Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is really what I think about when I'm falling asleep.

Why do the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wear masks?

Think about it.  

Most ninjas wear masks so that they won't be recognized.  The TMNT masks do absolutely nothing to hide their identity.  It's not like you see them walking down the street and think "Huh, look at the Teenage Mutant Turtle.  It's clear he's not a secret ninja because he's not wearing a mask."

It's also not as if they need masks to show that they are ninjas.  They carry nunchucks and katanas for goodness sake.
When I asked Batman, he mentioned that they are never without their masks, which brings up more disturbing questions.  Do they have a Phantom of the Opera thing going on under it?  Are they horribly grotesque under their cheerfully colored stripe of fabric?

And if you say that they have masks so that we can tell them apart, that is racist, my friend.  Racist against anthropomorphic turtles and you don't want to be that way.  How dare you insinuate that all turtles look the same?

I fully admit that my mind works in strange ways.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chapter 27: In Which I Almost Commit Fraud and Become Famous

When I saw that the St. Louis Post Dispatch was having a contest to find a new daddy columnist, my thought process went like this:

1)  Awwwww I wish I could enter.
2)  Maybe Batman could enter!  He's pretty creative.
3)  Batman can't enter.  He's in the midst of law school finals and there is no way he'd feel up to writing it.
4)  Maybe I'll ghost write for him!
write write write write write write
5)  Awwwwww crap. I can't enter this.  Batman is going to be a lawyer and he could be disbarred for this sort of thing.   grumble grumble responsibility grumble being a grown-up grumble grumble

Would you like to read my columns written in the persona of my husband?  Sure you do.  I actually used a lot of his own commentary and ideas to create them.  I wrote three columns but the third one was kind of lame so I'm ripping it up and eating it to destroy all the evidence of its existence.

The Exorcism of Mo-mo Grace

                There comes a point in every man’s life where he becomes convinced that his daughter is possessed.
                For me, the first time was when my daughter, Mo-Mo, was six weeks old.  She took her normal bottle of milk and kept fussing as if she were still hungry.  As she was finishing her second bottle, she burped and transformed from my sweet, sleepy baby into a projectile-puking banshee.  I think her head must have spun completely around.  She managed to shoot milk in a 3-foot radius around her.
                It was epic, as in steam-clean-the-carpet-afterwards epic.  It was also over quickly, leaving only the memory and the faint smell of old milk. 
We are currently battling the Teething Demon.  If it were up to me, she would go through life with the four teeth she already has.  My easygoing little girl has turned into a fussy drool-monster.  We combat this phase with teething rings, baby Tylenol, and wet washcloths—we have not yet had to call in an old priest and a young priest.   
As I look ahead, I know that there will be times when I no longer recognize my baby girl.  When she hits her terrible twos and learns to word “no.”  When she no longer thinks that balancing things on my head is the height of humor (trust me, this bit is wildly popular with the six months through two years old demographic).  When she fearlessly walks away from me and into the classroom for the first time.
I don’t even want to think about the dreaded Puberty Demon.  During the entire period from age thirteen to eighteen, somehow I will transform into the meanest and least cool person in the world.  There will be fights about curfew, clothing, make-up, and dare I say?  Fights about boys.  I get a headache by just typing the words.
Tylenol and toys are no match against this formidable beastie called Puberty.  There is no known cure for this affliction except for time—and even then, they can never become a little girl again.
In comparison, this Teething Demon doesn’t sound half bad.

Sharp Edges

                It’s amazing how fast your world can change.  Yesterday our house was cozy, comfortable and inviting.  Today it’s a death trap, filled with sharp edges, choking hazards, and dangerously unstable furniture.
                What has changed since yesterday?  My daughter has begun to walk.
                I suppose “walk” is a bit of an exaggeration.  She pulled herself up to standing position.  But I can already see the determined look in her eyes as she reaches forward for things just out of her reach:  the remote control, a can of soda. 
                It doesn’t help that my wife reads all of the newspaper articles about freak accidents.  She’s normally a level-headed person but this whole mommy thing brings out a streak of paranoia.  I admit it, I’m effected too:  I’d like nothing more than to wrap either my daughter or our entire house in bubble wrap.
For example, take the rocking chair and ottoman that we purchased before Mo-mo was born.  Before, it was where we rocked her to sleep, read her stories, sang her lullabies, and calmed her when she was crying.  Now it’s a gliding smasher of tiny fingers, an unstable surface to make her fall. 
We’ve done minimal child-proofing so far, instead choosing create a baby-friendly zone in the middle of our living room.  Of course, Mo-mo would much rather play with the rocking chair, pull on my X-box cables, play drums on the trashcan, and generally touch with every single thing in our house that is either dangerous or unsanitary.  I follow her around in the perpetual state of heart failure, telling her “no” and redirecting her to less scary but less interesting objects.
Standing up by herself is a small step in her development.  It will lead to more small steps, then big steps, then running.  And as much as I wish I could, I can’t cushion the entire world for her.  I won’t be there to catch her every time she falls.
Today, holding onto the coffee table.  Tomorrow, she’ll conquer the world.  Somehow we’ll both survive.


Friday, April 23, 2010

I know.

My new layout totally looks like a Vera Bradley bag. 

You know, one of those paisley cloth bags that you see at the Hallmark store.  The ones that are cute but kind of grandmotherly and overpriced.


One of these days I'm going to figure out how to make my own background.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm like a 15 year old girl when it comes to music.  I get obsessed with one song/album/artist and I play them on repeat, over and over and over and over again.  Hey, stop judging me.  It could be worse.  At least I've outgrown angsty poetry and writing boys' initials over and over again.

I'm kind of surprised that my listening habits haven't made Batman stab me with a fork in an attempt to get something new playing on iTunes.  Although my iPod recently stopped working.  Maybe he arranged for it to have an "accident" with a full cup of water and a chainsaw.  (If he were sabotaging my electronic devices, I'd like to think he wouldn't do a half-assed job of it.)

Anyway, I've decided to share my obsessive love of these songs with the world in a feeble attempt to move on.

note:  Samson is the only video with an actual video, the rest are just the music.

1.  The acoustic version of Fine by Alkaline Trio, from the album This Addiction.

Why I love this:  I've loved Alkaline Trio since high school.  I must have listened to the song Radio a couple hundred times.  I haven't been overly impressed with their more recent albums with the exception of "Remains", and I've always loved their acoustic stuff.  The lyrics of this song are amazing too.  "If I'm the captain of this boat then all my shipmates are fools/ and all the stars in the world couldn't help me steer my way out of this kiddie pool."

2.  The album The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists

Why I love this: It's an entire album that tells a unified story.  Think of it like a rock opera with different characters and scenes.  Pretty damn cool.  I love The Decemberists and I love this album.

3.  Johnny Horton

Why I love this:  My dad must have played his "Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits" tape EVERY SINGLE TIME WE WERE IN THE CAR.  The only other artist I remember listening to just as frequently is Marty Robbins.  I recently bought the album on iTunes and have been dancing around the living room with Mo-mo to it.  His songs are frequently about history/tell a story, and I'm just dorky enough to think that is awesome. 

4.  Do Better by Say Anything, from their self-titled album

Why I love this:  I'm actually a bit ashamed of this one.  I like Say Anything but I admit that they're not...."good" in the strict musical sense.  This song is goofy and poppy and catchy.  I think I have this song playing in the back of my mind whenever I think I'm being lazy about something and not trying hard enough.

5.  Samson by Regina Spektor 

Why I love this:  It's pretty.  And sad.  Some of the lyrics make me think of when I was in Australia.  One of my friends gave me this CD and I've enjoyed it, it's not my usual type of music. 

6.  Once More With Feeling from the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Why I love this:  Because it's geeky.  Because I've spent the last year watching every single episode of Buffy and Angel.  Because I'm obsessed with Joss Wheadon.  Because I like musicals.  Because I have a gargantuan crush on the character Spike.  Take your pick, these are all valid reasons. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gender and Social Construction, or, My Sociology Degree Allows Me To B.S. With The Best of Them

I'm a liberal person.  I have a degree in sociology--a science where you pretty much have to truly believe that gender and sexuality fall on a continuum rather than in simple categories.  Still, I was annoyed when I read this article.

A couple in Sweden is keeping their two-year old child's gender a secret from everyone.  They refer to the kid only as "Pop".  They're doing this because it's "cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead."

This is yet another example of a parent taking an idea and raising it to the power of crazy.

I dress my daughter in baby clothes from the Boy's section at times.  I see no reason that blue, puppies, and monsters should only be allowed on boy babies.  I don't freak out if people call her a boy, because she's just a baby.    She'll have toy cars and cranes, and if I have a baby boy he can play with baby dolls or tutus if he desires.  As she's growing up, I don't want people to only tell her she's pretty--she's also brilliant and funny and sweet and brave and strong.  No matter what she decides about her sexuality or even her gender, I'll always love her and support her. 

But do I think she's going be stunted and confused because people view her as a girl?  Um, no.

My issues/questions:

1) Why this extreme method?  It makes it seem more like a social experiment based on ideology.  The child does not live in a vacuum--he or she is going to hear about people wondering about his/her gender and going to wonder why it's such a big deal, and may result in feelings of shame and embarrassment.  I think that you can create a supportive environment for whatever preferences your child chooses without resorting to hiding gender completely.     

2) How long can this go on?  This is going to have to end before Pop goes to school.  I hope.

4) Are they reinforcing opposite gender expectations?  Are the parents going to be disappointed if Pop is a girl and loves pink dresses?  If he's a boy and loves trucks and sports?  I could totally see this kid disappointing his/her parents if he/she is a walking stereotype.  Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.

5) Gender pronouns.  I sure hope the Swedish language is better equipped to handle a genderless person because it makes me sad to think about a child being called a dehumanizing "it".

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Six Stages of Not Getting A Second Interview When You Thought You Would

Approximate time lapse-- one hour


WHAT!?!  I didn't get the second interview?  Why the hell not?  What did I do wrong?

I'm never going to get a job!!!  My family is going to end up living in a cardboard box.  I better start practicing tying a stick and bindle.  It's a good thing my daughter already knows the word "hobo" because she'll be hearing it a lot.



I have a freakin' 4.0 in grad school, volunteer and leadership experience out the wazoo, and worked two years in this exact field.  What more could they want, the ability to turn coal into diamonds with my fists?  Laying golden eggs? 


I bet I was over qualified.  They probably wanted people with only a bachelor's degree.  That lady interviewing me was scared that I would take her job in three years.  

 You know what I haven't had in forever?  Poptarts.

Stage five and six look very similar to the untrained eye.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Done and done.

4. Finish my master's research paper. 
All done.  "Single Parents on Campus: Designing Programs for Support" is turned into both the graduate school and the MPA office.  Nifty.

2. Raise more than $20,000 for the MS Walk in April 2010
We raised about $19,500 so I suppose it's close enough to count.  I had tons of family and friends come and support me and the cause. 

Top row: Lacy, Batman, Meat aka my brother, Father Bee.
Second row: me and Mo-mo, I was going to say Mrs. Meat but she deserves a nicer nickname than that so we'll just say my awesome sister-in-law, Batman's Momma, and Stepmom Bee.  

Notes about nicknames:
Sorry Lacy, you're the only one who doesn't get a secret blog identity.  I can give you one if you really want me to.  Ummm....your new name is Shortstuff.  So that's Shortstuff on the top left.  She's going to teach me how to knit and help me write up a will, so she will be featured in this blog again.
Meat aka my brother chose his own name in a drunken discussion with Batman two years ago.  Mrs. Meat needs a nicer nickname but I want to go watch Lost on Hulu, so I have a limited attention span. We'll just call her Dee.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just testing it out.

I've been considering adding ads to my blog.  I made a list to carefully weigh the pros and cons.  

PROS: I make money.  CONS:  Ads are annoying.  

CONCLUSION: Money wins.

I love  I do all of my Christmas shopping that way.  Blogger has recently made it so that you can sell your soul suggest useful products to your loyal readers through this wonderful site. 

Next post:  "Squirrel underpants:  Good idea or GREAT idea?"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I was going to write a "Meet the Animals: Part 4" for my cat Anoosh.

Instead, here is a cartoon I drew about her a couple of years ago.

It explains everything.

Why I Changed My Style

If you've actually been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that it has evolved from the stereotypical mommy-blog to one with a more humorous bent (with random list updates thrown in).


1) Mommy blogs are boring.
They give me a headache--all those side badges, random giveaways where you "earn" chances to win things through incredibly lazy marketing ploys, and entry after entry of photos that no one gives a crap about.

And even worse, I was starting to write like a boring mommy blogger. I still fall into it every once in a while--you can tell when I do it because I start putting exclamation points after everything. "Mo-mo almost crawled today! It was so cute! She is so sweet!" Blarf.

This blog
was my wake-up call to get off my ass and write something that people (not counting those related by blood) might actually enjoy reading.

2) I refuse to take myself that seriously.
Writing about an average day at the park and posting photos about it is boring even to me. Unless a rabid squirrel attacked my foot or I have a way to make it an interesting story, I can't believe that people really want to hear about it.

3) I'm a smartass.
But you probably already figured that out.

Although she is the sweetest and cutest baby in world. I don't even have to use exclamation points to get my point across, I just have to post this photo.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tall Tales

Based on her current height, the doctor estimates that Mo-mo will be 6'2" as an adult.

clothes added because if my daughter goes upon a rampage destroying a city, she won't be allowed to dress like a hussy.

That's my husband's height. I'm 5'6"--not a bad height, but just one inch above average. There's a wide range of heights in both of our families, but no one who is that tall.

I'm terrified of the day when my daughter hits puberty and becomes the inevitable surly, moody teenage girl. Her possible future height has given me yet another thing to worry about it.

I want her to be confident and love herself and her body. I don't want her to worry about stupid people who make stupid comments. I've come up with three plans of how to deal with this.

Plan A: Wrap her in bubble-wrap and home school her. Never let her leave the house.

I think this is a totally valid parenting option.

Plan B: Teach her sassy responses.

Q: "How's the weather up there?"
A: Cloudy with high probability of annoying.

Q: "You must play basketball!"
A: You must play miniature golf!

Q: "How did you get so tall?"
A: My mother and father hung me up for an hour every evening with weights attached to my ankle. They did it because they believe in the ten tenets of Zoobooblia, our Lord and Alien. The taller you are, the closer you are to Master Zoobooblia. Would you like a religious tract explaining about the starship coming of our Master?

Plan C: Accompany her everywhere and punch anyone who is mean.

I will take down those 7th grade bullies like nobody's business. I ain't scared.

I suppose Plan D is to be a good role model for self-confidence and loving one's own body. But I'm still rather partial to Plan B.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Taggie Toys again

Since I'm 99.9% sure that my cousin does not read my blog, I'm sharing the surprise that I made for her twin baby boys. They are taggie monsters:

I made my daughter a cat version of these. And here is the tutorial that inspired me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

10 Books I Read in March

I read. A lot.

Reading has never been something that I had to make time for--I usually read in the evening before I go to sleep and I usually have a book in my purse. I grew up sneaking novels behind my math text book. I've always been good in school because I read fast and remember what I read. I have seven large bookcases of novels alphabetized by author and one arranged by subject for nonfiction.

I'd go broke if not for libraries and my stepmom's reading habits (we read the same authors).

It takes me about three days to read a new book. If I really like it or if I've read it before, one day. If it takes me a week, I'm either incredibly busy or not really getting into the story.

Here's a quick round-up of ten books that I read in the month of March.

1) Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb writes fantasy novels with flawed main characters and intricate and rich historical/political/social background. They're not the typical "quest" style fantasy book with one dimensional characters or cookie-cutter settings. This is the first book of the Wild Rain Chronicles Trilogy but would best be read after the three Liveship Traders books--there's too many characters and too much background information mentioned for it to really stand alone. It's much more upbeat than her recent Soldier Son series. It follows the same pattern of multiple characters, multiple stories as the Liveship Trader series. Rather short for one of her books, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one. Basic plot: after making a deal with a dragon to help save the last batch of dragon eggs, humans must decide what to do with the stunted, deformed and dangerous baby dragons that resulted.

2) Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I like Jodi Picoult's books. Her characters are usually interesting, have an interesting "twist", and they almost always make me cry. This one was a disappointment. The main female teen character doesn't ring true. It's repetitive and just a rehash of high school stereotypes. You really don't find yourself rooting for anyone. I much preferred "My Sister's Keeper" or "The Tenth Circle". Basic plot: after a school shooting, all of the participants' stories are told flashback style and the line between victim and perpetrator blur.

3) The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

This book tries too hard to contain too much. A teacher's life wrecked by the Columbine school shooting, a druggie wife going to jail, a complex family secret--after a while it's not interesting anymore. It has too much going on to really do any one thing well. "She's Come Undone" and "I Know This Much is True" are much better. This isn't an awful book by any means, just not a fantastic one.

4) The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

This book is beautifully written but the pace dragged a bit. I love Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible", "Prodigal Summer"...wait, I love all of her books. But one of the things I like most is their strong female characters. This one was written from the point of view of a homosexual male Mexican-American author and it doesn't quite ring true. The historical details are fascinating--the character works for Kahlo, Rivera, and Leon Trotsky and it made me want to read a biography of Frida Kahlo. But when the character moves to the US and gets caught up in the anti-communist movement, the book just becomes rather boring. I like the repeated imagery of the lacuna and Kingsolver's prose is always beautiful, but if you've never read any of her books I'd pick a different one.

5) Sister Mine by Tawni O'Dell

This book could have been amazing. Instead, it was just pretty good. I love the offbeat and quirky characters but there are just a couple too many of them--she should have had a couple less and fleshed them out better. The romantic problems of the main character seems forced just for the point of having a resolvable conflict. The main character's sister returns home after everyone assumed she was dead, pursued by a housewife, a lawyer, and a Russian mobster.

6) Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Book 9 of the Rachel Morgan series. It's series about a witch who does demon magic and has a pixie and a vampire roommate--so it's definitely a guilty pleasure book. I enjoyed this one because the plot is actually moving along instead of just another string of people trying to kill Morgan and her barely getting out alive. Totally trashy but fun.

7) Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy

This is one of my stepmom's favorite books and I've had it sitting on my bookshelf for borrowed books for almost a year. It was fun--a fantasy novel set in the real world about a dragon in human form who resides at a hotel and a woman searching for her daughter. It was written in the 80's and I think the dated references to cutting edge computer technology are hilarious.

8) Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth

This is the only "reread" book I'm including on the list. This has no relation to the god-awful recent movie with the same name. It's a memoir written by two of the children of Frank and Lily Gilbreth--efficiency experts of the 1910's with twelve children. "Belles on their Toes" is the second memoir, written about how the family held up after the death of their father. Interesting, quick read and a fun bit of history.

9) Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

Harris also writes the Sookie Stackhouse series (which the TV show True Blood is based on). This is the fourth book in the Harper Connelly series. The main character can sense dead bodies and tell what they died from, and so works for private investors and the police when she can. I've been unimpressed with this series so far because Harper is spineless and her romantic involvement with her stepbrother gives me the heebie-jeebies, but this book is pretty good. The character shows a bit of backbone and the story is interesting.

10) Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton

Why do I keep reading Laurell K. Hamilton's books? They're awful. After I read this one, my review of it to Batman was, "I could write a better book with my butt." I adored the first six or so Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels. Set in St. Louis, Anita Blake was a gutsy zombie re-animator who was licensed to kill vampires. Now she's just a ho. Who has sex with anything and everything. The last ten novels have been all about sex and incredibly explicit but not even in an interesting sort of way.

Wow. I just reread this entry and it seems as if I hate everything I read. I will admit that March was kind of a downer in terms of books not living up to expectations--but there's always April. And May. And I love books enough that I'll never stop reading.