Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cake pops! (In which I practice Extreme Procrastination and then overachieve.)

As you probably know, I am a self-professed slacker mom and I am also a non-baker/cook.  I really suck at baking.  I can screw up basically any "simple" recipe.  So much that I look for the words "simple" in titles and then scan the recipes to see just how simple they are before making the final decision to make them. 

These past few years I have realized that my life is probably half over and if I want to ever bake stuff, I better get busy.  Against my better judgment, this has led to me experimenting with all kinds of baking.  Some of them were successful.  Some of them, not so much.  Mostly, my family has not suffered.  I have written much about my successes and my screw-ups.  I have perfected: biscuits, homemade brownies, and some cookies including plain sugar cookies.  I still struggle with:  frosting a cake, cookie decorating that doesn't look like it was done by a first grader (and some first grader skills are way above mine), and some kinds of cookies (the kinds that burn easily).

My slackerish mom ways and my often misguided attempts at baking collided somewhat when Girl 2 announced about a year ago that she would like me to make cake pops for her eighth birthday.  She was forward thinking in giving me nearly a year to step up to the challenge.  Naturally, I waited eight months to get off my slackerish a$$ and research the making of cake pops.  Then, I waited another month for the cheapest cake pop maker to go on sale.  Then, I waited until the day before Girl 2's birthday to get the cake pop maker out of the box and make the damn things.

And, THEN guess what.  God cut me a break.  Or, He felt sorry for me because I am such a last minute slacker.  No matter what the divine intervention:  THEY WERE EDIBLE and FESTIVE!

I know.  I can't believe it either.  I actually was successful despite my extreme procrastination.

And, because I love you - just in case you ever want to make cake pops - I am going to show you what I did so that you can make festive ones too (with the least amount of effort)!

Here are the steps I followed (adjust as you see fit).  (I feel my list is much more real and entertaining than the gazillion YouTube videos I watched while doing my research.  You're welcome.)

1.  Buy a Bella cake pop maker and lollipop sticks when they go on sale at Target.
2.  Keep it nicely stored in your closet until the day before you need to have your pops ready.
3.  Wait until late afternoon that day and start to panic.
4.  Get the cake pop maker out and browse through the 100 pages of directions, warnings, and warranties (violence to the cake pop maker - and you *might* feel violent at this point - is not covered under warranty).
5.  See if you have any of the ingredients to make the chocolate pop recipe that came with the damn maker because you don't have time to go to the store before your baby wakes up and your other three kids get off the bus.
6.  Eat a yummy snack because you HAVE all the ingredients for the chocolate pop recipe in the book!  (And, also you will need to feel better when all your kids get home and the kitchen is a filthy mess and you are still not done.)
7.  Make the cake pops.   Here is the recipe I used and it was yummy.  You should really double it because you will probably need about 20 for any type of small children and after a few beers you are going to want another 20.  Trust me on that one.

EZ Scratch Chocolate Cake Pops or Donut Holes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar.  Add all other ingredients.  Follow directions that come with the your cake pop maker.
These are the cooked pops before decorating.  Yeah.  See why you should double the recipe?  They are bite-sized for Pete's sake.

8.  Desperately search for the lollipop sticks you swear you bought.  Curse loudly and slam another beer because YOU CANNOT FIND THEM ANYWHERE.  Text hubby and ask him to get you some sticks at Hobby Lobby.  Delete text because hubby has no idea what lollipop sticks are and it's doubtful he can find Hobby Lobby.
9.  FIND the sticks!  Praise yourself and then quickly curse yourself for not having meltable chocolate for decorating.  Damn it.
10.  Drag four kids to Hobby Lobby for meltable chocolate and more sprinkles.
11.  Get home and drink a beer because you are half way through!  Melt your chocolate, pop the sticks into the balls (dipping the stick in chocolate before inserting it into the ball helps it all stick together better), and cover each cake pop with chocolate (shaking them slightly to spread the chocolate, but not so much that the stick pops out or the damn pop breaks).  Immediately after covering them with chocolate (while the chocolate is still gooey) sprinkle sprinkles all over your chocolate ball.
12.  Pop them into some Styrofoam (I am obviously not a planner, so I used the Styrofoam that came with the cake pop maker.)
Maybe that's why they wrap the cake pop maker in Styrofoam?  Because you're gonna need it later?  I'd like to think so.

13.  Refrigerate your pops a few hours to make them harden.
14.  Make dinner for six now starving people and drink another beer.
15.  Put all your pops into little clear plastic bags and tie them with a cute ribbon.
Festive?

16.  Fall into bed at around midnight having drank (drunk?) a six-pack of beer and made adorable pops!
17.  Wake up clear headed (mostly) and have the foresight to put all the fancy cake pops into a basket so that no kid destroys them before they are popped in their little mouths.
Girl 2 kinda looked like Little Red Riding Hood.

So, that's my Cake Pop tutorial for dummies (no offense).  I hope you will try them.  Happy Birthday, Girl 2!  Momma loves you enough to make you cake pops (and that's a whole lotta love)! 

I would like to try to make some eyeballs or other things that are round and ballish.  But that will have to wait.  I have clearly overachieved and I am thankful to God.  (And I don't want to piss Him off just yet.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hello, Netflix? Are you busy tonight because I'm ready to give us another try.

So, you guys probably know that although I just started seeing Netflix in February - we've had our ups and downs since then.  A few weeks ago hubby and I stumbled upon The Killing.  I am pretty sure my niece recommended it to us, but my memory is bad so it could have been someone else.  Regardless, I am in love.  Season 1 (which I am sure all of you have already seen - because I live under a rock) centers on the murder of a teenage girl and two detectives who go about trying to solve it.  There are a lot of dirty politics (I crossed out dirty because is there a clean kind?) thrown into the who-dunnit, mob affiliations in the dead girl's family, and incredibly twisted emotional lives of both of the main detectives.  I.  love.  it.  all.

My love spelled out for your reading pleasure?  Yes.  (Spoiler alert, but I mostly ramble, so you're probably okay.)

1.  Old fashioned detective work, which you know I love.  No CSI-style high-gloss crime labs where no one ever hits the street because everything is on the computer.  Just cranky detectives who work their a$$es off around the clock.  In fact, it did kind of make me question whether or not detectives ever sleep.  I mean, really?  Can someone go 56 hours on no sleep and still like walk?  Because if I go on less than six hours of sleep consecutively for like more than four days I get all woozy and vomit-y and I am a B&TCH and a half.  So, basically I guess it's a good thing I never pursued my desire to be a cop/detective?

2.  Smoking.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I know smoking is the devil's work.  It's like sucking on a cancer stick.  And, for the record, I don't smoke.  Smoking in real life gives me a giant migraine and makes my eyes look like I am a huge drug addict.  But, smoking on the screen is sexy.  To me.  (Don't send me hate comments.)

3.  I hate Seattle even more than I did before.  It's set in Seattle and it rains all the f*cking time.  It is always raining.  In real life how do they wear make-up or have good hair?  I had a small desire to visit there again with hubby, but now it's gone.  So, hypothetical money saved!

4.  Detective Stephen Holder is hot.  To me.  He is this scruffy, ex-meth head (because is there any other kind of ex-meth head?), skinny, white guy.  He's Eminem-ish.  He's gotten clean and is a vegetarian.  But he eats pork rinds and smokes like a chimney.  I have a thing for guys who have a sordid past (as evidenced by hubby) and a crazy way of doing business.  And, Holder fits the bill.  I don't recall seeing Joel Kinnaman in anything before, but now I am kind of stalking him.     

5.  There is just a touch of mob activity and I love me some mob activity.

6.  The acting is really good.  I am not getting paid to write this (although they should totally be paying me), nor do I have any kind of degree in anything related to reviewing any kind of entertainment.  But, I am here to tell you - this is good acting.  The characters are evolved and deep and the acting is dramatic and well cast.  At first it was a little slow for me.  After watching episodes 1-5 (which I think we did in one night) I thought it could have all happened in one episode.  But now I'm used to it and I appreciate it (hmm, have I grown?).  And, also I think the rain makes all the $hit go slower.

7.  The last episode (13) of Season 1 made me want to shoot myself.  And, it was about 1:30 in the morning, so that was not a nice place to be mentally.  It was fraught with questions and inconsistencies and I just wanted to cry because I didn't know the answers (and because it was 1:30 in the morning and I was still wide awake).  All of the love that I had for The Killing vanished in the last 30 seconds of the last episode of Season 1.  But, then the next day when I could think clearly I found out that Season 2 was already playing on AMC and I might possibly be able to download it and watch it.  So, as I post this I am back in love and ready to gear up for Season 2.  If you're watching it now - don't tell me anything!

8.  Detective Sarah Linden played by Mireille Enos (and I kind of wish I could have another baby girl so that I could name her Mireille because after seeing that name in print for like days I LOVE it) makes me CA-RAZY because she is so warped in her private life.  I have found myself yelling at the TV at her.  Now, I never do that so that's how I know this $hit is good.

That's my amateur review, folks.  I hope you will give it a watch and if you do - let me know what you think.

In other news - I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  And, also - A Day in the Life is now on Facebook.  Check it out and friend me!  (If you want a new car - kidding!  That's illegal and I don't even have a new car.  But, I might send you guys some cookies or pictures of cookies or something.)  Please and thank you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why I avoid being in a vehicle with my family.

A mostly true conversation in the Yukon Cornelius after seeing bikes propped up against and locked to a stop sign in our neighborhood:

Boy Child:  Someone put their bikes next to the stop sign AGAIN!  Seriously?  Those bikes are going to get stolen one of these days.

Girl 1:  How?  They're locked.

Boy Child:  THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY CAN'T BE STOLEN.  Use your common sense.  Someone could just use a blow torch.  In fact, I'll get a blow torch and steal them.

Me:  Lifting my eyebrow to hubby.

Girl 1:  Seriously?  How would you steal them with a blow torch?

Boy Child:  You would just put the blow torch at the bottom of the pole and blow through the pole with fire.  Then, the bikes are yours.

Hubby:  Yeah, but they'd be locked together.  And you'd have a broken down stop sign pole.  AND a blow torch is noisy so someone would probably call the cops.  It would be better to just use a hack saw.


Me:  A hack saw???  Really?  Isn't a hack saw kind of like a butter knife?  A hack saw would not cut down a stop sign pole.


Hubby *kind of condescendingly*:  An electric hacksaw, babe?  Yes, yes it would.



Me:  DuhOf course, an electric hacksaw.  But, where would you plug it in?



Hubby:  Rolling his eyes at me.  Really?



Boy Child:  Well, I still think a blow torch would work better.  I am not sure about the noise.  Do they make silencers for blow torches?  And, well, as for them being locked together you could just walk them home like that.  Because I guess it would be a little hard to ride one and carry the other.



Hubby:  Well, yeah.  And someone might see you and wonder why you were carrying two bikes home in the middle of the night and leaving behind a downed stop sign pole that had been blow torched through.



Girl 1:  Yeah, but you still wouldn't be able to RIDE them because they would be locked together.  Duh! 


Boy Child:  DUH!  Use your common sense!  You could just cut through the locks with a.............what's that thing called, dad?  What would you use to cut through the locks?


Hubby:  A bolt cutter?



Boy Child:  Yeah.  A bolt cutter!  You could just cut through the locks with a bolt cutter once you got them home.  In your garage.


Hubby:  Duh!  Use your common sense!  If you were going to steal the bikes, it would be a lot easier if you just took the bolt cutter with you and cut through the lock there at the stop sign pole.



Boy Child (somewhat deflated):  Yeah.  I guess you could do it that way.  (Silence.)  But using a blow torch would be way more fun.



Note to self:  Do NOT lock my bike (when I get one) to a stop sign pole in my neighborhood.  Ever. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Never underestimate the dangers of exercise.

If it's wrong to laugh at people when they fall, I don't do it.  But, here is a mostly true conversation between me and Girl 2 from a few weeks ago:

We had been talking about some kids who were doing something to another kid (I can't exactly remember the details) and I said something like, "Hmm.  Well, that just doesn't sound very kind.  It's not really bullying or being mean, but that might make you feel bad if someone did that to you.  So, it's probably a good idea for us not to do that."  Girl 2 then said back to me, "Yeah.  I get it.  Like when we fall and you laugh at us?  Like that, mom?"

Ouch!  Stinging.  Cringe.  Shameful.

I don't remember what I did after she said that.  I think I mumbled something like, "Yeah.  Kind of like that," and slinked out of the room.  Like a snake.

I try not to laugh when people (mostly my kids) fall, but I just think it's funny.  And I try to always make sure they are not hurt (seriously) before I start laughing.

So keeping all of this in mind, it should be no surprise to me that the tables turned on me yesterday morning.

I was out on my morning run and I was deep in thought composing a depressing blog post for you guys.  In fact, I was so deep in thought that tears had welled up in my eyes (turns out I have a talent for multi-tasking - or not).

(And in a short digression, when discussing talent our family possesses the other night - it was a short discussion - Boy Child told Girl 1, "You have a great talent for making yourself cry for no good reason or any reason, because you do it all the time."  And he was serious.  After thinking about it a little too much, I have concluded that I have that talent as well.  Especially once a month.)

Now, if I had to blame something for why I found myself smack dab on the grass ready to go into a forward tumble, I would say it was because I had tears in my eyes and I couldn't see clearly.  But, that would be a lie.  It was because I am clumsy.  And my bones are getting brittle from becoming old apparently.

Anyway.  I tripped over something (possibly air), tried desperately to find my footing, lost my battle with that, and had a quick thought that landing on the grass next to the sidewalk would be preferable to landing on the sidewalk.  So, I veered (gracefully) toward the direction of the grass and in about two seconds propelled myself onto my arms (onto the grass) with a force and speed *kind of* resembling Carl Lewis (at least that's who came to my mind as I found myself flying through the air) and I almost did a forward tumble like baseball players do sometimes when they are sliding into base (except I was not wearing tight white pants highlighting my nice a$$ - nor do I have a nice a$$ - and I was not trying not to swallow my tobacco - because I do not chew tobacco when I run usually).  When I didn't naturally do a forward tumble I thought about making myself do it just so that if anyone was watching they would be like, "OOO.  Oh no!  Ouch.  Clutz!  Cool!"

This fall was quite a shock and I am sure I looked quite shocked when I finally stopped moving and kind of just lay there on the grass next to the sidewalk in some unsuspecting (and I am sure nervous) person's front yard. 

Right then I immediately did what every adult person who falls does, I quickly scanned the area to see if anyone had seen me fall.

Now, I am going to digress again to tell you another one of my faults (It's been kind of like confession here on my blog lately, eh?  Except that usually when I play confession, I am the priest.).  When I am running in my neighborhood I can be smug.  (Shocking, I know.)  I often encounter neighbors "running" and I put them all in "classes."  There are the Marathoners who I tell myself are taking years off their lives by running so much and so seriously.  Then there are the New Year's Resolutioners who I tell myself won't be around past February.  Then there are the people who I kind of group in a class with myself who I like to "race" (totally in my head).  So, there's this one guy who I see almost everyday and he's fit and kind (evidenced by the fact that he nods to me when he passes me - most likely saying a silent prayer for my safety when I invariably lose my footing and do a face plant), but he walks up almost all of the hills.  So, I take a teensy bit of pride in the fact that I can run up the hills at my age and he walks up them (knowing full and well that he probably has a high school injury that prevents him from running up hills or he has fake knees and is overachieving just to be walking).

So, naturally I fell right in front of Walk Up The Hills Man's house.  There were no cars in his driveway, and I did not see anyone looking out the window.

And, there is a God in Heaven because I was out of the view of the high schoolers that congregate at the corner to wait for the bus.  If they had seen me, I would probably be shopping for a new house right now instead of blogging.

After I did a quick scan to see if anyone had seen me I just sat there for a few minutes.  And that's when it hit me.  I couldn't help myself.  I started to laugh like a ca-razy woman.  I mean I was laughing so hard I couldn't even get up off the ground or attempt to clean all the dirt and grime off my knees and hands.  Then I became even more worried that someone would see me on the ground, with dirt all over my hands and knees, laughing like a woman who has lost all her marbles, and unable to talk or lift myself off the ground.  This thought, of course, only made me laugh harder.  I had a thought that Walk Up The Hills Man would come out of his house and ask me if I was okay, and could he call someone for me.  But, I would not be able to say anything because I was laughing so hard.  Then, invariably he would start laughing at me because who doesn't think falling is funny?  And we would both be laughing hysterically until the person whose yard I was now fully sitting in laughing my a$$ off would come out and ask me if I was okay.  She would say that she had seen me fall and it was hilarious.  The three of us would just be there laughing hysterically until the moment passed.

This went on (in my mind) for a good five minutes until I was finally able to pull myself together and stop laughing and get up.

Shamelessly I waved (?) just in case anyone was watching.  From their window.  And I think I even shouted to no one and everyone, "I'm okay!  It's all good!"

I am trying not to let this incidence of clumsiness and extreme embarrassment get me down.  I ran today (you know, in the spirit of - if you fall off the horse - get right back on it?).  Just in case, I took Girl 3 in the stroller for extra cardio (and for safety).  Surely no one would laugh if I fell and dragged the baby down with me.  Right?  (Except me, of course.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

America's Got Talent and so can you....or can you?

My family's summer ritual is to watch America's Got Talent as many times as is humanly possible.  Call us lame.  Or deprived.  Or depraved.  But, that's what we do.  It's good wholesome TV for the kids (except when they've had strippers on, oh and the people that stick sharp objects into their body orifices, oh and the guy who told dirty jokes - other than all of those folks - totally wholesome).  And, frankly it's TV worth watching.  Aside from the teensy fact that it makes me feel completely without talent.  No talent whatsoever.  I think to myself every time I watch it:  I am really not talented.  At anything

The older I get, the more this bugs me.  I find myself thinking as I watch fire breathers, tight rope walkers, and vaudeville performers, where did my parents go wrong?  Were all these performers raised by clowns or bearded ladies?  Was raw talent just in their genes?  Was my problem that I had the No Talent genes?  (I really think that theory is flawed because there are many talented people in my family - damn them.)  

Or, I think:  Did these people go to body orifice piercing school?  Did they take endless lessons in break dancing, jumping rope, and juggling?  Did my mom somehow miss fliers that came home from my school for those summer camps?  Or did she see them and then decide (without asking me) that I wouldn't be interested in learning how to stick a straw up one nostril and pull it down through the other?

While I ponder all the reasons why I seem to have drawn the talent short stick (until October when AGT will be over), here's a short list of things I really wish I had a teensy bit of talent in (talent in?  talent with?  talent for?  in which I had talent???  English teacher, please?  And another pathetic reminder that I have no talent IN GRAMMAR.)

1.  Breathing fire.  I hear it is incredibly damaging to your insides and probably will kill you, but just one time it would be cool to go out in my driveway, call the neighbors over, and breathe some fire.  Like a dragon.  Then we could like hang out and have a barbecue (which I would fire up, naturally) or something.

2.  Tight rope walking.  About two years ago, hubby thought we were natural tight rope walkers and that maybe we could sell our kids to the circus.  That is why he bought our family a slackline and put it up in our backyard.  I thought I could master it, so I practiced and practiced.  While the kids seem to be fairly good at it and have gotten considerably better than when hubby first put it up, two years later I can still only go about three steps without falling.  Turns out tight rope walking is REALLY HARD (even when it's only about one foot off the ground).

3.  Breakdancing.  This is another one of those talents that I just wish I had for neighborhood parties or get togethers.  It would be so great to impress my friends by just hitting the floor.......with my head.  And then spinning around on it.

4.  Juggling.  Who doesn't want to juggle?  I imagine myself sitting at a meeting (Not that I go to meetings anymore.  Except with my kids - like family meetings.  And, actually, this would really command their attention at a family meeting.), nonchalantly pulling out some soft balls *ha* from my pocket *ha-ha*, and starting to juggle them.  Everyone would be thinking, "WHY IS SHE HERE AT THIS MEETING?  Send her to VEGAS."

5.  Jumping rope.  I can manage some pretty basic jumping, but what I really want to be able to do is all the fancy stuff.  I want to criss-cross, one-hand it, do a cart wheel or back-flip through it, and other fun stuff.  Now, this just really looks fun - I wouldn't necessarily want to perform it in front of anyone (that would be showing off).


6.  Pole tricks.  Now, get your mind out of the gutter.  I didn't type "pole dancing," and apparently there is a difference.  One is done mainly in strip clubs, for money (or in people's own homes for "entertainment")  - the other is done for sport (if you can call it that).  (Oh, add "a man dressed in heels dancing practically naked with some poles" to the times AGT was not quite wholesome entertainment for my kids.)  Unfortunately, in the two instances I have seen - the sport started with the other.  Now, while I am pretty sure hubby would condone me learning the sport, I doubt he would approve of me doing it in strip clubs for money in order to be able to "learn" the sport.  (And with the state of this "over 30" body I doubt it would bring us a dollar or lead to much "practice.")  To have the arm strength that these people have would really make me happy and I am sure hubby would say yes to me "practicing" right in the privacy and convenience of our bedroom.


7.  Opera singing.  Just kidding.  Who the hell wants to opera sing for fun?  Seriously.  The only time I *kinda* wish I could opera sing is when we are at a baseball game and the national anthem is played.  Then a small part of me wishes I could just belt it out and have all the people around me be all, "WOWZA.  That girl's got some lungs on her.  She should be on America's Got Talent with that pair."  Then during the game I would be all shouting at the players clever little remarks and those same people would think it was cool that I could sing opera and shout obscenities at the players with the same set of lungs.  Only then do I wish I could sing opera.


That's my short list.  While I dream that I have these talents I will continue perfecting the "talents" I do have by:  running a gazillion errands, catching up on laundry, haphazardly cleaning the bathrooms, and cooking a mediocre dinner for today.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Simple Vows to My Hair

Recently I ended a long-term relationship...with  my hair dresser.  I really don't want to talk about it because I am still not over the trauma, sting, and general distaste of having to go through this.  When it comes to hair dressers I now realize I have been faithful to a fault and I am afraid I had stayed in a bad relationship for a touch too long. 

After making the painful decision to end our relationship, I suffered (what seemed like months) with untouched roots, split ends, and general dryness (possibly in an attempt to punish myself for such poor judgment) before plunging into a new relationship with a much younger woman.  Even if I never see her again, I have learned so much from our brief relationship already:  The style I was wearing *might* have been outdated.  (?)  I am easily influenced when it comes to hair products I need.  This can be costly (like my whole food budget for a couple of weeks), but so worth it!  Even women with straight-as-a-board hair that has never, ever seen a curl in its life can benefit from using a straightener.  (?)  AND, even women of my (and I quote) "more mature" (???) age can look fresh and should!

I realize this might be the rebound hair dresser, but I was so satisfied with my fresh cut and color I decided it was high time I take some vows.  I am (ahem) over 30 now and it's really high time I quit jumping from hair dresser to hair dresser.  I need to find a good hair dresser and settle down.  So, I decided my first step in this process of settling down is going to be to take some vows.

Now, typically (if you can even call this type of promise typical), I think women take vows to their actual hair dresser.  But, because I am naturally distrustful of hair dressers due to my recent trauma and I never ever want to be in a difficult relationship again, I am making my vows directly to my hair

(This post is also somewhat influenced by this interview with now deceased Vidal Sassoon, who kind of makes hair a religious experience.  Why?  Because it kind of is.)

Here it goes.  I hope you will learn from it and as dedicated readers - hold me to it.  (Thank you and you're welcome.)

I, Writer of A Day in the Life, take you, mane of slightly dry, straight-as-a-board, over 30, graying-dark brown and thinning hair to be my beloved hair.  With deepest joy I receive you again into my life that together we may be one.  I will be to you a loving and faithful head. Always will I perform my style-ship over you in a dignified and reverent manner, knowing that if I don't you have the full right to go more gray, dry, and betray me in all kinds of ways imaginable.  I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, my tenderest care, quality hair care products, UV ray protection, and spruced up roots. I promise I will find quality hair dressers that can style you the way you deserve to be styled.  I promise that I will lead our lives into a life of smoothers without harmful wax, sulfate-free shampoo, gray-coverers, and a minimum application of hair spray.  Ever honoring my quality hair dressers' advice about you, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful head from this day forward (And I am deeply sorry I have never done this before.  Please forgive me by not growing straight out of the top of my head like a spike).  Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

If I could have had a fake baby in high school, maybe I'd be writing a different blog.

So, in case you missed it, Girl 3 has been a bit of a mobster lately.  Like always happens in my life (call it caramel - what my kids constantly confuse for KARMA), I was getting a little too smug and self-righteous and BAM my kid started acting like the devil on speed.  I would normally (and I use that term relatively - mainly because my relatives are not normal) be able to handle it, but in case you don't have a CALENDAR there are nine more days of school left.  When there are less than 30 days of school left, kids go completely bat$hit crazy, apparently.  I don't really know how to explain what happens in the ten, nine, and seven year old brains of kids who have less than 30 days of school left in the school year.  I think scientifically speaking some of the brain matter actually transforms into monkey brain matter and they go ape-nuts in terms of their movements and total lack of respect (And, come to think of it, their potty inappropriateness.  Potty inappropriateness is the main reason I don't like to see the monkeys at the zoo - and I think you know what I am talking about here.)  So, the fact that we are minutes away from the end of school and life as we know it will change drastically AND the fact that Girl 3 *might* really be from the streets of Sicily, momma (me) is going a little insane.  (I refer to myself in the third person a lot when I am stressed out.  Bring momma a drink STATMomma is getting highly annoyed.  Momma is gonna pull off this highway soon if you guys don't zip it!  You get the point.)

Fast forward to yesterday when Girl 3 and I were purchasing blinds (the ones for the windows, not the people) at Lowe's.  Girl 3 had been exceptionally polite and patient while I made a blind purchase and we were checking out.  It was at this point that we both saw a young girl who looked to be breast feeding a small baby.  Here was why I thought that is what it was.  I saw a girl (who looked to be around 16) holding a smallish lump covered with a baby blanket (it was light pink) to her chest kind of sidewayish.  Then I saw a small baby foot on one end of the blanket and on the other end a bald headish type thing.  My brain said, "Teenage mom breast feeding her baby."  Then my brain said, "La Leche unite and be proud."  Then my brain said, "Sad for teenage pregnancy.  Happy for breast feeding mom?"  I put a question mark because sometimes I question my own brain which is why I probably need some sort of therapy.  But I can't afford it so I just have a free blog.

While I was busy trying to figure out my own brain, Girl 3 said, "Look momma.  A girl with a baby.  What's she doing?"

I mumbled, "Mm-hmm."  And tried to quickly figure out if I should say, "Breast feeding her baby."  Or, "I don't know."  Then the teenage girl gave us a really strange smile. 

Now, I can usually read people and their looks well.  For example I can tell when people (especially my own breed of people - moms) are saying:

  • BACK the *&ck up because someone is gonna get hurt real bad.
  • I need a drink.
  • I just want to find the exit so I can get this kid to the car.
  • What's wrong with your child?
  • Don't you know how to stop that?
And I could go on and on, but those are just a sampling of the "looks" that I have gotten used to reading. 

But, this was a look I was totally unfamiliar with.  It seemed to be saying something like, "I'm not sure...what are you looking at?...I'm so embarrassed...this isn't what you think."

So, I said to baby, "I don't know."  And that's a good thing because right about then the girl's blanket fell a little to reveal A FAKE BABY

Now, you may be thinking, "How did you know it was a FAKE BABY and not a baby doll?"  (Because we all know they are easy to confuse.)  (???)

I knew it was a FAKE BABY because it was scarily real.  It looked like a Pampers commercial, not like Baby Alive (who, I think, looks kinda like Chucky's cousin).

Then Girl 3 said, "Why does that girl have a fake baby?"  (And, yes, I was amazed that she used the words fake baby.  Or, possibly she didn't use the words fake baby and simply said baby doll.  But, I would like to think my kid is a genius even though she's mean as hell.)

Without thinking I said, "Because that's what they do in high school.  They learn how to take care of fake babies."

Then a timer located somewhere inside the fake baby or somewhere near the baby (I am not sure which because I never had a fake baby in high school, which could explain a lot of things that have happened to me since high school.) started going off.  And then Girl 3 got a look on her face that I can only describe as, "WHAT THE WHAT???"

Seriously?  Is it any wonder Girl 3 is screwed up? 

Someone who looked to be the high school girls' mother (her real mother, presumably, not her fake mother) smiled knowingly over in our direction and said sugary sweetly, "Fake baby."  The exact same way someone might say "cancer," or "jealousy," or "sibling rivalry."

So, I did the only thing I could think to do.  I nodded in Girl 3's direction, forced a smile (I am sure my eyes had glazed over by this point) and said, "Real baby."  Then I winked for good measure.

You better believe I whisked Girl 3 out of Lowe's as fast as her little legs could carry her because I just plain did not have the energy to discuss high school, breast feeding, fake babies, real moms, and timers.

Unfortunately we were not fast enough because outside we encountered Teenage Mom and Fake Baby.  Teenage Mom was swinging Fake Baby in an infant carrier to soothe Fake Baby so that she would stop crying (or her timer would go off) (and the fact that I just typed that sentence is testament to my weakening brain matter).

Again, Girl 3 gave me the "What the what???"  Except this time she smiled crazily and looked a little defeated and said, "Look momma.  That girl is swinging her fake baby."

I nodded and kept quiet.

We got to the car and on the way home Girl 3 said, "Momma.  I don't wanna go to high school."

Clearly we have some explaining to do in the next 12 to 13 years.  Thank you, Teenage Moms and Fake Babies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Three Year Old Lilyhammer. OR Where did I go wrong?

I "liked" Slate.com on Facebook as soon as I realized I could.  The news giant (And I am just saying, "news giant" because I have been waiting for a chance to use that term, "news giant" in a blog post for quite some time now.  I actually have no idea whether Slate is, or is not a "news giant," but see how I just did that?), Slate has a lovely little advice column called Dear Prudence (Or Prudie as she is affectionately called - I guess for when you are a sociopath and have to write to her frequently.  Because why else would you ever give an advice columnist a nickname?).  Immediately after I "liked" Slate on Facebook, I started getting items similar to the following appearing in my newsfeed every morning when I log into Facebook.



Dear Prudence: 

My husband is having an affair with a woman who is a mannequin and lives in our house.  I am afraid my seven kids (who I had from a previous relationship with a man who was later convicted of a hate crime) are going to find out.  First, is this behavior normal?  (Mine or my current husband's?)  Second, do I need to be concerned about my ex making "trouble" for me when he is paroled later this month? 

Sincerely,

Tranny's wife from Tennessee



Or this,

Dear Prudence: 

My best friend suffers from severe depression.  She goes through horrific highs and lows and I just don't know how to help her.  Will chocolate help?  Or, should I try wine? 

Sincerely,

Just trying to help



Or this,

Dear Prudence: 

I have always had low self esteem.  This has led to a series of bad decisions in my life.  I really want to make a change, but I am addicted to crystal meth and am being sentenced later this week (oh, and I am losing all my kids - except Johnny who was named after his dad - winkie face).  What do you recommend?

Sincerely,

Just my John's gal



Or (one of my personal favorites - although I have changed *some* of the details)

Dear Prudie: 

My co-worker made a porno movie and I watched it (accidentally).  Now I don't know whether to tell his boss that he is involved in this industry (in addition to the "legitimate" industry we are involved in together).  I like my co-worker and I don't want him to get fired.  Oh, and did I say - he's the boss and I am in an ongoing affair/relationship with him?

Sincerely,

Double Dee-licious


Now, I cannot tell you how much delight I get from reading these little snippets in my newsfeed.  Why?  I'll tell you why (in fact, it's kinda the point of this whole post).

1.  I usually can guess exactly what Prudie's response is going to be.  This gives me a smug satisfaction and also feeds the irrational dream I have of one day becoming a paid writer.  (Maybe I can finally ditch the parenting book idea once and for all and apply for an advice columnist job?)

2.  It makes me feel infinitely better about the life decisions I am making on a daily basis.  I mean basically I am usually concerned about raising my voice to my kids when others have to handle getting off of crystal meth and what to do with a cross dressing significant other.  Is this ugly and superior behavior?  Probably.  (That's a good question for Prudie.)

3.  If I do not have time to read Prudence's response (which often times I don't) I can still read the horribly screwed up things that people out there are dealing with.  And sometimes have a little giggle *gasp*.  Seriously, people.  Texting your body parts to others when you are a grown government employee is just ridiculous on some level.

But, as always happens when people are engaging in what could *possibly* be "ugly" or "superior" behavior - yesterday the tables turned on me.

The three year old has been going through some "behavioral issues."  At this point I am just hoping that her mug shot is not already posted at the local elementary and that she can still attend public school when the time comes.  In the past few weeks she has:  Lied about her age (which I realize is still kind of expected for a three year old - just usually not to save money), almost been involved in bribery and racketeering (before I unknowingly broke up that crime ring), and used high pitched screaming and wailing with all the windows in the house open as a way to get what she wanted from all of her siblings.  In a nutshell (me currently being the NUT), we are going through a tough time.

So, fast forward to yesterday.  I waltzed in to pick up my three year old from pre-school and there was a hushed silence that followed me.  I sensed something was wrong.  Sure enough when I made it to her room the two substitute teachers that were in the room immediately said they needed to speak with me. 

I picked up Girl 3's things and walked over to speak with them.  They proceeded to tell me a horrific story that was, indeed, what my daughter had done to another little girl in her class.  My sweet (yet somewhat devilish) child was arguing with another sweet little girl and when Girl 3 realized things were not going her way she picked up the play iron and clocked the other little girl right in the face with it.  Then Girl 3 proceeded to have a fit that required back-up to be called.

The teachers' complete repulsion with what had happened was written all over their faces (as it should have been).  I was appalled and I weakly tried to explain that Girl 3 does not respond well when her regular teacher is out (And as Boy Child would say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious.")  Yeesh.  What else could I say?  I proceeded to mumble something about had she apologized.  And then I just tried to find the exit.

I spoke to Girl 3 at length when we got home.  Her father spoke with her.  But, I have decided there is really only one way to go with this:

Dear Prudie,

Are you familiar with the hit series Lilyhammer?  Where an "ex" mobster goes into witness protection and ends up going right back to his mobster ways?  Well, I am afraid my three year old is him.  Is this possible?  Could a three year old really be familiar with mobster crime in the old-fashioned sense?  Oh, and also, is a three year old too young for anger management?  Please help.

Sincerely,

Troubled in Texas

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Open Letter to My Blog (No, I don't want a divorce.)

Dear Blog,

I love you.  I really do.  I thought I would send you a quick post to apologize for neglecting you these past few weeks.  I was truly not trying to lead you on those many times that I clicked on you with the intention of "logging in" and writing a quick yet hilarious, up-beat post and then quickly had to log off in order to:  A.  Run into the bathroom to wipe a three year old butt, B.  Answer the house phone and cell phone at the same time only to find out a politician was calling on one line and my hubby was calling on the other line - - to ask me where his cell phone was, or sometimes to C.  Supervise piano practices when the competition is days away and WE STILL HAVE NOT MEMORIZED OUR PIECES (and by "we" I mean "my THREE KIDS").

No, it is not that I want to break up with you or that I want to write other blogs.  It is not even that our relationship has become dull and that maybe we need to change our layout or edit our favicon.  I am perfectly happy with you and the way you look (don't change for me!). 

In fact, I love the way you blink at me when I bring up my home page.  I love the way I click on you and then I scroll down and you let me know which of my blogging friends has posted.  I love the way you don't get pissed when I read all my friends' posts and then abruptly leave you before I have even logged in and updated you.  I love the way you keep coming back even after I abandon you on the screen for hours at a time hoping that I can come back to you while you gaze (lovingly?) at me paying bills, hauling loads of laundry, furiously cooking up a meal two minutes before I need to serve it, tediously slaving away on a Business Plan, even opening another page in order to research $hit for the Business Plan (Oh, the betrayal.  I know.)  Please know that I would soooo rather be with you.

The simple explanation for my behavior is that the people I am seeing and the things I am doing are eating up all the time I used to have for you.  Even though the Business Plan is stuffy, inflexible, incredibly boring, and just plain tedious, I have to do it.  Even though the hubby is disorganized and grumpy, I have to talk to him and I love him, too (you knew that when you and I entered into this relationship, right?).  Even though the kids are whiny and outrageous, I have to tend to them.  Even though the laundry is smelly and distasteful, I have to do it.  And, we all know - the food does not cook itself (for the eight hundredth time).  Groan.

I guess what I am trying to say is, "I can't quit you, A Day in the Life!"  We are meant for each other.  You are Romeo and I am Juliet (except we don't die at the end and we speak plain English - well, most of the time).  Please, just give me one more chance and I promise I will make it up to you.  I beg you to keep "updating me" on my favorite blogs, keep showing your sweet ads, keep blinking at me from my home page because I need that.  It will make a difference, I promise.  I will find time for you.  WE CAN MAKE IT WORK!

I will end by saying, I love you with all my fingers.  I am ready to crank out the posts (starting tomorrow) (and I bought you a new mouse!).  You have my heart (and the good side of my brain)!

Sincerely (and xoxo),

Your Writer

P.S.  Do you think we need counseling?  No.  Me neither.  Pretend I didn't mention it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MOM? (May or Mayhem?)

Hi!  My little Girl 3 has been vomiting since three a.m., so I'm just checking in quickly to let you know a couple of things in case you missed them.

1.  Mother's Day is seven days away.  Message to my family:  If you still want me to cook, clean, and do your laundry you better get yourself to a store.

2.  My absolute favorite post from last week is here.  Don't let the title scare you away.  It is hysterical, promoting a great cause (healthy births and helping moms you know who might be in need), and as usual with Rants from Mommyland - spot on.  If you are interested in donating to the cause of birth kits for moms, please click through the links on Mommyland, or you can also click here.  (And thank you, VISA for calling me to make sure someone had not stolen my credit card and then used it half way around the world.)


That's all I got for now, folks.  Thanks for continuing to check in with me during these hectic May days.  I promise worthy posts soon.  ;o)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just Ducky.

Blech!  I knew I said I was going to stay away from you guys for a couple days to work on my mounting list of crap important stuff that needs to get done...but, let's be realistic.  I am addicted to you guys (and possibly procrastination). 

I got a new cell phone.  In case you are new here, I am technologically impaired and living somewhere in the 80's when it comes to technology.  I did not own a cell phone until a few years ago when basically the world wore me down.  I do not trust cell phones mainly because:  I hate to talk on the phone, I am going deaf, and I think cell phones might be the downfall of communication as we have known it.  Regardless, the other day hubby dragged me down to the cell phone store and asked me which new phone I wanted.  This was kind of similar to being asked by your optometrist, "Which looks better A or B?" and you really have no idea, but you say, "B" with complete confidence because you just want the examination to be over and get into your new glasses.

So, I told the cell phone man (who can't even really be called a man because I am pretty sure he was about 11) that I wanted that phone that you could talk into and say things like, "Make me dinner," or "Can you find me a job where I can make money for pinning things on Pinterest?" or "Can you get me a book deal when I haven't actually written a book?"  And your phone answers back to you nicely (unlike your children) saying things like, "Yes."  "On it."  "I will most certainly do that for you, and would you like your coffee now?"  "Did I tell you yet that you look gorgeous in that outfit?"  "Have you been working out?  Because you look more toned." 

He looked at me like I was clearly nuts and said, "Oh, I think you are talking about the iPhone 202.  We don't carry that."  So, then I said, "Oh, well what about that phone where you can write notes to yourself like, 'Don't forget to put the clothes in the dryer when you get home so that you don't have to spend a whole 'nother day doing laundry.'  So that I don't have to scramble looking for a sharpened pencil and paper while I am driving on the highway at 75 miles per hour hauling four kids in the back.  Do you guys have that phone?" 

Again, I got the look (like I'm crazy).  And then the patient, "Oh, ma'am, you must be talking about the blah, blah, blah.  We don't carry that one, either.  But I guarantee you since blah, blah, blah (and then what sounded to me like Charlie Brown's mother) we will carry that blah, blah, blah." 

Incidentally much later we saw a woman with that exact note-writing phone.  Let me just say THANK GAWD they didn't have that one because it is HUGE.  I would have had to buy a different purse to go along with it (not necessarily a bad thing).  The commercial really is deceiving.  It should say "Shown size is not actual size.  Phone is GIGANTIC in real life."  It's like hauling around a little laptop and I cannot imagine holding that thing up to your ear.  It looks ridiculous (no offense if you actually own that phone).

So, then I said, "Okay, well what do you have?"  And, bam, I got a brand new phone that's supposed to make me smarter, faster, and more efficient.  (But, won't necessarily get me a book deal, or kids who listen and behave, or make me a million dollars, or a cup of coffee.  Useless.  I know.)

Fast forward to yesterday when I was registering my kids for college (yes, I know they are only 3, 7, 9, and 10 but I am, indeed, registering them for college).  In order to attend a summer camp which is being hosted at a college, I have to register my kids for college.  It sounds a little kooky (and kind of like my kids are geniuses, which I must say - I am okay with), but it's the truth.  And, let me tell you, in case you are my age and registered for college a Long Time Ago, registering for college these days TAKES A MILLION YEARS and now requires basically giving blood and having an AIDS test (I am kidding, but only slightly).

So, here I am on the computer registering my 10 year old for COLLEGE, which was taking FORever and giving me a migraine.  It was kind of going like this (if the computer could talk):

Enter your login number:
What login number???
Searching back through the paperwork and trying one of the 5000 numbers I have scribbled down.
You have entered an incorrect login number.  Click here if you cannot remember your login number.
Well FU&%.  Click.
A new login number will be emailed to the email you enter in five to ten minutes.
Perfect.  Going to pee and then checking my email which says:  Click here and you will receive your new login number.  Clicking. 
Here is your new login in number.  You must exit the system and begin the process again.
Me:  Going to get a dull kitchen knife with which to STAB MYSELF in the eyes.

Now, you are probably wondering what the HELL any of this has to do with my new smarter and faster phone, right?  Or, you just stopped reading a long time ago figuring I was even more ca-razy than before.  Well here's how - while I was doing all this, my sweet friend was texting me (on my new phone) asking me about summer camps!  So, I texted some profanity back to her and told her I was REGISTERING MY KIDS FOR COLLEGE.

It was THEN that I realized my brand new f%;*ing phone was in fact either DUMB or my conscience (neither or which is sitting well with me). 

Every single time I typed a cuss word my "smart (ass)" phone converted it to some other word.  So that our texting went something like this:

Friend:  Hey, what summer camps are you registering the kids for?

Me:  Well, right now I am registering the kids for ducking college.

Friend:  Ha!  Ducking college?

Me:  Ducking?  What the duck?  Why can't I cuss?

Friend:  It's your phone.  You have to enter all the cuss words into the dictionary.

Me:  You.  Are.  Ducking kidding.

Friend:  No, no.  That's what you have to do.

Me:  This STUCKS.  ETF???  Perfect.  I thought this phone was supposed to be smarter than my old phone.  It should know intuitively that I want to cuss.  God blame it.  God blame it?  Seriously?  This is smarter???

Friend:  It is smarter.  It's keeping your language clean.


Seriously?  So, this phone is smarter

I want a refund.

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