Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Digital billboards not all they're cracked up to be

Three co-workers and I are driving to lunch, when we pause at the 15th Street intersection. A digital billboard flashes an ad.

"Every had one of those nights?" it asks, with a photo of a tattoo that the advertiser wants to remove for customers.

The ad changes.

"If babies could talk, they'd insist on our hospital," the ad says, flashing a photo of a sleeping baby.

"What they should do is combine those ads," Channing says. "Ever had one of those nights? Boom. Baby photo."

Someone get this man a marketing job.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best reason to teach your child Southern manners

Monday, November 28, 2011 By , 1 comment

Emerson's class had a module about honey at school, and she wanted to try some of the recipes included in the information packet. So we went to New Life Natural Foods to pick up some organic honey, after having read this story recently. At the counter, Emerson began telling the cashier about the module.

"An' she tole us all about how beeth make honey, an' it wuz AWEthome!" Emmie said. She sometimes reverts into a sort-of lisp when she's excited.

"Who was it who came to your class?" the cashier asked.

"Ummmm... I don't brenembered her name," Emmie said.

"Was it Deborah Sasser? She's just wonderful," the cashier asked.

Emmie shook her head: "I don't fink so. Her name started wif Miss."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And now we need a drink...

Emerson called me on the phone while I was at work.

"Mama? Is wine a drug?"

"Yes, alcohol is a drug."

"So, alcohol is a drug, an' wine is alcohol?"

"That's right. Why do you ask?"

"Wull, I made a sign, but daddy diddin' beleeb me. He got mad at me."

"Give me the phone," Scott barks.


D.A.R.E. and local law enforcement have spoken to her class in the past couple of weeks. She's come to me for clarification about what drugs are, etc., so I was aware of the curriculum. Scott may not have been up to speed.

"She made a sign that said, 'Wine is a drug. Don't drink it,'" Scott explained.

Occupy the Liquor Store! Her protest sign says:
"Wine is a drug. So don't drink wine. Cause wine is one."
The sad person (left) drank the wine, she said. The happy person did not.

And then she marched out the front door of Cheers Wine & Beverage and staged a mini-protest on the sidewalk. She paraded back and forth, holding the sign over her head and chanting, "Wine! Is! A! Drug! Don't! Drink! It!" much to the amusement of passersby.

Occupy The Liquor Store lasted all of three minutes, before Scott realized what she was doing and staged a citizen's arrest. No pepper spray was deployed.

But Emerson's righteousness - impotent as it may be - could not be contained. She called me to get me to intervene. The protest would go on! But I couldn't. When I got done cackling, instead of taking her side ("Betrayal! Thy name is Mother!"), I explained the difference between legal and illegal drugs.

"Legal drugs are allowed for adults only, but in small amounts," I explained. "You weren't entirely incorrect, honey. People shouldn't drink wine all the time. But maybe the front of daddy's business - where he sells wine in order to make money - wasn't the best place for your protest."

"Oh... Okay, mama. I'll find somewhere else."

We may have to unleash her on the competition.

She's sorry, Daddy!

Sort of...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Foot patrol

Anyone who has hung out with me for more than a few months knows that I periodically spend time on crutches. It's just what I do. It's like, "Why do bears hibernate?" They just do. "Why does Stacey fall down?" I just do.

So a couple of days ago, I fell down again. I didn't break any bones this time, yay! But there was blood, boo.

Our living room, dining room and kitchen are all open to one another. But while the living/dining area is hardwood, the kitchen is rockin' some linoleum because it is just so cool. Linoleum is like retro hipster kitchen flooring - or so I tell myself. Anyway, where the two types of flooring meet, the landlord installed an idiotic strip of metal to join them.

I don't even know why you'd put a hump of metal in the middle of high-traffic area, but that's what he did. It's ugly, unwieldy and apparently dangerous even for mere walking. Because the other morning, at 6 a.m., I went from living room to kitchen, and hit my foot on something, nearly falling on my face. I took a step to steady myself, and... squish.

"That's an awful lot of blood on the floor," I thought. "Oh, wait, that's my blood!"

The metal edge of the flooring-whatever-majig had bent up through normal wear and tear. The edge of it caught the pad on the ball of my foot and sliced it. Sliced it like ham, people!

And, of course, as soon as I lifted my foot to look it, it started hurting. A lot.

"Hey, Em? Could you grab me a paper towel?" I called, while I watched the blood pool in the wound, and run down my foot in rivulets. She trotted out of the bedroom, saw my foot, and began sprinting in circles.

"Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!" she cried. "You're bleeding!"

"Emmie! Honey, it's okay. Just grab a paper towel."

"I don't know where dey are!"

"They're in the same place they always are: above the sink."

"I don't know how to get dem!"

"Just grab your blue chair. It's right there. Honey, right... Emmie, it's... no, there, sweetie. Look where mama's pointing. Right there. Baby, right there. It's where it always is. Right by the door. Emerson. Seriously."

She got the paper towels and helped me to the bathroom, where I saw things I never want to see again.

Y'all. There is stuff inside your foot. Gross stuff.

(DISCLAIMER: If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip the rest of this post, wherein I describe said gross stuff).

So, this is the foot. The red line is how I sliced it.

This is kind of what it looked like. Except not cloven and such (those are pigs' feet).

Oh, it gets better! Because I hadn't actually sliced it like ham. No, no. I sliced it like spiral ham. That means a portion of it was still attached. And that portion was all jammed up into the wound.

So, sitting on my bathroom counter, I took a pair of tweezers, poked them inside the wound (ow), pulled out the gross partially attached portion (ow) and straightened it out (ow). Can I just tell you what a badass I am?

I'm like this dude:

But... what do you do with that still-attached portion?

I don't know!

I started to cut it off. But... ow. So I washed the entire area with antibacterial soap (ow). Emerson sprayed it with Bactine (ow) and doused it with Neosporine (ow). I put the puzzle pieces back together (ow) and Emerson bandaged it up (ow).

I put a sock on under sandals and limped on into work. It really needed stitches, but that's a $100 co-pay I'm not willing to pay.

In the meantime, of course I contacted my landlord to come and fix this crap.

Emerson's been very fascinated with the whole procedure. She insists that she must check my boo-boo several times a day, and gets more confident each time. "Mmmhmm. Dat's doeend very well. Loots good, mama! Brenembered to keep it clean, and we'll change da Band-aids in da morneend."

This morning, we went through my daily wound-care process again. Y'all, I didn't intentionally involve Emerson into my gross foot wound. She totally took charge. "Sit here, mama. I goeend tate care ub dis."

She's a right old expert at it now. In fact, I think she really, really likes it. She lays out all the stuff (she calls them "'gredients," like we're cooking my foot up for dinner - gross!) and carefully and cheerfully applies everything. She doesn't even hurt me anymore.

"That's great Em! Thanks so much for helping!"



"Do you fink you can call me 'Dahtor Emerson?'"


So, if you see my Doodlebug around town, "brenembered" that she's Dr. Emerson, now. And if you need any Band-aids, she says Dora or Spongebob Band-aids work best.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Relationship lesson that stuck with me

I've been thinking about this one incident a lot lately, and because I know you all want to hear every little thought that comes into my pea brain, I thought I'd share it with you. You're very welcome!!

Years ago, I was dating this really nice guy. We'd been together for a couple of years. One day, he was in the midst of a heated rant about something or other. He was irritated and venting. I thought he was way off base, so I told him so.

He stopped, put his hands on his hips and said politely but bluntly: "You know, sometimes I just want you to agree with me."

Blink. Blinkblink. You mean you don't want to hear my opinion? Well, what kind of bullshit is that?!

What kind of bullshit is that? That's the kind of loving bullshit one brings into a relationship to build a foundation of mutual trust and support. I took that comment of his to heart and tried my best to shut the frack up more often in life.

Of course, it's important that the other partner not be entirely full of crap, or the kind of person who rants all the time. Nothing can support a platform built entirely out of hot air.

I still laugh at myself - and at his honesty - more than 10 years later whenever I have a conversation with someone. Because sometimes agreeing with someone isn't so much a statement of fact or honor as it is a statement of love.

I'm going to remember that as Emerson grows and later becomes a teenager, a series of years during which children exist entirely on a diet of hormones, drama and high fructose corn syrup.

And after one of my conversations with her (assuming she speaks to me), when I find myself asking, "What kind of teenage bullshit is that?" I'm going to remember: the kind that deserves love.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Funny girl

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 By No comments

Emerson, Jackson and I were playing Mario Kart for the Wii, when Emerson announces she no longer cares to play. She flounces out, and we continue to battle. Stupid red team always beats us.

Fifteen minutes later, Emerson wanders back in, toting a walkie-talkie, and sees that we're about to start her favorite board.

"I want to play," she says.

"When we finish this round you can play," I reply.

She frowns and raises the walkie-talkie to her mouth: "I want to play! I repeat: I want to play! Over."

We let her play. I have a rule that clever or funny communication gets taken more seriously than whining. I actively encourage and reward it. You haven't lived until your child has burst into a spontaneous, original song, while you're driving down I-20, about how much she has to go to the bathroom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dinner conversation might be a little tense this Thanksgiving

Emerson and I were driving to my parents' house in Atlanta and discussing the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving plans have been made, and I was letting her know how we'll coordinate between two families. But Thanksgiving is a slightly touchy subject with Emerson, who has been concerned about the plight of Native Americans for years. Sure enough, as soon as I mention turkey day...

"Mama! Did you know dat all dis land belonged to da Native 'Mer-cans, but some white people stoled it?"

Um, well...

"Yes, I suppose that's correct, Emerson."

She scowls in the back seat, her tiny anger as adorably ineffectual as always. "If I find doze people, I would beat dem up."

So, that's not good. I'll try to put it into perspective for her.

"I don't think beating people up is the answer. Besides, Emmie, all this land in America belonged to the Native Americans. The whole country. So everyone in America is living on stolen land. You, me - everyone."

She stares at the passing countryside, mouth agape: "Everyone?!"


She sighs and shakes her head. "Man... das a lot of people I gotta beat up."

Somehow that didn't work out like I'd hoped.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Have an egg-citing time at Kackleberry Farms

Louisville, Ga., may not be a Mecca for tourism, but agri-tainment complex Kackleberry Farms more than justifies the 40-minute drive from Augusta out into the country. This is the last weekend that the farm will be open, so try to make it out there with the whole family!

Kackleberry Farms opened in 2007 to combine education and agriculture with a corn maze and other seasonal attractions. But the owners, Mitch and Lisa Vaughn, have added something new every year, and now have almost 60 activities.

Pumpkin painting
Little kids: The Kiddie Korral is a play yard with sand pile, see-saw, playfort, slides and a swing; the Korny Box is a sandbox made of corn (not great for building korn kastles, but feels kool); the Kow Train is cow-painted cars pulled by a tractor; the Hay Jump is a six-foot-high stack of hay bales with a pile of straw underneath.

All aboard the cow train!
For everyone: The Korn Kannon allows visitors to shoot corn cobs (korn kobs?) at targets with an air cannon; Steer Roping allows patrons to try their hand at roping a cow's head replica; the Duck Race lets you race rubber duckies propelled by an old-fashioned water pump; the Jumping Pillow is a huge inflatable almost 50 yards long; the Kackleberry Speedway has pedal cars for all sizes; ax throwing demonstrations (which I'm no longer allowed to do... my bad) have some kind of purpose, I'm sure, and the corn maze offers an orienteering exercise that can challenge even the best - but Emmie led me in and out in 10 minutes! She's a freak of nature, seriously.

Thirteen-year-old Jackson rocked the ax-throwing.
Our favorites

We spent most of our time racing each other in the giant Rooster Rollers and rolling each around in giant PVC pipes. We also loved feeding and petting the farm animals (donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, cows, chickens and a pig that repeatedly tried to bite us), and watching the two smaller kids ride the zip-line swing called the Wiggle Worm.

The Wiggle Worm zip line swing.

Emmie did not want to leave the Rooster Rollers.

But there are so many other activities that it's ridiculous: Checkers and tic-tac-toe sets, pumpkin painting, face painting, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, a flower patch, "bull-riding," snacky snacks (oh, good gravy, the funnel cakes...), tire climbing, giant rocking chairs and piggy banks for photo opportunities, laser tag and gem mining.

Make your own photo opp.
Jackson and Allison in a riveting game of checkers.

Anna Grace looking gorgeous on a giant pink pig.
We spent 5-6 hours out there and couldn't possibly do everything there was to do. All for the price of a prime-time movie ticket - and less than the price of a 3D movie ticket.

You want to hear the part that made me very happy? They had real bathrooms. Such a small thing, but port-a-potties make me crazy. Can't stand them (hear that Nantahala Outdoor Center? One toilet at the put-in spot is all we ask).

Also, apart from some music piped in, there's not a single digital device in use out there. No cell phone reception, no iPads, no televisions. It's a whole world of analog activities. I don't even remember how that used to be. No one complained. No one missed the ever-present drone and vibration. And nothing I see on "The Daily Show" has ever made me laugh as hard as trying to compete in a giant hamster-wheel run with five other people.

If you go:

Bring: a camera, coats, gloves (not mittens) and shoes/boots you don't mind getting dirty; $4 for pony rides, $1 for face painting, and more for funnel cakes and other yumminess.

Leave: cell phones, ipods, game systems, bystander-itis.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Twitter Round-up

Some folks don't do Twitter - but that's where I do some of my best work! Or, as Alice Wynn says, where I tell my best "Popsicle stick jokes."

Oct. 28
@natinde Thought you'd like to know that Emmie finally named her stuffed elephant today. And she shall call her... Margaret. #parenting

"Ooooh, sorry, Doodle! Mommy doesn't have very good aim." "Owwww! You should really practice!" # parenting # fail

Oh, wow, the temperature outside is fabulous! I love #fall! #weather

NO, #Microsoft Word thesaurus, "navigate" is NOT a synonym for "navigated." Useless piece of... #MSOffice #work

Wrap dresses are very forgiving - thanks @DianeVFSales! - until your boss buys an enormous lunch for everyone, including FOUR desserts! #WLS

Wrap dresses are also very forgiving until the wind blows. #DVF #fashion #OopsMyBad

This video from @TMZ wouldn't really be funny except... Elvis?! #Usher #TMZ

But, @UsherReal, you really shouldn't be parking in a handicapped space if you don't need one. #Usher #TMZ

My daughter has taken up #planking. On me. Argh, scoot over, child! #sleep #parenting

Oct. 29
Okay, for real this time, we're headed to Kackleberry Farms in Louisville, Ga. Thanks again, @LindseyThetford! #parenting #Halloween

Last day to pick up ingredients for #Halloween drink recipes from Cheers Wine & Beverage: #dining #beverages

Random thought: Am I the only person who would kind of LIKE a sequel to "Love, Actually?" #movies #Liam Neeson #Emma Thompson #Alan Rickman

Oct. 30
So, I'm not allowed to throw the axes at #Kackleberry Farms anymore... #parenting #OopsMyBad

Rubbing my hands together to warm them. Emmie: "Be careful. You might start a fire wif doze." Guess I need moisturizer. #parenting

Not happy to be up sick for three hours, but I've been kept company by an #owl declaring his #eternal yes! And a spoon, please...

Awake with a stomachache. Maybe I am of an age where hot sauce and onions don't mix. #Tums

Here, #Kanye and #Jay-Z, is HOW IT'S DONE: Or, in a pinch, this will do: #music #otis redding

#Kanye and #Jay-Z now on my "poo list" for murdering one of my fave songs, #Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." Blasphemy! #music

Oct. 31
Em: What are you s'posed ta be? Kid: A gangster. Em: Wull, you diddin gank me!

"Dog on LSD hit by car." Um... what? Come on, idiots, don't force your poor life choices onto your DOG.

Seven billion people in the world. What number are you? #population #sustainability #BBC

Oh, dentists, Y U MAKE MY JOB HARDER?! #parenting #dentistry #Halloween

Nov. 1
Emerson just whispered "trick or treeeaaat" in her sleep right in my ear. Heart still pounding. Creepiest sound ever. #Halloween #parenting

My friend wanted to rock Halloween for neighborhood kids. She bought 100 full-size candy bars to hand out. This morning, she has 99 left.

She may actually have 100 candy bars left, but I figure she ate one eventually... #Halloween

Nov. 2
Captain Obvious says: Maybe if you're pushing an infant in a stroller across a busy road, you should use a crosswalk. #parenting

Yes, I sometimes let my first-grader do her homework with a pen. Some moms just want to watch the world burn. #parenting #CantFindaPencil

"@nytimes: $25 and Under: Airy Macarons" Will everyone in NYC shut up about macaroons? They're no big deal! #food #dining

Hello, Paycheck! Oh, Bills, I didn't see you sitting there... goodbye, Paycheck. #finance

Nov. 3
Thanks to the little twerp who "found" my daughter's coat the very first day she wore it. Enjoy it. #TeachYourChildrenRight #parenting

TIL that rubbing alcohol erases Sharpie from Mario Kart for the Wii. That's $49.95 Santa Claus didn't have to spend this year. #parenting

I just tried to say "See you later" to my boss, and complete gobbledegook came out of my mouth. Is my tongue paralyzed?! #work

Woman at the bus stop covered in baby powder - or is it? #PeopleAreStrange

Nov. 4
Also, how does one keep a child from misplacing her "glubbs" every other day? Staple them to her hands? #parenting #help

Um, heh... Apologies to the "little twerp who 'borrowed' my daughter's coat." Seems it was in the classroom the whole time. #parenting #fail

Big meeting this morning. Couldn't find my eyeliner, but I had a Sharpie! Not Bad. #fashion #beauty

I think the cashiers here are all asleep. #Walmart

My child is so flippin' special that she got TWO costumes for #Halloween this year. [facepalm] #parenting

Monday, November 07, 2011

Also known as the Chamber of Secrets

"So my daughter was telling me about an accident one of her gymnastics teammates had. She said, 'And then she fell on That Part That Shall Not Be Named.'"

"She fell on Voldemort?!"

Friday, November 04, 2011

Halloween photos

So, I think Emerson might have had fun on Halloween. Every year, her Nona takes her to the neighborhood Halloween party, and then I take her trick-or-treating with friends. That usually means that she gets TWO costumes - one ladylike costume from her Nona, and one costume of insanity from me. It works out pretty great, actually.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

'Fauxhemian' doesn't suit me

Alice: So what are you doing this weekend?
Me: Going to the mountains with my sister.
Alice: Oh, that's right, the kayaking trip.
Me: I'm so excited!
Alice: You've been going a lot lately. Be careful; you're just one trip away from a Life is Good T-shirt.