Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My Memorial Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Education is what you get when you read the fine print...Experience is what you get if you don't.

I hope everyone had a safe holiday weekend. Hubby was out of town until late Monday night, but he’s back now and all is well.
I am extremely proud of myself, in his absence, I was determined to grill anyway for Memorial Day Dinner, (as is our tradition) and after finally figuring out how to TURN ON the grill, (hey, it’s complicated!) I felt a sort of wild elation that yes, I too could grill meat like a man. Ha! (kinda wished I’d remembered to turn it OFF though—I was on the phone with hubby patting myself on the back when he reminded me).
The kids and I had some yummy barbecue, and we ate outside and enjoyed the atmosphere. Then we made s’mores afterwards (somewhere I hear my sister making a wretching noise—ah memories!)
It was really neat to drive around the neighborhood, everyone had their flags out and our little main part of town was decked out in very patriotic fashion. We have a Humungous flag we keep out from Memorial Day until August 1st, and I always plant red flowers and white flowers in my porch pots. Even my puppy, Hagan, had his red white and blue collar for the occasion, (which, sadly, he kept trying to eat and nearly succeeded).

Cute red white and blue paraphernalia aside, I am very proud to be an American. And I am eternally grateful to the men and women who have fought and died so I can either hang my flag or burn it, whichever I choose. (I’m illustrating a point, I’m NOT a flag burner.)
My thoughts and prayers are with the active soldiers and their families, and to them I would say a THANK YOU with my whole heart.
God bless you and God bless America.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Dreaded Birds and Bees Talk...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it...—Cole Porter

Let me start off by saying that when my hubby and I got married, we decided that when we had kids, we would NOT be afraid to talk about sex with them. I decided that if they were old enough to ask the question, they were old enough to get the answer. End of story.

But that was before the kids came along. Then the kids did come along, and I have found that I have modified that philosophy, somewhat. Now I find myself praying that they will hold off on the hard questions for as long as possible. Unfortunately my kids asked the direct questions at VERY early ages, and I felt it was just too early: When you’re older, I’ll tell you, okay? Now go back and play in the sandbox with your Barney shovel.

I mean, I honestly feel that a kid of three or four doesn’t need to know, not yet. (Hey, I’m human. I want to protect my kids’ innocence for as long as I can, right?) I know I can’t put off answering the Big Question for much longer for my nearly 8-year old daughter. Granted, we’ve had several frank discussions, but not THE discussion.

Of course, my daughter got quite a rude blow about two years back. We had some friends staying with us, and they stayed in the guest room. He was studying to be a doctor, and was fond of falling asleep while watching those gross medical channels where they show lovely things like live surgeries, and documentaries about surgeries, and nothing is left to the imagination, as the camera is usually focused right in on the event.

Well, the morning they left, I was cleaning upstairs and my daughter, then five years of age, wandered into their vacated room and turned on the TV, thinking she was going to be getting Nickelodeon (since their “guest room” was normally the kid’s play room and the TV stayed permanently on either Nick or Disney.)
I was in my room cleaning, thinking she was watching Dora the Explorer or Blue’s Clues, (so I wasn’t alarmed that a woman’s screams could be heard coming from the room) when after several minutes I heard sobbing, and ran to the guest room, to find my daughter, bawling her eyes out. I looked at the TV, and to my complete horror, saw that it was a medical channel and they were wiping off a baby that had just been born, and I immediately KNEW that my five-year old child had just witnessed a live birth (and I was willing to bet a hundred million dollars that the camera had been focused directly on the part where the baby CAME OUT). Horrorstruck, I calmly turned off the TV, and went to comfort my daughter, who, after she collected her wits, announced to me that she would NEVER have a baby, EVER.

I felt awful. I mean, I couldn’t even handle watching the birthing videos that were required for my prenatal class. And how can you delicately tell your child about sex using metaphors and florally language when they have been forced to so grittily and realistically view the end result? Sure, to the adult mind, having babies is a beautiful experience, but to a child of five, all she saw was screaming and blood and who knows what else.
We talked about it recently, and luckily she’s seemed to have adopted a very pragmatic attitude about what she saw then. She now knows how babies “come out,” and its “okay” with her. (She still doesn’t know however, how they get in, but soon, I think, she’ll be wondering.)

With my two sons, I’ve been luckier. Thing three jubilantly announced to me yesterday that he knew his sister wasn’t a boy because she doesn’t have a “stick out peepee.” (Shoving my fist almost entirely into my mouth to keep from laughing, I agreed with him and let him go on his merry way.)
So, I haven’t had to have “the talk” with any of my children yet , other than to give them the correct names for the Male and Female genitalia, (which I figured if I did without embarrassment and as much practicality as possible they wouldn’t A) go around being embarrassed about it or B) announcing it to the world, like that little kid in “Kindergarten Cop.”) and so far all is well. But even with all the technical terms I’ve provided them, they still insist on calling their private parts “peepee.” Which is just fine with me.

I think it might be a smart thing now to have a book on hand, so when my daughter and I do sit down to talk about sex I could hand it to her and command her to read, like MY mother did. Thank heaven my mom had the sense to buy a book (the title: You were Smaller Than a Dot for those of you wondering) and be prepared when I started asking the tough questions.

So I’ve decided to go and find a book, because it’s inevitable that she’s going to ask The Question, and probably sooner rather than later. And I don’t want to be the parent who puts it off until she learns about sex from her schoolmates and goes around believing that women can get pregnant by wearing a bikini and sitting in a Jacuzzi. (I’m pulling a myth from my own experience, here.)
So I want to get a book, just to have on hand, when the opportunity presents itself. A book that we can read together.
Hmm, I wonder if my mom still has her copy of You Were Smaller Than a Dot?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lara's Top Ten Movie Moments

First off--a rousing HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY to my dad, Rich! Woo Hoo! Hope today is a great one!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Well, I have all your equipment in my locker. You should probably come get it ‘cause I can't fit my Numchucks in there anymore.”—Napoleon, from Napoleon Dynamite

I recently read an article on what one person felt was the “Ten Greatest Movie Moments of All Time.” I love movies. I'm actually a huge movie buff (as evidenced by my substantial DVD collection--much to the chagrin of my hubby.) I know lots of useless movie trivia, and heck, I even reviewed movies for my high school and college newspapers.

Unfortunately, I didn't really agree with the "Top Ten Choices" of this particular journalist.
(Well, for starters the writer was a guy, and his all-time favorite movie moment was slightly disappointing, as when Arnold/The Terminator melts into the molten metal at the end of Terminator Two just never did much for me.)

So, in similar fashion, I’ve decided to count down MY top ten Movie Moments. Just for fun, and because I can. *wink*
Starting with number ten. *Warning* If you’re a guy, you might want to quit reading here because I’m a hopeless romantic and a lot of these moments are “slightly” romantic and a little "up there" on the Cheese Factor Scale. So here goes:

#10: The Hunt for Red October: In the end, when the Americans board the Russian submarine, and Captain Ramius (Sean Connery) announces their intention to defect, (which finally justifies all the red tape and hell Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) has gone through to prove that they ARE indeed, defecting.) I always get chills. It never fails.

#9: Sixteen Candles: Every young (and not-so-young) girl’s heart skips a beat at the end of this hilarious high-school satire, when all the cars take off and there is Jake Ryan (the epitome of THE high school hunk), waiting across the street from the church to meet Samantha. And when he tentatively waves at her, and she looks over her shoulder, because she can’t believe he’s finally there, in the flesh--it kinda makes you want to stand up and cheer.

#8: Casablanca: At the end, when Rick, (Humphrey Bogart) who loves Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) so much, lets her go flying off into the sunset with her political-activist husband, despite his own tormented feelings of love for her. What kills me is he’s been wanting to leave Africa for like, FOREVER, and he lets her go, and sends her husband in his place! Waaahhhhh! Powerful, and very moving.

#7: Major League: The last scene, when Rick (Charlie Sheen) Vaugh pitches in s-l-o-w motion (as everyone does in baseball movies it seems) and the Indians win the pennant when Willie Mayes Hayes (Wesley Snipes) slides into home and is safe--literally by the hair of his nose. The elation I felt the first time I saw that scene took me by surprise. It was a well-done ending to a relative disaster of a movie. (What can I say? I like Baseball movies.)

#6: Silence of the Lambs: Like most people who hadn’t read the book, I watched this one with my mouth hanging open in stupefied horror most of the entire movie. The genius of this film is not in the disgusting parts (which were ample) but in the parts they didn’t show, and left to your imagination. But the part that had me white-knuckled and on the edge of my seat ready to run screaming through my whole house: The part in Buffalo Bill’s basement, when the lights get shut off and Clarice (Jodi Foster) is stuck, groping about in the dark, nearly hyperventilating from terror, as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) calmly advances towards her in the dark with night-vision goggles, stretching his hand out to touch her hair…
Heeeeeheeeeheeeyaaayaaaaahhhhhhhh. Not for the faint of heart, decidedly.

#5: Pretty in Pink: Most 30-something women will know exactly what I’m talking about when I merely say: The kiss between Andie and Blane in front of the BMW. “Nuff Said.

#4: Pride and Prejudice: A film with so many great moments, but I have to say, when Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) turned a corner on the grounds at Pemberly and almost walked smack-dab into a dripping-wet Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), I literally felt my pulse go up. Literally.

#3: Somewhere in Time. Most people would agree with me, that it’s hard to single out a “single best” moment from this movie, which is so chock-full of “A-HA!” moments and tear-jerking moments that one leaves the viewing exhausted from the emotional roller coaster ride, not to mention needing to drink liberal amounts of Gatorade from all the water lost by bawling his/her eyes out.
My personal favorite moment: When Richard (Christopher Reeve) first sees the painting of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) in the Hall of History in the Grand Hotel, and he slowly advances towards it while the Orchestration goes on maximum decibal overdrive in the background. (Yes, I’m actually getting goosebumps just by typing about it.) *whew*

#2: Field of Dreams: I don’t know why this affects me so much, but in the end when Ray (Kevin Costner) has a game of “catch” with his dead father (Dwier Brown) I bawl like a baby. Seriously. Like a stinkin’ baby.

#1: A Room With A View: (Okay, all the men who have stuck around to read to this point can feel free to slink away in disgust now, because this movie moment has been my favorite since my sophomore year in high school, hands down.)
It’s the moment when the ever-perfect Edwardian-era gentleman George Emerson (Julian Sands, *sigh*) crosses a crimson-poppy-stained barley field in rural Florence, Italy, to plant a VERY passionate kiss on fellow tourist Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter). I think my VHS copy of this movie was literally worn out at that scene, from all the stopping, rewinding, stopping, rewinding, etc..

Honorable Mentions:

Napoleon Dynamite: The Dance Scene: where Napoleon dances in front of the whole school, to get votes for Pedro.

Ever After: When the Baroness Rodmilla (a.k.a evil stepmother Angelica Houston) gets her comeuppance in front of the newly-minted princess Danielle, and the whole royal French court.

Rocky: (Okay, I loathe boxing movies but when Rocky knocked out Apollo, I almost peed my pants with excitement—along with everyone else.)

Alien: When the Alien came out of Kane’s chest, I nearly went into cardiac arrest. It was so new and terrifying and unheard of, for a science fiction movie made in 1979. (Clearly I didn’t watch it until I was older). They didn’t make them like that, back then. Whew!

So that’s it. That’s Lara's Top Ten. Granted, there are so many great movies with great moments I’ve seen, but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

And now, I 've got the "movie bug"--time to pop some microwave popcorn and raid my DVD collection.
Happy Watching, Y’all, and have a safe and fun holiday weekend! Cheers!

Friday, May 27, 2005

If Jane Austen Had a Microwave...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them."--Jane Austen

First off, a major HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my fellow writer and friend MICHELLE MILES! Yay Michelle! (You can read her blog here.) Our birthdays are only ten days apart so I’ll always remember. Have a good one, girl!

On to the topic at hand, I have been reading one of my Half Price Book spoils, titled: JANE AUSTEN’S WORLD, The Life and Times of England’s Most Popular Author, by Maggie Lane.

You have to hand it to Jane Austen, she was bloody brilliant. Pure and simple. Her grasp of life and its ironies was played out so grandly in her charming, funny, and witty stories. I don’t know anyone who had a better grasp of Human Nature.
But she lived so long ago. When she started writing seriously as a 20 year-old, it was 1795. Her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, came out in 1811. (Yes, a LONG time ago.)

Which brings me to the present question (pardon the pun) If Jane Austen lived in the present, (and yes, cooked her meals in a microwave like most of us) would her stories still be as perfect, if she had written them in modern day?
I have to wonder. It seems that to be a rousingly successful writer in today’s Adult Fiction world you have to have healthy doses of A) Sex B) Cursing C) something gross or sinister involving bloodshed and D) Edginess. (a.k.a latent Sexuality)

Granted, Jane lived pre-Victorian age, so she alluded to sex in her books, but never between her hero and heroine. In that day and age, love between literary characters was intense, yet “noble and true”.
For example, putting it in today’s setting, would the love between Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley be so pure and exhilarating (for the reader) if they constantly “did it” in her bedroom, in his bedroom, at the office, etc., and went into detailed depth about her relationship hang-ups and his occasional need for Viagra? Hmmm. Let me think…most likely NOT.

Not only that, but the wit and language Jane used in her day are so perfect, it would be a shame to translate her words to the modern tongue. (I actually had a friend who lamented that they had an American translation of the Holy Bible, so why not Jane Austen’s works?)

To my friend’s point: No one speaks that way anymore, except for maybe, well, nobody. And no one will speak that way again, sadly. And it was such a romantic and lyrical way of speaking, too. Were a writer to attempt Jane's manner of writing today, he/she would be laughed (possibly even snored) out of the Editor's office. Understanding the archaic language of Yesterday can take effort. But it is indeed beautiful.
For instance: When Mr. Darcy proclaims his love for Elizabeth Bennet, here is his poetic confession:

Mr. Darcy: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Whew! *Lara fans herself and collects her wits* Okay…so if Jane were to write this same sentence today, it might sound something like this:

Mr. Darcy: Man, I’ve fought this, but I can’t help it. I dig you, Lizzie. I really dig you.”

Clearly there is no contest. Needless to say, I am VERY glad that Jane Austen lived when she did. Her prose is so perfect—it just wouldn’t be the same if she lived in the modern world of fax machines and microwaves and dvd recorders. Nothing is that swoon-worthy anymore it seems. *sigh*

...Or maybe I need to get out and read more?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Yes yes YES!!!

(and no, I don't care if that makes me pathetic!) WOO HOO!!!

Oh How Annoying!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success.

I’m feeling snarky today. Apparently I’m the new “ward babysitter” at church. I had two ladies (whom I barely know) call me up yesterday and ask me to watch their kids. I politely declined, telling them I was sick and possibly contagious (which is not a lie) but one of them was pushy and so today I am watching her three young children for her. Thank goodness it’s only for an hour. I mean really, I NEVER did this to people I barely knew. NEVER. (Okay shut up Lara just SHUT UP!)
I was annoyed over it for a while but it’s my own fault that I can’t say a firmer “NO!” Oh well. Hence the snarky mood.

In fact, my entire day was somewhat annoying yesterday. I hate being sick, the kind of sick where your head feels like it weighs ten pounds more than normal. And you can’t breathe, so you have to suck air through your mouth and your lips dry out and you wheeze and you can’t go outside because you might accidentally eat bugs so you stay inside and drink herbal tea and pout because you’re so miserable. THAT was me yesterday.
I was supposed to drive 45 minutes to a dairy farm for Thing Three’s field trip, but I stayed home. I just didn’t feel up to it. I feel bad, because he really “wanted to see the cows” but he sees cows every time I drive to the SuperWalmart, and they’re not that big of a deal. (Or so I’m trying to rationalize, because to a kid of four, they ARE a big deal.)

Then the batteries in my wireless mouse went out and I didn't have any in the house so I had to use the POINTER while working on my novel and DO YOU KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO HIGHLIGHT AND CUT AND PASTE WITH A @#$&**!! POINTER?????

Then Thing One came home from school visibly upset because some girls at school weren’t being “nice” to her. We had a talk and I tried my best to cheer her up (forcing the unpleasant memories of my own first-grade rejections out of my mind). Girls that age can be so mean.

Thing One seemed fine after that, but then I got a call from the mom of one of her friends, apparently her daughter has often been the victim of this particular group of girls as well. She wasn't holding back. When I told her to "remember how we were at that age," she said: "Yes, we were little Bitches!!!" Apparently she's not one to use euphemisms.

She told me that because of the mean girls, her daughter hates going to school and cries at the bus stop some days, begging to not go to school. I felt so bad for her daughter. We both agreed it boiled down to ONE particularly mean ring-leader girl, and this lady was going to call her teacher and explain the situation. I hope they split all those mean girls up into different second grade classes next year, which might defuse the situation.

I mean, you always want your children to be well-liked and to get on in school well, and when it seems less-than-ideal, your heart breaks for them. (I myself was a right know-it-all in gradeschool, and I had very few friends.) I remember how painful it was to be ostracized, and I would eat dirt before I saw my children experiencing the same pain, even if it does help “build their character” and mold them into stronger beings.

Well, I have to run, I have to go babyproof the playroom. URGH.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Kudos to the Lady!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Women who behave rarely make history.

Whether you're Republican or Democrat or Independent, you gotta hand it to Laura Bush. Despite all the turmoil, she’s gone overseas to help smooth things over, and frankly, I think she’s doing a great job. She’s the perfect ambassador. With her grace and poise, she’s an asset to the Bush Administration. Heaven knows they could use her. People in this country either love our President or hate our President (rather vehemently it seems)--our nation is so polarized over him.

But back to Mrs. Bush. During the Presidential elections, for me, there was no contest between Mrs. Bush and “Scruffy.” Whether I agreed with Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry, the winner hands-down between their wives, in my opinion, was Laura Bush.
I think she’s a great role model. She’s intelligent, classy, and more importantly, she’s nice. How refreshing is that? To have a NICE first lady?

I’m not one to project my political views out there, I'm just giving credit where credit is due. Whether she was Democrat or Republican, I would still admire Laura Bush for the way she has done her part. You GO, Mrs. Bush!

On to other things—my hubby and I had an interesting talk last night about “gender roles” and misc. stuff. We came to this conclusion: If we both agree on what our responsibilities are for our family, and it works for us, then it’s the best for us.
We also came to the conclusion that we don’t appreciate each other very much. We lastly agreed that we wouldn’t last an hour in each other’s jobs. (I protested that I would definitely last more than an hour in his job because I have the “gift of bullsh*t” as my friends would say, but an hour with our three hellions and Hubby would be ready for the proverbial Loony Bin.)
SO, we agreed that we don’t appreciate the work that the other does. I think the longer we’ve been married, the more this has become obvious. So it was nice that we had that talk last night.

(It will be even nicer when he has the kids ALL DAY LONG while I enjoy the ALL DAY Spa package he gave me for my birthday!) And yes, the cell phone will be turned OFF.

Ah, revenge is sweet…

Side Note: Apparently (and yes I'm becoming the object of my own scorn by posting this rumor here) there is a rumor that a severe plot leak for the latest Harry Potter Book, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, has occured.
You can read the article here, (from This is London) but READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! There is speculation over the demise of a certain character (who I will not name here) and everyone in Potterland is in a major Kerfuffle of words and righteous indignation over it. You can judge for yourself.
I for one, hope that this character won't be dying, but unless we hear from Jo Rowling's camp (unlikely) we'll be waiting until July 16th to find out the truth.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Depression and Sponge Bob Underwear

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Conforming to nonconformity is still conforming.

I have a yucky head cold. It’s raining outside. My house is a mess again because I’ve been too miserable to clean it. UGH. Part of me just wants to go back to bed (kids are all in school for the next two hours) but another part of me knows I need to tidy up. Of course Hubby commented this morning that he had never seen a kitchen go so fast from clean to messy. I retorted dryly that all it took was one meal around here.
I mean seriously, my kids clean up after themselves when they are finished eating, but then they dump it all on the counters and in the sink. My children are messy. They are all under the age of 8. I told my hubby that a grasp on REALITY would be appreciated here!

Okay, I’m ranting now. It must be the Advil cold. I don’t know why I take the #$&*!! stuff—it doesn’t really work anyway.

Lots of season finales this week—CSI Miami tonight, and then Lost on Wednesday (I stopped watching Alias eons ago, too bad but I just don’t care anymore about Rembaldi or how much Sydney hates working for Sloane, ya know? You can only recycle so many plotlines…)

I was down (as in depressed) all weekend. The kids' soccer games were a highlight, Both Things Two and Three got a goal each for their team (I was so proud!) but after that I got sick and nothing seemed fun or good. And I’m depressed because there’s no sun. I think I need to go get my violin out and play myself a woebegone tune…SHEESH!!

Hubby is going to his parent’s house this weekend to help them move from the house they’ve lived it for 30+ years to a brand new one. Apparently my mother-in-law is a complete mess, she’s way too nostalgic to do much packing herself, and everything she unearths during packing belongs in a shrine of memories to her kids (who have all moved far away but one). That would be weird, to live in one place for so long and have to uproot. Granted, they’re uprooting across the street practically, but it would be weird all the same.

I need to force myself to do some laundry. I had to put Sponge Bob cartoon underwear on Thing One this morning (yes, she’s a girl--wearing her brother’s underwear) because she was all out of clean underwear and let’s just say she was NOT amused. But I assured her she should thank her lucky stars--it could have easily been Spiderman or Batman. Who knows, maybe the girls at school will think it’s cool that she’s wearing boy underwear and she’ll start a trend.

Or of course I could realize that I’m being a bad mom, and I need to get off my duff and wash come clothes…what do you think?

Friday, May 20, 2005

This and That...

Quote of the Day: Avoid throwing sh** at the fan...

Watched Mansfield Park late last night; the version with Frances O'Connor. Now that is a really well-made movie. (Most likely because a woman directed it--women always seem to grasp the humor of Austen the best!)
I am on a Jane Austen Movie Collecting Kick as of late, my next buy will probably be Persuasion--the 1995 version. There are so many versions of Jane Austen out there. But of course, the only one that does NOT need to be remade (and sadly has been already) is Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth. No one can hold a candle to his Mr. Darcy. In my humble opinion...

--Went to Thing One's First Grade Concert last night, and she got to dance in front of the entire crowd--she looked nervous at first but then she really got into it and shook her booty (to her father's dismay) like a pro. *sigh* She's going to be 8 in October and she's growing up so fast!

--For those of you Phantom of the Opera Movie fans, here's a tip: spend the few extra bucks to get the deluxe 2-disc dvd set, because the second dvd is PACKED with lots of Phantom backstory, (highly entertaining and interesting) and then the fun interviews and behind-the-scenes peeks. It was almost as fun to watch as the movie itself! I got to see Phantom when it came to Dallas, but of course Hubby and I had tickets in the nose bleed section and I might as well have been on the roof, for all I could see. (I was more entertained by how terrified his mother was that she could possibly fall off the balcony with one misstep... :-)

--Hubby and I are going to see Star Wars on Saturday night. I sort of don't want to see it. I mean, you know how it ends and it's very depressing, so why bother? Who wants to watch a talented warrior's descent into evil and half-machine existence? YUCK. Of course I cheated and looked up the plot at Movie Spoiler (my favorite place to surf) and it seems okay.

Time to clean the house! I've let it go this week because I have no energy. Don't know what's wrong, but I need to snap out of it. Now. My kids have been having bad dreams/needing drinks of water/potty breaks at 2 and 3 am almost every morning this week. I'm probably just exhausted from consistent nights of interrupted sleep.

I think a long nap on Sunday is in order...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Can't think of a title for this one...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: There are two times when to keep your mouth shut: When swimming and when angry.

My poor boys are bummed. They really wanted to see Star Wars, but now that it’s been slapped with a PG-13 rating, that won’t be happening any time soon. (They're ages 4 and 6) I guess it’s for the best. I heard it’s very dark and gruesome in some parts. (And I feel guilty letting my boys watch Harry Potter, which is a solid PG!) But it's a bit of a let down since it's been so heavily promoted and EVERYTHING has a Star Wars theme on it right now. (I think I saw Star Wars toilet paper at the local Jewel store the other day!) They even have an entire aisle at Target devoted to Star Wars Toys. And then they go and make the movie too mature for kids. Oh well. George Lucas had a story to tell, and he told it. I'm hearing it's actually quite good.

In other news, Hagan is at the Groomers today. The house feels empty without my little Cavy.

I had a very upsetting experience last night (angry parent confrontation) and I am still so sick over it I need to go SHOP or something. I’ve really become obsessed with European history lately, so I might go see what Half Price Books has to offer.

Lastly, Thing One has her First Grade Concert tonight. She’s TERRIFIED because her Phy Ed teacher singled her out (with five other kids) to do the Electric Slide in front of all the parents. I hope she doesn’t wet on herself. She’s quite a little “performer” but only at home. She suffers from the classic “stage fright.”
I told her not to worry, if she froze up and stood there like a deer in headlights while the other kids danced around her, I’d still love her. (Unfortunately she didn’t appreciate that comment as much as I hoped…)

Well, kids are coming home in five minutes…I need to run!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Birthday that Almost Wasn't...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I can’t believe it. They @$%&*!! forgot my birthday!”—Molly Ringwald, Sixteen Candles

That was almost me yesterday. Instead of waking up to a chorus of “Happy Birthdays” from my kids and husband, I was greeted with: “The kids get the garbage out yet honey? Make sure they do it this time.” Shocked, I rose up and dressed, took the dog to the bathroom, got the garbage out (only because all three Things were still open-mouth asleep in their beds) packed hubby’s lunch, folded a pile of laundry, emptied the dishwasher and got breakfast, and still not a whiff of “Happy Birthday.”

Everyone ate breakfast, without a word. I started to get angry. They had forgotten my birthday! What should I do? Spontaneously burst into tears? Start slamming things down and when they ask what’s wrong—tell them? Of course during my deliberations the phone rang and it was my mother, singing Happy Birthday and I told her I had to go, I was so upset. (sorry Mom, but it was kinda rotten timing.)

Anyway, I was fit to be tied. Tied, I tell you. I shooed the kids upstairs to get dressed, and hubby leaned in towards me as he went out the garage door and whispered “and don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten your birthday, we just want to surprise you!”

I was taken aback. What? That, to me, was weird. Why all the secrecy? I immediately suspected (being the full-blown cynic that I am) that hubby had actually forgotten the birthday, remembered it while brushing his teeth, and hurriedly told the kids to act normal so he could tell me that it was all just a big “secret.”

Am I horrible or what? Of course at night, Hubby redeemed himself with lots of gifts--he even got me an icecream cake, which I like FAR better than regular cakes. We went out to dinner with the kids, and it was a great night.

SO, everything worked out (don’t worry mom—she called me several times to make sure I wasn’t off sulking) and it was a good day after all.

Now, it’s back to reality, and speaking of “back”, my muse paid me a visit this morning, because when my puppy wanted to go potty at 5:30, I got inspired after he went and had to run to the computer and type out an ending paragraph to my chapter. I had the heroine mad at her brother for one reason or another, but they let me know that it was an “affectionate anger” and she wasn’t really that mad. They are very close, those two. So I had to clarify their relationship.

In other news, my Thing Three (who is four) is quite the Casanova of his preschool class, apparently. I was a parent helper there yesterday, and all the girls were battling for his attentions. He was just sitting back, basking in it. Sheesh, I think we’re going to have problems with him when we’re older...he's just like his father, that one.

Lastly, apparently my Cavalier has good taste: he very nearly chewed up a pair of my Weitzmans yesterday. OF COURSE he bypassed the Keds, the Sartos and the Bandolinos. He went straight for the BIG TIME, the little sh*t. Lucky for him I adore him. URGH.

Here's hoping today is a good day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'm not Superstitious (knock on wood)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: My Karma ran over my Dogma

I burned my toast this morning. That’s a bad sign. Not that I believe in signs, mind you, but it always seems that when my possessed toaster makes up it’s mind to burn my toast, it’s a signal that the day ahead will be filled with chaos.

Not that I believe in signs or anything…

So I’m tired of banging my head against the desk over this novel. Is it NOT supposed to get written? And of course I seem to be finding every excuse in the book not to work on it—I’m wondering if that’s a sign.

In other news, Thing Two was better yesterday. He only asked if we were going to get hit by a tornado twice, and in code, (because I told him that if he said the “T” Word one more time…he’d get into major trouble.) So he hedged and hawed and hemmed and said “Well, Mom, those clouds are awful dark, I’m wondering if we’re going to get a…you know…the word I’m not supposed to say…”
Not exactly subtle, but at least he didn’t bedevil my ears with the blasted “T” word.

I’ve gotten on an organization kick. What’s really sad is that I have at least 8 boxes of old bills in my basement storage room, and the whole reason they’re there is because for nine years I’ve promised myself I’ll buy a really good shredder and shred them. And clearly I haven’t done it. So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go to OfficeMax and spend a little money on a really good shredder, and I’ll tackle the boxes in the basement. Oh, and in my craft room, bedroom, Thing Three’s closet, the laundry room closet, the garage and wherever else I have stuffed things. TIME TO GET ORGANIZED!!!

Now if I can only find the @#$%!! Car keys! They're usually in one of five places. I always say that to my hubby. Whenever we can't find something really important (i.e. car keys, wedding rings, prescription sunglasses, etc..) I always tell him it's not "lost" its just in one of my five places to put things. Those five places would be: 1)My nightstand, 2) The dresser 3) my office desk 4) The cubby-holes above the kitchen desk or 5) the kitchen counter that's not really part of the kitchen.

Now, if said items are not in any of the five places, then I know that I'm screwed. So, I'll go look for my car keys in one of the five places, and then I'll search for my purse, a pair of shoes, etc.

Yeah, it's time to get organized...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Tornados, tornados, tornados...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes."

My middle son, Thing Two, (who just turned six this week) is obsessed with Tornados lately. Completely, utterly fixated with them. They had a Tornado Unit in school several weeks back, and Thing Two is convinced that a tornado is going to rip our house out of the ground and carry it away at any given moment.

He’s watched Wizard of Oz countless times, (in hindsight I should not have allowed this since it's contributed greatly to his paranoia) he begs me to show him the tornado parts of the movie “Twister” (I won’t show him the whole movie because of the language and the PG-13 rating) and he’s constantly pointing out dark clouds in the sky whether we’re outside, driving in the car, etc.. Here’s a typical conversation:

Thing Two: Mom?

Me: Yes Thing Two?

Thing Two: You see that cloud over there in the sky?

Me: (groans because we’ve had this conversation twice already today) Yes dear, I see that cloud.

Thing Two: Do you think it will turn into a tornado?

Me: No. Tornados are rare, you hardly get them here.

Thing Two: But my teacher said that whenever it rains and there are black clouds in the sky, you could get a tornado. What if a tornado came and got our house? Would we be ok? What if a tornado hit my school during recess? Do you think it would suck us all up…

Me: Sweetie, I don’t think she meant EVERY time there are black clouds in the sky…

Thing Two: But maybe this time we will get one. It could hit our house and we’d have to go to the basement and sit in the bathtub, because the bathroom has no windows. Do you think we’d die?

Me: (slightly exasperated) Honey, we aren’t going to get hit by a tornado.

Thing Two: Are you sure? Because my teacher said that when the clouds are black…


Thing Two: You said that yesterday, and I asked my teacher and she told me that there were tornados in Wisconsin and you were just joking.

Me: Aaaarrrggghhh!!

(Okay, I’m usually not this impatient with Thing Two, but we’ve had this exact conversation at least four times a day for the last few weeks.) It gets old after a while. He is completely neurotic about tornados now, and whenever they test the local tornado siren (every Saturday at noon) I have to reassure him that no, a tornado isn’t coming.

And of course he begs me to tell him about the time when I was caught in a tornado, I was working at Dillards in Sugarland Texas and a small one ripped one entire side off of the store, and the store was closed for a week after that. You should have seen the cosmetics department! Not a pretty sight.
We’ve had a lot of rain here lately, and a lot of dark clouds. So Thing Two is driving me up a tree with all this tornado talk. He always takes what they teach in school to heart so much.
I just got a note saying that they are about to start their “Child abuse and neglect” unit in school. I’m just waiting for the questions on THAT one…

Guess I can’t leave him in the car anymore when I run into the gas station…*wink*

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


QUOTE OF THE DAY: The trouble with being Punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.

I like to read the news. Sometimes, I even like to read the gossip-ey news. But now I’m beginning to think that gossip writers have no imagination at all, the only reason their stories are interesting is because they’re…well…gossip.

For instance, a tax analyst could clearly write gossip news, as long as they use a few key words and phrases (which personally, I’m getting sick of reading). Here are some that I sort of loathe:

1) Bling: Means jewelry, anything super sparkly, and usually hideously expensive. This word, frankly, is so five minutes ago, but gossip reporters still use it religiously.

2) Pulchritudinous Couple: Don’t ask. I know, you’re saying “Wah?” It means that the couple is prone to physical comeliness, but I think gossip people got sick of saying “ultra cute couple” and “handsome pair,” so they had to use something that made them sound remotely intelligent. Oh, and something that sent the average Joe-ina running for her Webster’s…

3) Cornea-searing: An engagement ring worn by any celebrity can’t just be a “big hunkin’ diamond” or a “large” size, it has to be cornea searing. As in “AAARGH! MY CORNEAS!!! POINT THAT THING SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!” Got it? O.K.

4) As If We Care: The typical gossip reporter, who would definitely hang outside a restaurant stoop for four hours... in a blizzard...with no munchies...and no coat--maybe only a hoodie and a bic lighter for warmth to catch a glimpse (even if it’s a grainy one from behind a six-foot Arb) of current Ultra-hot Pulchritudinous couple Tom and Katie, likes to wrap up most gossip reports with "As if we care" which helps them sound a little dignified, maybe even “above it all.” Even though they really aren’t.

5) Hot and Heavy: Celebrities don’t ever kiss or use restraint. Everything is HOT HOT HOT and HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY.

6) Snitch, Tattler, A Source Close To The Star(s): Gossip reporters like to generally "liven things up a bit" by making up outright lies, but they can't do that. They have to have a source. That's rule One of Journalism. They just don’t have to name the source. So, to get "around" the Outright Lie Thing, they use an anonymous "source." The source is usually a “snitch” or “tattler” who is uber-close to the celeb in question, and knows them intimately. (Which is really sad, because they’re just a made-up source anyway, so the whole thing is just ridiculous.) I mean let's face it: the REAL friend of a star won’t tattle to papers that their friend is cheating on his fiancee, or has skid marks in his underwear, you know?

7) Alleged: This word needs to be used liberally throughout the report. Otherwise you’ll get your ass sued for Libel. Watch out.

8) Hybrid Monikers: Whenever a celeb couple is dating, the “in thing” now is to dub the couple with a name that combines both of their names. For instance, the juggernaut of two years ago: Bennifer. (Now I think it’s Bengar, for Ben and Jen Garner.) Heaven help him if he dates a lady with “Gay” for a last name. (sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Also there’s “Brangelina” and “TomKat” for the lates couples. Let’s all say it together: As If We Care.

9) Averse: Celebs are usually Paparazzi-averse, but they can be Commitment-averse, and Stylist-averse, etc. You get the drift.

10) Reportedly; Speculation: Like Alleged, you have to use these words liberally throughout, or again, your little hiny will end up getting sued.

I just realized that I could go on forever, but here are my top ten. Now maybe I need to conquer my own addiction to said gossip columns, I mean, why is it that I look forward to reading US and PEOPLE every week?

Damn I’m pathetic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Week in a Nutshell...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You can’t polish a Turd.”—Grandpa

I’ve been busy busy busy. I’ve neglected a lot of my writing, but I’ll sum up what’s been happening in the last week:

* I finally got a score of 250 on the Harry Potter Wizard Challenge during my daughter’s soccer practice. Go Me.
* I went on a kick and bought myself ink, parchment, dip pens and sealing wax (and a seal with my first initial L) so I could write old-fashioned letters to people who would actually care. Like my mom and sister. Let’s see if I find the time to do it…

* Latest spoils from Half Price Books:
INCA GOLD, by Clive Cussler (for Hubby)
HENRY VIII by Robert Lacey
THE EDWARDIANS by Paul Thompson

* Today is also Thing Two’s birthday. HAPPY SIXTH BIRTHDAY THING TWO!

* Also I discovered that my dog likes to eat Rabbit Turds. And those pesky rabbits ate all the leaves off one of my Burning Bushes, God love ‘em. Thankfully it was in the backyard, and not the front yard.

* My Korean Spice Bushes and Lilacs are in bloom. YAY! I could smell them all day long!

* I really, really REALLY suck at Calligraphy. And I sprayed black ink all over my favorite white blouse.

* I have discovered that spread-out scrapbooking carnage and Dinner on the same table are NOT compatible. (Mom, Thing One is chewing on your Vellum!)

* And again (yes, AGAIN), I’m stuck again on my novel. Arrrgghh! My daughter said I sound like a pirate when I do that. I don’t give a flip. AARRRRRGGGHHHH!! I want my muse back! Fickle little thing…

* And finally, WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Like, we ALL know that the initial “meeting” in his office went something like this:

Tom: Hey, I’ve had a great, really great idea.
Katie: What’s that, Mr. Cruise?
Tom: Let’s generate some publicity, and pretend we’re BIG TIME enamored of each other. You know, a Demi/Ashton thing. We’ll be on every major magazine cover, and people will turn out in droves to see our companion blockbuster movies that come out this summer.
Katie: Oh, so this would be business?
Tom: Yes it would. A very LUCRATIVE business. You game?
Katie: Do I kiss you in private?
Tom: I’d prefer only to kiss in public. And only if there’s a camera around. I’ve worked out a contract. It lists the obligations, rules, and of course, the termination agreement.
Katie: Termination agreement?
Tom: Yes, so we can attach ourselves to other more desirable stars when our other movies come out.
Katie: But, Mr. Cruise?
Tom: Call me Tom.
Katie: Um, Tom? Does it bother you that you’re old enough to be my father?
Tom: Nope. People are going to wet themselves when they see us together. Guaranteed. And if you aren’t a huge star now, you will be. Just let me be in charge of everything. Leave it to me. You want to have some fun?
Katie: Where do I sign?


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I Am A *#$%@!! KLUTZ!!!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: You can't make foot prints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave butt prints in the sands of time?

Okay. I am a FREAKING Klutz. I had a major weird day yesterday. I tripped down the stairs (while carrying my dog) and rolled my ankle, I stood up under an open cabinet door and the point of the door went into my head (major pain there) and no less than THREE times did I drop things in the kitchen: Hubby’s toast, (butter-side down, of course) a bowl of mashed potatoes (landed face-down ON the Persian rug!) and a bowl of cereal, complete with milk, which I had just sat down to eat, and spilled out over the entire table and went into the crack where the leaf goes so I had to unlatch the whole damn thing after mopping the milk up and mop INSIDE the leaf housing, because those damned little Lucky Charms Marshmallows would become a permanent part of the table if I didn’t.
But the last straw, was when the point of a corn chip went into the space where my tooth used to be. (major damage control, I had to tell my sons that they are NEVER to use the words mommy just used.)

So, what the HECK was up with yesterday? Major UGH.

On a happier note, I did get six loads of laundry done and successfully poop-scooped the backyard. And I finally broke 100 on the Harry Potter Wizard Challenge, which, at this point, I fervently wish I had never discovered.

Back to Writing, people!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Successful Night!

Quote of the Day: Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac who stays up all night wondering if there really is a Dog?

Whew, I was ON FIRE last night. (And no, I am only referring to my Novel, and the fact that I cranked out 5,000 words, and edited what I already had (which took several hours) to make it cohesive.)
The grand result: I finally broke out of the whole "I-Can't-Get-Past-The-Third-Chapter-Thing," and that is a major accomplishment for me.
I tapped away into the wee hours of the morning, high on Starbucks Low-fat Latte Icecream and Barq's Rootbeer (lethal combination between you and me, I got in bed at 2am and lay there WIDE awake for at least another hour, playing my novel in my head) and I think I have finally...finally gotten re-excited about this storyline.
I knew I couldn't really spend an inordinate amount of time on the Scottish story, so I outlined it from start to finish, to at least get the finer points down so I won't forget them. Now I am plowing full steam ahead on ELLIE, and I'm determined to get at least the bare bones of it completed by July.
I like the whole "Spinning/Writing Thing." It works for me. I always wrote better under pressure when I was in College. It was a weird phenomenon: If I took the time to do a paper, and wrote it way before it was due, my writing was always mediocre, compared to when I stayed up all night long the night before it was due and wrote the whole thing in a few hours. I almost always got "A's" when I did that.

Well, must run; lots to do today, and if I don't tackle those dishes in the sink right now (I put them off because I was "on a roll" with my writing yesterday), they are going to rise up out of the sink on their own steam and attack someone. Seriously.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Deviating from the Norm...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: People will believe anything if you whisper it.

Wow. I wiped a LOT of noses this weekend. Having sick kids over the weekend is like a Jail Sentence (**The Gavel goes Tap tap Tap** “ I hereby sentence you, Lara, to two whole days of nose-wiping, struggles with where to stick the thermometer, and incessant middle-of-the-night crying.”)
ANYWAY, I was feeling under the weather myself, so everything seemed compounded. Add one germo-phobic hubby (who stayed far away because he has to travel all this week) and this weekend pretty much sucked.
So, hubby is off to New York, and I am determined to deviate from my usual routine. My usual routine is that when he leaves, I rent every movie he won’t watch with me and have multi-movie marathons every night he’s gone. (Hubby: What the hell is this charge? $50 to Hollywood video? What did you rent? Me: Nothing. I rented one movie and those were late fees. Hubby: Oh. Okay.)

All right, YES, I’m a bit sneaky, but I’m not as bad as my Mother-in-law, who frankly, has taught me a few tricks. My personal favorite: go shopping, spend an absurd amount of money and leave all of it in the trunk of the car, while you carry in one teeny bag and Hubby sees it, and thinks you spent nothing. (Then, while he’s showering the next morning, run like hell and grab everything out of the trunk and feed it into your closet, and whenever he sees you wearing something new, tell him you’ve “had it for AGES.”)

This usually works, honest. (Although I will admit that Hubby is beginning to clue in that when I tell him I’ve had something for “ages” it usually means I’ve had it for a day or two.) We’ve adopted the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Policy lately, but if he asks point blank, I will tell him. Not because I can’t lie to him, but because I’m the Worlds Worst Liar and he can totally tell when I am, because I get giggly and fidgety and he just KNOWS.

So, sorry for the tangent, but back to what I’m doing IN PLACE of my normal routine. I have decided that I am going to work like gangbusters on my novel, to the point of just mindless free-writing (sort of like a “Spinning” Class but I’m writing instead of cycling my buns off) and I’m going to see how much I can get done. With no sleep, because I stay up way early into the morning anyway.

I’m trying it tonight. I’ll let you know what happens…