Historical Crush

Sissy and I were in the car this morning talking about tomorrow’s Superbowl Halftime Show (which is as far as my interest in football goes). I think Adam Levine from Maroon Five is fiiiiine!  And incredibly tiny in stature. So he’s not the guy for me since I could hipcheck him into the wall.

She turns to me and she says, “You know how my English teacher likes Roger Federer? Well her historical crush is Thomas Paine!”

Hold up.  HISTORICAL CRUSH?!  I didn’t even know we were DOING historical crushes!!  Don’t we have enough handsome men nowadays that we can leave the Founding Fathers out of it??!

Me: “Really? Was he incredibly good looking or something?”

Sissy, shrugging her shoulders, proceeds to look him up on her phone and we both take a gander. Ok, nope, not incredibly good looking.  So to protect her teacher’s taste in men from my censure, she says, “I think she really likes his writing.” Hmmmm…ok, whatever.

But this launches me into thinking aloud about MY historical crush. I’ve never even thought about this before.  I didn’t know we WERE thinking about this!  But you better believe I’m thinking about it now.  As are you. Am I right?

“Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill is hot. But if we can branch out from the Signers of the Declaration of Independence then I’d say Jamie Fraser.”

Sissy immediately vetos this choice since Jamie’s not a real person. But he’s real to me!

Feeling somewhat stupid about my crush on fictional men, I immediately throw my older sister under the bus by saying, “You know who Aunt MiMi* thought was cute when we were younger? Race Bannon!  He was Johnny Quest’s bodyguard in the Johnny Quest cartoon.”  As this has now become my personal game of pile-on, I continue, “And she also thought Aquaman was cute. The blond one from the 70’s, not the one from the recent movie, though he’s not bad either.” Afterall, Khal Drogo would be my OTHER vote for historical crush!

Sissy: “Ok, enough. No pretend people.  Only real ones.”

Me: “Alright, then I’d have to say Johnny Gage.”

Sissy: “Really? Who’s that?!?”

Me: “I’m not sure he’s historical enough, but in the 1970’s he and his partner, Roy DeSoto, were the first paramedics for LA County’s Squad 51 Fire Department.”

Sissy types his name into her phone, sees that I’m talking about Randolph Mantooth from the Emergency tv show and says, “We’re done here.  If you can’t be serious talking about your historical crush, then we won’t talk about it at all.”

Well that wrapped up awfully quick. So quick in fact I never got a chance to find out who SISSY’S historical crush is.  Also, talking about historical crushes is serious business.  You have been warned!  Next time bring your A-game and leave the pretend people…and cartoons…behind.

*Name changed to protect weird, cartoon-loving gals.

Of Flushots and Nanobots

We got our flushots the other day. I’m a huge fan of the pharmacy flushot set-up: easy in, easy out and we can huddle together in the “shot room” and jockey for who-goes-first position.  So fun.

Hubby and Sissy walk into the drug store and immediately beeline for the pharmacy section in the back. Sonny on the other hand prefers to mosey his way to Shotsville.  Why rush when you can wander around and look at all the fascinating “As Seen on TV” stuff?!

I was delayed in the car for a few minutes after everyone got out, so as I was doing my own beeline thing, I glimpsed Sonny staggering down one of the middle aisles, arms out and knees stiff, looking for all the world like Frankenstein playing Dance Dance Revolution.  Huh, very curious, but not surprising.

When Sonny finally caught up to us in the pharmacy area (where we’d filled out all the shot paperwork and had been waiting for him for 10 minutes), I asked him what Lurch Fest 2018 in aisle 5 was all about.

He replied with a usual fun fact (most likely gleaned from re-runs of The Office); “Did you know that if you clench your butt, it takes stress off your knees.”

Oh? Good to know.  And are your knees under a lot of stress lately?!

At this point the pharmacist comes to get us and the flushots begin. As soon as I got my shot, my arm started to hurt and the pain immediately migrated to my shoulder blade.  I mentioned this in an aside to Sonny.

Now you have to understand that in addition to the endless font of fun facts, another charming personality quirk of Sonny’s is that he comes up with the most outrageous explanation for things, and that promptly becomes the full and complete truth. He takes after his mother in that respect, she said proudly.

His explanation for the crawling arm pain? A nanovirus.  You see, instead of injecting me with a flushot, the pharmacist actually unleashed a billion nanobots into my veins.

Why yes, this DOES seem like the most likely explanation. The nanobot struggle is real, people.  No wonder why Sonny’s knees are stressed!

Hot Pretzels

My husband and kids love hot pretzels. In fact, they keep a bucket of frozen ones in the outside freezer for heating up at a moment’s notice.  Afterschool snacks, unhealthy dinner-in-a-pinch, weirdo breakfast.  You name the occasion; they’ll eat the hot pretzels for it.

Me? Thanks for asking, but no, I don’t like hot pretzels.  Shockingly enough, there is a carbo load I WON’T eat, and its name is Hot Pretzel.  They remind me too much of a cold, overcast day in New York City.  It’s freezing and my shoes are too tight.  Too much of a naked glimpse into my psyche?  Naw, not a’tall!  But besides all that, I always wish they tasted better.  With salt.  Without salt.  Mustard.  Cinnamon sugar.  Nope, nope, nope, nope.  Blaach!  So I don’t eat them.  Ever.  Because really, what’s the point of eating something you don’t…quite…like, especially if they make you feel like your shoes are too tight!?  Also now – after Sissy’s recent incident with them – it’s a definite no, absofrickinlutely not.

You see, Sonny was cooking some hot pretzels in the toaster oven after school the other day. Sissy wanted some too, but first she had to remove Sonny’s cooked ones.  However, what’s a girl to do when the burning hot pretzel she’s trying to barely touch and mostly flick from the toaster and onto the counter, instead starts falling to the floor?  Why she should wear her shorty shorts, naturally.  Then, using the amazing hand, eye, leg coordination of a three-sport highschool athlete, she should catch the hot pretzel on her bare thigh.  And tightly clutch the pretzel with the other bare thigh, effectively sandwiching the upper loop (above the twist) between her legs to keep the whole thing off the ground.  Finally, when the second-degree hot pretzel burn causes an involuntary unclenching of the thighs, the whole plan fails miserably and the pretzel falls anyway.

It’s her subsequent open mouth wailing that brings me into the kitchen to see what’s going on. Sonny is picking up a hot pretzel from the floor.  He calmly dusts it off on his pants and starts eating it while we both gaze confusedly at Sissy who is crying loudly while simultaneously demonstrating some sort of complicated running-in-place drill.  Her inner thighs look like she just got kicked by a tiny horse who took exception to its tail braid, or possibly like she’s been bitten on both legs by a leprechaun wearing a worn out mouth guard.

Thus another life lesson has been learned in our house. Let the hot pretzel fall.  Always let the hot pretzel fall.  Especially if you’re wearing your shorty shorts.  Better yet, make your brother take his own bleepin’ hot pretzels out of the toaster oven.

I bet YOU don’t like hot pretzels now, do you? They remind you too much of the smell of burnt human flesh, don’t they!?  You’re welcome.  You didn’t need the calories anyway.


Have you seen the #MyWeirdFear segment on The Tonight Show?! Basically Jimmy Fallon asks his audience to share their phobias using the #MyWeirdFear hashtag and then reads them out loud on the show.

It’s hilarious, natch, and makes you realize what a bunch of wackjobs there are in the world – or at least in Jimmy Fallon’s audience.

Not to be outdone, I surveyed my own family about their weird fears and here’s what we’ve got on this end…

Sonny is worried that a stranger might step on his head.

Yep, that’s pretty weird. And it might explain why he hasn’t been having that great of a time in high school: Too many strangers whose feet you have to keep your head away from! A lot of pressure there.

Sissy is worried that someone passing over our house in an airplane will be able to look through her bedroom window and see her naked.

Well that’s weird too. And basically impossible. While a stranger COULD step on your head, I’VE never seen anyone naked in THEIR bedroom from MY airplane window. In general, though, getting dressed far enough away from an open, unshaded window makes a lot of sense because drones with cameras, duh. I explained all of this to Sissy and I think she has a new weird fear now; You’re welcome, Sweetie!

So far so good in holding our own against Jimmy Fallon’s audience. Now on to Hubby who is the most calm, cool and collected person I know. Almost like he’s deliberately and permanently lowered his heart rate in preparation for a record breaking free dive. So he has no weird fears. None. Snooze, where’s the fun in that?! Also don’t go see The Tonight Show, Hubby. You won’t be welcome there.

And since Hubby is so rational and low key, I’m forced to carry twice the crazy load to balance him out. I’m also twice as fun but who’s counting? So I have two #MyWeirdFears to confide here.

The first one is that the black garbage bag you periodically see on the side – or God forbid, the middle – of the road has a dead baby in it. Gah, I know!! Isn’t it awful??! It’s so awful, but I give those bags wide berth. You should too. And I think I just invented a few new hashtags called #MyHorrificFears, #MyReallyReallyHorrificFears, #MyUnbelievablyAwfulFears.

Now to lighten the mood, I will share with you my other weird fear – which is that a hand lives under my bed and will one day trip me in the middle of the night when I’m going to the bathroom. If I step too close to the bed as I’m getting out, it will grab my ankle and face plant me (and then most likely crawl on my face). However, through constant, long term  diligence, I’ve been able to outsmart it every night of my life by taking a biiiig step out of bed. Big enough so I’m outside of grabbing distance. Yep. Nope, just a hand, and clearly a dumb one at that if I’m able to outsmart it with the oldest “hand under my bed” avoiding trick in the book!

So there you have it. Pretty weird, huh? Jimmy Fallon – you should totally have your people call my people. There’s a lot more material where that came from.

Back to School (Part 2)

Sissy celebrated her new highschool junior ID badge by deconstructing her facial features and pointing out all the flaws of each. This is a fun pastime. You should try it right before you take the phone call from your future self and the stern talking-to that comes with it telling you that you are one-of-a-kind and beautiful in your uniqueness. 

When she got to the part where her forehead was too high, I could sympathize. Not that her forehead is really too high, but mine definitely is.

Enough about Sissy; back to me. Do you know how I addressed my too-high forehead back in highschool? In the 80’s??

With a little invention called the whispie bang.

And because I lived in New Jersey (which everyone knows is the starting point of all amazing hair) I had to completely bastardize the bangs from their original feather lite kiss of hair into a shellacked tube of brown perched on my forehead. I mean, it was basically like having the cardboard center from the toilet paper roll taped to my forehead day in and day out. Same size, same shape and it didn’t even move during soccer practice. That’s how you know Aqua Net won the hairspray wars and contributed to the collapse of the ozone layer.

Are you now picturing a dozen girls running around a soccer field with cardboard toilet paper tubes taped to their foreheads? Because you should be.  That’s exactly what soccer practice was like in highschool in the 80’s.  Side note: we only had those yellow phones on the walls with the looooong, curly cords so it was extremely hard for our future selves to call and say, “No.  Just…no.”

However, this low-riding hair tube clearly had the dual positive side effect of a) masking where my forehead actually started and ended or that I even had a forehead, while b) making the rest of my hair look very tall, which may have also been because the rest of my hair WAS very tall. And curly.  Very, very curly.   But not my bangs.  They were straight because I blow-dried them that way around my ginormous round hair brush and then topped that treatment off by using my curling iron on them.  Tube-alicious.  And if you ran at just the right angle, you could make the wind whistle through them on the soccer field.

I explained the whispie bang scenario to Sissy in a brainstorm-y way (no bad ideas) for how she could address her own forehead if she felt it was too high. To which she replied, “I just feel like if no one ever did whispies again, we’d all be safe.”

Hmmm. Good point.  But where’s the fun in that?

PS – My Darling Daughter, this is going to be one heck of a year! You are beautiful inside and out. You are incredibly smart, know all about math and are an amazing athlete with legs for miles.  State tennis champ and varsity softball player, all your bits and pieces work together to create an amazingly lovely whole. And when it comes to your face, you are “on fleek” with your plush lips and your Megan Markle freckles. And when you well, and me, it was my idea, no bad ideas in brainstorming remember single-handedly bring back the whispie bang?!? TRIFECTA!!!

Back to School (Part 1)

It’s been many moons since I waxed poetic about Kohl’s. So it’s about time I did some more o’that.

Kohl’s, I freakin’ love you!!!

What inspired my articulate and heartfelt love proclamation this time around you ask? No, not the 30% off coupon that still netted us $30 in Kohl’s cash plus an additional $10 in Yes2You Rewards. Though that’s all pretty suh-weet!

Instead it was the darling college gal at the checkout who rang up Sonny’s back to school threads.

You see, we struggled all summer long trying to get Sonny to read A Separate Peace and to do his geometry math assignment in plenty of time so that he wasn’t squeezing all the work into – and therefore ruining – my sanity and the final week of summer break. When the cashier got that whole story out of Sonny (well, and me because I’m helpful that way) by asking if he was ready for freshman year, she made a frowny face and exclaimed, “Oh no! You never, EVER wait until the last minute to do your summer assignments!! Doesn’t it just make you almost sick to your stomach having that hanging over your head?! Like, you’ll be at the pool with your friends and then you’ll suddenly remember your summer assignments and it just ruins the whole vibe, right??! I mean, even in college, when I get an assignment that’s not due until the end of the semester, I still have to start working on it right away because NOT working on it is way too stressful!”

Sonny’s side-eyeing me the whole time the college gal is monologuing with a look that said, “How are you doing this?! How are you making YOUR words come out of HER mouth?? Do you somehow KNOW her? Did you arrange this before we even GOT here?! Am I being punked into doing my summer assignments by my own MOTHER and a Kohl’s cashier??”

No, I’ve never seen this gal before in my life. But she is truly a blessing from Heaven. It was like a back to school Chicken Soup for the Soul moment since she eventually had Sonny smiling, nodding and agreeing that yes, indeed, doing summer homework ASAP made the most sense in the world.

And wouldn’t you know? Sonny went right home and plowed through his math and reading and wrapped up both with a full week of summer to go!  Phew!

Kohl’s employs angels in disguise, yo! You should totally go there for your back to school shopping.

Learner’s Permit (Subtitled: Performance Art at the DMV)

A big motivator in my life is to not have anything happen to my children. I encourage them to stay safe – and be safe – by having frantic, one-sided conversations while they look on wide-eyed.  These conversations always end with me sobbing, “Stay alive!  I will come for you! I will find you!!!  JUST STAY ALIVE!”  Of course I make sure to keep the “stay alive” scenarios in these conversations deliberately vague because I don’t want to scare anyone, all sobbing aside.

So you can just imagine the level of anxiety I’ve been experiencing since Sissy got her learner’s permit.  Because, as we all know, many of the vague “stay alive” scenarios I refer to above involve cars in some way.  Just let your imagination roam free here – as mine does – on what these scenarios could be.  Make sure the scenarios are awful, truly awful, then welcome to my world. 

Sissy successfully completed the newfangled online driving course, then had to go to the DMV and wait in the uncomfortable plastic seats to fill out some forms and take an in-person test.  Finally, her name was called, her picture was taken and she and I were standing at the payment window.

But before they let you escape with your learner’s permit, you have to tell them if you’d like to donate your organs should something…er…happen.  Sissy was all in on that, but a 15 year old can’t actually make that decision for herself according to the great state of Colorado.  So the woman staffing the payment window turned to me and asked me for my permission to donate Sissy’s organs.

We should pause now so I can tell you about Sissy’s big motivator: to not have me cry in public.  And if I must cry in public, she prefers I not be standing next to, or affiliated with her in any visible way.

So you see where this is all going, right? This woman has front-and-centered my biggest fear.  My biggest fear begets Sissy’s biggest fear.  We’re at the head of an entire room filled with people who have nothing else to do but sit in uncomfortable plastic seats waiting for the show to start. 

 -Cue tears-

Sissy, who has a sixth sense about things that might make me cry in public while she’s standing next to me, straightens up when the woman says the stuff about organs and whips her head around to look at me.  Her mouth is an ‘O’ of despair and horror since she knows what she’ll  find.  My eyes have overflowed and tears are rolling down my face.  Luckily my back is to the room so I’m not total Performance Art at the DMV.

The payment window woman is completely appalled  a little taken-aback by my tears and tries to “help.”  She leans close and says in an authoritative voice, “You would rather I ask this question now instead of having to ask it should something happen.”  Ok, WHAT?  What are you even saying?!?  STOP TALKING!! 

But those words are stuck in my head since they can’t make it past the lump in my throat.

Sissy, desperate to make this mother-turned-freakshow stop at all costs, furiously hisses at me to knock it off because I’m a total embarrassment.  Then she leans forward and gently touches the payment window woman’s hand where it’s resting on the counter and whispers, “I don’t think that’s helping.”

Right!  Not helping!  SO. NOT. HELPING!!  We hold a moment of silence while I fight the lump like ya do.  I sleeve-wipe my tears and when my throat has opened enough for words to come out, I give my gruesome permission.  We go on our less-than-merry way with Sissy maintaining at least 20 feet of distance from me and going out a separate door.  She does NOT get to drive home.  If at all.  Ever again.

Well, that was a good time.

Happy Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day! March 14th. Three one four. 3.14 – Pi! Get it!? Guck guck guck.

Pi Day didn’t exist back in my youth. It was only discovered about 3 or 4 years ago and schools across the land have been using it ever since as an excuse to eat pie during math class.

And because I’m that kind of amazingly organized mom, on the day BEFORE Pi Day, I made two pies – one for each kid’s math class. (And by “made” I mean “bought at WalMart’s bakery department” but you have to give me snaps for the plan ahead approach!) Snap, snap, snap.

Anyway, when I announced the good news to Sonny last night, his response was, “But Mom, I signed up to bring icecream.”

Me: “Icecream?! No! It’s Pi Day, not icecream day!!” I like a clever math joke, but I’m not down with kids using it as a reason to eat favorite desserts during the first class of the day. “No. No icecream. You’re bringing pie.”

Him: “Ok. But do you even KNOW what Pi is?”

Me: “Of course! It’s 3.149367523…” I completely made up everything after the 3.14 but it sounded impressive. It’s always important to sound impressive when discussing math.

Him: “No, I mean do you know WHAT it’s used for?”

Me: “Sure.”

Him: “Ok…what then?”

Me: “You act like you don’t know so I’m not sure I should tell you. If you haven’t covered it in class yet, I may confuse you. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you after all.”

Him: “Mooom!”

Me: “Ok, you asked for it so don’t blame me if you don’t understand it.”

Still me: See note above about sounding impressive when discussing math. “It’s the quadrangular way of calculating the unilateral arm of an isosceles triangle.”

Him: “What?! No way. You think icecream on Pi Day doesn’t make sense. But that?! That made NO sense.”

Me: “Alright Pi Man, let’s hear it. What IS Pi?”

At that point he gave me an explanation about circle circumference and radius calculations blah, blah, blah.  I won’t repeat it here because I don’t think it was right.  Also?  It made Pi sound completely irrational. Ha, ha. See what I did there?! Irrational!??! Talk about a clever math joke!  Snap, snap, snap.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Before the season is completely done, I gotta get something off my chest.

The “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus” song? I don’t dig it.  I may have mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating.

If you’re at the bell-still-rings-for-you age, which is the age I was when I first heard it, it just makes you think Mommy’s an A Number One floozy.  You come away from the whole tune feeling really bad for yourself, Dad AND for Mrs. Claus.

The visual of Mom and Santa necking under the mistletoe is wrong. Way wrong.  No six-year-old needs that picture in their head – or to be left feeling like Santa could come between their parents’ marriage during the most wonderful time of the year.  Further, it would NOT have been a laugh if Daddy had seen that nonsense last night at the obviously wine-fueled Christmas party.  It would have been horrifying, so thank heavens Dad didn’t see that nonsense last night at the obviously wine-fueled Christmas party.  Poor Dad.

And a quick show of hands for Team Mrs. Claus here!?  We all know she doesn’t spend a whole year fattening up Santa (eat, Papa, eat!) just so some OTHER gal can get her Christmas-party mitts on him as soon as he’s out of her sight.  Added to that, one year I found gifts from Mrs. Claus under the tree. They were the most wonderful Barbie clothes I saw at the farmers market earlier in the year.  The package was signed “Mrs. Claus.”  Oh yeah, you better believe I’m team Mrs. Claus.  And if you weren’t before, you are now too, aren’t you?!

And if you’re listening to this song as a grown-up and you’re in on the whole nudge nudge, wink wink “Why yes, Virginia there IS a Santa Claus” shtick?  You’re gasping at the brazen mistletoe balls of this song.  Outing the whole secret in front of everyone and their brother.  Even though it’s not sung outright in so many words, we know what’s what.  Also, it speaks to some seriously weird fetish(es) that don’t belong anywhere near Holly Jolly Christmas. Blaaach!

So no. No more of this song, please and thank you.   Get your laughs some other way.

Hard Candy Christ

Well hello and where ya been?! No matter. No one’s interested in your excuses anyhow. The important thing is that you’ve made it back just in time for an enjoyable seasonal anecdote.

But first, let me explain that when my parents come for a visit from Virginia, we usually play lots of board games. During one of their more recent visits, we played Like-Wise which is a board game where you have to answer category questions while trying to match other people’s answers and thus gain points.

My mom answered two-and-quite-possibly-three of six category questions with “Dolly Parton.” I have never heard my mother before (or since) make mention of Dolly Parton. I didn’t even know she knew who Dolly Parton was. No one matched her Dolly Parton answers so she didn’t get any points. But my kids came away from that game with the distinct impression that Grandma is a huge Dolly Parton fan.

So imagine their joy and surprise when we got in the car yesterday after the first mass of Advent to find that the carol playing on the radio was by Grandma’s fave – Dolly Parton!

I’ll give you one guess as to what Dolly was singing. That’s right!  Her all time, best-selling holiday song, “Hard Candy Christ.” I even got a picture of it on the dashboard display.

Grandma’s religious too, so any reference to Christ is right up her alley.

Sissy’s take on the whole thing? “Oh my GOSH! Grandma would LOVE this song!”

And really, who doesn’t love hearing a bosom-y gal sing about Jesus as a red and white striped, peppermint flavored baby sitting in a feed trough. Feeling hungry? Break off an arm of the Beloved Savior and enjoy! Num, num, num.

Hard Candy Christ. Yep, what a Christmas classic. Thank you, Dolly! Really puts you in the spirit of the season.  You too, Mom?!