Friday, May 31, 2013

What A Waste

Today was apparently the day for me to be stuck behind slow-moving drivers.  Constantly and never-endingly and nerve-grindingly.

I admit freely that my patience is not what it could be.  My eldest, at the age of about 5, actually prayed out loud on one occasion for God to give me more of it.  Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.  People who drive slowly in front of me on two-lane roads with no passing lanes make me particularly nuts.  (Hi, Grandpa!  Yes, I'm channeling you.  Hope you're getting a good laugh out of it from up there.  At least the worst thing my kids have learned from my commentary on other drivers in recent memory is the epithet "flaming moron," which, although far from ideal, does still beat what you used to call the drivers of the trucks you got stuck behind back in the day.)

Anyway, the weather today was clear and sunny.  Roads were free of construction.  No deer in sight.  And yet this guy I was following on the way to pick up Petunia after school was driving between 5 and 15 MPH below the speed limit the whole way.  If he'd been old, I would have contained myself, I swear.  But he wasn't.  And the real kicker?  He was driving a red Corvette!

It's just not right, I tell ya.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

He Did It!

Thing Two's last baseball game of the season was tonight.  Although he was hitting well for most of the season, for the last few games he has been the king of strikeouts.  Not sure what happened, but all of a sudden something changed with his swing and he hasn't been able to buy a hit to save his life.  He's been down about it, and it's been tough.  We really didn't want him to end the season in a slump and have that to remember his first real baseball season by for the next ten months.

Tonight, he batted three times.  The first time, blessedly, he got a hit.  A dribbling worm-burner, but enough to get him to first, and he subsequently came in for a run.  The second time, he struck out.  It all came down to the third at-bat for him.

Which, as my old friend Murphy's Law would have it, came in the bottom of the last inning with his team down one run and two outs already on the books.  NOT, to put it mildly, a situation in which you want your kid to be batting if he's in a slump and it's the last game of the season.  Another strikeout would mean game over and a loss.  We cringed in expectation through the first two strikes.

But the third time he swung, he hit a whopper of a line drive that brought in two runs, the second of which won the game for his team!  You've rarely seen a happier boy.  Or happier parents!

I'm Not Being Paid For This Post

However, Coolibar, if you see this, I'm definitely willing to discuss becoming a spokesperson.

If you ever see me on the sidelines at one of my kids' many (many) soccer or baseball games, you'll be able to pick me out immediately.  I'll be the tall woman wearing the big hat.  I have a collection of a good half-dozen broad-brimmed hats, all SPF50 and mostly from Coolibar.  I also have a lovely collection of SPF50 long-sleeved and short-sleeved T-shirts, which I wear (along with one of said hats) while watching my kids play sports, gardening, cleaning the pool, walking the dog, or doing pretty much anything else outside during daylight hours.

And before you ask, I'm not a Goth or neo-vampire sort by any means.  This is just the sad consequence of having genetically Irish skin that spent the better part of its childhood years outside in the tropics before the invention of effective sunscreens!  My dermatologist has informed me that I've had my full lifetime's sun exposure and then some already and that I should stay out of the sun as much as possible going forward.  This not being even remotely practical given my life situation, I stay out of the sun as much as I can and wear some combination of these UV-protecting items when I can't.  And go through sunblock by the gallon, too.

Many of the older SPF50 fabrics are very heavy, which is tough when it's already hot outside.  You melt like a popsicle within minutes of going outside wearing those.  But I saw something new on the Coolibar website a while back, and suggested to Himself that the kids get me one for Mother's Day.    It's a very lightweight long-sleeved sun wrap, with sun protection that supposedly lasts even through a lifetime of washes.  I wore mine through my entire recent vacation to North Carolina, LOVED it, and ordered two more in different colors from my smartphone during the drive home!  The white one now lives permanently in my car, so I always have it with me if I need it (along with a big tube of sunblock and my favorite sunhat.)

Like I said, I'm not being paid to put this out there and have no ties to this company whatsoever (except for the large amount of money that I spend there)...I just really love this wrap and thought I'd share in case anyone else has the same kind of need to avoid sun that I do!  Please consider this a public service announcement.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Representing For The Old Folks

Last night, I tested for my Blue belt in Taekwondo.  It's the sixth belt from the bottom in the hierarchy at this dojo, somewhere in the upper middle in overall rank.

For the last three of my belt tests, I've been the only person over the age of 20 testing!  (Note that I am looking 40 squarely in the eyeballs.)  There are a number of other adults in the program, but their testing schedules are somehow thoroughly out of sync with mine, and last night's test group was unusually small.  There were only 7 of us: me, a 17 year-old girl, and five kids ranging in age from about 8 to 11.  To put it mildly, I stuck out a bit.

I know the 17 year-old well.  She attends many of the same classes that I do, and we happen to have the same first name, even spelled the same uncommon way.  She is a phenomenal athlete, energetic, beautiful and blessed with everything but belief in her own abilities.  (Oh, how I remember being 17...)  She's a belt level ahead of me, but we had to do many of the same exercises during the test.

No matter how hard I try, there are some things that she can do effortlessly that will just not happen with this body of mine.  She has youth and energy and non-creaky joints on her side.  But the thing is, we weren't in competition.  We were side by side, both doing the best we could.  Do my backward rolls or front breakfalls or jump spin kicks look quite as good as hers do?  No.  But as long as they're the best that I can do, that doesn't matter.

I went into last night's test with some serious misgivings.  In addition to my usual catalog of aches and pains, I'd tripped at a picnic the day before and gashed the area between my right thumb and index finger on the corner of a deck railing while trying to catch myself, also tweaking my 'good' knee in the process.  Then, at class yesterday morning, I discovered that the bandage I had on my hand would not stay on through all the twisting hand motions that go with the territory.  I went into the test last night wearing two knee braces (rather than the usual one) and with my palm wrapped in three layers of medical tape to keep the &%*$# bandage on.  I texted Himself right before going in to tell him that I had no lofty goals for this particular test: I just wanted to get through it without either embarrassing or hurting myself and come out with a new belt.

As it happened, it actually went pretty well.  The test was tough but fair.  Could I have done better?  Sure.  Always.  But I did a lot better than I thought I was going to do, all things considered.  Especially since the instructor assigned to partner with me for the test happens to be one of the most demanding.  (Can anyone say "Murphy's Law??)  By the end of the test, I was exhausted, red-faced, and absolutely dripping in sweat.  But also still focused and upright, and I handled everything they threw at me.

I have my new belt.

I worked hard for it.

But the best part?  These tests are open to the public, and we had a decent crowd last night.  In the hallway afterward, a woman came up to me and said that I'd inspired her to try taking the classes as well.  That she thought it was cool to see someone her own age up in front of everyone with all those kids.  That if I can do it, there's no reason why she can't.  And there isn't.  I hope to see her in class soon.

Right after that conversation, I walked my tired self down to the locker room, did a quick Superman-style change from taekwondo gi to business casual attire and makeup, and drove like a bat out of hell across town to take part in a school board meeting!  A multi-hat evening for this Mama...

Monday, May 27, 2013


Thank you to all who put their own safety in jeopardy every day for the benefit of the rest of us.  We are in your debt, indeed.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What A Relief

Thing One's travel soccer team held their annual tryouts a few weeks ago.  It took approximately forever for them to get back to us with the results, but we finally received the team assignments this past week.  As background, the A team is composed of the "best" players, and the B and C teams are more development-focused teams. In general, this coming year's B players are the same boys from last year's B squad, and the C team boys are the newcomers to the club without much experience playing at this level.  We've been told that Thing One will be on the B team again.

According to Himself (who played soccer for years) Thing One got much better this past year, and also played really well at the tryouts.  One of the coaches we know who was doing the rankings came up to us afterward to say that he was likely going to end up on the 'bubble' between A and B, and to ask if we had a preference regarding where to put him if that was the case.  

It was a tough call.  Obviously, you want your kid on A if he or she is good enough for A, but this particular A team is seriously dysfunctional (mostly a massive parent ego/jerk problem) and on A teams, playing time is determined by merit, not an equal-time principle.  So, if you aren't one of the best players on an A team, you ride the bench a lot.  At this time, he'd never be a starter on the A team, so we finally decided to have him go B if there was any question.

On B, he's one of the best players.  He'll get good playing time and keep developing. And we won't have to deal with the crazy political nonsense and infighting that plagued the A team for the entirety of last year.  Win-win!!


I really don't like holiday weekends, mainly because they are holidays for everyone but me: somebody still has to cook, clean up, make sure there is food in the house, do laundry, and referee kid squabbles.  And there is more of all of the above going on than usual during holiday weekends precisely because everyone is home!  The fundamental caregiver/homemaker responsibilities don't magically disappear just because the homemaker would like to have a day or two off as well.  In addition to all the regular stuff, kids still have birthday parties to attend: the gifts don't magically appear or wrap themselves, and Cinderella's coach doesn't appear to chauffeur them to these events.  There is a family barbecue tomorrow: our contribution for that event won't prepare itself either.  I'll be at the grocery store picking up ingredients for that later this afternoon.  

My idea of an ideal vacation, at this stage of my life?  A day off.  By myself.  Just one (no sense being greedy!) but really off.  Perhaps outside on a beautiful day, in a shaded swing with a book.  With nobody requiring feeding or cleaning up after or zipper help or walking or shoe-tying or taking somewhere or otherwise entertaining.  No household chores, either.

And blessed quiet, for Pete's sake.  I'm a sociable enough being, but since childhood I have always retreated periodically to a quiet place to recharge my batteries when I've had enough of people and/or ruckus.  Try doing that in a house with three children and a needy dog: somebody is always yelling through the door (or scratching at it, in the case of the dog) even when I'm in the bathroom!!

Bigtime first world problem.  I know.  But weekends in general and holiday weekends in particular are actually more stressful for me than weekdays, and I think there's something wrong with this picture.

One cranky Mama signing out, and wishing you all a better attitude and greater appreciation of your blessings than I am able to muster right now!  

ETA: In all fairness, I should note that when I wrote this, Himself was at a park with Thing Two for another birthday party and had the other two kids with him as well, so I could go grocery shopping in peace.  He's a keeper...don't mean to make him out as anything less here.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I Underestimated The Kid Again

Thing Two received a classmate's birthday party invitation last week.  If he hadn't seen it in his school backpack, I might have quietly gotten rid of it and RSVPd "no" without telling him about it.  And not because of any issue with the classmate, either.

This was a laser tag party.  Having been to these before with Thing One, I know that the game is played in a large, dark maze, with oddly fluorescing blacklit items scattered here and there and deafeningly booming music playing overhead.  The children wear light-up vests and carry "laser" guns, which they use to shoot the targets on other players' vests.  Every part of this sounds like a nightmare of sensory overload for my son.  Add to that the fact that he hates to lose, but has never tried this before and would therefore likely be hit just about immediately, and it seemed like a recipe for disaster to me.  But he really wanted to go, so I took him.  Entirely against my better judgment, though.

He'd forgotten to put his sneakers back on after climbing in the play structure at the beginning of the party, so I could easily identify him (from the viewing platform above the maze) by the blacklit-fluorescence of his white gym socks.  I saw the socks hesitate as they entered the maze.  I saw his vest light up, indicating that he'd been 'hit.'   And then I saw him walk further into the maze and disappear from sight.  I only located him a couple of times after that.  I did take heart from the fact that he hadn't come out, since I knew he'd been told to ask a marshal if he wanted to leave the field.  

Fifteen very long minutes later, the game was over.  He came out talking about a laser battle with an eighth grader, one of the birthday boy's older siblings.  He'd lost, but was okay with it.  And surprisingly, the strange lights and incredibly loud music hadn't fazed him at all.  I couldn't believe it.

Good thing I listened to him and not to my inner voice.  Although my instinct will always be to protect him, he needs to grow too.  Sometimes I need to take a step back and let that happen!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Not All Bad

I posted several times yesterday about the crazy day I was having, which involved a lot of running around, one major mommy-gaffe in the form of inadvertently keeping my daughter home on a day she was supposed to be at school, and a long, hot elementary school band concert in the evening.  I admit freely that I was fried and ready for a nice glass of wine and some peace and quiet when we got home, but it really wasn't a bad day overall.

I enjoyed having the extra time with Petunia.  The band concert went well, all things considered.  Thing One played his little heart out and looked so darned handsome in his white shirt and tie, nice pants and dress shoes.  I helped him get dressed and immediately took a picture before he could mess himself up!  (His normal taste in clothing runs more toward baggy t-shirts, basketball shorts, and sneakers.)  Both Thing Two and Petunia behaved well the whole time we were at the concert.

And, as the icing on the cake, there was this.

This is my Senior Green taekwondo belt (the two ends of it, anyway.)  The black stripes indicate that I know the techniques, self-defenses and form for this level.  The green stripe is for sparring.  And the red one, with yesterday's date on it??  That's the one signifying that I have been deemed ready to test for the next belt up.  It's the big kahuna, the last stripe applied to any given belt.  

Next Tuesday evening, I will test for my Blue belt.  This will be my sixth belt.  Still nowhere near Black, but solidly mid-level.  Pretty cool.  Wish me luck!!   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mom And Dad, I'm So Sorry

Karma is officially a bitch. Or what goes around comes around.  Or something!

After 90 minutes of beginner band and chorus performances in a stifling gym this evening, only about ten minutes of which (max) involved my son, I now have a much better idea of what I put you through for all those years of concert attendance!!  And Dad, now I really understand why you asked every time if we could please leave after I was done performing for the evening, even if the show wasn't over yet.  ;)

And as a side note, I'm now of the opinion that nobody under the age of about 12 should even try to play the trombone!

You're Going To Love This One

I mentioned earlier that this was going to be a crazy day.  It actually started off Thing One to school on time for his rehearsal, put Thing Two on the bus at home, got back to school for Thing Two's end-of-year celebration, made a mad dash from there to my taekwondo class, and swung quickly by the shoe store to buy size adjusters for Thing One's new dress shoes for tonight's concert.  All of this with Petunia in tow, by the way...she was off from school today.

Or so I thought.

Petunia was supposed to have a day off at the end of last month--a teacher planning day or some such. There was some issue with that, and they had a normal day of school instead, with the day off shifted to this month instead.  Today, I thought.  Because of the day off, one of the moms of the boys in her class offered to host a play date at her house.  Given how nuts this day has been, it was the last thing in the world I wanted to try to squeeze in, but I love my daughter, so our next stop was her friend's house.  Which I had to find using the MapQuest app on my iPhone (oh, how I love that app) because this kid lives off roads I've never seen in ten years living in this area.

Anyway, we finally get to this house.  There are no other cars in the driveway, even though we are twenty minutes late.  The grandmother opens the door, looking confused.  She says that the mom is at work.  I take the playdate invitation from my purse to show her, and realize belatedly that the play date is actually NEXT Thursday.  Which means that the day off is too.  Which further means that Petunia missed a full day of school today for no reason other than that her mother is a dingbat who can't keep track of the date.

She's sailing through school--missing a day won't kill her.  I just feel like a flaming moron.  But at least she will still get her play date, even if it is a week from now.  We did get home earlier than anticipated, too, which is a bonus since I was hoping to let the dog out of her crate for a while before the next round of activities begins.

It's official: there is just too much in my head right now.  There is only so much mental juggling I can do before balls start to drop, and one landed with a resounding *splat* today!

You Know It's Going To Be A Crazy Day

When you wake up stressing about the schedule and logistics for it at 3AM and can't go back to sleep.

Wish me luck.  Had to drop Thing One off at school early this morning for a dress rehearsal and there will not be so much as one minute's peace or repose until after his band concert tonight!

Wish me luck.  Is it summer yet??

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Question Of Need

Last Saturday was a crazy day, starting way too early with a soccer tournament in East Jesus for Thing One and ending with dinner at a friend's house, with a baseball game, a soccer practice, a playdate, and a few other things sandwiched in between.  (I really do need my Mondays to recover from these weekends...)

Anyway, the friend who had us over for dinner that night is a single mother of one son, who is a few months older than Petunia.  Her ex left her a few years back and they subsequently divorced.  At the time, we were convinced that he was either having a midlife crisis or secretly gay (he is very metro) but it came out much later that he had dumped her for his younger, blonde secretary.  Can anyone say cliche??

For some reason, this subject came up at dinner on Saturday.  The general consensus has always been that her ex was nuts for leaving, since our friend is attractive, loving, a fantastic homemaker and a generally really great person.  It was one of those situations where, as an outsider looking in, you scratch your head and say to yourself, "Well, he's just thrown away the best relationship he's ever likely to have."  Especially since mental illness runs rampant in his family and he has more baggage than your average airline.

There was a slightly older couple at dinner, brought by another friend.  I'd never met them before.  They are probably in their mid-50s.  After listening to the discussion, the husband commented (not in my friend's hearing, fortunately) that her husband had probably left her because she did everything for him and for them (he went to work, she took care of everything else) and he didn't feel needed.

As much as that comment annoyed me (it's been pricking under my skin since Saturday), I have to admit that there may have been some justice to it.  The secretary involved had a very messed-up life, and my friend's husband may have felt all knight-in-shining-armor-like, "rescuing" her from a bad life situation.  My friend, unlike the secretary, actually has her shit together, and comes from a good, stable family, unlike the ex.  It may well be that the secretary makes the ex feel like a big shot and puts him on some kind of pedestal.

But if that's the case, all I can say to my friend is "Good riddance."  Why would you want to be married to anyone that needy and insecure?

Or maybe I have it wrong.  I love my husband dearly and would be absolutely devastated if anything happened to him.  I deeply appreciate how hard he works to support us and what a good father he is and what a good human being he is (and tell him so, regularly.)  But I want to be married to an equal, not somebody whose ego I need to be constantly feeding.  Somebody who appreciates my abilities and accomplishments, not somebody who feels like his manhood is threatened by them.  

Do I have it wrong?  Do men inherently need to be needed?  Is it one of those caveman DNA relics??


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not Sure This Baseball Thing Is Going To Stick After All

Thing One played baseball for two years, but it really wasn't his sport.  Too slow a pace, not enough action.  Too much opportunity to lose focus and get into trouble.  At the end of his second year, he made his current travel soccer team, and baseball came to an end for him.  I can't say I was terribly sorry about it...the time commitment was significant and irregular and the younger two kids kept getting into mischief during practices, anyway.

So, when Thing Two decided to try baseball this year, I was less than enthusiastic.  I'd already lived the scheduling nightmare, and given that this kid has ADHD to go along with his raw athletic skill, I didn't see baseball as his optimal sport either.  But we figured we'd let him try.  And damned if he hasn't done pretty well at it.  He's still working on sorting out the rules, but he has the basic skills down.

When he was in preschool, he had three rules to follow.  Very simple ones, only six words to make it easier for him with his language issues.

1) No crying
2) No sillies
3) No arguing

Number 3 has always been the real challenge for him.  He's a my-way-or-the-highway type if there ever was one, and he has always been rather vocal about it when things are not going the way he would like them to be going!  This was an issue even back then, when his ability to express himself was much more limited, and it's a real issue now.  He's actually enduring a DS embargo at the moment because of it.

At any rate, his baseball team had a game tonight.  He struck out the first time he batted. The second time, he hit a worm-burner toward third and was narrowly thrown out at first.  Then he started arguing with the coach on first who called him out!  It was one of his own coaches, too, not an opposing coach, and this guy is scrupulously fair.  When he got back to the bench, we had a pointed chat about appropriate on-field behavior and rule #3.

This kid is very competitive.  He hates making outs, and he hates losing.  But what really seems to bother him about baseball is him making outs while others don't (never mind that he is new to this game and comparing himself to relative veterans.)  Having to leave the field when he makes a mistake--as he sees it--is a problem too.  Soccer and basketball don't have this element, so it will be interesting to see if he masters the self-control he'll need for baseball or decides to give it up in favor of one or both of those.

Believe me, I can take or leave baseball.  But I really don't want to see the kid quit because he can't keep his mouth shut, either.  I'd cheerfully trade my spring evenings for a little more gray in his black-and-white world.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Not Sure What Happened Today, But I'll Take It

Friday morning, I didn't have to yell at my kids before school.  They didn't argue about what to wear to school, ate what I gave them for breakfast without grumbling, and the boys were out at the bus stop in plenty of time, not running out the door as the bus pulled up.  Even Petunia, who is legendary for her morning dilly-dallying, was ready to leave for school a bit early.  The stars were clearly aligned, an extraordinarily rare occurrence.  There was even a good chance that I would make it to my 9:30 taekwondo class on time.

But then, halfway to Petunia's school, my cell phone rang.  It was the boys' school number.  My first thought was to wonder how on earth one of them had managed to hurt himself already (I get a lot of calls from the school nurse; can you tell?)  Fortunately, there were no injuries, but Thing One had forgotten his saxophone.  This meant that I had to drop Petunia off, go back home, get the saxophone, drop it off at his school for him, and then go to class.  Further meaning that I would be late after all.

And I broke one of my own rules, too...I had told him at the beginning of the year that he had to remember his instrument on Fridays if he wanted to sign up for band, since I have enough to remember already.  The last time I he forgot it and I dropped it off, I told him that it would be the last time.  Unfortunately, since he has a concert this Thursday, I relented and did it again.  But this is absolutely it...I don't think he's going to do band again next year anyway.  I texted my instructor to let her know that I would be late and asked her to set up a large target (heavy bag) for me to beat up when I got to class!  *SO* close to having a conflict-free morning, but no dice.

Today, though, all went well again.  And actually stayed well this time.  I hate it when I have to yell or be upset with one or more of the kids in the ruins the day.  And today I finally got to lunchtime without a child-induced raise in my blood pressure!  Small victory.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Rechristening

My kids don't read this blog, but they know that I write it.  They also know that I don't use their real names when I write about them.

They almost never hear their real names unless they're in trouble, anyway...we're big on nicknames around here.  When they hear their first and last names called (or God forbid, the dreaded first-middle-last sequence) they KNOW they're in for it.  This is also true for the adults, I should add...I almost never hear my given name unless my husband is annoyed with me or under stress.

Anyway, back when I was starting this blog, I had to decide what to call the three kids here.  I do actually call my boys Thing One and Thing Two (among many other things) in real life.

For good reason, I might add.  They are named after characters from The Cat In The Hat, by Dr. Seuss.

'i will pick up the hook.
you will see something new.
two things.  and i call them
Thing One and Thing Two.
these Things will not bite you.
they want to have fun.'
then, out of the box
came Thing Two and Thing One!
and they ran to us fast.
they said, 'how do you do?
would you like to shake hands
with Thing One and Thing Two?'

and sally and i
did not know what to do.
so we had to shake hands
with Thing One and Thing Two.
we shook their two hands.
but our fish said, 'no! no!
those Things should not be
in this house!  make them go!
they should not be here
when your mother is not!
put them out!  put them out!'
said the fish in the pot.

'have no fear, little fish,'
said the cat in the hat.
'these Things are good Things.'
and he gave them a pat.
'they are tame.  oh, so tame!
they have come here to play.
they will give you some fun
on this wet, wet, wet day.'

now, here is a game that they like,'
said the cat.
'they like to fly kites,'
said the cat in the hat.

'no!  not in the house!'
said the fish in the pot.
'they should not fly kites
in a house!  they should not.
oh, the things they will bump!
oh, the things they will hit!
oh, i do not like it!
not one little bit!'

then sally and i
saw them run down the hall.
we saw those two Things
bump their kites on the wall!
bump! thump! thump! bump!
down the wall in the hall.

thing two and thing one!
they ran up!  they ran down!
on the string of one kite
we saw mother's new gown!
her gown with the dots
that are pink, white and red.
then we saw one kite bump
on the head of her bed!

then those things ran about
with big bumps, jumps and kicks
and with hops and big thumps
and all kinds of bad tricks.

When I started the blog, I called my third child "The Girl" simply to distinguish her from her brothers.  However, she has recently pointed out that this is a boring name, and she wants a better nom de blog.  In real life, I probably call her "Bug" or "Peanut" more than anything else, but since she is named for a flower, I'll use another flower (and another of her real-life nicknames) for her name here: she will henceforth be known as Petunia.

Oh No You Don't

Both of our first two children were boys.  As much as I love them, I really wanted a girl too.  Himself said he'd do his best to throw me an X chromosome on our third go-round (which was to be final, no matter what we got)--his only condition was that if he succeeded, I had to deal with anything relating to hormones, boys and drama going forward.  

I agreed, which falls squarely into the category of Famous Last Words.

Fast forward to this year.  The Girl gravitates to every boy in the area.  Or they gravitate to her, more precisely.  She is a beautiful child, but it is more her spunk and spirit that draws them in, as far as I can tell.  A boy two years older than she invited her to his house for a playdate on about two minutes' acquaintance the other day...I thought Himself was going to pop a blood vessel!  He's about ready to buy a shotgun and start cleaning it on the front porch. 

It isn't bad enough that she's already engaged to one of the boys in her class at school.  Yesterday, she had a playdate with two others.  They are twins, so they come over as a set.  The three of them were upstairs playing in her room, and I was in the kitchen getting a few things done, with one ear directed up the open stairway to the bedrooms.  They are all young, and these are nice little boys, so having them upstairs in her room together was not of major concern.  Until I heard one of the boys talking about taking off his pants, anyway!!

I'd forgotten about her dress-up box, which contains not only an abundance of princess dresses and such, but also all her brothers' old Halloween costumes.  This boy was innocently trying to put on one of the old racecar-driver suits from the box, but he couldn't pull it on over his shorts.  The other boy and my daughter were dressed to the nines from the box as well, but fortunately both still had all their clothes on.  After sprinting up the steps to see what the hell was going on up there, I had a quiet chat with my daughter in the hall about the need to leave the room when boys are changing! 

The boys went home at the end of the playdate, and about an hour later, we were due at a friend's house for dinner.  This friend happens to have a son about The Girl's age, as did another guest.  Both of these women are longtime friends of mine, and their sons of The Girl's.  Within five minutes of arriving at the house, my daughter asked if she could go and play upstairs with these two boys.  I told her she could only go if she brought Thing One with her as a chaperone.  This kid is going to be a menace when she actually discovers boys...she's giving her father gray hair already!                 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stat Shock

Messing around with the blog stats today and realized that this is post #366.  Three hundred and sixty-six!  Wow.

For some of you longtime or more prolific bloggers, I know this number is nothing.  But I started this blog on a whim last July, and I'd never have thought that I'd find that many things to write about in a ten-month span.  It's been a good experience so far...I love having this space in which I can vent or be creative or have an opinion, whatever my need might be on that particular day.

Thanks so much to all of you for being part of the ride.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Put Me In The Zoo

I will go into the zoo.  I want to see it.  Yes, I do.  

Or, at the very least, I love Thing Two, so I will go to the zoo with his class for their field trip, just as I did for his older brother a few years ago.

I have nothing against the zoo itself, please note.  Just the concept of chasing energetic elementary schoolers around it for the better part of a day in the blazing sun, trying to keep them off the statues, off the fences, and out of the pens!  And I was even grateful for the sun and heat that followed this morning's showers, since it was 50 degrees outside and raining sideways there the year I went with Thing One.

I've always attributed the beginning of one of my particularly good friendships to that first trip, actually: once you hit the point where you are too wet to need an umbrella anymore and cold enough to shiver, you either become a grumpy, miserable piece of work or you give up and recognize the humor in the situation.  My now-friend B and I bonded permanently while hiding from the frigid rain with our older kids in the zoo's ice cream shop and laughing like a pair of fools!  The animals had all had the sense to take cover from the downpour, anyway--we were just following suit.

B happens to have daughters the same ages as both of my sons, so this time around we made a point of signing up to chaperone together again.  We were assigned three children to watch: her daughter, my son, and the birthday boy of last summer's Mexican fiesta.  These three have been in school together since preschool and get along well, which is handy.  As chaperones, B and I were carrying the group's lunches, water bottles, umbrellas, jackets, sunblock, etc, etc.  I had a backpack; she'd brought a portable cooler thing, which she pushed around the zoo in a rented stroller!  She is nothing if not practical.

We were at the zoo for about four hours, the highlights of which (in the kids' opinion) were watching a gorilla poop, eating lunch, and getting to ride a camel.  Oh, and the umpteen-foot python and screaming peacock.  B and I were more impressed with the big cats, the polar bears, and the sky-high stilettos and hoochie skirt worn by another chaperone.

The kids' bus didn't get back to school until about 4:50.  Having made that mistake the last time, there was no way in hell I was going on the bus with the kids again...B and I and another mom drove together in my car in blessed tranquility.  And I needed the temporary peace and quiet, since Thing Two also had a baseball game tonight!  He needed to be at the field by 5:30.

About half the kids on each team had also been to the zoo and were exhausted.  The game was a nightmare of zombie fielding and very slow base running.  One outfielder actually sat down mid-inning to tie his shoe and never quite got up again!  When the coach suggested tacking one more inning of play onto the end of the game--at 7:45!--there was a popular rebellion in the parent section of the bleachers.

All told, I was home today for about half an hour between 8:30AM and 8PM.  Good thing Himself worked from home today.  And Thing Two is lucky that he's cute!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Saw some survey results recently: apparently three is the most stressful number of children.


I'd agree with the comment in the article that most of the stress is self-imposed and the result of excessive perfectionism, too.  That's definitely a big part of the problem around here, anyway.

My experience was that the transition between one and two kids was harder than the one from two to three, though.  By the latter point, you already know how to juggle, and are just (ha!) adding a ball.  Maybe that's why the stress levels for moms of four or more went down in the survey...they could just have the juggling thing down cold.

But I don't plan to find out personally: I think that one additional ball would probably send me right over the edge!  I'll quit while I'm behind...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At Least There's A Good View From Up Here

The year I was nine, my mother would cheerfully have sold me to the gypsies.  Heck, she would likely have paid them to take me away.  Although I was a relatively good kid for most of my childhood, for some reason I was a completely rotten little brat that particular year.

Like many mothers, at some point (probably during that year) she must have put the famous curse on me, the one that goes like this: "May you have children just like you!"  Because I have at least one of those, and right now he is driving me up a frigging tree.

I have HAD IT with the arguing and resistance and backchat.  And since I try very hard both to be careful about what I threaten and to follow through with what I have threatened when challenged, a most-beloved DS has gone into extended exile as of this evening.

If this is indeed the mother's curse I'm experiencing, I sure as hell hope it only lasts the one year, and that this is his equivalent of the year I was nine.  If not, I'm really in for it.  Especially since I haven't seen any gypsies recently.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Mom, Please Go Buy Me A Big Bag Of Jellybeans!"

Thing One's first words to me in the waiting room this afternoon after he (prematurely, as it happened) bolted from the orthodontist's chair in a fit of pure elation.

You see, the kid has had a palate expander permanently affixed to the roof of his mouth for a good nine months or so.  The type he had is made of wire and is slightly less cumbersome than the one pictured in the link, but it's the same idea.   He's been good about having it in (only minimal griping), but it's been a rough road for him: besides the discomfort of the device, he had to have two teeth pulled as part of the palate expansion process, and he's been ordered to avoid many foods that he would love to be eating!  Popcorn, gum, and chewy or sticky candies have all been off the table.

But today, and unexpectedly, the orthodontist finally took the blasted thing out.  He may need a retainer (we go back to see in four weeks) but until then, the poor kid can finally eat whatever he wants again.  I though it was a nice touch that they gave him a celebratory balloon attached to packs of gum and microwave popcorn at the end of his appointment!

And the icing on the cake of the appointment?  Seeing this on the whiteboard wall of the kids' play area in the office, drawn there out of the blue by my beloved daughter.

A happy afternoon, indeed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Thinking about mothers today.  Of all varieties.  Mostly the ones who do the absolute best that they can for their children, however far short of 'ideal'--whatever that might be--they may fall.  Or think they fall.  They may have a bad day or two or twelve or hundred (God knows I have), but each time they get up the next morning and try their damnedest all over again.  How much more can we ask??

I've had some very special mothers in my life.

My mother's mother.  In some ways, even most ways, a hard woman, but her life made her hard and she was bound and determined to make our lives (her daughters' and granddaughters') better and easier than hers had been.  No substitutions or arguments were accepted, no sacrifice was too great for her to make for those whom she loved so dearly.  And she loved us dearly, no question about it.

My father's mother.  Inveterate card player, highly irreverent sense of humor, presider over one seriously crazy Irish-American household.   Baker of the best chocolate pies in the Midwest.  Descended from people who came over a few boats after the Mayflower, sweet- and innocent-looking (with color-changing fairy eyes) but sharp as a tack and nobody's pushover!  Best mother-in-law in the world other than mine.

My mother-in-law.  I don't have a good picture of her, unfortunately.  She came (with my father-in-law) to watch the kids this past weekend while we were in North Carolina.  They take the kids to all their (many, many) activities while we're gone.  Cook multiple meals so everyone is happy--we tell them not to do this but they do anyway.  Get them outside with walks and bikes and park trips.  Bring special treats for them when they come.  Play endless board and card games with them.  And when we got home today, the sheets and towels they had used had already been washed.  The guest bed was put back together.  The laundry was all done.  Himself and I had joked that they would be waiting at the door for us, bags already packed to go, since the weekend was a crazy one for them.  But no: when we arrived, my MIL cooked dinner--a very nice one--so I wouldn't have to do it on Mother's Day after a long car trip.  And made dessert.  And helped me clean up the kitchen before they left.  And, not incidentally, has been the soul of kindness to me since the first moment I met her, which was before her son and I actually started dating.

And last, but most certainly not least, my own mother.

Isn't that an awesome face my little brother is making in that picture??  And I have no idea what in the world I'm wearing here, but it was the '70s, so please cut us all some slack.

This woman has a core of steel.  We moved countries repeatedly when my brother and I were small.  While we went to our international schools and Dad to his English-speaking workplace, she learned to buy groceries in Tokyo and deal with house staff in Bangkok and negotiate with plumbers in Arabic and drive on the 'wrong' side of the road in Hong Kong.  All while volunteering at our schools and teaching CCD and baking cupcakes for class parties and helping us with homework and not letting us get away with giving anything less than our absolute best at school.  When we got older and made sports teams, if we had a game, she was there.  Biting her knuckles when we got hurt, yes, but she kept coming.  A band or choir concert?  Any kind of performance at school?  She was there.  Helping me pick out prom dresses a year in advance because they didn't sell them in Hong Kong and we had to bring them from the States each summer?  Yep.  Helping me deal when the guy I was dating at the time moved after every.single.cottonpicking.year of high school??  Yep.

My absolute best Mom story??  Would have to be the time (a Friday or Saturday night, I forget which) I was out with a girlfriend as a freshman in high school.  Both of us were dating juniors at the time, and my friend had VERY protective parents.  Somebody brought wine coolers to the beach, where we were all hanging out.  I had a sip or two, my friend got bombed.  I brought her home to my house, since I knew her folks would never let her out the door again if she went to her house.  Got home and belatedly remembered that Mom and Dad were having a dinner party that night!  Mom got up from the table, helped me get my friend cleaned up and to bed, then went back to her party like nothing ever happened.  She understood that I was trying to do the right thing, and she had my back.  She's had my back for my entire life.   The family joke is that Dad thinks I'm an angel, while Mom knows I'm not an angel but loves me anyway.  Or because.  I have not, for one second, ever doubted that she loves me.    

I'm a lucky woman.  I hope to someday be the kind of mother that these mothers have all been to me.

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Adventure Continues

MCB Camp Lejeune covers 246 square miles.  I think we drove through about half of it yesterday afternoon trying to figure out how to get to the house where the after party was being held.  You know you are in a different world when your directions include landmarks like the BOQ (bachelor officer's quarters), an ammo storage facility and Tactical Landing Zone Goose!  The buildings have names and numbers, but the numbers often aren't sequential. It's a lot like trying to find an address in Tokyo, actually--the streets have names but good luck finding the right number.

The change of command ceremony was beautifully done.  Our friend handled himself with dignity and spoke well and made us proud.  It was a lovely day, sunny with just enough breeze to make the 50 state flags arrayed between the two massive helicopters flanking the ceremony area on the flight line sway gently and to cool off the men in their suits or camo.  (As a female, I was very happy to be in a sundress in the heat.)  The color guard presented the colors, and a Marine band played.  As a former marching band player myself, I admit that I focused a lot of my attention on this group during the ceremony, because I know enough about how hard it is to play and stay in formation that it was very apparent how good they are.  It was seriously cool.  They march column-style (check out a Texas A&M band video on YouTube sometime for an example of this.)  The rest of the Marines in this group performed drill maneuvers at various points during the ceremony in the back by the flags, and marched in a long column before the dignitaries present at the end of the ceremony (a process called passing in review.)  I was irrationally happy to see that one of the platoons was commanded by a woman.  And a small blond woman at that.

There was a formal luncheon afterward at the Officer's Club.  I spent most of it trying to figure out how to distinguish rank by insignia.  I finally got all the Marine officer levels straight, but was defeated by the Navy.  Their system is absolutely crazy.  The whole idea actually reminded me a little of taekwondo, since our belts serve the same function as their insignia: if you are familiar with the system, you can tell at a quick glance where you rank relative to everyone else in the room.  The military version is a lot more complicated, though.  The other thing that struck me at the luncheon was how short most of the men in the room were.  At 5'10", I am taller than almost all of them, which was an unfortunate flashback to high school for me, but there is a good reason for it here...helicopter cockpits just aren't that big and tall guys don't fit.

In between the O club (where good behavior is expected) and the after party (where it is discouraged!) we had to go back to the hotel to change.  As Himself drove, I found myself looking at the businesses that immediately surround the base.  Barbershops.  Pawn shops.  Bars.  Gentlemen's clubs.  Stores that sell cheap furniture, expensive electronic equipment, and shiny tire rims.  Tattoo parlors everywhere.  Gun stores and military surplus stores and every fast food joint imaginable.  And charmingly, an abundance of billboards advertising the services of breast-augmenting plastic surgeons.  This surprised me, given that this is generally not a population known for having a large amount of disposable income, and my impression would have been that boob jobs are relatively expensive.  But the billboards wouldn't be there if the demand wasn't.

In the morning, I saw the absolute best of the Corps.  Outside the base, the underbelly is a lot more apparent. An interesting dichotomy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It Was A Perfectly Normal Pizza Dinner At Some Friends' House

Except for the small, insignificant fact that the man who sat next to me during dinner happens to be one of President Obama's official helicopter pilots.

Things like that happen when you hang around with Marines for long enough.  And my husband has been hanging around with one particular Marine for more than 25 years now, which should certainly qualify as long enough, although this friend has technically only been a Marine for a shade under 20 of those years.

My husband's friend is a helicopter pilot as well, and we are at Camp Lejeune this weekend celebrating a milestone in his career with him and his wife and family.  Tomorrow is the formal celebration, which I am informed will involve three generals with a total of five stars between them.  My primary goal for the day is not to embarrass myself in front of this crew by tripping while wearing a dress and heels.  A secondary goal is to enjoy the sight of all the good looking, clean-cut men in suits and military uniforms!  (Cue fanning myself and swooning.)

This base is a different world.  For one thing, children can run about essentially unsupervised, since access to the base is so restricted.  (Not sure I would be able to let go of my own children so easily, but I see it happening here.)  In that sense, it is almost a flashback to an old-time kind of childhood.  For another, they speak a different language around here.  At the main gate of Lejeune, there is a visitor's center where civilians must be signed onto post by their military host.  The bathroom in the visitor's center has a sign on it that says "Public Head."  The one on the front door of the visitor's center says "Remove Your Cover."  (Meaning take off your hat.)

And good grief, when in recent memory have I ever felt so OLD?  Looking around here, so many people are in their late teens or early own almost-40 is positively geriatric by comparison!

But I love this area, not least for the friendly people and good food. We drove half an hour out of our way this afternoon for some ethereal chopped pork barbecue sandwiches and sweet tea and I don't regret that one bit.  When in Rome, I'll be darned if I eat at McDonald's.

Off to bed.  Tomorrow morning will come early...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It Must Be Almost Time To Go

Because I have officially reached the point where I am thinking that it would have been easier if I had just planned to stay home alone with the kids instead of accompanying my husband on this out-of-town jaunt.

The last three days have been a nonstop exercise in cleaning, cooking, shopping, and laundry to get everything in a leavable state here.  Notifying everyone (bus drivers, teachers, schools) that my in-laws will be with the kids.  Writing down all the notes for how much to feed the dog and the school bus times and who has which sporting event where and when (etc etc) while we're gone.  Plus a meeting Monday night and a baseball game last night.  I am very, very tired.

And I haven't even begun to pack yet.  Barely even thought about it, to be honest.  Which is a problem since there will doubtless be at least a few catty females who will care about what I'm wearing once I get there.  And I've been informed that we are leaving between 6 and 7 tomorrow morning, which (knowing my husband) means that he will be up by 5 and in the car by 5:45, impatient to be off!



I Have Officially Exhausted My Right Brain For The Week

As much as I love to bake, this was not the week to have to create a beautiful cake (let alone two!) for teachers at our school and present them in a fancy manner.  We leave tomorrow for a long weekend trip, and I am officially a basket case.  Today is going to be one of those days, I can just tell.  And of course, it's pouring rain, too.

But, I did make my cakes and deliver them to school.  I found this recipe online, which looked pretty and not too terribly complicated.

This is what my cakes looked like:

Not quite as pretty as the one on the website, but the heck with it.  (Notice the dog in the background?  Just saw that!  She invariably sleeps where she can keep one eye on me.)

And as wrapped and ready to deliver:

Now, to return to the regularly scheduled programming of cleaning and packing and writing childcare instructions for my in-laws!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Three-day absolutely CRAZY week coming up, followed by a long weekend out of town (sans kids, at least) for a event of my husband's.

Since I am the queen of Post-Its and calendars, I just sat down to write out the list of everything I have to get done between now and Thursday morning, and realized with dull horror that this is also the week (of course, it would be...) when I need to bring in two cakes for Teacher Appreciation Week at school!  These are given as gifts to individual teachers--parent bakers contribute one for each teacher.

Now, I love to bake.  And this task (for which I cheerfully volunteered, not thinking about the calendar) would normally be right up my alley.  But these cakes are supposed to be fancy and beautiful, and this is SO not the week for me to have time to pull that together.  Not if I plan to get any sleep at all before Thursday, anyway.

So I ask: can any of you recommend a recipe for a cake that looks beautiful and special but isn't terribly time-consuming to make??  Pretty please?  ;)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Perils Of Boy Laundry

Curiously, when I arrived to collect Thing One from his friend's birthday party/sleepover this morning, he was out in the front yard collecting salamanders with two of his buddies.  In his pajamas.  Upon closer inspection, I also noted three band-aids on him that had not been there the evening before, plus a thick caking of dirt from one end to the other...he even had some inside his nose and ears.  From the boy standpoint, a very successful party indeed!  The party-hosting friend has a veritable menagerie of pets that includes a snake and several large tarantulas, none of which (thank the Lord) appear to have stowed away in his bag.  I suppose I should be grateful that he only wants to add a salamander to our own menagerie after this experience.

But you can bet that I will be checking his pockets very carefully before I wash the dirty clothes he brought home.  And possibly wearing gloves while I do it!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine

Had a rotten day yesterday.  It was a blivot of a day, to start: events and responsibilities positively overflowing the bounds of the day and my patience.  Topped off, to add insult to injury, with a report that my boys have been acting up on the school bus.

Woke up still annoyed this morning, with a bruised knee from yesterday's taekwondo class to boot.  Made the correct and adult (but aggravating!) decision to sit out this morning's class so as not to worsen the injury, then spent two hours dealing with paperwork relating to various bureaucratic things (tedious) and Thing One's eventual appointment with the doctor who will tell us if he has ADD or is just bored at school or both (upsetting.)  By the time I dropped off his doctor's admission paperwork at her office, I was really not in a good mood.

Fortunately, I also had plans to get together with some of my taekwondo girlfriends for lunch today.  Seven of us met for Thai food, and the conversation had us laughing so hard we were crying!  My mascara was running by the time we left the restaurant, two hours after we first sat down.  And in those two hours, my whole outlook on the day shifted.

Which is a really good thing, since Himself jetted off to New Orleans this morning for Jazzfest with the guys and won't be back till Sunday.  We'll see if there's still a smile on my face by the time he gets back!      

Lieb and Let Lieb

Recently, Mom on the Edge (who writes about multicultural and special needs parenting over at Mom in Two Cultures) nominated me for a Liebster Award.

Like her, I hadn't heard of it before being nominated...apparently this is an award given to up and coming bloggers (not my words!) who have fewer than 200 followers.  According to Google Translate, "Liebster" means "dearest" in German--hey, it's been a long time since the last German class I took in college--so I'll take the nomination as a compliment and run with it.

The rules vary widely depending on where you look, but are generally as follows:

1) Answer 11 questions posed by the blogger who nominated you
2) Post 11 random facts about yourself
3) Pass the award along to 11 fellow bloggers
4) Pose your own set of 11 questions to those bloggers

Here goes:

These are the questions posed by MotE:

1) What's your favorite TV show?
Big Bang Theory.  No question.

2) Which app do you wish existed but doesn't?
Honestly can't think of one.  Either pretty sad, or a tribute to the ingenuity of app developers.

3) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Greece. Still on my lifetime bucket list.  Would love to ride the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express too.

4) With which cartoon character do you most identify?
The mother in the Baby Blues comic strip.  Does that count??

5) Which is worse, cooking or cleaning?
Cleaning!!  I like cooking and am an enthusiastic baker.

6) What's your favorite book?
No possible way to answer this question--too many possibilities!!  Pride and Prejudice, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Murder with Peacocks (Donna Andrews--one of the funniest books I've ever read), Jane Eyre, Murder on the Orient Express, and Little Women would all make the short list.  

7) What's your earliest memory?
Pretending to be asleep when my mother came upstairs to check on me at naptime.  I must have been three or four.

8) Do you like roller coasters (literally, not figuratively?)
Not anymore.  I did as a child, but now trying to keep my head from banging around on them gives me headaches!  My husband gets ride duty at the county fair and amusement parks.

9) Are you good in math?
I got all the way through calculus II with very respectable grades but hated every minute of it!  My brain does better with words than numbers.  

10) What's your pet peeve?
People who walk slowly in front of me when I'm in a hurry!  And rude children.  (May I have two??)

11) Why do you blog?
It's a creative outlet, an opportunity to vent and/or opine, and a source of connection with like-minded people whom I'd never 'meet' otherwise! 

And 11 random facts...

1) I played the trumpet in my university's marching band.  (At various times in my life, I have played the trumpet, organ, saxophone, drums, flute and guitar.) 

2) My family was evacuated to Germany from Tehran, Iran when the Shah fell in 1979. My dad had just taken a job there a few months previously. We lost a good chunk of our household goods and two dogs when we left (thankfully, an Iranian colleague of Dad's took in the dogs to save them.) 

3) The only 911 call I've ever made was to report a runaway horse.  No joke.

4) In high school and college, I participated in a lot of Model United Nations events. Worst one ever was being assigned to portray Iraq a month after Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait! 

5) I speak Mandarin Chinese passably well and understand some German. 

6) I have a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology.

7) I have been inside the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt. Very cool unless you are claustrophobic--fortunately, I'm not. Have also been inside King Tut's tomb.  

8) My husband has to watch Notre Dame football games for me and tell me what's going on, since I get too emotionally involved in the games when I actually sit in front of the TV!

9) I played varsity high-school basketball. No surprise given my height. I was less than useful between the keys (slow with dubious ball-handling skills) but effective under the basket at both ends. 

10) I get great joy out of working in my garden in the summer. As a kid forced to help my mom in the yard, I swore that when I had a home of my own I would dig out all the dirt, replace it with concrete, and paint the concrete green, but that has not happened. My kids and I have fun growing vegetables and fruit in our little patch out back (which we have to fence to keep the deer out!) 

11) I don't much care for the beach. (Heresy, I know, but there it is.) 

I hereby tag the following bloggers:

(FYI, I'm not paying much attention to the number of followers these bloggers have--just tagging the bloggers whose answers I am interested in seeing!  And if I get 11, it will be dumb luck...the rules vary on that too and I am not that uptight.)

1) Momo Fali (
2) NOLA (
3) Ameena (
4) Lady Jennie (
5) Solitary Diner (
6) Stacey (
7) Anthea (

My questions for them:

1) Dogs or cats?
2) Which do you like better: jewel colors or pastels?
3) Gold or silver/platinum?
4) What is your dream weekend?
5) What would be the first thing you'd change about yourself if you could?
6) What is your favorite thing about yourself?
7) What is your favorite quotation?
8) If you were to die tomorrow, what would be your last meal request?
9) List the five words that best describe you.
10) Do you see the cup as half full or half empty?
11) Why do you blog?

Tagged bloggers, please put a link to your response (should you choose to accept the "honor") in the comments!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Physics Laws Of Cartoons

Your friendly neighborhood cartoon fan and science nerd did not write these, but wishes she had!!

Cartoon Law I

Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.
Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.

Cartoon Law II

Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.
Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.

Cartoon Law III

Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.
Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.

Cartoon Law IV

The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.
Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.

Cartoon Law V

All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth's surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.

Cartoon Law VI

As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled.

A wacky character has the option of self-replication only at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.

Cartoon Law VII

Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.
This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space.

The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.

Cartoon Law VIII

Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.


A cat will assume the shape of its container.
Cartoon Law IX

Everything falls faster than an anvil.
Cartoon Law X

For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.

Cartoon Law Amendment A

A sharp object will always propel a character upward.
When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.

Cartoon Law Amendment B

The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.
Characters who are intended to be "cool" can make previously nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself without speaking.

Cartoon Law Amendment C

Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
They merely turn characters temporarily black and smokey.

Cartoon Law Amendment D

Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.
Their operation can be wittnessed by observing the behavior of a canine suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first, causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will resume its regular proportions until such time as it strikes the ground.

Cartoon Law Amendment E

Dynamite is spontaneously generated in "C-spaces" (spaces in which cartoon laws hold).
The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which postulated that the tensions involved in maintaining a space would cause the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large (stick sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic forces generated by feelings of distress in "cool" characters (see Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able to use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big bang indeed.

Time In A Bottle

Okay, time can slow down now, please. When I was a kid, I remember my mother saying that the days were long but the years were short.  I d...