On Her Flying Trapeze

Monday, July 31, 2006

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner – Especially Not at BlogHer

Today, I’m catching up on all the things I missed at home, helping my mom move me into the new house. She is a whirlwind of productivity and organization. My Dad is a rock-star of building and home repair. Bob Veela should quake in his presence.

Please head over to parenting.com for my latest post over there.

The conference was a blast. I met amazing, intelligent powerhouse bloggers who have a passion for writing and are working through their blogs to make the world a better place to live. It was so fun, in fact, that Chris and I both “accidentally missed” our flights back home yesterday morning. I’ll be doing at least a couple of posts this week about what went down. I’ll try to focus on the things I learned that could be pertinent to the women bloggers who read my site and shy away from the ephemera of BlogHer, questions like:

Kathryn from Daring Young Mom and Kelly from Diary of the NelloWhy was our good friend Johnson’s baby repeatedly put in a corner? How did I end up with that tattoo on my arm? Can Kelly-Nelly be trusted to find fabulous cheesecake in the state of California? Why did Mir act as an enabler, allowing Chris and I to miss our flights? When asked on video if we’d been drinking, due to our extremely giddy behavior, did someone respond “I’m a little drunk, she’s Mormon”? (Apparently the two have a similar giggleular response.) Were we informed that this video will appear on the website of a major PR Firm?

Friday, July 28, 2006

If the Right Engine Goes First, All Passengers Shift to the Left Side of the Cabin in an Orderly Crossing Pattern

matchingSo, I’m on the plane, alone except for the totally cute non-couple sitting next to me... and all the other people on this completely full 2-hour-delayed flight from Seattle to San Jose. The couple next to me are wearing matching outfits, which they swear was not planned, neither are they a couple. Hmmm… Who goes on a trip, wearing khaki shorts and black t-shirts without a little advanced planning? When I say they’re not a couple, I know what I’m talking about because they quizzed me on it.

When I sat down, eavesdropped and then burst into their conversation, where they “realized” they were looking like twinners, they asked me to guess if they were related, a “couple” or what their relationship was. I guessed couple. They say “just friends” but they’re going to a garlic festival together this weekend and we all know how an experience like that can change people.

We are convinced (I can say “we” because I am also wearing khaki pants and have a black dress packed in my bag so I’m so totally part of the group now.) that our flight crew fully expects this flight to end in tragedy.

I have never heard a more detailed pre-flight safety presentation in my life. Flotation devices were demonstrated fully, along with instruction on how to partially inflate them if we were to make a water landing but were unable to escape through the standard exists for some reason so we would be able to fit through the windows, after which we should proceed to fully inflate the devices. Let’s just say that if I’ve gotta evacuate this booty out one of those airplane windows, there’s gonna be more than a life vest that needs deflating. They offered no contingency plan for this. Several contingencies were covered and the more detailed it got, the more it began to sound like the flight crew had just a little too much experience with crash water landings.

So, if I make it to California alive, I have officially been invited to a garlic festival by two hilarious people who say “This is the best part” when the engines fire up for take-off and “Engage” as the plane lifts off the ground. Star Trek quotes are fully acceptable when you’re sitting next to someone on their way to a “blogging conference”.

Heard over the intercom as we taxied prior to take-off – “Please keep your seatbelts fastened as we are about to experience a rapid drop in altitude”… Are we traveling to California via underground tunnel? I’m not saying it hasn’t been done before but to my knowledge this is the first time it has been accomplished in a 747.

Update: I have already met several amazing women whom I look up to. Chris has been wonderful and fun to hang out with and within less than an hour of arriving in California, I was able to meet Alice. She is amazingly sweet and down-to-earth. I spent a good portion of the morning stalking Mir. The more I meet these women, the more I want to read what they have to say.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

And I grow in excitement for my first sollow plane trip in 4 years.

I'll probably be checking in over the weekend so if you care to hear about my solo-adventures, please stop over for a visit. I'll let you in on all the blogging secrets that will change our lives forever. ;-)

Next week I'll be back with a timeline for the book discussion.

Blog out!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tip Tuesday - Small Talk

Being as I’m surrounded by short people all day, you’d think I’d be really good at “small talk” by now. Truth be told, what I’m actually good at is talking to small people. The other day, I actually asked one of my adult friends if she had to go potty.

Hoping not to make the same type of faux pas at BlogHer this weekend or actually ever again in adult company, I’d love advice on making small talk with strangers or new friends. How do you keep the conversation going? What are some great one-liners to pull out when you have nothing supercalifragilisticexpialidociously wonderful to say?

Here are a few tips for spicing up the usual dinner party conversation:

Instead of – “So, do you have any kids?”
Try catching them off-guard – “Dead chickens’ ghosts are haunting my new house. Do you have any thoughts on how I could wrangle them into the crawl space?”

Instead of – “You look really great tonight!”
Try personalizing the compliment – “You look so much better in person. South Beach Diet? Am I right or am I right or am I right? Right. Right. Right. Bing!”

Instead of – “You’re from Michigan? Do you know Amanda?”
Try drawing it out a little. The “do you know” game is always such a big hit. – “You’re from Michigan? I love Michigan! Start listing every person you know from there and I’ll tell you if they were my cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s college roommate or not. [wait for name] Nope. [wait for name] Nope. [wait for name] Nope”… hours and hours of fun

Instead of – “I’m Kathryn. Nice to meet you.”
Try to work on building an audience as well as a new friendship – “I’m Kathryn, the Daring Young Mom of dub dub dub dot daring young mom dot com, a hilarious little blog about this and that, my kids, yadda yadda page views per day. Nice to meet you.”

Instead of – “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. I’m a big fan of your work.”
Try to let them know just how much you enjoy their work – “I’m so glad I finally get to meet you. It feels like I’ve been living on your green leather sofa for months and months, right next to you, typing on your laptop, the iBook you just bought. That was such a good choice. I told you that, remember? Commenter #167. Good comment, right? I got like three hits off that comment. I looked up your address online but I’ve been too shy to send you anything? Can I send you anything? Or would that be weird?"

Okay now, what have you guys got for me?

Monday, July 24, 2006

It’s Monday

Most days we have a conversation like this at least twice.

Laylee: What day is it today?
Me: It’s Monday.
Laylee: But what is it TO DO?

I’ll tell you what it’s to do. From now on, Monday is to check out my new blog over at Parenting.com. Please head on over there and check out my new weekly project.

Daring Young Mom readers get a sneak peak of the blog that officially launches this coming Wednesday. Please show the love by going over and checking it out. Four other bloggers join me for what should be a fun weekly read.

In other news, the fun, lovely and talented Chris from Notes From the Trenches, the blog formerly known as The Big Yellow House, has launched a new blog at www.inthetrenchesofmotherhood.com where she talks about the joys and complications of raising seven children. More of Chris can only be a good thing so go take a look, every day, for the rest of your life.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Books, Books, Books

This fabulous post by Dandelion Mama reminded me that I was going to invite you all to read a book with me this summer. The summer is still scorching hot (It was 107 degrees in Karli’s backyard last week and don't ask me if I'm wearing clothes right now.) but it’s almost over so we’d better get cracking.

Remember when I asked everyone for their favorite book of all time or at least their favorite book at the moment? I’ve made a comprehensive list of them here.

From that list, I selected several books we could choose from to read together during the month of August. And here they are in no particular (besides alphabetical) order:

The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
A Circle of Quiet – Madeleine L’Engle
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – Gregory Maguire
The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
Freak the Mighty – Rodman Philbrick
Hold On To Your Kids – Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
The Known World – Edward P. Jones
The Ladies Auxiliary – Tova Mirvis
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
Obasan – Joy Kogawa
Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
Watership Down – Richard Adams

Click here to vote (You don't have to sign up for anything. Just close the window when you're done.) for the one you’d be most interested in reading and discussing. Also, please look over the big list of DYM readers’ favorites and leave a comment on this post if you have any fabulous books you’d like to add.

I’m about to embark on my first solo travel in over 4 years and am giddy with glee. Even harder than deciding what to wear is deciding what to read on the trip. I'll leave the voting open until Wednesday morning at 10:00am PST so I can get the book in time to read at the airport.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dear Unknown Seattle-Area Resident

At future outdoor family-friendly events, please keep your beer-drinking to the designated “beer garden.” If this is too much to handle, please remember not to leave your “almost” finished beer cup on a chair for my toddler to find. He is the little pumpkin-headed boy who spent a good portion of the day filling a bucket with dirt and pouring it directly into his mouth. I prefer the dirt to your backwashed yeasty sludge.

magoo points

Thanks. Have a great night.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

If Johnny Depp Were a Power-Puff Girl…

pirate3He’d probably live in a Happy-Meal box. Laylee says he’s a girl. We say okay. He can be a girl… a girl with a soul patch.

Is it morning yet? Laylee just asked. Nope. It’s still light leftover from today that hasn’t fallen out of the sky yet. You’ve been talking to yourself in your room and singing songs in strange undiscovered Jujubese languages for 1.5 hours. If you do it for 10 more, then it will be morning.

Our playdate was small but enjoyable, carrying an unexpected pirate theme. Magoo started us all off by falling in the drink and threatening to be lost to Davy Jones’ locker. What happened with him was one of the most frightening moments of my life as a parent so far. We were standing next to a large fountain with a pool about 2 feet deep. Magoo had his back to the pool and I watched him fall backwards into the water. He sank down to the bottom and in the three seconds it took me to pull him out, he was completely submerged with barely an entry splash. As I grabbed him, I could see him flailing, his eyes looking at me in panic, not a sound coming from the water. All I can think is, “what if I had turned my back to get a wipe and then looked back and wondered where he’d gone. As it was, it took him a few seconds to catch his breath. How ironic that only a few days ago, I joked on this blog about how it’s possible to drown in a teaspoon of water. WATCH YOUR KIDS BY EVEN THE SMALLEST WATERSOURCE.

After some enjoyable visiting, the kids got antsy for some vittles and we headed off to Mickey D’s where we also enjoyed some pirate-y fun. Noses and ears were pierced... with cardboard.
Strangely, although the happy-meal boxes claim that pirates like to eat fish, you only get a Pirates of the Caribbean game piece if you order beef. I know. Magoo ordered a fillet ‘o fish and they didn’t give him squat. The beef-eaters of the group all collected the same exact game piece which fit together not at all.

Also, what’s the deal with having happy meals based on a movie that none of the kids will be allowed to watch anyway? Captain Jack Sparrow as a stuffed doll? Next they’ll come out with a Tokyo Drift baby rattle for kids under 3.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Frozen and Feigning Child-Centric Ignore-ance

bominals9I can’t mop the floor because the duck-down curls on the back of Magoo’s head are too kissable. I can’t clean the windows or appliances because Laylee has covered them all in “bominals” (One day I hope she explains why she calls them this. However by the time she has the vocab to explain it, she’ll probably call them something lame like “post-it notes” and think I’ve lost my mind.)
It’s very easy for me to freeze in place and ignore the work piling up around me, in the name of being a good mother and spending time with my children. “Some mothers may have a spotless house, but MY children have an enjoyable childhood.” I really believe I did not choose to be a stay-at-home maid, but rather a stay at home mom and that my kids should come first. That being said, children also deserve a reasonably clean and clutter-free environment and they deserve an example of hard work and responsibility. They also have the right to be taught to work themselves and help create the ideal environment they reside in.

Today I tried to figure out why I’m really stuck here, having trouble plowing through the myriad chores that haunt every minute of my day. I do try but not nearly as hard as I give myself credit for. Like Laylee, I think that coloring “bominals”, chilling on the pool deck, having a dance party or playing Pla-To are much more fun than installing towel-rods and dusting cobwebs off the ceiling.

Here are a few of today’s excuses for my lack of productivity:

bominals41. I cannot do the dishes because my living room is too full. We are resurfacing the garage floor so my living room contains a mixture of all things garage and all the boxes that haven’t been unpacked. It’s a TON of stuff. You see, we Mormons are supposed to store things for emergencies. It’s not so much the FEMA-suggested-year’s-supply-of-duct-tape-and-saran-wrap-to-protect-your-home-from-nuclear-explosions-and-possible-terroristic-invasion kind of storage, but more the large-buckets-of-wheat-and-#10-cans-of-Jell-O-powder-so-you-can-eat-despite-nuclear-explosions-or-jobloss-or-famine-and-terroristical-invasion variety. (Note to self - do a Tip Tuesday about emergency preparedness soon.)

When the end is near and Super Wal Mart’s mighty shelves lay decimated, party at my house, featuring whole-wheat bannock and layered gelatinous salad. Anywho, in honor of your visit during the bird flu pandemic, I have approximately one ton of food and emergency supplies in my front room. (Okay, okay. It’s not ALL food storage. “The Church” did not exactly put a gun to my head at Sam Goody when I was in Junior High, forcing me to buy large volumes of cheesy pop music on cassette which I would still be completely incapable of releasing into the wild at age 27. Those boxes are in there too. And the yarn.)

2. Your piece-of-jerk well-written blogs, your cute kids and your little dog too. Seriously, please stop writing and so help me if anyone else with a great blog leaves a comment here or introduces themselves at BlogHer!

bominals113. Cactus maintenance. I did get them and yes, it is possible to cause their untimely demise. These babies need a tender hand and loving words to really thrive.

4. I cannot do yard work because when I go outside I have to supervise very closely the activities raging on the pool deck. Sometimes I need to plunge myself right into the actual pool to save the children. Did you know you could drown in a teaspoon of water? Yeah. That’s no good.

bominals55. I cannot hang the curtain rods because the cordless drill battery is charging. I am cool because I came into the marriage with our family’s first power tool… the FIRE STORM.

6. Once the battery stops charging, I cannot hang the actual curtains because no one has ironed them, the iron is too high for me to reach and the ladder is upstairs next to the charging battery.

7. I cannot speak clearly because Laylee just stuck a plastic fork in my mouth and I cannot remove the fork because I am typing this entry.

8. I cannot install the new baby gates I ordered because they ain’t arrove yet, and I may never install them because the case-of-bottled-water-reinforced hamper-gate is so attractive sitting in my front entry.


9. I cannot think of a way to finish this post so I will leave you with what I HAVE accomplished.

I managed to hang up the weddage,


the piece of Christmas décor I keep up all year round because I must be some kind of hippy,


the floating book shelf


and the ill-gotten train picture.


I have constructed a slide


and assembled a pool deck.


Now I'm wondering how long "we just moved" is a viable excuse.

Tip Tuesday – What Tip Tuesday?

playdohIt would appear that Laylee has started a blog without telling me. And her subject matter makes mine look like the slow bus of bloggage.

“Mom, I want to blog my Pla-to.”

Oh, really? He’s good, but I prefer Nietzsche.

Today for Tip Tuesday, I’m asking for some creative topics for future Tip Tuesdays. They don’t have to be philosophic masterpiece-type ideas - just things we all have burning questions about.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's About Time - Seattle Area Bloggers' Playdate

If you live in or around the Seattle area or feel like making the trek up here, Karli and I are planning a blogging meet-and-greet/playdate for this Thursday morning at an undisclosed location. We've already met some of you, but who couldn't do with a few more internet girlfriends?

Come and find out if I actually have a body attached to that floating head and if Karli ever wears shoes. If you're interested, email me and I will send you the details.

We'll be planning a moms-only dinner for later on in the year so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Not Much to See Here

Well, I try to cover it up most of the time.

We are really working on our religious punctuality right now. We have been really working on it for… going on 4 years. We improve a little and then we improve not so much at all. Then we slide back to “pathetic” on the scale of on-time-itude.

This morning I’m getting dressed for church, pretty much at the last possible second before we have to leave, and Dan looks at me incredulously and asks, “Are you dressing for church or are you getting ready for BlogHer?”

Well of course I was getting ready for BlogHer but I was getting ready for church at the same time, you know? The multitasking. The poor man thought I was trying on all of my carefully layed out conference clothing items for the fun of it right before we had to leave. This is not unfathomable but today I was not guilty of such a crime against punctuality and reason.

Today I wore the black dress I bought for BlogHer to church to test it out for any possible “wardrobe malfunctions.” I am a recently weaned nurser and… well… these things need to be tested when little black dresses enter the picture.

I know what you’re thinking – you test dresses for wardrobe malfunctions by wearing them to church? Yeah. It sounds strange to me too, now that I see it on the computer screen. Never fear. Everything stayed where it was supposed to stay, even with the mega-weaner doing his best to free the entrapped victuals from their black shackles.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Shapes in the Clouds

Last night I saw a fat woman dancing ballet with her eyes closed in the textured ceiling above my bed. I blinked and she was gone.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Can’t Touch This

I like to get down, especially when I’m driving alone in my car. For that reason, I have not yet burned to the ground the radio broadcasting corporation that took away my favorite Seattle mix station and replaced it with a station called “Movin our-commercials-show-multiple-people’s-butts-shaking-and-bobbing-around-in-circles 92.5-FM.”

The station is REALLY hit or miss. One minute you’ve got some Nelly crap (no, not that Nelly) and the next, you get some sweet eighties dance tune.

On the way to Target this evening, they were playing some steaming-pile song, degrading women in general, yet glorifying those who walk around in daisy dukes and bikini tops… and they couldn’t even turn a rhyme… HELLO!! If you’re gonna rap over a bad generic Hip-Hop track about all kinds of skanky skeez, at least do it with some style. I still won’t listen to you, but at least I won’t call you out publicly on my blog.

So I ended up with Delila who instructed me to “slow down and love someone.” I personally like to love people very quickly because then I have more time to love more people. Please do not connect this paragraph with the skeez mentioned above.

In the parking lot, two girls were standing by their car, huddled up together and looking nervous. One mentioned to the other how fast her heart was beating and I thought, “I wonder if they’re meeting up with their internet boyfriends for the first time tonight. How exciting and scary. Does their mother know?” This line of thought brought to you by my viewing of the movie “Drive me Crazy”, starring that teenage witch girl, a movie which I attended in disguise, lest I be discovered by one of my film friends and mocked for the rest of my college career. Incidentally, this film also started a chain of events which landed me at a Backstreet Boys concert with sparkles on my chest and corn-rows in my hair.

On the way home from Target, I was lucky enough to catch MC Hammer doing his stunning rendition of his original classic You Cannot Touch This on the posterior-shaking radio station. I car-danced like it was my job, and at 9:00 at night, it basically is.

On my post yesterday, creatively entitled “Dude.,” Anonymous said “You get a lot of comments, so what exactly are you insecure about?”

I think it’s time I come out with the truth. I am insecure about the fact that although, like the great MC Hammer I am “dope” “on” “the” “floor”, I am not, however, “ma”-“gic” “on” “the” “mic”. There you have it. My rap skills have been slipping lately. We have yet to christen the new house with a real, no holds barred, Daring Family Freestyle Rap Battle.

I feel your collective gasp before it escapes your keyboards and I am ashamed. If I ever find the Karaoke machine in the 6’ high stack of boxes that is my living room, I will remedy the situation. Then? Once I’ve brushed up on my skeelz on the microphonizzle, insecurity… she will be gone. Until then, it doesn’t matter how many comments I get or how many times Laylee bolster’s my confidence with questions like, “Mommy, can you please use some covering-up makeup? You have some red spots on your face,” I will remain insecure.


After reading some of your comments, I asked myself out loud, “Did I ask everyone to come out and tell me how much they like me? Did I sound like I was whining and trying to figure out a way to get more comments?”

Dan says “Yes.”

Apparently this – “It didn’t exactly work that way for me. I’m currently having a hard time getting more weekly hits than Chris’s old blog archives,” sounds very whiny. Reading it over this morning I’d have to agree. What I meant as I was blogging late last night was that my mind is boggled by Chris’s ability to keep readers on an old blog that she hasn’t posted to for weeks. She is a force to be reckoned with.

Um, sorry about that. I usually pick Tip Tuesdays based on things I think we can all relate to or would like advice about. I have gotten several emails from newer bloggers asking me for tips on how to increase traffic to their blogs. I’ve also read several entries from great bloggers who are threatening to quit due to lulls in traffic.

I was hoping we could brainstorm and all learn from each other. Truth be told, I’m continually in shock at how many people read and comment here on a regular basis. I get more feedback from smart funny women than I ever imaged when I started blogging 11 months ago.

Carrie mentioned that it is a good idea “to NOT DEMAND COMMENTS. If you blog to get comments but don't get any, something's wrong with what you're writing. It's not comment-able.” She’s right. I often read great posts that ARE comment-able but I'm just too lazy to comment or don't have anything useful to say. I am a major lurker and I think that's fine.

I’m sorry if I annoyed you guys by asking for comments today. I really thought that having people tell how they got here would be sort of fun and instructive. You are more than welcome to read any time and not worry about commenting. I can take it.

Angela left a comment about bacon, which of course caught my attention immediately. She is a major blogging guru of mine so I’ll repeat here what she said:

“I honestly believe the blog thing is SO hit and miss. When I write about bacon and brown sugar, I get a ton of hits and comments. When I write about my life? Not so much. It's a strange world out there. (I'm still coming to grips with the fact that people love bacon more than they love me. I smell good too, damnit!)

Then again, I don't think the traffic and comments are as important as the actual exercise. I've made this analogy many times before, but I think it bears repeating: It's a crime for children to participate in poetry contests. The important thing is that poetry is being written. And some of it is completely amazing. The gold medals and certificates don't mean a thing, and if a lack of recognition makes one child stop creating, well, it's a travesty.”

That really struck a chord with me. The exercise really is what’s important, getting my thoughts out there, having a creative outlet and feeling good about what I’ve written. It makes sense and it’s true but it really is hard for me not to wonder or care about readership.

Part of that stems from the fact that I’m working to transition to a professional writing career. If people aren’t reading or commenting, what chance do I have of successfully finding someone to pay me to write?

The past several months I’ve been working on not taking personal validation from how many people are reading and commenting. It’s similar to a struggle I had early on as a mother, where I found myself defining my self worth by how often others told me how cute or polite Laylee was. They’re both roller coaster rides not worth taking.

So what are your motives for blogging? What got you started? (Please feel no pressure to answer these questions. :) )

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tip Tuesday – If You Blog it, They Will Come

That’s the theory, right? You set up a blog, type out the deep secrets of your family-life, the inner-workings of your soul and thousands of people around the globe will flock to read your wit and wisdom.

It didn’t exactly work that way for me. I’m currently having a hard time getting more weekly hits than Chris’s old blog archives. So how do the Finslippys, Dooces, Fluid Puddings and Very Moms of the blog world do it? Where do all the readers come from?

First, every one of those women is a fabulous writer, with great insight and often amazing humor. So, start writing like an amazing professional and you may eventually be able to quit your job and blog for a living. Um… if I can’t even take my own advice, I’d better come up with some better tips than that.

Here are a few ways that I’ve met the awesome readers/friends that I’ve found through my blog.

1. Blog on a semi-regular basis. The more consistently I post, the more my readership grows. There is a certain level of awesomeness which you can attain where people will keep coming back every day or keep you on their bloglines just waiting and hoping for a morsel of your dulcet prose but I’m definitely not there yet. Whenever I take a break, it takes me a while to remind people that I exist.

2. At least once a week write a post that doesn’t consist of whining about how much your life sucks, how gross your kids’ bodily functions are, how insensitive your husband is and how all your friends are jerks. Sorry. Pet peeve.

3. Unwittingly create a scandal. If you don’t remember this, I’m not linking to it here. (Oh, and it only works if you create the scandal by accident so good luck with that.)

4. Read and actively comment on other blogs. I found one of my favorite blogs when I left a comment for Alice and Surcie followed the comment link to my site.

5. Register with various blog listings and directories. (Okay, I don’t believe this really gets you any readers but it’s a good time waster and they look so pretty all in a row on your sidebar.)

6. Make the summer end so the internet comes alive again. (Please don't do this until after August is over.)

If you have any great ideas to get more readers, please leave them.

Also, please delurk and let me know how you first found my blog. I think this will give us all a good idea of how in the wide web we REALLY find each other.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Getting to Know You

This is the best meme ever, which I discovered over at Catez’s website a while back. It’s a great one to get to know new people. Please feel free to email your answers directly to me.

What is your full name?
Kathryn Miranda Octavius Magooly Daring

What is your date of birth?
I could be a reincarnation of Elvis.

What four cities have you lived in?
Enchilada Town
I cannot count.

What four TV shows do you love?
The Office
So You Think You Can Paint My Garage – new reality show where slackers get voted ON to do more paint duty, rather than voted off
The West Wing
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

What four credit cards do you currently use?
Enchilada Town (Bean Miles Visa Rewards Card)
Canadian Express
Dude. We just moved into a new house. I use anything Home Depot will accept.

What are four credit account numbers assigned you, and when (month/year) do they expire?
Does it count as “expiring” if your Magoo sucks on them and then tosses them over the side of the cart?

Do you have four credit card pin numbers, and if so, what are they?

What does your mother's maiden name look like if you type it four times in a row? Frankenthandler

What are the first four digits of your social security number?

What are the last four digits of your social security number?

What number did you leave out of your nine-digit social security number? (That's your lucky number!)
0 – what a stupid lucky number. This meme is getting way DUMB!

What are the first four lines of your mailing address?
Daring Manor
57993 West Darrington Circle
Seattle Suburarina, WA

What are your four favorite banks?
My piggy bank
The banks of the Puget Sound
Secret Agent Cody
I’ll have whatever Dan’s having.

What are your four favorite bean dishes?
White Chicken Cilantro Chili
Uncle Brent’s Baked Beans
Refried Beans by Grammy
Papa’s Famous Fiendish Bean-Dish

What four people do you wish to tag with this meme?
Why stop at four? I would like all of my readers to fill this out as soon as may be. I would especially encourage those who make a combined annual income of over $300,000 to complete it, as they are richer and will therefore have more fun playing this game.

This information will be collected and used in any way deemed appropriate by aforementioned Daring Young Mom or her subsidiaries.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Enchiladas = Hospitality

All restaurants are called “towns” in our household. When we leave our little corner of suburbia and head to where the shopping is, I tell the kids, “We’re going to town.” Eventually that transformed into, “Hey, let’s go eat at town,” and finally last month as we walked through the airport, Laylee pointed out the food court by saying, “Hey! They’ve got a BUNCH of LITTLE TOWNS here!”


One of our favorite towns is “Enchilada Town,” Laylee’s name for any Mexican restaurant, most specifically the one down the street where everybody knows your name because your name is always Niña or Niño if you’re under the age of 23.

For a long time I wondered why so many Hispanic kids were named Niña. I was also horrified that anyone could name their daughter Hermana when I saw the list of “sister” missionaries in our church bulletin and it included a girl who’d gone to El Salvador. Hermana Leslie Pennington. I mean, Leslie’s a good enough middle name, but Hermana? That’s just cruel.

I am not so good with the Spanish but we love Enchilada Town because they’re so warm and inviting there. (Never mind that every time I say Enchilada Town, I'm reminded of this video.)

My husband’s parents and three sisters came up this weekend to help us move in and fix things around the house. We have worked them HARD. My goal this afternoon when they get home from church is to fabricate some semblance of hospitality to lull them into a sense of vacation-esque security before I hand them paint rollers tomorrow morning at early-o’clock in the AM.

My plan is to make chicken enchiladas for dinner this evening, despite the fact that I had to stay home with “sick” kids. Laylee had a fairly high fever last night and is now medicating with a healthy dose of animation therapy and play doh, not ingested, just “tasted” repeatedly.

Magoo’s not so much “sick” as he is “sick of” sitting still (yeah, right) for 3 hours at church every Sunday. 5 months till he’s old enough to attend the children’s nursery and we’re counting down the days. That kid is an adorable wreaker of havoc. Most women like to have the contents of their purse emptied out but there are always those select few who don’t enjoy sitting through Sunday school with a lap-full of tampons and chewing gum. To each her own, I guess.

So this afternoon, there will be food, fun, and everyone will be called something with an enyay. Tomorrow, it’s back to work!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Lake House – Not a Horror Movie

In the past I’ve reviewed books on this site but I don’t remember doing a full-on movie review. Since I’ve shared my English majorness with you, I think it’s time I whipped out my Film majorly skeelz.

Over-run with boxes, expecting company tomorrow to come help us get some serious work done, I decided the best course of action was to ditch my responsibilities and head out for a latenight movie with Karlita.

We decided on The Lake House, although every time we hear the title we both think it’s a horror movie masquerading as a Nicholas-Sparks-style chick flick. There was no horror. A bad cream turtleneck sweater on the ever-so well-postured Mr. Reeves, but no real horror to speak of.

We had our concerns about Keanu but he was not nearly as wooden as Al Gore in this role and even managed to relax his neck for two or three scenes. More disturbing to me was how Christopher Plummer begins to look more and more like Old Mrs. Harris from the Anne of Green Gables movies as he ages. And he seems to die a lot. In fact, he’s died so much in movies that I was surprised to see him in this one and playing a jerk too, not something I like to see done by Captain von Trapp.

lakehouse1There were a ton of people pretending to be a pirate (at the theatre, not on The Lake House – Arrrr). I know that sounds strange and it was. Several people were pretending to be one pirate. One guy was the eye patch, another one the pock-marked nose, while 5 other guys dressed up as the remaining toes. Okay, it’s late. But there were many many pirates at the theatre. For fear of having my deck swabbed or something, I restrained myself from taking pictures of them but I guess they were all lined up to see Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest triumph.

Can you think of any other producer who gets top billing above the director? Me neither. He smells of money so people show up. And he’s got The Depp, Legolas, and that really popular British girl with the long skinny neck who looks like Natalie Portman.

Anyway, we were not seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Revenge of the Guy With Worms for a Beard at 12:01am so we did not have to stand in a line stretching to the Karate Dojo, nor were we required to superglue a parrot to our shoulder.

We were required to buy matching “gourmet” pretzels with “cheese” sauce.


So, the movie is about Keanu Reeves dressing in Shabby Scruffy Lumberjack Chic style (which I find highly attractive until the turtlenecks begin to surface for the anti-climactic climax) and Sandra Bullock trying to convince us that she’s a very sad and haunted young doctor, the kind who went to medical school.

That’s basically the plot in a nutshell. The long version includes a time portal mailbox where they send letters back and forth across a 2 year time gap, sort of like that Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, The Love Letter, only in miniature. It ends with her doing something that would have stopped the whole movie from happening in the first place, except instead it brings Keanu Reeves back to her so they can kiss peckishly and walk off arm-in-turtle-necked-arm.

The final kisses are just not very satisfying. Never Been Kissed – great kissing. However that movie had the word “kiss” in the title. This movie was not called “Kiss at the Lake House” or even “Lovin’ at the Lake House.” I should be lucky there was any romance at all, since the word romance was also conspicuously absent from the title. I have to give credit where credit is due. The move most certainly did contain a Lake House.

It also contained great lines, just lame enough for Keanu to deliver perfectly, like “She’s more real to me than any of that stuff.” The stuff, yes, the stuff. If she’s more real than the stuff, you’ve definitely got a keeper on your hands, Ted. You should probably plant a stolen tree outside her luxury apartment complex in downtown Chicago. No one will ever notice it’s there… except the girl… and then she’ll be in love with you, ba-da-bing!

Now the writing in this movie wasn’t nearly as bad as Star Wars Episode II, which coincidentally starred that girl who looks like Natalie Portman, or was it HER look-alike? Anywho, the worst romantic line of all time occurred there, something akin to, “I hate sand. Sand is rough and coarse. But you are not rough and coarse. You (stroking her skin) are soft and smooth.” At least that’s the way Dan says it to me when we’re re-enacting and doing scene-work.

Speaking of posers, there was one good passionate moment in the movie. Never mind that it made no sense for Sandra Bullock to be making out with Keanu Reeves, whom she’d never met before, at her birthday party, being held at her boyfriend’s house, which she later denied, saying that only Junior High kids “make out.” Um, sorry, NU-UH. I make out all the time and Junior High? I was too busy collecting key chains and playing in the band to make out with anyone. Duh! Wasn’t everybody? I mean besides sad-for-no-real-reason-haunted-by-their-unexplained-tragic-past doctor-types.

Anyway, the passion, the slow dancing, the nuzzling = good, the kind of scene we look for in an escapist mom’s-night-out kind of movie. They were dancing to a song that Karli and I decided we liked. I said I liked it except for the fact that the guy singing it sounded like he was trying to sound like that one not-dead Beatle. You mean, Paul McCartney? Yes, him, not the train conductor drummer guy.

So it turns out the song is by Paul McCartney who is apparently so pathetic that he can’t even do a good impersonation of himself. But we like it and will probably buy the CD to recapture the moment, not the nose-nuzzling moment, but the moment in the theatre when we discovered who was singing and almost laughed ourselves into a seizure.

It may not be his fault. He could have recorded it 2 years from now… in the future. Everything sounds different in the future. He could be doing an impression of the 2006 version of himself. Karli figures if they have the time travel technology available to use in the movie, why not use it in the recording studio too, see if any of the audience members are ept enough to pick up on it.

I would definitely lift my left pinky toe for this movie. Thumbs? Not so much.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Unbearable Finality of Parental Momentum…

…to a child who knows the order of things.

We’re big on schedules at our house. The bedtime ritual is so set in stone that our kids know once things are set in motion, there’s no escaping it. You are on your way to the cage of torture and endless night dreamland the moment the first step of bedtime begins and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

What’re you gonna do big boy, cry for you mom? MWAHAHAHA!

Magoo has become so sensitive to it that when I pick him up in the evening and say, “Okay…” his bottom lip curls down and he starts the piteous wail that is his futile attempt to stay up late and watch me blog, a highly enjoyable activity around these parts. Really, people come from miles around to watch me type, mostly small children trying to avoid being put in the clink for 10-12 hours.

Alas, resistance is futile and the little dudes are snoring away upstairs while I attend to all things geeky and internetly.

And in recent Laylee lingo we get, “Mom, I love you, but I’m gonna put my shoes on,” and “I just don’t feel very special today.”
Me: Laylee, you are so special. Come here for a snuggle.
Laylee: Well, I don’t feel very special. I haven’t felt special for a couple of weeks now.

It would be heartbreaking if it weren’t so funny. I’m not quite sure what to do about that one, except squidge her until she feels somethin’, special or otherwise.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Modern Times

New House = New Address = Address Changes

Credit Card Recording: Para español, oprima número dos (that's what I heard anyway)
Me [oprima-ing nothing]
CCR: Hello. Welcome to Credit Card Central. I now have the ability to understand your vocal commands.
Me: Hm.
CCR: I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that. I’ll try that again. Please choose from the following menu options. To cancel your credit card, say “cancel.” To change your account information, say “change account.”
Me: Change account.
CCR: You’d like to change your account information? Okay.
Magoo [blowing into cardboard tube]: OOOwwwwoooooooooooooo
CCR: I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. Please select one of the following-
Laylee: Isn’t that chicken hat HILARIOUS??!!
CCR: I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. Please sel-
Magoo [blamming his head]: AAAHHHH. Waahhhhh!!!!
CCR: I’m sorry. I’m having trouble understanding you. Please-
Laylee [clapping her hands loudly right next to my head]
CCR: I’m sorry. I didn’t –
Magoo [opening the dvd player and attempting to snap the tray off]: Abagabagwakkawakkablabala aaaaooooooo
CCR: I’ll get someone to help you.

Thanks. I’d like that. Can she cook? Change diapers? Explain why Doc is the only “dwar-av” whose name is not an adjective?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This Post is For Me

It’s been a year and a month since the initial crash, the day when the harsh realities of despair and evil in the world became the only realities I could conjure up.

That means it’s been almost a year since I was patched, since a dam went up in my brain to stop the hemorrhage of anxiety, since the walls went up around my family to block out anything frightening, anything that would trigger an attack, since I became fragile.

And I do so well.

And occasionally I do so not.

And whenever I have a moment like I did this evening, a reason-I-bought-the-waterproof-mascara-even-though-I-can’t-get-any-solvent-to-completely-remove-it-and-if-I-wear-it-more-than-twice-a-week-it-looks-like-caterpillars-curled-up-and-died-on-my-eyelids kind of moment, I am more upset about the existence of the anxiety and panic attacks than I am anxious or panicky.

And I scare my daughter when I cry for “no reason.”

And after a year, I ask myself if I will ever be the same again… and I realize that’s a stupid question because when are we ever the same?

We move houses, we have children, we lose people we love, we walk down the street, we stay in the sun too long, we go to the bathroom, we live life for 3 minutes and we’re not the same.

I really wonder when I will ever be as good again, when I’ll ever be whole and I wonder what that means for a mother, a wife. In truth it seems that part of me leaves the room whenever Dan, Laylee or Magoo are not there. And I’m scared for them and I’m afraid of being afraid.

The more I have to love, the more I have to fear and this seems wrong. And I know I am not alone and I know how to bring peace into my life again after it barges out the door but I don’t want to have to restore it. I want it ever-present. I want what I made fun of Wayne Dyer for suggesting. I want the free-ride.

Then I look at the positive changes in myself over the last year and I would never wish them away. How do you learn to walk, run or eventually fly without first biffing it hundreds of times?

I’m tired of being sculpted; I just want a fairy godmother to poof me into perfection.