Wednesday, November 29, 2006

eBay, meet me after school.

We decided to scale back a little this Christmas. We're going for the H2 instead of the stretch limo Hummer. For toys, that is - last year I bought this marble-block thingy that, for the price, should've come with a long-soulful kiss from Daniel Craig, but instead had a bell that tinkled when smacked against the head of an idiot mom. No, this year it's going to be different. Used stuff. Yesterday I bid on a pile of gently used blocks on eBay, but because I suck at eBay, I bid on the wrong item, and also because I suck at eBay, I bid less than the current high bid, so this morning I was informed by a very sanctimonious eBay automated mailing system that I did not win the plastic fake-Lego replica of an American Airlines 727. I should've been relieved, but instead I've been trying to think of snappy comebacks to that jackass eBay automated mailing system. Like, "Yeah, I realize my bid was too low, but bid this." Clever, huh?

In a minute, when Madeleine has sunk deeply into her Doogal coma, I'll get back on eBay. I mean, I'm gonna get me ON some eBAY. No, what I really mean, is I will type in Used Blocks and look at the list of 23,445 matching items and try not to bid on Used Blocks on which to park my broken down Chevy Cavalier, and instead I'll try to find small wooden objects with which to throw at the head of an idiot mom. Because despite my good intentions, bells and blocks make great weapons. See?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fantasy Football and Olestra

The holidays bring joy, glad tidings, holiday cheer. For me all that yule shit is wrapped in mouthguards and protective cups. I love football in a way that may be sinful. I dream about blitz packages, I study the BCS formula, I lust after defensive ends.* It's a family thing and more. You don't get away with watching Pimp My Bathroom on Thanksgiving Day if you've got three brothers. Two of which are much bigger and not afraid to punch a girl. So back in the day we played electric football, talking football, tackle football and collected Dairy Queen football helmet ice cream cups. My brother Tobin is more likely to call and talk about the Steelers linebackers than his son's first word.** Football is the tie that binds me to my siblings and the couch for three straight weeks. But with all the hype, the history, the love, let me make this very clear: I'm not down with Fantasy Football. In fact, I hate it like I hate the warning on fat-free Doritos. Anal leakage and Fantasy Football. Just not right.

Fantasy Football is for boys that don't get football. That's tough talk, I know, but I'll stand by it. You - boys! I'm talking to you. If you stand around Monday morning discussing which receiver got 117 yards and no touchdowns and why you started your back-up running back because he plays better on grass, my eyes glass over and I picture myself sitting in my black beanbag, watching John Madden and Al Michael's halftime report. Men that know football versus boys that like to spout statistics. Boys fondle these numbers and their fantasy team record, but it's like fondling a silicone blob, separate from the chest of a stripper. Terrel Owen's individual statistics have no relevance to whether his team won or lost. Fantasy Football guys have no idea who's in first place in the NFC West, they just know who's in first through fifth place in the BALLZ OUT FOOTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA fantasy league. That's not football, that's Dungeons and Dragons for ex-jocks. Emphasis on the ex. Real men snore, scratch their nuts, can barbecue the ass end of a dead skunk, and follow FOOTBALL not fake-boob-statistics.

Jim was coerced into a league this year by his employees and we huddled around the computer on draft day, selecting marquee players and discussing potential trades. It was vaguely exciting, but I felt dirty. I was cheating on football with phutbol. Eating a tofurkey on Thanksgiving. Non-fat Ruffles instead of Tim's Cascade Chips - Extra Oily. There's a reason the fake-fat variety causes anal leakage, it liquefies the soul. Fantasy football has the same effect. I feel like less of a person when I read the ticker at the bottom of the halftime report. Who are these people and what do these number mean?? What the hell is the score of the Steelers-Ravens game fer godsake? Fantasy Football is Metrosexual versus the Marlboro Man. It's Rocky IV versus Rocky. It's 57 degrees and partly cloudy versus 12 and snowing. I'll even go as far to say it's chocolate versus carob. I don't even know what carob is, but it probably causes anal leakage too.

* Jim's celebrity freebie is Steffie Graf, she of the long legs, fierce serve, gigantic nose. Mine is Michael Strahan, he of the 25 inch biceps, fierce pass rush, and gigantic... feet. Actually, Jim said no to Michael. He fears the... feet.
** Pooey's first word, after Mama and Dada, was Ditka. I'm not sure I'm ready for a Bears fan up in here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Little help here?

What's that movie where someone takes a knife and pounds it between the fingers of someone else and then someone else does it really fast?

Why does butter taste better melted?

Who likes pulp in their orange juice and why? (to me it tastes like little empty bug carcasses)

With all the genetic engineering and selective growing and so on, why do Clementines still have so many freakin seeds?

What's that movie where a little girl is getting a psych evaluation and the psych leaves the room and when she comes back in she can't find the little girl because the little girl has painted herself the exact pattern of the tree bark outside the big window and she's standing on the window sill blending in with the tree?

Does anyone find IQ numbers relevant in any way?

If it were cost effective, do you think the we would send our garbage out into space in a giant rocket?

Did anyone find the babble spoken by Jodi Foster in Nell charming? Or do you do the fake-accented Chicka-pee-pee-pee in times of complete drunken idiocy like I do?

Am I crazy, or did this woman actually conceive my child?

Because this ghoul surely didn't:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Circles, trapezoids, whatever.

I can count my very close friends on two hands. And if I subtract my family and husband, I can count my very close friends on a couple fingers. I don't think this makes me a loner, or at least this characteristic in particular. I think it just makes me picky, and I embrace my inner picky. Because this means to me that I have very high standards. The fact that my family and my husband are enough to make me a double-fisted friend-haver indicates I was born and have chosen well. That's good stuff. However, the pickiness has been a bur in my saddle lately.

When I was a working mom, it took a herculean effort to do anything past the boundaries of my house that didn't involve a member of my family. When I played semi-pro football, Madeleine came with me to the team meetings. Date night was a walk around the block to my brother's house, where my sister-in-law would cook up something I couldn't. And then we'd party like aging rock stars in their basement. I didn't have a single friend whom I would consider calling for lunch on a Saturday.

Now, even though it still takes a herculean effort to leave the compound, it is my sanity. I have to leave home and I have to speak to other adults in person. For a while idle chatter at the (goddamn) Childrens' Museum sufficed, but the (goddamn) Childrens' Museum parents are usually with other parents because in that (goddamn) place it's safety in numbers. Then idle chatter would get a little more personal as I began to recognize moms and dads at The (goddamn) Carousel or (goddamn) Dragon's Hollow. And there. I had friends. We had stuff in common (hatred of aforementioned Childrens' Museum/Carousel/Dragon's Hollow, aversion to kim-chee, and so on). We had kids. How convenient! I suddenly became aware that the world was potentially full of people I might like. How about that?

So now I've got friends. Plural. Several - hell, let's say Many. They're on speed dial and I know what their houses look like when they're not cleaned up for company. But uhhhhh. Hm. That's kind of how I've been feeling about it. I truly enjoy my friends, but sometimes there's something. And the more I dwelled on this something, this something that set my friends apart from my Very Close Friends, the less sociable I've been.

Until a couple weeks ago. One of my Many friends and I discussed it and picked it apart. It's like, once you've had Friends - the real deal, like if you were to send them you would bubble-wrap them and insure them for the max amount - there's always an internal frown - a Hm for the new people you meet and enjoy. We determined this: you have to look at your Capital-F-Friends as a circle of qualities: compassionate, intelligent, reliable, funny, good listeners (that one's from Tiny). And little-f-friends sometimes hover around that inner-circle, intersecting in certain parts, but maybe not all the parts, and that'll leave you a little Hm.

So right now I'm looking at my little-fs, and contrary to how this reads so far, I feel better. I recognize that maybe little-f #1 might not be a great listener, but she's hilarious and loves children. Little-f #2 is also hilarious and intelligent, but maybe not terribly reliable. In fact, all the little-f's are human, and for me to question or critique their qualities is not compassionate or a characteristic I would like to see in a friend. Big or litte f.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay fine. It's ANNALS.

Normally I look forward to being the parent helper in Madeleine's preschool. It allows for a glimpse of her standing with her peers, her behavior in groups, her interests outside of our own toy box. This year has been slightly different because her teacher is a micromanager, hovering over my shoulder as I try to get Luke to cut a circle or to keep Charlie from gluing his arms to the table. She's always there. Always suggesting. In a super-soft, admonishing tone. As if I'm leading these young minds directly into purgatory by allowing them to write their names on the front of their paper-plate turkey faces.

Today I was already in the doghouse because I forgot my onion. Even though Julie was kind enough to run home to get one in less than 10 minutes, it was brought to my attention no less than 4 times that said onion was not there on time. I typically shrug and ignore. Shrug and ignore, shrug and ignore. That's what I do with hovering whispering people. But today we were making soup. Soup made from ingredients brought by each one of the 15 children. Soup that was made by vegetables cut by each one of the 15 children. With sharp knives provided by the hovering whispering teacher. Fuck.

At age 4 kids mostly want to do everything grown-upish by themselves, which includes stirring 10 gallons of boiling liquid and wielding super-sharp knives for cutting carrots. Carrots are not your most stationary vegetable, but only three kids were bleeding by the end of the day! I include this, as well as the fact that Hovering Whispering Teacher is not bleeding, two major successes of my Parent Helper Day. In fact, I was feeling pretty good about myself as I washed the 18 tiny red cups after snack according to the 18-step program I was made to memorize at the start of my day. Then, when the clock rung 12, Madeleine was in hysterics for no discernable reason, my hands reaked of onions and bleach, and I was apparently still on the permanent shitlist for the Onion Incident of 2006. The day in which Madeleine's Mommy Forgot the Onion. And three kids bled under her care. Today is the day Madeleine's mommy will go down in the preschool anals, catalogued under Shitty Parent Helpers. Anals? That can't be right...

Addendum: Today our house went off the market, and while I was Parent Helper the realtor came and took all of the material and data sheets off of our front table without telling me. Which meant the house was locked when I got home. I live in a Missoula suburb and don't even know where our front door key is. Madeleine had dog shit on her boots which I threw in the grass to be forgotten and cleaned next spring, so she was standing on our front porch crying with freezing feet and Quinn was trying to push her into the bushes for fun while I shimmied through a partially open basement window. The bright side? I'll get back to you...

Second Addendum: Just now I briefly edited this post and realized I've been neglecting this important part of writing. Which is funny, because in my other real-life writing I'm terribly anal about spelling and grammar. Isn't that hilarious?

Song of the Day: Save Me, Aimee Man (howling to this in the car makes me think Me Sing Pretty One Day)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Red hair, snow and smoting

This is one of those weeks in which I think a lot, but not well. Like, "Oh, we're almost out of salt. Salt is white. And salty. I like salt. On eggs! And meat. Then there's pepper. It is black." And so on. So to spare you the details of the following, let's just do some pictures...

1. I got my hair did. It wasn't exactly the color I wanted. It's a little 50-year-old-unmarried-owner-of-a-scrapbookiing-store.

2. It snowed last night. Heavy. It was white...

3. Babysitter Extraordinaire is starting to Get on My Nerves Extraordinaire. But it's partly my fault because I am incapable of telling her to wash the dishes in the sink - not mine - just hers. I know this isn't too much to ask. But she might smote me.

4. My mom sent me this today, along with some truly frightening 80s hair photos. This one. This makes me smile.

Friday, November 10, 2006

6 million dollar cervical exam

Sometimes I feel like my life is a series of sneezes. Ah-choo! I'm in college. Ah-choo! Whoa - where did these kids come from?

But today, while I was mid pap-smear and Quinn was bouncing gleefully on my stomach with my RNP going, "I've never tried to hit a moving cervix..." it was more like the super-slow-mo neeneeneeneeneeneenee of a running bionic person.

After that, the breast exam was pure joy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tester? I don't even know 'er.

By now you should all have heard how pivotal the senate race was up in here. A bunch of cowpokes from Havre are pulling out swatches and carpet samples and redecorating Washington. Did you hear? It was incredibly important, and I stayed up until midnight hoping to go to bed happy, but apparently our election officials were using their fingers and toes to tabulate the results. Not until this morning did I see Tester was beating Burns by about 1500 votes with 99% of the votes counted. It looked like we were going to be pulling out the abacus to do the recount, until about 30 minutes ago the AP declared Tester Da Man.

Tester, the organic farmer, friend of Pearl Jam, fat flat-top bedorned, 7-fingered EveryMan. I admit to shedding a tear. A happy tear, after so many frustrated ones. Like many of you have said, Democrats aren't the answer to all our problems, but to bust out the cliche, it was high time for some serious changes. The former decorations in Washington were sleazy, boudoir colors and the rattan furniture was just plain tacky. Democrats. Let's just hope they stick with earth tones and natural fibers... everyone likes that shit.

In honor of Tester's defeat of the shady and senile Conrad Burns, the song of the day - Fire Water Burn, The Bloodhound Gang. For the last 6 months I've been seeing the bumper sticker "Fire Burns" and I didn't get the joke until yesterday. From the first time I read it until yesterday I muttered to myself, "Fucking Burns. Cocksucker." But get it? A fire burns?

And also a bonus track, because it makes makes me wiggle, and today is a good day to wiggle: Bohemian Like You, The Dandy Warhols (they used to share a house with my friend Max in Portland and I shared a cigarrette - sorry mom - with one of them, but I don't remember which because they were all skinny and intimidatingly cool)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I didn't give her my green eyes, so...

I asked Madeleine to organize her a room a little, prior to showing the house this weekend, and this is what she molded from the chaos...

You say anal, I say puh-tah-toe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's not me, it's you. Internet.

Over the past couple days, a site I read religiously got a fair amount of attention for a post regarding pregnancy, maternity, body image, many subjects that every woman can relate to and therefore spout off about until the cows come home. I commented, someone disagreed, someone else agreed, I commented again, there was more dissent and some incalled-for critique and then I just said Fuck It. It wasn't worth it. I tried to make a point, it was sort of misconstrued, so I tried to clarify a little and make another point, then the whole thread unraveled and I didn't even know these people I was talking to and it was an entirely unsatisfying exercise.

This medium, the internet, it's taken the place of telephones, coffee shops, clubs, friends, families. And sometimes it's just a complete fucking pain in the ass. Some of you that read this site - I know you. In real life. And some of you have been reading here and I've been reading your words long enough to get a very good feel for who you are, but then there are some floaters out there. Some people drop in, drive-by, if you will, give unsolicated advice and then wander off to the next flashing sparkly thing. I don't fault these people, you people - if it's you, for these blips on my radar. It's what happens out here, but it's not satisfying to you or me, is it? Don't you want to know what my expression was, as I read your words?

I mean, there are only so many fill-ins for real face-to-face communication. The whole *fill in what you're doing between the stars* substitute for shrugging, frowning, rolling your eyes, all those important actions you need to really see to make a point and see if your point was made. Then there are the acronyms for laughing, laughing hard, laughing SO freaking hard. But really, are you laughing? I have no idea. And then, when I say something important, I need to see if you're nodding - if you touch my arm and lean in to follow up with your own excited agreement. Or if you lean back and look out the window, arms crossed, mind far away...

Well right now, the internet is not providing me this service. I was more pissed that I couldn't actually converse with these people, because I respected what they had to say, even in their dissent. I just wanted them to see my earnest furrowed brow, or my smirk when I was being a smart ass. And I didn't want to have to spell it all out between a couple *'s.

Note: My brother is cracking up right now, I promise. He's reading this and going, "Well, Prissy, how about stepping away from the damn computer?" Okay. I will. The kids and I are going to Pat and Heather's to watch some football and shrug and frown and cheesey smile at each other...