Saturday, February 4, 2017

I Think My Family "Invited" Me Over To The Dark Side This Christmas

This has been my Every Morning Coffee Cup:

It's the shiny happy mug I use to pour caffeine directly into my brain.
(Yes. Yes, that is exactly how coffee works. It's scientifically proven.)

But apparently, this Christmas, Fred and Ginger thought it was time for a change- a new outlook on life. You know the life. That life at 6:30 am where small bodies are dragged, protesting, out of the warmth of their book filled beds. You know, the vulnerable mom life.

In order to bring about this change, Fred and Ginger placed this under the Christmas tree for me:


Now, I realize, the difference between the two mugs is rather slight. So, I'll do a side by side comparison, just for:



(Bonus: There are five differences between these two pictures! Find them!!πŸ˜ΊπŸ’• Or, you know. *sigh* Don't. You could just play 'Here we go gathering Nuts in May' with the end part of an ants' nest. It's all the same....)

And now, each morning, I wake up to the caffeine whispering, directly into my brain (see link above), "Use the force, Martha". And I mumble the age old space ship influenced philosophical reply into the coffee pot, "Which side?"

Because, it must be chosen, mustn't it?

I mean, is it even really possible to walk the thin line between the butterfly and rainbow filled skies of the light side while also sipping from the dark, looking upon it all with indifference and, dare I say, a lack of enthusiasm? Once I drink from the mug, won't I always carry the dark side's influence within me, even if it takes decades for me to realize it?

Like Luke Skywalker.



I realized!

Wait. A. Minute!

This isn't some Grey Jedi mind trick coffee mug.



This. Is now my football watching mug.πŸ™ŒπŸ˜»πŸ‘

And so, this Saturday Sunday, as all around me people raise out of their seats, yelling in vivacity as their team ball is projectiled in some fashion into one of the net? or post??...things they set up on either side of their grassy playing area, I will be able to raise my mug, with the proper amount of enthusiasm I keep in my heart for sporting events.

Do the thing.
Win the points.

I received a threat friendly email from Ginger reminding me of the birthday present she sent me earlier this year. Again, lovingly.

So. Apparently. This is how I will be dressed while raising my mug on Super Foot Ball Sunday:

For reals. Because Ginger does Cross Fit now and I'm pretty sure she can substitute out her medicine ball for my inert body during her Wallball sets. Like the Firebreather she is.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When Discussing Art There's Always A Right Answer.

The other weekend Jon and I took the kids to Canada. Pretty much just to see if their passports worked. Of course, if they actually didn't work I don't know what we were going to do about it. Leave them at the border I suspect. I'm sure they'd find a cozy boxcar and work various odd jobs for pay. Probably for a doctor. I'm sure I read about some kids that did that once....

Anyway, there we all were in Canada (legally, it turns out) on our way to visit the natural history museum. Because, let's face it, there's nothing our family likes to do more on vacations than visit museums and other educational geological sites. 

Unless it's a giant object! We'd totally go out of our way to see that!




Which we had to admire from the car.
Instead of getting out and posing with.
Like cowhands.
 Because someone fell asleep.

Anyway, there we were, in Canada, outside the museum, when my kids stopped and stared at this work of art:

And we had this conversation:

Katie: (with her thinking face on, the one that's a bit wrinkled around the eyebrows) How come the parents don't have bodies?

Ellie: (whisper giggling) They don't have any bottoms!

Me: Well, it's art. Why do you think the artist didn't make bodies?

Ellie: (giggling, still, because she's in the stage where the word "bottom" is funny) The baby has a bottom!

Katie: (hesitating, because she's in the stage where she doesn't like to give the wrong answer) Hmmmm....What do you think, Mommy?

Me: (without pausing because I'm in the stage of life where I know everything. Because I'm the mom.) Weeeeeelllll... Perhaps the artist is trying to symbolize, through the absence of the parental bodies, the fading of our lives that, as adults, we become aware of when we bring a new life into the world. It's representing how life is a circle, one of death and birth. In this sculpture the baby represents the future. And, perhaps here, the artist wanted to show how life is sustained by the sacrifice of oneself through love, how that sacrificial love is instrumental and necessary in order to bring the future about. How the past, our personal past as well as humanity's collective past, feeds and nourishes that what is to come.

Katie & Ellie: (giving each other the "um, mommy is being weird but we should be nice about it anyway" look)

Ellie: (Explaining. Slowly.) Or, maybe, mommy, the artist just forgot to make the bodies.

Katie: (head tilt, thinking face) Yeah. That makes sense....

Dudes. I may have misjudged which stage of life I'm in.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Like Most New Year's Resolutions These Have One Foot In Reality And The Other In, *Sniff-Phew*, Something Else

New Year's Resolutions, more or less.

Probably less.

Because I'm lazy.

1. Find the body parts that got lost in the car last year so I can quit living in fear of being pulled over by the police and explaining myself to the officer and her cadaver dog. (Note: Don't freak out, people. The body parts are from the children.)

2. There's a hot dog restaurant in my neighborhood. They serve a Greek Dog: hummus, kalamata olives and tzatziki sauce. Continue to bike on by or try it? Must. Make. A. Decision! (Because my rubber necking is getting embarrassing. People are starting to wave.)

3. Quit cracking cannibalism jokes when making children climb into giant frying pans while on vacation.

"Hey kids! What's a cannibal's favorite food? Baked BEINGS!
Smile pretty for mama!"

4. Tell that story about the last time I went bra shopping and the little old lady sales clerk kept bringing over push up bras and giggling over how much padding was in the cup. And then making me squeeze them.

5. Invent the evolutionary gene for retractable breasts. So women never have to go bra shopping again*.

What resolutions did you make this year?

*You need to feed your baby? Pop! Out they come! Running a marathon this weekend? Sloop. Done and done back in they go and no need for expensive running bras! This would be perfect for all sorts of women: new mothers, runners, strapless dress wearers, Dolly Parton impersonators-The target market is simply enormous! Or not. Because it’s your choice.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I Put A 5 Year Old In Charge Of Her Educational Career And Now I Yell At Passing Cars

Ellie somehow managed to enroll herself in a Japanese language immersion elementary school. 

I know! I'm not sure how it all happened either....

I mean, sure, I remember signing some paperwork once a year or so ago, but, it's not like I really thought it was a real option, you know? I just thought it was a "this would be a cool option" option.

Ok, fine, I'm exaggerating. But only a bit. The VH1 True Backstory here is: I signed her up because back in college, my ECI 304 professor had us watch a documentary where kids were running around a playground talking in French. I'm 95% sure the point of the documentary, all wrapped up in some pedagogical theory, was that kids learn language more easily at a young age. Listen, the room was dark and I maaaay have fallen asleep. In my defense, you shouldn't tell your audience the ending of the movie in the first 2 minutes. It's called a spoiler for a reason, people! 

Anyway, it's year two and Ellie is still skipping to and from school, singing some song in Japanese that has a word that sounds like "booshi" in it. Which, let's face it, makes me giggle. Then, invariably, when she asks why I'm laughing, I lie, and tell her I'm laughing "for the joy of life". But, really, it's because booshi sounds like tushy. And I think it's funny. (Ignorant, uncouth American: party of one.)

Well, this year, I thought to myself, "Dude. You need to actually try and learn Japanese. You're getting laughed at by six year olds. On the playground. When you call jump ropes Nairobis*. It's getting a little embarrassing." (True story.) So, in defense of all my cool points I need to hold onto with the local six year old Japanese speaking population, I took Ellie out for pizza. Because, let's face it, I work better with a carrot metaphorically covered in cheese and pineapple than a stick. Because you can't eat sticks. But you can eat carrots. Although, full vegetarian disclosure, we didn't order any carrots. But we did order ice cream. Because I worked really really hard yelling out the color of cars in Japanese as they passed by our booth's window. And I deserved a treat. Again.

Now, what have I retained approximately three weeks later after gorging myself on pizza and ice cream and annoying all the other 5 o'clock diners at the local pizza restaurant? Owl**. Which, almost sounds like the Japanese word for blue. And, unfortunately, even with all of Ellie's corrections, encouragement and patience, is as close as I'm ever going to get to a proper pronunciation. Because I cemented it. Deep down into the roots of my brain. By singing this song. A lot.:

Yo listen up here's a story
About a little guy that lives in a owl world
And all day and all night and everything he sees
Is just owl like him inside and outside
Owl his house with a owl little window
And a owl corvette
And everything is owl for him and himself
And everybody around
'Cause he ain't got nobody to listen to (except an owl, whoo! whoo!)

I'm owl, da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die,
da ba dee da ba die.
Note: This song is best sung while dancing like an owl. Because, as all Disciples of Confucius and education majors know, children learn best when they cement new information auditorily, visually, and kinetically. Pedagogical pyramids don't lie:

*Because you don't want to be laughed at by six year olds either:

**Or the way Ellie WANTS you to pronounce it:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What's The Looming End Of The Year Without A Little Whine? (But Not The Good Kind That Comes In A Box.)

Every Friday morning, as I'm setting up the painting easels at the back of Ellie's classroom, I listen to her teacher, as, in her warm, direct, friendly, and everything explained simply manner, she leads the daily writing lesson. Her main focus these last few weeks? Writing the small moments. Small stories, not big ones. Stories about making cookies with your sister, or riding your bike to school on a cold morning, or going out to dinner for pizza with your family, brushing your teeth before bed. She's encouraging these six year olds to keep it simple, and to add details. And, you know what? They all head back to their tables with the plastic tubs of fat red pencils in the middle and they write. And each week, as I'm washing and refilling the paint cups I think to myself, "Dude, they're like little tiny bloggers with really low tech stylus pens. If they can do it, so can I!"

And then, two hours later, jeans smeared with paint (because I'm an adult and don't have to use a paper towel if I don't want to), I bike toward home with every intention of sitting down, opening up my computer and typing my own small moment story. But, things, things get in the way. I have laundry to switch, or cupcakes to make for the class holiday party, or I realize that the last time anyone cleaned the shower was, well, it's not a time frame I want published on the Internets if that's any indication.

Or, I can't focus. And I end up wandering to the kitchen, wondering who drank all the coffee. (Spoiler alert: it was me.) Or looking desperately, searching all the way to the back of the cupboards for a box of Cheeze-Its, or potato chips, or anything processed and bad for me, and cursing the person who keeps buying  FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AS SNACK FOOD! (Spoiler Alert: it's me.)

Or, worse, I sit, and can't for the life of me think of the word that sounds like, say, exchange, but, isn't exchange, it just might start with an e, or have an x in it, or like an x sound, but, it has to do with cows, or rather, it has to do with cow jokes, kind of.... Wait. Or is it clowns? Like, with, three dots under their eye, like teardrops, and Johnny Depp in Cry Baby....GLOBULAR!!! That was the word! Now, how did that relate to the episode of Veronica Mars with the confessional again...?


Plus, it's an ineffective method for...for writing with any, um... shoot, ok, the word is like the book, with the kids, like 12 of them, they had a car, they all threw out their hands to signal a turn but some were signalling left and others right, bids were taken for household chores...expediency? (What is up with these "ex" words? Oh. My. Gosh.) Cheaper by the Dozen! Um, the dad was an...EFFICIENCY-that's it!  It's an ineffective writing, oh, method's not the perfect word there, more like, you know what? Method works just fine in that sentence. It's an ineffective method for writing with any efficiency.

Because, if I COULD write with any Frank Bunker Gilbreth skill, I'd... I don't know. Maybe I'd be less short tempered with my kids. Maybe I'd volunteer for more chaperone duties at Katie and Ellie's schools. The Powis Castle in front of my house would still be alive. I'd finally be able to win a game of Blockus against Katie. I'd speak Japanese. I'd know how to use spreadsheets properly to track Katie's troop's cookie sales instead of secretly having Jon do it. I'd be a faster runner! Fitter! With gloriously shiny and strong hair for full on butt* kicking.

Dude! I'd totally be a superhero!

You know...

I bet superheros have some really interesting small moment stories to write.

*Yeah. You heard me. Butt. I'll say it again, too. Butt.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

If A Tyrannosaurus Rex Can Figure Out How To Function In Modern Society, There's Hope For Us All

Have you guys seen this?

Ok!Ok! It’s not a really real t-rex. It's actually a person dressed in a t-rex costume. Or, so Katie and Ellie insisted each time I queued up yet another video for them to watch. Yes. Before. Each. And. Every. Video.

Because I’m an optimist.

And, maybe, juuuust


Dude, did you, seriously, just add the word "fiction" to the end of my sentence? *tsk* Rude!

Look people, reading one Michael Crichton book doesn't make you an expert on dinosaurs. It...also...doesn't make me one either. A-pparently. Or so Jon likes to point out, like, aaaaa lot. Which is fiiiiine. Because, really, I've just started calling him Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie. And then pretending to turn around and high five Edwina. Which works because it means Mo Willems and I totally both win!

But, now, in all seriousnessables, the election this month has thrown quite a few people for a loop. And I get it, I do. I'm all loopy right there with you. And, yes, the next four years are going to do I put this politely...well...interesting*. But, guys, come on. If T-rexes can miraculously manage to rise from extinction (Quiet, Reginald.) and figure out how to (No one is listening, Von Hoobie-Doobie!) successfully shop at the grocery store:

or throw their tails over their shoulders and courageously go out and ride that bike anyway:

then so can we.

With elegance, and passion, aplomb, and, yes, grace.
Even if we don't make the cut for the Cincinnati Ballet.

*I mean, really, how bad can the next four years be? We all put our pants on one leg at a time, right?

Well, crap-a-zoidal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Someone Needs To...Go

I have a friend. Her name is Scooby.

As in Doo.

(Note: That was foreshadowing. Like in the Harry Potter books with the Bezoar-but with less character development on my part. *Spoiler: She's just as awesome as Hermione*.)


The other day Scooby. Doo. Sent me this text:
There's a new Canadian restaurant specializing in dessert. Shaped like poo. It's true!

And after the obligatory Google check and a few well placed poop puns exchanged via text-waves, I remembered that once we had a conversation about an Epic East Coast Road Trip! when I was thinking about hauling the kids cross country for a visit:

Me: Dude. (dramatic pause, because when something is epic, it needs dramatic pauses)People keep telling me that everything on the east coast is only like a 2 hour drive away. Is that true?
Scooby. Doo.: Um, I guess so. There's a lot that's pretty close to where we are in Phila-
Me: Jersey Coast?
Scooby. Doo.: Yeah.
Me: New York?
Scooby. Doo.: Sure we could get-
Me: Ooo! DC! And all the museums!
Scooby. Doo.: Yeah, although we haven't been there sin-
Me: Boston! To visit Paul Revere!
Scooby. Doo.: Well, no, and he's dea-
Me: St. Luis!
Scooby. Doo.: Ok. Look. Do you know where-
Me: NIAGARA FALLS! Wait! The Great Lakes! No-Chicago!
Scooby. Doo.: You do know, just because it's east of Colorado doesn't mean it's two hours away.
Me: (not listening because I'm now planning the world's most Epic weekend road trip EV (dramatic pause) ER!)

SCOOBY! (Doo) Guess what I'm adding to that Epic East Coast Road Trip I have planned?
You'll never guess!!

But we'll smile when we wear ours.

While sitting on our toilets

Eating desserts out of urinals.

At The Poop Cafe.

Because it's only a two hour drive from your house.