Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lies, Lies, Everywhere are Lies

I've been lying to my children since before they could understand words. Case in point: Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny. Many parents do not indulge in this practice and Mr. Farklepants is one such person who did not want to perpetuate these tall tales to our own children. But he indulged me and let me have my fun. I have led my children to believe that the aforementioned mythical characters do exist. And it's been a fun ride. My boys are a little older and wiser and certainly wise to their mother. Boy-Child#1 told me point blank while we were out doing some last minute Christmas shopping when he was about eleven, and I quote, "Mom, I don't believe in Santa Claus". End quote. Which, I wasn't surprised. I mean, he was eleven and I assumed he didn't really buy the whole charade anymore but neither of us had brought it up, because, why bother? He had enjoyed it and was excited to help keep up pretenses for his younger brother and sister.

Boy-Child#2 came to me just before Easter the year he was about eight and straight up confessed that the whole Easter Bunny thing just made zero sense. A bunny? Comes into your house and hides eggs? What? He quickly put two and two together and realized that the Tooth Fairy didn't exist either but he wasn't exactly kicking his dollar he received for each tooth out of bed either. With those two figured out he came to the next logical conclusion about Santa. That doesn't stop him from expecting a gift from that big, fat lie, mind you. He enjoys the tradition.

Girl-Child, however, is still a firm believer in all of the above. She's seven and still innocent, and believe you me, once she fell in love with Justin Bieber, I was worried that it was all over. (side note: DAMN YOU JUSTIN BIEBER!!!) But I fear that the magic that is Santa Claus will soon come to an end. Because? CARPOOL. (side note: DAMN YOU CARPOOL!!!). One little girl took it upon herself today to ask Girl-Child if she believed in Santa. I understand kids are kids and if they're hip to a secret then they want to share what they know. This knowledge of the psychology of children did not stop me from becoming instantly hot and sweaty and all eyes-darty, trying to read my daughter's face and simultaneously turn up the Kids Bop 18 and try desperately to change the subject because the next words that were coming out of that little girl's mouth were that A) She didn't believe, and B) something about parents. Honestly, I don't know exactly because I was too busy trying to start a conversation with Girl-Child about who is it that is singing the song currently playing PLEASE PAY ATTENTION ONLY TO MEEEEEEE!!!

I don't know what in the Sam hill I'm going to do tomorrow if the subject is revisited.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blink

I know it's been a while since I've written anything in my little space on the web. It's just... I've been in this funk and it's taken me a while to realize what my fricken deal is, and it's this: I feel like I'm missing it. And "it" is not my blog. "It" is my children. See, Boy-Child#1 started high school this year, HIGH EFFING SCHOOL! I mean, MY GOD! How is this possible? No, seriously, where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was building a tower of blocks on one side of the living room floor just to entice him to crawl to me and knock it down. Over and over we would play this game and it was a never ending source of entertainment for the both of us.

I can barely remember Boy-Child#2 learning to walk and now he's old enough to walk home from school. And honest to God, people? I don't remember my daughter as a baby. I clearly remember her at 3 years old, but an infant? I have to really concentrate to capture that memory. I've reached the point where I have to consult their respective baby books to familiarize myself with their first words, when they cut their first tooth, how long they were at birth and how much they weighed. Well, except for Boy-Child#1 who weighed in at 9 pounds 7 ounces and you just don't forget passing a Mac truck through your vagina. You're welcome. When a child that large is ripped from your loins-literally and figuratively-, it tattoos the number on the left side of your cerebrum in neon colors.

I'm only 38 years old. How can my memory be that shot to hell? And I'm super freakin' lucky to be a full time stay at home mom. I have been present for every. single. thing. How can time still be whipping by so fast that I'm forgetting so many details that I thought could never be forgotten? I blinked. And time betrayed me. I stop and think of the time that has gone by and the future that still lay ahead and realize that what has already passed is such a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. If I am, in fact, middle aged, and God willing I live to reach eighty, then I still have a whole 'nother lifetime ahead.



And I've had this realization: the time you're allotted with your children, as children? Simply isn't long enough. I'm already starting to miss them because I know... I'll blink again and at their wedding or the birth of another grandchild, I won't be able to remember them at seven, ten, and thirteen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dear LAX, Tear Down this Wall!

Usually when I'm picking someone up from the airport, I will park and meet them at baggage claim. Yesterday, however, I was running a bit late. See, my niece is getting married this weekend and since she lives three hours north of me, she asked if I could do her a solid and pick up her best friend and former college roommate from LAX since her plane was landing midday and my niece wouldn't even be getting off work until 5pm. I'm a giver...all about helping the family out, especially a bride to be. I was armed with her friend's cell phone number and flight information and I mean, really - HOW HARD CAN THIS BE? Right? Uhhh...

I've only met the friend one time and I could vaguely remember what she looks like BUT! She had texted me that she had landed and was waiting outside her terminal on the sidewalk and I texted her back that I was at the airport but still working my way through OMG SO MUCH TRAFFIC GAH!!! ...and gave her the description of my car and that I would be pulling up shortly.

Easier said than done.

Picking someone up curbside at LAX is a little like trying to plow through the security gates of the Berlin Wall -in rush hour traffic. There are hundreds of travelers milling about and rushing both to AND fro. While you're craning your neck and searching for your passenger that is somewhere on that sidewalk you're also trying to avoid getting plowed by an airport shuttle, taxi, or fellow vehicle as they recklessly dart away from the curb and also staying vigilant to grab the next opening to pull up to the curb before someone else grabs it. It's hectic and stressful and sucks all kinds of ass.

As luck (for lack of a better word and believe me, there are better) would have it, just as I reached the location where the friend claimed she was, a taxi pulled out and I grabbed his spot [Note to taxi drivers at LAX: What's with all the honking? Calm down.]

Now here is where I made my first mistake: Because I was so distracted with trying to spot the friend in the crowd and simultaneously find an opening to pull up, and avoid getting in any kind of fender bender, and avoid nailing a pedestrian...I inadvertently pulled up BEHIND THE TAXI ONLY LINE. Oh. My. Hell. This was bad, people. This was a major no-no and I was about to be schooled on the proper procedure for navigating one's self through LAX.

I no sooner pulled into that spot when an airport policeman appeared out of no-effing-where -perhaps he repelled down from the ceiling all Mission Impossible like - writing my (I assume) license plate number down and was shining his flashlight in my car and in my face and then IMMEDIATELY DEMANDING MY UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. I know this is what he wanted because he was SCREAMING a steady flow of questions and rules in my face while I was still in mid-roll down window mode. It went something like this "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY ARE YOU PARKED HERE? YOU CAN'T PARK HERE! TAXI ONLY!" Me...stammer, friend, pick up, stutter, here, sputter, trying to find, stammer, sorry, didn't realize, sorrrryyy... Him: "IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR PERSON YOU KEEP DRIVING AND COME AROUND AGAIN!! YOU DON'T STOP! NOT HERE!! TAXI ONLY! YOU GO THERE!" And he gestures to pull forward.

Or so I thought. Now here's where I made my second mistake: I pulled forward. And stopped. And he struck down upon thee me and my vehicle with great vengeance and furious anger [Pulp Fiction, anyone?]. Turns out he wasn't gesturing for me to pull forward. He gestured for me to get the feck out of there. And pronto. Like, yesterday, pronto. And, boy howdy. Was he ever pissed off.

It's been a very long time since I've been yelled at by someone. And never have I been completely screamed at by a police officer. It went something like, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? I JUST TOLD YOU!!! I WILL GIVE YOU A TICKET!! YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!! GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!"

And of course I'm all kinds of stuck because I'm blocked in from front and behind and there are cars all piled up one behind the other to my left. And he won't stop screaming at me to get out of there and reminds me several times that he WILL GIVE ME A TICKET! I have all three of my kids in the car and I'm this close to crying and it's obvious by my cracking voice, and I'm hollering back at him that I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I misunderstood, I'm sorry, I'm trying to go, stuck, can't, sorry, going, sorry, I'M SO SORRY!!!

Yeah, I finally got out of there. And yeah, I finally found the friend. And yeah, there was a fire just south of my house on the way home that resulted in us getting stuck on the freeway when THEY CLOSED IT!

Then I died. The end.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey Kids, it's that Time of the Month Again!

I have a bad habit of ending up at the grocery store just about every. damn. day. And I try really hard not to do this. I make a list like a normal person, buy everything on it, and inevitably I'll end up at the store the next day because of one fricken thing I totally forgot about. And it'll be something that is really needed like an important ingredient for whatever it is I'm making for dinner that night or my husband's deodorant, or dog food. Yesterday wasn't any different. While I was there I wisely figured, hey, why don't I get everything for tomorrow night's dinner too so that I'm not right back here doing exactly this same thing. Tacos sounded like a good idea and the kids love them, so that's all made of win! And the husband tolerates them, so that's...whatever, his dinner is ready and served to him when he gets home.

I chose my white corn tortillas very carefully because, I don't know what the hell it is about tortillas, but those bad boys are super delicate. If you're not mindful you'll come home with a package full of broken, useless discs. After disregarding at least three packages I found one whose contents were in perfect condition. This was not the case when I unpacked my groceries at home. There they were, in the bag that contained...eggs of all things...the entire all ten of them broken completely in half. How in the world...?

Somewhere between placing them lovingly on the conveyor belt at the checkout to my house, they met their untimely demise. And what did I do when I found the mutilated lot of them? I acted like any other sane, rational person and hurled them across the kitchen so that they crashed against the sliding glass door. And then I cried.

You don't think that has anything to do with PMS, do you? DO YOU? I warn you that you shouldn't answer that with anything other than "no" unless you're armed with a tranquilizer gun. I'm feeling very "bear in a tree in your backyard-ish".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sand, Surf, and All Out Brawling

We've reached that point in summer vacation where the kids are getting on each others' nerves. Where the mere sight of one another causes the other to SPEAK IN ALL CAPS at the injustice that they SHARE THE SAME DWELLING AND OHMYGOD WHY ARE YOU BREATHING SO LOUD!! Consequently, I've reached the point where I have to talk myself down from dealing out backhands across their heads like an old school Italian grandmother. In this house the eye-rolling, heavy sighing, and physical combat has reached a crisis. Where crisis equals mommy is going to lose her everloving mind. I've tried sending them to neutral corners, giving them chores and tasks to complete, and getting them out of the house with family fun adventures. The latter contradicts my responsible parenting belief: never reward negative behavior. Taking them to the beach when they were foaming at the mouth with each other just moments before loading up the car hardly gives them reason to behave properly. I mean, they get the golden ticket either way.

My goal isn't to encourage repeated negative behavior, but rather, to redirect their attention. You know, like with a TODDLER. Except in this case it lead to more fights and bickering with the lovely Pacific ocean as a backdrop. I've never experienced a less relaxing day at the beach. It's also hard to elicit some sympathy from your husband, who's been at work all that day, about your stress-filled day at the beach because, you know, at least YOU WERE AT THE BEACH!

If this keeps up I'll have to threaten them with back to school shopping. At least I'll be shopping.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Trip Despite Traveling Woes

During our one hour layover in Cleveland on our way to Richmond from Los Angeles [we flew back through Houston so get your map of the United States out now to pinpoint our hopscotch across this great nation] I texted my sister to sing the praises of Continental Airlines. Check in was a snap and we left on time. We each had our own television screens with Direct TV and at least fifty channels to choose from for only a six dollar swipe of the debit card per seat that made the four hour flight seem like two, I told her. Before I knew it, it was time to board our flight for the quick jaunt to Richmond. My brother and family were waiting for us and after a joyful and tearful reunion, we headed to baggage claim.

And there is where the feeling of dread washed over me. The baggage carriage was at a stand still. Beside it, a few token unclaimed suitcases; none of which were mine. And a uniformed airport official. In his southern drawl he informed me, if it ain't here it ain't makin' it tonight.

Well, damn. I've only had my luggage lost one prior occasion and that was my infamous trip from hell. Where hell equals Florida. It was the trip that whatever could go wrong, did. And at the tail end of that particular trip, I made it home to Los Angeles but my luggage went to Dallas.

Back to our current trip, only this time I'm not alone but with three children. And no luggage. Which apparently didn't make it on the plane back in Los Angeles. [Side note: Dear LAX, I was there two hours early, so, wtf? -end side note] Everything we needed was in our suitcases. The only thing we had in our possession was the backpack we brought on the plane and there wasn't anything in there that was going to help us unless we needed a box of crayons and some Nintendo DSs to brush our teeth with, or wear.

Fortunately, we were staying with family so it wasn't the biggest inconvenience ever. And Continental KNEW where my luggage was and was preparing to deliver it to us the following day. Except that I was wearing jeans. Big whoop, right? Here's the problem. It was about sixty degrees when I left Los Angeles at 7am. And I'm always chilled on the plane.

It was ninety degrees in Richmond, Virginia with about seventy percent humidity. So basically I was in a sauna. Wearing jeans. For two days. And me without my deodorant.

Our first flight back home on Monday was delayed nearly an hour due to thunderstorms in Houston, Texas. I understand that these things cannot be helped. When we finally landed, it was at exactly the precise moment that our connecting flight was to be leaving. Fortunately, the flight was being held, but none of us making that connecting flight to Los Angeles learned this until we'd pulled into the gate. And the gate where our plane awaited was at the furthest point possible from where we presently sat.

The looks from the seated passengers on our connecting flight that had to wait for us said that they were certain I'd flown the plane from Richmond to Houston myself and decided to stop for lunch along the way JUST TO RUIN THEIR DAY.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oy! My Aching Back

When the lower part of my back first started acting up a few months ago I thought it was menstruation related (men? you're welcome) but that doesn't seem to be the case. Because it comes and goes. Or more like spasms and releases. Heavy on the spasm. I sneezed while driving the kids to school a few weeks ago and threw my back out, pretty much permanently, it seems, because apparently I'm 87 years old. And my back was all, let's see if you can move your foot to the brake? You can do it. Will it to happen. Move your leg and you better hurry because there's a red light at the bottom of this hill. I mean, I already hate sneezing while driving because it is physically impossible to sneeze with ones eyes open (try it some time and let me know how it goes) so you're temporarily blind. And driving. So now you're basically a deadly weapon...and who's in for carpool? But throw a lower back spasm into the mix and now it's: sneeze - close eyes- SCREAM! - navigate vehicle. There's a recipe for disaster [and there's a much overused metaphor that I hate but am blanking for a more suitable substitute].

This new ailment of mine vexes me because I've always been an able-bodied kind of person and not a "back problems" kind o' gal. Except for that one time when I gained 70 pounds during pregnancy and was carrying a 10 pound baby. Yeah, then. But I was fine once all that was off me. And you know what really seems to aggravate it? Bending over, even ever so slightly, like say...putting on my underpants. Or sitting in an upright position, like say, when driving or in a movie theater. Or like on an airplane which I'm about to do tomorrow. I fear when I disembark I will require wheelchair assistance.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yeah, Um, Good Luck With That

I'm used to getting the email from some con-artist in Zimbabwe or whateverthefook wanting my help in handing over my financial information or...who knows? Whatever. Like this brief message from a few days ago:

I am Shung Hin Hui, I have a business of $15.5 million for you contact me for details.

Whaaa??? For lil' ol' me? Seriously, people who fall for this? Two words: Charles Darwin.


So, I got this in my email today and we're just gonna go ahead and file it under most random wtf email ever, mmmkay?:

Hey dear!
How are you? I hope that all nice for you.
I write to you, because I want to find man from Europe.
My name is Liudmila and I am 29 years old.
I from city Zelenodolsk
And I very beautiful and friendly woman and to search for serious attitudes.
In June I wish to visit the Europe.
But I have no friends in the Europe.
Also it would be fine, if we could have a meeting in your country.
I yet have not decided what country to visit, but it would be fine if you will tell to me more about the country.
In what country you now live? Tell to me more about the country?
It will be great if you will answer to me, so we can to have communication together.
If you will reply to me I will writing to you more about me and send photo of myself.
I want only serious and long relations, I hope you support me in it.
It will be interesting to me to learn that you think of it.


Seriously, I can't make this shit up, people.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Wonder if I can Order a Clone with One-Click Shopping on Amazon?

All of the end of the school year activities are piling up on each other and when you have more than one child it is inevitable that some of these events will happen on the same day. At the same time. And there is only one you. Boy-Child#1 had his last day of school this past Thursday and all I can say is, thank GAWD. Because, as much fun as these events are, and the frustration stems from logistics, it's frustration nonetheless. I won't bore you with all of the conflicting occasions because, there are and were many, but instead we'll just focus on Tuesday, June 2nd. In the course of this day the following were scheduled:

  • 4th Grade Gold Rush Days. An all day affair in which I was scheduled to serve hot dogs from noon to 1pm to four (five?) 4th grade classrooms with about 30 children per class.
  • Get Boy-Child#1 to a mandatory dress rehearsal for the entertainment portion of his junior high school team bbq/awards ceremony happening later that evening (originally scheduled sometime the last week of May). This mandatory meeting began at 1pm and ended at 2pm. I didn't get home until 1:30pm.
  • Have Boy-Child#2 back at his elementary school by 4:30pm to perform in his class play starting at 4:45pm. Which didn't start until 5pm.
  • Have Boy-Child#1 and family at the junior high team bbq/awards ceremony... at 5pm. Also deliver 2 cases of water in an ice chest by 4:45pm.
And because it is a physical impossibility to be in two places at once, here is how the situation unfolded: Boy-Child#1 missed his mandatory rehearsal. Period. We didn't get to the bbq/awards ceremony until 6pm; fifteen minutes before Boy-Child#1 was to take the stage and play The Star Spangled Banner -all Jimmi Hendrix/Slash style on his guitar- for approximately 400 students and their families. This included frantic texting from his friends saying things like, "Dude! Where are you! The teachers are FREAKING OUT!" and "Mrs. So-n-So is mad! Where are you?!?!" -written in text speak, obvs. So I got us there with fifteen minutes to spare and now all I had to do was find a nice strong and willing Dad to give me a hand with the amp -aka The Behemoth- because I would have a stroke if I tried to carry that thing from the car to the stage. I mean, I could do it, but it would take some time. What with all the stopping and resting.

The problem is, I'm quite shy. So I had to find a dad I knew. But I know relatively few dads because of the aforementioned shyness. So I had to find a fellow mom and ask if her husband would be a doll and do me a solid. He did. And for that I thank him.

I was on my own to get it back to the car at the end of the night. And we totally had to pick up dinner AT NINE O'CLOCK because we missed the bbq altogether.

The end.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dear Jon Favreau, You'll be Happy to Know that Iron Man 2 is Still Playing to Sold Out Theaters

I've been waiting three weeks to see Iron Man 2. I admit that, as a grown woman, I have been a little bit too excited about its release. It was becoming obvious that trying to coordinate everyone's schedule so that we can all go together as a group just wasn't going to come to fruition, so today it was just the kids and I. I just spent $36.50 on the price of movie theater admission and $32.00 on snacks. That is nearly SEVENTY DOLLARS to watch Iron Man 2, only to have it interrupted repeatedly by the preschool aged children that are apparently immersed in some kind of social stunting program. You know the one where the parents don't set boundaries and let their little darlings do whatever the hell they want, no matter how much it might be bothering other people? Those parents give the rest of us a bad name. If your child doesn't have the attention span to sit through a movie in silence LIKE MY CELL PHONE IS REQUIRED TO DO, then escort them to the nearest play area and let them get the wiggles out. Rent it when it becomes available on DVD. Download that shit with video on demand. I don't care how you end up seeing it. What you should be doing is teaching your children that the world is not their oyster when it comes at the expense of other people.

It is parents like that that are raising a generation of self entitled insufferable members of society. It is parents like that that cause any adult boarding a plane with children in tow to be on the business end of the glowering, scowly, frowny-faced looks from other passengers; because the general public doesn't decipher the well-meaning parents from the lackadaisical. We're all guilty until we touchdown on that runway without incident.

When I pay to sit in a sold out theater just three rows from the screen, I didn't do it to watch your daughter dance, or sing, or swing from the hand rail, or explore in general, or talk to the other child or you. I'm sure she's a doll and a sweetheart but she is not at all interested in watching Iron Man 2. I missed key elements of the movie. I had my own children use the bathroom before we took our seats so that I wouldn't have to miss any of the movie by leaving the theater. Nor do I think I should have to by fetching an employee to tell you what the rules of the theater are. And they are this SILENCE IS GOLDEN! So stfu.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's the End of the School Year. Will that be Debit or Credit?

I don't know about you guys but the end of the school year is killing me. I always forget all the little things that add up to about one car payment. I have approximately, let's see...1, 2, 5, 7...you know what? I've lost count of the stuff that already has been or still needs to be purchased or donated in the next two weeks so let's make us a list right now, shall we? It's gonna be all kinds of super fun I JUST KNOW IT!

  1. 8th grade class panorama picture $20.00
  2. 8th grade Disneyland graduation trip $80.00
  3. 8th grade awards/bbq $24bottles of water to donate$
  4. 4th grade Gold Rush Days $An afternoon of my time plus 20 bags of popcorn$
  5. 4th grade school play $cowboy hat and vest and maybe a mustache$
  6. 1st grade Wizard of Oz play $pink tights and leotard that of course we don't already possess and pink ballet slippers that of course no longer fit my daughter because she's been taking hip hop and hasn't taken a ballet class since last June$
  7. Totally not related to the school in any way but the end of softball season is also upon us so $donate cash for team party and also for coach's gift$
  8. Girl-Child's dance recital, also not related to school but had to purchase $tickets so that we can attend you know$
  9. Plus $her costume$
  10. And of course she needs black shoes for it. DAMMIT.
  11. Klsjfojdosfosfbw.........
Tootsie apologizes for cutting it short but she realized she'll probably have to get a job to cover all of the above since she can't offer her next born as payment since that well was capped years ago.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Social Networking is Ruining Plotlines and, btw, Who did Shoot JR? I Forget.

I'm not a Lost watcher. In fact, the only television/cable show that I follow regularly nowadays is True Blood. I've never watched an episode of Nip/Tuck, Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie, Grey's Anatomy or even Dexter which I hear is truly fabulous. And once George Clooney left ER, I mean, what's the point, right? I pretty much checked out of dedicated show watching after The Sopranos and Sex and the City almost simultaneously ended, nearly killing me. I gave it another go with Deadwood and had a stroke when it came to a screeching halt after season three. I mean, kudos to them for ending at their peak and not jumping the shark, but I was in love with it and had to put David Milch straight to the "dead to me" column. I'm still mad with him YOU BASTARD! I was also watching The Office for a few seasons but, in my opinion (spoiler alert if you've never seen it), the magic ended once Pam and Jim finally became a couple. I mean, the anticipation should have been extended a season or two longer. After that it was just a series of super awkward Michael Scott moments.

Way back in the day when we were watching programs like Dallas, Falcon Crest, and Knott's Landing, hell, even Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place THE ORIGINALS PEOPLE! You watched it live unless you taped it on your VCR for your convenient viewing pleasure. There wasn't such a thing as Tivo or DVR and there certainly wasn't the giant big mouths the likes of Twitter or Facebook. God help you if you miss a program during its original air time or if you're on the west coast and have a momentary lapse in judgment and go online. You will know the details and the end before you've had a chance to witness one frame of running time or one line of dialogue. Sure, back in the old days, you might have unintenionally overheard the details over some water cooler talk, but usually if you encountered a friend or co-worker and they say to you "did you watch Melrose Place last night?" you could be all "DON'T SAY A WORD I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET!!!" and you could still look forward to a good story.

But the Tweeters and Facebookers today...what the hell, guys? Why this need to let everyone know that you're in the know and prove it by LIVE TWEETING/STATUS UPDATING the plotline? There's no reason for me to ever rent the series of Lost. It would be like buying a book after someone has already spilled the delicious ending for me. Why. Bother. Even Yahoo News couldn't wait to tell me who won The Celebrity Apprentice.

Dear Internet: SHUT UP!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Now I Just Need to Buy a Tan because I Hate to Sweat

Once upon a time, in another life, one where I had a job outside the home, no children, and had things like co-workers...I had one such co-worker who really admired my sense of style, which is complimentary [Dear Tootsie: two words - shorter sentences]. The downside to that was we would often have the same clothes. Worse, she really liked the perfumes I wore and would buy them. Then take a bath in Coco Chanel, Estee Lauder's Beautiful and White Linen, Clinique's Happy, and dozens of others. To the point I could barely stand the scent of them at all, switch to something new, only to encounter the same predicament over and over. I never said anything because, whatever, I don't own the perfume market and people are free to wear what they want. But it bugged the ever-lovin' out of me nonetheless. Because of that experience I try very hard not to mimic anyone's style sense too closely. At least not in their presence. Heh.

Cut to yesterday, bathing suit shopping at the local Target with Sisters Number One and Number Two. Sister Number Two was lamenting how she'd found a suit there that she REALLY LIKED LIKE A WHOLE LOT but the bottoms were a little too, you know, big (i.e. mommish) for her taste. Once I saw the suit I knew what she meant. And I could see why she REALLY LIKED IT LIKE A WHOLE LOT because it was super cute. I could also see why she wasn't a fan of the bottoms because she's more of a string bikini kind of gal and when you're eighteen and built with an ass you can serve tea on - all perky, high, and tight - you don't want to cover all that up. Unlike yours truly whose ass has lost its tone and has evolved into a lot of loose skin that has pulled away from the muscle DAMN YOUS A SEXY BETCH!

She encourages me to try it on because, hell, someone might as well have it! So I take it and one additional suit into the dressing room right behind Sister Number One who has about twelve bathing suits in her rotation -because when you're twenty one and all slim and perfect a body that isn't covered in the potholes from pregnancy EVERY bathing suit looks good on you and it just becomes a matter of which one to spend your hard earned money on especially when they only charge you for the bottoms, riiiiightt Sister Number One? WIN!! - I don't need to tell any of you what a royal pain in the ass it is to find a suit that works for you and you usually just end up settling for the one that looks the least worst. Just ask my bottom dresser drawer...it is lousy with them. But turn me upside down and paint me blue! BOTH bathing suits that I tried on were totally perfect! Except that they're both halter top style that tie around the neck and will probably give me rope burns on my super prominent collar bones, btw, thanks mom for that and while I'm at it the little pocket of fat above my elbows I. am. you.

The bathing suit that Sister Number Two may borrow anytime she wants because I totally stole it from her:




And the back-up:

Friday, April 23, 2010

April Showers Bring BOSSY

Bossy was in town for her (No)Book Tour to promote the book she didn't write. And thanks be to Bossy for driving cross country to bring people together! Several bloggers, of the mommy variety and otherwise, gathered at a little restaurant in Encino to get to know each other outside of our respective blogs. Due to babysitting snafus and a softball practice we did not attend, I arrived about an hour late with Girl-Child in tow, and happy to see many familiar faces from Bossy's Excellent Road Trip two years ago.

(And here would be the picture to, you know, represent (**pounds fist to chest and gives peace sign to the sky**), if someone had bothered to pull her camera out of her bag even just once during the evening, but she didn't because she figured Bossy would take plenty and then someone could just link to Bossy because her pictures are better anyway)

Once we all had our fill of appetizers, Bossy had us go around the table and tell a little something about what makes us, us. Or perhaps tell something surprising about ourselves that we wouldn't know about the other just from reading blogs. PRESSURE!

Aunt Snow from Doves Today took the lead and holymotherofgod she was a hard act to follow. I mean, it's not like I'd ever up and joined the circus -and no I'm not kidding THAT is what we had to follow and WHO LET HER GO FIRST? That's no opening act! That's the main attraction! And since I was so busy being engrossed in her anecdote, and that of Smacksy who was next, I didn't have anything prepared to say about myself. Now, of course, with several days to think about it, I've come up with ...well I still haven't. I tripped over my words and wondered if I got even half of a story out. I started off talking about how I grew up in a small town suburb of Los Angeles and then somehow ended up telling about how I met my husband and then I felt like I'd been talking for too long and then just kind of brought the whole thing to a screeching halt. Then the next guest started speaking and I'm sitting there going, wtf, Tootsie? Did you say ANYTHING? Certainly not anything surprising about myself or anything anyone who reads my blog wouldn't already know. I think it's safe to say that I can scratch "writing my memoirs" off my list of things to accomplish before I bite the dust.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gonna Need a Price Check on that, Herb

When I am shopping, I have this amazingly annoying ability to grab the one item that does not contain a price tag. I can pick up two of one item, compare, decide which one I want and put the one WITH THE PRICE back on the shelf. Depending on where I shop, this can be a problem. Some retailers know their merchandise and it's absolutely not an inconvenience to the people standing in line behind me because the clerk does not miss a beat in ringing me up. Then there are those other stores where the cashier expects the customer to know exactly how much each item in their shopping cart costs.

For instance today. I had a handful of stuffs and the ten items or less aisle was clear. The scanning of said items was moving along quite nicely, albeit slowly, until the plastic container used to transport liquids made it into the cashiers hot little hands. That's when everything came to a screeching halt. "There's no price", she says - out loud. But the look on her face indicated that this was a problem with which I was to deal.

I know it's hard to determine from this blog but I'm normally an easy going kinda gal. But this was the ten items or less lane and I had ten minutes to finish up this bullpucky and pick up my kid from school. -And I was already mad about the fact that it was raining on my car the one I just got washed yesterday and that the hem of my pants and up to my ankles were soaked I do not like to be wet. Put Tootsie in wet clothes and you get one cranky Tootsie- So I says to the lady, okay well it's like a dollar-sixty-seven or something. Because believe it or not I did not memorize the exact price of everything I decided to buy, shocker, I know right?

Perhaps I should have stated the price with some authority...It's A DOLLAR SIXTY SEVEN! and left out the "like" and the "or something" because then she was all, we're going to have to check. Really? REALLY? It's not like I was trying to make off with a Blu Ray player for a buck sixty seven! It was a little plastic container, not quite Rubbermaid but graduated from Ziplock. For this she was going to hold up the express lane as long as I was willing to play along. And who was this "we" to which she refers? I don't work there. Does she think I'm going to run to the back of the store for a buck sixty seven? ohmygod-no.

You know what? She didn't want me to either. She was willing to lose that sale than have to find out the price...or BELIEVE THE WORDS THAT WERE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH. I know this because the rest of my items weren't allowed to be rung up until I blinked in this stare off. She stood there. Staring at me. Holding the item up for my review. Daring me.

Forget it, I don't want it. I tell her. I think I saw a slow small smile creep across her face. And I swear to GAWD I heard someone in line behind me heave a sigh of relief. And to that dude, you're welcome because I totally could have been that customer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I've Got a Fat Secret

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I shed a few pounds to get some room to play around with. You know, play, fun games like eating several helpings of juicy turkey and sucking the gravy from your mashed potato volcano, and extra marshmallows on your yams, and a generous serving of cranberry sauce in the shape of the can from which it came...and pumpkin pie for dessert- then again before you go to bed - then for breakfast. What? It so does go with coffee.

Before you know it it's March and you're still on the field, in the zone, and the coach hasn't benched you in months. When you look in the mirror you exclaim "Holy Muffin Top, Batman!" and you can't exactly use "the holidays" as an excuse anymore. You pull yourself aside and have a meeting about overindulgence and how it's time to knock it off and design a plan to get it together WOMAN! You're not twenty anymore, Ms. Farklepants! You can't just skip a couple of dinners and lose five pounds and be fabulous in those pants. Not. At. All.

I'm a late afternoon snacker. I adore the salty snacks during those pre-dinner hours. And this just will not do. So I decided to start documenting everything I eat and to help keep track I joined Fat Secret. I enter all the foods I've eaten for the day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and wine, gin, vodka, rum other. When you have to enter your intake it really makes you think twice about what you put in your mouth. Stop it. Stop it right now. Yes, you too.

I've been trying to keep my daily calorie total between 1200 and 1400, and I've been doing a pretty good job of sticking to that number except for the recent trip to Las Vegas this past weekend to celebrate my sister's twenty-first birthday which I'm not going to elaborate on but suffice it to say that the night included me doing this:



And that's all I'm going to say about that because: self explanatory. Needless to say, about 3000 calories were consumed in one evening and when I got on the scale Monday morning, after two weeks of due diligence I lost a whopping....ONE POUND. Clearly, what happens in Vegas...stays on your ass.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Spring and a Break is Needed

I come off looking like a disorganized dolt in this little tale so I'm going to start by saying this: My elementary school children and my junior high schooler do not have the same spring break (should that be capitalized? Google is torn). Boy-Child#2 and Girl-Child have two weeks off and Boy-Child#1 has one week, which is the second week of Boy-Child#2 and Girl-Child's break. So they eventually merge. And even though it makes it so that I can't plan anything that isn't local until they're all out at the same time, it's not a horrible arrangement.

This year the elementary school break starts the last week of March; the week that ties into April. And for whatever reason, even though it's written on the calendar clear as day, I had it in my head that this was the last week of March. All this past week, whenever there was whining over getting out of bed in the morning, or grumbling about homework, and OHMYFREAKENLORD the science fair project that needed completing...I would appease the chi-drens with "this is your last week and then it's SPRING BREAK!!!" YAYWOOTWOOTREJOICING! I sent them off to school this morning with a this is your last day yayyy!!

I set off to the grocery store to gather the necessary items one would stock their shelves with when having the kids at home all day. And it was here that I ran into two of my girlfriends. One was there shopping for a camping trip.

"For spring break?" I ask.

"No, just the weekend." she says.

It took me like three days to load my basket onto the conveyor belt and I was all, I bought a ton of stuff. And they note how it's mostly kiddie snacks and I'm like, yeah...getting ready for spring break and the kids being home this week.

What. Are. You. Talking. About?

Today is the last day and then it's spring break <---this was said with a lot less confidence and enthusiasm than when the conversation started. Because our kids go to the same school.

Ummm...yeah...that's next week.

After the three of us and the cashier collected ourselves from fits of laughter I was finally able to say: Man. Are my kids gonna be bummed.

And they were. Not to mention both of them told me I was wrong the second I picked them up from school.

The end.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Will Hurt Me More than it Hurts You...Or Will it?

Today was one of those days when I felt like a big, steaming pile of poo. You know those moments, as a parent, when you have to do something because it's the right thing...nay...the responsible parent thing? But it kills you to do it?

Quick side note to bring you up to speed: Our neighbors down the street are moving, out of state, and are taking their ten year old son with them...the gall! And this boy and Boy-Child#2 are like *this*. They play outside together almost daily. And fight and piss each other off about once every other month. But they always eventually make up and are back to daily outside adventures. So these neighbors are moving. Tomorrow. Meaning, this was the boys' very last weekend to play together. And they'll probably never see each other again.

Well, except maybe on Facebook.

Okay, well, this past Friday afternoon, Boy-Child#2 found himself grounded. I'm not going to go into detail as to why, but believe me the punishment was dealt swiftly and justly. And that punishment includes but is not limited to: no video games, no computer, and no playing outside.

I am a stick to my guns kind of parent, people. I don't cave. I don't make deals. Otherwise kids will know that there are no real consequences to their behavior - and that their parents are pussies. Not this mama.

Boy-Child#2 spent the weekend working on his science fair project and enjoyed reading a book; not an altogether horrible experience. Until the boy down the street came to the door today to see if Boy-Child#2 could "play out" - that's what the kids call it these days. I hear them murmur to each other through the screen door and my son comes to me to ask if he can play. I tell him that he is grounded and the answer is no. And I say it loud enough so that Neighbor Boy can hear so that Boy-Child#2 won't have to explain it himself. He's got his street cred to protect.

There's more conversation between the screen in hushed voices and Boy-Child#2 pleads again...Mommy PLLLEEEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSEE it's his last day to plaaaayyyyy. And again I tell him no. And with that he closed the door.

And my heart broke for him. But I was sticking to my guns [Editor's Note: that sound you just heard was Tootsie, writing, using past tense]. I started an argument in my own head... this is their last day to play together how can you be sooo mean?! ... He should have thought about that before he got himself grounded ... he's eleven and hasn't mastered the art of abstract thought ... please, the kids a genius, he knows what's up .... even still... I can't back down ... he will blame you for this forever ... you're so dramatic ... and you're being harsh. The voices in my head told me to consult with Mr. Farklepants.

Dear Husband, what's a mom to do?

Mr. Farklepants: let him go out and explain that this is a special circumstance and he's still grounded. You're making too big a deal out of this.

Hmmph.

It was already 6pm. Boy-Child#2 was allowed to play outside one last time until dinner at 7pm.

Good thing we turned the clocks forward or it would have been too dark and too late.

I am curious though, what would you have done?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighting the Signs of Aging and Losing the Battle

The thing about me is this...I'm vain. I'm very concerned with how I look and the depth of that concern varies from situation to situation. If I have a new outfit, fresh haircut and color, or something as simple as a manicure or a brow wax; it makes it that much easier to get out of bed in the morning. I'm working on this illness. Sort of. Not really. Whatever. I've kind of always been this way. Like the time in my early twenties when I broke down and bought myself a new car -then promptly went to the mall and put myself in debt buying new clothes to go with it. I mean, wtf? Who does that?

Unless I'm going to work out, I rarely leave the house without putting myself together. The problem I'm finding lately is: my face. It is aging. And the progression seems to speed up with each passing month. I'm pretty sure my youthful appearance peaked in 2006. And I've been on a downward spiral ever since. It has got to the point, no matter how much of any age defying product I slather on my face, that this practice is becoming a costly exercise in fail. It does nothing except give me hope that eventually something might work. And I've come to the realization that I've reached a crossroads. Where crossroads equals I'm going to have to start paying dearly to get my face back. I've been thinking...drumroll....Botox. Now before you all lose your freaking minds at that last statement, let's weigh the pros and cons.

Pro: one of my close girlfriends recently invested in a Botox/Resylane combo. She looked amazing! It was like someone turned her clock back five years and unless she told you; you'd never know. So I high-fived her and then followed it up with a secret hand shake-fist-chest bump combo. Then she told me...

Con: It cost FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS and only lasts THREE TO FOUR MONTHS.

And that was the end for me. It's simply not in the budget for me to drop five hundred bones every three months into my face. I'd rather have new floors in the house. Or a new stove. Or a trip to France. Perhaps I'll try to work in a more affordable bi-weekly facial so that I can have flawless non-existent pores like a certain blogger who shall remain Bossy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tootsie's Academy Awards Pre-Cap. Reporting to You Live From the Red Carpet


Get your game face on, folks, cuz it's Oscar weekend and time to discuss the time honored tradition that will take place this Sunday. In order to do this, Vintage Thirty takes you live to the red carpet.



Why yes, the red carpet is covered in a thick sheet of plastic that sounds like bubble wrap when walked on, but red carpet nonetheless.

Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes:"Tootsie, who are you wearing?"
Tootsie: "I'm wearing my Hudson jeans and a black sweater that I got for 80% off from Kohl's, the boots are from someone whose name escapes me at the moment, but trust me, they were a steal"
Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "What a major coups! But forgetting the designer's name is a major red carpet faux pas"
Tootsie: "Faux pas? Isn't that one of the Jolie-Pitt kids' names?"
Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "No, that's Pax, Knox, and Maddox."
Tootsie: "So you understand my confusion"
Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "Certainly"
Tootsie: "They're probably saving 'Faux Pas' for the next child"
Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "Most likely"

The crew is working hard making all the necessary preparations for Hollywood's elite to stay warm and dry. Including Oscar himself.





In case anyone is confused why Hollywood Boulevard and the surrounding streets are shut down, there are plenty of clues to let you know why.




Vintage Thirty takes it to the street to get the people's opinion. Let's ask this gentleman hanging upside down from the streetlight; he looks like a local.

Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "What do you say Spiderman?"
Spiderman: "Am I allowed to climb the Oscar statue? And will you give me a tip if I do?"
Vintage Thirty Correspondent in Blue & White Stripes: "Shooo...you crazy. Back to you Tootsie."

Let's check in with one of our own correspondents from the Vintage Thirty team.

Tootsie: "What is your opinion of all these preparations, DorothyZ, and do you think George Clooney would be willing to leave his hot Italian girlfriend at home and bring me as his date instead?"
DorothyZ: "Dream on, sister. And I'm just here to take pictures, strike a pose Tootsie."



Tootsie: "Hey, you're aces, DorothyZ. Is there anything else you'd like to add?"
DorothyZ: "Yeah, what does a bitch have to do to get some lunch up in this joint?"
Tootsie: "Excellent question, DorothyZ. Let's scour the premises to find Salmon Farfalle."




Tootsie: "Well done. Good work, team. Any closing thoughts you'd like to share with our audience?"
DorothyZ: "Yeah, ladies is pimps too."

Word, DorothyZ. Word. See you at the Oscars.






*pictures by Dorothy Z. No actual pictures of Dorothy Z.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Carly, iCarly, iWatch iCarly

When it comes to television, Girl-Child has always been a little bit ahead of her age range. For instance, she was enjoying Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Odd Parents long before she discovered the crack magic of the Teletubbies and Blue's Clues. So it was no surprise when she got hooked on the shows Drake and Josh and Ned's Declassified, part of the Teen Nick lineup on Nickelodeon. She's been an avid iCarly watcher since it debuted in 2007. In case you're not familiar, iCarly is about two junior high school girls, Carly and Sam, and their friend Freddy who shoot a webcam show from Carly's apartment that she shares with her adult brother, Spencer. Cute show. Funny moments. All innocent enough.

This season, however, the kids seem to have been shot out of the puberty cannon and there seems to be a lot of like-liking going on. And kissing. And Girl-Child's favorite episodes are those with the kissing. My daughter may only be six years old but she's six going on twelve. Physically, she looks eight. And at the rate she's growing she'll hit puberty herself in about two and a half years. Mentally she just needs to knock it off. Her brain and its mature thoughts are going to be the end of me.

Let me throw a for instance into the middle of this post: Halloween. 2009. The Party City catalog arrives filled with page after colorful page of mostly slutty costumes. Many worn by holymotherofGAH! children. Girl-Child points to a tween ladybug getup and I'm all, ummm...no. I redirect her to the more age appropriate ladybug and add that she will also wear a long sleeved leotard and black tights to cover all the necessary areas. No six year old daughter of mine is going to walk around with a skirt up to there and all her business hanging out. Neither will my sixteen year old daughter if I have anything to say about it -which I might not but let me have my fantasy moment where I believe I actually have control. Ahem. Anyway, the ladybug. So I sit her down and have a little chat about children and maturity and what is acceptable and what isn't. That's when she points to the photo of the sexy policewoman and the sexy bunny and tells me that she wants to be that, you know, when she grows up. Naturally.

faints. dies.

Just days before the costume incident, Mr. Farklepants and I were discussing successful parenting and we came to the conclusion that if we can get all three kids to graduate high school, keep them out of jail, hopefully encourage them to go to college, and keep Girl-Child from getting pregnant before finishing school, then we've done a decent enough job. I mean, right?

Back to the evening of the costume incident: Later that evening, after I was revived from fainting and dying, Girl-Child is talking about the future and telling us that when she's a grownup Mr. Farklepants and I will be Grandma and Grandpa. I look at Mr. Farklepants and say, "judging by her costume selection that day will probably come much sooner than we'd hoped".

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Office will Become Boy-Child#2's Bedroom...Again




Once upon a time, the room featured above belonged to an infant Boy-Child#2. Which would explain the yellow walls and the Winnie the Pooh light switch plate still in place. And I will tell you, he was never a fan of his own living space. He rarely slept there, especially once the night terrors set in around a few months after his first birthday. And any parent who has had to deal with night terrors feels my pain -a word of encouragement, however, after nine years those wretched nights are just a vague memory. We often resorted to bringing him to bed with us just so we COULD GET SOME SLEEP which started a vicious cycle. He pretty much never slept a full night in his own room after that. We tried letting him cry it out. While that worked for Boy-Child#1 when he was old enough to no longer require night time feedings, and took about three full nights for him to become an all night sleeper...Boy-Child#2 had stamina. He never gave in. And we had a toddler in our bed for quite some time. Even when he inherited the super cool race car toddler bed from Boy-Child#1, he couldn't be convinced that it was the best place for sleep. I think he slept in it ONCE. yay.

It was clear that the boy did not like to sleep in a room alone.

We finally came up with the brilliant idea to have the boys share a room. When we handed down the super cool race car bed to Boy-Child#2 we had already purchased bunk beds for Boy-Child#1. The thinking behind that was there would be a bed handy for any future sleepovers. So really no preparations were needed to make the sharing of the room happen. Except to convince the toddler that he would be sleeping there. It took a few nights - I think, the memory, it's fuzzy - but we had success.

Then I got pregnant with Girl-Child. We decided that since the boys were going to be sharing a room we would turn the loft into a bedroom because the living space was significantly larger. Then we would give Girl-Child the boys' old bedroom and turn Boy-Child#2's abandoned bedroom into the office.

Confused yet? Yes, there was a lot of scrambling around and some construction that remains incomplete to this day don't get me started but bingbamboom! The transformation was complete mostly.

Now the boys are 13 and 10 years old, respectively, and the office has become a giant storage slash catchall slash waste of space. And the boys want their own rooms. The time has come to get rid of some crap, make some space, transition all the stuff.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If I Don't Write it Down, it Ain't Happenin'

The older I get, the more forgetful I become. Especially once one has children and those children each have several schedules and agendas, and places they need to be, and things that need to be done, well, if I don't write it down on my trusty kitchen calendar; it most likely won't happen. Not everything, of course, because some things are an ongoing activity that happens at the same time every time. But those random projects or ventures can throw us for a loop. Because this mom forgets.

For instance, just last month, we completely and totally missed a GATE meeting for Boy-Child#2. A meeting where the students were going to present the movies of which they'd worked so hard to create. They were put into groups and among themselves they selected who would write the script, the art director, the director, and so forth. All of the information for the program was sent home at the beginning of the year and in that information was a list of meetings, details, and corresponding dates. I immediately wrote down all of which needed writing down on my calendar. A note from the principal was sent home just before winter break to remind us of this particular special meeting. Knowing that I had already written the date down and circled it on the calendar, I didn't bother double checking. And it didn't register as I read it that the note mentioned the date as THE DAY BEFORE the one I already had written down. In other words, they had changed the date. But they didn't say Hey, the date has been changed so please make a note to self. No. Nor did it register that the date had been changed to Wednesday instead of Thursday when I read the January school schedule of events. All I saw was "4th grade GATE 5:30pm" and was all confident that it was already noted on my calendar.

Enter that Wednesday evening. 6:15pm. Boy-Child#2 looks right at me while I'm checking the chicken that has already been in the oven for half an hour and was twenty minutes away from being done.

"Aren't we going to my thing tonight?" he asks.
"What thing?" I say, somewhat distracted.
"To see my movie".
"That's tomorrow night" I say with confidence.
"Hmmm", and he screws up his face, "My teacher said it was tonight that's why we were getting everything ready today".
"Nooooo....it's tomorrow night, see?" and I point at the circle on the calendar. "The fifth graders are doing theirs tonight."

Yes, that's right. I'm arguing with him. Because, dammit! I wrote it down!

And round and round we went until I remembered the additional note sent home and the January school calendar...and I started to get nervous. Because I knew I hadn't double checked the dates. I fished them out of my pile of important school papers that I keep nearby and THERE IT IS! MOTHER EFFER!!! I start barking out orders to Boy-Child#2 to throw on some shoes and a jacket and dinner orders to Boy-Child#1 to turn the oven off when the timer rings and to keep an eye on his sister because GO GO GO IT'S GO TIME MOVE!!! In the car, driving like a mad woman thank god the school is close by.

We RUN to the multi-purpose room and? Empty. Lights are on but chairs are empty. And in walks one lone fourth grade teacher. I'm sure I was a sight. Usually I'm very put together when I'm going to be out there in public but I had left the house in a frenzy of panic and I hadn't planned on being anywhere but home cooking dinner. And there I am, breathless, confused, and waving my papers with conflicting dates in front of me....and mostly, feeling like a giant pile of shit because I'd let my son down. He was so excited to have me see his movie. He talked of nothing else the whole month of November when they worked on it. And we missed it.

And there I am trying to explain that really I'm not a bad mother here look...conflicting dates! And I'm sure not all of the information that was in my head was making its way clearly out of my mouth. You know how it is when YOU know something because it's right there in YOUR brain and you kind of just assume that the person you're talking to has all the same information you have so they're only getting bits and pieces of the whole story? No? Well, that's me.

So, yeah. We missed it. And that lone fourth grade teacher felt REALLY BAD. And judging by the sign in sheets still neatly placed on the table; I was the only parent not to notice the discrepancy. That's me, people. It's just how I do.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because a couple of weeks ago I posted about some baking that I did, and a lovely reader named Lisa came out of lurkdom to specifically request the recipe for the Cheese Crowns. And, you guys? I didn't write it down. So here you go, Lisa. This one's for you:

(click picture to enlarge)



**as a side note regarding the baking time, we found that the 15 minutes was long enough and didn't bother with the whole reducing the temperature to 375* and baking for another 5 to 7 minutes. The pastry was already golden brown as seen below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leave Tootsie Allooooonnee...

How unprofessional is it when a major corporation calls your house to solicit your business and refers to you by your first name only? Like we're old friends? Like we're FAMILIAR? What's worse is that AT&T this company has called my house at least six times in the last two weeks [an estimate, I wish I'd documented it] and half of those calls began with, "Hello, Tootsie?" [not really "Tootsie" but my real name, of course, but for blogging purposes we'll keep it anonymous] and the other half of those calls were, "Hello, Ms. Ranch?" which is not at all my last name anonymously or in real life. With the first phone call I didn't listen to enough of their spiel to learn what it is that they wanted me to "save money" on, but I do know enough about life to know that they're not saving my money they want MORE of my money by selling me services that I may or may not already aquire from another source. So that initial call ended with my "no thank you, not interested". Apparently this causes your name to be tossed back into the list of calls to be made in the near future. Kind of like lalalalala...we can't hear you...lalalala...The next few calls were met with a simple, "no thanks". The second to the last call was met with "Yes this is Tootsie but Ranch is not my last name and I've already told you guys the last few times you've called that I'm not interested", which prompted the stooge on the other end of the line to quip "you're not INTERESTED in SAVING MONEY?!?!" which prompted me to promplty hang up on them.

The last call was today. This time the woman on the other end not only referred to me by my first name only, but wholly butchered its pronounciation. I immediately knew who AT&T it was. Now I was just mad because, wtf? Are they just going to keep calling until I say yes? Tootsie doesn't play that game. I finally had to be super rude which I don't like doing at all, and said "look, you AT&T people have called me at least six times in the last two weeks and I'm not interested! Would you please take me off of whatever list it is of whatever you're trying to sell?" And hung up. I'm sure they'll call back tomorrow asking for Tootsie Ranch. People are always trying to sell you shit.

It's bad enough that you're not safe in your own house, but out there in life beyond your four walls, you can barely make it from point A to point B without being asked to sign a petition, support a cause, make a monetary contribution to fight a disease, buy cookies....or worse...KIOSKS! Those mother effing kiosks in the mall with their salesmen and their fake French accents. Like that one dude working the hand/facial cream kiosk and he's all, "Excuse me Miss? Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea? oh-hoh-hoh, oui, crepe suzette!!" and I just want to slap his accent right out of his mouth! Of course I've heard of the Dead Sea, Asshole. Do you think I've been locked in a box my whole life and some fake Frenchie working the kiosk in the mall is going to ENLIGHTEN me? Puhleeaze. Get out of my way, chocolate souffle.

Ohmygod, and that woman working the herbal microwavable heating pads! I made the mistake once of stopping when she said, excuse me Miss? And that bitch slapped one of those heated herbal things on my shoulders without asking [like the good old days of department store perfume departments and their stealthy-ninja-like spray attacks]...and I swear to GOD I smelled like hot lilac for the rest of the day and I just wanted to peel off my skin.

And the hair extension kiosk. Have you seen my hair? Do I LOOK like I need MORE? I could sell them my hair to sell to other folks. Their tactic is to inquire, "Excuse me, Miss? Can I ask you a question?". I may be the biggest bitch to stroll through the mall but trust me when I say that there are only two ways to answer that and either are just as effective as the other. And they are:

  1. No you can't. [then continue on your merry way]
  2. You just did. [then continue on your merry way]
The end.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Adventures of Phoebe Farklepants

When Mr. Farklepants surprised the family in April of 2009 with a black lab mix puppy, I expected for her to provide enough fodder to create volumes of blog posts. Well, she's sorta failed me in that regard. Where fail equals I can sum up in one post her shenanigans. I have documented a couple of events here and there but she hasn't done much else. For instance the picture below is of Phoebe resting after having her lady parts removed. And that spot on the couch? Became her permanent territory during her recuperation and continues to belong to her to this day. The pillow featured behind her in the picture?



That pillow became a casualty of puppydom. She killed it. She tore open its chest and ripped out its heart in the time it took me to unload and reload the clothes dryer. In fact, every single throw pillow in this house met the same fate. She is quick and precise. The same can be said for three books, all in the time it took for me to make the beds.

She is learning that not everything belongs to her and she's getting better about stealing and chewing items that are not hers. Oh, she still makes a habit of eating guitar picks for snacks, and if she gets a hold of a shoe or a toy you better hope you catch her the moment it happens. And it happens at least every other day. And you're probably saying to yourself, how can Tootsie say that Phoebe is getting better if it is happening that frequently? Well, I'll tell you why. This dog? Is smart. And fast. And she learned early on that humans cannot catch her. She also learned that if she ran around the dining room table there was no way that humans were fast enough to be on the same side of table at the same time with her. And if you were the only human at home and couldn't form a formidable block utilizing the other humans in the residence, she could have you chasing her around that table in an endless game of chase making a complete ass out of you. Have you ever chased a dog around a table and at about the fifth or sixth round you thought to yourself, what if someone were watching me right now; would they take bets on how many laps you would round before you realize I'M CHASING A FRICKEN DOG AROUND A TABLE?

So, yeah. Now she will more often than not drop said item if you simply bark, DROP IT! Unless she manages to get into the backyard with it then you can just forget about ever seeing it alive again because wide open spaces still belong to The Phoebe.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Complaining: It's what's for Dinner


All three of my children are picky eaters. This doesn't completely surprise me considering both my Mr. Farklepants and I were picky eaters when we were children. Mr. Farklepants still has food issues. So clearly it is some kind of gene that is passed on and I imagine upon close inspection beneath a microscope this gene closely resembles that of a mother's head exploding. I recall looking on in envy when my girlfriend's toddlers would readily and eagerly devour anything that was placed before them, sometimes asking for seconds. While I fished a stale Ritz cracker out of the bottom of the diaper bag because the grilled cheese sandwich I'd ordered for them in the restaurant was met with UNCONTROLLABLE CROCODILE TEARS. This is why Boy-Child#1 ate jarred baby food until he was three and a half years old in addition to the waffles and buttered toast that he wanted for every meal because it was the only way I could get a vegetable passed his pursed lips -which prompted a distant relative to pooh-pooh my technique and try to school me on the importance of introducing grown-up food to my child; which, duh. Of course I was doing but he had a thing about textures and frankly she didn't have to see me turn into General Patton FOR EVERY FREAKIN MEAL on a daily basis.

But as they've gotten older, they've grown more bold in their food adventure. They will pretty much eat anything I serve them and if they really don't like it, they'll at least try it. My boys do, that is. Boy-Child#1 will even suggest I add something new to the repertoire. Girl-Child? Not so much. That girl would live on buttered noodles, mac and cheese, cereal, bananas, apples, peanut butter sandwiches, and yogurt if I let her. I regularly serve her whatever it is I've made for dinner and she regularly pushes it around on her plate. We've reached a point where I'm all, dude, you're six years old and if you're hungry you'll eat. If you don't? You go to bed hungry because the kitchen is closed. She is learning that her mom? Isn't even joking about that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are We the Only Couple Waiting for Their Tax Returns to Pay Off Christmas?


Why does every holiday have to be some grand, gift-giving extravaganza? It seems like they all revolve around buying a present for your loved ones. When I was a kid, Easter meant coloring eggs the day before and leaving them for the Easter Bunny to hide for the hunt. He'd leave us a basket filled with a skewed candy to plastic shredded grass ratio. Heavy on the grass. Nowadays, many (most?) kids that I know get presents for Easter. EASTER! It's like the year's first quarter Christmas.

Don't even get me started on the Tooth Fairy. Someone needs to reel that bitch in. When my kids find out from their friends and classmates that the Tooth Fairy is leaving books, toys, stuffed animals, and significant amounts of cash under their pillows? I'm met with the look of utter disappointment when my children find the four quarters that were placed lovingly beneath theirs. Tooth Fairies of the world? You all need to have a summit and come to some kind of standard agreement and chisel it in stone. Pronto.

Valentine's Day used to mean flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. Now it's the gift of... cellphone service? It was bad enough when retailer's marketing departments implied that you were a slouch of a husband or boyfriend if you didn't lavish your wife or girlfriend in overpriced flowers and tacky matching earring/necklace/ring combinations, but now if you A) don't buy her cell phone for her, and B) provide an inferior range of service - she will leave your ass.

And frankly, I've never really "got" Valentine's Day. I don't even know what the original premise of the holiday is nor do I care enough to exhaust Wikipedia to find out; whatever it was it got lost along the way and became a stress factor. If you're in a new relationship, you freak out over what to get the other person because you don't want to come on too strong, or too light, or outdo the other person, or scare the other person away, or appear too desperate, or cheap, or trying too hard, or too blasé. If you're married you don't want to live with the silent treatment if you screw it up. I think flowers are a big fat waste of money and I'd rather have a new article of clothing. Or shoes. Or a purse. And the last thing I want to do is go out to eat in a crowded restaurant charging inflated prices for moderate food in the name of ...romance? Eff that noise.

You want to know what one of the most romantic things Mr. Farklepants ever did? Honestly, it was one of those scenarios where I was genuinely touched and flattered. Are you ready? Okay, here it is: he made babysitting arrangements so he could take me out. That's it right there - CONSIDERATION. If we were to go out we would need someone to look after the kids and he knew I would have to start making the phone calls and he took it upon himself to save me that stress. And it is random acts such as these that I find romantic and make me want to take off my clothes and roll around on him.

*photo by DorothyZ.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tootsie Farkle-Crocker

I got the bug to try out some recipes and bake the other day. I very much enjoy cooking except when it's on a daily basis because then it's just another thing I have to do. But if I've got time on the weekend or if it's for entertaining purposes (i.e. Thanksgiving), I dive right in and lose myself in it. My dilemma is that my oven? Is the worst. It was brand new when it came with the house but you know those developers; bottom of the line appliances are how they roll. My oven has always been a piece of la merde. Especially for baking. If a cookie recipe calls for them to bake for 9 to 11 minutes, the cookies are burned on the bottom and around the edges at 5 minutes, but raw in the middle. When it comes to baking in my oven, I have to adjust the temperature, minimize the cooking time, and generally babysit. It can handle cakes and brownies but anything delicate is just wasting my time.

So, I called my sisters to enlist their help and company to make a day of baking; I gathered up my supplies, any ingredients I already had on hand, made a quick stop at the market for those I didn't, and went to my mommy's house. Because her oven is far superior. Our first order of business was familiarizing ourselves with the recipe...



And prep work...


If you're old and wise you've mastered the art of having your younger siblings do the hard labor - like peeling potatoes, grating cheese that sort of thing but eventually they're on to you and are all chop your own veggies. My sister thought coring the apples was fun, so, yeah go for it. But she's hip to my jive and she was all, you peel. I did have her slice them because she likes to play with knives wanted to. She was last seen running with scissors. Now we could have used canned apple pie filling but that's for punks. We wanted to create. We wanted the risk factor that comes with working with fruit. It's either delicious awesome or an absolute tasteless failure. And we like to gamble. Into the pan the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, and other ingredients like heaven and nirvana, went. It took a bit longer than was called for to thicken up... and we also skipped the step where they wanted us to soak the sliced apples in water and lemon juice to keep them from turning brown because, brown sugar equals brown apples ANYWAY I mean, what's the point.



Then we had to sit around for a few minutes to wait for the pastry dough to finish thawing out...but not too thawed. Now I know we should have made our own pastry dough but the recipe specifically called for the frozen variety, so, there. Once the apple turnovers were in the oven we got to work on the cheese crowns...



Which was supposed to yield 12 individual pastries but this jerk misread the part that called for one and a HALF packages of pastry dough and only bought ONE. So we only made 8 and considering there were 9 people total that were going to partake? Well, you can see the math conundrum. The bottom of these are lined with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and pecans. The rest is filled with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. And once these things have had a chance to chill overnight? There are no words. And the glaze that finished off the turnovers was out of this world.





*photos by DorothyZ.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It Depends on Your Definition of Leisure Time

The oh-so-fabulous Undomestic Diva posted on her blog yesterday about a study that concludes that stay at home and working mothers alike have thirty or more hours of leisure time per week. She also included a link to the study and I urge you to visit her blog and follow the link (I could do it here but she did all the leg work and I don't want to steal her thunder, as it were). Now that all of my children are in school full time, with the earliest of the dismissals at 2:15pm, I do have a great deal more time that is JUST MINE than when they were preschool aged and younger. But THIRTY HOURS? That sounded like an awful lot of leisure time to me so today I decided to document my time. My life is not crazy, out of control hectic and my schedule is mostly on my terms. I'm a stay at home mom and I can ignore many of the chores on my to-do list to create more "me time", but all that will do is create more work for myself because eventually, this crap needs to get done. Kind of like when you call in sick to work and all you do is shoot yourself in the foot because no one was there to pick up your slack. My documented time went as follows and please make yourself a cup of coffee to stay awake because it's just all kinds of exciting!

  • 6:25am - Up and out of bed go downstairs, let the dog out, pour coffee (Dear Lord, I would like to give thanks for programmable coffee makers, amen), make the kids' lunches and pack them in their backpacks.
  • 6:45am - wake up oldest son and get him in the shower, go back downstairs and make breakfast.
  • 7:00am - wake up other two children and have them eat their breakfast, make husband's protein shake and pack his lunch.
  • 7:05am - go rap on bathroom door to get oldest son out of the shower, go back downstairs and finish packing husband's lunch, and plate oldest son's breakfast
  • 7:15am - get youngest children dressed, brushed, cleaned, shoed, ready for school.
  • 7:25am - brush my teeth, put on pants.
  • 7:30am - drive two youngest children to school to avoid school drop off congestion.
  • 7:40am - make husband's breakfast, bus money for oldest son for ride home, double check he has everything packed that he needs for classes.
  • 7:45am - take sheets off master bed and put in the washing machine.
  • 7:50am - drive oldest son and neighbor child from across the street to school.
  • 8:25am - finally home, drink 2nd cup of coffee, check email, let dog out, Twitter, check Facebook, let dog in.
  • 8:45am - remove previous days laundry from dryer, put sheets in dryer, collect towels from bathrooms and put in the washer, fold previous days laundry and put away, gather husband's clothes to be dry cleaned, make kids' beds, pick up clothes from bedroom floors.
  • 9:00am - straighten up downstairs, load and start dishwasher, let dog out, feed dog, do light dusting with the Swiffer, run vacuum around downstairs, clean downstairs bathroom, clean kids' bathroom, make mental note to clean bathroom floors tomorrow because this jerk forgot to get more Lysol, take sheets out of dryer, transfer towels to dryer, put sheets on and make my bed, vacuum dog hair off the comforter of my bed because yours truly has a very spoiled and sheddy dog.
  • 11:30am - make a sandwich before I pass out from hunger, check email, Twitter, Facebook, watch an episode of "Roseanne", return a phone call that I missed while vacuuming.
  • 12:10pm - empty all trash cans, empty vacuum canister, take out trash, vacuum stairs, break a thumb nail and curse loudly.
  • 12:30pm - let dog out, take a shower, skip hair washing because there's not enough time to dry and style it AND make it to the grocery store and back before picking up daughter, groom, put hair in a #%$!$# ponytail, remove and fold towels from dryer.
  • 1:15pm - make grocery list, grab dry cleaning, go to the grocery store and dry cleaners.
  • 2:05pm - unload groceries and put away frozen and perishable items
  • 2:15pm - pick up daughter from school.
  • 2:30 - finish putting groceries away, make daughter a snack.
  • 2:50pm - check email, Twitter, and Facebook, make witty comments.
  • 3:05pm - pick up youngest son and friend from school, take friend home first, make youngest son a snack, oldest son arrives home, make him a snack, let dog out, let dog in, eat 3 chocolate covered graham crackers, experience guilt over eating aforementioned chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 4:00pm - kids play outside, check email, Twitter, and Facebook, and SnapGrades then remind oldest son of homework assignments.
  • 5:00pm - youngest kids start homework, help daughter with her homework, make a pot of coffee, return my mom's phone call, redirect youngest son's attention to his homework
  • 6:00pm - get the mail out of the mailbox, sort mail, go through pile of papers on the island in the kitchen, check on oldest son to see how homework is coming along, watch tv with two youngest children.
  • 6:40pm - check email, Facebook, and Tweet that it's time to make dinner.
  • 6:45pm - make dinner
  • 7:15pm - feed kids dinner, I skip dinner on a count of the guilt from the chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 7:35pm - clean up after dinner, fix a plate for Mr. Farklepants and set aside.
  • 7:45pm - start this blog post.
It is now 7:45pm and I still have to feed Mr. Farklepants when he comes home, get the two youngest in the bath/shower, watch a little television with them, bedtime, finish cleaning up the kitchen, straighten up any messes, get backpacks ready for tomorrow, prep coffee maker and anything else that can be squeezed in before 10:00pm. From 10:00pm to 11:00pm is my time to chill with my husband, surf the net, finish this blog post, and generally relax. Bedtime is between 11:00 and 11:30pm.

I consider leisure time something that I WANT to do, a luxury, if you will, and not something I HAVE to do. I've italicized what I would consider leisure time during my day and I count about 3 hours. Multiplied by 5 weekdays that's 15 hours. Obviously weekends wouldn't include the school schedule but it is simply replaced by other activities so I will count the generous 3 hours per day for the weekends as well which brings us to a grand total of 21 hours of leisure time per week.

I want my other 9+ hours. And we haven't even discussed the projects closet organization, window cleaning, window blinds, ceiling fans, moving and cleaning under furniture, the horror under the stove and refrigerator, ohmygod the catch all office that have been neglected just to get the 21 accounted leisure hours.

And if I had to throw going to work in there I would burst into flames.