Does This Mean There's Also Jean Liposuction?

Posted on 9/30/2006 10:55:00 AM
KingofHearts has a hole in his jeans. Dormouse wants to put cream and a bandaid on it so it will heal.

"Baby I don't think a band-aid will help my jeans."

"But Daddy, it works for my knees."


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Inappropriate Songs (volume 4)

Posted on 9/29/2006 01:53:00 PM In:
Is it wrong when your nearly-three-year-old says, in repsonse to: "What music would you like to listen to, darling?" says:

"Oingo Boingo!"

"OK hun. Whatever you want."

Proceeds to show IAE (Inappropriate Amount of Enthusiasm) and bounce off the walls and furniture showing two-thumbs-up sign and yelling following:

"Oingo Boingo! Yay!"
"Oingo Boingo! Woo hoo!"
"Oingo Boingo!"
"Yeah! Oingo Boingo!"

Then breaks into crazy break dance/twist/fox trot/cha cha moves when music starts.



That comment about Danny Elfman's babies is starting to make more sense now.



Oh, and incidentally, this is what it looks like when a toddler wants to take your picture while you're dancing.




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Sucktember Continues

Posted on 9/28/2006 09:43:00 AM
What kind of crazy-ass black cloud is following me around?

Yesterday morning when I went to drop my daughter off at preschool, all the teachers and kids were standing around in the parking lot as I drove up. Half a dozen car seats were sitting on the ground and a police car was parked in the front.

I get out, shoot a questioning look at one of the staff, who runs over to me and explains that there was a break-in in the building the previous night and someone vandalized everything... the toys, the rooms, the computers, everything. This is the fifth time in the last four months there has been a break-in.

Let me repeat that for those in the cheap seats:

FIVE TIMES.

Whiskey Tango Fox-trot, over?

I was only even made aware of what was happening after the third incident when I happened to come in while a police officer was taking a report. Every other time, the only thing that happened was that a computer or some food in the fridge was taken, but this time there was apparently so much breakage and vandalism that it wasn't safe enough inside to be able to allow the kids to go into the center.... and they think they will probably be closed for the rest of the week at least. The staff were busily trying to figure out a way to put all the kids whose parents weren't able to take the day off to deal with this nonsense into staff cars to transport them to who-knows-what other center in the area.

I - and this is why I keep my current job with all the stress and crap that it brings - decided that instead of sending my daughter in some unknown car to some unknown place and then having to call around all day to figure out where and when I can pick her up, that she would just come to work with me today. I told the assistant I'd just take Dormouse with me and she looked at me like she was about to kiss me... "Thanks," she breathed. Dormouse Jwas great all day... a colleague brought some toys for her to play with and she was quiet and well-behaved even during the staff meeting we had scheduled. She was a trooper. I love that this is the kid I got.

After the last time a computer was stolen overnight, I asked the staff what they were going to do about it as I was starting to feel uneasy with the safety of the building in the day if they couldn't keep it any more secure than that at night. She said they'd asked for security cameras and an alarm system. So yesterday I asked, "What was up with the whole new security system you were going to get a few weeks ago?" She explained that the corporate offices of the chain wouldn't approve the expense so they did what they did after each and every break-in: they changed the locks.

Am I alone in questioning the safety of my daughter during the day when their response to multiple break-ins at night is simply "Durrrr... well I guess we could change the locks again." Obviously this strategy isn't working, people. Windows weren't broken and locks didn't appear to be jimmied, so I get the need to change the locks, but if that's the ONLY thing you are doing and it continues to happen half a dozen times something else is wrong. You need to start looking at people who... oh I don't know... HAVE THE KEYS!

When I got home, I called the corporate offices to make a formal complaint and the operator said, "Is this about the break-in? This is the second call I've received."

"Well, I doubt it will be the last," I retorted. As politely and professionally as I could, I listed all the ways I felt that the corporate office's inability to respond appropriately to this was compromising my confidence in the center and the corporation-as-a-whole's ability to make my child safe and how I would have no problem helping a local news station do a story on this. (Read with booming overly-dramatic announcer-type voice: "Next on Fox News Investigates: Day Care Centers That Don't... Care!") And that they needed to respond immediately to this in an appropriate and sufficient way and then communicate directly to the parents about what they are doing and when they have done it. Oh... and I want a refund for the days that no care was provided since they've known for quite some time there was a problem and the way I see it, it was their inaction that directly contributed to my not having child care when I've paid for it.

The woman I spoke with on the telephone was audibly shocked. I guess the other complainer did not do so quite as vociferously. She promised that I would hear from the Vice-President personally within 48 hours and if I didn't, I should call her back and she would stand outside the woman’s office herself.

Don't get between a mother lion and her cub.

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What Ever Happened To...

Posted on 9/27/2006 10:13:00 AM In:
Full disclosure - I totally stole this idea from Zoot and Electrolicious, who stole it from others. (There are no new ideas on the interweb... just some stolen better than others.) But I just wasted hours today doing this and felt the madness needed to be passed on. The game begins thusly: Go to Google and search for your name along with the phrase "last I heard he [she] was". Find the most interesting of the search results - I personally think it's more fun if you don't actually go to the pages, just see what comes up in the search list. These are my favorite for me:

  • Last I heard she was having Danny Elfman babies.
  • Last I heard she was working as a tourguide?!?!
  • But the last I heard she was off dialysis and doing as well as can be expected.
  • Last I heard she was a back up dancer for Brittany Spears and living in LA.
  • Last I heard she was a 25-year-old virgin living with her parents.
  • Last I heard she was going to UNC-wilmington,NC. She likes 80's alternative and used to love Duran Duran esp.John Taylor.
  • Last I heard, she was going to be taking a test-run trip to Grenoble.
  • Last I heard, she was a bail-bondsperson in Southern California
  • Last I heard she was missing and you went into a drunken fit.
  • She emigrated to the U.S. where she has made considerable impact as an orchestrator, conductor and composer of TV/Movie scores and the last I heard she was alive and well and still active in her 80s.
  • Last I heard she was still in prison.
  • Last I heard she was working as a roofer in one of the home counties
  • Last I heard she was studying, had a boyfriend, and was doing ok, relatively speaking. If I were a Christian, I would pray for her.
  • Last I heard she was back stripping in Amarillo, as well as doing internet porn and asphyxiation videos.
  • Last I heard she was seeking other opportunities ie. they fired her.

I know what I'll be doing at work today.


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Next Time I'll Just Consult Dr. Google

Posted on 9/26/2006 03:02:00 AM
We went up to Pennsylvania this past weekend to attend a friends' baby blessing. About four hours after we got there, Dormouse came down with a fever. Not terribly unusual - she's been sick a lot this season - but a drag nonetheless. She desperately wanted to play with the other hundred kids who were there (OK, maybe it was only 8; it just seemed like 100) but was feeling too crappy to do anything about it. We poured Children's Tylenol into her like coffee into Keith Richards before a concert until Sunday, when we decided to go home early and let her sleep in her own bed. Mostly she seemed fine - the fever stayed down as long as she was full of drugs so I kept her home Monday, we watched TV and lounged in my bed all day and figured it would just pass eventually. I did decide to call the doctor Monday afternoon and basically got the brush off - "Call back tomorrow and we'll try to get her in", but her fever wasn't that bad and she didn't really seem to be uncomfortable.

About five minutes after the doctor's office closed (why does it always happen five minutes after the doctor's office closes?) all hell broke loose. He cough got unreasonably bad and suddenly her fever spiked and when I took her temperature with my thermometer that always reads two degrees low, I was amazed to see 104.8 pop up on the screen.

I quickly dumped her in the tub, filled it with cool water, and listened to her scream - which twisted my heart into a tiny little squished up ball of coal. Then we dressed her and headed off to the closest emergency room.

The ER was pretty full when we came in and almost immediately a nurse came out and announced to the crowd "We know you've been waiting a long time; there are several critical cases and no open beds right now so please just be patient." This should have been the tip-off to cut our losses and head downtown for Children's Hospital, but I was convinced that there was some fast track to the antibiotics that she probably needed and all we had to do was wait for a bit.

I don't know what I was thinking. There was obviously no fast track to anything, but I just kept thinking that if we drove to a... ahem... better... hospital, we'd just be doing the wait-thing there and it'd be a longer trip home when we were done. At one point, they actually got it together to have me fill out the paperwork and give her a wristband, so we sat at the registration desk to take care of that, then afterward the clerk said, "OK - just go back and sit down until they call you." I turned around to see that another dozen people had wandered in and not a single chair was available. I ended up sitting on the floor with Dormouse on my lap near the television, just so I could focus on that instead of how incredibly pissed I was becoming.

There's nothing quite like the helplessness you feel as a parent when your child is sick and there's nothing you can do to make it better for them. You're used to being the One Who Makes Everything Better, the One With All The Answers, Knower Of What To Do in any case. Then your child gets sick and no amount of medicine can make her feel better and she looks at you with those eyes that don't quite get why you just don't give her the right medicine to stop this ever loving cough already.

I totally get that the critical cases need to be attended to first, but I just could not believe that they couldn't at least send out a PA or a nurse to take care of who could be taken care of and get. them. out. of. the. waiting. room. We didn't need a bed, we just needed a decent course of antibiotics and some sound medical advice. After almost three hours, when they made another announcement that it would probably be three more hours, we decided we'd put Dormouse through enough... her fever was now down to something manageable and what she needed most was rest, which she would not be getting here. We tried to tell the triage nurse that we were going to leave and ask if there was any advice she could give us; she said, "Please wait just a minute" and then disappeared completely for at least another 15 minutes. One of the people waiting told us he was a physician and gave us some advice - mainly never to come to this hospital with a child - the nurse never returned. Finally, we just walked out. KingofHearts asked the clerk on the way out if there was anything we needed to sign... she just looked relieved and told us they didn't do anything until the doctor sees us anyway. By the time we got home to grab the thermometer and maybe head off to another hospital, enough of the Motrin had kicked in to bring her temperature down and we decided to just put her to bed and live out the night.

And this, boys and girls, is the kind of stellar medical care that makes this country great. I can only imagine what people with no health insurance have to go through. If my insurance company tries to bill me for this, you'll hear the screams miles away.

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Eat Your Heart Out Heidi Klum

Posted on 9/25/2006 02:40:00 PM
Here's the scene right now.

Sesame Street on the television.

Me in my Cootie Bug pjs with a notebook computer on my lap. No bra. Haven't showered.

Toys all over the floor.

One crayon has been stripped of its outer coat and the rest is broken into a dozen pieces on the carpet.

Child bouncing from the coffee table, to the loveseat, to the couch and back and forth and back and forth.... completely naked.

11:39 am.

I'm a shoe-in for mother of the year.

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Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat

Posted on 9/22/2006 01:15:00 PM
The other night I decided to get all homemake-y and stuff and actually cook something for dinner that didn't come directly from a box.

Truth be told, KingofHearts started dinner and I offered to take over when the two-foot-tall dictator decided his time would be better served in entertaining her with puzzles and foam stickers. But the point here is... I was making an effort to cook dinner. All hail my wife-y-ness, I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, people.

KingofHearts had already started to get out spaghetti and I ran with that brilliant idea. To make it a little more "mmmm gourmet", I threw in some spices because storebought sauces are always a bit bland for our tastes and come on, I'm obviously NOT going to make sauce from scratch... if you're cooking an egg, do you go out and grow a chicken first? I rest my case. Then just for good measure, I opened a can of artichoke hearts, cut them up and put them in the sauce.

We all sat down together at the table for dinner - also something different in our house - and began the feast. After a few bites, I said, "You know? I really like these artichoke hearts in the spaghetti, but I think maybe I could have used half the can... it just seems like there are too many..."

My voice trailed off as my eyes glanced over to KoH's plate and it occurs to me that his does not have a single artichoke heart on it... he has picked all his off and put them on my plate when I wasn't looking.

Mystery solved.

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Hand Me a Harvard Application Form

Posted on 9/21/2006 12:27:00 PM
Most days KingofHearts leaves for work before I do... and lately he's been kind enough to let me sleep through it. He sets his clothes out in the living room the night before and closes the bedroom door while he gets dressed in the living room, allowing me to get that extra 20 minutes... especially on Thursdays because I've been out late at rehearsal the night before and didn't get home until after everyone else went to bed. This morning he left this note for me:

-------------------

Dormouse learned how to read and write 'book' last night.
These are hers.

-------------------


Then on several post-it notes stuck to the kitchen table, were different iterations of the word 'book' scrawled by a toddler's hand which, I assume, he's given great guidance in helping her write.


"Aww sweet," says my mom-mind.

"Sure," my cynical-mind retorts, "he wrote a word down last night and repeated it 20 times. So wonder of wonders, she repeats it too. I'm sure she forgot it 15 minutes later. She certainly won't be able to read it today."

Unfortunately, Cynical-Mind runs the show much more often than any other. Just to be mean, after breakfast I wrote down the word 'book' on a different piece of paper in my own handwriting and ask, "What's this word, honey?"


"Book."

???.....

I write her name on a piece of paper. "What's this word?"

"Dormouse"

I pull out an actual book and find the word 'book' in it. Pointing to it, "What's this word, baby?"

"Book."

Better take that college fund more seriously, I guess.

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But I Have Important Web Surfing To Do

Posted on 9/20/2006 09:07:00 PM
You know what? When you have a full time job, there are days when people actually expect you to work! Eight full hours. It's true. I'm as shocked as you are.

So... I've been informed that my recent optimism borders on Pollyanna and I talk too much about my kid and from reading this book, I've learned I should instead use my weblog to discuss the important, weighty things of the world, like solutions to peace on earth and my ideal man and the like. So I think I've got it:

My husband says some pretty funny stuff - maybe I could write about that.

Only catch - you gotta hop over to Monica's site to see it.

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A Little Pregnant

Posted on 9/20/2006 08:41:00 AM
Note: This is a guest post I wrote several years ago for Cootie Countdown, a pregnancy journal, which I am cross posting here... you know... for posterity's sake and... in case I ever need to blackmail her.

Now Featuring: NG!
Creator of this week's guest artist blog entry and long time pal in my uphill battle against THE MAN.

When Monica first said something to me about contributing “guest blogs” on her site, the slideshow of my life that exists only in my head flashed back to reading the Sunday comics as a kid. I loved The Family Circus, except every other month or so when Bill Keane would do this really cheesy thing where he “handed” the comic strip over to his “son Billy”. It would always say something to the effect of “Bill Keane is on vacation this week, but his son Billy has agreed to step in and cover for his father…. blah blah blah.” Then there would be an entire comic strip of adult-created, kid-like stick figures of the characters usually in the strip, but with no real jokes or humor.

Funny the first time, perhaps. But the next (and next and next and the next) were just lame. Even as a kid, I knew that Bill had just run out of ideas and called it in.

So here’s to Monica for calling it in and forcing the rest of us to actually get off our tushies (can you say “ass” on the interweb?) and contributing to the world instead of just reading others’ comments and mocking. Hopefully, I can follow with a bit more than stick figures (but don’t get your hopes up).

Monica has provided me with a list of fascinating and intriguing possible topics that I cannot wait to tackle, but as a first timer (in the world of blogging, that is; I know some of you are tittering that 14 year old boy laughter right now. You know who you are; get off my lawn you kids!), I would like to begin by offering something that she can actually use.

Now that Monica is beginning to show a bit and she no longer has to announce to the world that she is expecting (“Hey, postman, can you bring those letters inside my house for me? I’m preegnant! Hey guy in the elevator, can you push that button for me? I’d do it but I’m PREGnant!) I present:

Alice’s list of inappropriate things friends, acquaintances, and total strangers will say and do to you while you’re pregnant
(and possible responses that I’ve found helpful):

“Oh you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Were you trying?”
“Well there was just that one time in the back seat of his Buick…” I will never understand why people do not realize that this is the exact equivalent of asking, “Have you been having sex with your husband/boyfriend/stranger you met while standing in line at the DMV.” And I am reasonably certain that they don’t want to know THAT information. But who am I to judge? Perhaps they do. So I suggest telling them… in intimate detail… with graphic descriptions of positioning and how long you held your legs up in the air afterwards. That’ll teach them.

“Is this your first?”
Cm’on, does it really make a difference to the bus driver who is only speaking to you as you pass by him and drop the change in? When the conversation is obviously not going anywhere else is it necessary information to have in the 3 seconds you pass each other? Plus, this is such a sensitive topic for some people. First pregnancy? First child? First child of your own? First child that you and current man are having together? A lot of people don’t realize “Is this your first” can mean a LOT of different things. “Nope… my 8th… we’re crossing our fingers that this is going to be the one we keep.”

“And will you be having other children after this one?”
Just let me get through this experience before you start planning the rest of my life, lady.

“How far along are you?” / “When are you due?”
I think to some, these sound like perfectly appropriate questions, but especially from a stranger, I don’t get it. Why do you care? Does that change the direction of the conversation? Or are you just trying to gauge how fat I currently am and if you think it’s acceptable? Were you planning on sending me flowers and chocolates when the big day comes? If so, I’ll be in Holy Cross Hospital on December 18, feel free to stop by.

“Are you sure you want to eat that… you know… you’re pregnant?”
OK – I get that some people are more diet conscious when they’re pregnant than I am (or when I’m not), but I was so much more concerned with just keeping something… anything down, that I truly did not worry about it so much when I ate the odd piece of soft cheese or something with a drop of Tabasco on it. I was just happy I wasn’t going to see it again in the next 15 minutes. I had the basics: no drinking, no smoking, no using stomach as a target when husband is throwing knives. But I truly was accosted at least once a week when some random person told me something about how the carrot I was putting in my mouth was going to make my baby grow up ugly, unloved and only fit for a job holding the Slow sign on the side of the road. “Are YOU sure you want to eat THAT? You know... you’re fat.”

Endless stories about how long/horrible/frightening labor was for them.
I’m pregnant, I’ve got enough to worry about at this point. Do you really need to share with me how many stitches they used on your episiotomy? I never did find a good response for this one. What I ended up doing most of the time was covering my ears and singing loudly, “LA LA LA LA LA” until they stopped. Hmmm… perhaps this is one clue into why I have no mother-friends now…….. Nah.

Asking to touch your belly/feel the baby.
From strangers… whom I do not know... standing in line at the Post Office. And everyone else is nodding in agreement, hoping they too will get a turn next. Who among us isn’t truly creeped out by this one? I bit my tongue one day to keep from saying sure he could feel the baby… if I could feel his balls. I still regret not saying it.

And so, in writing this, I feel I’m not merely doing a service to Monica, but also to Preggos everywhere. I suggest that when dealing with your local Bun-Infested-Oven in the future, you use the three-tiered-question-yourself method that I was taught years ago in church about gossip: When about to question a random Woman in an Unfortunate Condition about her pregnancy, family status, cervix, fallopian tubes, or any other part of her pregnant body, take a mental moment and ask yourself these three questions first:

1. Is it (too) honest? In other words, will she NOT be going home and cry herself to sleep on that weird elongated body pillow?

2. Is it necessary?


3. Is it kind?


If the answer to any of the above three questions is “No”, run, do not walk, to the nearest drugstore and purchase some duct tape for your mouth because with the heat exhaustion, and the swelling ankles, and the hormones raging, and the general crankiness, you just may be in danger of being pelted by a Pregnant Fist.

Oh, and by the way, can I feel your balls?

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Perhaps It's My Lucky Month

Posted on 9/19/2006 03:41:00 AM
I missed a day of work last week to wait for the police to come investigate the vandalism and theft surrounding KingofHearts's truck. And by "investigate" I mean, barely take a cursory glance as they're walking by while I'm standing in the rain trying to point out the vehicle in question, and when I ask if they want to see the truck, muttering something to the effect of "yeah, yeah, yeah, let's just go inside so I can give you a case number for your insurance company". There's some darn fine police work being done somewhere in the world, but I'm pretty sure I haven't been witness to it in PG county.

I flew to Kansas City on business the next day and got back Saturday night. I'd left the nutshell version of the truck saga on the office voicemail so my boss knew why I was out but I hadn't spoken to her about it until yesterday. When she came in, I gave her the whole spiel and she joked: "I think you may want to consider switching religions or something... things aren't going so well for you these days."

"Yeah," I quip, "the God of Abraham doesn't really seem to have my back lately."

Not to get all glass-half-full here, but it's so interesting to me how people look at the things in their lives that happen. OK, yes, we are thinking about renaming this month "Sucktember", but in a lot of ways I really feel blessed and lucky that things have worked out for us how they have in the last few weeks.

We have a fire, which could have possibly a) killed all of us and/or b) destroyed the house and everything in it. But it didn't do either of those things. For whatever reason, KingofHearts woke to the sound of the alarms, which on any other day would not have happened, and got us out of the house before we were really in danger. The fire department got there and extinguished the fire minutes before a pretty large stash of chemicals had a chance to catch fire and explode. If the fire had started during the day, no one would have been there to hear the alarms and it would have been way too late to save much of the house by the time someone in our working neighborhood might have seen any smoke and called the fire department. We could have very easily been homeless but it turns out we didn't even bother to file a claim with our homeowners' insurance because the damage was right around the same amount of our deductible. If you've got to have a fire in your house, I highly recommend this manner of doing it.

The truck breaks down at pretty much the worst time possible. KingofHearts just started a new job and we really haven't had time to recover from the financial hit we took from the good University of Maryland in getting his degree. But it broke down in the driveway. Not on the Beltway somewhere in the 40 miles between here and his work where it was more likely to happen. We were able to just push it back a few feet safely without endangering our lives amidst rush hour traffic or standing by the side of the road for hours waiting for a tow truck.

Someone breaks into the truck and steals the radio. Before that, we were (or at least I was, I'm sure KingofHearts would disagree) actually considering fixing the truck. I know, dumping $2000 on a new engine into a truck that's really on it's last legs is a poor investment, but the two grand seemed much easier to part with than what it would cost for a new car. But we've been concerned about the safety of that truck for quite some time now and with winter coming up and KingofHearts driving it as much and as far as he is, I actually feel quite relieved that we're going to get a new vehicle that might actually be able to stop on it's own when it's necessary rather than using the two cars in front of it to do that job. This was the last straw, making the choice to dump the beast and search for a new set of wheels much more clear.

Several years ago, a close friend of mine decided to buy a motorcycle and only a few months after he bought it, he wrecked and totaled it. It was a pretty bad accident and he was lucky enough not only to be alive afterwards, but to have walked away from it with no broken bones and few scratches. I happened to be in town a week or so later and we were sitting at a favorite coffee house hangout of ours from college while he described the accident to me. About that time, he looked down and pointed out a couple of big holes in his shirt and said "Wow... I was wearing this shirt when I crashed... I should get rid of it, it's cursed."

"Maybe it's your lucky shirt," I said. "You didn't die."

I believe that to this day, he has still kept that shirt.


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Be Reasonable!

Posted on 9/18/2006 01:35:00 PM
I took these pictures illegally with my camera phone at the Jon Stewart show Cootie's mom and I attended this weekend. (She was brave enough to attempt to smuggle her camera in, so go to her site for better photos.)

She managed to buy us two tickets, decide that they simply were not close enough to Mr. Salty Goodness to be deemed acceptable, sell them on eBay, and buy two more single seats that w
ere in row F. (Best friend EVER!) We were close enough to him that if he expectorated in our direction really, really hard from the stage, it's just possible that we could have been in Jon Stewart spittle heaven. Under what circumstances would he actually do that? I have no idea; I just can't help but wish it would happen.

Overall, he was hilarious, and even the warm up guy was funny, if weirdly obsessed with bears. It was certainly worth changing to an earlier flight back from Kansas City and messing up the meeting we had scheduled so I wouldn't miss the opening act and possibly the first few minutes - then artfully dodging the real reason we had to leave early ("I... Um... have an appointment in Baltimore tonight and have to catch an earlier flight so we'll ending t
his meeting early. But since we promised to buy you lunch, please enjoy this pizza at 10:30 in the morning. OK Bye!").

One thing I realized, however, was that if you have obsessively recorded and watched The Daily Show every day for the past 3 years, you've probably seen three quarters of Jon's jokes already, just in an unconcentrated format. It was totally worth it to hear them again, though. I also spent an inordinate amount of time wondering why both performers felt it necessary to come onstage with their giant wallet in their pockets. (Did I mention row F?!? I could totally see what he had in his pockets! And yes... I'm sure it was a wallet.) Is there no safe place to leave it in the green room? Limo? Does Jon Stewart really need his wallet when he's on tour anyway? I mean, he probably has someone dr
ive for him, get his coffee, bring him dinner. I would like to apply for that job, by the way. I'd always hoped and imagined that one of the perks to being famous someday was that I wouldn't have to carry a purse. I guess given that that's no longer true, I won't go ahead and become a world famous celebrity after all.


Unfortunately, the camera phone does not have a flash, so all the pictures I took of him ended up just looking like he's been touched by God and transformed into some kind of glowing saint.

Coincidence? I think not.


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Honesty Anyone?

Posted on 9/14/2006 03:58:00 PM
Things I wanted to report were stolen from the truck when it was broken into but didn't:
  • way better stereo system than it really had
  • very expensive boom tube (which actually came with the truck but that we took out years ago to make room for more storage space to carry around worthless crap in the half-cab)
  • 25 CDs valued at $16-20 each (which I actually did report stolen and then later found under the seat)
  • $600 worth of tools (that were in reality ignored for the $100 stereo)
  • original Picasso
  • authentic Stradavarious
  • Mini Cooper which was being towed in the truck bed
  • and the diamonds, don't forget the diamonds!

Yes officer, that's about all that was taken. Now can I have that police report for my insurance company?

Most of all I just wish the whole truck had been stolen outright. That would have made things a lot easier.

P.S. Points to anyone who gets the photo above and it's relevance to this post.


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The Universe is Messing with Me

Posted on 9/14/2006 11:13:00 AM
OK - Bad thing happens with car. NG decides to look at it positively. Worse thing happens with car. NG ups the resolve to put this in perspective after short episode of yelling at husband.

Next day: husband gets call from mechanic where dead truck is housed. Someone broke into dead truck last night, smashed windows, trashed interior and took anything of value left inside, probably last night right around the time I was writing about how I was going to try to look at this positively.

I am Karma's Bitch. But it doesn't seem to be working the way it's supposed to.


Edited to add:

This just broadcast on the news:

-----------------------------------------------------------
Gunman Opens Fire At College In Montreal
1 Killed, 19 Wounded; Assailant Also Dies

MONTREAL, Sept. 13 -- Gunshots shattered lunchtime at a downtown college here Wednesday when a young man dressed in black opened fire on students, killing one woman and injuring 19 other people before dying amid a volley of police fire.

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Again... Perspective.

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My Not So Crappy Life

Posted on 9/14/2006 02:17:00 AM
Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

So last month we had the fire and our lives were dedicated to paying through the nose to clean up our house. Apparently this month, the theme is paying through the nose to fix vehicles.

Last night, KingofHearts went to go to an appointment and as he pulled out of the driveway, the truck stopped. Not stalled, stopped. And. Would. Not. Start. Again.

Greeeaat.

We've had really terrible luck with vehicles since we've lived in Washington. Between the oh so common wrecks in the area (our insurance company actually GIVES YOU BACK money every so often because 'hey you haven't had as many accidents as we expected you to this year'... of course this hasn't happened recently to us), and the crazy fan - belt - snapped - sending - the - fan - off - free - wheeling - and - into - the - radiator - and - causing - $700 - worth - of - damage kinds of incidents, we've pretty much had one repair job/search for a new car butt up against the next for the last 8 years.

Anyway, I tried to soldier through last night and not be all "We're gonna have to pay MONEY and it's MONEY we don't have and where will the MONEY come from and we'll have to move out of our house because we don't have the MONEY to pay the mortgage and we'll be living in a van down by the river with no MONEY" about it. KingofHearts groped around in the dark for a fuse or some other simple cause and when that didn't work, I calmly pulled out the AAA card and suggested that he have it towed to the local repair shop and we just let them fix it because, who has the time? And I was okay with that.

The next morning, we went through the ridiculous rigmarole of getting up two hours early so we could get Dormouse to preschool, me to the metro and KingofHearts to the east end of BFE, where he works and there's no public transportation, only an hour late. (And while we're on that subject, why, when we live 10 miles away from the city where it's more statistically likely to find a job than anywhere else in the entire country, is the only job available to him 45 miles from said city? Just would like to know who we pissed off that day.) Later he called me at work to inform me that basically the truck was now a very expensive, very heavy paperweight. Turns out the timing belt had snapped while it was running and because they pretty much build disposable vehicles these days, it caused the entire engine to, um... break. (Trying to spare the technical language for those who don't care... but then I guess they could just hit the little X in the upper right hand corner too.)

And, of course, we both had horrific days at work after that. (I won't go into that, but I did want to see just how many parentheses I could squeeze into one post... that's not enough for you?) (How about some more?) I have to go to Kansas City on Friday, so I had to bum a ride to the airport off a colleague, which means I'll be needing to get up two hours earlier for that and I still don't have a way home from the airport when I return because $70 cab ride? Unsavory.

The ride home on the metro was unusually crowded and uncomfortable and I felt like passing out and I had to stand amidst a crowd of high school boys who talked non-stop, loudly and in graphic detail about all their sexual conquests - imagined, I'm sure. When KoH picked me up, Dormouse was cranky, KoH was cranky and not surprisingly, we snapped at each other, which made Dormouse cry, which made me feel guilty and we argued over what to do with the shell of a truck we now own and how to replace it without selling Dormouse to the auto dealer. By the way, it's soooo much easier when someone crashes into you while talking on a cell phone and the insurance company cuts you a big fat check - not that I want that to happen or anything and I'm glad KingofHearts wasn't in a wreck and possibly hurt... I'm just sayin'.

I had to go to the bank and put a deposit in before 7 checks bounced and to top it off, I had totally forgotten until this point in time that tonight was the first rehearsal back after our summer hiatus for the orchestra I play in. So I had 20 minutes after the bank to come home, stare at my dinner before deciding I just couldn't eat anything because I'm fighting a cold/flulike thing too, and then grab all my stuff and head off to rehearsal and get home at around 10:30 pm, not getting to put my kid to bed or see my family awake, and miss Project Runway!! (Because watching it on tape the next day simply does not do.) And I sacrifice like this because I luuuuuuuvs the music.

I managed to get myself there on time and sat in my chair tightening my bow and feeling sorry for myself. My stand partner came in and sat down beside me and I asked how her summer was.

"Oh," she said, "I've had better. But today is a pretty good day because my husband just had the last treatment in his seven week course of daily radiation. He has prostate cancer."

........

Um.... yeah.

So now I am going in to kiss my sleeping child, hug my sleeping husband and tomorrow... we are going car shopping. And I will try very hard not to complain.

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Your Own Words Come Back to Haunt You...

Posted on 9/13/2006 04:12:00 PM
When a 2 year old deliberately folds her arms across her chest and berates you for teasing her.

"Do I look like laughing?!?"

Then stomps out of the room.


This isn't my kid, but you get the idea.


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September 12th

Posted on 9/12/2006 12:06:00 PM In:
I honestly tried all day yesterday to come up with something poignant or interesting to write about. I read a million articles commemorating the date and really so much has been said... and said again and again. Words don't do it justice.

Five years ago on September 11th, I was at work. I was just coming up on one year after having lost my first daughter and was sitting at my desk thinking about that and how I was going to get through the next month. My colleague in the office next door told me she'd heard a radio report about a plane hitting one of the world trade center buildings. I muttered something about how that building seems to be a big magnet for accidents and problems and we both went to turn on the television in the conference room just in time to see live coverage of the second plane hitting the building in New York. It was clear this was no accident.

Then the "journalists" started to "report the news"... or more accurately, Make Up Stuff and Say It On The Air. We heard that a bomb had exploded in the state department, the national mall was on fire, the beltway had been shut down, toxic agents were released in the treasury building... oh and the pentagon was hit. I guess even blind squirrels find nuts sometimes. I'm still angry at the media - particulary the radio stations located in downtown Washington - for all of the extra fear they created... in their rush to scoop the other guy, they weren't even concerned enough to substantiate a fact by, um... looking out their windows.

The Dormouse hadn't come along yet. Our boss hemmed and hawed for a bit - our office is less than a mile from the District border and we were all in shock - and when we realized that the government offices that are in our building and immediate area were all sending their people home, she decided that it was up to us - if we wanted to go home too we should. No one stayed. I did not go home however. The only thing I could think of was that KingofHearts was at work in Takoma Park, another city bordering the District, and I needed to get to where he was. So I drove there. I sat in the corner of his office as we listened to more crazy reports on the radio that later turned out to be false. I called my mother, father and brother (who worked for a news station in Arizona and was probably hearing a lot more crazy news reports than even I was) and said "I'm fine; I'm on my way home." to sighs of relief over the phone. Once we finally did get home, we started to get a real sense of what had happened. Not that the reality was easier to take in, but at least it was true.

By the next day, September 12th, we started to hear some actual true specifics about things that had happened the day before. Here's what I remember most. In the moments that led up to the plane crashes, there were a number of phone calls made from on board those planes that were reported on or played back later. People in the Towers used their last few moments alive on Earth to pick up the phone and dial a number. Almost without exception, every phone call placed went to the same number: Home.

No one called his stockbroker to get that last transaction in, his boss to explain why he wouldn't be at that meeting, his agent to make sure that deal went through. For the most part, there were just expressions of love, affection and regret at possibly not seeing friends and family again.

So on September 12th, this is what I will remember and try to express to my friends and family. Love.

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The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls

Posted on 9/11/2006 08:42:00 AM
"Girls have a bottom, and boys have a peanut."

"Daddy has a peanut too."

Daddy was obviously thrilled to hear this.

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"Babes in the Woods"

This is a lullaby that everyone in my family sings and it's been passed down for generations. I have fond memories of my mother
and grandmother lovingly rocking me to sleep with it. One day when I was a teenager it finally occurred to me to listen to the lyrics consciously for the first time:

My dear, do you know, how a long time ago

Two little babes, whose names I don't know
Were stolen away on a fine summer's day
And left in the woods as I heard people say.

And when it was night, so sad was their plight
The sun, it went down and the moon gave no light
They sobbed and they sighed and they bitterly cried
Poor babes in the woods, they laid down and died.

And when they were dead, the robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves and over them spread
Then all the day long, they sang them this song:
Poor babes in the wood, Poor babes in the wood.

"Aaargh!" I complained to my mother, "That's a horrible song. Why would you sing that to me?" I guess until then, I'd always assumed it was just a
retelling of Hansel and Gretel, which this site seems to substaniate, but I never listened through to the end where they actually died.



As an adult, I've heard and read books that the song was based on a true story, which kinda makes it even more creepy. I've seen many different versions and even more stories about of where the song came from, as old as the 1500s. I've heard it's based on a true story either from Appalachia (not that likely considering my genealogy) or England (much more likely). In the one I'm most familiar with, it's an English ballad where a rich gentleman died and left guardianship of his son and daughter to his brother. A large sum of money was to be paid to the children when they were adults to go out on their own, but if they died before that the money would go to their uncle. So the uncle took off with them and left them in the woods to secure their money.

As a young adult I heard a Michale Ballam recording of this song and I couldn't believe anyone else had ever heard it outside of my family. He talked about how his grandmother taught him as a child about life and death and acceptance of the circle of it all through this song and he didn't think it innapropriate at all. I think I like this explanation the best.

And so, even though it's a "horrible song", I sing it to my daughter. And with very little parental encouragement, she loves it too and requests it often as one of the top 10 or so lullabies that is in our repertoirs. She was never more proud of herself than the day when she demonstrated to me that she knew all the words and could sing it herself. I hope that she will sing it to her daughter one day too.

What about you all? What inappropriate songs do you sing to your kids? Did your mothers sing to you? Would you pass them on or not?


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Why is it...?

Posted on 9/09/2006 03:57:00 AM
...that you can cook up a bowl of delicious Chicken Rice and Pasta Blend in a Savory Chicken Flavored Sauce and your child will refuse it unequivocally even after 45 minutes of begging, bribes and threats. Then 24 hours later, when she finds some of that same rice on the floor dried out and covered with cat hair, dust bunnies, leaves and dirt tracked in from your shoes, it will instantly go in her mouth?

Someone please explain this to me... I really want to know.

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Forever Blowing Bubbles

Posted on 9/08/2006 10:20:00 AM
I totally realize what a huge pain in the neck it would be to anyone who has to clean it up. But c'mon, who wouldn't LOVE this? (no pun intended):

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If you walked by Love Park early Monday morning, you might have thought it was snowing. It wasn't snow filling the fountain; it was soapsuds...

Huge balls of suds formed and blew all over the park. While this may look comical, not everybody was laughing. "I don't think it's fair to the city or to the tourists who take pictures here at Love Park," said Blayney Stukes, of North Philadelphia.

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Are you kidding? We were in Philadelphia last month and stopped at this very fountain. I can truthfully say that any photos we took would have only been enhanced by a fountain full of soapsuds. I'm so disappointed to have missed it.


Anyone up for a mini-reinactment in my daughter's baby pool?

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Signs You're Watching Too Much TV

Posted on 9/07/2006 07:25:00 AM
Was watching a program on Egyptian Architecture when she began singing with this twist on a Primary tune. The actual lyrics start out 'Book of Mormon stories that my teacher tells to me'.

"Book of Mormon stories that the History Channel shows."

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Undiagnosed OCD

Posted on 9/06/2006 12:19:00 PM
I probably shouldn't admit this but...

Many months ago, a colleague at work was clearing out her kids' rooms and she brought a box of children's books that she thought we might like. Among them was a set of Sesame Street Alphabet books, one book for each letter. When put together on a shelf in the correct order, the spines of all the books line up to make a picture. In addition, they are each a puzzle piece, so the kids can turn the books all over to the back cover and put all the books together to form a puzzle. There was only one problem: the Q Book was missing. She hadn't been able to find it anywhere, but figured that we might enjoy the rest anyway and dumped them all into the box.

I'm not sure I can adequately describe how much this bothered me. Not in a way that "caused clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" (Hey! I DID learn something from all those psych. classes in college, after all.) But every time I put a book back on the shelf or walked by or even glanced that direction, I Saw. That. Missing. Q. Book. And it BOTHERED me.

The greatest day of my life was when I was in a thrift store almost a year later browsing through used children's books there and I happened to see the D, F and H books from that same set on the shelf. I immediately started digging through books stacked on the floors and there, glistening like a diamond in the sun, was the coveted Q Book. I snatched it up like a bride-to-be at a bargain basement wedding dress sale and clutched it to my chest just in case anyone had seen me and might try to intercept it while I ran top speed to the cashier to pay for it so it would be Mine, All Mine, Wha Ha Ha Ha all the while cackling and singing the Wicked Witch of the West Theme from Wizard of Oz.

I have this Thing about having complete sets of things.

Not only was one letter of the alphabet missing spoiling THAT set, (already enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end), but also the pictures on the spines didn't work AND... there was a missing piece in the puzzle on the back. The planets had aligned to create a veritable trifecta of incompleteness. If my daughter hadn't loved them so much, I would have just thrown the whole set of books away. They were clearly useless.

You know that toy where you put the big ring on the pole, then the next smaller ring, etc. etc? I cannot have that in my house. Why? Because within 23 hours, one of the rings would be lost, thereby rendering the toy useless. And yes, I know that my daughter would probably be happy playing with it anyway, but really the toy would just be sitting in the corner, mocking me every time I looked at it. And I cannot be mocked by a toy.

I already have a puzzle that she loves with one piece missing. The puzzle was also handed down from a colleague's child and the Dormouse loves it and has no problem with the missing fire hydrant in the fireman puzzle. Each time she gets it out, I cannot help but think how the firemen will never put out the fire without having a hydrant to hook the hose up to and how they might as well just stay back in the fire house eating Ho-Hos because the building is just going to burn down anyway.

Similar to the ring toy, we have a set of multicolored cups that fit inside each other like measuring cups from your kitchen. Each is a differnt color and they follow the order of colors on the spectrum. It was a gift, obviously, because I would never so callously purchase nor would I allow my husband to purchase and bring into our sacred home something where one of the pieces could be lost, not only making the pieces fit together imperfectly, but also ruining the spectrum order and therefore rendering the entire rest of the set useless.

One day recently, after nearly 10 years of marriage, I confessed to KingofHearts for the first time about how I had this Thing about sets and order and having all the pieces. (The mentally ill often get awfully good at covering their illness.) I used those bath toys as an example. He laughed at me.

The next day, the yellow cup went inexplicably missing. I looked everywhere for it to no avail. I was certain that KingofHearts had taken the yellow cup and hidden it to mess with me. I called his mobile phone while he was at work and hissed "I know you took the yellow cup" into his voice mail. Later when he listened to the message, he had Not Clue One as to what I was talking about. He'd totally forgotten the entire conversation and had to have me explain the Crazy Person Message on his phone later when he got home. I think he mumbled something about my being "sick" and retreated down to the basement for a few hours, probably holding a wooden stake close by just in case. The yellow cup later showed up under the kitchen table... where Dormouse had dropped it.

Recently, a separate colleague gave us a new box of children's books. One of them is a spiral bound book, which apparently came apart at some point in time because two of the pages are out of order. We both noticed it while reading bedtime stories last night. Dormouse couldn't have cared less, of course. KingofHearts eyed me and I acted nonchalant while secretly planning to take the book apart later and rearrange the pages so they MADE SENSE DAMMIT!

Tonight I walked into the baby's room and found KoH sitting in the middle of the floor, taking the pages of the book apart and replacing them in the correct order.

Our children don't have a chance.

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So Long Steve, We'll Miss You

Posted on 9/05/2006 08:23:00 AM
Maybe it's the fact that "home page" is to "browser" as "Animal Planet" is to "our television". Maybe it's because I've called him crazy so many times, I feel like he's a member of my own family. But hearing this news yesterday morning filled me with inexplicable sadness:

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Statement from Billy Campbell, President, Discovery Networks, U.S. Discovery Communications, Inc.

Our entire company is deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Steve was beloved by millions of fans and animal lovers around the world and was one of our planet's most passionate conservationists. He has graced our air since October 1996 and was essential in building Animal Planet into a global brand.


Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef.
While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve's research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.

DCI Founder and Chairman, John Hendricks said, "Steve was a
larger than life force. He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us at Discovery Communications. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin as well as to the incredible staff and many friends Steve leaves behind."
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I keep flashing back to a few days after September 11, 2001 when I happened to see a 20 second spot with Steve Irwin making a few brief remarks about the events that had happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Expressing his sympathy for the United States and friendship with it's citizens, he ended with "I'm sincerely sorry, mate."


We are too, Terri, Bindi and Bob.



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Confusing Condiments

Posted on 9/04/2006 12:08:00 PM
KingofHearts likes ranch dressing with his fries instead of ketchup. (He also eats peanut butter on his pancakes!?!) Every time we go to a restaurant, he has to not only get the weird look from the waiter when he orders a side of ranch dressing, but then extol the virtues of eating the ranch dressing with the fries "It's good, I swear!" in order to justify the choice to the stanger who doesn't really care what he eats on his fries as long as he leaves a tip for the effort of going back to the kitchen and getting it.

He's so fanatic about it, he obsesses about the waiter/waitress forgetting the ranch dressing. They always do. I say, "just don't bother to tell them when you order and ask for it when the food comes so they won't forget." But I guess he feels it's his duty to let the server know what he's up against as soon as we sit down. One time
we were having lunch with 7 or 8 friends. We all ordered and the waitress went away, brought drinks, etc. At some point after the drinks arrived and the waitress disappeared, KingofHearts became extremely agitated that he'd forgotten to order the Ranch dressing to go with his French fries -- because... that's the only way to eat fries if you're KingofHearts. So he started looking around for the waitress to tell her. As any good waitress, by this time she's nowhere to be seen. I remind him that waitresses always forget his Ranch dressing anyway, so he might just as well wait until the food comes and then ask for it. This is not acceptable and he notifies everyone at the table to be on the lookout for the waitress and gives me the task of ordering if I see the waitress while he's in the bathroom. He comes back... still no waitress. He simply cannot be a part of the conversation while worrying about the Ranch dressing, so finally he gets up and asks some other waitress to find our waitress. A few moments later, she appears at the table and he says "I forgot to order a side of Ranch dressing with my meal... you know... to go with my fries." She writes it down. A few moments later, the food finally comes and the waitress put our meals down in front of each of us. When she comes to KingofHearts, she puts down his meal; he has ordered Jambalaya.... which does not come with fries. A second later, she comes back with a side of Ranch dressing and sets it down in front of him. KingofHearts looks up at her and says, "Can I have some fries to go with my Ranch dressing?"

He's passed this crazy combining of foods down to our daughter too. The other day at a friend's house, I left the room to use the computer and when I came back, they were both sitting at the table having a snack. She was dipping crackers first into a cup of orange juice, then a cup of tomato juice and then eating them. I looked at Monica, Monica looked at me, and I said, "Well that's new." Unaffected by the critical eyes of adults, she simply went on smacking her lips and making yummy sounds.

Here's last night's request after I plopped her plate of fish sticks down in front of her:

"I want some ketchup... and some ranchup too!"

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"Baa Baa Black Sheep"

Doesn't sound inappropriate, you say? Here's what the patrons in the mall hear while you're making your way to the food court.

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, have you any war? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags four."

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I love Mommy, she loves me, we love Daddy, yessiree

Posted on 9/01/2006 11:20:00 AM
Apparently two and a half is just about the age where kids start trying to figure out what labels to put on people in life. Dormouse is almost obsessed these days with who's a girl, who's a mother, who's a daughter... that type of stuff.

We've actually gotten a few months past the point where she says something like "When I was little... and I had short hair... and I was a boy...."

"No baby, you were always a girl... girls can have short hair and boys can have long hair, that's not what makes them a girl or a boy." The rest of the conversation is just a little too mind boggling for a toddler to take in. "You mean boys and girls have different bodies? Now that's just strange and complicated and ooooo... JoJo's Circus is on Disney channel and Goliath is going to brush his teeth!" A two-year-old can only focus on the difference between the sexes for so long, I guess.

What she's trying to take in now is the whole mother / father / sister / brother / daughter / son thing. When you think about it, it's actually a way more complicated concept that we adults give it credit for being. You mean that lady is A mother but she's not MY mother? Back the truck up! "Momma" and "Mother" are the same thing but "Daddy" and "Father" are also the same thing? Ridiculous, this English language! Plus our family is not all that easy to break down. She has a half-brother who doesn't live with us but visits and talks to her on the phone. She has an older sister she hasn't met who is no longer living but whom we consider very much a part of our family and don't want to ignore the existence of, so we occasionally tell her about her "big sister" in a way that we think she can understand. Then there's that whole we-call-everyone-brother-or-sister-at-church thing that further complicates the matter. So even when they sing the We Are a Happy Family song in Sunday School, I can imagine they're not really sure whose family they're singing about. Which is all to say she hasn't quite etched in stone what to call people, when to call them that and whether or not to call them that to their face. (This last one might have more to do with her parents' inability to be nice than anything else.)

Here's the discussion that resulted the other day:

"Daddy, are you my father?"

"Yes, baby, I am."

Pause, then earnestly, "Daddy are you sure you're my father?"

"Well baby, unless there's something momma's not telling me, I'm sure."

It's nice to know my husband has so much faith in me.

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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