Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quick Question

So-- hubby was helping me fold and put away laundry the other day.  (Yes, that's sweet of him but let's not get derailed here.)  The thing is, he folded and put away one of Ruby Jane's training bras in MY lingerie drawer.  Therefore, my question is this: should I be offended...or flattered?  

Personally, I'm leaning toward offended....   

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So Much For Exercising!

Today was the last Saturday of the training clinic for our city's big race (remember, the one I posted about last month?).  Hubby decided it would be fun if we went and participated as an entire family.  And since I was looking for an excuse not to have to run seven hilly miles this morning, I heartily endorsed this idea knowing the kids would force us to cut it short.  But I figured Ruby Jane and I could at least have a lovely jog together while hubby and LM brought up the rear.  But, as usual, my best laid plans are...well, dumb.

LM surprised us by starting out at a sprint.  We could hardly keep up, partly for laughing at his unique running form, partly because he's a freakin' Speedy Gonzales.  (Picture this: you know how Russian soldiers march with their legs all stiff and unbendy-like?  LM's form is akin to that style, but a bit more flexible and at about quadruple speed.  And his arms flop like wet noodles at his sides.  Also, he appears to be drunk.  He's not, of course, but he swerves all over the road like an intoxicated blind man.)  It's hard to breathe properly while you're snorting giggles out your nose, but we soon found out that LM provided many unscheduled rest stops along the way where we could catch our breath.  It went something like this: sprint, stop, pick flowers, walk, jog, sprint, stop, back up, point at something not there, jog, stop, whimper, sprint...well, you get the point.  

Amazingly, this unique running strategy actually had us passing folks on the trail.  And LM, being one of the most uninhibited creatures on the face of the planet, was compelled to talk to (or at) the runners, walkers and bikers we encountered.  At one point we saw two elderly gentlemen jogging toward us on the other side of the trail.  LM pointed to them and told us excitedly (like he would had he caught sight of a Spotted Owl) "Hey, look!  Men!"  Yes, sweetheart, men are just one of the many fascinating creatures to be seen while out here in the wilderness.  The men smiled and waved at LM, which pleased him to no end.  

Finally, we reached our turnaround point where there were water tables set up.  Two ladies who were going to be continuing on the full distance took the opportunity to first rest on a rock nearby.  LM walked up to them and asked, "Are you restin'?"  When they nodded he responded, "Oh.  I need to go poop!"  They smiled and nodded again, probably thinking that sounded like a pretty good idea at the moment.  Fortunately, there was a bathroom about fifty feet down the trail which LM spotted and yelled, "Is that the pooper?"  What a delicate way of speaking he has!

I looked at hubby pleadingly, and he understood my silent request.  "You and Ruby Jane go on ahead, LM and I will catch up."  Oh, thank goodness!  Ruby and I started jogging back toward the trail head, relieved to be free of our strange pacer.  

Hubby and LM took a shortcut back and arrived at our car about the same time Ruby and I did.  All in all, it took us about an hour to cover less than 4 miles.  Yes, an hour.  I'll just chalk it up to "family time" instead of "exercise", I guess.  At least everyone had fun-- LM especially.  As we piled in the car he sighed, "that was the best day of my life!"  Oh, LM, if only....

Friday, April 24, 2009

It Was A Slow Week....

I had trouble collecting 6 quotes this week-- and not for lack of trying.  But The Bopper made it on the list this time.  I expect we'll start seeing more and more of that kind of thing....

1. The Bopper: (speaking about the playground her daddy is building at their house-- I hope) "Daddy made a big one in the backyard!"

2. Ruby Jane: "If math were a person it would be my enemy."

3. Ruby Jane: "LM just said he hated me!"
Me: (frowning and shaking my head) "LM, we don't talk like that in this house.  Tell your sister you love her."
LM: (grumbling) "I love you... smart-mouth."

4. Me: (as I caught LM taking a pair of scissors to his nice polo shirt) "What are you doing?!?"
LM: (dropping the scissors and running to hug me) "Sorry, Mom, I was just testing you."
(Uh...did I pass??)

5. Me: "Ugh!  LM, did you just fart on me?!"
LM: (sitting on my lap, pleased as punch) "Yeah, do you like it?"
(Not exactly my cup of tea, no.)

6. LM: (inviting a strange neighbor girl inside the house to meet me) "There's my mom, does she look pretty beautiful?"  
(Now, if only I could get him to repeat that line in the future when he brings his girlfriend over the first time.  That oughta scare her off....  No, wait, I need to keep reminding myself I'm not going to be that kind of boy-mom.  Remember, remember, remember!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thanks, Mom, For Not Ever Killing Us-- Not Even Once!

Sometimes it's more than I can bear; the utter ridiculousness of their sibling rivalry may just be what lands me in the loony bin someday.  (Probably sooner than later.)  I'm talking about Ruby Jane and LM, of course.  

Take, for example, the argument I just moderated in the car this morning on the way to school.  It was about, now brace yourselves for the profundity of this, the slug bug game.  You've all played it, right?  You see a VW beetle and you hit the ceiling of the car and yell, "slug bug!".  It's an extremely intelligent way to pass the time while going from point A to point B.  

I'll be quite honest, Ruby Jane is the far superior player between the two.  She has her eyes peeled from the moment she buckles her seatbelt until the moment she unbuckles it.  LM, on the other hand, gets easily distracted....  (Look at the birdies!)  So Ruby Jane is racking up quite an impressive collection of "slug bugs" (they keep a running tally-- or, more accurately, Ruby Jane does).  This does not escape LM's notice, however, and quite frankly he gets upset with the disparity.  Here, I'll let you in on what I had to endure after Ruby Jane saw two slug bugs parked right next to each other and called them both-- after which the conversation went a little something like this:

LM: "I get one of your slug bugs!"
Ruby Jane: "No you don't."
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"
Ruby: "Well, you didn't see them in time!  You have to look harder!"
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"
Me: "Ruby, could you share one of your slug bugs?"
Ruby: "No."
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"
Ruby: (spotting another and hitting the ceiling) "Slug bug again!"
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"
Me: "Ruby Jane, it would be really kind if you let him have a slug bug."
Ruby: "But that's not fair."
LM: "I hate this game!"
Ruby: "Oh, alright, you can have one slug bug."
LM: "Okay, I get the blue one."
Ruby: "No, I get the blue one!  You can have the black one."
LM: "I don't want the black one!  I want the blue one!"
Ruby: "The blue one's mine!"
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"

If it's getting tiresome just reading the dialogue, imagine what it was like actually having to live through it.  Finally, I realized I'd let this go on far too long, and with my supreme motherly talents I ended it.

Me: "ENOUGH!  We're not ever going to play the stupid slug bug game EVER AGAIN!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?  NOT EVER!"

They were quiet.  But only for about, oh, two seconds.  Then:

Ruby Jane: "Let's play it with trucks instead."
LM: "Okay!"
Ruby: (smack) "Red truck!"  (smack) "Blue truck!"  (smack) "Red truck!" 
LM: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaa!"
I seriously considered literally swerving us into one of those passing trucks, but I'm not quite that inept.  Besides, by that point we were practically at Ruby's school and relief was in sight.

It's times like these that I appreciate my own mother and what she probably went through while raising me and my sisters.  Yikes, it must have been even worse for her....  But, she managed to survive, sanity intact even.  (Unless she's on some sort of medication now that I don't know about-- which is quite possible given that she raised three girls.)  But, the important thing is: I survived childhood-- meaning my mom didn't kill me.  And that...that gives me hope.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Just Happened?

I had the pleasure of watching The Bopper and Mister last night while my sister and her husband went out on a "date" (which, according to their personal definition, can include a stop at Costco).  My hubby happened to be off doing his own thing, and so that left me with four children ages 7 months, 3 years, 6 years and 9 years all to myself.  We needed to get out of the house.  Fast.  

I commanded my roomful of chillins (all except for the wee babe) to use the utilities before we headed out the door-- because my plan was to embark on a long, long walk-- and I didn't want to experience any unnecessary issues along the way.  (Oh, if only it were really as simple as peeing before leaving the house.)  And after bundling everyone up in their spring coats I herded my troops out into the great outdoors.  Ahh-- breathe in that fresh air!

Normally when I go for a walk I like to get down to business.  None of this dilly-dallying and la-ti-da smell the roses stuff.  C'mon and break a sweat, people!  Get that heart rate up!  Let's go!  Uh, but not with this crowd....  The Bopper had to stop every 20 feet or so to pick up a piece of fascinating garbage off the sidewalk.  And we had to keep a very close tally of how long each older child got to push Mister in the stroller or else I was subjected to their cries of injustice.  I think it took about 10 minutes to reach the end of our block.

Now came the task of crossing the street.  Scary.  I waited until I couldn't see even the hint of a motorized vehicle within a mile in either direction.  We crossed-- like snails-- but we made it.  And who was on the other side of the street to greet us?  A ginormous Doberman Pinscher.  Loose.  All 119 pounds of him (his owner explained he was of the "gladiator" variety-- not comforting).  Brodey, as we soon learned was his name, came charging at us as I tried to position my body into the shape of a human shield, terror just beginning to register.  Turns out, Brodey is just a big, sloppy goof.  He gave us all kisses with his humongous dog mouth as his owner kept repeating the mantra "I said!  I said!  I said!  I said!" which was apparently supposed to trigger some sort of obedient reaction in the dog.  As far as I could tell, no such reaction occurred.  The kids were completely delighted, however.  But seeing as the owner seemed somewhat inebriated I decided to keep moving us along (before the exclamations of "I said" turned into "sic 'em!").  

Down the road a bit LM took a spill and received a microscopic scratch on his knee.  This caused a meltdown of epic proportions.  You would have thought his knee had been severed right from his little leg.  I cuddled and consoled, kissed and comforted.  Cars with gawking drivers passed by and witnessed the lone mother surrounded by 3 bewildered youngsters and a small wailing child.  I wanted to wave and yell, "I'm not incompetent!  Really!  And I did NOT just hit this little boy!"  But there was no time for that.  On with the show!

The Bopper then decided that at every gate we passed (and there are many in our fence-happy neighborhood) it was her duty to open it.  I reminded her that we did not know any of these people!  But she didn't care.  She was ready to attempt a visit at each and every house.  And at the gates that would not open, she commenced a pantomime of boy-style peeing...or pooping...upon the fence-- whichever her mood dictated at the moment.  I guess it was her silent protest to their seeming inhospitality.  Ugh!  "Would you like a piggy-back ride?" I asked, with more than just a slight ulterior motive.  She happily accepted the offer and our walk became amazingly swift and protest-free after this.  Until we had to search for LM's lost glasses....

"Why did you take your glasses off on our walk?" I asked LM incredulously.  He gave me his standard answer to all my "why" questions: "I don't know".  When will I learn to stop asking?  So we backtracked a little and discovered his brand-new (and scratched) glasses lying on the sidewalk.  Wonderful.  Just wonderful.  

At this point I was ready to exchange our "long" walk for a much shorter version.  So I pointed everyone in the direction of home and encouraged the kiddos to pick up the pace a bit-- meaning we began crawling forward instead of merely standing still.  Along the way it started to sprinkle, the wind kicked up a bit, and The Bopper began to complain, "I'm cold!"-- so I carried her the rest of the way.  Which seemed like an eternity.  

When we finally made it home I was more exhausted than the children were.  Whose great idea was it to take a walk, anyway??

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Kiddo Quote Overview

So, my dad was reading my kiddo quotes from the other day and reminded me that he, too, keeps a record of the funny things his grandchildren say.  Oh, yeah!  And he has some good ones!  So he emailed me his list that goes back several years, and I selected my favorites for your viewing pleasure.

Ruby Jane's List:

12/04: "I'll show you who's boss... you're mother."

3/05:  "I don't have any super powers... I just have sneaky powers."

Popi: "Ruby, I hear you want to do ballet instead of soccer." 
Ruby Jane: "No, I want to do Disneyland instead of soccer."
Popi: You don't want to do ballet?"
Ruby: "No, they don't have that at Disneyland."

Ruby Jane: "Popi, you have a hole in your shirt.  You need to stop eating candy."
Popi: "Why do I need to stop eating candy?"
Ruby: "It makes you too fat for your shirt... like Mr. Incredible."
(The hole in his t-shirt was the size of a bb and near the collar bone.)

5/05: "Nini and Popi's house reminds me of Sugar, and Sugar reminds me of dog poop, and dog poop reminds me of Carson, and that makes me miss her."

Ruby Jane: "Mom, can I have some wine?"
Me: "No.  We don't have any and you aren't old enough."
Ruby: "Is it because wine has 'drunk' in it?"

9/05: "Mama, instead of calling you 'Mama' can I just call you 'Barbie'?"
(Why didn't that ever catch on, by the way??)

Ruby Jane: "Mama, what is a honeymoon?"
Me: "It is a very special trip that occurs immediately after a couple's wedding, and is very fun."
Ruby: "Oh, you mean like you can go to Costco and get hot dogs?"
Me: "It is even more fun and special than that!"
Ruby: "You mean you get to go to a park and play?"
Me: "Even more fun, like going to Hawaii, just the two of you."
Ruby: (frowning) "That sounds boring!"

7/06: "Do you know what I like to do?  I like to roll my boogers between my fingers until they're hard little balls.  Then I pinch them in half, roll them again, and stuff them back up my nose."

LM: "Ruby Jane hit me!"
Ruby: "But it was an accident... I think."
Me: "You think it was an accident?"
Ruby: "Well, I didn't see the whole thing...."

(After LM wipes a booger on Ruby's hat and runs off laughing, I tell Ruby): "Welcome to the world of brothers, honey."
(Ruby Jane then takes the booger off the hat and runs after LM, wipes it on him and says to her brother): "Welcome to the world of sisters, honey!"

3/08:  (Ruby Jane asks LM if he wants to wrestle.  LM says okay and then Ruby warns him): "But don't try what Dad does.  He's not exactly a good example."

LM's List:

9/05: (LM pointing to the dog) "Carson has teets."  (Then grabbing his wee-wee) "Dis MY teet!"

8/06: (After I got LM in trouble for picking styrofoam packing out of the case for Popi's Bocce Ball game, he went over to Popi and said...) "Popi's mad!  Popi doesn't like anybody touching his balls!"  (Popi expertly supressed his laughter although I don't know how.)

LM: "Grandma Bernie, you shouldn't eat poo-poo."
Grandma: "What's that?"
LM: "It's disgusting!"

Me: "LM, you stay close to me now-- don't you run away."
LM: "But I need to run away because I need exercise." 

LM: (staring longingly at a pile of presents) "Are those my presents?"
Nini: "No, those are for Tre and Bailey."
LM: "Hmmmm....  We'll split them."
(Do I see a future politician here, perhaps?)

LM: (speaking to the washing machine repairman) "Man, do you live in a house?"
Repairman: "Yes."
LM: "Does it have a bathroom?"
Repairman: "Yes."
LM: "Do you like to poop in it?"
Repairman: (smiling for the first time) "Yes I do!"

The Bopper's List (short, but sweet):

4/09: (The Bopper is at Costco with her mom eating a hot dog but peeling off the bun) "I don't like the butt!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And Here's 6 More....

Even I made it into the mix this time!  (I know...shocking.)  

1.  LM: "Mom, can I watch Sid the Science Kid on TV?"
Me: "No.  Sorry Bud, but we don't get TV shows anymore, remember?" (No cable TV, no converter box....)
LM: "Oh yeah, 'cause we're a poor family, right?"
(For the record, we don't tell our kids that we're poor.  Oh, wait...yes we do.)

2.  (After hearing me insist his, er..."budding" sister go put on a bra): "I can't wait until I grow boobs!"  (He was promptly corrected.)

3.  Ruby Jane: (inspecting hubby's hairy chest) "Daddy, you really could be Big Foot."

4.  LM: (to the edgy-looking female barista with a lip ring) "What happened to your lip?"
Barista: "I stuck a needle through it."
LM: "It makes me wanna throw-up!"  (Then proceeds to behave as though he actually might.)

5.  (Hubby playing a bit of keep-away in his classroom as LM and Ruby Jane actively vied for his macadamia nuts for their after-school snack.)
Me: "Quit trying to grab your daddy's nuts and let's go!"
(Sheepish, I scurried outta there real quick-like.)

6.  Hubby: "Do you have any homework tonight, LM?"
LM: "Look in my folder, fool!"

I know some of you have children who say the darnedest things as well (a certain niece of mine comes to mind)-- so post their silly sayings in a comment and add to the smiles!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Am Not Like That!

Here's a fun little activity to try with your kids-- extremely educational!  For whatever reason, the other day my kids stumbled on the idea of reversing roles with hubby and me.  I became Ruby Jane, hubby became LM, Ruby became me, and LM took over for hubby.  (Did you catch all that?)

And of course I recorded a few small snippets of our conversation.  (I happened to be on my computer when we started this imaginary journey-- thus these quotes came fresh outta our mouths and directly on to my computer screen-- although I couldn't keep up with the torrent of material presented during the entirety of play.)  

Ruby Jane: (speaking to me as I sat with my computer on my lap) "Ruby, what are you doing on my computer?  You know how much money I paid for that!"
(Have I really said that before??)
LM: (getting into the spirit quickly, speaking to hubby) "Bad boy!" ... "I need a cup of coffee!  Where are the coffee cups?!"
LM then proceeded to go to the kitchen and grabbed a mug which he filled to the brim with milk, leaving hubby to wonder what exactly he had done to deserve being chastised.  LM soon came back and sat down next to hubby and then whispered a few instructions in hubby's ear about how to impersonate him correctly:
LM: "You're supposed to pick your nose and suck your finger."
(Hubby attempted this, but admittedly it was awkward.)

After being scolded and sent to timeout numerous times for such heinous offenses as having a messy room and telling my "mom" to go put her dishes in the sink (apparently that's sassing) hubby began to tire of our game.  (The kids were on a roll, however.)  Hubby tried to think of a way to distract the munchkins and get them interested in something...safer for us parents.
Hubby:  "Would you guys like to go out for a treat?"
(And here comes Ruby's only accurate portrayal of me for the entire game): "No!  That's not in the budget!"
(Atta girl!)

After we finally were able to convince the kids to turn back into our children once again, I asked them if we're really so mean.  They assured us we were.  Frowning, I informed them I disagreed, and if they kept up that sassy attitude it would mean a timeout for sure!  (I'm kidding, of course...sort of.)  I think, in the end, what really stacked the odds in our favor was the fact that by remaining in the parental role, they would have to figure out some way to pay for our treat. apparently being a kid's not so bad after all.  In fact, if they're ever able to afford us "kids", I might be tempted to just switch roles with them permanently!  Heck, if they'd at least clean the house and cook dinner for me that would easily be enough for me to relinquish my power.  

Er...excuse me, please, an idea is forming....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ah, That Sweet, Sweet Smell!

Mmmm....  I was just in my kitchen enjoying a wonderful smell I haven't had the pleasure of for several months.  No, not cinnamon rolls.  Not chocolate chip cookies.  Even better!  (Think outside the box.)  Sodium phosphates and chlorine bleach!  (Real, honest-to-goodness dishwasher detergent!)  Delicious!

Those of you who don't live in my city may or may not be understanding what I'm even talking about.  You see, some of you aren't living under the wretched phosphate ban like we tortured souls are over here.  (Although I'd be surprised if you tree-huggin' Oregonian granola-folk haven't been banning the stuff for the last 10 years already.  And, trust me, I say that with the utmost respect.)  I actually fancy myself as somewhat of a closet environmentalist.  I have a secret ambition to start a small subsistence garden.  I eat tofu.  I'm an avid recycler.  I try to use natural products as much as I can afford them.  I hate waste and unnecessary damage to God's green earth.  Save the rain forests!  Free Willy!  Stick it to The Man!  

But, I found out that when it comes to environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent, I suddenly become a raging anti-green, earth-raping beast.  'Cause, gosh-darnitall, I want clean dishes!  Is it too much to ask?!  Really!  If you've never had to use phosphate-free dishwasher detergent then you don't know what pain is.  (And I do-- I've given birth to a 10 1/2 pound baby without so much as a Tylenol-- pain and I are like best friends!)  Let me just describe what the dishes cleaned with this "green" detergent look like.  They have food stuck to them.  They sometimes (depending on which brand) have a white film coating their entire surface.  They're still the color of whatever food was last on them (if it was grape juice, you'll have purple; if it was tomatoes, then it's red, etc.).  Bottom line: they aren't clean!  So, the trick to using these amazing earthy products is to wash your dishes before you wash them in the dishwasher.  Yeah, like I have time for that. 

I know what some of you are saying.  (Yes, I'm talking to you, T.)  You're saying, "then why don't you just wash your dishes by hand?  It's more environmentally sound anyway".  Indeed, I have no argument for you other than, "I DON'T WANT TO HAND WASH!"  Besides, have you seen my counter space?  I think I could fit maybe one glass, a plate and a few forks on the counter to dry at one time.  

So, I'm one of literally thousands who cross my state's border to purchase contraband dishwashing detergent containing those glorious little phosphates (or, more accurately, someone else crosses the border for me and I buy it from them-- which, in essence, means I have a dealer).  Go ahead and rake me across the coals for this indiscretion-- but I ain't budging on this one.  I am currently stashing no less than 500 ounces of this precious illegal dishwashing detergent.  A small fortune, yes, but it's an investment with a thousand returns.  

I figure I can make it up to Mother Earth by continuing to buy the inferior environmentally-friendly laundry detergent I use.  After all, I don't have to use it if I don't want to.  (So that makes me a better person, right?)  Who cares if my son's clothes still have stains all over them even after multiple washings?  I'm doing something good for our planet!  So please, find it in your hearts to forgive me for my one eensy-weensy ecological sin.  (Besides, it's kind of exciting being so utterly naughty!  At least, being naughty is a whole lot cleaner-- smells great, too....)

Kiddo Quotes For This Week

I truly wish I could have recorded a few of the conversations I had with my children this week.  Some were borderline TV show material.  Amazing stuff.  But, alas, I can't accurately remember whole entire conversations well enough to recreate here.  Let's just say that boobs, T-Rexes and Jesus were topics of intense interest this week (and were sometimes included in the same discussion-- don't ask how-- but it made sense at the time).

In any case, here are the week's quotes:

1.  "Ruby Jane achoo'd on me and now I have her germs!"

2.  LM: "I'm going to marry Sonia."  
Ruby Jane: (with superiority) "You can't do that!  She's too old for you."
(Although the age difference is certainly an issue here, in my opinion there are other more important issues to consider before marrying one's pet Boxer.  Like her terrible oral hygiene, for instance.)

3.  (LM realizing he was barefooted as he was trying to put his shoes on): "I have to put my socks on first or else I'll get a blizzard."

4.  (Ruby Jane talking about a friend who just visited Hawaii and renamed all his classmates upon his return.)
Ruby Jane: "Mom, I have a Hawaiin name!"
Me: "What is it?"
Ruby Jane: "Pikake."
LM: (not to be outdone) "I have a Hawaiin name too!"
Me: "Oh yeah?  What's yours?"
LM: "T-Rex Eat Hawaii."

5.  (LM talking to his classmates as he was waiting in line to enter school): "Sometimes I sneak into my mom and dad's bed at night.  Dad has to make room for me, but he's really stinky!"
(Amen to that, brother!)

6.  (LM playing Red Rover with Ruby Jane and me-- yes, it's possible with only three-- and reinventing the classic chant into a sort of wishful spell.)
LM: "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Ruby away!"

Bonus: Kindergarten theology.  (Again, hubby and I have work to do-- but we're getting closer...I think....)
LM: "Our family is nice to Jesus, right?  We give him dinosaurs and stuff!"
(Er...I'm not sure what LM has been putting in the offering plate at church, but I'm definitely going to start paying closer attention.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

What Else Can I Blame On Genetics?

I've just spent a very long time trying to look like I didn't spend a very long time getting ready.  It's very complicated, but makes perfect sense (to those without a Y chromosome).  You see, hubby and I are going to have dinner with several young 20-somethings tonight, one of whom is my hair stylist.  Ah, now you're tracking with me, aren't you?

My family has always proclaimed that we have vanity issues, but the word "vain" does not accurately describe what we truly suffer from.  "Vain" would imply "conceit", but nothing could be further from the truth (I have far too many stretch marks, zits and extra blubber for that).  We are not overly impressed with our appearance, but one might say we are overly concerned with it.  We sneak peaks while passing a mirror not necessarily to admire our reflection, but to ensure that everything is to our satisfaction (no green stuff lurking in our teeth, no lipstick wandering off the edges of our lips, no rebellious hairs, etc.).  So, kindly forget the textbook definition of vanity for the remainder of this post, will you?

Back to this afternoon.  The couples we are hanging out with tonight are young and beautiful.  The girlies are skinny little things with absolutely pristine hair and make-up.  They could be models.  They are also some of the sweetest people you will ever meet-- not a mean or snobby bone in their perfectly shaped bodies.  They wouldn't reject anyone based upon their lack of style.  But my vanity will not allow me to be the old frumpy matron of the group-- no way!  (At least, not without a fight.)  On the other hand, I can't look overly done-up or else my desperate attempts to appear youthful will be noticed (how embarrassing!).  Hence, the challenge of getting ready.  

I had to choose my outfit with utmost care.  I decided that the deep purple cashmere Banana Republic sweater bought for me by my 26-year old niece from San Francisco would be safe.  (The equation was simple enough: stylish store + young buyer + hip city= cool sweater.)  The added bonus being that the sweater adequately conceals the roll around my middle, which means I can actually eat dinner tonight and not have to suck in afterward.  My wide-leg jeans were a nice match (they claim to be "slimming"), so naturally they were included in the outfit as well.  This is where I was met with a dilemma.  The jeans are a bit long and require a shoe with some height.  I don't own many of those due to my maladroit nature-- it's just safer for me to be closer to the ground.  So the shoes I chose are definitely not "cool"-- being at least 10 years old-- but will keep my jeans from dragging on the floor behind me.  Of course, I will now spend the remainder of the evening second-guessing my decision....  

As far as hair and make-up-- I didn't want to look like I'd spent a long time getting ready.  But the fact is, I did!  I thought curling my hair would be too obvious.  Nothing says, "I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror" like a head full of thick, unnatural curls.  On the other hand, I couldn't just settle for a "wash and go" style either.  Ugh-- why does life have to be so difficult??  I ended up drying my hair straight and then adding just the slightest amount of wave with my large-barreled iron.  This took longer than it would have to curl every single hair on my head.  As for make-up, well, I broke down and used foundation.  I hate that stuff!  Makes me feel like I'm rubbing greasy mud on my face.  Ew, I'm cringing just thinking about it....  But I'm suffering from a random zitfest break-out at the moment.  I don't know why my skin decided suddenly to lead a mutiny, but it currently hates me for some unknown reason.  And you understand that I can't just allow myself to walk into a room full of fresh-faced youngsters without hiding my unseemly blemishes, right?  Oh, and I'm wearing lipstick, too.  Yes, lipstick.  I'm a perpetual gloss-wearer, but tonight I needed something with a little more staying power.  But wait, there's more!  In addition to the darker shadow I have on, I am also wearing mascara.  It's another item I abhor.  No matter what they tell you, mascara (waterproof or not) does NOT come off with soap and water.  Regardless of how well I scrub the night before, I always have black flecks on my cheeks come morning.  I considered just donning my falsies, but that seemed like it would be a bit much....  Or...hmmmm.  Would it?

Do you see where my vanity has led me?  As I write it all out I admit to being a bit sheepish about the whole silly affair.  It does seem a little ridiculous to care so much.  These are friends, for Pete's sake!  Imagine what would become of me if I ever had the chance to attend a high-brow affair-- I think it might require therapy, actually.   

So, anyway, now you know my dirty little secret.  I'm vain.  And not just a little.  But, please, show me some mercy!  After all, it's not my fault-- it's genetics.