Monday, December 8, 2014

One Good Deed Went Unpunished

There's a mom in the LOL group who looks a lot like Elizabeth Montgomery. For those of you too young to know that name, I'll say Nicole Kidman. I've never really talked to her, not even to tell her she looks like Nicole Kidman because 1) Thursdays are usually crazy busy, and 2) I'm sure she's probably tired of hearing that she looks like Nicole Kidman. 3) Over the years I've found that many people do not find attractive the celebrity they resemble. I've seen folks who could double for Sandra Bullock, Mariah Carey, and Jennifer Lawrence, but when you tell them so, they say something like, "I just really don't think she's that pretty.". I was once told I looked like Belinda Carlisle, and I smiled, because Belinda Carlisle is not bad at all, when the commenter said, "No, not Belinda Carlisle today, the one from the 80's, when she was fat and on drugs." Oh. Well, that's cool, too, I guess. Anyway, surely she has lots of other talents aside from looking like Nicole Kidman, I just never have had a chance to ask. Well, last Thursday, someone left a bag containing a laptop, a journal of some sort (I didn't read it), and sheet music. Guess to whom it belonged? And when I met her in a parking lot to give her the bag, she thanked me with good chocolate. So, ONE good deed has not only gone unpunished, but was also appreciated and rewarded! And now I know that the Elizabeth Montgomery/ Nicole Kidman lookalike mom buys good chocolate.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Being in an Audience for Dummies

After watching the PopShop videos from tonight, it's obvious I need to teach a class. 
To the audience. 

Lesson 1. Yes, it's a restaurant. People are ordering and serving food. Unless you are ordering or serving food, sit down. I'm not talking about the "standing room only, can't find a seat" folks. I mean the social butterflies who flit around the room, in front of every camera possible. 

Lesson 2. Just because it's not YOUR kid playing a song right now, doesn't mean you should talk loudly, over the music, next to the parent who is recording their child. Honestly, the band was playing Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal" and the vocalist cannot even be heard over the chatter.

Lesson 3. Sit. The. Fuck. Down. Ok, so you come back to your table and see a person near you is making a video of a band. Do not turn to see who they happen to be filming and then *stand there* between the band and the videographer and watch the rest of the song! Sit down, take a knee, sit on your friend's lap, I don't care- Just, MOVE.

Lesson 4. If you want to know about the food that the restaurant serves, do not approach a random audience member that is obviously filming the band currently playing and ask them "Do you know if the peppers are hot?". Seriously, the dude filming was dressed like an undertaker; he's not the one cooking your food. 
(Raw face is just gross)

You know who you are. I have you on video, and I'm not afraid to post it on facebook and tag you. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Goodwill Hurting

Goodwill was a madhouse today- super crowded, and full of people who are crazy (sanity-challenged?). People fighting over dollar store knick knacks... People fighting over beat-up sneakers... People debating the pros and cons of buying a used sippy cup for a friend's baby that was born yesterday
(Trust me, any woman who had a baby yesterday will not be thrilled when you race over to show her the used sippy cup you bought for her kid at Goodwill.) 
There were twelve people in line ahead of me, so I had a lot of time to enjoy the crazy. 
The best one was a woman who ran into her old coworker and loudly related the tale of her recent emergency room visit for a migraine. She went in, you see, because she was throwing up so much that she couldn't take her pain-relieving medicine at home, so at the emergency room they gave her pain relief in the form of a suppository. She couldn't understand how the medicine would help her migraine from "all the way down there". She said when she takes a pill for her migraine, that makes sense, because she is putting the pill in her head... But a suppository would only be good for a pain in her butt. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nailed It!

It started with vanilla creme-filled cupcakes with rootbeer flavored icing. Rootbeer Float cupcakes! It sounded like a good idea. 
Okay, it sounded like an unusual idea. I made them. They looked great.

I tried one. They were horrible. Way too sweet and rootbeery. 
I switched gears. Spice cake cupcakes, with vanilla creme filling, and cream cheese frosting. I even got out my cute cupcake wrappers by Paula Deen that say "A Balanced Diet is One Cupcake in Each Hand".
If one followed the recipe, they were supposed to look like this:
Three Easy Steps to "Yum!"
Halfway into the baking time, everything went South (I blame the Paula Deen cupcake wrappers).
May Day!! May Day!!

All the smoke alarms were all going off (if one goes off, they all go off, because they are hardwired that way) and "someone" *coughMrHofercough* thought he was helping me save on heating this winter by closing the storm window in the kitchen and I'm too short to raise it til it clicks, so it slammed back down on my finger and I had to go get the step stool to *open a fucking window*, and the alarms are still going off and the dogs are barking, and all the filling leaked out onto the oven floor and was just burning like crazy, and it also leaked down between the paper and the pan and burnt on there, so I couldn't even get them out of the pan!!!
Nailed it!
I was so mad! This pan is part of a cupcake transportation system; a special lid locks onto it that allows one to carry the cupcakes safely to their destination. How can I show up with these?! 
"Fuck you, Paula Deen! Fuck you!" (I know this is not Paula Deen's fault. I didn't say it was her fault; I said I was going to blame her.)
After cooling for a minute (me and the cupcakes), I discovered that shit peeled right off.
And it was delicious!
I decided to try again. I pried these cupcakes out the pan, and grabbed more cupcake wrappers. Actual Wilton wrappers, this time. I'm done fooling around!

You can tell shit just got real- I'm wearing my old, stained "I childproofed my house, but they still get in" apron.

I am a domestic goddess- I can do this. They are only cupcakes. Cupcakes cannot break me. My son will turn 13 today and by god, there will be cupcakes!

These are from an old family recipe- "Spice Cake with Seagull Poop Exploding Forth".
I can't. I need to be there in an hour and I haven't the faintest clue what to do, here. Frost them with cream cheese frosting, act like everything is normal, and then laugh hysterically when people try to eat them?
People will simply have a choice between Astoundingly Foul Rootbeer Cupcakes, Mangled Spice Cake Cupcakes, and Exploding Bird-Poo Cupcakes.

Nailed It!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is There a Vaccine Against Fear Mongering?

This "article" is being passed around Facebook. This is not journalism. This is name-calling and fear-mongering. 
The measles vaccine has been in use for 50 years. I found this in the Journal of Infectious Diseases : 
"In the United States, mortality from measles decreased from 25 per 1000 reported cases in 1912 to 1 per 1000 reported cases in 1962. In New York State, measles mortality decreased by >15-fold long before the introduction of measles vaccination."
..."During the past 13 years in the United States, the case-fatality rate has averaged 3 per 1000 reported measles cases. This increase is most likely due to more complete reporting of measles as a cause of death, HIV infections, and a *higher proportion of cases among adults*. [emphasis mine]  Annual US measles deaths have declined from 408 in 1962 to 0 from 1993-present."
The fact is, even with the boosters, the vaccines wear off in adulthood. I am living proof of this. This leaves adults at risk for a very serious illness that would have been mild, if contracted as a child. Re-vaccinating these adults does not work- they often will not "cross-over". 
By vaccinating children against what are usually mild diseases when contracted as children, we are setting the adult population up for a world of hurt 25 years down the road. The kids that were intentionally not vaccinated in this "outbreak" will have lifelong immunity.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Charming Birthday Present

Months ago I had a dream about Lucky Charms. I dreamt that I'd bought a box and was eagerly anticipating enjoying a bowl of them for breakfast. In my dream, I was worried that they wouldn't be there, and that my kids had gotten to them first. When I opened the pantry, the box was still there. Still cautious in my dream, I was afraid that it would be empty. I picked up the box. Still full! My lucky day!!
I got out a bowl and spoon and the lactose-free milk, and opened the box.
It was full of Grape Nuts.
I was confused, and trying not to cry.
"But you like Grape Nuts," one of my kids said.
"I know. And I do. But I really wanted Lucky Charms. My heart was set on Lucky Charms." I whined.
"It's ok... We'll put mini marshmallows in them." she suggested.
"It's not the same." I said, resigned to a bowl of gravel.
"No, no... really! We'll call them... Lucky Nuts!"
"Lucky Nuts. Lucky Nuts? LUCKY NUTS?!" (Needless to say, I was less than thrilled by this solution.)

When I woke up, we had neither Lucky Charms nor Grape Nuts for breakfast. I told my daughter about my dream and we had a good laugh. I pretty much forgot about it after that.

For my birthday, my daughter remembered me and bought me the Lucky Charms I'd been craving so long ago. A small gift that meant a lot.
When I opened them, that's where it got hilarious.
She had filled the box from the bottom!
She'd given me a dream come true- a box of Lucky Nuts!

(She also gave me a Grape Nuts box *packed* with Lucky Charms.)

Bonus Pic: The card Tessa made me!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quicker Picker Upper

 Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home, and where families gather, so I've worked hard to make my kitchen a place where my kids and dogs like to hang out. The floor is done in a beautiful hardwood. The afternoon sun pours in through the glass door and produces warm puddles of light in which the three dogs bask. I was making a snack for the kids, watching the sun dogs nap, and thinking that my life was pretty amazing when all hell broke loose.
"Oh God! Ewww!" shrieked one kid.
"Get it!" yelled another.
"I can't! You do it! Oh god, gross! I'm going to hurl!" came the response.

I hurried around the kitchen island to see what was going on. There was a mole, a dead mole, mostly eviscerated, still with a face, yet quite slobbered on, being warmed in a sunny patch on the floor. Irie (our half grown Min-Pin) was pacing near her prize. She sensed that we were somewhat displeased with the discovery of the delicious rodent, yet seemed hesitant to leave it. 

"Just pick it up and pitch it outside." I said in my Calm Mom voice.
"I can't! How? Ewww, NO. I can't!"

The room bordered on pure panic as it seemed this dead mole would stay inside forever, because no one had the guts to pick it up. Not with gloves, or a paper towel, or a plastic bag- the kids were just too squeamish.

Suddenly my son grabbed Irie and carried her over to the dead mole, and held her near it. Irie reached down and picked up the mole with her mouth. My son carried Irie (and thus the mole) over to the front door and pitched her out. Silence, as we appreciated the brilliance of his solution. The entire room filled with relief, then laughter and gratitude. A few minutes later, we let Irie (sans mole) back into the house. I do not know if she ate it, buried it, or simply abandoned it for the warmth of being inside. 
I'd gone back to snack making, the dogs were back to napping in the sunny spots, and I realized for all the chaos, it was true- my life is pretty amazing.


Oy is a chihuahua. He is tiny and bossy, with personal space issues when it comes to other dogs.
Irie is a min-pin, less than a year old, and plays the role of goofy little sister.
Oy was enjoying laptime, and Irie wanted to jump up too, but Oy kept growling and snarling at her to stay down. I grabbed his face and said in a stern voice, "No! You don't get to act like that!"
He stopped growling and Irie jumped up. She started to sit too close to him, and he growled again. I grabbed his face again and said, "No!". He stopped growling and sat very still, while Irie got comfortable.
They sat calmly for a few minutes, and then Irie decided to push her luck:

She scooted up until she was actually sitting on Oy...

I figured Oy would complain and growl for her to get off, but Oy didn't make a sound.

I'd told Oy to be still, and he was obeying. Silently. With deep sighs. He could have hopped down at any time, but laptime is far too important to abandon over a little squishing.

Even when she turned around three times and plopped down on him, he didn't utter a single complaint. 

This type of self control is unheard of in our little dog. I figured he'd really let her have it any second now.

Not a peep! He suffered in silence as this annoying little sister of a dog tried harder and harder to get a rise out of him. He just would not give her the satisfaction.

I felt bad, because Irie was clearly a little brat, and Oy had just resigned himself to being a cushion for her nap. Either one could have jumped down at any time. Eventually, they both just fell asleep.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm Okay with Public School... As Long as You're Doing it For the Right Reasons

   I homeschool my kids, and I have from the beginning. On paper, I've homeschooled since 1996, but in reality, teaching begins at birth (or as soon as you acquire your child) and so I've been homeschooling since October of 1991. I really don't care if you homeschool your kids, or put them in private schools, or public school, or send them off to Hogwarts. Really. As long as you don't ask me to homeschool your kid, for free (yes, I've had strangers call me and ask if I would do this "Well, yes, for free. I figured since you were home all day, anyway..."), I do not care what path you choose to educate your child.
   However, rarely a week goes by when I'm out and about with my kids, that someone doesn't say to my child, "You don't look very sick! Why aren't you in school?" and they answer "I am in school. I'm homeschooled." Then I get one of several responses:

  • I'm okay with homeschooling, but I worry about their socialization. (I'm worried, too, about yours. The school you went to obviously produced a person that approaches perfect strangers and demands to know about their health, and explain why they are occupying public space with you.) 
  • I'm okay with homeschooling, but I forgot everything I ever learned in school, so I could never teach my own kids. (Yes, let's send yet another generation through the same system.)
  • I'm okay with homeschooling, as long as the parents are certified to teach. (Well, I was qualified to teach them to say please and thank you, to wipe their own butts, to eat their vegetables, to tie their shoes, to wait patiently in line, to be kind to everyone, to help those that need it, to ride a bike, to buckle in, to cook basic meals, to do their own laundry, to scrub a toilet, to get stains out of a carpet, to use a napkin and say "excuse me" if you belch, to care for animals, to read and write, to identify colors and shapes, to not take the last piece without asking, and a thousand other things. Why would my "certification" to teach suddenly expire on the child's fifth birthday? There's so much more to learn, and if I can't teach it, I'll find someone who can. I consider homeschooling a natural extension of parenting. The two constantly overlap, as they should.) 
   But the kicker, the one I heard most recently that really gave me a hearty laugh, was

  • I'm okay with homeschooling, as long as the parents are doing it for the right reasons. 
Oh, the "right reasons" argument! I'm not going into the "right" or "wrong" reasons to homeschool. I just want to explore this logic for a moment. What if we applied this statement to other areas of parenting and education? Imagine living in a society where people freely approached pregnant women and said to their faces, "I'm okay with women having babies, as long as they are having them for the right reasons."
"I'm okay with putting a toddler in a stroller, as long as it's for the right reasons."
What if strangers approached parents at the ice cream stand and said to them, "I'm okay with kids eating ice cream, as long as the parents are feeding it to them for the right reasons."
"I'm okay with fathers taking their children to the movies on a Saturday afternoon, as long as they are doing it for the right reasons."
"I'm okay with parents buying toys, as long as they are doing it for the right reasons."
"I'm okay with you owning a family dog, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons."
"I'm okay with you driving a minivan, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons."

Every single person who gives me the "right reasons" statement will from now on be told the following:
"Well, I'm okay with sending kids to school, as long as you're doing it for the right reasons."
Because, let's face it- parents send their kids to school, cheerfully, even gleefully, for reasons that have nothing to do with their education!

  • If you are sending your kid to school because paying that extra year of daycare is expensive....
  • If you are sending your kid to school because you enjoy the break and like to have your days free...
  • If you send your kids to school because it gives you time to focus on the baby... 
  • If you find yourself dreading the last day of school and wish it would run all year long... 
  • If you post on Facebook about how you will go crazy if they call one more snow day (it's January, and I see you!) ...
  • If you are sending your kid to school because you know if he was home alone all day he'd become a juvenile delinquent...
  • If you are sending your kid to school because they are rude and mouthy and some days you just can't stand them...
  • If you are sending your kids to school because they annoy you and you are tired of entertaining them...
  • If you are sending your kids to school because - finally!- you can get something done around here...
  • If you are sending your kids to school so that you have some hope of eating, showering, pooping, or watching Game of Thrones in peace...
Well, you might not be sending them to school for the right reasons.
And you know what? That's ok! Send them for the "wrong" reasons! It's your kid, your decision. Send them off, and go to work, or put your feet up, or go take a fitness class... It's fine. Just do not approach a homeschooling mom, or any mom, and tell them their choices are "okay" with you, as long as they are doing it for the right reasons.