Monday, December 24, 2012

Fan Mail

I'm not good at taking compliments. In fact, I am exceptionally good and at avoiding them, changing the topic of conversation and if all those other deflection techniques fail, stopping-dropping-and-rolling. Yeah, like I'm on fire. This avoidance also goes for blog awards. Which I can't get myself to accept. It's not that I'm not appreciative, it's just that they might penetrate my self depreciating inner core filled with magma. And do you know how messy that would be to clean up? Extremely.

Some flattery is easier to blow off than others. Words printed in a public forum are very near the top of my list. Especially, I must confess, if you're a blogger, I'm way too wary to take your approving comments to heart. No offense, as my daughter Jade says right after she offends. There are of course exceptions to that rule. A few very devout fellow bloggers that read nearly every post and I can't seem to shake even with my anti-social, anti-blogging ways. Not that I want to. Cause they are also some of my favorite writers.

What it comes down to is, I write for me. I write what I want. When I want to. The most important thing to me is to be honest and content with my final product. Most of the time I am. Sometimes I fail myself. I'm a perfectionist. This must be why Meyers-Briggs suggest I work alone. Because I drive myself crazy enough. No one else should be subjected to my constant editing and intense comma conundrums.

The thing is, I get so involved in my writing, sometimes I forget I have readers. Because most of my readers aren't bloggers and most don't comment publicly. But, I get the most amazing compliments from readers privately. People I've never met who send me fan mail. Or stop me in the grocery store. These are people from all walks of life. Cultures. Ages. Politics. Religion. Sex. I have a very diverse and a very funky cool following. It's that quiet allegiance that is most flattering to me. The fact that you take time out of your life to read my words and welcome me and my family into your life. And that you keep coming back for more.

Don't worry, I'm going to get a big head or anything. Because, I've also gotten hate mail. Now, I thought I would hate hate mail. But, honestly, it's the second biggest compliment. No. I'm totally not kidding. After all, something I wrote pissed someone off so bad that they took time out of their lives to look up my e-mail address and to detail how much they detested or disagreed with what I wrote. Usually both. But, they still took time out to read it. And consider it. Maybe it planted a seed. Maybe that seed got intercepted by a bird who ate it and shit it out. Whatever.

What I'm trying to say is...

Love me or hate me. Or love to hate me. Whichever. I want you to know I appreciate you. And, I'm sending a very sincere thank you to each and every one of my readers! Oh, and happy holiday wishes too.

(FYI-I'll be taking two weeks of vacation disconnected from the rest of the world. But, I'll be back in the new year. And I'm sure I'll have lots to write about.)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Battle of the Sexes

Yesterday all of 4 my kids went to rock band camp. At 3 different times. First the girls. You know, ladies first and all. Then, the boys. After that, River had another session with his band. And they all put on rockin' performances at the end. But, my day was spent driving them back and forth. Which is fine, it's just that it was also Sky's 14th birthday.

Normally, on the kids birthdays I cook a special dinner of their choosing. But, with all that to-ing and fro-ing and other priorities I had at home, I didn't have time to go to the grocery store, let alone cook the items I didn't get. Instead, we broke tradition and decided to go to a restaurant. Sky's favorite restaurant.

Ember started the conversation. Her deep probing question to her siblings was "What are you going to change your name to when you're an adult?" Which took me directly to mom guilt. Because we gave our kids unusual names, I instantaneously assumed I completely ruined their lives. Forever. Luckily, Jade likes her name. The thing about my girls names is they clearly define them as girls. I think. At least, there has never been an issue I'm aware of.

The boys are a different story. On paper and over the phone, their ambiguous, gender neutral names have caused confusion. I frequently have to assure them that Sky is in fact a boy. It was much harder to convince the passport office that River is in fact a boy after the US government officially declared his sex female right there in black and white in his passport. To make matters worse, his Russian birth certificate is written in Russian. Second, Russian birth certificates do not state the sex of the baby. The baby's sex is denoted by the baby's name. Mikhail being a boy and Natasha clearly being a girl. Maybe this is why River is considering changing his name to Paul. Which luckily, is his middle name anyway.

But, Sky? He doesn't see himself as a John or Bob. Justin or Bruno. He thinks his name suits him just fine. So, at least we have a 50/50 success rate.

Right before the food arrives, Sky excuses himself to go to the men's room. When he returns to the table, he starts talking about the paintings on the wall in there. He thought they were weird. Then the conversation turned to spies. Immediately, I knew I needed one. I had to see these pictures in the little boys' room for myself.

Before I show you what was in the men's room. I had to see what was on the walls in the ladies room. You know, for comparison's sake.


More leaves.

And a lovely sunset.

I recruited Craig to covertly go into the men's room and take photos of the pictures hanging in there.

A sexy leg.

A sultry back.

And every man's dream, a freaky chick wrapped loosely in a see through bed sheet straight jacket.

Is it just me? Or is there a big disparity in the pictures in the bathrooms? Why the hell don't we have pictures of guys at the beach in gauzy white see through shirts? Better yet, why aren't there pictures of women laying in hammocks with men in gauzy shirts bringing us drinks? And why is the lighting in the mens room so dim? And the womens isn't?

And I think I now know why this restaurant is Sky's favorite. Because he is definitely, unequivocally, a male.

BONUS: If you live in Colorado Springs can you guess which restaurant we ate at?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Gun Control Debate

My sons have always been interested in guns. Even though we've never armed them with any toy guns, they've always found creative substitutions. The toilet brush, hand weights, the vacuum, rulers, the poker for the fireplace and of course there is an endless supply of sticks in our yard. Really big sticks being preferred. One way or another, our boys have been determined to play with guns. I blame genetics. Not that it matters.

When we lived in Morocco none of their friends had guns. Hell, the police don't even have guns in Morocco. They carry whistles. Which made it really easy for me to blow them off when they whistled for me to pull my car over for traffic violations. Yes, plural. It would have been culturally insensitive to have guns there. Even though the boys fashioned their own arsenal out of sticks and duct tape. They were strictly confined to our yard which was surrounded by a 9 foot cement fence for security.

Now that we've returned to Colorado and my boys are teenagers, the gun control debate continues. In fact, it rages in our house. We were right on the precipice of allowing them to buy them with their own money and constructing a contract of responsibilities that would accompany them when the tragedy at Sandy Hook occurred.

The next morning, I was quietly sickened to see my boys innocently perusing the internet for affordable bb guns. Recent events were just too recent and I was much too raw to think about my children and guns at the same time. They didn't know that though. They also don't realize that every little choice parents make for their children isn't little at all. We're hoping we make the right one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


As a kid I suffered from the holy trinity of an introvert. I was shy, sensitive and serious. Really serious. On the exterior at least. Inside I was always a huge goofball, I was just way too inhibited to share that fact with most people. So, I'd entertain myself this funny running inner dialogue. With myself. Sometimes I'd even mouth the words to what I was thinking in my head. In fact, I still both of those. And I'm embarrassed I just told you that. So are my kids.

While most of the people I knew in my teens and twenties were letting loose having a great time, I wasn't. Cause I wouldn't allow myself to. I don't think I even knew how to back then. I actually had to learn how to have fun. And that it was ok to drop my guard and not be miss perfect. Cause the thing about being miss perfect is you always fail anyway. But, I didn't learn these things until my 30's and 40's.

God, I wasted so much freakin' time!

So this is why:

I'm totally wearing this viking hat all over Colorado Springs that my neighbor crocheted for me. Ok, she crocheted it for my kids, but I love it so much I can't stop wearing it. I don't care who's staring at me. Ok, I do. It makes me totally uncomfortable. But, I'm still going to wear the hat, regardless.

I purchased underwear from Costco because it was less than $2/a pair. Then I put them on and then directly into the Goodwill pile. Then got in the car and went to GAP Body to get the more expensive underwear that is totally freakin' comfortable. There is something really dysfunctional about wearing uncomfortable underwear.

I bought not one, but two shades of blue eye liner and fully intend to wear them.

Oh, yeah. I'm letting loose and getting totally crazy! Want to join me? Then we could be in a whole dys-FUN-ctional relationship together.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sick Mutha

It's day 6 of being sick. And I'm totally sick of it. The first 4 days were spent mainly on the couch. Resting and watching crap tv. Both of which I'm really crappy at. So while my body is resting, my mind is racing. With the hundreds of other things I should be doing.

I tried to keep myself quarantined. But, when you're a mom shit needs to get done. So, in between my resting. I went to Costco, to the school, did the laundry, cleaned the house, went to the passport agency. Ok, so the normal things I usually do. Except, I didn't work out this week. Well, sorta.

I still had to take the dogs out for their mid-day walk. Now I know that doesn't sound like a work out. But, I assure you, it is. Neither Bonnie, nor Clyde, definitely not Clyde, are good on the leash. Bonnie is just plain stubborn and Clyde likes to pull and bark at other dogs, squirrels, deer, rabbits and men. Of course we have tons of all these things in our neighborhood (in addition to hills). Once Clyde starts, Bonnie just joins in. The thing is, together they outweigh me by a good solid 40 pounds. Walking them on a normal day is a challange. Walking them this week has flippin' sucked.

First there's the Jehovah Witness lady who sees me with the dogs trying to wrangle an untangle myself from the leashes while holding a big ole' bag o'poo who tries to give me a pamphlet. How the crap am I supposed to take the pamphlet with this shit in my hand? But I did, cause I wanted to save the world. Because I knew that while some people would throw it in the trash. I, on the other hand, would recycle it. Wait. Dammit. I think that was last week. Right it was.

This week, some chick with her one little 10 pound dog tries to start a cute little conversation with me about how her dog pulls her too. Equating our dog walking trials and tribulations. Meanwhile, I'm trying to pull Bonnie and Clyde in the opposite direction of her little dog. Let's just call him Milkbone. I've dug my heels into the ground and leaned my entire body backwards to try to counterbalance the weight of my dogs lunging at precious lil' Milkbone. Somehow this eludes her. Now, I've veered off the sidewalk to avoid her and am standing on dry leaves. Which makes the dogs and I waterski leafski directly into Milkbone. Now, I'm usually a happy peace loving person. But this week, I'm a sick mutha and I'm freakin' exhausted and using everything I've got to protect your dog. So, I'm pissed that she's clueless and I want nothing more than to sneeze on her. Cause I'm a sick mutha like that.

I'm totally babbling. And not making sense. But, today, while driving to do errands in the car I discovered the one benefit of being sick. One thing that I can only do with my deep sick voice. Sing this song.

Oh, I know I'm tone deaf and can't sing. I promise not to do it again. Just to clarify, I'm not on drugs. Except the inhaler. Did I mention I get a little loopy when I get sick? Cause I do.

Now accepting well wishes.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Party People

It's that time of year. The time of year where you dust off your very best festive wear buried in your closet. Study the e-vite to make sure you'll know someone other than just the host. And try to remember not to attack the egg nog like you did last year. Especially if you're lactose intolerant. Get ready, cause it's holiday party time!

And you know what that means? Before the season is over, you'll likely to meet most of these party people.

THE DOUCHEBAG: Who invited him anyway? Everyone knows he's a douche. He's only here to prey on vulnerable women with daddy issues.

THE MARTYR: Life just keeps handing her lemons. Don't worry, she'll be fine after she makes the most exquisite lemonade she made from it. It is THE MOST exquisite isn't it?

THE WINDBAG: She doesn't care what the topic is. She's got something to say about it. She's the wind beside the wings at the buffet table.

THE ZEALOT: It may be politics, religion or his exercise regime. But, whatever IT is, there is NO other topic of conversation.

THE SWINGER: She doesn't care you're married. Hell, she's married too. In fact, maybe we could all get together for a private party some time, huh?

THE FOREIGNER: I'm sure he's totally fascinating, but I feel guilty I can't understand a word he's saying with his thick accent. So, I just smile and nod.

COMEDY CENTRAL: He's so hilarious. Maybe. Or maybe he just thinks he is.

THE STARLET: She's the one who pound for pound is wearing more make-up and hair product than sequined dress, which is probably why her boobs are falling out of it.

THE KNOW-IT-ALL: Prepare to be skool'd by this guy. And know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.

THE ONE HIT WONDER: She'll be stuck like glue to you all night long like you're the only person at the party.

THE CLOSE TALKER: You can take a step back, but he'll only take a step forward. Your quest for personal space is futile.

THE CONFIDER: She's a a few weeks pregnant. Shhhh, she hasn't told anyone yet. Nor has she told her husband it might not be his, but she's telling you, a complete stranger.

THE FACEBOOK FRIEND: You don't even know how you got to be facebook friends with him in the first place. You've never talked to him before. So, you avoid him and just "like" a picture of the party on his wall tomorrow.

THE WALLFLOWER: She's the awkward girl alone in the corner fondling the flowers on the wall paper. Things will only get more awk-weird if you start a conversation with her.

And at the end of the night, you wonder why you just didn't stay home in your sweats with a glass of red watching Friends reruns.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Tomorrow I'll turn 43. I always get reflective near my birthday. Taking a mental inventory of the past year, how I've grown and things I've accomplished. Or not accomplished. Yet. Recycling them for the upcoming year's to do list. Last year, in my post Forty-Two I wrote about my struggle with self acceptance. This post is about what I'm doing to battle it.

Let's start with the basics. I eat cleaner. Not comet cleanser or anything. I mean I eat really healthy. Once you're in your 40's and your metabolism slows down, you can't eat like a 20 something anymore and get away with it. When I eat well, I feel well. When I eat crap, I feel crappy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessive. If I want to eat a cheeseburger and fries, I totally will. But now I don't delude myself rationalizing that I just played roller derby for 2 hours and now I can eat an entire bag of doritos and a king size kit kat bar. I own the consequences of my food choices now.

I challenge myself physically more than ever too. I mix it up doing things I like. And I don't like to run. So, I usually don't do that. But, every once in a while, I will. My fitness staples are Jillian Michaels dvds, belly dancing, pole dancing and sprinting in my roller skates at the park. I find when I eat right and exercise, I am much more focused, more energetic and feel better about myself. Even if I need an advil for the tennis elbow I get from the pole or if I need more recovery time from a work out. Being active gets me in the right frame of mind to tackle other things.

Like writing. Where over the past year I've written about some of my insecurities. I posted this picture of me without make-up or my hair brushed first thing in the morning. Which doesn't make me nearly as uncomfortable as the videos I've posted of myself belly dancing and pole dancing. I flippin' hate those and would love to delete them and all the embarrassing imperfections in them. But of course even if I delete them, the imperfections still remain. Instead, I'm just trying to accept them. Even if I can't look at them. And, I'm working up to performing in front of a real live audience this year. I've passed on 3 recital opportunities since I've been back in the states because I have severe stage fright. But, this year, I'm going to force myself to do it.

After all, I can physically balance a sword on my head.

And, I can finally do the upside-down Jesus.

Now, I just need to conquer the mental part. Which, of course, is the hardest part.

I've taken solace in writing and I've started writing Rock The Kasbah the book. Even though saying it out loud makes me feel ridiculous and self righteous. Which is kinda how I'm feeling about this post at the moment. So, I hope I don't sound all "check-me- -out, I-got-this-all-figured-out" but more "dude,-if-I-in-all-my-screw-ups-and-imperfectness-can-do-this, so-can-you." But, if you think I'm a narcissistic jerk and you don't want to read what I write or follow me. Then don't. My self worth isn't based on what you think of me. Anymore.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

I first went to Salt Lake City about 4 years ago when my sister moved there from the east coast. Since I live in Colorado Springs, now all I had to do was drive 8 hours full of majestic mountain scenery to the flip side of the Rockies to see her. I didn't think at all about what Salt Lake City would be like. Until I got there. And discovered, it's flippin' weird.

The first clue is on the highway when you enter town. Like most big cities, you're accosted by billboards. Which seems pretty normal, until I realized most of the ads are for plastic surgery. And that conflicts with the whole natural fresh-mountain-air-granola-free-to-be-you-and-me vibe I was expecting. Maybe that doesn't exist outside Boulder, land of elitist acceptance.

Then, I noticed the houses are humongous. Later, I learned that the houses are so big to accommodate the huge families that live in these here parts. But what's weird is for a city that has a lot of kids, you don't see them out playing in the neighborhood like you would in Colorado Springs. I know that they do get out because most huge houses have a huge RV parked in their driveway. You'd never see an RV parked in my neighborhood because the HOA forbids it.

While out and about, I noticed the general population was tan, dressed in the latest fashions with their hair and nails meticulously groomed. My sister and I, on the other hand, are pale, adorned in our thrift store finds, my hair is wet, hers is unwashed and our nails are short and naked. Completely naked. So when I take off my shoes and holey socks for dance class it exposes my callouses and the lint stuck between my toes.

Christmas lights go up promptly after Thanksgiving, like they do all over the country. Except, I'm not talking a couple of strands either thrown over a bush. We're talking huge front yard displays with lights that rival Las Vegas. I bet you can probably see Salt Lake from space too during the holiday season. It looks very professional. Probably because a lot of them are strung by professionals. Which is an even bigger expense than the big electricity bill.

It just doesn't add up. Or it all adds up too quickly. This lifestyle is way to expensive for the average person.

It's too perfect.

Stepford wives perfect.

There must be Prozac in the water here or something. So, when I got home and I researched. In fact, there really might be Prozac in the water. While Utah has the lowest illicit drug use in the nation, they have the highest rate of prescription drug abuse. They also have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. And you probably thought this post was gonna be about Colorado legalizing pot. Colorado isn't the only state that's Rocky Mountain high.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

'Tis the Season

In our family of six, five of our birthdays are in November and December. As if this time of year wasn't stressful enough, then we have to fit birthday celebrations into the chaos. Not only that, guess when the birthdays of four of my closest friends in the Springs are? Yup. It's always been like this for me because my mom's, my brother's, my sister's, my other brother's and my birthdays span the same time frame. I am surrounded by Scorpios and Sagittarius. 'Tis the season... to be really freakin' exhausted.

So, since I'm gonna be real busy, I thought I'd just knock out what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving right now. Then, I was like oh my gosh, why don't I just multi-task and include my Christmas wishes?

Thanks: We've moved back in the states.
Wish: That I felt as safe here as I did in Morocco and that the vegetables were as cheap.

Thanks: I have two dogs to love.
Wish: That my two teenagers would love and appreciate me the way the dogs do.

Thanks: Starbucks holiday blend.
Wish: That the caffeine will help me get everything done that I need to do before Christmas.

Thanks: That we're living in our own house in Colorado again.
Wish: That our house wasn't totally jacked up, sinking into the ground, that our windows would close or that the insurance company would cover fixing at least some of the expense.

Thanks: I can watch tv and listen to the radio in English.
Wish: That it was actually worth watching or listening to.

Thanks: We're driving to Utah to see my sister and her family that we haven't seen in 3 years for Thanksgiving.
Wish: That our two big dogs fit in the car with the six of us so we don't have to choose which kids to leave home.

Thanks: We have a couple more years before Sky, our oldest, can drive.
Wish: That I don't draw the short straw and have to teach him how.

Thanks: I can mute my Jillian Michaels workout dvds.
Wish: That she comes out with an interactive game where I can kick her ass kick-boxing her.

Thanks: Jade's birthday is in June.
Wish: We start celebrating everyone's half birthday by buying half-priced gifts at half-off sales. But, that would be really half-assed.

Thanks: That the Mayan's weren't right.
Wish: Our big trip right after Christmas won't be a disaster. The only way that would happen is if the Mayan's were right. Then, bonus, I won't have to teach any of the kids to drive.

Oh, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but here's my Christmas present to thank you for reading. Oh and I'm sending holiday wishes your way, just not in a Christmas card, cause I stopped sending those a couple years ago.


1 1/4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup orange flavored liquor, such as Cointreau
3 cups coarsely crushed ice

Swirl in a blender. Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Freaky Friday

My kids all have plans tonight, a Friday night. The girls are going to a costume surprise party. The boys are having a friend over at our house and watching the movie Battleship. Me? I'm writing birthdays and anniversaries in my new 2013 calendar that I bought at Whole Foods today. I was super stoked cause it was $3 AND the proceeds go to charity. So, on a friday night, I feel like a champ drinking a glass of Zin and anal-retentively noting and highlighting the highlights of my friends and family on my calendar. Until, I realize how my kids social life has surpassed my social life and that I'm a complete dork. Which is of course completely different from when I was younger.

You know, those crazy college days....

Except, that I've always been a complete dork. Really, truly, I'm the girl who in college who voluntarily took classes at 8am because that class on politics in the middle east made me salivate. No. I'm neither joking, nor lying. If you knew me in college you can testify to this fact because my early morning alarm woke your ass up. I also ate oatmeal and 5 fruits and veggies a day during that time. No freakin' joke. So, while Jade dressed up like a nerd for her party tonight. I truly was, ok, still am, a total freakin' nerd.

Oh dude, it was even worse in high school. I went to exactly one party in the 10th grade at Corey Gleeson's house. Whom I briefly dated before I broke up with him by way of a note I sent to him via a friend of mine. Honesty, I'm not sure he even got the note. I never checked with anyone on their 9th grade follow-through. Maybe almost 30 years later he still thinks he's dating a total dork. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure he's pretty hung up over it. Ok, I'm sure he doesn't even remember me. But, on the night of his party in 10th grade, At the time, I assumed he was mocking me. Anyway, I was too busy empathizing for those affected by Chernobyl at the time to really take it seriously. Two years later, the same guy asked me to senior prom and I still didn't have a clue that he might actually really like me. So I declined, and I was too caught up in Gorbachev being elected President of Russia. At the time, I was preoccupied writing a research paper about the cultural changes in Russia for Mrs. Swanson's 12th grade English class. God, I loved that class...

Did I mention I've always been a dork?

So, this weekend when everyone is talking about the new Twilight movie and my boys are watching some sci-fi-ish movie and my girls are out socializing, I'm home on a Friday night dying to see the new movie Lincoln. So much that I think I might even be able to endure any crowds that may be there. But, let's be honest, Twighlight just came out, so I've heard. So, there won't be any crowds. I would even *gasp* pay full-price (whatever the crap that may be these days) to see it. In an actual theater. Yeah, that's how bad I want to see it. So, yeah, I'm still a dork. But, what I lack in coolness, I make up for in consistency.

So tonight, while my kids are partying and having way more of a social life than I ever had, I'm thinking about tomorrow night. When I'll be going to dinner with 3 of my girlfriends. Things are gunna git crazy up in here when I might stay up until 10pm out par-tay-ing with them. Well, now that my calendar is updated and all. Maybe. If I don't convince them to go to the theater and see Lincoln instead of going out for an after dinner drink at a bar.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Why do we Americans allow our self worth be defined in numbers?

After all, it doesn't matter:

What your annual income is.

The size pants you wear.

How long you stayed in an abusive relationship.

Whether you came in 1st, 101st or dead last in your last triathalon.

The statistics or lack thereof on your blog.

How many sexual partners you've had.

Your IQ score.

Whether you've indulged in some 420.

How many awards you've won. Or haven't.

The amount of times you've tried to quit smoking or lose weight.

The running tally of places you've travelled.

Your age.

How many times you've reinvented yourself and started over.

Your klout score, number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Life isn't paint by numbers.

Your quintessence is innumerable.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Old Yeller

I confess, I'm a yeller. I've always tried to be soft spoken and patient with my kids. And most of the time I hope I do that. But, it's those other times that make me feel like a complete and utter failure as a mom. The times where I become so frustrated and overwhelmed that I yell at my kids. After I apologize for my attrocious and inexcuseable behavior and vow never to do it again, then I try to bury my shame. But, it just waits soft spoken and patient for just the right conditions before it resurfaces.

I didn't intend to be this way. I had the same idealistic ideas that every woman does before she has children.

I was going to play guitar while lying in the grass singing Ben Harper songs with my kids. During which time, I would also teach them to play guitar.
(Please note: I do not play a musical instrument, nor do I sing in public, but I do like Ben Harper.)

I was going to make them try every vegetable on the planet while making them so delicious they'd actually ask for seconds. In a quaint British accent.
(I still do kind of have this fantasy, although I do now realize the accent is a little over the top.)

I was going to sew the kids clothes out of old curtains. Or teach them how to sew their own clothes out of curtains. Or did I get that from a Chinese documentary I saw?
(I did in fact buy a sewing machine and make pajama pants with the kids a few years ago. But the ice cream cones on the girls ended up upside down. So they didn't want to wear them. And they turned out to be really expensive too.)

I was going going to play games in the car and sing "99 Bottles of Beer" on road trips with them.
(Do you know how long that lasts? Less than 5 minutes. And it ends with the kids fighting. Actually it starts with the kids fighting, it ends with me putting ear plugs in.)

I wanted to introduce my kids to volunteering for the less fortunate.
(But, I'm just so busy doing all the things I have to do for my own kids and I'm not sure I even do a good job at that, sometimes I think they're the less fortunate.)

Among many, many other things.

Now, I realize, some of those might be unrealistic, unreasonable or just really unimportant in the big picture. Like the notion that I can be a perfect mom. I can't. And maybe if I give up that ideal, I won't be Old Yeller anymore. Maybe I'll magically transform into fun mom. Or maybe I should just start an alpaca farm, we can spin the wool and I can teach the kids to knit sweaters, we can build a yurt and sell our wares in there. Of course, all the profits would go to charity. And that just might be earplugs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Electoral Race

He pulled in right before me in a white pick up truck. I nabbed the empty space that wasn't really an actual parking space. I raced out of my car and followed him down the hill, past the winding stairs to the Northeast of the building. Even though I'm a very fast walker, I just couldn't catch up to him. When we rounded the corner, I caught sight of the line. The very long line of voters all looking right at me.

I lined up directly behind Mr. White Pick Up Truck. It would be an hour wait. He popped in his ear buds to his i-pod. I scrounged through my purse for anything. I usually have a book in there, but not today. Sometimes I carry a notebook, but the kids finished off the last page of that a couple days before. What I did have was my cell phone. So I sent a text to 4 friends looking for sympathy.

"Holy crap its an hour wait to vote at woodmen chapel right now" (I would have added an exclamation mark, but the punctuation doesn't work on my phone.)

My friends are all smarter than me and voted via mail. And reminded me of that via text.

One of my friends responded "No way! Do you need me to bring you a sandwich? I can bring you a sandwich!" (Obviously, her punctuation works.)

Which made me laugh out loud, with a subsequent snort in a painfully quiet congregation. So I embarrassed myself? What's new? And who the hell do I know here anyway? Ok, so I know the Vice Principal of my kids school. And now she knows I have hilarious friends who make me snort in public. Whatever.

While I'm texting, I'm also totally sizing up the guy in front of me, from the back. I ascertain he's about 6'2" tall. He's got a short haired dog. Well, at least one, maybe two because he's got dog hair all over his black Quicksilver sweatshirt. I'm going to venture to say he's single and currently doesn't have a girlfriend because he's also got several stains on said hoodie. And if he had a girlfriend, she'd probably Shout those stains out. Anyway, I'm going to guess he's either a plumber or an electrician because he doesn't really have an ass. And I associate those jobs with being professions that don't attract asses. That's probably prejudiced of me, but I don't care. Prove me wrong, ok? His flip flops further confirms he's on his feet a lot. But, he doesn't exfoliate them often.

So, I get all this info from the back of him. Oh, I also caught a side profile and while he shaves his head, he did miss a couple beard hairs. If I had some tweezers in my purse I would have helped him out with that. But, as luck would have it, I didn't. That might have been a bit awkward anyhow. I've now had over 45 minutes to ponder his life, but the thing is, he has sunglasses on. So, I can't tell if he's hot or not. And frankly, after having pondered it over for the last 45 minutes, I really, really want to know. You know you want to too.

We're almost inside. He'll take his sunglasses off in there. The anticipation is freaking killing me. Finally, it happens. Glasses are off. But, I don't want to look right at his face, cause that would be socially inappropriate. Kind of like me stalking him, making up crap and writing something I'm gonna post on the internet. That inappropriate.

When I finally catch a glimpse, you know, subtly, I'm shocked to see he has blue eyes (not what I was expecting) with light brown eye lashes (also, not what I was expecting). What's your vote on this combination? Hot or not?

I get my ballot right after he does. I head to my not-so-private-privacy-cubicle where I search through my purse, only to discover I left my reading glasses at home. Don't worrry, I'm positive I didn't inadvertantly vote for the douchebag. Anyhow, I finish and end up in line to turn it in to the election lady who doesn't know how to stick my ballot in the weird printer looking vaccuum thingy either. But, guess who's right behind me in line? Yup, Mr. White Pick Up Truck. I totally beat him to the poll.

I won!

I won!

Now, let's just hope the douchebag doesn't!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Family Game Night and Other Recurrent Tragedies

Last night we had family game night. Some families have one every week. I can just see it in all it's Waltonesqueness, a big bowl of shared popcorn and the room filled with laughter. We can only muster one every other month. Sometimes less. Because ours aren't anything like that. It takes at least 60 days to forget that family game night at our house totally sucks. And even that doesn't dispel the memories of shouting matches over who really justifiably monopolized Monopoly. Or who's not at all sorry in Sorry.

As I set up, the kids squabble about what color pawn they want. Even though no one actually wants the same color, this is just part of the pecking order to determine total dominance. Unfortunately, this doesn't end with pawns. Or game night. Anything and everything is fair game for conflict at any time. I read recently in the book The Sibling Effect, that siblings fight every 17 minutes. Times that by 4 kids with 2 dogs to battle over and that is more like every 17 seconds in our house. Seriously, you do the math or just come over and see for yourself. We're always in need a new referee.

Last night we choose a new game to play called Last Word. Wait a minute. The rules sound so familiar. Everyone shouts out answers and races to get the final say before time runs out and a winner is delared. After 10 more minutes of bickering where everyone tries justify their right-ness? It didn't help that the kids were munching from their Halloween candy as we battled. I mean played. Which meant not only was the night feuled by sugar, but also that projectile shards of candy were spit accross the table during the yelling matches. I mean deliberation process. Whatever you want to call it. I call it a recurrent tragedy.

One of many in our house. Like sleep overs. A staple of adolesence. Kids watching movies until their eyes sting, nestled in a warm cozy sleeping bag next to their friends, giggling into the night and trying to see who can stay awake the longest. It all sounds so fun and innocent. Until the next day. When you're left with an exhausted cranky kid who's a whiny, pain in the ass. Just when you think it can't get worse, you mention that their behavior is due to lack of sleep. They offer up their unequivocal denial before confirming that they think you're the most unreasonable parent ever and their life sucks. And nothing seems innocent or fun anymore. This is why I dread sleep overs. And why I refer to them as sleep unders.

I wish I could blame it on the kids, but I can't. Because, of course, I'm the one who approves these things. Is it my unending optomism that things will be different this time? I don't think so. More likely it's guilt. And a heaping dose of denial. That same denial that got me to buy those 6 tickets to an exotic international destination next month. Never mind that I should be saving money to fix our jacked up house. Or that this trip is celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and we're bringing kids with us. And maybe you don't know our worst recurrent tragedy of all time is traveling together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why I Like My Dogs More Than My Teenagers

Next month I'll have two teenagers in my house. When my 4 kids were little, I used to dream of how different things would be when they got older. No diapers to change, no cowering over the edge of the bathtub to bathe them. I wouldn't step on the sharp corner of legos buried deep in the carpet anymore. Grocery shopping would become a solo event without my entourage of munchkins clammering for that sugary cereal I never buy. Day to day life was going to get easier. Of course, I was dead wrong.

The following are the reasons why I like my dogs more than my teenagers.

MY TEENAGERS: Don't like anything I cook.
MY DOGS: Love when I cook and beg me for just a taste, they'll even eat if off the floor.

MY TEENAGERS: Are embarrassed to be seen with me.
MY DOGS: They'll go anywhere with me, hell, they'll even kiss me in public.

MY TEENAGERS: Whine for an hour about doing homework, complain while doing it, then, forget to turn it in and get credit for it.
MY DOGS: They don't have homework. Thank god.

MY TEENAGERS: Leave their crap all over the house.
MY DOGS: I happpily bag their crap because I don't have to nag them to do it. Because they can't because they don't have opposible thumbs or speak English

MY TEENAGERS: Don't look up from the computer screen when I come home.
MY DOGS: Jump up and down when they see me, even if they just saw me a minute ago.

MY TEENAGERS: Are interested in the opposite sex and my Women's Health magazine.
MY DOGS: Can't unexpectadly make me a grandma.

MY TEENAGERS: Stay up until the wee hours of the evening and find it hard to get up the next morning.
MY DOGS: Wake their asses up and threaten to wee wee on the carpet if the kids don't take them out at the crack of dawn.

MY TEENAGERS: Always want to go hang out with their friends.
MY DOGS: Are content to stay home and snuggle with me.

MY TEENAGERS: Are never content, no matter what they have.
MY DOGS: Only need a $2 squeak toy. Actually, they only need a stick. And that's free.

MY TEENAGERS: Think I don't know what I'm talking about. Ever.
MY DOGS: Don't give a shit.

Don't worry, it's reciprocal, kinda like chasing your own tail. My teenagers like the dogs more than me too. But let's call it a truce and just let sleeping dogs lie, shall we?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Alter Ego

I have always held this belief that we dress up like our alter ego on Halloween. So this year, Craig is a jedi. Yup, that fits. Sky and River are secret service agents, which shouldn't be a secret to anyone. Jade makes a kick ass Katniss. It shouldn't surprise anyone Ember is a witch. And me? I'm a Robert Palmer girl. You know, one of those vacuous models from his music videos in the 80's. Prone to moments of extreme ditziness.

It all started the morning of our annual Halloween party. I had worked out the menu, purchased all the food and was cooking the meat for a beef chili and a chicken chili. Then I remembered I had a vegan and 4 other vegetarians coming. I panicked for the better side of an hour before I realized I could just make the beef chili into a vegetarian chili. Duh!

When the guests started to arrive, they brought cool Halloween wine. I tried to get this picture of the cool label several times, but it kept coming out blurry. So, my friend, Nacho Libre, set my camera to the appropriate setting. It didn't stop there. Later, when I tried opening that bottle of wine, I couldn't get the cork out. Nacho Libre to the rescue! Again.

I tried to get everyone at the party in this picture, but they just didn't fit. And again, my camera was on the wrong setting.

When we planned the party, the scavenger hunt wasn't meant to be done in the pitch dark. But, it gets dark early in October. Oops.

Maybe you shouldn't send people over to your neighbors house who has a No Soliciting sign posted.

Cause maybe they'll be mad. (Which will score you an extra point in the game, by the way.)

Oh my god, they're flying! How'd they do that?

I got a palm reading by a gypsy. I just don't know how she knew I liked smiley faces? It's kinda freakin' me out a bit.

During the party, Bonnie and Clyde (our dogs) were safely tucked away in my bedroom. Except, they totally outsmarted me and escaped. They are Bonnie and Clyde after all. And they don't like to miss a party.

This is when I could've had the perfect photo of a flying nun, you know, if I had it on the action setting of my camera. But, again, I don't know how to do that. And Nacho Libre was nowhere to be found.

I realized that I had a run in my panty hose and no idea how I got it. And now I have a picture of it. But, what I don't have is a family photo of us all dressed up. And at this point in the evening, I'm not going to get one.

As I sat watching karaoke, I realized why I never sing in public. Because, I'm simply too tall to do this. So then, really, what would be the point?

The evening ended in a cake war in my kitchen. Which seemed like a good idea at the time...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Culture Shock

I've done this re-entry into American life before. However, the first time I did, I moved back from living in Germany for three and a half years. Trading in schnitzel for chicken nuggets, which I wasn't real thrilled about, by the way. Of course, it's a bigger transition to transition back from Africa than from Europe. In general, that is. You see, we moved to Germany 2 weeks before 9/11. So I returned to a different America than I left.

We arrived in Colorado in 2005, back in the olden days when you paid your AOL bill by time spent on-line. So, after being overseas, we returned to the states filled with all these celebrities we didn't know. People that we didn't know how or why they were famous. Like Paris Hilton. At first, I thought I was the only person who didn't understand how someone could be a household name for doing absolutely nothing. She even had her own tv show aparently. Fast forward seven years and our return from Morocco and Paris has been replaced by Snooki. Still as vacuous, just tanner. I still don't know what show she's on. Nor, do I care. I just wish I didn't know she had a spawn. It will probably get it's own show now.

When I got back from Germany, I was so excited to listen to American music again. And I got this cd from one of my favorite bands, Live. Immediately, I fell in love with this hauntingly beautiful song called Overcome. I played it over and over again. Until I saw a video of it. The powerful words combined with even more powerful visuals of 9/11. While we were gone, this song was the anthem for the nations grief. I was so overcome with emotion, I couldn't listen to that song anymore. Things weren't nearly as moving coming back from Morocco. That's when I discovered the song International Love is an international hit written by an American. Cause dude, that song is so stupid, I was sure it was written by a non-native English speaker. And unfortunately, there's a whole slew of others that fall in this category. Crap.

Moving from Europe where people are smartly and elegantly dressed, to Colorado where people are warmly and comfortably dressed, didn't take much of an adjustment. In this respect, I'm completely American. So, I jumped on the crocs bandwagon like everyone else. Although, I did get the black mary janes to, you know, keep it classy. I admit, I still have them in my closet somewhere. Why would I get rid of a shoe that's comfortable, easy to slide on and clean dog shit off of? Damn. I need to find those shoes cause really, how likely is it I'm going to step in dog shit? Extremely likely. And now, the stores only seem to sell ugly AND uncomfortable shoes. In really, really bright colors, so you can't ignore their hideousness. Which, is another reason why I shop at thrift stores. The shoes are already broken in, even if they make me break out in a fungal infection. That's just part of the adventure, that's all.

This one has always pissed me off. I will never understand how crappy books become movies. One of the worst written books I remember reading many years ago, was The Notebook. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice sentimental story. But the writing? Total crap. Granted, it was the guys debut novel and maybe he didn't have an editor back then, I don't know. But, when we got back from Germany I was shocked that they had made it into a movie. I guess when the lead is played by Ryan Gosling, no one went for the writing. I boycotted based on principal. It only grossed like 80 million, I'm sure they feel the sting. As does it's modern day replacement, The Twighlight series. I admit, I haven't read it. I haven't seen the movies. And I don't have any desire to. I went through the whole vampire craze back in the 1990's with Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat. Both the book series and the movie where fantastic. So, why would I want to go back and bleed the whole vampire thing dry?

These days, I'm the girl at the party who misses cultural references. But, I just like to think that I spared myself the embarrassment of wearing jeggings and feathers. And that I've saved countless hours by not reading 50 Shades of Grey. Not to mention, being spared the auditory assault of that stupid Pop Pop Americano song. What the hell does that song mean anyway? Oh right, we no speak Americano.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thrifty Nickel

You may or may not know that I love getting things second hand. Like the vintage Africa map I have from the 1950's that isn't even accurate anymore. Or the antique crank pencil sharpeners. The school desks I got at Goodwill that we painted and my girls still play school with. My grandfathers old fiddle he got at a pawn shop in 1926. I love knowing these thing had a history before I came along and that somehow I've become part of that.

Not only is this a great way to recycle, but living like this, is also a whole hell of a lot cheaper. Not to mention, funkier. Exhibit A: In the below picture everything I'm wearing, I bought at a thrift store. (Ok, besides the hat. I crocheted that myself. Ok, no I didn't. I actually bought it new several years ago.)


Jacket in cool eggplant color $10
Green sweater $ 3
Levis jeans $ 5
Old lady purse $ 2
Old lady shoes complete with left shoe that squeaks when I walk $ 4

The feeling I get when I wear this outfit? Priceless.
The feeling I get after having just used that lame outdated overused phrase? Suicidal.

So last week, someone who doesn't know me that well, knows someone else who has something they want to get off their hands. And she thought of me. Now, I didn't even think I was in the market for one. I'd just never thought about owning one of my very own before. But, when she said it, immediately, I knew I had to have it. That I must be the one to bring it's past and my future together to create a revolutionary present.


My kids think I bought this fitness pole (as we refer to it, in front of the kids) as a present for them. They spin around like monkeys on it. And my husband, well, he'd like to think I got it for him. Me? I know the truth. It's an investment in my future. Because in the near future I may be working the pole to help pay the bills to fix up my jacked up house that's sinking into the Colorado soil. But what a great 2 for 1 bargain that would be, getting paid to work out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doggie Style

Yesterday I had a whole different post lined up for today. I was not going to write about the dogs for the 3rd time in a row. Lest you start thinking this is a dog blog. Which it's not. But, then last night the funniest thing happened. Unless it's the grossest thing. You decide.

It was a night like any other, making dinner, carting the kids to activities, interrogating them about homework, making sure the dogs got walked and the kids brushed their teeth and got to bed. Getting them to bed is one thing. Getting them to sleep is a much longer process that usually involves several trips upstairs to shush them. And as our kids get older, they stay up later. But as we get older, we want to go to bed earlier. Which doesn't leave us a lot of *ahem* alone time together. If you know what I mean.

Last night was one of those rare exceptions. Sure everyone was asleep, we snuck upstairs to our own bedroom for a little adult time. Careful not to make any loud noises that would wake anyone on the way up. We started with a little foreplay. In the form of brushing our teeth and taking that last pee before bed. After that, it was all on. And we were getting busy. Quietly, of course.

Then things got crazy. In a moment of intense passion, I felt a wet nose on my leg. Clyde, the dog, had jumped up into bed and wanted in on the action. But, I am not that freaky. And I'm not into three ways. The whole thing was a little shaming. And I couldn't look him in the eye when I banished him from the mattress. I thought the worst was over. But, of course, it wasn't.

With Bonnie, his companion, asleep in the other room, feeling a little frisky, I guess he felt like he had no choice but to go it alone. By licking himself. Loudly and furiously. My bedroom sounded like a porn set, as my dog gave himself a blow job. I called his name and begged him to stop. But, that just made him lick faster. Until finally, he was done and dozed off. I guess that's just how it's done, doggie style.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dog Training

I haven't had a dog since I was a kid. My brother and I found a stray on the way home from school one day and begged my mother to let us keep it. We made all the promises that kids make to lie their way into getting what they want. Yes, of course we'll feed, water, brush and walk him. And although my mom was a tough cookie and didn't usually fall for that kind of crap, she did that time. Boots turned out to be a horrible dog. He wasn't friendly at all and he constantly ran away. About the 50th time, it was for good. Cause this Boots was made for walkin'.

So now, about 35 years later, I'm starting over with Bonnie and Clyde. Except now I'm the mom. The one who is in charge. Of weeding out the truth from the lies. Of training the dogs. And the children. Oh, and everything else too. Luckily, they aren't anything like Boots. I mean the dogs of course. The kids, especially the teenager, have a lot in common with that dog. The moments of unfriendliness and the threats to leave home. Somedays we count the days. And hours. Or even break it down into minutes and seconds.

Now that we have dogs, we'll have to train them how things work around here. Oh, crap. Things don't really work around here. The kids are supposed to pick up after themselves. But instead, the kids leave their ear buds, bouncy balls and the soggy remnants of their cereal lying around. And they can't do that with the dogs, cause they'll eat them and get sick. So, they just can't leave their shit lying around anymore.

Speaking of shit, my kids have been potty trained for many years now. Well, truth be told, half of them are partially potty trained. Two of my kids pretty consistently do not flush the freakin' toilet. I didn't think anything could be grosser than that. Until, you add dogs into the mix, who pretty consistently drink out of the toilet. And that is grosser than gross.

Now,the kids are very adamant that we feed the dogs organic dog food with all natural ingredients. They are also careful not to overfeed the dogs, as we got them a bit overweight. Because they want them to live a long time and be healthy. Which is great, because that's consistent with how I feed the kids. However, it's not consistent with what they do when I'm not looking. Like sneaking ice cream sandwiches out of freezer in the garage right before dinner. Or the dryer lint trap reveals the evidentiary wrappers of their latest covert candy binge.

Bonnie and Clyde didn't get a lot of exercise before we got them. They had never gone up or down stairs. And they are completely baffled by what to do with a ball. So I think it goes without saying that they are oblivious that they are programmed to retrieve. They had a much more laid back Hotel California kind of attitude and thought they were programmed to receive. So they're a bit lazy. Wait, I know some kids who'd rather play their i-pods than ride their bikes.

We got the dogs some rawhide rolls to chew on and to help clean their teeth. Because they can't brush their teeth after all. On the other hand, I have 4 kids who are perfectly capable of it and don't. Oh, they always claim to have brushed their teeth. Until I check. Then they suddenly remember they forgot. So, I was totally scared to go to the dentist last week after they hadn't seen a dentist for 2 years. Shockingly, not one of my kids had gotten a cavity. Which is totally bittersweet. Because now they can validate not brushing. I wonder if they make cotton candy flavored raw hide.

It occurs to me that maybe we got the dogs so they can train the kids.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Puppy Love

You never get over your first love. Crushing on them from afar. Hoping beyond hope that they feel the same way. And finally, when they return all the gazes you've sent their way, you melt. There isn't anything you wouldn't do to be together. It's puppy love. And although we've got that going on over here, I can't actually blog about that because the kids would kill me. So, today I'm actually talking about dogs.

My kids have wanted a dog forever. They have cajoled. Pleaded. Guilted. Shown us countless websites of cute puppies. But, when this all started, the kids were young. And then we moved to Africa and were traveling constantly. Before we left for Morocco, I may have bribed the kids by promising them a dog when we returned. I'm not exactly sure. But the kids remembered. In fact, they could tell you the color of the sweater I was wearing when I said it. And what we ate for dinner that night.

The thing is, we already have enough going on with our own four kids who chew on things, shed and poop all over the place. And we just got this new sense of freedom that comes once you don't need to have a babysitter watch the kids anymore. I don't want to have to make arrangements for a dog and find a dog sitter when we go on vacation. As if we don't have enough to do. But, I promised.

So, we went to the Humane Society to look for a dog. However, we soon found that getting a dog who needed a home from the shelter in Colorado Springs was much harder than it seemed. Because, Coloradans love dogs. So, if we wanted a shelter dog, we would need to sit in the lobby and dog stalk. We might even have to fist fight other dog stalkers. Which I was totally committed to. I've been doing a lot of kick boxing lately. But, it's totally creepy and I really don't have time for it. Otherwise, I would totally be in.

The question is, where else could we find a dog who needed a home? Voila. Craig's list. Were we could cyber stalk and still be in our pjs. Perfect! So, we found two dogs, increasing our chances for success, and made appointments to meet them on the same night, one right after the other. Hopefully we'd end up with a dog by the end of the night.

The first one, Roxy, was an adorable, mild mannered lab mix. All of us thought she would be a great fit but, we had another puppy to meet. An hour later, we met Armani, who turned out to be a lab/pit bull mix. And that didn't mix so well with us. So, when we got back into the car and unanimously voted for Roxy, we called immediately and left a message. A very love letter of sorts. When the kids went to bed and we still hadn't heard anything, we texted. Roxy was gone. The next morning Jade was brokenhearted and cried for an hour. And I sent her to school with big puffy eyes. Puppy love sucks.

A couple of days later, there's another lead on Craig's list. And we went to sniff it out. This time, it was true love. A beautiful 2 year old black labrador retriever rescue dog, we named Bonnie.

And her accomplice and life companion, Clyde. Of course.

That's the legend of Bonnie and Clyde. As if there's another one that could compare.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...