Friday, February 20, 2009

Spin Cycle: Christ Chex and Ass Master

Here are two of my favorite comedians, doing two routines that make me laugh until I cry. I grew up Roman Catholic, and spent a lot of time at my Nana's opera company (can you say divas in tights and sequins, people?!) Needless to say, organized religion and gay men are part of my paradigm. Enjoy!

For more funny spins, visit Sprite's Keeper!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Jack Frost

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: My Laptop Needs Penicillin


Computer viruses blow. More than that, backing up all your shit before wiping your hard-drive blows chunks. I'm not even supposed to be using my laptop right now, but 1-800-I-DON'T-CARE.

My dog doesn't seem to understand words like "budget" or "recession". She is refusing to eat anything but her soft food, so I hope she understands when we move into a cardboard box down by the river!

The new Jenny Crusie book Dogs and Goddesses was cute, but I really need her to write another novel without co-authors (unless she and Bob Mayer can re-create the genius of Agnes and the Hitman.)

I missed posting on Monday's Muse. I was gonna refer people to this site, because it rocks.

I have so much to do today: a mountain of laundry needs folding, my kitchen floor awaits attention from the new mop that's been languishing unused this past week, and the kids room...*shudder*

I really should put the nativity that I bought on clearance for $4.00 from Michael's away with the the rest of our Christmas stuff, although it does make the hedgehog's cage look particularly festive.

Speaking of the hedgehog, it's basically like having a pet towel. She sleeps under her towel 23 hours a day, waking only to eat, drink and search her cage in the hopes that Daddy bought her some crickets to pounce on.

Jesse and I swore that we would never be the kind of couple that called each other "Mother" or "Father" because that's just yucky. We've recently discovered that we occasionally call each other "Mama" and "Daddy" even when there are no children present. Not okay!

Walker calls Jesse, "Gaka!" We don't know why he won't say, "Daddy" (because we know he can.) The whole family is slowly reverting to "Gaka". Jesse wants a t-shirt that says, "Who's your Gaka?!"

I asked Jesse last night while washing out the garbage can why women get all the gross jobs. He said that he thinks it's because guys can carry heavy stuff. Does that even apply anymore?! It just doesn't seem fair.

The baby just threw a book at me. He said "Catch!" after it hit me. Ouch.

I need to change that stinky baby and apparently read him some stories. For more randomness, visit Keely at The UnMom. I can't wait to catch up on my blog reading tonight and leave you all lots of witty comments. Okay, frankly, that's already too much pressure. I'll comment, but I can't promise quality today, people!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spin Cycle: A Letter To The Girl I Was

Dear Angela,

I am writing because there are some things I know that I want you to know, too. I know that you are really angry, and feel really alone. I'm not going to tell you to eat, or to stop lying, or stop shoplifting, or stop taking boxes of diuretics and laxatives. I just want you to know that everything is going to be all right.

You know all the nights that you lie awake in bed, reliving something stupid that you said or did, sure that you'll never stop feeling embarrassed and ashamed? Unfortunately, the adults are right about this one: you will not only not care, you will not remember what, specifically, made you feel like crap.

I know that you truly think that no boy will ever want you or love you. You are going to look back on all the guys you're messing with now and feel so sad, because you are going to eventually realize that even the nice guys didn't give you anything meaningful to take with you.

You're looking for Dad's approval when you seek out those guys, and you have to let that go for awhile. Eventually the two of you will make peace with each other. He'll tell you that he's always loved you, always thought you were beautiful. You will never really understand one another, but you will know that you were looking for something hidden, not lost. Someday he'll even buy you a water heater. I know that doesn't impress you now, but believe me, when the time comes it's gonna rock your world!

I also want you to know that you're right about Jesse, he IS the one. You're going to have three amazing children with him, and your kids will be the kind of people that you'd choose to be friends with, even if they weren't yours. I know what you're thinking. Chill out, because you can handle it, and more, you're going to be really, really good at being a mom. Better than anything else you've ever done. Jesse will propose to you while you lay on the couch with him, in an apartment you'll share with him, while your daughter sleeps in the next room and a son grows in your belly. You'll be watching the movie The Thirteenth Warrior. It hasn't been made yet, but it will have Antonio Banderas in it. In short, you have my permission to stalk Jesse at will.

You're going to graduate late, while you spend the summer at Nana's. Jesse is going to follow you to Milwaukee, share a flat with a guy named Johnny, and support himself by drawing basset hounds, of all things. Do me a favor and work harder at the opera company. Go out of your way to please Nana and Grandpa. You think putting Sylvester to sleep was devastating? A cakewalk compared to losing Nana and Grandpa.

Mom and Dad will lose the house. Both of the girls will live with you and Jesse at some time during their junior and senior years of high school. You'll be really, really sad when they get lives of their own. Lisa will surprise you by growing up to be an amazing woman. Natalie will surprise you with her ability to hide pieces of herself from you. They will be your best friends, so try really hard not to be jealous of them. They're jealous of you, too. Seriously.

You are going to fail. You are going to despair. There will be days when you can't remember a moment of happiness. Those days will amount to nothing in the wake of the joy that your family brings you. You will laugh in the sun and banish the dark, kid. (Trust me, it happens. I was there.)

I miss you sometimes. Your funky clothes, your big mouth, your awe-inspiring rages, your cigarettes! In fact, what I really want to tell you is, "I love you." There are days when I parent my daughter knowing that I am making things right for you, too.

I love you, love you, love you~A

(P.S. I lied: Eat something, stop lying and quit stealing and taking that shit-it's killing you. Try to love yourself, honey.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love Thursday: Love is...

Love is...

A 5th grade girl sharing the cookies that she bought at school with her greedy little brothers.

A mother that offers a piece of her blood orange to her 32-year-old daughter, watches her lick it experimentally, and accepts it back as if her daughter were still a toddler.

A husband that comes home with arms full of groceries fifteen minutes after his wife realized that the next morning was going to suck because they were out of milk.

A sister that drops everything on one of her few days off to watch her nephews.

A dachshund in your lap.

Making meatloaf with a five-year-old.

Laughing at an episode of The Muppet Show as a family.

Being exactly where you're meant to be.

Happpy Love Thursday!

(For more love, click here.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Dreaming of Dahlias

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

RandomTuesday Thoughts: I'll be brilliant tomorrow.

I am seriously irritated when a Blogger's comment security asks for "word verification" and then lists nonsense like 'shiboozle' and 'goktraw'. Just say "verify characters" like everyone else, for God's sake, and quit making me doubt my intelligence. ("Is that a word? No, of course it isn't. Then again, there are a lot of words I don't know...")

Bagelfuls and Classic Coke= breakfast of champions.

The baby just wafted by. He definately needs a fanny change! I always spell "definitely" incorrectly the first time. Dammit. Hold on...(Roughly 20 baby wipes later, cleanliness has been restored. Yay, me!)

(Note to self: Clean the van and paint the bathroom already, you slacker!)

I am not looking forward to dragging the boys out with me to buy a white button-down shirt for Sissy to wear at her choir concert. I remember being disappointed when my parents weren't overly enthusiastic after my band performances. I understand why now-the whole process (from bullying your kid into something they don' wanna wear and chanting, "Hurry!
We're going to be late!" to feigning interest in every child but your own) is basically parental torture.

My husband has been at work for all of an hour and a half, and has already called home twice. Sweet. Co-dependant. Disruptive.

My neck feels weak, like my head is too big for my neck to support it. Or maybe I'm just re-healy tired. That's probably it.

(For far more interesting randomness than I'm capable of providing today, visit Keely @ the UnMom.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday's Muse: Ethics and Artistic License

My sisters and I went to an arts high school. There, I met and married an artist and went on to create three beautiful children (who are also, not surprisingly, artists.) To say that I denounce censorship is quite an understatement.

The largest bedroom in our house is "the art room." It houses my husband's art desk and computer and 9, 457,943,167 art supplies (I counted.) I sew and knit and make dolls while my daughter draws incredible manga art, my boys shock family friends with their budding abilities, and my husband works as a professional illustrator in the gaming industry.

My middle sister has always been a dancer, and always loved paintings by Degas. I'm posting this image for her (I searched for-evah online to find this piece, kid!) Nudity, when done right, is beautiful art that celebrates the human body. Images that degrade and are used without a model's consent are not art. Unfortunately, my sister ran afoul of an unethical "artist".

Today my sister is my muse, the perfect example of the strength, courage, and endurance that the creative process demands. May this image bring you comfort, baby.

(For other participants in Monday's Muse thread, click here.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spin Cycle-Money Matters

Okay, so it's Saturday. I officially suck. In my defense, I was unable to post yesterday because I was out playing sober cab at a birthday party for one of my dearest (I won't say oldest) friends. I spent half of the night going through laptop withdrawal and wondering why the hell bars don't provide WiFi. (A sad commentary on my social life, I know.) I hadn't posted on this spin earlier in the week because money is a huge, complicated topic and I capitulate between resignation and paralyzed fear when I think about our country's (and my family's) economic state.

I have always been a "more is more" girl. I've always openly admitted that I have caviar taste and a bologny budget. That said, my main strategy for surviving lean times is, "Appreciate what you have." I don't know about you, but I have cupboards full of nice things that I don't use; occasionally I come across something I didn't even know we had. If I take the time to take really good care of all I have (clean and detail the vehicles, scrub and organize my home, take care with my clothes and my books, my yard and my plants,) I have far less time available for coveting what I don't have. Besides which, do I deserve "more" when I don't appreciate what I've been "given"? I'm thinking not so much!

I'm big on re-purposing things: posting items that we can't use on Freecycle and Craig's List, bringing used kid's clothes to Once Upon A Child and books to Half Price Books to be exchanged for cash (that will be used on new ,or "new-to-us", clothes and books. I've looked into coupon clipping sites, fascinated by the concept of double coupons and coming close to receiving money back after a grocery trip, but always feel that I'm in way over my head, like they have some kind of hive mind packed with knowledge incomprehensible to me. In the end I always fall back on something that my husband first said to me ten or more years ago, "As long as we're together, we can get through anything."

Here are a few links to help get us through the hard times:

Foxway Budgeting Plan

The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

Appreciate What You Have

Money Makes The World Go 'Round

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Love Thursday: A Song for West

Mama and Westie in 2004:

(A bit of the Song Evermore by Alison Krauss, from Dog Train)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Haircuts

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: "Is it just me, or is that fishbowl half full?!"

I tore a quote out of O Magazine while at bella figlia's hair appointment last night. It reads, "I dreamt--marvellous error!-- / that I had a beehive here inside my heart. / And the golden bees / were making white combs / and sweet honey / from my old failures."~Antonio Machado
I love the quote because it reminds me of The Secret Life of Bees, and the theme of the movie Meet the Robinsons, and it gives me hope that my epic failures are redeemable.

It's really fun to make pancakes with little kids (but make sure that you use the bathroom first, because it's really hard to man the grill while doing "the potty dance!")

I'm sick of customer service. I don't care how good I am at it, I don't want to spend the rest of my life telling people that they're right when they're wrong and apologizing for sh** that I have no control over. I need to find a new job. I picked a great time for that, don'cha think?!?

My mom ran to the store and offered to pick up a few things. One of the additional items that she picked up is a deodorant called Teen Spirit... get it?! Well, I think it's funny.

My cell phone is lost somewhere. I can hear it ring, but haven't worked up the motivation to go find it yet. So far, I'm okay with that.

Our goldfish really needs new water in her bowl. The kitten keeps drinking it ("Mmm-m, fish soup!"), and I keep forgetting to bring in the jug of spring water that I have out in the van. The fishy is spending a lot of time close to the water line. Let's think positively and assume that she prefers it there (rather than is gasping for oxygenated water, screaming at me in Fish.)

So in short, I need to stay positive, go to the bathroom, find a new job, keep my sense of humor, find my cell phone, and save the goldfish. I can do that.

For more randomness, visit Keely at The UnMom.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"They like me, they really like me!"

Okay, Peoples!

I'm just going to be up front and tell you that I was a theater major, and I pretty much live for applause! Srsly. It's emotional crack. Mental methamphetamine. On a bad day, applause when I walk into a room can fill my horizon with sunshine and rainbows and I just found out that there is a bloggy equivalent for it. The blog award. *insert swell of music here*

I got it from my dealer pal Ginny Marie over at Lemon Drop Pie. Isn't it beauteous? What's even better is that all I had to do to get it was yap about myself when I should've been sleeping! awesome!

I've been instructed to share five things that I am "into" right now, so here are five things that I totally dig (other than applause, blogger awards, and recognition-induced endorphins) :

1) I know that I've mentioned this before, but honestly I cannot plug Jennifer Crusie novels enough! Especially Agnes and the Hitman.

2) Cleaning. Lately I'm taking an unreasonable amount of pleasure in doing things like scrubbing the grout on my tile floors and sterilizing my sink with bleach before scrubbing it with cleanser and then polishing it with glass cleaner. Crazy.

3) Songs that make my blood pump faster and can only be sung really loudly, like this one, and this one. Try not to judge me too harshly.

4) Sorting through old pictures, poems, letters and journals. When I look at the big picture, I can't miss how unbelievably lucky I've been and how blessed I am.

5) Chatting with long-lost friends and family members on Facebook. My sister and I even call each other up so that we can stalk our loved ones together, saying things like, "Did you see what I commented on dad's page? You've got to go look!" ("Hang on, I'm getting there!") "Hurry up! Should I just tell you?!" "No! I see it!!!" *insert gales of laughter*

I would now like to pass this award on to some of my favorite bloggers:

Reading their blogs is really a sixth thing that I'm into, so take a minute to check out their latest posts and leave a comment-you'll be glad that you did! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Monday's Muse: Knitty Gritty

I've been meaning to write a post on this subject for a month or more, pretty much since the snow came. In the spring and summer, I tend to channel my need to create into my gardens. With autumn comes the drudgery of fall clean-up, digging and storing tubers in preparation for the coming spring. I usually finish that just in time to handle baking and cooking for the holidays, but...when all the hoop-la dies down, my sewing machine and knitting needles begin calling to me.

I'm not a knitting guru by any means. In fact, apart from learning the garter stitch from by Nana and Auntie Mary as a kid, I learned almost everything I know by reading The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Bergman, and then gamely jumping in to try my hand at new stitch and garment patterns. I've graduated from misshapen baby blankets, to respectable baby sweaters, hats and more. This year, it's all about the dog sweaters! Honestly, it doesn't matter what I make-just holding soft, warm yarn in beautiful colors, choosing stitch patterns and color combinations that make my heart sing is enough. Transforming a skein of fiber into something that will keep someone I love warm, and allow me to send a piece of me with them when they go is enough.

Here are a few pictures of the things I've made so far this season, and a few links for anyone who wants to try their hand at my favorite cold weather pastime:

Click to play
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

(The two sweaters shown were made using the Wylie's Sweater pattern found online.
In addition, the hounds tooth knit was made using the stitch pattern I found online here.)

Other coolin' knitter sites:
Stitch Diva Studios
The Shizknit

Happy Knitting! :p