Monday, February 28, 2011


For three tragic months late last year, the McDonalds near our house closed down for renovations. By "renovations" they meant "tear the whole thing down to the ground and start over from scratch." Though I'm not a huge McDonalds eater, I do appreciate a good Big Mac now and then; their grilled chicken sandwiches are especially tasty; and, let's face it, nothing beats fresh, hot McDonalds fries. But the biggest draw for me at McDonalds is the play land. All winter long when my kids are going stir crazy, and even in the summer when it's too hot to be outside at a park, the possibility of letting my kids scream and run and slide and socialize in a climate controlled environment with Coke refills for me is nearly irresistible. So I was a bit sad when our McDonalds closed down. Well, except for the fact that that particular location was A GIANT PIECE OF CRAP. The whole concept of climate control was in theory only. Because in summer there was no a/c in the play land. It was easily 100+ degrees in there. Not that my kids minded. But I had to move my sweaty self out to the main restaurant area in order to keep from melting. In the winter they somehow failed to heat the play land, so it was only slightly warmer than outdoors. And what did they say when I complained, numerous times, about the heating/air conditioning situation? Every time it was, "Well, the climate control box is locked and we don't have a key," or "The owners don't let us adjust the temperature." This was coming from the manager! After a while I simply stopped going to that location.

But I am pleased to announce that as of a couple of months ago, they finished the renovations and the new Micky D's is up and running. And, boy, did they go all out! You almost feel like you are in the lobby of a posh Manhattan hotel. Well, IF you hold your nose so that you can't smell the odor of hot grease. Well, AND if you plug your ears from the constant sounds of children screaming. But anyway, it's pretty nice. Not like any McDonalds I've ever been in, for sure. The walls are covered in neutral colored pebbles against an espresso-stained wood background. Sleek stools with trendy colored cushions sit around cherry wood (laminate, this is McDonalds) high-tables. Smoked glass pendant light fixtures in a modern shape dangle above the booths. Really, it is pretty fancy. For a Mcdonalds.

And the play land, ahhh...heat AND a/c! So luxurious!

Now if only they could manage to get your food out to you in less than 10 minutes. I mean, this is FAST food still, right? But I guess you can't have everything. I have thought about complaining, but I'm afraid they'll just say, "It's the kidney bean shaped tables or a hot Big Mac, lady. You choose." Well, I guess I choose a luke warm Big Mac. Just keep the Coke refills coming, and it's all good.

Friday, February 25, 2011


We have had a few warmish days over the last few weeks. Not many. And not VERY warm, but you could feel the hint of spring in the air. You could go outside without a jacket. I even wore flip flops one day because I was overheating! But then it turned cold again. Yesterday was REALLY cold. A nice "haha" from Mother Nature. But I'll tell you what, when I'm longing for spring, and I'm so sick of cold, and I really just want it all to be over with already, there is one way to still make me happy about a lingering winter...

A giant snowstorm!.

Ironic, I know.

Nothing tastes as good as fresh snow...

Someone has to protect these little (dead) plants from the blizzard!

Mom, I'm ready to come in for some hot chocolate now...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Princess And The Pea

Today Daphne suddenly decided, after five years of wearing them, that socks were absolutely, positively, and in every other way, intolerable. She simply could not handle wearing them. As I was getting her ready for school, she burst into tears and tore them from her feet screaming, "I hate socks! I really hate them!"

This isn't the first time she has exhibited sock issues. She has inherited a little bit of her sock OCD from me--I do have some rather strong preferences concerning my socks, starting with what they are made of (predominantly cotton with 5-10% Lycra to keep them snug. No wool, no polyester, and definitely NO animal fibers like cashmere or angora. Yes, the actually make socks out of angora!), how high they go on my leg (I don't like ankle socks unless I'm wearing athletic clothes or golf shorts or something. And knee-highs make me batty. Also socks that are meant to me mid-calf but slide down around my ankle go straight into the garbage.), and also if they are on correctly (doesn't everyone feel like pulling their eyeballs out if the seam of their socks across the toes is askew???). But Daphne takes it to a whole new level. I feel like getting her socks and shoes on exactly how she likes them is about the same as dressing a medieval knight for battle. With only two socks, and two shoes, you'd think it would take 30 seconds. But there is so much adjusting and fidgeting and whining and changing that it feels like I have personally carried and tied on a full 100 lb suit of armor by the time I am done.

And then, still, on some days like today everything is still not right. She couldn't possibly wear THOSE socks in THAT position with THOSE shoes AND wear her glasses AND deal with the tag on her pants touching her skin and STILL go to school. So in the end, the socks come off, the shoes get changed into her favorite boots (sans socks...EW!!), her shirt gets tucked in to provide a buffer between the pants' tag and Her Majesty's skin, and only the glasses remain as they started before this battle began. She looks like a cross between a major geek and a street urchin. AND ALL THIS FOR 2 1/2 HOURS OF SCHOOL!

At least the girl in the fairy tail turned out to be a real princess after all that pea-under-the-mattresses drama. But Daphne? She seems to be more from the story of Beauty and The Beast. And I don't mean Beauty. Where is my fairy godmother when I need her? I don't ask much. Just a little spell to bring on summer. Or an early spring. Some situation in which socks are no longer required...
Bibbity-bobbity-flip flops!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wearing Funny

My husband showed me this funny website with these funny t-shirt slogans on it. FUNNY.

And finally, a few dedications:

For Daphne...

For Mindi...

For Beck...

For Big Daddy...

For Jennie (Although I'm sure Big Daddy would say this one is for me.)

For Mr. Jennie...

This website makes me wish I actually wore t-shirts!

Friday, February 18, 2011

How To Make A Victorian Whiteboard

Step 1) Collect :

1 Small Cookie Sheet

1/2 Cup Sugar (or so)

1 Chop Stick (or finger)

Step 2) Start Drawing in the Sugar.

Step 3) Give the cookie sheet a little shake to clear the image.

Step 4) Begin again! This is a great way to get reluctant students to work on their letters, numbers, name, or spelling words.

Step 5) Reward the artist with a little lick before you clean up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Total Freaking IDIOT

I am referring to myself here. Because who else makes it through the majority of a year thinking they're a different age than they are? AND NOT A YOUNGER AGE. I would at least call myself pleasantly delusional if I'd spent the last year thinking I was a year younger than I am. But no, I spent the last year thinking I was 37 when, in fact, I was 36. It was only today that I realized my mistake. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so I was thinking about what it was going to be like to be 38, so dangerously close to 40. And then I realized, WAIT. Big Daddy is turning 40 this year, and I'm 3 years younger than him. That means I am only 36 going on 37. WTF? How did I spend a whole year thinking I was older than I was?? I don't remember the exact moment after my last birthday when this dementia kicked in, but lets just say I can't actually remember thinking I was 36. EVER. What an idiot!

Well, at least I get to have another year before facing that awful 38. And I can still refer to myself as Mid-Thirties. Without lying about it. (Small consolation to what is evidently the early onset of Alzheimers.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Me And Him

My mother called today to wish me a happy anniversary. "What were you doing at this time exactly nine years ago?" she asked.

Well, let's see. It's 10am, so that means the mall was just opening. The wedding was at 1pm, so by now I was at the mall trying to find some shoes to go with my wedding dress. And some jewelry to go with my wedding dress. And some little gifts for my flower girls. If you think that is last minute, my husband wasn't even going to leave to get his hair cut for another 2 hours! He showed up about 10 minutes before the ceremony began.

It was a pretty thrown together wedding. But that's what happens when you're the last of all your friends to get married and they've all moved away and your husband is on his second marriage and wants to make the whole thing as low-key as possible and your mother just isn't the fussing-over-wedding-details type and you have a pretty limited budget for your wedding and you didn't even get engaged (officially at least) until a couple of weeks before the the big day, and you aren't the type of girl who has been planning every last detail of her wedding since she was five--a lot can go wrong.

I should have had a rehearsal (then I would have realized that there was no one to start the music when I began walking down the aisle, that the flower girls had no idea how to throw petals and walk at the same time, that my mother and I could not fit side by side down the aisle because it was too narrow, you know, those types of little details). I should have spent the bulk of my money on a photographer instead of cheaping out and asking a relative to do the pictures. I should have researched honeymoon spots more. I should have hired some kids to serve at the reception. I should have bought my shoes, jewelry, and flower girl gifts weeks before. I should have gone to a salon to get my hair done professionally. I should have gotten to my reception early to take formal pictures (which I have NONE of). I should have requested samples of my flower arrangements to see how they'd look. I should have stopped being so emotional so I could smile normally in my pictures. I should have practiced my "You may now kiss the bride" kiss. I should have invited more people to the ceremony. I should have gotten married in June!

But the cake was delicious. And the reception hall looked great. And the food was good. And we made it through the wedding and reception without any MAJOR disasters. And except for the fact that I threw up that whole night and was sure I had given all my guests food poisoning (nope, it was just me), I guess everything worked out fine.

Most notably, I got to marry the most wonderful, fantastic, caring, hard-working, funny, smart, creative, sweet, generous, ingenious, amazing man ever. He is the best father I could imagine. He makes me laugh every single day, sometimes until I fall on the floor, gasping for breath, tears streaming down my face. He gets up with the kids in the night and gets their breakfast in the morning because he knows how much I love to sleep. He brings me flowers on special occasions even though he thinks flowers are dumb. He has great taste in shoes. He always gives me the last bite of his dessert. He gave up the big closet to me when we moved to this house even though he has 3x the clothes. He is an excellent driver. He works incredibly hard to provide for our family. He cries at movies. He can fix anything. He tries really hard to make sure I'm always happy. And you know what? It works. I am happy. Terribly, hopelessly, wonderfully happy.

Thanks for the best nine years of my life, Sweetie. Here's to 90 more. (Wait....)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I'm so sorry, My Dear, for cursing you with bad vision. I'd blame it on your dad, but considering you only have one bad eye and one good eye, and it's the exact same bad eye I had when I got glasses, I'm pretty sure it's my fault. But, hey, only three more years until contacts!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Protecting The Fourth Estate

I generally avoid talking politics. A) I don't keep up on them enough to know what is going on most of the time. B) It's boooooring. C) Almost all politics disgust me and make me want to move to an uninhabited island, D) "Around here" no one wants to hear my liberal views anyway.


Today I heard something on the news that even I, an admitted Obamaphile, had to shake my head, roll my eyes, and grab my cheeks in an Edvard Munch's "Scream" sort of way over: The federal government's proposed plan to bring high speed wireless internet to 98% of the country.

It's not the money part of this issue that bothers me. Because supposedly this project will be self-funded. They plan on auctioning off 500mhz of bandwidth which will generate far more money than the cost of this project (according to their economists' calculations at least). It's the fact that I highly resent the government taking control of any of our information outlets: radio, TV, newspapers, and internet.

When I was an American history teacher, something I fell into ass-backwards when I was teaching English and World history, I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know before about the U.S.A. One of the things that impressed me most about our country was the idea of the Fourth Estate or Fourth Branch of Government. We have three branches of government that everyone knows about that create a system of checks and balances: Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive. But the last is one with unofficial status, but one which is absolutely necessary for democracy to be preserved. It is the media, the free and unhindered spread of information to the people. Because how can the people be in charge of their country unless they know the truth about what is going on in their country?

So the idea of the government sponsoring the spread of wireless internet all over America scares me. Because when the government provides it, the government can determine what happens to it. In China the government provides the internet and it determines exactly what people get to find out about and what they don't. I'm not suggesting that Obama's plan is tantamount to introducing communism into America. But it is a scary step in the wrong direction.

The thing that I find most amazing and great about our country is its freedom to choose, the fact that the people have more power than the mayors, governors, senators and presidents...IF we maintain it and don't allow it to be usurped. Sometimes giving away some of our freedoms to the government--temporarily, in order to insure our safety, in order to catch terrorists, etc.-- seems harmless. But those freedoms, held close to us, are exactly what make America unique. As soon as we give them away, for any reason, we step closer to a government that rules the people instead of the other way around. No tyrant ever got absolute power overnight. He always couched it in a desire to protect the people, provide more prosperity, ensure safety, etc., and then little by little more of the powers of the people ended up in his hands until it was too late and the people were powerless to stop him. (And I'm not referring to Obama as a tyrant here. I'm referring to the Federal Government in general, the executive branch specifically, but definitely across party lines. I mean you, Bush.)

Call me radical, but I fear ANY instance where we give the president or any other branch of government license to go outside the law (Patriot Act) or do things under the federal umbrella that we should be doing for ourselves. If we need more internet in rural places, then lets find ways to encourage the privately owned companies to do so. It's the only way to maintain control of the Fourth Estate. I appreciate Obama's desire to help those in rural areas and possibly (though I really don't buy into this part either) boost the economy in those sections of the country. But it's just anti-American to go so far out on a limb--financially and politically--when it's something the private sector should be doing for itself.

Ok...back to making peanut butter sandwiches and folding socks. I just had to get that off my chest.

(p.s. If you'd like to comment, feel free. I welcome different opinions. But please do it in a non-crazy-person tone. Crazy-people-comments will not be published. Thanks!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trying To Put Gillette Out of Business

I believe I have spoken several times before about my laser hair removal triumph. I will say it again, it was the BEST MONEY I HAVE EVER SPENT. I had it done on my bikini line and lower legs about ten years ago. And I cannot describe to you (although Big Daddy probably can!) how awesome it is to never have to shave my legs, to have smooth and attractive legs all summer long, all winter long, to be able to rub my legs up against someone in the summer without fear of slicing them up with my stubble, to be able to go swimming at a moment's notice without dying of embarrassment over my hair situation, to wear pantyhose or no pantyhose to church and never fear for the state of my legs.

Anywho, I just got an email today from (for those of you in the SLC area) for a coupon that gives you six laser hair treatments (which is usually enough to get rid of your hair) for $99! You get to chose from several areas to have done, including half legs AND half arms together for that price! This is an amazing deal. When I had my half legs and bikini done, I probably paid about $800 over the course of a year. And when I recently purchased my package to have a couple of new areas treated (I'd tell you which ones, but then I'd have to admit to having hair in areas a lady never wants to admit to having hair), I paid around $600. So this is a super, dooper good deal. And it applies to men too, so if your man is a bit hairy and needs some help, this would be a great gift!

JUMP ON IT. If you have ever considered laser but found it too expensive, or if you ever look at that spot on your body--belly button? Chin? upper lip? Legs? Beard?--and think "I hate this hair! I hate shaving all the time! I wish I could get rid of it!" then this is your golden opportunity because I have never heard of a price like this. If I hadn't already bought my package at 6x this price, I would jump on it myself! In fact, I'm sure I have more hair to get rid of somewhere, so....maybe I will!

Here is the link: citydeals laser hair removal

You are SO welcome. And so is everyone else who has to look at your gross hair. :)

(Edited to add: Reading on their website, due to the popularity of this sale, they are shortly going to change the half arms AND half legs treatment, which is currently considered one area, to two areas. So if you're considering this one, JUMP ON IT NOW, before you only get one or the other for the $99 price.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Period England + Melodramatic Scandal = Perfect

I have been watching the BBC America presentation of Downton Abbey over the last couple of weeks.


I've always been a sucker for a period piece. I'm fond of Jane Austen stuff, and the Bronte sisters, and even some lesser known writers of the time. Anything is good as long as it involves England, complicated social behaviors, foreign customs, forbidden romances, gorgeous costumes, archaic language, breathtaking manors and estates, and puritanical values.

I wasn't sure if I'd like Downton Abby. For one thing, it was written currently, not in the 18th or even 19th century. For another thing, it takes place in the 1910's, not the distant past. Thirdly, it stars Elizabeth McGovern, star of She's Having A Baby, which I thought would throw off the authenticity. Really, I didn't give it much of a chance at all. But I underestimated just how effective it can be to take all the things I love about period pieces and then make them into a SOAP OPERA.


The plot centers around the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three grown daughters, but it also deals equally with the "downstairs," the lives of the house's servants, which you seldom see in period pieces. Though the values and morals of the time are preserved, and the characters generally behave with the decency, honor, and integrity you expect of people from bygone eras (which is what I love about period pieces--reading about people who behaved so much better than people do now), the story still manages to get the characters into all kinds of scrapes and situations that really keep the plot twisting and turning and bringing you back for more. It's like Days Of Our Lives 1913-style!

If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend you do. I'm not sure how you'd get ahold of the past episodes. BBCA reruns? On Demand TV? Hulu? Pirating them somewhere on the internet (which, of course, if you're a network exec reading this, I don't support AT ALL.)? But find a way to watch this show. I guarantee, you'll love it. Unless you're a straight man. Then skip right over to footage of Jimmer Fredette. You'll get the exact same high.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Practically Shakespeare

Yesterday, before I published my Dostoyevsky post, I ran the spellcheck. It came up with the following misspelled words:


This tells me four things about spellcheck:

1) It obviously hasn't been updated in the last decade. It doesn't recognize Ikea, Craigslist, Paypal, or hyperdrive, words that every American today knows and uses on a nearly daily basis. Especially hyperdrive.

2) Its database is extremely low on useful expletives. For Shame, Google, for shame.

3) Really the only word I don't know how to spell is matress mattress.

4) I just coined at least three words! I am a genius!

In conclusion, please feel free to consult me any time in the future that the English language just isn't doing enough for you. Except in cases of actual misspellings. Then I am NOT your girl.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Little Dostoyevsky Before Bed

I'm exhausted. I realize lately that my body just doesn't work like it did before. It gets tired easier. And I can't just push through it like I used to do. It just reaches a certain point and then it GIVES UP. Period.

Also my belly is now officially ginormous. And I've officially gained way more weight than my other two pregnancies. AND I still have three more months to go! How is that possible???

I spent most of the day today preparing for the arrival of the much anticipated loft beds. We had to steal away Daphne's toddler bed/former crib to use for the baby's room, and Big Daddy thought she'd enjoy a loft bed (like a bunk bed but with no lower bunk). Then we figured if we got one for Daphne, Beck would be sad, so we'd better get one for both kids. It's time they moved up into big boy/big girl beds anyway.

They had perfect sized ones at Ikea, and at the right price, but BUTT ugly. Plain pine, plain natural stain, plain lines, and cheap plastic coated cardboardy inserts. Blech. Then Big Daddy found a local guy on Craigslist who custom makes loft beds for a very reasonable price. So we ordered two: one in white to match Daphne's white furniture, and one in cherry, to match Beck's.

In order to get ready for the delivery of the beds, I spent the morning taking apart the old beds. I unscrewed all the bolts, baggied and labeled them and taped them to the frames (all official-like). I carried Beck's frame, piece by piece, off to the storage room. Daphne's bed I carried, almost entirely in tact, up the stairs to the future nursery where I realized, just outside the nursery doorway, that the basement doors are about a foot wider than the upstairs doors and the crib wouldn't fit through in one piece. So there in the hallway I had to disassemble it, carry it through the threshold, and re-assemble it. ARG. Back downstairs to get the mattress, back upstairs to put it in the crib. Back downstairs to vacuum the areas under each former bed, back upstairs to put the vacuum away. Wash all the former bedding, wash all the new twin-sized bedding, fold it, carry it back downstairs, pack away the toddler bedding.

Then, finally, after weeks of waiting, the loft beds arrived and were...CRAP. The cherry one, which should have matched Beck's furniture, wasn't even remotely the same color. It was light reddish orangey brown, like a redwood-stained deck. But lighter. And looked unfinished--no varnish or polyurethane coating. And Daphne's, though painted white, was full of nicks and scuffs and was short a coat of paint in several places. Both were made of awful framing-grade wood, not furniture grade (pitted, holey, dinged, knotty). And both hadn't been sanded down! They were rough and scratchy and even had places where one might get a splinter!! I was so shocked by the color of the cherry bed, and so uncomfortable with confrontation in general, that I didn't say anything to the guy when he delivered them. But after Big Daddy got home and we looked the beds over, ran our hands (carefully) over the surfaces, and compared them to the pictures online, we decided we'd have to call the guy and complain. After having had to threaten to revoke our paypal payment when they hadn't arrived a week ago as promised, and he wouldn't return our calls and emails until Saturday, we were sure he wouldn't pick up and we'd have to put a stop on the payment and hold it hostage.

BUT the one silver lining is that he did answer the phone, he was apologetic and cooperative, and he is willing to take them back and try to fix them to our liking. I'm still a little worried about them coming up to our standards. I mean, if he is willing to give them to someone the first time with them being so awful, what will it take to bring them up to a standard that is acceptable to us now? AND we will have to wait another week+ to get them back again. SIGH....

SO...all that work to get things ready today, and the kids, who were practically in a state of hyperdrive all day in their excitement, had to go to sleep on mattresses on the ground, and I had to soak in the tub for half an hour to try to relax my pulled back muscles.

What I wouldn't give for 800mgs of Advil!

I know, sob sob sob. It's nearly as bad as Crime and Punishment. Sorry you had to relive AP English. (Maybe next time I'll offer some Cliff's Notes.)