Thursday, December 30, 2010

14 years ago today...

(Those maternity jeans were my favorite article of clothing I've had before or since.  I wish I would have kept them.)

At 8:10 in the morning I got cut practically in half and a giant baby was removed from my thorax by Dr. Deb and her husband, Dr. Tim, both of whom I admired so much because they were so smart, and married and successful that I started to get nervous and intimidated around them until Mitch told me they were getting a divorce so that brought them down to earth for me, but later I found out he lied.  They didn't get a divorce.  So they are still admirably intimidating and I'm married to a liar.  But I digress.  I had an absolutely stunningly beautiful boy and they wrapped him in a pink blanket to bring him up to the nursery because they were out of blue blankets.  My sister said she almost died when she saw the pink blanket because we were all positive he was a boy.

They eventually found him a blue blanket.  Look at all that hair!  A PERFECT BABY!

He was a wonderful baby.  When he was big enough to crawl, I could put him on a blanket with his toys and say, "stay on the blanket," and he wouldn't leave the borders of the blanket.  No need for a playpen!  He's always been easy and quiet and cautious and funny and sweet.  I thought people that thought child rearing was hard were total weenies.  (Then Karma gave me Kira)

Baby Sam and the best dog in the world, Gizmo.

He broke his leg when he was five.  A spiral fracture of his femur.  Pretty serious stuff.  He was at his grandparent's when it happened.  He was miming running in place like cartoons do and he was wearing toe socks and rubber boots and he slipped and by some freakish chance, he broke his leg.  The grandparents brought him to the local hospital where the idiot staff almost killed him by messing up his electrolytes.  (Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, Minnesota.  Never go there, they will kill you!) He had a seizure and we had him brought to Children's Hospital where they fixed him up.  That was when Mitch and I thought maybe parenthood was too much for us to handle emotionally.  We realized then that these kids have such a hold on us that if anything bad ever happened to them we would lose our minds.  Seeing Sam almost die, in pain, and broken almost pushed us over the edge and would have if he didn't recover so quickly.  Turns out children are our kryptonite.

The poor kid had pins in his leg attached to an exterior fixator for the entire summer.  

Always one to see the silver lining, Sam found using a bedpan to be quite convenient and couldn't understand why everyone didn't use them all the time.

He is growing up to be a kind and helpful person.  A parent couldn't ask for a better son, and a sister couldn't ask for a better big brother.

We love you Sam!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Movie and my Sweet Baby's Birthday

Today I went to see the movie 127 hours with James Franco.  It was SO GOOD.  I was a little obsessed with the story when it happened in 2003.  If you don't know, it's about the guy who went hiking in Blue John Canyon in Utah and didn't tell anyone where he was and a rock slipped and trapped his arm against the canyon wall and he sat there with his arm pinned for more than 5 days, didn't eat hardly anything, ran out of water and eventually cut his arm off.

James Franco was very good at playing Aron Ralston except that James Franco looks like a heroin addict and Aron  Ralston is a sweet looking baby-face.  James, why are you so skinny?  Gain a little weight and get some color in your cheeks.  I thought the movie did a good job of conveying how crazy a person would go if they were trapped, cold, tired, and thirsty for five days.  When I saw a realistic portrayal of what it must actually be like to cut your own arm off with a dull one-inch knife after not eating, sleeping or drinking for five days, I changed my mind and don't think I could do it.  I would be a skeleton with her arm stuck against a canyon wall right now.  (I'd be SO SKINNY)  At the end of the movie there was a little snippet with the actual Aron Ralston and his little family and he's doing just fine!  Almost brought a tear to my eye!

After the movie I came home and decorated Sam's birthday cake because I know you're going to find it hard to believe, but yes, I am old enough to have a child who is turning 14 tomorrow, and no, it was not a teen pregnancy!  LOL! (god, I'm so pathetic)  Tomorrow we are supposed to get an ice storm, which will not be the first time we've gotten coated with ice on Sam's birthday, and then nobody can come over, and we can't go anywhere.... sigh... Sam's life has a lot of parallels with Charlie Brown's.  At least he'll have a cool cake.  Oh, and for a present, I got him a book.  Yes, that's right.  A book.  Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown!

I saw this picture on the Huffington Post yesterday.  It reminds me of when Sam was about four and was on his international tour of every gross public bathroom he could get into.  Mitch brought him into the bathroom at a restaurant and they came out and Mitch looked all flustered.  I asked what was wrong and he said, "I had to TELL HIM not to LICK the URINAL!"  Sam was compelled to lick strange things when he was small.  You could see him eye something up (usually walls) and you'd have to say, "Don't even think about it!" and then he'd stop.  Looks like the monkey father in the picture doesn't care so much if his baby licks the wall.

Hopefully my computer will be back tomorrow because it has taken me forever to write this post AND post a picture on a strange computer.  Mommy misses you, Baby Gateway! (but if you ever break again, I'm following my first instinct and starting you on fire and throwing you in the garbage)

Happy Birthday, Sam!  Have a great day and a great year being 14!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Handicapped Blogger

My computer is in the shop so my blogging capabilities are limilted. I can't upload pictures so anything I post is going to be lame-o. But I feel compelled, so you know, lucky you. I got an iPad for Christmas and I love that whenever I type the word "iPad" it autocorrects so the I is lowercase and the p is uppercase. Fancy! Seriously though, I love this device. When it came out someone asked Steve Jobs, "Isnt the iPad just a big iPod? What's the big deal?" and his answer was, "Who wouldn't want a big iPod?" No kidding! I do! It's my favorite new toy.

I also got the first season of the show Modern Family which I didn't watch much last year when it came out because it is on the same time as my Magnum reruns. I might have to skip a night of Magnum from now on because Modern Family is the funniest show on TV. Every character is hilarious.

I went for a snowshoe walk yesterday in the woods and got lost for about a half hour which is pretty sad when you consider the giant snowshoe tracks I was leaving, but there was a circle involved, and some over-confidence on my part, and a dog who I trusted to lead me home until I figured out she had no interest in going home because slogging through deep snow for her is apparently fun and not tedious exercise. I wish I could see a map of where I walked. I bet it would look like one of those Family Circle cartoons where one of the idiot kids walks ten miles in a forty square foot space.

Hopefully my computer will be fixed tomorrow because I have a LOT of pictures to post!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


My computer is broken. Actually, I can get it to run in safe mode but I can't even get it to start up in normal mode. Why is this one of the most frustrating experiences in the planet? (well, for chubby, middle income white nerd girls it is anyway.) I'm sure the fix is probably relatively simple, but I don't know how to do it and when I try to learn about it my eyes glaze over like when I try to learn about finances or to follow a multiple-step recipe (I'm talking about you, Banana Bread) and that drives me crazy because it just reminds me how incredibly stupid I am. And who needs that?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre-Christmas Snow Day

I meant to write this yesterday but I didn't because something was wrong with the internet.  The kids had a snow day yesterday because of all the ..... snow.  We got a lot of snow.  A ridiculous amount.  So we decided to make the best of it and got up early and had pancakes.  I made them with my special snow-day ingredients, love and lots and lots of tears and maybe a teeny tiny bit of spit.  Just kidding.  There was no spit.  After breakfast we went outside.  ALL of us.  Me included!  Mitch snowblowed (snowblew?) the driveway, the kids shoveled (and when I say "the kids," I mean Sam) and I went sliding and snowshoeing.  It was kind of fun.

This is what we saw when we got up and looked outside.  A shit-ton of new snow and our dog just sitting in it like an idiot.

Kira jumped off the deck into the snow and it was up to her chest!  No it wasn't.  I can't lie to you.  She was squatting and trying to make me (and you) think it was up to her chest but when I watched with glee to see her struggle to try to get out of chest deep snow she just stood up.  It was quite disappointing.  

We walked up to the road through the yard.  My heart!  She was a-beatin'!  I know, you're wondering how big the biggest snowbanks were and the answer:  over my fucking head.

We took shelter under a huge pine tree and Kira started yakking at me.  I don't remember what she was talking about just then, but later she said, "If I pooped out one hundred dollars, would you touch it?"  This spurred an in-depth conversation between Mitch and me after she went to bed.  We decided that if it was one bill, yes we would touch it.  If it was 10,000 pennies, however, we'd just let it go.  We'd probably take her to the doctor, or ask her some serious question about where she got 10,000 pennies.

Then we did some sliding.  This is Kira going down the hill on her stomach (yes, on a sled) with Maisy chasing her and nipping at her face.  What?  She can't help it!  She's a herding dog, it's in her nature to bite children in the face.  

mmmmmm... faaaaaaaaaacccceeeee.......

Then I took a long snowshoe walk in the woods.  Either the snow was too fluffy, the snowshoes are broken, or I'm too fucking fat to be snowshoeing, but I was sinking pretty darn deep with every step.

It was pretty, but look at these trees - freaky!  They looked like those godzilla pod/egg things in the modern movie version of Godzilla (the lame-o one with Matthew Broderick).  I was expecting them to tear open with disgusting squelchy sounds and then to be devoured by adorable baby godzillas.  It didn't happen.  (They were just trees, dummy.)

Later we came in the house and made a ginger-bread house while watching Return of the King (OMG, Legolas!)  That is a long fricking movie.

Today we traveled to International Falls for an early Christmas with my parents and sisters, and tonight we played the game Taboo.  It's the game where you have partners and on your turn you look at a card with six words on it.  You have to try to get your partner to guess the word at the top, but you can't say the other five words on the card.  They are the best clues.  Sam was partners with my dad and he was doing really well until he got the word "pad" and passed because he somehow thought the word "pad" was too embarrassing to try to get his grandfather to guess.  I wish I knew the clues that were going through his mind.  Kira was partners with my sisters and she got the term "coat of arms" and she doesn't know what it means so she just flapped her arms and mimed putting a coat on.  It was hilarious.

Happy almost Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Solstice Party

We had our annual Solstice party last night at our house.  It was a laid-back, relaxed affair with tons of food, sledding down our backyard hill, a bonfire, and snowmobile rides.  We also had a fire going in the house for people when they came in from outside.  They could sit in front of the fire and have some hot chocolate.  It was great!  Mitch made these ingenious ice lanterns. Here they are:

Here is the production line.  He filled five-gallon buckets with water and let them freeze overnight.  Then he'd dump the ice out and the outside is frozen but as you can see, there is a hole in the top and a really cool looking roundish space inside that hadn't froze yet.  Mitch makes the hole in the top large enough for a candle and dumps the extra water out and wala: ice lantern. (I know it's viola) They are pretty cool.  Mitch and the kids put them on the deck, along the sidewalk, along the sledding trail and around the bonfire area.  It was so beautiful!  Here's what they looked like:

The flash on my camera kind of ruined the effect. Just imagine them in dark, with their little candle-lights flickering through the clear ice.  Sooooo pretty.  

Here's a picture with no flash.  Not the best quality photo, but you get the idea.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Live-Blogging Oprah (You go, girl!)


I was flipping through the channels a few minutes ago and I came across Oprah and I stopped because I couldn't figure out what she was wearing.  It looked like a black dress with a tiny yellow lace-up bodice, and I said,  "Um, excuse me, Oprah, that's butt ugly." While I was watching and trying to figure out what would possess her to wear that because she usually looks so nice; she ripped it off and had a beautiful, sparkly, Mrs. Roper-like red dress/robe on underneath and she announced that it was her FAVORITE THINGS SHOW!!!! (you know how she does it) and the people in the audience all went totally bonkers.

The people in the audience were specially chosen because of something special they did that is generous or something, which makes me wonder why they are so surprised (screaming, crying, having seizure like reactions to everything Oprah says) that it's the favorite things episode. Hey Peeps, did you not think it was strange that Oprah sent you tickets to one of her shows in December after you saved a million baby puppies from certain molestation and death from the very same organized group of pedophiles that was behind the whole make-your-profile-picture-a-cartoon-so-it's-somehow-easier-for-us-to-streamline-and-increase-our-molesting? (Come on, people, pedophiles are lots of things, but they are not that organized.)

I love/hate this episode.  I love it because I love pretending that I'm there getting all that crap, and I hate it because I never actually am there getting all that crap because a) I'm not particularly Oprah-noticingly generous and b) I have never even thought about going to see a live Oprah show.  I feel the same way about lottery winners.  I never buy lottery tickets, but I get insanely jealous of lottery winners.  These are her favorite things this year:

Dual time-zone diamond watch $2000
Tori tote bag $275
Tori shoes $195
Nikon camera $699
Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater $498
Cashmere throw
Judith Ripka earrings $525
Andre Walker hair products $65
18 Candles @ $55 each
Panini press $99
Ceramic knife $75
Macaroni and cheese (yeah, that's right, macaroni and cheese)
Bakers Edge brownie pan $35
Brownie Mix.  She never said how much it cost.  I would guess $5
Lasagne pan $35
Weight loss book (What are you trying to say? Not cool, Ope.) $
Jayzees book - Decoded (???) Why would anyone want that?
5 year Netflix subscription
Sony 3D glasses and TVs $3600
Blue Ray Player and 3 movies - micro loans $100 gift card
Container store custom closet $1000
Season 25 T-shirt from the O store (yeah, that's right, I said the O store) $38
Work out pants $98
4 pairs of work-out shoes @ $85
Giant inflatable ship (oh, no, my mistake, it's a cruise.  Oprah fooled me with her fantastic presentational skills) 7 day Caribbean cruise

I was going to add it all up, but she didn't give prices for every single thing.  Just know that it is well over $10,000.  That's a lot of crap.

Then at the end of the show she said she had a surprise guest there to make sure the audience was having a great time and could we GUESS WHO IT IS????  Mitch, who was watching with me, (and seriously messing with my live-blogging mojo) screamed out, "HAMID KARZAI!"  He was wrong, it was the Black-Eyed Peas.  Mitch said he was watching it because he finds the total over-reaction of the audience entertaining.  He said he can't believe I don't think it's funny and kind of scary how crazy the audience is.  He said, "Would you be jumping around like that and screaming?"  "Um, YES," is what I said, "Who wouldn't?"  Apparently Mitch wouldn't.  He said, "I'd be quietly appreciative like a person should be, not bouncing around like a mental case."


I did learn something on that episode.  I never heard of before.  You can log on, and donate a small amount (or large amount) of money as micro-loans to people around the world who need the money.  It is a great thing to do, so check it out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My favorite bird

The Great Potoo,  ball-yeller extrordinaire

A few days ago the kids and I went over to my in-laws for a visit.  Mitch's mom and I were chatting and Kira found a bird book on their shelf that had an audio player on it that played the calls of the birds.  It was really neat so she played us some of the calls.  One of the birds is called the Great Potoo bird and it is native to Southern Mexico and Belize.  It says, "BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL...." in a really gravely voice.  Here, listen to it by clicking on this link.  (The audio isn't that great, but it is the best I could find online and he makes the call quite a few times.  Stick with it.)  It cracked us all up.  Then Kira played it again and this time it didn't make Julie laugh, but I was still laughing, and then Kira played a few other ones and Julie and I kept talking.  I could tell that the constant bird calls were getting on Julie's nerves so she did what she always does when kids get annoying: she ignores the behavior and eventually they stop.  I tried to also ignore the behavior because it was super obnoxious but everytime I heard that "BAAAAAAAAAAAAALL" I couldn't help but laugh.  She was making me look immature and foolish and she knew it, and she was enjoying it, so I told her to go somewhere and play.  She took the book with her and continued to periodically play the sound and everytime I heard even the faintest haunting "BAAAAAAAAAALLLL" from upstairs or from the basement, I laughed.  Julie was watching me try to stifle my laughs and eventually said, "Oh for goodness sakes!" which can be roughly translated to "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

 I don't know why, but hearing anyone yell out BAAAAAAALLLLLL, especially a weirdo bird, cracks me up.  I think it's because birdsong is supposed to be beautiful and delightful and yelling out "BAAAAAAAAAAALLLL" is neither beautiful nor delightful.  It's obnoxious and hilarious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry School Holiday Program Day!

Today was the day of the annual holiday program at Kira's school.  I went and it was cute, as usual; and I got a little misty (shut UP) because this is the last program I will see at her school (with my kids in it anyway and it's creepy to go to an elementary holiday program if you don't have a kid in the school, don't you think?) I've been going to these things at my kids' school for TEN years!  And now it's over.  We are all getting SO OLD. 

The kindergarteners stole the show because they are so insane.  They sang jingle bells and got so crazy that they were all singing different parts and some of them were dancing in front, and waving maniacally to their parents and screaming out "HI GRANDMA!"... total chaos.  The music teacher had to stop the show and everyone laughed (except me) and the music teacher said, "Watch my mouth" and pointed at her mouth, and then they did and they did an excellent job.  Sure they're little and cute, but why so crazy?

Kira is in fifth grade now and next year she will be in middle school.  She has really been lucky in school because all the kids in her class are so nice and they all get along so well.  I don't know about her, but I will miss them when they leave.

Here she is today

This is back when she was a crazy kindergartener and Sam was a very serious 3rd grader.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It is so cold out this morning that the air is somehow clearer.  It looks beautiful outside from inside the warm house, and this morning I was looking out the glass door at my dog who was sitting in the snow barking at nothing and I thought it looked beautiful outside, but then I noticed that she was holding one paw up because it was freezing so I made her come in.  Neither one of us thinks it's all that beautiful outside anymore.  When simply being outside for a few minutes can cause serious injury, that overcomes how sparkly and clear it is.

I don't really have a topic for this post, I just wanted to write something so that the pictures of bread were moved down the list.  I'm sick of looking at the bread.

Mitch took the kids to a hockey tournament in the cities this weekend.  They were at the heart of the gigantic monster blizzard.  I saw some pictures from friends who live down there and there are drifts of snow covering their windows.  Holy claustrophobia!  The blizzard missed us, thank god.  I heard on the news this morning that the roof of the Metrodome collapsed.

When Sam was packing for the weekend and was heading out the door to get in the car Mitch said, "Do you have your toothbrush?" and Sam thought about it and shook his head and went to get it.  Mitch then said, "COME ON!  THIS ISN'T A HOLIDAY FROM HYGIENE!" which made me laugh hysterically, and I'm sure Sam is filing it away to bring up when he's an adult and making fun of crazy things Mitch has said.

In other big news, I finally got a cell phone.  I have been holding out because I really don't like talking on the phone, but the other night I went out with a friend and it was snowing and horrible outside, and when I was driving home through the wet snow, dodging deer and skidding across ice patches, I thought Mitch was probably at home worried sick about me out in this horrible weather, and I hoped he hadn't already gotten in his truck and come out looking for me. I got home and he was in bed asleep.  I was just a little put out that he wasn't at least waiting up for me.  He woke up enough to say hello and I told him something about the movie we saw and he said, "You went to a movie?"  He doesn't even listen to me! So if I would have skidded off the road or hit a deer, simply waiting for Mitch to come out looking for me would have been fruitless and I would have had to hitch a ride with someone who was most likely a serial killer.  So much for our soap-opera-like romantic psychic connection!  It was time to get practical so I got a Blackberry.  I love it!  Aside from a minuscule keyboard that makes me feel like a giant with banana hands, it is fantastic!  I really like the way it alerts me with a friendly little "bllliiinnggg" whenever I get a text or an email or a Facebook message.  (Actually, I might have to turn off the Facebook alert.  I don't want to be alerted every time someone comments on a comment I commented on.) I wrote something on Facebook about finally joining the 21st century and my friend Cynthia wrote, "20th." and at first I thought she didn't know what century it was but then I figured out that she was making fun of me and I had to admire what a good shot that was.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I love new technology and all it brings, but the advent of the digital camera has caused something very weird to happen.  My dad and my sister send me pictures of bread they've made.  Lots of pictures of bread.

This is a picture of two loaves of focaccia bread my dad made last January.

These are the same loaves from the opposite angle.

This is the inside of one of the loaves in the other two pictures.  I don't know which loaf it is.  If you really want to know, I can ask my dad.  I know I was sent more pictures of bread from my dad.  I remember a round loaf, but until I saw a pattern happening, I didn't save the pictures.  So, sorry, I should have saved them, then I could have written a coffee table book called "Pictures of Bread My Dad Made."  But he might send me more, so the idea isn't totally dead yet.

This is a picture I received yesterday from my sister.  It is a loaf of bread from her bread machine.  I know, you're wondering what the inside of it looks like!  Well, don't fret, my friends!...  

She sent me one of those too!  Mmmmmm....breeeeeeaaaaaaddddd.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter, holidays, yadda yadda

The family took a little trip to Bentleyville tonite.  Mr. Bentley is one of those people who go totally overboard decorating their yard for the holidays; so much so that he used to give tours of his yard, and then a few years ago the city of Duluth moved (and expanded, I'm guessing) all his stuff to Bayfront Park and you can go and see all the lights.

First we stopped and picked Mitch up at his office downtown.  He has a new desk he wanted to show off and also, there was this:

Watch out Fortune 500!

Bentleyville was pretty cool but I only got one picture because my batteries went dead, I think because it was 9000 degrees below zero.  I'm depending on my niece Jonee to post her pics on Facebook so I have pictorial evidence that I was there because I will never go again in weather colder than 60 degrees.  My face is still thawing.

Sam, Rory, Kira and Rheo

I got home and looked on Facebook and discovered that I could make a decorative collage of my status updates for the whole year.  Christmas card idea:  done and done!  Here it is:

Merry Christmas, and you're welcome!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stress and Baby Wombats

I'm chock full of stress lately (or is it chalk full?  I'm pretty sure it's chock.  Nobody seems to want to answer this question because I know I've asked it before.)  I don't know why I'm so chock/chalk full of stress, but I obviously am because I have stress dreams every single night and I'm getting really sick of it. 

A few days ago I dreamed that nobody liked me and I was in trouble for something that I couldn't put my finger on.  I keep dreaming that I can't run when I have to run because my legs are huge and heavy (hey, my legs are huge and heavy, omg)  Last night I dreamed that I had twins and they were premature (I think I dreamed about twins because Beth said if she has twins she is going to name them Gargamel and Azreal), and because my babies were so early, I still had subbing jobs scheduled and I couldn't cancel them so I just had to leave the babies at home in their aquarium (???) for the whole day and then when I got home I didn't have any baby formula so I had to feed them salad dressing instead.  Boy did they stink after a bottle of Ranch.  I felt really bad about that.  I also dreamed that I took a job at my old school in Litchfield and the superintendent, who was bald and middle-aged when I actually worked there in the nineties; in the dream had hair plugs that looked like some kind of shiny plastic that were super thick and started an inch above his eyebrows, and also, he refused to wear a shirt to work.  That caused dream stress.  So not only am I stressed in real life, I dream of being stressed out by hairy, half-dressed administrators that I haven't thought about in ten years. 

But why am I mentally so stressed out?  I can't really figure that one out.  I don't have a stressful job, I have enough money, my marriage is not on any kind of rocks, my kids are fine, my Christmas shopping is almost done etc. etc.  There is no reason (other than that I may possibly be going crazy) for me to be stressed out enough to have crazy dreams EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. 

I googled "stressed out" to get a picture because Mitch says that posts with  no pictures are lame, and along with the obligatory hair-pulling pictures, this came up:

It's apparently a baby wombat, but looks like a baby devil/Ed Asner with a rat head.  Lest you think that this was some sort of anomaly on behalf of google images, I also found these:

Two more pictures of the horrifying devil/rat/wombat who is seemingly the poster-child for stress.

Guess what I'll be dreaming about tonite?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beth, Monk and Grandma

I've been going through old pictures lately, and I came across the strangest picture of my sister Beth and my Grandma.  Here it is.  Have a good look and see if you think it is as weird as I do:

Beth looks to be about twelve in this picture and the monkey she has perched on my grandma's shoulder was actually a toy from when my mother was a kid a looooooong time ago.  Beth loved it.  She called it Monk.  Monk was creepy because his body was kind of smashed flat and his face, ears, hands and baby booties were plastic.  His lips were super red and posed in sort of a clownish smile and his head would always flop over because of his flatness.  And did I mention he was wearing baby booties?  Super creepy.  Beth chewed one of his hands off.  (I'm sure she'll say the dog did it, but I have my doubts about that.)  You can't really see it in this picture because it didn't scan very well, but Monk also has a rip by his baby bootie on his right leg and Beth put a bandaid on it.

Okay, have I established that Monk and Beth's relationship with Monk were weird and creepy?  Now let's look at the picture itself:  Grandma is holding my cousin's baby, sitting at the kitchen table, visiting with the rest of us.  Beth is standing behind Grandma and putting her creepy monkey on Grandma's shoulder.  Look at Grandma's face; it's like she's thinking, "OMG, I didn't like that stupid monkey 30 years ago and I sure as hell don't like it sitting on my shoulder right now, but what to do?  My instinct is to throw it off, but then Beth's feelings might get hurt.  I don't want to hurt Beth's feelings, but I can't help myself!  I hate that stupid monkey!  Why is she putting it on my shoulder!  If it wasn't for this baby I'd get up and pretend I had to go to the bathroom, but it would be obvious if I did that now, right?  Oh sweet Jesus, the creepy plastic hand is fondling my neck!  GET IT OFF OF ME!"

Also, I have inherited every piece of furniture in this picture, but the table isn't that shiny anymore.  How did you do that, Mom?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas decorations... yahoo

It's Christmas decorating time!  Yay!  You can't actually hear me saying that, but if you could you would hear the outrageously sarcastic sarcasm.  I put the tree up because Kira was desperate for it.  At school she wrote a note in her neatest writing that said,

"Dear Sarah, You and Kira should put up the Christmas tree today.  From Mrs. Holm"

Mrs. Holm is her teacher and I think she actually did sign it because she added a p.s. that said,

"P.S.  What is Kira getting for Christmas?"

So we put up the tree.  I don't really like the tree because 1) it's fake yet still drops thousands and thousands of needles.  I have vacuumed canister after canister full of fake needles and still the tree looks like a tree.  How many needles can it have?  2) I have to move furniture around to fit a huge tacky fake tree into my living room. And, 3) It seems so WEIRD to kill (or fake kill) a tree to bring into your house and decorate, only to throw out on the curb or the burn pile (or stuff it into a box in the basement) when you're finished with it.  Seems pretty ugly.  I bet the trees think Christmas is horrifying.  I wonder if they could if they'd kill a person and decorate the corpse (remembering to water it so it didn't start on fire!) if they would do the same to us.  They'd keep it in their living rooms for a month and then throw it out on the curb.  We'd see the carnage in January and be horrified when we saw someone familiar, "OH GOD!  THAT WAS AUNT GLADYS!  SHE WAS SO THICK AND FULL AND BEAUTIFUL!"

I dated a guy once whose mother was a bit crazy.   Actually she was a religious, white-supremacist nutjob.  One year during Christmas one of her neighbors told her that the origin of the Christmas tree was that it somehow signifies the baby Jesus's penis.  (Oh my god, I fear [and also kind of hope] that when people google, "the baby Jesus's penis" they get my blog.)  Nutjob was so offended that the dead decorated tree in her living room could signify something as sweet as the baby Jesus's penis, that she freaked out and dragged the tree outside and set it on fire, decorations and all.  Now that is a woman who really hates the baby Jesus's penis!  (That is a true story.  I wouldn't lie on Christmas.)

So there you have it.  That's why I think the tree is so weird and kind of creepy.

Also, Christmas brings out Kira's creative side.  This is the decoration she made this year that she proclaimed is "window quality."

It's five candy wrappers taped to the window.  That's it.  Now I have a fake tree and candy wrappers decorating my living room.  Oh, and this:

This is the nutcracker that Kira made in second grade.  I especially love his missing teeth and dirty cottonball hair.  Kira spent some serious time in the basement making my gift the other day.  I don't know what it is, but judging by the mess she left it is made of brown yarn, part of a toilet paper roll, and pipe cleaners.  But she could have just set that mess up to throw me off the trail and keep me guessing.

Since this is a decorating/crafting post I thought I'd include this even though it has nothing to do with anything else:

Sam made this in school.  He calls it his "snowmobowl."  (Get it?  Like snowmobile but it's a bowl so it's snowmobowl!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I need a new job

I think I need to find a job.  I'm really starting to hate subbing.  For one thing, I think that all the laid-off teachers have started subbing and are getting all the decent jobs because when I do get called to sub, the job description is something like this:

Job # 12345 7:30-3:45

-Start at Central High for Mr. So-and-so.  Teach 1st hour special ed. in resource room.  (question:  where the fuck is the resource room?) Teach 2nd hour Consumer Science (fancy name for home ec.) in room 153.  (walking down hallway, see rooms 152, 154.  There is no 153.  After walking about a mile looking for it because it MUST BE by 152, learn that for some inexplicable reason it is on the second floor. ??? Oops!  Clerical error!  We meant 253! lol!)  Walk in late, flustered and sweaty.  Read lesson plans and learn that you have to supervise thirty-five 16-year-olds making flan. (what the fuck is flan?)

-Go to STC (Where the hell is that?  Oh, it's across the 15 acre ice-rink parking lot?  I wonder how many times I will fall.)  Teach 3rd hour remedial math for Mrs. Whats-her-face in a freezing cold totally isolated classroom with 15 boys who look like they want to kill you and make your skin into a suit. 

-Drive to East High School.  Teach 5th and 6th hour  for Mr. Blahblahblah in room 353.  Yes, the school in fact does happen to be 95 degrees!  How did you guess?  BTW Mr. Blahblahblah is a slob and won't have any lesson plans for you.  Good luck!

-Drive back to Central.  Babysit an 8th hour study hall that has a student teacher.  Sure, it's a total waste of time but what do you care?  You're getting paid an almost poverty-level wage no matter what you teach so quit your bitching!

Or even worse:

Job # 23456 7:30 - 3:30

Any Elementary School: All day kindergarten.

(Actually, I taught in kindergarten yesterday and it wasn't so bad.  The kids were very cute.  I was wearing a red jacket and one little girl came up to me and said, "I like your jacket," and on the word "jacket" she poked me hard, dead-center in both boobs with her tiny monkey fingers.)

I think I want to find a job that pays a lot of money, has low expectations, is part-time, where I won't have to drive around all day or get sexually assaulted by small children.  Is that too much to ask?

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Mitch ruined our marriage with home improvements.

Hello you guys!  I finally came out of my Thanksgiving coma!  Just kidding.  I wasn't really in a coma.  I was fixing my computer after my "computer-expert," teenage son downloaded a virus onto it.  It took days and days, but everything is in fine working order now.  These computers are complex! 

When we came home from our Thanksgiving trip, I discovered that Mitch had been extremely productive here at home.  We are making our house more energy efficient so earlier this fall he insulated the walls and attic.  Not that it wasn't insulated before, but like everything else in our house, it was done half-assed.  Wind would blow right into the house through the walls and it was hard to get the temperature out of the fifties.  Over the weekend Mitch put in a new thermostat that can be programmed with a touch screen.  Fancy!  I still don't know how to use it so I just poked it until the heat went up yesterday. 

He also got us a new bed!  To say our old bed was lumpy would be a gross understatement.  We would both wake up crippled on a pretty regular basis. The new bed is memory foam and it is the first queen-sized bed we've ever had.  Oh my god, the luxury!

The third thing he did that is a major improvement is that he fixed our plumbing because before when the shower ran, the hot water would trickle out of the shower head, but most of it would rush out the tub faucet and go right down the drain.  We would run out of hot water in about ten minutes.  It was a pain. 

I was so happy and in love with him when I saw all these projects finished, but now I'm starting to see through the haze of love and I'm noticing something alarming.  Maybe I'm just paranoid, but all of these little projects he did take away some level of the forced intimacy that is what makes our marriage so magical.  The insulation and thermostat make our heat more cozy and efficient, taking away the necessity to snuggle to preserve body heat. 

The bigger bed gives us more room to spread out.  Whereas before we couldn't both lay on our backs at the same time or else our outside arms would fall of the edges, making it necessary for at least one of us to lay on our side, usually facing the other one in an intimate position that doesn't allow for any "I'm mad at you but you don't even notice me" attitudes even if we were mad at each other, because if you lay with your back to your partner because you're mad at him and you fart on his leg while you're sleeping, and it makes him simultaneously jump, do a full spin, and say, "JESUS!" which wakes you up too, it gives you something to think/talk/fight about other than what you were mad about before you went to bed (and totally steals your anger-thunder). Now my alleged sleep farts go totally unnoticed.  I might as well not even be farting. 

The plumbing also has taken away a huge measure of forced intimacy.  Like I said, the water would run out in ten minutes and not warm up again for at least an hour.  This caused us to have to take showers together.  Not that it was so hot and sexy, it was more a practice in washing efficiency in order to not have to rinse sensitive areas in cold water; but still, standing naked and wet with your eyes shut tight to keep soap out ties the marriage bonds a little tighter.  Now that is gone too.  I can take long showers all by myself with nobody there to remind me to shave my pits or to ridicule me for not ever washing my legs.  (As I've painstakingly explained to Mitch many times; much like trickle-down economics, when I wash my hair the soap trickles down and washes my legs for me, hence the need to never actively scrub them myself.)

I appreciate all his hard work, but I wonder if we will be like strangers a year from now.  From now on we will have to put some effort into intimacy, and if I do something sweet and intimate that doesn't directly benefit me, he'll know I like like him.   I'm still playing hard-to-get (want).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Live blogging Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm sitting here with my sisters and dad talking about Dolph Lundgren and his relative hotness (I think he's not, my sisters think he is, my dad says "he doesn't really think about that.") and discussing whether my dad has ADHD. (We all think he does) I don't really know where my kids are.  I think they are outside somewhere probably buried in 40 feet of snow.  I hope they are okay.  I will be very thankful if they are okay.  We are having a late dinner because of work schedules and I haven't eaten anything all day long (except for a giant breakfast) and I am getting HUNGRY.  I also think I might be having a heart attack.  Or heart burn.  But how could I have heart burn if I haven't even eaten anything? (except a giant breakfast) I bet beer will help.  Also, my foot is asleep and it's annoying me.  It's my left foot.  Isn't that a sign of a heart attack?  Uh oh.  I have to go to BRB.


Good news, according to Webmd, a sleeping left foot is not a sign of a heart attack, so I am free to sit around and eat my weight in stuffing with no life-threatening consequences! Yay!  Kira just asked me, "Do you think if I threw Amy's dog in the fire, it would stink?"  I think maybe I have to look into some counseling for my sweet little angel.  Between her potential horrifying animal abuse and her milk farts ("Oh my god!  I farted and smells just like milk!") she's both getting on my nerves, and causing some serious worry.  Be back after dinner.


Okay, dinner is over.  Everything was delicious, as usual; and the company was great.  We had champagne and Beth  (who is six months pregnant) wanted a glass and wavered on whether to have a small one or not.  My mom and her friend said, "No!  You can't!  What about FAS?" and were indignant until they were reminded about how much they smoked and drank during pregnancy in the 60s and 70s.  They said, "Well, we didn't know about it back then!" and then looked at all of us like they were seeing us for the first time, inspecting us for small head size and short attention spans.  To their relief we all have enormous heads so whew, that's one bullet dodged!  Score one for drinking during pregnancy!  Beth decided that a few sips of wine would be okay considering all the mouthwash she "accidentally" ingests. 

Then we got in an argument about why the Kardashian's are famous.  Amy said it's because their father was one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers and the rest of us were all, "Yeah, right!  Bruce Jenner was not O.J. Simpson's lawyer!" and she tried to tell us that he's not really their father, but please, we've seen the show!  How dumb does she think we are?  Whether Bruce Jenner is a world-class athlete as well as a cracker-jack defense lawyer still does not answer the question about why the Kardashian's are so famous.  

And then Beth told us a delightful story about how she had to go to the bathroom really bad while she was on the road with her toddler and she couldn't hold it so she had to stop at a gas station.  She, of course, had to bring the baby in the bathroom stall with her because leaving toddlers in running vehicles right next to the highway is a no-no (apparently).  She tried her best not to let the baby touch anything because gas station bathrooms = blech.  She was pretty successful until she flushed and it was one of those super loud powerful flushers and it scared the crap out of the baby who jumped, screamed, and fell; smearing herself against every gas-station-bathroom surface she could on her way down and the whole catastrophe culminated with the poor scared baby spitting her binky out and it skittered across the disgusting floor, and then she screamed even more when Beth wouldn't let her put the gross binky back in her mouth.  Fun times!  I also watched Beth change a diaper that made her gag THREE TIMES.  I thought she was going to puke on her baby.  Oh my god!  I want to get pregnant again RIGHT NOW! 

But seriously, I'm thankful I'm not pregnant, and that my kids are old enough to leave alone while I use the bathroom by myself.  Really, super thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I'm going into a tryptophan/wine coma now for the next 24 hours or so! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have impressive Facebook Friends

My Facebook friend, Tiffany, who I went to high school with just finished her second Ironman race.  I knew she was training for it and I knew Ironman races included swimming, biking and running a marathon, but I had no idea it was all done on the same day.  (No, YOU shut up!) Seriously, that's brutal.  She wrote about her experience here.

The first part of the race is swimming 2.4 MILES.  Do you know how far that is to swim?  It would take me the better part of a day to do it alone in a pool, much less outside, in some lake with a bunch of other athletes pushing and shoving.  Tiff said she ingested a bunch of water.  Then after they swim, they get out and immediately get on a bike and ride it for, get this, 112 MILES.  One-hundred and twelve miles!  Why not just a hundred?  Why tack on the extra twelve?  I thought maybe the swimming was done on a Friday, the biking on Saturday, and then the running on Sunday, but no, it's all one day.  After the bike ride they get off and run a marathon.  26 miles.  Tiff said she was having GI problems she thinks from ingesting all the water during the swim so toward the end of the marathon she was stopping in port-a-potties about every mile.  Hello, Worst Nightmare!  How you doing?  She finished the race in 12 hours.  Twelve hours of solid, non-stop exercise.  Needless to say, I would die.  I feel like an Ironman when I do a one hour workout video from start to finish without stopping it for rest breaks.  I would have drowned during the swim.  Probably within the first quarter-mile.  And even though she was sick she finished in 39th place.  That is amazing.  Congratulations, Tiff!

My sister Amy thinks I should train for a 5K running race and write a training blog like Tiffany did.  It would be such a sad, sad little blog.  I'm guessing there would be a lot of entries that were titled with some variation of the following:  "Why I didn't exercise today" and "Running Sucks ASS!"

My other impressive Facebook friend is Maria Bamford.  She is a comedian from Duluth who I've been a fan of for years.  She is HILARIOUS.  She is the blond lady on the Target holiday commercials.

I could watch her do crunches on the Target parking-lot balls, and run in her red track-suit and high heels all day long.  I love her!  Here's her website.  If you happen to listen to one of her albums and hear her do the impression of her mother, know this:  It is spot-on perfect.  I talked to her mom on the phone once for about an hour and it is ridiculous how perfectly Maria can copy her.  Watch this video to see.  I've never actually met Maria in person, but my friend Dana went to high school with her and has promised to introduce me to her.  I bet Maria is coming home for the holidays, Dana!  Hint hint! 

Those are my impressive Facebook friends.  Both of them.  The rest of you, get off your asses and do something impressive!*

*just kidding!!!!**

** not really, get out there and do something blog-worthy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movies, laundry, and chin-hair plucking: My weekend

It's been a cleaning/movie-watching weekend for me.  Mitch and the kids are gone to a hockey tournament.  I kind of wanted to go because they were going to the zoo today, but I couldn't go because I have a dog and a bird here that I failed to make arrangements for.  Isn't it ironic that I had to miss going to the zoo because of animals here at home?  Is that irony?  Not real sure.  Probably not. 

I rented some movies and watched them last night and today.

The first one was The Girl Who Played with Fire which is the sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  It was excellent.  I watched it in Swedish (with subtitles) last night and then played it while I was cleaning today with the English dubbing.  I think I like subtitles better.  I like hearing their language.  The movie followed the book very closely and was fantastic.

The second movie I watched was Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell.  It was okay, Tina Fey is hilarious, but it was kind of a tired, predictable movie overall.

The last one I got was Sex in the City 2.  I watched it this afternoon while plucking my chin hairs.  I thought it was awful.  And I was a fan of the show.  I have all the seasons on DVD and everything, but this movie was so bad, I thought I might have to curl up in the fetal position and die from embarrassment when the four women started singing "I am Woman Hear Me Roar" at the karaoke club in Abu Dabi. No I'm not kidding. They really did that. When the actresses read the script and got to that part why didn't they say, "No fucking way I'm doing that.  That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of."  Of course, they were paid lots of money to make the movie, but still.  I don't think there is enough money in the world that would justify making that scene.  And Carrie Bradshaw has to be the most fucked up character ever in the history of movies/tv that wasn't supposed to be completely fucked up.  What is wrong with her?  It's like she's perpetually 15 years old.  I realize the movie is supposed to be some kind of fantasy for middle-aged women but please, how many 40-something women are fantasizing about having totally fabricated marital drama?  None.  That's who.  If I was her husband I would have dumped her in this movie for being an enormous pain in the ass.

Other than movie watching, I've been pretty productive.  I got most of my Christmas shopping done, laundry done, groceries bought, and I swept about a metric ton of clothes, garbage and toys out from underneath Kira's bed.  Add to that; I probably lost a pound in toenail and chin-hair weight, so overall the weekend has been a success!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

I think I'm being blackballed at work because I haven't been called for a job in a while.  Actually I've been called but just for the shittiest of jobs, like the one where the teacher left a note that said, "I have ten middle-school boys in my class and they all have severe behavior problems."  Um, no thanks.  Being a sub is enough of a target for behavior problems in a regular class, much less than one with ten behavior problems so severe that she feels she has to write a disclaimer note.  I also got called for a kindergarten job at a rural school that is the on the opposite side of the school district from my rural home.  No sub job is worth a two hour commute, much less a kindergarten job.  There's not enough wine... 

I brought the phone into the bedroom with me to take morning calls today and there was not a peep.  Nobody needs a sub.  So I thought maybe I somehow got taken off the call list, so I looked online to see what jobs were available.  None.  Nobody needed a sub.  What is going on????  I am working tomorrow for a job I lined up in September.  Finally.  Mama needs some walkin' around money! 

So instead of being productive member of society today, I am contributing to the growing problem of obesity by turning a nutritious vegetable into delicious desserts. 

I made pumpkin cookies (last pan is in the oven right now) and pumpkin bread.  The recipe for pumpkin bread is the best in the world, and my mom gives it to me every year because I always lose it right after I make it.  I'll attach it on the bottom, that way you can have it too, and next year I can look under the label "pumpkin bread" and find it right away.  Oh my god, I'm so clever.

I found the cookie recipe online and they are alright.  Not the best, not the worst.  I have to make some sugar glaze and then they'll be better.  Whatever.  I used up two cans of pumpkin and killed about four hours so, mission accomplished?  I also forgot that we own a mixer so instead I used the hand mixer my grandma gave me about ten years ago that was at her cabin for about 50 years.  It works but it's splattery and emits ozone which smells great, but I don't know if it's good for me, or for the environment.  You'd think it would be great for the environment by helping patch up the giant hole in the ozone layer, but apparently it's a greenhouse gas, so it's bad?  Dammit, Science, stop being so contrary!

That's the environmental-hazard, million year old hand mixer just sitting there, being messy and hazardous; and look what it's sitting in front of: the Kitchen Aid mixer I forgot we have because it sits on the counter all the time and I don't even see it anymore.  Now I have to decide if I'm going to go to the gym tonight, or sit home and watch tv and stuff my face full of pumpkin bread.  WWJD?  (I think we all know what I'm going to do.)

Here's the pumpkin bread recipe as written in an email from my mom earlier today:

1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C veg oil
2 eggs
1 C pumpkin
1 3/4 C flour
1/4 t baking powder
1 t soda
1 t salt
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/3 C water
1/2 C raisins or nuts (optional)
Mix all together and put in large greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 1 hour or until done when toothpick comes out clean.
I will be expecting your email next year for the recipe again. Love, Mom
Well, you won't get it, Mom because the recipe will be RIGHT HERE!  HA HA!