Monday, September 28, 2009

DWTS and Diabolical Twin Studies

I'm terribly upset by the Dancing with the Stars first round of cuts. Who gets rid of Macy Gray after she uses the term "popping her cherry" on network television? I mean, if that's not good tv what is? Here's the recap.

I'm too busy to post here because I'm working on the marketing strategy for when my girls are picked as the new faces of The Gap. I'm going to make Joe Simpson look like a laid-back sissy. I'm also wondering what will happen if just one is picked. It could be the best identical twin study ever done. One reaches fame and fortune by age 3, jetting off to Shiloh and Suri's birthday parties in Malibu while the other is left in the dust to attend regular old birthday parties here in Chicago at Chuck E. Cheese and such. Researches follow up in 20 years and see which one is addicted to heroin and which is a kindergarten teacher in Naperville. Fascinating.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Momager Alert!

Move over Dina Lohan! Okay, so I entered the girls in the Baby Gap modeling contest. So sue me. Listen, I know they are not model material. Unless of course some innovative advertising firm has convinced Gap executives that the best way to sell clothes is to show two screaming hysterical toddlers freaking out in cargo shorts and hoodies. I mean, let's face it, they're cute enough but my kids wouldn't let a stylist get within 100 feet of them so modeling probably isn't in the cards. Although the tantrum / hurling items at crew people seemed to work out okay for Naomi Campbell...

So what's my angle? The family of the "fan favorite" wins a trip to a Beaches resort. Which is why I entered them. But then I looked and some kid named Madison S. already has like 300+ votes. Shit. Either I kidnap Madison S. and go on the trip with her or I start getting a lot of people to vote for my kids. Unfortunately, I don't know 300 people. At least not 300 people who like me. Also, I wanted to play the identical twin card but didn't have a picture where they both looked Gap-like adorable. So I did separate entries and that's likely to get me nowhere. Having an exact replica comes in handy at times like these and I can't even capitalize on it.

Above are the photos I used. I insisted my husband take a photo of them together this weekend where they were both smiling. But he's not David Copperfield for crying out loud. So I went ahead and sent in these before Madison S. has a million votes and we're left in the dust to suffer through another Chicago winter with no beach getaway.

Don't get any ideas and enter your own kids in the contest. We don't need more competition. Plus, Madison S. seems to have the vacation thing wrapped up so why bother? And now some kid named Zoe C. is creeping up in votes too.

So listen lazy asses, my point is this: What do I ask of you really? NOTHING. Until now. Vote for my kids. You can vote EVERY DAY and I expect no less. Go write yourself a Post-It note and stick it on your bathroom mirror or something because I don't want to hear any stupid excuses like you forgot or you don't have time or you think child modeling is exploitative and potentially damaging to a child's self-esteem. Like I said, I don't want them to model, I want them to win me a vacation. Big difference.

You have to register here to be able to vote, which I'm not gonna lie is a big pain the ass but if you're gonna be all "what's in it for me" they give you a 20 percent off coupon code for the Gap and maybe some Disney shit. Okay? Twenty percent off. You're welcome. Be warned -- they ask for all kinds of invasive info like your phone number and birthdate. But hey, you can lie and you're doing it for me. Someone you've likely never met, never will meet and probably wouldn't like even if you did. Here are the girls' entries. Vote early and often (and even while dead) as they do here in Chicago.

I guess now you'll know the girls' real first names but I'm willing to risk our security for a potential vacation. That's how I roll. Vacations first. Safety second. Okay, then, let's kick Madison S.'s and Zoe C.'s asses! Figuratively speaking of course.

UPDATE: Err, never mind. I couldn't even be bothered to vote for them every day and they're my kids. What a pain in the ass. Looks like it's the Wisconsin Dells for us this year.... I took down the link to the girls' entries. I might write a strongly worded letter to the marketing genius behind this whole ploy and explain that nobody has five hours to give Disney and Gap executives their entire life history in a stupid form.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Boots and Gelato

I did something yesterday that if you told me a week ago I was going to do I would have had you committed. I took the girls shopping with me. For shoes. Did you get that? I TOOK MY CRAZY ASS, PEOPLE-HATING TWINS SHOPPING WITH ME. I'm in dire need of new black boots to replace ones I bought in 2005 that are now not even donate-able if that's a word. I was having dinner with my girlfriends last night and thought flip-flops would be a) inappropriate and b) chilly. Plus I read in "How Not to Look Old" that women over 40 should never wear flip-flops. (Did anyone else read that book? Didn't you think the woman on the cover telling us all how not to look old looks kind of old?)

I very logically explained to the girls what we would be doing and promised if they were good we'd get ice cream afterward.


I listed to this chant, in stereo, the entire 20-minute walk. Apparently the art of bribery is lost on two-year-olds. Or it isn't but they realized that no matter how they acted I was still going to buy them ice cream. So as they screamed for ice cream AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, I sauntered into Nordstrom like I was deaf and began perusing the boots. One of those rich ladies who doesn't really have to work but works for fun and to meet new people approached me. You know the type. She was probably late 50s with severe short red hair she probably refers to as crimson, bifocals hanging from a rhinestone chain, skin tight expensive black pants and heels the height of the Sears Tower. She's hip dammit!

"You look like you're on a mission!" she announced brightly. Bite me. So I explain I'm looking for knee high black boots with a wedge heel about two inches high. She brings me suede boots with 5-inch spiked heels that would probably go all the way up to Gisele's thigh that are JIMMY CHOOS. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I think that bears repeating. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I didn't even buy Jimmy Choos before I thought disposable income meant beach getaways, not Gymboree classes. The most expensive shoes I ever bought, aside from my wedding shoes, were glorified flip-flops made by Prada that were THE WORST PIECES OF CRAP I ever spent money on. Had I seen these shoes in Walmart for $15 I would have passed them by. But slap a $365 price tag and Prada label on them and I thought I was the business. Because I was a moron. They broke repeatedly but since they said "Prada" I kept getting them fixed. When they finally broke the last time it felt very liberating to unceremoniously toss them in the dumpster outside my house where I'm sure a dumpster diver found them and his wife is cursing him right now because her feet are being arched in directions not suitable for human beings and the strap keeps breaking.

Anyway, I clarified to the sales lady -- who is probably one of those women who got together with other divorced friends for vacation and traced the exact trip taken in Eat, Pray, Love -- that I was not in the market to spend upwards of $1500 on boots plus 5-inch heels are not overly practical for my lifestyle. She peered at me disapprovingly over her bifocals and I wanted to ask where the Steve Madden section was but by now I was kind of afraid of her.


So I left without boots but not before the girls doused themselves head to toe in vanilla ice cream. Gelato if we're being technical. Speaking of which, what is gelato? It tasted a hell of a lot like ice cream to me which makes me think it's a marketing ploy to charge more because it sounds kind of fancy and Italian.

But my point here is that I TOOK THE GIRLS SHOPPING. To a store. By myself. Oh sure, I wasn't able to buy anything because they were screaming bloody murder but still. This is progress.

PS -- These are the exact boots I want. Feel free to send them to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Have Fun!

As my husband left for work this morning he cheerily called back to me, "Have fun!" This was not said with any sense of sarcasm. And then it dawned on me: He thinks my job of being a stay-at-home mom is fun. Like I'm just having one big fat party over here all day! And like most jobs, it is sometimes fun. But also like most jobs (AND I'M NOT GETTING PAID F@#$ERS!) it comes with some frustrations, feelings of failure and days when you want to join a hippie-like cult and change your name to Spring Rain or Autumn Snow so nobody will ever find you.

There was some Internet forum I stumbled upon recently and I was taken back at the snide comments people made about SAHMs. Like, "what do these privileged bitches have to be stressed about" and "I'd gladly go to the playground all day if my wife wants to support us" and so on.

Yes, being a SAHM, at least in my case, means spending an inordinate amount of time at the playground. This is fun for about an hour. Children are awake approximately 12 hours per day. You do the math.

I am grateful every day that I get to stay home with the girls, at least for now. And it is fun in many ways. But it is also the most stressful and isolating "job" I've ever had. And trust me, I've worked for some wackadoos under some rather high pressure circumstances.

Men (and perhaps I'm generalizing here but, hey, I like to generalize) take care of the kids for one day and think, "What's the big deal? This isn't so hard!" Because you're doing it for ONE DAY by yourself once in a blue moon. Not the majority of the time 365 days per year.

It'd be like playing President for the day. "Wow! I could get used to this! I'm sitting in a big swiveling chair in the Oval Office and people are bringing me gourmet food like I'm the King of Brunei, I've got my own plane and I'm getting invited to all kinds of cool shit!" But it's only for a day and so you avoid that Aging President Syndrome and even if you aged during that one day you could go get Botox unlike the President who would probably get mercilessly made fun of on the late night tv shows (ask Joe Biden) and all the tabloids would show your before and after photos and plastic surgeons would come out of the woodwork to comment on what you had done. See what I mean? (Don't answer that.) My point is, doing anything just for one day every once in a while is not as stressful as doing it all the time.

Am I comparing the stress of being a SAHM to that of being the Leader of the Free World? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I AM. Presidents and mothers age at exactly the same rate! And nobody is bringing me food and I don't even have a desk let alone a nice cushy chair that swivels.

(It's a wonder I was not on the debate team in high school. I mean really.)

PS -- Why the photo accompanying this post? I originally meant to detail what I did all day so as to make a point but then I started thinking about how if you're president you probably get really stressed and you can't even get Botox and I lost my train of thought. One thing I do with the girls that illustrates the sometimes mundane nature of my day is walk back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over the bridge in Millennium Park with them because they think this is big fun. It's fun the first 50 times and then it becomes mind numbing.

PSS -- I know being a mom who works outside the home is stressful too. This is in no way a post meant to flame that "mommy war" phenomenon which I actually think might be made up by the media.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sweater Weather and Sleeping Habits

There is officially nothing I miss about Alabama now except my family. And I'm only saying that because they read my blog. Well, my family and that chick at the airport wearing a "Friends Don't Let Friends Attend Auburn" t-shirt. What I mean is I don't miss the heat and humidity. The weather in Chicago has been perfect, with enough of a nip in the air to sometimes require a sweater. Reminds me of standing at the bus stop each morning in the fall during junior high wondering how to scam the school nurse into letting me go home sick that day.

Anyway, have I mentioned lately how much I love my children? Because I do. But not enough to want to sleep with them every night. Why do people do that? Let's be clear -- I'm not one to judge. My almost-two-year-olds still drink milk from the bottle, hate most human beings and are so attached to Dora's pal Boots that in a recent episode where he got a "boo-boo" I thought they were going to collapse from grief, which I guess is a strong indication I let them watch too much television.

Despite my love, I want to co-sleep with my children about as much as I want to co-sleep with Danny DeVito every night. Maybe even less. Danny probably doesn't take up as much room. For parents who do that (sleep with their children, not Danny DeVito), don't you want a couple of hours to yourself every night after they go down? At 7:30 pm every night on the dot, I have TWO GLORIOUS BABY-FREE HOURS. More if I could actually stay up past 9:30.

A few times when the girls were sick and needed comforting, I tried laying down with them in bed and they inevitably kept popping their heads up to chat like we were 13-year-olds at a slumber party. They looked at me expectantly like I was supposed to juggle or do something equally amusing to entertain them. By the time they finally fell asleep on me, I stared wide-eyed at the ceiling all night afraid to move or even breathe lest I wake them up. It's a talent to sleep with children on top of you, I learned. One that might come in handy if you want to be one of those guards outside of Buckingham Palace some day.

PS -- Do my kids need a haircut? They will freak the f#@$ out.

PSS -- I know some parents co-sleep due to health issues or past health issues and it's a comfort to just hear them breathing all night. I understand that. Please resist the urge to lambast me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dieting 101

I started dieting around the 7th grade, so in my lifetime I've probably tried every weight loss scheme known to man. Two decades ago, I was able to recite every calorie for every food within a +/- 5 percent error rate. It was a point of senseless pride. Having not counted calories for years, when I casually glanced at the Jewel "Chef's Kitchen" American cheese slices nutritional chart after nonchalantly gulping down two slices after my children refused to eat them, I was shocked. 110 calories for some tiny slice of cheese. No wonder everyone is fat! When I go to a wine bar I always order the cheese plate and basically eat the whole thing myself. Given what I know now, that's probably enough calories for a small country to survive for a decade. That said, here are my thoughts on various scams diets:
  • The Zone: Trying to decipher the coveted 40/40/20 ratio of carbs, protein and fat leave you no time to actually eat. That is the true secret to this diet. Plus, you live in fear that the potato chip morsels you smell from your co-workers lunch can waft through the air, enter your bloodstream and render all your hard work null and void. Unless you are Jennifer Aniston and someone delivers that perfect ratio to your doorstep each day, forget it. The average person just isn't smart enough for this diet. At least I wasn't.
  • Atkins: The sinister cousin to The Zone allows even fewer precious carbs. One little teeny tiny carb can send the fat cells multiplying like bunnies because you've already eaten 3 steaks, a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon. One time when I was doing Atkins a waiter brought me a regular Coke instead of a diet as I happily devoured a cobb salad with extra avocado and gobs of blue cheese dressing. I realized the mistake half way through and went ape-shit on him. I manically started calculating all the calories I had consumed in my head that day and it totaled like 13,500 -- and it was only noon. Plus you have to pee on sticks to see if you are in ketosis, which I'm pretty sure is some medically undesirable condition that could result in death. I remember the stick turning a funky color purple and wondering if I'm in protein overload or pregnant. It's very confusing. I don't advise.
  • NutriSystem: This is a delightful meal plan for those with no taste buds or appetite. All the food comes in these cardboard containers that don't have to be refrigerated. EVEN HAMBURGERS. How this is possible without sustaining food poisoning is a biological mystery. But what pissed me off most were the directions on the box: "Take food out of the container before cooking..." We're fat -- we're not stupid! What it should say is "Take food out of the container before cooking... Take bite out of container. Cook food. Take bite out of food. If they taste the same, you've cooked correctly."
  • Conscious Eating: This is a concept perpetuated by Kathy Freston, the well-to-do wife of former MTV exec Tom Freston. The idea here is you have to be present while eating. You consciously decide what to eat and then you sit and eat it. DOES KATHY FRESTON HAVE CHILDREN? I haven't sat down for a meal in two years. When I stuff half-eaten frozen pancakes covered in drool in my mouth as we run out the door, I am conscious but barely. Kathy is also into "cruelty-free" eating which means you can only consume plants and such. Oh sure, if I had a household chef that I could shove two portibello mushrooms, some red peppers and a carrot at and scream "Cook me something delicious or you're fired!" maybe I'd be a conscious, cruelty-free eater too. Bitch.
  • Weight Watchers: Umm, I'm going to pay you so I can count points? I DON'T THINK SO. That said, many moons ago I went back to a friend's place after a night on the town and the only thing she had to chow down on was some Weight Watchers ice cream shit. It was good but I don't think you're supposed to eat 10 of them in one sitting. That's probably a lot of points. Not that I was counting.
  • The Caveman Diet: The idea here is that raw and non-processed foods are the only things allowed. If a caveman couldn't eat it, neither can you. I don't know about you, but my husband doesn't go out after work and club our dinner to death. This makes it a little difficult to do as the caveman did. Plus, the caveman didn't have things like Twinkies and Ho Hos around to tempt him. And if the caveman was so goddamn healthy, why was their life expectancy like 25 years old?
  • The Fat-Free Diet: Ahhh, good ole' SnackWells. Remember those? Supermarkets couldn't keep them in stock -- it was like a stampede at a Beatles concert. I, like many others, was under the impression one could eat box and after box after box because they were, well, FAT FREE and everyone knows you can't gain weight from food with no fat in it. Duh. Two hundreds boxes and 20 pounds later I was very confused. My body hadn't seen a fat gram in months and here I was back in my fat jeans. (I particularly liked the marshmallow-like ones covered in chocolate. May they RIP in Chapter 11. Or are those f@#$ers still around?)
  • Jenny Craig: Kirstie Alley. Enough said.
I hear eating moderately and exercising works well... HOW BORING. Anyone know how I can get a prescription for Adderall? Those bone-thin bitches on Gossip Girls are all on it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things I Hate About Living Downtown in a High Rise

1. You see a lot more buses downtown. Have you ever been on a Chicago city bus? It's like Bellevue on wheels except cheaper and you don't need a court order to get out. On the back of these buses is a large, disconcerting advertisement for something called The Wendy Williams Show. Wendy Williams looks like the love child of Star Jones, Tyra Banks and Julia Roberts if all three were transvestites.

2. Approximately every three hours a large, loud THUD comes from outside one of our various windows. As soon as I hear it I go whipping over to the originating window and nothing. My theory was we are being attacked by kamikaze birds but there are no remnants of feathers stuck in bird guts or similar so I'm rethinking that position.

3. The weirdos in the elevators. Are all elevator-riding people this weird but I never noticed because I don't tend to converse often in elevators? When I worked downtown I took an elevator up to my office but I never made eye contact. Now that I have two children with me it gives disturbed strangers an opening. And I've learned things I never needed to know. Like one woman's daughter-in-law is pregnant with identical twins and she'd love to go help out when they're born but her daughter-in-law is one of her migraine triggers so she doesn't think she'd be much help while lying in bed. I'M NOT KIDDING.

4. The tourists. If Chicago is so goddamn miserable and stressed and awful (per Forbes) WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO VISIT?

5. The weekly maid service. Yes, only I could complain about free weekly maid service. But she just sort of walked in and I had no idea she was coming and I still had to shower and I asked her (nicely) if she could come back and if she comes the same time every week and next week I'd know to expect her. None of this seemed to fly well with her. She ignored me and started collecting towels and sheets and I left the apartment un-showered. Not that that in itself is all that unusual. The not showering part I mean. Not the part where a woman busts into my home and starts cleaning for free.

6. The parks downtown are what is politely termed "grittier" than what I'm used to. For example, a man with several large, suspicious duffle bags with no children in tow whispering, "I'll bring you down, motherf#$%er!" to nobody in particular. He sort of looked like a deranged, unbathed, balding, obese version of Robert DeNiro. Maybe Bob is in town practicing for a part? I heard he's one of those method acting types.

In summary, I'm over the view. It's nice. Laundry within 20 feet of my person is nicer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Apology to All Southern Mothers Who Dress Their Kids Funny

I have never been inspired to take a photo using my phone. Phones are for talking. Phones are not for picture taking or surfing the Internet or looking up directions or checking your e-mail or having video conferences or impressing people with a ringtone that plays that dumb song "Shoulda Put a Ring On It" by Beyonce.

I wasn't even sure I knew how to do it. Do you know how many times my kids are doing adorable things at the park and I think, "What an adorable photo this would make!" But you know what? I never take that next step and whip out my phone to try to take a photo. But today, ladies and gentlemen, today I was so inspired. Because there was a two-year-old girl wearing black cowboy boots at the park here in Chicago and I realized THIS MUST BE DOCUMENTED. It makes a damn jolly roger or jolly romper or jon jon seem NORMAL. At least jolly rompers seem comfy in an airy sort of way. Have you ever gone down a slide in cowboy boots in 80-degree weather? Well, me neither, but I bet it bites.

And then I thought, what if someone from Alabama was here and saw this atrocity and went back to Alabama and blogged that all Chicago mothers dress their kids in funny cowboy boots? I wouldn't like it one bit. (It's hard to tell here, but trust me, they are full-fledged cowboy boots.)

Also, do you know how hard it is to take a photo of someone with your phone without making it look like you're taking a photo of someone with your phone? I have a whole new respect for the paparazzi. Incidentally, if I am going to become paparazzo-esque, is it legal to post photos of other people's children in a not-so-flattering manner on your blog? (I'm not asking if it's nice, I'm asking if it's legal.)

PS -- Is it that Beyonce video that got Kanye West all in a tither and up in Taylor Swift's business? Is this what best videos have come to??? Remember the days of really good videos? Sigh.

PSS - Do not expect a future apology to all mothers who dress their toddlers in cowboy boots. Not gonna happen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Vacation

I am apparently vacationing in my own city. Which is the only explanation for taking a picture of the bean at Millennium Park like we're in town for a week from Japan. I never took much notice of the bean before. What is it and why is it plopped smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago? It looks like an alien laid an egg, but I gather it's some kind of architectural marvel or similar. As a resident, I usually avoid the touristy parts of our city. But in the last 48 hours, in addition to visiting Millennium Park, I've paid $20 for a carousel ride at Navy Pier, strolled down Michigan Avenue and walked along the lakefront eating an ice cream. Our place has the feel of a hotel, and not having all of our stuff adds to the vacation aura of it all.

Here is our view of Navy Pier at night:

It's a nice view. It's not $4600 worth of nice. Which is what people who are living here voluntarily and not on insurance's dime pay every month. I'm trying to think what view would be worth five grand a month to me. Maybe one directly into Daniel Craig's shower. And only maybe.

Lest you get too envious in the manner of cursing why your place can't be doused mercilessly with water, I have no washer/dryer in our apartment. We have to lug our dirty wares 47 flights to get to the laundry. Which was particularly upsetting when one of the girls decided to puke, rendering all of her sheets, blankets and stuffed animals chock full of undigested peas and raisins. Yum.

If I start talking about going to the top of the Hancock Building or Sears Tower, send in the guys with the rubber jackets.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So THIS is Where Food Comes From...

I used to have a fear of grocery shopping, but over time it's softened into mild anger, displacing the panic attack it used to induce. As such, I always wondered who the hell was mentally deranged enough to take small children grocery shopping. Unless I suppose you are a military family and your spouse has been deployed overseas or similar. But if you have an able-bodied partner or family member residing within an 80-mile radius, why you'd choose to bring your kids along on such an already unpleasant task is beyond my wildest imagination. Really, isn't grocery shopping a big enough ass-paining without pushing around kids who are hollering for a big bag of Skittles or want to tear into a box of Cap'n Crunch?

In Alabama, the kids had their first Publix (the Jewel equivalent for Chicagoans) AND Walmart experiences. Before that, I guess they thought food magically appeared in our house. The Walmart in Birmingham, Alabama is NICE. Shockingly nice. I could have wandered around there all day long in a discount-shopping tizzy, unlike the time I went in Chicago and almost stopped at a gas station on the way home to take a French shower in the public bathroom.

So in addition to learning this month that Southern mothers need a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy critiquing of their toddlers, I found out it IS possible to take kids shopping. Possible, not pleasurable.

PS -- What is the etiquette regarding letting toddlers eat bananas you haven't quite paid for yet? The cashier seemed a bit put-off when I introduced two empty peels along with our groceries.

PSS -- I don't recall supermarkets having bribes such as balloons and carts masquerading as cars when we were little. When did this trend start?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Movin' On Up

Call me Weezy. Because this is the view from our deluxe apartment in sky. If you don't get these references you are way too young to be reading my blog and might I suggest you listen to the Jeffersons theme song.

Insurance is kindly putting us up until our place is fixed. Estimated time: six weeks. I've always lived in the city of Chicago, but never downtown. Well, I actually lived downtown for maybe a week when I first moved to Chicago but why are you people haggling with me on the details?

This brief stay was at a disturbing place called Presidential Towers that was not remotely presidential. It was in one of those buildings where you could watch who was going in and out of the lobby on some special channel on tv so my roommates and I amused ourselves for hours that way upon returning from the bars. A prelude to my obsession with reality television I suppose. We can only hope I am entering into a similar set up. It's probably much less entertaining to see people coming to and fro in the middle of the day, however, and since I'm not up past 8:00 pm anymore my amusement might be limited.

We return from Alabama tomorrow and move into our new digs. I hate the term "new digs" by the way so please refrain from using it in my presence. I fear my children won't like the "downtown lifestyle" as realtors like to call it, thus not sleeping well at night or during nap time. (Read here impeding on my me-time.) I plan to lecture them about appreciating the sweeping views of the city and something about walking 10 miles to school in the snow. I think stories about mandatory long walks in the snow is what you tell ungrateful, cranky children who won't sleep.

PS -- We finally got a piece of the pie. (I wasn't quite done with The Jeffersons analogy. Sorry.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dora for President

Dora saves lives. Literally it would seem. Why stop the branding of the pesky perky little gal with just t-shirts and dolls and yogurt? It makes perfect sense really: Dora life-saving floatation devices. As I gazed at my girls, all fastened up in a protective Dora cocoon, it dawned on me: Dora is taking over the world. Along with Ryan Seacrest.

Which make me think -- what an ideal ticket for 2012! Seacrest - Dora. Or Dora - Seacrest, depending on whether polls are indicating we are finally ready for a female president. The problem is, do they run on the Democratic or Republican ticket? Clearly, they are both very pro capitalism. So maybe Republican. But then again Dora is a minority and Seacrest is gay (albeit in a "Don't ask, don't tell" capacity) so maybe Democrat? It's a tough one. Oh, and was Dora born here? They don't seem to address her immigration status on the show. And I suppose her age could be an issue. I think you have to be at least 12 to run for president and I'm guessing Dora is 6 or 7. Regardless, they'd always have a map, a backpack and Paula Abdul's cell phone number. What more does a presidential dream team need?

PS -- Still in Alabama. Still hotter than Hades. But now we are temporarily without TIVO due to some mishap which may or may not have involved my children. WHY DO PEOPLE LIVE WITHOUT TIVO ON PURPOSE?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Deep Thoughts on Labor Day

As I reflect back on summer this Labor Day, I have but one thought: This summer bit the big one. We began the official start of summer with an official visit to the emergency room and double diagnosis of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease during Memorial Day Weekend. July 4th was celebrated with a rousing rendition of my telling the neighbors to go f#@$ themselves while spewing off faux statistics about children blowing their fingertips off with bottle rockets. And here is it Labor Day and my house looks like Guns N Roses (back before Axl Rose went bald) went on a bender with their friends from Motley Crue (back before Tommy divorced Heather and married Pam several times or whatever their deal is).

Not the best summer. But then I look at the girls, less baby and more little girl, looking all grown up in their turtle and flamingo-themed swimsuits and think, "How can I be pissy?" This summer sort of sucked, but the girls learned to eat with a fork, say "I love you" before bed and occasionally utter the word "shit" which I recently yelled when I spilled Diet Coke on myself while driving my mother's car. My kids are healthy, happy and have a keen ear for profanity. What more could I really ask for?

So I will spend today being grateful for what I have rather than bitching about what is wrong with the world. Like why you can't buy booze in Alabama on Sunday. That's weird. I mean, you can plan ahead and get all liquored up on Sunday if you want but you can't go out to the store and buy more if you need it. I bet this law promotes people actually buying MORE alcohol than they need -- just in case -- and actually drinking heavily on Sunday, because, hey, you've got lots left over from the back-up supply you bought just in case you ran out after midnight on Saturday so why not polish it off on Sunday? So a law that was meant to keep folks sober on Sundays is really promoting crazy ass drunken benders all across the state of Alabama. Just a theory.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Someone's Lookin' to Git Killed!

The brave soul who owns the house down the street from my parents -- smack dab in the middle of 'Bama country -- seems to be taunting the good ole' boys with this here sign. As anyone who follows college football knows, University of Alabama plays Virginia Tech today and I guess it's big doin's of some sort. I don't know a thing about college football but you'd have to be busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin' contest not to notice everyone talking about this game down here. (Note: I plan to use as many southern sayings as possible while I write from, as one commenter put it, my southern satellite office. I want to blend.)

My husband likes college football, I assume mainly because his alma mater has a well-known team. On our honeymoon I was wearing his sun visor and some guy yelled at me, "Go Blue!" I thought the man was coming on to me or possibly insulting me or something. I had no idea what that meant, but I didn't take well to having the phrase "Go Blue!" hollered in my general vicinity.

I got dragged to a college football game one time (Michigan vs. Northwestern), and if it wasn't for my husband's friend pointing out all the girls he slept with before he got married, I would have died of boredom. The fact people sit through games in oppressing humidity or winter blizzards proves that as a species humans are programmed to connect with one another by belonging to groups, no matter how nonsensical. Why you'd love a guy wearing a red and gray uniform but put the same guy in a blue and yellow ensemble and you want to deflate his tires or write obscenities on his windshield doesn't make sense to me.

Alas, this town is fixin' to basically shut down for the festivities surrounding the game. I do hope 'Bama wins. I don't want to see a bunch of depressed southerners moping around until next Saturday when their hope rises again that they'll beat the next team. I'm depressed enough for all of us already.

If nobody else does I might sneak over to the neighbors and T.P. their house. I haven't done that in like three years.

PS -- Per Blogger, I've lost three followers since I made an innocent little post about southerners cladding their toddlers funny. I WAS JUST KIDDING. Come back! I dress my kids in clothes from Target! I am in no place to judge! I actually sort of like the south! Sheesh.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Forbes Thinks Chicago Sucks

Does this look like a terrible place to you? First, Forbes named Chicago America's third most miserable city. We were deemed even more miserable than Detroit. Do you have any idea how miserable Detroit is??? Today, I find that Chicago has been named -- again by Forbes -- as the number one most stressed city. Number one. We, apparently, are more stressed out as a combined people than even New York where it costs $1 million to live in a 500 square foot apartment, Detroit where the mayor sex-texted his way to jail and Portland where it rains about 300 days a year. You know what? I'm getting a little tired of the bad press.

Has Steve Forbes or any of his ilk ever BEEN to Chicago? Steve doesn't strike me as the sort prone to relax at a Cubs game with a hotdog and big-ass beer so maybe it's just not his kind of town.

Sure, I'm stressed, but that's because my home has sustained its own mini Hurricane Katrina, I'm living with my parents and two toddlers while my husband gets to vacation in our hometown of Chicago at the fat pad of our well-to-do friends and dine out with abandon as if he has a side gig as a food critic for the Chicago Tribune. OF COURSE I'M STRESSED. But as a whole, I don't think Chicago should rank number one on some ridiculous "stressed out" list compiled by misinformed Forbes reporters. What's with Forbes and lists anyway? The Celebrity Power List, Most Powerful Women, Best Places to Raise Children... How about a list of magazines with the most inane lists? That would be a good one.

I, by the way, met Steve Forbes' less important brother whose name currently escapes me but I believe works for the Forbes franchise. Had I known he had such ill will toward Chicago, I would have veered the discussion away from his ego and toward the virtues of our fine city so as to perhaps negate this bias the Forbes folks seem to have toward it.


PS -- Birmingham, Alabama doesn't rank on this stress list. Who could be stressed when you dress your kids in airy poplin one pieces and get to gaze at firemen while your kids gleefully teeter totter?

PSS -- Curious how stressed out Forbes thinks your city is? Click here. New York and LA -- you people are very stressed too. Go take a Xanax or something.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BAMA Update, Y'all

Is it me or would the world be a better place if the phrase "y'all" was eradicated? Or perhaps its use limited only to those of country music acclaim? An earned right as it were. You have a number one hit on the country music chart? Okay then, you hereby are given the right to say "y'all." All others using this term without the proper credentials will be shot. Not to kill, rather just to scare and perhaps experience slight bleeding. A superficial grazing of the upper arm, for example.

I've heard enough y'all-ing down here to warrant a firing squad. I don't really get the southern accent. Yesterday at the park a woman with a t-shirt reading simply BAMA kept yelling to her son "Bin! Bin! Bin!" Finally, when Bin didn't answer she sternly called "Binjiman!" and I finally realized all along she was calling for Ben. Why name your kid Ben if you are going to call him Bin? For about 30 minutes I was perplexed that a kid was named Bin even more so than the pinstriped blue sleeveless cotton shirt with matching BLOOMERS the child was wearing. He was at least 12 months old -- Bin was walking -- and he was donning BLOOMERS. Is everyone insane around here or am I being featured on that hidden camera show that used to star Allen Funt but I'm sure now stars someone else because Allen Funt is probably deceased?

Also, all the roads here are named after people I've never heard of. Doug Baker Blvd., Hugh Daniel Pkwy, etc. At least in Chicago you know whose road you're driving on. Like Hugh Hefner Way. Sure, he's a pornographer but at least I know who he is.

That said, we're having a good time here. The McWane Science Center for Kids is amazing for toddlers and there is a cute, mainly uninhabited park behind a firehouse. The girls are sliding to their heart's content, and if any of us need resuscitating (which I might feign) we have 20 heroes within about five feet ready to assist.

PS -- Before I get lambasted for making fun of southern accents, might I confess I am guilty of using the term "you guys" which isn't exactly the Queen's English. Okay? Sheesh. Oh, and people are very friendly here. Which I wouldn't be in this sweltering heat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Disaster Update

I really should start a children's fashion blog ... I've never gotten so many comments in my life as with the post about inappropriate toddler wear. Sheesh. Who knew? Unfortunately, that's all I've got on the baby clothes front. Maybe you people should Google to see if Rachel Zoe has a blog?

So our house is looking worse rather than better... There are currently very few ceilings or floors to speak of. I may just accept the inevitable and apply for an Alabama driver's license. If I had something cool to give away I could do one of those nifty blog contests -- I'd have you all guess on what date I will actually sleep in my own bed again and whoever is closest gets that cool item. But I don't have anything cool to give away. So that won't work. Well, guess anyway. Just for the hell of it. Maybe I can steal one of those "jon jons" or "jolly rompers" or whatever southern belles call those appalling outfits right off of an unsuspecting (and very thankful) male tot and Fed Ex that if you win the contest.

My guess is January 2, 2012.

My husband is back in Chicago, galavanting around town with friends, enjoying the sunny 70-degree weather and taking pictures of our house so as to annoy the construction crew. If you have any legal yet innovative ways to torture a spouse, I'd appreciate those as well.