Friday, August 29, 2008

I cannot sew a line

It's kind of a crappy day out here on the East coast. We have a fine constant mist that turns into a light shower and back into fine mist. Maybe it's the atmospheric pressure which is giving me such a headache.

School's in, summer's done, time for fall. The grocery stores have already begun to stock Halloween candy and the kids are deciding on their halloween costumes. This year I will not be able to get away with recycling their old costumes. This year they want new ones and they want me to make them.

What the hell is wrong with these children? Does this blog say Random Arts and Crafts? Do I look like Martha Stewart? See the angry pig shake it's piggy head. I blame this completely and entirely on a friend of ours who I shall call PIMA, short for pain in my ass. She likes arts and crafts stuff. She scrapbooks beautiful photo albums with lovely captions and swirly heart thingies. She makes homemade chocolate lollipops, with color too. She knits sweaters and shawls and can even sew patterns to make dresses. She cooks and bakes and takes her kids to fun places even without them begging to go somewhere because they are bored. Seriously, I hate her. In fact when I see her, cause Oldest is best friends with her oldest, I tell her to her face, "You know I hate you, right." She laughs. I laugh. I picture running her over with my van. I laugh again. Etc.

So apparently, last year she made a fantastic fairy costume for her daughter and this really cool Tide detergent box costume for her son. Both won costume awards at the Halloween party. This year Oldest and Angus have come to me with serious faces and announced that I will be making their Halloween costumes this year, bringing Youngest along to nod emphatically in agreement.

"That's crazy talk. There is no way I am making you costumes!" I say. "I can't even sew a button, or a hole in your clothes."

"You can learn to do it!" Angus says. "You watch that sewing show all the time?" (She means Project Runway.)

"I'm terrible at sewing. You all know this! You've seen me sew. I'm really terrible. I do crooked seams. I stick myself all over. I can't even cut straight. Do you really want the worst Halloween costumes in the school?"

The three of them caucus together.

"She's right, she is a terrible sewer." Oldest says. "She always waits for grandma to come visit and then gives her all our clothes with holes in them to sew.

Angus giggles, "Remember when she had to sew a hole in your rabbit and she got it all bloody from sticking the needle in her finger a 100 times?"

They laugh. "Bloody rabbit!"

"I want to be a vampire!" Youngest chimes in.

"Well then it doesn't matter if her costume gets bloody," Oldest says.

"Yeah and we want to be witches and that's just black," Angus says.

They turn back to me.

"So we decided that you can make a vampire and 2 witch costumes for Halloween and it will be ok if you bleed all over them," Oldest says.

"Yeah cause blood will be cool!!!!" Angus says.

"But you gotta make them otherwise we can't enter in the original costume contest," Oldest continues.

"There is no way I am making 3 costumes!" I shout.

All 3 of them stare at me. "But Sara's Mom makes Sara and her brother costumes every year. And they win every year!" Sara's Mom is PIMA - who I hate.

"Yeah and even Matt's Mom makes him costumes too!"

"And so does Meg and Kate and Sam and ...."


The sudden silence is depressing as the girls stare with disappointed eyes at me.

"Sheesh! So sorry I'm not as good as Sara's Mom, why don't you ask her to make your costumes!" I say peevishly.

"Great idea!" Angus says. "Come on let's go call her." They turn and head for the phone.

"No NO No! Come back here. I was kidding. Don't ask her. Fine. You win. I'll make them!"

"HURRAY!" They all say as they pile over and give me big hugs and kisses. "We just know you'll do a great job and we will win this year!!!!"

As they run off, I bask in the warm glow of their completely misplaced belief in me and I think "WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?!!!!!"

So do you think if I hire a tailor to make their costumes, it still counts as original homemade?

Monday, August 25, 2008


Most of my friends would jump at the chance to tell people how weird I am. Da man and the girls all think I'm bizarre. Not quirky. No. Never quirky. Quirky is that oddball you know who wears long dangling earrings with pretty flowerly peasant skirts and high tops who sings kumbaya and talks in that new agey way that always makes you think they were sniffing alot of glue along with their artsy fartsy crafty projects. No that is not me. I'm the weird mom that likes to tell her kids in a very serious voice that they shouldn't panic because a bug is crawling up their pants leg and then laughs uproariously with the ensuing panic. I'm the weirdo that puts a ripe red cherry in my mouth and pretends to punch myself, then biting down on the cherry and allowing bright red juice to stream out.

So I'm weird. I embrace my weirdness.

Yesterday, I was in the bathroom and noticing the gray roots at the top of my head. Unfortunately, I have been prematurely graying since I was 16. Clairol is my best friend. But I hate to dye my hair too often so I have a neat little trick that I use. I buy myself some waterproof mascara in dark brown (sorry blondies, this trick can't help you) and touch up my roots with mascara. I find this very clever but my husband thinks it is absolutely bizarre. He walks in and watches me using mascara on my hair and just shakes his head.

"You do realize that it is for your eyes, right?" he says.

"Duh!" I reply.

"Well how do you know it is ok to use on your hair?" he asks.

I stop and just stare at him. "Because if it is safe for my eyes, the most sensitive part of my body, then it is more than safe for my hair, duh!"

"Yeah, you think you're so smart," he sneers. "I'm just saying, cause you seem to have a problem with using products in the proper manner. Like taking off your makeup with toilet paper."

"What? It's clean!"

"It's toilet paper! For your butt. You're disgusting!"

"I'm creative. You should be proud of my resourcefulness," I respond. "I am so very resourceful in ways you have no idea."

He stops short and just stares at me.

"Just how resourceful are you?" he asks suspiciously.

"Well, when you had that bad rash on your arm and chest and I gave you some of that funky smelling white creme to stop the itch. You never asked what it was," I say.

He looks alarmed.

"I'll give you a hint, it starts with an H," I say.

"You put butt creme on my arm?" He yells.

"Hey, what does it matter what I used as long as it stopped the itch?" I ask.

"That's just not right!" he says, stomping off.

Nah, I did not use preparation H on his rash, it was just hydrocortisone. But I just love freaking him out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy belated Bloggiversary to me!

Where the hell did the summer go? Seriously, I feel like it was only a week ago I was looking forward to the summer and now school starts next week. For both the kids and for me. So life has gotten hectic, as usual. Preparing the kids and myself for school. I spent all my free time on my manuscript and left my syllabus and assignment prep to the last minute, so guess who is hating life right now? Plus, trying to take off a few days to take the kids to all the fun places. Brother! I could shoot myself for procrastinating. Coupled with all those overeager, overanxious students who keep emailing me for an early copy of the syllabus. Sorry, I am so very lame this semester. You'll be lucky to get it first day of class at this rate!

So it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I would completely forget my own first blogiversary, which was August 4th. I have been known to forget my wedding anniversary and my own birthday at times. So I decided to post about my one year blog anniversary on the day of my 14th wedding anniversary. That way I only forgot one.

Happy anniversaries to me!

I shall leave you with another funnyism from my silly girls.

I took the girls to the Museum of Natural History the other day and we went to see the insect exhibition. The girls were absolutely disgusted to see huge centipedes, beetles and cockroaches. Although, being a New York city girl, those giant cockroaches were nothing compared to what I've seen in the subways.

So there is a little tunnel that you can crawl through and see stuff and then come out at the other side to a pretend house. The girls crawl out and come face to face with a breastfeeding mom and her baby. No not an exhibit. A real life lactating kind. And I kid you not. She had her breast completely hanging out for everyone to see as she is trying to get her baby to take her breast which the baby is refusing. First off, the museum was crowded. Secondly, she clearly didn't care that everyone could see her boobies. And she is right smack in front of the pretend house exhibit! I'm thinking, ok the kid doesn't want the tit right now, give it up before some lecherous old man takes you up on your offer instead!

So youngest comes out of the tunnel and comes face to face with the very large breast and immediately cries out.

"That nimple is bigger then that baby's head!" Yes, she is still mispronouncing nipple. Yes she seems to have mistaken nimple with breast.

Angus comes up right behind her and starts giggling madly. Oldest looks, rolls her eyes and says, "Oh great! I really didn't want to see that!"

The mom is smiling at youngest as I run and grab her to drag her away. But I am not fast enough as Youngest informs the mom to try chocolate milk instead. I finally steer them away. Angus keeps laughing and Oldest announces in her most weary voice, "I don't know what was worse, seeing gigantic disgusting centipedes or a gigantic disgusting breast! Couldn't she use a blanket or something? Gross!"

Head motion, eye rolling all with accompanying flicks of the hand. Oh boy! It starts! I thought I had a few more years before she morphed into an ugly teen. But apparently signs of it begin at 9.

I don't know if I'll survive 3 of them going through puberty all at once. Let the heavy drinking commence!!!!

The Best of Beaker

God I love these videos!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


You may have noticed I've not been around, again. Well, I have been feverishly working on my manuscript and it is final. I have begun the stress inducing querying process. I am a bit worried. Last year while I was quering my first WIP, my hair fell out in huge chunks (ok there were other things going on too, can't just blame querying). Here's to hoping I don't find it as stressful this time around.

One funny thing though. One of my wonderful, fabulous, marvelous, beta readers suggested that I needed to include a funny story for a character who didn't have much distinguishing characteristics. So... I added a fart story. It seemed the most natural thing to do. They were sitting around a campfire eating. Blazing Saddles came to mind. Viola, campfire fart story. Even if no one else laughs, my characters thought it was a riot. Except for one uptight character, she doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Anyhow, I have had readers comment about how different my blog writing is from my novel writing. I figure the fart story should fix this problem.

So will including a fart story help or hurt my book? I don't know. Only time will tell.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


So today I had Angus with me since she didn't feel like going to camp. We decided we would have a nice Mommy and Daughter lunch, just the two of us. I parked in a garage on Bethesda Avenue and we waited to cross the street. No, not at the crosswalk, but right at the garage, like everyone else too lazy to walk down to the corner light (which included a mother with a baby stroller). I admit to being a chronic jaywalker. Growing up in NYC, the only way to get around is jaywalking. Having kids broke me of the habit and I usually always go to a crosswalk when I have the kids with me. Today's exception was cause it was really hot and humid and at least Angus is a fast walker. I know - no excuse. Believe me when I say it doesn't happen often.

However, that is not the point of this post. As we waited, we edged out to wait for a break in the very slow traffic. We stood a foot off the curb right next to the entrance to the garage. A very slow woman driver turning into the garage pulls short of us and begins to scream at us.

"What the hell do you think you are doing? This ain't a blah blah crosswalk!!! Who do you people think you are? You think you own the blah blah road?!!!!" Throwing her hands in the air and yelling up a storm. I was pissed, but I didn't say anything (I really don't like to have nasty confrontations in front of my kids). Since she had stopped to yell at us, I just decided to cross in front of her instead. Angus stared in open mouthed fascination and asked me why the woman was yelling at us.

"I don't know," I say as all the nasty reasons for why she is like that roll through my brain.

"How rude!" Angus announces. "She doesn't have to be like that."

I agree and we walk into the restaurant. Not 5 minutes pass and the sunny skies turn completely dark and a terrible thunderstorm hits, causing the lights to flicker ominously several times as rain dumped in absolute buckets. All the diners sitting outside ran inside, completely drenched even though they had been sitting under a covered area. The rain was coming down so hard it was bouncing sideways. As Angus and I sat enjoying our drinks and eating our chips and salsa, a soaking wet woman dashes for cover in front of the restaurant windows. I get a good look as she runs by and recognize the rude yelling woman from the car. Not even 5 minutes later, the skies completely clear and by the time Angus and I head for the car, the sun is out once again.

Poor woman. Karma is a bigger bitch than I could ever be.

Monday, August 4, 2008

An Old Korean Folk Tale

I'm moving a bit slower around the blogosphere these days. Posting less, commenting less often, letting my blogger reader climb up to the 200s and not sweating it. I am trying to find a right mix of family, writing, blogging, working, etc. As all of you know, this is not easy. But it is doable. The right mix is somewhere out there and I will eventually get it right. So I am still around, perhaps less visible than before. But always thinking fondly of you all and waiting for the the right story to share.

So I thought of a funny story to share. When I was young, my mom once told me an old Korean folktale that made me laugh my ass off. I always thought she had made it up but she is not really the creative type so I couldn't be too sure. So imagine my surprise to find that the story is actually truly an old Korean folktale, called "The Farting Daughter-in-law" and recorded in the Korean Studies Series No. 5 volume of Korean Folktales. The version I read reads like a superhero story. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Superfartress! It is quite long and complicated and ends with Super Farting Daughter-in-law saving her in-laws with a superfart. Quite comical, but not what I remembered. So I'll give you my mother's version.

Once upon a time, a long time ago. There was a young girl who had a really fat butt and was known in her village for farting so loud and powerfully that she could kill a bird in a tree with her fart. Although she was quite pretty, no one in her village, or the surrounding villages wanted to have anything to do with her. Til one day, a matchmaker from far away came for the girl. She was to match her with a family many villages away. The girl's family was delighted and they sent her off with her bridal dowry. Before she left, her mother admonished her not to fart and ruin her new life. The daughter promised and left.

She arrived to her new family and settled nicely into a routine, turning into a perfect and most dutiful daughter-in-law. Her husband and his parents were very happy with this lovely, respectful, modest and dutiful addition to their household. The house was very small, and the internal walls made of sliding paper walls. There was very little privacy in the house. As several weeks went by, they noticed that their new daughter-in-law was turning very pale and sickly. Quite concerned for her, the husband and both parents took turns asking her what was the matter, but the girl refused to tell them. Instead, she continued to turn sickly pale. Finally, the mother-in-law took her aside for a strong talk.

"My dear, you are wasting away and look like you are about to die. All of us are terribly concerned with you and I insist you tell me what is wrong!"

The girl was in terrible pain by this point and decided to confide in her mother-in-law.

"I am so sorry to cause you such concern, but it is because ever since I have arrived, there is no place that I can fart without being heard by the family and I am too embarassed to do so in front of all of you."

The mother-in-law began to laugh. "Is that all this is about?"

The daughter-in-law nodded.

"My dear! You had me so worried! This is nothing, just a little gas. Please go ahead and let it out. None of us will think badly of you, in fact, since we have been talking, I have farted many times without you even knowing it!"

The daughter-in-law began to look relieved, but was still a little nervous.

"Are you sure you will not think badly of me?"

"I told you! Go ahead and fart!" the mother-in-law insisted.

Without another word, the daughter-in-law released the fart that she had been holding for so many weeks. But because of the incredible amount of gas buildup, the fart came out as a huge explosion, one that blasted through all the walls of the house, sending it flying apart like a house of cards. Her mother-in-law was blasted several houses away while the father-in-law and the husband were hidden in the rubble.

So here is where my mother's version of the story differentiates from the recorded Korean folktale. The book states that the daughter-in-law was kicked out by her in-laws who were worried for their son, but on her way to her parents home, she has these adventures where she knocks out bad guys with her farts and makes lots of money and goes back to her in-laws who take her back happily, now that she is rich. My mother's version ended like this:

The mother-in-law came back to the ruins of the house, still dazed by the fart. Seeing her daughter-in-law unharmed, while her husband and son were crawling out of the wreckage, blood pouring from various wounds, the mother-in-law called her a monster and chased her away with a shovel. So mortified was the poor daughter-in-law that she went into the deep mountainside and died of a broken-heart. And the moral of this story is, never trust your mother-in-law.

Me - I thought it was never fart in front of your mother-in-law.

Mom - Who cares about the fart! Just never show your true colors to your mother-in-law or she will drive you away!

Me - OK, Mom, thanks for the interesting story.

Mom - And never let your husband get life insurance on you either.

Me - Wha?!

Mom - Especially over a million...

Me - Mom, I'm 13, why are you telling me this now?

Mom - Because you are never too young to learn. Let me tell you this story. It's called the Stupid Daughter-in-law...