Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Today I learned a little bit of humility. Hate when that happens.

I learned some legal stuff.

I learned that my borrowed baby gate playpen thing is alternatively too large and not arge enough for my Xmas tree, depending on how you work it.

I learned that popular usage of words confuses some people as to their true meaning. An Australian, acting against the US in Sweden, is not treasonous. This is up there with the "A veteran is someone who risked their life in war for the United States" thing from a month or so ago.

I learned that some people have no shame, no boundaries, and no sense of consideration.

I learned that a breast fed baby is not considered constipated until he has gone one full week without a soiled diaper.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the last few days

I've been very busy Christmas shopping and have forgotten to learn anything, or at least I've forgotten to commit it eternally to the internet.

However, I have learned that baby constipation causes HORRIBLE foul smelling baby gas. Not normal baby breast milk gas, but grown man broccoli and eggs gas. Ugh.

I have also learned that the hardest thing in the world to make happen is baby poop. The kid has not gone in over 3 days and when he's gassy, the room fills with evil. Today he got prune juice forced down his throat and still nothing. I fear he will have a major blowout in my bed tonight.

I learned that 2 year olds cannot help but rearrange Christmas ornaments on an hourly basis.

I learned that a Culver's eggnog milk shake can survive a 30 minute car ride unscathed.

I learned that "Spongebob Squarepants pajamas" is pronounced "Bob Bob Pants tommies" in Tommynglish.

I learned how the fourth Dexter book ends.

I learned that I really hate labels, but not as much as I hate my own reliance on them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas clothes

I'm trying to figure something out, something which honestly, truly, makes no sense to me and which I really do want to understand. And this is: people who don't buy toys for Christmas. I know probably half a dozen people who, when shopping for kids of any age, just absolutely refuse to buy toys. They buy clothes or bedding or maybe even a book, but not a toy. And it's not a coincidence, or even just a preference, it's a policy for all of them. Even if the kid had every single thing imaginable except toys, they'd buy something useless rather than a toy. And I don't get this. The first thing to jump into my head, which I'm pretty sure is wrong, is that they want to be sure to buy something that will NOT make the kid happy on Christmas. But again, this cannot be it. There aren't people out there - grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles - who are deliberately trying to fill a child's heart with disappointment, are there? No, it must follow some logic I don't understand. Perhaps they think that toys are frivolous and unnecessary, and that the children are naked and sleeping on bare mattresses at home and that it is up to them, the sole possessors of common sense, to furnish said cold and naked children with clothes and blankets. But surely these grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles would know that the kids have clothes, and blankets, and maybe even books. So why, when the only thing any kid wants for Christmas is a shiny new toy, do they just decide to take upon themselves the role of (S)He Who Will Not Buy Toys? I just, I don't get it. I struggle every year to find some toy, any toy that my (now) 12 year old daughter will like, just to try and put off for one more year, the Christmas where all she gets are clothes. I remember the year I went from toys to clothes and it sucked! Why push a kid into that early? Huh?

Friday, November 26, 2010


Today I learned that sometimes Black Friday shopping starts at 10:00pm Thursday. Tom didn't make it home until after 7:00am today.

I learned that food court pizza is rough on my tummy. (muffled glug from behind my navel)

I learned that, given privacy and a wad of cash, my kid can spend over a hundred bucks at Target inside of fifteen minutes.

I learned that a few weeks after a considerate discussion where we express our differing opinions and come to a mutual understanding, my husband will just go ahead and do whatever it was he wanted anyway. I believe this to be normal male behavior.

I learned that Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is the worst movie ever! I've seen porn with better plot.

I learned that Michael Cera is the hipster mascot for a generation. Maybe not a generation, but a certain age-related subgroup. People old enough to remember original Nintendo yet young enough to think skinny jeans and white framed sunglasses are new. I pity this age-related subgroup.

I learned that, much the same way normal age-related sagging is sup[posed to be overcome by use of supportive undergarments, normal age-related changes to hair color is expected to be overcome by the use of dyes. People tell me I need to dye my hair as though it's a given that I'm planning to. "You got a lot of grays there. 'Bout time to start dying it, isn't it?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today I learned that my horrible memory is bad for consistent parenting. Ryan's been grounded since Monday and she hasn't spent a whole day at home since, and is on her second sleep-over in as many nights.

I learned that I am simply incapable of anticipating another parent's child-rearing style. I am a bad influence on everyone!

I learned that some people will stretch logic to preposterous lengths in order to avoid every having a secular holiday. Thanksgiving is a simple holiday about taking time to really appreciate things and be thankful for whatever good you have in your life, and people are now trying to make it a Judeo-Christian holiday! What's next, making the Fourth of July a religious holiday under divine providence and manifest destiny?

I learned that my son is a genius. When faced with a bucket of cars too heavy to lift, and uncaring parents who wouldn't help him, he carefully removed half the cars into a second bucket, thus making the first bucket light enough to move. But he hadn't removed the cars he didn't need to play with, no. He carried the first bucket out into the room, and then went back for the second one! Keep in mind this is the same kid who, when caught without a diaper, doesn't realize where the puddle on the floor came from and runs hot wheels through it because he thinks it's water.

I learned that everyone will assume that you're cooking Thanksgiving at your house, and also that everyone is hosting 20 family members. The math, however, confuses me. If every wife is cooking, where are the 20 guests coming from.

I learned that the sigt of me waving fruit flies out of my face is highly entertaining to my infant son, whose eyes are not developed enough to see the fruit flies.

I learned that Danny LOVES lying in a dark room, under a mobile modified with glow sticks. But really, who wouldn't.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My son, the evil genius

Yesterday Tommy gave me this look, and I don't know how to explain it other than to say that it was a very cognizant look. Normally when he looks at me it's very 2 dimensional. He's angry, he's happy, he's crapping himself. But this was different. And suddenly I suspected that he's a very very smart little boy underneath all the boisterous destruction. It scared me. We talk around that kid all the time. He knows what everyone's getting for Christmas, he knows all our arguments. He even knows what my friend and her husband fight about. If he's aware enough to actually know these things, we could be in trouble. Also, who hides that they're smart? Not just how smart they are, but that they have any clue what's going on. I'll tell you who: sociopaths.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Lately I've learned (cuz I don't remember how long it's been since I last did this) that I'm stuck in a paradox, and it sucks!

I learned that portrait studios make their money on one child only specials. $7.99 and free session for the first kid. $100 for the second.

I learned to take Beano before I eat fish, not after.

I learned that if it's going to get me in trouble, Tommy can speak full sentences.

I learned that there is still no greater movie than The Big Chill.

I learned that when walmart.com says there is no item matching your description within 200 miles of your zip code, there are probably five of them in the next town over, selling for $8 less than the online price.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today I learned that when a truck driver goes off the road, NOBODY WILL TELL YOU WHO IT WAS OR WHO HE DROVE FOR!

Today I learned that Sperry Iowa is in Des Moines County and Davenport is in Scott County and Henry County is not between Sperry and here at all.

I learned that shaky camera work is a horrible plague in modern film making.

I learned that pop corn and a giant kit kat bar will give me a horrible belly ache and that I should smuggle Rolaids into the theater with my candy.

I learned not to question it when Tommy takes himself to bed at noon.

I learned that some people believe things they say they don't believe because they don't know what it means. ("I believe species can adapt but I don't believe in evolution." WTF?)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today I learned that clinics are even more heartless than I already knew them to be.

I learned that DQ Moolattes actually are caffeinated, and they're caffeinated enough to keep a 2 year old up and hyper much past his bedtime.

I learned that couch cushion covers are machine washable.

I learned that a 12 ounce root beer upended on the couch is enough to convince me to wrap the inside of the cushions in plastic inside of the covers, even when it turns my sofa into a crinkly cat toy every time I sit on it.

I learned that my daughter's new cell phone is also an mp3 player.

I learned that I got the wrong cell phone. Mine's not an mp3 player. :(

I learned that my infant son is much happier facing me and talking to me than sitting on my lap facing out.

no good deed goes ungarnished

I pay my bills. I'm in debt past my eyeballs, but I pay my bills. Little by little, month by month, they go down. I've never had a utility shut off. I've never been turned over to collection. I've never been sued. I pay my bills.

One year ago my clinic called me about my bill. It was high (following a pregnancy with no insurance, which I paid for in large part with $375 monthly cash copays) and they wanted to set up a payment plan. We made a deal where from that point on they could take a certain amount of money out of my checking account every month without asking first, and in one year, if the money was always there for them, they would wipe off the previous year's interest and fees. Today the lady called me again. Did she call me to wipe off the fees? Did she call me to congratulate me on never missing a payment or on sticking to our deal? No. She called to tell me that clinic policies have changed and if I don't pay $4389.98 within the next ten days my account will be turned over to an agency and I will be required to pay $100 every time I visit the doctor regardless of what the charge is for the visit or what sort of deal my insurance company has with the clinic. That is to say, if I come in for a $40 office visit, and my insurance has that negotiated down to $25, I will have to pay $100 cash to see the doctor. This is my reward for dilligently following through with our agreement, and she called to tell me this 40 days before Christmas.


Yesterday I learned that my son thinks I can control the people in the TV. He came and told me every time something broke, or somebody misbehaved, on TV. Apparently I have the power to put Swiper the fox in time out and to tell Ruby exactly where Max put her toy. Oh, and to make Spongebob stop crying, which I am convinced would be impossible anyway because that guy cries in very episode I've ever seen.

I learned that baby shampoo works better on cradle cap that baby wash.

I learned that sometimes, to get a toddler to eat, you have to stand in the middle of the kitchen with the spoon while he runs in circles around you.

I learned that my husband is going out early Black Friday morning again. I suspect he does it as much for the fun as for the savings. He's weird that way.

I learned that some people recommend doing nothing for post-circumcision penile adhesions. I want to know more about this. Is it possible that these can fix themselves and all the penis ripping over the past 2 years has been for naught, and I can stop doing it?

I learned that it is impossible to explain the difference between dragons and dinosaurs to anyone, let alone a 2 year old.

I learned that after not seeing Tom for 3 days, the sight of him walking in the door is like Xanax!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today I learned that cradle cap can cause a baby to lose his hair. :(

Holly Hunter

I ask my husband, "Who's that actress that I always think is Jodie Foster but she's not Jodie Foster?" and he answers "Jodie Foster?" I think this exchange pretty much sums up our whole marriage.

Monday, November 15, 2010

11-15 stuffs I've learned

Today I learned that you can buy a movie ticket for Friday night on Monday afternoon.

I learned that I may be able to stop driving to Clinton for prescriptions every month.

I learned that Danny can roll onto his back now.

I learned that there's no way to keep the cat and Tommy both out of the fish tank and still maintain ease of mobility in the hallway.

I learned that I will probably never stop being amazed at how sleepy Benadryl makes me.

I learned that fish tank is not one word, not even hyphenated.

I learned that it is hard to remember everything you learned in a day while under the effects of Benadryl, which is not unlike having a chloroform soaked rag in your face.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I learned that a staple gun in the basement, when heard through the bedroom floor and then over the baby monitor into the living room, sounds like gunfire.

Today I learned that a circular saw powering up in the basement, followed by a loud sneezing husband yelling sound, brings to mind images of dismemberment.

I learned that my kitten can climb a potted tree, even with his claws clipped.

I learned that my kitten can climb up onto the fish tank, and then seems rather clueless as to what to do next.

I decided to interpret these last two examples of evil genius as the reason villains in cartoons always have cats on their laps.

I learned that the divorce enthusiasts of the 70s and 80s are still among us, and loonier than ever.

I learned that I really hate the girl scouts. Not the girls themselves, but the whole thing with troops and leaders and councils and all of it. I will buy their cookies (sweet delicious cookies) but other than that I hate the whole thing.

I learned that I am sometimes just not as good as Daddy. (Today I was told, "No! Not Daddy!" when I tried to help my son.)

I learned that Tommy can be very grown up when he wants to be.

I learned that it will take a while to come up with a way to keep the damned cat off the fish tank.

I learned that Tom gets a funny look on his face when I am proven right. It's as if he cannot reconcile this with his world view.

I learned not to give Tommy long rolls of paper, because he tries to catch the cat with them, and then turns circles until he trips himself.

I learned that the human intestine was not designed to accommodate 2 boxes of thin mints in one day.

I learned that in a fight between granola bars and thin mints, intestinally, thin mints win.

And I forgot something today too. Today is, I am fairly sure, somebody's birthday. I cannot remember who, but I know it is somebody that I know or once knew. Possibly, CJ, but his facebook page doesn't say. Whoever it is, Happy Birthday and I'm sorry I've forgotten you.

Things I don't want to forget

When Tommy was a baby he had a forked tongue. At least, that's what we called it, but it was actually just that the two muscles on either side of his tongue were distinctive, so when he stuck his tongue out it had two little bumps on the end rather than one point.

When Ryan was a baby she used to wake up in the morning and nurse, and then she'd just sort of play with it and smile until I caught on and we got up. She was always happy to see me and to start the day.

Tommy did an Army crawl on his belly for so long before he actually got up on all fours that we thought he'd never crawl on his knees.

When I was pregnant with Tommy, he always kicked me whenever I disagreed with Tom. It was like he was taking his daddy's side from inside the womb.

Ryan's first word was "num num" but I didn't want it to be so I ignored it until she said "Mom" and then wrote that in the baby book instead.

I didn't want that kind of deception in Tommy's baby book so I accepted "boo!" as his first word when he was actually just repeating what we said. I don't remember now what his actual first word was. :(

When Ryan was little, in an attempt to teach her something about her father, I used to sing Pearl Jam songs to her at bedtime.

Ryan used to call mosquitoes "itchy bugs" and would get huge quarter sized welts from them so she had to take chewable Benadryl pills before going fishing, and she called those "itchy bug pills".

Ryan used to ask me to tell her bedtime stories, and I suck at making things up on the spot, so I would tell her the plots of movies. The first time she saw The Princess Bride she thought someone had made a movie out of my made up story.

The first time Ryan saw The Emperor's New Groove, she had nightmares of witches turning her into a llama.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Today I learned that my husband doesn't find me attractive anymore. Also, that I still do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

10th and 11th

The last 2 days I've learned that some people are ignorant and have no desire to improve upon it.

I learned that a significant portion of the public believe that the word veteran means someone who served in the United States military. I don't know what they think former members of foreign militaries are called.

I learned that a lot of people are so short sighted that they believe their own values and preferences are concrete facts and that laws should be set around them. Things they don't like should all be illegal. Not just frowned upon but actually illegal, even if they break no laws and hurt no one. Books about crimes, in which crimes are committed, when the crimes produce a gut reaction of horror, should never be sold to anyone. Because they are bad and wrong and "Why I never!" It is easy to say this about a pedophile guide, but some people just never think to ask "Who gets to draw that line?" Should Dexter be banned as well? The Shining? Helter Skelter?

I learned that when my husband hides in the basement making loud power tool sounds, he is actually accomplishing more than just making tiny boards out of big boards.

I learned that veterans are actually so taken for granted that when you say "Happy Veteran's Day. Thank you," they all seem to ask, "For what?"

I learned that it really never does get old watching Tommy dance along to the Big Bang Theory theme song and then yell "Bang!" at the end, which he pronounces as "Bing!"

I learned that there is no difference between lycra and spandex. It's like Tylenol and acetaminophen.

I got a new phone, and I learned how to use it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

11-9 lessons learned

Today I learned that my son would rather I buy him an apple than a donut. Gotta love that kid!

Today I learned that when I have no patience with abject stupidity, I am bright enough to keep my yap shut about it.

Today I learned that Gods Cuckoo Clock up in the church still bugs me.

I learned that I actually do know what I want to be when I grow up, and it requires a food service license and a metric ton of coffee.

I learned that the giant windmill blades are carried on split flatbed trailers with one piece under the base and one under the tip. I hope to someday learn how the tail lights on those things work.

Today I learned that men's sports (or traditionally men's sports anyway) seem to have some pretty girly prizes. Belts and purses for boxing, stylish jackets for golf, and bracelets for tournament poker. I wonder where those things fall on the Kinsey scale.

I learned that a 2 mile walk on wobbly butt-shoes doesn't hurt my feel any more than in any other shoes. Less, in fact.

I learned that the new Harry Potter film is being premiered at the IMAX.

I learned that IMAX tickets are not available online. :(

The coffee shop in my head

The coffee shop in town went under. Again. This is the fourth time that particular coffee shop in that particular location has gone under. First it was a restaurant that was wildly successful but apparently the owners wanted to hire people to do all the work so they never made a profit, what with payroll eating up their money. Then it was a coffee shop, only open in the mornings, and that didn't go well. Half day operations rarely cover overhead. Then a lady bought it who refused to hire anyone and waste money on payroll, so every time her kid got sick or a sitter called off, the place never opened. Unpredictable hours of operation lose customers. Then the latest owner, a nice enough woman with some experience in the coffee business. Five dollar mostly-foam cappuccinos and Christian music. She got the elderly demographic and some middle class yuppies, but she still didn't last. *sigh*

I have a coffee shop in my head. It is open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. It serves coffee and tea and fountain soda, sandwiches and muffins, cakes and cookies. It has works from local artists on the wall (all available for sale) and is willing to throw a demo cd in the muzack queue if it's good enough. Once a month it has a wine and cheese book exchange night when people can pay $5 for two glasses of wine and 3 hours to drink, mingle, and trade their old books for someone else's. It has murals on the walls painted by the high school Art students, and chessboards painted on the tables. It encourages loitering and is the hangout for kids kicked out of the Hardees parking lot. It has free wi-fi, and public chalk boards on the walls, and accepts donation buckets and benefit flyers with no questions asked. And all kids under ten get a free Oreo.

Someday I hope to open my coffee shop. I probably won't, but I hope to.

Monday, November 08, 2010

11/7 things I learned

I learned that letting English muffin dough rise a little longer gives you bigger muffins, but they'll split on the griddle.

I learned that my husband is a big softy when it comes to spending time alone with his oldest son. He took him to McDonalds and let him bounce on the trampoline after dark.

I learned that I have way more wrinkles than I thought, and that it's kinda bugging me.

I learned that I don't like Sprite, even though I do like Sierra Mist.

Sorry. It was a slow news day.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

11/6 things I've learned

I learned that my husband hides money from me.

I learned that I feel no guilt spending money I've recently learned that my husband hides from me.

I learned that, 6 weeks of bleeding aside, I kinda like the Mirena IUD.

I learned that even without the nooks and crannies, I prefer home made English muffins to store bought.

I learned that no amount of teeth brushing can make onion breath go away.

I learned that time is a human construct and possible cannot exist without someone to perceive it.

I learned that thinking about time as a human construct and what this might mean for Einstein's theory of relativity which relies on time as a constant, makes my head hurt.

I learned that the concept of time as a human construct dependent on change helps me understand death and eternity a little more, after I take a Motrin for the headache of course.

Friday, November 05, 2010

11/5 lessons

Today I learned how to make English muffins. Yum!

I learned that when you yell "Marco!" in Walmart, people will spontaneously yell "Polo!" in return, and then get very embarrassed about it. (I was looking for Tom and Tommy, and Tommy always yells Polo.)

I learned that Ryan wants a Moon Dough Puppies kit for Christmas.

I learned that Tommy knows how to place orders at drive through windows. (He yelled ice cream at the Wendy's menu fifteen times until we ordered him a frosty.)

I learned that cat toys amuse my infant son more than they do my infant cat.

I learned that Matt Damon will be filming a movie a quarter mile from my younger brother's house, and that my older brother will be in it (as an extra driving some sort of military vehicle).

Today I learned that my husband is more afraid of needles than I am.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Nothing I've learned. Just a rant.

I like helping people. It's not at all altruistic; I just like that they will be grateful to me and will think kindly of me. See? All about me. I like when there's a charity bake sale and I show up with 5 dozen cookies. I like when someone can't find something and I find it for them. I like it all. I have a greedy greedy ego.

That said, I don't like when I help someone and it costs me (not the problem) and they take the help and then walk off with barely a thanks. Nine years ago I let friends use my credit card to book a vacation that ended up costing me $5000. One of these friends was living with me free of charge because her parents changed the locks when they found out she was gay. I haven't heard from this friend in over 7 years, until yesterday when she called to ask me to vote for her friend. The whole thing made me sad. I'm still sad about it. And the thing is, whenever I've seen her in passing these past years, she's said stuff like "Oh yeah, I'm so busy, but we should get together," and then given me this look. You know the look; it's the one a guy gives when he says, "I'll call you," and has no plans to ever call. So then I'm the clingy friend who can't let go after she went to Disney World on my dime.

And I don't like it when I put myself out there and try to be a friend, try to relate to someone and make conversation, and get the other look. The one the guy at the bar gives when he smiles at you and you nod back, and then he curls his lip at you and motions to the not-that-much prettier girl behind you. I mean, really? Open resentment? For simply talking? After the initial checklist- my breath doesn't stink, there's nothing in my teeth, my pants aren't wedged up my ass, I never slept with your husband- it just becomes clear that I am somehow not good enough to talk to you as if we were (gasp!) equals, and that bothers me. Condescension I can handle. I'm a high school drop out with no career and questionable social skills. But open condescension, for merely saying "hi"? What. The. Fuck. People need to learn to roll their eyes after the conversation, not during it. The worst part is that I usually get this particular treatment from my family. And when they're really nice they just don't make eye contact. I get the same "Hi," a stranger would get at the bus stop. Looking everywhere but at me because if they looked at me, I might take it as encouragement to keep talking to them.

I used to read romance novels. Back when I was a single mom and had nothing to do after Ryan went to bed, I read pointless books. And there was one series by one author that I really got into, but she stopped writing them years ago, until now. I just checked out a new one at the library and now as I'm reading it, the first sappy romance novel I've read after getting married, it's much less impressive. The whole "they've been married for years but they still lust after each other and cuddle on the settee" (it's a historical romance; they had settees) thing that used to elicit a derisive snort now seems normal. I mean, that's how I feel about Tom. Isn't that how it is for everybody? If it isn't, I'm sad for them. Unless they went to Disney World on my credit card. Then I'm kinda okay with it.

November 3 learnings

Today I learned to never ever ever for the love of God talk politics on facebook. No matter how smart a person is in the whole rest of their life they will become a screaming demon asking "HOW COULD YOU VOTE FOR THAT GUY?! MY GUY WAS WAY BETTER!!"

Today I learned not to hide the obnoxious musical toy from Tommy in the play pen because the kitten will also hide in there and set the damn thing off constantly.

Today I learned that I need to buy moisturizer.

I learned that an aquarium light won't electrocute the fish if a 2 year old puts it in the fish tank.

I learned that 3 Colace only work for a day.

I learned that I am addicted to granola bars. Delicious, satisfying, constipating granola bars.

I learned that there really hasn't been any good end of the world music since the fall of Russia. What do you know, communism was good for something. (Good end of the world music here and here.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

November 1 learnings

I learned that I hate baby headbands. It's about as subtle as a onesie that says "Yes I am bald but there's a vagina in my diaper" (I feel the same way about earrings on a baby), and the disproportionately huge flower attached to baby headbands these days just makes the kid look off balance.

I learned that it's possible for a kid to bring home an honor roll report card for last quarter while simultaneously flunking 3 classes this quarter.

I learned that the above grade scenario confuses my brain and makes my tummy hurt.

I learned that if you're going to live off hastily gobbled granola bars for a few days, you might want to eat a Colace or two every now and then.

I learned that it's better to be called a hypocrite than to refuse to learn from your mistakes. Yes, I did that and yes, I am against it and no, I won't let my kids do it.

I learned that recipes are very rarely written out for single portions and that I have no idea what to do with the rest since no one seems eager to eat homemade English muffins but me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I've been forgetting!

Yesterday (Halloween) I learned that if it means candy, a kid can talk to strangers all damn night.

I learned that my son prefers Skittles to just about anything else.

I learned that cocoa on the stove is 100X better than powder dust.

I learned that cocoa on the stove burns easily. :(

I learned no to go to the house that hands out unfrozen popsicles. (Vanburen house, just fyi.)

I learned that Monica Gibler looks surprisingly good in green grease paint.

I learned to wear gloves on Halloween, as your hands get pretty cold pushing a stroller.