Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Come back baby, you'll find a change in me.

Arguably, one of the changes I should make is to get to know more music that was produced after, say, 1983. Whatever. I love this tune, and I'm declaring it Song of the Day even though it wasn't the morning earworm (a song stuck in my head from before my eyes even opened). Au contraire - the morning earworm was the theme song to Star Trek: TNG. Yeah, I don't understand it either.


Everybody oughta make a change
(by sleepy john estes)

Change in the weather, change in the sea,
Come back baby, you'll find a change in me.
Everybody, they ought to change sometime,
Because sooner or later we have to go down in that lonesome ground.

I changed suits, I changed shirts,
I changed, baby, just to get shed of the dirt.
Everybody, we ought to change sometime,
Because sooner or later we're going down in that lonesome ground.

I changed honey, I changed money,
I changed, people, just to keep from being funny.
Everybody, they ought to change sometime,
Because sooner or later we're going down in that lonesome ground.

Change in the ocean, change in the sea,
Come back baby, you'll find a change in me.
Everybody, we ought to change sometime,
Because sooner or later we're going down in that lonesome ground.


I don't know where to begin. This is just so awesome, from the title, to the hair, to the smiles, to the shirts...

More wacky lp covers at lpcoverlover.com.

h/t: The Presurfer

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who knows, maybe hollering at 'em worked after all.

Since my last post, the girls have been playing together happily, the way they usually do. I sent them out in the rain ... out out out out OUT! They went up the street a bit -- sisters in pink raincoats, under a ladybug umbrella -- to watch rainwater flow into the storm drain (I tried not to recall Stephen King's It too vividly). Now they are back, playing "garden." Whatever that means. They get into these lengthy pretend scenarios, and replay and replay them. This is a new one. Hopefully it doesn't include whatever power imbalance had them screaming at each other earlier.

So I have time for some free association. Play along every Sunday at Unconscious Mutterings...
she said ____ :: I thought _____.
  1. Hearing :: impaired
  2. Aggression :: channel
  3. Charged :: ion
  4. Traveler :: airport
  5. Hydrate :: water
  6. Detox :: rehab
  7. Qualify :: pass
  8. Prison :: cell
  9. Frontal :: nudity
  10. Pep talk :: bullshit

Hm. I guess I'm not open to pep talks. I was thinking especially of the business environment pep talk. I so don't miss consulting... shudder.

Rainy weekend.

My throat is sore. Not from the latest virus making its nasty way through the children's snot-filled classrooms, though I'm sure that joy is not far off.

(Deleted: a rant about people who cough into their hands rather than their elbows)

(Deleted: a rant about antibacterial soap, which people buy even though it's proven no more effective than normal soap and may instead be contributing to the rise of truly scary, resistant strains of bacteria -- and about the staggering arrogance of those who keep buying it even though they know that)

No. My throat is sore from yelling at my squabbling daughters. Because I am Mother of the Year.

I don't care which of them wasn't being nice. I don't care who walked away from the game; I don't care who touched what of whose; I don't care who said what, took what, did what, wanted and didn't get what.

I. Don't. Care.

Today I heard myself yell, among other things, "STOP YELLING!" And one of the less emotional voices in my head said, "well. That was dumb."

Ladies n' germs, I have lost my freakin' mind.

Monday's coming, Monday's coming, Monday's coming.

In the meantime, I feel a movie coming on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's *wrong* with people?

And by "people," I certainly mean "me," as well.

So yesterday? After the dog shit incident? I went to the closest grocery store to grab some mozzarella for the awesome spinach-and-ricotta stuffed shells I was making for dinner. I thought I already had the cheese in the freezer -- you can do that you know, buy a huge bag of shredded cheese and freeze it. In theory this saves money and time. In practice that's usually true, except there I was on my way to the store at the last minute, so draw your own conclusions -- but either I didn't have any, or the freezer is so unworkably full of other things (mostly overripe bananas waiting to become banana bread) and the mozzarella so deeply buried as to functionally not exist, which is a separate problem, and should probably be a separate post.

I digress.

I went to the closest grocery store, instead of the best grocery store. I only do this under duress, because the closer store is horrid, from its awkward parking lot to its layout and stock and vacant-eyed employees. I parked, ran in. Got the cheese. Headed to the checkout -- express line for me, with my one item.

And I landed right behind a cheater. It's one thing to go through the express line when you have 13 items instead of 12... by mistake, or just trying to squeak by, I guess we've all done it. But to do it with several more than 12 items, most of which are produce? And it's one of the self-check lines where you have to look up the produce items individually and key them in on the touch screen? Which takes forever, especially if you're not really up on how to do it? Sorry, but that's rude. Rude rude rude.

But whatever. I just scrubbed dog poop off my kitchen floor -- I've experienced more than my fair share of rudeness today, and this isn't going to make it any worse.

But she's still a cheater. And a thief! Look! She just scanned through some of those tiny hot peppers, and the register announces "move your GREEN BELL PEPPERS to the belt... TWENTY TWO CENTS." HEY! If those are green bell peppers, lady, I'm Miley Cyrus. And if little hot peppers are less expensive than bell peppers, I'm Billy Ray Cyrus. THIEF!

She scrambles through the rest of her stuff... including a bag of three limes, which she counts as one lime. I can't watch any more. She goes forward to bag her loot, I step up to scan my cheese. "DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR RECEIPT," says the machine to the lady. Back she comes.

"Green bell peppers are getting smaller every day," I say, before I can stop myself. She has the decency to look sheepish and scuttle away.

So why do I include myself in "what's wrong with people?" Because I don't want to be a finger-wagging busybody. I just want to get my cheese and go home. But these things get to me, when I see them. What's the point of playing by the rules if well-dressed middle-aged ladies are shamelessly stealing limes and jalapeno peppers in broad daylight? Who do these people think they are?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

poop for brains

They're much more polite about this in Vancouver than I can manage to be here.

TO: The person who let their dog crap on the sidewalk where the Bean's school bus stops.

Fuck you very much.

I so appreciate having dog shit on my shoes and in my home.

My family and I wish you the same pleasure, many times over.

Have a nice day.


What do you do when your kid's misbehaving with a toy? You take it away, right? Of course you do. My girls write somewhere they're not supposed to -- in a book, say, or on furniture or a wall? The markers/crayons/pencils are gone for up to a week, depending what it was they defaced and how recently the last time they were reminded not to. Leave a toy out after I've told them and told them to put it away? Same story - the toy disappears for a while, and they've no one but themselves to blame.

In an ideal world, I would get to do this with all the selfish, lazy dog walkers in the neighborhood. I see your dog shit where people walk, and you don't pick it up? I'm taking your dog for a week. Not to mistreat it, good heavens no. The problem isn't the dog's fault -- there is only a problem because you, dog owner, are an inconsiderate jackass, and probably don't deserve your loyal friend's company anyhow.

The world would be different if I were Queen, I tell ya.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another Way to Cringe

Listen to Another Way to Die, the new Bond song (for the movie Quantum of Solace, which is coming out either October 31 or November 17, depending which trailer you believe, and to which I am looking forward with a greater than reasonable intensity),

here. I'll wait.

So, what did you think?

Me, I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised if it rocks as a theme song/movie credit music, but on its own, I am tentatively leaning toward the "things that suck" category. Starts out OK, but on balance, too much wailing.

Probably too soon to judge.

I read that the original preference was for Amy Winehouse to write and perform a song for the movie, but she's such a train wreck she can't even sing Happy Birthday these days. Still, maybe they should've let her try.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Of all the states to mess with...

Posted at wonkette a couple days ago (what can I say, I don't blog professionally, y'know), under the heading "DINGUSES": Ralph Nader is on the Florida ballot.

Goddamnit, Ralph. This is not a game.

Ahoy me hearties, &c.

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day, matey!

Avast! There be a pirate joke on the horizon!

Q. What's a pirate's favorite kind of music?

A. Arrrrrrr&B.

And, just because I like saying it: poopdeck. So there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chase Rooster Palin

The Palin kids have kooky names. You can find out what your name would've been, if Sarah Palin had been your mommy. Go to the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. Good times.

Then, read Anne Lamott's latest essay at Salon.com. I love her.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Purple Pinot" does have kind of a superhero ring to it.

The Name Game

1. Your rock star name (first pet, current car)
Sophie 4Runner

2. Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe)
Chocolate Mary Jane

3. Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born)
Leslie New York

4. Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name)

5. Superhero name (favorite color, favorite drink)
Purple Pinot

6. NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers)
Walter Elmer

7. Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Jasmine Toffee

8.TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Flegler Flagstaff

9.Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Labor Daisy

10.Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now)
Clementine Capris

11.Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Bagel Willow

12.Movie star name (first pet, first street where you lived)
Sophie Summit

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday free association

Play along at Unconscious Mutterings.
She said _______ :: I thought _______
  1. House :: home

  2. Think :: , dammit!

  3. Clot :: aneurysm

  4. Believe me :: , I know

  5. Fumigation :: cloud

  6. Bore :: drone

  7. Luck :: good

  8. Patient :: hospital

  9. Tremors :: earthquake

  10. Pickles :: my girls, who dig 'em

Friday, September 05, 2008

So young, they learn to sacrifice for Science...

My husband is upstairs giving the girls their bath, and explaining that tomorrow, he is leaving town for a week or so to do some fieldwork.

He's an oceanographer. Fieldwork means going to sea. (Yes, it's hurricane season. Details, details. He's not explaining that part.)

Anyway I just heard him ask our daughters if he can take their little backyard baby pool on his Big Trip, and solemnly promise to get them a new one "if it gets wrecked." It will help him in his research, he said. (I think he wants to use it to mix a special fluorescent dye, which he'll then dump into the ocean, and track its vertical and horizontal diffusion by measuring its concentrations as it spreads. Some of the measurements will be made using a laser which will be aimed at the dye patch from a small plane flying overhead. It's cool stuff, and none of it can happen without the little plastic pool!)

"So would that be OK, if I borrowed your kiddie pool?"
"Can the new one be pink?" they asked.
"I don't know what color."
"We want it to be pink."
"I don't know what color the new one would be."
"OK, you can take it, but if we need a new one, it should be pink."

Actually, if it's to be used the way I assume it is, the old one will be extraordinarily pink when he's done with it -- and "wrecked" won't quite cover its condition.

Hey, this could be a Teachable Moment... I should sell them baby pool insurance with fine print that excludes damage incurred during use in scientific research by grown-ups. It'll be a tough lesson when they try to collect, but on the up side, they'll be totally prepared to buy homeowner's insurance on Cape Cod.

Update: He's not using the pool to mix the dye; evidently that's done in big barrels. He'll be using it to pre-soak certain instruments in sea water before they get dropped in the ocean. So the old pool will still probably be beat up, but it won't be fluorescent pink. Pity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

T minus... oh wait. Here we are, already.

Hm. I guess my countdown kind of fizzled.

The Bean's first day of first grade, yesterday, went very well. The big change for her is that it's a full school day. Kindergarten was a half day. She's ready, but I think she may also be tired for a couple of weeks. It's longer than she usually has to focus, or sit, or interact with new people.

Actually, the biggest change for all of us is getting going in the morning! We didn't have many planned morning activities this summer, and the girls got used to hanging out in their pajamas, reading and playing quietly before breakfast. I don't think we got downstairs before 9:00 AM all summer long, until we did a week of nature classes at the natural history museum. Any discipline we gained from that was thrown off along with our internal clocks on our California trip. So we did a dry run on Monday to practice, set out clothes the night before to save morning time, things like that. It's working fine. (However! I have got to get to sleep earlier than I have been.)

I got the Bean a simple alarm clock so she won't worry about not waking up on time. We decided that if she gets up at 7:30, that's plenty of time. She set her alarm for 7:15, just in case.

Very early -- criminally early -- yesterday morning, I felt her staring down at me as I slept. I cracked an eye open. (Sometimes, standing completely still and staring at me like that, she briefly reminds me of those girls in The Shining. If she would just blink, or something!) Then a whisper: "Mommy did you forget about the first day of first grade?" "No, Bean," I whispered back. "Right now it is 5:52 on the first day of first grade. We don't have to get up until 7:30, remember?" "Oh." she went back to her room. I heard her alarm go off at 7:15, and heard her turn it off. At 7:18 she appeared, fully dressed, teeth brushed, and wondering if it wouldn't be helpful to wake up her sister? (Um, no. No thanks.)

So I guess we don't have a morning problem with the Bean, though the novelty will soon wear off.

After school, she took my hand as she got off the bus. I'm happy she still does that so naturally. "So BEAN!!!" I said. "How was your first day? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!" And she said, "good."

That's it.

I have learned that I will never get a linear narrative about how her school days go. So I turn it into a joke, and ask a thousand questions, most of them ridiculous, being a general pest until eventually she starts talking just to contradict me. "We did NOT ride an elephant at recess! We played good guys and bad guys!" "OHHHH, why didn't you say so! Who were the bad guys?" And so on. I would rather annoy her than have her think I'm not interested in the details :).

Today was the Peanut's turn -- she started preschool this morning. She's been psyched for it ever since her sister was going there and she'd cry because she couldn't stay, too. So the past few weeks have been a very exciting build-up, and she's been literally jumping up and down as she tells people she's going to PRESCHOOL! And she WIPES HER OWN BUM! Yeah, well, what can I say. It's a major accomplishment, and she's proud. It's all good.

So I wasn't expecting this from her, but last night, as I was lying in her bed with her to say goodnight, she burst into tears... full-blown, grieving, wailing, tears. "I DON'T WANT TO BE WITHOUT YOU!!!" she sobbed. We'd been talking about what a nice day we'd had together at the beach after the Bean went to school. She said that was her favorite part of the day, and then she just lost it. I held her close, murmuring about all the wonderful things she was going to get to do at preschool, and that if she felt homesick, she should say to herself, "Mommy loves me, and she'll be here soon," because preschool is only for the morning, and then we'll be together again. Eventually her sobs became shudders, then sighs, then she was asleep in my arms.

This morning: none of that. Everything went fine. But twelve hours after she cried her heart out at the thought of leaving me, I had my own sobfest in the car over leaving her. I don't want to be without her, either. Oh, my Peanut. I'm so glad we still have Tuesdays and Thursdays together. Oh yeah, and every afternoon. Preschool is a big step, but it really isn't a lot of time apart.

Now I'm off to pick her up... she'll tell me All About It. Later we'll meet the Bean's bus, ask her how the second day of first grade was, and she'll say, "good."

So it is, Bean. So it is.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More Thoughts on Sarah Palin (during which my irony meter seriously overheats)

I'm going to need one of these in a minute.

First there's this:
Comments about how Sarah Palin ought not to run for VP because she should be taking care of her family -- are you kidding me? When does anyone tell a man he shouldn't strive for -- well, for anything, because there's a baby in the family? (So he's a "special needs" baby. Does this mean his mother is not entitled to pursue a powerful political career?) What nonsense. Of course it's not hard to believe people are saying Sarah Palin should get herself back in the kitchen -- it's so predictable it's utterly dull. But to hear it from people whose opinions I otherwise respect? from self-described feminists? burns my grits. Come ON. This is precisely why we ARE feminists, no?

Then this:
Gov. Palin states how proud their family is of "Bristol's decision to have her baby." Good for them! Truly! I'd be delighted to leave Bristol out of the political conversation altogether. She's young, and she didn't ask for her life to play out on a national stage, and she deserves her privacy. I would like to follow Barack Obama's example and take the high road, as he so often does.

However: this is a "decision" process that our anti-choice, would-be Vice President fully intends to deny anyone else, yes?

So wait just a damn minute. I think it's fair game to discuss whether or not Gov. Palin sticks to her beliefs when the issue is under her own roof.

Why is Bristol Palin on some sort of pedestal, while teenage mothers in, say, Gloucester Massachusetts are the bane of their community and have been basically derided as self-indulgent sluts?

And finally:
So, Gramma Palin, how's that abstinence-only sex education thing working out for your family? Could we maybe give reality-based, age-appropriate information a try for our own kids? Cause it looks like that might have better results. Just saying...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Good riddance to this lot, anyway.

Last Friday I took the girls to another lovely Cape Cod town to visit with their grandparents. The five of us went out for ice cream. We were sitting at a picnic table outside the ice cream shop enjoying our treats, when along comes another family... Mom, Dad, a grandmother, and two boys. Ice cream on a beautiful summer day, popular thing to do, smiles all round.

Smiles, until one of the little brats pulls down his pants in the sidewalk and urinates in a giant arc, right on to the ice cream shop building, while his parents stand by and do nothing.

We couldn't believe it.

So as an innocent ice cream customer, do you say something to these boors? Or do you just shake your head in disgust and let it go?

Well, if you're me... and if you've had it with loud, ill-mannered, littering, tailgating summer visitors* and their whining spoiled rotten children... you can't let it go. It's just not OK.

So, gesturing toward the piss stain not yet dry in the sun, I cheerfully asked this family if they pee on the walls at home, too? They stared as if I had two heads. "What did she say?" they said to each other. I smiled, happy to repeat. "What I said was, 'Do you pee on the walls of your own home? Or is that just something special you've set aside to do on vacation in our community?'"

They did have the good grace to reprimand the kid and leave.

Now, I know public toilets are really hard to come by on Cape Cod's quainter main streets. It can be frustrating for residents and visitors alike; all those "No Public Restroom" signs start to seem kind of hostile.

But still. About a year ago, at this very same ice cream shop, my Peanut suddenly had to Pee Right Away! She was new to the whole underpants gig then, and there was no telling her to hold it. But did I tell her "oh, just drop trou and piddle in the walkway"? Of course not. We scooted around behind the hedge at the back of the building and discreetly made the best of an urgent situation. And if that kid had come round back and modestly peed on the hedge, I'd have had no problem with it whatsoever.

So with that lovely encounter fresh in my mind, I have to say that I felt no pangs of sadness whatsoever about the many-mile backup of off-Cape traffic today. Buh-bye!

*admittedly, and thankfully, this is only a subset of summer visitors. Some of my best friends are summer visitors... true story!