Sunday, January 27, 2008

Things To Do On A Rainy Day

Well, besides stalking the band Color Me Badd around Los Angeles.

It's raining. Hey, that's a big deal around here! The weather monkeys (or as we like to call them, Skippys) are predicting that we could get up to an inch and a half of rain from this storm alone. Why is that significant? Because last year we got 2.64 inches of rain. Yes, that's two point six four. No, that was not the last storm, the last week or even last month. That was our total rainfall for 2007. Even for the desert, that's pretty dry. The average is about 7 inches.

"That's what she said!" - Michael Scott

I know that the drought in the southeast, like Georgia, is pretty serious, but I had to laugh just a little to read that they only got 31 inches of rain last year. I think if we ever got 31 inches of rain in one year, we'd have to build an ark and start rounding up the animals. Crap, both of our hamsters are female.

We're loving the rain at our house. We open the garage door, set up camping chairs and just watch it. We're weird that way. What is this mystical, magic water falling from the sky?

A few pictures of fun things to do when it's raining:

Test out your Littlest Pet Shop umbrella.

Yes, she has bare feet. Even though it's raining, it's still about 65 degrees.

Snuggle with a sister.

Or two.

Or play a good game of garage-floor hopscotch.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oops..."My Bad"

Dear people of the English-speaking world, mostly Americans, I'm guessing:

The word "bad" is NOT a noun!

You can have a bad day.
You can have bad hair.
You can have a bad hair day.
You can have a bad thought.
You can have a bad child.
You can have a bad thought about your bad child.
You can have a bad relationship, a bad marriage, a bad temper or a bad wardrobe.
There are bad smells, bad choices, bad music and bad movies. Lots of bad movies.

What does the word bad have in common in all these sentences? In each one, it is modifying a noun. Therefore, the word "bad" is an adjective.

You cannot have a bad. Do you see how ridiculous this sounds?

The next time someone says to me, "Oh, my bad!", I think I'll respond with "Your bad what?"

Do you think they'll get it, or will I get a blank stare, and a "Huh?"

Yeah, I'm voting for the blank stare too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fun Meme In Which No One Tagged Me, And I Will Tag No One

I saw this on Magpie Musing which I had linked to from Mad Mad's blog. It was kind of fascinating to me, so I decided to try it.

Here's what you do:

1. Click on this link.
The title of the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link.
The last four words of the final quotation on the page are the title of your album.

3. Click on this link.
The third picture is your album cover.

4. Take the picture, add your band name and album title, and this is what I came up with:

If anyone has thoughts on a meaning here, I'd love to hear them. I know it's there somewhere, but I'm drawing a blank. Anyway, I thought that was a lot of fun, and thought-provoking too.

Edited to add:

I had so much fun doing this, that I decided to do another one. Like Magpie said, I haven't seen a bad one yet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's Wednesday, But It's Not Wordless

I knew exactly the picture I was going to use for Wordless Wednesday. I wanted to show Kylie's new favorite method of transportation from the upstairs to the downstairs, which is sliding down the banister. However, I've yet to take this picture.

I was at Target this morning... It just occurred to me how many days I could start a post like that. A lot. Anyhoo, I was at Target this morning, because two bullying friends of mine forced me to go and shop with them. Ok, that's not exactly true. It was more like a text from Jen:

"I'm meeting K at Target, want to come?"

Me, texting back:


Because I'm all about the one-word texts. I hate texting, I'm painfully slow at it, and if it's going to require more than one back and forth, just freaking call me already. But questions that require a singular answer are ok. I was just going to go home and be all housewifely (and by housewifely, I mean I was going to throw in a load of laundry, then sprawl on my bed to watch me some 90210 on the TiFaux...Donna and David's wedding! I know, there's something very wrong with me) but no, I end up spending $22 at Target instead. I swear, you two are a bad influence on me.

While I was there, I saw these little red stretch pants with silver hearts that you would assume were for Valentine's day, but they were on clearance? Weird. In any case, I didn't buy them. That is, until Kylie got out of preschool, and she informed me that tonight at Awana is Crazy Pants Night. Yes, I said Crazy Pants Night. My mom takes her to Awana on Wednesday nights and is her Sparky leader. I am at work, so I have no part in the process. I'm a little freaked out at the intensity of the brainwashing verse memorization thing for a 5 year-old, but that's a whole other post.

I remembered the red heart pants and thought they would be nice for Crazy Pants Night, so I asked Kylie if she wanted to go look at them. She said yes, and she also said she was hungry. I knew I'd end up at the snack bar getting a personal pizza for her, but that's ok. So we went, got the pants, and some kid-scissors (52 cents!), then went to the snack bar for her lunch. We're sitting there, she's eating her pizza, and I'm watching people walk by.

Hey, I know that lady...she's the mom of a girl Danni went to elementary school with. Had she looked my way, I would have waved, and she would have waved back. But she didn't. Older couple pushing a cart, a mom with a baby in the front of her cart, big doofus wearing a backpack...HOLY CRAP! It's Game Stop Boy! He's following me! I put my head down quickly, hoping he wouldn't recognize me.

He didn't, of course...he was ambling by in his own little world. It occurs to me that Game Stop is in the same strip mall with the Target, about three doors down. Heh, I love that band. It just never occurred to me that it would be THAT store he worked at. Although, since the mall where I had the traffic class is just across the street, it's not too surprising.

Damn! Now I'm being stalked by Game Stop Boy! Will this madness ever end? What's next? Angry Guy shows up at the weekly Sit 'n Bitch? The bastards are closing in on me!

"One toke over the line, sweet Jesus, one toke over the line..."

Completely unrelated, here's a little tip for you. If your mom happens to be over at your house, and you happen to be doing some laundry, don't complain to her that your kids suck at putting their laundry away. Don't tell her that you might as well just do it yourself, because if you leave a stack of clothes on their beds for them to put away, they will push it onto the floor when it's time to go to sleep, and then the pile will sit there for all eternity, or at least until you yell and they decide the clean clothes have become dirty and throw them back in the laundry basket. Don't tell her that, because she will laugh in your face and make a snide comment about paybacks.

Or maybe that's just my mom. And then she tells me it's not even Crazy Pants Night. It's Backwards Night. How apropos.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Six Inconsequential Things Meme

I have been tagged by Fannie Mae at This Isn't What I Ordered for a meme called Six Inconsequential Things About Me. I'm having trouble with this, because apparently I can't distinguish consequential from inconsequential. I thought of things like, when I was 20 I broke my neck in a car accident and had to wear a halo brace for six months. But that know, consequential. So I'm trying hard to think of things that have no consequence whatsoever.

Here are The Rules:
Link to the person that tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Here we go:

1) I don't like Jello. The gelatin, not the pudding. I think it's a texture thing; I just don't like the feeling of it in my mouth. I don't eat it, ever.

2) The very first dog I got on my own was a golden retriever that I named Majerle, after Dan Majerle who played for the Phoenix Suns. She was an awesome dog, and I want another golden retriever someday.

3) I don't chew gum. Never have, never will. Maybe it's that texture thing again...I just don't like it at all.

4) When I first met my husband, I couldn't stand him. I thought he was a braggy, lying, know-it-all bullshitter. (Don't worry, he already knows this)

5) My first job was at Jack-in-the-Box.

6) I love the smell of my Fresh Pineapple lotion from Bath and Body Works.

Hmmmm. None of that is very interesting, but it's definitely inconsequential!

I'm tagging -

Jen at Adventures Of 3 Boys 1 Girl

Pam at Bubble Writes

Mary at Momathon

On The Go Mom at Mom of the Year - Not!

Drawer Queen at My Life In A Drawer

Mad Mad at Diary of a Mad Mad Housewife

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Traffic School and The Adventures of Game Stop Boy

Wow, I haven't been around in a few days. I feel like I have all this reading and commenting to catch up on, but I know that first you want to hear about traffic school, don't you? I knew you did.

So for those of you who are unaware, back on December 8th, I mentioned in this post that I thought I may have been caught by a red-light camera. I was making a left turn, and in my head the arrow was still yellow when I entered the intersection. In my head, I was wrong.

Yesterday, I got to spend 5 hours in a class called AZ Crash Course, and I got to pay $133 to attend. My first instinct was to just pay my fine ($161), but I found out that if you run a red light, in addition to paying your fine, you also have to attend a class given by the MVD, which will run you another $50. So to save myself aggravation, points on my license, the risk of my insurance going up and $78, I took the Crash Course.

I think I went in there with a pretty good attitude (Xanax). I got the whole morning kid-free, after all! I had planned to take some notes and post some funny anecdotes about the class itself. Only there was nothing really funny about the class. It was actually pretty good. It was informative and made me think about a lot of bad habits that I have when I'm driving. Since I am currently teaching someone to drive, it made me think even more about my bad habits. In my opinion, the instructor did a great job, mixing humor with facts and information.

Since there wasn't really anything blog-worthy about the class itself, instead I'm going to tell you about the people at my table. We were in a large community-type room that they have hidden in the mall. There were several big round tables, seating about 8 people each. I think she said there were 76 people total in the class. When I entered the room at the time I was told to be there (7:45am), the place was already pretty full. I had to search to find an open seat, so I grabbed the first one I saw, which may not have been the best idea. Let me introduce you to my table:

On my immediate left, we have the Old Guy. Because he is old, he has experienced everything and knows everything about any subject anyone happens to bring up.

Moving clockwise, next to Old Guy we have Angry Guy. Angry Guy was I'm guessing in his late 20s and probably the worst offender in the room. Most of the people in the class were speeders, with a handful of criminal speeders (21 mph or more above the speed limit). Then you had a group of red-light runners like me, a few left-turn violators, a few "failure to avoid collision" people, and two HOV (carpool lane) violators. However, Angry Guy was cited for no tags, no license, no insurance, criminal speeding, and something else that I can't remember. At one point when we were given a break, I said, to no one in particular, "Well, this isn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be." Angry Guy just looked at me and said "I'm hating every minute of it." Ok then. I'm guessing if I were him, and I knew that this class was only knocking off one of my FIVE violations, I might be angry too. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm wondering why he was in that class instead of in jail. He totally looked like one of those guys who you see on the news arrested for abusing his girlfriend's child. Just saying.

Next to Angry Guy was one of the two HOV lane offenders. Did you know that the fine here for driving in an HOV lane by yourself is a minimum of $360? I'm never doing that. No wonder this lady tried to claim her unborn fetus was a second person in the car. I thought it was a ridiculous claim at the time, but I didn't know how much the fine was. I can see why HOV Guy chose the class. Seemed like a nice guy, probably in his 50s. I wonder why Preggo Lady didn't just take the class?

Next to HOV Guy was another normal-looking guy, wedding ring, 30-something, wearing a Broncos hat. As I was wearing Steve's Broncos shirt, I said to the guy "Hey, nice hat!" He replied "Nice shirt!" So that's Broncos Hat Guy.

Next to him was yet another normal-looking, 30ish, wedding ring-wearing guy, who I can't think of anything remarkable about, except that he kind of argued with the instructor that hands-free cell phones in your car were much safer than the type you hold in your hand. The instructor did not so much agree with him on that, saying that most of the time, the problem is not having only one hand on the wheel, but having your brain distracted by the conversation. I totally agree with this and have argued this point with many people who have tried to tell me that hands-free phones are safer. I do talk on my phone while driving, which I know is very bad, and I'm going to try not to do that so much anymore.

Next to Bluetooth Guy was an empty chair, which was taken by a 50ish woman at last moment, so at least I wasn't the only girl at the table. She was nice too.

Last but not least, between the Other Lady and me, was ... I don't even know what to call him. How about Holy Crap I Wish I Had Picked A Different Table Guy. Big chunky kid, 21 years old, works at Game Stop. I know this because he told us. As soon as the ice was broken at the table by me turning to Old Guy and saying "So, what are you in for?", this kid starting talking. And throughout the entire 5 hour class, he would. not. shut. up. He was constantly making stupid comments about things the instructor was saying plus sound effects, but since we were near the back, I don't think she could hear him very often. You could totally tell everyone else at the table was trying to ignore him. Every few minutes, Other Lady would smile at him and say "Shhhhh." She was really trying to be nice. After a while though, she left the table and went and stood at the back of the room for a while. I didn't blame her.

The instructor would be saying something like "I know of this family who had this situation and their 8 year-old child was killed when he was hit by a car," and Game Stop Boy would be like "Oh yeah, 50 points for the kid!"

Now, before the class started, somehow our table was talking about jury duty. I forget how it came up, but Other Lady said that she had just been on a grand jury, which was like 3 days a week for 4 months, and was just saying that she thinks she's now seen and heard just about everything, from traffic stuff to murder, pedophiles, armed robbery, etc. What she was saying was interesting, I thought. Game Stop Boy said about three times something like "I'm glad I never have to do jury duty again, after last time. Everybody just ignored him, and then Old Guy started talking about how he was on a capital murder trial one time that lasted six weeks. So again, Game Stop Boy says how he's glad he doesn't ever have to do jury duty. So Other Lady, bless her heart, finally says,

"Why's that?"

Game Stop Boy then informs us that he has autism, or a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. Being a psych major, I am familiar with Asperger's. I also was a teacher's aide one time in a first-grade class where there was a little girl with Asperger's, so I have done quite a bit of reading on it. Most of the table just went Huh? and then went back to trying to ignore him.

For those of you who don't know, Asperger's is on the extremely high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. A lot of people who have it are very smart, and it mostly manifests itself as social awkwardness. They have difficulty reading other people's emotions, facial expressions, body language, etc. It's also common for them to have a hyper-interest in one particular his case, video games. I've seen it in a child before, but not in an adult. And in an adult, in Game Stop Boy's case, it manifests itself in a complete inability to recognize that you are annoying the living shit out of every person around you. I swear, I have never wanted to smack a complete stranger so much in my entire life.

Before I get any irate comments, please know that I am not making fun of autism, or anyone with autism, or people with Asperger's, for that matter. I only wanted to throttle this particular person. And I know I wasn't the only one.

In fact, the only time in the whole class that Angry Guy smiled was when Game Stop Boy got up to go to the bathroom, and A.G. said to Other Lady and me, "Boy, I guess you two really picked the wrong seats, didn't you?"

Yes, Angry Guy...we certainly did.

I think my favorite part of the class was when we had to divide up into groups based on our infractions. The speeders were all in the front of the room, and that was most of the class. Game Stop Boy was in the failure-to-avoid-collision group. In other words, he hit someone. The instructor stood in the front of the room and spoke to each group about their violations. She called Game Stop Boy's group, "The Tailgaters." To which Game Stop Boy whined very loudly,

"But I wasn't tailgating!

The instructor smacked him down with this:

"In the state of Arizona, you must maintain a reasonable and prudent following distance. What constitutes reasonable and prudent? You must be far enough behind the car in front of you to make a safe stop. Since you hit the person in front of you, you were not far enough behind them to stop safely. Therefore, you were tailgating."

Take that, Game Stop Boy!

I knew I liked her. The instructor, that is. I talked to her afterward, because she said this class can also be taken for educational purposes, and I had wished about 20 times during the class that Danni had been there with me. I think it would be good for her to take it. Also, if you don't have a ticket and are just taking it for education, it's only $40, not $130+ that most of us in the class paid. Would that be mean of me?

I did take a lot of notes in class though, because they were all things I wanted to go over with Danni. I'd like to teach her good habits, instead of my bad ones.

How funny is that, when you've got your learners permit, and your mom is teaching you how to drive, and she has to go to traffic school? Hahaha. Hahahaha. Think that's amusing, do you, my lovely daughter?

Hopefully, she wouldn't wind up sitting next to Game Stop Boy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Magic Potion That Is Tylenol

Kylie's been fighting this little cold thing since Saturday. Sometimes she'll feel hot, one day her neck (throat) was sore, the next day her right ear was hurting. She seemed to be fine Monday morning, so she went to preschool. Yesterday, she woke up feeling crappy, but we had a playdate at the park, and she got pretty upset at the idea of missing that. Gave her some Tylenol, and she was good to go for a while. She got tired pretty quickly though, and you could tell she wasn't feeling like herself, because the Taz factor was cranked down a few notches.

Today, she woke up feeling icky again, and she felt warm to me. So we stayed home from preschool. Went with the Tylenol of course, and 30 minutes later she's feeling pretty good. She's on my bed watching Diego, so I decided this would be a good time to grab a shower. I came out of the shower to this:

Yep, she's in my bed, playing Toontown on my fat laptop. There's no shortcut on the desktop to this site on my laptop, so she obviously just typed it in. I don't even know the site address, but she knows the site, her user name and her password, (no doubt set up by an evil teenage sister) and can enter them accordingly. She's five. Ok, I know all your kids are just as computer savvy, but it still kind of fascinates me.

I grabbed my phone to take a picture, and I wondered if that's what I look like in my bed with my laptop. Well, if I was about 1/8 my current size, had really light blond hair and blue eyes, and perfect skin, that's what I would ... yeah, not at all.

You know what's great about Kylie? She doesn't care if my laptop is fat. She loves my laptop just the way it is. And it obviously loves her back, evidenced by the fact that it hasn't gone all wonky on me because a five year-old is playing with it.

Anyway, I'm sure in a day or so she'll be back to her usual full-speed-ahead self. Her dad has bestowed the nickname of Taz upon her, for reasons that are probably pretty clear to most people.

Remember when these were on Saturday morning? Dedicated to my little Taz.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now My Laptop Has A Complex

It's not bad enough that we (and by we, I mean women) are bombarded with images from the media showing us what we are supposed to look like in order to be attractive.

Does that bitch EVER smile? Oh, and she still wants to lose three kilos before the Old Spice Tour starts. That's 6.6 lbs to we Americans. And yes, I had to look that up.

But now, the media are after my laptop.

My poor Toshiba. Apparently, it's fat. When I logged on to my computer this morning, and my Yahoo homepage came up, the very first thing I saw was this:

Apple is now bragging that their new MacBook Air is the skinniest laptop. Not only that, but Yahoo had a search box where I could search for the skinniest laptops. Keira Knightly and Kate Bosworth have got nothing on this machine. At its widest point, it's .76 inches thick. My Toshiba Tecra A7 is about 2 inches thick! And it feels guilty! It knows it shouldn't have downloaded that extra helping (or three) of stuffing over the holidays! Or perhaps I'm projecting a bit there.

I blame Steve Jobs for making laptops think that they have to be a certain size. That's just wrong. Laptops need to learn to love themselves just the way they are. And if they don't, there's no amount of defragging or disk cleanup that's going to make them feel good about themselves. Steve, you're projecting unhealthy stereotypes onto a whole generation of laptops! And what about the next generation? Now they're going to think they have to be the skinniest too. Pretty soon they're going to start spontaneously purging their files, because they think it will make them smaller. Or else they'll just refuse to download anything at all, and pretty soon they'll just be nothing but an empty hard drive.

Skinny women, skinny laptops, what's next? Are we going to have to have the skinniest TV? The skinniest phone? Oh wait... The skinniest jeans? Shit. Hey, maybe I can lay a claim to have the skinniest cubicle at work! I can ask them to remove a panel or two, and then I can have a smaller workspace than anyone else! I win!

Oh hell, who am I kidding? If you're looking for me, I'll be over here with my laptop and a pan of brownies. Well, I'll be here, anyway. My laptop is calling Jenny Craig.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Shannon

This is Shannon yesterday morning. Doesn't she look so sweet and innocent? They all do when they're sleeping, I think. Yesterday, she was 12. Today she is a teenager. I'm still trying to cope with the fact that I now have two teenage daughters. Please pray for me. Fannie and Mary, you're laughing right now, aren't you? I can hear you.

A few days ago when I wrote that she was getting Guitar Hero for her birthday, I said that there were some things going on with her that were getting me down. I don't feel that way so much right now, but that may change at any moment. Such is the life with a child going through puberty.

I remember this, I've done it before. In fact, it seems like we JUST did this. Probably because we just did. I'm not really ready for it again, but here it is anyway. I remember going through this with Danielle: the attitude, the snippiness, the silence, the yelling...did I mention the attitude? What I don't remember the first time around is being sad about it. I remember getting angry and yelling back. Who the hell did this kid think she was, talking to me like that? I now know that yelling back just kind of fuels the fire, and doesn't really help any. That doesn't mean I don't often lapse into that, I just know somewhere in the back of my mind that I'm not helping matters.

I'm sad because my sweet little girl is gone, and she's never coming back. No, she's not my "baby", not the youngest, but I think of her that way a lot. We never planned on having a third, and Shannon was my baby for almost 8 years. She was an easy baby, and a sweet, helpful, shy but charming little girl. I miss that little girl. Sometimes I see glimpses of her...a hug (usually when she wants money), playing with her little sister (when she's not yelling at her), or occasionally even a sincere hug and an "I love you Mom." She still makes us laugh with her silly dances or witty comments, but there are those other times when she is sullen, withdrawn, angry or bitter for no reason that we can see.

I remember a few years ago when I was going through this with Danielle, and I made a comment to Steve one day. I said, "You know, I love Danielle, but I really don't like her very much right now." I recall that he jumped all over me, how can I say that about my kid, and that the reason I felt that way is because Shannon was always my favorite, blah blah blah. Well, no. The reason I felt that way at the time was because 12 year-old Danielle was a snotty little shit, and 9 year-old Shannon was still a sweetheart. I reminded him of that conversation the other day when we were having a particularly bad moment with Shannon. I told him that the way I felt about Danni then? Was kind of how I was feeling about Shannon right now. He kind of chuckled and hung his head in a mock "I was so wrong" type of way, and said "What can I say? I was blinded by the kid." I'm not sure what that meant, but at least he now understands that it wasn't the child that I couldn't stand, but her behavior.

I've seen this before, and the only thing that is giving me hope is that I've already had one kid come out of it. And Danni came out on the other side of puberty as someone that I like. She's not the same little girl that she was before, but she's cool. I don't just love her because she's my kid, I like her as a person. She has her moments, like we all do, but most of the time things are good for now. I say now, because I know that could change on a dime too. I have my fingers crossed.

I know Shannon will come out on the other side of this. She'll survive it, and I will too. And we'll probably even like each other sometimes. It's not that I don't like her now. She's witty and creative, and she can be quite helpful when she wants to be. There are those days though, when I want to send her to live somewhere else. Not permanently, of course.

Today is going to be a good day. I'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, my baby. I know you love me, and I love you more than you can possibly imagine, even though it doesn't seem that way sometimes. I can't promise that you're always going to like me over the next several years. I know there will be days when you will hate me, and call me a bitch behind my back. What I can promise is that someday, you'll be able to look back and see that every time I said no, or wouldn't let you go somewhere or do something, or when you thought I was being unreasonable and mean and that I didn't understand, that I was only trying to protect you. It was only because I love you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

50 Ways To Be A Cool Mom

Seriously. That is the title of an article in the new Parents magazine. They have different little tips in different categories, but one thing says "A Surefire Rescue Technique When Homemade Baked Goods Are Due Tomorrow Morning At Preschool." It says "Buy grocery store cupcakes, take them out of the plastic container, smooth out the tops a bit so it looks as if you've iced them yourself, and (emphasis is theirs) put them on a pretty plate or tray. Extra credit: Throw on a few sprinkles if you've got a jar in the cupboard."

Ok, really? Because if the preschool starts demanding baked goods, let alone homemade baked goods, they should take what they get and like it. Yes, I would buy them from the grocery store, no I would not try to disguise that fact. I don't have time for that crap. Faking like your grocery store-bought cupcakes are homemade cupcakes is how you get "cool mom" status? Damn those sneaky cool moms.

Here's another: "Become a regular at a restaurant where the waitstaff loves to carry your newborn around while you eat dinner." Uh huh. It really says that. Because that would go over really well at my local Chili's. I can just hear the staff now:

"Oh comes that entitlement whore who thinks we should carry her screaming spawn around while she eats. Seriously lady...get a babysitter!"

They actually have a little cartoon picture of a waiter pouring wine into the glasses of a couple seated at a table with one hand, and he's holding (presumably) their baby in the other arm. I'm imagining this would also go over great with other diners, because when I go out to dinner, what I really want is a server who is all contaminated with some other person's baby's snot. Hello, Health Department?

Here's a good category: "Snacks to Serve On a Playdate That Kids Will Like and That Won't Make Moms Roll Their Eyes." Ok, first of all, if some bitch is gonna roll her eyes at the snacks I'm serving at the playdate, I think she can just host the friggin' playdates from now on. One of their 7 suggestions is "Rice cakes a la hummus." Right. Because my kids love those. Whatever they are.

I'm still baffled that this article is entitled "50 Ways To Be A Cool Mom." You want to know how to be a cool mom? Let your 15 year-old with her learners permit drive home from school, and kind of scrunch down in the passenger seat so no one can see you. Then let her open her window and blast Soulja Boy. Now that's cool. I don't do that of course, but I'm just letting you know that would be an actual way to be a cool mom. I, however, am not a cool mom. I don't serve hummus on cardboard rice cakes, either. I don't think that the word "hummus" has ever been uttered in my house.

My favorite part of this article, though, is the "3 Unwritten Rules of the Playground."

1) "If your kid is being bullied in the sandbox, refused a turn on the seesaw, or pushed down the slide, it's quite all right to tell someone else's child (in a nice way, of course) to knock it off. It's not okay to yell at him, give him a time-out, or take away his toys."

Ha. I think this lady would disagree. I'm not slamming her at all, she was posting in the comments of someone's blog about your bad parenting moments, and I have a lot of those.

2) "Just because there are lots of other moms at the playground watching their kids, it doesn't let you off the hook from paying attention to yours. If your child is stuck in the monkey bars ten feet off the ground, put down your Blackberry and untangle him." (her)

Ok, really? Because I don't have a Blackberry (do most readers of Parents have Blackberrys? Blackberries?), but if my monkey of a daughter was stuck in the monkey bars, I'd have myself a good laugh and tell her that she got up there, she can definitely get down! I'm not into this coddling the kids and helping them climb around on the playground equipment. I may not have a Blackberry, but I've definitely got a book or a newspaper to read. Sheesh. And the rest of you playground moms, stop giving me dirty looks. She'll be fine, she's tough. And she could kick your kid's ass.

3) "Yes, we know there's nothing sexier than a man at the playground pushing his kids on the swing. But in most cases that's someone else's husband, so back off."

Ok, now they're just going too far. Taking away the one vice I have left in the world, which is picking up men with small children at the playground and whisking them to my house for a quickie, is just unacceptable. It's not like we let the kids watch or anything. We put on a dvd and throw some Goldfish at them. Geez, I'm not completely irresponsible.

I am so glad I canceled my subscription to this crap. The online stuff is better anyway, blogs! Some of them are even funny and not this holier-than-thou parenting that the magazine promotes. I'm not sure why they decided to send me this bonus edition. Pink, of's February you know. Oh wow, I haven't even looked for the cute valentine crafts and snacks yet! Hey, here's an article that actually applies to me...or it would have, 6 years ago. "The Unexpected Child." Hi Kylie!

I submit, yet again, that this magazine should be called "Parents of Babies and Toddlers." Just calling it "Parents" is really misleading. If your kid is over 4 years old, it's useless. Coincidentally, according to suggestion #7, that's the age where it's ok to serve frozen grapes at the playdate. And stop rolling your eyes at me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Resolved...Guitar Hero! What?

Yes, it's the new year, and I'm a little confused. I've been a little down over some stuff going on with Shannon, my baby growing up and all that, but I think I'll save that musing for her birthday.

Speaking of her birthday, it's this Sunday the 13th, and she'll be 13. Just a little tidbit of info that you don't care 1995, January 13th was a Friday. I spent 3 days after she was born looking for the 666 on her head. Had I known at the time that I was going to have a third child, I wouldn't have wasted my time looking for it on child #2.

What? Ok, so you all know that we got a Wii for Christmas, because you've seen my lovely Christmas pictures, right? Since Christmas, we have been trying to find Guitar Hero. Go to practically any store that sells games, and they have GH for PS2, PS3, Xbox and PC....but not Wii. We had held back $100 that Steve's mom gave us just to buy this, and we asked Shannon if it was cool if this was her birthday present. I know that sounds bad, like her "gift" is really for everyone (cuz it kind of is) but she happily said it was fine. And the fact that she said anything happily means it is well and truly fine.

Steve went to Best Buy Sunday morning (I was at work) because they were supposed to have some in stock. He calls me from outside of Best Buy 30 minutes before it opens, and says there's a line around the building. Wonderful. Luckily, he found out later that most of those people were there just to get a Wii game system. So even though her birthday isn't for a week, he got the game yesterday, and of course we are all addicted. Well, those of us that get to play it. I totally suck at it, but that might be for lack of practice. I have completed one whole song, and it was Rock and Roll All Night, by KISS. And it was on the easiest level. The kids are already good at it, and once Steve got done bitching that the reason he wasn't doing well is because he plays REAL guitar, and this game is nothing like REAL guitar, and decided to just learn to play the damn game, he's pretty good at it too. I could be a contender...if they ever let me play. Ok, I'm actually at work, so I couldn't be playing right now anyway.

So, New Year's resolutions. I never make any, because I never keep them. So what's the point, right? Except that 2007 kind of sucked for me. Nothing bad happened, really...just the normal ups and downs of life...and I turned 40. I spent the first 5 months of the year dreading it, and then the 7 months afterward hating it. Wow, I wasted a whole year.

After thinking about this for a week, I've decided I'm going to make two resolutions, for myself and for my family.

1) Take better care of myself. For me, this means eating better, trying to get some sort of exercise, and making a doctor's appointment not only for the yearly girl stuff that I am now a year late on, but also so I can find out why the hell I'm so mad most of the time. I mean honestly, when a band-aid wrapper on the kitchen floor can set you off, there's something wrong. Never mind that the effing trash can is RIGHT THERE, and holy jeebus I'm SO SICK of picking CRAP up off the floor. My FLOOR is not a GARBAGE CAN, and how can you treat MY house like this? Total disrespect!!! Why can't you guys just clean up after yourselves?? I have a job, you know, I work outside of this house!! I have TWO full-time jobs!! Why do you have to make things so difficult for me??
Geez. See what I mean? I'm crazy.

2) Take care of the family finances. Well, I do take care of them, but I mean actually get serious about paying down some of this debt, so that when the housing market hits the bottom (a year, two?) maybe we'll actually be able to buy our own house, instead of renting someone else's. When I think of all the money we've wasted renting all these years, it makes me sick.

I actually did something the other day. I paid a bill that was outstanding to our pediatrician. I know, it's bad. But it was one of those "I'll take care of it when I have the time" type of things, and I always just forgot about it. It was small, but I actually wrote a check and mailed it, so I feel like I've taken a tiny step in the direction of healthier finances. I have a plan, now I just need to stick with it. Which would be a lot easier if we didn't have three money-sucking machines kids, but I'm determined to do this.

I think the last time someone asked for a handout, I said something like "Why don't you just go out back and pick some fresh cash off our money tree?"

It's official. I've turned into my mother.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The $133 Cheeseburger

So, all four of my regular readers may remember this post about the Christmas light boat parade, and the end of it where I mentioned that I may have gotten a red-light-camera traffic ticket because I detoured from my regular route to get my whining, hungry 12 year-old a cheeseburger.

I sort of hoped that maybe there was someone behind me that triggered the camera, because I honestly thought I made it into the intersection on the yellow arrow. Apparently, I was wrong. I got the citation in the mail exactly two weeks after the heinous crime incident occurred. Three pages of citation, including a picture of my lovely face as I was committing said crime, and a picture of my license plate, in case anyone doubted that the big boxy tan van belonged to me. Oh, and the fact that the fine was $161.

So, I have four choices:
1) Admit responsibility and pay the fine
2) Identify the driver, if it's not you (there's no mistaking that it's me)
3) Request a court hearing
4) Attend traffic school

If you've ever been to traffic school, you know why my first inclination was to just pay the fine and be done with it. They even had this "neat" website, where I could log in with my citation number and city and watch a little video of myself running the red arrow. And let me tell you, boy was it close. Like nanoseconds close. Damn cameras. Anyway, so I watched that a few times, just for fun, then I decided to call the court, pay my fine over the phone, and get it out of my life. So I call the court and talk with Automated Annie, who wanted me to speak my citation number.
That went like this:

"Please say your citation number."

Me, speaking out loud: "T R zero zero zero three four two."

"Let me see if I have that right. P..."


"I'm sorry, my mistake. Please repeat your citation number."

"Tee R zero zero zero three four two."

"Let me see if I have that right. P..."


"I'm sorry, my mistake again. Please repeat your citation number."


"I'm sorry, your response was not understood. Would you like to try your license plate number?"


"Please say your license plate number."

"S D K seven four nine."

"Let me see if I have that right. F E..."

Sound of my head hitting the desk.

I start punching zero on the phone until I finally get a live person. I give her my citation number, and she can't find it in the computer. We try with the license plate. No dice. Then my name. Nada. I find this strange, since the citation that came in the mail came from the court and had a judge's name on it. So I wonder aloud if this means I don't have to pay the fine. She laughs and says no, it just usually takes about 10 days from the time that you receive the citation until the time when the camera stuff is actually downloaded to them? Well, I received the citation on Dec. 22nd, and it's now Jan 3rd. That's more than 10 days. Yes, she's been a little slow lately.

Then as I'm scanning the three pages, I notice this little tidbit: "If you are cited for violation abcdef-12-3 and decide to pay the fine, you must also attend a defensive driving class through the MVD." Well, guess what abcdef-12-3 is? Running a red light, of course. So it turns out, even if I just pay the $161 fine, I STILL have to go to a freaking class. I ask her how much the class is. She doesn't know, because that's through the MVD, not the court.

So, let's recap...I can pay a $161 fine, AND attend a class, or I can go to the damn defensive driving school, have the citation wiped off my record, and save myself almost $30, because going to the school is a bargain at $133. I asked her if the classes were still 8 hours long. I remember the last one I went to, and this is many, many years ago, it was all day on a Saturday. She said it was 4 1/2 hours. Well, yay. Saturday, January 19th, from 8am to 12:30pm. 4 1/2 hours of fun, all for $133. You hear Carl's Jr bragging about their $6 burger? I scoff at your $6 burger. I know of a $133 burger, and mine came from Burger King.

Don't run red lights,'s financially detrimental dangerous.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dinner For One

Speaking of dinner, I think it's completely mean and evil of my workplace to decide to hold the big holiday potluck bash on January 2nd. I mean, I wasn't here for it because I work swing shift, but there is all manner of leftover turkey, ham, STUFFING, casseroles and cookies in the fridge in the kitchen. How the hell is one supposed to start a new year by resolving to eat healthier when they leave all this food here? Sigh. Tomorrow. I'll start tomorrow.

About four or five years ago, I was introduced to an awesome German (and other European countries, I think) tradition by one of my best friends, who is German. Every New Year's Eve, they watch an old British black and white comedy sketch called Dinner For One. It's about 10 minutes long. For these past four or five years, we have always celebrated New Year's with these friends, and we always watch this. Now, it's on You Tube! This is amusing at least, but when you've had a few drinks, it's downright hilarious.

Dinner For One

Cheerio, Miss Sophie!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

I feel as though I need to write something today, just because it's the first day of a new year. Damn, my mom wasn't kidding when she said, a long time ago, that time goes faster as you get older. I'll put the Christmas stuff away this weekend, then before I know it, summer will be here, and then it will be over and the kids will be starting a new school year, then the Christmas stuff will be out in the stores again, and I'll be getting my stuff out of the garage going "Dang, didn't we just do this?" That's the way it happened this year, anyway.

Our new years eve was activity-filled, to say the least. Steve and I both had to work yesterday morning, which left the girls home alone. We even let Kylie sleep in bed with Danni, because Danni convinced us that if Ky was in bed with her, she would know when Ky woke up. Haha. I called the house from work around 9:30am, no answer. Called Dan's cellphone, no answer. Called the house again...Kylie answers. I asked her what she was doing. She said she was watching the Wonder Pets. I ask if either one of her sisters are awake. She says no. Lovely. I had her put the phone up to Danni's ear, and I very sweetly said that she really needed to wake up and watch her sister. She mumbled something like "Mmm, ok, yeah, I'm up."


I got off work at 12:30pm, and met Steve at my mom's house, where he was waiting with Kylie and her little suitcase. Kylie got to spend the whole night at Mimi's house. Wasn't that awesome for me her? With Kylie safely stashed at my mom's, we headed to the employee tailgate party for the college bowl game held here yesterday. You know, the one that's not the Fiesta Bowl. It's partially sponsored by the company that Steve works for, so we get two free tickets to the tailgate party and two free tickets to the game every year. I love the tailgate party, because they have free food and free beer/wine. Since Steve doesn't really drink, and I had my own personal designated driver, I took full advantage of the free mini bottles of white zin.

Now, this is most definitely not a BCS bowl, so don't get all excited. The teams were...The Omaha School of Truck Driving vs. West Northeastern Montana State. Ok, not really. It was actually Oklahoma State against Indiana. While I'm sure they are two very nice schools and two very nice teams, it gets kind of boring when you really don't give a flying fig who wins the game. Although I must say that the section of Indiana fans we were sitting next to had a very interesting arm/fist pumping maneuver that they did, resembling someone milking a cow. I have no idea what it meant, other than the team just did something good. Unfortunately, they didn't get to do this very much, because Oklahoma State won the game by... a lot. Luckily for me though, they did sell bottles of Bacardi raspberry coolers at the game. Thank goodness we left at halftime, or we probably would have been bankrupt. The drinks inside the stadium are most definitely not free.

We headed home to pick up Shannon, stopping at the grocery store on the way for more wine, some Butterscotch Schnapps, and champagne. We went to a small party at a friend's house. An intimate gathering of mostly close friends, which was awesome. We know these people from the elementary school where Shannon went, so she had three of her friends there, plus friend's sister and her friend. The girls had been in school together since kindergarten, so we've known these people a long time. Six girls (somehow most of our friends have girls, go figure)and 8 adults; three couples and two single women. We sat out in the backyard most of the night around a fire pit, drinking and laughing, while the girls played a Wii, made s'mores, and giggled and gossiped as girls do. Oh, did I mention the boys (that'd be my husband, host's husband, and third friend's husband) had fireworks, and decided to shoot them off in the backyard periodically? Just small fireworks, which is big fun, right? Except that all fireworks are illegal in this state. So, right around midnight, we had this:

"Happy New Year!!!"

Kissing and hugging all around.

Ding dong.

"Oh...hello officers."

Yep, one of the neighbors called the cops on our fireworks. So the three boys got to stand out in front of the house and chat with the two police officers about their fireworks, and how they sound like gunfire to some people, and how fireworks are a big no-no. Meanwhile, you can totally hear fireworks going off everywhere as they're standing there talking. Luckily, they got off with the verbal reprimand and did not get a citation.

Oh, I forgot...Danni was at a band party. Her high school marching band hosted a lock-in type party for other bands that were here visiting for the National Pageant of Bands, which is part of the Fiesta Bowl activities. It was at the school, and there were supposed to be about 1500 kids there. Danni said it was fun, but when Steve went and picked her up at midnight (just after his conversation with the officers), she arrived at the party kind of pissy because apparently she didn't get to spend any time with boyfriend during the evening. And then she had to come to our lame little party. Excuse me for a moment while I try and work up a little sympathy for her.

Never mind, can't do it. Anyway, we only stayed until about 1am. Shannon stayed the night at host's house, so we only had one kid last night. I think I slept on and off until about 10:30am, when my mom called to make sure we were awake, then said she was bringing Kylie home. Damn. Yay. At least I was feeling pretty good by that time. I can't say the same if I had been forced to get up at say, 7am, when I had just a bit of a headache.

So, here we are, New Year's Day, 2008. I work, of course. But, for what I'm getting paid for the holiday, I don't mind. Danni is going to be gone all day tomorrow. Why, you ask? Well, she's going to the Fiesta Bowl. Actually, her entire band is going to the Fiesta Bowl. If you watch the game tomorrow, and happen to catch the pre-game festivities, there will be a huge, field-sized American flag unfurled before the game for the national anthem. All those kids holding the flag up and making it wave? That will be Danni's school's marching band. They actually get to stay for the game too, which by the way IS a BCS bowl. So she gets to go to the major bowl game here, and I get to go to the...oh, never mind. I gave up trying to figure that stuff out a long time ago. Heh. Suffice it to say, between the two bowl games, pretty much everyone from the state of Oklahoma is in Arizona this week. Or so it would seem. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I think I'm going to take Kylie and Shannon (if she wants to go) to see Enchanted tomorrow with Jen and maybe Gracie? Good times. It's supposed to be a cute movie.

Hey y'all, today is Jen's birthday! Happy Birthday Jen!!!