Friday, November 20, 2009

Turn it off! Turn it off!

There seem to be a lot of posts out there (I'd link, but don't feel like making the effort today) mentioning celebrities that you (a general you, not necessarily YOU specifically, unless you've written one or more of these posts) like, love, admire and/or would sleep with given the opportunity despite any existing relationship. I even wrote a post like that the last time I posted. So today I am doing something a little different. Today I will list those celebrities who simply, by the virtue of their existence, annoy the hell out of me. To the point that I would rather stick hot needles in my eyes than spend one second seeing these folks on TV or hearing them on the radio. The ones that make me close my eyes, cover my ears and yell, "Turn it off! Turn it off!" So, in no particular order, the celebrities (that I can think of at this moment) that annoy me:

Tyra Banks - HATE her for no particular reason. I don't know her. I just can't stand to look at her or hear her talk.

Celine Dion - I have seen or heard her where I didn't run screaming from the room, but only once, and I think I may have had too much to drink and been incapable of running or screaming coherently.

Mariah Carey - NEVER seen or heard her when I didn't run screaming from the room (in my head, I wouldn't want to make a spectacle of myself), though I am CONSIDERING making an exception to see that movie Precious.

Dr. Phil - Self-righteous pompous jackass who makes an awesome living spouting advice that amounts to nothing more than common sense.

Kate Gosselin - The hair. I just can't get past the hair. Also, she makes up more words that don't actually exist than our old pal George W.

There are more, but I can't think of them right now because Amy is now screaming that I MUST attend to the fact that SHE IS FINISHED WITH HER POPCORN. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about that, but I should go find out. In the meantime, what celebrities make you want to vomit and/or scratch your eyes out?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My imaginary boyfriend

One of these days I'll get around to posting Halloween pics of my kids, but that takes some effort... you know, moving the little card from the camera to the computer and uploading the pictures. Instead, inspired by a thought I have every single time I watch Destination Truth (and I not only watch it, I DVR it to watch at my convenience because I don't want to miss any), I decided to pause the show (and it's a really good Yeti one) to see just how old Josh Gates is so that I could determine if it would be in the realm of possibility for me to marry him should something happen to my husband... Dum Dum Duuuuhhhhh.

He is 32. A LITTLE young for me, but maybe not. I'm 38, so it's within the realm of possibility, right? Anyway, he cracks me up. And he ain't too bad to look at, either. It really surprises me that with all the "these are my crushes" posts out there, I've never seen Josh on anyone's list. Well, he's at the top of mine (along with Johnny Depp, especially as Jack Sparrow - don't judge, I'd make him brush his teeth first).

I even like him in his librarian glasses. If I can't marry him, I'd settle for joining his expeditions. Really, don't you think that what they're missing is a middle-aged mother of four? I do have my SCUBA certification, though, and more importantly, I'd be willing to do the things they do. Well, except for the whole Chernobyl thing... I would've called in sick for that one.

Hubba hubba, baby.

Photo credits: Found these on the Internet. I'm probably violating someone's copyright. If it's yours, tell me and I'll credit you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I am a GENIUS or a really really bad mom

As I sit here typing this, little Amy is vacuuming the playroom. With her own vacuum. That we gave her for her birthday. Yes, my toddler is doing the housework while I am... well... not.

"How did this strange and wonderful (and possibly just plain WRONG) turn of events come about?" you may (or may not) be asking yourself. Well, Amy has always loved vacuuming. Before she got her own, she would either INSIST on holding the handle while I vacuumed (which slowed the job considerably, since normal speed would have resulted in baby whiplash and/or dislocated shoulder) or using the dustbuster. Since our dustbuster is pretty heavy for her and I really like being able to vacuum at a speed faster than molasses, I decided that I would get her a toy vacuum for her birthday. Then I saw the prices for toy vacuums. They aren't exactly cheap. The cheapest I found was $19.99, but it was not even remotely realistic and didn't even have real vacuuming sounds. Those run more like $35-$50. So then I thought I would check real ones, and I found some pretty inexpensive ones. I ended up getting her a little Eureka upright for $19.99. It even has an extendable handle, so we just don't extend it to make it the perfect size for a toddler. She LOVES it. It doesn't do the greatest job, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

Exploitation or just plain genius? What do you think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This belongs in Amy's baby book, but I'm too lazy to go get it out

For any of you who hate those parents who seem to brag on their kids, stop reading now. While I am actually not bragging here (just relating facts), it is most definitely going to sound like it. This is, however, my blog, and if I choose to record information here because I am too lazy to go find the baby book to record it there, and it is information that may be of interest in the future that I don't want to forget (because I forget EVERYTHING), and by doing so I sound like Braggy McBraggerson, then so be it. Also, there are probably way too many commas in that last sentence.

Anyway, now that I've gotten all the defensiveness off my chest and hopefully run off anyone who will accuse me of bragging, let me start bragging:

Dudes, my kid potty-trained herself AND SHE CAN READ. Now this would mean nothing (or it could be a little on the sad side) if I were speaking of my 15-year-old or even my 8- or 6-year-old. But guys, this is my just-turned-3-last-week-year-old. Also, the potty-training thing is not bragging at all, since it's not like she's even at an early age for it or anything, the good part about the potty-training is that it took absolutely no effort on my part. Good things that happen are good; good things that happen with no effort on my part are FANTASTIC. About two weeks before her birthday she simultaneously decided that she would now go on the potty (and has not had a single accident since that decision was made) and started sounding out simple words. Now she can read books as long as they consist exclusively of words with no more than four letters or so, though there are a few bigger words she either knows or can sound out. My other three kids were reading around age 3 1/2, but this one is blowing my mind starting it pre-three.

End bragging. Begin contemplating the difficulty in raising this child that I know is coming, since I have been cursed blessed with raising three other gifted kids as well. Amy will make number four, and I am already EXHAUSTED.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Given a random situation, do the possible tragedies or the possible happy endings go through YOUR mind?

My mom was in town this past week. She is looking to move from SC to either CT (family there and home that she's always loved on the market that it turns out was built by her grandfather), PA (close to us) or FL (grew up there, friends, familiar with area). To that end, I was taking her around doing drive-bys of some properties so she could decide whether she liked them enough to ask a realtor to show her inside them.

I'm going to tell you a little story about what happened within a very short time span Tuesday afternoon and let you in on the scary way my mind works. Because do I think of all the possible good endings to a situation? Nooooooo. I have a talent for very quickly conjering up all possible tragic scenarios.

We drove past a farm with a roadside store that is a popular field trip destination in our area, particularly in the fall, when there are hayrides and pony rides and pumpkin picking and corn mazes. As we sped past, I noticed A LOT of people milling about the pony ride area and the entrance to the corn maze and then, after passing by where all those people were, just where the corn maze wall blocked my view of them and would block the views of all those people to the road, I saw something at the side of the road. I should mention that the road is, while not a major highway, a very busy two-lane rural highway where cars travel at pretty high speeds (I think the speed limit at the location of the farm is 45 mph, but cars regularly travel as high as 55-60 through there.).

My mom was talking about some of the properties we had seen and I was doing that half-listening thing while my brain was trying to process the scene, which it knew was somehow NOT RIGHT, though it took a few seconds before it registered exactly WHY the scene was not right. And the reason why the scene was not right is that the object on the side of the busy high-speed road was a little boy. A very little boy. A boy that looked to be somewhere between three and four. I interrupted my mom, "That's a kid." "What?" she asked. She hadn't seen him. I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car. "Be careful," my mom said.

So the situation was this: I was near my car anxiously waiting for a break in traffic so I could cross to the other side of the street to get to the boy. I was also about 40 to 50 yards up the street from him, due to the length of time it took me to register that a little kid was standing by a busy road with no adult in sight and pull over. [Possible tragedy #1 - The kid steps into traffic and gets hit before I can get to him. Obvious - anyone would come up with that one.] By the time I managed to get across the street and start sprinting toward him, another woman had spotted him and had stopped her car (and the traffic behind her) and was yelling out her window to him, "Don't move! Stay right there!" Unfortunately, she was in the same lane of traffic I had been in, which meant there was still the opposite direction lane between her and the kid. [Possible tragedy #2 (keep in mind I'm running a 50-yard dash all out and I'm STILL creating tragedies in my head) - The kid, who seems to be standing there in a daze, would either have his daze broken and step out into the street OR wouldn't understand what the woman was yelling and try to walk across the lane of traffic to her, either one resulting in him getting hit because despite a crazy woman sprinting down the shoulder of the road and traffic in the opposite direction completely stopped, cars traveling in the lane between the boy and stopped traffic were still flying by.] So in my head I was chanting while trying my hand at psychic communication, "don't move, don't move, don't move,..."

As I was running, I noticed that the woman in the stopped car had begun to nose her car into the oncoming lane of traffic. I immediately split my psychic powers between the boy and the woman, because the same chant applied to her. [Possible tragedy #3 - A car traveling in the lane between the woman's car and the boy swerves to avoid the woman's car and hits the boy.] After what seemed like the longest 50-yard dash in history, I got to the kid and placed my hand on his shoulder just as another car whizzed by. I turned him away from the road and started walking toward the corn maze while telling the woman I would take him and find where he was supposed to be. She drove off. [Possible tragedy #4 - The person who did the things I did wasn't me, but instead was a pedophile or some other person with less than honorable intentions.]

So in the time it took me to get out of my car and run 50 yards, I managed to come up with 4 possible tragic ends to the situation. Thank goodness it ended up like this:

The little boy looked up at me with tears dried on his face and one single wet one left on his cheek and asked, "What's your name?"

Me: "Mrs. Picklebottom. What's YOUR name?"

Boy: James.

Me: James, are you here with your school or with your mommy?

James: Mommy says school is on Monday and Wednesday."

Me (racking my brain to try to remember what freaking day it is, because I'm still pretty shook up, and coming up empty): OK, so did you come here on a field trip or did your mommy bring you?

James: Mommy.

Me: Let's go find her.

James (apparently realizing he has no idea who I am, starts pulling his hand out of mine): OK.

We started doing this delicate dance of him trying to not hold my hand, while I tried to hold his hand, because no way was I going to lose this kid before we found his mom. We found her and his baby sister (about 18 months old) waiting at the exit of the corn maze. She didn't know he had gotten out of the maze before her and was waiting for him. I told her that I had found him on the side of the road, but I don't think it quite registered. I think she still probably thinks that I found him wandering around with all the people near the parking lot or something. I was too flustered to clearly explain the situation and I think she was a little confused about what I was saying. I did ask how old James was; he had just turned four.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Neopolitan hair

My oldest daughter is looking for opinions. She wants to dye her hair "neopolitan." In my house, hair is not a battle I choose in the whole "choose your battles" way of dealing with kids. I choose piercings and tattoos. They get hair and clothes (to a point). Anyway, she has come up with two ways to do this and wants to know what others think, so she asked me to post it here and ask your opinions:

I myself like the second option better. Mainly, I'm just impressed that she can render herself so well in a simple drawing with such little detail. Anyone who knows her and saw that would know exactly who it is.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thinking outside the box

Part of Beth's homework yesterday was a math sheet. The kids are currently learning about temperatures and measuring them, and the first question on the sheet was this:

1. Look for thermometers around your home.

I found ______ thermometers in my home.

The expected answer would be a number, right? After the kids were in bed last night and I was packing up bags for this morning, I looked over Beth's homework before I stuck it in her folder (yes, I know that checking homework AFTER the kids have gone to bed could cause logistical problems if there is something incorrect or incomplete, but really I only check for completeness, not correctness, since I think you learn something better if you've screwed it up the first time, and I have been known to drag them out of bed at night or extra early in the morning to complete something, so they've learned to do it all in the interest of sleep). Look at the question above again. Now look at her answer:

1. Look for thermometers around your home.

I found MEAT thermometers in my home.

And THAT is why they should have an actual child test these workbooks before they are released to the public. That question should OBVIOUSLY say:

1. Look for AND COUNT the thermometers around your home.

How many thermometers did you find in your home? ________

I did not have Beth change her answer to a number. I did explain that the type of answer expected here was a number, though it wasn't made clear by the question and therefore her answer was not incorrect. I put a sticky note on the sheet for the teacher and I think Beth's answer is WAY better than a number.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flash Forward

Did any of you watch Flash Forward last night? I think I might really like it. If you missed it and want to check it out because I said it looks interesting (which is as good a reason as any, maybe a better reason than most), it's being rebroadcast tonight. I don't remember what time, but it's on ABC. You can thank me later for turning your new fall TV frown upside down.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drinking buddies

Never underestimate the value of drinking buddies. They're the ones that say things like, "Maybe you should eat something with that."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Am I missing something?

Today I got a Facebook friend request from someone... let's call her CB (those are her initials). I didn't recognize the name, but my memory ain't what she used to be, so I clicked over to see if I recognized anything about her: picture, info, whatever. I didn't, but still thinking that my memory could be at fault here (this has happened before and I contacted the person and she explained to me who she was and I realized that she OBVIOUSLY knew me since she knew things about me from middle school, but I still to this day have NO MEMORY WHATSOEVER of her, though I accepted her request anyway because to not do so at that point would have been just mean, plus I lied and replied, "Oh yeah, NOW I remember," to her message, even though I clearly did not, and WHY are those the people who update their statuses CONSTANTLY and post EVERY result of EVERY quiz or game and play EVERY quiz or game?), I decided to send her a message and the following exchange of messages occurred:

Me: Hello. I've received a friend request from you. Can you please tell me how I know you? Thanks.

CB: i just sent out a friend request [**uh, YEAH, hence my question**]

Me: Yes, I know. But who are you? How do I know you?

CB: we have never met

Sooooooooooo....... just what the hell am I missing here? I can't think of a response to this message that doesn't seem just rude, so I probably won't respond at all and will ignore the friend request, but I have to admit to a little curiosity about WHY.

I suggest that Facebook add another request called Random Stranger Request. Then I can send you (well, not YOU, because we obviously KNOW each other) a Random Stranger Request for what purpose I don't know, I can only supply so much of a genius idea, you know. Then if you ignore the Random Stranger Request, that means you are NOT a random stranger, so Facebook would AUTOMATICALLY add us to one another's Friends list. If you were to ACCEPT the Random Stranger Request, however, then anytime you or I tried to access one another's profile, we would get a flashing red warning:


Monday, September 7, 2009

Little miss genius

Yesterday, I had four cookies left in a bakery box. My three youngest kids were eating lunch and the 2-year-old, Amy, finished first. So I opened the box and told her to just take one so that Jo and Beth could each have one when they were done. She took out her cookie and said, "There will be one left. Who will eat it?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Holy Budweiser, Batman!

It's only two days since my last post which means, if you note the length of time between posts in the recent past, pigs are flying over a glacier in hell. No doubt the glacier will melt and the pigs will crash and burn immediately upon my hitting the "Publish Post" button, filling hell with the delicious aroma of BACON, thus rendering hell much less hell-like, possibly even heaven-like. Well, except for the pigs, who would still consider it quite hell-like. Anyway, I had to post this church sign that I passed the other day when I went to pick up my daughter from a friend's house.

The use of a beer commercial as the basis for this little gem just cracked me up.

Also, show of hands: Who thinks my title for this post is stupid and who finds it to be an inspired bit of brilliance? Because really, I can't decide.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How do you think they do those prison tats?

Finally I can remember (most of) one of my bizarre dreams. Before I get to that, though, I want to just say, "Hi y'all! How've ya been?" I've been up to A LOT, including a long road trip with four kids, a 20th high school reunion, and various and sundry other things. I'll probably even get around to posting about some of it after the kids start back to school (Sept. 9th). In the meantime, enjoy the blessed silence from my little corner of the blogging world (except for today's post, of course).

Anyway, I had to post this morning because when I woke up, I actually could remember my dream, and my first thought was, "I think this comes close to one of Shauna's." Though frankly, some of her real life sightings would rival some of my weird dreams.

I was awakened from my dream by a truck-in-reverse beeping noise, though at first, in my half-asleep haze, I thought it was my oldest daughter's alarm clock. Since she was spending the night at a friend's house, I went to her room to check. By the time I looked out my bedroom window to find the its source, the noise had stopped and an ambulance was pulling away from a neighbor's house across the street. I have a somewhat amusing story about that neighbor, but it seems inappropriate to relay it here, juxtaposed as it would be with the whole ambulance thing. I'll try to remember to tell you that story later.

So, my dream. Yes I am FINALLY getting to it. I was sitting in a cafe-type restaurant with a friend of mine that I only see when I go to SC. We walked up to the counter to pay, and standing there was Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife.

I don't know how I knew it was Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife, since I wouldn't know them if I ran into the on the street and in my dream he looked like Larry David.

Anyway, I knew it was him, so I paid him for our lunch and I asked him for his autograph. For some reason, I had with me a pen and a pad of 8 1/2" x 11" ruled paper, and I started flipping through the pad to find a blank sheet. My oldest daughter is somewhat of an artist and she had drawn on EVERY. SINGLE. SHEET. Finally I found a sheet she had missed and turned to it. [At this point, I should note that I was wearing a sleeveless, spaghetti-strap type top (which I never wear), which will become important here in a moment.] I turned the pad to face Jerry (we had been talking and joking, so we were on a first name basis), and handed him the pen. He took the pen, then reached out and scrawled his signature across my chest with a big flourish while saying, "We are Bruckheimers! What do I want with paper?" To which I responded as I looked down at my chest, "Yes, but I can't KEEP this one." So he autographed my paper as well, then said his farewells and walked into the back room. At that point I bent over in pain, saying, "Owwwwwwww!" His wife, who had been standing there observing the entire exchange asked what was wrong.

Me: This is a ball-point pen, not a felt-tip.

Her: Oh, ouch.

Me: Yeah. Do you think any of this will be tattooed on me?

Her: What do you mean?

Me: Well, it broke some skin, like a scratch in the shape of his name, and the ink...

Her: Oh, I see...

My friend: Yeah, definitely could happen. How do you think they do those prison tats?

And cue the wake-up.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If you like pina coladas...

I knew it had been a while since my last post, and it had been another while since my post before that, and well, I'm busy and really really lousy at time management. I wouldn't even have a post today except for Facebook. So those of you who are my FB friends may have already seen this, but it's all I've got.

I heard the song "Escape" yesterday. You know, the one also known as "The Pina Colada Song." I am too lazy to go find an n with the little tilde thing on top. Anyway, it made me wonder, and I posted this as my status:

In "The Pina Colada Song," do you think after they got over their amusement at the coincidence, they got pissed?

This generated the most comments on a status that I think I've ever gotten. Anyway, an old friend of mine has an unusual amount of ire toward this song and the man and woman in it. He got quite worked up, so I decided to write a few follow-up verses to the song to try to ease his mind. Here they are:

We left the bar to head home then; we had driven two cars.
I got to thinking about it, driving under the stars.
Hold on just a second; turns out I have half-a-brain.
My lady tried to cheat; my calm was hard to maintain.

'Cause she likes Pina Coladas, and placing personal ads.
She was trying to escape me, feels like a kick in the 'nads.*
She'd rather make love with someone else; in the dunes of the cape.
Now I'll make plans for her and then plan my escape.

I confronted her later about the personal ad.
She said since I answered, that I was just as bad.
And while that may be true, 'twas she who tried to stray first.
So I poisoned her champagne, then I sang her this verse:

"Don't care for Pina Coladas; you see, I much prefer scotch.
Making love in the cape dunes just gets sand in my crotch.
I might get more into health food; and try to extend my life.
So that after I kill you, there's time to find a new wife."

Turns out she was mad also, and she had poisoned my scotch.
She said, "Your time's running out now," and she looked at her watch.
So we both lay there dying; there was not much to say.
Health food would not help us; we wouldn't see the next day.

"So if you like Pina Coladas, I suggest telling your mate.
Go make love in the sand dunes, before it's too late.
Eat some cake and drink champagne and don't be an ass
So your loved one won't some day poison the drink in your glass."

*That one was a stretch, I couldn't find many usable rhymes with "ads"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buncha books - issue 8

It's time once again for a Buncha Books post. If you need a refresher on the ratings system, you can find it here. Once again, I must reiterate my disclaimer: It takes me a while to get around to reviewing the books I read, so don't hold me accountable for 100% accuracy when describing plots, characters and/or settings. Or even 75% accuracy for that matter. Hey, I do my best. I currently have more than 20 books waiting in the wings to be reviewed, so I'll get to as many as I can now and then try to do one or more Buncha Books posts sooner than later.

First up today is One Mississippi by Mark Childress. It's about a kid, Daniel Musgrove, from Indiana who moves to Mississippi just before his junior year of high school. He's an outsider and hates it. Then he meets another outsider, Tim Cousins, and things start to turn around for Daniel. There is a lot going on in this novel. There's Daniel's family, which is dysfunctional as well as unusually unlucky. There's Daniel's relationships with Tim and Arnita that are tainted by racism and dishonesty about an accident in which Daniel and Tim are involved and Arnita is a victim. There is bullying and homosexuality and the too often tragic effects of anti-gay sentiment. Overall, I found this novel well-written and compelling and would recommend. Four picklebottoms.

Next we have Hit Parade by Lawrence Block. I really enjoyed this book. The hero is John Keller and he's a hit man. He's not, however, a cold-hearted bastard, as one would expect of one's garden-variety hit man... Well OK, maybe he is, but he's a hit man with a code of honor. He also collects stamps. Avidly. When he's hired to do a job that would allow him to attend a stamp-collecting convention, he thinks it's perfect. Then he accidentally gets to know his target. This is the third novel in the series featuring John Keller. I enjoyed it enough that I'll probably, when my TBR pile is down to only ONE 3-foot high pile instead of SIX 3-foot high piles, read the tow preceding novels in the series and then the novels that follow. Four picklebottoms.

The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan is based on what is an interesting, though quickly becoming overused, premise. That being that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children. So when I picked up this book, I thought it would just be another run-of-the-mill conspiracy novel. (I am not, by the way, knocking conspiracy novels, I ENJOY conspiracy novels; if I didn't, I wouldn't have bothered to pick up this novel off the bargain table.) It was not. It was quite different, in fact. The story revolves around Maureen Pascal, a journalist whose specialty is women in history. She begins having visions of Mary Magdalene's life through Mary Magdalene's eyes. She is then contacted by a man named Sinclair and asked to travel to France to meet with him, but he is mysterious about his reasons other than that they have to do with her visions. She divulges all to her trusted and beloved cousin, Father Peter Healy, a priest with whom she grew up, and he insists on accompanying her. Then follows an interesting story about followers and descendants of John the Baptist and followers and descendants of Jesus. The novel also contains excerpts from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which gives her viewpoint on some of the well-known Biblical stories. It turned out to be a rather interesting read. As an added bonus to its story, the author claims in an afterward that she had to write the book as fiction, but in fact she herself has had similar visions and that the excepts of Mary Magdalene's gospel are based on actual previously undisclosed texts. So overall, I think it was a new twist on an old idea and I would recommend it, ESPECIALLY to those who like a good conspiracy. Four picklebottoms.

lost boy lost girl by Peter Straub is about a man, novelist Timothy Underhill, whose sister-in-law commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son disappears without a trace. After his sister-in-laws funeral, Tim tries to figure out what happened to his nephew, Mark Underhill. During this time, a pedophile who murders his victims is active in the town. Tim also discovers that Mark had an obsession with an old abandoned house where he thought the killer might be hiding. Was or is the killer in the house? What secrets does the house hold? Is Mark a victim of the killer? This novel, for me, was just OK. I did find it fairly interesting as I went along, but in the end it left me a little flat. I think I didn't really ever connect to the characters and the ending wasn't really explained to my satisfaction. There were supernatural elements, which is fine, but not really my thing unless it's Dean Koontz and his quantum-physics type supernatural stuff. Anyway, overall it was an OK read, though it wouldn't make me seek out any more of Straub's work. Three picklebottoms.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a young adult novel about a boy, Clay, who receives a box of cassette tapes, and a girl, Hannah, who recorded them just before committing suicide. The tapes are being passed among various people who she claims had a role in her decision to kill herself. Clay can't imagine what he did and doesn't want to listen to the tapes, but he does. I enjoyed this novel. It is dually narrated by both Clay and Hannah (via her tapes). I couldn't put it down, because I too wanted to know what role Clay had played, since he was written as a thoughtful, considerate, just plain NICE guy, who had had a crush on the dead girl. My only disappointment in the novel I can't really mention without spoiling what one finds out about the role Clay plays in the girl's death, but I will say that I think I would have found it more interesting if Clay's narrative had been that of one of the other kids from the tapes. Anyway, at the end of the novel, Clay's view of others and how or if to interact with them is changed. Great young adult fiction. Four picklebottoms.

Lastly for this issue, because if I don't have a lastly, the issue will never end, and I've been not finishing this thing for WEEKS now, Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston. It's been so long since I read this that I don't remember much about it, so I've just skimmed over the dust jacket blurb to jog my memory. OK, it's about Elinor and Ted, a loving married couple who did everything just right and in the right order. Now that they're settled and established, they are ready to start a family, but discover that Elinor's fertility is nonexistent, probably because of her age. She gets depressed, her husband finds himself involved with his personal trainer who has a young son and things deteriorate. Elinor discovers the affair, Ted tries to do the right thing, the girlfriend's kid is a complication. Can the marriage be saved? Somewhere in there is a stalker, though I don't remember if he's stalking Elinor or the girlfriend, and there's a big brouhaha at the mall that results in injury. Overall it was a pretty good read, though I think I liked Lolly Lolly Lolly's other novel that I've read, Good Grief, a little better. Can't say that for sure, though, since it's been so long since I've read either. I'm going to say three and a half picklebottoms.

And that is all folks. Except that I hope I'm not the only one that now has the "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here" song stuck in her head. Gotta love that Schoolhouse Rock for earworms.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

MacGyver lives!

He is now a chubby middle-aged redheaded woman and blogs under the pseudonym Fiona Picklebottom. A couple of years ago, I bought a two-screen DVD player from Best Buy. It was not. My best buy, that is. It lasted about 4 hours before Beth snapped off the screen of the player side (there's a player side that takes the DVD and a monitor side). When I got to our destination, I found a Best Buy and returned it for a replacement. By not allowing Beth to touch the replacement, it lasted about a year before she forgot the 'no touching' thing and broke it again. In her defense, the player had a VERY BAD DESIGN in that the screen opened downward in a clamshell-like manner in order to insert the DVD. In the DVD player's defense, apparently that is a common industry STUPID design. These things are for kids, industry people. Adults are not (or shouldn't be) driving around watching movies. Use a little common sense when designing your products.

Anyway, we are taking another long car trip this summer (about 3 weeks), and since it's just going to be me and FOUR kids (Mr. Picklebottom can't take that much consecutive time off, so he's flying to meet us at one of our destinations for a few days), my sanity felt the need to do something about the DVD player situation. The screens for car DVD players are pretty small, so to avoid the kids possibly TOUCHING one another in order to all see, because the resulting whining for miles in a car would be hell on earth, the ideal situation is one screen per kid. I set out to accomplish this goal, keeping in mind that I had one extra screen from the broken set already.

I couldn't find where a 3 or 4 screen car DVD player existed at all, let alone for a reasonable price, so I had to purchase another 2 screen. This time, with prices having come down, I was able to purchase a better-quality player. I also purchased a cheap portable laptop-style DVD player for my oldest, figuring as a teenager she probably wouldn't appreciate having to watch the little kids' movies the whole time, so she could watch her own.

After getting home and unboxing everything, I discovered that the connections on the new player and screen were different from the ones on the old leftover screen. I looked online to see if I could find any adapter and splitter cables that would do what I wanted, but didn't have any luck since I didn't know exactly what the names of the cables were. So I hit the local Radio Shack (how does this place stay in business, no one I know will ever ADMIT to going there, like it's embarrassing or something), so I could peruse the cables and adapters and see if I could find anything that would work. Ultimately, because the salesman wouldn't just let me look, he HAD to help, I drew a picture for him, explaining what I was trying to do, and we found the cables. Actually, it took me a little while to convince him that yes, this would work, because he was scratching his head and trying to convince me otherwise. Then as I was leaving, he actually said, "I'm impressed that you knew how to explain all that." I answered (in my HEAD of course, I NEVER say these things out loud), "Why? Because I'm a GIRL?"

I put it all together, and IT WORKS!!! Even though I'm a girl!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Conversation with my sister-in-law

I was speaking to the only one of my sisters-in-law to whom I've explained the entire leaving my old blog situation. Some of you know what I am talking about, some don't. To those who don't, I apologize. Suffice it to say that there are some in-laws who do not like me. At all. In fact, my family has been removed from their family's Christmas card list. That's as bad as it gets, right? ;)

Anyway, a wedding is coming up this summer, and it could possibly be the first time I'll see the other parties involved in the situation since the situation occurred (assuming I don't see them at one possible time prior). I recently did a small favor for my sister-in-law and was talking on the phone with her:

Me: So now you owe me.

SIL: Yeah? What do you want?

Me: I want any necessary rescuing or protection at the wedding. Don't let anyone punch me in the nose.

SIL: Oh I won't let anyone punch you in the nose.

Me: You can be my bodyguard. {pause} I can call you Al. No, wait. You can call me Al. I'll call you Betty.

SIL (laughing): Bye.

Me: See ya, Betty.

Monday, April 20, 2009

December digest

Mid-April. Spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warming. What better time to cover the last full month during which I was incommunicado? The first half of December in the Picklebottom household is pretty mundane, but soon enough it is time to prepare for Beth's birthday. This year (well, okay, LAST year), Beth was turning six, so she was allowed to have a party. (With four kids, we limit parties to ages 1, 6, 10 and MAYBE 16 and 18, but we're not there yet, so who knows. Other years, the birthday child gets to select a friend or two for a fun activity like a zoo trip or a movie and ice cream.) She chose to have her party at one of those paint-your-own-pottery places doing mosaic projects.

This was her cake:

At the party:

Presents later, at home:

Treats that I sent to school for her class:

Pretty soon after Beth's birthday, which falls on the 20th, comes Christmas. I don't feel like typing much, since I'm multi-tasking by watching a movie while I write this (hey, I'm a busy lady), so suffice it to say it was a great Christmas and now let me regale you with pictures.

Jo decorating the tree:

The tree beneath which are the PRESENTS:

Christmas morning waiting for Daddy to wake up:

Beth's new hat (She had tattooed her face with tattoos she received for her birthday. We couldn't get them OFF.):

Mmmmmmm... marshmallow Santa:

Yeah, baby!!! Rock Band 2!!!:

Silly shots of Beth and Amy: