31 July 2008

You mean I get to sleep 8 whole hours?

This is the very definition of a short post today, but them's the breaks, my friends. We should be back to our regular scheduled programming next week. I'll try to respond to all your wonderful comments (and catch up on blog-reading) whenever I get a chance.

Anyway, I just thought that those of you who are familiar with the "in bed" addition to cookie fortunes would enjoy this near-perfect trifecta we got the other day:

• You will be showered with good luck.

• Your new ideas will be rewarded.

• The fun side of a relationship begins to unfold.

In case you're particularly disappointed with today's little post, you can always console yourselves by reading my old posts about the two most important actual cultural exports from Asia: karaoke* and mail-order brides.

* Pronounced, as always, like "kah-ROE-key", or possibly "karah-OKEE"-- we don't "carry" any "okee"s around these parts. We take things at face value and pronounce them the way they were intended. Hence the name.**

** Of us
and our blog.

30 July 2008

A conversation with M-: I don't 'wike' it either

My wife doesn't seem to understand how to properly manage our 18-month-old daughter M- and her often bizarre behavior as well as I do, particularly when it comes to eating. But this not-atypical conversation shows how it's done:

M-: Hun-gree. Hun-gree!

Me (pouring Kix into her Snack Trap cup): Okay, baby.

M-: Mmmm, sear-yuhl! Thankoo, Dad-DEE.

Me (holding out the cup to her): You're welcome.

M-: No! Don't wike it, any-moe!!

Me (sternly): Yes, you do-- now you eat them.

M- (changing to a sunny, smiley face and walking towards me with a hand outstretched): Okay, okay-- thankoo-Daddee!

29 July 2008

Make room on the mantel, Vol. 2

Well, this came along at just the right time, because since I'll be working all week, I won't be around to squeeze coal into diamonds like usual.* Speaking of diamonds, I have something to casually leave lying around here, waiting for you to ask about it:
The Brillante Blog Award 2008Where did I get that ol' thing, you say? Well, since you insist, I've been given another award (this time the Brillante Weblog Award**, pictured above) by the ever-loyal and all-around wonderful Mama Dawg at the always-entertaining Two Dogs Running.

Now I feel exactly the same way as Tom Hanks must have in 1995. Except I didn't get a wicked awesome gift bag worth more than my car. What gives, lady?

I'll attempt to move past this enormous personal slight by posting the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

That being said, I'm nothing if not a rebel, so rather than picking out only 7 of you to receive this award, especially since I don't know who amongst you has previously received it, I'm going to leave it open for the taking to any of the loyal readers on my blogroll*** who haven't gotten it already. If I didn't love your blog, I wouldn't allow you to read mine, so you've all been pre-screened as worthy. Just kidding!

* Please don't laugh at me-- my fragile, tender, harmless, massive ego is very sensitive, and I'd like it to stay that way.

** I wasn't able to track down the originator(s), or I would link to them.

*** If you are a loyal reader who regularly leaves me hilarious comments and I have so far somehow overlooked your addition to my blogroll, I apologize profusely and offer you consolation in the fact that I probably just have you in my feed reader or bookmarked, so I haven't yet realized I need to add you. I swear you'll appear there soon when I correct this mistake!

28 July 2008

Classic quotes, Vol. 6

For some simpler fare to ease us into the week, here are more of the melodious sounds of our household, as represented by some cherry-picked quotes:

J-: M-, that is NOT pants!*

Me: Keep the crayon away from your eye, please.

J- (to me): Do I need to skip all the hassle and just spray you with Febreze??

D- (to a silent J-, while laying on the couch seconds after running all over the room): Um, Mom? This is like a library now, because I'm sleeping... so please be quiet.

J- (disgusted): D-, get your face --and mouth!-- away from Daddy's feet!

Me (to D-, a different day**): Keep your feet out of your mouth!!

J- (ticking off on her fingers): I didn't like 3, I'm not likin' 4 at the moment, so I'm pretty much guessin' I don't like... ages 3-8.

* If anyone has an idea to keep the kid from stealing any shirt she can find and trying to "dress herself" with it, for the love of God let me know.
** I'm just noticing the trend. Strange.

27 July 2008

[Display Case]

I'm sticking this page back in July 2008 just because I can't find a way to create a standalone page using the Blogger editor.

To keep the main page loading faster, I'm collecting the blogging chain awards, badges, and other odds and ends I've received in this display case of sorts. Thanks to all!

Badges? We Don't Need No Stinking Badges!

2008 Best of Blogs Winner - Best Daddy BlogChicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs - Blogger of the Week

Chicago Tribune Blogger of the Week, July 11-18

Featured on Camp Candid Carrie's Field Trip

Not Yet Tough Enough For A Street Gang

Chicago Tribune - Chicago's Best Blogs




• Mom Blog Network
Vote for LiteralDan on Mom Blog Network
View my profile on NaBloPoMo

I'm No Mere "Participant"

The Arte y Pico Blogging Award - received from Mama Dawg at http://twodogsrunningsouth.blogspot.comReceived from Mama Dawg

The Brillante Blog Award 2008 - received from Mama Dawg at http://twodogsrunningsouth.blogspot.comReceived from Mama Dawg

Kick Ass Blogger Award - received from Middle-Aged Woman at http://unmitigated.typepad.com
Received from Middle-Aged Woman

I Love Your Blog Award - received from TerriRainer at http://terrirainer.blogspot.com and from Mrs. B. Roth at http://mrsbroth.blogspot.com/
Received from TerriRainer and from Mrs. B. Roth

Hooked On Your Blog Award - received from blissfully caffeinated at http://blissfullycaffeinated.wordpress.com
Received from blissfully caffeinated

Award received from The Microblogologist at http://microblogologist.blogspot.com/Received from The Microblogologist

Zombie Chicken Award - received from Middle-Aged Woman at http://unmitigated.typepad.com
Received from Middle-Aged Woman

Bella Award - received from Midlife Mama at http://midlifeandbeyond.blogspot.com
Received from Midlife Mama

Good Blog award - received from Swirl Girl at http://swirlgirlspearls.blogspot.com/
Received from Swirl Girl

Over the Top award - Received from Dawn at http://whatsaroundthenextbend.blogspot.com/Received from Dawn at What's Around the Next Bend?

25 July 2008

Sometimes you feel like a nut

I think it says a lot about my religious outlook that when faced with the crossword puzzle clue Peter or Paul, but not Mary, I was dismayed to find myself unable to remember enough trivia about the' 60s folk movement to come up with the seven-letter answer.

Only after later getting 4 of the seven letters* did it suddenly strike me that these classic names are such because they appear pretty frequently in the New Testament, and that the clue was not exactly requiring me to have a degree in Religious Studies. Or to have taken even one course in it.

Alex Trebek would be so disappointed in me-- has he wasted all these years teaching me most of what I know about the Bible?

I'm going to go with the explanation that I have replaced what little knowledge I had of the New Testament with Dan Brown's version of events, so the answer Apostles would never have occurred to me when the clue was excluding Mary.

That gives me some grounds for credibility, right?

Popular fiction-- is there any amount of ignorance or boneheadedness it can't help us explain away?

* If I hadn't gotten this many letters, upon revisiting the clue, I probably would have gone next to candy-oriented trivia.

24 July 2008

Conan the Ungrateful

One thing you have to adjust to when you become a parent is the complete lack of appreciation for what is essentially your indentured servitude. Whenever you get too down about it, though, just remember how much you enjoyed yourself as a kid living on the other side of the coin.

In case you weren't blessed with such luck, I guess all I can say is Tough Nuts, man. That's just how the ball bounces.

Case in point: Recently, I was taking advantage of naptime by trying to catch up on several weeks' worth of episodes of Conan O'Brien on our DVR, when D- wandered out of his room. He sat next to me on the couch, as transfixed by the TV as he usually is when allowed to watch.

Then, remembering what had occupied at least 5 full minutes of my time before I could physically move across the room to sit down, I took the opportunity to keep him from becoming too spoiled* by pointing out that I had done him a big favor while he was sleeping.

Me: Did you see? I cleaned up all the toys for you.

D- (absentmindedly, without even turning his head from the TV): What toys?

Me: (audible shudder of resigned frustration)

* And to sharpen my future skills as a grandmother.

23 July 2008

Field trip over, back to keeping an eye on the homeless

Don't mind me, children, I'll just be taking it easy here today*, cleaning up the mess you've left behind. You know, like no one pays me to do. I also throw in the passive aggression pro bono, so you know, but don't let that stop you from making a voluntary donation to our educational fund.

Anyway, I hope you all learned something from your trip here, besides that the bold mixture of dust, formaldehyde, and tanned leather create an odor so distinct that just a few minutes' exposure trains you to instinctively hold your breath whenever you pass between granite columns during the rest of your life.

I expect you all to write a 1000-word essay on the subject of What You Learned Here Yesterday About Me and the History of Hilarity in America, Which Dates Back to my Glorious Exodus From the Stork's Bindle.

What's that? Your teacher doesn't want to have to grade them, much less even read them? How about just an amusing comment then?

* Actually, I really am taking it easy-- I'm preposting this, thus bending time and space for the sake of this week's free movie, Horton Hears a Who, and then we have various errands and such to run. Oh wait, I mean Something Witty and/or Information Worth Wasting Your Time With.

22 July 2008

Museum of Natural Hilarity

Hello and welcome, visitors from Camp Candid Carrie's latest field trip-- thanks for coming by! My name is LiteralDan, and I'll be showing you around today.
And it was written: a gnome will show us the way... to the bathroom.I see that most of you have brought bag lunches, and I want to assure you that I do not hold this against you whatsoever. There is no chance at all that the museum will have to close due to budget shortfalls and rising expenses for the cafeteria, where we provide high-quality, delicious meals at affordable prices. We've arranged a nice little picnic area for you all away from our pesky paying lunchers out near our beautiful, brand-new Dumpsters.

Before we move on to our tour, I think you should know a few important things:
1. Under no circumstances do I appreciate sarcasm.
2. I do not particularly like children, so please refrain from behaving as such during your time in our esteemed facility.
3. Forbidden topics for questions include the infamous Three Foulest Subjects in the World: feces, violence, and pirates.

Now that we've got that out of the way, follow me to our major exhibits on Human Behavior, Art, Hygiene, Masculinity, Computers, and Insectophobia. As we go, please notice our list of Departments to the right, as well as our Blogroll of partner museums of equal educational value.

And of course, we wouldn't be a respectable non-profit educational organization if we didn't encourage you all to visit our gift shop!

Editor's Note: As one or two of you may have guessed, that picture is not actually of me, but rather a common garden gnome.* I'm sorry for toying with you like that.

* In case the sight of this gnome got you all excited to discuss your favorite imaginary creatures, I will do my best to point you towards some other classic mythological figures covered here: leprechauns, Cinderella, dentists, Super Mario, stay-at-home dads, and zombies.

21 July 2008

Developments at our house, Vol. 9

Here are some more recent developments around these parts:

1. M- has taken to singing along with our cell phone ring tone, which is the Super Mario theme song. She figures with the icy knife of cuteness that is a 17-month-old saying, "Doot, doot, doot, doot-doot-DOOT!" she can control us like marionettes. She's probably right.

2. I realized while briefly lecturing D- on something that he has no basis for understanding what air quotes are supposed to signify, so I'm left wondering whether he gets a vague understanding from their context or if he's totally lost. I'd love to see the world through his eyes for just minutes at a time.

3. The shampoo I'm currently using is made to smell like a Fresh Berry Smoothie. It smells good, but I'm not sure how they arrived at this particular flavor of shampoo. I think flavor has got to be the right word, because that's what they seem to be going for, rather than having people just smell like something clean. I think I might submit the idea for a "Fresh Cheeseburger" flavored shampoo to all the major players, to see how many million-dollar offers I get.

4. After a handful of experimental instances over a couple of days, D- very solemnly declared one evening over a game of Cariboo that he now has new names for us-- "Dad" and "Mom". I don't think it's possible to type out how deliberately he pronounces these truncated names for us, so I won't even try, but each time he says them I'm struck with the reassurance that it will soon pass, at least for five more years.

I'm thinking of starting a pool with J-, and anyone else who wants in on the action, as to how long this will last before he forgets all about it. I'm also thinking of starting a separate pool with everyone but J- on whether her obvious irritation with this will make it stick before he can forget*.

* Properly pronounced "free-get" if you are a 4-year-old, it seems.

18 July 2008

Corporate intelligence: Hydrogenate this!

By this point in the campaign by the nation's sanctimonious (myself included), I think we're all aware of how toxic partially hydrogenated oils are. Semi-solidity at room temperature is not a natural state for most liquids, and does not make for a friendly substance in your body.

However, because it's cheaper than similar natural substances and because it help keep food from turning into a science project* that even the uninitiated can recognize as an unhealthy thing to put in one's body, the country's mom-and-pop food producers pump it into most everything we eat.

This tide has been slowly turning for a few years, as corporations try to respond to what vocal demand there is while still making sure to increase profits enough to not be considered "stagnant" (dun-dun-dunnnnn!).

However, this effect clearly does not extend to product lines aimed at the poor and/or desperate, such as vending machine and convenience store foods or generic store brands. The only exhibit you need is this jar of generic peanut butter we unwillingly purchased, which contains as its third ingredient the elusive Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil:
No holds barred peanut butter-- it does nothing halfwayWhat's more, they go on to specify in parentheses the vegetables whose oils they are fully hydrogenating, beginning with the startlingly named Rapeseed. Now, if you were trying to convince someone to buy your product versus another, you'd use the happier-named Canola breed. But when you know you've got your target market right where you want them, you have no need for artifice, and you just do the cheaper, easier thing and let them know exactly what you're giving them.

Mmmmm... nothing like some good old hydrogenated rape to keep you going through the afternoon!

* A fact that of course indicates even filthy mold spores can't find much nutrition in these alleged food substances.

17 July 2008

I'll take my baby puree Rare

Even though my oldest child is only 4, I already know that for all the events and characteristics that seem to be hints at the kind of person a baby will become, most are just false flags and turn out to be nothing.*

Hindsight makes clear to me, though, that heavily repeated habits and happenings can indeed serve as a reliable forecast method, as can certain distinct moments.

This is all a way of leading up to telling you of a clear indicator that my 18-month-old daughter M- will not follow in her Aunt** Katie's footsteps by becoming a vegetarian.

As we flipped through a Baby Animal book before bedtime last night, I asked M- what cows said, and after correctly responding, "Moooo," she paused for a moment with her finger on the picture. She then raised it and firmly pointed at the cute lil' fella a couple more times as she added, "Eeeeat-it!!"

* See the famous 10 reasons my 3-year-old son may be homosexual post for Exhibit A.
** Side note to my wife J-: that's pronounced "ant", not "ahhnt", you lousy Yankee. Nice try.

16 July 2008

Sleep is wasted on the young

You know what I'll be doing from now on as soon as J- gets up on my days to sleep in, regardless of the weather? Turning the fan in the air conditioner on Turbo and relishing the complete whiteout of all sounds of our cranky, mirthful, and generally volume-control-challenged children.

It's the electronic equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "La-la-la-la-laaaaaa!!!" over and over again. And I love it.

But doing this before one of us gets up with the kids means, we found out, that M- has to wail and cry before we can hear her in our seemingly drunken stupors.

And for some reason, she isn't happy with that arrangement, any more than when she has to wail and cry for 20 minutes(?) though the wide-open bedroom door with no air conditioner running, just because Daddy somehow got stuck in D- Mode, with all her 50 decibels bathing his ears like an underpaid in-home geriatric nurse.

D- Mode, of course, refers to the fact that whenever this happens, her oblivious brother sleeps away right next to her, somehow totally unaffected by her performance each morning, as if he's some kind of robot (an upgraded version of the girl from Small Wonder, perhaps?) who powers himself down for a set period of time each night, coming back online only once he is fully recharged.*

What wouldn't I give for the ability to just sleep each night until I didn't need to sleep anymore? Absolutely everything important to me, I think.

Except for my sleep. Precious, precious sleep.

* And believe me, he wakes up overcharged, if anything.

15 July 2008

A conversation with D-: It's all in the delivery

As promised, here is a simple little thing between more substantial posts,* this one a recent conversation with my 4-year-old son, after my wife J- came into the room on her day to sleep in:

D-: Momma, we watched... Daddy, what did we watch again? Tell me...

Me (announcing to room in Encouraging Parent Voice): Peter Pan.

J-: Wow, nea...

D- (interrupting while walking over to me quickly): No! Tell me in my ear!! (presents ear)

Me (whispering): Peter Pan.

D- (turning to J-, loudly): Peter Pan!

J- (bland, patronizing parent voice in full effect): Oh... cool!

I think we all need to recognize J-'s commendable ability to muster such enthusiasm under these circumstances first thing in the morning (meaning maybe 11:30 for her that day).

* Great... now I really put the pressure on myself for tomorrow.

14 July 2008

Five senses times two: A case study

For all those people seeking to explore additional human senses by unlocking unused portions of the brain, there are others who seek to start by using our five known senses to their full ability before moving on to new ones. To most people who have not thought about such a thing, this approach just makes sense.

Certainly the youngest and most talented, if not the only, proponent of this effort is the young Dr. M. Q. Literal (pronounced for the purposes of this profile as "Lit-AIR-uhl").
The noted doctor of enhanced sensory perception, Dr. M. Q. LiteralDr. Literal not only desires to maximize the potential of her own brain, but in a confluence of her passions for research and magnanimity, she also strives to share her gifts with those around her. To illustrate her generosity of spirit, one needs only look within the past week.

Upon waking from her scheduled afternoon nap ready for her 4-hour pre-dinner constitutional, she found her calls to her live-in assistants falling on deaf ears, due to such obstacles as ambient noise (in the form of rambunctious preschoolers, running fans, and air conditioners), closed doors, and general apathy. Tempted though she was, rather than give up and collapse in frustration for an invigorating tantrum for more than a few moments, she decided instead to appeal to other senses and encourage her inferiors to think, and feel, outside their quaint little boxes.

After entering a meditative state and summoning all her digestive energy to focus it in the way only she knows how, Dr. Literal managed to soil herself on command to such an alarming degree that she was able to summon both now-barely-conscious senior assistants to her side in a matter of minutes using only the force of extraordinarily long stink lines. Few self-described psychics could claim such power.

Meanwhile, the notably disheveled appearance of her office and lab attire served as all the lecture the humbled assistants needed-- from now on, they will surely be keeping their ears and noses open for whenever their master might call.

Whether she's splitting ear drums for little or no reason, silently threatening to repurpose precious objects, licking passersby when they least expect it, sticking items at hand in absent guest's drinks, or simply defecating outside of socially acceptable locations, the good doctor stands alone, until others are brave enough join her, in her struggle to push humanity into the next phase of evolution.

11 July 2008

Six more weeks of posting

Hello? Is anybody there? Can I open my eyes? Is it safe?

No, your tenuous grip on sanity is not slipping-- I didn't post yesterday. And, might I add, I'm happy to see that the world as we know it still seems to exist. That means I can hold off sending out those tote bags for the foreseeable future.

I know that my daily posting is a subject probably only worthy of comment in my own mind, but I've let myself become obsessed because I'm trying to use it to help build my writing habits, and I'm wary of slippery slopes and the power of temptation and all that. That being said, I'm going to try not posting this weekend, to recharge my batteries after a long week (possibly helped by a free Slurpee today).

Hopefully then I'll be back with daily posts of some sort, at least, as I try to work out some kind of schedule that allows me to focus and produce higher-quality material interspersed with conversation posts and other such amusing trifles.

I just know that if I was to start regularly holding off posting each "good" post for a day, and spend more time editing and crafting it, I'd be likely to start deciding that each one needed another day* to be really good, and I would then either take an extra day (or two) to make each one better or, more likely, put off doing anything with it in favor of whatever else in the world came up that was not what I had planned to do. You know how many mostly-written posts I have cropped up in my Drafts folder that I can't stand the sight of because they feel like a chore? A lot.** But I need to overcome my reluctance and weak stomach to get to rereading and revising things more, or I'll never get any better.

So in the meantime, I ask you all to read my posts with a grain of salt, however that works physically, and see through the extra crud and tangents for what the end product would be if I took more time and if I read through them more than once. You'll find the quality of this blog rocketing up immediately with that filter applied, I hope (depends on how vivid your imagination is).

While you're at it, add a liberal dose of deliciously snobby literary allusions and deep metaphysical insight, leaving me something just short of a typical Black Hockey Jesus post at The Wind In Your Vagina. Yes, I suppose that is what I now aspire to-- silver medals are just as nice.

Or at least that's what my mom always told me.

* Read: the portion of the day I get to spend doing such things.
** See, I'm so drained I don't even have a trademark witty*** exaggeration.
Witty as defined by me, while in the Love zone of my love-hate relationship with my self.

Editor's Note: Until I actually receive a silver medal, I'll have to console myself with this very latest surprising recognition.

09 July 2008

Classic quotes, Vol. 5

I almost didn't make it to post today for the first time since mid-February, since I've been putting in some long hours working for my dad this week, but I'm here during a break with a quickie post as a declaration of victory* over my procrastination demons.

So without further ado, here are some more lines uttered by our family in recent days, extra heavy on the M-, just like you ordered:

M- (anytime someone sneezes): Bwessss youuu!

M- (anytime anyone expresses pain): Sorr-ree.

M- (anytime she or anyone else burps or causes a sound even remotely resembling flatulence): Scuse mee!!

M- (anytime anyone has food, while approaching with an open mouth): Biiiiite-it.

D-: Well... it's not doin' what I want it to do, so I hit it. (simple explanation for his Hulk-like rage and subsequent violence against his belt... while wearing it)

Me (whilst discussing each other's favorite clothes we hate-- my holey old shirt vs. a hideous pair of J-'s shoes): There's not that much difference between a nipple and a stupid glued-on plastic spangle [as clothing decoration].

M- (upon seeing a surfing penguin emerge from a potentially lethal wave during an otherwise quiet moment in the movie theater**): Haa-ha-HAA!!

* Only in this mere, minor skirmish, of course. The war will rage on till the day I die... if I get around to that.

** No, this isn't a really old quote-- we just went to a free kids' show of it this morning. Isn't free stuff wonderful? Especially when your kids can shout stuff at the screen and at times not even be heard over all the other .

08 July 2008

Just a little sleight of heel

I have reason to believe my daughter is a computer prodigy at the tender age of 1.

As this blog and my job history (as well as, among others, my wife, my family, casual acquaintances, and anyone sitting in my house throughout a typical day who's capable of understanding how a clock works) can attest, I've put in the time to become much more than familiar with the ways of a computer.

I live for shortcuts and for new ways to make my life easier and therefore less meaningful. I have spreadsheets of useful Alt codes and other keyboard/mouse combinations that can work miracles and wow the uninitiated, but I generally don't need them, because my inexplicable feeling of need leaves my brain wide open and receptive to these new tidbits and tricks, which are immediately written to permanent file storage.

That being said, my daughter has the ability to, while I am staring right at her, press buttons and make things happen on my computer that I didn't even know could happen, much less how to bring them about via shortcut. She conjures new effects, windows, and even programs right out of thin air without me being able to tell how she did it.

If this sounds like an exaggeration, know that even if you doubt my claim that I have never, ever exaggerated at all in my entire life, I am absolutely telling nothing but the straight truth right now.

And, just so you know, I'm not talking about old-school peanuts like holding down SHIFT for 8 seconds until FilterKeys comes on, I'm talking about stuff like this:
Mouse gestures?? New to me. Thanks, baby foot!
Now, users of the Opera browser might be familiar with this option, but I'm a relative newbie to it, and I'm only mostly sure that this dialog box came from that program. She summoned it, or possibly called it into existence entirely, this morning when climbing up on my lap for comfort while dealing with her fever, using only her heel! Her heel!!

Oh, how she mocks my confused desire to play apprentice to her wizened master.

07 July 2008

A conversation with D-: I believe I can fly

Because I have to run, here's another blog post that wrote itself. I can't thank that kid enough for his conversational skills.

D-: Daddy! Watch! Watch!

Me (turning to see him crouched on the couch, ready to pounce): Don't jump on the couch.

D-: I'm NOT gonna jump. I'm gonna fly!

Me: Don't fly on the couch.

D-: I'm not gonna fly ON the couch, I'm gonna fly OVER the couch.

Me: ... And land on what?

D-: The blanket.

Me: Which is on...?

D-: The couch...

Me: ... Don't do it.

He later did it anyway and got in trouble, but let's instead focus on this whimsical evidence of his impressive grasp of the manipulation of semantics, which one day may rival my own.*

* This may give you a hint at how I got my nickname.

06 July 2008

It must be award season...

We'll take a pause this Sunday to take care of an important piece of business. I was lucky enough to receive an award from Emily at Two Dogs Running the other day:
The 'Arte y Pico' Blogging AwardThis wonderful lady has been a loyal reader for a long time now, regularly providing quality comments, but more importantly, she can be relied on for a wide variety of amusing posts at her blog, particularly this nice tribute/advertisement for my blog last month (amusing because it's all so untrue yet so draining to my bribery fund). Naturally, I can't say enough to praise her, and because of that fact, I'll keep it simple and just stop here. After all, they've started up the orchestra and they're about to cut the mike.

The rules for this award, shown below, stipulate that I am to pass it on to five worthy bloggers, so without further ado, I present it to the following people:

1. Mrs. B Roth at It is I, Mrs. B. Roth - We're seemingly very different people, and yet I find myself agreeing with her on most things most of the time-- that's always a nice feeling. She points out on her sidebar that We're all alone in this together, and I think that mindset applies to so many areas of life that it's the only one us sane people should focus on promoting.

2. Christina at MamaNeena - She's got an even bigger handful to handle than me, but she still holds it all together way better, including blogging every day. Whether it's hilarious pictures the like of which I wish I was fast enough to catch, or hard-to-believe stories that might have very well come from my own house, her blog is a reliable source of entertainment for me.

3. Kevin at Always Home and Uncool - This guy reminds me a lot of myself, which should tell you enough that I don't need to go on too much more. We all know how much I love myself, after all. And if you didn't love me almost that much, you wouldn't be here reading, right? Right??

4. Christy at Heavy on the Caffeine - Her dedication to practicing the craft of writing while managing everything else life throws at her helps keep me doing the same. Also, her public admission to doing very little housework most days helps reassure me that I'm not alone on that front.

5. Natalie at Tell Me About It - She provides a handy window into a very different world for me, as she (born and raised in the US) and her family have lived in Turkey for six years. Her blog is like a funny travelogue of the kind of day-to-day places and things I always appreciate so much more than the big Standard Tourist Attractions.

Check out all five of these bloggers and their blogs, and you won't be sorry you did!

For the winners, here are the rules for this award:

1. Pick five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
3. Show the award and include the name (and link to his/her blog) of whoever presented you with this award.
4. Link to the Arte y Pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award.
5. Post these rules.

If you already have this award, you only have to accept this additional recognition.

05 July 2008

A rhetorical what??

CAUTION: If "Kids Say the Darndest Things" stories make you nauseous, I don't necessarily blame you, but you definitely need to go read some old posts instead, or just come back tomorrow.

For any of you who may think I'm the most literal person in the word, it does get worse.

We were having dinner at my parents' house on my sister's birthday last night, and when I was slicing myself another piece of bread, I of course made sure to ask if anyone else wanted some. Each person answered that they did not.

All of two minutes later, my dad asked my mom if she could slice him a piece of bread, so naturally she turned to him and asked, though only slightly incredulously, "where were you when he was slicing the bread??!"

D- looked at both of them for a second, confused, and then declared, as the only sane person in the room, "right there, where he is sitting..."

I think you can imagine the look he was giving everyone as he said this, before he forgot all about it and focused instead on the much more important fact that he had somehow made everyone laugh a lot.

04 July 2008

Declaration of Independence from posting

In honor of the love of vacationing that I share with all Americans*, I'm going to be lame today and do the blog equivalent of a clip show. So while I run off to the parade and ready myself for those most delicious of all meats, free hot dogs, please jump over to this old American-flag-related post you may have missed. Comment freely, as if it's new, and help complete the charade!

Also, let's all wish a Happy Birthday to the little lady who shares this day with Lady Liberty-- my sister Katie. Didn't anyone ever tell you all those fireworks are for her? Today, she's officially an adult, although, fortunately or unfortunately for her, she'll always be my baby sister. Nice try with all that growing up, sucker!

* Though studies show we don't actually tend to take them, for the legitimate fear of being found expendable and fired. We seem to instead make up the time by "wasting" lots of it while at work, such as by reading blogs. Vive la résistance!

03 July 2008

The secret life of pee-pees

This is a little window into what we're dealing with these days now that D- is really feeling his four-ness:

D- (laying down, shortly after waking up, on the opposite side of our L-shaped couch from where I was laying): Daddy, can you make me something to eat? I'm hungry.

Me: You know what you gotta do first? Go to the bathroom.

D-: But you didn't see me grab my penis...

Just as I was about to say, "You don't need to grab your penis before you know you have to go to the bathroom," he continued.

D-: ...M- was in the way! (she was standing at the coffee table between us)

So what had promised to be the beginning of another theoretical discussion about when one needs to sit down and try to use the toilet, changed instead into a very practical expression of confusion regarding what seemed to be my x-ray vision.

Times like these make me wonder how the first man toilet trained himself before it stopped being widely accepted for men to be covered in their own urine? Because all indicators I've seen point to us not much caring either way without repeated, or possibly continuous, intervention.

The answer, I suspect, lies somewhere with the existence and manipulative skill of women. So thanks for that (I guess), ladies!

02 July 2008

A conversation between M- & D-: Pain = funny

Here is a very simple conversation illustrating how a little strategic hesitation can be a tremendous asset as a parent:

D-: Ow! She hurt my forehead!

M-: (laughs)

D-: It's not funny!

M-: (laughs)

D-: (laughs)

M-: (laughs more)

All this went on without my saying a word, as I went about my business cleaning in the bathroom (putting stuff away, not actually cleaning the bathroom, mind you-- fear not) and generally continuing to be productive.*

* During M-'s nap time, for example, D- and I even mounted a curtain rod and finally hung the curtains in our bedroom. Using a real drill and screwdrivers, and everything! Pat, pat, pat.

01 July 2008

An anniversary card

This post is just a note to say Happy Anniversary to my parents, who have been married now for 36 years, but who both look as if they must have logically gotten married shortly after birth, instead of in their 20s. I think that's a common benefit of a good marriage defined by mutual respect and a resilient sense of humor.

I figured a candid shot was best to capture them in their essence. Here they are at my Dad's retirement party a couple years ago, before he went into business for himself (and just after he had taken a big drink, it would seem):

My parents at my Dad's (semi-)retirement party a couple years ago
I can only hope J- and I are headed towards a similar fate so many years from now.* I like to think we're well on our way, but we'll see if we can escape The Teenage Years without having to spend ourselves into debt on duct tape, ear plugs, heavy-duty-vault-grade door locks, chastity belts, and legal fees.

* Of course, my brothers and sister and I were angels as teenagers, as you might have guessed from my obvious class and grace, so we made it look easy for them, but knowing J-'s wild streak, we may be in for a bumpy ride that is completely the fault of her genes alone.**

** I also blame the "Terrible Twos" and the "What the F--- is YOUR Problem? Fours" on her genes alone.***

*** The term "her genes alone" in the previous two instances may include, but not be limited to, anything else I later declare as an additional cause that even more certainly absolves me of any and all blame or responsibility. Please sign here.