Archive | May, 2010

Plastic or More Plastic?

28 May

I always end up shopping a few times a week, usually at the grocery store and/or Walmart. Yes, Walmart. I’m condemning entire generations of children in Rajikistan or Indirijab to a life of servitude every time I even walk in the place. I know. But I’m not gonna’ lie, I still shop there. Come on, have you seen the prices on their fake diamond encrusted dog collars? So worth it.

Anyway, I do try to bring my own canvas bags though. Exploitation of child labor may not hit home, but the environment? This is California, after all. But if you peeked into my pantry you would think that I never remembered them. There are at least a gazillion plastic bags wadded up and stuffed together, hanging from hooks on the wall.

Am I the only one drowning in a sea of these things? There has got to be a better way. I could wallpaper my entire house in that filmy white stuff. Not even my two dogs can keep up with the abundance of bags I’ve got in there. Seriously, I’m thinking of inviting the guy at the recycling center over for Thanksgiving.

Which all leads me to wonder, does my spinach really have to be separated from my bananas? Really? Like in a completely different bag? I keep waiting for the day I’m checking out and someone whips out a bag big enough to wrap around my 40 lbs. of dogfood.

You know they’d do it. Twice, ‘cause it’s heavy.

Even Walmart acknowledges that their plastic bag usage is out of hand. See: Walmart to Stop Giving Out Bags, But Will Customers Buy Reusables? | News10.net | Sacramento, California | News

Having never worked at Walmart (can you feel the restraint I’m showing here?) I can only assume baggers are trained to separate my soap from my blueberries. Oh how I do love asking them to mix it all together, just to see the reaction. (Maybe I spend too much time alone).

I’ve had the young baggers who smile and act appreciative (this is pretty rare), and the steady plodders who ignore me as though they are deaf, proceeding as trained. Don’t let that pair of socks rub up against the bleach! Double bag it!

I’ve had the guys who stare at me with dead eyes and silently comply (I always wonder if I’ll be seeing them later, ya’ know, like hiding in my backseat with a knife), and the bitter women who just snort and say they aren’t allowed. Not allowed? Okaaay. Is there a siren that goes off in the event of an infraction?

My favorites though are the crusty old ladies (what I wouldn’t give for a smoke-filled day’s worth of their stories) who shrug their shoulders and make a face, shaking their head in disapproval the whole time. Whatever you say, young lady. Go ahead, put that poison next to your food, see if I care. Your mother must be so ashamed. You’re probably not even wearing clean underwear.

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that the packaging on the Tide and Lysol are thick enough to keep them from actually mixing with my juice (which is also locked down in heavy duty plastic).

I can be pretty neurotic, but this one’s a no-brainer. Pack it all together. The day I start worrying about my oranges accidentally bumping up against the box my toilet scrubbers come in, is the day I hang it up. Right next to the giant nest of bags.


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Too Much Rock for One Hand

26 May

Can you feel it? The world is a better place.

When Bret Michaels was named winner of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice last Sunday night, the whole planet got just a little bit cooler. This may be the biggest upset since Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth or 2 Live Crew hit the Supreme Court. Not only did the aging 80’s rocker have to compete against thirteen other tough celebs (including chef Curtis Stone, who I LOVE), but he fought his way back from an emergency appendectomy and being hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him in late April. Whew!

Bret was underestimated form the beginning. I guess the long blond hair, glittering earrings, late nights and living on “rocker time” will do that to you. Or maybe it was being the star of his own dating show:  Rock of Love 2 | Show Cast, Episodes, Guides, Trailers, Web Exclusives, Previews | VH1.com, (which has given us some of the trashiest trainwrecks in recent memory) that did it. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I like Bret. I always have. And while he was never at the top of my dream team (is it too late for us, Jon?) he was definitely on the radar. Yes, he stammers and loses focus when a hot chick walks in the room (Hello? Rock star…). And yes, he designed a whole work-out program around having sex with groupies Celebrity Apprentice: The Tour Bus Thrust – in Metal News ( Metal Underground.com ) (sounds worse than it is, honest). But I find that kind of clarity refreshing. When a guy will hit anything with a pulse, you always know where you stand. I like it when the lines are that clear.

On top of that (no pun intended), it takes balls to still be rockin’ guyliner this long after 1985. But I love it. Guyliner is HOT, and Bret makes it look good. I think everyone should wear it. I want to see it on the UPS guy and my pool boy (a 60-year-old Bears fan from Chicago). I want to see it on the bagger at the grocery store and even on my dentist. When I look into that face (as he’s scraping the plaque from my teeth) I want to know there’s some rock behind that paper mask and that he knows what to do with his instruments too. Nothing delivers that information more clearly than guyliner.

NICE.

Maybe Trump recognized Bret’s vast creativity and thought he could use an out of the box thinker this year. Or maybe he spotted a fellow ladies’ man and got woozy thinking of all the ass that would be trotting through Trump Tower. We may never know.

So here’s to you, Bret. Here’s to sleeping ‘til noon at 47, partying ‘til you just can’t see and still gettin’ it done, all while wearing cowboy hats festooned with feathers and spark plugs. Here’s to keeping the dream alive for a whole generation of greasy-haired head bangers who are too dazed and confused to even know their own names, let alone cut their hair and join the current decade.

Here’s to fighting hard for your charity American Diabetes Association Home Page – American Diabetes Association and for your little girl. And for stickin’ it to the man so long and hard he had no choice but to hire you, right in front of the whole world. Here’s to proving that indeed, anything really is possible. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and yes, my child, Bret Michaels really did kick everyone else’s ass on Celebrity Apprentice. Well done, dude.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of TropaRocka  Snapple – Made From The Best Stuff On Earth » Apprentice and jam to Poison’s greatest hits (for like ten minutes anyway).  Go Bret!! WOOOOO!


Fight Club

24 May

During my years as a mom I’ve done all kinds of activities; sewing, horseback riding, book clubs, running, even recipe clubs. There are gardening groups and the Junior League, ski trips and swimming lessons. Almost anything you could imagine, and yet there’s a need not being addressed, a niche I’d like to fill.

I’m thinking of starting a fight club for moms. Hear me out. Who needs it more than us? No one. Twenty-something guys waking to the realization that adulthood is soulless tedium have nothing on mothers. And if they get a secret group where they take out their frustrations like a bunch of savage lunatics, I want one too.

We could meet in an abandoned shopping center somewhere or maybe out behind Safeway or Whole Foods. We could battle in a ring of shopping carts and use the dumpsters as seating. We could have code names like “The Ripper,” “Stumps” and “Bruce.”

I can see it now. “See you guys after yoga,” mom says, her voice full of cheer as she heads to her minivan. A sharp pain shoots through her right wrist as she pulls the door closed. Damn Bermuda Red and her inverted gut wrench. She’s mine tonight.

I don’t know, I think it could work.

No one will even notice your fat lip or the occasional missing tooth. Tell your husband your kids did it. He’ll believe you. Because let’s face it, it’s no worse than they’ve already done. Plus, most of the ladies in the neighborhood are already involved (Janie’s mom has GOT to be The Slammer. I’d recognize that pile driver anywhere, even behind a red leather mask).

And I bet your mother won’t even ask. Because the scary truth is, she already knows. What’s the first rule of fight club? Don’t talk about fight club. Exactly.

Remember all that shit she never told you? Like how after the first 6 months of pregnancy the only things that would fit on the swollen lumps at the base of your cankles were flip flops? Even the ugly step-sisters had a better chance of cramming into a pretty shoe than you did. Or how it feels like you’ve been hit by a truck in the recovery room? (Your head spinning with thoughts like, “I did this on purpose?”) Or how you’ll never sleep the same again, doomed to wake at the first hint of noise. Of course, that’s assuming you sleep at all for the next year or so.

She knew it all.  Add fight club to the list.

And let’s not leave out one other thing your mother forgot to tell you. It’s one of my favorites. It’s about the day that your teenage daughter looks at you (with eyes full of pity) and says with a smirk, “Listen, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or anything, but I don’t want to hang out with you. And to be honest, mom, it’s kind of embarrassing.”

Embarrassing? Ahh yes, like when you were three and I was standing at the Rite-Aid check out counter and you decided to hide under my skirt, only to pop out and tell the clerk that I wasn’t wearing any underwear (even though I was)? Or like when we were in the realtor’s office a few years later and you unexpectedly blew chunks all over the expensive carpeting?

I know embarrassing.

I just didn’t think going for a bike ride or taking the dogs for a walk together qualified. It’s not as if I invited myself to your prom. My mistake.

So, I’m starting a fight club. Let’s say every other Tuesday at 7 pm. If you’re a mom, consider yourself invited. Bring a covered dish and a few rolls of gauze. Get yourself a name at BleedingMedia.com – MMA Fighter Nickname Generator and join me. I’ll be the one beating my head against the brick wall, trying to stop the bleeding.


I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

20 May

The other day I was walking the dogs, and after a few miles and a nice long break for Pepper under a shady tree, we started home. We ended up walking behind a group of four boys, I’m guessing 5th or 6th graders, on their way home from school.

As we were walking, one of the boys turned around and pointed to the dogs. I get that a lot. Most people think our dogs are big (even though to me they’re not), and kids usually like dogs, so I smiled and waved.

We were still pretty far behind them though, so I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Then the kid turned around again, hitched up his backpack and pointed again. This time they all looked. Weird, but whatever. Who knows what kids are doing? Who even cares?

But after about the fourth or fifth time that the entire group turned around to walk backwards and gawk at how absolutely fascinating we were, I started to get my back up. I started to wonder if I had something unfortunate hanging from my nose or if a third arm had suddenly sprouted from my forehead. Nope. They were just being mean. Suddenly I was back on the playground, being made fun of.

“Take a picture!  It’d last longer!”

No, I didn’t. But I wanted to. I wanted to shout at them and stick my tongue out. I wanted to make a face and dare them to do it again.

And then, of course, I laughed. Because the urge to behave like a 12-year-old (even for me) seemed absurd. I’m almost 40. Why would I care if a bunch of junior high boys wants to make fun of me? I get to go home and have ice cream for dinner if I want. I can have a beer, or better yet, a cosmo. I can drive.

Most of all I never have to spend my entire night bent over a math book trying to figure out how many gallons of gas Marge used on her 2.7 hour trip to Topeka, factoring in an average wind speed of 102 knots, the fact that the south bound train traveling in the opposite direction is moving at a constant speed of 15 mph, and at 7 of the 10 traffic lights Johnny got out and did the chicken dance across the intersection.

Where on the way to Topeka is there an average wind speed of 102 knots?  Can you drive through such a gale? Is Johnny even in the same car as Marge? Who the hell knows.  As if they ever told you.

So I burst out laughing. It was awesome; one of those sudden, uncontrollable, really loud belly rumblers that hits you out of nowhere and takes over for a few seconds.

This seemed to throw the little hooligans off the scent; I guess they didn’t expect the three-armed booger lady with her dogs to be quite so crazy. Their eyes got wide and they crossed the street.

Soon enough they forgot about us and were distracted by a little snake they had found in the grass. They threw their backpacks to the ground and crowded around it.

Fine. Awesome. We’d all gotten a good laugh, in one way or another.  No harm done.

But as the dogs and I walked by, they looked up again. They started whispering back and forth and shoving into each other. I’m a good sport, but seriously, wtf?

For a second I was tempted to stop. I knew I could count on at least one of the dogs to pee on their backpacks. Nah, too much. Then I thought about reminding them that rattlesnakes have their babies in the Spring. Too petty.  Besides, anyone could see it was just a little garter snake they had found.

Act right, I thought. You’re an adult. Well, sort-of.

I was almost around the corner when I couldn’t resist. I looked over my shoulder and smiled. I must’ve looked totally nuts; eyes glazed, mouth twitching with laughter.

“Lots of homework tonight, boys?” I asked, gesturing toward their packs. “I hear the wind speed near Topeka is brutal.  Good luck with that.”

Guess I showed them.

Yeah, that I’m nuttier than a fruitcake. Well, whatever. Like Cyndi Lauper says, “Let your freak flag fly.”

It wasn’t until I got all the way home that I noticed the big white pile of bird poo on my baseball cap. Not quite a third arm growing out of my forehead, but pretty close.

I wish I would’ve known. Reaching up and smearing it under my eyes as a war paint of the elderly might’ve been the move. They’d still be talking about it.   Ahh well, maybe next time.


Best. Birth Control. Ever.

17 May

Forget about the pill, the patch and NuvaRing. Forget about abstinence and outercourse and good old fashioned condoms. I’ve just stumbled upon the most effective form of birth control to date.

A new site called Shit My Kids Ruined shitmykidsruined.com was featured on The Huffington Post Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post last week in an article by Katla McGlynn. This new site is great. Not only is it loaded with pictures of, you guessed it, shit kids have ruined, but they’re eager for you to post your own.

My favorite might be the picture of a smiling bride and groom with a sullen pre-teen hanging his head directly in front of them. The caption simply reads:  “My wedding picture.”

But then the woman with a black eye (presumably caused by the adorable little boy in her arms) is such a close second. Her caption explains that her husband was so embarrassed by the shiner that he wouldn’t go anywhere with her until it cleared up. Nice.

That one made me think of the day I picked my daughter up from preschool and she accidentally slammed her head into my mouth, breaking a huge chunk off of one of my teeth. Sadly, no pictures. Or the time we were roller skating for a 3rd grade school event and she jumped on my back, knocking us both to the ground. I fractured my tailbone, nearly blacked out and came very close to making her “the girl whose mom puked all over the skating rink floor.” Good times.

But the all-time best has to be when she woke up early from a nap and decided to decorate the walls and floor of her bedroom with the only paint she could find; the deep chocolate brown in her diaper. I do have pictures of that (featured above) and yes, I posted them.

From destroyed iPhones to explosions of Desitin, this site chronicles all those little moments when the only good reason your kid survived is because they were cute.

SMKR has taken off in the last few months, collecting thousands of fans along with all those snapshots of juvenile destruction and mayhem.  And for good reason. I haven’t had this much fun online since my brother clued me in to The People of Walmart: Funny Pictures at WalMart.

So go ahead and cancel that uncomfortable conversation with your kids about birth control. Do you really want to explain the withdrawal method in detail? Didn’t think so. Instead, just bookmark this site and email them a copy. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

And if your kids are too young for that, then keep the camera close. Your day is coming, and it’s your duty as parents to document and share all the shit your kids ruin.


I’d Like to Talk to Moses

13 May

I am the luckiest mom on the planet. Not only do I have a great family, but they get it. And because they do, I got it. For Mother’s Day I got an iPad.

NICE.

This slim piece of techno genius is mesmerizing. It’s perfect size and dazzling display enchant. It’s absolutely the hippest thing I’ve had in my hands since the last time I was in Starbucks (probably two years ago) holding the simple cup of coffee I had struggled to order.

Seriously, just slide your finger across the smooth screen of Apple’s latest baby and you can’t help but feel cool. It’s epic.

I pulled it out of the slick packaging and after an hour or so of playing around, I decided to get down to business. It was time to do some writing, to see how this delightful, page-sized slice of wizardry could really help me produce.

So, imagining myself in some exotic location (San Sebastian), sipping cocktails by the beach and laughing as I casually sent my latest novel (the second in a best selling trilogy) to an eager editor (aren’t fantasies wonderful), I pulled a file from my Mac and tried to export it to the iPad. Just to be sure it would work, you know, for the next time I’m in Spain and my editor calls.

Careful readers will have already noticed the word “tried.”

At first I thought it was me; I usually repel technology.  It had to be me. The problem couldn’t be with my magical new iPad. Steve Jobs wouldn’t do that to me. But sadly, after a few tries it became clear that the file from my computer (also a Mac) wasn’t compatible.

SCREEECH.  What ‘chu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?

I panicked. What’s the point if there isn’t seamless integration? What if none of my files are compatible?

I mumbled angrily to myself. I stomped around in circles.  I stomped around in circles while I mumbled angrily to myself. And then I called the help line. I was quickly connected to a very nice young man named Moses.  That’s a good sign, I thought. He should be familiar with revolutionary tablets. He was polite and calm, with a voice that oozed confidence.  Just what I’ve come to expect from my Apple Genius. I could almost hear him easing me away from the ledge, “Deep cleansing breaths, deep cleansing breaths…”

I described the problem and he chuckled. “Huh,” said my new friend Moses, “first time I’ve heard that.”

There goes that screeching record again.

That’s like showing your doctor a hairy wart or a weird rash and having him say he’s never seen it before. Like finding out you’ve just eaten the one piece of rhino anus that even Bear Grylls wouldn’t touch.  Sometimes it’s cool to be first.  Sometimes it’s not.

But under Moses’ expert guidance I started to relax, confident that together we could fix the problem.  And then, just as we were coming to the crux of it, disaster.

My cordless phone died. Suddenly and without warning I lost the connection (I told you technology hates me). I guess that’s what I get for still having a landline. Or maybe it’s phone karma swinging back at me for having such a hard time understanding why there’s no such thing as “long distance” anymore.

I freaked. My genius was gone. We’d spent almost an hour on the line trying to fix my (not so) perfect iPad, all for nothing. I was alone with nothing in my hands but a very hip, very expensive (and apparently very useless) toy.

Which is why, when I called back knowing I’d have to start all over with someone new, and the sophisticated recording on the other end prompted me to ask for what I wanted (after praising the “magical and revolutionary” new iPad) I stood up (red faced and hair raised) and shouted into the phone,

“I’d…like…to…speak…to…Moses!”

It was biblical; Sunday school images of a bearded man parting the Red Sea just to speak to me flashed through my head.  And that was the moment it got better. I laughed until I cried, until I almost peed my pants. I only hope that someone in Cupertino heard me. I know the neighbors did. It was awesome.

Anyway, it all worked out in the end; with a quick software upgrade (see it really was me) and an overdue refill on my Xanax, my very perfect iPad and I are now ready for Spain.


Be Good to Your Boobies

10 May

A few weeks ago my daughter started talking about doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. One of her friends was on a sponsored team and they wanted to walk together. It sounded perfect; support a great cause, let her learn the value of volunteering, and all on Mother’s Day weekend. Sweet.

But to be honest, I’m ashamed to say that I just couldn’t get into it. It felt like a chore, like one more thing to check off the list. I know, I know. Bad mom. Bad person. And as I grudgingly entered our information on the website, I can’t even tell you how tempted I was to click the “Sleep In for the Cure” button instead.

But I didn’t. Which I was reminded of as my alarm went off at 5:30 am last Saturday morning.

As we closed in on the Expo Center (where the event was), I was shocked by how thick the traffic had gotten. There were lines of cars at least a mile long waiting to exit. This was a big deal.

Half an hour later we were walking toward the registration desk, in a sea of energized pink chaos, the air buzzing with laughter and snippets of conversations: “…I promised my sister,” and “If my tests come back positive I’m going to have the other one removed.” “Yeah,” another woman said laughing and rolling her eyes, “my aunt lost both of them and then had her uterus taken out too.”

They could’ve been talking about what they were having for dinner or where they were going on vacation next week. They could’ve been laughing over coffee. They were that comfortable. But then, they hadn’t been given a choice.

A chill ran up and down my arms, despite the warm morning. I wrapped my arm around my daughter, wondering if she had heard. “Let’s not fight today, okay?” She looked over and nodded, her eyes full of understanding, “Okay, mom.”

We registered, pinned our numbers on our new t-shirts and headed toward the starting line, trying to find her friend. There was something very powerful about putting on that white shirt and fading into the crowd of pink ribbons, feather boas and hats, walking together under signs like “Jogging for Jugs,” “Walkers 4 Knockers,” and one of my favorites, “Erin Go Bras.”

For a few hours we walked beside men and women with pink square signs that said things like, “I walk in celebration of Joan,” and “In memory of my wife.”

We walked beside families with pictures of passed loved ones on their t-shirts; women with big smiles and even bigger strength. We walked beside women who proudly wore bright pink shirts that said, “Survivor.”

All day the mood was positive, celebratory even. These women had no time for sadness or loss. They were on a mission. They had seen it all, had been through it all, and were done with crying. I think I was the only one who had trouble keeping it together. I spent the morning taking it in, realizing how lucky I was and how glad I was that I hadn’t slept in.  And I kept it together.

And then I saw a little boy, about 8 years old, walking with his dad. He had bright blonde hair and little silver sunglasses.  And pinned to the back of his shirt was a square, pink sign that said, “In Memory of My Mom.”

He turned around and smiled, and on the front of his shirt was a picture of a beautiful young woman, surely his mom. Above the picture were the words, “No Tears.”

I was glad for the brightness of the day and for my big California sunglasses, because I couldn’t follow his rule. I cried like an innocent, like someone who was lucky enough to be naive to the whole scene.

It was a pretty amazing day. I guess sometimes even good people need a kick in the ass. I just had mine.

Do the exams. Donate. Participate in a race.

Be good to your boobies. Whether they’re small and perky, large and luscious, or somewhere in between, whether they’re your own or just a pair you love like your own, take care of the boobies in your life and the women who stand behind them.

Because trust me when I tell you, there are already too many square, pink signs pinned to t-shirts on race day.