Showing posts from July, 2010

Did You Get Enough Food, My Dear? Or Would You Like Another Ton?

Keeping with the Australian theme (unless you're absolutely traumatized by yesterday's post ), today we tackle food & food etiquette. Remember, I was a shy, nervous 10 year-old, travelling around a foreign country without my mother. Technically my father was there, but he was busy visiting old family and friends - like the Fosters and the Four X's ( hint: XXXX in beer label ) - and didn't really pay attention to the fact that it was his job to explain every little detail of what to expect to his anxiety ridden daughter. For instance, he should have forewarned me that the second I asked for ketchup I'd be asked to repeat it over and over and over again for no significant reason. (Around the 27th repetition I figured out they call it tomato sauce and ketchup is just a really silly word they liked to hear me say.) Then there's that whole biscuit is a cookie and french fries are chips but chips are crisps and well, it's utterly exhausting to be speaking t

Toilet Training: Australian Style

When I was 10, I went to Australia. We flew for a very long time and landed in a small airport in northern Queensland, where my Father, older sister and I were met by some strange man who spoke in a very strange accent. I was nervous and shy. We all got in this man's car and drove "home." "Home" was half a day's car ride away. Except I had never driven in a car for that long. Ever. I didn't even know it was possible. In my world, everything was located ten minutes away. Going to the grocery store? Ten minutes. Going to the bank? Ten minutes. Going to church? Ten minutes. So it made sense in my 10-year old mind that I would get in this car and ten minutes later, upon reaching our destination, would get out of this car. Except we didn't get out. Ever. Ok, not ever. We did stop at some dusty shack along the side of a dusty road where I was handed my first ever Cherry Cheer Soda (which I would drink 2,763 of during my six-week stay). Then we got ba

Why I Never Took My Friends Up On Their Offer To Set Me Up On A Date

"Hey! I got a guy for you!" Suh-weet! I could use a good look-see. Whadyagot? "His name is Kenny." Okay. Decent name. Better than Horrace. "He's crazy! Absolutely crazy! A NUT!"  As in certifiable? Or like streak through the Summerfest grounds after spending 2 hours in the Leine's tent crazy? "He's divorced - has two kids..." Well, I'd be the pot calling the kettle black on that one... "His wife WHACKED him!" Whacked him? What the hell does that mean? "Took him for everything he's got." Ah, so he's poor. "He's a musician - never around - especially during the summer. Always playing gigs."  Nonexistant. Super. Perhaps I could meet him when he rolls out of bed around 2pm. "And boy does he like his vodka! Starts drinking at 7 in the morning!" Well, I guess that means he doesn't sleep in as late as I thought. "In his 50's.... but he likes the young broad

Not What Martha Would Do

We have a rule in our house that before a friend comes over or before you go to a friend's house, your room must be clean. The problem with this rule is that 9 times out of 10 I'm sitting at my desk in another town when the Bean calls up to excitedly ask if she can go to so-and-so's house, assuring me her room is most definitely clean. Then, when I get home and open the door, I realize I've been snowed. Again. She comes home, I yell, she giggles and says something like, "well, I didn't know you were going to actually check ." I know. The gall, right? Except she's snowed me over at least 27 times already so you think I'd be smart enough pick up on it. Hello! She's 15! She has no intention whatsoever of actually cleaning her room . I swear I'm as clueless now as I was in high school. (I swear I had no idea people were drinking vodka out of their McDonald's cups during those football games.) Well, I'm not letting this little 15-ye

When is Too Much, Too Much?

Who on earth agreed to tattoo your nose?

Get Your Schnitz Outta My Ear

In an effort to drum up new readers, today's blog post will feature some of the Greatest Women in the State. They could up their title coverage to Greatest Women in the World  if they ever bothered to read this blog ; but let's not go there. I'm still not over the trauma of learning they'd rather have real relationships with real people rather than read my blog. The only exception is Sue. Sue reads my blog. But, let's be honest. That's because she stays home with her two small children every single blessed day and the weather hasn't been condusive to outdoor playdates, so she can't have real relationships with real people. She can only be a mom. So, to escape that hard truth she can either read my blog or drink large quantities of wine. Perhaps she does both. But the most important detail is that she actually reads my blog. That's why I love her. I also love her because she's my cousin. But mostly because she reads my blog. (Even if she is 

25 Things You Didn't Care To Know About Me.

This was written a while ago, but still rings true today. 1. I don’t trust dogs. We had the nicest, gentlest dog in the entire world – and then he ripped a kid’s face off. Yes, off. I don’t trust dogs and I internally panic when I see people bury their faces anywhere near a dog’s teeth. (7/22/10: I can add that my little niece was bit yesterday by the nicest, gentlest dog in the entire world. That dog was nice and gentle, but it still had teeth.) 2. Our dog’s name was Collie. It was a border collie. My brother was an idiot. 3. My brother disappeared when he was 4. (This was the same brother that insisted our collie’s name was Collie.) There was a search party and a lot of fear. I know how easy it is for kids to vanish into thin air and I am petrified it could happen to mine. 4. The first penis I saw belonged to my grandfather (my dad’s father). It was unintentional as he was sitting on a chair at an outdoor get-together and that’s when men’s shorts were a little too short for t

Sheep. Or, How To Cash In On A Life Insurance Policy And Make It Look Like An Accident

I believe my childhood ultimately is what made me stronger. Let me be more specific... SURVIVING my childhood is what has made me stronger. There is a long standing belief in our family that my parents tried (unsuccessfully, as of today's date) to kill off their offspring. Take for instance the sheep. One day my dad decided we needed sheep. Lots of them. We had no idea why. He used to do these things when we were kids - random, unexplainable things that no one understood. I used to think he was just a stereotypical eccentric artist; now I realize he more than likely had consumed one too many cans of Pabst prior to coming to that profound decision. And so we became the proud and very sudden recipients of a herd of sheep. They were kept in a pasture. A large pasture. Huge. With sun and shade and even a small creek emptying into a shallow pond where they could drink. A fabulous pasture where they could run and frolic and do whatever it was that sheep did together. Periodically

The One In Which I Hope Gypsies Steal My Oldest Daughter In The Middle Of The Night

Oh, stop judging me. It's just a title. Albeit one full of insight and obvious frustration. Oh, Jelly Bean. How I adore your perky little 15-year old attitude. Full of self-entitlement and anger. I, too, was once fifteen. I, too, was full of anger. More anger than you are full of because I was a middle child and you happen to be the respected first born. I had to wear hand-me-downs. Lots of them. My entire life. And my older sister was pretty. And smart. And talented. And had lots of friends. And got her very own dog named Princess for her birthday. And even though Princess only lasted three days because the thing was an idiot, the point was she got her very own dog and we lived on a farm . And don't even get me started on the whole bath time routine... the one where the First Born got to bathe in fresh, clear, hot water and I got the leftovers. Imagine bathing in someone else's exfoliated skin. You have no idea if they farted in that water and yet here I was, expected

Life's Big Choices

At times I struggle with anxiety. I fill with dread at the thought that I might not be making the right choice. I question whether I'm truly living life to the fullest. My mind overloads with thoughts that I might be missing opportunities, walking by something that was truly meant to be experienced, throwing away time by fearing unchartered waters. I'm of course talking about deciding what to eat for lunch. Look, people. I sit in a closet. Literally. They took the doors off an existing closet and 'lo and behold, I've got my own personal work space. My desk isn't even a desk. It's a computer credenza. Lay two rulers end to end and one of them is falling off. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's my space. In Mommy Land this space is more valued than the bathroom at home. (read: my children cannot access this space. It is mine. It's all mine!) I sit here for hours upon hours each week wondering if anyone knows my name

All Together Now!

This is what's been keeping me up at night.... It's not going to help much considering he has just one tooth on the bottom.

So Close and Only Three Bra Sizes Too Small

It's no secret that I would love, Love, LOVE a job in social media. Unless you didn't know me. Then you wouldn't know that. It wouldn't necessarily be a secret, though. It'd just be unknown to you. Because I would be unknown to you. Anyway. You get my point. Hopefully. To me, there would be no greater thrill than getting paid to face, blog, tweet, flick, space, and digg for a living. (I shortened them because I'm hip. That's right, kids. Mama is "Hip.") My witty commentary could actually earn me a paycheck and I could finally say, "Hey, Mom - remember when you told me that when I talk and talk and talk and talk I exhaust you ? Well, guess what? These people PAY ME to keep on talking! How's that for irony?!" And also I wouldn't have to pretend to be working when I wasn't. I'd actually be working. Today I saw a job posting that was just about perfect. It was a full time position in the city. ( Ooh! I could take the tr

Negative, Facebook Request.

Remember when I had to beg and plead for my second grader to attend a private Christian school? And the Chairperson of the School Board really didn't want us there because I am the epitome of sin? And they made me feel like crap but it was really important to Dotter so I sucked it up and didn't say anything (except in my trademark passive aggressive snarky commentary on my blog )? I mean, it was bad enough that I was unacceptable by Christian School standards, what with all my out-of-wedlock  children, and living in sin, and swearing and stuff. I admit to all of that. But Dotter didn't do any of that. In fact, she tells me all the time how I shouldn't swear because it's bad and I could go to "the opposite of Heaven." Anyway. Remember how I thought it wouldn't be a big deal that my non-cussing, non-hussy 7-year old attend a school where she would learn about love and forgiveness and grace and peace and the unending limits of God's love and underst

Collection Calls

I hate answering the phone in our office. What irritates me further is when I answer the phone and it's not even work related at all, rather some collection agency looking for some woman who obviously had issues paying her bills but who does not work here. For the first year I tried to be helpful explaining this was a second line in an office we recently acquired; that this is a business and that woman doesn't work here; that it's been over a year and we've never heard of this person and perhaps it's about time to update your stupid records and how did you get this job anyway if you can't even do something as simple as update your records to show this lady is not here . You know, helpful things like that. Seriously, people. It's been over a year of this nonsense. It's time to have a little fun with this. Telemarketer:  "Hello, is Barbara there, please?" Me: "Oh my god! Barbara?! You mean -- you didn't hear ?" T: "

Rules to Live By

Everyone has Life Rules they live by. I have Life Rules I live by. To me, they're less general guidelines and more black & white unalterable restrictions. And they're not some willy-nilly nonsense; these are based on actual childhood experience. I know what works and I know what doesn't. And that's just how it should be. So, here I will let you into just a couple of my Life Rules just in case you need help determining yours. 1.) Never open an exterior door after dusk for longer than two seconds . A bat could fly in and wreck havoc in your home. Your kids will be scared to pieces thinking they're all going to die of rabies and demand to sleep on your bedroom floor and your father will wake you up in the middle of the night by stepping on your face as he tries to smash the rabid bat with a broom and you'll never, ever get the sound of a shrieking bat, nor the image of a middle-aged man jumping & swatting over your face wearing only tighty-whiteys out of

Has Anyone Seen the Baby?

To be fair, we did not just leave him on the park bench. We remembered to take him home. (Third Child Syndrome)

Did Someone Lose an Appendage?

When I was 14-years old I woke up and found an arm laying on the bed next to me. It was an uneventful evening, I'm sure, mostly  because I was a dorky 14-year old who wore purple plastic framed glasses à la Sally Jessy Raphael. I didn't do much of anything. Ever. Except sit all angsty and moody in my room, wondering why I resembled more of a zoo animal and nothing at all like the girls on the cover of Seventeen. And also I hadn't started boozing it up at that stage in my life, so really I'm pretty certain I had spent the evening watching the Cosby Show and picking fights with my siblings. Then I went to bed. Completely sober. My eyes fluttered awake, my bedroom washed in the soft pinks of an early sunrise. *sigh* Another ordinary, uneventful day I thought, turning my head to the left to see what time was displayed on my alarm clock. And that's when I saw it. Holy shit! What the hell is that?! IT'S A FREAKING HAND!!  (Sorry for cussing in my thoughts, Mom.

Could he be hungry?


Does this make my butt look big?

A while ago the family and I went to get our pictures taken. This was somewhat of a big deal in and of itself because we've never had our photos professionally taken before. I'm not a big fan of the posed. Or trying to figure out coordinated outfits. Or the anxiety-ridden drive filled with "don't touch your hair - we're going to have to brush it again" and "stop licking your lips - they're going to look chapped" and "why did you make your sister cry? Now she's got puffy eyes and snot running down to her chin." Also, my only experience with Family Portraits was at one of those - you know - mall stores, where thirteen different families wait in what looks to be a closet at the rear of the store. Not fun. But we went... why? Because the pictures were FREE! And I never pass up free stuff. And they were done by a real professional photographer. The kind that had his own studio (which included a kitchen set because he was currently work

You Should Eat Here. It's That Simple.

Midwestern life includes farming. It's just the way it is. And on farms, you get fed. You get fed real good because they need you to keep working, and let's be honest, a plate of raw fish is not going to get you to stack hay in a 300-degree haymow for very long. Lunches (or dinners, as they're called) on the farm is simple: You sit down at the table and you eat what was cooked. There's no pesky decisions to be made; no choice of appetizers, no "put that on the side, please"- just good, wholesome, food on your plate, waiting to get et. Those were the ways of my youth. Fast forward to the present, when my main meal of the day usually comes bagged by some pimply kid in a dorky hat. I missed the old farm lunches. I missed the love the food was made with. I missed the wholesomeness and the way the food stuck to my bones.... UNTIL I FOUND THIS PLACE!! It is with my pleasure (and a certain amount of giddiness) that I introduce you to Sharon's Sweet Shop. A l

Black & White and Nothing In Between

"Okay, Mom. I'm ready to go now." There stood my 8-year old daughter. The one I affectionately refer to as Dotter on my blog. Because 'dotter' literally means "daughter" in Swedish. And "literal" is the best way to describe my daughter, Dotter. Comedian Mitch Hedberg joked, "I once saw a forklift lift a crate of forks. And it was way to literal for me." My daughter would've been in heaven. Of course a forklift would lift forks. Why else would they call it a forklift? Any other explanation would be ridiculous. I sighed. Loud. Obnoxiously. Rudely. "Mom, you said we could go to the store sometime. I'm ready to go now." She had her money ready to go in a Ziploc bag. I knew it she had already counted it out. Probably twice. "Go comb your hair," I directed as I lifted my hands out of the kitchen sink where I was washing dishes. Really, it was easier. Easier than trying to explain that the definition o