Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Liz: I don't understand pie crust.
Lisa: Oh?
Liz: First you eat the top off the pie.
Lisa: The topping? Like whipped cream?
Liz: Yes. Then you eat the middle part & the crust.
Lisa: Right. The filling & the crust.
Liz: So you eat all the way across and then BAM! Run right into a wall!
Lisa: Of pie crust?
Liz: Yeah! Then what do you do? I don't get that.

I played it cool... didn't say anything else... I didn't tell Liz that I've probably spent just as much time thinking about this very subject, pie crust incongruity, when I was a kid. Oh, yeah. Right. Who am I kidding?! I've spent way more time thinking about this than she has because I'm an adult and obviously I'm still thinking about it. Pie just doesn't work out! There is always too much crust; a veritable surplus of crust, if you will. Don't get me started on double-crust pies either, because that is just asking for trouble.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Discussing My Need To Discreetly Carry Small Quantities Of Substances

Don't get excited, I'm talking about salt. Specifically, real salt that I need to bring with me to certain houses because the residents only eat "healthy salt" which has reduced something in it, or I guess I should say not in it, to make it healthier. Sodium? Anyway, it tastes so metallic to me it's like licking the side of a battleship. I told Ken not to make a fuss, that I'd just bring some of my own full-octane salt & discreetly sprinkle it on my food as needed.

Lisa: I need one of those rings, I think they're called poison rings.
Ken: What is that?
Lisa: It's a medieval domed ring with a hinged lid & a secret compartment where witchy women would keep their poison.
Ken: Poison?
Lisa: Yes, you know, to sprinkle into an unsuspecting victim's drink. Like Iocade powder in Princess Bride. "Inconceivable..."
Ken: What? Iocane?
Lisa: Iocame?
Ken: Iocane! Iocane. It's I-o-cane.
Lisa: Iocade? Iocame.
Ken: Cane! Cane! with an N! There's no M! And certainly no D!
Lisa: Iocane. Iocane powder that I'd sprinkle into my husband's drink.
Ken: Yes.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Free Advice (From You) Friday

Did you realize all the other, probably cooler bloggers have special "days"? They have things like Self Portrait Tuesday and Self Indulgent Wednesday and one woman has Chuck Friday which is really just pictures of her dog. I've been tossing it around, wondering if I should get some "days" of my own and if so which ones I'd like. I've got a couple of ideas such as... Ask A Question Monday. Provocative Poll Tuesday. Bitch & Whine Wednesday. Thankful Thursday. Free Advice Friday. The one I'm really leaning towards right now is Advice Friday, though. Because it's Friday. And I need advice. Really I just thought up all of those other days so I could hit you with my problem.

Here we go. Ready? It's a parenting thing, so there really aren't any right or wrong answers because kids are total wingnuts and besides, it'll take years to know how they turn out. Most likely by then I'll be living someplace fabulous and will have forgotten all about who it was that suggested that thing that I did that ultimately drove my daughter to the pole.

The problem: My hysterical daughter is ruining our household. That's it in a nutshell. Well, she's not ruining the entire household all the time, just when she's hysterical, which is a couple times a week. She will Fah-reeeak out over something like, oh, let's say homework frustration. Her trigger level is very, very low, and then she gets LOUD.

Compounding the problem is that the other 4 members of our household are fairly rational, quiet, peace-loving people/dog. Also, we don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing. Our older child has taken after what we'll call The Swedish Side of the family. She's blond and more of a brooder. She has her moments, to be sure, but she's usually very calm, logical and given about 10 minutes will explain what's going on, why she's upset, get over it and move on. (And she's the teenager!) She's an easy kid and we've been totally spoiled by her mellow ways and we know it. She is a failure in only one respect, which is that she completely did not prepare us for dealing with The Little Spanish girl.

Li'l Chica is a passionate hot tamale who will start yelling and screaming and emoting like All. Get. Out. when she's angry or frustrated, which is the same thing in her case. The rest of us find this behavior highly irritating, annoying and upsetting. Once Chica really gets going, everyone gets involved, including the dog who will stand alongside the carnage that is a Chica meltdown and wring her paws, look worried and sometimes pee on the floor which definitely does not help matters in the slightest.

Last night we suffered a Homework Meltdown and Chica got rip-roaring loud and hysterical, just a yellin' and a screamin' until everyone else came running. We got frothed up until we were all yelling at each other about Why Chica Is Yelling. That's when she slipped out, went to her room, and did not do her homework (I believe she finished it later). We all stayed and got royally pissed-off at each other for various reasons which may or may not have anything at all to do with homework in the first place but mostly not. This is what she does. She creates an hysterical diversion so she can slip out!

My thought is that we all need to Simmer Down Now and not react to her in the first place. This is difficult to do, yes, and if we knew how to do that, I guess we would already be doing it. But for now, Chica is winning! She is making us all loco. Okay, not really crazy, but definitely quite uncomfortable, especially the dog. (I'm assuming the dog is the most upset because she's the only one peeing. So far.) One of us, who shall remain nameless, says we should "make her stop yelling" and another of us says that would be like trying to "make her stop breathing" because it's just something that she does. Oh, gosh. I just don't know. What do you think? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Wow. That got long, huh? I promise in the future to have Advice Friday be more concise and tightly edited. On the other hand, I feel a medium-amount better just having written it all out... You internets are lovely! You haven't even said a word and already I feel better! But, yeah, any suggestions would be most gratefully appreciated.

Madre de la Chica

Confidential to Maxx*: Happy Birthday! Happy Nano!

* name changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Norm!

The K-man and I would like to wish you a very happy birthday. My gift to you: I hope one of your pets dies. And I mean that sincerely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Much, MUCH Less Scary Elisabeth

I had a request, actually more than one, from more than one person, to puh-leeze take down the previous picture of Liz. Sigh. Apparently it frightened a few people. I don't really worry about what people will think when I do this stuff, because that's kind of the whole point, in a way. So I won't take it down. I will, however add a new photo of Liz, a much more classically "cuter" one taken when she was about... three? four? It was during those years when she got a new UM cheerleader dress every year because she wore them constantly. Now I ask you, which is more horrifying? A Junior Birdman Liz or a cheerleader-y Liz?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rebel Rebel

I'm rebelling and taking the day off. I'm not going to Giftmas shop or look at my list or finish decorating the tree or even do something as small as straighten a stocking. I'm not going to do anything you-know-what related. I might see if I can find a lampshade for that red lamp, finish up some laundry, mail a package that's been sitting here, pick up some groceries and vacuum upstairs. I might also run over to Kerrytown* if I have enough time.

Ahhhh.... that all sounds so good! HERE WE ARE PEOPLE! We're at the point where holiday ennui has so fully set in, my normal everyday life sounds really, really good. I'm looking forward to doing the above-listed activities. I can't wait to clean the bathroom! Last night I was enthusiastically loading the dishwasher (without being asked) and caught myself thinking This is so great! I love doing this! Why don't I normally enjoy this again? Oh yeah... because really? I'm just avoiding doing all those Christmas cards! Cool. Gotta look on the bright side. Today I get to empty the dishwasher!

* Kerrytown is a yummy little mall (for lack of a better word) we have here. I looooove Kerrytown. It's tiny and bustling and has just one, simply one, of everything.

[Edited to add: Emily stayed home from school sick today, so I couldn't get out. Mostly I stayed in and pottered. FYI pottering has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with pots, as in, I neither fashioned nor handled pots in any way. Rather pottering is much like puttering, except spelled with an "o" and since it also sounds vaguely English, is more dignified.]

Friday, December 09, 2005

Happy Snow Day!

My kids could not be more delighted that today is a snow day. Emily has already left to go sledding, after fielding her offers. Liz is getting ready to go too, but first she shares this...

If your nose is runny
And you want to kiss your honey
And you really think it's funny
Well, it's snot!

Happy Snow Day, Everyone!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Questioning My Religion

I’m starting to think numerology isn't real. I’m getting to that stage of life, perhaps, where one starts questioning these things. Take the other day for example. I was checking out a numerology booklet, which was really more like a single sheet of paper, but I'll refer to as a pamphlet, that came free in the mail. (Just take one tiny little feng shui class and be amazed at the mailing lists you get put on.) This thing said I could easily figure out the numerology main-deal number for myself, my family and all my friends. Then, after I know everyone's number, I can read all about how it correlates to their personality, strengths and weaknesses, and glean inside information to the depths of each person’s very soul, including my own. The pamphlet said that by utilizing this valuable information I would theoretically be able to improve my relationship with every person, dog, cat and/or goldfish/unicorn, dead or alive. Every single aspect of both my and their lives will improve dramatically and then we will all be oh so much better and happier. All I had to do was add up the corresponding letters for each person's name! I started right away.

First I did myself. Lisa Anne… Wait. Which last name should I use? I completely identify with my married name now, but wouldn’t my maiden name have had some influence? Which is more authentically me, my original-issue name or my sort-of-chosen, but really just came-with-the-husband name? The pamphlet's intructions were vague so just to be safe I did both and of course came up with different numbers; 8 & 3. So I read the skinny on both and they both fit, so I figured it must be like my horoscope. See, I’m on the cusp astrologically speaking, which means I’m very close to the end of one zodiac sign and the beginning of the next. That makes me a kind of hybrid, the rare and complex multiple personality situation of a Sagicorn, or someone with traits of both, just to make it more confusing and to take longer in the morning what with me having to read two horoscopes, but only if I didn’t like the first one, because really, who has time for such nonsense? (a Capricorn thing to say) On the other hand, having two choices is so much more interesting and freeing! It's all good! With two I can choose the one I like better! (a Sagittarius thing to say)

So then I did Ken. His was pretty straightforward; he’s a 9. Then I did a friend; also a 9. Wait. How can that be? No way are these guys the same. If I took out the middle names, things looked a little more promising, but of course the sheet, I mean pamphlet, was sketchy on that. I read about what makes a 9 be a 9 and when only considering those specific traits, I could see my way clear to agree with it that yes, they both are like that and they both do do that. Then I moved on to another friend, and she’s been married, um, let's say more than once. So I did all of her names in all combinations and they all came out the same! She’s an 8 no matter who she’s married to! Aha! Consistency! Yes! Numerology is real!

Then I did my sister, which totally fell apart with the name thing because hers were totally different for all of her different names in all combinations and none of them matched her personality. I was getting a little discouraged at that point and beginning to have serious doubts, which really isn’t in either of my numerology profiles or horoscope personalities... That's when I hit rock bottom and started considering that maybe, just perhaps, numerology isn’t real. Maybe it isn’t based on hard, scientific fact after all.

Then my sister called, excited because she'd bought a whole book on numerology and was busily figuring out everyone. Coincidence? Hardly! Especially since there's no such thing anyway. Al and I spent the rest of the afternoon* adding up names, finding people's birthdays, and basically decoding the universe. Everything makes perfect sense now! And it's true what they say... If you want to understand something, especially a subject as deeply complex and profound as numerology, you really do need to go buy the book.

* Ken: Not the whole afternoon, sweetie. I still got your stinkin' laundry done and mothered your children, so what's the diff? Kisses!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's Even More Amazing Because She's Almost Completely Deaf

The scene: Earlier this morning, Lisa rummaging through huge piles of Giftmas paraphernalia, whining about already being totally overwhelmed already by The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year already. Shelby, watching and worried about the situation, tries to help.

Shelby: Bark! Bark, bark!
Lisa: Don't bark.
Shelby: (stops barking)
Ken: You could be a dog trainer.
Shelby: (smiles at Lisa and wags tail)
Lisa: Don't look at me.
Shelby: (looks at floor)
Ken: Wow! You really could be a dog trainer!

Monday, December 05, 2005

New And Improved!! Now With LINKS!!

Perhaps you've noticed I've added a few things to the Shelby's Mum blog? Over there, on the left? Like below where it says Photos? Oh yeah, I bribed the Kenster by performing certain favors and yes, I feel kind of dirty and it nearly took an act of god, but dammit, I've got a Flickr photo link now. And it works. Most of the time. So. If you should happen to click on the Flickr thing, you will be able to see random photos I've taken! They are sort of organized, pretty much, kind of. I'm learning, okay? It takes freaking forever to upload photos, arrange & sort them, especially when I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what I'm doing and I'm too lazy to read the instructions. (When did that happen? I always, totally, used to read directions and followed them. Must be the nearing 40 thing and not giving a shit anymore?)

If you see something in Flickr you find objectionable, too bad. Unless it's a photo of you or your kid, in which case I'll happily take it down because I'm decent that way. The other thing, not all of the pictures are there yet. Say for example, you went to a wedding with me? And you know there was a really cute picture taken of you & your honey but it's not there? That's because I had a photo-uploading nervous breakdown and had to take a little break. Or perhaps you attended an event or holiday with me and you know for a fact that I took approximately 600 pictures but nary a one is represented? Again with the nervous condition called If I Smash My Computer Now, It Will Not Work So I'd Better Just Walk Away. Right now the pictures on my Flickr thing are a mere suggestion of the future fabulousness, okay? It will improve when I either start drinking a lot more and can cope better, or I keep slowly figuring out how to do this. But in the mean time... view away.

Second. I added, or actually Kenny my in-house wizard added a link to my Amazon Wish List. This is in response to the literally hundreds of family members who have pestered Ken unrelentingly for birthday & Giftmas suggestions for me. He's cracking under the pressure, people! Lay off of him, he doesn't know what I want anyway! Besides, I need him calm and rested for ongoing tech support and in case I ever decide to add any more exciting Links. He's best when left alone to play with his Legos and fantasize about our next Disney trip. I'm not kidding.

So go ahead and give it a look. Please let me know if you run into any big nasty bugs or if something doesn't work or whatever. I'll mix myself up a margarita and see what I can do. Thanks.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Emily Contemplates Theology

Yesterday morning Emily went to a real live church service for the first time. She stayed overnight at a friend's house and they invited her to attend services with them. The mother said her husband was a lapsed Catholic, and she'd always wanted to "believe in something." This is pretty similar to us, except Ken is a lapsed Presbytarian, although he swung all the way to atheism, and I also feel like I'd like to believe in something. I know Emily has definitely hinted at wanting to believe in something, so I let her go. Besides, the church in question is very liberal and one of the least "churchy" churches out there.

After she got home I asked Emily how it went. She said she loved church and that it was a lot of fun. She said they heard a story in Sunday school about David. She said "There is way more to it than what he did with one rock and that guy Goliath. He was also a terrible king who made a bunch of women leave their husbands and marry him to make his kids. He would also take people's stuff if he wanted it. He was a real jerk off."

Wow. My child learned "jerk off" in Sunday school. Liberal church indeed.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Skippy Situation or Time To Say Goodbye

A friend called this morning with an interesting situation; the humane disposal of an unwanted pet. We discussed it for a while and concluded the only reasonable thing would be for me to pose her dilemma to the internet. Hence, I am the spokesperson asking your opinion: What do you think should happen to Skippy The Mouse?

About a year and a half ago Skippy was purchased as a very young white mouse from a local pet store, where he’d been born several weeks earlier. He and two of his siblings were intended as dinner for the purchaser’s son’s snake. The snake, however, had other ideas. Apparently Hades* is a very discriminating snake with a delicate palate which does not include white mice. He wouldn’t eat them. So the father of the boy with the snake, instead of returning Skippy and his brethren to the pet store, set them free amongst the wilds of his cul-de-sac backyard. (Please remember we are not here today to judge anyone on his relative decency, humanity, compassion or stupidity.) This backyard just so happens to be next door to my friend’s back yard.

My friend was outside, enjoying a balmy summer’s early evening when she spotted something white moving in the grass. Upon further inspection she was shocked to realize she was seeing a tiny, white mouse. She and her son were charmed to discover a rather friendly mouse that did not try to run away or act afraid of them or have any other discernable mouse-like characteristics except for a tiny cute nose and adorably twitchy whiskers set upon a whimsical face framed by darling little mousy ears. She was smitten. She picked him up, brought him inside her house, thus rescuing him, and named him Skippy. She and her son took fine & loving care of Skippy. They kept him in his own mouse habitat, safe & comfortable. They fed him well on a diet of wholesome, delicious mouse food, fresh water and occasional cut-up vegetable snacks. By all accounts, Skippy’s is a very good life indeed, especially for a little mouse living on borrowed time.

Then Skippy began to mature and started acting like the fully-grown, sexually frustrated, pissed off & resentfully imprisoned male mouse that he is. This brings us to today, whereupon Skippy has become an unhappy, hostile adult mouse of the most disagreeable kind. He jumps. He bites. He attacks. He bites. He stinks. He is… unpleasant, to say the least. My friend and her son are gentle, thoughtful, kind & compassionate people. They have been reduced to muttering “I really hate Skippy” and “Get me the thick leather glove so I can change Skippy’s water” and “He just won’t die” and “How long can he possibly live, anyway?” (About another 2-4 years if the internet is to be believed, and why shouldn’t it?) There was even a short period of time when Skippy was, through a series of unfortunate miscommunications, neglected and denied food & water. But still, Skippy thrived. This mouse is a true survivor. Skippy is also a huge pain in the ass. The question to you, dear reader, is what should my friend do with Skippy? Suggestions so far:

  1. Toss him outside & let him figure it out.

  2. Grin & bear it. Continue caring for him until he dies a natural death.

  3. Try to find him a new home where a feral mouse will be warmly welcomed.

  4. Turn him loose in a location deemed likely to already support a mouse population.

  5. My personal favorite, return him to the store, by whatever means necessary.

  6. Other.

Actually, option 2 isn’t really an option, as there are other, extenuating circumstances which I am barred from sharing. Just know this, Skippy must go. At this point, he is wholly unwelcome and it is time for him to be scurrying along.

Note: The addition of a cat into this particular household is not an option for allergenic reasons. While a cat would certainly “handle” the Skippy situation in a natural, circle-of-life kind of way, foresight predicts a Fluffy situation would soon follow.

I put it upon you, my dear internet friends, what do you think? Ideas? Suggestions? Anyone want a mouse?

* name changed.