Thursday, April 28, 2011


It’s ALIVE!!!!

I am creating a monster. I am aware of this yet cannot seem to stop myself. I have fed this beast, watered it, nurtured it, and even taped shows for it. What awful animal is this? My friends, I have made a Bridezilla.

It all started so innocently. My children are very limited in what they are allowed to watch on television. PBS Kids is still king, they don’t know Nickelodeon exists, or that there is a whole Disney channel. My daughter just watched High School Musical for the first time and her choice of lounging around the house clothes still leans toward princess or ballerina-wear. However, come nighttime, when I need to cook a meal, or take a shower, or put the little guy to bed, I needed something for her to watch to keep her from bothering me. Enter Say Yes to the Dress.

For those of you blessedly unaware of this little piece of hell in Manhattan, the show is about women going wedding dress shopping. My daughter loves it. She now requires that I DVR it for her. I did draw the line at taping the spinoff Big Bliss which just focuses on fat women and I do preview every episode and delete the ones that focus too heavily on body issues or the fiancé picking the dress. Call me old-fashioned, but I still think a woman should dress to please herself.

From there, my daughter started becoming obsessed with weddings. She wore the Ariel wedding dress to her sixth birthday party. Her favorite song is Bruno Mars “Marry You.” She plays it on repeat, at top volume. I actually had to look up the lyrics so that she stopped saying “dancing Jews” and used the correct phrase “dancing juice.” She could play Taylor’s Swifts “Love Story” for eternity because it is a perfect blend of her two fave’s – princess dresses and weddings. On the few occasions she has been allowed to watch my wedding video, she cries because she wasn’t there. I have tried explaining that she was a few years away from even existing but she still cries. I was not a Bridezilla (I don’t think), but to be fair, that is probably because I spent most of my time fending off Momzilla. The fact that I even survived my wedding is an accomplishment.

My bride-in-training is actually going to a flower girl in a wedding this summer and I am not worried about her walking down the aisle; I’m worried about her stepping aside in order for the bride to follow. In her head, because she will go first, she is the most important. So of course, the Easter Bunny had to bring her the Barbie Wedding set, complete with flower girl, bridesmaid, bride, groom, cake, and presents. She loved it, though had no idea what the point of the guy was. Brilliant.

Where is this all leading? Well, tomorrow is the Royal Wedding. I would be remiss as a parent if I didn’t wake my little girl at 5 a.m. and let her gorge herself on the pomp and circumstance that is the British in full bloom. I’m serving banana and cinnamon bread and a nice selection of caffeine-free tea for us to share. I remember Diana getting married. Why not allow my child to witness the marriage of the couple she will live to see crowned? (Though seriously, those Windsor’s live forever so it could take awhile.) I know that I could DVR it, but that’s not watching history being made. She’s off from school, we have nothing else to do, so if we laze away the afternoon in a fog of lethargy and carb-overload, then so be it. This is how memories are made.

Will I pay for this later in life? Probabaly. But here’s hoping that if I do get to take her bridal dress shopping one day, the fond recollection of our morning spent watching Will and Kate will help alleviate the pain of paying for the damn thing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What’s in YOUR Basket?

Where exactly do jelly beans come from? A friend of mine always leaves a trail of jelly beans from her children’s door to their Easter basket. The commercials for the movie Hop seem to highlight the same idea. The Easter Bunny poops out jelly beans. Can we all say “ewwww” together? Does Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans have a poo-flavored bean? If so, I think I’ll skip all the brown ones.

I find Easter candy in general to be rather disturbing. At a recent cooking class, my daughter made me a beautiful Peep bouquet. While there, my husband let her eat one of the sugary confections. She pretended to like it, but while there are lots of children who want to mainline sugar, my kid isn’t one of them. The bouquet has been sitting on my counter for two weeks with nary a sign of decay. Even the seasonal ants that are the bane of my existence every spring want absolutely nothing to do with them. Peeps definitely don’t count as a healthy carb. They are barely even candy. They simply exist to be destroyed via microwave. Coating them in chocolate just makes them worse. I nibbled the ear off one of them and almost went a sugar coma. They are completely and utterly disgusting. So tell me, who is actually eating these things?

Also in the “I wonder” category, why do we feel the need to immortalize the Easter Bunny (and to the same extent, Santa) in chocolate? Isn’t eating the jolly fat man a form of cannibalism? Can vegetarians eat a bunny so long as it is made out of chocolate? There is something very wicked about being encouraged to bite the ears off the bunny. Where’s PETA when you need them? Wouldn’t it make more sense to sell a chocolate Jesus for Easter? At the very least, it would be a tastier way to take Communion. It certainly couldn’t be counted as sacrilegious since Catholics around the world take the body of Christ every Sunday. Why not make it scrumptiously delicious? You could make the Virgin Mary out of white chocolate. If you really wanted to get historical, you could make the entire holy family out of dark chocolate since I’m pretty sure there weren’t a lot of pale, blue-eyed blondes hanging out in ancient Palestine. When you combine it all in one basket, you get fecal waste, early on-set diabetes, and animal cruelty. Yum!

For many of us, you also get a week with your children to go along with that bulging basket filled with sugar, fat, high-fructose corn syrup, and empty carbs. Being a fat girl in love with chocolate (though I haven’t eaten any for 67 days and counting), I am not a food Nazi in any way, but the last thing I want to do is be trapped with my children for 10 days during the rainiest April ever with a buttload of candy. So once again, my children aren’t getting any. Call me cruel, call me mean, but I’d rather pay three times more for an actual toy they will use than crap I will probably wind up throwing out. They made out like bandits already at the town-wide Easter egg hunt where due to precarious weather, only a handful of kids showed up, allowing my kids to take home four dozen eggs – EACH. Each egg had at least two pieces of candy, some had four. Throw in egg hunts at each school and their baskets are already well-stocked with Nestlé balls, mini-Hershey bars, and lollipops. The giant imaginary rabbit who mysteriously enters the house will be leaving behind a Barbie Wedding Set (I’m prepping her for the Royal Wedding next week) and a Imaginext Dragon Boat.

So happy Easter to all of you Christians, happy belated-Passover to all of my Jewish friends, and happy fertility to all the rest of you. What, you think there was always supposed to be candy in those eggs?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Houston, We Have A Moron

My mother is a Luddite. Any technology given to her will automatically cease working, mostly because she has no idea how to use it. My father is happy to use any tool that can be bought from Sears, but only if it doesn’t include batteries. This has made for some very interesting conversations.

For example, the computer in my parent’s home is ancient. I bought it in 2001. It is the size of a dozen iPads stacked on top of each other and has almost no programs on it excluding the absolute basics. It runs on a dial-up and it’s version of Word is practically in old English. My mother uses the Internet once a month (for those few web sites that will actually load) and Word once a year to print dog graduation certificates. (Don’t ask.) And every year, she calls to ask me how to do it. But now, she wants a laptop. I have begged her to just go to her local library instead when she needs to surf the web. She also wants Skype so that she can see more of the grandkids. By the time she turned it on and figured out how to position it, she could drive the hour to see them in person. My husband flat-out refuses to help them buy or install one. There are reasons for this.

Reason 1: Paranoia. My parents honestly believe that their GPS lies to them – on purpose. My father cannot understand that it isn’t lying; the problem is that he isn’t listening. When the GPS says to turn in 1 mile, he turns immediately. He doesn’t process what he hears, he just obeys it. (No doubt this is his survival mechanism for living with my mother.) When the GPS inevitably tells him to turn around, he blames it for sending him in the wrong direction in the first place. Plus, my mother likes to point out every single turn and exit you shouldn’t take, even if there is no reason for you to try to take it. She’s like an anti-GPS and the real one just can’t compete with her.

Reason 2: Parsimony. My mother refuses to pay a dime for electronics she believes she doesn’t need, but could actually use. (This is in direct contrast to her ability to spend obscene amounts of money at Boscov’s for items she won’t use, but believes she may need in the future. It’s a conundrum.) She is currently planning to demote her cable package back down to the absolute basic service. As she puts it, she can never find the other channels anyway because, and I quote, “They move around too much.” People, I am not kidding. My genetic code links me to a human being who honestly believes channels change stations on a daily basis just to fuck with her. This is a woman who not only still uses a VCR to tape shows, but in the 22 years since the technology entered our home, hasn’t actually figured out how to program it correctly and only manages to tape one attempt out of three. I have fruitlessly explained that a DVR would automatically tape everything and help her find new channels to watch. No go.

Reason 3: Impatience. My father once hit so many buttons consecutively in an effort to simply change the channel that he wound up five sub-menus deep and managed to turn one half of the screen black and white and the other half upside down. True story. It took my husband ages to fix it. When cell phones first became popular, my mother asked for and received a child-friendly one. It only had five buttons total and I had them all programmed perfectly. The problem was that she would hit them simultaneously so that she could never manage to actually make a call.

Reason 4: Blindness. I have bought my dad several of those large remote tablets to help him stop pressing random buttons. I am not talking about the high-tech ones where you can start your car, cook a meal, and watch seven channels at once in three different rooms. I’m talking about a basic remote about the size of the slabs Moses used to transcribe the Ten Commandments. These remotes are larger than an iPad. Astronauts could use them to change the channel from space without even using binoculars. As technology gets smaller, my dad gets more hopeless at reading any of it.

Reason 5: Fear. I received my first e-mail from my mother two months ago. She has e-mail access through her part-time job but waited seven years to send me something out of fear someone would catch her in the act and punish her. She also seems to believe that if you press the wrong button, the technology in question may actually explode. Or at least, that is the best explanation I can give for why she touches it so gingerly and then steps back quickly. There is no “exploring” a program to see how it runs, there is only diligently following hand-written notes dictated by my husband to do one or two very simple functions.

For all of these reasons and so many more, I refuse to get my parents a laptop. I know many people their age who are always first adaptors on the bleeding edge of technology and gleefully use everything they get their hands on to its utmost potential (Hi Dad-in-law!). My parents are not those people. They don’t need a laptop, they won’t properly use a laptop, and they won’t know how to trouble-shoot a laptop. I once spent 25 minutes on the phone helping my mom work through a printing issue only to realize that my mother hadn’t actually turned the printer on. This is not a woman who needs a laptop. This is a woman who needs an abacus.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rock A Bye Baby

Is there anything in life more adorable than a sleeping child? They always look so much younger and milder when their cheeks are red with pillow marks and their eyes are closed. I love how my daughter always throws off the blankets, no matter the temperature, and how my son will always wind up upside down and with one leg thrown off the bed entirely.

That is, until they do these things while sleeping in my bed.

My husband is away this week and instead of enjoying the full width of my bed, sleeping in the middle, using more than one pillow, etc., I get a small child and a menagerie of stuffed animals as my bedfellows. I can hear my very practical friend’s voice now, “It’s your bed, you tell her to get out.” It’s never that easy. See, she honestly believes that she is doing me a service by sleeping with me. In her mind, she is preventing me from getting lonely, scared, or cold. She knows just where to install her night light, puts a book on the bedside table, and is very proud of herself for taking care of me.

Normally, I put up with it. It’s cute, she’s still small enough that if I situate her at the far side of the bed, I still have plenty of room and she generates just enough heat to keep the bed warm, but not toasty. But last night, the boy decided to get in on the act. I put him down in his own bed only to find him up and about over and over again during the night. And let me tell you, suddenly hearing a rocking chair bounce off the walls in an otherwise silent house will jump start your heart right quick.

Now, I only have a queen-sized bed and I am pretty much a queen-sized woman. With her on one end and me on the other, that meant the little guy had to go smack dab in the middle. I need that middle as a happy median between me and the whirling dervish of arms that is my daughter in repose. By putting a living, breathing human being in that spot, I managed to avoid the arm flung across my face but gained constant elbows to my head, knees in my back, and the dead zombie smell of his beloved blanket in my nostrils as he tried unsuccessfully to turn himself feet side up in my bed. Throw in the fact that neither kid could really settle down, and were constantly moving, moaning, talking, sniffling, snoring, and grinding teeth, and the overwhelming stuffiness of a house recovering from an 80+ degree day and I was in hell.

How was my husband enjoying his night? Sleeping in a king-sized bed, with the soothing tones of ESPN as background noise, and with the thermostat set to freezing. He denies that he sleeps well away from the comforting arms of his wife but I am not buying it.

I know that as a parent, I had all the power. However, the thought of moving one or both back to their respective rooms with the ensuing tears, whining, protestations, and possible never going back to sleep (and knowing how fun that would make daylight hours) was just too much for me. I did what I had to do. I moved to the folded-up futon. Obviously, I didn’t want to flatten it out since I always lose control of it and it lands smashing to the floor. Instead, I just wrapped myself in a blanket (because sheets were out of the question at 2 a.m.) and tried to sleep.

By 4 a.m., my dozing repeatedly interrupted by that awful feeling of falling (because I kept trying to roll forward but the curve of the mattress kept rolling me backward), I realized that my children were giggling. This is never a good sound to hear in the wee hours of the night. By the time I got them back to sleep, the birds were already chirping. When the morning alarm rang and both children popped out of bed like a pair of deranged Jack-in-the-boxes, I was so tired that I could only marvel at their energy.

My goal for tonight is to keep both rugrats in their own rooms. Music boxes playing, light-blocking shades down, nightlights on, stuffed animals keeping them safe. Sleeping is my number two favorite thing to do in bed and I would really, really like to do it alone tonight.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Freebie Five: 2011 edition

As you know, I have a Freebie Five list. Recently I have done some serious thinking about who I would or would not boink if the opportunity occurred (it’s been a long winter) and I have revamped my list. The old top five were: Matt Damon, David Boreanaz, Matthew McConaughey, Keifer Sutherland, and Boston Rob Mariano. Honorable mentions included Johnny Depp, Jon Bon Jovi, Alexander Skarsgård, Harry Connick Jr., and Mark Salling. These too, have been changed.

Matt Damon stays in his number one perch. Watch an interview with him, any interview, and you’ll notice that he very deftly answers personal questions by deflecting them entirely, giving generic answers, or repeating something he’s already said publicly. He gives nothing away. I love that. It allows me to build him up to be anything I want with none of that pesky reality to interfere. Keifer Sutherland also remains firmly on the list. As long as he has his voice, he’ll have my heart. He’s still short and still an alcoholic, but as I’ve said before, when you are lying down, height doesn’t matter and as the only way he’d ever acquiesce to bedding me would be while drunk out of his mind, I’ll really have to let the alcoholism slide.

David Boreanaz and Matthew McConaughey, however, are both off the list. First and foremost, I’m tired of spell-check arguing with me over their names. I married into a German last name with a host of extra vowels, so I know about wacky spellings, but enough already. Secondly, they have released far too much public information (see above about ignorance being bliss) and I’m so turned off by them in real life that I don’t even want them in my fantasy life. Knowing that Boreanaz banged the same woman Tiger Woods did means he has both horrible taste and a (probable) STD. Adding insult to injury, his ability to produce his own television show is non-existent as it switched from character to caricature with the actors obviously just showing up to read lines and receive their paychecks. He also gave his daughter a stupid name. Mr. Just Keep Livin, on the other hand, needs to add the “G” and grow up. A philosophy espoused in a 90’s stoner movie is not a good look for a guy in his early 40s. He is also too orange for my taste. There is a difference between a healthy outdoor glow and glowing in the dark. It’s not a fine a line as you would think. Boston Rob Mariano has also wandered off the list by sheer dint of overexposure. I’ve been done with Survivor for several seasons and when I realized that even the return of Boston Rob couldn’t get me to tune in; I realized I was done with him as well.

Jon Bon Jovi, Harry Connick Jr., and Mark Salling are no longer honorable mentions. Jon’s hair is too fried, Harry hasn’t sang in a while, and Mark, well, Mark hasn’t lit my fire recently on Glee. Maybe it’s the storylines, maybe it’s the songs, maybe it’s the acting ability (or lack thereof), but until he sings “Beth” again, he’s gone. I have also booted Johnny Depp. While he comes off as a very nice guy in interviews with a charming charitable side, I have come to the realization that he probably smells. Body odor just can’t be ignored, even in a dream.

To keep up my quota of supernatural creatures, I have kept Alexander Skarsgård and upgraded him from honorable mention to the actual list. For a short while, I toyed with the idea of adding Taylor Lautner. Once he was legal, he was fair game. Very quickly though, I put aside boyish things and found myself a real half-man, half-wolf: Joe Manganiello. That is a man who knows how to wear nothing at all. I can’t even look at poor little Jacob (Twilight) again without thinking he looks like a Scooby snack compared to Alcide (True Blood). (As as aside, does anyone else wonder why werewolves in their human form only have hair on their heads? I know back hair isn’t ever in fashion but a little chest hair never hurt anyone.)

The final spot is still up for grabs until I watch a little more television. It’s a tie between two newcomers. Both are on sci-fi series and have been around for a while, but they didn’t bing my radar until recently. You see, I was never into Dawson’s Creek. I knew it existed, could tell you the names of the four leads and even how the final episode ended, but overall, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Recently, however, I started watching Fringe. Oh my my, Joshua Jackson is all grown up now and he is fine. Forget Pacey, I want Peter. Also in the running is John Barrowman. Think of him as the Scottish equivalent of Neil Patrick Harris. I discovered him while watching the revamped Doctor Who. As Captain Jack Harkness, he’s devilish, smart, charming, and all around awesome. Sure, in real life he’s out and proud, but I really doubt his sexual orientation is going to be the problem in us consummating our torrid affair, you know? I may have to add yet another sci-fi series to the roster just to watch more of him in the spinoff Torchwood and my Netflix queue is already laden in geek television. I will also have to watch lots of clips of him talking in his natural Scottish accent on You Tube. Did I mention he can sing? Yummy.

So there you have it. Take a few minutes on this snowy April morning before the first Phillies game of the season starts (or even while it plays because seriously, baseball is boring), and think of your own top five. Dead or alive, gay or straight, impossible or merely slightly problematic – who would you do if your spouse let you?