Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Follow that bird.

My 15th birthday sucked.

School was OK, but when I came home after school, I distinctly remember walking into my parents' bedroom, where the rest of my family was solemnly watching the evening news. Sammy Davis, Jr., had died. And so had Jim Henson.

I locked myself in the bathroom and cried.

Worst. Birthday. Ever.

But it turns out I wasn't alone in my grief for this stranger who seemed like a member of my family. I kind of knew that at the time, but it's been illuminated for me, thanks to a new book.

I just finished listening to the best audio book. And yes, I'm trying really, really hard to stop referring to them as "books on tape."

The audio book? Street Gang. It's the story of your favorite show and mine, Sesame Street. And the audio book (see, I did it again!)? Read by Caroll Spinney. Yep - Big Bird himself.

I was born about five years after the show debuted, and it was such a huge part of my childhood. My mom reports that one day, she overheard me reciting the alphabet - thanks to the show, I thought it was just another song, not a major developmental milestone.

But it was a big deal - like the show getting off the ground in the first place. Street Gang goes into detail about how the show came to be, and I learned a lot. It's also funny to think that it was so revolutionary. To me, it was just my favorite show.

I was occasionally thrown by the familiar voice reading the text - Spinney's voice will always be Big Bird to me, even though his natural speaking voice isn't quite the same. Hearing him read text about himself was a trip. Hearing him choke up reading about Jim Henson's sudden death about made me need to pull off the road.

But I also learned about the backgrounds of the humans on Sesame Street, and how the Muppets came to be. The book also covered the aftermath of Henson's death and that crazy "Oh, there's this whole other neighborhood around the corner!" thing that was adopted and ultimately abandoned in the late 90s.

I will be honest: I can only handle so much of Elmo's high-pitched squawk. But Street Gang made me remember all sorts of things that brought me joy. One-two-three-FOUR-five-six-seven-eight-NINE-ten-eleven-twelve!

I love this song. I'm proud to report that courtesy of my old Sesame Street record, I know all the words. Maybe this explains my love of thrifting and flea marketing.

This one was on my record, too. It made me feel crazy smart.

And who doesn't love a good play on Billie Holiday? I had this album, too.
And no, I'm not a paid spokesmodel. I just loved this book and it made me happy - and made me think of happy times. Big Bird was my favorite character and for my fourth birthday, my mom painstakingly decorated a cake that looked like a giant Big Bird head.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

What are your favorite Sesame Street memories?

Image courtesy of Muppet Wiki.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The face of evil.

Spring has finally sprung. And that means one thing: Foxie Doxie is losing his shit.

We've been going on walks, and it's painfully obvious that any leash training Foxie might have ever had is gone. Gone, like dinosaurs are gone. Totally extinct.

I can handle the "hearn Hearn HEARN!" when we're first starting out and he's excited. But it's the rabid "HEARN HEARN HEARN!" when he sees another dog that makes me crazy.

He pulls on his choke chain and pulls himself up on his rear legs. He acts like he's going to devour the dog in his sights.

I do the Dog Whisperer "tsk!" sound. I attempt to shape his rigid little body into a seated position. When that fails, I attempt to fwop him onto his side into a submission pose.

All the while, Lil' Frankfurter looks around, wondering what the big deal is.

Sometimes, I momentarily come to terms with the fact that when on a leash, Foxie is just always going to freak over other dogs, and that's just the way it is. But then I think, "No! I am the alpha of this pack! I can shape his behavior!"

But mostly? Mostly, I just try to avoid other dogs. And when I can't? I try to come up with good excuses for the other dog owners.

"We're working on training" is my perennial favorite. But sometimes, when the other dog owner thinks they're Cesar Milan and freaking stops - making Foxie's fit longer in duration - to offer "helpful" hints?

Well, a hearty "Fuck you" is always on the tip of my tongue. I can only imagine what it's like to have human kids and be subject all the crazy "advice" that anyone who's ever seen a kid on TV feels obligated to give parents. Why yes, all my best parenting advice has always come from complete strangers who don't know me or my kids. Thanks!

All of this makes me truly and deeply appreciate one group that often doesn't get the love they deserve.

Yes. I'm talking about dogs that behave even more horribly than mine.

When those dog owners apologize for their canines' behavior? And I'm all, "It's OK! Really?" Really, I mean, "Thank you! Thank you for making me feel like less of a failure! Your 85-pound dog ran across a busy street to hump my 12-pound dog, and I'm so glad! We're all better for it! Are you sure you don't want to forget a poop bag so that I can feel really superior since I always clean up after my kids? Are you sure?"

I'm hoping that with daily walks, Foxie will calm down. Maybe he'll be consistently too exhausted to lose his mind. Or maybe I just really need to start getting up early so I can walk the kids before other dogs are, you know, awake. I'd like to walk in the middle of the night to really be safe, but I've been told that's a bad idea.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Once, twice, three times a lady.

Both Poochie and I were home with the 'rents this weekend. No particular reason - just keepin' it real.

Real as in I made $10. Cash.

Poochie paid me. To eat a dog treat.


If you have dogs, you probably know all about Greenies. They're green bones and dogs freak out over them. As my dad so accurately noted, it's like they're made of heroin.

Poochie pulled $14 out of his shirt pocket, smoothed the bills, and laid them out on the kitchen counter. "Cha Cha, I have $14 here. If you eat a Greenie, it's yours."

Stupid me? I was all, "OK!"

I guess there's something about being around my sibling that makes me revert back to, oh, about junior high.

My mom looked like she was going to pass out - laughing so hard she was crying. Before I popped the treat into my mouth, I read the ingredients list. When I got to "chicken tendon," we all sort of agreed that $14 wasn't quite enough. So Poochie ripped the treat in half and offered $10.

Side note: the Greenies site doesn't list chicken tendon, but "natural poultry flavor" in the ingredients list. Whatever. CHICKEN TENDON.

I popped the green snack in my mouth and chewed. And chewed and chewed some more. It tasted like dog food, but not disgusting. It's not like it was rotten or made of pickles or anything gross like that. It just tasted ... sort of eww. And dear God in heaven, was it ever chewy. Chewy, like Poochie began taunting me that it would be stuck in my teeth and so I'd relive the experience over and over again. However, my teeth would be clean and my breath would be oh-so-fresh.

Finally, I got the treat down. And I pocketed my winnings.

Later, I texted My Guy about my feat. Surely I am the woman of his dreams, right?

His response was simply, "Too sexy."

Damn straight.

What's the grossest thing you've ever done at the prompting of your siblings?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going to pot.

Iron Needles made a funny comment about my former elementary school being turned into apartments for seniors:

I cannot get out of my mind the seniors using the restrooms with the little shorty commodes!

Dude, I know.

But! My elementary school was built in 1912. There were only two bathrooms in the entire building - one for boys and one for girls. These loos were on opposite sides of the basement - a basement that was split down the middle by a huge boiler room. And this boiler room was, of course, pretty well lined with asbestos insulation.

Anyway. So, it was a three-story building, right? With high ceilings and transom windows above the doors and what seemed like very steep staircases. And let me tell you - if you were in class on the third floor, you had to really, really need to hit the little girls' room before you walked all the way downstairs and then climbed all the way back up.

As for the mini-johns?

I don't recall them being shorties. Which is really too bad. Because I love the idea of the seniors using the shortie johns, too. Nevermind the fact that they gutted the building and I imagine each apartment has, you know, its own bathroom.

No, it's much better to think of the elderly sitting on a mini john and being unable to get up. Because there's one toilet on my floor at Corporate Behemoth that's maybe an inch shorter than the others. And every time I sit on it, I'm surprised and think I've gotten taller. And then I realize it's harder to get back up, especially if my quads are screaming from doing Shred with Jillian Michaels.

Luckily for Krampus, frogs don't use public restrooms. Especially not frogs with batteries in their bellies.

However, Krampus did take a tour of my past educational haunts.

Here he is lounging outside of my junior high.
And here? My high school. The tree that Krampus has so carefully climbed?
It wasn't there when I was in school. Speaking of elderly ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In which I am judgmental and catty.

I'm helping host a baby shower for Alice. My job is the invites and RSVPs.

It's a whole new world.

First of all, did you know that you can order baby shower invites with a silhouette of a pregnant belly ... a silhouette into which you then insert your own ultrasound photo?

In keeping with the title of this post: are you freaking kidding me? Nothing gets me psyched about gathering newborn essentials like a picture of E.T.

Secondly ... I've had two invitees ask if they can bring their young children.

Oh, sweet eight-pound, six-ounce baby Jesus in your golden fleece diaper.

I know I sound like the old spinster biddy I really and truly am when I say this, but ... any invitation you receive is generally limited to the people listed on the envelope. When I receive an invitation addressed to Cha Cha, I somehow know instinctively that this does not also mean that I am to bring Foxie Doxie, Lil' Frankfurter, my cousin, and that guy pumping gas next to me at Quik Trip.

How is it that I know this and other people don't seem to? I'm really not that smart. If I can grasp this concept, you can, too!

And as for the woman who e-mailed and asked if she should get a babysitter?

I love kids. I do. And I understand that last-minute stuff comes up and sometimes bringing your kidlet can't be helped. And newborns? Everybody loves a good round of Pass The Baby.


If you ever find yourself asking if you should get a babysitter, the answer is always, invariably, yes. A thousand times, yes. For the love of all that is holy, yes.


Krampus is a gentleman of style and panache. He understands the etiquette of the invite.

Here, he was invited to visit my elementary school, which is now an apartment building for seniors.
Evidently, Krampus was also invited to ride the OATS bus.
Rock on, Krampus. Rock on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Snow is sexy.

We got six inches of snow on the first day of spring. Yay!

So, my friend A. and I did what any normal women would do when faced with roads that were slushy at best and completely uncleared at worst.

We went to a sex toy party.

Yes. We drove across the metro to support our friend Amelia's little home party. A trip that should have taken 25 minutes took about 45. This was fine, but meant that when we arrived, all the other partygoers had been drinking for at least half an hour.

Drunken women + sex toys + more blue margaritas = excellent blogging.

I learned several important facts last night.

1. There are lotions on the market targeted at making specific ladyparts more sensitive and - this is important - you can't use a lotion intended for one ladypart on another ladypart. The G and the C? They don't like the same salves. However, I'm not sure how a product that has, like, 27 different kinds of parabens in the ingredient list can be safe to put on your most sensitive tissues. But that's just me.

2. A dildo and a vibrator are not the same. A dildo doesn't have a motor. This sort of rocks my world because one of my favorite photos in the entire universe is all of my college roommates posing at an adult emporium in front of what we termed "The Wall of Dildos." However, I now know that we were mistaken. We've been living a lie.

3. When seated in front of a basket of crackers, I will eat most of the crackers. Yes, I know this isn't really news.

4. Adding our drunk Latina friend to your white-bread, white-girl sex party is a must. She will teach you the Spanish words of all sorts of body parts. She also has no filter. This means that when asked to taste the edible strawberry massage oil, she will recoil in horror and announce to the consultant's chagrin that "it tastes like merde!"

5. Our drunk Latina friend was so right about the edible strawberry massage oil. It tasted like ass. When I got home, I couldn't figure out what that sick, sweet smell was. Finally, I realized it was my arm - the arm where I'd sampled both the edible strawberry massage oil and the edible strawberry lotion. It smelled like what I imagine being a stripper feels like - nauseous desperation. I took a shower.

Lest you think the strawberry / merde edible concoctions ruined the evening for me, don't worry. In true English major fashion, I did order a little something: a book.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Awareness is so important.

One of my friends had her kids - ages 3 and 5 - fill out brackets for the NCAA tourney. You know, just for family fun.

The 3-year-old? Stated that she wanted Melanoma to win it all.


My friend is guessing her daughter meant Villanova.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deflect! Deflect!

So, the blogging?

It has been a bit, eh, thin as of late.

I’ve been waiting for the Zoloft to kick in. And all the stuff that I desperately want to write about, the stuff that’s feeling like the busload of tourists that I’m pulling with my teeth, a la the World’s Strongest Man competition?

Well, it’s Corporate Behemoth. And I can’t really talk about it. Which sucks.

So, let’s pretend I just told you allll about it. And now you can be all, “Oh, noshedidnot!” and “But you’re the best editor in the entire galaxy!” And I will continue to wear dog-hair-encrusted sweatpants and rock back and forth and everyone wins. M’kay?


OK, how about this? Corporate Behemoth is now only stocking the plain yellow Post-Its (why? color is so important!), but Krampus the Christmas Frog is living it up. So let’s talk about him instead.

Krampus checked the mail. And then he visited the restored fancypants house up the street. You know, the one with the statue the nekkid lady? The nekkid lady that they cover with a freakin’ sheet, because it’s Iowa and – no, she isn’t cold – we’ve never seen nekkid bodies and it isn’t right even if it is so-called art?
Yeah. Krampus is really excited that the ice and snow caused some sheet slippage. Pervy little frog.

Next up? Krampus revisits my childhood and discovers public transportation. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

News flash.

Jon Bon Jovi is a handsome man.

Shocker, I know.

My Guy and I saw Bon Jovi in concert ... us and about 10,000 screaming women in mom jeans. The show? It was excellent. I love me some Bon Jovi, and they covered a lot of material from the New Jersey album, which I owned on cassette and have since purchased on iTunes. Because I love it that much.

I will say that for a while, the time-space continuum was all sorts of messed up. Richie Sambora was wearing this silver lamé sport coat that just made his skin look orange, and I had a hard time believing it was actually 2010. But then he traded out the coat for another and all was right with the world.

Bon Jovi isn't cool and I don't care. I love them. And I love the family that sat in front of us. Hipster mom and dad brought their 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son to the show, and all four of them danced and sang along. They were enjoying those precious remaining moments before their daughter thinks they're total dweebs.

Is that even a word anymore? "Dweeb" was totally cool when I first discovered Bon Jovi. Just sayin'.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hop to it.

Krampus the Christmas Frog? He's really growing as an individual. My mom sent me new pics over the last few days ... and Krampus is totally trying new hobbies.

Ham radio?
Listen for Kilo-Radio-Alpha-Mary-Papa-Uniform-Sierra.

Just be careful you don't get your scarf - or flipper - caught in the machine.

And model railroading?
Well, our little Krampus is obviously a man about town ... and the rail yard.

Is it sad that Krampus' life is way more interesting than mine?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Living in a world of fools.

The lovely JeanGenie left a great comment about my Elton John concert experience:

I actually had a guy say "Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer" while were dancing.


Yes, JeanGenie, I’m appropriately jealous. And heebed out. But mostly? Mostly, your tale of inappropriate sweet nothings made me think immediately about making out with my ex-boyfriend’s roommate in college. My ex-boyfriend’s roommate, who stopped trying to swallow my ear whole just long enough to sing “How deep is your love?” in said ear.

Yes. The Bee Gees. How deep is your love … I really need to learn. The entire chorus.

I laughed. But sadly, I didn’t laugh enough to put a stop to the shenanigans. He’s probably still putting that move on the ladies.

I learned my lesson – many lessons, actually. Don’t make out with your ex-boyfriend’s roommate because he will ruin a perfectly good song for you and then later you’ll end up at Denny’s in a drunken brawl, fighting over feminism and women’s role in the workplace and you will call him a fascist, chauvinistic pig, realizing only after the words are out that a) you’re not really sure what a fascist is; and b) you are still dependent upon him for a ride back to campus.

Ahem. Bygones.

So, spill it. What’s the cheesiest, most misused song / pick-up line to grace your ears?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My mom is brilliant.

While I've been sitting on my ass, waiting for the Zoloft to kick in, I've been receiving certain e-mails.

From my mother.

Remember Krampus?

Yes. Everybody's favorite dancing frog family mascot is on the loose. See, whenever I leave my parents' house, I inevitably forget something. I think it's my mom's way of insuring that I will return. At Christmas? Well, I forgot Krampus.

I know. I feel horrible. I had a cold. He blended in with the Christmas decorations. I am a terrible parent. I have no excuse.

So, lately? Krampus has gotten sick of sitting on his ass, waiting for me to get off my ass and come get him.

I guess my parents' living room gets dull after a while. The frog is now on some sort of walkabout. And I am the lucky recipient of his vacation photos. This one makes me think of "Gonna fly now" from Rocky.

This one made me nervous.
And with good reason. This next photo accompanied an e-mail that simply said, "Ohhhhh ... shhhhiiiiii ... "
Any bets on where Krampus will end up next? I just hope he has the good sense not to end up in Vegas, married to a waitress.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back on the chain gang.

When I was in seventh grade, I was in Advanced Science. We did all sorts of cool stuff, like use microscopes and figure out our blood types. Or, at least we thought we figured out our blood types ... I discovered years later that mine was wrong.

Anyway. We dissected frogs and cow's eyes and even fetal pigs. In hindsight, this was sort of a waste - what seventh grader is really getting a lot out of dissecting a fetal pig? Wouldn't that be an activity better suited to a high school biology student? But I guess 12-year-olds are safer with a scalpel than your average 17-year-old, so perhaps there was a method to the madness.

Seventh grade also meant science projects. These trimester-long projects were so grown-up and so stressful. Each student had to come up with a hypothesis, a procedure, results, and a conclusion. The project was student-driven and culminated in a long research paper.

Well, long as in five pages. Long for seventh grade.

My science project was measuring the impact of water pollution on horticultural growth. Or, rather, testing the impact of watering mustard seeds with laundry detergent.

I know. I can't believe it wasn't picked up by Scientific American either.

I had trays and trays of mustard seeds. The control group was watered with tap water. The test group was watered with a combination of tap water and good ol' liquid Cheer. I carefully measured the amount of liquid poured on each plant, and I carefully measured the height of each plant.

The conclusion? Watering your mustard seeds with liquid Cheer isn't a good idea. The plants were smaller than the control plants.

The next trimester, I think I did a variation of the same experiment, but tested eastern sunlight versus western sunlight in addition to the liquid Cheer. If memory serves, my dad had a TV tray of mustard seeds right next to his closet, as this was the best spot in the house with eastern sun. The man should get a medal.

I don't recall the exact conclusion of the east / west sunlight debate, but the learnings of the first study held true: liquid Cheer ain't plant food, people.

So, it was an experiment gone somewhat awry. But I still learned some stuff. Like how being a scientist is a pain in the ass. And that clean water is good.

I've drawn conclusions to a more recent experiment: going off Zoloft isn't a good thing. Can I live without it? Yes. Is my quality of life better without it? No. I've been going round and round, having trouble getting out of bed, being anxious about everything, but still being sort of OK ... and a whole lot stubborn. And finally, this weekend? This weekend, when I stood in the first sunshine we've seen in forever and instead of feeling joy, I felt panic because spring means having to clean up my yard? And then I had to take an Ativan just to get my sorry ass out of the house to go to yoga? Well, I drew my final conclusions about going off Zoloft.

It was an experiment gone somewhat awry. But I still learned some stuff.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Quote of the week.

Courtesy of my sweet computer geek boyfriend, dancing with me at a wedding:

When people see me dance, they know I know html.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shout it out loud.

I'm not necessarily a member of the KISS army, but this story is so awesome.

Picture it: it's 1975. It's your high school's homecoming. And KISS is your school's special guest. At the parade. And at the football field. And in concert in your school gym.

And then? Your 16-year-old brain explodes.

The city leaders donning make-up to host KISS at a breakfast kind of makes my brain explode even now. But good for them for going all-out. And good for KISS for doing something so cool.

Video courtesy of ESPN.com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A dream deferred.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was all excited because I found my calling in life, my life's work? I was going to open SlutMart, where reality show hos could get all of their Lucite heels and coochie-baring dresses.

Sadly, I think someone beat me to the punch.

See, I ended up on a mailing list.

A mailing list for a particular catalog.

Perhaps you've heard of it ... Frederick's of Hollywood?

I know!

First of all - how could my business plan for SlutMart have been so flawed to overlook such a huge competitor - a competitor who may have actually cornered the market on hoochiewear?

Secondly - how did I get on this mailing list? Don't they realize that I'm a former mathlete who never goes anywhere without an iron-plated, industrial-strength over-the-shoulder boulder holder? I am not the target demographic for the, uh, recreational underthings that are the hallmark of the Frederick's of Hollywood empire.

I will say, however, that good ol' Fred does offer clothing and accessories for any occasion.

Need to throw on jeans and a shirt for a quick run to WalMart for cigs and baby formula? Fred will hook you up.
Or how about taking the kids to the zoo, getting in touch with your own wild side?
Nothing says, "I am an important businesslady going to an important businesslady meeting" like this little getting-down-to-business number.Tell me these wouldn't be perfect for meeting your boyfriend's parents. Seriously.Oh, crap. I actually kind of like this one.
Ideal for a job interview ...
... while these are better suited for your boyfriend's parole hearing.
And this? Well, it's just perfect with any ensemble. Because nothing says, "I am an intelligent, rational woman with goals and a strong sense of self" like a $12 necklace that's going to turn your neck green.
I know I'm being harsh ... it's just hard to let go of the SlutMart dream. And looking through Fred's stock is like planning your outfits for the elimination ceremonies of any vh1 dating show.
But really? Really, who buys this stuff? Who are these women? And how did I get lumped in with them with this stupid catalog?
All images courtesy of fredericks.com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

Thanks for your well-wishes about my current incarceration. I'm glad that we can all agree that the girl who thought Chris Daughtry was a bigger deal than an Elton John / Billy Joel combo just plain ol' needed killin'.

But the show?

I will now admit something very painful.

Elton John did not bring home the bacon, nor did he fry it up in a pan. Dude phoned it in.

One of my coworkers who also attended the show interpreted it as Elton getting old and unable to really be the showman we all wanted. I felt that was very generous ... and then felt like a hateful little bitch for thinking of Elton as a lazybones instead of a possible invalid.

His set was like watching the radio. So, I watched the crowd, which was infinitely more interesting. Couples were slow dancing. Two teenaged boys became progressively less embarrassed of their dancing dad and got more and more into the music. But mostly? Mostly, it was lovely and amazing to see people step outside of themselves.

You could see the people they were when they first heard Elton's music. Those three middle-aged guys in the polo shirts? They weren't middle managers on Saturday night. They were kids listening to vinyl in the basement. And that white-haired couple giving the secret looks? They obviously made out to Tiny Dancer in the back of his Monte Carlo, back in the day.

For me? That was the real show. Not watching kids make out in a Monte Carlo - don't be gross. Seeing music transform people into the selves they were when the music initially made them so happy, those times that the music still takes them back to now.

And for the love of all that is holy, why do I not have my own Time-Life Infomerical? You know I would rock that gig. Rock. It.

And then Billy Joel came on, and his show wasn't like watching the radio, so I mostly watched him instead of the crowd. I love him ... so maybe I was one of the people transformed.

Billy Joel was my first real rock concert. Forever cementing their place in the Cool Parents Hall of Fame, our parents took me and Poochie when I was a sophomore and he was in fourth grade. That show opened up so many possibilities for me. And then? Then, my dad drove us home in a blizzard. A trip that should have taken an hour and a half took more than three hours. Poochie now refers to weather where you know you have no business driving as just "Billy Joel." As in, "I'm so glad to be home. It's totally Billy Joel out there."

What were we talking about again?

Saturday night. Right. Daughtry girl? Needed killin'. Elton John? Very ill or very lazy. Billy Joel? Rockin' the house and representin' bad driving conditions since 1991.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Why I'm in jail for homicide.

Overheard while in a very, very long line to get into the arena to see Elton John and Billy Joel - two legends with, like, 80 years in the music business - perform:

Wow, this line is insane. We're gonna hafta get here really, really early to see Daughtry! That line's gonna be even worse. I mean, their lead singer is Chris Daughtry. He was on AMERICAN IDOL!