Friday, February 29, 2008


Each of these quotes from the dinner table this evening aptly demonstrates my daughters' developmental stages, I think.

The Bear: "Mom, you're like my best best best best best best best best best best - that's a lot of bests! Say 'That's a lot of bests!' Mom - best best best best best best best friend. In the whole world. Ever."

Tank: (grunts) "I'm pooping! That's a lotta poop!" (pauses) "It's coming out of my butt!"

Never let it be said we lack for topics of dinnertime conversation at our house.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Um, yeah. I think Ezra Pound must have wintered in Chicago:

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

There's a Winter Storm Warning out there right now, and I have the flu. Goddamn.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Well, that's it. Tank is Two. I have no more babies. The Bear trots off to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa without even looking back for me, and Tank is officially a Big Girl. I'm always complaining that my kids are so small and so needy, but now that they're growing up so fast, I'm a little sad about it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Calling Miss Manners

Dear Miss Manners,

I may have recently committed a well-intentioned lapse in etiquette. A friend (co-worker, more than a mere acquaintance, but not exactly a Saturday-night kind of friend, although I'd like her to be) recently emailed me with a request to borrow a recipe. She's admired my culinary prowess before, so this is a compliment, but she was requesting a recipe to serve to her book club, relating to a specific book. Now, I'm an English-major bookworm nerd-type, and I was very excited to hear about a book club with people my age in it, reading books that I like. Naturally, I provided her with a recipe that I thought she'd like (well, I actually tailored a specific recipe for her and the book, but she doesn't need to know that!), but I insinuated in my reply that I'd love to be invited to her book club. I joked that I would give her a recipe in exchange for an invite to book club. Was this in poor form? I know it's rude to invite oneself anywhere, but I felt that by mentioning the club specifically in the email, she left the door open. After all, it's equally rude to mention a party to someone who's not invited, correct? I don't want to appear intrusive, but I really want to cultivate a friendship with this person, and I really *really* want to join a book club. Did I put my e-foot in my e-mouth? Or was my subtle hint an acceptable nudge? Please advise.



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sixteen-year-old Crackhead's Guide to Naming Your Baby!

Welcome! We're glad you've chosen the Sixteen-year-old Crackhead's Guide to Naming Your Baby, today's premier baby-naming source. We'll show you how to choose the best possible name for your baby.

Step One:
You'll want to choose a distinctive-sounding name, something that nobody else will have. You don't want your child to be one of a million Olivias, Isabellas, or Sophias in her class, right? Here's a tip - if you've ever heard it before, it's not the name for your baby. Not sure how to pronounce it? Now we're talking?

Do you have your heart set on an "ordinary" name? Can't be convinced to give it up? Spice up that "normal" name with a few extra letters! Love the name Julia? Add a few more letters, and Juliyah will be a hit!

Step Two:
Have you ever been somewhere? Anywhere? Vancouver? Memphis? How about naming your baby after a location on the map? What about good ol' NYC? Any of the five boroughs will do - Brooklyn? Bronx? Not just a fun place to visit - take a trip down memory lane every time you call your kid for dinner!

Step Three:
Consider a last name. Preferably one that's hard to pronounce. When in doubt, add extra letters!

Step Four:
If you can't find a name you like in the Sixteen-year-old Crackhead's Guide to Naming Your Baby, just make one up!

As I sat making out the valentines for the girls' classes at school, I was appalled by the names some of these people inflict on their children. In thirty years, some of those kids are going to want to get a "real" job, and they're going to get laughed right out of the office. That's one resume that's going to get thrown in the trash without even being read, I can tell you.

Pop Quiz: Which of these names are made up, and which are real names that people have given their children?


I double-dog dare you to see if you can figure out which of these are real kids from school. I was dying. I mean, sure, I've been accused of weird taste in names. When I was pregnant, names like Evangeline and Gwendolyn were tossed around, and my girls have what some would consider "fancy-pants" names. But whatever. They can have short nicknames now, and if they ever put their name on a resume, they won't have to be ashamed of themselves or of me.

Another post is brewing about how today was a fabulous day, the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, etc., but for right now, amuse yourselves by imagining what you'd name your baby if you were a Sixteen-year-old Crackhead. My girls would be Mackenzyie and Schkuylar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nobody Knows Me At All

It has been brought to my attention, recently, that nobody likes me. I'm not trying for a sympathy play here - oh, poor baby. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms. That's not it at all. It's just a simple statement of the facts: nobody likes me. I have had this pointed out to me in a most kindly, detached, professional manner. People don't *get* me.

I think that I'm a hard person to like. I know that I'm a hard person to get to know and understand, and I think that the two are related. I've never been a popular girl, and I've never had many friends. There have been a few here and there, but I've never had very many.

I'm not really sure what it is about me that makes me so hard to like. Sometimes I feel really awkward, like I don't know what to say or how to act, and I think that's part of it. I'm uncomfortable around people a lot of the time, and I tend to try to fill in the silence with anything, which usually results in me sounding stupid.

Then, too, I'm an only child, and I think that being raised with only adults, not any other kids my own age around, was a big factor in my turning out like this. When I was little, I had lots of friends my age, but that's not the same as having siblings around to help socialize you.

I'm a very sarcastic person. I can't help it. I have been all my life - ever since I can remember. It's who I am. I am bitter and cynical and sarcastic and... dark. I just am. It's as natural to me as breathing. But not everyone likes that. And I can accept that, but I can't change who I am, any more than I can train myself to walk on my hands. So I'm not Miss Mary Sunshine, and I'm not a very happy person, and I don't know how to act like one. I tell dirty jokes - I think they're funny (I don't tell the ones that are in really bad taste, though). I curse like a drunken sailor - I have since fifth grade. I tend to overshare, usually to fill an awkward silence. I'm not very pretty, and I'm not into the trendy popular stuff that so many people are into.

I'm what we call in my business an "odd duck." And apparently it makes people uncomfortable. They don't like it. And they don't like me.

So, now comes the big decision. How do you move forward from something like this? Can I put up the walls that I need to, to keep people from seeing what they don't want to see? Am I strong enough to do that? I honestly don't know. Or should I move on, find a place where people can deal with people who are different than they are? Can I find a pond where odd ducks are welcomed? I haven't yet. Or, when you look at it, and realize that you've lived a life entirely without friends, a life where nobody has ever liked you for *you*, picked you first, wanted you most, thought you were great - can I really stomach another seventy years of this? It's not a very appealing prospect.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lazy Maisie

It's totally okay to eat junk food for dinner and then sit on the couch all night and eat marshmallows from the bag and watch tv, right? And to do it with your kids? Because you're tired and sad and frustrated and crampy and cold and did I mention tired and mostly just lazy?

I was complaining to my dad on the phone about how the kids are trying to kill me, and he told me that one night of utter sloth never turned anyone into a psychopath or a C student, which was comforting. But I still feel the guilt of not being a good enough mom.

Actually, I think that I feel guilty about *not* feeling guilty about it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Puppies and sunshine, with some unicorn tails for good measure

Things here are shitty. They suck. If you were here, you would probably have me committed, a la Britney.

I am angry. I am very, very angry. I am pissed off at the Universe. It has fucked me over royally, and I don't care who knows it.

(If you're sitting there thinking that the Universe isn't really responsible, and that it's either A) God or B) me, or even that things aren't all that bad, please click elsewhere. Now. This is *my* nightmare, and you aren't going to rain on it.)

My life is not the life I want. I don't like it. I don't enjoy it. I deserve better. I think that's my big problem. I deserve better, and instead I got this, and that pisses me off. I, Jane, am a pretty pretty princess and a Kennedy and a Mensa candidate and a few other wonderful things, and I might as well be living in a trailer park with a man named Bubba and a pack of rottweilers.

I deserve a man who will fawn over me, a man who will think that the sun shines out of my ass, and worship the ground I walk on. I deserve someone who will treat me like I am the Grand High Pooh-bah of the World, a one and only irreplaceable treasure. Once upon a time, I had that. I was with someone who thought that I was made of diamonds held together by fairy dust and the grace of the Baby Jesus. You know what I did?


I deserve children whose noses don't run all the time, who think I am perfect and gorgeous and the World's Coolest Mommy. I deserve children who sleep through the night, who dress themselves and wipe their own asses, who are brilliany baby geniuses, who never cry and always smile and are never, never sick. You know what I have?

I have children. Normal children. Just like you, and her, and that lady over there. They fight and yell and scream and cry and poop and puke and run and dance and give kisses and hugs and sing songs and count to ten (!) and ask "Why?" more times than I could ever count. They're gorgeous, yes, but definitely human.

I deserve a job that pays me what I'm worth. I deserve a job that recognizes the ways in which I bust my ass for other people all day long, how I spend way more time than I have working to do my best, how I struggle to find the nicest, best way possible to tell a mom that her son is a ginormous bully, or that her daughter is acting like an idiot to try and fit in with the other girls her age. I deserve a job that gives me respect, the respect that I don't get from kids, kids who think I'm just a talking head out to give them more homework. I deserve a job that allows me to buy food and medicine, with enough left over to fix the smashed-in front end of my car.

Instead? I make $21.25 an hour, when you break it down (assuming that I only work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. Ha.). I get sass and attitude like you wouldn't believe. I get ignored while I'm talking. I get blamed for other people's problems. I get treated like hired help, instead of a trained professional.

I deserve a house. That's it. A house that's mine, that I can decorate and clean and arrange and just *be* in. I had it. It's still there, empty. I'm not there.

Instead, I'm here, sharing a 3 bedroom, 1000 square-foot house with 7 people and two cats, including two toddlers, a teenager, three diabetics, a crazy lady*, and a female who insists on wearing that hideously offensive Axe body spray for men, which smells like burning flesh and melting plastic. Did I mention that the cats think their mission in life is to kill the other and take all the food?

I deserve friends. I'm likeable. I'm slightly too loud, I tend to overshare, and I curse like a sailor if I'm not careful, but I'm smart and funny. I'll braid your hair and make you friendship bracelets. I deserve a book club, people I can call that I'm not directly related to or living with, someone who asks how I'm doing and genuinely cares.

Instead, I am completely alone. I have colleagues, all of whom already have friends, and a husband, who is nothing like the man I thought I married. And a computer. And a blog. Which at least 87 people a day visit and read, but only two or three usually comment on.

I deserve a high metabolism. I deserve to be able to eat anything and everything I want, all yummy things that are bad for me, and still be able to fit into my size 6 jeans. I deserve boobs, and an ass that doesn't jiggle when I walk.

Instead, I have to diet and give up everything that's any good because I don't have any money for even bigger pants.

I deserve to be happy.

And I'm not.

*Ok, that's me, but still.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Mommy Police

So, I try* not to be super-judgmental about other people's parenting choices. But sometimes, you see things that are so blatantly Capital-R wRong that you have to stop yourself from approaching people and lambasting them about their children's behavior.

The Defense would like to present into evidence Exhibit A: Lady With Too Many Kids.

Tonight, to celebrate my FIL's birthday, we went out to eat at Generic Western Steakhouse. You know the kind - mediocre food, lots of peanuts, throw the shells on the floor. Well, in the entry/waiting area of GWS, there's a giant barrel of peanuts with a scoop, waiting to be shelled and thrown on the floor. Which, whatever. I don't love peanuts myself, and the constant underfoot crunchiness isn't appealing to me, but okay, that's fine. It's a gimmick.

As we're waiting, with various degrees of patience, Lady With Too Many Kids (LWTMK) comes in with, obviously, her too many kids in tow. This lady was seriously out of it. She didn't even hardly look at her kids the entire time I was watching her. They came in, headed straight for the barrel of peanuts, and started scooping them out and dumping them on the floor, and stomping up and down all over them. Now, sure, the temptation to stomp is strong in one(s) that young, but the older ones were like 8 and 10 - surely old enough to know better. I'm just kind of staring at them, as they continue to hurl full scoops of peanuts - unopened, uneaten - to the floor and stomp right the hell down on them. It was like a little peanut-stomping orgy. I couldn't tear my eyes away. I don't think it's a bad thing if, say, mom eats the peanuts first and then puts the shells on the floor for the kids to stomp on. At least that would imply some involvement on her part. But those kids had to have stomped a couple of pounds of uneaten peanuts in the ten minutes I was watching them. They were shrieking and digging their hands in the barrel and all manner of ill-behaved hijinks, and the mom just sort of sat there and stared into space. The only time she spoke to them or redirected any of them was when one of them (5? 6?) lay down on the floor and tried to smash the shells by rolling around on them.

Now, I've been so irritated at my children that I zone out on occasion - it's better than yelling, IMO. But never would I take them out in public if I was feeling like that - they might as well have been there alone for all that she was supervising them. Why not just stay home and order a pizza? They can destroy their own house without anyone being the wiser, and LWTMK won't even have to make the pretense of watching. I was just appalled at these kids and at the mom's lack of intervention. My own kids wanted to stomp a peanut shell, and I made them get one (just one) each, and then they had to eat the peanut first before they could stomp the shell. Even if it is just peanuts, I can't ever condone flagrantly wasting food like that. Not to mention annoying the hell out of innocent strangers who just want to eat their overdone steak in peace.

Am I crazy?** I thought it was hideously inappropriate, but nobody else even seemed to notice. Maybe they were all hiding their shock and disgust a little better than I was?

*Try is the operative word here, obviously.
**Any more than usual?