My Youngest is 10…

January 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

…and if you’d like to know how I’m feeling about that, please click over to Scary Mommy to read “Double Digits.”  I’m beyond excited to be on that great site by fellow Baltimorean, Jill Smokler.  🙂

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Not Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader

December 11, 2013 § 17 Comments

This morning on the way to school, my fourth-grader and I had the following conversation.

Him:  Did you know sloths move so slowly that sometimes they mistake their arm for a branch, reach for it, and then fall to their deaths?

Me:  Sloths have arms?

Him:  Yeah!  Of course they do.

Me:  Sloths don’t have arms.

Him:  (disbelievingly) Yes, Mom!  They have REALLY LONG ARMS!

Me:  No, they don’t.

Him:  Yes, they do!

Me:  They do not.

Him:  (patiently) Mom.  I’m talking about SLOTHS.  S-L-O-T-H-S.

Me:  I know what you’re talking about.  Sloths.  Sloths don’t have arms.  Do they?

Him:  (exasperated) YES!  Sloths have arms!!!  S-L-O-T-H-S!

Me:  Stop SPELLING it.  I KNOW what you’re talking about!  Sloths have arms?  I never knew that!

Him:  (disbelievingly) HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW THAT???

Me:  I really think they don’t.  I’ll have to look it up when I get home.  That’s really interesting.

*****

You see, that entire time HE was talking about sloths, he saw this animal in his mind.

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The entire time I was talking about sloths, and insisting he didn’t need to SPELL it out for me, I was seeing this animal in my mind.

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In my defense, they are both very slow-moving animals.

 

Banana Bread

August 26, 2013 § 15 Comments

So, you know how so many people post Facebook status updates the night before the first day of school?  “Lunches are packed!  Kids in bed!  Backpacks ready!  Forms filled out!  Relaxing with a glass of wine and hubby!” And it’s only 8 p.m.?  Some dear friends of mine – and I hope they still are after reading this – but please indulge me in a rare public bitchy moment.

I frikkin’ HATE those status updates.  They shouldn’t, but they make me feel like SUCH a loser mom – I rarely, if ever have my shit together like that.  For one thing, it’s  usually 10:47 p.m. when I read them, and the kids are all still awake and I’m about to go grocery shopping (sometimes at the gas station “convenience” store) for the first time in 10 days so they don’t eat uncooked ramen noodles for lunch on their first day of school.

Not this year.  It’s payback time, beyotches.  This year, I AM THAT MOM.  Last night the youngest was in bed by 10 p.m. (unshowered, but hey – you can’t have everything,) grocery shopping was done (4 days earlier,) and I was in my pjs (unshowered, but hey – you can’t have everything,) – do you hear me???  I made banana bread* batter (the only bakery item I know how to make from scratch,) stuck it in the fridge, and woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get it into the oven.  Let me tell you, by 7 a.m., that sucker was PERFECTION.  I had it buttered and lovingly arranged on a Bounty paper towel for my eldest to have on her way to school.  Right next to her bottled Starbucks frappacino.  Then, after some Marx Brothers-like confusion and car-jockeying because we hadn’t figured out yet which one of us was going to drive her to school, she was off for the first day of school.

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Never mind that my eldest is almost 17, and I’ve been on Facebook for five years now, and that I am only NOW boasting about something of this nature.  But I’m BOASTING, BABY!!!!!  SUCK IT, LOSERS!!!!

(Cue thunder and maniacal laughter)

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

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*A little bonus story:  I’ve been making this for years – got the recipe from Dave’s mother.  When we were married for less than a year, I did something similar – waking up early to get the banana bread in the oven for him to bring to some office potluck. Then I showered and attempted to wake him up.  He was immovable.  So, I stood next to the bed and said, “Hey, Dave.  There’s a naked woman in front of you and a banana bread in the oven.”  He raised his head up, lifted an eyebrow and said, “Banana bread?”  

Vacation Hangover

August 18, 2013 § 20 Comments

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Well, there was no Captain Steubing, and it was not the Love Boat, but we sure loved the boat that took us on vacation.  Here’s a random re-cap.

1.  No wi-fi and/or texting is a blessing.  The end.

2.  Just kidding!!!  There’s more!  Angel (pronounced “Ahn-HELL”) was our dinner waiter, and Marko was his assistant.  I learned halfway through the trip (and that was too late) that I should not ask Angel his opinion about more than one entree.  This is because he would proceed to bring me each. entree.  Five of us at the table, and we routinely had at least seven entrees on the table at one time.  By the end of the week it had progressed, we never arrived at dinner without at least one appetizer already on the table because he wanted us to have them, and it was not unusual for six or seven desserts to appear by the end.

3.  Related to #2 above, our rooms were on the 2nd deck.  The pool was on the 9th.  In an effort to stem the tide of flab resulting from #2, I did use the stairs almost exclusively.  16 steps to get from one deck to the other.  Yes, I counted.  Thankfully, the nearest bar was on the 4th deck.  But even with that, I managed to log at least 20 flights of those steps every day.  Because ping-pong on the 9th deck, that’s why.

4.  Don’t bother with the “Shopping Talk” before you dock.  It is interminable, and almost exclusively about the jewelry you can buy in port.  As with Angel and entrees, I realized this way too late, and was already committed to hunting down a couple of really cute, but expensive watches. Once in Bermuda, I was on a mission, I tell you.

5.  It’s true what they say.  Unplugging from the internet truly does unclutter your mind.  Think about how much multitasking your brain must do – how many times it must change gears, simply going from one friend’s FB status update to the next.  How many times do you click on a link they post to read about revolution in Egypt (of which I remained blissfully unaware) to the next link of a cat wearing a shark costume riding a roomba?  See?  I’ll bet you just clicked on that link.  And now your brain has to go from being all cuted out by that cat to reading my blatherings about my vacation.  Or maybe you didn’t come back…did you come back?  COME BAAAAAAAACK!!!!  Darn it.

6.  With my uncluttered mind, the only thing I could do between feeding my face and listening to the abundance of live music aboard was to either:

a.  read, or
b.  play Polar Bowler on my phone, since it was the only thing I could do on it that did not require internet.

Fighting the powerful pull of a polar bear shooting down a bowling alley made of ice,  I did manage to squeeze some reading in there.  Of an actual book.  With pages.  NOT on an electronic device.

7.  Here, I’m really letting my geek flag fly by confiding in you that the book I spent time reading was… “George Washington’s War (The Saga of the American Revolution)” by Robert Leckie.  My dad gave it to me with high recommendations, and, well, what the hell, right?  Amazingly written, its sentences have craploads of information in each one, which required me to actually read things more than one time.  If you know me, that is NOT my style – I’m kind of a speedy reader.  But I did read it slowly, and some of it several times over, because the writing was so beautiful and artistic.

It’s also filled with frikkin hilarious descriptions of the people in it.  Here’s how he paints Augusta, mother to (future King) George III.

Although Augusta was not beautiful or gracious, but plain with a long neck and awkward long arms, she was nevertheless well endowed with an amplitude of Germanic charms, both before and behind.

In other words, bag the face, but she had tits and ass.  The book surprised me on a regular basis with stuff like that, and I’m sure I raised a few eyebrows sitting by myself and snorting with laughter.  I only got to page 43 before vacation ended, but I will keep going, as I’ve got a renewed affection for reading a book rather than reading a Huffington Post article or a Buzzfeed list.

8.  Karaoke is hard.  No need to go into the sad, ugly details of that one.

9.  It was fun, fun, FUN having my niece, Katie, and her friend, Danielle onboard the ship with us!  (They had tickets – we didn’t smuggle them.)

10.  Most of the ship’s talent was extremely entertaining and skilled.  For example, one of the show nights had music by the decades, and the duo who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” brought tears to my eyes, literally.  However, some of the ship’s performers lip-synced, which I found distracting and annoying.  And on a show night featuring Broadway music, I wanted to strangle whoever decided it was a good idea to change the time signatures of “A Boy Like That” from West Side Story.  Don’t – DO NOT – mess with Bernstein’s time signatures, is that understood?  Gah.

11.  I break the rules when my kids aren’t around.  One of the days in Bermuda Dave took them snorkeling, and I went to St. George to further geek out on history.  I walked all around by myself, taking in the whipping posts from the 1800s

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and brick-lined streets, and ended up at the Unfinished Church at the top of a hill.  They began building it in 1874, and abandoned it when they ran out of money.  Anywho, there was a flimsy sign that told me not to enter,

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but this other chick found a way in,

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and her cab driver seemed unconcerned,

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so, naturally, when she left I decided I couldn’t go back to the boat without trying to get inside this place, either.  I slunked around the outside of the church, and finding this weak point that would allow entry, I began to climb.

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I got a few scrapes, and landed a little harder than I would have liked, but I got in!  (Through the window behind me in the picture!)

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It was pretty.

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It was harder to get out than to get in, but I managed to climb up that gate a few pictures up and squeeze over the top.  And now I can say I’ve trespassed in a church.  Awwwww, yeah!

12.  Showers can be perplexing.  Picture a triangle 2′ x 2′ x whatever length that makes the 3rd side.  Then picture one of those shower heads at the end of a hose, propped up in a flimsy clip that was just a leeeeeeeettle too big for the hose.  Then picture it without warning popping out of that clip and flying (water on full-blast) all over the shower stall like a balloon with the air just let out of it.  That may have happened to me.  I cracked the code around 5 days into the cruise on how to keep it in the clip, but I still kept turning around to check it so it would know I was keeping my eye on it.  Also, picture, if you will, the act of shaving one’s legs in such a shower.  Somewhat akin to Ralph Maccio in The Karate Kid.  Only with a razor in one hand and a shower head whizzing all around you because it has popped out of its clip.

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(photo courtesy of http://www.myfoggybrain.com)

13.  I am totally going on another cruise.  The family was dreamy, the downtime was downtime, and the water was so, so blue.

 

Silver Bullets? I’d Rather Have Chocolate Ones.

May 26, 2013 § 3 Comments

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A seven-year-old boy named Myles wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden with his solution for gun violence. Chocolate bullets. The Vice President is completely on board with this idea, because, as he says in his letter back to Myles, “People love chocolate.”

Some fellow writers at The Broad Side had very strong reactions to this story. Danielle declared “If someone shot me with chocolate…they would be my new best friend.” Karen insisted “must be milk chocolate. Dark gives me migraine.” It did strike a nerve, though, with Rebekah, who claimed that “…now I’m all bitter that my son never got a response when he wrote to Obama saying we should have ‘no more guns in this world.’ Also, I want chocolate.”

This conversation took place right before I rushed out the door to pick up my youngest at elementary school. My newly found mad reporter skillz kicked into high gear, and I wrote out a few questions to ask fellow parents at pick-up. After giving them the low-down on this new gun control development, they agreed to answer a few of my questions.

  1. What flavor chocolate do you think the new ammunition should be?

Parent #1 – White chocolate (she doesn’t like regular chocolate.)

Parent #2 – Dark chocolate (she is lactose intolerant.)

Parent #3 – Didn’t like the idea of anyone shooting anything at her. Even chocolate bullets. Was adamant it would feel like an assault. Even if it were shot through a Nerf Gun. Upon further questioning, she did admit that if someone handed her a chocolate bullet, she would, in fact, eat it.

  1. Do you think there should be child-proof safes for this chocolate ammunition?

Parent #1 – No.

Parent #’s 2 and 3 had no comment.

  1. If someone shot you with chocolate, could you see pressing charges against them?

Parent #1 – Yes. As she stated earlier, she doesn’t like chocolate.

  1. Can you see global application for chocolate bullets?

Parent #2 – Carnivals? Feeding the hungry?

It was at that point the little ones began to spill out of school and no one wanted to talk about chocolate ammunition with the children around. Also, I got the sense they were all beginning to think I was insane, so I thought it best to cut the interviews short.

When I got home, however, I decided to conduct an interview with a friend of mine who is an extremely knowledgeable gun enthusiast. Chris Cataudella is one of my token Republican friends. (I must have Republican friends, or else my street cred as an “open-minded” liberal is seriously compromised.) He, completely coincidentally, this very afternoon published a blog post about his proposal for common sense gun laws.

Anywho, I posed the same basic questions to Chris, with some follow-ups, of course. Because his answers were so…rich. (ba dum bump)

1. What flavor would you recommend for chocolate bullets?

With today’s advances in bullet construction and bullet manufacturing, milk chocolate coating with peanut butter in the center would be the most logical choice for general purpose ammunition (GPA). Bullets can be named “Death by Chocolate.”

2. Do you think there would be a need for child-proof safes for these chocolate bullets?

Absolutely – can you imagine if a child got into that ammunition cabinet? The rise in obesity would bring a whole new round of medical and legal questions.

3. If someone shot you with a chocolate bullet, could you see pressing charges?

What if there was a peanut allergy? Of course I would press charges. (We just established there would be peanut butter in the bullets.)

3a. What if it was a York Peppermint Patty bullet? Dark chocolate on the outside with minty cream on the inside?

I would “Get the sensation!”

4. Can you see global application for chocolate bullets?

The Dutch would be way ahead of us. Would lead to a whole chocolate arms race. Chocolate-tipped ICBMs? Then the government would have to pay off Hershey to not sell to our chocolate secrets to other countries.

Think about Belgium – Germany’s chocolate isn’t nearly as good, and they would want to invade Belgium all over again!

  1. What would be the domestic implications for chocolate bullets?

This raises many questions. For example, would candy sellers at malls and other places be required to have a Class III Firearms License?

Another issue might be that California requires lead-free bullets, to protect the wildlife who didn’tget shot by the bullet from eating the bullet which, if it contained lead, would be harmful. (He said that without the slightest trace of irony or sarcasm.) So, if you go duck hunting with chocolate ammunition, there are serious implications for health problems for wildlife in the future. Not to mention, no one wants to hunt ducks that can’t fly because they’re out of shape from eating so much chocolate.

On the plus side, if you’re hunting in the woods and no deer come around, and you run out of munchies, you can always eat the chocolate bullets. On second thought, though, the object of hunting is to hunt an animal in its natural environment where the odds are equal for both hunter and wildlife. If a hunter is loaded with chocolate ammunition, the animals would come running. The scales would tip, and hunting would become baiting.

So many chocolate questions, so little time!

This post was originally published on The Broad Side on Friday, May 24th.  

(Photo Credit: Guy J. Sagi/Shutterstock.)

A Fork in the Grass

May 16, 2013 § 12 Comments

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The following is a conversation that really took place last week, with no embellishment on my part.  Allow me to set the scene:

Nicky’s baseball game.  Sunny, beautiful, breezy Sunday afternoon.  I was sitting next to our friend, Glen* – our boys have played baseball together for the last few years, and even though he comments on the articles I put on fb without reading them, I still let him be friends with me, because I’m cool like that.

Anyhow, I had brought a salad with me to the game – one I purchased at Panera Bread.  I was about to eat said salad, when I accidentally dropped the fork onto the grass.  I picked it up quickly, considered it, then stated the following:

Me:  Oh, well.

Glen*:  What?

Me:  I probably have another fork in the car.

Glen*:  You’re throwing that one away?  Why?

Me:  Because it fell on the grass.

Glen*:  Are you kidding me?

I was about to explain that yeah, I don’t know if a dog had peed there, pesticides, bottoms of people’s shoes, etc., etc., etc.  Before I had the chance,

Glen*:  Are you KIDDING me???  Do you have any idea where that FORK has been?

Me:  *blank stare*

Glen*:  You’re gonna throw that fork away because it touched a little grass?  That fork is made outta petroleum.    It’s made of OIL.  It’s PLASTIC.  They pulled the oil from the ground to make that fork!

Me:  um…

Glen*:  Do you have any idea how many CHEMICALS are in that fork you were about to PUT INTO YOUR MOUTH?  You know how many hands probably have touched that fork you were about to put into your mouth?

Me:  I…uh…I guess not…

Glen*:  And you were gonna throw it away because it touched a few blades of GRASS for a FRACTION OF A SECOND???????

Me:  *starting to eat my salad with that same fork*

About 5 minutes of silence go by as I eat my salad, though I was admittedly a little less hungry as a result of this conversation.

Then, Glen* reaches down and pulls up some grass and tosses it to the side.

Me:  What did you do that for?

Glen*:  That grass was no good anymore.  The fork touched it.

*I changed Glenn’s name from “Glenn” to “Glen” to protect his identity and privacy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 11, 2013 § 12 Comments

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Here’s why I love this comic strip very much.

One might read this and think its creators are saying, “Damn teenagers.  They have no vocabulary.  They never talk to us.  They never TELL us anything.”

I see something completely different in this comic strip.

1.  Teenagers are moody.

2.  Teenagers have trouble figuring out what’s bothering them.

3.  Even if they know what’s bothering them, they have trouble articulating it.

4.  Parents should keep their questions simple.  Like, “Trouble?”

5.  Teenagers still need shoulders and hugs, even if their arms hang limp at their sides when their heads are on your shoulder while you’re hugging them.

6.  Teenagers still need their parents to say “Poor Baby,” sometimes.

7.  What parents think is the start of a conversation is often what the teenager thinks is the end of one.

8.  Parents need to do less than they think to be of help to their kids.  I mean, look at this comic.  All the mom says is, “Trouble?”  and  “Poor Baby,” and the teen is smiling and eating an apple again.

9.  As with so many things in life, less is more.

10.  I need to join a chapter of Overanalyzers Anonymous.

11.  Teenagers need their parents.  And so do certain 43-year-olds who live in Baltimore.

Have a beautiful and easy Mother’s Day, from everyone here at The Worthington Pos!t (*cough* okay, it’s just me – I’m the only one here *cough*)

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