19 December 2007


Did it. Hair cut. There's an 8" ponytail lying in the passenger seat of my car to be shipped... somewhere? Somewhere where hair is needed? Anyone done this before?

Actually make that an 8" ponytail lying in the passenger seat of A's car, as my car spent the night in the car hospital because my "oxygen sensors" are making the ominous check-engine light come on. I was truly hoping the mechanic would say they are clogged up with chicken guts, as that would be easy to explain and not indicate a larger problem, but he says that is not the case. And yet even still, I hope for a chicken-gut diagnosis.

This is probably it for me, as I shut down my desk here and move toward a much-needed Girls' Night tonight and very interesting day tomorrow, promising weighted phone calls, long driving, "honest answers," and ending with a meeting that may open a door. Or a window. Or pick a lock. Whatever. It's all work-related, so we can't talk any more about it.

Then it's the classic Snee Family pack-like-the-house-is-on-fire extravaganza and, finally, up to Indiana with us. And still, we have shopping to do. Like shopping for a time machine so we can go back to October and do this Christmas thing proper. Probably no posts from the land of much snow. But probably good stories when I return.

Happy Holidays to all four of you lovely readers, and many blessings and other good things in 2008.


18 December 2007

Here's What I Have to Say About Britney Spears

I check people magazine online almost every day. Well, every day that I work. In fact, I've added it to my Google Homepage. I like to look at pictures, okay? Stop judging me.

Lately, we see a lot of Britney Spears looking the way most of us might look on a Saturday afternoon-- makeup-less, hairbrush-less, hoodied and driving a terribly expensive car, with or without pants. (only one of those does not apply to me on a weekend afternoon, and here's a hint: I drive an Accord.)

Poor girl, that Britney. Nobody leaving her alone, even for a second. Her worst days are just as public as her best. And I feel for her, I do.

But lately, I see tons of photos of Brit-brit walking out of convenience stores with a pack of Marlboro Lights in her hand and I have to wonder what kind of sad, sad life she must be leading without even ONE good girlfriend who will slink down to the corner market and pick her up some smokes. Or paid staff person, even.

Life too public to buy cigarettes at a gas station when you're not exactly wearing pants? STAY IN THE CAR AND GET SOMEBODY ELSE FROM THAT GIANT ENTOURAGE TO DO IT.

Too Much Holiday Information
Today I had to return several boxes of discount work-related Christmas cards to Michael's, which is always a madhouse mix of rockabilly girls with betty page bangs and old ladies with 30 coupons trying to get that garland price down from $1.99 to twenty cents. There were about nine hundred people in line in front of me and nine hundred behind me, and I had just eaten a Christmas cookie back at the office that tasted like a stick of butter with some white chocolate chips in it. Which made me very, very sick to my stomach upon arriving at Michael's.

I waited a very, very long time in line. Through price-checks and tax-exempt codes and, I swear to you, beads being rung up individually. I tried to chat with the person behind me, but she would have none of my holiday cheer. When I finally got up to the register to handle my return, there was all of the commotion and confusion you might expect, with the wrong codes, manager overrides, re-voiding, extra scanning, store credit, starting over, again.

And during the whole process, my stomach was churning, my vision was blurring with impending gastrointestinal doom, the midsection of my body making high-pitched, audible noises. I looked behind me and saw the nine hundred grannies and gothies. I considered telling Deena at the cash register that I reeeeeeeally had to use the bathroom and could we just hold it right here for a minute? But then I pictured an angry mob chasing me to the end of the frame aisle and into the restroom. I pictured not actually making it to the restroom. I heard my stomach. My face got hot, and then cold. Deena kept re-voiding and re-coding. I had purchased 7 boxes and was returning only 6... the kind of math that can make you work very slowly and start over a lot.

And finally! It was done! And could you just sign this slip right here? Yes! Yes I can! I scribble and start to make a beeline toward the back of the store and... wait... what is this? No more rock in the stomach? Able to stand up straight? The emergency had passed! Cookie digested/ absorbed, whatever! I walked out of Michael's and into the sunny parking lot, free of digestive distress when only seconds before I was thinking of ways to deal with possibly shitting my pants at Michael's.

A true.

17 December 2007

Nightmares of Sugarplums

Bird had her first real nightmare at about 4:30 this morning, screaming herself awake and catapulting me down the stairs to comfort. She whimpered and clung and said she was afraid of "the lady." We talked about it being in her imagination and dreams and as much reality vs fantasy that a two-year-old can process.

Last night we also went to a delightful Christmas party (and by the way, can I just say we have the best friends, like, ever?) where Bird sampled many a cookie, and I think maaaaaybe the sugar coupled with all of the grownups-- some familiar and some strangers-- could have triggered the sleep disturbance.

Last night, falling asleep, the exhausted Bird said:

"Don't kiss me, mama. Just go to sleep now."

And bonus weekend Bird Words:

When asked by Santa what she wanted for Christmas:
"Three presents."

And on the way home from church:
"I think Santa has a big bum."

And then, upon further thought, "I think Santa has a big bum and a big binsens*. He goes pee pee by himself on a special potty."

*Binsins: (noun) 1. Bird-speak for "business," which is Bird-speak for private parts/ genitalia.

14 December 2007

Look, a post!

I'm thinking it's time for a haircut.

I think this A LOT. And then I think, "not so much." And I go about my life not having a haircut.

But now I think I do want a haircut. There is always at least one hair in my mouth and one invisible one somewhere on my face causing twitching and clawing at my cheeks, and collectively it's becoming a tangled and stringy mess the longer it gets. I feel like I live my life peering through a curtain of hair-- most often when I'm leaning over looking for something or discussing pressing issues with a two-year-old. Which is about 75% of my time. Not to mention I'm spending waaaaaay more time in the shower than I'd like during our hectic morning scramble, just trying to wash/ rinse/ condition/ rinse.

Now to figure out if I trust the bang-trim lady to do the short-short. I'll keep you posted, I know you're on the edge of your seat.

In other news, I either have a rotten but suspiciously intermittent cold or I am allergic to something in my own home. I'm guessing the Christmas Tree, but I might also place blame on the balls of dog and cat hair rolling lazily from one room to the next, sometimes being mistaken for whole animals all on their own, as in, "Holy Shit, when did we get a guinea pig?" Or maybe the dust, inevitable lurking mold, something. I am sneezing violent, unpredictable sneezes and living life in a big fog at the moment.

But, Christmas is upon us, and I have not created the Advent wreath I was dreaming of for Birdy (though she made quick work of all 24 days of her Advent Calendar), Have not created, purchased, or mailed a single Christmas card (and won't), have purchased exactly ONE gift which is for Bird which happens to be the most awesome sock monkey ever from the Farmer's Market. Soon enough we can remove the tree and see if I'm still blowing out candles from across the room. It might not hurt to dust and vacuum, as well.

Speaking of the Holidays, we are going home, of course. 10 days of touring Indiana from top to bottom-- lots of time in the car and out of a suitcase from house to house to house and back again. And the more I think about all of it and the closer it gets, I have no desire to do any of it. Not the packing, not the drive, not the giving, not the receiving, not the sleeping in a hundred different beds (or rather NOT sleeping-- I have a toddler, you know), not the eating pounds of bullshit that makes my body work poorly, not the hugging and the happy voice and the realizing I've forgotten to pack a bra, not the ten solid days without a moment to myself, without a private moment with my husband, without a quiet moment with my kid. I love being with all of my nearest and dearest, I do-- but this year I just don't want to go.

There, I said it.

11 December 2007

Sick Birds

My Bird, she is sick. 103-degree fevers two nights in a row with rosy cheeks and wilty eyes and a cough that rattles the windows. No good sleep for Bird or anyone else in days. No watching the series finale of the Sopranos as planned, because of all the muting and the "did you hear that?" and the "I'll go snuggle her for a minute."

Bird likes to hold the thermometer in her armpit all by herself. She keeps asking me to take her "pimpiture," and if you've read this blog for more than a week or so you already know that my husband would think that's hilarious, saying things like, "Awwww Yeeeyuhh, mah pimpiture is HAWT."
Pimpiture will smack a bitch upside the mouth, yo.

Bird and I went to the doctor today and got frightened and medicated, in that order. And then we went to Pizza Perfect, at her request, because we treated ourselves to a delightful little lunch there (pizza by the slice, and they'll cut it up tiny for her) after her vaccination bravery on Friday and now apparently that is what we do after doctor visits. Who can argue with that?

It was so crowded that we were forced to vulture a table right out from under another person wandering around hopelessly with their pizza tray, and to make up for it in the Universal sense, we invited another hopeless wanderer to dine with us in our empty seat. Which gave Bird such stranger-danger that she hardly touched her tiny-cut pizza.

On the way home while shouting songs at Bird in an attempt to put off the nap until back at our house, traffic was backed up at our exit and we drove slowly through what appeared to be a grand spill of fall yard-waste, red and gold colored leaves and clumps of mud, etc.

Upon closer investigation, we were driving through a large slosh of bird parts, maybe chickens, who knows, with legs and whole parts mixed in, flipping around and splashing blood. The smell was so horrible by the time we reached the large, open-topped truck spilling over with feet and feathers and chicken organs that I almost puked right there in the car.

And now there are entrails and feathers and a whole mess of carnage up under my wheel wells. And my husband, folks, is a dream come true not only with the fabulous quotes ("GLBT? That sounds like a sandwich. I'll have a GLBT on sourdough.") but with the immediate offering to clean the intestines and innards out from under my car without me even thinking to ask. Ladies, if you find a man willing to clean nasty chicken guts off of your car, marry him. You won't be sorry.

07 December 2007

Eight Things That Can Totally Suck It*

1. Construction across the street. Please, drive the backhoe in reverse for ten straight minutes. Then drop something that weighs several tons.
2. Mailman. We don't need that mail, man.
3. Anyone calling my phone.
4. Me, for forgetting to turn off the ringer.
5. Neighbor with booming bass sounds in car. Don't get out of your vehicle and knock on the door, please, just honk your em-effing horn until somebody comes out.
6. Clumsy cat.
7. Stompy, barky dogs.
8. Tickle in my throat/ sneezing.

* When I'm trying to snuggle a freshly-vaccinated toddler down for a nap which, after over an hour of clingy, fussy discomfort will require a 74-point slow-motion maneuver to extract myself from under her fragile sleepiness.

View of a nap through the keyhole

06 December 2007

Recipe Corner: Black Bean Sandwiches

I have had this recipe in my giant folder since 1998, from a Country Living article about black beans. And tonight, in very-late 2007, I finally made it. The recipe was not actually for sandwiches, so I guess I did change it quite a bit, but I am kicking myself for not acting on it at any point in the last ten years. Delicious. This fed A. and I with one sandwich left over for lunch tomorrow (yum).

Black Bean Sandwiches

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Olive Oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 pieces flat whole wheat pita (not pocket pita)
Big handful fresh/ bagged spinach leaves
1 cup feta cheese crumbles (I am totally guessing on that measurement)
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes sliced about 1/4 inch thick (or you could use any kind of tomato, whatever)

1. Put the black beans in a food processor (or bowl for smooshing if you don't have a processor).

2. heat the oil and add garlic, oregano, and red pepper. Cook a couple of minutes, but don't let the garlic get burned-like.

3. Pour the oil mixture into the processor with the beans and puree.

4. Line a 9 X 13 baking dish with foil. Lay 2 of the pita in the pan and spread with bean mixture.*

5. Layer tomato slices, onion, feta, and spinach on the bean spread.

6. Spread the remaining pita with the rest of the beans and smoosh sandwiches together.

7. I covered it/ wrapped them but I don't think it's necessary-- bake at 275 for about 20 minutes.

*I found it easier to cut the pita in half before assembling-- so I made 4 smaller sandwiches instead of two big round pita sandwiches.

03 December 2007

Awful Mama

This morning, first thing, Bird started removing ornaments from the tree. Dragging all of my shoes out of the closet. Losing my comb. Screeching. Opening cabinets. Throwing forks. Using about 10 perfectly good diapers on her baby doll. Coloring on the floor. Putting stickers on the dog. Climbing the stairs in secret. Emptying the recycling one cracker box and water bottle at a time. Taking items one-by-one from the "Get Out The Door" pile and putting them "away," checkbook in the toy basket, sun glasses under the couch, phone God only knows where.

So I say, as I'm trying for the third time to get mascara on BOTH eyes before dealing with another Bird-related issue:

"Hey Bird, would you like to watch some TELEVISION?"

She immediately dropped my day planner into the dog food. Yes. Yes she would.

I finally got my lunch together, Bird's lunch together, daycare check written, dogs fed, clothes on, etc. I came back into the living room to find her on the couch watching a brain-melting show, looking completely medicated. Awful mama can't be bothered with being a mama, must put child out of commission.

And from there, we moved on to going completely boneless and floppy in a tantrum over her hat, another over her shoes, another over carrying her own bag, and still another over the zipping of the coat, ending in the mother of all tantrums about walking down the front steps ALL BY MYSELF. There was a point where she arched and kicked and twisted in the car seat so that I couldn't buckle it. There was a point where she laid face-down in the yard and I just stood there and stared at her while my eyes welled up. There was a point where I physically wrestled this child into her car seat, with the screaming and kicking and arching.

There was screaming all the way to daycare with a brief period of discussion about having a lovely snack when she got there, what do you think it will be? French toast? Great! and then more horrible, heart-wrenching, snotty, tearful wailing and grabbing at my jacket as Louise the Daycare Lady had to physically remove this little person from my body and I melted right out of the building.

Awful, awful.

And for what? So I can get to my job on time? So I can sit at this desk at a certain mark on the clock and check my effing email?

I'd like to say I handled all of this gracefully, but I'm unimpressed by my performance, starting with the television doping all the way up to the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and total loss of all patience and reason.

And now, at my desk, I just feel like a bad mama, like I should run as fast as I can to my Bird and make it up to her.

Again, three solid days of living my real life makes the work-week life seem so cruel.

02 December 2007

Weekend Collection of 10 things

1. Bird talking about seeing "Santa Closet."

2. Also from Bird a few long rants about someone named Jason and how he "Just can't stop," an emotional description involving large hand gestures with her palms out toward you in a "stop right there" kind of motion. No idea what she means, but she means it.

3. An excellent impromptu Girls' night with three of my favorite ladies. (Okay, that wasn't weekend, that was earlier, but still worth a mention.)

4. Falling in love with my city a little bit more at our Public Library, stopping in to check out some books for Bird and happening upon a really fantastic puppet show adaptation of John Updike's A Child's Calendar. I know-- you're thinking of people crouched down with hand puppets behind a little red box making stupid voices, but our downtown library has a really wonderful children's theater staffed with professional puppeteers and everything. Running commentary for everyone's learning pleasure during the performance was provided by Bird:
"It's dark now. There's the guy. There's the other guy. The guy is talking. There's a squirrel!" And so on.

5. Falling in love with my neighborhood a little bit more at our new fab Wine Merchant just right over there around the corner... un-snooty with the friendly wealth of wine information and un-ghetto with the absence of crack addicts and lotto ticket sales/ check cashing services. A true first in liquor stores for our patch of the metro area.

6. My husband knows all (and I mean ALL) of the words to Skid Row's I remember you. Still. And I got to hear every one of them in the car Saturday afternoon while he pointed out a new hole in his jeans:

A: Hey, check this out. (in bad-guy voice, as if he were leaning up against the side of my high school, showing off a full pack of smokes and a fifth of Jack Daniel's.)
Me: What?
Me: Your pants? What about your pants?
A: (points)
Me: Is that the corner of your pocket sticking out of a hole in your pants?
A: Yep. check it out.
Me: *blink*

And that? THAT is what a Skid Row song can do to a person, almost twenty years later.

7. Falling in love a little bit more (or at least making up) with our house. It sounds so simple, but removing a rug that smells like a dog's ass can make the biggest difference in your desire to want to spend time in a place.

8. Last-minute dinner with friends on Saturday further confirms that we don't need to move to Indiana to be close to family, that our chosen family here in Tennessee-- while not a substitute for our nearest and dearest-- is pretty near and dear in its own way, and in some ways even nearer and dearer.

9. Bought the teensiest tree at the Farmers' Market, put it up, decorated it. It's tiny but fits just fine, considering we'll spend so much of this Christmas holiday on the road.

10. Three solid days inside my real life makes my work life look pretty unappealing by comparison.