Pinpricks of Randomness

Last night began a new phase in my life that I feel certain will induce a rapid slide toward my own mental illness. I found SnuggleMonkey standing by my bed in the darkness at 2:17 a.m. Yikes. There are a lot of things that cause my bones to quake from the chill of fear, but SnuggleDoofus wandering the house in the middle of the night while the rest of the house is sleeping is just a hair below Toothless Cat Burglar. You should meet her. You have no idea the damage she can do. All I can say is that I returned her to her bed and tried to fill her head with 105 reasons to never do that again. It won’t work. The mental illness is coming.

Every now and then I stumble upon a note from Mamasboy that makes me smile. A recent one that came home from church was:

I am very funny. I like jets and trains alot. I don’t like Superman.

Who knew?

I love Scholastic Book Order forms. I could read them and order from them from now until I am 94. And then at 94, I could pay $100,000 to a surrogate mother to have a brand new baby with my certifiable 67-yr-old (9th!!) husband. If I am Zsa-Zsa Gabor. Yeah, they really are. He says he’s retired. If she passes before  him, he’ll raise the baby. And unless he dies this afternoon, I think it’s safe to bet she’ll pass before him.

I don’t know if anyone was as savvy as Miranda the Machine in my Easter Photo Contest Winner post. She noticed that you could actually see the creepy person peeking out through the Easter Bunny costume. Wish I  had noticed that. That sight was almost as frightening as Zsa-Zsa Gabor becoming a new mommy at 94 or finding ScaryPants by my bed in the dark of night. Almost, but not quite.

And the Winner Is…

Earlier today, I offered some of the worst Easter photos ever taken. They were taken by me. And though they are a wreck, I’m so thankful I felt pressured to take them. They represent an honest moment in time.

Tonight I present to you the winner of the Reverse “Best Easter Photo” Contest. It is a reverse contest, because the winner is announced first and you get the opportunity to unseat this winner…if you can. It’ll be tough to do, though, because this photo clearly represents the world of parents who drag their children to the mall to sit on the laps of a predatory costumed character. Then they watch their children dissolve into heaps of traumatized screaming. And then they pay at least $20 to preserve those chuckles forever.

I’m not judging.
I’ve done this.
Not with the Easter Bunny, but I have turned the hearts of my children away from Mall Santas for all eternity. Oh yes, I have. But you’ll just have to wait on that one. It’s only April.

So I present to you the following Winner. Should you have a photo of an Easter fiasco that trumps this, please send it to me. Perhaps we CAN unseat this winner. You have until Easter to try.

Just to make sure we don’t miss the impact of this moment, I have cropped this down into the cast of four characters. Continue scrolling…

This is Mr. and Mrs. Informinator’s firstborn, clutching Mr. BunBun for dear life and obviously pleading to be removed from the situation. He was fine up until the moment the cameras started rolling.

Below is Jessie. You may have seen her beat me in the Cone Off at the park. She was apparently screaming PRIOR to the photo. But after a good healthy spit-up, she was at peace with the holiday. I’m fairly certain she does have feet, but they are lost in the fur of this very large predator.

And this is Jocelyn. She was loving this. Totally.

And let’s not forget this guy. Does he look innocent to you?

I am completely creeped out right now…
Hoppy Easter.

Oh, Easter

I struggle with the Easter Bunny/Fancy Hat side of Easter every year. Every year. I have issues with the Easter Bunny and I don’t wear fancy hats. In fact, I don’t wear fancy anything and fancy makes me break out. But I am SUPPOSED to look fancy on this one day. I don’t really understand this. Is is about Him or is it about us? If it’s about Him, then it should not be about me. And if it’s not about Him, then why am I doing it? I find it a little baffling when commercialism and religion try to link arms and walk off together. Just seems confusing. I’m not trying to spark any controversy or even solve this in my mind, so don’t stress yourself out over this. What I believe about the Easter holiday doesn’t matter anyway. What I believe is this: I believe in Jesus. Every day of every week. I believe in bunnies of the marsh and pet variety. And I believe in eating chocolate as often as possible. I do not believe in eating marshmallow peeps. If Disgusting could be packaged and eaten…oh wait, it can. Marshmallow peeps. Nasty.

But back to the fancy thing. I have always felt the pressure of THAT Sunday, because everyone is fancified to photogenic perfection. Girls have ribbons and lacy socks and little hats. Older ladies wear hats that look like someone glued an igloo on top of a lily pad and called it a new dormitory. Little boys are wearing suits with hankies in the pockets.

And then there’s me.
And my kids.
I try.
I really do.
It’s just so much pressure.

Beyond the outfit, then there is the Easter Outfit Picture. To illustrate the pressure I feel to properly comply, and then the level of failure I experience, I will post the only 4 pictures I took of my children on Easter Sunday, 2008.

In this first one, I decided to butcher the light, smash the newborn into the crack of a chair, and juxtapose pink dresses with a red chair. Awesome. And the baby is spitting.

And since that lighting thing went badly, I’ll try a flash with this next one and go with the over-exposure look. Now she just looks frightened and plagued with male pattern baldness. Cute, though, in a Monkey Sanctuary kind of way…

And here comes the family shot. Everyone look your best and smile for the camera.

Never. Mind.

Hamlet, Mad Libs Style

Recently I drug a large blue Rubbermaid out of the attic to see what was in it. Diaries from 1984. Letters from college and my early married years. And a half-completed book of Mad Libs copyrighted at 1976. I’m certain it wasn’t 1976 when my brother and I did these. I’m guessing circa 1982 and up. We thought we were funny, so we had to be standing in line for our gawky years by then.

But since the book was only half-completed, it was also half empty. I just went ahead and filled that gap in for you, in case you are having an off day. And since Mamasboy is on his third day of fever, we’ve been lying around together doing some of these and cackling together. We may both be idiots, but we laugh at the same things, so it’s fun. Even with fever, we have a good time. Though Mad Libs are mostly designed for stupidity’s sake, you do have to know what verbs, nouns, and adjectives are. And you do occasionally have to identify a “girl in room” or yank the name of a celebrity out of a hat. For us, it’s easy to think of the celebrities. Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. Wait till you see the celebrity I came up with in 1982ish. Here’s an oldie that gave me a tiny chuckle. Hamlet, as Mad Llibbed by Bart and Missy.

Hamlet

This is the soliloquy from the play, “Hamlet,” written by Merlin Olson. In the third act of this round (adj) play, Hamlet, who is sometimes called “the melancholy flapjack (noun),” is suspicious of his stepfather and hires some actors to act out a scene in which a king is killed when someone pours Slurpee (liquid) into his tarantula (noun). First, however, he declaims: To be or not to be — that is the sock (noun). Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the pantaloons (plural noun) and hedgetrimmers (plural noun) of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of biscuits (plural noun), and by opposing, to end them? To die, to sleep — no more. And by a sleep to say we end the thousand natural gifts (noun) that flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to gnaw (verb); to gobble (verb); perchance to jiggle (verb); ay, there’s the leotard (noun).

Oh, Merlin Olson. Good times.

Lita and Her No Teeth

About 4 p.m. today, I was driving home from a crazy circuit of the doctor, the pharmacy, and the pizza joint. Mamasboy has been pretty sick. And this morning, he started in talking about his ears. I don’t mess around with ears. I secured us an appointment with the doctor who already thinks I’m missing some very important faculties, and we did that whole thing. Since we’ve already completely wrecked any hope of a dignified reputation in that office, Sister CamelthatbrokeMama’sBack (her indian name) thought she’d just barge into a closed exam room.  People love that when they have sick infants.

Anyway, we killed our waiting time at the pharmacy by checking each other’s blood pressure, buying cough drops, and standing in the bakery. As we stood there waiting for our free cookie, it occurred to me that MB hadn’t eaten lunch. It was now 3 p.m. He hadn’t been hungry much today. So I said the healthiest thing I could think of, which was, “Would you like a glazed doughnut?” He said yes. And that was lunch.

Anyway, on the way home from all of that fun stuff, I ended up directly behind the company minivan for Lovely Lita’s Sheltering Tree Foundation Inc. Squirrel Rescue. I did not make any of that up. Except that the font on the car magnet was so swirley that it looked like Lovely Uta’s, and it took me forever to find Lovely Lita’s on Google with Uta’s as my search criteria. I had to bypass about 150,000 references to the great and beautiful state of Utah. They don’t rescue squirrels in Utah. Nor should they. Anywhere.

Why do we rescue squirrels? They are rats with fluffy tails. They are dirty rodents. During a Halloween celebration in the park, with children in costume and pizza for lunch, a squirrel jumped down out of an oak tree and stole a full, untouched slice of cheese pizza. I did not see the dirty rodent steal it. But it hit me in the head when he was done gnawing on it right overhead. Dirty cheese-pizza-eating rat. I wouldn’t rescue that guy.

Anyway, when I finally found Lovely Lita’s Sheltering Tree Foundation Inc. Squirrel Rescue, I read the Home Page. And I will share a couple of shocking things with you. Italics are my thought responses, though I’m certain you didn’t need that explanation.

Lita is the little one I named the organization after.  She came to me after a tropical storm came through the area.  At the time, I was only getting a squirrel here and there.  Why? Why were you only getting a squirrel here or there? Are you the squirrel whisperer? How do they find you? She was the only baby that came in to me that year.  I was working as a pet sitter full time when she was a baby so she went with me wherever I went.  When she was old enough to move around she would ride in the car and loved every minute of it.  She would ride on my shoulder and watch the world go by.  She loved going through the drive thru, especially McDonalds, as she would get little pieces of food.  AH, yes.  Nothing says ‘Baby Squirrel Rescue’ like a castoff Happy Meal. When she was about four months old she caught her top teeth on something and one was torn out. Ay Carumba! That is horrendous.

About two weeks later the second top tooth came out, too.  Apparently it had also been loosened when she lost the first one.  Neither tooth ever came back in so she had pulled them out by the root.  Yikers. Since she has no top teeth she is not releasable and lives with me.  She is a really amazing personality.  I’ll bet she is. She loves to come out every day and run around.  When you go into the room she wants to sit on you to be pet and loved.  She will then “let” you catch her and put her back in her cage. I know this isn’t a logical leap, but when I read that last sentence, I thought about Norman Bates dressed up as his mother. And now I’m picturing a toothless squirrel in a dress and a gray wig with a bun and a hatchet.


I’m Hot

And I don’t mean the kind of hot you want to sit across a dinner table from. Yeah, not that kind of hot. I’m just hot, with heat…from the sun.

That’s the week’s theme.

It was funny yesterday. It was a teensy bit amusing this afternoon when I was driving with my head out the window and watching the girls spritz themselves with mist fans. The Informinator was directly in front of me and driving slow just so I’d have to sweat for 3.5 more minutes. But when I got back home from my little stint at the local pool and found the house to be at 82 and climbing with the AC unit frozen over like the floor of the Icecapades and with Todd out of town, all the giggles stopped. Oh, and now my car window will not lower. Here’s a thought, 1988, why’d you have to take away windows that you roll down with one skitter of effort from my elbow? I know, let’s put a $200 motor in the window that will break when it’s 92 degrees outside. If I ever meet that guy…

And apparently I sent Mamasboy to school sick today. I did think he was awfully sluggish. But the house has been hot, so a hot forehead didn’t strike me as uncharacteristic for the circumstance. But at dinner tonight, with the AC guy roaming around fixing this and that (so thankful he was able to come last minute), I laid my already too-warm cheek against Mamasboy’s forehead. Sweet Mother of Olympia Dukakis, he was hot. 103.4. Welcome to your day off school, boy. You get the blankets. I’ll bring the Diet Mountain Dew. We’ll do lunch.

And hopefully I can keep the house below 80 to offset that raging fever.

I’m just kidding about the Diet Mountain Dew.

Summer is knocking

Yesterday we had a fortunate glance into the heat that a pioneer might have experienced. Both our cars have lost their air conditioning. It gets HOT inside a car with 6 people in it. I dare say an open wagon would have been more pleasant, though much bumpier and dustier, I realize. Oh, and a million times slower. I know it’s not really a glance into pioneer living, ok? Just let me dream. A little heat and a subway sandwich has Prairie Living all over it.

And about lunchtime yesterday, our house AC froze up. There was no escaping the heat. By 6 p.m. it was almost 90 in the house and the cars were just as hot.

Let’s just say that i fully appreciate modern living. I like my toilet paper and my AC. And I’m not ashamed to say so.  The house AC was working again by evening, but the children went to bed with very sweaty heads in their upstairs rooms.

The cars, well, that may take awhile. But we will definitely be fixing the van before summer, because I’m not a strong enough woman to drag 4 kids to Texas in Summertime without a frosty vent blowing on me.

Today we are going to the pool to survive this springtime heat wave. In honor of us having skipped a season altogether, I will post a few of my favorite shots from the beachside pool. Summer may bring the mad heat with it, but it also brings the crazy good times.

Good luck on the FCAT, boys!

If the heat is getting to you, bring your kids to the rec center after school. We’ll be there celebrating Day 1 of the FCAT and the modern day amenities of 2011.

The Oreo and the Unseen Things

I’m on a diet.
Yeah. I am.
Most of the time.
The other day I had an Oreo, not because I was especially starved or even because it looked all that irresistible to me. It was there in front of me, so I ate it. I ate it quickly and painlessly and in one sweeping motion of hand to mouth, the oreo took a little trip down my gullet to be seen in the form of a pair of pants that doesn’t fit. Because I didn’t really want the oreo and because I didn’t savor it or lick the life out of the creamy center or enjoy it with the under-7 crowd, I sort of forgot I even had it. But sometime later I found myself standing in front of my bathroom mirror getting ready to go somewhere and I noticed there was black oreo dust all over my mouth. Hmm. I swiped at it quickly. It didn’t come off. So I swiped at it again. Nope, still there. I had to get a warm rag and scrub pretty good to get that one oreo off of my mouth.

That struck me for the moment. One oreo that I forgot about eating stayed with me and the residue of it was evident to anyone who saw me. That made me think about the secret things I say and think that I shouldn’t. Things thought about in my mind only. Or things said only to one trusted friend. Those are the secret oreo. What if those were written across my forehead in Sharpie? Gossip. Slander. Judgmental negativity. Criticism. Selfishness. Just because the world doesn’t see that oreo as it goes in doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

This morning we studied the tongue section of James. I’ve heard it as many times as I’ve heard the pledge of allegiance. For some reason, though, it hit me differently this morning. The statement was made that what comes out of your mouth is the greatest indication of your character that there is. What comes out of my mouth is who I am. Maybe not who I want to be, but who I am.

In the past, I’ve separated these little mouthy things from the rest of me. If I believe James, and I do, I can’t do that and be worth a whole lot.

I recently signed on to a nifty little site called Loseit.com. As you might guess, it is a weight loss site. Since signing on, I’ve done two things: gained weight and maintained the weight I gained. I’m pretty sure I’m throwing off their averages. I’m sure as fire throwing off mine. What is the deal?

The deal is: The little stuff matters.

I’ve been fooling myself for quite some time. I’ve been waiting for some big block of time or some big marathon for out-of-shape chicks to come along, complete with a very edifying personal trainer, instead of taking the 5 minutes I have to read a chapter in my bible or jump rope.  Because the chunks I have are more like scraps, I think they don’t matter. What would happen if I took every spare moment I had and gave it to something that made me better? What would happen if I shunned every Oreo and every preposterous article on CNN.com? And where would I be in one month if I replaced the drivel with things that grow me (not larger, you understand…)?

I have to try this. Again.
Fortunately for me, all the oreos are gone.

Good Intentions, Bad Ideas

Today was a good day, mostly. It had a few down moments and I am certainly in a sober mood right this moment, but all in all, I would classify it as a good day. We went to lunch at a local Chinese place and then went to the library to check out some books. There is probably no place I love more than the library. What could be better than aisle after aisle of books? Having the boys like books is even better. As we were standing in Juvenile Fiction looking for A-Z Mysteries, I was seized with inspiration. We’ll check out Tom Sawyer! Oh, this is going to be fantastic! What a great story it is! What a funny boy he is! What brilliant writing! Fantastico!

My children are 9, 7, 4, and 3. Now you think about what you remember of Tom Sawyer and tell me how brilliant this plan was.

We got done with dinner early and sat down in the living room to read at 6:30. I eventually just had to kick SquishSass out of the room, because she’s just too loud and sassy for real literature. Be gone with you! OUT.

She kept coming back in. As did the impossible language.

While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep — for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of low cunning. Said she:

“Tom, it was middling warm in school, warn’t it?”

Doesn’t that just read like Clifford the Big Red Dog? And then with some negative injun talk and Tom beating the new kid in town to a bloody pulp, I was feeling downright awesome about this choice of reading.

It isn’t Laura Ingalls Wilder. That’s for sure. Still great, don’t get me wrong, buuuuutttt we might put this off a year or two. By then, I should have Sassykins into a good military school.

Down the Hatch!

Well, good Friday evening!

What a day it was. It had Crazy Town Awards Ceremonies, kid meltdowns, one kid beating another kid with a girl’s bracelet, and some horseradish.

If you watched the recent Cone Off in the Park, then you will recognize The Organizer. Erin. She’s really, REALLY efficient. One day recently, she called me and said, “I think we should eat horseradish. For your blog.” Huh? Why? Well, because it will be torture and torture is funny. I agreed. Apparently, Erin showed up at the park last Friday with horseradish and spoons in hand. The only thing she didn’t have was me. And I was using a port-a-potty out in the middle of a forest. But I won’t take you down that nasty road again. You may or may not have already endured 4300 words about all of that.

So, today was going to be the rescheduled horseradish-off. I called her just to make sure we were still on. And then I called her again to ask what our goal was with this. And then I called her one final time to reconfirm what I had previously confirmed. There’s no real need to do this with an efficient person, but I am not efficient, so I had to keep calling. It did work out in my favor, though, because by the end of the third conversation, she had volunteered to pick up my kids (well, they’re not really mine…but they were in my charge today), bring the horseradish, the spoons, some Little Debbie Swiss Rolls to take the taste out of our mouth afterward, AND bring a camera. I couldn’t find my camera. It was hidden under a pile of non-efficiency.  And at the end of her list of what she was bringing, I said, “Then I’ll just bring me.” Awesome.

But back to that Cone Off for a second. If you saw that, then you know that Erin rocked that like she was born to eat that one melty ice cream cone from McDonalds. Three years later, I finished mine, long after even the 7-yr-old had savored hers. I came in dead last. But today, the results were different. It really wasn’t a contest, exactly. It was just a weird way to spend time. I don’t want to call it a waste, though, because I have a new talent and a new sauce for my hot dogs.

When you watch this video, take note of just a couple of things:

  • When I start yelling “I did it!”, you start watching Erin. It gets funny.
  • When Erin tries to talk, listen to her voice. She’s lost it. It wasn’t a put-on. She is practically suffocating here. It sounds a little like she swallowed a talking gerbil whole.
  • When she leans over, notice how close to vomiting she is. It would have been so awesome if she had. Vomiting is fun. Especially when it’s horseradish.
  • During all of this, her sweet daughter keeps trying to give her water to save her life.

Who knew that the girl who can’t handle medium picante sauce would be able to swallow a teaspoon of horseradish without a runny nose? It’s really too bad this is a worthless talent. And in case you are wondering if I am aware that I am a dork, I will answer that here. Yes, I am aware that I am a dork.

So Erin is still the most efficient person I know…except in the eating of straight horseradish.