The Shiz My Izz Says

While I tuck her in:
"Mommy, can I have a kiss?
"Of course you can," I kiss her.
"Oh, Mommy, I love your kisses."
"I love your kisses too."
"Mommy you are my best friend."
"Awwww, that’s so sweet."
"Now Mommy get out of my bed. "

One afternoon, I see her crying:

"Izzy, why are you crying?"
"I’m not
"It’s okay to cry, I cried today."
"You cried?"
"Yeah, remember when you were in the shower with Daddy after you threw up and I sat on the toilet and cried?"
"You fell off the toilet?"
"No, I was worried about you because your tummy has been sick and that made me cry."
"Don’t be sad Mommy, it’s ok," she says and puts her arms around me.
Just then, my husband walks in.

"Dad, Mommy was crying because she fell off the potty."

After digging into the Halloween candy:

Me: You have a big chunk of sucker stuck to your shirt, let me get that.
Izz: No! I’m going to eat that.

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Separated at Birth?

Dreamwork's Megamind

Kmart's Mr. Bluelight

You decide.

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Wayz to Save the Planet

With the trend toward the Greening of everything, I wanted to share tips for saving the planet, Formerly Fun style.

If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down. If it's dirty, pretend it's purdy because Clorox bowl cleaner isn't good for the planet.

Change from standard light bulbs to CFLs(Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs), better yet, switch to candlelight, you'll look younger and more attractive in the warm, forgiving, flickering glow.

Institute a housewide one outfit for one week policy, enlist help of family-size bottle of FaBreeze.

Quit your job and eliminate commuting carbon emissions.

Support your local growers, buy your weed only from local, sustainable harvesters.

Traditional house cleaners are expensive and toxic, stop cleaning and embrace domestic dishevelment.

Cancel your expensive and wasteful electronic security system and invest in a 100% recycled material machete, a green gun or a personal Zombie.

Cut your shower time in half, masturbate in bed.

Cancel the gym membership and set your thermostat. Low in winter, shivering=exercise. Turn off the AC in summer, sweating reduces unsightly water weight gain.

Unplug large appliances like washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner when you're not using them, better yet, leave them unplugged all the time. Dishwasher is surprisingly efficient but paper plates are better.

This Halloween, forgo the standard cavity-inducing candy. Eschew giving away granola bars, popcorn balls or even pennies--too expensive. Instead, this Halloween, dish out a heaping spoonful of good advice. Kids will appreciate your gentle nudgings to floss more or eat their locally grown sustainable broccoli much more than they would ever enjoy that KitKat or delicious premium Dove chocolate.

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She's going to wake up because of the thunder and lightening. When she wakes up, she's going to get scared because we don't get storms where we live and she's not used to them. She's going to want me. She's going to remember I am sleeping downstairs. She, in all her self-reliance will come to me rather than cry for me. She will try to navigate the steep staircase in the dark and foggy with sleep she will fall, breaking her neck.

This is what my mind went over and over like fingers on a worry stone. It was 2am and I had to get up at 5am for a flight taking my husband and I on vacation, leaving my three young children with my mother and stepfather, in a house with stairs, and guns, and a lake, and boats and big hunting dogs, and no childproofing and a million other possible dangers that could get my heart thumping wildly in an instant.

I worried about the big kids too but at six and ten, I knew they could navigate those steps even half asleep. I knew they would call for me if they were too scared. I knew they followed the lake rules and I knew that the worst that would happen to them was dehydration or sugar overload induced barfing. But the baby was still vulnerable and too daring and sneaky.

My mind went back to the stair/storm scenario. The image of my two year old with her neck broken at the bottom of the stairs flashed graphically in my mind against my will and it was too much for me, I had to go check her.

I got out of bed slowly, trying not to disturb my husband. It was going to be bad enough with one of us exhausted the next day, two tired cranky people spelled argument. I walked the stairs noting each area that could spell instant disaster for a small foot missing a step. I found her snuggled with her big brother, bum to bum in the full sized guest bed. I took a deep breath, fully breathing in the improbability of my own anxiety.

I covered them both back up and peeked in my middle daughter, limbs akimbo in the king sized island of a bed with her great grandmother. I got myself a drink of water and quietly padded down the stairs, feeling myself relax a bit with each step. I settle in to bed and as I drift again, the storm picks up. I will my mind to quiet down and let me find sleep.

I would like to say that having checked on the baby, I was able to nestle down and drift into dreamland. Rather, my night included five more identical trips up the stairs to check on her before relenting to my impulse to grab a comforter and go sleep on the floor in her room ready to intercept her should she awake. I think they have a pill for this, thank god it does not hit me often.

Combatting Anxiety With Affirmations

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Where Were You

I was sitting in a beautiful, old hotel in Portland, Oregon on that strange and sad day. My habit when on the road working was to leave the television on to help me sleep. So when I woke up that Tuesday morning I thought it was a movie that I was watching on the screen, I must have left the channel on HBO, I thought. Then I changed the channel looking for some local news and almost every channel had the same images, over and over. I watched in disbelief, this could not be real and yet it was. I was stuck in Portland, all the planes were grounded. I wanted to be home. Not my southern California apartment but home, back in Wisconsin with my mom and the rest of my family.

My hotel phone rang. "Do you have your tv on?" asked my boss who was in a room at the same hotel one floor down.
"Yes," I answered shakily.
"Are you ok?" he asked.
"I think so, I don't know, I don't want to be here."
"Me either."
"Have you spoken to Lisa?"(his wife and a flight attendant)
"Yes, she wants me to come home."

The executive coffee suite was on my floor, just around the corner from my room. I didn't bother to get dressed but put a hotel robe on and wandered out to get a cup of coffee. The room had coffee and bakery, chairs, couches and work desks and the room was filled with business people who didn't want to watch these events unfold alone.

My boss came in, got a coffee and we went back to my room and sat on the edge of the bed watching for another hour trying to figure out what we do next. We had meetings and sales presentations planned at the Portland radio/tv stations. None of which could happen today given the events. You can't call people and ask them to come to a tv pitch meeting when they had just watched people throw themselves from a burning building.

We went to our clients offices. We watched the ten plus monitors in their newsroom with feeds from all over the country. We were overloaded with images and talking heads. Some of us cried, some of us didn't. I chewed my fingernails down to the nubs, something I hadn't done since I was seven, the year my parents got divorced.

We were still there working when they tentatively opened the airspace to some craft, though not regular commercial flights yet. I was on my computer in an empty boardroom working. The boardroom had a big open skylight and when a plane flew overhead I gasped and covered my head. The skies had been busy with air traffic in the days before that day, then nothing. The sound of an aircraft ahead after all that quiet was jarring.

Finally, I got to go home.

Travelling got much more difficult after that. You had to go much earlier, everything took longer, everyone was nervous, hostile, paranoid, nobody wanted to make a mistake. Those first few weeks after the planes resumed normal-ish flights, the bulk of the people on them were business travellers who had to fly and people finally making their way home after being stranded somewhere else.

It was fucking grim. Nobody said much, everyone still looked shell shocked. It didn't get much better from there. All of a sudden no boxcutters(not a problem for most people), we had to take our shoes off, much more extensive searches, sometimes inappropriate searches, watch lists, mothers not being allowed to bring their own breast milk, it got really weird there for awhile. I remember stopping to eat lunch during a layover. The only thing they had was Chili's and I had a two hour wait so I sat down and looked over the menu. When the waitress came, she informed me of the few choices that were available. Why just these I asked. They had stopped serving anything off the menu that might require a knife, even a plastic knife.

On September 11, 2001, my husband and I had not yet met. We have since shared with each other, as I'm sure many people have, exactly what we were doing on that particular day. I don't know anyone who doesn't remember. It's odd for me to think that I can talk to nearly anyone and we can place ourselves exactly where we were at the very same moment in time.

Those events have come and gone. The visceral anguish is gone for most. The open wound has faded to leave in it's place an angry, red, raised scar.

No one left that morning thinking they would not have the afternoon or evening. No one kissed their children aware that it was the last time. People rushed out the door, to work or school as they did every other Tuesday, unaware that this day would be wholly different.

For my son, today is a history lesson, a day to wear red, white and blue, a careful conversation with parents and teachers. For my husband and I, it is a reminder to cherish every moment of every day, to make sure to always say I love you and never leave angry because you never know when it is going to be your day.

*Originally posted 9/11/08

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Home Improv-ment

Things my husband should divorce me for:

We were inexplicably watching some awful reality show together. If I am remembering correctly, the tv was on that channel and we were both too lazy to look for the clicker. As an aside, do you call it the clicker or the remote? Is that a regional thing? When I moved to California, my friends would make fun of me for asking to stop at the Time Machine on our way out.

"What are you going to go back in time and stop yourself from buying those jeans again?"

"Looking for your boyfriend Scott Bakula?"

Yeah, ha, ha, ha. When I was growing up in Wisconsin, the company that owned most of the ATMs was named Tyme, hence people would say "I need to stop at a Tyme machine."

Anyhow, back to the awful reality show. It's about some Vegas pool party schizz and there were these two Guidos picking up on their servers. They were pretty douchy but in really good shape. My husband noticed and said,
"these guys clearly have no kids or high stress job if they have time to stay in that kind of shape. I'd love to have a fraction of those muscles."
"Yeah me too."


"No, I meant me, I would like to have some of those muscles, not you.

"Whatever, I guess I won't be having dessert."

Then this weekend we were talking about replacing our carpet with hardwood floors because we have three animals and pissy carpet. My husband wants to do it himself and I am afraid of having to live with floors that look like we did them ourselves. Plus, I am allergic to physical labour of this sort and I am pretty sure I would have to be his ass-istant on this one. So I was trying to convince him to hire someone to do the work or at least let me pay one of my client's husbands who does hardwood floors to walk us thru the installation.

"Honey, I can do this myself, what are you worried about?"

I then proceed to laundry list every fail or semi-fail we've had on the diy projects. Note to wives, this is apparently tantamount to your husband commenting that your ass is getting fat because I hurt my man's feelings. Then I top it off with the kicker, slipped out of my mouth before I even thought about it.

"Honey, you're no Mike Holmes."

The silence was deafening. Of course there was only one way out of this one,

"I mean with home improvement of course, I mean come on honey, it's Mike Holmes. But when Mike Holmes goes home and doinks his wife every night, you know what she says to him? Pretty good honey, but you're no Mr. FormelyFun."

I am a bad wife.

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Top Things I Learned from the Real Housewives

From the Orange County Crew:

1. It's okay to wear $800 shoes even if you can't pay your rent.
2. Talking to your girlfriends about your marital problems rather than your husband is a much better way to resolve them.
3. The best way to bond with your kids is smoking pot or downing tequila shots.
4. When you have had a rough year with your husband, the best way to renew your commitment to being married isn't counseling or commitment, it's a tattoo of his name on your finger or a lavish vow renewal ceremony and presents.
5.Eviction notices are no reason to stop shopping, in fact, shopping might be the best way to feel better about the cardboard box you are about to live in.
6.It's good to be conscious about the environment. The best way? Recycle boyfriends.
7.Crafting might make you a millionaire.
8.Always look like an aging Las Vegas tranny showgirl. Always.
9Your underage kids showing up at your work party drunk is no reason to go home.
10.Working out is a job.

From the New York Girls:
1. Money can't buy you class but it can get a "spoken word" song produced.
2. It's perfectly normal to go on vacation with people you can't stand.
3. When you don't want to hear uncomfortable truths, just keep saying "zip it" in people's faces.
4. Deranged is the new black.
5. Gossiping IS a job.
6. Posing for nude pictures for your husband is whorish but spreading your "Betty" for Playboy is classy.
7. When the going gets tough, the tough buy seemingly endless amounts of high ticket luxury goods.
8. Husbands are one part drama fodder, two parts cash machine.
9. Insist that the help always call you by your most formal name or title.
10.The USDA pyramid actually looks something like this:
Collagen Silicone
Prescription Drugs
From the Jersey Housewives:
1. If you go to a child's cancer fundraiser with a bunch of uninvited mob bruisers and Hell's Angels(whom you have not bought tickets for), and you are not welcomed warmly, someone is out to get you.
2. It's normal for parents to spend thousands of dollars on clothes for little girls, tens of thousands on a birthday party and then declare bankruptcy hoping to skirt over $11 million in debt.
3. They're called bubbies, not breasts.
4. Stripper car washes will be bigger than the Ipad, just wait.
5. When the camera start rolling is the optimal time to go off your meds.
6. Delusion is a requirement and an art form that can always be elevated.
7. Infant christenings are the new weddings. What do you mean you don't have a DJ?
8.Never upstage your stage mom.
9.There is absolutely no irony in saying you're a nice girl while you deftly work a stripper pole.
10. If you join on as a RH, you get a jewelry line, a tell-all book, a cookbook, a parenting book, a gay club themed single or a sex-tape, your choice.

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He Said, She Said

On a Friday date night.

Him: What movie do you want to see?
Me: A-Team.
Him: You hate shoot 'em up action films, that's so sweet, you're doing it for me, awww..
Me: You and Liam Neeson, arrrrr(drooling.)


As husband leaves for business trip that Sunday

Me: Ok, I love you so much and just remember...
Him: Remember what?
Me: No whores.
Him: Uh, okay.
Me: And I hope you're plane doesn't go down.
Him: Thanks.
Me: But if it does, thanks in advance for the insurance money, that was awesome of you.
Him: And if it does go down, promise me you'll remarry, you can go after Liam Neeson.
Me: Aw, if you died, I'd have the perfect in, you know hey Liam we're both widowed, wanna
go see the A-Team?
Him: With your luck when my plane goes down, it will land right on Liam Neeson's house.
Me: That would be so sad for me and Liam.

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Dropping the Kids Off at the Pool, and That is Not a Euphamism For Anything

Ah, summer vacation is almost here. I have been all aflutter trying to plan daycare as needed and activities that keep the summer from becoming a three month Spongebob marathon. My husband and I are dropping the kids off in Wisconsin with my parents and then we are going to spend eight days in New England.

Funny story, or maybe sad depending on how you look at it.... Gene and I decided on Boston as our point of entry into the Northeast. Neither of us had been further than New York and the two hour, reasonably priced flight from Milwaukee clinched it. In spite of my tremendous failings in geography, I knew that from Boston, we might be able to visit several surrounding states. I kept typing Boston and Maine and Rhode Island into Google, hoping to get some ideas of proximity so that we could see as much as possible without spending too much time getting there rather than being there. So New England kept coming up and I thought, yes, we should go there too.

You are not reading this wrong, I thought New England was it's own local, separate from Boston and Maine and Rhode Island. I didn't think it was a state exactly, perhaps a city in one of the states or something vaguely ambiguous like how Washington DC is neither part of Maryland or Virginia. Of course I am the same girl who sophomore year of highschool raised her hand to correct the teacher that Washington DC was in fact the capital city of Washington the state. Thankfully I mentally put together that they were on separate ends of the country before I was called upon.

The best part is that when I asked my husband what and where New England was, certain that I had to be the only one lacking some fundamental US geography knowledge, he had a correct notion of the where but thought it was a state. I felt vindicated because my husband is a very smart man with a Master's degree. He however, was not all together happy with me outing his lack of knowledge on all thing Nor'easterly, and used his birth in California as well as the fact that his master's is not in geography as an explanation for said lack of knowledge. I also blame my misinformation on the New England Patriots. I think that a region getting to put their name on a football team that is based in Massachusetts is unnecessarily confusing for map moron's like myself.

Anyhow, I would like to once again thank Wikipedia for correcting the severe gaps in my public school education.*

*Don't email me angry teachers, I am using public school as the scapegoat for my own academic failings. Truthfully, I was probably outside around back smoking cigarettes during this particular lesson.

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Never give up, never surrender!

Listen to me.

Yes, I'm talking to you.

That was, totally, uncool.

There I was, face up, laying on the just made bed contemplating which part of my to do list I was going to tackle first. I was staring up at the lazily spinning ceiling fan, not really looking at anything, just silently thinking when you dropped from the fan and landed right in my face, smack between the eyes.

Seriously, that was so uncool.

What happened next is a bit of a blur but involves me yelling for my husband, and shaking my head more vigorously than a fifteen year old boy at a Slayer concert circa 1992. There was a bit of keening followed by a three minute attack of severe heebie jeebies. The worst part was I still didn't know what had fallen on me and where it was.

Then I saw you lollygagging about on my comforter.
We have nurtured an uneasy truce in the past, you and I, but I have no choice but to view this as an all out declaration of war. Sure you and yours have already sustained some casualties but I've told you, you get free run of the bathroom from midnight to six am, rest of the time it's mine and if I see you, you got a date with a sizable wad of toilet paper. I refuse to call an exterminator, I won't make someone else do my bidding and truthfully, I'm phobic about chemicals. But seriously, if you can base jump on my face with impunity, just skulk with one eye open from now on and watch out for my fucking foot.

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Bite Me Electrolux and Shame on You Kelly Ripa

Have you seen any of the Electrolux commercials with Kelly Ripa? You know, the ones where she manages her high pressure job(s), makes cupcakes, has a dinner party, washes, folds and puts away clothes, makes chocolate strawberries, hosts a sleepover and a birthday party for a dog... all set to the Bewitched theme.

The commercials that command you to "be more amazing!"

Am I the only one who sees these as a giant feminist backlash?

One of the biggest wrong turns women ever took was making the work we do appear effortless. I say appear because any woman or man who has done the work that is traditionally seen as female, knows it is anything but effortless. I have also read several studies that show the mechanization of housework with the inventions and technological improvements of appliances increased, not decreased the amount of housework that women do in part because it raised expectations. For me, showing Kelly Ripa, a woman who probably works no fewer than 50 hours a week and has multileveled staff to help her manage her responsibilities, effortlessly managing her household is a crock of poo fondue. I would be very surprised if she didn't have a full-time housekeeper, maybe two. And seriously, I'm not saying she shouldn't, I'm guessing she juggles about twenty dozen more important things than I do. I am saying that when a high profile woman like this tells us that we need to "be more amazing" then we are doing it wrong. We are priming the pump of motherhood for depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, isolation, et. al..

So Kelly Ripa, keep making your chocolate strawberries and being "more amazing," I'll be over here yelling at my kids and looking at my pile of laundry. Oh and Electrolux? If you want my hard earned dollars spent on your over-priced hunks of steel and plastic, how about showing a man using them?

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I Should Be Folding Laundry or Woe is Me

I have been writing, just not here. I have been putting my busy little fingers to the keyboard and punching out my would be book about life as a brazilian waxer . All of my favorite stories that I've held back because they were good enough, funny enough to maybe be published. It was so smooth, it was coming out so easy. I put together my chapters with titles in an hour of deep thought in the passenger seat of my minivan driving with the husband to drop the kids off at Grandma's. I roughed out five chapters in the following five days. I had the rest outlined in another two days. All of a sudden, I had three chapters at what I would call ready. It was coming out so easy that it felt serendipitous, like this was when it was supposed to happen.

Then my computer lost power in the middle of working on it two weeks ago. I had continually saved so I didn't worry if I lost the last edit I did. Except when I went to open my document the next morning, the file was 9 pages of number signs instead of 50 pages of words. I called my software engineer husband, hoping there was an easy fix. He turned around on his way to work after dropping off our daughter to come rescue me. No such luck. Somehow, the file was hopelessly corrupted. There were no recent temporary versions, he could not repair the original file and a three day search of the hard drive offered nothing. And of course, although my fingers clicked control-S about every two minutes without thinking, I had not saved another copy somewhere else in days. I had been too productive to think to back up my work somewhere else.

I had one copy that held my first 20 pages, all of my outlines but more than half of my work was gone. There were a lot of tears, too many what ifs and profound disappointment when my husband could not undo my mistake.

So here I am, two weeks later. I'm done crying about it. The good thing is although I lost a lot of work, these are stories I know, I can do the work again. My problem is, this thing that was pouring out of me so beautifully, now feels like work. It is tinged by disappointment, the stress around it has made it unfun. I keep opening it, hoping it will comeback, that feeling I had before it exploded. How do you get that back?

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Get Your Mouth Off That

So apparently a bunch of little girls have contracted salmonella from kissing frogs. Thank you Walt Disney. Come on girls, kissing frogs is a metaphor. Not like when mommy says you are making her crazy, that's hyperbole. Or when your parents tell you you're a crybaby that's just honesty. Now, I don't want to minimize the potential dangers of salmonella but girls, FormerlyFun spent a good 15+ years in the dating world and there are way worse things you could have caught than a little dating diarrhea. Take it as a cautionary tale of a cautionary tale, get yourself some yogurt, stay hydrated and when your freshman boyfriend suggests you go under the bleachers(another metaphor), remember what happens when you put things in your mouth.

Great Information about Health & Nutrition

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Ohm, Have You Seen My Chakra?

Have you ever read the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary? I read it somewhere around the age of seven or eight and to this day, I remember portions of it vividly. I also recall laughing so hard during quiet reading time that my teacher threatened to send me out of the room. There is nothing like being told to stop laughing that makes it even more difficult to stop laughing. In one of the books Ramona, at the time a spirited kindergartner, is told by her teacher to "sit here for the present." Of course the teacher means only that she take a seat temporarily. For Ramona, excitement ensues when she contemplates this unknown present she will be receiving, then of course, confusion when the day ends without her getting the promised gift.

I had much the same feeling yesterday when I sat in my first Zen Buddhist meditation orientation. The Zen master said "be present in each moment" and I imagine myself, nestled in a box, limbs folded on themselves, wrapped in brightly colored paper with an iridescent cellophane bow festooning my head. Biting the side of my cheek, I realized I am probably as immature and easily humored now as I was at eight. "Be present in each moment," the Master urged us. The promise being that if I sit here with my legs folded, being still(adult Buddhisty word for quiet and not at all fidgety)I will get rewarded with the thirty-something mom version of Disneyland: calmness, acceptance, enlightenment, a clean refrigerator and organized mind.

Some meditations ask that you clear your mind of thought. The goal of this particular meditation was to focus on your breath allowing the thoughts to come as they will, acknowledge them, and then return to the breath. The problem with doing this, this being conscious of your internal voice is that you notice what a neurotic little chatter bug you are.

Ok, close your eyes. Keep them closed, don't get distracted. Hmm, I smell perfume. Is that Aqua Di Gio? Oh, I don't like that smell, definitely hate it. Still, it is better than Patchouli and armpit which is what I expected half these hippy types to smell like. Hippy types? What am I, my eighty year old Grandpa? I do like sandalwood though, used sparingly. You know what I should do when I get home is make more of those homemade essential oil laundry sheets. Maybe I should give those to people for Christmas, wait that's right Gene and I decided no more consumer Christmas, icknay of the gift-ay, but does a homemade gift really promote consumerism? Probably because someone might feel they needed to get you something in return. Wait I'm supposed to be focusing or not focusing or focusing on breathing, wait how did I get to dryer sheets? What is wrong with me? You know I should really give my internal voice an Australian accent or something just to spice things up a bit.

This is just a small snippet of my stream of consciousness, I could write another fifteen paragraphs but believe me, it doesn't get any more interesting than that. I'm told it gets easier to shut off this dialogue, the internal equivalent of what crazy people say out loud. It would be helpful to eliminate the negative chatter of you shoulds, you shouldn'ts or any of the other tracks that keep me from being the me that is free of all that. Still, I would miss the neurotic girl who's head is full of stories, impressions--she has a good vocabulary, makes me laugh, keeps me company and tells me it's ok to buy more shoes so she can't be all bad.

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What I Learned About Women From Vintage Advertising

If you drive a Maserati, a pretty woman would like nothing more than to hold your shaft and give you...a driving lesson.

See the one that's winking at you? She's winking because she's gonna give you the herps and then use that pistol to steal your wallet. Be warned fellas, girls with spiders in their lady business wink a lot.

I'm not exactly sure what they are selling here. Plate collecting? Mousse? Fear of brazilian waxing? Retro-crotch? Merkins?

Santa is a perv and perhaps a stocking fetishist.

InsetDo you want to know that this guy is thinking about how to get more innovative with crotchless panties? Frederick's of Hollywood was wise to drop Mr. Frederick from their ad copy. Looks too much like a FBI Wanted Poster picture.

This is what happens to cougars?

The ad copy reads

"...After one look at his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her...If you'd like your own doll to doll carpeting, hunt up a pair of these He-Man Mr. Leggs slacks."

This ad tells me that if you have fancy pants it's ok to stand on a pretty lady's head.

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This Should be Fun, or Humiliating or at Least a Book Review

One of my clients has a son the same age as mine so we trade stories and notes and suggestions. A few weeks ago she told me that her and her husband had embarked on the detailed where babies come from discussion. I immediately started thinking that perhaps my husband and I were behind the ball on this one. I asked how it went.

"Oh, not good", she told me, "not at all good."

Apparently this gentle parent-child conversation about the miracles of life had ended with her nine year old son in tears, yep, crying, big, wet, messy nine year old boy tears saying something along the lines of "Daddy does that to you ?" in disbelief and confusion.

So, needless to say, I am a wee bit gun shy about telling my son that yes, Daddy gives me a back rub and begs until I let him put his pizza* in my oven(and sometimes my microwave) and then we watch another episode of Six Feet Under until we fall asleep.

Then I remembered one of my all time favorite books, discovered at my cousin's house so many years ago.

Does this ring a bell for any of you??
This is the book that explains an orgasm to kids, so, uh, reading this with my nine year old should be a lot of fun for everyone.

It feels like a sneeze but much better, and if Daddy's feeling generous, you might get four or five"sneezes".
My husband and I do not look like that. He has hair on his head and I wax. Oh and for accuracy kids, Daddy's way too tall to have sex in the bathtub. We actually look a lot more like this.
Nothing screams intimacy and tenderness like bubble wrap thigh highs on a man.

Unless you're Daddy.

I ordered the puberty version. I figured I'd give Where Did I Come from a chance to sink in before springing puberty on him.

Can't wait to hear what he tells his friends.

*I actually told the bebe that Daddy has a pizza rather than a penis since she is all about the tmi right now. I figured this would avoid an embarrassing mishap at places like the grocery store and bank. Now if she tells the teller that I was eating Daddy's pizza, the teller will just think my husband likes to cook traditional southern Italian food. When she's older, I will tell her the truth, that that is where jewelry comes from.

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Image Entendre

My nine year old just recently began to clamor for use of the computer for looking up things for school. Because neither Gene nor myself have Safesearch, this usually entails searching for him with the monitor hidden from his view until we can confirm there isn't some manner of inappropriateness lurking for his tender eyes. Lest you think I am being over-cautious, let's just remember that Google search algorithms don't always give you what you're after.

Potentially Innocuous but Dangerous Google Image Searches
apple pie...very good
cherry pie...not so good

melons...not fine

tea bag...very bad

babe-very bad

girl taco...not at all ok

two girls and a pup....awwwww
two girls and a cup...ick

groomed cat...okay
shaved kitty...definitely not okay

spanking...not good

X-mas...surprisingly not ok

tickle...not ok
wrestle...still not ok
canoodle...again not ok
lallygag...surprisingly ok
lollipop...mostly ok
sucker...very bad

snake in its natural habitat...still fine
grass snake...fine
snake in the grass...disappointingly fine

ned flanders...fine
ned flanders porn...predictably not okay and a little creepy

tattle tale...ok
bad girl...very bad

salami...surprisingly still fine
wiener...not at all good

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Sunday Holmes

Ode to Mike Holmes(the Canadian professional contractor not the ice hockey player)Oh Mike, you brawny, blonde, chiseled charmer, you Adonis of abodes, you domicile dreamboat. In my fantasy, you walk through my front door in your coveralls and steel-toed boots. You look around and then pull me into your arms and tell me it's all going to be okay. Then you go to town......noticing the way the crown molding ends abruptly without the correct finishing pieces. I show you how big chunks of the bathroom tile was never grouted properly. You use words like vapor barrier, code, standards, shoddy and I think I am going to explode on the spot from the size of...the job. Then you tell me it's going to be alright, you are going to fix everything. Then you pull out your big tool......belt, and you get started. You rip out stuff and then you put it back right. You finish things the way a girl ought to have things finished.


My husband and I bought our house from people who had made lovely cosmetic upgrades but either did much of the work themselves or used substandard contractors because corners were cut. Gene and I watch Holmes on Homes whenever we can and can I just say, he is everything that is right about Canada. He is a craftsman of the highest order. This morning while we watched the show, I cautiously told my husband that I was developing "feelings" for Mike Holmes.

Me: I think I have a crush on him, is that ok?

Gene: Honey, even I have a crush on Mike Holmes, it's okay.

So Mike, if a google alert makes it's way to your inbox and you read this, my husband and I decided that if you were to ever make me an indecent proposal, I could heartily accept. We don't even need the million dollars, but I can accept only on the condition that you give our house a good once over.

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I Fell Asleep Beneath the Flowers For a Couple of Hours On a Beautiful Day

I am an extroverted introvert who has always enjoyed the space inside my head. I have frequently said I could be relatively content in prison given time to myself, books and maybe a sundry of art supplies. Oh, and freedom from random shiv shanking. My husband has told me more than once that this ability to withstand confinement coupled with the fact that I watch so much Forensic Files scares him a little. Just don't do anything bad I tell him, and you don't have anything to worry about. Sure, I'd miss the outside world but my imagination would make a fine companion for ten to life.

I grew up an only child and an avid daydreamer. Stacks of books took me far past the borders of the city where I grew up. Books gave me the pieces to build upon. When I was young, most of my daydreams took on different forms of wish fulfillment. I was a jet-set fashion designer, a symphony conductor, a foreign double agent and even a ballerina, never mind I'm only five foot tall. I was Karen Von Blixen on a coffee plantation in Kenya, going on safaris, learning to use a gun. I was the muse Kira from Xanadu skating figure eights in my basement, the soundtrack booming from my giant 1980s boombox. I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins, Francie struggling for a better life in Brooklyn.

Many of my reveries wreaked of the dramatic. I was never very graceful but I can sing so many of my fantasies were my own little musicals, put on in my bedroom for no one else but me, and maybe a reliably unimpressed house cat. Think one part theater, one part the Judy Miller Show. Put on the soundtrack to Evita and I was Eva atop a balcony addressing the little people. I think I wore clear through my vinyl copy of the Grease soundtrack. I would tease my hair, put on slutty clothes pilfered from my moms closet, slip on my red Candies and stand in front of my mirror with one of my mom's unlit Winston lights dangling from my lips. Tell me about it stud. True to girly-girl form, every daydream had an accompanying outfit.

Once in awhile, someone else was let into this usually personal reverie. Ask my cousin about the impromptu operas I performed for her. Scarves tied to our heads babushka style, I'd sing/talk about being taken from our parents in Russia(no we're not Russian) and being forced to be slaves of a prince, or labourers in a work camp. I'd see the expression on her face at first was one of skepticism and mild embarrassment but it quickly turned in to full scale buy-in as she tightened her babushka and lamented with me about the mother country. I think my mom might have made me watch Doctor Zhivago one too many times. Even as we got older and the “operas” stopped, she'd still call me a couple of times a week at bedtime and make me sing to her over the telephone until she fell asleep. I guess that could be considered a delayed standing ovation.

Now that I'm older with a husband, three kids, two cats, one dog, a mortgage, a small business and more, many of my daydreams have been replaced by anxiety dreams. Daydreaming as a child was probably the result of plenty of time on my hands and an active imagination. My adult anxiety thoughts are no doubt the result of not enough time on my hands and that same active imagination. Now I worry less about the monsters under my bed and more about the dust mites. Did I leave the wax warmer on when I left the spa? Is it burning down at this moment, the fire trucks littering the street to hose down the inferno. A florist five businesses down got held up at gunpoint a year ago. I wonder what if they had hit my spa and found me and my massage therapist instead of a doughy, overweight gay bear peddling petals? Are my children getting enough DHA, Omega 3s? I hope that toy the bebe is chewing on doesn't have lead in it, damn the grandparents and their Big Lots, Chinese imported, lead ridden, foot gouging, room cluttering, car littering crap.

Thanks to 9/11, the fact that our house is in a relatively busy airport pattern, and probably too many Donnie Darko/Weeds viewings, I have visions of planes careening through our roof. I worry about my husband being hit and smushed accordion style in the crazy L.A. rush hour traffic. I follow a truck with steel pipes battened in and I ponder decapitation by steel pipe before switching lanes. I think about people breaking into my house and taking my children, Darfur, unequal education opportunities, poverty, peacekeeping, climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem losses, oceanic dead zones, child sex rings and world hunger. Don't get me wrong, I don't obsess and I'm not at the point where my anxiety requires medication, well more medication. It's just that I have so much now that I have so much to lose. The dangers of the real world are so much scarier than the stuff that worried me as a kid.

Now my wish fulfillment daydreams are saved for my frequent bouts of insomnia. As my husband lay next to me, still save for his rhythmic breathing, and the kids are safely tucked into their beds, and the dog lays on her cushion in the corner of our room and the cats are curled up on any one of the beds of my children, this is when I feel calm enough to dream bigger. I'm not Sandi or Francie or Ludmila anymore but I do see myself doing the things I hope one day I will. I see myself travelling around the world with my husband. I see a time in the future where I have some time to myself again, time to read, to draw, to meander through a day with nothing to do. I see my children grown and healthy, happy living their own lives, being their own people. I see myself holding my grandchildren, released from the responsibility of raising them right, free to spoil them relentlessly to my children's chagrin. I see myself a few years from now, walking up to a podium at a small bookstore to give a reading. I see my husband and I, hitting each milestone in our life together, our relationship morphing to fit the changes in our lives. I see myself calmer, mellowed with age, wizened with experience, though I'm pretty sure I will always avoid those giant steel pipe carrying trucks.

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Madmen Indeed

"Lollipops Bubble Duds, Mother-Daughter Favorites" -because there is nothing daughters like better than to wear the same underwear as their mom. I don't know about you but swinging with my mom in our undies is one of the special times I remember most.

The message of this ad is pretty clear to me. Boys in bubbles love biscuits. Now try saying that quick five times.

Ok, this one is for the married ladies. If perchance you still wore stockings, or substitute something else more modernly worn, would your husband ever look at you the way her husband is, with disdain over your run. He's eyeing her suspiciously like her shabby stockings are an indication of her inclination toward communism. The best I can get my husband to notice is if I have gone from blonde to brunette or actually have a boob hanging out.
Ahh, the good old days.

Ladies, are you ready for the gun show?? Meow.

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If I Knew You Were Gay I'd A Baked A Cake

Click here for newest post on the Birds and the Bees FormerlyFun style


My daughter Clare just turned six. We asked her what she wanted for her birthday.

Me and Husband: So what do you want for your birthday?

Clare: Uh, uh....... Louie.(Our fat grey cat)

Me: You want another cat?

Clare: Uh-huh.

Me: No more animals, mommy can't take it.

Clare: No, a stuffed Louie.

Husband: You want us to stuff Louie? Ok, hold on let me go get him.

Clare: Noooooo! I want a stuffed animal that looks like Louie.

Me: Okay, well that's more reasonable. What else.

Clare: You know what I like, rainbows, kitties, fairies, cupcakes.....(at this point she enters her "happy place" in her head for a few minutes no doubt imagining this place that has rainbows and kittycats and fairies and cupcakes.) We wait for her when she does this. It happens. A lot.

(5 minutes later she's back)

Me: I can't really get you a rainbow and we have reached our houses 1700 square feet fairy maximum, how about something a bit more tangible.

So she tests the waters.

Clare: Well, uh, you could get me a Bratz doll?

Me: No, because Mommy doesn't want you to be a whore. (I think I said this in my head)
You know how I feel about Bratz dolls, if you still want one when you graduate college, I'll buy you one then.

Clare: Fine, markers.

Me: Good, that's something I can work with.

Clare: I mean lotsa markers, a lot, of you know, markers.

Me: I think I can make that happen.

So I try to find a stuffed cat that resembles our pet Lou who is dark grey. Funny enough there are lots of white cats with pink noses and blue eyes but dark grey in the toy market is almost nonexistent.

I manage to find a grey Webkinz cat on Ebay and low ball on three of them hoping I'll get one.

Guess what? Clare got triplets by accident and if I would have known in advance the reaction, I would have done it on purpose because each subsequent cat after the first elicited more squealing until the glass in our kitchen cabinets just shattered.

Getting her a rainbow was more difficult, none on Ebay to speak of. So I thought and thought and finally came up with this.Yes, I am a golden god of cakery. It's got real fruit(raspberries, blood orange, lemon, lime, blueberries, blackberries) and real frosting made with butter(mmmmmm) and about 4 pounds of powdered sugar(mmmmm, diabetes). She was served what she thought was a big white blah cake, but when I cut the first piece for her, rather than more squeals, there was just a hush.

Mom, this is the best cake ever. Even the adults were blown away by the sheer novelty. And it wasn't that hard.

So if you are coming out and you want to mark the occasion with the right amount of festiveness. Or you want a non-confrontational, foodie way to tell your gay teenager, mom and dad are cool with it, this is the cake.


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