Thursday, December 21, 2006

You know what is ironic? That my nice 4 wheel Drive Trailblazer with the $700 worth of new winter-road-ready tires is sitting in the shop today while it is snowing for the first time in a month. And my rental car is an itty bitty piece of crap with a hamster under the hood and bald tires.

It’s not “I sold my hair to buy you a watch chain” ironic. But I’m just sayin’…

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I thought that laughing was supposed to be a cure for all ills. I know it burns a ton of calories. Right up there with sex. (Too bad laughing during sex is frowned upon.) Anyway, I’m a little bummed out right now, because I actually laughed myself right into a headache this evening. Although it was probably because I was in the middle of a very serious game of “Hide and Peek” and so I was trying to stifle the laughter. Which, in hindsight, was really stupid. Considering that the reason I was laughing was because my Hide and Peek partner, who I had neatly tucked into a laundry hamper, stood up the moment she heard her father coming and started screaming, “I’m right here, Mommy is behind the chair.”

Clearly she doesn’t get it. Which is too bad, because she’s so tiny she could probably hide for days in this house if she wanted to. She has Hide and Peek Champion written all over her. No, I’m serious. In blue Crayola marker. Thank God they make those things washable now. I guess I should be glad I don’t have to spend a half hour every morning searching through drawers and cupboards. And, even if she had kept quiet the dog standing directly in front of me barking may have been a giveaway.

M on the other hand is an expert Hide and Peeker. In fact, on one turn he actually showed up at the front door, and I still can’t figure out how he did it. Impressive.

Off to watch “Lost in Translation”. Hoping it makes up for the other night’s disappointing “I Heart Huckabees”.

We love Netflix.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I am so on top of things this holiday season I can hardly stand myself. I wrapped the last of the gifts today. I’m not in charge of cooking anything. The house looks great (we had our company party here on Friday night.) It’s like I can…RELAX or something. Only I suck at that. So instead I’m obsessing about whether or not I really got everything done.

And so, rather than obsess on my blog, I’ve decided to indulge my inner Christmas Junkie and post my answers to one of those email thingys going around. I would love to read other people’s answers too. So if you post yours, leave me a comment and let me know.

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate – Both. I even have some Egg Nog flavored Cocoa powder around here somewhere. Before I lost 25 lbs and then cared about what my hips look like, M and I used to buy that Holiday Nog stuff starting in mid November. Yum.

2) Santa, discuss. – Santa is all we talk about around here right now. Ok, well, and Baby Jesus. Which is cool, but I can hardly take credit. Sweet Pea is very into babies, Baby Jesus specifically. She makes me tell her the Christmas story every night. And she makes me sing parts of it. And then she says, “I love Baby Jesus.” Which is good. I can use all the help I can get.

As for Santa, she is still slightly terrified of sitting on his lap, but she sat up there long enough to whisper that she would like a Cinderella dress thankyouverymuch. It strikes me as odd that I spend 11 months of the year keeping her away from strange old men with candy, and in December I prep her for the occasion like it’s the Bar exam. But whatevs. When Santa visits our house he will leave 1-2 choice items and a full stocking by our fireplace. The rest of our gifts get wrapped before Christmas and go under the tree. He brings things for everyone in the house too. Including Moi, and the dog.

3) When do you put your decorations up? – After M’s birthday on December 5th. Usually about the 2nd weekend in December. This year I was a little early because we decided to have our company party at our house. We moved into this house in October of last year, so I didn’t really get into Christmas. This year my house looks fantastic. Says me.

4) White lights or multi colored? – White on the tree. If I had any shrubbery in the yard there would be some multi colored lights on them. But alas…

5) Favorite holiday memory from childhood – Probably just spending the holidays with my family. My mom and grandmothers always made Christmas really beautiful and special. And even though we didn’t have a lot of money, there was always something wonderful under the tree. I remember Santa bringing me a bike, or a special Barbie…every year there was something exciting. One year I was in N. Idaho spending Christmas with my dad’s side of the family, and my cousin Sarah and I got out of bed at 2:00 in the morning to play in the foot of snow that had just fallen. I was probably 16 or 17, my aunt took pictures of us making snow angels in our matchy matchy Nordstrom Christmas pajamas.

6) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? – Wha? I don’t understand this question. BELIEVE.

7) Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve? – Depends. If we spend Christmas Eve with M’s family, we exchange the gifts from his mom’s side. Everything else we open on Christmas day. As a kid it seems like we opened a few gifts at my Grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve, but not all of them.

8) How do you decorate your Christmas tree? – The aforementioned white lights, and lots of ornaments that we have collected through the years. Our ornaments are very sentimental. There are lots of “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments dating back to 1973 and 1974, plus the truckload that Sweet Pea got in 2004.

9) What tops your tree? – An angel that moves her arms and wings. My mom has had a very similar angel on her tree for as long as I can remember. We lovingly refer to them as the Aerobics Angels, because they look like they are doing that old, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!” exercise.

10) Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? – Giving. Half the fun of the holidays is having an excuse to shop like a madwoman. And I really try to think of interesting and thoughtful gifts. I want everything to be a fun surprise, and avoid shopping off a list if I can.

11) Snow, love it or dread it? – Love it. LOVE IT. Hate driving in piles of it, but love it just the same. Lots of snow means lots of water in the lakes in the summer time. But in April the snow has to be gone. Got that? April = spring. Or else I get a little “all work and no play makes Jack batchit crazy.”

12) Do you remember your favorite gift? – I can’t think of just one favorite, but several stand out. I have a doll that my mom bought me at St. Vincent’s the year she and my dad got divorced. The doll was wearing a hat, and was wrapped in cellophane, so she couldn’t see that some previous owner had cut all her hair off. On Christmas morning I unwrapped her, tore the hat off and looked at my mother wide eyed. Without missing a beat she said, “Mrs. Santa Clause picked you out to have that doll, she knew you would love her even without hair.” Last week Sweet Pea named that doll Alison. (My SIL did a little detective work recently and found out that “Sister” doll is 43 years old.)

13) What is your favorite holiday tradition? – I’m pretty sentimental about the holidays, but I don’t know that there is a hard and fast tradition that we have always stuck to. Some years I was with my mom and (step)dad, some years I was up north with my other dad. So, I’m totally over the top about Christmas. But there’s not one thing…Getting out all the decorations is really the part that makes me schmoopy. There is a lot of history and tradition in those boxes. I am sitting right next to my Great Grandfather’s Nativity right now. (Or as Sweet Pea refers to it, “BABY JESUS’ HOUSE!!”)

Happy Holidays!
I hate making Christmas gift lists. Hate it. It makes me feel all, demanding. And materialistic. Plus, I want to be surprised. So I never feel like I ask for what I really want. So, here goes. Too late to do anything about it, what I want for Christmas:

This book that I saw yesterday at Craft Warehouse and I was all, “Oh! I have a link to her blog on my blog!” As though that made me cool or something. But the book looks like the schiznit.

I did ask M for a new Nano. Which is funny, because I have an Ipod Mini that is broken, so you’d think I’d want something more reliable. But, nope. I want a Nano. So that I can pretend I am still cool, and that my playlists aren’t made up entirely of jazzy/punked out versions of toddler songs.

Effortless hair. Meaning, hair that looks good even if I just pull it back into a ponytail, or wash it and let it air dry. And while I’m asking for the impossible, how about world peace?

Some new black shoes. Like those crunchy granola Mary Janes that look funky and yet orthopedic all at the same time. And some new red FMP’s, maybe with a rhinestone buckle. And something to wear the red shoes with. Maybe a little black dress.

A subscription to a scrapbooking magazine would be kind of fun. Since I’m all cool like that. With my awesome Wiggles edition Nano and my comfortable Mary Janes.

A trip to somewhere warm and tropical with a spa package.

A new watch. Maybe one with some bling.

A thousand dollars to spend at a nursery this spring on plants for my bare front yard. And a landscape designer and some guys with shovels to go with it.

A trip to NYC with all my girlfriends.

The in shape body that I had a year ago back for good. With the ability to eat chocolate chip cookies and French fries whenever I want. (Santa Baby, I’ve been an awfully good girl…)

A new gas stove.

Time to cook on my new gas stove.

A cute little cabin in the woods.

Flawless skin.

Season tickets to our summer Shakespeare Festival.

More closet space.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Fair warning to the 5 people who read this blog.

Last night I caved to my guilty conscience and agreed to make a brief appearance at a Christmas party. There was free booze, and suffice to say my brief appearance turned into a big night out complete with dirty dive bar karaoke. As a result, I’m having a hard time stringing words together into complete sentences. And I am also swearing like a trucker. So. My point was…Shit. I don’t remember.

Anyway, there is this burning topic that I have been wanting to address here for at least the last week or so. And I know that you will be so glad I finally put fingers to keyboard and let ‘er rip. Because this is important. IMPORTANT.

Have you ever seen that cartoon Max and Ruby? It’s on Noggin. (we loooooove Noggin at our house, esp. the Upside Down Show which is like the best present a Mommy could ask for. Because brothers Shane and David mesmerize two year olds for 30 full minutes, and if you can get past the toddler mesmerizing antics, that Shane is pretty hot. David is cute too, but something about the air guitar playing bald brother melts my butter. There is a cute Wiggle too, but those guys annoy the crap out of me.)

What was I talking about? Oh, right. Max and Ruby.

So Max and Ruby are a brother and sister bunny duo. The intro song tells us that Max is Ruby’s “little” brother. And their clothes and toys would lead one to believe that these are bunny children. But if you watch the show for long enough, say, every morning during breakfast for a few months, you start to notice some really odd things about those rabbits.

For starters, Ruby is destined for sainthood. She has never kicked, hit, spit on, or yelled at Max. Ever. And he is the kind of little brother that would drive any normal person batshit crazy. His toys are loud and annoying. He is uncooperative. He runs off in the mall. He is stubborn and slow moving. And he’s into gross things like worms and mud and gooey sticky candy called Jelly Balls. But she never gets upset with him. She has never even yelled, “Moooooooooooooom, Max put worms in my tea set again.” Probably because there are NEVER any parents at their house. In fact, Ruby is the most maternal sister I have ever seen in my life. She makes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for that bratty little brother, takes him shopping for clothes, cleans his room, worries about his nutrition and hygene, navigates her way around town on public transportation…way more responsibility than a young bunny should have to bear if you ask me.

UNLESS…as I suspect, these are not in fact bunny children. Stay with me here, because I think I might be onto some big breakthrough. I think, that Max and Ruby just might be, and I apologize for my lack of political correctness here, adult bunny midgets. And Max is some kind of savant.

That would explain why someone who looks like 6 year old would be left to care for someone who looks and talks like a 2 year old without the help of any adults. There is a “Grandma” bunny character who lives down the street. She occasionally drops in on Max and Ruby, but not to parent them in any way. Come to think of it, her behavior is suspiciously SOCIAL WORKER like, if you ask me.

So, that’s my earth shattering Max and Ruby expose. Do with it what you will.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ok, my friends are probably really sick of me parading this around. But, it's my first big digi scrapbooking project and I'm kinda liking how it turned out. And since I have something in my profile about scrapbooking, I thought I should make good on my word. Here it is:

I am so cold.

That is such a stupid thing to whine about, given that I am sitting here with electricity while the entire Midwest shivers in the dark.

But since when is this blog about me being selfless?

I am so cold.

I would be willing to be that I will continue to be cold through the month of May.


Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to M. The best husband a frozen little icicle girl could ask for. Love you.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Don’t you just love a great weekend? The kind that’s fun, and relaxing, and yet productive enough that you don’t feel like you need to take a day off to catch up on all the crap you still have to do without the aid of house elves and helpful little fairies.

We had a great weekend. M is turning 33 tomorrow. So I threw him a little family birthday party. It’s a very delicate thing, observing the birthday of a December baby. It has to be All. About. The Birthday. So I decorated the table in a rainbow of colors. I wrapped gifts in birthday themed paper. I used balloons as centerpieces. It was hideous. But it wasn’t so much about what it was. It was more about what it wasn’t. There was not a single Christmas decoration on display anywhere in our house.

After dinner we sat around and polished off three bottles of wine (Remind me someday to blog about my utter mortification each and every time we go to the recycling place, with the exception of last time when empty Scotch bottle guy showed up. Thank you empty Scotch bottle guy for being a bigger lush than I am. I only wish that you too were toting a toddler as you disposed of the evidence.)

It was just as my parents were leaving that Sweet Pea decided to share with them her new obsession.

Sweet Pea: “Grampa, you sleep inna big girl bed?”

Grandpa: “Nope, I sleep in a big boy bed.”

SP: “Oh. Hmmm. You a big boy?”

Grandpa: “Yep, I’m a boy.”

SP: “Girls have a gina and boys have a penis.”



Oy. I mean, you know. I want her to be comfortable talking about her body. I want her to use the right words. Blah blah blah. But how come the one word she says absolutely clearly has to be penis? Oh, and shit. Yeah, come to think of it, all of her new favorite subjects and phrases give me a moments pause. “Oh my GOSH!” “Darnit!” And, “Shit!” Again, clear as a bell and in perfect context. Every time.

We put our Christmas tree up yesterday. (No, she didn’t swear at any point in the decorating process. Bad transition, sorry.) We have a fake tree, for hilarious reasons***. So M and I assembled it and put the lights on while she was taking her nap. I think for the first time in Golightly family history, there was no Grinchyness on the part of my husband. He did state several times that there was no way we were going to get all those ornaments on the tree, but he does that every year. So it’s kind of a Christmas tradition at this point. He even helped me hang the garland and wreaths on the outside of the house. And it was COLD. Gold star for M.

When Sweet Pea woke up and came downstairs her whole entire being lit up brighter than the tree. THAT is a good parenting moment right there. She was so excited to put the decorations up, and waited patiently all through dinner and cleanup. Then she helped, carefully hanging about 35 ornaments on 3 branches at the bottom of the tree. After it was done we all had hot chocolate around the tree and M read her a story about a snowman. It could not have been more perfect. Seriously.

So other than my paranoia that daycare is going to call any minute to address the problem with Sweet Pea’s language, this may be the least stressful start of the holiday season that I have ever experienced as an adult. Yeehaw!

~ Clover

***The story of why we have a fake tree is this:

We had been married for 2 months at Christmastime in 1998. We had a brand new house with a lot of nice presents in it, lingering tans from a honeymoon, and that was it. We were poor. There would be no tree. Sob sob, sniff sniff. Oh the tragedy. Someone call Hallmark to make a movie.

Then about 3 days before Christmas we got a check in the mail from our not-for-profit auto insurer. A dividend of $80 – a Christmas miracle! Wait, did that mailman have a long white beard? We immediately went to the tree lot and picked out what appeared to be the nicest tree they had left. It was $10.00. You can imagine what it looked like. (insert Charlie Brown Christmas theme music)

We got the tree home and set it up in the designated spot, where it soon became clear that our tree was frozen in such a way that created an optical illusion. It was not, in fact, a Charlie brown tree. It was a hugeass balsm fir with 20’ branches that were dropping one by one as the tree thawed. I think it actually got taller too. Within about 20 minutes it was that scene from the Griswald family Christmas, but in slow motion. There would be a crackling noise, and then a giant branch would drop down crushing anything in its path. Windows were blown to bits, small animals scurried about, muddy ice and sap dripped all over our new carpet, Cousin Eddie got all nog drunk…It smelled nice though. The tree, not Cousin Eddie.

Alas, my brand new carpet was ruined. And we bought a fake tree the next year. I love my fake tree.

The End.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Could it be possible that after all these years my childhood dream of being a Unicorn is coming true? I don’t feel particularly majestic or magical…but I am growing a horn. Right in the middle of my forehead. It’s impossible to miss, horn buds being HUGE and RED and rather painful.

I sense a lot of anticipation from those around me too. Everyone is looking at it, but no one has said anything. For fear of ruining the magic I’m sure.

I sure hope I become a Unicorn in time to summon some fairies and elves to clean my house for Christmas.


I am amending this post to say that my mother, as a result of her cynicism about my impending metamorphosis into a unicorn AND her suggestion that I "go get a band aid to cover that thing up," will NOT be benefiting from my skills in magic. And that will suck for her, because knowing a unicorn would be SO cool.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It is no big secret that the fastest way to get yourself killed is to suggest to a frustrated woman that the root cause of her pissyness is not, as she believes, a legitimate screw up on your part. But rather, a hormonal hallucination caused by a raging case of PMS.

Especially if you are a man. And extra specially if you are right.

The Golightly family is inordinately blessed in this regard. Because, despite the fact that M becomes mind-blowingly annoying, heartbreakingly insensitive, painfully slow, and somehow manages to expand his person to generally be In. My. Space. for a few days every month, he has never once suggested that I take a half a bottle of Midol and go chill the hell out.

Lucky for us both, no?

You have to feel a little sorry for the guy. I’m so all over the board with this stuff. And it didn’t appear until later in our marriage when we gleefully flushed my birth control pills in favor of starting a family. The first few months we were in baby bliss. Me, thinking about babies. Him, working on making one. So when the fog wore off, he was probably totally blindsided. And even now, three years later, it’s not every month that I turn into a psychopath. So basically, I’m like a one woman Spanish Inquisition. Even I don’t know when to expect it.

The nice thing is, even though M is NEVER allowed to suggest that I go check the calendar, I have started to pick up on the cues. Jeans too tight? Check. Think it might be a good idea to bake a box of brownies for breakfast? Check. Acting like Tonya Harding with a hangover? Check.

This last week seems like it was particularly bad. I haven’t even wanted to be in the same room with myself. Thursday night our fancy dinner and Christmas shopping didn’t go as planned. Dinner was great. The red wine exceptional. But about half way into our second bottle of Napa Valley happiness, M announced that he really had no desire to go look at sparkly things. The rational part of my person agreed. I was a little to tips anyway, and it would be fun to go downtown and hook up with some friends of ours who were out dancing. I stayed with that rational line of thinking for about an hour and a half. And then a switch flipped and I was pissed. In fact, I think I was pissed until yesterday. WTF? I’m pretty sure that I even used our own child against him on Friday just because I was still in my funk.

Not that my basic premise wasn’t legit. He does, sometimes, get so caught up in work that he refuses to do anything that could conceivably inconvenience anyone…except his daughter. And Friday’s near blow off of her school Thanksgiving Luncheon was an example of this. But, in fairness, he was in the midst of putting out a pretty major fire. And I can see how it would have been hard at that point to see any other options beyond sitting at his desk on the phone and giving himself an ulcer. So, perhaps my hissy fit and refusal to answer my cell phone were over the top. But then again, ok in the long run. I mean, he did show up and have lunch with Sweet Pea – who about came out of her skin with excitement when he showed up. And I did apologize. And I did go check the calendar. And we did have a nice weekend without incident. Well, major incident. I suppose he might not term the weekend, “nice.” Perhaps, not un-nice? I’d ask, but that would mean admitting to the PMS. And that, ladies, is where we need to preserve a little mystery.

Just put it in your blog where he can read all about it and know that you know when you’re being evil.

Tired and crampy

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hey! I passed 8th grade math!

Yehaw! That's quite the accomplishment seeing as to how I got a Communications degree so that I would never have to take a math class again. Wheeee!



Here's a funny that was in the Letters to the Editor section of our local alternapaper:

Q. What is the difference between Bill Sali and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

A. One is a short, bearded religious zealot who wants to take away women's rights. The other is the president of Iran.


So tonight M and I are going out to dinner and then to do some Christmas shopping. I'm not really sure why I have a bug up my butt to get going on Christmas shopping. Retail therapy maybe? Whatever the reason, I'm looking forward to getting a little red wine drunk and then looking at sparkly things. I'm also planning to eat something really chocolatey and gooey to kick off the holidays. And to solidify my new attitude of who-the-hell-cares-if-I-get-fat-this-Christmas. It's time to get pregnant again anyway.

Ho Ho Ho

Monday, November 13, 2006

Maybe 32 is when adulthood hits you squarely between the eyes. You’d think that after 10 years in the workforce, 8 years of marriage, two homes and a child, I’d be pretty comfortable in my role as grown up. But not so much. Apparently.

Maybe uncomfortable isn’t the word. But it does surprise me on a fairly regular basis that I’m the mommy. Or the decision maker. Or, in the case of the line of thinking that spawned this post, the would-be philanthropist.

It’s not like we never give money. We bleed silver and gold, so it’s fun to get all drunk at the annual scholarship auction for our alma matter and drop some cash. Plus season tickets. Plus contributing to the National Student Advertising Competition team, plus whatever else it takes to get our names in the annual report. (Oh come ON…that’s why the millionaires do it too. I know this to be true, I worked in Alumni Relations for a long time.) So we are familiar with tax deductible relationships.

But I have to say that my jaw dropped, and dropped hard, recently when a family member made a request for financial help. You have to give her some credit though. She laid it all out there. She and her husband quit their jobs and moved to the country to change the pace of their stressful lives. She is working part time, her husband full time. They are both volunteering quite a bit to get a new church up and running. Between paid and volunteer efforts, they don’t want to work more than 40 hours a week. That defeats the purpose of trying to build a peaceful and calm life. And they would like to buy a house. So they are looking for 100 people to support them at $25.00 a month.

Perhaps we are jaded. Grinchy even. I’m SO not writing a check. No way. I know that this was presented to us in a sort of “help us build the church” missionary type plea. But I’m not totally buying it. And I don’t think that makes us heartless heathens. Over lunch M was worrying about this being the present day equivalent of the beggar at the door. The door we just slammed shut. And I had to tell him that I felt confident in saying that this was not Jesus asking us for some hospitality. I guess maybe I’m a heartless heathen.

Hey, can you fundraise for that? There are probably a lot of good Christians out there who would be willing to part with some green in an effort to save my soul from the eternal fires of damnation.

I am seriously surprised at what a hot button issue this is for me. For the last 5 years my husband has worked a minimum or 50 hours a week. Usually it’s closer to 65 or 70. For two years, TWO YEARS, he worked every weekend just to keep his business up and running. And I’ve worked 40 hours a week during this time too. And then come home to run a household that includes a small person and a totally neurotic dog. For the first couple years of “start up mode” we could barely afford to buy groceries, much less make lifestyle choices that took us out of the rat race.

We had a lot of people who were kind to us during those early days of M’s self employment. My mom bought me clothes. My in-laws filled our freezer with deer and elk meat. Our friends invited us to their houses instead of going out. One friend took us out to dinner twice a month for over a year. And they never expected us to reciprocate. On good days these wonderful people provided us with a break and a little treat. On bad days they loaned us money for a couple of weeks so we could pay our mortgage. We know we didn’t do it alone, and we’re grateful for that help.

So why does this feel different to me? Maybe because I think people were willing to help us out because they saw how willing we were to help ourselves. We did odd jobs for our family members like painting houses and yard work. We had yard sales and sold stuff on ebay. Got rid of the cable, cell phones, and long distance. We ate Bambi for cryin’ out loud. M worked and worked and worked and worked to start his business. And I worked and worked and worked to support us while he did it. We never, not for one second, expected anyone else to be financially responsible for our chosen path.

It’s paying off. We’re not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re more comfortable. Maybe that makes us seem rich to other people. I’m not apologetic about that. It’s our money. Not only did we earn it, we risked a lot to build a business. We still have a lot at stake.

I keep asking myself what conditions would have to be present for me to feel like writing a check to this person. And I keep landing right back where I started. If you make a choice to live a certain lifestyle, then you figure out how to support it. Which I guess is exactly what she’s doing. More power to her I guess. When all the neo-conservative right wingers get done licking their wounds (everywhere but here obviously) maybe they’ll need a new project. Hey…she should run for office.

Man I’m ranty today.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sweet Pea made a successful transition into a big girl bed this week. The last two nights she hasn’t even gotten up to look at books or play with her toys in the dark. (The first night we found her dragging all her belongings into our master bathroom – the only room upstairs with a light on.)

This is big time exciting at our house. New sheets, new pillows, new bedtime ritual. Brand new thing to be paranoid about.

I made it successfully to adulthood without ever happening upon my parents in any compromising situations. If youknowhatImean. That is, I’m certain, because my mother remains to this day a Virgin. That’s right, capital V. I know this to be fact, because A) she is my mother. And B) my brother and I are both adopted. The only way for a capital V Virgin to obtain children. Of course.

The problem is – and I’m going to let you in on a little secret here – I am NOT a virgin. Capital V or otherwise. Bowm-chicka-bowm-bowm. And my bedroom is just a few steps from Sweet Pea’s bedroom. When she was captive in her little crib, this was not a concern. But I’m guessing we’ve only got another couple of days before she figures out she doesn’t have to wait for me to come and get her out of bed before she can leave her room.

Plus, ever since the transition to the big girl bed, she has requested that we leave her door open. So we can’t even hear her coming.

Do I make her wear a bell? Making her sleep in a crib until college doesn’t seem like a good solution. None of those stupid books address the issue of helping mommy and daddy get their swerve on. And I can tell you right now that just the thought of Cindy Lou Who appearing bedside at an inappropriate moment is putting a major damper on my libido.

The kitty collar approach is sounding better and better by the minute.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just in case anyone is wondering, I’m still totally bummed out about the elections.

In lieu of whining, I thought we’d play the “do over” game.

I had a dream last night that involved high school in some way. I can’t really remember the details of it. But when I woke up, I had high school on the brain. And then when I was dropping my daughter off at daycare, I saw another mom who looked kind of familiar, but nothing was clicking as to why. She smiled at me, but it seemed a little awkward. At first I thought that maybe she was doing the same, “how do I know you” thing. But then it dawned on me, that chick went to my high school and she was a bitch!

I mean, not like just, “I’m popular and you aren’t so neener neener.” I think she and her friend tried to beat me up in the bathroom once. If I recall, it was because my BFF and her BFF were warring over a boy. Or, rather, my BFF had been deflowered long ago by a boy who her BFF was snogging currently. And so, that made us enemies.

There’s a strange code of ethics in high school, you know? I remember being cornered in the bathroom by those two girls. And thinking that I was gonna get my ass kicked. And then spending most of the rest of the year not going to the bathroom alone.

Can you even imagine what would happen if Kim and Suzie from accounting stalked you and cornered you in the third floor bathroom of your office building? You’d probably go straight to HR with a harassment complaint, their jobs would likely be on the line, and if they DID lay a finger on you they’d be arrested for assault. But not in high school. In high school you do everything you can to make sure that no one – especially not a teacher - catches wind of the situation. And then if you’re me, you hide.

Not that I wasn’t brave. I was just smart. They weren’t particularly burly, but there were two of them. And just a few seconds of hair pulling and bitch-slapping is bound to end with a lot of embarrassment on the part of the slapee. People in high school don’t run to your rescue. They stand in a circle and chant “GIRL FIGHT!”

So, if I had this particular day in high school to do over, what would I do?

I think I would have launched into a John Hughes-esque soliloquy about not wasting their energy on a pointless brawl that would likely get them kicked out of school and banned from graduation, but still wouldn’t change the sexual history of her boyfriend. And then I would have told them to go ahead and hit me if they must, but that I wouldn’t hit back. At that point, either someone would start slow clapping, or she would have decked me. Hard. Either way, I figure I’d win. Slow clapping immortalizes you in teen history as a rebel who changed high school culture for good. And getting hit means I could have sued their rich daddies for a trust fund. Plus I bet they would have gotten kicked out of private school and I could have peed in peace for the rest of my senior year.

As it stands, the evil sidekick and I are probably going to be seeing each other every morning. So I’ll conjure up some amnesia as it relates to this incident. But I’m not setting up a playdate unless she apologizes.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It’s a dark day in Idaho.


We elected some real azzhats. (not all of them, but quite a few.) Including Butthead Bill. And the only Democrat I didn’t vote for – a 26 year old deadbeat dad who ousted a longtime legislator. She was a good moderate Republican, and one of the few women in the Statehouse. We lost a couple good moderates in fact. Which means the likelihood that they will vote for a moderate to be the Speaker of the House is nil. So, hello crazyville.

And, even more horrifying…the amendment stating the marriage is only to be between a man and a woman passed. It makes me ill.



Normally I’m a cheerleader for Idaho. But today I feel like moving somewhere else. I feel like I can’t trust the people in my community to be good and kind and intelligent.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Up until this past weekend, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I love to get creeped out. I love to get dressed up. I love candy, and parties, and carving pumpkins. Love. It.

And then I had one of those moments in parenthood where you get a little glimpse into the future and it scares you more than the boogeyman ever could.

We were attending a fundraiser that just so happened to be taking place right next door to a high school dance. (The dance was at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. It’s a museum now, but still pretty creepy. Cool place for a Halloween dance, don’t you think?) Both events ended about the same time, so the shared parking lot was filled with costumed teenagers.

My husband and I stood slack jawed as we watched a stream of barely clothed young ladies getting into cars with equally slack jawed young men. Hey…now that I think of it, maybe I should ask M why HE was slack jawed…

Anyway, when did “Hooker” become the costume of choice for teenaged America? I’m talking butt-cheeks-hanging-out, fishnet stockings on garter belts, thigh high patent leather stripper boots, bare midriffs. The works. Stuff that I would KILL to have the body to wear for just one night. And those girls looked hott. With two T's. Of course they did, they are 17. They have no body fat, and they can use enough makeup and hairspray to make themselves look 25. There isn’t a 25 year old on the planet that could have pulled off those costumes with the same success. You have to have the skin and body of a girl-child, Wonderbra does the rest.

It’s funny how the girls can look so grown up, but the boys all look 12 years old. Complete with bad skin and arms that hang too close to their knees. I rather felt sorry for them. They looked like puppy dogs on little strings. Panting around after HOOKERS.

The moral of this story is that Sweet Pea will never know what it is like to attend a dance without her parents chaperoning. She may even have to learn to slow dance with her shotgun toting father standing in between her and her date.


Monday, October 30, 2006

It’s so totally unoriginal to be anti-politics. And even less of a statement to say that you don’t like political advertising. I know this. And so instead I’m going to tell you a leetle political story.

I’m in Idaho. And ‘round these parts we don’t trust nobody who doesn’t introduce themselves as a Republican. Them damn East Coast Liberals is tryin’ to steal our horses and our wimmins. We’d just as soon string ‘em up as look at ‘em.

Then along came Bill Sali.

Butthead Bill is running for a congressional seat here in Idaho on the Republican ticket. Only, even the R’s don’t like him much. It’s been fascinating to watch these events unfold really. You can practically see the angst in the eyes of some republican leadership. I mean, Dubya is counting on Idaho to keep filling those seats with some conservative, morally superior, blue blooded Republicans. I mean, Idaho = potatoes and Republicans, right? But this guy is a FREAKSHOW. What to do? What to do?

My personal take on how we got here is this: During the primary in May, the most qualified of the 5 candidates battling it out for the Republican spot was a pretty blonde lady with loads of experience at the state level. (Her name is Sheila Sorenson.) People genuinely seemed to like her. I thought she’d win. So I was shocked when I heard one of my politico friends – a woman even - saying things like, “Can you just see her teetering into a saw mill or a rancher’s association meeting in her Prada pumps? She’s not going to be able to get the job done here.” Read, “We don’t like her because she is a she.”


I always vote on the Republican ticket in the primary, and I was all prepared to let go a chad for good old Sheila. But alas, we recently moved into the wrong district. It obviously didn’t matter though, because there had to have been some money coming out of Washington DC to make sure that she didn’t win. I think they were hoping to put forward this other guy who was kind of an unknown. But it didn’t work. And now here we are with Butthead. (Who, when asked what three things he would focus on in Washington, answered: “I promise to only drink bottled water.” Huh? I think that was supposed to get the Mormons all excited. But I think they are scratching their heads too.)

Butthead has been a member of the Idaho Legislature for some time now. And he’s most famously known for making a direct correlation – during the session – between abortion and breast cancer. One member of the Idaho House of Representatives actually left the floor in tears because he essentially said that if you have breast cancer it’s likely your punishment for having had an abortion. She was in chemo.

What the?

Anyhoo…There is a pretty vocal movement of Republicans here in Idaho who are supporting the Democratic Party candidate, Larry Grant. The Grant campaign recently released this ad:


  • using quotes from those Republicans – although some of them may have been from the primary. It’s hard tellin’.

    I think its brilliant! I mean, politicians spent all spring convincing us that Butthead Bill was, well, a butthead. And now politicians afraid to lose a Republican seat in Congress are trying to take it all back. Or hoping we won’t remember. Or counting on the fact that people in Idaho don’t take time to actually educate themselves, they just vote R, R, R, R, R right down the ballot.

    They might be right about that last part, sadly. But I’m really hoping that Idahoans will remember what we learned about Bill Sali from his own party.

    Or just vote for Larry Grant because he has the best ads.


    ****** These are my private opinions as a voter in Idaho. I'm not affiliated with any party or candidate. And I make stuff up too. **********

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    I’m not really a germaphobe. BUT. You knew there would be a “but” didn’t you? I mean, there has to be. Because why would I just throw that out there? “I’m not really a germaphobe. In fact, right now I’m licking the soles of someone's shoes. The End.”

    Anyway, I’m not. Public restrooms, for example, don’t cause me undo amounts of stress. I mean, I wash my hands. I use the little paper seat thing-o’s. But I don’t spend the entire visit trying not to touch a single surface, and hovering over the seat in a squat that would strain the quads of a veteran Cirque de Soleil cast member. (Because I’m lazy. Duh.)

    I do have exceptions though. Like the ladies room in the Alaska Airlines terminal of LAX is just gross. I figured that has something to do with volume. I mean, there have got to be a couple thousand people in and out of those stalls every day. So, natch, it’s gonna be a little oogy.

    After yesterday, I think I’m going to have to apply that volume = ickyness theory to the entire city of Los Angeles. At the risk of sounding really small-town-Idaho, I am just gonna lay this out there – that place is NASTY. And it’s such a bizarre juxtaposition too. There is the beautiful horizon that should be sitting in front of a blue sky backdrop, but the sky is hazy brown. There are gorgeous palm trees, mango trees, tropical flowering shrubs and thick green vines growing everywhere. But the sides of the roads are piled high with garbage. Graffitti is everywhere. They have to put razor wire around street signs to keep little thugs from climbing up and spray painting all over.

    So my day in LA begs me to ask the question – WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?? California is gorgeous in all the places where people haven’t screwed it up. It’s really sad. I can’t wrap my brain around why anyone would intentionally ugly up the place where they live.


    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Friday, I was logging into my IM and saw a headline in the news portal that I misread as, “President Bush talks to his Genitals about Iraq.”

    Heh. Heh. Heh. (and then Ewwwww…and then more Heh. Heh. Heh.)

    I was in the middle of emailing my very own Aunty M when I read it, so I shared. She responded by telling me about a Real Sex episode on HBO about a talking penis. And her email has the distinction of being the first not-actually-spam email to be blocked by our new office filter.

    I think she should win a prize. Perhaps a genitalia inspired finger puppet would be apropos? I’ll have to get shopping.

    Hmmm…oddly enough, a quick Google for “Penis Finger Puppet” did not return any merchandise. And I thought you could find everything on the Interweb.


    Ok. So, when you need a cosmic sign, where do you turn? I asked for one about a week ago, and have received several mini signs in the form of anecdotal encouragement from some smart wimmins/dear friends. And then I got this by way of my husband’s horoscope (he needed the sign too):

    "When you get to the end of all the light you know and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."
    ~ Edward Teller

    Thank you Rob Brezny. May light and fluffy blessings fall upon your head. MWAH.


    This weekend we were parking lot camping/tailgating with some friends of ours. (GO VANDALS!) Sweetpea was having a ball discovering the joys of motor home life, but she failed to take into account the spatial issues that occur when your kitchen is also your living room is also your bedroom. (She walked into a table.) So she has a bruise that could maybe be categorized as a black eye. That girl was so TOUGH about the whole thing though. I mean, she yowled for about a minute, but then she was fine. Wouldn’t even let me put ice on it. And I was kinda proud of her for shaking it off – because I’m a huge wuss and I would still be crying about it today. Anyhoo…when we got to school this morning I was all, “Tell Miss Justine what happened,” so as to illustrate her tough girl-ness. And in typical Monday-morning-pretend-to-be-shy mode she said, “I went bonk on a table!” And then buried her head in my shoulder. At which point I realized that it sounded like I’d been having her rehearse that line. So I am fully anticipating the Child Protective Services people to be there when I pick her up in 15 minutes.

    So if you don’t hear from me for a while…

    P.S. If you know anyone looking for a wickedly funny and perhaps a little bit naughty Halloween T-shirt, you simply must send them to the Muffintucker site.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    I put a lot of stock in Self Awareness.

    It seems to me, to be one of the best personality traits any person could hope to possess. Short of becoming an enlightened being. In fact, I tend to think that Self Awareness’ power to do good can actually cancel out – or mitigate the effects of some not-so-great personality traits. For example, if a hypothetical person were to possess certain characteristics such as…oh, say, stubbornness, a quick temper, a need to always be right, control issues, a touch of OCD, pathological lateness, shallowness, and just a touch of paranoia – and yet she was also Self Aware, then she (or he, you know, hypothetically) wouldn’t be totally annoying. Because she would totally Get. It.

    Everyone follow? Hypothetical girl doesn’t expect the entire world to treat her like she’s normal. She knows she’s weird. She’s embracing her weirdness.

    Self Awareness rocks.

    And so, I spend a lot of time trying to cultivate and fine tune my self awareness. I guess you could say I love to learn more about me. So yesterday, I was just DE-lighted to stumble across a little exercise that I think furthers my quest. It was in Real Simple magazine. Which I simultaneously love and loathe. I love it, because it teaches you how to live your life Just So. And I loathe it, because who the hell needs that kind of pressure?

    But this was good. It was an article that talked about how times in your life where you feel totally vulnerable and without material/financial security are actually jumping off points for new and grand adventures and opportunities. What have you got to lose? The exercise asked you to draw three concentric circles. In the smallest circle you put your experiences. In the next circle you put things you’ve always wanted to try. And in the largest circle you make notes about your potential.

    Isn’t that a great visual? All that potential just sitting there waiting for you to move it into your little circle.

    I’d probably be really skeptical of that whole notion if I were reading the article in say, 2002, when I found myself feeling exceptionally vulnerable and financially insecure. But now, with a little hindsight, I can honestly attest to its truth. My husband getting laid off, and us being totally dirt poor for about 2 years was the best thing ever to happen to us. He finally had no excuses – he had to follow his bliss and start his own company. And we learned a lot of valuable lessons about money when we didn’t have any of it. It made us feel like we could weather anything.

    So now here I am. I’m the one who took the leap, quit a totally stable job with a nice paycheck and cushy benefits to become part of our family business. Thanks to my brilliant and sexy husband, I’ve got a lot bigger of a safety net than he did. He pays me even though I’m sitting at my desk writing this blog entry instead of billing hours. But still…it’s kinda scary. And I’m impatient. I want to have some clients and some projects RIGHT NOW.

    I’ve felt pretty timid about putting myself out there and going after new business. But that article reminded me that I really have nothing to lose. So today, I’m going do something fabulous. I have no idea what that will be. But it will be great. Stay tuned.


    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Can being really itchy make you go crazy? I think I might be losing it.

    For once, my hypochondriac tendencies may not be the root cause of my medical woes. My doctor wants to test me for the West Nile virus. I have pretty classic symptoms. Including, but not limited to, the most MISERABLE rash I have ever experienced in my whole life. It started on my waist, then moved up my stomach and now covers my chest and arms.

    It itches. So. Bad.

    I can’t sleep. I can’t sit still. Nothing helps. Not pills, or creams, or soaks. Nuthin. I even spent one entire day without clothes on. And I was still itchy. (And cold.) It’s been TWO EFFIN WEEKS y’all.

    I want to scream and yell and cry. But mostly I just want to go home and take a bath and a nap.

    Boo. Hiss. Scratch.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    I have this yellow, spiral-bound notebook. We began our relationship about 15 years ago. The notebook serving as a school supply. My favorite kind in fact. A crisp, new, college ruled, blank slate for a creative writing class. There are still some homework assignments on the first few pages, and the name of my teacher is in blue marker across the top . Mister Bate – shouldn’t it be a requirement that you not teach high school if your name is Mister Bate? Poor guy. But we loved him. I especially loved him because he thought I was a smart kid and he was very complimentary of my writing. I didn’t heart him however, as many other girls did. And apparently that’s a good thing, because the rumors about just how much he hearted a few of them back were pretty rampant.

    But I digress. So this notebook evolved from a creative writing class journal, into just a journal. And I have kept it hidden at the bottom of my lingerie drawer since my senior year of high school. Because, quite frankly, I’m terrified of the damn thing.

    I mean, no one really wants their deepest darkest secrets revealed. Especially when they wrote the deepest darkest secrets when they were 17. And everyone knows that 17 year olds are silly, shallow, and full of angst over all kinds of silly and shallow things. So for all these years I’ve figured it was best to keep the damn thing close, rather than risk someone stumbling across it, reading it, and knowing what a fruitloop I am. (Which explains why I decided to start journaling on the interweb, now doesn’t it?)

    I hadn’t cracked it open in years either. Because, quite franky, I wasn’t all that interested in being reminded about my fruitloopishness either. But I’m far too sentimental (and paranoid) to throw it away. And far too grounded to burn the damn thing. How exactly do you explain THAT little activity without sounding like you are totally bat shit crazy?

    “Howdy neighbor, I see you’ve got a little bonfire going there on your back patio. Whatcha burnin?”

    “Oh, just my high school journal. Because I’m just egotistical enough to think that someone might go to the trouble of digging through my trash so they could read it. And all the pining and whining over boys identified only by their initials could really derail my run for the presidency.”

    Hahaha. Whooo…

    SO. The point of ALL THAT was to say that I dug it out and read it the other day. And I was delighted. DE-lighted I tell you. It’s totally silly. And shallow. And full of teenaged angst over boys only identified by their initials – see, I’ve been paranoid for a looong time peeps. But it’s also funny, and insightful. 32 year old me could probably take a lesson from 17 year old me.

    And so, for all the world to see, here are some passages from my high school journal that make me laugh. And squirm a little too.

    “A.F. is conceited, materialistic, rude, crass, immature, too smart for his own good, self centered, insecure, and cute. I hate him. I wish he didn’t hate me too.”

    “Silly notes that make me blush are tucked in the pockets of my too tight jeans. The ones I put on not knowing you would see, and it made me nervous when you did. And even though I said it wasn’t true, I still change my clothes at least five times before I can see you. And you tell me that you can not be in love and I agree, but I’m wondering why you can’t be in love with me. Even though I swear it doesn’t matter.”

    And then in someone else’s handwriting, “Sometimes you are a strange girl, but beautiful all the same.”

    Back to me: “There comes a time when everyone realizes they won’t be prom queen. Well, not everyone. But everyone except the Prom Queen.”

    I started dating them around this entry - 9/10/91
    “I’m 17, a senior, happy…fairly sure of my ever changing identity. So why do I care what they will think? And who is they? And will “they” care anyway? Your life would have to be fairly lame to put a lot of time into worrying about me. What the hell am I going to wear tomorrow?”

    “There are still 8 pages left in this journal. That constitutes about another month of writing at my pace. And at least 5 or 6 more boy crisis’s.”

    “I should just carry this thing around and write in it whenever a guy talks to me. They seem to be so inspirational.”

    “I haven’t been writing. I’ve been happy. Four months and 8 days. That has to be some kind of record for me. I’m afraid to write about him because this thing seems to be a jinx. It is 2:39 AM, which makes today tomorrow. Which means I’m graduating tomorrow (Sunday). Here I am. The end and the beginning. I don’t think it has hit me yet. I only know that more than anything, I am dreading graduation. At this moment anyway. I think it is because I have to get a life.”

    And then this little short which is kinda fun:

    Harold Baker yawned, and the highway before him faded into an asphalt ribbon. He took off his hat, wiped his shining face, then pulled the hat back down tight over the wispy strands of hair that clung to his sweaty head. Reaching out to adjust the squelch knob on his CB radio, he noticed a liver spot on his hand that he had never seen before. He frowned, noting that it resembled a poodle, and moved his thumb sideways to make the new spot wag it’s tail.


    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Things I wish I had more time to do:

    Write blog entries about interesting and relevant topics. Or read other people’s interesting and relevant blogs for that matter.

    Read enough to be able to say that I am fond of “19th century feminist literature” or something.

    Scrapbook – I know, totally dorky. But I’ve decided it’s a creative outlet for people with carpet and toddlers.

    Watch one show on television regularly enough to be able to have conversations about it at dinner parties. Sesame Street and Teletubbies do not count. In fact, I amend this to say, “Watch one show on HBO regularly enough…”

    Sew. – I’m really starting to sound like a scary stepford wife here, aren’t I?

    Work out more than once a week.

    Cook things that don’t come pre-made and frozen, or from a can with a cartoon character on the label. In fact, I would really like to start a regularly scheduled traveling dinner party with friends.

    Garden, or in the case of my yard, wilderness management.

    OMG. I just re-read this, and it sounds like I want to be a housewife. Wow. I will have to ponder that and get back to me.

    The good news is I’m not lamenting spending time with Sweet Pea. So I should give myself a gold star for at least having that priority straight. The only thing is, all those things on that list are “ME” things. And that is where I feel lacking these days. And I know that I have time for me. I know that there are hours slipping by me that could be spent doing something fun and relaxing and selfish. I just have to figure out what I can give up in order to make better use of those hours. Like, sleeping. Or working. Oy.


    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Blondes definitely do NOT have more fun.

    I am naturally light brown haired with lots of red-blonde highlights. But my soul has never really connected with my hairs in a monogamous way. So more often than not over the last few years I have succumbed to Clairol moments. I went really red for a long time, and then last summer went really blonde. So just for fun, I thought I’d try auburn for fall. My new stylist made me over yesterday, and I am pretty damn happy with the results. I’ve sort of got a preppy soccer mom meets rock diva thing going on. I feel like I need some black eyeliner and big earrings. And the color is definitely dark. More brown than red. I love it.

    My observation is that people are looking at me. Not in a bad way either. These two guys at the Cold Stone place kept giving me backwards glances, and today a guy I’ve walked by a million times stopped what he was doing and said hello. My husband is practically panting.

    Maybe Auburn is the new Blonde? (Too bad for you Ashley Simpson!) At least I’m noticing far more attention being diverted my way with dark hairs than I ever got with the light ones.

    What would be really interesting is to cut it super short and see what happens. In college when my hair was short people would stop me on the street to tell me they liked it. One night two guys in a bar in Montana told me never to grow my hair out because it was so sexy. And my husband definitely prefers that too.

    Interesting. Stereotypes are just crashing to the ground here!

    Either that, or I just wasn’t a great blonde. Jury’s out. Yea for good hair days.


    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Good Memories on a Sad Day.

    My grandmother, a woman who made up a sizeable chunk of the center of my universe, passed away a year ago today. It’s making me a little blue, but mostly it’s that same feeling that I’ve had repeatedly over the last year. How is it possible that the world kept turning without her in it? I mean, really. I spent most of my life not thinking that was possible. And I suppose, in little ways, it doesn’t spin quite the same anymore.

    My grandma, Ethel Baby, was a force. It occurred to me just the other day that even though I always thought of her as a married woman and mother, I only ever knew her as a widow with grown children. And so, she seemed very…exciting. And free spirited. And fun. She traveled all over the world when I was young. I especially remember a cruise to Greece, and a trip with girlfriends to New Orleans. Man was I bent that she didn’t take me on that NOLA trip. Then there were the frequent trips in her RV with her Good Sam group. She drove that little motor home until she was almost 90. And I got to go with her so often, the group just seemed like add-on grandparents to me. Ethel Baby was an excellent driver (according to her), and fantastic camper cook (according to everyone), and a veritable fishing sensei (according to me.)

    She had a great group of girlfriends who played cards and drank highballs. Sometimes they would have grown up slumber parties, and I would always get to go. We would stay up until the wee hours playing hand after hand of spite and malice. If Ethel lost too many times she would denounce the deck of cards as unlucky and throw it in the trash. She taught me how to play gin rummy as soon as my hands were big enough to hold three cards. She never. Not once. Let me win.

    I have cousins, all boys. And I know that my grandmother loved them all. Esp. the youngest three. But I also know that I was probably her favorite person in the whole universe, and that is just the way it is. Sorry boys.  When Sweet Pea was born, I think she may have nearly edged me out of favored human status. But not by much.

    Ethel Baby was in good health for most of her 96 years. It really wasn’t until the last couple of days that she was out of it more than she was with it. But on the last morning, she woke up for about 20 minutes. Just long enough to share a snack with Sweet Pea and tell me how much she loved me. I told her how much I loved her too. We didn’t need to say it, but the fact that we got to will always be one of my most treasured and special memories.

    Damnit I miss her. Every single day. Anyway, here’s a kiss for you Grandma. I love you! XOXO


    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    A list of things I'd like to remember about my daughter at two.

    1) You love boogers. I mean, you L-O-V-E them. You spend so much time picking your nose, your nostrils are becoming index finger shaped. I feel like the only things I say to you are, “Get your finger out of your nose.” And, “Stop picking your nose.” You just roll your eyes at me and dig deeper. The other day in the car you said sweetly, “Mamma? I eat it?” And I said, “Eat what honey?” And you said, “Booger on my finger.”

    2) Second only to your love of boogers, is your love of eating sand. Sand at the coast was especially tasty, I think because of the salt and marine life. I will be flossing sand out of your teeth and wiping it out of your butt crack until you start kindergarten and discover the joys of paste.

    3) You are totally and delightfully random. Case in point, the other day as I was unbuckling you from your car seat you passionately and gleefully shouted, “COME BACK MEATBALL!!” And the next afternoon you put your little hands on my face in order to get my full attention and said seriously, “Mamma, watch my lips…Marshmellow.”

    4) You would rather die a painful death than wear shoes not of your choosing. You are especially fond of a pair of too-big blue moon boots that I have now had to hide in 3 different places. This morning – August 29th, 2006 – you spied a blue moon boot peeking out from it’s hiding place and were winding up to pitch an I-must-wear-those-blue-moon-boots-to-school-today-or-die-trying fit, when I was somehow able to distract you with some Teletubby sandals. If it’s the Dora slippers that you simply MUST wear, I usually let you. It’s just not worth fighting that battle.

    5) You also prefer to have a purse with you at all times. So I’m thinking that you’ve just got it bad for accessories.

    6) You have dubbed yourself the official announcer of all things flatulent. Which means that you not only announce any time you toot with an exuberant, “Mamma – I TOOT.” But you also announce the toots of others. I feel like I should warn people. Because it’s a little spooky how good you are at outing people. Don’t try to cover your toot with a cough or sneeze. Sweet Pea will know, and she will tell the world.

    7) You strip your clothes off so often in the front yard that the neighbors are starting to talk about us. The other day someone asked me if you got that trait from me. As if.

    8) You said your first swear word a couple of months ago when I missed a turn. But your daddy thinks it was the other day when he smashed his finger. I’ll never tell.

    9) I am fairly certain that you have a crush on a little boy named Mason. You talk about Mason constantly and ask me really important questions like, “What color is Mason’s car?” Mason has big brown eyes and a buzz cut. He seems to share his toys, and always says goodbye to you when you leave. So I guess in toddler land, he’s a good egg. He is not quite as excited to see you each morning as little Coulter. But I guess you have to follow your heart.

    10) I love you enough to remember all of this stuff and tell your friends about it when you are old enough for it to be really embarrassing.


    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    The Dress

    My husband swears that I am totally willing to throw myself under the bus for the sake of a good story. No matter how selfish, ignorant, trashy or cheap it makes me sound, if it’s a good story I will tell it. This one falls into the cheap category.

    Whilst on vacation last week, I was keeping my eyes peeled for a new dress. I needed one to wear to a very chi chi fundraiser that we attended a few nights ago. I checked the sale racks at a couple of boutiques, suffered a mild case of sticker shock, and was ready to throw in the towel. Then my mom found this darling little shabby chic wrap marked down to $72.00. (Which is about what I was willing to spend on something new. See, I’m cheap.)

    Anyway, it fits like a dream and is supercute, so I make my way to the register with my find. The er…sales girl? Sales Associate? Boutique Frou? The chick who rang me up was all, “OH MAH GAWD!! This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on sale.” Don’t get me wrong, I am a proud bargain shopper. I consider finding a cool dress on super sale to be worthy of public praise, but she was like hyperventilating. I nodded and said politely, “Yes, it’s a great price.”

    And her face literally fell. I mean, it was clear that this woman did not think I was grasping the gravity of the situation at hand. “No,” she said, “I mean, like this is TOTALLY on sale. Stella Forrest is a really fancy French designer.” So important she is lavished with adjectives like, “fancy”. What was I thinking? So I nodded and smiled again, this time sharing my attention between the fashion maven behind the cash register and the much shorter one pulling at my shorts. And then there was this pause. You could even say it was a pregnant pause. And when I looked up into that woman’s eyes it hit me that she was debating not letting me have that dress. My blasé attitude had proved me unworthy. She looked downright scary.

    So I faked a retail orgasm, packed up my dress and made for the door.

    I wore it to the fundraiser on Thursday night and was the best dressed cheapskate in the room. Yea me.


    Friday, August 04, 2006

    I swear this to be true.

    Tonight on the way home from the pool my daughter sang out gleefully, "The baby on the bus is intoxicated, all through the town."

    Baaahahahahahaha. Heh.


    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Hold You.

    Have you ever felt like you just needed to take a really deep breath and exhale a bunch of bullshit? Right now I feel like if I blew out hard enough it might become visible – like an inky black cloud. Or millions of tiny black bugs rushing out of my lungs.

    It sorta sucks. I mean, I’m not used to this. I guess I’m one of those blessed few who doesn’t deal with dark days very often. Maybe I’m supposed to be learning a cosmic lesson about depression or something…anyway. I’m tired of feeling like this and just haven’t yet found the right pressure valve to let it all out.

    I think I soaked up someone else’s sadness. Which is fine. That was the right thing to do. The least I could do really. I would do it again. It’s just that I’m a fixer by nature. And when someone I love has a problem that I can’t help fix…well, inky black cloud.

    I could do without the insomnia however.

    Two year olds are such intuitive little creatures. Aren’t they? Since all this began about a week ago, mine has hardly left my side. And in that way that she has, where she can be maddeningly clingy and at the same time the only calming force in my life, she has been begging me to pick her up and carry her around all the time. But what she says with little arms outstretched is, “Mamma, hold you.”

    And I reply, “Yeah Baby. I would love for you to hold me right now.”


    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Thoughts about Moms

    I have been having this ongoing email discussion with some of my girlfriends about mothers. Our mothers, to be exact. And the ways in which they were brilliant, and the ways in which they were horrible. I’m lucky, I have nothing to contribute to the latter part of this discussion. But geeze-o-pete, some of these girls have got some serious stuff to carry around with them from mom’s who were manipulative and cruel. Or distant. Or addicted. And it breaks my heart to see them still hurting or shielding themselves from their moms’ critical and destructive behavior. In fact, it really pisses me off.

    Then, yesterday, one of the girls in this same discussion group – who is a fantastic mom by the way - had a really tough thing happen to her. Her little guy was asked to leave his daycare after only 9 days at a new center. (He was biting, much to my friend’s horror and consternation.) And while that in and of itself would be upsetting, the stupid Yatch who did the dismissing made my friend feel like this was about her and her parenting. When clearly, it is not. It’s about teething and trying to acclimate to a completely new environment. So today, all of us girls have been sending this friend emails about how she’s a great mom, and it’s unfair, and she’s doing the right things, etc.

    So in the midst of that email storm I had this question jump out in front of me like a big blinking neon sign. And I have no answer for it. Or, maybe I don’t like my own answer.

    The question is this: If one of my girlfriends was behaving in a way that we all knew was messing up her kids, would we confront her? We’re pretty quick to tell each other what a great job we’re doing as moms. Is our friendship strong enough that we could be critical too?

    I don’t mean different parenting styles that we don’t all agree on. Like co-sleeping, or demand feeding, or cloth vs. disposable, or all those things that you can jump on one side or the other of. And clearly, if one of my friends was putting her kids in harms way, we would be having a chat. What I mean is…like, if I had a friend who was overly critical. Or, talked to her kids like they were stupid all the time. Or wasn’t handling stress well, and taking it out on her kids verbally. Or going out all the time and leaving her kids with nannys and sitters every night. Stuff that chips away at their self esteem over time. Stuff that molds who they become in subtle and not so subtle ways.

    It’s easy to read the Dr. Phil columns of the world and know that you should address the situation in a way that shows caring and support and uses messaging like, “I noticed that when Timmy put his shoes on the wrong feet, that really made you angry. How about I take the kids for a while and give you a break today so that you can go wash your mouth out with soap you filthy mean witch.”

    But come on, the reality is that there are mom’s who don’t need a break for an hour. They need a complete personality overhaul. And they very likely don’t even see that. So how do you address that in a way that is caring?

    “Gee Gail, I totally sympathize when you demonstrate how this parenting gig has ruined your life. How about you just give me your children so that you can return to your picture perfect life of boozing, ladder climbing, and vicious gossiping without so many inconvenient interruptions?”

    And even if there was a better way to say it (that was pretty Hallmarkish if you ask me), once you start pointing out faults in someone’s parenting they aren’t very likely to keep you around as a friend for long. Right? So then have those kids lost you as an ally? Does Mommy Dearest just cycle through friends until she either has none, or has a few who are mean to their kids too?

    I dunno. I’m troubled by this. I like feeling confident about a course of action. And in this situation, albeit a hypothetical one, I am lost without a compass.


    Monday, July 17, 2006

    DIY Parenting

    If someone with all the answers could please just contact me ASAP, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanky.

    Specifically, I need to know why my two year old is suddenly refusing naps, fighting bedtime, and waking up during the night. Wait, I should rephrase. She will take a nap, on my lap. She will go to bed, with me. And she will sleep all night, in my bed. This is not exactly working for me. Advice welcome.

    Suspiciously enough, she is also freaking out about being dropped off at school in the mornings. She is otherwise her happy fun self. As long as I am within her magnetic force field. As soon as I am too far away for her to run to with her arms up yelling “MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY” we have problems.

    I can be reached through the comments section of this blog. Immediate solutions appreciated.


    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    If 30 is the new 20, then I am a player in the new dating scene.

    Mommies meeting Mommies. Sounds dirty, no?

    Well, it is dirty. But now how you think. It’s sticky hands, grape jelly stains, and Kool-Aid mustache dirty. I’m talking about finding the perfect playdate. Parents of toddlers desperate to find friends within walking distance who have kids the same age. Friends who will understand that your beer fridge is now stocked with juice boxes. Who won’t freak out if you throw a poopy diaper into their trash. And who plan all social activities between 4 and 7 p.m. - with noodles as the main entrée.

    Ok, I’m not really all that desperate for friends. But since moving to our new house 8 months ago, we’ve been looking for other families in the neighborhood who had little kids. Our hopes were dashed at our annual homeowners meeting this winter, when we discovered that most of the people in our subdivision were offering up their grandchildren as babysitters. And my fears were not lessened this spring as time and time again Sweet Pea and I had the playground to ourselves. I just figured we moved into an older neighborhood. Both the houses, and the residents. But on Tuesday a glorious thing happened. We had a Fouth of July parade! It was fantastic, with a fire truck leading the way and an army of kids on streamer laden bikes racing around the cul-de-sacs. And then, from across the street, we spotted them. A nice couple with a double stroller. They were totally checking us out too. And slowly made their way over to introduce themselves.

    “Hey, we’re Sue and Rob*. Do you live around here?”

    “Yes! We do. Right over there. You?”

    “Yeah, the tan house on the corner. (Pause) How old? (nodding at my daughter)”

    “Two, yours?”

    “This one is three, and he’s nine months. We should get them together sometime.”

    OMG, WE GOT ASKED OUT. I didn’t get digits. But Sue told me to drop by anytime. Their house is on the way to the playground, so it would be really easy to do. So what’s the protocol? It’s been two days. If I drop by tomorrow do I seem too eager? If I wait until next weekend will she think I blew her off? What if we go to the park and she never calls again? Or what if she’s weird and she won’t leave me alone? She didn’t seem weird. She seemed nice. And friendly. And well dressed.

    I think I’ll drop by. Maybe bring her some Teddy Grams.


    *Names have been changed, blah blah blah.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    It’s a C-O-N-spiracy.

    I am so onto you Dyson Corp. Nice try. With the super chatty sales lady who was oh so interested in me and my vacuuming needs. “What kind of carpet do you have?”

    “Oh, you have a pet? What kind?”

    It worked for a while. I naively believed that she was just trying to asses which Dyson would be the best fit for our home. BUT NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE REALLY UP TO.

    As soon as that fork tongued suction siren heard me say yellow lab she sent some kind of message back to the warehouse. Didn’t she? I’ll give you guys some credit. She was sneaky. I didn’t see her talking into her sleeve, or using any Sydney Bristowesque moves to initiate the communiqué…but I know she did it. And then your little minions in the back installed some kind of doohickey in my vacuum that churns out blonde fur faster than you can say “won’t lose suction.”

    At first I just thought I had a dog with a shedding problem. But hello – I’m sucking up an extra pet a week. There is no way that my precious furry baby is making that big of a mess in my house. She loves me too much. So I started to think about what was really going on here. And that’s when it came to me. You knew that your modern design and chichi color schemes would get me to make the purchase. But you needed the clear canister to seal the deal. And so you made it impossible for me to resist the suction seduction. You made me a Dyson whore. Endlessly singing your praises to my friends. Obsessing about dust and dander. Vacuuming two, three times a week.

    Oh Dyson, how I loathe you. Oh Dyson, how I love you.



    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    My Daughter is Not Brave

    Sigh. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but I was really holding out hope. Her dad is brave. Not the kind of brave that is reckless and stupid. But, adventurous. Chivalrous. Athletic. Like, he kills scary bugs for me. Or goes first down the steep and rocky trail and then holds my hands to help me down. He would really like to try Heli-skiing. And Scuba Diving. He’d probably even parachute or bungee jump. Shudder.

    I am a giant wuss. I have been since day one. I never attributed this particular personality quirk to parenting until I was pregnant and my aunt said something to me along the lines of, “Make her braver than we all are, Ok? We’ve created two generations of scaredy cats.”

    And then I was like, “Woooohooo!! Something else I can blame on other people, AND something I can prevent.” Because, you see, I had not yet given birth to this small person. And so I still believed that my skills as a parent would define her.

    Baaahahahahaha. Heh. Heh. Heh. Sigh.

    Anyhoo…I clearly remember putting my brave husband in charge of making our daughter adventurous and athletic and all that. And for a time it seemed like he was doing his job. From about 15 to 20 months that kid was fearless with a capital F. Climbing stuff, jumping off stuff, investigating stuff. But then a switch must have gone off, because that is all over. Over I tell you. Now she is scared of everything.

    Take today for example. This morning she ran from the bathroom with her hands over her ears when I turned on my blow dryer. I told her I was going to vacuum and she shrieked and cried. (I told her I would wait until later and she asked me every 3 minutes, “Mommy, vacuum?”) There was a fly in our kitchen that made her cry. And then, the mother of all freak outs happened tonight on our boat. There were some ducks that swam over to see if we had food, and one hen got pretty brave. She actually flew up onto the back of the boat. Which made Sweet Pea go completely ballistic. I mean, she was screaming bloody murder for a good 3 minutes. I think the poor duck went into shock. And really, it startled me too, but Sweet Pea thought that duck was going to eat her on the spot. I’m quite certain of it.

    Anyway, it makes me sad. Not because of ego. I don’t care if other people think she’s a chicken. I just remember as a kid all the times I wanted to join in on some fun activity that my cousins or friends were doing, but being too afraid to do so. There were bees to worry about. Or ice to slip on. Or bigger rougher kids.

    And I know, she’s only two. She could change her mind tomorrow and start giving me fits again because she’s such a daredevil. So I’m not going to get all worked up about it. But man, I sure wish I could make the world a less scary place for her.

    And on a Happy Note

    We welcomed a new baby into our family yesterday. I have a new nephew. He is my husband’s sister’s first born. Fourth grand-baby on our little branch of the family tree.. He is very cute with blonde hair and blue eyes. He looks like his daddy, with the exception of those unmistakable lips. Just like all the cousins. So we do, in fact, know who his mamma is.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    I’ve only been in my new job for two days, and I’ve already screwed up. Ouch.

    Thank goodness I’m sleeping with my boss.

    It wasn’t anything major. I accidentally ordered two 2-drawer file cabinets, instead of two 4-drawer cabinets. And, really, I’m only taking about 75% responsibility. Because the ginormous office supply e-tailer with the ridiculously jam-packed website did, in fact, have a photo of a four drawer cabinet representing the product that I purchased. I just didn’t read very closely.

    Anyhoo…So far working for the family biz isn’t bad. I’m still in that place where I feel like an idiot who can’t even find the bathroom or work the photocopier, but I’ll get there. Right? (I’ve only had this particular panic attack 84,000 times in the space of 48 hours…)

    ~ Clover

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    Oh, and by the way…

    Eleven days between posts?? Man, I suck at this. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. I think I’m reluctant to post about stuff that isn’t funny or flippant. Like the teaming masses who flock to my blog several times a day will be upset with me if I’m not clever and cute all the time. Snort. I will work on getting over that.

    Ok, I’ll start with this little slice of my headspace. (Thanks V for that exceptional phrase.)

    WTF is up with this? So, yesterday, I came home during the day to get some things I needed to take to my office. And when I walked in the door my various faculties told me that things were not right in the dog/carpet arena. If you know what I mean. Poor thing, she got sick. It wasn’t her fault. But, I couldn’t take any chances, so I put her outside for the rest of the afternoon.

    I’ve been really wanting for my dog to become an outside-during-the-day dog since we moved to this house with a fence. And now that the weather is nice, I thought that maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to make the transition. So this morning I put her out there again. I was nervous, because she has been a bit neurotic since the move, but she seemed o.k. When I got home, I saw two neighbors outside – and I know these guys are home during the day – so I asked them how she did. The report was that she whined and barked quite a bit, but they understood and wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help. Etc. One neighbor even thanked me for asking him.

    Then I saw a note on my front door. It is an anonymous note mind you. (I should mention that I detest spinelessness. Detest it.) The note is all about how my dog barks ALL THE TIME and they have been nice about it for long enough. Um, helloooo….DRAMA QUEEN. The dog has been outside alone for a grand total of 9 hours. Three hours yesterday, six today. I am certain that she was annoying, but come on. All the time? You’ve been nice about it for long enough? Your nice meter runs out after a day and a half?

    And by the way jackass, I know who you are. You are the only people around here who had to address the note “Dear Neighbors” because you are the only people around here who haven’t been friendly enough to so much as look at us, much less introduce yourselves and make nice. We get it. You’re pricks. Thanks for being so understanding. The other people on the block have offered to let the dog come over for play dates and take her for walks to help the situation. But you know, your arsenic in the kibble idea would do the trick too.

    Just so you know, I will keep my dog inside because it’s the right thing to do. But it won’t help your bad Karma.

    I’m Calling In Happy

    So, I am officially between jobs. It won’t be for long, because I’m supposed to start my new job tomorrow. But I’m calling in happy. I’ll start Monday.

    My new boss (me) and my new business partner (my husband) both agree that I should get at least one day off to think about what I’ve done.

    Oh. My. God. What have I done?


    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    This Car Brakes for Yard Sales!

    Is there anything better than a yard sale? I mean, from an Anthropological viewpoint. Personally, I heart them. Especially when 1) it is my yard sale, and 2) when I don’t care one bit if I make any money.

    I had a yard sale today that fit those two criteria, and lemme tell you, it was a hoot. (That’s yard sale lingo.) We moved to Wisteria Lane last fall, and despite several thousand trips to the nearest St. Vinnies, I still have a three car garage that barely fits one smallish SUV. I was just about to do another purge for the less fortunate, when I got a flier from my homeowners’ association.

    Neighborhood Sale.

    I think I may have peed a little. Have I mentioned that I freaking L.O.V.E. yard sales? So despite contracting what has be the first case of Bird SARS on Wisteria Lane, I drug my sorry ass out of bed on Monday and made my pile o’ stuff. It wasn’t a huge pile, but there were some choice items. Last night I priced everything, and this morning at o’dark thirty I was out in the driveway, sharpie in hand, putting the finishing touches on my salute to capitalism.

    It was fabulous. The first person who drove up asked me a bunch of really, really stupid questions. I’m one of those people who takes things to be “signs” so I was sort of rattled. But the very next person who pulled up was clearly a yard sale veteran. She didn’t buy a thing, but she did stop and say, “Your prices are good. Real good.” Sweet effin’ victory. Within a half hour I’d sold a television set for $20, some Pottery Barn-esque shelving (that my husband banished from the new house after we had to patch the wall in our old house twice because of them) for $15. And some plastic bowling pins for twenty-five cents.

    By noon, the designated end of the neighborhood sale, I made $115. AND GOT RID OF ALL THAT CRAP. I mean, isn’t it amazing that people will give you money to haul off the junk that you were almost too embarrassed to put out? I even sold some stuff that the former owner of my house left in the garage like an inconsiderate SOB. (So, take that sucka. I made seventy-five cents off your inconsiderate ass today.) There were actually several times when I had to bite my tongue so as not to say to a customer, “I can’t BE-LEEEEEEVE you’re going to give me a dollar for that. Seriously.”

    Anyhooo, (more lingo) I sold every dingle dangle thing that I had been hoping to get rid of. And, I got to do some excellent people watching while hanging out with Sweet Pea on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday morning. Plus, you know, you kinda feel like you did a good thing when you sell your mountain bike that you hate to a college student desperate for a mode of transportation.

    And, I got two really cool early American planters and a metal picnic basket from my neighbor. Just keeping the wheel in motion.


    Friday, May 19, 2006

    I get it now.

    Why there are so many mommy and daddy blogs out there.

    I used to think that it was because there were a lot of people who were truly just that enamored with their kids. Or finding camaraderie in sharing stories about the toughest job there is.


    I get it now.

    There’s nothing else to talk about. Seriously. You can’t talk about work, because inevitably we all want to just go off about how batchit crazy our coworkers are, how poorly we’re treated, how inefficient our companies are, how underpaid we are, how overpaid they are, et cetera. But we can’t do that. Because – duh – we need that crappy job so we can eat. We like to eat.

    We’re smart enough not to talk about our relationships online. Ok, well, SOME of us are smart enough. Don’t even get me started on that one. But, I for one, am smart enough not to vent about the people who love and support me in a forum that they can read. I mean really, who DOES that? (Which is not to say that I have that much to vent about. But if we’re being honest here, it’s way more interesting to read about how someone done you wrong than how much you love and value the support of your Ya Ya Sisterhood. Daytime TV – case in point.)

    So what’s left?

    Gardening? Woo. Your freakish obsession with your motorcycle? Umm…works for some I guess. Star Trek? (Now I’m tempted to search that and see how completely blown away I am by the vast numbers of Trekkie blogs. )

    Anyway, my point is, that’s why there are so many fun and entertaining blogs out there about kids and parenting. You can totally share that stuff without having to worry about copyright, non-disclosure, bad breakups, etc.

    And kids are kind of funny and interesting. So, I guess you can sign me up. I see that being a recurring theme here. Much more riveting than making a daily list of what I’m wearing and what I ate for lunch. She really is the smartest, funniest, fascinating kid alive. Sometimes I want to brag about her endlessly. Sometimes I want to trade her in for Jimmy Choos. So I can about guarantee that the life and times of Sweet Pea will feature prominently.

    I might talk politics. But not much.

    I have a plan to dig out an old journal from high school and post snippets from that. And another plan to tell tales about my glamorous life as a soon to be self employed person.

    And I will probably write in a mortified tone about my newest obsession/hobby – scrapbooking. Which, hello, goes right back to the kid thing. I was never tempted to glue ribbon and glitter to pages of expensive designer paper pre-baby. It’s like I’ve gone LDS or something. OMG, the other day while I was home sick, I actually watched a 30 minutes scrapbooking show on DIY. I can’t even tell you what that did to my psyche.

    But I digress. This was to be my intro. The first ink on the blank pages of a new journal. Only instead of hiding this tome under decorative liner of my underwear drawer (who did I think I was fooling with that anyway?), I’m putting it out onto the Interweb.