The Hills Are Alive

Ok, one final word on this Sunday’s Oscars and then we can move on…

I didn’t see a single, solitary movie in the whole line-up.  LIE!  Ok, I did see that one with Reese Witherspoon on the hiking trail.  Well, and also that one with all the fairytale singing that went on so long I fell asleep right about the time all the giant-laying-waste-to-the-village stuff happened.  But other than that?  Nada.  And if that makes me an L to the O to the S-E-R, then what does that make Hubby?  ‘Cause he didn’t see the Reese one, only the fairytale singing one.  Hi, Honey!  Sorry about that cold I gave you.  But in all fairness, you did give it to me first.

But where I’m really going with all of this is that JULIE ANDREWS WAS THERE!



If I could, I would skin Julie Andrews and wear her as a little hoodie.  But in a good, I completely LOVE her and really just want to BE her sort of way.  Not in a creepy, it puts the lotion in the basket or else it gets the hose again sort of way.  The only thing I might consider changing about my hoodie would be the hair length.  I always wanted Julie to have slightly longer hair so that when I wear the hoodie it detracts from the double chin.  Hers, not mine.

So it goes without saying that since I LOVE Julie Andrews and since I LOVE the “Sound of Music,” the last time I was in Salzburg, Austria, I spent one whole day taking the “Sound of Music” tour.  And yes, it’s a thing.  It’s an actual thing all the cool people in the world pay money to do.  Cough, cough, nerd, your own self. 

You get to ride in a van and see the alpine meadow where Julie starts off the movie with her famous twirl.  You get to see the church where Maria and Captain my Captain get married.  (The fun fact here would be that while they actually got married at Nonnberg Abbey where the real Maria was a nun-in-training, the marriage scene for the movie however – where Julie’s long, long veil trails down the aisle behind her – was actually filmed at Collegiate Church.)  You see the Festival Hall where the Von Trapps sang the night of their escape.  At tour’s end, you even get to see the Untersberg Mountain that the family had to walk over after Austria’s borders closed.

Finally, because it’s dark and you spent all your money on the tour, you get to walk two miles up a weird, wooded hill to your bed and breakfast with its smelly, shared bathroom.  At which point you realize the hills around Salzburg are alive with the sound of…Nazi foot soldiers running right ATCHA through the forest!!!  GAAAH!!  Oh, ho ho.  Of course not.  Don’t be silly.  That’s actually the sound of HEDGEHOGS.  They’re nocturnal.  Who knew?  And they make a heartstopping amount of foot soldier noise (if you’ve got Nazis on the brain) as they snuffle through the underbrush.  My advice is to always, always buy the Sound of Music flashlight souvenir so you can see what the hills are alive with – at night – in the woods near Salzburg.


That’s it about the Oscar Awards.  That’s the final word.  To your mother.  We are now free to move on.


When my daughter was maybe 6 months old, she would use the quietest times of the day (after communion prayer in church, for example) as the perfect foil for her overly loud exploration of the sound duh-duh-duh-duhduhduhduhduhDUHDUHHHHH!  She would bust out with the noise while wearing a huge grin on her face, chubby cheeks pumping furiously.  Coincidentally or not, there always seemed to be an inordinate amount of drool flowing down her chapped chin at times like these.  New baby toofuses much?

Anyway, for our family, that sound has come to symbolize being overly excited at questionably appropriate times, apropos nothing.

Case in point?  Have you heard the new recommendations which indicate that 3-5 cups of coffee per day is ok for you?


I am frickin’ PSYCHED about this!  I LOVE me some joe.  Boyohboyohboy!  Do I LOVE me some JOE.  And I have NO time for those schmoes who droop around declaring they don’t NEED caffeine because they have NATURAL joie de vivre.

Shut!  SHUT!  SHUT.  IT.  Joie de vivre my a$$!

But that’s fine.  I’m fine.  That’s fine.  Because now?  Now the government says it’s ok for me to consume MY wakey juice AND joie-de-vivre’s wakey juice while I’m at it.

This approach in turn helps me enter my day with my heart in my throat and my hands grasping invisible shake weights.  MymommysaysItalktoofast.  DoYOUthinkItalktoofast?!?  As I stagger off the cliff of life every morning, you can hear me shouting the whole way down…


And if you say ANYTHING here about my chubby cheeks and my excessive drool, I’ll drink YOU’RE java too.  IwillIwillIswearIwill, so help me…duh-duh-duh-duhduhduhduhduhDUHDUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

My Funny Valentines

Hey – I’ve got an idea!  Let’s review what everyone got for Valentine’s Day…

Ok, well really this is only going to be a review of what I got for Valentine’s Day.  Just wanted to level-set.  If you want to review your stuff, get your own blog.

Let’s see…

There was the dozen hot pink roses from Hubby, actually put in a vase of water, and waiting on the kitchen table along with a card when I came down that morning.

Then there was the championship basketball game that Sissy gave me.  Listen, I’ve thought a lot about the technical foul called against me during the last game and I’ve concluded it was the result of me wearing the wrong shoes on the court.  So for the big Valentine’s Day championship game, I switched it up and wore something more appropriate.  Then, when I spotted coach that evening, I told him I was wearing the right shoes and to put me in!  Hahahahahaha.  Then I laughed maniacally like that which caused coach to back up slowly.  No matter.  We won!  This was most likely because I was wearing a thematic red scarf AND the right shoes.  AND because I’m funny.  AND because the girls played their hearts out.  It was Valentine’s Day afterall so the heart thing tied in nicely.

Finally, there was the gift from Sonny I’ve come to call: The Ninja Deathstar of Love.

Ninja Deathstar of LoveShow of hands, who else got a Ninja Deathstar of Love?!?  Come on!  I know you’re out there.  By all accounts, Sonny led SEVERAL boys in the making of these.  During school.  To the exclusion of actual classwork where Sonny could have learned spelling and such.

But pay that no never mind because this thing is an engineering marvel!  With a few tugs in all the right places, it transforms from Ninja Deathstar of Love to Ninja Octagon of Love, complete with heartfelt messages on each of the eight sides.  Ninja Octagon of LoveThings like: “With a great mom comes a great kid,” (not to put too fine a point on things) and “Thank you for everything,” or “Your [sic] the best thing that ever happened to me.”  Why yes.  Yes, I AM the best thing that ever happened to you.  And also?  Ninja Deathstar/Octagon protocol allows for crying during message review.  So go ahead if you’re so inclined.  I’ll join you.  Waaaah!

The only message that gave me pause and maybe wasn’t the hugest tearjerker of the bunch was: I’ll still love you no mader [sic] how big or small.No matter how big


I might be over-interpreting things here, but does this valentine make me sound…big?  Like I’m big and bordering on house-bound??

Not trying to be all judge-y or anything.  Or trying to make YOU be all judge-y or anything.  I’m just saying that even if I WERE big?  I’d still be loved.  No mader what.

Falling Flat

…This is an open letter to the person or persons who have the Prank Camera trained on me while Hubby is out of town…

Dear Sir or Sirs,

I have been aware of your existence for a while.  Seems like every time Hubby is out of town, something totally crappy happens.  This could only be the result of you causing the awfulness, then monitoring me for my reaction via your hidden cameras so as to get outstanding YouTube footage.  This is a completely natural assumption on my part.

And while this has all been absa-frickin-lutely hilarious; can we be done now?

Take, for example, the ol’ flat tire hijinks from this morning.  At first glance, there’s nothing funnier than coming out of the house with the massive backpacks and the kids belonging to same only to find the back right tire on the car is completely flat.  Nothing.  Funnier.

But what you weren’t privy to was the ominous black pick’emup truck randomly parked in front of our house all night long.  When Sonny noticed it this morning, all frost covered, that naturally meant that the person who drove the truck was somehow now in our house, and had been all night long.  So my comment as we were heading out the door about how, “we had better hurry up and leave before the man in our basement wakes up,” already had everyone nervously tittering while anxiously glancing at each other in a Heavens-to-Betsy-I-hope-there’s-not-really-a-man-sleeping-in-our-basement sort of way.

Unless YOU were the man in the pick’emup, then in our basement??  Could be.  That seems just like something you would do to “amp up” the fun factor so as to get even better footage.

So we were already on edge even BEFORE the mad dash on the tire rim to get some temporary air so that we could then bust across town to school, hopping out at every stoplight to make sure the tire wasn’t shredding as we went – hopping and hoping.

Because, you see, it’s annual nationwide testing time for the kids.  And they can’t be late to school, because if they are, they have to sit out the whole morning and then have to make up the testing some other time.  And no one, NO ONE, has time for that nonsense.

This entire scenario basically had us ALL chumming in our mouths from nerves by the time we got to school.  I can’t even IMAGINE what the kids’ scores are going to look like from today.  Thanks a lot.

Also?  That whole “screw in the tire which coulda been repaired if a ‘certain someone’ hadn’t driven on the rim??”  That was a nice touch.  You owe me two hundred bucks.

And as I’m posting this blog, I notice your truck is now gone.  So it seems like you’re getting the message that we’re done.  [insert Jersey Girl thumb-to-throat slitting motion here]  DONE!

You could have at least made the bed in the basement before you packed up your cameras and left, though.  Rude much?!

Most Embarrassing Moment

NOW?!?  You’re asking me for my most embarrassing moment NOW???  You could’ve asked me YESTERDAY and I woulda trotted out my hilarious story about a breast pump and a software training class where the instructor thought I said, “Come and take a seat,” and therefore hustled on over when what I REALLY said was, “Can I have some privacy?!”

See?!  Hilarious!

But TODAY?!?  Today it’s a whole different story that ends with, “Parent on the court…TECHNICAL FOUL!”

Before we get there, though, let me mention that Thursday, Sissy got this thing in her mouth called a Herbst Appliance.  It’s meant to correct her overbite and it looks exactly like a twin set of Swannington Incline Engines complete with piston valves.  I’m not even joking.  And if you don’t know anything about the Swannington thingy I just mentioned, then you’ll just have to picture a horrific torture device-looking appliance in her mouth which actually made a classmate CRY yesterday as Sissy was displaying it because the whole scene gives off a Cyborg Jaw vibe.

So, anyway, we’re in the final minute of Sissy’s basketball tournament game today.  A swirl of activity passes around Sissy and she’s left standing at the top of the key, holding her throat using the international sign for choking.  Her head is jerking up and back rhythmically.  This continues for a full thirty seconds while all THREE refs on the court allow the game to play on.  My husband and I are yelling that there’s a player hurt, yet the game continues.  At that point, I’m convinced that something terrible has happened; perhaps a piston has come loose in Sissy’s mouth and is blocking her throat which means she’s gonna face plant to the floor from lack of oxygen and let fly with the other piston.  So I go running down the bleachers, on to the court and throw my arms around her, ready to support her in case her knees give way, yelling all the while to the refs, “This player is hurt!!  STOP PLAY!!!!

Turns out she got an opponent’s wild elbow to the larynx and couldn’t draw breath.  So…no broken piston?   But still.  The game continued on for WAY too long with a player hurt.  Surely one or more of the refs – whose priority should be to ensure the safety of the players – could have noticed.

Anyway, I held Sissy for a few more seconds until she was able to draw breath again, then she looked up wild-eyed, realized her MOTHER was on the COURT and HOLDING HER in front of EVERYONE!!!  So she SHOVED ME away, all the while GLARING at me and furiously whispering, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!?!”

Oh, no reason other than I thought you had metal clogging your throat.  I see now that you don’t, so I’ll be leaving.  Exit, stage left even. 

So me, my hot pink sweater and my leopard print shoes mustered our dignity and walked off the court, the closest ref staring me down the whole way.  Once I passed him he called, “Parent on the court…TECHNICAL FOUL!”  The opposing team actually MADE the resulting free-throw which tied the game in the last few seconds of regulation play and the whole thing went to overtime.

Oopsie.  Not many parents were meeting my eye after that, although a few moms did agree with me that a mother’s heart trumps all ref calls.  Yeah.  Yeah it does.  I even got a low, sliding five from one mom for that.  Hubby on the other hand told me to shut it, sit quietly for the rest of the game and…DON’T MOVE.

But Sissy’s team won.  Phew!  More parents were meeting my eye after that.  During the last few minutes of overtime, Sissy personally drew the fifth foul from at least three opposing players causing them to leave the game completely.  She also made two more free throws and one more basket.  An elbow in the larynx inspires you to greatness, I guess.

And she IS great.  In fact, she was great BEFORE that whole parent-on-the-court-technical-foul biz went down.  She’s a great athlete.  AND she’s absolutely a great person.  I’m proud to know her and to call her mine.  Bet SHE never had a most embarrassing moment.  If she did, I can’t imagine what it would be.  Can’t.  Even.  Imagine…

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

Can you tell what this is, sitting upside down under 6 inches of snow?  Nooo??!

The Boot BinWell I’m completely shocked because it is – quite clearly – the boot bin that sits outside our trampoline, waiting to receive boots that the kids aren’t wearing while they’re jumping on the trampoline and which they don’t want the dog to get at because he then runs around the yard with them.  And once the dog runs off somewhere with their boots, they can never descend again from the trampoline and come back into the house because gasp! they’re in their SOCKS!!!  So they just sit in their big giganto crib calling, calling, then waiting for mama to come get them and carry them to the changing table.

Flashbacks aside, how’s the “trampoline boot bin” concept working for us so far?

And when I say “us” I mean me, and obviously it’s not working at all.

And yes, it was my idea.  And it was brilliant.  Because the “boots” the kids were wearing to the trampoline* were actually MY winter boots, every pair of winter boots I’ve ever owned in my life and which I’ve kept because you never know when they’re coming back in style.  The problem was that when the kids would wear them on their hike to the tramp, they were squelching through a back yard filled with bloody snow (now melted and turned to bloody mud) and a winter’s worth of dog poop.  This then caused horrible “things” to become stuck to the bottom of the boots.  (You know you’re in real trouble when it’s your dearest hope that it’s just bloody mud on the bottom of your boots.)  And when the dog would steal the boots from beside the tramp and romp around the yard with them, they would get tooth punctures and bloody mud (hoping…fingers crossed) all up and down the sides of the boots and bloody mud (come on bloody mud!) even IN the boots on two occasions.

That’s when I came up with the brilliant Boot Bin Plan so as to save all of my soon-to-be-fashionable-again boots from total destruction.  The Boot Bin Plan dictated that when the kids mounted the tramp hee hee hee and you know why I’m giggling, you dirty bird they were to put their ok, really my boots in the bin which had been placed strategically up and out of the way on the side of the tramp where the dog couldn’t get to them/it/anything.

Boot Bin Plan ENGAGE! happened a grand total of ONCE.  Then the bin got knocked to the ground after everyone got their my boots back OUT post-tramp activities.  Where it calmly sat, minding its own business, until the dog pee’d into it.  Then, because a boot bin full of dog pee is completely gross and deserves to be pitched further into the yard and never cleaned out, it got pitched further into the yard and never cleaned out.  So there it sits.  Out there in the snow.  My brilliant plan.  Just sitting there.  In the snow.  No boots in it.  Just frozen dog pee.  Upside down.

So again, I ask, how’s this plan working for me so far?  Yep.  That’s about right.  Just as well as every other plan I’ve ever had which involves cooperation from kids, dogs and boots.

*The kids call the trampoline the “tramp.”  This adds a whole level of hilarity (for me at least) when they call their friends to ask them if they want to come over and jump on the tramp.  Ha ha ha.  It’s funny.  Now bug off, I’m busy.  I gotta go get a certain bin outta the snow and clean it.  I hope I only get bloody mud on my boots while I’m doing it.  Hoping…hoping…