Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A short story about dogs

Cats are selfish and they hate me.

I am a not really a cat person, I tolerate them but I don’t love them. I am not drawn to them. I am the person who is home most often and cares the most about keeping the living things in our house…..living. I am a dog person. So naturally we do not have a dog. No, instead, because I am married to a man in an old cat lady’s body, we have cats. THREE. That is a minimum of 2 too many.

One of the cats is old, 15 years old. I like her. She’s crotchety. She and I get along. The other two have been with us for about a year. My son found one of them, a kitten abandoned, while he was walking home from school. I’m a sucker.

A sucker who no longer allows her children to walk home from school. It’s dangerous.

My husband, the cat lady, reasoned that it was unfair to have a kitten without a playmate. I said that the kitten should just be grateful that she was not left under a dusty bush to die by sizzling in the Arizona sun. I am not a cat person, so naturally I lost this argument and ANOTHER kitten came to live with us. These kittens are both female. They are named Carlos and Steve. Of course.

Steve has recently decided peeing on the sofa is a good idea. Steve is wrong. I told my husband Steve has to move out. I don’t care where she goes but she has peed on my sofa for the last time.

My husband, the cat lady, was very sad to hear that I wanted to evict Steve. Steve is a nice cat with a fun personality. I said furniture that smells like cat pee is not my idea of fun.

He walked down the street to chat with out neighbor, his mentor, a woman who has an enclosed “cat run” in her backyard containing approximately 30 cats. THIRTY. He came home with great news. Steve is probably upset because she doesn’t have her own litter box. Natch. Apparently, the recommended litter box math is 3 cats = 4 litter boxes multiplied by 1 annoyed wife who doesn’t even have her own shower.

I would like to be a gentle person, but I am starting to suspect it is not my lot in life.

We “compromised” on 3 litter boxes. THREE LITTER BOXES!! (I’m sorry, was I shouting?)

Steve is at the vet today being spayed. When she returns she will have one week to never pee on my sofa again or go live down the street with 30 other cats where I seriously doubt she will have her very own private litter box.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Please try not to be jealous of my super exciting life.

This morning I noticed a disturbing (?) trend. This blog, the very one you are reading right now, is getting quite a few visits from folks looking for information about **Slenda Lean. Since it would be such a bummer for anyone to feel like they’d wasted a trip I’ve decided to issue a little statement to those who wander in search of diet miracles. Here it is~ 

I hate to sound like a bad news bear, but I've come to believe that these trendy little diet gimmicks never seem to deliver what they promise. Have you ever read the fine print on the Dexatrim box? It says that if you eat sensibly and exercise while you’re using their product you’re bound to lose weight. People!! I’m no Albert Einstein but I’m pretty sure that if you eat sensibly and exercise you're bound to lose weight no matter what! Of course that means you miss out on some of the side effects perks, like a racing heart and sweaty palms, but, hey, if that’s what it takes to make you feel like you’re really getting somewhere, by all means, get thee to the diet aids. I’m just sayin’.

Moving on.

Last night, thanks to the technological wonder that is Netflix streaming, I enjoyed a veritable fruit salad of television viewing.

First, I watched Exit Through the Gift Shop, a “documentary” directed by the mysterious and elusive Banksy, about a street artist named Mr. Brainwash. Have you seen it? As far as I can tell the whole thing is joke. At least I hope that’s the deal. It’s not clear who the joke is on, but I’ve already given 2 hours of my life to watching the film, I really can’t spare any more energy for the cause.

Then I donated 88 unrefundable minutes of my life to the first two episodes of The Kennedy’s. Boy, that Katie Holmes-Cruise, she’s something, huh? Why do you suppose we don’t see more of her?

Finally, I was going to watch Paris, with Juliette Binoche. Don’t you love Juliette Binoche? First I wanted to catch the news and verify that I am still living in the bowels of hell by making sure that a large portion of my state is still on fire and that temperatures are truly forecasted to reach the danger zone of 113 flaming hot degrees today, but because I’m like a monkey attracted to shiny things I never made it to the news. As I flipped through the stations, PBS caught my eye and I ended up watching an episode of POV* about pastry chefs. It was fascinating. And long.

For the record, I don’t usually watch this much TV, my husband has been out of town and I don’t sleep well when he’s gone; apparently I’ve grown so accustomed to the sound of a freight train barreling through my bedroom that complete silence is now a deal breaker.

*POV is a reality show with all the drama edited out.

**Slenda Lean link  .......suckers

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hey! Look at this!!

Sorry about the title. You wouldn't believe how much work it is coming up with those things all the time. It's very stressful.
Remember the other day when I was sorting through pictures for the wedding slide show/video and I had an emotional breakthroughdown? 
Me neither.

But look what I found! 
Pictures of me, pre-flat top.
Was I not the cutest thing?
My brother was cute too. 
Those matching outfits were 100% polyester. Really, that stretching kind, like the pants my granny wears. You know the ones I'm talking about, elastic waist? Eh? It's hard for me to imagine that clothing of this sort was produced for children. Even if it was the 70's. If we had gotten too close to the fireplace they probably would have melted. 
That vest is corduroy with red piping. My brother still has it.
He wore it last week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

If I owe you an e-mail I haven't forgotten, I've just been busy with other equally important things

Like this~ I wrote a long post that I decided to not to torture you with, about my new sandals, the gist of it being, my old sandals broke, I looked high and low but could not find the perfect replacement until, ta-da, I did. Now I have some awesome sandals. Here’s a picture~

{Smokin' sandal deals found here}

Then I wrote one about how proud I was of myself for being more mature about the whole “my son, who is 20, is getting married” thing, until I started going through box after box of photos for the wedding video/slideshow and I suddenly found myself sobbing. SOBBING!! Out of the blue. It was nuts, or I am, or whatever. I can’t decide if was because my life was flashing before my eyes or because I found this picture~

There are a couple of things you can’t see very well in this picture.

1. Behind those big bangs lies a flat top. It was lovely and rebellious. Those were the days.
2. The woman standing between me and my best friend Julie is her mother. I fear, that in a long running campaign to save my soul, she may have made a contribution or six to the PTL Club. Bless her heart.

So, I spent a lot of time writing 2 posts that I later decided were a little too me me me, you don't want to read about me being neurotic or sentimental, right? Besides, today I need to talk to you about distraction, specifically, me being distracted while driving.

I think I might have to give up listening to the radio in the car, even though yesterday I heard a commercial about this woman who doesn’t want to listen to CDs or her i-pod while she’s driving because she lives in the real world and she needs to know what’s going on in the real world (I assume she means as opposed to Taylor Swift's world, because since I'm never alone in my car, that's the CD I'm most often forced to listen to), apparently listening to the radio is the only way she can do that. Which I believe, because the radio is full of real world information, I mean, I might have never known about the great plague that is Shift Worker Disorder if I hadn’t been listening to the radio.

On the other hand, since I don’t spend enough time listening to the radio, I’m a little sheltered, sometimes I hear something and I’m so intently trying to figure out if what they're talking about is a real thing that I miss my light and the people behind me start honking and gesturing. (which is SOO rude, by the way)

The other day I heard about Slenda Lean. It’s a slendalicious smoothie that helps you shed all that ugly fat. (If I’m picking up what they’re putting down, you get to keep the cute fat. Whew!) That’s right, Slenda Lean. The guy on the radio was offering $1000.00 to lucky users. So I called my brother.

Me~Hey, I just heard a commercial for Slenda Lean. At first I thought it was a joke, but I’m pretty sure it’s real, they’re offering people money to drink their monster hunger chasing smoothies.

Him~Wait..what's it called? Wasn’t there bacon called Sizzlean when we were kids?

Me~I think they still make it, but it’s not really bacon, is it?

Him~Doesn’t matter, I bet it would be a good side dish with that smoothie. You could say, I just had me some slendalean and some sizzlean for breakfast. Tasty.

Then the cars started honking. You know what? Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe the radio’s not the problem, maybe it’s my brother, because it certainly isn’t me. I’m a great driver.

*Also, there’s a giveaway over at BlogHer. You could win A Jane Austen Education AND Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of, Jane Austen: The Complete Novels. Go here to enter.

ps~after some exhaustive research (wikipedia) it looks like Sizzlean isn't as widely available as Slenda Lean. I can't imagine why.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I must have watched this 20 times. Super funny.
*found on kottke

Friday, June 10, 2011

I don't care what Anderson Cooper says, I think Steve Martin is a really nice guy.

For a couple of years now, I've taken Tylenol PM (or the Costco equivalent) every night before going to bed.

Yes, I know, even though I don’t sleep well and I really need my rest so I can be on top of things enough to stop the streaking before it happens, it’s probably not a good idea to take ibuprofen every night, which is why I’ve been trying to break my terrible drug habit by going cold turkey this week. Also I ran out and have been too lazy busy to run to Costco to get another year’s supply. I know I could just get some at Target but I can’t bring myself to do that when the Costco bottle is such a much better deal {I’m looking away from that grammar train wreck right there and you probably should too}.

The first couple of nights I slept horribly, now I'm sleeping fine, but I’ve started having these bizarre dreams.

Last night for example I dreamed that I was at some high school, the outside of the school looked just like a scene from Xanadu and the inside had a bunch of really cool architectural features. It was the end of the day and school was letting out so the halls were filled with students and I was trying to follow a couple of the teachers without getting caught.

Surprisingly neither of the teachers were Olivia Newton-John or Gene Kelly, they were Anderson Cooper and Steve Martin. Naturally.

It was a dream people, don’t ask me to explain. The only reason I’m even posting this is because my brother called to make fun of the other things I’ve posted this week and I thought he would enjoy reading about what goes on in my head when I’m not awake. That and I’m hoping for a little dream analysis in the comments.

So, I’m trying to keep up with them without getting caught and the amount of students in the hallway is dwindling, making it harder and harder not to be seen, so I was getting a little nervous. Both men were wearing black coats but they weren’t walking together, I could just see the tops of their white heads. Anderson was a few feet ahead of Steve, I kind of got the idea that he didn’t like him all that much. At one point Steve yells “Hey! Baby Cooper! You coming to the ghrayrlh?” (I couldn’t hear everything, it was a dream you guys! Give me a break.) I'm guessing this is why Anderson Cooper doesn't like Steve Martin, the name calling. He didn’t even turn around, he just kept walking at the same pace. Which I thought was kind of rude for a Vanderbilt. Then there was some kind of ruckus right near me and Steve turned around so I cut into a stairwell and started running down like 4 flights of stairs, what kind of high school has that many floors? There seemed to be some kind of renovation going on and all of the handrails had been taken off. I kept thinking, “You are going to fall. You fall all the time and now you're going to fall in front of Steve Martin.” (who, by the way, was not even chasing me as far as I could tell).

Then I woke up. Weird huh?

Here’s the thing, I was talking about Steve Martin yesterday, so I can understand why he was there, but Anderson Cooper and the Xanadu stuff….no IDEA where that came from.

Because I'm a helper, here's an awesome (and really long) clip from Xanadu. Now you can have weird dreams too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You look like the kind of guy who collects dolls

Speaking of doing stupid stuff, last night I overheard one of my sons telling his brothers about the time when he and a couple of friends “streaked around the neighborhood in the middle of the night”.  As in, the three of them took off their clothes and ran to the end of the street and back....NAKED!

I pretended not to hear a word. My life has reached the point where one of my children racing buck naked down the block is a lesser evil. This is what it’s come to and I don’t even feel bad about it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ta-Da! A kind of funny story that may be a little long.

The first time I heard the artist formerly known as John Cougar I was 12. That summer my parents had separated and my brothers and I were living with my mom in a new town. Carol was my age and lived two houses down from us. We were nothing alike; she had older brothers and sisters and knew about “stuff”. She was rebellious and daring, I was nervous and cautious. The biggest rule I’d ever broken was not returning a library book on time (I carried that guilt around for years).

Carol smoked in her bedroom with the window open, when her mom knocked on the locked door she would slide her ashtray under the bed and answer. Never once did her mom ask about the low visibility or the smell. Her house might as well have been the twilight zone as far as I was concerned. I’d never even considered locking my bedroom door. Why would I? While Carol’s older brother was teaching her how to refill liquor bottles with colored water I was still playing with Barbie dolls.

One afternoon we were sitting in the carport listening to a cassette one of us had made by pressing pause and record for 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon during Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 and Jack and Diane came on. Carol said, “It’s true you know, life does go on. My thrill of living has been gone for a while.”

Even my 12 year old self thought it was a bit much for another kid to say something like that but I was having a lot of fun with Carol so I shook it off, besides, considering how much catching up I figured I needed to do before Jr. High started I couldn’t really afford to ditch someone so well versed in both cool and angst.

When I slept over at her house we would wait for her parents to fall asleep, then we’d push the ashes out of the way and climb out her bedroom window so we could meet up with the other neighborhood delinquents. One night, when there was no obvious trouble for us to get into, Carol suggested we go for a drive. I think I must have figured that there was really no way two twelve year olds were going to get our hands on a car so I said sure.

“Okay,” Carol said, “We just need to push my mom’s car into the street. We can’t start it in the driveway, she might wake up.”

Right then I knew...A.) We really were going for a ride.... B.) My friend who was the size of a pixie, and possibly crazy, planned to be the driver..... C.) I was in way over my head. Later I would ask myself a hundred times why I didn’t just walk home (it was only TWO houses away) right then and there. The only answer I’ve ever come up with is- I was 12, duh!

We stealthily pushed the car into the street, Carol started it up and we headed out. We stopped quickly to grab our friend Brian, even though he was tall enough to see over the steering wheel he was also unlicensed, so, since it was her mom’s car, we decided (like morons) that little Carol might as well drive.

Had there been a lick of common sense or foresight between the 3 of us, in that moment we would have known that none of us would ever be a brain surgeon.

It was pretty late (or early depending on how you view 2 a.m.) so there wasn’t much traffic and we noticed right away when a car seemed to be following us. We weren’t really concerned until he turned on his lights and siren, which even a couple of stupid unlicensed 12 year olds like us knew was the universal signal for pull over you are about the be grounded for 3 years.

“Should I try to out run him?” Carol asked.

“Are you crazy? He could shoot us!”

“He can’t shoot us AND drive.”

“Pull OVER!!”

As the officer approached Carol’s window Brian debated making a break for it on foot. I may have mentioned that the officer was no longer driving and surely would be able to shoot him now. I had no intention of being left alone with Crazy Carol the Criminal.

Once the basics had been established and it was clear that we were not drunk, just stupid, Carol was asked to step out of the vehicle. I almost threw up listening to the conversation.

“Whose vehicle are you driving miss?”

“My mom’s.”

“And where is your mother this evening?”

“On the road.”

“On the road?”

“She drives a truck.”

Apparently Carol had seen Smokey and the Bandit a few too many times. I stopped listening and started praying. Eventually she must have told him the truth, or a least a more believable lie, and we were given the pleasure of a ride home in the backseat of his patrol car.

Carol’s mom started crying when she saw us. She told us we could have been killed and that we would not be allowed to play together anymore. The scene was pretty much repeated word for word when I broke the news to my mother the next day. They kept us apart for a couple of months and I’m pretty sure we were never allowed to sleepover at either house again, other than that things were back to normal by the time school started.

At the end of the school year Carol’s family moved out of state. We didn’t really keep in touch, but I still think of her when I hear Jack and Diane, which to be honest, isn’t all that often. I wish I could tell you that when Carol left I stopped doing stupid things, instead I pretty much spent the next 8 years trying to top one stupid thing with another even more stupider thing.

I was thinking about my stupid years today. Sometimes I think my kids do dumb stuff and I worry about that. But you know what? So far none of my kids even comes close to the idiot I was and I turned out okay. Mostly.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I might even qualify for disability!

Listen, I’ve been sitting here for an hour trying to put a few words together so we could get all caught up, but in the week since Oprah abandoned me I seem to have lost my ability to focus. Thanks Oprah, thanks for NOTHING!

Then I remembered……yesterday I was listening to the radio and I heard an advertisement for people who are afflicted with something called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. (Have you ever noticed that on the radio they have a lot of REAL commercials that could pass for SNL skits?) There is now a medication for people who have problems functioning because they do shift work. When I heard you can go to the doctor because you’re all janked* up from being on a screwy schedule a voice in my head said, "SHUUUT UP!" Because I seriously doubt shift work can even compare to the syndrome that is "I have an infant (or two even) and I haven't slept through the night in over a year and I don't see anyone handing me pharmaceuticals!" But then different voice said, “Hang on a second! If people can get drugs because they chose to work at night, a woman like you probably has a long list of things she could be medicated for!”

After I told my voices to stop talking over one another I made a list~

1. Oprah Obandonment Syndrome~ Surely I’m not the only person out here who is wondering how they will ever again know what to read, think, wear, or eat. Worst of all, how will we know which celebrities (Oprah aside of course) are worth of our worship?

2. Mother(-in-law) Suggestion Malady~ For the sudden onset of rage one might feel after hearing the same “helpful idea” for the 57th time.

3. Your Child is Getting Married Disorder~ What we need here, is a prescription that takes the edge off, but still leaves you able to drive, just in case you suddenly need to flee the scene of a planning session.

4. Mom Guilt~Seriously, who has NOT wished there was a drug to combat the guilty moms get every time they turn around?

5. Birthday Party Planning Rash~ Am I the only one who gets this? Today is our daughter’s birthday. She’s 11 and had decided that because 11, like say, 16 or 21, is traditionally such a milestone year, there was only one way to properly celebrate. Bowling with her friends! Naturally!! I should have seen this coming, because if there is one thing our family loves it’s bowling. We head down to the B.A. (Bowling Alley) about twice a......NEVER!

We don’t go bowling. I don’t like bowling. I have a thing about sticking my feet and fingers in places recently inhabited by strangers sweaty parts. I tried suggesting other things, like pony rides or skydiving, but she stood firm. Only bowling, the funnest thing EVER, was going to make her happy on this, her 11th year. So I resigned myself to an evening of catching foot fungus and eating the best nachos in town. Then at the last minute, for some unknown reason (the power of prayer), bowling fell out of favor. I should have known it would, this is the child who doesn't leave the house before trying on at least 4 outfits and she NEVER goes with the first one.  She changed her mind and now we are having about 20 little girls over for cake and pizza, in that order. I mean it’s her 11th birthday, the least I can do is let her eat dessert first, especially now that I don’t have to spend the evening getting finger germs at the bowling alley.

And, because I really do need drugs and I have no coherent way to wrap this up (damn you Oprah!), you should go read this~ Tina Fey's prayer for her daughter. It's funny, and true, and I might frame it.

*Thanks to Darcy, who has a magnificent vocabulary, for the word "janked".