Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's Not Use The Word "Old", Shall We?

Let me start by saying that I'm only 31, and as far as I'm concerned that makes me just barely an adult.  But seeing as I've passed over to the other side, so to speak, teenagers and 20-somethings now seem like mere children to me.  (What happens when I hit 40?  50?  Will these age groups seem like infants then?)  But the one problem I see in this view is that it makes me feel a little old, and as a 31-year old I have no right to feel that way.  (Somebody say "Amen"!)

What brings this up, you ask?  Fashion.  Fashion reminds me that I'm on the "outside" of youth nowadays.  I find myself saying things in reference to today's trends that I heard my mother say when I was younger-- back when I was fashionable.  And, anyway, who wants to ever repeat the things their mother says?  (I love you, Mom!)  But it's happened; terms like "unbecoming", "unflattering" and "uncomfortable" are now a regular part of my fashion vocabulary (replacing "trendy", "stylish" and "cool", respectively).  

Let me offer up skinny jeans as an example.  Skinny jeans are of the devil.  I don't know anyone over 30 who wears those abominations (unless they are trying, unsuccessfully, to regain their lost youth).  It's like they were invented for the sole purpose of making anyone with a more "mature" figure feel like a giant cow.  And for those of us with curves-- forget it.  What better way to shout, "my hips and butt are ginormous!" than to throw on a pair of pants that hug you tighter at the ankles than they do at the waist.  I, for one, have some pride.  

Another item I am refusing to buy into are booties.  My daughter has a pair.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckam wear them, too.  You know what I'm referring to, right?  The ankle-high half shoe/half boot look that seems to have been derived from a style that Laura Engles Wilder might have worn back in the heyday of fashion.  All I know is that I have no desire to make my legs appear shorter than they actually are.  Heck, I need to take advantage of every single inch of leg I have (goshdarnitall!) and booties effectively remove several of those indispensable inches.  (But hey, if you have inches to spare, go for it!)

And speaking of shoes, I just don't understand why it's necessary to have them be in any color except the color of the "clutch" and outfit you're wearing.  Is it just me?  Am I the backward one here?  Why is it cool to wear a pair of bright green shoes with your silver clutch and cream micro-dress?  And why do I need a "clutch" anyway?  They're completely impractical unless you find yourself in a situation that requires only that you carry a tube of lipstick with you.  I need to carry something more along the lines of an Army tote bag in order to corral all of the items I deem necessary for everyday survival.  Clutch-schmutz!

If I were a trend-setter you'd better believe that high-waisted, boot-cut, knee-length, casual, and full-coverage would be the new lexicon for style.  But alas....  I will have to remain content in the fact that although I may not pass for "young" anymore, at least I don't have to wear those freakin' skinny jeans.  (Thank heaven for small mercies!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Avoid The Yellow Snow

Ah, Spring is coming!  I can tell by the patches of grass poking up amongst the piles of rock hard snow.  I can tell by the increased activity of the birdies and squirrels in our yard.  I can tell by the slowly warming temperatures and increasing incidents of rain.  I can tell by the fact my son has made the great outdoors his personal outhouse again.  Ah, yes, Spring is on its way!  All the signs are here!

What is it with boys and peeing outside?  Or is it just LM who is inclined to do this?  (No, no that can't be.  I seem to remember Dad's stories about a certain...favorite bush...where a roll of toilet paper was conveniently stashed for whatever business might take place within the branches.)  It's like LM knows, in the same way bears know hibernation is over, the precise time to begin taking his business outdoors again.  In fact, he loves peeing outside so much that when the urge strikes (and he's inside) he'll make a mad-rush for the front door.  I have to stop him and say "the bathroom is right there!!" as I redirect him to the miracle of indoor plumbing.  But it doesn't help.  He is drawn outside like metal is to a magnet.  

LM went to a friend's birthday party across the street the other day.  As I walked back home with him after the festivities were over, he climbed up on a rather high snow berm at the side of our driveway.  Having finally figured out that boys like to climb things-- anything really-- I kept walking up the driveway knowing that he'd follow soon enough.  But, he didn't.  So I turned around to find my little guy with pants pooled around his ankles, facing the street, and peeing off the edge of the snow berm for all the world to see.

Me: "LM!"  (Yes, that was my brilliant response.)
LM: "I'm peein'!"  (Apparently feeling clarification was needed.)
Me:  "Yes-- but we do that inside, remember?"  (Things I never thought I'd have to say....)
LM: "I couldn't hold it!"
Me: "You couldn't hold it for the 100 feet it would have taken for you to walk to our bathroom?"
LM: "No!"
I had nothing to say.  What could I say?  I just don't understand!  As a youngster going backpacking with my dad and sisters, I required the utmost privacy in the woods to conduct my business.  I lived in fear that some lone explorer would come traipsing through the forest and happen upon me, bare butt slung over a log, in mid...well, you know what I'm saying.  And here is this little munchkin, exposing all his little boy parts to the entire neighborhood with reckless abandon.  And loving every single second!  

We've had this conversation before, he and I.  Last year I considered myself successful when I finally convinced him to at least relieve himself in a private corner of our fully-fenced back yard.  Apparently I will have to remind him of that little gem of an idea again.  His father has other deeper concerns, however.  He asked that I teach him how to just pull his little pisser through his zipper instead of yanking his pants down as far as they'll go.  Yeah, that was an interesting conversation!

Hubby: "You need to teach him to not pull his pants down when he pees!"
Me: "ME??"
Hubby:  "Yes, you can do it because you're home with him all day."
Me: "ME??"
Hubby: "Yes, YOU!"
Me: (recovering somewhat) "I don't know anything about that!  I don't have one of those things!  I don't need to pull anything through my pant zipper-- heck, I pee with my pants around my ankles too!"  (The phrase "the blind leading the blind" coming to mind.) "So you teach him!"
Hubby: "You're stubborn."
Me: (knowing victory when I see it) "Yes, yes I am."

And so I continue to stumble my way through this strange and wonderful world of boys.  (And men think women are hard to understand!)  But as much as I don't understand these creatures, I adore their alien behavior in ways I would have never guessed.  And I suppose I really don't need to understand-- I just need to enjoy the ride (and hang on for dear life!).  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Have Two Words: Duct Tape

I prefer to go shopping by myself-- it's almost like a mini retreat.  In fact, sometimes I'll create a reason to go, where there was no reason before, just to escape the house.  Never do silent shelves of canned foods and quietly humming freezer cases of TV dinners look as beautiful as when I have just come from a house in full-blown chaos.  And as I stroll along the aisles of the store, pitying the mothers who have their screaming, grabby children in tow, well...I can get a little smug sometimes.  I start to think I'm rather clever for orchestrating my solo outing.  Um, have you ever heard the saying "God opposes the proud"?  

Well, I just got opposed on Friday at Fred Meyer.  

I'll start at the beginning.  Ruby Jane had a half day at school, and so I picked her up immediately after having collected LM from kindergarten.  Seeing as the day was young, it was a great time to get one of Ruby's blood tests out of the way, and so I promised the kids we'd stop at the Fred Meyer deli for lunch afterward-- if all went well.  (As a mother I've found that bribery is one of the best weapons in my arsenal.)

All went well at the lab and so, as promised, we headed off to Fred Meyer.  I figured that while we were there I could pick up a few items that I needed.  You know, kill two birds with one stone and all that.  (Am I still so naive??)  LM wanted to get one of those fancy-schmancy shopping carts that look like a fire engine or truck (or whatever they're supposed to be), but alas, they were all taken.  For a moment he wasn't sure he could go inside the store without one of those carts, but the call of macaroni and cheese was too strong for him to resist.  So in we went.  
We selected our lunch items and then waited in line to pay.  
LM: (speaking to the lady ringing us up) "Are you old?"  Just curious.  
She didn't answer and I, too, pretended I hadn't heard the question.  Sensing he was being ignored he asked her again, only louder.  
Me: (bending down to whisper forcefully in his ear) "That's not a polite question to ask!" 
LM: (realizing it was impolite to ask her but figuring it was just fine to ask me) "Is that man old?" 
Thank the Lord I had just signed my receipt so I could quickly usher him away, leaving the lady to no doubt ponder how she had been mistaken for "old" and a "man" all in one fell swoop.  LM and I then had a little chat about appropriate questions over lunch.

Feeling secure in the fact that we were unlikely to run into the deli worker as I maneuvered through the rest of the store, my confidence returned.  We grabbed a cart and were off to the races.  We made it through the bulk food section without incident, and so I ventured into the center aisles to collect some dishwasher detergent.  LM, with his hawk eyes, spotted a fancy-schmancy car cart coming our way.  As we passed LM reached out his hand and grabbed their cart, stopping it in its tracks.  The little girl in the cart looked perplexed, the grandmother appeared bemused.  
LM: "Hey, I have an idea!  Why don't we empty your cart out, put our groceries in it, and trade?"  
The little girl scowled, but her grandmother grinned widely, although was clearly uncertain how to answer this proposition.  I mumbled something to LM about needing to keep moving on, but the grandmother wanted to come up with a solution to appease my little boy (dang, he's good!).  I assured her kindly that it wasn't necessary, and hurried off.  

Ruby Jane asked if we could browse the toy section.  Catching me at a weak moment, I agreed to a brief perusal.  We came across an elderly couple studying the array of games-- barring our way somewhat.
LM: (in the most polite tone he could muster at 100 decibals) "Excuse us!  Train comin' through!"
Ruby Jane: (reading my thoughts as I frowned) "Mom, that was actually kinda funny."

As soon as we escaped the toy section I hurried to the last stop: produce.  Who could have predicted that lurking amongst the potatoes would be a lady pushing two ridiculous chihuahua puppies in a bright pink dog stroller?  I mean, who are these people?  LM's radar picked up on it right away and he started cooing at the stupid animals as we passed by.  I stopped for a moment, just to give him a better look since he was so taken in by the scene (as were several others).  
LM: "What are your dogs' names?"  (I would include them here but I can't remember.  It was probably "Coochie-Coo" and "Sweetie-Pie" or the like.)
LM: "Can I pet them?"
Lady: "No, I can't take them out of the stroller.  It's against store policy."
LM: (lightbulb going on) "Well, then what's your phone number?"
Lady: ""
Me: (seeing I would have to save her bum) "LM, we can't have a play-date with the dogs."
I then decided there was really nothing important in the produce section that I needed after all.

We rushed to the checkout line and I crossed my fingers that LM could keep his trap shut for at least the 5 minutes it would take to complete our transaction.  (Is that really too much to ask, for Pete's sake?!)  And other than putting his hand on the edge of the conveyer belt and pretending to get it caught and yelling, "AHHHHHH!"-- startling the checker out of her wits-- our departure was smooth.  

Alrighty then-- lesson learned!  A few lessons, actually....  First; shopping solo is not a sign of cleverness on my part-- I'm still very much an idiot.  Second; I may not like getting humbled, but I'd better start getting used to it.  Third; next time I find it necessary to take LM to the store with me, bring duct tape.  Lots and lots of duct tape.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Child's Philosophy On, Um...Boobs

I am listening to a fascinating conversation my kids are having.  They are discussing boobs-- and it is serious.  

Let me give some background here.  You see, my son's baby dinosaur is hungry this morning (naturally).  And after having spent yesterday afternoon with his infant cousin, my son has a fresh awareness of what babies get hungry for (and where to get it).  Ruby Jane is offering her older and wiser assistance to the situation by holding the baby brachiosaurus up to the mama dinosaur's bosom (do dinosaurs even have bosoms?) so that nursing can take place.  She is even making passable sound effects in order to render the make-believe scene a little more on the believable side.  LM (as he is known in our house) is very satisfied with his sister's solution.

This whole event has led them into a more serious discussion, however.  And since Ruby Jane clearly has more knowledge in the area of boobs (being a female, after all), she is taking the lead on this one.  I'll let you in on a bit:

LM: "I think she needs new boobs" (speaking of the mama dinosaur).
Ruby Jane: "You can't get new boobs" (then considering that for a moment) "Mom, can you get new boobs?"
Me: (thinking about the new boobs I would one day like to get) "No."
LM: (looking at the hungry dinosaur, then speaking to his sister) "Why don't we just use your boobs?"
Ruby Jane: (scoffing at his ignorance) "Mine aren't grown yet!" (then, musing further) "Boobs are kinda like snack bars for babies".  (Oh, if she only knew how true....)
LM: (giggling) "Yeah!  But Mom's don't work anymore."  (This then gives him an idea.)
LM runs downstairs and retrieves a new dinosaur, snatches the baby from his sister, and attaches the youngster to the new mama.
LM: "There.  Now we have new boobs."
Both are pleased with this solution.  But I'm left wondering....

Can a larger life lesson be applied to this imaginary scenario?  Yes, I'm sure of it!  But even I am not so brave as to try to instruct my children on what that may be.  ("No, LM, the answer is not to replace the mama because her boobs don't work anymore!  The answer is to accept the old boobs for what they are, until the mama can afford to replace them!")  I'm shuddering just thinking about it.  No,'s best to just let this teaching moment go.  In the meantime, I think I'll start saving my money....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Can I Say? It's Genetic....

I have a confession: I am a terrible mother.  But there is a way to get around that little detail, you see, and I've discovered it!  It is really very simple; I just train my children to think that my behavior is normal-- then they don't actually know they are being raised by a Neanderthal.  

One of my more primitive qualities happens to be that I laugh at inappropriate times.  I laugh at my children when most mothers would be gathering them into their arms for solace and comfort.  I laugh when most mothers would feel outrage.  I laugh when most mothers would grieve or at least empathize.  And if you see me doing any of those "normal" activities (comforting, raging, grieving or empathizing) it is most likely an act on my part performed in order to appear, well, normal!  (Either that or I've gone into "Mother Bear" mode-- also a very primitive state of mine.)  

My little Ruby Jane is often the object of my amusement, much to her chagrin.  But she is showing signs that my training is paying off!  She has begun to laugh with me!  (I hope I haven't ruined her chances for a normal life.)  As of late, her ongoing mystery disease has provided us with much fodder for hysteria.  (You see?  When I said I was a terrible mother I wasn't kidding!)  She takes 5 different naturopathic pills everyday, in addition to the Methotrexate she takes once a week.  The naturopathic pills are large and very, um...natural smelling.  (Natural, as in "compost", that is.)  She kinda has to psych herself up a bit before pounding those puppies.  And on one such occasion, her mind lost its iron-grip and she began to gag.  Gagging produces one of two reactions in me: I, myself, gag-- or, you guessed it, I laugh.  This time I happened to bust up.  At first she looked at me with her "you are so cruel!" stare that she has perfected.  But it didn't hold out, and soon she was rolling, too.  

Then there was the other day when I nonchalantly told her we were going to go somewhere and she assumed, excitedly, that we were heading out to get a surprise.  I lost it!  Because the "surprise" was that we were actually on our way to get her blood tested.  Yes, I literally thought it was hilarious that my sweet little girl mistakenly got excited about the prospect of having a treat, only to find out that she was instead heading off to get her arm stabbed with a needle that would suck the blood right outta her veins.  (Now can you see why I only gave this blog address to a select few?  What would people think!!)  But, while most folks couldn't comprehend what is remotely funny about that, my Ruby Jane saw the humor in the situation and belly-laughed right along with me.  

It's really a brilliant trick, this whole "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy I've adopted.  I can stave off my kiddos' tears just by emitting a few well-timed giggles in an otherwise traumatic situation.  And along with fooling them into thinking their mother isn't a complete freak of nature, they're also learning how to laugh at life. 

This...special quality...can get a person in trouble, however.  At weddings and funerals especially.  These are considered sacred events by most people.  And, don't get me wrong, they are indeed serious and reverent occasions!  But unfortunately for people like me, this fact also means that anything remotely amusing which occurs at these events suddenly becomes hysterical in light of the somberness surrounding the situation.  I guess it's just the whole juxtaposition aspect that gets me.  Some of you understand where I'm coming from, some of you don't....  

Like, for instance, at my niece's wedding last fall.  The setting was perfect.  We were outside in the country surrounded by lush trees and gardens, elegantly adorned tables, romantic candlelight and the sweet sound of a small stream gurgling nearby.  The bride was glowing, the parents and the grandparents of the couple were delicately sniffling into their hankies, and the officiant had just embarked on the vows when, BOOM, down goes the best man.  What made this already funny situation absolutely hilarious was the fact that the sound of his head hitting the side of the gazebo echoed throughout the small clearing.  I couldn't suppress the immediate guffaw that escaped my lips (of its own volition!).  I literally slapped my hand over my mouth and looked around wildly, body shaking in an effort to contain myself, searching for a kindred spirit with whom I could "lose it".  There was nobody!  Not a single soul!  The best man, in the meantime, was surrounded by several doctors, nurses, and paramedics who happened to be in attendance.  Oh, he was fine!  Gingerly, I prodded the elderly lady next to me and tried to broach the subject that this whole situation was slightly amusing.  She looked at me, aghast, and said, "really?  Do you think so?".  That was a temporary buzz-kill, I admit it.  But it didn't stop the spastic attacks of giggles that plagued me on and off until the end of the ceremony.  Simply conjuring up the scene in my mind was all that it took to render me in ha-ha land again.  

Are there unfortunate occurrences which I don't find amusing?  Lots.  Oh, many, many, many.  (Like the news, for instance.  Rarely funny, that stuff.)  But I find there is a lot in life to laugh at.  And sometimes you can find humor in the most unlikely of places....  (Like the sound of a head cracking against the side of a gazebo.  Who knew?!)  I can only hope that one day, after years of therapy, my children can appreciate this about me.  And if not, well, I will probably find that hysterical.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who The Heck Is Mr. Lin Erantini Brainthing?

Yes, I dropped off the face of the blogging world, but I'm back...for now!  Who knew I had fans?!  Fans begging and pleading for me to return to my keyboard for more clueless nonsense.  And can I let my fans down?  Heck, no!

(Oh, okay, I admit it-- my fan base is made up of about 3 people and I'm related to two of them...)  

But what's with my funky blog title, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  You see, I get mail from idiots who mistake me for a man (that would be the Army), and from folks who can't get the spelling of my name correct even after I give it to them letter by letter, and finally (my favorite) the mail that comes for me with the last name of "Brainthing"-- not sure how those fine folks came up with that one but it's pure genius, eh?  So, put them all together and I become "Mr. Lin Erantini Brainthing".  Hmmm, what nationality could I claim, do you think?  Regardless, it is messed up.  And I love it.  

I can't promise I'll be a diligent poster.  The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle the things that amuse me-- and sometimes I go days without any real amusement to speak of (like when I'm PMS-ing...). But expect a fair amount of stories about my children (the boy in particular) since much of the entertainment that occurs around here is directly related to them.  Oh, and perhaps a story here or there about something stupid I've done...but that is pretty rare indeed, my friends!  Uh-huh!  Don't expect too many of those!

Also, sometimes I say things that make people blush.  Just thought I should forewarn you.  (So if you have any sensitivities to subjects like, oh, say..."poop" for instance, then you may want to reconsider making me a part of your regular blog reading.)

And since there is nothing more amusing going on right now than the fact that our home's furnace bit the dust and I'm sitting here typing in what feels like a walk-in freezer, I shan't be tarrying here much longer.  (I will be relocating to a warmer climate...aka "Mom's house".)  Besides, my fingers are growing stiff and slow as the first signs of frostbite are setting in.  Oh-okay, fine, it's not that bad.  But a 60-degree house is definitely NOT amusing!  Not even an iota.  (And for anyone inclined to believe otherwise, let me assure you of your absolute wrongness.)  Grrrr, grumble, grumble....

And you, dear fans (all 3 of you!) I trust will have a splendid evening in your fancy-schmancy heated homes, enjoying your fancy-schmancy heat.  Humph!

Until next time....