Friday, June 13, 2008

Farewell, Tim Russert

Hey folks, take a moment to think about what Tim Russert brought to your Sunday mornings and election coverage. One of the great ones. A breed of journalist we don't see everyday. A loss indeed.
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The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

This clip is short so check it out.

I understand a lot can change in three years, but McCain's emphatic assertions that he supports Bush all the way seems to be unlikely to have turned a 180. If you listen to his current proposals for boosting the economy, the gas tax, and how to continue the debacle that is Iraq, you'll note that not much has indeed changed in three years time. Seems to me that McBush is running in 08.

Somebody smother that shrub with Round Up.

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5:00 Fridays

Today's recipe was inspired by rockle-riffic.

This tasty frozen concoction is the perfect antidote to the vicious heat that has blanketed us for the past week. Forget the C-store Icee, only offered in Cherry Coke (GAG) and Blue Raspberry (freak of nature berries that they are). It's time for the oft overlooked Amaretto Slushie!

It's a tad bit laborious but oh so worth it because this recipe yields a gallon (That's 16 cups!). So whip up a batch, invite your fun friends over, turn on some cool tunes, and toast away the sweltering heat in the comfort of AC set to a cool 78. Get yourself a crisp white shift, gladiator sandals, and a pedicure to ensure ideal libation satisfaction.

On to the slushie!

1 cup boiling water
3 regular tea bags
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups amaretto liqueur (not the coffee syrup stuff!)
1 cup sugar
6-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
6-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
2 33.8-oz. bottles ginger ale, chilled

Pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Remove tea bags and discard. Transfer tea to a 2-quart freezer
container. Stir in 3 1/2 C. water and next 4 ingredients. Cover
and freeze until firm. To serve, partially thaw until slushy.
Pour equal amounts of slush mixture and ginger ale into serving

I must say, this harkens me back to my college days when I was learning to drink something other than white zinfandel with Rich, whom I thought was so suave and sophisticated or the Beast with my roommates. We used to go to the St. Maarten Cafe and order amaretto sours, feeling oh so mature.

How nice to be a grown up now.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Challenge

As if we need any more reasons to love Bryce, Gib, Lane, Ivan, Martin Q. Blank, and of course Lloyd Dobler?

Take this challenge. And pass it on, especially to your friends who think America is in a good place and that McCain is going to change anything (for the better).
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Of Flowers and Ball Pits

Today I have many a musing rolling around in my summer weary, heat imploded head. Add to that air full of smoke and God knows what other particles thanks to wildfires 200 miles away from here, and you can imagine my lowly brain cell capacity today.

First things first, I owe a big public THANK YOU to my dear mom, a continent away for several months, who wept when she read my recent Obama post. She's in Germany toiling with the ex-pats at Democrats Abroad to ensure Barack Obama is our next President. I got lovely purple (my favorite color) flowers from her yesterday with a card that read "Your article after Obama's speech made me cry. I am so proud of you. I love you. Mom" Now that's way better than a comment any day (not that you should stop the commenting because you know what crack it is for all bloggers). Right back at ya, Mom!

Now I must relay a funny story about a fellow mom and friend. We'll call her Poison Pen. I went to her house last night for book club (We read Rockabye by Rebecca Wolfe of Girl's Gone Child.). So Ms. Poison Pen answers the door in a sling. Now I would expect to greeted by a Singapore Sling, but not the medical variety. Here we were all gushing around her, worried she had tried some crazy daredevil adventure from her youth. Skateboarding. Windsurfing. Ripsticking. Roller blading. Mountain biking. Surfing. Belly dancing. Tantric sex. Pole dancing.

Nope, turns out Poison Pen fell off the balance beam. In a Mommy & Me class with her 2-year old. Now it's generally not nice to laugh at other people's mishaps, though Mac Daddy believes the only reason to watch figure skating is for the falls. And I must admit, it does make it way more fun. But get this, she not only fell off the balance beam, she fell into the ball pit. I'm talkin' a massive ball pit that's like 9 feet deep. Imagine the worried looks she got from other parents who were trying their darndest not to bust a gut laughing and secretly thankful it wasn't they who fell. I bet there was a lot of snickering going on. At least Poison Pen provided great dinner table conversation fodder that night. It turns out she tore some thumb ligaments and needed hand surgery. Geesh. Yeah, I feel bad for her and all, but don't tell me that's not freaking funny stuff. The story wouldn't even of have been blog worthy were it not for the ball pit.

Now if you haven't checked out In the Motherhood, you're missing out. Lots of I-want-to-look-away moments a la Curb Your Enthusiasm. Funny mom moments that I bet you can all relate to...and even top. Chelsea Handler, Jenny McCarthy, and Leah Rimini (The nutty Scientologists apparently tolerate humor.)are stellar in that made-for-the-web way. Chelsea especially. I'm so going to get her new book.

And lastly, I am ACHING for a new pair of shoes. It's been eons since I've treated myself. DSW is sending me love letters, begging me not to break up, enticing me back. So what if Father's Day is coming up? Mama needs some shoes! And a new bag while I'm at it since Deal is fully potty trained, opening up a whole host of new handbag options! I have my eye on these impossibly impractical, playground unfriendly jazzy little sparklers. Maybe daddy needs a date night for Father's Day with a hot MILF on his arm.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's 5:00 Fridays!
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bad Influence

I think I am a bad influence on my children. Others are starting to notice too. Complete strangers give us looks of disdain, acting as if we should be embarrassed and shamed. Sometimes when Bird and Deal are with me they start writhing about in wild ways, blabbering uncontrollably, flailing about like octopuses on speed. They jump and scream like David Archuleta-crazed school girls at times. This is exponentially amplified when maracas and other such instruments make their way into the scene.

All because of KC and the Sunshine Band.

They can totally tell the difference between Boogie Shoes, Shake Your Booty, and That's the Way I Like It. Bird thinks he is my own personal Boogie Man. Deal's all about gettin' down tonight. They both know all the words to Give it Up. Granted, there are only four words that keep repeating in that song. Come on now, sing it with me. I know you are in your head right now.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,
Baby give it up
Give it up, Baby give it up

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,
Baby give it up
Give it up, Baby give it up

Man, that's gonna be an ear worm.

I have held my boys' innocent little hands and personally escorted them over the deep end. I can only imagine the shame Bird will feel in music class when he starts kindergarten this fall. The other kids probably rock out to Coldplay and Zeppelin.

Bird and Deal are in desperate need of better musical company. An intervention even. I have clearly done them a disservice in the musical taste department. For the record, they also love Barry White (But what's not to like?!), Neil Diamond (think Sweet Caroline sung LOUDLY by two preschoolers), and Magical Mister Mistoffelees (I even took Bird to see Cats!). Other moms are ordaining their kids into the world of shows and concerts by taking them to Rain or James Taylor. Nope, not me.

If I'm not careful, my boys are going to have my same guilty pleasures on their iPod equivalents that will probably be microchips of music implanted in their brains one day. Trust me, my taste in music is impossibly bad. Not to be emulated. And so here goes, but a small sampling of my list of really, really, BBBBBAAAAAADDDD songs that I know all the words to and secretly LOVE:

Summer Nights - Olivia Newton John (Find me one person out there who doesn't love Grease!)
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Too Much Time on My Hands - Styx
Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim
Let the Music Play - Shannon
Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell (Just like bloggers...getting cards and letters[and comments] from people they don't even know)
Top of the World - the Carpenters (Karen rocked!)
Mandy - Barry Manilow
Knock Three Times - Tony Orlando (with or without Dawn?)
Unbelievable - E.M.F. (I also love me some E.L.O.)
Heaven is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle
Don't Cha - Pussycat Dolls
Paradise by the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf (Mac Daddy *abhors* this song. It's a wonder I married him.)
Summertime and Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith (He's on my *list.*)
Girlfriend in a Coma - The Smiths
Waitress in the Sky - The Replacements (Mac Daddy and I still sing this whilst chuckling on every single flight we take. Some jokes don't get old.)
Surrender - Cheap Trick (SO GOOD LIVE in Memorex!)
Urgent - Foreigner (Will always remind me of Chad Londeree, who gave me Foreigner 4 for my 13th birthday.)

I really need my brother or Tony to come intervene.

And don't go thinking I'm all uncool and dorky. I can hear your snarkiness right now. Snort snort...."That Dirt & Noise chick is so not hip. My dead great aunt is so much cooler." Perhaps the cast of Young at Heart is cooler than I am. Yeah, I'm tragically unhip. Cheesy also comes to mind. So what? Sure, I might be stuck in the 60s, 70s, 80s, but not today, but you won't recognize a damn thing on Tony's mix tape either.

So what's the verdict? Can the damage to Bird and Deal be undone?

What's on your iPod that you're willing to fess up to?
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Monday, June 9, 2008

Ella's Miracle

Tonight at dinner Bird asked me if he started as the size of a sprinkle in my belly. Where do kids come up with this stuff? I think a sprinkle is a fabulous visual for the tiny little baby that grew inside of me, kung fu kicking, swimming laps, applauding live music, and nudging me time to time just to let me know he was anxious to meet me. Just a note, the kung fu kicks and applauding live music have not stopped.

I was lucky to have an uneventful pregnancy, gloriously easy delivery, healthy, delightful baby, and now a smart, silly, loving, comic preschooler. Twice I've been so lucky. Bird and Deal fight the usual suspects of ailments with a few kickers thrown in just to make us crazy and pray like hell for a remedy: RSV, dehydration requiring two trips to the ER, rotavirus, pertussis. Both boys have beaten every bacteria and virus that have come their way, no worse for the wear.

In the short term Mac Daddy and I were utterly grateful, squeezing them just a tish tighter every night. Then the routine of pick up your toys, stop kicking your brother, eat your squash, talk nicely, share, make your bed, stop pushing, wait your turn, use your table manners, napkin on your lap, get off the dresser, wash your hands, be gentle with the cat, use your fork, wipe your mouth, put on your pajamas, drink your milk, get in the car, stay out of your brother's face, shut the door, turn off the lights, shut the door gently, stay in the yard, put on your helmet, shoes off, brush your teeth, no whining, talk in an inside voice, and so on set in. Back to the life of Sisyphus, which meant mundane routines and that whole being grateful thing tossed out with the ham sandwich crusts and uneaten apple skins. Many hours of the day spent frustrated, exhausted, resentful at times, lonely, spent, defeated. Such is the existence of a mom, right? The good, the bad, the ugly.

I suppose the world of the ordinary is a happy place, like a day with no bills in the mailbox. Ordinary means nothing especially great. It also means nothing especially bad. Even keel. Uneventful. Coasting.

There are times that even when coasting, we slam on the brakes.

And so it goes for the Newmiller family. Their lovely daughter Ella, just a few months older than my Bird, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor smack in the middle of her brain stem. INOPERABLE. The fine doctors at the Envita Clinic are mapping our her treatment options. I don't know Ella, but my friend Molly was her preschool teacher. A lovely child by all accounts. No rhyme or reason behind such tragedy. I don't know where to begin looking for answers to questions that go unraised. Indeed this story is a tragedy on so many levels that I cannot bring myself to face them.

I wrote about my years as a pediatric bone marrow transplant volunteer. Not work I can wrap my heart around now that I am a mother. It's simply too difficult to face. I shudder to think about the heartache this family faces. This mother and father, cherishing their little girl as I cherish my boys, not knowing what one speck of their future holds.

And so I implore you, regardless your faith and ways of worship, even the non-believers out there, to pray for little Ella. Pray for her recovery, her health, her happiness, her right to a childhood and an adulthood. Pray for her parents and big brother too. You better believe I will be.

For those readers in the Triangle area, check out Ella's Miracle fundraiser this Thursday. And please, pass this on. Take a moment to be thankful for the ordinary and go kiss your children.

And yes, I did squeeze my boys a little tighter tonight.
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