I Know Why the Aged Bird Sings


You know you’re getting old when your doctor’s appointments involve getting things cut off.  Last Monday, in an effort to beat rotten changes to our health care plan, I took the kids to school, and spent the day on my own personal health.  Y’all know how hard it is to get yourself in for any non-emergency doctor’s appointments with kids in tow.  So, I took some sick time (allowable, provided it’s for my medical benefit and not my children’s) and hit the circuit. My most notable stop was the dermatologist.  There, I had all kinds of stuff removed.  Sexy, no?

Then it hit me:  I’m freaking old.

For years, my mother has gone to the skin doctor and had this thing burned off, such and such removed, this doohickey biopsied. I was always amazed at how calm and flippant she seemed about it. When you’re young, that whole idea is hideous.  Dermatologists are for old people and kids with zits.  Now it’s my turn.

And no, for any tykes out there reading this:  it’s not a big deal.  I mean, I prefer not to watch or even think about what’s happening as it’s happening.  But it’s not excruciatingly painful.  The worst thing?  The smell from the damn cauterizing iron.  I tried to make it fun, so I cracked the same “no steak for dinner” joke I did after my first C-section.

It’s strange to resolve this whole time/aging thing.  On one hand, I still feel like some wide-eyed kid, floundering out in the world trying to figure shit out.  On the other hand, I’ve been out of high school for almost 25 years.  I have a career, a husband, a house, 2 kids.  I pay taxes.  I cook dinners.  We spent the weekend pressure washing the house (Will and his dad) and bleaching the hell out of the inside (me).

I’m 41 years old.  I guess that means I’m sort of middle-aged?  I don’t even know what the rules or cut offs for these groupings are.  I guess if I were a wealthy male, I’d buy a sports car.  But I’m not.  And I don’t want a damn sports car.

So instead, after having bits of my body removed and sent to a lab, I went and had a freaking pedicure.  And I picked this cool green color.  Because no old lady would do that, right?

Yeah, I have green toes under my red boots.  No old ladies here!

Yeah, I have green toes under my red boots. No old ladies here!

Swear the Wild Things Are


Language is a funny thing.  For those of you who actually read most or even all of my blogs, I probably seem like I’m a little schizophrenic.  I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person. No, I don’t have a Mensa card in my purse, but I completed a reasonably challenging degree in college and work in a technical field.  That being said, I find that the way that I communicate can vary from boring scientific nerd to gutter punk.  Let’s face it:  there are times when only profanity will do.  It can add that certain je ne sais quoi to a comment, discussion, or blog.  It adds that punch of color that fancier more cerebral language is missing.

Yes, I have children. And I’m painfully aware of how porous they are. The things  you say that you don’t want them picking up on are the ones that they’re going to pick up on the most.  We really do try to watch our language around the house. Lately, we have learned that we need to watch how we speak about things and other people.

We’ve already had some issues at school with Stella.  She’s been at both the giving and the receiving end of what I’ll call name-calling.  Of course, at a preschool level this is mainly stuff like “big baby.” In Stella’s class, “big baby” seems to be the phrase that cuts the deepest (for this month).   I want my kids to be tough emotionally, but I don’t want them to be bullies. I also don’t want them to be bullied. It’s a fine line.  Lately Stella has walked both sides of that “big baby” line.

Me?  Name calling?  AS IF.

Me? Name calling? AS IF.

I have to admit I struggle with this one.  Sometimes people do act like big babies.  They act like big old tittie babies.  There’s just no other way to put it.  But we can’t go around telling them that they’re acting like big old tittie babies.  Explaining diplomacy and political correctness to a 4 year old just sucks.  And the cynic in me doesn’t think of this as “bullying” per se as much as playground politics.  But that in and of itself is probably not politically correct anymore.

So the censor is on, big-time, and it’s not just 4 letter words anymore.  Will, especially, has been bad about calling Felix a cry-baby.  That’s now totally off the table, as Stella thinks it’s cool to call him that since daddy does it.

There's no crying in bench-sitting.

There’s no crying in bench-sitting.

I’m off to brush up on my French.  Until Stella learns to speak it herself, I can at least rant to myself in private.

The Food, the Bad, and the Ugly


I suppose I’m one of those Instagram celebrity stalkers. I follow quite a few, I’m embarrassed to admit. No, I could give a rat’s behind about anyone named Kardashian or GaGa. I follow tattoo artists, celebrity chefs, a small handful of actors (Game of Thrones, anyone?), and Dita Von Teese.
Why do I share my (embarrassing) goofball IG habits? Well 2 major things are happening: the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (abbreviated Sobe, for you rubes) and the Oscars.
My IG has become an obnoxious maelstrom of slick food shots, party selfies, and beautiful people taking selfies and eating slick food.
Sigh.
My life isn’t beautiful. At least not like that.
I’ll never walk a red carpet in a couture gown. I’ll never get to go to a Food and Wine Festival, mingling with the TV personalities I admire so much (although I did so love meeting Robert Irvine and helping out on a Restaurant Impossible shoot) .
I wear a hard hat sometimes. I had a nerdgasm the other day, watching a bayou get dredged, removing arsenic-rich sediment. I could care less who wins Oscars. The last movie I saw in a theater was the first Hunger Games (don’t judge, bastards). I do care a bit more about “Sobe,” but so be it.
Those people don’t get to hang with my people. They don’t get open-mouthed kisses from my son- the juicy kind, mixed with snot. They aren’t called “a kind and beautiful mommy” during an impromptu story-writing session.
So I’ll stay off of IG for a few days, just like I do Facebook around an election. Then I can go back to peeping without any regret- although regret is a rather strong word.

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Some Like It Snot


I mentioned recently that my children had acquired a cold virus. I suppose I should be grateful that we have avoided any major illness since Felix had his tubes put in in December, successfully navigating the Christmas season without any major issues. That being said, the past 72 hours have only reaffirmed one thing: I absolutely hate snot.
I know, I know. We all hate snot. But I mean I really hate snot. Snot and boogers totally gross me out. I would actually rather change a hideously dirty diaper than deal with snot and boogers. My husband thinks I’m crazy. In his world, pee and poo is way more disgusting than snot. I simply can’t agree.
I’ll take it a step further: I would almost rather clean up puke than snot and boogers. If it weren’t for the whole ninja aspect of the puke, there would be nothing to it.
Am I crazy?

Black to the Future


Things are getting back to normal here now that Mardi gras is over.  That is, if you consider Asshole Wednesday to be normal (in this case, methinks “Ash” was an abbreviation).  Everyone I’ve encountered today has been a butt, from the nasty bitch in the elevator to the jackasses on the road, to the witch who let the door to the lobby slam in my face.  Maybe everyone’s mourning the holiday season (no extra days off until Easter).  Maybe everyone’s hung over.  Not my fault, whatever the case.  Geez.

Anyway, it’s been an odd 5 days.  Saturday was unremarkable.  Sunday was the Dude’s birthday.  He loved his cake.  He loved his new digger and tractors.  And someone, somewhere, gave him and his sister a cold virus.  Thanks!  That’s freaking awesome.

I've been trying to convince him hard metal diggers don't belong in his bed at night.  It's not going so well.

I’ve been trying to convince him hard metal diggers don’t belong in his bed at night. It’s not going so well.

Singing happy birthday to himself by his digger cake

Singing happy birthday to himself by his digger cake

Monday Will and I had to work, so the kids got to spend the day at Oui Oui’s.  They love it over there, so that was a treat for them.  Tuesday was Mardi gras.  Big deal.  I took the dude for his 2 year checkup that morning and then had a blissful salon outing while Will watched the kids.  I had my first facial in probably at least 5 years and got a haircut.  The facial was bliss, and the haircut necessary; I was in imminent danger of falling back into the mommy ponytail brigade.  My boss asked me about that this morning, and why a ponytail was such a big deal. I said it was the hair equivalent of sweatpants to a mommy – a sign you’ve given up.

Not that there's anything wrong with a ponytail, but if it's this short, I'm forced to try to "do something."

Not that there’s anything wrong with a ponytail, but if it’s this short, I’m forced to try to “do something.”

When I returned – beautified – we took the kids to the bookstore and then figured we’d grab an early dinner.  We went to a local Italian place very close to our house.  We’ve gone there a lot.  They’re not the snappiest place on earth, but their food is pretty damn good.

The kids were starving and showing their butts when we walked through the door.  The hostess (?) took several minutes to seat us.  She was parked at the bar, rolling silverware, and watching something like The View.  She seemed kind of put out that we needed a high chair and a booster seat.  Maybe that’s why the bitch only gave us 3 crayons for 2 kids: 2 black and 1 brown.

I call this "Stella makes the best of it" a.k.a. her study in black and brown

I call this “Stella makes the best of it” a.k.a. her study in black and brown

Yes, it was a holiday.  Yes, it was an odd time to arrive (2:45).  Yes, there were 6 tables in play throughout the house, although one was cashing out as we ordered our drinks.  There were 4 employees visible: the (nasty) hostess, our server (whom I shall call Lady Gastropod due to her speediness), and 2 guys in the kitchen.  It was still totally workable, if that staff had given a rat’s butt.  We sat for 20 minutes and no one had even taken our food order.  Felix was coming unglued and I had run out of emergency purse snacks.  We said F it and got the check for our pitiful drinks.  Why even bother to open?

That brings me back to today.  These strange mid-week holidays are always discombobulating.  It feels like Monday but it’s totally not.  Since I did work Monday, it’s like I get 2 Mondays this week.  Maybe that’s why everyone’s pissed.  Here’s hoping that the rough beginning was the worst of it.  I’m pulling for warmer, sunnier, and snot-free pastures!

In the Random of the Blind, the One-Eyed Are Kings


Life seems especially hectic lately.  I’m burning up the roads at work this month, which means I have very little time to sit and reflect on my oh-so-interesting life to find shareable tidbits.  In the meantime, some thoughts….in no particular order:

  • My dude turns 2 on Sunday. Holy merde!  How did that happen?  In typical 2nd-born fashion, he’s getting the shaft; whereas his sister got a party with balloons, decorations, and an inflatable, Felix is getting a cake at Will’s grandmother’s house after Sunday lunch.  Sorry, Felix.  We do love you, you know.

    My sweet, aging little dude.

    My sweet, aging little dude.

  • You can bleach a Cinderella Barbie. If you’re really careful and make a nice mild solution, it won’t even eat her dress or dissolve her plastic hair.  Don’t ask why this is necessary.  Only know that the offending cat still lives…..barely.

    Luckily for the cat, Stella doesn't know what happened to her beloved Cinderella doll.  Otherwise, she might have gone all Dr. Evil on his ass.

    Luckily for the cat, Stella doesn’t know what happened to her beloved Cinderella doll. Otherwise, she might have gone all Dr. Evil on his ass.

  • One Mardi gras parade is enough. There aren’t enough Pinterest tutorials (damn you anyway, Pinterest) to find realistic DIY crafts with all the stupid beads.  And stepping on beads?  Almost as bad as Legos.

    Waiting for the parade.  We estimate Stella came out of there with enough beads to equal her body weight.

    Waiting for the parade. We estimate Stella came out of there with enough beads to equal her body weight.

  • If all restaurants everywhere every day had $5 bottomless mimosas, the world would be a much more awesome place. I don’t give a rat’s butt if the cuisine doesn’t “pair well” with the OJ and bubbly.  Mimosas make everyone happy.

    See how happy I am with my bottomless mimosa, seaweed salad, and miso soup?

    See how happy I am with my bottomless mimosa, seaweed salad, and miso soup?

As a final thought:  I don’t have time to maintain decent friendships.  Between my work, my introversion, and my family, there just isn’t time or energy.  That being said, I’ve become almost as close to my blog pals out there in the world as I do my “real” friends that I occasionally see or have a cup of coffee with.  Just this morning I was wondering if I should even bother trying to jot something down to post when I saw a nice shout-out from one of my blog buddies: Meg over at https://dearcrazykids.wordpress.com/.  Thanks, mama!  I needed that.

Sh1t-Eating Pin


Like everyone else, I have a major love-hate relationship with Pinterest.  Sure, I’ve spent hours scanning pins, seeing what’s out there.  Sure, I’ve actually attempted to make/create what I’ve pinned.  I would estimate that I’ve actually tried 3% of my pins/ideas.  At least half of that 3% has either somewhat or epically failed, such as my black olive spider-topped deviled eggs or the DIY baby skid-proof socks using puff paint; cool idea but imagine trying to walk with about 15 rocks in each shoe….that’s what Stella’s foot looked like when I took her sock off after trying that one. blog

Lots of what you see on Pinterest is crap – all those fashion boards, showing some kind of skinny jeans/leggings perfectly paired with a blouse, some kind of jacket, and every accessory to make you a chic chick.  Bollocks.  I haven’t been able to wear that kind of stuff in 20 years, and couldn’t afford it then.  Most of it is unattainable, from those travel destinations you’ll never reach to those frustrating pins which don’t actually contain a live link or recipe.

Still, I have had some Pinterest success stories.  I’ve actually cooked a few decent recipes.  My cupcakes at the cupcake exchange worked this past year, thanks to Pinterest.  And while it seems we all pin, I’m amazed at least once a week by those notices which tell me that “so and so” joined.  I thought we were all assimilated by now.

So in the interest of helping my fellow humans and new pinners, here are some helpful Pinterest hints, or what things really mean on Pinterest:

Yuppie:  This word seems to be making a comeback.  What this obviously means is that pinners are beginning to subconsciously understand that the term “hipster” inspires visceral hatred.  Furthermore, it pays homage to a different, better era when men didn’t wear skinny pants (shudder), but instead opted for white.

Simple: Don’t kid yourself.  Nine times out of ten, “simple” means demonically complicated and doomed to fail.  If a craft or DIY project actually fesses up to being “advanced” or “not for beginners,” call in F’ing Bob Vila.  You’re screwed.  Do not attempt it.  If it’s a recipe, “simple” means you’ll need a piping bag with dozens of attachments or food tweezers (a la the deviled eggs mentioned above).

Only 4 Ingredients: This means you’re going to end up with a pan/slow-cooker full of unhealthy crap that is somehow sodium-bloated yet bland at the same time.  Oh and texture?  The food won’t have any.

Charming: This means small and expensive.  I don’t care if it’s a diamond pendant or one of those quaint Greek villages on an azure coastline.  It’s out of your range.  It’s out of my range.  The only people that can afford this shit have the last name of Trump or Kardashian.  Don’t pin it.  You’re wasting your time.

Flavorful: This usually means bland as hell.  Imagine a bowl of damp shredded cardboard and that’s what this recipe will taste like.

Boho: This refers to a style of clothing which can only be worn by 22 year old skinny girls with boobs that are very small and have obviously never suckled a child.  The rest of us would look like fat hippos in flowing flowery prints with our boobs down to our groins.  Why?  Because “boho” also means “you can’t possibly wear a bra with this.”

Paleo or Gluten-free:  No processed food flour blah blah blah.  Shut up.

Vintage:  This obviously means “expensive.”

Cheesy: This means  you might not be able to take a dump for 3 days and the recipe will call for either $50 in real cheese or $12 worth of Velveeta.

Anything showcasing hair, makeup, or nails:  You fool.  You cannot do this yourself.  You will have to pay a professional to maybe pull it off.  DIY my ass.

Anything Etsy:  99% of the time that means it’s long-gone, sold-out, bye bye.  You get to admire and covet what you’ll never have.

This list is by no means comprehensive.  And despite my obvious irritation, I still love me some Pinterest.  Now I’m off.  I want to see what I can DIY using Mardi gras beads.

Joanie Loves Chachijuajua


We’re not the best neighbors.  To be fair, up until recently we simply couldn’t be.  We have 2 young kids and our work schedules were bipolar.  It’s still tough to get out and about, but it’s easing up some.  That being said, it’s finally time to put some love into our house and yard.  We are totally the neighborhood rednecks.  Our flower beds are rampant with weeds  and ant piles and our once white house is now beginning to look a bit charcoal grey due to the mildew growing on it.  Up until a year or so ago, the houses on either side looked worse.  That was nice.  The lady on our left, however, had her father come out and work for about 4 weeks on her yard and now it looks nice.  That pissed me off.  How dare she get free labor and make us look so much worse in the process?

Adding to my frustration, this neighbor lady, whom I call the Desperate Housewife, recently got new dogs.  She’s always had a couple- a German shepherd and a cocker spaniel. They were fine. I think the spaniel died, however, as I haven’t seen it in a while.  I guess to fill the void (she’s single and hardly ever home), she got 3 (THREE!) f’ing chijuajuas.

Can I tell you how much I loathe the sound of yapping little dogs?  One, in particular, is beyond obnoxious.  If it hears a gnat break wind within 80 yards, it barks.  If it sees any motion at all – like a cloud drifting by in the sky – it barks.  If it sees my kids through the picture window in MY house in MY yard, it barks.  If we go out in the back yard, it barks.

The barking drove Flat Kitty to drink.

The barking drove Flat Kitty to drink.

Back to paragraph one, Will and I have recognized that we can’t wait until the fairy babysitter shows up to help watch our kids.  We have to try to get some things accomplished and hope the kids don’t get hurt or killed in the process.  As such, Saturday we spent some time in the back, weeding, pulling up rotten decking, pruning roses, cutting back trash trees.  The kids spent their time trying to run around with my pruning shears, whining, braining themselves in the trampoline, whining, digging in the mud, whining, dropping bricks on their toes, whining, and attempting to eat fistfuls of holly berries.  We don’t have holly trees in our yard.  The Desperate Housewife has holly trees in her yard.  Since her father clear-cut her back yard last year, the holly trees are thriving.  Indeed, I’ve never seen them fruit before.  This year we have berries for days – enough to poison the entire Baton Rouge metro area.  My son loves them.

The dogs?  They barked.  And barked.  And barked.  I finally brought the kids in to wash the mud, tears, and smeared berry juice off of them.  While toweling them dry, I watched out the window while the dogs continued to bark at Will, despite the fact that Will was obviously cussing them out and giving them the stink-eye.  The ringleader got “excited,” and tried to mount one of the others.  His would-be victim was also male and wasn’t receptive, especially when the ringleader tried to mount his head.  I suppose I should be happy that this dog is clearly too stupid to ever breed.

The barking just makes Stella angry...

The barking just makes Stella angry…

Really angry...

Really angry…

I have a solution.  I shared it with Will but he won’t do it (yet):  Tie the stupid chijuajuas to the holly trees and SET THEM ON FIRE.  I love multi-faceted solutions.

Felix. Is. Not. Amused.

Felix. Is. Not. Amused.

 

Eye (makeup) of the Tiger


I picked my kids up from school per usual yesterday.  As I arrived, I stopped to chat with Stella’s teacher, Ms. T, to see how things were going.  It was a pretty typical discussion – it was a good day, but Stella lost her listening ears here and there.  I’m always gratified to hear that she ignores everyone and not just me.

As I was re-collecting Felix (as soon as he hits the “big kid” playground, he’s off like a jackrabbit with his butt on fire), Ms. T asked me if Stella had gotten into anything unusual that morning.

That’s a loaded question.  “Gotten into” could mean: eaten, rolled in, somehow deposited into her clothing – specifically underwear, caught in her long mermaid hair, or anything which might have caused a lasting emotional response, such as a particularly jarring episode of Spongebob.  I assumed she meant eaten, as in “no I didn’t give her Snickers and ice cream for breakfast,” so I started to stammer that I didn’t think so.  Ms. T, sensing my confusion, said that she was referring to her face.  Seeing I was still confused, she commented on how super-sparkly it was.

Yeah.  Like this.  (from Pinterest)

Yeah. Like this. (from Pinterest)

I need the sparkles to match my elephant.  Haven't you ever seen Anna and the King?   You can't look all dowdy on the back of an elephant.

I need the sparkles to match my elephant. Haven’t you ever seen Anna and the King? You can’t look all dowdy on the back of an elephant.

Damn it.  Stella had locked herself in the bathroom again and helped herself to my eye-shadow.  I have a pot of very pale blue sparkly shadow that’s “hers,” but we save it for special occasions.  Yesterday must’ve been special and I didn’t get the bloody memo.

I'll let you look old and stupid, Mommy, while I look little and cute.

I’ll let you look old and stupid, Mommy, while I look little and cute.

So I felt like a double-ass.  One, for letting my kid run amok with my makeup.  Two, for not even noticing.

Maybe he could've benefited from some makeup after this recent shiner.  I got dirty looks in public for this one.

Maybe he could’ve benefited from some makeup after this recent shiner. I got dirty looks in public for this one.

Mom fail.

Taste Makes Waste


Like I wrote about recently, we’ve been trying to open up the kids’ world a bit, trying lots of new foods and even exploring new (to them, anyway) programming on TV.  On that note, I’ve actually cancelled our satellite, which is just weird.  We now are a totally streaming home.  I’m actually digging it.  I find that I’m watching much less since I have to be so deliberate about turning it on and finding what I want.  We’re listening to more music.  It’s great!

Anyway, we’re breaking out of our usual boxes (back on track).  Mainly this is about Stella.  Felix is still young enough and usually easygoing such that he just gets dragged along with the group.  She has been the one that has gotten stuck in pretty big loops, whether it be cartoons/movies (which I know isn’t terribly uncommon) or food.  Lately though, she’s been really awesome about trying things, even if it’s funny-looking to her.

For instance, Will recently brought home some stinky cheeses from Whole Foods.   Stella actually tried some.  Sure, she didn’t care for it, but she tried them.  One after another.  Hell, if I were 4 years old and someone served me a stinky blue, I’d tell them to shove any forthcoming cheese samples up their ass.  She tried the rambutan at the Asian market, and was very excited about the tapioca cake.  She didn’t like that, either, but she tried it.  And it’s green.

Green cake?  Maybe with ham, Sam I Am.

Green cake? Maybe with ham, Sam I Am.

I love this whole open-minded thing she’s got going right now.  The down side is that when she doesn’t like something, it either must be discarded or eaten by one of the adults.  Yeah.  I need more cheese in my butt.  But I think as a parent that’s all you could hope for: having kids that are curious enough about the world to try stuff.  Now I may eat those words in about 10 years, but….