Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Take This Personally, But...

My mother in law left today. She was here for 5 long days. I can't tell you how many sentences she started with "Don't take this personally, but...". I can tell you how much this phrase makes me grind my teeth. How the hell else am I supposed to take whatever crazy judgement you're about to make?

Some highlights from the trip:

1. She is 66 years old. She lives in an apartment building in Connecticut. One of her much younger, married neighbors is in a band. She went to one of his "gigs" (Yes, she used that word. Several times.) over the summer. She brought a bunch of her thongs, and threw them onstage.

2. We were watching Dennis Miller's new game show "Amnesia" (which is pretty dumb, by the way).

She kept mentioning how attractive the contestant was. She culminated her gush by asking me to buy him for Christmas for her.

3. She hates cilantro. She asked to eat Mexican and Chinese food. Try to find a Chinese or Mexican restaurant in California that doesn't use cilantro. We went to this great Mexican restaurant, and she ordered a plain quesadilla.

4. She was grossed out by how "ugly" Berkeley is. She lives in this nasty, flavorless apartment building overlooking a swamp. But, yes, Berkeley, with its views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the canyons, and multitude of flowers is U-G-L-Y.

5. She told Leo that the area between her vagina and rectum is especially small, so she is extra concerned about hygiene.

6. Right before we were leaving to go to San Francisco, she needed to go to the bathroom. When she got into the car, she apologized sarcastically, saying "That was a load I couldn't carry all day."

7. She read a bunch of "dumb blonde" jokes to me. Hello, have you not known me for over 10 years? I've always thought misogyny was hil-a-ri-ous.

8. When she was in Palm Springs, she bought this little ceramic bowl with a small, nightlight sized lightbulb in it. You know, this kind that barely gets warm. She placed large crystals of sea salt in them, to help cure her allergies. Newsflash: being in a room with slightly warmed salt will cure your allergies.

9. She is allergic to our cats, so we kept her bedroom door closed. One night, Leo didn't shut the door the whole way, and the cats got in for about 10 minutes. She got really pissed at Leo, and said "Gee, I can see just how concerned you are about me!!!"

I am so, so happy that I have my life back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Imagine My Pride!

We're thinking about toilet training the cats. Apparently, all you need to do it put a disposable roasting pan in the toilet, below the lid. You fill it with litter, and as the cats get comfortable, use less and less litter. Then, you make a small hole in the pan. Every day, you make the hole a little bigger, until the cat is "eliminating" directly into the toilet.

You know, I was happy when the kids learned to use the toilet, but this would be something to really be proud of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sequins, Big Hair, and High Heels

I went to a beauty pageant last night. Really. One of the prequalifiers for Miss America.

If you ever have the chance to go to one, GO. Really. It's such an interesting cultural phenomenon. The sequins! The hair! The stripper heels!

Did you know that they use the swimsuit segment as a physical fitness test? It has nothing to do with how good you look in a bikini! I guess asking the contestants to run or do push ups or arm wrestle or something would just be impractical.

I saw some girls up there who clearly have no friends. Do you know how I know that they have no friends?

A friend would not let you get up on stage and slowly "breakdance" and "sing" in sequins. She wouldn't. She would tell you the truth, so you don't have to see it on YouTube.


Abby's latest:

"I love you. Mommy, I love you so much. I love you with all my heart. I love you so much I'm gonna puke."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

I went into a public bathroom yesterday. It was small - only two stalls. As I entered mine, I heard, "Hello? Hello?!" from the next stall.

She sounded like she was having a bit of a crisis - teary and congested. So I responded, "Um...hi?!"

Right after I said hi, she started speaking in rapid fire Chinese.

She was talking on her cell phone.

Who the hell has a serious conversation on a phone in a public bathroom?

How did she wipe? Did she touch her phone with her dirty hand?

Why was I the weirdo who thought she was talking to me???

PS I've always wondered how people with super-long nails wipe, too. Think about it.

It'll haunt you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Despite the rain this weekend, we decided to head over to Stinson Beach. It was raining when we arrived, but completely cleared up within ten minutes. The beach was pretty deserted, and littered with driftwood and seaweed from the past week's storms.

The best part was that a huge old plank of redwood washed up. We made a see-saw from it. I had Emma stand at the end, and I would stomp on the other end as hard as I could - she FLEW! It was awesome.

I wish we remembered the camera - the pictures would have been perfect.

Shinky Dinks

I am currently obsessed with Shrinky Dinks. Emma got a pack of the "jewelry making" ones for her birthday, and we finally started making them last week. They are awesome - I didn't remember just how much they shrink, or how dramatically. They're so much fun!

I just ordered 36 blank sheets of it. Fantastic. My plan is to trace stuff from our Audubon guides. I have no idea what I'll do with them. Any ideas?

Monday, February 4, 2008


Don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Slighty bored

Things I Love Today
Postsecret (
Spicy salty olives
Apple green
Ocean smell
Dirty Jobs

Things I Hate Today
Unlocatable Bad Smells
The Moment of Truth
Rain on my glasses
The little pieces of cat litter that get kicked out of the litter box
The sound of one walkie talkie left in the "on" position

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Don't Shake Her Hand

A couple of months ago, right before we moved,
I was laying down with Emma at bedtime.
Emma had been quiet for several minutes, and I was
almost convinced she was asleep. Right before she
drifts off, she often says something sweet.
This night was different -
she yawned cutely and said:

"Mom, did you know that if you fart in your hand,
you can put the smell anywhere you want?"


Friday, February 1, 2008

Groundhog Day

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. I think this is the holiday I hate the most. Before you whip up the spinach dip, think about this:

1. Why the groundhog? Why not a chipmunk, or even a ferret?

2. Why the hell is a rodent going to look at its shadow?

3. How do you know if it sees its shadow or not? Does its pupils dilate or something?

4. They've been doing this for almost 200 years in PA. They've called the groundhog "Phil" for all those years. Now, unless there's something I don't know about the life expectancy of the groundhog (or if Phil is somehow a supernatural groundhog, which would actually help this holiday make MORE sense), it seems disrespectful to name groundhog after groundhog "Phil". It's not even all that great of a name. It's like those people who replace their pet, and then just name them their old pet's name. Tiger, Tiger 2, Tiger 3, etc. If you can't get excited enough to name it something new, you probably just shouldn't get it. Do you hear me, George Foreman?

2. Phil doesn't just appear on the morning of February 2. He's pulled from his stump! You mean to tell me that for 200 years, some Pennsylvania asshole has just found this groundhog in the stump? Phil's planted there!

And you thought Valentine's Day was a manufactured holiday that leaves you with a sense of disillusionment.

Extended Adolescence

I was listening to NPR this morning. The director of "Rock the Vote" was interviewed about harnessing the "youth vote." She was asked who was included in this demographic. Turns out, 18-29 year olds are considered "youth."

Are you kidding me? A 29 year old is a youth?

Our culture's extension of adolescence is ridiculous. I have students who call their parents for advice EVERY DAY. Legally, they are adults, but they consult their parents about course schedules, friendships, even what to eat for dinner. Their parents call the university to complain about roommate issues, course evaluations/grades, and their child's sleep schedule. It boggles the mind. I would have been mortified if my mom called ANY administrator when I was in college. Students have handed me their cell phones so I could speak to their parent.

Did you know that many Fortune 500 companies now include parents when they hire new employees? They report receiving phone calls from parents trying to negotiate salary/benefits. Parents send their child's resume. Many companies now hold parent seminars and tours. Several will even send parents a framed job offer letter.

Where are the grown ups? As much as I love Jackass, it frightens me to think of all the men that emulate 37 year old Johnny Knoxville.

Can you imagine seeing It's a Wonderful Life-era Jimmy Stewart clamping a lobster to his pimply ass? Laughing that jackal-ish cackle?

I long for the time when we all grow up and start acting our ages, with some dignity and charm. I think we may just be the most distasteful generation.