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.