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Did I mention before that I hate shopping? Especially when it involves a Cherokee, some steroid rage, and organic baby oatmeal (not necessarily in that order).

Anyway, we ventured out today.
The day after Christmas.
THE. DAY. AFTER. CHRISTMAS.

Mainly because the baby needed organic oatmeal that *apparently* can't be carried at any store near my house.
(Ok, really? My car is in the shop and I hadn't been out for like 5 days, maybe THAT'S the REAL reason, but whatever...).

Anyway, it was as you imagine the day after Christmas at a popular local shopping establishment. Crazy - people everywhere (Hellllooooo people who MUST return items the day after Christmas? WHAT.ARE.YOU.THINKING?!?!).

So we pull up to a *closer* parking spot to wait for someone leaving (because it's cold out and with a baby and all the baby accouterments you have a NEED to get as close as possible). While waiting in the over-packed parking lot, the little Jeep Cherokee that we're "blocking" decides he can't wait the 60 seconds it takes the other person to pull out so we can park. He starts backing up. As someone sitting in the back with a baby and directly in the line of back-up lights, I calmly say to Todd, "Honk your horn, this guy's backing up." (OK, it was more like HOOOOOONK YOUR HOOOOOOORN THIS @%#&!#@*^$ FEELS THE NEED TO BACK UP RIGHT THIS SECOND. HONK! I SAID HONK YOUR HORN!!!!).

The Cherokee idiot (the Jeep, not the Indian) pushes it as close as he can and then throws up his hand and starts gesturing. By this time, the car in the spot we were waiting for had pulled out and was now blocked by the Cherokee idiot sitting perpendicular to our car. At that moment? Mr.-Bald-head-steroid-dude-who-has-no-interest-in-the-situation walks up beside our car and also starts to gesture to us while pointing to the Cherokee idiot like, "DUDE! THIS NICE GUY'S TRYING TO BACK HIS CHEROKEE OUT AND YOU'RE BLOCKING HIM."

The time frame of all of this?
About 2 minutes.
That's right, Cherokee idiot couldn't wait 120 seconds.
Was his wife giving birth?
Had someone severed a limb?
Did he only have 2 minutes to get to the bank to deposit his Mega Millions winnings?
Was there a blue light special at some Kmart?
No - not to my knowledge - on all fronts.

The best part was that baldie - steroid boy who had nothing to do with the situation - felt the need to get involved and yell at us.


My response to steroid boy? I CACKLED with laughter.
It was better than the alternative (which was a brief fleeting thought of jumping out of the car to go toe-to-toe with baldie to mind his own business).

AHHHH.
That's the holiday spirit everyone!

(And, really, bald steroid dude? It was just a busy post-holiday parking lot. No need to go all steroid rage on my family...and it wasn't even you we were blocking...Woo-sah and find your happy spot in the new year!)

(It's just a suggestion...)

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Something is drastically missing from my holiday season this year.
Namely?
Those How-great-is-my-family?-Oh?-You-didn't-know?-Let-me-tell-you! letters.


You know them. You have a least one friend or family member in your circle that feels the need to send you a letter recapping the accomplishments of each and every one of their family members for an entire year.

What's that all about anyway? At what point (as a parent) do you think, "EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to know how great we are. And if they don't know? Well, for goodness sake, we're going to tell them!"

I like hearing about friends or family members just as much as the next person. But really? How annoying is it that little Johnny hasn't done anything bad for an entire year? I mean, SERIOUSLY? For AN ENTIRE YEAR the only thing that little Johnny has done is win awards?

And join 27 organizations.
Where he's the president and/or MVP of ALL but one.
Not to mention that he teaches Sunday school.
To the other preschoolers in his class.
And has advanced to the 7th grade.
At the ripe age of 4.

Come on, people. I don't know about you, but I live in the real world. You remember that one? The one where there's too much stress because there's no money. Anxiety over the state of the world. The one where little Johnny gets sent to the principal's office for making a sexual advances at little Sally in first grade. The one where you get too much food and too little exercise. The one where your parents get sick too soon and your friends lose their job.

You now - REAL LIFE. THAT's the holiday letter I'm sending next year.

I get that maybe it's just me. (BAH HUMBUG...whatever). I mean, I had sixteen pictures of Ella sitting on Santa's lap printed into a Christmas card to send to our closest friends and family and I felt WEIRD about sending those. (And I even had some leftover!).

Hell, I don't even *gasp* carry a picture of my kid in my wallet (look, there's a lot going on in there with 3,722 pieces of change, some fuzzy gum and all those membership cards to now-defunct organizations, what do you want me to do?).

These are all things I plan to explore further about myself in the new year.
With Dr. Phil.
On one of his forums.


But for now? I'm starting next year's holiday letter. It opens with, "Dear Big Fat Fakers and Liars..."

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Is it too much to ask to have one evening of fun with my family?
ONE. EVENING?!?
I didn't think so.

Until last Thursday.

There's a lot going on here.
With our business.
With our business transition.
With my husband's job.
Personally.
A. LOT.

So me - itinerary girl - thinks, "Hey, wouldn't it be nice to get out for an evening of family holiday fun for a change instead of eating fast food yet again while we snap at each other out of stress-overload-induced bitchiness?"

Let the planning begin.

I like light shows. Not the Pink Floyd psychedelic set-to-music kind. I mean the festival of holiday Christmas lights kind.

When we used to live on the East Coast (AKA Civilization), we would drive through this park every year that would set up a holiday light show - Christmas tree lights in different shapes and forms (like carolers, Rudolph, Santa, etc.). Some would move. Some were just really pretty. Anyway, I always really enjoyed it (shut up - it was simple and nice. Plus shiny things amuse me).

So this year I thought the 10 month old might really appreciate it (yeah, the baby, not me). So after much research (AND THEN MORE RESEARCH), I find a drive-through light show park about an hour from our house.

And not just any light show.
THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW IN THE MIDWEST.
FOUR MILES.
ONE MILLION LIGHTS.
(ONE MILLION!)
WITH A DRIVE-THROUGH LED TUNNEL.
WITH MUSIC.
AND THE ABILITY TO VISIT SANTA AT THE END.
AND DRINK HOT CHOCOLATE.

I know. You can only imagine my squeal of glee.
(It was something like this: WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

So I think (which may have been where the problems started): We'll go see Santa, have a nice family dinner (at a REAL, SIT-DOWN RESTAURANT!), and then drive on to the park with the lights.

It was a nice plan. Here's how the night really played out:

1. On the way to see Santa our friend calls to say the light show has been cancelled. (SURELY NOT!) I call the park? Yeah, "The only night we've ever been closed! We had flooding." Uh. OK. It's freezing out, there's no snow and hasn't been rain for weeks. BUT OK.

STRIKE ONE.

2. We get to the mall with *supposedly* 40 minutes to spare before Santa takes his break (I mean, he's SANTA. He works for ONE SEASON. He seriously deserves BREAKS?!?). We get there just as they are pulling the tether across the end of the line 40 MINUTES EARLY. We debate (as all the other parents watch) whether to go under the tether anyway (my conniving husband said YES, his honest wife said NO). So we have 2 hours to kill. At the mall. With a baby. In a mini-Mrs. Claus dress. And a headband.

(Did I mention I LOATHE malls?!?)
(Did I mention my daughter hates headbands over her swoopy hair?!?)

As you probably guessed, baby meltdown. Parent meltdown. Standing in line for another hour (we had *that kid* in line - the one where all the other parents watch in horror/amusement that it's not their kid? Yeah. That one.) STILL WAITING FOR SANTA WHO HAD THE NERVE TO BE 25 MINUTES LATE.

STRIKE TWO.

3. Defeated, exhausted, hungry, we drive to our *nice* family dinner. Where the baby promptly passes out in emotional and physical exhaustion (minus the headband) and we eat in an exhausted silence (so NOT the family time I envisioned).

STRIKE THREE.

After all that, there was one redeeming moment where the elves parted the clouds, the fairy dust sprinkled down, the candy canes danced and there was no Noggin Moose A. Moose singing anything for the thousandth time and we got this picture:


I know.
Who can believe.

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One of the nice things about living on the water is the wildlife you get to see. I find the sound of seagulls soothing. I love to see the swans swimming in the morning and the little duckies feeding just out from our dock.


It's all very calming.


Until you hear the BLAM of the hunters gun, that is, as was the case this very morning.


Where our dock sits happens to be in this little alcove where the water is lower. Apparently this makes my dock and the neighbor's dock ideal cover for hunters to prey upon little Donald until they can blow his head off.


We go through this every duck season.


The first season?

I ambled out to my dock and lit off fire crackers to scare the ducks away until the hunters were annoyed enough to leave.


The second season?

The neighbor got to them before us.


This season?

Well, I'm just done.


Look, I don't mind people hunting. I don't like it. I don't agree with it (I BARELY eat meat), but I have no problem with you doing it. Just not in a place where I have to experience it (BLAM-BLAM-BLAM) and my 10 month old can sit at the window and watch the duckie carnage.


So today, I was fed up and took things into my own hands. And by taking things into my own hands I, of course, mean that I had my husband call the sheriff and ask the guys to move (there is some LAW about how close you can shoot to a house and a highly traveled road, RIGHT)?!? It should've ended there, but no. The next thing I know? Hunter man is knocking on my door. After a quick conversation on the porch, my husband comes back in and says, "He was very nice."


Huh.

I shoot him a knowing glare.

(He's WAY WAY nicer than me).










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My name is Jackie and I'm a lighting snob.

Look, I don't know when it began or even how it began. It just began.
All I know is that every house we move to I have to remove and add my own lighting.
Immediately.
If not sooner.
(And, by saying I have to remove them, I of course mean Cabana Boy).

Sometimes it involves small lights. It can even be nightlights. Sometimes it involves lamps - both interesting and quirky like this artsy bug lamp that we found at a trendy art deco store outside of DC.


I also seem to have some weird affinity for dangling things.
And fringe.
(Hey, I didn't say I was a TASTEFUL lighting snob, I just said lighting snob).

Sometimes the lights are weird.
I will never ever give up my aptly named (by me) OO-OO-MONKEY LAMP no matter what. NEVER. Don't even ask (and better yet? Don't even ask why especially since I make everyone that refers to it say OO-OO-MONKEY LAMP!).


(Images in picture are smaller than they appear)

But mostly they're the lights that you have to remove from your ceiling.
And involve some level of the possibility of electrocution.

Take my beloved Moravian Star lights for example. I have four of them lining my hall. Whenever we move, I make my husband take them down and put up some gaudy $7.99 flush lighting (yep, that's me) before we put the house on the market. (So if you're the next person to someday buy this house, consider yourself warned).


They look beautiful right?
Yeah, they were when we first put them up (the first time).
Now? THEY SUCK.
Only because? THERE IS NO GOOD WAY TO CLEAN THEM.

You get the outside all nice and sparkly, but the dust and grime inside? You're outta luck. The star points are impossible to get your hand inside. A feather duster doesn't get it clean enough.

Why do you care you ask?
You don't OF COURSE (unless, of course, you are coming to my house and you have to stare at them).
But I'm writing because I'm hoping (BEGGING) that someone else either has these lights or has an idea how to clean them.

Anyone?

ANYONE KNOW THE ANSWER?!?
(help)

Look, it's not just about a 12-step program for my lighting addiction. I seriously need to know how to clean these...
(Martha?)

(Where the hell is Moravia anyway?!?)

(Are there any Moravian people out there that can assist?)

(*sigh* I give up...)

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I've been poking around on Twitter a great deal lately and I noticed something:

My self-confidence is decreasing in direct proportion to my increase in Twitter contacts (known as "Follows"). I joined up a while ago ('cos you know how much I hate to be a joiner), but I've only recently started using it regularly. I post updates to my blogs, website/biz info, and sometimes just random thoughts or rantings/ventings. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/WritRams.

Anyway, for those of you who don't know what Twitter is (and I can't imagine, but OK...), it is a free social networking site - kind of a micro-blogger site of sorts. It allows you to post a very limited character posting (usually amounting to a couple of sentences). You can "follow" postings of friends, co-workers, even people you don't know (if they allow it), just to see what people are up to everyday.

Sounds fun, right?
Intriguing?
I bet you're wondering right about now why it makes me feel like sh*t about myself on a regular basis (several times per day)?

Because I'm simply amazed by the people on there.
And? The depth of their knowledge that they are willing to share overwhelms me.

I follow a diverse group of people, many of whom who are entrepreneurs/owners of their own companies. And these people have it together, let me tell you (thus making me feel about this big every time I read their postings).

Let's take Chris Brogan for example. He has amazing business posts related to online business/social networking and other great stuff. I find useful information from almost all of his postings. Other great business posters include Jim Connolly, Susan Reid, Warren Whitlock and Mark David Gerson. (Seriously? There are SO MANY good ones that those are just skimming the surface). These are the people who reduce my self-confidence a little more each day. I won't hold it against them, however, because I gain a ton of knowledge and useful info from them.

I follow others simply because they make me laugh/smile. The quirky Danko Ramone - without fail - gets a smile out of me and most often a real live chuckle (just like Scuba Kitty). Smash Transistor is also good for some interesting everyday stuff, as is Kelly Drill.

If you don't know author JA Konrath and his Rusty Nail (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels mysteries)(first shame on you), but sign up for his Twitter feed. You'll yuk it up in that scratch-your-head, no-he-DIDNT kinda way.

Anyway, go to Twitter (RUN I SAY!) and sign up for some, if not all, of the above mentioned parties. It will make you feel bad about yourself, but in an oh-so-good way.

And while you're at it? Let them know that @WritRams sent you.

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A Tweet by D.R. (and subsequent exchange) made me realize something: men and women still don't get each other. (Shock of all shocks, I know...)

Example you say?
Men will never, ever understand why women use so much toilet paper.

It's as simple as that in a nutshell. And, THAT is what a Mars/Venus book should've been about.

Ok, men? I'm going to let you in on the secret.
It will be like touching the Shroud of Turin.
Only not as old.
And way less important.
With no religion attached.

Anyway, you get the idea.

So the reason we women use so much toilet paper? (You do realize I'm divulging a HUGE sisterhood secret, don't you? Putting myself on the line. There better be some props of appreciation here.)

We use so much toilet paper because:

We never ever ever want anything to touch our hands.
Ever.
Not even one drop of urine.
Not even a SPECK of anything else.
And if something happens to get under our fingernails?
GOD. HELP. US. ALL.
If we have to use half a roll of toilet paper to insure that none of the above happens? Then so be it.
It's well worth it.
Get over it.
And don't EVER mention how much toilet paper we use.
EVER. AGAIN.

Hope that sums it up for the Y chromosome side.

Look, it doesn't shock us double X's that you don't understand. We watch you blow your nose at the table and then continue on with dinner. We watch you bait hooks and then grab a sandwich out of the cooler. We watch you scratch all areas (in public, nonetheless) and then use the same buffet utensils we're using. Little shocks us about you now.

So seriously? We're not surprised that you don't get it.
Let's just hope that I'm not kicked out of the sisterhood of secrets now...

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It's amazing how righteous you can be BP (Before Parenting). My list of "I WOULD NEVER LET MY CHILD..." was so LOOOONG. For example, one of the top list sitters for me BP was "I don't get letting your child watch TV at a young age."

Hm.

Of course, that judgement was BEFORE I had work-at-home contracts, 3 businesses, no sleep, AND a baby to juggle. Sadly, TV does play a part at our house now. And, that's OK. I think there's some pretty educational television on and that's what we watch (or at least that's what I tell myself to avoid feeling like I'm failing miserably at yet one more thing in my life right now). However, I began to wonder about my TV judgement when Ella rolled her walker over to the television, turned it on and started watching The Starter Wife. Maybe it's gone a little too far...

Anyway, I uh she loves Jack's Big Music Show. AND, I STILL love Sesame Street (even more a few years ago when REM was their musical guest). I was recently introduced to an, um, interesting show called Yo Gabba Gabba. It was all fun and games until somebody put a Biz Markie out. If you're a fan of the late 80s/early 90s, you'll probably remember Biz Markie for the Just a Friend song/video.




Now? Biz Markie is beatin' it up on Yo Gabba Gabba. I wasn't sure if I should be sad or excited for him.

Speaking of where the 90s go to die, I'm pretty sure I know what happened to Arsenio Hall. I think I also saw him on Yo Gabba Gabba as the host:

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Last night In the wee hours of this morning, I was watching The Graham Norton Show.

(Yes, again.)

(Look, I can't help it. My body and baby just keep waking up at that time.)

(During the loosely edited naughty version of the show.)

Anyway, a pregnant Minnie Driver was on the show last night. Graham Norton took it upon himself to show her all of the reproduction books that are out there. The one he zeroed in on was a children's book called Where Willy Went.

A review from The School Library Journal:

Willy is not good at math but excels at swimming. He and his nemesis, Butch, practice every day for the Great Swimming Race. Finally, armed with goggles, a number, and two maps, he and 300 million other competitors swim madly for the prize–the egg inside Mrs. Browne. Willy is a sperm. All his practicing pays off and he victoriously burrows into the "lovely and soft" egg, which grows and grows in Mrs. Browne's tummy until it becomes a baby girl. But "Where had little Willy gone? Who knows?" However, when little Edna is old enough to start school, she isn't very good at math but she IS very good at swimming. This breezy and amusing romp may not resolve those pesky questions about reproduction but it certainly lends personality to the process of fertilization. The double-entendre title is indicative of the cheeky and humorous text, which is lively, well paced, and essentially accurate. The line and watercolor illustrations perfectly suit the irreverent tone and include a lift-the-flap expanded page and a "find Waldo"-style spread. Both sperm and humans are endearingly expressive. As to the science, an unclothed Mr. and Mrs. Browne are anatomically correct but the racing map of Mrs. Browne's reproductive system is confusingly vague. Nonetheless, adult readers will be thoroughly entertained and children will be charmed if not completely informed. While a relatively innocuous and engaging piece of sex ed, this title could be a potentially provocative addition to picture-book collections.–Carol Ann Wilson, formerly at Westfield Memorial Library, NJ

I heard part of the book (as read by Graham Norton). There are some issues with the book and this review. Namely?

1. From the review: "...breezy and amusing romp may not resolve those pesky questions about reproduction but it certainly lends personality to the process of fertilization."

"breezy and amusing romp" sounds like the review to softcore p*rn.

Or a Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks movie.

Also, is there something weird about saying "PESKY QUESTIONS" here?

2. From the review: "The line and watercolor illustrations perfectly suit the irreverent tone and include a lift-the-flap expanded page and a "find Waldo"-style spread."

OK, I have to admit, the "lift-the-flap expanded page" scares me a little (and also intrigues). What could possibly be under those flaps? AND WHY WOULD THEY NEED AN EXTENDED PAGE?!? (I'm a little afraid to find out. But I'm SO. ORDERING. THE BOOK.)(But I'm not asking for an autographed copy. I mean, you never know where those hands have been...)

(BTW... this might not be the most appropriate book for the review word SPREAD. I'm just sayin'...)

3. From the review: "Both sperm and humans are endearingly expressive."

Uh...LMAO! I can't wait to experience an "endearingly expressive" sperm.

4. SPOILER ALERT: The book ends with "Where had little Willy gone? Who knows?"


UH HUH!?! This HAS TO BE WRITTEN BY A MAN (to not give "them" a second thought after "they" are gone..)

Anyway, this is teaching reproduction to your child? OK, but there are SO MANY places Willy could've gone in this day and age (Helloooo, have you read the news about middle school buses?!?!) Maybe the author should rethink the ending and re-publish.

By the way, I'm pretty sure I can tell them where Willy went about 17 months ago...

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Today I went where no germaphobe should never, ever have to go. EVER.
Namely?
The "sick" side of the pediatrician's office.

For those pure and naive souls who don't know (of which I'm eternally envious), there's a "well" side and a "sick" side of pediatrician offices. The well side is for those cute little rascals who are just there for their regularly-scheduled check-up.

The sick side is a whole different story.

I never had to frequent the sick side.
Until today.
Before, I would throw a blanket over Ella, race past that room with my breath held and my hand shielding my pure baby from the evilness that lurked within until I reached the "good side". John Travolta had less coverage than my baby.


Today I walked in, head hung low in shame that my baby had to join those pesky little contaminated buggers. We had become...ONE OF THEM. And I was sure that there was no way MY baby was as sick as those hacky, sneezing, sniffling other kids in the room. I mean my baby looked cute - smiling at everyone in her matching pink and brown trendy running suit and cute headband. The kid next to me had a runny nose.

And he was picking at it.

And wiping it on his sleeve.

And then coughing in my general direction.

I almost had heart failure when Ella leaned over to touch the arm of the chair. Luckily, I've learned a few moves from Ninja Cocaine Kitty over the past few months and we were able to divert a full-on viral spreading that would've amounted to orange-level status catastrophe.

I was amazed that almost every parent that came in let their child run over to the free incubator of germs - also known as the kids' play table. I watched in equal amounts of horror and fascination while the kids hacked and coughed on each other, their hands, the table and then swished it all around with the toys. Heck, I sat there touching as little as I could all the while holding Ella's arms in a straight jacket position.


The low point of "The Room" came when Ella started communicating with a little boy in the hello-wave-smile-bat-my-very-long-eyelashes-jabber-some-gibberish kinda way she has. The little boy took this as an invitation (and it might've been in baby speak) to say, "Mammaaaaa, *sniff* I wannnnnaaaa *cough* go touch the prreeeeettttty *hack-hack* baaaaaaby!" Just about then a voice that sounded eerily similar to my own screamed, "PLEASE-DON'T-LET-HIM-NEAR-MY-PERFECT-BABY-TO-SPREAD-HIS-GERMS-ALL-OVER-HER!"


Thankfully it was just the voice in my head.


We gave him a little wave (or more like shoo) as we watched his mom drag him away after his name was called.


Home schooling is looking better and better.

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As I've mentioned before, British television is brilliant. Especially if you're up at 1 a.m.
And then 2:30.
And then 4.

Anyway...

In the wee hours, I happen to catch a new episode of the Graham Norton Show. If you've never heard of him, I highly suggest you catch an episode (if you like racy, raunchy, British humor--or humour-- If not, you might want to stick to Dancing with the Stars).

(No judgement).

In this episode, Graham Norton hosted Kevin Bacon and Tony Curtis (can I just say WOW). Imagine my surprise when Graham Norton gave a shout out to my current state of residence.

Apparently, Kevin Bacon has a fan club called "Million Strong for Kevin Bacon" (of which Kevin knew nothing about). The Graham Norton Show had gone onto this Million Strong forum and posted a message letting everyone know that Kevin Bacon was going to be on the show and asked if any of his fans would like to come on the show. What follows is Graham Norton reading the responses from the forum.

I apologize for the horrible quality of this video and the tool that wouldn't shut up before and during it. However, this was the only posting I could find.

TURN YOUR SOUND WAY WAY UP and appreciate all that is Graham Norton.



Makin' Mama proud, Michiganders, makin' Mama proud...

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1. I will not charge extra for fortune cookies. Or chopsticks.

2. I will not use regular spaghetti noodles for Lo Mein.

3. I will not stick some cabbage and a piece of ginger in a wrap and call it an "Egg Roll".

4. I will not serve some unidentifiable blood red sauce and call it "duck sauce".

5. I WILL NOT serve grilled cheese with french fries (HELLLLOOOOOOOO...CHINESE food)

6. I will not serve almond chicken with a big vat of INSTANT. BROWN. GRAVY. (or list BROWN GRAVY as a side item in THREE DIFFERENT SIZES) (Way...I know...)

WILSON WORLD: There is no sustitute.

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Last week my parents visited and they brought my 3-year-old niece. What a trip (and, I think, a little insight into what Ella will be like in a few short years). Anyway, I learned some life lessons worth sharing while she was here.

Life Lesson #1:
Stop trying so hard. No matter how old you get, there are still people who don't like you and there's nothing you can do about it.

Niece: *out of the blue* I don't like you.
Me: Really? That's sad. I like you.
Me: As a matter of fact, I love you.
Niece: Well. I don't like you.

Life Lesson #2:
There are always people to do your dirty work.

*As we were playing catch with the dog*
Niece: Hey, how about if you be the thrower and I be the getter?

Life Lesson #3:
If you think you're good, you can always be better.

Me: *caressing my niece's little hand* Wow. Your hands are soooooo soft.
Niece: Yours aren't!

Life Lesson #4:
Sometimes you just need a break (no matter the consequence).

Me: What did you and Mammaw and Ella do today?
Niece: Me and Mammaw went upstairs and left Ella down here.
Me: OH REALLY? Where did you leave her?
Niece: We left her just like this *runs over to the couch and flops face down on the pillows*
Me: Huh. How'd that work out for everyone?
Niece: Good.

Disclaimer: I have to say this (so my mom doesn't have a heart attack) - this never happened. It was the woven tale of a 3-year-old imagination.

Life Lesson #5:
You might think you're cool, but everyone else thinks you're a dork.

Me: *making Ella's oatmeal* Do you want to hear the oatmeal song I sing to Ella?
Niece: Sure.

Me: Oatmeal, oatmeal, who wants schmoatmeal. Does Ella want some schmoatmeal?
Me: Every morning that's the oatmeal song I sing to Ella.
Niece: *wrinkles nose in disgust* WHY?!?

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1. I won't let the majority of the customer service employees (working the front) off for lunch around the noonish hour so that at the busiest time (uh, when everyone else is taking their lunch break and running errands...HELLLOOOO) there is only 1 "teller" working the counter.


2. I will insure that customer packages aren't accidentally mailed back to the sender. Even though the ship to address was highlighted. With SHIP TO in capital letters written above the recipient address. And a box was drawn around the entire shipping address.


3. If someone prints a PREPAID shipping label at 10 p.m. one night and then brings it into the post office for shipping the next morning, I won't tell them "OH sorry. We can't accept this label because it wasn't used on the date it was printed." (UH HELLLOOOOO...does this mean that I have to use all the stamps the day I pay for them?)


4. I won't let the scary woman who smokes 17 packs of cigarettes a day eat Dum Dum suckers while trying to assist customers. (Come to think of it, I won't let her assist customers AT ALL).


5. I won't let the manager (or whatever she is) peek around the corner from her desk when there are LOOOONG LOOONG LINES to announce, 'Anyone here to pick up an accountable piece of mail or drop off?' and when no one answers just go sit down again. I WILL CROSS TRAIN my manager to work one of the THREE EMPTY TERMINALS so that she can, uh, ASSIST when all the other (save one) customer service reps are at lunch.


WILSON WORLD.
There is no substitute.

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BEEP-BEEP-BEEP non-stop in the background

ME: So, I guess the new washer beeps non-stop when it's finished, huh?!?
Him: nonchalantly It'll stop. Eventually.
ME: Is that before or after I slit my own throat?
__________

Planning a "date" (for a change) & looking for a movie:


ME: Oh. We get to go on a date!
Him: What movies are showing?
ME: We can see nights in Rodanthe. It will be all romantic and squishy and...

Him: OOO! EAGLE EYE IS SHOWING!
ME: *sigh*

__________

In a phone conversation:


ME: *TOTAL PANIC* I don't know what to do! I've been reading all these things about how plastics used in baby bottles and toys and baby bowls in stuff is SO BAD.

ME: WHAT IF WE'RE MAKING ELLA GROW PREMATURE BREASTS?!?!

Todd: Calm down. We'll throw out the ones that we have and buy the safe ones.

ME: BUT WHICH ONES ARE THE 'SAFE ONES'?!? I MEAN...HER WHOLE LIFE IS COUNTING ON US. ON THESE DECISIONS. ONE WRONG DECISION AND WE COULD AFFECT HER ENTIRE LIFE. HER. ENTIRE. LIFE.

Todd: *sigh* Calm down...

ME: Seriously. You don't know what's in that crap we buy at the grocery store. Maybe we should only feed her what we grow...

ME: I mean...maybe we should just move to a farm and grow our own stuff.

ME: How much do you think a cow costs?!?!

Todd: *sigh*

__________


As my husband eyes my beautiful home office:


Him: Hm. This is a really nice office.
ME: Yeah. I know.
Him: No, I mean really, really nice.
ME: I. KNOW.
Him: It looks very masculine. Kinda like a MAN might enjoy it more...
Him: *looks around longingly*
ME: Hey slick? Next time you're trying to get me to change offices, you might want to be a little more subtle...


*momentary silence*

Him: I bet a mom would enjoy being in the upstairs office more. You know, next to her baby's room.
ME: Not this mom...

__________


Via phone conversation (yes, I DO answer on occasion):


Him: We're going to the grocery store, do you need anything?
ME: What is my child wearing?
Him: The bunny outfit...
ME: WITH THE EARS?!?! YOU TOOK HER OUT IN BUNNY EARS?!?!
Him: *sigh* No...the outfit with the bunnies ON IT.
Me: OH.
Me: Heh Heh.

Me: Sorry.
Him: And she has a pink headband over her swoopy hair.
ME: You didn't make her look like Olivia Newton-John again, did you?!??!
Him: *Sigh*

__________

Driving to the cider mill:


ME: Did you see those pumpkins sitting by the road with prices on them? Aren't you amazed that no one has stolen them yet.
Him: Did you hear about the guy who had the big pumpkin stolen from his front yard and now wants to prosecute 'the hoodlums'?
ME: Did you know that BIG pumpkins can gain at least 40 pounds per day?
ME: Don't you find that REALLY AMAZING?!?
Him: What I find more amazing is the fact that you would know something like that...

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While my parents were here over the last week we received an interesting item. They were glasses called pinhole glasses. I’ve never heard of them, but apparently they aren’t new technology. As soon as my dad saw them he was all excited because he said he knew a guy that he worked with 20 years ago that wore them. And they worked.

Apparently, these glasses are supposed to allow you to see clearly without your prescription glasses or contacts. They have a black plastic material where the lenses would be. The material is filled with tiny holes. The frames are clear plastic.

It’s a weird concept, but when I did a little more research I found that they somehow work by only letting direct light to your eye from these evenly placed little “pinholes” which somehow increase clarity (like when you squint to see something).

OK. Whatever.

(And *yawn*).
If you want to read more about how these pinhole glasses work, put on your science guy hat and be my guest. I have other stuff to do right now.


Needless to say, Todd and I were clearly skeptical. My eyesight isn’t that bad. I’m nearsighted and can still see (if I have to) without my contacts or glasses. So I was game to be the guinea pig and look like an idiot. I mean, these aren’t the most fashionable glasses, but I’m always up for a good laugh. I tested them by looking out the window at a mailbox across the street, which was a little blurry without my contacts or glasses. Miraculously? After I put on the pinhole eyeglasses I could clearly see the mailbox.

I kid you not.

However, I felt like I was looking through a honeycomb (from the inside out). I also felt as if I wore them long enough I would have a headache. I will never be able to test the headache theory because, well, I wouldn’t be caught dead in public in these.

Todd was next up (in the “Let me try! Let me try!” kind of way). He is almost BLIND without his contacts or glasses. He had the same effect of clarity that I had and was able to read some text on a page that he otherwise would’ve needed his glasses or contacts to read.


Cool.

And Weird.

If they’re so great, you’re probably wondering why these pinhole eyeglasses haven’t caught on? I was wondering the same thing when my dad said the concept has been around for quite some time. I can tell you why:

You look like a total dork.

Kind of like this:

(Sorry honey)

As you can see, the shape is a BIG throw back to the 80s. And I mean the Tom-Cruise-slide-down-the-hall-in-your-socks-and-undies 80s.

Only not that cool.


Anyway, Ella’s verdict is still out, but she seemed to be channeling her inner Ray Charles…


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Here are the top 10 items you should resist the urge to purchase at the dollar store (no matter how good the bargain *seems*):
10. Hair Color

9. Can of Tuna

8. Packs of Koolaid that have crystallized into a block

7. Baby Food

6. Happy 40th Birthday card for your 39 year old friend (I know, I know, it was on sale)

5. Art for your walls

4. GIFTS (for anyone, of any kind)

3. Milk

2. Pregnancy Test

And the #1 thing you should NEVER buy at the dollar store?
CONDOMS

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So I get this invitation to submit my blog for approval so that I can review items on my blog. I figured, "Hey, I give my crappy opinions for free on my blog, why not get paid for it on occasion?" So I submit my blog FOR APPROVAL.

A few hours later, I get a REJECTION. The stated reason? "The website is a suspected fake."

Yep. That's a quote.

WOW.

You know, I always knew that my life was way, way out there, but never (in a million years) considered fake.

SPEAKING OF WAY OUT THERE: Who gets a foreclosure notice on their waterside property -- basically a DOCK -- for $18. The same $18 that was supposed to be taken out of our mortgage escrow. The same $18 that we were never alerted was overdue BECAUSE? The township had the wrong address on the waterside property. The same township that told me "It doesn't matter that the address is wrong, it's still in your name" (Uh...whaaa...huh?!?!).

I can't imagine why someone would think I make this crap up...
(Sometimes even I can't believe this is my own life).

Addendum: I was just wondering, do you think THE REJECTION NAZIs think that those links to my THREE BUSINESSES on my blog are FAKE TOO?!?!

(But I'm not bitter...)

I really hate rejection.
In any form.

Addendum to the addendum: I think I'll review the rejection site on my blog. MWAHAHAHAHA...

Final Addendum: I SERIOUSLY need to get out more...

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A funny thing happened at work today. I was rendered speechless. Now those of you who know me IRL may find this hard to believe, but it's true.

And it involved stripper ones (AGAIN, I know, who can believe).

The episode went something like this:

Two young adults (male & female) enter the bookstore looking for A.N. Roquelaure (Ann Rice's nom de plum for her erotic fiction).

(Yep, you learn something at this blog every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.).

After I tell them we don't have any, they go about browsing and then bring their books up to purchase. On checkout, the male human of this couple counts out 13 ones. Conversation proceeded something like this:

Female Form: flirty voice Where'd you get all those ones anyway?!?
ME: thinking I'm being a funny smarta-- They are SO OBVIOUSLY from his night job.
ME: chuckles at my own humor - I'm a comedic genius.
Female: Well actually, they're from my night job. But when he comes to see me he can't give me any money so I tell him which girls to give them to.
ME: *blink*blink*blink*
Female: They do it just as well as I do, right, honey?
Male: That's right baby.
ME: *blink*Blink*blink*

So much for my sarcasm.
What's possibly left to say after that?

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I'm a little late in following up to the British documentary to My Fake Baby. You'll have to excuse the tardiness, but there are a few things going on here.


I had a weird reaction to the fake baby documentary. I was completely insulted. I was insulted that they kept calling these women "expectant mothers" and these dolls "babies". Look, it might be overreacting, but I went through 8 months of very real illness - in and out of the hospital, non-stop "morning" sickness, gestational hypertension, and on & on. I went through 20 hours of VERY REAL labor. I slept sitting upright in a chair for the first 3 months of my baby's life so that she could find some comfort and sleep with her acid reflux. I held her little 6-week-old head into a head brace while she screamed at the top of her lungs so that they could do an upper GI scan to see if she had an obstruction and needed surgery. I think I've earned the right to be called "mother". I'm pretty sure these women paying $600 and up for a DOLL haven't.

Anyway...

The lives of these women were so ridiculous that Todd and I kept giving each other the What the... look about every 30 seconds.

Take the grandmother who kept talking about losing her grandson. The natural thought process was that the grandson had died. Sad. Very sad. It also made it a little more plausible that she might want a baby that looked like her grandson (crazy, yes, but also understandable). However, you find out later that her grandson just MOVED and he wasn't DEAD. In fact, she talks to him all the time via web cam. She has one of these "reborn" dolls made to look like him and then she shows the grandson over the web cam and says, "This is my new Eddie" (or whatever the kid's name was). NIIIIICE grandma. REAL NICE. Tell your 4-year-old grandson he's been replaced by a doll that looks like him. That won't cause any confusion/abandonment/love issues later in life AT ALL.

The best one was the woman named Sue. She had many of these reborn dolls that she's spent almost $45,000 on them.

FORTY FIVE THOUSAND.
DOLLARS.

She was getting ready to fly to America to pick up a new one - one that she paid around $2500 for (before designer clothes, accessories, plane tickets, expenses, etc.). She CLAIMS she knows the dolls aren't real and doesn't pretend they are. However, that didn't stop her from going to Harrods Department Store to buy Roberto Cavalli outfits and accessories for the doll.

This one made my head spin.
In case you didn't know, Roberto Cavalli is a very high-end ADULT designer who apparently suckers people rich people into buying super expensive clothes for their kids, too. For example, this Roberto Cavalli baby Tshirt is around $140:
I can't even imagine spending that on my kid, let alone a DOLL. Wait, I don't even spend that on MYSELF anymore, but this woman not only bought Cavalli clothes for this stupid doll, she also bought accessories to match.

Hey, there are starving kids all over, but whatever. Spend a few hundred dollars on designer clothes for a doll if you want. It's all on you to have to answer to later... (I mean, SERIOUSLY, what do people do for a living that they have this amount of disposable income to blow on BS like this?!?).


Digress...


So, this idiot freak woman comes to the U.S. to pick up her doll. When it arrives (all boxed up) to her hotel room, I so wanted it to be a Chucky Doll when she opened the box. It wasn't. It was a creepy reborn doll instead (ALMOST as scary as a Chucky Doll).
The best part? It cuts back to Sue all disappointed and the voiceover says, "After two days of bonding, Sue has found an imperfection" and she REFUSED TO KEEP THE DOLL. Sue relayed, "Look, she's still smiling, even though she's injured."
SHE'S STILL SMILING YOU DUMB*SS BECAUSE SHE'S A DOLL.

A. DOLL.

IN ROBERTO CAVALLI.

Look, I don't want to get all therapist-like on you, but these women are ill. Mentally ill. This goes way, way above and beyond being a collector. There's something else going on here. I would love to stay and dissect it with you, but I hear my REAL LIFE baby in that famous designer named TARGET calling. And she's smiling because SHE ACTUALLY HAS FACIAL MUSCLES and a mom that might be crazy, but not as crazy as these women.

And that makes me smile.
Note: If you want to read a good posting about this craziness, visit http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/01/my_fake_baby

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It doesn't get much better than British television - for SO MANY REASONS - but especially for their apparent fascination for wankers weirdos freaks an interesting subculture of probably very nice people who live their lives with fake dolls.

I blogged about this previously in my Creepiest Thing Ever posting where people live with fake adult dolls as if they are real.
Read the posting.
And be very disturbed.

Now I find out (AGAIN from BBC)? People are living with FAKE BABIES and treating them like they're real. I'm pretty sure if they make fake babies that keep you up for 23.75 hours out of the day, poop a horrifying volume of green goo in a color not found on any artist's color palette, and projectile vomit like The Exorcist, it would cure any "need" these women have.

Anyway...

They are called "Reborn Dolls" (yeah, I know, right?) and there is really an entire subculture out there. This is creepy stuff (all the way down to the "reborn" name). Check it out:




Does anyone else feel like we are treading into some Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi territory? (And how creepy that they keep referring to them as "Reborns"?!?).

*shudder*

And people? It's way bigger then we can fathom. These FAKE BABY LOVERS (*no judgement*) have their own supply store. Hell, I can't even find the kind of organic baby food I want for a REAL BABY and these people have an entire website dedicated to their FAKE BABY?!?

Whatever.

Anyway, BBC is doing a documentary on it tomorrow night (Wednesday, October 1) at 10 p.m. (Eastern). Set your DVR/TiVo/Alarm Clock or whatever you need to do so that you don't miss this.

And then come back here.

'Cos you know I'll be blogging about it.

And there will be judgement.

I liked it so much better when cross-dressing and vampires and people who love Iggy Pop were the only subcultures.
*sigh*