Welcome to the Ethical Dilemma Currently Underway in My Flowerbed

17 Oct

The monarchs are here! Or at least here in PA they all seem to have hatched and I am noticing them everywhere.  They are especially fond of my residence, I assume because my love for invertebrates is well-known in butterfly social circles.  Possibly because I lovingly maintain a butterfly bush for them in my flowerbed.  They go crazy for it.  Look at these beauties…

IMG_20141014_100229113 IMG_20141016_125446163

OK, here’s where this lovely little story takes a turn for the grim and horrific.  If you have trouble dealing with the brutal realities of nature and carnivores, go ahead and see yourself out now.  Things are about to get RILL.

The other day I noticed what I thought was a butterfly stuck in some of the leaves.  His wing was kinked and it looked like he was struggling to get free.  Aww, poor dear, let me go over there and untangle those branches so he can get out.  Doo doo doo, here I go to move that pesky branch, you’ll be on your way in just a second little fella, doo doo dooooooOOOOOOOHHH MY GOD! 

The butterfly.  Was being eaten.  Alive.  By a praying mantis.

“WAAAHHHH!!!!!” (actual recreation of the sound I made)

I took a picture only because my inner nature enthusiast overpowered my inner 8-year-old-girl and I realized this was a rare, once-in-a-blue-moon thing to witness.  It is kind of cool in a very freaky kind of way.  You can see the picture here if you want.

Frogson and I ran inside where unfortunately the show was very visible from our front window.  Later I went back out and all that was left of the butterfly was a little piece of wing on the ground.  The praying mantis was still there.  If the mantis and I were starring in some kind of 1940s detective drama, you would have seen me point my finger at him and bellow MUURRRDERRER!!!  Instead the little effer is just staring at me all smug-like, looking like he just gorged himself at a brunch buffet.  DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT, MANTIS, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID.  And he’s just like, what? What’d I do? GLOVE DOESN’T FIT.

This is where my brain started going crazy.  At first I was on Team Butterfly. This can’t happen again.  Not up in here.  I’m not letting him hang out there 24/7 mauling butterflies right in my window.  A child lives here.  If I’m going to have a bush luring butterflies onto my property, I can’t knowingly have a predator also living in it.  WHAT KIND OF SICK PERSON DOES THAT.  

Then I defected to Team Mantis.  Carnivores have to eat too. He’s a living creature just like the butterfly.  He has as much right to be in that bush as they do. And you just had turkey sausage for breakfast, you deplorable hypocrite. SHUT UP IT WAS APPLEGATE FARMS.  Still a turkey, hypocrite.  SHUT UP.  YOU SHUT UP!

I’ve been leaning Team Mantis ever since.  I would obviously never consider doing him any harm, but I thought a humane solution for all parties might be to clip his branch off and just relocate him to the woods.  Surely he wouldn’t lack food there, and the butterfly trap would be broken. It seems like a win-win, but I don’t know, something just feels wrong about meddling in the affairs of nature.

Here’s where I’m asking your help.  I’ve always wanted to use the polling feature on WordPress.  I’m busting it out.  TELL ME WHAT TO DO.  I am seriously wracked with indecision over this.

Thoughts on a Striped Baby Gap Shirt

6 Sep

My and Jeff’s families had baby showers for me back when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant– just about two years ago I guess.  By that point I was kind of getting used to the idea of being the mother to a tiny little newborn baby.  I remember opening a few clothes that were size 9 months and thinking, Whooooooa what the heck kind of huge monster baby fits into this?!

Then I remember my one aunt bought me a shirt and a hat in 12 months, and a t-shirt in 2T.  That really freaked me out.  WHOOAAA you guys this is like for a BIG KID I told the encircled women.  I could maybe figure out how to manage a newborn, but newborns become KIDS and don’t kids like… walk around and stuff? That sounds beyond my skillset.

As Frogson grew we accumulated some other bigger clothes via gifts and hand-me-downs.  I kept them in some storage drawers in his closet.  The clothes looked so big I remembered thinking they would probably fit him when he was three or four.  That seemed so far away and I made a mental note to make sure I remembered to get them out of the drawers.

The other day it was chilly and I perused his on-deck-for-fall drawer for pants and long sleeve shirt.  I opened up the super-big-kid drawer just for fun.  Wait… this will probably fit him this fall.  This too.  THIS TOO.  Including his 2T striped t-shirt from his shower.  I recalled the memory so clearly and it was such a powerful feeling, realizing we had made it to this stage that two years ago felt so far away and surreal.



This is him, today, three days away from 20 months…

We park the car and I go back to put his shoes on.  We keep all his shoes in the car and don’t put them on until we arrive at our destination; otherwise he pulls them off and spends the ride chewing on them.  Foul.  I know they aren’t his favorite but I try to put his flip flops on– they’re so easy to get on and off.  He’s on to me.  He protests. (shooshooshooshooshooshoo!) He wants to wear his velcro sneakers.  I put them on.  He smiles contentedly. (shoooooooooo.) “You’re happy with your red shoes on, huh?” (APPPy!)

He looks at my coffee cup. (haaaahhhht.) “Yep, my cup is hot, what about yours?” I hold his frozen peach smoothie up to his pudgy little toddler paws.  (cooooooooooh.)  Insect flying above.  (beeeeeeeeee.)  Goldendoodle sitting behind him.  (woof!) Eye contact with a stranger.  (HI!)

We go to leave; he carries  his smoothie.  The woman says to her goldendoodle, watch out for the little boy! Little boy? Huh.  Well I’ll be.  Go figure. My little boy in his 2T Baby Gap shirt.  In the words of a wise 1980s musical artist… Well, how did I get here?

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred

1 Sep

I felt like writing today, but not the kind of writing that requires thinking.  Instead I just wanted to sing the praises of a few things I really like.  I myself really value personal recommendations from others, so I want to give back to the system.  Nothing is sponsored or anything.  I’m just easily excitable.

Ugh, here’s the thing about “being green” or whatever.  It’s a slippery slope.  I used to think I was making the right choice getting Snackwell cookies instead of Oreos.  Then I thought I was making the right choice getting a Luna Bar instead of Snackwell cookies.  Then I thought I was making the right choice getting a piece of fruit instead of a Luna Bar.  THEN I realized I am ONLY making the right choice if I’m eating ORGANIC fruit from Whole Foods, or a quaint Instagram farm stand, or from my literal backyard.  You can see how it’s a recipe for psychosis.  One day I’m a normal girl enjoying my life and eating Snackwell cookies and the next day it’s DRYER SHEETS, FRIEND OR FOE?

So even though I buy organic stuff like a sucker, and even though the EWG database puts the fear of God into me, I can’t take all of it TOO seriously or I just… wouldn’t sleep at night.

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- Mineral Deodorant

Actually I got onto this from my friend Luna a few years ago.  This thing contains nothing other than some kind of mineral rock inside a plastic container.  I don’t know, don’t ask questions.  Trust the rock.  Its main draw is of course its organicy-ness… but it’s so much more than that! (Gah two minutes into this and already I sound like the Sham Wow guy with my infomercial lines.)  But no joke, this is actually the best deodorant I’ve ever used.  I always had serious problems with becoming immune to deodorants.  I would need to buy a new one like every month so I’d have like 10 of them in a drawer.  Irritating.  They still never worked.  Clinical strength? More like Clinical… STENCH! (lololololololololol).  This is reliable.  It also lasts forever… I think I had my last stone for 2 years.  The only irritation is that you really have to commit to your deodorant application to make it work.  You have to spend a good 60 seconds slathering it on.  It’s worth the trouble though.

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- Tea tree oil face wash

I had used Benzoyl Peroxide products for years and tried a few times to find something different.  Except every time I tried to change to something more natural, my face would be like HAHAHA oh that’s cute, here’s a mustache of blackheads to remind you who’s boss here.   Somewhere I read to try tea tree oil, and it works wonderfully.  Better than the yucky stuff even.  Disclaimer: Jeff doesn’t like it, citing that “the label falls off.”  This isn’t really a deal breaker for me, but if label longevity is important to you, this is not your product.  My mom also tried mine and didn’t like it, claiming “it tastes bad”. (“Mom, do I need to ask the obvious question as to why you’re eating face wash?”)

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- desert essence moisturizer

I seriously have to break out the worst blogging cliche to tell you I’M OBSESSED with this moisturizer.  The tea tree oil does leave your face kind of  dry (I run oily, so I’m OK with this), and this moisturizer is like a big ol’ drink of water.  I’ve also finally gotten serious about daily SPF on my face, so it accomplishes that too.

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- almond milk

This is a recent love that I have to credit to its commercial, as much as that makes me sound like a sheep.  Do you know the one? Where the guy has a conversation in his kitchen with the animated dude with the almond head?  Almond-head-guy spoke to me apparently, and I realized the only reason I hadn’t considered almond milk was because I assumed it tasted bad, and I had decided without trying it that I wouldn’t like it.  It now goes in my coffee instead of dairy milk.  It’s got a lot more going on for it nutritionally.  A welcome substitution.

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- Dole chopped salad

Vegetables are a struggle for me. Where the magic really happens nutritionally is in dark greens and colorful veggies, as you know.  But ain’t nobody got time to prep a bunch of veggies on a regular basis.  Maybe in the future, but now? Just no.  I turn my back for two seconds and Frogson is climbing something, dumping something out, or generally requiring a safety intervention of some kind.  This is just not a home where peppers get Julienned.   These delicious bags have a base of romaine, kale, carrots, cabbage, and green onions.  They’re pricey but 100% worth it because the work is all done for you and I never worry about anything going to waste.  I really am quite in love with these effers.

Products to Boost Your Earth Mother Street Cred -- birds eye veggies

See above about ain’t nobody got time to prep a bunch of veggies.  These aren’t perfect, their ingredients don’t totally check out, but they are vegetables so DEAL WITH IT.  There’s one that’s broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in a cheese sauce– and my friends, it tastes like Kraft mac and cheese.  Except… vegetables! Win!

Phew.  That’s enough veggie talk for one night.  What’s on your list?


Breaking News: Toddlers are Challenging. Also, They Love Vacuums.

25 Aug

Oh hai.  You guys, I have found myself with, like, 20 free minutes before I force myself to go to bed.  Well not free really.  They’re never free.  There’s always squalor to clean, more work hours that could be logged.  But both of those things I’ve done a fairly satisfactory job at today so I’m treatin’ mah self.   They’re like dollar store minutes I guess you could say.  I’ve used like 11 of them already.  Eff.

Here’s one thing I wanted to tell you about Mr. Frog.  The kid is testing me.  He turned 19 months and it’s been like… pshhheewwwww [makes exploding gesture with hands].  Where is my cherubic infant? My curious, bright-eyed, nugget of baby squish? He is still all those nice things of course.  Now he’s just a bigger kind of cherub who chucks sweet potato puffs at me.  And belts out “MOOOO!!!!” whilst simultaneously tearing up his cow book.  And David Blaines his way out of the shopping cart strap so that when I turn around after four seconds of  **conscientious mother label reading** he’s standing up and about to dive out of the thing and embarrass me and/or concuss himself.

It’s like, the next meltdown is always waiting around the corner.  Here’s a modest sampling of a few meltdown triggers:

Would not let him eat crayons.  Made him ride in a car seat in the car.  Made him hold my hand in a parking lot (Here’s my hand, Mother, you can use it to drag around my entire body weight ::collapses to ground::).  Would not let him play in the toilet.  Would not let him eat hair product.  Would not fulfill requests to play with the vacuum at 6:15 a.m.  Would not let him eat Vaseline.  Unfortunately I was a smidgen late discouraging the Vaseline, but conveniently already had a thorough knowledge of its toxicity due to Poison Control calls on Chooch’s behalf.  Uhh… we don’t really know about dogs… for a 25-pound person it’s fine though.  Frogson too is now 25 pounds.  Foreshadowing be some crazy stuff.

I thought about Googling this and stopped to face palm myself.  Like, what would I look up, 19-month-old suddenly really naughty and has fits about stuff.  I don’t know but there must be some kind of alarm that goes off at Google HQ when stupidity like that surfaces.  Like it’s going off in the middle of the night and a bunch of Google employees are sliding down the fireman pole to talk about how dumb I am.  GETTALOADA THIS GAL! What’s next? 6:00 a.m. large orange orb rising in the sky help very scared.  December seems colder than back when it was September could it be El Nino.  

I made a few sorry attempts at time out.  I know I know I know it’s discouraged by AP experts and all the other self-appointed Lords of All Parenting Knowledge running around.  But, you guys, when it comes to stuff like biting, ain’t NOBODY want to be the mom at the playground with the biter.  Come on.  When it comes to stuff like that, wwhhh-pssshhh [makes whipcrack gesture with hand.]  [I'll stop with the hand gestures now.]  So, time out.  I would never trust him alone in his crib.  I think he would be strong enough to climb out of it pretty quickly if he wanted.  I only let him sleep in the crib, and he sleeps in a full body zipper blanket so it kind of incapacitates him. (Point: mother.)  I also was pretty impressed my intelligence when I came up with this idea for time out– his old Bumbo-esque chair with a strap.  Chair’s safe on the ground, strap keeps him in, DM me for the address to send my Nobel Prize to.







Another quick piece of advice I wanted to share for any other frustrated parents in similar trenches.  As in all things in life, I’ve found things are easier to handle if you 1) don’t take things too seriously and 2) find humor in challenging situations.  Today Frogson had just woken up from his nap and found himself headed towards the day’s 400th meltdown within like one minute of being awake.  It was impressive.  This time (once again) it was because I separated him from his beloved vacuum.  Seriously I’m picturing his future Prom pictures next to a vacuum with an updo and corsage.  Future wedding save-the-date with Frogson and the vacuum kissing in a poppy field or something.  For more information about hotel accommodations please visit www.frogandvacuumforever.com.  

The protest reminded me of what you might expect with some kind of grand, romantic anguish and I found myself singing Leanne Rimes’ “How Do I Live” for the situation.  This is a terrific song for belting and it’s actually REALLY AMUSING to imagine the lyrics written for a toddler and vacuum:

How do I,
Get through one night without you?
If I had to live without you,
What kind of life would that be?
Oh, I…
I need you in my arms, need you to hold,
You’re my world, my heart, my soul.

And you guys? You guys.  The singing diffused the meltdown.  No joke.  Apparently terrible power country ballads of the latter 1990s are effective in this capacity.  This is what you’ve learned today.



The Five People You Meet in a Recipe for Zucchini Chips

1 Aug

My aunt was in town this week and brought veggies from her garden.  (She is a fan of this blog… yo Janet!).  I got a zucchini as part of this arrangement.  I have a nice comfort zone of veggies that I normally buy and make things with, but zucchini are not part of this trusted group.  So they’re a little intimidating.  Welcome to my life, intimidated by vegetables.  (See also: fennel).

So as Frogson napped I opened good ol’ Pinterest, where I knew I’d find a) an idea about something fun to do with a zucchini and possibly even b) a hilarious show wherein I am immensely entertained by the characters I share this earth with.  Two for two, baby.


Zucchini chips! Hey, cool, OK! If you don’t want to click over, I’ll walk you through this.  There are three ingredients.  Guess what, one’s a zucchini.  Free space!  The other one is coconut oil.  The third is salt.  You use an oven or a food dehydrator to cook them for a prescribed amount of time which the author kindly provides the reader.

Then I scrolled down to the comments to see if anyone could vouch for these before I invested a bunch of time making them.  This is where I stumbled on a minor treasure trove of hilarious comments.  (Not quite like the Altoids Addiction forum, which was the find of a lifetime, but still a decent show.)

comment 1

Now, this is more of a pet peeve, but I hate these comments on recipes.  Like there’s 43 Looks great, can’t wait to try! comments and then crickets after that.  HELPFUL.  All food looks good if you have a nice enough camera.  If I just went by how everything looked then I would eat every single meal at Popeye’s because have you SEEN those commercials? The way the breadcrumbs just flake off the chicken fingers when you drop them? MUST BE DELISH.  Who does that? Your chicken fingers, madam.  OK, let me just ***kerplunk*** ahh yes the crumbs flew up in the air perfectly, thank you.

comment 2

The woman who runs this blog is a kinder soul than me.  Never in a million years would I take even twelve seconds to repeat information that has so obviously already been made available for the reader.  Gawd, lazy Millennials.  We’re the worst.

comment 3

Any idea why? Because there are TWO ingredients you add to the zucchini and you screwed up 50% of them.  And you kept them in an hour longer than this nice woman said to, ya dummy.

comment 4

I absolutely believe in compassion and sensitivity (although in writing this blog post, I’m aware I’m not doing the best job living this virtue).  Like, my latest irritation is all the rage about allergen bans in preschools and whatever.  All the parents who lose their freaking minds about how inconvenient it is to accommodate kids with allergies.  Wow, hey, go to the grocery store and send your kid to swim camp with any of the 9,045 peanut-free items available to you! So difficult! Definitely as difficult as having to worry every day if your child will walk down the street, catch a whiff of someone’s sandwich 15 yards away, and have their throat close!  Ugh.  /rant, as they say.

ANYWAY, I think this comment is a little much.  I know it’s easy to find offense in anything, but a person has to work pretty hard to be offended by zucchini chips.  What do you think? It is, however, the best display of a passive aggressive smiley I’ve seen in a while.




Three Years

8 Jul

I seem to have stumbled upon this picture tradition on July 4th.  (Edited to note I realized the first one was Labor Day.)  I have to awkwardly ask Jeff to come over and take it. (“Why?” SHUT UP AND JUST DO IT OK.)  This is Frogson’s transition from mango, to bag of potatoes, to OMG my lumbar region just can’t handle anymore of your “up” requests.  Except I of course end up honoring all said requests because my heart melts into Snack Pack Pudding when he toddles over, picks those arms up, and belts out his signature chorus of UPUPUPUPUPUPUPUP!

The picture shows up dinky but you can click to make it bigger.

three years

What Happened in the Back Seat: A Tale of Anguish, Struggle, and Triumph

3 Jun

There exists a fabled horror known to all parents.

It transcends generations and geography, eclipses the barriers of language and economic status.  Its mention elicits the same response from mothers, fathers, and all who have come to know of its repugnant existence.  Merely utter the words to another parent and a mask of sobriety will befall their face.  Eyes turn downwards, teacups come to gentle rests on saucers.  When the initial sting of memory passes, their eyes turn back to yours apprehensively.

They say, I know the thing of which you speak. I have been there.  

I have smelled its stench.  

I have recoiled in terror at its sight. 

I have been forced to rid it from the earth with the power of only my hands.

I have found my way out of the depths; I have triumphed. 

I have survived the car seat poop. 

The stories begin the same.  A beautiful day, a drive with the windows down.  With your approach, red lights submit to green.  You are overcome with a feeling of contentedness, of joy, of deftness at the parenthood craft.  Your child’s nap time awaits at home, a glistening oasis.  Where will the nap time journey take you, oh masterful parent? A soothing shower, a delicious meal, a cleaned home? A smile crosses your lips as the possibilities are laid out before you in a glorious buffet.

And then, something in the atmosphere is amiss.  The shift is startling, sudden.  The nerve receptors in your olfactory system come ablaze in a fury.  High-level cognition shuts down and a primal urge overtakes you, begging you to find the answer: What, oh pray tell WHAT, is the origin of that smell?

The Where’s Spot? book, you realize, was only a grim foreshadow of this moment.  Is there a garbage truck behind me? No! Is there a horrible catastrophe involving sewage spewing from the ground? No! Is there a manure processing plant on this street that I’ve just never noticed? No, no, no!

The backseat.

The backseat is the origin.

Oh hail, holy queen, mother of mercy, our sweetness and our hope, the backseat is the origin! 

The severity of the stench, you are aware, points to only one horrifying conclusion.  The seal of the diaper is compromised.  A Chernobyl of poo awaits you.  You allow yourself the indulgence of a brief moment of panic. Then, you summon the requisite composure to change your hideous reality.  It is your only hope.

Your mind desperately scrolls through the options at your disposal, each more incomprehensible than the last.  Could you pull over at the next parking lot?  While you will lack the full arsenal of tools and resources that come with home base, there is the promise of immediacy.  No.  No.  The fear of botching the attempt and digging yourself deeper into this crisis is too much.  You must press on.  Sweet child, strapped into a putrid pool of dung, forgive me– we must press on!

The few moments that separate you from home drag on tortuously.  The distance between red lights is like the distance between prehistoric geological epochs.  Your only plea with God is this: let the child’s hands not find their way to ground zero.  Let whatever foul calamity come to me, the upholstery, the child’s garments, the car seat cover (hand wash only)– but spare the child’s hands and by extension, his face (Lord have mercy) and mouth (CHRIST HAVE MERCY).

You have made it home.  A beautiful sight is curled beside the driveway.  Oh, majestic, benevolent serpent– the hose.

Working with the swiftness of a Civil War medic, you begin.  You remove the shorts, the t-shirt, the diaper.  Each layer reveals more gore.  It is overwhelming, all-encompassing, worse than you could have imagined.  A nude toddler stands in your lawn.  What the neighbors must think is trivial as you work furiously towards your goal: Cleanse the buttocks.  Control the damage.  Restore order.

The hose’s shower setting proves woefully insufficient.  No, more force will be required.  It is the only language with which this nightmare will  negotiate.  A bellicose grimace sweeps across your face as you adjust the setting: jet.

The child whimpers in protest at its icy chill.  You cry to him, Submit yourself to the hose! It is your only path back to righteousness!  The jet performs its noble duty.  The chunks of excrement are driven to the ground, seeking their return to the depths of Hell from which their genesis came.

Soon, the final remnants of your odyssey are washed away.  There is only you, still breathing hurriedly.  Your child, bewildered by a barbaric driveway hose-blast.  The child’s shorts, doused clean.  They will be worn again.  Maybe not this week, when the memory is still too much to bear.  Maybe not before they’ve been through the washing machine twice.  But they will ride again.  You will not let the car seat poop have the satisfaction of claiming them.

A tear of victory, a prayer of gratitude.  And an admonishment:  Be gone, car seat poop.  I have driven you from my child, from my vehicle, from all that is sacred to me.

Oh, you will strike again, this we know.  The dance will continue, from generation to generation, nation to nation.  But we will triumph.

We will prevail.

We will rebuild.

Together– a global army of survivors united in common cause– we will slay you, car seat poop.


15 May

Last night Bruce Springsteen came to town and we were there.  I am a pretty serious fan.  I won’t bore you with critical analysis of the show except to say it was amazing, as they all are, because he is a brilliant, brilliant artist.  I WILL tell you how much embarrassment I have for myself the day after.  You guys.  Live music is a problem for me.  It makes me lose my mind.  I just have to dance and scream the lyrics as loudly as possible.  Our section was kind of tame so I’m pretty sure everybody hated me.  And the dancing is, like, NOT a normal kind of dancing.  As a baseline I just jump up and down.  When something particularly moves me you can find me like this:

Sometimes I just end up flailing about like you’ve seen on Woodstock footage:


Except they’re probably under the influence of many powerful hallucinogenics whereas I’ve probably had like 1.4 Yuenglings.

Instagram.  You guys.  I got a smart phone recently.  You can read here about how I smugly put off finally getting one.  I am now officially addicted to Instagram.  If that makes me lame then WHATEVER.  I never really got the Instagram thing before.  Like, OK, you can post pictures? GROUNDBREAKING.  2003 called it wants Webshots back.  But something about those stupid filters really does make it so much fun.

I also adopted a new philosophy about the social component of it.  Instead of letting it go through and just auto-populate every depraved soul from my Facebook, I went through and hand selected a tiny group of people who I genuinely enjoy and am not bothered by.  The result is an entirely different kind of social media experience, in that I… ENJOY AND AM NOT BOTHERED BY IT! I just scroll through and hit that heart button over and over because I really do like it all.  Not like stupid Facebook where you have to wade through idiotic Buzzfeed articles to stalk for newborn pictures.

Another thing I want to blab about: waking up with alarm clocks.  Does anybody else have a serious problem getting up from sleep? It’s a lifelong problem of mine.  It takes me a long time to become aware and alert.  Have you ever seen someone with a concussion?  You ask them things like, who’s the president? Rihanna.  What’s your birthday? Eleven.  What year is it? Sweet potato.  This is me every morning.  It’s actually kind of a horrible way to start the morning.

A few years ago I invested in this special sunrise alarm clock which was allegedly very effective in helping this exact problem.  Yea, click on it, it’s $118.  Apparently this is what you do when you have two white collar jobs and zero children to feed.  BUY $118 ALARM CLOCKS.  The thing doesn’t wake me up.

So, that leaves the phone.  With my old phone, the alarm would go off and two choices would pop up on the screen: snooze and dismiss.  This confused me every time because in my sleepy haze, those options are the same.  Snooze? YES! Dismiss? AND HOW!  Frequent over-sleeping resulted.

Now the smart phone is WORSE.  Instead of words, it has two little icons.  One is a “zzz” which kind of makes sense, but the other looks like this:

droid alarm dismiss eye

Which means my inner monologue looks like this:

Brain: What is that?
Brain: I don’t know, like, a hazelnut with a cue ball in the middle? And it’s shining?
Brain:  Is it the thing that’s on Argentina’s flag?

So, eventually my brain works out that it’s an eyeball.  Or a sun eyeball, whatever.   When I’m still 98% asleep and thus have a negligible IQ, just knowing that it’s an eyeball is no help.  YES, I WANT TO CLOSE MY EYEBALL, GREAT SUGGESTION, *TAP*!  Over sleep.

Yanni! We were promised Yanni! I know for real I am blogging about Yanni next I swear to you.

Reading Rainbow

1 May

Umm, it’s been forever since I made a few book recommendations here.  I don’t mean like I am some self-appointed authority on what you should read (finally the blogger hath spoken…. OFF TO BARNES AND NOBLE), just that I always love hearing what others are reading, and make a lot of my choices that way, so maybe you do too and this will be helpful.

For full coverage of what I’m reading (the same sarcastic first parenthetical applies), I use and love Goodreads.  (I also apologize for some redundancy in my reviews there).  (OK, done with the parentheticals).  Here are some highlights from the last year or so.  (Apparently it has been that long.)  (Sorry I promised I’d quit with these.)

Gone Girl

As I mentioned on Goodreads, I was a bazillion years late to this party.  This was the It book of what, like, 2012? I finally got to reading it.  I was kind of in a reading rut and wanted something that I knew would make me turn pages.  I was surprised to find the first half kind of slow and circular, but then crazy stuff happens in the middle and I could not put it down.  Like, I basically let the toddler have his way with our house while I frantically read this in my bathrobe.  It was like The Great Gone Girl House Trashing of 2014.  I don’t know if we’ve recovered.  Anyway, it’s good stuff, not like wildly prolific, but engaging and suspenseful even if you think that isn’t your thing.  You will hate the female protagonist more than you think you can hate a fictional character.

Transfer of Power

OK I know please let me explain myself to you.  This is not my genre.  When Jeff and I’s relationship was in its infancy, he was telling me how he wasn’t big into reading.  I suggested that maybe he just wasn’t reading the right material and there was a lot of fiction out there I could see him really enjoying.  One day he came home with this.  I responded with something like, “AHAHA what is this! Transfer of Power!  What’s next? Burden of Valor? Brotherhood of Duty? Call of Gallantry? Let me guess, [mocking baritone] Agent Spike Remington is BACK with his ragtag platoon of renegade snipers… WILL THEY OUTSMART THE BAD GUYS BEFORE THE BAD GUYS OUTSMART THEM?” Etc.  And he sadly pointed out that he had taken my suggestion and tried to give reading a chance and I had mocked his selection.  I apologized and said he was right and one would think it would have been long forgiven and forgotten.  One would be wrong and he is STILL bringing it up to this day. As a gesture of goodwill and closure, I read this book.  Let me tell you… it is exactly as cheesy and ridiculous as I would have thought AND I could not put it down.  In the middle of it I had this big breakthrough and I said to myself, I realize what I’m reading. This is chick lit for men.  This is exactly what this is.  Bombs, guns, hostages, damsels in distress, snipers, guns, parachuting, undercover agents… just imagine a beautifully woven tapestry of every ridiculous Wesley Snipes movie ever, and that’s this book.  And as I indicated, I was hooked and reading it at red lights.  Honestly, if you want to give this genre a try or just want some light vacationy material, it’s pretty entertaining.

The Orphan Master’s Son

To take an abrupt turn back to seriousville, there is this.  I read this under the motivation of Elliequent’s Pulitzer Prize Reading List Challenge .  AKA the PPPPPRRRLLC (hashtag).  This book is a wild, incredible story.  It’s moving and sobering and I just can’t do it justice with my words.  It’s not a light read but will open your eyes as to what’s going on in the far corners of the world.  Everyone knows North Korea is a bad situation but if you’re like I was a few months ago, maybe you don’t really know what’s going on over there.  After reading this, I can’t believe the atrocities there are not on the front page of every newspaper, every day.  Unbelievable.

A Fort of Nine Towers

Along the same lines is this, which if I had to pick one thing to recommend, here you go.  I would say it’s the best book I’ve read in four years.  This is the memoirs of a kid growing up in Afghanistan in the 1990s and it’s absolutely, positively brilliant.  Like Orphan Master’s Son, it’s very difficult to read in parts.  The author is almost exactly my age, which somehow really made it especially difficult and heart-wrenching to process.  Like, everyone’s read and been horrified by Unbroken, but somehow that book felt a little more distant, a little less relatable since it happened in a different generation.  But amidst the horror of these memoirs, and I do mean horror, there are so many hopeful, touching, beautiful moments in this.  Really, really, really cannot recommend enough.  I said as much on Goodreads and PEOPLE, the author “liked” my review.  I don’t think I have ever been so flattered.

 Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Yes, I’m going here.  And I could write about 15 posts on this subject but I won’t, because it’s so sensitive and because  it’s so complex/conflicting that I haven’t even decided how I feel about everything.  Here’s one thing I am certain of: women should HAVE KNOWLEDGE about maternity care so they can confidently make their own choices alongside their providers.  Do WHATEVER you want but just know.  On the front cover of this book there is one review saying something like, “Every woman who even thinks she might someday be pregnant needs to read this” and I will just agree and leave it at that.


Happy reading!  Stay tuned here because the topic of my next post is Yanni.


Welcome, Spring

10 Apr

We are READY for you.

Last winter worked out because the newborn and I just hibernated for 3 months.  He laid around drinking milk and eating his fist, and we were outright told by the doctor to limit his outside-the-house time because of the flu and whatever other nasty winter bugs were around.  Sure thing.  You don’t need to tell me twice to stay inside when it’s 11 degrees out.

This winter? BLECH.  He was an 11-15 monther on the move.  I worked hard to get him out of the house even if it was just to walk around the grocery store for 40 minutes to buy one sweet potato.  When we were stuck inside, I feel like all I did was utter the same commands to an oblivious audience of one.  Teeth are not for biting/hands are not for hitting/cups are not for throwing/pieces of mulch from someone’s shoe are not for eating/the oven door is not for pull ups/the dog is not for mixed martial arts/da capo al fine.

This morning we made a glorious park trip and I’m reminded how much he needs this kind of time– to run completely free, without me over his shoulder and without gates, walls, and locks blocking his every move.  He was beside himself with joy.

Stay wild, toddlers.


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