Wednesday, August 29, 2007

my teen is too mature for MySpace

I got one of those "friend requests" on MySpace today---and the name looked familiar, so I was looking at the friends lists of some of my friends (repeat yourself much?) to figure out where this guy heard of me.

Son #1 looked over my shoulder and said, "YOU are on MySpace? Isn't that kind of CHILDISH? I think you're a little OLD to be hanging out with the kids on MySpace, Mom."

"Yeah, well, LOOK at my friends. They're not teenagers. All my MySpace Friends are old people, too."

"Yeah, Mom, and that's kinda creepy. They're all weird."

I've been schooled by my own offspring.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hubby: An icon of sympathy

In the middle of my sniffly morning, I look over at Hubby and all I can think to say is, "I'm turning 40, sweetie."

He's 43. He's been there. And when he turned 40, I did what I could to let him know that 40 was no big deal, that he was as hot as ever, that he had a lot of adventure ahead of him, that he was just hitting his stride, really, with enough experience and wisdom to pull it all off.

I figured I'd get some of that back. Here's a quote:

"Not 'til October, Christine. Don't come cryin' to me! Forty? I KNOW."

Monday, August 27, 2007

I think I need to sit down

I am having a wave of "I'm turning 40 in October" this afternoon. For the record, I am not handling 40 well, at all, thus far.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's all a matter of perspective

Last night was Open Mic Night. I LOVE Open Mic Night, because I dance like a fool all night. But last night was especially fun:

Son #1 saw me in my jeans, denim jacket, understated makeup and platform wedges and said I looked "A little prostitutey, but not in a bad way, Mom!"

This made me a little nervous, so I asked several Adult Peoples for their opinion. The consensus was that I didn't look prostitutey at all, but rather
A) fine (yes, ladies, that was my husband who tossed out that heartwarming compliment. And no, he did not say I looked "fiiiine". It was just "sure, yeah, you look fine." Hubby is a guy.)
B) a little hot
C) like a biker chick
D) "Good. I mean, you look REAL good."

I especially liked that last one, as you can imagine. Men who can sling a compliment like that are AWESOME.

Also fun, and a personal first: As I walked into the bar, the singer who leads Open Mic Night saw me and yelled, "Hi, CHRISTINE!" I felt like a total band fixture. Which is a major goal for me, these days.

I also discovered, over the course of the evening, that I actually still AM capable of dancing in platform wedges. This is a skill I have not used since 1986, when I met Hubby, who is an awesome musician but not one to dance. So, yes, 21 years later, and after just a little nervous shuffling on the dance floor, I was able to work it like I meant it. 'Cause I most certainly do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First day of school

Sons #1 and 2 got on the high school bus, this morning, and all is well. Meaning:

-they were bored, but not morbidly so
-there is an "adorable, tiny, genius girl" in Honors English
-Son #1's former health teacher was fired over the summer, for child molestation (but Son #1 didn't see it coming)

Today was also the first day of school for Sons #3 and 4. Homeschooling 2 is easier than 3. Homeschooling 2 is infinitely easier than 4. My house is quiet and I have hardly anything to grade, this evening.

And lastly, today was the day my new, Oasis washer and dryer arrived. They are fast. They are efficient (or so they say). They are nearly silent. I am quickly catching up on heaps of laundry, because they are massive. Plus, they are a stylin' blue. Can't beat that.

I am burning cinnamon candles, which smell great to me and the Sons, and smell like "something's burning!" to Hubby.

And now, I shall fill out the reams of demographic forms required by the state, and fold my fluffy, warm, dry clothes. That's an evening's entertainment, right there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things I said because I'm a Mom, #102

"Come ON, boys! You know the difference between clean and dirty, so get it DONE. I don't have any STUPID children. This is not rocket science. Just clean the den so that it looks clean!"

I don't sound particularly like my own mother, but I think I was channeling some mom, somewhere, just then...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oh, yeah, I'm on Facebook, too

Beth told me to get a Facebook page, so I did.

If Beth told me to jump off a bridge, would I do that, too? Probably not, but, you know, Beth is cool.

It may not be on the Metro line, but...

we do get to see stuff like this, out in the Happy Boondocks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

See, this is why I can't get anything done

Tomorrow is Hubby's mom's birthday. I, of course, already arranged for her to receive a fantastic edible arrangement, tomorrow.

Hubby's family, however, is more of the spontaneous sort. They decided, yesterday, that we will all get together tonight for dinner. Great idea.

But it also means I need to bring a gift.

For my mother in law.

Who has everything.

Hubby suggested I print out a photo of the family, and frame it. Easy, right? I found the perfect shot of Hubby, the Sons, and Hubby's Aunt Gloria, taken while we were on vacation last month. I went to Target, with my memory stick.

Target has 2 photo printing machines. One was broken. The other one was dominated by a woman who didn't know how to use it. When she finally gave up, I realized that the non-broken machine was not compatible with my memory stick. Target is also where I saw this lovely sign. So enthusiastic, they are, about being slightly less helpful!

Wal-Mart is becoming a Super Wal-Mart. So their photo thing is down for the next week.

K-Mart doesn't have one anymore.

Best Buy and Staples don't use photo paper--just regular printer paper.

The CVS near us no longer accepts my memory stick.

But the CVS downtown, the SEVENTH STORE I VISITED, was able to process my photo.

Aw, my son can't tell I'm past my sell date

On the way home from the orthodontist's office, Son #2 opened The CD Mom Always Keeps in the Car and Usually Plays, Unless Dad is There Because He is Sick of It.

Because, the Sons are not yet tired of ACME Blues Company, and are almost as happy to listen to them as I am. They even sing ACME songs, for their own enjoyment. Or, in the case of Son #4, to charm Mom with a kiss on the hand and a couple of bars of "Sugar Mama".

Anyway, Son #2 noticed the autographs.

"How did you get them to sign this?"

So I told him, "We asked them. They play really small places. We talk to them, sometimes, between sets. That's how we first started to go see them: Dad knows their bass player."

He was suitably impressed. Also, completely clueless.

"Ya know, Mom, if you've got married women with children asking for your autograph, you must really know you've made it."

The Blogger Next Door

Uncle Sam (well, actually, those "Pueblo, Colorado" consumer people) is creating a government blog. Sure, I'd love to know what the government had for breakfast, or why the government is annoyed by its visiting relatives, or whatever adorable thing the government's kids said this morning.

Anyway, long story slightly less long, they're surveying all us opinionated American people to find out which name we prefer for the blog. I voted. Because I am nothing if not opinionated and American.

Go ahead and take the survey, yourself. Call it practice for election day.

I bet you can guess which one I picked. Because smart blog readers can Read a Blog Entry Title and Get a Clue.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Editor is an Idiot

It's been a while since I last blogged about my editor. This one, though, you will love.

Yesterday I interviewed a doctor. It turns out I had interviewed her about a year ago, when she was in a group practice. But, you know, after I submit my articles I don't generally read them--just grab a copy for my clip file, mainly to remind myself to send an invoice if my paycheck doesn't arrive. So, I hadn't looked at the article from last year, although I planned to, post-interview, if I needed some background information.

I showed up for the interview, and got the cold shoulder. This is a doctor whose practice opened 2 days ago. She has no patients. There was no one there but the doctor, her receptionist, the doctor's 2 children (who immediately excused themselves to go to the library) and me. But for some reason the doctor made me wait 20 minutes, before she would meet with me. "How rude!" I thought. "What is up with this? Do doctors HAVE to make you wait?"

All shall become clear.

When I finally got her to speak with me, the interview went well. I got everything I need. And then I pulled out my camera.

"You took a lovely picture of us, last year," she said. "But I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me the 'not thin' doctor, this time."

It turns out my editor had printed, as the caption to the photo, the notes I'd sent her to help her identify the 3 people in the picture, all of whom were wearing those white lab coats.

There was a male doctor. OK. And 2 female doctors. One of whom was the lady I saw yesterday. The other was skeletally thin. Mary Kate and Ashley thin. It was actually one of the few instances in which I thought someone was so thin as to be unattractive. So, yes, I had told my editor that she was "the thin one, with darker hair".

And she printed it. For 49,500 families to see.

Hubby, of course, said, "Well, it's not like you said she was The Fat One. And you didn't even mean for that to be published." And he is right, on both counts.

But as a chunky chick myself, I completely understand how that poor woman could remember, a year later, the exact wording she'd read in the paper that morning. I was mortified. If making me wait 20 minutes was the best she could do, heck, that's OK by me.

But let me reiterate: my editor (also a woman, by the way) is an idiot. I'm gonna have to be a lot more careful about how I describe my photos.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


"Ya know, Mom, I had no idea you were raised Catholic, until Mom-mom mentioned it, this weekend."

Thanks a lot, Son #2. That'll help me get along well with your grandmother, for years to come.

Incorrigible--a salty post, for those who can handle salt

"Ya mean I can't say 'piss'?"

"'Bitch', is that a curse word?"

"You're kidding, really? You don't want me to talk about shit? Why not? Man, I've got to really watch out. I guess I can't say 'fuck', either, huh? You know what they say, you can talk about fucking, you can fuck, but you can't say 'fuck'."

"You know, if I had breasts, I'd never get anything done, because I'd just be playing with them all day."

No, this is not everything that came out of Jesus Bill's mouth today. Just a sampling. Since, like dinner. Which was around 7. And he went out to be in his camper around 8:30. And I think I blanked out about half the time.

By the time we parted, he was muttering "Jesus, Bill!" after every other sentence.

Son #4 visits Loveville

Yesterday, I dropped the Sons at a friend's house for a sleepover. On the way, we passed through Loveville.

Loveville is just a town. Nothing special, except at Valentine's Day, when everyone drives there to have their mail sent from the Loveville post office.

But yesterday, Son #4 saw the "now entering Loveville" sign, and cracked up.

"Look, Mom, we're in Loveville. Rainbows are going to appear over the road, and all the people will look like this (jazz hands and full, twinkly smile) and bunnies will hop out to wash your car."

The magic of Son #4 is that not only does he crack me up with stuff like this, I also find myself looking for rainbows and dancing pedestrians and bunnies with little rags and bottles of Windex. His cheerful, silly vision is just contagious.

And, somehow, when the road is just a road and there are no dancers and no rabbits, I don't feel disappointed, either. More like, "Oh, well, I didn't see it, but it's gotta be out there, somewhere."

Son #4 makes up for most of the crap of life.

The Second Coming of "Jesus, Bill!"

Hubby's brother is in town. He's camping in our driveway. This is his second visit to the Happy Boondocks. Last time he was here, he earned the moniker "Jesus Bill".

Bill says whatever he wants. Bill pretty much DOES whatever he wants. So, for example, he'll sit in a minivan full of the Sons and discuss his opinions on abortion, the Iraq war, Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts, and intestinal mucus. His opinions are predictable and outlandish, and he brooks no disagreement. He also will not refrain from airing those opinions, loudly and at length, no matter what.

Last time he was here, Hubby and I were constantly trying to get him to mellow out on the inappropriate language and subject matter, while around the Sons. We were totally ineffective.

Every time he'd start, I'd either send the Sons to another room for some trumped-up chore, or start babbling about whatever came to mind, just to redirect the conversation. I am not very good at conversation redirection, so I end up sounding like an idiot who can't stop talking about trivial crap. I must really be making an impression, with the inlaws.

Hubby, on the other hand, would whip his head around to his brother and say, "JESUS, BILL, the boys are right here!"

And so, a nickname is born. All hail "Jesus Bill".

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The creepy totems of motherhood worship

I have 4 kids. Everybody knows this, not least my mushy abdominal section.

I stay home, and have curtailed my career, mostly because of those 4 kids. I am gearing up for my 6th year of homeschooling. My calendar is black with their social engagements and sports practices and school events and whatnot. I have Mommy Cred, ok?

But I really don't need the creepy totems of Motherhood Worship.

Like this necklace, which my mother gave me today because SHE ALREADY HAS ONE JUST LIKE IT. Can't we have kids, and raise them, and love them, without having to wear a dorky billboard around our necks, advertising the existence of our kids?

I'll wear this the day you see me in a Christmas sweater.

I can't stop tweaking my MySpace page

Yes, for stupid reasons known only to the chosen few, I have a MySpace page. I don't need one, it's silly, I already have a blog and a couple of web sites and email addresses out the wazoo, but there ya go. The pull of MySpace is stronger than gravity.

Lately, I admit, I am spending way too much time playing with my profile, on MySpace.

I should grow the heck up, already.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Do I have to spell it out for you?

Hubby and I are going away for the weekend, in celebration of 19 years of wedded bliss. We'll be leaving the Sons and dog at my parents' house, conveniently located halfway to our beachy hideaway. You know where this is going, right?

Son #1 is throwing a royal conniption. He is mature enough to stay home alone. He can take care of himself. There is only a little more than 2 years before he hits "the magical age of 18, when I can take care of myself, so what's the problem?"

So far, he thinks we are taking the unreasonable step of sending him to stay with his grandparents because:

we think he's retarded
we think he's a criminal
we think someone will break into the house and kill him
we don't realize that he stays home alone when we go out for the evening, and a weekend is the same as an evening

He has been muttering and kvetching and refusing to shower or pack for the past 2 hours.

First of all, he is ka-razy if he thinks I'm letting a 15-year-old stay home alone for 2.5 days. Just, no.

But secondly, can I just tell you how hard it is to keep from laughing, when his behavior this morning is PROVING beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no way he is mature enough to be left alone for the weekend. The bickering is annoying as hell, but at least it reinforces for me that Hubby and I have made the right choice.

Ah, those teen years.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My accent...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Study says young adults don't have health insurance

Ya know why young people don't have health insurance?

Because most young adults don't need it. But then they get married, they start thinking about having kids, and they realize that their kids need health care. And they get established in adult jobs, which generally have some kind of insurance provision. And they start paying into those flexible healthcare spending accounts.

Young adults aren't "adopting an attitude that their youth protects them." In the vast majority of cases, their youth actually does protect them.

Honestly, until I was 24 (and married, and pregnant, and both of us employed) I could handle just about everything that came my way with aspirin and a can of chicken soup. And if I hadn't been pregnant, I wouldn't have noticed our medical coverage, even then.

In fact, I don't really remember needing to see a doctor for my OWN health for anything other than an annual girly exam until I was about 29.

And Hubby, well, aside from the occasional stitch, that freakish bout of the mumps, and the time he scalded his throat so bad he couldn't swallow, he didn't need a doctor until he broke his leg (spectacularly, I might add) at 42.

Granted, I am one of those annoyingly clean-living people. If I were a heavy drinker or a smoker or a drug user or liked risky sports, I guess I would have been in the doc's office more.

But, hey, that's why if you don't have health insurance, you better do whatever you can to protect your health...and find a job with benefits. The universe rewards those willing to plan a bit.

MySpace revelations

I got a MySpace page, not too long ago. Today, I got one of those emails from MySpace, telling me to look at my comments...which I did. And as I was admiring my page, with all those little photos of my Friends on it, I realized something.

My MySpace Friends are:
2 musicians
2 bands
a DJ
a dancer

I think I am one of those talentless music junkies who hang out with the cool kids and make them cookies. I had no idea.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

How do you do it?

As a homeschooling mother of 4 Very Talkative Sons (one of whom, I swear, is a gold medalist in the Talking Olympics, somewhere), and a freelance writer with aspirations of writing More than Just the Stuff on My Deadlines Calendar, I am often asked HOW I get anything done at all. This usually comes from people with one kid, or no kids, who I guess picture me Mary Poppins-ing all day and whipping literary genius out of thin air. When really I am just kind of an average Mom, on a good day, and a hack, most of the time.

Today, I spent a chunk of time doing 12 loads of laundry at the laundromat, and then I went to the gym so I don't completely fall apart, and then I went home to tidy up the mess that appears when I'm gone for 5 solid hours. And then I wrote Hubby an email, because tomorrow is our anniversary and I want him to know that I noticed.

It is now 8pm. I am kinda beat (after all, I was up 'til 2 last night, and got about 4 hours of sleep). I am up against an important deadline, and there is a TV on down the hall, and Talking Boy is at it in the basement, and my corner-of-the-living-room office is not cutting it, Cones of Silence-wise.

I spent a few minutes imagining what life would be like if I had a real office, with walls and a door, and ten-inch thick walls. I decided, on second thought, that if I really did have a soundproof room, I would probably never come out. And that would be bad.

So I did the next best thing. I am wearing earplugs.

They are surprisingly effective. I can barely hear anything.

They are also unbelievably uncomfortable. Perhaps that will help me write faster, in anticipation of removing the giant, pink, expand-o-pains in my head holes.


Got back from the ACME show a bit ago.

A quick recap:
2 members of the band hugged me (they always do, sweet guys that they are)
A band girlfriend seemed genuinely happy to see me
A bar regular danced with me half the night, and introduced me to all her friends
2 men told me I was pretty
2 men asked me to dance
2 men told me I was a good dancer
I took some pictures that are almost certain to be grainy as crap, but I don't care
and I got home less than 20 minutes after the band stopped playing, to a house full of boys lifting weights

In other words, I had a total blast, even though none of my loser friends came out to the show and my poor, non-loser husband was too exhausted to make it, either. Work, and responsibilities, and important stuff like that puts a cramp in your party schedule, sometimes.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

ACMEeeeeeee is coming! But that takes some explaining, apparently

Hubby and I have been telling EVERYONE to come out with us to the Country Store in Leonardtown tonight to hear our favorite blues band, 2006 WAMMIE-nominees ACME Blues Company.

At work, at the salon, at the drive-through coffee place, everywhere we go, we put in a plug. Because they are awesome, and we want to pack the house.

Yesterday, I ran into someone at the gym, so naturally I told her to come.

"Blues? What is that? Is that like bluegrass? Country?"

OK, I think I see, maybe, a little bit of the problem. We live in the middle of nowhere. No one knows anything.

I shall be the Ambassador of Cool for the Happy Boondocks.


I try, a little every day, to eliminate the clutter that has taken over my house.

So far, that has led me to get rid of almost every piece clothing I do not absolutely LOVE, and 90% of the books I'd kept around since college. I have very few knick-knacks, except for photos, shells I've picked up on the beach, and the occasional Thai thing we brought back when we returned Stateside.

I do not buy videos. I do not buy CDs. I only buy children's books that we need for school, and most of those I re-sell at the end of the year.

Same with clothes for the Sons--when they outgrow it, stain it, rip it beyond repair, it is out the door.

I generally can resist the latest kitchen gadget, or any other space-consuming thing.

When my birthday comes around, I tell people not to get me anything, and I MEAN IT. Because I don't want stuff taking up space in my house. I want to see the bare floors, clean surfaces, and, most importantly, I want to be able to spend my time doing stuff, instead of maintaining things.

So, why is my house completely crammed with crap? I can't stand it. Can't. Stand. It.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Oh, sure, I can pull THAT one out of my hat...

"Mom, I'm going for a walk. After I get back, can you teach me two things?"

"I don't know---what two things?"

"Algebra, and how to use a fountain pen."

That Son #2. He is a hoot.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The joys of almost 40

My heels are like tree bark, I swear. And I used to have cute feet! I'm just racking up those satisfying moments. And 40 is just...a couple of months away. The excitement that awaits! I can't stand it!