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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Really Got Me

Soon, 2011 will tick away into oblivion. This is the final entry of the year. Rather than write about my post-holiday recovery, like a journal entry of Lindsay Lohan in jail (if she even knows how to write), I chose to revisit the blog posts of this year that really got me. It's my little way of showing gratitude for the generous support in this blogging network. As Clarence pointed out to George Bailey via Mark Twain, "No man is a failure who has friends," so has my blogging journey proved this to me seven fold.

There were endless posts worth mentioning but these are a few, just a few, that were personally memorable to me. Ones that made me laugh above my blaring headphones causing the minions to check if I was having a seizure. Posts that forced me to grab a tissue before I reached for my beer. Thanks for making me look mental.


About sons and mothers - I love how Adrienne writes from the heart in such an honest, comforting voice. "Boldly Speaking About Love," from All These Things summed up the endless well of love and the stark reality of love a mom has for her son. Perhaps daughters get this too, but I wouldn't know because I don't have one and my mother's not the best example. I asked her to teach me how to select fish at the market once and her answer was, "Look at it."

Ever wonder if blog posts could be literature? The "The Odd Man Out" entry by According To Chip And Bobo is so perfect, it's sick. It's personal to women who have been pregnant. For men and women who haven't fallen into this category yet, it should be required reading. Quiz will follow. It's called life.

Being labelled as "funny" is a serious responsibility. Somehow, Bridget manages to pull it off every friggin' time. "Focusing On Chores" by Twinisms remains my favorite post among the countless hysterical ones that followed it. It's my favorite simply because it has all the right elements for a perfect blog entry: a conversation between a four-year old and his dad eavesdropped by a blogger.

Like many single moms, Maureen is courageous. Like, television sitcom courageous. I don't know how she does it. "A Day In The Life," by Tatterscoops recounts, well...a day in her life. A single mom - in conventional Jakarta. Not even Bonnie Franklin could've pulled that off.

I often wondered how my husband managed to walk all his married years, what with one foot constantly in his mouth. After reading "The Things Men Say That Live Forever," by Critters And Crayons, I realized that thinking before speaking is an impediment for most husbands.

I love posts about personal triumphs. I love posts about memorable days with Dad. Put them together like "Mini Triatholon" by Real Life Reslers and you've got a new Ben & Jerry flavor.

Pregnancy was one of the most astonishing experiences of my life. I took classes for the first one. The second one, however, was all based around what the first parasite wanted to do. In other words, I don't remember nothin'.  That's why I got a kick out of "Goodnight Moon," by And Lily Makes Three.

This post, "Learning The Hard Way," by Educated Abroad reminds me of that Faith No More song that goes, "it's always funny until someone gets hurt and then it's just hilarious." Real mature of me, right?

I really wrestled with two posts but settled on "For My Mom's Birthday, I Made Us Leave The Restaurant After We'd Already Ordered..." by Best Of Fates. If I treated my mom to the birthday adventure Megan planned, my picture would be plastered on the side of milk cartons advertising for missing people. Fortunately, Megan's mom is a good sport.

My husband once confessed to me that if we had a girl, he would be more conscientious about his appearance. Why a daughter would impact his effort to improve his image more than his nagging wife was a mystery to me until I read "I Finally Am Able To Convince Her To Wear Her School Uniform," by Grapes And Oranges.

It seems the site for Musings Of Mama Grace is currently going through some kind of metamorphosis. Although, I've mentioned her "Meditation" post as an inspiration, there is so much more. Once the site is navigational, I'll share my favorite post along with some others that really deserve the mention.

Hope you all get piss-ass drunk and regretfully amnesic entering 2012 - in other words, Happy New Year!

That's a lotta balls!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Say NO To White

This was Christmas vacation 2010.
Dec. 26 - four hours after the first snowflake fell.
Who'd rather be in Aruba?

It was the Avalanche that hit New York.
December 27, 2010

Seriously, if I see this much snow again on a holiday break, I'm going to set fire to the next person that lectures me about global warming. Is that warm enough for you, because it does the trick for me.

This year, I'd like to do more exploring with my guys other than dog poop treasure hunting in the snow. I have plans to revisit museums, sights and locations where famous movie scenes were shot because I never know what they'll remember. They are both obsessed with the Linda Blair "Exorcist" doll that was displayed at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. Yes, that of all things. Hope it's not foreshadowing.

So please...say "no" to a White Christmas this year. I'm sure Mr. Snow Miser can use a break. He worked awful hard last year.



And if you're still bent on seeing the white stuff, listen - I have these two guys to entertain. Tell me you don't get wrinkles and gray hair just looking at them.



All they want during Christmas break is adventure ending with a hot plate of fries. At a pub. A pub that pours a perfect pint. Okay, I added that last part but we deserve that, don't you think?

Merry Snow-less Christmas wishes from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pin Drop Head

It ain't over until the fat lady is muted. That's what I've learned after one week of meditation. It's really hard to shut yourself up and quiet your thoughts enough to hear a pin drop in your head. Funny thing is, when it comes to evicting that mad gibberish into writing - I find myself staring at a blinking cursor while my fingers are on infinite standby. We've all done it. Brain constipation, I call it.

I think it was my father who let me in on that secret: if you do five things the same every day, one new thing will occur to you. Apart from the meditation, what I've done the same every day is have three pieces of chocolate with my coffee. It has occurred to me that I need new pants that are roomier.

I miss my dad. I see him reflected in Zuki's facial expressions, temper tantrums and the way he can't open a simple bag of chips. Although my dad wasn't an "air head," he certainly wasn't "handy." The air head is endearing, though. For homework, Zuki was reading aloud the "Greenwich Guide To Day And Night." It's slightly above his reading level, but I figured the challenge was beneficial. Plus, I get a good laugh at things like this, "The Earth spins on Texas."

Zuki, I believe the book says 'axis' but Texans would probably agree with you.

He gets these crazy writing topics in school: "Would you prefer to live in New York present or past?"

The teacher meant like "pre-sliced-bread" past. Past enough when they had cameras to take pictures to show you just how shitty life was back then.

I explained how they had no cars zipping down the street so the kids played in front of their stoop but they also had no playgrounds.

"No restaurants, either?" - Nope.

"No haircutters?" - Nope.

"NO STICKERS?"


That stickers would impact their quality of life so much made me feel old. That was his deciding factor - he would rather live in the present. Stickers was even the closing sentence of his composition. If that were my paper, it would say - Well, I'm not going back to sanitary belts, that's for sure!

Speaking of going back, Samu has gone back to his "Weiner and Tushie Show." But he hasn't pissed his pants. I must be saying a different trigger word - there's time to find that out.

This is the last installment on meditation week. But it's the week that's over, not the journey. I feel like Dorothy, on a mission to find "home" with new friends who humbly want a brain, a heart and the courage not to piss his pants. Were it not for her old farm house landing on the confidence-stripping-witch, she may have never ventured with these guys to find a man who travels by hot-air balloon. Although...I've always known that these Bozos lived on my farm since life was black and white.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cracked Nut

The Christmas performance by the Sunnyside Ballet students was so damn good, it made me want to get trashed. "After Show" parties don't go that way, however, when the performers are only old enough for Capri Sun and pizza. I'm not kidding though, the performance, execution and showmanship was just so adorable, were it not for the grumpy old man claiming he was going to be sick all over me, I'd have been crying like a blithering idiot.

It just goes to show that every child's talent can be uncovered, nurtured and polished under the guidance of a fantastic teacher. And that grumpy old men should be left at the bar until the show's over.

There were three dance numbers, but the shakiest one was the peppermint or candy cane dance of the Nutcracker. It involved most of the Sunnyside Ballet students. Including...the boys class.

Boys. Wild boys. 

The thing about boys is, they act like flatulent-happy-monkeys on dope during rehearsals. Even dress rehearsals. But when it comes down to the wire - they get it. Actually, they're stellar - the heroes, the team players and the minions in between.

It made me realize - they are as big of a mystery to girls as girls are to boys. How they manage to know what was going on during the movie when they were streaking through half the story is a complete mystery. It's how they store knowledge, I guess - gives a new meaning to the word exposure.

At a parent workshop, I recently learned that girls draw nouns and boys draw verbs. For instance, if you asked children to draw a picture of a rocket ship, girls would draw a rocket ship whereas boys will draw it in flight.

Perhaps we need to do our homework whilst skateboarding?

Major kudos to you kids! I'd say I'm good for my annual dosage of "The Nutcracker" until next year.

Goody Bag infused boys class

There's a cross eyed peppermint in the middle.

The ballet and violin troupe that were told to pose...or else

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ohm My God

I am stubborn. At least that's what my husband will tell you. My mother, too. And a good portion of my friends - all except the ones who are more stubborn than me - they'd say I'm a pushover. The term I like to use is "determined." There's a distinct difference. Stubbornness, simply does not budge. Determination will move on, but behind the compliant smile, it's fixing to find another way to walk over the hot coals. It's why we keep plenty of ice in the freezer - what's left over does wonders for a martini.

True, I don't give up that easy. For that I am labelled "stubborn"? Well, I suppose my butt does resemble a mule's.

Day two of meditation week was not so good. Then again, day two of anything is never good. Diets, new jobs, school, even vacations - the second day is always the hitch. Rather than trudge through it, I look for the lesson to be learned. In Meditation Week that lesson was: don't use my iPhone to play the music.

It thoroughly pissed me off. It does that sometimes because it's stubborn. Seriously.

While I raged at my iPhone for changing the music, my husband sat serenely meditating - oblivious to the negative charges I was inflicting on my nemesis of a gadget. Good for hubby. The bastard.

Four days in, I have to say there's been some subtle changes in our house. There so subtle, like losing weight the correct way of one pound a week, the difference is told in time. But so far, I've not had the homework battles with Zuki. And Samu has kept his wiener in his pants during dinner for the entire week.

One realization, I am compelled to share at the risk of sounding flaky was a particular exercise that calls for connection to others. When someone is rude or unreasonable (and that's like five people per square foot in New York) you say to yourself, "There I go being an ass, again."

Of course, the meditation tip didn't say "ass" but that's what I use. It's to connect yourself with that ass and realize that we are all in this hot mess together.

With that, Shalom, Amen, Namu ami dabutsu ~ uh, have a good one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Get Your Ohm On: Day One

I'll try just about anything once. Just about. Chicken feet dim sum - done that. Cockroach canapes? Uh, never. A willingness to try new things has its virtues, such as exposure to...new things. It also has its setbacks - "Master of None." Still, when a challenge filtered in my email to set aside ten minutes of my day for a week to meditate, I decided to take it up.

Perhaps Grace over at Mama Grace is about the only person to appreciate this act - after all, it was her post on meditation that first inspired me. Truth is, the first impression most people have of other people who meditate is "flake." In Western culture, when we need to find peace, we take drugs Mannnnn. Booze, weed, Valium; otherwise, it's Jesus on the dashboard! You get the picture.

I publicly stated my commitment on Facebook and recruited my husband as added affirmation. If I didn't do that...yeah, I would've hit the snooze button this morning.

To my surprise, he got up early and was rearing to get his Ohm on. I'm not sure what his goals are for the end of the week but mine was to get a lot of writing done. And look! I'm writing. Spelling with my eyes closed, even. I just may finish that short story I've been working on for a month. It'll still be crap but at least I could say it's done.

And the low-self esteem thing is next on my agenda. It's a result of listening to too much Nirvana.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa's Memo

Our Kindergartner is loving Christmas this year. He's at that age where Santa has become an opportune fantasy. He's written a letter to Santa in Pre-K class last year but now he's wondering, wouldn't it be great if it's truly effective? If all this fat man needs is a letter and the goods are delivered like Maribella's pizza? Despite his limited knowledge of sight words, he managed to write this memo:

 "Can I HAVE a DS for Christmas"

Unfortunately for him, he wrote it on my memo pad. He wrote it after I told him he couldn't have a DS until after his seventh birthday - which isn't for another two years.

I reminded him how he already has a Leapster and he's allowed to play games my iPad or our iPhones when we're outside.

He doesn't need another gadget - that's final.

And I'd have to sell his older brother to afford it and the overpriced games that don't come with it.

He knows that Grammy and my mother would agree.

So he took matters into his own hands and went over our heads. His plan was to get this order in to Santa via his Kindergarten school teacher. But like I said, he wrote it on my memo pad and the messaged was intercepted.

"Better luck next time," I said. It was cruel, but not as cruel as the thought that was going through my head which was, "wouldn't have made a difference anyway."

I'm sure he's writing a letter to his lawyer right now.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Desmond's Wishes And More

The second graders in Zuki's school have lunch at 9:50 am. To me, that's brunch. Minus the cocktail. So from 10:30 until school gets out at 2:30, they're running on fumes. By the time they're dismissed, the kids are like ravenous zombies.

It wasn't surprising then, that Desmond (Zuki's schoolmate) said, "I wish a hot meal would fall out of the sky."

"Yeah," Zuki agreed, licking his lips.

I could only imagine what "hot meal" he was thinking of. He's such an air head, he was probably thinking of a ham and cheese sandwich.

Seeing that this was not Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, Desmond then wished aloud for something else.

"I wish I had some cash."

Good wish, I thought and agreed out loud.

"I wish a thousand dollars would fall out of the sky." He said.

It's no wonder Desmond's in the "Gifted" class. That's a pretty abstemious number to wish for, especially for a seven year old boy. Most kids who would wish for money are like congress, I want a billion-gazillion-five-hundred-zero-forty cents!

Luckily, Samu wasn't there to be part of the conversation. He always has to upstage everybody. This morning, he said to me, "Mommy, I can spell "December" with my eyes closed!"


He closed his eyes and said, "D - E - C- M - B - E - R - E - R."

So much for that trick. Next time, I'll tell him to keep his eyes open.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When I Think About Me, I Talk To Myself

This morning, my mountain of chores and tasks had me confused as usual where to start. My alter ego said, "Why don't you start by making the beds?"

"Good idea!" I replied. "Thanks....er, Honey."

"Don't call me 'Honey'. I hate that."

"Yeah, me too."

What the- ? I was talking to myself. Out loud.

When I was working full time - at an actual job that paid me for wearing nice clothes - I used to talk to myself all the time. My co-workers would look at me and say, "are you having a conversation with yourself?"

And I was. A full fledged conversation. Asking myself questions and answering them. It was disturbing to watch, I'm sure. But you know what? It helped me get the job done. Instead of those words and tasks running amuck in my head, my "assistant" would blurt out the next obvious step and it was all business.

I should've name her Pepper Pots.

In the days before baby-brain set in, I was like Pepper Pots. Well, a slightly disorganized version. A little heavier, too. Actually, I was nothing like Pepper Pots - I'm just wondering how many times I can include her name in one paragraph. And if you're wondering, Pepper Pots is that fabulous secretary for Tony Starks (Iron Man), played by the cute-but-not-at-all-sexy Gwyneth Paltrow.

They say that talking to yourself is a healthy habit. Don't ask me who said it exactly, or why "They" think it's healthy - I'm just assuming it is because of how much it helped me. I stopped talking to myself when the boys happened. Communication became this split personality of talking normally, infused with yelling in baby talk.

A typical cell phone conversation at the park went something like this, "I'm calling to get the paperwork to pilfer my 401k...SAMU DON'T TOUCH THAT, ICKY POO...sorry, where was I?"

When there was nothing to say, it was just easier to shut up and listen to the hum of my headache. My "assistant" probably felt neglected and took a well deserved vacation.

But she came back. Must've heard through the neurological grapevine the calamitous state of my affairs. Thus, when she found me this morning, in the eye of the hurricane-mess in my boys room, she took over. The room got cleaned, my day got planned and she got her old job back.

Wait till the boys meet her! They'll say, "Who are you talking to, mom?"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We Are Shaking The Tree

December - it's my new November. Until last year, November was my nemesis. The time when skeletons came rattling out of my closet to beat my spirits down with their femur. Even during the dullest years of my life, I can't remember a dull day in November. But this year was different.

2011, I guess was always a little off. What with major natural disasters, including Kim Kardashian's wedding, the trivial trials of life had to take a back seat.

Without going into the sordid details, I've been letting an uncomfortable situation go on for the past couple months. It's been gnawing at my sides, insides and stealing my sleep. I just got a haircut and I still look a wreck. Recently, a good friend of mine took out her pitchfork - she found it at Bo Peep's yard sale, and stuck me with it.

"Get a move on," she poked and said,"Shake the tree. It's gonna be okay."

She's a pro when it comes to holding her friends accountable for following through, especially when her friends are a'threatenin' to fight injustice...or shoddy customer service.

So first thing Monday morning, I shook the tree and guess what? It bore fruit. Apples, oranges - even lemons. How's does that saying go about life giving you lemons?

I realized that I'd never be saved by the stray satellite tearing through our atmosphere to simply crush my nuisance away. Even if it did, in the great scheme of things, nothing ever changes. But that doesn't mean that no one will understand. And it certainly doesn't mean it has to be accepted.

People have been understanding and if nothing else comes of it, at least I know who has my back.

Perhaps this is an affirmation to myself so I don't lose the balls to continue fighting the good fight I'm currently fighting because how many times can I use the word fight in one sentence? But synchronicity works in strange ways - if this makes sense to you then you know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, feel free to assume I'm having a Miss Teen South Carolina moment. Such as.

To salvage the time you've spent reading this post thus far, let's just take a moment to thank our most precious benefactors for forcing us to shake that tree. Where would Newton be without tree-shakers? My guess is Pennsylvania.

Excuse me now, I've got to make some lemonade.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Call Me Hillary

My heart goes out to a good friend who recently lost her father. It's a big loss. You never get over it. No matter how old you get, how wise the years make you, the world becomes a colder place when dad's not around.

It's been over three years now since my father died. For one thing, I should stop wearing his clothes. Contrary to what others might think, it's not for sentimental reasons. No, aside from that fact that I may look a little cuckoo-in-a-forgiving-way - it's because his jacket is Burberry's. Considering the rest of my wardrobe looks like it's been washed with a grenade, it's a classy touch.


Yes, if he could see me now, he'd cringe. It's hard to believe that of all the people I kept up to impress, his opinion was the one that mattered most. As of late, I've been avoiding paying my respects at his shrine lest I see his portrait slap his forehead and give one of those groans usually reserved for baseball errors.

I'd offer an incense and say, sorry dad. I look a mess but I think gnomes secretly replaced my stuff with items from a mall in the Twilight Zone.

The truth is, without my dad, I kind of stopped caring about looking like an old lady and as a result...I look like a haggard old lady. And, yes - those are my old maternity tank tops underneath my t-shirts. They're really comfortable but I know, the holes are pathetic.

I remember how sad my dad's eyes looked as he recollected of images his own mother. What he must've seen her sacrifice to take care of him and his six hungry siblings. He did everything in his power to make sure his daughters never suffered the same humbling path. But what did we know.

He might even recruit my former gay co-workers to talk sense into me. They'd say, "Don't fall into the full-time-mom conspiracy: too consumed to groom."

Consumed with cooking, cleaning, dropping off and picking up that I've neglected my eyebrows that need tweezing; my teeth that need flossing and my clothes...honey, you look like an unmade bed.

I know, I'm not the only one. It's not laziness, it's priorities - you're huddled in your mountain of laundry, tonguing that fuzz growing on your lip. I feel your pain. Come on, girl - drop those skivvies and go make that waxing appointment before they start calling you Hillary.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Occupy Parking Lot

Thanksgiving - Black Friday - Cyber Monday. Only in America could we blow our diet and our credit card debt in one weekend. That's savvy marketing worth protesting, if you ask me. It'll be Occupy Parking Lot at Target, Best Buy and Stop & Shop accusing them of making ninety-nine percent of the population fat and poor. At least you'd be first in line come next year's Black Friday.

If you did risk your life to buy that flat screen television at three in the morning, hope you came back looking better than the turkey you carved up. I tried shopping on Black Friday once and truly, it backfired because if I'm given the time - like waiting an hour at the checkout line - I'm going to change my mind about buying a piece of crap.

The past couple of Christmases, we've been fortunate by being misfortunate. Being a single income family, people have accepted our handmade gifts, gingerly crafted by tiny fingers of exploited children. That would be our children.

This year, I have pages and pages of artwork thanks to Samu's Kindergarten productions. Now I have to figure out an inexpensive yet slamming way to present endless pictures of crabs and robots with a dialogue bubble emanating from their ass saying "Toot."

It'll be the opposite of Martha Stewart. Or it'll be like Martha Stewart on Christmas Ale. Here's my five pint star! Did I say pint? I meanted-ed point.

I used to make home movies out of the year's footage with iMovie but my cameras (both Casio and iPhone camera) died. You know what they say, when it rains, things get wet. I'm writing a letter to Santa...I wonder if he accepts texts? Until then, I'll have to make do with the camera on the iPad. Can you say, cumbersome~.

Besides, the boys aren't cute little babies getting into adorable mischief anymore. They're violent, gross and foul mouthed. They take after their father, you know - Tourrette's Guy, which would make them Tourrette's Kids.

And here's an example: we were walking through Central Park the other day when Samu spotted a lady walking a rather big Rottweiler. Samu's high pitched voice pierced above the clamor of the park as he mindlessly chattered, "Look at that dog. Do you see that big dog? That's a big dog."

Then he paused to catch his breath, perhaps, and the temporary silence created a vacuum for a second before he blurted out, "Look at his BALLS."

That's the Christmas spirit!

My iPhone's idea of a picture

Crabs and farting robots

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks For Cans...Ameri-Cans!

My father's idea of Thanksgiving was to pack the family in the car and drive over the Williamsburg Bridge to Chinatown. His go-to place was "Hop Kee" on Mott Street. With his six pack of Budweiser on the table - it was B.Y.O.B. - our annual feast consisted of House Special soup, snails in black bean sauce and crabs in Cantonese sauce. The fare may have been different from what my classmates were eating that same evening but the aftermath was the same - stuffed to the point of exploding.

Try as I might, I was never able to revive my father's Thanksgiving tradition. It's not that my husband wouldn't partake - he'd eat snails in black bean sauce over turkey anytime. For one thing, Hop Kee is no longer that hole-in-the-ground restaurant with really authentic cooking - it's long since been blown out of the water. You'd be lucky to get a table in under forty minutes on a Tuesday - forget Thanksgiving.

Which brings me to the other thing. In New York at least, it seems Thanksgiving is a day to eat out. Back in my day, only the Chinese restaurants were open for business. Now, not only are most restaurants open, you have to reserve in advance to dine on their special Thanksgiving fanfare.

Ah, no thanks.

Thanksgiving, according to what my boys have been reciting from school, is for showing appreciation for what we have.

I looked at them proudly and commended them for bringing that lesson home.

"And what do we have that we should be appreciative of?" I asked, expecting them to say something noble like family, friends or even less noble like a DSI.

"Americans!" The Air Head said.

"Zuki...we are Americans."

Then the little guy piped up. "Canned food!"

Guess that means I could start a new tradition of serving Chef Boyardee for Thanksgiving?

Wishing you and your family the best and only Thanksgiving of 2011.

Art by Isamu (Russo not Noguchi)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paul and Tourettes Guy

Over the weekend, I saw the comedy movie, "Paul" on DVD. It stars those British actors, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - you might know them from "Shaun Of The Dead," or "Hot Fuzz,"....got nothing? Well, if you're not into the wry-dry wit of the British humor, you can ignore this review, but seriously, it's piss-in-your-pants funny.

Paul is my kind of alien. Not like that other ball of clay who was big in the Eighties. Now, please don't kill me die-hard "E.T." fans, but E.T. is not cute. He's disturbingly ugly - like Joaquin Phoenix. If either of them landed on my property needing help getting home, I'd send them down the street in a shopping cart.

But Paul, I could hang with. He's down to earth (yes, pun intended). He smokes, he likes Reese's Pieces and he curses like an art department manager - that's my husband's job and believe me, his potty mouth would make a truck driver blush. Come to think of it, Paul is lot like my husband, except, of course for the obvious - my husband doesn't smoke.

I'm graciously giving this movie four out of five....beer bottles, since stars and thumbs are so cliche. Turkey day is coming up, and if your household is anything like mine - thoroughly gaseous by seven p.m. - put this in your Netflix queue for the digestion session (sans kids if you mind the curse words). I'd stick to movies free of foul language myself, but did I mention my husband is like Tourettes Guy.com?

My kids are concerned with their Daddy, apparently. I found out when my four-turned-five year old asked me how the Parent-Teacher conference went. He asked specifically if his teacher was "surprised to see Daddy."

Surprised to meet Tourettes Guy? "No," I said, "why would she be surprised?"

"Did she say anything about his bald head?"

"?"

I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pajama Fashion Critic

My boys have so much clothes. Between birthdays, Christmas and hand-me-downs, they have bags of jeans, shirts, hoodies and pajamas. Cool pajamas that match. When I was a kid, we were lucky to have socks that matched, much less pajamas. I blame it on the public laundry dryers. They separate a matching item like Angelina Jolie separates married couples.

Come bedtime, my boys are a Nickelodeon nightmare, a Marvel comic billboard. One time, when the younger one was about two, we couldn't go to bed until we located a specific Spiderman PJ'. For an hour we went through the different Spidey tops while he repeated "Where's my Piderman janomas?!"

To this day, they never have to wear the same outfit to bed twice - I'm sure it would drive Freddy Krueger nuts.

Of course, when you add my mother into the mix, they become pajama-fashion-tragedy. She likes to add wool vests to everything, so the other night my four-year old was sporting a Spongebob shirt, argile vest, Cars bottoms and two-toned socks - my husband came up to kiss them goodnight and said, "who dressed you?"

My mom's intentions to keep them warm could have been avoided if we kept the house at human temperature. My husband's a New Englander at heart - they're used to keeping their houses at temperatures that are normal for the Exorcist. After all, if you can't see your breath while you're sleeping...you could be dead.

Until my mother-in-law gave me a pair of flannel bottoms for Christmas, my night clothes were just shirts and pants that were too embarrassing to wear out in public. The flannel bottoms that I got for Christmas, mind you, are not any classier than the sweats - but it's suitable for the other strange New England practice of going to Dunkin' Donuts in pajama bottoms and a parka.

It's a functional look.

I may knock it but it's coordinated and that's more than I can say for myself. I used to think, who's going to see you in your pajamas? But then I got to thinking, there's that chance if, God-forbid (as the Fire chief kept saying), there was a fire in the middle of the night and I had to run out of the house. I could picture the emergency workers being Blackwell all the sudden, "Did you see her pajamas? She should've burned down with the house!"

No. I don't want to be that Pajama-faux-pas person. If my flannel bottoms must be plastered with images of Eeyore or Tinkerbell, I'll make sure my tops are solid.

It's the vests that "make" these pajamas work!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Falling Behind

Daylight Savings week always kills me. Add Election Day and Veteran's Day breaks in the same week and I'm a blithering idiot by the time next Sunday rolls around. Since there was no school on Tuesday, I thought Wednesday morning was Monday again. Perhaps it's just me - I don't adjust too well. You can often catch me stabbing a finger into the laptop's screen as if it's the iPad and did I ever mention how garbage cans that have a step-open the lid confuse me? Yeah, if one's around, I'll gun it to flush the toilet no matter where it is. It's a strange phenomenon.

All in all, the days off were eventful regardless of how it progressed my Alzheimic tendencies. After a dreadful bout doing homework with Zuki, I decided we needed a long walk. We trekked across the Queensboro Bridge on foot towards Manhattan. I figured in the interim, he could learn a geographical thing or two.

"We're walking over Queens," I said as the bridge took us high above L.I.C.

"Hey, Mommy - do you see that guy walking a dog?"

And that was the gist of our observations throughout. I'd point out a geological fact - below us is Roosevelt Island - and he'd ask if I saw that duck in the river. Something tells me he's like my sister - no sense of direction because all his landmarks are moving objects.

When we reached Manhattan, I realized we were very close to my favorite spot for roast duck over rice. I asked him if he was game (no pun intended) and since he was the one to spot that duck in the river, which sparked my craving, he was more than a willing hostage.

Kar Won is one of those Chinese Noodle shops with zero ambiance, neon lights, homely cashiers and cooks that resemble Jerry Lewis. But it's the bomb, yo! If you're ever in Midtown, head over to 60th Street between Lexington and Park Avenue - you can eat like a king for well under ten bucks.

When I worked in Midtown, I used to go there for lunch at least once a week. The portions are for construction workers - even at my most behemoth pregnant stage, I never could finish the entire duck entree. Zuki sat patiently as I placed our one order to share on the table. Before I could pull apart my chopsticks, my boy was already chomping on his second piece of duck. Needless to say, I had no problem finishing the entree this time - he generously left me the neck. Still, it was our special moment - our special place since I never even had lunch there with my husband.

Our school week ended with Zuki's class trip to the Fire Station. They got to see real live firemen and a real live fire truck - not speeding down the street. The Q & A was entertaining of course, with girls asking intelligent, well thought out questions about gear and trouble shooting. The first boy picked for a question asked, "How do you put out lava?"

The fireman replied, "Well, we don't have many volcanoes in New York so..."

Lava is improbable, I agree - dumb question. But while we're asking what firemen would do in improbable scenarios, I wondered how they would handle an attack by zombies.

Goodbye Queens!

What are you having for lunch, mom?

Here's an idea - let's take a picture in front of the fire truck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buried Myths

It's by far my worst fear - being buried alive. It comes right after being eaten alive by zombies. Or werewolves. The only reason that being food for non-existent monsters comes in second is because A) they're non-existent monsters and B) I look forward to a chance to break in my shotgun before I become dinner.

There's no way to be prepared for being buried alive. I know - I've watched countless movies about it. All I've learned so far from watching The Serpent And The Rainbow, The Vanishing, Kill Bill 2 and After.Life is that your chances of popping out of a premature burial are greater if you wear cowboy boots.

Now I can add what I've learned from watching Buried directed by Rodrigo Cortes.

If you haven't seen this claustrophobic flick yet, I guess I'd recommend it. Despite the fact that the entire movie was Ryan Reynolds in a box, it was quite entertaining. Fortunately, the character was buried with a Blackberry. If he was buried with an iPhone, or rather my iPhone, he'd have no reception and that's only if he were lucky enough to have battery life after the first phone call.

Although I didn't learn anything about escaping from a grave, I did learn that cell phones can't easily be traced. If you think I'm kidding, ask anybody who's had their iPhone swiped if the cops offered to "track" the lost phone for them. I'll bet they laugh in your face.



Yes it's one of those myths we take comfort in. And here's another. During the North East black out of 2003 when all of New York City lost power, I discovered that you can't climb out of elevators either. The doorman of our office building confided that we were lucky nobody was stuck in any of the elevators because they'd have been in there for the duration of the black out.

"Can't you climb out the escape door in the ceiling like they do in the movies?" I asked the doorman.

"Next time you're in an elevator, look up and tell me if you see an escape door." He replied.

It made me shudder just thinking about being stuck in an elevator during a black out. That's like being...BURIED ALIVE.

It's dark, you're clueless and confined. You have to pee. It was enough to make me take the stairs for two weeks. Luckily, I worked on the ground level.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mow Hair

"The grass is always greener on the other side" is a terminology I recently explained to the boys. For those unfamiliar with it - the term has nothing to do with grass. It's an expression that points out how some people act as if nothing they have is any good because everybody else has it better. As an example for my boys, I told them how my best friend (with naturally curly hair) and I would go through this dialogue about our hair.

I told them how I always used to say to her, "Oh I wish I had your curly hair."

To which my friend would reply, "Oh, I wish I had your straight hair - let's trade!"

I demonstrated how we'd pretend to peel our hair off like a wig and exchange them but my boys reacted as if it was the dumbest thing they ever heard.

"It's like that skit when Elmo tried to swap his fur for Whoopi Goldberg's skin," I reiterated but they didn't remember. So, instead of understanding the terminology, they were left with this imagery of two girls trying to scalp each other.

When I finally realized that my hair would never be curly, I then saw the greener grass as being blond. As a capricious teenager with no money and a dream, I dumped a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide into a basin and soaked my hair in it. The result was split ends - and I'm not talking about the band.

My mother shoved two twenties in my hand and told me I was not allowed back into the house until I chopped it off. She kicked me out of the house as if I were a Jehovah's Witness that got in through the window - she meant business. That day, the hairdresser hacked off eight inches of fried hair and since then I never grew my hair past my shoulders...until now.

Long hair is not a choice - it's what happens when a woman lacks the time and the money to keep it in check. It gets into my mouth when I'm trying to take a sip of beer at a beer garden. I have to tie it up when I cook or do anything because it falls in front of my face blinding me - it sucks.

And the absolute worst chore is washing it. Since the colder weather, I blow dry it now - the lazy way. Bent over upside down. The result of this lackluster styling is, I wind up looking like Gene Simmons. Yes, that Gene Simmons from Kiss...but how he looks now.

If I could pick anything off Gene Simmons to resemble, it wouldn't be his hair. Guess the grass is always greener on the other side. At least grass gets mowed.


Could be worse...
Definitely worse.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Good Scare

After this weekend's impromptu snowstorm, all I can say is, Mother Nature's been a crazy-ass-bitch lately. Personally, I'm starting to feel a little shown up.

I realized - perhaps a little too late now - that this was not a good year to plan anything. Our Halloween plans were SNAFU'd because of the snow and in addition, our little guy came down - or is it up - with an inexplicable fever.

No Halloween partying or Trick-or-Treating for the one little boy who was truly looking forward to it. It made me upset too because that meant only half the share of Halloween candy. But Zuki, the good Samaritan that he is, practically gave all his candy to his little brother. I would've, too - this year people gave out crap. Seriously, what kind of evil person hands out Now Or Laters?

Candy is definitely not what it used to be. Twizzlers taste like ear wax and Tootsie Rolls look like a log of dog poo. But the quality of candy is a whole other blog entry...and I'd need to conduct some research, you know, just to verify my critique.

Getting back to the snow, it really freaked me out because I was dumb enough to watch "30 Days Of Night," the night before. I had seen the movie some years back and I vowed that I'd never see it again because it took nearly a week before I could cook by the kitchen window without fear a vampire was going to crash through it.

After this second viewing, I had a fitful sleep because all I dreamed of was blood and snow and vampires and snow. When the following day my husband looked out the window and yelled, "Hey, it's SNOWING," I frantically pulled out my boots and decided I needed to trek three miles to Stop and Shop. My husband thought I lost my mind. But the urge to brave the slushy snow was for microwavable food. And beer.

My kitchen window won't see me for another week.

It was miserable out. People were giving me and my shopping cart this look like...well, like the look I was giving people with their shopping carts during the snow storm back in January. I wouldn't send a dog out on a day like that and I was hoping it would finally send home the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Aside from my annoyance at their ambiguous cause, I'm sick of hearing the bad reviews about their bongo drumming. This is New York - we expect a high level of street musicianship.

After all is said and done, I hope all the folks with cars and homes under fallen trees are safe and sound otherwise. And I promise to badger all the electric companies to restore power to those who lost it since you can't charge your phones to do it yourself. Come to think of it, you probably can't read this blog post either. Anyway, things will be back to normal about the same time as I get over my vampire-crashing-through-the-kitchen-window anxiety.

My apologies for failing to post any Swanoween pictures, since we didn't go, but the boys happily posed for the camera in their get up. For Christmas, I'm taking our bathing suits out from storage. Just in case.

Wall E under the weather and Darth Maul

Bald Wall E...wearing a Dos Equis shirt

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tea Party Crasher

Halloween 2011 is on a Monday. Really, who ever planned this - is an idiot. I realize that it's not the first or the last Halloween to land on a Monday but it's the first for me with two boys in school. The day is going to require advanced planning. I hate planning ahead because with boys, a plan is just for wrecking.

If you asked me two weeks ago, I'd say we were fine. The boys knew what they wanted to be in enough time to qualify for free-snail-mail shipping. The hubby and I figured we'd think of something for ourselves at the last minute. Now, normally, parents don't do costumes, but we have this maniacal friend who is absolutely retarded over Halloween. Every year, he has this party where he transforms his house into a spookfest adventure, which in my opinion is better than any haunted house I paid to enter at Coney Island - those just smell like pee.

Yes, it's so over the top, it's been dubbed "Swanoween". All the top ghouls are displayed there, from Jason and Freddy to Headless brides and zombies popping out of graves. My boys are TERRIFIED. But they love it. Monsters are as attractive to them right now as girls will be when they're fifteen. To me, it's a prelude. I'm a seasoned woman - I know they're the same thing.

Anyway, that's why the husband and I needed costumes and we were clueless. It made me wonder why we place so much heart into Halloween. Why couldn't we be like those half-assed revelers that slap on cat ears and a tail or devil horns? I mean, after a couple of beers, who gives a rat's tucas.

One year, we went as the duo from the Matrix. Well, my husband was Morpheus because he lacked Keanu Reeves' hair - but that's about as corny as we got, I swear.

There were a couple of ideas I never went through with. The pregnant nun when I was knocked up with our second guy; a Burqa with a Heineken and kitty heels - that would've went well in our largely Muslim neighborhood. This year, with all the rapes and assaults on women, I was thinking "vigilante" - it's a costume and a deterrent. Talk about multi-tasking!

But I couldn't decide between Charles Bronson or Bernie Geotz. Physically, I look more like Bronson: short and stubby with a big flat nose, squinty eyes, salt and pepper hair, oh...and the wrinkles.

As it turned out, the local 99 cent shop was having a Halloween costume blitz and Sarah Palin was on sale for $8.99. Vigilante or Palin? Well, they both carry guns so the kooky mama's close enough for me.

Before you label me, let me just state: I'm not making a statement here. I realize that a political Halloween get-up is an invitation to trouble, especially when it's a Republican trick-or-treating in a highly Democratic state. What am I, nuts? Actually, no - Sarah Palin is and like I said, the costume was on sale for 8.99! My choices were that or a Donald Trump wig, which would undoubtedly make me look like a Golden Girl.

If I don't get clobbered for tea or deer meat, I'll try to be a good blogger and actually post some pictures from this year. In the mean time, enjoy some of Swanoween's past.
Morpheus and Trinity escort Wolverine & Handy Manny

Hey! Who invited my mother?

I crapped my pants, did you?

My husband after one too many

I just saved 10 percent switching to Geico!

The Bar - AAAAhhhhh!

Swan circa Johnny Depp Scissorhands...and me

Do you go to P.S. 150, too?

Swanoween 2010 - War Machine, Natural Born Killers & Some Power Ranger

Stayne (Alice In Wonderland) & really mature guy

Swan circa Johnny Depp Mad Hatter
Wonder what Johnny Depp/Tim Burton character he's going to be this year...Rango?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Iron Fist Of The Lego Master

Every Fall for as long as I can remember, I get a case of laryngitis. In the beginning stages, it actually sounds sensuous, like Demi Moore...as long as I stick to nonsensical sayings like, "Mr. Redford, I'm here for the million dollars you'll pay me to sleep with you."

But mostly, I sound like Joan Rivers or any drag queen with a New York accent. Even my cheeky four-year old took to mimicking me - repeating my orders to finish his breakfast with the raspiest voice he could muster. The little turd.

My lack of vocal projection has, on a good note, coerced my husband to accompany us on a play date at the park. Now, just so you know, my husband does NOT do play dates. The last time he did, he got a time out for not sharing his Star Wars Legos - yeah, he's a little possessive of those things.

Seeing that this play date was at the park, with no Legos involved, it seemed fool-proof as far as my husband's behavior was concerned. Besides, with me not having my voice range to yell every thirty seconds like I usually do, having him as back up was more of a safety precaution. After all, somebody needs to yell, "Quit playing dead in the middle of the playground," before they get run over.

All was going well - for two and half hours the boys played with their "dates" and various other friends who happened to have the same idea of enjoying a day at the park. Towards the end of our visit, they spread out their tiny trinkets of Ben 10 figures and those tiny ducks and frogs that feel like sticky snot. Among five boys, they played civil, trading and sharing as the Lego Master, a.k.a. my husband watched on.

Then the kids from the "Take-from-all-crew" showed up.

The crew, for the most part are cool - I know the kids and their parents we say hello, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. It's just, well, those folks have been used to a government that "distributes the wealth," if you know what I mean - so in their eyes, nothing "belongs" to anybody. In my eyes, however, it's practically stealing. I've seen those kids hop on other kid's scooters, take other kid's balls, take toys from babies - without asking. To make matters worse, they can get very defensive when you ask them to return it. At times, you're like, "WTF?"

So when two of those kids crashed the little Ben 10-Snot-trinket party, grabbing a handful of toys and proceeded to walk away, well - you bet Lego Master was infuriated.

He told them they could play with whatever toy they wanted but they had to stay in the circle.

They didn't like that. So they dumped a few of toys back and figured they could walk away with a couple. Lego Master put his foot down, and they threw back all the toys. Except for one. The girl - who went to daycare with my 7-year old, actually hid one trinket in the palm of her hand.

"Little lady," Lego Master said, "you better give back their toy."

And she did.

Wow - I thought, that was effective. On the one hand, I respected his diplomacy. On the other hand, it pissed me off how kids will listen to Dads - any dad - quicker than they do any Mom. In any case, it got me thinking...I should lose my voice more often.

Humongosaur or Snot Frog?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Illiterate Tooth Fairy

I'm mildly obsessed with teeth. It's a fetish passed down from my father who undoubtedly got it from my grandmother who was very conscious of her teeth. According to my aunts, my grandmother was so embarrassed of her natural teeth that she was ecstatic about getting dentures. That's how I remember her; with straight, white dentured teeth like little Chicklets.

Though I can't say it was a big factor of our attraction, I admired my husband's teeth because I thought they had character. They don't look so much like teeth as much as headstones. Like really old headstones from say, 1892. I was told (by his side of the family) that not only do they have character, but they're really durable and cavity resistant as well.

As luck would have it, my husband's genes proved dominant when it came to endowing Zuki with his pearly whites. The tenacious buggers have only recently begun to loosen, which seems late but the dentist assures me there's nothing wrong.

The first tooth he lost last June. He shoved a mouthful of popcorn and chomped his tooth off.

Then the other day, he lost his second tooth. It was during lunch at school. He said it fell out because "the school uses bread that's a lot tougher than the ones I use."

On our walk home, he inevitably brought up the Tooth Fairy.

"I don't think she's real," he claimed.

"Oh no? So who do you think puts the money under your pillow in exchange for the tooth?"

"Mommy and Daddy."

"In that case, can I just give you fifty cents for that tooth?"

He thought about it and decided that perhaps there is a Tooth Fairy and he'll take his chances with her because "She leaves a hundred dollars."

What is she, Let's Make A Deal?


That night, he wrote the Tooth Fairy a kiss-ass note. Either he was still vying for the hundred bucks or he has her confused with Santa Claus.

"I lozed my tooth." He wrote. I told him he should edit the misspelled word to "lost".

He brushed it off. "She won't know the difference - she can't read."

"If she can't read, what's she going to do with your note?"

He paused searching the empty spaces in his head for an answer. "I mean, she can't read English."

I used to think that three-year olds were funniest age. Then, it graduated to four but I have to admit, seven is the year of the budding comic. What more could I do besides fold the note and enclose it in the baggie with his baby tooth and place it under his pillow.

The following morning, he was disappointed because the Tooth Fairy only left a dollar.

Guess she didn't get the memo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In The Name Of Fame

At the start of Kindergarten, my four-year old made a new best friend. I knew the kid and his parents in passing - we'd say hello on the street or at the park but now that the boys are school buddies, I've come to know a little more about them. Namely, their names. Well, the dad's name was new to me anyway. To my utter surprise, I found out that he was named after the King of Rock n' Roll.

Now, in a Quentin Tarentino movie it was fitting that the Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette characters would name their baby Elvis. It was a cute ending for a flick but I was curious how that panned out for the person named "Elvis" in real life. Well, according to dad-named-Elvis, the good thing is: no one ever forgets his name. The not-so-good thing: he's not a fan.

But I'm not one to talk. When I was preggers with Son #2, my husband and I searched for a Japanese name that was Westerner-friendly. The vote was unanimous and our baby menace was dubbed after a famous Japanese sculptor, Isamu Noguchi, whom I associate as the artist that slept with Frida Kahlo.

My own family had their objections. In Japan, Isamu is so outdated that my cousin e-mailed me, "it's a good thing you live in America."

Yeah, well - if I lived in Japan, I wouldn't have to worry about people being able to pronounce a Japanese name now, would I?

There's an unspoken burden to being named after a famous person. If for instance, we were psycho enough to name our son "Charles Manson" or "Adolf," I'm sure there'd be some credibility issues if he grew up to be a doctor or a baker. At least with "Isamu," there's only the pressure of making sure his girlfriends have memorable eyebrows.

Besides, I'm certain between my mother and the Air Head, Zuki there's no Western name that would've passed the test. The other day, Zuki announced the song he was humming was by Man Jackson.

Who the heck is Man Jackson?

"You know, he has those weird eyes - Daddy likes him."

"Zuki...that's Marilyn Manson."

And my mother, with her Paul Macatoni.

Who the heck is Paul Macatoni?


"He's in the Beatles!"

"That's McCartney. Paul Ma-CART-ney, ma."

She doesn't care. She's not a Beatles fan. Her love is for the King. That's why she was tickled pink when she found out Isamu's friend had a daddy named Elvis. She is the type of person, by the way, who expects a person named Elvis to look and sound like the King - obviously, she's unaware of the one with the last name Costello.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seven Year Itch

Seeing that Zuki's become somewhat of a celebrity lately, a tribute seemed to be in order. He just turned seven years old and this was an "off" year, which meant no big party, just a good time with the family. Well, at least I know how to have a good time - at seven years old - he's on his own.

We asked him what he wanted to do on his special day and he asked for a trip to the Museum of Natural History, which was great because one: it's fun and two: it's one of those fabulous museums that have a "suggested" donation rather than the mandatory $20 dollars admission other museums charge.

I don't know about you, but for $20 dollars a person I expect a cocktail upon entering.

So for a whopping total of four dollars - because that's how we roll - Zuki got his fill of dinosaur bones, fossils, a giant whale and various other nick-knacks whose corresponding theme seems to be "natural". What wasn't so natural was the subway ride. It took three times the usual time to get there because the 7 train was under mysterious construction and I had a serious brain fart when it came to boarding the B train.

Just so you don't make the same mistake - the D train runs express from 5th Avenue. Don't take the D. I knew this and I must've told my husband at least fifty times that we have to take the B train not the D. When the D train arrived, what did I do? I put my family on it.

We whizzed past our stop at 81st Street and all the others in between until we reached 125th Street. Ironically, that was where we were heading for dinner but seeing that our reservation wasn't for another two hours, we made a U-turn and headed back downtown.

When we finally made it inside the museum, all the boys wanted to do was buy something at the gift store. Is it just my kids that think the gift shop is the highlight of a museum? As a kid, I remember thinking gift shop items were for losers. Back then, however, your choices were limited to magnets, pencils and t-shirts designed by the dregs of fashion. These days gift shop items multitask as ugly and somewhat useful. Still, I'm not paying $14.99 for a toy helmet - I don't care that the headlight really works.

Of course, the museum must've had a gift store on every floor. It was like Bloomingdale's only with dinosaurs. Seriously, each specialty shop had a huge sign, "DINO SHOP," "GIFT STORE," and arrows clearly directed the way. And yet, when we tried to find a restroom, every sign was as misleading as the calorie guide at Dunkin' Donuts.


After an hour and change of looking at dinosaur bones, wax wildlife and seafood, we made our way toward Harlem for some real meat. For dinner, we treated our little carnivores to lip-smacking ribs and brisket at "Dinosaur Barbecue."

I could try to describe the awesome food, the convivial atmosphere and the fabulous local beer on tap as well as any foodie but as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, especially when the subject is the guest of honor.

Doing his best impression of "Man vs. Food"

Mauled by a Fossil

Dinosaur eating at Dinosaur

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Simple Machines

Homework is one of those butt-pains in life. It's like laundry or vacuuming - it's bearable if you can pay someone else to do it. Otherwise, all it takes is a little concentration and you'd be done with it in no time. For our second-grader, a little concentration is like saying, all you need is a Masters in quantum physics. Concentrate, according to him, is orange juice.

But he has his moments. From his Ziploc baggie of books he borrowed from school, we read a non-fiction book called "Simple Machines." It was about, well, simple machines.

"Some need fuel."

"Others electricity."

Still others required the dreadful, inefficient power of man!

Thank God I had three cups of green tea because I was falling asleep. Before you do, let me cut to the chase. The simple machines (as in the title) the information went into were pulleys, wedges and inclined planes.

Here, I pictured my friend Swan singing Beethoven's Fifth with the words "We're Not Im-pressed." Try it - you won't be able to hear the song without the lyrics next time.

Anyway - pulley's. I asked Zuki if he knew what a pulley was.

"Sure. It's underwear."

Under...wear? What's he taking...flashcard cues from his brother?

"No, silly - that's Pull Ups."

He laughed like it was a common mistake. Reminded me of that scene in "Dumb and Dumber," when Jim Carrey thought Samsonite was the name of the suitcase's owner. Man, I was WAY off!

Moving right along. The book went into wheels - you know, the best thing to come along since sliced bread? Well, if you attach a couple of wheels to an axle, you can make a cart! Who knew?

"I know what an axle is," Zuki said.

"You - you do...?" I asked skeptically.

"It's when you go-" Here he proceeded to inhale and exhale dramatically.

How he figures that wheels can be attached to breath is just too scary to think about.

Okay, last one. Wedge according to the Air Head Zuki: "It's when someone pulls your pants up and it goes "erk"(car break sound effect) in your butt."

"That's a wedgie - this is a wedge."

"Yeah, but it still goes up your butt, right?"

You know...I didn't even bother to answer that one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Bull Crap Energy Think

I often bellyache about the cashiers at my neighborhood Foodtown supermarket because seriously, they are about as friendly as a hyena on the rag. God forbid they should smile or greet their customers, oh right, we're the untimely interruption to the important conversation they were having with a co-worker about Lenny, the delivery guy.

Perhaps they never got the memo. Maybe their managers never noticed that all other businesses from CVS and Rite Aid to the Greenpoint Fruit & Veggie shop, have been stepping up their customer service. Yeah Foodtown folks, it's a little thing called the recession. It makes people a little pickier where they spend their money. Not to sound all Tea Party or anything, but I'd rather shop at a place where they wear big Capitalist-brown-nosing smiles over Communist-deal-with-it sour pusses.

It's funny really because it's so cliche, but it's true: smiles are contagious. And what's more - they're free. You can give smiles away all you want and still have an endless supply. Oh sure, I'm being cynical and nit-picky with my local Foodtown, but that doesn't mean I didn't sincerely wish that bitch of a cashier to have a nice day. I even gave her a free smile.

Did she return the gesture?

No. But she did say "thank you," which was a feat because the produce stock boy was waiting to continue their conversation about effective energy drinks.

That's when I realized this little Gordian Knot: put energy in a little(or big) can and sell it upwards of three-dollars and people are tripping over each other to buy it. Project energy in little gestures like smiles and good wishes and people treat you like a Canadian Elvis fan. Go figure.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mental Processing

The thought process of boys never ceases to amaze me. For several days now, I've been lectured by the second grader on the appropriate protocol when on the computer. Each time he recited the four rules, they changed. But inevitably - they had something to do with not being kidnapped.

At first, I didn't notice the pattern. It was like listening to the paranoid grandma of a former band mate, "Don't get on the Internet - they'll come and take you away!"

Coming to take you away, Ha-ha.

According to my second-grader, at school they taught students that you have to ask for permission before you go on line.

"Okay, that sounds reasonable," I said.

He continued with the Bible of Computer Ethics According to P.S. 150. "If somebody says he's a kid but he's not a kid, then that means he wants to kidnap you."

(....)

Yeah, I rubbed my chin at that one, too.

Then he continued, "If the person asks you for your name and stuff, you shouldn't give it to him because he wants to kidnap you."

It got fuzzy from there. Obviously, he was just picking out key words and not processing the rest.

"If you start a chat, you could catch a virus and then you would have to HIDE from any and every computer for ten days!"

"Ten days is a lot - it's two work weeks. Are you sure?"

"No, maybe it's twelve."

Did I mention he's still working on his numbers?

With his recount, I pictured computer class going something like, "Hey boys and girls, visit Sesame Street dot OWG(as Whoopi Goldberg says) but do NOT go to NAMBLA dot com because they might come and kidnap you."

First, let me save you from a Red Flag trace of Googling NAMBLA - it stands for National Association of Man Boy Love Affairs. I know this because, umm, I used to hang out with some really lazy dudes that would look up F'd up things during work hours...yeah, that's it.


Getting back to my lecturer, after a few more minutes of his kidnapping prevention techniques surfing the web, I asked him if they taught him any of the benefits of computers.

"What?"

What. As if I asked him what are the benefits to being run over by a car.

What. As in, what else are computers for except potentially getting children kidnapped?

"Well," I stated, "they process a lot of information in a short amount of time - the work force is more effective, efficient and -"

His hands flew up ordering me to stop me talking - the file was too big to upload.

I'm sure his computer class went into practicing key strokes and using the mouse as well as exploring useful sights for research and games. They just went right over his head. He heard "kidnap" and froze there like an HP Compaq.

What can I say, it's the boy's mental processing - he's no Steve Jobs, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Words Of Wisdoom

I was lucky that my parents couldn't yell at me in English. Having been spared the "You're such an embarrassment, I can't take you anywhere," phrase growing up made it a new litany for me to use. I found myself repeating it many times on dates with my husband. To tell you the truth, he didn't have to work hard at it.

Sure, the boys embarrass me, too but seriously - where am I going to take them that would showcase me in that scorching spotlight of shame - Burger King? Besides, they take things for face value. If I said, "I can't take you anywhere," they'd bring that up as we're leaving for school.

Sometimes face value is funny, like when I told the four-year old that he'll grow taller as he gets older and his big brother the Air-head asked, "Are you older than Baba(grandma)?"

"Baba is my mother," I said, "how could I be older?"

"Well, you're taller than her."

The thought of explaining DNA to an air head was just too harrowing. I just told him that she's shrinking and they should be good to her before she disappears.

Boys will believe anything if it sounds magical.

And how it sounds is how it's spelled. They both have a diary, well, a composition book. On the front cover of the four-year old's are some symbols that are supposed to be his name. The Air-head's says, "Direy". It's not enough that he sees the "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid" DVD on the shelf everyday.

He told me his diary is private and I said, "Good for you."

"Do you want to read it?" He asked as he showed me his pages and pages of chicken scratch.

I am forced to read it. "Fire men are halping the fire is not cool. Fire men are halping the please men."

Of course fire is not cool and cops, as far as I know, never say "please".

Who could blame him, the English language is a cantankerous cacophony for many adults - imagine what it must sound like for children. After numerous corrections my boys still call their bed cover a "blanklet" and reply to their whereabouts with, "I hadded to go to the bafroom!"

If I left it up to our school system, this is what I look forward to. A teenaged kid was selling chocolate on the subway and his pitch went, "I'm not sellin' candy for any teams or nothin', the honest of the truth is, I'm sellin' it for myself, so I can do the right thing and not wind up in jail."

I know what you're thinking, "Wow, he speaks English bad."

Oh the jail thing? Yeah, he's right. He won't wind up in jail for selling chocolate on the subway - he'll get a ticket for soliciting.

On a final note, my four-year old was playing with sight word flash cards and got all excited when he figured out one of them. "Mommy, can you help me find "Where" like "where is my toy?""

With the one he found and the one that said "Where," he paraded around the house reading them aloud.



Yeah, the future of our English language is doomed - wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Honeymooners...with Kids

Some parents go to great lengths not to fight in front of their kids. For others, it's Wrestlemania by the big bay window for all the neighborhood to see. Either way, I'm sure there's pros and cons to how it affects children's psyche. In my opinion, it's not the amount of fighting or not fighting parents have in front of their kids - it's how they resolve it.

In my household, the resolution is fairly easy - Mommy is always right.

Of course, Daddy is the worst offender of challenging that peace treaty and the boys will eagerly follow suit if I let him get away with it. But for the most part, they know what's good for them and will begrudgingly comply.

On the occasions I go ballistic, usually around that time of the month, I tend to explode at Daddy over a simple little thing like putting plastic dishware on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Both boys watch silently and I know what's going through their minds. They're thinking, better you than me, dad. Perhaps in their eyes he's being a brave man but I've been in their shoes before. When I was a kid and my dad stepped over the line with my mother I thought, Gee dad, that was a stupid thing to say.

My four-year old has a better tactic. He'll say, "Don't make the mad face Mommy or you'll get wrinkles."

Not only does he diffuse the situation, he saves my forehead from being permanently engraved with angry lines. Smart for a little guy.

What I should commend my husband for is that he will apologize to me in front of the boys. My parents never reconciled after a fight - I think they held a grudge against each other from the moment I was born the wrong gender.

I often smile at the term, "The honeymoon is over," because I'm too old to believe in honeymoon's now. If I get vaguely excited over anything, I just think how Angelina Jolie might catch wind of my happiness and f*ck it up for me because she seems to hate happy people.

My husband and I are way past the honeymoon stage. We're at that comfortable stage of familiarity as Ralph and Alice Kramden were. They never had kids despite the fact that they had no distractions like cable in the bedroom. I guess, it's as if the audience were the kids watching their bickering. Perhaps it was all the brilliant talent of Jackie Gleason, or the writing or the times but it was so entertaining to watch. So considering I grew up with "The Honeymooners" midnight showings for my entire teenage years, it's safe to say, they did alright by the Russo's.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Six Degrees Of Blognation

It's been said a million times, "Being a full time mom is hard work". Yeah, yeah, the rewards are invaluable - watching your children grow, blah-blah-blah, the smile of loving relief kids give you when you pick them up from prison - ah, I mean school. And then there's all the different hats a mom has to wear: the chauffeur, the doctor, the consultant, the cook and the poopy wiper - and then we torture ourselves by dieting on top of all that.

Let's face it, you'd have to be nuts to be a mom - it's not the other way around, that mom is nuts. Well...my mom, maybe.

Paragraph three, I shall get to the point. At the onset of insanity, I started to blog. Many people will tell you, it's therapeutic. As a matter of fact, I even wrote that on my application for a doo-hickey writing job(don't cross your fingers, the pay is a square of toilet paper).

As I filled out my lowly greatness, I realized that somewhere in time, blogging had become a respectable and legitimate calling. Bloggers are cyber entrepreneurs, they are activists and they are the every day schmoes that offer a reality show in RSS feed.

Sure, some people make serious money with it(not me) but the commodity is not just with the Google Adsense clicks or the Amazon.com commission or the Give-Away contests that have the same winning chances as those stupid claw-machines at the arcade - it's the community. The precious pool of people every franchise wants to bombard with images of their stuff.

I am honored, appreciative and grateful for the group of bloggers who follow me and especially thankful for those who comment. It's hard enough maintaining your own blog, much less taking the time reading someone else's and giving them a shot in the arm. I'm sure we'd all agree that a simple "Hello, my name is Peggy," could make the difference between "To blog, or not to blog - that is the question."

Before I give a shout out to the rockin' bloggers that often pay me a comment, might I say to bloggers who don't return a visit - or three - not cool. It gets on my nerves, you know?

Without further ado, my "Six Degrees" list of bloggers in no particular order. You may already know them because I pilfered, I mean, was introduced to them by you. If you don't know these guys, do pay them a visit.

All These Things -  Adrienne is a super cool gal and one of my first followers. She could make a day at the laundromat sound interesting.

Tatterscoops - Maureen's posts are inspirational, to say the least. A single mom in Indonesia, she puts my complaints into perspective.

According To Chip & Bobo - Booyah's Mama is a real pisser. As a New Yorker, I mean that in a good way.

Twinisms - You don't want to be reading Bridget's posts at the library or at work because you'll look insane laughing your ass off.


Educated Abroad - The Diplo Daddy has a rather unusual slant to stay-at-home parenting. Currently, his home is in Kuwait. That says it all, right there.


Wonton Chronicles - Real Life Reslers - and Grapes And Oranges get a holla-at-ya for some truly endearing and funny posts. And though Luke, I Am Your Father and Best Of Fates are recent visitors, I can't stop stalking them.

If I've missed anybody, I apologize - I'm detoxing right now. Please don't send me an envelope with anthrax, instead leave me a comment with your blog site and give your screen the finger - I'll get the message.
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