Monday, December 31, 2007

Fun Monday #9

Our host for this week's Fun Monday is Peter at Holties House. And he wants to see our favorite cartoon or joke.

I think Calvin and Hobbes was the most perfect comic strip ever. This is a play on it, but since my kids are older now it cracks me up. I was laughing harder when they were shorter than me.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Hollywood Years

My first job at Paramount was as a Studio Page. This is truly the epitome of "entry level" work, and yet you had to have a college degree in some kind of communications area (or be close to being done) to even be considered. We worked 20-30 hours a week and I think starting pay was in the $5 an hour range. All of us had to have other jobs to survive. In an average year several hundred people applied for about twenty spots, and it was as good a place as any to start hearing the unceasing Hollywood mantra Do You KNOW how many people would kill for your job??

All this so you could walk around the lot in a grey knee length skirt with a white button down shirt and a navy blue blazer - all brought to you by the Polyester industry. There was also some kind of bow tie involved but I think I've finally managed to block out the specifics of that after all these years. If no one minds I don't think I'm going to try too hard to remember exactly what it looked like. Like most women who lived through 80's and 90's corporate fashion, I'm scarred and recovery has been a long time coming. I still twitch at the sight of shoulder pads, so forgive me.

We had two major job responsibilities as pages. The first was to act as guides on the studio tour and the second was to oversee the audience seating at the live television shows. There were other job duties outside of the scope of these two things, but this was the bulk of it. For today's post, let's talk about the tour angle.

The studio tour was an interesting proposition. Paramount's tour was unusual compared to most of the other studio tours. When I first started the only tour was a VIP tour. This had to be arranged through someone who worked on the lot, so it was basically a private tour. It lasted two hours and was limited to the number of people who could fit on a studio golf cart - which was seven plus the guide. Toward the end of my year as a page we implemented a public tour, which was a whole different kettle of fish. If you had $10 and were over 10 years old, you could make it onto the lot for two hours for a walking tour.

For the most part the tours were the same. We covered a fair amount of the fifty five acres and talked quite a bit about studio history. Most of the sound stages were available for us to go onto, and a lot of the shows were even receptive to (quietly) bringing the tour into the bleachers to watch a rehearsal or, more infrequently, a table reading. (This was entirely dictated by how smoothly that particular set ran. Some notoriously temperamental shows didn't need the general public to witness the rancor that was a dress rehearsal). We almost always had feature films shooting on the lot as well, so it was possible to park your tour group in an out of the way corner and let them check out the action up close.

The thing that never failed to amaze me the entire time I worked there was that Paramount was a little city unto itself. The goal was to make it so you never really had to leave the lot. A lot of the amenities (the gym, the childcare center, the post office) weren't things the public would really care about. But, in true cheapskate fashion, a lot of these things were incorporated into studio productions. Take the hospital, for example. It was a real working infirmary, complete with a nurse on premises and a doctor on call. There was even a golf cart ambulance. If you've seen Top Gun (and lots of other things) you've seen this hospital. The tours loved it. You haven't lived until you've seen a golf cart ambulance.

The tag line for the tour was that nothing was really scripted, so people had the opportunity to really see how a lot operated. And, while this was true, it was double edged. Most tourists are in LA in the summer. Most shows are on hiatus from the beginning of April to the end of July. This is when television stars who want to be in the movies get a chance to jump to the other side - however briefly. Cable has certainly changed this in recent years, but when I was there it was pretty cut and dried. Summer was Pilot Season, a time when everyone and their brother put together a pilot in the hopes that some network would pick up a run of the show, anywhere from five to twenty something episodes (the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - the full season pick-up). Unfortunately for us, a lot of the pilots didn't have "name" actors in them, and names were what out tour groups wanted to see.

We killed a lot of time in the summer. We'd go to the prop department and talk about props. We'd go to the backlot, where things were constructed, and show people how it was done. The big hit here was always "breakaway glass", the glass that you've seen shatter a thousand times on screen. It was made to shatter without sharp edges, so was supposedly completely safe. We'd ask for volunteers and smack them (carefully) with the glass. It would shatter, they would all get a piece to take home with them and everyone was happy. (How our legal department ever thought this was okay is beyond me. There wasn't a page on staff who hadn't at some point cut the hell out of themselves with this "smooth edged" glass, but, at least for me, the tourists were always safe).

A popular stop was always Lucy Park. This was the park that was built for Lucille Ball on the part of the lot that used to be Desilu, and it is featured one way or another in almost every Paramount television show ever done. From the Brady Bunch to Happy Days to Family Ties - there's the park - sometimes barely even disguised. The New York Street backlot was also a big hit. This was the set that was designed so outdoor city shots could be done in the controlled setting of the lot. It went on for a couple of blocks and if you've watched television even once in your life, you've seen it. See if any of this looks familiar...

But without question the number one attraction on all the tours - public or VIP - was the Cheers bar. (If the Star Trek:The Next Generation set had been open to tours it would have been a really close race. The reason they weren't open had nothing to do with temperament and everything to do with shooting schedules. To produce a one hour weekly show is much more complicated logistically than doing a half hour sitcom and they were always pressed for time. Thirty people standing on your set asking questions wasn't really feasible). It never failed with Cheers. We would lead them into a darkened soundstage, and even if we were the only people there, everyone would collectively inhale sharply as soon as they saw the set. In theory they would be seeing the set from the bleachers. In actuality (and completely verboten) some of the guides would let them sit at the bar. Actually sit there, in Cliff or Norm's usual seat, and rest their elbows on the edge. Those were some seriously happy campers until some page (who wasn't me, although it certainly could have been) got busted in the act and that was that. Back to the bleachers we went.

This set has become so iconic, by the way, that the entire thing is now on display in a Hollywood museum. I bet they don't get to sit on the seats now either.

The tour certainly lived up to the unscripted billing. Actors would jump onto the carts spontaneously, much to the delight of their fans. Entire casts would welcome them to their rehearsals. The tours would get to walk onto standing movie sets for current releases on real soundstages - and feel like they had an honest glimpse into a working studio. The tours were fun. They got old, but they were fun. People paid their money and took their chances on seeing the celebrity du jour, but always came out of it with a vision of what it was like on the other side of the gate. For the most part they left happy.

I wish I could say the same for the television audiences.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

the letter B

this just in:

Bloated Blog Babe Bemoans Boldly Burgeoning Buttocks

or how about:

Bedridden Blogger Blames Bulging Belly

The bedridden part technically isn't true. (I could get up - if only I wanted to). But it certainly conveys my melodramatic bent at the moment, so I'm going with it. I feel very Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, a movie I have to admit I've never seen all the way through. I know the formula though. Hand on feverish (or not) brow, lip quivering and bosom (all six of them by now) heaving - now that's melodrama.

I spent a fair amount of Friday laying around and doing not a heck of a lot. One of the things I've been attempting to do the last few days is to get caught up with my blog reading, since I was falling further behind by the day. As I've surfed, I've noticed a trend. There are quite a lot of us complaining (either in posts or comments) about how bloated, overfed and disgusted we are by this stage of the festivities. A common theme is a fridge full of leftover "holiday" food that no one wants to eat anymore and a belly that would not look out of place on a woman being told by her OB to start pushing.

Of course the reason this rings such a bell with me is because I am the Bloated Blogger. I've got the bellyache from hell and the only reason I can come up with for it is that for the last couple of weeks I've consumed anything in front of me that hasn't been nailed firmly down. Holiday buffets at work. Chocolate. Champagne. Christmas dinner. Chocolate. Chili. Key lime pie. Chardonnay. Tamales by the ton. Falling down gingerbread houses. Pfefferneuse. Peppermint anything.

If you put a picture of me on a board next to a picture of a garbage scow
, three out of five people couldn't tell the difference. And the other two would be laughing too hard to express an opinion.

Thursday night, as the final straw, we went to dinner at the birthday boy's restaurant of choice - a Mongolian BBQ. To make it even better, we realized as we got there that, except for leftover candy and chips, none of us had really eaten all day. So we got there starving and inhaled.

Can I just tell you that this was a mistake? I woke up in the middle of the night convinced I was having some major cardiac event because I was miserable. My belly was killing me, I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't find a comfortable position to save my soul. I flopped around for hours. Nothing worked.

In the morning I said to the Film Geek

I think I'm having a heart attack.

He said

We're going to the hospital right now

I said

(Oh, come on, people. You all know what I said)

I said

Like hell. If I fall down I want to go to the ER in the next town over. Shave my legs before you call the paramedics and tidy up the kitchen while you're at it. Offer each of them a beer to drive me to the next hospital over. Offer the whole six pack if it comes to that. Under NO circumstances do ANY of my coworkers see me naked. Got it?

I have mentioned that I'm a hypochondriac, right? Oh, yes, I am indeed. And while the FG knows and expects it, heart pain isn't normally something I would screw around with. So we argued for a while and he called me a pig headed something or other I can't recall and then I went and laid down. Melodrama aside, I really didn't feel well.

Then my paranoia really set in. It was just like my father. He had a massive heart attack in his sleep a few years ago and died instantly. Out of nowhere, as the whole family said. Well, except that he smoked four packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day for forty years. And had high blood pressure. And type II diabetes. And was overweight. And felt that a meal without beef wasn't a meal. And never exercised a day in his life. And internalized all his stress.

I'm a lifelong non-smoker with low blood pressure and no diabetes. I exercise, although probably not enough. My BMI is in normal range, though barely. (Or at least it was before this holiday season). I do not care for meat in the slightest. And god knows I don't internalize anything.

See? Exactly the same. (Lovely insight into how my brain works, wouldn't you say?)

By bedtime I still felt rotten, but at least I knew I had company. I was writing this post and trying to come up with a word that rhymed with self-induced anorexia when my insides rumbled and what should escape but a huge

buuuurrrrppppp. (and it felt

Is it January yet?

Friday, December 28, 2007

scream of consciousness

There's something wrong with my new laptop. I've been sitting here for an hour and I still don't have anything written. Did I read the ads wrong? Do I really still have to write the post myself? Is there software I can buy to change that? Because if not, I just have one thing to say.


It doesn't help that I have celebration brain. A whole week of Christmas buildup was bad enough, but yesterday was birthday day to boot. For the second time in three days I woke up to boys hurtling themselves at my prone body and screaming for presents. The fact that my room was still kind of dark when this happened only made it more traumatic. Then there was the shopping trip to redeem birthday bucks and Christmas gift cards - the trip in which every wacko in my zip code was walking the same aisles I was.

There was the Mennonite woman in cap and regulation dress complaining loudly that the store we were in didn't carry porn films. There was the twenty something man and woman who were having some kind of a fight that involved him grabbing her by the neck and dragging her toward the front of the store, before she broke free and, flipping him the bird and screaming profanity, raced away from him at top speed on her Heelie shoes. A bunch of us were watching warily, unable to tell if they were really fighting or screwing around. When they all burst into laughter we assumed they were messing with us, but it still unnerved me.

On Christmas Eve I took care of an elderly woman at work - for nine hours. That's a long time to be in an ER, and it felt twice as long to me, as she really didn't stop screaming for help the entire time she was there. She had had a sudden onset psychotic/paranoid break and was convinced we were all trying to kill her. You can only imagine how much fun I had starting an IV and putting in a catheter. She fought at me hard enough to dislodge her IV, which meant I had to give her meds to calm her down via a real shot, with a needle and everything. Twice. Dodging kicking feet and swinging fists the entire time.

It was at that point that she looked at me and damned me to an eternity in hell for everything I was doing to hurt her. Damned me to burn for "torturing an old lady" like I was. Told me I was no better than the devil for all the pain I was causing her. And those are just the things I can repeat. Let's just say she left no word unturned.

And, as strange as this sounds, I've felt slightly off balance ever since. I'm no stranger to patients calling me every name in the book and taking swings at me. I've done my time with psych patients who really couldn't in any way be held responsible for what they did. But to be condemned for eternity was a new one on me, and I didn't like it in the least.

It doesn't help that Christmas has been problematic the last few years. My grandfather died on Christmas Day a couple of years ago. My mom fell last year on Christmas Eve and busted her arm but good. I found out about it the next morning because neither she nor Stu wanted to bother me with it the night before. I've gotten to the point where this holiday can make me a little nervous. I've had a whole bunch of completely non-eventful December 25ths, but I guess a few bad apples can tinge the whole basket.

And we've had a lovely holiday across the board. But, except for a quick walk to the grocery store last night, I haven't been out of my house since I got home from work Monday night. It's been very cocoon-like and peaceful. And going out today just brought back all that unease.
The fact that it was so chaotic didn't help much. Note to self: no shopping immediately after Christmas again ever.

Well, looky there. I did manage to get something written. It's disjointed and fragmented and I'm not entirely sure what my whole point was, but it's there. We can call it a stream of consciousness post, okay?

Or we could just blame the laptop.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a toast...

Does my blog look different to you at all? Perhaps the writing is a little sharper or the turn of phrase more interesting? No? Are the colors more vibrant, the birds singing loudly, the stars in perfect alignment? Well, darn it, they should be, considering that I'm writing this post on...

my new laptop!!

Mine, mine, mine...all mine!!

(And, in a perfectly timed accompaniment to that announcement, I lost my wireless connection the instant I typed the word "laptop" and my screen went black. Ah yes, technology).

Now, hours later, life is truly good. The red headed step child has set up the laptop so it does what it's supposed to - more or less. Sasquatch and his friends are upstairs on the computer I always use and...I don't care. I cannot tell you how good that feels. I. Don't. Care.


Christmas around here was awfully peaceful. We decided this year that instead of giving a whole lot of small items that would be destroyed in almost no time, we would give each kid one big thing - preferably a) electronic and b) something that would simplify our lives by reducing fighting over certain items in the house. So (by combining gift funds with my folks) Sasquatch got a video iPod, Gumby got a laptop and Surfer Dude got a video camera of his own. You've gotta love eBay, which was my addiction of choice pre-blogging. All of the kids were thrilled, which may have been a first. The Film Geek got a super expensive science fiction model that he said he had wanted since he was in third grade, and I...

Was blindsided by a laptop from my mom and Stu. I had tried to keep up such a good face during the whole process of buying Gumby's, but boy, I wanted it myself. When I opened my gift Christmas morning, I actually cried. Fat, hot tears. It was pathetic. The Film Geek had gotten me a wireless card and mouse and a carrying case, so I was totally set. I would be very hard pressed to think of a gift that has ever made me happier. Mom and Stu - mwah - and mwah again! And FG for the sweet accessories -thanks to you, too.

Our Christmas dinner went very peacefully, too. It was just a nice, nice day all around. Very low stress, a houseful of people we know well (they might say too well) and, above all, contented children. (Except for the brief period where one of the little girls of our friends threatened to throw SD's new video camera in the fireplace, and, lacking a subtle bone in his body, he wiped macaroni and cheese on her brand new faux fur coat that she had been blissfully wearing all day. God alone knows what he did to her to provoke the fireplace threat or if she just instinctively knew how to pull his chain. Either way, it was ugly. At least the food washed out). I gave the little girl's mom a "what are you gonna do?" look and poured another glass of wine. Large.

And on a personal note (like this whole blog isn't a personal note) -

Happy Birthday to my own sweet Gumby. Twelve years old today!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

have yourselves...

Last week, laurie asked us what our favorite Christmas song was, and like an idiot I completely forgot this one. I think this is the top spot on my list - hands down.

I've been humming it all day. I re-finished up my Christmas shopping (after mistakenly buying Surfer Dude a DVD he already had), bought the last of the Dirty Santa gifts for the Christmas Dinner at our house and made tamales until I was getting some kind of a corn meal high. And the whole time this song was running through my head. It's a sweet song, but there's something kind of melancholy about it.

Not that I'm melancholy. Far from it. I'm not thrilled I'm working today, but I'll get over it. With any luck it will be slow, but not so slow that it drags. All of our ordered Christmas gifts are here except for Sasquatch's (I can't say what it is in case he reads this for the first time in his entire life), which shipped Priority Wednesday and really should have come yesterday. That's gonna stress me out if it doesn't get here tomorrow, but he's already said he would be willing to wait for it. I hope it doesn't come to that. It is hard being away from all of our family this time of year - I won't lie. But we've been lucky enough to build a fabulous extended family here. That helps a lot.

We have our usual group of friends (plus possibly a new family - old friends, but new to this occasion) coming for potluck Christmas dinner. We crack me up this time of year. We have two families (including us) that have always celebrated Christmas, one that used to celebrate Hanukkah but converted, and the new ones used to be of the Christmas persuasion but now go the Hanukkah route. Their plans are being dictated by a grandma in the hospital, but I suppose if they come we'll change the Dirty Santa name to something more generic. Dirty Dubya, or something. (Because it would be so refreshing to laugh with him for a change).

I'm going to take a few days off of posting, because between working and the kid chaos it could be a little tricky. My kids are so excited they're practically crackling. I'll be back posting on Thursday, bright and early. Maybe this will give me a chance to catch up on all the blogs I'm so stinking behind on. From my mouth to Santa's ear.

I hope you have yourselves a merry little Christmas. (Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Boxing Day or whatever you celebrate). Every time I look at my Blogger Dashboard and see that there are comments from you all, I feel like Christmas has come a little early anyway. And you lot just may be the best gift I've ever gotten.

Update: IT CAME!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

The Film Geek and I are having a disagreement. I think the snowstorm we've been having all day is the heaviest snow we've had since we've lived here. He thinks we've had heavier. When I ask him to tell me when, he isn't able to pinpoint it. If I had to take a guess, I'd say I'm right. But it's just a guess. (And my guess, to boot).

We've had a lovely indoor day. As the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, the snow really got heavy. I did have to run across town unexpectedly right around dusk, which I'm sure infuriated anyone behind me who wanted to go more than 7 mph. Tough. I think I've gone on record more than once on never wanting to be a patient in my own ER. Ticking off fellow motorists is a small price to pay. And I'm never more of a Southern Californian than when I'm driving in snow. If I were a native Midwesterner I'd hate me.

I've tried several times today to take pictures, but the snow is so heavy I'm afraid of messing up the FG's super deluxe digital camera. So you'll have to take my word for it. I'll find some representative picture, but it won't actually be us. (Okay, I found one. But the picture above doesn't even begin to portray the snow on the ground. I like it, though).

Well, that was your weather update at the top of the hour. I'm off to throw another log on the fire.

Oh...and three guesses what I did again today...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

party, part deux

I'm sure you've all been anxiously awaiting the final sum up on the classroom parties. Right? Normally, I'd be moving off into other territory, but, as I'm still pissed, you get one more day of drama. Sorry. I promise I'll be over it after this.

Let me start first by saying that no one at my house seems to pick up the phone when I'm at work. I worked for a few hours last night, and today when I picked up the phone, it beeped at me that we had messages. One was from our PTA Co-President (who makes me look laid back) and it said that the other 6th grade mom was planning on combining parties and was that okay with me?

Hell, no, it wasn't okay with me. Not at this point anyway. I'd spent a fair amount of time coming up with an appropriate game and pulling out a whole spread of food on my own. If I'd known a few days ago that they wanted to combine I might have relaxed a little about the whole thing. But now? When I'd single-handedly rustled up a party? Hell, no.

So I called her back and she wasn't home. I left her a message. No response.

When I got to school for the party (to make a long story short) it had already been planned that the parties would be combined. Even the principal knew it. Gumby's teacher, who is the sweetest/ fresh out of college/ so fired up you can smell it teacher in the state, told me to do my party any way I had it planned, but when I asked him point blank told me the kids had been told to expect a combined party in the gym. Told by the other room mom, that is.

To add to my off the charts pissitude, as I walked to the gym I saw a whole line of moms who hadn't gotten back to me all walking in bearing food. So...I made a whole bunch of food that we didn't need, planned a game we were never able to play (lacking a chalkboard in the gym) and stood listening while the other room parent (from her vast experience) told me how these parties worked. (My one consolation was that, across the board, it was sugar central). She had her game planned out and it looked like, lacking a chalkboard, we'd play hers.

I made a conscious decision at that point, and that decision was that I wanted the kids to have a fun party. And, while I know that walking into the gym to see one of the moms slamming another mom's head into the hardwood floor would be fun (for the boys at least), I mentally walked away. I'm a control freak, but even I'm not that bad.

They had a fun party. All was well. But I'm still pissed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

the room parent from hell

As usual, I'm a Room Parent this year. The only thing that varies normally is which kid's class I'm room parent for. This is Gumby's year, since he's a sixth grader and this is his last year of Elementary school. Next year (and last year) belongs to Surfer Dude. I've learned the hard way that once you have a child go into Junior and Senior High the opportunities are pretty limited, so I try to have my fun while I can. I was room parent for Sasquatch more times than I can count. One year, in a moment of true insanity, I was room parent for all three of them the same year. Not one of my brighter moves.

The duties are pretty much the same no matter the grade. There are parties to organize, parents to hit up to bring food and provide entertainment and, in sixth grade, a graduation/recognition ceremony at the end of the year. But even though the basic job has stayed the same, it isn't nearly as easy as it used to be.

Witness the politically correct times we live in. There are three classroom parties during the school year - the Fall Party, the Winter Party and the Spring Party, or, as they were known in the dark ages, the Halloween Party, the Christmas Party and the Valentine's Day Party. Used to be at a party you could bring party food - kid style - like cupcakes, cookies and punch. That's all verboten now, since the decree has been made that only healthy snacks can be served at school, even for celebrations. I understand this logic perfectly, since nothing says Halloween to a kid like celery sticks. And on February 14th, the day we can't call Valentine's Day, passing out apple slices makes perfect sense. Would you like some tap water to wash that down, kids? Some gruel? A wooden spoon?

I'm really cranky about this right now because I've been completely hung out to dry by the parents in Gumby's class and I'm basically having to provide the whole party myself. Yeah, yeah, I know it's a busy time of year, people, and as soon as I get my butt off the sofa and wipe the bonbon juice off my hands I'll look for my violin to serenade you and your busy life. It's times like this when the whole PC thing really gets on my nerves. I can do one healthy snack that the kids will like, but I don't think I can do a whole party of them. Not effortlessly, anyway. Sadly, I can pull a junk food party out of my butt in about three minutes flat. Two if I buy the food already made.

And the games are a challenge, too. I'm planning on playing Pictionary on the chalkboard. I'll divide them into teams and have them pick cards to see what they have to draw for their teammates to guess at. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to come up with twenty or thirty different things to draw that have nothing to do with a holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or anything else I may be forgetting? I have snowmen, sledding, ice fishing (!!), skating and sixteen others, but I need more. Bells? Nope. Can't use them. Could be religious. Reindeer? You have to be kidding. The Grinch? Come on. A menorah? Santa? A candy cane? No, no and no again.

I've basically said to hell with it with the food. Tonight Surfer Dude and I made peppermint fudge and chocolate kiss pretzels. I'll take a big bowl of apple caramel popcorn and a couple of gallons of apple juice. And call it a day. Pretzels are healthy. So is popcorn. But you can't tell me that at least half of these kids (if not more) won't eat more unhealthily at the school provided lunch they eat tomorrow before the party. (You know, the lunches I won't let my kids touch with a ten foot pole).

I understand not setting up these things so entire groups of people feel excluded, and I understand that as a nation our kids are growing immense. But it's one day. One party. Before a two week break. And they are bouncing off the walls already.

Could we just lighten up a little bit?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Thursday Three

This week it's all about the

Eye Candy!!

You all know what I mean. The films that please the eye just as much (and usually more) than should be legal, no matter what the rest of the film is like. Some might call these Chick Flicks, which just may be my favorite genre. But they don't have to be. I'm sure men have their own versions of eye candy movies. (My husband's include anything having to do with Ellen Barkin, for instance).

BUT...all of the movies on my list are actually decent movies on their own. The visuals simply make them better.

#1. Pirates of the Caribbean (either the original or the sequel). Orlando Bloom. Keira Knightly for those who like female eye candy. And...

Johnny Depp. Sigh. Normally I wouldn't go for a guy who looks better in eye makeup than I do, but this is no regular guy. He can borrow my mascara any old time he wants to.

Johnny Depp. Sigh. I don't know how anyone who looks that skanky can look that good. Anyone see Chocolat? The man doesn't have a bad angle on him.

I have to stop now. The room is spinning.

When the first movie came out my mom and I took my kids to a multi-plex theatre to see it. (One of the few "kids" movies I've actively promoted going to see). At the last minute Surfer Dude decided it would be too scary and that he didn't want to see it. As luck would have it, Mr. Bean (with Rowan Atkinson) was playing at the same time and that's what SD wanted to see. Well, he was too young to go alone and he wanted me to go with him. My mom took the other two to see Pirates and I went to see...Mr. Bean.

If that isn't mother's love I don't know what is. And don't think I've ever let him forget it.

#2. The Italian Job. I would be hard pressed to think of a movie I sat down to watch with lower expectations that I enjoyed so much. This is a really fun film and I highly recommend it. It's fast, it's clever and it's pretty funny to boot.
It's also absolutely beautiful, both the locations and how it's shot. (That's the Mrs. Film Geek opinion anyway).

And then there's the cast. Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton and Seth Green (who may be my favorite in the whole thing, because we all know that I have a taste for nerds). To even it all out and bring in the other demographic there's Charlize Theron.
To say that she holds her own against a testosterone charged line-up is an understatement.

This movie even provides a hint of what Keifer Sutherland will look like in a few years, thanks to a small role by Donald Sutherland. (I think I prefer him now, thanks).

#3. Love, Actually. Right. Like this is a surprise to anyone. Just so we're totally straight on this - I actually love this movie. Not just like, not strong affection. I. Actually. Love. This. Movie. It is the perfect Christmas film.

Okay. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the candy. In a nutshell here's my opinion - if you can't find someone in this film who moves you somehow - you're dead. This is a classic example of something for everyone.

It's hard to know where to even start. Colin Firth. Liam Neeson. Alan Rickman. Swoon. Laura Linney. Keira Knightly. Emma Thompson- who I might even switch teams for. Amazingly enough, this is just the A-team of actors in this film. There are many more still to come.

And Hugh Grant. Don't even start - you've all made your opinions very clear to me on this, especially you British babes. But I can't help it. It's a sickness I can't get rid of. (Not that I want to, as much as I love you all and respect your opinions). He pretty much hits all cylinders in my book, although I could certainly do without the dancing. But still...

I'm now pausing for a short break in this Thursday Three to say that from here on out I'm through apologizing and I'm PROUD of my unpopular little fixation. So DEAL WITH IT!! Ahhh...I feel better now.

Just disregard the bottom one, okay? 'Kay.

Now...back to the original topic...

Then there's the rest of the cast. Eye candy across the board. The actor who plays Karl, the art director that the Laura Linney character lusts after? Pictured ever so sweetly above.

Grrr..... Brother? What brother?

This is the one bad part of the film, because I always shout at the screen - TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!!!! It's painful to watch. The scene. Not him. He looks just fine. Doesn't hurt my eyes a bit.

And just for laurie, who commented "oh, and the only eye candy for me? Ciaran Hinds. you'd better post a big picture of him with your thursday three. hopefully, wearing that gigantic and absurd hat he wore in "persuasion," the best chick flick of all time bar none. in my book, you only need a thursday One this week. persuasion."

Couldn't find a shot with the hat, but I may have to check this movie out. If the picture is any indication...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the file cabinet

This is the story of a file cabinet. When we were selling our old house last year we rented a dumpster to get rid of a lot of crap that really didn't need to make the move with us. There was this file cabinet in the kitchen that became a big bone of contention between us. It was a battered, two drawer file cabinet that fit perfectly into an alcove under our counter. It was incredibly useful for keeping everything in order. And it was a little...unique.

I have a confession to make. I absolutely adore Mary Englebreit prints. Not the (really) kitschy teapots and other "collectibles", but just the plain old drawings. Normally I'm not the whimsy type, but something about these makes me happy. I can't explain it, although god knows I've been challenged on it enough times. No one seems to expect this from me. (I'd love to know what people do expect from me. Cadaver art??).

I have another confession to make. I'm crafts challenged. Seriously. If I were my mother I'd demand a maternity test, because she can do anything crafty and I'm bad to the point of amusement. My own anyway. I doubt anyone who has ever been gifted with one of my "crafts" has even cracked a smile. The only thing I can do at all is decoupage because it's idiot proof. And the messy look is part of the charm. At least that's what I tell myself.

I have a third confession. I'm a garage sale addict. Love them to bits and have found some amazing things at them through the years. It's all about the thrill of the hunt and the chance of finding something amazing (which happens more than you would think). The FG and I have spent many a happy hour hitting garage sales over the years. In a college town especially, they can be jackpots.

So what do these four things have in common?

1. File Cabinet
2. Mary Engelbreit
3. Decoupage
4. Garage Sales

Well, I took ten Garage Sale assorted Mary Engelbreit calendars that I got for $2 total and decoupaged the battered File Cabinet with them. The entire File Cabinet. I remember the day I did it very clearly. I was supposed to be studying for a Microbiology final but instead I sat on my dining room floor all day happily pasting away. And it became one of my very favorite things. If you have to pull a bill out of a file cabinet to pay it, it at least takes some of the sting away if the cabinet itself makes you smile.

But it had taken a beating in my kitchen and to make matters worse the bottom of it had rusted enough to mess with the floor underneath it. One of the handles was broken. The hanging tracks for the files were quirky. The FG thought it should go meet its destiny in the dumpster. I didn't. We went back and forth in that insane period of time and I don't remember what made me capitulate, but I did. I took it out to the dumpster and tossed it in.

And I've missed it ever since. (I'm also pretty sure I've bitched about it ever since, but you'd have to ask my husband about that). For the last couple of months I've been searching for a very cheap, possibly battered File Cabinet for round two. (This is a practical problem, too. All of our records are in plastic grocery bags all waiting to be properly filed away).

Over the weekend the FG rustled one up. It was beaten up and free. I had bought more old ME calendars on eBay. I stocked up on brushes and Modge Podge and licked my lips.

Today I decided I had waited long enough. In the midst of the Christmas rush, with presents still to buy and wrap. With a kid with a head cold home sick from school. I blocked out my scary To Do list, dragged the cabinet into the living room, started a fire in the fireplace and put the Love, Actually DVD in.

And spent the afternoon happily pasting away. Snoring dogs, sleeping kids and possibly the most heavily loaded eye candy movie ever. Fabulous.

The File Cabinet's not bad either. *************************************************************************************
This has given me an idea for this week's Thursday Three - Best Eye Candy Films. I don't think I've ever announced the topic ahead of time, so start working on those lists. I'm in a comments dry spell!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

too close for comfort

I think I took care of this guy this past weekend. If it wasn't him it was a close relative.

This is part two of the spiel. I know it by heart.

Now I need some morphine.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fun Monday #8

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by kitten and here's what she wants from us -

I think it would be neat to hear about the story behind your home and the road you live on. It doesn't have to be historical, maybe just something that stands out to you. It would be nice to have pictures to go with your little story. I also would like to know who has the oldest house. Whoever has the oldest house will get a little Christmas treat from little ole me.

This is my street earlier this week after we had gotten about five inches of snow.

This is my house. Interestingly enough it doesn't sit on my street. I have one of those old neighborhood addresses where the house faces one street but has the address of the one on the side of it. Very confusing for pizza delivery people.

This is my middle son pretending to shovel snow when in actuality he is constructing a snow fort for the ages on the side of the house. His brother, about to walk out the front door, is soon to find out about the snow fort. The hard way.

I've talked about my house a lot, so I'm a little worried people are sick of hearing about it. It's a style called Folk Victorian and it was built in 1887. We were married in 1987 so I've always loved that symbolism. There was a major remodel done in 2000 which changed a lot of things in the house in interesting ways. There are stairways outside leading to nothing, the basement stairs are backwards and someone made a period fireplace surround Art Deco. On purpose. I want so badly to learn the history of this house, but it hasn't happened yet. It will. Like the rest of my family my house is quite the character.

But here is the most important thing about my house. This is the house I have dreamed of my entire life. This street is the street I fantasized about for years but couldn't manage. Sometimes I feel like I literally created this house out of the sheer force of my desire. It's not a Craftsman style - still my favorite. But it's airy and light and every morning of my life when I walk down the stairs for the first time I get this wave of absolute joy that it's ours.

It needs work. It needs paint. It needs that Art Deco surround gone.

And I...

...need it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

tree at last, tree at last

My family - they never agree
Too many opinions, you see
so you can just guess
the unholy mess
When we go to pick out our tree.

The dad walked away in despair
Hands thrown up high in the air
then mom grabbed a tree still bound tight
said Let's take our chances tonight
It may be insane but it's fair.

So on to the car it did go
Strapped down through the windows, you know
but the windows stayed down
found next day with a frown
When the whole car was filled with fresh snow.

But all of that's now in the past
The car should dry out pretty fast
the tree's a delight
the kid's faces alight
Everyone happy - at last.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sitcom Surfer Dude

Surfer Dude has been on a real roll lately. I was reminded of this Friday at school drop off when he hopped out of the car and sped to the front door as fast as he could. I saw a girl from his class walking up the steps and thought " nice. He's going to open the door for her". Then I watched him fling open the door and race in front of her as she jumped back barely in time to not get clocked. I guess I can put that boy/girl thing worry out of my head for a few years.

When we discovered that he had lice he didn't say much about it at the time. Come to find out later that he had soon after gone up to his arch-nemesis at school (let's just call her Susie Derkins, as in Calvin and Hobbes) and put his arm chummily around her shoulders. "Hey Susie," he said, leering, "guess what I've got?"

On the way home from the lake the last time we made a stop at a Kwikshop to get them something to snack on. Gumby got a bottle of water and some mints and SD got something carbonated to drink and some chips. About half an hour later, SD decided to belch out the alphabet (at top volume) and punctuated that stellar performance with a gaseous explosion from his nether regions. On seeing Gumby's look of disgust (or was it admiration?), he said "Dude, don't you wish you'd bought an antacid instead?"

Then there was Thanksgiving when I was in the kitchen with my budding Top Chef. He really did have a hand in virtually the entire meal and was a huge help. At the very end I was trying to explain gravy making to him. "See," I said, "you take some drippings and you add this flour mixture that you've stirred up very carefully and it makes kind of a roux. Do you know what roux means?" And he peered carefully in the pan and scrunched his brow. "Lumpy?" he guessed.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here's his take on world politics. "Hey mom, what happens if you drop the turkey on Thanksgiving?" No clue, kiddo, what? "The downfall of Turkey, the break-up of China and the overthrow of Greece."

He's not normal. Maybe that's why I like him so much.

Friday, December 14, 2007

make it stop...

For the most part I get along with electronics. I don't watch a lot of TV so I don't normally care when the remote is MIA. As long as my iPod doesn't get stuck in the same ten song loop (like it did recently), I have no complaints. My household appliances are behaving at the moment, my car is running well and I'm no more digital camera challenged than I was a week ago.

But my computer is trying to kill me. And sadly for me, with the advent of blogging in my life, it has the power to do it. Wednesday morning my entire desktop was gone. My screen saver - the southern leaning beach shot - was still there, but all my files, photos, bookmarks and tool bar were gone. Bloglines was gone. Vanished in a puff of smoke. I couldn't even exit off the page since there was nothing to click on. I had to shut down the computer and do a restart.

At first I blamed this on an overindulgence in Champagne at Bunco the night before, so I went to lie down until my vision cleared. When I got the courage up to look again it was unchanged. All my stuff was gone. My headache, however, was still there. And growing by the minute.

The FG tried to figure out what was going on and was unable to. He thought he had at least found my files drifting through the computer cosmos, but they were jacked up, too. Every time I tried to comment on a blog it came out on the FG's account no matter what I did. So I spent the morning trying to comment and then deleting because it looked a little odd when this guy no one had ever heard of started saying things in my voice. Capiche? You've gotta kind of have a history with people before you start abusing them, so this would never work. He'd just look like a stalker, and a mean spirited one at that.

And then there's Bloglines. That wonderful, fabulous invention that keeps all your regularly read blogs in one place so when there's a new post you know it ASAP. Then, one click later, you can read and comment and do all those fun things. I'd resisted Bloglines for a long time, but when laurie and willowtree told me (relatively) nicely to grow up, I gave it a try. And my life was changed. For the better. But now it's gone. And I miss it dreadfully. I can get to it, but if I try to comment off of it it shows up in my husband's name and he doesn't even use Bloglines.

So, back to my blog. Since I'm making Gumby's page my new home base, every time I want to go to my Blogger dashboard I have to google Blogger, then put in my password and navigate that way. The passwords aren't saved because I don't want my kids to be able to easily access composing on my blog. If they could you might one day find an entire post of fart jokes and pictures of dog butts, and we all know where you would go first if you wanted that. Every now and then something he has set up on his page (like a World of Warcraft icon) bursts out of nowhere and scares the hell out of me. Or Neopets. It's like a home invasion gone computer generated.

All the things that were so easy before (because I had everything bookmarked) now take forever. Hyperlinks. Inserting photos. Simply finding a specific blog. I have to stop. I'm tearing up and scaring the dogs.

So...If I seem a little absent, it isn't on purpose. I'm trying. Hopefully we'll get it figured out and my life can continue on its own peculiar course. We may have to get someone in to look at it, but at this point I don't even care. What did Santa bring you, honey? He brought me bookmarks! And files! And comments in my own name!

Hell, at least coal in your stocking is useful.

I'm leaving you with a "video" of my favorite non life or death trouble song. I've sung this through a boatload of trouble and it's bursting forth now, too. I say "video" because there's no stinkin' picture, just music. How very appropriate that there should be a problem. I sang this song so often for so long that my Amazon parrot also sang it. It was cute from him. We even made up a special version that we sang on the way to the vet. (It isn't mandatory to be a dork if you're blogging - but it helps).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Thursday Three

As we get deeper and deeper into the holidays it starts getting more and more about the food. So how about this week we talk about

Favorite Holiday Foods

This could be something you only think of or eat this time of year, or it could be something that brings back really strong memories of someone or something. Maybe it's a food that is on your table year round but assumes a special significance around December. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it.

#1. Trader Joe's Pfefferneuse. The best pfefferneuse cookies in the world, bar none. And they only sell them from Thanksgiving until right after New Years. My mom sends us boxes full which we devour, leaving powdered sugar trails all through the house.

When the box arrives you'd think our lottery check had gotten here. I don't know why these are so different tasting, but they are. I don't particularly care for regular pfefferneuse, but these are to die for.

#2. Chocolate covered cherries. My grandmother always had boxes of these in the house around the holidays and every time I see them I think of her. And of course they taste great, too. I go so far as to hide these from the kids. (Now that I think of it I hide pfefferneuse, too. Hmm. Bad mommy with powdered sugar lips and chocolate fingers).

Sometimes I bite into the cherry and make a big mess. Sometimes I pop the whole thing in my mouth and imagine how embarrassing it would be to choke to death on a chocolate covered cherry. Lets hope it never comes to that.

#3. Tamales. A couple of years ago the Film Geek and I tried our hand at making tamales. His grandmother was Mexican and made them for the holidays every year, so it was something that had a special significance for him. And I have to say they came out pretty darn good. We filled some with spiced beef and some with spiced chicken. Last year, for the veggie people, we made a cotija cheese and jalapeno filling that was terrific. (As an aside, we've also made stuffed grape leaves and have been fascinated with how similar the whole process it. You even roll them the same way).

Last year we thought we'd try something new and we made tempura for Christmas dinner. It was wonderful, but I was a little aggravated at how much time in the kitchen it took. Three guesses what everyone wants again this year.

Who cares about dinner? Just pass me the cherries.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

snow day 12 step

A new version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the 11th of December the ice storm brought to me...

12 Bunco ladies

11 Flaming firelogs

10 Gaming fistfights

9 Doggie pee trips

8 Bottled waters

7 Offspring meltdowns

6 Loads of laundry

5 Lost remotes

4 Burnt biscottis

Lazy kids

2 Pots of coffee

and a brand new person with lice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the icestorm cometh?

As I'm writing this Monday afternoon we're being told to prepare for a major ice storm starting tonight and going on until...hell freezes over. Or at least until the Midwest does. Seems like Oklahoma took a direct hit today, which makes me wonder how Kaycie is faring. I like snow pretty well, but I have nothing positive to say about ice, unless it's in a big Diet Coke or a glass of unsweetened ice tea. I especially have nothing nice to say when it's coating the very old, very tall trees right outside my house. (The picture above has nothing to do with me, but it is pretty, isn't it?)

I've made some serious Christmas shopping inroads this morning, stocked the house with necessary storm food (pretzels to dip in chocolate, biscotti fixings and marshmallow popcorn) and picked up several gallons of water when I got the kids from school. Our firewood was delivered over the weekend, we're stocked on candles and wrapping paper and I have a pretty decent hunch that the kids will have a (highly anticipated) snow day tomorrow. The one flaw in this plan is the possibility of the power going out, but we'll manage. We'll eat cookies, wrap gifts and just generally hang out.

We're ready. Bring it on.

We've even, in a burst of overzealous preparedness, already had a dry run this week with the power going out. Thursday night a major transformer blew (with a very impressive orange pop through our neighborhood) and we were in the dark for hours. We threw another log on the fire, wrapped up in blankets (because of course our furnace is on the electric) and just waited it out. Being the Geek Family we are (capital letters, please), the conversation naturally turned to the evolution of the three camera video format for shooting television shows - with full family participation. If this worries you, you aren't alone.

I feel very Little House on the Prairie at the moment, imagining a roaring storm, a blazing fire...and picking out nits by candlelight. Just call me Laura.

I'm posting early tonight. As of 7:30 pm school for tomorrow has already been canceled and it's really starting to come down. Better to post early for no reason than to not be able to later. No sooner had they canceled school than Sasquatch was up my hind end about a sleepover. Ah...teenagers.

Morning Update: It wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, although it's still spitting and the technical "winter storm warning" is on until 6 pm. We got about half an inch of ice, still have our power, and (with no school for kids) I just slept until 9:30. Bliss.

Now I'm off to answer comments...

And I have no idea why my picture keeps disappearing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fun Monday #7

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by kaytabug. This is the assignment she has given us:

In the spirit of the season I would like to see your favorite Christmas tree ornament. Not to be confused with the WHOLE tree. I want you to zoom in and show me one or a few(you know I can't choose just one!) of your favorite ornaments. If you don't decorate a tree, show me your menorah or dreidel, Kinara, or Yule Log. I want to see your favorite decoration for this holiday season.

Well, this may be a little tricky since we haven't gotten any of our decorations out of the garage yet. We've had a few unexpected roadblocks lately and all Christmas activities have been put off until this week. So I can't show you my favorite ornaments. But I can tell you about them.

When my kids were younger they made a lot of ornaments for the tree and decorations for the house. My favorites were really simple to make. You simply mixed plain applesauce and ground cinnamon until it was about the consistency of cookie dough. Then you could roll them out and cut them or shape them any way you wanted. My kids sometimes made beads that we strung or cut stars and trees out with cookie cutters. But the ones dearest to my heart are the ones where I shaped the dough in a thick circle and had them imprint their hands in the dough. I wrote their names and dates on the back and poked a hole at the top to string a ribbon through. If you're really organized you could spray them with a fixative. If you're not, you can still enjoy them years later even after they've turned slightly green around the edges.

These ornaments smell fabulous for years. When you open the box the spicy smell of apples and cinnamon wafts out pretty quick. If anyone is interested, here is the recipe. I always bought the food service sizes of the applesauce and cinnamon to make a lot of ornaments. They also made great gifts.

Now...enough yakking. I'm off to find my ornaments.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Semi Silent Sunday

This shot of Manhattan Beach is my new screensaver. It may be my new blog header one day soon - I haven't decided yet. I took this on my last trip back to LA while sitting in the sand and trying to figure out once and for all why I am so moved by the ocean. Whatever the answer, it always makes me calm.

After a day at work during an ice storm and an evening combing out nits, I need calm. And quiet. So - just this once - I'm doing my version of a Wordless Wednesday. Because let's face it - who would ever believe that I would be wordless? That's for people with maturity and restraint. The less I have to say the more I talk.

Enjoy the quiet. But don't get used to it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Draco the Inquisitor

You'll get a pretty good idea of my frame of mind right about now when I say that I almost fell off my chair laughing at this. It's entirely possible that I've finally gone around the bend.

Disclaimer: It's vintage South Park, language and slurs included. But still...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Lice Capades

Remember earlier in the week when everything went my way with the dishwasher and the washing machine and even the chimney? And so many of you commented about how lucky it all was?

It's a funny thing about luck. Some days it's with you and others...well, let's just say that some days I'm glad I blog. Wednesday was one of those days.

It started in the wee hours when Gumby had a bad dream and came in to sleep with us. Before long Surfer Dude followed. At around 5 am, when I took yet another elbow to the teeth, I finally gave up and went to sleep on the upstairs sofa, booting off a very disgruntled dog who glared at me for the rest of the day. Gumby is a lethal sleeper, but it was made worse by the fact that he was clawing at his head in his sleep, scratching it violently almost non-stop. This has been going on off and on for a couple of weeks now, and, since there's been a fair amount of head lice at his school I've been checking him (and SD) religiously - with no results. I'd chalked it up to a dry scalp (which both the FG and I have) and had been deep conditioning the bejeezus out of it with not a lot of success. I'd even commented on Diana's funnier than hell post that we seemed to have dodged the lice bullet. Our record of getting three kids to the ages of 10, 11 and 15 liceless appeared intact.

When he got up (still scratching) I took another close look at his head. Nothing. Moved him under a bright light. Still nothing. But his upper back was covered by this nasty looking red rash, which he said itched like crazy. I put calamine lotion on him, gave him some Benadryl, sent him to school and made a doctor's appointment for that afternoon.

We waited an hour to see our doctor, whom I love but who always runs late. He spent about five seconds looking in Gumby's hair and said

He has head lice.

And I said

He does not. Where??

And he said

Here. And here. And here. And...

And I said

Show me. I've been looking at his head for weeks and haven't seen a thing.

So he showed me. And I still didn't see the SOBs.

And I said

Oh come on. You know what I said.

It's an awfully good thing I don't do anything medical with my life, I'll tell you, because that could be really bad if I can't even see bugs.

So we went to the store and bought the kits to shampoo his hair with and spray down everything he might have touched in the last couple of weeks. (Uh, mom...about the lake's a really funny story about Gumby's "dry scalp" hello??).

Head lice removal kits (2) - $22.52

Then, while Surfer Dude and Sasquatch danced around Gumby chanting You have li-ice, you have li-ice, I stripped all the beds, grabbed anything that he might have worn in the last year or so and headed to the washing machine.

Uh oh.

My washer part that was supposed to be in on Tuesday still wasn't here. I had approximately 120 loads of laundry and no working washing machine. What's the only thing worse than doing laundry?

Doing laundry at a laundromat, that's what. In a college town. (At least I didn't go to the one that's part laundry and part bar. Man, that place is always packed). I haven't been to a laundromat since I was in college myself. The first time. I was so out of practice that I didn't even take laundry soap with me and had to buy those stupid little overpriced boxes.

5 loads of laundry @ $1.50 a load - $7.50

6 boxes of laundry soap @ .75 a box (because not only am I forgetful but evidently I can't count either) - $4.50

I had promised to get treats since SD and Sasquatch had stayed at home by themselves while we were at the doctors appointment, so I stopped at Dairy Queen and a Kwikshop (because god forbid they want the same thing).

Blizzard and slushies - $6.83

I drove home, still mentally cursing about forgetting the soap, and threw some chicken in the oven for dinner. Totally forgot that the red headed step child was at our house and didn't bring him anything from either place, which he will never let me forget as long as I live. By the time I figured that the washers at the laundromat were finished the FG had come home. He had to put the laundry room back together since he had moved both the washer and dryer for the repair man. I gave him instructions on putting all the pillows in the dryer and taking the chicken out of the oven and left him scratching his head madly as I headed back out to move our sheets and blankets to the dryer.

By the time I got there the place was packed and all the dryers were full. I passed the soap vending machine and got all ticked off again that I had forgotten to bring my own soap and had to buy their overpriced stuff. Finally got four dryers and threw my laundry in.

Fabric softener sheets 2 boxes @.75 each- $1.50

I had planned to put the stuff in the dryer and head home, but found out that the damned things only run for eight minutes and then you have to feed them another quarter. Eight minutes.

4 dryers running multiple times - $4.25

Got all the laundry dry and headed home to delouse Gumby and force everyone else to shampoo with the special shampoo. This should be fun, no?

Bottle of wine bought on the way home - $9.00

When I got home the FG was pulling dinner out of the oven. After they ate I took SD over to the light to look in his hair, and, once more, saw nothing. Then the FG remembered that he had a magnifying lamp out in the studio so he brought that in and set it up. I took SD and put him under the lamp to look at his head again under the magnifier.

Holy Mary, mother of god.

It is virtually impossible to gross me out, but I jumped away from the kid like he had a snake around his neck. His head was crawling. Strike two.

I can sum up the rest of the evening in two words - it sucked. We had to cut Gumby's and SD's hair. Sasquatch, the FG and I were all lice free but we shampooed with that vile stuff anyway. The FG and I each took a kid and combed nits out of their hair until I felt like gagging. (At one point in this I was walking through the kitchen and realized that I hadn't eaten any dinner. Grabbed the pot of rice, poured some soy sauce on it and had a big bite. And then looked closely at the rice. Brown rice. Brown looks exactly like lice nits rice. I may never eat rice again.

My friend Laurie arrived to pick up the red headed step-child. (From here on out Laurie will be known as Elly Mae so as to not get her confused with laurie from Three Dog Blog who, although she would be welcome on my doorstep anytime, has never been to Chez RC). She was all smiles until I filled her in on our day, at which point she shrank against my front door jamb in horror and shrieked up the stairs for her son to hurry. I had to laugh. I'd have done exactly the same thing. (I'm pretty sure I have done the same thing, actually).

It was almost midnight before everyone was showered, shampooed, nit picked and put to bed on fresh sheets and blankets. It had been a very long day.

As I write this my washer is fixed and I am methodically washing every piece of fabric in our house. The sofas and my car have been sprayed. I let Gumby stay home because I felt bad for him, so he's been totally taking advantage of that all day. I haven't worked up the courage to call my mother and tell her that we've infested her house.

I even called Laurie/Elly Mae and told her she could pick her own blog name and she said I could do it since she feels like I nailed everyone else with my code names and she trusts me. Sucker. I'm sure I'll be hearing about this one.

And on top of it all I cannot stop scratching my head. Or mourning the loss of rice from my life. And knowing that we'll be combing out kids hair until the end of time. Or longer.