Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's Spring in full force here in our world. It's been fun to walk around the new hood and see what happens 'round these parts in the spring. Checking out the neighbor's flowers, finding out that the trees in our own yard have their own special timing to sprout their new sprouts and bloom their new blooms.

What's not so fun is realizing that the gargantuan tree adjacent to our house on the street, the one that provides such lovely shade in the summer, is also a fiendish super-species that belches out copious amounts of little spherical pollen-bombs. It's eerily creepy, in a sci-fi way, how much seed this bad boy spills out. It's covered the sidewalk, it's clumping on our shoes, it flies in the windows. It's possessed.

I know that it will end. But, in the meantime it has a side effect. Henry has allergies. Having the ginormous pollen gusher vomiting what can only be described a wee tiny miniature fribbles all over the house is causing issue. It required a trip to target for more allergy medicine. We've tried bunches of them, but have settled on cetirizine /nasal spray combo for the ultimate in pollen prophylaxis.

First, a shout out to Target for their new "up & up" brand. Buying Zyrtec for everyday use is an expensive proposition. Don't get me wrong, if the drug can stop Henry from spewing snot showers on his computer screen regularly, I'm down with it. But, props to Target for taking a stand and selling the same damn stuff for WAY less.

But... (and you knew there was going to be one didn't you?)... who in the name of all-that-is-holy designs the packaging for these little mini-gems of prevention? Who takes what is essentially a pill the size of a new-born rolly-polly, and puts it in a package that is obviously designed to withstand a nuclear blast? Not to mention be thwarted by human hands (impossible) or kitchen sheers (not without some serious post-kindergarten snipping skills).

Perhaps there is some nefarious underground group that uses cetirizine as the base ingredient in the newest designer drug? You know, the one that gives you such an amazing high AND ensures the whitest whites in your eyes and no sneezing while hallucinating! Yet, let's be realistic. IF this is used by creepy drug lords, they might be a little put off by the anyone-proof packaging, but I have a sneaky feeling they're gonna find a way around it. And, yes, I too can find a way around it - I just don't really want to have to.

I understand the blister pack mentality. And that would be super if a little weak-assed plastic and an opposable thumb was all that was between me and the little orange drop of chewable pill. But NOOOOO! Layered upon the blister is a mantle of paper-backed-foil that has been attached to the blister pack with an incorruptible adhesive. Sure, there's a minuscule little secret entry labeled "peel" in the bottom left hand corner, but a) you still gotta get out the shears to get to the secret entrance and b) even if you do snip along the prescribed dotted lines, the tension between blister pack and incorruptible foil is so great that it's nearly impossible to grasp the .0000765 inch flap and successfully pull it back to free the drug.

Me, I've taken to just hacking it apart with the kitchen shears. Screw the dotted lines, the challenging corner peel, and the blister release after peeling. I only have about 50 minutes from the time Henry wakes up to free the drug from it's casing and get it in his mouth before he leaves for school. If I did it the right way, I'd need to set the alarm for 3a.m. just to prepare myself for the onslaught of package attack.

I'm done ranting now. I am going to take another walk through the hood this morning. I am going to make note of any other homes that are adjacent to the monster-pollen-producing trees like mine. I'm seriously thinking of buying a few pairs of strong kitchen shears, tying some ribbons around the handles and leaving them as secret gifts. Surely one of them is also wresting a package of zyrtec to the ground and would appreciate the sentiment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Holy Layout Batman!

Last night I tried to update the "look" of my blog. I don't know why. I had finished the Sunday crossword and had some time on my hands.

Now, I am looking at the thing and I realize that most of the pictures are not showing and the posts are all kafloogy. So, the question is, do I take the time to go back and fix everything, do I just reset it back to what the original design was, or do I follow my own advice and not dwell?

Too many questions for early Monday morning - on a rainy day to boot. For now, I will walk the dog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Non-Dairy Creamers

Today I opened my "blogger dashboard" just to see what's up with what. I like to check on some of the blogs I follow, and I also like to make myself feel badly for how long it's been since I've updated.

But today! Today, besides catching up and feeling guilty, I got some great electronic advice. Today, I had an intriguing little message from Amazon about how to turn my tiny little unsuspecting blog, with a grand total readership of 25, into a real cash cow. A money magnet. A way to pay for loads of things without really working. I just need to advertise. For Amazon. And, if other blogs that I read are any indication, well, I could advertise for a whole bunch of other nifty stuff and pretty soon...yup, pretty soon, the big bucks would start rolling in. Now that's something I can sink my teeth in to.

Still, I have some reservations. They'd be the same reservations I have when I open up my gmail account and realize that someone must have sent me an email with a bawdy joke in it cause, damn, if there isn't an advertisement for the miracle cure to erectile dysfunction in the side bar. It's just fricking creepy.

This morning I was working on some accounting for Cambodia Tomorrow and my sidebar is already full of accounting for non-profit stuff. I also got an email from Henry's science teacher changing the date of the 5th grade science fair - yup, sidebar change to "Books by the Foot" and "So, You Wanna Be A Math Teacher?". Gmail mines for subject matter better than Shell looks for oil. Fricking Creepy.

Let's say I invite Amazon in to my "home" here at blog central. I write a post where I recommend "Little Women" as the best book I've read lately. Simultaneously, in the same post I wax philosophic on the assorted attributes of Coffee-Mate vs the real-cow-deal for my morning cup 'o joe. Given the alarming and formidable accuracy at which data can be mined in a single post - I have a sinking feeling that those two topics put together may just end up redirecting my 25 blog readers to "Girls Got Cream" - a raunchy porn site that I swear I have never visited, but was able to get wind of with just two easy clicks of my search engine today. Imagine the speed at which that connection could be made if I had a big giant computer for a brain. Fricking Creepy.

(For those that have trouble following along: Little Women = Girls, Coffee-Mate = Cream. Are you with me now? Thanks for catching up - - it made so much more sense in my own head.)

Alas, for now gentle readers, I am going to have to pass on the ride in the "let's make money while blogging" train. While I sure could use those big bucks - with my luck I'd just end up with a whole side bar of porn. This, indeed, might serve to increase my readership - but then I'd have a whole 'nother problem on my hands. Fricking Creepy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Don't hardly put any photos of the girl up. Maybe it's cause she's not around to provide food for fodder. Maybe it's because she's old enough that she shouldn't be bantered about on her old mom's blog.

But, since I think of her every day - it's only fitting that I put her on every once in a blue moon. Cause isn't she sweet?

Tis the Season

And we begin. Baseball 2010. The team? The Angels. The league? Juniors. The game? Far better than T-ball...

Last week's opening game started at 3:45 started mild and sunny. Was the perfect combo of boys playing baseball and reconnecting with families from last year. It ended up 3.5 hours later with most of the fans and players fervently wishing for something to keep them warm. A coat. A jacket. A beach towel from the trunk (that was me)! The temp dropped perilously low (mid 40's) and the wind was blowing off the pacific in a steady frigid onslaught. It didn't take long before the give-a-damn was broken for both teams. When you're that cold - winning looses a whole lotta meaning! When they tied it up at the end of the seventh - there was much rejoicing. A TIE! That's the ticket. No winner. No loser. Now, let's go get warm!!

I had to call friends, who had Henry for the afternoon, to let them know that the normal 2 hour game time has been extended, but my hands were shaking so badly from the cold I could hardly make the call. But, I tell you, I got some great friends. We pulled up at their place and they met us outside with steaming cups of cocoa. Now THAT'S what friends are for.

Today's game was shorter and was played in absolutely gee-or-gee-ous San Fran weather. Sunny, high 60's - perfect day for a ball game. It was a win for the angels.

So, 2 games down - 13 to go. 1 win. 1 tie. And so it goes...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oink and Croak

Note to all my extremely liberal blog readers: This may be a post that you might want to skip. Forewarned is forearmed (or so they say).

Lately I've been feeling hinky about something. Hinky in the sense that I feel bothered, but I can't exactly put my finger on it. Hinky in the sense that when I do put my finger on it, I end up feeling like a selfish toad. Hinky in the sense that I don't think of myself as your basic selfish toad - and yet...

I might start by supporting the I'm-not-a-selfish-toad thing. Not to ring my bell or anything, but I do my share of giving. I donate to a decent number of well meaning groups. MS Society, Cystic Fibrosis, Breast Cancer - you know the ones. I try to support my friends who are walking or riding or swimming or skateboarding for the causes and charities that they hold dear to their own hearts. I participate in the walk-a-thon, the this-drive, the that-drive and the who-knows-what drive to support our kid's school who does a great job of ensuring that lots of different kinds of folks can attend there. I give my time and my money to Cambodia Tomorrow to ensure that our school there is successful. I even give out the occasional money to the guy on the street. And yet...

What I'm finding bothersome and disturbing lately is how much more I am expected to give. For things that don't have much to do with me. Just things that, because we have enough money, someone else expects us to give to them. It's like a great number of Americans have embraced the notion that they "deserve" things - things that they don't work for and oftentimes things that they don't even appreciate once they've been given.

I graduated college with a degree in elementary education. Not exactly the most marketable degree - and certainly not the way to start earning "the big bucks." I spent a few years living on the edge. The edge of not being able to pay my rent, my childcare bills, my food bills. So, it's not as if I don't understand the "need." And, yet, with some hard work I managed to get to where I am now. What I am beginning to resent is that there are so many who don't want to do the work to get there. They just want me to finance it for them. And this bothers me. More than I would like it to.

The whole premise of taking from the rich to pay for the poor niggles me. The whole premise of "I'm entitled" bugs me to no end. I know it's not PC. I know it's not popular (hence the selfish toad thing). But, darn it. I worked. I earned. I sacrificed time away from my kids to ensure their futures. And yet, there are those that feel that because I have it - well they should get it from me. Why? I dunno. That's what stumps me.

And the worst of it is that when I am forced to give it away - taxes for this, fees for that - I get the sense that it's not appreciated by the lion's share of those who get it. There's no increase in volunteerism, there's little "giving back" there's just this gaping hole of "I deserved it." One tiny snapshot: Look at the survivors of Katrina. Many are still sitting on their keisters waiting for someone to come and bail them out. They didn't get enough. They weren't given everything. They're pissed off cause it wasn't made exactly right for them. Another tiny snapshot: A family who receives food stamps is asked to give back to the same community by helping to pick up trash and is incensed that they "have to." Why? I dunno. That's what stumps me.

Maybe I would feel better if I knew the people who were getting the benefits of the money that we give. You know - we could match up haves with havenots and try for the quid pro quo kind of thing. I give you money, you volunteer somewhere. I give you money, you help clean up the neighborhood. I give you money, you get to be the crossing-guard at your school. I dunno. Something. Anything. Some kind of tit for tat. Something for something.

Instead, my experience is that I give the money and I volunteer and I help clean up the neighborhood and I am the crossing guard. And I am the one who pays for social programs and foots the bill for a better health care program. For all that, and we still have to work harder to ensure that our own children go to University. Yup. Selfish Toad.

Croak Croak. Oink Oink. And now, let us return to our regularly schedule programming....

Monday, March 15, 2010

He's got the look

Invited Guest: Henry
Event: Bianca's Birthday Party
Theme: Dance Party
Challenge: Dress as your "favorite rock star"

The result....

It's freakish and disturbing what a t-shirt I bought for myself in London, a pair of skinny jeans that George the Younger has out-grown, a little eye-liner and a good deal of hair gel can do to the kid. Egads.

He had no clear idea as to who his favorite rock star was - so I had no choice but to raid my own closet and jewelry box (hey! nice bracelets!) to develop "the look." George the Younger thought he looked very "Emo." I have no idea what Emo means, but I'm hoping it doesn't have any connection to kiddie porn. Like I said....EGADS!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jack Sprat and the rest

According to my younger sister, yesterday was the coldest temperature recorded on that day in the history of Phoenix, Arizona. I am in Phoenix.

My suitcase contains the following: shorts, t-shirts, cute little summer dresses and a couple o' bathing suits. What I need are: jeans, sweatpants, gortex and a hat. Today I am wearing 70% of everything in my suitcase all at once. I look like a bag lady. Unless the temp warms up today, I will likely have to wear the other 30% of my suitcase tomorrow - and let me tell you, the thought of putting on two bathing suits under my little summer shift is not altogether appealing. Although, on second thought, it just might be the way that Spanx was discovered. Two layers of slimming Lycra under a dress. I suspect if we had a cut-away view of all the beauties at the Oscars we might have just seen a Miraclesuit or two. It would be handy if you think about it. There you are in your lovely gazillion dollar designer dress. You're bored at one of the after Oscar parties and then someone suggests taking a swim for fun. You're ready. Cool beans.

And speaking of the Oscars. We watched them. I am here in Phoenix enjoying my well-adjusted-middle-child status with my two book-end sisters. We don't get to see each other often (especially in the absence of partners, pets and progeny), so we're doing all kinds of girl things like shopping, massages, psychics and pilates. And, of course, we watched the Oscars. Or at least we watched most of the Oscars until Deb's Tivo ran out of time just before the award for best actor. It was disappointing, and we (being sisters) spent some energy trying to make her feel rotten for her inability to record effectively - but the truth is we really didn't care too much. We had already seen enough dresses and it was almost 11 pm. We are old and we were tired. The days of staying up late partying with the sisters are gone. Alas.

Living in my personal land of "boys", my last few years of watching the Oscars hasn't been the snark-fest of biting commentary that only a group of middle-aged sisters can provide. None of my boys can come up with the comment, "Did J-Lo's stylist steal the fabric from her hotel bedspread?" or "What's up with George Clooney's bangs? Did he run out of hair gel or something"? We laughed a lot. And not necessarily from the witty commentary provided by Steve and Alec - although I did think they were funny. The reviews from the next day provided proof that I was in the minority there. Whores, horses? Come on. That was kinda funny.

Loved the little lamps everywhere. Hated the improvisational dance (except for the last guy who was able to move like a human gumby). Wanted to give James Cameron's new wife a frickin saltine or a granola bar. Does he know that he is married to Skeletor? Wondered how the homeless guy snuck in and sat behind the Camerons. Was it take a street person to Oscar night? Thought that Sandra B had the best dress (and even though I needed to wait until the next morning to hear it, thanks to the Tivo disaster, she had the best speech). The woman who won for costume design was a disaster. Not only was her speech haughty and ungracious, the little hat, the dress and the fribble pinned to her dress were hostile. And what was up with the guy who won some award or other for "Up"? He was the one with the amazingly loooooong skinny head, atop the incredibly loooong skinny body, adorned with the largest set of ears I have seen on a human. He was a perfect caricature of Jack Sprat. They panned to a view of his wife in the audience and damn! He was actually married to the woman who could eat no lean. There you have it. Nursery Rhymes really do have a basis in reality!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


How do you teach your kids to take responsibilities for their actions? How do you get them to be accountable for the part that they play in an argument? It's a frustrating aspect of parenting. With Henry it is like pulling teeth (as my Mom used to say).

Henry can be a real pill. He has the uncanny ability to be the kind of guy that the outside world sees as a kid who "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth" (another one of my mom's favorite phrases). But here in the comfort of his own home, he can often be found choking on that same big stick of Land'o lakes. Not so much melting going on.

Yesterday morning we had all overslept and needed to be fleet of feet to get out the door for an early morning ortho appointment. We had to be there at 7:30. We ejected out of bed at 7:00 a.m. in that holy-crap-what-happened-to-the-alarm haste. I tried to wake the boys as gently as having only 20 minutes to get ready and get out the door might allow for. And yet, even when he knew we were ALL in a hurry - he dragged, he lollygagged, he dawdled, he made a snail look speedy. It was a train wreck waiting to happen. Me in a hurry. Henry in a hurry to piss me off. Whine. Moan. Repeat. Find Mom's last nerve and yank on it.

Of course, I yelled at him to shake a leg and pick up some speed. He thought the best approach would be to screech back at me. Unwise move. But then he made a more severe tactical error in his next move. Henry roared some sassy back talk at George the Elder after George the Elder chastised him for yelling at me. Dummy dumb dumb. Talk about rapid escalation.

In the end, H finally huffed himself into the car in a sobbing seething angry heap of boy. "IT'S ALL DAD's FAULT", he bellowed over and over. Lucky guy, George the Elder, got to head off to work with the wind in his hair, enjoying the silence of a motorcycle ride.

Not so lucky me got to give the customary lecture about taking responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions. You know the one... "You yelled at Dad. You yelled at me. You were punished for it." He doesn't buy any of it. It's always someone else's fault. I fear that I need to tape the damn thing and just play it whenever it's appropriate. And with Henry, it might be played as a daily mantra. Do I need to develop some kind of subliminal message thing that's embedded in to his head like a cochlear implant. IF you do THIS - then THIS is the result.

Thing is - Henry's super smart. Weird smart sometimes. He can figure out complex mathematical equations. Why is this particular nut so hard for him to crack? Geeze frickin Louise.

It would be nice if I could blame yesterday's ordeal on the unexpected fast pace of the morning, but the truth is that even on an ordinary morning something as simple as me asking him to brush his furry teeth could be the catalyst that renders a fairly realistic channeling of the Exorcist (and he's never seen the movie). He would still end up in the car, a frothing blob of a boy, lamenting on how "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT." In his world, the fact that I reminded him to brush his teeth was the singular reason that he was now late, unhappy and in the dog house. Ei-yi-yi!

You know what? I'm warming to the cochlear implant idea. It would give me a whole lot more time to think up other ways just to piss him off - you know like asking him to take a shower or put his dishes in the sink or pick up his shoes or (horror!!) do his homework. Wait a sec...maybe it really IS all my fault? I have such unreasonable expectations of him.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Need a Tonic?

Yesterday was D-Day for the bids on our cool retro house project. Some were high. Some were dizzingly stratospheric. None were the baby bear (just right!) of construction bids we were hoping for. Alas.

So, while George The Elder and I pick ourselves (and our jaws) up off the ground, dust ourselves off, stop clutching our chests, and remember that this is just the beginning - I share with you an uplifting and clever video that I stole today from a fellow blogger (who doesn't know I exist, so she won't mind).

It's called "This too Shall Pass." Never a more apt song for a blustery day when reality hits you in the face like a hot kiss on the end of a wet fist.

So, while we wait for someone very rich, who likes us immensely, to perhaps bequeath us large sums of money before they actually pass on - enjoy the video. I know it made me smile.

Rumor has it that you can just click on the handy-dandy "Scott's Emulsion" advertisement right in this post to get to the link.... Try it! Just click on the fish...