Monday, December 29, 2008

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Sneer

Pin It The other day a friend called to apologize for offending me. It was really nice of her to worry. I was kind of touched that she cared. The only problem was that I had NO IDEA what she was talking about. None.

She was sure I was just being polite, and reminded me about a minor comment she'd made the night before - a comment I'd thought was mildly amusing, and not offensive in the least.

Unfortunately, I guess the look on my face after she said it was something akin to: "You have offended me, and now we are mortal enemies, and if I find a knife, I will plunge it into your heart at the earliest possible opportunity."

I explained as best I could that I honestly wasn't offended - it was just my face, getting me in trouble again. My stupid freaking face.

See, I was cursed with a natural frown. (Actually my dentist calls it an Elvis pout, because my mouth actually turns down a little more in one corner than the other, so I really don't just have a natural frown, I have a natural sneer. (BONUS.))

When I'm relaxed, or when I'm listening to someone talk, or even just watching TV, my face settles into a frown. For as long as I can remember, people have been coming up to me and telling me to smile, or asking me what was wrong, or encouraging me to lighten up - even though I was just sitting there thinking about dandelion fuzz, feeling mellow and dreamy.

Unfortunately, when you go around lost in your thoughts a lot of the time, and your natural expression is a frown, it MIGHT sort of look like you are constantly glowering at people. You MIGHT start to get a rep for being a critical, negative person. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T. It doesn't matter if you are or aren't. You LOOK like you are, and therefore, you ARE.

I can be at a party, and I'll say, "This is a great party," and I'll mean it. But if I've forgotten about my stupid sneer when I say it, people think I'm being sarcastic and wenchy.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Then, um, why don't you just SMILE more, you moron?!" But I try! Whenever I think about it, I smile. But I can't go around thinking about my face all the time. Because who does that? ("Am I smiling now? Now? Now? How about now?" Then I'd be even more nuts.)

The other day after my friend called me, I went into the bathroom to see how bad it had gotten. I stood in front of the mirror, trying on facial expressions.
  • I made my mellow, totally relaxed daydreaming face. I looked grim.
  • I made my "that's pretty funny, not funny enough to laugh, but you know I think that's pretty hilarious anyway" face. I looked like I was smirking.
  • I made my "I'm listening in a sincere way and trying to relate to what you are saying" face. I looked condescending and rude. The girls at book club must hate me, because that is my face. THAT IS MY FACE. CRAP.
But I CANNOT HELP IT. Just as my father before me could not help it. It's genetic. My friends and family know this about me. They know I'm not as serious as I look (I hope), and they (hopefully) look past it and like me anyway. But I wonder about all of the people who don't know it's a facial anomaly - who make assumptions about who I am based on what they see.

When I was about twenty, I went out on the lake with a bunch of my friends. I was happy and relaxed, but not particularly talkative. (There were new cute boys on board, and I was feeling bashful.) At the end of the day, two of my friends completely exploded on me, saying I'd been negative and hostile all day. Because I'd been quiet and frowny. The fundamental unfairness of the comment still eats at me sometimes. Because I was happy that day. I was so happy to be there - almost overflowing with quietly affectionate feelings for my friends. But they thought I looked stuck-up and rude, and they sat there all day resenting me for my imaginary attitude.

A while back I heard that if you get enough Botox, it'll freeze your face into an unnatural smile. An unnatural smile! What more could I ask for? I'm saving my pennies, and I figure by late 2011, I'll be able to afford the first round of shots. In the interim, I'm thinking I'll just staple a post-it to my head, one that says, "This is my mellow face. I realize it looks like I'm sneering, but I'm really not. It's just my STUPID. FACE."

And if you run into me on the street, or at the store, or in the library? Just remember - I might LOOK angry, but I'm not, I swear. I like you. I like almost everyone. I just LOOK like I want to kill you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The List

Pin It The bloggers who made it into the blogger book to benefit NieNie are shown below. Congratulations guys! I really want to thank everyone for submitting. There were hundreds of entries, and it was impossible to respond individually, but I loved reading the posts. Please don't feel badly if your entry wasn't picked. There were a lot of really great, funny posts that we couldn't include for space or theme reasons. (The higher the page count, the higher the publishing cost.)

The title I chose was Something Cleverish. It just felt right. Probably because I'm the one who said it. (HA! HAHAHAHA! Kidding. Sort of.) It was Green Jello's idea to use it, so - Green Jello? Here's your first link of the week. Everyone go visit her!

Here are the bloggers who are in the book:

Abby, Delusions of Grandeur
Adhis B., A Little Bit Adhis, A Little Bit A-That

Alice Bradley, Finslippy
Amy Lawson, The Lawsons Do Dallas
Annie, Regarding Annie
B., I Gotta B
Barb Cooper, So The Thing Is
Bev, Firelight Academy
Dalene, Compulsive Writer
Carina, The Jet Set
Crash Test Dummy, Crash Test Dummy Diaries
Emily Foley, Something
Eric D. Snider, Eric D. Snider
Erica England, Paper Buttons
Heidi, Hadleyesque
Heidi Ashworth, Dunhaven Place
J., Formerly Phread
Jami, Superfluous Miscellany
Jennie W., Beehive And Birds’ Nest
Jill, Thou Shalt Not Whine
Kate Hood, The Big Piece Of Cake
Kathryn, Daring Young Mom
Kristy Steele, Rabbit in the Headlights
LisaJane, She Talks
Marci Heugly, Heugly News
Mary, Becoming Mary Poppins
ME, Navel Gazing At Its Finest
Melanie, Big Mama
Nemesis, Voice Of Reason
Pam McEwen, McEwens
Randi, Is It Just Me?
Shannon, Rocks In My Dryer
Shellie Kendrick, Seriously Shellie
Sheriece Morris, More Morris Madness
Stacey, Tree, Root and Twig
Stephanie Walker, Laughing At Life’s Little Wedgies
Stephanie, Diapers And Divinity
TAMN, Seriously So Blessed
Tamra, It All Started With A Kiss
Topher Clark, The Jolly Porter
Tracey Gaughran-Perez, Sweetney
Wendy, Nothing Clever Comes To Mind
Whitney Ingram, Rookie-Cookie

If you were selected, PLEASE don't tell your readers which post you submitted, if at all possible. We want them to have to BUY THE BOOK in order to find out - so that we can make as much money for the family as possible.

I want to thank my blogger friends for helping me to push through the last batch of posts, and for helping me make selections. I want to thank the non-contest folks too - the bloggers I emailed begging for a post, because I knew they were funny and their star power would help us to sell more books and raise more money for the family.

And thanks to my husband, who I've been neglecting for the last two weeks solid, typing up a storm every night after the kids were in bed, barely acknowledging his presence. Love ya hon. Thanks for putting up with all of this stuff - the blogger book, the MSHR manuscript, and all of my related stressing. You're a rock.

I'm waiting on book proofs, and need to coordinate with the family on a few things, and then this thing'll finally be a go. Stay tuned - and warm up your debit cards.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Grateful

Pin It My house is a wreck. As of this morning, I have 162 emails to answer. (If yours is one of them, I'm really sorry.) I worked 14 hours yesterday, trying to get caught up with work that piled up during our vacation. The NieNie project languishes on my laptop, making me feel like a huge jerk (although a few awesome blog friends are going to help me get it finished). I have a birthday party to plan, a skit to write for the church Christmas party, and oh, right, Christmas shopping. Not to mention that whole chick lit manuscript thingie. (Let's not mention it, shall we?)

It's all worth it though, because our vacation was really wonderful.

We spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas visiting our families. We had Thanksgiving with his family on Thursday, and with my family on Friday - two days of pretty much non-stop eating and laughing. (Actually it was more like six days of non-stop eating. I think I gained ten pounds on the trip, no lie.)

On Saturday we packed up and headed to Los Angeles, and on Sunday we went to the beach and the Santa Monica pier. Even at the end of November it was warm enough to play in the waves.



On Monday, Marste (who works for Disney) met us at Disneyland. She spent an hour-and-a-half (at least) driving through a horrible CA traffic jam in order to meet us at the gate and let us in for free. I still can't believe she was willing to do that for us. I didn't know what to say, how to tell her how much I appreciated it and how touched I was, so I just kept compulsively hugging her, which I hope she didn't think was odd, since we were basically strangers. (But not anymore.)

We had the best time at Disneyland. The minute we got through the gates we hopped on the train and headed over to the Princess pavilion to let the kids dance with the Princesses (that's Sarah right there in front, practicing her curtsy for Cinderella).



We rode every ride imaginable. I highly recommend going on the Monday right after Thanksgiving. We've done it twice now, and both times there were almost no lines. We walked on to almost every ride.

In the early afternoon, we were all sitting near a candy shop on Main Street getting a sugar fix when Alice in Wonderland appeared, ready for a game of musical chairs.



A crowd gathered, and all of the kids who were playing were suddenly the stars of their very own show. Each time someone lost their chair, Alice made them get up on stage and tell a joke to the crowd. Luckily, Sarah and Abby have scores of knock knock jokes memorized, so they nailed it, the little hams.


I have to say - this gal wasn't just playing Alice, she WAS Alice. I think we are all a little bit convinced now that Alice does exist, and she lives at Disneyland. Which is just as it should be.



That night we watched the Christmas parade. I'm not big on parades - but parades you watch with your kids, that feature Santa, Mickey and the Princesses? Pretty awesome. We got to the parade route late, my fault - I kept insisting that we had time to go on one more ride, and my husband kept insisting we needed to find a spot or we'd end up watching the back of everyone's head instead of the parade. He was right. We ended up standing behind a bunch of extraordinarily tall senior citizens.

Luckily, one of the women noticed my daughters (my son was on his dad's shoulders), and asked if they wanted to stand in front of her, right on the curb. Thank goodness for grandparents. (Although honestly, I think she enjoyed watching my girls enjoy the parade as much as she enjoyed the actual parade. They were so excited.)



The whole day was magic, from the minute we stepped through the gate until the fireworks at the end. It's good to be home, but it was very good to go. I'm so glad we did.

video

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Would Just Twitter This If I Actually Used Twitter

Pin It What I Am Doing Right Now: Sitting in my car in the parking lot of an AT&T store in Las Vegas where there is free wireless, using the internet and despairing over the pages I need to submit to the agent by Monday, wondering why I ever thought I was anything other than a total hack.

A friend once told me that when she reads my blog she gets a mental picture of me running around like a chicken with my head cut-off, all scattered and ditzy, getting into trouble just like Cathy the cartoon character, all "ACK" and "ARG" and "BLECK" and all I can say to that is yeah, pretty much.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Super Hopeful

Pin It One thing I've learned about myself over the last few months is that I'm not bad at handling Big Problems.

Big Problems, like the bankruptcy, or losing the house, are not as hard as you might think to get through - all you have to do is just try to gracefully survive. Problem - Solution - The End. Triumph over short-term adversity and hopefully come out the other side a better, stronger person. Easy-peasy.

The reality of the daily grind of life is much harder for me to handle, because it just never ends.

If you've read my blog for very long at all, you know we worked things out with the bank and moved back into our house. We were so happy to be able to move back to the neighborhood we love, and the friends we adore. It was like a fairy tale.

The reality is less rose colored though. Don't get me wrong - we're so thankful we were able to keep the house, but the mortgage is incredibly high and it will always be an anchor around our necks. It was a sacrifice we were willing to make in order to move back, but it means that I have to work - a lot. Yes, it's from home, and yes it's doing something I enjoy - but doing anything for five hours a day and six to eight hours every night after your kids are in bed will get old pretty fast.

I've been feeling really grumpy and tired and overwhelmed lately - realizing it isn't going to end. For the next thirty years, I will always be pushing this rock up the hill. I try to stay positive and be happy (great husband, wonderful kids, at least you have your health, blah blah blah) but on a lot of nights, I just want to throw a tantrum because I'm so tired of pushing the stupid rock.

Tonight I was sitting on the couch with my husband, telling him I just didn't think I could do it anymore - something had to give. It was time to stop blogging, time to stop trying to write - time to give up everything but the things that were absolutely necessary to our survival.

I kid you not, I had my laptop on my lap, and I'd just tearfully said, "I don't think I can do this anymore," when I noticed I had a new email. I stared at it for a minute and burst into tears.

It was from an agent - a bona fide big-time literary agent. She read my crazy middle-of-the-night query email and wants to see a partial manuscript.

I can't believe it.

Who knows what will happen. Probably nothing. She'll probably read my partial manuscript and pass. That's what agents do - they reject stuff. So it's way too early to get excited.

Still. Hearing about it? Right now? Tonight?

It's something. It's really something.

You know what it is?

It's hope.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Worry-wart

Pin It
Kevin, Holly, Me, Mom

One day when I was about six, my four year old brother Kevin disappeared.

I'm not sure how long he'd been gone when we noticed, but I remember the panic I felt as we tore around the house and yard looking for him - a pit in the bottom of my stomach and a creepy crawly feeling on the back of my neck. It's funny how vividly feelings can stay with you.

Sure he was just hiding, I looked all over the place, carefully checking drawers and cupboards that were far too small for him to fit into - even checking in the silverware drawer, because you just never knew. He was tricky that way.

My mother was doing that thing where you are trying really hard to remain calm, but your anxiety manifests itself in the urgency with which you perform every action - almost slammed doors, clipped words, choppy movements.

In the backyard I yelled out, "STOP HIDING. Come out RIGHT NOW. You are in SO MUCH TROUBLE." And then I burst into tears, because where on earth was he?

We eventually found him around the corner, calmly sitting on a stranger's front lawn, watching with interest as construction workers across the street framed houses. He didn't understand all of the commotion - clearly he'd been right there the entire time. Why would anyone be worried?

I remember giving him a big relieved hug, even as he was struggling away from me. I was very upset by his laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing, and scolded him repeatedly on the way home. "I'm glad you're o.k., but don't you ever do that again, you naughty boy." He made a face at me, because I wasn't his mother, after all.

I don't think I let him out of my sight for days afterward.

When my older sister was fifteen, she ran away. I was in the bathroom getting ready for an early class at school, and when I came out, our bedroom window was open and she was nowhere to be found.

I remember wandering around the house, puzzled, looking outside, looking in the bathroom again, checking our room and our tiny closet. After about thirty minutes, I woke up my parents, who exchanged panicked expressions and sprang into the same quiet, tense, anxious activity I remembered so well.

Over the next few weeks, I repeatedly fought the urge to check silverware drawers and the tiny cupboard under the blue hutch. I remember posting flyers and fighting the urge to yell, "STOP HIDING. Come out RIGHT NOW. You are in SO MUCH TROUBLE." And then crying every night as I went to sleep in the room we were supposed to be sharing, because where on earth was she?

After she came back home for good, I had a hard time letting it go. I know in the after school specials they have that one big discussion about it, and then everyone is happily-ever-after o.k. with everything, but that wasn't what happened. I kept bringing it up, over and over again - "Yeah, well you ran away! For three weeks!" - hitting her over the head with it whenever we had the slightest argument. It seemed much easier to continually scold her for leaving than to tell her - I was so scared. I'm so glad you're back. Please don't leave again.

I wonder if she realized that my obnoxious, self-centered, judgmental behavior was actually poorly expressed worry, fear and love for a sister who I idolized in spite of all of our differences.

These days, when my children do something dangerous or especially foolish, I find myself needing to fight the urge to overreact. I may be absent minded and oblivious in the middle of the day-to-day stuff, but let them do something even slightly risky and it's an entirely different story. The caution signs in my brain start blinking and I let fear and anger completely run the show.

"GET DOWN RIGHT NOW! YOU COULD LOSE AN EYEBALL LIKE THAT! GET DOWN! I SAID NOW!!!!!"

- paired with the always handy -

"whatwereyoudoinguptheredon'tyouknowthatsdangerousdon'teverdoitagain"
"younearlygavemeaheartattacknowgetinyourroomanddon'tcomeouttillIsay."

Faced with anything scary, I totally freak. Unfortunately, any lesson I'd meant to teach about the danger of their behavior is lost, obscured by the dramatic delivery of my message. After all, watching mom's head spin around is way more interesting than thinking about what they've done wrong. A day later, they don't remember that time they almost lost an eyeball - they just remember that mom completely lost it.

I sometimes flash forward a decade, to a time when I'll have a 14 year old, 16 year old and 17 year old. It scares me. Not just the idea of being around so many teenagers (who terrify me on principle), but the idea that I might get stuck in continual worry-wart scolding mode, and that we won't ever be able to talk about anything important because they know mom will totally freak.

I can already see a future version of myself, stuck on repeat, worrying them into silence, and somehow I don't think the fact that I was born this way will be much of a consolation to any of us as they stalk sullenly out of the room.

ACK.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Raising My Kids Amish

Pin It For the most part, I'm not a strict mom. I tend to be pretty lackadaisical about discipline. I'll send them to their rooms for a punishment sometimes, but then I forget I've done it. They usually come out after a few minutes and tell me "I'm ready to be good now," and I nod and smile and try to remember what on earth they are talking about. (I tried using a timer, so that when it rang I would have to remember - oh yes, Abby is sitting on her bed. But mostly it would just ring and then I'd stare at it for a while, completely flummoxed about why I'd set it in the first place.)

Luckily they're pretty well behaved kids, other than being somewhat slow to listen and a little distractable. (My husband is very quick to point out that I don't get to complain about that, because it's totally genetic). Sarah's last report card said she was "a joy to teach," but needed to stop humming during class. That pretty much says it all.

Despite my somewhat absent-minded parenting, we've managed to mostly dodge the naughty children bullet. I mean, they're normal kids - they fight and get irritable and have periodic meltdowns - but it's mostly just normal stuff. (Although when my kids are tired - hooooo boy. The tears! The drama! The inexplicable rage!)

(Man. I wonder where they get it from! Ha. Ha ha ha!)

(Awkward silence.)

There ARE some things I'm completely a mean mom about though.

I only let them watch a half-hour of TV a day, and only on the channels I pick. My husband and I only watch TV after they're in bed, so for a long time they had no idea what commercials were. When my husband finally convinced me to unclench a little and let them watch something on Nickelodeon (Commercials! SpongeBob! The path to irreversible brain meltage!), Abby would cry whenever there was a commercial break. "They're stopping the show AGAIN mom! I don't like this show about Moon Sand."

Of course, this means they're complete suckers - they believe everything they hear on commercials. Abby and Sarah are constantly copying down toll free numbers for toys they see on TV, and then reminding me to hurry so we can qualify for free shipping. "We're not buying that." "But it's just three easy payments Mom!"

It also means that they have no idea how to use the remote. To them it's a magical stick that unleashes the power of the TV, but ONLY FOR MOM. Sarah's tried to figure it out a few times on the sly, but she never gets anywhere because she doesn't know the secret - you have to press the satellite button first or you're totally hosed.

In the car we mostly listen to the IPOD. When I lost it for a few weeks we had to listen to the radio. They had no idea what was going on. They'd hear a song and ask me to play it again.

Me: "I can't, it's the radio."
Abby: "Put on Nobody's Perfect!"
Me: "I can't. We just have to listen to whatever is on."
Them: (generally perplexed expressions)

I gave them a rambling and perhaps somewhat technically inaccurate explanation about the concept of radio - there's a guy sitting in a room somewhere who chooses what we get to listen to, then sends magic space waves out through the air until the song eventually arrives in our car - but all that did was freak them out a little.

We don't have video games either - I'm not morally opposed or anything, I just figure we have enough ways to waste time already. When Sarah went over to a friend's house a few months ago, the friend didn't understand how this could possibly be true. You would've thought she'd said she was an orphan. The friend bought her a Webkinz for her birthday with a note that said, "I hope your parents will let you use this. Tell them to call my mom and she will talk to them." (Because those Amish, they don't like Webkinz.)

I'm never going to win any awards for parenting - I'm a terrible cook, a very marginal housekeeper, and I get entirely too distracted.

Sarah: "Mom. Listen to me."
Me, staring off into space thinking about ponies: "Yeah."
Sarah: "Do I have to practice the piano? Or can I go play?"
Me: "Sure honey."
Me (two minutes later, noticing she's outside): "Hey - what are you doing? Get in here and practice the piano."
Sarah: "ARRRRRGHHHH!!!!"

So it's nice to feel like there is SOMETHING I'm doing rightish, even though I fully recognize there is nothing particularly magical about the half-hour limit we've set. Back when I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and an infant, PBS Kids was on constantly, and nobody was scarred for life, not even a little bit.

Anyway, I'm curious about what your TV/video game rules are? Where do you draw your lines?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How To Be Stupid

Pin It Usually when you're ready to start looking for an agent, you typically:

a) have a completed manuscript that has been edited and critiqued,
b) have worked hard to produce a well written and engaging query letter, and
c) have identified specific agents who would be a good fit for your work.

But - me, I'm a rebel. Here is the process I suggest:
  • Write a query letter at 2:30 in the morning, when you are sleep deprived and punchy. This letter will seem HILARIOUS at 2:30 in the morning when you are taking a break from writing technical documents, but not quite so hilarious in the cold light of day.
  • Email your hastily written query letter to a few of the top literary agents in the industry before you really think it over. Because hey - why not? What's the big deal? It's JUST YOUR FUTURE.
  • If you haven't actually finished your manuscript, that just makes the whole thing more exciting. Basically you want to set it up so that the best you could possibly hope for is a rejection.
I don't know. Sometimes I think I must have a brain tumor.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crocodile Tears

Pin It
A few nights ago my husband and I had a bit of a spat - one that was mostly my fault. He left and I stomped around the house muttering to myself for a while. I threw myself down on the couch and started flipping channels and eventually stumbled onto Titanic - the part right after they've hit the iceberg and it's all starting to hit the fan.

I'm not a huge fan of Titanic - I mostly just like the excitement of the ship sinking and the ensuing fight for survival, but near the end I always get misty (when that mother is reading to her children inside the sinking ship it kills me every time).

By the time my husband wandered back in an hour later Jack was already frozen. We did that thing married people do after a fight where you sort of glance at the other person to see if they are looking at you, and to see if they look sorry, or mad, or neutral.

He looked like he was tired of arguing, so I choked out an "I'm sorry," through my tears. The tears sealed it, and he came over and sat down next to me and gave me a big hug. I hugged him back and sniffled a little.

We sat there for a minute and I watched as old lady Rose tossed her diamond into the sea. (So dumb - give it to a charity or something Rose. Sheesh.) My husband looked at me, then back at the TV suspiciously.

"Wait a minute. Did you apologize because you were sorry or because Jack just died and you needed a hug?"

DANG it. He knows me all too well.

PS: Work allowing, I'll be announcing the entries that will be included in the NieNie book at the end of the week.
PPS: Please check out my friend Annie's latest project: Project Twilight

Friday, October 31, 2008

LOVE...... EXCITING AND NEW......

Pin It My husband keeps telling me that I should write about my own hopeless crush, but the sheer volume of crushes I talked myself into makes that almost impossible. I think I had a crush on someone every year of my life, almost always with semi-tragic results - a tradition that kicked off with Michael in the fifth grade.

I was such a boy crazy freak. I don't know where it came from. Maybe too much Love Boat. (Disturbing fact: back in the day I thought Gopher was "so fine." GOPHER.) (shudder)

When I was twenty I fell madly in love with one of my best friends and spent the next year covertly trying to make him fall in love with me. When that didn't work, I wrote him a long passionate letter explaining how I felt. He wrote me back - a very sweet note, saying that he loved me as a friend, but gently letting me know that it was not happening - now or ever. I read it, cried over it, then decided the note obviously contained hidden meaning. Instead of it meaning that he was not in love with me, which is what it said, it actually could be interpreted to mean that he was TOTALLY in love with me and if I waited around long enough, ALL OF MY DREAMS WOULD COME TRUE. It was all in how you looked at it, really.

I decided that what I really needed to do was step it up to the next level (the level of being completely insane). I repeatedly demanded that he participate in long conversations all about why he couldn't just go ahead and fall in love with me because DUH, it was SUCH A GREAT IDEA. I was pretty sure I could eventually convince him to fall in love with me if I was persistent enough.

Me: But we're so perfect for each other.
Him: I like you a lot, but I don't like you in that way. Please, please stop it.
Me: OK. I get it. I do.
Me: But probably I should ask you again next week, right?
Him: (jams pencil into his brain)

One late night I went to the home of the bishop of my YSA ward (translation: leader of a church congregation for young single people). When he opened his front door I was standing there crying my eyes out. He invited me in, obviously thinking there had either been a) a murder or b) some kind of spiritual crisis I urgently needed to discuss.

I told him I had a terrible, terrible problem that only he could help me with, and that I really needed to talk to him RIGHT that second. He invited me into his family room, where I told him (between sobs) that my life was over, it was OVER, because my crush didn't love me back and never would, and he was seeing someone, and how would I ever get over this, and what oh what oh what should I DO?

You should've seen the look on his face. That poor man. (Being the bishop of a singles ward must totally suck.)

I have to hand it to him - he did give the advice thing the old college try, telling me that the kind of love you have to convince someone to feel for you would never make you happy. This is probably where I should've had an epiphany and recognized the wisdom in what he said, but at the time, I just thought he was nuts. Because OF COURSE it would make me happy. It didn't matter how it happened, it just mattered that it happen.

If I'd been a Harry Potter character I totally would've been Romilda Vane, trying to make Harry mine by spiking his punch with love potion. As far as I was concerned the whole concept of free will was for suckers who weren't trying hard enough.

Man. I was nuts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Not Sure If I Wrote This or Just DREAMED I Wrote It, ONLY TIME WILL TELL

Pin It Yesterday I went to bed at 5AM and got up for the day at 7 and hallucinated aaaaaall day long.

Last week I was very frustrated with my primary tech writing client. They were having some accounting issues and my invoices weren't getting paid, and as much as I like the people who I was working with, the situation quickly escalated in my mind from 'small accounting glitch' to 'HEAVENS TO MURGATROID you people are RUINING MY LIFE, and if you don't pay me IMMEDIATELY, I will pack up my toys and go home.' And then I kicked them in the shins and ran away.

I was angry enough that I pondered taking a full-time tech writing job at another company, so I spent last Friday night at the bookstore preparing for an interview by reading about network routing and packet switching and Linux implementations and wanting to hit myself over the head with a very large frying pan.

I ended up not taking the new job, partly because it would have been an actual out-of-the-house job, which doesn't really work for me at this stage of my kid's lives, and partly because my client and I made it up over ice cream (yum, chocolate sauce) and a large boost in my hourly rate, but the boredom of those hours at the bookstore, hours of my life that I will never get back, got me thinking about dream jobs I would like to have.

PROFESSIONAL ICE SKATER:
I don't really know how to ice skate, but I just have this feeling that I would be totally awesome at it. Every time I watch the Olympics or the Nationals or whatever, I feel so sorry for the ice skaters because I know if I was an ice skater I would totally kick their trash. I can really feel the music in my soul and I think they would probably say things like, "WOW, she is so expressive and lyrical and dramatic. Look at her go!" Possibly there would be jazz hands involved.

LITERARY AGENT:
This one I think is kind of do-able. TRUE, technically I never graduated from college, and ok, FINE, I don't know anything about being an agent or about publishing in general, but it sounds like something I could totally do. How hard could it be? Quick everyone, send me your manuscripts - I will reject them just like all of those other agents, but I will do it with FLAIR. I will be like Query Shark, but not quite so grumpy.

LIFE COACH:
I would really like to be a life coach. I would teach women how to be awesome and the name of my company would be "YOU CAN BE AWESOME LIKE ME, INC." Lessons would include things like how to start a blog (people who blog are just generally more awesome than people who do not blog - this is a true fact), how to quickly eat a lot of various food products (TOTAL TIMESAVER), and how to become generally oblivious (oblivious people are WAY HAPPIER).

FROZEN YOGURT SALES CLERK:
I did this for a while back in high school and trust me when I say it was awesome. My friend Michelle and I worked at Suzie's Frozen Yogurt. I ate that place into the GROUND, I'm not even kidding. Whenever I go to Golden Spoon now, I totally scorn the people who are working there, because what do they know about making a waffle cone? In my day we had to fry our own freaking waffle cones. AMATEURS.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh Good Grief

Pin It I forgot to pick up my daughter from school today.

Wait, let me say that again.

I FORGOT TO PICK UP MY DAUGHTER FROM SCHOOL TODAY. MY KINDERGARTNER.

On Mondays they get out half an hour early, and I completely spaced it.

Luckily my friend Michelle saw Abby lurking around near the kindergarten playground, called me, and stayed with her 'till I got there (feeling like an IDIOT).

I thanked Michelle profusely, then started hugging Abby and apologizing to her. She really could not have cared less. She was off in her own little world, busy thinking about ponies or rainbows or something. (I was really lucky it was Abby - if it had been Sarah, she would've been on the ground sobbing in terror. "YOU FORGOT ME, YOU FORGOT ME." It probably would have been the defining moment of her childhood, something she brought up in therapy ten years later.) (I'm really, really glad it wasn't Sarah.)

I kept apologizing to Abby and she finally looked at me and said, "Mom, relax."

Well alrighty then.

Why is it that the things I'm pretty sure will traumatize them have no effect, and the things I'm pretty sure will be no big deal are completely traumatizing?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Operations Manual I'm Writing Is Slowly Sucking The Creative Life Force Out of My Brain - Somebody Heeeeeeeeelp Meeeeeeeeeee

Pin It ACK. I'm never gonna be done with it either. ACK.

I’ve been kind of annoyed with my work lately, because the engineers I’m working with right now – they’re not all that convinced that I’m actually smart. I’m a contractor, so I work with a wide variety of clients, and this is my first time completing a large project for this particular team. I'm not in the office a lot (I mostly work from home) so they aren’t quite sure what my deal is yet. I think they all just assume I’m some kind of lumpy little team mascot.

I’ll say something like, “I’m working to complete the operations manual for the system,” and they’ll all look at me like, “Aw, how cute. She thinks she understands what our machine does.”

Or I’ll put together a diagram and they’ll be like, “Oh look – she made us a little picture! Good job Sue!” as though I’m five and I just broke out the crayolas.

To be fair, they’re all really nice guys, and the environment is professional and respectful. It’s not blatant. They don’t mean to do it. It’s just the attitude of engineers in general.

Every single place I’ve worked, the engineers tend to think they’re a lot smarter than most of the other people in the room – usually because they ARE. They’re just used to it. And they’re used to people not really understanding what they do.

But that’s my whole JOB. It’s my job to speak engineer and translate it into normal person talk. I may not be as smart as they are, but I'm still smarter than the average bear. It takes them a while to get that though.

The most gratifying part for me is usually the day after they’ve read whatever I’ve put together, when they start looking at me with something akin to respect.

(No, that's a lie. The most gratifying part is totally the paycheck. If I could get a paycheck for just lying around doing nothing, it would still be completely gratifying.)

Still, condescension or no condescension, they are definitely my people. When I DO have to go into the office, it’s cool to be in an environment where they have NO IDEA if I’m fashionable or not. (I’m not.)

Here is ACTUAL SMALL-TALK from a meeting I attended a few weeks ago:

Marketing guy: Dude, you have a hole in your shirt.
Engineer: I know.
Marketing guy: You’re wearing a shirt with holes in it.
Engineer: So what? They’re just little holes.
Marketing guy: It’s time to get a new shirt.
Engineer: I love this shirt. It’s my favorite shirt. I’ve had it since college.
Marketing guy: You got out of school 12 years ago.
Engineer: So? It’s a really good shirt.
Me: It’s like an old friend, right?
Engineer: EXACTLY. See, she totally gets it.
Marketing guy (looking at my t-shirt and jeans): Yeah, I can see that.

THANKS MARKETING GUY.

(Marketing people are NOT my people.)

You know, I think I’d rather be negatively judged for my smarts than negatively judged for my appearance. I’m not sure what that says about me. Probably something dumb.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The NieNie Book Contest Ends Tonight

Pin It Hey guys, I wanted to remind you - the NieNie book contest ends tonight at midnight US Mountain Time. PLEASE don't forget to submit something if you've been thinking about doing it. If you submit something tonight you don't need to link to the contest (since it's over :>), but it would be great if you would talk about the book and let people know that it will be available to purchase in mid-November.

I'm so grateful to everyone who is participating, and I'm really excited to start making selections and editing the actual book. You can send your contest entries to sometimeslifeisfunny at gmail dot com.

Thanks guys - you're the best.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Whack Job

Pin It This weekend, I got my hair cut clean off. It's really short, but with some length on top. I kind of liked it, until I got home.

When I got there, Carter opened the door. He stared at me with an open mouth and said, "Mom, you look CRAZY."

I sort of laughed that off and came inside, then noticed Abby, who was giving me a look that I have not seen since high school - all full of contempt and scorn. She stared at me for a minute, then spat out, "You should not have done that," shook her head and stomped off up the stairs to the playroom.

Sarah was the worst, because I could tell she WANTED to be nice, but could not figure out what to say. She just stood there looking at me dubiously and saying, "Uhhhhhh..........." She eventually just turned around and went upstairs, because I think she realized no good could come of the conversation.

That left my poor husband. Once he stopped snickering over the children's responses, he told me he liked it. "It's nice."

Oh.

Great.

I mean, we all know that when you get a semi-drastic haircut, what you are really hoping for is for your significant other to tell you that it's "nice."

I was in a most excellent mood for the rest of the day. I had to restrain myself from passive aggressively muttering hair related things to the children - "Oh, YEAH Sarah, well at least I didn't try to cut my own BANGS."

The worst was later, when the children came in to my room where I was sulking checking my email, to tell me what they REALLY thought of my hair (now that they'd been coached by my husband). (Nice try honey.)

Sarah: "I like it. It looks nice."
Me: "You don't have to say that."
Sarah: "It's what I really think."
Abby: (continues to stare at me with disgust)
Sarah: "I love you mom. AND your hair."
Me: (looking at my husband) "Stop making them do this."
Carter: "Whack a whack a whack. They WHACKED you Mom. WHACK A WHACK."

I thought it looked o.k., but APPARENTLY I WAS WRONG.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY...

Pin It This may only be of interest to approximately twelve of you, but - ARG, I cannot help it, I must post this.

Here's a plot summary for the next Anne of Green Gables movie, directed by Kevin Sullivan, the hack who also gave us the atrocity that was the third Anne movie:
"Anne, now a middle-aged woman, is troubled by recent events in her life. Her husband, Gilbert, has been killed overseas as a medical doctor during World War II. Her two daughters are pre-occupied with their own young families and her adopted son Dominic has yet to return from the war. When a long-hidden secret is discovered under the floorboards at Green Gables, Anne retreats into her memories to relive her troubled early years prior to arriving as an orphan at Green Gables and being adopted by the Cuthberts. Still haunted by her early childhood, the impact of this difficult period has a far-reaching effect on this older woman, once she discovers the truth about her real parents. She begins a delicate search for her birth father." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1063034/plotsummary
She begins a search for her birth father? Gilbert is dead? She's haunted by her childhood? WHAT IN THE -

I am speechless.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Things That Are Making Me Grouchy

Pin It
  • I got in an accident today and put a crack in my front bumper. It would be deja vu, except that this time I was driving the brand new truck. SCORE!
  • Bonus: It was all my fault. I was watching the light, and it changed, and so I went, but the car in front of me? Did not.
  • I got four hours of sleep last night.
  • I have a large zit right between my eyes. It's gross, and people can't help but look at it, because it's RIGHT THERE.
  • The reason I have a zit in the first place is because I tried to wax my own eyebrows. Plucking was taking a really long time, so I got some over the counter strips, because really, how hard could it be?
  • VERY HARD. I not only aggravated the skin between my eyebrows, I literally ripped off the skin below my left brow. I have SCABS below my eyebrow now. It is NOT ATTRACTIVE.
  • The day I ripped my eye parts open, I had to meet with a group of engineers. My eye was totally swollen, and my wounds hadn't scabbed over yet. I looked like I'd been sucker-punched. The engineers were all concerned about me. I didn't want to tell them how I'd really hurt my eye, so I lied and said my son hit me in the eye with a softball. Unfortunately, since they are ENGINEERS, they were very curious and wanted to know more, like - how did a softball cut your eye, and why is there only swelling on the top, and how come your eyeball isn't all jacked up too, and after a few minutes I cracked and blurted out something like, oh for the love of pete, I WAS LYING, I WAS LYING, OK? They were clearly all thinking that my husband was responsible, so I had to admit the truth. Humiliation.
  • Now they all giggle when they see me and they keep sending me instant messages saying things like, "Hey, how's that EYE?" I'm guessing that this will not get old for them for a very, very long time.
  • My son has an explosive poo illness.
  • I have too much work to do and it's making my imagination die a slow, painful death..
  • My kids were dancing to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack this afternoon when "Thus Saith The Lord" came on, which is a really kind of awesomely scary and intense song, and so of course I pretended to be a blind zombie robot (as you do). My daughter thought this was hilarous and fun, and so, egged on, I added scary stomping and very loud crazy singing, which totally terrified my three year old. He burst into tears and sat on my lap, shaking. "You're freakin' me out Mom. You're totally freakin' me out."
  • Oops.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Blog Book

Pin It As you know, we're trying to put put together a book to benefit the NieNie fund, written by bloggers.

All proceeds from the book will go to the NieNie fund. We'll be self-publishing it through Lulu. (This is a no-upfront-fee internet publishing site that will take a small portion of the price per published book as their fee.) We'll also be offering it as an eBook, for those who want ALL of the proceeds to go to NieNie and who don't care about holding a book in their hand. The working title is "Sometimes Life is Funny."

So now - we need content! If you've always wanted to see your name in an actual book, here's your chance. I'd love to have you submit a post-length essay. The goal of the book is to make people smile - so everything from mildly amusing to laugh out loud funny is needed. Your essay can be about anything - a day in the life, parenting, marriage, dating, growing up, work - anything. We want everything from laugh out loud funny to things that just make you smile. We'd prefer new, unposted stuff, but we're flexible.

Here are the rules:
  • You must have a blog where you are currently, actively posting
  • It must be amusing on some level
  • You can submit using your blog name or your real name
  • It can't be something you've previously published, other than on your blog
  • It must be under 1500 words- ish
  • You MUST publicize the book and the contest on your own blog, and if you make it into the book, you must buy it
  • You must link back to this post AND the NieNie recovery site (http://www.nierecovery.com/) in order to spread the word about both (By the way, we need a button/graphic to use for the contest - if anyone wants to volunteer to make one, I'd be grateful.)
The deadline for submissions is September 30th, 2008. You can send your submission to us at sometimeslifeisfunny at gmail dot com. You don't have to be a mom, a woman or a mormon to submit. If you've ever written something funny, we want you.

If you've already emailed me or left a comment about it, thank you. If you're not sure if you are funny enough - don't worry! All kinds of things are funny. Just take a shot and submit. I can't wait to see what you all come up with.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Here Is What I Hate About Being Fat

Pin It Where to start.

1) In my head, I'm totally a blonde, blue eyed, 23 year old ingenue, and it always surprises me when I walk by a mirror, like, AAAAAACK! (That picture up there at the top of the blog where I look almost average sized? Outdated by about 25 pounds.) (It's been a stressful year, shut up.)

2) If you are me, which I am, you sometimes feel the need to make jokes about how fat you are, which is just a HORRIBLE thing to do to people. I mean, way to make everyone feel awkward. If they laugh, they're jerks, and if they don't laugh, then it's like they're acknowledging the truth of the statement. What are they supposed to say? "You're not fat?"

3) Yes. That is what you are supposed to say. Even if your friend is 350 pounds, if she says "I'm so fat," the correct response is a quick, automatic, "You're not fat," with a change of subject. Don't worry. You're not enabling her. The thing is - she already knows she's fat. CRAZY TALK, I know. And if you don't say anything, or if you say, "Here, let me give you the number for Jenny Craig," she will drive straight home and eat another gallon of Ben and Jerry's. And yes, I agree that true friends should be able to say anything to each other. Just - not that.

4) I don't appreciate it when my skinny friends give me dieting tips. If I bring the topic up, which I don't all that often, because HELLO, it's not like I need to call attention to it, they will sometimes (gingerly and in a loving way) try to give me weight loss advice. This is annoying because, HELLO again, I know how to lose weight. I've lost my entire body weight, twice (spread out over time, obviously - I'm not MAGIC). I've read every weight loss/healthy lifestyle book known to man. I know about lifestyle change. I know about exercise. I know about muscle mass. I know, I know, I know, I know. I KNOW! I just... ...really like to eat.

A Few of the Diets I've Been On: Weight Watchers, Body for Life, Atkins, the South Beach Diet, Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, the Rotation Diet, the Cabbage Soup diet, and the Diet Dr. Pepper-Fasting-Chewing Gum diet.

Once I talked to a doctor about it, and she actually said, "What you need to do is stop eating so much and exercise." And then on a little pad she wrote Eat less, exercise more.

I stared at her. "Holy mackerel. I have never heard this before. I think you may have just unlocked the door to weightloss for all mankind."

No, I didn't say that. Actually, I just muttered, "That's harder than it looks," which led to talking about my unhealthy obsession with food, which led to her prescribing me an ACTUAL diet drug - phentermine. It was AWESOME. I lost 40 pounds in eight weeks AND I barely ever had to sleep. I was so productive, I can't even tell you. My throat was hoarse from never shutting up, all day long. But eventually Dr. Jerkface made me go off of it, and I gradually gained it all back. (Big surprise.)

5) Highland doesn't have fat people, other than me. I'm SPECIAL. But I love all of my skinny friends, and I never judge them for being all fit and healthy and semi-obsessed with running triathalons. My heart is big. I do not discriminate against the fit. I love ALL sizes (even the 2s and 4s! See? I'm a giver!)

But it would be nice to have a fat friend. It's sometimes nice to have a friend who is fatter than you, so that you can feel like the skinny one. This is a politically incorrect but still true truth. I don't do this anymore (LIE), but when I was younger I cycled between normal and chubby on a regular basis, and if I was with a fat friend, I'd constantly assess our relative fatness, wondering "Do I look like that? Am I that fat? Is she fatter? Or am I fatter? Huh. I think she's fatter." And if my friend was fatter, I felt way more comfortable out in public, because, yeah, I might be fat, but at least I wasn't as fat as her. And then lightning would come down out of the sky and strike me dead, because MAN, that's awful.

But anyway. I feel gross. I've gotten to my gross set point, and I'm ready for a change. (Yes again.) (The folks over at the weight loss blog I started and promptly abandoned are all snickering at me, I know. But I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME.)

So - LIFESTYLE CHANGE, HERE I COME. WOOHOO. Yippee. I'm SO excited. or something.

And now I'm trying to figure out how to go about this, so what I'm wondering is - anyone ever eaten a tapeworm?

P.S. I'm KIDDING, don't send me gross pictures. BLECK.

P.P.S. Don't worry fat acceptance people, I'm not down on myself because of my weight. I know that I am STILL FABULOUS. I'm a basically happy person. My weight is not constantly on my mind (um, food however...). It only bothers me every third Tuesday, when my jeans refuse to zip up. I don't let my weight define me, blah blah blah. Whatever.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Have a Statue of You In My Closet

Pin It The manuscript I'm currently trying to beat into submission (so that I can start the long process of having it simultaneously rejected by hundreds of literary agents) starts off with the heroine dragging a friend along to help her spy on the boy she's in love with. They hide in the bushes and watch in comically stalkerish dismay as the guy picks up his thin and pretty date for the evening.

Did you know there could be comically stalkerish dismay? Because there can. The reason I know this is that back in my (oh so wild and crazy) single days, my friend Becky* and I performed The Stalking not once, not twice, but THREE times.

Becky and I were really good friends. People said we were kind of nuts, which at the time we took to mean, "Aw, they are delightfully quirky and eccentric and cute." But really, looking back on it, I think mainly they just thought we were nuts.

Becky had an enormous crush on this cute guy we knew who I'll call, oh, I don't know, Mike.

Mike was tall and friendly and hilarious. If we'd lived anywhere near an ocean, he would've been a surfer. As it was, he was a wakeboarder and a snowboarder and he was seriously cute. If Becky hadn't had a crush on him, I'm sure I would have picked up the slack.

Becky and Mike went on a few dates, but eventually Mike's interest kind of waned. We all still hung out together, but he stopped asking her out. He would flirt with her, call her late at night and generally mess with her head, but he didn't want to actually go out with her.

You see the problem, right? Sadly, Mike was just not that into her. This was before that was actually a recognized condition though, so Becky and I spent many, many, many, many nights discussing where "this thing with Mike" was going. I empathized my heart out over the situation, partly because I was in the middle of my own never ending, totally doomed crush on a boy who just wasn't that into me, either. (Jerk.)

One night Mike invited a girl he was seeing, Katie, over to his house. He was going to cook dinner for her or something like that. Becky was seriously bummed so we went out for ice cream. Because eating more food? TOTALLY THE ANSWER TO OUR PROBLEMS.

Anyway, we were driving around that night and decided it would be a good idea to drive by his house. Just once. Just to see what was going on. I was pretty sure Mike wouldn't remember my car. I mean, he'd only seen it twenty or thirty times and it was a very inconspicuous, thirty year old, bright orange tank of a Volvo. We were practically in stealth mode.

We parked down the street from Mike's house. We slouched down in our seats, giggling, and watched the front door for a while but nothing really happened and after a while we got bored.

Becky was seized by the desire to just KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Something was undoubtedly going on. Our lives would obviously not be complete until we knew what it was. So we did the only thing that made any sense at all.

We snuck around into the back yard of the house behind his and peeked over the cinderblock wall.

(For the record, Mike's neighborhood was brand new. A lot of the houses were still being built, or were finished but empty. The house behind Mike's was not occupied. So we were trespassing, but only technically. Are you seeing how that makes it all better and marginally less disturbing?)

Unfortunately, the blinds were partly drawn and we couldn't really see much. I could kind of sort of see the top of Katie's head, but that didn't really give us much information, and did not help to contribute to the intelligence we were trying to gather re: why Katie and Mike were sure to break up any minute now, so that he could come to his senses and propose to Becky.

We debated jumping into the yard to check things out, but that seemed a little TOO stalkerish. (It was good that we had boundaries, don't you think?)

At this point we were laughing and egging each other on and just kind of having fun and being crazy(er). We went back out front and walked across the street and down a few houses, then laid down in the grass so that he wouldn't see us if he came outside. (Since the grass was approximately two inches long, I'm sure we were very nearly invisible. We were BRILLIANT.) We laid there and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed for at least an hour until the door to Mike's house opened and we ran shrieking down the street toward my car.

Yeah. I'm sure he didn't notice THAT.

We thought we were so clever, but really, two chubby blond girls running down the street toward an ancient orange Volvo? In retrospect I'm guessing it probably wasn't that hard for him to figure out who we were.

But he never said anything, as far as I know. And it turned a really crappy night into a really fun one. Mission accomplished.

Man. You have no idea how badly I want to link to Becky's blog right now, but I think if I did that, and outed her, she would kill me dead with a knife.

But I don't think she should be embarrassed. After all, I'm sure you've all stalked someone before. Right? RIGHT?

No?

Just me then?

Alrighty.

*I realized a little late that my friend might not actually be o.k. with my posting this story for the universe to see, so I've changed their names to protect their privacy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paddling

Pin It We're dealing with Things this week.

There have been Workplace Injuries, which required Special Conversations with Very Important Officials and even a consultation with an attorney to make sure that Things Are Being Handled Correctly.

The people who are masquerading as doctors tell us that the injuries are Possibly Severe and Life Altering, but also Possibly Not Severe and Life Altering, and that really, it All Just Kind of Depends - on whether or not you consider things like running, and hiking, and bending over, and picking stuff up, and oh, I don't know, being able to perform the normal functions of police work an essential part of life.

I hate it when my life involves so many capital letters.

I'm hundreds of miles away from where all of these Things are taking place, so I'm mostly trying not to think about it - trying not to fret and stew over What It Means. Luckily, I'm incredibly busy right now, between my kids and the five tons of freelance work that's popped up over the last few weeks.

If you ran into me at Target or something, unless you're my mother or my husband I doubt you would know anything was wrong. I've become compulsive about looking on the bright side, and I'm not sure if it's because a) it really does make me feel better, or b) I feel like it ought to make me feel better, or because c) YAY, denial!

But the truth is, I'm kind of tired of Overcoming Challenges in a Positive Way. I'd rather just - coast along on the Lazy River of Being in a Nice, Calm, Boring Rut. Sign me up for some of that, please.

P.S. It IS possible to gain ten pounds in two weeks. In case you were wondering.

P.P.S. It's cracking me up that in the Amazon ad on my blog (scroll down on the right hand side), the showcased books are all by Stephenie Meyer. Apparently Amazon has determined that the readers of this blog LOVE Twilight. :>

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Confessions of a Sneaky Mom

Pin It 1. Sometimes when my kids and I are sitting at the piano singing together, I'll get irritated because I want to sing the princess part and they just want me to be quiet and play the piano. (Little princess part hoggers.) They have zero interest in hearing me sing. I might as well be dead. Or more accurately, I might as well be an electric piano.

2. When my kids are irritable and bored and at each other's throats, I sometimes like to help them bond by pitting them against me. I tell them to go clean the playroom and not to come out 'til it's sparkling clean. They'll angrily trudge in there, but a few minutes later I'll hear whispering and the sweet sounds of plotting. Every so often I'll bellow out "You'd better be cleaning!" and I'll hear them giggle because they are SO not cleaning. They get along independently for hours because, hey, THEY SURE PUT ONE OVER ON MOM.

3. Sometimes I put them to bed really, really early. There are days when it's either put them in bed early or completely lose my mind. It works out great because a) I'm not yelling, b) they aren't that great at telling time yet, and c) they're happy as clams playing in their rooms, thinking they've tricked me into believing they're asleep. If I need to walk by their rooms, I just stomp my feet extra hard so they have time to jump in bed and pretend they're snoring. (It almost makes me proud, what good fake sleepers they are. They do the slow breathing and everything.)

4. Cereal for dinner is not a rare occurrence, but that's ok, because it has 14 essential vitamins and nutrients. Or so I've heard.

5. Once, I read this article about how they are starting to think soft plastic toys might actually be dangerous, so I went around the house and bagged up all of the Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies and put them away in a closet until I could do more research. They found the bag when we moved and they were so excited about it that I've just - let them play with potentially carcinogenic toys. Because, wheeeee, cancer is fun!

So spill in the comments, por favor. What are your true mom confessions?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I feel like throwing up right now...

Pin It
All of the times I’ve imagined getting rid of the dog, it never went like this.

He’s been irritable and growly lately, his behavior moody and unpredictable, trying to run away each and every time we let him go out to pee. He's been snapping at the children, nipping them and growling. A visit to the vet revealed nothing, his vaccinations are up to date, and I’ve been at a loss as to what to do with him.

Suddenly this morning, he bit Abby, hard, unprovoked. It wasn’t a gentle warning nip. It was a hard, deep bite, leaving deep bleeding puncture wounds and a bloody scrape on her forearm where he swiped her with his paw after he bit her.

I agonized for a while, then called Animal Control. I didn’t do it lightly. I hate the dog, but my children LOVE him. But biting and hurting my kids? That’s where the line is.

They told me they would quarantine him for ten days, then give him to the county shelter, where he would undergo temperament testing (whatever that is). If they determined that he wasn't a danger, they would adopt him out to a child-free home.

I talked to the kids about it, but they’ve heard me threaten the dog so frequently that they didn’t really take me seriously. When the animal control officer showed up at the door, they all started to cry.

They were totally devastated.

I tried to explain it to them, how we couldn’t risk having a dog who bites, how I could never forgive myself if I kept a biting dog and something more serious happened, how my friend’s son was unexpectedly mauled by the long-time family dog and permanently disfigured.

They didn’t understand. All they understood was that the dog they loved so much was leaving, being taken away in the back of an animal control truck.

Abby tore away from me. She ran down the block after the truck, screaming for him to come back, please come back. It was awful - one of the most heart wrenching things I’ve ever seen or heard in my life. I carried her back into the house, inconsolable.

She loves that dog so much. She hugs him and loves him and carries him around and pets him and talks to him. She draws pictures of him and tells him stories and sneaks him treats and sings to him.

She was (and is) beyond heartbroken. She sobbed, “Mommy, please don’t let them take Wicket, please, please, it doesn’t even hurt at all anymore, he’ll be so good, I promise.”

They choked out questions in between sobs. “Is he coming back?” “Is he gone forever?” “Mommy, I love him, I love him, I love him.” “Please let him come back, Mom.” “Is he gonna be happy?” “Will they take care of him?” “Can he come back if he’s good?”

All I could do was hold them and stroke their hair and cry with them and tell them how very, very, very sorry I was. And I am. I’m so sorry. I'm devastated for my children, and especially for my Abby, who I found sitting by his crate tonight, weeping.

When she said her prayers before she went to sleep, she said, "And please bless Wicket to be happy and good and..." and then she started to cry again, and I had to lie down next to her and hold her until she fell asleep.

The horrible thing is that I don't know if I did the right thing or not. I tried to err on the side of caution, on the side of protecting my kids from harm. But I don't know if it was wrong or right. I just don't know, and I can't stop crying about it, knowing how much they are hurting, how deep of a gash I've inflicted on their tender little hearts.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why I Think Twilight Sucks, and Other Important Thoughts

Pin It WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE BOOK THAT IS CURRENTLY EATING THE MOMMY BLOGOSPHERE, TWILIGHT. If you haven't read it and don't want it spoiled, stop reading. O.k.?

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O.K.

Jessica (who I found through Stephanie) just confessed her true feelings about Twilight, and because of her bravery, I am ready to come out of the closet.

I read it last week. EVERYONE I know has read it, and most of them loved it. Since I'm a total romantic sap, I was expecting to love it too.

You guys... I SO didn't get it. I thought it was very meh, starting with the main character, Bella (otherwise known as the Queen of Meh).

(Ooooh, do you hear that sound? It's me, getting delisted from 50 Twilight loving blogs at once. But I CANNOT BE SILENCED.)

Ugh. She was so boring and stilted and dead inside. I kind of wanted to slap her. My theory is that Bella actually has Aspergers Syndrome and also a really bad inner ear infection that destroyed her sense of balance. Because, come on. She can't consistently WALK without falling? She should go see a specialist or something, right? Why didn't she do that? Why didn't her parents have her checked out?

She was very annoying and I didn't get the whole martyr thing. She's on a date with a guy who has admitted that he isn't all that sure whether or not he's going to SLAUGHTER her as the capper to their date, and she thinks it's exciting and romantic? The girl has some serious issues.

I thought she was dull. I didn't get why Edward would be interested in her in the least. I mean, other than his preference for her biological fluids. Which seems kind of a shaky basis for a romance. Plus, she kept reminding us how he was all cold and dead. Gross.

And then there was Edward himself. Pompous, stilted, fatally unhip Edward. I get that the author was going for a 1911 language vibe, but come on. He hasn't been in a COMA for the last hundred years, he's been hanging out in high school. I don't know if it's a good thing when the romantic lead reminds you of Kelsey Grammar. Or rather, would remind you of Kelsey Grammar if Bella weren't constantly reminding us about his topaz eyes and his muscled chest. Did you know he had topaz eyes and a muscled chest? Because he did have topaz eyes and a muscled chest. Did you pick up on that? It was subtle, you might not have caught it.

I hated how he told her what to do all the time. He was so controlling and kind of ambivalent about whether or not he was going to eat her. I was like, dude, take a stand. Just go ahead and eat her, put us all out of our misery. But he didn't. (Maybe that's book three, I don't know.)

There was no build-up to their romance. One day he hated her (because he was trying not to eat her), and the next day they were both in TRUE TRUE LOVE with extra stalking. I thought the whole watching outside her window thing was incredibly creepy. If he was human, Bella would be filing restraining orders all over the place.

I think the main thing that annoys me is this: I don't like it when the heroine is stupid. And Bella is. If I knew my boyfriend was a serial killer, and he invited me to come over and look at his knife collection, and I said yes, would that be amazingly romantic? Or just kind of stupid? But Bella repeatedly says she doesn't care if he kills her, because she loves him. Wuh?? Wuh in the wuh wuh?

I also didn't understand why her dad wasn't raising holy hell about letting her see Edward at the end. If my daughter freaked out after a fight with her creepy boyfriend, took off, disappeared and then reappeared with said creepy boyfriend in Phoenix, where she just happened to fall through a window and end up in the hospital - I don't think I would be encouraging my daughter to continue to date him. You know? Is it just me? Is her Dad supposed to be delayed?

Jessica thought it got better near the end, but I didn't. It was like Stephanie Meyer got tired of writing about their romance and just threw in a random evil vampire. Random characters who hop in late in the novel - not so scary. (I thought it would have been more scary if they would have pulled in the space vampire from Buck Rogers. Because that episode gave me nightmares for YEARS.)

I get it, some people like the whole bad guy thing, the whole "my love makes you dangerous" vibe. I guess I can sort of see it. I mean picture it, if you were married to someone completely sexless, like Mitt Romney or something, fantasizing about dangerous-romantic-vampires might be just the ticket. But for ordinary women? What is the appeal?

Clearly, there IS appeal in the whole dangerous vampire-romantic-fiction genre. I just don't understand it. (Other than Buffy and Angel. THAT I get. But they're completely the exception. I think it helps that he doesn't want to eat her.)

So please enlighten me. Did you like Twilight? If so, WHY? Why why why why why?

UPDATE: I've had to close comments. Not because of the conversation you see in the comments, but because I got a few pretty obnoxious anonymous comments (which I ruthlessly deleted, because I'm drunk with power) from people who obviously have even MORE feelings about Twilight than I do, and I'm not in the mood to deal with them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Flakes - Not Just for Dandruff

Pin It I'm almost completely unpacked. I'm down to living room books, bedding and laundry, if the box labels can be believed. (Bow before my crazy mad unpacking skills.)

This is possibly a new personal unpacking record. I credit a caffeine rush fueled by copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper and the fact that until about an hour ago, I had no internet. NO INTERNET FOR FOUR DAYS people.

It freaked me out to be so cut off. How would I get information? About things? And places? And hours things were open? And locations of stuff? What if I urgently needed to post something on Craigslist?

I needed some information last night and I couldn't find it in the phone book. I had no idea what to do. I paced for a while. I talked to myself. I repeatedly tried to bring up Google on my computer, on the off-chance that the internet might be working, sighing each time I saw the PAGE NOT FOUND error. "Would you look at that," I would mutter in surprise, "I don't have internet."

It was a frightening time. I'm glad it's over, but I think it was kind of good to unhook the internet IV for a couple of days. It was kind of cleansing, like a good enema.

(Um. I've never actually HAD an enema. It just sounded funny.)

(I just thought I should clarify.)

(Because I don't want you all sitting there thinking about me having an enema. That's just not a mental picture anyone should have.)

(So I should probably stop talking about it, don't you think?)

It feels so good to be home. Tonight I let my kids stay out until long past their bedtime. It was a beautiful night and they were having so much fun with a gang of neighborhood kids. I was making brownies (so domestic) (also, no internet) and had the screen door open. I could hear them all out there playing some kind of game on the trampoline - with much laughing and giggling and shrieking and carrying on. It was music to my ears.

I was a little surprised to realize that I'm kind of embarrassed about the whole fiasco. I didn't think I would be, but I am. I guess I thought I'd sort of evolved past caring what people think.

(Internet: Oh, Sue. You thought you'd evolved past having a little dignity? Or a healthy sense of shame? {{The Internet collectively shakes its head}} )

It's not the financial stuff.

It's not.

OK, fine, maybe it's that a little. In retrospect, coming out of the blog closet and giving everyone my blog address right before we moved might have been just a tad hasty.

But really, I think it's more that I feel so badly for imposing on people twice. Asking people who helped us move out a few months ago to help us move back in. Seeing people who came to my farewell night out and having to say, "Oh, HI! Good to see you! Oh, by the way, that whole moving thing? JUST KIDDING." (And if someone gave me a farewell gift, should I give it back? Because really, what if they think this was all just a ruse to get them to send me stuff?) Should I hang the completely wonderful picture they all signed for me when I left, or would that just be weird now that we're back? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Walking around the neighborhood on the fourth of July, running into friends and acquaintances, waving to people driving by in their cars - it felt so good. Seeing the kids with their friends and realizing we are back home, next door to the most awesome neighbors ever (more on that tomorrow)? Worth every drop of embarrassment.

I hope people haven't written us off as THAT family, but if the price for all of this happiness is being known as the neighborhood flake, then I'll take it. I'll embrace it. Here I am, Highland.

Again.

Ready or not.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Breaking Up Is Not Really All That Hard To Do

Pin It Dear Las Vegas,

I don't think this letter will come as a surprise. I mean, you knew it was coming, right? You and I - we've known each other a long, long time, and this on again, off again thing we've got going? It's gotta stop.

The thing is, you're getting on my nerves. You just think you're so hot. And yes, I won't deny it. You ARE a hot little number. Everybody knows it. You don't have to prove a point. One hundred and twelve - it's just a little extreme, don't you think? All of the other western cities, they're not such show-offs. You could take a lesson. (Just don't look at Phoenix, he's incorrigible.)

But I've had enough. I'm leaving on Friday, heading for greener pastures with my trusty moving truck. By Saturday, you'll be a distant memory.

Oh, maybe I'm not being fair. When I left you back in 2004 I swore I'd never be back, never ever ever, that I was DONE with you forever. After I left, I made fun of you behind your back for years, telling everyone how much I hated you. And yet, when I ran into a rough patch and came crawling back a few months ago you showered us with higher salaries and fancy new parks and access to family and friends. You do have your good points.

The truth is, I could probably overlook all of it - the strippers and the gambling and the late nights and partying - but I have to be honest with you. There's someone else. He's someone I had a four year relationship with, and I've tried, I really have, but I just can't get him out of my head.

Remember that one night, when we were driving back into town and I was mad at you because of your skeazy billboards? You were all, "FREE ADULT SUPERSTORE 24 HOURS," and I was all, "I hate that you hang out with people like that. They're turning you into a sleazebag," and you were all, "LARGEST SELECTION OF ADULT BOOKS EVER," and I was all, "Oh, Utah, how I miss you," and you were all, "SERIOUSLY WE'VE GOT A LOT OF ADULT STUFF IN HERE - HEY, wait a minute. WHO'S UTAH?" And I was all, "Um. Never mind. Nothing."

It almost got very awkward, but then we turned off into a residential area and you got distracted and started yammering on about square footage and desert landscaping and low low prices and you forgot all about my little slip up.

I was surprised you didn't see right through me. Because my lover Utah? He had me in his sweet, sweet, ruggedly outdoorsy yet freakishly clean cut spell even then. If loving him is wrong, I just don't wanna be right.

Shut up! Don't talk about him like that. He is NOT schizophrenic and moody. He just - runs a little hot and cold. Sure, he might get all up in my face during the day (kinda like you actually) all "Look at me, I'm so hot - go away before I scorch you with my hotness," but when the sun starts to go down he cools off and wants to be a good boyfriend again, and he gives me sweet, sweet sixty degree temps to prove it. Yeah, sometimes he freezes me out. But I can live with that kind of moody. Oh yeah, baby, can I ever live with it.

It's gonna be a little awkward for us, Las Vegas. I'm gonna be back to visit a lot. My friends and family are here, and I know they have to deal with you, so we'll probably be a part of each other's lives for a long time. Just - not like this. Not anymore.

Do me a favor, will you? Treat my friends and family right. Don't be mad if they come visit me and my new man. After all, they might love me, but they like you too. During some of the worst parts of our relationship, they kept telling me all of the good things about you. When I called you a sleazy dirt bag they said, "Awww, Sue, he's not so bad. You just have to look for the good parts." They were pulling for you. I mean, they want me to be happy, but they were also sort of hoping we could make things work. In the end, I think they knew it just wasn't meant to be.

If I could give you some friendly parting advice, I'd tell you to hang out in the suburbs a little more. They're a good influence on you. Stop spending so much time hanging out with strippers and county commissioners, don't crush beer cans on your forehead, and try to go a little easier on the porn, o.k.?

I hope you know that I'll always care about you.... In a vaguely repulsed but still sort of caring way.

Thanks for all of the memories.

Sort of fondly,

Sue

P.S. Don't try to contact me, Las Vegas. I won't even have internet until Wednesday, and you know how I feel about the phone.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Outwit, Outlast, Outplay

Pin It Me: "Listen, I'm tired of telling you girls to clean up your room. If you don't clean it up in the next FIVE MINUTES, I'm gonna get a garbage bag and whatever I find on the floor, I'm gonna keep. I'm not kidding."

Sarah: "So what if I put my stuff on the bed?"

Me: "Whatever I find on the floor OR your bed."

Sarah: "So what about my pillow? Are you gonna take my pillow?"

Me: "Whatever I find on your bed that doesn't belong there."

Abby: "What if I leave my piano book on the floor?"

Me: "Anything EXCEPT your piano book."

Sarah: "What about my shoes? What if I don't get them cleaned up in time? You can't take my shoes. I need them for school."

Me: "Ok. Anything but the piano book and the shoes and --"

Abby: "I'm gonna leave my blue shirt on the floor for you Mom. I don't want it. It's itchy."

Me: "No, you need to pick it up --"

Abby: "But I don't want it."

Sarah: "Oh, and Mom, I'm gonna leave Carter's stuff on the floor. 'Cuz we don't want it."

Me, possibly yelling just a tiny bit loudly: "JUST CLEAN IT UP."

Abby, in a quavering voice: "We're just askin' a question."

Sarah, in tears: "You don't have to yell."

(They both collapse in a heap of sobbing, because their mean, mean, mean, borderline abusive mother yelled at them.)

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DURFWAD. You know what I mean? Just - slimey hockeypuck freakin' DURFWAD.

HONESTLY.

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(Times like this, I wish I knew how to scrapbook.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Losing It

Pin It I recently took a personality test that indicated that I was, among other things, "easily distracted and prone to losing things."

There are so many things to say about my new label (isn't it pretty?), but right now I just want to talk about how I'm prone to losing things. Because boy howdy, am I ever prone.

PRONE. (That suddenly doesn't look like a real word to me. PRONE.)

My mom used to call me the absent minded professor, and I used to think that was sort of cute. But it's not. It's not cute at all. I'm so tired of losing my stuff.

I'm constantly losing things - my keys, my rollerblades, my daughter's lunchbox, my keys again, my shoes, my shoes again, my shoes again some more, my cell phone, the house cordless phone, my keys again, my purse, my debit card, my debit card, my debit card, my purse - all day long it goes on.

I'm so glad I have this valuable new tool, the personality type, to help me rationalize away all of my personal failings.

"Honey, you've got to start putting your keys in the same place every time you get home so that you can find them easily."

"I can't do that!"

"Why?"

"Because I'm an ENFP!"

"That prevents you from trying to keep track of your stuff?"

"I can't fight science!"

Before I knew about my ENFP illness, I was starting to think I had holes in my brain. Perhaps some flesh eating bacteria had crawled inside and eaten away the part of my brain that knew where I put my shoes. Because I sure couldn't find them.

So it's kind of a relief. (WHEW.)

Maybe I should give it a try though, the whole putting-stuff-back-in-a-place-where-it-would-logically-go-so-that-I-can-find-it-again THING. Yesterday I used my debit card to pay a bill online, set it down next to the computer when I was done and then walked around all day long looking for it, mystified. Where could it be? Where? Where where where where where? I couldn't imagine.

Tonight I looked for my rollerblades for twenty minutes. TWENTY MINUTES. And the house is perfectly clean right now. My closet is even organized. I just couldn't find them.

"They've vanished," I said to my husband. "I think they disapparated."

"Look in the garage," he said.

And there they were.

He always knows where my stuff is. I used to just call him at work all the time to ask him where my stuff was, but now, because of his job, I can't do that. (It's very inconsiderate of him to have a job like that, I think.)

Sometimes I think he's hiding my stuff just to mess with me, except I know it frustrates him too, the fact that I can never keep track of anything, ever. He knows the last five minutes before we go anywhere will involve what he calls the "walk and mutter." (Well. Walk and mutter and rant and rave.)

"I can't find my shoes. Where are my shoes? They were just here. They were just here. Who took my shoes? Who took them? DOG, did you take my shoes? Because I will kill you. I will kill you if you took my shoes. Who took them? Where are they? Where? Where? WHERE?! Oh look, right there in the closet."

Sometimes I even lose stuff inside my purse. That might not sound all that strange except that my purse is small, almost like a wallet, and there isn't much inside of it. And yet, within it's non-depths I can still repeatedly lose my debit card and driver's license. Even though they are, in fact, still right there in my purse. I'll be at the check-out and I'll go to pull out my debit card and - uh oh, it's not there. It's SIMPLY NOT THERE. I'll pull everything out, look at it and put it back in and it's STILL not there. I'm frantic. Where is it? Where could it be? Is it lost? Is it stolen? Is it disapparated? In another dimension?

And then, WHAM, suddenly it's there.

It happens a lot. (Sometimes I think it's some kind of brain magic. Just - not a good kind. But kind of tricky, all the same.)

Before Fathers Day, I hid one of my husband's presents. I remember thinking that I would remember where I put it. I remember very specifically saying to myself, oh, sure, you'll remember putting it there, no problem.

Um.

Yeah.

I still can't find it.

Sometimes I'll hide treats from the kids, because if they find the cookies they'll never make it into my daughter's lunchbox. Except then I forget where I hid them. It's kind of nice though because sometimes I'll be having a bad day and I'll open a cupboard door and - Oh, LOOK, OREOS FROM HEAVEN.

YUM, Oreos.

Oh. Whoops, I got distracted. (We INFPs tend to do that.) Sorry - I know that's irritating. I BLAME SCIENCE.