my daughter walks into the kitchen for breakfast and the following discussion occurs:

Girl: What happened?? (looking at the stove and counter area strewn with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate wrappers)

Me: Nothing.

Girl: Whatcha eat, Mama?

Me: Nothing. A snack.

Girl: Shellows?? You eat SHELLOWS? (shellows = marshmallows in our house)

Me: Yes. I did.

Girl: Teddy Grahams? YOU eat my TEDDY GRAHAMS? (we call all graham crackers Teddy Grahams . . . just so you think I wasn't making S'mores by pasting together 50 tiny Teddy Grahams to make one big graham cracker.)

Me: Yes.

Girl: When? When you eat . . . CANDY? (She has just seen the chocolate wrappers as I am trying to throw them away to hide the evidence.)

Me: Yes. Just a few pieces last night.

Girl: Why don't I get some? Can I have some now? Can I have some S'mores for bfast?

Me: No. You can have yogurt for breakfast with toast. Wait . . . how do you know what S'mores are? Where did you learn that?

Girl: School.

Me: Damn education.

Girl: You say that?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Late In the Evening

I stole this meme from Sarah and Katie. I see that Katie was motivated enough to actually link to the videos of the songs. I'm not that motivated. I thought about including the artist's name, but then I thought it would be more fun to make you guess.

So here are the rules:
1. Put your iTunes or MP3 player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY? Eight Days a Week (so, I guess it is really OK)

2.WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY? Chasing Cars (Kind of true, actually)

3.WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Where to Now

4.WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? What Can You Lose

5.WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Redemption Day

6.WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Stolen

7.WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? A Love That Will Never Grow Old (also kind of true)

8.WHAT IS 2+2? Do You Love Me Now?

9.WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Who Knew

10.WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Bitch (this is probably true too, but I mean it in the nicest possible way.)

11.WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (HA HA HA)

12.WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Something's Gotta Give

13.WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Why Do Birds Sing? (barf)

14.WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Tennessee Plates

15.WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? Don't Know How

16.WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? Could Be Anything (no, that's the name of the song, really.)

17.WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? You Can Close Your Eyes (now that just sounds dirty, doesn't it?)

18.WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? Inside Emotion

19.WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? He was a Friend of Mine

20.HOW WILL YOU DIE? Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby (Yikes)

21.WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET? Typical Situation (yeah . . . no kidding)

22.WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? Penny Lane

23.WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? Rich Girl

24.WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED? Angel's Eye

25.WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST? Honey Bee (actually, Tom Petty does scare me a little bit, but I love that song.)

26. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? I've Got You Under My Skin

27.WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? Wait

28.WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? Late in the Evening

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Which My Child Fails to Understand the Point of Christmas

My daughter is three years old. I am really looking forward to this Christmas because it is the first time she will really get into the magic of the holiday. But, so far . . . she is missing the point of a kid's Christmas. The gifts.

That's right . . . we're a shallow bunch in the PH world. We don't think about Jesus on Christmas and we don't believe in Santa Claus. But, just because we don't believe in mythology doesn't mean that Christmas isn't magical for us. We have many family holiday traditions that are much more meaningful to us than Jesus and Santa Claus. Anyway, all of that is for another post.

I have been asking my daughter for the last few weeks what she wants for Christmas. I don't really feel like adding more toy flotsam and jetsam to my house. We already have tons of toys the kids ignore. I'm trying to make her Christmas gifts really special - things she really wants that I wouldn't buy her ordinarily.

What's her answer when I ask her what she wants for Christmas?

New pink shoes.

New pink shoes. Nevermind the fact that the child has seven pairs of shoes right now. Nevermind the fact that four of these pairs of shoes are either entirely pink or have some pink somewhere on them. New pink shoes.

Ugh. And when I try suggesting items she might like . . . new books, puzzles, clothes, babydolls, or craft items, she says, "No! I want new pink shoes." Then I try upping the anty. How about a kitchen? Or a dollhouse? Or a new trike? "No! I want new pink shoes."

I really don't know what I expected. After all, her favorite toys are a deck of playing cards, a tape measure, a pen and paper, and her babydoll. I should be happy I have a child who only wants new shoes for Christmas because I have a feeling that she's gonna figure out this Christmas thing before next year. And then I'll be sorry.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jesus Loves You . . .

. . . everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

My cousin and I love this saying because this is the way we feel about our Aunt J. J is one of the primary reasons I dislike organized religion. She is one of the fakest, do-as-I-preach-not-as-I-do Lutheran hypocrite Christians out there. She is the type that makes a big deal of her Christianity only when it serves her purposes, such as putting other people down, making herself feel better for small acts of "goodness" like praying for people who don't want it, excuses for making or living with her mistakes, the reason for refusing to accept responsibility for her life and her decisions, and just about everything else.

Jesus is the reason for everything good in her life, other people are to blame for everything bad in her life. Personal responsibility plays absolutely no role at all.

As with all family issues, my issues with J go deep and broad. From day one, I knew she wasn't right. She was my Uncle T's second wife, a total rebound after his wonderful first wife left him because he was a fucking do-nothing asswipe. I remember the day J walked into our family - a family wedding and T brought this plastic white-trash piece of flim-flam as his date. I was seven years old I knew she didn't belong. Bleached blond hair, set like Dolly Parton circa 1978, make-up she chiseled off at night, hoochey polyester disco-esque pantsuit. She was nothing like the rest of us.

In the end, it would have been just fine if J simply didn't look like us. But her differences, and her extreme need to point out why her differences made her better than the rest of us, were much more destructive. In a proud immigrant family (my mother and all of her siblings, including T, were born in Sweden), J insisted on wearing shirts saying "100% American." She insisted on praying before meals even in my grandparents' house where praying before meals was not desired, appreciated, or tolerated. She refused to eat the food served at any of our houses and often brought McDonald's for herself and her kids to our nine course family dinners, which usually had been prepared over the course of several days.

She didn't drink and disapproved of anyone who did, including her husband, in a family where your first full size shot is ingested before the age of 14. She refused to be gainfully employed in a family where work was valued above everything else. She constantly harped about germs when her kids were always the sickest of them all. She refused to fly or travel by bus or train, stating she had a fear of the shape of the plane, train, or bus (umm . . . Freud anyone?) Since my family is spread all over the country, any family events had to be planned around her driving schedule, even if it took her days to get somewhere. My grandmother's funeral had to be delayed by five days because J wouldn't get on a fucking plane.

In short, I have issues with J and always have. But, the point of this post is that her misuse of religion has always been my biggest issue and the biggest divider in our family.

In October of 2006, my Uncle T was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was given two to five years to live. He went through all of the aggressive treatment options. Nothing has worked. It has been two years and he has gotten tired of treatment after treatment and is now refusing treatment. He wants to die. He is ready to die and we have accepted it. He is suffering and doesn't want to be poked and prodded and experimented on and feel sicker and sicker. He has lost his business, his ability to dress himself, to walk, to talk, to use the computer, to play the piano or violin. He can't drive a car, write with a pen, understand TV, read a book, or drink alcohol. He barely enjoys food, or jokes, or time with his kids. He is done.

And who could blame him? Most rational people would make the same decision he has made in the same situation. He wants to die. The only person who cannot accept it is J. She has made it her mission in life to "cure" him with every new and experimental treatment available. He has steadfastly refused treatment and is preparing to die. (Actually, he told everyone during Thanksgiving that he was going to die today, December 5th, but we all kind of doubt it works like that, even if you really want to die.)

I no longer have regular contact with either my aunt or uncle but my Aunt J writes a blog of sorts about her experiences with T and the tumor. I never read it. My dad reads it all of the time and then fumes about it for days because it is so . . . irritating. The last entry was at 11:45 pm on Thanksgiving. After talking about all of her blessings and gifts from Jesus, of course, she went on to talk about T:

"A friend brought over another new treatment option to be discussed with T's Neuro-Oncologist, so we talked about this and other options over dessert tonight. I am going to ask you to storm the heavens with T's name, and ask that God will guide and direct these conversations in such a way that T will listen and be receptive."

In other words, "God . . . please do my will and force my dying husband to seek treatment he does not want and live a hollow life that he does not want so my life can be better."

I may not be a devout believer in the Christian idea of God, but I'm pretty sure that God's purpose is not to do our will just because we believe we are right about a certain situation. Convenient belief = the worst type of Christianity. I understand that she loves him, I understand that she is scared shitless to lose her husband before the age of 60. I get that she feels incredible grief to be in this situation. I would not wish her situation on my worst enemy (which, honestly, is probably her . . . so I speak with authority that I did not wish this situation on her.) But using God as her weapon? That's what makes her an asshole.

Nothing is certain. T may die today like he wants. He may die tomorrow or next month. However, it is more likely he will die a long, slow, painful death because of J's selfish need to keep him alive. And that is much, much sadder than the death itself.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Matter of Fact

Last year, I posted a portion of my parents' Christmas letter. My parents take turns writing the letter each year. Last year it was my dad's turn and, as usual, his was very sentimental. This year, my mom wrote the letter and it was true to her style of things. It is short and to the point, on plain white paper using a plain font. No Christmas stickers or pictures or even a Christmas stamp. At the top in the center, it says "2008 Holiday Letter." The first line is "Dear People:"

That's my mom - no frills.

So, they got their letter out early this year to tell people of their change of address. She talks about the new house a little bit, a little bit about the moving experience, and that they are still working and have no plans to retire. Then comes the last line:

If I started talking about grandchildren and their parents, this letter would become either one of those disgustingly proud displays or a tell-all testament to the challenges of relationships, no matter how special and long term.

Gotta love my mother. I'd like to think my children and I fall into the "disgustingly proud displays" category rather than the "challenges of relationships" category. I think that one is reserved for my brother and his family.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This One is for MM

For almost a year, MM has been bugging me to retell a story I told at a blogger bash. It is one of those stories that I didn't even think about posting on my blog because it is pretty commonplace behavior for me, I didn't think it was funny. However, several people have told me how funny they think the story is, so here it is.

In a previous post, I happened to mention that one of the things I would really like for Christmas would be carpet cleaning, but that it is weird to put "carpet cleaning" on your wish list. After I wrote that post, I got a nice email from Josh, a local guy who frequently comments on several blogs. In addition to having another full-time job, Josh said he runs his own carpet cleaning business and he would be able to clean my carpets at a pretty low price.

After a few emails back and forth (mostly me trying to explain how and why my carpets were so dirty and him assuring me (1) he's seen worse and (2) he can get it clean), I arranged to have him come out to my house to give me an estimate. In the email, I said that it would be best if he came out after 7:30 because both of the kids would be asleep in bed. He agreed.

As I was driving home that evening, it all of a sudden hit me. What the hell is my problem?? Let's look at this objectively, Ms. PH. You write a blog wherein you state that you live alone. A man you don't know emails you on your blog email (which is not my personal email and one I only use for blog stuff) and says he can "clean your carpets" for a "low price." Not only do you give this man your home phone number and address, you invite him over at night when the children will be asleep and tell him that you will be alone.

Yes, it is true. Despite all indications to the contrary, sometimes I can be very, very blond. It's like the textbook example of what to do if you want to get attacked in your own home by a crazy person.

So, I was in a semi-panic driving home. I called my best friend and explained the situation. She made me promise to keep my cell phone on my body at all times and call her as soon as he left. This sounded like a good plan, so I agreed. But then I started to think . . . what if he overpowers me and takes my cell phone? What if he forces his way into the front hall and knocks me out? Big fat good my cell phone is going to do me then and my best friend who lives in CHICAGO probably won't be able to help much either.

As I am putting the kids to bed, I'm frantically scanning my brain for options. (And, no . . . calling to cancel did not occur to me as one of my options. Either I really, really wanted to have my carpets cleaned or I'm just that blond. You decide.) The answer I come up with is "I need a weapon." The problem is . . . because I have two children under three in the house, most of the potential weapon-type instruments have been removed. I search the house for possibilities:

Gun? Nope. Never had one in my house and don't plan on it. It's not a political thing - it's a safety thing. Think about it . . . what are the odds that I would actually shoot an intruder instead of shooting myself?

Fire place poker? No. Hard to conceal if the guy turns out to be completely normal and harmless. I really didn't want him to think I thought he was a creep.

Bat? No. Same problem as the poker. Plus, the only one I had was my son's toy baby bat, which is covered with foam. Not so threatening to a serial killer.

Knife? Now that has some possibilities. I look at the knife rack and consider my options. Large knifes are out of the question since it would be really hard to hide one of those as well. And then I have the answer. A Steak Knife!! Perfect! Sharp enough to leave a mark or two if I have to, threatening enough to scare a half-assed creep away from me long enough for me to make a break for it, but small enough to stick in my pocket.

I took a steak knife out of the drawer and stuck it in my pocket and waited for Josh to arrive. A couple of times I forgot I had a steak knife in my pocket and tried to sit down and got a nice little surprise in a very sensitive area. Thank god I have fairly quick reflexes.

Josh arrived right on time and looked completely normal. He was dressed in business-identified clothing and looked like the boy next door. As we were walking from the front door through the kitchen to the basement, I seriously thought about abandoning the knife. But then I thought . . . isn't that the first thing people always say about serial killers? "He was so nice . . . looked just like the boy next door. I can't believe he would do something like this."

I put my hand in my pocket to hold onto the knife. (As an aside, in addition to being difficult to sit with a steak knife in your pocket, it is also fairly difficult to walk normally down the stairs with a knife in your pocket.)

Josh surveyed my carpet and we chatted for a little bit. He really was a nice guy and very professional. He told some funny stories about his kids and his wife and assured me he could solve all of my soiled carpet problems. I followed him up the stairs and, as we passed through the kitchen, I slid the steak knife out of my pocket and onto the kitchen counter. I felt guilty after that for even thinking Josh was a serial killer.

Another reason I haven't posted this story is that I didn't want to hurt Josh's feelings by telling people I thought he might be a serial killer. After all, that was what I thought before I met him. Now I've met him, and met his kids and wife, and I can assure everyone in the blog world that he is a very, very nice guy who would never hurt a fly, much less a person. I want everyone to know that none of my craziness was caused by anything he did at all. I'm just that crazy and neurotic.

And, man . . . can he clean carpets! I seriously thought I was going to have to throw away the carpet in my basement because of the pet stains on it. Not after Josh was there. It looks (and smells) like new. Josh is wonderful . . . I'm the crazy one.

So, if you need your carpets cleaned, please send me an email and I will give you Josh's information. He's the best!



And, MM . . . are you happy now?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have You Ever?

Okay. I admit it. I've been lacking in blogging material that's coming out from the drafting stage the way I want it to. I have about six half-cooked posts sitting around that I just don't like well enough to publish. So, I'm stealing from someone. I read Lollygaggin's blog today and decided, "Hey! I want to play too!"

Plus . . . it is an easy way to write a post and I really want to beat my post number from last year.

Things I've Done

1. Started your own blog -Duh! You're reading it, silly.

2. Slept under the stars - Many times.

3. Played in a band - I played in many an orchestra and sort of in one band, but it was a bad idea from the get-go and I think my hip friends just felt sorry for the girl who could only play the violin.

4. Visited Hawaii - No, which is sad because my grandparents always wanted to take us but didn't get around to it before my grandmother died.

5. Watched a meteor shower - Yes.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity - Yes, both time and money.

7. Been to Disneyland - Yes.

8. Climbed a mountain - Well, not with like ropes and stuff, but hiked on trails, sure.

9. Held a praying mantis - No. Ew.

10. Sang a solo - Yes.

11. Bungee jumped - No.

12. Visited Paris - Yes, on my 17th birthday.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - The storm was at sea, I wasn't. That's dangerous.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - Sure, but I have no idea what this means. The art of sarcasm? Ya, you betcha!

15. Adopted a child - Not yet.

16. Had food poisoning - Yes, thank you Bennigans.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - Yes.

18. Grown your own vegetables - If herbs count, yes.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - Yes. Booooring.

20. Slept on an overnight train - Yes.

21. Had a pillow fight - Yes. Of course. That's what girls do when they hang out together, right?

22. Hitch hiked - No.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - Well, never at my current job!

24. Built a snow fort - Yes. And I plan to again if we ever get enough snow and I have children who can actually walk in the snow.

25. Held a lamb - Like a real one? Why would I want to do that?

26. Gone skinny dipping - Yes . . . and got pulled out of the lake by the Minneapolis Police. Good times.

27. Run a Marathon - Puhlease . . . no.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - No.

29. Seen a total eclipse - Yes. It was when I was in second grade.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - Of course.

31. Hit a home run - Yeah right. I consider it a home run if I actually hit the ball.

32. Been on a cruise - Not really, unless you count ferry rides, which I don't think you do.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person - Yes.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - Yes. I was actually in the room where my mother was born (she was born at home in Sweden).

35. Seen an Amish community - Yes.

36. Taught yourself a new language - Not unless you count translating for my children when no one else can understand them.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - Yeah, right. No.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - No.

39. Gone rock climbing - Yes. I sucked at it.

40. Seen Michelangelo's David - Not in person.

41. Sung karaoke - Yes.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - Yes.

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - Um, no. Why would I do that?

44. Visited Africa - No.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - Yes. Slept on the beach by moonlight as well.

46. Been transported in an ambulance - No.

47. Had your portrait painted - By someone other than my three year old? No.

48. Gone deep sea fishing - No.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - Not yet.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - Yes.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - No.

52. Kissed in the rain - Yes. Wonderful.

53. Played in the mud - Yes.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater - To see a movie? No.

55. Been in a movie - Yes. And not just home movies, either. A real, wide-release movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China - Not yet.

57. Started a business - No.

58. Studied a martial art - If kickboxing counts, then yes.

59. Visited Russia - No.

60. Served at a soup kitchen - Yes.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - Yes. I sucked at it.

62. Gone whale watching - Yes.

63. Got flowers for no reason - Yes.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - Yes.

65. Gone sky diving - No.

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp - No.

67. Bounced a check - Hasn't everyone?

68. Flown in a helicopter - Yes.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - Tons of them. And I won't let my kids play with some of them either.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial - Yes.

71. Eaten caviar - Of course. I probably will on Friday as well.

72. Pieced a quilt - Yes.

73. Stood in Times Square - No.

74. Toured the Everglades - No.

75. Been fired from a job - No.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - No.

77. Broken a bone - Yes. Well, technically, my brother broke it by pushing me backwards off a ledge, but it was my bone that was broken.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - No.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - No.

80. Published a book - Sort of. Not by myself, but I have co-authored two books.

81. Visited the Vatican - No.

82. Bought a brand new car - Yes.

83. Walked in Jerusalem - No.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper - Yes.

85. Read the entire Bible - Not the entire bible - but I read a good portion of it for religion classes in college. It is essential reading to understanding much of the world's literature and other arts.

86. Visited the White House - No.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Ugh . . . not unless you count fish.

88. Had chickenpox - No.

89. Saved someone’s life - Literally? No.

90. Sat on a jury - No.

91. Met someone famous - Several people.

92. Joined a book club - A couple of them.

93. Lost a loved one - Yes.

94. Had a baby - Depends on your definition of "having a baby"

95. Seen the Alamo in person - Yes. Waste. Of. Fucking. Time.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - No. I've seen it, never swam in it. Do they let you?

97. Been involved in a law suit - Um . . . duh. Everyday.

98. Owned a cell phone - Yes.

99. Been stung by a bee - Yes.

100. Read an entire book in one day - Yes. That was before kids.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upon Further Refelction,

Perhaps I should stop purchasing children's books at the Dollar Store.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In the End . . . .

Recently, I was reading an article from the November 10, 2008, New Yorker entitled "Suffering Souls - The Search for the Roots of Psychopathy." It was a fascinating article and combines several areas of study that I have always been interested in: psychopathology and criminal behavior. But this post isn’t really about the article. You can read it for yourself if you are really interested.

Not surprisingly, the article focused on psychopaths in the prison inmate population, highlighting the work of a psychologist in the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility. What struck me about the article was a quote seen on a poster in the common room at the prison:

"I am here because there is no refuge, finally, from myself."

I have been thinking about that quote since I read it. It struck a chord in me and I can’t seem to get it out of my head. While I see the application to prison inmates, I think it applies to the broader human experience. Maybe it’s because the economy is so bad or maybe because it’s the holiday season, but lately I have been hearing a lot of people do the "woe-is-me" talk. I have sympathy for what others are experiencing, even though I think my life could stand up to anyone else’s in the crazy-shit-happening department. But there are limits to my sympathy.

Everyone has tough times. Everyone should talk to their friends about their tough times. My patience wears thin when all I hear from people is how bad their life is when they are doing absolutely nothing to change it. All of us suffer from that feeling of utter hopelessness. I have been hanging on the bottom rung several times. At those times, one wants to turn to every other possible solution to their problems - drinking, drugs, inappropriate sex with inappropriate people, excessive spending, gambling, violence . . . whatever it is.

It took me a long time to realize none of those things were helping in the long term (not that I tried all of them). I spent a good portion of my 20s and early 30s trying to fix my problems by filling them in with outside things. My solutions, whether bad or good, never helped for long. Partying was fun (and still is), but certainly didn’t do anything to make me feel whole. The wrong men were nice distractions, but usually took away more of me than was missing when I met them. Work and school were never solid enough distractions for me to forget the bad things.

All of my attempts to fix the situation were nullities. Saying, "My life will be perfect when ________" meant my life was never perfect because there was always another __________ after the first one. There was always something more that I felt I needed to make myself feel better or be better or be whole. But, in the end, there is only myself.

Self-imposed exile was my remedy for the really bad times. After my first year of law school, I went back to my crappy retail job and tried to pretend the past nine months had never happened. One day, I gave up. I unplugged my phone, took the TV into my bedroom, and spent the next two weeks in bed. I only emerged to work and then went home and back to bed. Friends thought I had lost it. Maybe I had.

But, in the end, you can’t hide from yourself in a cell, whether it is the cell you have created in your bedroom or a prison cell. You have to deal with the reality of yourself within the confines of the reality of life. No one else can do it for you. I may not be able to control everything in my life . . . but I can control my responses to everything in my life.

I am here (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually) because, in the end, there is no hiding from myself. And, finally . . . I like that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Typical Interaction with Facebook

I joined Facebook about six months ago because my 21 year old cousin said I should. Despite the 16 year difference in our ages, she insists I should try to be cool like her. When I joined Facebook, I looked around for people I knew and asked for several of them to be my friends. I immediately saw that my parents were both friends with my cousins, so I invited my parents to be my friends. My mother accepted by invitation right away.

My dad has still not accepted my invitation. I asked him about it saying, "Why won't you be my friend on Facebook?" My dad said, "Because I'm not your friend . . . I'm your father." My dad clearly doesn't understand the way Facebook functions.

Anyway, after my initial sign-up, I haven't done a lot of searching for friends. I have looked at everyone who says they graduated from the same high school, college, or law school that I did in the same year I did. The strange thing is that I don't know half of the people who say they graduated in my classes. I really, really don't remember them. And it is not like I went to huge schools. My college class was probably the largest, with about 400 people in it. There were only about 150 in my law school graduating class, so one would think I would recognize some of these people.

So, either because my memory sucks or because people are pretending to want to be my friend just to up their friend numbers, I get a fair number of Facebook emails from people I don't recognize. I just got another one over the weekend. My reaction to this one is pretty typical.

Facebook: Jane has added you as a friend on Facebook. We need to confirm you know Jane in order for you to be friends on Facebook.

Jane: "You may not recognize my married name, but you'd know me if I said my maiden name was Smith. :) How are you Miss Smarty-Smarty Lawyer Pants?"

Me: Who the fuck is Jane? (I am able to rule out her belonging to my law school class because, as a general rule, lawyers don't address each other as "Miss Smarty-Smarty Lawyer-Pants.)

Facebook: To confirm this friend request, follow the link below.

Me: Okay . . . follow the link. Now, I am reading the friend request and it says we have one friend in common. Click on that link. I see the one friend we have in common is a friend from my pre-law school days. Really, just a drinking-partying-doing-stupid-stuff friend, but we bonded quite a few times over shots, so she and I have become friends on Facebook.

Me: So, I still have no idea who Jane is. I suppose I might as well accept her friend request. She clearly thinks she knows me. And it is driving me crazy because I can't place her from her blurry-shot-in-a-bar profile picture. Click on confirm.

Facebook: Don't you want to see how many people you know in common?

Me: No. Click on profile pictures. Scan through pictures of kid, husband, dog, house, kid, kid, kid, husband . . . the very last picture is Jane with her husband and kid and I actually recognize her. OHHHHH . . . JANE!

Me: (writing on Jane's Wall) Hey! How are you? What are you doing in PA? You have a cute kid!!

Then, I figure my Facebook obligation is over. She and I are now friends, she can look at my profile and all my pictures, comment on a few, send me a few stupid drink requests or plants or best friend awards, and the whole thing will die off soon enough.

Notsomuch.

Jane: "Hello!!! So glad to see you on fb! I've found more people that I thought I'd never see again (all good--- you included! :) ). Yes, we live in PA---and are ready to move on. We love where we live, but jobs for husband have all but dried up in this area. [The baby] is 15 months now and becoming quite a handful. She's just incredible and worth the wait, let me tell you. Looks like you've been busy reproducing as well, yes? I'm so impressed with your job--you scored! how's the family?"

Well, that was probably more information than I needed, thanks Jane. That's exactly what I tell people when they ask what I've been doing for the last 10 years . . . reproducing and lawyering. Little bit here, little bit there . . . whatever.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear Smart Car Driver . . .

I think it is absolutely wonderful that you have shown your green-superiority to the rest of us by purchasing a Smart Car. I think it is great that you can park your car at a bike rack instead of taking up one of my parking spaces. Frankly, I am jealous that you are using all of your excess gas money to buy Birkenstocks, clothing made from recycled plastic, and reusable tampons.

But I have one favor to ask. Just one little thing from this gas-car-driving consumer . . . .

Could you PLEASE drive the FUCKING SPEED LIMIT? I know you have a tiny electric car. I know it was a really, really big hill. I know it feels like you are driving a beer can with wheels and when I pass you in my Hyundai, the vibrations make it feel like your hubcaps are going to fly off. However, these things are not my problem.

What is my problem is you driving 30 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. Sure, I was feeling a little grumpy because I had just come from the mall where I had to deal with the drone-people who think they need to start Christmas shopping on NO-FREAKING-VEMBER 15th all because I promised my kid she could ride on the Christmas train. I take ownership for my part in this situation. I'm just asking you to drive the speed limit.

Or, like . . . five miles over the speed limit. THAT would be really nice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dishwasher Dishwasher Dishwasher Dishwasher DISHWASHER!

After six months of dishpan hands, I finally have a new dishwasher. Or, I should say, newly installed dishwasher. The new dishwasher itself has actually been in my possession for six months. It's just been sitting in my garage because of the asshats who put the last dishwasher in my house.

Anyway, it's in and it works, even though it sticks out from the face of the cabinets by like four inches. (Ahh . . . such is the joy of an old house). Tonight, I'm going to wash EVERY SINGLE DISH in my house. I don't care if they are dirty or not. I'm going to do it because I can. And . . . I'm considering washing anything that will fit in the dishwasher tonight. I have really, really missed having a dishwasher.

Through all of this turmoil, I have learned that quite a few people either don't have or don't use dishwashers. I would like to know what is wrong with you people. Sure, I went through the apartment living too and didn't have a dishwasher in many an apartment. But I'm talking about people who own homes. When I was looking for a house, I told my realtor that my future house must have three things: (1) central air conditioning; (2) a gas stove; and (3) a dishwasher.

Even worse are the people who have dishwashers in their kitchens and don't use them. One of my good friends stores her cookies in the dishwasher. Like Oreos and Milanos. In the dishwasher. I find that very strange. Why would you not use the time saving device installed in your home?

My secretary has taken great joy in telling me that washing dishes by hand is good for me. It is not good for me. It makes me crabby. It gives me dry hands and I hate having dry hands. What I have saved in water costs, I have spent in hand lotion.

But you know what this means? It is time for another appliance to break. Bring it on.

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Know What? BITE ME.

I just learned something fairly interesting and completely childish. Today, I published a post on my blog. It was a simple little post, an answer to one of those little memes that goes around the blogging world. Nothing too serious . . . just a little laugh to start off a Monday.

Just like many of my posts, I created several links to other bloggers or other sites that might explain my posts. To some people, my posts can be a little confusing or overly intellectual or contain too many big words and some of those words may need further information. Or sometimes, I create links to be funny. You know, because sometimes I try to be funny.

You know, sometimes people don't agree with me. Sometimes they think my use of the word fuck is too liberal. Sometimes they don't like my politics. Some people like to comment on what I do or don't do with my breasts. Or sometimes they might call me mean. But NOT ONCE has anything on my blog been censored or deleted or completely removed from the online forum that I list as "One of My Favorite Things" on said blog.

But today it was.

Apparently, someone finds one particular link so disturbing, so over the top, so . . . wrong, that my post was deliberately removed from a local blog roll on a local forum.

No, seriously. Really.

What in the sam hell did you link to, Ms. PH? What could be SOOOOO offensive to the good people of Peoria that such a harmless little post was removed? What was it? A snuff film? Baby seal clubbing videos? A picture of that big ball of twine in Minnesota?

No, no. It was worse. I linked to the other Peoria forum. I know - the horror.

So, therefore, you know what dear so-and-so? Get over yourself. Grow the fuck up. Take your head out of your ass. Censorship for moral or political reasons is wrong. Censorship because of local forum wars? That's just stupid.

And, oh yeah . . . bite me.

Wow - I've Been Blinged



This has never happened to me before . . . Cameron from over at Get the Stink Off gave me some bling, which I was really excited about until I realized it was just some kinda girly square misspelled bannery thing. (I guess, unlike Cameron, I have not forfeited my man card.) But then he called me really smart and I forgave him and decided to play his game.

So, apparently, here are the rules:

(1) List six things that make you happy
(2) Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
(3) Link back to the person who gave you the award
(4) Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.
(5) Request scantily clad photos of your blogger friends of the opposite sex.

(Hmmm . . . I'm thinking I might not play part 5 of this game.)

But here are six things that make me happy, in no particular order:

(1) Veteran's Day. Since it's tomorrow, this is really timely happiness. I explained my reasons for loving Veteran's Day some time ago in this post, so I will not elaborate again. Let's just say: Day Off + Day Care Open + No Family Obligations = Happy Day.

(2) Laughing with my children. There is nothing better than raising children who have good senses of humor. I love laughing with them when they say something funny and know they've said something funny, and they are laughing because I am laughing and I am laughing because they are laughing. I just want to squeeze them and cover them with kisses when that happens.

(3) Office Supplies. I love office supplies. Everything from fancy paperclips to every shape of Post-It note, I love them. Particularly pens. And my favorite pens (Pilot V Ball Extra Fine in black) are very hard to come by, so they are usually on my Christmas list. Oh, and stickers and markers and calendars and three-hole-punches and white-out and staple removers and those rubber thumb thingys. I don't really know what those rubber thumb thingys are for, but I have one in my desk drawer. Just in case.

(4) Coffee, Chocolate, Wine, and Pastries. To be more specific, strong coffee, dark chocolate, good wine, and cream-filled pastries.

(5) Mail. Getting real mail makes me happy. Not bills or junk mail or catalogs or reminder notices. Real mail that someone handwrote, hand addressed, and put a stamp on. Makes me feel really special.

(6)

Now I have to link to six more creative bloggers. Hmmmm . . . . After careful consideration, I have decided to only link to female bloggers, because I think Cameron pretty much covered all of the male bloggers when he said his real favorite things were "family, friends, boobs, beer, food, and boobs." I could be wrong, but I don't think so. So, here are the six newest recipients of some blogger "bling."

Notes from the Trailerhood
It Was Only a Dream
Vanilla Bean Counter
Keep Passing the Open Windows
Cjay . . . What?
My Flock Rocks

*You may all think number six is blank. It isn't. It is written in invisible ink. A girl's entitled to have some secrets, isn't she? Well, some sort-of secrets, anyway, since number six was discussed in great length over here last night.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Advantages of a Room with a View

I could have gotten a better picture if I hadn't been using my cell phone camera. You can't really tell, but it was a double rainbow, nearly a complete arc, and ended at the Par-A-Dice casino. I kid you not.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

10 Favorite Pick-Me-Up Movies

It is apparently Ms. PH month at HBO On Demand because they have five of my favorite pick-me-up movies available this month. I felt so honored and touched that I decided to make a list of my top 10 favorite pick-me-up movies. These are movies that, if I am surfing the channels on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do, I will absolutely stop and watch them every time. They are also movies that make me laugh and movies that I quote randomly, usually at inappropriate times when no one has any clue what I am talking about.

The first five are on HBO On Demand right now and the rest are just my favorites. (And, for those of you who can't count, there are actually 12 movies on the list. I just couldn’t decide which ones to cut, so I included all of them.)

(1) Blue Streak - Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Dave Chappelle. I really don’t know what it is about this movie that makes me love it so much. Could it be the dumbass cops who can’t figure out that Martin Lawrence isn’t actually a cop? Maybe. I also love Luke Wilson, so that could be the reason too. Who cares, really. I love it. Seen it like 25 times.

(2) Knocked Up - Seth Rogan, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd. If you think about it, the basic story of this movie is not all that funny. Nothing like a totally unplanned pregnancy resulting from a drunken one-night-stand to bring your mood down. However, the underlying humor in this movie is hysterical. One of my favorite parts is when Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd go to Vegas, eat some shrooms, and Paul Rudd obsesses about the number and type of chairs in the hotel room. I think about that every time I am in a hotel room and I find myself counting the number of different chairs. Oh, and this exchange: Dad: "Don’t ever do what they just did." Little Girl: "I’m gonna do it!!"

(3) The Last Supper - Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard, Annabeth Gish. For those who don’t remember this movie, the basic premise is a bunch of liberal graduate students living in Iowa City together in a house. They decide they will invite people over whose views they do not agree with and kill them. Fantastic. Great for those days when the conservative wing nuts get you down.

(4) Never Been Kissed - Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan. How can you not love this movie? It is every unpopular girl’s dream come true. Plus, there are so many situations where you can use the quote, "What? I can grab a bull’s balls!!"

(5) The Truth about Cats and Dogs - Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin. I may bear a passing resemblance to Uma Thurman (if you squint your eyes and turn your head to the side) because I am tall, blonde, and of Swedish descent, but I totally identify with Janeane Garofalo in this movie. Cat-owning, violin playing, socially-awkward dork who might threaten to shove her violin bow up a guy’s nose to scramble his brain if she was pushed hard enough. (I’ve totally grown out of that now . . . except for the cat-owning and violin playing. And probably the dork thing too.)

(6) Hudson Hawk - Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell. Sure, it is a dumb-ass movie. It makes no logical sense. It has Bruce Willis in it both trying to be funny and singing. However, no matter how depressed I am, this movie will make me laugh every time. So, if you ever hear me say, "I must go talk to the dolphins now! Eeeee . . . Eeeee . . . Eeeee" or sing "Swinging on a Star" you will know why.

(7) Big Daddy - Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, Joey Lauren Adams. This is by far the funniest quote movie ever. Ever. I can’t tell you the number of times I said, "But I wipe my own ass!" while potty-training my daughter. Appropriate? No. Funny? Hell, yes. That or "Hip . . . Hip . . Hip-hop-anonymous?" I am not ashamed to admit that I use some of the best parenting tips from that movie while raising my own kids.

(8) Galaxy Quest - Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver. Oh, and Justin Long and Tony Shalub. Too funny for words, especially if you are the type of person who likes to make fun of Star Trek fans.

(9) Old School - Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell. Because of this movie, I am trying really hard to teach my daughter "EARMUFFS" so I can swear in front of her, but she isn’t buying it. For a long time, some friends and I would yell at each other when we were leaving, "YOU’RE MY BOY BLUE!" And just picturing Vince Vaughn smoking while attempting the ring exercise makes me giggle.

(10) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Justin Long. Hmm . . . it has just occurred to me that I might have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy. Anyway, when Rip Torn says, "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a dodgeball!" and smacks Justin Long with a wrench, I can’t stand it. Too Damn Funny.

(11) Men in Black - Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Vincent D’Onofrio. I loved this movie from start to finish. I even wanted to name my next cat Orion because of this movie. But the best part of this movie (and a quote I use with some frequency in my professional life) is, "No Ma’am . . . we at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we are aware of." Classic.

(12) Office Space - Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole. Any person that does not find this movie funny needs to be shot in the head. They clearly have no sense of humor whatsoever and I have no use for them. Because of this movie, I also have a deep love of flair. I have flair on my facebook page. I collect random buttons. This weekend, I can be found wearing all of my flair at Julep’s Closet on my apron. And anytime I see the words "PC load letter," I want to kick the shit out of a printer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Creepiest Happy Meal Toy Ever.

I want to know who had the idea to crossbreed Madame Alexander dolls and the characters from the Wizard of Oz. Seriously . . . worst idea ever. And, even if fusing Madame Alexander dolls and characters from the Wizard of Oz was a good idea, like for characters such as Dorothy, the good witch, the munchkins, etc., who was the villiage idiot who thought young children would enjoy a Madame Alexander Flying Monkey?



What are they going to do next? Cabbage Patch Kid Transformers? (Well, we are almost finished with the prototype but these damn chubby cheeks keep getting in the way. There is no possible engineering solution to this problem. NO WAIT! I've got it! Chubby face cheeks transform to chubby butt cheeks. Perfect! Not creepy at all! Will be loved by the masses!)


Most kids I know (including myself) are scared shitless of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. Giving them the cute baby face did not help. Giving them the cute little cupie doll haircut didn't help either.

But here's another problem. See that little vest the monkey is wearing? OK, now see that tail sticking out behind the monkey? Yeah, well . . . that tail is not attached to the monkey. It is attached to the bottom of the monkey's vest. WTF?

I mean, if you are going to make a creepy possessed smurf colored three toed flying simian primate, why would you not at least try to attach its tail to its freaking body?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Neither the High Road nor the Low Road

Sometimes, you read something or you hear something and you get pissed off. If you’re me, that happens fairly frequently. I have a very low tolerance for things I think are stupid or wrong or discriminatory or just plain ass-backwards. Sometimes, in response to these things, you want to write nasty emails, post nasty blog entries, or throw mud in the offending person’s general direction. Sometimes, it feels good to let it all out, to make your voice heard, to one-up the person who has offended you so.

And then there are times for being nice. My mother always used to say to me, "You know, you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Well sure you will, but who wants to catch flies anyway? I really prefer to stalk flies with a rolled up magazine and smash them into teeny-tiny little bits while yelling, "Take that, sucka!!" And yes, it does make me feel powerful to kill something 1/100th of my size with overly-zealous force. So much so that sometimes, I do a little victory dance after I kill a fly. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

For about six months when I was 14 years old, my mother decided it was time to get involved in the Unitarian Church. We’re not a family of church-goers generally, and I was suspicious of this decision. She and my father attended the services and my brother and I went to Sunday School. As it turns out, she wanted to enroll me in Sunday School at this particular church because they had a very progressive sex education program. And when I say very progressive I mean that some of the things we talked about and viewed were my first experience with pornography.

Anyway, my mother didn’t last long in this type of organized religion. This is probably a clue as to how our family views religion in general. If my mother couldn’t stomach the Unitarians, she probably will never be able to be a member of any organized religion. She tried to belong, but she was too realistic for the granola-crunchy members, too smart for the new-age members, and too bossy for the church leadership.

Every service ended with members sharing some piece of good news about their families or anything, really. Our last Sunday in church, one of the other mothers of teenagers in the church stood up to expound on the virtues of her children. At great length. Little Tommy had scored a touchdown in football. Little Suzy was on the honor roll again. They had both won awards for creative writing, or art, or music or some shit like that. Everybody politely clapped (and rolled their eyes). Except my mother.

My mother blew a gasket. She marched up to the lectern and grabbed the microphone. She said, "I would just like to tell everyone about my children. They did absolutely nothing spectacular this week. They were completely normal. They haven’t won any awards and haven’t done exceptionally well in school. But I’m still proud of them. Thank you." She dropped the microphone and walked out.

Like I said, that was our last Sunday in church.

But I learned something from her behavior that day. Sometimes, you need to take a few breaths, count to 10 and NOT say the first thing that comes to your mind. Into a microphone. In front of a large audience.

But sometimes you do.

Bottom line . . . sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

The question is, do I feel nutty today? Well? Do I?

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Nope. I still don’t know. But I'll tell you one thing. I don’t like being classified as a Mommy Blogger. I may be a mommy and a blogger. However, calling me a Mommy Blogger is like making cake using only flour and eggs. And it takes a whole lot more to make a cake. Particularly a Pointlessly Hypertechnical cake. Those are some damn complicated pastries.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Early Voting

I voted last night. I guess it was to take advantage of the early voting that is now available. I waited in line (for almost half an hour), was told for the fourth time my last name is misspelled in the system (and, yes, I am absolutely sure there is an R in my last name. Pretty sure it came over on the boat from Denmark that way. Thanks for asking again, though), and then cast my ballot. Actually, to be precise, my daughter cast my ballot because she loves pushing the buttons. We all got our "I Voted" stickers and were home for dinner.

It was a fine experience but I do not think I will vote early again. Sure, I only waited for half an hour and on voting day during the last presidential election, I waited for an hour and a half, but early voting left me feeling empty inside.

Part of the thrill of voting (and yes, I still think it is thrilling to vote - just to have a small part in the running of our country is amazing) is going home after voting to watch the television coverage. The direct link between my vote and the election results is right there, right away for me to experience. Last night was just a let down. I went home and wanted to see where my vote was in the rankings. Would my candidates win? Would it be close? How many stupid things will the commentators say? Will the clusterfuck happen in Florida again? Or any other state?

Without being able to watch the end of the voting process - the election results - it feels as if I was just pretend voting. I know they assured me every vote will be counted, but I feel as if I was just a half-assed participant. I wanted the immediate gratification of either knowing that, finally, our country is going to make a turn-around from the train wreck of the last eight years or that, it will continue on this track of destruction. I wanted to yell at the TV. I wanted to call all my friends and scream, "What is WRONG with people? Who could possibly vote for that idiot?"

Most of all, I want this election to be over. It has been a long campaign season filled with ups and downs. I am tired of the attack ads. I am tired of daily flyers in the mail maligning one candidate or another. I am tired of hearing from strategists and commentators and talking heads and people who apparently do not have jobs other than to appear on news talk shows during a presidential campaign. I am tired of looking at John McCain's face and hearing Sarah Palin's whiny-ass voice.

It is probably crystal clear who I voted for in this election. But, I will say there were two races where it was a difficult decision. The Gordan/Krupa race is a tough one because, frankly, I think one is a shell of a person puppet for her party and the other is totally under-qualified. I literally did not make a decision about the state's attorney's race until I was standing at the polling booth reading their names. I know both of the men running personally. They both have their good points and they both have really, really negative aspects. And, no . . . I won't tell you which one I picked.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So . . . That's Her Excuse

My daughter loves Notes from the Trailerhood Katie. I mean, everyone loves Katie, but my daughter really, really loves her. Katie's like Santa Claus in our house - the threat and the bribe to get my daughter to do things she doesn't want to do. Such as: "If you don't take a nap, we can't go over to Katie's house." It really, really works, every time.

As you may know, Katie and Dazoo (who is also in my daughter's top 10 people list) are renovating a house. Because I am indebted to Katie for her caretaking of me during the sprained ankle incident, I have gladly offered to help in any way I can. Well, also . . . they promised me I could take part in knocking down a wall and that's really, really exciting to me. I love destroying shit.

I digress.

Anyway, yesterday Katie and I had made tentative plans for me to help her and Dazoo at the house. I told my daughter about these plans (forgetting a three-year old probably didn't know the meaning of tentative) before her nap. Then she heard me call Katie after nap and leave a message. Only then did it dawn on her that we may not be seeing Katie that day.

As we were in the car running errands, my daughter and I talked about this:

Daughter: I want to go to Katie's HOUSE!

Me: I know, babe, but Katie's not there right now. I left her a message and we have to wait until she calls back.

Daughter: But I want to see KATIE! I want to see Katie, RIGHT NOW! (repeat 5 times)

Me: Listen, babe. I left a message for Katie. I can't make her call me back and I can't make her be at her house. She's a grown-up. She makes her own decisions.

Daughter: NO! She's NOT a grown-up!! She's SHORT!

I love Katie dearly, but . . . alas, this is true. She is short. I mean, if my almost three-foot tall three year old calls you short, I think you have to accept it as the ultimate truth.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mommy Fail, Tattletale

Okay, so . . . I have not been reaching my goal of being the perfect mother lately. I've been hanging by a thread in the perfect mommy competition. Which is fine by me, really, because I don't really want to be the perfect mommy. However, I think I need to step up my game a little bit because my daughter called me out this morning.

It all started last night. The daycare had a "Parents Night Out" thing where you could bring your kids from 6:30 to 10:30 and they would entertain them, give them a snack, and watch a movie. This was the first time I have taken my daughter because this is really the first time I have felt that she is old enough to handle an occasional later bedtime. And when they said it was from 6:30 to 10:30, I thought, cool - I can pick her up at 10:30 like all the other normal parents. In fact, I heard one parent say to his kid as we were leaving, "I'll see you are 10:15 or so!" I felt completely justified going out and staying out until 10:15 or so, assuming I would not be the last parent there.

Well, I was wrong. Not only was I the last parent there and they were standing in the front hall holding my very tired daughter, I showed up smelling like cigarettes and beer. (Now in case any of you perfect parents are reading this, I suggest first, go to someone else's blog and second, yes, I was at a bar and had a drink or two and people around me were smoking. Get over it. Damn perfect parent police.) Anyway, I am sure the teachers had a little laugh at the bad mommy and I felt really bad that she was the last one there, but . . . everyone needs a night out. And it's not like I showed up at one in the morning drunk off my ass with someone else's clothes on. Jeez.

Anyway, this morning I was still feeling a little guilty and spending some real quality time with the kid. As is her usual line of questioning in the morning, she asked, "Are we going to school today?" Nope, it's Saturday. "Are we going to dance class today?" Yep, we are going to dan . . . SHIT.

Bad mommy forgot to wash her dance clothes. I looked at the clock. One hour before we had to leave for class. I rushed to her room and began throwing clothes out of her hamper. Now, ordinarily, I would have evaluated the clothing in question and determined whether we could squeak by with wearing a dirty leotard and tights. (Come on now . . . everyone has done it.) As I got down to the dance clothes in the hamper, it all came back to me.

Milk. Milk down the front of her leotard and tights. Not only was there a faint stain, it didn't smell that good either. No problem - I can wash and dry a load of laundry in an hour. I ran downstairs and started the laundry.

As I came back into the living room, I heard her open up her fake princess cell phone. She said, "I'm calling my teachers, Mama." OK, whatever . . . . Then I hear, "Hello? Yeah, hi . . . my mommy forgot to wash my dance clothes . . . um-hum . . . they really dirty . . . um-hum . . . we be little late. Bye-bye."

Tattletale.

I said to her, "Did you just call your dance teachers and rat me out?"

"Yep."

"Gee, thanks."

"That's OK Mama, you try harder next time."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fortune Conundrum

So, let's say you eat dinner and after dinner you receive a fortune cookie. Let's say that happens on Tuesday. However, instead of eating the cookie and reading your fortune immediately, you throw the cookie into your briefcase for later.

Of course, then you forget about it.

Then let's say on Thursday at around 3:45 pm, you are starving because you forgot to eat lunch. Then you remember Tuesday night's fortune cookie is still in your briefcase. Granted, it is pretty much reduced to crumbs, but . . . hey, it's still a cookie, right?

So, then you eat the fortune cookie and read the enclosed fortune. The enclosed fortune says:

A pleasant surprise is in store for you tonight.

Which night is the cookie referring to - Tuesday or Thursday? Because, if it was Tuesday, I missed the pleasant surprise and, frankly, it must not have been that pleasant since I don't remember any surprises from Tuesday night aside from the dog pee puddle on the dining room rug.

BUT, if it applies to Thursday, I may just have something to look forward to tonight when I go home, which would make my day infinitely brighter . . . even if for just a few moments.

On the other hand, I should be careful what I wish for . . . the dog could leave an even bigger present for me tonight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10 Things They Don’t Teach You in Law School, But Should

Someone asked me recently if, given the choice, I would attend law school again. Somedays, the answer is hell, no. Other days, I reflect on how much I love my job and say that I would, if law school itself was somewhat different. In a lot of ways, law school was merely a means to an end. I wanted a graduate degree, I wanted a professional degree, and I've got it. Do I spend time fondly reminiscing about the good times from law school? Absolutely not.

So, here are some of the harsh realities I learned only after leaving law school and actually practicing law:

(1) None of this really matters. Seriously. Most of the crap they teach in law school has absolutely nothing to do with the actual practice of law. I would say about 98% is completely irrelevant. Of all of the classes I took in law school, there is only one I use daily - Legal Research and Writing. And, since most of the "research" part was based on non-electronic paper book research, I don’t use much of that at all. (And, by the way, my worst grade in law school was in the class that taught the type of law I currently specialize in.)

(2) You will lose. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday, you will lose a case. And it will hurt. And it will be completely unfair. And the system will fail you and your client. There is no one in the history of the law who has won every single case. No matter how much you win or lose, you realize there is always a loser and sometimes, both parties lose.

(3) Real life is not the Socratic method. You don’t get to argue with everyone in real life. You don’t get to make your point in a clear and precise manner in a controlled environment. People won't always listen to you and take you seriously. In fact, you may be laughed at or ridiculed. Now that’s being a real lawyer.

(4) You have to payback those student loans. Now, sure . . . I probably knew somewhere in the back of my head that I would have to repay the money I was living off of in law school. However, there is nothing like receiving that first loan payment notice six months after graduation and realizing you could have purchased a nice starter home with the amount of money you owe for student loans plus interest. Right now, my student loan payment is the same amount as my mortgage payment. The education that keeps on educating.

(5) After five years, no one will give a flying fuck if you were on law review. Or graduated at the top of your class. Or won moot court. You want to know why? Because success at the actual profession is significantly more important than pretend success during the education for the profession.

(6) The only thing you have is your reputation. Believe it or not, it does matter what other people think of you. I have seen cases succeed and fail based on the judge’s impression of the lawyers involved. I have seen lawyers not receive high profile cases because of the perception that they are idiots. Watch that people. Ever hear of Sarah Weddington? After law school, she couldn't find a job to save her life. One male partner in a big law firm actually told her he didn't work with women lawyers. Many years later, after Weddington successfully argued Roe v. Wade, she sat on a judicial nominating commission. That male partner was one of the candidates for judicial appointment. Let's just say he didn't get the appointment. Lesson learned.

(7) Be nice to the little people. No, not midgets (unless you have a very specialized practice.) I’m talking about the non-lawyers in the room. Be nice to the court’s staff and to the members of the clerk’s office. I can’t tell you how many times law clerks, staff attorneys, clerks, and court reporters have done favors for me because I am nice to them. Being rude to a court reporter could cost you big time in the end. Need that transcript ASAP? If you’ve pissed off the court reporter, you might as well type that sucker yourself.

(8) Judges are people too. What they teach you in law school is that judges are somehow other-worldly - that they possess special powers of intellect and judgment. They teach you to always address a judge by "judge" or "your honor," even if you are in bed with them (Okay - only one professor told us that, but his wife was a judge, so . . . .) In reality, many judges are very smart and very fair minded. However, they are also real people with families, stress, bad hair days, and stains on their ties. Be respectful but you don’t have to genuflect for christ’s sake.

(9) Your clients will probably hate you. If you went into the practice of law because you thought it would be all about warm-fuzzies and "helping people," grow up. Some of these people need your help and will benefit from your help but will be completely ungrateful the entire time you are helping them. That's the thanks you get, every day. Because, in the end, when you can't blame anyone else, you can always blame your lawyer.

(10) How to tell people to fuck off nicely. Law schools need to teach people to negotiate and discuss problems calmly and like adults. Hanging up on people, calling other attorneys to tell them another attorney was "mean to you," and name calling is not professional. Get over yourselves and act like grown-ups.

Monday, October 20, 2008

AHHH! My Mind's Eye!!!

My grandfather has a very unique first name. So unique, in fact, I have never met anyone else who has the same name with the same spelling. Consequently, when I see an email in my inbox this morning purporting to be from someone with that name, I opened it.

And, no . . . I did not stop when I saw the subject of the email was, "Mine is Bigger." Sometimes, my grandfather says completely benign things that look weird, but he doesn't really mean it that way. He's 90 years old, for christ's sake.

And then, even when I read the body of the email, it took me awhile to understand what was going on:

Augment your rocket with lots of inches utilizing the unequaled cure.

Go now to _________.com and take a look at the meritorious theraputics within reach.

God Damn spammers. Why on Earth would they use an old Swedish guy's name on an email like that? That sort of set the tone for my entire day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Wish I Was Congested

There are workmen in my office constructing some new cubicles or something. They are constructing these things right outside of my office door.

I don't mind the noise.

I don't mind the mess.

I don't mind that they have completely blocked my doorway.

I don't mind the mindless dumb-ass chatter.

I DO mind the skin-peeling, eyelash curling, fingernail biting, nasal passage burning BO.

One of these guys has the worst body odor I have ever, ever, ever smelled. I closed my door because of the body odor. The odor lingered in my office. I sprayed hair spray to cloak the odor. The odor broke through. I sprayed myself with Febreeze. The odor killed it and attached itself to my clothing.


I am THIS close to shoving kleenex up my nostrils.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Have a Really Good Explanation for That

I bought a new shirt on Monday. Because this new shirt is kind of sheer, it came with a coordinating camisole. As most women know, camisoles introduce a complex underwear question into the morning dressing routine - to bra or not to bra?

On Tuesday morning, I decided to wear the new shirt and camisole and decided to go with the bra option. Unfortunately, because laundry hasn’t been done by the laundry fairies recently, my bra selection was down to the few uncomfortable bras I still own. But I forged ahead and decided to wear a bra I know is very uncomfortable, thinking that perhaps I had overestimated the level of uncomfortableness of the bra.

Turns out . . . I hadn’t.

But, I hung in there almost all day with the bra. However, around 3 pm, I couldn’t take it any more . . . I had to get that thing off. So, I grabbed my keys and went to the bathroom in my office building, which is outside of our actual office walls. I grabbed my keys because to get back into the office, I have to have my keys.

After shutting myself in a stall, I removed the offensive undergarment and put the camisole and shirt back on and . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . breathed a sigh of relief. Comfort at last.

But now I had an even bigger problem. I am standing in a bathroom stall holding a bra, wearing an outfit without pockets, and carrying no purse or briefcase. Panic sets in. How the hell am I going to make it back to my office without revealing to everyone that I just took my bra off? I tried to squish the bra into my fist. It didn’t work. I carefully folded the straps into the bra and made it as compact as possible. However, it was still painfully obvious that I was carrying underwear in my hand.

I took a deep breath and made a mad dash to the outside door of my office. DAMN! I hadn’t thought about using my key to open the door and I had my bra in my right hand - the hand I usually use to open the door with my key. I tried to fumble the key in the lock with my left hand and failed miserably. Then I tried to keep the bra in my right hand and open the lock at the same time. DAMN! I dropped the bra in the hallway.

Totally flustered, I grabbed the bra with my left hand, opened the door with my right hand, and sprinted to my office. Relieved to have made it without being spotted, I dropped the bra in my briefcase and sat down at my desk.

Ahh, sweet relief. I could last two hours at work, go home and get rid of the bra. No one would ever know.

Well . . . somewhere between 3:15 and 5 pm, I forgot about the bra. Instead of going home for dinner after work (because the food fairies haven’t filled the fridge), I decided to take my daughter out for dinner at One World. We had a lovely dinner and then the waitress brought us the check. Knowing my three year old had limited time left in her good behavior container, I asked the waitress to wait so I could hand her my credit card right then and there.

I opened my briefcase, pulled out my wallet, and FLIP! Out came the bra . . . flying across the table and landing on the floor. Stunned, I grabbed it quickly and shoved it back into the briefcase. "What was THAT, MAMA?" yelled my daughter. Subtle, babe.

Turning to look at the waitress, I said, "I have a really good explanation for that . . . ."

The waitress said, "That’s OK . . . ." and walked away.

You know, sometimes I live in this fantasy world that I have everything under control and my life is absolutely normal. Then I am reminded that I don’t and it isn’t.