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Sorry, kids. I’ve been waylaid by life. But who can’t smile after last week’s incredible and staggering election results? I have resisted telling certain people to bite me, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have my chance. 😉

Yesterday I finally discovered the most perfect recipe for meatloaf. Before you ask, no, I didn’t shape it like a question mark. But there’s always hope. But I feel as though a very miniscule chunk of my life has fallen into place. I’ve been searching and searching for a great meatloaf recipe for ages, because let’s face it: Meatloaf is comfort food, through and through. My husband declared this one “Light. Usually your meatloaf is more brick-like.” I’ll take it as the compliment it was intended to be. 🙂

I have been in a funk lately. I think part of it is realizing that I need to make some serious changes in my life. I need organization. I need motivation. I need to turn thoughts into action. I’m like Hamlet, only not nearly as interestingly tragic. But I’m not sure where to start. And I’m not really, truly sure what courses of action to take. But I’m getting there. I hope.

And so we come to the funny part of this little missive. If you know me, you know that I HEART Christopher Guest. And if you don’t know who that is, watch A Mighty Wind. Waiting for Guffman. Best in Show. And my all-time favorite, This is Spinal Tap. It’s comedy that’s not stupid, and it makes me laugh. It is, to quote the film, “a fine line between stupid and clever.” Anyway, the other day I was surfing along, looking for Christmas toys, and I found these.

 

Go ahead. Click on them. I can’t imagine how much fun those would be after a few margaritas. You could pull them out and start spouting things like “Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it?” and “He was the patron saint of quality footwear.”

I’m cracking myself up now. It’s time to go.

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So, this is the conversation I can’t have with so many people I know, because I just can’t afford to have that vein start throbbing behind my eye.

The other night, just for shits and giggles, I YouTubed (if that can indeed be a verb) Obama’s speech from the 2004 DNC. Just for the heck of it. I had heard it was great. Fifteen minutes later I was amazed. I had goosebumps. I felt inspired. And that has never happened to me politically. Ever.

The first time I was eligible to vote was the year Bill Clinton was first elected. Going through college, amidst the bliss of not needing to think too hard about the future, I just wasn’t that interested in politics, even though, inexplicably, I minored in political science. And then the Bush thing happened, and like most people I became completely disenfranchised regarding my government.

But now…call it motherhood, call it maturity, call it whatever you want…I care. I care so fucking much about this election that it’s keeping me up at night. As a woman, as a mother, as a good and intelligent person, as an adult who is capable of making my own choice, thankyouverymuch, it just doesn’t compute for me how people think this McCain-Palin ticket is a good idea. You’re entitled to your opinion. I won’t judge you for being Republican. But my mind boggles.

For the first time in so long, I have hope. It sounds cheesy, but I do. I have optimism. I feel as though it’s time for complete change, to hand the reins over to someone young, someone with energy, someone who has good ideas. Someone who can communicate. Someone who also has hope.

Sarah Palin’s politics completely offend me as a woman. I’ve never touted myself as a feminist, but Jesus Christmas. She’s a walking contradiction. Here’s a woman potentially poised to be second-in-command, responsible for the safety and liberty of millions of other women, and her politics will push women backward instead of advancing us. It just irks me that Republicans claim to want less government…except when it involves all those horrible sinful things like, say, choosing to govern your own reproductive processes or wanting to marry the person you love. Separation between church and state doesn’t exist with these people. And that’s fine in your personal life, but not when you want your beliefs to govern me. And the very thought that Hillary Clinton supporters would gravitate to her just because she’s a woman…come on. How insulting.

Plus, she speaks with that horrible backwoods patois and is so completely irritating I would rather rip off my ears than listen to her for more than six seconds. Oy.

And McCain…McCain, McCain, McCain. I give the guy all the credit he’s due as a war prisoner. But he doesn’t make sense. He’s relying on this maverick stuff when by his own admission he voted for Bush’s policies way more often than not. And, frankly, I have to question the judgment of someone who would pick Sarah Palin as a running mate. I know she was picked to energize the party and to appeal to those people who are so right-wing that McCain seems liberal. Shudder. But there are so many other, talented, intelligent, capable, and distinguished women that would have been better candidates.

From this couch, the McCain campaign is dividing people. The Obama camp is trying to unite them. The McCain camp is trying to convince us that a half-black man with an exotic name and background is frightening. Fuck them. I would rather have as my president someone who graduated with honor from the country’s top universities, who has a proven track record of motivating and negotiating, who has chosen as his running mate a man with scads of experience in foreign policy, than a guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy class who has chosen as his second-in-command a woman who believes the Constitution should be rewritten to ban gay marriage.

So, there you have it. There are twelve days to go. Please vote. Vote for hope. Vote for optimism. Vote for a chance. Please.

Actually, I’m doing a pretty good job of it. But…

You might recall that my lovely boy had hives a few weeks ago, and the doctor cultured his throat just to be on the safe side. He always takes these things well, but they called the following day to say that the lab couldn’t process the test because it was expired. Sigh. Back to the doctor yet again for a new culture. Anyway, that test revealed yucky things. I found out today that in addition to strep, he had strep pneumonia AND staph in there. And not just any staph, either. You know how you hear about people getting staph infections in hospitals and dying? Yeah. It’s that kind. The doctor cautioned me not to look it up online, lest it scare the living shit out of me. So I haven’t. Yet.

Of course, you would never have known to look at him that these insidious little bugs were living in his throat, other than the hives, which they think were related to the infection. He did a course of antibiotics and seems well and has more energy than ever. And the doctor said that a lot of people have this staph on their skin and nothing can be done about it. But jeez. How many bacteria can one little kid incubate? We went back in today for another culture, our doctor consulted an ENT specialist, and everyone decided that N needs antibiotic cream applied in his nose for a week. Which he just adores, by the way. Gah. And if the culture comes back normal, then we’re out of the woods. But if he happens to sprout a rash or has a cut that doesn’t heal, he needs to be seen immediately.

What’s next? Honestly, I expect flesh-eating bacteria to ring the doorbell any minute. Well, if we had a doorbell…

So, lately I have seen the buzz phrase “the Sarah Palin Kool-Aid.” My own father is apparently drinking it by the pitcher, diabetes be damned, even though she has nothing of substance to say and even though the bar is set so low for her that simply not effing up is a victory. So on top of everything else, I’m pondering how I dropped from that tree. But anyway, honestly (and for once), I’m not going on a political rant. The aforementioned phrase, coupled with some recent events of late, have made me think of real, actual Kool-Aid.

Remember Kool-Aid? The creepy talking pitcher that crashed every conceivable kid-related event while shouting its trademark “Oh, yeahhhhhhh!” catchphrase? No? Okay, then. We have a serious generation gap. Watch this and get back to me.

For most of my contemporaries, a non-talking pitcher of Kool-Aid was a constant in the fridge, and millions of Strawberry Shortcake and Benji and Happy Days thermoses were filled every morning with the stuff. My mom must have gotten some sort of super closeout steal on green Kool-Aid when I was in fourth grade, because she packed it for me every blessed day, even though the carcinogenic ADD-causing red flavors were clearly superior. In the summer, my siblings and I happily mixed up gallons of Kool-Aid, drank it, and occasionally froze it in plastic molds to make bastardized Popsicles. I still remember the recipe: mix 8 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and a packet of Kool-Aid, being careful not to get the powder on wet fingers lest it stain them for days.

The reason I bring all this up is that my kid will turn 5 in less than a month, and up until a few weeks ago, he had no idea that Kool-Aid even existed. That might still be the case had we not taken a fateful trip to Royal Farms for an after-school drink. He saw little plastic bottles of Kool-Aid in the cooler, inquired, and wore me down. He was hooked from the first sip.

I’m not the most stringent person when it comes to feeding my kid, mainly because he happily drinks water, eats broccoli, and begs to devour an entire canteloupe before your eyes. I figure (most) everything in moderation, and it all balances out. But he also eats a few too many hot dogs (see below, the ones wrapped in biscuits) and Happy Meals. Still, I try. I refuse to consider the Lunchables he begs me to buy, I water down juice, and I try to save soda for special occasions or particularly yucky medicine. Yet tonight, during an impromptu trip to the dollar store, I gave in when he asked for a six-pack of little Kool-Aid bottles and promised that yes, sometime we can buy Kool-Aid we can make ourselves at home.

I’m not sure what the deal is with me. I’m trying to find a comfort zone somewhere smack in the middle of “organic flax seed” and “Smuckers Uncrustables” (ick). I would still buy organic milk and eggs if they weren’t now $9 a gallon and $5 a dozen, but I would want to add some chocolate to the milk and some cheese to the eggs. I have to confess that I would love to mix up a big pitcher of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid, using the whole cup of sugar…but something inside me fights it. I would like to see him with the red moustache, though. 😉

Or maybe I’m just thinking about it entirely too much. Oh, yeah.

I realize that several posts lately have dealt with foods. This should come as no surprise, given the lamentable size of my ass. But it’s not really the point I want to make with this blog. However, we do have to eat, and I have stumbled across a few new things, made a few new treats, and found myself ruminating over old favorites. So rest assured that I’m not going to focus on food. It’s just what’s on my mind at times. Regardless…

Yesterday my sister-in-law called to say she and her husband were crabbing and to ask if we wanted to come over for dinner. Holy hell, of course we did.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a visual aid. This is the blue crab. It’s found all around the Chesapeake Bay region, although in increasingly smaller numbers because stupid people won’t stop their polluting ways…but that’s best left for another discussion. They’re kind of pretty, in a weird way.

                                    

 

 

 

 

 I, however, like them better when they look like this, though you can skip the lemon slices. They’re a little snobby.

 Holy jeez. If you have never sat down with a mess of these babies, a beer, a mallet in your hand, and a song in your heart, get thee to the East Coast, post haste! They’re one of my favorite things on earth. Once you get past cracking them open and cutting off the face, delicious eats await you.

Anyway, we brought home the leftovers, I had some for a very late breakfast, and we all tucked into the remainder for dinner. While I am not at all anxious for my boy to grow up, I *am* awaiting the day when he can pick his own damn crabs instead of talking incessantly about how we’re not picking fast enough for him. He will tell you that he enjoys the mustard (if the idea of eating these things skeeves you out, I will spare you the details) and how Uncle Billy enjoys eating the guts. He also demands that you not only pick more meat for him than for yourself, but that you dip said meat in melted butter. The kid’s four and has no concept of cholesterol…what’s a mother to do? The point is that I’m feeling fat and sassy, and kind of salty as well. What a great treat, especially the two nights of not having to cook anything other than…

Ding, ding, ding! The food I’m slightly ashamed to admit I love. My kid adores hot dogs. Seriously…what four-year-old doesn’t? So I indulge this love a bit, but buy turkey dogs so he doesn’t have a coronary by the time he’s eight. Anyway, it occurred to me to wrap the dogs not in crescent roll dough, but in big Grands biscuits, slightly flattened and smeared with mustard. They’re actually really good…good enough to override my urge to bow my head and admit that they’re slightly trashy. 😛

This weekend also marked a first in a long time: one weekend of not going out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We tend to get lazy on the weekends, but I’m making a concerted effort to conserve money. We did each order a slice of pizza (and holy cow, three slices were nearly $12!), but that doesn’t really count since we didn’t actually go somewhere and sit down, right? Right.

And, finally…raise your hand if you watched the VP debate on Thursday night. I actually spoke to people this weekend who found Sarah Palin’s “folksy” persona appealing. Really? Honestly? My point remains that I don’t want someone “like me” (though trust me, this woman is NOTHING like me) second in command. I want someone better than me: better educated, better skilled, better diplomat, better in every way. A degree earned over six years at five different colleges does not a great VP make. Please.

This articulates my feelings better than I can: http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/bitch-there-i-said-it/

And finally, I submit this. I found it funny…but incredibly scary…but still funny.

You know, you’d be hard pressed to find a guy cooler than my husband. He’s unassuming, he’s brilliant, he’s funny, and he has the most beautiful eyes and gentle soul you could ever hope to see every day in another person. You also probably don’t know anyone with such a diverse aesthetic, or such a huge music collection. He has phenomenal insight, he’s a great dad, he’s a good guy. You’d be lucky to have him. Really, really lucky.

But he’s a dork.

He will freely admit this. He is, however, an old-school dork. No e-mailing or texting for him. Instead, he’s an audiophile, a sci-fi geek, a fantasy game kind of guy. And the fantasy game of the past three years has been World of Warcraft. Or, you know, WoW for those of you not hip to the lingo. The best part of this addiction is when he slips on the headset and talks to other people while he’s playing. I just sort of roll my eyes and chuckle…and remind myself that he could be crawling home at 4 a.m. and wanting to feel me up while smelling of Jim Beam and chaw. Shudder.

Anyway, the boy is, of course, fascinated by this game. He likes to commandeer a character and explore the terrain, climb on the back of a dragon (or a flying cat, because THAT’S extremely plausible) and take to the sky, or, on very rare occasions, take a thwack at some sort of troll. Just this week, he told a kid in the pre-k lineup that he’s a Level 70 Blood Elf. As though anyone knows what in the world that is.

Sometimes I want to smack myself in the head. I never intended for my child to be so plugged in. But he has an imagination that entertains him most of the time. He loves to read, he has great hand-eye coordination, and he’s just an all-around lovely little boy. I wonder sometimes if dorkdom, like eye color, is inherited…but then I think that maybe this is just time for a father and son to pretend together, to be a part of something independent of me, to snuggle up in a chair and laugh and talk.

So scoff if you want, judge if you must. But is your kid a Level 70 Blood Elf? Yeah. Didn’t think so. 😛

But all I want for Christmas is a CD of dogs barking Christmas tunes. Seriously. And verily.

Why, you might ask, would I yearn to possess such a cacophony of canine caroling?

Well, for revenge, of course.

Every now and again I have to post about my neighbors and their barking dogs, because frankly, if I don’t vent my spleen in blog-land, I might vent it directly on the neighbors, and that might be something I regret in the morning.

I don’t know why this inverse relationship exists, but it seems the less people have to protect, the more mangy, noisy dogs they keep around to protect it. The guy next door has had an array of dogs: Rottweilers, pit bulls, shepherds, beagles (Oh, lord, the beagles). Every single one of them is kept outside, either chained or in a pen, and is quite vocal about expressing its dissatisfaction with the situation. The people behind us have at least five yappy Chihuahuas. At one point, guy-next-door’s Rottweiler killed all the Chihuahuas belonging to people behind us. It was sad, but boy, was that a blissful three days of quiet. So guy behind us shot and killed one of (note, ONE OF) guy-next-door’s dogs. In a neighborhood with 1/3- to 1/2-acre lots. In broad daylight. With kids around. But that’s another story.

ANYWAY, I have enjoyed a week of unbridled yapping from the shepherd, pit bull, and husky next door, and from the numerous Chihuahuas behind. Seriously, whatever happened to having a nice dog that was part of your family? Why on earth would you want multiple dogs that you just leave outside, regardless of weather, and allow to bark for hours and hours and HOURS on end? I mean, don’t you think you yourself would be irritated by all that barking?

So that’s where the dogs-barking-Christmas-carols CD comes in. We have a big screened porch. I have a grand plan to finally use the beautiful stereo my husband has been storing in a closet for the past few years due to lack of space. I’m going to set it up on the porch, on a beautiful day when everyone is outside. I’m going to point those Boston Acoustics. One to the side, one to the back. I’m going to insert the CD of dogs barking Christmas carols. I’m going to turn it up, man. And then I’m going to leave for the day.

Is that petty and small? We paid too much money for a modest little house that we like. I’m kind of resentful that I can’t enjoy my yard because every time I walk outside, I’m accosted by barking. We’ve planted screening trees and are biding our time waiting for them to grow. But until then, can’t I have a *little* satisfaction? Because really, after hearing a solid hour of dogs barking “Deck the Halls,” I would bring that dog the fuck indoors.

So, fall is here. Another season…another admission of defeat…another round of fat clothes for those of us who weren’t able to lose those 40 (or, um, 60) pounds over the summer (or the last ten years). It’s depressing, I tell you. I don’t know what my stumbling block is, but it is a tall and mighty block indeed, covered with stinging nettles, scorpions, and all sorts of sundry creepy and perhaps gelatinous things. It’s just not good. Must. Start. Exercising. Seriously, here. Can someone motivate me? Anyone? I wore new jeans today and didn’t have a lot of room in my back pocket for a capo. It’s demoralizing. But it (and fall) also bring on the topic of…

…comfort foods. Because when you’re buying more fat clothes (not bigger fat clothes, just seasonal fat clothes), you turn to comfort food because it’s your best way of dealing with such a purchase. 😉 Anyway, fall is prime comfort food weather. Soups, stews, chicken and dumplings, chili, stuffing (oh, yes, stuffing), and pizza. Carbs, cheese, and tomato sauce…what could be better?

I had a gig today, outside, with serious downpours. We all emerged wet, tired, and kind of sticky from humidity. So of course we had to order pizza. This is always a hard-won victory for one of us. I’m a cheese girl, when it comes down to it. Maybe bacon and black olives if I’m feeling saucy. Get it? Saucy? Okay, moving on….My boy loves pepperoni and would be quite content to make a meal of naught but the greasy pork discs. And he’s vocal about it. My husband abhors vegetable matter of any sort on pizza (and generally in life). He’s a meat pizza man, and sausage in particular. Our lovely local pizzeria makes the only sausage pizza I will touch. They finely chop the sausage instead of slapping on gigantic gristly chunks (pardon me while I shudder). Anyway, tonight we ordered pizza with bacon. So good. Because everything’s better with bacon. Dare I say it? I’m kind of tempted to order a pizza featuring bacon, sausage, and pepperoni–just once, to taste the triumvirate of pizza meats on one luscious pie.

Will I do it? Of course not. That would mean more defeat. More fat clothes. Must cast out sinful pork-related thoughts. God help me. But jeez, where will I run for comfort? 😉

Picture, if you will, this little morning treat.

I woke Monday morning to a sick kid covered with hives. To give you an indication of how rotten he was feeling, he crawled in bed with me, curled up, and actually asked if we could go back to sleep. Aww. Anyway, I called and made a doctor’s appointment, decided to keep him home from the light-year pace of pre-k, and decided to plop him in front of the TV with fluids and do some much-needed cleaning. Let me reiterate: MUCH needed cleaning.

Mid-morning, I thought I saw a car pull into the driveway. This is never good. No one ever pulls into the driveway, except the Fed-Ex lady, one of us, or someone turning around. I assumed it was the latter, until I heard the knock on the door. I fully intended to ignore it, despite the blaring of Atlantis: The Lost Empire that clearly indicated occupation. My boy, however, lifted his head from the couch and bellowed, “Mommmmm! There’s someone at the door.” Sigh.

Let’s take stock in my appearance at that moment. Too-tight pajama shorts, wrinkled ugly T-shirt (I was cleaning, after all), gigantic thick glasses, hideously askew ponytail, braless, no makeup (the horror), and no lipstick (even more of a horror). I opened the door ever so slightly and was promptly met with….a religious tract.

This isn’t your standard tract, either. First of all, it actually calls itself a tract. Second, it tells me that joy and peace are possible the whole world over if I’m just willing to surrender my independent thought. The cover depicts the most Prozac-popping people you could possibly imagine doing peaceful things like petting lions and cuddling with tigers while a sheep and a wolf (or possibly a German Shepherd) look lovingly at a butterfly. Deer gambol gaily in the background while a family picks a bushel basket of what looks like lemons.

The inside says “A PEACEFUL NEW WORLD: Will It Come?” And, ahem… “When you look at the scene on this tract, what feelings do you have? Does not your heart yearn for the peace, happiness, and prosperity seen there? Surely it does. But is it just a dream, or fantasy [um, thanks for clarifying that], to believe that these conditions will ever exist on earth?”

So, aside from being written on a fifth-grade level (and quite possibly by Velvet Jones), this little brochure tells me that I can experience this lemon-picking, lion-stroking, butterfly-gazing delirious happiness if I become a Jehovah’s Witness. Okay, then. Nothing against the JW’s. You can believe whatever the heck you want. I do, however, have an issue with trying to turn the rest of the world to that belief and, if I may go a step further, bringing that belief directly to my doorstep and trying to pressure me into accepting it. That would be akin to my showing up on their doorsteps with, say, the latest Harry Potter book in hand and trying to tell them about it, or bringing by my favorite Beatles album and demanding they listen to it. It’s not the belief, it’s the method of dissemination. If I feel I need it, I’ll come looking. But sometimes, the things you cherish are best kept close, you know?

Anyway, I told her I had a sick kid and that we weren’t shopping around for anything new right now. But I promised that I would read the pamphlet and take it under advisement. And so I have. 😛

Actually, I can’t see for miles and miles. I can’t even see for inches and inches. Without help, I can see just about to the end of my nose. I’m so completely, totally, and probably irrevocably nearsighted that no one could possibly need drugs when I’m around. Just pop my glasses on for a few minutes and take a happy little trip. Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Marge said “The walls are melting again…”? That’s you. On my glasses. Good times.

Anyway, I think I’ve been wearing my contacts way too long and working my eyes much too hard of late. They’re tired. I have a headache. I had an exam in May, so nothing major should be wrong (I hope). But I seem to have trouble focusing (literally and figuratively as well, but that’s a story for another day), and this puts dark thoughts in my head. I make my living reading and writing, and that, my friends, involves using my eyes. Earlier in the day, I launched myself into the whole “Oh-God-I’m-going-blind-what-if-I-can’t-read-and-edit-anymore-we-will-be-screwed-and-lose-our-house-and-wind-up-living-under-a-bridge-like-trolls” spiel. I’m over that, thankfully. The worry and the melodrama.

But I think what I’m really worried about is having to wear glasses. Exclusively. Seriously. I’m not a glasses kind of girl. I know many people who wear them all the time and are quite happy with them, but I’m not. Not at all. Even thin lenses have me resembling a mole who has just emerged into the sunlight. I am a supremely cool and lovely person, but no one would have married me if I had been wearing these glasses. I need my contacts just to see peripherally, but for crying out loud, the mere thought of popping them into my eyes has me crying like your mother on the first day of kindergarten.

So, meh. We’ll see. Let’s hope for a good night’s sleep and smooth sailing for my drive to the beach tomorrow.