Friday, December 9

I Want the World's Most Dangerous, Dung Spewing Mammal for Christmas

Around this time of year, radio stations begin playing the legions of holiday music we've all forgotten about since last year. Music that should have been taken out back and put out of its misery with daddy's deer rifle, but lives and breathes anew each season. Who knew Billy Squier had a Christmas song? I do, because some desperate radio station plays it once a year. Hope you're enjoying those residuals, Billy. (Side note: Billy Squier is way hotter in his old age than he was when he was popular.)

Along with the Mariah Careys, Celine Dions, Bing Crosbys and Dean Martins come the novelty songs we love to hate. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, and ... of course ... that one we hate the most. The Hippo Song.

Some cherubic 10-year-old named Gayla Peevey recorded this song in 1953, and it has peeved modern day society ever since. I am also alarmed to find out in the course of my research for this post, that this fine masterpiece has been remade by the likes of country singer Gretchen Wilson, the talent for the ages Jonas Brothers, and the more likely Alvin and the Chipmunks. The version done by Alvin, Simon and Theodore is possibly more irritating than the original, if you can conceive of that. It's on YouTube if you don't believe me.

Why would a child choose a hippo for a Christmas, rather than "dinky Tinker Toys" (which are pretty awesome - have you ever played with them? They kicked ass. Note to self: get children some Tinker Toys this year)

After all, the hippopotamus (from the ancient Greek for "water horse") isn't exactly cute and cuddly like a Pillow Pet. Or fun to play with, like this amazing new game.

In fact, the hippo has been branded as one of the world's most dangerous animals. They've racked up a bigger human body count in the African wild than lions have. They aren't afraid of humans and will think nothing of cutting a bitch if they have to.

Also, they weigh 8000 pounds. Can the floorboards in your home withstand 8000 pounds of pressure? I'd bet you wouldn't like to find out. They also do this thing called "dung showering" which for many reasons, I won't describe, but it is what it sounds like. Just what I always wanted under the tree.

All I'm saying is, this misguided child should have quickly been shot down by her parents, long before the lyrics were penned and the recording studio was booked. Many generations of haters would have been grateful, and this blog post might have been about Mariah Carey instead.

Friday, November 4

Anything Could Happen

Scribble loves books. His favorites are books about animals, especially those with photos. He knows most of their names and the noises they make, and whether they could eat or bite you. It’s always fun to read one of these books with him, as his commentary along the way is priceless.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, Scribble was paging through a magazine that we got from the Cleveland Zoo. “Look at this,” he’d call to me and show me a large picture of a giraffe, which he knows is my favorite. Once he had my attention, he flipped the page to show a grizzly bear, and screamed out in mock fear. I laughed and went along with the game, saying how scary the bear was. He thought this was great, so he looked up at me as he curled back the next page.

“Anything could happen,” he said with a glimmer of mischief in his eye. As he turned the page to reveal the snake and lion, he repeated the scream performance, and in turn, I gave him my over-exaggerated look of shock and surprise.

Something magical happens when you get lost in a story or can’t wait to see what’s on the next page of a beloved picture book. The love of books, and the feeling that anything could happen as you turn the page, is something I hope stays with him through life.

Tuesday, August 23


This weekend, my husband made homemade spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from our garden. It was an afternoon-long effort and I know he was proud of the result. Last night, he used the sauce and made eggplant parmesan. Doodle and Scribble had spaghetti and meatballs, because, homeys don't play dat eggplant. Doodle takes his first bite and declares, "Dad, this sauce is BRILLIANT!" I was thinking to myself that it was such a great compliment coming from King Picky himself, until my husband confessed that he had given the boys Ragu from the jar.

Friday, July 29

Smurf My Life

Last night at dinner, I remembered a promise I had made to Doodle last weekend.

"We still going tomorrow?" I asked him, and as the words were leaving my mouth, I turned to my husband and said, "Why did I just do that? Why am I doing this to myself?" I mean, maybe Doodle had forgotten what we had talked about doing on Friday night.

But it was too late. I had to follow through. "We still going to see the Smurfs movie?"

And thus, my fate was sealed.

Thursday, July 14


I honestly can’t remember what Doodle was like when he was 2. I’m sure he was adorable, and his control freak behavior was probably just peeking its carefully-combed little head out of the surface. So, rather than let Scribble’s precious moments (not the dolls – eek!) slip away, I am using this blog space to take note of some especially cute ones of late:

At Scribble’s day care, every Wednesday the 2-year-olds get to have “Splash Day” and must come to day care in their swim suits and water shoes. I bought him the cutest little flip flops at Target that have little fishies and sharkies on them. Did I just say “sharkies”? Yes, yes I did.

Previous to this, Scribble has worn flip flops or any kind of sandal exactly zero times. And the putting on of shoes does not rank high on his favored activities list (but the taking off of shoes sooooooooo does.) So that first Wednesday morning, I began in earnest to try and get the kids out the door on time, as I always do, and always fail miserably at doing. When I tried to put Scribble’s toes into the flip flops, which involves separating the big toe from the other four, Scribble put up quite a fight. “I don’t want it the fwop fwops!” he said repeatedly, his legs flailing and showing unprecedented strength and avoidance tactics. Finally, I prevailed and the fwop fwops stayed on for approximately enough time to get him strapped into his car seat. We probably didn’t make it out of the driveway before the first one went. At least, when I got to day care, he was contained in the car seat and I was able to replace the wayward fwop fwops without incident. Since then, “I don’t want it the ______” has become a handy catch phrase in my house.


Doodle knows 2 or 3 knock knock jokes that he can tell without ruining the punchline. Example would be the classic “boo who” or the “orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” Telling of these knock-knock jokes is standard fare at the dinner table when conversation has lapsed. Not to be outdone, Scribble added one with his own flair last night:

Scribble: Na-knock.

Us: Who’s there?

Scribble: *starts laughing* Uh …. A BUG!

Us: *raucous laughter and overacting*

Repeat the previous about 10 times. Sometimes he couldn’t wait for us to ask “who’s there” before he delivered the funny.

Wednesday, April 13

Dopple Ganged

I'm an only child. People often find this surprising about me, because I don't fit the stereotype. I don't have that spoiled princess vibe going on, at least not most of the time. Although I had plenty of friends in the neighborhood to play with when I was a child, I had a vivid imagination and could entertain myself for hours on end by making up games with dolls, stuffed animals, etc. But I did always wish I had a sister. A twin sister. There's just something undeniably cool about identical twins. They have that whole language thing (I mean, you've seen those twin babies, right?), they understand each other in a way that no one else does. In high school was the first time I'd heard about her. I think it started with someone calling me by the wrong name. Laura. But it was a case of mistaken identity; apparently, I had a lookalike, and not only that, but she hung out at the same place I hung out at! I had just never seen her. Several more times during high school it was mentioned to me how much I looked like this girl. Or did she look like me? But after I went to college, I forgot about her. I never did meet her. A few months ago, I was in the elevator in my office, and this dude, kind of a creepy looking guy, is staring at me. I mean, staring hard. Made me uncomfortable and I couldn't wait to get off at my floor. "I know you," he said. I shook my head no. "You have a twin sister?" he asked. Again I shook my head. "You went to my high school." Since I went to an all-girls, Catholic high school, I found this impossible. "Man," he said. "There's a girl who looks just like you who went to my high school." I assured him it was not me, and thankfully the elevator god, Otis, opened the doors at that moment and I click-clacked my high heels onto the linoleum floor and away from his creepiness. But was it a strange pick up line, or, was she back? I chalked that up to a strange encounter with a strange person, until I was out meeting with my book club a few weeks ago. We met up at this wine bar none of us had been to before but wanted to check out. After we got settled, we were chatting with the bartender and complimenting the decor and artwork at the bar. She started telling us a little bit about the history of the bar when she turned to me and said, "You know this already, you're here all the time!" I gave her a furrowed brow. "This is my first time here," I said. She gave the look right back to me. "Come on now," she said, a little sass in her voice. "Don't mess with me. We put your paintings on the wall here!" She clearly has not seen that I can barely draw a stick figure correctly. I told her again that she had me mixed up with someone else. She was almost getting mad at me, thinking I was playing some kind of bizarre trick. Finally, she let it drop. After a raucous book club meeting that of course involved very little discussion of the book, I walked with some of my fellow book clubbers to the parking garage when I realized I was out of cash. As we were in a downtown area, at night, with no ATM around that I was aware of, I pulled up to the gate hoping they would take a credit card. An older lady was at the booth, and within eyeshot there was a security office where a man was sitting. As I pulled up she smiled and waved at me. Before I could share my cashless predicament with her, she gestured toward the security guy and said, "Fred says you're the girl who comes in here all the time. You don't have to pay." And lifts up the gate. I thought to correct her but, being that I had no money, said, "Thank you! Have a good night!" And drove away. Remind me to thank my twin for the free parking. If I ever do meet her.

Thursday, January 27


I haven’t had a sinus infection in a good three months, so clearly my timecard was going to get punched again. So here I am, honking into countless Puffs tissues – the kind with lotion – and putting petrolatum-based ointment around my nostrils. When I first noticed cold symptoms, I tried everything in my power to prevent it from turning into a sinus infection – inhaling saline nasal spray and letting it drip into my throat … SO GROSS …, taking decongestants (the good stuff they keep behind the counter to deter those meth heads from making meth in their meth labs that you have to sign in triplicate and provide three forms of Photo I.D. to get one pack from the Walgreens pharmacist), making sure I was taking vitamins daily (which I should be doing anyway, tsk tsk) and finally, sanitizing my ass off. Blow my nose? Sanitize. Blow a kid’s nose (because of course they’re both sick)? Sanitize.

I did, however, stop short of using a neti pot, although I hear this is like the be all and end all of sinus clear-outage.

Aside from the usual crappy symptoms and general malaise that go along with such an ailment, I have one more added consequence of being sick: I cannot taste, or smell, ANYTHING. I could be holding the steaming rear end of a skunk up to my nose and I’d be like, hey, this skunk is broken.

This has some pros and cons which I’ve observed over the past few days, and I’d like to share those with you. There are times when I think it’s not such a bad thing to only be operating at 3/6 senses. Yep, I said six.


Decrease in appetite. Since I can’t taste the foods I love to eat but aren’t necessarily good for me, which include Red Vines, chips and pudding, I don’t eat them (as much). This should, theoretically, lead to some weight loss. I’m also finding myself eating smaller portions since the food is completely tasteless.

The denial of the existence of poopy diapers. Last night, my husband thought that Uncle Dom, our cat, had broken wind, the kind of which smelled of rotting garbage. I blissfully smelled nothing. I then sat Scribble on my lap, read him the lion book that he loves so much right now – twice – and put him down to go get me another book. Scribble wandered over by his dad, who immediately exclaimed, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Good GOD! It’s YOU!” and he promptly picked Scribble up and took him to get his diaper changed. Which meant, I didn’t have to do the changing. Thanks, defective sniffer!

I can eat stuff like squash, and not take much of a notice. With taste buds in fully-functioning operational mode, there is no way in hell I would willingly put squash in my mouth, let alone chew it, swallow it, and allow it to pass through my digestive tract. See also: arugula, asparagus, anything that touched a fish stick, spam, cool ranch flavor anything, etc. So I may as well take full advantage of the health benefits of eating otherwise unpalatable vegetables since I can’t taste them anyway.


I have no idea if/when I have B.O. Right now, I’m operating on blind faith. In the morning, I apply deodorant and perfume in the usual dosages based on past performance. However, I did do some hallway power walking at lunch (as powerful as my compromised immune system would allow without me getting light-headed and falling over. On a side note, I think I pulled a hammy on this walk. Is that even possible?), and as such, perspired in the underarm region. The effects of previously-applied deodorant and perfume could have long since worn off, leaving only the ripe human stink of sweaty pits, but I can’t be sure. Would people tell me if I stank? Or would they just turn their chairs ever so slightly away from me and breathe through their mouth for the rest of our 3:00 meeting?

Lack of enjoyment of rare treats. I took myself out to Chipotle yesterday for some hot burrito bol action, and couldn’t even taste the spicy corn salsa. A waste of $7.95. I would have been better off going to the salad bar across the street from my office and filling up a Styrofoam container with a heaping amount of squash and arugula for 4 bucks and saving my Chipotle indulgence for a time when I could enjoy every last calorie-packed bit of guac. See also: pros 1(a). Decrease in appetite.

I have no idea if the milk is spoiled. So I guess I’ll keep drinking it.

If the building is on fire, I’d have to rely on the smoke detectors doing their job. Does anyone smell smoke? I don’t.

I could kill brain cells and not even know it. Yeah, I’m holding this Sharpie up to my nose, but it doesn’t smell. Hey, this Sharpie is broken!

So, as you can see, the cons do outweigh the pros, although the potential for weight loss is a very attractive pro. Nonetheless, I will be seeing my quack-for-brains doctor tomorrow, who will no doubt prescribe me antibiotics that won’t work and I’ll see him again in two weeks for antibiotics that do work. In the meantime, I’ll be dining on arugula, diligently checking expiration dates on milk cartons, and doing a re-application of my deodorant mid-day, just in case.

Monday, January 24

I suppose it’s very nice

Poetry. It’s a conflagration of words meant to evoke imagery, emotional response, connection.

Some poetry rhymes, some of it follows a nice rhythm that, if you have nothing better to do, you can clap out into its metered form. Some of it makes a nice visual image on your page. And some of it transcends the page and becomes song. And song becomes ingrained in our heads as we hear it repeatedly.

That’s why, even as a nine year old child, I could sing every lyric to Duran Duran’s popular hits.

At the time, I wasn’t concerned with meaning. Cherry ice cream smile? I suppose it’s very nice. I thought Simon LeBon was cute, the videos intrigued me (especially the one for “Wild Boys” where he’s strapped to that revolving wheel contraption and appears to be being tortured for some unknown reason).

(now that I watch this again, it is disturbing as all get out. Why was I allowed to watch MTV when I was younger?)

Not to flash my credentials, such as they are, but I minored in English in college, and majored in journalism. So, I feel fairly confident in saying that I know a thing or two about words. But child, I need a master’s degree to figure out the lyrics to these songs. Or, at the very least, a 300-level English class.

That’s why I thought I’d try to deconstruct some of the lyrics and see if we can make some sense of them, together. Let’s start out with an easy one, just to get in the groove.

Is there Something I Should Know – lyrics

Please please tell me now

Please please tell me now

It seems there is a sense of urgency to communicate a key piece of information. So far, so good.

I made a break I run out yesterday tried to find my mountain hideaway
Maybe next year maybe no go

I know you're watching me every minute of the day yeah
I've seen the signs and the looks and the pictures that give your game away yeah

To this point, I kind of follow what’s going on. And then, this happens:

There's a dream that strings the road a broken glass for us to hold
And I cut so far before I had to say

But thankfully, this quickly gives way to:

Please please tell me now is there something I should know
Is there something I should say that'll make you come my way
Do you feel the same cause you don't let it show

Which I can totally follow, and sing along to, and not have to think much about. Ok, back to the verses.

Oh oh, oh, oh people stare and cross the road from me
oh oh, And jungle drums they all clear the way for me
Can you read my mind can you see in the snow
And firey deamons all dance when you walk through that door
Don't say you're easy on me you're about as easy as a nuclear war

I worry about the drugs these fellows were taking. I think it made them see stuff.

Let’s move on to something a little more difficult. The one that made me wonder, as a tot, if I would ever be friends with a girl this exotic, or if I could change my name when I got older.

Moving on the floor now babe you're a bird of paradise
Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it's very nice
With a step to your left and a flick to the right you catch that mirror way out west
You know you're something special and you look like you're the best

Clearly, there is one fine lady up in this club.

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande

Can this broad walk on water?

I've seen you on the beach and I've seen you on TV
Two of a billion stars it means so much to me
Like a birthday or a pretty view
But then I'm sure that you know it's just for you

What puzzles me here is what is “it” that is “just for you”? The pretty view? The stars? The beach? The TV? The sand? The cherry ice cream?

Hey now woo look at that did she nearly run you down
At the end of the drive the lawmen arrive
You make me feel alive, alive alive
I'll take my chance cause luck is on my side or something
I know what you're thinking I tell you something I know what you're thinking

OK, now we’re getting to the crux of the matter. This Rio chick has done something troublesome to stir up some trouble at the club. This is a real turn-on for him. Oh, Rio.

Do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do

I got nothin’.

I could keep going, but I’d like to skip directly to the 300 level class. Mensa members have tried and failed to understand what is going on in this song. So for me, a woman of slightly above average intelligence, I clearly have my work cut out for me.

Union Of The Snake
Telegram force and ready I knew this was a big mistake

Telegram force? With the first two words of the song, I am already lost.

There's a fine line drawing my senses together
And I think it's about to break

A little bit easier. He’s about to lose it.

If I listen close I can hear them singers oh-oh-oh
Voices in your body coming through on the radio-oh-oh

This man has forgotten to take his anti-psychotics and is starting to hear things that aren’t there.

The union of the snake is on the climb
Moving up it's gonna race it's gonna break through the borderline

What kind of union is this? Is it based in Mexico? Or, given that Duran Duran is from England, maybe it’s an Irish union? This is clearly some kind of gang that is planning on making a move. But should we believe him? He’s not exactly a reliable source, given the whole “off his meds” thing.

Nightshades on a warning give me strenth at least give me a light

Give me anything even sympathy there's a chance you could be right

I think Cory Hart said it simpler: I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can.

Well, I’m not sure I shed any light on these lyrics. Does it matter? For some reason, these songs resonate. People still clamor to see Duran Duran in concert. I have at least three of their songs on my iPod (including the last, above). So I guess the conclusion to be drawn here is that cohesive, understandable lyrics don’t necessarily make a song good. A song can be good if the music is good, if the singer is charismatic, and if there is compelling visual to go along with it. These three components are undeniable.

So I’ll continue to sing along and not get hung up on the meaning..