7:54 PM

Beadazzled Shoes

Last week, I went out on the town with my friend Linda. We went to see a really good show, Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata, and David Ford. 3 awesome musicians. It was a great show. These outings are never uneventful, though, so of course there is a story that has nothing to do with the music, but everything to do with me. Here goes.

After a nice dinner, we were walking down South Street on the way to the venue, when BAM. My shoe broke. I guess you could say that I broke my shoe, only I have no idea how. I had thought long and hard about my shoe selection, so needless to say I was very disappointed. So I now had 15 minutes to buy some emergency shoes. Talk about pressure.

I ended up with this jazzy pair:

Since I had been wearing sandals I had no socks, so I instead had to wear those cut off pantyhose things that you use to try shoes on at the shoe store. Not so comfy. And this particular venue has maybe 10 chairs in the whole place, and we didn't secure any because we were too busy looking for shoes, so we were standing up for the first set, and we started to grow weary with aches and old age.

I started looking at those who had seats with a sort of disdain. They were all young and spry. They clearly didn't need the chairs. My old tired legs deserved a damn chair. Jerks. I knew Linda was feeling the same way, as David Ford sang his song "Go to Hell" and she leaned over to whisper in my ear that he was talking to the people with chairs.

I noticed a nice-enough looking group of chair people seated directly in front of us. As a matter of fact, they had 4 chairs AND a table. Lucky bastards. Anyway, once in a while, one of them would get up to go to the restroom, and order the others to protect their chair from what must have looked like a crowd of vultures surrounding them. The others would then put their foot or bag on the chair and look around nervously until the missing chair person would come back and plop their lucky ass back down.

At this point, I began to devise a plan. The nice chair people were clearly uncomfortable with a vacant chair to protect, and I was mighty uncomfortable standing when there was a vacant chair nearby, so I proposed to them that I be their "seat saver" (like at the Oscars) and I would get up and give the chair back as soon as their friend returned. I won them over with the tale of my Beadazzled Shoes and before you knew it, we were like old pals. As it turned out, they had to leave after the second set, and Linda and I got their chairs AND the table. Score for the Beadazzled shoes.

7:12 PM

The Town that Time Forgot

My grandparents live in an old steel town. When you are there, it feels like you have been transported to the early 90s. The roads all have potholes and the stores have strange names. The kitchens have linoleum floors and the houses appear to be a little bit crooked. It is a nice little town, but there is very limited wireless access. Like I said, very early 90s.

This town reminds me of a comic book crossed with one of those Dick and Jane primers. A comic book because all of the characters are just a bit animated and exaggerated, and a Primer because it is so old fashioned and the people have funny names. Like my Grandmother's beautician, Belva Fuss. Or the mechanic, Jim Fold. It's as if some author out there picked these character's names so that emergent readers would recognize the words and be able to pronounce them.

Anyway, my dear grandfather, lets call him Poppop, was recently involved in a fender bender in the local supermarket parking lot. I am pretty sure the supermarket is named after a bird. Like the Super Sparrow or something like that. Anyway, some kid (Poppop described him as a kid, so I can assume he is somewhere between 16 and 50) hit him. The Kid refused to pay for the damages and my Poppop, get this, took him to court.

The process of the court preparations involved many painful phone calls to my parents in which the details were rehashed again and again. They had to track down the exact make and model of the Kid's car to take measurements. My mother even drew a picture of the scene of the accident and faxed it to my Poppop's buddy, Frank Carcase. Needless to say, Frank is a pret-ty big deal around there, having a fax machine and all.

The plot thickens: The Kid even got a lawyer, Bud Melt, to represent him. I picture Bud as wearing a cowboy hat and having his wife-beater show through his polyester shirt. Don't act like you don't know the look I am talking about.

Would the car lot measurements and faxed artists depiction make the cut against the seasoned attorney? Would Poppop's word stand up in court against that of the Kid? Find out on the next episode of...The Town that Time Forgot.

6:48 PM

Update on Precious

Things are not going so well with Project Precious. This weekend, she ripped a huge branch off of our pear tree and singlehandedly destroyed Money's skateboard. She seemed to have fun, though.
I need to work on a new game plan. This child simply does not respond to nice consistent reminders and redirection. Supernanny always says to use a low tone. Perhaps my voice is too squeaky or something. I will work on tone and do some research.

6:13 PM

Turtle and Playdough

Ethan was a turtle for about an hour today. After dumping out all the little toys out of the basket, of course. He was so happy to be a turtle, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet a two year old turtle can be.

Emily worked on this playdough cake for Ethan for about 45 minutes. She really took her time and was so proud of the finished product. Then we sang happy birthday and cut it up. Only one of us actually ate it though.

5:54 PM

Cereal Killer

Oh Cereal, how I love thee
Your sweet crunch
complimenting cold refreshing milk.

Others cannot compare.
The satisfaction I feel
upon your demise.

I don't care what they say:
You are too "Fast", too "Easy"
Let them talk. I pity them.

You are the perfect beginning.
The perfect ending.
To any day.

5:46 PM


There's a little girl that lives across the street. Let's call her Precious. Precious is 5. She joined the gang of neighborhood kids when she was 3, so she is well seasoned when it comes to roaming aimlessly, picking people's flowers, and standing in your flower bed talking to you through your open window when you are trying to read books to your kids.

Emily absolutely loves playing with Precious. They giggle and frolic, dig for worms, and ride their scooters like there is no tomorrow. Precious used to come over a lot. She would hang out for hours on end, and I would be in awe that nobody seemed to know where she was. Ever.

One evening, Andy went to pick up a pizza, and was subsequently verbally attacked by Precious as she demanded that he give her a piece. She was vicious; I heard the whole thing. Because we had company that evening, he did not comply. As a result, she dug a giant hole in our flower bed.

Precious regularly uses our garden hose as her personal source for H2O. Quite often, we will return home to find the whole front of our property soaked and muddy little Precious-sized footprints leaving the scene.

Precious has a brother named Money. Money came over with Precious a couple of times and he cleaned Emily's room from top to bottom while they were playing. How utterly unexpected, right? He is 7 but he looks like he is 20. I swear the kid has a five o'clock shadow.

After a while, I would get all vexed by Precious' presence. She was just so intrusive and it really irked me. Go leave your muddy footprints somewhere else. Yell into someone else's living room for a change. Where is your own family? When this last thought entered my grumpy brain, something changed. I started to see Precious in a different light. Poor kid, left to her own devices. Left to wander the cul-de-sac until well after dark. It wasn't her fault she doesn't know how to act. Nobody ever showed her. Awww. My heart melted. How can I begrudge her?

This brings me to now. Precious is my new project. Since clearly nobody else wants her around, I decided that I do. I hope to have a fully reformed Precious by the end of the summer. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

9:21 AM

Domestic Goddess

Let's get one thing straight: a domestic goddess I am not. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many domestic activities: cooking, sewing, crafts, activities with the kids. Now that I am thinking about it, all of these activities require making messes. This is where I excel. I am always willing to participate in any undertaking that involves getting a bunch of stuff out and making something new out of it. The aftermath is usually reminiscent of a crime scene, but hey, it's worth it to see a finished product. Right?

OK, so back to my original point. I think the reason I lack the skills necessary to be a super duper homemaker type is my lack of organizational skills. This is actually something I have struggled with for my entire life. In elementary school, my horrible teacher, Mrs. Miller the 4th Grade Killer, used to dump my desk out on the floor weekly because it was such a disaster. I always had a backpack filled with papers and a completely empty Trapperkeeper. In junior high and high school, my parents always knew which locker was mine on back to school night because there were papers sticking out of it. In college, while sitting in my horrendously messy room reading a textbook, something that I read really struck me in a list of characteristics of students with high IQs:

• sometimes acts without planning; may be sloppy, unorganized; is
not bothered by mess and disorder;.

Imagine that! I am so messy cause I'm smart. Go freaking figure! So, I used this as my excuse for a while, and it worked for me. I was
not at all bothered by mess and disorder. However, another characteristic of my brilliance started to rear its ugly head when I became a wife, and subsequently, a mother: "perfectionistic thinking". You see, it is awfully hard to try to be perfect all the time when I generally suck at many things. Driving, waiting in lines, reading maps, folding, being bothered by mess and disorder...the list goes on and on.

As you can imagine, the task of keeping the toys, food, and clothing of my children contained and organized is pretty flipping impossible for me. However, due to my "perfectionistic thinking", I couldn't have my children grow up in a house filled with disorder. Plus, Andy is kinda methodical, routine-based, and organized. I don't want to make him antsy merely because I don't mind stepping over things to get to the kitchen. So, I set a goal to make routines for myself. To follow through. To somehow maintain an appearance of keeping it together no matter how cluttered my brain was. Easier typed than done, my friends, but I persevered. And we, my enlightened husband and I, have done a pretty good job working through my, um, issue. Sometimes, though, in our frenzied weeks, things start to get all discombobulated again and we have to take a day to regroup. So, welcome to my day today! The following picture represents two hours of hard work and wrangling of uncooperative helpers:

So that's what this whole long rambling is about, you ask? You're darn skippy it is. Why did I feel the need to write a novel about cleaning a playroom? Well, this brings me to another characteristic that I embody: procrastination!

5:48 AM

Quick "Baby Girl" update

As it turns out, Ben's favorite color is pink and he really likes hanging out with the girls....I think I am no longer concerned.

1:18 PM

What is this, a rap video?

Today, Emily informed me that as she was eating lunch, her little friend Ben called her a name. You want to know what he called her? "Baby Girl". Yes, you read right: Baby Girl. What is up with this? Aren't kindergarteners supposed to call each other poopyhead and meanieface? I could have handled that. What is this, kindergarten or an LL Cool J song?

The real troubling thing is that when she told me the story, she had a hint of a smile...a glimmer in her eye that was unmistakeable. I quick told her that boys have cooties and to tell that Ben that she is not a baby...she is a strong, independent girl and if he ever needs help lifting anything heavy he should let her know. She will be happy to help!

6:05 PM

The Landscaper

Emily is quite the artist. She comes home from school every day with her backpack full of masterpieces. Just last week, she drew a beautiful picture of the two of us riding on an elephant through the desert.

When I commented on the horizon line in the background, she said, very matter of factly," Yes, my friend Greta taught me to do that. It is called a landscaper." As I held back my chuckle, I started reminiscing about verbal blunders of her past. Now that she is older, these gems are few and far between, but I can remember the days when she would mix up words and I would refuse to correct her because it was just oh-so-cute.

One of my favorites is when she would get in the car and ask me to put on "Jelly Bowl" (Billy Joel) and the day she walked around the house looking for her "diarrhea" (diary). I can also remember when she very clearly requested that this year, she get a "zucchini" to wear to the beach. Oh, how I love her!

7:09 PM

Dr. Seuss, airplanes, and general silliness

As some of you may know, I have an extreme love of Dr. Seuss. That guy rocks, even if he did pretend to be a doctor. In celebration of the imposter's birthday, Emily's class had a special month of reading his books and doing super cool activities, including donning funny hats and eating Green Eggs and Ham. I squelched my urge to call her teacher and offer to take over these celebrations, and instead, enjoyed the stories and artifacts from these fun filled days, as told by my ecstatic daughter.

Doesn't that look like fun?

The excitement continued with a visit from some adoring grandparents (Grampa and Sue) who brought Ethan some cool presents for his birthday. I had let them know that he has a growing adoration for things that fly, and that he was kinda rough on his toys ("kinda" does not really belong in that sentence, let's face it, the kid makes King Kong look like a gentle giant), so they brought him a giant hair pain (I mean airplane) that had the words "Virtually Indestructable" printed on the package. So, off we went to fly the hair pain:

That is his "This is MINE, do not even try it" look. Can you tell he liked it?

This week was also punctuated by a bunch of random silliness, including Emily pretending to have big teeth:

And catching Ethan red-handed pretending to be flown around in the sky by a paper kite:

Oh, to be a kid again!

5:51 PM

Testing, 1, 2, 3.

For the past couple of days I have been proctoring state standardized tests for homeschooled children in the city of brotherly love. This has been quite the experience, to say the least. Nothing like taking 300 kids who are used to working at home at their own pace and cramming them in a room for two days to quietly take a high stakes test. Ummm, yeah. It actually went well, all things considered. Although this was technically all about the kids, lets have a moment of selfishness where I pretend it was all about me and my amusement.

First off, we had an incident of grafitti. One of the awesome staff members of the hotel where the test was taking place kindly took me aside to explan how there was some new artwork in one of the bathroom stalls. Oh, geez. So, using skills gained from watching Law and Order, I quickly devised a plan on how to investigate the situation to determine the offendor. Since the "artwork" was in the boys bathroom, I could cut the list of students pretty much in half. My next plan was to take a picture of the graffiti and compare it with the scrawlings on the scrap paper of the students. This handwriting analysis would surely determine the offendor, right? I am so good at this, I thought to myself, all those years of watching TV really paid off.

So, off I go to snap a photo and examine the artwork with my specially trained, investigative eyes, hypothesising about what I will find on the other side of the stall door. Vulgar language? A nude drawing? Nopers. The kid wrote his own damn name. Darnit. Then, when confronted, he admitted to it. Double darnit. All of this investigative talent just wasted on a case fit for an amateur. Oh well.

Moving right along, I would like to now discuss something that may be controversial. Trust me, my comments are purely observational, I am not trying to be judgemental. I think that was disclaimer-ish enough, so here goes. It seems as though we have a lot of students who are really religious. Many families came to the test with all of the women and girls only showing their eyes. I know it is customary for some Muslim cultures to cover their hair so they are not drawing attention to their beauty and luring poor stupid men into wanting them. I get that. I really do. Same reason nuns and biblical women cover their hair. I know for sure that I would be a lot less hot if I wore a big robe and didn't show my gorgeous fake blonde hair. If all women did this, we would probably have so many more inventions and cures for more diseases since the scientists would not be so busy checking out Dr. Hottie's ass when she bent over to get the bunsen burner or checking out Dr. Milf's cleavage as she scrubbed out the test tubes.

With that said, the first day of testing, I was extremely distracted because the word "ninja" kept popping into my head. I had an insatiable urge to say the word ninja. I swallowed my urges, but this was SO INNAPROPRIATE of me. Then, I started thinking about Michael Jackson's kid named Blanket because I think I saw him (her?) wearing one of those veils a couple of times. I had to get over this! So, I started engaging in long meaningful conversations with the covered women. They were really smart, terrifically funny women with whom I had more in common than not, so this was very enjoyable...and after I spoke with each of them, it became easier and easier to not ask them childish questions like "do you ever trip over your robe?" or "isn't it hot in there?" or even "how do your kids know if you are really their mom, or just an imposter who stole her shoes?". I am glad I had this experience, because I really do feel like I grew up a bit in my ability to look past physical appearances and focus on what is inside. Whew! Another disaster averted.