Monday, December 21, 2009

My Dear Letters

Dear Lite 96.3:

Thank you for playing Christmas music. Now… about that… please stop playing the same 25 songs over and over and over again. Really. And another thing: not EVERY song with the word “Christmas” in it is actually a CHRISTMAS song. Seriously. Oh, and I am formally petitioning for the banning of all techno and reggae junk. Just so you know.

signed: a-trying-desperately-to-get-into-the-Christmas-spirit-Lisa


Dear Little Mutt Getting On My Last Nerve:

I swear if you bring one more kitty box crunchie into the living room to eat I swear I’m throwing you out in a snow bank. It’s disgusting. Stop it.

signed: your-grossed-out-glad-you-don’t-sleep-with-me-anymore-owner


Dear Small Business Owners:

I understand your desire to add a “unique” quality to your business name by using some “flair” so to speak. But when I see “So-and-So’s Kustom Trucks” on the side of your show truck, all I can think is that you must be poorly educated and can’t spell. I realize we live in world full of text messages and IM’s, BFF’s, OMG’s, R U OK’s, and zillions of others I couldn’t decipher if my life depended on it, but really, all of this technology and available information also means you can LOOK IT UP! Or maybe ask your facebook friends how to spell it and VOILA!~ customers who now get the impression you’re grown up and professional. Try it sometime.

signed: Your-obviously-read-a-book-or-two-non-customer


Dear Super Why!

Why oh why can’t you leave all those great classic children’s stories alone?! Does PBS realize you're doing this? I’ve never seen the story of the boy who cried Wolf turned from a great story about being honest turned into a ridiculous story about how people need to trust their children more implicitly. Really. How exactly did you come up with that twisted story line? Thank you. Thank you so much for removing all moral value from dozens of great stories for children. I’m sure parents around the country applaud you.

signed: a-thoroughly-confused-and-disappointed-parent


Dear PMS:

Can’t you just leave a girl alone for ONE MONTH a year? Seriously, the tears, the cramps, the emotional breakdown over random commercials… I could really do without all that at Christmas time. Go harass the girls in Cancun, with their perfect little bikini bodies laying out in the golden warm sunshine while I freeze here in the snow with my stretch marks. Sounds like a great Christmas to me! And while I’m on this note, how about all of you guys sending me gas bills, electric bills, and car payment bills take a similar break for the month of December. A Christmas time without bills to pay? Just about as close to world peace as you’re going to get for me.

signed: a-feeling-very-attacked-Lisa


Dear Taco Bell:

Is there any good excuse for you to have not been open on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10:45 am when your sign specifically stated you open at 9:30 on Sundays? Hmm? I didn’t think so. Which brings me to my next note:

Dear Arby’s:

Even though I have no desire to eat your food, I didn’t appreciate your sign flashing at me as I drove away from a cold, dark Taco Bell that said, “closed Sundays”. Really. That’s just heaping insult on injury. Not called for at all. Which brings me to:

Dear Businesses closed on Sunday:

Why?! This is not the south. This is not the Bible belt. This is the north, where we are Yankees and like to shop on Sundays. Try to keep up here. I’ll be more than willing to support you if you want to close on Saturdays. Let me know what you decide. And back again to:

Dear Taco Bell:

It is because of you that I was forced to eat my bag of M&M’s and drink that Orange Crush laying around in the back of the car, giving me a total sugar high that crashed as soon as I got home, giving me a headache just in time to deal with two little girls who had found Joshua’s bag of Christmas candy from school and which prompted them to behave like Mexican jumping beans instead of napping. There is no forgiveness for this. Unless you give me a free baja gordita with beans instead of meat. Then I’ll think about it. Let me know what you decide. And so:

Dear M&M’s:
What in the world??? There I was, sitting in my car, absent-mindedly throwing a few of what I thought were yummy peanut butter M&M’s into my mouth, when I’m suddenly aware that they are NOT peanut butter M&M’s. After a closer inspection of the package I see that I have been TRICKED! In tiny little words above the “peanut butter” is the word “strawberried”. Um. If I had wanted peanut butter and strawberry in the same bite I’d have made myself a PBJ. Do you realize how many women out there make a dozen PBJ’s in any given week? UGH! We’re sick of PBJ’s!! Okay, obviously, you are marketing these toward kids and not their mothers, but you should probably be a little more aware of how your packaging looks old fashioned and cute and not “aimed at kids” at all. Which brings me to my conclusion:

Dear Fast Food Chains:

Is there some reasonable answer to why not a single one of you offer PBJ’s for the kids? Wouldn’t that make sense? It takes so little time. Make up a bunch, advertise it on your billboards, and I guarantee you’ll have parents with picky-eater kids in the backseat lined up around the block next lunch time. Think about it. Thank me later.

Signed: a-very-disappointed-and-maybe-just-a-tad-bitter-about-not-getting-my-burrito-Lisa

Joshua's Christmas Program

Last week we headed out on a snowy evening to attend Joshua's school Christmas program. It's a very small school, not many kids per grade, so they did the majority of the songs all together as a group.

Joshua, as usual, was not a bit shy. He stood proudly in the front row, forgetting most of the words like the rest of the little ones, and often forgetting the motions that went with the song, too.

His one nervous habit? Tucking and retucking his shirt into his pants. Except he didn't stop there.

Soon he was also tucking in his vest.

His tie went right in with it.

After a few minutes the waistband of his pants was up near his armpits.

I could hear the snickers in the audience as he stuck both hands down the inside of his pant legs and tucked it all in a little further.

And then left his hands there for good measure.

He glanced over at me with a big grin as he tried to remember the words to "Somebody Snitched on Me" and I must have had a slightly stern face because his smile fell a bit. I made some sort of motion (as much as I could with a 2 year old on my lap) and he retrieved his hands.


After the program we mingled with the other parents and ate cookies while Joshua worked the room and talked to all the 6th grade girls.

Yep, that's right, his lack of shyness extends directly toward the older girls, too. His favorite friend was a girl about 12 with curls and glasses. "I like your outfit!" he said boldly to her as we stood in line for punch.

"Well, you look handsome, too, Joshua!", was her reply.

Oh. My.

And to think I was relieved when I found out the little girls have Cooties. Apparently the older girls do not. Good grief.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gross and Disturbing Things Our Children Do

Riding along in the car on the way home from church last Sabbath, I looked in the back seat to see if there were any children falling asleep. Everyone knows that if by some miracle you manage to keep the little ones happy and awake during the entire service someone will invariably fall asleep on the 10 minute ride home and thus wreak havoc on the rest of the afternoon by refusing to finish the nap in their own bed.

Instead of seeing a sleepy tot, I found my youngest with her foot contorted up by her face, contentedly LICKING the snow off of her cute little black church boots.

That's right. Licking.

She's also the one that likes to take off her shoes and socks in the car and lick her hands, then wipe her feet with the spit.

Like a cat.

I finally managed to get her to stop licking her boots but forgot to keep trying to dissuade her from falling asleep. She conked out 2 minutes from home.

The whole thing had reminded me of an incident with her older sister about 7 months ago.

We were out in Washington, visiting family, having a great time one day out hitting the yard sales. All was going well until my little half-way potty trained 3 year old needed a bathroom. We hurried down the hill to the podunk grocery store with the funky yellow lights that supposedly save money but drive everyone NUTS.

Found the bathroom.

It wasn't the worst I'd ever seen, but it was rating right up there with some of the truck stops I've been in.

I quickly helped her with her clothes and held her above the toilet while she peed so both of us could touch as little as humanly possible. Then I stood her up in the very center of the room and told her not to move while I used the facilities.

She was distracted by the full-length mirror on the back of the door.

She began making faces at her reflection.

She slowly inched her way toward the mirror to get a better look at herself.

I stood up, turned around to push the flusher down with my foot, turned back around and just about hurled my lunch all over the place.

There was my beautiful little girl, all dressed up in her perfectly matching outfit, hair nicely done and put up in piggy tails with cute little bows, a squeaky clean face...

LICKING the mirror.

What?! WHY?! Huh???? Oh the GERMS!!!


What on earth possessed her to do that I will never, ever know. Probably the same thing that possessed her at various times to poop in her dresser drawer, the closet, and the little plastic tea pot that went with the set her grandma gave her one Christmas.

It is truly amazing that any of 'em survive childhood.

Or their currently-developing-a-wicked-nervous-twitch-to-go-with-the-gray-hair parents, for that matter.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Oh The Joys of Having a 2 Year Old

A few days ago:

Mommy: "Elayna, it's time to go night-night!"
Elayna: "I don't like it."
Mommy: "It's nap time, you be a good girl and lay down, please."
Elayna: "I don't like it, Momma.....*SNIFF!!!*"
Mommy: ...*Sniff* (mimicking her drama)
Elayna: "No! I... **SNIFF**"
Mommy: "You are a silly Bean!"
Elayna: "No! Don't talka me like that!"


Mommy: "Elayna, you need to keep your clothes on!"
Elayna: "I don't like it."
Mommy: (as I'm redressing her) "It's too cold to be naked. You need to keep your clothes on ALL day."
Elayna: .... "oooooh-kaaay."
Mommy: "I mean it! You'll get sick if you keep taking your clothes off! Can you say 'I will keep'?"
Elayna: "I will keep.."
Mommy: "My clothes on..."
Elayna: " clothes on..."
Mommy: "...all day."
Elayna: "...all day."
Mommy: "Good girl."
Elayna: "Amen."

Okay, then.

Apparently she does speak in full sentences and has suddenly erupted in the full 'terrible-two's' independent little attitude.

Apparently this is what I get for finally cutting up her binkies and telling her she's a "Big Girl".

Maybe I should have saved one...

At least I could pretend now and then that she was still my baby. *sigh*

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Planning and Procrastination

I prefer procrastination, personally.

It really can become a fine art, if practiced with enough tenacity.

Kind of a sick, heart thumping sense of accomplishment to sneak something in under the wire that isn't half bad. Actually, most of my best work has been done while on that adrenaline rush of oh-my-goodness-I'm-going-to-flunk-my-college-class-if-I-don't-make-this-good-and-get-in-turned-in-two-hours-from-now feeling.

But that really only worked when I was young, had no children, and a whole lot fewer responsibilities.

Life moves a WHOLE lot faster these days. How can I procrastinate when life won't slow down enough to let me?!

Then something said in Sabbath School really got me to thinking about the whole concept of planning and such.

I guess planning for things isn't so bad - it just depends on what it is and what my attitude is like during the whole long process of planning and executing the plan. Like planning a menu for the entire week, for instance - not the kind of planning I enjoy.

What if I got to Wednesday and didn't feel like spaghetti? Then what?

Weddings, birthday parties, special occassions? Now that's more like it.

But, like I said, life just keeps on trucking along at breakneck speed and one minute I'm getting out the sprinkler and the next I'm searching for missing gloves. First day of school, anniversary, birthday, birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, New Years... my vision is getting blurry... somebody stop this train!

And then I did something crazy.

I invited Colby's family up for Thanksgiving at our house.

Seemed like a good plan and since I extended the invitation in October I thought I'd have plenty of time to get the house clean.

Until the week after that I started pulling up carpet. And painting. And building a hearth.

That was NOT the plan. Renovating, cleaning AND cooking?! Oh dear.

In the end I delegated some of the things, gave up on cooking and went straight for the store-bought pies, and accepted that there was no way it was all going to be perfectly clean.

Especially when I couldn't stop randomly noticing things like how the insides of the cupboards looked like they hadn't been cleaned in years and then dropped the broom to scrub the insides of those for half an hour.

'Scuse me while I tend to my random OCD cleaning spree here, back to normal messiness in a week or two, I promise.

On top of all this, I volunteered to provide the mashed potatoes to Josh's school for their annual Thanksgiving hot lunch the week before the holiday. Not much planning to go into that, right?

Just have piping hot mashed potatoes for 60 people promptly at 11 am. I considered procrastinating, but the thought of serving half-cooked lumpy 'taters wasn't too appealing.

I lost count of how many potatoes I peeled. It took two rounds of filling my biggest pot full to brimming, but unfortunately my little hand-held egg beater couldn't handle it and fried itself shortly after starting the first batch.


Okay, lumpy potatoes it is.

I got there on time, walking in with one very full container of mashed potatoes weighing me down with another in the car.

Five pairs of eyes swung around on me as I walked in.

It's so... great... to be the "new mom", I thought to myself as I pasted on a smile and set down the container on the nearest table.

One lady looked me up and down and took in the sight of the steaming mashed potatoes before squinting furiously at me.

"Are you Lisa?", she demanded. "Are you THE ONE who is bringing the mashed potatoes???"

She took a step closer.

I nodded solemnly, already wondering what I'd done to make her think I was responsible for her yellow cheerios. Was I standing in the wrong place?

I stepped back, knocking the row of coats and backpacks askew.

"How many potatoes did you do? Did you forget we needed enough for 60 people?" Her eyes grew bigger as she glanced around the tables and muttered under her breath about needing 30 pounds of potatoes, NOT a single casserole dish of potatoes.

"I have more!" I gasped out while skirting the edge of the room and fleeing out the door before she resorted to violence.


No wonder there are never many volunteers for this thing.

Standing next to my car in the cool autumn air I put two-and-two together.


Right. Anyway, I realized she is the same person who called me up a few hours after I'd written my name on the volunteer sheet.

The conversation went something like this:

"Hi, Lisa? This is so-and-so. I see you have volunteered to make the potatoes for the lunch?"


"How will you do it? I mean, will you be able to make... ALL.. the potatoes by yourself?"

"I'm sure I'll do just fine."

"Last year we had... let's see... we did 3 bags of 10lbs. of potatoes. Are you sure you'll be able to handle that?"

"Yes, I'm sure I'll have enough." Here I'm thinking of the big bins of potatoes, hundreds of pounds worth, sitting in my garage, waiting to be eaten.

"Do you have a ..... " and here she named some sort of cooking implement I assume is used mostly for cooking roasts, I dunno.

"What's a.....?" I replied.

On the other end of the phone I heard a deep sigh. I think it was then I convinced her that I was going to definitely come up short. I probably didn't even know how to make mashed potatoes. I was going to need close observation.

A few more minutes passed of her repeatedly asking if I was sure I was able to handle the making of mashed potatoes and me attempting to assure her I was, indeed, capable.

I grabbed my other container from the car and stepped back into the school.

Whew! She was gone!! I smiled wanly at the other moms, and they smiled back with understanding.

And then she came back in.

She looked over my two containers of potatoes and huffed.

She brought in an enormous pan of stuffing, then went back for the creamed corn, the rolls, the turkey, and the gravy.

Suddenly she changed her tune. Why? I have NO IDEA.

"Lisa, those potatoes look WONDERFUL!" she gushed at me.

"What?" I was a bit incredulous. The question just... slipped out...

"All of these potatoes? That's SO much work! How many did you peel? How many pounds did you have to do? They smell SO GOOD!"

"I.. I don't know how many...." my voice trailed off as she started turning to the other moms and gushing to them about how wonderful my potatoes smelled and how much work it was, maybe they should split it up between two people next year so it would be less work...

Ooo-Kaay then. Wow, I thought. She's got some control issues!, I glanced around at the dishes she brought... about 75% of the meal came straight from her kitchen.

It was almost time to start, so we took our "assigned" places behind the tables and got ready to serve.

I got to serve the potatoes and the gravy.

There were plenty of potatoes for everyone, even enough for some to have seconds.

When it all died down and the kids went back to their classrooms to get ready for recess, the moms who served got plates of food and stood around the coats, chatting and eating. I got a plate of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

It was all delicious. The tiny little pumpkin cupcakes were yummy. The potatoes were a little cold by then, but still edible. The stuffing, though... the stuffing was suberb.

The best I'd ever had.

But it was brought by the crazy lady who was STILL gushing on and on about the mashed potaotes and I was trying to avoid her as much as possible, though I did call across the room and compliment her on her stuffing before wandering into the doorway of Josh's classroom to look in on him.

I turned back just in time to hear one of the other mothers ask for the recipe, and I leaned in, listening intently.

"Well, there's the cornmeal muffins that I get from such-and-such bakery, you know, the one over on the other side of town off of Avenue Street? I know it's a long way to go, but I just HAVE to have these muffins, the stuffing just isn't the same without them!"

I took another bite.


"And then there's the celery, and the onions... I use those little vidalia onions you get at such-and-such market..."

Another bite.

"But the secret is the sausage!"


I darted into the classroom and spit out what was left of that last bite.

SAUSAGE?! Who puts sausage in their STUFFING?!

I tried to remember if I'd seen Josh take any stuffing. I couldn't remember. I know he refused the Turkey, he's certainly not shy about refusing any meat offered to him. But the stuffing?

Well, I guess he's not vegetarian anymore. But don't tell him, he'll pass out.

I'd never tasted sausage before. As far as I'd known the only time I'd ever had anything of the sort was when I was a toddler and someone gave me a pork rind and I ate it with gusto.

My mother was furious.

I guess we'll survive.

But will definitely be on the lookout for Miss Crazy Pants Sausage Stuffing from here on out.


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