August 29, 2008

A Fine Example of "Christians"

The story that leads up to my rant today is gut-wrenching, disgusting, vile, unfathomable, and heinous. Here's the article on our local ABC affiliate's website, more or less summarizing what happened. There are two things in this story that propel me to a level of rage felt only when it comes to violence against children.

Item 1: "...The judge was also concerned about the content of instant messages sent to Sexfairy, the woman from Oakdale to whom Ward e-mailed an image of child porn. The judge said he was troubled that a parent would write about sexual activity with his own children, even if it was just fantasy..."

If that doesn't get your blood boiling then I seriously doubt your integrity and worth as a human being. What kind of sick bastard thinks like this? And please don't start with the, "Oh, well he was sexually abused and blah blah blahbitty blah..." I don't buy for a second that that would fuck his mind up that bad. It's not like this was out of his hands, an incurable disease: he knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong. Why else would he have come up with the lie about conducting research for a book? If you don't believe me, check this out.

Item 2: [Ward's wife] "...The justice department sure hasn't got any of the real terrorists out there, they got us into a war that was based on a lie, they can't control the economy, they can't control gas prices, but oh boy they got that really dangerous criminal Bernie Ward off the street and have destroyed his family, I thank you all very much.”

What?!?! Has she been wearing earplugs these last four years?! Does she not get that "Vincentlio" IS "...that really dangerous criminal Bernie Ward..."? Jesus H. Christ. Her wonderful, Christian husband is a sick, perverted and worthless human being (all of which he'll be made to realize over the next 80 months or so - and you better believe that convicts look down upon child predators, he'll be sodomized in ways we can't fathom) who FANTASIZED ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN!

Yes they got that dangerous criminal Bernie Ward off the streets! Hooray for the justice system! They finally got one right! They let Jacko go, but they got Bernie Ward. I just can't believe she's standing by him. I told my husband, "You know, and pardon me for saying this, but if I found out you were up to something like that, I'd be divorced from you within a week." You know what he said? "I wouldn't blame you."

People like Bernie Ward deserve every punishment short of death that the world could provide. Anesthesia-free castration, stoning, prison, wearing a scarlet letter "P" for Pedophile...or maybe an SF for Sick Fuck. Why no death penalty, you ask? Especially from a staunch supporter of it? Because that gets him off the hook. He'll die and be free from his "disease." No no. I want one of the Bay Area's finest examples of a Christian to spend the rest of his subhuman life to think about what a piece of shit he is and to lament every word he ever typed, every stomach-turning picture he ever looked at, every inappropriate and repulsive thought he ever had.

But then there's the side of me that says, "May the bastard rot in hell with Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy and the like." He's just one more body taking up space in prison and on this earth, a complete waste of money and precious oxygen. Were he here, I'd grab a gun and do it myself. All it takes is the mere notion of a child being harmed or even viewed in that manner and my skin crawls, my blood runs hot and I feel a rage come over me that is almost uncontrollable.

I was a basketcase during the Scott Peterson investigation and trial and was six months pregnant with Beth when he was convicted. I wept so hard that day. I wept for Laci and how terrified she must have been to realize that the love of her life was going to kill her AND her baby. I wept for Connor, who never got the chance to live. I wept for Laci's family who lost not only a daughter and sister but a grandson. What Scott Peterson did was unspeakable. Just typing this last paragraph moved me to tears.

Yeah, sure, there's a God. What kind of god lets these types of things happen to innocent, helpless children?

August 28, 2008

Not Again...

Today, I'd like to touch upon the things that piss me off. Okay, they don't actually piss me off, but they do get stuck in my craw. Nobody likes having their craw stuck open.

1. Anything to do with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. I'm so tired of hearing about them. Anyone famous for being famous irritates the bejeezus out of me.

2. Pegged pants. Some might call them docked pants (my husband does). In case you're sitting there all unaware, they're trying to make a comeback. Katie's been spotted at least twice donning this heinous "trend." They weren't that cool when we did it in the late 80s and early 90s, I seriously doubt they'll be on fashion runways this fall.

3. Saturday Night Live. I know it's a huge ratings hit for NBC and has been since the mid'70s, but guess what? That's the last time it was truly funny. Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jim Belushi...they were truly funny. My generation ushered in Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, David Spade, Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell and such. They were kiiiinda funny. Funny to a 16-year-old. I watch SNL now and I sit there with a look on my face akin to Wednesday.

But show me an episode containing Eddie Murphy's "Buh-weet Sings" or "Weekend Update" with Chevy Chase? Then you have this:

or this, because I couldn't decide on one:

4. AFV. You know the evil of which I speak: America's Funniest Videos. Formerly hosted by the very unfunny, very white-man profane Bob Saget, this show has been on for 17 insufferable years. This show debuted when I was 12!!! Jesus Tapdancing Christ. Tom Bergeron is not funny and the videos are all 10+ years old. What? You never noticed the blur over the dates in videos these last few years? That's because they're all shot in 1992! I'm tired of seeing the same little kid whack his daddy in the twig & berries every week with that same, tired, yellow wiffle bat.

5. The Geico caveman commercials. Seriously? The first one was funny. It's been a muddy downhill Snow Saucer since then. Now they're very played out and the sitcom they attempted last year? It caused my head to implode twice. For real.

6. Kids with cell phones!!!!! I didn't have a cell phone until I was 19. It was about as big as my handheld cordless phone here at home, had an analog display, and had one ringtone option. Granted, cell phones weren't mass marketed until the mid-90s anyway, but still. No child needs a damn phone and they especially don't need them while they're in class! As far as I'm concerned, a kid can get a phone when they're old enough to sign a contract and can pay for phone and monthly bill on their own.

7. People who talk on their cell phones in checkout lines. You're holding up the line because it's taking you five extra minutes to dig out your debit card or cash, then your ID to verify your age, put that all back in your wallet, zip up your purse, put purse back on your shoulder...BECAUSE YOU'RE DOING IT ALL ONE-HANDED. It's rude to all us huffy bitches behind you in line - because you know that's what you think of us when we're sighing and shooting dirty looks in your general direction - and it's rude to your cashier. I was a cashier once and you wouldn't believe how rude John & Jane Q. Public can be to the lowly cashier, but that's a post for another time.

8. Women standing in line at the aforementioned store with a cart full of SHIT: candy, sugary kids snacks, soda, not-100%-juice-or-even-2%-juice "juice," pre-cooked fried chicken, sugary cereal...all poised to pay for it with their EBT card.

I had typed two more long-ass paragraphs with regards to this comment but I've chosen to rant about it some other day. I'll just leave my comment as it is.

9. Christopher Knight. This guy's worse than David Hasselhoff (who, by the way, should get spot #9.5 for being freakishly annoying) with TV. "The Brady Bunch" wasn't enough for this attention whore. He's been on "My Fair Brady," "Celebrity Family Feud," "The Surreal Life," and "Celebrity Circus!" Holy crap. Someone needs to realize that he stopped being the cute Peter Brady 35 years ago.

That's enough for now. I'm sure with my layout, you'll have scrolled a mile by now. Sorry 'bout that. A lot gets stuck in my craw.

August 27, 2008


I attended and graduated from Slippery Rock University in the "typical" four years. I parted ways with that school in August 2002 with my degree in English-Writing. No, not a degree in writing novels. A degree in professional writing which, theoretically, should have left me qualified to be a grant writer, a technical writer, or possibly something in advertising.

What did I do after graduation? I worked at Hoss's Steak & Sea House until right before Christmas. A few weeks later, I got a part-time job at Giant Eagle as a cashier. Four months after that, we moved to California where I decided to be a "homemaker." Heh. That got boring real quick. So did falling behind on the bills.

So I got a job with a temp agency in a gig that lasted about a month. I worked as a receptionist for Baxter BioScience, a research company in Fremont. They created things like some sort of blood-clotting chemical/implement. *snore* After that jig was up, I got a job as a receptionist for a wholesale plumbing supply company in Union City. What they didn't tell me when they hired me is that they didn't want a receptionist, they wanted a bookkeeper. I'm about as good with accounting as my daughter is with astrophysics.

Once they realized this, they unceremoniously fired me.

I gave the job search a half-hearted try for the next few months, went on two interviews, neither of which panned out. Then I found out I was pregnant and after a little discussion, we decided I'd be a stay-at-home mom, even though it would require many, many sacrifices.

I haven't had a paying job - aside from my current babysitting gig - since January 2004. Do I miss working? I might miss it if I'd ever had a job I enjoyed going to. But I definitely don't regret making the decision to stay at home with my kids. I get to smile a hundred times a day and witness all their little milestones. I get to watch my ten-month-old toddle around, his little chubby legs taking step after step with all the confidence of Michael Phelps that he was born to do this. I get to spend my days teaching my daughter how to write and how to solve simple math problems.

At the end of each day I'm physically and mentally exhausted but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now that you know all that, I must rant. I've had people insinuate that I'm "wasting" my college degree. That I spent four years earning a degree that I may as well give back because I wasted my time and my money.

You know what? I didn't waste a damn thing. I learned more about myself and my abilities in those four years that I would never have learned had I not gone. I learned that I am a smart and capable woman with a flair for writing - which I would never have believed were it not for Dr. DiMarco and Dr. Erica Scott. I learned that I need to trust my first instinct and avoid situations that don't feel right. I learned that I had a lot of deep-seeded issues from my dad's passing that I never dealt with. I learned that friendships have a way of evolving and, sometimes, moving on. I learned that you need to drink the hard stuff before you dive into beer. I learned that the best cure for a hangover is a big, greasy breakfast and lots of caffiene. I learned that sometimes your "friends" won't have your back and will let you get into dangerous and horrifying situations with very little remorse. I learned dating your new friend's recent ex isn't the best idea. I also learned that real friends always come around again, even when you've dated their recent ex.

I learned that Literary Criticism is, hands down, the most boring college course on the face of this planet. I also learned that Interpreting Literature is the most captivating course I would ever take. Well, that and Medical and Health Care Ethics. Talk about an eye-opening course! I learned that I will hold a lifelong love of smoking [cigarettes], even though I quit four years ago, because it will forever remind me of being young, cool, and relaxed. Yes, smoking made me cool. Shut up.

I learned that the Freshman Fifteen is complete bull. It's actually the Freshman Thirty.

Most importantly, I learned to stand behind everything I say and to say it LOUD. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. As a result of this knowledge, I'm now the most honest and stentorian person I know. My husband always commends my honesty because I don't worry about stepping on someones toes or staying quiet for the sake of keeping the peace. I say what needs said and if you insist on keeping company with me, be prepared for me to be completely honest about what I think. Don't ask me my opinion if you don't want to hear it. I'm not going to blow sunshine up your ass. So if you ask me something about God, Jesus, Christianity, illegal immigration, gun control lobbyists, adultery, abortion, my thoughts on parenting, militant vegans, welfare, and many other topics that I don't wish to list, I'm going to be upfront about it.

So were the years between 1998 and 2002 a waste? Did mom and I pour about $20,000 down the drain? Did I walk away virtually empty-handed? Hell no.

I found ME.

August 26, 2008

My Prodigal Daughter

She can write her name. *squeal of delight*

You Cannot Be Serious?!

To quote John McEnroe, and quite aptly title my post for today, I'm disgusted by the way people treat children today. And although it is horrific and unspeakable, I'm not talking about child abuse. I'm talking about coddling. Treating them like fragile little pieces of china whose feelings and spirits will shatter into a thousand pieces if they aren't granted the same fanfare as the kids who actually deserve the spoils. Acting as though every kid deserves a gold star even when they haven't done the work necessary to acquire a gold star.

...Found this story on Yahoo.

9-year-old boy told he's too good to pitch

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press WriterMon Aug 25, 7:17 PM ET

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.

But Vidro says he didn't quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"

The controversy bothers Jericho, who says he misses pitching.

"I feel sad," he said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."

Jericho's coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league's administrators.

Jericho instead joined a team sponsored by Will Power Fitness. The team was 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when Jericho was banned from pitching.

"I think it's discouraging when you're telling a 9-year-old you're too good at something," said his mother, Nicole Scott. "The whole objective in life is to find something you're good at and stick with it. I'd rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner."

League attorney Peter Noble says the only factor in banning Jericho from the mound is his pitches are just too fast.

"He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower," Noble said. "There are a lot of beginners. This is not a high-powered league. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport."

Noble acknowledged that Jericho had not beaned any batters in the co-ed league of 8- to 10-year-olds, but say parents expressed safety concerns.

League officials say they first told Vidro that the boy could not pitch after a game on Aug. 13. Jericho played second base the next game on Aug. 16. But when he took the mound Wednesday, the other team walked off and a forfeit was called.

League officials say Jericho's mother became irate, threatening them and vowing to get the league shut down.

"I have never seen behavior of a parent like the behavior Jericho's mother exhibited Wednesday night," Noble said.

Scott denies threatening any one, but said she did call the police.

League officials suggested that Jericho play other positions, or pitch against older players or in a different league.

Local attorney John Williams was planning to meet with Jericho's parents Monday to discuss legal options.

"You don't have to be learned in the law to know in your heart that it's wrong," he said. "Now you have to be punished because you excel at something?"

This poor kid! He's only nine years old and is a victim of insufferable parents who've forgotten that HE'S A KID. So the kid's a good pitcher. So? Good for him! He shouldn't be banned from the game for the next six years - until he's in high school - because of it.

"Facing that kind of speed is frightening for beginning players."

Do you know how many times in summer-league softball I had to stare down a 5'10" pitcher with an arm made for the frickin' women's Olympic team whipping balls at me? Yeah, it was scary and unnerving, but it taught me that I can overcome my fear and hit the damn ball. How are these kids ever going to learn that a)life's not always fair and b)sometimes you have to push past your fear and as Nike says, Just Do It?

It's a sad state of affairs - and parenting - that it's come to this. And it's not just this kid. We let kids make sports teams so they don't feel bad. They could be a huge detriment to the team but make sure they get to play, we don't want them to learn about disappointment. Don't hold them back a grade because they aren't up to snuff with the rest of his class for fear he might give up on school all-together. Make him see that education is important and that people actually care whether he makes it in this life. Teachers are supposed to educate our children and yet they let kids slip through the cracks daily because they're afraid of that kid's parents.

Maybe I'm old school but I feel that kids need to learn about disappointment at a young age. I'm not going to shelter my kids from life lessons only to have them get smacked in the face by it when they step out into the real world. When I was a kid, I was chosen last for teams in gym class. I didn't always make the team. I was denied solos in band and choir (and for the record, I was an awful singer and totally didn't deserve them). I was even told I was too good for a regional all-star softball team because it was for the kids who didn't make the all-star teams in their hometowns.

You know what? I survived. I'm not emotionally scarred. I'll still play softball, sing out loud in front of people, and play a round of kickball if it comes up. Those experiences shaped who I am and I'm thankful for them. If I hadn't had them, and grew up to experience all the disappointment I've dealt with since turning 18, I'd be a shattered soul by now.

So I'd like to thank all the people who thought I was too fat and slow to play decent kickball and put off picking me until it was me or the smelly kid. Thank you to Mr. Cameron for recognizing that I just couldn't hack that solo in show choir (and for sparing all those innocent ears the sound of a dying cow). And thank you to that random coach in McKean for not letting me play. Oh, and thank you to the judges for cheerleading tryouts my 7th grade year. You didn't let me on the squad. I was terrible, you saw that, and you didn't spare my feelings. I'm honestly thankful to all of you, plus many more along the way, for teaching me disappointment.

August 23, 2008

Just A Note...

A woman posted this blog's link in a forum I post in and I wanted to pass it along. It's the The Green Family and they recently gave birth to preemie twins. I don't know them, just heard of them today, but it's a touching story that I plan on keeping tabs on. Whatever your method of well-wishing, keep them in mind!

August 22, 2008

The World Is Full of Stupid People

For years, I've maintained that I can't stand stupid people. Ignorami, dullards, dipshits, dimwits, et al. The people who have the capacity for intelligence, to be learned, but won't do anything to get them there. They make vacuous statements and are persistently feebleminded. It hurts to listen to them but you have no choice because they. Are. Everywhere.

I changed my tune last night.

My husband came home with a terrific story. He and his coworkers were on break yesterday and one guy, we'll call him Axle, was reading this article in the San Francisco Chronicle. To summarize, it's about the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the creme de la creme of classic car shows. Don't bring your Novas, Chevelles, Darts or Mustangs to this show. In fact, you have to apply to participate.

One of the cars expected to arrive and be sold at auction is the Talbot-Lago. As Axle read this aloud - and reported that it's expected to auction for more than $4 million - he pronounced it "tall-boat lay-go." Now I'll be honest: I might have done the same thing were I not married to a car guy and didn't already know that most foreign-named things aren't pronounced as they would be in the United States.

So Rob told him repeatedly that it's "Tal-but Lah-go," ensuring that he had the pronuncation correct because nothing chaps my husbands ass more than someone mispronouncing anything car-related. You should see him light up when anyone refers to that large block of metal that sits under the hood of your car as a "motor." He'll go on a five-minute rant about motors being electric-powered and engines being gas-powered and how you'd be really hard-pressed to find a MOTOR in an AUTOMOBILE.

Not five seconds after firmly implanting the proper name in this guys head, Axle says, "...blah blah blah Tall-boat Lay-Go."

Keeping with the theme of Stupid, fast-forward to this afternoon. Rob and I were watching DVRd episodes of John Edward: Crossing Over, a show I started watching by myself while Rob played billiards on Yahoo Games. Apparently, the material piqued his interest and he joined me two episodes in.

We're sitting there chatting intermittently, usually letting commercials run so we can jabber on like two monkeys in a tree. He says, "Did I ever tell you about the time my mom worked with a psychic?"

"No," I replied, knowing a story was coming. He had my attention; I never knew anyone who'd seen a psychic.

"Well, they worked together and he told her that she'd have two more husbands..." he started off.

"I assume this was before she married [second husband's name here]?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said. "So anyway, he said she'd be married two more times and that" and he trailed off.

I sat there with baited breath, sure that when he found his mental footing again it'd be a real humdinger.

"Yeah, that was a crappy story. I'm sorry."

And that was all he had to say about that. Who starts a story with gusto, eager to contribute something pertinent to the topic at hand, and then just peters out with little more than a meek apology? Why bring it up at all? Did you know it was a stupid story before you started telling it?

To be honest, I was laughing. I love him and he makes me laugh and if you'd been there, and seen the look on his face, you'd have laughed too. I'm still giggling.

Anyone's stupidity piss you off? Make you feel like slamming your head in a drawer repeatedly? Do tell.

August 21, 2008

The Things I Love

Per my friend's request, I'd like to offer up a peek - and potentially obnoxiously long - look at the things that make me happy, make me smile, and remind me that there's always something to smile about. Lately, this is a list whose very creation may serve to lift my spirits. Things have been, shall we say, craptastic and the horizon doesn't exactly have the phoenix rising out of the ashes.

So here they are, in no particular order aside from the sequence in which my stress-addled brain spits them out, the things I love.

[I'd like to mention here that I wanted to use bullets but typing the code before and after every item seemed like too much work, so my lazy ass is going with the tilde/sideways S]

~ My childrens laughter. I can be madder than a wet hornet but if Beth or Robby start laughing, I can't contain myself!

~ My husbands deadpan, perfect-timing comedy. He honestly doesn't try to be funny, it's truly effortless for him. Not too many people get to see that side of him as he rarely lets his guard down, which is unfortunate.

~ Thinking about various times in my youth. There are some memories that hold a lot of laughter, even after years have passed, and they never fail to bring a smirk to the surface.
..."Ten bucks says she slips in the mud and falls on her ass."
...Me: "So what do we want at the distributor?"
Di: "BEER!"

~ An episode of "Friends" will cause fits of laughter no matter how sad or depressed I am. Few sitcoms have achieved or ever will achieve that level of funny as far as I'm concerned. Maybe "The Carol Burnett Show".

~ Music from my heyday. I'm talkin' Counting Crows, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Vanilla Ice, New Kids on the Block (I'm not going to lie: I saw them on "The Today Show" and I swooned), Sir Mix-A-Lot, the O.G. Billy Ray Cyrus with his "Achy Breaky Heart," Garth Brooks, Paula Abdul, Debbie Gibson...I could go on for days.

~ Pro football season. I don't know what it is but football season gets me fired up. I don't follow football religiously - although I do bleed black and gold - but something about watching a game gets me all riled up, my blood pumping, and the endorphins flowing.

~ Those hard-to-catch-your-breath laughs. The laughs that bring tears to your eyes. You laugh so hard you start to sweat. You know what I'm talking about; don't act like you don't sweat.

~ Being liked. I'll own it: I'm a glutton for praise. I don't accept it well, I've never been good at receiving compliments, but I do enjoy knowing someone likes me or something I've done.

~ Being stopped out in public to have a complete stranger tell us how beautiful our kids are. We've been dealing with that for 3.5 years now and it never gets old.

~ Shopping and not for groceries. I like going to the mall, sans kids, and having money at the ready. This hasn't happened in years but I do remember the feeling.

~ Board games. I'm totally stealing this from Denise, but we're cool like that. I'm a big fan of Monopoly, Scattergories, or anything fun. I like the mundane games too but I like group games and almost never get to play them!

~ My marriage and my kids. I never thought I'd find a guy I loved as much as my daddy or who'd ever be good enough for me, but I totally did. He's a diamond in the rough. Or is he a rough diamond? He's not a pretty boy, he's perpetually unshaven and wears ballcaps to formal events, and he chews tobacco. He's no George Clooney. But he's my man and I love him with all my heart. And my kids are my life. They're funny, smart, inspiring and have a beautiful light in their eyes that me want to be a better person. They are my smile.

I now tag everyone who reads this blog...GO!

August 20, 2008

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." - Anne Sexton

About a week ago, I started thinking about today's post. I knew it had to be poignant; one cannot pass by a day like this and not write something meaningful. I also knew I didn't want it to be a tearjerker. I've cried a great many tears over this date and in the years to come, I'll probably cry more. Plus, I have so much to be thankful for, I'd rather celebrate than grieve.

So in homage to the 12th anniversary of my dad's passing, I'll simply share a few memories I have of him, memories that always bring a smile to my face.

I remember going everywhere with my dad. We'd go to my grandparents house in Linesville (and, if she was home, getting a visit in with my cousin who was only 18 months my senior), we'd go to Montgomery Wards to visit his old co-workers Bill & Donnie, we'd visit mom at work at MMC, or we'd just drive to the pharmacy in town. Most kids living in Conneautville today wouldn't believe there used to be a real pharmacy in town; in the last 15 years it's been two or three pizza "parlors" or just an empty building. But it was a genuine, old-school, one-pharmacist show: you could pick up your prescriptions, buy an overpriced comb, a greeting card, some P.O.S. toy for the kid and get your lottery tickets all in one place. Really neat. Every time we'd go there, dad would buy a lottery scratcher for me to scratch off, or a Slush Puppie, or even a .Ronnie Milsap tape that I just had to have. You can't put a price on Ronnie Milsap.

I remember going Christmas shopping with him for mom. His gifts for her were as predictable as the "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke. A Hanes Her Way sweatshirt - in a color unlike any that she already head - and possibly a new pair of slippers. Or a bathrobe. Boring, but safe gifts that were utilitarian in application and given with love. However, after about 14 years of this, I think she let him know that if she got another sweatshirt, her head might start spinning Linda Regan-style. The next year, he bought her a rocker-recliner. It wasn't the prettiest thing but he bought it with the idea of getting a chair for her that reclined. One year, he bought her a pair of 18K gold earrings. They were heart-shaped and had some sort of viney design in them. She only wore them for special occasions but she loved the hell out of them and still has them.

I remember him letting me drive down my grandparents road when I turned 14. They lived on an old, pothole extravaganza of a road with a lot of loose gravel. It was a farm road, no need for pavement! I thought I was hot stuff, operating that 1989 Ford Tempo down a straight-of-way going all of 25 miles per hour (at best)! I thought my dad was the coolest person EVER that day. I did the same favor for my best friend when she first got her learners permit. I let her drive down Center Road and she was so busy waving and beeping at Shaffers house she nearly ran us off the road. That ruined me from teaching anyone to drive ever again. Thanks, D.

I remember all the softball practices he attended and helped with even though he wasn't an official coach. He'd hit pop-flies for us in the outfield or help the odd-girl-out warm up her arm before practice. He taught me how to score and play by watching the Pirates on TV and taking me to two games down at Three Rivers Stadium. He'd always buy me packets of baseball cards and with every card I'd pull out and inspect, seeing if I recognized the player, I'd ask him if that card was worth anything. Have I always been worried about money? Was it bred into me?

And this might sound odd, but I think my favorite memory is one I'm not even really part of. I remember laying in bed at night while my parents were still awake downstairs. I knew they were watching shows that I was either too young to watch or couldn't stay up late enough for. I couldn't see it, but I could hear a different side of my parents, a side I never really saw. They were laughing their asses off at whatever they were watching and it was a real comfort. It's not like I needed the comfort; more often than not, my childhood was uneventful and secure until I was a teenager. But my mom rarely showed affection towards my dad in front of me and to hear them laugh let me know that all was well with the world.

Since my dad passed away, although a lot has changed and I'm in a really good place in my life, there's always been - and always will be - a big void. He didn't see me go to prom, graduate high school or college, or get married and have babies. He won't meet his grandchildren. He won't know his son-in-law who, by my estimation, is a lot like my dad.

But I think if I keep writing about him and talking about him that his memory will never die and my kids will know him through me. I'm sure my dad had his flaws, everyone does. And it's not that I don't want to remember his flaws - it's that I choose not to. So what Anne Sexton said is absolutely true: It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.

August 19, 2008

Raising the Bar on the Freak Scale

Okee-dokles, all of you who replied so positively to my freakshow post that I'm a bit less timid about sharing the other half of my ghostly experiences. I must warn you though: if my previous post didn't leave you a bit leery of my mental stability, this one just might!

So here it is...*ahem*...I've conversed with the deceased in my dreams. Five times to be exact. Three times it was family, twice it was friends who've passed. Given that today and tomorrow mark anniversaries of painful and trying moments in my family's life, I'll share two of my experiences.**

The first time I ever spoke with someone who passed, it was my dad. I don't remember how old I was, but I think it was in my early 20s. I dreamt I was driving down Townline Road with him in his old black truck, a 1979 Ford F150. It was originally maroon but in true redneck fashion he, my uncle and my grandpap painted it black with black tractor paint. Yeah. Mom and I christened it the Black Beauty at that point. What else could you call it without hurting the guy's feelings? He was damn proud of that truck. We lived in a small town, he worked blue collar jobs, but it was a farm truck if ever I saw one. The seats were shot: springs were poking through, the stuffing was falling out, there was a perpetual layer of grime on it. He bought a seat cover but it, too, tore where the springs were. The floor was always covered in dirt road dust. It was dirty, but it was his and far be it from us to make fun of it.

I digress. We were driving down the road and in between us was our dog, Buffy. Buffy, a white terrier-poodle mix, passed away when I was 10. I asked him what it was like, you know, being dead. He told me he was happy, that he had Boo (Buffy) with him, and that he saw Grandma and Grandpap too. Then I woke up. I woke up with a certainty that I had, in fact, spoken to my dad.

I've heard and read that the dead do visit us in our dreams because it's one medium our brains can't control. As children, our minds have no barriers - barriers that are built as time wears on, society tells us that ghosts don't exist, you can't see or communicate with people after they die. I don't believe that's true. I believe that if you keep your mind and eyes and hearts open that they'll come to you in any way they can. In my case, it happens to be in my sleep. Occasionally, I'll see an unexplainable flash of light or something move just outside my peripheral vision and when I look there's nothing there. I know that's probably my dad or Aunt Joann. Aunt Joann whole-heartedly believed in angels and given the life she lead, and the big ol' heart and spirit she had, she's most definitely earned her wings.

The other dream I had, I was at a picnic at some random park. I had both of my kids with me, as well as my husband. Off in the distance, I saw my grandma. I walked up to her and saw that she was crying. Someone asked her why she was crying, and as if I wasn't there, she said, "I'm never going to see my great-grandchildren grow up, I'll never get to meet them."

This hit home not only because I'd just had my second child, but three of my cousins had recently had kids too. She'd met her first few great-grandchildren, the ones who live up in New York. But us younger kids, we all had our kids 4+ years after grandma passed away. There are a lot of little pieces of her family running around that she never got to meet and although I knew that was a possibility growing up, I'd never thought about it until I had Beth.

So please don't think me a freakshow! I don't tell many people this side of my life because, quite honestly, it's weird and as if I don't have enough self-esteem issues, I don't need another reason to think people don't like me. Hell, it freaks me out when it happens!

Anybody want to bear their weirdness now? Please?

**If you're family and want to hear the other experiences, email me and I'd be glad to share them!

August 18, 2008

Re: "Real Men" and my overdue apology

I recently posted a reply-of-sorts to Minxy Mimi regarding the Brad Paisley song "I'm Still A Guy." I disagreed with her on a few points that I thought I had interpreted correctly; as it turns out, I misread some things. I had a knee-jerk reaction to her opinions and I hotheadedly reacted without thinking things through - or rather, without thinking her side through.

Anyway, I never let her know that I was going to blog about her post and in retrospect (and after being called out by five of her closest friends & readers) I should have given her fair warning. So my apologies to Mimi - that was pretty thoughtless on my part. I'm sorry!

Our Genes Make Us Immortal.

The apple doesn't fall from from the tree, you are your mother's child, et al. The list goes on and on, the adages that describe the eternal connection between parent and child. I see traits in myself that I watched rear it's head - be it ugly or endearing - in my parents while they were raising me.

I'm quick-witted. I don't forego the opportunity for a wisecrack and I'm the first to poke fun at someone's comical misfortune. I got this wonderfully controversial trait from my mom. The difference between her and I is that I know when to bite my tongue: she'll continually make rude remarks in someone's general direction even when etiquette (and common politeness) dictates you should shut your yap.

I have a fantastic memory for all things that happened months and years ago. My mom has a good memory too. I can vividly remember waking up at 3 a.m. on my first day of kindergarten because I was so excited to start school. I got myself dressed in a lilac-colored sweatsuit, combed my "Dorothy Hamill" haircut and marched into my parents room, all kinds of proud of myself for being ready on time. I was welcomed by two bleary-eyed, sleep-addled bodies who told me it was too damn early and for god's sake, go back to bed. Not to worry, it didn't extinguish my excitement for my impending education. Mom's always telling me tales of her youth; the sock hops, going to dance halls, shenanigans with her sibilngs. I love hearing those stories. It speaks to a different time that I will always long to have experienced.

I have a perpetual need to help people. So does my husband. This kinda makes us doormats for people who always need help, but time after time we're happy to help. My dad was a helper. Ask anyone who knew him and they'd tell you that he'd have given the shirt off his back to help someone. You need something hauled? He was there with his truck. That, incidentally, was his logic to my mom when he bought the truck: What if something needs hauled?

And, as it goes, we look for our personalities in our own children. I'm quickly discovering that Beth didn't just inherit my stunning good looks (don't let the soda shoot out your nose!) - I jest, she's freakin' adorable - but she got a few other traits as well.

She's hell bent on doing things HER way. You're in for one heck of a tantrum if you try to force her to do anything she doesn't want to do. You might recall a recent trip to the beach. Or perhaps the hot dog incident.

I'm the same way. Even if it means walking ten miles to go ten feet, I'm doing it MY way. The world can kiss my ass as can everyone I'm inconveniencing!

She's...and I mean this in the NICEST WAY POSSIBLE...kind of an airhead. I am too. I openly admit it: I'm a ditz. It's like my husband likes to say of me, "I don't know how someone so smart can be so dumb sometimes!" It's not said in malice, nor is this sentiment towards my daughter. She's smart as a whip, has the memory of a friggin' elephant, and at times can confound us with the conclusions she draws all on her own. But sometimes you ask her the most basic of questions and all you get is this blank stare accompanied by, "Ummmm...*tsk*...Ummmm...*tsk*" I do lament passing on this unfortunate trait but as there's nothing I can do about it, really, I may as well teach her to laugh about it.

She has very selective hearing. I believe this may apply to all preschool-aged children but I wonder if she doesn't have Beth Filters over her ears. It blocks out all the things she doesn't want to hear that don't promote her interests white noise and allows in just want she wants to hear. I'm accused of possessing this trait on a near-daily basis so I have to assume it's true. *shrug* Que sera, sera!

Everything else you can credit to her dad. Her stubborn-as-hell attitude, her apathy towards learning new things, her insistence that things can wait to be done until she's damn good and ready, and her way of dodging questions whose answers can only lead to trouble.

As far as I'm concerned though, she's nothing but good. Even her impish side, the side that causes her to wreak havoc in my world, I love all of her. She's my SnuggleBug, my baby, my love. Wouldn't trade her for the world!

August 15, 2008

I Always Knew I Was A Little...Off...

I'm coming out of the closet. I believe in ghosts. You know, spirits, the afterlife, poltergeists, the whole nine yards. I'm forever looking for orbs in pictures, I watch every show I can get my hands on regarding paranormal things, I used to watch Sylvia Browne on Montel until I decided she's a whack job. The things she "sees" are very vague and very easy to construe as true for just about anyone. My current favorite shows are Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters, and although my husband protests heavily and calls it the "ohshit-ohcrap-ohf***-ohno show," I like Most Haunted.

Now, in the name of all us freakshows spiritually attuned people, I shall raise the freak flag and fly it proudly as I share my ghost stories.

Two of my stories are from when I was in high school. I was driving to Meadville one night and as I'm coming up route 18 into Harmonsburg I drove past a long stretch of corn field that tends to get kind of foggy in the spring and summer. It was one of those foggy nights and as I came to a clearing in the fog, a black transclucent shadow ran across the road and disappeared into the woods on the other side of the road.

The second story is the one that freaked me out the most of all my ghost stories and to this day, when I'm in my mom's house, leaves me a bit nervous in her upstairs bathroom. I forget how old I was, but I had gone to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The bathroom was at the back of the house and my room was at the opposite end of the hallway at the front of the house. It's probably all of six or seven steps from bathroom to bedroom but in the dark, at night, it seems like a mile.

So I padded from my dark bedroom, down the dark hallway, into the dark bathroom. I flipped on the light, blinding myself, did my thing and got up to go back to bed. I opened the door and right before I turned off the bathroom light, a short (shorter than me and I'm 5'4"), grayish-black translucent shadow walked past me into the bathroom. I high-tailed it back to my bed and did my damnedest to go back to sleep! I talked about it with my mom the next morning and although she denies to this day that she believes in ghosts, she says it could have been her mom since when she passed away, she was all of about 4'11". *shrug*

Needless to say, after that, you made sure you left a bedroom light on before you went to the bathroom!

Then I saw few to no ghosts for years. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was awake with the baby around 1 a.m. I was trying to rock him back to sleep and since we were sleeping downstairs (it was hot as hell and it's cooler in our living room), I was facing our balcony and my son was facing over my shoulder into the kitchen. Out of complete nowhere something tapped me on the back. Before I had time to process the abnormality and fear factor of that, my son - who was wide awake - started cooing and scrambling up my front side to go over my shoulder, as if he saw someone there that he wanted to have holding him. Very weird.

I'll save the really creepy stuff for a few years down the road when I'm more comfortable with you all. We just met - don't want to let all my cats out of the bag. *wink*

August 14, 2008

Men Are Helpless HatchlingsWhy Men Won't Survive the Apocalypse

Monday afternoon, Hubby came home early because - as has been unfortunately and dare I say devastatingly common lately - there was no work to do in the shop. I had a mountain of laundry to tackle and since our complex's laundry room is closed until the 21st for renovations, I headed off to the laundromat across the street. I figured on a Monday afternoon, how crowded could it be?

It took me three trips to get that mammoth load of laundry to the car. Should have been two but after I loaded two laundry baskets and one mesh Dora the Explorer hamper (yeah, I looked gangsta carrying that around) into the Tracker, started the car and backed out of my parking spot, I realized I'd forgotton the detergent. Dammit.

Back upstairs I go. Let's try this again.

So I get to the laundromat and much to my delight there were only two people there. Yay! It took me eight friggin' washers to wash everything I'd brought - and just think, I had another hamper at home with baby blankets in it that I hadn't brought - and it cost me $12.00. Thankfully, they have industrial-sized dryers that could probably handle all the fitted sheets from all the beds at the Luxor in one load, so it my drying cost was considerably cheaper.

But my true delight lay in knowing I had about an hour and a half of almost-uninterrupted quiet time to read. I haven't had time to read in three and a half years. There has always been a child climbing into my lap, a husband chatting my ear off like a Pixi Stick High schoolgirl, or there's that nagging pile of dishes that despite my best efforts (you know, like washing them twice a week) remains in my sink. And on my counters. And on end tables. And on my desk. I think I have a problem.

So I was damn near giddy when I got all my quarters loaded, detergent dispersed and the thump-thump-thump of washers was a beautiful white noise to accompany my headfirst dive into "Things I Learned About My Dad (In Therapy)", Dooce's compilation of essays from our fellow bloggers. I made it a little over halfway through the book and discovered that there are some funny-ass people out there whose blogs I've been missing out on. I tend to read the smaller blogs, the mediocre blogs. Gotta support us little people!

At any rate, I wrapped up my laundry and, feeling fresh as a daisy on a spring morning, headed back to the zoo my domicile. I had a spring in my step, a smile in my heart and a clear head for the first time in weeks. It's about 5:20 p.m. when I arrive on our stoop. I open the door and there's two noisy kids (Boy had fallen asleep in the play room) and one grumpy-as-all-hell husband.


My sunshiny mood drifted away like a trailer in a tornado.

You see, my husband is a creature of habit. He likes to stick to the same schedule during the week and a typical day goes like this: Wife wakes up and makes breakfast, I go to the bathroom, Wife gets my clothes together for me, Wife packs my lunch and makes sure I'm all set to head out the door. I leave. I come home. Wife has dinner ready by 5:00 p.m., no later than 5:15 p.m. usually. The evening schedule varies. But up through dinner it's pretty uniform and any deviation results in total bitchiness. From him.

[Don't get me wrong. I'm a stay-at-home mom and I'm happy to do these things. I volunteer it. I also don't like him cooking in my kitchen because he will inevitably leave the mess for me to clean up.]

Now he's a self-sufficient guy in most areas. If I'm not around to get his clothes ready, he can most certainly dress himself. He doesn't need me to gather his work stuff and on many an occasion he's done his own gathering. But I'm pretty sure that one of two things would happen if he had to make his own food: the world would come crashing down around him or he'd simply keel over and die.

So when I'm at the laundromat and he's (as I roll my eyes) starving, do you think this man could mosey into the kitchen and grab up a quick snack? Especially when I told him before I left exactly what there was to nibble on before I got home to make dinner and even told him where he could find it? Nope. Not a chance in hell. He'll sit there and stew and fester and get all kinds of bitchy because dinner's not ready.

Men - or rather, men with wives who are just done with listening to hungry, helpless husbands - will not survive the apocalypse. Women will. Children will - because as mothers, we'll see to it that they're fed. Pets will because again, they're our job too. But men? They'll be the hatchlings you see in trees. Heads back, mouths open, waiting for their piece of the worm. They don't want any part of pulling the worm out of the ground or making one small nightcrawler feed four mouths over a week. They just want the worm. By 5:15 p.m.

August 13, 2008

THIS is why I like old people.

This lady's my new hero.

August 12, 2008

When You See A Priceless French Painting, I See A Drunk Naked Girl

I don't enjoy controversy. Nix that. I don't enjoy being an active participant in controversy. But I feel obligated to speak up now, on behalf of my husband and other men like him, with regards to Minxy Mimi's post from this past weekend.

To sum it up, in case you don't feel like clinking the link and visiting her blog, she posted the lyrics to Brad Paisley's "I'm Still A Guy." Please view the video now, I'll wait over here ----------------------------------------> *me*

Now Minxy Mimi claims she wants no part of this guy, stating that if this is what a real man is, she'd rather spend the rest of her life being celibate. Hey, it's her choice, whatever. I like the benefits that come with having a partner in life, both tawdry and mundane, so no celibacy for me, thanks.

Brad's song couldn't describe my husband more perfectly. He likes to hunt and fish, wishes he could carry a gun in his truck, hates getting his hair cut and gives me a *look* when I suggest lotion for his dry, cracked hands in the middle of winter. He has a dirty mind - as most men do - and rarely lets the opportunity to drop a sexual innuendo pass him by. When it comes to his family, he's ready to box anybody who says one negative thing in our direction. His instinct to protect his own is his center. To provide, to protect and to ensure our well-being is his first priority.

I simply must address the hunting issue. Mimi seems to have a very one-sided view of hunters and hunting for "sport." For millions of years, hunting has been a way of life around the world. To this day, it's a rite of passage for young men in South American and African tribes. It's a brotherhood, a very large community of people in the U.S. and Canada, that not only feel a thrill while hunting but also gain a huge respect for nature. Just ask Uncle Ted [Nugent]: "...We hunt, we fish, we trap, we feed ourselves with the sacred protein from Mother Nature's renewable sustain-yield pantry..."

Also, and I wasn't aware of this until about a year ago, when people go on safari in Africa and kill kudu, cape buffalo, et al., the animal they kill is butchered on site and is fed to the local villages. The hunting FEEDS hungry people. Hunters are nature's steward, keeping populations down and reproduction up for species that would otherwise overpopulate and start moving into our residential neighborhoods. Yeah, it'd be cute for a doe to pass through now and then but I doubt you want a Grizzly joining your Fourth of July barbecue.

Mimi also says she understands the "feed off the land" concept, but I really don't think she does. People in the less-populated regions of our country feed their families with the meat they provide from a successful hunting trip. If you land a 100-lb. deer, you'll get approximately 43 lbs. of meat! The cost of a hunting license and the gas to drive to the woods is well worth what would cost you about $125.00 at the grocery store.

I agree with her that "real men" come in all shapes and sizes from all walks of life. But please don't try to portray my husbands "league" as a lesser group because they do hunt, they do fish, and they abhor preening. My husband has an amazing - by my standards - amount of respect for me, treats me as his equal, is a loving and doting dad, and has never stayed out all night with his friends, let alone never called. I couldn't ask for a better man and I'm happy as hell that he does all that "man stuff." Personally, I find it sexy.

But then, that's just me. It's not for everybody and that's just fine! If it weren't for the white collars of society, my husband would be out of work! Heh. I simply get pissed off aggravated when people want to write off [the legions of] men like my husband as "barbaric" because they hunt. It's not barbaric, it's doing exactly what "the other real men" do when they get paid: it's providing for their family the way countless generations have since the dawn of time.

August 11, 2008

Wanna See Me Twitch?

Allow this travesty to occur:

"Spelling 'truely atrosious,' says academic"

Oh dear god.

August 9, 2008

The Swank Factor

A sort of addendum to my previous post, I'd like to talk about the Swank Factor. I've developed this idea based on Jen and Diana's comments to my last post. Apparently, there are people out there who, like myself, have trouble tolerating Hillary Swank's screen presence.

The Swank Factor is an aversion to any movie starring an actor that makes you itch (and not in a good way). Maybe their appearance bothers you. Or perhaps their political stance forces involuntary bursts of profanity to fly out of your mouth. Maybe they're just terrible at their craft and you can't bring yourself to endure 90+ minutes of their floudering attempts at acting.

Allow me to offer up some examples. This way, when you enlighten your friends with The Swank Factor, you'll have a true understanding of what I'm driving at.


Hillary Swank, for whome this idea is named. My problem lies not with her acting. She's a good actress and seems to have range - she's played a high school boy, an aspiring female boxer, and a grieving widow among other roles. My problem lies with the fact that she's very mannish. She looks like Matt Damon! Like my friend Diana said, and I'm quoting her comment, Hillary's " ugly ugly woman." I'm no raving beauty, that's for damn sure, but I'm also not splashing my image across movie screens around the world. I keep my boring grey eyes, bulbous nose, crater-like pores and thin, shitty German lips at home.

Johnny Depp. I'll never dispute his eye candy appeal. He's a gorgeous piece of man. But he's made some remarks about America that left a bad taste in my mouth and that's enough to sway me away from his movies. Well, that his creepy depiction of Willy Wonka. The previews drove me away from that. I'll watch Gene Wilder over Johnny any day!

Larry the Cable Guy. He's a terrific comedian, his shtick is hysterical! I'd go to a live show any day of the week. But please, for the love of all that is truly funny, please keep this man out off the silver screen! HE CAN'T ACT. Health Inspector, Delta Farce, and Witless Protection are abominations in film. My husband has rented all three of these and I was barely able to stomach the first one, fell asleep during the second one, and politely excused myself to go grocery shopping during the third. What a disaster.

Rosie O'Donnell. I used to like her, way back when she was doing The Rosie O'Donnell Show. I liked the Koosh Ball bit, her deceptive obsession with Tom Cruise (" Tommy!"). But then the funny turned political and it was a trainwreck from there on out. I couldn't care less that she's gay. In fact, hooray for her for being one of the first to go very public about it. My problem lies with the fact that she martyred herself with it. Then she landed that cushy seat on "The View" and we all know what a catfight spectacle that turned into. I refer to her around here as The Soapbox Queen because all she does is push her agenda into everyone's face. If you think your opinions are that influential then be a social activist, not an actress. At least let us enjoy your movies and TV roles without being reminded of what a beligerent, whiny, I'm-taking-my-ball-and-going-home pain in the ass you are. I really liked "The Flintstones." Your attitude ruined it for me, Rosie.


Now go be the life of the party and talk about your Swank Factor. By the by, doesn't "Swank" sound like a mix of "swag" and "skank?"

August 8, 2008

"Cake or Death?"

I love a good stand-up comedy act. I love laughing so hard my stomach hurts, tears are rolling down my face, and soda is spraying out of my nose. I don't have a particular brand of preferred stand-up either. I like Carlos Mencia, Josh Blue, Jay Mohr, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall - and yet oddly enough, not a huge Ron White fan - and a few from this summer's "Last Comic Standing." Jeff Dye and Louis Ramey are consistently outstanding acts! I especially like catching a stand-up act of a now-accomplished actor; I'm usually pleasantly surprised to see that they're not just actors. They were actually funny all by themselves in their prior, lesser-known comic life.

Growing up, I knew Bill Cosby only as Dr. Huxtable. He loved dancing to jazz, deadpanning his kids, and trying to sneak in slices of cake when Claire wasn't looking. I had seen one or two of his "Kids Say the Darndest Things" on TV, but I had no real idea that he had this previous and much funny career as a stand-up comedian. I didn't see "Bill Cosby: Himself" until this past winter and let me tell you, Rob nearly had to mop me up off the floor I was laughing so hard! That man is a breed of funny I think any comedian would have trouble achieving. I saw him on Leno the other night and he's still got it. Amazing.

Anyway, the other night I was fortunate enough to catch Kevin James' "Sweat the Small Stuff" on Comedy Central. I couldn't believe how funny he was. I'd seen him on "King of Queens," which I admit I hardly ever watched, and of course I'd seen him in "Hitch." But his material on the little things in life that are real annoyances was terrific! I highly recommend Netflixing this if you like commentary on everyday life.

But there's always that one rotten apple in the barrel, isn't there? Want some disappointment to flutter into your life? Watch Bob Sagets "That Ain't Right." It's like watching the whitest man you know try to be Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and a splash of Andrew Dice Clay. This man drops so much profanity it sounds more and more ridiculous every time he cusses and he's vulgar - in an inappropriate way. He talks about having "banged" or "bagged" teenage girls and I'm not talking about the teenage girls that are 18 and 19. It's disgusting. We turned it off halfway through because we hadn't laughed in about half an hour.

Remember Steve Carell's character in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin?" When he tried to cuss and act like he was the baddest mofo ever? That's what Bob Saget came across as only you had the wholesome image of Danny Tanner staring at you. Disturbing. He was trying so hard to shred that image that it turned into a horrific train wreck.

But maybe you're into watching train wrecks, what do I know?

In other movie news, I finally got to watch "P.S. I Love You" last night. Cried for the better part of the movie but I really, really enjoyed it. I'm not a huge Hillary Swank fan - and I'm still not - but she did a decent job of being the grieving widow. Who would I have preferred, you ask? Kate Winslet. Or maybe Rachel McAdams.

August 6, 2008

Go Hug Your Kids. Now.

The reason you need to go hug your kids.

I found this list on Dooce's site and was at once stunned, horrified, angry, frustrated and heartbroken. How do oversights like this happen?

August 5, 2008

There's A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Now I don't want to jinx it, because I have a way of doing that when I mention what could be on the forefront thus causing the exact opposite to happen, but I think my three-year-old demon might be turning a culinary corner.

I may have mentioned in the past that her diet is, well, limited to say the very least. Her diet mainly consists of peanut butter sandwiches, any kind of Mexican food, tuna fish, bananas, wheat crackers (which I haven't bought in about two months) and any kind of bread that crosses her path. Sad, right? Since we moved, we've gotten her to eat - repeatedly, so as to nix any ideas of a fluke - scrambled eggs, white rice, ground beef, Granny Smith apples, chow mein noodles, fried rice, and a bite or two of a baby carrot. I actually caught a picture of her chowing down on an apple about two weeks ago:

I was stunned. She ate the whole darn thing! Well, she won't eat the peel yet, but hey, I'll take baby steps. She ate another one today. I'm thrilled! I can only hope this is a sign of things to come. Lately she's been approaching me with whatever I'm eating, asking for "a taste." That turns into several tastes if it turns out that she likes what I'm having! She nibbled a baby carrot today while I was snacking on them.

Some days, I'm bursting with pride for my spawn. My little one started pointing today to indicate he wanted something. Beth never did that - for reasons that, to this day, are beyond me but I think were part in parcel of her speech delay - and so this is kind of exciting! I hope it leads to speech!

Yay for my kids!

Me and my babies:

August 4, 2008

A Mothers Conundrum

When parenting dilemmas arise - when to potty train, who gets to give the 3 a.m. bottle, how to explain "gentle" to a six-month-old - Rob and I are usually able to hash things out pretty easily. But when a dilemma arises that doesn't seem to have an immediate answer or quick fix, we're left at a dead-end road. What do you do when you have two children under the age of three who refuse their dads comfort at nearly every turn and go running to mommy at the drop of a hat?

When he tries to tickle Beth or joke around with her, which he's done since she was born and she used to love, she starts whining and fake crying, yelling out for and running to me. It's only been in the last few months that she's turned this corner and it's really weird! I know she's three and at this age they're prone to parental preference still but it doesn't stop it from really sucking for Rob. He loves that little girl to pieces, would lasso the moon and stars for her if she asked, and brags to everyone he knows about what a great kid she is...and she's a giant turd in the punchbowl. I don't know how to turn this around. My heart really aches for him; I couldn't imagine having my own child reject my affection!

And the baby? Just as bad but in a non-verbal way. If I leave for fifteen minutes - hell, if I leave for FIVE minutes - he's a screaming snotty mess. I mean he's in an all-out meltdown. Rob tries everything: rocking him, bouncing him, doing the things we know makes him laugh, bottle, snack, toys, singing. NOTHING WORKS. I walk in the door and he stops crying, stops sobbing, stops all the waterworks and starts smiling again. How crushing that must be! And we both know it's because he's a baby and babies almost always prefer their moms, especially when the mom is a SAHM and the dad is gone from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m.

He gets really bummed out about it and I don't blame him a bit. It's frustrating for me, too, because when one kid needs me the other will inevitably find some reason to start screaming. I get angry at Rob for not helping even though I know there's nothing he can do to calm either child and then he gets mad at me (understandably) and it's just a really crappy cycle.

Someone please tell me that the kids will snap out of it. That my husband won't be walking around like Eeyore because "nobody cares about an old grey donkey."

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