8:28 PM

I think I may be afraid of imaginary heights.

I am writing to discuss a rather odd phenomenon. A couple of years ago, Romy took Emily and I to see "Annie" at the Academy of Music. Beautiful venue, really wonderful show. We all LOVED it. We had great seats, a couple of rows back from the balcony. When I think back to this particular day of fun, I always get a very nervous feeling and make a note to myself that I should never take my kids anywhere near a high balcony. When I was on the actual balcony with Emily, I was not nervous about it, but if I imagine the balcony, I get very afraid.

Exhibit 2: Kristy takes me to see baseball games sometimes. I always have an awesome time. Every time I go, I think to myself "We should bring the kids to a game some time. That would be so fun for them. They would be fine here." Oddly, every time I consider actually taking them to a baseball game, I decide that it would be way to scary to have them there. When I am in the high stadium seats, I am not nervous about it, but when I imagine the high stadium seats, I get very afraid.

Exhibit 3: The kids got to go on their first hike this year. Turns out, they are excellent little hikers. Emily, in particular, is excellent at "climbing mountains". I think she may be part goat. While we were there, everything felt safe. I am sure you know where this is going: Now I am very afraid! So, what's up with that? I am afraid of imaginary heights, but not actual ones. I don't get it.

11:27 AM

My Writer's Workshop Assignment

I finally got my act together and came up with a post for this week's prompt, courtesy of :

If I could live in any era of history, what would it be -- list 10 reasons why.

This is an easy one. I would definitely live in the colonial days. Here's why:

1. Being a part of this experiment called America would be inspiring.

2. The founders of our country had so much foresight and we so very smart. I would love to meet them.

3. I would spark the women's movement early.

4. I would appreciate my current luxurious lifestyle far more if I had to beat my rugs, handwash my clothes, and tend to a fire for a while.

5. I could see the city of Philadelphia in its prime...as the commercial, creative, and social hub if the country.

6. I could wear those beautiful dresses with corsets that puffed out at the waist. That would be fun for a while.

7. A little bit of extra "padding" was favored in those days. I would welcome the opportunity to take pride in my curves.

8. I could go to a ball.

9. I could make those cool candles out of real beeswax and use a loom to weave stuff.

10. I would have never stepped foot inside a WalMart.

6:40 PM

Pumpkins, Candy, and all that Jazz

I am way late on the obligatory Halloween post. We have had an extremely nice couple of weeks, including two Apple Picking excursions and a trip to the Pumpkin Patch. We also watched the city of Philadelphia celebrate their first World Series victory in a quarter of a century, saw Emily participate in her first Halloween Parade, and then later collected and ate a bunch of candy. What could be better than that?

Apple Picking excursion #1: Went with my Dad and Sue. Picked 20 lbs. of apples. I made one pie and the kids gobbled up the rest, which necessitated another trip to the orchard.

Apple picking excursion #2: With Jill. Didn't pick quite as many apples, but had just as much fun.

Pumpkin Patch: A couple of years ago, we went to this pumpkin patch that charged admission. ADMISSION. $7 a head. To look at pumpkins. What the hell is this world coming to? We vowed to never go to that Ridiculously Pricy Pumpkin Patch again. We lied. We got free "wristbands" for said pumpkin patch, so we took a nice trip there on a very windy October morning. So there, I finally beat you, Pricy Pumpkin Patch.

Emily's first Halloween Parade: I remember how excited I was to walk in the annual Halloween parade at my elementary school. Walking around the school wearing your costume is a huge deal for a kid, and is apparently a big deal for me as a mom, as I got all teary over it. Yep, I got teary over my kid walking around a parking lot. Here is Emily giving her Daddy a high-five as she walked by.

She later thanked him for initiating the high-five. She said it made her feel really cool in front of her friends. That made me teary too. The next 20 years may be a little hard on me.

I would also like you to note the gold medal around her neck. This was my ONLY contribution to her costume. Everything else she put together on her own. I thought a medal would be a nice extra touch and really tie the whole costume together, so one night after she went to bed I made it for her as a surprise.

As it would turn out, this medal did not fit in with her overall "vision" of the costume. Maybe she was making a statement that everyone is a winner, maybe it didn't go with the color scheme she had going; whatever the reason, she wasn't into it AT ALL. She flat out told me that she didn't want to wear it. It didn't "go" with her costume. Like I said, the next 20 years might be a little hard on me.

I squelched the urge to insist that she wear it or try to guilt her into it. Instead, I just asked her a couple of times a day over the next few days if she had changed her mind about the gold medal. Every time she said no. On Halloween, I told her that I would put it in her school bag just in case she changed her mind. She was pretty sure she wouldn't change her mind. Whatever.

So, I get to the parade and there she is with the medal on. Awww.

While at the parade, Ethan insisted on having me chase him around the school lawn while we waited for the procession. He also insisted that I call him Alvin for the entire day. "I not Eshan, I ALVIN!" So all day it was, "Alvin, please stop jumping off the couch", "Alvin, the eggs stay in the refrigerator", "Alvin, chipmunks don't draw on their faces!". That Alvin is a mischevious little fella. But he sure is cute.

Next up on the agenda: Trick or Treating. This was fairly uneventful, if you call everyone you know handing out free candy, staying up past your bedtime, and being allowed to eat a bunch of junk without hearing your mom nag uneventful.
Overall, it was a memorable October. Stay tuned for some more fun adventures and some pret-ty big Emily news.

7:39 PM

The Women's Monthly

My dearest friend and fellow concerned citizen, Megan, and I have decided to start a blog about things that matter to women. It is called...brace yourself: The Women's Monthly. Catchy, isn't it!?

Megan and I have known each other for our entire lives. We often see things from different perspectives. She lives on the West Coast, I live on the East. She is a newlywed, I am an old married lady. I have kids, and she does not get interrupted every time she pees by relentless knocking. Oh, who am I kidding, I don't even bother closing the door when I pee anymore.

Anyway, please check it out. It is our goal to tackle important issues. Issues that all women care about. We want to start a dialogue and maybe, just maybe, make a difference. Here is an exerpt from today's post:

One of the most pressing issues on my radar is education. As a mother, it concerns me. As an educator, it concerns me. As a taxpayer, it concerns me. Education is the key. I know that is cliche, but it is absolutely true. The best way to help someone is to provide them with an opportunity, and we are fortunate enough to live in a country where the opportunity of education is a right. It actually hurts my heart that this opportunity, this right, is often taken for granted.

I remember working with a high school student a few years ago. He was 18 years old and in the 10th grade. He was so truant that if he missed one more day, just ONE MORE DAY, of school, he would go to jail. Not get fined. Not get community service. Not got to Juvie. He would get cold hard time in actual jail. Pretty high stakes.

Now, I barely knew this student, I didn't know him at all compared to the other students in the small classes at the alternative school. Now, finally, here he was, and he wasn't going anywhere unless he wanted a one-way ticket to the slammer. I wanted to know what made this kid tick. What the heck was so bad about school that he never wanted to come?

So, I asked him. "What's your deal, Truancy Boy? Why don't you ever come to school?" I didn't actually call him Truancy Boy, of course, but I felt the need to protect his identity in this forum. I was shocked by his response. He replied, "You just don't get it, do you? School is pointless. I am going to end up just like my parents. Losers."

Wow. He was right. I didn't get it. I didn't get how nobody had ever told him that he could be somebody. I didn't get that he felt so hopeless. I didn't get it that every message that was ever sent to him was that he was destined for loser-dom. This kid had no spark left. He actually, truly thought that he would end up living in a dirty trailer drinking cheap canned beer for the rest of his life. Nobody had ever bothered to tell him any different. So, so sad. There is nothing worse than cheap canned beer.

This was one of the turning points of my career as an educator. From this point forward, I wanted to "get it". And more than that...I wanted my students to "get it". I wanted to transform them from apathetic victims to successful, contributing members of society. Truancy Boy let it slip that he was interested in computers, and by the time he graduated from high school, he had also earned his A+ certification. He was no longer a Truancy Boy...he was now a Tech Guy. I would venture to guess that he moved himself straight out of that trailer and only drinks bottled microbrews.

So, that is the true story of one student who did not fall through the cracks. But what about all of the other students? What can we do to reach them? How can we prevent our children from feeling this apathetic? We need to raise the bar. We need to expect more from ourselves (especially if we are parents), expect more from our schools, and expect more from our children.

So, where do we go from here? How do we expect more out of our citizens when they aren't expecting much from themselves? How do we break the cycle? Where do we start?

If you read all that, thanks! If this maybe sparked a thought, a perspective, an idea...please share. Head over to The Women's Monthly and leave us a comment. Otherwise, Megan and I will just be replying to one another, and I am pretty sure we already do that fairly regularly via telephone.

The Women's Monthly

6:49 PM

I missed Wordful Wednesday...

but I had to share this picture. I found it while snooping on my sister's Facebook page. I just love it, even though it is clearly staged. My sister doesn't usually drive really fast past cornfields with a lighter in her mouth. At least I hope not. You don't, right Naomi? Anyway, I think it kind of captures a youthful recklessness that I once enjoyed. Actually I never really enjoyed recklessness...I was always a little paranoid. I appreciate others' ability to enjoy youthful recklessness. Except of course my own children. For them, recklessness is forbiden. They haven't gotten that memo yet apparently because I was just called up to their room to fix the piece of furniture that somebody tipped over while attempting to climb. Either that or it was a ploy to get me to tuck them in one more time. And get them new books. And cold, cold water as cold as the arctic. Let's hope it was staged. Just like this photo.

6:45 PM

A couple of Days Late and at Least a dollar short

My suer late homework courtesy of

This week's assignment: Write about a time you hid from someone, or a time you disguised who you really were. My response:

So remember my beautiful friend Megan? (You just saw her bachelorette picture in Wendesday's post.) We have known one another since I was born and she was two, so we have had countless adventures together. Countless. One such adventure took place circa 1993 in Philadelphia, PA. Megan's mother lived in this City of Brotherly Love and we decided to take a road trip via Greyhound to visit.

From the minute we boarded the bus, Megan and I assumed alternate personalities. We were now advocates for the National Beef and Poultry Association" and we were conducting research. Our main research question: When individuals are making a burger, do they prefer to "slap up their own patties" or "buy them pre-slapped"? As you can surmise, this was very impotant research. Very.

In order to gather data to answer this important question, we interviewed folks, clipboards in hand. I was in charge of the video camera, and Megan was on-air talent. The response was very interesting. Some respondents commented on "What a cool job" we had. Some folks would utter "This is ridiculous" and then proceed to answer the question with great sincerity and conviction. Others would offer culinary advice "well it depends...if I am making Turkey Burgers, I always add an egg". Regardless, we reached a conclusion: the majority of individuals interviewed during this groundbreaking survey prefer to "slap up their own patties".

As an adult looking back, I have to wonder what these respondents were thinking. Did they really believe that we were representatives for the National Beef and Poultry Association? Is there a National Beef and Poultry Association? Were they just humoring us? What on earth were these people thinking when approached by two awkward pre-teens asking about their meat preferences?

So, that's my story. A time in my life when I pretended to be someone I am not.

6:04 PM

Wordful Wednesday

Courtesy of:

A few months ago, I went to my dear friend Megan's East Coast bachelorette party. That is Megan on the right. Isn't she cute? My sister (and polar opposite of me in every way) was my designated driver. She is only 20, so she just dropped me off and picked me up later at the bar. I BEGGED her to come in despite the fact that she was wearing Crocs and gym shorts. Thankfully, she obliged. So, we threw a feather boa on her and took this lovely picture. Isn't she cute too? So, there you have it. Two of my favorite people who live on opposite coasts in the same place at the same time.

6:42 PM

Wordful Wednesday

I am participating in Angie's Wordful Wednesday this week. Why not, you know?


This photo was taken of me this summer when I was in Seattle. My oldest, dearest friend Megan was getting married at the coolest venue you could ever imagine. It was a huge building owned by a movie set designer and had big multi-colored paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a really cool atmosphere all around. Megan looked so, so beautiful. My pictures of the wedding itself turned out kind of lousy since my camera sucks in dark-ish lighting, but it was a really cool ceremony and I will post a picture or two as soon as I have the opportunity to snag a decent one from someone else's flikr. Oddly enough, the pictures of me posing next to a rusty car after drinking several glasses of wine turned out just fine.

It seems as though I drink a lot of wine when I am in another city with no chance of driving and no kids to watch. Especially when it is free. And delicious. It kind of gave me a boost to know that, given the right conditions, I can still party like I used to. But I also realize how lonely it would be to spend my life partying all the time in a strange city with no car and no kids to watch. So, overall, I learned that I wouldn't trade my life for any other...but it is really nice to get a break from it sometimes.

8:20 PM

The Life and Death of a Vacuum

For my wedding shower, my in-laws bought us an awesome vacuum cleaner. My father in law is the kind of guy that will extensively search online before making a purchase. FIL searched and searched for the best vacuum cleaner to give to his youngest son and his blushing bride. I wasn't really blushing, but whatever.

Anyhoo, this particular vacuum cleaned my carpet as if it had been bitten by a snake and the particles on my floor contained the antidote. If I were the Federal Government, I would have called it NCLB (No Crumb Left Behind). NCLB and I were in the honeymoon stages for some time. Don't get me wrong, we had our ups and downs: the occasional belt mishap, the obligatory bag change, an unfortunate event involving a tightly wound elastic thread. But together, we got through it. We persevered through the tough times and NCLB always came out victorious in the battle of the crumbs.

It is sad to say, but the time has come for us to part ways. NCLB is now just an empty shell of what it once was. We no longer respect one another, and I often find myself cursing it in my head. It was a hard decision, but I can no longer stand idly by while NCLB performs poorly.

I have not yet broken the news to FIL. I know it will be as hard on him as it has been on me. The good news is, bogger extraordinaire Kathy over at Mama's Losin It is giving away a NEW VACUUM. I think she can kind of read my mind. Plus she is pretty. And a great writer. And I bet she can sing well and is really fun at a party. I am not just saying that because you are having a contest and I want extra points, Kathy. I really think you would be a great partygoer. And that is a very big compliment coming from me, because I am an awesome party guest, so I know how to spot this quality in a person.

When I report NCLBs expiration to FIL, I am hoping to be able to accompany this news with the announcement that I have also won a contest and a new vacuum. I think it will soften the blow.

6:42 PM

The Dream

It's that time again, folks. Behold, my weekly writing assignment courtesy of :

I chose the following prompt:

Do you have reoccurring dreams? What are they about?

WARNING: There is a little bit of gross-ness in this post. Nothing too bad, but I felt the need to warn you.

I do not currently have any recurring dreams, but there was a time in my life that I did. When I was a kid, I would have the strangest dream every time I was sick. Every single time. For about 5 years. It is more bizarre than you can imagine, which is why I can still see it all so vividly.

I am standing on a giant green surface. The green is sort of a felt-like material, but very textured. Kind of like a soft-ish astroturf. There are people around me, but they don't seem to be doing much of anything. They are just kind of milling around, and none of them look familiar. I take their lead and wander around for a while too until I realize that I am actually standing on a giant pool table. I find this out when a ball comes toward me at lightning speed. I run into one of the pockets and save myself. At this point, I would usually wake up, walk into my parents room, and throw up on the floor. Which meant I had actually walked past the bathroom. Why didn't I just go in there to throw up?

Anyway, I would go back to bed, fall asleep, and the dream would continue. I am standing in darkness in front of the doors of a very scary, extremely precarious church. It is a very tall and lopsided structure with uncomfortable angles sticking out every which way. The door is open and the light inside draws my attention to the crooked, rickety stairs going from the doorway all the way to the top. There is a Frankenstein-like monster holding a piano and trying to make his way up the stairs. He is groaning and sweating and drooling. He drops the piano down the steps and it comes, noisily plummeting, towards me. I stand at the bottom of the stairs paralyzed with fear. Then, I wake up and get sick again. This time, I destroy my entire bed. And at least a little bit of the carpet. Right next to the giant bucket my mom has provided for this exact purpose.

When I finally get back to sleep, I am now standing in line at a store. There's a long line of people ahead of me, but nobody is buying anything. Everyone walks up to the cashier and hands her a key. She tries to put it in the register and it doesn't fit. They walk off disappointed. Finally, it is my turn. I hand her my key and she puts it in the register. It fits! She congratulates me and there are bells ringing and all kinds of confetti and celebration. I feel pretty uneasy, but go along with the people who lead me to my prize.

They open up a door to a room and I go inside. I am standing in the clouds. There are pillows and feathers and lots of white and softness. Everything is weightless and perfect. There are children around me squealing with joy, throwing feathers into the air. Laughter and happiness surround me. I feel like I should love it. Except I effing hate it. I can't stand it in this cloud room. I want to get out of here. But how? I begin to sob. Not just cry, I actually sob. This is how I wake up, tears streaming down my face. Just in time to run into the bathroom. And I actually get there in time for a change.

So that's it. Weird, isn't it?

6:42 PM

Wordful Wednesday

I am participating in Wordful Wednesday this week. It is for people who couldn't possibly just post a picture without some sort of explanation. Which describes me exactly. Thanks Angie :).

The following picture represents the fruits of our labor and the success that was our ill-fated garden. We actually got real crops this year! Peppers, tomatoes, a coupla green beans, and herbs. The secret this year was that Andy was in charge of them. Worked like a charm.


It felt really good to use our own produce. Kind of makes me want to move to a farm. If Andy took care of it, of course.

8:23 PM

Extra Credit

This prompt was too hard to resist.

1.) Write about a brief, but scary encounter with one of your old professors or teachers.

It was my second year of teaching at a local college and I took part in the "Learning Commnities Institute". My role was to pair up with a professor from another department and integrate our curriculum. We would share a cohort of students but our classes would be held separately. Sounds easy enough, right?

I was paired with Professor "Maverick". Maverick has a stringy white combover atop a rectangular head. He often has spittle on the corner of his mouth and he has a large torso perched on the skinniest sticks of legs you have ever seen. His pants are 4 inches too short, and he wears them cinched under his large torso by a skinny belt that is barely keeping them up on his nonexistant ass. He speaks with an accent that I have never heard before. To say he is intriguing is an understatement. I wanted to know more about this human caricature. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with him.

When I walked into his cluttered, dirty office, he was eating cookies. He began talking immediately, going on and on about his course and his tests and his willingness to respect my professional autonomy. Then he tried to be hospitable and offered me a cookie. No thank you. He looked disappointed, but I didn't think I could eat anything that came out of this dirty office. Would I like a water at least? All that listening had really made me thirsty. How dirty could a bottle of water get from simply sitting in a dirty office? I accepted the offer.

Maverick then did the unthinkable. He picked up an old yogurt container. A quart sized one. He opened a teeny tiny refrigerator housed under the filthy desk, and he retrieved a tiny little ice tray. He then (gag) used his longish yellow fingernails to pry 10 little ice cubes out of the tray. One by one.

He placed them into the yogurt container, proceeded to take it into the MEN'S BATHROOM to fill it with water, and topped my beverage off with a straw he found in his top desk drawer. Then, with a crooked but sincere smile, he handed it to me, obviously proud of his hospitality.

What's a girl to do? Drink the Maverick-infested yogurt water or be a complete beeotch and just leave it sitting there after he had worked so painstakingly to prepare it?

Well, what would you do?

6:57 PM

My homework assignment

My homework assignment from

3.) You are 20 years in the future, write a letter to your todays self.

Dear Mrs. Whimsy,

One day, you will be able to run to the grocery store to pick up that one ingredient you need for dinner, and (brace yourself) you won't have to spend 20 minutes buckling carseats, taking short little steps into the store, explaining over and over again why you don't need the "double-wide" shopping cart with a petri dish disguised as a car in the front, and negotiating gum choices while in line.

Soon enough, you will be able to just say, "I am running out for milk. Stay out of trouble!" and you will come home to find that they have listened. They will actually stay out of trouble. And this will be a moment you cherish always.

In the meantime, let Ethan get in the damn petri dish once in a while. And stop asking Emily so many questions when she gets home from school. It's annoying.

Both kids will turn out just fine, so stop sweating the small stuff and just enjoy it.

Old Lady Whimsy

12:33 PM

Strike 3: The Recycling Debacle

Our fourth grade spring project was to collect bottles and cans to be recycled. We learned all about the benefits of recycling, we colored pictures about recycling, we wrote an essay about recycling, the whole nine yards. To add to the excitement, there was a competition involved. The class that collected the most recyclables would be able to spend a portion of their recycling proceeds on a special lunch.

There was absolutely NO WAY we were going to let the other class win. The other class had a cool male teacher that looked like Tom Selleck and actually liked his job. There was actual joy going on in their classroom on a regular basis. What the hell did they need with a special lunch? By this time in the school year, my class had bonded like a bunch of miniature POWs. We had made it through this far, and this potential special lunch was the only thing we had to look forward to.

To say that Mrs. Miller's class rallied would be an understatement. We climbed under parked cars. We picked through people's trash. We did whatever it took to get that can. We mended our broken spirits with heart and determination. We dominated the competition. Mrs. Miller sent a moderately enthusiastic note home to our parents informing them that our hard earned recycling money would be spent on a McDonalds hamburger lunch. This is where the story takes an ironic turn.

When my mom read the note, she was a bit surprised at the McDonalds decision. If you recall, late 80s McDonalds hamburgers sported this non-recyclable styrofoam packaging. To Sandy, this contradiction was borderline hypocricy. What kind of lesson would we really learn about recycling if we chose to then turn around and contribute to a landfill? I saw her point. I did. After a series of notes home on the subject, it was clear that Mrs. Miller did not. At our special lunch, styrofoam was served.

So, that would be about the gist of strike 3. The class made it through the remainder of the year only thanks to inspirational tunes such as Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie's "We are the World" and Better Midler's "Wind Beneath my Wings". Our 5th and 6th grade teachers were wonderful women who taught us about Impressionist Art and let us make topographical maps out of salt and flour dough. And all was right once again.

6:59 PM

Men are from Venus Women are from Mars. Or is it the other way around: Men are from Mars Women are from Venus?

I was IMing with Kristy the other night and we were discussing this woman that we both respect. I was all, "She is so smart", and Kristy was all "I love her hair", and I was like "She has really cool glasses. And shoes." And Kristy was like "And her husband is hot!" and I was all, "She is just so talented. I think I love her." And Kristy was all, "ME TOO!!!".

Then we both reread our conversation....and came to the conclusion that this type of exchange would NEVER occur between men. Picture it:

One guy: "You know [Admirable Man]. He is really good at fixing things. And he has really nice tools."

Other Guy: Yeah. And he has really cool sneakers.

One Guy: I like his haircut a lot too... I wonder who cuts it.

Other Guy: Yeah, I wonder. He is just so amazing. I love him!

One guy: ME TOO!!!

Kristy and I have decided to conduct some unscientific research on this phenomenon we will refer to as "Girl Crushes". Our primary interest in this survey would be to determine the following:

1. Are we weird? Do all women feel this way? I am pretty sure we are normal, because Kathy has been exhibiting some serious Ellen admiration...and this Blogess chic is all over Amy Sedaris.

2. Do men ever exhibit man crushes? If so, do they keep this information to themselves or do they use some sort of man code like, "Yeah. He's cool." to communicate such feelings?

If you have any information that would be helpful to our quest, please do tell! Even if it means you are telling me that we are weird. We can take it.

12:14 PM

The Christmas Present

In order to satisfy your curiosity, I shall now divulge the story behind Mrs. Miller the Fourth Grade Killer's christmas gift.

My mother, (let's just call her Sandy), is not the type to give someone a generic gift. No candles or coffee mugs for this holiday elf. Sandy likes to give thoughtful and inspiring gifts. Sandy knew how much I disliked Mrs. Miller, but she did the right thing. She ordered her a nice set of pro-teacher notecards printed on recycled paper. How could a teacher not love that?

Well, as it turns out, said notecards had an earth and a peace sign on them....underneath were scribed the words "Wouldn't it be nice if schools had all the money they need and the military had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." As it turned out, Mrs. Miller had taken up schoolteaching only AFTER she had retired from the military. As you can imagine, she did not get the joke, much less appreciate it. That was strike 2 for me. (Strike 1 was, of course, the fact that I was smarter than her.)

Stay tuned for Strike 3: The Recycling Debacle

9:21 PM

Rainy Day Volcano

When you are a mom, rainy days are your worst nightmare. Without the luxury of "running off some steam", kids can quickly turn into whiny, combative little monsters. It sucks. In an effort to beat the "rainy day blues", we made a volcano out of junk that we found laying around the house. We also stayed in our PJs all day, ate our lunch in a fort in the living room, and painted some lovely pictures. I think I like rainy days now.

Before the big eruption:

After the big eruption:

New rule: When it rains, make something out of stuff your husband would refer to as "garbage".

7:44 PM

Letter to a 10 year old Me

Here is another writing assignment, courtesy of


Dear Little Miss Whimsy,

I understand that this is quite possibly the worst year of your life. Looking back after all this time, I need you to know that you are right. Mrs.-Miller-the-Fourth-Grade-Killer is a horrible teacher and a complete bitch (please don't tell Mom I said that). Her plaid bellbottomed pantsuits are not OK. Her inclination to dump your desk all over the floor in front of the whole class is not OK. Her inability to treat her students like people is not OK. You are right to be pissed and hate school.

OK, don't get all down on yourself because of the realization that this year will suck so badly for you that you will still remember it in 18 years. Let's take a look at the bright side. The next 18 years of your life are going to be, like, totally awesome. Let me break it down for you:

1. You are going to keep all of your awesome friends. I am not even kidding. You will still talk to them when you are as old as me. They will always be there for you when you need them. They are truly irreplaceable.

2. You are going to meet more awesome friends. They will be smart and funny, and appreciate how smart and funny you are. One or more of them may even tell you that you are a good singer. More than one of them will appreciate your extraordinary abilities at trivia games. They will also come over to your house even though they are allergic to your animals.

3. Your baby sister grows up to be a REALLY cool chick. I would actually consider her to be a great friend. She is smart, pretty, and witty. You are going to love her even more than you do now. (Note: When you are a crabby teenager and she hides your car keys, they are in the fig tree.)

4. Your mom will eventually be one of your best friends. You will appreciate her intelligence, her resourcefulness, and her ability to be comfortable with the fact that she is almost always right. You will almost even kinda want to be a little bit just like her.

5. You will soon realize how much Tom loves you and that he is honestly the most supportive person you will ever meet. He is also really wonderful at making mixed drinks. You should start calling him Dad.

6. You are going to have a great husband. He will be so wonderful that you will be able to overlook the fact that he is a horrible speller and he once wore very ugly shoes. He will always remind you how wonderful you are and he can fix almost everything. He is also good at directions. And he is hot. 'Nuff said.

7. You are going to have two great kids. One of them actually reminds me of you. She is really freaking funny, super cute, and outrageously talented. The other one reminds me of a clown. A really adorable clown with no props or makeup. You will love them more than anything and really enjoy being their mother.

Do you understand now? If you can get through this year, things will be smooth sailing. You will be free to live a charmed life. A couple of tips to get you through:

1.The next time Mrs. Miller dumps your desk, thank her and give her a really big smile. It will throw her off.

2. Do not, I repeat, do not give this meanie-teacher the christmas gift your mother purchases for her. It will only make things worse. Much, much worse. Trust me. Give her a construction paper cutout of a christmas tree or something. You will thank me later.

3. On the last week of school, you will give Mrs. Miller the book "Sodoko and the Thousand Paper Cranes". She will read this book aloud to the class and she will cry real tears. Only then will you realize that she is a real live human and she actually has feelings. Mrs. Miller has a heart. It is just hard to see because it is covered with all those layers of ice.

4. Michael Jackson will turn out to be a complete weirdo.

Mrs. Whimsy

7:04 PM

My writing assignment: I wish...

I wish I understood more about nature. Take these fish for instance:

Do you see them? That gargantuan school of fish went swimming by us last month at the beach. They were swimming so feverishly that they were loud. Loud slapping noises. That part was a bit disconcerting to me for some reason, but it was fascinating nonetheless. It made me wonder...where were they going? To feed? To escape a dangerous predator? When they got there, would they hang out for a while or would they turn right around and start over?

Fin and tail slapping aside, I wish I knew more about the wonders of nature. I am going to look these little guys up and find out what they are all about.

7:40 PM

the wanderer

We went to the beach last month and it became pretty clear that Ethan and Emily have very different "vacation styles". Emily loved playing in the water and digging for stuff. Ethan loved wandering aimlessly in the sand. Seriously, I have never seen a kid walk around so much in my life. Andy or I would have to go follow him and attempt to convince him that he should come hang out where all the chairs and toys are. Sometimes, we would have to send in the big guns to talk Ethan down from the dunes.

She had much better results...she is very persuasive.

Andy and I pretended we were in college again and played beer pong on the dining room table with my sister and her friend. We were a little rusty at first, but we got back into the swing of things a little too easily. Our opponents never saw it coming.

Wandering aside, we all had a great time.

8:52 PM

Miss Alaneous

While getting the kids dressed for bed:

Emily: What's up with Ethan's shorts? Are they mine?

Me: No, they aren't yours. They are just extra comfy shorts we have laying around...they are miscellaneous.

Emily: Why is he wearing her shorts?

Me: Whose shorts?

Emily: Miss Alaneous

6:32 PM

Long Time No Post

Hi! I had the month of July completely off from work...which never ever happens. As a result, I found myself way too busy to visit you, Internet, but now I am back! The good news is...I have a lot to write about.

First up on the agenda: we planted a garden! I was not too hopeful...past attempts at growing crops have not been very, um, productive. Actually, past attempts have been pretty laughable. Let's just say corn, peppers, beans, and watermelon do not grow very well when planted in a 2x5-ish space. In an effort to learn from past mistakes, we opted to use big pots.

Here's Emily helping out:

Yes, I guess I do allow my children to be barefoot outdoors...hmm. We planted tomatoes, beans, herbs, and bell peppers.
Ethan helped too. Well, kind of.
This was quite a while ago...and I know how this story ends. But what do you think? Were we able to avoid the pitfalls of our past? Was I able to overcome my not-so-green thumb and grow something useful? Stay tuned for our next episode.

10:43 AM

Quite possibly the best idea I have ever had

I always wondered how people had time to do things like clean their patio furniture. I finally figured it out. Kids are really, really impressionable. Honestly, though..it is fun tackling big projects together. Plus, it is probably good for their hand eye coordination and gross motor skills.

7:33 PM

In other News

Emily got a brand new bike that looks to me like it was made for a teenager. Seriously, I am having a hard time understanding how on EARTH I have a kid that is big enough to fit on this thing. Wasn't she just a toddler a little while ago? What year is it again?

She does look really grown up riding it...even if she is wearing a Princess helmet. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

6:46 PM

I heart the Weather Man

He totally cooperated this weekend and made it possible to spend some quality time in the Great Outdoors. Thanks, pal. Keep up the good work .

Anyway, we totally took advantage of the nice weather and took a trip to our local State Park.
I love that picture. He looks like he's thinking...and she looks annoyed. Really, they are both just chewing.
We went fishing, as you can see. If, of course, you aren't completely distracted by the giant scrape on Ethan's knee. Poor guy. They are an epidemic, apparently.

They must have inherited my grace. Sorry 'bout that, guys.

Another interpretation:

Oh, and here's proof that I actually attended the outing too...you know, since there are no other pictures taken of me the entire day. Ahem. So, here I am. Packing the car.


6:23 PM


Why is this little man celebrating in the middle of my messy living room, you ask? Maybe the fact that he is wearing UNDERWEAR!?! I am thrilled, to say the least. I would also like to take this opportunity to pat my own back. Repeatedly. Potty training, oh excuse me, I mean Potty Learning, is not for the weary. However, in typical Ethan style, we stuck it out. He will now be sporting tightey whiteys until he is old enough to understand that he should switch to boxers. I will let Andy handle that. My work here is done.

11:05 AM

I'm Feeling Saucy

I think I have finally found the path to stardom. The cool chicks over at The Secret is in the Sauce are having a contest with really cool prizes and lots of exposure for my little old blog. I usually don't win things, but I am excited to participate. Woohoo. I just love contests.

Now I need your help. in order to enter, I have to send them my 3 favorite posts. I need some suggestions, people. Did any of my past posts make you laugh so hard you wet yourself? Inspire you to bookmark my page.? Please, do tell. I can't make this kind of decision on my own.

6:23 PM

My Dog ate my Laptop

For Emily's 3rd birthday, her uncle bought her a pink snake. A live one that lives in a cage in our house. It eats mice and slithers and I don't love it. However, I have to admit that I do kind of like having a bit of a zoo at our house. All the fish, the hermit crab, the cats, the dog, us...and the snakes. That was not a typo...snake is now plural. As in, another snake. About 2 weeks after Pinky was introduced to our family, another snake named Spotty suddenly appeared. Andy acted as though he "wasn't really sure" how that happened, but we both knew what happened. He must have felt as though Pinky may get lonely so he got her a friend. How sweet. And sneaky. Whatever.

Pinky and Spotty have been tight since the beginning. They have lived in harmony, I guess, but I don't really pay much attention to them. Andy takes care of them, the kids say hello to them every day, and I just ignore them. They have chosen to get back at me for ignoring them in the most interesting of ways. They DID IT. In my house. Under my roof. Nasty. To make matters worse, that little hussy Pinky went and got herself knocked up. I shudder at the thought.

The words "snake eggs" just should not be put in the same sentence as "our house" in my opinion, but it seems as though my opinion doesn't matter much. Just to give you a more accurate picture of what is currently going on in our house, I would also like to mention that we have some fish that multiply every couple of weeks and that the cats Max and Timber are so deeply in love that they spoon on a regular basis. They are both boys. Our house is now a cross between a science experiment and a cheap motel.

I must admit that I am kind of excited for the happy couple. Pinky and Spotty were able to overcome some pretty big obstacles and start a family. Pinky will be laying her eggs within the next few weeks. I do appreciate the learning that will take place for the kids...I think it will be a pretty cool experience for them. I will keep you posted (if you want...).

6:05 PM

Internet Love

Have you ever fallen in love online? I have, many times over. Not with people, of course; with PRODUCTS. You know, stuff that you really want that you admire and think about buying. You search for them regularly and eventually take things to the next level: the "Favorites" or "Bookmark" stage. Don't look at me like you don't know what I'm talking about.

I fall in love with all kinds of stuff. But it all starts with houses. Homes that I would love to live in. I am talking real estate lust here, this is serious stuff. I don't fall in love with huge houses in developments, I always go for the ones with charm and mature trees. These are spectacular homes with a decent sized yard and room to store all my crap. By crap I mean the other stuff that I have fallen for and subsequently purchased in a whirlwind courtship. All online.

I furnish every room in this house with items purchased from Pottery Barn. (Sorry, Phoebe.) I drool over the shelving in Ethan's room and Emily's wooden kitchen set. I pick out coordinating colors thanks to Lowe's paint finder tool. I decorate my study with office accessories from Target. I fall in love with bedding, couches, and throw pillows. I pretend as if these items will not get destroyed with Gogurt accidents Goldfish crumbs. This is the honeymoon stage. Unfortunately, this stage can't last forever.

These relationships all end the same. After some careful reevaluating, I decide that this really isn't a good time for me. I end things with the house. Cut it off completely. Delete it from my bookmarks. It is no longer my favorite. I may check in with the house from time to time. See if it is still there, waiting for me to have a change of heart, or if some other owner has made the commitment I just couldn't make. I sigh as I remind myself that I have moved on, and I quickly switch screens to my rebound house. It is kind of bittersweet.

So, here's to lost love, full shopping carts, and that little "x" in the top right corner of my screen that has saved my credit cards from countless acts of abuse.

6:27 PM

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

I have noticed eerie similarities between myself and my offspring. Poor, poor children.

Emily has inherited my empathy and passion. This is a nice way of saying she freaks out over things and cries when she thinks people are mad at her.

She has also inherited my love of books and artsy things. Today, she won an award at school for her book report entitled "The Lorax". OK, so everyone got an award, but I am still beaming with pride. I am truly amazed at how much she has learned this year. Ethan is also a whole lot like his mama. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Ethan is destined to be a rock star. I believe he inherited this quality from me, as I would have been a rock star had I not been stifled by my inability to sing. Just look at him...definitely rock star material. Seriously, how can someone look so cool while standing next to a primary colored bike with a handle on the back?He is also likes to do art projects, and is especially good at gluing things. I am not so great with glue, but I excel at finding things for him to glue. As you can imagine, we are pretty good team. Just look at how nicely he pasted the leaves on the tree. He didn't even lick them this time.

1:00 PM


I have been tagged by Lex the mom ! This means that I am kind of popular and somebody out there wants to learn more about me. Yay!

The Rules:

~Each player answers the questions about themselves.

~At the end of the post, the player tags other people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

~What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was graduating from high school and getting ready for college. I was flipping ecstatic to be on my own, in a completely-dependent-on-your-parents kind of way.

Five snacks I enjoy-

- cereal (quite possibly the world's perfect food)
- anything involving peanut butter and chocolate
- Cashews
-Glazed Pecans
- cheese and crackers

Five Things On My to do list Today-

~Put away laundry
~Disassemble and disinfect carseat
~Explain to Ethan that he is no longer allowed to read in the car
~Watch Idol
~Take the dog for a walk

Things I would do if I were a billionaire-

~Buy a house for someone who needs one (I heart Extreme Home Makeover)
~Give to family and friends
~Start a literacy foundation (rich ladies always have foundations, right?)
~Once and for all, buy the perfect pair of jeans

Five Jobs that I have had -
In chronological order:
1. Snack bar at drive-in movie theater
2. Day Care
3. Grocery store, deli and cashier
4. Teacher
5. Instructional Coordinator

Five of my bad habits-
I have way more than five, but here goes:

1.Drinking beer while I cook dinner.
2. Not eating breakfast, and eating bad snacks
3. Pretending to shop online. I put things in my basket and never proceed to checkout. What is up with that?
4. Biting my nails
5. Tuning out my husband when I am pretending to shop online.

Five Places I have lived-

1. I have really only lived in one place, which shall remain nameless

Five people I Want to Get to Know Better:
A nice way of saying “Tag. You’re it!”
1. Cheri
2. TheMama
3. Danielle
6 Random things:

1. Glazed pecans are surprisingly filling.
2. I have never missed an episode of Survivor.
3. I have been dyeing my hair the same color for 10 years.
4. I don't like fruit. At all. It's weird.
5. My husband is a foot taller than I am.
6. I like going to the dentist.

7:09 PM

Fun Field Trips

When I was little, I loved being around teenagers. Mostly because I admired their really big bangs and pastel sparkly lip gloss. However, there was one young and hip chick that I especially idolized, and it wasn't because she had blue eyeshadow. In fact, to my recollection, she never wore any makeup. She had her ears pierced a WHOLE bunch of times, and she was just super cool. My aunt Romy wore mostly black clothing and, at one point, had a white stripe in her jet black hair. She was gutsy and smart. One Christmas dinner, she declared to her Catholic parents that she no longer prayed because she had converted to Zen Buddhism. If you don't already understand the extreme coolness I am describing here, you never will. So, I will just move on.

Well, Romy turned out to be a super intelligent PhD. A research scientist. Brilliant, strong, and still remarkably hip. Love her. She is also tons of fun and fortunately lives close by in a really fun city with tons to do. So, we decided to take the kids to two fun and educational places last month. I am hoping both her coolness and smartness will rub off on my kids. Keep your fingers crossed, folks.

Fun Field Trip Number One: The Children's Museum

Our next field trip was to the Franklin Institute.

Now, doesn't that look like fun?