Ad Nauseum

You know how Google tries to guess what you are wondering as you begin to type a question into the Search field? Have you ever taken note of its guesses? Today I quizzed it, to see what the most popular questions are. Here are a few of my favorites:

When you type the word “Is” into the Search field, the very first topic to come up is: “Is Justin Bieber gay?” This is followed by “Is Santa Real?” and “Is Kevjumba a heterosexual bear wrestler?” I did not make any of that up. Not one word.

“Why” renders the immediate guesses that I want to know why the sky is blue, why does it snow, why do men cheat, and why do cats purr. Beats me.

“What” brings up:

  • What is my IP?
  • What does my name mean?
  • What is Lent?
  • What not to wear

If you should take the What not to Wear bait, it will not further advise you about what actually not to wear. You just get caught in an endless spiral down the tube of bad television arm pit stank.

Type in “What caused” and you’ll get:

  • What caused the Great Depression?
  • What caused the Civil War?
  • What caused the Solar System to form a disk?
  • What caused World War I?
  • What caused a dip in the population in 1918? Who knew THAT was a hot topic? Did you? I clicked the topic. Apparently there was a major Flu pandemic that year. I should type less and read more.

Ah, well. Fun with Google. Sorry, buddy. You didn’t read MY mind today. Maybe next time.

Once I got that ridiculousness out of my system and went back to laundry, I came upon the sweetest little accidental burrito. She was watching a movie, until her eyelids overcame her.

It isn’t often that I come upon a sleeping babe in the daylight when the light is soft. I didn’t edit these at all, except to add the black border on a few.

I had access to the Snappshots baby doll, A.K.A “Babe”, so I decided to have a little bit of fun with her. I found the next one kind of funny.

And some more…

And having a little look-see…

And now Babe is tired and going to rest a bit herself.

Creepy is the new Awesome.

And we’ll finish up this little nugget with Mamasboy’s response to hearing what dinner was tonight. This is not posed. He was real mad I took it. And he ate that Cuban food just fine, after he got over himself. Crazy good times.

Carry on.

All in a Day

I seldom get to the end of a day feeling fatigue like I do tonight. I felt like I was wearing a 150-lb fat suit that, besides weighing me down, was punching my arm pits every 7 seconds. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I asked a friend, we’ll call her Flecky FigPenny, to motivate me to exercise during yesterday’s play date at the park. There is a difference between exercise and Chinese torture. She was brutal. If you want to jog, she makes you run sprints. If you are unable to do the commanded pull ups, she’ll make you do the flex-arm-hang. And suddenly you are back in 4th grade again, fighting to stay up over that bar for 60 seconds (try 25…) and hoping that Presidential Award shows up in your mailbox.

With that said, just know that when I sit for longer than 2 minutes, my muscles begin to shut down. So this entry could get ugly.

Today was filled with successes and failures, and was somewhat balanced on both sides. I think some bullets are in order:


  • Early to preschool drop off. Didn’t have to use my Panic Voice with either of the girls.
  • Managed to almost-immediately channel my ire toward the owner of the gold Nissan Armada who parks across 2 spaces every.single.morning. Your car is not as nice as you think it is, lady.
  • Walked to the neighborhood pond with Snugglemonkey and played a very twisted and confused game of Hide and Seek. Sometimes she was the hider, sometimes the seeker, sometimes both. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 9. 10.11, 17, 19, 31, Ready or not. I’m coming.
  • Read Amelia Bedelia to the sweetest, fluffiest, cutest, brightest-eyed, most squishy group of 4-yr-olds I have ever seen. Amelia Bedelia ROCKS. So does Beloved’s preschool class.
  • Played at the park for 30 minutes and then successfully dragged 4 kids downtown to a routine dr. appt. Besides having SnuggleMonkey swing open the door to the Patient Bathroom while I was sitting on the toilet, this experience was uneventful and smooth. It isn’t usually. At the very least, we are almost always there for an hour longer than we should be.
  • Went for slurpees at 7-11 to celebrate the day’s successes.


  • Unfortunately, the Slurpee celebration was one of the day’s failures. Taking 4 kids to the slurpee counter turns into a barrel of crazed monkeys. They sprout arms like a sprouting dandelion in one of those time-lapse nature movies. They start grabbing cups and reaching for levers and unwrapping straws. The Peach Passion fruit blew up in my face and got on everyone. It was like a fruity volcano that made SnuggleMonkey cry. Before 7-11 was over, I had been talked into donuts and chocolate chip cookies. You know…nothing says fresh baked goods like 7-11.
  • Oh, and while standing in front of the cashier to pay for the 5 slurpees, 3 donuts, and 3 chocolate chip cookies, my ATM card was “DECLINED.’ Now doesn’t THAT just make a person feel like a leper. You feel like you have to start explaining to the cashier and others in line “I really do have $10.68 in my account. This is the bank’s fault.” And they nod and give you a tight-lipped smile with the sarcastic “sure” look in their eyes. Poor girl with her little passion-fruit-faced street urchins.
  • I called the bank. Hello? Why was my card declined? Oh, yes m’aam. We are having a big problem with our system Your card cannot be used as a debit right now but you can run it like credit. Since when? I asked. Since last week, she says. Last week? What? Is this 2011? When will it be fixed? I asked. We don’t know, she answered. Oh, well, this is all so good to hear, 5 minutes too late. Thank you for letting me know. What in the world.
  • I did not exercise today and snuck a few bites of the leftover baked yummies from the convenience store.  And still I feel I’ve been beat up by Kung Fu Panda.
  • I put two kids in the bath to, you know, promote cleanliness. And I put bubble bath in the bath to sort of tap the whole deal with a fun stick. That went bad fast. Mamasboy is allergic to everything, including most of his thoughts. Apparently he is also highly reactive to bubble bath. This resulted in a nasty allergy attack on his skin, which led to extreme screaming. The kind of screaming that makes you look over your shoulder for a concerned neighbor or a member of the Department of Children and Families. Screaming and itching. LOTS of both. For a long time. And all while Jackson was over from across the street. I stuck my head out to explain we were not just having temper tantrums. But as I was trying to work Mamasboy through this attack, Snugglemonkey escaped from the bath and was running sudsy and buck naked through the house, around and around and around, while Jackson and my oldest played a game together. As Jackson was leaving, I took him by the shoulders and made him look me in the eyes. “Boy, listen to me.” He couldn’t look. “LOOK AT ME!!! We are NOT crazy. Don’t tell your mom about all of this. BOY! Do you hear me?!” By then he was crying and trying to pull away.

No, he wasn’t. And no, I wasn’t. Tell me you didn’t believe any of that.  I did try to say “Hey, we aren’t crazy!” as he walked out,  but the door had slammed already. Oh well.

In all of it, though…the good, the bad, the ugly, the nudity…it was a day of those everyday pinpricks into glory. And it was completely worth that big, heavy fat suit called fatigue.

Dear Louisiana – Facebook Statuses

I have found a very cool tool. I don’t know if I can recommend it, because enough time needs to pass for me to see that men in black will not show up at my door with guns or that some seedy hacker hasn’t just now stolen every last bit of personal information I have. But my guess is that it’s all okay and I found a tool that hooks me up with all of my old Facebook status updates. I wanted to see what I had said about Louisiana.

6/23/2009 — continuing to write congressmen to get Louisiana to secede from the nation and am singing “the stars at night are big and bright”…clap, clap, clap, clap…

6/28/2009 — I’m boning up for her return fight with Louisiana. This time, I’m armed and ready.

6/30/2009 –I have  come to a place of acceptance with the unchanging hazards of Louisiana and am home at last.

7/23/2010 — Safely and happily in Austin. With NEWS TO REPORT. Hear this: We made it through Louisiana WITHOUT INCIDENT for the first time. EVER. I may have some love in my heart for that state after all…

8/3/2010 —  Home. Scarred slightly more than last year, but nothing a little plastic surgery won’t cover up. Oh, and BY THE WAY, Louisiana can eat rocks FOR GOOD. I don’t have time or energy to describe the new ways in which that state managed to ruin lives this time around. Really. I will not forgive this time. It’s over. Feud is back on to the death.

I do wonder what this summer will bring. It’s now a part of the game.

Dear Lousiana – Volume 1

This is the first of my hypothetical harshly worded letters. It seems more than apt that Louisiana would occupy the first slot in this department, because my history with the state is thick with rancid details and run-ins with traffic cops, thunderstorms, merging lanes, so-called construction, and really bad rest areas.  Did I just say traffic cops? What year IS it anyway? This is a story of unrequited love.  Louisiana has tried, in its abusive and demented way, to love me. I unrequite.  In fact, I reject to the fullest extent of rejection. And furthermore, I write harshly worded letters. If you are from Louisiana, love someone from Louisiana, are obsessed with Harry Connick Jr. or his wife, Jill Connick Jr., or just enjoy suffering to the point of hospitalization, then you should just forgo this post entirely. You won’t be happy here today. Also, should you have a really strong reaction I will give you a chance to email me an “I love Louisiana” rebuttal and if you do a good job with it, I will post it, with my therapist’s number at the bottom of the post. You obviously need him more than I do.

Chapter 1:

I call this my BKHM period. I pronounce that like David Beckham’s last name, in case you want to do this right and not read the entire first Harry Potter book reciting the name Hermione as Her-mee-OWN, like I did, or reading Wicked with the name El-FAH-ba in your head, instead of the correct EL-fuh-buh. I won’t even say who messed up that Wicked one. He’d make me pay. Bad.

So anyway. I was a BKHM, which stands for Before-Kids-Have-Money. The Informinator tried to correct me, saying I was a DINK. That sounds a little too easy, doesn’t it? No thanks. Freedom was something I also had. Todd and I were young professionals. I have never understood what he does. It’s highly technical. Probably he’s actually a government sniper, but the cover-up seems to have something to do with computers and networks and stuff like that. I was a tech writer, writing the software manuals that brought people sweating and cursing into managers’ offices because they couldn’t understand a word of it.

We had vacation time. We used it. And at least three times, we made the unfortunate decision to drive through Louisiana on our way to Texas. We could afford to fly. But we were choosing to save money. We just had no idea how high the price was to drive allllllll the way through L-O-U-I-S-I-A-N-A.

The very first memory I have of driving through that state was when I was about to turn 21 and Todd was 20. We had just secured the worst car ever from a seedy car dealer at a seedy car auction. On the way back from that auction, the dealer hit something in the road and said, “What was THAT? That sounded like a human head or something.” I’m not making that up. I wondered how exactly he knew what a human head sounds like when hit by a Toyota Corolla.  We didn’t ask any questions. This same 2-tone, vinyl-topped Toyota Corolla is the car we chose for that first trek. We were engaged to be married. We wanted to hang with his folks for Christmas break. It was supposed to be a 12 hour trip from Tallahassee to Houston.

Two things happened in Louisiana. The first one happened as we were entering the state. In a very hard rain storm, the driver’s side windshield wiper flew off. Just flew off. It was gone. Well that’s precarious, now isn’t it? Just beautiful. A driver’s side wiper is not a luxury. You pretty much have to have that. So we found an exit with a Pep Boys and we wasted 45 minutes solving this problem. The trip was now closer to 13 hours.  And then there was a long, long stretch of darkness and swamp. There were no restaurants and no gas stations. There was nothing. And we had no gas. Because we were not accustomed to the Corolla Crown of Shame, we didn’t realize the gas gauge would fall from 1/4 tank to empty in an eye-blink and that in that eye-blink the situation would go from “maybe start looking for gas” to “YOU JUST RAN OUT OF GAS!!!” We also didn’t realize that the state of Louisiana has entire exits that are just there for scientists that are studying swamp behavior and looking for the Yeti. We took at least two exits without a single sign of life. And those two exits used up the last of our gas. And the car started popping and skipping and hiccuping and then it just puttered to a stop. Right in front of a long bridge. In the dark. In the rain. Oh, and it was 1991, so no one had cell phones.

We had no other option but to get out and start walking. So Todd got in front, up on a concrete border that spanned the entire bridge, and I walked in back holding on to his belt loop. And quite stressfully we walked, single file, at least a mile on that teeny little concrete thingie, in the rain, while cars zipped past us with full tanks of gas. And then, not too far past that horrible, horrible bridge, we saw the exit for a rest area. And we walked down that ramp and sat down by the pay phones to figure things out. When we’d talked it out, we called Todd’s parents, who were expecting us by 11 that night and told them we had hit some snags and to go to bed. We didn’t tell them the story. We were talking collect on a pay phone. Go to bed, Mom and Dad. We are in Louisiana. We’re in GOOD HANDS!

Then we hung up that phone, still with absolutely no idea where a gas station  was or how we’d get there.  That’s when two people walked up that had seen us walking and had even overheard our phone conversation.  They sheepishly admitted to stalking us with the best of intentions and offered to take us up the road until we found some gas. We could not get our “yes” out fast enough. So they walked us to their vehicle, which I became thoroughly convinced was going to be my tomb. It was a VW van from the 70s. The front had two seats. The back was gutted and spread out with sleeping bags. They lived in this van. They were civil rights activists. I was sitting on their bed as we looked for gas. 5 miles later, we found some. That would have been quite a walk. So as frightened as I was to be in a gutted van with slightly crazy people, I was more grateful than frightened.  And as it turns out, I too became a civil rights activist and live in an old van by the river.  Not really. But it sorta sounds nice.

2 hours later, we were back on the road.  And at 5 a.m., we pulled into Todd’s driveway and found his worried parents sitting at the kitchen table waiting for us. At that point, we told the story. And then we went to bed. Separately. For a very long time.

When I woke up I still hated Louisiana.

The trip home did not have any car issues. But because it was a holiday weekend, Louisiana decided to merge 3 lanes into 1, just to scientifically test how long this would delay a weary traveler. It delayed us precisely 6 hours. That’s right. S-I-X H-O-U-R-S. That’s like a thousand billion years when you are stuck in a Toyota Corolla with only a cassingle of Annie Lennox, “Walking on Broken Glass”, Curtis Stigers, “I never saw a miracle”, and Jude Cole, “Start the Car.” How many times can you play “I’m thinking of an animal”? A 12 hour trip home took 18 hours. Just that math alone could cause me to write a harshly worded letter.  And I will, LA. You haven’t heard the half of it yet.

Someday soon we’ll do Volume Two: The Louisiana Lawman.

Until then, I’m going to go meditate on Mississippi and try to get some sleep.

Mundane Monday


I just watched a commercial for Colgate Total. A lady was being shown how many germs were present in her mouth using some schmo’s toothpaste. Then the woman in charge said, “You wanna see a Colgate Total mouth?” And of course the first lady said yes. If she hadn’t, she’d have gotten punched. With a tube of toothpaste. Listening to her tone, it sounded aggressive. She was picking a fight. I might use that line the next time my mother-in-law tries to arm wrestle me. You wanna see a Colgate Total mouth? Yeah. I didn’t think so.

Mundane is probably not the right word for how I feel about things. I don’t feel negatively toward it. I am surrounded by busy people. Busy with jobs. Busy with appointments. Busy with organizations or hobbies. Busy. So busy that they look panicked and bewildered if asked to do anything social. The task of scheduling an hour with me to figure out how to dress up like a turkey and make announcements on a school morning show is enough to cause all of us to hit the speed dial entry for their therapist.

I’m not knocking therapists. I’ve been there. With bells on. But not for busyness and he isn’t on my speed dial. I actually have no idea how to even use speed dial. I’m freakish with phone numbers. I don’t need speed dial. I can call Mer’s parents right this moment at 555-893-3624 and she hasn’t lived there in 20 years. They still live there, though, and they would answer. I could call 555-386-6262 and the ghost of my grandma might hop up and try to chat. Probably not, though. Or I could dial 555-385-6553 and tell the person that answered that my best friend, Debbie, had this number in 1975. My own number was 555-385-9788 but with a real area code.


No one.

My point is that I appreciate the mundane. I appreciate a morning when my girls are curled up together on a couch watching a wildlife movie while I mop and do laundry in the background. I appreciate having nowhere to be at 4:30 in the afternoon while my boys roam the house with a friend from down the street.  And I appreciate the fact that we can have as much fun riding our bikes to McDonalds to eat happy meals as we could have doing something super difficult or fancy.  (Though I do not appreciate that just three of us spent $21.14 at McDonalds. WHAT? Hello. Could have gone to Applebees and eaten something that actually was alive at one time…something that wasn’t crossbred or cloned…) And I really, really, really appreciate that someday the mundane will give way to the college applications and the moving out of state. Someday my clothes will fit better and no one will be pawing at my hemline. I will sit through church with no one climbing up in my lap and yanking my elastic-collared shirt down to my waist.  I will have an entire conversation with another adult without the tap-tap-tapping and the “mommy, mommy, mommy” that comes with it.

And when that someday comes, I will reach for my phone.
And I will bypass speed dial and dial my therapist.
Because I will never forget his number.

Day Laboring at a rate of $600 an hour

One of the strangest jobs I ever accepted came as a result of a job offer I received on the fly in the lobby of a Red Lobster.  Call me a day laborer, if you will. My boss, that day, was the Informinator.

I was 28 and free as a bird. It was a roasty Sunday afternoon with all the sunshine a person could ever need. And four of us were standing in the lobby of Red Lobster, waiting to be seated.  The restaurant was more crowded than the lobby was, hence the wait. Since there was precisely nothing else to do or look at, we found ourselves staring at the nasty, nasty lobsters and discussing their fate. I personally believe those guys are house pets and never see the death of a lunch date. I think Red Lobster gets their lobster off a refrigerated truck, but I can’t prove this and it isn’t crucial to the story anyway. I’m just trying to take the heat off of me. The lobster tank was located about 2 feet from the Host/Hostess ( suddenly hungry for a Twinkie…) station. It was greenish and dark and just thoroughly represented everything that is wrong with seafood. By that I mean the pinchers and eyeballs and bones and scales and dead smell. That’s really all the negative that one can say about seafood. Hanging over the side of the tank, for a little splashy decor, was a yellow mask and snorkel, last used in 1962.

So as we stood there, making idle chat, the Informinator says, “Hey, I’ll pay you $10 to put that on for one minute.”

“Put what on?” I asked.

“The snorkel and the mask,” she clarified. “Snorkel in the mouth. Mask over the eyes.” I looked over at the contraption for a very brief moment. Mr. Informinator had perked up with new energy and I could tell he was hoping I was about to take this offer.

“One minute?” I asked again, thinking.

“One minute,” she said. “Sixty seconds.”

Well, now. How could anyone refuse an offer like that? With a few jobs like that on my resume, I could take a fancy vacation and afford to buy myself a brand new snorkel and mask.

“You’re on,” I said, with no further hesitation. As these words left my lips, I was surrounded by loved ones, along with 3 Red Lobster employees. I leaned over, placed the mask over my eyes and the very offensive snorkel in my mouth and the watch on Mr. Informinator’s arm began to count down. I had just assumed, when taking this assignment, that Mr. Informinator would stand by me, calling out the time each time 10 seconds ticked away. That isn’t quite the way it happened. At that moment, all the aforementioned loved ones fanned out and were just as gone as if they’d been at Olive Garden next door. And that really quick minute slowed down to a day and a half. It was like dog years, times 1000 eternities.

Technically, this was Hawaii, but it gives one a bit of a visual.

And there I was, sucking on a foreign snorkel while time crawled by at an alarmingly slow rate. Since I was hooked to the tank with my body bent over at an almost 90 degree angle, I was limited in what I could see. Todd? Todd are you there? Are you kidding? No guy wants to be happily married to Lobster Girl. Informinator? Mr. Informinator? Anyone? The only people within eye-locking range were the three Red Lobster employees who were watching me with unblinking  suspicion and contempt.  From my mask-inhibited peripheral vision, I could tell they hated me and wanted to call the police. But as of 1998, being disgusting and uncouth was not a prosecutable crime and they only had 60 seconds to think out a plan against me anyway.

Ah, 60 seconds. Has that not passed yet? Haven’t I been here for a week already? When the Informinator called ‘time’, I yanked the equipment off my face and tried to stand upright and walk into the bathroom with grace and dignity, as if nothing unusual had occurred. Everyone else was laughing. Hard. And I was wash, wash, washing my mouth. With soap even.

I resumed my day, one minute later, but it was difficult to walk upright after that. The weight of my shame was debilitating. Yes, yes, it was. But that night, my boss pressed a clean, crisp $10 into my hand and said, “Here you go. You earned it.”

She walked away $10 poorer, but had a priceless amount of dignity and grace.  And she’s still the Informinator.

We returned to that same Red Lobster the very next Sunday afternoon. The mask and snorkel were gone. Thrown out. The end of an era. Hard to know what to even say about that. But if you pay me $10, I’ll think of something.


It seems that my daughters have taken a fancy to media lately. In light of that, I am doing a post that is centered around them.  I am in the process of getting my 4-yr-old to wake herself up at night to use the facilities so we can be done with wiping up things that should be deposited elsewhere. Judge me if you must. It won’t speed up the process any. Tonight as I was putting her to bed, I realized I hadn’t changed her sheet yet from this morning’s slight infraction. Ugh. That meant effort. So I went to her bed and pulled back the top sheet to see what kind of pad I had put under her damp sheet. A towel. Awesome. That works. But it was slightly damp, too, so I looked to see what was under the towel. A Buzz Lightyear  sheet. OK. Well, then I looked to see what was under the Buzz sheet. A wetness protection crib pad. Cool. So I pulled that back to see what was under the crib pad. A clean, dry blue sheet. Way awesome. And so, not to break this streak, I pulled back the blue sheet to see what was under it and found a regular old mattress pad. To spare you the math, that’s SIX layers. I’d like to say that was done on purpose for just this occasion, per the Informinator, but I’m pretty sure I just kept adding on layers in the dead of night and in the clutches of fatigue. Whatever the case, to remain consistent, I added a towel for luck and went with it. From six layers to three, we are off to the races.

I am posting the following video to combat the literary devices of James Joyce from a couple of entries ago. This is a riveting reading of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama. I tell you the title, in case you miss the 84 times she mentions it. Because I am still new at the blogging thing, my videos are linked from Youtube. You can’t embed a video on a free wordpress blog, at least as far as I can tell. They advertise this as a free service, until you start trying to do things. Oh, you want to use vowels? Well, for $6.95 you can get the Vowel Package, which comes with Y.  If you want any font besides Times New Roman,  you need to sign up (and pay) for Typesetters Paradise. Want to embed videos? That’s $24 and a sample of your DNA (first typed that DAN, which really changed the sentiment I was going for). All of that to say that I apologize for you having to click Youtube links and then click back to the blog. Irritating. I’m hardly worth it. But if you can survive a couple more weeks, I plan to do some splishy splashy magic (think Todd) and get this thing running better.

So as I was uploading the interpretive reading of LLRP, I discovered that two little imps had a secret hobby. They apparently absconded my camera yesterday and did with it the equivalent of a joy ride in a stolen car or a rave thrown at the house while the parents are out of town. While their mother was blogging, they took my Powershot for a spin.

I’m just going to post these in the order I discovered them on my camera.

She really is cute. I promise.
One more...
Your guess is as good as mine.
Man I need a new couch...
It's a PILLOW! It's a PET! It's a Pillow PET!

There's the negligent parent blogging in the background with some type of ambush in the works.

With our hand placed on the Justin Bieber listening station.

This looks like some sort of mythical beast. Half stuffed beast, half girl.
Not sure which of them took this...
Again, she can be a very cute child.
Oh dear. I just don't have an explanation for this one.
So many crusties...

And contrary to popular adult vote, just because nature calls, doesn’t mean you have to stop taking pictures…

These are the magazines in the "powder room"
These are the magazines in the "powder room"
Going to the Powder Room is now a group sport

Enthroned. Is nothing sacred? Guess not. Also don't know why this is red.
Anyone else think she looks like the Grinch here?

Is this an eyeball and an open mouth? Very disturbing.

If this keeps up, I will get them their own blog.