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May. 16th, 2008

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You Want A Piece Of Me?

I am so very, very cranky this morning. It's one of those days where I hover right on the edge of hysteria all day, I can tell. Every little thing is bugging me far out of proportion to the offense. Anyone who calls my house today trying to sell me something better WATCH OUT.

I really hate the fact that I never get any private bathroom time anymore. Someday I'd like to be able to shower and get dressed without being peppered with a million questions. "Why are you putting that on? What is that stuff? Can I have some? Why are you doing that? Why do you have big ones, and I only have small ones? Why do you have so much hair? Was that sound the sound of poo?" I feel desperately in need of a little personal space, so BACK OFF, kid.

I really hate the fact that our backyard is a total mess and we haven't seen the patio guys in two weeks now. They lost the window of time they had set aside to finish up our patio due to the rain a few weeks back, and now they are tied up in other projects. We don't know when they'll have time to come back and finish our job. Even though we knew that was the deal when we hired them -- they fit in jobs like ours around their main job, which is doing patios under contract for a pool company -- we're getting a little pissed. Actually, this morning, I am upgrading to a lot pissed. There's tools and rebar and deep holes all over the backyard, which makes it very hard for the kids to play back there safely, which means we are stuck in the house every time the Wee One has a nap, and it may as well be wintertime for all the outdoor playing we are doing. All the crap all over is also making it impossible to take care of the lawn -- we can't cut it or fertilize or anything else.

And speaking of that, I really hate our lawn and all grass in general. Our lawn is a mess of weeds and bare patches and frankly, it looks like ass, but due to the patio work we can't take any drastic steps right now. Personally I would like to rip it all out and then throw it against a wall and then stomp on it a bunch and then feed it through a wood chipper, and then pave over everything that used to be a dandelion field. But that's probably just the bitchiness talking.

I really hate the fact that more than half the houses on our street now have pools, or are getting one this summer (three more going in on the street as we speak!). What the hell is this, Los Angeles? Actually, it's not the pools themselves that I hate, it's that I totally blame them for having standing water in the spring, which has led to there being approximately ONE BILLION mosquitoes on our street. The other night I walked out to get the mail from our Super! mailbox at dusk, and there were hundreds of mosquitoes swarming around my head. You probably think I am exaggerating but I am not -- it was like a scene from The Birds only it would have been called The Mosquitoes. I was actually afraid to breathe because I thought for sure I would suck a few of them up into my nose, that's how thick they were around my head. I'm trying to raise the kids not to have an irrational fear of bugs but I hate mosquitoes, they give me the heebie jeebies, and incidents like this do not help. On Wednesday I walked home from MyFriendJen's house after book club, which is a distance of about six houses, and I got SIX mosquito bites in that time. Mosquitoes SUCK, and pools SUCK, and anyone else with standing water SUCKS.

At least it's garbage day. And I have last night's Don't Forget The Lyrics on the PVR. Time to turn this day around.

May. 14th, 2008

Speedy

Modern Times

I attended the Mother's Day Tea at Gal Smiley's preschool this morning. The kids sang songs and did a little dance, then presented us with a lovely gift, all while the moms were served tea or coffee, and cake. It was as sweet and adorable as you'd expect.

The funniest thing happened, though. These kids are all three years old -- a handful of them have turned four already. During the little dance, one of the boys dropped his cell phone.

It was a real cell phone but I assume that it did not have service and was being used as a toy. Otherwise, I have moved beyond fogey and into Neanderthal Man territory.

Along a similar vein, sirmonkeypants tried to explain to the kids last week that when we were young, there was no Elmo on Sesame Street. No Elmo! The kids totally cannot understand that. Where was Elmo? Why wasn't he born yet? Who did they get to host the Elmo's World segment? Who would be best friends with Zoe?

When sirmonkeypants told them that Zoe wasn't on the show either, it pretty much blew their minds.

And on another similar note, a couple of days ago I told Gal Smiley that when I was a little girl, my house had no computer. I realized as soon as it was out of my mouth that I sounded exactly like my own mother trying to make us believe that when she was little, her family did not have a TV. That's just crazy! That's so totally old school! Gal Smiley doesn't really believe me, by the way. It's so crazy to me that they'll grow up in a world where the internet always existed and you've always been able to pause the TV when you need to pee.

News flash! I am old!

May. 13th, 2008

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Good Neighbours Make Good Fences

I like our neighbourhood, I really do. There's lots of great families here and we've made some good friends, as have our children. It's a friendly community where people wave hello to you as they pass you in their cars or stop to say hi and chat about the weather if you meet them while out walking -- even if you've never actually met them before. People bring baked goods to new neighbours and get together for street parties and all that sort of thing.

So it's totally incongruous, I think, that no one around here seems to engage in that age-old tradition of getting a fence in co-operation with your neighbours. Am I crazy, or did it used to be commonplace for people who got fences to chat about it with their neighbour first? Maybe decide on a style together, then split the cost? Invite some input, get together as a group of five or six houses to save money? Or at least give out a heads-up?

It seems that the thing to do, around here at least, is to just pick out a fence, then put it up all around your property, without asking first. To avoid having to ask, you can put it about three or four inches in from the property line. Then, it's all on your property, and you're paying for the whole thing, so your neighbours can just suck it, I guess.

This "three inches in" thing is so common that many properties have a six-inch dead zone between them, a narrow band between two completely different fences, where weeds grow and garbage collects. It's ugly and a hotbed for allergy-causing plants. I really, really dislike the dead zones. It's insane how many of them there are, too.

We have fencing on two sides of our backyard right now. Across the back we have a glaring white fence which we do not like and did not want. The guy who lived there two years ago -- before the Princess Charming family moved in last summer -- chose the fence and ordered the fence and made all the arrangements. Then he came by to "talk to us" one week before the fence went in, to ask us to pay for half of the back strip. We told him we wanted some input on what the fence was going to look like. He responded by -- naturally -- putting the fence three inches in from the property line, and putting up the fence he wanted anyway.

The good news is that after twenty years, we can claim that three inches as ours, because we've been the ones maintaining the grass on that side. So I guess, if he hadn't have moved out of the country, I could go over there and tell him to suck that.

On the one side of the backyard we have a lovely beige fence that we picked out with the neighbours on that side, because we love them and they are reasonable and we both wanted each other to be happy, so we were easily able to find something we both liked.

Now we still have about 10 feet across the back to complete with a different backing neighbour, and then we have to put another strip of fence on the other side. We've been wanting to finish the fence for a while now, but the side neighbours just moved in six months ago, and we didn't want to attack them with fence discussions. Like, "Hi! So nice to meet you! Here are some muffins, and hey, want to put up a fence so we never have to see you again?" That sort of thing seems unfriendly somehow.

But on the weekend, we came home from doing some shopping and hey, there are stakes on the side neighbour side! Outlining a fence! We like those people! We talk to those people! Were they ever going to mention this?

So sirmonkeypants goes over to ask them what's up, and they said they've entertained a couple of quotes but still aren't sure what they want. They'll get back to us when they do know what they want.

Isn't that a little late to be bringing us into their process? Is this going to be another, "We've picked out this, you can pay for half or else?" situation?

And just now, I was sitting with the kids having a snack when I glance out at the backyard and I see...our 10-foot back neighbours STAKING OUT A FENCE.

I'm sitting right here, people! I can see you! Are you going to tell us what the hell is going on? Anytime soon?

I fear that we are going to end up with four different kinds of fence all around our backyard. Which SO sucks, it will be SO ugly.

But I really, really don't want to go out and get our own fence and then line the existing fence with our own PISS OFF WE DON'T WANT YOUR OPINION style of fencing, complete with dead zone all around.

BLURG!

We have good neighbours, we really do. So why can't we make good fences?

May. 12th, 2008

Speedy

Buddy Buddy

The social interactions of five-year-old boys are very mysterious.

The other day I was walking with the kids to the park, and we had to pass by the house of Rocker, who is a boy in Captain Jelly Belly's class. Rocker was in the backyard and saw us walk by his fence (he has a corner lot), and started to yell out, "Hi, Captain! Captain! Over here! Hi! Hi! Hi!"

The Captain just walked on by, looking around all, "Ho hum, nice day, I wonder what we'll do at the park, and what is that weird yelling sound?"

So I said, "Um, don't you want to say hi to your friend Rocker?"

The Captain turns around and casually, very quietly, says, "Oh, hi Rocker." Then he continues walking like he's Tom Cruise and a non-Scientologist was trying to catch his attention. No interest here, buddy! Move along!

On the way home from the park, Rocker had moved out to his front driveway. Again he rushes over to the Captain calling, "Hey, Captain! This is my house! Want to see what we're doing? Want to play with us?"

And the Captain walks on by like he doesn't even know the kid. I actually thought that I must have the wrong house, and this kid must be some random Joe who the Captain did not actually know at all, who just happened to correctly guess his name. So once we'd moved on I asked the Captain if he actually knew that boy, and what does the Captain say? "Oh yeah, that's Rocker from my class."

I felt terrible! Since when are we raising a snubber? Since when am I forced to describe my son by likening him to Tom Cruise?? We have a problem!

Today all the kids woke up really, really early, so we weren't as rushed in the morning as usual. sirmonkeypants decided to walk with the Captain to school.

On the way they passed Rocker's house. Rocker was already out on the road, walking on his way to school.

This time, Captain JB was all, "Hey! Hey Rocker! ROCKER!! Hi!!"

And Rocker was like, "Did you say something to me? Do I know you?"

So apparently, the Captain is nothing more than a normal five-year-old boy. And apparently, the proper way to greet a friend who is accosting you with HI! and HOW ARE YOU! is to ignore it, and pretend that it just never happened.

Who knew.
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May. 11th, 2008

Speedy

Oh, Mother's Day? I thought you said, More Sugar Day!

It's almost 5 p.m. on Mother's Day. Here's what I've eaten so far.

  • coffee with cream and sugar
  • jam sweetheart cookies for breakfast
  • a grilled cheese sandwich made with full-fat cheese
  • half a bag of barbecue rice chips
  • a glass of chocolate milk
  • half a giant bag of cotton candy (for the love of GOD, will someone please pry the cotton candy from my hands before I go into a diabetic coma?)
  • half a banana
  • a Nutrigrain bar (sort of like a soft-shell PopTart)


It's a very good thing I took the day off DietPower. I have a feeling my comments for the day might include, "Your daily sugar is trending far above target."
Speedy

Now I Get It

I do the grocery shopping on Sunday mornings with the Wee One. I like to get to the Superstore right when it opens, at 8 a.m., so we can shop and get home in time for the Wee One's morning nap.

Usually we have the place pretty much to ourselves.

This morning, when we arrived at 8:05 a.m., I noticed there was a decidedly unusual number of cars in the parking lot.

While I was loading the Wee One into a cart and getting my bags and list ready, at least ten different scruffy-looking men in baseball hats came out, each carrying nothing but one bunch of flowers or a potted plant.

Happy Mother's Day!

May. 9th, 2008

Speedy

Etsy Addict

Yesterday Mrs. Carl Sagan and I spent all morning surfing at Etsy and emailing our finds back and forth. Every five minutes one of us would continue to ignore the needs of our children, and instead would dash off a quick link or two to some really cute ragdolls, or crocheted cupcakes, or thank-you cards, or bracelets. I'm sure the kids will forgive me when they see the super cute homemade puzzles they'll be getting in their stockings this year!

We are quite far gone with the addiction, you see. It's sort of like going to one of those Arts and Crafts shows, which we used to do all the time before it would have involved bringing along three kids apiece with grabby hands and bathroom needs and really whiny voices when bored. Only with Etsy, there's like, a hundred thousand exhibitors. It's so fabulous I could die swooning.

This morning, it's been more of the same. We've both discovered the "pounce" feature in which you can see a constantly updating list of what just got sold a few minutes ago. I have a compulsion to check it every six seconds to see what I've just missed out on buying. I could have owned that! It's like I'm about five years late to the eBay party, what with the constant refreshing of my browser and the bitterness over things I am no longer allowed to buy. Which is typical for me, I'm a late adopter. Have you heard about this new thing called the internet?

Mrs. Carl Sagan upped the ante yesterday by actually purchasing two lovely pendants from Madison Craft Studio. I loved them, and wanted some. But buying stuff for myself is always so hard, so fraught with guilt. Last night sirmonkeypants encouraged me to just go for it, get crazy, spend $15 on myself and call it a Mother's Day gift.

So this morning I put two pendants in my cart...and there they sat for several hours while I went all around the circle of "I don't need it" to "They're too expensive" to "I don't have anything to wear them with" to "TurtleHead, YOU SUCK."

So then I clicked "Purchase." Even though there was a big scary warning under the button that said that once I clicked "Purchase," there was no backing out, ever, EVER. Eeep!

End result, apparently, there are necklaces in the mail. I'm excited! But guilty. So typical.

In other news, Mrs. Carl Sagan also bought some reuseable vegetable bags from Etsy seller Daisy Dots, because she was tired of waiting for ReMarket to restock. The Daisy Dots version are larger than mine (16x12 instead of 10x13) for a little less money, and have pretty coloured ties to boot. They haven't arrived yet, but they look like a good option for anxious environmentalists.

Now I must run. At least 100 things were pounced on at Etsy while I wrote this post!
turtlehead flower

Crazy Monkeys

On Wednesday, Captain Jelly Belly had his first Junior Soccer game. He was so excited; even though it was pouring rain he didn't hesitate to put on his new little cleats (so cute!) and run out onto the field.

Before the game, the team had to pick a team name. The Captain and I had talked about this a few days earlier. He'd just finished jumping off the edge of the bed onto a pillow and I'd called him a Crazy Monkey, so the Captain said he'd like to name his soccer team the Crazy Monkeys.

I thought that was pretty good.

I warned him, though, that the other kids would all be allowed to submit an idea. Then everyone would choose as a group and maybe they wouldn't pick his idea. And if that happened, he was NOT ALLOWED TO CRY, instead he just had to shrug and say, "Oh, well, maybe next time."

Every day for the past week I've been emphasizing that they might not pick his name. SO BE PREPARED.

So what happens on Wednesday? The coach asks if anyone has a name suggestion.

One lone hand shoots up in the air. "Captain?" "CRAZY MONKEYS."

No one else had any other suggestions. One boy kept saying that he did not like Crazy Monkeys, but he had no ideas of his own. He's going to grow up to be one of those naysayers in meetings who poo-poos on everyone else's hard work while contributing nothing of his own.

Too bad, naysayer boy!

Crazy Monkeys it is.

We're so proud.
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May. 8th, 2008

Speedy

Glamour Gal

Some of you may be wondering how my little shopping excursion went last week.

It went pretty well.

After five minutes in the store I had my usual closed-throat reaction to clothes shopping and almost burst into tears. But I fought through the terror and forced myself to stay. I grabed like, 50 things and headed to the changeroom -- because there is nothing I hate more than getting naked and putting on a shirt, only to find out that it is too tight and I need to get all dressed again only to go back out into the garish store light and the booming music to search for another size, and repeat. One changeroom visit only, that's my limit!

Most of the stuff did not work at all. But some of it did.

In the end I walked away with three very nice spring-like short-sleeved shirts, and one cute denim jacket which I like but I already wonder where the hell I'm going to wear it.

Here I am wearing one of my new shirts and my hot-ass pants, on my way for a duty day at Gal Smiley's co-op nursery school:


Even though I was very pleased with this outfit, looking at this picture of myself leaves me cringing because my hair and face are such a mess (I admit I chickened out and used the smallest possible photo so you don't get a lot of face detail). My hair is in that tragic state called "eight-weeks-post-cut," when it can't quite decide if it wants to be straight or curly and is really in need of reshaping to calm it down. This is when I usually start to wear it exclusively in a little pigtail all the time but this time I've decided that I'm a grown woman, dammit, and I should probably try for a more adult look, so this day in particular I decided to try wearing it down. Unfortunately my hair did not want to cooperate. Of course, it would probably point out that it was not helped by the fact that I completely refuse to blow dry. It makes me cranky. No more blow dryers ever!

As for the rest, I'm really past the age where I can be running around town with a makeup-free face but I hate makeup -- I have a ton of pimples STILL, apparently my pores have not yet received the message that I am THIRTY-SEVEN, for God's sake, and makeup makes it worse because I hardly ever remember to wash it off my face at night. Plus, I can never seem to remember that I have the stuff on, so I'm constantly rubbing my eyes or licking my lips or sitting with my chin in my hands, only to discover my hand is now a lovely shade of plum while my face is now naked.

I feel committed to making over my wardrobe in the upcoming year, but the nice pants and cute tops are only highlighting the fact that I also need to do something from the neck up.

Man, you get one pair of hot-ass pants and it all steamrolls from there, doesn't it?

I think I need more products in my house. Something to smooth hair. Something to even out my facial skin without feeling heavy or requiring a lot of blending like foundation. Maybe some pretty shiny lip gloss. And eye cream. Do I need eye cream? And night cream? Who can say. I totally skipped that whole part of adolescence where you experiment with face wash and eyeshadow and learn how the hell it all works together to produce a glowing, beautiful you, so I need lots and lots of advice. Please leave me your product ideas!
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May. 7th, 2008

Speedy

Literary Bran Flakes

Meme! From burrito19!

What we have here are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you read for school, underline the ones you started but didn't finish (or are on the shelf waiting for a free week).

TurtleHead's marked list after the cutCollapse )

Poor Margaret Atwood and Jane Austen. They appear to be the literary equivalent of Bran Flakes -- everyone thinks that they will be boring and only buys their books because they are supposedly "good for you" and then ignores them, when really they are a truly tasty treat.

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