On Her Flying Trapeze

Friday, March 31, 2006

A Taxing Experience

So it turns out I lied. The taxes and I? We were not meant to be together. Not here, not now, not like this. Last year I rocked the taxes. I turboed the taxes. I filled in the numbers, pulled the lever, and got us a sweet return.

Dan took the tax return and, with the help of the good folks at Dell, converted it into a totally wicked server with a raid-array-blabbity-blah which we are using to slowly take over the world, one bit at a time.

This year, after -

“Oh Anne! I’ve loved you as long as I can remember.” So-ry. I’m watching Gil propose to Anne as I type this. It’s a little distracting. She’s "so desperately sorry." Ahhhh….

-Oh, yeah. This year, after making a complete disaster of our taxes, I gave up in despair, vowing to return in a few days and fix the damage. That was a few weeks ago and the tax documents have lived in a very large and unruly folder in the office, unloved and unattended to. I literally turn my back and shudder as I walk by them.

Then yesterday Dan realized we’d have to pay extra on TurboTax if we didn’t file by the 31st so he gathered up my mess, sorted the documents, deciphered the tough stuff and saved us from financial ruin and years of house arrest and community service.

Hmm….house arrest and community service? This sounds a little too familiar. It’s flu season around these parts….

One thing’s for sure. I’m glad he did his research. If it had not been for this enlightening article Dan found online, we never would have known that I needed to claim the “commission” I’m making running those cock fights in our garage or blackmailing the nice old man next door.

Of course Dan passed this info along to all of his embezzling, extortionizing co-workers. One particularly shady character asked if he robbed a federal bank and took only 700,000 of their million dollar holdings, could he consider his taxes already paid? I’m not sure. I bet he can find the answer to that online.

He probably just needs to claim it as previously paid taxes on the 6759R form under drug money and other miscellaneous felonious profitocity.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Selfish by Nature

Video Sharing at DropShots.com

Having studied English in college, I fancy myself an observer of all things linguistical. I’ve often wondered about the order kids learn certain words. Here are a few examples that I find very telling:

“No” before “Yes”
“Up” before “Down”
“Now” before “Later”
“Mine” before “Yours”
“Dad” before “Mom” (even if they really mean Mom)
“Out” before “In”
“Go” before “Come”
“Me” before “You”
“Baby” before “What would you like to do today mother?”

I also wanted to let you know that the Daring Young Scientists are working very hard to discover the genetic mutation which has caused Magoo to start walking like this:

Video Sharing at DropShots.com

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dreams and Facial Hair

There are two things I’d like to share today, totally unrelated except they have had me laughing since I saw them yesterday. Whenever I think about them, I laugh and so I must share.

Isn’t that what this whole bloggin’ thing’s about? Sharing?

One is my brother’s facial hair and his wife’s amazing PhotoShopping skills. He had a little too much fun shaving off his beard a few weeks ago and this was the result:

How Does Adam Feel Today email size

Yes. I am related to this person and proud of it. I cannot stop laughing.

The second thing I’d like to share is a blog whose most recent entries killed me. I am dead. Knowing about my recent demise makes this whole blog entry all the more remarkable, I’m sure. Maybe it’s worth some money now. Weren’t all the great works by artists worth more after their creators kicked the bucket? Please send money.

I’ve been reading Goslyn’s blog Wishful Thinking off and on for a while now. She’s a great writer and very funny. What caught my eye yesterday was an entry about her own writing, making comparisons to my nemesis Ernest Hemingway and an entry about some dreams she’s had about me lately. Just mentioning the entries makes me laugh out loud. Please go read her if you’ve ever read much Hemingway or if you want to know about my psychotic dream infiltrating skills.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

You Gotta Have Teeth

3 teethI received some startling news yesterday. According to our 5-year-old friend Quinn, Magoo is losing all of his teeth. At this point I’m not sure there’s much we can do to save him from a life of eternal denture-hood. From what Quinn can make out, there are only “like 3 LEFT!”

Laylee made a self-serving discovery of her own as we were driving along that afternoon.

Laylee: Mom look! Those clouds look like ice cream.
Me: Yeah, they DO! Good job. What a great imagination.
Laylee: I think we should go get some ice cream right now.
Me: Keep looking at the clouds and maybe tonight we can have some ice cream for family night treats.
Laylee: O KAY!

Hours later it’s family night. We’re all sitting around and Laylee is giving a lesson on the Creation of the world. Dan whispers into her ear and she repeats what he says. When they get to day 5 and Dan realizes Adam and Eve are next on deck, he figures he must have left something out.

Dan: Uh-oh. I think we forgot one of the days. What did we forget?
Laylee: The treats.
Dan: No. We forgot one of the things God created.
Laylee: Maybe it was one of the animal things, like pigs.

That’s IT! On the third day He created ice cream and pigs. I forget that one every time. It always throws me.

Tip Tuesday – Dirty Laundry

When I was pregnant, people repeatedly warned me about the increased amount of laundry I would have to deal with once the little bubba came tumbling down and out into the world.

I sort of believed them. I nodded my head and smiled. I thought, “How much extra laundry can she really generate? Her clothes are so SMALL!” And I was right. She did only create about one extra load of laundry per week, a load which I washed in special dye and fragrance-free baby detergent.

And I was wrong, because what they didn’t tell me was how many more pairs of dirty clothes I would go through myself. I am constantly covered with inexplicable goo. I can’t "explic", for example, the dots of crusty something that are dribbled down the right leg of my jeans as I type this and I don’t much care to solve that mystery.

The mystery we are here to solve today is how to deal with this barrage of filth in a timely and semi-organized fashion and actually get it clean enough to eat off of, because that’s probably what we’ll end up doing with it anyway. (Don’t tell me you haven’t picked up a cheerio or two from your -eh-hem- “nursing shelf” and popped it into your mouth to dispose of it.)

As a mother of two small children, I could tell you what works best to keep me out of the laundry-induced cookoo bin. I actually just did type out our entire laundry routine but it was so boring and obnoxious that I deleted it. I guess you’ll have to buy the book.

Instead I’ll give my number one laundry tip. The tip is called “the special solution.” (Seeing it written out like that, it actually looks sort of sinister.) I’m not sure where my mom got this but it has been a lifesaver many many times indeed. The solution is made by mixing 1 cup of bleach with 1 cup of powder dishwasher detergent, added to a washer full of hot water. Let the water and the other ingredients agitate for a few seconds. Then add the clothes. For really bad stains, you can soak it overnight and then let the load run through.

I use this for cleaning all my whites and they come out beautifully white every time. The real joy of the "special solution" (besides it's creepy name) is that something in the dishwasher powder makes the bleach semi-color safe. It doesn’t work on everything. It will usually fade bright colors some and sometimes makes the colors totally wonky. However, if you’re desperate, throw a stained colored item in this solution and you’ll frequently have great results. I’ve gotten impossible stains out of khaki pants and pale-colored baby clothes with this. It is a GEM.

One more tip – GOJO. It’s one brand name of the stuff mechanics use to clean the grease off their hands. I can’t find that particular brand here in Washington but I found something similar at the car parts store. It is whitish and comes in a sour-cream sized container. (Don't get any of the orange or other fruity varieties. You just want the original white stuff.) This works wonders for getting grease stains out of clothes, even if they’ve been through the dryer. Have you ever found an empty chapstick in your basket of clean clothes, only to discover that every article is covered in tiny splatters of set-in grease? If you scrub at it with GOJO, your clothing may just have a fighting chance. Oh, and it’s super-cheap.

That’s what I got. Share yours please.

With my first child the question was “How many times a day can I change her out of dirty clothes into clean ones?” With number two I wonder, “How many times can he spit up on an outfit or get spilled on before I consider it ‘dirty’?”

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Save Yourselves!

Pushing antioxidants should not be a top priority Sunday morning, unless you want to head out the door to church with a child who looks like that inflatable blueberry kid from the Willy Wonka movies. This I have learned. Magoo can do some really amazing things with frozen blueberries.

Periodically I let one of the kids shower with me. I say “let” them but really I force them to shower with me so I can clean my body without worrying about how much trouble they're getting into as the steam fogs up my brain.

towelEvery time it’s the same dilemma. When the shower ends and it’s time to get out, I slide open the glass door letting in freezing cold air. The wet child begins to shriek or whine as I step into my bathrobe, “Ahhhh…I’m FREEEZING! HELP!” or in the case of Magoo, “AAAHHHHHH WAAAHHHHHH.” He’s not much for verbal skills.

Within a few seconds, with my bathrobe safely in place, I snatch them up in a warm cozy towel and carry them off to be clothed and cuddled. During those few seconds I always wonder, “Maybe I should wrap them up first and then put my bathrobe on.” Then I think, “NAAH! They’ll live. Besides, if I wrap them up first, then I’ll have to get them completely ready while I freeze in all my glorious mama nuditude for 15 minutes.”

It comes down to this. If I take a few seconds for myself first, I’m much better equipped to help my family for the long haul. They say (this time I’m not talking about the ominous overarching “THEY” but rather airline steward-persons “they”. Is that right, “steward-persons”?) that in the event of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. I thought about this as I was getting out of the shower this week and Magoo’s little teeth were chattering.

I wrapped him up and started thinking about how taking little snippets of time for myself can make me a better mother on so many levels.

-Sometimes it means a quiet moment of prayer and reflection before anyone else is awake.
-Sometimes it means hunting for frogs in the middle of the night with one of my best friends.
-Sometimes it means locking myself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes to have some time where no one is TOUCHING ME.
-Sometimes it means going for a late-night drive alone along the waterfront downtown, up past the Space Needle and across the 520 bridge with John Mayer and Aqualung blasting on my stereo.
-Sometimes it means forgoing some sleep in order to get the laundry done so I can start tomorrow fresh with no leftover chores from the previous day.

As I've been going through my post-partum struggles this year, my mom has reminded me of that old adage about not being able to pour water from an empty pitcher into other people’s glasses. It's true.

This year I've been running on half-full most of the time. If today I pour out what would have been a totally reasonable amount a year ago, I might come up empty. There will come a time in my life again where I am overflowing and able to give freely to anyone in need. I have to keep going back to the Source and I have to keep doing what I need to do to maintain my reserves and my sanity.

Whatever it takes to fill you up, do it. My real life friend over at RGLHM wrote a post today after a long blogging absence that I found so profound. Just reading it helped to top me off a little and give me the resolve to change some things in my life that need changing.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Watch What You Say

I never knew how often I said most of the annoying things I say until my oldest child started talking. Wow! I say some crazy-weird stuff. Hearing it repeated back to me, especially in the skewed way that she remembers it, is frightening at times.

One time I asked her to move as I was shutting the car door so I wouldn't bonk her on the head. A couple of days later, we were in a store and out of nowhere she said, "Mommy, please don't bonk me on the head, okay?" Um....yeah....I'll try really hard to restrain myself. Let's get out of here quick, before someone calls CPS.

Here are some responses she's given recently because Magoo was annoying her:
-“Magoo! CHILL!”
-“What - THE - heck?!”
(These responses are only brought on when he does something hideously obnoxious like breathe or look in her direction.)

Yesterday she was obsessed with the idea of spurting grey-matter.
Laylee: You know the book with the yellow fish, the red fish, the white fish and the blue fish?
Me: Uh-huh.
Laylee: The white fish sneezes his brains out through his nose.
Me: I don’t remember that part.
Laylee: Yeah, but Daddy doesn’t sneeze his nose brains out because he puts water up there.

A little later as we’re playing a matching game on the carpet, Laylee keeps matching items that don’t go together and then laughing herself silly.

Laylee: You know what Mommy? Sometimes I laugh my BRAINS OUT!

Then I start questioning myself. Do I use the expression “my brains out” all the time?

I was crying my brains out. Stop yelling your brains out. I’m sneezing my brains out. That was so funny, I laughed my brains out. I’m not sure.

I think sometimes I can say something once and she just picks it up and latches onto it as her favorite phrase. But still…It makes me want to watch every word that comes out of my mouth.

Who wants their three year old to be the one in the church nursery saying, “That’s flippin’ hilarious” or “I’m gonna kick his trash”?

On the topic of watching what I say, I am quoted this month in Babytalk Magazine, talking about how I let Magoo act as a human vacuum cleaner, eating food off our floor. This quote reaffirms to me that I made the right decision in using made-up names for my kids on the blog.

And for all you new and potential bloggers out there, if you choose to go the nickname route with your kids, choose nicknames you wouldn’t mind being used by all of your family and friends who read the blog, including yourself. We chose these names for the blog because they were nicknames we had used every once in a while in the past. At this point, we call them Laylee and Magoo quite often and I’ve had family members tell me they have trouble remembering their real names.

The Babytalk article is great. I wish I’d read it when I was starting my blog last year. (And there’s more than a little giddiness around here about DYM.com being mentioned. Some people try to play it cool, but I can see right through them, especially since they were the ones to initiate the hand-holding.) Sadly, the article’s author, Meagan Francis’s blog went AWOL right before the April issue went to press. Her blog can now be found at momwithmore.blogspot.com.

For some weekend fun, please check out the Carnival of Kid Comedy over at Life in a Shoe. Kim does a great job compiling funny stories for weekend reading enjoyment.

And finally, speaking of reading, if you haven’t given me your favorite book choice for the great reads list I’m compiling, please head over and do it. We’re just 7 away from 100.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In Defense of Curious Magoo

smileWell, little baby heil-y-Magoolinstein has started doing an actual wave when he greets or says goodbye to people. It is quite adorable really, with the cuteness aggravated by the fact that he gets so excited at his own hand waving that he often laughs until he tips over backwards.

But this does not get him down. Very little seems to get him down. By now he’s used to the constant mouth sweeping I do, whenever he makes that “I’ve got something very dangerous concealed behind these puckered lips and I dare you to get it out” face. He’s used to blamming into walls, furniture and doll equipment. (Yes, they have “equipment.” Welcome to MY world.) He just happily bounces along to his next endeavor.

smile4I fear that after my mars rover post, I left people with the idea that boys are very scary beings, who should be avoided at all costs. This is not the case. In my limited experience, they’re just more curious than girls.

smile3We finally went to see Curious George and I really loved it. It was the first animated feature I’ve seen in so long that was truly aimed at little children and full of color and fun, innocence, mishap and friendship. Laylee loved the part where George played peek-a-boo with the audience from under the man’s yellow hat. Even Magoo remained transfixed for most of the film.

smile2I think he really identified with the main character. They are similar in that neither of them tries to wipe out entire city blocks. It just happens. They want to take things apart, touch everything, taste everything, see how it works. Often disaster ensues but they both have good hearts, sweet personalities, smiles to melt even the coldest person (like me – seriously. I’m freezing right now), and neither of them has a neck that I can discover.

Little girls are not the only people made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Just as boys are not the only people fascinated with their bodily functions.

Recently my high school friend “Jo” came to visit and brought a huge box of delicious bakery treats. Laylee chose a rather large chocolate covered coconut cluster. Worried about how she would like the coconut, I asked her if it tasted okay.

She gave me that eye-rolling look and said, “It’s COVERED in chocolate and so I like it. I like it because…..it’s COVERED in chocolate.” Okay. Chocolate=you like it. Got it.

In no time at all, SHE was covered in chocolate from fingertip to forearm, with some on the chest, just for show. I decided I liked her too, but not for eating. At the height of her chocolatude, she yelled out, “OOOHH! I have to go potty,” and started dancing around the kitchen.

Me: Okay, go then.
Laylee: OOO KAAAAY! (running down the hall)
a second later
Laylee: OOOHH! Mommy! HEEELLLP!
Me: What?
Laylee: I can’t go potty because of the CHOCOLATE.
I run down the hall and lift her to liquid safety. While she’s “pottying” (Isn’t that such a nice, feminine, motherly way of saying it? I stole it from my friend Sandra.) she gets this squinty-eyed, impish grin on her face.
Me: What?
Laylee: I just did a brown poop.
Me: Hmm.
Laylee: And brown poop……is like chocolate.

I vividly remember her telling me emphatically 6 months ago, NOT TO TASTE IT when I found her playing with the contents of her diaper. Both of these statements concern me to a degree that leaves me unable to respond.

Today, I concluded a short telephone conversation with Dan. I say it was 30 seconds. He says it was 4 minutes, according to the timer on the microwave he was using to bring his lunch to the optimum “no stirring needed” temperature. Let’s call it 2 and a half minutes, just to be fair.

I can hear flushing and squealing coming from the bathroom. I run down the hall to see Laylee trying to flush Magoo. He has his hands as far down as he can get them into the bowl of the toilet and she is flushing again. He screams out with delight, giggling hysterically and shoving them down further.

We have a moment of silence in remembrance of the carefully planned preschool lesson I gave last week on germs and hand washing. Everyone is scrubbed and bathed, not much of a punishment for people who think it’s fun to play in the toilet. The tub is just like a bigger one with more toys in it.

Now a small teaser for those of you who were part of the big order: Keep an eye on your mailboxes. If you’ve paid me, they’re co-ming…


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Silliness and Fun

It turns out that people who read blogs are literate. Um, dude! Thanks for the amazing response Tuesday. My reading list is exploding and my frugal reader credits are gonna be gone in no time. I will be making a list of “DYM Reader’s Choice Books” on a separate page with a link to it on my sidebar so if anyone hasn’t commented yet and wants to be included, go back and leave your suggestions.

I’m also thinking of doing a “merciful bibliophile” post later where everyone can just shotgun blast me with their top 10 or 50 and we’ll generate a giant list so we can all be set with reading material to last us into the next millennium.

Now for some geek humor. I came across this a couple of weeks ago and have been laughing every time I think about it, not because Dan is a game addict (thankfully, he’s not) but because it hits a little too close to home when I think of my blogging fixation.

I nearly always post late at night when the kids are in bed. I often postpone our already too late bed time to get my post out. “It will take 2 minutes I say,” fully knowing it will take two minutes just to upload my flickr photos, let alone write the post, let alone read comments from yesterday’s post, check my stats, alter my template in some way, put on a new hat on my floating head or go read your blogs.

So two minutes becomes 43 and I encourage Dan to take care of his oral hygiene and other nightly chores and I’ll “be there in a minute.”

As you’re watching this video clip, remember that I have operated a gun turret for Dan when we’ve played X-Box together. I’m not the only culprit here. Enjoy.

Random side note – Dan is a spelling bee on wheels. He can spell any word at any time. I don’t even use spell check anymore. I just yell out a word and he rapid-fires the correct spelling. He is freakishly good.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tip Tuesday – Best Book, Alive or Dead

This is one of those “think fast” Tip Tuesdays where I ask you a question and you just have to say the first thing that comes to your mind without agonizing over it. I’d like the format to resemble the conversations the old men have in “Return to Me” while playing poker.

"Best singer of all time, alive or dead?"

They all give answers and then fight about them with fake Irish old man accents. Well, the old man part isn’t fake but I’m pretty sure the Irish is fabricated.

I’d like today to be like that, without the fighting and without the accents. List your favorite book at the moment you read this post. This doesn’t mean it’s the best book ever written or even in the top one thousand, scientifically. Just type something that strikes you as great.

-No books of scripture can be listed. I’m sure you’re all very spiritual and read all kinds of the Talmud but I don’t want all of the answers to be the same.
-No children’s books this week. We’ll do that next month or some time when I feel like it.
-You can only list ONE, not one per genre, not one for each hand, not one for every college degree you are currently pursuing, ONE - PERIOD.

I choose Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner for Non-Fiction, typically found in the Nature or Essay section of your friendly neighborhood bookstore.

Speaking of bookstores, am I the only person who gets this ache inside whenever they see prime retail space available for lease and wishes they could open a successful independent bookstore that wouldn’t be crushed immediately by the Evil Duo? Ahhhh, dreams.

I opened the book and found this random excerpt to share with you:

Catch it if you can. The present is an invisible electron; its lightning path traced faintly on a blackened screen is fleet, and fleeing, and gone.

That I ended this experience prematurely for myself – that I drew scales over my eyes between me and the mountain and gloved my hand between me and the puppy – is not the only point. After all, it would have ended anyway. I’ve never seen a sunset or felt a wind that didn’t. The levitating saints came down at last, and their two feet bore real weight. No, the point is that not only does time fly and do we die, but that in these reckless conditions we live at all, and are vouchsafed, for the duration of certain inexplicable moments, to know it.

You can open to any page and find that she weaves her descriptions of the world around her with profound insight. Ah, to write with the power of Annie Dillard, to live for one day having a mind so alive and vivid. Sometimes I feel that she sees more in one sunset than I could see in a thousand hours of plodding along through my daily grind.

Now, let the games begin. Favorite book at this moment, alive or dead?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Suuuure! I'd LOVE to use your chargers!

What’s a “charger”?

This is sort of how my end of the conversation went the other day as me and the many Martha Stewarts of my congregation were setting up for the women’s Relief Society dinner.

The previous Sunday:
They ask me to bring 8 place settings and a centerpiece, all focused on a Christmas theme. It would be sort of a birthday party and I would be setting the table for the people with December birthdays.

No prob. They want 8 plates and 8 sets of silverware. Done. I have 4 Christmas plates and at least 4 almost non-clashing Corel plates I can bring.

We have the most brilliant silverware Target has to offer. It is thick, sturdy and shiny. It is 100% genuine STAINLESS steel, not your cheap-o dollar store cutlery.

For the centerpiece, I deftly plan to bring whatever cute things are near the top of the first box of Christmas decorations I can find, along with the glow-in-the-dark ice cubes I snagged at last year’s post-Christmas grab-and-run sale.

A couple of days later, I get a call from one of the sweetest ladies I know, one of the event organizers. This is a lady you want to be like when you grow up. She always looks perfect. She is always kind to others and yet maintains a sense of humor and down-to-earthedness. Our conversation goes like this:

Me: Yeah. I’m pretty much ready.
Her: Have you got Christmas dishes?
Me: Yep.
Her: Great. Did they tell you we wanted salad plates now?
Me: No, but I have some plain white Corel plates I can bring.
Her: Okay. Wonderful. You know about the soup bowls, right?
Me: Okay.
Her: Alright. Oh, and goblets. Just bring 8 goblets too.
Me: Yes, goblets. (I know Target carries goblets. We can do goblets.)
Her: So what are you doing for the centerpiece? Do you have a poinsettia?
Me: No. I’ll figure something out.
Her: I know a couple of people with beautiful poinsettias you could use. Do you want their numbers?
Me: Nope. I can handle it.
Her: Okay. Great. How about Christmas napkins?
Me: I’m not sure I can find any this time of year.
Her: I’ve got some you can use. Do you want to use my napkin rings or do you have Christmas napkin rings you’d be more comfortable with?
Me: Thanks. I’d love to use yours. (Christmas NAPKIN RINGS? ACK!)
Her: Okay.

Sweet. The thing is, the majority of my friends are these amazingly put-together Martha Stewart center-piecing table-running people. When I agreed to set the table, I thought of my skills at…well…setting the table. I’ve been doing that since I was 3 and was given no end of positive feedback from my mom.

I guess I forgot what the table looked like at the little birthday luncheon my friends threw me last year with our two-year-olds present....

dinner birthday

Aaanyway....when I arrive at the building to set up, I walk into something that looks like Simon What’s-His-Bucket-Fabulouso-British-Guy-From-Oprah has been there in a BIG WAY. The tables are outrageously gorgeous. Fine china everywhere.

dinner jan

Some of the goblets are gold and silver rimmed crystal (I’m guessing a bit pricier than the 8 for $10 version I brought fresh from the Tar-zhay). I even saw some gold silverware. Here I show my naiveté about things dish-related. If the silverware looks gold, what is it really made of? It’s not gold, is it?

dinner june

I nervously make my way to the “December” table at the back and hope no one notices as I pull the mismatched dishes out of my cardboard box. I attempt to shine my “silver” on a stray napkin, realizing that it is amazingly beat up after serving 4 years of hard time in an unforgiving dishwasher.

It’s one of those moments where I remember vividly being in Junior High and showing up at school in Levi orange tabs, only to be viciously mocked. If they’re not red-tabs, you’re obviously a LOSER!

The difference between that world and this one is that instead of pointing and laughing, my new friends rip the red tabs off their own jeans and rush to sew them on mine.

In no time, I’m offered a full set of Christmas china (which I end up declining, going for the “cute mismatched on purpose” look), the napkins and decorative rings, some beautiful holiday candles and finally a set of chargers.

Her: You know what? It would add just such a nice touch of color if I lent you my red chargers to go with your place settings.
Me: Chargers? (I am being offered something for my pathetic table by the most well-dressed woman in the world, who touches anything and turns it into a fairytale castle of crystal bliss. I have no IDEA what a “charger” is, but it must be good if she's offering it, right?) That would be great. I love chargers. I’d love to use YOUR chargers.

dinner dec

It turns out that chargers are like huge decorative plates that you put under the real plates to look cool. They are not used for eating. Who knew? Well, all these ladies knew and you probably did too, but just zip it, okay?

Now for some other words I had heard or read in books, but was too lazy to look up for WAY TOO LONG, but sort of got the idea from context:

Espadrilles – Nancy Drew slipped on a pair of subtle pink espadrilles and headed out to chase down the thief who had stolen Ned Nickerson’s car.

Chignon – She pulled her hair up into a messy chignon and searched for the perfect pair of ear-blings for her date that night.

Cicadas – As they danced on the boardwalk, under a flickering streetlight, the screeching of the cicadas reminded her that there were many things in life more annoying than sand between your toes.

My Big Sister

baby sisMy big sister was my best friend from the day I was born. Legend has it that when she came to visit me in the hospital and the nurse wheeled me back to the nursery, 2-year-old Heather yelled after the woman, “Hey LADY! You take good care of my baby!” For the first months of my life, she nearly smothered me with love and then she started taking care of me herself.

She played games with me. She helped me learn to imagine.

She was Leia. I was Luke. (I was younger and had shorter hair)

luke and leah

She was the Princess. I was the Prince. (shorter hair excuse again)

She was Sandy. I was Danny. (yep. Shorter hair.)

She was Mary. I was Laura. (This one I liked. Mary was always the boring goody-goody who cried all the time and threatened to go tell Pa. Laura was the risk taker, the one who could kick Nelly’s trash. Laura married a guy named Manly. On the other hand, every bad thing that could possibly happen to a person happened to Mary. She even went so far as to go blind and, as if that weren’t enough, the blind school burned to the ground.)

Okay. End of tangent.

She swung higher than me. I looked to her to teach me.


I was the “brave one” but she was the one who let me sleep with her until I was 12 because I was so scared of the dark.


She was the voice of reason and I was the mischief. She was ladylike and I liked to jump out of trees to see if I could break my arm and get a cast.


She read great books and told me the stories at night because I was too lazy to read them myself. Besides, I still believe she told them better than the original writers. Eat that L.M.!

light brite

We went on a game show together, lost (darn you blue team!) and still remained friends.


She did my hair like THIS for the first day of Junior High.

crazy hair

We were, and still are, silly together.


Although we went through periods where we divided our shared bedroom with tape and even occasionally with a cardboard wall, when we got to college we chose to room together. We graduated at the same time because she had taken 2 years off to serve as a missionary.


She spent the summer with me in Quebec and told me I had a great French accent. She translated for me when I needed help. One thing I know - If someone shouts “Vive Quebec!” on St. Jean Baptiste Day, you'd better shout it back!


She dressed like a tween with me and went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert because, “They’re so lame that they’ll break up any minute now. THIS MAY BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO SEE THEM IN CONCERT!” She was a High School teacher at the time and me a Librarian.


When I found a new best friend and moved out of our apartment, she celebrated with me, although I know it was hard.


She cried when she held my baby for the first time, so amazed that her baby sister had made a person and so instantly filled with love for Laylee.

baby laylee

When Magoo was born and my world fell apart, she got on a plane.

We’re learning how to be mothers together. I guess we’ve been learning for a long time. I do hope we’re nicer to our kids than we were to my brother. :)

little mothers

When I describe Heather to people, I always say, “She’s a lot like me, only nicer.” And it’s true. She is the truest friend, the most loyal and compassionate person. She is talented in so many ways. She works hard and she is hard on herself. She is vulnerable. But her very vulnerability and her willingness to share her insecurities makes her more likeable.

And no, she’s not dead. This is not a eulogy. I just like her. (Besides, her eulogy would talk more about how wonderful she is and less about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Backstreet Boys.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Observations of Note

One of the first times I read Chris’s blog, she was talking about a horror story that unfolded when her family decided to use their hot air popper for the first time. I laughed so hard at the way she told the story, but especially at the observations she made about the descriptions on the popper’s packaging.

Recently the Daring family has made some observations that I think are worthy of note.

alienWhile reading Hush Little Alien for the eleventy bazillionth time the other night, Laylee stopped me, appalled. “No mommy. That’s NOT RIGHT! That guy has THREE ARMS!” This exclamation was followed by a face that clearly said, “This is the most ridiculous children’s story EVER conceived by a nincompoop of a writer in the history of our universe.”

She apparently has no problem with the people being green, capturing astronauts to use as play-things, melting things with laser beams, destroying highly expensive government surveillance equipment, or the existence of the FOURTH arm.

portableTonight Dan noticed the label on the Bubble Solution Collection and Storage Unit for our Battery Operated Wind Generating Bubble Gun. When we originally purchased this life saving device, we had no idea that besides being a boon to us, saving hours and hours of jaw-breaking, bubble-blowing exhaustion, the device was also “portable.”

All this for only $1.99? I’m so glad Dan took the time to read the labeling correctly. Now we know that if we’re ever on the go, we can take the BSCSU for our BOWGBG with us anytime, anywhere. It will always be there, like State Farm or AAA or the whining…. It almost brings a tear.

dairyDan made another interesting observation regarding this milk carton and the fact that someone must have failed their 3rd grade food group test.

I know the government recently came out with a “new food pyramid.” Did they really crown eggs and butter as the new staples of dairy-dom?

This little ad is on the back of all our milk cartons. Maybe they think advertising milk on a milk carton is redundant, but what about yogurt, cheese and ice cream? Since when did they become the redheaded stepchildren of the dairy group?

I Dare You

To come up with a better Babytalk Magazine cover photo than this:


I submitted it to the Evening Magazine baby photo contest, which was obviously run by people who are prejudiced against eyes. How could you possibly pass on that face?

Babytalk is currently running their cover baby contest and I would be so excited if one of you won. I've seen several of your babies and I know that one of us can nail this thing.

Speaking of Babytalk, if anyone has or will be getting an April issue, please let me know. I let my free subscription run out, but they're doing a piece on mommy bloggers in which Daring Young Mom may be mentioned. I got an email from a fact checker, verifying a quote they planned to use from the site.

The quote is about how I let my children eat off the floor and I'm not highly comfortable with its grammatical correctitude, but whatever. It's sort of exciting and I'd love to see a copy if my blog makes it into the final draft and I'm not left standing like Mike Wazowski from Monster's, Inc with the logo in front of my face.

If you could send me the article, it would save me an unneccessary appointment to the OB/GYN to gank a copy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baby Says “Heil” or “Live Long and Prosper”

Magoo has learned his first sign.

You say ‘potato.’ He says ‘blagooblablah.’
You wave ‘hi’, he clicks his heels and salutes ‘heil.’
Potato, blagooglablah, hi, heil
Let’s call the whole thing off.

Catchy, isn’t it?

spockTo give him the benefit of the Nazi doubt, his stiff outstretched arm of greeting could pass for some sort of Vulcan Spockish thing if he could learn to get the fingers right. He also doesn’t have a mustache, a love of marching, the ability to sprechen sie anything, or have totally crazy hair.

chiaHe has started to grow the equivalent of old man eyebrows all over his head. You know the inch-long curly hairs that look like you could just brush them away but they’re actually growing out of his head, like a Chia Pet where a few of the holes have been doused with fertilizer?

He also wears gingerbread pajamas in the middle of March and pink bibs. What can I say? This kid’s no slave to fashion.

Tip Tuesday – Kitchen Effitchency

We are not necessarily talking about organization today, although a good organizational strategy will definitely help with this. Today we’re talking about the little things that make working in your kitchen easier, things like sending your kids over to the neighbors’ or buying that new disposable kitchen wrap that comes in the exact shape of your kitchen, throwing it over every surface, cooking to your heart’s content with the disposable dishes and utensils it puts out in place of your real utensils, and then balling the whole thing up and throwing it out when you’re done.

Seriously, are we not going a little crazy with the disposable cleaning products, disposable liners for EVERYTHING, disposable finger-cover tooth brushes? Pretty soon your whole house will be disposable. So your kid runs into the wall with her skateboard? Crumple the whole place up and head to Costco for more disposable house in a box covers.

Okay. Wooh! Now for some tips.

1. Fill the sink with warm soapy water before you cook and throw the dirty utensils in as you go.

2. Put ALL ingredients into containers with large enough openings for the largest measuring implement you will be using to fit in. Example – What’s the deal with salt? Everyone should have a small canister of salt, with an opening big enough to fit a tablespoon.

3. Get everything out before you start to cook. This way, you’ll know if you’re out of eggs before the recipe says, “add 2 eggs immediately and begin stirring constantly.”

Those seem really obvious when written down.

Obvious or not, I want to hear your tips. I’m sure you have great skeelz I’ve never thought of.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Must Know

Who made the comment as "Dr John Gottman" on the marriage post? You must show yourself. This is driving me slightly mental. I'm pretty sure that it was made by one of my hilarious, wisecracking readers, possibly my brother.

On the other hand, I don't know Dr Gottman but I know people who know him and in my mind there remains about 0.00005% doubt that someone forwarded my little "review" to him and he decided to have a little fun with me. He's probably bored, now that all the scientific research has been done.

Reveal your identity please. It’s just one more woodpecker in the back of my mind, slowly chipping away at my sanity.

Also, I must ask. Did anyone see the beginning of the West Wing last night? We missed taping the first 10 minutes. Something apparently happened with Josh and Donna at the very beginning before the credits. Did they finally have a little smooch? A knowing look? What’s the deal-yo?

Just so you know....I'm currently losing my mind, in a house of baby diarrhea and refusal to drink liquids. Who sent my kids the memo that the drinking of all liquids is a form of torture and why was I not sent a copy of the memo first so I could proofread it and possibly light it on fire?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Day of Rest

Since today is Sunday, a day of rest, I thought I’d dazzle you all with my amazing meme-o-licious, fill-in-the-blank writing skills.

I’ve been tagged by Sarah from Mothering on the Edge, who apparently thinks I’m worthy of inviting over to play. I hope my kids never stop saying, “going over to play” and never start saying “going over to hang out.”

Kitchen Day
1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
We eat out about twice per month. DYD eats out for lunch every day because he just can’t get enough of that MegaCorp tomato soup. How many are “in” my family? Well, if we eat them, then I’d say they were ALL “in” my family…

2. How many cookbooks do you own?
Over 30. There are maybe 12 that I use on a regular basis.

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?

What do you mean “refer”? I look at them a lot. They are pretty. They have pictures of yummy, nutritious and beautiful food. To make something, maybe 4 times per week.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relatives, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)
Um…all of those things…and my fellow mammary-gland proprietors. I have become quite good at making an exotic milk dish that Magoo finds scrum-diddly-umptious.

5. How do you store those recipes?
I freeze them cryogenically so that in the year 2098, when all recipes have become extinct, I will still be able to wow my homies with pork-rind chili bean casserole.

Seriously, I put untried recipes in a folder to be tested. Once I’ve tried them and decided they’re a keeper, I type them up in a 5x7 format, print them off on cardstock and put them in a recipe box for everyday use. The electronic copy goes on my PDA so I can buy ingredients if I decide to make a recipe last minute when I’m already out and about.

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?
If you don’t follow the recipe exactly, at least the first time, “they” will come and find you. You know—“them”. And you know what “they” do. Yeah, everyone knows. So the second time around, “they” are a little more merciful. On the second time through with a recipe, I like to play around a bit.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?

I have stated previously that I am ¼ Indian. If it weren’t so darned time consuming, I’d cook Indian food every day. As it is, my cooking is predominated by pasta because it’s easy. I suppose that makes me ½ Italian on the lazy side of my family.

8. What’s your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation?

Measuring. I like to measure things and count. Counting is fun. I especially like counting out 12 quarter-cups because my bigger measuring cups are dirty, only to have Laylee stand next to me and begin, 9, 7, 13, eleven-teen. That is the BEST.

9. What’s your least favorite part?
Grating. On my nerves, it is.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop?

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?
-electronic kitchen scale
-the atomic easy-clean kitchen button that I push as I walk out, run away fast and then NEVER look over my shoulder at the light, the blinding light, searing my eyes. Then all is spotless. That was a good investment. Don’t listen to those environmental nut-jobs. They wouldn’t know a clean kitchen if it ran smack into them in their tie-dyed bio-diesel hybrid refurbished recumbent bikes.

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?
Now that I’ve got that atomic clean-o-matic thing, there’s not much left on my wishlist. I think I’d settle for a red 7-cup DLC-2007N Cuisinart food processor, pronounced Queezenard.

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?
My upstairs neighbors never use theirs. I know a way in. Yes, I am serious.

15. Grocery shop alone or with others?


16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week?
Your mom. I don’t know. Stop grilling me with your endless questions. Who are you, some kitchen data research firm? Leave me alone and stop staring at my banana bread.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?

Red. I mostly use pomegranates and “meat juice.”

18. What’s the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?
I “helped” a lot when I was little. The first project I remember tackling on my own was soft cheesy pretzels, sometime in elementary school. I’ve always liked it cheesy.

19. How did you learn to cook?

Grammy. She was called “Mom” back then. Times change.

20. Tag 2 people to do this or their computers will burst into flames and your blog will be cursed with 30 days of heckling comments.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Worm Sweat of Our Marriage, Scientifically in a 5-1 Ratio

Subtitle – I’m sorry but we are too immature to attend your lecture series.

Several friends and advisors have recommended the book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman. We’ve even been invited to attend the lecture he’s giving on his theories of marriage in Seattle later this month. He’s supposed to be a great speaker and quite an expert in the field. Besides, if so many people are recommending that we read “improve your marriage” books, maybe they all know something we don’t. Maybe the universe is conspiring to keep us together or something.

So we thought, “What the hay? Let’s save our marriage.” We decided to read the book first and then decide if we wanted to spend the $70+ it would cost to buy lecture tickets and pay a babysitter.

To start out, I should say that this book does not contain theories. Theories are contained in much less scientific books, books written by other psychologists and therapists who are relying only on their anecdotal evidence of what makes marriage last.

This is not the case with John “5 to 1” Gottman, as Dan has lovingly nicknamed him. No, John Gottman has spent 20 years researching couples scientifically to determine what makes a marriage last. He is like a surgeon or, if you will, a medical doctor. He’s sort of like a scientist or someone who conducts experiments in a laboratory. It’s like he relies on evidence scientifically rather than guess-work. He’s groundbreaking, like someone covering new territory that’s never yet been explored, like an explorer, embarking on new terrain scientifically. He is ecdotal, rather than those other people, who are anecdotal.

The preceding paragraph is a paraphrase of the first 30 pages of the book, scientifically. I have come to be a firm believer that psychology books should never be read aloud, especially by two people with warped senses of humor who analyze form neurotically.

Like most parenting, marriage, weight-loss, or other psychology or self-help books I’ve read, this one is extremely repetitively, redundant. In this case, the dude goes out of his way to the point of insanity to lay a foundation that his work is done scientifically.

WE GET THE POINT. We appreciate the point. We are comforted by the point. Dan is so convinced of the importance of the point that he begins sprinkling the reading with the word “scientifically” every few sentences. The funny part is, I can never quite tell when he has added “scientifically” or when John “5 to 1” Gottman has thrown it in to sound…well…scientific.

Moving on.

He then explains a major premise of the book. There are three types of marriages that can be successful. He explains how they work. He gives examples of how they work. The couples in the marriages work through their problems by saying things like “I see” and “hmmmm” and “but I really feel…” There are many examples given of each style of conflict resolution. You should read it yourself. We did and we are most definitely not getting divorced. We’ve decided to cleave, multiply and replenish. Thank you John.

Our favorite part of the book, the part that had us literally rolling on the floor laughing, came when he started to talk about the fact, scientifically, that marriages will only succeed if the couple maintains a ratio of 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction. "5 to 1". Okay. Got it. I am sure that this is true. I trust the scientific method that produced these findings.

But there’s more. It’s like if there were 5 good things in the marriage, there could only be one bad. To look at it from another angle, if you had 5 bad interactions with your spouse, you would need to fabricate 25 positive ones to make up for it. If you buy a bunch of grapes at the store and 10 of the grapes are rotten but only 48 are fresh, you can pretty much expect the entire bunch to self-implode in a matter of days.

Every time the guy would come up with yet another "5 to 1" analogy, we would both lose it. Tears, streaming down our faces.

We kept thinking he was done with that topic but then he’d give ANOTHER analogy. When he got to the analogy about the nutrients found in soil, scientifically in a "5 to 1" ratio, we couldn’t take it any more. Laughing so hard I could barely speak, I told Dan that it seemed to me the whole thing was kind of like worm sweat. If you have 5 particles of water in a droplet of worm sweat, you can only have one particle of salt or somebody’s gonna find that worm and run it over with their BMX. Dan fell to the floor on his face and began crying like a small child, scientifically.

Then we did some marital self tests. These are the kind of tests that use multiple negatives so by the end of reading a question, you’re not sure what “yes” actually means. They are the kind of scientific questions that you probably shouldn’t answer together, questions like:

-Is your spouse understanding and compassionate?
-Is love not important in your marriage?
-Do you think it is important for a married couple to care about each other’s feelings?
-Would it be not okay with you if your spouse did not find separate living quarters?
-Do you not think spice (spouse plural?) should not interact in any way or not throughout their marriages?

We didn’t not pass the tests and we found enough truth and were sufficiently thought-provoked that we are going to continue reading the book.

I actually think it’s a great book scientifically. We’re just too immature to attend a lecture where the dude may quote from his book, say “5 to 1”, use a double-negative or the word “scientific.” We’re like 14 year old boys with a penchant for flatulence who can’t get over the fact that their 7th grade science teacher’s name is mister McFar(t)land.

As we were kissing goodnight a couple of days ago, in a sincere attempt to incorporate what we’re learning, Dan asked, “If we kiss 5 times, can we slap each other?” Then the laughing and the snorting. We figured if we laughed 5 times, we should probably only snort once.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mon Euille


For show and tell today, we're doing eyes. Mine is green. Yes, I only have one. I photoshop the other one in every time I post, lest you suspect I am from another planet. You don't suspect, do you? Phew!

Much drama swirling in the air this week. Do you feel it? I told my grocery checker tonight that everyone I talk to is experiencing major trauma or drama or sickness in their life right now. He said he was doing okay. I thought I'd let you all know that. Dave is doing alright.

A big shout out to Grandpa Dave for being cheerful while checking out my groceries at 10:00pm.

In my personal circle, the drama seems to be subsiding.

I'll be back up and running soon, perchance tomorrow.

Not a Post

I have a good group of orders for the DYM shirts in both styles. If you want to get an order to me, please email me by late Friday night. I will be putting in my order and sending payment insturctions this weekend. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Who’s Your Daddy?

Laylee: Who’s your dad?
Me: Papa.
Laylee: Who’s my dad? (I promise her parentage is not in question.)
Me: Dan Daring
Laylee: So he’s your dad too.
Me: Nope he’s not.
Laylee: You and me are in the same family and he’s the dad so he’s your dad too. (Again, I promise...)

Laylee: I want to tweeze these few pears out of my chin.
Me: You don’t have any pears on your chin.
Laylee: Yes I do and I can’t find my tweezers. Can I borrow yours?

Laylee: Is daddy getting me ice cream?
Me: Yes.
Laylee: I want my ice cream cone.
Me: Oh. He’s getting you an ice cream sundae.
Laylee (hysterical): But I want some ice cream TODAY!

Laylee: Are we going to see Daddy at MegaCorp?
Me: Yes.
Laylee: It’s not called MegaCorp.
Me: Oh, really?
Laylee: Yeah. It’s called WORK-A-CORP! (giggling) Because you go there to WORK! Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

All of these conversations occurred today and I thought I’d share, for those of you not living with your own personal miniature comedienne.

Dan asked me later whether or not I went on to explain that there are two kinds of “sundaes,” one being a day of the week and the other a type of ice cream treat. I told him I didn’t have the energy to explain the intricacies of the wonderful world of homonyms this afternoon at McD’s.

I also did not have the energy or frankly the verbal skills to explain the concept of narcissism, and the fact that I don’t think the real Snow White suffers from it to the point of wanting to wear underpants bearing her own likeness.

My little “Snow White,” as she insists on being called, wants to wear the same pair of Snow White underwear every single day. Being a person over the age of three, I can foresee certain difficulties inherent in this course of action. I have explained all of these to her.

What I’d really like to say is, “Do you think Snow White is so narcissistic as to imprint her own smiling face on all of her underwear? No. She most likely has undies covered in little flowers, birdies or fields of grass.”

“Now the queen on the other hand… the queen would definitely wear wicked-queen-with-the-green-face underpants. She cares about no one but herself. Who would you rather be like?”

Tip Tuesday – The Lists

I am a firm believer in the power of lists. Long before I saw an article in Real Simple Magazine about lists and their wonderfulness, I had been using lists to organize, schedule and catalogue my life.

There are the lists of the number of times Dan has kissed me in the rain. Those are short lists. Some longer lists could contain data such as the types and colors of lint I have pulled out of Magoo’s mouth and the number of things we’ve told Laylee “princesses always do” to get her to do them.

Here are a few of the real lists I keep that help me maintain order and sanity (“Ha ha,” you say.) in my life. Most of these I keep on my PDA so I can pull them up or add to them anytime, anywhere.

1. All of the gifts we have given to family members for the past several years for all occasions – this one keeps me out of trouble. Giving the same type of gift to the same family member two years in a row is embarrassing. “Oops. We’d better return that one to Canada. It says here we got Papa a jade grizzly bear LAST Father’s Day.”

2. Menu plans – saves choosing what’s for dinner every night and makes number 3 easier.

3. Shopping lists – I keep a separate shopping list for any store I go to more than a couple of times per year. If I think, “Next time we’re at Marvin’s House of Bait and Breakfast Foods, I’d better get fish hooks,” I create a list for MHBBF and write down ‘fish hooks’.

4. Vacation lists – this one I’m stealing from that Real Simple article from some time last year. The idea is to make a Vacation 100 list at the end of your adventure. If you’re like me, you’re too busy having fun on vacation, or cleaning sand out of small people’s crevices, to keep a travel journal. When all the sand is put back in the ocean and you’re safely back in your living room, get the family together and make a list of 100 memories from the trip. It can be a bullet-style list. Some can be long and some just a few words:

-Magoo touched the ocean for the first time, not that impressed
-Rita’s Water Ice (pronounced ‘wudder ice’) was delicious and we discussed opening a franchise in Washington.
-Laylee screamed whenever a wave came up to her
-Magoo met Papa for the first time.
-There was a street named after Mom.
magoo waterritas2cm feetmagoopapakathryn

5. Books to read

6. Books I have read

These lists allow me to throw away many little scraps of paper and stop me from asking the questions, "What did we say we needed? Who gave us that nasty fruit cake ule log last year and how are we gonna retaliate next December?"

What lists do you keep and why?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I Hadeth been Thwarten-ed

ppposterSomewhere there was a clog in the pipeline. Somewhere between the executives at Focus Features and the millions of screaming female fans across the country, somebody clogged up the works.

We want repressed passion. We want it in our living rooms. We want it in widescreen and we want it yesterday. When Pride and Prejudice was released on Tuesday, I rushed to the store to pick up my copy.

Okay, I did a whole bunch of stuff around the house, took Magoo for his nine month checkup, wrote a blog post, played with my kids, fed them a meal or two, put them to bed, left them with Dan, did the grocery shopping and THEN rushed to the store to pick up my copy.

By 9pm on Tuesday night, there was nary a copy to be had. All the stores around here were sold out. I tried again and again throughout the week and NADA. Then on Friday, Dan the beloved husband found me a copy at Best Buy and the peasants rejoiced. I’m so glad he’s secure enough in his manhood to walk in there and demand his Pride and his Prejudice.

I have now shared the joy with Laylee a couple of times and if you ask her now, she will tell you how much she likes Pride and Predadiss. She especially likes the dancing where they all “dress up like princesses.”

I did not always have this love of the Austen. For years I resisted her Jane-ness. All the girly girls in high school LOVED her and I was so entrenched in my role as a tomboy that I refused to read her books or watch her movies.

jane austen centerWorking one summer during college at a camp in the Florida Keys, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and a great bargain bookstore a few islands away. I purchased anthologies of Dickens and Austen and read Pride and Prejudice for the first time as I baked and fried away my afternoons in the greasy kitchen.

I fell instantly in love with her writing style. She has such a dry sense of humor and such an amazing gift for sparse and witty dialogue. Her characters are so rich and appealing. I was actually disappointed that I liked her so much. I have always struggled against the mainstream, having to be literally force-read Harry Potter the first time because I didn’t want to like a book that had such a huge following.

I prefer to discover secret treasures.

jane and meBut, secret or no, there’s a reason people like Jane Austen and I’m very comfortable in my seat on this bandwagon. How comfortable? Well, here’s a picture of me gettin’ friendly with Jane at her museum in Bath, England – pronounced Bawth.

A shout out to the Jane-a-nator…and to Dan for sending me to visit her in England and bringing her to visit me in my living room.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Quando Quando Guy

bubleI think Laylee has her first crush. She has become increasingly impressed with the musical stylings of a certain Michael Bublé. Every time we get in the car, the radio comes on and she says, “I wanna listen to The Quando Quando Guy, the guy who says ‘quando quando.’”

She LOVES his duet rendition of Quando Quando Quando with Nelly Furtado. I’ll even play other songs from the disc and she says, “That’s the Quando Quando Guy! Why isn’t he saying Quando Quando?!

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s from Canada. Canadians are like that.”

Lately she’s been asking to "look at" the Quando Quando Guy while listening to him sing the Quando Quando song. This involves me handing her the CD case so she can gaze lovingly into his face and periodically laugh a flirtatious little laugh and say to him, “Oh. He he he. It’s the Quando Quando Guy,” and clench the case fast to her bosom.

tshirt2Speaking of bosoms, particularly nursing ones, I’ve been getting requests for plus size Daring Young Mom T-Shirts so I will do a separate order of the pink Adult Women’s T’s in various sizes, same price as the ringer T’s. Again, email me your size preference and when I get all the orders together the end of next week, I’ll send you payment information.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Doctors = No More Please

Phew! I made it through our medical marathon with nary a tardy on the family chart. In the past 2 weeks, we’ve been to the pediatrician 6 times, the ER twice, and a little visit with my therapist, just for a boost.

I also got a boost in the form of an Immunity Boost at Jamba Juice. When they asked me which type of “free” boost I wanted (I love when they call something free when you just paid $4 for some whipped bananas and pineapple sherbet), I asked myself the same question I always ask when faced with a major decision in life – What would I do if I were on Survivor?

Fiber? Protien? I don’t think so. Immunity please.

Well, they can take their Immunity Boost and gently place it where the wheat grass don’t grow because I’ve been fighting a raging head and chest cold for three days. (I was actually sick when I got the Jamba Juice and sort of hoping it would act as a life restoring elixir so I do not blame Jamba Juice or any of their subsidiaries for the large chunks of phlegm currently lodged in my body cavity.)

You’ve already heard about the ER visits and subsequent checkups so let’s give the HIPAA people a heart attack and divulge the rest of our medical history online.

Magoo’s 9 month checkup went well. He was so crazy, 90th percentile-like, and mobile during the visit that when the doctor left, she said “I’ll see you at his 15-month checkup.” I said, “Don’t you want to see us when he turns one in June?” She said she had completely forgotten that this wasn’t his 1 year checkup.

She recommended a book that she said contains a list of age-appropriate stages for boys, things that are annoying but "normal" because they’re male. It’s called The Wonder of Boys and I scored parenting brownie points by telling her I’d already picked it up at a garage sale for 50 cents but hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. I think it’s time to start.

My therapist told me it was fine to bring Magoo to my appointment this week. I haven’t been in to see her in months and either he’s changed a lot or she’s recently filled her office with objects of chaos and destruction.

He pretty much ransacked the place, eating dirt from her plants, finding an old balloon to suck on, smacking a small fan on the ground, turning on the fan, unplugging the fan, turning the lights off and on by unplugging them and plugging them back in, drooling on furniture, emptying trashcans, etc. She was very sweet and said it didn’t bother her but that our sessions might be more productive without him. I would be less distracted. Um, yeah.

Today we finally had Laylee’s 3 year checkup. She weighs exactly 30 lbs and is just over 3 feet tall. She appears to like the number 3. She did not like the shot quite so much, so we went for some consolation ice cream.

It was at the beloved DQ where I gathered evidence for why I would be the best person to replace Shannon as the Blogger Who Most Makes You Want To Have Kids should she be unable to fulfill her obligations for any reason.

dq8Laylee was dressed as the Snow White (named in part for her white beard and mustache of ice cream) with bright orange psychedelic-print stretch pants underneath and pink clogs. Magoo was an avacado-encrusted-melon-headed-jail-breakin’ specimen of the “wonder of boyhood”, knocking over ice cream and lunging repeatedly towards Laylee just to see if he could make her cry and drop her cone. I looked like a SAHM cliché, wet hair in a mommy-tail, no makeup and clothes just one step above pajamas (I seriously considered wearing the PJs and claiming The Plague as my excuse).
With all of this going on at our table, the DQ employee still could not get enough of Laylee and Magoo. She even went so far as to say, “MAN! I wanna have a baby so bad.”

Disclaimer: DQ offers no “immunity boosts” of any kind, free or unemancipated.