Friday, June 27, 2008

Crapping in echo canyon

Aaron saw a Kipper cartoon the other day about echoes and this afternoon while I was in the living room I heard:

"MOMMA . . . momma . . . momma"


"I'M POOPING . . . pooping . . . pooping"


"COME AND WIPE ME . . . wipe me . . . wipe me"

God I love that kid!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Because nothing's funnier than a genetically deformed animal

Aaron loves knock, knock jokes and after suffering through his own made up jokes for a couple months (Knock knock - who's there? - House - House who? - House Door! and somehow that was hilarious to him) we got him a children's joke book. For the most part it's okay. It's got some groaners in there and some pretty bad puns but it's also got some jokes that are really bad. I don't mean that they're simply not funny - they're just in really poor taste. For example:

"Where can you find a dog with no legs? - Right where you left him."

"What do you call a mouse with no legs? - Cat food"

Seriously, who compiled these jokes? The screenwriter for Saw?

For now we just don't read them to him, but we'll have to conveniently lose the book when he learns to read.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

House Envy

Have you ever disliked someone for something they have no control over? Loathed their mere presence without ever making the effort to get to know them?

My neighbor is a very amiable divorcee in her early 50’s. She moved in about a year ago and she’s always been exceedingly friendly. I’m sure she’s a lovely person and I’m always ready to wave and say a friendly hello when I see her but beyond that I can’t seem to muster much effort.

Truth is, I hate the fact that she bought the house next to us. I’ve always liked that house ever since we moved into ours and when it was up for sale we toured it and after seeing the inside I loved it. In the timeframe between the tour and the day it sold I had hundreds and hundreds of lovely and vivid dreams of owning it myself and raising my children in its quaint window-seated bedrooms. Playing piano in the dining room, where the antique piano that’s been cluttering my mother’s house for years would have fit perfectly, creating a perfect garden oasis in the huge double lot backyard . . . But unfortunately when it was up for sale we were not financially ready to buy, and it would have been out of our price range regardless.

It’s really not fair of me to project my feelings of loss and regret on her and yet when I see her I can’t help but feel bitter that this single workaholic older woman is traversing the wooden winding staircase and hallway that should be littered with my children’s scattered toys and abandoned shoes. The walls are probably pristine and white when they should be covered in crayon scribbles and scuff marks. I mean what does a single old lady need with a 2 story, 4 bedroom house? She travels quite a bit and when I see it empty I almost feel like the home itself is sighing. It’s longing for the bustle of children and domestic goodness. Its windows are aching to be covered in tiny fingerprints and to rattle with the joyful screams of playing children. Instead it’s dark and lonely and quiet and I blame this on her.

Completely ridiculous and silly and yet there it is. It’s not her – hell I could have found fault with anyone who moved in there that wasn’t me. If Jesus himself moved in, I’d complain about how he doesn’t invite us to his wild monthly luau parties. Ewan McGregor could move in and I’d be livid that he trims his hedges while fully clothed.

I keep thinking I’ve reached a point that I can let things go and move on. I try to convince myself that my dream home is somewhere else and really wherever my family is together and happy is really a dream home anyway right? And then I see she’s having pizza delivered and all I can think is – I bet she just chucks the leftovers into one of the spare bedrooms. I mean what else could she possibly be using that space for?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Word Up!

I'd like to tell you that we spend most of our afternoons cleaning up state parks, volunteering at food banks, reading fully unabridged and annotated versions of literary classics or bonding over games involving laminated educational flashcards, but that's not quite accurate. What really happens is that I try to wind down from 8 hours of soul sucking meaningless busy work while keeping the kids entertained with a little age appropriate cartoon entertainment.

And on those days when my responses to Dora's continual queries of "Where are we going?" are: "hell", 'insane" and "the liquor cabinet", I'm glad that there is another cartoon option out there.

Enter WordGirl. A new show on PBS Kids that I absolutely adore. I always have a softspot for any show in which the characters converse with the narrator - that nuance never really gets old for me. Plus the focus of the show is increasing children's vocabularies which is a noble cause in and of itself.

It's just so original and well written that it's one of my favorite TV shows right now and I'd watch it even if the kids weren't around. I mean how many shows have super villians who fling bratwurst? Check out part of an episode here.

Of course since I adore it, the kids don't really care for it. True, it's aimed at a slightly older audience than 1 and 4, but still it's entertaining. If I can coax Aaron into watching until the Captain Huggy Face dance segment comes on, I'm golden.

I dare you not to smile while watching this!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

l've named it "Bic"

Thanks to my Scottish/Irish heritage and an insanely unlucky genetic makeup I am covered in freckles and moles. Freckles I can deal with. I’m actually oddly attracted to freckles. I love looking at people who are excessively freckled. It makes their skin strangely beautiful and unique, almost like traditional Henna skin art. But I digress.

What I don’t like are moles. Moles have no redeeming qualities. None whatsoever and don’t even talk to me about the famous Cindy Crawford beauty mark mole. It’s only attractive because it’s on her and it’s the only one she probably has. And sure it looks great but I bet you $50 that she has to get that baby waxed on a weekly basis to keep 2 ugly thick black hairs from growing out of the middle of it and dangling onto her upper lip. How attractive is that?

I make an annual trip to the Dermatologist where he slices and dices off moles of questionable size, shape and color. Thankfully all have come back from the lab as normal. Melanoma is not a pretty thing. However, the side effect of all this slicing is scar tissue and mole remnants. You see sometimes they don’t get the entire thing and part of it grows back and then takes on a weird deformed existence.

This is one of my particular favorites. For some reason the wounded and pissed off root of this particular mole decided to take its vengeance by growing back dark blue/black; therefore causing everyone who sees it to inform me that I have a dot of ink on my arm.

Sure I could get it sliced off again but I’ve grown to love the oddity of it. And much like a belly button cat ass tattoo, it’s a great conversation starter.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Culture . . . and man boobs

While flipping the channels the other night I landed upon a PBS special on a group of traditional Hawaiian dancers. It was mesmerizing. They didn’t perform for tourist luau’s, they performed simply for the ritual of it and instead of flamboyant flowered lei’s and cheap grass skirts, they donned handmade traditional costumes; broad palm leaf skirts hung low on the waist to accentuate their hip movements and simple dyed scarves wrapped around their chests. The men were bare chested with a short palm leaf skirt around their waist. It was truly beautiful.

They were dancing in the foreground of a volcano and, seeing this as an educational experience I started talking to Aaron about it. We discussed the volcano and we found Hawaii on the big map in his room and as I was silently praising myself for offering up such a cultural and educational experience for my son, he turned to me and said;

“Why is that man naked?”

I assured him that he wasn’t naked; he just didn’t have a shirt on.

“But I can see his boobs.” was his reply.

True, he was a larger man and I couldn’t quite argue with the kid’s logic, but I said “Men don’t have boobs, honey.”

With a serious and resolute look Aaron then informed me, “Yes, Momma they do! They’re just smaller.”

He was so confident that I knew it wouldn't be easy to convince him otherwise. Plus, the visual evidence was almost overwhelming in Aaron's favor and I really didn’t have the energy for a full on discussion of pectoral muscles vs. mammaries.

When the subject comes up again I’ll be sure to address it properly. Until then I just hope he doesn’t ask the next man he sees to show him his boobies.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What "Lozzie" taught me

Everybody has things they regret: ill advised piercings, that new shirt you thought was stylish and unique until the first day you wore it and 2 people congratulated you and asked when the baby was due. . .

One of my biggest regrets is something I said years and years ago that at the time seemed completely and utterly innocent and yet it haunts me to this very day. My grandmother, whom I never saw very often as a small child because she lived several hours away, used to say “Lozzie” all the time. It was her word and I loved it. I’m not sure of the origin of the word and it doesn’t really matter. It was used as an exclamation like “Goodness Gracious” (or if it was me “Shit!” or “Damn”).

I loved the way she said it. Sometimes it was a loud and raucous Missouri accented “LAWZZIE!” uttered at the end of a funny story. Other times it was a more subdued and endearing “Lozzie, child you sure do look like your daddy.”So when she and my Grandpa moved back to our little town when I was about 11 I happened to mention to my parents how much I was looking forward to hearing “Lozzie” more often and when they looked at me quizzically I pointed out that Grandma said it all the time and I adored it. Well naturally this charming and endearing story was eventually recounted to her.

And . . .

The woman has never uttered the word again. EVER! Sometimes I think it might slip out when she’s telling a funny story or being spontaneous – but it never does.

I don’t know if she felt self conscious about it. Like how if someone tells you they adore the fact that your right ear is bigger than your left, and you, never having realized this, start wearing ear muffs year round. I felt guilty about it for the longest time, and then I finally decided that it was her issue not mine. If she wasn’t willing to embrace herself then there wasn’t much I could do about it.

But it did teach me that you should probably keep most of that stuff to yourself and that’s my public service message for today. So, if you ever feel the urge to volunteer up the fact that you love the patch of hair on your husband’s back because it’s the exact same shape as the state of Rhode Island or that you adore how your Aunt says the word “orange” as “oinge” – DON’T DO IT - because then you’ll be stuck shaving his back every month and your Aunt will feel the need to get speech therapy and avoid you like the plague any time a citrus fruit is in the vicinity.

And if someone ever offers up a quirky thing about you that they love, don’t feel self conscience or judged. Don’t even think about it. Just say “thank you” and revel in the fact that you’re loved and accepted for who you are.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Because "Thingamabob" just doesn't sound tasty.

I was surfing the vending machine selections this afternoon at work and there was the usual – M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, and then . . . I noticed a small shaft of light coming from some inexplicable source and alighting upon the most glorious treasure imaginable:

There it was beaming at me like a gold nugget in a pan of mud, like a diamond amidst a pile of pebbles, like a clearance priced plus-size pair of jeans on a rack of size 6 skinny pants.

I love Whatchamacallits, and they’re pretty rare. You’re not going to find one of these babies at your normal checkout counter candy center. Most convenient stores don’t even carry them – and to find one in a vending machine is almost like a once in a lifetime occurrence. It was the only one in the machine and had probably been sandwiched between a Twix and a Snickers. I mean what are the odds that it would be front and center, just waiting for me? It was kismet!

I savored that thing like it was my last meal, and it absolutely made my entire day – and I don’t even care that it makes me sound incredibly pathetic – it’s the truth. It’s all about the nostalgia. Ah sweet, chocolatey memories.