Friday, August 19, 2005

And We'll Be Back After A Short Break

Off to Girl Scout Training Camp for the weekend, and then up to The Lake for a few days with the entire Evil Family.

We return with only FOUR days until school starts.

Only the puppy isn't happy about it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Separated At Birth?

Now I know why I always feel like I somehow "know" Jack White, even though I don't listen to the White Stripes, except for that one song that was the opening credits music for Napoleon Dynamite, but I totally liked that song before the movie when they played it on the alternative radio station and I didn't really like the movie at all though I can understand why it got so popular because its just full of one-liners that you can say to your buddies when you are at your locker bitching about having to go to health class and how it sucks to have P.E. first period because you can never get your hair right under a hand dryer and you spend the rest of the day looking totally not cute.


Jack White--I totally believe he is a supremely gifted musician and is undeservedly underappreciated and is finally getting some popular attention for (and not in spite of) the unusual artistic choices he makes.

And then I realized that it was totally NOT Jack White I was thinking of.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Guess It's Edible, But...

I drove past the "supper club" down on the semi-industrial strip between downtown and the airport. I've never seen anyone go in or out. The sign may be why:

Frog Legs
Liver Steak

I mean, I admire people who eat the whole animal, and don't waste anything. Over-reliance on beef and corn farming overtaxes natural resources and limits biodiversity, as beef and corn crowd out other foods.

I just don't want to be the one eating frogs legs and liver steak. Because yuck. And also eeewww!

What I Want For Christmas

I really need to become better about a camera. I keep seeing really cool things that I wish I could take a picture of--usually truly heinous signs around town, but also Our Cute Puppy, and the neat things that the kidlets do.

We do have a digital camera, which I keep safely put away so I won't ever actually take pictures with it. I'm thinking I may just have to train myself with a camera/cel phone (something else I find I've mistakenly left behind).

For instance, a couple of weeks ago I saw a sign at one of those gas station/quick marts that said:

GALS $299

Looks like transporting young girls from Wisconsin for immoral purposes, doesn't it?

Alas, the sign is now gone, with nothing notable in its place.

The Perversity Of English

I know--it's from the French, so technically it could be excused as not even being "English," but we use it without even italicizing it.


I know that it's pronounced "crow-shayd" but my brain always trips over "crotch-et-ed" first.

Gardeners Do Not Believe In Intelligent Design

I live in the city, on a small urban plot of land--about 50 feet by 100, and that includes a house as well. So, when I say I have a big garden, it's probably only big in its context. There is a significant portion of non-house land taken up by garden, and it's large in comparison to most of the other gardens in the neighborhood.

It might have even been larger, but considerations of yard for kidlets and puppy to play in have meant that there are large areas of grass remaining.

Sadly, over this summer, I have rather neglected the garden. Actually, So much has been planted so close together, that, in theory anyway, I shouldn't have to weed because there is not much room for weeds to grow. In theory.

It is in grappling with the reality of weeds that one begins to recognize the opportunistic nature of, well, nature. I mean, how is it that bindweed, with its slim twining stem and heart-shaped leaves, manages to grow right where I planted morning glories, with their slim twining stems and heart-shaped leaves? How is it that those nasty little elm seeds manage to land right in the middle of the rosebushes, so they are able to get well established before I even find them, and then I can't pull them out because of the thorns? That are supposed to be protecting the ROSES and NOT the damn ELM TREES!

Don't even talk to me about Virginia creeper. It was eating the front of the house when we bought it. How does it know which way to grow to find something to press its little sucker feet to? I mean, this plant can cross a gap of several feet with nothing to guide it, and it still manages to find a support for its continued conquest.

We had a very old garage, that was not well built and suffered some truly bad decisions over the years. As a result, the garage beams themselves--you know, the wood? that supports the entire structure?--rested on soil, while the concrete garage floor and the asphalt pad were poured afterward--leaving the garage sitting lower than the floor it was supposedly resting on. This created a little trough, in which things collected. And started to grow.

It is time to take down your garage when large plants and volunteer elm trees are growing OUT OF THE FOUNDATION. But how? How do they know where to go to find soil under asphalt and cement and AN ENTIRE FREAKING GARAGE? And what about those hardy weeds that found a crack in the cement floor that just happened to be under a leak in the roof so that it got both sun and rain? HOW DO THEY KNOW?

The answer is, of course, they don't. For every weed that finds that niche in an old garage floor, there are thousands, millions, that don't. By conservative estimate, the neighbor's elm trees deposit about 40 gajillion seeds across our property, and only a handful manage to even germinate, and of those 40 gajillion, a total of 40 gajillion minus one do NOT managed to land inside the protective soil inside a rose bush. There is a lot of bindweed that shows up where the morning glories aren't--they just get pulled up a whole lot soon and their lives are that much shorter.

But it is in gardening that you really start to see how there are A LOT of plants that will grow ANYWHERE there is to sink a root. And these plants are not thinking about where to look for a place to grow--they just grow. And the odds are against finding that one sweet spot in the garage--but when you are playing with 40 gajillion chances, each year (!) you are bound to get lucky maybe once.

And once is all it takes, right? One seed in the right place with the right conditions and grow up and broadcast its own 40 gajillion seeds a year too.

The numbers are just literally unimaginable. There is just no way a human mind can really--and I mean really, completely and in an unboggled state--comprehend the billions of billions at issue here.

One of the illustrations favored by Intelligent Design theorists (or IDs) is the human eyeball. The eye, they claim, is just too complex to have evolved by accident and so must have been "designed" by some higher power--maybe even the higher power mentioned in the Bible.

Is that the higher power that planted bindweed in my morning glories? Or is it that of billions and billions of trials, a few successful, most unsuccessful, one single lone plant landed in that sweet spot? That after many billions of years, with multiple billions of permutations, that such a thing is possible.

All I can say is that I find weeds in the oddest and most frustrating places, and there isn't any plant mind at work in that case, and there is no reason to think humans are THAT biologically different from the rest of the Earth.

Hypochondria At Home!

Things have been rather bumpy here at Chez Evil. Extreme heat and humidity in the month of July, lack of effective air conditioning, and some lack of consistency in taking certain daily medications have resulted in last week really sucking. As in The Mistress being entirely unable to think or do anything that required more than one step.

Mowing the lawn? Maybe could do that, but wait! The hose and sprinklers are still on the lawn and would have to be removed. Plus, mowing shoes are upstairs, and I would have to go and get them. So--lawn doesn't get mowed.

Fix meals? Wait! Have to decide what to have, and then actually make it. Too many steps, even if I had the ingredients already in the house and didn't have to go to the store to get them! Oh, and that would mean also pouring drinks, and finding some sort of vegetable and maybe fruit and...blast! Silverware and dishes are still in the dishwasher!

Yup--depression done raised its ugly head again. After a two year run of feeling good (translation: happy and productive) I got slammed upside the haid with the bad stuff. As an added bonus, I got a horrible headache that did not respond to analgesics and an extended nap.

So of course, it's a brain tumor, right? I mean, just look at the symptoms from the National Brain Tumor Foundation:

Some of the most common symptoms of a brain tumor are headaches (headaches that wake you up in the morning), seizures in a person who does not have a history of seizures, cognitive or personality changes, eye weakness, nausea or vomiting,
speech disturbances, or memory loss.
Cognitive or personality changes--check
Eye weakness--check (bifocals--and contacts no longer work either near OR far)
Nausea or vomiting--no
Speech disturbances--not any worse than usual
Memory loss--check

Fortunately, Mr. Sweetie came home from a week of business travel, and was so kind, and so loving and so wonderful to me this past weekend, that things started to feel better. So, maybe it isn't a brain tumor after all--and maybe therapeutic dosages are being achieved!

I Am Really More Of A Dog Person

I had a cat, once, when I was a kid. The neighborhood babysitter came door knocking, giving away a litter her cat had, because her dad said he'd drown them otherwise. No one can resist a free kitten from a babysitter with tears down her face. So, that's how we got Callie.

She turned out to be nearly feral. She'd catch birds, chipmunks, and other unidentifiable creatures, then mew innocently to be let in. Once the door was open, she'd streak through the house to her hiding place to consume her prey.

But still! This site cracked me up, because cats + stuff = awesome. And this is my favorite picture. What a cutie--I bet if they made a stuffed animal of him, he'd sell a million units--easy.

Ah, Dese Youts, Today...

The Bunny had her 9th birthday party yesterday, and took four of her buddies to the Big Big Mall to ride the amusement park rides, followed by pizza and cake Chez Evil.

Kids today grow up so fast. There were several thrill rides, the kind that supposedly inspire comical faces of fear and horror, that are then immortalized (temporarily) on digital photos that you can purchase for only $8.95 plus tax.

These kids are old hands at thrill rides. They know when and where the pictures are taken, so they pose. Yes, they pose! Several pictures involved arms lifted high in the air so as to block the face of the person behind. Very few captured comical faces of fear and horror, except my favorite one.

As the Ripsaw Roller Coaster headed down its Incline Of Fear, one of the Buddies stuck her fingers in her nose and pulled down the skin around her eyes. And the Buddy co-passenger was captured staring straight at her friend, absolutely appalled that anyone would want a picture of themselves like that.

I swear, they're only nine, and they are already meta...

The Thrill Is Gone, Baby, Gone

Do we all remember Joe Walsh, oddly distorted, singing "My Maserati does one eighty-five/I lost my license, now I don't drive"? Yeah! Maserati--car of choice for law-breaking, booze-swilling rock-and-roll headcases! Yeah!

So, I pulled up next to one on the freeway the other day. Cool me, in my Purple Minivan of Evil, carting kidlets in the back seats, next to a Maserati. And I looked it over but good--it was a little ahead of me, so I had that excellent 3/4 view from the left rear fender.

And it was....boring. Just a four-door black sedan. A little lower, maybe, on the roofline curve, but basically the kind of car you can imagine your DAD driving. In fact, it looked EXACTLY like the black four-door Mercury sedan that parks next door. If it hadn't been for the giant chrome script letters spelling out M-A-S-E-R-A-T-I across the back, I'd never have looked twice.

Back in the 1980s, a bunch of designers (yeah, I'm talking to you Calvin Klein!) licensed their names for perfumes, bedding, towels, eyeglasses, etc., and found, to their horror that they didn't like the products! They wouldn't wear the perfumes or eyeglasses, would never sleep on the damn bedding, and didn't like their name being associated with such crap!

Are you listening, Maserati? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Inadequacy Of Language

Back in my former life, when I was carefree and kidless, and all I had to worry about was fucking up my career--ah, those halcyon days!--my best office friend left the practice of law to stay home with her two little boys.

She told me it was hard, and as an example she said "I cannot get them both to nap at the same time."

Now, to me, not having children at the time, I had no idea what a crisis this represented. So, complete idiot that I was (and still am on occasion) I said "But that's great! You can have some one on one time with each of them that way."

How was I to know? I was I to know that "naptime" did not just represent the time that the little angels were sleeping, but that it was the time of day a stay at home mom could confidently predict that she would not want to kill the little darlings. Naptime is like water in the desert--without it, life cannot survive.

I'm pretty sure that if you look up the word "naptime" in any published dictionary, it will NOT list as one of its definitions "the only thing that keeps parents of small children remotely sane." I didn't know that "naptime" meant "the only time in the day when I can conceivably go to the bathroom by myself, or even possibly take a shower, or get a chance to sit down and (if I am VERY VERY lucky,) maybe get some sleep to make up for the 6 1/2 hours I didn't get last night because I was up from midnight to 6:30 with a crying baby and oh my god if they don't sleep today I will drink myself into a coma just to get a little TIME OFF FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!!"

Now, I have met more than one stay at home mom who has kids in some sort of daycare/enrichment/education program AND has an in-home care provider, both of which might be full time, and who have husbands who Just Don't Understand Why we are paying so much money for other people to take care of our kids when you're at home.....

All I can say is, stay at home moms are underrepresented by charitable foundations. Perhaps we should simply start one that delivers milk for the babies, and your choice of gin or vodka for the moms.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Oh, The Inhumanity!

Bermondsey has a fetch toy that is a favorite--it's a little cutout man--you know, looks like a gingerbread man--made out of wool. We call him fuzzy man. Bermondsey is a good retriever, but not so good at giving up the toy.

He likes to grab it right across the center of the belly, because that way he gets the squeaker in his jaws as well. And as he adjusts his bite to return across the house, the Fuzzy Man squeak squeak SQUEAKS his agony.

My Good Deed For The Day

Someone did this for me, and it only took me TWO MONTHS to figure out I could pay it forward. So, I clicked at the top of my blog--see? Where it says "Next Blog"? And I went to meet my next door neighbor here in the bloghood.

I left an encouraging (I hope!) comment on her page.

We could be friends--we both linked to Dooce!

Any way, it made my day when somebody did it for me--HEY INTERNETS! GO MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS!

Songs Of My Life

Okay, so today's toddlers probably grow up singing Radiohead songs or something. When I was a kid, we had some really regrettable music for kids, and even more regrettably, some of it is still lodged in my brain.

Which explains why, on a gorgeous, cloudless summer afternoon, I was floating in an inner tube, with "Tubby the Tuba" going around and around my brain:

Tubby the Tuba, pufffing away
Never had a tune to play.
Always wished he'd play a song
'Stead of puffing all day long
That oompah oompah oompah pah
Oompah oompah oompah pah!

Harry Potter Spells I'd Like To See

Occulus Lasiksempra: Harry wouldn’t need glasses anymore (and neither would I!).

Saturday, August 06, 2005

So, Do You Dream In Color?

OF COURSE I dream in color! Actually, I don't think anyone has any question about that anymore, now that everybody has color TV and all.

Ah, but do you dream with taste? And I don't mean with good taste, I mean can you taste things in your dreams?

This morning, the last thing I dreamed right before I woke up (thanks, Bermondsey!) was this fabulous shopping dream. Mr. Sweetie and I were Christmas shopping, and buying really cute and silly things for each other--you know, like we used to do before the kids and the mortgage and the loss of the second income.

Anyway, in my dream, we split up, and I headed deeper into the incredibly fancy, high-end-design mall of my dreams. (Maybe that should be capitalized: Mall Of My Dreams. Yeah, I like that.) And right by the escalators in the Mall Of My Dreams was a high style pastry store called "Gateau" (French for "cake" for those of you who took Spanish or something). This dream bakery sold in-fucking-credible cakes, the kind of cakes that the gods eat, and mere mortals are only permitted to dream of. They made about 70 different kinds of cake, and at first, I walked around the whole store just looking at them all. And then, right by the trays and silverware, there were---SAMPLES!!!!

So, I tried some. And I could actually taste them! First was a sort of napoleon tasting custard and millefleur dough one, which was exquisitely bland. And I realized that it was a bad choice, because it had the most samples left on the plate, which meant that it was the least favorite of everyone.

The second was a sort of cinnamony snickerdoodle/chocolate one, which was heady and spicy, but not really my cuppa. Third, I tried a deep, rich, incredibly decadent butterscotch chocolate chip cake, and that was the one I decided to buy, until in line the lady behind me suggested the banana. So, I got the banana cake, and it was $8.04 for one slice of cake, but you got free Diet Coke to go with it, so it was all worth it.

Small Favors

The puppy is working out well.

He has a delightful habit of fairly predictable bathroom habits. He usually poops on our last, late walk of the day.

He thoughtfully poops under the streetlights, rather in the dark parts of the walk, so I can clean up by sight and not touch.

Small things DO count.

Monday, August 01, 2005

My Public Apology

This almost never happens--when one is the Mistress Of All Evil, one rarely apologizes. One merely puts an evil curse on the victim.

However, be that as it may, Mr. Sweetie deserves an apology. I have unintentionally left the impression that he is some kind of DUHusband in my FOOD! post of yesterday.

Whether it showed up or not (in the post), it was very clear to me that he was trying to help. He could tell I needed a break, and he was trying to move in to intercept any future demands for food from the kidlets. It makes a certain kind of sense, given my knackered state, for him to assess the situation before acting. So, he asked a reasonable question about the state of things--"Have they had dessert yet?"

Now, indisputably, if my answer had been "No," he would have gone and provided said dessert. If my answer had been "yes" he would have moved to make the bag lunches for the next day.

In either case, the proper response from me would have been "Thank you!" NOT the Glare Of A Thousand Pointy Things, which is what he got.

However, the doctor says that the wounds were not fatal, and the scarring should be minimal. I am abashed. So, here goes:


There. Now I hope I never have to do that again.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

The last post notwithstanding, I do love my children. Really. It's just that sometimes they demand so much of me that I feel like something is sucking the marrow from my bones.

Last night, the Bunny showed up at my bedside at about 3:15. So, by a conservative estimate, I had been asleep for less than 4 hours. Poor kid, her birthday is rolling up fast, and she is getting too excited to sleep. And she truly could not sleep. She lay in bed with us, flopping and trying to be quiet, until Mr. Sweetie's alarm went off at 5:15--then she went downstairs to play computer games or something.

I did manage to sleep from about 6:15 until 7, when my alarm went off. This is where the bone marrow thing comes in--after my head exploded over FOOD! less than 6 hours later--six hours where it was reasonable to expect at least some sleep--I was dealing with a child again.

I hate admitting it--I hate it that parenting chews me up so badly. Especially since I have wonderful kids who really are good sports. The Bunny TRIED to get back to sleep, and even when she couldn't, she was quiet and unfussy. The whole FOOD! thing was not malicious, or even intentional--it was clearly my failing. Thank God that I didn't get colicky or difficult kids--I think I would not be here today.

So, just to contrast my Bad Day yesterday, today the kidlets went to an all day camp. On the drive home, they were making up stories about our dog. In this story, he became "Dr. Lemon von Lemonypants."

The Bunny: (speaking in character) I am Dr. Lemon von Lemonypants. Step into my office, and we can begin to discuss your child's future.

Me: Dr. Lemonypants is a child psychiatrist?

The Bunny: No. Vice Principal!

I cracked up. I couldn't help it! The Bunny's vice principal is a wonderful woman who is also the mother of one of the Bunny's best friends. She doesn't have experience of being called into the office for disciplinary purposes, and Mr. Sweetie and I have not been either. I don't know where she gets this stuff.

However, she now has a confusing response to the oft asked question of what we call "Bermondsey" for a nickname: Dr. Lemon von Lemonypants.