Friday, December 30, 2011


I don't know why Simon Le Bon didn't marry me. Sure, sure - he was an international pop sensation and married to a supermodel and I was a 12 year old gap toothed kid in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina, but we were soul mates. I knew it. I knew it every time I kissed his picture above my bed, as soon as my mom had turned out the light and moved a safe distance down the hall. I made out with a picture of Simon Le Bon while the Dallas theme song played in the living room.

At least, until the paper where his mouth was had worn completely away and he looked like a victim of some horrible mouth-erasing accident. I kissed a piece of paper so much that I effectively ate it away. That is kind of embarrassing.

Something similar happened with the 21 Jump Street-era Johnny Depp.
And Rob Lowe.
And Christian Slater.
And Val Kilmer.
And Kiefer Sutherland.
And, God help me, the lead singer of the country music supergroup, Alabama. At least it wasn't an Oak Ridge Boy.

Katie is just getting to the age where she's showing interest in teen idols, and I promise to never tease her about them. And if I find a picture with a hole where the mouth used to be, I'll just look away.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dumb Old Mom

The Husband has earned the nickname 'Captain Fun' with the kids, and rightfully so. He is the one who will jump up and shout, 'let's go for ice cream!' or let them stay up late, or play Guitar Hero with them when they should be cleaning their rooms. He is Captain Fun, and we love him for it. He's also The Voice, the one they listen to after they've been arguing with me. The one that shouts LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER RIGHT NOW from the living room and, magically, they do.

Henry, who will scream and yell and cry when I try to brush his teeth, will sit there passively, mouth wide open, while the Husband brushes.

It pisses me off.

He had plans to take the girls to the movies this afternoon. All morning, I moped around the house. I haven't left the house in five days. I guess I'll do some laundry. Maybe Henry and I will go to the grocery store. Finally, he looked at me and said, 'Why don't YOU take them to the movie?'

Immediately, Julia yelled 'Nooooooooo! Not Mommy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!'

Because where he is sparkle and glam and jazz hands, I am mashed potatoes and toilet brushes and giant panties. He is awesomeness, I am utility. He is Captain Fun, I am Dumb Old Mom.

I get it. I get that I am here all the time, and take care of all the awful stuff, like homework and baths and cleaning. I get that The Husband retains his novelty by working more than full time. I get that he makes the sacrifice of time away from them, and why shouldn't he be their preference when he's here? I should be thankful that they love him so. And I am.

But that doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel like a whiny baby because I want to be number one! I don't want to be dumb old mom with her rules and practicality and green vegetables.

The Husband has to remind me that there are times when they want only me. When they are sick. Or scared or lonely or tired. When they require tenderness. As Katie gets older, I've noticed a slight shift back to me - dads don't understand what it's like to be a tween girl. When Henry wakes up in the middle of the night and yells MAMA!, I take smug satisfaction in it. When Julia throws her little arm around my neck and squeezes tight and says 'you are the best mom, ever!', I believe her.

Sometimes I need to let them be irresponsible. I need to loosen up and relax and stop worrying about the stupid housework and if everyone's getting to bed on time. I need to take a lesson from Captain Fun, and shake things up a little.

I don't have to be Dumb Old Mom, at least not all the time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If Clothes Make the Man...

I rarely argue with my children about their clothing choices. As long as it (pretty much) fits, is clean, and is mostly weather appropriate, I'm down with it. There are a few exceptions - church, formal events, visiting dignitaries. But, generally, if it covers your business, you're good.

As a result, I have indulged tutus and creative coordinates, costumes as every day wear and repeated wearing of a favorite shirt. (Though at one point last year, I did suggest to Katie that if she continued to wear a certain shirt over and over again, she would become 'that kid', and it would be weird.) I am a big believer in expressing your individuality through your clothing. I'm the girl that wore green satin shortie pajamas to school my junior year (though I insisted they were 'lounge wear', and not pajamas. They were totally pajamas.)

The Husband does not share my couture liberalities. He had to run to the Large Home Improvement Store yesterday, and decided to take the two little ones with him. Julia ran off to get dressed, and I took Henry to his room to help him. They ran into the kitchen a little while later, and the Husband took one glance and said "They are not going anywhere like that."

Henry was in regular pants and a shirt, accessorized by his Batman/Superman cape (Batman side out, to better coordinate with his shirt). Julia was wearing a Minnie Mouse t-shirt, black capri leggings, and red cowboy boots. That light up.

They looked adorable.

And he must have known it, too, because he just sighed and walked them out to the car.

Our kids are not button down kids. They are not quiet or neat or matchy matchy. They are crazy and loud and fun, and everything they wear is a reflection of who they are. They are not polo shirts and oxford shoes. They are red cowboy boots, and they light up.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Linguist

My mother is a really fun person. She's the one who'd let us eat pizza for breakfast, or go without making our beds, or eat a bunch of candy then go to bed without brushing our teeth. She was the counter, in many ways, to my ball buster father.

But chances are, if you have a mom like that, she's also a little cracked.

One of my mom's most endearing quirks is her cadre of accents. Speaking normally, she has that flat, midwestern accent reflective of her Oklahoma upbringing. Every now and again, a bit of my dad's West Texas sneaks in. But having a normal conversation with her, you would not pick up a discernable accent.

Unless you are, say, a Mexican. Because then she starts talking like a Mexican, or at least how some middle aged white woman from Oklahoma who has difficulty pronouncing 'agua' would talk like a Mexican. More accurately, like an Oklahoman Mexican who was raised in Germany. "Ya?" she'll say "Can I get the car-nay asad-ya, with a side of hallepeynos, homes?"

(My mom can also never order straight off the menu. She always has to get something substituted, or on the side. She's never ready to order when everyone else is, and she always has a question about the menu. She is like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, but with a Mexican-German accent.)

She is a verbal chameleon, unconsciously picking up the accent of the person she's talking to.

Living here in the south, particularly the rural south, the accents tend to get a little thick. Even more awesome than listening to my mom at a Mexican restaurant is hearing her go all Reba McEntire on someone. "Laws, y'all! I done told them young 'ens to keep outta that fishin' hole!" (That might be a slight exaggeration. I don't know that I've ever heard my mom reference a fishin' hole.) She's a hairdresser, so chances are she'll have to switch accents four, maybe five times a day, depending on the nationality and/or regional dialect of her clientele.

Do you know what kind of skills are required to go from Southern to Mexican to Yankee to German, all in the course of a single day?

She is no ordinary woman. She is wunderbar. And loco, yo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where a phobia begins. Other times, not so much.

It was just a small hole. Down by the baseboard in my bathroom, to the left of the toilet tank, right next to the shut off valve.

"What did you do to the wall?" my mother asked.
"Nothing!" I swore. I was telling the truth. Eleven year olds don't always do that. My mother gave me the side eye, but let it go.

The hole got bigger.

"Mouse." my father declared from bended knee, peering at the hole and poking at it with one of his thick fingers. "I'll put out a trap."

I didn't like mice. I hadn't liked them since the nights I'd spent with my grandparents, listening to them run across the roof of the greenhouse, looking for bits of food and birdseed. I didn't like the idea of one in my Miss Piggy themed bathroom, with it's lavendar walls and pictures declaring "There is no one on the planet to compare with moi!" It was obscene, a rodent. It was gross.

It was attached to my bedroom.

My father put out a mousetrap. Every night, I would lie awake, waiting to hear the telltale SNAP. I would lie there, a barrier of stuffed animals surrounding my body, just in case the mouse should decide to come into my room and into my bed. I would lie there awake until the house grew silent and my eyes itched from sleep. I could hear the tick tick tick of the grandfather clock and it became the scritch scritch scritch of the mouse slowly eating its way through the wall.

I was certain I would never fall asleep, but of course I did. And when morning came, I would creep slowly into the bathroom, peeking through my fingers, trying to discern the shape of mouse beside the toilet. Morning after morning, the sight was the same - an empty trap.

And the hole grew bigger.

My father decided to switch tactics and get a 'humane trap'. It was a metal box, half the size of a loaf of bread. The mouse would enter to get the bait (it was always Velveeta cheese, the cheese known by people everywhere to be the choice of discriminating rodents), and then find itself unable to get out. Fully encased, unharmed, unseen.

The next morning, I walked into the bathroom without my hands over my eyes. The trap had been moved across the room.

My father began referring to the mouse as Willard. And the hole grew bigger.

One morning as we went about the business of getting ready for work and school, my mother came breezing through the kitchen on her way to the bathroom. "There's cupcakes in the pantry." she said. I had a special weakness for Hostess Cupcakes. As I took one from the pantry and put it into my lunchbox, I heard my mother scream.

She had gone into the hall bathroom, where my father stood at the sink shaving. She sat down on the toilet and reached across to the wall opposite where the toilet paper holder was mounted. A towel had fallen across it, and she tossed it aside and came face to face with Willard. But Willard was no mouse.

Willard was a rat. A giant, hairy, motherfucking rat.

My mother screamed and ran into the kitchen, her panties still around her ankles. My father soon followed, slamming the bathroom door behind him. My mother had jumped up on the kitchen table and I, knowing that the cause could only be Willard, joined her.

"OH MY GOD OH MY GOD MICHAEL! DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE THAT FUCKING RAT?" my mother is screaming. My brother, who was no doubt off lighting something on fire or selling pilfered cigarettes to the neighbor kids, came running in.

"OH WOW? A rat! A rat! Douche!"

Sometime around kindergarten, my brother decided that 'douche' was another word for 'cool'. My mother never bothered to correct him.

My dad leveled his stare on me. "Get my boots."

I ran downstairs to the bedroom and grabbed his heavy, steel toed work boots. He shoved his feet in them and then rummaged under the sink and pulled out a plunger. He stood before us in all his glory, our hero. My father, the rat slayer.

This would be a good time to mention that for my entire childhood, my father slept only in his underwear. This is forever my image of a capable man - wearing work boots, plunger in hand, shaving cream on his face, clothed only in tighty whities.

By this time, my brother has joined us on the kitchen table and my mother has stopped screaming. But with the first whack from the bathroom, Willard starts. The sound of the heavy smack of the plunger followed by the scream of the rat, interspersed with the curses of my father, was sickening. At some point my mother reached across to the kitchen counter and turned on the old radio she kept there. She cranked it as loud as it would go, and Emmylou Harris singing 'Pancho & Lefty' filled the room. All the Federales say... SQUUUUEEEEEE...they could have had him any day...SCREEEEEEEEEEE...

It seemed like an eternity, but I'm sure it couldn't have taken more than a few minutes. My father came out of the bathroom and got a black trashbag. My mother turned off the radio. My brother and I went to school and when I got home, there was a fresh piece of sheetrock over the hole in my bathroom. It was sanded and painted by the weekend and it was if it had never happened.

I have had the nightmare ever since, less frequently in adulthood, more frequently in times of stress. I am in my bed and, though the room is dark, I know that my Miss Piggy bathroom is only a few feet away. I can't move, and I can't see them, but I can hear them. Scritch scritch scritch as they eat through the wall. The rustle and shuffle as they make their way through my stuffed animals. And then I can feel them, they are on me, but I can't move and I can't speak. Then one is right next to my face and his nose is in my ear and right before he takes a bite of my fat little lobe, I say his name...


Sunday, December 18, 2011

O (Splendid) Christmas Tree

I blame it on the tree.

Of course, I caved. When the artificial tree that had been trucking along for the last decade finally gave up the ghost on Friday, and the Husband made his proclamations about substandard trees, he said to me - "I can get us a tree for fifteen bucks."

I told him if he could find a tree stand for free, he was welcome to get a live tree.

Saturday morning, he and the children went off to retrieve our tree, which would be - no doubt - some back lot model. Fifteen bucks, I was not expecting much. Two hours later, we stood back looking at the first live tree we've had since we've had children, and even I had to admit -

It is a glorious tree.

I undecorated the artificial tree and started stringing lights on the real tree. I would repeat The Husband's words many times over the next two days - "It will take an hour, tops." Three hours, a trip to the drugstore and an extension cord later, the lights were finally done.  Fake feathers and orange flowers don't lend themselves to a true tree, so I packed them away and decided to get creative.

The next morning, I popped two huge bowls of popcorn and the girls and I got to stringing.
 Predictably, Katie did about 10 inches of garland and declared herself 'done'. Julia managed about three times that, and Henry just came in and threw popcorn all over the kitchen. Somehow, I didn't even mind that my house looked like this all day.

And when everyone else had gone on to more important things, I sat, stringing popcorn. I didn't mind. And when my hands cramped up, I stopped and made ornaments. 
People, I do not craft. I don't know what came over me. I don't know if it was the smell of the pine tree or the sap on my fingers, or if the Husband had slipped some Christmas crack into my coffee. But I really got into it. 

I made these:
And these:

And, because I felt we needed a new topper, more in keeping with the new spirit taking hold, I made this:

I used a children's art book from the 1950s, because I loved the illustrations and the little bits of color. I folded and taped the pages together into a circle, then stitched the center together. I SEWED. Twice, in one day, if you count stringing the popcorn. I used the falling off cover and a couple of clothespins to secure the back and attach it to the tree.


Every year, the pile of presents grows larger. Our annual Christmas Eve party gets more extravagant. My stress level gets higher, and my Christmas cheer gets decidedly lower. 

This year, the present pile is much smaller. We decided against the party - partly due to time and money, and partly due to the fact that we found ourselves focusing too much on THE EVENT, and too little on our family. We have spent the past several months making a concerted effort to live more simply, and the past few days is the first time I have felt the difference. 

One week before Christmas, and I am not stressed at all. One week before Christmas, and I happily sat stringing popcorn in my pajamas all day long. That stupid tree is making me feel all warm and fuzzy and Christmas-y. 

I hate it when the Husband is so very right. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

O (Substandard) Christmas Tree

"The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of Christmas, and ours is completely substandard. And I am not having that."

Last year, the lights on the artificial tree started to go bad. We bought a little gizmo that fixed them right up, and so we rolled on, our artificial tree rocking for another year. Then this year, the lights started getting funky within a few days of putting the tree up. We pulled out the gizmo, and the gizmo didn't work.

Each day, we've lost a few more lights. The tree currently stands about 1/3 lit, with a week left until Christmas.

"I think we should go out and buy a real tree." The Husband says. I arch an eyebrow his way. "Just take the decorations off, we'll get a tree, and you can redecorate it. It'll take an hour, tops." he says.

"You are out of your fucking mind." I say.

Tonight, he gets a text message and looks over at me and smiles, "I think I can get a free tree."

"Oh, really?" I say. "For what?"

"This is bullshit!" he says, and then uses the line about the tree being the centerpiece of Christmas.

"We can just wrap some more lights on it." I say, because I know there is no way in hell it will take me an hour to un-decorate, then re-decorate, the tree.

"I'll take it all down and re-do it." He says.

Over my dead body. Decorating the primary tree has been MY job since we first got a tree, and there's no way I'm going to let him screw it up, with his plastic tinsel and popcorn on a string.

Then I'm sitting here tonight, looking at our pitiful, half dark tree, and I start thinking: Maybe that would be fun. Maybe I could let the kids spend a day stringing popcorn and cranberries and making paper chains and let them decorate the tree. What is happening to me? Have I lost my mind?

What do you think?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ah, the Life of a Thespian

It has been a big week for the SFC girls. On Monday, Julia was a Christmas angel in the preschool play about trees and families and red feather boas - I don't know, it was a little unclear as to what exactly was going on. But I did catch Julia's big line, delivered in typical Julia TOP VOLUME EXTREME LOUDNESS:


Brava, young thespian.

On Tuesday, Katie and the other 5th graders at her school graduated from the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education, for those of you not familiar) program. At one point, another parent told me, he looked out at all the children and took note of the bored expressions, with one notable exception - Katie. Who absolutely beamed the entire time. "Aren't you proud of me?" she asked me afterward. So proud, I said. I didn't say, let's talk again in 9th grade when your BFF is rolling up a doobie and showing you how to shotgun a beer.

They probably don't call them 'doobies' anymore.

I did notice something about 5th graders - either they are still very much little kids, all bony elbows and baby faces, or they are - like Katie - Amazon children. They have legs longer than mine and everything about them is getting thicker, and no one can find a pair of pants that fit. They all look old men, with their waistlines up to their armpits and their grown up teeth, still too big for their mouths.

They are adorably awkward.

Tonight was opening night for 'A Christmas Carol', as presented by the children's theater where Katie takes an acting class. The entire cast was children, from the age of 5 to the age of 18. They did everything, from stage manager to prop master, rearranging sets between scenes, and several of them played multiple parts. Katie was Martha (Bob Cratchitt's daughter) and Mrs. Dilber (one of the people who cast lots for Scrooge's belongings after his death). She was perfect. They were all perfect, even when they weren't.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is, in the story, a Bacchanalian figure - all mirth and merriment and enormity. He is, in this production, a wee boy of about 8. He summed up the entire show with one line:

"You have never seen the like of me before!" exclaimed the Spirit.

"Never," Scrooge made answer to it.

Never, indeed. What a wonderful show. What a wonderful week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That Sounds Delicious

I delivered four batches of sinful caramel rolls today, and responded to oohs and awes with the appropriate amount of humility. Oh, yes, it's homemade brioche. No, no big trouble. Only 3 sticks of butter. Just a few hours, really. Anyone could do it if they had the recipe.

Then I hesitate when they ask for the recipe. I consider leaving out key ingredients, or substituting salt for sugar. I consider changing the name of the recipe.

Sticky Caramel Pecan Rolls become significantly less appetizing when renamed Sticky Anal Gravy Rolls.

It's why those cookies are called pecan sandies and not nut sacks, and garbanzo beans are garbanzo beans and not faceless fetal baby heads. Snails are escargot because no one in their right mind would eat them otherwise, and rocky mountain oysters...well, you can fancy that up any way you'd like, but balls are balls.

Living as we do in a rural area, it is not uncommon to run across people who will admit to eating, and enjoying, all manner of woodland creatures. Squirrels seem to be especially popular out here in the county. I don't know what all a squirrel hunt entails, maybe enticing them into your backyard with one of those corncobs on a stick, and then hitting them with a shovel?

I'm not a very good country person.

The Husband has a friend who's going to get us a deer. But 'get' I mean 'shoot', though I prefer to believe that all meat comes directly from the grocery store, where it sprang forth from nothingness into neatly packaged styrofoam trays.

I might have a hard time if I think about it too much. If I think about that graceful animal prancing and overpopulating and whatever else deer do. Maybe instead of deer, I'll call it...chocolate.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hope In Heels

I stood in my kitchen just a few minutes ago, feeling completely overwhelmed. With baking and wrapping and planning, and trying hard to get someone -anyone- to answer a freaking e-mail. I stood there getting hot faced and weepy and indignant and thought, 'Shit! I also need to e-mail Glynis!'

I met Glynis several months ago, when the women from Triad Moms on Main and I approached her about doing a charity event. I liked her immediately, it would be hard not to. Professional yet warm, with an amazing dedication to her passion: helping women through Dress For Success Winston-Salem. I thought, it must be nice, being able to dedicate yourself to a charity.

Glynis doesn't just dedicate herself to it, she started the local affiliate from the ground up just 18 months ago. Relying on grants, a shoestring budget, and a handful of volunteers, Dress For Success Winston-Salem started suiting clients in August of 2010. They provide interview clothes, coaching, and a working wardrobe at no cost to women sent to them through social organizations.

Did I mention that In addition to running DFS, Glynis also has a full time job? And a husband and two kids? And, no doubt, just as much baking and shopping and holiday school performances as you and I do?

The mere thought of Glynis humbled me this morning. How often I complain about all I have to do, when there is always someone doing so much more.

You may have noticed the button to the left, where you can purchase tickets for Hope In Heels. We're hoping to get a couple hundred people together at The Millennium Center in Winston-Salem for dinner, a silent auction, and live entertainment from a local favorite, The Ardmore's. It's going to be an amazing night, and it's all to benefit Dress For Success Winston-Salem. Bring your partner, bring a friend, bring a whole group of friends...just come out and support one of the most worthy causes I've ever had the privledge of being associated with.

Ticket prices increase in January, so buy yours now. And wouldn't a night out on the town be a great gift?

If you're not local, look for a DFS in your area. They are doing good, every day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sell By Date

There is a reason that manufacturers put sell by and use by dates on food.

If you eat it past that date, you will die. 

It's really very simple, and it's a rule I strictly adhere to. After my weekly shopping trip, I go through the fridge and throw out anything that has gone past its date. Once a month, I go through and really get crazy, finding any errant pickles or salad dressings that may have been missed in the weekly purge. With a family of five, there isn't much that doesn't get used unless it's been lost behind leftovers, or was a suspect purchase to begin with.

(Not once has the Husband consumed more than one of a six pack of V-8s, despite claiming to "absolutely love them!")

I also hate wasting food, so if I see something is coming up on a use by date, I do everything I can to make sure it gets eaten. I currently have two days to eat 3 quarts of Greek yogurt. The rare exception is cheese - I will absolutely not eat or serve cheese that looks even slightly fuzzy. I was a victim of my mother 'just cut off the green! It's perfectly fine!' and the thought of moldy cheese is a grossness surpassed only by cheese that has gotten wet.

I would rather shoot fireworks off out of my asshole than eat wet cheese. 

Unfortunately, I've passed this peculiarity on to Katie, who was asking "What's the date on that?" to just about everything I pulled out of the fridge by the time she was five. She is a pathological milk-sniffer, and will no doubt grow into one of those annoying women who pull all the milk out of the dairy case to get to the one in the very back with the latest date on it.

Not that I do that.

My fear of expired goods extends to non-food items, as well, and especially medication. There is not a vitamin, aspirin, eye drop or stool softener that is safe from my scrutiny.

"I swear we had some Neosporin in here." the Husband said.
"Yeah, it expired." I sighed. "Sorry."
"Neosporin expires? Are you sure?"
"Of course it expires! Everything expires."
"Fine, I'll just put a Band Aid on it. Where are they?"
"Oh, they expired."
"Band Aids DO NOT expire!"
"Umm, yes? They do? The adhesive breaks down and they don't perform as well."
"Seriously? This cut is going to get infected and they'll have to amputate it, all because the Neosporin and Band Aids were 'expired'. I hope you remember that when I'm walking around with 9 fingers and I'm unable to pick my dirty clothes up off the floor and always put the toilet seat down, like I do now." *
"Well, I guess we could whip up some penicillin, I just tossed some moldy cheese in the trash..."

*This is where you realize the conversation is a total fabrication.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rebel, Rebel

I ran away from home when I was 14.

I was a freshman in high school, newly dating a good boy who was trying very hard to be bad. He was my first real boyfriend, and we spent a lot of time skipping school, hanging out with his loser friend, and watching movies. I wasn't allowed to stay up past 9 p.m., so this was seriously thrilling behavior for me.

The fun didn't last, of course, as teachers tend to notice when you don't come to school with regularity, and so they called our parents. My parents, being the hardasses that they were, came looking for us. I don't remember how we got the heads up, but we were going out the back door of loser friend's apartment as my parents were coming in the front door. My boyfriend broke his ankle jumping off the balcony. It was very dramatic.

He looked at me, I looked at him, and we said, "We have to run." It was clearly our only option. Plus, we had watched The Legend of Billie Jean like half a dozen times that month, and if there's one thing Helen Slater taught me, it's that fair is fair. That, and short hair is hot. So we took off.

Our first stop with the apartment of another friend, who let us raid his refrigerator and gather some much needed supplies. A bag of Fritos. A couple of wine coolers. Half a pack of cigarettes pilfered from his dad. I excused myself to the bathroom to do what I needed to do, namely hack off my shoulder length hair so I could go rogue. You can not go rogue looking like the Breck Girl. As I stood there with a pair of kitchen scissors, I changed my mind. Maybe I can just wear it in a ponytail. I cut my fingernails short instead, which is only slightly less badass.

We spend the rest of the day walking circles around the apartment complex, discussing how we might break into one and make a home there, or at least sleep overnight. It turns out we both had an innate fear of lawlessness, and were overly concerned with things like going to juvie. By nightfall, the Fritos were gone and we were hungry and only about 3 blocks from where we started. We were the worst runaways in the history of runaways. Bon Jovi even called me and asked me not to sing their song, I was such an embarrassment.

At 8 p.m. that night, we walked up to the gas station and called my boyfriend's older sister, hoping she'd give us some cash and some tips on not sucking. She was always a bitch to me; she said I wore too much makeup and was a slut. She showed up a few minutes later, looked at us and said "Get in the car." It was clear that she wasn't there to help.

Instead she took us to my parents house, where we spent the next several hours being interrogated. My parents had searched my room, read my diary, and knew all of my intimate secrets. They knew that I loved Simon Le Bon. They knew I wondered if I should start tweezing my eyebrows. They knew my friend Alice let me taste vodka at her house, and it made me throw up in the cowl neck of my sweater. It was one of the most awful nights of my life.

And so ended my 12 hours on the run. It was the first, and last, time I have ever lived on the edge...outside the law...a criminal. There will always be that dark side of me, just beneath the surface. There will always be the potential for aberrant behavior, the lust for rebellion.

Right now, I'm going to go tear the tags off all my pillows.

Don't get too close, you might get burned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So Very Interesting

I've been awarded the 'Tell Me About Yourself' award by the amazing blogger Word Nerd Speaks. It requires me to, well, tell you about myself. Seven things, specifically. Once I do that, Word Nerd bows her head because she knows that she's been beat, and gives me a shiny golden fiddle. Wait, no, that's the Devil. Regardless, I get to tell you a little about the fascinating subject that is me.

I'm stumped.

"What's the most interesting thing about me?" I ask the Husband, a loaded question if there ever was one.
"Most interesting?" he says. "There are so many interesting things about you."
"Like what?"
"Well, you know. You know a lot of words." his eyes are darting around the room, like he's looking for a way out. "Hey! Is that the baby? I'll get him!"

It looks like I'm on my own here.

1. I love books, maybe more than anything. Okay, maybe tied with food. My first recommendation to anyone looking for something to read is Kent Haruf. He has the most beautiful way with words and his characters are people you know, or people you want to. He is just an extraordinary writer, and if you've not read his books, you should.

2. If I had a dinner party and invited five living, famous people, the guests would be Anthony Bourdain, Dave Grohl, David Sedaris, Jon Stewart and Colin Firth. I just realized there are no women on my list. Sedaris is a compact fellow, I'd make him scooch over and make room for Michelle Obama, so she and I could talk about school lunches.

3. If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be carne asada. With corn tortillas.

4. I once participated in a contest where I won by frying up a bunch of chicken, then taking a picture of myself topless holding two chicken breasts over my own boobies. I also made a big penis and balls out of dryer lint. That's all I have to say about that.

5. My worst OCD behaviors are time centered. What time is it? How long will it take to get there? Are we going to be late? I have major anxiety if I'm going to be late, like elephant sitting on my chest, hot tears in my eyes anxiety. I stopped wearing a watch years ago, it's just too much.

6. I have, at different times in my life, been obsessed with Duran Duran, the movie Real Genius, Magnum PI, grilled cheese sandwiches, Carmex, The X-Files, and Miss Piggy.

7. I can sing, I can dance, I can cook, I can clean, I can diagram a sentence. I can not drive a stick shift, change a tire, understand anything more than basic math, or visualize anything spacially. I wish I could play the piano, speak a foreign language, and be genuinely interested in football.

The other part of this award is passing it on to 15 other bloggers. But I'm breaking the rules and passing it on to all of you. If you have a blog and want to make this a post, please link it in the comments here. If you don't, and just want to tell me seven things about yourself, do it! I want to know what makes you so very interesting.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Many years ago, before I had children or a house or a legally binding relationship, I had a job. The job was very important to me,and so I took every opportunity to prove my commitment. One year I volunteered to make all of the desserts for the company Christmas party. Nevermind that I had never made anything more complex than a chocolate chip cookie. I had seen Martha Stewart on television, it couldn't be that difficult. It was with that attitude that I picked up a copy of Martha Stewart Living and settled on the centerpiece for my cornucopia of holiday sweets - the creme puff tree.

No big deal. Make some delicate creme puffs, artfully arrange them in a tower, and cover the whole thing in a halo of spun sugar.

Four hours and a six-plus pack later, The Boyfriend found me sitting on the kitchen floor, teary eyed and shit faced, covered in sugar. The creme puff tree was more like a creme puff puddle. We showed up to the party with a hundred dollars worth of lovely, store bought petit fours.

Sometimes the easy way out is the way to go.

So here are my Top 10 Tips for a stress free, awesome holiday season:

1. Not everyone gets a gift. I kill myself every year making cookies for everyone I know. The mail lady hates me, why am I giving her cookies? Piss off, mail lady! I'll give my cookies to the people I really like.
2. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Santa. Jesus. Santa Jesus. Who cares? Isn't the bottom line peace and love and all that jazz? Peace is keeping your trap shut and enjoying the holiday, in whatever way you choose.
3. If you're counting calories, keep it to yourself. You're ruining it for the rest of it.
4. Get at least one person on your list something that will make them freak out with happiness.
5. If you're buying for a person who has everything, don't get them anything. Make a donation to an organization they love instead.
6. Give to your charity of choice. Give more than you think you should.
7. Do something magical.
8. Start a tradition. Something big (like going to see The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol on stage) or something small (like a holiday movie marathon).
9. Listen to holiday music. Sing along. Except that Christmas shoes song. No one should ever listen to, or sing along with, that song. It makes people homicidal, and murder is pretty anti-Christmas.
10. There is this magical thing called the internet. If shopping at the mall gets you all jerked up, shop online.

If I manage to follow all my own suggestions, I just might have the most relaxed holiday yet. I might even be up for trying another creme puff tree.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stupid Tired

By my best estimation, the last time I had a full night of uninterrupted sleep was the spring of 2006. Usually, I am able to function well enough (sometimes even awesomely) on sleep broken by babies chewing on my boobs, or toddlers with a need for water (or bathroom or music or a re-tuck), or big kids with nightmares. I have managed to push through for five plus years.

Until today. For what ever reason, five years of unrest caught up with me today. I have never in my whole fucking life been so tired, not even after those 12 hour workday followed by a night of drinking and dancing and puking. Not even during those first few weeks with the babies, when all they did is nurse and shit and cry and nurse and shit.

Never. Ever.

Some people might have locked their children in a safe room, threw some Cheerios on the floor, and slept. But I am not some people. Instead of being practical, I drank a big ass pot of coffee and said to the little ones, "Let's make cookies."

Here is the thing about caring for children when you are dead ass tired: You become completely apathetic. Mom, can I feed the dog these Santa gel clings off the window? Sure, whatever. Mom, can I take off all my clothes and diaper and pee on the floor? Hey, man. Be free. Mom! Can we make 8,000 sugar cookies and a huge fucking mess? Absolutely. Exhaustion puts you into survival mode - whatever it takes to keep them quiet.

Henry so enjoyed eating powder sugar off the counter. And when he pointed to the bag and said "More? More?" I gave him a whole cup full. Why not.
It's a good thing neither of the little ones know how to order things online.

We waited until Katie came home from school to decorate the cookies. She spread icing on one, ate it, then left. Julia decorated two and declared "You do the rest, Mommy." Henry ate four cookies and a cup of powdered sugar and was a maniac the rest of the day.

I was left with four dozen cookies to decorate and a disaster of a kitchen.

There is a lesson in all this, but I am too tired to figure it out.