Friday, April 29, 2011

Lions Eat Zebras, Unless The Zebras Can Guess Their Names. Or Something Like That. Jerks.

There is no Disney version of Rumpelstiltskin.   Probably it’s because most of the characters are jerks, and the plot is driven mainly by the quandary of who can out-jerk the other jerks.

It’s also one of Preschooler’s favorite stories as of late.

Now, I’m not one to shield my kiddos from the harsh realities of life.  For example, one of our favorite board books meant for the three-and-under crowd explains to the reader, “Zebras eat grass....” [cue picture of cartoon zebra munching on grass], “.... But lions eat zebras!” [cue picture of cartoon zebra running away from the word ‘ROAR’ in a speech bubble.]

I’m ok with this.  At least it’s true.  And it’s not like they actually SHOW a lion eating a zebra.

But Rumpelstiltskin ... that’s kind of messed up.

It starts with a poor miller, who boasts to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold.  Even my three-year-old knows this is a flat-out lie.  Miller = jerk.

The king calls his bluff, and demands the miller’s daughter spin straw into gold.  He locks her into a room filled with straw, and says if she cannot spin it into gold by morning, she will die.  King = jerk.

After doing absolutely nothing to help herself out of her predicament, the miller’s daughter is all out of ideas, and begins to cry. Just then, a little man shows up and offers to spin the straw into gold.  But not for free.  Little man = jerk, sorta. 

The miller’s daughter gives the little man her necklace, and he spins all the straw into gold, and then disappears.  The king is amazed, but he is also greedy.  He brings the miller’s daughter to another room filled with more straw, and orders her to spin it into gold, or she’ll die.  Again, king = greedy jerk.

Once more the miller’s daughter sits on her ass and does absolutely nothing.  But she’s a pretty good crier, and the little man shows up again.  Once more, he’ll spin the straw into gold, but only for a price.  So the miller’s daughter gives the man her ring.  Again, little man = entrepreneurial jerk.

The king is so pleased to see all the straw spun into gold, that he sets the daughter to a third task.  This time, if she spins all the straw into gold, he will make her his wife.  Right.  Because every girl dreams of the day some man will kidnap her, set her to impossible tasks on pain of death, and then marry her.

Because the miller’s daughter is nothing if not resourceful, she just gets right on down to crying, and the little man shows up a third time.  But she has nothing left to give, so our favorite extortionist demands her first born child.   The miller’s daughter agrees, reasoning that, “who knows if that will ever happen.” The straw is spun into gold, and the king marries the miller’s daughter.  Honestly, I kind of think this is a jerk move by the miller’s daughter, but she was in a tight squeeze, despite all her crying.  Miller’s daughter = understandable jerk with little foresight.

A year has passed and the miller’s daughter, who is now the queen, gives birth to a daughter.  She had forgotten all about her promise she made under duress to the little man, when one day he appeared in her chamber, demanding the child she contracted out to him long ago.  Queen = possible jerk who wants to renege on her contract, but hey, she only made the promise after her life was threatened and I’m a mom too, so that little man can go fuck himself.

So, the Queen brings out the big guns, and starts crying.  The little man takes pity, and tells her she has three days to guess his name, if she guesses correctly she can keep her child.  She guesses all the names she can think of, to no avail. 

So she sends out a messenger to travel the kingdom to find out all the names of the land.  And on his travels the messenger overhears the little man dancing around a fire, singing “Rumpelstiltskin is my name.”  You’d think the little man would just wait another day to close the deal before prattling around like that, but there you have it.  The Queen guesses “Rumplestiltskin” and here’s where things get bizarre. 

Upon hearing his name, the little man shouts “The Devil told you that! The Devil told you that!” (oh yes he does, it’s in the book) and becomes so enraged that (in our version) he stamps his feet so hard into the ground that he sinks through and is essentially buried alive.  I’m not sure whether this is better or worse than other versions of the story that hold the little man becomes so irate that he literally tears himself in two. 

So, what’s the lesson?  If you cry enough aid (albeit evil aid) will always come to your rescue?  That it’s ok to withhold aid to those in need unless they can pay your named price?  That it’s ok to make extravagant promises about your child’s abilities to those who set out only to use her? 

Gah.  Give me lions eating zebras any day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Under Construction - UPDATED

Me:  I'm bored.

My Brain:  I know!  Let's change the design of your blog!  It will be confusing and threatening to every one involved!

Me:  Confusing and threatening?  Count me in!

This is what happens when I start talking to myself.  Try to ignore the orange barrels.  Thanks.

Edited to add:  I feel I should clarify - the process of redesigning the blog will be confusing and threatening to every one involved.  The final blog design will be soothing and thought-provoking, and may possibly compel visitors to send me gifts.  FYI I like money and elephants.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Won't Rest Until I've Bronzed SOME ONE'S Crazy Mutant Teeth.

Husband: Let’s save the kids’ baby teeth when they fall out, put them in a false jaw, and then bronze it.  Creepy?


*    *    *

Me (trying to force a toothbrush in Toddler’s mouth):  Toddler!  Time to brush your teeth!

Toddler (mouth clamped shut):  MMMMNNNNNMMMNNN!

Me (starting to panic):  Please open up!  We haven’t successfully brushed your teeth in days!!

Toddler: shakes head back and forth.

Me: manages to brush Toddler’s EYEBALL.

The optometrist will be so proud.

*    *    *

Me: I haven’t been to the dentist in five years.

My Brain: ?!?.   Angela! You’re supposed to go every six months!

Me: What? I brush and floss.

My Brain:  You’re going to spend another year NOT going to the dentist, aren’t you?

Me: Probably.  I think I’ll wait until my teeth turn mutant, especially if other teeth start growing out of my regular teeth.  It’ll be more interesting for every one involved.  I don’t want to bore the dentist.

My Brain: SIGH.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Lazy Woman's Guide To Being Green, Where Being Green Actually Means Being More Of An Aquamarine Or Possibly Chartreuse Instead.

Yes, I know Earth Day was a couple of days ago, but that’s ok.  Because for me, being green is all about being LAZY.  For example:

We try to use rags for cleaning, and save the paper towels for true emergencies (i.e. puke and crap emergencies because I am NOT laundering half a dozen puke rags so help me God.) 

It all happened one day, when I noticed a previously unknown strain of penicillin growing in pile of dirty dishes in my kitchen sink.  I could’ve used this newfound discovery to cure ebola, but I wanted to eat some Cheerios.  Unfortunately, we were out of paper towels and every cup and bowl in our house was dirty. 

Not wanting to go to the store, I dug up a shop rag and used it to clean the kitchen instead of paper towels.  A week later, the kitchen was dirty again.  WHO KNEW?  The aforementioned rag was filthy, so I tossed it in the washing machine, and pulled out another shop rag.  Then I realized, “Hey! We have, like, 50 of these shop rags. I’LL NEVER HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE FOR PAPER TOWELS AGAIN!!!”

I heart you, shop rags.

You’re going to notice a pattern here.

I buy cleaning solution (eg: Mr. Clean) in bulk, and mix it with some water to refill the same spray bottle over and over.  Yes, I know vinegar would be even more Earth-friendly, but I just can’t get past the smell.  The point is, I never remember to buy task-specific cleaning solutions when I run out, but I always have Mr. Clean around, which can clean everything from my floors to my counters to my bathtub.  By using a little Mr. Clean and water to clean everything, I NEVER (ok, rarely) HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE FOR CLEANING SOLUTION AGAIN!!!!

I heart you, Mr. Clean

Moving on.

I don’t always shower every day.  The reason is two-fold.  First, I don’t think I’ve taken a shower alone since Preschooler started walking.  Now, if the choice is showering with two screaming children banging on the bathroom door, or showering with two happy children watching me while making slightly disconcerting comments like, “Mommy?  What is all that hair for?  Mommy? MOMMY?” well, I choose the latter. 

But that doesn’t mean I have to choose it every day. 

Plus, the fewer showers I take, the longer it takes for me to run out of soap and shampoo, and the FEWER TIMES I HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE TO BUY THESE THINGS!!!!!  Also, we use less water.  I guess.

Having admitted this, I now give every one permission 
to draw stink lines over all my photos.

So, there you go.  The lazy woman’s guide to barely saving the Earth.  You’re welcome.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The In-Between Times

Toddler has a mystery spot on her wrist. And not the fun kind of mystery spot you visit on a detour to somewhere more interesting.

It started a couple nights ago. She was in the bath, normally the highlight of her day, when she suddenly started shrieking and flailing her arms. We finished the bath as quickly as we could, and started drying her off.

It was then that we noticed it, a large, raised, angry, red mark on the inside of her wrist.

In all honesty, it looked like a burn, except she wasn’t in any situation to be burned. She had been in the bath a full ten minutes before this happened, a bath she shared with her sister who was just fine. In fact, Preschooler was completely oblivious to her sister’s pain, in the presence of all those bubbles. And we weren’t bathing Toddler in a cauldron of boiling oil (we learned our lesson the first time with that.)

Even though the mystery spot was raised, it wasn’t a hive. I know hives. All Preschooler and I need to do is look at a bottle of amoxicillin, and we morph into itchy red she-beasts.

We decided maybe it was a bug bite. According to my Mother-in-Law, when Husband was a child, he would get a dramatic reaction to every little mosquito bite. We gave Toddler some Benedryl and sent her packing. By this time she was running her usual course of havoc and mayhem anyways.

The mystery spot seemed to calm down over the next couple days, until last night.

We just finished dinner, when suddenly the shrieking returned. We looked to see several blisters oozing with fluid from her mystery spot.


So instead of our usual evenings of playing the virginal while Papa read from the Bible, we packed the whole family into the minivan, and headed to urgent care. The reason I dragged Husband and Preschooler along was that ever since her 18 month appointment, where Toddler received no less than six shots, she’s had an inordinate fear of doctors. It takes at least two adults so some one in a white coat can do something as heinous as listen to her heart beat.

After a three-hour wait, which by the way is not so fun when you’re not on the S.S. Minnow, we finally saw a doctor.

“Let’s call it contact dermatitis. I don’t really know what it is,” declared the doctor.

Contact dermatitis, maybe in response to the nondescript Elmo bubble bath we used, even though the girls bathed in those bubbles ten times without incident.

Diagnosis: Mystery Spot.

And so, once again, I find myself writing during what I like to call the in-between times. In-between fixing breakfast, and changing diapers, and presiding over such conflict negotiations over who gets the flower plate versus the monkey plate, and whether one child has more grapes than the other. At 5:30 in the morning, and 10:00 at night. A sentence while sitting in the waiting room. A thought scribbled on the kitchen white-board while washing dishes. Typing with one hand while a sick child lounges on my lap.

Writing in-between life. Like every other mother before me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've Felt The Coldness Of My Winter. I Never Thought It Would Ever Go.*

It’s a beautiful Spring day here in south-central Wisconsin. The trees are budding, the grass is greening, and the snow is falling.

The snow is falling.

It is falling all over the four square feet of land in front of the condo we rent.

I finally have a bit of space where I can have a garden, and damned if I’m not going to plant the crap out of that thing. Errrr...I’m not going to plant crap, but flowers. Maybe I’ll use crap as a fertilizer. That’s the green thing to do, right?

“Mom?” I asked the other day. “When can I start planting flowers?” Hey, I spent the last three years. What do I know?

“Oh, not until the end of May. You just can’t be sure there won’t be a freeze before then.”

The thing is, I’m ok with this. Because it’s not as though Winter will give Spring and Summer a miss and go straight on into Autumn. The signs of Spring are all around me.

Disclaimer: This is not representative of 
scientifically cromulent weather systems.

Grass and daffodils burst through the ground.

Granted, only to be bitch-slapped by Old Man Winter

The animals are mating.  In my front yard.

Hey kids!  Come look!  Biology!

And Mother Nature has given us a couple teasers of warm sunny days.


*Name this song for a free unicorn**.
**Unicorns are on back order. You will be notified as to their availability.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When Lame = Versatile

Wow, the lovely ladies at 18 Years to Life bestowed upon me my very first blogging award!  I'm still in denial that people other than my mom read this blog.  Hi, Mom!

Now, there are prerequisites to meet before I can accept this award.  And darned if I neglect to follow them and earn an "F" in blogging etiquette.  It would be like college pre-calculus all over again.

First thank and link to the blogger who gave you the award.

Check! (see above)

Share 7 things about yourself.

Let me see...
  1. I played high school tennis for 2 years, and never won a single match.
  2. I'm the only person in the world who likes the song "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" by Paula Cole.
  3. I played an elderly Jewish man in my high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof."  I danced with a bottle on my head.
  4. It took 10 years of knowing my husband before I could comfortably fart in front of him.
  5. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
  6. I look up and to the left whenever I'm deep in thought.
  7. I don't like brussels sprouts.  I tried, oh how I tried, but I just can't do it.
Share this Award with 15 other bloggers.

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!
  1. Mommy's Developing Obsession
  2. Snappy Surprise 
  3. Eat the Damn Cake 
  4. today is my birthday! 
  5. My Life As A Chic College Cowgirl
  6. A Life Less Ordinary
  7. The Stay-At-Home Feminist Mom
  8. The Non-Consumer Advocate
  9. Child of DanĂº 
  10. Naked Cupcakes 
  11. Un-schooled
  12. Consequently Slapdash
  13. Modern Thrifter 
  14. think.stew
Contact these bloggers to let them know that they got the award.

Yo - you are all cooler than me.  I'm ok with this.

Seriously, though, thanks again to Dana at 18 Years to Life for giving me the opportunity to pass some bloggy love onto some others who deserve it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vanity Band-Aids Are The New Black

Preschooler has taken to wearing band-aids like they are jewelry.

At first I blamed myself.  When you buy Hello Kitty band-aids, what do you expect? 

Never has a bloody wound been so adorable.

I bought some plain band-aids instead, but it didn't matter.  We still have the following conversation each day:

Preschooler: Mommy, can I have a bandage?  I have an owie.

Me: Examining the proffered but unmarred finger.  You're not bleeding.  I think it's ok.  Can I kiss it better?

Preschooler: No.

Me: Oh.

Preschooler:  Picking at her cuticle until she has a slightly bloody hang-nail.  Can I have a band-aid NOW? 

Me: Defeated.  Yes.

So now there's a new rule in my house: You only get 1 band-aid per day.

After all, I've got to start somewhere.  I don't want my daughter to think it's ok to engage in self-mutilation all in the name of fashion.   She doesn't even have here ears pierced yet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Is What Happens When You Cook During Crazy Time

Before we get too far, I want to state that despite the following story, and despite the fact that I can’t bake, I am generally considered by family and friends to be a good cook.

But more importantly, I am an adventurous eater.

So the other day, when a craving for Indian food hit, I decided to try making it at home instead of getting take-out.

I’ve never cooked Indian food before, but I didn’t let that daunt me.  I found a recipe for coconut chicken curry, gathered the necessary ingredients, and began to cook.  The recipe called for (among other things) curry powder, which I was reasonably familiar with, and Garam Masala, which I was not familiar with. 

It also called for optional red pepper flakes.  My family, even the girls, like a little heat in our food.  In went the red pepper flakes.

I also took the initiative to add some frozen peas to the curry.  My girls love peas.  When Preschooler was a baby, she’d eat an entire can of peas in one sitting.  In went the peas.

So far things were going exceptionally well, considering the time of day.

Four o’clock in the afternoon in my house marks the start of what I like to call, “crazy time,”  meaning the kids are hungry and they are tired of looking at me all day.  They are in no mood to listen, much less be jolly and entertain themselves quietly so I can make dinner. 

Because of this, my cooking skills have been lacking as of late.  If I was given some sort of Iron Chef challenge such as:  Here are some squid, eggplant, and chanterelles... what will you make?  My answer would probably be: frozen pizza.

But the curry was bubbling away, and my house was smelling AWESOME.  The last step - make some rice.

I put rice and water in a glass bowl.  The top for that bowl was dirty, so I covered the bowl with some plastic wrap instead.  I punched a few holes in the top of the plastic wrap for ventilation, and set the microwave to 25 minutes.

Thirty minutes later I checked in on the rice.  It had scorched.  And the plastic wrap melted on top of it.  I’M JUST THAT GOOD.

We ate our curry with tortillas. 

Well, at least Husband and I ate our curry.  After 5 minutes of chewing and sweating, we decided that maybe that extra red pepper was not necessary.  Preschooler picked at it, but didn’t eat any (which was fine with me.)  Toddler tried to eat it.  Oh how she tried.

You see, there were peas in the curry.  Beloved peas.  She’d reach in for a pea, eat it, grimace, and try again.  After 3 or 4 peas, her face was beet red, and she was visiablly distressed.  We took the plate away before she could inflict further damage.

Bon Appetit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Can't Take Me Anywhere

Overheard while waiting in line at the pharmacy:

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-....I want to be sedated!

In my head (original meaning of the song notwithstanding):  Sedated?  And I’m waiting in line to refill my sleeping pills! BWAHAHAHA!!   

A week or so later, in the same pharmacy:

When I was a child, I had a fever....

In my head (again, original meaning of the song notwithstanding): Fever?  Giggle,giggle, snort.  This pharmacy rocks.  Why isn’t any one else smiling?  Am I the only one who thinks this?

Later on, at the shoe store...

'Cause it feels just like I'm walking on broken glass.  
Walkin’ on, walkin’ on broken gla-a-ass.

In my head: BWAHAHA!!!  And everybody’s trying on high heels!

Out loud (to my shopping companion): This is hilarious! 

Shopping companion: What are you talking about?

Me:  This song!  And we’re in a shoe store!

Shopping companion: Huh?  Oh - yeah.

I guess it is just me.  Carry on.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Welcome To 2007. Here’s Your iPhone.

About two weeks ago my old cell phone kicked the bucket. 

My phone was touch-screen, but not a smartphone, and was ridiculously complicated to operate.  By the end of its life, it was more of a hit-screen.  And a swear-and-yell screen.  And after suffering weeks of physical and emotional abuse it hitched a ride out of this Podunk town, never to be seen again.

Fortunately, my contract was up anyways, garnering me a new phone at a “reasonable” cost.

Always remember, “reasonable” is subjective.

I considered “downgrading” to a phone with buttons but that seemed sort of lame, even to me.

So I got an iPhone.  This probably won’t end well.

I don’t have the greatest track-record with technology.   I’m slow to embrace it into my life, and when I do, I break it.

Case in point:  A couple years ago, at Husband’s urging, I purchased a MacBook.  I had it for 2 months and spilled coffee on the keyboard, breaking the trackpad.  We purchased an external mouse, but still.

I’m taking every precaution possible with this new phone.  Protective case.  Scratch-resistant film.  Animal sacrifice.

Still, I’m probably best off not touching the thing.  And that’s ok.  Because I hear smoke-signals are coming back into vogue.