Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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 born under the watchful eye of an 18-foot cud chewing mammal.

Then, today I was reading what The Bloggess wrote about how there's probably hula hoop porn - but she doesn't necessarily partake in it, regardless of what her neighbor might think, and sure enough, there really is hula hoop porn (but I was way too chicken to click on that link) and then The Bloggess said that there's basically porn for everything and that got me thinking about hopscotch porn because if you think there's a lot of wiggly and jiggling going on while hula hooping imagine what the jarring motions of hopscotch could do?

Then that got me thinking about Big V and his giraffe attended nativity and I thought huh. Maybe if there's hula hoop porn there might possibly be a nativity with a giraffe in it and guess what I found?

Yes, Virginia, there really was a giraffe present at the birth of Jesus Christ!

And then that got me thinking about how I've been wanting to collect things for awhile now but I just can't come up with the right thing to collect. I thought about collecting buttons because they don't take up much space, plus every shirt and sweater I buy seems to include an extra one in a mini plastic Ziploc bag and I never know what to do with them. But then I thought what if people find out I collect buttons? They'll want to give me buttons as a gift. Which is cool to grow my collection, but let's be honest. Who wants to open a button for their birthday?

So then that made me think maybe I'd start collecting nativity scenes. Only strange ones. Like this one:



But that got me thinking about how I am actually terrified of owls for two reasons: (1) they're always glaring and I'm basically terrified of anything and anyone that glares (which explains my irrational fear of Jack Nicholson) and, (2) my sister once loaned me a book and said I had to read it and it was this horrible psychological thriller about a guy who kills his friends off one by one and leaves this little owl figurine at the scene of every crime.

And so then I thought about what messed up nativity scenes I'd surely receive because I've got some really twisted relatives. And friends.

And then I decided I'm definitely not collecting nativity scenes. Because of the nightmares and also because they take up way more space than buttons and I hate clutter. So, I guess I'm basically saying I'm open for suggestions. Because I want to be the type of person who is remembered by others when they're out shopping.

"Oh, look at this beautiful music box! Aunt Susie will absolutely love it!"
"...and then we saw this gorgeous dolphin sculpture and immediately thought of you!"

See, there really isn't anything out there that people see and go, "A-ha! This is absolutely Bridget!" Although, now that I think about it, maybe buttons is the direction to go because they're basically everywhere.

"I was about to throw out this sweater but then I remembered you collect buttons, so I took them all off and here, I'm giving them to you."
"And then I looked down on the ground and wouldn't you know it? A button! Like it was a sign from God!"
"So, I come out of the john, buttoning up my pants and I totally started thinking of you!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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 one knew where she was.

And no one knew if she would ever be seen again.

It's those things that aren't said that goes through a mother's mind; things that you must push down and push aside so you can try to remember something, anything, no matter how small - something that will make a difference.

How do you sleep when your child is missing? How do you eat? Where do you go? Do you stay? Do you go out looking? Where do you look? What do you do when you can't find your child?

Within hours news hit our small community; a place where everyone knows everyone else and everyone is connected by just two or three degrees of separation:

Her aunt is my friend.
My daughter is in her dance class.
I work with her grandmother.
They live across the street.
I went to school with her mother.

Everyone in this small community seemed to be thinking the same thing: this is way too close to home.

Fliers went up everywhere. In every store. At every corner. In every school. The rate information was shared virtually was astounding.

People prayed.

Family prayed and strangers prayed. Please, please bring her home safely... Protect her, dear Lord... Don't let her go, Lord... help bring her home... please, please just find her and bring her home....


And all those prayers were answered.

She was found last night.

The media release the news that police gathered information from her computer and quickly came to realize there was a very real possibility she was in the company of a 21-year old man from Nebraska. An Amber Alert was issued which included a description of the car and the Nebraska license plates. The car was found at a motel in a neighboring community. So was the 13-year old girl.

And this news brought together a great sigh of relief...

and also some incredibly insensitive commentary.

I suppose it's easy to jump to the assumption that this girl's parents are a bunch of morons who allowed their young daughter unsupervised time on the internet and so what did they expect? It's easy to say that this happened because the computer should have been in the living room where all the perfect parents of all the perfect children keep their computers. (Even though none of us truly know where the computer was stationed in their home.) And I suppose it's easy to say that this would never happen to our child because we don't allow our daughters to talk to 21-year old men.

I suppose if you said any of that then you wouldn't have to really deal with what this situation has brought to our attention:

Is the answer unplug the computer? 
Or do we have some real work as parents to do?

I have a daughter who is 10. Once, at a local high school football game some high school boy was walking by and said hi to my daughter. By her name. Who was that? I asked. And how on earth does he know you? "Oh, that's one of Katie's brothers friends. He was there when I was spending the night."

Now, I'm pretty confident saying Katie's mom wouldn't invite a child molester to spend the night in her home. But then I thought -- how does one actually recognize a child molester? Because I usually do only after their booking photo is released.

I have another daughter who is a junior in high school. She has friends who are freshman in college and we happen to live just twenty minutes away from the college. It is not inconceivable for her to get together with her friends for dinner in order to catch up. In fact, I would encourage that. Learn about college life! Listen to how fun it is to live in the dorms and meet all sorts of neat people and then perhaps that will encourage you to choose more seriously when you're considering colleges. And so it wouldn't be so out of the realm of possibilities to have my daughter get together with her freshman college friend... who happens to bring along a sophomore college guy friend because it's his birthday.... and now my 16-year old daughter is hanging out with a 20-year old.

I pray that 20-year old is interested in other 20-year old's. But that isn't always the case.

I think back to when I was a teenager. And I thought I knew all the answers. And I thought I could handle it all. And then I remember how I felt when I found myself in the middle of a situation I didn't know how to get out of. Because I was young. And I didn't have the experience or knowledge or know how.

I pray that every older person in my children's life will forever have my children's best interest in mind and not their own. And I pray that for your children as well.

It's easy to say the answer to keeping our children safe is to unplug the computer.... and I absolutely, 100% agree that there needs to be very real controls when it comes to children and the internet --- but we say the fault is the computer's because as parents there is a comfort in that. 


A 13-year old should not be allowed on the internet. 

There. We wrap it up nicely with a neat little bow so we can go back to our holiday prepping and reminding ourselves we still need a gift for the Sunday School teacher because the reality is we don't know how to keep our children forever safe and that reality scares the life out of us.

We don't know how to glance through society and pick out and stop the 21-year old creep who would actually drive all the way from Nebraska to a small town in Wisconsin to pick up a 13-year old girl.

We don't know how to stop the teenage boy who happens to be at the same house during a sleepover from inappropriately touching our daughters - and if you think that would never happen, I have a good friend of mine who would tell you otherwise. And she would unapologetically explain it is that exact same reason none of her children have ever been allowed to sleep over at anyone's house.

We don't know how to stop the college boy from trying his luck with the cute high school girl because, well, she looks older than what she actually is and she was totally flirting with him and so obviously she wants it.

As adults we need the answer to be unplug the computer because the real answer is so incredibly overwhelming.

Because the real answer involves raising moral children against a sexually charged society - where babies are put in bikinis at 9 months and girls with huge boobs sell chicken wings. Where images of men seducing women are casually displayed in ads painted on the side of a city bus and during a commercial break at the 6 o'clock showing of Wheel of Fortune.

The answer is raising young boys who believe with every fiber of their being that it shows true strength of moral character to respect a girl and not that it's cool to have sex by the time they're a freshman in high school because 'they're the man.'

The answer is raising girls who don't want to have sex just to get it over with because the pressure from their friends is just too much, but rather patiently waiting for the guy who will happily sit at the family dining room table and study with them; and not to even bother with the guy who defines a date by honking the horn in the driveway and parking alongside some cornfield for a quickie.

The answer is cleaning up song lyrics and music videos and what's flashing across our television sets. I grew up when George Michael was scandalous. My children are growing up when Lady Gaga is flopping around topless in a tank of water and Rose McGowan shows up on the red carpet wearing a see through dress and thong.

And even then the answer doesn't come close to figuring out how to identify and deal with the sexually deviant. The answer doesn't stop the kidnapper from taking a girl walking down a street so that the last image of her alive is him pulling her by the arm behind a local car wash. Even then the answer doesn't stop the seemingly nice looking man from grabbing the young lady running through the hiking trails and leaving her for dead.

The answer doesn't keep our children forever safe. It just does the best that we can.

For the rest we rely on our community.

We need our neighbors to keep an eye out and stop when they see something that doesn't look quite right.

We need our friends - and the friends of our children - to say something to us when they hear something concerning.

We need our community to pass out fliers, and share information on Facebook, and search in the nearby woods --

and we need them to pray.

We need to remember that we're all in this together. Each and every one of us should do our part to keep all the children safe because in today's society we need all the help we can get.

We need to remember that support proves far better than judgment and working together for the common good will reap benefits far more becoming than pointing fingers and laying blame.

This beautiful, young child is only 13 years old. This is a defining point in her life, but with the right guidance and support this will not define who she is.

Although, I wouldn't mind if the way we came together as a community defined who we are.


**

I believe very real controls should be in place with children and the use of computers. Computers should be located in main/open areas of the home and not used late at night. Webcam use needs to be clearly defined. In a world where families benefit from webcam conversations (like the father serving in the military overseas) some very candid discussions and absolute rules need to be in place. However, the reality is, we don't always have control over what happens in other homes. I know children who don't have their own Facebook account, but actually sign on using a friend's account password. In my belief, every bit helps - so control as much as you can in your own home, and educate, educate, educate! Also, make sure your children have someone they can go to - no questions asked - if they think something not quite right may be going on. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

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 grab you this gift card. You should be thankful I physically got out of the car to purchase it. Which reminds me, when is Walmart getting a drive through? 


Yes, gift cards say all that. So, allow me to move you back up to Best Gift Giver EVER status with the following suggestions:




Perfect for your four year old nephew who can't
stop body ramming you around every corner
and who still hasn't learned to shut the hell up.





Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Mary.
Here's a little something for your Catholic grandmother...
it's perfect because old people eat a lot of toast.





For the person who needs everything to be just so....
the perfect solution to avoid crazed murderous
holiday meltdowns in the kitchen
(although, admittedly, they are fun to capture on video
and upload to your YouTube account).






Every parent likes to know how they can improve
on what they're already doing:




For that really weird cousin whose name you drew
that you're pretty sure has never succeeded in any 
normal social interaction:







Finally! A bedtime classic kids can actually relate to:




For the man who has everything; 
including an odd obsession with bacon...
(I'm thinking of you, Joe Falcone.)







Ladies! A little book to help get you in the mood.... 
or to just leave around the house 
in the hopes that your man will open it and TAKE THE HINT.





and for my Jewish friends - 
you know I would never forget about you 
during this snowy season:


Thursday, December 15, 2011

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. And drinks.

My dear friend, Kim, suggested the restaurant - which ended up being a Mexican joint in a strip mall called Cozumel. And Holy Mary Mother of Jesus was this food awesome! And the drinks were ginormous! And we asked the waiter to take the obligatory we're all here at the same time picture except he was kind of weird about it so we all look like we're slightly afraid of him. Which I admit I totally was.

Ummm... does he know he has to push the button?

The food was delicioso (delicious) y barato (cheap) and I'll totally go back with Big V because that guy could eat a horse and still be hungry.

Then we made our way to the theater to watch a musical comedy called Church Basement Ladies: Away in the Basement - and I can sum it up like this:

 do-whopping bible verses = AWE.SOME.

Although we did have to Google egg coffee (which I would recommend you doing the same because there is no way I can do it justice here) since the show kept making reference to Lutheran/Norwegian foods, of which none of us had any experience.

We also learned about a smelly fish they served at a church supper which had been soaked in lye called Lutefisk. It sounded funny and cute when they were singing and cracking jokes about it but I have a hard time understanding why a church would want to serve poisoned fish to its congregation. Apparently Lutherans have tough stomachs.

They also have teenagers that acted just like my teenager! Seriously - the actress that portrayed the 15-year old was freaking amazing. I bet even she hates herself after a show.

There were a lot of laugh out loud moments in the first act (the pastor walking in on a crotch shot comes to mind) which was just what I needed. Then I decided I also needed a drink. Which me and gal pal G decided to track down at intermission.

Being that the coffee was at one end of the lobby and the alcoholic beverages (a.k.a. Bar) were at the other end, and also that the cardinal rule of girlie friendship is Always Do Everything In Pairs, my dear friend G waited patiently for me to get my booze. Then she came to my rescue and paid when I was told they only accepted cash, which to me is kind of one of those things you might want to point out before they pour the drink because it's the 21st Century and I don't carry cash. Neither do millions of other people. Except G, obviously, because she actually had cash on her person but that is so not the point.

Then we wandered across the lobby to the coffee side and I pretended not to feel like the sole lush of the group. G asked the pretty girls behind the pots if they had regular coffee, which they did not at that particular moment but would shortly should she like to wait. Which G gladly agreed to because she needed her caffeine whereas I was content sipping my booze through my theater friendly plastic cup and didn't even realize we were waiting for anything at all.

Then the lights flickered which meant we had two minutes left. But that was okay because the regular coffee was finally ready and the pretty girls behind the pots were team working to make it happen: one pouring a cup, the other collecting G's cash. And then we power walked back to the auditorium doors to find our seats before curtain only to be told excuse me, but you can't have that drink in there.

Huh? Me?

The coffee. It doesn't have a cover. 

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see the covers - I'll go back to get one.

There are no covers.

Excuse me?

Nope. There are no covers for the coffee. No cover; no coffee. That's the rule. You'll have to drink it in the lobby. By yourself. While your friends are watching the show.

(Okay, so only half that sentence was actually spoken. You get the point.) 

And so it was that G had to throw her coffee away if she wanted to see the rest of the show. She did say the one sip she had was pretty good.

But here's what I'm thinking:

They had theater friendly cups for the hard stuff but not for coffee. Regular or the decaf. And who can slam a cup of coffee at intermission? Coffee is sipped, not slammed.

Hey, pretty girls behind the pots... it might be a swell idea if you told people something along the lines of "there's just two minutes left of intermission so you can certainly choose to stand here and wait for this pot of coffee to finish brewing but the fact is you won't be able to take it with you into the show and I highly doubt your taste buds or esophagus will appreciate the scorching if you attempt to guzzle it. I suggest saving your cash and then getting a cup of coffee after the show."

Is it just me or does this whole thing come across as they'll encourage the drinking of alcoholic beverages but the coffee drinkers are shit out of luck?

To get past the coffee letdown (and maybe also to prove we weren't old fogies who were home by 10pm on a Saturday night) we headed over to Perkin's for a late night cup of coffee and piece of pie. Except I couldn't eat the pie now that I know I have celiac (gluten is my lye) so I ordered sausage links and bacon. Best late night snack ever.

And then we went home because it was midnight and sooner or later we had to accept the fact that we weren't in college anymore and there were little human beings waiting for us at our homes that depended on us for their emotional and physical well being and, let's face it. we're not getting any younger.

There's just something special about gathering your friends together for a night out. As we get older there seems to be a lack of places to go. The bar makes me feel old. And hard of hearing. But the theater was the perfect place. I do believe we'll have to go again.

We asked some guy in the lobby to take our photo. 
He totally looked like he was zooming in on our girlie bits.
Not a bad photo for a perv.

Monday, December 12, 2011

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's an awful emergency and I need to get a hold of you I will more than likely call the land line. It's an ancient procedure but one I'm proficient at.

(8.) Yes, I realize it's so unfair that I won't get you a new phone.

(9.) It's also so unfair that 1/3 of the world is starving and that more than 15 million children die from hunger each year.


(10.) Maybe you ought to take a few minutes to rethink your priorities.

Merry Christmas,

Love Mom

Thursday, December 8, 2011

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 the girls can come with."

Let me get this straight. Some teacher at a private Catholic school wants you to dress up like Santa Claus and interact with young children under a false identity?

"He said they have the costume there."

Hell, yes, you should do it! I'm not missing this for the world! Grab your coats, kids - we're about to witness something spectacular!

And so we all piled into the truck and carefully made our way the six blocks over to the big church on the corner.

Remember, you can't promise things like a new baby sister or a puppy - parents get pissed at that stuff. Hey, wait, do Catholics even believe in Santa Claus? Shouldn't they have asked you to dress up like a Shepherd? Or Joseph? Even a gift giving angel makes more sense than a Santa. Also, you have to stay in character the whole time... even when you talk to another adult, or a teacher, or me. You never know when kids are listening - they're sneaky like that. You have to use the Santa voice the whole time. Do you even *have* a Santa voice? You should practice. Are you going to have to lead a prayer as Santa? Do you even know how to pray? Is Santa even Catholic?

And then Big V was whisked away to a back classroom at the end of a dark hall while the girls and I were escorted into the Lunch/Gym/Basketball Court/We Only Have One Big Space In This Entire School So This Is Where We Party At room. And it was filled to the brim with kids. Lots of them. Hyped up on sugar. Lots of it.

"Hey, Ma." My littlest leaned towards me. "Does Big V even know how to be a Santa?"

I don't know, honey. But we're about to find out....

And as if on cue, jingle bells began to chime in the distance.

The teacher gathered the attention of the children and their parents, "Shhh.... do you hear what I hear?"

SAAAAANNNTAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

And just like that way too many children were making way too much noise and jumping up and down.

"Ho! Ho! Ho!" In walked Big Santa V, decked out from head to toe, and he looked, well, like Santa.

"Hello, boys and girls! Have you been good?!"

YYYEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

Again with the screaming.

My oldest leaned towards me from the other side, "he looks... good?" Trust me. I was in as much shock as she was. He did look good. And he sounded good. And, hey, maybe he could pull this off. Look at all those smiling faces....

And just then the teacher announced that it would be piñata time ... because apparently Catholic Santa's are known for busting candy out of papier-mâché containers shaped like Sponge Bob Square Pants. Who knew?

So all the excited kids formed a wide circle around the surprise piñata which was being hung from 40-year old ceiling tile, which was probably dropping toxic asbestos on to the heads of the innocents, but no one seemed to mind. Not even the parents, who busied themselves with their video cameras because you can't miss an opportunity to record the destruction of artwork with a stick for the sole purpose of immediate sugar gratification.

Then, into the center of the circle strutted Santa. Oh, yes. There was a strut. Because, you see, Big V is a very athletically competitive person. And in his mind, he had a baseball bat and he was walking up to home plate ready to score the winning run.

Until the day I die, I will never fully understand why Big Santa V chose the following words... as he strutted around the children, twirling that stick:

"Who wants to see me WHACK IT?! Who wants to see Santa WHACK IT?!"

And - my personal favorite - as he pointed his big stick to some unsuspecting 5 year old boy: "You! Do YOU wanna see Santa WHACK IT?! Do you wanna see Santa WHACK IT HARD?!"

And that would be the one and only time Big V was ever asked to portray Santa Claus at the local Catholic School.


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a most Joyous Hanukkah
to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

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 everything.

Relationships, like life, have seasons.

Currently we're in the Symbol of Spaghetti Sauce Season.


Six days ago, I lovingly prepared a boiling pot of water and dumped some pasta in it before rushing out the door to get to my curtain call in time. I had exactly 27 minutes between arriving home after work and hustling out the front door to get to the show. In those 27 minutes I chose to feed my loving partner.

After quickly applying another coat of mascara and brushing my teeth, I managed to drain the noodles and take out a jar of sauce. Now, let me explain. This is not just any sauce. This is my secret sauce. As in I want to make you believe I can cook so I'm gonna use this $8 jar of sauce that seriously tastes like heaven in a jar. Or, as it's more commonly referred to: Big V, you have no taste buds of which to speak so there is no way in hell I'm wasting this phenomenal $8 jar of sauce on you. Go get the Ragu. 

But I felt bad because I haven't been home lately and, well, he was agreeing to actually sit through my show later... so I set the jar on the counter and said, "Here. You can use some of this - BUT REMEMBER TO PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE WHEN YOU ARE DONE. If you don't, I will have to kill you."

The next morning I saw the jar - half used - still sitting on the counter.

My wonderful, beautiful, heavenly Victoria Arrabbiata sauce - left to rot alone on the kitchen counter.

"Uh, why is this still here?"

Oh. I must have forgotten it. I'll put it back in the pantry.

"It can't go back in the pantry; it's open. You have to put it in the fridge. I told you to put it in the fridge. Why isn't it in the fridge?!"

Fine. I'll put it in the fridge.

"You can't put it in the fridge!"

You just said to put it in the fridge.

"Yesterday. Yesterday I said to put it in the fridge."

No. Just now. Just now you just said 'put it in the fridge.' You said it like thirty times. How can you not remember?

"How can you not remember I said it last night?! This was my only jar of good sauce - and now it's filled with germs and eColi and the Black Plague!"

It's fine.

"No it is not fine. It says right on the label to 'refrigerate after opening.' That means, after you open it - you put. it. in. the. fridge. It's not that difficult."

Well, since it's not that difficult maybe you could figure out what to do with it.

"Me?! You're the one that should have to throw it away now that you wasted it!"


And so it sits.

On the counter.

Where it has remained for the past six days.

Getting moldy.

A jar of spaghetti sauce symbolizing the stubborness of the active participants in this relationship. (Although, he did admit that it was one mighty fine jar of sauce.)

What's your symbol?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

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 of people expecting something amazing and there I was snorting and holding back laughter. My, lord, but he is incredibly talented, that one! If you get a chance to see him perform - don't pass it up. He's in the Chicago area. 

Anyway, the good news is: I wrote the lyrics myself!

The bad news is: I still can't remember those tricky lyrics I wrote. Why did I make them so complicated?

Also, it's roughly 98 degrees backstage and -12 onstage so I'll probably catch pneumonia. And then they'll have to wheel me onstage in one of those huge iron lungs so I can do my part. Which will be tricky because there are stairs involved. Just saying.

And, yes, I realize they don't actually treat pneumonia with an iron lung but the visual wouldn't have been as funny if I had said, "I'll probably catch pneumonia and then be prescribed an antibiotic." See, you don't feel sorry for me at all, do you? But you were just about tearing up picturing me in a negative pressure ventilator, weren't you?

Wish me luck tonight.

NO! WAIT!

Don't do that. That's like, really bad luck. You're supposed to say break a leg but I'm so insecure I usually answer with why do you hate me so much? when I hear it and then spend the rest of my life in quiet fear of your obvious annoyance of me.

Maybe if you send me good vibes I'll be so amazing Christopher Walken will want to play opposite me in a musical comedy and use my song! That would be totally epic. Mostly - okay, completely - because it's Christopher Freaking Walken!

You should come see our show. Each and every one of my treasured readers. If you let me know you're in the audience I'll totally try to work your name into my song. I swear. Unless there's too many of you. Then I'll probably just randomly shout out names throughout the performance. I'll just let the audience assume I'm a bowler with tourette's.

You can find more info about our holiday musical RIGHT HERE! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

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 out how to breathe in silence I'm taking this pillow and show you silence! Because I believe in communicating your feelings.

And the next evening, when I shuffle through the door after a long day of consuming 14 cans of sugary Mountain Dew in an attempt to keep my eyes open after having only slept twenty consecutive minutes at a time, he looks up at me and says, "I hope I'm not getting sick; I woke up this morning and my throat was really sore."

This is what I get for judging Kourtney Kardashian and that boyfriend of hers - the one that looks like a weasel - for sleeping in separate bedrooms. When I heard she was pregnant again I thought, "why bring a baby into an environment where mom and dad can't even sleep in the same bedroom?! That poor baby..." And then God was all, "DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS!" (Because my God always talks in capital letters.) And just to prove his point he infected Big V with Loud Sleep Breathing - which honestly is way better than leprosy, so I probably shouldn't complain - but now I feel like I should write Kourtney an apology.

Dear Ms. Kardashian:

Specifically Kourtney.

Not the other Kardashians.

Because I'm probably still judging them.

Dear Ms. Kourtney Kardashian:

I accidently jumped to conclusions about how dysfunctional your relationship is with The Weasel. Well, not exactly "accidently," per se... more like "intentional" - but you get my point.

See, I assumed that you and The Weasel were on the outs because you sleep in different bedrooms and I think it's pretty stupid to stay with someone you can't even stand to sleep next to. But then God heard my judgment and got mad at me because, well, God loves you. (As evidenced by the ridiculous amount of fame and money you and your family make for doing absolutely nothing.)  (Except for Bruce. Bruce literally had to work his hiney off for that Wheeties Box, but then again, he's a Jenner and not technically a Kardashian. But I digress...)

Anyway, God has inflicted my guy (who isn't a weasel at all) with Loud Sleep Breathing and now I can't sleep. In fact, I haven't been able to sleep for a long time. Too long. And also he's been getting up at four o'clock in the morning to go to work which also wakes me up because he has this ridiculously loud alarm. And I get that you're just coming home from a night of free dining and boozing and schmoozing at four in the morning, so you're also awake, but what you might not get is that I have to go to this thing called A Job and then actually be able to function. I don't get to sleep in until noon on my extra fluffy pillow top mattress covered by my 3,000 count Egyptian Cotton sheets while the housekeeper is busy dusting my mini blinds and watering my plants.

So, for the sake of Big V's life (and also my sanity), I sincerely apologize for judging you. I now get why you sleep in separate bedrooms. It's because The Weasel breathes obnoxiously loud in his sleep, isn't it? I understand now. Really. I do. So if you could just let God know the next time your people set up a meeting with His people that I learned my lesson and maybe ask that He please turn Big V back into a silent sleeper that'd be just swell. Thanks.

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