Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keeping Up With the Clauses

Sending Warmest Holiday Wishes

From Our House (see arrow)

To Yours.

Jonesing for more holiday wishes?
Well, then haul your Christmas ham over to
The Secret Is In The Sauce, where they've got holiday cheer
coming out their holly-embellished wazoos and
(Christmas bonus) you might just win a prize!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Linksgiving!

"Ladies and Gentlemen...
Start Your Ovens"

As I sit writing this (wow, that sounds either lah-tee-dah literary or like I'm writing from prison - your call), it is the day before Thanksgiving and I already am beginning to bloat in anticipation of all the food upon which I shall chow (ok, that was definitely literary) in the coming fortnight (paging Jane Austen!).

I have much to be thankful for (I know I dangled it - if I say it the long way it just sounds snooty) and I try to keep my blessings top of mind throughout the year, giving daily thanks for The Biggies such as churros and the health and well-being of my loved ones.

This post, however, goes out to my newest friends - my bloggy loved ones - who, in the few short months since I started this little roadside attraction, have stopped by (some many, many times) to encourage, inspire, entertain and support me. (And, yes, occasionally make me spew Mountain Dew out my nose with laughter.)

So, as I fire the starter pistol and wave the checkered flag o' mirth and we burn rubber into the official holiday season, I want to thank each and every subscriber, follower and commenter for being a part of whatever the hell this is. (Except maybe the guy who left the comment that looked like a comment at first but actually was 50 pounds of HTML directing people to his online lingerie store. Nice try, dude - like in this economy people are buying anything but
used lingerie. *snort*)

Please forgive my inability to send each of you an individual shout-out, but I hope you'll enjoy visiting some of the folks who go out of their way to make the blogosphere a place worth visiting.

Since The Outlaws (a much better name than The Inlaws, in my opinion) will be visiting for the holiday and it happens to be Morticia's (not my daughter's real name) birthday as well, I will leave this post up for the long weekend, which I hope will give you time to click on the links and do some worthwhile surfing as you digest Ye Olde Turkeye.

Glitter-Covered Thanks To...

Beth Kephart for not making the highly reasonable assumption that I was an Internet stalker with photos of National Book Award finalists taped up all over the inside of my locker.

Nanny Goats in Panties for not making me drive all the way to Sacramento and violate her personal space to give her the Heimlich maneuver. (Yes, that's how it's spelled. I know, I thought it was "Hind Lick," too! But it's not.)

Blicky Kitty for illuminating Albert Camus' inner Phyllis Diller.

La Belette Rouge for touching me each and every time I visit...but not, you know, in an inappropriate way.

Marinka for teaching me the genius parenting trick of bribing my children with ice cream and Webkinz when I'm trying to pry one of Daddy's secrets out of them.

Happy Meals and Happy Hours for sharing her tips on decorating with huge, blow-up birds wearing hats.

Chelle B. for founding in spite of the fact that it means she'll be spending the rest of her life putting up with a big bunch of freaks who all think they're soooo funny.

Tiffany and Heather at The Secret Is In The Sauce who looked the other way on the 'stache and welcomed me into one of the nicest groups of broads on the 'Net.

Nikkicrumpet, whose blog always makes cry, but only because she keeps posting pictures of glazed doughnuts. (What am I, made of titanium?) Other than that, it's hilarious.

Tug, who is 19 and a fellow enthusiast of "The Knife Show" and who is concerned that if he died suddenly, his legacy would be a lot of "gay" music on his iPod.

MuseSwings, who takes no guff from the other kids waiting to see the orthodontist and who claims to work from an "officette."

Rhea for having the courage to go public about the stuffed animal conspiracy to take over our infrastructure.

Kiki, with her powerful gaucho boot/Lawrence Welk mojo in full effect.

TattooedMinivanMom for putting up posts with titles like "The Gauntlet of Whores" - about people she actually knows.

Always Home and Uncool for having wicked reflexes for catching vomit in his bare hands.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher because, despite the fact that she lives in breathtaking Hawaii, still shows up to class - in a big way.

Larry G, for not letting his enjoyment of cooking on charcoal get in the way of being a true romantic.

HoratioSalt for breaking important satirical news stories such as the fate of Iron Man's rival "Pewter Man."

Braja, who lives in India where there is, surprisingly, not one decent burrito stand.

Eudea-Mamia, who sniffs all the fancy soaps in the soap aisle and calls the items in her underwear drawer her "unmentionables." Wait, I wasn't supposed to mention them. Dang!

CassouletCafe, who's pretty sure she accidentally ate a cat.

Amusing Muses, who possess loads of qualities both amusing and muse-like.

Tessa, through whose blog I have a secret window into a part of the U.K. countryside so charming that I'm quite sure the rabbits wear velvet waistcoats and carry pocket watches.

[Cartoon created by Rick at Organized Doodles]

Enjoy - thanks again to all of you -
and have a safe and smooth Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Post Is Short, But It Works Out A Lot

Today's post... parked over at LA Moms Blog, where I post a couple times a month on topics related (strangely enough) to motherhood.

This one is an homage to wonderful comedian Jeff Foxworthy's signature "...You Might Be a Redneck" routine, customized for a mom's point of view and titled, "...You Might Be a Mother."

(I'd post it here, too, but that's against LA Moms Blog rules and last time I broke a rule they put me on a timeout and wouldn't let me watch TV for a whole week.)

I hope you'll click over and check it out...and that it gives you a chuckle or two.


I'm excited to report that I was quoted on Blogtations!

This blog is big fun - kind of like a greatest hits of the blogosphere and a swell place to find funny blogs. Thanks, Blogtations!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Attention: Bitterness on Aisle 5"

An Open Letter to Angelina Jolie

Dear Angelina,

I don't mind at all if you want to start shopping at my Albertson's. Really. I can understand why you'd like to: the people are friendly, the produce is great and you just can't beat the convenience of a Starbucks outpost right there in the store.

I get it.

Here's the deal, though: You have
got to organize your coupons next time before you get to the front of the check-out line. Seriously. I was the one stuck behind you while you dug through your big ol' handbag looking for the coupon you were "sure you had somewhere" for Pampers. And Tab. And Tater Tots. And Hamburger Helper.

Then, after all that, the cashier gives you your total and what do you do? You pull out a Holly Hobbie checkbook and start rooting around in your handbag for a pen. Good Lord, woman! Some of us have hungry husbands at home jonesing for Heinz 57 meatloaf and three-bean salad!

And while we're on the subject, I couldn't help but notice a few other points of grocery-store etiquette that you appear not to know but which we take pretty darned seriously at Albertson's

The anti-bacterial wipes are for cleaning the handle of your shopping cart. Most people take one. It is considered bad form to take 25, seal them in a baggie and stash them in your purse for later.

It's uncool to ask for more than one roll of quarters.
Hey, we've all got laundry to do.

Please show common cell-phone courtesy.
I'm sure your boyfriend is a lovely person, but I shouldn't have to listen to you bellow at him long-distance through your silly headset while I'm trying to figure out whether my feminine protection requires wings or not. And, Angie, a little free advice? From what I heard of your side of the conversation, that fella is still way too attached to his ex. A smart girl would play a little harder to get and, you know, spruce herself up a bit. (Hint: mascara is on Aisle 2.)

No hand-sampling from the fancy bins.
Yes, we all saw what you did. I won't be buying any yogurt-covered pretzels anytime soon, I can tell you that.

Lastly, the thing I'm most upset about is that I know
it was you who dented my car door. See, I was just coming out of the store with my shopping cart when you came screaming out of the space next to mine in your ice blue Buick LeSabre. When I got to my car (that's right - the lowered AMC Pacer with the custom neon skirt kit), there it was on the passenger door: a great, big, dent with curls of ice blue paint ground into it.

So I'm here to tell you - that crap might fly where yo
u're used to shopping, but it doesn't at Albertson's #1097.

No, missy. It does not.


Anna Lefler

Loot is One of My Favorite Things!

This week marked the culmination of
Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap at Dandelion Wishes and, man, did I score!

I was paired up with my new bloggy friend Lynette over at My Undercover Life and she really went all out putting together a package of her favorite things to swap with me. Behold!

Along with a lovely personal note, my package included:
  • Four colorful pens (I'm a pen freak)
  • Super-swank peppermint castille soap
  • Beautiful heart stationery
  • A big-ass cranberry bath fizzie
  • Muy moderne berry gum
  • Her personal recipe for a real-live grownup drink called "Chocolate Cake" (includes actual booze!)
  • A ceramic sign that reads "Don't treat me any differently than you would the Queen." (That will be getting some use, believe me.)
  • An awesome to do/to buy notepad (I'm a total listmaker)
  • A magnet with a little frame that I can move around to indicate the mood I'm in at the moment. (I'll have to keep that one out of Jon Bon Jovi's sight; where's the sport in it if the hubster already knows what mood I'm in?)
[Now I've got this uneasy feeling that I should have sent her something nicer than my gently used VHS copy of "The Best of the Sandy Duncan Show."]

THANK YOU so much, Lynette, for the awesome
goodies - and Mamarazzi, too, for organizing!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rinse, Spit...and Run

You've got (hate) mail.

I received this in the mail yesterday from my dentist.

Is that the scariest thing you've ever seen in your life? I mean, where exactly am I meant to display this item in my home, seeing as how I don't have a cupboard or hallway dedicated to rabies prevention?

The last time I found something this creepy in my mailbox was when my former mother-in-law put me on the mailing list for a burial-at-sea service. (Okay, I'm 95% sure it was her.)

You'd have to know the history I have with my dentist - and her assistant - to grasp the full impact of this supposed holiday mailing.

This is no routine Christmas calendar.

This is a naked act of aggression.

Let me back up a bit...

I became a patient of Dr. W about four years ago, when we moved across town and I wanted a dentist closer to our new 'hood. I got a referral from our children's dentist (mistake #1) and made an appointment.

Confession: I'm not good about getting my teeth cleaned "on schedule." I am, however, super-vigilant about taking care of my teeth. In fact, I'm flossing as I write this.

Now, however, it was time.

So I arrived at this first appointment and within 90 seconds I had the distinct impression that I was their first patient in, say, four months. The assistant - Patsy - was curled up in her basket receptionist's chair with the same expectant look on her face that my cat used to wear when I'd get home late from work and she hadn't been fed yet. Patsy, however, was hungry not for tuna but for conversation.

Even before she handed me the clipboard full of paperwork, I'd heard all about her daughter's piercings, her trick knee and her weekend plans to sh
ampoo her carpets. My question about insurance was pushed aside while I helped her assess some paint chips for her breakfast room. (We went with "New Colonial Cacophony" from the Martha Stewart Collection, BTW.)

Now, I'm an easy-going person for the most part, plus I have what borders on a compulsion when it comes to listening to people's ramblings without interrupting. I'm just not good at cutting people off and getting out of life's social quagmires.

But something was starting to get on my nerves about Patsy: she never smiled. Never. No matter how nice or funny I was, she never - not even once - cracked a smile. And you know what else? She never blinked. I'm sorry, but I think it violates some kind of social contract to subject a person to a barrage of personal stories and anecdotes while staring at them like a department-store mannequin...unsmiling...unblinking.

Where the hell was Dr. W? I looked at the clock, expecting it to be spinning wildly backwards, as Patsy explained to me the thought process behind her choice of tires for her Corolla.

Finally, I'm in the dentist's chair.

Dr. W is perfectly nice in a tropical bird kind of way - squawky voice, beaky nose and the slightly unnerving habit of turning and dipping her head to look into my mouth with one eye...and then the other.

She begins to clean my teeth and for the first time, I understand why people hate dentists.

I have friends who, in order to get their teeth cleaned, require a Vicodin, a shot of bourbon, an eye mask and headphones delivering The Carpenters at high volume. I'm happy to say I've never had these sensitivities - I've never dreaded going to the dentist.

Until now.

By the time she was done with her little silver hook, I was soaked with sweat, my left eye was twitching uncontrollably and I had broken through the sky-blue vinyl of her chair with both heels.

I staggered back into the waiting room and as I was paying, Patsy said (without blinking or smiling), "So we'll see you in six months. Would you like to schedule your next cleaning now?"

Like hell, I thought as I ran a trembling hand through my hair.

"Um, I don't have my calendar with me, so I'll give you a call to set something up."

Patsy's unblinking eye registered my stall tactic. She knew I was a flight risk. She was up for the challenge of getting me back in that sky-blue chai
r for another cleaning...after a nice, long chat, of course. I'd be back - she would make sure of it.

It was on.

I lay low.

Months later, my cell phone rings. It's Patsy, calling to schedule my six-month cleaning.

"I'll have to call you back, Patsy. I don't have my calendar with me."

"Mmm-hmmm." I can feel her eye through the phone.

I make a note of the phone number and, over the next few months, dodge three more calls from Patsy.


Later in the year - another phone call. I don't recognize the number and pick up.


"You're way behind on your cleaning, Anna. You should come in."

"I would love to, Patsy, but I'm driving and I just don't have a free hand to make an appointment right now. I'll have to call you back."


I hang up and the realization washes over me that she went to the trouble of calling me on a different number.

Takin' it up a notch
, I think.


Then, a few months after that, one of my molars starts hurting and, since I've never had tooth trouble, it kind of freaks me out. I want to get to the dentist asap so there I am - back in Dr. W's waiting room.

But, wait! That's not Patsy crouched behind the receptionist's desk! Patsy was a morbidly obese brunette while this woman is an average-sized redhead. Oh, happy day! My days of running are over!

I approach the desk and identify myself and my appointment time. The woman pulls a file from her stack, opens it and stares up at me.

"You're long overdue for your cleaning, Anna."

"Well, yes, but I'm just here for this molar..." I point into my mouth to illustrate.

"Haven't you gotten my messages...?" The receptionist stares at me. Unblinking. Unsmiling.

"Wha- I don't understand..."

"You don't recognize me."

"Of course I do!" [nervous laughter]

"I got my stomach stapled. I've lost 170 pounds."

"Well...awesome...P-Patsy...?" I look around the room for back-up but it is, of course, empty. "You look great!"

"I look really different, huh?"

"Well, sure, I mean with the new perm and all, you look--"

"You can go in now," she says. "And you're in luck - she has time to do your cleaning while you're here. She had a cancellation." I do a double-take to peer at the closest thing I've ever seen to a smile on Patsy's unrecognizable face.

Oh, I bet she did
, I think as I stomp in and throw myself into the sky-blue chair.

That's so not fair
, I think. I thrash around on the chair like a salmon on the deck of a fishing boat as Dr. W attacks my gums with her tiny silver hook. I refuse to feel like the heavy (dammit!) I mean bad guy for not recognizing Patsy now that she's dropped all that weight. I mean, come on - I can't be held responsible when someone goes from Tiny Tim to Carrot Top without giving me a heads-up.

When I bolt back out to the waiting room, New Patsy is waiting for me.

"Six months from now, then?"

"Well, I don't-"

"I know - you don't have your calendar with you."

"Right," I say and wonder how she keeps her eyes from drying up and falling out of her head.

"You know." She pauses dramatically. "I'll get you back in here."

"We." I pause in retaliation. "Will see about that."

I pretty much prevail.

So that was almost a year ago and I'm proud to say
I have not set foot back in Dr. W's office since, which I think goes to show that no matter how many threatening holiday calendars arrive in the mail, Anna Lefler will not be pushed around by a dental receptionist, even one who happens to be a master of disguise.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go back to my post at the front window. Do me a favor and if on your way out you see a Corolla with relatively new tires circling the block shoot me a hand signal or something, okay?

Le Group Hug

I was thrilled yesterday to discover that
Marinka of Motherhood in NYC had recommended that her readers check out my previous post here (the one about being cursed). Wow! Marinka is one of the funniest and most clever bloggers around and I read her regularly (I'm also a tiny bit afraid of her), so you can imagine how tickled I was to receive this shout-out. (I've actually become impossible to live with - just ask my husband.) Her blog is definitely worth adding to your daily tour - you won't be disappointed. Thanks, Marinka!

Big thanks also to
La Belette Rouge for the Superior Scribbler Award! This blog is another favorite - literate, authentic and always entertaining. Incoming air kisses! Mwah! Mwah!

Hefty thank-you shout-outs as well to:

Muse Swings for the Blog in Bloom Award
Mandy at Adventures of a Millennium Mom for the I Love Your Blog Award
Annie at A Nice Place in the Sun for the Quiz Whiz Award
The Wife of Riley for the Pay It Forward Prize
Maggie at Life with Boys for the Butterfly Award

My goodness! These beautiful awards can be seen over in the right-hand column... Just click on them to take you to their wonderful, funny blogs... Thanks so much!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sure Signs That I've Been Cursed

Hard, Scientific Evidence:

I fell down a flight of stairs yesterday.

And it wasn't one of those "Whoops!" kind of things where you almost miss a step and grab the handrail and then look around to see if anyone saw. No, it was a full-on Chevy Chase, end-over-end, bounce-off-both-walls, land-in-an-obscure-yoga-pose-with-your-underwear-showing spectacle. The only move I left out was landing face-first in a wedding cake.

There has been a flock of crows in our backyard for a week now.

Seriously, even a junior sorcerer-in-training can tell you what that means: you are in for a supernatural shafting to the 10th power.

Our cockapoo keeps dragging her butt on the rug and growling.

Now do you believe me? Animals can sense this stuff, you know. Obviously, she can see that my aura - usually a sparkly goldish-aqua - has gone all crappy gray and she's trying to warn me of my impending doom. Good girl! [Note to self: make carpet-cleaning appointment.]

I can smell

For days now, I've been aware of the lingering scent of Ms. Leisenring, my sixth-grade P.E. teacher and freelance emotional terrorist. By this I mean that I have detected the tang of Hai Karate - her signature scent - in my billiard room, in my grocer's freezer section, even in my Monday-night welding class. If being unable to get the image of her salt-and-pepper bob and cat's-eye glasses out of my mind is not a curse
, then I don't know what is.

Other possible evidence.

I received the following message on Twitter this morning:

Yeah, you're right. I'm probably just being paranoid.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Paddy O'Furniture and the Little People

"Is this the loudest plaid vinyl you have?"

Dragged the family around Santa Monica last weekend
, looking at patio furniture. It was quite the cultural odyssey. It may have been the stores we happened to choose, but from our unscientific survey, outdoor furniture appears to fall into six categories:

1. Patio furniture for people who think they live in the Ozarks.
2. Patio furniture for people who think they live on the QE2.
3. Patio furniture for people who think they live on the set of “Dynasty.”
4. Patio furniture for people who think they live in th
e future.
5. Patio furniture for people who think they live at the Va
6. Patio furniture for people who do live in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.

Is it me? Where’s the patio furniture for people whose lifestyles include collecting neither exotic cars nor foam fingers?

Then there’s the upkeep. Teak, for instance. Hey, if I start giving the patio furniture regular massages with fragrant oils, next thing I know my husband will be expecting the same treatment.

Of course, a good blasting with a high-pressure hose is quick and easy, but I find most men don’t really enjoy that.

The Screaming Me-Mes

Jed from the Blog Relations Department has just informed me that Quirky Loon over at Quirky Musings of a Loony Mama has tagged me with a meme requesting to know six quirky things about me. Not to be outquirked, we will dispatch this request with the following, all but one of which are true (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk):
  1. I appeared on the Jumobtron in the Astrodome.
  2. Secret fear: night-time alien robot attack.
  3. Former love interest: Mac Davis.
  4. I once had an eye-to-eye encounter with a wolf in Oakland.
  5. I "came on down" on "The Price Is Right."
  6. Secret dream occupation: bass player in a hair band.

And Finally...

A big thank you to LarryG over at Yesterday, Today, Forever for this tasty item:

Think only women value romanticism? Visit LarryG's introspective blog and think again.

I've also received some lovely awards that I've added to the right-hand column, along with links to the generous bloggy friends who bestowed them. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

But It Looked So Pretty on the Internet...

Caviar Dreams

If you're like me, when you hear this phrase, images like this come to mind:

Or perhaps something like this:

Or at least freakin' this:

You see where I'm going, right?

Okay, so now how about this?

Right, because apparently in nail polish world, "Caviar Dreams" translates into frothy gray with metallic green undertones [insert gagging sounds]:

I'm afraid to fall asleep around here for fear I'll wake up wearing a toe tag.

[Note to self: No more Web cosmetics purchases. I can't believe you didn't learn your lesson after the Japanese electric eyelash-curler incident. And the "earthy" perfume incident. And the navy-blue mascara incident. And the iridescent-body-glitter incident. And the I-just-baked-a-cake-on-my-face foundation incident. And the lipstick-that-made-you-look-like-that-dude-from-The-Cure incident. New rule: you are not allowed to buy anything while sitting down.]

And Furthermore...

This steak is made of paper. What's up with that?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure His Nose Is Stuck On

So Morticia (not my daughter's real name) performed on Friday at a Halloween-themed school assembly in which all the fourth graders wore masks and did a dance out on the blacktop to "Thriller."

"Hey, that was great this morning," I say to her later after school. "Michael Jackson's song was perfect for Halloween."


"Michael. Jackson. He did 'Thriller.'"

"Hmm," she furrows her brows, "I don't know that guy."

"You've never heard of - wait a minute."

I turn her around and lift the hair off her neck and there it is: my name in Sharpie, just where I wrote it. This is my kid, all right.
I turn her around to face me again.

"You really haven't heard of Michael Jackson?"

She shakes her head. "No, Mom. Did you used to listen to him in the olden days?" she says, then immediately jumps out of my reach in a learned move that I'm sure anthropologists have a fancy term for meaning an acquired, reinforced behavior existing solely for the purpose of ensuring the survival of the specimen long enough to reproduce and pass their sassy genes on to the next generation.

Meanwhile, my brain is doing a massive recalibration. If she doesn't know who Michael Jackson is, then it's safe to say that she also hasn't heard of Peter Gabriel, INXS,
Devo, The Cars, OingoBoingo...the list goes on and on. How could I have overlooked my first-born's musical education - The 80s Edition? How could this be possible when we listen to music in the car all the time?

"My baby!" I cry and gingerly take her face in my hands. "Quick, Honey, tell Mommy - who's the lead singer of Garbage?"

She peers at me with her huge blue eyes, blinks twice and peeps, "Shirley Manson."

"Thank heavens!" I hug her to me. All is not lost. We just need to fill in some blanks.

I take her to the computer.

"Okay, Michael Jackson. Huge, huge star since he was a kid." I Google him and wait an interminable 0.04 seconds for the results. "Hey, he's cute! Who are all the other guys?"

"His brothers. They were called the Jackson 5. He has sisters, too. Okay, now here's a photo from the 'Thriller' days. "
"He's all grown up!"

"Yup, that was in the 80s when he was about the biggest thing going. He had hit after hit."

"Let's see more photos!"


So then we come across this one:

"Who's she?" says Morticia.

"Oh, um, that's Michael Jackson, too."

"Oh, come
on, Mom." She rolls her eyes. "That's a lady."

"Um, well, no. He just looks different than he did back in the 80s. I think it's the longer hair that's throwing you. Here, let's find another picture." I click the mouse and this one pops up:

Five minutes later after the screams and tears have subsided, I try changing course and coaxing her into watching the "Thriller" video.

"Wait 'till you see the dancing, Honey! It's fun - it's like a tiny movie."

[sniff] "Okay, I'll watch Michael Jackson, but not that other lady - she scares me."

"Now, listen - that's not a
lady. That's Michael Jackson, all right?"

"But how can he dance when his nose keeps falling off?"

"Morticia! That picture is fake, okay? It's

"Oh!" [looks relieved] "I get it! And they also did the super-white skin and all the
eye makeup as a joke, right?"

"Um," [looks away] "no, that part is real. I think he likes looking that way."

Morticia crosses her arms and stares at me.

"Look, none of that matters, all right? Michael Jackson is the King of Pop! He's pu
t an indelible mark on popular music - decade after decade, don't you see? He's a massive star!"

Morticia puts her hands on her hips and her eyes narrow.

"As big as Miranda Cosgrove?"



Editor's note: Yup, this really happened. And sorry for the kind of gross (but thankfully fake) nose photo. That's how it rolled out "in real life," as the young 'uns say.