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Monday, December 30, 2013

... and Then Came Buddy

Buddy is our (not so) new chiweenie puppy. 


I Do Not Like It - Spam, I Can't!

No, not the canned meat experiment that most of us were unfortunately exposed to as kids - I'm talking about the random, nonsensical posts you see pop up all over the place, rife with hashtags and advertisements for things you'd never be interested in to begin with.
To be honest, I can't really do this kind of Spam, either.  *Lightbulb* I'm going to spam spammers about SPAM - that'll get 'em.  But I digress.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lazy Saturday - Updated Throwback

Why does Blogger send me an email when I respond to a comment on one of my own posts? Does it think I don't know that I've posted a response? Is it checking to make sure I've thought through my responses so as not to make an ass of myself?

Yea, little late for that.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Of Barbie and Women

 I'm noticing a tug-of-war between women and the media lately - women feel that the media doesn't accurately portray the true spectrum of beauty, while the media argues that the images they present sell; and both are right. When you're trying to raise healthy young women in a body-conscious society, how do you decide which battles to fight?

Mirror and Hourglass - Losing Dad

If I documented every memory I have of my Dad, this thing would be a proverbial Dickens novel and I’d probably never get it finished. For those of you that knew Dad, I know you appreciate these things even more, because you probably remember the silly puns and crazy nicknames, the giant man inappropriately dressed in booty shorts dancing around as “the Manglo,” the witty comebacks, the bitter beer face, and the ever-so-constant reminder of what you should never, ever do to a family of badgers.

Fa La La La... Bleh

I love Christmas.  I love spending time with my family and watching everyone open presents, scarf down awesome food, and giggling as the kiddos excitedly open a present only to find out that batteries aren't included.

This is my oldest daughter, on her birthday and not Christmas... but you get the idea.

What I don't love is the inevitable crash that happens once everything is open, all the food is eaten, and everyone has run off to their respective clean, undestroyed homes to sleep off the excess food in their bellies.  That moment when you look at your house and it looks back at you like a special Christmas episode of Hoarders, with wrapping paper strewn across the floor and furniture, empty boxes looking forlorn and abandoned, the smell of cookies and ham hanging in the air as one last reminder that now you have to clean all this crap up.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

I couldn't find a holiday eCard that I liked, so we're just going to have to make due with these cute little reindeer gifs.


Happy Holidays from Conspiracy Theories and Life Itself Art!


Friday, December 20, 2013

This Just In - Twitter PSA:#HasJustineLanded

So I logged onto Twitter and was bombarded by #hasjustinelanded posts.  This is the craziest thing I've ever seen.  Apparently, a public relations representative sent Twitter into a fury with this tweet:

Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!
— Justine Sacco (@JustineSacco)

... I'm going to let that sink in for a minute.  As I'm writing this, tweets are still pouring in, ranging from angry to shocked to downright hilarious:

"Headed home.  Hope the wife's asleep.  Just kidding!  I'm horny."

"Heading to North Korea, hope I don't get shot.  Just kidding!  I'm Dennis Rodman."

"Living in America.  That means I can say whatever I want.  Just kidding!  I'm not white."

"I haven't looked forward to a white person landing this much since I thought Santa was white."

(If any of these are your tweets, feel free to claim them.  My page is scrolling so fast that I don't have time to printscreen.)

...her account was deleted shortly after that.

"Well!  Guess the answer to #hasjustinelanded is yes!"

...and shortly after that, her profile information was removed from the business she worked for.


Someone even created a spoof account that redirected to the Aid for Africa website.

Oh, hilarity and tragedy all in one streaming social network feed.  I feel kind of bad for her, but shouldn't a PR agent know better?  Come on now.

So that's today's Public Service Announcement:  Use Twitter wisely.  It can destroy families and lives with one little retweet. 

Happy tweeting!


Deep Thoughts - Quickie Post

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Background Music to My Life 12-19-13

It's a busy day, I'm wrapping up a couple portraits and trying to cleanse my house of dog fur and kid debris. I'm in a weird mood also, and if you know me at all, you'll know that my taste in music is as bipolar as everything else about me. I'm laying out my embarrassing musical guilty pleasure here, dear reader, so please be kind.

So here's the background music for my life today (in no particular order):

Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed

This song always gets my happy going.

Kelly Clarkson - Already Gone

I love this chick. LOVE HER. Not like, crazy stalker love (unless you count Youtube), but a healthy admiration. Bonus: She can freaking sing anything.

Florence and the Machine - Heavy In Your Arms

The ultimate chill and focus music. Florence's voice is like crack for my ears.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Cold Shot

Kick-ass blues guitar from one of the masters. Can't go wrong with Stevie Ray.

Glenn Miller - In the Mood

I'm only adding this because it's been in my head ALL FREAKING WEEK. I do love me some Glenn Miller, though.

Eminem - Til I Collapse

Yes, I'm whiter than marshmallow fluff. This is my "Eye of the Tiger" level motivational song.

Jesse Cook - Mario Takes a Walk

Instrumental flamenco. This dude's fingers are possessed by teeny tiny Segovias.

Beethoven - Moonligh Sonata

Don't look at me like that. Just listen to it. It's beautiful.

Zendaya - Replay

Yes, I spend entirely too much time watching the Disney Channel with my girls. In my defense, the new Disney clone music is a helluva lot catchier than the glorified PSAs they aired when I was a kid. Don't judge.

Tom Petty - You Don't Know How It Feels

Second only to Mr. Dylan, Petty kicks ass and is almost always featured in my playlists.

BONUS: Sade - No Ordinary Love

Sade needs no explanation.

Mirror and Hourglass, Part 4: Dad on Dating and Lesbians

At 14, my Dad was completely and utterly convinced that I was a lesbian.  I have to take blame for that one, admittedly, considering my hatred for boys my age and the fact that my friend T and I had conspired to get his permission for me to go to the Christmas Ball despite the fact that Dad was Jehovah’s Witness and we didn’t celebrate conventional holidays.

It all seemed great in theory; Dad liked T and if we convinced him that I would ride with her and that it was a Winter Ball (not Christmas), we’d be home free.  But then T showed up in her typical leather jacket and biker boots (one of the reasons we were such good friends – that lack of care in either of us about what was “cool” and our mutual shunning of the whole Southern Belle epidemic), met my Dad on the porch, and shook his hand like a man.

“I was wondering if it would be okay for me to take Sandra to the Winter Ball.”


“Uh, what?”

So we explained to him about the school dance, completely oblivious to the fact that all our scheming was coming across as if we were a couple desperately seeking his blessing.  He agreed to let me go, and only mentioned to me a few days later that if I needed to tell him anything, he was there.
I still didn’t catch on.

Weeks later, we had a conversation that I don’t fully remember (and won’t try to recreate here), but consisted of him pretty much airing his suspicion and me responding with amused and embarrassed laughter.  I fessed up to the whole scheme, which made it even funnier because Dad rarely read things wrong, but it took years before he believed fully that I was straight.

When I got a boyfriend my senior year (my first and only boyfriend in high school, yet another story for another time), he asked me quietly one day if he was just a “cover.” 
Don't get me wrong - neither of us are against gays, but when you're being accused of something you aren't, it's either extremely offensive or wildly hilarious.  Men tend to go the offended route when they're straight and being called gay, but women - we own that shit.  It's funny to us (well, many of us, anyway) because we're comfortable enough with our sexuality to not be embarrassed by someone thinking we might be gay, and we'll totally play it off with our closest friends.
Of course, this was coming from a man who stood 6-foot-7 inches tall and weighed 250+ pounds, an ex-biker complete with tattoos, who would wear too-short Hanes shorts and do impressions of this guy to make us laugh:
...I'm pretty sure that if I were a lesbian, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Angel vs. Devil: (De)Evolution

**Mature Content (No, not porn, you naughty reader you)**

It's been a long time since I've written an Angel vs. Devil post, mainly because over the years Angel and Devil have kind of morphed into this singular schizophrenic, spacy little being that only shows up when I'm seriously debating something.  When they are separate(ish), I like to picture them as Jay and Silent Bob.

You can see where this could cause some major problems.

Let me break this down a little but further.  Jay is the outspoken, fun-loving dude that never stops to consider consequences.  Silent Bob is the more responsible of the two (sometimes), but he's, well - silent.  So when I encounter something that I need to debate inside my head, instead of logical points on either side, what happens is something more along the lines of this:

Guys... guys... HEY... I have a dilemma here - oh, f*ck it.
It's not that I don't have a moral compass on my own (no thanks to Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb up there) or that I'm incapable of coming up with my own arguments or pros and cons or what have you.  My conscience is totally intact and my reasoning skills are as sharp as ever, but the funny thing about life and kids and interaction with people is that after a while, it changes you.
 Let that sink in for a minute.  I mean really, really think about it.  Do you have kids?  Do you deal with people on a daily basis and find your mind wandering to its own little happy place where there are no complaints or silly comments or requirements for diplomacy?
I guess my point is that, as we get older, our tolerance for bullshit lessens and our filter dwindles until there's nothing left but this automatic response system that says things we would have been too shy to say in earlier years.  Auto-pilot is a dangerous thing, especially when dealing with children or when your livelihood depends on sucking up to that obnoxious guy who comes in daily asking the same. f*cking. questions. every. single. day. 

Your brain makes up its own words for people like this (the obnoxious guy, not kids - that would just be awful), because it's so freaking bored with dealing with them that it has to do something to keep from shriveling into a stinking mass of gray matter.  Douchetard.  Asshat.  F*cknozzle. Jizzbrain. Fartface. They're more like Middle School taunts than the thoughts of an intelligent adult, but they're nothing more than a defense mechanism for your brain, which senses the cells running screaming from it and imploding by the second.  So while your face is smiling (kind of), your brain is hurling nonsensical insults at the object of your annoyance.

"No sir, I don't mind looking in my system for the third time today for that thing I've already told you we don't have..." jiggly skinsack of vermon mucus rottenballs.
Put in that context, my Jay and Silent Bob analogy really doesn't seem so weird, now does it?

This is your brain.
This is your brain on unwanted social interaction.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Confession: I Was Totally Born In the Wrong Decade

I'm going to burst the bubble right off the bat and let you know that this confession is neither that interesting nor that controversial, so if you were looking for some awkward sex story or Dear Penthouse reject letter, this isn't the right place.

As my girls get older and I watch them swoon over Justin Bieber and obsess over what break-up song Taylor Swift is putting out this week, I can't help but look back at my own pre-pubescence and sigh a little. 

I was a weird kid.  I went through my Paula Abdul/Mariah Carey/Cyndi Lauper stage, but I never liked boy bands and I never was one to fawn over celebrities.  I liked music - still do - but even at a young age I understood that I didn't know these people and would probably never meet them, so I didn't obsess.  Had I come into contact with any of them, I'm pretty sure I might have asked for an autograph and posed for a picture and moved on.

There was one exception - this guy:

I can't take the way he sings, but I'd love to hear him talk.

Yes, that is Mr.  Bob Dylan.

I told you I was a weird kid.

While my friends were jamming to New Kids on the Block and Tiffany, I was pondering life and existence and adding to my already extensive vocabulary, thanks to Mr. Dylan.  Had I met Mr. Dylan in real life, I probably would have crapped all over myself and stuttered embarrassingly until he ordered his body guards to have me removed from his presence and possibly institutionalized (celebrities can do that, right?).  I would have lost my mind - and to be honest, I probably still would, minus to crapping part.

I still catch a lot of guff for my Dylan fandom.  If you know anything about fans, though, you'll know that no matter how much the rest of the world might hate their object of adoration, they simply cannot conceive why others would hate them.

But Sandra, you're probably thinking, his voice sounds like a cat being drug under a truck.  He plays a harmonica, for goodness' sake. 

...and in true fan fashion, I reply - but have you heard his music?

If you're shaking your head in offended denial, I feel obliged to tell you that yes, you probably have.

There's a little song called Knockin' On Heaven's Door that was covered by Guns N' Roses (and attempted by Avril Lavigne at some point) - Dylan.

To Make You Feel My Love? - Dylan.

Forever Young? - Dylan.

Plus many, many, many more.  This man is so prolific I'd be surprised if he wasn't responsible for 90% of songs written between the 1960's and today.

I have to disclose that my love for Mr. Dylan's music stems to a childhood where the majority of my time was spent with my Dad.  My Dad's musical tastes ranged from Scott Joplin to Mozart to Bad Company, and I owe my eccentric taste in music to him.  At the center of all this variety, however, was always Bob Dylan. My Dad and I would listen to him while we drew, read, fixed things in the house - I could literally build a timeline of my life with Dylan songs.

On a side note, if they ever make (another) movie about Bob Dylan's life, I nominate this guy:


If you could meet any celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be?

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Monday, December 16, 2013

5 People Who Should be Denied Internet Access (and possibly punched in the face)

Once upon a time, in a world far, far detached from ours, people held conversations face-to-face, wrote letters, and in general acted like respectable, mature human beings. Then, suddenly – the advent of the Internet, and the proverbial downfall of human language and interaction as we know it. We’ll refer to this apocalyptic occurrence as “the Rise of the Trolls.”

What is a troll, you ask? A troll is basically a douche hiding behind a keyboard (not to be confused with the creepy-adorable fad from the 90's).
Totally a verbal menace.
This is a person who, presumably, has nothing better to do with their time than waste oxygen in their mother’s basement and make it their life’s ambition to poo-poo all over every single conversation, debate, or forum thread that they come across, in between World of Warcraft binges.

**Disclaimer:  I'm not knocking WoW, or implying that everyone who plays it is a mouth-breather doomed for a lifetime of isolation as they lick the windows and wait for their next raid like a crack fiend.  I do, however, have a sneaky suspicion that there are more sociopaths in Azeroth than not (and I'm totally telling on myself by knowing far too much about WoW than the casual observer should).**

It's a mental asylum in a box.

To the observant internet user (or anyone who has ever attempted to use a forum, social media site, or chat room), it's quite clear that internet trolls fall into very distinct subgroups.  Let us discuss them now.

Internet Troll Subgroup #1:  Negative Nellies

You might think that all trolls fall into this group - and you'd be right, partially.  Negative Nellies are that small portion of the troll subculture that don't generally try to be hateful, they just like to point out every possible negative aspect of anything that anyone says.  Their life is apparently so horrible that they can't seem to function without turning your happy announcement or intelligently constructed statement into a debate about how bad it could be if it wasn't so good. 

Their cynicism is often sandwiched between compliments and/or accolades, and sometimes even backed by redundant numbers and "facts" that rip the joy from your big announcement like a drunk clown at a 5-year-old's birthday party.  Sometimes, they'll throw an "lol" in at the end so you won't know that they're pooping all over your happiness.

Internet user:  "He proposed!  So excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!"

Negative Nellie:  "Congrats.  60% of all marriages end in divorce, hope you're part of the 40% that doesn't get their heart ripped out and trampled on.  He'll probably cheat on you within a year.  lol."

Oh, the CAPS LOCK is coming on, bitch.

Internet Troll Subgroup #2: Meme

No, not "meme" as in those pictures that are clogging the web with various sayings, "meme" as in a multi-syllabic word indicating complete and total self-absorption.  Me-me.

No sir, you may not.  Please sit down.
This is the person who has nothing else going on in their life and has to turn everything into something about them.  If you say that something is going wrong in your life, you can bet theirs is going worse.  If you announce an achievement, they have (or had) a bigger one.  This is the equivalent of scar-showing and affliction-comparing in a nursing home. 
They attempt to stand on the shoulders of anyone who is actually being paid attention to and wave a giant, whistling banner shouting, "look at me!  Hey!  Hey!  MEEEEE!"  Often, they make shit up just to top whatever the other person is saying.
Internet user:  "Ugh, I feel like crap. Just want to go back to bed."
Meme: "I know how you feel.  Except I'm throwing up and my head just *literally* exploded.  Can't sleep."
Internet user:  "Almost got hit by some idiot in a truck today.  smh"
Meme:  "That's okay, I almost got run off the road by a monkey shitting rainbows and throwing Skittles into oncoming traffic." 
Seems legit.
Actually, I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of a monkey.  D'aawww...

Internet Troll Subgroup #3:  Captain Contrary

We've all met this person.  This person has an enlightened view of everything and must squash the opinions (and dreams) of anyone who makes a statement at all costs.  They will pick fights and throw derogatory names at will, insulting anyone who crosses them for no reason other than that they are a lonely, miserable asshat with zero social skills and a tiny penis {citation needed}.  Not all Captain Contraries are male, obviously, but there's no real broad-spectrum ego-shattering implication applicable to women (except for calling them fat, but we're so not going there).

Captain Contraries also, apparently, have no sense of humor.  At all.

Internet user:  So I walked away for like two minutes to use the bathroom, and my 2 year old got into the cookie jar and ate all but like two of the cookies.  lol  #love my kid

Captain Contrary:  Good parenting, not watching your kid and letting him eat all that sugar.  Now he's going to be obese and sick, probably.  Parents like you make me sick, blah blah blah blabbity blue bleh bleh ....

And, in a sudden revelation, Tracy learned what the "block" app was for.

Internet Troll Subgroup #4:  The Extreme Conspiracy Theorist

I don't mean cool conspiracy theorists, like my readers and myself, who poke fun at the silliness of everyday life and suggest that maybe there is some imaginary plot to make all sane people categorically insane; I'm referring to people who apparently think aliens are trying to take over the world by replacing celebrities with clones and that God is some guy behind a curtain projecting a comically ginormous hologram looking down with disgust over the entire world for letting Jersey Shore be a thing.

All your cheezburgers iz belongs to me.

In fairness, I'm all for freedom of speech and the right to believe in whatever the hell you want to believe in.  What I have a problem with is the fact that some people claim this right, yet refuse to let anyone else.  They refer to those of us with the ability to view things objectively as "sheeple," they mock people who believe in God and compare them to children eagerly anticipating Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and generally just go around spreading their sourpuss attitudes into every discussion that they touch.

Internet user:  "Just caught BeyoncĂ©'s new song on Youtube.  LOVE IT!"

Extreme Conspiracy Theorist:  "Oh yay, the Illuminati's new puppet." Cue paragraph-long explanation about how Bey made a triangle with her hands or the light caught her eyes just right and you could totally see the alien being possessing her body.

I'm not even going to get into what all is wrong with that statement, but I assure you that no one is looking to BeyoncĂ© for spiritual guidance.  If they are, then crazy conspiracy theories are the least of their worries.
I... um... nevermind.

Internet Troll Subgroup #5:  Unintelligible Uma

I'm going to throw the disclaimer out there that I am not a grammar, spelling, or context Nazi.  It's the internet, I get it - so long as I get the gist of what you're trying to say, I'm good.

Unintelligible Uma is that person that's pretty cool to hang out with and who is plenty articulate socially, but causes you to cringe clear to the depths of your soul when they attempt to contact you via anything that they have to write or type.  Their prose is written in some kind of dyslexic hieroglyph sub-dialect that makes your eyes cross and your brain cry when you look at it.

Uma is someone who either has little to no experience with technology (sorry, Grandma), who is always in such a hurry that they text/type with their toes while they multitask, or who is trying so hard to stay up to date with text lingo that their messages look like they've been dictated by that Skittle-poop throwing monkey.  Drunk.  While throwing poop-Skittles.

Meeeeeee.   (....D'aawwwww....)
Internet User:  "It's a beautiful day!  How is everyone doing?"

Unintelligible Uma: "smln frm er 2 er gotz ma bay n wez gn 2 da prk n pla on da mrgrnd skfjomp lol"

Well okay then!

Ever encountered an internet troll and live to tell about it?  Share in the comments!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dear Prince of Nigeria

Dear Prince, whose name I do not know because you have contacted me under so many different aliases that you could be the entire cast of Saturday Night Live for all I know (or schizophrenic, in which case, please seek help),

I'm flattered that, out of all the people in America who are influential, wealthy, and otherwise more logical choices to entrust your millions to, you chose me to try to transfer your money from whatever wacky transaction you're trying to complete this week.  I know you must be absolutely desperate, because you've contacted so many people in such a short time in order to find help.

I first must warn you that I am a nobody, my bank account laughs at me when I try to make a withdrawal (before coughing up a dusty receipt that clearly says "LOSER" in the balance portion), and I blog way too much to be trusted with such confidential information (case in point).

I'm willing to look past the fact that Nigeria doesn't actually have a Prince, since I'm an American, clearly indicating that my knowledge of geography and foreign governments doesn't extend much beyond what I learned on Sesame Street as a tot, or what little tidbits I pick up from the Discovery Channel in between fake mermaid documentaries.  You say you're a Prince on the internet, and have taken the time to send me a very polite email personally, so what you say must be true, yes?

Still, your Highness, I must also alert you to the fact that I am a very untrusting person.  Some of my own family members don't have access to my cell phone number - so I'm afraid that I cannot provide you with my full name, social security number, mother's maiden name, bank account number, and blood sample from my first-born child.    If that information were to fall into the wrong hands - well, I just might be the person desperately emailing millions of strangers trying to get my money back.  It pains me that the ever-changing amount of money you've been trying to get back for many, many decades now is still floating around out there, but I am in no place to help you.

Because I am so worried for your fortune and unable to aid you myself, I've alerted my government of your plight and provided them with all the information I have to contact you with.  I don't know why you didn't do this to begin with, it could have saved you so much time and heartache.  The agent I spoke with seemed very interested in your situation, so you should be hearing from them very shortly.

In the meantime, fire your financial advisor.  He's clearly not doing a good job.

Good luck to you, dear Prince!



Friday, December 13, 2013

Elf on the Shelf - a Prelude to Child Therapy

I missed the memo a couple of years ago when it became socially acceptable to seed pediophobia in the minds of young children.  Elf on the Shelf showed up in pallets at the Hastings where I worked, and sold out before we had time to unpack them, parents and grandparents storming the store in a panicked frenzy to get this little guy in time for holiday hijinks.

... I ate his liver, with fava beans and a nice chianti...

Since it was my job to know what the hell I was selling people and this creepy looking little doll had descended on the world as a kind of grandma crack, I did a little Google search when I got home.   This resulted in images like this:
Those aren't passengers, they're hostages.

The sugar addiction isn't the most disturbing thing about these pictures.

The idea is that you adopt a little elf, he watches still and silent during the day with his cold, dead eyes, and reports back to Santa every night.  You know, after he gets into all kinds of mischief and nightmare-inducing hijinks:

Okay, okay, in fairness little Elfie is generally moved around by parents and stuck in silly poses, mostly to create Pinterest-worthy photos that get passed around and spawn a jillion "fail" pictures just like everything else on Pinterest. 

It's not Elf's fault that a sweet, childish tradition got turned into something dirty and downright frightening by bored college students and parents who were scarred by Puppetmaster and Chucky as a child, right?

But let's think about this for a minute.  Disney/Pixar already planted the idea in the minds of many a youngster that dolls are sentient beings and come alive when we're not watching. 

No names.

In this little world, however, there's nothing particularly frightening and the toys are the good guys.

Crap.  Nevermind.

Elf, however, is supposed to be monitoring your child's behavior and reporting back to Santa, all while destroying the house, painting the dog, drawing on the baby, and any other number of juvenile delinquent behavior. 

What the hell are you teaching your kids, exactly?

So one morning in the future, when you wake up to half a shaved head and a RedRum scrawled across your hallway, your child will innocently tell you that it wasn't them, as they point nervously at that little Elf on the Shelf menacingly staring down from the top of their closet with its dead eyes and mocking grin.  Then you'll scold them for fibbing and give them a lecture about the importance of telling the truth, because we all know that lying is only okay if you're grown up and it involves a fat man that teleports through chimneys, a mutant rabbit that poops chocolate and easter eggs, or a creepy little voyeur elf that constantly gets caught in random acts of mischief.

Besides, you'll tell little Junior as he looks up at you with wide, trusting eyes, dolls can't really move around on their own.  Everyone knows that.

Is that a voodoo soul transmigration spell?  How cute!

So dear parents, before you begin your own little family tradition of Elf on the Shelf, I implore you:  just how much do you want to pay in therapy for your child in the future?

Does your family do Elf on the Shelf?  Any fun stories, pictures, or thoughts about Elf on the Shelf?  Share them in the comments!

Are you also confounded by Elf on the Shelf?  Do you  need a safe place and support group to talk you through the trauma of living through Elfie's shenanigans?  Join me on Facebook!

Mirror and Hourglass - Part III

This is the third part in a series.    Part I    Part II

Dad had a soft spot for old trucks, so we cruised in style in everything from a Divco milk truck to a classic  green Ford truck that he had hand painted and mounted a plastic duck head (a decapitated lawn ornament – poor guy) on as a hood ornament.  We got some strange looks in that Ford, but as soon as people saw Dad’s 6 foot 7, 250-plus pound frame emerge from that truck, there were nothing but nervous smiles and averted glances.

You didn’t question the duck.
 The Divco milk truck was my favorite, because it was nothing but open space behind the front seats and I got to sit in the back while we went around town dumpster-diving.  One day when I was about 9 years old, as Dad stood waist-deep in a dumpster behind an upscale apartment building in one of the wealthier areas in Denver and I sat cross-legged in the back of the open Divco waiting for him, two boys about my age rode by on their bikes and promptly circled back around, eying me curiously.

“Look,” one of them said quietly to the other as he pointed at me like I was a zoo exhibit, “a girl.”
“Yea, she must be kidnapped,” the other said.

I waved shyly as they stared for several minutes, feeling uncomfortable and really wishing Dad would come out of that stupid giant trashcan.  This was embarrassing.
Dad popped his head up over the top of the dumpster then, sending both boys shrieking and pedaling away as fast as their legs would take them, Dad laughing as they rode away.  (Never mind that if they really thought I had been kidnapped, they might ought to have told somebody.)

I didn’t get to ride in the back of the Divco anymore.

When I was 11, my Dad and I took a trip to Kaiser Permanente to fill a prescription.  After you enter the outside doors, there’s a long corridor to the next set of doors that has a noisy walkway.  I made it through the front doorway with no problems - no one I knew had seen me, no one my age was anywhere in sight - and then, lo and behold, the cutest 15ish year old guy I had ever seen walked through the door in front of us.

Alas, at that very moment, my Dad discovered that the walkway into the building was "oh, so clickety-clackety" and proceeded to do an impressive shuck and jive ALL over it. Yup, all 6 foot 7, 250 lbs. of him, gleefully pulling a Ben Vareen up and down the entryway. I wanted to melt into that cursed noisy walkway and emerge somewhere else.

I was, however, left standing in that same spot, so embarrassed I’m sure I turned a lovely shade of purple.

A group of elderly woman was standing at the other end, giggling. A young couple came through the door and giggled a little, then rolled their eyes playfully. We made it into the hospital eventually (after a 15 minute cover of “Singin’ in the Rain” by my Dad). But that wasn’t the end of it.

Oh no, I couldn’t be THAT lucky.

We were standing in line to fill the prescription (finally), when we became “next” in line. Now, I had never thought this to be a very extraordinary thing, but apparently my Dad thought it was absolutely novel.   He grinned widely at me, and I cringed.

“LOOK HONEY!   We’re NEXT!   Oh, there’s nothing in the whole wide world like being NEXT!”   (Cue big theatrics here.)   ”You know what,”   He gasped as though he’d just had the most life-changing revelation ever,  “we should let the guy BEHIND us go IN FRONT OF US, so that we can be NEXT – AGAIN!”

 He clapped his hands and grinned at me again.   Still, I had not acquired the supernatural ability to disappear or melt into floors, so I was, however begrudgingly, stuck.  To my utter horror, my Dad turned to the man behind us, who stepped back a little.

“Sir,” he said politely, “would you like to go in front of us?”

The man shrugged, “Sure?”

I’m still not sure if he was only agreeing so that he could get what he needed done and get out of there quickly, should my Dad snap and decide to do something REALLY crazy (like eat a donut whole).  The man moved in front of us.

Aaaand, we were next again.

“SEE HONEY!?! Isn’t this GREAT? Wanna let the lady behind us go in front of us so we can be next AGAIN?”

Sigh.  “Sure, Dad.”

This went on for some time, as it always did.  Like the time we were at the library with my friend Heather.  Or the time we were at some fast food place and my impossibly gorgeous social studies teacher just happened to pull into the drive-through with the school counselor as we sat at one of the tables outside.

“Oh, he’s soooo dreamy!” My dad said – quite loudly – as he made a point of jumping up and down like a hormonal teenager at a boy band concert and waving at their car enthusiastically.

And for all these moments in my life where I had wished for spontaneous invisibility, there were so many more that proved just how much he loved me, and solidified for me the ways to be a fully rounded parent; the Machiavellian principal of parenthood, you could say, the iron hand in the velvet glove (or Smurf puppet, depending on how old I was).

Angel vs. Devil - Feeling a Little Crappy

It occurred to me that I'm totally telling on myself with this blog.

Then it occurred to me that I really don't care. It's not like I haven't already opened up a Pandora's Box of tell-all mayhem with Conspiracy Theories.
I'm moving a little out of chronological order here, but when it came down to what to write about for this post, what came to mind was an incident in high school involving my butthole jock of a cousin and a carnival port-a-potty.
I can see you cringing already.

I can't tell you how or why it all started, except that I saw him sneak off into a port-a-potty on one of our many school field trips. Cue Angel and Devil.

Angel: Don't even think about it.
Devil: WHAT?
Angel: You know what.
Devil: *rolls eyes* Psst. Pssst - see that big trash can there?
Angel: Here we go...
Devil: I bet you can move it in front of the potty door. *giggle*

...and I did.

Angel: Don't do that.
Devil: No one saw.
Angel: That's just mean.
Devil: Just sit back and watch the funny unfold...

I heard the lock click, then the door smack into the trash can. Several times.

"What the - SANDRA!"

Devil: Oh crap.
Angel: *sigh* Told you.
Devil: Well, might as well have some fun with it.
Angel: Oh what now??
Devil: *evil grin* Shake it. Shake it!

...and I did.

"Oh yea...Oh baby... Ok, you can stop - WHOA!" The damn thing almost tipped over.

I ran, failing to remember to move the trash can out from in front of the door.

Fortunately, it turned into one of those "I won't tell anyone if you don't" things, so I didn't get in trouble over it - but it wouldn't surprise me if my cousin had to attend some therapy for a deep-seated fear of porta-potties for a while.

The moral of the story is: You know, I really can't think of a moral for this one, except maybe "don't use public potties, especially if there is a large, heavy trashcan nearby and your borderline evil cousin is near enough to see you go in."

...but it still makes me giggle...

Angel vs Devil - The Beginning

I mentioned in a earlier post that I was in the process of trying to condense all my online ramblings into one space, because frankly I don't have time to keep up with them all, and I keep forgetting where I left my proverbial brain droppings in the webiverse.
Once upon a time, I had a crap ton of extra time and no one to talk to, so this was born:
Nobody ever read it.  Like, no one.  It's set in obscurity for years now, mumbling to itself and bouncing between virtual padded walls.
So here we are with another "how this all started" post. These are all scenarios that actually have happened, in my warped little brain. I won't use anyone's names - not to protect anyone's identity's, but because I really can't afford any law suits right now. I knew you'd understand.

Really, it's simple:

I was in the 2nd grade. The most popular girl in the class, a snotty, prissy little witch who knew even back then how to rule the world with a cute skirt and the right combination of two differently colored socks scrunched down on each ankle (I know, I just dated myself - bear with me) - was standing in front of me in the lunch line.

As I waited for my glop of mystery meat on a bun that only slightly resembled sloppy joe, I noticed that her Wednesday panties were quite obviously sticking out from the top of her skirt.

My mind reeled - Wednesday? It's Friday! And is that - could it be? A hint of a skid mark! No way!

It was then that my little mini-me angel and devil popped up. Devil pointed and laughed. Angel shook her head. I looked around to see if anyone had noticed I'd gone crazy.

Devil: I see London, I see France...
Angel: Maybe you should tell her so she can fix it.
Devil: I see poopie in the underpants! (Oh come on, I was 8)
Angel: Cut that out.
Devil: Tell everyone!
Angel: You shouldn't pick on people.
Devil: She does it to you.
Angel: And that makes you feel bad. Do you really want to do that to someo-
Devil: At least give her a wedgie.
Angel: What is WRONG with you?
Devil: Come on, everyone would laugh.
Angel: And then you'd feel horrible about your-
Devil: Wedgie! Wedgie! Wedgie!
Devil: *Straining to reach prissy witch's panties*
Angel: *slapping Devil's hand* Stop that!

... I got 3 days detention and a phone call to my parents.

But, despite getting in trouble and being threatened with psychiatric help, I have a memory that will last me a lifetime.

The moral of the story: Sure, you may not have been the most popular kid in school - but you can take comfort in knowing that the popular kids are all now flipping burgers around their beer guts because they're jerks and don't know how to shower more than twice a week.

Eat that, skid mark prissy girl.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mirror and Hourglass - Part II

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

Daddy’s little girl
Learned to make sunshine out of rain
She was taught to live each day
As though she’d never live again
He showed her the light in darkness
And that it was never wrong to love
That everyone deserves a chance
And that there’s more than sky above
I walked in his footsteps
So much bigger than mine
I walked in his shadow
So much larger than life
Daddy’s little girl
Living through his eyes
Daddy’s little girl
Learned to see what lies beneath
She was taught to believe
In those who had nothing to believe
He showed her angels fallen
And wiped the tears from her eyes
Said they’re not letting go of Heaven, baby
They’re only learning how to fly
I walk in his footsteps
So much larger than mine
I walk in his shadow
So much larger than life
Daddy’s little girl
Had to say goodbye
Ah, but Daddy’s little girl
Has her Daddy’s eyes.
My earliest memory is of him, with my mother’s pantyhose on his head, dancing around, trying to make me laugh.  I swore for years that he was pretending to be a bunny.
“No,” he’d correct me, quite seriously – every time, “I was a jester.”  Because when a grown man puts a woman’s pantyhose on his head, he’d better either be robbing a bank or pretending to be a jester to make his child giggle.  Anything else would just be silly.
I made a point of retelling the story as him pretending to be a bunny, just so he’d correct me.
My mom insisted that I fell in love with him first, as a two year old at my Aunt Angel’s house.  I’m inclined to believe her, and since the majority of my early childhood was spent tagging along with him while he did odd jobs or dumpster-dove, we were close.
It’s a funny thing when you’re close with someone though, you know that you can be ornery and sometimes downright mean, and they’ll still love you and you know they’ll always forgive you.  This was something my Dad apparently banked on.
When I was four, Dad bet me that he could eat a donut hole.
“No you can’t,” I argued, “It’s a hole, you can’t eat a hole.”
“Yes I can.”
“There’s nothing there.  You can’t eat something that isn’t there.”
This went on for a while.  Finally he convinced me to bet him, with the very last donut in the box (which was mine, by the way), that he could, in fact, eat a donut hole.
To my pint-sized horror, he shoved that entire donut in his mouth, and it was gone before I knew what had happened.  I stared at him, wide-eyed and gape-mouthed for a full 5 seconds before bursting into tears.  My.  Donut. 
And he ate it. 
Just…ate it.
Looking back, I feel kind of bad that I cried so hard and so pitifully that he immediately took me to the store and bought me my own box of donuts.  Kind of.  He ate my donut, after all.
Although, he reminded me many times of how, when I was very small and it was wet and cold outside, he’d carried me on his shoulders so I wouldn’t get my feet wet.  I’d repaid him with my weak bladder, peeing all down his neck and back and he’d spent that day wet with urine in the cold and probably smelling to high heaven to boot.  He’d continued to carry me on his shoulders anyway, and didn’t scold or shame me, or tell people it was my fault when they wrinkled their noses up at the smell.  He only brought it up when I mentioned the infamous donut.
You win, Dad.
That same year, he built me a playhouse in our backyard, out of big pieces of particle board.  I had the healthy imagination of a 4 year old, so I spent my time in that playhouse conducting interviews with celebrities (Mozart was my favorite, but he was so conceited that I actually told him to shut his doody-face one time because he wouldn’t shut up about how brilliant he was), playing house, conducting top-secret experiments, and shooting music videos, among many, many other things.
Then came the day that I was an archaeologist and dug holes all through the dirt floor of my ancient ruins with a stick.  I hit pay-dirt on the fifth hole:  an obviously prehistoric bone that had been unearthed by me and would bring me millions.  Covered in dirt, I ran excitedly into the house with this glorious find to show Dad.  He’d be so proud of me, and I’d be so rich he’d have to ask me for donut money.
“Daddy, daddy -” he cocked an eyebrow at me over his book as I paused to catch my breath, “a dinosaur bone!”
“A dino-what?”
“I found a dinosaur bone!”
“You did?”  Cue that false enthusiasm that parents get when their kids are excited and they don’t want to kill their enthusiasm.  “Let me see.”
I presented it to him proudly.
“That’s great, kiddo, but uh ... it’s a pork chop bone.”
I was quite deeply offended.  I was most certainly not a pork chop bone.  I told him so. 
We argued for several minutes, until he got up from his chair, went into the kitchen, and presented me with a package of pork chops out of the freezer.  I looked at it suspiciously.  Compared my dinosaur bone with one of the bones I could clearly see in the package.  My bone was not a pork chop bone, I just knew it.  It was –
a pork chop bone.
As parents do, he seemed to recognize the exact second that I realized he was right.  He was smirking, an expression that sent my toddler mind into a fury.
Don’t look so smug.  You ate my donut.
Rather than admit that he was right and I would not be rich and famous for finding some long lost remnant from the Jurassic era, I did the only thing my four year old mind could think of to do.
I burst into tears.
Dad hugged me and calmed me down, and gave me a cookie. 

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