Monday, March 30, 2009

Kiss My Aries

Today is Blaker's 35th birthday. I consider birthdays to be rather grand affairs. I like tacky birthday decorations--metallic streamers, helium balloons, gifts all wrapped up in something shiny with a curly bow on top. Every year, I work really hard to make sure that everyone in the family has a spectacular birthday. However, it appears that this year, the fates are working against me. I present to you:

A LIST OF REASONS WHY BLAKER'S 35TH BIRTHDAY HAS GONE HORRIBLY, TERRIBLY, DREADFULLY AWRY, DESPITE MY BEST (USUALLY DRUNK OR MEDICATED) EFFORTS:

*No driving or solo childcare was attempted during the times of alcoholic/pharmaceutical assistance.

1. The Cake-- Blaker asked for a chocolate cake with vanilla icing, courtesy of a Southern Living recipe that I had made before that turned out AWESOME. Not good. Not delicious. Fucking turbo-dynamic awesome. It's a complicated recipe that involves lots of ingredients, timing, and perfect measurements. Yesterday, I went shopping for all the necessary items. I put on my Martini apron. I drink a few glasses of wine (this always improves my cooking--trust me). I bake the cake. I pull said cake from the oven. Said cake is flat and weighs approximately 37 pounds and also has a strange, brownie-like consistency. No go. Cake is dumped into the trash can.

The Cake, Round 2-- (A Cosmopolitan and another glass of wine later.) I re-gather my ingredients. I allow them to reach room temperature. I bake the cake, yet again. Thirty-two minutes later, I pull the cake from the oven. Cake numero two is flat and weighs approximately 37 pounds with a strange, vanilla-brownie-like consistency. (I thought perhaps the cocoa had messed it up, so I had gone for vanilla cake the second time.) No go. I think, possibly, cake might improve overnight. I go to bed. I get up this morning. Cake still blows. Motherfucking flat-assed cake is thrown across the room, where the dogs proceed to make it breakfast.

The Cake, Round 3-- I get dressed and drive to the store. Farm Fresh has the best cakes, so that's where we go. My only choices are Barbie and a pink-and-purple confection with glitter sprinkles. Despite overwhelming urge to purchase the Barbie cake just to see Blaker's expression, I leave cakeless. We drive to ANOTHER Farm Fresh. My only choice isn't even a birthday cake, but some chocolate coconut thing (Blaker and I both hate coconut). We leave. We drive to Wal-Mart. We proceed to buy a giant white sheetcake with primary-colored confetti sprinkles. It's generic, but at least it's edible.

The Presents-- Realized a few days ago that I had bought none. Decided my best option is to drink and think about it. Had a couple of Cosmopolitans. Found 311 tickets on the Internet for a concert July 1st. Scored awesome seats. Realized, as I sobered up, that tickets will not arrive until late June--a bit too late for Blaker's birthday TODAY and that B will probably force me to attend 311 with him (I hate 311). FUCK. Learn new lesson, "Do not shop while intoxicated." Return to Farm Fresh (post earlier cake extravaganza). Purchase bottle of decent wine. Figure if I present it while wearing slutty lingerie, gift will suffice.

The Decorations-- Took Sutton to purchase streamers and balloons, during which excursion he begins to throw a fit because I won't buy him gum (just cleaned melted gum out of dryer for SECOND time). In all the chaos, forget to buy decorations. Also manage to lose my keys. (Keys were later located.)

The Food-- In-laws are coming over for birthday dinner. Blaker has requested shrimp creole casserole via the Paula Deen cookbook. Simple enough. Get out the cookbook to start prep work and realize that since I usually cut the recipe in half, I do not have enough ingredients. Return to Farm Fresh. Briefly entertain idea that after third trip to Farm Fresh in one day, security is probably becoming suspicious. Realize that if I am hauled off and questioned as a terrorist, I will not be required to cook. Consider forgetting something on purpose so that I can return later.

Come home. Begin drinking.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

A few days ago my cousin Hillary tagged me in a photo on Facebook. It wasn't a real photo, it was a picture of an assortment of those little "Little Miss" and "Little Mr." people thingies who all have titles. The idea was that you tag people depending on which character they represent.

I was "The One That Always Swears."

Okay. So, yes, it's true. I swear a lot. I swear when I'm sober, when I'm drinking, when I trip over something and fall down, when I drop my insulin pump in the toilet, when angry little Asian men give me the incorrect change at snack stands in D.C.--so, pretty much all the time. It's part of who I am. I don't do it to look cool. I don't do it to make a point. I just do it because I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. Just like how I bite down on my tongue at the corner of my mouth when I'm concentrating really hard on something.

But it made me start to wonder how other people see me, and how accurate those visions may be. How do the views of other people compare to the views I have to myself?

I'll have to think about that and get back to you. Please feel free to offer any views you may have (be brutal--I can take it).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Muddle, Muddle, Toil and Trouble

I keep thinking that this is a complicated life I lead. I mean, I guess really and truly, it isn't. I get up, I get my daughter ready and to school, I entertain the Sutt while I take care of the house, the shopping, the laundry, the dogs. I take out the trash and I sort through the mail. I take snacks to Bellamy's class for snack day and I try to get to the Y as much as possible. I look forward all day to seeing my husband when he gets home. It sounds busy, but not at all complex. Yet I find myself thinking, "I'm just so damn TANGLED."

I miss my Dad. It's been one day shy of ten weeks since his death and it still just seems WRONG. The reasons why I feel that way seem to shift a lot. Here lately it's been bafflement that a life--a voice, strong hands, a brilliant mind, a kind spirit--can be reduced to nothing but an insurance policy and a wooden box full of ashes. Fifty-five years of hard work and always trying to be the best person he could be, and there's nothing left. He's just gone. Sure, I have memories, but I'm learning that memories don't really amount to much. They are like a story--you can't see them or hold them or own them. They are fleeting thoughts that develop holes over time. It's heart wrenching.

I think when I combine all of these emotions that come along with losing my Dad, that's when everything gets tricky. "Busy" feels a lot more complicated when it's washed in "sad" or "angry" or "scared." It's harder to make dinner for your family when you can't make yourself forget that your Dad went the last month and a half of his life without eating a single bite. Living surrounded by military bases is tough when the planes flying over every twenty minutes or so are a frequent reminder of your Dad's love of flying and all things aviation. I can't even go to church for sanctuary because we were praying The Lord's Prayer when he died, which is a staple at any church I've ever attended. I JUST CAN'T ESCAPE.

I'm grateful for all that I have, all that I am. But that doesn't make me stop wishing things could be different.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dumbfounded

A DAZZLING ASSORTMENT OF THINGS I DON'T, AND WILL NEVER, UNDERSTAND DESPITE A MULTITUDE OF EXPLANATIONS FROM OTHERS (PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO EXPLAIN THEM YOURSELF, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE WITH ME)

1. What, precisely, makes something Emo. I know that the Emo kids dress and look a bit like the Goth kids. They like to wear eyeliner and skinny jeans. It has something to do with being sensitive. Beyond that, I am moderately baffled. I'm sensitive. I like to wear black. I wear eyeliner as well. Am I Emo? I think not.

2. Why people sunbathe. Cancer. Sunburns. Hot. Boring. Too bright to read even with sunglasses. Enough said. It's much more fun to sit inside with the air-conditioning, sipping cocktails and reading a book. In bed. And Nicole Kidman's milky skin is highly preferable to that scary leathery look you see on the sun worshippers. Freaky.

3. How the heck the Internet works. I can use it. I enjoy it. I have no idea how all those computers can connect all across the world. It's mind-boggling. (And, potentially, magic.) Who would ever even think to invent such a thing? Amazing. I'm willing to bet that some super-tool of a guy did it just to impress a girl. And it probably didn't even work. I mean, it took me a lot of years to catch on to using the Internet, so Internet Inventor Dude's Sweet Lady probably couldn't even fathom what in the hell he was talking about when he told her about it. Just saying. If some guy came up to me and was like, "Hey, Sweet Lady. I invented the Internet. Just for you." And then proceeded to tell me all about it, I would Mace his ass. Yes, I would.

4. How did anybody figure out the Pythagorean Theorem? Or, more specifically, how did Pythagoras figure out the Pythagorean Theorem? How could ANYONE ever be bored enough to try to DO something like that? I mean, maybe Blaker, but REALLY is there ANYBODY else who would do that? (Wait, Jeneva--do you read my blog?)

5. Exactly how to perform that really loud, shrill whistle some people can do by sticking their fingers in their mouth and blowing. HOW DOES THIS WORK? I have tried for years, and I just can't pull it off. I'm sticking wrong or blowing wrong (ooh, this is sounding kind of dirty)--something. But I just can't do it. And I'm terribly jealous of those who can.

What a crazy world we live in.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bite Me! or: Dude! I Just Watched Twilight!

Back in December when I was visiting my parents in TN for Christmas, I watched a pirated copy of "Twilight." It sucked. Granted, it wasn't a very good copy (kind of grainy, due to the pirating) AND I was sitting in my Dad's hospital bed watching it as he took hits off his pain-meds pump which made him delusional (which is highly upsetting, hence incredibly distracting). Those two things combined led me to believe that perhaps it wasn't really as bad as I thought it was. Perhaps it was just the CIRCUMSTANCES under which I watched it originally that made it bad. So I decided, since it was officially released on DVD today, that I should watch it again.

The kids were gone. The husband was gone. (All gone to Durham for a family gathering that wasn't in my best interests.) Netflix deemed me lucky enough to receive "Twilight" in my handy-dandy mailbox. All systems go.

Twenty minutes into the movie, I thought, "Dude. This SUCKS. What shall I do? What shall I do? Oh, yeah. I bet it would be better if I got tanked." A martini and two glasses of Chardonnay later, it still sucked. But at least it was funny after a few drinks.

I loved the books, in a throwback-to-being-a-teenager sort of way. So what was my problem with the movie? Let's see:

1. The special effects BLEW. Super-fast, diamond-sparkling-in-the-sunshine Edward WAS NOT impressive. I swear, the special effects were worse than those in the first Star Wars movie. They were BAD. The sparkling skin was just....blurry and weird. The super-fastness was just....generic and bad. Didn't this movie make like a bazillion dollars already? I hope they spend some of that on effects for the next installment. They clearly went bargain basement for the first one.

2. The acting BLEW. I used to really like the chick who played Bella. I saw her in some Meg Ryan movie once and thought, "Hey, she's kinda pretty. She's a decent actor." Not so much. (I was clearly drinking heavily when I watched the Meg Ryan move. Which isn't uncommon.) Edward's voice drove me INSANE. It was almost effeminate. I know he's supposed to be all tortured and romantic, but he can still SOUND LIKE A MAN. Right? Right. BUCK UP AND SOUND LIKE A MAN, EDWARD! I won't even go into how bad Rosalie and Alice were. And Jasper totally channeled Edward Scissorhands the entire movie. Freaked me the hell out.

3. The script BLEW. Important chunks were left out of the screenplay. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed that if I hadn't read the books first, but hey, who HASN'T read the books yet? (Except Blaker--he might be the only person on planet Earth who hasn't read any of the Twilight series. Vampires just don't do it for him, which is unfortunate, because I'd make a damn good vampire. I stay up late. I like to bite people. Immortality sounds pretty awesome. But, I digress.)

Anyway, the point is: Why do people like this movie??? Unless it's like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (which, by the way, I've never watched) where it clearly sucks but has the crazy cult following. That's all I can figure. Maybe I should watch it again.

And yes, I'm still tanked.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ahoy Thar, Matey!


Sutton is convinced he is a pirate.

I don't mean sometimes he pretends he is a pirate, or that he wishes he could be a pirate when he grows up. I mean he actually, truthfully, believes that HE IS A PIRATE. When I ask him a question, he squinches up one eye and answers me in his pirate voice (which kind of sounds like a growl with a British accent). When I announce that it's naptime, he shouts, "Arg! No naps!" If ask if he wants to go outside and play soccer, he answers, "Arg! Soccer!" Bath time? "Arg! No baths!" Snacktime? "Arg! Snacks!" You get the idea.

Now, this seems as though it would be, at the very least, an entertaining situation, right? And yes, for a while, it was. But then it was time to register Sutton for preschool. His response when the director asked him if he was ready to start school was, "Arg! No preschool!" And yesterday when he was drawing pictures with his Daddy and I walked into the room only to hear him shout, "Arg! No mommies in my house!" it seemed much less amusing.

Perhaps we will re-enter the phase again soon where he believes that he is a Space Ranger. Until then, "Arg!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Luck of the Irish

INCREDIBLY INTERESTING THINGS REGARDING ST. PATRICK'S DAY AND MYSELF, MOST LIKELY NONE OF WHICH THE WORLD AT LARGE HAS ANY INTEREST IN KNOWING:

1. Sutton was conceived on St. Patrick's Day, 2005. I know this because Blaker and I were "interrupted" by a phone call from a very intoxicated relative (who will remain unnamed) who was on the lam and wanted to come to our house. We were forced to take an intermission to put clean sheets on the guest bed before finishing the show. The intoxicated relative never showed up. However, the night was clearly not in vain as we are rather fond of Sutt and glad that we conceived him.

2. Blaker and I used to live near Savannah, Georgia, which has a humongous St. Patrick's Day celebration and parade every year. We never attended. I do not like crowds. Also, Blaker used to live in Boston, which also has a humongous St. Patrick's Day celebration every year. I do not know if he ever attended or not.

3. Tonight I am making corn bread to go with our soup for dinner. I have dyed it green.

4. My husband's family is Scottish. My father's family is of Scottish and Irish descent. My Mother's family is from the Isle of Man. I have been drinking vodka, which is NOT an Irish drink, but rather one of Russian origin, I believe.

5. I do not particularly care for Guinness. However, if it is Guinness or nothing, I will go with the Guinness. And I do like a good Black and Tan.

6. I purposely do not wear green on St. Patrick's Day because I am A REBEL. A REBEL, I SAY.

7. My family used to have the best dog ever, named Gus. Gus was a wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier who was white with a brown head and one brown ear. I adored him, as did the rest of the family. When Zach and I were bored, we used to put Gus in the bathtub and dye him different colors. I believe at one time, we dyed him green for St. Patrick's Day. However, the vodka might have created this memory for me. I know for a fact that he was blue with pink polka-dots at one time, though. (RIP Gus--Thanksgiving 1995-Labor Day, 2005). (*On a side note, my Mom wants to dig up Gus's remains and freeze his DNA, then have him and my Dad cloned one day. Since my Dad was cremated, I'm not entirely sure this is possible, but I hate to burst her bubble.)

I wonder what happens when you dye vodka green....perhaps I will try it and see.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Y Me?

We just got home from a family trip to the YMCA. I love the Y. It's clean, it's big, it has lots of cool stuff in it, and best of all, you get FREE CHILDCARE FOR UP TO TWO HOURS!!! For a girl who hates the idea of scheduled exercising, I totally dig a trip to the Y. However, there is one small thing that really bothers me--CNN.

Being a reasonably intelligent girl, I like to keep at least mildly abreast of current events. With that said, finding the time to read a newspaper or watch the news on television is tough to do when you have two little kids, two dogs, a handful of commitments, and a house to run. I read Newsweek once a week, and that's about as informed as I get on my own. Until I located the holy grail of treadmills at the Taylor Bend YMCA, tucked down at the end of a row, nice and inconspicuous, and parked neatly in front of the tv tuned to CNN.

(Side note: I must now interject, for those of you who don't know me well, that I am a MULTI-TASKER to the extreme. I never do just one thing at a time. It's rare that I only do TWO things at a time. I operate at my best when I am under moderate to extreme stress, and doing about seven things at once. So the idea of being on the treadmill AND getting my news fix at the same time is wonderful, because part of my hesitency to exercise is due to it seeming like a gigantic waste of my precious time. If I take a book and prop it up to read too, then I can finally start to relax.)

At first, all went well with the CNN treadmill. I ran. I walked. I read (the ticker on the bottom of the screen and the closed-caption dialogue). I absorbed. I burned calories AND learned what was happening in Darfur. It was great! Then the cosmos decided I was gleaning too much joy from the YMCA and decided to knock me down a notch. The closed captioning went away.

I complained to the staff. The sound was kept muted (I had my iPod on like everybody else anyway) so how was I to know what the hell was being said? They told me that the closed captioning wasn't working any longer on that set, but that there were no plans in the immediate future to replace it. I still had the ticker, but now had no idea what vitally important things Nancy Grace was saying while I burned my 300 calories. There goes my connection with the world.

I still love the Y. I still go to the Y. I still always use the holy grail of treadmills (unless it is already occupied) but I can't help but feel slightly robbed from the experience. It's just another one of those things I'm learning to live with.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thanks, but No Thanks

I realized a few days ago that there are very few things in this world that I desire, and of those few things, I can have exactly NONE of them. Granted, they are pretty tall orders--I want my Dad back, a guarantee that my kids will always be healthy and happy, summer to be here NOW.....I guess you can see why I can't have any of them. In order to make myself feel better, I compiled a list of things I COULD have, but will never, ever want.

HALEY'S LIST OF ITEMS THAT SOME PEOPLE, SOMEWHERE DILIGENTLY WISH FOR, BUT THAT SHE, HERSELF, HAS NO DESIRE TO EVER POSSESS AND IF THEY WERE GIVEN TO HER SHE WOULD SET THEM ON FIRE JUST FOR FUN BECAUSE SHE LIKES TO BURN STUFF

1. A BOAT. I like the water. I'm a great swimmer. Jet skis can be lots of fun (at least they were when I was a teenager). But I HATE boats and I think that they are the most ridiculous excuse for recreation ever created (except, maybe, for golf). I don't understand what's so fun about floating around on a dirty body of water. Those people who want to spend their Sundays at the river skiing and drinking beer? I'M NOT ONE OF THEM. I've been on many boats in my life, and the only two I ever enjoyed were a whitewater raft and a cruise ship. So if you want to throw me an ice sculpture or two, a stateroom with a balcony, and a midnight dessert bar on your ski boat and invite me out for the afternoon, you may convince me. Otherwise, leave me out of your boating plans. My feelings will not be hurt.

2. A FANCY HANDBAG. Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Birkin bags........of course I've heard of them. I've seen them. I care nothing about them. When I see a photo of a celebrity carrying a five-thousand dollar handbag, I think, "Dude. I could have done a lot of damage in Barnes & Noble for what she paid for that ugly thing." I can't even shop for a bag when I need a new one because I get so bored. All of my handbags are hand-me-downs from my Mom (who is obsessed with them). Right now, I'm carrying a $10 bag from Target that my Mom convinced me to buy because my old bag was falling apart and this one was cute, colorful, and big enough for me to fit an arsenal inside since I'm considering forging a career as a hit woman. I can guarantee you that in five years, I'll still be carrying it unless it has disintegrated.

3. CROCS. My mother loves them. My children love them. I would rather sever my own head than wear them. Ditto on Uggs.

4. AN ALL EXPENSES PAID SKI TRIP WHERE I WAS FORCED TO SKI. Yes, this would be hard to burn. Yes, Blaker would enjoy this if he was allowed to snowboard instead of ski. But you see, I am a non-athletic, non-outdoorsy, warm-weather kinda girl. I hate the cold. I have less than zero desire to participate in any form of winter sports (just the words "winter sports" are the antithesis of Haley), which is a good thing because if I DID want to do these things, some orthopaedic surgeon somewhere would have to devote his career to repairing my breaks and various other injuries. Even if I was Picabo-freakin'-Street, I would trade those skis for a fireplace and a bottle of wine in a heartbeat and never look back.

5. A FERRET. Burning it would be inhumane, so despite my hatred for the little beasts, I would suck it up and take him to the shelter instead of torching him. But it would be hard, because I hate them that much. My brother used to have a ferret named Magoo and that little bastard was the smelliest, ugliest, creepiest little mammal I have ever encountered. He would have been much more useful if someone had killed him, taxidermied him, and used him as one of those things that you put along the door jamb to keep the cold air outside. When I'm Queen of the World, ferrets will be outlawed.

So if anybody has stored any of those things up for my next gift-receiving holiday, I hope you kept your receipts. If not, I'm more than willing to let you help me light the blowtorch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Death by Snow Day


A VITALLY IMPORTANT LIST OF REASONS WHY I WILL JUMP OFF A BRIDGE BEFORE I ENDURE ANOTHER SNOW DAY AT HOME WITH MY CHILDREN

1. Snow should not be eaten. Period. Not yellow snow, not dirty snow, not even the "clean" snow that falls out of the sky. I have taught my children this. But when you see a piece of leaf stuck to your 5-year-old's mouth after she has been begging you all morning to let her eat the snow, you can't help but suspect the worst. And the worst is that your child has probably consumed dog pee.
At least, I'm pretending that this is the worst case scenario here. Humor me.

2. One can only explain so many times to a toddler that no, it is NOT OKAY, to wear Diego flip-flops out to play in the snow. Not even with socks.

3. A half-inch of snow does not a snowman make. Not even if you work really hard for a really long time in the twenty-five degree weather (wind chill, 10 degrees) rolling and rolling that half-inch of snow as your children search madly for objects to use as snowman facial features. However, a half-inch of snow DOES make for disappointed children when that snowman doesn't work out because there isn't enough snow and it's not sticking together and you are just too damn cold to care anymore.

4. It is next to impossible to make a Princess-obsessed kindergartener accept that even though Belle can go out in the snow in her sparkling yellow dress and cape and stay sufficiently warm, real little girls cannot. If real little girls try to play outside in their very thin, polyester, glitter-dotted golden gown, silver glitter Mary Janes, and dress-up Snow Queen cape, it will most likely result in an emergency room visit (for hypothermia, pneumonia, or Mommy's heart attack).

5. When one discovers that one is frozen in (much like snowed in, but with ice) the backyard because the stupid gate is frozen shut (I didn't want to go back through the house and across the rug after we were all wet and muddy), it can become clear that the only way to escape is to remove one's gloves, turn on the water hose, and spray the lock on the garden gate until it becomes unfrozen so that one can go around the house, through the garage, and strip the kids down in the mudroom. Using the hose to unfreeze the gate can make a large puddle. Small children and small dogs enjoy large puddles. Even when it's below freezing outside. Mommy, however, does not enjoy large, icy puddles or the clean-up of the kids, dogs, garage and mudroom.

6. No. We cannot take snow inside to play with at the kitchen table OR in the bathtub.

7. Yes, snow is "swippery." How many relatives must we call so that you can tell them this?

Please. God. Spring. Now.