Monday, July 31, 2006

Nothing to see here, Mom... Move along now...

Jim, tiptoeing out of the bathroom with a pair of dirty undies covering his jewels, "Will you throw me my shorts?"

Me: "What's with you? You could never be a nudist, could you."

J: "Maybe if I had a giant schlong."

Me: "And that right there's the difference between nudists and exhibitionists."

J: "Whatever. I could be both - I'd just need that schlong."

Me: "You and me both honey."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Leroy was my favorite.

This weekend is the girl-blogger prom somewhere in Southern California. I am completely and unequivocally ambivalent about this event, which speaks definitively about my feelings about blogging in general. In fact, even to write about blogging seems odd to me, as I don't really consider myself A Blogger.

In the early days, yes, I spent a lot of time earnestly screwing up the html on this site and making sure my posts were full of informative and entertaining links. I visited new commenters far and wide and visited the new commenters on their sites far and wide and holy hell now I need some sort of laser surgery because of the late night link-chasing and thinking up of funny pithy comments with which to attract new readers.

Then Jim complained. And then some other stuff happened, like spring and summer, and children threatening to eat each other and other things like that. And somewhere in there I went to Savannah and met four wonderful online friends, that I now no longer refer to as online friends, and we talked about life and fat 'ginas and photographed each others' feet and then somewhere along that way I forgot about my initial motivation for the whole shebang: fame. Yes, I've always wanted to be famous. I admit to daydreaming about starring in The Real World. I'd be the one sane chick that drinks a lot of beer and openly mocks the stupidity of the rest of the house. I'm sure I'd have at least some (too old to be watching The Real World) kind of fan base. And those 10 people, man, they would LOVE me!

Well over a year ago I got tuned into blogging and I was sure it was my big break. A couple people were supporting their families on their blog fame and getting glossy spreads in magazines to boot. I started setting aside my extra-clean soccer shorts for my future Glamour spread, because Hey! I've always dabbled in writing and sarcasm literally courses through my veins. And I have a dog that'll put stuff on his head too! And to be a famous blogger, contrary to reality tv, guess what! No liposuction necessary! I started reading a couple of the successful blogs and commented a couple times, wrote a couple obnoxious posts and waited for the hordes of visitors. Then, to my misguided fortune, they POURED IN!! Except they were spam. So I went out searching for fame with my helmet light and junior detective kit. That's when I found Mrs. Harridan. And then Arabella. And then Teebs and Wordgirl. My peeps. Like I said, after that I went spelunking for more! more! more! comments and it was exhausting and unfulfilling and even though occasionally the comments would creep into the 20's it wasn't without a huge effort on my part to maintain the I-commented-on-your-lameass-meme-so-you-better-come-over-and-coo-about-my-next-door-neighbor's-senile-cat relationship. If that's what blogging is all about, no fucking thank you. I finally realized it was just too damn degrading and impersonal.

Now if I comment somewhere it's because I truly enjoy the writing and find the writer intriguing (this means if I say something on your site you don't have to come back and say nice things here - no worries). And when I write something, I hope it's entertaining or informative or whatever, but I don't write here picturing the headline for my own op-ed column any more. In fact, while I'm still trying to figure out why I do this, I just know that I've met some cool people and read some very interesting things, but I don't need a big glossy conference center to validate what I do. The four real people I hugged in Savannah was validation enough for me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Like a clock... tick tick tick...

One of the reasons I'm frothing at the bit to move from our current bucolic homestead to the hustle-bustle of downtown Missoula is gas. It cost me almost $50 to fill up yesterday, and I drive a Subaru. A Subaru - you know a little grocery-getter with tiny wheels and a little baby gas tank. My first Subaru, Little Eddie, drove me around Portland for five years, and fill-ups were about $20. I could get anywhere for a week on twenty bucks. Now a gallon of gas costs more than a gallon of milk, and instead of driving the baby around to put him to sleep, the sub-conscious sound of burning money forces me to take him home and carry him around for a half hour until my forearms are asleep and my back aches. And sometimes, in addition to that crackle of burning money, sometimes my mind hears the rumble of tanks and crying wounded people. I make little scales with my hands and say, hmmm, drive up the road a couple miles to make my back not hurt a little versus a couple dead Middle Easterners. I'd like to see that analogy on the SATs.

So, I decided early-on, when I first noticed the gas prices on our corner store ticking up like the seconds on a digital clock that I would never complain about the price of gas. Because, really, it's our own damn fault. And you know what I mean. We're guzzlers. We've built our great country on the foundation that we should all be able to live wherever we want and one or two gigantic cars should be in the driveway, having arrived there on a clean and nicely paved freeway. It's wonderful, isn't it? Having the freedom to hop into your own personal herculean vehicle to drive six blocks to get some brickettes? Now that's democracy! What I will complain about is the ignorant segment that demands lower gas prices as they sit idling in rush-hour traffic in their air-conditioned Suburbans and Land Cruisers. It's like parents that send their kids to expensive private schools, then balk at the cost of the blue collared shirts they're supposed to wear. A twenty-five dollar shirt versus a 25,000 dollar-a-year tuition. Huh.

Our move to downtown Missoula will save me approximately 20 gallons a week, what with trips to pre-school, Target, the park, Liquid Planet, couple more times to Target, and friends' houses. And then tack on another 25 for Jim and maybe another 15 for my lovely friends and babysitters that have to drive out to see us. Sixty gallons a week, round up to 3500 gallons a year, which brings us to over Ten Thousand Dollars a year. You see what I mean? That is something. That's ten grand out of the pockets of oil execs and other people that don't need it. And maybe, if a few of us move back into town, it'll add up, and eventually oil exploration in the ANWAR and taking over foreign oil supplies won't be quit as much fun. Sure, it's completely and totally Pollyanna to think this way. It could never happen that way. I mean, right? It couldn't, right? A few conscientious people could never make a difference, could they? Even if that few turned into thousands?

What can you do to save a couple gallons?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thanks Damon

After my last post regarding the young Miss Tiny, my brother wrote me possibly the most intelligent, eloquent, supportive e-mail I've ever received. From him. He gave me some props for getting my priorities straight and some very insightful and helpful advice with respect to Madeleine. Today she's been a different child, making small talk with the UPS guy, hunting for bugs and drawing endless pages of trail maps. Part of the problem, as Damon pointed out, is that she needs an extra special amount of intellectual stimulation. She knows how to read and write, having learned when she was 3, and blocks and puzzles just aren't cutting it. I bought her some styrofoam and a box and today she's started a Mean Bug Collection. No flies (they're my pets!), ladybugs (pssht - Mo-om!) or other non-biting, non-stinging bugs allowed. She and Jim inspected each one this evening under his microscope and are now classifying them according to their scientific names. She's also named them according to the elaborate pretend family, of which they are all members.

And, on an entirely different gloating note, I heard the song Crazy this afternoon and immediately started bobbin my head. "Good stuff," I said to myself. When the DJ said the artist was Gnarls Barkley, my first thought was "That can't be right - it sounded just like Cee Lo." And guys, you know WHAT?? It WAS Cee Lo - teamed up with DJ Danger Mouse. Ain't that sumthin? If you've ever been inclined to dismiss my knowledge of what's fuckin' up, let me tell you, beeyatch - STEP OFF! Now, I've got to catch up on why Wasp Mommy left Baby Black and Yellow Hornet with Hairy Spider Babysitter, because that bug drama is the shizit.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Overheard in Missoula

I'm stirring my iced tea at Liquid Planet, waiting for a bagel to toast. Two young women approach the counter.
...The taller one, "Um, like, I have a question? This is gross."
...Cute, confused counter guy, "Uhhh, okay.... what's your question?"
...Taller one, holding up her iced coffee conconction, "No, I mean this is gross. It tastes, like, wrong! Like coffee or something!"
...Cute, annoyed counter guy, "Yes, you ordered an iced mocha. That's chocolate and coffee mixed with milk..."
...Taller one, clearly baffled, "Yeah, but, like, it's got a gross aftertaste!"
...Cute, patient counter guy, "Like, coffee?"
...Taller one, triumphant, "YES!"
...Cute, lauging counter guy, "Hmmm...."
...Taller one, angry, "Well, it's gross..."

So posts are going to be a little lean 'round here for a few weeks. I've got to get myself better-minded and cross off a couple "shoulds," which right now includes blogging. Madeleine is having some problems with her friends and we need to work on it. She's also still very clingy when most of her peers are becoming more independent and she's not as happy in general as I know she can be. Some have said it's just being 4-ish. I wish I knew. Any of you with kids have any thoughts?

Here are Pooey and Teeners pictures, taken with my new camera phone. I love my new camera phone. Maybe that's Tiny's issue. She's got sibling-to-a-camera-phone jealousy...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Concoction

Do you remember way back when the point of the F.Concoction was for me to revel in my laziness by writing nothing of consequence, ignoring links, forming thoughts coherent only to the legally impaired, and so on? Do you remember that? I do! And what have I done to myself now? What with the html nightmare of bulleted lists and scanning of pictures and scouring the internets for pretty things. These are not the activities of a lazy lazy mom in her jammies. So today's F.Con is an Ode to Slack. The only concession I will make to previous glorious F.Cons is to look for something pretty. Now, let's get this done!

Random Thoughts:
- I watched Shopgirl last night (see the notable lack of link lovey there?) into the wee hours and it was a truly transforming experience. First, I kept rationalizing that I shouldn't like the movie, the strange romance between the lovely Claire Danes and Steve Martin and that hairy big-nosed boy that was her other love interest. But she was so damn amazing in the roll. And the movie was perfectly cast. And again, can I say how amazing Ms. Danes was? I cried three separate times, once just because I was a little overwhelmed by how beautifully and poignantly she acted. Then, when I was doing all the prepare for bed stuff, I cried again because I've been so immersed in the suckitude of selling the house that I've been an angry tired wreck for the last three weeks and after watching what maybe shouldn't have been such a beautiful movie but was, something washed over me and made me feel clean and healthy and in love with my kids and my husband and accepting of whatever is to come for us. And I felt good. Really good for the first time in a long time. I woke up to a sink full of Hamburger Helper, or whatever it was that the garbage disposal regurgitated in the middle of the night, and I wasn't even bummed.
- Madeleine learned this annoying thing from Brian at school last week. If I tell her to do anything, like "Madeleine can you please put your shoes on the right feet?" she'll say, charmingly, "Put your shoes on the right feet." Or "Madeleine, can you please pull your brother out of the dishwasher." I'll get a "Pull your brother out of the dishwasher." It reminds me of the way adorable 19 year-old frat boys grab their crotch and say, "Pull THIS!" How do you respond to that? I can only shut her up in the dryer so many times before it loses its effectiveness...
- I got my haircut again a few days ago and my hairdresser, whom I adore and will not quit, has forgotten how to cut my hair, so that I'm forced to use a handful of something that looks and feels just like Carmex to keep myself from looking a Dandelion gone to seed. It ends up looking okay, but I'm afraid I'm leaving the So-Glo smear on all our pillows.
- And speaking of hair, I cut Pooey's yesterday in the shower and with his new jacked-up big-boy hairdo I'm afraid he has entered a new realm of cuteness that I just don't know what to do with. I'm afraid I'm going to take a bite out of him at any moment. Will DEET work, I wonder?
- Here's something cute. That's all I got.
- This is more of a caracature than anything. But something about it I find very striking. And I readily admit to not knowing anything about Chick Corea.

Then and Now? Nah, I don't think so today... Here's some more vacation randomness....

And here's the view from Liquid Planet on this sunny hot Friday afternoon....

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day on a cul-de-sac is loud and smells acrid. But I love fire.

*huge heavy sigh and rubbing eyes*

We're back. The relatives are all gone, our trip to Winthrop is over and two viruses (viri?) have passed. Maybe I'll fill in the blanks later. Or not. Really, how much fun is it to read about someone else's 4th of July vacation with sick kids and an 8 hour car ride? Aw hell, here are a couple morsels for rumination:

- The mosquitoes were like paparazzi. That's what I told myself as I was being swarmed. You know how Madonna always wears the same clothes when she goes out so the pictures are useless? That was my inspiration.
- It's so much better to be the driver on the way back because the kids take turns screaming and the Other Adult has to constantly turn around to fish binkies out of the crevices between the door and the seats and change the dvd and refill juices and do any number of things that cause motion sickness all the while trying to keep the seatbelt thingy from violating his/her private parts.
- Showers for kids are overrated. Every time I washed mine I pictured dollar bills floating down the drain in the shape of mosquito spray and sunscreen oil-slicks. Why wash off that protective layer? Just for the sake of keeping a crappy $5 Spiderman sleeping bag a tad cleaner? Not worth it. Only after Madeleine washed did she get the constellation of skeeter bites on her back. Or it could be that I quit bothering with shirts after the 3rd day.
- It is completely okay to drink before lunch when you're in another time zone. It helps with the jet lag!
- My house hasn't sold even though 10 people have been through it and there were 16 lookers at the open house. Mark says it's because there's no 8 in the asking price. I think it's because the doors are hollow.
- I saw this church in Utne Reader, entirely constructed from bamboo (the article is interesting, if you're curious). I can't find a picture online, unfortunately, because it was gorgeous. Here, look at this building instead, and tell me if you can find the church picture somewhere...
- I'm so sick of Fig Newtons.

Can you give a me a one-line description of your 4th of Joo-lye? Start it like this If I'd had just one more mojito, I would have...