Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Want to Write a Book, Too

Amy Poehler is writing a book. Lena "voice of her generation" Dunham is writing a book. Since I am a jealous-type person, I want to write a book, too. Here are some book ideas that I've come up with that I think will be instant best-sellers. Note that any similarity of these titles to actual book titles is purely coincidental.

Laundry Detergent for the Soul - In which I combine cleanliness and Godliness in a book that is part stain-removal recommendations and part daily devotional. Sample entry: "To remove red wine, pour vodka on the stain and wash as usual. If the stain comes out, thank God. If the stain does not come out, drink the remaining vodka."

The Vacuuming Solution - Are you trying to lose that pesky baby weight? Just do what I did in the glorious months of late 2005 when the Boy was but a few months old and our house became infested with fleas. Not only did I drop all the baby weight in a month by vacuuming the entire house on a daily basis, but the vacuum was loud enough to drown out the Boy's crying. Bonus!
Saddest iPhone cover ever.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Y'all Know What?

At the elementary school that the Girl and the Boy attend, they have show-and-tell for the Kindergarteners, but they call it "y'all know what?" This is in contrast to what we called show-and-tell in New Jersey, which was, "you's better listen up, or I'll smash your friggin' face!" So, how it works at the kids' school is that the sharer kid will say, "y'all know what?" and the rest of the class will say, "what?" And then the kid who's sharing will say, "I got carsick on the way back from the mall yesterday" or whatever seems like an event of note to a Kindergartener. In my experience, they mostly talk about farting and puking. That is why this scene in "Despicable Me" is so funny to kids:

Back when the Boy was in Kindergarten, I happened to be in his class one day when they were doing "y'all know what?" A boy I'll call Joey had just gotten back from a trip to California, so the teacher thought that he might have some fun things to share with the class. This is what he said:

Joey: Y'all know what?
Class: What?
Joey: My plane got stuck 'cause there was a motor problem and we sat on the runway.
Teacher: Oh, so you had a delay.
Joey: Yeah, that's why I was late for school.
Teacher: Wait, you were on the plane today?
Joey: I don't know what day it started, but we got off the plane today. It was called the 'red eyes' plane.

Joey, have you ever been in a cockpit before?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Green Eyed Monster

I've been thinking about the recent study which concluded that Facebook is making us miserable because we are jealous of the fabulous lives our friends appear to have based on their Facebook posts. I'm surprised about this mostly because I have always figured that most people are like me and only post things on Facebook that reflect the self that they want to promote. Also, people mostly only post about the great stuff and terrible stuff because Facebook is a little like restaurant reviews: why waste time writing a review that says, "this place is totally okay!"? If I posted about every mundane activity during my day my Facebook feed would make it look like I was a professional laundress and snack-getter: "Just threw in a load of whites!" "Kids totally can't get enough Goldfish crackers! Up again to get a bowl of Pirate's Booty! But, hey YOLO!"

This is a fucking lie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Funny Friday

I need some funny today because I just got back from dropping the Baby at preschool where she refused to get out of the car at drop-off, forcing me to park on the street, carry her in the freeeeeezing cold into the classroom where upon her teacher had to physically peel her off of me so that I could leave. I came home and read the chapter in "Freeing Your Child From Anxiety" by Tamar E. Chasky, Ph.D. about separation anxiety and desperately wished for a few minutes that the hard parts of parenting could be outsourced. Apparently some role-playing and "good-bye book" making are in my future. That's the parenting shit that no one posts about on Facebook. It's moments like this when I need to focus on the end game: In 20 years they have to be grown and not living in my basement.

Alright, now that I've vented, on to the week in funny. One of my favorite websites for funny things is HappyPlace. That's where I found that sad, sad incorrectly spelled tramp stamp. Check out all the misspelled tattoos and you'll be happy that you just got a picture of your cat tattooed on your stomach:

Because when I look at my bellybutton, I too, think cat anus

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Randomly Random Things

Three exciting things happened here at OWTL in the last two days. First, as previously discussed, the K officially crossed into the ranks of the middle aged. Any car dealers, please be on the lookout for a tall, dark man with Lebanese circles under his eyes on the hunt for a sports car. Tell him that his wife is purchasing pink flamingos in bulk and he needs to get home to stop her.

Second, this flew into our shed yesterday:

I'm talking about that blob on the wall

See 'im sitting on the toolbox in the back left

I know that the pictures suck, but it's a bird. A brown thrasher according to the Boy, who I trust on this topic mostly because it doesn't involve telling the difference between toilet paper and paper towels. I just finished reading "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver, which is all about butterflies that mysteriously show up on a hillside in Appalachia instead of going to Mexico where they're supposed to spend the winter. It's all a metaphor, of course, and very didactic with Kingsolver banging on her global warming drum (rather tediously, if you ask me). But, so in the midst of reading this, the bird shows up in the shed and I thought, "Hmmmm. Perhaps this is the sign I wasn't looking for." But then the bird made its way out of the shed and flew away and I decided to stop reading meaning into things.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday the K!

Forty years ago today a tiny baby was born two months premature in Oxford, Mississippi. He would quickly make up for his low birthweight (which no one remembers exactly, but seems to have been in the five pound range), and tower over his sister by the time he was 11 and she was 17. I'm, of course, talking about the K who turns 40 today. He is celebrating by going to work and editing some of the 28 briefs that he has due next Monday. And by "briefs" I mean the inaptly named legal documents and not men's underwear. Yay, being a grownup!

At the risk of spoiling the K's surprise when he gets home, I will share that the children and I made this beautiful gift basket/Galvanized tub full of silk flowers for him.

Here's one that gives you a better view of the tub without the distracting backdrop. There's the Girl lying on the couch watching "Arthur:"

In case you are wondering, in that first picture that is a throw blanket featuring two whitetail bucks. According to the packaging it is both "soft & luxurious" and a "great accent for any room." I say that nothing goes with a pink flamingo and silk flowers like a whitetail buck throw. It's too long a story to explain why, but we have purchased or acquired a veritable flock of flamingos in our 11 years of marriage. The K just finished disposing of our old, broken flamingoes and expressly forbid me from purchasing any more. Boo-yah! Just say, "I forbid you from..." and I shall defy your express instructions. The "obey" part in our marriage vows? I just Beyonced that word.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Presidential Frivolity

I did my best to get the children excited about watching the inauguration today. We made patriotic pretzel sticks:

and red, white, and blue mocktails:

but the Boy probably summed up their views on the event best when he suggested that the inauguration would be more interesting if there was a comedian. I have to agree that some of the poetry went on a mite long for my taste, but then I'm not cultured enough to appreciate poetry. Interestingly, the Poet Laureate of the United States lives about a block away from me. She is lovely and buys shoes from Zappos (I know this because there was an empty box in her recycling last week). I have this fantasy that someday there will be a Blogger Laureate of the United States. Of course it would be someone like Glennon from Momastery, but maybe I could work in the coat room at her coronation or something.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pants on Fire

I have something to confess to you all. This being a blog on the internet, and the internet being a place that, along with delivering porn discreetly, you can take liberties with the truth, I have done just that. First, I am not really a former lawyer. All those legal references I make in my blogs, I picked up that mumbo-jumbo watching "Law & Order." Also, I'm not really married at all. The man I call "the K" is really a guy I hired to dig a well in the backyard. Because, also, I don't live in suburban Atlanta, either. I reside in a trailer (double-wide, mind you) in rural Wisconsin. Those three kids? Not mine at all. The Boy is neighborhood miniature goat shepherd. The Girl? She's the German cousin of a professional ice fisherman. The Baby? She's an avatar.  Also, my real name is Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. Yes, I am the infant daughter of Uma Thurman.

Okay, that last paragraph is totally made up. But, you see my point, which is that people lie a lot these days and sometimes it's hard to know what to believe. Of course I'm talking about athletes and actresses and half-baked conspiracy theorists and writers whose memoirs turn out to be fiction. Basically, the whole world's gone Pinocchio.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Funny Friday

Funny Friday is an attempt to organize this blog in some manner. Because goodness knows that my house isn't organized, so I might as well try to organize this blog. In my defense, I think my house would be organized if I lived alone. The problem is that I'll put everything away and then shit like this happens:

That's the rocking horse from the Baby's room. She needed it downstairs so that she could ride it while watching the Colorado dude ranch episode of "Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman." She also insisted on wearing a cowgirl costume to make the whole experience really authentic. I just thought, crap, instead of getting the peace and quiet that I deserve for allowing her to watch television, I am hauling rocking horses up and down the steps and rummaging through the dress-up clothes to come up with an acceptable cowgirl outfit.

Anyway, back to Funny Friday. This is going to be my Friday blog feature in which I will recap the top funniest things that I've come across during the week. These can be kid stories, funny news stories, funny emails, texts, whatever. So, toss back your Happy Hour cocktail and read on!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Non-Sporty Spice

My favorite quote from a Spice Girl who is not Victoria Beckham (who is, actually, hilarious) is from Melanie Chisholm aka Sporty Spice who said that being dubbed Sporty Spice was a burden and that sometimes she wished she was Fat, Lazy Spice instead. Poor Sporty, it is a lot of pressure to live up to that name. At least she is British, and, let's face it, when we think of England our first thought is not, "Athletes!" The United States is a sporty country and for the non-sporty among us, it can be difficult. In fact, the last time I wrote anything of any length about sports was in law school when I wrote a comment for the Bankruptcy Developments Journal entitled, "It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Declares Bankruptcy: A Debtor's Right to Season Ticket Holder Status." It focused on section 365 of the zzzzzzzzzz. Yes, I know. If you missed that issue of the BDJ, I will send you a copy because I have about 50 sitting in my attic.

While I exercise so that I won't get diabetes, I am not much of an athlete and I generally won't go out of my way to watch sports not involving my children. This is probably because I did not grow up in a normal sporty family. The mainstream American sports are just too mundane for my father. He probably knows all the rules to cricket, can fence like a musketeer, and knows his way around the buzkashi field (click - hysterical list of obscure sports), but I don't think he's ever played a pick-up game of basketball. Okay, he has been known to don a blue and red scarf and take in the Princeton-Penn football game with one of his Ivy League friends, but more for the plummy experience, not to actually watch the game. 

I love the picture on that program because: a. The Penn Quaker looks like Rudolph Valentino channelling the little Dutch boy, but inexplicably wearing a fedora and a knickers sailor suit, and b. This Quaker's the angriest looking pacifist I've ever seen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weekend Happenings

We had some big goings-on this weekend and we're still limping along trying to recover. I think this probably makes me a bad mom because I should just let everyone rest over the weekend so that they'll be fresh and peppy and ready to learn on Monday, but instead they're all worn ragged and I'm dragging them out of bed ten minutes before they have to be at school. It's hard, though, to strike the balance on the weekends between downtime and activities. If I don't plan enough, they all complain about being bored and we all know boredom is the devil's playground. Also, Devil's Playground is a documentary about Amish kids during rumspringa:

Is it just me, or do all Amish girls look like Martha Plimpton?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Surviving Flu and Cold Season and Foolproof Winner!

Here's a little something I wrote and sent to a couple of places for publication and was met with either outright rejection or tumbleweeds. So, now I'm making like the gutter girl of the internet and giving it away for free! 

According to the weekly influenza summary map on the CDC website, the flu was widespread in 43 of the 50 states during the last week of 2012. At this time of year we all try to take precautions to avoid getting sick. But even if you get the flu shot, wash your hands often, and stay away from people who are obviously ill, sometimes there is no way to avoid germs. This is especially true if you have children who do things that no amount of hand sanitizer can counteract.

I first noticed that children are inescapably drawn to germy things before I even had children of my own. One winter afternoon I was waiting for the New York City subway. The only other passengers on the platform were a mother and her son. The little boy, who looked about four years old, was running his hands up and down one of the pillars, feeling the texture of the paint. “Stop touching everything. You’ll get germs!” his mother reprimanded. The boy stopped touching the pillar, looked her dead in the eye and then licked the pole that he’d just been touching.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Forget the Golden Globes! I Won a Liebster!

What, you may ask is a Liebster Award? Glad you asked! The Liebster Award is given to blogs with less than 300 followers as a way of making them more well-known. I did some research to see if I could find out more about the origins of the Liebster, but didn't come up with much. Liebster means "dearest" in German and, according to this blog, the earliest mention of the award in a blog title was back in 2010 by a German blogger.

As an aside, I enjoy that a nice phrase like, "you are my dearest" can sound ominous and terrifying if spoken loudly in German. I just said, "Du bist mein liebster!" to the children and the Girl asked why I was going to eat her liver.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Social Vertigo

I might file this post under the heading, "I hope I'm not the only one who..." because there are times that I'll think about something or do something and wonder if I am the only person who has had the particular thought or action. If any of the following discussion resonates with you, please let me know. If it does not and you now think that I may be a little bit more insane than I originally portrayed myself as being, I suppose the jig is up. Finally, this post contains some salty language. You've been warned. 

Years ago before the K and I were married, we lived in Birmingham, Alabama. For those of you who have never been, Birmingham is a lovely city. The people are friendly and welcoming, the neighborhoods are beautiful, and the populace's dedication to college football rivalries is truly awe-inspiring.

A house divided, literally

Thursday, January 10, 2013


No post today because I was busy making my new tabs!

I hope you enjoy the new addition to the blog because I am proud that I managed to figure out how to do it. I'm sure I messed up in some way, so when you click on a link and get a picture of Karl Rove boxing with a kangaroo or something equally weird, please alert me so that I can fix the problem.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tired, Stupid, or Early Dementia?

Whenever I make some bad miscalculation or decision (and this happens more often than I'd like to admit) I play a little game which I like to call "Tired, Stupid, or Early Dementia." Sometimes brain tumor is thrown in there as a fourth possibility, but I assure myself that since I never get headaches, a brain tumor is unlikely. Feel free to play along and try to guess the answers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Happy Birthday to Elvis Presley who would have been 79 years old today. Elvis has always been special to me because he helped me get into college. He didn't tutor me in calculus (although goodness knows he might have been better than the guy who did tutor me in calc and was later arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in a park).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Foolproof Giveaway

We had a fun weekend visit from Dad and my step-mother, Ellen. The kids adore Dad because he brings them gifts (this time it was light up rings), he tells jokes that they find funny (notice that they might not be objectively funny, but the kids like them), and he plays games and colors with them. One of Dad's favorite activities with the kids (especially the Boy) is drawing flags. Don't ask me how this activity got started, but Dad and the Boy will spend hours creating flags of fictitious countries or improving on the flags of actual countries. This visit Dad got the Baby in on the activity by showing her all the U.S. state flags. The Baby and the Boy thought that the New Mexico flag could use some improvement. In case you were wondering, the flag looks like this:

I think the New Mexico flag has an understated elegance, but it's not very flashy or interesting like say, the Isle of Man flag:

Honestly, I'm not sure what's going on there. Parasitic twin? Also, did you know that Andy Garcia had a parasitic twin? That link is to a list of ten celebrities with "strange physical flaws." I feel certain that many, many men have looked at Megan Fox and thought, "I'd hit that, but for her stubby thumbs."

Back to the flags. So, they designed some new flags that were more colorful than the original New Mexico flag and Dad promptly packaged them up in envelopes and sent them to to the Governor of New Mexico, who will, I am sure, put them someplace safe:

My major accomplishment of the weekend was finally learning how to properly cook salmon. For Christmas, Mom gave me a copy of the new Barefoot Contessa's aptly-named cookbook, "Foolproof." So, here's the deal with cooking and me. It's not that I'm a bad cook, I just don't like spending a really long time cooking something that only 2/5th of the family will eat and then cook several auxiliary meals to feed everyone else. It dawned on me recently that there are people who enjoy the actual process of cooking. To me this is like enjoying the process of getting dressed. Yes, I like to have something to eat and I want to get dressed, but I don't relish the steps it takes to achieve those ends.

All that being said, I really love all the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Does this make sense given my self-proclaimed dislike of cooking? Yes. Her recipes are fairly quick, with easy to follow directions and the resulting food will be really good. So, I made salmon and melting cherry tomatoes and

The good news for you all is that I happen to be too lazy to return the copy of "Foolproof" that I ordered for myself before receiving my gift copy for Christmas. The reason that this is good news is because I am giving away my extra copy!

So, I've never done a contest before, so here are my guidelines (such as they are):

1. Leave a comment with your favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe from any of her other cookbooks.
2. If you don't have a favorite recipe, make something up, i.e., "I really like her smoked turtle fritters with creme fraiche and shaved chocolate."
3. That's it.

I will announce a winner (picked via random number selection) next Monday, January 14. May the odds be ever in your favor. (Note: Despite the "Hunger Games" reference, the winner will not be required to battle to the death with other OWTL readers.)

Friday, January 4, 2013

When I Grow Up

On Friday, the Baby was allowed to bring to school a toy that she received for Christmas. (By the way, since it's a church preschool, I think that everyone celebrates Christmas.) Unfortunately, the Doodle Bear and the Hello Kitty backpack had not made it back from Mississippi, so she decided to take her new coffee maker (she may have called it a coffee "blender").

Sweet Baby. I'm picturing that during circle time while the other kids played with their Ninjago and baby dolls, the Baby brewed up some decaf for her teachers. This is the kind of thing that the Baby likes to do: she'll help the Boy clean up his room because she likes to clean, she'll insist on "helping" me make dinner because she wants to cook, and she strolls her dolls, Katie and Katie (not a typo) around the house.

In all of this domesticity she is markedly different from her brother and sister. Just the other day the Girl was talking about some of her classmates who like to play house at recess.

Me: Do you play with them?
The Girl: No. I would play house if a tornado destroyed the house and we had to all live in the wilderness or if I got to throw up on someone. I like action.

So, basically don't call the Girl to play house, call her to play FEMA trailer park.

By the way, this is a shot glass you can buy on Cafepress:

Ah, memories of August of 2005 when the Boy was born and I got very depressed, not because I had PPD, but because I stayed up all night feeding the Boy and watching Hurricane Katrina coverage on CNN. The last thing you need to do when you're all hormonal is watch people being plucked from the roofs of their flooded homes.

The Baby was telling me the other day that when she grows up she plans to live in our house with her three children. Her husband will be our next door neighbor, she guessed, because he already lives so close that it would just be the easiest thing to do. She is nothing if not practical. Since we were on the subject, I asked the Girl what she planned to do when she grows up and she said that she would be moving to North Carolina, working as a veterinarian or a marine biologist, and that she would never get married or have children. Given her feelings about playing house, I'd say that's probably a wise move.

I asked the Boy what he was going to do. "I don't know yet." That's no fun, so I asked where he was going to live. He shrugged. "I don't know, probably Oregon." "But that's so far away!" I cried as if his statement had some basis in reality. "Are you going to get married?" He shrugged again. Panicked: "Are you going to marry a girl just like me?" Appropriately, he rolled his eyes. That was a good reaction because I was veering dangerously close to this:

When I was in third grade, I was going to be a girl detective, just like Trixie Belden. Also like Trixie, I was going to have a fabulously wealthy friend named Honey who would let me ride her horses and we'd wear matching twinset sweaters. I would travel to exciting places with my friends and solve mysteries. Instead I'm a former lawyer and SAHM blogger with lots of great friends, a few of whom are wealthy, but none of whom are named Honey, or own a horse. Probably a few friends would agree that we could wear matching twinset sweaters. They are the really good friends. Recently we did take a trip to Mississippi, but the only mystery I solved was how to use my in-law's washing machine.  So, basically none of my childhood aspirations have come true. I'm fairly certain that the children's plans will change, too. This is good news because I don't think the Boy needs to move to Oregon when he still can't tell the difference between toilet paper and paper towels.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Makes You So Special?

You know that blog list over to the right of my page? Well, I really do read all those blogs. They're kind of a weird mixture of things: humor, inspiration, decorating, wellness, and deal-spotting. But, that makes sense since I'm a only a little bit interested in a lot of different things. I've spent my life being a dilettante without giving it much thought or without it causing any demonstrable problems. Recently though, I've been thinking more about my lack of focus and whether it's an asset or a liability.

Remember that blogging workshop that Bluemopheads Maureen and I went to with the locally famous female writer and her anal pillow companion? Well, the big stars of the class were the people with the blogs that were laser-focused on a particular topic. For instance, one lady was very into art journaling. She said that all menopausal women are art journaling these days, so I have that to look forward to, along with possibly still growing a mustache. In case you are interested, here is the art journaling lady's favorite blog. Another lady (they were all ladies, as I said) was very interested in shamanism and specifically the intersection between shamanism and ecology. Our workshop leaders practically squealed in glee over this focused topic. I have to confess that I have no idea what shamanism is all about or what you find at the intersection of shamanism and ecology other than some trees and someone chanting. But, it was clear that it was only this kind of arcane and obscure topic that would satisfy our leaders.

When my turn came up to have my blog critiqued by our instructors it went pretty much as I imagined.  They scrolled through my posts quickly and the female writer said something like, "You're just journaling. You're just writing about what you do every day." Well, yes and no, but I didn't want to waste time splitting hairs on that, so I just let her keep going. "So, you're a mom with three kids. But, what makes you different from other moms who blog? What makes you special? What would be missing from this world if your voice didn't exist."

Well, crap. I didn't know. I said some incoherent things about not being perfect and screwing up a lot and having kids who got sick and that I was trying to make people feel like things might suck sometimes, but that's okay because there's something funny in jumping a curb in your car, or leaving your kids' lovies in another state so that they have to turn koosh balls into their new Mexican/Hungarian lovie. I think I saw her eyes glaze over about five seconds into my stream of consciousness.

"You know, we had a lady in here who had a mom blog, but her thing was that she was a closet drinker. Do you have something like that? Like being a secret drinker?" "No," I admitted, sadly, "I'm not a closet drinker." It's probably the only time that someone has thought, "Damn, things would be so much easier if I were a closet drinker!" Disappointed in my lack of closeted skeletons and specialness, the workshop leader moved on to the woman to my left who was an African American lesbian, with M.S. who used to be a member of the Pentecostal Church.

I totally understand the point that successful people are, by in large, experts or specialists in a particular area. My blogging "friends," for example, all have a hook. Glennon at Momastery had substance abuse and food issues before she married, had children, and found God (though not necessarily in that order). Jenny at the Bloggess, along with being very funny, has struggled with mental illness. Carmel at Our Fifth House is a creative DIY-er extraordinaire. My blogging friend Erica at EricaFinds (no quotes because we are real-life friends) is a marathoner and has a lot of knowledge about different ways to cross-train and stay fit. In short, they are all special in some way.

So, now I'm stuck thinking about my specialness and that maybe my specialness comes from not being special. I'm sorry to break the news, but by my blogging teacher's definition who among us is special? Cull out the ones who can ride a unicycle or speak seven languages or are eco-shamans, and you're left with 85% of the population. Maybe I'm the everywoman of the blog world. Maybe I am the freaking Jimmy Stewart of the blogosphere. Sakes alive, maybe I'm the Sarah Palin of blogs! Remember the scene in the movie "Singles" when Campbell Scott is hitting on Mrs. Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgewick, and claims to have "no act." Kyra calls him out on it by saying, "I think that a) you have an act, and that, b) not having an act is your act." So, maybe my act is having no act. It has to be that because I just can't compete with an ex-Pentacostal, African American lesbian, with M.S., especially if she's a secret drinker.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Break Wrap-Up

Less than twelve hours before all the kiddos are back at school (not that I'm counting). Even though I've been claiming that it's been six weeks since they've all been in school, but the truth is that it's been since December 10th. But since one sick-kid day is the equivalent of three vacation-kid days I've been home with kids for 54 days by my calculations. Since this is my own formula I'm fairly sure this is indisputable. Before they go back to school, I thought I'd look back at some of our post-plague activities so that I'll remember that we did do some fun things over break.

Remember the morning that the Girl woke up, waited an hour, and then told us that she had puked in her bed during the night? Well, that afternoon I had tickets for the Girl, the Baby and me to see the Nutcracker Ballet at the Fox Theatre with Mom and Sister. Stomach virus notwithstanding the Girl was determined to see the production. For the entire drive to the theatre, the Girl sat under a ten gallon garbage bag just in case she had to vomit. But, good news, she made it there and back and through the entire performance without incident. Yay!

In case you are wondering, the Baby is wearing my old dress, a headband from Target, and a pair of tights that are at least a size 8 (she's a size 4T). We fit right in with all the fancy people whose kids looked ready for a Christmas photo with Santa. I really wanted her to wear this:

Minus the deflated, ripped football on her head, of course. She refused and I was too tired to care.

Just as an aside, when I was a second year in law school we had our Barristers' Ball at the Fox Theatre and everyone behaved so badly (read: drunken shenanigans) that Emory Law School was banned from ever having another event at the venue. I was thankful that the Girl made it through and I was not present for another puke-fest at the Fox Theatre. Once in a lifetime is more than enough.

So, two days later we had Christmas:

The Boy is like Bigfoot - blurry in every picture. The Baby loved the Hello Kitty backpack that her BFF Harris (aka Sidekick) gave her.

The Girl is opening up her IOU for circus tickets:

I hope it's not a lint brush!

The day after Christmas we packed up and headed for the Magnolia State to see my mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law. After FIL retired, he and MIL built a house which is incredibly beautiful and full of precious, expensive breakables. They have been very nice to not look concerned when we roll in with our posse of house destruction experts. Probably they aren't concerned because they know that I'm so concerned that I practically place the children in straight jackets when we arrive. Because this:

and this:

can easily turn into this:

if my three perpetual-motion machines are not supervised.

The weather wasn't terrific, so we took the kids to the Ole Miss indoor practice facility, which is (as it sounds) a domed football field and track where the team practices in inclement weather. The kids had a ball (pun intended):

See what I mean about the Boy? Blurry.

The next day we went to an indoor bounce place because the weather was even worse (it poured rain). The bounce place is a fairly new establishment in Oxford and smaller than the ones we've been to around Atlanta, but I was glad to have someplace to go where I didn't have to worry about broken china. Instead, I observed the childhood obesity statistics come to life. I didn't take any pictures because it was a bit depressing. "But," you say, "at least the kids were bouncing and getting exercise." "Oh, but you see," I say, "there was also a small fleet of plasma cars, which one particular group of large children commandeered so that they wouldn't have to actually walk anywhere including to the snack bar to fetch pitchers of Coke and Pixie Sticks." I have nothing more to say because this made me sad.

Something else that made me sad was that when we got home from Mississippi we realized that we'd left the Baby's new and much-loved Hello Kitty backpack, plus her new Doodle Bear, plus the Boy's only lovie, Blue Bear in Mississippi. The Baby has about a gazillion stuffed animals, mostly elephants named Ellie or Ella, that she sleeps with every night so I felt like she would be okay without her toys. But the Boy has only slept without Blue Bear one night (because he was lost under our laundry basket) in his entire life. He freaked out the first night, but then made the best of it by finding a new lovie. It is this:

He calls it Senor Goulash. I don't know why and I don't care. He seems happy.

On New Year's Eve, Sidekick came over and we roasted marshmallows.

Apparently this is the only way to get a clear picture of the Boy: fire, stick, sugar.

I hope you all were able to have some time off during the holidays and made some memories. Now, off to school with everyone so I can go to Costco without company!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution: Deconstruct Groupon's New Year's Offers

Happy New Year everyone! Are you all tired of all the weight loss commercials and "quit smoking now" commercials yet? I am and I barely even watched any television today due to a blackout from 4:30-7:00 while the power company repaired a power pole in the neighborhood that a New Year's Eve reveler knocked down last night. Thankfully my laptop was charged so that I was able to check email and discover that Groupon had sent me some discounts on New Year's Resolution-type deals. The offers included a weight-loss package (with this stock picture of a girl who has no need for such an offer):

I mean, come on. Also, under what circumstance, other than bridesmaid dress fittings, do women checks the circumference of their body parts with a tape measure? Personally, I check the size of my thighs by trying on my jeans.

Further assistance to track your progress towards your weight loss goals comes in the form of a body composition scale which computes body fat, water weight, and body weight. But, apparently if that all fails, you can use the old standby:

Again with the tape measure. Again with the model who needs no tape measure to assure her that she is in ridiculously good shape. Good enough shape, in fact, to be a measuring tape-model, which may be a real thing that I didn't know existed until I started parsing these Groupon deals.

If the diet plan and fancy scale don't work, there's a deal for a week at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara in Java, New York. Sounds pretty good until you read that the deal is only good for January through March, which is not exactly the high season for being in upstate New York. The map of the location is priceless:

You are guaranteed to lose weight because you will be in the middle of a frozen lake. Your shivering alone will burn about a zillion calories a minute as your body works to keep the hypothermia from setting in.

Tools for kicking your smoking habit are also covered. I have to admit that I was a little confused by this deal:

It seemed strange to be offering a smoking "starter kit" when most people try to quit smoking at this time of year. Then I realized that they are smokeless, battery powered cigarettes. All I can think about is the real Allison DuBois (who that show "Medium" was based on), smoking fake (but smoky) cigarettes on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

Did anyone else see this episode? Camille Grammer hosted the worst party ever and for some reason Allison Dubois and Faye Resnick were there. Whaaaat? Is California just so full of the tangentially famous that they eventually all cross paths at dinner parties hosted by former lingerie models?

Another great deal offered is Green Coffee Bean Extract with Svetol, which is different from Svedka in that one is a trademarked chemical in green coffee beans and the other is a vodka with a fembot mascot who looks like Victoria Beckham circa 2000:

I love the description of the Green Coffee Bean Extract with Svetol because the Groupon description writer guy (who was clearly disappointed he had not been promoted to model tape measure-holder) slipped in something silly right at the end:

Recommended by the likes of Dr. Oz, green coffee bean extract with Svetol aims to burn fat when taken as a supplement to daily meals. Svetol provides antioxidant protection, and can also maintain glucose control as users begin to lose weight naturally. Formulated with bioperine for optimum absorption, the beans brim with 800 milligrams of extra-virgin organic coconut oil. The supplements contain no artificial ingredients, and are also free of gluten, soy, and kryptonite.

Because the last thing you want to be doing is starting up a kryptonite habit in the beginning of a new year. Happy 2013!