Wednesday, January 31, 2007

He’s Baaaack

Fucking Winter.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Update

In an unexpected turn of events, it did not snow this weekend. In fact, the weather was so pleasant on Sunday, I washed windows. I was, after all, mentally prepared to shovel snow so, I figured, why waste that preparedness on laziness and sloth? Besides, the windows really, really needed a good washing and now, they look splendid! The view to the trailer park two blocks over is superb.

Other things I did this weekend include taking the children to see Arthur and the Invisibles which, while not terrible, will not make my list of favorite kid’s movies anytime soon. I did eat my weight in Twizzlers, popcorn and Sugar Babies so, all was not lost.

I also watched a slew of movies this weekend, so that I could get my Netflix queue moving again and, on Sunday, I cleaned the house, which I’m sure comes as no surprise since that is what I do Every. Weekend. Seriously, they might as well chisel: Here lies Chelle. She cleaned house Every. Weekend. on my tombstone.

Also; day of rest, my ass.

The Girl was super helpful though; cleaning her room, helping with the laundry and entertaining the puppy while I worked out, later in the day. She also volunteered to make lunch for herself, Hugh and the Man-Cub while I retired to my bathroom to put the smack down on my gray hair and she was tickled pink when Hugh hailed her tomato soup and grilled cheese (or, boy-cheese if you are the Man-Cub) sandwiches as the best that he had ever eaten. The Cub, while complimenting the sandwiches, refused to even try the soup since, after reading the can, he incorrectly deduced that it was made from a vegetable* and therefore that, should he eat it, he might die. We wouldn’t want to make him eat something that might kill him now would we?


So, you can imagine his horror when I announced that, for dinner that night, we were having French dip sandwiches and French onion soup. The wailing could be heard as far away as the trashy trailer park. Also, through our just-cleaned windows, we could clearly see the trailer park neighbors drop to their knees while covering their ears. There is a lot to be said for clean windows. And, also, for bathrobes, the latter of which I am going to be certain to wear around the house more often since, if I can see out, it only stands to reason that others can see in and....I digress.

Despite his protest, small boys cannot live on boy-cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, peanut butter-hold-the-jelly-sandwiches and biscuits and gravy, alone so, I made the Cub eat the soup and mostly ignored the gagging and the dramatic way he followed every spoonful with a water chaser. I’ve been conditioned to ignore that child’s gag reflex since he was born with that whole reflux/immature esophagus thing eight years ago; he can gag all he likes, he still won’t get a pass on dinner.

Homey don’t play that.

In the end, the threat that he would not be allowed to work on the car that he and Hugh are building for the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby, proved impetus enough for him to choke down the requisite half bowl of soup and, I am happy to report; the onions didn’t kill him. They did make him quite unhappy yet, he lives.

And, his car looks great. He and Hugh have done a fine job on it and we are all looking forward to the derby next month.

Speaking of next month, it is shaping up to be quite busy. The Man-Cub starts wrestling again, Hugh’s brother, sister-in-law and their three kids are coming for a visit, I am making a business trip to Portland (where I am going to rendezvous with my younger sister for a day and a half of shopping, eating out, gossiping and catching up! Squee!), The Girl is turning eleven (eleven, boo, hiss!) and a big project that I am working on at the job will finally get off the ground and going, full-tilt. I get tired just thinking about next month. So, as Scarlett O’Hara would say, “I’ll think about it tomorrow, fiddle dee, dee”.

And, the next weekend is only five days away.

*Tomatoes are, in fact a fruit. However, no amount of discussion on the matter could convince the Man-Cub. Not that it would have mattered anyway since, fruit doesn't rank high on his list of favorite foods, either. It is a wonder the child has escaped scurvy thus far.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I May Need a Restraining Order Against My Old Boyfriend

Lo, the weekend cometh! I am very happy about this as I am tired and cranky and in need of some rest and relaxation. Since Hugh is officiating at a wrestling tournament in a neighboring town tonight, I will kick of my R&R by ordering pizza. I might get really crazy and have it delivered.

After we do the dinner dishes (paper plates!), I am going to toss a box of unopened Leggos on the floor to distract the Man-Cub. Then, I plan to station The Girl at the computer with a $15 iTunes gift card and let her surf her way to some new downloads while I luxuriate in a hot bath.

Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that the children are no longer babies? Or, toddlers? Or pre-schoolers? Oh, but I am!

Remind me of that the next time one of them does something horribly grown up and independent and I get all teary-eyed and pathetic with the “Where have my babies gone???!” while rending my garments, please.

Tomorrow, I plan to sleep in. Then, I will take the kids to see a matinee showing of Arthur and the Invisibles. I’m hoping it doesn’t suck but, even if it does, I will be sitting on my ass eating Twizzlers and popcorn so, I’m a winner either way.

Sunday, I plan to shovel another five inches of snow off the deck, out of the drive-way and off the sidewalks. That’s right! We are expecting another snowstorm. Apparently, Winter refuses to believe that I was serious about breaking up. Or, he thinks that, if he hangs around long enough, we will be having the break-up sex to which, I say, “Nay, Winter. Pack up your cold front and move along.”

Even my dog is tired of you and, he just met you this year.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thirteen Things, Edition Six:
Thirteen Things I Learned at My Grandmother’s House

1. The best smell in the world is bread, fresh from the oven and nothing tastes quite as good as that first slice, slathered with sweet butter.

2. That, standing slack jawed in terror while your sister is being mauled by the neighbor’s dog is not the most effective way to deal with the problem. Opening the gate to let her in the yard; much better.

3. How to say the Rosary.

4. How to embroider pillowcases.

5. How to be a gracious loser. Because, the fact that you are a kid doesn’t necessarily mean that adults will automatically throw the game of Aggravation; sometimes, they will knock your marble right off the board and cackle with glee while doing so.

6. Vegetable gardens are hard work but, fresh peas eaten right out of the pod are worth the effort.

7. Easy-Off Oven Cleaner is not an effective mosquito repellant. It will, however, peel the skin right off your legs, if you are interested in doing so.

8. How to roll a cigarette and how to tamp the tobacco down in a pipe.

9. There is no need to panic when your older sister locks you in the tool shed to get even with you for not opening the damn gate while the neighbor’s dog was gnawing a hunk out of her ass, your grandmother will eventually come looking for you.

10. Grandmothers will never criticize your mud pies.

11. Eating pancakes before going to school makes the day seem brighter.

12. How to can every vegetable known to man as well as how to make jam from every available fruit.

13. I was not adopted from gypsies, despite what my older sister told me.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I Be Smart

Last night, while cleaning out the dishwasher, I managed to pinch my pinkie finger in between two plates hard enough to bring tears to my eyes and I thought to myself; “Self, that’s going to leave a mark”.

This morning, I spent a good thirty seconds in the shower, trying to wash a suspicious black smudge off my pinkie while wondering what the hell? Where did I get ink on my finger? I look like I have been fingerprinted. Ha! That would be totally funny! Well, Hugh might not find it funny but, ha! What would the neighbors think?

This is when my Self chimed in, rather tersely, with “It’s a bruise, dumbass.”

Which just goes to show; doing dishes is hazardous to your phalanges. Which totally means fingers and, who is the dumbass, now, Self? Huh?

That's what I thought.

I was feeling pretty good about that witty little come-back until, as I was typing this, I noticed that the computer screen kept getting really blurry when I looked at it from a particular angle. I immediately consulted Dr. Google who led me to understand that I was either having a stroke or losing the sight in my right eye. Since I didn’t smell burning toast which, Dr. Google assures me, is a symptom of stroke, I deduced that I was, indeed losing my sight.

Which is when my Self chimed in with a fantastic piece of advice, I believe her exact words were “Clean your glasses, dumbass.”

And I was HEALED! Thankyoulordjesus!

The people at MENSA will be so relieved.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This One Time, At Band Camp…

I’m kidding; I wasn’t even in band. I was in the color guard however, so I did get to travel with the band and, since my boyfriend played the saxophone, long trips to band competitions were the equivalent of really long dates. If you ignored the fact that you were on a cramped and drafty school bus with a hundred band geeks, that is. Hey, I didn’t say they were GOOD dates and, as usual… I digress.


When I tuck the children in to sleep at night, we share a ritual of telling each other what our favorite part of the day was. The Girl usually has some story to tell about the funny things that she and her girlfriends did during class (yesterday, she and her girlfriend laughed so hard, her friend peed in her pants! But, only a little and, god mother; don't tell anyone!) or about how she righted some injustice during her shift as a playground monitor. The Man-Cub, on the other hand, usually reports-in detail- about some loud and embarrassing bodily function that occurred to him or a classmate at some inopportune moment like say; during a sit-up in P.E. Last night, however, he sighed wearily and told me that he couldn’t pick just one favorite part of the day; he loved it all. Specifically, he loves second grade. Loves, loves, loves, the second grade! It is his favorite grade ever and, as he solemnly told me, he will never forget a moment of it.

Considering that he is, you know, his mother's son; I tend to believe him.

I started the second grade in the fall of 1975. Gerald Ford was in the White House, the Fonz was rocking around the clock on ABC and I wore bell bottoms without shame while skating around the roller rink to the lively tunes of the Bee Gees’ Jive Talkin’.

My school was quite old. New construction was a foreign concept and, increasing enrollment, a reality in our school district. So, in an effort to utilize every bit of available space, the second grade classrooms were located in the basement of the auditorium/gymnasium and dubbed the “Happy Hideaway” which was obviously, some school bureaucrats’ brilliant way to place a positive spin on the fact that we were, literally, being educated in hole in the ground (and it totally worked, by the way; we LOVED the Happy Hideaway).

My best friend at the time was a thin waif of a girl named Deborah Feiger. Debbie was beautiful in a way that second-graders cannot comprehend and over whom, adults fawn. She had blond hair that hung down to the middle of her back in cascading rivers of gold (I envied that hair with every ounce of my being, can you tell?) and huge green eyes. She was also the kindest person whom I had ever met, treating all living things with kindness and regard. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she grew up to be a vegetarian pacifist working for the Peace Corps.

Debbie and I were in different classes in the Happy Hideaway but were inseparable on the playground. One day at recess, Debbie and I decided to collect a large mason jar full of black sugar ants; we had been studying insects in science and thought that our very own ant farm would mean the difference between merely getting by in the class and truly excelling. Plus, ant farms were cool.

There was an ant hill near our favorite tree; the Ladybug Tree (named because of a Ladybug infestation the year before) and, using a Ding-Dong from Debbie’s Happy Days lunch box, we led a trail of unsuspecting ants into a large mason jar which we then filled with dirt and sealed with a lid (the lid had plenty of air holes, Debbie was a pacifist, remember) just as the teacher on recess duty blew her whistles, signaling an end to our free time.

Debbie and I carefully carried the jar into the cement vestibule of the Happy Hideaway, down the twelve cement stairs and into the common hallway that anchored each of the partitioned classrooms. I saw our teacher, Mrs. Klecker, walking toward us, smiling her characteristic smile. When she spied the jar in Debbie’s hands, however, her face took on a most decidedly different expression and she gasped loudly. Then, she screeched at Debbie to “Get rid of those pests at once!”

This uncharacteristically shrill command on the part of Mrs. Klecker startled Poor Debbie so badly, she tripped over her yellow rain boots and the jar went sailing out of her hands and through the air. Time slowed down for me at that point and I actually saw what happens next in slow motion, or at least, that's how I remember it, today.

The jar went flyyyyying; Debbie made a valiant effort to reclaim it, leapppping forward, her small hands clawwwwing at thin air but, it was too late; the jar shattered on the cement floor, sending approximately one billion ants scurrying to every conceivable corner of the Happy Hideaway.

Time sped up again and I watched helplessly as Mrs. Klecker grabbed the first available second grader and clutched him to her like a shield while simultaneously leaping onto a chair and screaming bloody murder. Debbie hit the ground, trying desperately to scoop up as many ants as possible and I stood, mouth gaping open and unmoving, while fifty second graders scattered in every direction and two teachers joined in the screaming. Debbie eventually gave up on her effort to recapture the ants and the custodian, old Mr. Stevens was called in to vacuum up the stragglers.

I don’t remember much of what happened later that day but I can tell you that we spied black ants in various places throughout the Happy Hideaway for the rest of the year.

Debbie moved away the summer between the third and fourth grades. Her dad worked for the US Forest Service and he was transferred to Maryland that year. Debbie and I wrote to each other for a while after that; she sent me live holly leaves with one tiny berry and a wax sealing kit for Christmas one year and then we lost touch. I still think of her every time I see an old-fashioned wax seal on a letter or a black sugar ant and I still miss her.

And, you know…I still covet her hair.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?

Dear Winter,
We have been together for a while now and we have had some great times. The snow on Christmas Eve? Perfect. Sledding on New Year’s Day; also marvelous. Moreover, while I complained about the temperatures being so unreasonably cold, you know I appreciated your efforts to give me a memorable holiday season. However, darling, I just feel like we need to see other people; it isn’t you, it’s me. I feel like I am holding you back from your true potential, think about all the new places you could get to know a little better if it were not for me. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must tell you that I have had my eye on Spring for a while now. Please don’t be hurt, we had a good run; it just wasn’t meant to last. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for you and, given enough time, I might want to see you again say, in about a year or so? In the meantime, I wish you the very best and I will cherish the memories of our time together, always.
Kisses, Chelle
P.S. I hope we can still be friends.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Misty Water-Colored Memories

Today is my grandmother’s 95th birthday. All things considered, she’s in pretty good shape, physically. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is the Drum Major leading her Mental Parade and, on many days, she can’t remember who the people around her are. Mercifully, she has no problem remembering who she is although; she does have a slight problem remembering when she is.

For example, in her mind today, she may be ten years old and living on the family farm in Kansas. She might tell you about her daily activities, what chores she has done and what work has yet to be accomplished. And you? Why you are one of her five sisters-Mary, Fronie, Monie, Tillie or Lucy, of course. Unless you are male in which case, you are obviously one of her three brothers, Joe, John, or Sal.

They are all gone now but, not in her mind.

Or perhaps, today, she is a twenty-one year old bride, wondering where “that man has gotten himself off to, now? Ach vollidiot!” (that man, of course, being my grandpa Nick who apparently didn’t wander off too far considering she was still his bride when he passed away sixty-three years later).

And tomorrow, she could be twenty-two, rocking her first child in the rocking chair. Or, she could be forty-five and rocking her last.

Ninety-five years is a lot of ground to cover; she could be anywhere. Or, anytime, I guess and, assuming you are given a role, you might as well play along.

The fact that she doesn’t always recognize them is understandably upsetting for my mother and her siblings. I grew up under the care of my grandparents during summer vacations and breaks from school and I find the fact that she has forgotten me to be upsetting as well but, I take solace in the fact that, most of the time, my grandmother seems calm and comfortable living in the past.

Her memories appear to be, in the majority, happy ones. And, as hard as it is to let go of a woman I love so dearly, I could never deny her the opportunity to relive the happier moments of her life. I mean; to really live them again. It comforts me, this idea that perhaps, she feels once again, the heady rush of falling in love with my grandfather.

That, maybe, she once more feels the soft weight of a newborn in her arms.

That she might again experience the euphoria of dancing the polka with my grandfather , whirling around and around on the dance floor in a floor-length powder blue dress, the hem flaring out as their feet fly in tandem (my memory more than hers maybe but, honest and true).

I also think it speaks volumes about the resilience of her spirit that, while her life was not without painful memories, it is the moments of joy that my grandmother seems most drawn to. I like to think that the inherent strength which pulled her through tragic or sad times in her life now serves as sentry, denying the Alzheimer’s access to her innermost demons and guarding her heart from further pain.

Is that wishful thinking on my part? Time will tell.

In the meantime, I’ve learned things about my grandmother that I did not know before. I’ve learned that working in the sugar beet fields was, well, not very pleasant. I’ve learned that my innocent grandmother actually does know how to curse and, that although she grew up to observe a strict attendance policy; she didn’t always want to go to Mass as a child. She fought with her sisters and sometimes, she was naughty. Not surprisingly, I’ve learned that, not only did she love my grandfather but, she was in love with him; with his blue eyes and his lanky frame. With his hands that were so much bigger than her own. I was also not surprised to learn that, the first thing she loved about him was how well he could dance; how well they danced together; because, Grace seeks its equal. Learning these things due to the Alzheimer’s has been unexpected; a blessing out of a disease.

But still, a disease.

One that even now works on my grandmother’s memory like water running over a pebble in a stream. Eventually, the pebble will erode away to sand, shifting on the bed of the stream and settling into a fine layer of softness, unrecognizable as the pebble yet still, pieces unto itself.

We will miss the pebble but, will glean from it the sand.

Happy 95th birthday Grandma Molly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thirteen Things, Edition Five:
Thirteen Things I Am Embarrassed To Admit, the T.V. Version

1. I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County.

2. And I like it.

3. At some point during every episode of Extreme Make-over, Home Edition; I cry.

4. I have never watched an episode of American Idol and don’t really get what all the fuss is about.

5. I’m actually bummed that NBC is canceling Passions.

6. I only watched it when I was home from work, which isn’t often but, still; bummed.

7. Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife scares the holy hell out of me. If I were a fugitive and she was on my ass, I would totally turn myself in.

8. When interviewed by the media, I think Patrick Dempsey comes off like an asshole.

9. But I would still sleep with Dr. McDreamy.

10. You know, if I were Meredith.

11. I never watch awards shows but I do watch the red carpet coverage prior to the shows so that I can bag on what everyone is wearing.

12. I am a sci-fi geek and I love Battlestar Galactica (my younger sister just rolled her eyes to the heavens and sighed in disgust).

13. I actually cried real tears when the Sci-Fi Channel cancelled Farscape. There may have been sobbing, even.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Twelve Dollars

I am feeling scattered and out of sorts today so please don’t expect this post to be anywhere near coherent. In fact, just go ahead and plan on it being the polar opposite of coherent and you won’t be disappointed.

Where to begin?

Oh, I know! This morning, the Service Engine Soon light came on in my car, alerting me to a problem. It did the same thing a few years ago and, being a conscientious car-owner, I read my owner’s manual and determined that the light indicated that there was a problem with the pressure in the gas tank, most likely due to the gas cap being unscrewed. However, after unscrewing and re-screwing the cap a multitude of times without results, Hugh and I determined that the sensor was faulty so, we had it replaced.

I hadn’t had a problem since. You know, until this morning.
Anyway, to make a long story short, ha! Too late! I pulled to the side of the road, opened the gas hatch and reached in to tighten the cap which is when I discovered…. that some jackass had stolen my gas cap.

Who does that?

If you just thought to yourself; “Someone who needed a gas cap,”, you are dead to me. Dead. Because, people, I have heard enough of that today.

Someone who needed one, my ass. They cost twelve dollars at the auto parts store, people. Twelve. Dollars. This means that the jackass who stole mine has sold his immortal soul for twelve dollars.

And, it probably wasn’t worth half that.

Anyway, I was, and still am, mad about this. Mad!

Which I may have mentioned later, during a mini-rant at my women’s club meeting.
I may have cussed, even. In the most ladylike fashion immaginable, of course.

Speaking of which (the club, not the cussing. I told you this was going to be all over the place.), the President-Elect of the club pulled me aside after the meeting and asked me if I would consider running for the office of First Vice President in the upcoming election. If I were to say yes, it would mean that I would become President of the club in 2009, since that is how the hierarchy of the club works.

I laughed at her. She persisted. I reminded her how much I had thoroughly hated the office of Treasurer and wondered at just how sucky a higher office would be and, to her credit, she replied honestly by saying “Oh, it’s completely awful but still, what an honor!”

I was flattered, because I am not totally without vanity.

I then turned her down because my vanity prevents me from engaging in stupidity (75% of the time).

“Well, would you consider it if I offered to buy you a new gas cap?”

Um, no. My immortal soul is worth way more than twelve bucks.

Also, I smell desperation, sister. Perhaps that twelve dollars could be put to a better use, say; air freshener?


Monday, January 15, 2007

A Legacy of Non-Violence.

My children have learned a bit about the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in school recently, and, while some lessons are barely retained in their fevered little brains, something about the good Doctor has stuck with them. I know this because, yesterday, they waged their very own version of a peaceful protest.

Both children had been invited to sleep over at the home of a friend and, with the schools closed today in honor of MLK, they were of the mind that they could not be denied.

Yet, we denied them. The subsequent protest began with a hastily-organized sit-in in front of my bathroom door.

After an hour with no sign of either child leaving their position anytime soon, and, in deference to the absence of the customary whining, begging and trademark annoying behavior that generally accompanies such situations, I was impressed enough to hear them out.

The Man-Cub’s argument utilized the time-tested “Tell Them What They Want to Hear” approach which is really less of an argument than say, a bargaining process, by reminding us that, with both him and his sister out of the house, Hugh and I would be alone. Together. To do those unspeakable things that parents do when they are left alone together, the highlights of which, according to the Cub, include watching horror movies with the volume at a level that would be otherwise verboten. Although, I must confess, when he initially phrased it as; “And you two will be able to make scary noises without waking me up” my heart did skip a beat.

Or three.

Not convinced that her brother’s approach would be ultimately successful, The Girl tried bribery; specifically, if I let her go, she promised to indulge me in a long backrub upon her return. When that didn’t seem to be panning out for her, she panicked and back-slid to thinly veiled threats, suggesting that, perhaps, I didn’t want a backrub again, ever. A slight raise of my left eyebrow reminded her that threats have no place in a peaceful negotiation and she immediately back-peddaled to bribery. Thus, having settled upon two backrubs on the evenings of my choice along with one foot massage upon her return, the deal was sealed.

Each child attended their respective sleep-over, Hugh and I enjoyed a quiet evening together, making noise that would otherwise have woken the Cub up, and no one was arrested.

The power of peaceful protest; beautiful.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mean Girls: An Essay

The Girl called me from school last Wednesday and begged me to come and pick her up so that she wouldn’t have to attend her After School Program. When I asked why, she sobbingly told me that two of her classmates were waging a whispering campaign aimed at ostracizing her from the rest of the girls in her little circle of friends. She tearfully told me that one of her friends was already “on their side” and that she was certain that no one would talk to her if she went to Program. She would be alone. Friendless. Could I please, please, please, come and get her?

In that moment I was transported right back to my own childhood and I came thisclose to dropping the phone and racing to the school to rescue my daughter. Instead, I did one of the hardest things that I will ever have to do as a parent; I said no.

Instead, I encouraged The Girl to dry her tears. I suggested that she seek the company of girls who don’t bow down to the Mighty Mean Girls. I told her that a true friend doesn’t stop being your friend on the recommendation of someone else and I asked her if the situation was reversed, would she willingly abandon a friend just because a peer told her to? It came as no great surprise when she said no; of course she wouldn’t do that. So, I said, why would you want to be friends with someone who would?

By the time we finished our conversation, The Girl was calm and optimistic about her chances of enjoying After School Programs. I told her how proud I am of her and I promised that we could talk about it more at home that evening and we said goodbye.

I was sick with worry about her for the rest of the day yet, when I picked her up after Program, she bounded out of the classroom with a smile on her face, overjoyed at having spent the afternoon with one of her friends who thinks The Mean Girls are just a bunch of phony-baloney (her words). So, either my daughter is super-resilient or she has the attention span of a gnat; either way, crisis averted. For today, anyway.

Yet, I worry.

Mean Girls are not new phenomena; since the dawn of time, they have ruled the playground and lorded over the hallways. Their weapons of choice; intimidation, cruelty and ridicule. What they lack in self-esteem they more than make up for in viciousness and bile. Oh yes, I have known my fair share of Mean Girls.

Historically, there are a number of ways in which ordinary girls deal with Mean Girls. Some fall victim to their influence and become mean themselves, because, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

Some retreat into their own worlds; adopting characters in books as friends and whiling away the time until their own self-esteem grows to a point that they can defend themselves against the criticism of the Mean Girls (my Dad totally just went Ah-ha!).

A lucky few, already in possession of a strong sense of self-esteem, ignore the Mean Girls altogether, pursuing their own interests thus escaping the drama.

A handful are so beaten down by Mean Girls and, by life in general, that they lose hope of ever being good enough for anything and drop out of school or lose themselves in substances that offer a reprieve from the pain. They are broken; powerless.

And, in the end, being a Mean Girl really is about power. Because, when you feel crappy about yourself as a person, what could possibly make you feel better about yourself than making someone else feel worse about themselves? Mean Girl Logic 101.

What the Mean Girls fail to realize is that; the person with the most important opinion of you is you and, once you arrive in a place where you are peaceful about who you are, the Mean Girl is powerless over you.

Getting there is the battle.

Speaking of the battle; next year, The Girl enters Middle School, also known as The Eighth Circle of Hell. The Mean Girls will have had an entire summer in which to add to their bag of tricks. So, The Girl will need to have her defensive manuevers firmly in place. As her mother, all that I can do to help her is to tell her, constantly, how very much we love and value her. How important she is. How worthy. In not rushing to her rescue this week, I hope I taught her that, while I am here for her, I also believe in her ability to deal with these situations on her own. To make the right choices. To treat others as she would like to be treated and to stand up for herself. To be a Nice Girl.

I have every faith in her.

And still, I worry.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Four:
Thirteen Random Things

1. The Girl had an upsetting encounter with her school’s resident Mean Girls. She came through it beautifully and, I would elaborate but it really deserves its own post.

2. One of the Man-Cub’s top front teeth finally poked through yesterday after several weeks of uncomfortable “teething”. You are probably thinking that eight year olds don’t teeth. They do, however, if they knock all four top teeth out at the tender age of four, giving their gums a solid four years in which to toughen up prior to the appearance of the adult teeth. I’m not really looking forward to the discomfort the poor kid will feel as the remaining three teeth make their way in.

3. Also, seeing the kid with a giant horse tooth in the place where a precious gap existed for four years is going to take some getting used to for all of us.

4. Well, for me anyway.

5. I am better at puppy training than I ever thought possible. My carpets thank me for it.

6. It is supposed to snow here again this weekend and I am sick to death of snow. A nice vacation on a tropical island would be fabulous.

7. There is no tropical vacation in my future, unfortunately.

8. Both kids have signed up to participate in Jump Rope for Heart so, whenever people see us coming with the donation envelops, they run and hide.

9. I totally don’t blame them.

10. I have already broken my New Year’s Resolution about not buying stupid stuff.

11. In my defense, the stupid things I bought were on clearance for 75% off.

12. So, they were only 25% stupid.

13. My other resolutions are going swimmingly. However, today is a co-workers birthday and the boss brought in a box of donuts to celebrate. If, in that box, there resides a pink frosted donut; all bets are off.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I bought a set of new glasses today. I wish I could say they were either a fabulous set of swanky wine glasses or a sassy set of shot glasses but, they were, in truth, eyeglasses.

Yes, eyeglasses as in, hey! Remember last summer when you had that eye exam and the eye doctor guy wrote that prescription for new lenses? Lenses that might actually enable you to like, see the road at night, possibly saving your life or the lives of a family of sweet raccoons out for a nighttime stroll? Lenses that could perhaps, grant you the ability to tell what time it is on the digital clock on the DVD player because, although the clock is a mere three feet from the couch, all you currently see is a neon green blob? Because, although your best guess is still technically right twice a day, wouldn’t it be nice to actually know that you only have two minutes to use the bathroom, grab a diet Pepsi and let the dog out before the new episode of Grey’s Anatomy starts? Yes? Well then, dummy, don’t you suppose now would be a good time to actually use the friggin prescription and buy new glasses already?

Yes, yes and yes.

So, yeah, six months later, I finally bought glasses.

I bet you think that my failure to rush right out and buy them six months ago was due to the fact that I feared being the Girl Who Wears Glasses, huh? Au contraire, mon frere. In truth, I already wear glasses at work so, I already am That Girl. Granted, I’ve had them since 1991 and my prescription has changed, rendering them about as effective as staring through the bottom of my diet Pepsi bottle in as far as vision correction goes but, my point is; I don’t fear wearing glasses based on the fact that I think they make me look unattractive. I know they make me look unattractive and I wear them despite that to um…yeah….um...correct my vision which, as I guess we have just established they don't actually do, anymore. Huh.

See? Not vain. Lazy, hell yes but, not vain.

Anyhoo, Hugh met me at the place where they sell eyeglasses, the, um… eyeglass store? Does that seem right? I dunno.

And, I digress….

….where I tried on about eighty gazillion frames searching for two that I liked, one for home and one for the office. Hugh gave me the thumbs down repeatedly. Finally, we found two frames that we agreed made me look neither like I should invest in a Pocket Protector and change my name to Suzy Poindexter nor like I should dye my hair blue and start chasing kids off my lawn with a cane. They won’t transform me into a ravishing beauty with the power to make grown men swoon but, I’ll take what I can get; they aren’t magic glasses after all.

Unfortunately, the glasses won’t be ready for about a week. In the meantime, I will still have to rely on Hugh to tell me when Grey’s is starting and on the children to point out helpless animals in the roadway.

When they are ready, my vision will be restored but, I will, unfortunately, still be lazy. See above not magic.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It Could Be PMS

Here I am back at work after an eventful two-week vacation. I should report that, the office did not implode under the weight of my absence nor does the staff appear to have suffered undue stress which, way to make a gal feel needed, people.


Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive. After all, I arrived at the office just moments after dropping the kids off at the daycare (school starts tomorrow) where, instead of the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pleading cries of “But we want to be with youuu!” that I had fully expected from the Fruit of my Loins, I instead got a casual “See ya!” and a “Later, Mom!” as they bolted out of the car and through the daycare gate.

I would give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they were hurting, you know, on the inside, where it not for the fact that the car was still in motion when they made their escape.

Luckily for my pride, the puppy more than made up for the children’s lack of remorse at our parting by whining and howling like he’d just lost his mother the minute left him. He will be getting a nice tasty treat this evening.

The children will be getting brussel sprouts and tuna casserole.

At a mere eight weeks old, the dog obviously knows how to work the system.

This totally shakes my confidence in the intelligence of my offspring.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

No Need to Call 911, I’m A Slow Bleeder

A nice woman from the blood bank called today to ask me if I could donate blood early next week. I said no. Because, while I believe that donating blood is a noble thing to do, I mean, it saves lives and all, the phlebotomist employed by our local hospital cannot seem to squeeze blood from my veins to save his life and I've got a strict policy of not causing myself undue pain. Of course, it took a few bad experiences for me to arrive at that policy.

One time, I ended up with a burst vein, which the phlebotomist dressed with the usual cotton ball and Band-Aid like that was going to do any good. When the wound opened up a half hour later as I was tugging up my pantyhose, the resulting horror movie moment in the bathroom at my workplace caused the secretary to nearly toss her cookies. She tendered her resignation not long after and I am not entirely convinced that it was a coincidence.

You would think that would have taught me my lesson but, you would be wrong. When the call for a donation came again, I went. Disaster ensued.

The same phlebotomist was on duty of course, which got my heart to racing a bit but, ignoring the little voice inside my head, I shrugged off my concerns and settled into the fancy chair and filled out the appropriate paperwork while Mr. Phlebotomist strapped on the pressure cuff and swabbed the inside of my elbow before stabbing me with the enormous needle that they use for such things.

The chosen vein, which had looked so promising only moments earlier decided to roll over and play dead the second the needle penetrated it and, really, who could blame it? How would YOU feel if you were just going about your business, transporting some nice, oxygen-rich blood to vital organs when, WHAM! some sixty-year old joker with jet-black hair and a Hitler mustache- a fake mustache that he obviously draws on with a marker, I might add- stuck you with a needle and proceeded to steal your cargo? Huh? How would that make you feel?

But, I digress.

So, Mr. Phlebotomist “adjusted” the needle which involved ripping the tape off my arm, along with a few hairs (not that I am super hairy. I have perfectly normal womanly hair on my arms. Really. I’m just saying) and then poked the needle around to find a better position. The effort resulted in a somewhat painful vibrating sensation in my arm, a “bubbling” feeling that, clearly, was NOT normal.

When I described the feeling, Mr. Phlebotomist declared it the result of the needle “bouncing against the wall of the vein” and I think I can trace what happened later right back to that moment because no one should ever have to hear that a needle is bouncing about inside their bodies, I don’t care who they are, see above; NOT normal.

Mr. Phlebotomist did not seem terribly concerned with my obvious discomfort, however and instead, pointed out the fact that, with the needle in the new position, I was bleeding much faster. Quite the feat apparently since, he said, “Frankly, my dear, you are a rather slow bleeder which is making this somewhat difficult”.

Well, excuuuuse me.

As I recall, he then told me to just “hang in there” and I tried, I really did but, twenty or thirty minutes later, as the vibrating feeling continued and, as the bag slowly filled beside me, I began to sweat.

So, there I was, sweating on the donation table, when I detected a distinct buzzing sensation throughout my body accompanied by a decided feeling of light-headedness followed by the realization that, dear lord, I might actually need to throw up here. Could you imagine the embarrassment I would have felt if I had?

No worries, though, because, I totally saved myself the disgrace of throwing up in the blood bank by passing out. Right there, in the donation chair.

The phlebotomist was most disturbed by that little turn of events, I assure you. He was also most solicitous with the orange juice and cookies when I eventually came to. Actually, if memory serves, he offered me whiskey, which I, of course, declined.

So, yeah, that was just about a year ago. Care to guess when I might actually brave another attempt at donating?

Yeah, me neither.

On the bright side, being a slow bleeder has its benefits. For one, I probably will not bleed to death on the kitchen floor following a culinary accident.

In addition, vampires would totally have their work cut out for them.

That’s some peace of mind right there.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Three:
Thirteen Favorite Shades of OPI

Because I have nothing better to offer, I give you some of my favorite colors from my collection of roughly fifty-seven shades of OPI nail polish.

1. I’m Not Really a Waitress
2. Bogotá Blackberry
3. God Save the Queen’s Nails
4. Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie
5. Royal Flush Blush
6. A Rose at Dawn, Broke by Noon
7. Mauving to Manitoba
8. Nice Color, Eh?
9. A Rose to the Ovation
10. I Don’t Do Dishes
11. Jewel of India
12. To Eros is Human
13. Howdy, Honey!

I really do use most of my nail polish although, not on my fingernails. The only thing I polish them with is OPI Nail Envy, which is a nail strengthener. When I use color on my fingernails, they tend to break so, I stick with color on my toenails, which goes a long way in explaining why I own a bazillion pair of summer sandals.

I like to practice excess in all my addictions.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Day 13 of Captivity

Er, I mean, vacation, of course.

Yesterday, I labored for twelve hours to eradicate any evidence of the holidays from my house. When Hugh finally hefted the box containing the Christmas tree into the attic at nine p.m., I could have wept with happiness. Instead, I celebrated the accomplishment by standing outside in the freezing air waiting for Rowdie to take a dump so I could just go to bed already.

Do I know how to party or what?

Speaking of Rowdie’s dumps, today was his first well-puppy visit with the vet. After he was weighed (sixteen and a half pounds at seven weeks old, yikes!), examined and shot up with the necessary puppy immunity, the vet handed me a plastic container and began to explain how I was to go about obtaining a stool sample since, you know, I am currently the one at home with him during the day.

Now, I don’t do poop. I just don’t. When Rowdie relieves himself, Hugh or one of the children is responsible for hazardous materials disposal. I do my part; I bring home the food. I buy the treats and toys. I wash the dog, clean up his muddy paw prints and massage his tickle spot until his eyes roll back in his head and his leg starts kicking as if he was trying to jump-start a motorcycle. But. I. Don’t Do. Poop.

The dog knows this. Still, the obvious look of disgust on my face apparently offended the poor baby who looked at me as if to say “What, your shit don’t stink?” while giving me the puppy equivalent of an eye-roll before heading outside to do his business while Hugh was in attendance and able to collect the necessary “sample”.

I bought him treats and a new stuffed squeaky toy for his thoughtfulness.

Have I mentioned that I am ready to go back to work?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Saying Hello To 2007

Laughter heralded the New Year in our household. We invited a few friends over for appetizers and board games on New Year’s Eve and the kids had us all rolling when they presented an impromptu magic show from a Gross Magic kit the Man-Cub received as a Christmas gift from his Aunt Jules. His ability to make an eyeball disappear amused us thoroughly; kid could have a future in show biz.

Not long before midnight, we started playing a game of CSI and had just about managed to solve the crime when it was time to break out the noisemakers, sparklers and confetti poppers. Playing a game reminded me of New Year’s eves when I was a kid; my younger sister and I would play strip Monopoly and then dare each other to run down the block in our undies while my parents attended New Year’s Eve parties at the local Elk’s club. Since no one got naked last night I think it is safe to say that my New Year's revelry has become quite tame. You know, compared to my wild youth.

The first day of this New Year was fun as well. Hugh, the kids and I loaded the truck with inflatable tubes and tobagans and then threw Rowdie in the truck for good measure. We headed to the hills to participate in a long held tradition of sledding in the new year. It was quite cold but the snow was good so we set up the camp heater, downed some hot cocoa and spent the next couple of hours sledding. By the time we got home, we were all pretty tired and, since I have to put away all of my holiday decorations tomorrow (which does NOT make my list of favorite holiday activities, I assure you), I think I will call it an early night.

However, not before I share my resolutions for 2007!

I resolve to continue with a healthy diet and exercise program (which I started again today, the gluttony, it endeth, amen!).

I resolve to spend less money on stupid things in 2007.

I resolve to keep my home office and my work office organized and tidy.

I resolve to have more fun with my family.

I resolve to downsize the clutter in my closets, attics, cabinets and garage.

Luckily, none of these things is terribly difficult so, I should have no problem. Well, maybe with number two but you know baby steps.

Speaking of babies…….