Thursday, May 29, 2008

but i play a marketing expert on my blog

i think somebody needs to have a little talk with the folks at jc penney. the father's day promo i received today says:
today's the day to give him what he really wants...
the jc penney gift card!
i'm gonna go out on a limb and say that, oh, maybe sex is what most men really want. and i don't think you can get that with a penney's gift card.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

crabby old lady is crabby about...

minneapolis is lousy with bike paths. the park board maintains more than 43 miles of designated biking paths around city's lakes and along its creeks. nearly six miles of converted railway line extend across the city's center for bikers. there are many bike lanes in, to and from downtown, and a whopping 82 miles of off-street trails.

so why do i always end up driving behind some tour de france wannabe who insists on riding in the street? 

i understand when there is no other option, like for the two gentlemen i followed home the other evening (after 10 pm, in the dark, at about 8 miles per hour, slowly, sloooowly) on a road with no bike lane.

but when i am driving around lakes that are ringed with bike paths? lovely, paved, scenic paths just for you? why, sir, do you instead choose to ride in the road in front of me, turning to glare at me from beneath your helmet when you bob your arms up and down to signal your turns, or muttering at me as i (carefully, carefully) pass you?

i'm driving a minivan, lance ass-strong. that means i outweigh you by about, oh, 4,100 pounds. and it's my road; your path is 10 feet that-a-way. are you just arrogant? or do you have some sort of thin-the-herd death wish?

oh, and the next time you YELL AT ME as i open my van door when i'm parked legally on a minneapolis street and you nearly rip my door off as you speed by? bring it.

women's clothing manufacturers

4 6 7 8 9 10

my winning lottery numbers? hardly.

i recently rolled over and accepted that my pre-maternity clothes will remain just that. the old gray mare ain't what she used to be. and, as i've moved into my 40s, i've discovered that my body parts are following the general migration trend of the country's residents:  all heading south.

so i trundled off for some new stuff. got the basic mommy wardrobe of shorts, cargo pants, jeans and tee shirts, as well as some new jammies for good measure. and i discovered that, apparently, i have some sort of fun-house body that morphs as i move from aisle to aisle, because the clothes i got were all of the sizes listed above, plus xs, s, m, and l just to make things interesting. 

and, with the exception of the jeans, the clothes are all from the same place:  target (or tar-jhay boo-teek, as we in the miniapple call it). how is it even possible that i can wear a 4 pants and a 10 shorts in the exact same in-house brand?! (merona.) hate you, isaac mizrahi.

global warming

it was 40 degrees when i went for a walk this morning. i could probably have seen my breath, if my eyes hadn't been watering so much. 

global warming, my fat fanny. where can i git me some?

Monday, May 26, 2008

i'm too sexy for my baggy, sweat-stained t-shirt

here are some of the exciting ways the handsome man and i memorialized this holiday weekend:
  • pruning bushes and trees
  • scraping and recaulking the tub
  • shoveling four yards of dirt across our property
  • seeding the lawn
  • scrubbing the kitchen floor on hands and knees
  • taking down storm windows and putting up screens
  • mowing the lawn
  • weeding
  • planting herbs
  • doing six loads of laundry
  • purchasing a weather radio, two emergency flashlights, and two first aid kits (one for home, one for car) now that tornado season is upon us
and yet, all this was mitigated by that great spring tonic:  rhubarb pie. there are some things to be said for living in minnesota.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the breakfast of whining, gasping, pms-ing losers

  • 2 advil
  • 1-1/2 zoloft
  • 1 children's multivitamin
  • 2 cups strong tea
hey, the world has enough champions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the horror

i do not have high standards when it comes to food.
that is not to say i am not picky or high-maintenance, both of which i decidedly am. no olives, no artichokes, no coconut. nothing that bleeds on my plate or makes eye contact. no hard or soft eggs (hidden in a breakfast quesadilla is about all i can stomach). and dear god, no mollusks, crustaceans or other sea bugs.

but i'm pretty much an omnivore when it comes to junky food, white trash food, and snicky snacks of all kinds. when i'm feeling nostalgic for home, i might whip up an american cheese food sandwich with miracle whip, or a peanut butter-mustard-and-pickle sandwich. (stop that. it's good. and how do you know if you've never tried it, sam-i-am?)

however, tonight i discovered the point at which even i must draw a line in the cool whip. as i was breaking into some chocolate graham crackers (yum!), i saw this on the side of the box:
introducing new easy cheese original cream cheese pasteurized cheese snack!

now you can have the great taste of cream cheese with all the fun of easy cheese. easy cheese original cream cheese can be found in the cracker aisle next to all of your other favorite easy cheese varieties.
spray cream cheese. spray cream cheese that needs no refrigeration. i'm pretty sure that is what the four horsemen of the apocalypse will be snacking on when they come.

i would rather work the fryer at mcdonald's until i'm 100

the ladies and i just returned from an a-1 outing to one of st. paul's bestest and kid-friendliest places, como zoo & conservatory. we steeped ourselves in warm sunshine. we saw giraffes and seals and lions and even (gasp!) reindeer, though probably not, we concluded, santa's reindeer ("but maybe they know him!"). we ate our sandwiches and apples while watching flamingos fight ("maybe they're sisters!"). i bought each girl a bomb pop roughly the size of a sexual device or one of those long knit tubes you put in front of doorways to keep out winter drafts. (and amazingly, they consumed nearly all of them; if i hadn't had them strapped in the stroller, i think they would have started levitating from the sugar high.)

and then, to top it all off, we paid our first-ever visit to the carousel, an enormous 1914 masterpiece with four rows of gorgeously restored horses, lights, mirrors...and a huge wurlitzer band organ.

or, as i now think of it, satan's own glockenspiel.

omfg, was that thing loud. i felt like the grinch being driven to distraction by the whoville residents and all their noise, noise, noise, NOISE! and i'm kind of a deaf old bat from misspending my teens and 20's in bars and clubs, pressed up close to the amps with the beat of a bass guitar pulsing up and down my spine. 

indeed, the carousel's promoters themselves give a shout-out (sorry) to the noise on their website:
why is it so loud?
you may notice as you walk through como park that you can often hear the music before you see the carousel. band organs were designed to be loud in order to attract the public to the carousel. the loud music also helps mask some of the mechanical noises of the ride.
which makes total sense, and is tolerable for the 10-minute ride, slightly less so for the 15 minutes spent waiting in line prior to the ride.

but how about ALL FREAKING DAY?

because the carousel is staffed by volunteers, all of whom appeared to be retirees, and all of whom were sporting airport grounds crew-quality earplugs. (and, perhaps not coincidentally, all of whom were rather grim-faced and cheerless.)

now, i am all for volunteer work; i've done a bunch of different kinds. and i get that many retirees want to stay connected to the work world, like my in-laws whose understanding of "retirement" apparently translates to "go back to your old job, only less often."

but i know that it would only take me a couple of days – one week tops – on the carousel crew before i would become completely unhinged and start trying to shoot the wooden horses. perhaps another, quieter form of retirement should be in my future.

oh, and if you're looking for a super father's day gift, the carousel sells a recording of its band organ tunes! apparently, the carousel pavilion's steel surfaces offer little in the way of sound absorption, so the reverb in the place amplifies the music and creates a "nice effect," though it does "make it a little hard to hear someone speak."

or scream.

Monday, May 12, 2008

etymology lesson for the day

is it called cocktail hour because you want to cold-cock one kid and swat the other on the tail?

mom dialing

my friends and i are now securely past the age of drunk dialing (calling up a current/ex/prospective boyfriend when intoxicated).

but sadly, phone faux pas continue, because we have entered the age of mom dialing. that's when your brain is so addled by child bearing/rearing that you make unintended calls. i submit as evidence:
  • my best friend just called me and said, "oh, i wasn't trying to call you, i was trying to call my sister (who happens to be my other best friend)."
  • i've called one of them, intending to call the other, on several (ok, many) occasions.
  • i've called myself more than once (cell if i'm at home, and vice versa) trying to reach friend a or friend b.
  • and i've phoned people and by the time they've picked up, i've already forgotten who i've called ("oh,!").
so remember, don't breed and dial.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

doin' time in solitary

so i took thing one to the dentist the other day. at 4-1/2, she's a veteran; she started going at age 3 when she fell on her face so hard, her tooth and gum turned gray and we were told the tooth might be abscessing. mercifully, it was not. and since we took her to a children's dentist, it was all fun and kites and stickers and picking out presents at the end. 

since then, she's been every six months, which at her age is practically a geologic time period:  a vague, misty era waaaaay back beyond memory.

so when i told josie it was time for another visit, i reminded her of the fun, fun, fun that was in store. i must have really sold it, because she told people, "i get to go to the dentist tomorrow!" (did i mention i used to work in public relations?)

now, josie is a bit, shall we say, dramatic. think of e.t. running around waving his hands in the air, and you get a pretty good mental picture of how she reacts to anything she deems traumatic:  immunizations, thunder and lightening, running out of goldfish crackers, being unable to locate a desired ball, mommy wanting to pee before sitting down to read 14,000 children's books aloud, life.

i try to be sympathetic, because she comes by it honestly. when i was a kid, woe was me. my aunt called me sarah bernhardt because of my penchant for histrionics, and my mom would narrow her eyes and hiss, "i hope you get one just like you." 

in my defense, i tended more toward the sullen and sulky kind of dramatics:  slumping through the house, glowering, and slamming doors. which i'm sure was incredibly annoying, but at least not terribly loud.

josie, however, likes to get her shriek on. the moment she sat in the dentist's chair, she started to rev up. chair going up and leaning back? shriek. teeny mirror inserted in mouth to count teeth? shriek. brushing with bubble gum-flavored toothpaste and tiny, tickly brush? shriek. flossing? double shriek.

the climax came with the fluoride treatment. when the handsome man and i were kids, we later reminisced, this involved sitting with trays of revolting goo in your mouth for what seemed like days, not daring to move a muscle lest said goo trickle down your throat and make you retch. when it was finally over, you were sternly warned not to eat or drink for about a month or the fluoride wouldn't work and you'd have to do it all again.

wanna know how they do fluoride now? they paint it on the teeth with the world's eentsiest brush in about 10 seconds, and that's it. as soon as the saliva hits it, you can eat or drink. 

but josie couldn't care less if my teeth walked 10 miles uphill both ways to school when i was a kid. to her, the fluoride treatment was very deliberately designed to kill her. my god, the screams! she sounded like a medieval saint being martyred in some odd and gruesome way. and since the dentist's office is set up as a big, open space with many chairs for many kids, the sound it did a-travel.

when the appointment was all over (15 minutes tops; seemed like an hour), the girls played with toys in the waiting room while i talked to the gal at the future appointments desk. i mentioned that thing two will need to be seen next time as well, since she'll be 3 by then. "the hygienist said i could schedule the two appointments at the same time, and the girls could sit next to each other," i said.

"hmm," she replied. "it says here they want to see josie in the 'quiet room' next time. did she have some trouble today?"

yep, she's going in the hole. being thrown in the box. visiting the pound. being given the shoe. doing time in solitary. 

cue the harmonica.

p.s. in fairness to josie, i probably should mention that when i was a kid, i once locked myself in my dentist's bathroom for an hour and refused to come out. and in fairness to me, this was the same dentist who once DRILLED MY TONGUE because he was too busy flirting with his hygienist to pay attention to the job at hand. jerk.

the four food groups

as a mother, on this mother's day, i feel it is my duty to remind you about the four food groups:
  • chocolate
  • peanut butter
  • cheese
  • bacon
i have yet to come across a food or dish that would not be improved by the addition of one or more of these essentials.

who needs a food pyramid when you can become a pyramid? is what i say.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


want to make get-togethers with other parents and wee ones more fun? try a playgroup! 
no, not that kind. i'm talking about playgroup, the drinking game, as described in the book inconsolable:  how i threw my mental health out with the diapers. (it's a lot funnier than it sounds. really.) here's how you do it...

the playgroup:
  • two parts knudsen hibiscus cooler [editor's note: or whatever]
  • one part inexpensive vodka
  • one part pedialyte, any flavor (to prevent dehydration and extend play)
mix ingredients together in a small sippy cup (preferably two-handled). add ice cube and shake vigorously; serve.

rules of play:

players who do not have a sippy cup available will automatically pick up a two-drink penalty and must consume their beverage from whatever receptacle is handy (e.g., sports bottle, neti pot, oral syringe, dirty ashtray, athletic shoe).

if a grown-up uses the word "poopy," that person drinks.

if a child uses the word "poopy," everyone drinks.

all drink if a child asks to nurse (with or without words).

all drink if a child is learning how to use the potty (once for each child).

all drink if a child takes a toy from another child.

finish your glass if your child is the thief.

all drink every time a child cries.

finish your glass every time a mother or father cries.

all drink whenever a box of baby wipes is opened.

drink twice whenever you eat a snack intended for a child (e.g., graham crackers, arrowroot cookies, zwieback toast).

all drink when the following topics are raised:
  • frequency of sexual relations
  • pornography/the sex industry
  • reliable automobiles
  • real estate (including neighborhood comparisons)
  • recipes
  • religion (including wicca and earth-worship)
  • movies
  • cable-access television
  • hair color
  • job hunting
  • dogs/puppies
  • preschool

drink twice if:
  • the recipes are vegan or wheat-free.
  • recipes are actually exchanged.
  • anyone has had sexual relations in the past 48 hours.
  • anyone's car is in the shop.
  • a borrowed object is returned.

finish your glass if:
  • your child vomits or defecates explosively (sufficient to cause staining outside the diaper).
  • a child hits another child with an implement of any nature (e.g., shape-sorting cube, umbrella, machete).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

the prettiest little ugly american

you never realize how much stuff you have until you move.
the ridiculous clothes you've been hanging on to. the old electronics. the unnecessary end tables. the sports equipment. the cutlery, dinnerware, pots and pans. 

the pink corvette.

barbara millicent roberts, you've got it all. and i just schelped it all upstairs.

yes, the barbie dream mcmansion has been relocated from the basement to the upstairs playroom. this was not my idea, but thing one pleaded. pleeeeeeaded. so while she packed barbie's extensive wardrobe, i lugged up the house (complete with elevator!), the car, the camping van, and the horse and stable. (the carriage and the other horse will remain downstairs; perhaps a parade is in the offing?)

it's like traveling with a miniature paris hilton. and the fashions! i mean, really. barbie is pushing 50 now; she ought to retire the skin-tight pedal pushers and mesh bikini. tramp.

at least i didn't pay for any of this stuff. (thanks, peg!) that's more than poor conrad hilton can say.

it turns the stomach

otto von bismarck must not have had daughters.
because if he had, i'm confident that the late prime minister of prussia would not have said that it's best to avoid seeing how laws and sausages are made. he would have said laws, sausages, and tea parties with cocoa in all the wee pots, cups, saucers, creamers and sugar bowls.

ye gods.

this may put me off chocolate for at least a few hours.

Monday, May 5, 2008

attention new recruits

the following is the official mom wardrobe for spring/summer 2008, as evidenced by scientific research (meaning what i and every other woman on every playground i've been to are wearing):
  • cargo pants, preferably dark or drab color to hide dirt (though i do have an orange pair, too!)
  • sturdy t-shirt, possibly with cute/snarky words and images
  • zip-front hoodie sweatshirt
  • ankle-high socks
  • easily removed tennies (slip ons, velcro, etc.)
  • sunglasses
  • hat (optional; depends on if you're still trying to con your kids into wearing them)
this is the only sanctioned uniform. however, exceptions may be made for flip-flops, head scarves, and cargo shorts. 

please note that this wardrobe works equally well for dads, though their tees tend to favor college/sports/beer logos. other than than, we look like the stepford p.t.a.

and on a related mommying note – to the 6-foot-tall, disastrously pregnant amazon i saw emerging from a mini cooper at target:  sweetie, i admire your perseverance, but it's time to trade in for a minivan, or at least something that's not a clown car.  you're going to need the jaws of life to pry you out of your vehicle in about, oh, two days. tops.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

daisy assassin

i hate gardening. haaaaate it. 
i like looking at the green stuff. but tending to it is a pain in my petunia. gardening is hot, sweaty, dirty, back ache-inducing work, and i emphasize the word work. it's like choosing to be a field hand in my leisure time.

and the payoff is...more work. more weeds, more watering, more pruning, more scratches, more bug bites, more heat, sweat, dirt and aches. the stuff just keeps growing, no matter how much you whack it back. have you ever tried to eradicate a grape vine? you can't, nor can you kill day lilies. i've tried.

i don't mean to sound sniffy, but this is a hobby for the mentally deficient. "the jenny vee memorial garden for the slow," my husband calls it. it's kind of like camping, which is also stooopid. why would i go out of my way to sleep on rocks and pee outside? didn't my ancestors spend millions of years evolving so i could have running water and body pillows and great lash mascara? 

similarly, why would i want to "relax" by working like a peasant woman in the potato fields when i could be sitting with my feet up, lemonade in hand, doing the sunday crossword? or napping? isn't this why the gentry used to have serfs?

and now i must go pluck pine needles from my flesh. (i just removed the christmas tree toppers from our window box. hey, it snowed last week – they still looked plausible.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

by any means necessary

achieving civil justice.
and getting 2-year-old and 4-year-old girls dressed for the day.

a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down

or skittles.
hey, bribery works.