Saturday, November 27, 2010

It was fun, but I'm a little disappointed.

Okay, marketing people.  Here's my comment.  Online shopping was fun on Black Friday.  Not bad, but you people need to sweeten the pot.  

I combed through  me emails for the best deals.  I ended up crossing some things off my list at   That was nice.  And free shipping.  Folks, if you can't offer free shipping then forget it.  You don't get my internet business.  The end.  It's a deal breaker for me.  

Aeropostle got me for just over $100.  I do love the idea of a web-buster.  And in our house, Aero hoodies are a highly coveted item.  A daughter between 8 and 11 is always searching around and muttering, "mom, have you seen my Aero hoodie?"   Adding two more to our collective wardrobe is smart mothering.  The end.  Even Mimi, especially when she's sick, asks for someones Aero sweatshirt.  They are perfect.  Regular price hovers around $44.50.  Black Friday price on some was as low as $15.  Cha-ching.  Wowza.  Aero t-shirts are a hit in my house, too.  So much of a hit that a 'regular' shirt doesn't feel right anymore.  My girls like t-shirts long and snug.  They were down to $7.  Yes ma'am.  I'll take two.  And . . . the highly coveted Aero bear.  Last year, we had our sights set on the Aero bear.  No such luck.  This year, online shopping for the Aero bear will draw at least one "ahh" from my moody pre-teen who is so, very hard to buy for.  Getting the Aero bear freezes her in time for one more year as a little kid who appreciates a goofy stuffed animal . . . because, honestly, it's not JUST a stuffed animal.  It's the Aero bear.

Land's End was a strikeout.  Zappos was a strikeout.  There was NOTHING on sale.  Seriously.  Nothing different from everyday pricing.  Kohl's . . .  is only offering 15% off.  What??  I can get that anyday.  And free shipping, but let's be honest.  Kohl's is a five minute drive from my house.  If I'm going to bear the horror of lines on Black Friday, I want a damn good deal.  Damn good.  Like, almost free.  My other favorite haunt, Sierra Trading Post . . . well, I still have that open in my browser.  We'll see.

Overall . . . I'm happy with my Aero bear and the necessities purchased, BUT, I'm still searching for couple of show stoppers. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This is my jiichan.   Jiichan.  Japanese for grandfather.  My grandpa.  On my dad's side.  Some of earliest and most dear memories are of jiichan . . . times we spent together, things our family did that included him.   This was taken on Valentine's Day in 1974.  His 85th birthday.

He spent time at our house watching television and watching us kids play games.  He sat in a tattered old yellow chair and pretended to watch Lawrence Welk through glasses as thick as coke bottles.  He's the reason for my name.  I'm told that when I was born, my dad wanted to name me Debbie.  My mom wanted to name me Kristen or Cristen.  I came home unnamed and when jiichan came to visit, he said, in most broken Japanese, "what baby name?"   Dad said Debbie.  He gave out a har-humph.  Mom said Cristen.  He was Buddhist with a thick Japanese accent.  He sucked his breath in and said, "ah, no Crist-ians here."   They let my brother name me.

He made stuffing.  I remember him sitting at the kitchen table in a wheelchair, with a knife like a machete.  He'd sit there the night before Thanksgiving or the night before Christmas and chop.  He'd chop and chop and chop.  And when he was getting close to done, he'd chop some more.  He chopped carrots so tiny that they looked like nothing more than little orange flecks in the stuffing.  He chopped celery so fine that you didn't even know it was there.  The smell of red onion will forever remind me of jiichan chopping for stuffing.  He's stoicly sit there chopping, chopping, chopping, onion tears flowing down the deep wrinkles in his cheeks. He would sit at that kitchen table chopping like a mad man for upwards of two hours on holiday feast-eves.  (True:  I asked my mom today . . . how LONG did that take?)  His stuffing was known in our tiny little town, at least in the Buddhist community where we attended an annual holiday buffet.  It was massive . . . and the only place you could get turkey and dressing and at the next dish, sashimi & seaweed.    I've been thinking about jiichan today.  Started this morning when I was chopping.  What took him upwards of two hours, I busted out in about 4 minutes flat, courtesy of my fancy-schmancy pampered chef food chopper.  I love that thing.   I wonder how jiichan would like my food chopper.  I wonder what he'd think of the way we spend our holidays now.  I wonder what he'd think.  I wonder if he'd 'har-humph' my sausage & wild rice with pretzel stuffing that goes in the crock pot. 

Hmm.  I swear there are times that spirits of those past are hovering around.  Jiichan is chillin' in the kitchen with me today.  I thought of him when chopping.  I thought of him when my hand was up the business end of a cold dead bird at 7 am.  I thought of his stuffing today . . . I'm thankful that he paid me a visit today.   Sometimes, the holiday drama comes down so fiercly and with such force that it is hard to stop and be thankful.  I'm thankful for jiichan today.  I'm thankful for the humble and poor beginnings that have made me who I am today.  I guess today, on the day for all families, I'm thankful for MY side of the family . . . 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Save 10% on awesome socks -- even in the outlet section w/ promo code CBABL.

One of my girls' favorite holiday "treats" . . . . socks from little miss matched --

Friday, November 19, 2010

Taste Bud Orgasm.

Holy cow.  I ate toast this morning for breakfast.   Bread.  In the morning.  Gasp.

It was perfectly toasted and absolutely delicious.  It was warm and soft and wonderful.  Does everyone feel that?  No wonder we are carb addicted and living in nation full of obesity and diabetes.  That toast was fabulous in the truest form of the word. 

It was a full hour ago and I'm still thinking of toast.  Dreaming of toast.  Pondering toast for lunch.  Wondering just how sinful toast would be for two meals today. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My very sad not-singer

Here she is -- look at those sad droopy brown eyes. Pitiful. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Five weeks of drama came to a big, white pus-filled zit head today. 

It started weeks ago when Middle came home from school and said, "We have to do a musical.  All of the third graders have to sing."  Just getting the words out made elephant tears well up in her eyes.  Her chin started trembling and her head sagged on her shoulders.  It was sad.  We talked then, and kept talking. 

. . . . gotta get through it . . . part of your grade . . . . a requirement for everyone . . . . just a lousy hour . . . . over before you know it  . . . . picture them in their underwear . . . just sing mary had a little lamb . . .

When one cheerful day, Middle came home and said, "I can try out for a speaking part."  She was happy and I was happy.  And she did.  And she got it.  We raised our juice boxes and toasted a victory.  Speaking is good.  Singing is bad.  The MC doesn't sing.  Yippee skippy.

Until yesterday.  When she got her speaking part.  Okay, lousy.  First, Mr. Music Teacher -- you can't give kids a speaking role the DAY before the damn program.  Didn't your track coach ever yell at you . . . . "PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE!!!"   Middle came home crying, chin trembling, head sagging.  Speaking didn't prevent singing.  It's a double whammy.  She was assigned a speaking part AND had to sing.  Sucky.  The tears started rolling.  They rolled that night.  They rolled the next morning.  She cried her way out the door.  It was terrible.

Truth time:  Singing isn't fun for some kids.  It really is torturous, painful & embarrassing.  The whole idea makes them tremble inside, turns the guts to jelly and knots them up with anxiety.  It's not fun. 

Point to ponder:  How my little person (my Middle person) for the sake of blogger-dom, can get up on a four inch wide beam that's 48 inches off the ground in an itty tiny little leo and have the mental focus to stick her whole routine but can't put on jeans and a t-shirt and sing "super secretary" to a room full of dumpy parents is absolutely beyond me.  Absolutely.  Beyond. Me.

Today, I attended her daytime musical performance.  She did part of the speaking part.  She stood on the riser and moved her lips.  She looked pitiful, embarrassed and sad.   She cried on the way home because she had to do it again at night.  Sad.  Mimi made a sign that said "We heart you!"  and held it up from the back of the gym.  It made her smile.  A little bit.  Tonight, we went again.  She was saggy on the way.  She did her speaking part.  She mumbled into the microphone and rushed and tumbled over the words.  Then she stood on the riser looking terrified and making desperate attempts to hide behind the tall kids in front of her.  

But, (long exhale) -- it's over.  Done.  Finished.  Thank God. 

Sad, sad, picture coming soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, Monday (la, la, la-la-la . . . )

The conversation that prompted my Monday morning actually happened Sunday afternoon.  It went like this:

MOTH, "Hey, did you renew my plates?"
Me, "Huh?"
MOTH, "My license plates are expired.  Steve followed me home from the birthday party and pulled up behind me to ask me if I knew . . . they're expired."
Me, "I don't know . . . I'm sure if I got the postcard, I would have sent it."
MOTH, "They're expired."
Me, "Well, HOW expired?  There's a grace period . . . Can we talk about this when I get home so I don't crash on the way?"
MOTH, "August.  They're way expired."
Me, "Oh, Shit."

Did y'all know there's no online lookup or verification system?  That's kinda stinky when you're trying to fix something on Sunday night.

Monday morning dawns.  MOTH is stomping about in the morning fog.  Apparently, he hit his head on something in the closet, coulding find his black shirt, is worried about the damn license plates, thinks the furnace is broken because it's flashing some code that means we have a dirty light. (Sounds, kinky, but feels serious.)  He's got a snuffly nose, prepping for a long day and thinks my car needs two new snow tires.  Amazing the information that comes forth when one pushy wife corners one grouchy husband in the closet and hollers, "Spill it, damnit, I can't help you if you fail to communicate and give direction.  Use your words!"

Husband and 75% of children out the door at 7:50 meant I could settle in and get some things done.

By 8:30, I had . . . .
* left a message with the motor vehicle division
* scheduled a well-furnace visit for the 30th at 8 am
* prepped a bank deposit
* started a pile for errands today
* called some lady about a t-shirt that needs to be delivered to school
* gotten two estimates on tires for my car (He's right.  Though it pains me to slap tires on a lease with only 6 months to go til new-car-ville is mine all mine, those tread-bare fronts won't make it over the pass for ski season.  No way.  Costco wins, incidentally.  For price AND the friendly tire tech on the other end of the line.)
* called Jane . . . I'm coming by for the money you owe me
* called Wanda . . . I'm dropping this paperwork off on your doorstep
* phone calls for open house -- done -- left a bunch of messages, but, done for now

By 9:00, I had . . .
* heard back from motor vehicles.  One word:  whoops.  Another word:  wow, that's one hell of a late charge.  And finally:  I'll be there within an hour.
* fed Mimi
* fed myself
* dressed Mimi
* dressed myself
* topped off my stack of to-do errands . . . .
* heard back from one open house person . . . happy

By 10 . . .
* school the t-shirt fiasco -- done
* Wanda - done
* Jane - done
* DMV - waiting, waiting, waiting . . . being really thankful for lollipops stuffed in my trendy personalized bag, because of this equation:


(I think my clerk actually laughed at me.  She said, "What happened? Did you not get a postcard?" 
I said, "I don't know . . . I screwed up." 
She said, "You're not gonna argue with me over late fees and try to wiggle out of paying this?" 
I said, "Would it help?" 
She said, "No." 
And we both kinda chuckled.   I offered her a lollipop.

By 11 . . . .
* bank - done
* ups store - done
* photocopies - done
* expressed shipped something important - done
* mailed a letter to Switzerland (poor Big's been hounding me for a week!!) - done (be watching, Swiss Miss)
* and a quick zip over to the grocery store . . .

By 12:15,
* home with a list of almost all scratch-offs, a tired Mimi, and a plan for dinners, not just for tonight, but the rest of the week.  Next, I'll pop over to and put this "How long should I bake a turkey leg?"

Whoop whoop.  Feeling pretty damn accomplished.  That was a full weeks' work done in 4 1/2 hours.  Go me. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You give them an inch . . . . they take a mile . . .

Snow, part 2.

It was snowing big fat fluffy flakes while we munched mummy calzones (no, it's not too late for holiday themed cooking.)  At Middle's request, we had an apple to the side.  "Why?"  I can practically hear you all asking.  Because somewhere along the lines of school aged tradition, my children have learned to do this the night before a potential snow day.

First, let's be realistic.  That amount of snow would NEVER amount to a snow day . . . but, long live tradition, so here we go.

Step one.  Remove all your clothes.
Step two.  Put them all back on, inside out and backwards.
Step three.  Find an apple.
Step four.  Divide and eat it among all school aged children present.
Step five.  Do a little dance, pray a little prayer and ceremoniously flush an apple seed down the toilet.

Done correctly, with a favorable forecast, and with the right planetary alignment . . . the above series of actions does result in snow days.  Happy, happy.

Fast forward to the next morning.  They were bundled.  Backpacks on.  Lunches packed.  Planners signed.  Winter hats on perched on noggins.  Gloves donned.  And then came these words, "Mom, we're HOT.   Can we go outside?"    And in the two minutes I turned my back . . . . in the two minutes of get ready to roll out the door . . . . in the two minutes of time they were 'cooling off' outside . . . .  

There were snow angels, snow balls, one giant dog chasing snow ammunition . . . . so much for the soft blanket of new fallen snow!  Departed also . . . dry children ready for a full day of learning --- apparently I traded them this morning for wet children with pink rosy cheeks from outside morning play in 20 degree weather.  Cheerful.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Come on Ski Season . . . .

I'm sure the novelty of snow will wear off sometime this winter.  I'm sure I'll curse stupid drivers, bald tires and cold hands on a frosty steering wheel at sometime this winter.  I'm sure I'll bitch about having to chisel dog crap out of an iceberg in the back yard.  I'm sure I will.  But for right now, tonight . . . watching the excitement in our house with the first snow fall, I'm not cursing it at all. 

I love it.  I love living in a place with all the seasons.  I love snow when it's snowing.  I love leaves when they are falling.  And I love them when they are sprouting, too. 

Snow started coming down and sticking when my calzones were coming out of the oven & it was getting dark.  Still . . . we went out to catch snowflakes on our tongues & twirl in the flakes.  The air was delicious.  Absolutely intoxicating.

Monday, November 08, 2010

As Seen On TV.

Who knows me?  Okay, maybe that was a trick question.  Who REALLY knows me?

The answer is . . .  few.  But if you answered a resounding "me!!" you'll know that I'm a complete jingle junkie.  I'm somewhat addicted to the "as seen on tv" row at Walgreens.  Cheap fun, I know.  

Tonight, I'm here with a consumer report.  Everyone rush right out and buy this:

It's serioulsy fabulous.  I've not found a better all around product since Boudreaux's Butt Paste landed in a baby basket in about 1999.  This stuff will smooth your dry parts  and heal your heels.  It's good on heels (obviously) but also a miracle working wonder cream on elbows, knees and the backs of Middle's achille's tendons.  It's heavenly on the back of hands and a dab on the cuticles lasts all afternoon long.  I love it.  It's good enough to have one in the kitchen and one on the nightstand.  In only a few applications, it has turned MOTH's fang-feet into baby-butt smooth toes.  It's changed cuddle time and pillow talk forever. 

Now, go.  Make a midnight run to Walgreens and get yourself some soft heels and healthy elbows.  Go.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Trick or Treat

Perfect pack of children, on our pumpkin packed front porch . . . Halloween 2010.

Cash Bonus Girl

The truth:  I despise Halloween.  I try to be a good sport because I get that the kids love it.  It's fun for them and I don't want to pee on anyone's personal parade.  But, there are lots and lots of things I (strong word) HATE about Halloween.  Candy is one.  Don't like having it around.  Money on costumes is another.  Hate spending money on costumes.   Out on a school night.  That's another.  Don't like that either.

This kid, this year . . . couldn't decide what she wanted to be.  She didn't see the point of costume purchase.  She doesn't like paint on her face.  She doesn't like masks.  She doesn't like dressing up and feeling out of place.  She put this costume together the day before Halloween, completely from things we own and have inside our house.   I gave her a $10 cash bonus.  And a new Halloween tradition is born.

Condiment, Anyone?

Big and her best buddy . . . as your friendly neighborhood Ketchup & Mustard Bottles.  Cute.


I secretly like to make this kid say, "Mo-oh-ommm".  He can drag it out to three really LONG syllables.  I keep telling him that Obe Wan Kenobi has a twin that wasn't Jedi material.  His name is Obe TWO Knobby Knees. 

Woof Woof

"Momma, I want to be a tiny puppy."
To this child, that doesn't have anything to do with wearing a costume.  It means she wants one of the big kids to put a leash around her waist.  She wants to crawl around on the floor, look up and bark.  Or maybe howl.   Still, we put her in "tiny puppy" gear and sent her out to trick or treat.  She was so confused.  No leash.  And she came home with a pillowcase full of candy.  Curious.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cherokee Legend - Youth's Rite of Passage

I"m not sure if there is any truth to this, but I love the story, from a parent perspective. 
Father and son journey into the forest.  The father blindfolds the son and leaves him alone. The young boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night.  He cannt remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.  Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.  He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because  each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of  noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically,  never removing the blindfold. 
Finally, after a horrific night the sun apperas and he removes his blindfold.  It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump near him.  The father had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

This was just cool.

This was just cool.  Red ribbon week.  Blah, blah, it happens everywhere.  Don't do drugs. I like the campaign, but like many annual things, it's a tad dry, becomes mundane & predictable.  This year, one of our local mom's applied for special school privleges right around red ribbon week.  It allowed our school (which WAS chosen!!) to have the National Guard land a helicopter on the soccer field.  Out of the helicopeter jumps DEA agents.  Then, military dudes, DEA agents AND  Miss Colorado talked to the kids about living drug free and making healthy choices. (I know . . I'm still trying to figure out the pageant aspect, too . . but just go with me on this . . . . )  It was SO, SO, SO cool.  The boys loved the chopper.  The girls wanted a picture with a beauty queen.  I have to admit, I was a little verclempt.

  Middle and her girfriends doing the beauty queen wave.

Also very cool . . . . one of the dads "on the job" that talked to our kids also is one of the WatchDOGS dads that volunteers at the school.  Fabulous man that he is, he wore his WatchDOGS shirt, too.  It was awesome!  And the post picture does include Mimi snuggled into MOTH.  Like her puppy hat and muk-luks?