Monday, December 31, 2012

Five Things about Making Resolutions

Vanessa over at 5 Things About Nothing Important is hosting a blogging New Year’s Eve Party.  Since I don’t anticipate my husband taking me out tonight (even though I bought a new dress, damn-it!), linking up on her blog is going to be my party for the day.  Unless my husband super surprises me (doubtful).  I know I mentioned my husband disappointing me again, and I had always promised myself I wouldn’t use this  blog to air dirty laundry, but did I mention I bought a new dress?  It’s purple and it’s really pretty.  Okay … getting back to the blogging party.  Vanessa encouraged those linking up to write a post in the style of her blog.  I totally love her unique format, always writing five things on a chosen topic. 
In addition to the standard “best of” lists that crop up at the end of each year, making resolutions and publicly announcing them also seems like a mandatory component of blogging.  In truth, I haven’t made resolutions for years.  I don’t think we need a certain date to make changes in our lives.  If changes are needed, they can come at any time.  We don’t need to wait for a whole new calendar year.  I have this belief, and there’s also the fact that I almost always failed to meet my past resolutions when I was young and still participated in this practice.
Therefore, while I feel somehow compelled to make resolutions this year now that I have a blog, I also am going to make completely outrageous resolutions.  This way, if I fail to meet said goals, I won’t be disappointed.  If I actually do achieve any of these resolutions, however, I am going to scream and shout and make sure everyone knows how totally kick ass I am. 
My first resolution for 2013 is to win the lottery – like big time million and millions of dollars lottery.  Remember when I was all jacked up about the possibility of winning$100,000 in the “advent” lottery?  Well, that didn’t happen.  When I scratched the last date off and a gingerbread man didn’t appear, I was seriously crushed.  I sat on the edge of the bed and sulked like a fucking baby.  My husband had to come give me a hug and say, “It’s going to be okay, honey.  I’ll buy you a crossword scratch off later this week.  Now please get in the shower because we have to get over to your mom’s house for Christmas.”  I was especially disappointed because part of me still honestly believes that if I believe something will happen strong enough, and announce it to be so with some level of confidence, I can make things happen.  This all comes from the time I won a CD player in sixth grade.  I was attending an “101 Better Things to Do” event, which were events that area schools regularly held at the time to encourage kids to keep off the drugs.  One of the prizes was a CD player, which (admitting my age) was a big fucking deal because only really rich people had CD players then as they were relatively new on the market.  I told all of my friends, with absolute, unfettered confidence, that I was going to win that thing – and I did! (I still have it.  It flings CDs out now, and my youngest brother says it belongs on Antiques Roadshow.) Due to this win all those years ago, I still believe I can make things happen.  I know that’s crazy, but if you’re surprised, I’m assuming you’re new to this blog.  If you’ve been following me, you expect crazy.  So, here, I publicly announce, with great confidence, that I am going to win the lottery.  If you believe in me, I might share my earnings.  I know there’s one individual, other than myself and my family, who also really wants me to win huge this year.  Just before the last big national lottery (when that douche-bag Nolan Daniels dude scammed a bunch of facebook users into sharing his photo through a lottery hoax promising a share of his money), a study hall student asked me, “Mrs. Ryan, did you buy a lottery ticket?”  When I told him I had, he replied, “Good. I hope you win.”  I thought he was being very kind to me, which is atypical because really the kid is an annoying little asshole, but then he continued, “Yeah. I hope you win because then you won’t have to work here because I hate you.”  I replied, “Very good then,” and walked away. However, I hope I win and don’t have to work there either.  I am going to win. 
This 1980's CD player is the best thing I ever won. My life is sad.
I am going to meet and make out with Justin Timberlake.  I understand that he just got married in 2012, but Jessica Biel doesn’t hold a candle to me, people.  Yeah, I don’t really believe that.  I’m crazy, but not bat-shit crazy.  There’s a clear distinction between these two.  At any rate, sweet-faced, funny little JT has been on my short list for some time, and I resolve to make 2013 the year that shit goes down for real.  Wait, did I say I wanted to make out with Justin Timberlake? Yeah, I meant fuck.  Let’s be real, and it’s totally forgiven by my spouse because that’s the way the short list works.  Hells yeah.
I am going to become an overnight blogging sensation and gain thousands upon thousands of followers.  Then I will be contacted by some respectable publishing company and offered a book deal where I get to travel the world, eat a lot of food, and fall in love.  If you’re paid in advance to do these things, it’s fucking easy to make publishable tales happen.  Yes, this is me bitching about Elizabeth Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love right now.  Those stories didn’t unfold organically and the book is so god-awful and self-serving.  Did you really “discover” yourself or did you write the book you promised you would when you were paid in advance to fall in love and find yourself? Fuck.  My book will then become a film, naturally, but I don’t want Julia Roberts to play me.  I am hoping for Megan Mullally, but she needs to lose twenty years in order to play me.  Is that possible?  Actors lose weight all the time for roles.  They can probably take off age too. In the world where I’m going to start fucking Justin Timberlake and win a million dollar lottery “because I confidently said so,” this must be possible.
I’m going to run a marathon.  I know that in comparison to my former resolutions, this one actually seems feasible.  If you’re thinking this, though, you clearly don’t really know me.  The chances of Justin Timberlake fawning over me are far more likely than me actually running.  I have valid excuses for this though – like I have a bad knee.  This is true; I broke it in a car accident years ago and it has never quite fully healed and still causes me occasional discomfort (especially after extensive exercise – like sex).  Further, I have the valid excuses that I am really fucking lazy … and kind of a fat ass.
After I become an overnight blogging sensation, and get that book deal and subsequent film, my favorite author is going to become my biggest fan.  What a strange turn of events indeed! The woman I admired for years will now be envious of my enormous talent.  Naturally, she will want to meet me.  We will make arrangements to meet over coffee (or wine … let’s be real, wine).  After spending a few hours together drinking Pinot Noir and discussing literary movements, we will become the bestest friends in the whole wide world.  She’ll become the godmother of my next child and we’ll enjoy each other’s company so much that she will visit just to talk with me while I fold laundry and watch re-runs of 30 Rock on Comedy Central.  All of this becomes even more improbable if you know my favorite author is Jane Austen.  Jane Austen, who died in 1817, is going to be my bestie.  This is likely, however, should there actually be an oft-predicted zombie apocalypse.  Zombie Jane Austen and I will have lots of fun times together.  My daughter, Emily Jane (middle name after Austen) will be one of the few survivors of the apocalypse because my father has had her in “zombie training” since age three months (that is a true story).  I’m not entirely sure what this training consists of, but my dad regularly reminds me that he and Emily are ready for the zombies.  I’ll be ready too because Zombie Jane Austen totally has my back y’all.  That’s what best friends are for.
Best Friends FOREVER!!
Zombie Jane Austen wants to know what your resolutions for 2013 are.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Liz Lemon, I Don't Even Know You Anymore: My Best of 2012

It’s the close of another year, and this means that best of lists and countdowns are popping up all over the place in media – on the internet, magazines, television, radio shows, and the like.  So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make my own list of the best of 2012 in entertainment – although it very quickly just turned into me bitching about shit.  Imagine that.  All the same, here it is … enjoy.

Best Book

You should have known that I was going to rate best book first as I am a total book junkie.  Yes, I like to read … A LOT.  The book I am choosing is somewhat surprising for me because “thrillers” are not typically a genre I get behind.  However, this book intrigued me and received rave reviews from multiple sources.  Add me to those individuals praising Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl.  I admit that Desi was a difficult character to buy into and his role almost bordered on the V.C. Andrews’ work that Amy Elliot Dunne alludes to.  Beyond that, this book was brilliant and will keep the reader gripped to his or her seat, turning page after page until hours have passed without notice.  There are so many lines that had me laughing out loud in their crude, unfiltered honesty and hilarity.  For example, the book begins on the anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne.  Nick’s twin sister, Go (Margo) inquires about the traditional gift for fifth anniversaries, like paper for year one.  When Nick informs his sister that that the expected gift is wood, and complains over the difficulty of finding a proper wooden gift, his twin offers: “I got it.  Go home, fuck her brains out, then smack her with your penis and scream, ‘There’s some wood for you, bitch!’”  Gone Girl is an amazingly captivating psychological portrait of a miserable, manipulative marital relationship.  The writing is compelling and funny, and damn, I wish I had written so many of these lines.  Read this book. 
Best Album

I also love music, and confess that I don’t own an MP3 player, but rather have over 800 compact discs.  I know the refusal to purchase an i-pod seems very strange for a music lover, but I believe in buying whole albums because often the arrangement of the individual songs come together to tell one beautiful story.  This is especially true for my favorite artist, Aimee Mann.  Although Mann came out with a new CD in 2012, which of course I bought, the win isn’t hers.  I am somewhat begrudgingly recognizing the band fun for their album Some Nights.  I didn’t want to like fun because they seemed like total hipster douche-bags when their second studio album burst onto the scene in early 2012.  I am always reluctant to like bands whose rise to popularity is largely driven by advertising, with their single “We are Young” featured in a Chevrolet commercial that first aired during the super bowl.  I initially hated the single because suddenly my high school students were all wearing hipster bright sunglasses inside the school and singing about getting higher than the empire state.  However, the song eventually stuck on me too when I heard it performed acoustically on XM radio.  And then I gave a listen to the whole album and realized how anthemic singles such as “Some Nights” and “Carry On” are.  The vocals and lyrics are brilliant, beautiful, catchy, and authentic rock n’ roll all at the same time.  If you ignore the hipster sunglasses and just listen to the music, it’s undeniably damn good stuff. 
Best Television Show

If you know me in real life or follow this blog closely, you probably know that I love Tina Fey and her 30 Rock character Liz Lemon.  So, Tina Fey, I really, truly wanted to recognize you in this category for all of the years that you have brought me joy.  [A brief aside: One time my brother was raving about the show Workaholics on Comedy Central and asked me if I had seen it. I said, “No. I watch 30 Rock.”  He replied, “So, that means you can’t watch other shows?”  When I nodded in affirmation, he yelled, “What the fuck? Are you a sixty-five year old lady? No. No. I can only watch Angela Lansbury and Murder She Wrote. Why are you so fucking weird?”] However, I think that 30 Rock has jumped the damn shark.  Liz’s wedding? Really? She got married in her Princess Lea costume? That makes no sense because Liz knows that is bat shit crazy as she formerly wore the costume to get out of jury duty.  Liz wouldn’t do that! Or, okay, I would never do that and the reason I had always loved Liz Lemon so much in the past is because I found her oddly relatable.  I was Liz Lemon, but I can’t relate anymore.  Therefore, I have moved on to fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler and bestow Parks and Recreation with the great honor of being my best in television for 2012.  This honor really is owed more so to the brilliant Nick Offerman than Poehler, but the whole ensemble works skillfully together and has provided many laughs this past season. Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, and the hilarious Aziz Ansari (whose 2012 comedy special Dangerously Delicious also had me cracking up) each contribute wonderfully to a truly terrific sitcom. 
Best Music Competition

It’s a sad sign of the times when there’s about three quality sitcoms to choose from, but over a dozen singing competitions because the entertainment industry is too damn tired and lacking to come up with clever, creative, compelling programming.  From those dozens of competitions, I choose The Voice, even though I yell at the screen almost every time I watch this program because I want Christina Aguilera to stop dressing like a god-damnstreet walker.  I once loved American Idol, but when Simon Cowell left, I also stopped viewing this program.  I recognize that Simon is now on the X Factor, but so is Britney Spears and people really just need to stop employing her because she will just waste her earnings on Uggs and cigarettes.  She should not be celebrated anymore.  She stopped being fascinating years ago, and was never talented.  Further, I applaud the concept of The Voice – that you can be one ugly mother fucker, but if you can really sing, you can still make it to top three (see Nicholas David). 

Best Movie

My choice for 2012’s best film is Argo.  Confession: I didn’t even see Argo, but I’m going on faith here and bestowing this honor on Ben Affleck.  Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of going to the movies.  It’s too damn expensive, and I have a toddler and infant at home.  I don’t see anything until I can rent it from the Redbox.  So, when I finally do see Argo, I better be validated or I am coming after your ass Affleck – and I have some grudges from Reindeer Games, Jersey Girl, and Forces of Nature too.  Of movies I actually did see this year, I can tell you that Jeff who Lives at Home sucked really bad and was a waste of my life.  I was confused for a whole week afterwards, but not because the plot was so intricate and deeply meaningful.  I just couldn’t understand how such a huge pile of shit was ever made and marketed, but then I remembered that most Americans are fans of Twilight.  Sorry Twilight fans. No. Not really.
Let's hear it! What were your favorites in 2012? Who thrilled and who disappointed?  Did you actually see Argo? 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When I was Little ... (thanks twitter)

I never, ever thought I would end up on twitter.  I avoided that shit like opening an account was guaranteed to lead to herpes contraction.  Then I started blogging and learned that blogging and tweeting basically go hand in hand now-a-days.  Who knew? Not me.  I still buy compact discs, for fuck’s sake.  You’re welcome from me and the twelve other folks that are keeping you alive, music industry.

At any rate, I was doing my “twitter duty” for the day, and stumbled upon the following hash tag: #WhenIWasLittle. I noticed the hash as the bloggess had tweeted about being little and playing the hot lava game until her dad got pissed off.  Then she shared that she now plays this game with her daughter until that poor bastard Victor becomes irate.  I used to love this game, but did not enjoy it so much when my fifteen and sixteen year old former high school students thought this was a fun game to play in class. The fuck, kids.  That game needs to stay at home.  It’s meant for linoleum floors and pissing off mothers, not making your high school English teacher want to lose her shit when she’s trying to talk about the Tom Robinson trial or Hemingway’s code heroes.

So I started tweeting about my own memories from childhood and some of my favorite games of youth. I could have gone on for days and lost a lot of followers, so I decided to just make my list here because folks are less likely to unfriend me –  you know, because no one will read this post. It’s okay. I forgive you.  Oh, you’re still here?  I love you so much. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

When I was little … we didn’t have toy Jeeps to play in.  I thought about buying my daughter one for her birthday this year.  I was all pumped about the possibility of a Dora the Explorer Jeep, and then I actually looked at the price. $460!! That’s cray-cray.  We could probably only sell my husband’s car for $500 right now.  I should admit, though, that his car has over 220,000 miles on it and is affectionately referred to as “the death mobile.”  Regardless, we didn’t have any fancy toys, but we didn’t need them.  We used laundry baskets for transport.  My siblings and I loved pushing each other around in baskets until my mom had to replace too many and lost her shit with us.

When I was little … I wanted to be Rainbow Brite when I grew up.  I thought she was so damn cute.  I would say I turned out pretty close … or not.  I’m quite certain I could come up with some parallels.  I, too, fought off the King of Shadows (my lurky ex-husband).  And I’m basically a wonderful source of lightness and beauty.  I make the world magical.  

When I was little … I believed that Barbie’s hair would grow back just the same as human hair did.  Turns out that this was not true.  My sister cried a lot, and my mom yelled a lot.  Then I tried telling them I did it on purpose because Roxette was really popular at the time and that woman had short blonde hair, so I was just making Barbie hip.  That did not work either.  There was still crying and yelling.

When I was little … I would have craft sales in my bedroom and invite the neighborhood kids over to buy all the shit I made for their pocket change.  I did make some fairly decent friendship bracelets, but I also made a lot of lovely “dolls” from empty toilet paper rolls, drawn on marker faces, and scrap pieces of fabric.  You could buy a toilet paper roll doll for only 50 cents.  I can’t believe I had friends.

When I was little … I used to line up all my dolls and stuffed animals and give performances.  I would sing at the top of my lungs.  This was usually to Madonna songs, although I was also highly fond of my Barbie and the Rockers cassette tape.  I still know some of the lyrics … “When I wear pink, yeah, that’s my shade. When I wear pink, I got it made.  My earrings flash, my diamonds shine.  I’m looking good and feeling fine.”  That song is called “Dressing Up,” and no, I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me either and why I remember this kind of shit.  At any rate, they were a very attentive audience that appreciated my vocals far more than my husband currently does.

Okay. Confession: Uhm … my college roommate and I also performed this song together, and gave performances to our friends on a black mat we placed in the living room.  Two of our other favorite songs to perform were “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson and “Open up Your Heart (and let the sunshine in)” from an episode of The Flintstones.  Oh yeah – of course we had choreography. We ruled.

When I was little … I thought my family was normal.  Then I would repeat some of the things my parents said or did, and I generally did not receive my anticipated amused reaction.  For example, my mother used to always joke that we were “licking butts” when we ate chocolate pudding and had it around our lips.  When I said this to a friend in front of her parents, her mother was not amused.  I had just assumed all moms called eating chocolate pudding butt licking.  It  wasn’t found funny, either, when I was snacking on brownies at a friend’s house, rolled mine up into a thin strip, dropped it on the floor, pretended it was cat shit, and then said, “look, a turd” before picking it up and happily consuming it.  I thought that shit was straight hilarious when my dad did it.  Again, who knew? 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Grandpa Stole Santa's Watch

We sat in our tiny plastic seats writing our letters to Santa Claus with large pencils and excited grins.  I asked for a Lite Brite for myself, Transformers for my brother, and a Glo Worm for my little sister.  Would Santa get my letter in time?  I hoped our kindergarten teacher would mail them out that very day after we lay down for our naps on rubber maps while sipping our chocolate milk from straws. 

Then the wonderful news came that made all of our young hearts beat more rapidly with abundant anticipation.   Not only were our letters being stamped and sent off to the North Pole that very afternoon as my little heart had hoped, but Santa himself was coming to our classroom tomorrow.  Following the holiday program for our parents, Santa and one of his elves would be right here – inside these concrete walls where we learned our alphabet and basic mathematics.

Of course Santa was real.  I knew he was real.  He had to be.  How else could one possibly explain the piles of presents that magically appeared under the tree each Christmas morning?  Who else could have conceivably consumed the plate of cookies and glass of milk that had been left out for this wonder of a man? Who else filled our stockings to the brim with candy canes, chocolates, and oranges?  Santa. It was Santa for sure, and I was meeting him.  I boasted about this upcoming encounter to my mother, and was far too excited to notice the look of concern that crossed her face.

Like thoughts of sugar plums described in traditional holiday tales, my thoughts were consumed with Santa until the moment finally came.  Santa sat in front of the decorative fireplace my teacher had assembled in the classroom.  He was dressed all in red velvet, with white fur trimming the edges of his coat and pants.  His beard was white as snow, and he wore a red cap.  He had a twinkle in his eye as he smiled down at me, looking precisely how I had envisioned him from the tales I read and stories I had been told.
He reached down with white gloves and placed me upon his lap.  I began to tell Santa the wishes of myself and my younger siblings.  As I spoke to him, I breathed in his very essence, expecting him to smell of candy canes and newly fallen snow.  His aroma, however, was not new or magical as I had imagined.  This jolly old man felt strangely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place the scent.  When he spoke back, another recognizable trait was heard.  That tone was one I had heard before, but again could not precisely identify.  His nose, his eyes, his smile; I felt already acquainted with all of these features. I looked back to my mom, who looked down at the ground.  I finished my requests, but my mind was rapidly attempting to solve a puzzle.  This man – this Santa – was no longer magic, but was now a mystery to me.

On Christmas day, we went to my grandparent’s house.  I looked at the ornaments hanging on the Christmas tree.  Most of them were personalized with a message to my Grandpa and a different year on them.  “From the Kindergarten Class – 1980,” “From the Kindergarten Class – 1981,” and so on.  Why did the kindergartners, which I now was, like my Grandpa so much?  I didn’t understand.  Then Grandpa handed me a gift that was under the tree.  I smiled at him, and when he smiled back, the mystery started to unravel.  His watch! He’s wearing Santa’s watch!  Why is Grandpa wearing Santa’s watch?  I saw it on Mr. Claus last week.  I know it’s the very same one. 

I dropped the gift to the floor, and ran to my mother’s arms.  “Mom! Grandpa stole Santa’s watch! He stole it! I saw it!”  My mother shook her head and explained to me that Grandpa had not committed an act of thievery.  “But …. But,”  I began, and then I understood.  Grandpa didn’t steal Santa’s watch. Grandpa was Santa.  But, he doesn’t live at the North Pole.  And where are his reindeer?  And … no, no, no! I escaped my mother’s embrace and ran under the kitchen table, where I stayed and cried for forty minutes.  Nothing was ever the same again. Santa wasn’t real. The magic was over for me.  


I thought the magic was over in that moment, but I was wrong.  The magic is real and it lies in our own hearts, and in the smiles of our own children.  It lies in the love of family and the kindness of strangers. Although it’s been nearly thirty years since I learned the truth about Santa, Christmas remains a magical holiday.  More importantly, I never once stopped believing in the man this holiday was truly meant to celebrate.  Jesus is the real reason for this season, and his gift of salvation is far better than any present wrapped up with ribbons and bows.   

I'm spending the holidays over at Yeah Write.  You should too. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good read.

 Second Place Crowd Favorite


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weird and/or Awful Shit I Thought This Week (and Then I Attempt to Defend Myself)


Upon seeing a glazed mini donut that someone had dropped in the parking lot:

Damn. That looks delicious.
Okay, it’s gross, I know.  The thought was very fleeting, and then I quickly corrected myself with the reminder that I am a disgusting human being and that is an absolutely repulsive thought.  However, in my defense, I had been shitting since Friday night and basically been on a diet of 7-Up and Saltines, so I was really, really hungry.  On Friday, I followed some Pinterest inspiration and made a slow cooker meat loaf recipe. Bad idea.  Horrible, awful, fucking idea that led to a horrible, awful episode of diarrhea.  So, I was hungry. Lay off, bitches.  I didn’t actually pick the damn donut up and eat it.  I kept on walking, and I really should pass up Pinterest too because my projects and recipes never turn out quite right.
Photo: I made slow cooker meatloaf today, which is what this mass of meat is suppose to be.  This sure looked a shit ton better on Pinterest.  I am frightened. Fail.
This is the meatloaf.  You would think parking lot donut looked good too by comparison.

When a student was telling me about the girl from out of town he “hooked up” with over the weekend:

Shut the fuck up, kid.  You are so full of bullshit.  And what makes you think I want to hear this crap? The fuck?

Really, do I need to defend myself here? What made this fourteen year old kid think I wanted to hear about his made up girlfriends?  This kid always thinks he needs to impress me.  Last week, it was by telling me that some girl in a nearby town had sent him a naughty text message.  The girls always conveniently live out of town.  I really hope this means he’s full of shit because the world is fucked if this dumb ass kid is actually sexually active.  He never tells details, though, just loves to tell me that “chicks love him.”  I am an adult. What is he hoping for from me?  A high-five.  So, I didn’t tell him to shut the fuck up, but I did tell him to tell someone who actually cared.


After reading Outlaw Mama’s post about the angels in her life:

Damn. This woman is so talented.  Bitch is gonna win this shit again.
My only defense here is human nature.  Women are genetically built to be jealous bitches.  I think I remember learning that in biology class.  Yes, yes, that’s correct.  Okay, but in all seriousness, this is a beautiful, endearing post written in response to the tragedy in Newtown. I read the post over on the yeah write challenge grid. I honestly love yeah write for the act of writing, not the chance of winning, but I wish I would have written a post like Outlaw Mama's (which you need to click on and read).  I think we should all take some time in these coming weeks to spread love and kindness and thank those angels along the way.  Did you have someone who inspired and encouraged you? Thank them, instead of thinking awful, bitter thoughts like I do.

Upon learning that my place of employment was closed due to dangerous weather:

Hells yeah! I don’t have to shower today!

I have explained this before.  It’s not that I love my own stench.  I just hate taking showers because it means I need to be away from my kids, and I neurotically worry that the worst is going to happen while I’m washing my hair.  At least it’s winter now so I’m in the shower for a briefer period of time because I don’t give two shits about shaving my legs in 20 degree weather.  Of course, my husband really appreciates this and I am one fine, sexy bitch.


After laying my five month old son down for a nap:

Damn, Emily, aren’t you tired? It’s been weeks since daddy and I have fucked.

First, I totally love my kids, but it’s true that sex has been quite infrequent.  Further, I recognize it's crude to use the word "fuck" when referring to intercourse with my adoring husband and father of our two awesome miracles of children.  However, when the act basically becomes a race against the possibility of a crying, waking baby, "making love" sounds like a big lie. My husband no longer needs to whisper romantic or seductive words into my ears to bring me to bed these days.  The cue for sex is now: “Honey, both of the kids are asleep.”  About twenty minutes after this thought, he said those words. Yes!  I should have shaved my legs.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside - But you Better Brave the Weather

I have been more excited for this Christmas than I have in years.  I know this is because my daughter is now two and old enough to understand Christmas.  Every single time she sees an image of Santa Claus on the television or adorning someone’s front yard, she points and smiles, proudly labeling this jolly old man: “Santa.”  After announcing his presence, she begins to repeat, “Ho. Ho. Ho.”  Her enthusiasm for the season is simply infectious, and I have made every attempt to rev it up even more.  Therefore, I have been listening almost exclusively to the all Christmas music station – Holly – on XM whenever Emily is in the vehicle with me.
I have learned a number of things from this frequent listening to holiday tunes.  To begin, no one – no one – really thinks the fucking Chipmunks are cute.  Somewhere along the line we must have been brainwashed to believe kids enjoy that squeaky, obnoxious shit, so we keep on listening to Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sing holiday tunes.  I believed it, so I turned it up when one of their mousy melodies came on, and said, “Emily, listen to the chipmunks sing.  Isn’t it silly?”  I glanced back and smiled at her, and she had the most disgusted expression on her face, like she was really questioning my interest in such irritating music, much like the countenance that crosses my face when I see women wearing Ugg boots in July – or at all.
I have also learned that people tend to make very rash decisions during the holiday season.  For example, in “Winter Wonderland,” the couple suddenly decides to get married and allows a snowman to proceed over said ceremony.  That’s not romantic; that’s ridiculous.  I hope that the tooth fairy will be around in a few months to grant them a divorce.  In “Last Christmas,” the singer laments, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day, you gave it away.  This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.”  Now, why the fuck would you give your heart to someone not special in the first place, you fool?  That’s just damn stupid.  You don’t fall in love because of mistletoe, folks. 
The worst lyrics, though, are found in “Baby, it’s Cold Outside.”  Have you ever closely listened to this song? Damn, I guess nothing says Christmas like a sweet little ditty about potential date rape.  I imagine we’re expected to believe the woman is just being coy and this banter back and forth is charming, but when Colbie Caillat recently covered this tune, she added “I don’t trust you” to the very end of this song.  I wouldn’t trust him either.  Listen more closely next time, and you’ll notice the female duet partner asks, “Say, what’s in this drink?”  Once I recognized this, I have been unable to shake the image of the Family Guy character Glenn Quagmire’s “roofie colada.”  Bitch, you better just wrap your scarf a little tighter and brave the weather because you’re being serenaded by a bad, bad man.
If I want to enjoy my Christmas music in the future I either need to listen less carefully or steer entirely clear of pop music.  I know “Away in a Manger” and “The First Noel” are safe bets.  Even seemingly sweet children’s songs like “Frosty the Snowman” could be interpreted as a song about a predatory monster that only the children know comes to life because, you know, Frosty told them to keep it a secret from the adults.  Sometimes I wish my mind didn’t work this way.  Nonetheless, I wish you all a very magical holiday season.  Just promise me there will be no weddings attended by chipmunks and governed by a magical snowman.
Do you still think this is a sweet holiday song?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baby Jesus' Day Off

Well, it’s official: Wisconsin is closed today due to the weather.  This means that I have the day off of work.  Given that I have a day off, I thought it would be the perfect day to feature my first actual guest post (from a real human being – not something I created from my mom’s cat) about Baby Jesus’ day off.  As I hope you’re all aware, Baby Jesus has a pretty important day coming up next week (something about a birthday?).  Well, apparently, he needed some time away from all the stress of this holiday season too.  My dear, dear friend, Melissa, was happy to oblige and ensured that he recently had one hell of a time at Costco.  When I saw these pictures on her facebook feed, I begged her to write a guest post for this blog, and once again, she happily obliged.  She’s such a dear. 
First of all, let me tell you everything Angela writes around here is true. Every frickin’ word of it. I’m one of those friends of hers that go way back. We have been best friends since we were ten and I taught her to swear.  I remember the boyfriend with the smiley face. I have sung karaoke with her. I went to that first courthouse wedding and made her a bouquet. I also remember driving home that night and saying to my husband, “She should have married that Sam guy.  He’s nice.” More recently, I watched safely from the security barrier while she gave DMX heck for using a derogatory word. I am her adorable daughter’s Godmother.  Now I am just bragging. Needless to say, we are Facebook friends so she can enjoy my cute kids and witty banter, and so I can follow her blog. That is where she saw Baby Jesus and his Costco high-jinks.
This might be a good place to mention that I am a Lutheran pastor.  This means that I am best buds with Jesus H Christ, and I also have some strong feelings about my Lord and Savior. I have an advanced degree to prove my ability to study everything about him, his dad and that awesome lady we call the Holy Spirit. It is from those many years of study that I have concluded that Jesus was not blonde haired, blue eyed, and fair skinned. Jesus was a brown kid. He probably had a little nappy head and some really deep chocolate eyes. When was the last time you saw Sweet Baby Jesus portrayed in this manner? I’m guessing never. In order to deal with my deep seeded rage over this racial injustice, I like to mess with little white baby Jesus. We won’t even get into how wrong it is when Baby Jesus shows up in the manger before December 24th. It’s called Advent people; look it up. It’s good for what ails you.

With all of this in mind I walked into Costco on November 19th and it was like Christmas had puked all over the place.  In the mix was a sweet little crèche scene of Mary and Joseph gazing lovingly into the manger. There he was, in all his SPF 500 light skinned glory: Baby Jesus. He was appropriately dressed in a silver swaddling cloth, and wonderfully unattached. I expected Baby Jesus to be zip tied down to his sleeping quarters so that no one got sticky fingers and walked out with the Savior of the Universe. It was my lucky day.  I quickly decided that Baby Jesus needed to see a little more of this crazy town a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Baby Jesus first needed what any good adventure needs: a good, fast, hot set of wheels.  One would think Baby Jesus might prefer a donkey or maybe in modernity something that resembles the Pope-mobile. I’m here to tell you Baby Jesus drives a royal blue mini-mini cooper. Just like he had a tendency to play fast and loose with Sabbath laws in his days on earth, he also tends to drive it like he stole it.  Baby Jesus speeds.
Baby Jesus also is a baller, though he wish he was a little bit taller. As he was cruising the aisles, he saw the awesome indoor bedroom/office basket ball hoop set up. He thought he could take on the big guys from accounting.  After a little trash talk and a few dirty thrown elbows, they had had enough. When Baby Jesus tapped into the power of his divinity to start hitting three pointers from half court, they were fed up. Prince of Peace notwithstanding, he ended up with his lily white diapered bottom in the net.
Not one to throw in the towel when the going gets tough, baby Jesus decided maybe round ball wasn’t his game. Don’t all men of a certain stature and age take up golf?  He decided to check out the high quality merchandise for a day of walking the links. Sadly, they did not have a set of clubs that met his height requirements, but he did get a really good look at the bags.
Then Baby Jesus got hungry and though he was raised in a strict kosher household, he has never been able to shake his love of bacon. He has to be very careful in his relationship with this tasty meat product though, because many people over the years have crossed the line and have begun to worship bacon as an idol. Few things anger his Big Daddy more than bacon worship.
On his way out of Costco, Baby Jesus stopped by to see his old friend Frosty. They pretty much share a birthday, and so they try to at least have a drink together every year. Baby Jesus was sad after dodging all the crazed shoppers and a little scared by the bastardization of his birthday. Dang, no one even offered him a present. As Frosty is known for, he scooped Baby Jesus up in his arms and cradled him. Eventually, Baby Jesus had to get Frosty to let him go because all that corncob pipe tobacco has really made him reek. Baby Jesus has a touch of the asthma and just can’t take all that smoke.  Nothing like getting lectured by the King of Kings over a little habit he picked up in the war.
So before Mary really started to miss him, I quietly tucked Baby Jesus under my arm and snuck back through the aisles. Upon spying his mom and stepdad staring down where they last put him I shrieked, “Mary, Mary; it’s okay! I found your son! He was wandering through the store!” I barely got a sideways glance from the other shoppers and I don’t know if a single employee even made eye contact with me or Baby Jesus.  It’s too bad really; he’s a serious party animal. Merry Christmas and God's Blessings.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Two Word Phrases

Yesterday morning, I had a meeting with the Department of Health Services’ Birth to Three Program.  The Birth to Three Program is an early intervention program that assists parents in evaluation and assessment of a child, the development of an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan), and services related to speech and motor development. 

Initially, I sought the assistance of Birth to Three when my daughter, Emily, wasn’t walking at an appropriate age.  Rather than get up and walk about, she shuffled around everywhere on her knees.  I am amazed she did not suffer from an unbelievable case of rug burn, but she seemed happy and comfortable shuffling about everywhere from 12 to 16 months.  Although she was quite content, I was concerned. 

While my concern was only connected to her gross motor skills, Birth to Three requires both a formal motor and speech development evaluation.  After these evaluations, we learned that she had a slight delay in both areas.  However, we didn’t begin services immediately as I was hospitalized, on bed rest for a month, and had then delivered Emily’s baby brother following the evaluation.  In this time, Emily also began walking with ease.  However, she has continued to have some delay in speech – just enough to qualify her for services at exactly 25%. 

I am not concerned for Emily’s intelligence.  She follows directives beautifully and can easily identify and point to a named object; even the speech therapist stated her amazement at Emily’s ability to properly label such obscure items as record player and unicorn.  She loves being read to, asking frequently “read Momma” or “more book.”  
Still, she whispers a lot of her words and they are not always easily distinguishable from one another.  Is she saying “moon,” “more,” or “milk”?  It can be hard to tell if you’re not her parent, and even I admit I sometimes struggle.  Further, although she can say a number or words, she doesn’t always “use her words,” despite my requests.  For example, rather than say “more milk” she will walk over to me standing at the kitchen counter and just tap my leg and then begin banging on the refrigerator door with her milk cup.

Therefore, the case manager, speech therapist, and I finally came back together again and developed an IFSP for Emily yesterday. That IFSP contained three primary goals: 1. Emily will learn to make requests using her words. 2. Emily will learn to form clearly distinct words using proper endings (i.e. “door” vs. “do”; “moon” vs. “mo”). 3. Emily will begin to use more two word phrases.

Right now, most of Emily’s two word phrases contain the word “no.”  She says “oh no” when something sad or shocking happens in a cartoon.  For example, whenever that sneaky fox Swiper shows up on Dora the Explorer, Emily gasps “oh no.”  She is also fond of “No Dog!” and “No Kitty!” while wrangling up the animals at her grandparent’s house.  Apparently, she has deemed it her duty to ensure the cat stays off the counter and the dogs don’t jump up on the couch. 

We were headed to that very grandmother’s house today.  I had partially dressed my daughter, who just recently turned two this past month, to head off to her grandma’s house.  She had a fresh diaper change (potty training is scheduled to start in the new year) and her shirt on.  Before I had her pants on, she squirmed away from me and began to run out of her bedroom.  “Emily,” I said, “Come back here.  You need pants on if you’re going to Grandma’s house.” 

Emily turned to me and spoke a new two word phrase containing the word “no”: “No pants!”  She proudly smiled after her proclamation and started to head out of the room once more, after momentarily pausing to provide me this response.  That cute little stinker must have known she had just met one of her goals. More two word phrases, and no pants.  I am a strangely proud mother of a silly daughter (whom I did place pants on before leaving the home).   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Damn the Skank -- Damn Her!

This is my first official guest post.  This female has had a lot on her mind lately, and she’s become rather pissed off about a certain situation.  Therefore, I invited her to express herself on my blog.  Please enjoy. 
So, that skank is still in the house.  That skinny ass bitch that was found by the dumpster behind a damn Dog N’ Suds now rules the fucking roost, and I am still out here in the cold.  This is bullshit – straight up bullshit.  Twelve years! Twelve years, I have been a loyal, hard-working friend to this family, and the kid brings that girl home one day – and voila – she is adorned with love and adoration while I continue to go unappreciated.  
I am good and I am kind.  I am a loving mother who still cares for her son, providing him food even though he ought to eat less.  The family calls him “Fat Bastard” although his proper name is Jasper.  I guess I never considered what assholes they could be until I became so insanely jealous of that little skank with her fluffy white fur and apparently heart-melting, gentle purr.
Me and my Son -- He's not even that Fat, Folks!
The poor dumb dog gets called “Lenny” when she’s done something especially foolish.  If you don’t understand that this is a Steinbeck allusion, you are clearly not well-read.  Hell, even I read Of Mice and Men, although I must admit that I thought it would be a guide book to improve my mice hunting skills, thus helping me to impress the humans and earn the respect I desperately yearn for.  Turns out it was really a tale of friendship, but a worthwhile read regardless.  
I bet the skank doesn’t understand why “Lenny” is intended as an insult for the dog.  That dog has been with the family longer than me, even, and she has to sleep in the garage.  The skank gets to sleep in the king size bed.  Bullshit – bullshit I tell you.  It is true the dog developed an incontinence problem about two years ago, so I suppose I understand why she sleeps in the garage.  She was made a nice raised bed by the man.  But me – no bed, no blanket, no tiny scrap of cloth even. 
That should be MY scratching post!
Look what they built for the skank though in the first month she was here.  I want a scratching post like that. Maybe if they built me something like that I wouldn’t scratch at the window screen while I stare inside with sad, desperate eyes.  Then I wouldn’t get yelled at for ruining things.  Ruining things! It’s a damn mesh window screen, which is easily replaceable.  Haven’t they considered how they might have ruined my life?  I’m not replaceable.  I am a precious being, and I should be in that king size bed too.
Cute? Cute my Ass! Get that skank out of the tree, and out of the house!!
I get yelled at when I even sneak in the door. And look! Look at this, would you?  That skank climbed right up into the Christmas tree and what did they do?   They smiled, laughed, took pictures, and said, “Oh, isn’t she so cute?  How adorable!”  I would have been called a brat.  Why, I recall last Christmas, pacing in front of the patio doors begging to be let in for just this one special day.  Angela saw me and said, “C’mon.  She’s a good girl.  Just let her in for today.  It’s Christmas.”  They denied her request.  The bastards.  And then this little skank gets giggles when she climbs in the tree and bats down ornaments?  Such injustice!  
Therefore, I declare a strike.  I will no longer proudly bring dead mice and chipmunks to the door, showing off my skills before feeding my son.  I am going to begin leaving lumps of my shit on the doormat.  How do you like that? Huh? Treat me like shit, and I will give you shit.  I, Coco, deserve that scratching post.  Bullshit, man, bullshit.  If I could, I would take that skanky little kitten right back to the dumpster where she belongs, and I would claim the bed which I rightfully deserve.
Enjoy the turds, you unfair fuckers!
Love, Coco

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shatter Proof

I have been divorced for ten years.  It has been one entire decade since I walked away from an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.  And yet, as my current husband recently pulled down the Rubbermaid storage boxes from their garage shelves, many of the holiday decorations contained within are still those purchased while in that first marriage.   I unpacked snowman decorations that had been given as gifts by my former spouse, and opened a container that held the blue and silver glass bulbs that we hung on our Christmas tree.

I can’t precisely tell you why I never replaced them.  I suppose I just considered these decorations as mere objects, and never really thought of them as symbols of a failed relationship.  Did looking at a snowman candle holder from Kohl’s bring tears to my eyes as I painfully recalled the night my former husband attempted to choke me?  No, it did not; I just thought it looked appropriately festive sitting on the fireplace mantle.  Replacing the decorations and the ornaments would be expensive, and I deemed this act unnecessary.
This year, however, a different feeling generated in me when I looked at those blue and silver bulbs.  I simply could not bear to hang them upon my tree for one more Christmas. I wasn’t disturbed by memories; I didn’t regret my divorce.  I simply did not wish to hang those ornaments up one more year as I had grown tired of them.  Beyond that, I now have a toddler who has the natural curiosity of a kitten, getting into things she doesn’t belong in. I could imagine her pawing and batting at them with her hands like the furry, little paws of the cats of my childhood, breaking bulbs and making my mom furious every single holiday season. 

Those silver and blue bulbs of a marriage past were as fragile as our relationship – easily broken.  I did not want my daughter to injure herself on the sharp, fragmented bits of glass in the same manner I had been emotionally injured when my reality was shattered through the revelation of my spouse’s unceasing dishonesty.  I thought then of the false mystique of splintered glass along the edges of roadways.  When those bits of broken glass are illuminated by a vehicle’s headlights, they sparkle and shine like diamonds and gold.  It’s all an illusion, though, just as my happy, blissful marriage was. 

For the safety of my children, who might naively be fascinated with the shine of those silver, fragile bulbs, I could not in good conscience place them upon the bows of the already erect tree.  The lights had been strung, and my daughter awed at the sight.  However, we would not finish decorating the tree that night.  I took that plastic container full of easily broken ornaments and put it back out in the garage, stashed away behind other storage containers and a large cooler. 
The very next evening I went to the store and bought new ornaments – shatter proof ornaments.  On the most basic level, these ornaments are a wise decision of a protective mother who rightly predicted that her daughter would knock ornaments off the tree.  When my daughter did this, though, after all the new bulbs hung beautifully from the limbs of the pine, the bulb remained unbroken.  It held together, just as I know and believe that this family will hold together through all difficult times.  This marriage – this beautiful, blessed family – is shatter-proof too.
I hooked up with the wonderful writers over at Yeah Write.  Once again, I am telling you the posts on the challenge grid are well worth reading.  Happy Holidays!