Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well Shooty Booty!

(as my friend and once-cousin Jennifer would say)...I'm on vacation but popping in quickly in an attempt to prevent my blog from becoming TOO very stale and oldy-moldy.

Here's a picture of Sugar Tov, our male cat, named after my son's favorite food group. While Nimue is partial to tampons, Sugar's booty of choice is hair squishies. Not only does he love to play with them, he uses them to express his (foul) moods by depositing them into the toilet. In this picture Sugar looks on in dismay as Cassie has exposed his entire stash of hair squishies he had been collecting underneath the oven:

In a totally unrelated incident, my son Jared once had a hankerin' for this booty-related snack:


He was two or three at the time, and unable to read the packaging or remember the name for what he so craved. He did the best he could with what he had to work with:
Can I have some of that... (pause)

some of that... (pause)

some of that... (pause)

some of that PIRATE'S BUTT?

Because of the slow computer here and the fact that I have nephews to spoil and a new year's party to help throw, I am unlikely to return to the computer for a few days. Before meandering back into vacation-land though, one of my sources for the spellings of my particular word choices for booty or bootie, but or butt would like to be sited. The other prefers to remain anonymous.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

But he's a Practical Psycho...


and a really cute one too. Or maybe they just call that being a boy. At any rate, Jared made this little wire guy in art and told me he had made "a hanging man." I was mildly worried, until I heard him talking to himself while playing with wire guy:
He can't have a sword while he's bungee jumping. That would be dangerous.
That's my boy! Not only do I not have to worry about a penchant for the noose, he wouldn't do anything dangerous while bungee jumping either.

A few moments later Casandra hopped into the car and accused Jared of lynching wire guy. "He's bungee jumping sweet pea," I assured her.

But Cassie still suspected foul play: "Well, he's got it around his neck and his hands and feet are tied up too!" Okay! So my son is up for a little lynching! But at least he doesn't let his wire guy carry a sword while he bungee jumps. He's so practical that way.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Twipply Skwood Christmas

Whip out the tissues and antidepressants folks - it's as many Christmas songs as I could reasonably search out on project playlist!

KIDDING! They're not ALL depressing...the Robert Earl Keen song might be my favorite Christmas song EVER, because I love ANY Christmas carol that has a tampon in the lyrics. Must be the influence of those little kitties 'o mine...

(Yeah, yeah, Adam Sandler's got that Chanukah song out there, but for some reason there are just a lot more great Christmas songs...what you can you do?)


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shipoopi!

Here's my girl as Maud Dunlop in The Music Man:
In these two pictures, she's the one doing a cartwheel and then a back flip across the stage, in a red top with a brown skirt, no less:Aside from watching my sweet pea's delighted smile for two hours a show each of three shows, the best thing about having a kid in The Music Man has been the addition of the word "Shipoopi!" into our vocabulary. Not only is it a versatile term of endearment, but inserting it randomly into conversation is almost as fun as saying things like, "Don't step in the Shipoopi!"

As if performing in front of a kajillion people weren't enough, they had a cast party at which they gave out awards. I'm pretty sure my sweetie won an award for being a pain in the neck. The director called it an award for "creativity" and explained that she had a lot of great suggestions. I'm pretty sure that means the same thing as "pain in the neck."

(I'm TOTALLY KIDDING about the award my sweet pea! Congratulations on your performances AND your award!!!!!! Love, Mama)

Friday, December 14, 2007

That Teacher Voice

Much to the annoyance of his 4 and 5 year old peers, one of my little boys is suddenly convinced that he is nineteen years old. "My daddy told me that I'm nineteen!"

Later in the day I checked on him in the bathroom as it seemed he had been in there longer than usual. "Do you need help or are you okay?"

He called back, "Everybody needs help sometimes! Mommies and daddies even need help sometimes! Even though I'm nineteen, I need some help!"

This boy's class is known throughout the school for requiring a heaping serving of control, endless patience and a certain tone of voice. My brother and I ended up in a conversation about it that ended along these lines:

David: "Some people never develop that teacher voice. You have the voice, the one that says, 'Do it my way, or you're f*cked!'"

Me: "Yeah...it really does help when you truly believe that your word is the law."

David: "'Your word is the law.' Oh, that's a nicer way to put it."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December is Eating my Lunch


Of course, December is ALWAYS tough. I can't really decide if this December has been more or less brutal than most or just par for course. I imagine my stresses this time of year are similar to many people's: sleep is in short supply and (despite years and years of research) I have yet to discover the formula for being in two or more places at once.

Still on my to do list for the month is throwing together a birthday party for my son. I did manage to get a Chanukah party rolling for my Sunday school class though. We had it all! Music, dancing, gambling (well, the dreidel game at any rate), and enough sugar to rot the enamel off of every last tooth in the entire class!

Even so, each and every time I've given a classroom party for first graders, one of the children asks, "When are we having our party?" after the party is over or nearly over.

We even made those cute little marshmallow dreidels in the picture for cryin' out loud!!!!! So I always have to sort of wonder what exactly constitutes a party in a six year old's mind. Surely they weren't expecting an open bar?

By the way, since I accidentally sent my Sunday school parents this web address: Thank you again for the donuts, sugar cookies, donut holes, Oreos, frosting, Hershey kisses, fruit snacks, muffins and marshmallows!!!!! The kids
LOVED them! Your children's dentists, The Imperial Sugar Company, and I would like to thank you from the very bottom of our...pancreases.

Kidding!! No seriously though, thank you so much - it wouldn't have been a party without treats!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Chock Full o' Fiber...


It seems folks have been needlessly worried about my tampon munching cats. As it turns out, they do not have an insatiable appetite for cotton rayon blends.

They have not been ingesting dioxins left and right as they devour every last feminine product in my home. And, in case you were wondering, dioxin levels in tampons seem to be at an all time low, but thanks for your concern for my favorite four legged hairballs!

Yes, while I was heaving my couches to and fro in an attempt to find that elusive carpet stuff that resides somewhere below the layer of clutter and above the reclusive woman who lives below (Okay, I don't actually know that she's reclusive, it's just that I've only met her once in a year and a half. That counts, doesn't it?), I found OVER thirty tampons secretly stashed by my fuzzy little friends.

So you see, they weren't actually serving them to cockroaches or mice as horsdeuvers while I wasn't home,
or if they were, the cockroaches and mice ate much less than expected. (Hey, they've got to entertain themselves somehow while I'm at work!).

Instead, as it turns out, they have been hoarding them on the off chance that either of my two male cats ever get a period so heavy he requires THIRTY or more tampons to be immediately available.

As an aside, if you've ever wondered if December, (and particularly the first night of Hanukkah when one has guests over) is a great day to have the carpets cleaned, the answer is yes and no.

On the one hand, it's great if you want your stress levels to skyrocket unnecessarily. But then on the other hand, there are plenty of people around and one or more of them might offer to move the furniture back into place. (Thanks Ray!)

Meanwhile, I've since bought a combination safe in which to store my tampons and am trying to teach the cats to serve something more practical to their guests when they entertain, such as all those smelly candles and lotions that are so prevalent this time of year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Google-y Eyed

The internet is great for the overly curious and for those curious about the overly curious. When I stalk my stalkers to see how they got to this site, I find a fair number of people reached this site by searching "skwood". And that's great, because I'm trying to turn it into a household word!

I still get about two searches a day for motorized ride on beer coolers. Unfortunately, those people just like READING about motorized coolers and don't particularly want to buy one, so my beer cooler selling friend changed careers.

I get a lot for lesson plans and other teacher stuff. I sort of doubt I'm much help.

I haven't been getting near the searches for body piercings lately. So, in order to amend that, let me just say: navel pierce, belly button ring, body jewelry, and piercing studio!


Just in case I landed anyone with that one, let me dole out the only advice I have: No matter how many people tell you to use only soap and water on a new body pierce, I say "Put sunscreen on that baby!" And stay off the roller blades for at least a week or two.

Here are a few of the google searches I thought odd, interesting, funny, or some combination thereof:

Balding toothpaste (Actually, if your toothpaste had hair to begin with, I’d be worried already.)

Should i call the man i'm dating (I think I’ve stated my opinion pretty clearly on this one as a “no”.)

Scabies preschool teacher (None for me, thanks!)

I get quite a few for this one:
Dating a cokehead (Since these people seemed to have missed it: Don’t do it!)

dating for six months and no call (In the words of my brother, “If the dude’s not calling, the dude’s not calling.”)

how to compose my own dj jingles (What does that even mean?!?!? I’ve stalked a lot of DJs in my day & I don't remember any of them coming complete with jingles…maybe one has to listen to commercial radio to understand.)

"lick the toilet" (Way more people than I ever realized are curious about toilet licking. Who’d’a thunk?)

a professional word for poop (I would like to suggest “bowel movement.”)

traumatized washing machine (I’d like to know more about this myself.)

My semi-normal life (I might be able to help there. My life seems almost semi-normal at times…)

great naked stories (When you find out, let us know, would’j’a?)

And finally, one where I can actually be of use:

"nicest bathroom award"
I categorized them all under "bar bathrooms", because I didn't really understand the tagging system at the time. But here, here, and here are my awards.

And if you choose to seek them out, have a great time performing bodily functions in a clean location!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More from out of the mouths

One from school: I open the bathroom door to find one of my four year old boys frantically wiping the floor, wads of toilet paper strewn from one end of the stall to the other, seemingly flabbergasted and shouting,
"Ms. H., my fountain was pointed UP! My fountain was pointed UP Ms. H.!! It was UP!"
Two from my girl:
Casandra's four year old somewhat successful bid to save face after having been told that the correct name of the city in Nevada is, in fact, LAS Vegas:
"Well I call it LOST Vegas. (pauses) Because people get lost."
That same child at age 12 nicely illustrates my position on a six page long discussion about whether or not teachers do or should eat homemade foods they receive from students as gifts:
Cassie (while chewing on a lemon bar): "Why do you have those lemons?"
Me (in bewildered shock - how could she possibly not realize?!?!?): "Lemon bars! I bought them to make the lemon bars!"

Cassie (also in wonderment): "You MADE these?!?!?"
Me: "Of COURSE I made these! Where did you THINK they came from?!?!?"
Cassie: "Your school! That's where the rest of our treats come from!"
So rest easy, people. At least some teachers are eating our share of the homemade treats!

And one from my boy, who is so compliant sometimes it's scary. In this case he confuses my search for information about school uniform policy with an imperative
:
Me: "Jared, can you wear this Odyssey of the Mind shirt to school sometimes?"
Jared: "Uhhhhh...okay."
Me: "No, I mean can you? Are you allowed to?"

Jared: "No."
Yet another addition to the Salvation Army pile it is.

Speaking of those sweethearts o' mine, after THREE DAYS of cleaning, I've discovered a whole new phenomenon in their room.

It's called "carpet", and as it
turns out that carpet stuff regularly resides under a thick layer of legos, markers, pokemon cards, discarded lava lamps, hair ties, pennies, dismembered dinosaurs, wheels of all shapes and sizes, odd bits of scotch tape, and stuff too scary to mention.

The carpet is likely to be visible for all of sixteen seconds once the kids get back from their dad's, so I offer this picture of their closet as proof that the carpeting does exist:
Last but not least, this is what happens when I lend my 12 year old the camera: thirty pictures of our cat's ear!

Okay, they weren't ALL of the cats' ears. But there were thirty of them. Thirty. Thank goodness for digital. She actually is pretty good with the camera so here are a couple out of the thirty that feature a full furry face:
And now, since the inside of my fridge looks like this:
(okay, it doesn't look like that - the beer is actually long gone), I must hit the grocery store in order to fuel my children for their imminent carpet demolishing activities.

Hope everyone had a happy, happy Thanksgiving!




Thursday, November 22, 2007

Have I ever mentioned how graceful I am?

Since Disa requested more information about the guy who knew a song about a chicken, I decided to go ahead and oblige. It turns out I'm a total sucker for a guy in jeans and a white t-shirt, too. Now let me tell you WHY he had on an undershirt. The reason is, when you're scrubbing the daylights out of your car carpeting because of an unfortunate accident...or two...or three...and you live in Texas where it's still in the low 80s during late November, two shirts might be one layer too many.


In case you were wondering if there's anything better looking than a guy in jeans and a white t-shirt, let me just tell you that there is: it's a guy in jeans and a white t-shirt who is laughing his boohonkus off at the fact that you've flooded the floorboard of his practically new car with an entire cup of chocolate syrup and milk filled coffee.

I don't know a whole lot about a whole lot, but I'm thinking there's p
robably something to be said for a guy who finds that particular scenario hilarious instead of disastrous, especially considering I practically blinded him for life earlier that very same day by sticking my thumb into his eye. And, in case you're wondering if eyeballs are as wet and gooshy as they seem like they'd be, they are.

Here's the sign I was stopping to take a picture of when I seemed to suddenly decide that practically blinding a guy was not sufficient to reveal his true character and that I should cover as much of his car in liquid as possible. Did I mention that I also tossed a water bottle with a loose lid into the back seat?

I thought it was a good sign, even though we were going the other way.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hoping you're all enjoying dead bird today! This one's for you, Saradevil:

Well, I can't find an Alice's Restaurant that can be embedded in its entirety, but at least here's a link!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Camp weekend, part 2

The gal who was engaged to marry my son from ages two until age four was in my bunk at camp last weekend. Isn't she a doll? She's good natured too. She didn't engage in any of the friends stealing stuff from my last camp post, but happily played with anyone available. So, she seems like a good candidate to me. Then again, I don't have the best track record on picking out spouses.


My son got one other marriage proposal before he entered kindergarten. This was from the daughter of a coworker who told me, "Ms. Jill, I'm going to marry Jared, your son, because he's so funny and so
WILD!." That mom better watch out!"

When I signed up on the dating service, I requested someone who enjoys a "harmless yet demented sense of humor." I think I was right on with he demented part at the very least...the harmless part perhaps not so much...

I heard all kinds of reactions to this camp incident, from outrage ("How could they do that?!?!?!?") to disbelief ("What's with these kids that they wouldn't know better?!?!?!?"). I, on the other hand, found the entire situation infinitely absurd, hilarious: someone decided that it would be a great idea to have approximately 100 children shave balloons.

Sound like fun? I'm sure it would have been. Except, they armed the children with about 20 disposable razors. As far as I know, they did not give instructions about keeping the razors closed. As one councilor wiped up the blood from the floor (Yes, wiped up the blood), and one girl headed to the infirmary, they went ahead and just brought a nurse straight to the activity area.

This is what it looked like after the announcement, "Anyone who has cut themselves on a razor to please go to the back of the room to see the nurse.":
I've blurred it a little, just 'cause. All injuries were minor and I'm sure we can chalk that one up to "lesson learned."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

But he was really NICE psycho...

Today was a little more exciting than your average Tuesday. I woke up this morning to a dead computer. Seeing as how my watch, my DVD player, my phone, and my CD player have all bit the dust over the past month, it really came as no surprise. Luckily it turns out that I'm a genius.

Okay, I'm not a genius. It just happens that I listen to my dad now and again and dad always says when something doesn't work, take it apart and put it back together again. Didn't work for my DVD player, or my CD player, or my watch (mostly 'cause I didn't try, I'm guessing), or my phone. It did, however, work on my computer.

It's Chick-Fil-A night again and my children were handcuffed. Yes, Cassie wanted to make good and sure that those handcuffs we discussed last week really did fit small wrists. Unfortunately I hadn't unpacked my camera from the whole camp thing and these lousy pictures are from my cell phone. And you thought fast food wasn't any fun!
"I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on."

(We actually pick up all our garbage at the Chick-Fil-A whether we're handcuffed or not. I just never had the chance to put Arlo Guthrie's words in my kids' mouths before and figured I may as well strike while the iron is hot.)


Only Beth would think to ask whether or not their noses itched and threaten to tickle them while they were handcuffed. If you read my friend Beth's blog, you may already know that my friend Beth's son Max is afraid of clowns. Tonight Beth terrorized her son by requesting that Honey Dew the clown enter the men's room. Poor Max. He was convinced that only men were allowed in there.


As if I needed a perfect ending for tonight, as well as a reminder that my bravado is mostly bluster, a nice psycho happened by just as I was typing this. I heard a knock at my door. Figuring it's my friend Terry, who I'm delinquent in calling, I pulled on my jeans and went to the door shouting, "Who is it?"

I looked through the peephole at a blond stranger. I mentioned I like to talk to strangers, but not at ten at night when I'm half dressed. Three quarters dressed maybe, but not half. KIDDING! I like to be fully dressed when I talk to strangers and I like it to happen in public during the DAYTIME!!!! Plus, it's sort of a given that a question such as "Who is it?" would elicit a response, otherwise why bother talking at all?

It turns out that I had dropped my keys in favor of chasing Sugar, my cat, during his escape as we returned from the Chick-Fil-A. I asked who it was several more times. The nice-key-returning-psycho never answered, but did say I had dropped my keys and waved them in front of the peephole. For once I managed to take my own advice and instead of opening the door just asked him to leave the keys, which he hung on the door knocker.

Sensing my obvious distraction, Sugar made yet another escape when I opened the door to collect the keys. I managed to catch him without encountering the nice key-returning-pyscho, and aside from a little excess adrenaline, the kids and I are fine.

Sugar, however, I'm planning on serving up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Camp Weekend, Part 1

Ever since I was eight years old, I've wanted to live at summer camp. Camp has all the fun of teaching preschool with the added advantage of taking place outdoors a majority of the time. I'm almost always happier when I'm outdoors.

I'm not sure exactly why or how I always find myself at home afterwards. I probably get tricked into leaving by the promise of a bunch of over-tired, hyperactive children trapped on a 3 1/2 hour bus ride home.

The best thing about camp might be that the level of chaos, while still somewhat controlled, is much higher than anything one could allow in a classroom. The kids are older at camp too, so instead of saying things like, "We don't spit on our friends!" I get to say things like, "I don't know. I'm not in charge of snack. I'm only in charge of bossing you around." and "Screaming about peace and quiet is not going to get us any peace and quiet." Followed closely by, "You're on a bus with 80 kids. You're not going to get much peace and quiet."

That last one is key, I suppose, since I found out only later that our bus was considered the worst behaved of any of the buses. It would have helped if someone had informed me I was supposed to be keeping them quiet. I know HOW to chew kids out. I just had no idea it was required. In fact, I was probably at least as noisy as they were.

One of the councilors asked me why I keep the wrench/all purpose tool pictured above in my purse. Let me just tell you that he asked this question WHILE using said wrench to help a girl escape from the bus bathroom where she had been trapped for at least 20 minutes. Aside from the occasional accidental crime and a bathroom rescue, it was also useful on the way home for cutting a giant cookie cake.

I was with a third grade bunk last year, and let me tell you: fourth grade girls are an entirely different animal. I'm pretty sure they have all the interpersonal problems of adults, but lack the experience and tact to steer through them. I tried my best each time they asked, doling out sage advice about how to cope with a friend who threatens to start and spread rumors, is bossy, or "steals" friends.

They didn't want to hear it though. I finally threw in the towel stating, "I really don't know. I didn't have any friends in fourth grade." It's not true, of course. I had a couple of close friends. I just didn't have large groups of friends that I had known for years. Considering the types of problems these girls are having, I might actually have been better off.

Here's another problem I didn't have in the fourth grade: these girls have boyfriends. I was even an eyewitness to a breakup: "I'm dating someone who's older than you, taller than you, and cuter than you!" At dinner that night I had to ask who was older, taller, and cuter than the boy she broke up with. "No one," she told me, "I just made that up."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hey burglars, here's another chance!!!!!!!!

If there's one thing I like every bit as much as spending my day surrounded by 3 to 7 year olds, it's spending 3 1/2 hours each way on a bus with 8 to 12 year olds!

Last year as I understand it, my main job at religious school retreat was to make sure that Jewish children from all over the state of Texas changed their underwear at least one time over a three day period.

I think I fulfilled my purpose by
consistently answering each and every concern with, "But did you change your underwear?" This year my friend Beth said I should just write, "Change your underwear!" on my t-shirt. But I figure I can wait and see if my assignment has changed.

In any case, my stuff's all up for grabs again. Please feed the cat if you come by, but leave your paws off the CDs!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Parenting 101

So the guy who's been partially responsible for my recent scarcity in the blogging world insists that my kids respect my authority. It's true that every now and then I do have a flash of parenting brilliance.

Tonight at the Chick-fil-A, for instance, my friend Beth notices Cassie using a cup of Sprite to beat a coffee stirrer into a pulp. "Cassie," she warns, "you're going to splatter that everywhere!" "Yeah," I chime in with a wave of my hand for emphasis toward the back of the restaurant, "If you're going to do that, go do it closer to the policeman."

I hear chuckling and glance up to find that the place had cleared out enough for the policeman in question to have heard me. He says the splatter wouldn't bother him a bit because, "I have handcuffs that fit small wrists." 


Uh huh. That's exactly what I'm saying.

Moments later, Beth is encouraging her son Jake to stuff his mouth full of crackers in order to make the recital of tongue twisters more amuzing. "Chew!" she orders, thrusting a second cracker in his general direction, "Chew!" Jake resists, claiming that "Polly doesn't want a cracker." 


"She's just saying to chew," I point out, "She didn't say swallow. After you chew it, you can spit it wherever you want."

I glance up, and once again the nice police officer has definitely heard our superior parenting in action. I tell him, "We're raising fine, upstanding citizens here, in case you're wondering." "I stopped wondering about you guys a long time ago," he tells us. 


He actually leaves his chair to inform us that, "You guys are the reason I still have a job here." Yep. That would be us. Every Tuesday, whether Chick-Fil-A needs us or not.

Here are my sweeties on Halloween ready to devil worship or practice polytheism or something:



I was SO proud of Cassie, who made her entire toga costume by herself using a bed sheet, some leaves she found outside, a few ribbons, and hot glue. My sole contribution to the project was to refuse to drive her a block away to borrow a safety pin. 


Did I mention I'm raising self reliant, fine upstanding citizens?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

667 (The Neighbor of the Beast)


I never realized there were people against Halloween until I moved to Texas. The whole idea was summed up for me by a three year old neighbor who informed me that "Halloween is NOT God's party!!!!" All I can say is, God's missing out on a LOT of chocolate.

I'm all about any holiday devoted almost entirely to chocolate, which is why I also love Valentine's day, despite the fact that Jewish people don't normally celebrate holidays with saints in the name. I'm also infatuated by thinking Christians in general and particularly how Punk Israel's blog justifies my chocolate-fest tonight.

All that said, I am totally and completely okay with not celebrating Halloween at my preschool. I've heard teachers bemoaning the fact our little sweethearts will be attending school today sans costume. I shrug that off, because the children still get to dress up at home, and who the heck wants to get 16 little bodies in and out of costumes all day so they can go potty?!?!?! Besides, they'll come to school dressed up for Purim.


I do have one delimna this year and that is, my own children will have to miss Wednesday night religious school in order to go do the whole devil worship thing...

KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We're not going to worship the devil! Let's get our facts straight here: we're going to worship CHOCOLATE!!!! Kidding again!!!!!!!!!! I fully expect to eat my fair share though.


So happy Halloween and here's some Warren Zevon to get you in the mood:




Saturday, October 27, 2007

On the second thought, I do have dating advice

So, thanks to the online dating world, I’ve been seeing this guy who actually does know a song about a chicken. It happens that he has a 19 year old daughter who claims he’s “Twipply Skwood” (or "triply screwed" as pronounced by a seven year old if you're still wondering). But I’m fairly certain he has to be doing something okay in her eyes, ‘cause she’s willing to spend a pretty fair chunk of time with him.

All I wanted to do when I was 19 was see skip college classes and date cokeheads. Have I mentioned that I’m an EXCELLENT role model?!?!?!?!? After all, I know where all the best body piercing studios are.

I said on one blog post that this is not the place to find actual dating advice, but I was mistaken. I have some really valuable dating advice for every young adult on the planet:

DON'T DATE COKEHEADS!
They lie a lot and then tend to either die or go to jail. Besides, I’ve heard that coke decreases sex drive, so who wants to bother with that?

I say, wait until sex feels like a chore because you’ve been married for umpteen years and you're exhausted because your husband rarely helps with housework or parenting and still expects you to work full time and THEN encourage him to start using coke. I’M KIDDING!!!!!!!!!! I am totally and completely against the use of cocaine. I mean, why bother when beer is legal and all?

Despite being infatuated with cokeheads during my late teens, I’ve never had even the slightest interest in actually using cocaine. I’m not really sure what the draw is, although as popular as it is there must be some advantage or another. Perhaps it’s desirable for people who aren’t as naturally caffeinated as I am.

All that said, I absolutely LOVE music about cocaine. Who wouldn’t? I mean, there’s such a variety:

Townes Van Zandt - Cocaine Blues
Jackson Browne – Cocaine
The Grateful Dead - Aren’t most of theirs drug songs?
Eric Clapton - of course
Johnny Cash - Cocaine Blues (but a different song by the same title than the Townes Van Zandt song)
The Old Crow Medicine Show - Cocaine Habit and Tell it to Me

And those are just songs about cocaine that I can think of right off the top of my head. I’m sure there are plenty of songs with drug references that I don’t get since I don’t do drugs. And there are probably also a number of songs I will think up fifteen seconds after posting this. I actually hope to see more show up in the comment section.

By the way, in addition to being pro-songs-about-cocaine, I am also still in favor of skipping as many college lecture classes as possible if the material is easy enough to learn without going to class. Kidding!!!!! Okay, only partially kidding. Sorry David and Matt and parents the world over. Did I mention that I’m an excellent role model?

One final note: since I truly am getting at least two Google searches a day looking for motorized, ride on beer coolers, I've set up a link on the side bar! Say "Hi" to Martin from me!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Here's my new sweetheart!



Isn't he ADORABLE?!?!?! Did I lie about those cheeks?

I hope to shuffle off to Buffalo to smother him in kisses in the near future.

That's why my brother and sister in law moved to Buffalo: so I could say the words "Shuffle off to Buffalo" every now and then. I prefer that all my friends and relatives live in places conducive to reciting song lyrics, just so you know.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Welcome to the World!!

Welcome to the world to my new little nephew Felix Day! No, I can't remember his weight. I know, I know...the weight of a new baby is a big conversation piece, but I'll have to get back later with that and a photo that didn't come via dying cell phone. For those who have recently inquired as to my geekiness level, it does not extend to the ability to post a picture from a cell phone.

The important part is, Felix's cheeks look nice and plump, and I've been told that both mom and baby are healthy. Like Thomas the Tank Engine, he was really reliable and right on time. He was even a little early.

Felix Day arrived last night while I was at a Hayes Carll concert with a man who claims to be "applying for the position of significant other," whatever the heck that means. My cousin Bernard says we're a hard family to get into and that being born in was the only way he made it. Bernard asked if the application process has been tough.

How tough could it be? I can see the piles and piles of paperwork now:

Cute? Yes. OKAY! I admit it! I really am that shallow! A guy has to be cute, for cryin' out loud!

Sense of humor? Yes. Strictly speaking, this is only required if a guy actually expects to be able to communicate with me...

Not dumber than a stump and/or able to compose a coherent sentence now and again? Uh huh. Good grammar is SO SEXY! No, I would not actually like a list of grammatical errors in my post, thank you very much. Actually, mom's kind of busy with her new grandson, so maybe that would help after all.

Drinking? Didn't seem to flinch during my declaration to have "seen all my favorite bouncers!" recently.

Enjoys songs about chickens or whiskey? There's the clincher...

Hayes Carll, for what it's worth, has an excellent song about chickens. I will soon post a picture (and weight) for Felix Day, who made it into the family just last night sans paperwork or interview!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sleeping-bag-sicles and Such

It seems I've promised a few pictures here and there and thought I'd make good. Here's my cat Sugar, viciously guarding a maxipad. Thank goodness someone guards the feminine hygiene products around here, because I get so tired of Nimue, or "that other cat you never talk about" (as my friend Laurie calls him), eating all the tampons:












Here's Sugar ready for a swim:










Catching up on some light reading:








Fingernails on a chalkboard, dripping sinks, that jingle from some commercial that won't leave your head, a cat licking a sleeping-bag-sicle for hours and hours and hours on end:










Here's "that other cat you never talk about":











What's to talk about? Aside from devouring the living daylights out of every box o
f (unused) tampons I have ever purchased and attacking my paint brushes with a vengeance, he mostly hides or pukes. Sometimes he multitasks and pukes while he hides.

He's stealthy in his destruction and I can never catch him in the act much less get a picture, but I assume it's Nimue that has the vendetta against tampons and paint brushes because Sugar is not at all shy with his transgressions.

Rainbow pictures are kind of like animal pictures for me. I can't help myself, but I can never really figure out why I took them or what to do with them. I love a good contradiction though and a rainbow ending in a power plant seemed too good to pass up:









Everybody loved this thing and I have to admit the rose petals are incredibly delicate and everything. But WHY?!?!?! Who would do this to a poor, unsuspecting melon? And isn't it sort of a waste of food?












Here's my sweet pea with my friend Gigi's snake Sunshine:












Here's Jared with the same snake:













Last but not least (okay, maybe least), here's another bar bathroom picture. This is from the Continental Club. The wall design is interesting but the floor is all kinds of icky! No bathroom award here!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Online (Up)dating

Since finding out that I can occasionally sort of tell how people find this blog, I've been fascinated with how they make their way here. Lately the majority of the google searches are for dating information. I only have three words for you people:
Don't try it!!!!!!!
Dating is bound to end in either crying or marriage, and if divorce statistics are to be believed, marriage also ends in crying a great deal of the time. I'm kidding! But only partially so.

I happen to know exactly what I don't want from dating, and not actually a whole lot about what I do want:
  • I don't want to ending up doing some guy's laundry or washing his dishes after dating for however long that entails.
  • I don't want some guy telling me that (having already adequately fed my children) I can't spend my last $15 on a CD instead of food.
  • I don't want anyone telling me that I can't go to Lola's, although I'd be okay with a guy telling me it was out of bounds to kiss a bald Spaniard while I was there.
I'm kidding! But only because Etro is actually a more popular hang out for bald Spaniards.

That said, I've already learned this much about online dating: It's every bit as absurd as the rest of life. For instance, the site I signed up for has an option for sending a "flirt." I believe these "flirts" offer a selection of canned phrases, all of which roughly translate to:
"Hey! I'm interested in your profile, but not interested enough to compose my own sentence!"
They should really nix the canned flirts in favor of canned rejection. I need one that says:
"I didn't read your message yet, but I'll get back with you the next time I get a wild hair and think a bunch of potential rejection and crying would be right up my alley."

or even
"Thank you so much, but I have a date to go hear Hayes Carll, and Porterdavis isn't until next month."

Since they don't actually offer an anti-flirt though, I'm sort of just living with the guilt of a bunch of unread messages. What was I thinking? I can barely keep up with the emails from people I actually know.

I did manage to give my phone number to two guys. One of them was pretty obvious. Out of the messages I managed to read, he was the only guy who actually came up with a song about a chicken. Besides, he had a music reference in his very first sentence and books in his picture background, so how could I not?

I gave my phone number to one other guy, because he's a member of an outdoor club, and that sounded interesting. But when he called he told me that he was selling his jukebox! I can't date a guy who would hang onto all kinds of who knows what, yet sell a perfectly operable jukebox! I mean, technically I COULD, but it sounds like guaranteed misery. No pun intended. Or pun intended. Either way.

Besides, he told ME to call HIM! I don't do that. He apparently neglected to notice that I specifically requested borderline stalking behavior from a guy who enjoys songs about chickens (or whiskey)!

Meanwhile, if you're up for actual dating advice, I think you'll have to look elsewhere. Since I'm also getting a fair amount of searches for the word "naked" these days, let me just say that I'm afraid I won't be much help on that front either. I CAN, however, put you in touch with a guy who sells motorized ride on beer coolers.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Motorized Coolers, Dancin' Naked, I don't actually have a great title for this one

A friend (whom I've referred to as "coach" in the past) moved in across the courtyard from me a week ago. Thus far he's been good natured about being blog fodder, even when I've gone so far as to discuss his homophobia or lack thereof. For whatever it's worth, his level of homophobia doesn't seem excessive, though it may just be that I'm oblivious.

My point is, I'm relatively certain that he won't mind reading about himself again, as long as I don't post a picture of him riding a motorized-ride-on-beer cooler. I will post a picture of MYSELF on a motorized-ride-on-beer cooler though, since you asked:


OK! I know no one asked! But in general when I make statements like that, someone asks. The smiling yet slightly nervous guy in the background is Martin, the owner of the cooler. I can't imagine why he looked nervous, aside from the fact that he kept informing me that the cooler did, in fact, have brakes...I guess 13 miles an hour could seem speedy when a total stranger is racing away aboard your livelihood.

In any case, it turns out that when I look out my window, coach's window is in my direct line of sight. Because I don't know the first thing about wireless internet, I spend arguably too much time between my bed and the wall with my feet propped up against said window. It is an odd feeling to be on the phone with someone who can witness your eccentricities as you discuss them.

Another friend said that it would be cool to have him for a neighbor, that coach is "really nice". But, she informed me, I would have to be careful about dancing naked in my room. Which is a serious bummer, 'cause if a gal can't dance naked in the privacy of her own room, where the heck can she?!?!?

DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't actually want to know anyone's thoughts on appropriate locations for dancing nakey...it was bad enough just finding out that "activity partner" may not mean exactly what I thought it meant!

That said, me and Denise do all our best dance moves before seven a.m. And just for the record, I am TOTALLY dressed! Denise on the other hand...

I actually don't have anything to worry about. Coach spends all of seventeen seconds a week not at work. Just kidding all you crazy stalkers out there! He actually spends the majority of his time polishing his gun collection while gazing out his back window!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Secret Life of Toothpaste


I didn't actually read the Secret Life of Bees. Well, I read about half of it before deciding that if I were going to get all depressed about someone's miserable life, I may as well be feeling for real people. It's a GREAT book though! Or at least the first half is really great. Anyway, I never found out about what bees do in their secret lives, but I've recently discovered the secret life of toothpaste.

Some time ago my friend Dan mentioned having CDs regrooved. I was astonished. CDs can be regrooved?!?!?! Dan is, among other things, a DJ. So I felt like he was a fairly credible source for the dirt on CDs.

I was ready to set the world on fire with this new knowledge! Who it was I was planning to enlighten I can't really say, since as I've mentioned none of my friends are into that kind of stuff. I planned on interrogating him relentlessly when I suddenly realized that I had burned the CD in question from itunes. Why go through all the hassle of regrooving when I could just burn another twelve cent CD?

I've since gotten a lot lazier about putting new CDs into itunes and have had opportunity to rethink the whole regrooving thing. No point in suggesting I download directly from the internet - I still use a cast iron pan for cryin' out loud! I'm not exactly what marketers call an "early adopter."

More recently another friend (also named Daniel) and I were talking about CDs. I briefly wondered if men named Daniel might have an inordinate knowledge of the workings of CDs. But then I remembered that about 1/3 of the men I know are named Dan or Daniel and that it stands to reason that a couple of them would have an area of expertise in common. In any case, this particular Daniel knows a lot about a lot of things, so he seems like a credible source for information on...well...any number of subjects.

For whatever reason, Daniel was telling me that CDs have a thin layer of plastic over the music which led to him telling me the meaning of life for toothpaste. I have used windex, hot water, cotton, and breath among other things, but nothing works like toothpaste for breathing new life into a skipping CD!

My favorite CD is now scratch-free! Forget Jesus is Magic (although it's a really funny movie, if you like demented humor). Toothpaste is magic! Also, I'm changing careers to become a guidance councilor for common household products.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fruits, Nuts and Dates (or lack thereof)

I surprised my friend Melissa last summer (and myself) by saying this to her:
...and that's why the phone message I might have left you may or may not have been intentionally vague.
Once her laughter subsided, Melissa told me that they should slap that right on my tombstone since I practically defined my personality (if not my very existence) by using those words sequenced just so.

Due to that conversation and a couple others, I decided that maybe I should take the word "straightforward" off my dating profile. Who do I think I'm kidding? Half the time
I can't even figure out my point.

I've changed my response on the perfect first date question from, "Is this a trick question?" to:
Is this a trick question? Just in case: the perfect first date includes alcohol. I don't see any reason (recovering alcoholics and teetotalers notwithstanding) that either person should have to endure undue anxiety.

I can see the potential suitors lining up even as I type! "Here's a gal who knows how to self medicate in a socially acceptable manner! She's the one for me by golly!" Yep.

I almost want to change the "I am looking for" section (which gives options like a date, marriage, a long term relationship, etc.) to include "activity partner." I mentioned to Ms.Q that my friends would most likely be deliriously happy if I quit trying to drag them to see live music and instead found an "activity partner."

They'd probably be equally as happy if I found someone to eat outside with me now and then. I'm sure my friends are tired of explaining to me each and every time we eat somewhere with outdoor tables that they don't actually like to sweat. I have to admit I don't see what the big deal is about sweating. It's not like getting a tattoo; it comes off in the shower. Sweat seems like a small price to pay for getting to be outside, but what do I know.

In any case, I'm not adding "activity partner" to my list of requests at the moment (Edited to add: especially after being informed via the comment section that the term could have other connotations!!). I doubt I have it in me to distinguish between guys who would answer "yes" if I wanted to go rollerblading and guys who want to date. It seems like an unnecessary hassle and too much emotional upheaval to make the distinction.

Then again, it might offer an easy out, as in "Would you like to not enjoy this activity with me again sometime?"

***Pictures and Stuff***

Who needs an "activity partner" when you have kids, anyway? I don't know whether it's just the venue or what, but both times we've seen Michael Fracasso, (who's awesome by the way, if you like acoustic/folk type stuff) people were determined to throw money at my boy. This time Christi gave him two dollars for eating three limes in one minute:


Here's a picture for Roger. It's the middle of the day with almost no traffic, so you can't tell that the tractor is meandering along one of the larger boulevards in Houston. It's sort of a crooked shot, because I was trying to drive and roll down the window and operate the camera all at the same time, but the clouds still look neat:


And last but not least, this one is for Frogger:




Thursday, September 27, 2007

Be Mine!

This child is obviously mine: "I know EXACTLY what I'm going to get you for Hannukah! Except...I just forgot."

This child looks an awfully lot like his dad:

But this conversation proves he is also so very obviously mine (or at least takes after me in the dislike of the phone department):

Me: "Can someone get the phone?
Can someone get the phone please?
Jared? Jared! Get the phone!
You got it?"
Jared: I GOT IT!
Me: "Who was it?"
Jared: (doesn't respond)
Me: "Did you
ANSWER it?
Jared: "No."
These people are not strictly mine, but are still quite obviously closely related to me.
My brother David: "You want to go up the stairs!?!?"
My nephew Rex: "Uh huh."
David: "In your rollerblades?"
Rex: "Yeah."
David: "Really?"
Rex: "Uh huh."
David: "Well, you know, I didn't bring bandaids, so you'll just have to bleed all over your clothes."
Rex: "Okay."


Rex, Me, David

I find myself saying this just a little too often:

You guys have GOT to flush the toilet! How do you expect the cats to have any fresh water?!?!?!?!
In my defense, the cats actually prefer the toilet water.

And speaking of words I find coming out of my mouth, I shout this out fairly regularly as my kids or preschool kids whiz past on various wheeled forms of transportation (rollerblades, tricycles):


STAY IN CONTROL PLEASE!
Do you suppose that works when they get to be teenagers?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If You Hear Your Phone not Ringing

I finally signed up for an internet dating service. That would be the dating service which presumably features local men, as opposed my "starter dating site" which exclusively featured men from the actual soil of the country of Turkey.

It's still sort of a niche site I guess you could say, as evidenced by the fact that I already knew or at least had met two out of the first three people who stalked me. Still, I figure pretty soon I should try being the stalker instead of the stalk-ee.

I'm pretty sure my answers to the canned questions read: "emotional train wreck waiting for a dangerous intersection" but what the heck...I can only be who I am.

That's not true of everyone, however. A teacher at my school heard from a friend that people can fake a personality for up to 90 days. After 90 days apparently one's true colors can't help but show. Inventing and maintaining a personality even for 90 days sounds like too much hassle for me though. I figure I'm better off with my neurosis laid right out on the table.

I thought I should have been able to expand on some of the questions where the only option was to check boxes. For instance, I checked off some music types, but there were so many categories missing from that list. And why is there no distinction between liking Delta Blues and Chicago Blues? Ok, so I happen to like both, but do they give me any option of stating that I prefer Delta Blues? No! And yet you're supposed to write an entire essay on your personality. I don't even HAVE a personality!

There's a section on pets, but the only options were cat, dog, fish, etc. Unless someone has severe allergies, does this really need to be a screening question? It happens that I have two cats mostly 'cause they're low maintenance and I can only care for a certain number of living creatures at a time, having already killed off 3/4 of my houseplants.

I just left that question unanswered. Because do I really need to get into whether the untimely deaths of my houseplants were the result of neglect or suicide before a first date?

Food is another category where none of the check boxes seem to apply. Or all of the check boxes apply.
I love food! I just don't particularly care from which continent, country, ethnicity, race, culture or subculture the recipe originated.

There was a question about past relationships. I didn't put down that I am incredibly attracted to intense personalities who require more emotional energy than I actually possess. Instead I filled it out this way:
Is there really an answer to this question that doesn't involve a cliché? My past relationships were fun! At least until they weren't fun anymore...My past relationships are the basis for much of my current neuroses...KIDDING! !!!!!!!! Is there a graceful way out of this one? How about: I was married for 12 years and now I'm not. Does that work?!?!?!
It asks for political orientation. Although I'm pretty sure I recognized the orientations that don't apply to me, I wasn't sure I could pick out which one might be an appropriate label. And since "pinko commie scum" wasn't an option, I went ahead and left that one blank too.

Next was ideal relationship. After muddling through my last post, that seemed easy enough to figure out:
My ideal relationship is with someone who calls a lot, but not often enough to be stalker material.
By my reckoning, that should be about once a day. But, of course, I shouldn't have to actually answer the phone!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Super Cool Dating Lessons

The dating world can be a tough travel destination and has been for me for the past...well, we'll call it month and a half. But what the heck, I've learned a whole new method of communication 2 skru up: txt msg!

If you're in the market for a new method of being rejected, I highly recommend texting. It's every bit as instant as a phone call, but you don't get interrupted as long as you don't have a lot to say.

Along with texting, I also learned some great new phrases. Whether or not any of them actually apply to my most recent go round is up for debate, but here they are regardless:

Each time I describe some heartache or another, my brother claims to hold up an imaginary sign reading, "Dump him!" Recently he discovered new lettering:
"DTMFA" or Dump the Mother F* Already
I'm not a big fan of acronyms, but this one in particular, to quote Mary Poppins, "helps the medicine go down".

Here are two from my good friend Ms.Q. She's not sure if she wrote this first one or assimilated it. Let's just call it hers:
Some people have dealt with their shit and some people smell of it.
Other people blog about potty training, but that's beside the point.

I don't think of people as trash and neither does Ms.Q. I like to think of people as having inherent worth despite their circumstances, occupations or much else for that matter. I've enjoyed the friendship of two people convicted of manslaughter, and both of them have been every bit as kind and compassionate as the average teacher or soccer mom, for whatever that's worth. Still, this saying Ms.Q. learned from a friend made me smile:
Kick him to the curb...just kick him to the curb! Move on. You've got better things to do than think about the trash on the side of the road.
I saw this saying on a dating blog. I'm not sure about the second half of each sentence. But I could perhaps buy the first half of each, in as much as I ever believe sweeping generalizations about humans:
Men look for sex and find love.
Women look for love and find sex.
This is not a saying I learned, but it seemed funny at the time. In general I'm against rigid gender roles, but for reasons which could be a post all it's own, I truly believe the male should do all the calling. I think I may have been engaged before I initiated a phone call to my ex-husband. I found myself defending my position without explaining it:
"It's NOT a 'policy'"
"It is. It's your policy not to call men."
"No it's not! It's not a policy!"
"It is. It's a policy."
"It's not a policy! It's a
defense mechanism!"
Let's call spade a spade for cryin' out loud! Then again, spade calling didn't actually work out so well for me this time.

This was a saying Jeff learned from a friend that seems to sum up quite a bit:
It isn't about finding a sane partner. It's about finding one whose crazy matches your own.
Which, y'know is great for me because I tend not to pay too much attention to the fine line that distinguishes "normal" from "boring".

Now, is there one of those cute blog awards for quoting Mary Poppins and using Mother F* in the same paragraph? Oh wait...you probably have to be willing to spell it out to win that award.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hop Aboard the Potty Train

I have to thank my son, age two and calling himself "Um" at the time, for the title to this post. I was listing his friends, attempting to invoke a little peer pressure, "Jay's potty trained and Amy's potty trained, and Sam is potty trained...". To which he answered, "Um wants to be on the potty train!"

And so he did board, one month before his third birthday. Not because he had a ticket, but because I ran out of diapers the night before Thanksgiving. There was just no way on earth I was going to enter a store the day before Thanksgiving for a child who could already change his own diapers. I'd like to say it was some kind of awesome parenting on my part that I can count his total "accidents" on one hand, but I'm pretty sure it was more of a fluke.

In any case, between my own two kids and five years of teaching preschool, I figure I can technically claim to have been potty training children for seven (albeit nonconsecutive) years. I've noticed a few things and occasionally give out advice, including the following:

The biggest and most typical problem parents face is power struggle. If and when kids figure out that you have a vested emotional interest in one of the few areas of their lives they can control, you're in
big trouble. Nothing delays potty training like a child noticing their bodily functions are a constant topic of conversation. If you feel anger or find the topic taking up more than its fair share of your gray matter, it's time to take a step back and try again in a few weeks or a month. It's their poop and children WILL win if they decide to dig in those heels.

Pull-ups: more expensive yet less convenient than diapers. I can almost guarantee that your child's preschool teacher wishes your family would skip this step. The toddlers and preschoolers are evidentially not watching enough Pull Ups commercials to realize that fancy expensive diapers are supposed to make them feel like big kids. The preschool teachers treat them just like diapers, except that if a child poops, teachers are likely to have to remove their pants, shoes, and socks instead of just a diaper.

When to switch to underwear: when your child has some control and you have some patience. Most parents know the physical signs of readiness on the part of the child. The only thing I want to add is that it is just as necessary for the adults to be emotionally ready. Make friends with the washing machine first and foremost and try saying "Oops! We'll have to wash that!" with as little rancor as possible a few times before you even begin.

When to switch to underwear at preschool: After your child has been successful for a week or two at home, he or she is ready to come to preschool sporting underwear. Children are successful sooner in their comfort zone, so it makes the most sense to start at home.

Sitting or standing? If you're the one who has to clean the toilet...well, let's just say I know a women who asks not only her boys but also her husband to sit. At my preschool we have child sized toilets not to mention janitors, so it really and truly makes no difference. At home you might want to consider whether your child is tall enough to stand and how stable he feels if he does stand on a stool.

Fear: I have a child afraid of the potty almost every year. There's the precarious position, the scary sound, the water which looks much deeper to a child who may not be able to swim. I've had a parent ask me every year if I think their child is afraid because he or she has been traumatized or is suffering somehow. To me chances seem slim. The potty can just be a scary place. Try offering to flush after your child has left the bathroom.
Bribery: This is supposed to be a no-no, but y'know, sometimes it works. Smaller bribes seem to work on occasion, but the more successful bribes usually go something like, "You'll get a huge kitchen set for Christmas if you poop in the potty." It's winds up escalating what is probably already a power struggle, but if you have the means and your kids aren't that stubborn, maybe it's for you.
With just a small change in semantics, bribery can turn to the Premack principle, otherwise known as "grandma's rule", a perfectly acceptable form of parenting. This is the ole' "As soon as ______ happens, _______ will happen."

Bribery: If you clean up your toys, I'll take you to the park.
Premack principle: As soon as you're done picking up your toys, we can go to the park!

Bribery: If you poop on the potty, I'll give you a cookie.
Premack principle: After you sit on the potty, you can have a cookie."
See how the Premack principle assumes that mission will be accomplished while the bribery sort of has an element of begging? Done with the consistency and without negative emotion, the Premack principle can be a friend in more areas than just toileting, as opposed to bribery which will always feel like bribery.

Note that "You can't go to the park unless you pick up your toys!" or "You can't have a cookie unless you poop on the potty!" turns the situation away from presumed compliance and back toward coerciveness.

One family who had been involved in a power struggle of rediculous proportions had their problem solved when summer came around.
I'm not sure if dad presented this using the Premack principle or if it was more of a natural consequences type thing. After months of struggle, Joey was potty trained seemingly overnight when told that the local pool did not let children swim in diapers.

Of course you want to ask your pediatrician if things seem to have gone awry, but generally the more relaxed you are about potty training, the better it will go. So to speak. Good luck!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back to the silliness

I've managed to accidentally see a couple forgettable movies this year which I could probably count on one hand if I could just remember what they were. But last weekend my brother David recommended that I watch a movie on purpose.

We were discussing the infinite gory details of my week which had been one of those in which enough little things go wrong to make any one of them seem like a big deal, otherwise known as "being pecked to death by chickens". Concerned for my emotional health, David asked, "What are you going to do this weekend?" I thought resting to get rid of my cold a reasonable goal.

"On Saturday I'm going to mope. Sunday I'll teach Sunday school and then eat dinner at Aunt Lynne's." My brother in his infinite wisdom decided that an entire day devoted to moping might be a bit much.

"I could watch TV..." I volunteered. "Watching TV indiscriminately can be really depressing." He recommended that I rent a movie. "It will lend direction to your moping."

I doubted Blockbuster would carry either of the movies I've been wanting to see:
You See Me Laughing or Be Here to Love Me. There was a third possibility too, a probably obscure documentary on Texas singer songwriters, the name of which I couldn't remember.

David emailed me to say that I had been correct on the unavailability of my preferred movies. In reality, a documentary probably offers less in the way of escape than fiction anyway, and perhaps especially a documentary about a manic depressive alcoholic musician.

Instead my brother recommended
Secretary, which he described as "a great and weirdly romantic movie about a woman recently released from a mental hospital after treatment for self-mutilating tendencies and her new job as secretary for a successful attorney with a tendency toward angry disapproval." He's pretty sure he took that description from Netflix, but not surprisingly I don't have Netflix, so the verdict is still sort of out on that point.

I headed to Blockbuster: "Where do I find Secretary?" "The drama section." "Drama?!?! I'm not sure I actually need any more drama..." Shortly after I arrived home my friend Laurie came over and we started the movie. I explained that I always took my brother's advice in as much as I am able, but that I was wary this time, because the movie sounded depressing. "Oh no!" Laurie explained, "I like depressing movies. They make my life seem more normal!"

Obviously this is not a kid friendly movie. Even if you HAVE been looking for just the opportunity to discuss self mutilation and/or submission to men with your kids, this is probably not the discussion starter you're looking for. Unless of course your plan is actually to promote self mutilation, because for the main character in this movie self mutilation seems to serve a purpose, albeit a sort of disturbing one.

I learned a lot from this movie, or more to the point from discussing this movie with Laurie. This is what happens when you spend just over half your adult life married: you find out from a friend that the characters in disturbing movies are almost sort of semi-normal. You also find out that all kinds of other things that sound totally off the wall are almost sort of semi-semi normal, but that's beside the point.

All in all, I think both David and Laurie were right. It ends up being a decent sort of escape, because although neither character in the movie really has any positive personality traits, they end up "happily ever after" despite or even because of their particular bundle of issues. It's the type of movie that ends with "See? The both of them are a couple of freaks and yet they're happy within their lunacy or perhaps even because of it. I look like incredibly sane and positively well adjusted compared to them. I had no idea I was solid as a rock!

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