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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The One In Which She Says "Happy Things-giving!"

Happy Things-giving everyone! What say you, Swirl Girl? Things-giving?

I know this is the time of year when we should all be thankful for our bountiful feast, health, family.....yada, yada, yada. But let's be real here. Aside from those things, today many of you are probably staking out the parking lot at YourLocalBigBox store to find the best parking spot and planning your strategy for conquering the masses so you can save big money on big ticket items like these frickin' things Zhu Zhu Pets (please, if you love me...don't) or the stupidest gift idea of 2009 (according to Dave Barry of the Miami Herald). Quite frankly, I cringe (read: enjoy and shudder because it is not now nor will it never be me!) watching the news roundups over the weekend seeing who got trampled , robbed, wig-ripped, beaten, and ripped off waiting for the doors to open at half past still-dark-thirty in the morning. My advice is to stay home and do your shopping from the comfort of your laptop. That's what I plan to do. Stay connected and unharmed.

If you have time between the basting and gorging - I wrote this little acrostic for my favorite holiday of all Things-Giving. The day when we celebrate all the Things in our lives.

Turkey is much better when enjoyed directly from the carcass (after cooking of course) and it is also a known fact that if you eat standing up - you don't gain weight. I like to pick,pick,pick the bits of crispy skin and turkey meat off the bone before the platter hits the table. Hubby and I fight over who gets the crispiest skin off the 'tushie' of the turkey (note to self: just realized it doesn't do much for me in the class and elegance department when I just told a gazillion all 16.5 of you people that my Hubby and I fight over who gets more ass). I also look daintier because I don't fill my plate as much.

Having leftovers is as much fun as having 18 people for the meal. And Friday afternoon SavvySassy mom and her family are coming over to enjoy turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey hash, turkey pie, turkey ice cream (okay, just checking to see if you're still paying attention)!

I learned that I could never have been a Squaw. Schlepping babies in papooses and all that getting in and out of the tee-pee wreaks havoc on my knees. (see picture above- which was snapped right before I let out a gigantic 'Oy-Vey' and had to use two 5 year olds to pull me off the floor once again illustrating why I should not wear skinny jeans, no matter how perfect the GAP says they are. They are 'standing up pants', ladies -much in the same way we all have 'sitting down shoes' and 'out shirts'...who's with me on this?)

New phone arriving any minute. I am getting the new Droid from Motorola. It's my first smart-phone. I barely use my cell phone now because it doesn't do anything but barely ring. I'm going big time social media.

'Go My Son is a song the Kindergarteners performed this morning...sure to clear your sinus cavities and schmear your make-up. (see video below- just in case you were wondering, she's the blond-double-braided- cutey-patootie-native-American in the middle row almost center)

Stupidest name for a phone ever. Droid. Dear Motorola - if you want women to buy it...find a new name for it. (note to self: just realized that I sort of just called myself 'not a woman' by insinuating that women won't buy the Droid which I previously just told you I did. The sheer fact that I made that very run-on sentence in this very run-on post would prove that I am indeed 'very' woman)

Girls rock. 'Nuf said. Thanks for giving me them.

I am so incredibly proud of my Emily Rose who submitted a short poem in the National PTA Reflections program. She received a Certificate of Commendation (only the 10 best submissions per category receive this in our District) for her efforts and while she does not move up the ladder to the next level of judging - she congratulated the girl who did . The theme of this year's program that celebrates the woefully under- funded Arts in our public schools was Beauty Is....and my daughter is surely beautiful!

Volunteering is supposed to make you feel validated that you are contributing to your community. If that is the case, why don't I feel that way? I am wiped out without benefits.

I still miss my wonderful dad (R.I.P. Poppy) who's favorite holiday ever was Thanksgiving. I'll bawl my eyes out when I dig into that pecan pie (his favorite). I wish he were here for my kids. (mostly for me). So much has happened in the nearly two years since you passed away. Some of it crappy - but so much of it was wonderful. I think of you daily, Daddy.

Nothing beats waking up Thursday morning with the smells of Thanksgiving wafting under your bedroom door. The best part? Tuning in to the Macy's parade and getting back into your bed for a while.

Give a little something to someone else this season. Sign up at to be a jumper and lift the spirits of someone battling cancer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The One with (Massage) Envy , Lust and Gluttony, ...and the rest 'Here on Gilligan's Isle"

Forgive me ...for I have sinned. And it took me almost two weeks to committ the deadly seven.

The other day, my sisterbestfriend was in town and we went for a massage (Envy). I know it sounds decadent , but I've had a gift certificate for this for almost a year(Sloth) and haven't used it. So the guy that was 'doing' me had these beefy arms and a very firm grip. What I discovered is that I really don't like massages. I don't like people. Touching me. (purposeful puntuation) Anyway - I get all 'undressed to "my level of comfort" which to me means 'nekkid with undies, and lay down on the table under the warm blanket. Put my face in the hole and wait for him to start. I suddenly become acutely aware of the sound his arms and hands make on the cotton sheet. Then I start thinking about the mind-numbingly annoying meditative music playing in the room (when was the last time you enjoyed a good zither and the lute medley for a frickin' hour??) I can't relax. He's kneading me ...hard with his warm lotioned hands and I am abashedly a bit turned on by that (Lust) All the while I hear his arms 'swishing' on the sheets and it starts to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. Then I start thinking about what is going on in his mind. And how many clients he kneads a day. Eww. Next to a Brazilian waxer - I think to myself how gross it must be a massage therapist. Touching people's privates and hairy, dry skin (not my own of course, okay- maybe the dry skin and hairy legs part ) - I can't wait for this to be over. Whew! The hour is up and I get to leave! I come home and hours later my back and neck are killing me and bruised. Note to self: give balance of gift card to Hubby and remind him he's lucky that I am so low maintanance and if he really knew me - he would know that I frickin' hate massages and why did he give me that gift in the first place? thank him for the thoughtful expression.

Wrath: This one is easy. I do it every day. Just ask my kids. I actually yelled at my daughter for needing to do a homework project with pictures she needed off the internet while I was Tweeting and Facebooking and Emailing and checking out new smartphones (Avarice) and Jeez! Interrupting my 'me time'. Jeez!

Today marks the end of the trimester grading period at school. My kids are terrific students . I was talking to my Aunt the other day telling her what great kids my girls are and she said something to the effect of "not like their mother" and I was all "whu? I was a great student and a goody two shoes ...don't you remember?" getting all harumphy on her. "You are obviously confusing me with sisterbestfriend" (Pride). I was actually pissed that my 79 year old Aunt forgot that I graduated High School in my junior year and am a college graduate. Which reminds me of a great line from "30 Rock" that Hubby and I are probably the only people who actually watch and laugh our assess off. Anyway, one of the characters on the show said (when given an option of something that wasn't helpful) said "That is about as useless as a Mom's college degree" which got me all pissy because there is some truth to that. (Wrath again)

The Gluttony can wait until next week ...Thanksgiving menu is planned. 17 coming over. I am looking forward to the leftovers as much as the dinner. And the four bottles of Pinot Noir I am going to enjoy while preparing my most favorite meal of the year.

So tell me, what does a Jewish someone do who has confessed their sins to their bloggy friends? Drink Say 4 Bloody Hail Mary's and call you in the morning?? Is Guilt a mortal sin? And if not - why? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Oh- and I am now on Twitter. Follow me @Swirlgirlspearl . (leave the 's' off for savings)
( I seriously need a Twit-torial ...something for the dim-Twit-witted. Is there a book called Tweeting for Dummies? If not, great idea for a book, right?)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The One in Which She Finally Gets Hello Kitty

Two little girls sitting on a wall.
There to catch each other should the other one fall.

New friends are hard to make

when both of them are sweet and pretty...

But they found a common ground...
they both love Hello Kitty!

Thanks to Andrea of Savvy Sassy Moms for the use of her daughter in this
Wordful Wednesday post (sponsored by Angie of Seven Clown Circus! )

Have a great day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Today I am guest posting at Mom's Without Blogs...and it's not the usual sunshine and unicorn stuff I usually write about.

Here's a preview : (turn up your sound, don't skip this's the shizzle)

Pretty heady shit, huh? We I need to recognize that while our kids are just kids...they hear every thing we say and do - and it does affect them.

Go over to Mom's Without Blogs and get the rest of the story....then next time I post, I promise it'll be all rainbows and lollipop lovey-dovey rubby bum-bum you're used to seeing from me. {snark, snark}

Monday, November 2, 2009

The One With the Obligatory Post- Halloween Post**

I Vant To Suck Your Blood

True to form - my girls did it up. I know this because contrary to all I've griped about this past week ...we hauled in some major booty. And, after the sneaking the best bites for myself
careful sorting - ever on patrol for the errant razor blade or open wrapper-I'm hauling around some extra booty in my booty. If anyone has found a Charleston Chew...which they won't 'cuz they don't seem to make them can send it right over here.

And as for the band of marauding teens who smashed pumpkins and stole the entire "help yourself" bowl of candy? You just wait back is a bitch. You too, someday, will have brats not unlike yourselves. Can't wait for that.

And as for the houses in the 'hood that dole out candy for the little ones and adult beverages for the parents! Kudo's to YOU!!!! (even though I had my own little party in the wagon)

Our school is collecting extra candy for Manna Food Bank. I brought in a Lawn and Leaf bag full of it this morning. I am not all heartless, you know.
What are you doing with yours?? Besides the obvious, that is.


In other news, Emily and I went shopping yesterday for intimate apparell. For. Her. Oy vey.
Rachel asked me if I was getting 'real bubble holders' like the kind I wear or little cami's like Emily usually wears. She just about busted a seam cracking up when I told her we were getting the real deal. I promised Ray Ray, when her day comes - we'll go shopping just the two of us, too. It was a good time for Emily to have our bonding moment. And our monthly "Women's Business Time" chat.
Hormones suck. Hers. Mine. and Ours.

**edited a few hours later . Alternative title to this post is The One in Which She Knows She's Old Because Her Favorite Candy is Considered Retro. So I added a link to Wikipedia for all you youngin's to see what you've been missing.

***edited a few hours after that....I just had a flash, and not a hot one this time! Well maybe it started out as a hot flash, but something brought me here: to a memory flash of maybe just why I dislike Halloween and all things pumpkin.

{{cue wiggly wavey flashback thingies}}

4th grade...World Festival. We all had to choose a country and write up a report about it, convert our desks into a 'market' stall and display wares from that country. We also had to create a popular food or export to serve to the class and all the classes that paraded through our little United Nations of countries. I was absent for some reason on the day we chose countries. I got Venezuela, the country that nobody wanted. Sure it had Angel Falls - the world's tallest waterfall - and Simon Bolivar but other than drawing a picture of it, that was all I could find. And back in those days, we relied on our trusty Encyclopedia Britannica to get our informaiton. No Google searching. No No information superhighway. No instant gratification. Just me and the last volume of the encyclopedia and maybe, if I was lucky - our elementary school library had something on microfilm about Venezuela.
So picture the double classroom of desks that were turned into a wending maze of nations and little old me down at the end stuck next to Zaire and the eraser cleaning machine. By the time people got to Venezuela, they had already been treated to crepes, and salsas, and french fries, and sweet treats from around the globe. Hell, they even liked the borcht from Russia and the lutafisk from Sweden. And right before my lame desk of all things Venezuela - the students and faculty got to sample apple pie from the good ol' US of A. And they get to me...and I have this huge pot on my desk under a rather lame albeit colorful depiction of the export map of Venezuela . A huge somewhat chunky pot of ...pumpkin soup. If I started the day with a crock pot full of this junk, I ended with day with a crock pot minus about a teaspoon of this junk. Then, at the end of the day, I slunk down in my seat and managed to pull that big crock pot of this junk off my desk and lap. Ick. Just ick. Orange ick.
{{ end scene}}
that explains it. stained for life.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Twas the night before Boo-day and all through the house

not a creature was stirring, 'cuz Mommy's a louse.

The costumes were chosen with the greatest of care

but Mommy refuses to spray paint their hair.

No pumpkin was carved, no decor to be found

Mommy sucks, there's no candy around!

For Kindergarten, the little ones parade around school,

and Mommy wasn't there to film it - the fool.

You see - Halloween's not my thing. Nor are most Holidays.

I show my affection in much different ways.

I buy candy just before the hour falls

icky things I don't like, like Cabbage Patch Sour Balls.

I'd just as soon give them candy - 'cuz I'm lazy

and save all the effort of door -to-door knockin - You must think I'm crazy!

Is it wrong that we'll travel with wagon behind?

Not for them, but for me - to carry the wine!!


Be safe !

(this is my lame effort to participate in Eat , Drink and Be Scary sponsored by Angie of Seven Clown Circus and Better in Bulk - I wanna win the FLIP video camera)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The One In Which She is The Scariest Mommy

***10/22/09 A hat trick (that's hockey lingo meaning 3 of something for some reason that is beyond me. In any case, Hubby would be proud) Who woulda thought I could write one post and have it apply to so many topics! This latest edit has been brought to you by Mama Kat, of Mama's Losin It and her weekly writers workshop. This week, we were prompted to write about Motherhood. Read on.....

**edited 10/21/09 So I am doing double duty with this post- Angie of Seven Clown Circus asked us to write about Motherhood. This post is applicable ...


So Jill over at Scary Mommy is having this little find out just who is the Scariest Mommy of them all. I can say with all honesty that I have this one in the bag. I am proud to be a card carrying Scary Mommy and will wear that badge with honor.

What makes me scary?? If you've been here before - you probably know already. It's not that I laugh at my kids when they get hurt or fall down (which I do sometimes). It's not that I didn't breast feed because of purely selfish reasons even though it may have been the best thing for my children (yup, I sucked..but they didn't). It's not that I have used television as a babysitter for many years and still allow those airwaves to suck the brain cells from my kids one by one (if you haven't done this - you lie). It's not that when I get a call from the school nurse that one of my children isn't feeling well and threw up, the first question I ask is "Is it chunks or what??" (cuz if it's not chunks, they're fine and should stay at school). And, it's not the yelling ...(oh the yelling) While all of these these may make me a crappy mom - they don't qualify me as a Scary Mommy.

What makes me a Scary Mommy is what makes me scared. I spent the better part of my life hiding in my cacoon; afraid to approach and putting up a wall (couched in humorous observation...hhhmmmm) in order not to be approached. What scares me is that my two daughters will have to go through the same self-consciousness, and self-doubt that I experience even to this day. What scares me is that my girls will wait for happiness instead of being happy. What scares me is that they may allow their fears to color the fabric of their being instead of whipping out the crayola and going full-on into the wash.

I just spent a fabulous weekend with a group of FABULOUS strong , smart, wonderul people {air kisses you all!} who don't know the Scary me. I spent the weekend getting to know the FABULOUS strong, wonderful, smart wonderul women and listening to their stories and for a short time (okay, about 3 days) felt very validated. I learned to always be true to myself - to stay authentic. What scares me is that my children will wait until they are 45+ years old to learn that lesson. What scares me is that my gorgeous daughters have the propensity, at this point in their lives , to swing either way on that pendulum...and what scares me is that I doubt my ability to effect it's momentum.

What scares me is that they will be exactly like me. If that doesn't scare the bejeezus out of're not a Scary mommy, and I am jealous.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The One In Which She Longs For Fifth Grade

This is what our typical dinner banter consists of:

The little one: "I played with Angie at recess and at lunch - I ate only 1/2 of my semi healthy twisted fruit snack thingy you got at Whole Foods because I saw a rolly-polly bug on the sidewalk and tried to save it from being squished by some smelly boys. And next time? Next time - can I tell you what kind of sammich I want to have because I like bologna sammiches with cheese and lettuce. Oh, and I learned the letter of the day was Q.. Queenie Quail - - kwa, kwa, kwa. And I can't remember the rest although someone brought in a real live dead skeleton and did you know that cartiledge is not bones but not flesh? And did you know that mama whales have nipples that feed their babies from ? Had you ever seen a whale boobie , mom? "

The big one: { blink, blink}.

Me and Hubby: "So, Em - how was your day. What did you learn today?"

She should be ready for this by now. 180 days a year for the past 5 years....we've done the same thing. You can just sense her squirming to come up with something academically significant.

The big one: "Well, I went into class. I hung my backpack up on the hook. We switched desks today. And I got a jolly rancher for turning in my field trip permission slip."

Me and Hubby: {blink, blink}

{{flashback to suburbia circa 1975- when a 'Nut Free' lunch table at school actually meant that just girls sat there.}}

If you asked me, 5th grade was the best. A most influential year for me education-wise, I had the best teacher I have ever had in my 17 year educational career in 5th grade. Jack Sughrue - he was a huge Beatles fan and would blast every Beatles album ever made on the reel t0 reel player. We made our own cribbage boards (out of real wood , and I mean we sanded and stained them and pounded nails into them to make the holes) and played tournaments to learn math and strategy. We wrote screenplays and made 8mm full length films. He read us the entire Chronicles of Narnia...out loud and with different voices and mood lighting. He was the most influential teacher I have ever had in my life - and I've had some great teachers. He was someone who made learning and the thirst for knowledge COOL. And on rainy days (and there were many in Massachusetts) we'd receive visits from "spirits of the great poets," who were kids under sheets reading poetry with flashlights. And the guy would 4-square your DOORS off. I loved his class.

He had the ubiquitous Mr . Rodgers' sweater with the suede elbow patches and sported a cheezy porn star moustache and had wildy crazy hippy hair. We learned so much, but we didn't know we were learning. I remember telling my {wonderful} dad that I was not going to be ready for 6th grade. We hadn't done anything in 5th grade!! Boy was I wrong. 6th grade teachers loved having Mr. Shugrue's former students. We were critical thinkers at the tender age of 12. He made us that way.

In fact, when I was a sophmore in High School, I went back to my 5th grade class and was his student teacher. And I didn't just do it for the extra credit . Okay, maybe it was a little bit for the two day a week early release - but really I went back to him to let him know how much I had learned from him. In December of 1980, I accompanied Jack Sughrue and his then 5th grade class on a museum field trip. He and I sat in first seat on the school bus. True to form, the Beatles were playing on the static-y radio station. Then we heard it. We heard from the deejay that John Lennon had been gunned down. I felt Mr. Shugrue's body tense against the naugahyde seat cover. He squeezed my hand and made no effort to hold back the tears. Wow. Since I am old, but not that old - this was my 'where were you when Kennedy was shot' moment. Indelibly engrained on my mind...not unlike when Nixon resigned, when Luke and Laura got married, when the hostages were freed from Iran, 9/11...

I don't know why I am thinking about him so much today. So much so that all these years later - I just did a Google search for him. I went to and facebook to look for him. Maybe I'm just all nostalgic because my daughter is in 5th grade and I long for her to have a teacher who will be as memorable and important to her as Mr. Sugh rue was to me.

And maybe I am bringing this all up because I remember the conversations at my 1975 dinner table with my family. And just hoping that some tomorrow night from now...Emily will come to me to tell me that she's not ready for 6th grade because she had too much fun in 5th grade to have ever learned anything.

And I'll start humming 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' and smile.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Today's Post is Brought To You By The Number 14

...because today is my 14th wedding anniversary. And while I love my Hubby loads, and all - I am too tired to write a new glowing tribute to the man. And, I am kind of bummed that I wrote this one last year at the same time while Hubby and I were on vacation. In Hawaii. Without the children. Alone. {sigh}

Hence the rerun post. Still a good one though. Happy 14th Dootie ;)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The One Where Sally Met Her Harry.....

* A note from Swirl Girl: While you are all no doubt reading this with baited breath - to see what little pearls of joy I am about to unleash upon all of you...Hubby and I are, no doubt, elbow deep in some frothy tropical beverage on the island of Kauai celebrating a much needed real live vacation and our 13th Anniversary. Aloha!

I went to summer camp in New Hampshire for practically every summer as a kid until I was 14 years old. Overnite camp - for one or two months. That is what we did back east. That is what everyone did back east.

Anyway - back in the summer of 1972, I was a mere 6 years old and went to this sleep away camp. It was really a great experience with all the trappings that summer camp had to offer.
I met a boy named David Goldstein. He was a much older boy. Maybe 7 or 8. His older brother was named Steven and he was there to. Steven had this distinct , almost broadcaster type of voice with the ever slightest whistley sound when he said his 'esses'. Very distincive.

Well, that David was what I would call my first boyfriend. We sat together at the Saturday night movies in the rec hall, holding hands and sharing a pillow as we lay on the cold concrete floor. (they actually showed Wait Until Dark and The Birds to a bunch of kids!) I chased and caught him on Sadie Hawkins day and he danced with me all night long . He sat patiently while I auditioned for a part in the Junior dance show. We danced at Prom, and sent little paper candle boats out onto the lake on the last night of camp after the banquet. This David was from a town not too far from where I lived. All winter we would write notes to each other. He would sign his name and then write Shalom in hebrew letters , enclosing a few chocolate pennies in each wet, sloppy envelope.

That David and I were camp boyfriend and girlfriend for many summers after that. And, then I stopped going to camp. Eventually the letters stopped coming. Life went on.

Fast forward to 1984, when I was in college, I had a summer job as a plant tender for a company named Baugh Haus (don't you just love that name?). I would go from office to office on my appointed route and water, trim, shine and care for the office plants. I met a lot of interesting people. One day , in an office in Newton , MA - I heard a voice. There was ever the slightest
whistley sound when this very distinct voice was speaking. I looked at the name plate and it was him - that David's brother Steven! We spoke for a while catching up. That David had gone out west to pursue his life ...blah, blah, blah.

Fast forward to summer 1991. I had moved to Florida a few year prior. Livin' off my parents and working in a bar and having waaaay too much fun. ( and since my mom reads this and is at my home taking care of my kids - let's just leave the waaaaay too much fun part at that - 'kay?) I finally got a real job working for a wine and liquor distributor and had to call on my first account. It was a total disaster. The General Manager of this mall restaurant hated my company and the previous sales rep and my supervisor. Great first day on the job. I hated this guy and he was a total dick to me. He practically threw me out. Thank god my boss who was, BTW, also a total dick, made me go back in and get an order from this guy. I did. And it was a good thing I did. Within a few weeks, I had secured the no-name well brand liquor, the entire wine list, and had sold this guy on a series of very successful money making promotions (there was one particular promotion involving butterscotch pudding and JB scotch shooter if you can imagine- but again, my mom reads this....). We soon became fast friends. I sort of set up shop in his tiny office. In those days, we actually used telephones to patch our orders into the big computers at the distributor. I would start the week with a roll of quarters and use pay phones. It saved me time and money to use this guys little office, plus he fed me while I was there. It was just assumed by all of his employees that we were going out. It was that comfortable.

We did everything together outside of work. I met his brother Steven who lives in NYC and all of his friends. We were best friends. We each would share each other dating horror stories. He came to my parents place for all the holidays. Everyone would ask about us and our answer was 'we are just friends'. My sister even said "you're gonna marry that guy" one night while partying at his bar. I said, "no way we are just friends, best of friends."

Fast forward to summer 1992. Hurricane Andrew swept south Florida with devastating results. We camped out together. Surveyed the damage the next day. Right after the hurricane, he lost his job at the restaurant and spent several weeks borrowing on his years in the restaurant business. He gathered donations of food , ice, water, sanitary supplies and a truck and made umpteen trips to the storm territories. We had no cell phones in those when he went down south of Miami , into the National Gaurd territory - it was scary. But I was so proud of his selflessness.

Fast forward a few months. He gets a job working for Kenny Rogers Roasters (remember the Sienfeld episode with the neon sign??) He was in field operations and travelled non-stop for about 3 months. Again, no cell phones. No day to day contact. I missed my best friend. When he finally came back we went to dinner and realized that we were more than just best friends. Neither of us wanted to go another day without knowing where the other one was or what the other one was doing. And, just like in the movie - we started 'dating' ...right there on my apartment couch.

Fast forward about a year... everyone of his friends told him that it was time to shit or get off the pot. We had been dating for a long time already and where was it going? "She's not going to wait around forever" "Don't let this one go, dude" "She's your best friend and can drink like a guy! How much more perfect can she be?" (adapting reality for the dramatic here) In other words, dude - take the plunge.

So- just like in the movie...he ran 14 blocks to meet me on New Year's Eve to tell me he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me...oh wait, that was the movie...

This David Goldstein (whose brother Steven does not have a whistley sound when he says his 'esses') proposed to me while I was getting my nails done with champagne and flowers and a beautiful ring! I was surprised. Nobody else was.

Everyone but the two of us knew we were kindred spirits. If you believe that some people were meant to be - that would be us. There are so many sort of 'no way' or ' you are kidding me ' moments in our lives. Here's a few:

It turns out that his stepfather and my Aunt were 'sandbox sweethearts' . They have known each other for over 60 years and speak to each other every birthday. Still.

Our grandma's were in the same sewing circle or something like that, back in New Jersey -back in the day.

His cousin was best man at my cousin's wedding. His Providence R.I. relatives are friends with my Providence R.I. relatives. Still.

- and let's not forget the whole that David Goldstein with whistley brother Steven and this David Goldstein with non-whistley brother Steven first boyfriend thing.

Call it fate, kismet, magical, mystical or spiritual - tonight marks our 13th year married.

Who said 13 was an unlucky number?

Certainly not this Sally. So I tap you on the shoulder and ask you this question:

Wanna do it again for another week, Harry?
Happy Anniversary, dude.
Aloha and I Love You.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The One In Which There is Abundance of Self-Deprecating Humor

We all do it, don't we? Come on, you know you do it. And if you are sitting there saying you don't ever do it, you're lying. I can't get through a day without it. Ah, who am I kidding - I can barely get through a post without doing it.

Self -Deprecating humor {thought I was going in a completely other direction there for a moment, huh?}...and when I do it - it's okay. Making fun of myself has long been an intricate part of my psyche. I, like many, use this kind of 'poke fun at oneself' humor as an ice breaker. I use it to make people laugh. I use snarcasm and wit to deflect. I like people to think I am funny. But, sometimes I forget 'who's in the room' when I let shit fly out of my mouth. My children have become so used to hearing my little sayings and jokes (read: curse words and snark) that they have become part and parcel of what they define as Mommy.

The thing is, when they repeat this stuff -it ceases to be self-deprecating humor since it is no longer the self doing the deprecating.

Like just this past Friday, what the 10 year old said while on line at the Frozen Juice Bars at school . Someone had a coconut juice bar (just ewww) they were trying to push . I was all , "No , I'll pass on the coconut juice. But if you have a Frito flavored one back there..." trying to make a joke since what I really wanted was the whole box of Really Bad For You Fudgie Pops that was purchased accidentally and they stick in the back of the freezer. Emily says "Yeah, mom is a total grease and salt junkie. Once, when she was in Rehab -she was totally jonesing for was a bag of chips."

{crickets...from the other PTA mommies standing with their kids on the All Natural , Organic, and, Whenever Possible-Tree Nut and Gluten Free Frozen Friday Treat line}

"Ha , ha (read: totally nervous titter..) Ha, ha...What she meant to say was when I was rehabilitating from surgery ...I was given a institutional size bag of chips as a Get Well gift by a friend who was told (by my children, BTW) when asked "what does mommy like to do?" that mommy's favorite food group is the To's group ..Chee, Fri, Dori and Pota and hence the joke. Not rehab...Ha, ha. Not that there's anything wrong with that...."

{more crickets...and sensing dissolution of PTA By-Laws naming me as President of the PTA and chair person of the Just Say No to Junk in My Lunchbox program we're running )

The thing is, the other part of the joy of self-deprecating humor is that it needs no explanation. So when an explanation of the joke again ceases to be self- deprecating humor since it is no longer humorous.

I forget. My kids neeed to be reminded that what we talk about around the house is our business and shouldn't be repeated. Okay? So maybe I need to wait a few more years for that . Snark is a hard habit to break. And just now I am listening to Emily telling her friend's mom that she " is starting to look more and more like my mom as I get older. She tells everyone that I have a horseface (read: long and oval shaped- which I do . And, no, I don't describe her as a horseface - but I have been known to call myself a horseface every now and then especially when trying on sunglasses or hats which just look terrible on my big foreheaded horsey-face =-)** now that I'm going through pre-puberty." Oh crap-bloody-tastic. "C'mon Em - gotta go! The liquor store is getting their gift with purchase holiday displays delivered this week! If we hurry, I can complete that set of Jaegermeister and Red Bull snow globes I've been trying for!!"

{{ even more crickets and the sounds of ink to paper scratching out titles of positive self -image websites and parenting guides }}

That and the fact that we;re having soup and salad (read: a dry martini with extra olives) instead of dinner tonight.

When in rehab Rome.....

**see? It's just not funny when you have to explain.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The One In Which She Helps A Brother Out

...and his daughter.

This post is Swirl Girl Lite - no snark, no cynicism. You may see this little button floating around the blogosphere today. Read on:

Kevin of Always Home and Uncool has asked me to post this as part of his effort to raise awareness in the blogosphere of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease his daughter was diagnosed with on this day seven years ago. The day also happens to be his wife's birthday.

This is their story:

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter's cheeks, joints and legs was something he'd never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn't admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions -- none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner -- then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn't know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter's knee showed signs of an "allergic reaction" even though we had ruled out every allergy source -- obvious and otherwise -- that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift -- a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago -- Oct. 2, 2002 -- the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter's first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don't know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter's condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to or

Most of us are blessed with healthy children. And while they (thankfully) may drive us batty sometimes, it is because they can - and that's a good thing.

I know I said no snark - but I just can't help myself. Kevin told me that if I didn't post this , that he would post naked pictures of me and all my bloggy friends on the internet. That would surely drive people away from his cause, not reign them in.

So I am tryin' to help a brother out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The One In Which If One More Person Asks Me What I Do With All My Free Time, I'm Going To Seriously Hurt Them

...because I am so tired of hearing that.

Forgive me Bloggy friends - it has been well over a week since my last confession blog post. I have been so busy with Presidenting the- underappreciated -all -volunteer- non- paying- position lately that I barely have time to visit other blogs much less actually write -something -coherent- and- mildly amusing. I know I am supposed to say something politically correct like ..."it is so rewarding" or some shit like that - but it isn't. I am wiped.

Time for a quickie here:

My kids are so damned cute it slays me. And what better way to appreciate your own children than by hanging out with other peoples' animals kids.

Examples of adorable-ness: The little one is quite the artist. The other day, she was drawing flowers. I said "Whatcha doin?" She says {duh} "I am drawing flowers mom. See? This one's a tulip. And this one's a threelips and a fourlips (no visual necessary - I think you get it)

We're watching some dance show on tv...she is watching the dancers go 'round and 'round slowly and she's counting "One, two, three - one,two,three ...Man, the waltz is a very dizzy dance!"

I also love the fact that my eldest unmarried daughter has to clean doo-doo from the Dragon's cage. I think that is what they call 'just desserts' or something like that' I am one sick muthuh.

"Rachel's just a smudge!" Emily shouts! We found our house on Google Earth -We found our house, and gazebo and sand box and there is a tiny pink smudge next to the sandbox...Yup, my kid is immortalized on satellite. Which makes me wonder ...if I can find a tiny speck of a smudge of a 5 year old on Google Earth, imagine what the 'bad guys' can find. Hhhmmm...discuss amongst yourselves.

And I really owe JenJen an apology - she gifted me this FAB award a few weeks ago because quite frankly a few weeks ago, I gave Good Blog. Now? It's debateable.

I am delegating ...which in my role as President of the PTA (and I love a commentor who said I was putting the T and A back into PTA!) I should do in order that I may have some free time. Go check these guys and gals out , althought they need no help from me...

Sass (truly thrilled that you are back and now you are my Facebook friend so I get you all the time and I wish we actually knew each other in real life because I think we are sisters from another mister)

The Organic Meatbag (who makes me frickin' crack up and is on vacation that SOB)

BeJewell (whose blog title reflects the old addage and a favorite song around here that mentions something about a musical fruit!)

And Literal Dan (who is a word nerd like me and beats my ever -lovin' ass at Lexulous 8 tiles at a time)

Oh yeah...

And this is what I do when nobody is watching. Sssshhhh - don't tell anyone that I not-so-secretly like Rocky (a.k.a Rockmaninoff, Rocky Balboa, Puff the Magic Bearded Dragon, Not Bullwinkle)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The One With The Top Ten Alternatives for the Title of this Post

Meet Rocky Balboa, The Bearded Dragon

10) Because 'James A. Beard' Is Already Taken ...

(And Beardy, Spot and Irving weren't very dignified)

9) The One With the $5 Turtle
(We were originally thinking turtle. Remember when you were a kid and you got a $5 box turtle? Well, nowadays - they carry Russian Tortoises at your local PetCo. Land Tortoise that grow to be 300 pounds and live well into their 90's. I need no part of any pet I have to Will to my grandchildren, thank you.)

8) The One in Which She is Grateful It's Not Snake
(self-explanatory thank you...)

7) The One in Which Her List of "Pet Do's and Don'ts" Just Got Longer'
(I didn't think I needed to add 'live insect eating' to my don'ts list...but apparantly simply having rules about fur, dander, saliva, poop- scooping, cloven hooves, genus rodent, beaks, feathers, noise, and smells didn't cover enough. )

6) Whatever Happened to Flushable Pets? (aaahhh, the good ole days when you could flush your carnival gold fish ...good times, good times)

5) Why Is It That I Have This Sudden Urge to Shop For Car Insurance?

4) The One In Which Her Smile Was So Bright We Don't Need the Heat Lamp
He Likes Me, He Really Likes Me!

3) Can I Turn My Bearded Dragon Into A Vegetarian?
(I am just so grossed out by the bug thing...I can't tell you. I know they need the protien, but you have to dust them with this calcium powder kind of like Shake and Bake. EEewww)

2) The One In Which She Asks "It Gets How Fucking Big?"
(Oh yeah , when the thing starts dropping turds the size of a Collie shit - I'm so moving to Vegas and will make slot machine coin by wearing a sandwich board on the Boulevard that asks people if they want to 'Touch My Lizard'. Either that, or I'm selling it on Craig's List)

And the Number One Alternative Title to This Blog Post is:

1) or ...How Much for the Bearded Clam?

(Because Hubby thought he was at a massage parlor. )

ps- yo, owe me for the rock and stick for the habitat. LOL
Editor's Post Post Script: A friend with a bearded dragon that is 3 years old sent me a picture of her son with this 'thing'. It's head is the size of a clementine orange. Crap. This morning, I gave Rocky a little salad of arugula and shredded carrot. He took a few bites and pissed all over his driftwood. Double Crapper. Also , there are 5 dead fucking crickets in the tank. What do I do with the dead ones? Bloody Craptastic.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The One In Which " #@&$! Off" Was Not An Appropriate Response

So I volunteered in my Kindergartener's class today. I love the little cherubs. Really I do. So full of wonder and hungry to learn. Like they are just amazed that the 'i' sound can either say 'eye' or 'ih' . Who woulda thunk it? Volunteering in kindergarten tap's my inner Martha Stewart because cutting laminated paper squares is about as crafty as I get...or can handle. And, yes- I use big scissors.

So we split up into centers and I am in charge of the Ten Table. On this table we have toothpicks and the kids have to count 10 toothpicks and make little designs with them. This challenge is also well within my purview...I can do 10 (okay, so it was hard to make little pictures with the sticks without breaking them in half, but I did my best. )

The kids see things differently ...more purely - so when one of the little 'Rainmen' dumped 246 sticks on the table ("82,82,82, 246...there are four left in the box") and made a campfire, I applauded his creative mind.

One little girl, who was staring intently at me - came up with this question: "Why come you face be's all like that? " She asked , taking her hand and sweeping it across her brow in an arch. I was a bit confused, and then I realized that this chick was dissin' my face. Crap - you'd think I was all totally-Mother-Theresa-type-unbotoxed-old lady wrinkly!

*Not me...not yet.

I said those were my eyebrow smiles. Then we all practiced raising our eyebrows up and down. (which I realized that most children can't do purposefully...) And I can even raise one up and down, and wiggle my ears, and roll my tongue and all kinds of other stupid people tricks. The children quickly stopped making stick pictures and started to count the lines on my forhead and around my eyes. Can't wait until they get home and tell their parents what they learned at school. Wear sunscreen kids - or you'll end up like this broad.

So my little one, who has heard me say this many times , says "Mommy, you are supposed to only make a design with 10 toothpicks. You're always wearing your 11!" ( this is what I refer to as the permanant lines between my squint lines. a la this -> ^ ll ^ )

I had to laugh and just hugged her.**

**...because telling her to 'Fuck Off' was not the appropriate response.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The One Where It's All Good**

The Starts: The little one is kind of nervous about going to school. The big one decides a spa day is called for. Mommy's all "what about me?" No, seriously - what about me? They played spa for hours. And I am so cool with that. So long as the craptastic kiddie nuclear waste make-up actually washes off...can't have my cuties going to school looking like totstitutes or anything (much to the chagrin of retailers everywhere who have flooded their young minds with such images in the back- to- school catalogs and who would like us to believe that just because it's all tartan -plaid, a strapless tube top is appropriate for a 9 year old)

First day of school was last Thursday. A whole week ago - and I have been busy. Not in the 'oh poor me' way of being busy. I thrive on routine and schedules. Not much of a spontaneous person as you know, so for me - this busy has been a good busy.

This kind of busy, though, has kept me away from my bloggy-goodness. Lo siento para eso. I have lots of tiny pieces of paper with all kinds of blog-worthy moments scawled on them. I just haven't had the time or motivation to string it all together into a coherent post. So you get this one. HA!

Oh sure, the starts are exciting...the start of a new school year for the 5th grader. The start of Kindergarten for the little one! The start of the age of Swirl Girl in her first term as PTA President...(shoot me now). I've been swallowed up into the vortex and have two more years before I am spit out of the Black Hole of volunteerism.

Our eldest unmarried daughter begged for an email address. So I set her up with one with major parental monitoring. I don't want her corresponding with any Nigerian princes or anything. She has a running commentary with her Grandpa and Grandma and her Uncle Steven affectionately know round these parts as Uncle Esteban. Here's a sample of the mind of a 9 and 361/365ths year old (and for those of you slow on the whole math thingy - she'll be 10 next week)

Uncle Esteban-
My first day of school was hot,and hard. I was wearing jeans and boots! Also, We
had a ton of homework, AND we had to write a 2 page essay! Ho do you like that
for the 5th grade worklaod?

Rachel is loving kindergarten.She says it's off the hook!

Oh, so the other day mom says "I wanna take a nap." And I'm like, "yeah, you
haven't taken naps all summer," and dad is like, "I think it's a season thing
you know what I mean? She takes naps in the winter." So I say "Yeah, so in the
winter, Mommy hibernates!" And we all start craking up!
From big bear to another,

But what's a good start without a fit or two...

The Fits :

It's 102 degrees in the shade the past week. As you have read from her email to Uncle , the big one wanted to wear her skinny jeans , layered tees and her Sketcher suede boots to school. I tell her she's nuts. She had a fit. Wears the outfit anyway (and who could blame her since we now know that skinny jeans really do look good on tweener girls with bubble butts and meat on their bones) She tells her Uncle via that email and deprives me of a worthy "I told you so" moment. I had a fit.

The little one wears leggings and tunic. I gently tell her she'd be more comfortable in shorts and a tee. I woulda told her she was nuts too but in my best 'kindergarten mommy' voice because I will until she's a little older to really start dissin' her choices. She's still in that mockingbird stage. You know what that is. Like the time (okay, just last month) when the older one repeated my own brand of self-depricating humor and told some other virtual strangers " I used to look like my dad, until I got a horsey-face like my mom". She has heard me refer to my oval facial frame as my Mr.Ed mug and I explained it as such. Or the time waaay back when Emily was in Kindergarten and it was circle time and they were asking if any of the kids had nicknames they would prefer to be called. Emily raises her hand and says loudly " My mom calls me a pain in the ass!" Oh yeah - one of my prouder moments. So I learn from experience to temper my words with the little one. Okay - not all the time, but first day of school? Uh, yeah. Sing with me now "Mock -yeah. Ing-yeah. Bird-yeah. Yeah-yeah"

So they both go to school on the 102 degrees in the shade day looking mighty fine , I must say. And peel their togs off in the car on the way home. We go for ice cream and it's all good.

It's All Good. It's All Good. My new mantra. Cuz 'leave me the fuck alone' just doesn't work.***

(if i say it over and over again, will I start believing it??)

**alternate title #1 "The One With Fits and Starts"

***alternate title #2

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The One in Which She's Feeling Lucky

I am going.

I am going to win.

I am going to win big.

Because that's how I roll.

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the Whrrl people got together with the SITStas and are offering a trip to Vegas to attend the SITScation '09. Oh I am so there.