Friday, June 30, 2006

She Said What I Meant To Say: Perfect Post for June

You may or may not remember my perfectly forgettable post of several months ago in which I wondered (not aloud exactly, but in print) about how to be the kind of mom each of my kids needs. Stuntmother, over at I Do All My Own Stunts, hit that nail right on its shiny little head with her post "Follow The Child."

One of the great things about reading in general and about reading blogs in particular is that sometimes, you recognize something of yourself in another person. Sometimes, like earlier this month, you read something that sounds just like something you would say only the other person says it much more smoothly and coherently than you did when you tried to talk about it. But you don't get insanely jealous and depressed that your writing ability is not all it could be, no, instead, you give out a perfect post award.

So here's my button:

A Perfect Post

And, Stuntmother, it's all yours!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


For the get your giggles any way you can file:

Had a customer come in yesterday--he's fairly regular, works in an office two doors down, used to be on the county government and was a deputy for a while in the sheriff's department. He's a big guy--6'2" or something and 240, at least. He comes in to order a centerpiece, which he tells me he's going to pick up later that afternoon. Fine, good, I get all the specifics and tell him I'll call him when it's ready.

He says, "Don't you wanna know who it's for?"

Confused, I say, "Oh, do you need us to deliver it?" Because he had already said he was going to pick it up.

He said, "No, but don't you wanna know why I need it?"

Frankly, no, I don't really care. I mean, I don't need to know the information to make the arrangement, right? But, with my polite customer service voice, I say, "Sure, who's it for?"

"It's for Bill Pullman! I'm having dinner with Bill Pullman!" The Bill Pullman, of While You Were Sleeping and Independence Day fame, among others.*

The whole thing would've seemed like a crass episode of name-dropping were it not for the fact that this pillar of the local community--this full-grown, man-sized pillar of the local community--was positively giddy at the prospect of having dinner with Bill Pullman. For the minute and a half that he was giving me the details, he was transformed into a six-year-old boy unwrapping exactly the birthday gift he'd hoped for.

I hope the dinner went well and, Mr. Pullman, if you liked that flower arrangement, call us anytime!

*My personal favorite of his is actually Lake Placid for all its campy goodness--Betty White, who only has a few scenes, is so funny the movie wouldn't need much else.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Cool Spot

Sometimes having computer geeks (the kind of computer geeks that girls swoon over--it's a whole new world for computer geeks out there these days) for sons really pays off. When they were much younger we had a Sega Genesis game console and on it we had several games that kids and grownups alike loved to play. Of course, the Genesis and all its games has long since been sold off in a yard sale and replaced with bigger, better, badder gaming systems.

Around that time, Mom gave up entirely on video games. The 3-D, first-person games give me vertigo and motion sickness and crippling bouts of frustration. And have you SEEN the paddles/controllers for these games? There's like 87 buttons! And it doesn't help that everyone else in the house (Hubby included) mastered all of it on the first try and sits beside me helpfully shouting out, "No push the Y button and then the Z!" or "If you want to do that kick you have to push Z, B, B, C while holding down the D-pad!" Yeah, okay, if I want things that complicated, I'll just stick to my real life, thanks.

But I'm a nostalgia geek when it comes to video games--I love the old arcade classics like Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man and Rootbeer Tapper (which I don't recall BEING "Rootbeer" Tapper when I played it back in the day, but okay...) and have collected quite a few of them for the Playstation, etc. I still have to use those multi-buttoned controllers, but I only have to use one or two buttons. Very old school.

Anyway, there have been two games conspicuously missing from my geek collection: Cool Spot and Ecco, the Dolphin. Over the weekend, Sons-One and -Two, completely without my prompting, found them both on-line--free downloads that are identical in every way to the original games. We've all been in Way Back When Video Game heaven since then--except for the louder than usual fighting over the computer.

Cool Spot, for those non-geeks among you, is a game in which the red spot from the 7-Up bottle goes on many adventures trying to save his friends who are being held hostage. Along the way, he collects "cool points" for the chance at a truly awesome bonus level INSIDE a bottle of 7-Up. Granted, it's technically a long and not-so-subtle advertisement for a particular brand of soda--in fact, the way to regain health is by drinking big, bubbly glasses full of 7-Up you find along the way--but it's also cute and tons of fun and, especially when played on "difficult", challenging enough to keep even a hard-core gaming geek (Son-Two) interested. There's also an "easy" level, which is how my boys originally learned to play. (Is anyone besides me sick of hearing me talk about how fast time passes? But, jeez, it passes so fast!!! And now not only can they out-play me on just about any game, they can go out in the wilds of the Internet and find games they feel nostalgic about. How the hell do I have kids old enough to be nostalgic?)

Anyway, this was originally produced back before video game "ratings," but I'm sure it would be rated "E for Everyone" and not only because it's not full of gore and bloodshed but because it has a little something for everyone and with the multiple difficultly levels, just about anyone can have a good time with it.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Fun!

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Different Breed of Puppy Pic

In the spirit of puppy pics, I dug out a picture of my first "puppy," Son-One, who, completely without my permission, turned 18 last week:

This was taken during a week we spent camping with Hubby's parents; Son-One was fourteen months old and clearly the boss of everything. He's still just as cute, but twice as cocky.

Some stories to make him blush and squirm:

~~He called doughnuts "dungadoos" for a while when he was small, even though "doughnut" is clearly much easier to say than "dungadoo."

~~When he was four and mad at his brother, he would say, "Mom, I'm going to fire Son-Two." This was years and years (and just, way too many years, and how the hell did time pass this fast?!) before Donald Trump was firing apprentices on a regular basis.

~~Once when he was around seven he came into the kitchen to find me making shepherd's pie (AGAIN). He said, "Aw, Mom, are we having that crap for dinner again?" And I said, "When you get bigger and get a job you can make whatever you want for dinner." He said, "I'm never gonna get bigger if you keep making that crap because I'm not going to eat!"

~~When he was eight or so he became obsessed with the fact that the parrot in Disney's Aladdin had teeth and shouldn't. He would mention it to me, completely out of the blue, a couple of times a day until I finally got so exasperated, I said, "What would you like me to do about it? Write Disney?" And he said, "Yeah, and while you're at it, tell them the lobster in The Little Mermaid wouldn't be that red unless he'd been boiled."

~~We've only had two emergency room visits with Son-One. One of them required stitches and was the result of a perfectly respectable accident in the backyard--the other was when he was twelve and banged his shoulder on the diving board while showing off his back flip for a girl.

This eighteenth birthday thing is kinda freaking me out a little--mostly because I really didn't expect it to freak me out at all. I'm of the conserve energy school when it comes to freaking out and I really try not to freak out about things I'm completely powerless to stop. But I think I can make an exception for this.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pupdate III: An Illustrated Guide

Daughter-Only & Her New Litter-Mates:

Nomi, Olympic Volleyball Player In Training:

Rufus, King of the World:

Rufus Kissing Up To Squidward & Every Girl in the Neighborhood:

Squidward Recovering From An Afternoon Photo Shoot:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Infomercials

Just when you thought she was down for the count, Masked Mom rallies with a review of Infomercials brought to you by the fact that she couldn't lift a finger to the remote Sunday afternoon. Admittedly, this review won't be long or detailed, nor will it tell you anything you don't already know about infomercials, but some people say it's the thought that counts and not only did I think (this should in no way be construed as any indication or guarantee of the quailty of said thought), I typed it! (Woo-hoo. Dang, I think I pulled something jumping for joy there.)

So here it is: Infomercials suck.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Super-special-suckitude.

(This review brought to you by the one-two punch of stomach flu and PMS and TMI*, which this post now contains.)

*Ok, one-two-three punch, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

A Sign You Had a Bad Weekend

You spend Sunday morning actively hoping that your violent vomiting of Saturday night was caused by food poisoning and not a virus because the thought of everyone else in the house getting whatever it is you have is simply too much to bear.*

On a related note, a customer once said, "When we got back from vacation, we had that stomach flu--you know the one where at first you think you're gonna die and then you're afraid you're not?"

Yeah, that. Only keep your fingers crossed for E. coli or salmonella or something, 'kay?

*Sadly, this is not sympathy so much as self-preservation.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pupdate II: A Few Observations

~~Having the puppies has given me new purpose in life, a new reason to get out of bed in the morning: my ongoing attempt to break the world record for stepping (barefoot, of course) into piddle puddles while still half-asleep. I'm still waiting for the Guinness people to get back to me about what exactly the old record is.

~~Regarding piddle puddles--the secret for piddle on carpet is salt. I'd heard that from one of the women in my book group years ago--years too late for blotting up Sydney's accidents. You cover the puddle--wait ten minutes and the salt sucks out the liquid and its smell, then you just vacuum up the yellow salt. It's AMAZING!!!

~~The name battle continues to rage on--everyone in my family is a gigantic dork about this whole thing and can't settle for something simple and obvious. Son-One wanted to name them Liquid and Solid after characters in his favorite video game (one of whom--Liquid--is currently featured on our computer desktop wallpaper--staring at me accusingly--and I SWEAR his eyes follow me around the room). I vetoed that with, "No that reminds me too much of the kinds of accidents we're going to be dealing with for the next few months." At the moment we are still calling him "Rufus" which is the name the previous owners had been using and her "Nomi" which is a bastardization of "no-name" which is what the previous owners were calling her.

~~I've been reading up on puppy training (big surprise--book geek like me, reading, huh?). And I have to say that anything that makes "sphincter control" a common phrase in your household has got to be a good thing, right?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Pupdate-- 'Cuz What Else Do You Call An Update Involving Puppies?

When last we left our Masked Heroine, she was caught in a battle to the death with not one, but two opponents, in an attempt to keep her headquarters a doggy-free zone or at least to make a rational, well-thought out decision regarding the presence of doggies in her headquarters...

I'm proud to say I didn't cave. Here's what happened instead:

Saturday Evening: We had the conversation about the puppy/puppies after which I felt the issue was by no means resolved. In fact, I'm pretty sure my last words were, "Let's just watch this movie and we can talk about it later." During that conversation, Hubby had mentioned that he hadn't even seen all the puppies yet and he didn't want to do it after work on a weeknight so I said our neighbors probably wouldn't mind if he went over on Sunday afternoon--they are very anxious to find good homes for these puppies ("good" defined mostly but not exclusively as "homes somewhere else").

Sunday Morning: I wrote the blog post regarding this BIG decision we were trying to make--and how agonizing and, okay, a little funny, it was. Then I went out to lunch with a good friend who I hardly ever get to see and I was gone until...

Sunday Afternoon: I walk in the door, face flushed from sitting in a warm car gossiping way too much, and Hubby says, "Your dogs are in the living room."

My dogs are in the living room?! Yes, because while I was enjoying lunch (and backstabbing bitchy chat about everyone in our sorry little town), Hubby went over to the neighbors where he was told that the puppies were completely weaned, doing well on dry food and he could bring them home if he wanted. The funny thing is that after all the drama with Daughter-Only, she was completely innocent in this sneak attack. She had gone to Six Flags for the day with her uncle (a.k.a. Baby Brother) and was just as surprised to find the puppies here as I was. She was, however, considerably more delighted.

Hubby's defense/explanation was that I hadn't said "no," which to him meant I was going to "come around" sooner or later anyway and this just cut through all the crap.

I'm just grateful that with nine to choose from he only came home with two.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Funny In Farsi

Considering I read an almost pathological number of books, it's odd and vaguely embarrassing that I'm so often the last to know about so many good books. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, Funny In Farsi , was a national bestseller in 2003. I discovered this only three years late, when I found a paperback copy ("With A New Final Chapter") in the box of books Youngest Sister brought on her last visit home.

Funny In Farsi is subtitled "A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America." Scary word, memoir--with James Frey and Nasdijj so fresh in our memories and the perception that the genre is comprised largely of "poor me, my childhood sucked" stories.*

Funny In Farsi is not that kind of memoir. Written by Firoozeh Dumas, who first came to the United States at the age of seven in 1972, the book is a series of mostly lighthearted essays, each with its own punchline and nugget or two of wisdom. Dumas has a light touch even with heavy topics such as prejudice, politics, personal identity, and religious and cultural differences (including her own "mixed" marriage to a Catholic Frenchman).

As an Army brat, I've always had a soft spot for those who lived migratory childhoods, who dealt with that fish out of water feeling again and again. Not only does Dumas share that experience--on a much grander geographic and cultural scale, but she seems to view it all with a sort of bemused acceptance I can't help but admire.

Thanks to a deft touch, Funny In Farsi, is a quick, light read that I have a feeling will stick with me for a long time.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Recommended.

*That's a perception I disagree with, by the way. The vast majority of memoirs I've read seem to be more a blueprint of their respective authors' healing process rather than a wallowing in the past or the celebration of the author's eventual "triumph." Self-pity and the quest for fame seem to me less common motivators than critics of the genre (not to mention recent literary "events" like Frey's Lies, etc) would have us believe.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pet Peeve

Daughter-Only and I are having The Talk this week--it's an ongoing thing, not a just a single moment in time.

No, not that talk--we've had that talk for years, in fits and starts, as part of normal conversation like the experts recommend, with nary a mention of birds or bees. No, we've been having the conversation that starts out like this:

D-O: Mom, can I get a puppy?
MM: Um, no.
D-O: Well, will you at least consider it?
MM: No, I will not "at least consider it."

Turns out a friend down the street has a mama dog who had nine (count 'em, nine) puppies--speaking of someone (or some dog) who needed to hear That Talk.

I'd like to make it clear that Daughter-Only isn't one of those pet-deprived children who have never had the joy of a "companion animal" and all the lessons about responsibility they can teach a child. (Or, more likely, the lessons they can teach the child's parents when the novelty wears off.) We had a dog for years and years--the first nine years of Daughter-Only's life, in fact.

Daughter-Only's infancy, toddlerhood and most of her childhood were overseen by Sydney, our border collie/Australian shepherd mix. Sydney was twelve years old when she died in March 2003--a sixty-pound lapdog who even now I think of so often that she's almost a physical presence in our lives.

(So much so that my Baby Brother had his dog over here the other day and I casually tossed him (the dog, not the brother) a bit of food from my plate, like I used to do with Sydney. Sydney would catch whatever it was in mid-air even when she seemed not to be paying the slightest bit of attention. Baby Brother's dog, however, merely looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. The tidbit of whatever it was bounced off his doggy nose and landed on the floor where he delicately nibbled it up from the carpet. Poor dog--having to tolerate a demented "aunt.")

So we've been dogless a few years, but not petless--we have six ferrets--only four of whom we actually purchased and two of whom were hand-me-downs from families who couldn't continue to care for them. These ferrets have the run of the house for the most part and though they sleep eighteen to twenty hours a day those other four to six hours are full to the brim with mischief--highly entertaining mischief, but mischief nonetheless. Point being, not only does Daughter-Only already have the joy of a pet she has, and mostly willingly, takes, a share of responsibility for said pet(s), which makes saying "no" both easier and harder.

I'm not concerned that the burden of caring for the puppy will fall on me because, frankly, I'm not that kind of mom. The worst that's going to happen is the burden of nagging them to take care of the puppy is going to fall on me--I'm not one of those moms who will break down and do the work because it's easier than arguing. I'd like to pretend it's some sort of "tough-love-this-is-how-I-teach-them-responsibility" stance, but really? I'm just way too lazy to pick up that slack.

Daughter-Only has really pulled out all the stops on this one. On the way out the door to the grocery store, I said, "Do you want anything?" And she said, "I don't want anything except a puppy." She has tried the high pressure technique of saying she has to have an answer right now because "her" puppy might get taken--because there's such a stampede for free puppies, right? That one was not effective the first time and has only gotten less effective as time passes and "her" puppy--and its eight litter mates--remain unclaimed.

She even interrupted me mid-dart game last Saturday night with, "Can you come outside for a minute?" Frustrated by my refusal to go "at least see" the puppies, she brought some of the puppies to me. Cranky Boss Lady said, "Why is she stressing so much, doesn't she know you're going to cave and let her get a puppy?"

The puppies are old enough to leave their mom this coming Tuesday. Daughter-Only hasn't mentioned it to me in two days--I was breathing a sigh of relief, but just to be sure, I said to Hubby, "Has she mentioned the puppy thing to you?"

He rolled his eyes and said, "Of course."

I said, "Well, she hasn't said anything to me in two days."

He said, "Of course not--she knows who's on her side on this one."

Exasperated, I said, "I just don't think getting a puppy right now is a good idea."

He said, "Me neither. A puppy would be very lonely without a companion."

I said, "A companion!? We're so not getting two puppies!"

So much for a unified front, huh?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Masked Mom's Media Monday:Dixie Chicks

Say what you will about their politics or say nothing about their politics, which is what I'm going to say here--the new Dixie Chicks album, Taking The Long Way is amazing music. These are, and always have been, very talented women.

I heard "Lullaby" on the season finale of "Medium" and couldn't wait to hear the rest of the album. The album is not as consistent as some of their previous work--not every song really grabbed me, but there was enough on there worth listening to that I didn't feel I'd wasted my hard-earned (have I mentioned how cranky my Cranky Boss Lady can be?) dollars. Skip the songs that offend you or don't buy it at all--it's a free country, right? But it's your loss, I promise.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Solid.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Thinking Like A Seventh Grader Makes Every Day An Adventure...

As I've previously mentioned, I believe very strongly that you're only young once but you can be immature forever. With that philosophy in mind, even a mundane trip to the grocery story is full of entertainment. For instance, today I saw a big display of these:
As if the shape weren't bad enough, it's called a "Pump Rocket!" And the box at the grocery store says, "Now with THRUST BOOSTER!"

C'mon! At least make me work for it a little!!!

PS--To anyone who might want to purchase a Pump Rocket (heh, heh, heh) with a Thrust Booster (heh!)--because really what's a pump rocket without a thrust booster?--you can do so here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Perfect Post for May

It's Perfect Post time (yes, again, already--am I the only one obessessed with how fast time passes?!).

As a blogger/writer/mom/daughter/sister/friend/wife, I've always been kind of fascinated by the secrets we keep about ourselves--and increasingly, I've been interested in my own inability to do so as I get older. I used to be a much more reserved and circumspect person than I am now--people used to have to work to find out things about me. I'm not sure when it changed--all at once or gradually--but it's definitely changed and I've suddenly found myself some sort of a Poster Child for Too Much Information Syndrome. It seems no topic is off limits or too outrageous for me to casually chat about with those closest to me (and anyone else within ear shot), not to mention the nameless, faceless audience of the Internet.

Anyway, while wondering the wilds of blogland this month, I came across the post I Think I Have Cancer by Jack's Raging Mommy. She talks about not having a filter--not being able to stop herself from sharing "too much" and about caring too much what others think of her. In my own case, it's not that I care less than I used to about what people think of me--it's more that I've realized that what other people think of me is just as much about them as it is about me. For what it's worth, the post definitely struck a chord with me and got me thinking about that gap between the person we each think we are and the person others might believe us to be.

So here's my button--

A Perfect Post

And, Jack's Raging Mommy, it's all yours!