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If someone could possibly make a nativity out of buttons this would all make sense.

Last night was Dotter's school Christmas Program. (It's okay; she goes to a parochial school so we actually get to say the word "Christmas.") Anyway, Big V spent a good portion of the program pointing the giraffes out to the toddler. And I spent a good amount of time giving him the sideways eyeball.

Dude. They're not giraffes. 

What?

Quit saying they're giraffes. 

Why?

Because they're camels.

Well, they look like giraffes.

No they don't. Those are plain; giraffes have spots. 

Giraffes don't have spots... they have blobs and blotches.

Whatever. Just stop saying they're giraffes. They're camels.

I don't know what that bothers you.

Because giraffes weren't present at the birth of the Lord our Savior.

Do you have proof?

And then I just glared at him until the toddler drove us both nuts and he had to take him out for the rest of the program at which time I was able to update my Facebook status to something snarky about Big V's Jesus being…

When A Child Goes Missing

A girl went missing Sunday afternoon.

Missing.
Gone.
Vanished.
Disappeared.

She was 13 years old.

Thirteen.

The day that I was Christmas shopping and chiding myself for almost forgetting the Santa wrapping paper and performing in my last holiday show of the season and gathering with friends for their annual White Elephant Exchange Christmas party - a mother across town was frantic.

She was panic stricken and not knowing what to do.

She was worried and afraid and scared and confused and overwhelmed.

And I was at a party, sitting in a circle, unwrapping my gag gift: a trashy supermarket check-out novel; you know the kind, with the shirtless man posed on the front cover, long hair blowing in the wind, called The Lady and the Falconer. And I swore to everyone I would read it.

As I was laughing, the mother of a beautiful 13-year old child, was living her worst nightmare.

Her child was missing.

Her daughter wasn't at a friend's house.

She wasn't where she was supposed to be.

No o…

The One In Which I Bestow Upon You Awesome Gifting Ideas. (You are welcome.)

Christmas preparations are in full swing in my neck of the woods! And by that I mean just about everyone I know is finished shopping and wrapping their gifts and they're all sitting around cozy fires drinking eggnog and reveling in holiday cheer. Except for me. Because I pretty much need to get my butt in gear ASAP or Santa will be issuing a statement to my children stating Christmas has been postponed until March. (Don't think I won't.)

Since the spirit of the season is all about helping others (and not complaining about my own situation) I figured I'd help you brainstorm some last minute gift ideas for those Hard to Buy For people you've got sitting on your list. Sure you could always fall back on your standard gift card to the local big box store but everyone knows that's basically another way of saying I didn't care to expend actual effort figuring out what to get you so instead I met my friends for a glass or three of wine and stopped half sloshed to …

Girls Night Out: Thirty(ish) Style!

Sometimes I do something and I think why the heck am I not doing this more often? Because it's awesome. And awesome needs to happen way more often.

Case in point:

The Ladies Who Lunch. Or in this case:  The Ladies Who Eat Double Their Body Mass And Then Go To The Theater And Then Eat Some More.
Which is totally what we did!

As you may or may not have realized by now, one of my most favorite places on the planet is the Young Auditorium at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater because:

1) I love theatre.
2) It's close by.
3) The eclectic array of performance choices each year never fails to impress me.
3) Their prices are very reasonable.
4) This is the closest I'll ever get to Broadway. Again. (Because I've actually been to Broadway but I don't see the probability of revisiting in the near future.)

So my friends and I planned a night to go out to the thee-ah-taahhh. And every cultured woman in America knows that to begin a Girls Night Out you need to start with food…

Necessities: an imperative requirement.

Dear Teenager:

Please take up a hobby. Because right now you have way too much time on your hands attempting to badger me into purchasing a brand new phone for you. Again.

Here's a few thoughts - things I would tell you if you quit whining long enough to listen:

(1.) No where in the Parenting Manual does it say I owe you a phone.

(2.) Your current phone seems to be working just fine since you've called me no less than three times in the last two days to complain about it. Not to mention the various text messages you've sent to remind me of what a piece of crap it it.

(3.) I don't care that so-and-so's mom just got her the brand new iphone 4s super-soaker deluxe model with real 3-karat diamonds for buttons.

(4.) Actually, "just a hundred dollars" is a lot of money. If it wasn't, you'd have it.

(5.) It's one hundred dollars. Not a hundred.

(6.) Get a job. That way you could buy a new phone every week if you so desired.

(7.) In case there'…

Nothing honors the birth of Jesus Christ more than a perverted Santa.

The phone rang that cold, wintery evening several years ago as snow began to fall. There had been talk of a blizzard, worsening road conditions, lots of drifting. It was a night where you just wanted to pull on your sweatpants and cuddle on the couch. Which was exactly what I was doing.

"Uh, Bridget?" [That's me, for all of you who thought my real name was Phoenix.]

Yes?

"That was my friend, Sean - you remember him... the teacher over at the Catholic school?"

Yeah.

"He needs me to do a favor.... tonight.... uh, right now?"

Okaayyy.... what kind of favor?

"Well, it turns out they have some sort of Christmas Party thing at the school and Santa comes and delivers gifts to the kids and stuff except the guy that was supposed to be Santa just called and said he can't make it because of the roads and so since Sean knew I lived just a few blocks away he asked if I'd be willing to play the part of Santa. Do you think I should do it? He said you and t…

This Moldy Spaghetti Sauce is a symbol of my love for you. Or perhaps not.

When I see a ladybug I think of my cousin. She loves ladybugs. Even sports a tattoo of one on her foot. To me, the ladybug is a symbol that reminds me of my fun loving, not afraid to laugh out loud cousin.

When I see an apple I think of my aunt. Her kitchen was decorated with apples. Cheery red walls and apple topped canisters on the counter. I can't help but smile when I see a kitchen towel designed with a screen printed apple for sale. There's my aunt. Right there.

My relationship with Big V has symbols, too. 


I remember when Big V finally got around to putting up the shutters. The house had just been painted and those shutters were the first step in our process of beautifying the outside of our home. Don't you just love the shutters? I'd swoon. Big V put them up just for me!

Those shutters were a symbol of my knight in shining armor. The man I would happily be marooned on a desert island with. Those shutters showed the world that he was my one, my all, my everythin…

What's for Dinner?

Tonight's dinner will be held at a local restaurant.

With a friend I haven't seen in forever.

There will be no children.

Big V will be at home listening to the kids whine about how sucky their Ramen noodles dinner is. (Pretty much the only thing he makes.) (Unless it's a Nutella sandwich.)

Big V will be at home stepping on matchbox cars that have been dropped in the middle of the kitchen floor.

I might stretch dinner to last until Big V has to wrestle the children to bed.

I might stretch dinner until Big V has to get the kids up in the morning.

I might stretch dinner until Big V has to force the kids into the car for church, and argue over homework, and schedule the orthodontist appointments, and fold all the laundry, and scrub the food stains off the couch cushions...

.... but then I'd miss them all and I'd come home.

Maybe.

Slather on the Old Spice - it's Opening Night!

Tonight is Opening Night! And my armpits are already drenched. With sweat. Because I have to sing. About bowling. By myself. Twelve seconds into the show. By myself.

And for those of you that don't know what by myself entails, it's like this: the act of making a fool of yourself while a room full of people stare at you; many of whom are in the cast with you and actually have fantabulous singing voices, so they pretty much feel like you're the one crappy cast member who drags the talent level way down but because they know you could totally mess with their props and jump their lines on stage they will never actually tell you to your face.

Which reminds me of when I did Oliver with the amazing shit-starter Scott Stratton who tried to make me laugh out loud on stage every. single. night. The talented bastard.... oh, yes, Mr. Stratton, I have not yet forgotten. Mostly because the jerk succeeded just about every single night. And there I was, on stage, in front of a room full …

Because God loves the Kardashian's I might have to kill my sleeping partner.

Night Two of the Loud Sleep Breathing. One of us is not going to make it out alive.

I'm surprised more men aren't murdered in their sleep. Although, to be fair, I suppose women could be Loud Sleep Breathers, too, and then they also could be murdered in their sleep. Because I'm all about equality.

In this case, however, it's Big V with the Loud Sleep Breathing complex. It's like listening to Eddie Haskell try to mimic Darth Vader. For hours. But never getting it right. For hours.

And then I gently shake Big V's shoulder. And he moves over to his side. And I get two seconds of golden silence. And then he starts in with the loud breathing again.

And then I poke him in the shoulder. One of those pokey pokes. That hurt. And he moves over to his other side. And I get two seconds of golden silence. And then he starts in with the loud breathing again.

And then I'm going all shaken baby syndrome on his sleeping a$$ screaming things like if you don't figure ou…

So, I heard there's this thing called Black Friday.

I'm still trying to figure out if I survived Thanksgiving Weekend.

In addition to rocking out an awesome full basement clean out, I also managed to singlehandedly consume an entire pumpkin pie, wrangle a toddler's constantly disappearing diaper and a teen's radically erupting hormones. I'm pretty sure there was a third child in the mix somewhere but for the life of me I can't picture how she fit into the weekend. For all I know she spent the entire four days in her room playing video games.

While at my parent's house for Thanksgiving Dinner, Big V was educated on this little event referred to as Black Friday. The man had never heard of it. But there was my dad, waving a Best Buy flyer announcing a 42" television set for only $200!

Why, we must get this TV!

You're on your own, buddy. I don't like shopping. And I don't like people. And I definitely don't like shopping where there are people.

But it's only two hundred dollars! You're …

Supervising Santa

I suppose the reason Santa Claus hates parents so much (and therefore is committed to making our lives complicated and miserable) is because he couldn't have kids of his own. And then Mrs. Claus was all why don't we just take some elves in; they're cute and small - they'll be our forever children. And Santa probably agreed because he assumed if he threw Mrs. Claus an elf or two, Mrs. Claus would throw a bone back at the big guy, if you catch my drift. Everyone knows infertility struggles can cause a tremendous uh, dry spell, between couples and he probably figured if she were happy then he'd be happy.

But then, like some kind of out of control kitten hoarder, Mrs. Claus couldn't stop at just one elf. Or two. Oh, no - she needed hundreds! Thousands, even! And Santa was all what the hell am I supposed to do with all these elves? And Mrs. Claus was all I have a splendid idea! You can take them out to your workshop and they can help you! 

Well, as a parent you kno…

But we can't drop the baby off at the Humane Society.

Last night, as with the previous 1,040 weekday evenings, I arrived home well after everyone else did with only a six minute allowance to urinate, grab something to eat and re-establish an effective antiperspirant barrier to both pits before heading out to drop Dotter off at swim practice and arrive safely at theatre practice.

[Side note: this year's holiday show is dinner theatre at the beautiful Lake Lawn Resort and includes a riveting solo by me. The girl who doesn't sing. Except for that one time when I played an angry - and very intoxicated - Mrs. Hannigan during a review. Here's a hint: my solo involves bowling terminology and a hippopotamus. I'll be signing autographs and taking pictures after the show.]

Anyway, such is my reality that I walk, no, race into the house in the hopes of emptying my bladder sooner rather than later, only to be bombarded with noise. Lots and lots of noise. If you know the adult me you'd know that one of my most common sayings is qu…

Thankfully, Date Night Made Me Think Twice About Killing Big V

Next time Big V is on my shit list I'm going to have to search out where American Folklore Theatre is performing because dat der Guys & Does show was a hoot!

Twelve seconds into opening the crowd was hootin' & hollerin'! I can't even begin to describe it, except to say it was the strangest most hysterical theatre experience I'd ever been to. A lot of people in the crowd came dressed in their camo and hunting orange so that should have been a tip off right there that I was about to experience something unique. I mean: hunting groupies?! Awesome!

The basic premise was a man who had offered to take his young adult daughter's new boyfriend hunting with him for the weekend. While the dad was your typical hunter, the boyfriend was anything but. I thought I'd pass out from laughing when he whipped out his knitting.

When you're laughing that much you can't help but forget why you were mad in the first place. Half the time I was clutching my ribs fr…

oooo.... you're in TROUBLE!

Tonight is Date Night. The one in which we go to the theatre to watch a musical about deer camp. Except I want to trade in my date. Because right now Big V is irritating me in a major way. Like, in an I'm about to spear your eyeball with this fork if you even utter one more word kind of way.

It started last night when I entered our home after a long day at the office only to find several able-bodied people plopped in various comfortable positions around my living room. They called it relaxing.

The Bean had a long day at school (that ended at 2:30pm).
Dotter had a long day at her school (that ended at 3:00pm).
And Big V had a long day at work (that ended at 4:00pm).

I walked in from my long day at the office at 6:00pm.

All three turned their pathetic heads towards my direction and one of them - the biggest one, also referred to as the Role Model, actually voiced the words out loud - so that I could hear them: what are you making for dinner?

Well, that pretty much sealed his fat…

Veterans Day

The following words aren't mine. In fact, they've been around so long people may have read it a time or two before, but on this great day I suspect it bears honor to read it again. I wish I knew who wrote it but I think he or she would rather each and every one of us personally thank a veteran for their service rather thank them for writing these words.



Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a Jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, A piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: The soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe Wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?



He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is …

Frank Breneisen Pottery

There is a potter located in a quaint little village by the lake.

His name is Frank Breneisen.

I am in love with his pottery. 

He also travels to faraway lands.

All by himself, carrying only a single backpack.

And he sketches what he sees in journals.

He is nothing short of amazing. 

Planning for the Future

I just realized if I go blind I'm totally screwed because I don't trust dogs. Or monkeys. And there just aren't a whole lot of helpful seeing eye cats available. I once heard about someone using a miniature pony to help them get around but we all know how I feel about horse teeth. That is so not happening.

I'd rather go deaf. Mostly because I am experienced at exaggerated facial expressions which makes me confident that I could still get my various points across. Also, my primary form of communication happens to be Facebook and ridiculously lengthy text messages so that wouldn't change a bit. And everyone knows I don't talk to people out in public because I'm freakishly convinced of Stranger Danger to the they're-going-to-duct-tape-me-and-hide-me-in-the-trunk-of-their-car degree.

Not to mention, with the amount of whining and complaining that goes on in my house, a little bit of peace and quiet would be well deserved. But that got me thinking:

If I do…

Darn you, Manwich, for not speaking to the masses!

I left Big V alone with the children.

Which meant the house was clean, the pantry was stocked, the toddler had just drifted off to sleep, the teenager was taking her 4th nap of the day and the 10-year old was in the car heading out with me.

All he needed to do was sit on the couch and ensure the safe escape of two children should the house spontaneously burst into flames.

And also he needed to make dinner.

"The frying pan is already on the stove," I said, pointing to the pan sitting on the stove.

"The can of Manwich is already next to the stove on the counter," I continued, pointing to the can of Manwich sitting on the counter next to the stove.

"As are the buns." I pointed to the buns.

"All you need to do is get the hamburger out of the fridge and fry it in the pan. Then, drain the grease. Put the Manwich in. Heat it up for a few minutes and it'll be ready to eat."

Big V looked at the stove. "So, I just fry the hamburger? Drain the gre…

Guys & Does: The Perfect Date Night

Next Friday Big V and I are venturing out into public not only with each other - but with good friends of ours (we really want them to be our "IT" couple... you know, the go-to couple: for dinner and drinks and vacations in Belize when they win the lottery and become filthy rich). We're heading to (my favorite place) The Young Auditorium

Now, before you go and jump to conclusions about how boring it's going to be for the guys to spend an evening at the theatre... We are going to a deer hunting musical. THAT'S RIGHT! A show about hunting up north in Wisconsin! Complete with song and dance!

Considering one of the first questions a girl in Wisconsin asks a potential suitor is, "Do you hunt?" (which is translated roughly to "will you abandon me for weeks on end in the winter months leaving me to deal with the high-strung, house-bound children all alone while you're guzzling beer by the cases and laughing about farts with your buddies?")

Her…