Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sing. Sing A Song.

I’ve started singing in church.  Now, I don’t mean singing in the choir or anything like that.  It’s just that when the congregation rises to worship in song, I actually open my mouth and make noise sing, rather than just standing there trying to look pleasant.  For me, that’s a big step.

I don’t consider myself particularly musical.   My history as a musician has consisted mostly of trying really, really hard to be adequate. 

I took piano lessons as a kid.  My mother took it upon herself to see that I practiced fifteen minutes to half-an-hour almost every day.  And through all that practice, I managed to become an adequate pianist.  There was no real inborn talent, just being taught how to play.  I did, however, take the initiative to take apart my metronome with a screwdriver.  I wanted to see how it worked.  The result of my experiment?  There were gears and stuff inside.  BRILLIANT!

I also played the flute for about five years.  Unlike piano, practicing was not a chore; I enjoyed playing the flute.  But again, any success I had was through lessons and hard work, not necessarily because of any inborn talent.  I never became an expert flautist, I simply managed to become a decent flautist.

So imagine my surprise to see how crazy about music Preschooler is.  She sings with abandon.  She pretends her Barbies are any type of wind or brass instruments.  She gathers a plethora of objects around her and uses them as a makeshift drum kit.

I showed my usual lack of parenting common sense, and bought her one of those toy instrument sets, with a drum, maracas, tambourine and jingle bells.  She hardly puts the thing down.  I even went insane for about ten minutes, and considered buying her a real child-sized drum kit.

The gift of song is uplifting.  And loud.  And sometimes grating. But mostly joyful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Is The Next Chucky. I Think.

Last Christmas we bought Preschooler this beautiful Belle doll.  It’s much larger than a regular Barbie doll, with posable limbs, plus she sings.  At least, she sings in the store.

La-la-la-la-la-la. I’m-a-giant-rip-off.
La-la-la-la-la-la. Beauty-And-The-Beast.

The singing was really the selling point.  She had a sensor on her hand, and when you touch it she belts out one of several songs.  AWESOME!! I thought.  ANOTHER LOUD ANNOYING TOY TO ADD TO OUR COLLECTION! Keep in mind this was the same Christmas I gifted my children with a toy drum set, including maracas, jingle bells, and a tambourine.

Sometimes I have no parenting common sense.

On Christmas Eve Preschooler and I were both on pins and needles.  Having throughly examined the Santa theory, Preschooler determined the best way to examine this hypothesis was to actually GO TO SLEEP.  I was anticipating the morning, when she would open up this toy and forever remember this Christmas as the best Christmas ever, thus garnering me with another feather in my best mother ever hat.


Christmas morning dawned and Preschooler opened her presents, including Giant Belle.  We take her out of the box, and I touched the sensor on Belle’s hand, expecting nothing short of an operatic miracle.

Nothing happens.

Preschooler didn’t really care.  By some stroke of accidental genius, I never told her the doll was supposed to sing. Over the next six months Belle did the usual tour-of-duty in Preschooler’s playtime routine.  But after a while, we noticed something odd. 

Belle’s head started to default to “backwards.”  Even if you put the head face forward at the beginning of the day, within several hours the head will slowly rotate backwards, remaining in that position forevermore.  It’s like the doll is possessed by some sort of half-assed demon.

So one afternoon, Preschooler was in the living room playing with her demonic Belle doll, whose head had already twisted backwards.  Out of nowhere, Belle engages in an unprecedented act and starts singing.

Preschooler was utterly agog.  For her it was as if an angel came down from the heavens and anointed her doll with the gift of voice.

To me it was as if this doll’s demonic possession was complete.

“Honey, look!” I say. “She sings when you press her hand!”

Preschooler was ecstatic.  She pressed Belle’s hand a couple more times just to witness the miracle once more.

Then she tossed Belle aside, moving on to a different toy. Nary a sound issued from her creepy head since.

So, next Christmas I’m making a concerted effort to buy toys that make no noise whatsoever.

I guess I’m a slow learner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Is What I Get For Trying To Be Clever

Why did you name your blog what you did? 

Every now and then the question gets thrown around internetland. After all, names are important; they turn the vague to the specific, and give life to an otherwise unknown entity.

Also, names can be really funny. Or really stupid. Or really beautiful. Sometimes all at once. Take my inability to pronounce certain words correctly, for example:

A Curious Individual: You blog?! What’s it called?!

Me: Begging The Answer.

A Curious Individual: Bagging the answer?

Me: No, Begging The Answer.

A Curious Individual: Bagging the answer?

Me: No, begging. Like, "This begs the question...." But begging the answer.

A Curious Individual: *blink* *blink* Bags?

Me: Ummm...yeah.

A Curious Individual: Oh. I get it.

Me: This is what I get for trying to be clever.

So naming a blog may not be my strong suit.  But if you want me to name a child or name a cat, let me know.  I have tons of good ideas

* This post also appears at Cheesy Bloggers.  Hop on over there to read other great posts about names, and share one of your own!!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Sometimes I want to make-out with my blog.  No, wait a minute!  Sometimes I want to make-out with other people's blogs!!  Is that better or worse?

Anyhow, thank you Janie Jones for the Blog Lovin Award!

Awww... It's pretty!

And here are seven facts about me you (probably) don't know:

1) I'm allergic to penicillin. I know, NEWS FLASH.

2) When I download music from iTunes, I proceed to play the songs 363 times in a row until I've memorized every last lyric.

3) Husband and I LOVE to go to concerts.  It's our "thing."

4) I couldn't swim until I was about 8 or 9, because I was terrified of floating on my back.

5) I need to get a dog so it can eat up all the crumbs my children drop on the floor when they eat.  Vacuuming is for suckers.

6)  I don't vacuum.

7) I'm pretty good about throwing things away when it's time for spring cleaning, but I hoard books like a fiend.

So, I now get to bestow this on up to 15 people.  Say hello to:

1) Sayschu

2) Snappy Surprise

3) Musings of a Sarcastic Mind

4) A Life Less Ordinary

5) The Stay-At-Home Feminist Mom (aka Betty Fokker)

6) The Good Life

7) Handflapper

8) Chicktuition

9) Fox In The City

10) 18 Years to Life

11) Fetch My Flying Monkeys

12) Sigh.  I can't go on like this.  Please take a look at the "Answer Key" tab on my blog, and read some of the best blogs out there!

DISCLAIMER: If you haven't yet noticed, I'm a real sucker for these blog award thingies. VALIDATE ME!!  That being said, I realize that some people find blog awards to be a real pain in the ass.  So feel free to graciously accept this award in your imagination, and leave it at that.  We'll never speak of it again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is There Some Sort Of 12-Step Program For My Blog Addiction?

I don't always have much willpower. Baked goods and potato chips have no chance in my house.
 You're doomed.  DOOMED!!

I joined a gym, and then failed to go exercise. 

Not me.

I claim I'm going to quit caffiene, and end up making a slow ascent to the top of mount coffee.

  Why do you even *twitch* WANT to stop drinking coffee?

Yet somehow I managed to unplug for one whole week.  No blogging.  No twitter.  No Google Reader. 

I did check Facebook once or twice, but only because I've been waiting for news as to whether a very pregnant cousin had her baby.

Oh, and I composed a quick Amazon gift list, seeing as my Toddler's second birthday is rapidly approaching.

Oh, AND I checked the news for a couple days. 


So what did I learn from my time away?   That my often timid Preschooler loves to swim.  That Toddler knows words like "boat," "see you," and "HALP ME!!"  That taking an extended leave from work to be with the kids may not disqualify me from every job in the universe.  That Husband wants to exercise with me in hopes that we both lose weight set a good example for our kids on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  That I don't really care whether minnows nibble my toenails.

See?  Time well spent. But now I'm compelled to be on the internet for the next 930 hours or so.

I think I need some sort of 12-step program.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted. Vacation, Have To Get Away!

So, I'm taking a leaf out of the Go-Go's book, and taking a vacation.  Actually, this will be our first "real" vacation since Toddler was born.  By "real" I mean we're going to places for fun, rather than traveling to visit relatives for Thanksgiving or Christmas, not that there's anything wrong with that.

We're spending a couple days in Minneapolis, then a few more days in a cabin in northern Minnesota, and then a few more days in northern Wisconsin with Husband's parents, which I still consider a vacation because Husband and I are ditching the kids at Grandma and Grandpa's, and going to a bed and breakfast.

This means I'll be ignoring my blog for the next seven day.  I may have patchy internet access during at least some of this vacation, anyways.  Hold me, I'm scared.

So, here are a couple of things to watch while in my.  Enjoy!

Muppets Sing "Danny Boy"

I'm a banana

Monday, July 11, 2011

Influencing Children's Television Programming, One Passive-Agressive Letter At A Time

To the good people at Nick Jr.:

I am writing to air certain grievances I have with you and your fine television station. 

Now, I do want to state that I appreciate all you have done for my family.  Because of you I can prepare dinner with only one child clinging to my pants leg.  Because of you, I do not need to hire a Spanish language tutor for my Preschooler.  “Arriba, up!  Abajo, down!” pretty much sums up all we’ll need to tick off the “other languages spoken in the home” box on her kindergarten applications. 

But there are certain practices, nay, sins that cannot go on unchecked.

First of all, please stop changing the line-up of your programs.  In my household, we work hard to instill certain routines.  Not only do my children thrive off of the consistency of a good routine, it gives Husband and I a glimmer of hope of what lays beyond the temper-tantrums, crayon-on-the-wall, and cheerios-ground-into-the-carpet; mainly the kids will be asleep meaning WE can have a drink go to sleep.  It took quite a bit of effort, but we were finally able to have all members of our household agree that after “Blue’s Clues,” it’s bedtime.  

But then, but then, you changed your line-up.  And then you changed it again several days later.  Now “Blue’s Clues” airs nowhere near any reasonable bedtime, unless you expect my children to be awake for the five o’clock morning news, which they already are thank you very much.  As it is due to your waffling over program-placement that the entire bedtime routine in my home is upset, I place the responsibility squarely on your shoulders to rectify it.

Second of all, what the HELL did you do to “Fresh Beat Band?”  First there is the new Marina.  Husband and I were so shocked by this change that we immediately consulted Google find out what happened to the OLD Marina, Shayna Rose (turns out she left the show to start a family).   Her character was replaced by another actress bearing no real resemblance to Ms. Rose whatsoever. 

Now this doesn’t come as too much of a shock, given the short lifespan of most daytime TV characters.  For example, Ms. Rose also had a brief stint on Days Of Our Lives, and soap operas are notorious for replacing actors and actresses, or aging a character 20 years in the span of one episode.  But my kid isn’t buying it.  She keeps asking where Marina is, and does not accept the fact that there is a NEW Marina.  At this rate, it would make more sense to just give the new Marina her own character.  Call her anything else, but don’t call her Marina.  You’re not fooling anyone.

Furthermore, what do you mean by having the Fresh Beats graduate from Music School?  What the hell are they going to be doing now?  Music Community College? Music Data Entry?  Singing Waiters?  What?

Finally, why do you continue to air “Go Diego Go?”  That show purports itself to be educational, but it defies all logic of the animal kingdom.   Diego constantly befriends predators.  These predators should do less singing and more eating, particularly of Diego. 

Furthermore, when Diego leads a prey-animal on an adventure, they always encounter one of the animal’s natural predators. This predator not only fails to eat Diego’s companion, but the predator possibly joins the prey-animal in some sort of rain forest concert-band, elementary school, or birthday party.  In addition, please explain your practice of superimposing a human voice over a recording of an animal’s vocalization.  What’s the point of simultaneously have a human say “ROAR!” at the same time that an actual lion roars? Frankly, I’d rather my kiddo just watch a baby jaguar eat a baby capybara, and then playfully tussle with another baby jaguar. Kids love animals.

I expect you will want to take action on these points immediately.



Friday, July 8, 2011

You Better Read This Post. I'm About To Be Word Raptured.

The other day I went to leave a comment on a blog, when I encountered the following word verification:  “Squid.”

I’m pretty sure this is a sign of the apocalypse.  Word verification words are supposed to be a jumble of letters.  Last time I checked, “squid” was a word. This got me thinking, what if the word verification jumbles are actually undiscovered legitimate words?  It can’t be that hard to figure out.  Watch.

Cocarsi: 1)  Of course I’ll carpool!
Jamogigl: 1) To get down-and-funky or to have a laugh-attack.*  Not both.

Unothog: 1) The discovery that some one is NOT a hog.  2) The absence of a hog.  3) One hog.  Or one thog.  Whatever.

Cartuper: 1) One who purposely upturns a cart.  They probably don’t want to go on the cart.  I’m sure they feel happy.

Dicystes: 1) Two cysts.  With an extra “e.”  “E” for “extreme” or maybe “elephant.”  Probably elephant.  Don’t worry, double-elephant-cysts are actually a good omen.  You shouldn’t have to go on the aforementioned cart.

See? Easy. I’m expecting my cheque from Merriam-Webster to arrive any day now.

* I realize none of the cool kids “get-down-and-funky” or have “laugh-attacks.”  But this post is already so ridiculous that I’m sure a couple of hopelessly outdated phrases will go more or less unnoticed.

** OH MY GOD, I wrote this post late last night, and this morning when I went to leave a comment on another blog, my word verification was “Nation.”  I’m keeping an eye out for the four horseman.   And my cheque still hasn’t arrived.  Get it together, Merriam-Webster, I’ll probably be raptured any minute now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When NOT To Let Your Babies Run Wild And Free

Over the weekend my mom hosted her annual 4th-of-July-fireworks-party-spectacular.  As part of the festivities my mom set up one of those kiddie swimming pools.  Now, Toddler is not yet potty-trained, and being the organized, prepared woman I am, I brought exactly ZERO swim diapers.

“Whatever,” I thought.  “I’ll keep her in a regular diaper with her swimsuit on.  She’ll just have a little extra junk-in-the-trunk.”

So into the pool she went.  She splashed, she laughed, it was a wonderful family summer experience.  And sure enough, her water-logged bottom swelled about 5 times its normal size.

After she had enough, I took her inside to dry her off, only to find her COVERED in small beads of silicone gel.

The diaper exploded. 

“What did you THINK would happen?!” exclaimed Husband when I told him of this predicament.

“I DON’T KNOW?!” I cried.  “We’ve accidentally laundered disposable diapers before, and they never exploded!  They just get really, REALLY, heavy!”

We hosed Toddler off, and sent her back outside to play in her swimsuit sans diaper.  She didn’t realize anything was amiss, although I’m pretty sure she peed on her grandfather’s lap.

The next day my sister came over with her kids, and being a responsible parent, she DID bring swim diapers.  Which I scoffed at.

“Whatever.  I’ll let my baby run wild and free,” I thought.  Husband, on the other hand, felt differently. So we put her in the swim diaper, which turned out to be the right call.  If we hadn’t, the pool would’ve had to be evacuated due to a turd and my poor parenting choices. 

Lesson learned: There is a reason they make special diapers for the pool.  This is not a difficult concept, unless you're me. I like to learn things the hard way.

P.S.:  Also, I’m THIS CLOSE to using cloth diapers should I ever have another infant.  The only problem with that is I’m chronically behind on my laundry, and don’t see myself as catching up any time soon. And while the obvious solution is to use a diaper cleaning service, in my neck of the woods that would cost more than disposable diapers, because they require you to "rent" fresh diapers of their choice each week.  In addition, which "yuk" factor is worse: laundering dirty diapers myself, or covering my baby's butt with diapers that (although they were cleaned) once resided on another baby's butt?  I await your learned, professional opinions with interest.

This post also appears at Cheesy Bloggers!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cheesy Beginnings

Once upon a time there was a blogger who was too timid to reach out to find readers.  It's quite possible that when she started blogging, this blogger told no one about her blog for several weeks, except her husband and her very best friend.

This blogger has a history of starting a project, say, knitting. She'll dump $50 into yarn and knitting needles, confident that she will soon be the world-master of knitting.  She'll shout from the mountain top, "LOOK!! I KNIT NOW!!"  Then two weeks later she'll decide knitting is hard, and she'll give up.  Unfortunately when people ask her a month after the fact, "How is the knitting going?" she is forced to reply, "Knitting? Oh. I don't do that anymore."

She did not want blogging to be one of those projects.

Six months after starting her blog, this blogger started talking to others about her blog.  Now she had a handful of readers, her friends, family, and for some reason Marianna Annadanna.  Although this blogger has been reading other blogs for the past five years, she didn't realize until now that, "Hey! Having conversations through comments is fun! I'm going to stop my practice of lurking on blogs, and actually leave some comments."

And she does.

After three more months of blogging, this blogger starts to think, "Hey look, Twitter.  Maybe I should Tweet."

Clearly social networking is NOT this blogger's strong suit.

But, tweet she does, and is encouraged by SarcasamInAction to tweet and tweet and tweet some more.

Now between commenting on other blogs and Twitter, this blogger garnered TENS of loyal readers.  She also gained some friends.

She and two of these blogger friends, Marianna Annadanna and SarcasmInAction, found out they had much more in common beyond blogging.  Cheese.  Beer.  Traveling.

And they decide, "Hey, there are probably LOTS of others out there who are just like us.  They blog about life.  And whether we are mommies or daddies or cat-owners or none of the above, we are all witty, clever, and just plain fun."

"We should have a place to hang out," these bloggers said.  "We can spread our cheesy talents all over the internet!"  Because clearly the internet doesn't have enough smart-asses.

So, they went to work creating the world's foremost arena for cheesy happenings.  For cheesy bloggers.  Bloggers just like YOU.

Cheesy Bloggers.

So join us, won't you?  Be a part of Cheesy Bloggers!  Tell your cheesy friends.  Be you witty, clever, or just plain cheesy, we want to get to know you.  See you there!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who The Hell Throws A Suitcase?

Gym class was never my strong suit.  I was the kind of student written gym tests were made for, the kind of student whose otherwise perfect honor roll status should not be tarnished by her inability to shoot a free-throw or finish the shuttle-run without falling down.

Now it just so happened that my high school was located a couple of blocks away from a bowling alley.  So, in an attempt to be progressive, my gym teachers marched us down the road to be used as guinea pigs for an otherwise unheard of bowling unit.

With a little instruction, every one should be able to score 100 points in a bowling game, or so their theory goes.  I’m not sure how they came up with that magic number, but it was set as the standard for obtaining a “C” or better.

They hadn’t counted on me and my ridiculous bowling abilities.  The next two weeks went something like this:

Day 1:  It’s simple, just walk 1-2-3 and then roll the ball down the alley.  1-2-3 roll.

Day 2: 1-2-3 roll.  My ball rolls into the gutter.

Day 3:  No, Angela, you’re holding the ball wrong.  Hold it like you would a suitcase.

Day 4: Who the hell throws a suitcase?  My ball rolls into the gutter.

Day 5: Hmmm.... maybe you need a lighter ball.  Try this one.

Day 6:  1-2-3 roll.  My ball bounces into the gutter.

Day 7:  No, no, no!  Your wrist turned at the end.  Remember, hold the ball like you would a suitcase!

Day 8: WHO THE HELL THROWS A SUITCASE?!  My ball rolls into the gutter.

Day 9: SIGH. Good try.

By day ten I had no less than three gym teachers coaching me through a game of bowling.  With their instruction and support, I was able to score 37 points, a new record!  After class, one of the gym teachers pulled me aside and whispered, “You never bowled 100 but we’re not going to fail you.  We know you tried.

Pity “C” for the win!