Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What'd I Do Today?


If you haven't been following this, you're really missing out.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Trashcan Jenga

Do you play this game at your house?

The game where you and the other people you live with stack, stuff, and intricately balance the various items of trash as high as possible until someone else empties the trashcan? There's something almost Zen about it. The amount of skill, patience, and concentration involved in mastering this game, ironically, far outweighs the physical exertion involved in ACTUALLY EMPTYING THE TRASHCAN.

We've been playing an ongoing version of this game for years. I've been losing. To clarify, by "losing" I mean that I'm the one that concedes defeat; giving up on my creative balancing ability and taking out the trash.

Most recently, the trash in the Master Bath was piling up to where the sink was in imminent danger of being completely covered. I don't even want to tell you what was in the trash, but I'm sure you can imagine. It was BAD. So bad, in fact, I felt it necessary to immediately employ a new strategy -
The Mind Fuck.

I proceeded to wield a jaded barb at my Trashcan Jenga Opponent:

"Um, hun? Is there anything in this trashcan that you particularly wish to, like, save?"

Apparently caught off-gaurd, he paused, then answered No.

I sighed "OK", then emptied the trash with all the audible drama I could possibly create.

It remains to be seen whether this New Trashcan Jenga Strategy proves effective.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Penny Karma's Day Off

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted. You haven't missed anything. Oh, wait -

There's been Major Enlightenment on the Pork Butt issue.

Trillian42 says: Pork butts aren't actually butts! It's the shoulder! Apparently, when you butcher a pig, the shoulder has two parts - the shank end and the butt end. (Thank you, Alton Brown!) So, now you know you can safely eat pork butt without thinking you are eating, you know, pork BUTT.

Thank GOD. Pork Butt sounds like something they make you eat on Fear Factor. So if Pork Butt is really Pork Shoulder, then is the stuff that's called Pork Shoulder actually something else?
Pork Neck? (Isn't that a city in New Jersey?)

Moving on... here's some more stuff I don't understand.

Why can a 4-year-old child hear the freakin' Goody Bar Man's truck coming from a half-mile away but not hear his mother in the next room when she calls him to come take his bath?

Why did I drive myself crazy for four days straight cleaning a house that the inlaws would be visiting for all of maybe five minutes? I wish I'd taken Before pictures to show you, but just to give you an idea, my house was just a tiny bit cleaner than one of the lovely abodes you might see raided on COPS.

I worked my lily-white ass down to a nub.

I was almost too tired to enjoy Penny Karma's Day Off. But I managed to pull it together and get my hair cut, have lunch, and go shopping for sandals. These are not necessarily thrilling or luxurious events in and of themselves, but without kids, ahhhhh, so peaceful. I secretly laughed at moms who were trying to get their kids to behave. Hopefully my brood is behaving for MIL and FIL. It's 95 degrees out now and I don't know about you, but I get crabby when it gets too hot out. I'm praying that they can all get along. R and I are going out to pick them up around dinnertime. I'm going to wear my awesome new sandals.

I should add Born Shoes to Sarah's Favorite Things. Born shoes are made from the softest leather and they feel SO fabulous on. They're more expensive than what I would usually spend on a pair of shoes, so I always wait for them to go on sale. I got these on Super Duper 40% off Clearance, for $33!

They have a higher heel than most shoes in my closet. I'm a wee bit concerned about that, to be honest. I'm not a tall person, and I've never wanted to be tall. Maybe that's because my sister is 6'2" and she hates being tall. I'm 5'6". I like how tall I am. I don't think I've ever worn a pair of heels in my life. I wore pumps to my sister's wedding and my feet were killing me after an hour of standing in one place. I get wobbly in anything that isn't totally parallel to the ground. Stilettos are pretty much out of the question. Guess I can't be a stripper after all. Darn.

I'm sitting here typing this now and my house is so quiet it's weird. I can hear the ceiling fan. I never realized it made any noise.

I have about an hour before R gets home. Maybe I'll give myself a half-assed pedicure. Maybe I'll knit and watch the ballgame. Maybe I'll nap. I should throw in a load of laundry. But I'm not gonna. Too bad I don't have time to borrow a Red Ferrari, sneak my girlfriend out of school and go to a Cubs game, a five-star restaurant, the art museum and a parade. I'm kinda leaning towards NAP right now.

** tangent alert **
Here's a story from the file I'll call WHATEVER WORKS.

Tito pooped on the potty on Tuesday! I somehow convinced him to try sitting on the potty since he woke up dry, and he and I sat in there for about 30 minutes waiting for the sound of tinkle, and all of a sudden I heard a little plink! I think it surprised both of us.

So yesterday he and I kinda got into a tiff because I wanted him to go try on the potty and he wanted a sandwich first. So I came up with a compromise. He sat on the potty with a sandwich. Beeb took her sandwich in there and read to him, per his request. And then, because he didn't want to be left out, Pie brought his sammich in there too. It was a Potty Picnic.

Notice Ryan's light saber on the floor, just in case there might be Imperial Guards hiding behind the shower curtain.
Hey, ya never know.

I don't know that I'd do the Potty Picnic again, though, since somehow Tommy managed to get peanut butter on his weenie. If he wasn't three years old, I'd think that was a little creepy.

I miss those lil stinkers. Kinda.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who says I can't Multitask?

The following serves as my entry for both the ABC Along and Self Portrait Tuesday.

H is for HOLLAH!

And for my self-portait, here's a pic of me givin' a shout out to my Peeps.

I haven't done Self Portrait Tuesday in a while, so I don't even know if I'm still playing, but there ya go.

And I suppose this picture could also count in the ABC Along as I is for INDESCRIBABLY INSANE IDIOT.

And now, More stuff I Don't Understand.

Why is Yakoff Smirnov still doing a show?

Did anybody else like Star Jones better fat?

Why do our fingernails grow faster than our toenails?

Why aren't we supposed to Mess With Texas? Or else what? What's Texas gonna do to me?

What are Pork Butts? Wouldn't calling them Pig Butts make more sense, if that's what they are? It really doesn't sound any less appetizing, does it?

Monday, May 22, 2006

FINALLY! A Weekend That Didn't Suck!

For some reason, over the last several days I've had a recurring image in my head of Oprah heating up a can of Spaghetti-O's on the stove.

This is just really funny to me.
Oprah poops too!

Ok, so let me summarize the weekend for you. It actually didn't suck!

Friday night I went to a church rummage sale and did fairly well for myself. I got a vintage knitting magazine (can't remember the name of it), and a sweater that looked froggable. After attempting to frog it, however, I realize that it's a really fragile cotton that keeps splitting. I also found a like-new level one Hooked On Phonics set for $10. Ry seems to be diggin on it! He gets easily frustrated, so I'm hoping this will encourage him. So far he's read me three books!

Saturday the kids were fairly good and reasonably helpful. Beeb had to go to a birthday party, so we went to WalMart to get her friend a gift. Normally, taking the three kids to WalMart on a Saturday is a nightmare, but this time everyone did pretty well. I made it very clear in the car that we were not buying anything except a present for Beeb's party. They pressed me a little, but really much better than the usual drama.

Beeb learned what CREDIT means last week. We've started a new chores system, and Tommy and Pie each earned a dollar for cleaning their room (with my supervision), and Ry wanted to go to the Dollar Store immediately, so we went. Beeb didn't have any money, so I told her that I'd lend her a dollar if she found something she wanted. Never say that to a kid in a Dollar Store, because I guarantee you, they'll find something they want. And it'll be utter crap. She chose blue hair glue.

Then, the next day I got an envelope in her take-home folder from the school cafeteria saying that she'd charged $1.50 and I needed to pay it by the last school day. Beeb KNOWS she's not allowed to charge food. I've even written a note to the cafeteria stating that she does NOT have my permission to charge food unless she has a note from me stating otherwise. So I was pretty upset with her. I told her she was going to have to pay me back the $1.50, and she whined because now the job of cleaning her room for $3 was only going to net her fifty cents. I explained that she borrowed the money and she's already spent it and tied in a lesson about how easy it is to borrow more than you have and that's how people get into credit card debt.

She still hasn't cleaned her room. Her next lesson will be INTEREST.

I received the Mason-Dixon Knitting book on Saturday and I've already started working on a pattern. I'm a bit of a knitting lemming, and I want what everyone else wants. I'd heard good things about this book. This is the first pattern book I've ever gotten where I've actually felt pretty confident that I could do just about everything in it. A lot of the patterns were for rugs and afghans and things that are a lot more of a time commitment than I'm willing to put forth at this point in my life, but they're not ridiculously intimidating, and they're made from inexpensive yarns, which is nice. I've started making a cotton baby bib for a shower I've been invited to. I'm a little nervous about knitting a gift when the baby's grandmother is also a knitter. I'm a lot more comfortable knitting around non-knitters who are blown away by my garter-stitch scarves.

So Saturday went all right, and then Sunday we planned what we called a Spirit of Adventure day. We packed a picnic and took the kids to walk across the Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge which crosses the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. It's a mile each way, and it is a really pleasant walk. Ry was cranky at first, but he was the first one to make it to Illinois! Tommy wanted to be carried part of the way back, but he walked about a mile and a half, rather impressive. Then we went up the River Road to Pere Marquette and BBQ'd hot dogs while the kids played on a playground. We came back to Missouri via two ferry boats. The kids LOVED that. It was a beautiful day, the kids got along, and everybody had a good time.

When we got home, I let the kids play outside while R made his weekly call to his parents. And what happened next, my friends, you will NOT believe.

R hung up the phone with MIL and FIL and told me that they had offered to come get the kids on Saturday morning and take them for the afternoon, then R and I would pick them up later on, after dinner.

I haven't had a Saturday Afternoon to myself in YEARS.

It was FIL's idea, apparently. Can you believe that???? I rescind almost all of the smack I've talked about him. Now I just hope the apes behave themselves or I'll never hear the end of it.

If there's a downside to this extremely generous offer, it's that A) now I have to clean the house; B) I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself since I really have no local friends anymore; and C) no matter what I decide to do I'm going to be worried the whole time that the kids are acting like idiots and/or telling Family Secrets (such as Mommy hates you, Grampa!).

I had a wickedly clever idea to whip up some Homemade Rice Krispie Treats for the kids to take to him as a little "Thank You" from me. Y'know, since he was so appalled and permanently scarred by the Second-Rate Prepackaged ones at the Mother's Day Brunch.

Sunday night, right before the Desperate Housewives Finale, I learned that the Cavaliers lost to the Pistons in Game 7 in the NBA Playoffs. I'm so bitter that we get like, zero NBA coverage in St. Louis. I'd love to see the Spurs play every once in a while, or even just hear the scores read on the local news. Seriously, it's pathetic. Yeah, I know I should get cable, but no thanks, I can think of about a hundred things I'd rather spend the money on instead.

Like yarn. Duh!

Friday, May 19, 2006


Look at this link that DAN just emailed me -

I feel like I'm looking at Solid Chocolate Porn in a Candy Shell.

I need a cold shower.

ADDED: YES, kids, they are that good. To give you an idea of how just how good they are and how elated I am by the possibility of ordering them, I updated the bank balance today. THAT, my friends, should tell you something.

Of course, that was due mostly to the fact that I got a little (ahem) not so good notice in the mail, but the fact that I can eat all the Mini Eggs in my stash and not worry about having to wait until next year to stock up again takes some of the sting out of being Slightly Overdrawn.

ALSO ADDED: After emailing the Property Mismanagers for the third time in the last two weeks (not counting the tactfully direct Enclosure I sent along with my Rent Check), as I look outside my back window right now, there are people removing the downed trees. What I find so egregiously rude, however, is that still, NO ONE FROM THE OFFICE HAS ACTUALLY COMMUNICATED WITH ME. Not even to say "Hey, got your note and we'll have someone out there." or even "Relax, Bitch, we're on it, quit nagging us." I am completely appalled at the lack of common courtesy communication I have received from (drumroll)...


There. It's out. I'm tired of giving them the respect of protecting their anonymity. Fuck them.

Dear Elite, I appreciate that you sent someone out here, finally. Really, I do. It's now obvious that you've received my messages. Would answering JUST ONE of them have taken that much time out of your day? Just a tiny acknowledgement would have eased my mind and given me a far better impression on the company to whom I write a big fat check every month. But until I saw today that said check has cleared, I would have thought that no one worked there anymore. I'm still not 100% convinced that anyone does.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Behold My Ignorance!

I've been accused of being someone who thinks they know everything. Here's the thing, though. I know I don't know everything. I never said I know everything.

I think I know more than most people do, but I'm sure there are people who know more than I do. I just don't meet them very often. Why is that my fault?

I keed.

According to my Primary Accuser (cough - hubby - cough cough), I have a hard time admitting when there's something I don't know. He claims that I never admit when I'm wrong.
I don't think so.

In fact, there's a bunch of stuff that baffles and befuddles me. I reserve the right to add more stuff that I don't understand to this list and to delete items that I manage to figure out. Behold.

- Last week I got a phone call from my mail order prescription drug provider. It seems that the shipment they had sent me was returned, and they were calling to make sure they had my correct address. Funny, I got a BILL from them two days before, no problem.

- Why don't men understand that telling us "Oh, honey, don't worry about the laundry today" does NOT count as a Mother's Day gift unless you mean "I'll take care of it", and not "You can just do it tomorrow instead"?

- What is it with little boys and Weenie Talk? For the last week I have heard the phrase "YOU BROKE MY WIENER!" about five hundred times.

Why? What does it mean? I have no idea. The boys wrestle around on the floor and then when one of them gets hurt, the other says "You broke my wiener! You put it in the toaster!" and they both double over in hysterics.

Ok, it is kinda funny. If you like Beavis and Butthead. Which I do.

- If a food item with All The Fat usually tastes WAY better than the Low-Fat version of the same item, why aren't we all just sitting around eating Crisco out of the can with a spoon?

- Why do people pay so much attention to what Oprah likes?

I don't mind that Oprah tells us what she likes - shoes, iPods, pajamas, popcorn, cake, and the Book Club selections (don't even get me started on the whole James Frey thing). In fact, I appreciate her suggestions on what's the best stuff I'll probably never own.

But she's just a person. Granted, she's a person with more money than most people will ever see in their lives, who could buy anything she wants. For whatever reason, that makes people want to know what a person to whom money is no object spends her money on. Doesn't it make more sense to find out what someone who has very little disposable income to spend on unnecessary stuff purchases? What really bothers me is that I know people who wait for Oprah's Latest Decree before they buy or read anything, as a means of avoiding the pesky time and energy depletion that comes from formulating one's own opinions.

So I decided that today, inspired by both Oprah and Julie Andrews, I will tell you all that these are a few of MY Favorite Things. You don't have to buy them. In fact, don't. Then there will be more left for me.

Ready? Here we go.

1. The only thing I love more than Werther's Chewy Caramels are Cadbury Mini Eggs. The sound of my teeth breaking through the thin candy layer to the pure, blissful chocolate inside is like the sweet song of angels. You can only get them at Eastertime (I've tried to get them through Cadbury UK and they won't ship them to the US, those bastages), so I buy up as many as I can and try to make them last until next year. It never works. I bought four bags on the day after Easter and I'm already on bag #4.

2. Second only to the aforementioned Cadbury Mini Eggs is Werther's Chewy Caramels. A little smackerel of buttery heaven.

3. Crest Whitening Expressions in Cinnamon Blast. To scrub the Chewy Caramels out of my teeth. It Oprah brushed her own teeth, this is what she'd use.

4. I'm a recent convert to Tea Drinking. I'm by no means a connisseur, but I've been quite impressed by Adagio teas and by Teavana. Their selection, customer service, and ease of navigating their websites compliments the quality of their products. Bravo.

5. Bamboo Sheets. Knitters know how soft bamboo is. Yowza! I got my sheets at Target. Think Oprah's ever been in a Target store? Or to a Church Rummage Sale (one of my favorite things in the whole wide world)?

6. Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Funny story - when Beeb was in pre-school, she found a toy iron in the "play house" area of the room and asked her teacher "What is this thing?" Since she'd never seen one in use. At least it wasn't a toothbrush or something like that. I do NOT iron. Like, ever. I have an ironing board in the basement with about a 1/2 inch of dust on it.

7. The DYMO Lerta Tag Label Maker. This thing changes lives, people. Invest in one and you'll see. I think it was about $20 at Target, and believe it or not, my kids have kept the living room clean (relatively) since I labeled all the toy bins. Love it, love it, love it. I betcha anything Oprah has one, or whoever cleans Oprah's house does, anyway.

8. Mo Willems books. My kids absolutely love this guy, and so do I. Don't Let the Pidgeon Drive the Bus is hilarious, and Knuffle Bunny is too.

9. Speaking of books - I have not only gotten books for free, but I've gotten rid of books I never thought anyone would want. So I'm replacing books I don't want with ones that I do want, and all for just the cost of shipping via Media Mail. It's not always easy to find Knitting books on there, but you can post a wish list and they'll email you if someone posts the books you want. I've gotten A Million Little Pieces, Memoirs of a Geisha, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, all kinds of stuff. And R loves getting his Sci-fi/Fantasy books here too.

Really a great deal all around, and this site is constantly growing and improving, but still maintains the feel of a close-knit club. To start, you have to post 9 books you want to trade, and then right away you'll get 3 credits to spend on whatever books you want. After that, every book you send someone else earns you another credit. Of course, now all I need is to find some spare time so I can actually READ.

10. Dawn Direct Foam. I don't have a dishwasher. I have my own two hands. This is the best stuff I've found for getting icky grease off of pans and stuff. If Oprah hand-washed her own dishes, I bet this is the detergent she would use.

11. The George Foreman Grill. I love this thing, especially in the summertime. I think I want to upgrade to the biggest one.

12. Luvs Diapers. Believe me, I've tried them all. These are the best, and usually the cheapest of the Big Brands. If Oprah had a baby, I'd send her a box of these as a gift, a Mo Willems book, and a hand-knit baby blanket.

13. Musical Selections In my CD Player - Space Age Bachelor Pad Music by Esquivel, the Brokeback Mountain Soundtrack, and Tito Puente Ran Kan Kan.

14. The Reach Access Flosser. I eat a lot of...

15. Pop Secret Homestyle Popcorn, and this thing is a Godsend.

16. Head-On headache relief balm. If Oprah had her own headaches, this is what she would use.

17. Bonne Bell Lip Smacker in Pink Lemonade. From Target.

18. Reed Diffusers from Pier One. This was a bit of a gamble for me, since I have little kids who tend to knock over bottles of stuff that ruins furniture, but I put it up high where they can't reach it and I absolutely love it.

19. Method All-Purpose Cleaner in Lavender. Almost makes me want to clean. Almost.

20. And finally, Wellbutrin XL.

And check this out - I'm going to click here whenever I feel like Stuart Smalley in need of Daily Affirmation.

Doggone it, People Like Me! I felt the same way the first time Bezzie left me a comment. Now I can't get her to shut up.

And a cuppla lil things before I go -

I'm still so full from Lunch yesterday I feel like Jabba.
Still not one word from the Property Mismanagers.
Beeb's doing a project on our family's "culture". I told her we have none.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More Weird Searches That Lead People To Your Blog

Ok, I guess somebody realized that my blog has absolutely nothing to do with Barbie and removed the link to my blog from that site, but I swear it was there.

Today, I discovered another search that will bring you to my blog:

homeless mom needs a place for her and kids in St.Louis

Tell me that's not just a little creepy. Here's the little clip from the Yahoo search page:

BEHOLD MY BRILLIANCE (or lack thereof)
... there? Ry: Mom, Dumbass isn't a PLACE. We can't go ... My kids are SO freaked out by her. Can't say that ... the Yarn Harlot at the St. Louis County Library - 79k - Cached

It almost sounds like I'm saying that my Dumbass kids were freaked out by the Yarn Harlot at the Library. I apologize in advance to Stephanie, should she ever feel the compulsion to Google herself and think I'm talkin' smack. I'm not. Love the Harlot.

So far the weirdest searches that I've found linked to me are "gay self-suck", "pubic" and "she cut my dick off". Now Pubic, that one I can understand, but the others, I have NO idea. I giggle when I imagine the profound disappointment those searchers feel when they find that I'm just a goofball SAHM with WAY-HAY-HAY too much time on her hands who knits and bitches about her inlaws and publicly berates half-wits who can't spell Garage.

If you perhaps thought I was a nasty person for mocking someone whose mother's house burned down (in which case you probably don't know me very well - I'm a totally irreverent asshole when the situation warrants), you'll be relieved to know that there was an update today:

Thank you to all that give my mother in law stuff, thank so much, she really appreciate it, what i have recieved so for is, hand mixer, towels, kitchen towels, skillts, pots, dishdriner, alot of cups.

This is the rest of the stuff that my mother is still needing, if anyone has anything, please let me know, it doesnt have to on the list really anything will help. Thank you

Can opener, Bowls,(mixing bowls and ceral bowls), Anytype of plates, silverware, silkets, potholders, toaster, and any kitchen cooking unitals.

Full size sheets, pilliow cases, and or anything bathroom stuff.

Lamps, it can be a table lamp or a free standing lamp doesnt matter.

If anyone have any of these items, please let me know, I know its alot but she really needs all of this, she is restarting her life because of the fire, Thank you for reading

Thank you yall for everything.

Again with the Unitals! And what's the Dillio with Pilliow?
Oh, Lord. My head hurts.

R and I went to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory Today. I had the Fried Mac and Cheese Balls. R had the Shepherd's Pie. Then we both had the Toblerone Cheesecake. We'd never been there before, and it was a great experience. We had a spectacular server, and of course the food was excellent. I'll definitely go back.

Got my SP7's name, and it appears to be a great match as far as experience level and Slightly Offbeat Sense of Humor. I haven't heard from either my upstream or my downstream in the One Skein SP thing, so whatever. I guess it's a wash.

I got my Grand Finale Spoilage from my CASP/CFSP Poppins! Have I mentioned how thoroughly Poppins ROCKS? Seriously, I am in bewildered awe of her creativity. She is brilliant, hilarious, and awesome. She sent me an actual Lucky Penny! I have been so inspired by her as a knitter, a mom and even just as a person. I totally love when I get to know cool people through the SP stuff. My downstreams were extremely cool women too, and we were all named SARAh! What are the chances?

I also received a wonderful Semi-Random Act of Divine Benevolence from the Incredibly Sweet and Indescribably Thoughtful Cheesy Knit Wit, Dkswife! Look at these fantastic colors!! Thank you, Kay!

My kids have discovered Little Einsteins. It beats the hell out of Caillou. I'd like to personally beat the hell out of Caillou myself, but that's only because a wicked flash of Caillou Karma recently bit me on the ass. Due to Blockbustah's return/purchase policy, I had to purchase the Caillou DVD that I had purposely hidden after Tommy had made me watch it a zillion times and driven me to the edge of a sugar coma, and then I subsequently forgot where I'd hidden it. Of course, Tommy found it after I got charged for it and we watched it daily for a week until the Merciful Mother of God intervened and one day Tommy picked out Little Einsteins instead.

I had to completely start over on my tea cozy due to the embarrassing fact that I can't count to 32.

Got me some sock-knittin' needles yesterday. Oooooh, baby! Next I need to get my Yarntopia Sock Yarn and I'll be all Posse-fied. That sounds funny.

My kids are watching The Princess Bride right now. I am the coolest mom in the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Weird Searches That Lead People to Your Blog

Scroll down to Unrelated Nonsense. That's my post from yesterday.

I wish I'd used a lot more foul language and links to XXX sites, just to drive home the point that you can't be too careful when your kids go online.

And don't forget, kids - Cockfighting is illegal.
Sometimes illegal things are really fun.
Grownups don't want you to know that.

Oh, and a footnote - my Pycho Blogstalker's Blog has suddenly disappeared.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ok, real quick -

I was about to go to bed and I read my email one last time.

Remember my mini-rant about BASIC USAGE? Look at this actual email I received only moments ago from a fellow Freecycler. Italics added by me.

Subject: [freecycle-stl] Wanted: Misc. Items please read

Hello, needing some stuff for my mother in law. She is moving into her own place she as been living with us for a while and she doesnt have really anything expect for a bed and a tv that we have bee usin she had a house fire while back and nothing survied though it, so she is needing,

Hand Mixer, Can opener, Bowls,(mixing bowls and ceral bowls), Anytype of plates, silverware, pots, pans, silkets, drinking cups, plastic dishdranier, potholders, kitchen towels, toaster,and any kitchen cooking unitals.

Ok, I didn't get nitpicky with the punctuation or sentence formation when it was possible to figure out what this person meant, but what the hell are Cooking Unitals? The word sounds like a combination of Unit and Genitals, which I hope to GOD he's not using as a utensil to stir the soup. I actually love ceral bowls (My dad pronounces Cereal as Ceral, so this amused me), and Silkets (which I assume means Skillets), and I think Dishdranier is the Prince of Monaco, right?

Sorry about the house fire, I'll put together a bag of stuff for you, that's the Heart of Gold part of me. And I'll even throw in a bonus Dictionary. That's the Evil Genius part. Or the Bitch part. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to.

Unrelated Nonsense.

I've been so focused on Mother's Day recently I've neglected to update you on other Goings-On in Chez Karma.

Remember that huge storm that knocked down two huge trees and took down my power lines left me without electricity for five days and brought a Local Celebrity (Weekend Weather Warrior Chris Higgins) to my door?

That was April 7th. The trees are still down in my backyard.

You may recall the last conversation I had with Property Management (a quite dubious title) in which I attempted to convey the frustration of entertaining three children for five days without the assistance of electricity, but instead I sobbed and begged the Property Manager to have mercy. I eventually got my electricity back on, but it was an ugly battle.

So I decided to be nicer about the tree issue. I sent a really polite email back on May 9th that said I've still got trees down in the backyard, no hurry, just following up. I'm still waiting on a return email, six days later. I just resent it as a reply-all, so the original date would still be visible.

I had the idea to send a little note along with the rent check, which should have arrived at their office this past Saturday. I whipped up a Word Document, inserted photos of the downed trees dated April 7, and wrote at the bottom "Here is a picture of the trees that are still down in the backyard." We'll see how long it takes for Bob the Maintenance Guy to drag his sorry buttcrack-baring-bluejeans-clad ass over here. I'll keep you posted.

I also got a call from Robin from Some Random Real Estate Company asking "if yous were still interested in buying a house." Do professionals use the word YOUS? Is it spelled YOUS or YOUSE or YOUZ? I realize it's a regional dialect of American English, but even in the regions where it's commonly used, is it odd to hear someone in a professional setting say it? It just sounded weird, like saying "ain't". Can you imagine a Presidential Candidate using the word YOUS? No, right? She sounded like Silvio Dante. I wanted to say "No, WEEZ decided to rent for another year", but I just said no, and snickered silently to myself.

I'm a grammar, spelling, and pronunciation stickler. It's not to say that I'm perfect, but I get nitpicky about Basic Usage. People should be able to spell the word GARAGE. How many signs for Gargage and Grage Sales have you seen? Today I saw a new one - GRAGAGE. Whatever.

I'm fascinated by the whole concept of language and words. I love thesauri. I love word games, puzzles, all that stuff. I have a favorite part of speech, doesn't everyone? I love adverbs, because they can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They're multifunctional. R rolls his eyes when I go into English Teacher Mode, but I was gleeful on Sunday when my kids sang along to the Interjections song on the Schoolhouse Rock CD. I wish a job existed where I could sit and diagram sentences all day. I LOVE IT. I know there's no real-world application in it, I don't even know if they still teach it in schools anymore, but The Structure of the English Language was my all-time favorite college course. And yes, I got an A.

Ryan has discovered a new Xbox game called Fable, thanks to Daddy. Ry likes it because you can make the hero fart. How charming.

For maximum efficiency I took a picture of my latest WIP (my first DPN's project so I can build up my sock-knitting cajones and make socks with Yarntopia's Sock Posse next) AND the Harry Potter wand I made for Ry, AND the Extremely Yummy Bamboo Sheets. The HP wand is that brown thing that looks like poo. The multi-colored thing that also looks like poo is the early stages of the Kozyeon tea cozy from Knitty (tm). I completely suck at it. It took me two days to figure out the cast-on and knit the first four rounds. I'm kinda winging it as I go, I know I'm making lots of mistakes, but who cares. I'm gonna put it on the Wicked Cool Teapot I got in the last SP round.

Speaking of SP stuff, I'm a little anxious about the upcoming SP rounds that I'm
doing. I never feel like the person I send stuff to is going to think the stuff I send is cool enough. Lion Brand is good enough for me, but it's not really gift-able. I get that now. I've actually been addressed by a recent pal who was disappointed that I'd sent too many non-knitting related gifts. Not to even get into it, she was very polite and felt bad about it afterwards, I shouldn't even bring it up at all, but it sorta fueled my feelings of complete SP inadequacy. I should let it go and not dwell on it, but I'm a dweller. I dwell. I stew.

Personally, I like non-knitting gifts. I love all gifts! I'm someone who learned at a very early age to never express disappointment about any gift. At a birthday party I attended at some time during my childhood, I witnessed the Birthday Girl berating a guest for bringing her the "Wrong Barbie". The mortified guest cried, the Birthday Girl's mother angrily escorted her out of the room (but still well within earshot), and ripped her a new one. Birthday Girl returned to the room red-faced and in tears, and then her mom walked in like nothing ever happened "Who wants cake?" and the rest of us sat there awkwardly, afraid to move. Quite a memorable moment. I've taught all of my kids to just smile and say Thank You.

Got the boys' hair cut today. Does $28 (plus tip) for two little boys' haircuts sound like a lot? Maybe it's not. Maybe it just seems like a lot to charge for five minutes worth of work.

I heard T and Ry talking amongst themselves as we were getting into the car. I was buckling Tito when he said, "It not on my finger, it on Mommy's shirt!"

My shirt, incidentally, was green. I couldn't see anything on it, so I asked, "Honey, what's on Mommy's shirt?"

"MY BOOGER!" Lovely.

Then Ry said authoritatively, "Tommy, Mommy is NOT a Kleenex."

In Completely Unrelated News, over the course of my life, I've observed that A Lot of Strange Things Happen at WalMart.

Once when I was at a WalMart in Boerne, Texas I overheard a conversation between a little girl and her mother near the gumball machines at the front door.

"Momma, can I put this tattoo on my cheek?" I assumed she'd bought one of those sweet little fake tattoos from one of the machines. My kids know better than to ask me for that shit.

Now Imagine Earl's ex-wife Joy saying, "Sure you can, Baby. Oh no, wait a minute... we gotta go to church tomorrah. Put it on yer arm."

Hmmmm... ok, so tattoos on children are fully acceptable at this church, but they draw the line atfacial tattoos on children. Got it. Duly noted.

Another time a kid with a mohawk asked me if I'd give him my cart after I got my stuff out of it.

Today I had yet another really kooky WalMart experience. As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a black Jeep/truck/Urban Assault Vehicle type thing with the words HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! in huge yellow letters spray-painted on the doors and windows. Immediately I envisioned a mother in a housecoat and ugly slippers, her hair in rollers, a beer in one hand and a cig with a really long ash in the other hand hollering at her ungrateful kids "YOU DUMBASSES NEVER DO ANYTHING FOR ME FOR MOTHER'S DAY! YOU DON'T EVEN SAY 'HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!'" just one time too many.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sucky Saturday, Continued. And Oh Yeah, MOTHER'S DAY.

What time did I post that Saturday drama? Noon-ish? Oh, the day got really interesting after that.

I decided to try to ignore the shenanigans and bury my head in housework. Y'know, since I was already in a bad mood anyway.

I let Beeb go out to play, since she'd been the most helpful and least annoying one, and I began to wash the dishes (using the fancy shmancy dishcloth that I made all by myself). About twenty minutes into it, Beeb came back in the front door and said "Mom!!!! Somebody spilled milk on the coffee table!!"

Turns out it wasn't milk, it was Diet Coke. And it had been sitting on the wood long enough for the wood to turn white. Apparently Tommy spilled it (where he got it, I don't know) and left it there.

I fuckin LOST it. It wasn't so much that it was what most people would consider a particularly nice table, but it the mere fact that that table was the best we could do, and seeing it destroyed made me heartsick. I screamed, cried, removed myself from the room and collapsed, sobbing, onto the top of the pile of dirty laundry in the basement.

I sent R a text message detailing the lastest craptastic twist in my Saturday, and as I lay there wiping my tears on dirty socks, I realized that I had no one to call at this very low moment. I don't like to bring my friends down (of course, I have no problem unloading every emotional synapse into this blog forum for total strangers and anyone performing a search for "Brokeback Mountain - The Musical" to read). I flipped all the way through my Contacts on my cell phone. Nope. Nobody would get it.

So I called my mom.

I told her how I'd started the day out with the very best of intentions, trying to get everyone into the spirit of helping out - what was I thinking? I told her about the stupid table and assured her that yes, I've been taking my meds, and she said,

"Did you get the card Dad and I sent?"

Oh, you mean the card that darn near made me cry? Yup.

Man, she was great. She calmed me down and suggested taking the kids out of the house for a little while just to get some fresh air and a change of scenery. I didn't want to take them out, since to me it would just be rewarding them for being total boneheads, but I said I would do it. And I did.

A few minutes later I gathered the kids, apologized for my outburst, and said let's get our shoes on and go for a drive. Tommy said, "Mommy, I sorry I made you be so sad." Way to stick a knife in my heart. I explained, as I did to Beeb when she was about three, that sometimes Mommy's feelings don't work right and I just get really sad and upset about stuff that's really not sad. I think it's important that they know that I know it's something I struggle with daily.

So then later we had dinner together (frozen pizza) and we went out to pick up some clothes that were being Freecycled. This was supposed to be a big bag of boys' clothes, which are always needed in this house, so I didn't mind making the hour-long roundtrip drive.

When we arrived, the bag that I was told would be there, was not. Turns out it was an honest mistake, someone else had come to pick something up and had taken the bag by mistake. We got ice cream instead, so the trip wasn't a total loss.

On the way home, Beeb asked if she could sleep out in the living room that night. She likes to fall asleep with the TV on, and being a Saturday night, things come on in the late night hours that I wouldn't want her to see. I asked her what she was planning on watching, and she said she wanted to watch Dateline. I don't even know if Dateline comes on on Saturday nights, but I told her that while it's a kind of news show, it's really not for kids.

"I saw the one about online predators." She said.

Oh, SHIT. Here we go.

"Yeah, Beeb, online predators are really scary."

"Well, why do they come to the kid's house?"

"Because there are some people who have something wrong with their brain and they want to hurt little kids."

R chimes in. "Y'know, Beeb, if you ever want to ask us anything..."

No. No. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I am SO not prepared for this conversation. R continues.

"Sex isn't a bad thing, Beeb, it's where babies come from. That's why it's really for husbands and wives to do after they're married."

"But is it ok for boyfriends and girlfriends who love each other?"

"Well, not really... "

"But you guys weren't married when you had ME."

BUSTED! I mean, I knew that she knew, I've never kept it a secret or anything, but to be called out like that - Damn!

"No, you're right, we weren't," I said, "and it was really hard for all of us."

"Mom, what are Rubbers?"

I almost choked. How do you explain them without getting all the way into the nuts (pun intended) and bolts of the whole operation?

And R laid it all out, kinda.

"A man puts it on his penis so that the woman won't get pregnant when they have sex."

Way to open the birth control can-o'-worms there, honey.
She didn't ask any more questions after that.

---- End of First Official Sex Conversation ----

Moving on to (gulp) MOTHER'S DAY.

I specifically told R and the kids not to do anything special for me. That way, when they don't do anything special for me, it'll almost be like they're actually obeying me, which is the best I can really hope for anyway.

I awoke to the melodic strains of bluebirds singing at my window. Just kidding, I awoke to the sound of Ryan whining from the bathroom,

"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM! Can you come wipe me????"

"Ry, can't you do it yourself?"

"Yes, but I don't want to."

Oh, my friend, today is SO not the day to act like that. I pretended I didn't hear him. After a few minutes, he said,

"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!! Come check me!"

Now that I can live with.

We got donuts for breakfast and headed out to the House of FIL. It wasn't really that bad, I guess. The Aldis were in attendance, so there was some inherent entertainment value there.

FIL had plenty to talk about, so he was in a reasonably good mood. He told all of us how his table had come in SECOND at Trivia Night. Foolishly, I asked if there were any interesting "stumper" questions. He said, "Ok, Sarah, see if you know THIS one... How many glasses of milk does the average cow produce in a year?"

Can't I just take the zero, I thought. Then I decided I'd mess with him a little bit. As much as I wanted to say something to the effect of Second Place? That's the best you could do? I said,

"Are we talking about, what, an eight-ounce glass? Twelve-ounce? Sixteen-ounce?"


"Wow." He might have asked me more questions after that, but that's the point where I tuned out.

The next amusing incident requires a little bit of a set-up. When Aldigirl was born, almost nine months to the day after Beebie came, Mrs. Aldi got Aldigirl's picture taken once a month, every month. And she would buy them in four of five different poses, and let me "choose my favorites", which was always a little uncomfortable, since I really didn't like any of them. We have drawers full of baby pictures of Aldigirl. And on the back of each one is a printed label with her age in Months and in some cases, Weeks.

Now, I don't take my kids' pictures that often. With mine, I kinda went with the "once every three months for the first year and once a year after that" plan. So whenever I have pictures of my kids, I feel obligated to share them with the Aldis. Today we took out the boys' school pictures and one that Beeb had taken of her sitting on the floor - one of those portraits where you're sitting and your shoes show up in the shot. It was taken at school, but it's not the standard School Picture picture. It was really cute.

I handed the pics to Mrs. Aldi and after she said how adorable and grown-up my boys looked, she asked where we got Beeb's picture taken.

"Oh, I think they took it at CCL..."

CCL is our district's Gifted Program. I just love pointing out that my kid got into it and theirs didn't. Yeah, it's bitchy. I know.

Then, my favorite part of the day was when FIL, who did not stop talking the entire two hours we were there, spoke at length about the Mother's Day Brunch he took MIL to that morning.

"Have you guys ever had those pre-packaged Rice Krispie Treats? They were horrible. I just didn't like them at ALL. I thought they were awful. And you'd think, the company that invented the whole idea of Rice Krispie Treats would be able to follow their own recipe! And for what they charge, you could make them better at home yourself! These were just terrible! They had them by the Chocolate Fountain, but I tried to get a skewer in there, and I couldn't even get the stick in there! They were dry, they weren't buttery, they weren't even gooey or anything..."

Good God, Dad, is there no END to your martyrdom???? I mean, if you've run out of conversational topics and you're suddenly discussing the inadequacy of pre-packaged Rice Krispie Treats, Dude, give up the fuckin stage, all right??!! It's time to LET SOMEONE ELSE TALK. Jeez.

And LO, The Heavens opened as Thus Spake The Great Reverend Aldi:

"Well, ya know they don't really use marshmallows in there, if you look at the ingredients..."

Who the hell KNOWS that??? Who the hell READS THE WRAPPER OF A RICE KRISPIE TREAT????

My fuckin freakshow family, that's who.

But don't cry for me, my friends, as the day will surely end well.

I got to go to an LYS I hadn't been to before! KNITORIOUS. What a cool place with really friendly workers! Thumbs up!

My awesome mom called to tell me she hates Mother's Day because it's crappy when you know that people feel obigated to be nice to you. Right on, Mom, you nailed it.

Also, the Survivor Finale is on tonight. I kinda think Cerie could take it, she's played the best strategically, but don't quote me, unless I'm right.

R's going to put the New Bamboo Sheets on the bed. Rowwwwwwwwwl.

And finally, a little Mother's Day Love from me to you.

CLICK HERE. You'll love it. Kid-friendly.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yet another sucky Saturday

It was decided at about 7:30 this morning that we would not be leaving the house today. There was no way I was taking these disrespectful little shits out in public.

I'm tired of this kids expecting donuts or Pizza at CiCi's or going out for ice cream on Sundays. It's not a treat anymore, it's become a given. I think I choose to indulge them because to me, I'm really indulging myself. The treat, for me, is having R there instead of having it be just me and the kids. With R going to school two nights a week and then taking Beeb to karate one night a week, I go from Monday Evening to Thursday night without having R home for dinner. So I like it when we do fun stuff together with him.

So I'm trying to come up with a way for the kids to earn a weekend reward. That way I'll get some much-needed help around the house, they'll see that treats are not an entitlement, and we can hopefully save some money. Today I introduced the concept of Helping Hands and Happy Hearts. I made it up all by myself. I told them that in order to earn donuts tomorrow, they each needed to earn five helping hands (for helping me with chores) and three happy hearts (for good attitudes). Beeb did great with it. Tito did reasonably well too. Ryan just sat and cried and moaned about how "it's gonna take foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrr". He even resorted to praying for God to do the work for him. I said, "Ry, dontcha think God would want you to, oh, I dunno, OBEY YOUR PARENTS?"

Oh, I'm so mad at that kid right now, I am seething. He WILL NOT help me do anything. His teachers tell me what a nice helper he is at school. But whenever I ask him to help me do something, he says "Well, I don't really feel like cleaning right now..."

So I left it up to him. I said "Well, Ry, you can choose to do the work or not, but if you don't do it, we won't get donuts tomorrow."

"That's okay, I don't really like donuts."

Great. That went well.

I even tried to make the day more fun by cutting out strips of paper with little jobs on them and having them draw them out of a bowl at random. Beeb got into it, and she made her goal. I wonder if Ry might have some issues with staying focused. I'd give him the job of picking up the books, for example, and as soon as he'd pick one up, he'd sit down and read it, and throw a full-on tantrum when I tried to remind him to stay on task.

I'm trying so hard to keep from screaming. I'm clenching my teeth so hard my jaw hurts. And I still have to survive (insert suspenseful dum dum DUHHHHM)tomorrow.

It's not that I want breakfast in bed. It's not that I want the kids to clean the entire house without being asked. It's not that I want extravagant gifts or a day of beauty or a fancy dinner out. I just want the day to not SUCK. Is that so much to ask? I don't want a reward, I just want the absence of punishment. Does that make sense? All I really want is to NOT have to go out there. I don't care about anything else. That's the only gift I need. I really wish I could go hang out with my family on Mother's Day, but that's obviously not reasonable since they're so far away.

Mom did call to tell me she got her package and she digs the tea, by the way. I was glad. I thought it was a pretty cool gift idea, if I do say so myself.

I'd be content if the kids just got along with each other for most of the day. I'd be delerious if I didn't have to wash dishes or laundry or listen to any tattling, crying, whining or screaming. But here's what happens. The kids act like wild apes, and then R yells at the kids for fighting with each other. Is THAT what I want? Does that make it a great day for me? Fuck it, let 'em fight. I don't care.

I feel so crappy, I wish I could just hide under my covers until Monday.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day Malaise

I actually have only one clear memory of Mother's Day as a kid.

One year, when I was about ten years old, my dad and sister and I pretty much forgot Mother's Day and my mom completely flipped out on us, since it was "the ONE day" that is supposed to be all about her. She made it pretty clear that we wrecked it with our thoughtlessness. So I came up with this idea in my ten-year-old mind that was going to make it all better. At church that morning we had heard a Bible verse that I remembered. I couldn't remember the reference, but the words were "Her children rise up and bless her..." (I have since found the reference, it is Proverbs 31:28)

So after scanning pretty much the entire Old Testament, I somehow found the reference I was thinking of, and then I sat down and cut out the individual letters to the words of the verse and the reference itself out of paper, colored them with crayons with my sister's help, and taped the letters to a bedsheet that I hung from the basement ceiling with clothespins. I remember that part SO vividly.

Anyway, we had it all done and it must have taken us a really long time to do it (I remember it felt like hours) so then I went upstairs triumphantly to get my mom, and I was all ready to surprise her with this creative masterpiece... so she came down and looked at it for a minute, and tearfully said, "Her children rise up and bless her? I wish that were true..." I was GOBSMACKED.

That's one of the reasons why I hate Mother's Day.

I know my mom would feel horrible if I ever told her about how much that event hurt me. I know she didn't mean it like that. I've never brought it up to her, although I'm sure she must remember it, although her memory of it may be different and may even be more accurate, who knows. It's just one of those things I never forgot. Now that I'm a mom, I really do know how she felt on that Mother's Day. It's really hurtful to feel unappreciated, and never hesitate to make sure my kids know that they need to appreciate the things that I (and other people) do for them. But it's also hurtful to a kid who is genuinely trying to make amends when her efforts are unappreciated or even mocked.

It's partially because of the Mother's Day Incident that I worry constantly that things I say will affect my children's future the way this particular snippet of time has affected me as an adult. I think it's the thing that I worry about more than anything else I do as a parent. I'm always afraid I'll say something that one of the kids will hear and internalize and spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in therapy to understand.

It's taken me a while to really "get" that being a mom is not an easy job for anyone, and I don't even think it's supposed to be. Why do I drive myself crazy trying to make it look to the outside world like I know what I'm doing? The fact that my mom made it look so easy is to her credit. But in some ways, I almost wish I had seen her struggle so I could feel like it was normal and okay if I struggled. But why would I wish that? Isn't that ridiculous? Gosh Mom, why'd ya have to be so darn good at it?? Sounds stupid, doesn't it?

I don't remember her ever screaming at us or spending hours crying in her room because there wasn't anything for dinner. I don't remember any of her bad days or Major Parenting Errors. Did she hide it really well? Have I repressed it? Or do I just somehow unconciously choose to remember the good instead? But who would want their kids to see their vulnerability when a mom's supposed to be a model of inner strength? In my own defense, my mom didn't have two high-maintenance sons less than a year apart. And she'd helped raise her three younger siblings since she was eight years old. Even with all that experience, though, I'm sure my sister and I were more than enough drama for any mother (Ha - were??).

Like I said, I'm already worried about irreparable damage I might have done to my kids, since of course as adults we all blame our parents for what's wrong with us, on some level. I can so easily envision my daughter on a shrink's couch talking about the time I popped all the balloons after her birthday party because she and her brothers were fighting over them (hey, they quit fighting), and the times I've thrown away the toys that weren't picked up, all the countless mistakes I've made that I wish I could take back. It seems I add to that list every single day. I pray that my kids remember the good stuff more than the bad.

I know I've said hurtful things to my kids in heated moments of extreme frustration. I try really hard to make up for it without over-heaping the praise. My parents, God love 'em, applauded everything I did. And that's not wrong. Of course they meant well. But as a grownup, I'm an external affirmation whore. If nobody tells me that I did a good job on something, I feel like I did a crap job. If nobody tells me I look cute, I feel like I look gross. It sucks.

My lack of confidence particularly in my parenting skillz comes from a combination of several things. I think the root of it started when I was the preacher's daughter, unwed and pregnant. Even though my family was extremely cool and unbelievably supportive, there was enormous shame on my part. I was always the kid who worked really hard to stay out of trouble and make my parents proud, so I felt like an enormous failure. Right from the start, parenthood felt like a punishment for slutty bad girls who sleep with their boyfriends.

After three kids, I've never gotten to say "Yippee!! I'm pregnant!" And I really resent that sometimes. I got pregnant with Pie when I was unemployed, and he was a high-risk pregnancy so we were afraid to be excited about him, and then of course Tito was a TOTAL freakin shock. And now that hubby's had a vasectomy, I really won't ever get to have a baby that enters the world without being born into a big ol' mess of drama. I'm crazy about my husband and my kids, but I live in this constant cloud of self-doubt. Finding knitting as a stress-relieving hobby and Knitty (tm) as a fun group of friends has really helped me see that nobody really has a perfect life.

Everything we do as parents is our reaction to what our parents did or didn't do for us. Sometimes we withhold, sometimes we overcompensate. And then it repeats, generation after generation. My kids will probably be better parents than I am. Or else they'll be too scared of turning into me to ever become parents at all. I'm not worried that my kids will get the idea that parenting is easy. Hopefully it will scare them out of having premarital sex. I'm pretty sure they've seen a pretty accurate depiction of what Having Too Many Credit Cards will do.

So, yeah, I get to spend my Mother's Day (a day that's as much about me as it is about my MIL) in my FIL's presence. I start the day with a very high baseline stress level, but the fact that it's supposed to be MY day too and I get to spend it stressed out at my in-laws' really, REALLY pisses me off. Every year I keep hoping that this will be the year that it fucking dawns on them that HELLO - I'm a mom TOO, and they let us off the hook for the Obligatory Visit.

I adore my MIL, but you know what I'm trying to say. I mean, MIL, I know that you've been a mom a lot longer than I have and I appreciate that you gave birth to my favorite person in the whole world, but you garden and read all day every day (and I bet you even get to go to the bathroom without an entourage too, right?) while I've got preschoolers with me 24/7 and I could sure use an itty-bitty break, thank you very much. I bust my ass making sure my mom and mother-in-law have a nice Mother's Day, and meanwhile I myself get very little enjoyment out of the day. (Sunday is R's only weekend day off. As you may recall, my Saturdays tend to suck ass, and now there's yet another colorful searchable phrase on my blog, lovely.)

You kinda have to appreciate what a complete dick FIL is, but to avoid his wrath, R waited six full months to tell his parents I was pregnant with Beeb. THAT aspect really hurt. The fact that he wouldn't tell him and then the shitstorm that He immediately unleashed, man, I don't know if I'll ever fully be over that. We expected the fallout to be bad, and it was a million times worse than we thought it would be. He literally didn't speak to R for three months - until he and my MIL showed up together at the hospital while I was in labor. R chooses to believe that He came to be supportive, but I will go to the grave believing that he came solely to make sure that baby looked like R. She did. No doubt about it.

Anyway, that was nine years ago and I still can't believe how much power this man has over the way I live my life. I know that ultimately I'm responsible for my own actions and emotions, but nearly everything I do is to prevent having to endure his Lecturing. I spend a lot of time worrying about how his influence affects my kids. He knows EVERYTHING, and he's only too willing to let you know what HE would do in every situation. Every conversation is steered, by him, in the direction of His field of expertise so that he may exert his Dominance.

My friends can't believe I haven't told him off yet. I've always been the sort to tell someone exactly how I feel, and this guy scares the crap out of me, only because I know that were anyone to stand up to him, he would actually become worse. One day I'd love to tell him how much I appreciate the convenience of never having to go to the trouble of ASKING him for his opinion. God forbid I should be called upon to speak at his funeral. His own daughter (the favorite, the successful plastic surgeon) has said that when he dies, nobody will even be sad. Isn't that the saddest thing you can imagine? I do feel sorry for him. But I also detest him for making the rest of us as miserable as he is.

Ironically, even if you follow his unsolicited advice, he'll still find something wrong with the way you did whatever he told you to do, and will not hesitate to point your flaws out to you. I think if he ever complimented someone, he may just burst into flames. Example - The five of us lived in a 2-BR apartment until fairly recently, and FIL constantly told R how stupid he was for throwing his money away on renting. That was when R finally told him about the credit issues that prevent us from purchasing a house, after he'd endured the berating for seven years. That's daily life around here. I truly believe that it is impossible to please this man. You are never good enough. Perfection is not even good enough. I don't know how he manages to go through life only focusing on the negative, but that's how he is, and it forces all of us to look at the negative too.

Again, I do pity him. It must be a very unhappy existence. In his defense, his own father died when FIL was thirteen, so he's kinda had to suck it up and be in charge since then, and I don't think he knows any other way to be. I don't know if he's aware of how completely worthless he makes us all feel. I've come to believe (perhaps erroneously) that pointing out your mistakes is his way of showing love. My guess is that he assumes everyone wants to be the best they can be, and the best anyone can hope to be is Perfection. Once I committed myself to that belief, he's been easier to deal with, but still, every time I'm in his presence, my stomach knots up and I get nauseous. I seriously make myself sick over it, and I hate that I allow myself to get so upset by this man.

I've tried to be the better person and think, y'know, no matter what I do he'll still tell me I did it wrong, so why kill myself trying to make him happy? That mentality doesn't help. Over the last nine years my spine has slowly eroded and I've taken my place among the other family members who just let him be how he is because there's less drama that way. I hate it. I'd love to kick him right in the nads for some of the things he's said to us and about us. There have even been times when I've actually considered leaving my husband because of his father, but then I realize that would punish all the wrong people. In fact, that would probably be a victory for Him. On our five-year anniversary, R and I giggled because we imagined FIL losing a big fat bet that we wouldn't have lasted this long.

So it's not R's fault that I hate Mother's Day, it's not even the kids' fault. It's the mere fact that I have to spend MY day with one of the people in the entire world whose company I enjoy the least. Ugh, it pisses me off so much. I've told R that I don't want my kids to EVER have to feel the way I do every Mother's Day. I don't want them driving themselves crazy so I'll be happy. My Mother's Day gift to them is that when they're parents, they can have Mother's Day with THEIR kids.

Last year, I tried to get my mom's package in the mail on Thursday - since it's a VERY big deal if my card isn't there on time - and I was sending a little package so I couldn't just drop in in a mailbox. Every tried to take 3 kids to the Post Office? Well, the lady turned the sign to CLOSED just as I was unbuckling the baby and screaming at the other two to stay close to me in the parking lot. I cried the whole way home, in rush-hour traffic, front of the kids. Then I get even more pissed at myself for letting them see me like that. Beeb tried to make me feel better, saying "Mom, its okay if the card gets there a little late..." And I said, "No, honey, it really isn't..."

This year, having learned my lesson, I mailed my package on Wednesday. I sent my Mom some tea and a little teapot/cup combo so she could take it to work. I also knit two of those faboo little dishcloths. And I picked out a great card and put pictures of the kiddos in it. It should be arriving there today or tomorrow. I hope she digs it.

Today, I got a card in the mail from my mom and dad that said "Happy Mother's Day from someone who thinks you're doing a terrific job." It meant a lot. She totally understands that if I don't hear it, I don't believe it. So she told me. Good job, Mom.

And I also got a wonderful Random Act of Kindness from Kay, the rightous babe who took the Muppet Shawl to WalMart and to work, and took pictures to prove it. A cooler chick you never will find.

I think maybe we'll try to have my Mother's Day tonight while I'm in a good mood!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Well, frankly, Ward, I'm a Little Worried About... You-Know-Who..."

And frankly, Fuggiphiles, I'm a little worried about anyone willing to shell out this kind of cash for Sheared Beav. For the non-knittyheads, those lovely purple garments are knitted out of Beaver Fur. I wish I were kidding.

Friends, if you've got an extra $720 laying around and you want to see sheared beavers, invest in some top-quality porn and leave the Endangered Purple Beavers alone.

Glad I can amuse you, the general pubic, with my Wacky Beaver Antics.

Cuz hey, I'm here for YOU.

(And yes, it says General Pubic. Didja catch that?)

My Burning Beaver Debacle of last week has earned me a new Moniker on the Knitty(tm)boards. For the next three months, I shall be known as penny_karma, Behold My Beaver! It's a fundraising effort introduced by Uberfab Zib, and for a donation to Breast Cancer Research, you can choose a "title" for yourself on the message board. PrettyByDesign offered to pay for someone to assume the title of Sheared Beaver, and I just figured that In Light of Recent Events in my Private(s) Life, maybe Seared Beaver would be more accurate. But the thought of the smell of that, I just... never mind. We went with Behold My Beaver, an incredibly witty combination of my blog title and my Most Unfortunate Incident.

In un-funny news, we survived the Tribute to Jack last night. We sat right behind his parents. His dad had a little pack of Kleenex under his chair. I got a bit choked up when Nat said her lines, but I somehow managed to keep it together. I think it all just went so fast that nobody really had time to cry. Plus, the sheer comedic value of the Variety Show Acts themselves helped. Just to give you an idea, here's what the Music Teacher was wearing:

Notice how easily an ensemble reflecting the theme of "Western Roundup" can turn into "Brokeback Mountain, the Musical".

My niece, Aldigirl, performed a jazz dance rendition which channelled Jon-Benet. Mrs. Aldi places great emphasis on the fact that Aldigirl's been dancing since she could walk. Aldigirl has also taken baton-twirling classes for the last few years. I get giddy whenever I imagine her ten years from now in a job interview. The interviewer asks Aldigirl to describe her Job-Related Skills, and, unable to think of any, Aldigirl whips a baton out of her Hot Pink faux-leather briefcase, jumps on the interviewer's desk, and after a few shuffle-hop-steps, tosses the baton in the air, slides into the splits and triumphantly catches the baton in her teeth.

Aldigirl takes ballet, my Beebie takes Karate. Beeb got her Blue Belt this week. My kid can kid your kid's butt, Mrs. Aldi. Unless it's a Pole Dancer Audition. That's all yours, honey.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thank you all for your concern.

My perfectly-coiffed crotch has fully recovered, thanks.

It's an icky, cold, rainy Tuesday at Chez Karma. The boys are watching Clifford. Pie is eating tacitos (dontcha love how kids who wake up at 5:45am and eat breakfast at 6am want lunch at 10am?), and Teeny is currently walking around in a quite rank Poopy Diaper. I can't imagine not wanting to have that taken care of right away, so I say "C'mere, T, let's get you a new dipe!"

In response, he squints his eyes, points angrily at me, sticks out his chin and says in a throaty whisper that sounds like the villain from a Cold-War Era Russian Spy Movie Thriller,

"Don't change me."

It's a lot funnier than I can adequately describe. Think Boris Badinov meets Alan Rickman from Die Hard. Yippie Kye Yay.

Last night, we finished watching the Final Season of Six Feet Under. I sobbed straight through the last 3 episodes. Man, what a great show. Now what am I gonna watch? We have season finales coming up on all of my shows, then we have summer, and Summer means Big Brother! If I were going to go on a reality show, that's the one I'd go on. I think I would really suck at building a shelter (Survivor), I hate eating icky things (Fear Factor), I would be so nervous in Trump's boardroom I'd throw up (Apprentice), and let's just say I'm not 5'11" and 102 pounds (Top Model).

Big Brother's set at my level of drama. And think about it, what's the worst part - you're stuck in a really nice house with a buncha hot college guys and their luscious six-packs and your big punishment is Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for a week? Puh-LEEZ. That's the worst thing they could think of? Perhaps I should just submit my Extended Power Outage Experience as my application. Living in a house full of hotties would be a freakin cake walk. What's holding me back, you ask, other than the fact that I'm afraid I'd tell Julie Chen to eat a sandwich so her bones don't stick out of her canary yellow fringed tank tops?

Wanna borrow my kids for the summer?

Just think - you wouldn't have to change any poopy diapers!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Feel free to laugh at my misfortune.

I know I usually wow you with my Feats of Brilliance, but today, readers, I submit a serious "OR LACK THEREOF" moment:

Can you tell the difference between the spray can on the left and the one on the right? Ok, would you be able to tell the difference in the dark? Probably not.

This morning, before putting in my contacts, I was feeling a little (ahem) not so fresh... so I dropped trow and grabbed a can, thinking it was Summer's Eve. It wasn't.

The other can was, of course, Hair Spray.

There's a big difference. Yowch.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dang. Just when I thought I was a genius.

Mr. P had been bugging me for weeks to Knit him a Harry Potter Wand.

So I did. He loved it, and I was prouder than proud. I don't know where it is right now, but when I find it I'll post a pic. I used brown wool and knit a long skinny rectangle, then I felted it and stitched it closed around a piece of wire. Pretty clever, no?

Then I saw this, via the Crochet Dude's blog.

Becky crocheted HOGWARTS. The whole thing. I'm, I'm... Speechless. Wow.

But, perhaps I sell myself short. Why do I say this? Because, on occasion, I have an idea that seems to catch on.

I had an idea for an online Oscar night party. People participated and even submitted pictures! I myself wore the Fuggalicious Cookie Monster Roadkill Wrap, as you may recall.

Then came the Fug-Off.

I submitted Cookie Monster Roadkill as my entry, and ironically, in return, I got a purse in roughly the same shade of FunFur that I had just gotten rid of.

Lucinda got a really big sweater, Bezzie got a scarf, CookNKnit got a purse, Cpurl17 got a sweater that scares me, and Domestic Overlord got a full Fourteen Feet of Fug.

Turtlegirl got a scarf that she clearly enjoys. Isn't she cute??

And if you haven't seen what the Cookie Monster Roadkill has been up to lately, you should check out the Muppet Shawl Adventure on Dkswife's blog.

And now, my most recent brainstorm. The Fug-A-Blog, aka "Fug. The World Tour".

Here's my post on the ol' Knittyboard:

WHAT IF - we held a FUG-A-BLOG? Here's how it would go:

If you have a UFFO (2nd F is, of course, for FUG) or some remnants of Fug Yarn that you'd like to purge from your stash, then you can play too.

Of course, it would begin with a single Fug Item. And then, when the Fug arrives at your door, you would take a pic of it and post it on your blog, then affix some of your own homegrown Fug onto it, however you want. Stitch a scarf to a purse, or just embellish it with Patons Pebbles or Disco or something. Whatever your fiendish little mind can dream up. And then you send it to the next person, and they add their Fug to the already Fugly Fug.

Perhaps with all that Fug in one place, it will burst into flames and be swallowed by the Earth.

And there are people who are willing to play! I'm so glad!

So if you're a gamer, let me know and I'll get you on the list. And someday soon, you'll have Fug waiting on your doorstep!

Think I could put Mistress Of Fuggery on my resume? Right next to Goddess of Fookery?

And here's a Bonus Ryanism:

Ryan: MOM!! Beeb's being a BUTT-ASS!

Me: (snort!)

Beeb: Ry, you mean DUMBASS...

Me: Beeb, could we please just not even go there?

Ry: Mom, Dumbass isn't a PLACE. We can't go there.

Last night at Nat's school Carnival I heard Little T say "G.D. it!" when he spilled his BINGO card. I hope nobody else heard him. I gotta clean up my effin language.

Oh, and Beeb says "Happy Cinco De Mayo to my Peeps!"

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thread Count Tip: More is More.

Subtitled: Why R Continues to Rock.

R helped me bake Snickerdoodles at 10:30pm Tuesday night because I forgot I was supposed to take them to Pie's class the next morning. Do other husbands do that? Cooking with R is one of my favorite things we do together.

I know that I've mentioned that R works every Saturday. And I know I've also mentioned that, as a result, Saturdays suck. But Wednesdays are wonderful. Wednesdays are our Date Days. Beebie goes to school, then we take Pie and Tito to Mom's Day Out, and we are sans les jeunes until 2pm. Oh, it's lovely. We do grownups-only stuff, like shopping in stores that sell breakable things and taking the escalators and eating at restaurants that don't have a Play Area. So nice.

We usually plan our next Date Day at least a few days in advance so as to maximize our kiddo-free time. This time the plan was to go shopping for new sheets. We sleep in flannel sheets about nine months out of the year because we don't really have nice lightweight cotton sheets. We got some sheets as a Christmas gift a few years ago, but I've washed them over and over and they're still so itchy I dread putting them on the bed. I'd rather sleep in sweaty flannel sheets, at least they're soft.

We did get some very nice sheets for our wedding but at that time we were sleeping on a Queen-Sized Waterbed. That bed was finally put to rest after the same leak was patched way too many times, so we got Pie the toddler bed that Tito's in now, and we took the double bed that Nat had been sleeping in since she was 2 (the one I bought for myself when I first moved back to STL in '95, the purchase of which was a big fat lesson in what "No Payments/No Interest for Six Months" really means), and put her in the twin bed we had been storing.

So we needed Full-Sized sheets for summertime, and this was to be my Mother's Day Present. When it gets closer to Mother's Day I'll tell you why I hate Mother's Day. It's not because I hate my mother or anything.

Reason #232 why R Rocks: He understands the concept of Thread Count. Not all men do. We got a set of 600-ct 100% cotton sheets marked down from $149 to $59. Now, that is the most I've ever spent on sheets, by far. But let me tell you, kids, it was so worth it. These sheets are spectacular. SPECTACULAR. They're Like Buttah!! They're like sleeping in a vat of warm, melted buttah, er... butter. Yum.

Like all I needed was one more excuse to stay in bed and knit all friggin day.

In other news, I got a call yesterday from Mrs. L, the mom of one of Beeb's school friends. Cue the violins and grab your Kleenex.

Next week is the school's Variety Show, which last year was emceed by Beeb's friend Jack. Click here for the backstory on Jack. He was so good at it, totally at ease speaking into a microphone in front of a gym full of people. In fact, he was more entertaining than most of the Variety Show Acts. It's one of my favorite memories of Jack. Mrs. L was working on incorporating a little tribute to Jack at the beginning of this year's variety show. She had talked to Jack's mom, who was really hoping that Beeb would be a part of it. Mrs. L gave me an overview of what was going to happen.

This year's hosts would introduce themselves and then say that they'd like to take a moment to remember a very special friend. Then the Boy Scouts would come up and read a poem (she read me the poem and I can't even bring myself to type it, seriously), and then they would introduce Beeb as Jack's Best Friend. Her part is to talk about how much he liked to be behind a microphone (it's scripted, so she doesn't have to speak extemporaneously or anything), and then she is presenting Jack's family with a plaque with a microphone on it and a picture of him. She told me all this on my voice mail, which I checked from my cell phone when we were in Marshalls. I was a de-mascara-fied mess. R hugged me really softly. I couldn't even speak to tell him what the call was about, but he figured it out. That's another reason why he rocks.

When Beeb got home from school I told her about this idea for the presentation and told her that I wanted it to be her choice whether she wanted to do it or not. I was so glad she was willing to do it. I think she knows it's going to be hard, but I told her that everyone in the whole room will be feeling exactly how she's feeling, and if she felt like crying, it would be totally okay and nobody would think she was being a baby. I told her I was absolutely positive that I would cry (I'd been crying all day and I'm still crying now). Jack's parents are going to be there, of course, and because they moved a few miles away, Jack's little sister Lily actually goes to a different school now. To my knowledge, they haven't been back to Beeb's school at all since the last day of school last year. I can't imagine how hard that's going to be for them.

Then I started thinking about last year, the days right before school let out for the summer. That was the last time I saw him, too. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, replaying the scene in which I promised to teach him how to knit and jokingly asked his mother "What would we do without our Jack?". And then I fast forward in my mind to the image of the Boy Scouts in their uniforms at the funeral.

I wasn't even going to go to the Variety Show at all this year because of how much it would remind me of him. I'm really glad they're doing something so everyone can remember him together, I think it's important. It's just so hard. Tomorrow is the school carnival. Last year Beeb bid on and won a trip out for ice cream with her teacher and one friend. She took Jack. It's that sort of bittersweet memories that are flooding my mind right now.

In Financial News, yesterday I re-organized both the linen closet and the pots and pans cabinet. Today I'm doing laundry (the basement leaked again and the ginormous pile of clothes got wet, again) and cleaning the living room.

In Entertainment news, tonight is SurvivEarlEofficER! Did you see The Amazing Race last night?? Those Hippies are the luckiest bastards alive, and I love them.

In Knitting News, more dishcloths! And more Fellow Knittyheads need to sign up for the Cheapass Hootenanny! Click the red button in the sidebar. C'mon, people, it's a HOOTENANNY, fer cryin out loud. What's more fun than a Hootenanny?? Plus, I had an idea for the next wave of Fug-swapping. Click on the Get the Fug Out Button if you're interested.

Both of my SP gifts made it to the intended recipients, so that I can now out myself as both KickassCheapass and FunFurIsTheDevil! I had fun compiling giftie-poos for Teleknitter and KnottyGnome! Next round of SP's starts soon... stay tuned!

What else, what else... I think I'm going to go ahead and hook up with the Knitters Guild. Maybe I'll learn something and meet cool people. I at least want to meet Shannon so I can tell her I know Tim!! It's a small world after all... laaaaaa la la la laaaaaaaaaa la la...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's amazing what I'll do to avoid balancing the checkbook.

I'm organizing my knitting stuff (yarn, needles, books, etc).

And cleaning the bedroom.

And washing dishes.

And eating Honeycomb out of the box by the handful.

And shaving my legs.

And knitting.

But not at the same time. Cuz that'd be silly.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I survived Chez Aldi.

Just barely. Allow me to share some highlights:

As soon as I walked into the room, bracing myself for the onset of Sudden Slowmotion Mode, I was nearly knocked out by the scent of Wet Dog. Ugh.

Sodas were available in the cooler by the garage. There were three 7-Ups and three Dr. Peppers, and a two-liter of Cola de la Cheaparama. For twelve people.

As predicted, we'd been there over an hour before The Aldis made any sort of executive decision about Opening Gifts or Serving Cake.
Like I wanna be there all freakin' day.

Mulva's name is PAT. How appropriate. She was not wearing sequined sweats this time. I must confess, I was a wee bit disappointed.

I sat at the table with Mrs. Aldi's brother and his wife, discussing American Idol. Apparently the two of them are rather passionate Taylor Hicks fans. Mmmmmmkay.

Mrs. Aldi's dad regaled us all by telling us about an upcoming Estate Sale that he saw advertised. He wants put a bid on some kind of antique sled, that, according to him is "WORTH A FORTUNE". I haven't priced sleds recently, have you? I've been trying to come up with a way to describe this guy's voice, and the closest I can get is Ed McMahon meets Jeff Foxworthy.

I personally witnessed Mrs. Aldi herself quite stealthily retrieving plastic utensils from the trash and putting them in the dishwasher. Quelle faux pas delicieux!

Oh, the ballz on Mrs. Aldi's sister. I was minding my own business, as several of us were watching the Cards game. Cards leading 2-1, top of the ninth, 2 outs. Izzy loaded the bases. Full count. The windup... and the pitch... and just as the ball was leaving the pitcher's hand, SisterofAldi pops in a Barney video for her Autistic daughter, and nobody said a word. Oh, I was pissed. I had to wait until I got home two hours later to find out if we won the game (we did). Daughter also snagged her shoe on the living room rug and ripped a big run in it. This time, Mrs. Aldi's family, as a unit, told her that she should take the rug back. "Oh, absolutely take it back! How long have you had it? A rug should last longer than that!! I bought one at Target eleven years ago and it's still in great shape! I think I paid maybe twenty bucks for it, on sale..."

Remember how our gift was the Cheezeball Precious Moments First Communion GiftPack? Mrs. Aldi's parents gave the Aldi girl a Precious Moments figurine. Sorry if you like Precious Moments, but to me they have all the appeal of Baby Looney Tunes characters. I just think they look like little kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I was actually kinda glad R wasn't there when Aldi Girl opened it, or we'd have busted up laughing.

And now, a post within a post. The title of this post is:


Ok. It's no secret that I absolutely hate managing money. I suck at it, I hate it, and every time I go to update the bank balance, I want to throw up. Not because there's not enough money in there, necessarily (although usually that is the case), I just get mad at myself when I look back at all the stupid crap I bought because I have zero restraint. I buy stuff like tea (but I love tea!) and candy (but I love candy!) and yarn (do I even need to say it?) and stuff for the kids that I think they'll like, and pizza when I don't feel like cooking, and clothes when I don't feel like doing laundry, and ice cream when I've had a rough day, etc. I'm so ashamed. I hope that confessing this to you will purge my soul. Here we go.

Exhibit A. Here's what I went to Wal-Mart to buy.

And here's Exhibit B, what I walked out with. I apologize for the quality of the photos, but you get the idea.

I'm so pissed at myself.

I'm not even going to tell you what I got at Hobby Lobby when I went in for a set of #7 DPN's so I could make myself a tea cozy using a Knitty pattern. Ok, it was a bunch of that cheapie $1.27 Sugar N' Cream cotton so I can make more nifty dishcloths like this one!

What a fun pattern! I found some yarn in the colors of my mom's kitchen so I'll make her a few. And I got red so I can make some for my Bama-lovin' sister.

I sent in my questionnaires for SP7 and Les Derrieres Frugales -
Part Deux!