Friday, September 29, 2006

I give up

Pleeeeeezzzz help me... I know I can figure this CSS shit out, but I've really got a gazillion other things to do! Specifically: go get my coffee from the car and take off my shoes. Please? Help me get this damn header image to quit pretending it's an eye chart and instead stretch across the page like a well-behaved word jumble should. HELP MEEEE!!!

Here. I'll give you some pretty links to wet your appetite and as a down payment (I blame Debbie for my new addiction to Etsy.)

- Funky drawings with monkeys
- Please don't buy this, unless you put it in the mailbox of your crappy neighbor that complains about the one little brown spot on your lawn that the sprinkler doesn't quite reach. And it must have a little pin in its gonad-al region.
- Hmm! Nifty.
- Pretty and promising like your first glass of wine on a blind date.
- And these too, but I'm having a little trouble with the logistics.

And as an added incentive, I'll send you my newest fave CD full of songs like this if you help: Pink Moon, Nick Drake

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

This isn't part deux of how I'm great at math but suck with numbers. It's a just a test... a first-draft of the sample I'm going to send to the Missoulian editor (part of my master plan to be a big suck-up and get a columnist position). It's kind of a modern take on Erma Bombeck. No, no - she's timeless. Okay, it's an Erma Bombeck-wannabe column. But there are worst things to aspire to be, right? Like a dickhead. I don't aspire to be a dickhead. But I think I'll keep that sentiment out of my solicitation to the Missoulian...

No Really, Mine are Better

There’s a dirty secret that runs deep among parents. It doesn’t so much embarrass me to finally reveal it as give me a feeling of relief. You see I’ve, nay, we’ve, been hiding this thing for ages. Actually, four and a half years in my case, which is the age of my daughter, which makes it like ages… Anyway it is this: my kids are the best. I don’t mean like, Aw man! You’re the Best! I mean, they are the best at everything they do and they are the best looking and they draw the best chalk-art pictures and their bowel movements are the best and have the best tantrums in Osco when they’re denied the best candy that a kid can choose and they make the best spit bubbles when they're in their carseats too long and they’re acting bored in the best way a kid can act. You see? I mean Ev. Er. Ee. Thing. Everything.

Now you’re saying, why is this a secret among par-ENTS, plural? Because I guess it’s not just my deal. Apparently my friend Kathy’s kid is the best too. And I think my brothers’ kids believe they are the best and also it appears Madeleine’s preschool classmates have been told by their parents that they are also the best. All these other kids are just as certain of their bestness as mine, and so I’ve instructed Madeleine to keep her bestness to herself so as not to cause confusion in the other young minds. Which I think is best. We’re just keeping it on the down-low for the sake of the children.

But really, stepping back and examining this phenomenon as a whole, I see a problem. Do you see it? All those other kids canNOT be the best, right? Is that what you’re seeing? Because my two are THE best, there can only be runners-up, and here’s where it gets sticky. Problematic, bordering on chaos. I don’t want all the other parents in the world fighting over that coveted runner-up spot! I’m going to allow them (you) all to continue believing that yours are the best in order to keep the peace. And in order to facilitate the ruse, I’ve put together a plan: Operation Let Others Be Best Sometimes and Make Parents Believe Mine Aren’t the Best by Forcing My Two to Act Less Best. Here’s how it goes: a) occasionally allow my kids to lose at stuff – specifically stuff I don’t care about like Miss Teen USA and junior weight lifting competitions, but if they feel like ad libbing and lose at a spelling bee or a burping contest they are to get terribly angry and throw an inappropriate fit so as to reinforce the deception that the deal wasn’t lost on purpose b) encourage my kids to act strangely and maybe a trifle irritating in public so that their Best Kid in the World behavior is not off-putting to all the parents whose kids are sitting quietly at the movie theater instead of pushing their little brothers down the stairs and puking in the popcorn bucket because they refused to eat breakfast and have only had chocolate milk and 5 fruit roll-ups they pilfered from the cupboard when their mom was on the phone, and then, finally c) as they grow up I’m asking that they stick with the deceit by sneaking out on Christmas Eve to play Spin the Bottle at their friend’s house down the street then getting caught when they wake up their grandparents yapping dog when they come back in the house through the laundry room window, or perhaps mooning the visiting boys’ basketball team as their bus pulls out of the school parking lot resulting in 3 weeks of detention, or maybe even wrecking 3 or 4 different cars that were specifically bought for them to go to their after-school job at the drugstore, a job which was garnered to teach them responsibility and keep them out of trouble after school. Because those are things that I’m positive Best Kids in the World do to make the rest of the world’s parents feel better about the fact that their kids are runners-up. It’s all part of the master plan, you see…

Monday, September 25, 2006

Eight six seven five, something something something...

I'm a math officianado. I aced calculus in college - hardly studied. Differential equations was harder, but manageable and sometimes, when I'm having trouble sleeping, I imagine myself doing integrals and derivatives as if they're deep breaths for my mind. Geometry is my meditation. So whenever someone throws out a math problem, as is bound to happen when you're standing in line at Old Navy, I'm the Johnny-on-the-spot. I always help calculate the sale price on the pink flip-flops or estimate the gross national product of China. Because the wheels spin upstairs and numbers start a-rolling around and falling into place and then, because I have poor verbal impulse control I shout out the answer before Jim can clamp his hand over my mouth (he knows that cross-eyed glazed look means I'm either about to yell out numbers or puke). But I have to let you in on a little secret: I'm usually wrong. In fact? I think I have number dyslexia coupled with short-term number memory loss. I have issues remembering phone numbers, dates, ages, social security numbers, heights, widths, all of it. Do you know me? Do you know I used to be an engineer? Yes, if you're wondering - this disability sometimes came up. But I have to let you in on another secret: I'm also a really good liar.

I think the first time I realized the calculator in my head was wonkey I was a junior in high school. I was already kicking ass at formal math classes, but mostly because it was trig. You know sines, cosines, secants. You don't know? Loser! (Sorry, I'm also a math snob, and I already mentioned about the poor verbal impulse control...) Anyway, my friend was a cashier at Olympic Drug and she was sure the manager-slash-pharmacist - a deacon in her fundy church - would be able to find some hours for me. Whoo-hoo! Something better than cleaning the bathrooms and food court in the mall! And the job was significantly better paying, but dreary. Facing shelves all day. Occasionally making a key. Unloading boxes of vaseline and Suave. Then after a couple weeks I graduated to cashier. The 50-year-old lifer that trained me was a stickler for Doing It the Janice Way. A good way, but still, the way for an idiot who didn't have my superior brain-matter. So after a day of scanning rubbers and distilled water, I cashed out, added the change in the till and, uh, did it a few more times, checked the numbers again, and chalked it up to first day jitters. I sheepishly admitted to Janice, of Doing It the Janice Way fame, I was a dollar eighty short. The next day I was $14 over. The next day I was in a hurry to get to Homecoming, and I was just a few cents short. But the next day I was $55 short. There was no next day. I wrote it off as insignificant. Like Michael Jordan missing a 16-foot jumper in warm-ups. But it was really just the beginning. More like the Washington Generals losing the first of 18622 games against the Globetrotters.

I graduated high school and declared to everyone who would listen that I was going to be an engineer because I was a braggart and a big fish in a little, stunted pond. Suprisingly, even with my handicap I made it through 4 years of numbers. Numbers disguised as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, physical chemistry, engineering process control, and more, but I'll stop before you enter a REM cycle. And then I graduated and got hired. That's a different interesting story, but let's just say my first couple engineering jobs were secured and retained on my charm. Or not so much charm, but personality not often seen in the field of engineering. That is to say, I had a personality, and they kept me around as a novelty. And because I didn't mind donning steel-toed boots and operating a jackhammer in the middle of summer. There's something about a sweaty 22-year-old in a little white t-shirt running a large vibrating tool. I got a raise pretty quickly. I mean, I started making more money.

After working at a few different places that appreciated my charm, I graduated to the big leagues. An engineering job in which the curve of my breast meant about as much as the curve of my fastball. I worked for an Indian man who worked for a Taiwanese guy, who worked for another Taiwanese dude, and the three of them together formed a virtual Trinity of Manager Hell. Which I may go to after saying that. Aaaaaannnnd we'll save that story for next time, complete with forgotten numbers and lots of lying, including a tidy wrap-up and a cute anecdote about a boy in a cast. Until then, may your tits stay up and your beer stay down.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If you give a mouse a cookie...

Do you have trouble writing if you have to pee? I do, but even worse is sitting down to a nice big bowl of cereal and feeling that uncomfortable tingle in your urinary tract. (Is there a comfortable tingle in the urinary tract?) Because then you run to the bathroom to avoid returning to a bowl of mushy Grape Nuts and then in your haste you pee down the side of your leg and get tinks all over your hand because you didn't let all the drips drip, so then you debate whether to wash your hands, because urine is supposed to sterile, but then there's the side effect of having each bite of cereal tainted with a hint of urine smell, plus the two tiny people that follow you to the bathroom every single time are watching every move, including the one where you say "shit!" and try to clean urine off of your wrist and hand and then the bigger tiny person says "Mommy are you just going to walk around with pee-pee on your hand?" to which you say, "No, no that would not be very clean" but you secretly curse her powers of observation and squirt some liquid soap on your befouled hand to scrub under the freezing water, and the cold water does not sufficiently rinse the thick soap, which actually turns out to be dish soap because your husband is a helpful idiot, so you dry your smeary-soapy hands on the hand towel, which, it turns out, has a ball of clay stuck to the back of it, requiring you to take the towel and put it in the freezer, and you stand in front of the freezer trying to remember if that trick is supposed to work on clay or just wax, the freezer which doubles as cold storage for the smaller person's favorite broken vibrating toothbrush and empty container of dental floss, and once the littler tiny person spies these treasures demands to stand in front of the freezer and alternately put them in and out of the bottom drawer, a drawer that also contains (oh joy!) a leaking pile of unidentifiable meat, which apparently the helpful idiot moved from the fridge to prevent it from leaking (most likely) elk blood all over 5 or 6 empty bottles of baby Motrin, and instead the frozen elk blood has formed a nice frozen maroon pond for a tiny person to draw pictures in with his broken vibrating toothbrush, so you take the toothbrush, rinse of the larger maroon chunks and put it in the dishwasher, then pull the baby out of the dishwasher and take the dirty knives from his clenched fists put them back in their dirty utensil cages in the dishwasher and open up the pots and pans drawer to divert the now-howling tiny person and make your escape back to the Holy Grail - the Grape Nuts, only to find them soggy and blown up to the size of blueberries which reminds you of that scene in 7even where the giant fat guy was force fed on Chef BoyRDee or something, and in scraping the mushy blueberry Grape Nuts into the garbage disposal, you remember watching that movie when you were pregnant and your bladder was the size of a mushy blueberry Grape Nut and you realize, hey! I think I have to pee again...

Monday, September 18, 2006


Got back from the R-Up yesterday. Jim took a shower, piled several boxes and torn paper bags of crap on the counters and floor (exclaiming at the time "how easy it was to unpack!"), and then hopped in the car for a 6-hour drive to hunting camp. Madeleine stayed in Pendleton an extra day with Granny, so Quinn and I have been busily cleaning, washing clothes and putting away food etc. Or not. I drank a Bridgeport and he made sure all of the bags of crap were equally scattered around the living room. Round-Up was a measured success, by which I mean there was much Let'ErBucking, toasting, eating, dancing, laughing and yelling. Yelling across the Rainbow for another Bloody Mary, yelling above the whine of the Tilt-O-Whirl for cousin Owen to help Madeleine get in the Octopus, yelling for the red team in the Indian Horse Races, and yelling Let 'Er Buck just whenever.

I've made three attempts at encapsulating the event in tidy sentences and paragraphs, and each attempt was worse than the previous. This is all I got: it's a yearly gathering at my nearly-90 grandfather's house for my family and friends and 50,000 other people that happen to like fun stuff. In addition, this year's festivities included an early birthday party for Grampa DaDa at the Elk's Club, replete with a slide show presented by one brother, a bizarre but not unusual performance in drag by my other two brothers, and a song written for DaDa, sung by all in attendance, accompanied by my mom on fiddle, brother on ukelele, and step-pa Jan and friends Scott and Max on guitar.

If you weren't in Pendleton this year, I'm sorry. You would've liked it but would be cursing right now as you tried to get the slivers out of your ass and the Let'Er Buck Room stickers off your boobs. If you were there and you're reading this, you're welcome to comment with your favorite moment. Mine was during the slideshow at DaDa's party, a picture popped up of him dressed in all white with my Grandma in some kind of witch's outfit. When he was asked in front of the group what his interesting costume was supposed to be, he responded, "Well, I got into that ladies pants..." at which point the laughter drowned out the rest of the explanation.

Here are a couple shots, and the rest are on Flickr... have at it.... orrrr, not... fucking Blogger. Anyway here's the link to the photos. I'll try to put some up here sometime when I've got nothing else to do and lots of free time in front of me...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Let 'Er Buck

The Pendleton Round-Up beckons, and as I've done nearly every year of my life, I will heed the call, don my shit-kickers and shirts-with-snaps and LET'ER BUCK!!! (Are you sick of this phrase yet? believe me, you just can't yell it too much - try it. Just yell it and it immediately takes you to a happy place. It's like the redneck OM.)

We're leaving this afternoon and will be back Sunday. It's a seven hour drive with two adults, but will take us the better part of two days with the two Whirling Dervishes we're strapped with for AN ETERNITY. Quinn will alternately scream in anger and scream in delight the whole way and Madeleine, the reformed screamer, will hopefully zone out on Duck Tales. Jim's getting the truck detailed today in preparation... why? I do not know. When we get back it will be coated inside and out with sour milk curds and vomit. Tiny pukes a lot in the car.

Jim drives because we'll be pulling Campy and I always play the I'm-Just-a-Girl-Who-Couldn't-Possibly-Maneuver-That-Big-Ole-Thang card if there's anything attached to the butt of our truck, and I'll be the music mix-master, changing CDs every 5 minutes because I cannot abide by sitting through songs that bore me. We'll alternately argue about whether the Steelers will make the superbowl again (gag-wretch), or whether Madeleine should someday be allowed to have a car (no! okay maybe!) and discuss what movie has the best soundtrack ever (tie between Dead Man Walking and Reservoir Dogs)... then we'll get there, eat some stuff, see some people... then we'll drink a bunch, yell for the bullriders, drink some more at The Elks Club... then we'll suffer through it all again in reverse, with more vociferous arguing and screaming and threatening to pull the car over if you don't stop vomiting because I know you're just doing that on purpose to annoy me... then ta-da! It'll be Sunday afternoon and we'll be shell-shocked sitting in our living room amongst the dirty Wranglers and empty string cheese wrappers. And I will weep in anguish that it will be another 360 days until it happens again.

Until that time... Happy Trails.

Song of the Day? My favorite Willie tune ever - Blue Eyes Cryin'

PS - Take a look at this guy's rodeo photos. They're excellent.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hello Halo

Remember back in the day, when I applied for a columnist position for our local paper? And all of you sent such nice comments my way and said how perfect I would be for the spot? Well, you were all terribly wrong. Because they filled the spot, and the woman is nothing like me. She doesn't write like me, think like me, chew gum like me (I fucking hate gum and I think she might partake), or apparently get married and have kids like me. So don't you all feel a little dumb? Clearly you have no clue what it takes to be a Woman-About-Town writer for the Entertainer section of the Missoulian. And of coure, that makes me a big dumbass too. Unite! Dumbasses of the Internet! Let's go get some Slurpies and play Halo.

Really, you wanna know something? The fact that this chick is so different from me is a relief. What if instead they'd selected a sarcastic 30-something mom that liked to mock anything resembling establishment and formality and did so in a humorous conversational tone. THEN I would feel like shit. Or I would be happy, I guess, because that would be me. No, I mean, if it WASN'T me, then I would feel like shit, because why isn't it me? Whatever, now I'm confused. Anyway, here's my next move: I am going to write a Mommy Column. Not here, but in a spiral notebook, which I will then transcribe, because when you tear out the pages and fold them thricely the junk that hangs off the side doesn't look very professional. And I'll write something clever and intriguing and send it all, unsolicited to the Missoulian editor. It's a WOMAN! And she'll get it and say, dammit, this lady's on to something. And she'll call me to come in and talk and I'll wear my nice linen slacks with a green polo shirt and my new Adidas and she'll see how cool but put-together I am and realize the newspaper can no longer operate without my services as a Mommy Columnist. And then I'll stop and get a coffee on the way home, eschewing the pumpkin bread because I'll already be full of the heavy praise and adulation showered by Ms. Editor, and then Jim and I will celebrate my new position by going to sushi and buying me a new snowboard at Bob Ward's.

Don't worry, yo, I'll post a picture of the new snowboard next week.

Updated: Dammit! Fucking Song of the Day idea. Who came up with this shite... My Morning Scene, by Johan Smith. No reason. Just because I can howl the words in the car.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A girl can dream.

Last night I had a HOT dream...

But it wasn't exactly Daniel Craig. A little shorter. And perhaps a little fatter and less muscly. And a wee bit darker. OKAY, FINE! It was Om Puri. But I have an ugly-guy crush on him anyway, so it's all good.

Update: It's Friday, and Madeleine just started school (in combat boots and a twirly skirt - her choosing, and she was promptly embraced by 4 separate boys when she walked in the room), and Quinn is not allowing The Concoction to come together. Plus he just crapped his pants and the stench is making coherent thought impossible. So all I've got is a song... but it's a good one: Old Crow Medicine Show, Down Home Girl, because I think MY breath may smell like pork'n'beans too.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sad Weekend

Jim and Madeleine went to his parents' remote cabin for three days and Pooey and I were left to kick it on our own. We were both lonely, and I found the little guy in Madeleine's room several times with his head resting on her bed. I admit to smelling her pillow a couple times at night, when it was quiet and dark. Our big bed is so cold without Jim, I felt like I needed socks and sweats. In fact several things added to a melancholy Labor Day...

- I watched Tsotsi Friday night. It was very moving and I bawled at the ending, but don't let this scare you away. It was just powerful and a little overwhelming. I'm impressed with the way a South African-made film portrays the ghetto around Johannesburg. An American filmmaker would undoubtedly dwell in the poverty and injustice inherent in their community, whereas that part of the movie was secondary, if even a part of the story at all. As a backdrop, it added a somber and gritty tone, but wasn't distracting, as it very well could have been. And the music was amazing (check out "Bhambatha"). I highly recommend it.

- I saw this Sunday night, which also made me cry a little (even though I'd just been to see Little Miss Sunshine, which made me wet my pants a little). Steve Irwin, while irritating and over-the-top, started the wave of fast-food nature shows. Everyone in America knew what Crikey! meant and also knew a little more about crocs and koalas, and despite the irritation factor, he drew the attention of our self-absorbed country to other parts of the world and the value and intrigue of all animals. And he had two young children and wife. I'm more than a little sorry he's gone.

- Then I read this Monday afternoon (I missed the original confession - must not have been front-page news for the Missoulian). I'm afraid to read his autobiography, after enjoying and studying his writing for the last 10 years. I just don't want to know what he's done. But I do. But I don't. But I should. All of our books are packed up in the storage unit, or else I'd pull out The Tin Drum to see if he really was blowing smoke up our collective asses.

- And, finally, no. The old smelly people did not buy our house. Perhaps we should empty the mousetraps and put away the meth lab before the next showing. Old people can be so finicky sometimes.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Concoction

Wednesday afternoon we got some news that gave us a little glimmer of hope. A little light at the end of the house-selling tunnel. An older couple was very interested and very eager to move and Hoo-Boy! They were going to do a final look-through yesterday evening. So we cleaned the toilets and sprayed down furniture and hid giant mounds of dirty stuff under Pooey's crib. The interested old folks took a good long look and then shat all over us and dressed us in clothing one size too small. DAMMIT! Actually, they just haven't called back, but it sure feels as if I've been shat on. The one-size-too-small part is my own fault, because I really like these pants and I'm occasionally too lazy to try stuff on at Old Navy.

In order to move myself away from the not-ringing telephone I took the kids to IHOP for breakfast. Or, I should say, speed. Madeleine ordered a pancake off the kids' menu. An innocuous, harmless circle of carbs, right? Who in the hell decided to make a kids' pancake out of chocolate batter, with chocolate chunks melted in it, covered in whipped cream and coated on top with more chocolate chips? WHO DID THIS TO ME?? The only bright spot was the two marasheeno (whatever) cherries - you know, fruit! - which Madeleine promptly swept off and stuck in Quinn's mouth. He sampled and deemed them foul and spat them all over my face and French Toast. And now Madeleine is mowing the lawn and churning butter. And Quinn's eating soap. But it's organic!

Links and Asundry
- I found this for Madeleine (read: Jim) the other day and now we're waiting anxiously for its arrival. And then I'll shoot myself. Duh.
- My secret crush. Because nothing says virile like tiny, painstakenly painted figurines.
- Why does organic food have to be so hard to open? I mean, I'm paying an extra $3 for this bag of pretzels already, can't you guys hike up the price another fiddy cents so I can pull the bag open instead of resorting to teeth and corkscrews?
- I rented Hustle and Flow the other night. I only watched about 20 minutes because that's my life, but I was amazed by Terrence Howard's performance. And now I can't stop singing It's Hard Out There for a Mommy...
- Aaaannndd for the final time a-waster... It's a little wiggly Waldo. Dude gets around. That Rwanda one made me tear up a little, but a teeny-tiny part of me is still thinking this guy is just a tad dorky.
- That t-shirt from a couple days ago? Oscar the Grouch, and for some reason it says Sunset Blvd. at the bottom. And no, we're not thinking about moving back to Portland. I was just sad to leave after our vacation and felt all maudlin and homesick when I wrote that last post about it.
- You want to know the sign of bad acting? THE sign (in case you're having trouble deciding... hmm Keanu Reeves or Marlon Brando .... hmm yelling Pacino or actor Pacino...). The sign is when the individual is staring into anothers actor's eyes. The good actors? Just stare. And hey, maybe they even look away! The bad actors? Do that back-and-forth eye movement thing that makes it seem like their looking from one eye to the other in deep concentration. Trying to decide... trying to decipher... trying to gleen... ummm... which eye to look at? Who does that? Nobody. Just bad actors! Now you know.

My scanner's still packed up in a storage unit, so in lieu of Then 'n' Now let's do some random pics...

Look how excited Debbie was to meet me! (You shoulda seen my pants.)

Here's what the new owner did to our yard in Portland. See that nasty-ass raised bed? Used to be a gorgeous Japanese Maple surrounded by hosta and herbs, with a large decorative rock and some thyme groundcover creeping around. It's just not right.

This guy spoke no English and was sporting a shiny row of gold teeth. He may or may not have had some suspicious facial tattoos as well. But he was dying to hold Quinn.

Madeleine's waiting for some cannibal sparrow to come take her chicken nugget bait and be her BFF.

Dappled baby.