Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just call me Sherlock Holmes

I saw a story on the news today that said, "Police are investigating to find out why a woman left her young child home alone. Neighbors called the authorities after they saw the two-year old playing in the hallway with crack."

Um...OK. I didn't realize the police were so hard up for detectives, but I'll be glad to help them out:

Dear police: She left her child home alone because SHE IS A CRACKHEAD.

I should totally be a detective.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm a Liar. And Proud of It.

In the past 10 years or so, I’ve seen a lot of blogging about and worrying over the concept of Santa & lying to our kids. I can honestly say that I had never thought of it that way, or heard anyone else talk about in my life before recently. And honestly? I just don’t get it. I mean, if your child grows up and hates you for “lying” to them about Santa – and in the process giving them loads of presents? Your kid is an asshole. And you might just be an asshole to have raised such an asshole.

Don’t get me wrong – to each his own. If you want to do the Santa thing, fine. If you don’t, fine. But the idea that doing it is going to damage your child or make them not trust you because you lied to them is completely bizarre to me. I can’t help but to think this is borrowing problems. I mean – there are plenty of real, honest to goodness problems that we can worry about. This? Just seems like a whole lot of silliness to me.

I have only had one child so far that made the transition from believing to not believing. But based on that one child, I have determined that I most definitely did NOT damage him in any way by allowing him to believe in Santa. When he came to me (older than many are when they stop believing) and asked me for the truth, I’ll admit it - it broke my heart. Previously, I used the “what do YOU think?” answer, but that last time, I knew. I knew that he knew, but was wishing otherwise. I knew it was time. And even though he knew, he was still disappointed. He cried. But not because I had been lying to him for years. Because he felt sad that he was moving on. Sad that some of the magic was being let out of his life. But not for one minute did he even think that I was wrong for “lying” to him (and I asked him about it some time later because of this nonsense).

When I was about five or six years old, I was lying awake one Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep. And I heard my mom on the phone with Aunt Twin. I will always remember what it felt like to hear those words: “Ray is putting together Gina’s Barbie Townhouse.” And at that moment, I knew. I spent the rest of my childhood not believing. And you know what? That was sad.

I never told my parents I heard – I was afraid I’d get in trouble for being awake that late, so for years they thought I believed when I didn’t. The Christmas season was stressful for me. Adults always like to ask kids about Santa – Is he coming? What is he bringing? Have you seen him yet? And every one of those questions made me feel awful. And Christmas mornings? Oh MAN, they were tough. My parents could never understand why I didn’t jump excitedly out of bed like most kids. They would have to wake me up and practically drag me downstairs.

I know that many of these issues come from the pretending, rather than the lack of Santa, but not all. I was disappointed that he wasn't real. And I always felt a little left out of the excitement and anticipation that the other kids felt about Santa. The fact is (for me at least) a Christmas without Santa is a Christmas without magic. And I like my Christmases magical.

And now I want my kids’ Christmases to be magical. So I’m going to go ahead and be a big liar. My kids will thank me for it.


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winner coming soon...I promise


Edited to add that told me that comment #18 was the winner! And that lucky person is Carmen @ life blessons. Carmen - I've emailed you - just send me the info I need and you'll get your gift card ASAP. Congratulations!


I just wanted to let you all know that I didn't forget you - I will be announcing the winner of the $50 gift card very soon!

Until then, here's a very sad puppy getting his SECOND bath of the day. It's his second bath not because I enjoy wrestling a biting, chewing, wiggling ball of badness into the tub, but because after his first bath he ate cat litter-encrusted cat poop in a delightful clumping cat-pee/litter reduction, puked it up in his crate, and then ROLLED IN IT.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am Lame


Don't forget - there is still time to enter to win a $50 gift card to 77 Kids. Don't have kids? That's OK - you can use it at any American Eagle store, too.

Go ahead and enter - it will help local Childrens Hospitals in the meantime!


OK - here are ten of the many, many reasons I am lame:

1. The most exciting thing that happened to me this weekend was my sense of smell coming back for a few hours.

2. Earlier this week, I was ma’am-ed by a guy who was at least 30. I am old and lame.

3. I am becoming that person at work who complains about how hot and/or cold it is in the office. And lucky me, our office is both. IN the morning, it’s freezing – even with a blanket and space heater. But by lunch, it’s getting warm. By mid afternoon, it’s at least 76 degrees in here. Now, 76 degrees might not sound like much to you young folks, but trust me – to a tired, cranky, middle aged woman? 76 degrees = SURFACE OF THE SUN.

4. To keep warm in my (currently freezing) office, I am using a NASCAR blanket. With Tony Stewart on it! It's pink!! There are several things wrong with this.

5. I am also turning into that person we all know that can’t stop talking about their health. Actually, I take that back. I am using all my energy to NOT turn into that person. But it’s hard when you’ve been sick for 3 months straight. When you have had the flu, pneumonia, several colds, a never-ending cough, a sinus infection, ear infections, and a serious hearing loss, as well as loss of smell and taste, there’s pretty much not much else to talk about.

6. Along with blogging, I have been mostly absent from twitter and facebook, too. Most nights, I just don’t feel like even turning on my computer – Though in retrospect, it may be toe to consider professional help when turning on a computer is too exhausting. And while I can access it on my phone, I am old and lame and can’t see that tiny screen. And who knows where the reading glasses are.

7. I have already started listening to the All-Christmas-Music-All-The-Time station. And cried at least twice over some sappy Christmas song (though not those fucking Christmas Shoes – though it wants to be a tearjerker, it only serves to make me commit murder).

8. I haven’t been seeing or talking to my friends much lately, which makes me sad. And yet…I haven’t been seeing or talking to my friends much lately. I miss Rapunzel and Hedge and Tee and all of you. And yet…

9. I often try to be all badass and fail miserably. I get frustrated with someone treating me poorly, so I decide fuck it – I’m treating them the same way. And then when I do, I feel bad for treating them poorly. I fail at badass.

10. The other day, I had a really vivid dream. About math. Did you get that? MATH! In my dreams. The place where I can create the perfect fantasy. Where I can be anyone and do anything. I should have been rich, or off somewhere exotic making a George Clooney/Tom Selleck/Kix Brooks dirty sandwich, or at the very least, I SHOULD HAVE BEEN FLYING. But instead, I was very thrillingly calculating the speed at which a penny dropped off the USX building will hit the ground (why, oh, why does 9.8m/s2 stay with me?) And – hold your excitement – converting Celsius to Fahrenheit. And back again, of course – it’s all fun and games around here. I feel like I should call up my old physics teacher and say, “You were right! I am using this stuff in life!” but he’d probably be all, “LAME!”


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Win a $50 Gift Card!

Back in July, when I participated in Do Good Day, I thought, Hey – this 77 Kids company is pretty awesome. I wasn’t 100% sure if their willingness to do such a charitable deed was purely charitable, promoting themselves, or a little of both. But regardless, it was pretty awesome. After the event, we got to go to the grand opening of the store and talk to some of the people from the company.

When they told us that 77 Kids planned on staying active in local charities, I thought “Sounds good, but time will tell if they really follow through” (what can I say, I’m cynical). So I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that 77 Kids has followed through with their promise.

Right now, in all the 77 Kids stores, they are asking for donations – for as little as 77 cents, you can purchase a snowflake, write you wish on it, and hang it on their wish wall. And every cent of the donations is going to Children’s Hospital. Your local children’s hospital. The money is staying right in the communities in which it was donated, which I LOVE! (Especially since Pittsburgh is one of the most giving cities around.

Now here’s the really cool part. Let’s say you don’t have a 77 Kids nearby (or you do, but are looking for an additional way to help). 77 Kids has set up a website where you can make a snowflake. It’s addictive – I can’t stop making them. In addition to the donations received in store, 77 Kids has pledged that if we can get 100,000 snowflakes made, they will donate an additional $25,000!

There is no limit to the number of snowflakes you can create – you only have to register once and you’re all set. So go make some, have your kids make some (it’s a great way to occupy them while you do dishes. Or vacuum. Or read. Or drink a glass of wine. Or two), have your family make some, you’re your friends make some. And while they are doing it, you’ll be helping sick kids all around the country!

And you could be helping yourself a little too. Because 77 Kids is giving away a gift card every day, plus a grand prize at the end of the promotion. And they have kindly given me a $50 gift card to give to one of you! You can use it in the store or online. And if you don't have young kids, you can use it at ANY American Eagle store!

Here’s how to enter my giveaway:

Go create your snowflake, then come back here and leave a comment. You can leave a comment for each snowflake you can create.

And you can get additional entries pretty easily, too:

1 - Follow 77 Kids on twitter (leave another comment and let me know you did)

2 – Check out 77kids on Facebook and “like” them (leave another comment to let me know)

On December 6th, I will select a winner via a random drawing from all eligible entries and someone will be getting the $50 gift card in time to do some Christmas shopping!

We went to the store this week to check out the wish wall, the fun window displays and the latest fashions, and let me tell you – 77 Kids makes shopping with kids EASY and FUN. They have activities in the store, like a chalkboard and games and the photo booth (the kids can take and decorate their photos and take them home) :

The dressing rooms are more like clubhouses:

And they have a “goody counter” that every kid can choose a prize from:

The winter window displays are cute and kids can “race” little skiing birds:

And the clothes are cute, age-appropriate, and good quality (apologies to those with boys, Emily took these pics & she doesn’t care about boy clothes):

So while you’re out doing your Christmas shopping, stop by 77 Kids and make a donations (remember – they can be as small as 77 cents), and in the meantime, make a snowflake (or 20) and maybe win a cool prize.

Fine print: I am being compensated for participating in th
e Wish-4-Snow charity initiative , but they were in no way involved in the content of this post. I am entirely serious when I say that 77 Kids is a great company who cares about the community. And if you visit their store, you'll see how much thought they have put into creating a great shopping experience for moms shopping with kids (also known as "Hell: Living").

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roller Skate!

Even though she turned seven a couple weeks ago, Emily (yes - I used her real name - I'm getting tired of the anonymity) had her birthday party on Saturday at the local skating rink. She had a great time doing this:

And this:

And this:

And even this:

She had a great time with her friends, spent time making everyone feel welcome (she can drive me crazy, but she's very kind), and appreciated each and every gift she got.

Yesterday, we got up to get ready for a fun day at 77 Kids (more on that later - hint: GIVEAWAY!) and I asked her what she wanted to wear. Her reply? "Either the outfit Alexis got me or a meat dress."

Guess which one I went for.

Be sure to check back soon for a chance to win an awesome gift card!

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Friday, November 12, 2010


When did RSVP-ing become optional? I mean – I didn’t know that it did, so someone needs to educate me. Here I am, still calling and letting people know I will (or won’t) be in attendance and I had NO IDEA that I am so out of touch! But clearly – based on approximately ten years of throwing kids’ parties – either a) RSVP is totally optional, or b) people are TOTAL FUCKERS.

Go ahead and guess which one I am going with.

Every year I go through this. I invite a bunch of kids to a party. I practically beg people to PLEASE RSVP (seriously, I actually put the word “please” on the invitation in a larger font, bold, underlined, you name it), I give multiple contact options – phone, text, email, and then I wait. And people prove to me that they are – as I said – total fuckers.

And since I never know how many are coming, I have to plan for the maximum number of kids. Which means more food, more cake, more treat bags, and MORE GODDAMNED MONEY!!

And then people don’t show up and I am left with too much cake, too much food, too many treat bags and an empty wallet. Oh – and a delightfully bitter, spiteful, judgmental attitude that I have a hard time keeping in check.

So educate me – when did RSVP stop meaning Répondez S'il Vous Plaît and become RIYFLIOBIOSICSABOMBIHTPFTMNOPSIDKFSBDWAMALAYHBTATMYSF (Respond If You Feel Like It Otherwise Blow It Off So I Can Spend A Buttload Of Money Because I Have To Be Prepared For The Maximum Number Of People Since I Don't Know For Sure But Don't Worry About Me As Long As You’re Happy Because That’s All That Matters You Stupid Fuck)?

People? Total fuckers.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today – at exactly 12:05 pm to be exact – my baby boy turns fourteen. FOURTEEN! I know what you’re thinking:

First, that he is not a baby. And to that I say, SHUT YOUR DAMNED MOUTH! He is MY BABY!

Second, you’re thinking, “Oh Gina, but how can this be? You’re much too young to have a fourteen year old!” You’re right about this one. I had him when I was 12. I was a real slut back then.

Anyway, I have decided that my gift on his birthday – what? I don’t deserve a gift on my baby’s birthday? I’ll tell you that I most certainly do. For one, I pushed his giant head out of my body (VAGINA!), and that did some serious damage for which I deserve a gift. And two, he and his sister both owe me big for what they have done to my bladder. Not to mention my sanity.

So my gift on the anniversary of my baby boy’s birth is the gift of humiliation. His, that is.

Happy Birthday, Boyzo:

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

How a Ghost Made the Puppy Shut Up, Already

When we brought Charley home, I thought I was prepared for the sleepless nights and the crate-crying, but I really wasn’t. We didn’t crate train Rocky (Big! Huge! Mistake!), and even if we had, he was older when we got him. My other dogs were all full grown when I got them, except for my very first, but 1) I was 8, so no late night responsibility fell on me, and 2) He was a rejected puppy, so he was weak and tiny and depended on us to be bottle fed, and to make him poop (totally gross), so he didn’t have much energy for the crying.

Needless to say, the first night in the crate was not a fun time for anyone – there was whining and crying and pathetic whimpering. And then he’d finally settle down, only to wake up to go out. I’d take him out to go, bring him back and put him back in the crate and we’d start all over. To say I was exhausted was an understatement.

And it got worse – as he got a little bigger and stronger, so did his crying – it became less “pathetic whimpering” and more “screaming like someone is stabbing me with eleven electrically-charged butcher knives dipped in sulfuric acid.” I thought it would never end and I would lose my mind and go running into traffic in the middle of the night to escape it.

Finally one night as I put him in the crate, I was near tears, just anticipating what was coming. I had reached that point of exhaustion where you feel totally out of control of your emotions – anyone who has had a newborn knows the feeling. And no – I am not comparing a newborn to a puppy. I know that babies are much harder than puppies. But – like a baby – he was waking up every 1 -2 hours, crying half the night, and making me feel like a huge failure. And to be honest, at that point, I wish he was also like a baby in that he could just go in a diaper that I could change in the comfort of my own room, instead of taking him outside in the freezing cold where under the dark of night, I could be murdered or eaten by a bear (What? I live near the woods - everyone knows bears and psycho killers live in the woods!)

Anyway – that night, I put him in the crate and steeled myself for the onslaught of murder-screaming. And as usual, he got right to it. I was trying very hard to ignore it – or at least not to cry, when a woman’s voice - very loudly and clearly, and coming from inside the room - said, “HEY!” And he stopped. He just stopped. My first thought was “YAY!!!!” But my second thought was, “WTF?” And I found myself lying there thinking that I should be scared, and yet I wasn’t. I don’t know if I somehow sensed that whatever said it was benign, or if I was just so happy that the puppy had shut up, that I didn’t care if Freddy Krueger, The Scarehouse Bunny, and Satan himself had come in and shut him up. All I know is that he didn’t make another peep all night.

Or the next night. Or any night since. He goes in his crate, gives a half-hearted whimper and goes to sleep.

I haven’t heard the voice since, but one day when I was working from home, I had to put him in the crate after spending half the day pulling contraband out of his mouth, and he was barking his fool head off (clearly he went for the nighttime sleeping, but daylight hours were off the table). I decided to go check on him, and as I was walking into the room, the radio came on in there. And as soon as he heard the music, he shut up. Again. Since then, crate training has been pretty good - minus the occasional accident, the pushing his blanket out of the cage, and the waking to go out. But I can deal with all that. I’m just glad somebody – whomever it was – dealt with the other.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This time I really mean it!

You know – every time I post a new entry, I think to myself, “See – that was easy! I am going to blog every single day from now on!” And I totally mean it at that moment. And that night, something will happen that makes me think, :I should blog about that! Or that! Or that! (or any of the million things that go on in my life every day). But then the next day rolls around and I am tired, or cranky, or crazy-busy and I think, “OK – I couldn’t do it today, but I will blog tomorrow for sure. And the tomorrow rolls around and either a) I am as tired/cranky/busy as I was the day before, b) I can’t remember the million things I wanted to talk about, or c) I remember them, but suddenly they seem uninteresting and stupid.

So anyway…Hi! Here’s what’s been going on lately:

1. We brought the puppy home! Yay! We went through several (hundred) names before we finally settled on Charley. It suits him. He’s really cute and sweet and lovable and a big pain in the ass. I totally forgot about the getting up at all hours to take them out and the incessant whining. The whining/crying/screaming as if being murdered was the worst part, but luckily, he has grown out of that (thanks to my twitter friends for reassuring me on that). He still gets up to pee in the night, but it’s down to once. Still – interrupted sleep = me being even more forgetful and spacey than normal. Good times. Behold the cuteness:

2. Halloween! We went to the annual party that my niece Scabs throws. It’s my favorite party of the year. Mainly because we are an evil bunch who use Halloween as an opportunity to torment and ridicule each other. If you have ever done something embarrassing – it will be used against you on Halloween. One year, we all dressed as Scabs. One year (the year of the punching the crackwhore story), someone came as Drunken Poolrat Gina and someone else came as Beaten Down Crackwhore. This year, I went as Scabs. Now, it may seem repetitive, since we went as Scabs before, but this time around, I went as Scabs looking how she did when she earned her nickname. See – many moons ago, Scabs worked at a bar and she invited mr b and I to the bar’s Halloween party. Well, she had been drinking all day and by the time we got there, she was sitting at the bar, dressed as a clown, makeup smeared, cigarette dangling from her mouth and she croaked at us, “Where in the HELL have you been?” So from then on, She became Scabs, the Chain-Smoking, Hard-Drinking, Pissed-Off Clown. Thus:

Scabs (with a scary Nanny McPhee in the background):

Blind Ref:

Flapper (when she told her firends she was going to be a flapper, they all asked, "Who's Flapper?")

You're fired!

Snooki was there, too:

3. Football season is over! I repeat – football season is over! Finally a break from the constant cheer and band practices, games on both Friday and Saturday/Sunday, and driving all over creation to get to them! All season, I couldn’t wait for this moment. And yet – don’t tell anyone I said this, but I think I’m a little sad about it.

4. And speaking of football, our high school is getting a new stadium, and the last game in the current (70+ year old) one was a big event, with players from the very first game, alumni parties and former cheerleaders and band members on the field to participate. I joined up with the alumni majorettes and expected that we would be doing a simple salute to SSB & alma mater. Imagine my surprise when I got to practice before the game to discover we had an entire routine to learn. It was insane, but fun. And the boys won, meaning we won the very first and very last games in the stadium. Unfortunately, I put mr b in charge of taking photos, so I ended up with 65 shots of the fireworks and the backs of the heads of the people in front of him, but no really good shots of my super twirling skills. Sigh.

The closest thing to an action shot that mr b got - note the lack of zooming and the partial head in the foreground:

The boy and me on the field together. I love that he wasn't embarrassed that his mom was twirling.

5. Unrelated to anything else I have been talking about, I left my checkbook on the table yesterday morning, after writing one for the kids’ school photos, only to come home last night to discover that the girl had written herself a check for $1000.

6. Finally – go here and help the kids.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween is scary for many reasons

Last night, we went to our small town’s Halloween Parade. Before it starts, the local businesses hold a Trick or Treat and the library has activities, so my friend and I headed down early to the girls could enjoy themselves before meeting up with their cheer squad to ride along in the float.

There is nothing like Halloween to bring out the crazy. We saw our fair share of skanky costumes, pushy parents, misbehaving kids, and general impoliteness, of course, but the kids had fun. At one point, as we were making our way down a crowded sidewalk, we noticed a woman standing there wearing the most hideous, pants that you have ever seen – they were possibly pajamas – pink and furry and tight. We saw her a few times over the course of the evening and every time, she looked crazier and nastier than the last. But when we passed her on the sidewalk, she was talking – both to the person on her cell phone and a person standing next to her and taking up valuable space on the already crowded walk. I remember thinking that people without kids should really try to get the hell out of the way and let the kids through.

Shortly after we passed her, I noticed a little boy walking very close to me. It was so crowded that I didn’t really think anything of it – just assumed his parents were behind me. That is, until we walked about a block further and away from the main area. We went to sit down on a bench and noticed that Buzz Lightyear had joined us. I realized that this little boy had just sort of attached himself to me. I asked him if he was lost and he said yes. He told me his name was Andrew. He seemed a little vacant, but I assumed it was because he was scared. So I asked him who he was there with and he didn’t answer. I asked if he was with his mom and he said no. The same for his dad. I asked who he was with again and he said his dad. It became clear pretty quickly that this little boy was special needs. So I took his hand and led him back into the fray, hoping to find a frantic parent looking for him. Otherwise, I figured I’d pass him on to the first police officer I came across.

He wasn’t afraid of me at all – he willingly took my hand as we walked around. Because he wasn’t able to communicate much, I had no idea of a last name, who we were looking for, what they looked like. I tried to jest walk slowly to give the parents a chance to spot him. And hoo-boy, did they. I heard a screeching, “Where were you!?! “ and looked up to see none other than Miss Crazy Playboy Bunny Pants heading towards us.

I could tell that she was CRAZY AS SHIT a little upset, so I tried to greet her kindly and say that he got mixed up with our group, but she cut me off by screaming at the poor thing about how he’s “not supposed to run away.” I spoke up and tried to shoulder the blame, claiming that we had stepped between him and her as we walked by and he got pulled along with the crowd (which isn’t really what happened, but I was trying to divert her ire a little). But it took everything in my power to not scream right back at her and tell her 1) that he ended up separated from her while she was completely distracted and talking on the phone, 2) that while we teach our kids not to wander off, when they are that little, their safety is ultimately OUR responsibility, and 3) that as a special needs child, he obviously needs even more supervision, especially given his trusting and willingness to take a strangers hand and walk away with them. Not that I would have had a chance to say all that anyway, since she grabbed his hand from me (the poor thing was hanging on to me for dear life) and dragged him away, still yelling. People really suck sometimes.

Oh – and totally unrelated, but I have to share: When I went to meet up with the boy after the parade (he marched with the band), he was holding hands with a girl!!!! And I don’t care how much burghbaby hates multiple exclamation points – sometimes they are needed. Like when your baby boy is HOLDING HANDS WITH A GIRL!!!!!


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Monday, October 25, 2010

I really did want to beat her with my baton

Growing up, I spent a ton of time at my grandparents house. And next door to them was another older couple whose granddaughter I went to school with. Let’s call her Tammy Sue. That’s not her real name, but I had to come up with something that could express how annoying it was when her mother or grandmother would call for her in their high pitched, screechy voices, “Tammy Sue, sweetie! Tammy Sue!” See, Tammy Sue’s mother was possibly the most annoying person that ever lived. Except maybe for Tammy Sue’s grandmother, who treated her daughter, Peggy Lynn, the exact same way that both she and Peggy Lynn treated Tammy Sue – like she was the bestest, greatest, most wonderful, popular thing that ever was.

Now, don’t get me wrong – we all think our kids are great. But while most of us will show up at our kids soccer game or dance recital and take some photos and videos, Tammy Sue’s family would all pack up and go to every practice, with full-on photographic and video equipment, staging and restaging things – putting Tammy Sue in front. Peggy Lynn is the stereotypical pushy pageant mother, only without the pageants, though in her defense, she seemed to have gotten it straight from her own crazy mother.

Once, when I was very young, I was playing with TS at her grandparents’ house, a neighbor girl named Kelly came by and asked if she could play with us. That’s it – just, “Can I play?” I said yes, but before Kelly could even open the front gate, Tammy Sue had run inside and told her grandma and grandma came running out of the house with a big wooden spoon and chased Kelly home. I left immediately, went to Kelly’s and never played with TS again. Because even at age 6, I knew a crazy fucker when I saw one.

But I always felt a little bad for TS. Her mother was always pushing her into the spotlight, whether she wanted it or not. TS was a reasonably popular girl – she was a cheerleader and seemingly had lots of friends. But no one was really a friend, because she (or her family) would scare people off – they were pushy and competitive and crazy.

Normal parents would send some cookies or candy to school for the Halloween party. I remember Peggy Lynn delivering Tammy Sue’s treats to our 4th or 5th grade Halloween party dressed as Daisy Mae from Li’l Abner. Now, most of you are too young to know what I am talking about, but she was dressed almost exactly like this (only with shorter shorts):

We were young, but not too young to know that it was totally inappropriate. I remember telling my friend Carol about it afterward, and describing Peggy Lynn’s look as “An H-O-A-R” (my spelling has since improved). The thing is – Peggy Lynn wasn’t a skank – but she thought (and acted like) she was Tammy Sue’s sister rather than mother, and she needed attention – for both her and for her daughter. I can remember thinking – even as a child – that Tammy Sue wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if it weren’t for her mother and grandmother.

Everything with her mother is a competition - and not a subtle one, either. She’s the type that will ask straight out what you paid for your house or how much you make. Then (if you are stupid enough to tell her), she will proceed to tell you how much more she (or her kids, or husband) paid or makes. Once, when we first built the addition on our house, we were both in the hair salon. Someone mentioned how nice our house looked, and Peggy Lynn almost went ballistic, pulling out photos and dropping measurements and prices about HER recent addition. As three or four people came in and out of the salon and made comments to me about our house (we live in a small town, but on a well-travelled road), she would just get madder and madder, and shove her own room addition photos in their face. This is a 60 year old woman, people!

Aaaaanyway, there is a point to this story. On Friday, I joined the alumni marching band on the field for the final game at our town’s 70+ year old football stadium, and when I showed up for practice before the game (yes – practice – the majorette coach actually made us learn and perform a routine, which was a delight), I heard the voice – that screechy voice. Yes – Peggy Lynn was an alumni majorette and I had to spend the evening with her. Yay me.

From the first moment of practice, when they lined us up to learn the routine, I watched this crazy ass bitch push and shove her way to the front (and center). Every. Single. Time. Every run through – every photo, for the pre-game festivities and the postgame festivities. The worst was when we were lining up to march across the field for the post game routine. We didn’t have assigned spaces – it was just get on a yard line, stand at attention and do it quick. Well, as we were spreading out, she ended up getting pushed further down toward the end zone. And she was NOT happy about it.

I could hear her screeching from 25 yards away, “But I was on the 45 yard line in practice! I need to be on the 45 yard line!!!” And although people were telling her to shut up and not worry about it – it didn’t matter where we were lined up, she just kept at it, “Hey! You! Move down – I’m supposed to be on TH 45 YARD LINE!!! “ Since no one was listening, she decided to start yelling at the only person she knew – me. “Gina! Move down! I’m supposed to be there (I was on the 45). I yelled back that I had nowhere to move (we were spread almost the entire length of the field -everyone was in place and at attention – we weren’t going to rearrange our positions seconds before the cadence, just so some crazy bitch could put her big face front and center. Everyone ignored her (most rolled their eyes). And then, she took a full on tantrum on the field, stomped up to where I was and shoved her way in between me and the woman who was standing on the 40 yard line! So now – she is the only person not on a yard line and she refused to move. Everyone else was forced to shift positions so she could be front and center.

And then I beat her to death with my baton. Or maybe I just vividly imagined it. One of those.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


I can’t stand Leah Remini. I was never a fan, and then a few years back when she jumped into the Tom Cruise Crazy Scientology Postpartum Kerfuffle, I decided she was an idiot. Or an asshole. Or both. Her unkind and downright nasty criticism of Brooke Shields was insulting and dangerous, not just to Brooke Shields, but to all women. But like any other annoying gnat flying around your face, I soon forgot what and irritating idiot asshole she is. Then this week, she reminded me again.

On Monday, I got a call from the school nurse to pick up the girl. I brought her home, got her settled, and the sat down with my computer to finish my work for the day. The TV was on in the background, and the annoying new show – The Talk – was on. Think The View with more (and more annoying) hosts, one of whom is Leah Remini. They were discussing using the correct anatomical terms for genitalia with children (which, truly, I thought was an issue we figured out sometime back in the 80s). And as soon as the word “vagina” was spoken, Leah Remini opened her big annoying mouth and started screaming. She wouldn’t let anyone else talk, and every time they tried to defend their reasons for not using cutesy little words (she prefers “cupcake.” WTF?!?!), she yelled, “That’s DISGUSTING!”

Personally, I think Leah Remini is disgusting. But I do know that she is not alone in her demeaning, sexist opinion.

Vagina. Why is that word so intimidating to people? Nobody flinches when they hear penis. But vagina? Wooo, that can set some folks off. I’m getting so tired of people reacting to that word like it’s something dirty. It’s degrading to those of us who actually have them. Vaginas, that is. I mean, when it comes to the male anatomy, penis is pretty acceptable. In the mid-eighties or so, when popular opinion changed about using the proper terms for our genitalia, we all felt a little silly at first, but soon penis became a household word. A non-offensive, easy to say, completely correct term. But vagina? Vagina never totally caught on. It was definitely used more, but penis went mainstream and vagina kind of stayed indy. Thus, it’s 2010 and the same person who could work “penis” into a sentence without flinching would blush and stammer and get all tongue-tied at the mere thought of the word vagina.

I was in the hair salon recently (my friend Tee’s place), and a few of us were talking about childbirth and teaching hospitals. I was saying that I don’t mind letting students, etc, in, because they have to learn somewhere (of course, as soon as they find out that I am pro-student, they had half the medical school in with me. It was like a big party that had the bonus of freaking my mother the hell out. Anyway, a few of the women were saying no way, they don’t want all those people in there. In typical fashion, I said, “eh, what’s the difference? By the time you make it to labor, you don’t even care anymore. I let them all in, like ’welcome to my vagina.’” Well, one woman in there got a look on her face like she just smelled shit. The word vagina was so distasteful to her that she looked liked she was about to choke. So of course I said it as many times as possible after that. Vagina. Vagina. VaginaVaginaVaginaVagina. I know, I’m non-confrontational and sensitive to people’s needs like that.

I just don’t get the VaginaFear. I think it stems from the bajillions of years of female inferiority. Before men caught on to their part in conception, women were revered for our childbearing ability. The vagina was a magical, a life giving, mysterious treasure. But as soon as the cat was out of the bag that we didn’t do it alone, the vagina became dirty and shameful, something we didn’t talk about. Back in biblical times, women had to live outside the group in the red tent (if you haven’t read The Red Tent, you should) when menstruating. It was unclean. The bible, written by men (after the realization of their part in conception, of course), has passages about the uncleanliness of women, based on what makes them women: in Leviticus, we are told that menstruating women are unclean, as is anything they touch, and anyone that touches them. In particular, one verse tells us that on the day after her bleeding ends, a woman must take a sacrifice as a SIN OFFERING, so the priest can make an atonement for her.

So, the bible, this book that so many folks use as a guide to life, is telling me that I am a sinner simply because I am a woman (and I know, supposedly, we are all born sinners - whatever. But I have a problem with being somehow more of a sinner simply because I was born with a vagina). And then we have another passage in Leviticus which tells us that after childbirth women are dirty. And if she has a boy, she is unclean for 7 days and must purify for 33 days. But if she has a girl, oh boy, she is unclean for 14 days and must purify for 66 days. And again, a sin offering must be given. Of course, Leviticus is also cited by the crazies when they carry their “God Hates F*gs” Picket Signs of Idiocy and Hate, so you know what? Fuck that noise. And you know what else? Vagina. VaginaVaginaVAGINA!!

And so here we are, thousands of years later, throwing out “cock” and “dick” and “wang” and “schwartz” and “dong” and “prick” and “schlong” like nobody’s business, but let someone utter “vagina” and Aaaccckkk! For Pete’s sake, we’re women. Not demons, not aliens, and certainly not second-class citizens. We’re not dirty or nasty by nature. There’s nothing inherently dirty about a vagina. If a vagina is in fact nasty, it’s directly proportional to the nastiness of its owner. It’s not nasty simply because it is a vagina. And I’m sure there are eleventy-million or so skanky penises out there, too, so shut it.

I’m not saying we have to talk about our vaginas ad nauseam. We don’t have to share vagina stories with everyone we meet. I have elbows and toes and armpits too, but I don’t talk about them constantly either. But we should be able to say the word - “Vagina” - without someone blushing or cringing or wrinkling their nose. It’s not a bad word and yet there are people out there who would rather their kids say shit or damn or fuck than vagina.

And tell me - what are we suppose to say instead? Genitals? Too clinical and non-specific. Pee-pee? I think not. Forget about the cutesy shit – cupcake? Come ON - it’s ridiculous. Somehow I don’t think that the people that are offended by vagina want to hear pussy, cunt or twat, either. It’s a vagina and all women have one and it’s not dirty and it’s just as special and important as your penis and I will be calling it by its true name and GET OVER IT, VAGINA-FEARERS!!

As for male vagina-fearers, suck it up, bitches. It’s the thing you want over all others and you can’t even fucking say it? But somehow, I don’t really expect much more from you. But female vagina fearers (like Leah the asshole Remini)? What in the hell is wrong with you? It’s just a word. A name for something that you and every other woman have. It gives you pleasure, it brings life. It makes you special and you still can’t speak its name?


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Sweet Baby Girl

I have been getting ready to go away for a few days for Awesome Company's annual retreat. In the past, we have brought the kids (or one of them) along, but this year, we decided to get away alone. Unfortunately, mr b is super busy right now (actually, I should say fortunately, because when you work for yourself, being busy means getting paid), and he decided he can't afford the time away. So this year, I am heading out on my own. I'm bummed I'm not getting to share the trip with any of my family, but I will have a good time regardless. How can I not? We're heading to a lovely resort, there will be fun and good food and flowing drinks.

Anyway, last night as I was getting into bed, I discovered a note from the Girl sitting on my pillow. She had drawn a picture of the two of us and written, "Mom ples look at the back of this papr. Ples look now."

And on the back, she had drawn some more pictures - of us together and smiling, and of us apart, looking sad. And written above the latter was, "Mom ples andrstand that I am gowig to mis you on your trip. From Emily. Ples look now."


Dear Sweet Baby Girl,
Please understand that I am going to miss you too. And please understand that if I was given a chance to pick out the perfect daughter, I would pick you exactly as you are. I love you, baby.
Love, Mom

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homeschooling is Looking Better Every Day

We were riding along in the car recently and the boy said, “Hey mom – did something in Civics to see what political party we are and I’m a republican.”


And then there was much crying and sobbing and wailing about how I have failed and rending of garments.

OK, not really, but admittedly, mr b and I were all WTF? Because while we are all for freedom and opinions and differing views, we’re pretty much firmly planted over here on the left. And I, myself, am a full-on liberal (Archie Bunker would call me a commie pinko for sure). So needless to say, it was a bit of a surprise to hear my son - the young man I am brainwashing teaching my values to call himself the exact opposite of me.

Obviously, I wanted to know more, so I asked how exactly he came to this conclusion. He told me his teacher had given them a quiz to take and their answers to the questions determined their political party. We asked him for some examples, since I can’t imagine my kid really knowing enough to even have an answer to questions that would truly determine something like political affiliation, and he gave us this gem:

“Well, mostly they were about stuff we liked and didn’t like. Like, they asked if we hunted or liked hunting or if we though hunting was bad. And I don’t think hunting is bad, so I’m a republican.”


And then there was much crying and sobbing and wailing and rending of garments.

For real this time. Because – say it with me – WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK??
This is clearly not an unbiased quiz. It was obviously created by someone with an agenda. A right-wing agenda. And I was pissed. I understand that people have different views. And I accept that I am surrounded by conservative good ol’ boys who want to poison people into thinking stupid shit, like how democrats want to take all their guns away so they can’t hunt, or that Obama wasn’t born in the US, or that Sarah Palin has a fucking clue.

But I always figured I can teach my kids my own beliefs, or at least present them with facts, so they can form their own opinions. But it’s awfully hard when the schools are feeding them this kind of biased bullshit. And thatis what this is about – the bias and lies. If they had given a quiz that was biased in the other direction, I would feel the same way. As much as I would like for my children to share my beliefs, I want them to make educated choices, not drink the crazy kool-aid and jump on the bandwagon.

So after a long, heated talk about such biases, and lies and truths and the different parties’ views on several important issues, the boy admitted that the quiz questions might not have been the best judge of political affiliation. But he still wanted to defend his teacher, who he likes.

“Mom, you can’t blame her though. She didn’t write the questions! She got them on the internet!”



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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Winner! FINALLY!

OK, I have to apologize, because while I was supposed to draw the winner for my Libby's giveaway last week, fate intervened and knocked me on my ass with a nice early case of the flu, followed by a pneumonia chaser. I am finally feeling a little bit better, so let's take care of unfinished business!

So, according to, the winner is...

Dina! Dina, send me your address and your prize will be mailed directly to you from the sponsor!

Thanks to everyone who commented, shared their tips, and donated to the virtual can drive. You guys rock!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

A Story in Pictures

Ball? Ball? Ball!?! Ball!?!?! BALL??? BALL?!?!?!?!?!

Wait, what?


Hey! What are you guys doing? Are you playing BALL?? Wait for me!

Ball? Ball? Ball!?! Ball!?!?! BALL??? BALL?!?!?!?!?!


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Friday, September 24, 2010


So I told you previously about getting a chance to help out The Motherhood and Libby's help some people in need.

Well, I did just that last week and had a blast. I met some very nice bloggers, including the quite Amazing Hannah Keeley. Talking to Hannah about my own dinner issues was great - she gave me some great ideas, and not for one moment did she make me feel like I was any less of a mom than her (even though she is totally SuperMom - I swear, she is. Also? Tall and thin and gorgeous).

After we talked to Hannah and had some yummy appetizers, we brought out all the items for our care packages - there were tons of Libby's products, family calendars, activities to get families to the table, recipes, and lots of cooking utensils and gadgets. Each of these care packages will go to a family moving into their new Habitat for Humanity home.

I have to tell you - one of the reasons I was intrigued by Libby's Back to the Table campaign is that my own family struggles with finding time to sit down together. We don't eat as healthy as I would like, either. I know many of you are in the same boat as me, as far as having busy schedules, and long commutes, and work, and insanity. So Libby's is giving me a chance to have a giveaway. one lucky commenter will win a nice prize, including a reusable grocery bag, Libby's product, and this cool can opener.

All you have to do is leave a comment with your best tip for getting your family back to the table - whether it's how to keep communicating, dinner activities, getting help from your family, meal ideas, etc. I want to hear them all!

You get bonus entries (1 each) for following Libby's on twitter, fanning them on facebook, or creating a profile on the virtual can drive. Just leave another comment for each one, with a link to the tweet/profile/etc.

I'll leave it open until Wednesday, since the weekend is just beginning and you folks - unlike me - have lives and do things other than chauffeur and drink and piss around on the internet on the weekend.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nothing to See Here...

I have been super crabby these past few days. I'm always on the go and it is wearing me down. mr b is self-employed and self-employed means long hours - working late & working weekends. Which means everything else falls to me - the cleaning, the carting kids around, the cooking - everything. And while I understand that he has to work that way if we want to get paid (which - duh - we do), I can't help but feel a little resentful.

I find myself unable to keep up physically or emotionally - I forget things, I run late, I am exhausted. And I can't get everything done - so the housework gets pushed aside, which only makes more work for me down the road, which I still can't do because I don't have time to do it in the first place much less extra catching up stuff. Which makes me more exhausted and forgetful and distracted and so on and so on and so on until I explode. or at least feel like I am going to. So I end up crabby and mean and find myself barking at people when I don't even really mean it and yet can't seem to stop myself. Seriously - I can be bitchily ranting at someone when in my head I am thinking, "OMG stop it already" and want to hug them, but I literally CAN NOT STOP.

Even though I know it's hard on mr b working like he does, I can't help but to occasionally start thinking that he does it on purpose - to get out of things. I mean, what better excuse for not helping out than "I have to work because we need money to buy food TO STAY ALIVE"? So I get resentful and I feel like I can't complain about it because then OMG I don't even care if we don't have money to pay for food TO STAY ALIVE - how irresponsible and selfish of me! And then I waver between getting passive-aggressive and mean and being disgusted with myself for being that way. Which makes me feel worse. And crazy. It's a vicious cycle.

And when I'm like this I read non-existent meaning into everything. Person A didn't return my text: SHE HATES ME! Person B ignored my tweet: HE HATES ME! I forgot to send a school form in: TERRIBLE MOTHER! My cat died: It's my fault!

Don't I sound like a real delight to be around these days?

No really - this is how crazy I am lately - yesterday I was driving home and a pretty little butterfly flew in the window of my moving car and landed on my shoulder. He sat there the entire hour-long drive home and then when I got home and got out of the car, he lifted up off my shoulder, flew around me a few times and then flew away.

For a few minutes, I had the reaction of a normal (or medicated) person and thought, "Oh, how sweet! What a nice reminder that life is good and I need to stop feeling so bad!" and then a minute later, I had the crazy person's reaction of "OH NO - now he'll never be able to find his home again because I drove him miles and miles away from it and OMG - what if he was some sort of sign and someone in my family IS DEAD?!?!?!?!?!"

Yes, my friends - I am that crazy!

I need a hug. Or a drink. Or some prozac. Maybe all three.

Do any of you ever get crazy like this or is it just me?

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Feeding America

Anyone who knows me knows I love doing good deeds. And I was recently lucky enough to be invited to get involved in a project sponsored by The Motherhood and Libby’s (as in “Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the Label Label Label…” Are you guys old enough to remember those commercials? If so, you will be singing that all day won’t you? You’re welcome). Anyway, Libby’s has a great new project called Get Back to the Table, which is encouraging families to do just that – get back to the table. I’m sure we all know that having family dinners together is important. It leads to eating healthier and also helps families take the time to talk to each other and spend valuable time together. Believe me – I am as guilty as anyone of eating meals on the run, whenever and wherever we can – usually in-between running back and forth to work and school and kids activities. But I am making a pledge to try and fix that. My family deserves it, and yours does, too.

And now, Libby's is partnering with Feeding America to help people in need. So on Thursday, I, along with a group of bloggers will be meeting up to put together some lovely care packages with Libby’s products, along with other kitchen and family related goodies which will be distributed to some folks in need. In addition, Hannah Keeley will be there to help and share tips. If you are interested, Hannah will also be at the Market District store in Shadyside that night from 5 – 7 PM to have cooking demonstrations and share tips. So drop in to see her!

In the meantime, you can help Libby’s and Feeding America to..well…feed America. One in six Americans is struggling with hunger, including millions of children. Just check out my virtual can drive and give if you can. Every $5 you give provides 35 meals for hungry families. And every dollar we raise will be matched by Libby’s, up to $40,000!

And next week, Libby’s has been kind enough to allow me to host a giveaway here, so think about your best tips for getting your family back to the table and when I ask you to, share them for a chance to win a great prize from Libby’s.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Christopher M. Panatier

I didn’t know Christopher M. Panatier. I had never even heard his name until I heard it read along with 2,995 others. And though I know I heard it read, I don’t know that I really even took notice of it. 2,996 is a lot of names. It’s especially a lot of names when we’re talking about people who lost their lives.

Christopher Panatier was 36 on that day. Six years younger than I am now. Many, many years younger, I’m sure, than anyone ever imagined they would lose him. Christopher was a foreign currency trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. I imagine he left for work that day in the towers thinking the worst thing he would deal with was traffic, or irritable clients, or a busy day. Instead, he – along with almost 3,000 others, lost his life in the one of the worst tragedies we have seen in this country.

Christopher was a husband, a father, a son. He married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn, and they had two children, Annie and Christopher. His children were only 6 and 4 when they lost him. Too young to lose their father. Especially to lose him that way. Too young to even understand how something like that could happen. But really, there is no age, no amount of knowledge or wisdom that could ever make sense of what happened that day.

Everyone who talks about Christopher seems to mention what an amazing, adventurous, and funny man he was. People were drawn to him.

So even though I didn’t know Christopher, I am remembering him along with the other innocent victims of the September 11th 2001 attacks. He was a good man, a good husband, a good father, and a good friend. Because of that, his legacy lives on.

He will be remembered not only for how he died, but for how he lived.

This post is a part of Project 2,966. Go there to see more tributes.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

If Children's Books & Shows Were Real...

Once upon a time, there were some children who had a friend named Barney. Barney was a dinosaur. They played and sang and danced together. But then one day, Barney – being a dinosaur – ate them. And then social services came and arrested all the parents for letting their kids play with a freaking dinosaur. The end.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Madeleine. Her parents were always leaving her in the care of her Rottweiler, Carl. And then one day social services came and took her away, because who the hell lets a freaking Rottweiler baby-sit their kid? The end.

Once upon a time there was a sister and brother name Ruby and Max. No one knows where their parents were – maybe smoking crack, since they always left toddler Max in the care of his barely older sister. Then one day social services came and took them away, because what the hell? The end.

There once was a boy named Timmy Turner. Timmy was batshit crazy, but his parents didn’t seem to notice. So one day the school called social services and they came and took him away. Then Timmy got some Ritalin and calmed the hell down. The end.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Charlie Brown and his sister Sally. The only supervision they and their friends ever seemed to have was their dog Snoopy. And so one day social services came and took the lot of them away because again with the dog? The end.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Dora. Dora traveled all over the land by herself with just a monkey, a backpack and a map, all of whom talked to her. And then one day social services came and took her away because who the hell lets their toddler run all over creation by herself with a monkey? Monkeys will mess you up. The end.

Once there was a boy named Tommy Pickles. He and his brother Dil and their friends – despite being babies – often escaped their baby cages and traveled the world. And then one day social services came and took them all away because their parents were clearly unfit. They were babies for Pete’s sake – they need some supervision. The end.

Once upon a tine, there was a little boy named Diego. He never had any parental supervision, but he roamed the dangerous jungle all by himself. He kept a jaguar as a pet. Then one day animal control got wind of the jaguar and called in social services, but it was too late. The jaguar had already mauled him to death. The end.

One day there was a boy named Norville, but his friends called him Shaggy. Shaggy always had the munchies & thought his dog talked. The gang had an intervention about his weed & LSD use, and Norville went to rehab & grew up to be an insurance salesman. The end.

There once was a group of kids who liked to hang out with rapping bear called Hip Hop Harry. Then once day social services came and took all the kids away because they had learned from the experience of the whole Barney debacle. Then they shot Harry and made a rug out of him because he was annoying as hell. The end.

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