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2006 August

It is a good thing I am no longer judgmental

August 14, 2006

I went grocery shopping today.

And honestly it was completely uneventful, so uneventful that I thought wow, I have nothing at all interesting to write about this shopping trip other than the fact that the crowd of people surrounding the day old baked goods disturbed me. Do stale donuts and pasteries taste better than cardboard when they are 50% off? Personally I would prefer to purchase full priced fresh baked goods.

Call me crazy like that.

I finished my shopping and chose the checkout that only had one person in the line. I pulled up and began unloading my things on to the conveyor belt.

The woman ahead of me in line looked at me, smiled and gave a little nod. It was almost a conspiratorial nod. Like we were in on some sort of secret. Only no one had told me the secret. Did I know her from somewhere I wondered, though that seemed unlikely since I don’t know many people. Even after living in this “neck of the woods”, as they say, for eleven years. I still feel like a stranger in a strange land. Like a person biding their time until they can move away to the place where theya re supposed to live.

But then I realized.

The only things I had put up on the conveyor belt thus far were 6 half gallons of organic soy milk, and 2 half gallons of organic rice milk. A quick glance at her groceries confirmed it.

She thought I was one of them.

In front of her, that I could see, were organically grown grapes, hormone free meat, Newman’s Own salad dressing, as well as an assortment of vegetables that I would be hard pressed to identify. I hated to disappoint her. But it had to be done.

I began pulling the rest of my groceries out from my cart.

What do my groceries say about me? I wondered. Suburban housewife who feeds her kids junk food, lets them play with colorful molded plastic toys, and watch commercial television.

The exact sort of parent I swore I would never be? Honey Nut Cheerios, Honeycombs, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, double stuff mint oreos,the regular meat that is laden with hormones and antibiotics and is going to kill me and make my sons grow breasts. Then I pulled the Wonder bread out. 6 loaves of it. And since I only had my 5 yr old with me, 6 loaves did seem a tad excessive.

I wanted to point out the hummus and say something like, “I like falafel too!” or in the spirit of Mom 101, “Hummus is the people’s dip.” But that just seemed weird.

And anyway, from the look she gave me you would have thought that I had squirted my mouth full of cheez whiz and pounded back a piss warm can of Pabst Blue Ribbon right there at the checkout. She was revolted.

But the best part by far was when my five year old ran around from the neighboring checkout, his hand clutching a chocolate chip cookie the size of his face and grabbed a pear from her pile of groceries, held it up, and shouted, “What the hell is this?”

And really how do you answer that one. Other than the obvious, which is to yell, with increasing intensity, “Oh my god, put that disgusting thing down. Put it DOWN. PUT IT DOWN!!!”

I am sure she needed something to write about on her blog. So that was my gift to her.

Then I gave her a little conspiratorial nod. And fought the urge to pat her waif like daughter on the head and tell her, “I know that cookie looks good. But I think your mother bought some yummy roots for you to gnaw on. Mmmmmmm, I bet you can hardly wait!”

Posted by Chris @ 2:21 pm | 49 Comments  

in the trenches of Disney World

The third part in my Disney World series is up over at my other blog. Ten Eleven Tips you don’t want to miss out on.

Such as alternate uses for the rain poncho, like suffucating your tantruming toddler into submission.*

wrapped in plastic

Come back later as I am going to go grocery shopping this morning. You know you want to hear all about it. How I bought bread and milk… and maybe even some watermelon. I may even try that new fangled self check out. I know…CRAZY! Such is the thrilling life I lead and so generously share with all of you.

*(do I have to write that I am joking and he was actually taking the poncho off of her? probably, sigh.)

Posted by Chris @ 7:50 am | 17 Comments  

The war on clutter

August 13, 2006

It was years ago,when I was trying to organize my old house, that someone had suggested flylady. I did it for awhile. I thought the organization tips were good, but the cleaning schedule didn’t really work for me. Like any schedule it is only as good as you are about sticking to it, and I am not so good with schedules of any kind.

I hate being told what to do by anyone, even a schedule I have made myself. My husband says it is because I act like I am still a teenager. And to that I say, “Whatever

But one of the things that I really liked was, what the flylady called, the 27 thing fling. Which basically means get a garbage bag and find 27 things to throw away and then throw them away. I did this daily the until I didn’t have one more cluttery piece of garbage in my home. It was really nice.

But I fell off the flinging wagon. And then three years ago we moved to a house that is easily five times as large which means that there are five times squared as many places for clutter to accumulate. And accumulate it has. I have found myself saying recently that just because we have a place for something doesn’t mean we need to keep it.

I think what appealed to me about this what that it was easy to accomplish and had a finite end, unlike cleaning out the hall closet which, if you are anything like me, goes like this:

1) In a moment of mania and uncharacteristic energy decide to undertake this task that must be accomplished RIGHT NOW.

2) One hour later regret the decision while you are surrounded by piles of stuff that have no home and you don’t know what you should do with.

3)Sit amid the stuff for another hour while you sigh loudly, play with the ends of your hair, and feel overwhelmed.

4) Decide that the only way to finish this is to go have a few stiff drinks and “think” about your game plan. Maybe watch a few shows on HGTV for inspiration.

5) Three days later, stuff it all back into the closet a little more messy than it was before and convince yourself that it was time well spent, because now you at least know what is in there.


Yesterday I was looking around the house and decided that I really need to undertake this thing flinging again. But I decided to alter it a bit.

Since my house is so large and in such a cluttery state due to seven children who think it is their job to collect every stray rock, stick, gum wrapper, bottle cap, and broken piece of plastic they encounter on a daily basis and store it in their bedroom like some sort of large recycling center that I will do the 54 thing fling every day.

EVERY DAY until all the crap that is cluttering up my cabinets, drawers, floors, baskets, bins, attic (ACK!), and children’s bedrooms is gone, safely conatined in garbage bags at our town dump. When that happens I will be living in the serene minimalist environment known as a mental institution. that I desire.

I picked up a garbage bag and began. One I reached 54 I tied up the bag and tossed it into the outside garbage can, lest some of the items try to escape and reproduce somewhere in a dark corner.

So what did I get rid of? Mostly Barbie clothes, old pieces of mail, and items from my junk drawer that I could no longer even identify. Though I am sure if I had held each of the dust covered little things up my children could tell me what they were. And also how they could not possibly live without the item.

After I finished I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a Mike’s hard cranberry lemonade. I sat down to revel in my now 54 thing free-er environment. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my 10 year old son stealthily reach into the garbage bag.

“Hey, what are you doing?” I yelled.

He held up the bottle cap I had just tossed. “For my collection, Mom.” he answered.

Then he stuck it in his pocket and walked away.

Though I may be challenged at every turn, I will prevail. My efforts will not be thwarted.

Tomorrow I throw away 55 things. Ha.

Updated to add:
I added a link over there on the left sidebar to chronicle the things I find in this hovel house that I throw away.

Posted by Chris @ 6:57 am | 41 Comments  


August 11, 2006

It’s blueberry season again.


And unlike last year, the blueberries taste sweet.

And this year I can see all the things of which I am thankful. This year the hazy fog of depression is gone. This year I can give thanks for:

Baby feet
baby shoes

Round baby bellies

round toddler tummies

snow cones on a hot day:


flowers that grow outside my front door


flying through the air:


Sun-kissed dimples


That maybe I am doing something right

siblings who love each other, usually

And on the third anniversary of the death of Rob’s sister, I am mostly thankful for time:


Time to find my smile again.

Nothing makes you look old and haggard than posing with a baby

Time to finally get it right.

Picking blueberries

This year, it is enough. And I am thankful.

Posted by Chris @ 9:12 am | 62 Comments  

Today is not the day

August 10, 2006

that you want to be catching a flight out of an airport, any airport.

Just ask my poor husband who is at the airport, standing in a line that he says appears to be circular and have no end. Where he will be giving up his beverages, toothpaste, shaving cream, hair gel, deodorant and who knows what else. They are going to be a stinky, dehydrated lot, those travellers. My advice… check all the stuff you possibly can, people. Just check it. It will make the process go much more quickly.

But I have internet friends, really I have no other kind, coming for a vist and spending the night. I am very excited. I present my to-do list for today:

1) Go to liquor store
2) Make sure bathrooms have toilet paper and are free of unwanted pee
3) Buy a replacement coffee pot, since baby broke ours yesterday
4) Hang bedroom door, isn’t this on everyone’s list for when guests come?
5) Buy Rob some replacement hair gel, toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream for when he comes back home, why yes I am nice
6) Go to liquor store, did I mention that?

Posted by Chris @ 4:41 am | 34 Comments  

Conversations d’jour

August 9, 2006

I am telling Rob a story about a horrible salesperson at the bookstore, which as an aside what is wrong with these low level people thinking they own the store, when the following conversation occurred:

Me: I really don’t know why she was so awful. I did go and complain to the manager so great was her awfulness.

Rob: Was she young, old, or what?

: Uh, I don’t know. I am not good at judging ages.

: Was she middle aged?

Me: No. I don’t think she was that old. Maybe she was my age.

: Well then she was middle aged. YOU are middle aged you know.

: I am not middle aged.

Rob: Yes you are.

: I am not!

Rob: Then what is middle aged?

Me: I don’t know. Forty? Is forty middle aged? God, I am depressed now. Am I really middle aged?

Rob: Yes you are.

: How depressing. I feel like someone just pissed in my cheerios.

: Ha.

Me: Then you must be a senior citizen… a senior citizen who isn’t getting any, anytime soon.


Rob: So I was talking to [his best friend since childhood] about our upcoming trip and I told him to make sure he brought his glove. And he said that he was going to tell me the same thing.

Me: gloves? is it going to be that cold there?

: not gloves, GLOVE.

, hearing the words yet not understanding: what?

Rob: baseball glove?

Me: And why would you want to bring your baseball glove on a trip with you?

Rob, as if it were completely obvious: So we can play catch? (I swear he followed this statement up with a duh?, but he insists he didn’t.)

: What are you,10?

: Oh c’mon you are being unfair. What’s wrong with bringing a baseball glove?

: Not a thing. I know when I was sitting around in San Jose I frequently thought, “You know what would make this experience perfect…playing a game of catch right now.”

Posted by Chris @ 6:17 am | 32 Comments  

Part Two

August 8, 2006

Disney World: Stopping the Gimmees is now up.

Posted by Chris @ 4:37 pm | 1 Comment  

Who is really my favorite?

Mom's Favorite?

Do you remember my BREEDER!!!1!! post a couple of months back?

Well, a couple of weeks before Blogher I got an email from Kristin who had read my BREEDER!!!1!! post and decided to make t-shirts like them to kick off her new t-shirt printing business. She wanted to know the sizes of my children so that she could being me some of the shirts as she was going to Blogher also.

Oh exciting! I sent the sizes off to her. Then I promptly forgot all about it because I had important thing to do, like pack my shoes.

So fast forward to the Hyatt. She leaves the shirts in a gift bag at the front desk and asks them to give them to me. Which they assure her they will. But this is the same front desk that tried to charge me $30 for a drink bill that wasn’t mine, charged my debit card almost $600 for my hotel room instead of $300, and could not give directions to anything near by with any sort of accuracy.

Knowing this, what do you think the chances are that I got the shirts?

If you answered none, you would be right.

So the entire Blogher conference, she thought I had recieved the shirts. I am sure she was wondering why I never even bothered to acknowledge them. And was probably regretting even making them for me because what kind of person doesn’t acknowledge a gift?

The kind of person who never recieves it, that’s who.

I arrived home from Blogher to an email telling me that somehow the hotel had given the shirts to the wrong person. This person contacted her and offered to send the shirts on to me.

And when I found this out I felt horrible. I would have loved to say thank you in person for such a kind and thoughtful gift.

Yesterday I went to my mailbox and there were the shirts. The kids were all excited and promptly put them on. I took the opportunity to take a picture of them.

Awwwwww, so cute. The shirts that is.

Shortly after taking the ONE decent picture a fight broke out over who was in fact my favorite. A fight which spiraled down into a slap fest and loud screaming, “No I am mom’s favorite!”

A fight which found me standing in front of my house shrieking, “You know who is my favorite? None of you. None of you are my favorite!”

And so I decided that aside from securing my place as the winner of the Bad Mother of the Year award for all time, I don’t need this shirt:

BREEDER!!!1! t-shirt

I need this one:

None of them are t-shirt

Maybe I should just wear the tiny tshirt that advertises condoms which came in our bag of shwag at Blogher, as a warning for others. The t-shirt that says, if you used our condoms you would fit into this t-shirt still and not have to deal with tantruming children who would find something to fight about even if they were somehow contained in a completely empty and sensory deprived environment.

Or maybe it says that only people who are this size should have sex. I don’t know. I’m not really sure what the message of the child sized t-shirt was supposed to be, just that I think it would be funny to wear it out in public with my children.

Posted by Chris @ 6:35 am | 26 Comments  

Vacation all i ever wanted

August 7, 2006

This week on my other blog I am writing about vacationing with children on a budget.

I am kicking it off the series with a post called, Disney on a Family Budget. As anyone who has ever been to the happiest place on earth knows, Disney World and budget do not go hand in hand. The entire place is designed to seperate you and your money as quickly and often as possible.

But I will offer up my tips on how we made this visit to mecca both fun and affordable.

Posted by Chris @ 6:36 am | 3 Comments  

don’t leave this open on your coffee table

August 6, 2006

Because unless breasts are popping out of a bikini top, they are offensive.

wrote about the babytalk magazine on her blog also and shared photos of herself nursing her babies. So I though I’d share one of mine too.


This photo is several months old and is the last time that Miles nursed. The last time I nursed a baby. The last time I will ever nurse a baby. A whole large part of my existence that came to an end is captured here.

He had been slowly weaning himself, first cutting down to nursing only a handful of times a day, then to once a day, and finally to skipping entire days. He was ready to wean. I was ready for him to wean, most days. The other days I was a weepy mess over my bay-bee and sufferring with rock hard boobs.

He had gone for more than a week, and I thought we were done nursing, when one day he climbed onto my lap and asked for “num-num” His little hand reached up and stroked my cheek. He brought his long legs up onto my lap and hooked them around my other arm. I felt the weight of his huge melon head in the crook of my arm. He looked me in the eye and periodically would pause to smile.

It was like he needed one last nursing for closure before he moved on with his big boy, bad ass self.

I happened to have my camera sitting next to me and snapped this picture. How often do you photograph the last of something, a turning point?

It amazed me then, and amazes me still, that my body could grow a kid. Nine months of gestating and then however many months of solely nursing. It makes me wish I could be kinder to myself and let the body hatred go, but well, that will probably never happen. I do hope, however, that my daughter will see photographs like these and appreciate her body, not buy into the images that we are all force fed by the media. And so that is why I share my photograph.

For my daughter. For all the other daughters. So I never again have to hear another woman say nursing breasts are disgusting, shameful, and something to be hidden.

Update: Go here to find links from other mothers who have posted photos of their nursing babies and written about this very same thing.

Posted by Chris @ 6:32 am | 75 Comments