Wednesday, November 18, 2009

big cheeks

Ok, just write, just write, just write.

No politics. That's making me crazy.

My boys think nothing about making fun of the way I look. They especially seem to enjoy poking fun at me and whatever added fat I might have accumulated in the last few decades. They will poke at my belly and make "boing boing" noises; they will howl if I run, pointing and laughing at my rather generous, middle-age bosom; they will flap my batwings with glee.

I go along with this, this ritual of being poked and prodded, because it seems to give them obvious, if not rather sadistic pleasure. It makes them laugh. And moms, you know, we're always self-sacrificing.

The latest round of physical humiliation at the hands of my children came the other night, when I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when Jeremy asks me to hold my breath, with "big cheeks."


"Just do it."




"Just because, c'mon, just do it. C'mon."

Hard to argue with that kind of persuasion. So I did what I was told.

Jeremy comes up and slaps both hands against my cheeks, forcefully expelling the air inside with a farty-sounding "thwat."

He howls. Evan laughs in a way I haven't heard him laugh for a long time. Hilarity ensues as each child repeats this with my cheeks at least a half dozen times. Doing the math, quickly inside my head, that means I just sat there and allowed my boys to whack my inflated cheeks more than a dozen times, accompanied by cries of "Again!" "Again!" and followed by doubled-over laughter. I mean, they're 12 and 15, for pete's sake.

What other bodily noises will I be expected to make for their amusement as they grow older? I mean, I already taught them how to belch long ago. What more do they want?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

head for the hills

Wow, I had no idea I could offend so many people with so...little. It's easy to lob those criticisms anonymously.

So I'll move on.

I'm getting ready to pile 2 big kids and 1 big dog into my big honking, gas-guzzling momvan and head to the Shenendo'h valley for some...well, I'd like to think it was R and R, ...if "R and "R" stands for "arrrrgh" and "arrrrrrrgue".

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be an excursion that is full of adventure and happy surprises. The boys will be nice and helpful, the dog won't puke in the van, the van will behave and get us to our destinations without incident.

Happy trails.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


ok, godammit, I'm posting.

This week, Jeremy took a spill off his new BMX bike. A driveway took a couple chunks of flesh and sinew and connective tissue out of his knee. I took him to the ER on Wednesday, where they sewed him up with a few stitches. He can't really bend his leg yet, to protect his stitches.

While we were waiting in an ER cubbie, a dad and a little kid entered the cubbie next to us. It sounded like they'd been in a car accident. They seemed ok, but the longer they sat in there, the more excitable and impatient the kid became.

"I'm going to be ok, Dad, right? I'm going to be ok. I don't need no doctor."

mumblemumble, said Dad.

"My heart will make me better. So will my memories."

"Yeah, yeah." Some talk about mom being pregnant.

"And mom...when she has the new baby they'll have to put her crotch back together!" the kid said, loudly and knowingly.

"Oh, Jesus Christ," sighed dad. Jeremy and I looked at each other and stifled a giggle.

That's pretty much how it works when you give birth naturally. Your crotch stretches and contorts to make way for this watermelon-sized being and then, if you're lucky and you do your kegels, it snaps back into shape, ready for adventure.

It has been recently suggested to me that what I had previously posted here would make a teenage boy's blood curdle, to suggest that his mother was somehow injured during childbirth.

While I really, really don't like the idea that I need to edit myself because someone complains about the content here (oddly, since it's pretty clear that nobody reads the damn thing) I have done just that because I admit perhaps I don't fully understand how a teenage boy's brain works regarding his mother. And in the very off-chance that Boo would actually read this entry, I have deleted most of it to shield him from imagery that, I'm told by more than one grown man, might offend him.

I wonder if Madonna has these issues.

Anyway, ER kid, if you're reading this, don't worry about your mom's crotch. It can take care of itself.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Good GOD, I need to post something. But what? WHATTTTT??

I am completely tapped out. Utterly useless. Totally benign. My head is like an empty plastic milk jug.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I'm sitting in the bar at the Double Tree hotel and conference center in New Brunswick, host of the AnimeNext! convention.

Brief explanation: Anime is Japanese cartoons. Like Speed Racer and Astro Boy, but apparently more hip, although, truly, to a 12-year-old girl, Speed Racer was kind of hot, even if the thin lines of his animated lips only moved up and down to accommodate the English language, rather than form themselves around every vowel and consonant.

Manga is the graphic novel version of anime. Both platforms boast many of the same characters, one of the most recognizable being those from the Naruto series or Avatar. Avatar: The Last Airbender, is in live action production, directed by M. Night Shyamalan for release in 2010.

I am here in the bar because it's hot outside and there are a zillion kids moving about, up to maybe age mid-20s, here for this convention, and the lobby is crowded and stifling.

Last year when I brought Evan here for the MangaNext! convention, I was a tad hungover from Halloweening at the Nutty Professor's; consequently I forgot to bring things to keep me amused, like books or the puter or my phone or my driver’s license. So I spent a couple of hours in the parking lot, napping. I am a model of exemplary parenting.

But this time I came prepared and not hungover: I've got the Mac, snacks, 2 books, my filing cabinet so I could file a bagful of bills, and I even cleaned the trash out of the van. I mean, we're here for a good, what, 8-10 hours, anyway, and for the price, it ought to include a hotel room and room service and complimentary massage.

These conventions are extremely well-run and well-staffed. For the fringe element I imagine this thing attracts, I'm amazed at the amount of things they have for these kids to do/see/hear. Most attendees dress as their favorite anime character, or perhaps whatever character's costume is currently on sale, because most of these come from Japan or China and they ain't cheap.

Some of them wear their own elaborate creations; others are bought by parents who are too lazy or uninspired to help their kids make their own. Guilty as charged.

Attendees have these "cosplays," in which they perform skits; they have fighting demonstrations using foam and plastic weapons, and they all go around hugging each other.

This year, Evan is Haku, who was a villager from the land of Water from the Avatar series. His character is rather androgynous and has long black hair. He later became a Ninja after meeting Zabuza Momochi. Haku has the kekkei genkai ability of Ice Release, which allows him to control two types of nature chakra. He can control both Water and Wind chakra; this gives Haku the ability to use Ice chakra, a mixture of the two.

I have no idea what I just wrote.

In any event, this is Evan's character:

He dies early on in the series, so girls yell “Haku!” and come up to him and give him sorrowful hugs. Girls here seem to be especially empathetic to characters that die.

Here's the thing: this is about as geeky a convention as you’ll find. But fortunately you won't find any fat balding Yodas or middle age Sith-types here. It's all kids. White kids, black kids, all nationalities. All oddly dressed, all geeky and probably pretty smart, happily sharing character stories and adventures.

There is no hint of self-consciousness in these kids. They mill about in their pink platform boots and swirling robes, colorful masks and wings and orange spiky hair and, for some, tails, among the regular hotel guests. It's a chance for me to see kids who are, at least for today, a little like Evan, and share his interest in this world I don't understand. I love Evan a little more because of this.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

shout out

I'd like to give a shout out to Helen Mae, always and forever first lady of Wenonah, for coming to my defense at a funeral of someone I didn't know.

This will make sense to no one but H, and surely Helen Mae probably doesn't have a blog, much less a facebook or a twitter account, and she will never see this, but, just in case: thank you, Helen Mae. You're a classy lady.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

the perfect trip to wawa

I stopped into Wawa tonight after Remy's game. They won 6-4, and he wanted what he calls a wet pretzel--a pretzel with that kind of slimy coating on it from the humidity or whatever. And I needed half and half for my morning coffee.

So I parked and went in, and went to the atm because I had to get money out.

I'm standing at the machine and this familiar clangy guitar comes on, rather loudly, for the Wawa...and it goes

der der der der dederdederdederdeder

der der der der dederdederdederdeder

and then the happy drums and tambourine..

The Las: There She Goes.

A modern classic, in my mind, and you don't hear it much anymore. Any song that makes you move your head right and left like that one dancing girl from the dance scene during the play rehearsal in A Charlie Brown Christmas, when Schroeder's playing the piano...she just goes right to left, while Sherman shrugs his shoulders up and down, and Snoopy, well, he's got happy feet.

Anyway, I stand there, making my transaction, grinning from ear to ear, head bobbing back and forth at the atm. Singing. Just a little.

So I get my half and half, searching for one with a late date (they call women like me "milk maids") and then go up to the counter, grinning, to the pretzel thing, get Remy's wet pretzel and place the items on the counter. For once, I am FIRST and ONLY in the Wawa line, there is no one ahead of me, with their hot dogs and Gatorade and too-sweet, machine-made cappufrappuchinos, asking for smokes and a money order and digging through their pockets for change. I am alone at the counter.

The checker says something to me, but I am totally not paying attention. It's the Las, for crissakes, don't talk to me now!

I finish paying, and the song is ending: There She Goes....there she goes...there she goes....

and I left. Perfect timing.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Why is it that a regular coffee can cost, say, $1.00?

Add a few ice cubes, and it's $1.69.

I went to the WaWa recently for an iced coffee. They have a machine that dispenses pre-made cappuccino and "iced coffee." Or something like it. It's all too sweet for me. So I got a cold cup, put some ice in, poured in some extra double mighty strong hot coffee, added some milk and a whisper of Splenda, stirred it up, put a lid on it, stuck a straw in the "x", and headed to the counter.

The counter gal charged me for an "iced coffee."

"Uh, this is just coffee-coffee," I explained.

"An iced coffee," she offered.

"Well, it started out as a hot coffee. Then I put my own ice and milk and Splenda and stirred it up. It LOOKS like an iced coffee, but it's really a hot coffee with ice."

She considered that for a moment.

"Really. I made it myself. It's not from the machine." I looked hopefully at her, sending thought beams into her head that said, "hot coffee with ice, hot coffee with coffee price."

"Ok." She charged me for hot coffee, no ice.

Sheesh. I don't know when or why iced coffee became so popular. It's like nobody ever drank it, nobody ever thought to put ice into hot coffee, and now you can buy it anywhere. It's like the prostitute of beverages. Overpriced, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, and you can buy them at the corner.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

clown vomit

I've been MIA for awhile.

Here's what's happened in the last, say, 3 months:

Son: hospitalized twice. Hold your phone calls, he's ok.

Ok. I said 2008 had been the worst year ever, but then, here's 2009, threatening to TOP it.

Now that I have these rather life-changing events in my rear-view mirror, I can try to devote a little more time to caustic comments about my colleagues, shopping, and cultural and political mores.

It's like waking up with a hangover, but I'll give it a try.

It's no secret I hate shopping. I hardly ever shop, and when I do, I generally hate it. But here's one more reason to hate it:

Every shirt out there for women looks like a big, poofy airbag that a clown threw up on.

Honest to frigging GOD, WHO designs this shit? A bunch of anorexic designers huddle around the table like witches. They take these giant, gauzy potato sacks, wrap the sleeves in elastic, creating these poufy michelin man sleeves, and then perhaps a string of elastic at the bottom, so the effect is rather like wearing a psychedelic trash bag ...oh for the love of GOD, I can't even DESCRIBE what these things look like because they're so ugly.

And you can SEE through a lot of these things. If you can get past the blinding colors and patterned rainbow vomit patterns, you'll notice that you can see bras and skin and everything underneath. So what do you do, wear a camisole? What's the point of wearing something light and gauzy if you have to layer it with a camisole beneath? Kind of eliminates the cooling effect of the cottony-poly-nylon whatever blend of the shirt, yeah?

BTW. Will SOMEBODY please make a short sleeve shirt that actually covers my bat wings? Thank you.

Jeebus, I hate clothes today. Nothing looks good on me. I'm too tall. And not skinny enough.

Anyway. Clearly I am way out of the fashion loop this year. And every year. And I suppose that's where I will stay.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

here's your link, Mike!

I'm a bad blogger.

Mike has had a terrible time losing money while trying to obtain a hypoallergenic cat. I've linked to his blog detailing how he and many others have been ripped off by this thieving, conniving outfit. Please see the link at right to avoid his plight.

I can sympathize. When I looked for a dog, all I knew was that I wanted to adopt one, but I had no idea what I wanted. A labradoodle seemed like a good choice, tempermentally, and it was a bonus that they allegedly don't shed. I had a poodle growing up, so I knew they don't shed.


The adoption organization was on the up and up, fortunately. But what started out as a modestly sized puppy grew up into a beast about 5 times bigger than I'd imagined, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, and sheds like...sheds like...a, oh I don't know. A giant, hairy, sheddy cat. All year, all the time, all over the house.

He's a great dog, and I don't care that he sheds. I like the way his feet smell.

In the meantime, this is what I saw today in the WaWa parking lot at, like, 8 am:

That's right. It's the Green Hornet car, or at least a version of it. It was playing the TV theme song from under the hood.

That was kind of weird to see that early in the morning.

Friday, February 20, 2009

guyz 2 men

A couple of things have been bothering me. I'll start with this one:

The Cialis ads and their ilk bug me just because they seem to be disguised as promos for bad soft core porn movies. But now we have the ads for Flomax. Men together at the ball game, playing golf, kayaking..they're like women wearing tampons. (And how does one "wear" a tampon, anyway? On one's head?) Next thing you know, they'll be riding horses and doing gymnastic splits, to emphasize that SOMETHING SINISTER is going on with their crotch area.

That something, of course, is that they have a weak stream.

A mere dribble of a stream.

I don't know much about urology, but I'm guessing, given all the fun these gentlemen miss out on--like the foul ball catch or having their picture taken with a Hooters girl--because they're always running to the bathroom, that this is a problem. They feel like they have to go all the time, but then don't get the relief of a piss with the velocity of a power washer. They dribble. So I guess I can understand why a man wouldn't want to mount the pommel horse or ride a Harley, if that's how he felt.

But the bigger problem with this is that they're "guys."

These old men are referred to as "guys" in the commercial. Not "men." To me, the word "guys" evokes a certain playful youthfulness and free spirit perhaps belonging to males younger than, say, 50, with adequately functioning water works. Guys are dreamy, they wear baggy jeans and tees and they're in love with love and metal and music. Men have baggage and history and wrinkles and grey and experience.

Sometimes men are wonderful. I'll use the Phillies as an example: Chase Utley: guy. Jamie Moyer: man.

I just don't like the advertising industry taking this fun, happy word and turning it into something that applies to old men who can't piss right. I understand why, of course. It's us damn baby boomers. We don't act our age. Admittedly, the guys I used to hang out with back in the day...I can't bear to call them anything but guys, and they're all in their 50s . They should be men by now.

By rights, then, I am close to being a "woman." But until I hit that mark, I think I'll stay a gal.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

embarrassing your kids, part 57

My kids are officially at the point now in their development that they're embarrassed by me even if I do something as simple as look in their direction.

Of course, part of the problem lies with me.

I happen to talk to people in stores. Salespeople, the old lady in the supermarket aisle, the pimply cashier in the Heritages, the kids playing hide and seek around a carousel of women's bras. Not just hi, but, "hi, hey, you look familiar." "Where'd you get that nose ring?" "You smell good." "Did your mom say you could do that?" "I'm sorry; I took your cart by mistake." I genuinely enjoy these brief interactions.

So if the boys are with me when I launch into some inane conversation with total strangers, they cringe and look at me as if to say, oh GOD, no, not AGAIN, she's talking to the cashier, god, we'll never get out of here, why does she have to do that, can't she just buy her shit and go? Why does she have to turn a simple transaction into a tea party?

I don't know if they really think that, but they look it.

But the latest thing, this little...thing I do now that I don't recall doing before, is dancing in public. In stores. While shopping.

It goes something like this: so we're in PetSmart, Jeremy and I...I'm lamenting--out loud, to no one in particular--that they are out of Kitty Wonder Boxes. In between whines, I notice that the Police are on the speaker: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. Well, that's a happy little tune. And if you remember the video, toward the end, the guys are at the control panel in the studio, and they start to dance, and you see Stewart Copeland, in his tennies, dancing in the background (yum, Steward Copeland.) He's tall and blonde and cute and doing this funny dancing thing in the background, this kind of loosey-goosey jumping that passed for dancing back in the day.

So when they get into the chorus, I mildly start doing the Steward Copeland dance. There's plenty of room in the aisle, so I dance a little more animatedly.

There's nobody around, but Jeremy's horrified nonetheless.

"MOM. Stop dancing! What are you doing?!" he hisses.

"It's the Stewart Copeland dance. You wouldn't know it," I say.

"But MOM. Stop!"

"What? What? Am I embarrassing you?"


"Oh, c'mon. Where's your sense of humor? C'mon, lighten up!"

He walks off.

Another time we're in the Hot Topic store, and Jeremy is with me; he's looking for some stupid punk thing. There's a song that comes soon as it starts, I start nodding my head, you know, in that way people do. I've never heard the song before, but I really like the beat. In moments, I'm shaking my shoulders a little, then there go the hips and the feet and I've got the hands going around in front of me and I'm doing this little shimmy in a very small space between carousels.

Jeremy, of course, is mortified; this time there are people nearby, who seem oblivious to my ugly and perverse gyrations. Then it hits him how ridiculous I look and he starts to smile.

"You like that song?" He's amazed I might like a song playing in Hot Topic.

"Yeah. I like the beat. In fact, I'm going to ask a salesperson who does it."

"Oh, no, Mom, don't do that..."

Too late.

He slinks off to look at hats while I ask the pimply sales dude with the nose ring to find out what song it is. I'm pretty certain he doesn't get requests like this often.

He politely takes me to an album in their selection: It's NERD. The song is Laugh About It. Never heard of them, never heard of the song.

Jeremy and I return home. I immediately download the song before I forget it. I start to play it.

"Hey, is this that song you were dancing to in the store?" Jeremy asks.

"Yeah. It's ok, isn't it?"

"Yeah. I like it." He smiles, and considers his mother. She might be nuts, but maybe nuts in a good way.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

So long 2008, you worthless piece of shit

Hah! Ok, THAT was a little harsh, but seriously, 2008 was absolutely THE worst year of my life. Ever. I mean, there's a backhistory to all of this that I'm not laying out here, but truth to tell, the tumor didn't help. It completely changed the family dynamic. This is the "new normal" as they like to say, but I'll just add that the new normal sucks. But it's probably no suckier than the old normal, which sucked too.

Anyway, I do get out from time to time, and recently I attended an art opening at this...well, for lack of a better word, in Philly. A coworker was showing some pieces, so I wanted to show my support for his pieces.

It was a First Friday, kind of an art crawl through the city, and stuff is free. So the place was mobbed with snotty art students and posers and actual artists and me, this middle age freak from NJ. I was pretty clearly out of place, but it didn't matter, really: I was completely invisible.

(Used to be I would walk into a bar or somewhere, and I'd turn a head or two. Now, I'm just a cypher. I walk into a place and the sea doesn't part, the talking doesn't stop, the earth doesn't shake anymore. Nothing. Nada.)

But acompanying this middle age anonymity is the knowledge that a growing part of me just doesn't give a shit what people think. So that's kind of cool. I left the show and headed over to National Mechanics, a bar that Mr. Master told me about. He was going there later with his friends, and I wanted to hang out in the city for awhile.

I haven't gone to a bar with the knowledge that I may actually end up sitting there alone for...well, decades. But I walked in, noboy noticed, and I sat at the bar and ordered something girly.

Pretty soon the guy next to me started making conversation. His name was Steve and he was some kind of accountant. He looked eerily similar to Dane Cook. He was chatty enough, so what the hell, I talked to him, right? I don't care. I'm always very civil to men in bars.

Well, first he pegged me for 32--at which I laughed uproariously-- and explained his choice of age: he always figures a woman's age and then subtracts 10 in the hope of getting lucky. Steve, for the record, was 24. Technically old enough to be my son.

But something told me Steve just wanted someone to talk to, not a romp in the hay. So I continued to talk to him. Then Mr. Master came in with his friends. Yay, Mr. Master. He bought me a shot, and I went and talked to him.

Then, Steve came over with a shot...for Mr. Master. And I could now see that Steve is really short. Mr. Master was puzzled by this. I don't know what bar protocol is about buying shots, but this smelled sinister to me. Was it poisoned? Was Steve feeling jealous? Mr. Master thanked Steve, and Steve returned to his seat. I asked Mr. Master what THAT was about.

"He's trying to impress you."

"You're kidding, right?"

"No. I bought you a shot, and he's trying to impress you by buying me a shot."

"But...maybe if he wanted to impress me, he should buy ME a shot." Clearly, I don't know protocol.

This went on for a while: I would get up and talk to Mr. Master, and go back to my seat at the bar next to Steve, who henceforth will be called Dane Cook. I did this several times and the last time I returned to my seat, my leather jacket--and Dane Cook--were gone.

I looked around the immediate area--it was jam-packed by now--and didn't see it. I stood on my tiptoes, making me, essentially, taller than most everyone in the bar--and didn't see it. Several minutes went by, and I determined that Dane Cook must've made off with my jacket, that fucking weirdo.

"Sonofabitch made off with my jacket!" I exclaimed to Mr. Master.

"What? Really?"

"Well, I don't know. It's gone. He's gone. Somebody took my jacket."

And then...through the crowd, little Dane Cook pushed through, looked up at me like a puppy and with a hopeful grin, held my jacket up for me.

"I went to the bathroom and took it with me, because I didn't want you to lose it."

Now, I couldn't decide which was the icky part: him taking my jacket into the bathroom with him, and if so, where did he put it and what did he do with it in there? Or him taking my jacket into the bathroom and then bringing it back to me in, perhaps, the hope that this little ploy might get him laid by someone old enough to be his mother?

Could it be that he was just...being nice? This gave me pause. I considered him and those hopeful doggie eyes. I just wanted to pat him on the head. But instead, I said thank you, very politely, and ignored the urge to crack wise about it and instead, forced myself to view Dane Cook's motivation as pure and his action as genuine, if icky. I then headed out, well into the next morning, to catch the train back to NJ.

I liked that bar.