Sunday, May 30, 2010

I've Moved!

Come visit me at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Video Killed the Lazy Mom

I love that my husband is a "computer guy."  He's smart.  Smarter than me or I would be able to put into words exactly what he does for a living.  When people ask me, I often just say he's a "computer guru" but sometimes I say "Programmer."  Because he does program and I mostly know what that means.

When I was younger I thought I wanted to marry a masseuse so I could always get a good back rub.  Turns out, marrying a C.G. is infinitely better because you get the best computers and round-the-clock repair service for free.  As an added bonus, my C.G. also gives back rubs.  What luck!

His technical savvy also translates to video cameras.  Santa Claus gave us a nice one this past year.  Now here's the weird thing:  I have an expensive scientific calculator that I used for some college classes.  I knew it was capable of interfacing with my laptop, playing games, and even connecting with other similar calculators to upload graphs, formulas, etc.  I never would have guessed that you can connect my calculator with our video camera so that it can be programmed to take pictures at 15-second intervals, thereby filming a time-lapse video.  Somehow my C.G. accomplished such an amazing feat.

I'm proud of him but I don't know that I fully support his new hobby as videographer.  His first film, entitled "An Evening with the C*****'s" is now featured on his Facebook page.  Ironically, what I find objectionable is not that this is an invasion of privacy.  (I suppose I could object to this.  An observant viewer will spot a stain on the carpet, for one thing.)  It's what the video reveals that bothers me.  My entire "performance" is done while I lay on the couch cozied up with my pink laptop, Cheez-Its and Coke within arm's reach.  What does this say about me?  One word comes to mind: lazy.

Then I had a semi-profound thought.  If you really think about it, our whole lives are "recorded," so to speak.  We're all going to die someday and we're going to enter the Pearly Gates and give an account of our life.  There will be no Johnny Cochran's to defend our actions.  Who would need an attorney, for that matter?  What's to defend?  God knows what we did.  He saw it all and it's all been "recorded."  The only thing that is going to save us from our damnable deeds is Jesus.  And we'd better know Him, otherwise we'll be taking a trip on the down elevator.

 Wow.  That was heavy.

So let's think about this in the here and now.  If someone were following you around with a camera, what would you do differently?  I'm not talking about using a tissue instead of just your finger.  (But if you do that... Ew.)  I'm talking about how you would spend your time, because when get down to it that really means how you would spend your life.  Would you really want to watch as much TV?  Would it really be important to you what place you held in the Bejeweled Blitz tournament?  (I can't help it.  I'll stay up a little later if I think I can beat my high score.)

"An Evening With the C*****'s" really convicted me.  If nothing else it's served as a reminder to me that life is short.  I need to get off the couch.

The Ants Go Marching One by One

It seems every time I go in my backyard I'm bitten by an ant.  They must be hiding out there, secretly stalking me and then creeping up my shoes undetected.  I don't know what I've done to provoke these attacks.  So I did a little research.  Turns out, you don't have to do anything like disturb their nest to incite the little devils.      

Here's some interesting facts I found: fire ants don't actually bite you, they sting.  The bite is just to grab hold of you with their pinchers and then they sting you from their abdomen, injecting you with venom.  You could end up with a small welt, which may actually be the result of ten tiny stings.  You're not supposed to scratch it because that brings the blood to the surface, which allows the venom to spread.  (You can use ice to try to reduce the itching.)  The right thing to do is use soap and warm water to scrub the whole area.  One recommended home remedy is to soak paper towels with Worcestershire sauce and apply them to the stings.  Weird.

On a side note, we could all learn a lot from ants.  They form colonies that may have millions of ants in them.  Those colonies are called "superorganisms" because they work as a unified entity, working together to support the whole colony.  Within these ant societies, they communicate through pheromones, formulate defense strategies, and teach each other interactively.  In some cultures, ants and their larvae are considered an "insect caviar," which can sell in the U.S. for up to $40 per pound.  I never knew that.  Personally, I wouldn't care how much value they had, I don't want them in my house or taking over my backyard.  There's a whole city of them out there.  Haven't seen any rubber tree plants go by yet.  But I wouldn't be altogether surprised.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Irrigation" Laws

My teen doesn't have a hearing problem.  She has a listening problem.  I'm not surprised.  I often see her with the TV on mute, wearing earphones that are blasting tunes while she's on the computer Facebook'ing.  She's not unusual.  Most teens are exactly like this, giving 1/3 or less of their attention to any one thing at a time. 

So it comes as no surprise that when I tried to have an actual dialogue with her there was a "communication problem."  To bait her into the conversation I got her attention by asking, "If your Dad and I decided to, would you be willing to move to Canada?"

Her:  "What?!  You mean we'd actually move?"

Me:  "Maybe.  Would you want to?"

Her:  "Really?  To California?"

Me:  "Noooo.  C-A-N-A-D-A.  Canada."

Her:  "Yeah, whatever.  Why would we move to Canada?"

Me:  "Not 'whatever.'  They're totally different places.  Canada is a whole other country."

Her:  "Well, why would we move anyway?"

Me:  "Well, it's getting kind of scary, you know, with the immigration law and all."

Her:  "So, you're serious?  We would actually to move to Canada?"

Me:  "Not necessarily.  I don't know.  Your Dad and I were just discussing things."

Her:  "Ok, well, tell me about the irrigation laws then."

Me:    "Not irrigation!  Immigration!  Irrigation is when you water land to grow crops and stuff. [I wouldn't attempt a more in-depth explanation than this.]  The immigration law is going to force cops to ask about a person's immigration status.  It's going to be illegal not to "carry your papers."  [Clearly, I was losing her interest.]  "Lawsuits have been filed!  People are threatening boycotts!  Aren't you hearing about this in school?"

Apparently, they're not. That's an outrage, as far as I'm concerned.  Here's one reason why:  my husband completed the census a long time ago.  Sunday afternoon there was a knock at the door.  It was a census taker who informed us they had no record of us completing it.  So, my hubby took the time to answer all of the questions... for a second time.  Other than the inconvenience of a stranger showing up at our door, getting the dogs to bark and disturbing the baby, all just to give info we'd already given, what really set me off was hearing him ask, "Is there anyone of Hispanic descent living in your household?"

EXCUSE ME?!?  Did he just ask us specifically if we had any Mexicans in our house?!?  He went on to ask about the ethnicity of each resident.  That was a separate question.  The fact is, he went out of his way to ask if anyone in our house was Hispanic.  (There isn't, but I want to know what would have happened if we'd said yes.)  That's alarming to me.  It smacks of Nazism.   

But I don't care what your stance on the law is.  I personally have a lot of problems with it.  First of all, it's the job of the federal government to secure the border, not the state of Arizona.  Secondly, the state is already having financial troubles.  We've even recently begun paying 2% tax on food to curb budget deficits.  I'm happy if the tax will actually ensure some policemen and firefighters get to keep their jobs, but it could drive away snowbirds who will just spend their winters someplace that doesn't put a tax on food.  But I digress... 

Enforcing the new immigration law is going to hit Arizona in the pocketbook, as well as the boycotts which threaten a revenue loss estimated between $7 million up to a whopping $52 million.  Nobody can say yet how much it's going to cost to train police officers and incarcerate the arrestees.  Not to mention that according to the IPC (Immigration Policy Center) Arizona could lose more than $25 billion (that's with a B, not an M) in economic activity.

Ay ay ay!  It makes me scared just thinking about it.  Like, scarder than I was when I first saw "Nightmare on Elm Street" as a kid.  That was pretty scared.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Somnolence Part Deux

I've reconsidered my list from yesterday's post.  It isn't fair to give the impression that my husband is responsible 40% of the time for the disturbances to my sleep.  There are actually many more things that wake/keep me up that he has nothing to do with.  Such as:

1.  Dogs barking at neighbors/strangers/other dogs/cats/each other, etc...
2.  The landscapers and their deafening equipment
3.  The garbage truck
4.  Any loud traffic, like the crazy motorcyclist zooming down our street at suicidal speeds
5.  The voice of a stop-by friend who doesn't know when to go home.  He's great and all, but after 10 pm his voice is like nails on a chalkboard.
6.  The pool pump when there's not enough water in the pool
7.  Teenagers talking and laughing loudly in the hallway
8.  When it's too hot or too cold and I just can't get comfortable
9.  The annoying buzz from the baby monitor
10.  And of course, Baby H himself.  He's actually the most responsible party for my fatigue.  But he's cute so he's forgiven.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I am a light sleeper.  It is a blessing when you know you will wake up easily to your little one's whimpers in the dead of the night.  You don't have to fear being surprised by a would-be burglar.  But most of the time it is a curse.  No matter how tired I am, I'm just so easily disturbed.

Things that frequently wake/keep me up:

1.  A fly dive-bombing me that got let in from the many times our back door opens and closes to let dogs in and out
2.  My two dogs howling when the phone rings more than twice
3.  My husband snoring
4.  The sound of the TV too loud
5.  The front door opening and closing
6.  My husband's alarm
7.  My husband's snooze alarm
8.  Repeat.  He often snoozes five or six times.  Then I force him to get up or give up.
9.  The annoying hum of my ceiling fan and the way the pull chain taps against the light cover
10.  Bright light.  I once got out of bed to tell my husband to turn off the porch light because it was too bright in the bedroom.  He said, "It's the full moon, dear.  I have no control over that."

See what I mean?  It's brutal.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like for the guy whose water heater exploded last year.  He was asleep when it happened.  The water heater shot through his roof and landed two blocks away, ripping apart his garage in the process.  It literally shook walls, shattered windows, and knocked pictures off the walls of neighbors' houses up to two blocks away. 

Now that is a wake-up call.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Uh. May. Zing.

Rarely do I experience a moment when I'm completely blown away by someone's talent, when I'm left with my jaw hanging open in amazement. The kind of moment when I wonder why some people don't believe in God, since clearly there is a kind of talent that is sparingly doled out to a fortunate few that just can't be human.  Nobody is that talented themselves.  It's superior God-given talent that I'm talking about here.

With a build-up like that you're probably going to be disappointed to hear that's it's "just" a song.  Off the Gladiator soundtrack, no less.  (Never seen the movie and don't plan to but the soundtrack must be amazing.) 

What blew me away is the song called "Now We Are Free" by Lisa Gerrard.  She's not even singing in a real language.  It's a language she made up as a child and it's how she "talks to God."

She is so talented that she's truly above the rest of us.  We're all illiterate, belching, nose-picking apes in comparison.  I'm not even going to bother to further try putting it into words.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Sleep Strike

My son woke me up at 3:30 this morning and it quickly became apparent that he wasn't going back to bed anytime soon.  By about 9:30 my husband asked, "What's wrong with him?"  Our little bundle of joy had been fed, changed, and rocked.  He didn't have gas and his teeth weren't bothering him.  When he proved impervious to a warm bath even, I decided that I was dealing with a sleep strike.  Of course, at nine months old he's incapable of talking.  But if he could, I imagine his list of demands would be something like this:

1.  I want more fruit and less vegetables.  What is that icky green crap you're trying to pass off as "mixed veggies"?  It looks like snot and I'm having none of it!

2.  And while we're on the subject of food, I don't want any more prunes.  If you want me to poop then don't feed me bananas or apples.  Ever.

3.  Do something about your morning breath.  I love that you kiss me and coo to me first thing, even when I wake you up before the roosters.  But P...U!  I might be a baby but I have a nose that smells, you know. 

4.  What's with the constant change of diapers?  First it's Cruisers, then Baby Dry, then Extra Protection.  My little tush gets used to one thing and then you spring something new on me.  Make up your melons and be done with it!

5.  I am capable of acclimating to room temperature, just like you.  Don't always assume that I am cold.  For Pete's sake, this is Phoenix, Arizona!  Please don't dress me like I'm an Eskimo in Siberia.

I'd give in to any of his demands if I could just figure out what keeps him from sleeping sometimes.  Maybe it means he's a genius.  I heard Albert Einstein never really slept like a normal person his whole life.  But while I'm in the middle of my sleep deprivation I think I'd settle for a C-student and a good eight hours of Zzzzzz's.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Two Mrs. C*****'s

Dear Melissa C*****,
You may notice this letter is addressed to you and signed by "you."  This is not a letter from your future self.  We actually share the same name, you and I.  That's right.  There are two Melissa C*****'s.  Since we live on opposite ends of the country you wouldn't think this would present a problem.  We could co-exist, blissfully unaware of the other's existence.  We were doing just that until one day when your mother joined Facebook.  

You wouldn't think something so innocuous would cause any problems.  I guess when your mom looked for your profile she just didn't consider the possibility there might be more than one of you out there and she friend requested the first Melissa C***** that came up.  No biggie.  I let her know I wasn't actually her daughter and considered the matter closed.

Then a funny thing happened.  She got my email address, probably from my Facebook.  I guess it's my own fault.  Afterall, it's melissa.c***** so I can see this has caused her great confusion.  The first time I let her know of her error.  I let another email or two slide before I tried again to let her know I am actually not her daughter and if she intends you to receive any of her emails, then she should apply some attention to the matter promptly.  For whatever reason she has completely ignored my protests that I am not in fact the Melissa C***** that she birthed, reared, and apparently wants to maintain contact with.

So the email communication continues.  When your mother sends a forward, I'm right there on the disti list with Tom and Dave and Jim and Anne and Robin.  I've no idea who these people are.  Perhaps they are your cousins or aunts and uncles.  Maybe even your siblings.  Regardless, now that your kinfolk has gotten my email from your mom's disti list, they too want to be friends on Facebook.  They're following me on Twitter.  They e-vite me to family gatherings.  I have to say, the BBQ sounded fun but unfortunately, I couldn't make it because I am a complete stranger living hundreds of miles away from you. 

Sounds like you have a good life.  Your family is very close.  Well, apparently, except for the whole not having each other's email addresses thing.  Hope you clear that up soon.  Until then, I'll ignore the forwards and political rants but I do like getting the rare but adorable e-birth announcements.  Who was the proud mom of that precious baby girl?  Your sister?  Your cousin?  Either way, congratulations to her.

The Other Melissa C*****

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Blog on the D-List

I'm a secret Kathy Griffin fan.  I'm closeted because of her way of saying things... how should I put it?  Well, things that would make your grandmother's hair stand up.  But I love her straight-faced humor and acid tongue.  I think we all sometimes wish we could just lay it on the line and get honest like she does, although that kind of behavior isn't likely to win friends or influence anybody.

Anyway...  I was watching Kathy's show, My Life on the D-List.  It was the episode where she's trying to broaden her fan base by appealing to the younger crowd.  Who better to mentor her than Paris Hilton?  (Yes, there's some sarcasm there.)  Seriously though, if you want your photo in the mags then you can't go wrong by being Paris' gal pal.  And in case you didn't hear the news: Paris has ditched her catch-phrase "That's hot" and replaced it with "That's huge."

As a mother of a teenage girl I can relate to the need to be in touch with the younger crowd.  I definitely want to be the parent and not a friend but that doesn't mean I have to wear mom-jeans or be out of touch with what's popular. Like today for example: I took my daughter to the hair salon and she brought along her friend.  When we found out her cut and color was going to take about two hours I decided to take her friend to the food court to kill some time.  I was trying to think of conversation starters.  The obvious go-to topic was of course school and what's her favorite subject and does she like her teachers.  Then I decided I should try a different approach.  Kids don't want to talk about school.  (For that matter, at 13 they don't want to be called kids.  They're teens.)  So I asked this teenager who she was routing for on American Idol.  This was a huge risk, and I don't mean huge in a that's-hot kind of way, I mean big.  I don't follow AI.  I was planning on bluffing my way through but I got lucky.  She doesn't watch AI either.  She does watch 16 and Pregnant.  Hit!  I watch that show too!  Normally I detest MTV but any show that accurately depicts what life after a baby is like is a show I can get behind. 

Kathy Griffin likes to make self-deprecating jokes about being a D-list celebrity.  I wonder if there was a Mom-list what my ranking would be.  I'm thinking A-list.  Did I mention that my daughter's bill at the salon today was a whopping $166 with tip?  And I bought her New Moon the day it was released.  Plus, I can hold my own in a Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate.

As a writer, I'm not on any list.  I don't even have a D-list blog yet.  But one can always hope.  And that would totally be huge.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Worry Dolls

Recently I went to Cave Creek and happened to stop at a craft fair.  Normally I hate those kind of things.  I have a tremendous guilt complex and I hate browsing in someone's booth only to leave empty-handed.

But this time was different.  I found a booth that sold Guatemalan worry dolls.  I'd never heard of them before.  They're dolls made by children in Guatemala and when they have trouble sleeping they tell their worries to the dolls and put them under their pillows.  The idea is that the doll does the worrying for them so they can rest easy.  I bought a ton of them.

Of course I don't believe in the folklore but I like the idea.  I'm a worry wart.  I come from a long line of worriers.  I like having the little dolls around now to remind me that I need to go against my genetics and give up the worrying.  After all, 85% of what we worry about never happens.  The other 15% usually isn't as bad as we feared it would be anyway.  Can you remember what you were worried about a year ago?  Even a week ago?  Neither can I.

I have a new favorite quote by an unknown author:  "Troubles are like people.  They grow bigger the more you nurse them."  Think about it.

Spring Breakdown

Spring break has officially started for my 13 year-old DD.  For her it's a break from school and teachers and homework and tests.  For me it's more like a breakdown.  A breakdown of the routines I work so hard to establish.  And a nervous breakdown if I'm not careful.

Silly me.  As a SAHM I try and plan fun things for her and her friends to do.  But what does a teenager want to do?  Whatever they feel like at any given moment.  Mine in particular thrives on spontaneity.   For her, planning for the future is deciding what she wants for dinner. 

I can tell already this coming week will be filled with a parade of children running in and out for drinks of water and requests for chauffeur services.  The snacks I bought on sale at Fry's probably won't last through Wednesday.  That's a bummer because when there's no chips in the cupboard I get the long sigh and, "Mom, I'm hungry."  That's a call to action, not a statement by the way.

Oh well.  Secretly, I like having the house all the kids come to.  I know my daughter's friends and I can keep an eye on them.  I'm just looking forward to my break after Spring Break is over.  But I did get some R&R today... I got a pedicure.  For me it's about the awesome massage chairs and the sea salt.  I don't really care about the color.  Although today I got It's Not So Bora Bora-ing Pink.  Very cute.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Out of Love with Facebook

Like most people I never seem to have time to do everything in a day that I want to get done. So I try and prioritize which means that updating my Facebook status is at the bottom of the list.  I logged on today for the first time in ages.  I used to waste countless hours playing Bejeweled Blitz and leaving witty one-liners on friends' walls.  I enjoyed the ego-boosts of friend requests.  It was all kind of fun until I friend'ed too many Facebook junkies. You know these people. They are the ones who keep you in a perpetual water balloon and pillow fight. They suggest you become a fan of this-or-that and join obscure causes. They want you on their YoVille crew and they want to be your neighbor in Farmville. They send you hearts and flair and smiles and lattes and hugs and blah-blah-blah.  I feel guilty ignoring these requests but I do it all the time.

Which leads me to a question.  Is there appropriate Facebook etiquette for how many quizzes you have to take?  How many snowballs do you have to throw before you can end the fight?  I wonder what Miss Manners would have to say.

So if you're one of the many whose requests I've ignored, I'm sorry.  I just don't have the time to write a testimonial or accept quiz challenges on 80s movies (which I'm pretty good at, by the way.)  But I'm almost always up for a chat at Starbucks.  I'm powered by caffeine.  And that's a request I'm not likely to ignore.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Te Quil A Mockingbird

I was once invited to join a wine-tasting/book club. They met every Tuesday night, sans the kids, and discussed the book of the week while becoming connoisseurs of fine wine. I declined membership. I couldn't commit to reading a book every week and I can't stand wine, or any alcohol for that matter. But I had to admire them for their commitment. It's hard to get a group of people together on a regular basis, especially on a weekly basis.

I often think about the 1950s housewives and how much they accomplished everyday. They'd wake up a few hours before their hubby and brood to shower, do their hair, and dress for the day - in a dress, stockings, and heels of course. Then they'd cook a nourishing breakfast, pack the lunches, and lay out everyone's clothes. These Stepford women would kiss everyone goodbye and wish them a good day. Then it was time for the real work to begin. Kitchens would be scrubbed until you could eat off the floors. Laundry was washed but forget the dryer. They didn't waste electricity. They used clothes lines. And there was the matter of ironing to tend to. The only starches in my house are carbohydrates.

Next, every nook and cranny was dusted, vacuumed, and scrubbed. This was done before lunchtime. That's when they could finally take a break and have a light salad while watching the soaps. Most likely even during these "breaks" you could find these amazing women knitting something or sewing on buttons.

Before the kids came home they baked desserts and prepared after school snacks. Then there was homework to help with, dinner to start on, and freshening up to do before her hubby made his appearance. (Phew! I'm exhausted just typing this.) The happy housewife still didn't have time to sit down. She had to get a drink ready for the Man of the House, get him his newspaper, and get dinner on the table. After dinner she did the dishes by hand and cleaned the kitchen again. She was available to play games with the family and later she read to the kids and put them to bed.

And these were called women who didn't work.

Somehow these women still found time to sit on porches sipping freshly squeezed lemonade while sharing the latest gossip. They didn't have to eat out because they hadn't found time to get to the store. They didn't scramble at the last minute to make costumes for their kids or empty change jars for lunch money. They attended Tupperware parties. They read. They volunteered. They RSVP'd without worrying whether they would be too busy or if something better would come up.

I can't imagine life in those days. With all of the modern conveniences we seem to be a society of people with less "free time" on our hands than ever before. It takes me a few weeks of co-planning just to get together face-to-face for coffee... with my neighbor.

I think those ladies in the wine-tasting/book club had the right idea. Multi-task. It's the only way to get things done anymore.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Laughter Isn't the Best Medicine

I love modern medicine and wouldn't want to have been born in any other era. I can't imagine life without Tylenol. Today I am especially thankful for the grape-flavored infant drops because my little one has a fever.

I don't know how people survived before acetaminophen, which wasn't introduced until 1894. They had to rely on their home remedies that may have worked even better but I would never know. Whenever anything ails me I run to my red and white bottle. But if I'd lived in the early 1800s, instead of popping a few capsules for relief from a sore throat I'd be tying bacon sprinkled with pepper around my neck and smoking in an attempt to cure tuberculosis. (Which is another thing I'm grateful for: vaccinations.)

In a time when it was considered unhealthy to bathe, the bacon necklace remedy wasn't so bad, comparatively speaking. Doctors used mustard plaster to burn patients with infections, hoping to draw out their infection through the blisters. They used laxatives and ipecac syrup to cause purging and puking. They thought nothing of bleeding them with leeches or cutting their veins.

Kinda makes you feel better about the offensive taste of Robitussin. I'm so glad I was born in the 70s. Even if I was a victim of the hideous hairdos and fashions of the 80s.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Someday is not a day of the week

My mother says, "Work expands to fit the time allotted for it." So it's no wonder it takes (undisclosed amount of time) for me to write a post.

I don't like to think of myself as a procrastinator. First of all, it's not a PC term. Did you know? We're now calling people who delay "chronic task avoiders." That's not me anyway. I may dawdle, dillydally, postpone, and tarry but I don't procrastinate. I don't buy Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve or let gift certificates expire. But I do have a tendency to think, "I'll have more time for this later." Or, "I'll do it later when I have more energy." And my favorite lie, "I work best under pressure."

When I finally sit down to slam out a few words I find myself easily distracted. Here are a few of the things I do when I'm "dillydallying:"
  • Look for music on YouTube
  • Visit Jodi Shaw's webpage
  • Picture my life as an Olympic gold winning figure skater
  • Keep re-reading my post, editing for errors
  • Think about what to get people for their birthday
  • Think about future blog entries
  • Chew off hangnails
  • Check my email
  • Wonder how different my life would be if I had the svelte figure and good looks of Audrey Hepburn
This is a short post but I have to end it now because - also as my mother would say - I have fooled around long enough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We All Have One of These Friends

I have a friend who is a Healthy Person. He wants my DH to quit smoking and go to the gym with him. He wants me to drink water and avoid fast food. He is always opening my cupboards and reading the food labels, criticizing the contents. I swiftly come to the defense of my monosodium glutamate but mostly I just ignore him. He is also a Hyper-Intelligent Person and there is really no arguing with the kind of person who does their crossword puzzles in pen. Besides, I understand his point. I just can't figure out why I'm always inviting him over to dinner.

Anyway, this Healthy/Hyper-Intelligent Person is perpetually listening to radio shows or reading somewhere that this-or-that unpronounceable ingredient that's found in everything I like to eat causes cancer or is hormone and mood-altering. Until he told me I wasn't even aware that certain foods could alter your mood. But now he's gone beyond the food contents and is on to the packaging. Apparently, he told me, the plastic used to contain and serve our food is dangerous. I scoffed at this. I wish I had the time to worry about the harmful contaminants lurking in every crack and crevice. Which reminds me, I have a friend who was a micro-biologist. Try going out to dinner with her.

As much as I want to, I just can't get on board with this whole health movement. People are going vegan and I'm going to In 'N Out Burger. I'm doing good if I serve a meatless main course twice a week. I guess I just keep hoping whoever these faceless, diet-dictating doctors are will change their minds. After all, in the 1940s doctors recommended Camel cigarettes. Maybe I'll get lucky and carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, and caffeine will be the secret to eternal youth.

You can't see me but my fingers are crossed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Zombie - noun. A person held to resemble the so-called walking dead; especially: automation.

I can relate. I often feel like a zombie, bungling through my day in an exhausted haze, powered by caffeine and the grace of God. I know it isn't true but I imagine that other moms live in cleaner houses, cook better meals, accomplish things when their children take naps, and aren't overwhelmed by the task of washing, drying, and putting laundry away in the same day. My dryer is like a second closet.

I'm a "mombie." Noun - a mother with a baby and a teenager who gets less than five hours of sleep... on a good night. Words like dishwasher safe, microwavable, 100%  machine washable, and 10% off make me happy. I know I'm not alone. You're a mombie too if:

You wake up early to see the teenager off to school and feed the baby breakfast. You don't bother getting dressed. It will be noon before you are able to leave the house anyway. You pull your root-showing, trim-needing hair in a ponytail and forget it. You will brush your teeth "when you get a minute."

You change a diaper and put the baby in his bouncy seat. You ignore the overflowing garbage and dishes in the sink and get breakfast together: Gerber oatmeal cereal and applesauce. You save the baby food jar because you're going to need it someday. You are going to find the time to make your own baby food.

You notice the dogs are out of food and water. You refill both dishes. You are the only one capable of completing this complicated task.

You are starting to get alert and begin making mental lists of all you will get done that day. Your morning goes according to plan until you get a text from your teenager telling you there's an emergency. They have forgotten their diorama on the kitchen table and they need it right now. When I'm in a hurry I have the saber dance song playing in my mind - the frenzied music that plays at the circus when all the clowns keep coming out of a Volkswagon or someone's juggling bowling pins on a ten-story high unicycle.

But back to you. You're in a hurry. You rummage through the dryer and pick the first articles of clothing that match. You still don't brush your teeth. You're not planning on getting too close to anyone anyway. Maybe you'll find a Tic-Tac or a stray piece of gum in the bottom of your purse. You get to school and deliver the diorama. The office staff recognizes you. You wonder if you are the only one.

Back at home, you are losing steam. You have consumed what little energy you had. You change a baby, feed a baby, burp a baby. Repeat. You work in reading a story or two. This makes you feel like a good mom.

You just get the baby rocked to sleep and the doorbell rings. You don't care if it's Publisher's Clearinghouse but you answer it. It's someone selling magazines to raise money so they can go to Hawaii with their softball team. You're not interested in donating. You're lucky to get to both the grocery store and bank on a good day.

Your teenager gets home demanding food. You ask how their day went and they say it was "fine." It always is. You plead, cajole, and threaten to get them to do their homework. You check it and make them correct their mistakes. This too makes you feel like a good mother. Your teen asks to go the mall with her friends and you say yes. You worry but you let her go anyway.

Your DH gets home. You are never so happy to see another adult in your whole life. You say to the baby in your voice reserved for small children and puppies, "Do you wanna go see Daddy?" He does. You are happy for the break.

You hit a time warp and the next hour passes in a blur. Your teenager comes home from the mall, demanding food again. You haven't had time to make dinner yet and they find this unacceptable. But you will not be baited into an argument because you love this kid. Of course you do, or you would slap their face off when they say, "so you're just going to starve me?" because you tell them to make themselves something to eat.

You give the baby a bath. You have learned this process takes three towels. One to dry the baby, one to dry you, and one to dry the floor.

You nurse and rock your baby to sleep and put him in his crib. Later, your teenager goes to bed on time without complaint.  You feel superior to other mothers in this regard.

Much later, you check on your kids one last time before you go to bed. They look like angels. Your heart swells with love. You don't know what you did to deserve such blessings.

You finally brush your teeth.

You think "tomorrow will be even better." Tomorrow you will wake up with the energy of an eighteen year-old. You will get everything done in the day so that you have time in the evening for your hobbies. Saturday morning you will clean out the garage and take the kids bowling in the afternoon to celebrate your accomplishment. And you believe this. You're a mombie.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Tangled Web We Weave

I like Barry Manilow. I'm a Fan-ilow and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

But I used to be. When I was 16 I paid sixty bucks a ticket to see him in concert. Of course I couldn't take a friend with me. Like they would really want to go and I didn't have the guts to ask them anyway. Even my own mother wouldn't go. So I wound up going with my aunt.

I don't remember the lies I told my friends about what I did the night of the concert but I'm sure it was stupid. It kind of makes me laugh now at how many things I lied about just to avoid embarrassment. Chances are, if you and I were hanging out in high school and I told you I was sorta grounded so I had to be home early, or picking up a relative at the airport, or just feeling tired and wanting to make it an early night, I was lying. I had to be home to make curfew.

Maybe without realizing it, we routinely lie to ourselves: "I'll start/quit tomorrow." "These pants must have shrunk." "I think I handled that ok." It's a natural progression since we were raised on lies. Our parents read us, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and told us about a fat man in a red suit who comes down the chimney once a year to bring us presents. 

We are constantly being told lies. "He's in a meeting." "I'm 29." "I'm not usually like this." "I'll call you right back." "We're just friends." We're so used to being lied to we often don't even consider exaggerating to be lying. If it's a "benign lie" that doesn't seem to hurt anyone we call it a white lie. In poker it's called bluffing. Our country even protects our right to lie with the Fifth Amendment. If it's incriminating, you don't have to say it, which is a lie by omission if you ask my mother.

So what if you're fed up with all of the crap? It isn't always easy to spot a liar if their pants are not on fire and they aren't hanging their lies on a telephone wire. What do you do if you can't trust their pinky swear? If they won't cross their heart, hope to die, and let you stick a needle in their eye? Fortunately, there are some dead giveaways that someone is telling tales:

  • The person avoids eye contact and makes limited or stiff arm and hand movements.
  • They touch their face or mouth. Sometimes they'll scratch their nose or behind their ear.
  • They put objects between you and themselves, like a book or their coffee cup.
  • They don't use contractions. They say, "I did not do it."
  • If you change the subject and the person seems suddenly more relaxed, they were probably lying.
  • Also, there is a difference in a lie smile and a truth smile.
But if you really want to know when someone is lying, you could watch the politicians. They'll show you how it's done.

Friday, January 8, 2010

We've Got a Strange Magic

In my last post I mentioned the song "Strange Magic." My DH doesn't like it. He doesn't like most of my favorite music and vice versa. He's eclectic and I'm esoteric. He's Pink Floyd and I'm Neil Diamond. We often joke that eHarmony would never pair us together if uploading our iPod playlist was part of the match criteria.

He loves Circle K coffee and in my book if it's not Starbucks, it's not coffee. Skydiving is on his bucket list. I'd rather kick the bucket than skydive. He's a night owl and I like to get up early. For him, orange juice without pulp isn't orange juice at all. For me, the pulp is a choking hazard. He likes to rough it outdoors and I love my creature comforts. He enjoys public speaking and I get nervous when I have the floor in big groups, even with just friends and family.  He's not committed to any religious beliefs and I'm a born-again Christian. Last presidential election we were Obama and McCain. I'll let you guess who was which.
It's amazing how compatible we are with as many differences as we have. But we go together like peanut butter and jelly. (For that matter, we're both smooth, not crunchy, but he's strawberry and I'm grape. He's white and I'm wheat.)

So how did we get together? He says it was a fortuitous accident. I say it was divine intervention. How do we make our relationship work? I think it's because what attracts us to each other isn't what we like to eat, what we think on a particular issue, or our favorite pastimes. Among many things, I'm attracted to his intelligence, loyalty, and sense of humor. I like to think he's attracted to my creativity, morality, and playfulness. Together we are better. Separate, he's slow to anger and I have a short fuse. Together, he keeps me calm and I tell him when to say enough is enough.

Some things are just inseparable. What's an Oreo without the milk? A make-up without a kiss? Calvin without Hobbes? Hide without seek? Forgiving without forgetting? Where there is salt you will find pepper. Where there is Luke, you will find me. And it's pretty much hearts and flowers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I was looking for music on YouTube like I sometimes do when I had a hankering to hear "Strange Magic." I get cravings for music the way pregnant women crave pickles and ice cream.

All that kept coming up was the song by ELO and a bunch of cover bands. That didn't make any sense. I was looking for the song by Chicago. Not when Peter Cetera was the lead singer. That other guy. What's-His-Name. I kept re-searching, hoping for different results. Finally I picked the most viewed video by ELO. Bingo! I didn't know ELO sang "Strange Magic." I felt like the people in those Cox commercials. It made me wonder what else I didn't know.

Maybe you're better than me at music trivia but there's a lot of myths we all believe. Like that Sherlock Holmes often said, "Elementary, my dear Watson" but he never actually did. So here's a few commonly believed myths that I thought worthy of mentioning:

  • MYTH: If you ask an officer if he's a cop he has to tell you the truth. FACT: Actually, he doesn't. The law is only concerned with entrapment, whether an officer entices you to commit a crime you wouldn't otherwise have committed.
  • MYTH: We only use 10% of our brains. FACT: Nobody knows for sure where this myth originated but any MRI scan will show that even while asleep most of the brain is always active.
  • MYTH: You get sick being out in the cold. FACT: Germs that make you sick live in warm temperatures. People get sick because in cold weather they spend more time indoors huddled together.
  • MYTH: When left to soak overnight a penny will dissolve in Coke so that must mean it will rot your teeth and eat away at your stomach. FACT: First of all, if this were true I would be the first to know about it. I drink Coke like it's my job and I still have my stomach and all of my teeth. The truth is Coke is less acidic than OJ and it would take months to dissolve a penny. Since Coke doesn't sit in our bodies anywhere near that length of time, I think we're safe.
  • MYTH: The word meaning "held as opinion" is pronounced supposeBly. FACT: It's spelled with a "d" so you pronounce it with a "d." This isn't really a common myth but it is annoying.
  • MYTH: A fish's memory span lasts only a few seconds. FACT: Dory from "Finding Nemo" was a-dory-ble but blue fish actually have long-term memory. Rainbow trout even develop personalities.
  • MYTH: Both the Johnny Depp version and the original movie were titled, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." FACT: The original was titled "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Ok, maybe this one was just me but I was surprised when I found out - like my whole childhood had been a lie.
If you really want to get crazy and start checking the validity of all those annoying email forwards you get, go to  And go ahead. Swim right after eating. You won't drown and probably won't even get a cramp.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Fill-in-the-Blank Day

I feel like I got hit by a truck this holiday season. The shopping, the wrapping, the socializing. Blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong. I love my family and it's cool when people come in from out of town. But enough is enough. I was relieved when I said goodbye to the last out-of-towners and my DD went back to school. Finally. Normal life could resume.

I've since come to find out that it is not enough that we have 8 major holidays per year and that Christmas has turned into a week long extravaganza. There is a plethora of obscure holidays and observances that I never knew existed. We do not have to live one day of our over-scheduled lives without celebrating one thing or another.

For instance, among many other things, January is National Bird Feeding Month, National Mail Order Gardening Month, National Hot Tea Month, and Oatmeal Month. (I'm feeling really good about all the oatmeal I just bought now.) It is also the month of awareness. January's 31 days are the designated time to become aware of glaucoma, thyroids, self-help groups, poverty in America, and personal self-defense. Mind you, to become an "official observance" there must be an origin source and official sponsor. So, there really is an organization devoting time and energy to making sure January is recognized as National Soup Month. And no, it is not Campbell's.

January has also been fragmented into weeks of mini-observations. This week we are to be celebrating life, resolving to diet, and commemorating the invention of the silent record, whatever that is.

But it doesn't stop there. Each day we can look forward to escaping the monotony of life by recognizing a quirky pseudo-holiday. We've already missed Happy Mew Year for Cats Day, National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, and Dimpled Chad Day. (Now how would you celebrate that?) Fortunately we can all still look forward to Bubble Bath Day, National English Toffee Day, Belly Laugh Day, and Appreciate a Dragon Day. Perhaps we should all dread January 17. That's Judgment Day.

Personally, I'm looking forward to January 7th - I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore Day. (It's real. Google it.)

Happy Three Kings' Day.

January Holidays

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Only Thing we Have to Fear... is Everything

I hate it when people block an aisle. Pushing my cart through the grocery store tonight, I found myself having to cut through the liquor aisle to avoid a traffic jam. Every time I go down this aisle I have the irrational fear that my cart will careen out of control, crash into the shelves and take out a cache of Cristal. I steer my cart down the middle of the aisle.  It got me thinking about some of my other fears, like the one of my ceiling fan falling on me and dicing me into pieces. None of my fears are as strange as these phobias:

Anablephobia - Fear of looking up
Arachibutyrophobia - Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth
Bananaphobia - Fear of bananas
Frigophobia - Fear of cold objects
Geniophobia - Fear of chins
Scopophobia - Fear of being looked at

Some celebrities have some bizarre fears too. I read it on the Internet so it must be true.

Billy Bob Thornton is afraid of bold colors
Nicole Kidman is afraid of butterflies
Christina Ricci is afraid of indoor plants
Matthew McConaughey is afraid of revolving doors
Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of eggs
Sigmund Freud was afraid of traveling by train because the gas jets made him think of souls burning in Hell

Sorta makes me feel normal for the whole ceiling fan thing.

Cloudy with a chance of writing

The ironic truth about me being an aspiring author is that I don't like to write. I only like to have written. Past tense. But this year my New Year's resolutions are to keep my New Year's resolutions and to write. And, oh yeah. Kill my inner critic. Afterall, if Stephenie Meyer can make the New York Times bestseller list then why can't I write a little blog? I'm a stay-at-home mom too. I have dreams too. Although mine don't usually feature sparkling vampires.

But that's beside the point. In keeping with my resolution I created this blog. I wasted all the time I could justify on finding a blog name that wasn't taken, previewing every template twice, and choosing fonts and colors as scrupulously as a bride picking her gown.

Now to attract some readers... I suppose all I need to do to pop-up in Google searches is shamelessly drop words like Robert Pattinson, New Moon, work from home, Tiger Woods, and playoff tickets. Heh heh.

Maybe I'll even attract a few followers. (That's you, Mom and DH.) But if you're not my Mom or my DH, thanks for reading.