Monday, October 31, 2005

One Day A Year

My costume this year: Soccer Mom! I’m a very stereo-typical traditional SAHM still married to my first husband with a dog and a minivan, for crying out loud. Being a soccer mom is all that’s missing from my cul-de-sac life, but these damn kids just won’t cooperate. They both refuse to play soccer. Unless I adopt an eager-to-please little kid from a different gene pool, Halloween is going to be my only chance.

Lizzie has never been willing to even try soccer. She got her first taste of team sports by playing t-ball when she was five years old. There is nothing more kind & gentle within the world of sports than Kindergarten t-ball. They don’t even keep score. Everyone’s a winner! Ken was one of the coaches, along with a highly-sympathetic vegan yogi mom, but Lizzie still said the whole thing was “too competitive” for her and besides, there was also way too much running. After the high-pressure demands of t-ball Liz refused to try any other team sports, especially soccer which is chock-full of all the things she’d despised about t-ball with the added threat of actual physical contact.

Emily played a year of soccer when she was in first grade. Her team had two coaches, both named Dave. Serious Coach Dave tried to get the kids to play soccer, i.e., run a lot, kick the ball, and pay attention to the game. Goofy Coach Dave was Emily’s favorite part of soccer by far. He made some effort to encourage the kids to play soccer too, but he also did funny faces & noises and was just so much fun all Emmy wanted to do was goof around with him. She had to be returned to the field more than once during a slow game, having wandered off to see what Goofy Coach Dave was up to. She also enjoyed mingling around on the field, chatting with the goalie or whoever else she could find available from either team. Her final word on soccer: too much running and not enough socializing.

Over the years my kids have participated in other sports like gymnastics, swimming, and karate as well as taken a lot of dance & art classes, but those moms don’t get any recognition. Politicians don’t pander to Ballet Moms and Karate Moms don’t have any street cred whatsoever. Halloween is really my only chance to move into the big leagues of Momdom.

Lawn chair
Lap blanket
Soccer ball
Minivan keys
Thermos of gin

For Ken

Q: What do you get when you divide the diameter of a jack-o-lantern by its circumference?

A: Pumpkin Pi

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The One That Got Away

Just a few minutes ago I found Kenny sitting alone in the living room, thumbing through his new Dell catalog. Remember that old girlfriend of his I told you about a while back? "Their song" was playing on the radio and he was kind of wistfully humming along to...Tainted Love. I crap you negatory, that was their song.

Year 'Round Cheer

While doing some early Christmas shopping, I found a hand-painted sign that promises to add a bit of unexpected wit and charm to my holiday decor. It says "Wanted: A Jolly Man Bearing Gifts" Now, maybe it's just me, but I'd really like that dude to be around ALL THE TIME.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dream Upgrade

I have all kinds of strange things going on in my head anyway, believe me, but this is new. Now my dreams come complete with a soundtrack! I was already dreaming vividly in full color, smelling, tasting and feeling various things. I also have conversations with people in my dreams, work out problems and wake up with solutions. Best of all, sometimes I know I'm dreaming when I'm dreaming and can help guide things along in the direction I want. But this morning as I was waking up I could clearly hear that Hoobastank song, The Reason, playing in my head. It was loud, too, like the band was right there, jamming in my bedroom. At least my sleeping deejay self chooses songs I like.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Exciting Suggestions?

I recently realized I want more excitement* in my life. I mentioned this to KenDarling. He said "How about going to a poetry reading? Or you could randomly select a book from the library?"

Whoooo-hooo!! Oh, yes. He did too suggest that perhaps reading a random book would shake things up and make my life more exciting. Obviously I need outside help. Any ideas? Suggestions?

* Excitement: the feeling of lively and cheerful joy; exhileration. Nothing dangerous or beyond my usual moral code of ethics, please.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gettin' Comfable

We have these neighbors, see, and they walk right into my house. They just walk right in! They know the door is unlocked and usually their kids are in here when they do it. They sort of do the knock-knock-open-door-knock-knock-"hello"-walk-right-in-as-one-motion thing. It's kind of like Kramer except they don't head straight for the fridge, just the candy corn. The amazing part is? I don't hate it at all. In fact, I like it. Now. If you've known me for a long time you will be just as amazed at this earth-shattering development as I am. It's not so amazing that these people walk into my house, but that I let them and that I like it. I'm actually quite happy to see them too, standing there in the foyer looking around for their offspring and the dish of candy corn. Oh, and their dog does the same thing! If the door is left wide open, which my darlings are wont to do on a fairly regular basis, he just waltzes right in to visit with us and say Howdy. Maybe he's heard about the candy corn? I guess we've lived here long enough to be that comfortable. We've all seen each other's pajamas and heard each other yell at our kids anyway so... come on in! No secrets left with you people!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Courage: Afraid And Doing It Anyway

Today I felt so proud of Liz I thought my heart would burst. She’s always been a quiet kid, bookish and kind of shy. This weekend she forgot her Language Arts textbook at school, and she needed it for some homework. First she tried going up to the school, to see if she could get into her locker. But the school was closed. She came home defeated and I took pity on her. I know how much she dreads using the phone, hates calling anyone, asking for help, etc. so I said I’d call her studdy-buddy for her to see if he could loan her his book. She watched me make the call and leave a message. Then she did something amazing. She cold-called two other people, girls carefully chosen from the school’s phone directory. They’re both really nice girls, but they aren’t friends of hers, they just happen to be in the same class. Unfortunately neither of them was home either, so she had to leave messages. Then she decided to blow her mother's mind by calling someone else, a boy. She’s known this particular boy for years; he’s really a good guy, a friend of a friend and the son of one of my friends, but still. She called him, awkwardly, but she did it. She spoke to him and arranged to pick up the textbook. Then just to blow her mother's mind the rest of the way she went over to his house and picked up the book all by herself. After she got back, the phone started ringing. Everyone else, including her studdy-buddy, called back with book offers and details about the homework assignment. She talked to everyone who called, albeit quietly and quickly, but she did it. And then she sat down and got started on her work. Maybe if you’ve never been shy yourself, you won’t understand the significance of this story and why I’m so proud that Liz would push herself beyond her comfort zone the way she did today. When she was little Liz used to pause before doing something new and say “I’m finding my courage.” Today I saw her find even more of that courage and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Fireplace Smell

Yesterday I was chatting with my friend Bill when I noticed… a smell. It was a very pleasant smell, kind of like something…burning. He was telling me about a personal life drama of his but I was distracted wondering what that smell could be. It just smelled so good, like a fire, the good kind made out of nice logs, like hickory maybe. Pretty soon I was searching around my office for a smoldering tinder pile I’d somehow overlooked. I didn’t find any so I did a full-house burning-smell search. I didn’t find anything except when I returned it smelled like I had a fireplace burning in my office.

I asked Bill whether he ever smelled things that aren’t there. He gave a classic Bill-ish answer, which is to say he both agreed with me and was vague. He said “I think so.” I told him what was going on with the yummy burning smell and we both kind of sat there, his life drama on hold as mine unfolded, me concentrating fully on not becoming seduced by the cartoon-like tendril of scent that had formed and was wafting its way around me, tapping me on the shoulder, and suggesting I had a brain tumor, the kind that creates smells which aren’t there.

Then I remembered! I’d spritzed some room fragrancing spray stuff in my office earlier that morning. I sprayed some more and waited. It said Water Lily and Made in England on the bottle. Pretty soon....mmmmm. The Smell. We were both happy and relieved to not only have found the source of the delicious smell, but to know I could recreate it any time I want and I probably don’t have a brain tumor, and even if I do it’s just a tiny little one that makes Water Lily smell like Fireplace.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

We Played House When I Was A Kid

Emily and her friend are playing restaurant. Well, really it's a restaurant with a wine bar, called The Smoothie Shack. They make smoothies out of wine. (untapped market!) One of them is the owner/server/bartender. The other kid is the visiting health inspector, who of course has a lot of questions. She wants to know things like whether the Smoothie Shack allows children to come into their establishment, if they "card" people, what they do if someone is drunk, how many wine smoothies they allow each customer, and if there is a breathalizer kept handy. (They keep it hidden behind the bar so no one will play with it.) Their wine is very expensive. They allow teenagers to hang out, do their homework & watch TV, but they can't have any wine in their smoothies. The health inspector seems satisfied so far and it looks like the Smoothie Shack will remain open. What a relief.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Notice From The Kitchen Staff

To whom it may concern:

After the dishwasher purchase a few months back, we have since identified and exhaustedly tested the Theory Of Bowl Cleanliness. Findings: Said dishwasher does not, in fact, feature an area either designated for nor capable of washing and/or cleaning bowls. Therefore, we regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to offer soups, stews, ice cream, puddings, cold cereal, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat or other foodstuffs of similar viscosity.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

HUGE Gratitude

I'd like to extend great big huge helpings of gratitude to all the lovely folks at Bella Vino for finding my lost wallet and holding it safely "in the back." I noticed it was missing when I got to the check-out and it was time to, um, pay. I stayed amazingly calm* and started looking for it, retracing my steps. I'd lost it somewhere either in the store or outside where the pumpkins and flowers are displayed. Unbeknownst to me, the Bella Vino Lost Wallet Rescue Squad was on the case. They sprang into action and my wallet and I were quickly reunited. Everyone was so nice: the older manager guy who said this kind of thing happens all the time and I'd be amazed at what they find in the store; the young woman behind the deli counter who smiled and waved when she saw I'd been located as the owner of the wallet she'd found; the cashier who rang up everything and put it all aside for me because she knew I'd be back; the bagger who looks just like John Cusack and actually winked while saying I must be very relieved and that he was happy it had all worked out. No kidding! I'd already mentally cancelled my credit & bank card, said goodbye to the cash, mourned my kids' photos and started in on my side of the inevitable conversation with Ken:

"We have to cancel everything in my wallet because I lost it today at Bella Vino."

" I dunno... I guess it set it down somewhere."

"I thought I'd put it in the baby seat, but maybe I was carrying it."

"Noooooooo... I don't think anyone would take it."

"I don't know how, I just lost it."

"Well it wasn't on purpose, believe me."

"Only my wallet and keys. I was going to be quick, just getting a pumpkin and some yellow mums for the front porch. Remember I said I wanted yellow mums, that I thought they'd look pretty..."

"I am not changing the subject! It's still part of the same story."

"It is too relevant because I had to look through all of the pumpkins and the outside flowers which is a really big area. If you didn't know I was shopping for mums, you wouldn't understand that part, would you?"


Please go immediately and buy lots and lots of Bellas and Vinos because I'm going to become a regular over there from now on. We'll probably bump into each other and then we can say Howdy. Don't worry if you lose your wallet or purse or keys or gloves or umbrella or any of the other stuff the nice manager says people leave behind, because it's no problem for them. The fine folks at Bella Vino will work together as a team getting it back to you.

* outwardly calm, freakin' on the inside.

Pet Peeve Wednesday

Old Fashion Chicken Soup: Um, no. It's Old Fashioned, because it has been fashion-ed, see? The soup was made in the older soup-making way. Fashion has nothing to do with it. Chickens literally fly; they don't look fly. The chicken did not get all dressed & accessorized in the latest style, get it?

Ice tea: No, it's iced tea, actually. See, the tea has already been iced to make it cold. Like brewed tea or steeped tea or sweetened tea. Likely, the tea has actual ice in it, yes, but that isn't the point. I also realize it's difficult to pronounce correctly, but to write it on a chalkboard, or worse, print it on your menu? No. No. NO!

"I can help whose next." Or is it who's next? Either way... WRONG. I was a cashier in a filthy produce store and a bank teller in the roughest, poorest part of Pontiac when I was still young & sweet and still managed to say "May I please help the next person in line?" This is Ann bleeping Arbor, the snobbiest town in the entire midwest. Surely we can do better.

"I could care less." Really? You could? But you just don't want to? How 'bout you get back to me when you couldn't care less; then we'll talk.

Yes, I'm a total bitch. And your point is?

Guest Post

For the first time ever, I'd like to introduce a guest post written by Miss Emily. She thought about it for around two seconds and then answered the following question:

Who do you most admire?

I don't want my mom to be offended, but the person I most admire is Aunt Allyson. I admire her because she makes a lot of good choices and decisions in her life. I like that she's a vegetarian because I don't want a lot of animals to die and I think it's a better choice to be a vegetarian because I feel sorry for the animals. Another thing is that Aunt Allyson is left-handed like me. I think most people want to be right-handed because lots of other people are and they don't want to be different. So left-handed people are special because not as many people are left-handed. Also, she practically looks exactly like me when she was my age so I sometimes feel like I'm going to act like her when I get older. I'm very sure I'm going to have an old beautiful house like hers when I'm older and be very impatient like she is. And I'll have lots of boyfriends just for the fun of it, even if I know I'm never going to marry them. But then when I find Mr. Right, I'll will marry him on a beach, like Aunt Allyson married Uncle John. Also her favorite color is pink, she collects Barbies, she has two dogs and I want to have a little baby boy like her Wyatt, my cousin. And the biggest reason of all of these, is becasue she grew her hair longer than her waist. These are the reasons why I like and admire my Aunt Allyson.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Overheard: Elementary Carpool

Emily: Did you see the graffiti someone put on the wall by the gym?
Much Younger Carpool Girl: No. Who did it?
Emily: I heard a rumor it was that one kid? And his friend.
MYCG: Wow. What does it say?
Emily: It says Ida* is gay and Mr. GymTeacher** loves Miss MusicTeacher*** and Michael* s-u-c-k-s.
MYCG: What does gay mean?
Lisa: (holding breath)
Emily: It means... happy.
MYCG: Ohhhhhhhhhh. Huh?

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of minors, although their names are spray-painted on the side of a building, so I dunno. I just feel better about it this way, okay?

** He's kind of weird and I don't want to give him the attention.

*** She's very sweet.

Friday, October 14, 2005

HND's New Rims

Okay, Hot Neighborhood Dad, I caught you out trimming your back forty last night and, um, what's with the eyewear? Those giant clear plastic goggles strapped to your head do not look good. Do you realize you look like a PowerPuff Girl, HND? or an Olsen Twin? Maybe there's a good reason, beyond you just like wearing them. Perhaps you want to protect your vison from any flying debris while cutting your grass? Or maybe you suffer from seasonal allergies? Oh, I know, when you finish mowing the lawn it's time for some deep sea diving! On the other hand, now that I think about it, you're obviously very secure to wear those things out in public, as you self-assuredly waltz back and forth across your lawn in broad daylight the way you do. Of course confidence is a most attractive quality. Which you apparently have in spades.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Reader Tally

Just so you know... Yesterday I mentioned (or perhaps bragged?) that I have three dedicated daily readers. But then Angie emailed to say she reads it too! So then I re-counted, and you can probably see why my kids choose to not utilize my assistance for math homework, because I came up with SIX. Oh yeah. I have six, count 'em carefully, six verified readers. Saa-weet-ness.

Moving On With His Life

Emily's class publishes a weekly newsletter that the kids design, write, edit and do not spell check all by themselves. I always look forward to reading it, to see what my own daughter has written and usually to laugh out loud at least once because of some brutally honest thing another kid has said. My current favorite article is from the My Dream Job column, a little piece written by a boy we'll call Jon because that isn't his real name.

But first, some background information: A couple of years ago Jon was "playground married" to a friend of Emily's for a year or so. Personally, I think they should have just stayed friends and focused on their education, or at least waited until graduating from third grade to settle down, but what do I know? I'm just a mom. Besides, it wasn't my daughter, so I stayed out of it.

The young couple was happy for a couple of months, but then little things started happening, small annoyances, differences of opinion, disagreements about PDA* and so on. Eventually they devolved to the point of constant bickering & fighting. After trying to work things out, Jon's wife "playground divorced" him. I suppose because he was so young, and he really didn't see it coming, Jon did not accept her rejection gracefully at all. He pestered her non-stop about getting back together, and when that didn't work he began stalking her, which he really didn't have the time or stamina for, so then he resorted to vague, passively-aggressive threats. His "ex-wife" had a passel of supportive friends, stood her ground and wasn't swayed to come back.

Finally Jon accepted the "divorce" and then primarily occupied himself by going around insisting that all of their mutual friends choose between them, of course siding with him. This was a resounding failure as no one wanted to take sides in the first place, and his high-pressure tactics certainly did not incline anyone to choose him, the demanding little "playground husband/extortionist" as I came to fondly think of him. Pretty soon the cheese stood alone, as they say. He was lonely & bitter for a long time, too long, longer than the duration of the "marriage" in fact, and seemed wholly unable to move on with his life. The only bright spot I could find in the whole mess was to hope he had learned something valuable & lasting early on, when the cost of such life lessons is a lot cheaper, monetarily anyway. No expensive lawyers, no alimony or child support payments, no stereo and/or computer equipment to replace, no hot car to buy for cruising younger, first-grade women to be seen with, etc.

But now, today reading the newsletter I see that Jon seems to have re-focused his energy on his studies, his career and his writing. (Yes, I'm finally winding back around to that.) In the newsletter he writes:

My dream job is to be a mechanic. A mechanic fixes cars and tunes them up. He might also beat it down for parts. A mechanic might be able to do that to customers cars and I would like to be one!

Such a nice boy. I wish him all good things, as I'm sure his very relieved "ex-wife" does too.

* Public Displays of Affection. I'm old.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Forty is... Fun? Fabulous? Fantastic?

To all three of my loyal daily readers, I apologize for the recently slim blog pickin's. I said when I started this thing I'd do something with it every day, and for the most part I have. Sometimes you just can't see it. Yesterday, for example, I spent hours uploading photos onto a photo-sharing site. It's going to be so cool once I also figure out how to link it to this blog. Someday I'll get it and boy, won't that be fun? I've also had some ongoing technical difficulties since starting this blog: a fried mother board, a virus, another virus, and a strange thing whereby my computer crashes ala the screen freezing "plaid." Excuses, excuses, I know. Be part of the solution, Lisa. That's what you are thinking, aren't you? I'm doing what I can by sending fistfulls of money to both Dell and the fine folks at Norton. My good computer karma is going to kick in any time now. See? Part of the solution.

Okay, and maybe there is just this one other tiny little thing, which is I can't seem to write anything funny or even mildly amusing when I'm mentally processing something, um, not fun. So perhaps there's been a little of that going on. And I'm pretty sure it could have something to do with my birthday which is now running, screaming down the calendar towards me. I'm going to be forty in just a few short months, you know.

A birthday equally divisible by ten does not just pass quietly by Shelby's Mum. Oh, no. Because that would be easy and for 39-ish years I've not been terribly fond of things (or people) unless they are difficult. Or I used to be until I realized what I was doing, and that 'difficult' is a different way of saying exhausting. If I'm going to be re-evaluating my life-so-far anyway, perhaps I might consider tossing out the philosophy of preferring difficulty? A song lyric rattling around in my head goes... "There's an obvious attraction to the path of least resistance in your life." I'd always thought this was a bad thing. Maybe not. Hmmm. Okay. Yes. Done! I now prefer to do things the easy way. Please alert the media.

I love the idea of seeing my life by the decade, and even naming them. My 20's are called The Sunny Times. That's when I had a lot of fun with my friends, got married, bought a house, and had kids. It was all very nice and cozy, a very good decade indeed. I liked it quite a bit. Then came the 30's which wasn't nearly as much fun, not by a long shot. It seems like, well, not everything, but many things that could fall apart, did. Maybe it should be called the Shit Hits The Fan decade... or Learn Things The Hard Way decade... or the Ignore Yourself And Bail decade... I can't really decide what to call it yet, which is fine because it isn't technically over anyway. I still have two months and 8 days to work it out. On the other hand, the easy way would be to simply say... I'll know. I'll know what to call it when I know. Whew. I like easy.

So I guess that's the 'problem' I've been wrestling with then, isn't it? Finishing up this terrible, er, challenging time and thinking about what I want my 40's decade to be. So far I know I want to have a lot more fun, laugh as much as possible, and release some difficult ideas & ways of doing things (and perhaps people). Oprah says turning 50 is when a women fully comes into her own and knows it. If I'm understanding her correctly, and even God knows how wise Oprah is, then she is suggesting one's 40's are best spent preparing for that. Which sounds really good, actually. Anyone interested in helping me celebrate the End Of Difficulty? I'm planning something...easy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Biggest Fan

Lisa: (singing while typing)
Emily: Are you going to join a band?
Lisa: What?
Emily: Or maybe you could start one!
Lisa: I hadn't planned on it...
Emily: Well, you should cuz you sound great!
Lisa: Really? Thanks!
Emily: Yeah, you should really listen to yourself.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Gratitude Big & Small

Big: Gratitude to my friend Sue for explaining highways in a way I can finally understand. Every single time I come back from Dexter I think of you walking in a circle, holding an imaginary steering wheel, demonstrating how I need to go around Ann Arbor. Finally!

Small: Actually, this one's pretty big too, but finding my way home is just a teensy bit more important... Anyway, gratitude to my friend Joannie for leaving so many lovely comments on my blog. I always look forward to reading them and I sooo appreciate knowing someone's out there.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Then Write About That

One of my favorite writerly tricks or maybe it's a philosophy, is simply called Then Write About That. As in, "I don't know what to write" or "all I can think about is my busted carburetor" or "but I'm so depressed" or "I've already used every good idea I ever had." Then write about that. I've tried to teach this to my kids, when they whine about not being able to do a writing assignment for this or that reason. I say it is perfectly alright to then write about that. So I've been sitting here for a day and a half, thinking about how I have nothing to write about and how I've started a few things about the wedding we are going to this weekend or how my hair highlights went dreadfully wrong but those pieces really are just shitty first drafts and not ready for public consumption and how I'd promised myself I'd add something new to this blog thing every day and maybe that was too lofty a goal or even a mistake since now I feel pressured but I did it to myself and have no on else to blame and how I've been reading too much lately and how I can only hear that writer's voice in my head now instead of mine and how that is the one thing people have said about this blog is that it sounds just like me and then I think about how I am giving up coffee because I'm pretty sure I'm an addict and I'll be damned if I am going to let a chemical I choose to ingest get the best of me but now I'm afraid that perhaps any creativity I ever had might just have been the caffeine talking and oh my god I have got to remember this in case someone ever offers me cocaine again because if this is caffeine withdrawl and with my family history then I don't even want to imagine what that withdrawl would be like much less the blow to creativity and how difficult it would be to find a good reliable dealer anyway and then it dawned on me to, um, write about that. So. What have you been up to?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Secret Hiding Place

Items in Ken's "secret hiding place" way up high, in an upper kitchen cupboard, far above the kids' and my heads. Where we will never look.

* Various Keebler Elf Fudge-y type products he buys and is unwilling to share because "the kids will eat them all." Duh.

* The "good" remote control clicker. Hmmm. The word CONTROL is right in the item's name... need I say more?

* Emily's baggie of candy from her own stinking birthday party. Again, "because she will eat it" and we wouldn't want that to happen.

* The wine foil cutter thingy. This one escapes me. Is he afraid we will... open wine with it? Lose it? Play with it irresponsibly by trimming the dog's toenails? Dull it by opening root beers and tearing into cans of pineapple juice?

* Rumored stash of Oreos. This one's only an urban legend as far as I can tell. I've never seen any Oreos, but I'm not sure about my kids and that one little neighbor girl. They kind of wink and nudge each other when "Oreos" are mentioned, secret pact firmly in place.

(confidential to Mrs. Sutherland: Scorpio!)

TP'd House

While dining out this evening (Max & Irma's PTO fund raiser), our home was vandalized... or so we thought. We returned home to find that our house had be TP'd with what looked like about 24 rolls worth of toilet paper. Upon closer inspection we noted that it was all still wrapped in plastic, and was neatly positioned on the porch with an accompanying Whitley's Nut Sampler. It only took a few minutes to figure out the TP and nuts were from our good friend Joannie! Boy, were we relieved to realize that not only had we not been violated, but our very classy friend had made good on her dog's unfortunate debt to us. Thank you so much, Joan! It is a honor and a privilege to know you, and yes, we still consider you one of our most treasured friends.

Oh, just one more thing... Ken wanted me to mention that the vertical hold on our bedroom TV seems to be messed up. We noticed Scruffy spent a lot of time near that television when he was visiting, and... well, it was working fine before he got here...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Who Would Win?

Liz: Mom, who do you think would win, Darth Vader or Voldemort?
Lisa: Hmmm?
Liz: In a fight, who would win?
Lisa: Who's Voldemort?
Liz: From Harry Potter.
Liz: Yeah. (rolls eyes) Which one do you think would win?
Lisa: I gotta go with Voldemort, since he's magic.
Liz: Yeah, but Vader has The Force.
Lisa: True...
Em: But Voldemort is made up, so Darth Vader would win.

Hidden Talent

Did I ever mention that I used to count things? Any and all kinds of things? I first consciously noticed I was counting when I was about 16, walking home from school. I'd count my footsteps or the fence posts or how many chickens I saw (we lived in the country) or all of the above. I stopped, or tried to stop, or mostly stopped mindlessly counting things after I found out it is perhaps in certain circles considered to be ever so slightly obsessive. I still catch myself counting every once in a while, but usually only when I'm bored. A nifty side talent honed from all these years of counting, is that I'm now able to instantly recognize symmetry. Example: The other day after having merely glanced at my crackers, I heard myself think hmmm, symmetrical crackers. As in, equal number of crackers on either side of the dark, center cracker. So of course I counted them. And would you look at that? Eight on the right, eight on the left. Now I just have to figure out how to share my amazing talent with the world, other than writing about it on my blog, that is.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Not A Party Until Someone Cries

Emily’s birthday is now officially over and all I can say is Thank you, Jesus. I have permission to say that, by the way, from a bone fide Don’t Mess With Me strong black woman of very good Christian standing. Her name was Willow and I used to work with her when I was about 22 and a bank teller. She was a tough, single mom with two kids and no help, who then adopted her orphaned & troubled niece and nephew. She was the no-nonsense mother figure of the entire office. When something went well, she would heartily thank Jesus and we would all feel a little better, both the believers and the heathens. The first time I said Thank you, Jesus I wondered if she’d be offended since my relationship with him was, well, non-existent. She said “there’s no harm in that, baby” because she still figured Jesus was standing right there helping me balance my teller drawer whether I believed in him or not. She then granted me lifelong permission to say Thank you, Jesus whenever I felt it appropriate. So I don’t want to hear any lip about using names in vain, okay? Because I could still find Willow, and believe me, you do not want that kind of trouble.

So anyway, Emily had a fine time at her party once we sobered her up and convinced her to attend. She’d been to another girl’s sleepover party the night before and of course she did not actually sleep. She was a wreck the day of her party. She tried to get into the spirit of things, helping with the decorations and so on, but we finally just had to send her to bed. She slept soundly for hours but then couldn’t wake up for the party. Emily is not especially known for being a sunny riser anyway, much less so when she's strung out from pulling an all-nighter. I’m pretty sure the first guests could hear her screaming “I don’t want a party!” and “Make them go away!” as they were arriving. So it was a bit of a slow start. Fittingly backwards, though!

All of the parts of the party Ken & I handled went very well. The backwards cake was adorable & delicious, the upside down decorations were festive, the pizza arrived just as we finished with the cake, the kids were delighted with their baddie bags, they had fun doing the backwards scavenger hunt, etc. Emily had a good time, enjoyed sharing her birthday with her friends, and generally reveled in being the birthday brat, which means being the ultimate center of attention for a day. Unfortunately though, and unbeknownst to me, a few of her little party guests had spent the last year becoming Mean Girls. There was so much drama at this party I’m sure there’s a Desperate Housewives joke in there somewhere, but I’m just too exhausted to try and find it. We had every soap operatic story line and plot twist a bunch of 10 year-olds could possibly pack into two hours. There were melodramatic tears, secret hidden tears, whispery side conversations, hurt feelings, a public snubbing, shocking revelations and enough generally bitchy little girl behavior to make me never want to do this again. I spent half my time consoling, cajoling, counseling, and soothing the wounded, which is a lot like a normal day, now that I think about it, just on a larger scale. But my part went great! Did I mention the cake was really cute? And oh my god, those baddie bags were a hit. And now it's all over for another year. Thank you, Jesus.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Evidence Photos

It started small... and then things got out of hand.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Let's Go Brogering (or not)

I just had the most fun at the grocery store near my house, you know, the one that rhymes with Broger’s? I know it doesn’t sound too likely, especially at that particular Broger’s but it happened. I went specifically to shop for goodies to fill loot bags for Emily’s backwards birthday party this weekend. A backwards party means the kids wear their clothes backwards, we hang balloons upside down, do all the party activities in reverse order, etc. Emily and I decided the ‘baddie’ bags should have unusual, strange, backwards-ish things in them as well. So I had a fine time wheeling around in Broger’s looking for inexpensive, odd items sold in multiples of twelve. I got asparagus spears, q-tips, tiny boxes of Nerds, a dozen kiwi, baby bottle nipples, fish sticks, men’s socks, etc. I lucked out because there were several 75% off clearance carts just brimming full of weird stuff they were practically giving away, so it was a very successful trip indeed. At the checkout I was careful to select the optimal-looking cashier, as always. I chose a cute young guy with a long pony tail, thinking he’d be cool and either see the whole thing as fun or he’d have that highly focused male approach to the whole thing and at least I’d get out of there quickly. As it turns out, he totally saw the humor in it after I explained to him how all this strange stuff was for a birthday party for my little girl, and he chuckled right along with me at how surprised and delighted those kids are going to be when they see all this weird stuff. Oh no, wait a sec, that’s not exactly what happened, because he was a total dick about it. In fact he somehow managed to be extra surly even for Broger's as he very dramatically scanned each and every one of my Twelve. Of. Each. Item. I am not a beginner, folks, not by a long shot. I know they can just scan ONE of each item and then key in the times twelve part. I, my own bad self, was a cashier a hundred years ago and we could do it way back then, so the mind just reels to think about what a state-of-the-art Broger’s cash register can likely do now-a-days. It was bad people, even for Broger’s. So I was standing there and started seeing that I had a choice. I could get upset and angry at rhymes with Boshua or I could still enjoy myself and try to help him out at the same time. And that is why I’m now writing to you, dear readers. If you are local and happen to be in the Broger’s on Blymouth Boad, and have the good fortune to have your purchases checked out by rhymes with Boshua, please do us all a favor and slide him an extra heapin’ helping of friendly, perhaps smile warmly and flash a little cleavage if ya got ‘em because I really think he could use the pick-me-up.