Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cranky Old Lady

My husband and I have noticed that we're becoming cantankerous. We will catch ourselves complaining about some young driver or a rude cashier or our noisy children, then laugh uncomfortably at how we must sound. Neither one of us wants to turn into a curmudgeon, but it's a slippery slope. What starts out as a legitimate gripe can morph into close-minded, old-fashioned thinking expressed in a critical and unkind tone.

So. Last weekend, as I sat in a darkened auditorium next to a young woman who texted throughout the entire first half of the performance, I struggled internally with my irritation. I have no problem whatsoever turning to someone and asking them to please refrain from discourteous behavior, but on this occasion I bit my tongue.

I sat there and wondered if it was just me. No one else in my row seemed to be bothered. Why was I so annoyed? She wasn't loud or wiggly. Part of my aggravation was the bright light of her phone screen. When I pay good money for a seat at a live performance, I want to be carried away by the magic and get lost in the illusion. But the woman's lit-up phone kept pulling me back to reality. Now that I think of it, one of the twins did yell out at one point, "Who turned on that flashlight?"

Part of my grumpiness was at what I perceived to be her disrespect for the performers. I think that because I have a background in acting and dance, I may be hypersensitive to how spectators behave in a theatre. I mean, here were these beautiful young acrobats literally risking their limbs as they entertained us with their feats of strength and balance and contortion, but the texter beside me couldn't be bothered to put her phone away and grace them with her undivided attention for more than 20 seconds. TWENTY SECONDS. I'm not kidding. I started counting. She'd text, then turn off her phone and place it in her lap. One, two, three . . . eleven, twelve, thirteen . . . eighteen, nineteen . . . right around the 20 mark, she'd snatch up her phone and turn it on to check her screen. Once she went as long as 52 seconds before she could stand it no longer.

I usually don't have a problem with texting; to be honest, I actually prefer it to live calls. It's so much easier to text a friend, Can u bring H home after game? than it is to phone, make small talk, and try to ease out of the conversation so we can hang up. I think my friend appreciates it, too. All she has to do is text back Yes, no prob. If I'm feeling particularly charitable, I can reply Thanks! End of exchange. Easy-peasy. Cell phones have become more than mere mobile telephones. They are indispensable for most people, especially the younger generation, who use their cells not only as personal communicator but as computer, camera, calendar, address book, and game center. I get that.

I tried to give my rowmate the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was an overworked physician on-call, answering life and death questions from the ER. I started reading her texts. Hey, our shoulders were touching, so it was easy. She was just chit-chatting with a woman named Linda, who was urging the texter to "take lots of pictures!" Unfortunately for me, that's what she decided to do for the entire second half of the performance. She'd hold up her cell phone with its bright screen and take a fuzzy photograph of the performers on stage. And then another. And another. It could have been worse, I suppose. She could have used flash, but didn't, so I should have been grateful. Or at least unconcerned.

But I wasn't. Harumph.

Dinner last night: tuna noodle casserole

Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Oscar for Best Cowlick Goes to . . .

Thank you so much. What an incredible honor. I'd like to thank my parents, especially my mom, who despite her hysterical tendencies still loves me and supports me. I'd also like to thank my wonderful fans—you've always been there for me and never fail to stop me and my mother in the grocery store to point out the section of hair strangely sprouting from my head.

I share this award with my twin sister for giving me the cowlick of a lifetime. When I was playing under my bed and caught my long hair in the springs, I never dreamed that she would be the one to come to my rescue with a pair of scissors. So, thanks, sis. This is for you.

Dinner last night: cheese enchiladas, Spanish rice, refried beans

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Poor Daisy. How she suffers at the hands of my children. They love to dress her in human clothes and snap embarrassing pictures. Fortunately, a rawhide bone is all it takes to solace her.

Good grief, can someone please clip those claws?

Dinner last night: margherita pizza

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Stuff of Nightmares

Teeth are falling out all over the place. The twins are only five, but one girl has already lost both bottom teeth . . .

. . . and two big teeth are starting to come in!

The other twin has lost one tooth . . .

. . . and is anxiously waiting for the second to fall out.

My 11-year-old daughter was born without 4 adult teeth; she has a very small mouth and her baby teeth have no intention of coming out on their own. Adult teeth are trying to force their way out over the baby teeth, and let's just say that her mouth is a teeming pit of psycho teeth fighting for position. The orthodontist has been keeping tabs on her for a couple of years, and finally declared that six baby teeth need to be extracted. SIX! Yikes. The dentist has already removed three on the right side of her mouth. We'll wait for everything to heal up before attacking the left side.

This is one of her "baby" teeth, roots still intact.
(No, that's not dirt or cavities. DRIED BLOOD.)

Thankfully, my 13-year-old doesn't have to have any teeth pulled, but her teeth have been placed back into braces for "phase II" of her dental plan.

I'm fairly certain that phase II is orthodontist-speak for show me the money.

You can be thankful that I changed all these photos over to black and white. They're my own flesh and blood, but even I can't stomach close-up shots in glorious technicolor of my children's unbrushed teeth and saliva-covered gums. Sweet dreams.

Dinner last night: leftovers

Exactly two years ago:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Do I Do This to Myself?

Have you heard about Pinterest? For the two of you who haven't been sucked in by its evil magnetic force, Pinterest is an online service that allows you to create virtual pinboards. For example, when I was planning our trip to Maui, I collected pictures (and corresponding websites) of activities we might want to try while on vacation. Since I didn't have any summer clothes (sadly, my running shorts and sports bra from 1996 no longer fit), I set up a second board where I pinned pictures of cute items I might want to purchase for our visit to the islands. I started a third board for hairstyles that I wanted to attempt on my daughters' heads. Those pinboards were functional, useful, and . . . a gateway drug.

I am now addicted to Pinterest. I'm not only pinning silly things, like video clips and funny quotations, but spending far too much time perusing the boards of others who have pinned all kinds of amazing images and ideas and links to sites that show me step-by-step how to fold my fitted sheets properly. I just type in organization into the search window, and spend the next hour oohing and aahing at all the ways I'm going to straighten up my house.

I am slowly coming across many of my fellow bloggers, who are more addicted than I, so that makes me feel good. I am not the worst out there, and shall scream that little reminder at my husband whenever he complains that the glow from my laptop is keeping him awake at night.

One of my pins really struck a chord with people and has been re-pinned over 200 times. It's an art project that I plan on doing with my 11-year-old . . . just as soon as I can find the willpower to pull myself away from Pinterest.

Dinner last night: spaghetti, bread sticks

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:

Monday, February 13, 2012

What They Don't Tell You

When I was pregnant, I heard a lot of stories about labor and cords around necks and sleep deprivation. Perfect strangers would notice my condition and regale me with their tales of ripping and vomiting and pooping while pushing. I wish someone would have taken me by the elbow and whispered, "Forget all that. There's just one thing you need to know about motherhood. SOCKS."

Children are finicky about their socks. This aversion to footwear starts the moment you carry your infant for the first time across the threshold into your home. The tiniest of babies will kick off at least one sock and you will watch it flutter through the air from the edge of the infant carrier to the floor. At first, this will seem like a fluke, a coincidence of timing, a funny little happenstance. But she will continue ripping off her offending socks over and over and over again, until you finally realize that your kid is doing it on purpose. A baby so uncoordinated that she actually flails her arms wildly enough to lacerate her own nose will somehow possess the dexterity to hook the big toe of her right foot around the top of her left sock and pull it off neatly in one smooth motion.

A child's overall disdain for socks will evolve into a specific loathing for certain types of fabric, the elasticity at the top of the sock, and seams across the toe. A sock can't be too long or too short, but every kid is different, so you won't know which type you've got until after you've spent $13 on a package of socks that your child will hate. One child might prefer knee socks, while another will wear only anklets. Some insist on brightly-colored tights even under their pants, while others refuse to wear them EVER. You can go ahead and force your daughter into a pair of tights under her Easter dress, but that doesn't mean she won't peel them off and throw them in the trash can as soon as you drop her off at Sunday School.

Your best bet is to invest in a pair of Robeez moccasins. I found them to be the most difficult shoe for a baby to kick off, resulting in socks staying on longer. Always put socks on INSIDE OUT. This technique cannot be emphasized enough and is the best way to avoid temper tantrums regarding loose threads or toe seams that will irritate your precious angel's skin. If, despite your best efforts, your child refuses to wear socks, go ahead and move to a warmer state where she can run around outdoors in bare feet. 

You're welcome.

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Exactly three years ago:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kids are People, Too

I can relate to the lady in the denim jumper sitting in the back of the classroom, wiping her eyes and trying not to lose it . . . A Special Show-and-Tell.

Dinner last night: beef stew, pizza bread

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Ready for My Close-Up

I am sick and tired of posting pictures of moose, so I can't imagine how you must feel having to look at yet another photo of a skinny-legged twig eater. But, c'mon! This guy literally flopped down outside our family room window. He was RIGHT THERE. I didn't even have to get out of my chair.

Dinner last night: finger foods (I may not have watched the Super Bowl, but that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy the egg rolls and buffalo wings)

Exactly three years ago:

Sunday, February 5, 2012