Friday, November 30, 2007


My son and I were snuggled on the couch a few days ago, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. He had started to get a little picky with his dinner, but nothing serious. Then, somewhere between the ending where all the kids look up into the air and sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing (all breathing in unison, of course) and the next special, which had Rerun; he sat halfway up, turned to say something, and just ... erupted.

Let me just start by saying this. Pink mango-sugar-something-citrusy drink + big cheese sandwich + sudden nausea + absorbent foam couch cushions = not good at all. I think you all might appreciate me not using my descriptive narrative talents on this one. Let's just say that his clothes, my clothes, and two thirds of the couch were in the danger zone.

He's usually really good at making it to the bathroom but this one was, in his words, a "surprise puke."

I spent the next hour bathing him, comforting him, and disassembling the couch to remove the dripping portions. I spent the hour after putting him to bed trying to wash them, which turned out to be not possible at all without contorting my body into weird shapes while I bathed the cushions in the bathtub, because they have covers that zip down one side but not far enough to remove the cushions for some unknown reason (though I would be willing to bet the designer didn't have a five-year-old), and wouldn't fit anywhere else.

I cleaned up the aftermath, and somehow had it in my head that I would sit down and finish the writing I hadn't finished earlier that day. Sure. Instead, I got up every thirty to forty minutes to comfort David (poor little guy), and finally retired to bed, only to get up from bed every thirty to forty minutes. My husband got home after working late, around 3:30 a.m., and proceeded to waltz in, plop down, turn on a bunch of lights, and go about his business as if it were 3:30 p.m. I was less than charitable in communicating my opinion about this. Then I had to get up again with David anyway.

This is parenthood.

Yesterday, feeling much better, David pulled out the card above, announced that I'm the "Best Mom in the Whole Wide World," and hugged me for a good five minutes.

This, too, is parenthood. It's pretty great.

In related news, I just came across this video (it's been up for a long time; it's just new to me), of portions of the Charlie Brown Christmas special dubbed by the cast of the show Scrubs. A few parts, like the show, are not for kids, but I thought the clip was pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm it!

I've always sucked -- like big-time, industrial-strength vacuum sucked -- at tag. I'm a decent runner, endurance-wise, but slow. So I would perpetually be it, and my friends would get bored of the game and move on before I realized what had happened. The only reason I'm OK at it now is that my tag partner's legs are half the length of my own.

But here's a tag game I can participate in. Blog tag. Yay! Although, maybe I shouldn't be too happy, since I still have endurance (read: I'm long-winded) but I'm still slow (I was tagged a few days ago. I think that's rather a long time to be "it."), and I don't rightly know who to tag next, since most of the bloggers I know have been it already. But here you go anyway.

I got tagged by dirt, who is actually very clean, and whose online name I wish I had claimed first.

The Meme
1. Write your meme (described below).
2. Include the rules in your post (though you may reword them in your style).
3. Link to the person who tagged you, then link to the seven (7) random people you have tagged.
4. Let those seven (7) random people know they’ve been tagged by commenting in their blog. Also say something nice about the post so you don’t come off totally random. Say, on a blog about a dog’s death, you might not want to come in and go, “Hi! I’m all smiley and stuff! You’ve been tagged! Go to my blog! Yippie!” Instead, you might begin with, “I am so sorry about your loss!” Wait, maybe use a period there.

And now the meme:
Share seven (7) random and/or weird things about yourself.

* * * * * * *

1. Some things I've done: Won a school and then district spelling bee (and was eliminated one place shy of advancing to state; I cried); fired a gun (actually, a Glock, a 9 millimeter, and a rifle, and I wasn't too bad); hiked the Grand Canyon; dove off a cliff; been lost in the wilderness; and met Walter Cronkite, Jesse Jackson, Janet Napolitano and Bob Schieffer in the same day (I worked at the third 2004 Presidential debate).

Some things I've never done: Completed a cartwheel (I can do roundoffs, but not cartwheels); had a short haircut, tried drugs of any kind (I'm not as noble as all that ... I never wanted to, but more than that, I just never really bothered. Except for alcohol, and an incident with Tequila and Jell-O shooters that I'd just as soon forget.); participated in a physical fight (though I was "participated at" once or twice); whistled using my fingers in my lips; understood what those numbers they shout before "hike" mean in football.

2. I used to work with and around explosive powder. It is much, much less exciting than it sounds.

3. I am a science fiction and fantasy nut. I have never, ever come across sci-fi or fantasy stories, in any form, and not felt compelled to watch/read/listen to them. I am aware that there is good narrative and bad in any genre, and there is quite a bit that is quite bad in this one, and I think I am OK at distinguishing between the two (for instance, if Battlestar Galactica and Mansquito were to air simultaneously, I think I would be able to choose rather quickly). But I take it all in anyway (even Mansquito). I have read tens of thousands of pages, at least, of stories that take place in fantasy worlds. I often find them more instructive than "real-life" stories. I also quite like a number of webcomics, though I am trying to avoid them right now for fear of losing untold hours that I should be spending writing my own, nonfictional material.

4. I am an idiosyncratic sleeper. (My husband might use a different phrase, and not just because he doesn't use words like "idiosyncratic." I'm not sure, but I guess it might rhyme with "trucking train in the glass.") I've gotten better though; I used to be a constant sleep talker and sleep walker. I once woke up eating a danish. Another time, I woke up in the middle of taking a shower. I routinely awoke at various locations, into early adolescence, only to spend a good few minutes figuring out where the hell I was. Sometimes I would transport all my bedding to my new campsite -- I would wake up sleeping on my pillow, under my sheet, in the kitchen hallway, for instance. My mother installed a high lock on the front door, for fear I would walk out into the desert in the middle of the night. I would talk all the time too -- although that may not be surprising, seeing as how my father was the king of sleep talkers. (He once told my mom, very urgently, to Anchor the eggs! Another time he spun an elaborate story about high chairs and a trapeze routine in the living room. She alternated between messing with his head -- "Can you tell me more about that?" -- and groggy annoyance.)

Lately, my nuances are less dramatic. I cannot sleep unless my middle is covered, but my feet and from my chest up have to be uncovered. I can't sleep if my head is facing the open end of the pillowcase. And if the mattress feels like it's sliding away from the wall, I have to get up, get my husband up and vigorously slide it back against the corner. But he gets me back. It seems the sleep-talking torch has been passed to my spouse. Some recent gems from him: "If we get a unicorn..." "Now that's what I call a big check." "He won't stop tickling me." "They need to be at either end of the clothing rack [this in his most official retail-manager voice]." "How many alligators do we have to handle?" And a ton of others.

5. I don't know how to dress myself. Seriously. I stress very, very much about this occasionally, like at social gatherings and when I'm about to interview someone, or when I accidentally catch my reflection in a window, but generally just ignore it, since my five-year-old, my equally-fashion-oblivious husband and my computer don't much care. I've found that slightly form-fitting, solid-color tees and khaki pants of not-too-tight cuts work pretty well, so that's pretty much what I wear out of the house. Every single day. I own two pairs of shoes: a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers. I don't desire any more shoes. I went through a brief phase where I tried to get "into" shoes, because it seemed the image-conscious, "girl" thing to do. But I just wore the same sandals every day anyway, and all the other shoes I purchased -- the chunky-heel shoes (they were really popular, but I can't remember the name of the shoe), the rose colored strappy shoes, the red party sandals -- sat gathering dust. I haven't bought shoes in about a year. Now that my trusty sandals are worn clean through, I will. But only when I find the same kind. I also don't know how to do my hair, or my makeup. I haven't worn makeup for over a year, now. I'm very put-together, very groomed. Just not done up at all. I kind of wish I could go on that show, What Not To Wear, where they show you how to dress yourself. But I kind of think that would be more lame than not knowing how to dress myself in the first place. I could ask my mom, but she's never been able to dress herself either.

6. I am the absolute most disorganized person on the planet. With big things and little things. I have lost opportunities, money, all kinds of stuff because I can't stay organized for longer than a nanosecond. And I really, really try. I have about 140 pages written on my manuscript; good, solid, pages; but the story stops and starts again and changes angles and comes back around on itself so many times even I can't follow it all. And the manuscript is in pieces -- e-mails, Word documents, Wordpad documents after the Word documents got corrupted and turned into a bunch of rectangles, notes to myself creatively titled "notes" every time, so I can't distinguish among them. I just this morning put it all together, and it's going to take a lot of finagling and organizing before I know precisely where I am and what more I need to write. I would prefer writing another 140 pages to this organizing step.

But ... for some reason, I never falter with my son. I always know where his stuff is, where he is, what time things are where he's concerned, the names and ages of everyone he's met and where they rank in his estimation, the relative merit-rankings of his favorite shows and what day/time each one plays, how much of this or that we have left, but only if it's something he needs/wants. I figured this newly acquired ability to organize things, born of necessity since I won't allow myself to be an incompetent parent, would bleed into other areas of my life. It hasn't. It looks like parenting might be the only thing I'll ever really, truly be pretty OK at. I think I can deal with that. But I really wouldn't mind being organized, if only long enough to finish this project.

(Well, that one wasn't very random or weird. Sorry.)

(Only one more. W00t!)

(W00t is the only online-ese, acronym-type word I like. I hate all others. "BTW, I'll CU L8R, AFAIK. CTN, coz POS. But FWIW, I think ur PHAT. TBC, ur BFF." (If you readily understand this, please please find something to do, and I mean IRL.) I mean, what the freaking hell? What is wrong with talking? Or even typing, but in whole words, never mind whole sentences.)

(These don't count. They're parenthetical, after all. (Even double-parenthetical.))

7. Since it's a semi-theme among some recent memers, my person to do:

Actually, my husband and I are quite happy, and don't really mean it with our lists. But my theoretical person would have to be either Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson, on Stargate SG-1) or Tahmoh Penikett (Karl Agathon, Helo, on Battlestar Galactica). I told you I'm a sci-fi nerd. But come on. Sci-fi guys are hot lately. Plus, my husband favors Tricia Helfer, and all her varied Number Six incarnations on BSG, so it's all good. Not like I have anything to worry about. I mean, Trish and I are practically doppelgängers. Except for her flawless skin. And height. And body. And supermodel/acting career. And huge fan base. But our hair and skin color are pretty much the same, and she's from Canada, and I used to live near Canada, so yeah, there you go.

Like I said, I'm not sure who to tag. I would've tagged dirt, but there's no tagbacks, on the playground or the blogosphere. A couple of others have already been tagged; one even twice. And most of the remaining bloggers I know have strictly business blogs. But here are a few, some fairly new to me but a pretty good bunch. Check 'em out if you get the chance.

Hotash, who takes seriously awesome pictures.

Daniel over at Singin' & Singin'.

Leigh at Sanity Not Included.

David, who happens to have my favorite name, at his family blog.

Sphincter at Sphincterhood, who definitely gets points for the best blog name of the day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Half-clothed and surprised and sprinklous is she

Turnabout's fair play
Originally uploaded by khosey1
If I've learned anything in my year in this apartment complex -- other than the sound and gender (don't ask) of every stray cat, the sound neighbors make while fighting/making dinner/making love/taking a dump, or the fact that a mugger might take out my trash for me (old story, but you can ask; I'll tell that one soon) -- it's that if one is going to stand in one's living room, in a bra and with a face covered in baking confections, flipping channels and watching SpongeBob SquarePants with one's son; one ought to first close the blinds.

But let me back up. My life, as most of you likely know, revolves around a small set of activities. Playing with my son, going out in nature with my husband and son, and reporting on playing with my son and going out in nature with my family. That pretty much covers it. (I have the coolest job(s) ever, no?) So the other day when my son helped with the decorations while baking, I had to take a picture. He was a perfect model, of course. But he decided the next day that it was my turn to model for him. Not one to copy the pose, I plastered the sugary (and quickly-dissolving-into-paste, I soon discovered) sprinkles on my face and struck a pose for him, as you see above.

After allowing him to take a series of shots, the sprinkles were turning into rainbow goo on my face, which wasn't nearly as bad as the ones at my hairline, which had turned into this paper-maché-feeling goop of hair and water and sugar. I decided it would be a good time for a shower, and headed toward the bathroom, pulling my shirt off. David stopped me here, complaining that SpongeBob was starting on another channel and if he didn't catch it right now, life as we know it would surely end. I walked back out in a bra, which was a big, huge, sports bra number, comfortable and about as revealing as many shirts, so I didn't worry. But, it was clearly a bra, and it was at this moment, in this state -- wearing a red bra, gooey sugar sprinkles covering my face, hair wet and sticking up like antennae from my forehead, remote in hand and myself catching the first minutes of SpongeBob ("Patrick, I'm gonna blow the biggest bubble ever") that I remembered I had earlier opened the blinds and window to let in some air. The window looks directly into our living room, and of course it was at that moment that my neighbor walked by and did a double-take, and a triple-take, and a what-the-hell-take, before shrugging and walking into the laundry room.

I was scrubbed clean, and clothed, when she returned to fetch her clothes. I waved, and she waved back. But she looked pretty uncertain.

I'm baking a pie in a few. I think I'll remain clothed and unsprinkled today.

But you know what? David loves the picture. And that makes it more than worth it.

(Yeah, I'm getting cornball. I'm a mom, and it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. Give me a break.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The very final frontier

Someone who knows my family's affinity for all things Star Trek forwarded me a link to the company Eternal Image and one of their products today. The company makes specialty urns and caskets, currently offered styled in Star Trek, Precious Moments, The American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers' Association and the Vatican versions.

My first reaction was Weird. But then I thought of the "celebration of life" service we held when my father died. People wore shorts. We played Queen, Frank Sinatra, Hakuna Matata. We remembered and cried, sure, but we made light too. We laughed.

OK, I still think they're weird. But I can see people using some of these for those purposes. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have used one or wanted one for himself, but I can see my father grinning at the Star Trek and MLB products.

The cat and dog ones are kind of weird, though. And Precious Moments? Somehow very creepy. Making light or no, it just seems like "precious" shouldn't be ascribed to a vessel holding anyones' remains.

In the end, I guess, as long as the person's wishes are met as closely as possible, I would get a silly urn, or shoot someone's remains into space, or even put a bag over my head and get a Precious Moments casket. It's just a body, after all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


EDIT: This post seems to get the most traffic ... hello, new visitors! If you want to see some much-better stuff of mine, please visit more recent stuff like this post from when I was covered in black widow spiders, or this series of posts featuring photos of Arizona animals. I promise they're better than this!

I was talking with my husband the other day about parents medicating kids, and the pros and cons therein.

I mentioned that my parents struggled while making the decision to not medicate me for ADD, and that I was happy with it, even though I have a pretty non-small case of it, which has carried on into adulthood.

"You have ADD?" my husband asks.

Now, it didn't occur to me to think of stigmas associated with conditions, or anything like that. I was flabbergasted because, if you spend two nanoseconds with me, this news will probably come as no surprise. It was like him asking "You're a writer? Really? And a mom?" I don't revel in it, but like it or not, it's a big part of who I am day to day.

To wit:

You know that dream where you realize you're at school with no pants on? It really happened to me. I once forgot to put on my pants after P.E., and walked out.

I can hold my own against PhD physicists in logical debates, but my 5-year-old can now give me a run for my money at Blue's Clues Memory.

I interrupt my while talking to myself.

I plan the rest of my life, every Sunday evening.

In the shower, I often shave one leg but somehow forget the other.

I have written reminder notes on my hand, figuring it's the one thing I won't lose, only to take a shower and realize the reminder note has washed off.

I routinely begin to make an impassioned point, and between my rampant verbosity and my ADD, by the time I reach the all-important pivotal zinger, I've totally forgotten what it was. This is also why I don't tell jokes more than two sentences long.

I constantly forget why I went into a room once I get there. Worse, I forget which room I'm going to in mid-stride. Or, I have to stop and really think to figure out whether I was going into or out of the room.

My mom felt the need to hold my hand until I was 12 when crossing the street. Oh, that's right. Cars drive through there.

I'll go to put something away and on the way I see something else out of place so I stop to do that, but before I can do that I see something else that needs doing and the first thing never gets done. And I wonder why I can't get things done.

My cell phone has far more calls from my husband than anyone else, but not because he calls me -- it's because I have to call my phone from his to find it every single time.

I buy identical, cheap pens in bulk and scatter them on every level surface in my home so I can find something to write with when I need it. This leads to writing notes and messages on every paper or paper-like substance around (receipts, old pizza boxes, napkins, unopened mail, old newspapers, a big something-with-a-face that my son drew, magazine subscription cards.) These items now contain vital information and can never be thrown away. The can also never be found again.

I have a particular spot where I put the items I need to take with me each morning. I know that if I put one of the items ANYWHERE but the Magic Spot, I will absolutely and without fail leave without it in the morning.

Someone (I won't say who) pointed out to me recently (well, semi-recently) that I constantly use parentheses when writing articles, stories or letter (or just about anything). And I suddenly realized with a (and it's about time!) that not only do I interrupt other people, but I also constantly interrupt myself.

It's 2 a.m., I have to be up at 5 a.m., but if I go to bed now that would be ridiculous, because I might miss finding something on the Internet or hey, what was that book I was trying to find and wait, this show clip here looks really interesting, and then OH MY GOD is it really 4 a.m.? Okay, if I go to bed now, I can still get one hour of sleep, right after I read this blog.

When I'm baking I usually have to measure and remeasure before adding each ingredient, because I keep losing track of how many cups/teaspoons/etc. I've added.

I decided to finally clean my car the other day, because it looks like I've moved there. After bagging up several bags of either trash or take-in-the-house stuff, I panicked when I couldn't find my keys. After untying and rooting through most of the bags, I realized the keys were in the ignition because I had been listening to music.

And, I started this post a while ago, and abruptly abandoned/forgot it.

I just made you say underwear

"Mom! That lady getting in her car had the same pink lacy underpants you do!"

So we heard, from a classmate of my son's, during the morning procession from parking lot to classroom door this morning.

Walking hand-in-hand with my son just a few steps behind (and thus well within earshot), I mentally chanted: Please don't say anything. Please don't say anything.

"Mom? Mom!" he said in a stage whisper, audible throughout the parking lot and likely down at the street corner.

"Yes, David?" I said, not bothering to whisper.

"I'm not supposed to talk about things like underwear and butts and stuff until we get home, right?"

"Yes, David."

"But I can ask you about it then?"

"Yes, David."

At least he's trying. My son understands the impropriety of seeing and talking about "private" matters, but at the same time, we're trying to raise him with a healthy sense of the matter; we don't assign shame or the word "dirty" to anything. Hence, his tendency to usually, and I stress usually, follow the sanction against public panty discourse, and his utter lack of comprehension when Mom and Dad are red-faced when he slips up.

While none of us run around half-dressed at home, a recent fascination of his is bright colors and anything he considers "fancy"-looking. Lingerie departments have become an adventure.

On a trip to a department store, I went in the dressing room to try on a few items. The dressing room, like most, is located seemingly in the heart of the lingerie department. To get there, you go through a corridor of bras and nighties and shorts featuring SpongeBob SquarePants in places SpongeBob was never meant to be.

According to my husband, while I was in there, the dialogue went like this.

"Dad! Mom should have this!"

He looked over to find my son with a fist planted inside a fiery red satin bra.

"Mom doesn't need that, sweetie."

"But she would like it! It's like her other fancy red one!"

"No, that's okay. She doesn't need one. Try to be a little quieter, please."

"But she likes to wear her fancy red one! And she already has a pink one that's fancier, so the red one could be her new one."

"She doesn't need it, David. It's not even her size."

"What is her size?"

"Never mind. Just don't play with those, please. We're not buying any."

"Is Mom buying any?"

"No. Why don't you look at something else?"

"Okay. Hey! SpongeBob is on those underwear! Are those for girls or boys?"

"There's some for both. They have a kind for girls and a kind for boys. But these are for adults."

"Why? SpongeBob is a kids' show."

"I don't know. We're not getting any."

"So is that where the penis goes on the boys' ones? Why is SpongeBob right there?"

"David, I don't know. Please be a little more quiet."

At this point, I came out to ask his opinion on a pair of slacks.

My husband: "Hey! There's Mom! They look fine; they both look fine. Let's go." I got two new pairs of pants that day, with absolutely no discussion or protest.

A few days later, I came out of the bathroom to find David waiting patiently to show me something.

"My snake has babies, and they're using a lacy blanket!"

Your ... whaaa? I had no idea. All I remembered was that I had left the laundry on the couch to fold, so I figured he'd grabbed something out of there. It didn't really register.

"What, sweetie?"

He led me to the love seat, where he'd brought a stuffed snake he's had for a while. He had nestled the snake's midsection inside a particular intimate article of clothing, which is pink and is indeed lacy. Next to it was a neat row of tampons ... the babies.

We have a new rule. Except for laundry chores, no one is to touch anyone's underwear except his or her own. I never really thought I would officiously lay down such a law, but it seems to be working.

And the lady from the parking lot, according to my son's friend, had a "string coming out of her pants." Gotta love whale-tails in the elementary school parking lot.