Saturday, December 30, 2006

Goodness Gracious...

Great Pizza of Fire!

So I wasn't kidding about the fire alarm going off. And this happened with frozen pizza and the kids asleep.

I'm thinking it's time to clean the oven, too. My brilliant deduction stems from the fact that even when I don't char my meals, the alarm still goes off due to Christmas Eve pie stuck under the irons (from three years ago...)

Some serious scrubbing better start if I'm to begin my regime next week.

Any takers?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our Lady of Sonoma

My mother-in-law works at William Sonoma. She looks like Linda Evans - Think Barbie crossed with AARP. At 55 she has fewer wrinkles than a porcelain gravy boat (which you can buy at William Sonoma for the price of a down payment on a condo… the gravy boat, not the wrinkle cure.)

She’s scary organized and I’ve not once seen her lose her cool. While I like reds, browns and anything orange or, as my mom likes to say “brothel decor", Rex's mother is a big fan of tans, creams, sage greens and “mellow yellows”.

I recently discovered one major flaw, though: Christmas morning, as I sat surrounded in more holiday paper than J-Lo’s had husbands, I shrieked in horror to find that, in a fit of insanity, my kids' traditionally cool headed grandmother bought me a $400.00 pot and pan set.

They are Caphalon - so nice that apparently you can’t even put them in the dishwasher. (Mama P translation: Not only do I get to poison my family with my cooking, but I get to verifiably kill them when I leave raw meat stuck to the pan for days on end from my fabulous “hand wash” job. Ask my husband… I don’t do very good hand jobs. What? I’m talking about cleaning, you pervs.) I'm thinking I better refrain from their artistic doubles as paint buckets, mud spinners, mop rinsers or turtle washes. (Yes, I do have a 3 legged turtle, but that's a blog for another day.)

In homage to this trust my impeccable in-law has placed in me (and more than one nod to Rex that I had better not destroy the new dishware) I am, beginning next week...

Cue music…

Turning into a housewife.

I fully expect to end up prostrate on the floor, praying to Our Lady of William Sonoma and asking why Bisquick is not an adequate flour substitute. But now, in the comfort of my office, with caffeine bubbling in my system and Rex's spicy sausage pepper sandwiches churning in my tummy, I have high hopes of meal planning each week for health and budget.

Am I an overachiever? Ah, duh.

If ya’ll want to try it with me, here’s the theme for the week. To make cooking fun! Lots of exclamations! Oooh, the fire alarm is going off! Yeah!

* Meat Monday
* Taco Tuesday
* Whatever Wednesday (this means some wacky new recipe!)
* Tomato Thursday (Translation: Italian or stuffed peppers of some sort… anything using a sauce)
* Frozen Friday (Translation: Give myself a break day with a frozen pizza, burritos, something preferably healthy)
* Sandwich Saturday (If you can’t figure this out on your own, then I suggest you start your week off with Saturday so you can decompress, eat and restore brain cells.)
* Stew or Soup Sunday (Using a crock pot if you have one)

Some of the menus I will keep from week to week for easy family pleasers (“easy family pleasers?” Good, God, I am turning into that puffy southern tv cook whose perfume you can smell through your Tivo… please shoot me. NOW.)

Unlike the puffy southern peroxide chef, however, my goal is to weave like ingredients throughout all the dishes each week to make preparation easy. Pick a day to do your slicing and dicing a la Rachael Ray, because then it makes it easier for the rest of the week. But if you use the words “Eevo” or “garbage bowl” I am going to duck your head into my Cusinart, hit “Go”, put on Dora and laugh laugh laugh a la Swiper the Fox who has just farted into Abuela's tamale pie.

For the bonus point, I’m attempting to add some sort of veggie into each dish. Tomato sauce counts as a veggie, so just get over that one. So do frozen peas, canned corn and McDonald Apple Dippers.

Tune in tomorrow for the January menu - Weak One.

I mean, Week 1.

The "weak one" will be me who will be exhausted before she's even started the grocery list.

Oh, and did I mention this is going to be done for 100 bucks/week?

Who's with me? It'll be more fun than Mama P with an Epidural in her back, Diet coke in her hand.

Did you hear that sound? It's Rex, cleaning the bottom of the pans with "Bar Keepers Friend". After my cooking, he better become friends with a bar keeper.

In closing, let me remind Texas Lizzy that you're doing this with me. You promised.

Texas Dottie, you're as as tall as me, and if your daughter in law fails in her obligations, I give you full permission to ride on over there on your horse, tractor, or whatever you wacky Texans ride and beat her silly with the spatulas I sent to her kids for Christmas.

And Mrs. V, don't think that because you teach Sunday School you're getting out of this. If you can make a Gxx Dxxed pumpkin cheese spinach quesadilla thing a ma bobby, you can do this, too.

And Cecelia, your "I'm a vegetarian and I'll be traveling" doesn't cut the mustard either. (Okay, maybe it does. But screw off in advance for not playing.)

Stopping now.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our Children

"See them running down the beach

Children run so fast

Toward the future, from the past.

There they stand

Making footprints in the sand,

And forever hand in hand,Our children

Two small lives

Silhouetted by the blue

One like me

And one like you" Ragtime

Happy 2007 - may you enjoy every moment, hand in hand, heart to heart, laughing like children.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Office Space

It's two days before Christmas and I've done what any good mother would do: cleaned out my office in preparation for paint and shelving in 2007.

I'm thinking a prepped mama makes a happy mama which makes a productive mama which makes a query writing fiend mama which means landing many magazine gigs mama which makes happy kids.

Happy happy happy...

Now excuse me while I put my obsessive compulsive gene to some positive use by running a tooth brush over my 1987 leather rolling chair wheels.

Somebody has to.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pipsqueak O

Thanks to KD in San Fran for the Shift/enter tip on spaces in paragraphs. Didn't work. Probably something simple that I can get Rex on when he comes home from the coal mines.

Speaking of KD, while I love that she sends my kids vintage Scoobies and wacky spectacles, they are causing havoc in my dressing routine. God forbid we leave the house without the "Pink Glasses!" It's also below freezing in L.A. (Translation: 68 degrees). Pip insists on taking off her pajamas and running around in a loin cloth Pamper. When I tell her she's going to be cold, she replies "No, I have my glasses to keep me warm."

And now a runny nose.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Laughing Club

Stink has initiated an institution in this house called The Laughing Club. Membership is free, but giggling is required.
Tummy busters include, but aren't limited to: The "Double Dryoff", knock-knock jokes, questions like "Do you like to eat houses?" "Do you like to eat the sidewalk?" "Do you like to eat... (You get the idea. If you answer in the affirmative? Ooooh, lawdy, watch out for the guffaws.)
Second runner up is the belch following behind the numero uno top biller: the fart.
I'd mention their love of toilet humor, but my mother informed me that the last five posts spoke of poo poo in some form or another - bordering on obscene. In deference to her 76 years of life, I will list in the paragraph below actions that take precedence over crap in this house.
Sorry, Mom.
(PS: I hate this new blogger.. anyone know why it doesn't publish spaces or paragraphs?)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Playing with Paint

I'm thinking I'll delete this holiday card option.

Green Colored Glasses

You down with PTP? Yeah you know me!

Mama P is IN. THE. HOUSE. And she brings with her a new band: PTP - the Positive Thinking Police. Here's the new law in this joint: If I'm sad about something legitimate, I can cry more than Pipsqueak losing a shoe. But if my brain is just being dramatic, it's going in isolation, the death chamber... whatever will shut the insane ramblings up.

To be clear, I do not hear voices. I'm far from psychotic and more skit-so-frenic... meaning I can write a million scenes and endings (always frantically) for some very mundane thoughts. It's the writer in me: great for storytelling, but not so great for emotions which tend to take on lives of their own, the leading characters being Depression, Anxiety, and never to be underestimated, La Drama!

The new starring players are Positive, Hope and Faith. It's, in a nutshell, glorious.

I of course will falter again and again as I retrain my head muscle to focus on the "what is's", not "what if's." But after only three days, I feel 100% better. The brain really is a powerful device and, as always, there's the fine balance between squashing true emotions ("I'm mourning my dad's death") and bizarre projections ("I love the Christmas decoration tradition I started... but what if Pip swallows one and we end up in ER? And even if she is okay, will I remember Xmas each year as the day she had to poop out a green nutcracker? And will she be so traumatized that she hates the holidays and becomes sullen and angry each year? In which case, would my money have been better served saving for therapy instead of the 'Three for a Buck Holiday Bulbs' sale at the 99Cent Store?")

A woman in my online forum has a weekly online column dedicated to healthy living. She talks about this in one of her November posts and I encourage you to check her out. Even if you're like me who doesn't know yoga from ca-ca and thinks organtic eating is Frosted Flakes with some granola. She makes a ton of sense.

I leave you with the invitation to view the world through some new glasses today. If Pip can take off her pink shades for some green ones (a miracle in itself rivaling Helen Keller's sign language for coffee... wait, that was my sign language) you can try it to.

And get back to me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No Small Poop

Today Pip, never one to conform to convention, decided that, in the middle of a crowded holiday toddler party, she "needed to go pooo nooooow." What's a mama to do but drop her pumpkin bread and haul booty to the "baby toilet" where Pip proceeds to hold the wall for support and squeeze out a number rivaling a Trader's Jo cheese log?

Moral of the story: sometimes, even when it is inconvenient, you must relieve your shit in a productive manner. Your life will be less smelly, your clothes will look fresher, and you won't be labeled as someone full of crap.

The Zen of Toilet Training. Look for it on the Best Smellers List next holiday season.

You know life is feeling better for me when I'm making poop analogies. Hope your day was flush with excitement, too. Oooh, I'm on a toilet roll.

Someone, make me stop. Get the plunger!

Anyone Got Some Weed?

With Rex at a business dinner and Pip sleeping at the rare hour of 5PM, Stink and I took it upon ourselves to clean up the front garden last night.
Lest you think Martha Stewart has invaded my little cul de sac of anxiety, let me inform you that by "garden" I mean "geraniums." And by "clean up" I mean "hack the crap" out of weeds the size of Clifford the Big Red Dog's sidewalk turds.

The wind was howling, and what began as a minor exercize to keep Stink from falling into a tv coma transformed into an all out war against petal sucking crab grass.

Pausing at a particularly stubborn root, Stink lay down his plastic hoe. "These weeds are bad to the flowers, huh Mommy?" Sensing the perfect parenting opportunity, I explained that weeds are like bad deeds and how we must destroy them to enjoy the flowers. Me: "Like today, when Albert took your sunglasses away." Stink, forlorn: "And I cried!!!" Me: "Yes, you were sad. Albert's act was that of a weed. And you're a flower!" At which he laughed, then quite indignantly said, "I'm not a flower! I'm a kid!"

Now tired of my analogy, he abandoned the flower bed for the more helpful task of throwing dried leaves into the SUV console. But as I labored on, I took to heart the very lesson I was telling Stink. If I allow the the weeds of negative thought - the roots of "what if" - to crowd my brain, I will never enjoy the garden of the present: my children, the holidays, and the new memories that can bloom.

So simple, but true. And of course, being the neurotic freak that I am, I will falter again and again as I retrain my brain to accept the present and future, not the past. But as I told Stink, gardens don't grow over night. Unless you live in Hollywood and can build a plastic oasis instantly on your soundstage. Which is how I used to see gardens. Which is why my fantasy thinking is so screwed up in the first place.

Away with you, rambling brain! Do you people see how I can get myself crazy!? Time to take out the mental plow and till till till.
Un-till tomorrow, peeps. Happy gardening.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ho Ho Hum

I don't know what it is about Christmas this year. Normally I'm as cheery as Santa on lithium, but this year, the Grinch has taken hold of my heart with both paws and is spitting onto my anatomically correct gingerbread men. Don't get me wrong, I'm fighting it. Pop on by and you'll see a house with halls decked and canes candied. I even got the tree at the very beginning of the month so that wafts of pine could find its way into my nostrils, reminding me of Xmases past.

And therein lies the rub.

The Xmases past had my dad there. And all my parents' friends, all gathered gaily around the table in my childhood home. And, quite babyish I admit, all I had to do was show up and enjoy it.

Now with two young ones running around, it's my job to create the memories. Always one to embrace work, no one is more suprised than me that I'm suddenly being hit with a yule tide of emotions. Although my dad died three years ago on Thanksgiving, it was hard to really embrace his passing. Stink was nine months old and Pip was on her way. But, as fate would have it, lucky me gets to be slammed with grief at the height of baking and shopping. Joy to the world!

My mom has been great. Rex took the day off today to just hang out and let me sleep. That helped. (No sleep in three years will do a number on ya, too.)

I'm trying to remember to pray. And count my blessings. And of course to see the gift within the yuk... that if I feel sort of despondent these days - questioning life and what it's all for - with all my blessings - imagine what others who have so much less than me are going through? As soon as I get my verve back, I'm volunteering my time doing something. Anything. Life is too short for such dramatics.

I'm putting my cards on the table that God has a plan for me. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Morning Person

It's 5am. I'm attempting to switch my schedule around. I figure if the kids sleep until 7, why not use the first two hours of the day to write? I can sit in front of the Xmas tree, peruse magazines, and sip my coffee without having to explain, "No, we can't lick the face off the 1960's nutcracker... Why? Because we can't. And I need the ten bucks to help out Santa, not Kaiser, when you need the glass pinecone dislodged from your lower intestine."

Then again, by tomorrow, I'll probably be woken in a stupor by Stink leaning over me, asking "Mommy, why are you drooling over the snowman pillow? And can you turn on Scooby? But first... wipe my butt."

As usual, I'm a woman conflicted. One side of brain: "I love these kids so much I could eat them." Other side of brain: "If I can't poop without requests for goldfish I will lose my mind."

I know the kids are young only once, and I don't want to look back over this time and think, I should have enjoyed them more. I don't think I will, because the truth is, I do so love these kids. Not one regret. Every day they are growing into emotional and responsible people who surprise me, enlighten me, and truly entertain me. But of course, I miss the small part of Mama P who enjoys being enlightened, suprised and entertained by, well, Mama P. (By things other than Elmo and grilled cheese sandwiches.)

So, once again, I'm putting on my war gear to go after that elusive enemy and friend: balance.

Which me luck - I'll be brave.

Or sleeping.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

5 Wacky Things About Me

1. I worked on Roseanne the last season as a writers' assistant. I had to cancel a date with my then gay boyfriend (well, didn't KNOW he was gay then) because Roseanne was too busy smoking pot with her construction worker husband. Pages, one by one, would slide under the door. "Change 'the' to an 'A'"... Okay. Periodically she'd yell "Tall Girl! Order me a salad! With oranges in it."

2. I didn't have a first kiss until I was almost 19. (Of course I then got knocked up at 21... had to make up for lost time)

3. I am fairly spiritual, but if Jesus, the Holy Mary or my mother ever appeared to me in a vision I would squeeze out a log the size of the vatican, then die.

4. I believe there's a pin-up girl living inside of my suburban mother exterior. I plan on bringing her out a bit more as 2007 unfolds.

5. I hate politics. I hate myself for hating them, but unless the world was coming to an end (and I'd probably only know because I'd stop breathing) I have to force myself to read the Sunday times. (For someone who thinks alot, it bothers me to no end that I'm not interested more. Perhaps that's why I have Cecelia in my life - my Miss Knows EVERYTHING friend. Or maybe I'm just scared of the real world so I hide? Who knows. Not proud of it, just saying.)

#6 - the bonus everything you didn't want to know about me insert - I was once waiting for a producer at her house. I had to pee so bad that I squatted in her bushes. I didn't think anyone saw it, until the maid looked down from her window and rolled her eyes. Whoops. How do you say "Guilty By Urination" en espanol?

The end.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fireside Chats


I finished my Child essay rewrite just now. I'm blessed to be working with an editor who not only encourages me as she hands out the changes, but on more than one occasion has mentioned that she's excited to have my voice in the magazine. That rewrites are normal. That she hopes the extra work isn't too grueling.

I know this isn't the normal m.o. for magazine writing. So in an effort to keep this relationship going, once the article is approved, I want to do something nice for her. Suggestions are welcome. Here's some of my own.

1. A Fed Ex styrafoam cooler filled with Stella's meatballs (Downside: she might think she's being delivered a kidney and never open it.)

2. Something very Los Angeles, like a gift certificate for a funky restaurant that she can use when she visits. (And hopefully take me to lunch with her... I'm not that giving.)

3. A forty dollar book on natural substances to ease childrens' ticks. (Um... wait... that's on my to-do list...)

While you ponder on how to make Mama P the queen of magazine writing, please add a prayer that the editor isn't flogging herself in her hip NY office, screaming, 'What kind of crack was I smoking taking a chance on this six foot whack job?"

Finally, I leave you with a photo of my living room. Staying true to our efforts to catch up at night, Rex has taken to starting fires after work. Of course he's currently in the toy strewn tv room watching "Modern Marvels - the History of the Cheese Wheel" and I'm blogging and editing, but it's there. Ready for us to connect when we disconnect.

PS: I wish all of you were here right now. We'd be enjoying some in person fireside chats over food you all brought. (Hey, I put together a cute house. But cooking? It's gonna be pot luck, baby!) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

If Housework Were Elmo

The photo below is Pipsqueak learning letters on

If only I viewed housework the way she views Elmo.

It's easy to lose our childlike exhuberence for stuff. Like my goal to do nice things for myself this next year, I also plan on rekindling my passion for the little perks... Be it nice cups of coffee with girlfriends in porceline mugs, the smell of vanilla cake baking in the oven (funny... I immediately wrote the word "burning"... that shows where my cooking skills are at), the smell of fire places on crisp winter nights, or furry red monsters.

Dennis Prager, a national radio host, and all out pragmatist, says he never lived life until he had scheduled in fun... just 20 minutes/day. It gives people hope, stress relief, and an openness to try new things.

Maybe this year I'll become a professional baker? An off duty police officer? Maybe I'll combine both and become an amateur pancake flipper at a police association breakfast housed by the Elk's Lodge? Perhaps I'd meet Betty Sue or Verna who would teach me how to crochet poodles, or Burt who'd regale me with stories of how he lost his left thumb hunting duck in Vermont that fateful winter of '58 (and how tragedy turned to elation when he met Verna in the first aid camp). Maybe I'll just write a novel to get these wacky characters out my brain once and for all.

The important thing is that I make time for some laughs and enjoy the details.

What are your plans? If you don't have any, perhaps it's time to take 20 minutes, think about it, and get back to me.

  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Drunk With Thanks


Thanksgiving went fine. There were only five adults and two kids, with enough fixings for a roving band of Indians, yet we still had room for leftovers.

The biggest memory I am going to have is how much work it is to throw a dinner, and I didn't even cook anything. Rex made the bird, the in-laws brought side dishes (including fabulous William Sonoma Turkey and Gravy), I burned the jalapeno poppers and added too much vodka to the turkey shooters. No one touched my pecan salad, which is fine, because I adore strawberry dressing with candied nuts. It's a veggie combined with a dessert. If you're an all in one shampoo and conditioner kind of gal, this is the greenery for you! If you need a recipe, just ask my garbage disposal.

By the time the inlaws departed, as promptly as they arrived, I was plain pooped from a day's worth of housework, keeping kids in line, and enough dishes to launch me into that song from Beauty and the Beast .... "Be our Guest! Be our Guest! Put our service to the test! If you do not like the salad well than you can screw yourself..." (Disney forgot those last lyrics, but luckily they have me to fill in the gaps.)

To end the day, Topanga T had the good idea to email me 18 photos of people being drunk and stupid. When the one above came on the screen, Stink ran in, pointed to it, and said "Mama, that's ME!"

Sadly, I couldn't laugh. In a few years, it probably will be.

Happy Thanksgiving, Peeps. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All I Want for Thanksgiving is Time


Forgot the marshmellows.

Rex trimming trees.

Stink wearing Pip's pants.

Pip wearing no pants.

Only food cooked is what you see on the floor.

Inlaws arriving in 4 hours.

Zoloft stuffing anyone? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Like It On Top

...of the list.

How many of us are so involved in putting others first that we forget about ourselves?

I know I do.

But like my favorite expression "I'm not a martyr", I don't ever do anything unwillingly or out of obligation. I'm a natural giver. You could say that I'm either incredibly generous or just a glutton for gratitude. Probably a combo of both. But the way I see stuff, it feels good to make someone else feel good.

What results is often a happy receiver who in turn bestows good will on another.

But if said receiver is not able to reciprocate out of unwillingness, inability or just plain lazyness, than I can decide not to give again or simply continue to do so because, really, how sad must their life be? To me it makes sense to just shut up, be generous, and live without being reimbursed. Call me crazy, but nobody ever died from not having their tits tatted. That's past tense for tit for tat.

Mama P Clause: This does not mean boundaries are not in order. This does not mean saying "Sure I'll listen, cute stranger!" to every Bible thumping Church of Elmo caroler who wakes up your sleeping child with knocks that make the sonic boom sound like a whisper.

Even level headed moi has limits, and if I weren't wobbling at "P.M." before, the holidays will bring the final "S" and have me crashing on my ass. Will I find the perfect Scooby Doo Under Roo ensemble? Will Rex score the Lite Brite set on sale? Or am I just getting old? (If not sure about me turning old, I have four words for you from paragraph above: Lite Brite Under & Roo.)

So to take the stress off of thinking about others, I'm going to launch into panic attack mode thinking about me!

1. Fix up that corner nook that is currently housing 8 pairs of red velvet tab curtains and more scrapbooking supplies than Pipsqueak has shoes (for those of you that have been following me, that's A LOT.)

2. Hang curtains in dining room to enjoy as I sip my coffee first thing in the morning and later scream at kids to not wipe their Cheerios laden paws on them.

3. Transform the office from an Ebay U-Haul system into a rolling plastic boutique on wheels / slash writing space. Each item will have a cubby. Each shelf will have a book. It'll be more feng shway than Rex's favorite sushi spot. Note to self: How to spell feng shway? Find dictionary. When you do, put on said shelf. (Shut up Mom, I know I can't spell.)

I am thankful this year for so many things. It's time to be thankful for me and treat myself.

People, are you with me? Everybody Fung Schwayy tonite. (The spelling keeps getting worse and worse...)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Heiring Dirty Laundry


In our ongoing effort to remove ourselves from the television (I'm thinking attacking termites with hand held pliers is less painful) we hiked two mountains today: one near Topanga T's house and one in Mama P's bedroom.

Pip was only too thrilled to "play in the leaves of Papa shirts" while Stink gave me the squinty "Um, I'm not supposed to be doing this" eye. Not a tick this time... great improvements in that area, but only the doctor will completely reassure me. Then again, since I have Kaiser, I might never get into see one. Apparently having to see a PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST does not warrant any haste on their part. Understandable. Their commercials are really touching - that takes money and time.

Oh, what's that you say? Capital letters are interpreted by readers as shouting? GOOD!

Side note: I've actually been happy with my HMO/clinic/1980's grey and pink decor of Kaiser so far. Again, that was for uncomplicated procedures, such as pushing an 8 pound human being out a walnut sized hole and dealing with a dying father. Apparently the chink in the "I Love Kaiser" armor happens when you have to see a PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST.

Ooooh, shouting again.

On a final note, as we drove home through the canyon, we were stuck in some serious traffic. We passed the time discussing in detail why we could not watch tv when we got home or gorge ourselves on Halloween Candy after dinner.

As we hit the top of the hill, my cell phone bars lit up and started screaming at me to check the voicemail. The radio came in clearer, begging me to buy insurance in case I kill myself with plastic fumes after accidentally cooking the turkey with the bag of entrails still attached.

Then traffic started to flow and I saw the bright orange sign. It was diamond shaped, and while my mind briefly fluttered on the concept of diamond earrings... "I hope Rex buys some for me some day... better yet, I'll buy them for myself with my magazine sales"... it most importantly caught the words within the border - road work being the reason for them: SLOW DOWN UP AHEAD.

Yes, they were in capitals.

Yes, they were screaming at me.

And yes, I listened.

I turned off the cell phone.

I turned off the radio.

I looked at the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of the things that, if I don't slow down, will move right past me quicker than the commercials on our TIVO.

Some people have epiphanies at church. Some at yoga class. Still others over a joint. For me? It's construction.

Whatever works. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pass the Elephant Pool


Twice the elephant pool of summer has been deflated. Twice I have practically lost consciousness blowing it up for my kids' amusement.

Today, during a particularly relaxing Sunday, I snapped a photo: Partly to remember how nicely my kids share... partly to remember a lovely evening of burgers and close friends... but mostly to rub it into my many cold weather buds that it's the end of November and my kids are SWIMMING.

I hope I don't lose my readership. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Everyone Loves A Clown

  Posted by Picasa

Today, true to my word, I stayed put at home. Of course, it was still Grand Central Station, between Topanga T hanging out all day (Rex fixed her car, she entertained the kids by turning a cardboard box into the Mystery Machine), Rex's computer friends and their little girl swinging by to check out a van (she's prego with twins), then Cecelia and her brood over for pizza.

The people were good for me after a long week of stress, and the home fires were great for the kids. We even survived with TV in the morning only and minimal sugar.

Call it wishful thinking (like the first day on a diet and you're convinced you've shed ten pounds) but Stink's ticks seemed to subside quite a bit.

And shock of all shocks - Rex and I had a great time just being together. For lack of sounding too lovey dovey, the heart fuzzies are the kind of ticks all families need.

Some good friends, some old wigs, a few dress up costumes and pizza... it doesn't take much.

May you all have a great weekend full of life, love and fabulous refridgerator boxes that you can turn into your castle, your race car, or your local Starbucks - whatever makes you tick.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My New Book

As I told Mrs. V the other day, while I inhaled more bialy bagels than can be humanly possible, I am feeling better about Stink's new condition. I have gone from crying like a "Little Wet Betty Doll" to irritated at the redtape of our HMO. In fact, when this is all said and done, I'm writing a book called "Ticked Off."

I've spent the past few days arming myself with info. As they say, knowledge is power. I'm also the new pitbull patient of Kaiser Permanente... the only difference between me and those ferocious dogs? A pitbull eventually lets go.

I received some very encouraging advice just now from my sister in law who, as a first grade teacher, has seen several ticks on and off throughout her ten years. Often times they are stress related and go away. Of course I'm led to thinking, "What's this kid stressed over?" But she assured me that you can't tell what goes through kids' brains. It could simply be too much stimuli: the in and out of the car constantly... the running around. I'm not exactly a quiet mommy. So, until we get a diagnosis, we're taking it easy. People can come to us. Except for school, we're going to lay low.

I'm also going to give us a more regular steady diet. There's a lot of added hormones in our food. Those organic hemp wearing veggie huggers just might have a point. Though many of them could make their point better with nicer hair-dos. And a shave. Just saying.

Here's a link for any of you that might go through this yourself some day. I'm going to buy this guy's book and then I'll let you know if it's effective.

I also want to thank everyone for your nice words. I have the best mom, friends and online buds on the planet (including a few of you who showed up at my doorstep with Blinkies apple fritters and shortbread twisties. Oh yeah.)

I have a good feeling now that Stink's little blinks will end up being nothing. In fact, I can't help but think that God sometimes sends us wacky crap to keep us grounded and realize that a traveling husband, or the wrong size washer for the cabinet, really isn't that big a deal.

And when I hear that everything is fine with my boy, I'm sending the Tourette's Association a big fat check of relief for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When the Shit Hits the Fan

I had a shitty day today. I can't lie. Without getting too specific, because I don't know what's going on yet, my boy needs to see a specialist for some facial tics he has going on. Could be something, could be nothing. But it sucks because your mind goes to dark places and I just... worry.

On a lighter note, we were discussing colors in the car. I >told him I wasn't a big fan of yellow. His response. "But the sun is a big fan of yellow."

Then tonite he asked his father, "Papa, do you like big knockers?" Rex indicated in the affirmative. After that, Stink touched his own boobs and stated, "I have tiny knockers."

I figured after that remark I would at least go to bed laughing. But then after prayers tonight, Stink mentioned that when he grew up he wanted to be a daddy like his papa. Then I cried some more.

I'm sick of crying. I think I'll go watch South Park and chuckle at fart jokes with Rex. (And secretly hope that when Stink mentions being like Papa, he's talking about the computer/car fixing aspects as opposed to the gas passing juvenile aspects.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Big Mama P

A few days back I told Stink "I love you so much. You're my big boy."

At which he responded, "I love you so much, too. You're my biiiiig Mama."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mary Me

So much for my big plan of posting every day this month. Not that any of your lives have hung in balance, but the perfectionist in me feels compelled to figuratively flog myself for not following through on a goal.

Which leads me to my point today... some might even call it a rant. Needless to say, here I go:

* I hate people who don't follow through
* I dislike chronic lateness
* I detest the "Let's get together soon" thing. Either you want to see me or you don't. I will even go so far to say I'd rather have a friend bitch me out for allowing my nasty foot odor to penetrate their new carpet then just stop inviting me for video night
* I loathe people who say "Gimme a bagel" or "I want the red cookie... THAT one!" The people they are demanding service from make $7.00/hour. Can we just be nice?
* I hate women who dress their kids in designer track suits but don't teach them to say "thank you"
* Consumerism during the holidays drives me nuttier than a William Sonoma $29.95 fruit cake

Most of all, I hate that I used to be this fun, lively gal with red hair who had high hopes for everything and now I'm slipping into this "It is what it is" thing... Either regarding my husband, my career, my finances... everything. It's not like me. It needs to change.

Rex mentioned a few weeks back, "I miss the old Mama P". Frankly, that pissed me off. Mr. Responsible finally got me to dot the i's and t's on schedule (if not before the due date) and now he's feeling misty over some missing letters? I didn't know whether to be irritated at him for setting me up for the impossible or grateful that he noticed my passion has taken a detour. I was a ball of emotion who didn't know up from down, left from right.

After a lot of thinking, I came to the wise conclusion that it is not in my nature to set up boundaries on my heart. Like May from the Secret Lives of Bees, negativity sits on my soul like a rotting egg. Before long, if I don't find an outlet for my goofiness, things will start smelling like K Fed's rep and I'll be constructing a cement wall around the cul de sac, filling it with little notes of woe to send to the heavens for help. Um, I'm thinking that's a bit excessive.

So, I am setting off on an armchair journey of discovery where I will re-map my soul without leaving my house. I shall play Parisian music and sip Venetian coffee but never have to leave my Spanish speaking city. I will buy plastic shelving for my Ebay business and paint my office red (after I finish the final bathroom paint... I promised the old Mama P - the one who turned into Miss Responsible, that I would not start any fun projects until that was done. )

So many women make mistakes in thinking that men can solve everything. But then the same women make even graver mistakes by isolating their hearts from their partners in an attempt to shield themselves from differences. This coping mechanism can work for a long time, but one day you wake up and realize you don't feel much of anything. Like a B horror flick, you become a zombie of productivity but remain a ghost of passion.

My goal is to find the happy in between. Call me a Where Wolf of Womanhood: I don't know Where that balanced lady lives, but I'll hunt her down like a wolf until I find her.

In the process, I plan to keep my little pack of dogs here at home in one piece. After all, it's because of Rex the hunter that Mama P, the nester, has such a cozy cave to hibernate in. And before I had my little litter, we used to have fun roaming the countryside together. I even did a little hunting myself and would come home at night to nice conversation and a hunk of meat all cooked by a cozy fire. He and I need time to tap into that again. We can look at each others differences forever (and there are many) but there is so much more good.

I will leave you with, once again, a quote from The Secret Lives of Bees. This book reminded me of my once arduous devotion to Mary. And yes, some of you non-Catholics (or non-religious) might find people who pray to virgins to be bizarre. After all, why not just go to the Man himself?

I'm thinking that it's men in the first place that often cause us grief. Sometimes we need an old gal pal to listen to. Especially mothers, who in the process of being so responsible themselves, need a mommy to take care of them.

August said, "Listen to me, Lily. I'm going to tell you something I always want you to remember, all right?" Her face had grown serious. Intent. Her eyes did not blink. "All right," I said, and I felt something eletric slide down my spine. "Our Lady is not some magical being out there somewhere, like a fairy godmother. She's not the statue in the parlor. She's something inside of you. Do you understand what I'm telling you?" Our Lady is inside of me," I repeated, not sure I did. "You have to find a mother inside of yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside."

I think August has a point. If you do, also, I welcome them with an open heart. The fence is down and the wolf cave is open again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What a Zoo


Today I took advantage of my annual pass (only the second time in almost a year... I suck) and went to the L.A. zoo with the kids. It was crowded. It was stinky. It was Veterans Day. Um... duh. Maybe I'll go to Disneyland on Christmas and Vegas for New Years. That's some smart thinking.

We did, however, spend 20.00 on a tram ride. Between keeping Stink from hurling himself overboard and Pip screaming "I'm cared! I'm cared!" we saw maybe 2 blurry hippos and a dot of an Ostrich eating it's own ca-ca.

But the play area was a blast.

And it's Friday.

And after a crappy week of feeling sorry for myself, I'm ready to begin the weekend with high hopes of fun.

They just won't include the zoo

Poll results one post below.

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Poll Dancing

The result of recent poll dances show that Democrats are back in business again.

Um... not that poll. My poll. Garnering 10 votes, the results are as follows:

1. (0) Thought this hair remained left over from a Halloween costume

2. (1) Thought I was brave enough to chop off my own locks

3. (2) Thought the strands belonged to a dead horse.

4. (1) Thought it was from a Princess Leah costume

5. (6) Thought I inherited it from my grandmother

The correct answer, creepy but true, is #3. The horse that my son road a few months back is now living in pastures of clouds. After Tango died, the vet cut off his tail and gave it to A. as a keepsake. She then took various strands and gave them to people who loved her horse - one of them being Stink.

Some moms keep their kids belly button cords, or their foreskin. We keep dead horse hair. Come on by for a visit anytime... I'll let you pet it. Then we'll eat tacos.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

3 Questions, 3 Answers

Tonite at dinner, I asked both Pipsqueak (2 years, 3 months) and Stink, (3 years, 9 months) the exact same questions in the exact same order. Here were their responses (they added their own narrative.) I would always start with joker, then turn to the queen.

1. Me: Would you rather play with a big truck or a big dolly?
Stink: A big blue truck! Pip: A baby dolly! A piiiink dollie!

2. Me: Would you rather play in the mud and splash or dance with sparkles in the air. Stink: I'd want to play in the mud. And puddles. And jump biiiiig. Pip: I like to dance. Like Dora.

3. Me: Would you rather wear jeans and run through a field of grass or put on a faux fur dress and cut your nails. (I'm thinking you can guess the responses. And no, neither of my kids had any idea what faux fur was.)

I can't think of the other two questions, but they were in similar form. Stink always answered like your classic boy (adding haunted houses, smells and noises like farts) while Pip would revise his story in her bossy way, chiding him with, "That's not how it goes! It was a priiiiincess house."

Along those lines, the other day, when I blew out my hair, Pip put down her juice box, brushed some strands with her fingers, and exclaimed "Mama, your hair is beautiful." Such a rare compliment from such an independent little diva. Touching and telling all at once.

I don't raise my kids with intentional stereotypes. If anything, Pip can hold her own with a group of boys better than Stink can (just ask Mrs. V..) But I find it fascinating that somewhere, deep in our guts, despite environment, genetics are genetics. Sure, some girls will chose firetrucks over fire red nail polish. And some days Stink will forego running maniacally through the house for creating his own tea party on the Nemo table, but there's no doubt I have one of each sex. It's a fascinating discovery and I can't wait to learn more.

Now if only men could figure out women and vice versa, the world would be in a lot more harmony. They say it starts in the sand box, but The Secret Lives of Bees has a pretty good analogy for how to maintain peace, and going along with my bug theme of my earlier post, it seems fitting.

Pg. 92. "She reminded me that the world was really one big bee yard, and the same rules worked fine in both places: don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little bee wants to be loved."

I know I do. And I wish the same for you.

Pony tail results to be posted tomorrow. It's not too late to find how just how freaky and sick I can be.

Now buzz off and get some sleep.

Buggin' Out

Since I made a commitment to post daily in November, today you get two posts. The reason for not writing yesterday? I finally succumbed to that damn cold that's been going around. Why can't people just catch money, or good luck? Or writing assignments? Why must we catch things that land us flat on our butts, scrambling for sitters and extra toilet paper?

My mom was kind enough to come over at 1:00 and stay until Rex got home. (In a rare gesture of unasked-for help, Rex canceled his dinner meeting and stayed home to put the kids to bed and let me sleep.)

Last week, when Stink was in the throws of diarrhea, I explained how people catch invisible bugs that make us sick. He stared up at me from the toilet, wide eyed and innocent, his Scooby Doo briefs wrapped around his ankles, and with the sweetest voice in the world, whispered "Mommy... I must have swallowed a honey bee."

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Hairy Situation


Many fellow writers have brought it to my attention that it's Nanowrimo month:

Basically, the challenge is up there for budding novelists to write/post one chapter a day on the next American novel. I love that idea, as buried within my psyche is an Anne Tyler just ready to pop out and write chapters upon chapters on traveling housewives, kids who are adopted into curmudgeon families and Indian exchange students who set fire to their temporary housing in passionate efforts to exploit American technology. But, like a bad kidney stone, I'm gonna have to pass (on) it.

However, I will blog once a day to keep ye old writing fires alive.

Tonite's entry? An idea inspired by Meno. Being the good Catholic student, I can't take credit where it isn't due. Being the bad technology chick, I can't figure out how to blog roll, so here's her site again. (

Here's the idea: I am going to post five descriptions about the photo above. Only one of them is true. You guess, and in a few days, I'll give you the results. The great thing about this test? You don't have to fast for 12 hours. You don't have to pee on a stick. And you don't have to worry for three days that you're dying from some horrible disease.

Okay, which one tells the truth?

1. This is left over from a Halloween costume that I wore the same year I met Rex. He went as Laptop Lightfoot, I as Shopping at Thriftstores.

2. In a passionate attempt to keep my husband on his toes, I cut off my hair today and now look like Dorothy Hamil crossed with that botox chick from Dancing with the Stars (Lisa Rena). Photo to come results day.

3. My friend's horse kicked the bucket a few weeks back and, in a gesture of rememberence, she gave me a piece of his tail to tickle my kids with and to genuinely freak people out.

4. It's a wacky clip on from a princess Leah costume that I found at the Salvation Army last Sunday, along with a chipped figurine of those kids with big eyes that reads "Love is Never Looking at the C-OCK" (the "L" intentionally erased by some 1970's teenage comic)

5. It's a lock of my grandmother's hair from when she was 50. She had saved it all those years and cut it off when it started getting grey. I'm a sentimentalist at heart.

I can't wait to hear from you. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Numbered Daze


I remember lying in my rod iron bed in my parents house about ten years ago. (The same bed that made the journey to my office here with Rex, then upstairs to Pip N' Squeak's room. Iron-ic, ain't it? Ah, I amsue myself)

It was January 1, about 3 am, and I was talking to Cecelia on the phone. I had rung in the New Year with my Israeli boyfriend. She was telling me all about this fabulous New Year's Eve party she attended in the Hollywood Hills. Right out of her Nebraska fantasies of L.A. life, this was a sprawling house with a huge balcony that overlooked the twinkling lights of L.A.. She was flush with excitement and hope. She had plans of being a producer, and standing on the high ledge, mingling with the stars, why wouldn't all her dreams come true?

Then she uttered something that has forever been imprinted in my brain: "I wish I could be 28 forever."

This was almost ten years ago.

Shortly after that magical evening she left NBC to become a teacher. I got tired of doing the Gaza Srip and eventually met Rex. We both became wives and then mothers.

So many changes in such a short time. And in no place can you see them more than with the numbers. In our ages. In our weight. In the number of children we have. The number of parents still left. The number of couples still married.

I find it disturbing to look back at photos of myself from my magical year and see the visible changes on my face. But after a few minutes of wistfulness, Mama P kicks in and I get mad.

Why do our best years have to be behind us? Why can't we get better and better as we get older? Sure, I have a few more lines now, but (and this is so cliche) I wouldn't trade the all nighters and perfect skin of youth for the all nighters with babies for all the world.

And so, I am going to pick a new number: 49. My kids will be almost out of the house. And instead of planning on crying hysterically that my life is over, I plan on being in karate kid shape. I will take that full time editing gig in New York. Rex can plan his time around my schedule, not the other way around. I will have money for beautiful clothing and furniture.

And I won't hide the mirrors: because those lines are mine.

This philosophy just might be keeping me out of Hollywood, but that's okay.

And speaking of reflections, check out my mirror image. When I see that, 30 can go kiss Mama P's 36 year old sagging ass. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

You Really Thought You'd Escape the Photos?


Happy Haunting!!!!!!!!!!!! (A friend in the middle) Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hey, Duck You


I was thrown off my Ebay roll this evening (11 new items listed - woo hoo!) by the sounds of Pipsqueak crying. I padded into the room, careful not to awake Stink, and scooped a whimpering rugrat into my arms. Breaking all my rules about milk after 11, I filled up a bottle and lay on the couch with her, listening to her little heart beat next to mine.

With the twinkle of purple and orange Halloween lights winking through the windows, my heart overflowed with love for this fireball diva. How can someone so young be so sure of what she wants? And how on earth will I console her when the inevitable happens and she's left broken hearted?

I wanted time to freeze. I wanted my little shrew, for once asleep and tame, uttlerly peaceful, to be implanted in my soul forever.

So I grabbed the camera.

And this is what I captured: A sleeping princess with the look of an irritated frog.

Clearly Pipsqueaks have no need for sentimentality.

But the joke's on her... 'cause that just makes me love her more.

Saturday, October 28, 2006



Just a few reasons that, despite enjoying a few crushes here and there (I'm married, not dead...see post below) I am so grateful to live the life I do. (Flowers from Rex, jackets a la Pip N Stink, tree hugger? That would be my husband. I've heard of needing a bush trim... but that's taking it a bit far, don't you think?) Posted by Picasa


Meno had an interesting post about crushes. She's been married for a long time and sometimes her mind goes back to being single, or some random stranger who smiled at her at the grocery store, or some movie star that flips her button. (Not that button, you pervs.)

Being with the same man for almost ten years, this got me to thinking about some of my crushes in the past. The times when I'd show up at someone's house, hair loaded with Aqua Net, hoping the girl's brother would come home from band practice and notice my new leg warmers. There was the friend back in college who would buy me beer and listen to all my stories about my current relationship. There was Big B, who I loved so much I thought my heart would burst (not that he'd be there to put it back together. For some reason, that didn't seem to bother me.) And then came Rex. Sweet, consistent, ethical to a fault Rex. And oh so cute.

I remember when we first started dating. One night we were laying on the couch in my parent's living room, his arms wrapped around my waist. Nothing was going on, but everything was.

I miss those times.

And to be truthful, sometimes old crushes still pop into my brain. Or my mind lands a little bit longer than I expect on the lone daddy at a preschool party.

I could feel guilty about it, but I don't. I know who I am and would never jeopardize this life I lead with Rex. A life I love. It is not a man that I miss - but the newness of first love.

In an effort to rekindle this spark, I've started wearing my hair down again. I've started putting on makeup. I even wear socks with my shoes and shave my arm pits more than once a month... it's that crazy.

Something must be working, because the other day, flowers arrived at my door from Corporate Clingon himself. Then he surprised me with dinner out (Denny's with a coupon - I'll take it!) He is even excited about a Halloween party this evening. Seriously. Excited. He marked the time down on this blackberry.

With all this new found attention from my husband, no one could be more surprised than me when today, with ten minutes alone, I stopped at a garage sale, only to have this incredibly beautiful black man with huge muscles check me up and down. As I picked up a pair of ratty Nikes, he said, "Man, how tall are you?" I told him. "Wow, you didn't seem so tall when you were sitting in the car." I responded, "That's because the man upstairs graced me with long ass legs." Um... That was no Mama P talking. That was my alter ego, pre-marriage Hot Mama cranking out the one-liners to the cop on Flirt Patrol. Muscle Man, not breaking a beat: "Yes he did. Mmmm, yes he did."

I did what any cool headed woman would do. I giggled "tee hee! Tee hee!" dropped the shoes and fell on my way into the car, driving like a speed demon to help Rex fix sprinkler pipes.

Anyone else feel the same way I do about crushes?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shades of Grey.

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Rex is a black and white techno person. Computer: Turn on, turn off, fix virus, shut down.

I'm a grey artsy gal: Turn on computer, grab ringing phone, grab cup of coffee, do the dishes while I talk and drink, set down coffee somewhere but don't remember, plop down at desk and wave a la-golden-retriever-puppy at the mail man and, while collapsing in my swivel chair, knock over coffee cup with right breast, spilling cold java on my keyboard. Frustrating as it is, I can always count on my little black sheep to herd the keys back into working order for his forgetful bo-peep.

Being as flexible as I am with various situations, no one is more surprised than I am to be irritated by my daughter's grey tooth (seen in photos above). I think it's from a spill she took on a coffee table (always back to the coffee) but I can't be sure. She just woke up and there it was. It's worse than the photos shows. I am going to the dentist tomorrow, and either they are going to pull it or I'll have to live with it for the next five years until it falls out.

I know that it could have been worse. She has her health... She's not in pain... I can save 14.95 on a toddler witch costume (or send her as a go-go dancer who hit a pole thanks to Kate's fabulous retro sunglasses. Thanks for the care package!) Rex has commented on several occasions that he'd love her to pieces if she were toothless with a bowl haircut. That's pretty grey of him, and very ironic, given he has the face of a god (Shut up, K, I know he's your geek brother, but he's gorgeous, so deal with it.

While my heart sees all this unconditional affection bubbling over in a big pot of love on the Mama P gas grill, my vanity is a horrific cook who, when the heat gets too much, will leave the flame in full burn mode and walk away for a Diet coke. Yes, unlike my grey heart, Chef Vanity is blacker than the bottom of the doomed soup pan.

I can't wait until Pip is 3 and cuts off her hair with the training scissors. At least her pink glasses will rock the new look. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Don't Hassle the Hoff

This just might be the most disturbing thing in the history of time. And yet, it is so delightful. Cut, paste into your browser, and prepare to LOVE THE HOFF even more than you already do.

PS: Seen once before at Run Amok and then again at Just had to share. (One day I'll get my blog roll going...)

Time Out

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Not last week but the week before
My kids had me pounding my fists on the floor

Time out on the rug, time out on the stairs
Little Mama P was pulling her hair

After several more tugs and quite a few yanks
I started to threaten with whackety whack spank

(All you lovey dovey peace folk, or attachment parent kind
Go 'head - condemn me - but I was losing my mind)

After yelling for hours (even at Mom in law)
I decided to cool it and have some guffaws

The kid are young once, that goes for me as well
So I told anal moi to "Please go to hell"

Rex and I hit a pumpkin patch and then went to dinner
Pizza, brownies and lattes... the results were not thinner

But we had a few laughs...We even took time
To let the kids run and all turned out fine

Why this post is in verse I simply can't say
But after all the crazyness out the way

A little perspective sure does feel nice
Now only if the pumpkin patch sold that fabulous time out device! (seen in photo above)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What Moms Do!

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You know that section in US Magazine called "What Stars Do?" (or something like that?) They always have these little quotes and then pictures of famous people doing regular things. "They get coffee" ... shot of Gwen Stefani drinking a latte. "They fuel up" Oh, it's Brad Pitt getting gas! Neato! "They eat Mexican food". It's Nicole Richie munching on a burrito! Wait... she's eating? Must have been a stand-in.

For any of you celebrity readers out there interested in what I do while my husband is gone for DAYS ON END, I have a little picture show up above. If my techie man was home, or I had more time to invest in Typepad, I'd learn how to publish shots via links, or at least within the body of this writing. Instead, you'll have to match my quote with the picture box above. If it's too confusing, grab your assistant and let them do it for you. Ready?

What Moms Do!

* They let their kids make pizza for breakfast!
* They turn off the fire alarm before scratching off the charcoal with an Elmo spoon!
* They fail at training their children to sleep in the same room, seperate beds!
* They make them read 1 minute for every 1 hour of TV!
* They intend to buy Pottery Barn burgandy chairs for the TV room then relent when the kids fall in love with a tacky Nemo patio set on Tuesday at Albertsons!
* They push the kids to the courthouse around the corner to pay speeding tickets, then afterwards let them loose so they can roll down the grass out front (while Mommy races after them with an empty carriage, inwardly thanking God that although she wants more time alone, she's grateful not to be the woman in the White Stag suit smoking a cigarette who's probably thinking "I wish I could be home with my kids". Or "Haha! Look at that mom! Glad I'm working!" And the stroller isn't empty. The rugrats had buckled in two dolls, 2 lollipops, an empty bag of popcorn and a "baby pinecone" they picked up along the way. Some squirrel out there is pissed.)

I hope this excitement doesn't scare any of you stars from reading more. Tune in next week for the "They do clean out the potty chair" section. (Retitled "What Moms Doo!")