Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Paisley Past

I tossed all of my old bridesmaid dresses years ago.

I donated my cute work-function cocktail dresses to charity.

I gave away my wedding dress to a friend in need and insisted she just keep it.

Yet there's one dress I can't give up:

I wore this little paisley number for an entire summer back in 2000.  I was living downtown, single, and having the time of my life.  I also was broke, walked everywhere with my friends, and survived on about 800 calories a day...mostly coming from Corn Flakes.

I came across this dress as I was preparing some bags for Goodwill last night.  I checked the size.  It's a junior dress.  Big ole six-foot Marianne used to fit into junior sizes?  WTF.

Which brings me to my Weight Watchers update.  I am down six pounds and I can almost fit one leg into Purple Paisley.

Thanks, by the way, to Julie over at Feeding the Cat for the paisley inspiration.  For you and you alone, I have also included a close-up of the dress that symbolizes my lost youth and intact stomach:

Listen.  Can you hear them crying?  I can.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sew Sew Grateful

Because my husband and I owe way too many people way too many favors, we try to avoid hitting up family for babysitting duty.  We instead employ various neighborhood girls for the occasional evening escapes to exotic events like school fundraisers or retirement parties.   

Crap we're old.  

Although my mom is madly in love with my kids, she is a retired nurse who lives alone. Because of this, dropping off 3 rambunctious boys is kind of like blowing a firework off in a church.  It's unsettling, and it can throw my mom for a loop.  We therefore try to save her for emergency situations only. 

But when our babysitter fell through at the last minute this weekend, we turned to Nana.  She thankfully agreed.

Several hours later, we returned to find my mom's condo covered in toys, tiny scraps of paper (courtesy of Jack's cutting obsession), and toast crumbs (courtesy of the boys' new toast kick). She looked a little worse for the wear and confessed that she could use a nap.

Yet as we left, the boys proudly showed off their "Pillow Guys" that Nana had fashioned together with old receiving blankets and buttons in an attempt to keep my sons occupied for a full hour:

Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I now have to give the old gal at least 6 months off to recover from her ordeal, but these little fellows will be treasured forever.

And the next time she does babysit, I'm bringing her a Dustbuster.

And perhaps a little Valium.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Interview

Today I am doing something a little bit different.  While I still continue to lobby for that dream interview with Donny Osmond, I have miraculously landed an even bigger star (in the blogosphere at least).  Author Julie R. Harrison (mothersofbrothersblog) has recently launched her debut book, Mom’s Had A Rough Day which is a collection of humorous essays that will have you snorting orange juice out your nose.  Although Ms. Harrison would like to point out that citrus in not good for the sinuses, so you may want to consider switching to black coffee when reading  her stuff. 
I’ve decided to employ the classic Proust Questionnaire (this is the same one movie stars answer on the last page of Vanity Fair every month).  Neither Julie (nor her alter ego, MOV) are movie stars  yet, but if it’s good enough for Matt Damon and Brigitte Bardot, by God, it’s good enough for us.

The Interview:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Lounging on the beach with my husband and kids, with no concerns other than if we should build a sandcastle first or go boogey-boarding.  
What is your greatest fear?  I do not live my life in fear.  That being said, I don’t jump out of airplanes, so I guess I am cautiously fearless.   

Which historical figure do you most identify with?  Cleopatra.  I kind of dig the eyeliner trick. 
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  Perfectionism/ Virgo tendencies.      

What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Not showing up when you say you will.
What is your greatest extravagance?  Eating out.  I am a terrible cook.    

What is your favorite journey?  The one from Florence to Venice.  And then back again.   
What do you dislike most about your appearance?  That I don’t look exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow.  Other than that, nothing. 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  “If I were blonder, I would look exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow.” 
What is your greatest regret?  Dropping out of Architecture school.  I would’ve made a damned fine architect.    

What or who is the greatest love of your life?  My husband, my kids, my dad. 
When and where were you happiest?  I was over the moon when I witnessed both my sons’ first steps.  Me.  Not a nanny, not my husband, not grandma.  Me. 

Which talent would you most like to have?  The ability to speak any language.  Unfortunately, I’m still trying to master English (which is my first language).    
What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Besides having my two sons, which is not so much an “achievement” as a miracle, I am proud that I wrote a book and published it.  

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would it be?  I would love to come back as a Japanese person because they are so prim and proper.  I think the whole country is Virgo.  Or I could come back as an Italian, which is the polar opposite of that.    
What is your most treasured possession?  I try not to be materialistic.  But I’ll say baby photos of my sons, and old black and white photos of my late grandmother.   

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Not having anyone to love you. 
Where would you like to live?  On the beach, any beach. 

What is your favorite occupation?  Mom, writer, eater of chocolate (not necessarily in that order).  

What is your most marked characteristic?  My ability to find the best thing to buy in any store, even if the item was somehow hidden.    

What is the quality you most like in a man?  Loyalty, and the propensity to laugh at my jokes. 
What do you most value in your friends?  Good listening skills, and the good sense to pretend to laugh at my jokes.     

Who are your favorite writers?  Laurie Notaro and David Sedaris.  And lately I’ve been reading Merrill Markoe.  I like humor.    
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?  Does Lassie count?    
Who are your heroes in real life?  Every day people that stand up for what is right.     
What are your favorite names?  Griffin and Alden. 

What is it that you most dislike?  Rudeness, impatience, inconsiderate behavior. 
How would you like to die?  At age 105, in my sleep.  In the middle of a really great dream. 

What is your motto?  “Laugh every day.”    

And there you have it. Be sure to check out mothersofbrothersblog.blogspot.com/ today.  You won't regret it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sam's Swan Song

Remember my friend Colleen's mission to draw attention to an abandoned sandwich in the office refrigerator? (Click for original blog) Well, whoever had planned to eat "Sam the Sandwich" remains a mystery. As a follow-up, I wanted to share the hilarious final pictures:

Sam preparing for the snow.

Our friend ready for a night on the town. 
Sadly, even Sam cannot escape the hold of the Grim Reaper, i.e. "Refrigerator Purge Day."

R.I.P. Sam January 1, 2012 - January 27, 2012. 

We had some laughs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hats Off

The reinstatement of the famed St. Patrick's Day Southside Parade has ushered in a season of discontent to the otherwise quiet and friendly Chicago community of Beverly. 

A war is being waged that pits brother against brother. Neighbor versus neighbor. The McNallys taking on the O'Maras. 

Where is Michael Collins when you need him?

On the one side, you have those who view the parade as a long-standing tradition designed to celebrate Irish heritage.   

On the other side, you have those who get really annoyed when people pee in their alleys.

Both sides have much more thoughtful and well-articulated arguments than I can muster, but that just distracts me from my real focus:

Aren't these hats just the cutest things you've ever seen???

I found this lady's stuff on the Business Moms of Beverly site, and I am totally impressed. Check her out here.

Of course, I can't sew a button on a shirt, so the fact that someone can do this gives me the impression that they might be Jesus.

I know, I know.  I'll stop at confession again after carpool.  My soul can't stay pure for longer than 24 hours.  It's like putting a white turtleneck on a 3-year old.  You know you're going to have to bleach it the next day, but you still try.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Room of One's Own

I had big dreams for our spare bedroom on the first floor. 

Things didn't quite work out as planned.

I wonder what Virginia Woolf would think of me.  If I had a library in my house, I could tell you.

Click here for my Chicago Parent Magazine online article that explains all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Identity Crisis

In reviewing some of my past posts, I feel the disparate array of subjects, tones, and obsessions all point to one thing:

I am a schizophrenic blogger.

Sticking to a central theme or tone is difficult for me.  This week, all I want to write about is how miserable I am eating carrot sticks and Subway on my new Weight Watchers' program.  But I'm scared that would turn me into a weight loss blogger.

I'm also cheap and find great deals, so am I a couponing blogger?

I write a lot of crap about my kids, and considering the title, I most certainly have got to be a mommy blogger, right?

But I can be funny (or at least that's what my dad tells me), so perhaps I am a humor blogger?

My mood shifts between light and dark.  Happy and sad.  Angry and buzzed.

I feel like Meredith Brooks in her "Bitch" song.


This could all just be the hunger talking.

I miss sugar.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to Silly

I could get all philosophical about why I miss working in an office.

But I would be lying.

I miss sh*t like the stuff my friend Colleen has been posting on Facebook.  She has been getting a little annoyed by the ancient sandwich that has taken up permanent residence in the office refrigerator.  For days and days, the sandwich has gone unclaimed.  Uneaten.  Unloved.

So Colleen, having a wicked sense of humor, has decided to add appendages to it every day in hopes of getting the owner's attention:

The eyes have it.

The poor thing has shoelaces but no hands. 
I will always remember the awesome pranks and silliness of my own former work colleagues. We battled daily against suffocating boredom. Did I mention I worked in insurance? 10 years.  Insurance.  Imagine my life. 

Thank goodness there will always be the Colleens of the world who keep us laughing and looking forward to another day.

Oh...and if any future insurance employers should be reading this...I'm just kidding.  Insurance ROCKED!  You're allowed to lie on your own blog.  I'm 100% indemnified.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


(I will be keeping this post up longer than my normal 24 hour period because Emily deserves at least that.  And probably a pony, too).

I am not truly dazzled by much.  Perhaps I am a bit jaded, but it takes something really special to impress me.  I never could understand Blue Man Group.

Yet since April 2011, I have been dazzled repeatedly.  In following the amazing struggle, grace, and determination of a family fighting childhood cancer, I have found myself humbled. Ed and Nadia Beazley are friends of ours who continue to battle obstacles that would bring most of us to our knees. Their story needs to be told.

The first time I met Ed and Nadia, it was the first weekend after September 11, 2001. It was their wedding.  Attendees were still in shell shock over the national tragedy, and I felt horrible for the young couple starting a life together on such a somber note.

While many couples might have ignored the giant elephant in the room, Ed and Nadia recognized the deep wounds of those in attendance. They chose to embrace a mood of patriotism and togetherness. Bagpipers marched in playing not their usual wedding selections, but instead played several patriotic songs that inspired many to stand or sing along.  I will always remember that moment as the start of my own healing process after 9/11. Ed and Nadia, as it would turn out, seemed to have a special knack for mending the wounded.

When Nadia became pregnant a few months later with her first daughter, Emily, she was thrilled. I remember bumping into her and she revealed her due date. It was September 11. She must have read my look of oh no and told me confidently,"It's not like anyone ever has their baby on their exact due date, right?"

Of course, our beautiful Emily was born on September 11.

Little Emily faced a very tough first year with a host of health issues that threatened her life and included the likelihood of profound developmental delays. She was born with PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension) and she required an ECMO (heart and lung) bypass when she was only 4 days old.

Ed and Nadia again channeled their inner healers and saw her through a seemingly hopeless situation.  Emily wound up attending the same preschool as Daniel, and I marveled at her amazing strides and ability to exceed all medical expectations. She's got a razor sharp mind and marvelous sense of humor. Ed and Nadia had again met tragedy head-on and won.

Yet when my husband got the phone call from a mutual friend telling us that Emily had been admitted to the hospital this past April and that things looked extremely grim, my heart sank. Not again. The family had been through so much, and now cancer? The diagnosis was Stage III T-Cell Lymphoblastic Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Such big words. Such a little girl.

I went to that horrible worst-case scenario place and prepared myself for the unspeakable. Stupid me. This was Ed and Nadia. This was Emily. 

I followed the medical ups and downs through Facebook and CaringBridge. I spoke with mutual friends. It seemed like every step forward also included two steps back. While still aggressively fighting Emily's cancer, Ed and Nadia advocated tirelessly to bring attention to childhood cancers. I had no idea that pediatric cancer is one of the most under-funded research areas out there, despite it killing more children than genetic anomalies, cystic fibrosis, and AIDS combined

Emily returned to school this past week, and for a girl who has had so much struggle in her life, her biggest wish is to just feel normal. So with the help of friends, she put together a video to re-introduce herself to her classmates, detail her journey, and let them all know that she is ready for anything.

Please have a look:

When I asked Nadia if I could share her family's remarkable journey, she told me that they are simply following Emily's cue.

If you are interested in learning more about pediatric cancer research, or supporting CureSearch please visit: http://www.curesearch.org/.

Thank you, Beazley Family for all you do to inspire those around you.  And happy first week back at school, Emily!  We can talk about your future chess lessons another day.  Maybe Monday.

To read more on Emily, click here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti

I'm the first one to admit that I'm not a fan of change.  I never liked the second Darren on Bewitched or the replacement Becky on Roseanne.  I prefer continuity.  Ritual.  Chain restaurants.

The unknown scares me.

When it comes to faith and religion, which by nature is heavily contingent on the unknown, Joe and I opted to raise our children as Catholics.  We were comfortable with the faith.  It was how we were raised, and both of our fathers attended the seminary.  I am named after my Aunt Marianne who was a nun at the time of my birth.  Sure, we knew the Church was far from perfect, but there is no entity under God that is.  Not even this awesome blog.

So when the Vatican sprang a whole new arsenal of mass rituals and responses on its flock, I was not pleased.  One of the comforts of the Catholic Church for me has always been the tradition and the sameness. I'm told they are very thoughtful and faith-based changes, but it all still leaves me disconcerted. I don't adapt well to these kinds of things. 

I'm kind of like a ficus tree.  If you change my environment too much, I panic and shed all my leaves.

Before I get all pious and self-righteous, I should disclose that Joe and I are not the most regular of mass attendees.  We're trying to improve our stats, but we are definitely not on pace for a front-row seat with St. Peter.

Which leads me to this weekend.  Daniel will be making his First Reconciliation this Saturday.  This is an extremely important sacrament for Catholics.  Penitents seek forgiveness by confessing their sins to an ordained priest.  The priest, contrary to popular belief, does not directly forgive the penitents, but serves only as a stand-in for God.   

The Crucifix from Joe's late mother.  We negotiated heavily on where exactly in the bedroom this would hang.  We finally agreed on a spot where Jesus couldn't "see" our bedroom.  I have guilt issues.  

So my burning question for the week is: What will Danny fess up to?  I would love to be a fly on that confessional wall, listening to my second grader's version of his moral transgressions.  I really wonder how the priests can keep it together the whole time.  You know some of that stuff they hear is priceless.

I am reminded of my own responsibilities as a Catholic mother.  I feel I should participate again in this very important sacrament and show my children that I, too, am far from perfect.

I wonder if the priests accept reservations?  This could take a while.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Didn't Know There Was Going to Be Homework

I really would have appreciated someone giving me the head's up on all the reading assignments for Weight Watchers:

There are even stickers and calculators for computing things. Math. They've got math at Weight Watchers. Who knew and didn't tell me?

This is all starting to feel like my freshmen year in college where I signed up for a bunch of classes that weren't anything like I expected.  I thought Life Science was going to be about bringing dead people back from the grave.  Instead, I had an entire semester on stupid plants and their stupid Latin names.

So anyway, be sure to click here for my Chicago Parent Magazine explanation on why I'm reading all this crap instead of People Magazine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Have You Signed Up Yet?

The ladies over at Mother of Brothers Blog, Southern Fried Chicken, Just Inappropriate, and I are so freaking excited over the wonderful response to our Leap Blog Day event coming February 29th.  In case you missed it, the gals and I decided to take the blogosphere by storm and invent our own celebration of other writers.  It's a chance to highlight all the wonderful voices out there who want to be heard.

The rules:
  • Sign your blog up on this page (click link and see chart at bottom)
  • Check out the blogs listed.  Read them for a while.  Find someone you enjoy  
  • Select someone to do a guest post (I suppose a deadline is in order, how about by February 15?).  Contact the blogger with whatever parameters you hold dear (topic, word count, minimum or maximum swear words preferred, etc.)
If you are selected to guest post, consider it an honor and have fun!  Although for the record, several of the sponsors have expressed nervousness over being asked to do essays on various topics, including:
  • Cooking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Jesus
  • Being thoughtful parents
Not to say that we're godless, artless freaks who only use the microwave, but we do have a strong sense of our individual strengths and weaknesses.  I, for one, will be unable to write anything on braiding hair or how to open a bottle of wine with one of those fancy-schmansy electronic openers.  I use my teeth.

Be the Frog.

Be sure to check out our awesome crew of adventurers:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lenny Triumphs

After a near record-setting absence of snow here in Chicago courtesy of Bad Luck Lenny (who bought a snow blower in November and mistakenly shared the news with all who would listen, click here for story), the gods finally smiled upon our unfortunate pal.  The season's extremely late inaugural snowstorm blew into the city dumping about 6 inches across the area:

Lenny, happy to finally put his blower to good use, decided to snow-blow the entire city block.  Both sides.  Then he turned the corner and started west on 115th.

Last we saw, Lenny was working his way north on Kedzie Avenue.

If anyone spots him, please call 1-800-FIND-LENNY.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Don't Understand the Problem

Does anyone remember how I blogged about my new driveway all last summer?  I was rather single-minded back then.  Everybody wanted me to move on and write about something else, but I just couldn't.  I was so over-the-moon excited about freshly poured concrete.

People don't change.

So back to my new Buy/Sell obsession.  Everything I 've posted on our local site has pretty much been bought within hours.  Yet for some unfathomable reason, the toddler-mom community is eschewing this priceless wonder:

I KNOW.  Why?  Don't they remember Land of the Lost?  Where is their sense of nostalgia?   

I'm not giving up.  There's gotta be some sicko mother in my neighborhood who could use a little fear-mongering to get her kids to fly right. 

If not, I'm saving this.  It might come in handy with the grandchildren.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Die, Poinsettias. Die.

I'm so over Christmas.

The decorations have been packed away, batteries are in every new toy, and I've got 6 lbs. of gingerbread men living in my butt.

I really don't want to see any more reminders of a holiday gone by.

Yet these live on:

I haven't watered them.  I haven't put them near light.  I haven't pruned them.

Instead, I call them bad names and curse them every time I walk past.

They refuse to die.

Where's Dr. Kevorkian when you need him? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Addiction Takes Hold

I am having such a hard time focusing on the blog as this local Buy/Sell site has taken over my life.

At first, I was getting rid of a lot of clutter and outgrown toys in a fast and efficient manner. With less stuff, I suddenly had a path in my basement. I was earning a few bucks.

But then I started looking at what other mothers were posting. That was a mistake. First, I got this:

It's like $20 new at Crate & Barrel...I got it for $5.

And that's just the beginning. I had a nice pick-up with Fruit Basket mom who was happy to hand over her never-used wedding gift. Fruit Basket Dad just shook his head, which seems to be the common reaction of most husbands during drop-offs and pick-ups. They don't get it.

Or do they? As I sat next to my husband in the minivan, admiring my new purchase, Fruit Basket Dad called out to my husband as we drove away:

See ya soon. I'll probably be by your house next week picking up something or another.

From his lips to God's ears...

I've really got my eye on this over-the-door towel holder a Mt. Greenwood mom is selling. I just need to earn like $2 more to break even.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

That Mom

Have you ever completely lost it in public?  You're not alone.  Click here for full story on being "that mom."

And for the record, I am typically that mom on a weekly basis.

My Chicago Parent Essay: That Mom

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Gambling Again

Alright, gang.  Chicago Parent is letting me down by not posting my essay until later today (and you know I'm neurotic and plan a new post every day by noon).  So I got nothin'.

But then I remembered my across-the-street neighbor Holly and her awesome new blog, Glitter on the Side.

We've got a little side-bet that she'll have 50 followers within a month.  A bottle of wine is in this for me, so please have a read and consider following!  She's had quite the amazing journey.

Glitter on the Side

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Girl (Scout) Power

My feelings about school fundraisers aren't exactly a secret around here (click for full rant).  While I understand the need for school and club fundraising, it's the near-constant requests across three different schools that leave me feeling rather....spent. 

I've gotten to the point where if I am approached by kids outside of grocery stores selling candy bars, I actually decline.

When I'm asked to give an extra $1 to save the baby whales as I check out at the supermarket, I politely opt out.

And when the really nice old guy who sells flowers on 111th & Pulaski comes up to my car, I've finally learned to tell him no thanks.  I feel really guilty about that one, though.

Yet there is absolutely no refusing 6 year-old Girl Scouts from the block who may well marry one of my sons one day (it's how we roll here in Beverly):

Seriously.  How do you say no to her?  And if anybody wants to save my ass 3 lbs when my Thin Mints arrive in February, feel free to stop by.

Also, if you're looking to buy your own Thin Mints, lemme know. 

I got people. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Clean Start

I had big dreams for hosting a garage sale after we replaced the driveway this past summer. Our old driveway was apparently built on the only fault line in Chicago. It was full of deep cracks and sharp ridges that made it a serious liability concern.  Yet the new driveway took so long to set and get sealed, that I never got around to hawking 7 years worth of kiddie crap.

I started digging through the house last week to de-clutter our lives in a desperate attempt to avoid being cast on Hoarders. Yet even after I donated gads of things to Goodwill and AmVets, there were still tubs of toys, books, and games.

Then I remembered the online community some neighborhood moms had put together for local ladies to buy and sell things.

And before you could say "Marianne is a lunatic," I was able to rid myself of these chairs:

Jack hugged his chair goodbye.

And these benches:

The lady had both a "Jack" AND a "Joe."  What were the odds?

And even this:

The only potty that could accommodate my really tall kids.
I listed every item for $6 and not a single serial killer showed up at my door. The women were all ladies I've seen around the schools, parks, and churches. It was all very easy and safe. Not only do I have a little extra room in my house, but I've got a few extra bucks for my Nicaraguan Tummy Tuck Fund.

This may be my new obsession.

Which I need like a hole in the head.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Drinking and Writing Don't Mix

We went to Joe's somewhat overdue firehouse Christmas party last night.  I drank several cocktails that were the color of Windex.  Jameson shots may have been involved.  My liver is now streak-free.

Thank goodness it's Sunday, and nobody really expects a clear and concise thesis on a Sunday.

On a separate note, one veteran firefighter looked at me yesterday and commented on my shirt:

"That's from the new Ann Taylor collection, right?"

He was right.  It was from Ann Taylor.  So I took another sip of Windex and tried to figure out how I landed in world where guys recognized Ann Taylor clothes and served blue drinks.

It was all rather glorious.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bad Luck Lenny

My husband has this friend.  Let's call him Lenny.  On the day of Lenny's birth, I am fairly certain his guardian angel was drunk because Lenny has a near flawless record of cosmic misfortune and happenstance.  A quick primer:
  • A few years ago, Lenny thought dipping his toe into the real estate market might shore up his retirement funds.  Exactly 3 days after his closings, the real estate bubble burst thereby ensuring Lenny will be working well into his 90's.
  • When Lenny and his wife went on a trip with us, Joe and I got a lovely room overlooking the Alamo with a couple of courtesy water bottles.  Lenny got a first floor room overlooking a brick wall with damp, smelly floors and courtesy mold. 
  • Lenny decided to update his kitchen a couple years back and purchased several big-ticket appliances. Because they were not ready to be installed, he put off opening the boxes.  When he did open them, several were damaged and the store refused to exchange them because of the delay in reporting.
I can't help but laugh at Lenny's Facebook postings.  Over and over, the universe mocks him.  Real posts:
  • Furnace went out at 3 a.m this morning... Burned up blower motor (it was sounding bad all night)... Trouble shot it (touched the very hot motor that wasn't working).. $333 later and an hour to remove the old, replace with the new, we have heat again...
  • ‎113th and Harlem right now...fire was through the roof when I got to 114th to get a hair cut!
  • So, my Fantasy Football team had their best week yet this past weekend... NOTE: I was knocked out of the playoffs last week!!! This is how my whole season has gone.. W.T.F...I didn't even set my lineup ( 2 guys got 0 points, injured) still scored 200........ Not bitter or anything
  • First, Evergreen Park High School (Lenny's alma mater) had the UNABOMBER. Now, we also have "Lobster Squatter!"  Guy from class of 1978 breaks into White Sox G.M. Kenny Williams home and eats his food.
I actually felt relieved for Lenny when he finally had something good to post:

Found my snow blower at Sears, $100 less than 2 days ago...Stores are keeping 3 in stock, and open at 4 a.m tonight..Is it really worth getting up that early...Note: This is my first snow blower ever, really excited...Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Lenny did get that snowblower, and of course it has not snowed a lick all season long.  Hardly a flake.  It's January in Chicago and all the kids are begging to go sledding and we got nada.

So thank you, Lenny.  Thank you for saving all those who might have perished while shoveling heavy snow from their driveways.  Thank you for not making me late for carpool because I didn't allow enough time to scrape ice off the minivan.  Thank you for saving us hundreds of dollars in salt bags.   Had you not purchased that snowblower, why just imagine the misfortune to us all.

I am so grateful for all the bad luck you apparently absorb.  I sincerely hope the year improves for you.  But if it doesn't, could you please just not come anywhere near us?

Much obliged.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stupid is as Stupid Does

It was more than I usually spend on a Christmas present, but given Dan's obsession with Harry Potter and Legos, I caved and got him the Hogwarts castle:

I smiled and congratulated myself on being the smartest mom ever as Daniel spent 4 days straight working on this masterpiece.  Money well spent, right?


These brass fasteners arrived a few days ago and the boys have been spending every waking moment making paper people with movable arms and clocks with movable hands:

Total cost for fasteners: $1.

I am the dumbest mom E-V-E-R.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Advice Needed

I currently have hundreds of smiling images of beautiful children taped to my refrigerator.  Over the course of my life, I have never been able to throw away holiday photo cards.  These are my friends' children!  I've known many of them since they were born.  But I've run out of room in albums, boxes, and files and now I'm stuck.

So I ask you: What's the current thinking on holiday photo cards?  Please complete the survey on the sidebar, and if you select "other," please comment and tell me what you do.  Thank you.


The Management

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Playdate Stalemate

It's been a long winter break since the kids have been off school. Yet, I think it would have felt a lot longer had I agreed to the non-stop requests for playdates.

Like I need more of these people in my house?

Click here for my public stand against playdates, as written for Chicago Parent Magazine.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grass Roots Campaign Goes VIRAL (maybe)

So I get this email from one of my favorite bloggers over at Mothers of Brothers Blog (she's super-famous...she even wrote a book).

Hey!  Wouldn't it be great if a bunch of bloggers got together on a special day to feature each others' writing?  Leap Day!  We'll do it on Leap Day!  We'll call it Leap Blog!

Enter fellow blog goddesses from Southern Fried Children and Just Inappropriate.  After some conversation back and forth, we hatched a plan. And when I say "we," I mean "they."  I'm not really capable of hatching a plan for any activity that doesn't involve donuts.   

And for no other reason than I have set up other pages on my blog, I was selected to host the official blogroll of all those who are interested in participating.  See here - join today!  We're still trying to figure out if we can replicate the same code to all the different blogs to ensure a cohesive blogroll, but apparently none of us has friends in IT.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Thank you to everyone who has visited, and please consider inviting someone from the blogroll to do a guest post on your blog!  There are so many wonderful voices out there, and we would be honored to ensure they are heard.

February 29 is the official date - so start perusing the blogs featured for a voice you'd like to share with your readers!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Unlaminated Life is Not Worth Living

I'm on another laminating kick:

Nice hockey mask, Jack.

Favorites include: President John F. Kennedy, the "Blackhawks Thanksgiving Turkey," and Danny's list of what he's thankful for, which includes only "his life."

Some people cook.  Some people sew.  Some people exercise.

I laminate. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Vice

Joe was watching that foodie television show, Chicago's Best, the other day.  He was furiously jotting down notes.  He looked excited.  He looked happy.  He looked like he was ready to start the car and go get us some grub.

And for once, my chubby little thighs could not catch him in time.

But what he returned with was so worth it:

Two hot dogs, chili, onions, bacon, jalapenos, cheese and french fries wrapped in a shell and then put in the DEEP FRYER.  The place is called Fatso's (oh irony) and is located in Oak Lawn on 95th. 

So, it's back to the drawing board....

I have really got to cancel our cable subscription and go back to network television only.  These foodie shows are going to kill me.