Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ringing in the New Year With Inertia and PJs

My champagne's going flat fast in a fancy glass from our Las Vegas wedding at Paris. A pair of rich Belgian chocolate morsels with the name of one of my husband's corporate business partners stamped on them are melting langourously down my espophogus right now.

I've watched enough rebroadast for our coast (West), awkwardly headset-crowned Ryan Seacrest to fumble around the nooks and crannies of the couch for the remote and hit the "off" button. But I won't. I'm trying to be a good sport about the New Year.

A shrill baby is crying somewhere in my sleepy neighborhood. Sleepy except for the skater kids smacking their boards against the pavement right outside my oblivious sons' bedroom window. For once, I'm thrilled the wailing child is not one of mine. (Ironically, as I go back and edit this post for a few typos, one of my kiddies IS now crying -- Moody Cheeks McGee, 3, in the top bunk. He's practically never slept through the night.)

All three of my kids were in bed tonight by 7 p.m. In bed, yes. Asleep, no.

It was nearly serendipity. Until they nodded off around 7:45 p.m., I read just "the clean parts" to each of them from my bizarre and hilarious Augusten Burroughs Running With Scissors memoir, long enough to rev them up enough to forget they were exhausted in the first place.

This is the third year in a row that I've ushered in the New Year in boring form, sitting on my ass at home with my husband, who is also sitting on his ass. Except his ass is clad in his cherished wool "old man" cable nicotine smoked laced knit sweater. I'm in the living room and he's in his dude den, the garage, where he's just put up a dart board I gave him for Christmas. Clearly, we need to get a life.

Hey, at least I sit on my ass while clutching a haughty champagne flute, even if it's brimming with cheap Freixenet Carta Nevada Brut. Double fermented in a hurry somewhere in Spain is good enough for me.

This year I'll try not to sleep through the New Year like an aging hag, like I did on New Year's Eve 2004-5. We'd just moved into our new home. The kids were 3, 1 and 2 months. I was toast. Burnt toast. A new number at the end of 200 was the farthest thing from my then overwhelmed, survival mode mind.

For the record, with the kids now nearly 6, 3.5 and 2, I'm still overwhelmed and deeply entrenched in survival mode. Except now I run like a wild banshee to blow off the resulting steam.

I told my husband that next New Year's we are getting a sitter and heading off to the Giant Maximus New Year's Eve party. Nah. I just heard on the news that tickets are 100 bucks each at the door. What a rip.

Maybe we'll settle for the bash at the nearby Queen Mary in Long Beach. Sheesh. Just Googled that one and it's 89 smackers. Another rip. How dull that I'm already financially planning for next New Year's Eve. Wet blanket city.

My resolutions, in no particular order, include:
- Running three-miles three times a week
- Spend more QT with each of my three kids, much of it on an individual level
- Finish my book (hell, I still have to finish the first three chapters due on March 8)
- Rigorous yoga at the studio once a week
- Donate all no longer needed toys/kid clothes to the local women and children's homeless shelter, and teach my children the values of volunteerism
- Raise more funds than last year for our family's annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life walk/run, honoring my father and those who weren't so lucky in their battle against the disease
- Run the 10K Turkey Trot, as opposed to the 3K that I ran this year
- Be a better, more supportive, more romantic wife, planning exciting dates and everyday surprises
- Not keeping any of these half-baked resolutions

How did you ring in the New Year? Uneventfully in your matching pinstriped jammies on your couch like me? Rare and bizarre stories only, please.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Slackstress Christmas Menu: Dropped Cake and Regurgitated Shrimp (An Apology for Blowing Off My Blog)

Amnesia. That's it. Amnesia. I got struck by an errant, oversized palm frond ripped down from its high perch by gale force winds here in Southern California, got Amnesia and forgot that I had this blog.

Okay, I lie.

I got stricken with a major case of inertia and lack of motivation. The Slackstres slacks hard.

But I'm back now. Back in my pastel, pin-striped matching jammies set and ankle socks, squatting before the laptop on the cold wooden floor in my empty, quiet living room.

Everyone in the house is asleep with mouths agape and limp limbs akimbo. The only person I've spoken to with my sand paper-y, manly morning voice this morning is the matter-of-fact nurse at the pediatrician's office. Yes, I'm fortunate enough to have a pediatrician group who sees fever stricken, booger encased children six days a week, including Saturdays. Since their services are first come, first served today I'd better rub the sleep from my eyes, pound some stale coffee and rouse the sickies.

Moody Cheeks McGee, 3, is lethargic and feverish. I suspect his ear infection never truly went away. His little sister Pigtail Sprite, 2, coughed all night and early morning as if she puffs two packs of unfiltered Camels a day. Eventually she threw up a long thread of phlegm into her hands. Nice catch, Pigtails.

She ate so much shrimp cocktail (are two year olds even supposed to eat crustaceans at such a tender age and why did I fail to check?) on Christmas Eve that she threw it all up nearly in its original, barely chewed, practically swallowed state. I knew she wasn't sick otherwise because her vomit literally was comprised only of rejected shrimp chunks. In the process, she climbed out of bed, and her own sick, and spied the loot "Santa left" for her and her brothers, including her crowning gift jewel, a pink and purple RadioFlyer tricycle.

"Brudders got scooters?" she asked, half asleep and stinking badly. "An' I gotta new bike? Did Santa be here?"

Two of the munchkins are awake (and breaking into their model airplane kits from "Santa") and my parents-in-law are on their way over to take my sleeping beauty husband out for brunch with his brother.

The pediatrician's is my destination. And, as far as I know, they don't have sparkling Mimosas there, which is a good thing. On Christmas Eve I chucked a few things of my own as well. I tossed back a whole bottle of champagne via bubbly Mimosa after bubbly Mimosa and accidentally dropped the fancy carrot cake my father-in-law graciously brought over straight into the washing machine. At least the cake was certifiably stainlifter clean.

Happy New Year, and try not to launder your dessert.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Putting the Onions Back Into Romance

French onion soup is so NOT an aphrodisiac, well, for obvious reasons.

This is how I inconsiderately flavored my tongue during tonight’s dinner and last-minute Christmas shopping combo date with the hubster.

Nothing says, “Kiss me, you fool,” like a sour, wicked wind that this way comes, fully tainted with the stink o’ onions and liquefied Swiss.

No amount of germ swashbuckling Listerine could exorcise my taste buds of this demon possession of the reeking Allium cepa kind (Latin name for onion ... I'm a total Internet research dork, I know ... Hey, I also just learned that onion is in the Lily family ... go fig).

Open up and say “ew.” (Remember that terrible 80s hair band Poison album “Open Up and Say Ah?” Yep. I once owned it, along with a lifetime supply of stiff beyond stiff Aquanet aerosol hairspray and pegged, acid wash jeans.)

My husband got even with onion-breath me by capping off his gigantic German chocolate cake dessert with a rich, bold and deadly Camel filter cigarette.

Tonguing the inside of an ashtray is also NOT an aphrodisiac. French kiss to that.

Since I’m so heavy on French tonight (and light on a legit. blog topic) (French onion soup, French kissing, not to mention the fact that I AM super French-Canadienne), let’s turn to the taste bud tingling topic of French pie.

“What on earth do you suppose a French pie is?” I asked the hubster as I eyed the dessert menu tonight. I was being genuine. I really wanted to know if he knew.

“You,” he said, sneering with a dirty smirk. “You’re a French pie!”

Okay, tool. Yeah. I get it. It’s me. The French pie he didn’t get to mack down with after my pungent onion soup delight, which is probably a good thing considering the bad breath tongue tango that might have ensued.

Nope. No kissing was to be had. No sooner than I scraped the last gummy remains of my overly sweet French cherry pie from an undecorous white 50s diner plate did we whisk off to tackle the impossible: the completion of ALL of our Christmas shopping in one night, just four days before the holiday.

(According to our brilliant brunette waitress, the word “French,” when describing a pie probably means something like: “Um, yeah, uh, like, I think it’s when a pie is, like, served, like, with crumbly, like, stuff, all over it. Like cobbler. Yup, like cobbler crumblies and stuff. I can go check if you want.”)

I’m still shell shocked from wrestling Last-Minute Louie lines at Target. Somehow I came down from the night's first shopping frenzy by last-minute shopping yet more at the 99 Cent store. That’s right. The 99 Cent store. I'm not too swank to shop at the ultimate retail bottom feeder. Thanks to everything under a buck, and thanks to a heavily hair gelled manager who kindly rang up my 60 purches (that's only 60 smackers, folks) some 40 minutes after the joint closed, all my kids' stocking stuffers are in the can.

Too bad I couldn’t find anything worth 99 Cents that could banish the ghastly sulfuric acid aftertaste of onion overkill. Not bad for a vegetable that leaves little or no trace due to its puny tissue size.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Un-Deferring My Dream So it Won't Sag Like A Heavy Load

Would you blow it if someone offered you your wildest dreams come true?

Would you procrastinate? Wallow in doubt? Let yourself and everyone else down? Possess so poor a concept of your own writing/craft/art to never fully actualize your lifelong dream of publishing a successful memoir?

That's what I'd do. Make that what I'm now doing.

I'd better pull it together, get organized, focus my writing and gather up some serious self-discipline. SOON. Oh, and drink a shitload of strong coffee.

After all, we all know what happens to a "dream deferred," don't we?

Except in my case a "dream deferred" congeals at the very top in its own excess milk solids and grease, like a perfectly good pumpkin spice latte left to grow cold and useless in a sticky minivan cupholder.

Someone I know would curtly advise me to, "Get over yourself and get writing." I'll see to it that I do both pronto.

Sometimes I'm afraid to write begs to be written. To write my experiences as real and raw as I lived them.

Fear holds me back. I'm afraid to be judged by the masses. Afraid to be perceived as a bad mom, which is absurd because most of what I plan to explore/expose in the book occurred years before I had children.

I'm afraid to be as revealing, as frank, as edgy as I want to be. Afraid the whole thing will flop. Deflate like a balloon.

Often I fail to understand why I feel motivated to bare all in the first place. Then I remember my editor saying the word "catharsis" from so many miles away on the phone. Catharsis.

ca·thar·sis as defined by is:
–noun, plural -ses /-siz/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[-seez] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation. 1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
2. Medicine/Medical. purgation.
3. Psychiatry. a. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects.
b. discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition.

Hopefully -- via catharsis both on my part and on theirs -- my readers will somehow connect with, relate to, heal from, and perhaps even learn from my detailed to the bare bones memories, my utter failures and defining moments.

The poem I briefly referred to above happens to be a poem I love, a favorite of mine. I hope you are already familiar with A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes. If not, here it is for you to mull:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I hope my dream ignites in an spectacular explosion of words, three chapters of explosive, fiery words to be precise.

Now to put my pen where my mouth is ... Now, where's that coffee?

Monday, December 18, 2006

What Ever Happened to Cheese and Crackers?


Santa is a human napkin. And his reindeer have no manners.

It was hard to watch the Santa our hosts generously hired for the party the kids and I just returned home from without feeling sorry for the jolly old soul.

The following is the short (and sticky) list of what I witnessed wet and dry booger coated children smearing all over Santa as they avoided eye contact with the creepy bearded one while barely mustering the confidence to perhaps fess up that maybe they haven't been so good this year:

Corn dog crumbs. Smeared, from a packet onion dip. Chewed to smithereens, then spit out carrots and celery. And gobs and gobs of godforasaken gourmet reindeer poop. Yes, there's such a dark but sweet treat making the rounds at all the best parties this yuletide. And, yes, it's disgustingly called "reindeer poop."

I've already sampled logs and logs of the salty-sweet Dasher and Blitzen faux edible droppings at two soirees before stepping in it, um, I mean, dipping my hands into it, at today's impressively put-together, surprise Santa visit children's fete. And I lived to tell ... All without having my stomach pumped or contracting worms and/or the flesh-eating virus ebola.

Reindeer poop, according to a mom donning dorky reindeer antlers on her nicely coiffed head with noisy teeny bells dangling from them, is easily made of a mystery crunchy cereal (if you know the brand of this cereal, please clue me in) coated with gooey peanut butter, then smeared in melted chocolate. Finally, the scrumptious concoction is tossed for a snowy effect in powdered sugar.

Allow me to translate for those of you who speak overly health conscious Southern Californian: that's fattening carbs on fattening protein on chocolate flavored fat and sugar tossed with way, way too much of that dirty devil's word ... No, not that! -- Pure, unadulterated, of the powdered variety, refined, white SUGAR!

In short, Greater L.A.-ers, it's better if you're spotted by the paparazzi discovering this type of reindeer poop on the sole of your chic DKNY shoes than to be seen plopping a ball of it in your mouth. Avoid reindeer poop at all costs if you want to fit into your little black dress at the Christmas ball.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Merely looking at this new-fangled party hit reindeer poop dessert mix stuff will put back those flabby five pounds you just liquidated drinking only non-fat, sugar-free Starbucks lattes and only eating exactly six almonds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When near the tempting dessert table, simply let reindeer poop melt in your French manicured hand, not in your Botox plumped mouth.

If you live outside of vain L.A. (lucky you) and want to go balls-out for a nuttier reindeer poop texture, toss some crushed peanuts or almonds into the mix. Why not go for a chunkier look and blend in a few mini marshmallows?

Seriously, pah-lease, if you should serve this fad du jour dessert at one of your Christmas parties, give your almost too trendy reindeer poop offering a far less revolting name, like Cocaine Dusted Choco-Peanut Droppings, Sagging Goat Balls or Nutty Bunny Pebbles.

Sorry. I can't think of anything undisgusting or even close to clean in the way of alternate names for reindeer poop at the moment. Blame the near O.D. sugar content in the reindeer poop churning along with gastric acids and Seattle's Best coffee in my full on poorly named desserts belly.)

Please stick to cheese and crackers, people.

Have YOU come across any edible reindeer at parties this season?

I've unfortunately seen this this poem floating around the Web along with Reindeer Poop recipes:

Santa saved a precious gift

And it's especially for you.

Just a little something extra

And it comes from Rudolph, too!

He knows that you've been naughty

Instead of being nice.

Once again you're on the bad list

And he's checked it over twice.

Santa hopes this little poem

Doesn't throw you for a loop.

All your getting this year

Is a bunch of reindeer poop!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

When All Else Fails Bust Out the Glitter

Lucky me. I'll be picking petrified glitter glue out of my kids' freshly cut blonde hair until 2007.

I'm not going to bother to excavate the flaking sparkly bits from my 2-year-old daughter's pliable nostrils, which she apparently thought were the target of her glitter glue tube, instead of the rustic wooden snowflake ornament she was supposed to personalize/make a holiday colored disaster of for her grandparents. My husband's taking care of that major clean up right now in the back shower. Yay for me.

My five-year-old, the Maestro of Mouth, is steeped at the moment in his surprisingly hyper focused creative Christmas zone tonight. He's channeling Christopher Lowell without the lisp and with a full head of hair.

It's adorable to watch him trying so bloody hard to color in the lines while sweetly, earnestly sounding out "I L-l-l-ove You, Nana." Pride wells up in me while he patiently teaches himself to spell out, then write his affections for his British grandmother, who just happens to be in town for the holidays. Huge "Aw, shucks," factor.

My mother-in-law, who hopped the pond just two days ago to visit the grandkids with their Grandpa, is stricken with the flu. She's down for the count and is considerately avoiding our abode in an effort to spare us her germs. "I think it's the British winter sickness," she told me on the phone from her hotel room today. Never heard of that one but I'll take her word for it.

My little man under the weather, Moody Cheeks McGee, 3, turned out to only have an ear infection, not the flu. I'll settle for a bacterial infection over a viral infection any day. At least we can cure him fast with antibiotics. Now if we could just locate a pill to cure him of constant crankiness.

Tonight I hope the kids go down well so I can over obsess line by line as I work on my book tonight. Before then, I'll be using my fingernails to scrape spirals of glitter glue off the dining room table.

Maybe next Christmas we'll skip the homemade presents. Nah. The kids really love getting crafty-messy. And it keeps them quiet long enough for me to blog senseless blog entries.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's Sick When They Slip in Their Own Sick

Vomitrocious. That sums up my morning so far. All rushing slow as snails children off to kindergarten after locating their misplaced, muddied shoes and picking up little ones who slipped in their own sick. Oh, and near-miss potty training little pigtailed girls who are obsessed with practicing how to pull their fancy, new My Little Pony undies up and down.

Poor Moody Cheeks McGee, my sensitive little three-year-old middle-child. He projectile vomited all over the (freshly mopped but who cares) kitchen floor and all over his bare Fred Flintstone feet on his way to breakfast this morning.

Now I think I know why he was so unusually quiet and inanimate for the bulk of yesterday.

I wish I could scoop him up and heal him in an instant with some magnificent wonder elixir (Pepto, perhaps?) because we had a mui importante full docket today, with a twice rescheduled well-check at the doctor's for Cheeks' 2-year-old sister and a long scheduled appointment with a pediatric allergist to try to get to the bottom of Cheeks' constantly runny nose, puffy, itchy eyes and hive prone skin.

Decisions, decisions. I might play the hard-ass mama card and drag my poor little sickie out the door, into the van and toward his sister's vaccination spiked appointment and his hopefully allergy pin-pointing specialist visit. At least Cheeks won't have to go to preschool today. I'm not that mean.

Also, my parents-in-law are somewhere in the clouds over the Atlantic Ocean right now on their way here for Christmas holiday. I expect them to roll into town around dinner time. By then I aimed to have the house clean and somewhat organized. Fat chance.

Here are my unrealistic, deep in denial of vomitous illness in my brood and house hopes: Cheeks' morning up-chuck of last night's carrots and broccoli (yay, the boy LOVES veggies) was an isolated incident likely attributed to swallowing post nasal drip. He sneezed a few tablespoons of thick chartreuse mucus all over the bathroom counter and floor this morning just before puking (are you sick yet from my gross TMI check? Sorry) and probably had a fair bit of the viscous nastiness churning and curdling in his empty morning belly. So, maybe it's not the flu at all. Nope. No flu. Banish the thought.

We're still going to take on the day (and all its doctor visit copays) as planned, minus the preschool part.

Scratch that. Cheeks' just dry heaved. At least it was dry, but for how long?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Underwear on Parade (At Least We Wear Undies, Britney!)

"Wanna see my unner-wear?" my daughter innocently asked a tall stranger in line at Kohl"s department store today. "Pees looka' my unner-wear, mister!" she demanded loudly when he did not respond.


"Uh, eh, excuse me, 'lil miss?" the giant man choked with surprise. Not only was he strikingly tall, dark and handsome, but he was also impeccably color coordinated in his sharp, trendy olive green and hummus khaki neo-preppie-yet-still-punk ensemble. "You want me to look at wha', little girl?"

"My new unner-wear," Pigtail Sprite chuckled, widening her massive azure eyes, batting her jet black curled eyelashes I would kill for.

She jiggled her two-foot mini-person body like a bubbly cheerleader and rattled her prized pack of girly under things like a pom pom inches from the vast tree trunk legs belonging to the man taken aback behind us.

Mister Gigantic smiled back at her and cupped his glossy, Arsenio Hall length fingers over his green eyes, dramatically blocking the sight of Pigtail Sprite's glittery elastic waistbanded loot, as if teaching her a concise sign language lesson on modesty. "I won't look, okay? I promise," he said laughing quietly.

Now that I think of it, the whole exchange was kind of creepy.

Even though Pigtail Sprite isn't yet potty trained, I'm stocking up on her first "big girl' undies. Hopefully they'll put an end to to her sashaying and shan-taying around the house with her brother's Spiderman, Hulk and Bob the Builder underoo tighty whities stretched over her poofy diaper. You should see how much junk appears to be in her trunk when she does it. It's a hoot.

The concept of our baby girl wearing her big brothers' superhero boxers and briefs is getting a little weird, even for feminist me. At first it was cute. Even adorable. Apparently only to me. Her big brothers certainly don't appreciate their little sister's gender bending, underwear drawer foraging habits.

"You don't have what it takes to wear 'big boy' underwear," her macho, sporty biggest brother, 5 going on 30, weighed in.

"Yeah, you don't have a penis like us," her second biggest brother, Cheeks, 3 but seemingly suspended in the terrible twos, bellowed in his biggest "big man" voice. He pointed at his crotch to drive his point home.

Pigtail Sprite responded with a ten-minute drop to the floor tantrum. When she peeled herself from the wooden floorboards, she stormed her brothers' underwear drawers once again.

"Daddy doesn't wear girl underwear, right mommy?" Cheeks later asked me with a stoic look of seriousness and concern in his narrowed for emphasis brown eyes. I hope not. Cheeks should know since he so relishes wearing my high heels whenever he unearths them from the heap of mismatched shoes in my clutter hole of a closet.

Back at Kohl's today ... "Whoa. Unhand the underwear, little lady," I objected to my long from socially adept just yet, innocent and plenty curious 2-year-old. With a curt flick of my only free hand I wrested the three-pack of My Little Pony glitter speckled pastel underwear from Pigtail Sprite and bent down to her level to explain.

"Underwear is private," I clued her in with a hushed voice, close enough for her to get a whiff of my sour eggnog latte breath. "We don't show people our underwear." I stopped myself before adding the words "especially not strangers" to the end of the sentence, not quite ready to broach the topic of "stranger danger" with her. She's so young, so free to view the world with fresh eyes. Eyes of wonder. I wouldn't want to take that away from her. Not yet, anyway.

"Why, mommy?"

There's no way I could field Pigtail's question in a way that she would both fully grasp at such a young age and maintain her innocence about that tender, sensitive connotations surrounding big words like "underwear" and concepts like "down there." (I empower her with the real, technical name for her private parts, BTW. "Down there" seems so shameful. Why not call it what it really is?)

Polly Pocket! Where's that tiny, skinny, plastic bitch when I need her?! I fished around our disorganized stroller cart hybrid canvas on metal Kohl's cart contraption for an object of distraction. Polly Pocket would do. And she did.

That's the most excitement (and a touch of bashful embarrassment) I've had yet this season while waiting like a stooge in a cramped, torpid check-out line containing so many of frustrated, impatient last-minute Christmas shoppers like me and my not so shy Pigtail Sprite.

It could be worse. Pigtail Sprite could've exclaimed "fuck!" like her eldest brother did while we waited in a brisk wind in line at Home Depot to ring up our $23 Christmas tree. Can you say Ralphie from "A Christmas Story"?! I didn't have the nerve to give my mouthy offender the soap-gag treatment like Ralphie's mom did. In fact, I didn't punish mine at all.

Today I realized as I was folded over at the waist trying in vain to simply explain the privacy of delicate under things to my only daughter who likes to wear boy's underwear and who doesn't yet know the difference between boys and girls, that my own lace scalloped underwear peeked over the top of my pants accidentally in plain trashy view.

At least my accidental peep show at crowded Kohl's today wasn't purposeful. Hey, at least I wear underwear when I go out in public. I wish I could say the same for bald and baring it all Britney. Somebody please tell me she's not seriously a role model for our young daughters.

How do you explain the touchy concepts of "privacy" and "modesty" to a two-year-old girl?

Maybe you don't at all. I knew I shouldn't have opened my big mouth.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Getting Pig Headed at All the Weekend's Parties


Surprisingly delicious roasted pigs with empty, sunken eye sockets. Washing down breakfast burritos flecked with crisp bacon with cool, bubbly morning mimosas. Dry rock formation waterfalls spilling into palatial sized pools in one of my city's most posh neighborhoods. Man made rock climbing edifices dotted with alphabet shaped hand and foot holds. Five- and six-year-olds clad in pajamas ricocheting off the walls of an oversized jumper. Bavarian creme filled party pastry puffs. There you have it: a smattering of my sensory memories from this weekend's various parties.

Let's begin with fun party number one: Friday night sans kids on a hot date with the husband at the ultra modern yet still retro Lucky Strike Lanes in Torrance.

As was embarrassingly obvious after only a few short frames (and tongue-melting buttery nipple cocktails), the only bowler with a triple strike-bolstered win in his future was my skilled but not cocky about it husband, who whipped fluorescent balls down the lane at some 20 miles an hour (and won a scandalous bet with his wife who has yet to pay up). Straight toward the cool avant-garde art being projected above the pins on massive illuminated screens.

Basically I had no game. I stunk. But I talked a lot of trash and that's all that counts. Counts towards ensuring a sure loss, that is.

Since then we've added a tree to our minimal holiday home decor, ate at an overcrowded, tacky chain buffet restaurant that was shamefully scrumptious and decked other people's halls at three festive parties in one day. And one party on each day bookending our thrice party Saturday.

The best party so far was my friend's daughter's rockclimbing birthday party hosted at the local "Rock Gym." I have half a dozen bruises to prove that I was a trooper when dared by my 5-year-old son to "make it to the top."


I strapped on my confusing harness with nerves rattling but refused to be shown up by my kindergartener. I "real" rock climbed in Joshua Tree some years back with my husband, brother-in-law and active neighbors. All I could do was drop f-bomb after f-bomb as I scampered like a scaredy cat up the craggy desert rocks. I still can't believe I made it to the top without having a coronary.

Finally, the last party we gallivanted to this weekend took place a few steps from our driveway, right across the street. Our babysitter's dad turned 50 to the screams of a few dozen of his Filipino relatives, who raise Cain even harder than my French-Canadian relatives used to back in the day. I believe back in the old partying days that someone tried to sew my grandfather's hand using an old Singer sewing machine during a spontaneous, drunken party brawl. All I remember was being carted away with the rest of my cousins with the flash of police lights strobing through my mother's 70s station wagon as the brawlers got busted. But I digress.

Anyway, back to my neighbors all-night-long jollifications ... Only at their house, which is always packed to standing room only at their soirees, have I ever seen an entire roasted pig carcass complete with teeth still in its dead, baked dry mouth and a tangerine stuffed in its back end for extra effect. Don't get me wrong. I grew up French-Canadian and married an Englishman of sorts. I've seen and tasted everything from pig tongue to kidney pie and blood pudding. But I've never beheld a fully stretched out on a platter and still in its oily, crisp from long-roasting skin encasement with deteriorating hooves and all.

Kind of makes me think twice about eating bacon, even if the sacrificed sow was the tastiest offering at the birthday feast.

I wonder what's to come at next week's parties.

What's the strangest food you've ingested at a holiday party this season or in seasons past?

Also, really quickly before my dueling youngest two children (ages 3 and 2) continue to spit in each other's cranky faces one revolting loogey more, I want to share with you that I'll be blogging much less in the coming days. I'm working on the first three chapters of a book and my deadline falls in March. My main creative focus has to be putting those first few chapters in the can. Until then, I'll still try to update every few days or so, at least three or four times a week, although my entries will be much shorter. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Smell a Stee-rike Tonight, competitive Bowling Time

... 'On my way out on a fun bowling date with the hubster. We get really competitive when we bowl, to the point of nearly alienating one another by the end of the night.

We were both on dorky bowling leagues as little kids, growing up at the time literally at opposite ends of the Earth. At the time I would only bowl in my baby blue T-shirt with the words "Slim Kim" purple glitter glued on the front in cursive. I was disappointed when my lucky shirt and lacking candlepin bowling prowess only earned me a "most improved" trophy.

Cross your fingers for some rub-it-in-yo'-face-hubster-steee-rikes!

It's on! Good luck to my friend who agreed to babysit tonight after a long day at the office. Poor thing. Especially after I just outfitted the boys with noisy wooden pop guns that their dad just loaded with baby powder for extra smoke effect.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Double-Triple-Dipped Toothbrush and Innocent Gum Wrappers Gone Guilty

You are now a party to my wacked responses to a fun meme tag. My poorly thought out ploy was to hook you via the above scurrilous, confessional-style details, then get all insane in the meme brain on ya! Shee-aw-right. Um, are you still here or have you already ditched my meme-spewing blog for some other blogging slackstress? If not hang in there, I get weirder.

At Your Cervix (brilliant screen name for a labor and delivery nurse, as I've said in previous posts) recently tagged me with a fun "Six Weird Things" meme. Like I said earlier, it'll be a challenge to limit myself to only six weird things/bizarre quirks/unique idiosyncrasies about myself since I'm such a freak anyhow.

Back to WTAM No. 2: I gave birth to two of my children at home in bed. My family and friends are probably so sick of me shamelessly talking (bragging) about this that they could probably puke, like I did after gorging myself on a post-first-homebirth victory feast (I say victory because I didn't perish in my bed and that the baby came out alive and healthy without medical professionals immediately within reach, within miles, actually) of double creme Brie on fresh demi-baguette topped with Italian salami slices, chased by healthy gulps of cranberry juice on the rocks. The only reason I bring this up here as a WTAM is that the very act of birthing any where but in a hospital is still very weird to Americans today. Whenever people ask me where my two youngest (Cheeks, 3, and Pigtail Sprite, 2,) were born I feel compelled to tell them they were born at home on different floors in the same Southern California apartment building instead of simply rattling off the city in which they were born. I almost dying to talk about homebirth to get the word out that it's an option that's alive and well. When I tell people I've had two home births, their eyes practically bulge out of their sockets in sheer shock. "Wow. I didn't even know people even did that anymore!" is a typical response or "You're crazy! Why would you want to do THAT?!"

WTAM No. 3: I once found out the hard (unhygienic) way that several of my college apartment-mates were using MY toothbrush DAILY. Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia had just "cashed his chips in" (died). That's exactly how a scruffy, baseball capped San Francisco cabbie ever so casually broke the news to me. I'd just returned from the newly shrouded with grief Haight Ashbury district and the fall semester was beginning. I needed a place to stay and hooked up with half a dozen Dead Head hippie "hemp activists" who were looking for one more roommate. I think I responded to a fairly nondescript add. I had no idea what to expect. Let's just say that hygiene was not nearly as much of a priority for my roommates as getting Gene high, okay? (Get it? It's a play on high-gene/hygiene. You get the picture.) The guys had stinky dreadlocks. The girls had hairy pits. Furry legs. While I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that there's SOMETHING WRONG WITH NOT WASHING FOR DAYS AND SOMETIMES WEEKS AT A TIME, PEOPLE! So, short story way too long like so many rambling Phish songs blared throughout our neo-hippie college haven back in the day, I discovered that the "others," my hyrdoponics-curious apartment-folk were dipping my toothbrushes in lips that didn't reside on me when I kept noticing that the battered bristles on my Oral B (B for rude other people's bunk) were already wet when I picked it up. After wondering for weeks what was up, long enough to have replaced my toothbrush three times over, I blasted out of the bathroom like sweaty singer Meatloaf storming about in a bad rock ballad music video and demanded answers. "Um, yeah ... Dude. Yeah, well, uh ... We've been using your toothbrush for a while, right? Yeah. And it's sick, kid, cuz' I haven't brush my teeth since Jerry died, right? Duuuuude. Nasty. I guess I should say sorry." So went the confession of my roommate, who too many people nicknamed "Scumbard," a filthy play on his last name which I will not reveal since he did share food with me in my starving student days. Actually, he was a treat to be around. I lost touch with him after he took some acid and removed all the furniture from an empty house near our university before setting it on fire. He said, "A wolf told me to do it," when the police found him cowering at the top of a tree, apparently unable to come down from the tree and come down from his trip. Several weeks passed before he fully "came down." Several long, hard weeks in the closest city's psych ward. Considering the fact that "Scumbard" grew up on The Farm, a bona fide commune born out of the 60s, I felt I had to cut him a grip of slack. Even if he was one the of mustard-toothed culprits behind my used and abused toothbrush.

WTAM No. 4: I have NEVER skinny dipped and I grew up with an awesome in-ground pool. What the hell? How did I miss out on such a teenaged right of passage? Never having skinny dipped is the stuff of losers who never threw caution to the wind and got buck wild (and buck naked). Although, many times I hiked up my acid wash 80s skirt to climb over neighborhood condo villa fences to access the "for residents only" pool with friends. Now I fear I'll never skinny dip, not after having three babies and sprouting pin stripe stretch marks in all the places that count.

WTAM No. 5: I once hitch-hiked on a secluded New Hampshire old farm road in the dark. Stupid, I know. I also hitch hiked in the daylight, which was far more successful and involved far fewer tears. Funny thing is the mother of a high school friend of mine picked me up and chastised me the entire way for hitch hiking in the first place. "How could you be so stupid?" she yelled at me over and over again between long drags on her Virginia Slims sliver of a cancer stick. 'Just my luck that a mother I know from high school would pick my foolish 20-year-old student ass up an hour and half from my home town.

(Hey, I just thought of WTAM as an acronym for What Trash American Muff. I must be tired or dangerously over-caffeinated. I'm voting for the coffee-fueled option right after I get back from pouring another mug full.)

Finally, as previously shared in a "teaser" blog posting, I give you WTAM No. 6: Mystery powder dusted, scratchy Trident gum wrappers give me goosebumps all over. I have major OCD issues about gum wrappers. I can't even touch such nasty little scourges of the gum world. The minty-bunk-stink of Trident flavors of any kind repulse me. I'd rather change a blowout diaper than have to hold my child's empty, crumpled up Trident gum wrapper. Chalk, well, I hate the feel of chalk too. Rumor has it my father-in-law is repelled by the feel of peach fuzz on an actual peach. We're not talking five o'clock shadow here. We're talking fruit. I can SO relate.

I believe this WTAM meme's protocol is that I must list the directions and the fellow bloggers who I plan to "tag" via comments on their blogs. So, here goes with the directions:

"According to the rules, each player of this game starts with '6 Weird Things about You.' People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog!"

No I give you those I plan to tag in the next two days or so:

Get to it, weirdos!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'd Even Dip My Pizza Crust in Egg Nog, No Really, It's a Christmas Meme

Does Santa wrap presents or just leave them under the tree? I'm a no-fun grinch about wrapping paper. Gifts could be wrapped in yesterday's news for all I care. People, your lucky if you get a bow on that sucker. My wrap jobs look more like wrinkled, hardened paper mache creations than actual gifts. I abhor gift wrap. It gets in the way of the joy. I suck at surprises. Your lucky if I don't tell you what your gift is (I;m a wet blanket, I know) or practically unwrap it before Christmas and give it to you. Wrap this!

Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg nog! Wonderful Egg nog. I hated egg nog as a kid but now love it as an adult, just like onions. Egg nog lattes at Starbucks. Egg nog flavored creamer for my coffee. And when I'm out of egg nog creamer, there's no substitute for the real thing. I just pour some good old nog directly into my coffee to sweeten it and lighten it up. I had a brief, failed stint as a barista a few Christmases back, when I quit after making scrambled egg nog eggs in a customers egg nog latte. Blending egg nog with hot java is iffy, delicate business.I grew up on Swiss Miss hot chocolate with mini freeze dried marshmallows. But I’d take egg nog over Swiss Miss any day. I wish egg nog were available all year long. But then I’d weigh a hell of a lot more.

Colored lights or white lights on your tree and/or house? White lights look classy to me. Simple and plain. I never decorate the outside of our house because I'm too lazy for that. The kids and I slapped a faux berries of some kind wreath from Big Lots on our front door today, and viola, instant abbreviated Christmas house decor. That's it. Perhaps we'll throw up some 99 Cent Store plastic, glittered translucent snow flake shapes in the dining room windows. As far as our tree goes, we don't have one yet, but if and when we score one, it will bear plain, white lights.

Do you hang mistletoe? Yes, I hang mistletoe. Fake, plastic, Kmart special mistletoe, that is. On a plum colored ribbon, to be exact. I just attached it today to a garish 70s era frosted yellow glass lighting fixture in my front door hallway. My kids avoid me like the plague in the hours after I hang the faux mistletoe because I stake it out nearly all day whenever I can to snatch up all their boogery kisses. They're cold/flu/ear infection sick now, remember?

When do you put your decorations up? When I was a kid I used to put up our fake Christmas tree, complete with a gazillion personalized and monogrammed ornaments, practically before I finished my last bite of Thanksgiving turkey. Now, we put decorations up at the very last minute, for example today.

What is your favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert? The turkey, baby. I could eat traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and cranberry sauce every day of the year. Also, pecan pie. Mmmm. An entire pecan pie lasts about two days in my house. And that's with only me eating it. That's why I just can’t bring that stuff in the house.

What is your favorite holiday memory as a child? I don't remember as much as I'd like to from my childhood. I remember being snotty and always disappointed and ungrateful for my gifts. Like I didn't get enough. How horrible I was. I always felt left out after hearing what all my rich friends got for Christmas, although my parents always spoiled us for the holidays. They just didn't go overboard like my snooty, affluent Catholic School friends.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My sister dug my dad's old Santa outfit out the closet when we were pretty young and came marching into the dining room with it on at dinner time. I don't know how old I was.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Naked. No seriously, however my kids want to. I don't do anything in order. Chaos reigns at my casa.

Snow! Love it or dread it? Dread it in person but love looking at it on postcards. I always hated it as a kid. I grew up in New Hampshire and didn't like the feeling of frozen fingers. I remember actually feeling pain in my toes as they thawed as I pushed them against the heater. I do miss it a teeny bit now that we live in Southern California, where Christmas lawn ornaments and lights appear quite silly and unnatural without a surrounding bed of snow.

Can you ice skate? Can I ice skate! C'mon. I grew up in New Hampshire. Of course I love to ice skate. Oddly, I don't ski though. I hadn't skated in the ten years I've been in California until my then 4-year-old fell in love with hockey and wanted to learn to skate. Until recently, I skated with him almost every weekend at the local ice rink.

Do you remember your favorite gift? It stinks that I don't. I'm kind of a humbug. I don't get too gaga over anything at Christmas any more other than the fattening food. Actually, and I'm dating myself here, I remember being head over heels about my hard won Cabbage Patch doll the year that they caused parents to beat each other in Toys R Us lines across the country and in Canada, where I think my parents traveled to just to get me one. My scented Strawberry Shortcake doll is a espritunner up. Then there was a trendy Espirit bag and CK One and CK Eternity as a teenager.

What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Getting them over with. Isn't that terrible. I want my kids to each receive a few meaningful gifts and rip into them with curiosity and fun-to-watch joy. Other than that, I stress all the money and all the mad social calendar. Actually, on a more serious note, me and the kids are gathering good condition toys they don't want or play with any more, as well as top condition clothes that no longer fit and we're donating to the only charity in our city that accepts homeless women and children. There are more than 2,000 homeless children in our city. The place in particular that we're donating to happens to provide child care for 750 of them. My dad missed a lot of holidays with our family because he was filling the bellies of those less fortunate than forgotwn at the local soup kitchen. I never fogot that and want to focus more on the spirit of giving other than materialistic giving in my own family. Think of people who really NEED at the holidays, not just want cool gadgets and toys. I'm glad my kids get it. My oldest son (5) dumped out is "special" drawer last night and offered to give kids in need everything in it.

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Again, pecan pie. Nut laden food of the gods.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? I miss being a kid surrounded by all my loud, boisterous French-Canadian immigrant relatives who played violin and spoons (yes, they are more than utensils when slapped silly in time against your thigh) at festive parties called revellions (rev-vay-yon). Some of the best times of my life.

What tops your tree? A strange silver wire star with indigo blue beads interspersed within it. It'll do for now, until we find a more permanent topper.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Oh gawd. I never know what to buy people. I'm pretty selfish. I like receiving. Aren't we supposed to be honest here? I know I'm waffling here, but now that I have kids, I adore watching them devour gift wrap and salivating over new stuff (they won't play with in a day or two).

What is your favorite Christmas song? Jerry Lewis' dripping with sarcasm "I've Had a Very Merry Christmas" because he;s a Christmas ba humbug whiner like me. Plus, a very young Lewis is just brilliant in the movie "Cracking Up."

Candy canes: yuck or yum? Yum for but only for a second. I definitely don't enjoy picking them out of my 2-year-old daughter's pigtails.

Thanks Flip Flop Mama for reminding me (via comments) that I am compelled by the blogosphere gods to tag someone with this fa la la, Christmas-y, egg nog dripping meme. You Flip Flop Mama are hereby it! Thanks for tagging me Ewe Are Here from all the way across the pond. Feliz Navidad.

Insane in the Meme Brain - You Never Forget Your First Time (Being "It")

One weird thing about me (of far too many): Mystery powder dusted, scratchy Trident gum wrappers give me goosebumps all over. I can't even touch such nasty little scourges of the gum world. The minty-bunk-stink of Trident flavors of any kind repulse me. I'd rather change a blowout diaper than have to hold my child's empty, crumpled up Trident gum wrapper. Chalk, well, I hate the feel of chalk too.

One Christmas preference fact about me: Yes, I hang mistletoe. Fake, plastic, Kmart special mistletoe, that is. On a plum colored ribbon, to be exact. I just attached it today to a garish 70s era frosted yellow glass lighting fixture in my front door hallway. My kids avoid me like the plague in the hours after I hang the faux mistletoe because I stake it out nearly all day whenever I can to snatch up all their boogery kisses. They're cold/flu sick now, remember?

Today I'm (soon to be) "Christmas and "weird things" meme insane! It's (finally) my turn. The two facts above are my little teasers, as if my likes/dislikes unveiled on memes deserve teasers.

Back-to-back tags for memes finally came my "comments" way yesterday, though not at all incidentally. I practically begged Ewe Are Here, "an American living in the United Kingdom," to tag me with her festive Christmas meme. I suppose that makes me a promiscuous blogger of sorts. Meme ho, that's me.

I gladly scoop up any chance I can come by to defend the thickness and nutmeg-y flavor of eggnog, all you 'nog "detesting" playa hatas. Give chicken embryos doused in whole milk and brandy a fighting chance, would ya, please?


At Your Cervix (brilliant screen name for a labor and delivery nurse, BTW) tagged me with a fun "Six Weird Things" meme about an hour and a half after Ewe Are Here tagged me. Don't I feel doubly special?! Believe me, it'll be a challenge to limit myself to only six weird things/bizarre quirks/unique idiosyncrasies about myself, but I'll try my best to squeeze, smash and condense while tapering my list down to only six freakish items. Can you tell I'm looking forward to major meme action a tad too much?

So where the hell are these two memes I've lauded so much in this post, you ask? I hope to finish by tonight somewhere between taking my two sons who are home sick from school today to the pediatrician and an evening run I've been putting off one double-fudge brownie at a time since last week.

When I started blogging as a newbie back in September, I had no clue what a meme was. Images of white-gloved and white-faced (paint) performers in top hats and suspenders came to mind. Real-life memes have always freaked me out. Just like clowns. (Poltergeist snuffed all my would-be childhood clown joy.)

Once I realized what the heck blog memes were, I actually though they were a lame escape from having to write an actual post. Now I've lightened up and see them as not only an easy out from posting and having to come up with new material/topics, but also a way to reveal more weird and unusual facts about myself (narcissism check, please). Kind of like a seven layer warped personality dip that dries up and gets all crusty at the party appetizer table. Likely more than you'll ever want to know is what I hope to share.

How lame can one be to post about posting two memes LATER in the day?

Monday, December 04, 2006

L'Eggo My Bunko Kitty and the Mystery of Why Kids Wipe Boogers Everywhere but on Tissues

So, okay, I showed up to Bunko/ladies' night out last night a half-hour late and three bucks short of what I was supposed to contribute to the kitty.

But I had a peace offering. A very sopping-with-saturated-fat-in-a-good way peace offering. Homemade bacon-wrapped cheese and bread balls. According to the Bunko ladies, anyone who wraps food stuffs of any kind in dead smoked pig belly is good in their book, even excused for their tardiness, the tardiness that held up the entire game.

My lateness karma came full circle within minutes, as I scribed one L for loser after another on my Bunko score card. I did roll a full Bunko once between sharp bites of cashew brittle and gooey peppermint bark but it wasn't enough to keep me at the winner's table very long. Not long enough to win my lacking kitty contribution back.

Excuse me but a small human being coated in her own sick is pulling on my arm right now. I'll finish up later between swabbing small humans free of their own phlegm. In the meantime, here's a snippet of a letter I emailed to my generous worker bee husband a minute ago:

We've had a fun morning drawing super hero robots, making OJ together and mopping up one another's sick juices flowing from one nostril or another. Mouth (5) and I drew a very cool and super functional super hero robot lair/house. Pigtail's (2) been tempestuous and needy, per her usual as of late. Who is that little girl lately? Is this her terrible two turn? I don't recognize her and fail to have as much patience with her as you have seemingly effortlessly. She is your "best girl" though.

Have you figured out yet why the kids feel the need to smear their boogers on their sleeves/the couch/the dining room tablecloth/the carpet/the bathroom countertop? What's so hard about using a tissue? And as far as I know, boogers have no nutritional value so why does one kid in particular continue to insist on eating them? While I'm at it, what's so tough about flushing the toilet? The boys can't even remember to put the seat up and wash their hands!

Thanks for lifting me up so much yesterday. My winter funk is in full swing, which is abundantly clear in the last tearful 24 hours. I'm over-eating A LOT, feeling sluggish A LOT and just feeling unsatisfied with crying, booger encrusted kiddies demanding so much of me. Thank you for carrying us all, even though you probably could use a piggy back ride yourself. The stress of the holidays and not having enough to do all that we want to do is tough for us all right now. Hiking is free. Some museums are free, so we'll satiate my stir crazy-fueled need to go, go, go with the family without a problem, I think. What are you needing right now and how can I help you meet those needs?

Tonight I'm going to cross my fingers that you come home before astronomy class b/c I'm making you some marinated drumsticks, seasoned rice and Caesar-ish salad. Nothing too special but better than last night's sad Mac N Cheese with canned corn offering.

I'll try to dust today, mop the floors and re-vacuum every room since you unknowingly vacuumed with no bag b/c of one little pesky set of hands that removed it and stuffed it under our bed. Poor thing. I'm also washing the kids snotty sheets and the remaining big people laundry.

My mantra today is "finish your tasks and have more PATIENCE with the kids." Of course, per norm, I'll empty/refill the dishwasher, feed the kids every two minutes it seems and accordingly clean up their rejected food crumb tornadoes. I can't be one of the crying kids today like yesterday.

Hope your meeting goes well. Hope the drive home from San Diego doesn't suck. Thank goodness for talk radio and your tape recorder for free thought freeing.

I love you and appreciate all that you do.

Thank you a hundred times over and thanks for letting me go to Bunko last night. It really lifted my mood. When are you going out to get your "me" time?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

There's No Cry Shriller Than That of Your Own Child

Do any of you out there realize how incredibly loud a house with cranky, tired and sick 2- and 3-year-olds is? Their screams shake me to the bone.

When they cried today in tag team madness then in unison, I reached my breaking point, and I cried too.

If you know me personally, you know how insanely noise sensitive I am. A helium balloon gently strafing along the ceiling in my sons' bedroom woke me from a deep sleep last night. The drip of a leaky faucet could vex me to no end.

Now imagine two runny-nosed children who don't mean me any harm and have perfectly legitimate gripes due to illness screaming their blonde heads off right in my face. One saddles one of my hips. The other saddles the other of my hips. Together, a sad, crooked trio, we pace the cold wooden floor boards. I try in vain to identify distractions - the crows on the wire outside the window, a moribund cactus in our kitchen and the best biggest brother in the whole world, who is doing a jig to shush his two sick siblings. The kicker is that he is sick too. I'm blessed to have his help even when he shouldn't even be asked to help.

I'm not sure I have a point tonight other than to release the immense stress I'm feeling in response to such a sharp increase in shrill noise levels around the echo-y house.

The chaos could eat me alive.

'Reluctantly off to girls night out now. I scarcely feel like learning Bunko in such a suck mood. Although the high-pitched laughter of 14 moms collectively taking the night off from the kids is a sound I could probably tolerate. A sound I need more than anything after the day's ferocious din on the homefront. Or the silence of my head on my pillow (even if my husband says I snore).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

CH is for Christmas, CH is also for Chiropractor - Xmas Parades are Bad for Your Back

Smack it. Flip it. Rub it down. And let the season of senseless imbibing in the name of glittery, garish fake snow and lawn decor BEGIN.

(Excuse the bad Bel Biv Devoe "Do Me, Baby" song reference, especially if I've made you feel as old as I am. Admit it. You know you put that swanky squeeze cheese-like song on your phat R&B mix tape back in the 80s day too. Hopefully you figured out what "I need a body bag" referred to before I did. And hopefully you're still not forgetting the "J, the I, the M, the M, the Y, y'all" when need be.)

That's right, tonight, with three kids in tow, we gallivanted to and from and back again to our first smash-hit Christmas party of the silly season.

Unfortunately I was the designated driver. My festive beyond festive husband on the other hand tipped back enough holiday cheer (vodka and 7up on the rocks) to giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy every time I knowingly smiled at him from across the garland and holly draped deck under the moonlit sky. We're both very comfortable meeting new people and schmoozing accordingly. Thankfully all three of our kids seem to be smooth party operators as well. Bringing a few choice adults peppermint frosted chocolate cupcakes doesn't hurt.
Good job guys. Way to load the party acquaintance deck, just like Mommy and Daddy.

Our newlywed friends are skilled hosts, even if they claim tonight's soiree to be their first formal entertaining effort. They are natural. Gracious. Relaxed. Nice enough to actually introduce us around and make us feel truly welcome, even at home. (Doesn't it irk the hell out of you when a host fails to introduce you to the other guests properly, especially when you hardly know anyone at the party other than said rude host? Anywhoodles ...)

The party was so damn good, fun and funny that we kept our poor, runny nose-d kids out well past 11 p.m. And we NEVER, EVER do that, especially not when they're feeling under the weather. Ear infection afflicted two-year-old Pigtail Sprite conked out on the hosts' guest bed. I was told that several party goers checked on her. One even covered her with a blanket. Yes, I was one of the party goers who sneaked a peek on her as well.

"She (Pigtail Sprite) looked so cold," my friend's boyfriend, Patrick told me half-jokingly. "I was this close to calling Child Services on you but I covered her with a blanket instead."

Another friend, Anita, reported that she intercepted Moody Cheeks McGee, 3, attempting to gobble down a jiggly reddish-purple Jell-o shot that I mistook for congealed and cut up into chunks cranberry sauce. I must still have Thanksgiving (the holiday featuring my favorite foods of all time, turkey and stuffing) on my mind.

Kids and adult parties don't always mix. Surprisingly, a grip of guests who weren't parents were super friendly with my brood. A different Patrick than the one quoted above "bonded" with Cheeks talking about Cheeks' preschool, riding bikes and how yummy the hostess' cupcakes were. (He ate three for dinner at the party in about five minutes flat. Repeat to self until you believe it: It's okay to eat cupcakes for dinner because it's the holidays.)

We started our evening of decking the halls with the Belmont Shore Christmas parade (aka the miserable time when parents hold their children like dead weight for hours on end in their tired arms so they can see the baton twirlers and marching bands pass boisterously by ... also so their when-the-hell-did-they-get-this-heavy kids can view the tops of the heads of the childless and the obviously annoyed by parade-going children adults in front of them. Oh, and who could forget the Santa fairy tale we all tell our children? That's the whole point of the parade - so they can see Santa just far away enough to incessantly bark at their trying-their-hardest-not-to-drop-them-like-they're-hot parents, "Where?! Where's Santa?! I can't see him? Does he know what I want for Christmas? What if he can't hear me from there? Razor kick scooter. I WANNA RAZOR SCOOTER, SANTA!!! Did he hear me? Huh, mommy? Did he? Did he? Where's Santa now, mommy. I don't see him. Will he a'member what I want? Huh, mommy?" I mean, seriously, how long can you hold your kid for before you're tempted to simply drop him/her and hope for a decent non skull cracking landing? I tried everything at the parade tonight not to wear each arm out so I could grip the minivan steering wheel on the drive home with two appendages made from something other than over-stretched, spent Silly Putty. Under-the-arm football hold. Over the shoulder boulder holder hold. Balancing on the the suspended in mid-air alternating knee hold. On the shoulders hold. And the gold mama standard - the hip grip. Except my kids can't get the part where they reciprocal grip mama back by clamping their fidget legs around my hips. Instead they whimsically swing like tassels from my hips while I do all the work fighting gravity. Holy digression, nippy Jack Frost. Oh, and, "uber husband" as he just now nicknamed himself invented the two-kid shoulder hold, hoisting our 5- and 3-year-old sons onto his shoulders sideways so they could catch a glimpse of highly chemical but highly pretty fake snow flakes. Without complaint (unlike whiny me) and for about an hour, he managed/manwiched their combined weight of approximately 79 skin-and-bone pounds around his neck like two jiggly oversized squawking parrots on his broad, manly-man shoulders. The newly self-crowned uber husband calls this dual child shoulders hold the "exponential, serious compression of the lower spine" move that will take several days to decompress. "But I can stretch when I'm dead," he just added.)

By the way Kasha, my husband can't stop saying how beautiful you looked tonight. To the point where I almost punched him in his perfectly shorn and shaped beard. Seriously, you did look stunning. Diggin' the wooden earrings. I love crafty adornments carved from natural sources and dangled from lobes. You said I have four months to make it down to Escondido to visit. How about two months or is that too soon? If at all possible, when I visit I'd like to reenact our Mexican vacation in-hotel tsunami scene, okay? This time, let's eliminate the floating atop the flood flip-flops and insert something edible and delectable instead like chunks of velvety Brie cheese. I'd be far more compelled to rescue slabs of melty Brie from a flooded hotel room than a pair of cheap rubber soled Reef thongs. Hopefully we'll have a box of garlic melba toast and a thinly sliced hothouse English cucumber hanging around to accent the Brie.

Tomorrow night introduces me to the ladies' game of Bunko (also referred to by my friend Suzanne who knows these things as "Drunko"). Uber husband will ever so uber skillfully put the kids to bed while I attempt to sneak the entire Bunko kitty from beneath the other mamas' none the wiser noses. Seems like a stellar way to wile away a Sunday night to me.

Tonight's Domestic Slackstress Christmas cocktail party holiday weight gain/overindulgence tally:
Eight cut on the bias brown-sugar and red wine vinaigrette soaked baked sausage
One filled to the top bowl of fiery, nose-hair curling homemade a la Chef Christian piping hot chili
Eight hot and spicy meatballs in a mystery deelish tomato sauce flecked with slivered onions and bell peppers
A handful of various cheese from the world over (What's a night out without cheese?)

Uber Husband's mindboggling food diary for the entire day today:
One glazed buttermilk donut
One semi-synthetic shrimp flavored Cup o Noodles soup/noodle tangle (aka MSG enema with rehydrated petrified miniscule shrimp)
A handful of Tostitos
One burned to a crisp chocolate chip cookie from Babette's Feast on Second Street (which normally bakes deeee-lish cookies but curiously failed tonight, presumably a huge night for business with the Christmas Parade rolling right past its French doors)
A handful of salty mixed nuts
One snack pack-sized package of Nabisco Nutter Butter Bites
Two or three tidbits of Muenster cheese

How does he survive?

Maybe tomorrow night's Bunko blast-o bonanza with the girls will "spin me right round baby, right round like a record baby, right round, round round." Either way, I'll let you know. I'm sure the food will be smash-tastic too. I'd better look at my eVite to see if Bunko night is a potluck kinda' gig.

For now I'm gonna' check out and stretch in my sleep.