Sunday, October 31, 2010

tooth fairy for cats

when you become a parent, you find yourself having to do all kinds of gross things that involve another person's body. of course there's the diaper changing, but there's also ear cleaning, nail trimming, diaper rash cream application, sliver pulling, vomit wiping, booger picking... the list is practically endless & even though it's gross, we do it because we love our kids & it's not like they can do it themselves. helpless mites that they are, they need us to cleanse & pick them so that they'll look & smell better.

recently, i've found myself in this same roll all over again, but not with my child. it's with my baby kitty. i've had several cats since i've been an adult & i've cleaned up barf, scooped litter pans & clipped nails for years. no big deal. but this new baby is a long haired girl & that's a whole different story.

i didn't know that long haired cats have to get the fur between their paw pads trimmed so that you can get to the nails to clip them. that's a big job because girlfriend does NOT like me to be messing with her feet. i have to hold her down to do any of her grooming, which unfortunately includes cleaning her disgusting ears. i've never had a cat with ear issues, but this girl has them.

then there's the issue of her butt. did you know that you have to clip the hair off all around a cat's butt area? otherwise you get dingleberry dilemmas and that's pretty freakin gross. i have to hold her, butt up & trim her with kiddie safety scissors (they work better than any other pair in the house for cutting hair. go figure!) while she bites & claws at any part of me she can reach.

well tonight we came to a whole new kind of cat maintenance. we've known for a while now that nim's baby teeth were starting to fall out because we'll see spaces in her mouth. brooke loves to look at animals' teeth, so she's frequently digging into her mouth to have a look around and tonight we discovered that one of her little baby fangs (as can be seen in the picture here when they first came in) was very loose. brooke's been wanting to find a baby kitty tooth & save it for posterity & since we haven't discovered any yet & the new big teeth are almost all in, she thought this might be our last shot. she asked me to trap nim & pull that tooth out before it had the chance to get lost in the rug or digested with her food.

gulp. the things we do for our kids & pets. i got the cat flipped over & pinned in my armpit, pried her furry lips apart & yanked the baby tooth right out of her mouth.

it's now nestled down into the weird little tooth cemetery box with all of brooke's baby teeth. and i bet you can figure out the last question i heard as i tucked my girls in.......

"is the tooth fairy going to come tonight?"

for this face? yeah, probably.

Friday, October 29, 2010

no thanks, i'm good

today i got confirmation for a trip that i'll be making soon. brooke & i will be flying and it will be her first time on a plane.

all this thinking about flying has brought to mind my last trip by air...

it was 5 years ago and i was headed from nc to ny which isn't a very long flight direct, but i had to make some little hops along the way, so i actually flew on three different planes. on the third leg of the trip, i boarded alone and was greeted by an attractive male flight attendant. he told me that i was the only passenger on the hour long flight, so i could pick any seat i wanted. that seemed pretty odd, but it only added to my sense of adventure.

i chose to sit in the front seat. i strapped my belt on, pulled out my book & settled in. the friendly flight attendant sat down across the aisle from me & started making small talk. he told me about how he likes getting to meet lots of people & seeing all different parts of the u.s. he grew up in a religious family in a small town & then started flying directly out of college, traveling for the first time in his life.

i told him that i had a three year old daughter and was married to a pastor. i was getting a much needed break from life and looking forward to a few days of eating great food, smoking while not hiding behind a trash can & lots of girl talk.

we were having some fun, joking around; i kicked my sock foot up onto the wall in front of me in complete disregard for proper flight etiquette. i was feeling happy & relaxed and glad to be away. there was something about this trip that was helping me feel like i could take a deep breath & remember who i was again. sometimes as a mom, i can get so caught up in the everyday busyness and setting the right example for my kid that i forget pieces of myself along the way. i felt like those pieces of myself were reappearing. like they hadn't been lost, just buried under layers of my current version of life.

there was a companionable silence for a few minutes & i thought i'd read for the rest of the trip. then the flight attendant says to me,

"i have a lot of sex."

i stared blankly at him, pretty sure something must be misfiring in my head because people don't just randomly say stuff like that out loud.

"i had a serious girlfriend until i started flying, but once i got flying, i couldn't be loyal to her anymore. i had to have sex with a lot of different women. mostly strangers who i meet in the towns when i'm just there for a night or two."

maybe since i'd told me about my husband being a pastor (he's not anymore) he was feeling the need to confess his sins. to lighten the load in his heart by telling a kind stranger about his transgressions. should i ask him if he wants me to pray with him? tell him that God forgives anyone who comes to Him with an open heart? is my mouth hanging open? don't act shocked, act like you hear this kind of thing all the time. stay cool.

"i can get busy pretty much anywhere now. just drop trow and go at it."

ok, that doesn't sound like confession. that sounds like bragging. i should probably say something in response, but i haven't the foggiest idea what.... think, think, think.

"since we're the only ones here... do you want to?"

"do i ... want to... what?"

 this cannot be happening. i think i hear twilight zone music. where's the candid camera crew?

"do you want to have sex. here. now."

blank... think of something appropriate to say! don't just sit here with your foot on the wall clutching your paperback to your chest with your jaw drooping stupidly. didn't he just hear me say that i'm a married woman? that i'm a pastor's wife? dang, i'm fat these days & he wants a piece of this? wow, that's actually flattering. wait! NO, that's not flattering! he just told me he'll bang anything. he has no standards and, and, and, EEW!

"no thanks, i'm good."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

she's crafty

when i think about myself, i think that i'm very un-domestic. i'm not entirely sure why that is since, according to google, "domesticity = affection for the home and its material comforts." i certainly like being home & i enjoy being comfortable while i'm here. maybe it's just that i don't really like cooking. i do it because i have to and because i like eating, but i have no love for the process the way many folks do. i like living in a clean house, but as we've discussed before, i'm not good at keeping my own house clean. i clean houses for a living & when i get home, i've got no interest in bothering with any more of that cleaning foolishness. i'm good at it though, i think. that's why i make the big bucks.

all right then, i'm not much of a cook & i live in a dirty house, but i'm crafty when it comes to come other things. like, last year in the month before christmas (sometimes known as november) i built a dollhouse for brooke from a kit that came with 9,287 pieces. it was all plain wood in itty bitty little morsels of nothingness. i had no idea when i committed to tackling this project just how incredibly massive it was, but, i got it done & now it's gorgeous, right down to the wall paper & curtains in each room.

i also started making parts of costumes for brooke. most especially, ears. i think i've made 7 pairs so far & brooke wears at least one of them pretty much every single day. at first i was buying supplies to make these things, but then i discovered that it's even more fun to find crap around the house that i can cut up or dismantle & use that to make the costumes. like, i used the waist band of some old black sweats to make brooke a raccoon mask. and i used a ripped up old mouse costume that was dug out of my parents' attic to make some lovely white ears. bits of felt, old pieces of pants that i cut & hemmed, an old outgrown skirt that had a cute pattern, anything's fair game & nothing is sacred.

my latest fun crafty thing is making clothes for stuffed animals. i would love to make doll clothes, but since brooke loathes dolls & i don't often play with them myself anymore, i've had to settle for making clothes for the stuffies in the family. it makes me think back to my childhood & my love for dressing up my cats. and not of the stuffed variety either. nothing was more fun than holding my cat down while i aggressively dressed him in a pretty dress & tied a bonnet tightly around his neck. i was always pleased when he would escape & take off out the front door to streak about the neighborhood because i thought he was showing off his new duds around the 'hood.

here are a couple of my little clothing pieces i've made in the past couple weeks.

i'm kind of partial to making mini skirts right now, but once i get good at them my next task will be to cut up a flag to make a star spangled bikini,

or maybe a dog bustier

or perhaps some butt-out pants.

Monday, October 25, 2010

hello & welcome

today was pretty exciting for me because, for the first time, i got reviewed. tracy over at it's an average life wrote a little review of my blog & posted it to possibly direct some of her readers to my page. and she was so nice with the deliciously exaggerated things she said about my writing that i was all a-giggle for a bit this afternoon. each time since then that i've gotten a comment from a new reader it makes me all glowy & fresh again.

so for those of you who are new in my realm, here's a quick synopsis; i started writing this in january when things in my family life were at a really low point, but it quickly evolved into something that i use to cheer myself up. i have a wacky 8 yr old daughter who i can't resist writing about frequently & i'd forgotten how much i love being laughed at. i know, most people prefer to be laughed with, but i'm perfectly happy to show you my flaws & failings & let you laugh at them right alongside me.

i've put together a list of my favorite posts from the past 9 months, so if you've got a bit of time & you're interested, feel free to visit them. perhaps you'll be able to join me in laughing at myself & the funny things in life.

first we have the hair bonanza series that you can see linked on the right side of my blog.

how many ways can i expose myself (in a non-pornographic way)? oh, lots & lots of them as you can read in my self exposure trilogy.
exposing myself 1

self exposure, round 2

self exposure, the childhood years

then we have some of my favorite parenting tales.
the van potty

what to call THAT region

i give you permission

where do babies come from?

a few random things...
secretly i wish i could

i fed my kid my life

pms roller coaster

mother nature is a bitch

where did my sexy go?

art therapy   there's a second art therapy in the next post down if you'd care to see more of how we cheer ourselves up around here.

thanks to any of you who've come by for a visit. i hope to see you back here again soon! =)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

art therapy 2

today was one of "those" days. you know the kind - where you wake up & there are grumpy vibes coming from everywhere. the first thing i heard was the cats hissing & snarling at each other. i should rephrase that; the big one was hissing and snarling because the little one was bugging the crap out of her & needed her butt to be properly kicked. my kid was whining, my husband was huffing. i wanted to go back to sleep & try the other side of bed a bit later, but i was going to be responsible & productive & peel myself out from between my fabulous sheets, regardless of the day's beginning.

i tried to play peacemaker to all parties involved; i really gave it the old college try when i was out on the back deck putting out bird seed to feed our abundant wildlife. chris made a silly face through the window, so i dropped my pants & mooned him. nothing brings a spurt of shock & bewildered amusement to a group of people like a totally unexpected, pasty white butt flash.

it seemed as though we'd pulled our emotions up by the bootstraps, but after a few hours of school work, brooke & i were both over it. she'd been put onto yellow on her chart (green means good, yellow is not so good & red is bad. i know, so original) and still had to finish her book report. when it was done, she buried her face in my boobs & started shaking & saying that she just wanted to scream really loud for a long time. so i sent her up to take a shower & told her to scream it all out in there. our duplex neighbor wasn't home, thankfully, so it was the place in the house where it was least likely to annoy the snot out of me or result in cops showing up at our door.

when she came down later, she was wearing a red shirt & had made a little paper sign that she stuck to her stomach. i threw it away eventually, but then took a picture of it in the trash because it's kind of funny.

then she made a bigger sign to hang from herself to make sure it was loud & clear that she was feeling red. she frequently shows & expresses her feelings in colors rather than words & red or burgundy seem to be about the worst. well, black's pretty bad too, but that's a whole different place for her.

i told her it was time for another round of art therapy. time to go get her marker box & draw on the floor. when she's extra frustrated, there's nothing like coloring big, huge things to really purge out the crap that's on the inside so that she can go on with her day. there was some stomping, banging & snarking, but she soon got down to business. here comes the predictable giant head of anger. the angry eyebrows & the huge, toothy frown. she didn't have enough juice in her red markers (another source of pissiness) to fill the whole thing & she riduculed me for my suggestions of red polka dots because, duh, mom, polka dots are for cheerful times! she settled for drawing hearts & then scribbling them out to show her sadness & broken heart. she wrote, "I AM SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then she counted how many exclamation points there were so she could point out to me that there were 19 exclamations points worth of sadness displayed on the floor.

i told her that when i was a kid, i used to write all the bad words i knew on paper or in my diary and it kind of made me feel better. i encouraged her to try it because, 1, i thought it might help her. 2, it would be interesting to see what bad words she knows. and 3, it seemed to me that i might just have some bad words of my own that i'd like to write down after having such a draining day.

she resisted my peer pressure to write down bad stuff. she said it would make her feel too bad, so i got out a marker & started my own list.

it wasn't long before she joined in on the fun & was writing away. i told her that spelling didn't count when you're writing your mad words, so she could spell them any old way she wanted. you can clearly see that she did just that.

i love how she spelled onion & stupid & meany. and she asked me to write plaque & then she drew icky teeth. i tried to draw a tooth of my own on the left, but it ended up looking more like long-crotch tights, so i added feet.

she wrote down "o my god" and "damit" but then asked me to erase them immediately because it made her really nervous to even see those written down. she's so much better than me. she wrote down a couple of the stupid songs that i sing to her to help certain words stick in her head because she hates them since they get lodged in her brain & she can't get them out. (mwahaha! all part of my evil parenting scheme!)

we added another level of fun to our therapy by trying to read all our words backwards as we washed them off the floor. this tickled her little self all the way down into her funny bone. she wanted me to read them out & then filmed me washing & shouting them because it was probably the best part of the day & she's all about documenting her life on video. it's a horrible little video, but you can see how the therapy worked for her through her giggling.

she thought it would be fun to color on her face & i decided to join in on that portion of the fun as well. we started out with war paint (we've been studying sioux indians lately) and then it deteriorated to something involving angry eyebrows & a soul patch. it was very funny, either way & thankfully all washed off before bed.

and so ended another day in the riley household in which art therapy came, saw & conquered our pain.

Monday, October 18, 2010


i swear, when i clean the litter pan, my cats are like those obnoxious people who read popular blogs and scroll straight past the post just so they can type/scream "FIRST" in the comment section. these cats dive straight in, sometimes while i'm still scooping just so they can be the first one to crap in the clean box. can't i get even 2 minutes of cleanliness before they have to funk it up again?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

uh-oh. new hair style

i've noticed in the past couple years that i've been growing some really weird hairs in random locations on my scalp. i have a habit of running my fingertips along my scalp sometimes when i'm watching tv or reading a book & from time to time i'll discover these really thick, kinky almost crispy feeling hairs growing & i can't help but to pull them out so that i can examine them more closely. not only do they feel strange, they also don't hold color properly, so they've got an odd assortment of colors streaked across their lengths. i even pulled out another strand of my hair once to compare the two to confirm to myself that my hair really doesn't look like that. because, to be completely honest here, they look like giant pubes.

they're the length of the rest of my hair, but that's where the resemblance ends. i've probably pulled 7 or 8 of them out over the course of 2 years, but i'm starting to wonder if, over time, they'll replace my normal hair. i've noticed some thinning, but what if that's just nature's way of making room for the pubey hair that's on its way to replace them? if i keep pulling them out, will i end up bald? will i be one of those old ladies whose scalp shows pinkly through her little bits of hair that she's got teased up in an attempt to cover the bald? will i wear a clear rain hat to avoid any possible chance of my 18 hairs getting rained on & matted to my head, leaving the world to see that underneath it all, i really look like gollum?

i've decided to do some research about what i've got to look forward to, should this head of pubic hair be my fate. i want to know what my options are so i can be prepared.

you can see here that it's a bit wispy & thin, but i think i could get by. with some good styling products i could make it work, people.

here's an option that i could go for if i wanted to just keep it really short & easy to maintain. if you've read my hair chronicles, you know i'm not too scared to go this short, so this is looking like a pretty viable option. easy peezey, lemon squeezy.

if it grew in really thick & luxurious (as opposed to what it's been so far in my life) i could see this one as a good possibility. i'd have to dye it to get that nice chocolately color, but this girl (and by this girl, i mean me, not nick jonas) is not scared of a box of hair dye!

and lastly, i've found that one that somehow seems the most likely to be my fate. i mean, if i'm unlucky enough to have my head hair replaced by pubes, what are the chances that it'll be pretty? this is what i fear.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

hooters x 2

i was looking at my post from yesterday & noticing how often my boobs were mentioned. and then i decided to add "boobs" as a label on here since they seem to have a personality of their own & need to be mentioned regularly. that got me to thinking about some of my older posts & which of those needed the boob tag applied to them & that led me to one of my earliest posts, written in february of this year. it was my first favorite blog thing i wrote & since i think there were only about 4 people who read my stuff then, i've decided to repost it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

ya know, boobs are a part of most women that aren't spoken of often, at least not in public. and that's probably for the breast, i mean best, since men might get a bit too happy about that. but there's a seriously unsexy side to these things. i was reminded of that tonight when brooke asked me to tell her the story of the night she came home from the hospital.

well, that first night, chris & i were all psyched up to have a go at this thing called parenting all by ourselves, right off the bat. my mom, who lived nearby had offered very kindly to come stay that first week, but we thought, nah, chris has the week off from work, i'm no stranger to babies, we'll be fine! so we bring our sweet lil bundle of joy home from the hospital to much fanfare from the family members, but a while later they all vacated & there we were, just the three of us.

it seemed like it was going well until brooke decided to bite & chew my left nipple & scream loudly the whole time, every time i put her on that boob. she did okay on the right one, but that left one, boy, she was determined to mangle it every time she was presented with it. it was like there was a secret grudge she was holding for it. maybe it was the fact that it was three times the size of her itty bitty head. but then, no, the right one was too & that didn't seem to put her off. i don't know what her problem was(she apologized for that tonight, by the way, and said she doesn't remember why she didn't like it), but i found very quickly that me screaming or jerking violently around didn't help matters at all. just made her bite harder. who knew that those cute little pink gums could be turned into viscous weapons!
after a long night of a nasty cycle of screaming, falling asleep, pooping in her sleep & then being awakened by the diaper change that repeated itself 11 times that night, i was ready to put her outside & hope a stray dog would feel motherly toward her. maybe mama dog would have nipples she liked better since she clearly didn't appreciate mine! i almost called my mom around 3am, but then felt compassion toward her & was able to hold off that call til about 6. i think she was secretly laughing at me as i cried about my screaming, nipple biting, excessively pooping monster baby.

so yes, the hooters have in turn been something to be embarrassed about when they first showed up & then once i was married they became fun bags & once brooke was born they once again changed roles & became food bags. now, at the rate they're dropping they'll soon be reassigned a new role of saddle bags! they're also really good at catching food. i was at a baby shower yesterday & had some good laughs w/ a few other busty ladies about how exciting it is to get through a whole meal w/ no food landing on your rack! you almost want to do a little happy dance to celebrate. but only if you're wearing a sports bra ... or two. you wouldn't want a back injury or a black eye!

today i think i embarrassed chris in a restaurant when i dropped some ice cream onto my cleavage & it rolled straight down into the abyss where i had to then follow w/ a napkin for cleanup duty. i frequently find popcorn in my bra when i get home from seeing a movie, but i think the worst one was when i was taking communion in church & managed to drop the whole wafer straight down between the girls. at first i thought i'd just leave it there & fish it out later, but alas, it must have broken on its journey in because suddenly i felt the scratching & irritating from a nasty little broken edge & i knew it had to come out. for some reason it didn't occur to me to go into the bathroom to deal with this. looking back that seems pretty obvious, but at the time, all i could think was "should i go in from the top or the bottom?" i attempted a discreet dig from above, but by that point, it was too low down, so then i tried to slowly maneuver my hand up my shirt all the while singing along w/ the congregation & trying to keep a neutral face so i wouldn't give away that i was getting to second base with myself. i did finally manage to free myself from that scratchy lil morsel, but then what to do with it? i didn't want to eat it after it had been hanging with the meatbags, but they don't serve napkins w/ communion, so i settled for putting it into my pocket, only to be reminded of the incident when i found the remnants in the laundry a few days later.

so yes, boobs can be a beautiful thing, but for me, i think i'd trade them, or at least a portion of them, for something more useful to me. like a steak.

Friday, October 15, 2010

my boob is not an arm rest

sometimes i think about the stupid crap that my family & i say on a regular basis that seems perfectly normal to us. and once in a while we say it in front of other people who look at us oddly as if we've got some loose screws. to me it seems completely commonplace to call my 8 yr old over to me on a playground & tell her to stop barking & growling so ferociously at the small children because she's scaring them. i remind her to use her proper doggy manners that she learned at obedience school while she's in public.

there are quite a few admonitions that are spoken around here on a regular basis, such as -

"you can come over here, but you better not buffalo kick me again!"

"you just smashed my boob flat AGAIN! my boobs aren't the first step in your ladder!"

"my boob is not an arm rest." the following & inevitable retort, "my arm is not a boob rest."

"sorry, you can't wear your standing up ears out today. not your lying down ones either.... because you howl too much when you wear them!"

"get your freakin butt out of my face! great, now i've got hair stuck to my lipgloss!"

"leave her alone while she poops! hey, don't slap her when she's in the bathroom, it's just plain rude!"

"that suet is for the wildlife. stop eating it. and since when did you decide you like to eat bird seed?"
"get your pile of bowling pin/water bottles out of here!"

"get your bra out of the kitchen! do you want me to start dropping my underwear on the kitchen floor when i walk in the house?"

"you can not come in, i'm on the toilet! no, not even for a second! not even to show me something. go away!"

"why do you sneak in here to poop while i'm the shower?! you ruin my perfectly nice, clean relaxing spa-ish time by funking it up with your big dirty dump. there's a toilet downstairs, have some dignity for God's sake!"

"get away from my boobs. i don't care if you came out of my body & used me as a feed bag. the jugs don't belong to you."

what are some of the wacky things spouted routinely at your house?

it was time for a change

i've had the same bloggy background ever since i started doing this in january & was able to figure out how to put a cute template on my site. i liked it, but my eyes were ready for a change. so here we are with a new look. it's fun to play with the myriad options, so there's the possibility of even more changes coming our way.

what do you think?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


so i just found this website called wordle where you can put in your blog address & it looks at the current main page of your blog & creates a word collage showing all the words you use most often with the size of the words indicating their frequency.  let me share this little gem with you so that you can hopefully join me in my amusement.

if you click the picture, it'll enlarge so that you can get a better look at it, if you want.
i had no control over the placement of the words, just the font & colors, so i was pretty amused to see how some of the words were grouped together.

at the top left we have "come home." ok, that's kind of nice, rather like if you have word magnets on your fridge & someone wrote a lonely little note.

below that & a little to the right we've got "just one babies." hm... seems rather appropriate for my family.

and below that we find "husband" surrounded by "pigs" and "weasel." honey, this is not what i think of you, i promise!

randomly scattered throughout i found, "ask jesus", "knew years" "monster woman" and "dirty couple gross" "thought weasel"

on the top right i like to read my words in a backwards & roundabout order & then i get "mommy need space." so true, so true!

in the middle/right area i find that i have "mating little people." oh my! and right there on my blog!

and then there's the word "vaginas" which is conveniently surrounded by "good, old, black, mating, splashing, and finding."

it's the little things in life that entertain me.

seven seven seven

ok, i know this is slightly inapproriate, but i have to tell you guys something funny. remember that episode on friends where monica & rachel are teaching chandler about the 7 errogenous zones on a woman?
 (i tried to put the video on here, but youtube has it blocked, so you'll just have to click this link to watch the clip.)

well over the years, chris & i have, on occassion, spouted "7! 7! 7! 7!" this happens during everyday conversation, not something shouted from the bedroom, in case you guys were thinking dirty. we always giggle when we say it, so brooke has started saying it now too. she has no idea what the heck it means, but it makes me laugh to hear her randomly shout out "seven! seven! seven!"

someday, she'll learn what it means & then she'll either be embarrassed or mad to remember all the times she yelled it out around adults who knew, while she grinned in childishly, blissful ignorance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

hobos and wastards

i seem to have grown a serious case of the clumsies lately. i bang myself into things, knock stuff down & generally conduct myself like a blind woman. i was at a touristy snack bar last weekend & while trying to fill a drink for myself, i managed to spill water all over my hands & arms & then when i was attempting to correct that little issue, i sprayed pepsi all onto brooke's arms, the counter & the floor and most of my exposed skin. i was spinning in circles trying to figure out how to stop splashing fluids about & semi clean up after myself. i couldn't find any napkins and the bathroom was blockaded, so i just left & walked around the park like an icky little kid w/ sticky hands & dirty brown smudges on my arms.

i also managed to knock over a burning candle a few nights ago & in my panic to catch it in order to prevent a house fire i managed to spin it in midair, causing a couple inches of melted wax to fly around the room. on a good note, the flying wax put out the flame, but on a bad note, i've spent 3 hrs so far on my hands & knees, bonding with my floor, trying to get all the wax out of the carpet, off the tv & stack of dvds, toys, blankets & chair. and i still haven't been able to face the big gross mess that is the clothes i was wearing when wax-gate went down in my living room that fateful night. i'm thinking about just throwing them away.

around here there seem to be some little "monsters" that we like to joke about & place blame onto when things happen. like bob the hobo who lives in brooke's pillow & dances in her hair when she's sleeping, causing tangles & torment. he also has a girlfriend named bibby who lives in the hoods of all children's clothing. they do the cha-cha while whistling the chicken dance song & scattering knots everywhere they go.

there's also the knee weasel who only comes out to play during meals when we're all sitting around a table enjoying our life-giving sustenance. he's harmless, basically, & just tickles people's knees. we rather like the knee weasel.

we have foot pigs who only tickle feet & they mostly strike while people are sleeping or just about to fall asleep. these foot pigs are much less beloved by our family members than the knee weasel.

then there's a cheerio gremlin who scatters cheerios about the house, hither & yon, with no regard for the feelings of our feet. this tricky little fella has no pattern or predictability & is liable to traipse through any room of the house leaving droppings in his wake.

there's a monsle, (which is a cross between a monster & a weasel) who lives under our bed & occasionally under the couch. it likes to dive out & bite our feet when we walk past. it's a furry beast with pointy teeth & sharp claws which it applies liberally to any object that invades its domain.

and last, but not least, we have the "wastard", but that's more of a floating term that can apply to anyone or anything that seems vaguely sneaky & annoys us. (this is a tricky way of calling someone a bastard without being bad parents.) it's sort of like a cross between a weasel & a bastard (hmm, i seem to have a weasel theme going here...) and it usually is directed toward things like grocery carts that bang into our car or cats who try to escape the imprisonment of our home, maybe toys that get crunched under our feet in the dark or payroll people who "forget" to put bonuses into checks in a timely fashion.

now that i've gotten the clumsies, i think i need a new monster to blame it on. any suggestions?


sometimes, i really miss smoking. i smoked cigarettes on & off from the time i was 20 till i was 33. i quit lots of times, including when i was preg & nursing, of course, and i tried to never smoke around brooke because i didn't want her to remember me that way since i fully intended to quit while she was still little. it's been nearly 2 years now, but there are still some days when i'd like nothing better than to go sit on the front steps & light one up. i haven't yet found anything that can replace the feeling of being all stressed out & lighting one up & taking a big, long drag. somehow, bits & pieces started crumbling off around the edges of the stress brick that was sitting on me. by the time i'd spent 10 minutes outside with a smoke in hand, i'd feel lighter somehow & less tightly coiled. i know all the bad things about it & all the reasons why you shouldn't smoke. i agree with all of them, but i sure would like to find something that could do the job of that stress relieving cigarette. because i sure feel like i need it today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

how to not make friends

you know how sometimes you meet someone & you decide that you really want to be friends with them before you even know them at all? well, i had one of those experiences with a lady who lived on our street when we first moved in here.

we'd been living here for a couple months & it was summer, so naturally brooke & i were sitting in the driveway in the baby pool trying to not sweat to death. we don't have a usable yard due to hills & trees, so the only flat space for our pool parties is the driveway. i try to place the pool over the oil puddle so as to keep the child's feet from scampering through the oily sludge & therefor soiling the swimming water. but i digress.

so brooke & i were splashing around in 7 inches of water, when up the hill comes a woman & a little girl about brooke's age. they were coming over to introduce themselves & welcome us to the neighborhood. they were dressed nicely, clearly having just come from work in a place that had some dress code standards (unlike my job cleaning houses where i dress as gross as i want & no one notices or cares). i was sweating all in my greasy hair & probably had some bugs & dead grass stuck to myself in places i couldn't see (as in, anywhere below my boobs). i was wearing my tacky bathing suit that came from walmart & didn't hold up my monster fun bags because i wasn't anticipating socializing with anyone other than brooke, and i didn't want to dirty up a good one.

they introduced themselves & i crawled, dripping, out of the kiddie pool to try to reclaim some of my dignity. we discovered that our daughters are only about 3 weeks apart in age & they were also home on many of the days that we were, so we'd make perfect play date buddies. i really wanted to become friends with this woman. i wanted our daughters to be buddies because we didn't have anyone else in the neighborhood who we knew & it would be really convenient to have someone just one house down.

she told me that her husband had mentioned wanting to drop over & say hello ever since we'd moved in, but he thought that i'd be scared to have a big black man who i didn't know show up unannounced at the door. and because i'm always really classy & tactful & think quickly on my damp, dirty feet, i said, "that woulda been fine! i love black people!" she looked at me strangely, so i tried to fix it by saying, "before i met my husband, i dated LOTS of black guys." umm... that didn't seem to be fixing it. maybe actually it was making it worse.

awkward silence... and on that note, she left & walked back home.

we'd made arrangements to get together at their house a couple days later. i showed up at the designated time & they weren't even home. hmm... i probably should have taken a hint, but nope, not me. i called & we set up a time on another day. and they were home that time. we walked into the living room & there was a huge, very unique rug on the floor & i had a flashback to a duplex we'd gone into when we were looking for a place to rent a few years earlier. right then the husband walked into the room & introduced himself as chris - same name as my husband. and that's when it clicked and i realized that these were the people who had owned that duplex & were trying rent out the other side. i'd spoken to the husband at the time & he'd told me that he had a wife & a daughter the same age as my girlie. i'd thought then that it would be interesting to share a duplex w/ another couple where the men had matching names & the girls were the same age & that i could probably be friends w/ the wife.

i thought it was pretty cool that even though we'd passed on that duplex at the time, here we were living next door to them after all. it felt like destiny. i told my new friend later, after her big black husband was gone, the story of how i kind of  knew them & how we should be friends because of the destiny & all. i told her that i remembered their names because i'd carried her husband's name & number around in my purse for months after we'd met at their duplex years before.

whoopsie doodle - here comes that pesky awkward silence again....

we didn't become BFFs.

and the moral of the story is, if you meet someone & you want to be friends with them, don't look dirty & trashy & then give the impression that you have the hots for their husband.

the end

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

where do babies come from?

i imagine that every parent thinks about the time in their kid's life when they will have to have "the talk." when the kid will ask ever so innocently, "where do babies come from?" the parent hopes to push that conversation as far out into the future as possible to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain about the birds & the bees.

my mom explained things to me when i was 7 because she'd discovered that there were some rumors going around amongst my little group of friends & she figured it was better that i should know the truth of the matter than leave me believing that boys stick penises into girls belly buttons & then babies come out.

i remember being shocked & dismayed when she told me the real deal & i was very distressed when i heard her say nipple. and the word penis coming from my mom's mouth was almost more than i could bear. i was  mad at her for telling me, but at the same time, i felt wise & mature. and no amount of remonstrations from my mother could prevent me from sharing my newly acquired knowledge with several of my friends. i felt so smart & powerful because i knew a true & titillating secret that the rest of them didn't know and i'd gained my information from a reliable source - someone who'd clearly had the sex & had 2 children to prove it.

once i became a mom i figured that i would share the knowledge about how bodies work & the secrets they hold when brooke was old enough to ask the questions. i was prepared to be nonchalant and matter of fact about it. however, i wasn't prepared for my 3 yr old to accuse me of pooping my panties when she caught me in the act of changing a pad. we only had one bathroom & she was in the tub, so i needed to share the space & i thought i was safe by closing the curtain. i forgot that she had fully functioning fingers & knew how to rip that curtain back herself. i stammered & protested that i most certainly did not poop my panties, but she insisted; she said, "yes you did, mommy! i see dat poopy right in dere!" at that point, i sputtered out that it was blood, not poo.  um, this wasn't going in the nonchalant, matter of fact manner that i'd intended! i made myself shut up then & thought for a few seconds & then explained in as toddlery a way as possible what periods are & that every female has them once she hits puberty around the age of 12.

i thought i'd handled that acceptably & it would be a closed topic for a while. i thought wrong. a few days later, we were in walmart & i was foolishly letting her walk rather than ride in the cart. she was strolling along & hollered back over her shoulder, "mommy, how do babies get out of the mommy's beddies?" i thought i'd heard her wrong. nope. so i decided to be very clear. i leaned close to her ear & said "through the vagina." of course then she looked at me with her eyes wide open & a disbelieving look on her face as she yelled "NO! babies don't come fwum vaginas!" gulp. how did we end up having this conversation here? i just wanted to pick up some popcorn & cheese & get back home! why am i discussing vaginas with my 3 year old at walmart?! then she burst out laughing & yelled giddily, "not fwum vaginas! fwum Jesus!" all righty then. let's yell Jesus & forget all about vaginas for the remainder of our shopping excursion.

we watch a lot of animal planet and the main thing that animals all seem to have in common is that they're interested primarily in two things - finding food & finding booty. the camera folks don't zoom in for close ups when the lions, baboons or meerkats are mating, but they don't entirely gloss over it either, so brooke has seen some cutesy, flirtatious animal behavior followed by humping. many times. i've debated if i should turn the channel when such things come on, but it's a fact of life & she needs to learn about it sooner or later, so maybe that's as good a way as any.

one day we were watching a teeny bopper show on nickelodeon & there were 2 young adults being all coy & flirting with each other & my sweet little 6 year old looks over at me & says knowingly, "i know what they're doing. they're mating." wow. it was as if she could see into the mind of that 20 year old guy & see his wishes coming true!

last year she was watching animal videos on youtube & she said, "mom, come quick! you've got to see the cutest fox video ever!" as i approached the computer she followed that up with, "i found lots of videos of foxes mating! aren't they so cute!?!" that was the day that i decided to tell her what was actually happening physically when the mating occurred. i only applied it to animals, but she's a smart kid, so i'm sure by now she's figured out that it applies to people too. she's a very logical girl when it comes to such things & she's not squeamish like i was, so maybe there won't have to be a big, awkward discussion about the nitty gritty details of it down the road. maybe she'll ask for clarification on certain points later, but i don't think she'll be shocked or appalled or disgusted like most kids are.

would anybody else care to share their amusing/uncomfortable stories of how their kids came to know about the dirty little facts of life? or maybe how you learned the shocking truth!

Monday, October 4, 2010

renegade mole hair

you know what i hate? mole hair. you know what i'm talking about - the ugly little moles that so many of us have. we wish they weren't there, but well, there they are & there's not much we can really do about them. i didn't pay much attention to them most of my life until i was 17 & on a date with a new boy at taco bell (i know, we were so classy) and he said, "you got a hair like this long growing outta that mole on your neck." he held his fingers this _____________  far apart & i'm pretty sure my whole head turned purple in humiliation. there wasn't much i could do about it right there at the taco barn other than to clamp my hand over my neck to prevent him from further viewing of the offending hair.

he received no good night sugar that night. i couldn't even make eye contact because of my shame over my hairy neck mole & his rudeness in pointing it out. i ran to the nearest bathroom in the house, dug out my tools & started going over myself with a sharp tipped tweezer. first to go was the neck mole hair. once i spotted it & managed to rip it out (no easy feat at such a stupid angle) i held it up & gazed at it in shock & awe at the size of it. how had i never seen it before? i'm a picker by nature, so it was very distressing to me to have something that long attached to my neck without even being aware of it. it was like it hated me & was trying to grow long enough to strangle me when i was sleeping.

i then proceeded to pour over every inch of my skin looking for anything that needed to be plucked. i discovered that the best technique was to hold up various body parts in front of a dark colored towel & move them around very slowly in order to spot any naughty little sprigs growing out of moles or freckles. i'm covered in freckles, so this was a fairly time consuming undertaking. i found plenty of fodder for the fires of my new paranoia.

ever since then, i've been vigilant about checking myself thoroughly on a regular basis & i hope that i've maintained my mole hair in an acceptable fashion. i once spotted a 2 1/2 inch long whisker growing out of the skin on my neck, no where near any freckles or moles. i'm concerned that i'm turning into one of those icky old women who eat cat food & have long locks growing out of random body parts. this has added a whole new level of schizo for me because now i feel like i need to pull & pluck at my neck with my fingers often just to see if i find anything to grab.

i don't know if i'm the only one who suffers from these renegade body hairs, but i'd like to invite any of you to please feel free to point out any wacky hairs growing from any part of me that's not my scalp. i've even offered brooke money for spotting them.

and on that embarrassing note - good night.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

temple grandin

a few months ago i saw a preview for the movie "temple grandin." it's the true story of an autistic woman raised in the 50's & 60's who pushed through the struggles & hard stuff that goes along with autism & she accomplished great things in her life. i've heard rave reviews from some friends of mine who know that this topic is of interest to me & tonight i finally got to watch it myself.

i couldn't wait to get brooke to bed tonight so that i could make a bag of popcorn, grab some tissues & plop under my fluffy, red couch blankie and watch this movie about an amazing woman. i do love a movie based in truth.

i will be the first to admit that until the past few years, i've never understood autism at all. i'd heard of it & felt sorry for the parents of kids who had it. i could picture kids flapping their hands or rocking with their faces screwed up. i could only picture a severe disability in a child & nothing more. i never gave a thought to their lives as adults or what it must be like to be them.

about 3 years ago i met a lady at a park & brooke had a really good time playing with her son. he's close to her age & the mom told me that he's been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

a month or two later, i went to a neighborhood block party at a friends' house & brooke spent most of her time playing with a little boy who i was told at the end of the night has asperger's syndrome. i'd never heard of that before.

shortly after that i watched a season of america's next top model & there was a girl on there who, for some reason i couldn't figure out, kept reminding me of brooke. they looked nothing alike, and the girl was about 20 while my kid was 5, but i kept thinking that she was like a grown up brooke. at some point in the season, the girl told her roomates that she has asperger's syndrome.

i went to the school box store where loads of educational supplies & books are sold & there, sitting on a shelf where it didn't belong, was a huge book with the words "ASPERGER'S SYNDROME" in bold on the cover. i picked it up because it occurred to me that since it kept popping up, maybe i needed to learn something about it. i started flipping through it & came across a section that said something along the lines of, "if you're the parent of an aspie child, these are probably things you deal with regularly..." i stood there reading in that store while brooke played with a train set & started bawling my eyes out. it was all i could do to even continue standing up because i felt like someone was writing the story of my life. how could it be possible that my beautiful, perfect, articulate girl could be defective? surely she wasn't one of these sort-of autistic kids the book was talking about. she didn't flap or rock. she spoke clearly; better than clearly, actually!

i went home & started doing some online research. there were definitely some similarities between brooke & the aspie kids i was reading about. i felt confused & sad and... i don't even know what all i felt because my emotions were all swirling like a snow storm inside me. i cried a lot because i felt like if i came to the conclusion that brooke has asperger's syndrome, i was calling her broken. defective. and yet i couldn't stop reading. i started observing her even more closely over the next months & mentally tallying up all the ways that she could be aspie & all the ways that she couldn't. some days i was convinced that she had it & other days it seemed like sheer foolishness to even consider such a preposterous thing.

during the past couple years, i've gone through cycles where i dig myself into the topic full force & can hardly think of anything else. then i have to take a period of stepping away from it so that i can simply absorb & observe. i've learned that it looks different in girls than it does in boys. that might be why it's been only more recently that girls have started to be diagnosed regularly. i've learned that it can be hard to get a diagnosis because many pediatricians are extremely ignorant on the topic. i asked brooke's pediatrician about the topic at her 6 yr old check-up & he basically told me that there's no way she could have it because she's well spoken & isn't a math or science whiz. he said this after asking me no questions about her or her schooling at all & only spending about 5 minutes with her during her check-up. (this was the first time we'd seen this particular doctor) he clearly knew far less about the subject than i did & didn't care to spend the time pursuing the subject. i decided then that i didn't need a diagnosis because there aren't any medications & behavioral therapy is the main plan of action for a kid who is diagnosed. she's not in a school because i teach her at home & i can do the therapy myself.

i was reading look me in the eye last year & it's written by a man who is an aspie. in it he tells his life story & it's great example of a success story. brooke saw me reading it & since there's a funny picture of a boy on the cover, she asked me what it was about. i told her that it's about a guy who has asperger's. she giggled at the name & then asked what it is. i gave a brief explanation & she thought about it & then asked for more. that's pretty unusual since she rarely pays attention to what i'm reading. i told her some more things & she kept asking for even more information. then after she was quiet for a few minutes she said, "that stuff sounds like me. do you think i might be an aspie?" she asked if we could leave the playground & go home to google it so she could learn more.

in the course of my learning about autism & asperger's syndrome, i've finally come to understand that it's not a stamp of defectiveness. there are varying degrees of autism & the aspies are at the end of the spectrum where they have the highest level of "normalcy". i've gotten over the idea that it's a shameful thing or something to be tucked away like a dirty family secret. it's not something to be embarrassed about. people who are autistic, at any point on the spectrum, are absolutely as valuable as everyone else. they all have struggles & challenges as well as strengths & talents. if it weren't for the people on the spectrum, i think that we wouldn't have many of the things in the world that benefit all of us, because they're inventors & designers & creators. they think outside the box & excel at their areas of interest. they're artistic & smart & funny.

i think the movie "temple grandin" is a fabulous example of someone being autistic & leading a wonderfully productive life. it shows very clearly how difficult life is for people who have it, but there's a line in there, spoken by the mom that keeps ringing loudly in my head - "she's different, but equal."

so there it is. we have no diagnosis, but there's something fabulously interesting & unique about my sweet girl. she's difficult & exasperating & hilarious all in one adorable package. whether or not she has asperger's syndrome, i think i will always remember that line & how fitting it seems in relation to brooke. she's different, but equal.