Tons of DIY Inspirational Country Wedding Elf on the Shelf Nail Polish ideas! lol

I’ve been spending some time on Pinterest lately. I've been on Pinterest for a couple of years now, so it's not like this was my first rodeo. Pinterest is a wonderful source of inspiration, and a great way to keep track of cool things from the internet. However, Pinterest has a problem I associate with theme parks, fairs and New Year’s eve in Times Square—if things are open to the public, generally far too much of the public shows up for it. And as we all know, the public is often stupid.

For instance, I was looking over the Holiday & Events board type. The things people pin in this category range from astonishing to moronic and back again. Craft ideas that clearly will not work without a license to Photoshop.  Recipes that sound not only disgusting, but downright lethal (heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and vanilla to make “hot chocolate”? Just typing that raised my cholesterol 10 points and gave me three cavities). Crafts that are just dumb—never in the history of ever has anyone looked a toilet paper tube painted white with a hat stuck on it and said, “What a darling snowman!” No, they looked at it and thought, “That looks like a toilet paper tube painted white with a hat on it.” Cakes so elaborate that they require a degree in Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu and a Fine Arts degree from Parsons to create. And then there’s what I call The Tacky, which should be a board type all its own. Rolls of Charmin lined up on the back of the toilet with evergreen branches stuck in them. A wreath made out of sawed off beer cans. Ideas that just scream, “We have a broken washer and dryer on our front porch!”

This has led me to feel that prior to being given access to Pinterest, potential pinners should be required to take a survey that reveals the type of pins they will be contributing. Depending on the outcome of this survey, they may be provisioned for a separate instance of Pinterest. One reserved for complete morons. Below is my proposed survey:

Instructions: For each question, please choose all that apply.
1) Do you regularly use the following when you write?
Best X EVER!
So stinkin' cute!
Totes adorbs

2) Will you use the following labels to describe images?
My Style
For my wedding one day
Someday when I have kids
When we have [stairs, a porch, an extra bedroom, etc] I WILL do this!
Tons of Elf on the Shelf ideas

3) Are you inclined to pin any of the following?
Pictures of cute puppies or kittens
Recipes made with "just three ingredients!"
Recipes made with candy bars, refrigerated crescent rolls, or Hershey's Kisses
Inspirational sayings
Pictures of heavily Photoshopped people in workout gear with a label that reads, "Motivation!"

4) Please indicate which of the following types of pins it might interest you to see on Pinterest:
Creative nail polish ideas
Anything explicitly labeled "DIY"
Crafts that use cutouts of the human hand in creative and unusual ways
Anything "country"
Elf on the Shelf ideas
5) Mark all those you find amusing:
Bathroom humor
Cute overload
Anything that says "ehrmegherd" on it
"Stay calm and whatever" posters
Stills from movies that have the lines the character was saying in that scene typed under them

6) Choose the word to complete the following sentence:
"If ________ too short to reach the shelf, use a stool."

a) your
b) you're

If you selected any under #1-5 and/or picked a) for #6, you are an idiot and must pin on the OTHER Pinterest, where people who have taste, good senses of humor, and a reasonable grasp of English language, spelling, punctuation, and syntax don't have to see your annoying crap.

I really think this approach would go a long way toward improving Pinterest, and will not be the least bit offended if Pinterest appropriates my idea.

Halloween. Boo.

I know plenty of people disagree with me, but Halloween leaves me cold. Costumes, trick or treat, blah blah whatever. For the sake of my children, I try my best to hide this lack of enthusiasm. I buy fake spiders and plastic skeletons. I even throw a Halloween party, complete with pumpkin flinging trebuchet every year (my husband, who does like Halloween, built the trebuchet himself. I don't like Halloween, but even I have to admit that a life size trebuchet that can fling a pumpkin 300' is pretty badass).

My complete lack of interest is probably partly, if not entirely, fed by my own childhood experiences. My mom was a total washout in the costume department. I remember being about five things when I was a kid, all of them lame. The year I was seven it was so bad that I didn’t even have a costume, per se. She pulled out a blue tartan kilt and cape she’d bought me during a previous summer vacation to Bermuda and said, “There. You’re Mary, Queen of Scots.” Because I was kind of a weird kid, I knew who that was (sort of), but seriously—what the fuck?
The last year I recall actually even trick or treating at all was the year I was in 7th grade. All the girls in my class (about 7 of us) spent the night at someone’s house and we didn’t so much go trick or treating, as go out and see what kind of trouble we could get in. Being the kind of kid I was, that wasn’t much, as it turned out. About the only thing of note that happened was when we were spraying Silly String on the playground at the local elementary school, and a flashlight beam came out of nowhere and pinned us. The guy behind it said, “Stop—police.” And my friend Sarah—for reasons that she has never been able to articulate—shot back, “Who you jivin’?” and the cop replied, “I ain’t jivin’.” Oh shit.

Turned out they were looking for kids who were actually tagging with spray paint. When they saw that all we had was Silly String, and that we had no idea who the spray painters were, and hadn’t seen them, they let us go. And that was pretty much the end of my career as a juvenile delinquent.
I was able to all but ignore Halloween from about 1982 until fairly recently. About the only thing I’d do was give out candy (and hey, seventh grade boys—here’s a tip: don’t go out in the same outfit you wore to school, ring doorbells and hold out your bag for candy with a disaffected grunt. Show a little spirit and put some effort into it, or you can just get your candy from someone else’s house; you won’t be getting any of my Snickers Fun Size, you little assholes. If you’re too embarrassed to say it, you’re too old to do it), and possibly attend the occasional adult Halloween party. I’m not a complete toad—I’d dress up. I remember one year I went as a teenager, which necessitated me buying the first copy of Seventeen magazine I’d had since I was seventeen. You know, to see what the kids were wearing.

But then I started having my own kids, and of course they wanted in on this free candy thing, so I was forced to participate again. This time I went to the other extreme, and started making all their costumes from scratch.
Let me tell you about that. Making a costume from scratch sounds awesome and supportive and dedicated. In reality it is stupid and expensive and stressful. One year I made my four kids’ costumes and ended up spending over SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS on the fabric, patterns, notions, what have you. Six hundred bucks! And I was making shit like Pokemon. I had two kids who wanted to be Pokemon that year, but of course they didn’t want to be the one they actually sell the pattern for (his name is Pikachu, if you care, or if you have an eight year old boy and it therefore means something to you). They wanted to be these other bizarre ones that look like lizards and shit, and for which of course you can’t just go out and buy a pattern. So not only did I have to make them, I had to make them up. Three years in a row I spent the weekend before Halloween in tears, swearing to God we weren’t going to do this again next year (so I was a little slow in actually doing it).

So this year we did buy costumes. Now I see part of the benefit of not buying them costumes. When I’m making them, they can’t possibly wear them until they’re done (which was usually October 30th at 10:30 p.m.). This year they’ve had them for two weeks, and already they’ve wanted to wear them to about six different places. Mean, mean Mommy refuses to allow this. Know why? I’ll tell you—it’s because if I let them wear them to the zoo, the park, the grocery store, and every other place they wanted to wear them for the 30 days prior to Halloween, at 3 p.m. on October 31st, they would announce that they were bored with whatever costume they’d been wearing for the last month, and that they wanted to be, “something else.” This would cause me to lose my grip on what’s left of my precious, fragile sanity.
So clearly this is a no win situation. I either stress myself out emotionally and financially, or I spend a month being stressed out because I have to keep refusing to allow them to go to every event dressed as a wizard or Dead Man Rocking (a sort of zombie rock star—don’t ask) because they’d get bored and/or ruin the costume and then have nothing to wear on Halloween proper. About the only thing I can do at this point is just wait until they claim to be too old for such foolishness. Which should take about six more years.

I know when my kids are grown up, there are things I will miss—I already miss that my daughter no longer refers biscuits as “bistiks,” and that one of my twins no longer has that adorable baby lisp that caused him to say things like “fwosting” instead of “frosting.” But I refuse to miss the mayhem around Halloween. I’ve been over it for about thirty six years now.

Dogs and Dingbats

Our topic today is dogs. Not my dog, though. I do have a dog, but he’s not funny. In fact, he breaks a cardinal rule in my household that everyone who lives there is required to give me material or they’re out. He’s on notice.

Anyway, in the past few months I’ve had a couple of interactions with other people who have dogs, and it is they about whom we will be talking.
The first was an experience at the grocery store recently. As I was walking out of the grocery store, a kid on a skateboard came zipping through the parking lot, up to the door of the store, popped up his skateboard and walked in. A dog in a car parked in the lot saw this, launched itself out of the car (and into the parking lot traffic, which was fortunately going slowly enough that nothing bad happened) and ran into the store after the kid. (It was pretty clear the dog didn’t know the kid; it turned out the dog just didn’t like skateboards.)
I saw this, turned around and went back into the store. I alerted the courtesy clerk, who read the dog’s tag and made an announcement over the PA system for the dog’s owner. It happened that the woman who owned the dog was right at the front of the store, and walked up to see if this was, in fact, her dog. It was.
“My goodness!” she exclaimed, upon the realization that this was her pet. “How on earth did you get out of the car?” She kept saying things like, “How did you manage this? How in the world did you do this?” Gee, lady, I don’t know—maybe it was all four of the windows you left rolled all the way down? She was positively mystified as to how her dog was able to get out of the car and into the store.
She wasn’t concerned with why (to be fair, I guess it didn’t really matter), but she was baffled by the idea that a dog could jump out of an open car window. It was a pretty warm day, and it would have been wrong to leave the dog confined in the car, so leaving all the windows open was appropriate, but for the life of her she couldn’t conceive how the dog managed to get out of the car and into the store. Really, you dingbat?
But I seem to find myself often in the company of dingbat dog owners (point for research: is this because dog owners are more likely to be dingbats than owners of other pets?). The other experience I have to relate involves a woman at the video store, and her conversation with the male video clerk. And in this case, the woman dog owner was a dingbat, but the guy wasn’t much better.
The woman was renting “Marley and Me,” and she and the clerk were talking about their respective dogs. Now, point one: the woman talked in a baby voice and referred to dogs as “doggies” (acceptable only if you are under the age of 5), and point two: well, I don’t really have a point two beyond the fact that they were both dopes. They had this exchange in my hearing:
Her: What’s your doggie’s name?
Him: Charlie.
Her: That’s a great name.
Him: Yeah, I like one syllable names for dogs.

So right away my twitdar is going off. It’ll probably come as a surprise, but I have a very low tolerance for that sort of thing.

The conversation moved on to the movie she was renting. Now, maybe I’m just ultra-dialed in (fact: I am not) but even I know the basic tenants of “Marley and Me” and I’ve never read or seen it. Yellow lab, ill-behaved but irresistibly charming anyway, dies at the end. Right? This woman, who was apparently new to Planet Earth, or spent the last five years on a raft in the middle of the ocean with no contact with the civilized world, knew nothing about the movie beyond the name, and the fact that it has a dog in it. I assume she acquired this information from the box.

The clerk told her about his reaction to the movie, clearly trying not to give away the one critical plot point (THE DOG DIES). He told her how moving it is (THE DOG DIES). He told her how it made him feel really emotional about his own dog, Charlie (THE DOG DIES). He mentioned the amusing madcap antics of the main character (THE DOG DIES).

At this point the clerk who was helping me handed me my movie and said, “Due back Wednesday” or whatever. And thank goodness she did, because I was seconds away from turning to the woman renting “Marley and Me” and saying loudly, “THE DOG DIES.” (It took a lot of effort not to do this.)

I suppose it’s possible that I am a dingbat dog owner. I certainly confess that I have my moments of dingbattery. But I like to think that I’m at least capable of figuring out how my dog would go about getting out of a car when every single window was rolled all the way down. And also? THE DOG DIES.

I Don't Care--This Song Could Still Totally Be About Knights

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a blog entry, the subject of which was, “I always thought…” (people said things like, I thought talk about euthanasia was about youth in Asia, or I thought Kosher pickles had no pork in them, that sort of thing). In the comments, people added hundreds and hundreds of further things that they misunderstood, in some cases for years. A lot of people thought Roy Orbison was blind because he always wears those sunglasses.

One of them, in the original entry, was this:

“I thought the Moody Blues song was “Knights In White Satin”. I couldn’t understand why the knights wore white satin & not armor.”
And I confess that all these years I too had thought that song was about actual guys jousting and wooing ladies faire, not the part of the day when it’s not light outside. I mean, read the words—they really could be about anything:

“Nights (or, if you’re me, Knights) in white satin, never reaching the end,
Letters I've written, never meaning to send.
Beauty I'd always missed with these eyes before.
Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore.

'Cos I love you, yes I love you, oh how I love you.”

Etc. (Sure, there are two more verses, but one is exactly the same as the one above, and the other is just some philosophical bullshit about figuring out who you want to be. Or something. I confess I don’t really know, but since I spent the better part of thirty years thinking that the song was actually about guys who had been recognized by some king or other for their outstanding behavior, I’m not sure I’m the best candidate to analyze the lyrics.)
I mean, seriously all you’ve got there is a generic love song. And the “Late Lament” (the spoken bit at the end) doesn’t really add a clarifying element. It’s just there.

But when I posted about this on Facebook, several people thought I was nuts. Mostly guys who were old enough to remember when the song was a hit. One friend pointed out that the album has a very specific theme that, had I listened to the whole thing, would have made such an error impossible. But I had this specific set of images that went through my head when I heard the song, and the news that they were completely wrong just took the wind out of my sails.
I decided to share this amazing news with someone who I was sure would get it. I went in to talk to my boss. She’s about the same age I am, grew up in the same general area of the country, and has a lot of the same cultural background that I do.

I said, “So, I was reading this blog entry about things you misunderstood And there was this one that said, ‘I always thought the Moody Blues song was, ‘Knights in White Satin’ like actual guys in armor but apparently it’s ‘night’ as in not daytime…’” And as I’m saying this out loud to her, I can see the same look crossing her face that crossed mine when I read it the first time.
It was the look that said, “You mean…it’s not?”

For almost the same length of time, she too had always had an image of guys in white satin suits cruising around doing chivalrous things. So it was nice to know I wasn’t alone. And really, I was even less alone than I’d originally thought, even taking into account my manager’s company in this age-old misperception. It turns out that in the comments section of this entry, there were dozens and dozens and dozens of people who had always thought the same thing.
And the truth about this song that caused me so much angst? Yeah, I actually don’t like it very much. It’s a very irritating and persistent ear worm for me. Even as I write this, I am tortured by it running through my head. And it will be with me for days now, dammit. But on the plus side, I did know Roy Orbison wasn’t blind.

Baby Fat

I just spent [redacted] hours watching the footage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the hospital with their new baby. (Although since I guess I just said hours, plural, you know that it was more than one. So much for my ability to conceal information. This—along with about four thousand other reasons—is why I’m not a spy. Anyway.) So yes, I spent a long time watching it on a live feed, and listening to BBC anchorpeople desperately grasp at any straw they could think of to fill air time with chat until William and Kate finally finished packing up their toothbrushes and iPods, saying their thank yous and goodbyes to the hospital staff, and came out to show their new baby to the world.I

I will say right off that I love the British royal family. I don’t care that they’re outdated, I don’t care that they’re ridiculously wealthy and getting richer at a time when the government is choosing to slash budgets and eliminate services and blah blah blah. Sorry, don’t care. I feel for the people who are being impacted by those cuts, but I still love me some royals*. And I love Kate. I realize she has a team of people to help her look great, but at the end of the day, she’s responsible for those people, and they do the job she’s paying them to do. And I don’t think she’s lazy—I think they’re being very, very careful how they bring her into a job that has her living in a fishbowl, and in which she did not grow up, as William did. The family learned a hard lesson from Diana, and they’re taking it to heart with the next generation. They want William and Kate and their children to have a successful family life, because they may be royalty, but at the end of the day, they’re still human beings. Good for them.

But this wasn’t intended to be a rant in defense of the British royal family, nor was it intended to be a dissertation about Kate Middleton’s assimilation into said family. The subject of this is me, of course, and something of which I was reminded while watching Kate meet the press with her new son.

One thing I noticed about Kate during the whole exchange outside the hospital is that she still looks six months pregnant. Which is as it should be. Don’t tell me about that former Playboy bunny chick, the one  who named her daughter Rainbow Brite or whatever it was, who left the hospital in her size 0 jeans and was back to her original -2 size within a week. That’s a lot of bunk. I don’t care if it really happened, it’s not the norm. Most women walk out looking some version of still several months pregnant, and continue to do so for another six months to a year after the baby is born (granted, looking fewer and fewer months along as time goes by). That’s normal.

My first baby was a single birth, and so I followed said pattern of looking a bit expectant for a number of months after he was born, and gradually getting back to a reasonably normal size. My second “child,” however, was twins. I gained the same amount of weight with them as I had with the first (thirty pounds—which is the normal, recommended amount for those of you keeping score), but most of that was baby. (I am proud to tell you that my twins were 6 pounds 13 ounces, and 7 pounds 15 ounces at birth, which birth occurred at 34 ½ weeks, with 35 weeks being considered full term for twins. Thus, they were about as close to term as one could hope without actually being full term, and also very big and healthy. Go, me, right?)
However, because they were such big babies, and because I did, after all, gain thirty pounds, I was absolutely humongous. I have since said that I was visible from space, and that at one point NASA approached me to discuss the possibility that I could be used as a landmark to help guide the shuttles back in to the Earth’s atmosphere. The only reason the deal fell through is that I would have had to stand outside for multiple hours during the whole of the shuttle’s anticipated reentry period, and it was hotter than Hell the summer my twins were born (as it always is the summer one is pregnant).

I think you get the picture—twins, enormously distended stomach, weight gain. Right. So the twins are born (on the Friday before my scheduled c-section because of the early signs of preeclampsia, which bummed me out because I wanted to make it to my actual date, plus I’d eaten a bunch that morning and they made me wait eight hours until my stomach emptied out and I was hugely uncomfortable—no pun intended—the whole time I waited for that to happen, but that’s another story. Which I guess I just told. Moving on.) and because I had major surgery, I’m in the hospital from Friday to the following Tuesday, at which time they let me go home.
So we load up our new infants in their new car seats, snap them onto our new stroller, and head out. We’re on our way down in the elevator, and the maternity ward in that hospital is on something like the 8th floor, so we have a short ride. There’s another guy on the elevator, along with an older woman who, you can kind of tell by their chemistry and the way they interact, is his mother in law. My husband, being a reasonably friendly sort of fellow, asks if they're visiting a new mother. “Yes, my wife,” the guy replies.

Alex looks at him and says, “Your first?” The guy nods.
“We have one at home, and these are our second—twins,” he tells the guy.

The guy glances at the babies, and at me, and a strange look crosses his face.
“Wow,” he says, “One older kid, two new ones, and another one on the way?”

His mother in law is horrified.

“Jim!” she gasps, “This woman just had twins. You can’t expect that she’s going to look anywhere near her normal self! It’s nothing like having only one.”

I, on the other hand, am about ready to bust my c-section sutures. Because any second I’m going to start howling with laughter. Are you kidding me? Dude, these babies are three days old. Do you realize what you’ve just described isn't even biologically possible? How could I possibly be pregnant again? What do you think? That I was actually carrying triplets, but one of them wasn’t cooked enough, so they left it in there for a couple more months to finish off? Priceless.
To this day I giggle about it. I know his mother in law was appalled, but I wish I could tell her how much pleasure that story has given me over the years.  What was to her a major faux pas (“Not only did you reveal your complete lack of understanding of the human reproductive system, but you basically just called this woman ‘fat’ to her face.”) was downright hilarious to me.

I was reminded of that whole episode while I was watching Kate show off her new baby, her puffy belly still intact. I hope Kate can maintain her sense of humor as the eyes of the world watch her (now descending) stomach. I’m sure she will, and I’m sure she’s very grateful. She has a beautiful new baby, and is lucky enough to have all the time, resources, and physical help she wants or needs. And I’m guessing there was no one going down in the elevator with them, either.
*if you’re not already aware—or can’t tell—I am an American. I sympathize with the plight of the British working classes, and those affected, but my love or hatred of the Queen and her brood will in no way impact their circumstances. I have zero power to bring about change in the British social system, since I have no say in the British social system, not being a British citizen. I just wanted to make that perfectly clear.