On Old Age and Lots of Songs

Posted on 1/31/2008 10:21:00 PM In:
Last month, I turned forty. Yes, I know... I let that go by without even so much as an observation, despite my mother's attempt to out me in the comments section of a post. Believe it or not, there was no Freudian slip involved. It's not so much that turning forty bothered me. I just don't quite know what to say about it. I could never quite develop any thoughts worthy of writing anything, so I let it go by with nary a mention.

I don't feel forty.

Does anyone?


But does it bother me? Am I suddenly obsessed with the reality of my middle age and facing death someday which will become a mid-life crisis worthy of botox, lipo-suction, and a new pair of $300 shoes? Not so much. Too busy with a four-year-old and a four-month-old to remember to feel old, I guess. (Although I wouldn't pass up some free lipo if it were out there. I'm just sayin'.)

I promise I wasn't fishing for presents when I wrote this post, but it must have given the KingofHearts ideas and because he gives the greatest gifts in the world, he got me *cue angels singing* this. So my plan for my fortieth birthday was do post this iTunes Meme. The only problem is I have over seven hundred CDs in my modest little monument to obsessive compulsive disorder and it's taken me almost two months to load them all on the *cue angels singing* iPod before I could actually do the meme.

The nice thing about being too sick to do anything but hold a baby and watch television for a week is you have a lot of time to babysit a computer and keep shoving in CDs one after the other. So this last week when I lacked the mental capacity to spell my name, I finally finished loading all my music onto the *cue angels singing* iPod.

I first saw
this over on Kate’s blog and I was so curious about what my answers would be I decided to do the thing myself. Then I found about a million versions of it. I've made a composite of all the versions I've found so I won't be tempted to answer this nine different times. That way if you're not interested, you can just skip over one post, rather than keep coming back to see yet another iTunes meme. (Like there are actually people coming back after the drivel I've been writing lately.)

So, without delay, I present the completed iTunes meme... witness to my ability to rationalize and say "I must buy this CD... I Need it for work... I can deduct it from my taxes as a business expense" and testament to my music dorkiness. The truth is, if you actually looked at the complete list of music in my iPod, you would probably think I am MUCH older than forty.


iTunes Meme


How many total songs?
9955
How many total albums?
755
How many total artists? 1389
How many total genres? 25
How many total bytes used? 35.57 GB

Sort by song title

First song:
A Tisket, A Tasket, by Ella Fitzgerald
Last song:
99 Luftballoons, by Nena (or if you're going alphabetically only, Zwischen Perg Und Tiefem Tal, by Heinrich Issac)

Sort by Time

Shortest:
Who's Knocking on the Wall?, by They Might Be Giants, 4 seconds
Longest:
Bitches Brew, by Miles Davis, 27 minutes

Sort by Album

First:
AC/DC Live: Collector's Edition
Last:
50th Anniversary Collection, by The Andrews Sisters (or if alpha only, You Asked For It, by Bob Kravos - and no, you haven't heard of him unless you're Polish or you really really like Polka Music for some reason)

Sort by Artist

First: A'lea (she's a local artist we found singing at a party we crashed one weekend. You should definitely check her out... so good.)
Last: ZZ Top

Sort by Year
Earliest: 1908
Latest: 2007


Find the following words. How many songs show up?

Sex: 25
Death:
10
Love: 619
Hate: 8
You: 1160
Home: 96
Boy:
209
Girl: 72
Rain: 100
Peace: 14
Sun: 100

First fiv
e songs that come up on Party Shuffle
  1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day
  2. Half a Minute, Matt Bianco
  3. Gymnopedie #3, Eric Satie
  4. Old Home Filler Up and A Keep On A Truckin' Cafe, C. W. McCall
  5. Night and Day, Frank Sinatra

First five songs that come up on Random Shuffle
  1. Hard Habit to Break, Chicago
  2. Clair de Lune, Debussy
  3. In a Mellow Tone, Tony Bennett
  4. With Tears in My Eyes, Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys
  5. Chamber Mates, Paul Chambers

This next section is the iTunes equivilent of a Magic 8 Ball.
Set your playlist to random and answer these questions
.
  • Will I get far in life? What Goes Around, Comes Around, Manhattan Transfer
  • How do my friends see me? Lonesome Hero, Mickey Hart
  • What's my theme song? You Are Love, Kathryn Grayson (Show Boat Soundtrack)
  • What is the story of my life? Deck the Halls, sung by Kids at the Beck Center for the Arts in Cleveland
  • What am I like in bed? Mean Low Blues, Blues Birdhead
  • How can I get ahead in life? AKA Driver, They Might Be Giants
  • What is my best feature? Romance in D-Flat Major, Jackson Berkey How is today going to be? Shoo Shoo Baby, The Andrews Sisters
  • What is in store for this weekend? Send My Body, Randy Travis
  • What is my life like at the moment? Allen Shore, Rush
  • What best described my secrets? Frankie and Johnny Were Lovers, Benny Goodman
  • What is my current love life? How Can I Ignore The Boy Next Door, Judy Garland
  • What song will they play at my funeral? Cordial a Leanbh (The Garton Mother's Lullaby), Hillary Field
  • How does the world see me? Mozart, No Problem Orchestra
  • Will I have a happy life? Ballybunion By The Sea, Pecker Dunne
  • What do my friends really think of me? My Favorite Things, Stanley Jordan
  • Do people secretly lust after me? Lady Lady, Babyface
  • Will I accomplish my goals in life? Go All Out, Rare Essence
  • Will I find true love? Talking in Your Sleep, The Romantics
  • How do I treat others? Pigs in Space, Mickey Hart
  • What type of men/women do I like? Mi Chiquita Quiereguarachar, Tito Puente
  • How does the world see me? The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Dumb & Dumber Soundtrack
  • Will I have a happy life? Blue Champagne, Manhattan Transfer
  • What do my friends really think of me? Stuff Like That There, Bette Midler
  • Do people secretly lust after me? Winter, Tori Amos
  • How can I make myself happy? N'Nang, The Voodoo Gang
  • What should I do with my life? I Found My Love in Avalon, Al Jolson
  • What is some good advice for me? Nice Work if You Can Get It, Fred Astaire
  • How will I be remembered? Feels Like Fire, Santana
  • What do I think my current theme song is? P.S., I Love You, Bette Midler
  • What does everyone else think my current theme song is? Woodchopper's Ball, Woody Herman
  • What song will play at my funeral? Nice Guy Finished Last, Green Day
  • What type of men/women do you like? Li'l Jack Horney, Extreme

I am amazed at how many of these seem appropriate. Maybe Presidents and heads of states should use the iTunes to solve all the world's problems.

And Finally...

How many total hours of listening?
60.4 Days (1449.6 hours)

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Herding Cats

Posted on 1/31/2008 08:26:00 AM
The Dormouse was invited to a birthday party the weekend before last. Between being sick and being away from my desk at work where the dock for my phone sits, I'm just getting around to pulling the crappy pictures off my camera phone because I had forgotten my real camera that day. Aside: I bought my phone for its abilities to handle my email and not for the camera part of the phone. The camera part just came with the package. But I'm not really sure why anyone needs a camera in their phone if this is the best it can do with photography. I think I might have gotten a better image by handing one of the kids a crayon and asking them to draw what happened on a brick wall outside the bowling alley.

On the way to the party, this conversation could be overheard in the car:

Dormouse: "Maybe, if I'm very smart at the birthday party, I will get some
cake."

Me: "That's important to remember, because the dumb kids don't get cake."

KoH: "Yeah... the dumb kids get carrots... they just don't know it's not cake."

Right. She should have no problem understanding sarcasm by the time she's five.
If you don't have a thick skin, you have no business being a member of our family.

If you ever want to truly know what the phrase "herding cats" means,
try renting three lanes at the local duckpin bowling alley, putting five kids on each and giving them small, hard objects to throw at the ground. It was an exercise in hilarity. We met the hosts there and as the mom was setting everything up and trying to get the alley personnel to find fifteen pairs of bowling shoes under a kids' size 11, we chatted. She said to me in her lovely Jamaican accent, "Ugh. I don't know what I was thinking, inviting fifteen kids to go bowling. What. Is. The. Matter. With. Me?"

I said, "I know what you were thinking: that you didn't want them all in
your living room."

"Good point."

Still, I don't think I would have signed up for that kind of torture. You're a better mom than I am, Gunga Din.

For some reason, I ended up as the scorekeeper for our group so I had a good vantage point to learn about each of the kids and their respective styles while they attempt
ed to knock down pins. Don't tell anyone, but I have NO IDEA how to score duckpin bowling. Ultimately, I didn't figure it mattered as I was pretty sure none of the four year olds knew either and weren't likely to challenge me. I figured what would make the most sense to them was to just keep a running total of how many pins they knocked down overall and decided to forego the strike/spare/etc. conventions. In the end, I'm not even sure that I added everything correctly when I tried. Two of the kids were siblings and they got a little competitive with one another. I'm not saying I cheated or anything. I'm just saying it seemed easier all the way around if they tied each other after each frame. KnowhatImean?

I'm sure there are some parents out there who disagree with my scorekeeping style and feel that I should have given them the chance to experience the wins and losses that life will inevitably throw at them and how are they going to grow up one day and lose the race for the President of the United States with dignity and professionalism if they never got a chance to practice good sportsmanlike skills back at the bowling alley when they were four? To them, I say: Do you even know how loud someone has to be to make a scene in a bowling alley on a Saturday afternoon? You deal with a four year old throwing a fit because his younger brother knocked one more pin down than he did.

The Dormouse's style was clearly to enjoy the entire process and in stark contrast to the kid who pouted in a corner when his brother edged ahead of him, she celebrated each and every pin knocked down, as well as a few gutter balls.

"Yay!! Did you see? I knocked down TWO PINS!! Woo hoo!" gives double thumbs up sign as she jumps up and down. I'm guessing she'll never be a professional bowler as I'm pretty sure she used three balls to knock down those two pins.

However, she often grew bored while waiting for her ball to make it's way down to the end of the alley and had to lie down and take a rest. To be fair, it did take awhile. I kind of felt like lying down
in the twenty minutes it took for the ball to reach the pins too.

Then there was the girl who could barely get the ball all the way down the alley. We parents grew horse yelling, "Theeeeeeere. Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Gooooooes!!!!!! It won't be long now! Almost there!" but we all managed to resist the urge to walk up to the slow moving ball and kick it. When three years was up and the ball finally made its way to the end, it would stop in front of the one pin and slightly tap it, causing a domino-like chain reaction and knocking down every pin there and some on the adjacent lane. I think she may have bowled a perfect game. That girl needs to join the Pro Bowlers' Association, now.

After the bowling portion of the afternoon, all the children adjourned to a long, narrow room with no ventilation to eat really bad bowling alley pizza and Spiderman cake. There wasn't really a lot of room for parents in the room so the KingofHearts, the Caterpillar and I opted to wait on the outside of the room and order slightly less bad bowling alley bur
gers while the kids inside filled their gullets with cholesterol and sugar.

Some of the other parents crowded around the doorway to watch the melee and at one point, one of the moms turned around, shot me a glance and said, "Ready? Are you ready?" I couldn't figure out a) if she was talking to me and b) what she meant if she was talking to me until this image from Stephen King's book, It, came running around the corner:

"They all float down here."


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Helpful Billboards

Posted on 1/31/2008 08:00:00 AM In:
Last month when we went to Baltimore to pick up a cake, I snapped this hilarious picture on my camera phone. I had completely forgotten about it until I found it on my phone this morning.


I figure putting it on the web can only help this company reach a larger audience.

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You Really CAN Find Anything on the Web

Posted on 1/30/2008 02:42:00 PM
Knitted dissected frog from biology class.

If someone gave me this for Valentines' Day, I would love him forever!




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A Word of Warning

Posted on 1/29/2008 03:32:00 PM
Why you should never let your four-year-old watch Ghostbusters, no matter how much you enjoyed it when you were in high school.

Imagine the next twenty-four hours listening to this non-stop:






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HAP-piness

Posted on 1/29/2008 05:21:00 AM
The Dormouse, who is the only one of us who wasn't sick last week, has been confined to the house because of our lack of ability to sit up and stay conscious at the same time. She's gone a little bit cabin feverish.

Yesterday, she was sitting here mumbling non stop as she is wont to do. Suddenly the both of us hear the word "penis" somewhere in her blather.


KingofHearts: "What's 'penis'? What are you talking about?"

Her: "It's one of your private parts, Daddy."

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La Luna, Cielo, Y Tu

Posted on 1/28/2008 02:00:00 PM
Una hermosa realidad,


Derramen para mi,


La felicidad.


Si yo pudiera estar contigo,
Toda la vida, vida, vida,
Junto la luna, luna, luna,
Cielo y tu.

(It's a song I learned from an old dude in South America years ago.
I don't know why, but I always think of it when I look at the moon.)

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1910 - 2008

Posted on 1/28/2008 12:32:00 PM
I usually try to stay away from the serious religious talk on this weblog. This, I don't feel is the forum for sacred feelings. But I would feel a teeny bit ungrateful to let this day pass without a slight nod to a man I admire.

Whether you agree with his religious philosophy or not, I don't think that there's anyone who can deny he was a man of conviction; one who truly believed. And one who didn't let the fact that he'd achieved the advanced age of 97 pass for an excuse to assume he'd done enough, to sit back on his laurels and take it easy. Something I'm having trouble doing at the tender age of 40.

I think one of my favorite things about him is the sense of humor with which he faced his life and his Presidency. When he first became prophet, I remember the press asking him "What will be your THING? Will it be 'read the Book of Mormon'? 'avoid pride'? What will be the theme of your Presidency?"

His eyes flashed as he smiled at them and said, "Endure to the end."

Like so many of my parents' generation who felt that David O McKay was such a central figure and the face of The Church during that time, I feel that way about Gordon Hinckley. I will miss him.

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Ummm.... RUN!

Posted on 1/27/2008 04:47:00 PM
83%

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Evolving

Posted on 1/27/2008 03:07:00 PM
Aaaaaaaah! *stretches and yawns* I feel like I just climbed out of the primordial ooze to take evolution's first breath of oxygen and am well on my way to becoming mankind one day... just not quite yet. Maybe in a few hundred million years.

So here's a lesson learned: just because you got your kids a flu shot doesn't mean you won't get the flu. I can't remember the last time I took an entire week off work and didn't come back with a new baby. Note to self: Get a damn flu shot next time!


Here's another lesson learned: If you are an out of town colleague come to DC and asked to take the office out to lu
nch and you sit next to the lady with the baby during said lunch, then later on that weekend you come down with the flu, do not email the office which includes the lady with the baby to say you hope you didn't make anyone sick because the lady AND the baby will both have the flu by the time they read your email and it will be too late and they will just resent you and no good can come of that.

It's not really so much for me... between the combination of no sleep and no flu shot, I deserved what I got. But the poor Caterpillar is about as miserable as she could be and that's hard to take.


It's an interesting phenomenon, when your child gets sick. As miserable as I felt toward the beginning of the week, as much as I wished for death as a preferable alternative to the fever, chills, runny nose, weepy eyes, dry heaving, etc. that I had Sunday through Wednesday, on Thursday, when I felt a tiny bit better for the first time, but my baby came down with the same fever, chills, runny nose, weepy eyes, etc. I would have gladly, GLADLY!, taken back every symptom to avoid her suffering them. Poor thing.

The KingofHearts has a gene that causes the slightest little virus to elicit a fever of over 103. We call it the Scare the Crap Out of Your Mother Gene. Because that's what it does. Apparently it scares the crap out of medical professionals too. When I took The Caterpillar in to the pediatrician on Friday, the nurse asked me what was wrong. I said, "She has a high fever and I just want her lungs listened to before the weekend to make sure there's no pneumonia. I'm sure it's just the flu because we've all had it this week." The waiting room was filled, FILLED, with sniffly kids and I think I detected a slight eye roll from the nurse when I uttered the words "high fever". She had me take off the baby's diaper and took her temperature with about the most blase attitude I could imagine. 103.4. She looked down at the thermometer, did a double take and gasped, "Oh! She has fever." Then
ran to get baby Tylenol. Uh huh... you questioned me, didn't you biotch? Howyalikemenow?

The doctor, likewise, had to test and confirmed my diagnoses of flu. I graduated from mini-medical school, thankyouverymuch.


Another lesson learned, if you are a mom, you can be sick for a week and get no sleep and still be responsible for 98% of the childcare in the home. If you are a man, and you've been sick half as long and to half the degree of severity, you are being put upon if you have to hold the baby for more than twenty minutes and you should be allowed to stay in bed until 8:00 am especially on the weekends. That is because you have MAN FLU:




Another lesson learned: if you want to clean out your basement, offer up stuff on Freecycle. You don't even have to take all your crap out to the curb.
Because people loves they free stuff!

I'm going to try and come up with something more coherent to write soon. Just wanted to remind everyone I was still alive. But just barely.

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Lamest Excuse for a Rate Increase Ever

Posted on 1/25/2008 12:29:00 PM
Dear Insurance Company,

I'll admit, I was dubious when I heard your reasons for increasing my co-pays in 2008. But after taking my child to the doctor today, I'll admit, I'm sold. Today was the first time I did not have to suffer the humiliation of explaining why my co-pay is an unusual $33 and not the much more common $35.

You cannot imagine the freedom I felt today walking into my pediatrician's office knowing that I would not be laughed at and scorned because of my unusual co-pay amount by those who paid a more respectable $10, $15, or even $20 - the Prom Queens of the waiting room. I knew that I would not be suffering the indignation of needing to ask for two dollars change. I left the doctor's office feeling lighter than I could possibly have imagined. Well, at least two dollars lighter.

Thank you, thank you, Insurance Company, for being so sensitive to my feelings.

Sincerely,

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Distractions R Us

Posted on 1/21/2008 02:55:00 PM
"Hey, I think there's a distraction in your room."

Runs off into room.


Runs back a few minutes later.


"Nope, there was nothing there."


Indeed.

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1 Conversation, 3 Frames of Reference

Posted on 1/19/2008 10:23:00 AM
Alice: "Where's our regular waitress? I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks."

KingofHearts: "Oh she's here. I think her name is Darla."

Alice: "Yeah. I remember that name because Darla was the little girl on The Little Rascals."

KingofHearts: "I remember because Darla was the chick on Angel."

Dormouse: "She's a CHICKEN ANGEL??"

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How Cute Are These Guys?

Posted on 1/19/2008 07:21:00 AM In:

I think I might have overdone it on the Gaussian blur here and wow, the contrast looks different once you import into blogger, but I've been trying to learn some Photoshop tricks this week. It has made me realize that photo editing is a H-U-G-E can of worms. Seriously, I now know why some people are so snobby and elitist and are all "photo editing is not real photography." They're really just scared that they'd spend all their free time making tiny adjustments to every photograph they'd take and then they'd forget to eat.

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Inappropriate Songs (vol. 18)

Posted on 1/17/2008 05:15:00 PM In:
The Dormouse came home from preschool the other day having learned this little ditty:

The farmer in the dell,
The farmer in the dell,

Hi ho the derry-o,

The farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife...
etc.

I'll spare you the gory details. You remember it right? Then the wife takes a child, child takes a nurse, etc., etc., until it gets down to a rat, who chooses cheese above all other human contact. She got it all as I remember it until the last verse, where it went a little wonky:

"The cheese stands in a bowl,
The cheese stands in a bowl,
Hi ho the derry-o,
The cheese stands in a bowl."

I tried to tell her it was supposed to be The cheese stands alone but she patently refused to believe me. And when you think about it, why should she? Where would the most appropriate place for cheese to be, if not in a bowl? I always put my cheese in a bowl (or at least on a plate - but that doesn't really fit in the song, now does it?).

Basically, I'm glad she goes to preschool because I forget about these little rite of passage songs of childhood that we all learned to sing. I'm too busy teaching her songs that are completely inappropriate for her age but that
don't make my eyes roll up in the back of my head and my tongue do the tardive dyskenesia dance. Who needs to know Down By the Station when you've got all verses of One For the Road, American Pie or some totally-awesome-song-of-the-80s down pat? What the hell is a pufferbelly anyway? Who uses that word anymore?

If it wasn't for preschool she'd be completely deprived of knowing such ditties as:
  • Pat-a-cake (The Dormouse phrases it "and put it in the oven for a baby and me" which is incredibly cute)
  • Oh Susanna (makes me want to cry despite the warnings)
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • I've Been Working on the Railroad (right before the Amtrak train derailed)
  • Oats and Peas and Barley (the twelve year old boy in my head notes that this is where she learned the word "erect")
  • She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain (not even going to go there)
  • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (oh the humanity!)
  • A Big Blue Box
  • The Song That Will Not End (actually The KingofHearts taught her that one... remind me to pay that forward)
  • I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee (because where else do you learn to squish up insects and eat them?)
  • Teasing Mr. Crocodile (now that Steve Irwin's not around to put a stop to it)
  • There Were Ten in a Bed (do we really want to reinforce that polygamy issue?)

Without them, she'd probably grow up friendless, unloved, and holding the SLOW sign on the side of the road. Just one of the many ways preschool has benefited our lives.

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I Hate You - Part Deux

Posted on 1/16/2008 09:18:00 AM
When I decided to have children, I'd say I was pretty realistic about it. I knew it wouldn't solve all my happiness problems. I knew that while most people with kids say their kids make them the happiest, those same people with kids characterize themselves overall as less happy than people without kids. I knew it wouldn't be all peaches and roses. (Or even Peaches and Herb, for that matter.)

In other words, I knew it would be hard.

I just didn't know it would be HARD.

I figured there'd be the occasional, if not constant, fight about stupid stuff... but I figured that would be about things like whether permission would be granted to go to that slumber party, wearing appropriate clothing, etc. What I did not think was that I would spend some mornings having a knock-down, drag-out fight with a thirty-five-year-old-mouth stuck in a four-year-old-body about something as mind-numbing as WIPING AFTER USING THE TOILET - ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

I did not think that such a stupid fight would elicit "I hate you Mom"s so vitriolic that my eyes wanted to melt out of my skull. Nor that I would react so badly to the ridiculousness some days, that even as I was reacting, I knew that what I was doing and saying was simply emotional blackmail and I immediately felt ashamed of my response but yet I Could. Not. Stop.

Breeding MUST be a biological imperative, because otherwise I can't figure out why anyone, having had experience with one and having lived through that nonsense, would willingly sign up for it all over again. And yet, I have done that. Three times. Either that or I am a just a masochist and I enjoy punishment. (Stop me if you're heard this one: The masochist says to the sadist "hurt me" and the sadist says "no.")

I love my children... there is never one minute I regret having them. And yet some days, I remember the ease with which I lived my life before children and I am ashamed that I didn't appreciate it more. I should have done more with my time. I should have gone back to school and gotten that PhD that I wanted. I should have written the Great American Novel. I should have SOMEthing to show for all the free time I frittered away. At very least, I should have complained less about being so busy I did not have time to do those things. Because now? If I have time for a shower in the morning, I feel like I've accomplished so much.

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Shake Shake Shake

Posted on 1/16/2008 01:19:00 AM
My percussionist friend would be so proud.



Oops, maybe not.


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Dollars and Sense

Posted on 1/15/2008 06:45:00 AM
- or -
At Least This is How We Heard It

KoH to The Dormouse: "Are you going to buy us lunch today?"

DM: "No."

KoH: "Well you should. I bought lunch last week, Momma bought it before."

DM: "I can't."

Alice: "Why not? We've been carrying you for far too long... it's time to pony up the dough."

DM: "NO! I can't buy lunch! I don't have any money. I don't have any dollars. I don't have any sense!"

DM: "Mommy and Daddy, why are you laughing?"

Ummm, maybe you had to be there? Trust me, it was funny.

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Lesdyxia

Posted on 1/14/2008 02:10:00 AM
KingofHearts: "Do you want to go out to breakfast this morning?"

Alice: "How about we stay home and make breakfast?"

Dormouse: "Awwwwww, but I wanted to go to HOP-I!"

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Life Imitates Art

Posted on 1/13/2008 06:07:00 AM
Someone has watched Weekend at Bernie's one too many times.

Pair Brings Corpse to Store to Cash Check

NEW YORK (Jan. 9) - Two men wheeled a dead man through the streets in an office chair to a check-cashing store and tried to cash his Social Security check before being arrested on fraud charges, police said.

David J. Dalaia and James O'Hare pushed Virgilio Cintron's body from the Manhattan apartment that O'Hare and Cintron shared to Pay-O-Matic, about a block away, spokesman Paul Browne said witnesses told police.

"The witnesses saw the two pushing the chair with Cintron flopping from side to side and the two individuals propping him up and keeping him from flopping from side to side," Browne said...

Full story here.

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Truth in Advertising

Posted on 1/12/2008 12:14:00 AM
I didn't even need a container of lemon peel when I went to the grocery store, but I felt compelled to purchase this when I read the label. After all, it's still a good buy.


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Dr. Zhivago's Subaru

Posted on 1/11/2008 01:22:00 PM
The other morning we woke up to a thin sheet of ice and frost over everything and although my neighbor probably thought I was nuts, I couldn't help but snap a picture of the hood of my car in the morning sunlight. If there's anything in nature more gorgeous than ice crystals, I have not run across it yet.


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Houston, We Have Rollover

Posted on 1/11/2008 03:03:00 AM
This milestone is coming a bit early for my tastes.

We.


Are.


Screwed.


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And For My Next Book, I'll Read The Iliad

Posted on 1/10/2008 07:24:00 PM
I don't mean to be incredibly self-indulgent here, but.. wait, who am I kidding? This whole weblog is incredibly self-indulgent. Going on...

I was nursing The Caterpillar this morning and watching writer-less talk shows I recorded last night when The Dormouse got up and sat down on the living room couch. She had a Goldilocks and the Three Bears book in her hand. I have no idea where it came from and didn't even know it was in the house before today. She claims a friend gave it to her. At any rate, I have never read this book to her. I have never even told her the Goldilocks story (because... hello? NOT mother of the year over here).

She was sitting on the couch looking through the book for awhile and then came over to my side and announced she had read the book.
I gave her the equivalent of a pat on the head with my condescending, "Good job." Sure you did.

Then she asked me if she could read it to me because "I need help with one or two of the words."

See?
She probably only read the half dozen words she knows and got the rest from the pictures. "OK - in a minute, honey."

Five minutes go by.

"Now, Momma? Can I read the book now?"


"In a little bit, Sweets."


Fifteen more minutes went by and she was still patiently waiting for me to turn off the TV and tell her it was okay for her to read to me. (Like I said, NOT mother of the year.) Finally, I acquiesced and said she could go ahead. She got through a handful of pages when I stopped her.


"Honey, have you ever read this book before?"


"Yes, momma."

"When?"


"Just now, when I was sitting on the couch, Momma."


"And no one read it to you before?"


"No, Momma. I just found it."

"Honey, can you go back and start again from the beginning and I'll take a video of you reading this book?"

"Okay, Momma!"


She's been making great strides on the reading front lately. Go, Preschool I Previously Thought Was The Only Crappy Alternative I Could Afford. One of the most brilliant gifts my mother gave us was a
Dick and Jane book back when The Dormouse really little. At the time, I had no idea how useful it could be. Most kids' books are for slightly older readers and other than a couple of the Dr. Seuss books, there seems to be no interim between the single word baby books ("shirt", turn page, "pants", turn page, etc.) and a book that has some semblance of a story. I've basically been choosing books that have a word like dog or cat and then having her read that one word, while I read all the rest. Dick and Jane is the closest to a simple reading book with a story I could find so I've been reading that with her occasionally. She's been able to recognize a few sight words and sound out others, and I've helped her through some of the stories which, face it, are just the basics:
See Spot.
See Spot run.
Run, Spot, run.
It's definitely not Tolstoy. I'm just sayin'.

So when The Dormouse got to the phrase
this porridge is just right, she said it (correctly), then stopped and said to me "The H is silent, right?" That's when I realized something else was going on here. So I got out the camera and recorded the following. Here is The Dormouse, reading her very first book by herself:



Tears came to my eyes and I was immediately sorry for being such a bitch. What is wrong with me? If there's one thing I should be able to do as her mother, it's believe in her. Give her the opportunity to practice her skills and show off and feel successful when there's no pressure, no stress. Here I was so interested in the Top Ten List, getting through my morning email before my boss got into the office and getting the baby down to a nap so I could have a minute to myself that I almost missed this. How many other things have I missed before because I was too concerned with unimportant things?


I'm so proud of her.


I'm so ashamed of me.


Maybe next, I'll have her read me a book on parenting.

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Minutiae

Posted on 1/10/2008 08:01:00 AM
Random Thoughts for Today

I wonder if I can use this idea to get out of work?
Boy Glues Himself to Bed to Avoid School

A 10-year-old Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed to avoid going back to school after the Christmas break, authorities said Monday.

"I thought if I was glued to the
bed, they couldn't make me go to school," the boy, Diego, told AFP. "I didn't want to go, the holidays were so much fun."...

...Palacios said her son smothered his right hand in industrial glue. She found him watching TV with his hand stuck to the bed.

"I don't know why he did it," she told Reforma. "He's a good boy, but mischievous like all kids."
*****

Hey, it's National Delurking Week!

Doesn't it seem like this holiday comes earlier and earlier each year? I haven't even finishing taking down decorations from last year's National Delurking Week.

National Delurking Week, apparently, is a manufactured holiday in the blog world to try get more people to comment on blog sites. I'd like to write more sarcastic commentary about it, but I'm a whore for comments just like everybody else. Plus I found this cool graphic and I need a reason to use it. Put in your two cents below, say hi, or just let us know your favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor.

*****


I was tipped off to this one by way of another cool person.
Stay at Home Servers

Computer servers have alw
ays been in offices, but now some servers are going in homes. That's right -- they're "stay-at-home" servers. It's a HUGE controversy. "America's Talking" did a whole show on it.
I'm not sure I completely understand the reason for the parody here... but click on the Excerpt from the Book link and give it a read. Then somebody please tell me that I can purchase it... because that is funnier than any children's book I can buy on Amazon.com

*****


I've tried to win one of these turtle paintings with colors I like on ebay at least a dozen times, but I always end up dropping out of the bidding when it gets up to $200 or so and a little voice inside my head goes, "It's a painting by a DAMN TURTLE!" I mean really... couldn't you just buy a whole turtle for less?


You could not, however, buy
an elephant for less.

Hint, hint, KoH... perhaps a present for National Delurking Week? I would name him Stompy and take good care of him; he could sleep in my bed.

*****


I think I need to step away from the computer now.

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An Open Letter to My Husband

Posted on 1/09/2008 03:55:00 PM
Dear Husband,

If you are going to change the baby at night and you take a diaper out of the diaper bag, would you please a) replace it or b) tell me?

Because then when I get to work and she poops through the diaper she has on and then I change her and then fifteen minutes later, she poops through the only diaper I have left in the diaper bag, I will not have to wrap her in a blanket to put her in her car seat, leave work early and then go home to wash the blanket, the car seat and every stitch of clothing the both of us are wearing.

Kthanx'preciateit.

Sincerely,

Your Wife

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My Hot Sauce is Trying to Communicate With Me

Posted on 1/09/2008 12:14:00 AM
The KingofHearts picked up dinner from Taco Bell last night. (Aside: just what do they put in their food? Personally, I think they sprinkle every batch of beans with a little bit of crack because there is no way food that is mass prepared like that should taste so good. But I digress.) While sitting at the table begging The Dormouse to stop interrogating a piece of lettuce and eat, I happened to look down at the giant pile of hot sauce packets he'd grabbed on the way out and noticed this printed on the front:
Will you marry me?

I was pretty sure this wasn't a grand, romantic gesture cleverly orchestrated by The KingofHearts, because... you know... I already did that (twice). So I looked at another packet, and another and another. What I discovered was that each packet of sauce has a different pithy Something printed on it.

"Hey, look at this," I exclaimed as I showed The KoH.

"You've never seen that before?"

"You mean they've always been like this?"


"Uh huh."


"For how long?"


"A couple of years, at least."

Apparently, longer than that.


I'd like to believe that I'd missed it because I seldom eat fast food. Alas, I just never expected to find messages of hope and humor on my hot sauce. So much for my powers of observation.

Here's a rundown of what Hot Sauce is trying to say, for those similarly surprised by this fact, uncovered:
  • Will you marry me?
  • Will you scratch my back?
  • Tah Dah!
  • The feeling is mutual
  • Ketchup? Puh-leese.
  • Thanks for rescuing me, Fire was getting on my nerves (this, on a Hot packet)
  • I'm just doing this between films.
  • I collect straws.
  • Does a grilled stuffed burrito qualify for the carpool lane?
  • Ahhh.... we meet again.
  • Not it!
  • Can I drive?
  • Ooh! Ooh! I call glove compartment.
  • This space for rent. Inquire within.
  • I'm taking the day off. See next packet.
  • Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I can hear laughing.
  • At night the sporks pick on me.

I've learned three things from this illumination: 1) I should look around more often. 2) We get entirely too much hot sauce when ordering from Taco Bell 3) Taco Bell has a pretty funny website.



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Next Year, Calculus?

Posted on 1/08/2008 01:46:00 PM
I went to pick The Dormouse up from preschool the other day and she was outside playing with friends. Since she doesn't often get that chance at home, I let her play for a few minutes more and wandered around the classroom while I was waiting for her. It's kind of fun, really, to see all the lesson plans on the walls in the form of kids' artwork. There's generally a parent communication board (a flip chart) for parents to read in the corner of the room explaining what they've worked on that day that says something to the effect of "Today we learned about the letter E. We talked about gardens and sang a song about elephants."

This particular day, the parent communication board said, "Today we learned about our brains. We learned that different parts of the brain do different things. We talked about what foods are healthy for our bodies. The children enjoyed coloring pictures of the brain and learning the names of the areas of the brain."

And then, I KID YOU NOT, multiple pages of the following black and white diagram were posted over and over on the wall, with the different parts of the brain having been colored in as follows by four-year-old hands:



Since when does a four-year-old need to know about Wernicke's area? Or the premotor cortex? Isn't that a little esoteric for preschool??? And it wasn't like they just colored it for fun... the names, the lines pointing from the name of the part, and the part of the brain were all colored the same color as that part of the brain - they'd clearly been instructed which area was which. Does a preschooler even know what short term memory IS, much less what area of the brain inside their heads that they've never seen is responsible for said short term memory?

I'm wondering how I received such a lacking education since I was deprived of learning about Wernicke's area until I was in college. I hope this means she'll grow up to pursue a career like Brain Surgeon, or something equally specialized, which garners her a lot of money and that she'll use that money to take care of me in my old age... as a thank you for providing her with such an excellent preschool education. Because next year? It's all public school for you, kid!

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Kitchen Pass

Posted on 1/07/2008 03:49:00 PM
If there's any New Years resolution I'd like to make this year, it's to have less crappy stuff.

Last year, I graduated into adulthood by purchasing a real, made from wood, dining room table. You may laugh, but it's the first time in my adult life that I feel that if I were to move tomorrow I might actually take my kitchen table with me rather than leave it on the side of the road. I love my new table so much I want to get it pregnant and have a set of chairs that I love equally well. I'm not quite there yet. I like my chairs, but I don't love my chairs.

This weekend, we made another stride forward by changing the countertops. Whoever decorated the house before we moved into it either did it in 1979 or really, really loved the color pee yellow. The floors were yellow, the wallpaper was yellow, and the countertops were yellow. This yellow, in fact:


We fixed the floors and the walls right away when we moved in, but put the countertops off because it would be too expensive. I have hated these countertops with a red hot fiery hatred for ten years but whenever we talked about changing them and figured out the square footage of our rather large kitchen, suddenly things like food and heat became more important than purchasing the really cool granite countertops I wanted.

Around New Years Day, we decided we could live with it no longer. The KingofHearts had figured out a way to resurface the existing countertops with new, less offensive laminate for a fraction of the price of replacing them altogether. He even test drove it on someone else's kitchen, so I was convinced. There was nothing wrong with the countertops per se... they were solid... just solidly ugly... and the finish on the laminate had gotten so bad it was hard to keep them clean.

For all the grief I give The KoH for his tool obsessions and unfinished projects, it's really nice to have someone around who can turn this:


Into this:


We ended up cheaping out and purchasing the laminate they carried in the big box home improvement store rather than ordering something really nice, paying more and waiting weeks for it to come in, then having the big box home improvement store sell it to someone else. (Can you tell we've been through this before?) Partially because even if we had ordered it, I didn't really see anything in their catalog that I liked enough to wait that long for. As for the in-store stock, they had four kinds of ugly and one kind of I can live with it so we chose I can live with it. I'd gotten to the point where I just wanted it done and anything would be an improvement.


I didn't think I really liked this, but in the kitchen and with the cabinets, I looks a lot better than I expected. I think the cabinets need a fresh coat of paint now, maybe a warmer shade of brown, but I'm willing to live with it until that can happen. It is such an improvement.


Yes, that's a new sink too. One with a basin so deep I have to resist the urge to dive in when ever I get close to it. I can put a big stock pot in that sink and still have room to fill it with water, and then move the faucet back and forth if I wanted to. I can even wash the stock pot without splattering water all over the counter. Not that I would ever wash a stock pot by hand... I'm just sayin'. I feel like I work on the dish line of a high volume restaurant. Plus this sink can double as a swimming pool when The Caterpillar learns to swim.

My last task is to hunt down some tile for a back splash. Any suggestions?

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On My Honor, I Will Try

Posted on 1/05/2008 12:14:00 AM In:
Thirteen Resolutions for 2008 (as told to me by The Caterpillar):

  1. Gain control of my neck muscles so everyone will stop calling me "Bobblehead".
  2. Grow this hole in my head closed.
  3. Develop an eye color.
  4. When parents give me a toy, stop hitting self in face with it.
  5. Cut teeth, because breastfeeding has become way too easy for Momma by now.
  6. Solve Poincare's Conjecture. Wait -- somebody already did it. Instead, learn to poop on a regular schedule.
  7. Figure out which is day and which is night... so that Momma will Stop. Complaining. Already.
  8. Get Momma to stop knocking the remote control off the bedside table and into the bassinet in the middle of the night.
  9. Survive big sister's love.
  10. Successfully wiggle out of Momma's grasp and get dropped on the floor; finally having believable evidence for that CPS claim I've been planning.
  11. The same thing we do every night, Pinky... Try to take over the world!
  12. Watch fewer of those Pinky and the Brain videos The Dormouse got for Christmas.
  13. Once and for all, teach the big humans in the house that I am the Queen Of Everything, dammit! When you all come to realize that and bend to my will, life will be much easier for all concerned.

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We're All Mad Here

Posted on 1/04/2008 12:23:00 AM In: ,
We have this toy in the house called the Mad Cat. It's perfect for us, because we have a real life Mad Cat who is midnight black and named for Lizzie Borden. (All our pets are named for serial killers. Yes, I realize Lizzie Borden doesn't quite fit the category because she was accused of killing her parents just the one time, and yes, I realize my obsession with serial killers, forensic investigation and criminal profiling just might not be the healthiest environment for my children. Put another dollar in the Therapy Jar.)
I got Lizzie as a kitten from some people in town just after I moved out here and right from the start, Lizzie had, ahem, issues. All I ever want from a cat is that they curl up in my lap once in awhile and sleep on my feet at night to keep them warm. But Lizzie has never been the friendliest of cats. She has an anger problem. It's not that she doesn't let you pet her. It's just that you never know when the Time To Pet The Cat is officially over. So the scenario goes like this:
  • I lay down in bed.
  • Cat jumps up on bed.
  • Cat purrs so loudly it makes me wonder if a helicopter is approaching from a distance.
  • I look out window. Nope, no helicopter, just cat.
  • Cat crawls into lap and begins to knead my thigh.
  • Cat inserts head into the space under my hand.
  • Cat moves head back and forth in a desperate "pet me, I'm starved for human contact" bid
  • I begin to pet cat.
  • Purring becomes louder.
  • Cat is in heaven; helps me pet her by pushing head further into hand.
  • Cat is now petting self - rolling head around and purring in bliss.
  • An errant finger flits past an imaginary line just in front of cat's shoulder blades, disturbing two hairs on her back.
  • Cat immediately jumps up, hisses, and pounces on my forearm with every claw splayed and bites a holes through my index finger, then runs off before the neurons even fire all the way up to my brain, leaving me to nurse six or seven bloody puncture marks and wonder what the hell just happened.

Monica once admitted to me after a year or so of working together that when I'd first started my job, she and another colleague secretly wondered whether I was a cutter because I came to work sporting a new scratch on my arms every other day.

Then, there was the OCD. Because I am too cheap to buy a cat toy, To amuse myself, I used to tear up small pieces of newspaper, ball them up and throw them for her. She would chase after each tossed piece just once and then stand at attention, beckoning me to make another. By the time I left for work each morning, my apartment would be littered with little wads of paper. But never fear, because by the time I got home from work, every wad would be neatly stacked in the corner of the living room. I never once saw her pick them up and move them. I also did not have a roommate. So I either had a recurrent, very fussy burglar, or Lizzie had been organizing.
She also demonstrates clear Borderline Personality Disorder tendencies. She is not a fan of the people food. She knows this. We all know this. Despite the full disclosure, when any of us is in the kitchen making a meal, she circles underfoot, crying and begging to be fed until one of us is finally duped into offering her a scrap of ham or a pinch of tuna by ceremoniously placing it on the floor at her feet. Invariably, she will put her head down, give two condescending sniffs and then walk away, leaving the ort for me to later step on. She does not want the food, she simply wants to be offered the food.

She grooms herself with the careful attention of a drunk homeless man.

She is an indoor cat, but delights in skittering past the feet of some unsuspe
cting visitor, unskilled in the ways of kicking the cat back in the house, down the three steps to the front door, not to go enjoy the great outdoors, but to gorge herself on grass and then come back in to throw it all up on the floor.

Most of the time, you are not allowed to pet her with your hands, but if you rub your bare feet together, she will come running from wherever she is in the house. You can then pet her with your feet as long as you want with no physical repercussions.

The Mad Cat (the stuffed one, I mean) is a little like that old Tickle Me Elmo doll. It's plush and inviting. When you squeeze it, it meows. "Meow, meow, meow, meow." But then if you squeeze it again, it screams, "MEOW, GRRRRRRR, RARRWR, HISS, HISSSSSSSSSS!" and the whole thing shakes and scares the bageezis out of you. It's hilarious. It was the perfect toy for the Dormouse, who at 18 months, gave these responses to the following questions:

What does a doggy say? "Woof!"
What does a cow say? "Moo!"What does a kitty cat say? "Hisssssssssssssssss!"

An interesting thing about Lizzie though, is how really good she is with little children. Now with The Caterpillar and back when The Dormouse was really little, she never ran out of patience with the babies. She never seems to be bothered by The Caterpillar's crying and I've never seen her even remotely look like she might hurt either one of them when they were too young to know to stay away. However, now that The Dormouse is bigger and has a little more capacity to understand the mantra of the house, Do Not Taunt The Cat, she is held to the same stringent standards the rest of us are: Beware. The Dormouse has learned to deal with this and if the cat is lying in the middle of the living room floor and The Dormouse wants to pass through the room, she'll make a wide birth around the cat, hugging the wall with the precision of Gus (woops) Gil Grissom entering a crime scene.
The thing is, I love Lizzie. She predates The KingofHearts in my life. She predates the children. (I shouldn't have to point that out, but I feel the need to do so.) She was my companion through some really bad dates, an inCREDibly crappy job, and a lot of loneliness. It's funny how you can get so attached to something so acerbic. The KingofHearts could probably relate.
This is an impromptu lullaby I caught The Dormouse singing to The Caterpillar the other night:
Lullaby and good night.
Lullaby and good night lit-tle bay-bee

Don't cry lit-tle bay-bee
I love you lit-tle bay-bee

Your mommy's here

Your sister's here

Your daddy's here

And your cat... [cesura]

[continues singing] She'll sometimes scraaaaatch you.

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Me in 3 Seconds

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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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