Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Literal Side of Things

Webster’s defines the word “literal” as “in accordance with, conforming to, or upholding the primary or exact meaning of a word or words”.

There are some people who take everything literally.  Like Greg.  Remember Greg from the Brady Bunch?  Remember the episode where he wanted to use “exact words” and it back fired on him?  What?  You don’t remember that episode?  Tell me then, just what were you watching after school back in the 70s and 80s?  The Brady Bunch was in syndication and it ran on nearly every television channel there was, so I don’t know how you could have missed that.  But anyway…

There are those people who take things literally, and there are those who just…. don’t.

I’d say I tend to fall into the latter category but my son, at age 5, he falls into the former, like Greg.  Or, at least he does some of the time.  It might depend on the situation or on who’s doing the talking.  I’m still trying to figure out the pattern.

He doesn’t seem to take ME literally when I tell him that it’s time for bed or that he needs to clean up his toys.  At those times, he apparently thinks I’m joking.  Half the time he doesn’t even acknowledge that I’ve spoken.  Certainly moms aren’t serious about bedtime or toys, right?  However… 

Last November as we prepared to visit Disney World, I told my son all about the Haunted Mansion ride.  I told him how, when I was a kid I used to like to go through the haunted mansion and how, at one point on the ride, the car rolls past a mirror and a green ghost sits in your lap.  I told him you had to be sitting in the middle seat for this to happen.

So when we got to Disney my son was all HURRYUPHURRYUPLETSRIDETHEHAUNTEDMANSIONNOW!  and so we rode the Haunted Mansion and when we came upon the mirror, the one where the green ghost was to appear, my son would not look up, he would not raise his eyes.  I wondered if he was scared.  Up until that point I’d been busy looking all around and thinking about how this or that aspect of the ride had changed since I last rode it.  I hadn’t noticed my son as much.  Had he been staring downward the whole ride?  I didn’t think so.  He wasn’t crying.  But still, he wouldn’t look in the mirror.

That was the first time we rode it.  He did the same thing the second time, and the third time, and the forth time.  I couldn’t figure it out because he assured me he wasn’t frightened.   So if he wasn’t scared, then why wouldn’t he look in the mirror? 

Eventually, he complained.   “I sat in the middle seat like you said!” he grumped.  And I’ve looked in my lap EVERY. TIME. But I never saw the ghost!  Why won’t it sit on my lap?”

That’s when it hit me.  Snags had told the truth.  He wasn’t scared of the ghost, he was looking for it in his lap, when in reality, the image is projected onto the mirror and he needed to look there if he was going to see the green ghost sitting with him.

I explained again how the ride worked but made it clear that the only way he was going to see the ghost was to look in the mirror, not at his lap.  At the end of our trip, on our final ride through the Haunted Mansion, he looked in the mirror and smiled with awe and relief: the ghost was there!  On his lap!

Most recently we spent a day in Philadelphia.  We saw many things and did many things, including taking a tour with Ride the Ducks.  The ducks, if you aren’t familiar with them, are vehicles that look like a boat on wheels, which is, actually, what they are.  They tour the city on land, driving up and down streets and then they stop, the driver moves aside to let a Captain on, and they drive the duck down a boat ramp into the Delaware River for a short water tour.  It’s at that point the bus turns into a boat.

The tour includes Wacky Quackers; they are plastic duck bills that you can blow into and generate a quacking sound.  Each person is issued their own Wacky Quacker as they board the duck at the start of the tour.  Snags was happily quacking away as the driver boarded and he stopped to ask my son if he would like to be his helper on this tour.  I wondered if maybe there were going to be rules about quacking and perhaps Snags was going to be the example of what not to do.  Maybe Rule Number 1 was going to be:  No over-exuberant quacking! 

Instead, the driver called my son to the front of the bus and asked him, “When we go in the river, if you see water coming up through the floor of the boat here, what do you think that means?”

And my son, little smarty that he his, replied, “It means we have a leak.” 

“Right!”   The driver said.  Then he pointed to the floor again and pointed out all these little handles along the floor that seemed to open hatches every so often.  Trapdoors, if you will.  The driver told my son that his job would be that of “Cork Boy” and he was to watch for water seeping through the floor and if he saw any he’d have to open the hatches and go underneath, find the leak, and plug it with a cork.  He handed my son a large cork to do this with, then sent him back down the aisle to us.

The tour started.  We drove past Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  We saw the Betsy Ross House and a firehouse museum.  We rode down South Street and saw the famous (yuck) gum trees, and other tourists, and a tattoo shop, and Condom Kingdom!  We headed back to the historic district and rode along Society Hill and saw famous churches and other spectacular Philadelphia sites. 

Then we splashed down into the river.  After a few minutes I started to worry that my son might be sick.  He wasn’t looking around at the sites.  He didn’t see the Penn Arch landing which is famous only for the fact that it’s builder went bankrupt.  He didn’t see Camden, NJ across the river.  He didn’t see the Navy ships or the historic boat with three large masts.  He didn’t look at the building where Will Smith lives when he’s in town.  He wasn’t even sitting up.  Rather, he was very nearly strewn across the seat, his head near my husband’s lap.  Concerned, I asked my husband if Snags was okay.  He assured me he was.  Snags was only looking down, at the floor.  The entire time we were on the river he stared at that floor.  He was looking for leaks.

Thankfully, the boat was sound.  There were no leaks and we returned to dry land and the end of the tour without incident.  Before we disembarked, the driver called Snags to the front and thanked him for his steadfast watchfulness.  “You saved our lives,” he told Snags.  “Or, you would have if we’d had a leak.”  Snags turned over the cork and the driver gave him a parting gift.  A little rubber duck wearing a life vest.  And Snags, he beamed!  And by that I mean he smiled broadly.  You know, just in case you are one of those people who take everything literally and thought I meant he was emitting light. Although… I have to say his smile was pretty bright!



Filed under boat, Delaware River, Disney World, family, ghosts, Haunted Mansion, Liberty Bell, life, literal, Philadelphia, Ride the Ducks, The Brady Bunch, Wacky Quacker

Faster Than A…

How fast is fast?  Maybe it depends what you’re measuring.  Or who you’re asking.

Surely, at some point, you’ve had a passenger in your car tell you to “SLOW DOWN! You’re driving too fast!” 

No?  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  But then I AM used to driving on the interstate everyday and I’m just trying to keep up with the rest of the traffic, officer.  And here’s a little hint I learned from a bus driver.  Sometimes, the slow lanes, especially the ones that merge, actually move way faster than the far left lane, the one everyone dubs “the fast lane”.  Try it sometime.  Only, not on MY highway, okay?  I don’t want EVERYONE to know my secrets.

But I digress, because this isn’t about traffic.  It’s about my son’s perception of how to measure the passing of time, and the quickness with which events can take place.  We were in the car, and I was driving him to school (okay, so maybe this is about traffic) and he was, as usual, talking at me about his current favorite Disney characters from Beauty and the Beast (and yes, I did mean to say “at me”). 

Apparently, the Beast and Belle, along with Cogsworth and Lumiere, (if you’re unclear on whose these characters are, I suggest you rent the movie) were up to some kind of shenanigans in my son’s bedroom (and I apologize here for not giving more details, but sometimes I have to tune out from his stories, especially when I’m driving).  If you’re a parent, his teacher, a neighbor, or a relative who’s spent any time with the kid, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

But anyway, apparently, whatever these characters were up to, they did it all very fast.  “BAM! Fast like that!”  “Faster,” my son proclaimed, “than you can count to 22!  Faster than you can cook!”

Faster than I can cook? “Faster than I can cook what?” I wondered.  Are we talking a seven course meal or Kraft Dinner? Am I watching a pot boil or can I use the microwave?  Because it makes a difference here, it really does.

And so I timed myself.  I can count to 22, speaking at a moderately fast pace, but still slowly enough to enunciate correctly, in 12 seconds.  That’s pretty fast, I think.  Speaking even faster, still believing  most people would be able to understand me, I can count to 22 in a mere 7 seconds.  That’s a whole 5 seconds faster!

You’re not impressed.  I can tell.  But look, I never claimed to be the speed talk guy who reads the fine print on television commercials.  That guy?  Now he’s fast!

Back to my original point though.  Whatever those characters were up to, if it took them somewhere in the range of 7 to 12 seconds to pull it off, that’s pretty good.  I think it’s fast enough to avoid getting caught in the act by most folks.  But obviously, not fast enough to get by my son.  Because obviously, he saw them do this, and not only that, he timed them!  After all, he described to me a way to measure their quickness!  If he was a super hero, maybe he’d be “Stopwatch Boy – The Kid That Never Misses a Trick!”.

Anyway, I guess my real point is  (and no, I didn’t see this coming either. I thought this was going to lead back to traffic), with kids that quick (and yes, all children are so quick that NOTHING gets by them), it explains why parents these days have so little oppurtunity for intimacy.  It’s not like we can grab a quickie, because well, we just aren’t THAT fast.  


Filed under Beauty and the Beast, driving, humor, kids, parenting, quickie, sex, time

Blue Denim

Thank you, Mom.  Thank you for buying me my first pair of Levi’s when I was in the 5th grade.  My friend Ann had a pair, my friend Valerie had a pair, and even my friend Kathy had a pair, I think.  I didn’t know what Levi’s were exactly, but I knew one thing:  those pants, they wrinkled behind the knees!  I guess they got all wrinkled when you sat down and your legs were bent; like when sitting in class behind a desk all day.  But the best part was, when you stood up, the wrinkles stayed there and that was cool!  Very cool.  At least to me.  My pants, not so much.  Because you see, Toughskins from Sears were not cool.  I don’t think they even qualified as jeans.  Or at least they didn’t in 1978. Certainly they were not blue denim.  They were all large and roomy and funny colored (burnt umber?) and funny patterned (paisley tweed?) and they were made of some kind of strange material that wouldn’t wrinkle behind the knees even if you sewed them into little “behind the knee pleats”.  They may be different now.  I don’t know.   I haven’t checked Sears lately because of that whole thing when I was in the 6th grade and store security thought I stole I bottle of nail polish, only I hadn’t, and I was scarred for life from the accusation and the meeting with the lawyers and all that, so I avoid the store like I avoid the plague, whenever and wherever I can. 

I am pretty sure though, given the school cliques and fashion fads of the late 70s and early 80s that if you hadn’t bought me that pair of Levi’s, I’d have been shunned forever once I hit middle school.  I’d have been one of the nerdy kids without friends who dressed poorly not because they were poor but because their parents didn’t realize fashion was becoming the judge and jury of their kid’s lives.  As it was, I stared at my friend’s backsides the entire Spring of 5th grade, both at and below their waists, desperately trying to figure out just what exactly, they were wearing.  I didn’t understand that Levi’s were properly categorized as blue jeans.  I didn’t understand that Levi’s was a brand.  I didn’t know about brands.  I knew about pants.  Some pants wrinkled behind the knees and some (mine) did not.  It took me a while to understand the word was Levi’s.  I described it to you as a word on a brown square on the back of the jeans above the pocket and that the jeans wrinkled behind the knees and OMG!  I had to have a pair.  Please? Please? Please?!  And eventually I worked up the nerve to ask a friend where she got them and she told me, and I told you, and you took me there and angels sang the Halleluiah because now my pants would wrinkle behind the knees too! 

And from there I was pretty much set.  I came to understood the power of  brands just as they became important.  I learned about things like Izod and Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt and Sassoon Jeans and Docksiders and Vans and O.P. (who the hell thought corduroy shorts would be a good idea?) and I had just enough of these fashion essentials to get by.  Just enough to fit in.

But that first pair of Levi’s.  I wore them out!  I wore them until they were two sizes too small and threadbare and even then I couldn’t bear to part with them.  I cut the legs off and wore them as shorts for just one more summer and then eventually, I sewed up the bottom leg holes and stuffed them with old rags and clothes that didn’t fit and sewed up the waist and I made a pillow out of those Levi’s.  It was the heaviest pillow in the world, considering I’d stuffed it full of my old Toughskins, but it was mine.  A cool pillow that looked like a pair of Levi’s denim shorts.  My Levi’s. Thanks, Mom. 

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Author’s note:  This essay is an entry in July’s group writing project over at MommaBlogga.  This month’s theme is “Thanks, Mom.” and participants were asked to write about something they are grateful to their mothers for.  A winner will be picked at random to recieve a $30 Amazon gift card.  Go ahead and participate.  You can win!  I know it’s possible because last month, I was the lucky winner!  Yes, Really!  Look here.  So you see?  All you have to do is enter and this month, the winner could be you!  But, uh, I hope it’s me again 😉


Filed under blue jeans, cliques, fads, fashion, group writing project, Levi's, life, middle school, mom, Sears, thanks, Toughskins

Dead Santa

Tell me, just WHAT do you say when your 5 year old child, riding in the backseat of the car asks you out of the blue, “Mom, does Santa Claus die? And what do they do if he dies? Do they get a replacement for him? How quickly can they get a replacement for him? And what about Mrs. Claus? Does she die? Or can Santa just live forever? How could he be that old to live forever?”

You can only stall for so long. Eventually, you have to answer the question.

After I did as much hemming and hawing as I thought I could get away with, I responded with something like: “Wow! Um… That’s a good question! I never thought about it. I mean, I don’t know. I suppose he might live forever, I mean, he does have Christmas magic. But then, he’d be the only person around that could live forever, so maybe he does die. But if he dies, I mean, they never announce it on the news. At least, I’ve never heard anything on the news about Santa dying.  I’ve never read anything in the paper about it.  And I watch the news and read the paper a lot, so I think I would have found out about that if it happened, you know?  But Santa’s been around as long as I can remember. I mean, they’ve always had Christmas, as far as I know.  I never heard anyone say they didn’t have a Christmas when they were a kid.  I know he was around when your grandparents, and great-grandparents, and great-great-great grandparents were kids. But some of those folks are dead now, so I guess that would make him really old… Or maybe he does die but they find a replacement before Christmas and they just don’t tell us about it so people won’t be worrying about whether there’s going to be a Christmas…” and then, just for that extra special touch, I added, “You must be the smartest kid in the world to ask that. I mean, I don’t think many kids even think about that to ask. I mean, I’ve never thought about it before. Wow! So, um… How was your day at school today?”

Really, I tell you, it’s hard to come up with an answer when your head is spinning from the shock and you haven’t been given a copy of “The Parent’s Guide to Answering Difficult Questions”.  And even if you had a copy, it’d be a little difficult to look up the answer while you’re driving.

After we got home, I distracted my son from his thoughts of a dying Santa with some comic relief in the form of Sponge Bob cartoons on Nick Jr.  Then I pulled my husband into the garage where I hissed “HE ASKED ME IF SANTA CLAUS DIES?!”, and I proceeded to tell him the rest of this horrifying exchange. When I finished, my husband said, (rather smugly, I might add), “Santa doesn’t die, he RETIRES and he trains a new Santa in his place. Didn’t you know that? That’s what all the Santa’s in the malls are, Santa’s in training, hoping one of them will get picked to be his replacement when he retires. That’s what you should have told him…”

And I’m thinking, “No. I didn’t know that. And since you’re so damn smart, YOU answer the question next time.”  

And there will be a next time.  My son was quietly playing the other day, and I heard him talking to himself, something about babies in tummies, and then something that sounded suspiciously like “and the mom eats a babysicle… ”   I closed my eyes and pretended that I didn’t hear him.  But when it comes up again, I’m going to hem and haw and say, “Hmm… I’m not sure…”  Then, I’m handing him the cell phone and say, “Here, call your dad, he’ll know!”

Merry Christmas in July!


Filed under Christmas, Christmas in July, death, humor, kids, life, parenting, Santa Claus

Different Monsters

Who were the monsters that you believed in as a kid?  Or rather, where did they hide and how could they get you?

For my son and I, they must be different. 

When I was a kid, I was concerned about monsters in my closet, under my bed, and in the basement.  I don’t remember the monsters having a particular form or face, nothing I could describe anyway.  If pressed, I’d have to say they were more of a force, a cold, evil air.  And I don’t ever recall asking my parents to check my room for monsters, because I had my own methods of protecting myself from the beings that lurked in the dark.

To keep the monsters from coming out of my closet at night, I piled the decorative pillows from my bed in front of my bi-fold closet doors.  Somehow, I believed, the pillows would be just heavy enough to stop anything residing inside from pushing its way outside.  And so, any monsters who had hunkered down in my closet hoping to attack me during the night would be trapped there until dawn when I made my bed and removed the pillows.  They wouldn’t dare stagger out by the light of day.  

To avoid the cold and brittle hands of the monsters under my bed, the ones who were surely waiting to reach out and clasp their boney fingers around my ankles, I perfected a gymnastics move worthy of an Olympic gold.  I’d turn out the light by the switch near my bedroom door, take three running steps then leap, eyes closed and arms outstrecthed onto my bed.  One time I leapt so high and so far that I actually jumped over my bed entirely, landing in a heap on the floor on the other side.  And then I had to scramble to pick myself up off the floor in the dark, and get back into bed before I could be dragged into that small dark space where the monsters hid.

I had, of course, a backup means of protecting myself in case that wall of pillows failed.  In case one of the monsters was strong enough to push their way out of the closet after all.  I slept with my entire body, head and all, under the covers, the edges held secure around my face by the weight of my head.  And while I might suffocate and die from breathing in my own exhalations all night long, at least my death would not be at the hands of a monster lurching out of my closet or inching his way out from under my bed.

Beasts in the basement I simply outran.  I hated the basement, even when it was finished with carpeting, lighting, and comfortable furniture.  I could manage the basement just fine if I was playing down there, or watching TV, otherwise distracted.  But I knew the moment I started up those basement steps that whatever hid down there would come after me and pull me backwards unless I ran up those steps at the speed of light.  Luckily, I always made a successful escape, emerging from the basement in one piece, but fairly out of breath.

And dare I admit that I still, to this day,  find myself, on occasion, running up the basement steps, or up the stairs to the 2nd floor of my house at night.  When the lights behind me are turned off, THAT’S when the monsters come out.

And while I am content to sleep with my head outside the covers, and without pillows (or anything else, for that matter) piled in front of my closet door, I cannot sleep unless my bedroom door is firmly shut.  I cannot comfortably nap anywhere besides my bed either, if I am home alone.  The family room is too large a space, the kitchen and hallways opening off it might let in an army of monsters while I rest.  But my bedroom, with the door shut, is a safe fortress.

The monsters that occasionally haunt my son are those he sees on TV.  Mostly vampires, witches, werewolves, mummies, and other creatures (The Creeper!) that he’s seen on Scooby Doo. 

Interestingly enough, these monsters don’t haunt his closet or hide under his bed.  Mostly, he believes, they live in haunted castles or creepy farmhouses, and luckily, there aren’t any of those in our neighborhood.  But my son  sleeps with a few lights on and, to my chagrin, he prefers to sleep with his bedroom door OPEN!  Doesn’t he know, I wonder, that monsters can slip in much easier when they don’t have to turn the door knob?  I cannot, of course, point this most obvious and important fact out to him.  And so, after he falls asleep, I turn out his lights and shut both his bedroom door, and mine.


Filed under life, monsters, Scooby Doo, sleeping

Food for Thought

Yes, I did in fact eat a hunk of cheese, two pepperoni sticks (think Slim Jims) and a triple scoop of chocolate ice cream for dinner.

Horrified?  Me, too.  But don’t worry. That’s NOT what I fed my kid.  He had leftover fish, some rice, and green beans with a healthy dose of ketchup (it counts as a second vegetable – so said Ronald Reagan).

Actually, maybe Snags only had the aroma of dinner for his dinner.  It looks as if he hardly ate anything, perhaps a bite of ketchup, before he declared that he was “full” and wandered off to play the Star Wars Lego game on XBox.

My husband, having finished all of the rotten steak he cooked a while back, ate leftover spaghetti and ratatouille before wandering off to a physical therapy appointment for his bum knee.  An appointment that he had canceled last night and rescheduled for tonight because last night he needed to go to the chiropractor for his bum back.  He wondered whether the PT exercises for his knee had caused the back pain, but his Chiropractor and I both voted no.  The sudden back pain was more likely tied to the hours spent with his body curled into the shape of a poorly written letter, perhaps a C or a U, or maybe an S, as he played one too many games of XBox over the past week with Snags.

So all this left me with cabinets full of healthy healthy food everywhere, but not a drop to eat.  Or something like that.  And I was too lazy to cook anything and too lazy to reheat anything, so I took the easy way out.  Besides, if I didn’t binge on this junk tonight, it would still be around here tomorrow, and I’d end up eating it then instead of starting to eat healthier, like I’d planned.  And also, I deserved this junk (that’s a lie I tell myself; don’t call me on it). 

After all, the day just started off bad.  As I was about to step into the shower this morning the power went out!  Which meant that after my shower I couldn’t dry or style my hair.  And I couldn’t iron my clothes for work.  So I had to let my hair air dry and hope for the best which didn’t turn out very best looking.  And then I had to find something to wear that looked like I’d only slept in it half the night.

I had to use the emergency release to open the garage door so I could back the car out  rather than it drive through the door itself.  Then I had to park the car and get out again to close the garage door and lock it, by hand.  Because, folks, the door won’t respond to the remote when the power’s out!  Also, closing a garage door by hand isn’t that easy when you are kind of short and have to resort to jumping to reach the door handle over your head.  See what technology has done to us?  We love it when it works but oh how it makes us me bitter when it doesn’t.

Next came the battle of the traffic as stop lights near and far were also out and drivers suddenly forgot how to drive when the lights weren’t working.  Here’s a hint:  treat the intersections as you would a four-way stop.  Got it?  Thanks.

Then… THEN, I arrived downtown to find the anime convention had arrived.  Really, I have nothing against those that want to “celebrate all anime, manga, and all facets of Asian pop culture!”   But OH!  How that convention MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because the conventioneers dress up as their favorite cartoon or video game character then parade around town crossing against lights and stopping in the middle of the street to adjust their fish net stockings, or their wig, or pick up the sword or the dungeons and dragons cards they’ve just dropped.  Many of them have wire antennae on their heads, or devil horns, or tinfoil eyeglasses, or bunny tails fastened to their back sides and I guess I just don’t understand any of it. 

Every year I moan and wail and complain to my friends and co-workers about this convention and every year I swear to myself that NEXT YEAR I will be forewarned and take a vacation day the day the convention comes to town so I won’t have to witness any of this and spare myself the agony of watching geeky teens and young adults dress up in ridiculous costumes and think they are suddenly cool. But then here I am fuming again because nobody warned me this was coming to town today and I got stuck in the freak show.

Mostly I think I get so irritated because the costumed, uh, people take up all the parking spots in the garage where I pay $150 a month to park and at that price I really expect to find a parking spot without having to resort to creating my own in a fire lane. 

A friend suggested we should eat lunch at an outdoor café and laugh at those in costume, but I declined because watching all of this on purpose would surely sour my mood even more.  And you see, I want to be in a good mood this evening because I am going to the midnight release party for the final Harry Potter book tonight! 

Okay yes, I realize that sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, me whining on about the anime fans gathering together, all the while planning to attend a fan event myself.  HOWEVER, I am not dressing up for the Potter release.  In fact, I am only going because if I don’t, some 8 year old will, and then he or she will be interviewed on the TV news tomorrow morning and will spoil the entire book for me.  So I have to get the book first thing tonight then take it home where I shall lock myself in the house and not turn on the TV or radio until I’ve finished reading it! 

To make matters worse, I had a long day on a conference call where the speaker on the phone kept cutting out and the people on the other end couldn’t hear me.  So I spent most of my day asking “Can you hear me now?  How about now?” and feeling like the star of a Verizon Wireless commercial (albeit one harboring much anger from a power failure and an anime convention).  Which reminds me, I ought to call and tell Verizon how I acted out their commercial for hours on end.  Because if they get sudden new business tonight or tomorrow from folks who mention a long, bad conference call, then I think they owe me a referral fee or at least a free month on my cell phone service.

So all that stress, you see, led me to eat the junk in the first place.  And now as I sit here stuffed, I feel like I’m one of the actresses in a Lean Cuisine commercial, the one where various women are describing what they had for dinner – a bowl of popcorn, a freezer burned popsicle, or in my case, two pepperoni sticks, a hunk of cheese and some ice cream – only to hear Miss “I Ate Healthy” spout off about how she ate the chicken with roasted vegetables and penne pasta with ginger sauce.  But oh!  It was a Lean Cuisine!

So I’m left kicking myself and thinking I might have to unbutton these pants and how I need to go running only it’s still 90 degrees out and I’d get all sweaty and have to take another shower and get dressed again so I can head over to the local Barnes & Noble to get my copy of  Harry Potter.  Or  maybe I ought to put it all off until tomorrow because I think if you exercise on the day you start over with healthy eating and a good book in hand, that’s doubles or maybe triples the points you earn.  Collect enough points and you can eat more pepperoni sticks. 


Filed under anger, anime, food, Harry Potter, junk food, Lean Cuisine, power outtage, rant, Verizon

Ya’ll Ready for This?

(Whispering)  Come ‘ere.  Can I show you something?  Look… over there.  (Normal voice) No, not there.  THERE!  To the right of your screen.  You may have to scroll down a bit.  See what I’m talking about?  Those two boxes?  One is rectangular and pink with a yellow star and one looks Steven Segal’s biceps.  Dreamy aren’t they?  I mean, can you believe it?  I know!  Me neither!

And here I am, caught so unprepared!  Never in a million years did I expect to win a prize, let alone two!  I mean, I never win anything.  But my luck must be turning because yesterday I won a Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award AND a Schmooze Award from the FANTABULICIOUS Jo Beaufoix.  And then… are you ready for this?  Seriously.  You better sit down for this one because it’s some kind of miracle and I don’t want you to get hurt when you fall down from the shock…

Okay, then.  Are you sitting?  Good.  Look here:  Yes folks, that’s right.  I found, in my garden, TWO (2) cucumbers and NINE (9) green beans!  In. My. Garden.  GROWING! 

But how can that be, you ask?  Because you’ve read this and you know my garden produces nothing but rocks.  Well.  If you must know, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a trick, that nobody just set this bounty in my garden to fool me because they were still. attached. to. the. plants!  I had to pick them!  Off PLANTS!  Growing in my garden.  Bearing food!

And so now we have our dinner ingredients for tomorrow.  I don’t know exactly what I can make with 9 green beans and 2 cucumbers, but I will come up with something, some kind of salad I suppose.  It will be my celebratory dinner for the blogging awards that Jo bestowed on me!

I have to admit I feel kind of funny though.  I thought only bad things happened in three’s and now I’ve got this good fortune and I am tempted to go buy a lottery ticket.  Only, I don’t want to push my luck here, so I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  Plus I’ve been drinking mojitos and we all know that drinking and driving don’t mix (public service announcement).

I’ll be totally honest here now too and admit I was drinking in the first place not because I won the awards (although that’s perfectly good reason to have another, I think) but because prior to all this goodness, Snags wanted to know “where a dog’s puppy chute is.”  I shook my head to clear it because surely I must have heard him wrong.  But upon further questioning I learned that he really WAS asking “where the puppies come out of a dog.”  I hemmed and hawed and mentally ran down the list of  mind numbing alcoholic beverages I had on hand and could consume to erase this awkward moment from my mind and I said I thought it was “near a dogs butt, but probably hidden like a trap door.” Well what would you have said?  Because I didn’t want him to play the role of gynecological veterinarian on our dog!  So he said “Oh, so you can’t see it until it opens!”  I agreed and we left it at that.

Except later I found he had drawn this and I am praying the small figure inside the large figure is nothing more than a monkey on a t-shirt, but I’m not sure, and I’m afraid to ask, because I am not ready for this and I don’t have enough liquor for this situation, especially because I just finished all the mojitos in celebration of my new awards!

And real quickly, before the Academy cuts me off (I see them twirling their hand in that “wrap it up” kind of motion) I’d like to thank Jo for this awesome recognition and extra special thanks to my husband and to my son Snags, without whom, none of this would have been possible.  They even helped with the garden.


Filed under awards, blogging, celebration, garden, humor, life, mojitos, puppies, Rockin' Girl Blogger, Schmooze award, sex education

WHAT Did You Say?!

Several times now my son Snags, who is 5, has uttered a word that sounded suspiciously four-letterish in a curse word sounding sort of way.

A few weeks ago my husband and I thought he might have said “shit” and we questioned him on it.  Or should I say, we held what could best be described as an inquisition.  “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” My husband nearly roared.

“Nothing!”  Snags responded.

“Yes you did.  You said something.  Now tell me, what did you say?”

“Nothing!”  Snags lied, a smile beginning to spread on his face.  “I didn’t say anything.”

“Yes you did,” my husband insisted.  “I HEARD you say something.  Now tell me, what was it that you said?”

“Chip!” Snags responded.  “I said Chip.  Like Chip!  Where are you?” 

Now the thing is, Snags MAY have been telling the truth.  Because at the time he uttered what he claims was “Chip!” but what we think was actually “Shit!” he was playing on the floor with a Beauty and the Beast playset, and “Chip” the broken teacup character, is a part of that playset.  And he’s really, really tiny too.  About the size of a toddler’s pinky nail.  So Snags, he claimed he had lost Chip, and was simply calling his name to find him.  Because tiny toys will answer you if you call them, right?

And then Snags added, “I didn’t say a naughty word!”  Only it came out like “I didn’t say a NAWTEE wurd.

But you see, we never suggested he’d said a NAWTEE wurd.

What’s that saying?  “The lady doth protest too much”?  Well, methinks the kid was lying.  Probably.  Maybe.  But… I’m not sure.

Then tonight, as he was climbing the stairs from the basement to the kitchen Snags uttered something else.

When questioned on it, he claimed he said “Buck!” 

My husband though, wasn’t convinced.  He questioned Snags over and over: 

“I said BUCK!” Snags kept insisting. 

“That’s not what it sounded like,” said my husband.  So then he questioned ME.  Only I was typing on the computer (like what else is new) and I wasn’t really paying attention to what Snags had said.

“What does “Buck!” mean?” My husband asked Snags.

“It means a dollar,” Snags replied. 

My husband thought about this for a few moments and said, to me: “Well, I don’t even think he knows that OTHER word, does he?”

To which Snags retorted, “You’re right!  I don’t know that other word.”

Later, I called Snags over to me and whispered, “What did you say earlier when you were going up the stairs?”

And he looked at me with puppy dog eyes and said, “I didn’t say the dirty word dad thought I said!” 

“What dirty word did he think you said?” I asked.

He paused. “I don’t know!” he said.

So I asked, “Well, what dirty word do you think he thought you said?”

And still, Snags said, “I don’t know!”

So I’m left here thinking either this kid really is innocent and hasn’t gone off spouting dirty “wurds” or he’s a champ at covering for himself! 


Filed under Beauty and the Beast, cursing, four-letter words, humor, lying


I have to tell you about Sicko.  No, not the movie.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Have you?  I want to see it.  But in order to see it I’d have to call the babysitter (who’s probably booked out until Kingdom Come) and find a date that she’s available.  Then I’d have to take out my life savings from the bank just to be able to buy a couple of movie tickets and a box of Snow Caps.  After the movie, I’d have to come home and pay the sitter a kajillion dollars (sitters don’t come cheap around here), and then STILL put Snags to bed because he would have talked the sitter into letting him stay up because he’s cute and conniving that way.  It all just seems like too much work, just for a movie.  Even a movie that everyone’s talking about.  Instead, I think I’ll wait ‘til it comes out on DVD, which will probably be in 2 weeks anyway, and then rent it from my local redbox where I can get it for just a dollar.  Seriously, even if I keep the movie for a week, I’d still pay less renting from redbox than I would if I went to the theater.

The Sicko I have to tell you about is my husband.  He pulled a London Broil from the freezer 2 weeks ago and put it in the fridge to thaw (yes, I know London Broil is a cooking method, but my grocery store labels the raw meat as such, and so I call it as I buy it).  Anyway, I believe he intended to cook it when my parents were visiting from out of town, but we had other delicious foods to eat like pizza and crab dip and hot dogs and 4th of July cake.  Then he forgot about it and it somehow the meat got shoved to the back of the fridge, behind the chicken he had thawed and also forgot about.  Until I saw it a few nights ago and said:  “Isn’t it trash night?  Shouldn’t we throw out that rotting chicken and did you know there’s a rotting steak back there too?”

“A STEAK?”  he asked, all wide eyed and starting to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. 

“Yeah,” I said narrowing my eyes suspiciously because he was starting to pant over the possibility of the steak.  “I think you meant to cook it when my parents were here.  You got it out to thaw before they arrived.  They were here for a week and it’s been another week since they went back home.  So I’m sure it’s no good now.  Throw it out.”

Only the next evening, after I returned from a run, he told me how, instead of throwing it away, he had cooked that steak, the one rotting in the back of the fridge.  He threw it on the grill with some spices, and not surprisingly, he burned it a little.

“What?!  I cried.  “You cooked that?”

“Yeah,” he shrugged.  “I ate some of it. There was nothing wrong with it.  It’s fine.”

“Well I’m not eating any of it,” I said.  “And don’t feed any of it to Snags either!  I don’t think you are supposed to eat something so old.  Just because you burned it doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat.  In fact, it’s probably worse. I heard on the news that the burned stuff causes cancer…” 

Still, he swore it was fine.  He’d eaten some and wasn’t sick.  Yet…

I totally expect that any moment now he’ll come to me complaining he’s caught some horrible form of ecolisalmonellalisteriacampylobacterplusatumorfromtheburnedmeat and he’ll have the idiocy of mind to wonder why.  And if he does, I won’t nurse him back to health.  Not when it’s his own damn fault. 

See, I had salmonella once.  And even though I didn’t catch it from eating rotten meat, I am now very obsessive about expiration dates and how long I keep leftovers in the fridge before they start to grow things.  I caught salmonella, believe it or not, from my sister-in-law’s dog.  Her dog who got into the trash and ate some old, raw chicken.  Possibly chicken she’d gotten out of the freezer to thaw, then forgot about.  At least she realized it, and threw it away, instead of cooking it and poisoning the whole family.  Too bad for her dog though.  He got terribly ill, and when she was tired of cleaning up piles of dog sick from all over the house, I offered to ride with her to the emergency vet. That was a fun ride, let me tell you. She drove while I sat in the back getting puked on and shit upon by the dog. We dropped the dog off, went home where I showered and gagged over the stink that was on me, and we learned a few days later that the poor, sad creature that had been sick all over the house, the back seat of the car, and me, had salmonella.  Ultimately, he’d be fine and back home like nothing had ever happened.  Stupid dog.

Because what we didn’t know at the time was that her dog had given his illness to me.  Three days later I ended up so sick that I found myself admitted to the hospital where I stayed for a week while the doctors ran every test known to mankind trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  Then one day my dad thought to ask if it was possible to catch something from a dog…  A few days later I was sent home with some heavy duty antibiotics and a letter from the state health department warning me not to take a job in the food service industry until I sent them a bunch of samples – STOOL SAMPLES! — to prove I’d been cured of the disease.

If you aren’t familiar with the effects of salmonella, you can read about them in a clinical kind of way here.  They are too gross to go into in much detail, and besides, thinking about them makes my insides clinch in horror all over again.  But suffice it say, if you get salmonella and are sitting in a hospital bed sipping Tropicana Twister because it’s sweet and the only food or drink you can stomach at all, even in tiny sips, you have been warned.  It will come out the other end and you will be convinced you are hemorrhaging to death through your intestines, but it’s really only the red dye number whatever that you are seeing.  So you can breathe a sigh of relief and believe the nurses when they tell you that too.

But back to my husband.  He’s been eating the old rotten burnt steak for a few days now and he still hasn’t gotten sick.  So maybe it’s true what they say, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I guess time will tell.


Filed under chicken, dog, humor, london broil, rotten food, salmonella, sick, sicko, steak

This is Me

This is me, before the start of marathon training season back about 3 months ago, talking to Kathy, the training coordinator for my running “club”:

“Kathy, I think I’m going to sign up to run with the group again this year.  But I am not going to show up for the speed test because I’m busy that day so just put me with one of the 9 to 10 minute per mile ½ marathon groups.  I don’t think I want to bother with the marathon this year since I’m still recovering from the injury I suffered last year on that 19 mile training run…”

This is me, again talking to the training coordinator, on the day I finally showed up and ran with the group for the first time this season, about 2 ½ months ago…

“Kathy, that group you put me with was too slow! I want to run with a faster group.  I know you said that “you can never run too slow on a long run” but that was painfully slow.  I could walk faster than that and,  In fact! I want to run the marathon now after all, so put me in a faster group and make sure it’s one that’s training for a marathon.”

This is me after running with the faster marathon group:

Pant, pant, pant… “Don’t you guys want to slow down some?  We still have a long way to go…”

This is me, talking to the coordinator AGAIN, about 1 month ago after one of the runs with the faster group in which I spent the entire run mentally cursing everyone for running too fast:

“Kathy, next week I think I want to try running with a slightly slower group.  My calves have been  cramping and my knee is hurting again so I’ve decided to give a slower a group a try, like you’ve been suggesting.  I know it won’t make any difference in how my legs are feeling but just to humor you, I’ll try it.”

This is me, reporting back to Kathy after running with the slower group:

“Kathy, guess what?!  My calves didn’t cramp and my knee didn’t hurt after that run.  I don’t really think it had anything to do with the slower pace.  It could be the fried chicken I had for dinner last night or possibly these new shorts, but just in case, I’ll stick with this group for the next couple of weeks, anyway…”

Note that I had to balance my plate of crow carefully so I wouldn’t drop it and be left with nothing to eat (because in case you didn’t know, you have to eat something to refuel immediately after a long run).

This is me after last Saturday’s run:

Ouch!  What is wrong with my calf?  It’s never hurt in THAT spot before.  This is somewhat troubling…  Ouch!  There goes my knee again.  What is up with me?!  Ouch!  My foot hurts too…

This is me last Monday, less than a week ago, after looking at the schedule for the run we were supposed to do today:

FIFTEEN MILES?!  I don’t feel like running 15 miles.  It’s too hot out!  My calf’s been hurting!  My knee is hurting again.  And my foot is hurting!  What’s up with my stupid body anyway?  Why am I doing this to myself? I am totally stressing out over this marathon. Maybe I won’t even bother to go running on Saturday. I have no motivation left for this anymore.  Aha!  And look at that, I won’t even be in town when the group runs 17 miles.  Well, I am NOT making up a 17 mile run by myself.  No way, no how!  I know…. I’ll drop back to the ½ marathon training group!  I only signed up for the marathon because I got all cocky last year and then I got hurt. I don’t even want to do it this year…

This is me at 4:07 a.m. this morning, a mere 8 minutes before my alarm was set to go off:

Wha?  Why am I awake?  I mean, I am AWAKE!  I was thinking of skipping today’s run if I was tired when the alarm went off, but I’m awake.  No way will I be able to fall back to sleep now.  I guess I’ll get dressed and at least show up.  Maybe I’ll turn around and go home after saying good morning to everyone and telling them I’m quitting.

This is Kathy, the training coordinator at 6:00 a.m. this morning as she panics because the ½ marathon group leaders aren’t there to lead their group.

“Okay, you, you, and you will start with Belle’s marathon group but TURN AROUND at mile marker 6 and come back here.  This parking lot is a ½ mile from the start, so if you run to 6 and turn around that will give you 11 miles today.  Don’t keep running with the marathon group or you’ll do 15 miles and you could injure yourselves!  Oh…”.  Sigh…Sigh… Wring hands together….  “Make sure you turn around.  At the 6 mile mark, okay?  Does anyone have a watch?  Do you know where you need to go?  Make sure you turn around…”

Me again, because Kathy is panicking and because I don’t want to run 15 miles anyway but I don’t really want to come out and admit that I’m stepping back down again because crow tastes pretty terrible:

“Kathy, I’ll turn around with the ½ marathoners and bring them back here!  You know, out of the goodness of my heart and all…”

This is Kathy:

“Oh, great!  That would be great!  You’ve done this before.  You’re familiar with the route.  That would be wonderful!  Thank you!  Okay, Belle will turn around with you guys so make sure you turn around at mile marker 6 and follow Belle.”

Important note:  The trail is flat and straight with woods on one side and a stream on the other side.  There are NO turns offs, no way to get confused and head off onto some errant path.  The ½ marathoners have run this trail many times, only not as far as mile 6.  Maybe, however, as far as mile 5 ½.  But apparently Kathy thinks they can’t find their way out of a paper bag back to the parking lot.

This is me this evening, after a couple of cans of Diet Coke, two Advils, and a long afternoon nap:

Whew!  That was great!  I ran 11 miles, and I feel fine!  I don’t have to suffer through excruciating long runs in this heat for the rest of the summer.  I can still walk without limping!  My foot doesn’t hurt.  My calves didn’t cramp.  My knee doesn’t hurt…  I wonder if I could have made it through 15 miles… 


Filed under 1/2 marathon, humor, marathon, marathon training, meme, running