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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tiny hero almost triumphs in battle

Thursday, December 29, 2011 By No comments

As I've stated many times before, bugs terrify me. Anything resembling a bug, even fake bugs, makes me nervous.

I'm lucky to have a daughter who is largely fearless when it comes to bugs. She volunteered to catch her first bug at 18 months old - and I let her, dammit. I am not sorry.

However, she is no fan of spiders. Foreshadowing.

The other night, we were snuggled on the couch, watching holiday movies and ticking each other. The house was a wreck, one of our homemade garlands was coming off the wall, the mail hadn't come in two days for some unknown reason, I was flat broke from Christmas shopping and all was right with the world. Until...

"Ohmigosh," I exclaimed. "Emmie to the rescue! It's a bug!"

"Where?" she jumped up. I sometimes give her spare change for her piggy bank after a successful de-buggification, because I am a manipulative jerkface - uh, I mean, because positive reinforcement is an important tenant of my parenting philosophy.

I couldn't really see what kind of bug it was from my perch high atop the couch, from which I had no intention of ever leaving while the tiny mercenary awaited me. So I pointed her in the right direction and chanted her name from the safety of the furniture. "Emmie! Emmie! Emmie!"

She waved me off and peered over the floor. She is done with my dramatics surrounding bugs.

"Oh, dats juss' a leaf," she dismissed it.

"No, closer to your time-out chair," I said, and in her enthusiasm, she darted in that direction.

"Ack! Emmie, it's right - "

She looked down, saw the spider. And the spider saw her.

"Rawr!" it hopped at her, a tiny monster move that can only be characterized as adorable.

She screamed, leaped from the front door to the couch, setting a world record for 6-year-olds in the standing long jump, and clung to me.

"IssaspiderIssaspider!" she screamed. "Get it! Get it!"

I was too busy cackling.

"Issnotfunny! Go! Go!" she pushed me. "Get da spider!"

I stumbled from the couch, still doubled over. The spider stood its ground. I had to admire its bravery.

"Okay," I gasped, and reached into the closet for the broom. "You open the door, and I'll sweep it out."

She sneaked over to the front door and swung it open. The bottom of the door caught the spider and dragged it towards the wall. Crap.

"I goddit," she called, and reached for the door.

"Yaaaahh!" The spider charged towards Emmie's feet from under the door. She ran screaming again, leaping back onto the couch and screeching for me to get the spider.

It was about the funniest "Man vs. Wild" situation I have ever witnessed: This little spider, about the size of a dime, taking on two towering giants. It gave not a single crap that it was outnumbered or outsized.

I finally got myself under control enough to wield the broom. The spider saw me coming, and raised its front legs at me.

Insane. This crazy spider was not backing down.

I shrugged. Sweep! And it was out.

On the porch, it lay curled into a ball, legs contracted against its body. It didn't move, but it was most likely still alive.

I decided to let it live. Likely, we will face him again on the battlefield. Or, at least, on the living room floor. But he had been a worthy adversary and I think he had earned a second chance. Hopefully, he would choose to make his home in the woods behind us. But the neighbor's cat was lurking nearby.

"Is it gone?" Emmie called, and I closed the door.



We laughed about the rampaging spider for an hour afterwards, especially because we came away from it with completely different perspectives.

For Emerson, the incident marks the day she almost died.

For me, it marks the first time I've ever seen a spider, those chitinous horrors, do something cute.

Side note: I came across this just a day ago, and it made me LOL.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Appalachian Emergency Room, Part 1

My younger sister, Kelli, refuses to start her own blog (even though she's the one person in the world who can make me laugh hard enough to vomit), so I have decided that I will occasionally post a story from her part-time gig at a natural foods store in North Georgia.

About an hour outside of Atlanta in a small town is a really high quality natural foods store. Kelli jokes that it's the "Appalachian Emergency Room" because people will come in and ask all manner of questions that one might ask a licensed medical practitioner.

"And you can hardly get a word edgewise before they launch into their stories," Kelli said. Stories that are frequently of a very personal nature. "I just want to interrupt and say, 'Ma'am, I am just a retail clerk. I cannot help you with your vagina.'"

The store owner is a wonderful person - an experienced, licensed homeopath and an all-around natural foods and supplements expert. She's very enthusiastic about her work, to the point that some people might think she's absolutely crackers. But she's not. She's just passionate.

However, one of the things she recommends to people is regular colonics. Now, devotees of a good colon cleanse (most recently marketed as "The Master Cleanse") are quite obsessed, even though there's not a lot of evidence to support their use.

"Have you ever Googled 'colon cleanse?' I've Googled it! Google it now. Do it. There are people who will blog about their colon cleanses, the entire process, with photographs," Kelli exclaimed.

Apparently (and here's where you may want to skip two paragraphs), the colon walls become coated over time with a substance that is eventually expelled during a cleanse.

"It looks like boiled spinach or collard greens, Stacey, and they take these photos of it, where they're showing people what they've just pooped out," Kelli said.

And every one of them is holding up their prize with a stick of some kind. The thing is, all the sticks look familiar...

"You'd think there'd be some difference in the sticks they use, right? Like, some would be just regular sticks from trees, and some might be old broom handles or coat hangers, or something. But, no! They're all about the same color and size and shape - and they're very clean. What I want to know is: Who is marketing the stick?! Who is selling the poop scooper sticks?!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011 By No comments

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Emmie goes to bed every night

Thursday, December 22, 2011 By 1 comment

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Obama death panels come to Augusta

Me: "Sometimes I wish there were death panels - so I could be on one. I have a list."

Allison: "I think we should use a big foam finger. And when I touch you - BAM! - you've been death-paneled."

Me: "People will be all, 'Not the fingerrrrrrrrrr!' And it will be awesome."

Channing: "You two are just wrong. I'm not listening to you anymore."

And, you know, Merry Christmas, and stuff...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How I know my child is smarter than I am

I don't know if there's something stressing Emerson out, or what, but she's been super grumpy in the mornings the last couple of weeks. If she's not careful, she's going to spend a good portion of the rest of her life in time-out. She'll emerge at the age of 28, blinking from the light of the sun and gasping, "Trees! I remember trees!"

You think I kid, but her behavior is ridiculous. This morning, I was trying to get her to brush her hair. She refused to let me braid it the night before, so it was crazy tangled.

"Emmie! Dear lord, you have been brushing your hair for 30 minutes, and you've only done half of it. Will you please make an actual effort?"

Basically, she'd been sitting and staring at the radiator, absently pulling a comb through her tangles. I'd been riding her all morning, to the point where I'd even made a little "We Will Rock You" song-and-dance routine:

"brushyour HAIR! brushyour HAIR!
brushyour HAIR! brushyour HAIR!
Emmie you're a girl, head of cute curls
Brushin' your noggin gonna get smooth hair that way
You got a comb in your hand
Brush your hair, it's the law of the land.
Singing we will, we will BRUSH YOU!"


Blink. Blinkblink.
Seriously. Nothing.

"Emmie, do you think I like telling you to brush your hair all morning? Do you think I get up in the morning, make your breakfast and lunch, take a shower, brush my teeth and think about ways to nag you? Do you think I'm like, 'Today, I will tell Emerson to brush her hair 75 times.' That's not my goal."

She looked directly at me for the first time all morning: "Dat might not be da goal, but it's da score."


Monday, December 19, 2011

Twenty stupid things I have done just this week

I know there are lots of people who feel depressed over the holidays. I used to feel depressed, but now I just walk around with a big cloud of resentment hanging over me. Who are these people who have the time to make homemade wreaths and tie perfect bows in big, fat wire ribbons? You could poke out an eye with that stuff! How can you bear to climb up a ladder to put up Christmas lights? You know you're in the air, right? Like, not touching the ground?

In short, I detest being surrounded by people who somehow have the time to not only set up Christmas lights in their lawn, but also whip up some code to program the lights and set the display to music. I'm mad that my family has insisted on perpetuating the Santa Claus myth for the children in our family. I'm sure they're very appreciative of a fictional magic elf-man who uses slave labor to deliver toys to all the Christian kids on the planet in one night, traveling faster than the speed of light and possibly time. But fictional elf-man didn't slave over a hot computer screen to purchase that Wii last year, Emerson. Mommy did. And I want gratitude! Santa can bite it!

I am the Grinch in Whoville.

Do I express these thoughts? Well, yes. On my blog. But I try to keep my grousing to a minimum around living, breathing people. I went to our office white elephant gift exchange - and I brought an awesome gift that I found for only $7 at Walgreens!

I feel like I've gotten slightly off the subject here. To sum up, I resent the pressures to create the perfect holiday. And if you, also, resent those pressures and find yourself falling short of a A Very Macy's Christmas, you are not alone. To make you feel better, here is a list of stupid crap I have done in the last week.

Twenty stupid things I have done just this week:
  • Set my breakfast on fire in my toaster oven.
  • Glued my pants to the floor while doing Christmas crafts with Emerson.
  • Put my tights on so twisted that I think I cut off the circulation to my lady parts.
  • Run my head into a wall while demonstrating for comic effect how someone else ran their face into the same wall.
  • Taken a series of event photos and forgotten to fix the settings on the camera so that out of 100+ shots only five were usable.
  • Given almost all of my Christmas gift ideas for Emerson to other people so that now I'm out of gift ideas for Emerson (who is related to a LOT of generous people, apparently).
  • Somehow, despite my intentional increase of social media activity in the last few weeks, actually lost points on Klout.
  • Forgotten to pack Emerson's ballet shoes in her bag, leading to a meltdown of epic proportions that required me to leave work early to get her to ballet class.
  • Reinjured the wound on my chopped foot.
  • Baked a whole chicken and then completely forgot about it on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. Four dollars, trashed.
  • Broke a universal remote simply by dropping it on the couch.
  • Decided I knew better than a recipe and burned about three pounds of chocolate in the oven. Five dollars, torched.
  • Decided I was good enough to trim my bangs with nail scissors. I'll let you imagine the awesome it added to my already oh-so-fashionable exterior. Twenty-five dollars to fix it, slashed.
  • Wore plastic shoes to work. My mommy gave them to me, and they're comfortable as heck. I love them.
  • Forgot to pack Emmie's lunch one day. I don't know where my brain was. Luckily, she had some money in her meal account. But still... hello, in there!
  • Took a picture of my sleeping child, showed her said picture, and utterly freaked her out. "Dats creepy, mama! Don't do dat!" Now, every morning, she checks my phone to see if I've been "checking on her." Sigh...
  • Refused to buy an Elf on the Shelf, because I think it's stupid. Commence angry comments. I've already lived through one barrage of them. Come at me, bro!
  • Was defeated by the Post Office, once again, regarding international shipping. Thousands of people ship gifts - and sometimes drugs, weapons, and other illegal items - every day through the mail, but I can't get a box of Little Debbie zebra cakes past the glorified cashier to send to a friend in Germany. And why does she even like zebra cakes so much? They're made of sugar, wax and dish sponges! Is this what passes for food in the world's greatest nation?
  • Turned in my desk chair, where I'd been sitting in a relaxed position while I wrote, and accidentally mostly-flashed my supervisor. I was obviously not raised right.
  • Ate someone else's chocolate. In my defense, it was sitting in the "everyone's food" spot on the counter. And, if you leave chocolate unattended around here, it will get eaten by someone. So, really, it's not my fault at all, right? Right?!

So, this holiday season, know that whatever is going on in your life to stress you out, you can give thanks that you're not a complete incompetent like me. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

All Em wants for Christmas is...

Me: "Emmie wants a pet for Christmas. Is a kitten asking for trouble? Maybe I'll just get her a gerbil."

Alice: "How about a parakeet?"

Me: "Eff birds. They terrify me."

Alice: "Me, too!"

Me: "They're just Velociraptors with feathers. You can tack goose down on an alligator, but I'm still not going near it."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hide your grandma!

Thursday, December 15, 2011 By

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flawless plan for holiday fitness

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 By , No comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visual therapy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 By

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trollin' at work

At work, eating lunch with co-workers. T. doesn't eat red meat and was horrified to hear that A. had eaten veal parmesan while out to dinner.

T: "I can't believe you ate a baby cow!"

A: "Yes, and it was delicious! I also had Dungeness crab while I was in Charleston. I'd never had that before."

T: "What's Dungeness crab?"

Me: "It's where they raise the crabs in a tiny dungeon to make them more tender. [I make my hands into little claws] Give us free! Give us freeee!"

T: "What?! That's not true, is it?"

Funny Pictures - Creepy Llama Gifs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Training for Christmas (repost)

One of the reasons Scott and I don't take Emmie some places - like, to the Georgia Health Sciences Children's Medical Center Radiothon to be interviewed - is because I never know what is going to come out of that child's mouth.

So Christmas is a bit of a concern. I want her to properly use her manners and show her appreciation, but I worry that, instead, relatives will get The Face. The Face is this thing she does when she doesn't get what she wants. Her little mouth turns down, her eyebrows slant back and her voice takes on a whine that could strip the paint off your car.

 (This was the first appearance of "the face," at a mere 5 months old. 
She hated that hat.)

So I've been role-playing with her.

"Em, what do we do when we get a present?"

"Open it!"

"Well, yes, but what do we say?"

"Fank you!"

"Good! But, what if we don't like what's inside? What if it's something you already have, or something you don't want?"

"We say 'No, fank you.'"

"Eeee! Wrong!" I mimic a game show host, and she laughs. "You say 'Thank you.' What if someone gives you a present and you open it, and it's a box of poo?"

She laughs. "Uh... 'No fank you?'"

"Eeeee! Wrong! There are no exceptions to this rule, Em. You always say thank you. When someone gives you a present, how do you feel?"


"And like they love you, right?"


"That's what they're really giving you! They're giving you happiness and love. The present in the box? Well, that's just extra. So even if you hate what they give you, you smile and say something nice about it, because they already gave you happiness and love. And you want to give some to them."

"Okay!" She nods enthusiastically.

"Let's practice. Here you go, Emmie!" I hand her an imaginary box. "Merry Christmas."

She mimics opening it and looks to me for the contents.

"It's a... HAM SANDWICH!"

"Fank you," she says, laughing. "I like samwiches."

"That's awesome, Doodle! Now try to say something specific to the gift, like how you will use it. Oh-ho! You have another present! Merry Christmas!"

She mimes opening it again. I gasp with pretend amazement: "Look, Emmie! It's a box of dirt!"

She giggles: "Oh, fank you! We hab a hole in da yard, an' dis will help me to not fall down in it."

Oh my gosh, this is awesome. Why don't I role-play with her more often? We're both belly-laughing, and it's such an amazing insight into how her mind works.

"Very good! Oh, but we're not done yet - here you go, Emmie! Merry Christmas!"

She opens the imaginary gift, and I clap my hands with faux glee: "Ooooh, it's a live cobra snake - and it bites you in the face!"

"Oh, fanks!" she says, feigning delight. "We don't hab a snake pet! And it has so berry strong fangs!"

I laugh so hard I throw my head back and bang it against the wall. She's just too much!

"Wuz that good, Mama?"

"That was awesome. I think you definitely have this down. You might even be a little dangerous."

"But... mama? Is anyone really goeend ta gib me a real snake?"

"No, baby doll. But if someone went crazy in their brain, and did, what do you say?"

"I say, 'Fank you.'"


"... but den I gonna run away."

"Yeah, I think that's probably the best course of action."

Thursday, December 08, 2011

One of my favorite works of art

Thursday, December 08, 2011 By No comments

Heck, no, it's not mine. I can't draw!
Click the image to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Meeting etiquette: The smart-ass friends edition

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 By No comments

"I just had a two-hour meeting, the result of which was that we decided to hold a five-hour meeting next week."

"My meetings last about five minutes before the boss gets distracted by something shiny and I have the threaten to punch him in the face."

"My meetings never end and nothing ever gets done. Then I go back to my desk and I have to staple my hand just to refocus."

"At least you have meetings. Most of the time I just do my job with the knowledge that the boss isn't 100 percent sure what he's paying me for, and I'm not 100 percent sure that I can tell him why it's important that I do it."

"I miss meetings. I tried to have them with my kids, but they insisted on bringing their stuffed animals."

"I'd like to schedule a meeting with you about your meetings. When can we meet?"

Well, I suppose we all have our professional challenges.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

This makes me laugh - and think

Click the image to enlarge.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Teacher Gift Ideas, 2011

Augusta, GA. - I have a lot of teachers and teachers-to-be in my extended family. And every year they get a treasure trove of sweet little gifts from their students. Teachers REALLY appreciate the gesture, and while it doesn't change the way they treat your child, I believe it indicates to a teacher what kind of values we teach our children at home. So, if you can, please do something thoughtful for your child's teachers.

That being said, there's only so much coffee a teacher can drink, and only so many places to put apple-themed accessories. So this year, consider the following ideas for your child's teacher(s):

1. Thank You Notes - a sincere handwritten note from your child is worth its weight in coffee mugs. If you're one of the many struggling in this economy, consider this. I know teachers who have framed or scrapbooked the best notes they have received.

2. DIY Coupons - Offer to share your talents/expertise with the class! Teachers are always looking for ways to work with parents and use your collective skills to educate their classes. If you work in communications, consider doing a storytelling project with the children. If you work in accounting, put together a module on applied mathematics. If you work in construction, why not an intro to geometry or physics? If you work in the sciences - dude, you are golden. Get in that classroom!

3. Donations in a Teacher's Name - If your child's teacher has had a challenge (i.e., a death in the family) or supports a special cause (i.e., animal rescue) this year, make a donation in that teacher's name to an appropriate organization (American Cancer Society, Humane Society). They won't forget it.

4. Subject-specific memberships or donations - Say your child's teacher specializes in English. Make a donation to a literacy program. Or pay for a quality book-of-the-month club or a Kindle gift card. Or pay their union dues. Anything that makes sense for them, and that makes that teacher's life a little easier, will be appreciated.

5. Gift Certificates - Teachers spend so much of their person money on classroom supplies. How about a gift certificate to an office-supply store?

6. Gift Certificates, part deux - Pamper your child's 10-hour-a-day on-their-feet teachers with gift certificates for pedicures, for dinner, or for groceries. After all, they didn't get into the profession for the money.

7. Teacher Supply Box - Fill a festive box with any age-appropriate combination of anti-bacterial soap, tissues, pens, pencils, markers, glue, tape, scissors, air fresheners, fans, notepads, construction paper, folders, lined writing paper, binders, paper towels, chalk, dry erase markers, graphing paper, burnable CDs, flash or thumb drives, software, memory sticks, a backup mouse or keyboard, disposable cameras ... whatever is age-appropriate or discipline-specific.

8. Jar of Treats - nothing like a snacky-snack! Make sure it keeps for a while. He or she will likely be sharing those munchies with his or her little munchkins.

9. Elementary/Middle School - Board Games - Again, look for age-appropriate and discipline-specific games. Economics? Choose monopoly. Language Arts? That's Scrabble or Yahtzee. Sciences? For younger kids, there's Totally Gross. Art? Perhaps Pictionary.

10. Donate Your Used Equipment - Look around the house. Do you have an old boom box, computer, television, computer peripherals, camera, clothing, art supplies, board games, DVDs, books, or other items that are still in usable condition? I'll bet your child's teacher can make use of it in her classroom. Consider donating to your child's school before you send your things to the trash heap.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Happy Holidays? Or Merry Christmas?

WBBQ is playing Christmas music. The advertising circulars are pushing strings of lights and artificial trees. And someone on Warren Road who doesn't have to worry about paying his electricity bill already has a house and yard with so many lights that it can be seen from space with the naked eye.

That means it's time for the annual declarations that there is a War on Christmas! Drink every time you see a Facebook status update about this raging non-issue!

There is no war on Christmas. There is no plot to rid America of Christianity - a religion to which about 80 percent of the population belongs - because it would be a losing battle from the start (likewise, there is no plot to rid public schools of prayer or copies of The Bible, but that's a post for another day).

What does it take to turn some usually polite and kind folks into whirling dervishes? Say "Happy Holidays" to them. I dare you. Then you, too, can be accused of "trying to take the 'Christ' out of Christmas."

I cannot count the number of times I've been sniped at by grocery store cashiers and random people I encounter for using that phrase. No, honestly, I've actually lost count JUST THIS YEAR.

What's up with the attitude, folks? How productive do you really think it is to snap at me for not having a copy of your social script? Let me answer that for you: Not productive at all. I can guarantee that does not make anyone want to visit your church, or even hang out with you in a casual setting, during which you might have an opportunity to share with them your relationship with Jesus.

I've been saying "Happy Holidays" all my life, and I guess I always just assumed that it referred to all the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. I never thought it was a dig at Christians - because how is a stranger even supposed to know that you're a Christian when tossing out some seasonal parting phrase?

Granted, if you assume that every person to whom you wish a good winter holiday season is Christian, you would be correct 80 percent of the time. But here's the thing: The other holidays to which many people are referring aren't even non-Christian holidays. After all, there IS a reason for the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Protestant Christians who come from different ethnicities and nationalities and non-Protestant Christians all celebrate more religious holidays in December than just Christmas. Do you know who celebrates Christmas like "Christmas Defenders" think it should be celebrated? White folks raised in a Protestant home in America. White folks raised in a Protestant home in Germany or Sweden or Canada celebrate additional religious holidays in December. Likewise, any American raised in a Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Christian Orthodox or Coptic Christian home also celebrates additional religious holidays in December.

For example, Saint Nicholas Day is Dec. 6. On this day, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Episcopalians and Lutherans host a festival for children to honor the pious Dutch miracle-worker and gift-giver - from whom, of course, Americans partially draw the Santa Claus legend.

The one that always choked me up in Sunday School is Holy Innocents' Day, also called Childermas (Children's Mass). Celebrated on Dec. 27 or 28, on this day the faithful honor all of the children who were murdered by King Herod in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus before he rose to power: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children." (Jeremiah 31:15) Some historians say as many as 10,000 children were slaughtered. Weeping and great mourning, indeed.

So, cashiers far and wide can snap at me all you want, but that behavior engenders ZERO peace on earth and goodwill towards men. So don't be surprised if I snap back. Because in honor of those 10,000 children, and to be as inclusive of friends from all faiths and traditions, I will continue to say "Happy Holidays" to everyone this time of year.

I'm not taking Christ out of Christmas. I'm inviting everyone to what is supposed to be a month-long party.

December/January Christian Holidays