Thursday, January 26, 2012


today we were reading a science book for school about bad smells. i know, i've talked a lot lately about stuff we're doing for school, but people, i don't get out much these days. i spend my life at home with a kid so all i've got most of the time to spark my creative juices is the stuff i teach to brooke.

ahem, where was i? ah, yes. stinky things. there was discussion of bad breath and the things that cause it. the word halitosis was mentioned. and that's when i went spiraling back in time. 

about 4 years ago when brooke was 5, she went to the little gym for the gymnastic classes. it's a wonderful place that i highly recommend if your kid is clumsy or nervous and you're not trying to get into a competitive sport. the teachers were all incredibly patient with brooke as she spent her first several classes hiding under equipment crying and avoiding every activity. it was a new atmosphere for her and very structured which she also wasn't used to. she was only 4 when she started, but after a few weeks, she started to like it and eventually she participated in almost everything. 

early on in our little gym experience, brooke was still afraid of the high bar that the kids could use with an adult assistant if they felt up to it. the coaches never pushed them to do anything that scared them, but would give them the chance each week to see if they were ready to try. one day a teacher asked brooke if she could pick her up and let her just touch the high bar with her finger. i didn't see it happen, but brooke told me later that she bit that lady's long leg like she was a hyena and the teacher was her attacker. she said she felt afraid and had to defend herself. the teacher didn't even mention it, so it must not have been a very hard bite, but i was just thankful they still let her come back.

one day after class, the owner/head coach came to me and quietly whispered in my ear, "i was helping brooke with something and she was nervous, so i leaned in close to talk to her about it. she said, 'smells like someone has halitosis today'." i know my head turned several shades of red, but i couldn't help laughing. we'd been doing some great vocabulary lessons and clearly they were sticking!

at the end of each 20 week session there was always an awards show where the parents could come in & observe the kids' skills and watch them get a medal on a ribbon. brooke was called last to go up on the little foam platform to get her medal. each other kid had walked up the steps and received their prize like a little olympian. but not brooke. when she heard her name, she dropped down on her hands and knees and ran/crawled across the floor, up the steps and to the middle of the platform and posed on her knees with her chin held high and one hand/paw up in front of her. we'd been watching the AKC championships and she was posing in poodle style to claim her award.

she went through several award ceremonies and for almost every one she did the crawling doggy thing again. and i heard from some of the teachers that it had spread and some kids even in other classes had started doing it too.

my little aspie trendsetter with her boundless creativity and imagination. she makes my heart happy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

napoleon the funky

my husband is gone for the night. it's work related and only for a day, but i woke up this morning and thought, "i'm going to be a slob and not take a shower today because my man isn't here to notice."

i've felt like i was being rather slovenly, but then i remembered something i read a while ago. supposedly, when napoleon was off at war, he sent his lady josephine a message telling her not to bathe for two weeks prior to his return. thinking about that today led me to do a little internet research and there's speculation if he actually said two weeks or three days, but most sources i found said two weeks.

this troubles me. i had to talk myself into NOT showering for one day and i will certainly be clean and pristine before i see my fella tomorrow, even if there's no hanky panky on our agenda.

i'm assuming that napoleon was coming home from his warring, feeling powerful and frisky. and maybe powerfully frisky, depending on how long he'd been gone and how many whores he'd visited while he was away. i can't imagine wanting to get up close and personal to anyone when i was dirty and.... ripe. because i don't care who you are, you will be smelling all kinds of funky by the time 2 weeks of non-bathing has gone past.

we recently read in a book on american history that people used to think that bathing was dangerous and avoided it most of the time. they typically took only a couple baths a year. did you catch that? two a YEAR, people! can you imagine how bad they smelled? they didn't have air conditioning or sanitary toileting facilities either, so their rears had to have been smellable from across the room. or the field for that matter!

and these people often slept several to a room. they didn't have the space or money to have large, spread out houses, so oftentimes, kids slept in their parents' bedroom. and it wasn't unusual for a family to have ten kids.

it makes my eyes bug out a little bit to think about going for 6 months without a bath and sleeping in a bed with a man who's been working the fields day in and day out and who's also been many months without getting intimate with a bar of soap.

now imagine that you are part of that couple, that dirty, odoriferous couple. it's summer and you're lying in bed after a long day of sewing garments by hand for your 9 kids. you've cooked several meals over a big open pot on a fire and you've killed and plucked a couple chickens. you've been inside a house with no electricity or water or even a door or screens to keep the bugs out all day.

you've been nursing infants for nearly 12 years straight. your boobs no longer resemble the breasts that we currently think of in america, but more closely mimic the ones we see in national geographic where they hang straight down with the long, uninspiring nipple distended and pointing at your feet when you stand up. when you lie down, your teets slide off into your sticky, hairy armpits. there's a pungent scent of old yeast and sour milk wafting up from the breasty region.

you're lying in your bed of grass. it's been covered with a sheet that you air out every week or so, but it's filled none-the-less with old hay. if you lay your ear directly on the mattress, you can hear the bugs crawling around under your bodies inside the hay. you can hear your children breathing in various locations around the room. one's in your dresser drawer bedded down on your grandma's old shawl. two are on a blanket on the floor beside you within arm's reach.

neither of you owns a tooth brush. you pick and scrape at your teeth from time to time with a stick that you've widdled to a point, but toothpaste isn't something you even know about.

can you picture the scene? are you with me?

okay, now close your eyes and tell me how you feel..... is the answer HORNY? i know that scientifically there would be a large build up of pheromones that are supposedly a turn on, but i suspect the other factors would counter the alleged attraction. i'm positive that the very last thing in the world that i can think of when i'm putting myself mentally in that situation is wanting to bump uglies when both myself and my husband are both big sweating stench bags. there would have to be a line of demarcation down the center of that buggy grass bed until such time as a bath could be procured for the both of us.

it's amazing to me that families were so large at that time. clearly, current american standards for cleanliness have affected my mindset on this matter, but it seems that even if that weren't present, surely my nose would protest close contact on a hot summer's night.

much like my appreciation of toilet paper from a couple posts ago, i am now voicing my appreciation of soap. and running water. and razors to scrape off all that armpit and leg hair. thank you, Jesus that i live in the year 2012 in the current conditions and standards for bathing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


my good buddy Karen over at Ow, My Angst did a fun post a few days ago where she gave herself a makeover, jersey-style to show her love of the tv show Jerseylicious. it's a show about some jersey girls who do hair and makeup ~ and when i say they do them, i mean they do it all excessively. tons of makeup crammed onto their faces and big, big hair.

i thought it would be fun to do one of these myself, so i asked her to make it into a meme in order to make it seem like i wasn't just being a lame copycat, even though i am. you'll see her linky and note at the bottom of this post if you want to participate too. men, that includes you. please, feel free to indulge your inner diva and take pics to show us your creative process.

that means i'm the first to jump onto the karenlicious bandwagon with a makeover of my own.

with no further adieu . . .

i filled my bathroom counter filled with various and sundry hair and makeup items.

then I started with a blank canvas. scary, I know.

then i painted my face with waaayy too much concealer, foundation and powder.

next comes the choice of what color to put on my eyes. those are always the most fun to create.

 this was done with brow liner, 6 different eyeshadow colors, plus black liquid eyeliner out the wazoo.

i guess it's time to do something with my stupid hair. hmmm.... i don't have a bump it to lift it up. or any extensions. or a flat iron. dang it, i'm just stuck with my hair dryer and standard curling iron. well, it's not big enough to look like a proper jersey girl, but it's bigger than usual. let's just overlook it, shall we? look at my lipliner instead, okay? niiiccee!

smile pretty for the camera!

okay, i'm starting to feel weird about taking my picture all alone in my bathroom with a face caked in goop. maybe if i make some faces, that'll help.

i've got some great stink-face going on here.

it's feeling less and less like jerseylicious and more and more like glamor shots gone horribly wrong. in my bathroom.
 okay, that was fun. now it's time to go cook dinner and toss in another load of laundry. i'm so glamorous i make those licious girls jealous.

brooke decided to let me make up her face and floof up her hair today too and she wrote about it and included pictures on her own blog. to see and read about it, check out hers here. it's funny.

if you want to join in the face painting fun, here's karen's blurb and info.

The "Karenlicious Meme"

Make yourself delicious!  

Karen is a blah, boringly natural housewife and mom most of the time.  But she made herself DELICIOUS. 
Here's what you do:  throw a shovel-full of makeup onto your grill.  Take as many before and after photos as you want of your transformation. Post these insane photos for all the world to see, with the "karen-licious" banner.
Invite your friends to pass it on and be ridiculous too! 

Then go wash your face.  You're fine just the way you are.  But not today!  Today you are

Sunday, January 8, 2012

a week with the dogs

last week, as i mentioned in my last post, we were dog sitting for my sister. we only have cats, so it was very different to be in the house of dog, but fun. taking them for walks everyday was good for us, as well as them and going to petsmart with critters this big was definitely different. usually we go there to visit other people's dogs, but this time we were the ones with the dogs.
why yes, he does like to take a stick on a walk.
brooke had a great time with them and loved all the hulking dog-flesh surrounding her. she was able to walk angus, african boerboel, on his leash several times and she felt pretty powerful to be taking a dog, who weighs significantly more than she does, out for a walk.

kobe, great dane, thinks she's a lapdog and wants to snuggle all up in your grill whenever you sit down. she's ridiculously sweet, and we liked cuddling on the couch, though waking up with her whiskery nose in my ear every morning wasn't awesome.

brooke took advantage of the great weather we had on a couple days and took angus out front for some quality time together. she read him books and sang him songs and brought him a branch out of the neighbor's yard to chew so he'd be happy.

and we were all amused to find him sleeping on the couch later with his teddy-no-snouty tucked under his arm.

it was a good week, but i'm glad to be back here with our little purry buddies.

Friday, January 6, 2012

split personality

the clothes we wear represent us. when we put things on, if they "feel like" us, we're comfortable. if they don't "feel like" us, we feel awkward. never mind if the actual garments are comfortable or not. what we wear, to a large degree, shows the people around us who we are.

i think that cars are largely the same way. people drive cars that feel like them. we all have preconceived ideas about what kind of person drives a certain kind of car.

we own a mini van, semi-affectionately known as vanny, that's  15 years old. it's a box on wheels with a broken side door handle and lots of dirt. i don't love vanny, but i'm grateful for her transportation even though she shrieks loudly whenever she's running and vibrates quite noticeably when we get above 45 mph.

i don't feel like vanny fits me. i'm slightly embarrassed by her, though i try really hard not to be. she makes me feel poor and vaguely trashy. like i should be handing out generic soda's and happy meals while yelling and back-handing a van full of dirty, snotty, whining children who are wearing too short pants and no seat belts.

sometimes i drive my mother in law's car for small errands close to home. she has a lincoln town car. it drives very nicely and i surely appreciate the chance to be able to go to the library or grocery store when chris is at work, but i feel awkward when i drive it. like i'm a little old lady, surrounded by 8 feet of nose and 6 feet of tail, driving at a sedate pace with the radio off and never letting anyone get in front of me in traffic. i feel like i should drive slowly in the fast lane and perhaps don a rain bonnet to keep my perm tidy in case of rain. when's the last time you saw anyone who couldn't qualify for a senior citizen's discount driving one of these babies?

this week we've been staying at my sister and her fiancee's house while they're traveling so that we can take care of their two big dogs. they left my almost-brother-in-law's lovely mustang here with the key in case i needed to go somewhere. brooke and i took it out to a playdate a couple days ago and it was rather amusing to me to drive it. it's very loud and roars when you give it even a little gas and the bass is cranked up so high, there's no way the cars around us can't hear us booming when we're at a traffic light. generally i don't see a lot of women driving muscle cars, so i'm not quite sure what stereotype i should fit into here. i googled "girls who drive mustangs" and i got a bunch of mini-skirted, bikini clad, darkly tanned young hot bods. none of them were short, chubby moms with a tweenaged daughter peeking out the back window, giggling about her mom driving a sports car.

i feel like i've got a split vehicular personality these days and none of them fit me. i look forward to the day when i can once again drive a car that represents me as me, and not just the wheels i'm able to get my hands on. i think if i could pick any car at all, i'd probably go with something like this.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

never take for granted...

i bet from the title, you were thinking i was going to go deep on this post. talk about never taking our loved ones or our health for granted. you thought wrong, my friend. my last post had some depth, so i couldn't go there again so soon.

no, what i'm talking about today is toilet paper. i got a book out of the kids science section about the history and workings of toilets (i love the library and the gems i find there).

here's a picture i took of a page in the book that left me with my mouth in a cringe and my eyebrows in a pinch.

in case you can't read it clearly, let me point out a few pertinent bits. "Ancient Romans used a sponge on the end of a stick to clean up after using the toilet." this seemed all right to me initially. a sponge is soft and wet. okay, the romans had a good idea there other than the fact that they had a room filled with toilet holes all in a U shape so several people could go at once while looking at each other.

but the next line stopped me in my sponge-happy tracks. "When finished, they put the sponge in a pail full of water so that the next person could use it."

great googly moogly..... this is NOT okay! they shared a poop sponge?!! not so bad if you're the first guy with a fresh sponge, but something tells me it didn't get changed too often. and i know how gross a kitchen sponge gets after a few days, so i can only imagine how vile a community hiney sponge would be after a few days on booty duty!

the next line that had me making faces was, "Some used stones, sand, or seashells to scrape themselves clean."

a rock? did they hunt about for the perfect butt scraping rock and then keep it for using over and over? or did they just grab up any ole rock they could reach while squatting and just jam it back there and try to knock off the big bits? would a rounded or jagged rock work more effectively?

and i don't know about you, but when i'm at the beach and get sand in my suit, i pretty much just rip my suit to the side and try to shake, swipe or rinse it out with little regard for who's about because i cannot STAND how it feels! imagine using sand as a wipe! i've heard of using sand to wash dishes in a pinch, but never your crack. Ick!

the worst part in that sentence might be the seashell. i was just at the beach a couple months ago and i collected and examined a lot of different types of shells, so when i read this, i did a mental inventory of the shapes, sizes and textures of various shells, trying to figure out which seemed the most wipe-like for bum scrape-age.
this one seems somewhat manageable, i guess. you could use one side for scooping and the other side for buffing after the scrape was completed.
and i would definitely avoid this next shell, even if it was the only thing readily at hand. because, wowie zowie, i don't think anyone's rump could handle that.

this book made me very grateful for the lovely and delicate luxury that i've always taken for granted. oh blessed, glorious toilet paper, you are so precious to me. and your cousin, the moist, flushable wipe, is a gift to the behinds of this century. i will never take either of you for granted again. amen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

things that take my breath away

have you ever gotten a gift that took your breath away? it doesn't have to be for christmas or your birthday. it could be any time.

i've had a few of those in my life, but it's been a long time since the last one (which was vanny, our minivan, given to us for free by chris' brother 8 years ago).

this year, for christmas, i got two such wonderful gifts.

a couple days before christmas, i got an email from my mom telling me that she was going to tell me what my present was early because she wanted to be sensitive to my feelings and didn't know if i'd want the whole family to be there when i got it.

here's the poem she wrote for the occasion.

Zits are the pits
And bumps are for frumps.
Blemishes give you
A case of the grumps.

So run to the doctor
And get your new skin, 
Cuz this is the year 
Of the new Sherilin!

i burst out in ridiculous sobs as i read that email. the idea that they're going to pay for me to go to a dermatologist and get my awful face fixed so that i won't be a slave to the concealer anymore makes me more happy than i even realized til that moment. it's hard being too poor to go to the doctor. and too poor to dress decently. and too chubby to look good in my cheap clothes. and for me, having my skin be a wreck all the time is like having to lug around something big and heavy and rotten all the time.

that was amazing gift number one. i was sure that the amazingness was done for a few years. i was satisfied and pleased and content.

then i went to my family's house on christmas eve for all our special traditions and fun and food (ohmygosh the COOKIES!) and presents. we didn't have much to give, but i was delivering the quilt i made and some other little goodies as well as a certificate for my mom for 90 minutes of massage from my magical fingers and for my dad, a declaration that i'd clean and wash his filthy old 1993 van - twice. 

i made these out of the tips of ferns that i snipped off a big pretty plant.

my youngest sister, erica, said she had to go get the gift for me and she ran down to her room. she came partway back into the room and said, "i want everyone to know this is not a rash decision. i've been thinking about it for a while now and i'm really okay with this."

this is what she pulled from around the corner.

i think the air got sucked right out of the room. no one knew what to say, least of all me. i stared at the computer, i stared at erica. i couldn't form words, but my tear ducts were working overtime.

this is a great big, 27 inch iMAC she had bought for herself and then decided she didn't need as much as she needed the money, so she was going to resell it. only, instead of waiting for it to sell, she gave it to ME! 

i couldn't believe she did that. but then again, erica is a girl with the biggest, most generous heart of anyone i know. she is giving with everything within herself and she proved it yet again last week. 

my family amazes me. they bestow love and gifts and friendship on me, more than i could ever deserve or dream for. they remind me to be thankful even when other pieces of life feel difficult or frustrating. i'm very blessed.

here's one more picture from that day. it's my brother, parents and myself. the sisters weren't around for this one.