Monday, July 31, 2006


Hello, I am back from my hiatus. Actually, it was less of a hiatus and more of a Slacker Blogger thing. Oh, and it's been really freaking hot and it makes me not want to do anything but watch tv and drink iced tea. Oh, and our computer is going through the Terrible Twos, throwing tantrums and being defiant. Unlike our children, however, it may not make it to the Terrible Threes.

So, last week I also decided to host 3 parties in 4 days. I do like to entertain, so I'm not complaining, not exactly. Here's the rundown.

Thursday, July 27 was Lydia's 5th birthday. We had the standard, family birthday, complete with pizza delivery and boxed cake mix. Nothing too strenuous. I don't know about the rest of you, but in my family (actually, just my husband's family- mine is just me and my mom and she's Drama Free, thank god.) no gathering is complete without a bit of Family Drama. You know, who's coming, who's not coming, who SAYS they are coming and then bails at the last minute, who's suddenly ill, who leaves early because of a real or imagined illness that always seems to afflict certain family members at family gatherings so they must leave early. Oy. It's a 5 year old girls birthday party, people. Not the Queen's Coronation. But I digress. Lucky for us, Lydia received her own copy of the "High School Musical" movie. You haven't lived until you've seen this flick. The singing, the dancing, the Teen Idols.

Saturday, we had a non- birthday related bash chez nous. The last weekend of July is always set aside for this jazz festival and ends up being a big, party weekend. Unfortunately for the people who participate in this part of the festival, the heat and humidity were kind of a bummer. So, we held a tostada party and invited everyone and their dog. After I got over the pre-party stress- who should we invite, who will come, will we have enough to eat, to drink, what about kids, do we have enough chairs, parking is a bear...., I actually had a great time.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, Sunday was the day for Lydia's party with her friends. Because I may be a glutton, but I am not a masochist, we held the party at the local YMCA pool. It was a nice little party, the girls were sweet and had fun swimming. She got lots of nice gifts- including no fewer than 3 Polly Pocket playsets. One of them was this little number:

It's this waterslide contraption that looks suspiciously like Hugh Hefners Grotto at the Playboy Mansion. My husband wondered how I knew of the grotto, not being a big reader of Hugh's magazine. VH1, of course. (Best Week Ever, Behind the Music, yada yada..)
One of the other choice items were these little miscreant dolls:
(ok, for some reason, Blogger is not letting me insert this picture, dammit.) Have you all heard of the Bratz dolls? I like to call them Slutz, because they all look like prostitutes, or as one friend explained to her daughter, "ladies that give kisses for money". They are atrocious, and have the strangest body proportions- at least Barbie's claim to fame was that that's what people WANTED to look like. (we'll tackle THAT whole issue in another post.) So, Lydia gets the Bratz Babies- twins. They have these huge, hydro-cephalic looking heads, MAKEUP, and their bottles (of course the Bratz babies are not breast fed- Mommy Bratz nipple ring would interfere, plus, the Bratz babies gots places to GO, people to see. They cannot be tied down to anything as time consuming as breast feeding.) are attached to their odd little bodies with. a. chain. Wha?? They have these tiny little denim diaper things- almost, but not quite a thong. They look like the female companions to the little "Homies" figures that were popular a few years back. These little pieces of plastic just might replace this toy as The World's Dumbest Toy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

With 6 You Get Nice Eggroll

On the Chopstick wrapper:

"Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks
the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history
and cultural."

Now, I taught ESL for 4 years- mainly to Vietnamese students, and no, I do not speak Vietnamese. I speak "ESL" (the knack that the ESL teacher develops for communicating simply with people who don't speak English). I made sense of their speaking and writing. I knew what they meant when they said "I am go store." I was able to semi-explain to one smiling boy what was meant by the big, red letters on the front of his shirt that spelled out "I'm having a Maalox Moment". (Oh yeah, I had the facial expressions, the pantomime, the pointing, the clutching of the stomach, the waving of the hand in front of the nose, the drawings. Mmm. Yeah. He still didn't get it. AND I'm sure he thought I was batshit crazy.)

I have also been on the other side of things- learning Spanish and being hooked up to the dictionary and saying all kinds of crazy ass things. I have taken classes in spoken and written translation, where we got this piece of advice: "If it sounds like a translation, it's a bad one."

That being said, WTF is "glonous"? And why was "and cultural" stuck there on the end?

Oh well, I did enjoy my Nice Chinese Food at Chinese Restaurant, and finished the meal with the traditional fortune cookie. Here was mine: "To be eighty years young is more cheerful and hopeful than forty years old." I like the sentiment. But. If you add the words "in bed" at the end of your fortune cookie fortune, then, it brings forth some visuals that force me to want to bathe in Lysol for about 6 hours. (Incidentally, is everyone familiar with the "in bed" thing? Or do I just run with a dangerous crowd? They aint too pretty, they aint too proud?. Sorry, sometimes Billy Joel lyrics just spontaneously spew forth from my fingers.)
Here's Mr. T's fortune: "If you don't enjoy what you have, how could you be happier with more?"
And with that, I leave you.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's All About MeMe

I consider myself tagged from Julie, over at Bookworm. Feel free to consider yourselves tagged, as well. Inside, I think we're all just a bunch of posers.

Movies I rented because the cool people liked them, but I never could finish:

anything by Fellini
Lord of the Rings (any of them. I know, I just can't.)

Movies I watched with the cool people but secretly hated:

Citizen Kane (Hated. It.)
Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The Unbearable Likeness of Being

Movies I secretly like but might deny in front of the cool people:

Princess Diaries 2 (it's directed by Garry Marshall, really very cute)
Racing With the Moon (early Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage-very sweet film)

Books I started because the cool people like them, but I could never finish:

The Hobbit
Catch 22
Pride and Prejudice

Music I tried to like because the cool people like it, but really it makes me want to puncture my own eardrums to escape the pain of the irritating, cat-mating howling:

The Smiths
REM (I like many of their songs, but I just cannot get into them.0
any of the new country music. Seriously. Any of it.

Music I secretly sometimes like, but don’t want the cool people to know:

Hall and Oates
show tunes

Foods I secretly like, even though the cool people sneer at them:

KFC (extra crispy, with a side of mashed potatoes and artery-clogging gravy)nacho "cheese"
Hostess cupcakes

And I’m adding another food category: “Cool” foods I hate:

bleu cheese and other look alikes (gorgonzola, morbier)
sushi (not all of it, just big hunks of the raw fish. I like the California rolls.)

I love this particular meme, because it taps into our inner geek, which we all have.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Add this to your list

For those who have children in their lives who are old enough to listen to a chapter book read aloud, or who can read on their own, this is a fantastic pick for the summer. I bought this for the girls at the end of the school year so that we'd have something to read together. Well, we polished it off before the end of June. Some nights, the girls were actually excited to go to bed so we could see what happened next. When we finished, Claire started reading it again on her own. They even wanted to PLAY "Penderwicks", which I think is the ultimate compliment. The youngest character, Batty, wears a pair of fairy wings all the time- there were a couple of days when Lydia, who we call Bitty, wore HER fairy wings to Target, to the grocery store, you name it.

It is the story of the Penderwick sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty (nickname for Elizabeth, they aren't crazy). They range in age from about 5 to 12. They have no mother, (of COURSE, no great children's book has children from a 2 parent household, it seems), and a quirky, intellectual father. Their usual summer cottage rental gets sold, or some snafu, so they end up renting a cottage in the Berkshires that is on the grounds of a massive home, called Arundel Hall. There is a mean widow who lives there with her son, whom the girls befriend and have all kinds of adventures with. The story is reminiscent of those classic books I remember from my childhood, yet, because it was written quite recently, it has a freshness to the language and storyline. For instance, the mother died of cancer, not from dipthereia or in childbirth. They talk about the dog eating the map in the car and then barfing it up- just gross enough to appeal to kids and not alienate adults.

Check it out from the library, buy it from Amazon, buy it FOR your local library. Just read it. I have a feeling I'll be reading it again for many summers to come.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You're Gonna Make it, After All....

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

I'm sure you all recognize these happy lyrics to the beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show. I have fond childhood memories of watching this with my mom- I loved Rhoda and all of her crazy clothes, and the neurotic Phyllis. I thought Mary's apartment was sooo cool, with the sunken living room and nooks and crannies. I have no idea what color anything was, because I watched it in black and white. (Color didn't enter our home til 6th grade).

Fast forward to yesterday. I am making dinner, watching Seventh Heaven, which I've never really watched before. The mom in the show was in the hospital, about to give birth to the twins, and the other 5 kids were hanging out, waiting for the arrival of their newest siblings. Let me interrupt myself here to say that I usually HATE birth episodes, because they are ridiculously cheesy and the babies birthed all look like they are about 5 months old, because, really, who in their right mind would hand over a brand new baby to be in some prime time circus? Ok, so she has the twins- boys, and the whole family is in the room looking at them and they start to sing the MTM song, very softly to them (I am tearing up even now as I write this, sap that I am..). One of the kids asked who came up with the idea to sing that song and they do a flashback to when the oldest son was about 4, watching MTM with his grandma, and singing that song. He turns to her and says "I'm going to sing that to mom whenever she brings home a new baby." And I just started to weep and sniffle and snort and could hardly pull myself together.

Then, I started thinking about the song and remembering the opening credits, where Mary comes to Minneapolis as a young, single woman, ready to take on the world, but she's still really vulnerable. I thought about my own mom, who came to a new city as a young, single mom, without a pot to piss in and made a life for herself and her family (me), and how hard that probably was for her. I think I should throw my hat up in the air in the middle of an intersection in her honor.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Anything with "o-rama" is almost as funny to me as things with "a-roo". I got this from HappyChyck, who got it from California Teacher Guy, who got it from... well you get the picture. (anyone else out there old enough to remember that Breck commercial- "and they told two friends, and they told two friends....")
So, if you are of a mind and maybe are out of witty, thought-provoking ideas for a post, copy the leads to your own blog and delete my answers, then let me know where to find you.
I know that I love my family more than life itself.

I believe that what goes around comes around- trite as that may sound.

I fought the law and the law won. (wink, wink) No, seriously, I fought the urge to sleep at the last inservice I attended.

I am angered by our current president and all of his lackies.

I love babies.

I need to be around positive people.

I take up too much time fussin', frettin', and worryin' about stuff.

I hear the sound of children playing outside, the soft hum of the air conditioner.

I drink a beer as I make dinner.

I hate having my time wasted, and being lied to.

I use paper products sparingly.

I want to be financially worry-free.

I decided to teach mainly because there was no such job
as "Spanish", which was my major.

I like my life.

I am a wife, mother, friend, daughter, teacher.

I feel like I'm still 18.

I left someone who loved me more than I loved him, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I do things because they need to be done.

I hope that my kids will have happy memories of their childhood.

I dream about being a student and realizing that I've not been going to class all semester RIGHT before the final. Everyone has this dream, right?

I drive a white mini van, which I said I'd NEVER own. And the real kicker? I like it.

I listen to what ISN'T said.

I type fairly well because I took typing in high school until I learned the keyboard, then dropped the class.

I think grammar and spelling ARE important.

I wish there were more hours in a day.

I compensate for my lack of height by standing on chairs and using long objects to reach things on tall shelves. At the grocery store, if I can't reach it, I don't buy it.

I regret very little.

I care about the Earth.

I should exercise more and drink more water.

I am not always patient and/or tactful.

I said more of what was on my mind, without thinking, when I was younger.

I wonder what my daughters will look like in 20 years.

I changed my opinion about Disneyworld after visiting there last week.

I cry very easily, which surprises a lot of people.

I am decisive.

I am not a religious fanatic.

I lose sight of the big picture sometimes.

I leave parties reluctantly.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

Many, many thanks to the people at School Me!, who felt I was worthy enough to give me this award. I'm sure they just caught me on a good day, as there are sooo many others who are deserving.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


On the way home from Milwaukee last Sunday, I spotted a sign on I-88, near Aurora, IL for a restaurant called "Beef-a-roo". I'm giggling as I write this. What kind of name is ANYTHING with "a-roo" attached? Do people actually eat there? Can they say it with a straight face? Can the people who work there answer the phone without laughing? Do they receive a check-a-roo? Do they serve drink-a-roos? What other type of business would have "a-roo"? We passed the time during the drive home coming up with some others. Here they are:
Check into Cash-a-roo
Private Investiations-a-roo
And my personal favorite, Funerals-a-roo. Feel free to add your own. Try, just try to say any of the above without at least smiling. For fellow teachers, could we not adopt an "a-roo" system in our schools? Testing-a-roo, Accommodations-a-roo, Detentions-a-roo, Journaling-a-roo....?

Thanks everyone for the good wishes for my birthday and for our fabu trip to Disneyworld. We had a wonderful time, and it's great to be back home.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

DaVinci Snark

SPOILER ALERT: If you will be offended in any way by my flip comments about The DaVinci Code or haven't read the book nor seen the movie, then you can stop reading here.

Ok. On Friday, Mr. T (my one and only, not the mohawk/gold chain guy)and I went on a real date to celebrate my birthday. We went out to dinner and had the most wonderful bottle of white wine- Pino and Toi- it's like buttah. Afterwards, we went to see The DaVinci Code. I loved the book and yes the movie was good. But, I did have a "mystery Science Theater" moment several times. I think it was a reaction to not taking it too seriously, which the movie itself seemed to. Here are a few of them for your annoyance, entertainment, call it whatever you like.

1. Tom Hanks' character kept calling the police chief "Cap'n Fash" (rhymes with Mash). Why would a Harvard professor not be able to pronounce the man's name? Fache- rhymes with wash. And really, Cap'n? As in Crunch? Come on.

2. Sophie- she had this weird mole thing on her neck. My husband asked "What's that thing on her neck?" I said it was the Mark of the Beast. (this was after it was discovered that she was THE living heir to JC himself.

3. When Mr. Thibbing is showing them The Last Supper and points out that in his opinion, it is Mary Magdalene next to Christ and that the Apostles wondered if he loved her more than them, I said she was like the Yoko of the New Testament.

4. Towards the end, when they show the sarcophagus of Mary M., I thought it would have been funny to have the head turn toward the audience and "wink".

5. When Landon and Sophie are going through the underbelly of the church and end up in the little room with all of the records about Sophie's parents, I said, "Oh, they found the gift shop!"

6. When Sophie and Landon were trying to decode the cryptic , Mr. T whispered "Drink your Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!"

For those worried that we were disturbing those around us, Yes, we were quiet- the theater was only about half full.

The T's are crazy busy, we just got back from Summerfest in Milwaukee (FUN) where we saw Paul Simon (Awe. Some.) Tomorrow we are leaving at the ass crack of dawn for Disneyworld with the kids! Whoo hoo!

If I don't post until our return, hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing 4th!