Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things I take for granted

I am a prolific (and loud) whiner so I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone left in the state of Michigan who doesn’t know that we were without power from early Sunday morning through last night. So, as we enter a new year, these are the things I hope NOT to take for granted anymore…

My Husband – When the rest of us got up on Sunday morning he already had both fireplaces blazing and candles lit. Then he ran out for bagels and coffee. When we all got bored in the afternoon he planned a trip to Great Lakes Crossing to accommodate everyone’s whims and then booked us into a hotel when the temperature in our house plummeted. He was also not too proud to accept help. Which leads me to….

My Friends – First and foremost, Jill and Don – who not only loaned us their generator, but delivered it (from Rochester) and set it up so the house would be warm and the fridge (and ok, I’ll admit it, the TV) could run. When the power came back on Don rushed through his dinner to come down and reset everything back to normal and Jill sent her fabulous homemade cookies with him! Could anyone ask for better friends?!? We sooooo don’t deserve them, but will do our best to pay them back. Then Sue and Joe took my son for the day yesterday. We had planned to invite their son over (my son’s best friend) and when I called and explained the situation they immediately insisted my son join them for a day at the DIA. We had many offers for a place to sleep (and I had a few offers for a much-needed glass of wine) – thanks everyone!

Electricity – Sure, we pay for it so we should expect it to be here, but what a pain when Mother Nature interferes with what man has created.

Means – We are fortunate enough to be able to go to a hotel when it gets too cold and to restock the fridge. Three days with no power was definitely an inconvenience, but it was not a tragedy like it would be for some people.

And I’m going to TRY and keep all of this in mind as I do three days worth of laundry and cleaning and get my house back in order.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I’m old enough to remember when Meijer’s slogan was “You’re always next in line at Meijer.” My sister told me a hysterical story of shopping there with a friend from college who got a little frustrated waiting in line and started shouting “YOU’RE NEXT IN LINE AT MEIJER!” at the top of his lungs.

He would not survive there today.

Apparently Meijer’s new slogan is “Spend as much time in line as you do shopping” because that is exactly what happened to my daughter and I today. In fact, we may have spent LESS time shopping than we did in line and I’ll even include the wait at the apathetically staffed photo department with the shopping. The woman ahead of us in line was quite peeved at the situation; I heard her say just that into her cell phone about 20 times while we waited, but when it was her turn to check out after spending 25 minutes in line did she have her money or charge card ready? No! She had to go digging through her purse to find it. Preparation, people. Heard of it?

And next time we go I am making my daughter videotape me shopping to see if I, too, turn into a lethargic zombie (as compared to the zombies who energetically pursue the living) the minute I walk through the door like everyone else who shops there. Seriously, you won’t find a more lifeless, slow-moving crowd anywhere. No one is happy to be there. Not even the employees. Though our cashier did rouse herself enough to ask me if I knew that I could get a second bag of oranges free with the one I bought.

I’d like to think it’s the economy, but this store has been this way since 6 months after it opened. I was a frequent customer those first few months but since the zombies have moved in have been going there less and less. It’s too bad; I really enjoy a store where I can buy groceries, a lamp, and a new outfit all under one roof.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A note to whatever force is trying to keep us from going on vacation

My family and I are very chilly and we are very pale. We have been looking forward to this trip since last February and if you think that cancelling a return flight or sending a snowstorm the night before we’re supposed to leave is going to keep us from getting on that plane and heading to the Bahamas – you are wrong!

And yes, I am ignoring my son's coughing and the fact that it feels like someone poked a skewer into my left ear. We scoff at your paltry attempts at illness.

Bring out your big guns - a blizzard, food poisoning, whatever. We are armed with sunscreen and will not be deterred!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rehab for Tara Reid

This was a headline on Star Magazine's website but I have to it really a headline, or more of a statement of fact like Humans Need Air to Survive and Michigan is Cold in December?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Panic Attacks

Things I panic about daily (this month):

Finishing my book
Whether or not I'll ever work again
What if something happens to my husband or kids
Getting presents purchased
Getting presents wrapped and hidden
Whether we'll be ready to leave for our trip
Whether people will show up to the skating event I've been helping to publicize
Are those Mean Girls going to continue to be mean to my daughter - and if they do, can I take them down
The fact that I know panicking isn't helping but I can't seem to stop

Obviously the first three (and the last one) aren't limited to December, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Preparing to be robbed

There have been some daytime home invasions in our area, and one even occurred right around the corner so, of course, I am planning my Getting Robbed Strategy.

Apparently the robbers show up, 4 in a car, and knock on the door of a house they think is empty. If someone answers the door they act like they got the wrong address or something. If no one is home they go around back and break in. And they only take the good stuff – costume jewelry and cheap watches have been left behind.

My original plan, should I hear my doorbell ring and then noise coming from the back of the house, was to grab the phone and run into the bathroom which is so small that if I open a drawer it jams the door shut. But now I’ve heard that they are cutting phone lines! So I have to remember to keep my cell phone with me at all times.

Police cars have been cruising through my subdivision lately and I am on Full Alert which, for a paranoid, imaginative person like me, is extremely detrimental to get anything accomplished. I spring into a crouched position at any sound and so far this morning that has included

A) Snow and ice falling off the roof

B) The garbage truck

C) The humidifier making a gurgling noise, and

D) One of those strange “signing on” sounds on AOL.

I am tempted to call 911 on my cell phone to make sure they know my home address when I call from that number, but think that may be going a bit too far.

I’m also tempted to keep a frying pan, or some other heavy item, in my bathroom because if they somehow get the door open I can stand on the counter and bonk someone over the head as they try to enter. I’m thinking a cast iron skillet would probably work best but I don’t own one and don’t want to explain to my husband (who already thinks I’m nuts) why I bought a brand new skillet for the master bathroom.

Sure wish they’d catch them so I can relax.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What cats talk about

According to my husband, this is the conversation that our cats had yesterday.

Chucky: Dude, you are totally not going to believe what I did this morning.

Latke: Chased that boy out of his own room?

Chucky: Better. Are you ready? I pooped on the garage floor.

Latke: Get out! What did they do?

Chucky: Nothing! It was about 5:30 a.m. and I went upstairs to tell that grouchy one I wanted to go outside…

Latke: The one with the bad roots?

Chucky: Yeah.

Latke: She really should take care of those. No wonder she can’t find a job.

Chucky: Totally. So, as I was saying, I tell her I want to go out and when she comes downstairs she doesn’t open the door like I’ve politely asked, she throws me in the garage!

Latke: That is just rude!

Chucky: And I’ve got to go, right? So I just leave a big pile right in front of her car.

Latke: Then what?

Chucky: Well, a little while later she opens the door and I go in and eat my breakfast.

Latke: So, the garage is totally open for pooping now?

Chucky: You got it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A violation on so many levels

Below is the letter I wanted to send in with the check to pay for the ticket I got today. But I didn’t because…well….the police know where I live.
Dear City of _____________,

I am so VERY sorry that I spent an extra 15 minutes spending money and enjoying myself in one of your under-utilized and practically empty downtown establishments and that my parking meter ran out before I could get back out there to pop another quarter in.

Your officers obviously had a very busy day - as out of the 50 parking spaces available only four were being used and two of those vehicles had tickets on them. I can see why you would want to fine me and move me along….someone else was probably going to need that space IMMEDIATELY!

Perhaps more people would come downtown and your businesses wouldn’t all be going under if the police weren’t so trigger-happy. Just a thought.

Your pal,

P.S. The ability to pay my ticket via the internet might be more attractive IF IT WORKED.
P.S.S. A) When the error message tells you that your ticket is not in the system, you might want to provide a "yet" - AND - B) you might want to let people know BEFORE they pay by credit card that there will be an added "convenience" fee because, really, the frickin' stamp would have been cheaper.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wal-Mart tragedy - my $.02

By now we've all heard of the tragedy at the NY Wal-Mart store where a maintenance worker was trampled to death by a discount-hungry crowd. Many of the articles I've read keep trying to point out that the store didn't have enough security - but when - and WHY? - did that become so necessary? Are people so desperate to save $100 on a flat screen TV that they are willing to become accomplices to murder? And - if you really need to get up so early and fight your way through a frenzied crowd to save $100 - PERHAPS YOU SHOULDN'T BE BUYING THAT FLAT SCREEN TV IN THE FIRST PLACE! Perhaps your money should be going towards more important things like rent, and winter boots.

What I found extra-disturbing was the fact that when they tried to close the store shoppers were pissed that they had to leave! "I'm so sorry someone died, but I've had my eye on this laptop for weeks." just doesn't cut it people.

And when they finally did get the store closed, people lined up outside waiting for it to reopen and were upset that it took so long.

Sorry, Wal-Mart, but if this is the kind of shopper you attract, you won't find me and my money in your store any time soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eggnog rant

I love eggnog and only drink it between Thanksgiving and January 1 and have a message for all you Bob-Greene-Jillian-Michaels-uber-skinny-endorphin-fueled-making-your-money-by-making-me-feel-fat "experts" -- I don't care if eggnog is a 'liquid cheeseburger,' and from Thursday until January 1 I will be sitting in a corner with my eggnog and a bottle of brandy and my fingers in my ears going "lalalalalalalalala" so I don't have to listen to you.


Yesterday I had to park by one of my favorite bread stores – you know, the ones who make everything fresh from stone ground flour and leave out huge slabs for you to try – and there was a van blocking my way as I tried to get into the parking lot. I noticed that the guy in the van was carrying bags into the bread store – and they were from Meijer!

Nothing against Meijer, it’s one of my favorite places to shop (especially at midnight when I’ve been out on the town and NEED Hostess Ding Dongs and new curtains) but they are not especially known for their stone ground flour or other earthy, natural bread stuff that this store claims their bread is made out of.

I can’t get over it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to buy bread from them again which is really disappointing because I was assigned “bread” to bring to Thanksgiving at my mom’s this year and now I’m going to have to make my own.

Thanks a lot.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Direct me to the pain

I’m on the second day of a killer headache and the only pain reliever left in the house (besides the super-strong stuff which may or may not impair my driving) is Bayer Back & Body. So I took some; but am I wasting my time?

Years ago I remember a stand-up comedian doing a bit about directed medicine – how does it know where to go? Well, how does it? Is this Back & Body stuff going to totally ignore my headache? “So sorry, but our Back & Body union forbids us from working on your headache.”

And why does my headache feel like it is only located in the area surrounding my right eye? As specific as medicines are getting these days it seems like they could make one that says “For pain surrounding either eye that decreases your peripheral vision and makes you want to stab a very sharp knife into your eyeball.” THAT’s the medicine I’m looking for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quandary: Parent-Teacher Conference

It is 32 degrees outside, but instead of spending the afternoon in my warm bed writing or curled up on the couch next to a cozy fire reading I will be sitting and waiting in folding chairs, moving over one chair at a time, chatting with other middle school parents that I barely know in order to get five minutes alone with my daughter’s teachers.

Do I really have to go? Her report card is straight A’s (except for the B+ in math and she has the same math teacher as last year) and all her behavior marks are great and I would basically be wasting an entire afternoon in order to hear all the teachers tell me what a joy my daughter is to have in class, even the math teacher who will tell me that she also needs to apply herself just a little bit more.

Been there, heard that. And did I mention that it’s cold?

On the other hand, I don’t want to get a rep as one of those parents that no one ever sees and I already missed curriculum night because it was my turn to drive skating carpool; though my husband went so we were represented.

And I told you it’s cold, right?

And wouldn’t I be taking up time that could be better used by the parent of a kid who’s not doing so well? Wouldn’t it be selfish of me to show up just to have my parental ego stroked about what a wonderful kid I’m raising? Those teachers could be heading for home and their own cozy fires five minutes earlier if I don't go and wouldn't they appreciate THAT even more?

And it’s freezing out there!

Fine. I’m going.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Movie gossip

I’ve been meeting more and more people who are working on the many movie sets around town – though it hasn’t worked out for me to work on one myself yet. I had a rockin’ audition earlier this week but, so far, no call. But seriously, Producers, I AM The Depressed Mom Who’s Trying Not To Let Her Kid See She’s Depressed – ask anyone!

Anyway, I’ve been hearing all kinds of good stories from the sets. Like the two wardrobe chicks who got fired because they dressed some kid in the wrong outfit and the director shot the whole scene before anybody realized it. Oops. And I guess Rosie O’Donnell is in town shooting some movie and apparently one of the extras was a little into Ro and was not called back to be part of the crowd the next day but she keeps showing up on the set and the guards (who have now memorized her license plate) keep turning her away so she stands at the perimeter and yells in the direction of Rosie’s trailer for Rosie to come out so she can tell her the score of the Red Wings game.

I had no idea Rosie was a Wings fan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Porn in my mailbox

This morning I was deleting the email in the Spam box and came across one that said “Blow up her sofa.” I did not recognize the address and assumed it was sexual (as most of them are) and deleted it. But then I began to wonder…

Because I have no idea what “blow up her sofa” means. Am I that old? I realize it’s been a good long time since sexual metaphors crept into my conversation on a regular basis (Thank God!) but am I so old that I don’t even recognize them anymore? Usually I can figure out what the metaphor is representing, but this one had me stumped. No matter how much I thought about it, it just sounded painful and unnecessary. Perhaps her sofa would just like to be stroked and talked kindly to.

Thanks to Jen Lancaster, Chick Lit Memoirist Extraordinaire, I am now familiar with a website called which will give you the definition of all those phrases and metaphors that you can’t quite figure out. (There is a hilarious scene in one of her books with her mother insisting that someone tell her what a “reach around” is. It was painful and hysterical.) So I tried the site but there is no definition – yet – for “blow up her sofa.”

I still did not want to open the email. I have, unsuspectingly, opened too much porn for my liking lately and have no interest in seeing whatever grotesque, misshapen, and odd positions people will put themselves in to achieve the sofa blowing up…so I googled it. The first sites that came up led to Canadian pharmacy sites promoting Viagra.

Really, Canada? Blow Up Her Sofa is the best you can come up with? That explains a lot.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Make your kid shut up!

I’m going to just come out and say it and I don’t care if it makes me look like a bad person but there is nothing more annoying than a know-it-all teenager.

I realize that most teenagers think they know everything, and they certainly know so much more than their parents…and their teachers…and everyone else. And I also realize that most of them aren’t smart enough to keep their mouths shut about how they know everything. But there is one child in my daughter’s circle who is about to be black-balled. She never stops talking and she knows EVERYTHING! I'm not just talking about facts and information; she knows everything about me, my family, our schedule, my plans, how I feel about things, etc. In fact, the only thing she DOESN'T know is how freakin' annoying she is.

I can take a certain amount of non-stop gab and put up with a decent amount of stupidity, but when YOUR child starts answering questions that other adults ask ME, you had better get her out of my line of fire. Especially since she is not smart enough to shut up when I tell her I can answer for myself and CORRECTS WHAT I SAY!

Yes, I know, you think I have no patience and hate other people’s children. I offer this up as an example. (And remember, I did not harm the child although I wanted to and this was just ONE converstion out of hundreds where she did exactly the same thing.)

Other Adult: Stacey, did you make this? What is it?

Annoying Child: It’s spinach dip. It has parmesan cheese and…

Me: Actually it’s artichoke dip.

Annoying Child: Well, it’s called a lot of different things.

What jury would convict me?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lying on my resume

A few months ago in a fit of lack-of-income panic I signed up on a couple of career/resume websites. I answered a few questions and uploaded my resume. I’ve applied for a few jobs through them but have never heard back from anyone. However, I have been receiving emails like this:

Dear Stacey,
I recently noticed your resume posted online and think you might be a good match for a position with one of my clients. Due to your background in the business field, I would like to invite you to apply for the following job.

Farm Technician
Competitive Salary

Best Regards,

Christian Han
Sr. Recruiter, CN HR Division

I have a few questions for Christian. Like exactly what in my background of making commercials and writing essays led him to believe that I know anything about farming? And what “background in the business field” did he see on my resume? Do I appear to be so desperate for a job that I will jump at the first Farm Technician position that comes along? And what about professional Farm Technicians – I would think that they would be a little (or a LOT) offended that Christian thinks that an English major who went on to work as a radio and TV personality is even remotely qualified to do their job.

I may have exaggerated a few of my skills and abilities on my resume but nothing to the degree that would make a sane person believe I have any idea of what a Farm Technician even does! I do feel qualified to suggest that if you are one of Christian’s “clients” you find yourself a new recruiter tout de suite!

And if there are any Farm Technicians out there who are looking for a new gig, I am happy to pass along Christian’s email.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Deer deer

I almost ran over a deer on the road tonight for the THIRD time this year! Was on my way to pick up Daughter from skating carpool and a deer was just meandering through the street – la-de-da. I think it was saying la-de-da, but I did have the radio turned up pretty loud. There’s a pack of deer (is pack the correct term? Is it herd, pride, sorority?) that lives in my subdivision and I have run into them several times while out walking. They are not afraid of humans and, in fact, will stop and stare at me like I’M the anomaly. “Look, Deer, a human! What is she doing out of her natural habitat? I wonder how she survives out here?”

I am still angry about the deer eating my tulips. I have tulips in my front yard (that I stole from my old house when we moved here) and every year I take a picture of my kids sitting on the big rock with the tulips in the foreground. As we drove home one night in May Daughter commented that we needed to take the tulip pictures. When I went out to get the paper the next morning, all the heads of my tulips were missing! The stems and leaves were still there….and there were hoof prints in the yard. I did some googling and found out that tulips are like ice cream for deer. Like my front yard is a Ben & Jerry’s!

I have been anti-deer ever since, and their road antics aren’t helping their cause any. So listen, Bambi, don’t make me pull out my bow and arrows (and the trophy I won for archery in 4-H in the third grade!). This doesn’t have to get nasty. Go in peace. And stay away.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why are they showing commercials for Green Bags on Nickelodeon?

How do I know that they running commercials for Green Bags on Nickelodeon? Well, besides watching the occasional episode of iCarly (what?), THIS was the conversation between my 7-year old son and his 7-year old friend when I tried to serve them carrots that were a little dehydrated for dinner tonight.

Friend: Um, no thanks.

Son: Yeah, mom, you should have gotten Green Bags. They keep fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days.

Friend: Yeah!

Son: Over 40 million Green Bags have already been sold.

Friend: Oh, more than that.

Why are they running commercials for a product that will keep fruits and vegetables fresh on a channel that targets consumers who wouldn't TOUCH a fruit or vegetable unless it was drenched in chocolate or ranch dressing? Oh, and consumers that don't HAVE ANY MONEY?!

Oh, and while I'm on commercials, what's with the One-A-Day Teen spot where the boy gets stuff in his vitamins for his muscles and the girl gets stuff in her vitamins for her skin? Seriously? Is that where we are in 2008? I keep waiting to see her sucker punch him right in the masculine symbol and say "I've been taking yours! Loser!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ghosting guilt

There’s a Halloween tradition that has become HUGE in my neighborhood – Ghosting. If you haven’t heard of it, sometime after dark your doorbell rings and you think “Who the f*^@ is ringing my doorbell just when I’m putting my kids to bed so I can get a few minutes to myself? Is that too much to ask?” and when you open the door no one is there, just a paper bag with Halloween candy or Halloween-related items and a note telling you that you have been Ghosted that is written in rhyme (so not necessary, btw). Sometimes the note says You’ve been Booed and my husband and I actually got into an argument the other night because he asked who was at the door and I said “We just got Booed” and he said “Hello! It’s called Ghosted.” And I said “Well, the frickin’ NOTE says Booed!”

The rules of being Ghosted are that you are supposed to make three copies of the ghost picture and the poem and within 48 hours “Ghost” three houses yourself or … your house will be haunted!!!!!! You’re also supposed to hang the picture of the ghost on your front door so everyone knows your house has already been hit.

Being a somewhat lazy family, by the time we get around to doing our Ghosting, there isn’t a house in our neighborhood that doesn’t have that ghost pic hanging on the front door, except the one with all the No Trespassing signs in front, and you would think that the one exception to No Trespassing would be someone leaving you a bag of candy but I’m not willing to risk it, having no idea if the homeowner owns a gun. One year we drove around with our three Ghosting bags in the car for about a week until I finally drove to another neighborhood where we didn’t even know anybody and Ghosted complete strangers. I still laugh when I think about my nine-year old running from back a stranger’s front porch with terror written all over her face because I’m screaming “Hurry up! They’re coming!”

They weren’t coming.

Which brings me to this year. We got Booed the night before last and I forgot to hang the ghost pic on the front door so last night we got Ghosted. I feel somewhat guilty about this; we’re not really playing by the rules. On the other hand, if I never hang up the sign, I can almost count on some other family providing us with dessert every night until Halloween. And if I don’t go out and search for the few houses that haven’t been Ghosted, well, is that really so bad? Is it any worse than the high school kids who come around late on Halloween night without any costumes accepting free candy?

OK, OK. I hung the ghost pic on the door.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I can’t believe it’s been a year already but it’s time to sit down and figure out which food group(s) I want to give up so I can drink Starbucks Eggnog Lattes.

You probably think I’m crazy; that only means you’ve never tried a Starbucks Eggnog Latte. They are so rich and coffee-ey and eggnoggy and warm and delicious and if they put rum in them I would probably never leave the store, just survive on them until January 15 or whenever they are discontinued.

They are not too sweet, they are not too thick. It’s like a warm parka in a cup. A really delicious warm parka. So, something’s got to go. I can probably get by without cookies; though I’ve been strangely attracted to them lately. I blame that on the chocolate cream Oreos that I bought for the kids but still claim I have no idea how half the package disappeared so quickly.

Maybe I can give up cake. Lately I’ve had a hard time finding that perfect piece of cake where the cake part isn’t too dry or the frosting isn’t too sweet or crunchy. Yeah, I can give up cake.

What? You don’t consider cake a food group?

And no, Starbucks did not sponsor this blog.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Freakiness runs in the family

A couple of blogs back I wrote about my son amusing a nurse while she took his x-ray by posing like he was in a police line-up. I have to admit that I think my son is pretty funny. He’s always doing goofy stuff (goofy verging on annoying but never really tipping over) and when people comment (as they invariably do) “Gee, I wonder where he gets it!” I say “So do I.”

Because I do.

Or I did.

And now I understand why no one ever believed me when I insisted “He’s nothing like me!”

Yesterday I went to the chiropractor. I have two herniated disks and am trying everything possible to avoid surgery (magic? witch doctor? they’re next) and had spent a week in pretty bad pain. He made me walk down the hall and back, then “adjusted” me and had me walk down the hall again.

“You’re moving your whole body now,” he said. Apparently I’d been walking incorrectly to accommodate the back pain.

He grabbed my arms and moved them back and forth. “You need to walk like this.”

And I started giggling.

The Doctor stood there (somewhat) patiently with his hands on my shoulders while I tried to pull myself together.

“I’m like that woman from Seinfeld!” I said, and giggled again. He didn’t say anything so I continued “You know. She didn’t move her arms when she walked!”

Oh. My. God.

My son is doomed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

PLEASE stop sighing!

My daughter has a friend who is a sigher.

Whenever I see her and say "Hi Stephanie, how are you?" (yes, I should have learned by now) this is the response I get.



I get that she's 13 and probably has some issues but I've known the girl since she was nine and she's had angst since then, and probably longer. Seriously, what is so BAD about the life of a pre-teen from the suburbs? Even becoming a full-fledged teenager couldn't have been that traumatic. Especially today with the ridiculous high baby-sitting pay scale and suburban-parent indulgence. I've never seen this child denied anything.

I SO want to ask her "What the hell is wrong?" but I'm afraid of the answer I'll get. I'm afraid the vapidity level will be so high that it will suck the oxygen from the room we're in and result in everyone passing out. I'm afraid she'll say "Oh, I don't know" and I'll be unable to stop myself from saying something sarcastic and then she'll tell her mother who will all the other mothers and then I'll be the Neighborhood Pariah.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is this mic on?

I can't tell you what the new Elmo doll does. Is he a stand-up comic, or is that just the theme of the commercial? All I know is I crack up every time the commercial comes on and I hear...

"Elmo just flew in from Sesame Street. Boy are Elmo's arms tired."

"Is this mic on?"

Where was all this witty advertising when my kids were small? When my son was in his Elmo phase we had the new Tickle Me Elmo with the secret new tickle spot that only kicked in after a specific date which seemed kind of questionably perverted and a little Orwellian.
When my daughter was 2 1/2 I taught her to throw her arm up and say "Thank you, I'll be here all week" whenever anyone complimented her and that a spit-take was the ultimate compliment. We would have totally dug a stand-up Elmo.
I wonder if he reminds the kids to tip their waitresses?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Congratulations, Joe, you're rich! And a liar!

John McCain wasted half the final debate talking about and raising sympathy for poor 'Joe the Plumber' who has worked soooooo hard and just wants to buy the company he works for without getting taxed out the ass but turns out -- Joe's not a licensed plumber!

Go figure.

Apparently he's a cranky racist - and registered Republican - from a suburb of Toledo who wants everyone to vote for the cranky candidate he supports.

Not only is he not registered to work as a plumber in Ohio, he never even took the apprenticeship training. And there is a lien against him for failure to pay property taxes.

The union of the trade that Joe "works" for supports Obama.

I'd like to imagine the conversation in the McCain Campaign Bunker today...

"Who's frickin' idea was it to use Joe the Plumber during the debate?"

"Uh, that would be the same person who told you to choose Sarah Palin."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A fictional vacation

I get that times are tough and we’re all trying to be a little more creative with our vacations and I have absolutely no problems with people “camping” in their backyard or switching houses to save on hotel costs. But when thriftiness joins up with obsessiveness and delusion it gets a little freaky.

Vampires Put Tourist Town on the Map

That’s the latest in travel news from AP and the story is about the 48% rise in lodging tax revenue in Forks, WA where the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is based.

Not being idiots (apparently), the under 5,000 residents of Forks have embraced their 15 minutes of fame; adding Twilight-themed entrees to menus (What? Blood?) and reserving a parking space at the hospital for Dr. Cullen. Marcia Bingham, the executive director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce, said that most visitors don’t mind the rain because “We all know vampires can't be out if it's bright."

Oh. We all know that.

Like we all know that the book is fiction.

We all know that, right?

Because if you’re skipping a trip to Disneyland and driving your kids up the coast so you can maybe catch sight of a hot vampire in the rain, or see the house where the hot vampire lives with his hot vampire family, or see the high school the hot vampire attends even though he’s, like, over 100 years old well….

I don’t even know what to say about that.

Oh. Wait. Yes I do.

Get a life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big bang offenses

Before I begin I would like to acknowledge that I am not the most fashionable person, I definitely have my faux pas. Like the jeans I wore today. Yes, they’re from Costco and yes, they’re faded like they’re from the early 2000’s (or maybe not even popular then, I really have no idea) and yes, a woman over 40 really has no business wearing them but they are so SOFT and COMFORTABLE that they feel like a pair of sweat pants yet somehow give the impression that I still fit into a pair of jeans from my 20’s (the faded thing again) that I gladly give up all semblance of style to wear them.

I do, however, feel qualified to discuss bangs. Some of you still aren’t wearing bangs correctly and you are either going to have to retake Bangs 101 and its follow-up class Styling Tools: Their Correct Use or grow them out and forfeit all rights to bangs in the future.

Let’s start with the basics. Bangs should look like the rest of your hair only shorter. Ergo, if your hair is curly your bangs are curly. If your hair is straight your bangs are straight. If you have curly hair and straight bangs it looks like you are too lazy to blow-dry your whole head or you think that people are only going to look at you from the eyebrows up. If you have straight hair and curly bangs you have bigger issues than I can deal with in this little blog and I suggest you get professional help.

A variation of the second offense is Curling Iron Bangs. These bangs are produced by the operator curling the entire section of hair that are the bangs and then sliding the curling iron out sideways so that the bangs are left in a tunnel shape then hair sprayed like a muthah to retain this shape. This hairstyle is misdemeanor in 14 states.

Another bang offense is the Wall; most often spotted on Wal-Mart clerks and hair-band groupies. It is the female variation of the mullet. To create the Wall, the bangs are moussed, gelled, teased, and sprayed to stand up completely vertically thus rendering the impression that the wearer is 4” taller or is dressing like Cameron Diaz from There’s Something About Mary for Halloween. Bangs are high-maintenance and are really best left to the young who A) care enough to tote around styling tools and B) are obsessed enough to recheck and restyle their hair every 20 minutes or whenever they can get a bathroom pass. My daughter was 13 before I let her have bangs and she was tested on their proper care and maintenance for months before the actual cut. You can call me obsessive, but I’m doing my best to make sure she doesn’t end up looking anything like this.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debate disappointment

It’s probably my fault for turning on the Presidential debate and expecting to see the candidates actually answer the questions asked and discuss their plans for running the country, but I feel so let down today. It took McCain only 8 minutes to ditch the questions and start attacking Obama – off-topic. How is that supposed to prove you are Presidential? All it proved to me is that he is a cranky old guy who can’t let it go (much like grandpa when you change the channel but change it back when he insists he wasn’t sleeping and then he keeps bringing up how you changed the channel ALL freakin’ afternoon).

And since I’m getting picky, what was with the lurching around and the windmill arms? It’s like his body had absolutely no idea what he was saying and was either A) performing some kind of obscure I-wanna-be-President dance or B) trying to escape. And he kept getting closer and closer to the audience when he talked to them (while not answering their questions) and at one point I swear he was going to climb up into the seats and sit on that woman’s lap. She looked positively frightened.

And when asked who he would appoint Treasury Secretary McCain “joked” (because I can’t use the word in this context without air quotes – it was nothing like a joke) “Not you, Tom.” Oh, ha ha ha. Like anyone thought Tom Brokaw wanted to be or was qualified to be or would ever be considered to be Treasury Secretary. Where, exactly, is the joke there, John? Or do you need to learn the rules of comedy as well as the rules of debate?

One rule they have in common – STAY ON TOPIC!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I do believe that KFC is using some kind of mind-meld subconscious witchcraftery in their commercials because I NEVER eat there and when I drive by the restaurant (4x week on the way to and from the skating rink) I never think it sounds good but when I see the commercials it takes nearly all of my willpower not to grab the keys and get in the car and drive directly to KFC and buy some of those darn Snackers or wings with the sauce cooked right in.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Down down Dow

I let my mother-in-law and Suze Orman shame me into paying more attention to our finances and I am REGRETTING it today. I can’t turn off CNBC, I’m clicking on every Internet story about the slumping stock market, and I’m looking around the house for things to sell off (my kids don’t really need shoes, do they?).

If ignorance were ever really bliss, it would probably be today.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sarah, you are starting to piss me off

Now we can truly see which voters Sarah Palin and the McCain campaign are going after. People too naive (I held myself back from saying “stupid” but only with tremendous effort) to understand that serving on a board with someone who has radical views (and practiced these views when you were a CHILD) and denouncing said radical views WHILE serving on the board does not constitute “palling around with terrorists.” (And what kind of message is that sending to her children? "No, Piper, you may not call someone fat, even if they weigh 400 pounds, but it's ok to insinuate that someone is a terrorist if you are Running for Office.")

Palin told supporters that Obama does not “…see America as you and I see America.” So I guess she sees America as a place where one should only serve on boards with or sit on the PTA with or go to church with or run for office with people who believe EXACTLY the same way, talk EXACTLY the same way, and have NO difference of opinion.

Too bad McCain didn’t think of that before he chose her.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Giant Tool Sale

Are you curious?

So was I, especially as I saw the words spray-painted in orange on a piece of wood that was propped up on a folding chair at the end of a street.

These are my guesses:

Garage sale of someone who is selling off their entire set of tools.

Garage sale of someone who is selling only their giant-sized tools.

Some woman trying to get rid of her husband.

Sarah Palin (wink, wink)

I’m being nitpicky because, well…I can. But first I’d like to say that as a feminist I WANT Sarah Palin to be smart and capable and able to do the job. THAT would be the best thing for women everywhere.

However…how do you “win” or even “hold your own” in a debate where you can’t stay on topic? When asked questions that one can assume she didn’t know the answer to (because she never came near the topic), Palin resorted to reading prepared statements about something – anything – else. Is that really debate? Gwen Ifill chastised Palin about not staying on topic and Palin responded that she might not answer the question the way that Ifill or Biden wanted her to. WTF? Was she given a pass on the rules of debate, which I understand (or maybe I’m wrong never having debated in high school or even college) to be making your argument about THE QUESTION THAT WAS ASKED?

Still, the freakiest part of Palin’s performance was the winking. What is up with that? She would not answer the question, give a prepared, redundant party-line speech, then turn to the camera and wink like “Can you believe I even have to EXPLAIN this to this guy?” when she DIDN’T EXPLAIN ANYTHING!

Besides having to explain to Palin that man did not co-exist with dinosaurs (which reminds me that she kept bringing up the fact that government is the problem and should get out of people’s way and John McCain has been IN the government FOREVER so isn’t he PART of the problem?) someone should explain to her how winking works.

Nobody? OK, I’ll do it. When you give a statement to someone that goes against what people know you really think or you have to explain something to someone that everybody already knows then you turn to us and wink. But since we don’t know what you really think about anything because all you said was talking points from the McCain website the winking just looked like you were trying to get us into bed.

Don’t wink at me like I know who Joe Six-Pack and Hockey Mom are. Don’t brag about how you reduced taxes in your state when I know you were able to do it because your state gets more money per resident from the GOVERNMENT (the same government that is the problem) than any other state in the union. And don’t use a debate to give a speech and expect me not to notice.

Oh, and I lost count of how MANY times you said that John McCain "sounded the warning bell" about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae but it was Chuck Hagel of Nebraska who led the effort to tighten the regulation and McCain jumped on a year later and you repeating that over and over is reminiscent of Al Gore claiming that he invented the Internet. Learn from the people who held the job before you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The pot and the kettle

Priests in Hamtramck are urging voters to vote down an ordinance that includes legal protection for homosexuals so the community can “bring up children according to God’s law” and “Keep it the way it was from the beginning.”

There are SO many things wrong with this and I’m just glad I don’t live in Hamtramck because I would feel the need to hold a homosexual rally on my front lawn and A) I don’t know that many homosexuals and B) haven’t been to the grocery store lately and might run out of punch (or whatever it is that you drink at rallies).

In an effort at fairness and to put it in perspective I googled “scandal priest children” and got 2,030,000 results. When I googled “scandal homosexual children” I got 1,330,000 (just over half) and on the first five pages alone the word Priest was in EVERY SINGLE RESULT!

One of the Priests was quoted as saying that the ordinance, which gives new rights that would protect homosexual and lesbian behavior, expression and attire “goes against the rights of straight people” which makes me believe that he clearly has no idea how the law really works or that he believes that straight people have the “right” to never have to see homosexual behavior, expression or attire.

And if they really want to keep it the way it was from the beginning – well, wasn’t early Greece about the most experimental, bi-sexual civilization around?

That’s it. I’m off to Hamtramck in my rainbow t-shirt and if I get arrested will someone bail me out?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leave Heather alone!

I try not to obsess about celebrities too much but came face-to-face with Heather Locklear’s mug shot online today and … did she do something to her lips? They’re all unnaturally puffy and uneven and you think these actresses would maybe talk to each other about this. Though maybe Meg Ryan is sitting with Heather right now saying “Honey, just lay off the lip injections. I know they make you feel young and bouncy and they really take the focus off the botox around your eyes but it is a slippery slope, sister, and it leads to nothing but misery and humiliation.”

And I’m the last person who should even mention this as I finally made the appointment for my second hair coloring of the year today, but the ROOTS! Doesn’t Loreal give her a few boxes of the hair coloring she pimps for to keep around the house? I think that really proves that she was depressed not drunk because when you are the representative of BLONDE you don’t leave the house looking like that unless you are really really down. Though she did remember to put mascara on, even if she didn’t apply it very well.

I am tired of being told that celebrities are “just like us.” Of course they are so you don’t need to show us. If they are depressed and want to hit the Piggly-Wiggly for some self-medicating ice cream, leave them alone. Don't take a picture and post it all over the internet. If I want to see someone with jacked up makeup and 2 inch roots I will look in the mirror.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy? New Year

The main road near my house has four lanes heading north and four heading south with a median for turnaround lanes. On the other side of this road sits a large synagogue which I usually don’t notice. Today, however, it was causing all kinds of problems. Not the synagogue itself, rather the people trying to leave it after Rosh Hashanah services.

Cars were whipping out of the drive into the middle and far lanes then jumping into the turnaround forcing other drivers to brake and/or swerve or die. I have never seen such cranky, ill-tempered driving; it seemed like the cars themselves were scowling. And what the hell is that about? Did these people Shalom their way through a service just to hit the road and start flipping each other off?

Having married a Jewish man who now practices the religions of Commerce and Atheism, I had to look up the details of Rosh Hashanah. Does this holiday now come with a caveat? “Happy New Year once you get the f**k out of my way!” According to Wikipedia (OK, maybe not the BEST source) the people are being judged by God for the whole next year today. That would make ME want to be a little kinder with my merging.

The entry does say that the wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living” so perhaps these folks were the bad drivers as they already have nothing to lose. But do you KNOW if you are blotted out? Is there a list posted in the foyer like athletes cut from a team? And if you’re seriously THISCLOSE to being blotted out, would you really bother to go to services in the first place?

All I know is next time someone says “Happy New Year” to me today I’m going to say “Stay off The Road to you too.”

Monday, September 29, 2008


Miralax – when you have all the pretty women in beautiful clothing tell us how gentle your product is perhaps you should have them standing somewhere else besides THE BATHROOM.

If these women are, indeed, using Miralax the commercial makes it look like they are afraid to leave the safe confines of the one room in the house that they probably wouldn’t end up embarrassing themselves in. That does not give me any sort of confidence in the gentleness of your product. In fact, it makes me wonder if their wardrobes are break-a-way.

Did you learn NOTHING from the tampon people? Put them on horses, swimming, on dates. Show us the freedom that comes from regular Miralax usage.

And then tell me why I am doing your advertising agency's job for them!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just when you thought TV couldn't get any worse

So I’m totally watching crappy Saturday-afternoon-TV --which is either some kind of heavily edited teen movie with hosts showing you deleted scenes or dressing up some poor sap to look like the main character and/or reruns of America’s Next Top Model (today’s decadence: Cycle 9 with the gorgeous autistic girl. Don’t yell at ME, they’re the ones who keep bringing it up) and up pops a commercial for Paris Hilton’s latest violation of television. A reality show where she is searching for a new BFF, because there aren’t enough fawning, sycophantic, kiss-ass losers in her life already. The commercial showed the prospective BFF’s (whose mothers must be SO proud, btw) reading their letters to Paris about why THEY should get to be considered for becoming the new BFF.

They were CRYING!

“I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m getting so emotional,” said one girl as she tried to read her letter out loud. I’m hoping her tears were an indication that somewhere deep inside a part of her realized that she was humiliating herself in the most disgusting way imaginable and wanted out, out, out. But I doubt it.

I know Paris isn’t the first person to have a reality show where a houseful of people debase themselves in order to be the LAST person tossed aside like a used Kleenex by a c-list celebrity, but seriously, can we stop with this? Rock of Love, I Love New York, that show with the guy with the big clock and the horns – aren’t there already enough ways to embarrass yourself on television if you really really have to?

I’m tempted to post a listing for an audition for just such a reality show on Craig’s List, rent out some kind of huge freakin’ ballroom, and when all the losers show up to audition I will lock them inside the room and force them to listen to a 6-hour lecture from Dr. Phil.

Now THAT would be worth watching.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yes, it's gorgeous outside but I have to....

10:55 a.m. – Arrive at Dr.’s office for 11:00 a.m. appointment.

11:00 a.m. – Fill out paperwork for 10 minutes about my 7-year old son’s pain tolerance and smoking and drinking habits (How about separate paperwork for the kids – just an idea!)

12:10 p.m.. – Ask receptionist if I have time to run out and get lunch; told we are "next.” Right.

12:20 p.m. – Get escorted back to “cast room.” (My son doesn’t have a cast, just a sling.)

12:25 p.m. – Get escorted to X-ray where my son insists on posing like he is in a police lineup. The amused nurse lets him look at the x-ray and he promptly points out his elbow as the break in his arm. I don’t correct him.

12:30 p.m. – Dr.’s Resident comes in and asks my son some questions, makes him move his arm around, and flicks his fingers. Says he is going to go look at the x-ray and will be right back.

12:33 p.m. – Watch resident walk into another examining room where he remains for 7 minutes.

12:47 p.m. – Doctor comes in. Looks at x-ray (shows my son where the break really is) and says to leave the sling on for 3-4 more weeks. Can he ride the bus? No, not a good idea. I beg the doctor to put him in a cast. (Because the sling offers ZERO protection and he's a not-particularly-athletic 7-year-old boy who could slip or trip or goof his way into an even worse break and worrying about it is TOTALLY stressing me out and all the latest tests show that stress causes belly fat and that is the LAST thing I need.) Doctor informs me that the only cast for this kind of break is the State of Liberty cast then shows us a picture of a kid with a cast around his entire torso and up his arm that is straight up in the air.

12:53 p.m. – Still deciding if the humor derived from the Statue of Liberty cast will outweigh the inconvenience.

12:55 p.m. – No, it probably won’t.

1:10 p.m. – Hit the McDonald’s next door. See several other children from the waiting room. (Are they making us wait so long to drive up McD’s business? I would have taken him there anyway, I swear!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sharon McFoolish

To no one’s surprise Sharon McPhail is – again – running for Mayor of Detroit. She says it’s because she wants to finish all the good work that was accomplished during the Kilpatrick administration, so I guess she doesn’t feel like the citizens of Detroit were lied to or cheated enough.

She MAY have all kinds of good intentions but it doesn’t matter because she isn’t smart enough to realize that she has said too much DUMB STUFF in public and ON THE NEWS and it’s all saved on the Internet for anyone to hunt down. (Which, of course, I did. My favorite being the interview in Aug. with Devin Scillian where she insisted that Kwame had NO intention of stepping down and that a Judge lied when he said she called him! Seriously, she called a Judge a liar on the evening news!)

And maybe I’m not wise to the way of politics but her job title until recently was General Counsel for the City of Detroit. But wasn’t she really working AGAINST the City of Detroit when she was helping the lying, cheating Mayor lie and cheat some more? Haven’t we all realized that it was in the City of Detroit’s BEST INTEREST to get him out of office and into jail?

The best part was on the news last night when she told reporter Kerry Birmingham that people are telling her that they don’t think of her as being involved in the Kilpatrick mess at all…and she didn’t even break out laughing once! (Niether did Kerry which I totally believe she deserves an Emmy for.)

The City of Detroit has already given her a polite thanks but no thanks on being the Mayor twice (1993, 2005) but I guess that maybe she thinks that now that we’ve seen her acting all Mayoral (arguing with reporters, sassing back to Judges) that people might think she’s more qualified.

What she really should do is sleep with one of her employees.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prepare to be shocked

I don’t usually cover two distractions in one day but I got home tonight and the first thing that slapped me in the face when I logged on the computer was

Clay Aiken:'Yes, I'm Gay'
What Forced Ex-'Idol' to Come Forward

At This Point? 'I Cannot ... Hide Things'

I have to ask …what exactly did he think he was hiding?

Aiken said that the “constant questioning of his sexuality in the tabloids” (i.e. haven’t had a hit in a while and the Claymates aren’t really supporting him in the manner to which he’s become accustomed) affected him deeply. Then he said “At least when I was in middle school … I understand why they picked on me.” What the hell does he mean by this? That NOW he finally gets what every other kid in school had figured out when he was 12? Or that he can understand why 12 year olds would pick on another, weaker 12 year old, but can’t figure out why underpaid reporters who are wasting their college educations might be a little miffed at the overnight success who’s pulling down more in a day than they do in a year.

If he had just admitted it FIVE YEARS AGO when he was ON American Idol he wouldn't have had to "deal with it" for all these years. And I do believe that a person's sexuality is personal, however, had he not watched enough TV in his life to realize that by the third time that you refuse to answer the VERY SAME QUESTION from a reporter the topic is going to be beaten like a dead horse?

I wasn’t surprised by the other headline either; Lindsay Lohan finally admitted that she is dating that D.J. You can’t open a magazine in a waiting room or check out at Kroger without seeing pictures of them everywhere. However, I was surprised to find out that that dude is a girl.

And, there is one more headline in tonight’s Gay News. Portia de Rossi is planning to change her name to Portia DeGeneres. Shouldn't someone have told her that she could have capitalized that D any time she wanted to?

Messing with political yard signs

I admit to being tempted myself. For some reason the signs that say “Another Family for McCain” really irritate me and I have to fight the urge to scribble “There goes the neighborhood” (I guess you know where my feelings lie) on the bottom of the sign. And, really, is the WHOLE family for McCain? Did they take a poll? What about the dog?

A friend told me that she woke up one morning last week to find that the Obama sign in her front yard had been changed to read Nobama. What is the point of this? I could understand if he was running against a guy named Nobama, then it would make sense to switch over one guy’s sign to really stand for the other. But did the Midnight Defacer hope that by changing the sign he would cause someone to drive by and think “Obama. No, wait! That sign says NObama! Well, I’m going to CHANGE MY VOTE!”

Yesterday I saw a handmade sign that read “Sign stealers. Every time you steal one of my McCain signs I will put up two in its place” which I thought was hysterical. I could see it escalating into some cartoonish tug-o-war with signs missing every morning and the yard doubling its sign population by nightfall. Though I think it would have been funnier NOT to warn the sign stealer and just DO what the sign threatened so when the sign stealer drives by the house the next morning he says “WTF! I stole that sign last night! And now it’s back and it had a baby!”

In the sign-stealer’s defense, the house IS near an elementary school with impressionable young children.

I guess I don’t get the purpose of the yard signs at all. Our country has a private ballot so we don’t HAVE to let anyone else know who we intend to vote for. If you put a sign in your yard aren’t you – in essence – saying “I’ve got enough pull in this neighborhood to make my neighbors change their vote!”? “Honey, quick, look! The Jones’ are voting for McCain! Now WE’LL have to vote for McCain or we won’t be able to show our faces at the next neighborhood barbecue.”

And you know how good Mrs. Jones’ potato salad is; wouldn’t want to miss that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wondering if I should change my password

My husband knows my AOL password. (Yes, I’m still using AOL. I’m used to it and I’m lazy and I like that I get reports on what my kid is doing and I realize there’s probably better stuff out there that does all that but then I would be required to learn it.)

As I was saying, I had to tell him my password the other night because he decided that THIS year he was going to attend Middle School conferences and came home all revved up about teachers and assignments and Snapgrades. “Have you heard about this?!” he asked. Why, yes, I had. I’ve been using Snapgrades since she started middle school – TWO YEARS AGO. So the other night he’s trying to log in and check out her grades but we can’t remember the password and is has to be sent to my email address (because that’s what it was created with), so he transfers over to my screen name and then looks up at me expectantly.

Am I a bad wife because I hesitated? I’ve got NOTHING to hide. I’ve got LESS than nothing to hide. And we’re already Facebook friends (oh, and we ARE married) but one half of my brain was warning the other half like someone in a theater warning the dumb blonde on the screen not to go into the basement. “Don’t you let him have your password. Next thing you know he’s gonna want to be knowing what you do with your time all day!”

I have no idea why that half of my brain talks that way.

I gave him the password and he checked out the grades (which were all A’s – as usual, duh!) and now every time I log on I wonder if I should change my password. It’s so stupid it’s memorable though I don’t think he’d ever get bored enough to check out who’s emailing me. OK, what I’m really worried about is him logging on and deducing just how lame my life actually is. We’ve been married over 15 years and I have managed to keep that a secret. So far.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More bad parenting

Shouldn’t broken limbs be more obvious? These stories rarely make me feel better about my own bad parenting decisions but ever since yesterday – when I dragged my son to an audition (me, not him) then dumped him at my husband’s office so I could go run music at skating team practice all the while not recognizing that he HAD A BROKEN ARM I have heard tale after tale of parents telling their kids to “suck it up” only to find out later that the kid had a broken arm or leg or something.

My memory may be hazy or inaccurate but it seems that when I was a kid it was fairly obvious when someone had a broken appendage. “Jimmy fell off the monkey bars and his arm was twisted around and completely facing in the wrong direction, so of course I ran him right to the hospital.” It seems that broken limbs used to dangle helplessly at askew angles so it was obvious that they needed to be fixed. These days everything looks normal except your kid (who just might be trying to get some attention) claims that “something hurts.”

You’d think I would be smarter; this is not the first time this has happened to me. Same child, same arm. When he was 3 he and his sister were waiting for her school bus and playing their usual game of push-the-sibling-off-the-rock-into-the-pile-of-leaves. He came in crying and didn’t stop for a while but eventually calmed down, though he wouldn’t move the arm. I dragged the poor kid to a grocery store two towns away so I could buy dry ice for the 4th grade Halloween party before I realized that every time something even brushed his arm he turned deathly pale and looked like he was going to throw up. He ended up in a cast from shoulder to fingertips.

And yesterday, well, he let me gently squeeze the arm all the way up. I figured there was no WAY it could be broken; it was probably just very badly bruised. So I dumped him at his dad’s office and he walked around saying hi to everyone with his right arm bent and clutched against his torso.

Six hours later he came home from the hospital looking like this.

And I felt like this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bring your boarding pass and a lawyer

When you travel by plane you not only have to bring your own food (they’re not serving any or they’re charging an arm and a leg for a granola bar) and your own pillow and blanket (they have somehow disappeared or are solely for first class use) and your own Xanax (with the conditions most planes are in these days shouldn’t they just be handing that out as you get on board?) you now need to be prepared with a petition in your pocket in case something is wrong with your plane and the pilot decides he’s going to fly it anyway.

This happened in Germany over the weekend. A pilot tried to take off but a gauge was bad (and it had something to do with the flaps and if you watch any disaster movie involving airplanes you know that flaps are VERY important) so all 170 people got off the plane, then 168 got back on two hours later (2 passengers having decided either that the airport sushi was so good they had to stay or that they weren’t going to get back on a plane with any kind of malfunction). Then the pilot tried to take off AGAIN and the same gauge went kaplooey.

At this point someone with great forethought whipped out a petition for a new plane and everybody signed it and the united passengers (the passengers were united as a group, it wasn’t a United Airlines flight – it was Air Berlin) presented it to the airline and 14 hours later they had a new airplane.

Yes, 14 hours later. The plane had to be brought in from Turkey. According to Yahoo maps you can drive from Antalya, Turkey to Berlin in 33 hours so I have no idea why it took a plane 14 hours to get there unless Air Berlin was in a “we’ll show those petition-carrying passengers what’s what” kind of mood.

And were there no other flights leaving for Faro, Portugal (the plane’s destination) within that 14 hour time period? Or was Air Berlin continuing to mess with these passengers?

Passenger: You know, there’s a flight leaving in 20 minutes, if you could just get me on that one…

Gate Attendant: One minute (types for about 6 ½ minutes). I’m so sorry, that flight is full, but YOUR plane is going to be here ANY minute.

Passenger: Oh, good. Do you think I have time to run down and get some airport sushi?

Gate Attendant: (types again) No, I’m afraid not.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sympathy for the devil's mistress

I readily admit that most of my knowledge of the law comes from watching Law & Order (and, OK, Matlock) but I am DYING to hear what Christine Beatty’s defense is going to be when she goes to trial. Someone borrowed my pager? I resigned before I was forced to so I shouldn’t have to go to jail?

And get this – according to today’s paper Beatty’s lawyer “is betting on a well of sympathy for Beatty when her case is before jurors.”

Oh. My. God. That’s IT? Sympathy? That’s the risk he’s willing to take with her life?

And why is she putting up with this? Why didn’t she start squealing on Kilpatrick months ago? Because when he was put to the test he easily took her down with him. Kilpatrick admitting about lying under oath basically says that she was also lying under oath. That’s not law, that’s math.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a (wild) boar

According to an article on the front page of today’s paper there is a HUGE problem in Michigan with feral swine roaming the state in packs of 20, destroying property and menacing joggers.

I totally get the property thing. These pigs weigh anywhere from 200 to over 400 pounds each and two dozen could do a lot of damage. One guy who was quoted in the article called them four-legged vacuum cleaners and said they destroyed 28 acres in one night. That is a lot of hoovering.

But why the joggers? Did the boars think the joggers were trying to get to the cornfield first and muscle them out of the way like shoppers at a Christmas sale? Or do they just have something against joggers in general?

These pigs are here in the first place because hunters in Michigan just HAD to have one more thing to shoot at so hunting preserve owners starting importing the wild boars from Russia. The pigs, which are described as “wily” (and I thought that was just coyotes – which you can also hunt in Michigan but don’t cause nearly the destruction ---- so far), figured out how to escape by digging under the fences and then “lifting up the fence wire with their powerful snouts!!!!!” (The previous is a direct quote, only without all the exclamation points, so thank you Detroit Free Press).

Some really smart and important guy who knows all about wildlife and critters and stuff was quoted in the article saying “Crisis is not an overstatement here.” Great. As if I don’t have enough to worry about (economy, saving for college, going gray, bullies who pick on my kids, terrorists, chipmunks in my house) I now have to add roaming wild boars to the list.

Somewhere in Russia a pig farmer is counting his money and laughing his ass off.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The rain, the rain

I am going insane from being trapped in the house all day. I realize that a steady hard rain in Michigan is nothing like what they are enduring in Texas and is not really enough to keep me in the house if I had a serious or important or fun destination – but the very gray wetness of it has kept me in the house all day, mostly on-line.

In my defense, I cleaned the house, wrote most of an article, conducted a phone interview, updated one of my many pointless websites, and uploaded a video of my son’s freaky toe to YouTube. So it’s not like I didn’t accomplish stuff. My husband and I also managed to include our 13-year old daughter in a heated political discussion and our 7-year old son in a heated tents-vs.-cabin-on-a-Boy-Scout-Camp-Out discussion. (Both arguments remain unresolved).

Now I’m back to flipping through those AOL headlines which are either really attention-grabbing or incredibly stupid. It’s like AOL hires EITHER incredibly sarcastic former Esquire writers OR recent GED grads. Today’s headline was:

Jessica Engaged to Longtime Beau?
They're 'This Close' to Getting Married

And I swear the FIRST thing that went through my mind was “Oh my God, please don’t let that sweet Tony Romo who just changed that nice couple’s tire be getting married to Jessica Simpson!” I may have promised my son’s freaky toe in exchange if only it weren’t true and when I clicked on it I realized the story was about Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel who I think are getting engaged simply to get themselves back in the headlines.

Seriously, I had a VAGUE idea of who Tony Romo even is (football player, dates blonde starlets, yadda yadda yadda) until the changing-the-tire story came out and now I’m as proud of him as his own mother. Now I WANT to watch football and want my son to play football and be a tire-changing hero too.

And I’m sure part of my reaction is due to an interview with Jessica Simpson that was featured on some website yesterday that headlined: Jessica says she’s really smart.

If you’re REALLY smart, you don’t have to tell people. Take your brand new cowboy boots and your square dancing skirt and your big-ass can of hairspray and go home.

I SO need to get out of the house.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Me, again

Sometimes I am my very own distraction – my own level of silliness or stupidity exceeds anything I can find around me (well, I’m sure there’s always something). And so….today. The keys on our home phone have been sticking for weeks, probably months, and in the last few days I have not been able to turn off the phone at the end of a few calls (my apologies to those of you who had to hear my expletives), so this morning I gave in and headed down to Office Max to buy a new phone.

Is 6.0 gigahertz really THAT much better than 5.8 gigahertz, because I really wanted the cute black and electric blue 6.0 that promised better call quality but it was twice as much as the standard 5.8 that actually came with two phones. I’m cheap, so 5.8 it is.

Anyway, I get home, unplug the old phones, plug the new ones in and THEN remember that part of the reason I’ve been putting off getting a new phone is because of all the numbers I have stored in the old one. I can’t even tell you my husband’s work number off the top of my head because it’s stored on the phone. All the numbers for play dates, neighbors, and friends I call frequently are stored on my old phone which is sitting powerless on the desk mocking me.

“Perhaps you should have thought of that while you were trying to eat (insert sticky food here) and yakking at the same time,” it is saying.

If I plug it into an outlet but not into a phone jack will the numbers come up? I’m afraid to try in case they don’t and I feel even more stupid. I guess I’m just going to have to wait until everyone calls me and I can re-store their number.

This could take a while.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

People who don't know how to wear pants

I don’t dole out fashion advice very often, but can’t get rid of the replay of this scene in my head so I’m going to share…and dole. I was waiting in front of the ice rink for my daughter to come out of skating practice when a car pulled in front of me and a chunky teenage boy got out and opened the back to get his hockey equipment.

He appeared to be about 15 and was wearing a black hoodie, red boxers decorated with black and gray Christmas tree shapes and faded blue jeans held just below the middle of his ass by a black belt.

There are just so many things wrong. Where to begin. OK, Listen, chubby white boy, you might think your mother is an out-of-date nag who has nothing better to do than drive your fat butt to hockey practice but she probably knows the lesson that every woman has been learning since the dawn of time – DRESS FOR YOUR BODY TYPE! I know you know that your ensemble was totally not working because you kept pulling the black hoodie down to cover the ugliest-boxers-ever-made (a gift, really? She doesn’t like you) when you should have been pulling your pants UP! And the pants, well, they were wrong on so many levels. A: Wrong kind of faded. I’m not sure how to put this in words, exactly, but they were the faded jeans of a suburban kid who mows the lawn on Saturday and mumbles to himself about how unfair life is every time he walks the garbage to the curb then goes back in the house to play more Halo 3. They were NOT the faded jeans of a kid from the ‘hood who plays basketball every afternoon because he doesn’t want to go home and listen to the kids screaming in the apartment next door. B: The belt…I know I’m over 40 and I’m not “hip” to the fashion you kids are wearing but I thought that the whole jeans-hanging-on-my-ass look didn’t require a belt because it’s supposed to look like YOUR PANTS MIGHT FALL OFF AT ANY MINUTE! And wearing the black belt you borrowed from your dad or wore to your cousin’s wedding last wear with the one suit you own because your mom made you buy it totally clues everyone into the fact that you don’t trust your chunky butt to hold up those jeans.

OK, so I just googled images from the movie Clueless (which came out in 1995, are you SURE this look is still in style?) and the picture was too dark to really tell but the kid could have been wearing a belt with his low slung jeans. HIS belt looked like it was doing its very best to hold his jeans up where they are supposed to be but the combination of skinny butt, one-size-too-big jeans, and a heavy cell phone on one side were just too much for said belt so it gave up and thus – hanging pants. YOUR belt was holding your accurately-sized jeans tight around the fattest part of your ass so that fat squished out over AND beneath the belt. It looked like someone had put a belt on a baked potato and cinched it one notch too tight.

There’s probably no one else who will tell you this, so I’ll do it. You are a chubby white boy from Plymouth, MI not a homey chilaxin’ in your crib. Know who you are, embrace it. Trust me; you will be a lot more comfortable in life. And I won’t have to sit in the carpool lane fighting the urge to either lecture or de-pants you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm out of the loop

For days now the entertainment sites have been headlining and discussing the engagement of Channing Tatum. And while I know this is going to make me sound old …. Who the hell is Channing Tatum? And why am I supposed to care that he is engaged?

I try to stay up on the Hollywood stuff, I really do. If I don’t watch a show I at least know who is starring in it. I’ll admit to a gap in my teen movie knowledge – especially the movies that are targeted towards boys, but was Step Up – the movie that keeps getting referenced with Channing’s name – in the theater for more than five minutes?

I must really be losing it because I thought Step Up was one of the many war movies I have taken a pass on but it’s really ANOTHER teen movie about dancers getting their big break. I checked it out on and the movie grossed a respectable $65 million or so. Dirty Dancing, the dancer-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks movie for my generation grossed $63 million, but that’s in 1987 dollars. Still, why haven’t I heard of this movie? It’s kind of insulting to no longer be the sought-after demographic.

I really don’t get all the fuss about Channing, though. Step Up seems to be the only successful movie he’s starred in so why all the buzz? According to his IMDB page he’s working on 6 movies in the next two years so maybe that’s it – all the Hollywood people know him and are talking about him. But I really think he is a master at publicity. He’s managed to stay talked about after Step Up in 2006 despite the fact that the only other big movie he appeared in was Stop-Loss. AND he invited several “friends” to Hawaii to witness his getting engaged. That is knowing how to work it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monica Conyers to the rescue

Thanks Monica!

Just when we thought there was no one to replace Kwame in the misbehavin’ department you come through for us. We should have seen your potential, it’s been in front of us all along. The bar fight, the hotel fight, the Council meeting fights, threatening other Board members, and the meeting where you obviously downed about 40 pixie sticks before you got there and called Ken Cockrel “Shrek.” Seriously, we applaud you.

Then you pull off the mystery surgery and missed meetings (while still managing to attend a party in your honor – BRILLIANT!) all while taking home $81,000 of the taxpayers money and driving a city-owned Ford Crown Victoria while most of the city residents are riding the bus. It’s like you attended Kwame’s Boot Camp on How To Pretend You’re A Public Servant While Milking It For Everything It’s Worth and you were the top student! Congrats! I suspect that when you are not fulfilling the duties of your “part-time” job you are taking applications to fill out your entourage and secretly planning to fire someone who has dared to cross you.

I will admit that as hard as I have tried to create a buzz about what I’ve been up to (mostly to sell copies of my children’s book The Fairy Painting ) I have never been hounded by the media, so I really don’t know what that’s like, but storming out of the elevator shouting “You are all evil!” before anyone even ASKS YOU A QUESTION is a little over the top. Let them piss you off first, then come out swinging. Better yet, get a body guard to slam Steve Wilson against a wall; that HAD to have been covered at Boot Camp.

And I am totally in awe of how you managed to interrupt city business to whine about the reporters following you around – that is really top-notch It’s All About Me behavior. And really, why ARE they following you around? Don’t they know that who you scream at on Detroit city time is your own business?

Monday, September 8, 2008

We want to be popular

I’m noticing a trend in the “fluff” section of the newspaper lately – it seems there is a lack of fluffy news so they are printing stories that really say nothing. I remember thinking this yesterday as I perused the Life section but the story was so unmemorable I can’t even recall the topic.

Today’s nothing headline: Think your kid’s No. 1? Check the baby name database to find out

I will say this, the Social Security Administration baby name database is an excellent way to waste an hour or two. It’s interactive, so you can type in a name, which gender to identify it with, and how many years you want to check its rating and up pops a list. Though it only took me 30 minutes to figure out that we are a family of unpopular names.

Take my own; Stacey. When I was born in 1964 it was the 126th most popular name for a baby girl. Its highest rating was a run from ’71-’73 where it maintained at #41 but it has steadily fallen since then and in 2008 it is now 977, barely maintaining its place in the top 1000. The Social Security site only lists names when they appear in the top 1000 and my name didn’t even appear on that list until 1950!

It’s not like my parents were celebrities who gave me a freaky name – like Menudo Petshop – on purpose, so why am I so far down the list? I checked my husband’s name, which has been around longer (it broke the top 1000 in 1910) but has never risen higher than #315 (1989). The year he was born it was number #668.

I HAD to check my children’s names. I took the naming of my children quite seriously. I wanted names that sounded authoritative without sounding stuffy, were unique enough to make them feel special, yet normal enough that we can buy crap with their name on it while on vacation (this didn’t work out for my son, however. We had a difficult time agreeing on a name for him and did the best we could. Not even Vegas has crap imprinted with his name.) I’m not afraid of alliteration but totally HATE hard R rhyming (Parker Werner – blech!). But, somehow, we ended up with two less-than-popular names. My daughter’s name peaked at #41 and was #89 the year we named her and has also steadily declined since then, now resting at #180. My son’s name has never risen above #203 and was #465 the year we named him.

I’m wondering how this collection of totally mediocre names is affecting us as a family. Could we be getting better tables in restaurants? Could our kids be getting better grades in school? Could our inboxes have less spam? Could more popular names make our lives better?

And no wonder Glinda sings “I Want to be Popular” in Wicked. Her name peaked at #726 in 1951 and hasn’t even appeared on the top 1000 list since 1955. I think that story could have had a much happier ending if only she had been named Emily.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Michigan's All That

I don’t know about the other states but it feels like McCain and Obama have moved here to Michigan. Every time you open a newspaper you read about a visit from one of the Presidential contenders. They’ve each appeared in our state twice a month since May and Obama is expected back tomorrow.

Is Michigan the hot cheerleader state that everyone wants to date?

No, Michigan is the homely, orphan, blue-collar girl in a teen movie starring Freddie Prinze Jr., and she disdains the snobby rich boys who have nothing better to do but bet on who can make her fall in love with them first. Then, of course, he will dump her. Along the way she gets a makeover and I’m just hoping that when the election is over that Michigan gets to keep the lip gloss and new hairstyle that either Obama or McCain have supplied. Because we could really use it.

Of course now we have another character – the popular prom queen who conspires with one of the rich boys to make the homely duckling into a beautiful swan, laughing behind her back the entire time.

Just put your big glasses back on, Michigan, and give the prom queen back the miniskirt she loaned you. You may have better “natural resources” but she is part of the in crowd and no matter how much they might make you think you are in on the joke, the joke is still on you. And when November is over and they don’t need you anymore they won’t even acknowledge you when you pass by in the hall.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The AWESOME! Flex Belt

I don’t know how these people caught sight of my abs as I usually hide them under several layers of clothing but this morning there was an email waiting for me all about the Flex Belt – “a truly awesome breakthrough in technology!”

This thing must truly be awesome because that very word is used at least 12 times in the email, and probably hundreds more times on the website that I didn’t visit, being predisposed to hand over cold, hard cash to anything that promises to “do the work for me.”

According to the very tempting email (don’t click on the website, DON’T click on the website) the Flex Belt has achieved 100% results in a clinical trial. Another nice thing about the Flex Belt is that the company doesn’t discriminate – they don’t want just the flabby and lazy to buy their product, they promise even MORE definition to the toned and defined. At last! A way for the fitness industry to get even more money – don’t limit yourself to marketing towards the unfit, make EVERYONE feel inferior for not having a Flex Belt. And I know it will work because as I’m sitting here pretending I have abs of steel I am thinking to myself “I EARNED these abs, and if those lazy SOB’s are just gonna buy a Flex Belt and get toned abs then I’M going to buy one too and get even MORE toned and they will NEVER catch up! Bwahahahahahaha!”

And I have to give kudos to the copywriter who – in one email – came up with several new and varied ways to stick the word ‘awesome” in. One of my favorites:

We don’t think an awesome athlete and legend like Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers would back the product and use it himself if it didn’t work.

Really? Like Leeza Gibbons really uses that crappy mineral makeup or Daisy Fuentes pops in her Winsor Pilates DVD every day or Jessica Simpson is still using ProActive. I think, if given enough money, even an “awesome athlete and legend” would pimp for the Flex Belt, or even Sansabelt.

Another “awesome” feature of the Flex Belt is the 2-year extended warranty so you can get your belt replaced should anything happen to it…no questions asked. The “no questions asked” part makes me a tad nervous and I can’t help but wonder in what kind of condition Flex Belts have been returned. Usually when a company asks no questions they don’t want you to ask any questions either – especially about the burns on your back.

Further down I am tempted once again to check out the website because of this statement:

The official website it awesome! It is visually stunning and leaves nothing to the imagination which is helpful when purchasing a $199 item.

First, note another creative use of “awesome;” and then the tease of leaving nothing to the imagination - because I can imagine all kinds of people doing all kinds of stupid things with a Flex Belt and can’t help but wonder if the website really shows them all. Especially after they point out that “a lot of people order an additional belt for their spouse so they can wear them together.” I’m guessing that part of the site has an R rating.

It makes me dream of a world where everyone has a Flex Belt and wears it for the required 30 minutes a day five days a week and everyone has toned abs so they are no longer special and the hot new look is flabby abs and muffin tops are back in fashion. And I am considered a goddess!