Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Chicken Midwife

My dad fancies himself a farmer, and I should have known that as soon as I got this incubator project going that he'd want in on it.

The phone calls started the day I picked up the incubator:

Ashley: Hello?

Dad: I had that incubator set up and runnin' at 105 degrees. It's supposed to be right around there.

Ashley: Oh. Hi. Really? The internet said lower than that, like between 100-102, right around there.

Dad: Well I was really close for guessing. It doesn't matter, if you keep them warm they'll hatch.

Ashley: Well not really. You could cook them, and they need humidity, and you have to turn them three times a day.

Dad: No. No way. There's no way those chickens are turnin' those eggs three times a day or the humidity's the same or any of that. I've lived on a farm all my life (this is not entirely true) and I've never seen a chicken turn her egg. It'll work. Trust me, it'll work.

Ashley: Well, they do too turn their eggs, they just poke their beak down there and turn them, and they need the humidity to help them hatch from their shells. I'm sure they aren't as scientific about it but I'm going to go with the internet on this one.

Dad: Hmmph. What are you going to do, put a plus and a minus on opposite sides of the eggs and turn them?

Ashley: Yes, like a X and a O or something.

Dad: Yeah, I would do a plus and a minus. What are you going to do about humidity?

Ashley: A pie plate of water.

Dad: I had never heard of all that. Should be interesting. Bye.

This conversation was followed by several more, all inquiring about the current state of the eggs and then offering more made up advice. The volume of calls is notable because he probably calls here 5 times a year and he has called here at least 5 times since I picked up the incubator.

I told my mom that I think he just wants to do it himself now and she said that as soon as the incubator arrived, he started saying that he could just do it over there and give us the chicks, until she pointed out that that sort of defeated the whole purpose.

I finally had to let him know that we'd update him as soon as there was any updating to be done and now he makes my mom ask every time she calls, just to bug me.

He did spend some of his early childhood on his grandparents' farm (sidenote: my name was inspired by their wood burning stove), where they killed chickens for dinner and the whole nine yards, but he is far from an expert on anything. He admits that he couldn't kill a chicken these days, which is quite a step forward because we used to have a greyhound with only three functional legs, and on her bad days he used to insist that "down on the farm" someone would just take that dog out to the back 40 and shoot it.

Finally, we all got so sick of hearing it that we would just tell him to take her on back there and do it, that he was right and it was no way to live. Needless to say, that ended that spiel and Ivy lived on until she was put to sleep in the vet's office after a long and happy life.

His father had a very large herd of cattle and the family had assumed that he was doing some farming now that he was retired, until he died and the books were reviewed and it was discovered that he had never sold one cow. That he just had hundreds of pet cows, that he cared for and enjoyed.

So "faux farming" runs in my family, I think.

I also think it would also be safe to assume that my mom will have an incubator sitting on her kitchen table in the not too far future.

And that he's really going to make me nuts on hatching day.



Sasha is our Ashley's Closet Hero of the Year!!

What a treat to come home to.

I feel so official now!

I'll fix all of the wonky stuff later. I need to rest.

edited to add: All decent variations of were taken. Pissed me off. Just thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone fears that there will be major closet changes. There won't be. It's still the closet. I was just too slow/not smart enough to snatch up those domains when available.

edited again to add: I couldn't rest with the closet looking like crap in front of you all. So I straightened up. Come Monday, there should hardly be any evidence of the total destruction brought about by The Domain Name Change.

Not Funny, Not Cute

little kid thinks it is funny to sit next to me on the couch and pinch any pudge that peeks out between my shirt and pants every time I lean over to type on the computer.

This has been his new thing for the last few weeks. He waits patiently and then quietly grabs an inch (or two) of my muffin top and gives it a good squeeze, waiting expectantly for me to become offended, and shrieking with laughter when I turn to him and tell him that's not nice.

It kind of hurts, and it's giving me a complex.

I Give Up

I tried again this morning and I'm just not capable.

So, things are going to look a little strange around here while I email all relevant log in names and passwords to our friend Sasha and wait patiently until she can assist us.

Eventually, in theory, the whole closet is moving over to, and I'll be harassing all of you to please change your links (I love to be linked to, by the way) and all that, but supposedly it will just redirect all of us over there so no one gets left behind in the move.

We shall see.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More History in Color

Here are some more old photographs in color, since so many of us think those are neat.

A closet commenter mentioned these a while back and I've been meaning to post it for all who missed it.

Oh thank God

all is not lost. A little wonky, and still not right, but not lost.

ETA: I'm not messing with the screwy after-effects tonight. Don't worry, the weird colors and border around the header are not permanent.

(like you even care)

Technical Difficulties

I should never mess with anything.

Bear with me while I figure it all out.

edited to add: :WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! Oh damn it, why did I mess with it? Why?? Now I can't figure out how to get my old stuff back. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

edited again to add: fuck.

Edited again: I was trying to switch to an official domain name (which I know will be a pain in the ass temporarily, but it will redirect you all and it must be done sooner or later) and it said that I had to switch to classic template to do so (this is actually what my blog looked like the very first day). But then it was having problems because I had to register the cname or something like that. I figured that part out but was still having problems, and I didn't want the whole blog to be down so I switched it back to blogspot while I figured it out. Now I don't see any way to switch back to my original layout, although they said that would be possible. If one of you knows how to remedy this, you BETTER speak up, as I am very distraught.

P.S. Sasha, you said this would be easy. Please report to the closet so that I can give you my passwords and you can just do it all for me, or something. Major panic attack here.


Years ago I got a ginormous roll of white butcher paper from Sam's. The Kids draw on it all of the time and I think it could easily last until they go off to college.

I rolled a big length out for little kid so he could draw and set him loose with some markers. He hunkered down, drew a perfect circle, and looked up and said "O"! I think this is the by product of living with alphabet-obsessed Big Kid, but I'm surprised he was capable of this.

His body is now covered in multi-colored marker graffiti and he has a whole series of different colored Os (that have gotten way sloppier in his confidence) and every time he completes one he smiles, throws his arms in the air triumphantly and shouts "da da da" (which seems to be his version of ta-da, because it is definitely a cry of accomplishment.)

Big Kid is impressed with the effort, but seriously disturbed by the sloppiness. He's itching to help by contributing some perfect circles and little kid is telling him "no no no" which is fair since he's never allowed to draw on Big Kid's papers.

Big Kid is talking A LOT today. Lots of "look at me, look at this, will you play with me?" requests. There's only so much I can do. Right now he's walking around the kitchen island counting (he's up to 60) and it's pretty annoying. It's almost impossible to think with constant, around the clock chatter.

little kid just raided the craft cupboard and came out with unauthorized supplies. Man, these kids are annoying.


You know how if you are reading the comments (as you all should be, sometimes that's the funniest part) and click on the commenter's name link, their blog opens in a itty bitty box? The size of the comment box?

I was bitching about that not too long ago, and I just figured out if you right click on the link it will let you open it in a new window. I'm sure some of you knew that, being that there are thousands of you out there, yet no one could recommend this life-changing solution to me?

What the heck is wrong with you people?

For all of you who didn't know, now you do. It was a major deterrent in me checking out other people's blogs and I'm pretty proud of myself for stumbling upon a solution by myself (yet still disappointed in those of you who knew that and read the entry where I bitched about it.)


the movie Dirty Dancing.

Always have, always will.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Before I Go To Bed

AWESOME color photos from World War 2 Era


* little kid really likes babies. Really, really, really, really, really likes babies. He likes to pat babies, help feed babies, assist in diaper change duty, and attempt to soothe crying babies with a hug or some back patting.

This particular baby was not so fond of little kid. Apparently at her house, people don't insist on being 2 inches from your face, staring at you with the occasional excited pterodactyl shriek thrown in just for fun.

* little kid's hair really is weird. Once I downloaded these photos, I told Mr. Ashley and Big Kid that I'm cutting it. They both started protesting but I'm not letting him rock the white trash clown mullet any longer. I'm the mom, I did all the work, I make the hair decisions. Period.

And why the hell isn't his hair growing on top?? The kid is almost two and we really only brush his hair to humor him.

* Some babies want me to stand up while I hold them. Period. No sitting down on the job. little kid used to pull that trick.

* Babies are a lot of work. Luckily, babies also really like Mr. Ashley, and he did most of the work. Still, it totally interfered with blogging time. Plus, the chaos level was like +100.

* As I was changing a diaper, Big Kid looked over and said, "DAT is one weird penis." I told him that she was a girl, so she doesn't have a penis. "Oh yeah, I forgot. What is dat dat she has?" Um, it's a vagina. Girls have vaginas. "Hmm, bagina. Dat is a funny word. " Yes, it is. Don't ever say it around anyone, ever. I mean it. That's private talk, for real.

* little kid can quickly analyze a situation and knows when to take advantage. He was strapped into the time out seat THREE times while the baby was here.

* It was kind of mean of me to pretend that the baby was the treat I had promised the boys before I left the house this morning, and to tell Big Kid that I got her for him. The shock and uncertainty on his face wasn't funny. Well, it was funny. But only for a minute.

* Big Kid also likes babies. Not enough to give up the computer or anything, but enough to read her "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" twice and to ask if we had to give her back.

* Babies are really cute, three kids is not.

* These kind of babies will hopefully be cute too, and you can make them live outside and/or give them away for free on Craigslist:

And for those who were wondering, I did not find the baby at Goodwill. Don't even get me started about Goodwill. Mr. Ashley called after my photo shoot to tell me a friend was in the midst of a major family emergency, and I offered to go get the baby while they figured things out.

So it has been a busy day. I'm so tired that you don't even get to hear the Goodwill story or about the photo shoot.

I'm Home

with a full memory card, some observations on Goodwill employees, 1 incubator, 14 eggs and a 3 month old baby girl.

That's right, I came home with a baby girl.

Crazy, huh?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today, Yesterday & A Really Long Time Ago

Today was fun. We actually met up at another girl's community pool which totally kicked ass. Gradual incline entrance, waterfall bridge, poolside bar, huge hot tub...niiiiiiice. I really like the other girl too, her and I would be hanging out if I liked to leave my house more.

They both wore bikinis. Can you believe it? Girl Crush's was technically a tankini but with the boobies out and string bottoms and tummy showing, it hardly counted as one. I can't believe they are both so skinny, it's really depressing. I may really have to start working out or doing something to increase my hotness. Damn. One would think being 5lbs from pre-pregnancy weight would be good enough, but noooooooo.

Can I share with you a nice side effect of advertising yourself as a recluse? (Of course I can, because you'll all read just about anything.) Everyone is really excited to see you and takes it as a personal compliment when you do come out. Also, no one takes it personally when you don't come out and it's easier to assume the same level of friendship when you know someone hasn't been avoiding you, that they just like to stay home.

I really think I'm onto something here.

Last night I went to Borders to escape. You know, I'm sorry that I said I was too creative and talented to work at Borders. Not that that's not all true, but I really do want the job. I applied online but I figured after seeing me all night, and how friendly I look, and the smart books I read, and how nicely I put them back on the shelf, that they'd want to hire me. So I gathered my courage and asked the person who seemed to be in charge if they were hiring and she cut me off mid-sentence and said no but I could apply online.

Someone was obviously feeling a little threatened.

(Okay, probably not but it makes me feel better to think so.)

I guess I'll try Barnes and Noble, which isn't as nice, and then Books a Million, which is just plain ghetto.

Then I went to Lynda's house (aka Em's mom), and we commiserated over our brokeness. She had to break down and buy 200 thread count sheets. I was, and am, really sad for her. Once you get used to 600 thread count sateen...anything less is just plain cruel.

Tomorrow I have a photo shoot with this super cute little girl whose parents are super cool. Dad plays drums in a punk band and mom is a fun English chick and they are always up for whatever I want to do. I have a pink petticoat, striped leggings and a crochet beanie with a pink mum attached and she's going to be rocking her high top Converse. We're meeting at the train station. I LOVE parents that let me do whatever I want and are willing to do something a little less traditional.

Unfortch, it's at 9:30am. That is so freaking early for me. It also means no drinking coffee and hanging with you all here in the closet.

HERE is an article for you history/interesting article geeks to keep you busy while I'm gone. Scientists think they've figured out the exact date of the Trojan Horse. That's just amazing to me that that's even possible. If you're a really big dork, go read Margaret George's Helen of Troy. It's a little slow at first, but man what a story. Can you imagine being pretty enough to cause a war? Having the face that launched a thousand ships? It's every woman's dream.


I guess in Albania it wasn't all that uncommon for women to declare themselves the patriarch of the family and to live like a man if something were to happen to the head of household.

I TOLD you we could live without them.


Here is a really interesting article for you to read while I'm at the pool with Girl Crush tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time Out

little kid just had his first time out strapped into the extra car seat that we have, facing the corner. It felt a little strange harnessing him up as punishment, but I did it (happily).

I let him out after two minutes, and he spent the following ten minutes quietly studying the locking mechanism with intense concentration.

Let's hope it takes him a while to figure it out.


Ashley: Gramps has been collecting eggs for our incubator, and one day we're going to have baby chicks.

Big Kid: Dat will be cool but I don't want dem near my face, or else dey'll peck at my eyes and stuffs.

Ashley: No they won't, they'll have known us forever. Did you know that the first large moving object a chick sees as it is hatching out of the egg becomes it's mom? So if a chick was hatching and it looked at you first, it would think you were it's mother!

Big Kid: I can't be a mudder, I'm dest a kid.

Ashley: Sure you can, you can be a mom to our chicks.

Big Kid: I don't know. I don't know if I want to be da mudder. I dest like bein' a kid. I guess I'll twy it and if I don't like it, I'll dest gib up.

Ashley: Well you can't give up on being someone's mother. What if I gave up?

Big Kid: (thinks for a moment, looking very concerned) ...I don't fink you can. Hmmm. I'll dest make sure da chicks don't see me den.

I've found myself a hatching mentor. She just hatched ducklings. Go see how cute!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Something I Excel At

How to be Lazy


I just read an article about a town (interestingly, the first town that had it's water fluoridated) questioning the use of fluoride in it's city water supply.

We have well water with a reverse osmosis drinking system, so there is no fluoride in my water, but I did a little research on fluoride and it's effects when our former pediatrician prescribed fluoride drops to us when Big Kid was a baby.

I was feeling guilty because I kept forgetting to get the prescription filled, so I did some Google research to figure out exactly how my child might suffer as a result of my forgetfulness. What I found was surprising, it turns out that not everyone is so sure that a daily fluoride supplement is a good thing.

I discussed it with my pediatrician and he shrugged off my concerns. I got the drops and still felt wary about giving them, something just seemed weird about ingesting some chemical daily for the health of your teeth. So, despite my guilt and uncertainty, I just didn't give them to him.

When Big Kid turned four I took him to the dentist for the first time. Luckily, his teeth were perfect. I did allow them to administer the fluoride at the appointment, but told the dentist about my misgivings. He knew exactly why I was concerned and said that although he doesn't think fluoride usually causes long term harm, what I was doing was obviously working and if I didn't want to give it to my children as a supplement, he was fully supportive of that, and not concerned about their dental health as long as they brushed regularly and had their cleanings and fluoride treatments once a year.

So, my boys don't get fluoride via supplements or our water. This might be one of those "me being paranoid to justify my laziness" sort of things but so far I'm feeling pretty confident in this decision.

I just thought I'd share that article with you (read the comments too) in case any of you are feeling guilty about forgetting the fluoride drops.

Wit's End

I'm just at my wit's end with little kid.

He just climbed up the vacuum and grabbed a lightbulb that was sitting on the center island, so that he could throw it to the ground and watch it shatter into 9 million pieces.

So he's in timeout for the 4th time this morning.

Time out just no longer phases him. 1-2-3 Magic no longer works. Spanking does not work. Positive Reinforcement does not work (and I just can't spend all day applauding him for not hitting the dog with a golf club). Making mommy sad or mad does not work. Being ignored does not work.

Earlier he was in time out and I went to free him and found him in there naked. I scolded him for taking his diaper off and gave him a little slap on the butt and asked him if he was sorry. He said, "No, no, no" and laughed wildly. I left him in timeout for longer, but what am I even supposed to do?

He is so sweet and so cute, but it is just exhausting and exasperating.

For the anonymous Closet doctors, I'd be more likely to agree with your Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis if he wasn't an absolutely charming, well behaved doll baby in public and with others. He's also not autistic. So you're going to have to continue tracking his symptoms and throwing out your anonymous diagnosis (what IS the plural for that?? I'm not looking it up.)

I'm also hoping you have the authorization to prescribe medication (for me) to go along with the free medical advice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Our cable went out today, so I was without internet, television and phone all afternoon. When I figured out that the internetz was really gone, I lapsed into a coma almost immediately. Some would've called it a nap, but it was more than that. When I came to again, the internetz was back, but Blogger was down.

It was awful.

I'm back now though, and think I pulled through like a real trooper.

Rainy Day Fun

For the last two days, the kids and I have been getting a running start from the foyer/living room area, throwing ourselves down slip-n-slide style, and sliding across the family room on a full sized air mattress.

It is a surprising amount of fun.

This Morning

little kid has:

-Snapped my sunglasses in two (2nd pair in 2 months)
-Been caught with coins in his mouth ($.20)
-Threw a pile of Mr. Ashley's files onto the floor and stomped on them (tried more hopping, too)
-Grabbed a pen and wrote on Mr. Ashley's business cards (he was supposed to be watching Big Kid play computer)
-Thrown two toys into the toilet...and then peed on them (guess who had to get them out?)
-Taken off of his diaper, pooped in his sheets, and wrapped the sheets into a ball to throw over the crib rail (guess who had to do that laundry?)
-Pushed a chair over to a shelf and got a piece of pottery down (guess whose pottery?)
-Tried to use lipstick to draw on his easel (that he got out of my purse, while I was typing this)

Where's the Beef?

Sunday morning I woke up and went to the farmer's market.

I was looking at some baby chicks when I saw a big black dog out of the corner of my eye. I turned and leaned down to pet it, and noticed that I was actually reaching out to touch a calf. These people had a baby cow tied to their truck and it was lying there in the shade.

As I stroked her cheek, she rubbed her head on me like a satisfied cat would, obviously enjoying the love. As I scratched her neck, she rested her head in my arms like we were the best of friends. I stroked her soft little nose and she snuggled in closer to me for more.

It was so sweet. I looked into those deep brown eyes and saw so much personality.

If the guy sitting there had told me that the cow was free, I would've untied her and walked her all the way home. The thought of that sweet creature becoming hamburger one day just kills me.

I was talking to my mom about it and saying that if it was a situation like, "Oh you want a hamburger? Here's this cow, I'll kill it and make you one." I'd be like "Hell no!" and vegetarianism would be easy.

Not long ago I watched "Fast Food Nation" and was horrified at the meat packing scene. OMG. I would really rather not support an industry like that. I had a cheeseburger a few nights after watching it and just felt sick. It wasn't satisfying at all.

The list of things I will eat is already so limited, I don't know if I can cut meat out. I was thinking of just cutting red meat out, but then remembered that pigs are cute too and chickens have personality and are similarly tortured for meat, which would further complicate my moral standpoint on red meat.

So I don't know. Mr. Ashley says I cannot rescue that cow and my parents won't take it either (my dad did say he'll get a miniature cow, but that won't help this particular cow any). I'm not sure I can live without meat, so I'll just continue to be disgusted with myself for eating it and for supporting companies that lack compassion and are just plain dirty.

Big Kid's New Gem

Big Kid fell in love again this weekend.

Saturday night we went to the free summer jazz concert our city sponsors and met up with Girl Crush and family.

I've mentioned before that Girl Crush's daughter is heart breakingly beautiful. In fact, I credit her with my initial success in photography because she is so stunningly gorgeous that every mom who sees her pictures wants ones just like them.

Big Kid has always been impressed with her beauty, but has struck out on prior attempts to socialize (remember that time he told her that he pooped and it was only two small turds? She wasn't impressed).

Well this time she was overjoyed to see him and they played rambunctiously all night long. They danced and chased and wrestled and laughed on the lawn, with the sounds of a saxophone serenading them.

We had fun as adults, lounging on blankets and having some drinks. Have I mentioned lately how freaking pretty Girl Crush is? My mom finally met her and even she was impressed. I'm not trying to sound all lesbo here, just trying to paint an accurate picture.

(Life is going to get so weird if I ever tell her about the closet)

They invited us over for swimming later in the week, and it's all Big Kid could talk about on the way home. He woke up in the morning and his first words were, "I love Ruby." I could only answer, "I don't blame you." He has been harassing me about seeing her ever since.

little kid also partied hard all night long, totally oblivious (and uncaring) of the fact that the big kids wanted nothing to do with him. I watched some 6-7 year olds tell him to go away, and he stood there, pudgy arms swinging, fat little tummy stretching the front of his shirt, smiling and shaking his head...making it clear that he wasn't going anywhere. They kept looking at me to take him away, and I would smile, making it clear I wasn't taking him anywhere. He PASSED OUT on the way home, and slept past 9:00am the next morning.

Catfish and I used to go to these same concerts when we were little. Her dad often played in the band and we would run around the hotel and beach, getting in and out of the pool all evening and lying on the lawn and watching the stars while listening to the band play. I remember how much fun it was, and how that felt like summer to me, being out late on a hot night, listening to jazz and being generally unsupervised.

So it was kind of neat that my boys had a similar summer night (minus the lack of supervision), and it brought back good memories.

Ruby and Big Kid are going to the same school in the fall, so it will be interesting to see how their friendship progresses. That poor boy falls hard and fast, although in this situation, it's easy to see why.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Be Ugly

This is sad, but sweet. Click this link and then click the picture to enlarge it so that you can read about Ugly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mother Hen

I'm going to be a mama!

I know it sounds crazy, but I am going to hatch chickens.

It's something that has been rattling around in my head for awhile now, an occasional idea that pops up and inspires me to do a flurry of internet research, but lately I've been thinking and researching more and more and a couple of days ago I decided this was something that was definitely going to happen, come hell or high water.

I was just going to get some chicks, but then I realized I'd be missing out on half the fun. So I started to look into incubators, but had a hard time justifying the cost. So I started to look into homemade incubators, but wasn't sure that I was capable enough, or that Mr. Ashley was willing enough. While doing all of this thinking, I also told everyone I know that I wanted to do this, and I put an ad on Craigslist about buying or borrowing an incubator.

This morning I woke up and decided, "screw it, I want an incubator and I'm getting one this weekend", and had my mind made up on one from Tractor Supply Co. that was $40 (and I was already sweating the $40).

My mom called one hour later and said she had asked a friend who works at a feed store about them and she said I could have hers! To keep! It's the same type I was going to buy this weekend and I can pick it up Monday!

My parents have chickens and a rooster and will save their eggs for me all week, and if all goes well, in about a month we will have some peeps in the closet!

And one day the Ashleys will have fresh, free range, organic eggs from our own little flock.

And I will be a Mother Hen!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I'm sure most of you read the news and are already over this, but there are at least a few of us who watch nothing but Noggin and are always late to the party, so bear with me.

At the end of Tim Russert's funeral, they played the Hawaiian acoustic version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (I love this song and know my girl Alissa does too, so quick shout out to her) and 3 minutes later a double rainbow appeared across Washington D.C. and over the National Cathedral.

Catch up on that here:

Now if that doesn't make you believe in SOMETHING, nothing will.

That's pretty freaking incredible. I'd go so far as to say it's a miracle. Hearing about this (shouted across the table at the karaoke bar) gave me goosebumps, and watching the video made the hair on the back of my neck raise. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

It also makes my heart beat a little quicker with a happy feeling, gives me hope, and helps re-establish my faith.

All of my faith (and I do apologize for touching on religion and politics on the same day, I do try not to do that to you all, but I'm not trying to convert anyone. There's your disclaimer) is cemented on the fact that I feel like I have had "contact" (for lack of a better word) with people in my life who have passed. Unfortunately, there have been many. A combination of poor genetics and foolish friends dealt me that hand.

I'm not talking about psychic stuff, or even anything I could tell a non-believer as any kind of convincing evidence, but I've had moments, coincidences, dreams and a few overwhelming feelings of just knowing.

My mom and my brother have too and I believe them. The hope and excitement and comfort on their faces when they've relayed these experiences makes it so I can't doubt them, especially having experienced similar feelings.

I don't believe in coincidences really, I do think everything happens for a bigger, more complicated reason. It just can't be a coincidence that these things often happen when they are needed most, or are least expected, and help bring comfort and hope to people who are looking for it.

It's just nice to see some news that reflects that and has so many people stopping, taking notice and appreciating this miraculous "coincidence".

Dear Waitress,

Just because I'm the type of person who would take my kids to a karaoke bar on a Friday night (although to be fair, it is a chickee hut, and at least around these parts, that makes it acceptable) where people are smoking and handicapped enough to believe they can sing, does NOT mean I want to see camel toe.

Say it with me people, LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Nor should they ever be worn as such. Especially while you are serving food.

I mean, it wasn't Hooters (not quite as classy), I was not expecting to have to see moose knuckle while I tried to eat my cheeseburger. I was embarrassed for you, and embarrassed for noticing, but how could I not?

The entertainment was worth every dollar (of my parents' money), it was a human freak show up in that joint. Luckily, Big Kid was transfixed by the words on the karaoke screen and didn't seem to notice that they make paint thicker than those pants. Thankfully, you weren't our waitress.

Otherwise, it was good times. little kid ran around the table with a plate of ice, Big Kid was stuck in karaoke screen trance, and my mom is completely unable to conceal her look of mortified disgust for the bad karaokers, so that's good entertainment in itself. My dad does not realize that his voice can't carry across the table while some heifer is singing "Redneck Woman" directly behind me, so I was forced to discuss politics and current events by screaming across the table and yelling "What?"

Anyway, I'm sure it's embarrassing enough to work in a joint like that (although endlessly entertaining, I'm sure), so I'm thinking you should rethink the pants. Or lack thereof.

Quite Frankly,

Shameless Brag

I just want to announce that I've gotten tons of stuff done in the last two days. Important stuff, too. You all would be proud of me. I just need to keep up that momentum.

I also have to shamelessly brag that I am only 5 exact pounds from pre-pregnancy weight. Pre-BIG KID weight at that! This is a result of my stringent diet of stress and drugs, and I'm pretty freaking pleased with myself.

Don't get me wrong, things aren't where they used to be. I still have a muffin top. I don't look nearly as good naked as I did 5 years ago. I also still have self-diagnosed Body Dismorphic Disorder about my arms. I thought my butt had gotten a lot smaller, because my bathing suits aren't fitting right, but now I'm suspecting that my butt is actually just migrating south. It's just not looking as perky these days. I'm really scared that I'll end up being one of those old ladies with the way high up pants and no butt at all. I hadn't really realized that the butt can actually flatten out over time. That really sucks.

But anyhoo, I am happy with the number on the scale at Publix, and it's been a long time since that happened. Just thought I'd brag about how thin and productive I'm being.


There are more people than I had thought who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.

He is not.

I also want to take a moment to point out that not all Muslims are evil, America-hating terrorists. Saying that would be like equating all Christians to those Westboro "God hates fags" freaks.

Fundamentalist anything is bad, pretty much. That has nothing to do with this quick political service announcement though, since Obama is not Muslim.

Here is a Snopes article clearing up 50 Lies About Obama, there are a lot of mistruths out there, and Snopes does a good job straightening those out while still making for interesting (and short) reading.

HERE is a link where you can make your own Obama poster, like I did over there.

HERE are some panoramic, 360 degree shots of another recent rally.

What we don't want is more of this:

And yeah, I know that a lot of you don't like when I talk politics. You'll live. ;-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Poop Patrol

Somewhere between 5 and 7 times a day, Big Kid stops what's doing, wrinkles his nose, and says, "I smell poop. Mommy? Mudder? I fink I smell poop."

Of course I try to delay the inevitable for a moment, hoping against hope that he's wrong and it's a false alarm. "Are you sure?"

At this point he usually points his nose in little kid's general direction and confirms his suspicions. Today he even grabbed his pudgy arm and peeked into the back of his diaper. "Yeah. Eww. You need to change his diaper. I don't wanna haf to be smellin' poop."

I don't really enjoy being ordered around, so sometimes just to upset him I tell him that he should have to do it; that if you find the poop, you clean it up. That always gets an indignant, "I'm not his mudder, I'm not gonna do it."

Once I even offered him a twenty...still turned me down.

He also always finds the dog poop. Always.

Thanks for your vigilance, Big Kid.

Magical Microwave

I think I told you all about my Orville Redenbacher's popcorn diet.

As I was preparing my popcorn lunch today, I noticed a button on my microwave that says "popcorn". I figured I would give it a try, since I often overcook or undercook the popcorn (99% of the time) and pushed the button. It said "SENSING" and cooked for a while, producing...THE PERFECT BAG OF POPCORN.

I'm not even exaggerating. I was so impressed I made another bag (because Big Kid ate too much of my popcorn) and VOILA, same thing.

Is this as unbelievable as I think it is? Will it work on any size bag of popcorn, or did I luck out? How does it sense anything?

Does this mean if I put a potato in there and push the baked potato button, it would just make me a baked potato? Presumably the pizza button reheats pizza?

Do you even know how many phone calls to Mr. Ashley this is going to cut down on?? I will no longer suffer moments of panic while wondering how long something should be microwaved for.

It's a really exciting discovery. I can't believe it's taken me this long to find it.

Making an Impression

One of my clients just called to get permission to have a famous tattoo artist tattoo one of the portraits I took of his daughter onto him.

This is a real thrill for me. My artwork is going to be on someone FOREVER.

It was also unbelievably nice to call and ask, and I told him I would happily provide the tattoo artist with the digital image if that would make life easier.

I also have three other people booking appointments, and one that just placed a very large order.

Yay me!

re: Dooce, the Blogging Goddess

I know sometimes I write things that make it seem like I don't like Dooce (ie. the thing about her peeing Dom Perignon and having a pet unicorn, or pointing out that I'm prettier, which probably isn't even true if you were to see the unWarholized version of me) but that's not the case.

I am just wildly, insanely, passionately envious. I heard she makes $40,000 a month blogging, or something crazy like that.

How about she just makes $36,000 a month, and I could make the other $4,000? I think that's reasonable.

I will say it loud and say it clear, Heather B. Armstrong is a GENIUS and an inspiration to us all. I'm not just being an ass-kisser when I say that either. I've only read her blog twice, because my jealousy keeps me away, but it's obviously Good and she's clearly a Marketing Genius, because I even know her full name (and I'm not stalking her at all, she's just everywhere I go).

I just wanted to clear up that I have nothing against Dooce personally, and any teasing or trash talking I do is a product of my own envy because I want to BE her. She is the Oprah Winfrey of the blogging world...and that's the job I want.

edited to add: Alright, I went and clicked my own link to her and I also think she's a better photographer than I am. Does it ever end? She's like a classier, more talented, successful version of me. Grrrrrr. Maybe I don't like her.

I bet I have a bigger laundry couch than her, so there.

I also bet that I can out drink her. That counts for something.

Candy for Breakfast

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weirdo Googlers

I think I've mentioned this before, but I get a TON of Google Keyword hits for "My mom naked".

What exactly are these people looking for??

It wouldn't be halfway as disturbing without the "my"...what is up with the my? Are they looking for their actual mother naked on the internetz? Do they think that's how to find her? If so, they're as inept with the Google as John McCain is.

It's worrisome, and now I'll attract even more of them but at least they'll be seeing this post and can hopefully shed some light on this for us. We allow anonymous commenting in the closet, just so you know. You can tell us, we won't laugh.

Well, we will, but still, you might as well tell us since you're here anyway.

Also, I had to edit the Show me your t*ts title on the breastfeeding post because we were getting waaaaay too much traffic from that. Not the right kind of traffic either. Thanks but no thanks.

Technology--we gotz it!

I *think* I just made it so that you can subscribe to my blog via email.

Meaning I would just magically show up in your inbox once a day.

At least that's how I think that works. You can sign up over there in my sidebar, if you are so inclined. I don't really care how you read it, as long as you read it.

Just trying to make life easy, I hope it works.

little kid Hops

little kid has been working on his jumping, and from the knees up he's had it down for quite a while. He just can't seem to get those pesky feet off of the ground. The rest of his body's got it, face contorted with concentration and excitement, pudgy little arms swinging, torso lurching...but those feet remain cemented on the floor.

However, in the middle of dinner tonight, he stood up and jumped. A perfect little hop. He was so delighted that he threw himself into more jumps whole heartedly, but they ranged from small leaps, to lurching steps, to more cemented to the floor attempts, with no more real success stories.

He is totally delighted with himself though, and I don't imagine that he'll be finishing dinner.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dear Hogan Family,

hulk hogan family

So, you seem to be unaware of the fact that we're all pretty much done with you.

It was sort of amusing at first, you all seemed nice enough, although definitely some of the queerest individuals to ever become famous (Spencer and Heidi have you beat, but not by much). The whole show was so contrived that we were willing to overlook some of your cheesiness, thinking for sure it was a product of TV production or a misguided attempt at acting.

But no, you really are a bunch of bleached blond, fanny pack wearing pussies.

I don't use that word lightly either, as it just sounds icky to me, but I can't think of a better word to describe your spoiled, whiny, self-centered, poorly dressed & styled selves.

So I just wanted to let you know that it's enough. No more to see here. We don't need a reality show of Nick-olette getting out of jail, or Brooke being humored for any longer in the entertainment industry. That was plenty.

Thanks though.

Buh-bye now.

Quite Frankly,


Some of you really did go vote for me for Hottest Mommy Blogger in the Blogger's Choice Awards!!

(the link is in my sidebar)

I'm so proud of you and so, so happy to be in fifth place! Seriously, it made my day. Sometimes, it's the small things.

You guys rock, and you make life more fun.

That's no small thing.

$416 Could Buy Me:

--A Kindle, and 5 e-books (I have recently decided that I can barely live without one of these. I lust after them; hanging out on the Amazon site, reading the reviews, staring longingly at the customer photos. I've talked myself down from hitting that "add to cart" button and just putting it on my Amazon Visa so many times. But I know that would be wrong, because you're supposed to actually be able to come up with that money at some point and I can't. This is ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS. Do you hear me Mom? Mr. Ashley? Loving readers? Just this. Well, maybe a bottle of Philosophy's Lemonade body wash, but that would be more of a stocking stuffer.)

--A year's worth of pedicures (I haven't had a pedicure since the one Catfish bought me before her wedding in December. I wear flip flops! I need pedicures! When I was pregnant I got one every two weeks no matter what just because it felt good.)

--3 nights of dinner and drinks at my favorite restaurant downtown.

--5 tanks of gas for the SUV.

--3 nights in a value hotel at Disney with 1 day of park tickets and free dining in September (Alright, I'd need $80 more but still. I'd be damn close.)

--416 items from Target's dollar spot.

--2 full color photography ads in the local family magazine.

--A whole new wardrobe for me. (Seriously, I can buy a lot of clothes for $416.)

--One weekend at the cottage in N. Florida we vacation at (when we are not poor).

And so much more! That was just way too much for a kid's physical. I was expecting $185, tops. Not FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN DOLLARS. Damn.

edited to add: I think Amazon would be smart to just give me a Kindle. I'd happily review it, and I'd happily beat you all over the heads with it's greatness until you just had to have your own. They'd make back that money in no time. They'd also be doing a good thing by keeping me from committing book related and/or library crime.

You mean dollars?

Holy fucking four hundred and sixteen dollars, Batman!

I just couldn't even believe it when the receptionist gave me the grand total. She had to say it three times while I stood there with my mouth open, uncomprehending. Finally, I snatched my debit card away and rooted around in my purse for a credit card and stood there with my heart beating "$416, $416, $416, $416" while she typed everything in.

Then the nurse kept asking if Big Kid got to go do something special now...Um yeah, he gets to go to Super Target and pick up a pack of diapers for his brother, and I might even let him rub my back while I cry. He was going to get a Happy Meal until you bastards stole all of my money.

Damn, damn, damn. I adore my doctor and agree that she works HARD, worked her ass off to get that higher education and paid dearly for it I'm sure. She puts her baby in daycare so she can take care of people daily. I want her to make lots and lots of money...but $416 for 30 minutes and three shots?? Ugggggh.

The good news is that Big Kid adored her and the nurse, and handled his shots like a champ. The bad news is that I feel like I'm going to puke every time the figure 416 creeps into my mind.

The New Doctor

We're off to get Big Kid's physical for kindergarten today.

He has been very concerned to hear that we will no longer be going to his regular pediatrician. I don't know why, the guy wasn't that personable or friendly. Big Kid was so upset about it and questioning it so much that I finally had to explain that we could no longer see his old doctor because he made a really big mistake, and his job is to keep the kids in our family safe and healthy and if he makes mistakes doing something so important, we can't have him be our doctor anymore.

Now I would say at least once a week Big Kid feels the need to sadly announce that his doctor made a mistake and even though he's really nice, we won't be seeing him again. What kid cares this much about his pediatrician?? Mr. Memory has clearly forgotten all of the trauma we went through because of this doctor. That's fine by me, but I wish we could switch doctors without emotional distress on top of it all.

So I'm taking him to my doctor. All week he has been asking me questions about her. What's her name? How old is she? What does she look like? Does she have kids? Do I know anything else about her? NO I DON'T. SHE'S A DOCTOR. Normal people aren't this emotionally invested in their health care practitioners.

So, keep your fingers crossed that he loves her. Also keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't cost 2 trillion dollars, now that we are insurance-less.

John McCain is Hella-Old

Job Description: Immediate position available for President of the United States. Computer literacy and ability to communicate effectively a must. Must be in good health and able to meet the physical and emotional demands of this labor intensive position for at least four years. Warmongers need not apply.

Let's forget about everything else (and there's a lot to forget about in order to do that, but I'll keep this short) and realize that John McCain is 71 years old. 72 in August.

We wouldn't really elect a 72 year old into a 4 year office, right? No offense to people in their seventies, but that's really old. Lots of people die in their seventies. There's no guarantee on four more minutes, little less four more years.

A lot of people that age are also very stubborn, and unwilling or unable to change their ways. The man admits to not even being able to use The Google. NOT BEING ABLE TO USE GOOGLE.

Come on.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Some Art Links

Magical sculpture garden: This place would be so cool to wander around! You have to look at every single picture, some are better than others, but you don't want to miss any of the truly amazing ones.

Dusty Windshield Art: Some guy uses dirty cars as his artistic medium.

VERY CREEPY underwater sculpture garden: I have a feeling one day hundreds of years from now this stuff will be discovered and people of the future will wonder what it's purpose was, or if it used to be on dry land.

Chewing gum sculptures: Awesome and icky, all at the same time.

Neat food sculptures
: Neat.

Pictures from the sky: A beautiful collection of photos.

Wild Thing Needs No Sleep

little kid is having a very hard time going to bed tonight.

When I originally went to put him down at 7:00pm, I predicted that I was about to have a fight on my hands and that he just wasn't tired, so I let him have another 20 minutes.

When I finally did put him down he screamed and screamed and screamed until I went in to check on him and attempt to tuck him back in. He grabbed at me, clawed at me, screamed at me, and basically refused to lie down, so I told him to go to bed and left the room.

And then I heard the click of a door opening...and the sound of fat little feet padding down the hallway.

This is the first time he's ever climbed out of his crib, and let me tell you right now: Mommy don't play that game.

I don't care if I have to build something with chicken wire and two by fours...he is staying in there. I must have one place to put him where I know he'll stay. If putting a top on his crib makes it a cage, then let it be known that my kid will be sleeping in a cage.

He is in there screaming "MUM MUM MUM MUUUUUUM MUM MUM MUMMA MUMMUM MUMMMMM MUMMM MUUUUUUM" right now. This has been going on for an hour and twenty minutes.

Not fair. Not fair at all.

Wild Thing-Updated

I really hate fishing things out of the toilet.

I just caught little kid in the bathroom with a little cup full of toilet water that he was poised to pour over his hair. There were three plastic fish and a Dixie cup floating in the bowl.

Yesterday, he found an egg in my parents' barn and bit into it. The look of horror on his face as slimy yolk dripped out of his mouth and down his shirt was almost worth having to clean it all up.

Edited to add: He just broke my Lenox Tinkerbell thing. I had bought it when I was pregnant with Big Kid and it was special to me. I just caught him standing on a chair near my hutch with it in his hands and when I put on my nicest voice to ask, "Oh can mommy have that?" to prevent him from throwing it...he smashed it to the ground. :-(

Books on CD

I've been meaning to tell you all about this for quite a while now, but whenever Big Kid sees me with the packaging, he insists on me setting it up for him to listen to again, and then I get sidetracked.

Macmillan Young Listeners recently put out an audio book of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, and other stories from that series.

We have lots of books on CD and they are usually met with a "meh" sort of response (after I explain 900 times that they are not DVDs and that we can not watch them). So when we got this one I wasn't sure it would be any different.

Then I noticed Gwyneth Paltrow was the person who read the story, so I actually sat down and listened to it with Big Kid, thinking for sure I'd be able to do an entertaining Gwynnie impression when it was all said and done.

I've got to say...she did a good job! Usually books on CD just sort of lull me to sleep, with the boring voices of the narrators, who either underact or overact, and all too often sound like a 4th grader learning to read a story with feeling, but this one was really cute. She has a pleasant voice and her acting abilities come in handy, making the whole story cute and making me giggle a little when she does different voices.

The CD has 13 tracks on it, including 4 stories and then the Spanish version of those stories. Big Kid even sits transfixed by the Spanish versions and is already able to recite a few lines from the stories in Spanish.

He begged me to let him take it to pre-k to show to his friends. I warned him that the teacher wouldn't have time to stop class to listen to the whole CD, but I allowed him to take it, and he came home proud to report that everyone liked it so much that they listened to all of it, and his teacher said she was buying it for next year's class.

He LOVES this CD. The DVD kid, who has had zero interest in any disc he cannot watch, begs to listen to it daily.

We also have "The Cricket in Times Square" which is also an adorable story, and really well read, and little kid listens to that before every nap time. Sometimes I just can't deal with him around 4pm, and he refuses to nap at that time, so I just put him in his crib with some toys and put the CD on and he usually plays happily.

I saw that Macmillan Audio is launching a set called the "You are Loved" collection this fall, which includes a new lullaby called "It's Time to Sleep, My Love" and the story "On the Night You Were Born." I don't know if any of you have heard the story "On the Night You Were Born" but it is breathtakingly beautiful, and this set would make a great new baby or Christmas gift.

HERE is the website for Macmillan Audio. You can listen to some of the excerpts of the audio books on there. As you all know, I highly recommend anything that encourages quiet and helps break the television habit, so go check it out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

So one of our brilliant commenters has directed me to for free e-books. I am very excited about this, and I think I could possibly even adjust to reading books electronically (not full time, I need books in the bath tub) but I can't figure out how to get to the actual text of the book!

Someone please help me. I'm in need of some fiction.

edited to add: You have to register. They should tell you that though. Now I'm all set and oh-so-excited about these free books.

Frequently Asked Questions

So I was going to clean out the comment box and finally answer the few questions hanging out in there, but Blogger makes it hard to copy and paste from there. They want me to publish the comment, go search my blog for that post, hit the comments link, and copy and paste from there. That's just too much. So we will make it short and sweet, and I will summarize in my own words:

Did I read somewhere that you make Bento lunches for your kids?

Yes you did. I don't anymore though, I finally realized that I just don't love the kids THAT much. Cutting hotdogs into crab shapes?? Making heart shaped hard boiled eggs?? First of all, both of those things just seem wrong, and gross. Secondly, it doesn't really add up to that much lunch, when you've done all the cute shapes and fit it prettily into a little box. Third, once the other moms and Big Kid's teacher knew I was a good mom, what was even the point?

So yeah, every once in a while I'll cut a sandwich into circles and throw that and a fruit kabob (on a coffee stirrer, so little kid doesn't de-eyeball anyone) into one of those cute little bento boxes I had to have, but mostly, no. I'm just not into it anymore.

(I probably will be again when I need to prove myself to Big Kid's kindy teacher and class.)

I think you're as good as Dooce (ahem), why aren't you making $40,000 a month? Where is your book deal? What can we do to make this happen?

I don't know, obviously. I'm thinking my laziness is probably a big factor. You all are at fault too though, I'm sure. I'm certain ONE OF YOU has some sort of connections or bright idea that you're not coughing up. Don't worry, I'm sure that I'll be Oprah-rich any day now. If not, I might need to come live with one of you, but that should be fun too.

Just curious, but why do you capitalize Big Kid but not little kid? Is there a reason?

It's because I love Big Kid more.

Just kidding. There is no good reason, other than it amuses me. Big Kid is big, so he gets big letters, little kid is little, he gets little letters.

I used to refer to them as The Big Kid and The Little Kid and I'm kind of sorry that the "thes" got lost somewhere along the way because it was funnier that way. But, oh well. They are definitely Big Kid and little kid now and forevermore.

Do you ever post pics of yourself? Dooce does and nothing has ever happened to her.Why don't you use your kids' names? Why so secretive?
(this is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions. I get this one a lot.)

Yes, I know Dooce posts pictures of herself. Dooce uses her kid's name. Dooce pees Dom Perignon and has a pet unicorn. I've heard all about it.

I'm not necessarily hiding from you all, (because anyone that has hung out on the bargain board for 5 minutes has the sleuthing skills to hunt me down) I'm just trying to keep it so I feel comfortable being so open and honest with you all.

Also, I don't want the kids to be affected socially if it can be avoided. Yes, someone can stumble across their photos and put 2+2 together at any time, but I'm not going to make it any easier than that. I would hate for their teachers or friends to treat them differently for fear of (or in hope of) making it on the blog.

So I try to avoid easily google-able terms (like the name of our city, Mr. Ashley's job, specific places or events) and don't have our photos plastered all over the place. There ARE photos of me on this blog, but usually my face is covered with a camera, or goofy glasses, or whatever. If someone sat down and read every word and recognized me...fine. But I don't want to be easily recognizable to people I went to high school with, or anything like that.

Besides, I think it is kind of fun this way.

I know how badly some of you want to put a name with a face. I also know some of you have kind of stalked me. I hope in being a *little* more open, maybe some of the curiosity will settle down, and people will be understanding of my desire to keep "this" and my "real life" separate. It's really for your own good, and for the good of The Closet.

I've also had a freak or two that thinks they hold some sort of juicy blackmail material over my head, because they have figured out my real name or know my business It's seriously not the end of the world if people were to find out who I am. The Closet is nothing to be ashamed of, just about everyone I know would be fascinated, and one day when I'm on the Bestseller list, you'll all know my last name anyway. So don't be creepy. It's a little bit flattering and a whole lot weird.

So as a special treat tonight for all of you who aren't stalking me in a scary way, and who are curious to put a face with the "voice" I am:


Obviously I am Warhol-ized there, because it lets me keep some anonymity and, honestly, I'm 100x prettier and more glamorous as a piece of iconic art.

Now I am posting this not only to satisfy everyone's wild curiosity, but also to prove to you that I'm totally worthy of your vote for "Hottest Mommy Blogger". Yes, you have to register, but I do hard stuff for you all the time.

Don't just keep on reading, from the happiness of your Google Reader, as if I'm not speaking to you. Get your butt over here and click on that link and vote for me. It's the least you could do.

Yes, I'm talking to you.

I don't even want to win (well I do, but I know I can't compete with such greatness), I just want to be in the top 5. I'm always battling it out between place 5 and 6 and that irritates me. I deserve to be #5.

So, go do your job. Extra credit for telling me how pretty I am.

An Adventure in Uncertainty

So, it's one thing to "know" that you are poor, but quite another to start living that way.

I am not sure when I became Entitled to 200+ channels and the ability to record live television, but now it seems downright cruel to be forced to live any other way.

Big Kid is in shock, constantly questioning the poor picture quality of basic cable, and stunned by the inability to pause live television. I have heard the words "But how do we not eben hab Playhouse Disney? Let's dest check again" more times than I can count.

Yeah, yeah, it's minor, and some people don't even have t.v., but the first small slap of reality does sting a bit.

Luckily, Mr. Ashley has lots of "side job" type of opportunities. His friend is taking him on to remodel a nursing home a few days a week (the guy that can't hang up my pictures...remodeling a nursing home), he worked on some cars down at his Uncle's shop the other day (he was a mechanic in his former life), and Girl Crush's husband may have a lead on a night job for him. It's hard to get excited about a days' worth of work that brings in as much pay as a former hour's worth of work, but we are so lucky to have good friends that can offer these opportunities.

We have also talked about me getting a night job. The very thought of such a thing makes me want to slit my own throat. I know, I know, pride and sloth will be my downfall, but there is an adjustment period to this new way of life, and unfortunately that adjustment period makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out with a corkscrew. Would I get disability or social security or something if I had gouged eyeballs?

Just checking.

I am also unsure of myself for the first time ever. Remember, I am a Planner. I have worked hard, and my poor little brain ran on OVERTIME accumulating different licenses and experience, setting up limited liability corporations, networking with the whole real estate world, always having a plan for the Next Big Thing and an idea of what the future would hold.

We've discussed it before, but it's still a big shock to me that all my planning is good for nothing (at least at this stage in the game) and I'm back to square one and not really sure what to do with myself. Call me a snot (go ahead, do it) but I feel too skilled, too talented, too knowledgeable and too creative to be stocking the shelves at Borders. (But I could use the discount, now that I've gone and screwed myself with the library.)

I'm trying not to wallow. I am still better off than most of the rest of the world, and I guess it was all fun while it lasted. I do have A Plan, and I will share it with you now because I will feel better putting it on paper (yet again) and forcing you all to read it:

-Canceled phone service and switched to Vonage. I don't know why we didn't do this before. Our phone line has always sucked, and there is always a loud buzzing. Now I pay $60 less a month and the buzzing was instantly gone. Win/win.

-Canceled DirectTV (and then got struck by lightning). I'm mad at those bastards anyway, and somehow the guy that installed our cable internet line made it so we get cable television for free. He knows he did it, he even strongly hinted to us that he did it when he told us it couldn't be hooked up the normal way. He works for the cable company, so I think I'm morally okay on this free cable deal.

-Switched to the cheapest cell phone plans. It really just doesn't make sense to have a text message plan for someone who doesn't even know where her cell phone is, and who cannot text message to save her life. The last text message I sent said "ppppppppp", an SOS of sorts, which didn't even get where it was supposed to go. So we don't need the fancy cell plan, Mr. Ashley can live without texting and 900 bajillion minutes.

-Parking the SUV. I'd rather not go anywhere anyway, so this works for me. Mr. Ashley has been driving the PT Cruiser which gets WAY better gas mileage anyway. If for some reason I need to leave the house, I'll take the cruiser.

-Canceling our health insurance. Yeah, this one makes my stomach hurt. Really bad. But there is just no other option, it's astronomically expensive and we just cannot do it anymore. We're going to look into a medical savings account, and maybe next year the kids will qualify for state insurance. I was also thinking of trying to wean myself off of Effexor (toxic, heroin-like, completely soul numbing drug that it is) but I'm thinking now is not the time for that. One of the ladies on the bargain board gave me an application that might enable me to get it for free, otherwise I will throw myself at my doctor's mercy and beg her for samples. I've cried in front of her before, I'm not afraid to do it again for the sake of chemical balance.

-MAJOR grocery bill reduction. We actually just called about getting a box of food from Angel Food Ministries. It's not just for poor people, it's a great value, and the bargain board is always raving about it. There is some joking between Mr. Ashley and I about our "welfare" food, but there are only so many "breakfasts for dinner" or hot dogs one can have before things start to look dismal.

We are also using way less of everything. I am more conscious of the line on the detergent cup, I only fill one of the spaces in the dishwasher with soap, I use less coffee, water down juice, use cloth napkins and rags more often, etc. I even made baby wipes out of paper towels because we were out, and you know what? It's not that bad.

We also buy only what we need, and usually in bulk. At Costco I've been getting those restaurant sized cans of sliced peaches and fruit cocktail for $4 and pouring them into tupperware. One of those ginormous cans lasts us for about a month and the kids love it.

-Get back on potty training. When little kid's interest faded, so did mine, because I'm sick of fighting with him about bathroom usage and cleaning up poop. But diapers are expensive and it is the inevitable, so it's time to get back on the pot.

-Turned off 1-click ordering on Amazon. Go ahead and laugh, but it was a problem. I have a Prime account, which means I don't have to pay for shipping, and I really really really love ordering shit and having it here two days later with the click of one button. I am already going through MAJOR book withdrawals, because I'm not happy with the book I have left to read, but I will be finding a cheaper way to get books. These cheaper ways include Goodwill, my grandpa's clubhouse's reading library (they don't know about me yet), my local friends, garage sales, etc. Yes, this means I won't be able to indulge every fascination that strikes my fancy, and it means doing my "themed reading" that I enjoy so much will be difficult, if not impossible, but I will survive. As long as I can read.

-Do all of the free photography marketing that I can think of, and hound people to buy more of their photos. Also, stop giving away so much...I'm too nice.

-Sell kick ass Phil & Ted stroller and some other high end stuff I no longer need on Craigslist.

That's all I can think of for now. Do any of you have any great money saving tips? Do share, lots of us closet dwellers are in need.

My New Future Plan (aka things I vow to do differently):

1. As soon as humanly possible, sell everything and migrate to a lower cost of living area, probably in a country-like setting with a family of goats, a horse, and some chickens. (This will take a while, but it will be my dream until then.)

2. Pay cash for everything.

3. Have less. Appreciate more.

So basically, the complete opposite from the Plan of 10 Years Ago. All of this Stuff isn't worth it. At least I figured it out while I'm young and at least there is still plenty of time for new plans.

It will be fine. I'll think of it as An Adventure. An Experiment in Poverty and a Lesson in Simplifying. Yeah, maybe it will even be fun!

Things are going to be just fine.


Fox news called Mrs. Michelle Obama "Obama's Baby Mama"??

I know it rhymes and all, but this is absolutely, completely and totally inappropriate. There are no shades of gray here, that's flat out unprofessional, and undoubtedly racist.

To refer to the wife of a presidential candidate as his "Baby Mama"?? To use derogatory ghetto slang to refer to the wife of our first black presidential hopeful? It seems really wrong on a lot of levels, and kind of like a no-brainer on the "is this going to get me in trouble" scale.

We all know I'm not one to scream racist. Last time I did was about the person who said the LeBron Vogue cover was racist. Because it wasn't. But I'm thinking this is.

At the very least, it's proof of an extreme lack of judgment, and confirmation on my theory that whoever is in charge at Fox News secretly wishes they could get a gig over at Fox Reality...or that they all must have been too hung over to make it to class on the day that whole "being objective" thing was taught in journalism class.

It's a mockery and their viewers should be angry. It's disrespectful, and aside from that, if people want to be entertained with phrases like "baby mama" they'll read US Weekly or Perez. Not what should be a reputable news source. Knock it off with the cutesy shit, Fox News. It's not so cute.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Our DVR/Tivo thingy just bit the dust.

DirectTV was one of the more unfortunate budget cut backs taking place, but it wasn't scheduled to be off until the 21st, and everything on our DVR was going to continue to exist.

But now we are suddenly without Tivo OR satellite television and it's a little panicky. I mean, I thought it would be a more gradual process and one that WE would be initiating. I thought somehow that would make the whole thing easier. I thought I would at least have my DVR full of satellite memories.

This is just too sudden.

The Inevitable

Do you know what happens when you wait until the last possible minute to get your work done?

A thunderstorm comes and you lose power three times, losing portions of your work with it, making it 400 times more stressful than it would've been had you just done it throughout the week, like you were supposed to.

Edited to add: Make that 4 times. That's right, FOUR FREAKING TIMES.


I told my client from last Wednesday that she should be able to see the proofs in about a week.

Now it is a week+1 day later, and I'm just not in the mood to mess with them. They are great pictures, her kid is gorgeous, the setting was perfect, they need no editing, but for some reason I need more time to narrow them down and post them online.

From now on, I'm telling people that they'll have them within 2 weeks and then aim for 1 week so they'll be pleasantly surprised.

I also have tons of closet related emails to answer, a lead on an opportunity to write a published article, store stuff to work on, some administrative sort of stuff re: reviews and/or ads, and so many unanswered personal emails that I'll be amazed if I have any friends left when it's all said and done.

So anyone out there that is waiting on something from me...sorry I suck. Consider this your apology, and know that I'm thinking about you.

Kid Physics

Although it's a little annoying to have one more mouth in the house, and one more person who needs something sometimes, somehow more kids = less kids in the long run.

Sure, sometimes I still want to hit people, but all in all, they keep each other busy. Even little kid. THAT is the delightful part about this arrangement. If I could be sure that it would always work out this way, I'd adopt us a child. Just to keep little kid busy and quiet.

That's why the Duggars have so many kids. 18 kids probably = -9 kids somehow. And you'd have built in housekeepers if you trained them right.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who's the Boss?

Em: What's wrong, Big Kid?

Big Kid: You dest keep tellin' me what to do and sometimes I want to do fings I want to do.

Em: Well, I tell you what to do 'cuz I'm duh boss. I'm duh boss of you.

Big Kid: But I dest want to play and maybe I can be da boss too sometimes.

Em: No, you can't be duh boss, Big Kid. Aunt Ashley, tell him I'm duh boss and I'll always be duh boss!!

Ashley: That's probably true but maybe tonight you could take turns being the boss?

Em: Only tonight, for duh summer party. Okay Big Kid? Okay?

Big Kid: Dat sounds good. You go first.

The Kids

are playing in Big Kid's room, with the door closed, which is usually against the rules but they have little kid in there with them...and I need the break.

So the rules have changed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The China Post

Boring day in the Closet. I can't even really say that I was busy doing anything good. I sent out some magnets and postal mail love (which is becoming a fun project, by the way, it's like having pen-pals, kind of), got hooked on Meerkat Manor, cleaned up a little, read almost all of Postcards From Insanity and waged some worthless internet battles, just because I can't NOT offer my opinion. On everything.

So, a pretty productive day, just not as far as the Closet goes.

Tomorrow Emmers is spending the night. So I'll probably be drinking and online a lot, having a house full of kids (3 = a house full here) and a headache I'm sure.

Here are some links to tide you over until then:

An interesting look at Chinese foot binding. I just read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Wow, what a wonderful tale of women and friendship and loss and regret. It was fascinating from a historical standpoint, but emotional and easy to relate to as a woman. I cried.

I also enjoyed looking at photos of Lotus Shoes. They are beautifully decorated and interestingly shaped. The women made them themselves and embroidered them with meaningful symbols and messages.

Here are some photos of China from above. I would love to go there one day. Mr. Ashley and I have always wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors. I know it would be a total culture shock though and I would have to quarantine myself in my hotel room for at least 24 hours before I could even hope to enjoy my vacation (this is how I had to do it in Athens too...I was overwhelmed).

Speaking of China, they recently banned plastic shopping bags. This is a brilliant idea and the only way we're ever going to get rid of these damn things. I would HATE it, but I'd be a lot more likely to remember my reusable bags if someone was going to make me pay for disposable ones.

I was just reading an article in Marie Claire magazine today about China's modern day concubines. Kind of seems like prostitution to me, but I'm sure it's a great gig if you can get it.

I didn't mean for this to become a book report about China, but it sort of happened that way. I really had that many China-related things bookmarked. You may be hearing a lot more about China since the next 3 books I'm scheduled to read all relate to it, so you might as well study up and get involved.

I'm Busy

watching Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet.

I've only just discovered it, while searching for anything with animals to entertain little kid, but what an intriguing, delightful show! These are neat little animals and the social aspect is fascinating.

I want a pack of Meerkats of my own now (in the backyard, not in the house.)

Monday, June 9, 2008


Scary Mommy tagged me, like a month ago. To anyone who has ever tagged me before, I'm sorry. Sometimes I don't know. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I look at the questions I'm supposed to answer and just sort of freeze. I just hardly ever end up doing them. So don't take it personally. But right now I'm bored, and unwilling to start the good post I lost over again, so here we go:

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Drugs. Ahhh, the good old days.

6 Non-important things/habits/quirks:
1. Whenever I get in bed I like to wiggle my legs all around and get all the cool off the sheets, even Mr. Ashley's side.
2. I like the sound of ice cubes melting in a glass. I think it's because it has to be pretty quiet to hear it, so whenever I do, I notice, and like it.
3. Just thinking about maple syrup makes me cringe. Gross.
4. I've been sky diving. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
5. I have never flashed my boobs to a crowd (and had oh-so-many opportunities, as well as nice boobs).
6. I hate, HATE mouth noises and the sound of snapping gum can send me into a rage.

Five Foods I Enjoy:
1. Coca-Cola. I don't think this is technically a food, but for me it is. It's a whole meal.
2. McDonalds. I know, it's going to kill me. It's comfort food though.
3. Pepperoni pizza, the big slices.
4. Hershey's Bar with almonds. Breakfast of champions.
5. Steak.

Things I Would Do If I Were a Billionaire:
1. Travel extensively
2. Get plastic surgery. Probably lots of it, why not.
3. Hire a fleet of nannies for little kid.
4. Move my hairdresser in to wash my hair, and provide good conversation, daily.
5. The Ashley's Closet Cruise. Not even kidding, I would so do this. Man, we would have fun!

Five Places I Have Lived:
1. Parents' houses (first on an island near here, then the house they have now)
2. Condo in Key Largo
3. Rat hole 1 bedroom apartment
4. Home Mr. Ashley and I bought on my 21st birthday
5. Here
(yeah, yeah, I know I did it wrong)

Five blogs I'm tagging:
The first five who do it. Post here if you have.

Out of Power

I just had a great post, mostly typed out, something that I knew you all would like...and then lightning hit and the power went off and I lost it!! AAAAAGH.

I don't have it in me to do it again. I had already been working on it for waaay too long. It was one of those things that was just taking me forever for some reason.

So instead I'm going to go research the tradition of Chinese foot binding.

Maybe I'll muster up enough energy to try again later.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hair Care

Ashley: I think it's time for little kid to get his first hair cut.

Big Kid: Why? He doesn't eben got any hair.

Ashley: Yeah, I know, but I think these two long pieces that he does have, that swoop out from behind each ear, make him look silly. He looks like he has a mullet or something.

Big Kid: His cuwls? Dose are his cuwls. You can't cut dose, he needs em.

Ashley: You think so? I think they look silly.

Big Kid: Nope, dey are cute. He needs em. He doesn't really eben have any udder hair. Don't cut it, not yet.

Public Indecency

People, we need to talk about nursing in public.

(Not the profession, we're talking about breastfeeding.)

I have recently heard yet another story about a waitress that asked a patron to stop nursing her child, and then actually attempted to cover the baby with a napkin or make the mother turn and face the wall.

Let's forget everything else for just a moment other than the basic rules of nature. NEVER, ever, ever, come into the personal space of a mother feeding her baby or do anything to disrupt that process. No matter what. If it's a cat with kittens, a dog with puppies, a bear with cubs,'s a primal thing, don't fuck with a mama feeding her babies. Period. End of story.

But, what if it is a human? And what if I can see her booby? Worse yet, what if my husband or son saw her boob? Bare boobies should only be in bathrooms, so if she needs to feed that baby that way, she needs to do it in the bathroom, right?

Wrong. If your husband or your son are so driven to distraction by a couple of inches of jiggly flesh with a baby hanging from it that they can't even eat...then they need to eat in the bathroom.

I will say that when I nursed in public, I covered with a blanket. This was more to protect the world from the sight of my muffin top, then it was to protect anyone from an accidental glimpse of breast. I will even go so far to say that if you were staring hard enough to catch that glimpse, I probably did society a favor by letting you get your fix in such a harmless manner.

I will also say that some babies don't put up with that blanket shit. And some moms just can't figure it out (tuck the corner of the blanket under your bra strap, pull the blanket across you, pull your shirt up and push the baby in there). little kid, surprise surprise, was not a fan of the blanket, so I would have to do an elaborate draping system to please him and still protect innocent bystanders from the great white mushroom cloud aka my post baby midriff.

So yes, in an ideal world, no one would be forced to endure the awkwardness of a mother nursing her infant. But sometimes, the world is a really hard place, and you just may be forced to avert your eyes or even worse...explain to your child what that lady is doing.

If it brings you any comfort at all, regardless of how cool and calm she appears, chances are she's as nervous and awkward as you are about it. She's just doing her job and trying to protect your tender ears from a shrieking baby. She's not trying to steal your husband or corrupt your children. She's not making a political statement. She's not challenging your own feeding choices. She's not trying to ruin your meal. She's not trying to cause any trouble.

She's feeding her baby.

So if you are ever out in public and you encounter such a situation, the best thing you could do would be to give her a slight smile and go about your business. If you have an impulse control problem, or are really so terribly embarrassed you can't handle yourself, feel free to quickly avert your eyes and/or remove yourself from this anxiety causing situation.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT approach the mother, especially with suggestions or a cover up. Doing so could result in bloody, gouged eyeballs and hordes of women teaming up to attack via email, news media, the internet, nurse-ins, etc. in order to protect the insulted mother.

You can go HERE to see some pictures of boobies, because I know you pervs are all mad that this post wasn't more boob-related. PLEASE make sure your husbands and sons don't see these images, they will instantly become sex hungry maniacs and it will be the downfall of society for them to see breasts being used as they were intended.

Now please, just go about your business, and stop being such freaks about this particular topic.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Is it just me or is there something sexy about Vince Vaughn? Even when he's fat.

I'm sure he's a total jerk and reeks of nasty cigarettes, but strangely, I think that's part of the appeal.

I liked him and Jennifer Aniston together. Don't get me started on her and this John Mayer thing. I don't get it. I think he's a man-whore and I don't even understand how or why he is able to be a man-whore, he reminds me of Edward Scissorhands. Look:


And not in a good way like Vince.