Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lulu Out of Left Field

My 5 year old blows my mind.  I swear she's 5 going on 15.

Which scares the bejeezus out of me.

Now, we are fairly selective in the TV we let the kids watch; I even turn off some of the "kids' shows" on Nickelodeon because I don't think they're age-appropriate to a 5 year old.  So I ask you, where the HELL did this scenario come from?


I had gotten out of the shower and was standing wrapped in a towel getting my hair, makeup, etc done.  We don't have much modesty in our house, so the bathroom door was open.  Lulu wandered in and was watching me get ready. 

Soon she walked over and said, "Mommy, you look beautiful." I thanked her (so sweet) and she then observed that my towel looked like a pretty dress.  I laughed and said it kind of did, and that she had a good imagination.

She then pulled aside the towel a bit and said, "But you wouldn't really wear this as a dress 'cause everyone would see your naked, right? Well, except Daddy.  Thats ok, right?"

I laughed again and said she was correct. 

She was thoughtful for a bit.  "Mommy?"

"What, Sweetie?"

"Well, um.... have any of your ex-boyfriends seen your naked?" she asked, the picture of kindergarten innocence.

After I un-swallowed my own tongue, I smoothly lied, "Oh, gosh, no honey!"

"Why not?" Again with the wide eyes.

"Well, I mean... because."

Blank stare.

"Well, because people don't show other people 'their naked' unless they're family or married."

She mulled this over and her little chin jutted out. "Well!  That just makes me SAD," she said in her best 15 year old voice.

"Why would you say THAT?" I countered.

"Because I think all your ex-boyfriends should have gotten to see your naked!!!"

And with that she stalked off.

If I'd had the guts, I would have chased her down and interrogated her till she spilled. 

But I'm a chicken, and I do NOT want to cross that road just yet. 

(forehead slap)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Overheard #1 and Lulu Pops The Question

As the kids get older, they keep each other company a lot.  Plato and Lulu get along awfully well for a brother and a sister.  Sure, they quibble, quarrel, and push each others' buttons. But most often they are laughing and playing together.  Lately I've been lucky enough to overhear a lot of their private conversations.  I can't believe some of the things they talk about!  Above all, though, it fills my heart with that Mommy-love.... you know what I'm talking about Moms, that indescribable feeling of love, pride, blessedness, and something more that makes your chest feel like its going to burst.

This afternoon as I was preparing the ingredients for our Snow Day Cookie Fest, the kids were parked in front of the TV ('cause I'm such a great mom).  They were watching Tom and Jerry, the cat and mouse cartoon I grew up with in the 80's.  They loved it!!  Cracking up hysterically and chattering to each other about what was going on.  Eventually Lulu made the observation, "I wonder why they don't talk ever?"

Plato had apparently alreaady figured this out, because he didnt even pause as he answered, "Because it's an OLD cartoon, Lulu, and they didn't talk in OLD cartoons!!"

Guess that makes me OLD.


As I was tucking Lulu in to bed (remember, she's FIVE), we were going through our ritual bedtime kisses:  Butterfly Kiss (eyelashes), Eskimo Kiss (noses), Regular Kiss (lips), and a Biiiiig Hug. 

She held me in our Regular Kiss longer than usual, and when she pulled away she grinned at me.  "Mommy, we just had SEX!!!" she giggled.

Rather than grabbing her by her little shoulders and shaking her, demanding to know WHO has soiled my baby's pristine little mind, I pulled on my Calm Mommy Mask, complete with Composed Voice Technology. 

"What makes you say that, Lulu?" I asked.

"Well," she began, fixing me with the toddler version of the teenage standard 'my god you're dumb' look.  "When you kiss for a long time that's called sex." 

"No, it's not." I countered.

"What's sex, Mommy?"

I had not planned to have this conversation for a few more years; sheesh.

"We can talk about it some other time, Lulu.  It's time for you to go to sleep."  I flicked on her princess-crown nightlight, which seemed suddenly surreal in the context of the conversation. "I love you, Sweet Pea," I told her as I walked out of the room.

"You have to lay on top of each other while you're kissing for sex, right Mommy?" she called after me, her big hazel eyes and little upturned nose peeking up over her Dora The Explorer comforter. 

I sighed and turned slightly.  "No, Lulu. You don't have to." 

"But sometimes, right? Thats how Eva says you have sex"  (Eva is her older 1st grade friend.... her mom and I will be having a chat).

"Yes, sometimes.  But not always.  Goodnight Princess."  I walked out and shut off the hallway light.  From the recesses of her room I heard her muffled little voice:


Monday, December 07, 2009

Kid Funnies

Plato and Lulu are now 8 and 5, respectively.  They are both in elementary school, she in Kindergarten and he in 3rd grade.  I watch them interact with each other with a fair amount of nostalgia for my own childhood.  I have a little sister.  I remember many similar conversations, and the dynamic between my two is eerily similar to the dynamic I shared with little sis. 

No doubt there will be more to come on this subject, as they only become more  frustrating fascinating as they grow up.  For the purposes of this post, however, the theme is competition.

I suppose there's a natural amount of competition between siblings.  I imagine it's even healthy, and in the end prepares them in some way for adulthood.  Watching this dynamic evolve, as each becomes more sophisticated and skilled at "the game," is a real treat.  When I'm not banging my head against the wall, that is.

For example, one of their favorite new pastimes is "one-upping" each other. I picked them up from school last week, and our ritual conversation ensued: what did you learn today, who did you play with, what did you have for lunch, etc etc.

This particular conversation itself has evolved, with them reciprocating by asking questions of me as well: what did I do today, what did I have for lunch, etc.  I love this as I take it as a sign that they may be outgrowing (just a bit) their natural egocentricity. 

On this occasion, I informed them that I had eaten a banana for lunch.

To which Plato replied, "Well THAT's not much!"

And I confirmed that indeed, it was not.

"Well, the important thing is that you ate SOMETHING..." he wisely observed.

Not to be outdone, miss Lulu sat up straighter in her car seat and, in a measured (read: superior) cadence, pointed out that, "nooooOOOO..... What's IMPORTANT.... is that you didn't DIE!!!"

Smugly satisfied, she sat back in her booster, arms crossed over her chest and a signature Lulu smirk on her defiant little face. 

And who can argue with that kind of logic? I searched the rearview mirror, finding Plato's eyes already seeking mine.  I smiled at him.  He shrugged and rolled his eyes.

That's my boy.  Picking his battles already. 

And Lulu, her self-confidence ratcheted up a precious notch.

Hey, everyone's a winner.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

O Tannenbaum...

Well since I'm home now, and jobless (for the moment), we went ahead and got our Christmas tree early this year. Last year? We didn't even go out and get a tree. We put up an old cheapo fake at the last minute and didn't take the time enjoy it at all.

Our current tree stands proud in the corner of the living room, all 8 feet of real Fraser Fir. The kids are thrilled, the scent of pine fills the house, and the season seems to have begun.

This evening we broke out the boxes of decorations and let the kids have at the tree. Of course only the bottom 5 feet or so got decorated, mostly in the front, but it was so cute!

I was in charge of unwrapping the ornaments and telling the kids stories about each one. "What's THIS one, Mommy?!" they chirp, offering me an ornament, breathless with excitment.

"This one is from your first Christmas, Plato...." I say, holding up a giraffe ornament with a little blue pacifier around its neck. His eyes widen and a smile of pure glee lights his face as he gingerly takes the ornament from me, handling it as if it is priceless.

"Me! Mommy, Me!!" squeals Lulu, as I search for something of hers. I pull out a large foam snowman that houses a picture of her at 6 months, fluffy hair and adorable toothless grin on display. "This is you when you were a tiny baby, Lulu..." She claps and giggles, bouncing excitedly. "Look at my fuzzy hair, Mommy!"

We compare Plato's hand size at age 5 months with his current size. We delicately handle homemade tatted snowflakes passed down through generations. The kids ooh and aah over ornaments dated years before either of them were born. "Yes, Mommy and Daddy DID celebrate Christmas before you two were born," I grin.

Designer trees are beautiful, even gorgeous, with their coordinated ornaments and perfectly placed lights. And sure, someday I want one. Maybe as my "second tree."

When I actually have a house large enough to accommodate a second tree. Which is hard to swing when you're jobless. But I digress.

For now, my mismatched ornaments and homemade keepsakes make the most beautiful tree I can imagine. Its uniquely ours, and will provide precious moments for years to come.

How about you, readers? Designer trees or memorabilia mish-mash? Do tell!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pink Glove Dance for Breast Cancer Awareness

Okay I couldn't NOT post this once I saw it - a whole hospital community coming together to support breast cancer awareness. Oh sure, the dancing isn't professional like a flash-mob, but the enthusiasm is real and these people are having FUN! Fun - in a hospital. Where all too often the "classes" are separate (administration, doctors, nurses, lab, foodservice, housekeeping) and the politics and drama can run deep. Its inspiring to see all these people throwing off whatever hats they usually wear and just having a good time for a good cause. I hope you enjoy:


Monday, November 30, 2009

A Door Closes....

Well its official - those of you who have contact with me on Facebook already know, but I have lost my job. It's been a bittersweet week, as this job loss was completely unexpected. Well, I mean, hindsight is 20/20, and looking back perhaps there were signs.... but it hit me fast and hard.

Perhaps that's a blessing.

All in all, though, I have reached another milestone in my life. My first "firing." OK technically I didn't get fired, I was given the option to resign. Which when I look back maybe I shouldn't have done. Maybe I should have made them fire me? Believe it or not, there are perks to being fired! Who knew? All I knew was that being fired sounded like the greatest of evils and I wanted to avoid it at all costs. So I resigned.

And since resigning I've had the best week I can remember in the past 2 years, vacations not included.

I've tucked my kids into bed every night. Smoothed the hair from their foreheads, and kissed their soft, chubby cheeks. I've refereed their arguments. I've read them stories. I've cooked! Full meals, and even dessert!! I'm rediscovering my inner domestic goddess.

Sundays are free of the "I've got to fly today" blues. I'm sleeping in a bed with my husband again. OK that's not all its cracked up to be: I have to fight for the covers and put up with his, ahem... odors. So a King Size Bed is probably in our near future, since LuLu tends to sneak in at night and she's the human equivalent of a baby squid, wrapping her limbs around the nearest body part - usually my head.

Oh sure, I'm losing the company's property: the car, the laptop, the printer.

The BlackBerry. Sweet Jesus, not the BlackBerry!!!

Aside from the money, that's the only thing I'll shed a tear over.

A door has closed. You know what that means, right?

(~looks around for the one that's opening~)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Preschool Graduation

Well its official - my baby has graduated preschool. Put away your Kleenex, it's okay, really.
Funny thing is, I didn't know she was actually IN preschool.

Come to find out, she has been in preschool for exactly 2 weeks. She turned 5 over Memorial Day weekend, and moved from the "4-year-old class" to Pre-K, aka Preschool.

Two weeks!! And graduating already!! My Lulu, preschool prodigy. Takes after her mother, I'd say...!

It was all very cute, in an eyerolling kind of way. The kids had fun, sang us some songs, pictures were taken, there was cake and punch. Most of the parents stood around and chatted, probably about their little geniuses. I was amazed at how many people seemed to be thoroughly caught up in the whole affair.

We busted out as fast as possible. The fanfare was borderline nauseating.

We had just endured what JeepMan calls a "Hallmark Holiday." An occasion made up for the sole purpose of selling a product. Now don't take this literally... I am not saying that Preschool Graduation was created for the selling of merchandise, but to me it illustrates the penchant for today's society to, as a friend of mine bluntly puts it, "glorify mediocrity."

Some of you just gasped.

You think I am calling my daughter "mediocre." Well, I suppose I kind of am. Webster defines it as "Of moderate to low quality," with a synonym of "Ordinary." Now I'm not calling Lulu "low quality," but in the vast spectrum of humanity, I suppose she is pretty ordinary. I mean, the kid is FIVE. Of course she's special and precious to us, and those who love her. But do I expect others to see her that way?

You might say, "Of course!! Each child is precious and special and unique and wonderful!!" And I wouldn't argue with you. What you are likely implying, though, is that each child should be TREATED as special and unique and wonderful. And that's where I would have to politely disagree. I wouldn't presume for you to actively recognize and applaud my child's fabulousness with enthusiasm. The fact is, all children being unique, special, and precious... well doesn't that put them all on the same shelf?

See? In the words of one of my favorite Demotivators: "Always Remember That You Are Unique. Just Like Everyone Else."
Call me a kill-joy, party pooper, whatever... I just don't see the point of celebrating all these so-called "milestones." Its not for the kids. Lulu doesn't have any clue what just happened, she just knows we took her out for a Frosty afterward. And guess what? She and all her friends will be right back at school tomorrow like nothing ever happened. Its for the parents, and looking around the crowd at this gala event, there were two kinds: freakishly enraptured and checking their watches. Not much middle ground.

To me a milestone should represent a pivotal point in the life of the person experiencing it. Birth, death, yes. Marriage, sure.

Graduation... I suppose, but don't ask everyone and their friends' friends to celebrate with you. It makes people feel obligated and generally annoyed. Oh, they may come, but believe me, they are bored out of their minds.

Now I don't assume I speak for everyone, but I certainly speak for many and likely a majority when I say that your graduation, or your child's graduation, is really only monumental to you, your child, and perhaps grandparents or very close relatives. To anyone else, it's 2 or more hours of life that they will never recoup. And be it known that I speak of high school graduation, or possibly college.

Not Junior High. Or Primary School. Or Kindergarten.

Or Preschool. Seriously, people.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Alas, Poor Eggy... I Knew Him Well...

A couple weekends ago I was inside, folding laundry - one of my most detested domestic chores - when the kids rushed in excitedly from outside. I knew it was a big deal, as their physical presences were preceeded by pounding footsteps and breathless cries of, "It's MINE!" "Dad said I could hold it TOO! You have to SHARE!!" This is really nothing new in our house but I WAS curious as to what could have captivated them so thoroughly.

As they burst into the living room, tromping all over and scattering my neat piles of freshly-folded laundry, their heavy breathing and dilated pupils spoke to the true extent of their excitement. They stretched all four of their hands toward me, together cupping something that they obviously considered highly precious.

In the makeshift "nest" of their four hands was a perfect-looking Robin egg. Blue with tiny brown speckles, not even a miniscule crack in its shell. It was a little miracle of nature, and the kids were entranced. They were also FULL of ideas.

Lulu's concern was property ownership, and she kept admonishing Plato, "It's OURS, Plato. Dad SAID. It's OURS, right Mommy?"

Plato's concerns were for the egg. He was making plans to incubate it and hatch it, checking all over for a secure surrogate "nest" and appropriate nesting materials.

While they were making themselves busy fulfilling this mission, I was left to babysit the newly christened "Eggy." I looked at him warily, wondering why exactly he was found on the ground intact, as opposed to in the security of his nest or smashed to bits by a pillaging marauder. I gingerly sniffed it. Much as I was certain I'd smell a rat, Eggy smelled just fine. I've heard of mother birds ridding their nests of rotten eggs, but I would figure if little Eggy was rotten, I'd be able to sniff him out pretty easily. Nope - he smelled like fresh mown grass and that's about it.

I let the kids make him a nest from a paper cup and some layers of tissue paper. They each wanted to take turns "guarding" the nest, so I indulged their creative ideas for awhile. Eventually though, I told them that Eggy might prefer to sit in a quiet sunny corner of our kitchen. After much pressuring, they agreed reluctantly.

That evening at the dinner table, Eggy was the topic of conversation. I tried my best to encourage the kids' imaginations without getting their hopes up too high. I kept mentioning that we didn't know what was actually in that egg, maybe there was no baby bird at all, or maybe it had died. Just to prepare them.

They were not to be deterred, however... I overheard them conspiring together about how to get Grandma to give them her bird cage, since Eggy would definitely be needing one when he hatched.

That night, all slept peacefully, and in the morning, Eggy got special status at the head of the table as the kids ate breakfast together. JeepMan and I went about our usual getting-ready-for-work routine. Nothing seemed particularly out of place.

The kids were fed and dressed, JeepMan was ready to go, and I was putting the finishing touches on my makeup when from the kitchen came a loud "ARRRRGH!!!" of pure disgust. This was followed by several things simultaneously: the pounding of Lulu's feet as she ran full-tilt into the bathroom to wrap herself around my left leg, the roar of JeepMan yelling, "ALLRIGHT!! WHO DROPPED THE EGG?!?!" and the horrified wail of Plato screaming, "LULU!!! YOU KILLED EGGY!!!"

Lulu had been on the verge of tears but this accusation from her brother could not go unaddressed. Jutting out her chin, she stomped back toward the kitchen yelling, "PLATO!! I DID NOT KILL EGGY!! HE WAS WOTTEN!!!" She got about three steps from the kitchen, clamped both hands over her nose, did an about-face, and ran back into the bathroom, mumbling nasally, "UGH, and he SMELLS BAAAAD!"

Now I've heard that a rotten egg represents a formidable olfactory assault, but I have never had the debatable pleasure of experiencing the odor firsthand. There are about 5 paces from our bathroom to our kitchen. At exactly two-and-a-half paces, I walked into an invisible but solid wall of stench. There was JeepMan, God love him, on his hands and knees with paper towels and spray cleaner. I had to force back a gag and backpedal with haste. The smell? It was a nearly indescribably noxious mixture of sulfer and rot. For an egg no bigger than a Hershy's Kiss, that sucker delivered a stench that would rival an entire truckload of full-to-the-brim Port-O-Pottys. Man oh man.

After opening all the windows in the house and praying for a nice all-day breeze, we piled everyone into the car to make school and work drop-offs. About halfway to daycare, I noted Lulu holding her wrinkled-up nose in the back seat. I asked her if her hands were still stinky even after she had washed them. She shook her head decisively, once, continuing to hold her nose. "Then what is it,?" I asked.

She looked down at her dress, brow furrowed, and held up a few ruffles. "SEE!!! I've got Eggy all over my dress and he STINKS!!"

Thankfully we keep a spare set of clothes at daycare... what a morning!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Okay, OKAY already!!!

So I just deleted approximately 250 "friends" from my facebook page. Well they weren't really friends - most were just random people that were playing the same dumb games I was playing... where you need lots of "friends" playing too in order to get anywhere.

Well I'm not playing anymore; it's a giant timesuck and the novelty has worn off.

It's a symbolic gesture. I have allowed FB to occupy way too much of my time since discovering it in....January maybe? But I'm back. I will TRY to post at least once a week. Really, really try. So please, my ever-so-patient and faithful readers: won't you come back to me?? I was lead astray by that demon FB, but the prodigal daughter has returned. Won't you welcome me with open arms?

To ease myself back into this blog thingy, I've decided to start slow and easy, with a meme.

What? Don't groan!! Memes can be good brain-juice stimulators!! And don't worry, I'm not tagging anyone. I've decided I don't play THAT game anymore either!! If you want to do this? Go right ahead!! And hey, let me know you did it cause I want to know. I'm there for you like that, see?

But otherwise, just read, and smile, and hopefully be glad I'm back. 'Cause I'm glad I'm back...


A, B, C, D, E, F . . .

A - Age: 36 (act surprised!!!)

B - Band listening to right now: Days of the New (Weapon & the Wound)

C - Career future: living it, baby

D - Dad's name: Bill

E - Easiest person to talk to: its a toss-up... either Gina or Nik

F - Favorite song: ONE? I have to pick ONE?

G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms: Chocolate

H - Hair: Blonde naturally, curly artificially

I - Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry's Magic Brownies

J - Jobs: waitress, nurse, clinical specalist

K - Kids: two - want one? (kidding... no really, I'm kidding)

L - Longest car ride ever: oh Lord, the bus trip to Disneyland in high school. Hell on Wheels.

M - Mom's name: Connie

N - Number of people you slept with: oh lots... wait, what? Oh. They don't really mean "sleep..."

P - Phobia[s]: Falling, Unfathomable measurements (infinity, eons)

Q - Quote: "Of course I don't have my underwear. I'm definitely not wearing my underwear." Raymond, *Rain Man*

R - Reason to smile: Love

S - Song you sang last: Days of the New - Touch, Peel & Stand

T - Time you wake up: when I have to, otherwise leave me alone!!

U - Unknown fact about me: If I tell you, then it will not be "unknown"

V - Vegetable you hate: onions (I hate the crunch *shudder*)

W - Worst habit: nail-picking

X - X-rays you've had: I get x-rayed nearly every day, folks.

Y - Yummy food: Seafood or Sushi

Z - Zodiac sign: Pisces - I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Okay, folks, we're rolling!! And if you have any post ideas, please let me know!!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Random Kid Funnies

It's been awhile since I've done any Kid Funnies - in part due to the fact that I'm around my kids a lot less. Nonetheless, they DO still say some hilarious things, and I sometimes have the presence of mind to write them down for publication! Here are a few of late:

Plato had his half-birthday celebration at school last month. He is a summer baby so never gets to do his ACTUAL birthday at school. He got to be the "Star of The Week," brought treats, the whole 9 yards. When I asked him about his special day, he said excitedly,"Mom!! For my birthday? In Music? The whole class sang happy birthday to me and I got to hit a BONG!!!"

I was speechless for a few seconds. Seeing the look on my face, he explained, "You know, like when we were at the Mongolian Grill and I put a tip in the jar and got to hit the BONG and make that loud noise?"

"Oh!! Honey, I think you mean a GONG..."

My dad sent us some pictures in an email of the President's visit to his hometown. He was involved in preparations for the President's visit, and got to watch the helicopters land and the president go to his limo, all from the roof of his work building. One of the pictures he sent was titled, "My Friends," and was a photo of 3 snipers posing with their "golf bags."

Try explaining snipers to a 4-year-old. Plato got it, but Lulu was just confused. I used an example of a butterfly flying across the street.

"See that butterfly? A sniper could shoot it with a gun and not miss it. They're really really good at shooting things."

She processed this for awhile, then asked, "....sooooo, they like to shoot butterflies?"

"No, honey, that was just an example!! Butterflies are small, and that one is far away, and a sniper can shoot something small from very far away, that's all I'm saying."

She was not to be deterred. "But butterflies won't hurt you, so you SHOULDN'T SHOOT THEM!!"

Another Plato-ism:

JeepMan: "I brought you kids some gum, who wants some?"

Plato/Lulu: "ME!!!"

Plato: "What kind is it?"

JeepMan: "Cinna-Mint"

Plato: "Sediment? What kind of gum is THAT?!?"

And the not-s0-funny:

Plato: "Mom? What does a boy have to do to help a girl make a baby?"

GAH!!! He's only 7!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

50 Lashes With A Wet Noodle

Oh my.

I am so delinquent!! My blogging has taken a backseat. Taken a hike. Gone on sabbatical.

I've ignored it horribly.

There are all kinds of excuses: busy with work (extremely), busy with other things (working out - good!) (Facebook - bad!), lack of inspiration.... blah blah blah. But you don't care about the excuses.

Some of you have told me you miss me; that's so sweet and I thank you so much. I've missed me, too. In a twisted way, I've sort of lost part of myself (the part you know here) in a quest to find myself (the thinner, inner me; the professional me).

Nothing radical or wacky has happened in my life, really. And I spend so much time away from my kids that there isn't nearly as much inspiration there, either. I am hoping I'm just in a doldrums stage of my life. The past 9 or 10 months has been one long "transition period;" that is, I'm following my gut instinct and waiting to make a big family decision until it feels right.

No, I'm not divorcing my husband (yet! lol). I'm deciding if, when, and where to relocate our little family for my job. See, I love my job. Really, truly love it. In 13 years as a career woman, I have never been able to say that. So I am loathe to give it up, but I also loathe the travel. The overnight stuff, fly in a plane, rent a car, stay in a hotel stuff. The travel issue is easily resolved: by moving.

Moving, though, isn't such an easy decision as it may seem. I am one of 2 children. JeepMan is an only child. My sister doesn't have children (yet). Therefore, my children are the ONLY grandchildren on both sides of our family. We live, quite literally, in between the grandparents. An hour east or west will land us at their homes. A half hour further west puts us at my sister's front door. It's really ideal.

We love our town. We love the kids' school. We love being able to see family whenever we want. JeepMan has almost 10 years at his job - which is good and bad. He doesn't love his job. He's just comfortable there.

If we move, the obvious location for us would put us 3 1/2 hours from my folks', 5 from my in-laws. It would be a bigger city, but really it wouldn't offer us any great benefit other than the fact that I would be home most nights. No great recreation opportunities, no beautiful scenery, no family, higher cost of living, questionable job for JeepMan...

But oh, the lure of being home most nights.

Other options are hope and pray something amazing happens with my company closer to home, or say heck with it and grab a job with my company somewhere cool, like Colorado. Really, being 8 hours from our family wouldn't be that much different than being 4-5 hours!! And I've always wanted to live near mountains.

*sigh* sorry to be a downer. I suppose this is why I haven't written in so long!!

I'll collect some more kid funnies and be back in a bit. Thanks for sticking with me!! <3

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kid Funnies

A couple quickie kid funnies from this weekend:
Today I decided to exercise at home rather than at Curves. I changed into my yoga pants and tank top, and as I was changing Lulu said she wanted to "exter-size" with me. I said sure, and we proceeded.

As we were stretching on the floor in Child's Pose, Lulu and I were making faces at each other from under our arms. We were giggling like crazy!

As we rolled to our sides, Lulu asked me, "Mommy, why are you growing your hair so long?" I HAVE been growing my hair for the past few months, and was surprised she'd suddenly made an issue of it.

"Well, honey, I want a different hairstyle. And when it's long, I can pull it back into a ponytail."

She stared at me a moment with her brow furrowed, then seemed to grasp what I was saying.

"No, Mommy, not THAT hair!! I was talking about your armpits!"

Guess its been a while since I shaved. *blush*


Plato was snuggling in bed with me this morning. He was in a speculative mood. We were suddenly talking about life after death.

"Mom? When we die we turn into angels, right?"

Right, honey. That's what I think.

"Well, if you die before me, you'll be an angel first. When I die will I be able to see you ever again?"

Of course, Plato!

"Well, how will I find you? Or how will you find me?"

Well, honey, when people love each other very much, their spirits can always find each other, no matter how far apart they may seem.

He mused on this for a long moment.

"Like how? Echolocation?"

Holy crap. This kid is unbelievable!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

27,000 Feet

I fly a lot. Several times a week, usually. Funny thing is, a year ago I hated flying.

I didn't mind when I was a kid; it was exciting, adventuresome. But then I had kids. Somehow being up here, while everyone I love is down there, freaked me out entirely. I even had to get prescription medication to help me fly without fighting the compulsion to rip out the exit door and put myself out of my misery!

A year and hundreds of flights later, I am at 27000 feet again. Behavioral modification therapy (entirely self-guided) has worked wonders, and now I am one of those freaks of nature that can sleep through all the pings and weather updates, pee during turbulence withouit getting my ass stained blue, and devote my entire attention to my book through the bumpiest takeoffs and landings.

I'm a Frequent Flyer, officially.

As such, I always want the aisle seat. Of course there's the legroom issue, but I can also get off the plane and make my connection, rental car, or home more quickly (really! 10 minutes can make or break you!). Mostly its because I'm just impatient.

I used to request a window seat. Yes, REQUEST. I wanted to stare out the window at the scenery. Feel the sensation of the ground falling away and my stomach falling with it. Find shapes in the puffy clouds.

That was the dreamer in me, and I've put her away a lot lately. I don't have the time.

I found her again today. My case cancelled, and I had to get a standby flight. I made it, got on board, and the plane was nearly empty. The seats were nice and new, it was a comfortably warm temperature, and the air portals were blowing cool air gently on my face. The flight attendants were pleasant, and Captain Dan came out to greet us personally.

I still got my aisle seat, but there was no one next to me and the windows were clean and scratch-free.

I feel good today. Really, truly, good. And I'm headed home. Tonight I will be holding my children in my arms and kissing their luscious round cheeks.

Basking in my contentment, I did not open my book. Instead, I watched out the window. Watched as the ground fell away, buildings shrinking exponentially. I gave myself over to centrifugal force and sank into my seat as the plane banked steeply but smoothly. I closed my eyes and luxuriated in the warmth of the sun on my face as the plane burst through the heavy blanket of clouds.

It's always sunny up there. I tend to forget that, or not care. Up there, there is no spatial reference. I could be giant or tiny.

An airplane is a curiously intimate setting. I'm as alone as I want to be. But if the situation is right, I might make a brief new acquaintance.

And the white noise is lovely, muting the ambient noise of conversation and allowing me to fold into myself and float gently and weightlessly in my head. Its almost as nice as silence.

At 27000 feet, there is no stress. Phones are off. Computers are off. No one will fault me for being unavailable; I was on a plane. Of course.

But all good things, as they say....

Every flight ends in an airport. And airports are the polar opposite of 27000 feet.

No wonder everyone is in such a hurry to board the plane.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Hate My Husband

So I'm not into New Years' Resolutions. I think they're lame. I don't get why you have to have a special day to make commitments to change.

That said, the timing of my commitment to get into better shape and lose some weight was, well... coincidental.

I refuse to call it a New Years' Resolution because if I do, I will surely break it.

For the past few years, as my metabolism has slowed and my diet and exercise regime has remained unchanged, the pounds have crept on. My recent goal for the dreaded "Holidays" has been to not GAIN any weight, and I have succeeded.

Weight gain or no, however, I am always left with a "holiday hangover." Not the alcohol-induced kind, but the overindulgent kind. I love good food. I have a horrible sweet tooth. And in a social situation, it's very hard for me to monitor what's going in my mouth. So while I might not eat in excess, I certainly eat poorly. Fat after fat, carb after carb. By January I feel like a giant beached walrus. Every year.

Well this year, I decided to make a significant change. Until recently, I didn't need to exercise to lose weight. Cut the portions, moderate the simple carbohydrates, watch the fats: PRESTO! 20 lbs lighter.

Not so much this last year.

Is 35 a magic number? Did my metabolism hit a predestined wall? Who knows. Who cares?
The end result is the same. Dieting alone wasn't working.

I'm not stupid. I KNOW exercise is important. I have always done some form of core/strength training. I love resistance training. Isometrics. Yoga. Pilates. Abs, buns, thighs. Bring it.

I despise cardio. Always have. Even in high school, in my prime, running track, I hated it. Hate the feeling that I can't catch my breath. Hate the burning in my lungs, the coppery taste in my mouth. The hammering heart. The rubber muscles. The lactic-acid buildup: the "burn."

And conventional cardio is just plain Bor-Ing.

I don't run. I won't ever run again...on purpose. As in - if I'm not being chased. My knees, hips, and ankles can't take it with my arthritis. It hurts my back when my, *ahem*, ample bosom is bouncing along (trust me, they don't make a bra that can restrain these girls on a jog!).

Treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals, stationary bikes: dull, dull, boring, dull. Music? Not a distraction. TV? Book? Nope and nope.

So I finally found the solution... SNEAK in the cardio. Get it with your resistance training!

I joined Curves. 30 second intervals of intensive targeted-muscle-group resistance training, with 30 seconds of recovery (cardio) in between. For 30 minutes.

You get the cardio from the resistance training. GENIUS!!

But this isn't an ad for Curves. Do what you want, I don't care. Whatever works for you.

The point is, I'm proud of myself. I've been vigilant about my diet. I've been busting my butt at Curves. Hey, baby... I've lost SEVEN pounds. In three weeks. Not bad, you might say.

What's the problem?, you might ask.

It's HIM. JeepMan.

My rat-bastard husband.

Don't get me wrong, I love him.

But I hate him too.

That Man has not lifted a weight. He has not done any form of cardio outside of his daily routine. He has not changed a THING except his diet, which is essentially the same as my diet, just slightly bigger portions.

And he has lost 20 lbs since Jan 3rd.

Stab me in the eye with a fork. Push bamboo splinters under my fingernails. Put me in a roomful of chocolate that I can't eat.

It's not fair. I hate him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Sorry I've been AWOL. I've been swamped with work, trying to be a mom, and sticking to my new exercise routine. I have a big meeting coming up next week, ALL week, and I seem to be getting behind in everything, including blogging and visiting blogs.

I've also become somewhat addicted to Facebook, and I'm trying to wean myself. It's a process.

So please don't leave me. I will be back.

Thanks. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Christmas: The Afterword

Sorry I've been away but I've been kinda busy with work and I actually joined a GYM! If you can call Curves a gym. It's circuit training, and it's kicking my butt. In a good way. I think.

Anywhoo - I promised you a belated crappy Christmas gift story, so here goes. Coincidentally, this gift was also from "Unclue" Mike, the giver of the aforementioned stolen coffee. He got the kids each a book, one that you special order from some company that then inserts the child's name into the story as a protagonist. Sounds like something any 4 or 7 year old would be pleased with, right?

Plato got one of these when he was 3, also from Mike, who spelled his own name throughout the book as "Unclue Mike." Plato couldn't have cared less, but it made JeepMan and I snicker-snort every time we read it.

So I wondered, as these books arrived in the mail, if the same mistake would have been repeated. Plato would certainly notice now, and even Lulu might: she writes her name everywhere she can, and has even learned some other words to read and spell.

The wail that erupted from her as she opened her book was pathetic. I tried to calm her and find out what was wrong, and finally just grabbed the book. He'd spelled her name wrong. Phonetically. As in "Loo-Loo." She was so mad that Plato got his own book and she didn't that she flung the book in the trash and had a temper tantrum right in the living room.

Poor thing. All I could do was comfort her and explain that Unclue Mike isn't the best speller in the world, but at least he tried.

She was having none of it. I think he's on her naughty list until further notice. That girl can hold a grudge, big time.


The next Christmas epilogue involves MIL. You didn't think it would all just stop because Christmas is over, did you? Oh, no!

It must be understood that MIL had specifically asked us not to get her the usual college-team apparel and knick-knacks that we usually get her (she's a knick-knack fiend), and instead asked for some music CDs and maybe a bottle of wine.

My MIL fancies herself a wine snob. Because her friends fancy themselves wine snobs. So I suppose she is a wine snob by osmosis, because she certainly hasn't studied wine or had a wide range of exposures to wine. Regardless. By turns her self-proclaimed snobbery can be humorous (she calls "Riesling" "Reasoning"), annoying, or downright embarassing (complaining over a perfectly good bottle of wine at a restaurant).

Well we got the CDs, and ended up getting her 2 bottles of wine. She only likes sweet whites. Recently she's begun to try reds, but only with ice in them, as she thinks they taste horrid at room temperature. Hmmm....her friends must be dabbling in reds as well...

We didn't go too much out on a limb for fear her head might explode: we got her her favorite brand of Riesling, and a second bottle of the same brand's Late Harvest Riesling (sweeter). Reasoning (ha ha) that the sweeter the better, I figured we could introduce her to something new while not venturing too far outside of her, *ahem* 'area of expertise.'

She seemed pleased with the wines when she opened them, and we had her favorite with dinner. I suggested she open the other so we could compare, but she refused. We told her to just let us know what she thought.

JeepMan went to visit her the week after the holiday, after dropping me off at the airport. He'd actually forgotten about the wine, but he hadn't been in the door for 10 minutes when she told him, "That wine you got me? I had to dump the whole bottle down the drain. It tasted like VINEGAR."

This is nothing new. A few years back, someone she hangs with poured a bottle down the drain for tasting like vinegar, and ever since that has been the fate of approximately 1 in 3 of the bottles she opens. I myself have been told by a sommelier that I have a discriminating palate. Who knew? But at a wine-tasting with a group, I was able to pick up on some qualities of the wines that many others could not discern. Cool. But the point is, of all the wine I have drunk over the years, I have only opened 2 bad bottles. And only ONE of them was actually vinegary.

But here's the real kicker. She asked JeepMan: "Did you even look at the date on the bottle when you bought it?? It's from 2006!!"

(forehead slap)


Were I the benefit-of-the-doubt-giving kind, I might say, "Well, maybe she knows something I don't. Maybe 2006 was a really bad year for late-harvest Riesling in the Sonoma Valley..."

I can't extend that sort of latitude here. She thinks 2006 represents some type of shelf-life recommendation. A "Use By" date.

She thinks the wine was expired.

So what do you think? Wouldn't a normal person just not bring it up? Or if pressed, lie? But she did neither.

That makes me think she is:
a) self-aggrandizing;
b) condescending;
c) both.

I'm going with c.

And next year, I think I'll just skip the preliminaries. She's getting a gallon of distilled white vinegar. She can just dump it straight away.

And hey, it'll clean her drain too!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas With the In-Laws: A Synopsis

I abandoned, years ago, the hope that whomever I married would be bringing me into a family similar to my own: full of harmony, love, acceptance, goodwill, and contentment. Those dreams were laid aside, albeit sadly, when I knew that JeepMan was the man I would marry - IN SPITE OF his family.

Part of the reason I love him has to do with the fact that he has overcome such a crummy childhood and forged his own path to his destiny of choice rather than stumbling blindly down the well-trodden path that so many of his family before him have chosen. You can read more here about The Story of JeepMan. For now, I'll move past that to this very Christmas.

I am frequently reminded, not-so-nicely, about the stark differences between the family I was born into, and the family into which I married. But never so harshly as the annual debacle they call Christmas.

Invariably, it begins with the fact that no one seems to be able to remember where our little family spent the actual day of Christmas the year before (we do "every-other-year" for Christmas and Thanksgiving). This year, it was Christmas with the In Laws, even though we did Thanksgiving with them as well, since they came on vacation to Moab with us.

Did MY family complain? Did they act jealous? OF COURSE NOT. Their comment was, "Well, with Tiff's new job she doesn't get Christmas off this year anyway, so that should work out great! We'll have it next year!" God love 'em...

Christmas at the In Laws it was: and so the Rube Goldberg Machine was set in motion.

The task: get through Christmas without permanent harm, physical or emotional, being inflicted on any family member. Sounds simple, right?

Well, HA!! I say... HA!

It's NEVER simple when the InLaws are involved.

It started about a week before Christmas. A letter arrived at our house. Addressed to the children. FROM SANTA. Postmarked? you guessed it: the InLaws hometown (forehead slap). The kids didn't seem to notice, nor did they seem to notice that "Santa" writes an awful lot like Grandma. The content was fairly benign, and the kids seemed to forget about it quickly. Until MIL mentioned it out of the blue a couple days later and I was on damage-control duty once again.

I am making the most of these very few years of Santa-Faith, which are numbered, I know. Plato is 7 1/2 and has already expressed doubts. Lulu is darn sharp, and it won't be long after he abandons his belief that she will follow. So who knows? This (and every year to follow) could be IT; The Last Year. I'm determined not to make any false steps and give it all away.

MIL certainly has good intentions, but is severely lacking in the stealth department. The kids stayed with her for 3 days before Christmas as MIL had those days off and I was out of town. Rather then make the kids go to daycare we figured they'd have more fun at her house. Which they did...

When we arrived for Christmas, Lulu ran into my arms screaming, "Mama, Mama!! Santa Claus called us at Grandma's HOUSE! Plato wouldn't talk to him. He was scared. But I did! I told him I was a good girl this year and I want a horse for Christmas!!" Aside from the obvious issue with the horse, I was instantly pissed. I looked at MIL and she was grinning smugly. I raised my eyebrows, she didn't flinch. I looked at JeepMan and he was stunned as well.

But Lulu seemed happy, so I figured, whatever. Not worth ruining Christmas over something like that.

Later Lulu whispered breathily in my ear, "Mama, I don't think it was the REAL Santa who called sounded like Grandpa! I think he was just teasing us." I told her she was probably right, but not to tell Grandpa she knew.

We've told the kids that Santa only brings presents and fills stockings at our house; that at each Grandparents' house the Grandparents fill them. MIL will not go along with this. She insists that Santa fills her stockings (she also calls them "socks" which raises my hackles, but I grit my teeth and stick with "stockings"). As the kids plowed into the stocking booty this year, out tumbled unopened Happy Meal toys and multiple little gifts with Hobby Lobby price tag stickers on them. {{**sigh**}}

You know, because the elves shop at Hobby Lobby and have a contract with McDonald's for their overflow toy inventory.

Hopefully the kids are listening to ME about Santa not actually coming to Grandma's...

Gift-opening proceeded without incident; in fact, I have to give props to MIL for not going completely overboard on the gifts this year. It helps that she bought us a Wii, so there wasn't much left over to create the usual piles of useless, cheezy, lame gifts. One exception: the gymongous gaming table she bought the kids.

It has pool! Air hockey! Foosball! Backgammon...! Ugh. It's big and cheap. And we have no where to set it up in our small house with no storage! And SHE KNOWS THAT.

I don't know why, but we get one of these types of gifts every year from her. They're in a pile in the basement, or at Goodwill, or in the landfill. What a waste.

On to dinner. This is where it got interesting.

JeepMan's cousin Shawn has been in and out of the family's lives for years. He's my age; read: "old enough to know what's right and wrong." He found out a few years ago that he has a son, who is now 9 years old. The poor kid lived with his mother, who is dumb as a rock, for years. Shawn is smart, and managed to get custody of his son. Great, right?

Well, being smart does not mean you make smart choices, or live as a productive member of society. Here's the picture. Shawn has been in and out of jail in several states over the years for drug possession. Finally, he moved back to his hometown, found out he has a son, found himself a stripper girlfriend (ahem, "cocktail waitress in a strip bar," says she), and proceeded to father two more children. They've never married because the welfare (or whatever) is better if she's a single mother.

In the meantime, they've managed to purchase motorcycles for the whole family, drive a Cadillac Escalade, breed pit-bulls, and move to a 3000 sq/ft home on an acreage, brand new. All on the salary of a cocktail waitress and on-again-off-again construction worker....

Doth my nose detect a rodent?

Well, the shit hit the fan a few months ago for them: Shawn was arrested for drug trafficking, the kids were taken away, his girlfriend was arrested but the charges were eventually dropped, everything they own except their home was taken away, the 2 kids of theirs were returned to the home, and his son was sent back to his mother.

"Dumb as a rock" trumps "drug-lord" any day, I guess.

So he's currently in jail for (presumably) a long time. Now if I were the girlfriend, would I show up to the Christmas festivities of my imprisoned-boyfriend's family? No way!! I'd be so freakin' embarrassed I would want to crawl in a hole and die. Not this woman. Nope! She trucked the kids right over and made herself at home. And guess who got to sit by her at dinner? Moi. I heard all about how he's innocent, how hard it is without him, how she has to get home by 4pm to catch his Christmas Day phone call, blah blah blah. Just shoot me, ok? With a tranquilizer dart would be nice.

Also gracing the Christmas table were: JeepMan's grandma, Unclue Mike, JeepMan's cousin LT, and LT's girlfriend.

JeepMan's Grandma is a bitch. I don't use that term lightly. She truly is mean-spirited, manipulative, and consummately negative. When she walks into a room, she just drains all the good energy right out of it. She never talks to anyone, just sits in a corner and glowers, occasionally rising with a dramatic showing of strain and pain, and shuffles out to the garage to smoke. What a wonderful role model for my children, huh? They can't stand her.

Unclue Mike [sic] (that's how he spells his name, really!) recently moved back to be near MIL. He's her brother and he basically exhausted the Workman's Comp system in several states before deciding to come back home and see what he could mooch off his family. He's the one that gave us the Stolen Coffee for our present. He's friendly enough, but is so full of shit his eyes must be brown. A few years ago he had hatched a plan about how he was going to come to the Midwest and find him a bunch of night-crawlers (for free) and drive them back to Colorado for a profit. He's a real thinker, that one! Also a smoker, and suspected former client of his son, Shawn, details above.

The cousin I mentioned is the one MIL decided to give a new life a couple of years ago. It was a rocky situation then, but has turned out as well as could be expected. The cousin and girlfriend are as close to "normal" as any of the family gets; mostly because of the influence of the girlfriend. She comes from a stable and caring home, from what I can gather. They're young, their relationship is volatile, and I suspect they are up to their eyebrows in credit card debt...but they can function socially for the most part. They were an hour late to dinner with no excuse, which severely irked MIL, and they later had some kind of major argument (with lots of obscenities) during which I hustled myself and the kids from the room.

After dinner, all the negative energy had me exhausted, so when Lulu went down for a nap, I fell asleep beside her. Ahhh, bliss. When I got up, half the clan was gone. We left not long after, to go see what Santa left at our house. MIL was all atwitter, telling us not to give any stuff to Goodwill (she hates that), and that she would be checking with the kids and would find out if we did...oooh, I'm a-scared.

We made it out exhausted but unscathed. The kids had a great Christmas at home, and at my folks' house. I guess if nothing else, the kids are getting to witness the dichotomy between families, and they can make their own choices with this valuable knowledge, right?

Next up: A belated crappy gift and the story of my MIL, aspiring sommelier.