Monday, December 26, 2011

The Mud Splatters Made Nice Patterns on the Windshield

The other day I got lost. Not, like, really really lost. I knew vaguely where I was and could have found my way home easily, but I wasn't trying to come home yet - I was trying to find a school. You see, Sweet Pea had an 'All-County Chorus' audition and I was trying to find a school across town. The music teacher gave us directions, but they weren't quite complete. The last step was to turn right onto road xyz, which I did. From there it failed to mention how far to go on this street to get to the school, or what side of the street it was on. So I drove for a bit, then saw some school signs. Great! It took a bit to find the entrance, but Sweet Pea and I found a nice close parking spot in the nearly empty lot and went into the building - the lit, but deathly silent building. Not a sound to be heard, not a person to be found. Yet the school was wide open.

Eventually Sweet Pea and I realized it must be the wrong building. What clued us in? Well, the lack of other people (and cars) for starters, the utter silence and the school name. Yes, we finally noticed the school name posted somewhere on the wall as we wandered down the silent halls and it wasn't the right name.

So, we left. We called the hubster and had him pull it up on Google Maps and he directed us. Turns out, it was very close to the original turn-off. The problem was, the road it was on was mostly hidden, and the big sign with the school name and arrows and such was back in some trees and it was very much like old driftwood - a soft gray with, I presume, some words on it somewhere, although they weren't visible in the dark.

In any case, we finally arrived. We parked off the side of the road with a bunch of cars and proceeded into the building. This was better - lots of cars, lots of people, lots of singing kids. I was pretty sure we were in the right place.

Everything went pretty smooth for a while. Sweet Pea had her audition, did wonderfully (although she didn't think so, but neither did any of the other kids) and then we were ready to get home. We headed out to the car, hopped in and proceeded to spin our tires for several minutes. I pulled forward an inch. I backed up an inch. Lather, rinse repeat until a nice trench was firmly in place beneath my wheels and the cars on both sides of me were covered in mud. (As was my car).

I would almost have paid money to see the look on the face of the car owners parked next to me. First it would have been "WTF! Why is my car all covered in mud! Crap! Stupid people. !@#$#@###'

Then, it would have been 'WTF. I'm stuck in the mud!'

So, I called AAA and got myself towed out. Quick and easy. And as the tow truck driver considered sticking around to pull out the other people - because surely they would get stuck as well - I peeled out of the lot, ready to head home and giggling at the patterns the mud made on the windshield, and side windows, and hood and all the cars that had been parked next to me. (Sorry - couldn't be helped.)


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Skeletons

  Yes, I know. It's the Christmas season. But sometimes you have to have a little fun. I mean, Christmas cookies are awesome. Tasty little morsels of chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger, lots of icing and sprinkles, lots of red and green, trees and holly, snowmen and santas, presents and bells and stars and skeletons. Yes, that's right - skeletons. While making dozens upon dozens of gingerbread men I got bored and decided to decorate a little more unconventionally:

I must say, these gingerbread men taste even better than the ones with the red and green frosting. I think it's because they are unexpected - one of those 'Is that a skeleton cookie? It isn't Halloween is it? I thought it was Christmas?" kind of moments.


Monday, December 19, 2011

What the Heck is That Crazy Woman Doing???

  I recently rented a car. It was a Volkswagon Jetta. Now, maybe this is the way blinkers work now-a-days and maybe I'm just stupid but I'm sure, without a doubt, that the people driving behind me thought I was completely out of my mind.

You see, I would decide to change lanes, so I would press down on the blinker. In my car, and in every car I have ever driven, a slight push on it makes it blink and it continues to blink for only as long as I maintain pressure on it. A harder push will turn it on so it stays on until I turn and it clicks off. But in this particular car, this wild and crazy Jetta, a slight push would turn it on. What I finally realized was that a slight push turned it on for about 5 blinks, at which  point it would then turn itself off. But my reaction was,

"Crap! I didn't think I pressed it that hard. Damn thing turned itself on!"

So, I would push it the other way to turn it off. But since it wasn't really 'on', instead of turning off, it would blink in the other direction for it's 5 blinks. And of course I would say, ""Crap! I didn't think I pressed it that hard. Damn thing turned itself on!" So I pushed it the other way.

Are you seeing the pattern here?

It went on like that. With my blinkers going:

Left blink, left blink, left blink, right blink right blink, left blink, left blink, right blink, right blink.

It only took me about a day to realize what was going on.

It took me another couple of days to remember and adjust my blinking habits. Just in time to return the car.


Friday, December 16, 2011

You MAKE that Stuff?!?

So, as I said, Christmas cookie season is upon us. I grew up with a mother who baked lots and lots and lots of many different kinds of cookies each Christmas season and I carry on the tradition - not all the same cookies, but a nice variety. The other day, Sweet Pea had a friend over as the baking fest was just getting underway.

It quickly became apparent that this little girl was not from a family that does a lot of baking. As I gathered up the dough, the rolling pin, some cookie cutters and some flour the questions began:

Girl: What's the white powder? (refering to the flour that I was sprinkling on the tabletop and the cookie dough to keep things from sticking).

Girl: Who makes this dough?
Sweet Pea: My Mom.
Girl: Your Mom MAKES it?!?!?
Sweet Pea: Yea, homemade is much better!
Girl: Stuff, stuff, munch, munch (I think she agreed)

Me: I'm out of green sprinkles so we'll use the red ones. I could make more green, but the red will do.
Girl with incredulous look on her face: You can make sprinkles?? How do you do that?

And throughout the process there was A LOT of "Can I do this?" "Can I help?" "Oooh oooh let me! Let me"

She had the time of her life rolling out the dough, cutting the cookies, marveling over the dough and the sheer quantity of it:
"Your Mom made ALL the dough?!?!"

I'm just so used to baking and all that goes into it that I find it funny when someone is amazed by the process.

On a similar note, in Sweet Pea's home-ec class recently they did some baking. Hearing her tell about the other girls not knowing some of the cooking basics that Sweet Pea takes for granted was amusing. Sweet Pea could have taught that lesson!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Music Makes Me Stabby

  The other day as I was making hundreds of thousands of Christmas cookies, the hubby tuned the radio to a station playing Christmas music. While I generally prefer to bake to heavy metal with screaming guitars, screaming singers, lots of swearing, foul language and heavy drum beats, I had to admit that some holiday music was more appropriate for the situation. My tendency to beat the imaginary drum sticks sometimes interferes with the baking process and we end up with dough on the walls and ceiling and fist prints in the frosting. Something a little more in tune with the season seemed to be in order. So I didn't complain.

However, after hearing some of the song choices the DJs chose to play I was feeling downright stabby:

Blue Christmas is Elvis. Ok. Elvis is cool. But come on! Those uber-annoying whoo-ooo-ooo-oo parts throughout the song are enough to drive me insane after hearing it once, let alone 6 times!

And what's with Dean Martin referring to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as 'Rudy'? Sacrilege!! Give the deer some respect! Use his full name. It's bad enough he missed out on years of reindeer games and spiked eggnog, but to call him Rudy?!? Inexcusable. And stupid.

Then there's Jewel breaking down into yodeling and jazz scat on Winter Wonderland. All I can say is WTF!

And I get that Taylor Swift is cute, and a good singer. And I know that she has a pretty good version of Santa Baby if you don't mind the country music twang thrown in and the fact that she is WAY too virtuous to be singing that song. But do we really have to hear that version over and over and over? There are other, much better versions out there. How about the original? Or even Madonna's version. Madonna at least has the personality to pull it off. Has Lady Gaga done a version yet?

And I think it may be Michael Buble singing Oh Holy Night. Or maybe it's Josh Groban. I really have no idea, but whoever it is, it's a god-awful, slow, put me to sleep version of an awesome holiday tune. Zzzz, wha? Oh, did I fall asleep in the cookie dough again? Let 's get something with a little bit of life on the radio!

And speaking of falling asleep, or being put to sleep, what is up with the annoyingly slow, bordering on depressing, versions of Silver Bells, Home for Christmas, and many others? Isn't Christmas supposed to be a happy time? Full of fun, love, laughter, family, giving, etc? I don't want to fall asleep in my Christmas pudding while listing to Christmas songs. Nor do I want to cower in a dark corner contemplating self harm due to overplaying of slow, depressing renditions of songs that should be uplifting.

After a mere two hours of that (and I tried several different radio stations) I was ready to kill - either myself or the Christmas tree, or the radio. Gah! I'm feeling stabby!! Time to switch to some Christmas CDs with good music, or some nice soothing heavy metal.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Fake Plastic Musty Scent of Christmas

So a couple of weeks ago (I know - old news!) we dragged the Christmas tree out of the basement. Doesn't that sound so un-holiday-like? I pull the bin off the shelf, drag it across the cold concrete floor, bump-thump-bang-crash it around the corner and up the stairs, hoping that I don't lose my grip and send it crashing to the bottom of the stairs where it will surely crush the cat.

Then we open the bin and the lovely scent of fresh pine musty plastic fake pine needles wafts out. Aaaah - the smell of Christmas.

The kids all love to help sort out the branches and put them in the trunk. I follow along behind fluffing them. No, really. They need fluffing. They've been mashed in a box for almost a year.

Then the next two hours is spent on swearing over the fact that NONE of the GD light strings from last year work, even though they worked fine when we packed them away last year. Fortunately I am now prepared for this and stock up on lights each year.

Then the next couple of hours the kids put throw the ornaments carefully on the tree. I follow along behind rearranging, otherwise, the same 10 branches in the bottom half of the tree, in the front, get all the ornaments. 

Child X: Mom! Why did you move that?
Me: Well, there were four ornaments on that branch. I couldn't see the ones behind.
Child X: But I liked it where it was!


Even Catzilla Relaxes at Christmas Time

Even Catzilla Relaxes at Christmas Time


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Great Doily Cleanse

The other week when I was emptying my room to turn it into our very own dojo, I had to do some cleaning. I threw out a lot of crap! It was great! I was digging through one of those 'under-bed-bags'. You know - those big plastic bags with zippers that you stuff full of things you don't know what to do with and shove under the bed. Yeah. I have some of those. So, while cleaning one out I tossed out several old purses. Purses are like shoes. I collect them. I love them. I can't walk past them in the store without looking. Just looking. The kids know to try to steer me around them. Sometimes they are successful.

But anyway, I threw away several old purses I will never use again. And while in that bag, I also found a collection of old burp cloths from when the kids were babies. I held onto them because they would make good rags. OK, now really. Who needs that many rags? I mean, I'm not an auto mechanic. I'm not into any hobbies that involve a lot of grease or gunk. And when I do get into something messy, the last thing I think of is the collection under the bed. I go to the sink, or get a towel, or a paper towel, or the hose, or just wipe my hands on my shirt. I think I've only used an actual rag once in the last 20 years. So I tossed them. Ha ha! Buh-bye!

And then . . .

I came across the doily collection.

You know, those lovely white crocheted things that adorn the table-tops and chair backs in old ladies houses. Yes, those. I had 10 or so of those. Very nice. I'm sure. If you like that sort of thing. Some of them were made by my grandmother's loving fingers - carefully and lovingly stitched and knitted and knotted and whatever else goes into making those things and given to me assuming that I would cherish them and put them out for display. Others probably came from the dollar store. Some were probably priceless antiques and heirlooms that I should pass onto my children.

Bah! They don't want those! In the trash! All of them! And as I did so I threw my head back and laughed. Ah HA HA HA. Look at me! I'm throwing these things away! Bwah ha ha ha! It was liberating. It was awesome!

On a similar note, do you know what I bought recently? No, not a doily! Don't be silly. I bought one of those crazy sweaters with no sleeves that's like a blanket with a head hole. No, not a snuggie. More like a poncho, but less colorful, less south-western and more light-sweatery. It's very pretty. But whenever I wear it I feel like I'm wearing a big huge honkin' doily! I feel like an end table, or a nice velvet chair. The hubby concurs, but that may only be because he witnessed The Great Doily Cleanse.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Got my iPod on
Drums, guitars, voices and more
Lots of good music

Well, it seems I am the only one in the family that likes music with screaming. Imagine that. You'd think I get enough of that sort of noise with three kids. I think it's more that it's a familiar sound and I've grown accustomed to it.

Five Finger Death Punch has some awesome music - the lead singer tends to descend in deep-throated screams now and then.

In This Moment (a really crappy name for a band, but awesome music) has lots and lots of screaming - both from the female lead singer and from the male backup.

And on my Apocalyptica CD there is a song by some French death metal dude - Joseph Duplantier, Bring Them to Light. I love that song! Awesome.

But whenever I put any of that music on it sounds like this:

Hubby: What the hell is that?
Me: What? The music you mean?
Hubby: If that's what you want to call it.
Me: It's awesome!

Snickers: Mommy! Oh my god! That's terrible!
Me: What? The music you mean?
Sweet Pea: That sucks Mom! Switch it to [some god-awful pop station].
Me: God no! I can't do that. And besides. This music rocks!
Sweet Pea: Really.
Me: OK, I'll skip this one. The next song isn't so screamy.
Sweet Pea and Snickers in unison: Oh my god! That's worse! Is that a guy screaming too?
Me: Fine! I'll listen to it when I'm alone!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mutant Orange Haiku

Monster mutant orange
Huge Cheshire-cat-grin segments
Will it bite me back?


Friday, December 2, 2011

My Wrists Are Smmmooookin'

  So, you know that I like to make and wear beaded bracelets, right? Did you also know that in the winter I like to blast the heat in the car? And by winter I mean the snowy cold months of January, February and March as well as the three months leading up to them and the three months after them.

Now, when I have the heat blasting out, it has to blast in just the right way. It can't blast directly into my face. I hate having hot eyeballs, not to mention the fact that since my laser eye surgery several years back my eyes are drier than normal, so having hot air blowing on them guarantees they will dry out like unbuttered toast and fall out. Not a good thing. So, rather than risk that, it blows out onto my hands and feet. This has the added advantage of warming up my hands, which for a good percentage of the year, are basically hand-shaped chunks of ice. However, I've recently discovered that having the car's heater blasting out onto my wrists - wrists that are covered in beaded bracelets with metal clasps and sometimes metal beads - is not always a good thing.

For instance, I'll be driving down the road, heat blasting, and will notice that my wrist feels funny. I'll wiggle it and, Ouch! Damn! Holy smokin' wrist bones batman! The metal beads get very very hot. This is going to interfere with my warm-up routine.