Friday, March 16, 2018


I have 20 minutes.

Well, I use to have like an hour and half, but, I squandered that, as I am want to do, on raspberry scone nibbling, coffee sipping, and trying not to freak people out at the coffee shop by inadvertently staring at them. (Dude, you are sitting at the table directly across from me, I can't help it. Plus, you've been tapping your foot at the same beat as the song playing in my earbuds, which is weird. I mean, can you hear the music too? Did you hack into my Pandora account and start streaming my Rocky soundtrack station?  Are you judging my music preferences right now? Because I made a conscious choice NOT to listen to my Elvis/Little Jimmy Dickens* station in public today. But mostly because sometimes I sing along. Unconsciously.)

But, now, I have 20 minutes to write something interesting, and at the rate I'm going, it's not going to happen.

I mean, sure, I could type random words and hope they make sense, like a weird word association game.

I could write about how I'm still obsession about the "return on investment" conversation I had with people three years ago. A conversation that still sends me in a spiral of self doubt and naval gazing, especially when combined with the reactions I get when I tell people what I do for a living. (Note: nothing)

I could write about how, once, when I was at the coffee shop I "overheard" (read eavesdropped here) someone tell their friend, "That was balls on the floor funny!" Which I thought was a rather good turn of phrase because it's true. You can't dribble when you're doubled over laughing. You're gonna have to place your basketball on the floor.

I could write about how I once saw a car, sitting on the side of the road, catch fire. But, it didn't even blow up or anything, so, not really my best story, ya' know?

But, now, I'm down to three minutes before I have to throw this laptop in my back pack, jump on my bike and race to meet the kids at the bus stop, and, there is no cohesiveness to this post.

Perhaps that is where my strength lies.

Jam drop
Dog pile
Turning back

Ah, high school PE memories.... *sigh* Those were the days I almost forgot about...

Give yourself $5 if you didn't watch the whole video.

Give yourself $10 if you watched AND worked out with Cher.

*Learned all my best trash talk from his song. For reals.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Parenting Buzz Words and IKEA Catalogs





Se~du~li~ty. (nudgenudgewinkwinkerwink)

These words are just synonyms for that word. You know the one. The one that's been buzzing around all the cool, engaged parental circles these days: Grit. And, yes, crazy dedicated PTA parents, I totally want my kids to grow up with that attribute. But the best bonus? I can totally use IKEA catalogs as a teaching tool!

(Did you just say, "What you talkin' about, Willis?" Dude. You. Are. So. Cool.*)

See, year after year, IKEA, sends me a 200 page catalog. It's a really nice gift, truthfully, because I can gather the children together on the couch, all cozy like in front of the fire, tuck us up in a blanket knitted by Grandma and poke fun at    mock   giggle  use it to enlighten the children on such a complex topic. Because, guys, it takes a lot of grit to keep sending out advertisement gems like:

Dude, IKEA, let's face it,
in my "cook like no one's watching" world
those pancakes are already the perfect combo of spatula and plate.
The rest is just more dishes I'm gonna have to wash later.

If, next, you ask me if my refrigerator is running, IKEA, we're done.

So, listen, bae, like, I love you, you know I do, but...
and don't read too far into this...
but, in my perfect bathroom oasis fantasy?
There's a wall.
Between us.
Blocking me from seeing your face in the morning.
Don't be mad."

...with your cute wittle sinky-wink
and your flushy flush flush where we get to put our tut-tut.
You're the cutest. Yes you are. Oh, yes you are!

Because baby talk shouldn't be wasted on actual infants.

And, at the end of the evening, as the last page of the catalog is closed, and you look into your children's eyes, you can be sure IKEA's pictures have provided the experience base your children require in order to profit from this learning experience about true grit.

If they look back at you like this:

*That was respect. Not sarcasm.**

**It's true. I'm that dorky.***

***I'm sorry.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year's Resolutions Aren't Real Unless You Write Them Down. I Wrote These Down. Logic Says?

There are two ways to write your New Year's resolutions. One, you could sit down and think about all the ways you could improve yourself and/or the world around you, write it down, keep the list in a place you see it every day and then make a plan to accomplish your goals.


You could realize you recently spent three days (straight*) wearing the lounge wear that Fred and Ginger gave you for Christmas:



Claim everything you've done in that lounge wear (while sitting at the kitchen table steadily eating your way through two loaves of homemade pumpkin nut bread) as New Year's resolutions. Completed ones. Guys? I'm totally crushing this year!! Just like Hulk Hogan in Santa With Muscles! Which is an awesome Christmas movie I made my whole family sit and watch this year. Side note: My parents, my sister and my nephew gave the movie two thumbs up, so, sorry not sorry, Jon, because it's now a Christmas tradition, so you can quit being all Scrooge-y about it.

New Year's Resolutions 
Made Into A List
Like An Adult

CRUSHED Resolution #1:

Clear out my email inbox of all unnecessary emails.

That's right, I deleted over 3,000,000,000 emails,dating back to 2009, when gmail sent me one of those threatening messages that say, "Dude. How lazy are you!? I. Am. Not. Kidding. If you don't delete some emails soon we're cutting you off. No more sending, no more receiving of ANYTHING! I mean, look at this, Groupon has sent you approximately 123,452 emails asking you to buy all these cool things like airport parking, hot yoga classes, and Beaugenix blackhead removing peel-off masks and you haven't opened a single one. I can see you through this laptop camera you know, and you could use at least two of those things! It's like you don't even want to improve yourself, 'kay? Just delete them. Delete them NOW!"

CRUSHED Resolution #2:

Clear out my Google photos of all bad pictures.

Yeah. Google. They're playing all creepy stalker guy this month and sent me a similar message about my Google photos. Because, apparently, Google doesn't think I need the photo story from 2010 when Katie insisted the one thing Daddy wanted for his birthday was a blue cake with a purple ear on it:


*tsk* Whatever, these pictures are Au family lore. Yeah, that's right, Google Photos-they're gold.

Although, truthfully, all the pics Katie took with my phone of the inside of our car on that road trip back in 2012? Yeah. totally not Au. More like Uuh***. You were spot on there, Google.

CRUSHING Resolution #3:

While deleting things. From my Google accounts. And eating pumpkin bread. In lounge wear. Bright pink fuzzy lounge wear. With hearts on them. Binge watch the TV show The Mysteries of Laura.

She's a cop! She's a mother! She pulls her gun at the playground and arrests muggers rather than standing around scrolling through Facebook like the rest of us! I'm 18 episodes in and I probably don't need to watch the rest of the season, but, let's face it, I'm totally going to. Because when you don't give up on your New Year's Resolutions it shows for-ti-tude, dude. Besides my new lunge wear is like, super cozy and I don't think I want to change. Ever.

What New Year's Resolutions are you crushing this year?

*Don't judge me until you've wallowed a day in my warm and fuzzy lounge wear.
** I made Katie use a ruler to measure our ear picture, so we could "decorate the cake to scale." Please note:I don't know how to convert to scale, and I just eyeballed the whole thing. But she doesn't know that and the main point is...Math is Fun ! You can put it on a cake!
***Yes, it's a chemistry joke. No, I didn't run it by Jon first. Why do you ask?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Haven't Received A Gift From Santa In Years. Trying Out The Squeaky Wheel Strategy. Nothing To Lose!

It's 7:30 in the morning, I've run Ellie to the bus stop, slipping over pre-dawn frozen streets in my Keen's. But gracefully, like a chicken on ice. I've been up since 5:30 doing things like unloading the dishwasher, making breakfast (a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast and fruit, I'd like to point out) and added this morning? Unloading, unstacking, unpeeling everything from the girl's bunk beds in search of Katie's retainer. Oooohhh, I found it. It was way back in the dark corner, where dust bunnies throw raves with used Kleenexes, behind the magazines, the slippers, the dirty socks, bouncy balls, cut up cardboard shoe boxes, and a bunch of other junk I have no idea why they feel they need to keep! Old glow sticks? Why?? They don't glow anymore, children!!

Then, instead of eating my breakfast, I got to spend the rest of the early morning wrestling clean sheets onto the bunk beds.

Remember bunk beds? I never had one, but, oh my goodness, did I covet my friend's. There was no better way to sleep, in my eyes, than 5 1/2 feet up in the air. I was convinced I'd be able to hear the morning chirping of the birds better, rainbows would appear, I'd be hidden from everyone in the house, perched high up on the top bunk of my bed. But mostly, I'd be able to look down on my sister, far, far down on the ground, and say witty things like, "I have a bunk bed and you don't, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaah, nahhh."

But, ever since purchasing a bunk bed for Katie and Ellie, all that magic is gone. And, I'm sorry to say, childhood Martha, but, bunk beds? are stupid. And dumb. And, and....all sorts of bad words I can't bring myself to type. Because, dude, who here has ever changed the sheets on these things? I KNOW! First off, how can the children sleep with all that junk in their beds? Today, I pulled out 12 books, 37 stuffed animals, a skirt, a ball, a plastic toy from some fast food place, 5 magazines, 8 used glow sticks, one slipper and a hanger! Who sleeps with a hanger!?! And then, when I finally got to the whole sheet part... it was like yoga, but, stupider, more like...I don't know-Pilates. Not kidding, it was full on monkey squats* for like, 20 minutes as I waddled up and down that mattress trying to tuck in sheets and blankets.

It's probably safe to say, no one when to school with a smile on their face this morning. No. One.

So, Santa, you want to know what I really want for Christmas this year?

I would like the children to pick up their own junk and throw it away.

I would like the children to change the sheets on their own stupid bunk beds.

I would like the children to quit whining and complaining when I ask them to pick up their room.

Heck, man, Santa? I would like the children to quit whining and complaining about me whining and complaining about their chaotic, befouled, grubby, neglected hole of a room when I have to actually walk into it to fish their retainer out from under the bed with a broom.

And, lastly? I would like a sequel made of "Santa With Muscles" because, when you have a Christmas movie starring Hulk Hogan playing a millionaire who thinks he's Santa Claus sword fighting a guy in an astronaut type suit with a magic crystal broken off from a mine underneath a church, you have the best Christmas movie of all time calling out for a sequel. For reals.

Don't let the one star rating on IMDB fool you.

The whole movie is free on You Tube.

Merry Christmas!

*FYI: Monkey Squats

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's November 30th And The End Of The Month. This Is The Only Reason For This Post.

I sit down to write. I get up and walk away.  I sit myself down again, and again, I'm up, walking, pacing the house for, like, 30 seconds. I'm not sitting too much longer than that, either. Ellie is in the kitchen, making her lunch. I have nowhere I need to be, nothing I need to do or help with. I just need to take the few minutes I have to sit, to type, to see words appear on a computer screen. But, somehow, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I can't concentrate. It's too late for coffee, so it's just me, my water glass and a bag of tortilla chips I've secreted under my desk.

This can be slow going. No, that was my passive voice. This IS slow going. And boring. And other words I don't need to type because they're all there, in your head, lined up all neat and organized one after the other. Like a marching band. Or a crossword puzzle.

OK. I'm putting the chips away now. Don't let me have any more chips until I've typed a real thing on this computer.

A couple weeks ago, Ellie's Girl Scout troop participated in a robots class. Guess who was asked to help? I'm serious, they actually wanted me to help these girls program computers to program the robots to draw with markers. Guys? I only know how one of those steps work. (And, yes, it's the markers, that wasn't a hard thing to guess.) I don't know why I agree to these things either. I need a button. A big button. (It has to be big, so people will read it.) That says, "I know as much about computers as your great grandmother". Which will work brilliantly, as long as I start every conversation with, "Is your great grandmother Dorothy Vaughan?" Because, obviously, my button doesn't apply to those people.

Long story set in a library with a bunch of Brownies wielding computers, short, we killed the computer. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I HAD THEM DO! But, the screen, went like, blank at one point. Now, it didn't break forever. Just until one of the teen volunteers could come over and fix it for us, while telling me exactly what I did wrong and how to avoid doing what I did, or something like that. Truthfully? I wasn't listening to her, because I had given up any hope of successfully helping program robots and decided, instead, to take control of the only other item on the table I had any familiarity with: the masking tape.

And no one asked me to do anything different for the rest of the class.

Near as I could tell by their expressions:

the robots totally approved.

And now? 
I eat the chips again. 
Because I've earned them. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Awkward Conversations. On Halloween. Out Loud. Because It's Scarier. And They Promised Me A Cupcake.

It's three days after October 31st. Which means, if you have elementary sized children, you either successfully ignored all pleas for help at the classroom Halloween party* OR you were tricked into volunteering through an onslaught of email guilt. And the promise of cupcakes.

Guess which one I felt forced to chose the other day?

(Class Halloween Party Edition)



Conversation #1
Scene: Arriving at the school office. In costume. To eat cupcakes volunteer at the classroom party.
School Employee: (coming face to face with me as they are exiting the office) Your highness! (holds door open, does one of those European courtly bow and scrape things)
Me: (in my, "I didn't think before I opened my mouth" tone) Uh. Noooo. Not a queen. (gestures in turn to Brownie sash and birthday crown) Juliette. Gordon. Low.
School Employee: Um?.?. I...
Me: (walks through door. Thinks. Turns back around. ) Oh! But, you know, thanks for holding the door for me anyway, even if I'm not a queen!

Conversation #2
Scene: In the classroom, next to the q-tip skeleton craft
Other Mom, probably here for the cupcakes too/OM,PHFTCT: And you are...a birthday queen?
Me: Oh, no! I'm Juliette Gordon Low. She was born on October 31, 1860, so today is my birthday, or (chuckle) really her birthday because I'm just dressed as Daisy. (smile)
OM,PHFTCT: (pausing) I don't think I know who that is.
Me: (In my "I learned from the previous conversation not to think everyone will know who I am but that's ok, I can explain it to them" tone) Ohhh! She founded Girl Scouts in 1912, but, one of the things she was know for, was, after going to fancy parties (swirl skirt) she would typically be found fishing (hold up fishing rod) late at night in her ball gown. She was a very interesting woman! In fact, there was this-
OM, PHFTCT: (quickly) Oh! I forgot! I was, I was, supposed to help organize the, um, mummy yarn craft. So, sorry.

Conversation #3
Scene: Near the cupcake table, waiting for the children to fill their plates and leave. So I can eat a cupcake.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, with a smile) Hi! I'm Sally.
Me: (barely glancing up from cupcakes, mentally trying to figure out the cupcake to student ratio) Hi! I'm Martha.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, smiling) How are you?
Me: (quick glance from the cupcakes, so I don't look rude) Good. How are you?
Some Other Mom:  (friendly, smiling) Good.
Me: (caught up in mental cupcake math) Nice. Good to hear. And how are you?
Some Other Mom:  (silence)
Me: (REALLY looking away from cupcakes this time) Ummm. (pause) We already did that part of the conversation, didn't we? 

Eventually I did make it to the snack table.

But, as I looked forlornly and predictably at an empty cupcake platter scattered with crumbs, I thought to myself, "WWDD**?"

And that's when I went fishing.

For cupcakes.

Off of Katie's plate.

Which, in my defense, I offered to give back if I could tell her just one more of my Juliette Gordon Low stories.


she refused.

So I ate it.

*High Five, by the way! Ignore all the glares from all those teacher type readers over there.
**What Would Daisy Do?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween Costumes For Kids. You're Trying Too Hard.

Halloween is like, three days away, people. Do you have your kid's costumes all ready?

Hahahahahahaha! Yeah...... Me too.

But, in my case, the Halloween unpreparedness?  That's all on the children. Because since the age of two my kids have insisted on making their own costumes. Now, I'm sure you're sitting there, thinking, "*pish* Someone's a big ol' liar with fiery pants hangin' up there on that telephone wire." But, listen, it's true. See, I realize that, in society's eyes, good moms make their kid's Halloween costumes. They plan, they paint, they sew, or at the very least they go to a store and buy them a costume. In August. And I tried to do that! Once. When Katie was all small and such. But she was having NONE of it! She insisted she was going to wear her pink bandanna like a cape and be Super Senorita or nothing! And, well, parenting is all about raising independent autonomous people, right? So I let her. Because that's also what good moms do. (Who might also be a touch lazy.)

Note: I was going to include a pic of Katie in her Super Senorita costume in this post, but, my computer somehow deleted, like, all the pictures from 2009. Which is, like, really bad. I mean, if I had been responsible for those photos, I'd totally wouldn't have lost them. Related Note: This is why computers shouldn't have babies.

But! You?! You are ready to dress your sweet little one in a costume. One made with love, and time, and maybe a wee small dusting of societal pressure. So, this morning, while my children were out into the backyard with cardboard, a couple cans of spray paint and some yarn making their own costumes, I sat down with a cup of coffee and  five four three a decreasing pile of peanut butter cups stolen from the Halloween candy bowl. To search the Internets. For the worst baby and toddler costumes out there. So you can avoid them.

Bad Costume #1:
The Mandrake

This may seem all cute, with that sign saying
"screams not yet lethal,
but may cause extended periods of unconsciousness".
Dudes, you've read the books, right?
What happens to them at the end of The Chamber of Secrets?
They kill them.
Maybe we should examine the whole story line before dressing our babies in this costume. Hmmm?
Bad Costume #2:
The Pinata

Do you really want to spend the whole night yelling,
"Quit hitting your sister! There is no candy in the baby!"
Because, you know at least one of your kids will try it. 

Bad Costume #3:
The Bun In The Oven
This costume really should be avoided if you already have children.
Unless human overpopulation is a cause you care about.
A lot.

Bad Costume #4: 

Ok, yes, it's cute. But,
unless that's real spaghetti,
you know that costume is going to be hanging out
in places you don't want it hanging out from
for a loooong time.
Because babies put everything in their mouths.
And then swallow them.
And they have digestive systems.
That terminate in their diapers.
I may have strung that explanation out a bit too much.
Bad Costume #5:

The Thanksgiving Turkey

What do we do with Thanksgiving turkeys?
Put them in the oven.
What do we not want to do with babies?


Bad Costume #6:
The Candy Machine

Just who is giving candy to whom here?
This costume is way too confusing.
Skip it.

Bad Costume #7:
Two Headed Baby

The emotional imprint alone people...
Bad Costume #8:

The Cannibal

Your kid has a peanut allergy. We get it.
and I say this as a friend,
this is taking that protective parent thing
just a little too far.

You know what being a lazy parent who lets their kids plan and make their own costumes means? 

It means, your kids are way too happily crafting to notice you eating each and every peanut butter cup from the Halloween candy bowl. 

If you hide from them. 

In the basement. 

What's the worst kid Halloween costume you've found?