Friday, March 21, 2014

True Story

Well hello there.

(Blows dust off  the monitor)

I see it's been a little while since I've darkened these doors.  Every time I've remembered that, I've also simultaneously thought that I didn't have anything to write about, not anything that would interest anybody anyway.  Today, I decided that was rubbish and decided that if you're bored reading this, you can just wander away, no harm, no foul, and to get over myself already.  And so, a story.

We were riding along in the car and Sabrina started singing the theme song to Reading Rainbow.  Considering the show was a staple of my childhood but cancelled before she was even born, I was shocked to hear the tune coming from my baby's mouth, so I asked her where she'd heard it.  She said she'd watched it with her class.  My mind immediately flashed back to many, many days gone by, and I started reminiscing.

When I was in junior high, there was a contest asking kids to write their best limerick involving pigs and they place they lived.  The top three would be chosen, turned into cartoons, and shown on an episode of Reading Rainbow.  My mom, ever the creative writer, had me enter.  She helped me work out a little 5 liner about a pig from Dallas whose cowboy boots were a bit too small, and we sent it in.  And it won.  There, in the late 80s, alongside the illustrious Levar Burton, was my first television credit.

The Sabrina said, "I saw that."

Really? I gave her the hairy eyeball on that one.  Why in the world would a teacher choose a 20-something year old episode of a long-cancelled (but still beloved in many circles), public television series?  And how could it be THE ONE out of hundreds?

"There was also a story about Perfect the pig."

WHOA.  The centerpiece of every episode of the Rainbow was a reading (duh) of a children's book that showcased the theme of the day. Pig theme = Perfect the Pig by Susan Jeschke.  My parents gave me a copy when the show aired, to remember. (Also a copy of The Book of Pigericks, which inspired the contest.)

She really did see it.  Less than a 1% chance.

I sent an e-mail to her teacher to tell her about the bizarre coincidence, and a little piece of me hopes she tells the class that that last pig poem was written by Sabrina's mom.  It's my claim to fame, after all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Checkpoint

Around round up.  Here we go.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Took my baby to her first day of kindergarten.  Got on an airplane without my children or husband or any business obligations.  Helped my son prepare for and make his First Reconciliation and Communion.  Hugged members of the Dillon Panthers and the Bartlett administration.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I specified anything last year.  But I do have a couple goals I want to achieve early in the new year:

·         Organize and label all the digital photos from 2013 (I'm up to May) and make my 2013 photo album of the best shots.
·         Finish converting all my old VHS tapes to DVD so I can throw all those old cassettes out and use my bookshelf for actual books.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Internet babies abound.  I'm all about the virtual snuggles.  Also, Sammy's karate instructor's wife.  She brings the baby to the studio a lot, so I get to admire his squishiness frequently.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Last year, I said I hoped I'd be able to give this question a big, fat no.  And so it has come to pass.

5. What places did you visit?

Cross country road tripping again, so the usual.  And South Carolina.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I always say money, and that's always true.  Patience.  I'd really like some more of that.  Chris being able to come home earlier in the evenings so he can spend more time with us.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 3, Sammy's First Communion.  May 22, Sabrina's preschool graduation, where she surprised us all with solo speech about the meaning of the day.  June 8, the day I got within 15 feet of Connie Britton's hair.  November 1, the day my grandmother moved into her new apartment.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I wish I had a big, bright, completed goal to put here, but I don't.  I finally got the carpets cleaned?

9. What was your biggest failure?

Lather, rinse, repeat, sigh: getting frustrated too easily and defaulting to yelling as the answer.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Knock all the wood in the world, we have all be relatively healthy this year.  But there are currently bouts of the flu and RSV being battled in my family, and there are a few more hours to the year.  I'm not counting anything out.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

It's so small, but it's made me so happy - a tiny electric milk frother from Ikea.  Instead of longing for fancy tea and coffee lattes that I'm not going to buy, I can make a pretty decent version at home.  In fact, I'm sipping one right now.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My kids' teachers. All my internet ladies.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Companies that employ many people and yet take no consideration of the fact that they are, indeed, people.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The yacht, the fleet of Rolls Royces, the mansion in Maui.  Just kidding.  Bills, mortgage, taxes, children.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Meeting these folks.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Come on.  Is there any other answer than, "What Does the Fox Say?"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? You think I'm stepping on a scale for this?
c) richer or poorer? I feel broke, but that's not true.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Taken a breath.  

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

"Sammy, stop biting your fingers!"  "Sabrina, stop touching things!"

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013?

Well, Chris got stuck at work late Christmas Eve, so we couldn't attend Mass as a family, so that stunk.  The other three quarters of us went to my grandma's apartment to continue an old tradition in a new location.  Christmas Day was a blur of presents, food, and family.  We didn't get to celebrate with Chris's entire family as in years past, but we did spend a day with his mom and sister's family, and vowed to pull everyone together next year.  All in all, thumbs up.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

This is a weird question.  Next.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

If I don't get to watch Scandal live, I get to it in the DVR as fast as possible.  The Big Bang Theory is the only show Chris and I watch together and we still laugh so hard every time.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2013?

I ignored it as hard as possible.

24. What was the best book you read?

I read all of Rainbow Rowell's books, and I really enjoyed her writing.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette?  The Divergent series, although I am prepared to loathe the movie(s).

25. What did you want and get?

New TV/internet/phone service for less than I have been paying.  Tall boots and skinny jeans that I feel like might look not too bad on me.  A trip to Charleston with lots of lovely internet friends.  The right kindergarten teacher for Sabrina.

26. What did you want and not get?

A magic housecleaning fairy.  A truckload of cash backed up into my garage.  A significantly smaller backside.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Did I go to a movie this year?  Oh yeah, we saw Monsters University.  So, by default, that.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

I got to meet Miriel in person, even though I probably terrified her with a random e-mail request and then brought my entire family with me.  And all the Blathering ladies I hadn't previously met.  I love them so.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

The ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Dresses make you look like you put in a lot of effort when you really didn't.

31. What kept you sane?

Running.  Sugar.  More running as a result of all the sugar.

Wait, sane?  I cannot claim that.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kyle Chandler.  Sat 17 feet away from him (making room for Connie Britton's hair). He's handsome.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Healthcare. The craziness surrounding this is just ridiculous.

34. Who did you miss? 

Everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Whatever is bothering you, it will seem smaller with time.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Just a Moment

These kids think they're ready.

But they have no idea.

That scream of delight you just heard?  Them.  Merry Christmas everybody.  May your hearts be light.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas is for Children

Scene: a charming small town main street, decorated to the hilt for Christmas, including a an enormous light display synchronized to carols.

Two children are dancing to the music, being as adorable as possible, until one decides to take himself over to a side building where he had been told expressly not to go.  After the mother's subsequent heart attack, believing for several seconds that her worst nightmare might have come true, the evening's festivities come to a screeching halt.

On the car ride home, the precious siblings continue to squabble and blame each other while the mother gives them the (totally unnoticed) silent treatment.  They swat at each other and exhibit behavior more commonly seen in feral monkeys.  And so we join the play in progress:

"Mommy, my brother just RUINED MY LIFE.  I wanted to see all the princesses of the world* and he messed it all up. So that's why I'm hitting him."

I'm sure ABC Family will be snapping up the film rights for Holiday 2014.

*There were no, nor were there ever going to be any, princesses.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Stacy & Clinton, I Have Your Protege Right Here

Sabrina: "Mommy, my legs are cold and my dress is to short."

Me: " That's because it isn't a dress, it's a top and the pants to wear with it are on your dresser."

Sabrina: "But Mooommm, I don't want to wear pants.  Why can't I wear tights (read: leggings)?"

Me: "Your black leggings are in the wash and I don't think you have another pair in a color that goes with your top."

Sabrina: "But MOM, PINK IS A NEUTRAL!"

She's right on track to host What Not to Wear 2.0.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Did It

I'm totally stealing that title from Temerity Jane.

Whew.  Thanksgiving 2 is in the books.  It went rather well, with sincere compliments on my turkey from my perennially teasing brother in law and no one getting food poisoning (that I know of, fingers crossed).  There was an incident of some plastic wrap making its way into my oven, but I caught it before it caught fire and I was able to restore the oven to proper operating condition.  And my sister in law found it necessary - again - to bring marshmallow shooters with which the children covered my backyard - and their shoes - in a sticky mess.  But this year, they cleaned it up, so win. 

No one actually tracked marshmallow goo across my carpet.  This is a miracle.

Now, the kitchen is clean, the leftovers (copious amounts, so please come over and eat - we have more than just turkey and mashed potatoes I swear) are neatly packed into the fridge and freezer, and the carpets have been vacuumed (maybe I'm a tad obsessive, but I just had them cleaned for the first time in [redacted] years because I am cheap).  The house is decorated for Christmas (save the kids' tree, which we'll put up... sometime), so a big chunk of my early December work is done.  And today is the last day of November, which means I made it through a whole month of blog posts.  I really didn't think it would happen this year.

Time to turn the calendar.  Time to finish the shopping, mail the cards, and get festive.  And time to get that darned elf out from under my bed so he can bring some stinkin' delight to my kids.  I'm excited.  Let's go.

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Down

Today, we are in transition.  From one Thanksgiving (my side) to the next.  From fall decorations to Christmas ones.  It's nice that everyone can help this year, since Chris is off and the kids are old enough to make a difference and not (just) a mess.  So it's coming together.  Now let's all hope my turkey turns out and no one ends up with food poisoning.

I did partake a little in Black Friday, because I can't resist a good sale price.  In years past, I wasn't one to get up in the middle of the night to wait in line for a store to open at 4 AM or some such nonsense, but now that stores have started opening Thanksgiving evening (make of that what you will) AND kicking off online sales earlier and earlier, it's so much easier.  I did quite a bit of online scoping this week, and even pre-purchased what I wanted from Walmart, but I couldn't resist seeing what the brick and mortar store had last night.  So I had my mom drop me off (eliminating the pesky parking frustration).  I walked inside, and it didn't seem so bad, even though the parking lot was rather full.  Little did I know that when I rounded the corner, I would be thrust into the literal Sea of Humanity.  Oh my.  I tried finding the things that interested me from the ad (yes, the things I'd already ordered, but I never said I was sane), but nothing was in its actual department, and I had no idea where to look, much less the desire to push through the throngs to try and locate anything.  And since people couldn't actually purchase anything until after a certain hour, there was just this stagnant line snaking through the store to the checkout, and I didn't even bother trying to find the end of it.  Within 10 minutes, I called Mom and told her I was coming out.

So many carts were filled with random things like pajamas, not big TVs or fancy electronics, so I don't have a clue what was so important.

Later on, after we got the kids to bed, I decided to check out Kohls, since they would be open all night.  It had been a couple hours since they'd opened, so I thought that perhaps the crowd would have thinned.  They had thrown up all of their sales online a week prior, and we're talking about primarily a clothing store (no flat screens or cell phone deals here), and I didn't really think it would be jam packed.  I mean, they sent out $10 cards that had to be used by midday Friday, but this was Thursday night, so no rush, right?

I drove up, and honest to Pete, the parking lot sea parted so that I could zip right into the first space after the handicapped slots.  This had to be providential.  In I went.  I started off toward the back of the store, hoping to pick up a few things (so I could bust out my $10 card) and trying to find the end of the checkout list.  I kept going.  And going.  And going.  I looped the store.  I made it back to the registers where I entered.  And the line wrapped in on itself and continued off into infinity, I can only assume.  They could keep their $10.  I think I might still be in line if I tried to buy anything.

So Thursday night shopping, big bust.  Thank heaven for cyber sales.

My mom peeked into Target sometime between 9 and 10 this morning.  She said there were fewer people there than on your typical weekday morning.  She could have roller skated through the aisles.  Ha.

I need to remember next year to just order online early and enjoy an extra piece of pie Thanksgiving evening.  And to say a prayer for the people working retail that night.  They need everything they can get.