Saturday, December 26, 2009

The One In Which She Adjusts Her Just A*

*alternative title = what the heck does that mean? (please click through with the linky love...otherwise you'll be as jumbled as this post)

We were watching Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium* this week for about the 10th time. It may not be the greatest movie, but it is filled with really good messages for kids and parents alike. In one part of the movie, an accountant (played by the ever-adorable Jason Bateman who-I-have-loved-since-his-wisecracker-best-friend-of-Ricky-Shroeder-role-on-Silver-Spoons) is hired by Mr. Magorium (played by Dustin Hoffman who -looked-better-as -an-aging-soap-star-tranvestite-actor-in-Tootsie-than-a-243-year-old-magical-toy-store-owner-with-wonky-eyebrows-and- for-some-reason-that-I-am-not-sure, a-dental-appliance, causing-him-to-have-a-sibilant-'s'-as-if-all-243-year-old-magical-toy-store-owners-kind-of -lisp-and-look-like- the-Mad-Hatter-from-the-Disney-animated-version-of-Alice-in-Wonderland)....

Anyway, the accountant (or counting mutant) that the toy store owner hires to determine the value of the store is, according to Molly Mahoney, (played by the equally as adorable Natalie Portman, the -young- store- manager-who-is-sort-of-stuck-in-a-rut-and-has-beenworking -at -the-magical-toy-store-since-instead-of -pursuing-her-dreams-of -penning-a-piano-opus-which-is-what-all-23-year-old-kids-have-on-their-bucket-lists, right?)..."a Just guy". When asked by him what a Just guy is , she says "A guy just like you. Same hair, same suit, same shoes, walks around, no matter what, you think it's all just a store, it's just a bench, it's just a tree. It's just what it is, nothing more!"*

And from the rest of the evening, and still until now, the whole point of the movie was lost on me (in fact, I am not sure what the point of the movie is...but there were some visually and emotionally charming moments) I started thinking about me - and whether what I am going through lately is Just A bout of 'holiday-itis' or endemic of the fact that most of my adult life ...I have been a Just A person. I have been feeling Just Eh for many months now physically and emotionally and I think it's time for a change.

I am Just A Stay at Home Mom - and, at times, I am a pretty lame one too. I know I complain about it a lot, but I am lucky to be able to be at home with my kids while they need me. But I wonder if sometimes I am Just A Faker trying to give the impression that this is enough for me. All.Day. Everyday.

I am Just An Excuse Maker. I make excuses about everything. I Justify everything. I am Just Lazy. I am Just Impatient. Impatient with my children. Impatient with Hubby. Impatient with everyone and everything.

I am Just Resigned . Resigned to the fact that this is my life. The truth is..I am Just Scared. Scared that I am an abject failure as a mother. That my girls will grow up with the same insecurities that I have. I am supposed to lead by example, right? Shouldn't there be some kind of "I Am Woman" song playing in our proverbial background? How can I teach them to 'reach for their dreams' when, in truth, I don't 'reach' for mine (and I am not sure if I even have any that don't involve winning the lottery or being chosen to be on What Not To Wear). Combine the Just Scared with a healthy dose of Just A Bit Lazy and a few ounces of Just Hormonal you have the recipe for a not so well-balanced and what some would call a rather moody (read: Just A Bitch) mommy.

So it is almost the New Year. Wee Hoo. 2009 was a comparatively unremarkable year {{wee-hoo!}} around Swirl Girl's place. I am not one who usually goes for the ol' New Years Resolution thingy...but I think this I've got to do something really proactive for myself and my family this year.

I want to take more risks. Socially. I need to put myself out there. If my kids see me doing it, maybe they would be more likely to break out of their cacoons too.

I want to really lose this tire that has formed around my middle. I am so grossed out by my naked body..I am ashamed of myself. I have arm cellulite and armpit cleavage to boot and when I see my profile and want to cry. Can you say LifeStyle Lift?

I want to do something for my head. (and if something comes for my wallet, too - that's a bonus) but for the moment...I want - no I need to do something.  Sure , I do little things in spurts. 

I want to be nicer, more tolerant, better thought of. A better friend; A better wife.

I want to maximize all of this social technology with this blog and Twitter and all the on line groups I am in and what not so that I , too, may get what others are getting. And I don't expect to make Dooce money. I just think that the power of the purchase is right inside these monitors that we gaze in for countless hours each day. I'd love to be asked to review a product or service and do give-aways. Which by the way - not only did I win the ColorInc. wrapped gallery print from Scary Mommy...I also just won an Epson 3 in 1 Printer /Fax/Scanner from Hot Dads!!.

I need to learn how to make people (read: me) happy.

In other words ....(now here comes the part where it all ties together)

I really need to Adjust my Just A-tude.

*most of this stuff came from

Friday, December 18, 2009

The One In Which She Says "Ho-Ho-Humbug"*

*alternate title : Totally Random Reasons Why Swirl Girl Can't Shake the Blues.

#1) Tonight marks the 8th night of Hanukah. My kid totally blew my Hanu-karma on night #1 by telling me she was hoping for a better gift. WTF? I worked really hard on making sure that each kid had presents to open each night. That would be 16 gifts..of random excellence not including the gifts sent from relatives they each go into the Hanu-closet and select one a night. Is it my fault she picked the socks and undies for night #1?? The little one was thrilled with her Hello Kitty pens and stickers.

#2) Peeled 10 pounds of potatoes and 15 pounds of apples for 100% Homemade Latkes and THE Apple Sauce. Cooked, fried, and made a general mess in the kitchen ...but boy oh boy ...lemme just tell you - it was YUMMMMMY! So I bring the homemade goodness to Kindergarten on Monday for 'share' and give the kiddles a quick lesson on Hanukah. The practice spinning dreidles with their 'teeny tiny muscle movements' while trying not to bounce them off the table too wildly. I dish out the treats and one of the little cherubs says "I only like homemade latkes" thinking his mom's - - which come frozen from a box, mind you, were better. I make sure his apple sauce has some bits of raw skin from my shredded fingers when he asks for seconds.

#3) Hanu-cookie making with the kids in Enrichment. Epic Failure. Note to self: don't try to make cookies for 35 in a toaster oven in 30 minutes.

#4) While my hormones are on the other side of menopause... the 10 year old's are going the other way. We are getting to the stage of constant sass-mouth each other. It's gonna be a looooong 8 years until she goes to college. Is Head Butting a sanctioned parenting skill? I think the real reason I feel so crappy is that She.Is.Me. Poor thing.

#5) I haven't had a lot of time to blog, read blogs, comment on blogs this week. Sorry.
What's worse is that it has taken me over a week to even come up with a topic. Am I losing my edge? Nyahhhh.

#) So I was thinking about who is having a worse holiday season than me. And I thought of Tiger Woods. Oh, he'll rebound just fine when he goes public with his 'addiction' and goes to rehab...and writes a screenplay for his bio-pic. He's just a guy. A guy who plays golf. Not a politician or elected official or member of the clergy. And guys are like dogs. Dogs who are given the whole bag of kibble and eat the whole bag of kibble in one sitting. They're just dumb like that.

But what about these women? What could they possibly have to gain by ruining his wife and children? Aside from the obvious paparazzi and proverbial '15 minutes' and a few dollars for 'their story'. (and just a few dollars - not life changing money , mind you)

I wish I could just slap these women some silly. "I didn't know he was married." "I thought I was the only one." Puh-lease. He's frickin' Tiger Woods. Maybe the doctor who gave you those implants should have given you some brains to go with your balls boobs. These 'broads' give a new meaning to the whole "Ho-Ho-Ho" thing.

I bet their parents are proud. I bet their moms and dads are sitting around with the Lewinksy's bragging about their daughters. "My daughter blew the President." says Mrs. L. Well, my daughter blew Tiger's marriage!" I can see them fighting over who has the biggest scandal at the local Hooter's right now. I heard there was a slight brou-haha while they were waiting for a table since the school's choir is finishing up their wings and pitchers as it was the only restaurant that was able to seat 'large parties'.

And so I leave you with this far the best Holiday card I have received this year.

"In the Old Days (better known as 'yore'), it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it Christmas and went to church ; the Jews called it Hanukah and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and got drunk. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' "

~Dave Barry, from the Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide

Ho-Ho-Ho , and Bah-Humbug. Oh, and look out for that wall.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The One In Which She Has To Represent - Revisited

Swirl Girl's Edit 12/7/09: While the neighborhood (real or imaginary) is swathed in Christmas Trees, twinkling lights and lawn sized sno-globes - Swirl Girl and Hubby are busy filling the 'Hanu-closet' for our 8 nights of fun, fun, FUN!! I want to be part of the SITSmas too so I am re-running an oldie but goodie from last December. So here is my SITSmas card to all of my friends (real or imaginary) and I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous holiday season!


Each year at some point in my life, I have had to be the one to check the calendars. The token, if you will. The wiser on the subject. The Chosen One. All eyes will look to me to whip out my handy calendar of customs and practices and see what is what and when. Whether it be a school function, a soccer practice, a PTA meeting, a meeting for work(when I actually did things and got paid for doing them) - I am the one who was the gate keeper to all things Jewish. Even here in the cyber meeting world - I have been called upon to "represent" for my peeps. And, as I am forever channeling my inner Linda Richmond - I will do so with as much seriousness as I do most things.

This was a typical conversation with me and my calendar in the days of yore...

Me: "We can't have that meeting on that Tuesday after 5:00pm in September, it's the first night day of Rosh Hashana"

n.j.. Boss* "but my calendar says it is on Wednesday.

Me: " Yes, n.j. Boss, it does - but the Jewish calendar is lunar, with each month beginning on the new moon. And the rest of the world operates by the solar calendar. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. If you read the story of creation in Genesis Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset. And, the Jewish day begins at sunset the night before the day of the holiday. When the mathematical calendar says that a holiday starts on Wednesday, it actually means that the holiday starts on Tuesday night. So in actuality we can't have that meeting until Friday because Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday and ends Thursday night....

n.j. Boss: {{crickets}}

me: "...and don't ask me why sometimes the holidays are in September and sometimes in October...and how sometimes Christmas and Hanukah coincide and sometimes they are weeks apart. I was never very good at the Metonic system......"

n.j. Boss: oh jesus mary joseph Swirl Girl - when can we schedule the meeting?

me: ...I'll consult the Talmud and get back to you on that n.j. Bossman.

For observant Jews who work in the secular gentile world, this can be problematic in some years: if all of the non-working holidays fall on weekdays (as they sometimes do), an observant Jew would need to take 13 days off of work just to observe holidays. This is more vacation time that some people have available. But don't get me wrong - sometimes this came in handy. We got to take the regular national holidays as well as the important Jewish holidays off from work!



So let's start with Hanukah, since it is coming at us faster than a bunch of jews lined up in front of the Two for One Sansibelt sale at Jacks for Slacks in Boca Del Vista .....(self-deprecating jew joke) - Contrary to popular sitcom folklore, we don't all move to Florida (a.k.a. God's Waiting Room ) when we retire, and suddenly wear polyester stretchy pants. We don't all talk like Seinfeld's parents, suddenly find orange an attractive hair color, and play mah jong. Well, some of us don't anyway. ( although I do fear it's a genetic predisposition..)

Anyway - Hanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a holiday to commemorate the rededication of the Temple desecrated by the Greeks in ancient Syria a wicked long time ago. According to the story - when the Greeks , led by Antiochus and his hoard of Greek guys blew into town, they oppressed the Jews ( oy, vat else is new?) by trashing their 'hood, prevented them from practicing their religion - and even sacrificed pigs in their Temple.

Now- a Jew named Judah Maccabee didn't like those Greeks gettin' jiggy with the piggy in his house - got together with his boyz and decided it was time for the 'throwdown'! The Jew crew defeated the Greeks and it was a mitzvah.

But, when it was time for the rededication of the Temple, legend has it that there was not enough oil to light the menorah , or candelabrum, which was supposed to burn throughout the day and night. Miraculously - the little they had lasted 8 days and 8 nights. (such a deal-and you know how we jews like a good deal!) Hanukah celebrates that miracle of the lights, not the victory over the Greeks. We're a peace loving people y'all.

Most people know Hanukah, not because of its religious significance (it really isn't that religiously significant to begin with) , but because of its proximity to Christmas. In fact, the only religious ceremony is the lighting of the menorah itself. The whole gift giving thing is a relatively modern answer to the Christmas tradtion of gift giving. (can you say 'jealous much'?) And while all of you out there need additional square footage or another garage just for the boxes of ornaments, the prestrung Martha Steward artificial spruce and the inflatable Rudolph and Frosty yard snowglobe...we get to go into the cabinet over the fridge (that is reserved for stuff you don't use because you can't reach it) pull out our menorah (and we usually have two or three homemade firetraps from preschool) and a box of candles- and maybe a little dreidle ; a game whereby contestants spin a square wooden top to win some (really gross tasting) chocolate coins a.k.a. Hanukah gelt.

Sounds festive doesn't it? We might even get crazy and fry up some Latkes (potato pancakes) - and this year, because we've been very, very good...we'll serve those with applesauce and sour cream! Wheeee!

On the first night of Hanukah around here - after we've lit the 1st candle on the Menorah, opened one present ('cuz we have 8 frickin' nights of this my friends) kids like to put on their the Burl Ive's claymation classic of...(uh, not for us) hop in the car (sans carseats and seatbelts)... pop our favorite carols into the c.d. player- (no wait, we don't have any of those.)..and drive around the 'hood checkin' out Christmas junk, er um , sorry - I mean decorations! ***

So there you have it. 2000 years of history and tradition as interpreted by your favorite (or perhaps your only) cyber Jew! If you think Hanukah was fun...just wait until springtime for the interpretive dance of the Pascal lamb and the Matzoh!

* n.j. stands for non-jew
**much of this post was, um adapted from the site Judiasm 101. and/or wikipedia.
***and no it's not okay to have a tree or lights or decor when you don't celebrate Christmas people. Blue and white lights hanging from your eaves and mailbox do not mean Hanukah. If you put up lights and junk, how will Hanukah Joe know where the Jews live? How would he know whose sliding glass doors are open so he can sneak in and leave some gelt and a dreidle under the pillows of good little kinderlach? Huh? I guess he could wait until Christmas Eve, and just got to the local Chinese restaurant and movie theaters. Because that's what Jews do on Christmas Eve. Gotta Represent.

Oh yeah- and let's send a Chchchchchchappy (summon up all 'yer phlegm folks, we are a very phlegmy people- what , with all those years of walking in the desert and all) Hanukah to everyone no matter what your affilliation is! 'Tis the Season, right?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The One In Which Rob Petrie Ruined It For Swirl Girl

Remember the opening sequence of The Dick Van Dyke Show*? When the dashing Rob Petrie comes in the front door and is greeted by the ever-loving wife Laura (my all time favorite Mary Tyler Moore, BTW) and she's wearing a fabulous A-line skirt , little apron, form fitting black top and kitten heels? If memory serves, she had oven -mitts on and was holding a casserole in one hand and a martini in the other. And Richie (Larry Mathews), their too cute for words young son, who has like his pipe and slippers and his report card in his hand...All hugs and smiles and kisses and "how was your day Dears?" Richie asks Daddy "Whatdja bring me, today?" and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out something innocuous like a paper clip and Richie is all "ooh wow!" and then Rob trips over the ottoman .... {{roll opening credits }}

Well..."Oh Ro-oh-oh-ohb" ruined it everything for me.

Unlike my idol - Laura Petrie...I don't wake up in the morning looking all fabulous. In fact, I wake up looking more like Buddy Sorrel (Morey Amsterdam) and sounding more like Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) ...just ask my kids. In fact, I just don't wake up happy. If I don't sleep well, I wake up foul. I kind of know the rest of my day is going to suck when the first words out of my mouth aren't "Good Morning, darlings!"

Case it point: The other night at like 3:20 a.m. the phone rings and it is the Security detail in the 'hood calling to tell me the garage door was open. Of course, the phone is near my I answer in a split second and it wakes me out of the 'forced-hot-air-slumber' that I so lovingly relish. I have to go downstairs and shut the garage door. Of course they call at 3:20 a.m. even though they drive around every 20 minutes and have every opportunity to call at a human hour. I guess they figure if they have to be up ...I should too.

Security Dude: "Good evening , ma'am..our security detail noticed that your garage door was open"

Me: "fuckshitgoddamgaragedoorassholeforleavingitopenagainGrrrrr"

So I get out of bed all loud and jumpy and cursy hoping to wake Hubby (and it would, were it not for our Ortho tempurpedic $3000 mattress that you can drop a bowling ball down on one side and not spill the wine glass on the other) and go down and shut the frickin' door. Sure it only took a second, but then I struggle a bit to go back to sleep just knowing I'll wake up with a dull headache or something.

6:30 a.m. rolls around and this is how I wake.

Hubby: "See ya babe"
Me: " Yourfuckingleaving?Now?" (swear to god this is an exact quote)

Oh, it's going to be a banner day here in the Swirl Girl's World...oh yeah. I do everything I have to do with a little piece of paper and a pen handy so I can record the 'shit that is today' and hopefully find time to Blog about it

Such as :

hey dental hygienist...why do you insist on asking me questions when my mouth is full of your frickin' latex gloved fists?


hey - it's called a drive thru teller 'cuz your supposed to frickin' DRIVE THROUGH it. Not stand there and contemplate your frickin' naval.


hey- dude in the car next to me at the red light ...could at least PRETEND not to drink down that Pabst Blue Effin' Ribbon in the time it takes for the light to change before getting on the freeway?

...If you're still with me - and are wondering why I blame Rob Petrie for my crappy 'tude?? Hang on there for cripes sake...I'm getting to it.

Later in the day, Hubby and I are texting (on my new toy - the Droid, the dumbest name for a phone and will henceforth be called Erma) and he texts "sorry about last night". I text "don't come in the front door". He texts "I like using the front door".

He gets all caught up in his Rob Petrie moment.

The girls hear the turn of the key and drop everything and run up to him and jump all over him and are all "Squeeeeee! Daddy's home!! "
(that was for Lee of MWOB) and of course I am NOT in wearing a fabulous A Line skirt and kitten heals . And I am NOT wearing oven mitts holding a casserole in one hand and a martini in the other. Sorry to blow your karma dude. I am in stretchy pants and a dirty tshirt. A true Domestic Goddess. Barely showered myself much less the kids. Busily making dinner and wiping the splatters off the wall. Yeah, dude - I got your slippers and pipe right here.

So I decide to make him a little note to tape by the front door. Like the one my wonderful dad used to have by the door that led from the garage to the house. In his younger days it said :

Did you remember to?




But later in his life it said:

Did you remember to?

turn off the engine?


zip your fly

The little note I tape to the front door says:

Who do you think you are...Rob Petrie? Shut the frickin' garage door.

*thanks for letting me 'borrow' these images and information