I Wonder if Enrique Likes It?

After a few blogs about women’s issues and controversial new sort-of manifestos, my brain was tired. So I headed south to Florida with the fam, where we hung on the beach with some great friends for a super fun, grown-up style spring break. That means instead of doing body shots with strangers and drinking tequila out of test tubes, we sat in the shade and compared body aches and pains. And played a lot of Bananagrams.

Here are some things that happened within the first few minutes of arriving in Florida:
1. I heard an Enrique Iglesias song. I have not heard an Enrique Iglesias song since, um, the last time I was in Florida.
2. All of my exposed pasty white skin immediately burned and is now flaking off in large sheets around the house.
3. My son looked at the stylish, scantily clad, model-types in the airport, and asked me if we were in a foreign country. I said, yes, basically.

Other than the sunburn part (although who doesn’t love a good molting), that is why we travel – to experience tired, terrible music and to feel physically inferior. I hope we can start to take even bigger trips now that we’re through with naps and diapers. Well, at least the kids are through with that phase, who knows with my husband.

Sadly, vacation is over now. And do you know how I am SURE that vacation is over? Well, one day, I was looking at this:
Beach

And 48 hours later, I was looking at this:
Costco2
There is nothing like 4 hours of pushing a flatbed cart around Costco to snap you back to reality. On the upside, I am now the proud owner of 178 reasonably-priced rolls of toilet paper.

While I was zoning out on the beach I started to think about ways to get more people to read my blog. Obviously, porn is always a solution but I think it could embarrass my mom. Except she did send me this article out of the blue the other day with the message: “Well THIS is an interesting concept.” So maybe she wouldn’t mind.

But what are my options BESIDES porn? Most big-time bloggers have something very compelling and dramatic going on in their lives, like divorce, or mental illness, or recovery, or addiction, or cats with eyebrows. Do you know what I have going on in my life? Fascinating things such as trying not to give my family e. coli when I cook chicken; laundry stain removal; and exercising without aggravating my sciatica. I nodded off while I was writing that.

Another option to get more readers: create fake controversy. Some big-time bloggers write things with shocking headlines to hook people, like, “Why My Son is an Asshole,” or “I Only Feed My Kids Dry Kool-Aid Mix,” or “I Just Punched My Husband in the Balls Because He Deserved It,” and then surprise! The article is actually about how perfect the author is and how much they love their family, and the headline was a mean, mean trick.

Well, I can promise you, readers, that I will not play mean, mean tricks with my headlines, unless it sounds funnier or gets me more readers, in which case, I will. That leaves me with one final option: start a ridiculous hobby or vice and write about every sordid detail. Which is why this afternoon, I am pulling my clogging shoes out of the back of my closet, dusting them off, and strapping them on again for an epic comeback performance. It has been years since I’ve clogged, but I know for sure now that the soulful combination of marching and tap dancing while leaving my upper body completely still was really always my calling in life. Please stay tuned for video.

Obvs, this will be the soundtrack to my performance.

Superstaaaaaar

In honor of the last few days of winter and the Snowquester (are we really calling it that, guys? I heart you, DC, but oh lord we are geeky), I thought of this song by Wintersleep called Weighty Ghost.

Kind of like another song I posted, the lyrics are totally dark and sad but the song is upbeat and makes me want to jog. If I jogged. Also, because I have not been up to date on any cool things since I had kids, please note that this song came out in 2007.

In other news, something disturbing happened to me this week, and it was not finding out that Justin Bieber had a really bad birthday. I was driving to pick up the kids for the four thousandth time when I found myself alone in the car, and this song came on. It is one of my favorite ever sing-along songs.

I turned it up full blast, cleared my throat, and started singing along with all of my might. At intersections I held my phone up to my ear so the people in the cars next to me would think that I was talking on the phone. OMG, what is wrong with me. So I’m right in the middle of the “STAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAAARS!” part when Sirius goes out for a second. I am left alone in the silent car, just me and my voice, which only moments before I was convinced sounded way better than Grace Potter’s. In reality, though, it sounded like I was screaming for help and trying to yodel while someone was punching me in the throat.

Some secret part of me always thought that if all else fails, at least I have my singing voice. No one else in my life has ever thought that (particularly people who have heard me sing), but still. And just like that, in that moment of satellite interference with my car radio, the universe told me that I would never be a singer, and that if I had any hope of my kids not being tone deaf I should probably stop singing to them. Sigh.

But it’s probably for the best. Now I can really focus my energy on becoming a stage mom, I mean, helping my kids pursue their dreams. Which hopefully involve sold out stadiums, concert merch, and thousands of screaming fans.

Be Mine. Or Not. Whatever.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going Huffington Post style and collecting my favorite love stories from around the interwebs to share with you. This is mainly because it is easier than writing my own material. Don’t worry – these are not the predictable, romantic love stories with contrived gestures and rose petals. Those always make me a little ill. For example, I have seen this one all over the place in the past couple of days and am 100% sure it is a lie.

Dead Valentine

Who knows, maybe it’s totally true. But I can think of at least one reason why it is not romantic at all: what if this lady had moved on and found a new guy to be her Valentine? Imagine she was getting dressed up for a fancy night out, feeling all excited and lovey-dovey for the first time in ages, and then BAM, a note from her dead husband reminds her that his love is ETERNAL. “I am stalking you from beyond the grave. Enjoy your date.” Eww. Which is why I prefer my romantic gestures a little more like this:

Valentine Bear

In your face, to the point, and in my case, totally true.

The romantical stuff on Valentine’s feels fake and weird to me, but these little stories about all kinds of love make me happy.

First, meet Banana Joe, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show’s coveted Best in Show award. His furry little head makes me happy, but look at how happy Banana Joe’s handler is:

Banana Joe

That is love. Of course, the cynical side of me is imagining the handler thinking, “This hairball just got me PAID!” But no, on this Valentine’s Day, I am deciding to believe that they love each other and are the best of friends, and that the handler will love his sweet Banana Joe even after he is no longer the ideal representation of the Affenpinscher breed.

Second, prepare to cry, because those bastards at NPR’s StoryCorps have done it again. This is a sweet story about the love between a mother and daughter despite lots of challenges (or maybe because of those challenges?). You can find the story here. Also, I’d like to point out that this girl is 15, right in the middle of those years when most daughters spend half of their waking hours screaming about hating their awful moms because they won’t buy them a slutty shirt at the mall. So she is really amazing.

Third, Piney Porky McHedgypants has apparently found love, right under his big pointy nose. I discovered him and Blue Bolero Bunny (that name is self-explanatory) holding paws in my son’s room last night. To be clear, “holding paws” is not a euphemism for anything. They are very happy. And as long as they don’t gang up on me and try to kill me in my sleep (which everyone knows is what giant stuffed animals do eventually), I will support their stuffed animal love affair.

Piney + Bunny

And finally, here is my current favorite love song. It took on a new, beautiful meaning when I saw the video – instead of a guy pining away over a girl, it’s a bunch of dudes showing their manly love for their buds by smashing bottles on each other’s heads. If that isn’t true love between besties, I don’t know what is.

Happy, happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. xoxo

I Only Wanna Be With You

As you may have guessed, I’m not great at getting rid of stuff. This has worked out well for some things, such as my husband, who I have kept around for more than half of my life. But it does not always work out so well. For example, I may have kept my son’s umbilical cord stump in a drawer in his nursery for a few months. That’s right – I couldn’t bear the idea of parting with the black, hardened remains of my first child’s bellybutton. Luckily I got some sage advice from a mom friend of mine about this situation. When she saw the stump laying in the corner of the diaper drawer, she recognized it immediately (it still had that hospital clip thing on it) and said: “OH my god, what the hell is wrong with you, that is so effing disgusting, throw it AWAY!” When I began to protest she said, “Look, it’s not OK to hoard rotting body parts.” Which is just good advice for all new moms, and people in general. I sadly wrapped the stump in tissue, said my farewells, and placed it gently in the trashcan.

I still wonder where it is today.

But what about hoarding things that are not rotting body parts? Despite what you might think from watching TLC, there is just no clear-cut rule. Right now I am trying to come to terms with getting rid of a sentimental piece of furniture in my house:
Rocking Chair

To people who do not attach emotional value to every inanimate object in their lives, that is just a banged up rocking chair and footstool that could probably get $50 at a garage sale. To me, though, that is the place where I learned how to be a mom, where I fell so in love with my little babies and their long eyelashes and chubby cheeks, where I learned how to soothe them and make them giggle, where I cursed everyone who told me that breastfeeding was natural and beautiful, where I fought sleep and lost hundreds of times. I have the clearest memories of my husband passed out on the nursery floor, a chubby baby sleeping on my lap, and rocking back and forth in that chair for hours, convinced that all the goodness in the world at that moment was right next to me and wrapped up in my sweet little family.

So maybe you can understand why I don’t just want to sell it to some a-hole scammer on Craig’s List.

But the chair just doesn’t fit in our house any more and I know its days are numbered. The kids are on to their new big kid furniture, their new toys that need floor space. And I’m slowly starting to realize that that is what little kids do: they push you forward, constantly on to the next thing, excited for what is to come. And most days I go along happily and share in their excitement, but sometimes I just cling desperately to those sweet, fleeting moments that have already come and gone and won’t come again.

So in honor of my milk- and snot-covered rocking chair with the deflated cushions and wobbly right arm and matching broken nursing stool (I will not put any of that in the Craig’s List ad), here is my favorite song about rocking. If you are as scared of old-timey carnies and tattooed ladies as I am, just avert your eyes and listen to the bluegrassy magic.

Apparently Hootie from Hootie & The Blowfish (not the OTHER Hootie) covered this song, and really enraged some of the commenters on this video. Hootie is not the first person I think of when I think of sentimental songs, so I chose to link to this version. But I do think of Hootie quite often, and fondly, because once I danced with a boy to a Hootie song. It was Let Her Cry.

Thank you, Hootie. I think I will.

It IS Tricky

This weekend is big in my house: Groundhog Day on Saturday, followed by Superbowl Sunday. My kids are very excited for Groundhog Day, in part because I told them that groundhogs can also be called whistle-pigs or land beavers, which made us laugh hysterically for what I hope were very different reasons. Here is a romantic land beaver that is OK to look at while you are at work:

Romantic Whistle Pig

Last year we watched the video of Punxatawney Phil coming out of his hole over and over, and let me tell you, it never got any less weird. First of all, the groundhog comes out of a place called Gobbler’s Knob, which no matter how you say it sounds dirty. Second, the grown men dressed in period costumes who pull the named rodent out of his man made den…I am done with that sentence – there is nothing else to add to fully convey how weird it all is. Here is a picture of some of the, oh, 75 or so old men who participate in the offering up of the whistle-pig to Al Roker, King of the Meteorologists, for their annual sacrifice.

Punxatawney 2
Shortly after this picture, Phil was beheaded and made into nuggets.

Once my kids recover from their whistle-pig hangover, it will be time for the Superbowl. For all of you sports fans, it looks like two teams will be playing against each other in between the commercials, and one of them will win.

In case you have not been following The BeyHive or any other important news for the past six months, let me be the first to tell you that Beyonce is doing the halftime show. It should be a good show because (1) she is almost certainly not going to lip sync, and (2) she is trying to make us all believe that Destiny’s Child is not to have a reunion on the halftime stage but OH THEY ARE. I know this because I have extremely well-placed sources Michelle Williams is a terrible liar.

While Beyonce gets a national stage (again) this weekend, I think it’s about time her little sister got some attention, too. Solange is so stylish that she looks like all the best clothes in Anthropologie (not this stuff) combined with all the non-annoying parts of hipsters (not these guys, who might all be lovely people but this is the first image that came up when I Googled “hipsters are annoying”). I could listen to Solange’s song “Losing You” for hours, which I confirmed just today. I dare you to only listen once.

If I attempted to wear any of the outfits Solange is wearing in this video, people would reasonably assume that I was some sort of hobo clown. And yet she looks amazing. Could Beyonce do that? Yes, and probably better than her little sister, but whatever. Interesting fact: that “wahhh!” noise you hear over and over in the song, the one that sounds like someone kicking a bird, or the noise Edith Bunker might make when surprised? That is actually me.

And here is just one more younger sibling who deserves some attention (although I have a feeling he probably demands plenty of attention on an hourly basis). This kid has some sweet moves, which are only enhanced by his mom and older sister’s total embarrassment:

Water that lawn, little brother.