Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kosher fo shure

Last night, we attended a family get together at the mall thrown by the shul we plan on joining (it's a higher level of observance than the one where we currently belong). Our big kids go to Sunday School there, so we already knew most of the families. My girls are great friends with a set of sisters who are 5.5 and 7. Their family has belonged to that synagogue for generations. I love the family. They're so sweet.

After we did Havdallah (the sun was long gone, so Shabbat was technically already over before we got there), I bought bottles of water for the kids. Girl1 examined her label closely and announced that her water was kosher.

The second-grader was with us as we walked out. She asked me, "What's kosher?" Wa wa WHAT? I know they don't keep kosher, but how on earth does the child--the JEWISH child who belongs to the more observant synagogue; whose family has belonged there forever not know what kosher is?

I was just floored. I think I said something like, "It means a rabbi says it's okay." And she asked, "Well what does that mean?" I told her, "It means we can eat it." Yeah, my explanation leaves much to be desired, but I was caught completely off guard.

On the drive home, I realized that the other sister had shared her candy with my girls. I normally don't let them have candy, but I figured this was a special event, so I'd let them have some. Since we were there with fellow Yids, I let my guard down. It was only then that I realized if that family shared them, there's a good chance the candy wasn't kosher.

Argh! I let my guard down with that group. I felt like it was one place where I didn't have to worry about some of the issues that concern me in the big big world.

Argh! Sometimes, I really feel like we just can't find our place in the world. I don't need the nirvana of synagogues. I just need somewhere where we can fit in, relax, put our feet up, saying a blessing together, and not have to worry that our snacks may contain pig corpse.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A tutorial from my son

Many of the craft blogs I frequent provide wonderful tutorials. From gourmet dinners to paper crafts, they provide their readers with step-by-step instructions.

Today, my son made it abundantly clear that he has something he would like to teach the world. I will let TheBoy take over and provide such information.

DISCLAIMER: Inspired by actual events.

Taking A Bath: A Tutorial

Step 1. Make certain you have some "Alone time." One fabulous opportunity is when your mother is otherwise occupied in another room, say in the office showing your sisters something on the computer.

Step 2. Occasionally saunter in and out of the room occupied by your mother so as to provide her with a false sense of security.

Step 3. Use the potty.

Step 4. Even if your normal routine is to loudly shout, "Pee," after such an event in return for much applause, do not do that now. It is imperative that you abandon that routine. Instead, remain silent.

Step 5. Stick your head in the potty chair. Your success depends on two things: the amount of hair you have and how saturated you get it.

Step 6. When your mother comes out and sees you, proudly announce, "Bath." Be forewarned that she will look horrified. Her reaction is directly related to how many other children have come before you. If you are a first-born, be prepared for absolute shock and disgust. If others have come before you and had the chance to try out this trick, you can expect your mother to react in a far more rational manner. If you are not the first-born, you will most likely move on to step 7 quicker and with much less fuss. Oldest/only children should be prepared for far more screaching. Please remember to be patient.

Step 7. Sit back and relax while you're carried to the bath. Resist the urge to sit back too far, though, because doing so may result in a wet mother. A urine-soaked mother is NOT a happy mother. This may increase the amount of screaming and will therefore delay the conclusion of this plan.

Step 8. Enjoy your bath.

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that this bath may come at a great cost. Enjoy yourself now, but note that parents and older siblings reserve the right to retell horrifying stories from your childhood at the most inopportune times. What may seem like a fabulous idea when you're 2-years-old could prove to be an excruciating story-telling experience for you in 15 years. The likelihood that this event will be retold is directly related to whether or not you bring a date to dinner.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Relatives

Since some holidays have just passed and lots of people spent time with family, I thought I should blog about 13 different family personalities. A local radio station asked callers to give examples a few weeks ago and some of them were hilarious. While these were not taken from those answers, this was inspired by the concept. These are not all from my life. I'm using examples from friends as well.

In no particular order:

1. The high-haired leopard-print-wearing 70-year-old aunt

2. The competitive one who is only "In it to win it" even if the "in it" is a rousing game of Uno and the "win it" is nothing more than bragging rights over a 7-year-old.

3. The pre-teen 2nd cousin who just loves playing with the other kids for hours (and you include her on your "I'm thankful list" every single year)

4. She who can't cook, but insists on doing it anyway

5. The cousin/sister/brother/husband in whom you find solace because he/she is often the only sane one at the table and understands your subtle (or not so subtle) signs of exasperation when #1 tells yet another embarassing story about how, as a child, your toilet always over-flowed and it was always your fault.

6. Whoever brings the good wine (another one to add to the thankful list)

7. The kid/kids who eat everything and therefore make others feel inferior

8. The kid/kids who not only don't eat anything, but who spit out whatever is forced into their mouths, therefore causing other family members to gush even louder about #7.

9. The grandmother who must ask embarassing questions loudly and repeatedly.

10. The poor sucker (whether that is you or someone else) who #9 sets her sights on above all others.

11. The brooding emo teenager/young adult who refuses to speak to anyone if it can be avoided (and sometimes when it can't) and who you're fairly certain was the inspiration behind the brother in Little Miss Sunshine, just minus the part about him really being sweet and sensitive underneath it all.

12. Whoever CAN cook and provides a beautiful spread of gourmet food in order to make up for #4.

13. The family member/members with whom you can laughingly share stories (and sometimes scars) from your youth. It's even better if these are related to events in which you both/all took part and which no one outside your family knows/believes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do you realize you said that out loud?

I wrote this a few years ago for a different blog, but a recent post at Dirty Little Secret about comments to pregnant women inspired me to resurrect this little gem.

For some folks, twins are an excuse to make stupid comments. Just because I have a set of kids who arrived as a pair does NOT mean you have a right to consequence-free stupidity. If you make an asinine comment, I reserve the right to mock you mercilessly.

When my twins were tiny, it was much worse. As they've gotten older, they look less and less alike, so people often don't realize they're twins (which leads to all sorts of other stupid questions), but we still get stupid twin comments on occasion. Complete strangers have said things like:

They don't look like twins.

Lady, they ARE twins and this is how they look. Therefore, based on definition, they do in fact, look like twins.

Oh a boy and a girl?

We got this one all the time when they were babies and even through toddlerhood. People said this when they were both wearing traditional "girl" colors. People asked this when they were in matching frilly pink dresses. People said this when they were both in pink shirts with the word, "GIRL" in large font (which, coincidentally are the same shirts I wore as an infant and people still insisted I was a boy too).

One woman even asked that when they were tiny and they were both in onesies. One was pink and the other's was white with a ballet slipper print all over it. When dh corrected her, the woman said, "Oh, but that one's in pink." To which I replied, "Yes, and the other one's in pink ballet slippers."

Let's not forget the countless people who, upon being told they were both girls, would say, "Oh but she/they is/are in blue." To which dh would reply, "Yes and so is my wife."

And it's so very difficult to top one man we met at McDonalds when the kids were about 15 months old. They were both wearing coordinating white frilly dresses with flowers embroidery. The man asked if the kids were a boy and a girl. When I answered him, the man said in reference to Girl2, "That's an awfully butch haircut on that one."

He's mad because he has to wear an outfit that matches his sister.

No, she's a girl and she loves her outfit. She's just mad that we have to take the time to deal with idiots like you instead of just paying and leaving. I swear Volde-Mart breeds these morons. The next comment came from a Wal-Mart cashier as well.

I'd kill myself if I was having twins.

Wow. That was the worst comment we ever got. How on earth do you reply to that? I think my mouth just fell open. And for me to be speechless, it's gotta be bad. Hopefully, you'll never reproduce and the world will be spared from the possibility of you spawning equally stupid off-spring.

I couldn't have handled twins at 16.

That was said to me when we were all out with my sister and niece. My daughters were maybe 6 months old at the time. The woman who uttered it was a sales clerk who then proceeded to follow us around and stare at us. Come on, lady. I know I tend to look younger than I actually am. It's a curse that has befallen my sister as well. But give us a break. 16? I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, 16 at the time. Are you so old that you have long since forgotten what 16 looks like? This was yet another one that left me speechless for a second, but when I recovered, I simply said, "Oh my! I couldn't have handled them that young either. I couldn't have handled one baby at 16." It didn't seem to help. The cashier didn't get it and continued to believe I was both a teenager and apparently a thief as well.

Well, I guess you're done.

No. we weren't done. We wanted more children (and have since had one). But what gives you the right to make such an intimate statement? Many twins today are a result of fertility treatment. So how the hell are you going to make someone feel whose twins are a result of clomid or IVF? While they may want more children, their physical issues may make that impossible. Now they have to deal not only with how that makes them feel, but with stupid comments from people like you. I came up with the best response, though. When people made this stupid comment, I said, "No, we're trying for at least 6." That always shut them up. I didn't really want 6 kids, but I did want to silence the stupidity.

They're awfully close in age, aren't they? or How far apart are they?

This one is usually said in a judgmental tone because people assume we are teenagers who don't know how to use birth control. It's a bit different now because we don't look quite as young as we used to (it helps that dh can have facial hair now that he's out of the military). This ticks me off to no end. We prefer to get the second question because then we can simply reply, "One minute." That usually stops them dead in their tracks. Mind you, the girls are only 1/2 an inch different in height and 3 lbs off from each other. So how far apart could they possibly be? Come on. They may not be identical, but they're obviously not far enough apart in age to be anything but twins.

Let's not forget one woman at Target who thought they weren't twins and then felt compelled to tell my sister and me (both complete strangers to her) that she conceived her second child on her first's birthday. AHHHHHHHHH. Too much information! We don't want to know that. No one does.

Often, in the same day, we'll have people who ask if they're identical and then someone will insist,

They don't look a bit alike.


One of my sisters actually made this stupid comment. Girl1 and TheBoy share many of the same facial features. They both favor their father. Girl2 favors me. When I sent pictures to family showing the resemblance between Girl1 and TheBoy, one of my sisters wrote back,

You need to have another one so Girl2 has a twin.

Um...she already has a twin. She came with one.

This conversation baffled me. Here's the scene; we're at the portrait studio. The girls are about 2. They're dressed in matching dresses.

Random lady: Are they sisters?
Me: They're twins.
Random lady: But are they sisters? opposed to what?

And please note that if someone is rushing through the store with two babies roughly the same size in a double stroller, you can pretty much assume the babies are twins. No need to ask any questions. If said woman is rushing with two tiny screaming babies, you should avoid, at all costs, jumping in front of her and trying to ask questions about the babies. It should be obvious not only that the babies are twins, but also that this woman desperately needs to restock her fridge and she's trying her damnest to deal with the colicky babies in an attempt to go food shopping and YOU AREN'T HELPING.

I've blogged about the topic of stupid comments about kids once before, so I'll direct you there as well: FAQs For Morons

I know stupid comments are not reserved just for twin moms. Feel free to leave a comment and share other stupid comments you've had the "Pleasure" of having stupid people throw at you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Indian food on Xmas

I mentioned the Jewish tradition of having Chinese food on Xmas and I ranted because the Chinese food places around here are closed on Xmas.

Well, then we found out that an Indian place I've been to, but dh always wanted to try was open. We later found out the Chinese food place near our house and my very favorite Chinese buffet were also open, but we still went with Indian.

My friends know me better than I do. When I mentioned to a friend that we were going to that Indian place, she said, "But you don't like that place." I insisted that it wasn't my favorite, but it was okay. Yeah, she was right. I was wrong. I don't like that place. It wasn't awful, but not great. I'm glad I went so dh got a chance to try it (he really liked it), but it's not somewhere I'll be going to voluntarily again. My friends, they rock. I need to listen to them more often.

Oh and how's this for a bizarre Xmas moment: there we are, the Jewish family, in an Indian restaurant on Xmas where they're playing a Barry Manilow Xmas DVD complete with him singing Copacabana and a handful of carols including one with Cindi Lauper who was donning bleached blonde high preacher's wife hair all while Manilow and guests had fake snow dumped on them on their indoor set.

Who needs fiction?

Adjective Cat is not amused.

I found the Wikipedia entry for lolcat to be, at times, as funny as the lolcats themselves.

It contains such gems as the quotation I used in the title along with these:

"[adjective] cat has run out of [adjective]"


"I has a noun" pictures show a cat in possession of an object while "Invisible noun" show pictures of cats apparently interacting with said invisible object.

Long story short: THIS SUCKS.

In fact, partners of the depressed commonly find themselves developing their own symptoms of depression, anxiety or phobias. Susan Anderson, author of The Journey From Abandonment to Healing (Berkley, 2000) says that such individuals "feel a real sense of loss, because although their loved one is still physically present, their partners are no longer emotionally available, which creates feelings of rejection, disappointment, hurt and abandonment."
from How to Help a Loved One Who's Depressed

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Xmas gift to you.

And by, "You," I mean my readers who are either Christian or those agnostics who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday.

I found the funniest gift tags at Angry Chicken. And so, I am sharing them with you all (via a link to her fabulous creations).

Go forth and celebrate. For those of you who actually bought/made real gifts, head here for funny gift tags.

If you celebrate Xmas, have a good one. If not, come over to my place and we'll do something completely not Jesus-related together. :-) Unfortunately, the Chinese food places in our neck of the woods are closed on Christmas because they're all Christian. Dude, that's not fair! Stop Christian missionaries now before the Jewish tradition of Chinese food and a movie is destroyed. No movie for us either because we have a toddler who won't sit through one.

Now excuse me while I sigh loudly.

For those of you who celebrate, have a great Xmas.

For those of you who don't, please send some chicken and broccoli my way.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another word from my kids

My children have been making gifts for friends. I suggested they might want to try personalizing each for the recipient. While making one for a friend's new baby daughter (yes, you), Girl1 had some questions.

Girl1: She's a baby. What would a baby like? Is she breastfed?
Me: Yes.
Girl1: Hmm...then maybe nursing bras? No, moms like those more than babies. I know. Babies like nipples. I can draw nipples.
Me: giggling quietly to myself

Keyword analysis

Just checked my stats and saw one of the searches that directed people here.

my husband got me a stupid gift

Oh, you poor thing. How stupid? Golf clubs when you don't play golf stupid or a cat shaped pot-holder stupid?

army of dicks

I've got no words for ya, just lots and lots of laughter.

spaceship christmas songs

If such a thing exists, this is probably the last place you'll find it.

pic of my sister topless

This is not the first time someone has found their way here with that one. My only consolation is that when they get here, they find the story of how my pregnant sister threw up on herself.

quote: have fun storming the castle

Whoever you are, you rock.

too many stupid people

How true!

adjusting to mother in laws

I've been married for nearly a decade and haven't mastered that. If you find a way to do that, come back and let me know.

save me from my mother

Yes, please.

And perhaps I never should have posted this post because a whole slew of people have found their way there by using some very "interesting" search phrases.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Names for Toys

Thirteen Awesome Toy Names

The Dog had a stuffed bear that he got after we had him fixed. Dh thought it would be funny to name the bear YourNuts. He was right. That way, we could throw the toy and ask, "Where's YourNuts?" This was particularly hilarious when you remember the dog had just been neutered. What was even better was when the dog tore a hole in the bear while dh was on the phone with his father. Girl1 ran in and yelled, "The Dog destroyed HisNuts." My father-in-law was horribly confused, but we were amused beyond words.

Aka the rabbit we gave the dog to replace YourNuts.

3....Seizure Bear
When my daughters were tiny babies, my parents gave them these horrible bears that laughed maniacally and shook like crazy when you pushed their stomachs (ala Tickle Me Elmo). We donated one and took to calling the other one Seizure Bear.

4....Hello Mr. Zebra
The girls had this Zebra toy. I named it Hello Mr Zebra in honor of a Tori Amos song. I also call TheBoy's bedtime toy by the same name. Original? Maybe not. Addicted to Tori Amos? Hell yeah!

The girls have an anatomically correct stuffed boy doll. When asked what they wanted to name him, they insisted we name him Nodoubt. At the time, we had just gotten a copy of No Doubt's greatest hits collection and we spent much time dancing around the house to it, so I assume that's where they got that from.

Girl2 just loves that name. Not sure why. I find a stuffed animal named Bob to be amusing.

7....Jew Bear
This menorah-holding (formerly) music-playing bear wearing a kipah. He's from my parents. All the really annoying toys are. I joke that he's Pooh Bear's second cousin. You know they're related because they have the same last name.

When the girls were about 18 months old, they were given their first real doll. My mom and I asked them what they wanted to name her. Girl2 said, "Dopeadopeadope." And so, Dopeadope it was.

Girl2 (the queen of odd names) decided one of her dolls' was named Ungodlyketchup. I still don't know why.

That's the middle name of one of Girl2's favorite toys. She insisted she wanted to name him Cat. I pointed out that he was not a cat. She then declared that would be his middle name.

11....Made In China
My brother gave the girls plastic fairies last year for their birthday. When they flipped them over, they saw writing on the bottom. Girl1 asked, "What's that?" Girl2 insisted, "That's her name." It said "Made in China" and so, that was her name as per my daughter's decree. FTR, I unfortunately had to throw Made In China and her winged sisters away the other day because of the lead paint concerns.

When I was 5, I got a baby doll which I insisted on naming Jesus. My mother tried to talk me out of it, but I was persistent.

While not exactly a toy name, the girls once had an animal picture book. As babies, I never taught them "Pig." Instead, I taught them that the cute little smiling picture was "Treif (not kosher)." They didn't learn the word "Pig," until they were 3 or so, but from the time they were a year old, if you asked them, "Where's the treif," they would point to the picture of the pig and smile proudly. As they got older, when you pointed to the picture, they would proudly announce in their little voices, "Treif." My mother got annoyed and said, "That's awful," to which I replied, "But accurate."

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quotation Wednesday continued: Celebrity WTF edition

I just read an article about Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy that had a few gems that were so awe-inspiring that, for the first time ever, I had to do TWO Quotation Wednesday posts.

Jamie Lynn Spears Says She's Pregnant

This is why it's bad that Louisiana provides no sex education at all in school (and, as a result, they have the highest teen pregnancy rate):

"It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected," she said. "I was in complete and total shock and so was he."

Really, it was a shock? Is it also a shock that 2+2 equals 4? So this is how abstinence only programs work.

What message does she want to send to other teens about premarital sex? "I definitely don't think it's something you should do; it's better to wait," she told the magazine. "But I can't be judgmental because it's a position I put myself in."

Insert your own joke.

Jamie Lynn plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana - "so it can have a normal family life."
No offense intended to the fine state of Louisiana, but I have a few things to add.
#1. Define "normal."
#2. Yeah, that worked SO well for the Spears family.
#3. Let me remind you that one definition of "Insanity" is "Repeating the same behavior expecting different results." Of course, if grandma doesn't sell this baby out, it won't be the same behavior, so I suppose it could lead to a different result. I doubt that'll be an option, though.

Nickelodeon released a statement: "We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation...."
(my ad-lib) Although we at Nickelodeon really would have preferred it if the young Ms. Spears had taken responsibility about 12 weeks ago.

How wrong is this?

How wrong is it that last night, for a bed time story, dh opted to tell the girls the condensed version of the story behind Star Wars. That's not the wrong part. The wrong part is that, when the girls didn't understand dh's description of the Emperor, dh explained that he was like Bush and only then did the girls understand.

Quotation Wednesday: Kids say the damnest things

Today's Quotation Wednesday is brought to you courtesy of my children:

Today in the sitting room
Girl2: ... I want to be a musician when I grow up
Me: What instrument are you going to play?
Girl2: Um...the piano because Tori Amos plays piano and I really like her.

Today at the park
That boy over there. He's mean. He ruined my imagination.

Today in the car
Girl1: Did they (the military) make daddy leave his guns there because they knew it wasn't safe to have guns at home with kids in the house?
Me: No, they took them away because the guns were theirs and daddy doesn't work for the military anymore, so he doesn't need them.
Girl1: And we don't need guns anyway because we have light sabers, so we can protect ourselves with those.

Yesterday in my room

TheBoy: Poop
Me: Did you poop?
TheBoy: No (signing and saying) cat.
Me: The cat pooped.
TheBoy: (Nods yes) kitteh
Me: The kitten pooped?
TheBoy: (nods yes) Dare (pointing)
Me: Wait, did he poop in the litter box over there?
TheBoy: nods
Me: Dude, that's where he's supposed to poop.
TheBoy: DUDE!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Humanity is letting me down.

I'm more than a little disappointed in the world right now. It's not the entire world that has left me crestfallen, just the human inhabitants of that world.

Here's the very brief version what what would otherwise prove to a be a very long rant:

People don't seem willing to step up and help out. Of the few that are willing to help, it's the same few every time. Most others don't want to be bothered. It's driving me nuts and making me absolutely livid

I sent out a call for help for a family that truly needs support in the face of a tragedy. I mentioned that the support could be at any level--from seeking out donations to just sending cards. I asked about 50 people for help. Three have offered to do so.

When dh was deployed the last time and I recognized the signs of PTSD, I sent out a call asking friends to send him cards, letters, care packages--anything. A few offered to help, but no one did.

I volunteer for a healthcare organization. If you suspect that it may be the same organization for which you volunteer, than chances are yes, it is. I have degrees and certifications in the field, but I work without pay (and often at a cost to me) because I think I can do more good that way right now. Yet when I ask the regulars for their input, they don't respond. When I try to provide for the larger community, the very people I help steal. When I spend an hour on the phone answering extensive questions at length, the information I provided is ignored. Why do I bother?

I'm no longer as willing to put myself out there as I once was. I try to keep a balance between living for myself, my family and my community (whether that's the physical community, the spiritual community, or simply the community comprised by the entire human race). Yet I still find my heart being torn out and stomped all over because people are simply not willing to help. They are, however, willing to let people around them suffer.

I must admit that I haven't done nearly as much as I could lately. That is, in part, because I've been so focused on my own family and recent events therein. I don't believe anyone should give of themselves to the point where they become the one suffering. I do, however, think we can all do something.

I completely understand that some folks have difficult things to survive right now. I understand that completely. By all means, focus on yourself and your family. Although, being annoyed that you have to run to 5 or 6 different stores in order to find a copy of Rock Band as an Xmas gift does NOT fit the definition of "Trauma."

We need to get off our butts and DO SOMETHING!!!

Come on, folks, look at that. You made me bust out the excessive punctuation. Come on, no one likes the excessive punctuation (or ever suspects the Spanish Inquisition). And look at that, you've made me use uppercase. DO NOT MAKE ME USE UPPERCASE! And will you feast your eyes on this? Now I'm over-using italics. Ladies and gentlemen, you can prevent this. If you don't want to be bothered helping those around you, then at least do some form of tzedakah so as to prevent my flagrant grammatical abuse.

I will say that those friends who are doing something truly leave me inspired. One friend who is a fairly recently single mother of 3 little girls immediately went out and bought things to donate to that family who lost everything (she's one of the 3 who responded). Another friend, who has had all sorts of chaos in her life is looking into getting a computer donated for that family. Yet another friend who is currently going through a very difficult and life-changing time, went out actively seeking creative endeavors that benefit others because she wants to try to do something for someone else. I am so grateful to have people like these in my life. I'm so grateful people like this exist. They are the reason I have yet to completely abandon humanity entirely.

Homeschooling: Conversations From The Future

I know I'm late, but I just came across this link.

Conversations From The Future

I like it. So I'm sharing with you fine folks.

I realize some may sense a judgmental tone towards those who don't homeschool. Let me assure you that I don't feel that way.

I'm always happy to provide your laugh for the day

or at least to scour the internet in an effort to provide you with a laugh.

Don't Make Me Come Down There and Rescue You
Police helicopter hovering with spotlight on suspect, over loudspeaker: Stop running. You can't get away. Just give yourself up. Stop running... No, don't go in the water. You won't make it across. No, don't-- Yeah, it's fucking cold, isn't it, dumbass? Just get out of the water!

American River Parkway
Sacramento, California

Overheard by: Ree

via Overheard Everywhere, Dec 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yeah, I know, but I've just gotta sing along.

I know it's probably oh so wrong, but I just love this song. I'm gonna just keep hitting repeat to hear this over and over again.

Credit/blame must be given to Robyn over at Shutterblog.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen Version 3.0

Thirteen Things I Could Go For Right Now

1.... Cookie Dough. Thanks to Robin's latest TT featuring cookies, I have cookie goodness in my house. She shares my opinion that they're far better raw and that chocolate chip is by far the best flavor. So today, while food shopping, I grabbed a batch of cookie dough just so that I could eat it raw in her honor. As soon as I finish this entry, I'm devouring it.

2.....Starbucks, but that's not just a current longing. That's all the time

3.....Rum and coke. See #2

4.....Cute kid shoes. I'm hopelessly addicted to shoes (Did that inspire anyone else to start humming a song from Greece or am I alone here?). I am not, however, a big fan of the prices on some of those oh so fabulously adorable children's shoes. And so, I'm left to oogle from afar.

5.....Gift cards for stores that I love, but where I never spend money (see #4).

6.....Sleep. I haven't been getting nearly enough of it lately and that's kicking my butt.

7.....A week long vacation for me and some friends. A few of my friends are going through difficult times right now. I would love nothing more than to whisk them off to some WARM exotic location where we could lounge around on a HOT beach sipping drinks and being our usual odd selves and laughing until we spit our drinks out our noses.

8....Cute hair. I got mine chopped a few weeks ago, but it turned out more middle-age and far less artsy than I was hoping. I'm dying to get it fixed.

9.....A chainsaw. We don't currently own one, but we need one to clean up all the tree limbs strewn across the mess that was once our back yard after that oh so lovely storm.

10.....My own personal post office. I have late Chanukah and early Xmas gifts that must go out to family and friends. I do NOT however, enjoy the idea of standing in long lines while precariously balancing boxes and trying to herd all of the wee ones who will undoubtedly wander in front of someone carrying a huge box and the kids will therefore either be trampled or will cause said person to stumble and fall possibly breaking a bone or two. You only think I'm exaggerating. It would be so lovely to saunter into my own private post office where I was the only customer and where they would fall all over themselves to help me in any way they could. And they would never ever lose packages. They would also be open 24 hours 7 days a week and would never ever close for any reason.

11.....Starbucks. I'm not being redundant. One can never have too many Peppermint Mocha Frappacinos.

12.....Several extra hours in the day.

13.....A self-cleaning house and self-cooking oven/stove. Then again, if I had those, #12 would probably be irrelevant.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quotation Wednesday

YES! I finally remembered to post this on an actual Wednesday. I'm probably far more proud of myself than I should be.

It's becoming tradition for me to initiate these posts by quoting Overheard Everywhere. Often, I rebel against tradition. Today, however, that is not the case.

Spring Break in South Beach, for Instance
Man #1: What's that bruise on your forehead from?
Man #2: Watch out for someone in diapers carrying a mallet.
Man #1: I've found that to be sage advice in multiple situations...

Wausau, Wisconsin

via Overheard Everywhere, Dec 12, 2007

And today, we'll focus on song lyrics for no reason other than the fact that I'm currently singing along with Tori Amos.

"Does G-d read the liner notes? Does G-d watch the award shows? Or is everybody just wasting their breath on energy that is better spent?"--Some Girls, Rock or Pop

"And we'll blow away forever soon
And go on to different lands
And please do not ever look for me
But with me you will stay
And you will hear yourself in song
Blowing by one day"--Suzanne Vega, Gypsy (my favorite song of all time)

"Can't forget the things you never said."-Tori Amos, Blood Roses

"No one's picking up the phone.
Guess it's clear,
he's gone....
Sometimes I breathe you in

and I know you know.
And sometimes you take a swim.
Found your writing on my wall
If my heart's soaking wet
Boy your boots can leave a mess!"-Tori Amos, Hey Jupiter

This one always makes me think of dh and deployments. Think about it--the opening portion about him being gone, the breathing him in and especially the portion about boots.

And while I'm on the topic of songs that remind me of deployments:

"How swiftly we choose it,
the sacred simplicity
of you at my side." -Vienna Teng Eric's Song
That one's a truly gorgeous song. It's one of my favorites. I found a good deal of solace in it during dh's last deployment.

Irim recently posted about music with meaning. She got me thinking. 10,000 Maniacs is one of my very favorite bands (the traditional line-up). Their lyrics were so full of a wide range of harsh commentary set to such hypnotizing music and Natalie Merchant's gorgeous voice. Neither Natalie nor the Maniacs ever created anything individually that was nearly as stunning as what they created together. And let me tell you, their music is endlessly useful in high school. While my friends were trying to memorize the order of living things, I simply had to remember that Natalie switched class and order in her song about the poor Katrina and her struggles with multiple personality disorder.

There are lots of songs that drip with social/political commentary, but I'll quote one of my favorites. This is far from a condemnation of nuclear war, but it's a gorgeous song and one that always reminds me of the hope chest my grandmother left behind. In light of my recent loss, it makes me think of my cousin as well.

"A thought mistaken
for a memory
Clear the dust from
smiles in boxes.
Pass a patterned wall.
Recall their voices." -10,000 Maniacs, Tension Makes a Tangle

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Photographic evidence

from the ice storm. Visually, I'm fascinated by both fire and ice. So even though we were without power, I was still out there snapping pictures in the storm. While I forgot to charge the cell phone battery, I made certain the camera battery was charged before the storm. You've got to have priorities.

There are more than just those 5. Click to see the rest.

In response to my thought-provoking question,

no, I apparently canNOT has powur.

I called it. We were without power all day yesterday. Oh what fun! After a few hours, our phones went down too. Joy!

Of course I hadn't charged my cell phone, so we were trying to conserve our phones as much as possible. Sure, my people experienced a miracle 2000-some-odd years ago in regards to things being powered longer than we expected, but I was not counting on that happening again. If G-d has a miracle up His sleeve, I'm gonna hope it'll be saved for a much more dire situation.

We had candles, flashlights, and batteries for the radio. While listening to said radio, they announced it would be 7-10 days before power could be restored in our area.

After we picked our jaws up off the floor, we got ready to head for a hotel. Dh took the 40 minutes to try to clean off the car (it was a solid sheet of ice). I packed a bag (which is really a large suitcase when you have 3 kids) and relied on the lousy flashlight (the kids managed to lose the good one) to scan the phone book in search of some kennel which was open late and didn't require reservations (in other words, an imaginary one) in which to leave the dog. Then the power suddenly and miraculously came back on. I'm sure what was sudden and miraculous in my interpretation was hours of arduous toil for the fine folks at the power company. I can haz lyts? I can haz powur? I can haz heet? Oh happy day! We were ecstatic.

Our phone and cable came back on this afternoon.

Heat, electricity, internet connection, phones, those are LOVELY Chanukah gifts.

You'll notice that's a solid sheet of ice.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ice ice, baby, too cold. Too cold!

Greetings from storm central. We have a handful of trees which apparently contain an infinite number of branches that enjoy crashing to the ground when coated in ice. As if that wasn't unfortunate enough, said branches have a number of happy wires frolicking beneath them. These wires are solely responsible for furnishing this home with all the yummy goodness that comes from electricity.

And so, if I'm silent for a while, it's probably because I'm busy cursing at fallen branches while trying to avoid the sparks emanating from the fallen life (or at least power)-givers.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Best Chanukah gift ever

Yesterday, I rushed home from a playdate with a friend just before sunset. I considered stopping for Starbucks, but had pretty much decided not to. Then I realized that I could slap one of our shiny blue bows on it and call it a Chanukah gift for dh (who has been a great sport about only receiving one gift this year). Then I had the thought, "Watch us both stop for Starbucks."

I considered not stopping, but figured that if I didn't, then dh wouldn't either and we wouldn't be able to enjoy the yummy goodness that is Starbucks. So I stopped and got my favorite and dh's favorite. When I hurried home, dh was not yet there. And so, his coffee was bow-toped and waiting for him on the dining room table.

Sure enough, he walks in a few minutes later carrying 2 cups of Starbucks--the exact same drinks that I got. And sure enough, he said he almost didn't stop.

He seemed mildly annoyed, but I thought it was cool as hell.

The coffee was pretty cool, but the real gift was being that in tune with each other again after everything we've dealt with in the past few years.

"Waiting for the world to change" from the deaf perspective

I LOVE this video.

While my children are hearing, I've mentioned that they have an affinity for Leah Coleman who is deaf. My kids know some ASL and they adore the Signing Time DVDs (They got the latest set yesterday for Chanukah and are thrilled by this fact. TheBoy even grinned, signed "Sign" and said, "Time," when he saw them). They've never met Leah IRL, but they insist she is their friend (her little sister Lucy too). My girls have explained to me that they're learning ASL so that they can talk to Leah.

Years and years ago, I damn near worshiped Linda from Sesame Street. I don't know why, but she and her language just fascinated me. When I was a kid, my mother got her hair done every week with Linda's mother and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world.

Language has always fascinated me. Notice one of the quotations I featured in my last Thursday Thirteen:

  • "Only where there is language is there world."-Adrienne Rich

I'm also compelled by injustice. When I watched this video, I was just horrified by some of the quotations in there regarding those who are deaf. It's just disgusting. At the same time, I'm thrilled by watching the folks in this video perform. That little girl especially just makes me smile.

Go watch this video. It's eye-opening and very neat.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Quotations

AHHHHHHHHH, I missed Wednesday AGAIN. I'm sorry.

To make that up to you, I'm going to give you not just a few quotations, but thirteen of them. I'll combine my love of quotations with the Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen Quotations

1…. Gonna Show Your Work?
Professor: So, what is the meatiest calculator out there?
Student: TI-89!
Professor: So, what can the TI-89 do?
Student: Calculus!
Professor: Holy shit! Integral calculus! I didn't know they could do that these days. Well, I'm gonna clutch my genitals and go hide in the corner!
via Overheard Everywhere, Dec 6, 2007

2........"A best friend is someone who doesn't look at you as if you're crazy when you say something like, 'Let's steal John Wayne's cement footprints from in front of Grauman's Theatre.'" -Madelyn Pugh Davis Lucy and Ethel Behind the Scenes

3.........My breasts have become symbols of power and instruments of pleasure and pain. So this whole nourish-the-next-generation thing should be a breeze. I suspect the only reasons breasts haven't gotten around to ending global violence is that they haven't had time yet." -Stephanie Dolgoff Breast Friends

4......."My mother said I drove her crazy. I did not drive my mother crazy. I flew her there. It was faster." -Robin Tyler

5....."If we look long enough and hard enough...we will begin to see the connections that bind us together, and when we recognize those connections, we will begin to change the world." -Muriel Rykeyser

6....."I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and think, 'Well, that's not going to happen'."--Rita Rudner

7...."Only where there is language is there world."-Adrienne Rich

8...."I think it's time for a real woman who has led a real life to re-design Barbie. Let's start with her nose. I think a bump where her brother hit her with a baseball bat while she was sleeping is a nice touch. Breasts. How about the kind that face east and west, wanting nothing to do with each other? Her hips could start out at a normal size and then quietly expand over the years while she remained powerless to do anything about it. I want little girls to grow up thinking, 'Why should I go to the gym? My body may not be perfect, but it's better than Barbies.' Are you listening, Mattel?"

9......I'm nine years behind in my ironing. I bury a lot in the back yard." -Phyllis Diller

10..."You can't chase away guilt with a political slogan." -Anne Roiphe, Fruitful

11...."If men ever discovered how tough women actually are, they would be scared to death." -Edna Ferber A Kind of Magic

12...."If home is his castle, let him clean it!"-Seen on a NOW button

13...."No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself."--Rabbi Moses Sofer

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

False advertising

What in the world are the folks at Back to Basics Toys thinking?

They labeled this costume as "Country Girl." WHAT?

This beautiful Costume Dress will transform your child to a whole new world as she plays as a Country Girl working on the farm with her favorite dolls and animals.

Only if her country is Stawberryland and her animals include a cat named Custard, Marza Panda, Parfait Parrot and Eclair the Poodle.

Why are earth are they trying to hide the fact that that is Strawberry Shortcake? I had that costume. I wore it 2 years in a row. I had more Strawberry Shortcake toys than any three kids could need. My worst recurring nightmare was the the Pecular Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak (yes, I did just sing that as I typed) was going to appear at my bedroom window to take me away (yes, seriously).

Why, oh why are they denying Ms. Shortcake the proper fame which is her due? Just because we didn't like what we wore during the 70s doesn't mean we get to pretend they never existed.

FTR, 2007 marked Strawberry Shortcake's 30th birthday. And how do we celebrate the event? By denying her existence. Pardon me while I growl at those toy folks.

On recalls

While at the store, my girls saw the Hannah Montana dolls. Girl1 announced, "She's made out of plastic so she's probably going to be recalled."

The clerk and I both laughed, but the kid's not too far off.

At least someone is paying attention even though not everyone is.

2:07pm UPDATE: Since I posted this, my niece sent me a link to Healthy Toys. While looking around, I found this: Hannah Montanah Product Rating.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Nothing says, "Happy Chanukah" quite like ham.

As seen at Jewschool. Go have a look.

This calls for another visit from Joo cat:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

One of those mortifying, but oh so funny parenting moments

Today, we hit the mall in search of a Chanukah gift for dh. Yes, tonight is the first night, but I had yet to get/make him a single gift.

While in Hot Topic, Girl1 pointed at something behind me and announced, "Daddy has that."

The sales girl snickered.

I asked, "What does daddy have?"

I turned around to see handcuffs.

Then we left...quickly.

"Have fun storming the castle."

One sign of a truly wonderful person is the ability to quote the Princess Bride.

The other day, my girls asked permission to do something. I said, "Sure. Go ahead. Have fun storming the castle." They looked confused and asked me what that meant. I explained that it's a line from a movie.

The next day, I recounted that conversation to a friend who then proceeded to quote the entire scene from which that line was taken.

I love the Princess Bride. I love my friends. If you are a friend who can quote the Princess Bride, well then, you can just rock on with your bad-ass self. :)

FTR, back in high school, one of my best friends and I would often find ourselves randomly announcing, "Mawage" during pauses in conversation. One would start and the other would continue (head looks left, right, center), "Mawage iz wut bwings us togeder today."

Some teenagers smoke crack. Some develop alcoholic tendencies at an early age. Some take an affinity to weapons. My friends and I randomly quoted the Princess Bride.

Monday, December 03, 2007

aka: What does writing on your butt have to do with the Macabees?

Why do I bother? Please explain my family to me. No, really, PLEASE explain them. I'm begging you.

If you read my blog at all, you know we're rebelling this year against excess, against contaminated toys and against a mutiny conducted entirely by crappy plastic toys. I'm making most of the kids' gifts. Some of my children have oral issues (which is a nice way to say that the kid chews on EVERYTHING). So this plethora of lead paint recalls has me more than a tad bit frightened.

When the family asked me for a wish list for the children, I spent days talking to them and doing research. I then spent hours putting together a list for the family. I went so far as to package it all together in one neat little wish list which actually removes the items as they are purchased (a lovely feature if you don't want to repeat the fiasco that occurs when one receives doubles of three different toys). I e-mailed the family three times--initially with a self-compiled wish list and then with the new fancy version. In every e-mail, I explained two things:

  • #1. Please do not feel obligated to buy our children anything. Money does not equal love (note to my mother). We don't expect gifts from anyone. We only sent the wish list as a courtesy for those who requested suggestions.
  • #2. Due to the current recalls (Damn you, Mr. Kelly, my sophomore English teacher. I used the phrase, "Due to" to initiate a sentence and there's nothing you can do about it), we are very concerned about toys available in most retail stores. Please, if you buy something for the kids, please refrain from buying plastic toys.

I created the list specifically because my MIL asked me to (although other people had the same request later). I made the simple request that people not buy plastic toys. On the wish list, I included options that varied both in price and in function.

What did we get from my MIL today? A box chock full o'gifts. Said box contained nothing at all from the wish list. It did, however, contain lots of plastic toys.

I don't know if you'd consider me a good mom or an evil one, but I hid myself away from the kids, unwrapped all the gifts, and took away some of them. Some are going to be exchanged. Some are being donated.

And just FTR, I do NOT allow my children to wear clothing with anything written across the rear. This includes the otherwise absolutely adorable pants my MIL included with the shipment. I am far too skeeved by the idea of someone not only looking at my daughters' behinds, but doing so with the intensity required to read it. In addition, as I have mentioned previously, we're traditional Jews and while we personally don't subscribe to the long skirts/long sleeves fashion, we do prefer modesty. Dressing them in something which encourages staring at a child's behind is far from modest, IMHO.

GAH! I'm frustrated. Although, then I feel badly about that. I'm not ungrateful. I truly do appreciate the fact that they sent anything at all. They're family and I love them. I don't, however, love having to hide away the plastic crap that will most likely kill them in their sleep.

Oh and on a related note, does anyone out there think white corduroy pants are appropriate for younger children? Modesty has nothing to do with this. Laundry, however, does. Dh and my reactions when we saw them was, "Oh hell no. Those won't last a day before they're stained beyond repair."

I iz jus a Joo, a lonelee joo at kissmass...

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Forget Overheard Everywhere

How about I create a blog entitled, "Strange Conversations in Which I Have Taken Part In the Continental U.S.?"

Here's a snip it of a conversation I had with Girl1 today.

Girl1: But that's not modest clothes. They don't have any pants.
Me: It's okay. Peppers don't have private parts.