Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hold on to your ovaries

'Tis that time of year again. Tinsel, trees and ho ho ho's.

(And if you think I'm referring to any Ho in particular you should be ashamed of yourself, it's the Christmas season for crissake. Have some dignity.)

Bows and mistletoe and presents for pretty girls. Fat, jolly men in red suits with screaming children wetting themselves on Santa's lap. Sugar cookies and Christmas cards...

Christmas cards?!


This time last year I was so ahead of the game. I had Chicky's portrait professionally done and made into cards that were pre-signed so I wouldn't get writer's cramp writing out "Happy Holidays! Love, the Chickys".

Uh, shut up about the Happy Holidays crap. Yes, I put that on my cards, just so my Jewish friends wouldn't bust my balls about the Christmas wishes. So sue me for wanting to include everyone in the holiday love.


This is our second Christmas with the Toddler Tornado and I've become a bit - what's the word? Lax? Nah. Lazy? Yeah, that's it. Lazy, and I haven't ordered cards or, hell, I hadn't even thought about cards. And? I love Christmas cards. I love sending them and I really love receiving them. It becomes my obsession from December 1st until the 24th; stalking the mailbox, weeding through the bills and the major holiday push catalogues, throwing SuperSaver fliers in the snowbankings desperately looking for sparkly snow flakes and plump-cheeked newborn pictures. I rip the envelopes open before even hitting the front door and read the sweet, often-times canned sentiments inside.

"Best wishes for a warm holiday season"

"Here's to you and your's"

"A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"

"Happy Holidays from your US Postal Carrier - Don't forget to shovel out your mailbox or I'll throw your mail in a sleet puddle."

So today Mr. C and I took Chicky outside (70 degrees today. Yeah, it's beginning to look not one little freakin' bit like Christmas) and snapped some pictures for this year's card. Let me know what you think.

The dimple slays me.

This one might be the keeper.

No, wait. This one. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I made that.

We took almost 200 pictures and even though there were a lot of throw away shots there were enough good ones to make the choice very difficult. But I think we may have narrowed it down. I think this one should be 2006's holiday card from the Chicky family:

Yep, that pretty much sums up 2006. Can you imagine finding that in your mailbox, between the electric bill and the Pottery Barn catalogue? Yeah, me too.


Before I forget, today is Mr. C's birthday. My sweet, handsome man was born on this day 34 years ago. How could I not wish the man who helped me create that beautiful, screaming creature a Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday?

Happy Birthday, my love.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Let the flogging begin

Throw your stones. Please, I beg you. If only for every "um" and "ah" that came from my mouth during last night's BlogTalkRadio show, but mainly for not making my case on the only child debate clear.

After listening to myself even I was wondering what the hell my point was.

I could blame it on the hour (way past my bedtime), the strange medium (strange to me, not strange/weird), or the jitters (oh, my sweaty palms), but mainly I blame it on me being a dumbass. One word. DUMBASS.

I had good, strong, important points on raising an only child: On how it is a very important personal decision that only you and your partner can make for yourself. On how having an only child takes work, a lot of work, because you don't have that second child as a go-to playmate. On how it is a popular misconception that only children are selfish and spoiled and grow up to be Alex P. Keaton clones. On how it is not about not wanting to go through pregnancy and delivery again (okay, maybe it's about that a little bit). And so many more points. Oh so many more points.

Was it blog-fright? Stage-fright? Blog-stage-fright? I dunno. I'm sticking with Dumbass-ness.

This is not a thinly veiled attempt to get others to stroke my ego because, seriously, stroking is not what I want. Not ego stroking anyway. What I wanted was a decent give and take about this discussion, and though I felt like Lena did a fantastic job on her end, I feel like I dropped the ball on mine. I dropped the ball for me and for others who only want one child. I'm sorry. It was the sweaty hands that made my grip so poor.

Get a grip, Mrs. C, get a freakin' grip.

So, my point about onlies is the Desire with a capital D to want for a second child or a larger family. I truly believe you don't have a second child just because the first one asks for a younger sibling. What happens when the second child wants a younger sibling? Do you then have a third child for the second child? And you don't have another kid just for the social or emotional benefit of the first because that seems like a huge disservice to the younger child - I have to believe that you're considering the second child's emotional well-being, too. No, you have more than one kid because you want more than one. Because you believe that your family - that includes you, your husband and your first kid, hell maybe you even take the dog's feelings into account - needs to be larger and everyone will benefit from one more crumb crusher crawling around. Because you Desire to have more.

Am I being premature thinking that having one is the way to go? Will I change my mind when Chicky is older? Maybe. Anything is possible and when it comes to the future I try to keep my mind open to all possibilities, but today, yesterday and 12 months ago the Desire to have a second baby was and is still not there.

But this is not just about my point of view on the subject. It's about everyone's.

Kristen mentioned on her show the shit storm that evolved from a post of Amalah's - a post I missed unfortunately - about only children. I wasn't expecting anything closely resembling the negativity or the positive give and take that stemmed from that post because, duh, she's Amalah and I'm not, but I did expect something akin to what I get in my real, offline life: People trying to change my mind. I haven't, so far, gotten any of that. I've received wonderfully reassuring comments from parents of onlies, adult only children, and people who are still fence sitting. I thank you for lending your voice to this discussion. It is great to hear that I'm not alone on this rickety boat. I've also heard from parents of multiple children who believe it is everyone's right to choose how big their families will be. I thank you as well.

Still, I am perplexed. Where's the other side? The side that believes that a family needs to have two or more children to make it whole? Have we wordlessly agreed to disagree and that's that? I am not inviting negative argument (no, that would be silly) but an open sharing of ideas. Is it true, like Kristen said in her last post, that we parent bloggers (to paraphrase) would rather not comment than say something that could be construed as negative? Or, as she wrote, "Or say something funny like "cute baby picture" and run for the hills."

Are we afraid that by saying something unpopular or disagreeing with a particular post we will become the playground pariah?

I don't want to beat a dead horse (Okay, I lie. I love beating a dead horse. It makes it tender.) and repeat what others have already written. Instead I'm going to draw my own conclusions. It's the season of peace, love and joy and we're feeling charitable toward our fellow blogger. We're tired from our everyday life and just don't feel like getting into a steel cage match. Maybe only the enlightened and accepting women write blogs and on the days when a post does start a shit storm it's because the stars and planets aligned making commenters feel particularly randy and ready for a passionate fight. Or maybe the Mommyblog-osphere is like a sorority house or locker room and we all PMS at the same time.

One last conclusion? We're so over some topics.

Those are my theories and I'm sticking to 'em.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a magic number

Sometimes life steps in when you need something and delivers it to you on a silver platter. In some cases you don't realize the gift you've been given, and in others you're left staggering by the subtle kick upside the head.

Today life, fate, whatever you want to call it, stepped in and gave me my much needed respite in the form of a broken utility pole, toppled (funny enough, since it was 62 degrees yesterday) by a snowplow this morning, that caused us to be without power for at least three hours. Those quiet hours were not used to vacuum, wash clothes, or surf the net due to the lack of power, but were used to catch up on my reading and resting.

Thank you sir, may I have another?

The power is now on and life as I know it continues, and it's a damn good thing because I have to pimp my time on Motherhood Uncensored's BlogTalkRadio tonight.

blog radio

10 - 11pm EST, check your local listings for details.

I'm really sticking my neck out there this time, taking the unpopular side of a touchy subject: To stop at one child or press on for more. I'm speaking up for those who think that one is not the loneliest number and have decided to raise an only child. Or, as I like to think of Chicky Baby, my one and only.

I do hope you'll join Lena from Cheeky Lotus and me on Kristen's show tonight, even if you disagree with my side (because I do like intelligent debate. Really. I do.) but especially if you're feeling like having a one child family is for you but you're afraid to speak up about it for fear of being lambasted and labeled a selfish person.

Yeah, I've been in that position a few times. A few too many times.

If you can't listen and/or participate in tonight's show I do hope you'll share with me your feelings about only children. Were you an only child? Are you raising an only child? Do you think my soul should be thrown to the hounds of hell to be chewed on and shat upon for all eternity for possibly never providing my child with a sibling?

We're open and accepting of all opinions here at Casa de Chicky. The only thing I ask is that you be nice and bring your intelligent thoughts to this public table. Please no "People who only have one child suck ass. Neener neener neener." because your comment will be mysteriously eaten by the nasty comment garbage disposal. I had it installed this morning before the power outage for this very occasion.

Hope to hear from you tonight!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The flesh is weak

I've been sitting here for the past hour wondering why I feel thick and heavy with exhaustion - as foggy and dull as an old butter knife and just as useless - when it finally occurred to me:

After a rough 24 hours I've allowed my body to rest and my brain decided that whatever the body is doing the brain has to do better. In this case if the body is allowed to stop and regroup then the mind goes into major shut-down mode.

Which is why I'm writing instead of resting.

If I allow myself to rest then I may not get back up for a long time and that just doesn't fly when there is a young toddler to take care of. True, Mr. C is on vacation but it doesn't seem fair to leave the majority of the work on him. True also, my unmade bed looks inviting, but how decadent it seems to slumber in the middle of the day. A week day. A Monday.

But why can't I allow myself to find respite under cool sheets and goosedown? Wasn't I the one who almost had a panic attack in the dentist's office this morning (three cavities instead of two)? My husband had no idea how terrified I was of a procedure I had never experienced before and, honestly, neither did I until it was over. The visit left me spent, but it wasn't just the trip to the dentist that has put me into this coma. No, one stressful situation I can handle. It wasn't even the seizure my dog had last night. Or the contractors who are here, again. It's not the stress of the holidays or all the shopping I still have to do. It's not the dis-satification I feel for my job or the lack of respect I have for my bosses. And it's not the fact that I agreed to debate (a term I use loosely) one side of a touchy subject on Kristen's blog talk show tomorrow night.

It's none of those things and all of those things combined with the news that came yesterday morning that my grandfather died.

There has been so much death in my family in the past few years. My mother, my paternal grandfather, a great uncle and now my maternal grandfather. Too much loss and too many tears. It's all so wearing.

I had planned on eulogizing him, my grandfather, here for memories sake, but I don't have the energy. No, now I want to put my daughter down for a nap and take one myself. But I won't because there are floors to be vacuumed and dishes to be done, lists to be made, Christmas lights to be hung, cars to be retrieved and classes to prepare for.

I'll take only this short amount of restful time to jot down a few words before starting another job. I come from a family that doesn't believe in rest until all tasks are completed. My 80 year old grandfather, my Papa, worked until a few months before he died. My mother was the same way. Work is what keeps us going, what keeps our minds sharp and our eyes clear. I'll sleep tonight when I know everyone in my house is safely tucked away in their respective beds and at least a few chores are crossed off my list.

That is when I will allow my mind to turn off.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I want to put it all between two slices of bread

(Weeeeee! Pictures!)

It's over.

The Thanksgiving hoopla, ballyhoo, and conviviality has come to an end for another year. Mr. C's turkey dinner was a great success, the cheesecake was heralded as restaurant quality (thank you, BA, for that incredible recipe!) and amazingly enough, though we blended two families under one roof, no one insulted anyone else's delicate sensibilities. I thank the liberal amount of wine that was poured for the later and much research and great recipes for the former two.

The amount of wine is proportionate to the happy moments a family experiences during the holidays.

It came as no surprise that my father decided that any joke worth making once was worth repeating 25 more times. Because as anyone knows a joke gets funnier the more times you tell it. And a horse becomes more dead the more times you beat it.

In this case it was our decision to use a laptop to work off of instead of a recipe book.

Alton Brown, eat your heart out.

(As a quick aside, can I just tell you how great it is to be married to a guy who is 50% geek and 50% renaissance man? Not only can he fix a computer but he makes a mean sage, sausage and apple dressing and cranberry compote. How cool is that? But I digress.)

These are a few of my favorite things.

Not only did my father comment on the laptop next to the stove at least 18 different times he also could not wrap his brain around the fact that I made a cheesecake from scratch and prepared some of the side dishes with my own two hands.

Say cheese....CAKE!

"You can cook? No. That's not possible. You can't cook anything that doesn't come from a can. Har Har Hardee Har."

Did I say no one was insulted? I lied a little.

No bother, I'm used to it.

We all did have a very good time and I'll spare you the rest of the details, because our details are probably a lot like your details; We ate a lot, we drank a lot, we talked and laughed a lot, we got frustrated with each other at times and there are leftovers for days. Sound familiar?

This pumpkin bread is great mom, don't pay any attention to what Pappy says.

The turkey looked good, too, but these graham crackers are better.

I hope you and your's ate enough turkey to sedate a moose. I hope you ingested your weight in pie. I hope you watched more football than you ever wanted to see in your whole life. I hope you enjoyed a leftover turkey sandwich half as good as the one that my husband just lovingly prepared for me. And I hope you have someone in your life who will willingly put down the other tasty sandwich they so lovingly prepared for themselves before even taking a bite to kill a hornet because they know you won't. A hornet that they fear above all other things.

Chivalrous and he can cook. I told you that husband of mine, he's a renaissance man.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For these things I am thankful

This will probably be the last time I'll have a chance to sit down and write until after all the Thanksgiving hoopla has died down - which should be sometime in March by my estimation. I cannot, however, let this opportunity go by without recording for posterity what I am truly thankful for in 2006.

First and foremost, and it is no huge surprise, I am thankful for the Toddler Tornado, Miss Behaving, Miss Chief, the incomparable Chicky Baby herself... My daughter. The eskimo kisses make up for most of the tantrums you have everyday. Most, babe. Not all. But you find other ways to make up for the other ones, like when you graciously share your cheddar bunny crackers with me. You take such pleasure in feeding me these coveted little treats that even if my stomach was bursting I would still eat every cracker you fed me. Happily.

I am thankful that, starting today, Mr. C is on vacation for almost two weeks. Finally, someone else to share the responsibility of picking up a boneless, thrashing Chicky Baby off the floor before an 80lb dog steps on her. Of course I'm happy you'll be around for the simple fact that I'll see you more, my love, but please let's not have another silly fight about Christmas presents like we had earlier today. M'kay?

I'm thankful for my sister. She who I love as a best friend and a treasured sibling. Who keeps a steady supply of wine coming to my home. Who feeds us on those rare occasions that we brave the Sagamore Bridge traffic to go visit, and who someday soon (coughhaveadamnbabyalreadycough) will give me the niece or nephew I so badly want and will finally take some of the pressure off of me to have a second child.

I'm thankful for the three women in my mothers group that I can stand the sight of that still call and email me for play dates and walks even though I'm the crappiest friend. Ever. (note to self: Include in your New Years Resolution to be a better friend and be the first one to call instead of waiting for others to send you multiple emails inquiring whether or not you're dead.)

I'm thankful for each and every comment and email I get from my blog friends. We are an odd social group, you and I, but your encouraging words mean a lot to a hermit like myself.

(I should have struck those last three words but, really, why bother? Hermits need love too. )

And above all, I am thankful to People magazine for their Sexiest Man of the Year issue. Yes, because of this:

Um, is it hot in here or is it just him?

And also for this:

I'm really enjoying the new, manly Leo.

But especially for this:

People magazine, you have no idea the nasty dreams involving a certain Office worker that I have nightly because of this picture.

Um, Mr. C? I am also thankful that you won't mind if I go camp out in Newton because there is a slight possibility that he will come home for Thanksgiving. Oh yes, there is a possibility. And then, Wham! The poor guy will never know what hit him.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to you Canucks - Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

C'mon, are the TV people really that bad?

I've decided that life with a young toddler is much like living in a house that has a poltergeist.

The constant worrying about what is going to set Chicky Baby off is exhausting. Why is she angry? Is there a chair out of place? Was a picture moved? All I know is that she babbles something incoherently, then the moaning and wailing starts quickly followed by the ear piercing screeches. If I don't find the cause of the problem I get a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach, like icy fingers clutching at my gut, and soon severed doll heads are flying through the house.

I know she's trying to tell me something but I just don't know what that is. I'd be willing to break out the ouija board or wear a tinfoil hat if I thought it would help us to communicate.

This language barrier is frustrating for Chicky Baby too; she has needs and desires that she is trying to convey. But I really wish she would learn how to ask for what she wants instead of lifting the cat off the ground by its tail.

Unfortunately, the violent episodes often work to her advantage. It's impossible to miss why she is displeased in certain circumstances. If she wants to get out of bed she rattles the sides of the crib violently and tosses her stuffed animals across the room. If she wants more milk she'll fling her cup in the direction of my head. If she wants to read a book I'll catch the corner of it in the chest.

The only thing that will appease her in these situations? The television. Hmm...

Maybe it's not her fault, after all. Could someone put me in touch with Tangina Barrons? I need to exorcise a demon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Life sucks and then your car dies

I know, I know. Life doesn't really suck; not all of the time anyway. But our car did die, more specifically Mr. C's car, and that's sort of clouding our outlook on things today. When he paid the ridiculous amount of money for this German car it was with the understanding that it would be driven into the ground. It was with the thought of him one day appearing in one of those testimonial commercials:

"I've driven this car 2 bazillion miles and have only replaced the oil once and it still runs as smoothly as the day I brought it home."
Insert oh-don't-you-wish-you-had-a-car-like-mine shit-eating grin here.)

It's some weird problem involving drains and freakish amounts of rainwater pooling on the passenger side floor. No one knows why it's still happening (it's been in the shop three times for this problem in the last few weeks) or how to fix it once and for all and it's starting to look like we'll have to dump this problem on some unsuspecting schmuck buy another car soon.

I've got an ATM hidden in my spare bathroom so the cost of a new car shouldn't burden us at all. Especially with the holidays coming up. I'll just pull out the magical money tree that I keep stored in the basement for emergencies to cover the cost of presents when the ATM money runs out.

Sure, there's lots of money to spare.

I wonder if it's too late in my life to consider a job as a stripper?


All of your suggestions on timing our Thanksgiving dinner were truly appreciated. I had no idea how many people were anti-stuffing in the bird. It seems like many of you are afraid of food poisoning. Wimps. I bet you don't bungee jump or skydive either.

(uh, yeah, wimp here. I think we'll be cooking the stuffing outside of good old Tom Turkey.)

Some of your recommendations on what to prepare for sides and desserts made Mr. C and me salivate. BA, I'll be emailing you for that pumpkin cheesecake recipe per order of His Royal Highness, my husband. If I don't prepare that for him I fear that he will withhold sex from me.

Okay, that last sentence made me snicker.

If you have not done so yet, and you're planning on hosting your family Thanksgiving dinner this year or ever, you really should read some of the interesting things that others wrote. Bacon, Amber?! Bacon?!!! I'll be scheduling my angioplasty for the following day.

I'll take many pictures of the food and festivities to commemorate our first Thanksgiving. Or to remember the day we spent together at the emergency room getting or stomachs pumped as a family, depending on how things really turn out.


I need to leave you with one last thing. Do your kids watch that new show on Noggin, The Upside Down Show? I'm loving it, Chicky is loving it, and most important I get a full 30 minutes of peace because she stares at it, slack-jawed with a line of drool coming from the corner of her mouth.

After watching for a few minutes you can see why they gave Shane and David, aka The Umbilical Brothers, their own television show. They're engaging, they make strange sounds and weird body postures, and they're funny as hell. But what you might not realize is they're not always G-rated. Oh, sure, on the Upside Down Show they're as tame as Mickey Mouse, but on tour they're a little more... Adult.

Heh. I'll never watch that show the same way again after watching this:

I'm willing to bet you won't see anything like that from a certain annoying purple dinosaur or insipid red Muppet.

(Thanks, Velma, for pointing me to this clip!)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Save me the drumstick

It just hit me that a week from tomorrow I'll be hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner.

Who the hell thought that was a good idea?

I've got the turkey ordered, my grandmother and mother-in-law are providing the desserts, and Mr. C and I have a vague notion of what sides we'll be serving. Oh, and the wine is taken care of thanks to my sister and her husband and their rotating cast of liquor distributors. I love having a sibling who owns a restaurant.

As long as we have wine who cares if the stuffing is undercooked and the carrots are burned? What' s a little salmonella between family, right? We'll be too drunk to notice that we're feeling a little peckish.

Peckish? Turkey? Heh.

Sorry, I make stupid jokes when I'm stressed out.

Yes, I'm stressed. I know everything will work out (it always does) but this feels like my first real grown-up dinner. Mr. C and I have held dinner parties for our friends but never for our families. I really do want everything to be perfect, but in a laid back, what this? it was nothing we just whipped this up, sort of way.

And the timing? The timing of all the food so that everything finishes cooking at the same time, now that freaks me out. How does one do that? Suggestions? Anyone? Is this thing on?

I know that when everyone arrives my grandmother will be fretting because we won't let her help (oh, believe me, we'll ask for suggestions to make her happy) and my mother in law will also try to help (Here, take the baby). Then my father and father in law will break open a bottle of wine and before long Dad will be making inappropriate jokes (Think dirty. Really dirty.) that will embarrass my church-going father in law. And the dogs will be begging for food and Chicky will be wound up by all the excitement...

Okay, I'm done. I needed to purge myself of that so I can get down to business.

To cook the stuffing in the bird or out of the bird. Now that is the question.

Anyone? Hello?


I'm ramping up for the big gift giving holidays over at Dog Gone Blog. Today, gift ideas for the young dog lovers in your life. Tomorrow, outfitting your mod dog.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I've got a what?

A cavity. I have a freakin' cavity. Two actually. Two cavities.

I've never had a cavity before.

Screw you, Karma, stop laughing.

I've just returned from an appointment with an ice pick wielding Marquis de Sade Dr. Phoebus Farb my new dentist where I was told that yes, I have not one, but two cavities. And that I don't floss enough.

Hi! Thanks for choosing Dr. So and So, it's so nice to meet you. Now open wide while we drill and pick the holy jeebus out of your mouth. Have a nice day and don't forget to refer us to your friends!

Sorry, the blood loss is making me woozy.

There is a possibility I have more but because of my history of never having had a cavity in my freakin' life - Ahem - the nice lady decided that she didn't want to load me up with fillings just yet so we're going to "watch them". Which is code for "I hope you like needles being stuck into your gums because we'll be seeing a lot of you in the future".

And for the record, no, I do not like needles, especially when they are anywhere near my tender parts.

Also for the record, I am a delicate flower so I have many tender parts. Which is to say...

Stay the fuck away from me with your needles you sicko.

I'm scared out of my sneakers. Is there anything I should be particularly worried about or prepared for? Give it to me straight, I'm a delicate flower but I can take the bad news. I want to know what I'm in for. Oh gawd please tell me it's not as bad as I think it's going to be!!


We interrupt this whining to send a very huge thank you to Tori of Radioactive Girl for the ROFL Award she decided to bestow upon me.

She decided that Chicky Baby's follicle mutilation at the hands of her own father was worthy enough to be singled out.

At first I was all WTH?! HOAS. IYSS. But then I was all XLNT! TYVM!! I'm SETE. Then I thought WWJD? And that's TBD so I should quit while I'm behind.


THX, I mean, Thanks Tori!

If you want to know more about the ROFL Awards go see Mommy Off the Record and Izzy.

(*for those of you not up to date on the lingo, Like me. I had to look this stuff up:

WTH = What the hell
HOAS = Hold on a second
IYSS = If you say so
XLNT = Excellent
TYVM = Thank you very much
SETE = Smiling ear to ear
WWJD = What would Jesus do?
TBD = To be determined
SIS = Snickering in Silence)

Monday, November 13, 2006

You know you're a mother when...

... Your young toddler sleeps in until 8:45am on a rainy Monday morning and instead of thinking:

"Holy crap! It's 8:45 and she's still sleeping? This is great! I feel so well rested."

You think:

"Holy crap! It's 8:45 and she's still sleeping? Is she dead? I need to go check on her now!"

Jeesh, how my priorities have changed.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Yes, sometimes we do need some stinkin' badges

Perhaps you noticed those pretty round badges toward the bottom of my sidebar - if you didn't, don't worry I'll wait for you to go take a look.


*humming "Girl from Ipanema"*

*Tall and tan and young and lovely...*

You're back? Good. Let me explain the meaning behind those beauties.

Those badges are American Cancer Society - Fight Cancer badges to help raise awareness about the fight against cancer. My blog is sporting the lovely blue Colon Cancer Awareness badge and the equally stunning purple Relay for Life badge, two causes that are very near and dear to my heart.

I lost my mother to colon cancer (or, colorectal cancer, as it is often referred to now) just over 2 and a half years ago. Unfortunately, at the age of 44 years old, no doctor thought that the cause of her sickness and pain was colon cancer and in the time spent ping-ponging between doctors to get a correct diagnosis the cancer had a chance to get into her lympnodes before it was removed. She was 51 when she died. My daughter will never know her grandmother.

From the ACS website: "Other than skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in this country. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 106,680 new cases of colon cancer and 41,930 new cases of rectal cancer in 2006 in the United States. Combined, they will cause about 55,170 deaths."

55,170 deaths.

The age that most people are urged to get checked is 50, and though my hope is that everyone gets a colonoscopy as soon as they reach that magical number I also hope that people will listen to their bodies and force their doctors to give them the test if they believe it is needed. Insurance companies are not too keen on giving colonoscopies before the age of 50 so you have to fight for it. And fight you should - early detection is key to beating colon cancer. Did I make that clear enough? The number of cases of colorectal cancer has been going down in the past 15 years, thanks in part to early detection. Early detection = increased likelihood of not dying from this horrible disease. And it is horrible so, please, get checked as soon as you can.

Through all of this I became part of the Relay for Life, which I talked about extensively here.

If you like those buttons and you'd like to spread the word about cancer awareness (they have others: Breast, Lung, Ovarian, Cancer Survivor, etc.) go here. So far we are 209 strong, which means 209 blogs/websites have these badges displayed proudly.

When it comes to cancer (and especially colon cancer. Let's face it, few people want to talk about their colon) the more we talk about it the more awareness we raise, and with awareness comes more survivors.

Get a badge. What's a few more buttons on your sidebar?


*The title of this post refers to quotes from this movie and this one. It has nothing to do with colons or rectums. What are you, six? Stop giggling.


To lighten the mood:
In case you were interested, no, a burrito is not a sandwich. I've never been so proud to live in this part of the state as I am right now.

I've been to that "restaurant" once. Personally, I don't think Panera has anything to worry about. Their burritos can not be classified as a sandwich, nor can they be called "tasty".

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let sleeping babies lie

Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou and Thank you.

I gathered from the comments on yesterday's post that most of you also have rabid children with sharp pointy teeth. Teeth that come out when you try to cut their nails. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one with this problem and I thank you for all interesting suggestions on how to execute a swift nail trim while still maintaining flesh on your arms. But to those of you who suggested cutting Chicky Baby's nails while she's sleeping...


You mean to tell me that you actually dare to breathe in the same direction of your sleeping child? What kind of magic children do you have? Apparently the kind that slumber heavily in a coma-like state. Not mine. Noooo. I dare not even walk in front of the closed door of Chicky's bedroom while she's sleeping for fear of waking the beast.

My daughter is usually a very good sleeper, but a heavy sleeper she is not. If I so much as touch the door handle she's up on her two feet faster than an Olympic sprinter off the blocks. So though I appreciate those suggestions from a hygienic perspective I really appreciated them for the chuckle they brought me. I laughed, I snorted, I guffawed, I shot wine out of my nose.

And let me tell you, that shit hurts.

It's funny, you can pay a veterinarian or a groomer ten bucks to cut a dog's nails but you can't pawn off the task of trimming your kid's onto someone else. It's just not fair. I'd pay big bucks for that service. Which leads me to my next point.

(Did you catch that segue? Smooooooooooth.)

I promised canine nail cutting tips in return for your sage advice. As much as I'd like to write about it here, I'm too tired after trying to put my kid to bed. A kid who is suffering from MissingDaddy-itis. My husband is traveling for business this week and because Chicky is missing him she's refusing to let me leave her in her bedroom at night. She's finally asleep in her crib after many books and games of peekaboo, so I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine and zone out in front of Grey's Anatomy. If you'd like to know more about how to save yourself some money by cutting your dog's nails at home, without leaving bloody paw prints all over your beige carpets, I'll direct you to this post at Dog Gone Blog.

I promise you, cutting a dog's nails is SO much easier than cutting a toddler's. And? You can use restraints if you need to and no one will think twice about it or call the authorities on your. How great is that?

Did you catch friggin' Grey's Anatomy? All I wanted to do was loose myself in McDreamy and McSteamy and McGeorge (Gay or not, he's got pinchable cheeks) and what happens? Dead baby. Fuck. Now I'm crying and my nose is running and I can't taste my wine anymore. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's a nail biter

Do you know about those mitten-thingies that parents put on newborns to keep them from scratching the holy jeebus out of their sweet new faces? Do you think they make them in toddler size? With double sided sticky tape to keep them from being pulled off? Heavy duty sticky tape?

Because I really need a pair of those for Chicky Baby. She wakes up at least two mornings a week with bloody scratches on and around her nose. Chicky scratched herself so badly a few weeks ago that a scar still remains on her cute little button nose. Her perfect porcelain skin has been marred, people. This is serious shit.

You might be asking yourself "Why the hell doesn't this woman just cut her damn kid's nails instead of spending all her time on the internet?".

And therein lies the rub.

Not the internet thing, because we've already established that I have a problem. No, the nail cutting issue. I hate it, she hates it. She hits, bites, screams. She fights me like a rabid dog. Actually, I would rather trim the nails of a rabid Rottweiler because at least then I could use restraints and a muzzle. And possibly sedatives.

I've tried pinning her arms. I've tried bribing. I've tried anesthitizing her with episodes of Sesame Street and Elmo's World DVDs and though this works sometimes when trimming her fingernails (heavy stress on the word "Sometimes") if I try to clip her toenails she turns into Cujo, complete with foaming of the mouth and growling. I've even tried sitting on her.

Just kidding about that last one. Maybe.

Her nails are getting close to breaking world records and I'm at my wits end. It's not healthy. Do you know what kind of crap can get caught under there? Yeah, that kind of crap. The real kind. And her toenails are starting to curl under her toes and that can't be good. Worse yet, I'm going to be judged by all the other playgroup moms. So please, help a Mama out. Do you have any tricky methods for cutting your kid's nails? At the very least share your war wound stories with me because misery, and post traumatic stress, loves company.

As a bonus, I'll teach you how to cut your dog's nails if you help me cut my kid's.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yes, I do remember my first time

One of the million things that bugged me about my ex-husband was his insistence on not voting. When I finally divorced his hillbilly ass he was 30 years old and had not once stepped inside a voting booth. Not one single time.

When I met him I was 18. At that time in my life voting was an interesting oddity but certainly not a deal breaker in the potential boyfriend department. No, a hot car and the right friends was certainly more important to me than which candidate a boy was going to vote for in the midterm elections, if he voted at all. Honestly, I don't think the conversation ever came up in the first year or two of our relationship.

It's strange that it never came up because voting has always been important to my family. As staunch Democrats, my father and mother took us to many a ham and bean dinner to raise money for the local Democrat running for a House seat. There was often a recognizable name printed on a red, white and blue sign on our front lawn. And my father was always vocal, very vocal, about which candidate had the best interests of the working man and his family. He's a union man, my dad, and if you're a union man in Massachusetts then chances are you're voting Democrat.

Let's get real, if you're living in Massachusetts there's a good chance you're voting Democrat anyway.

I remember my first time voting. It felt strange and slightly exhilarating to step into the local Knights of Columbus with my mother, to walk up to the table, give my address and receive my own ballot to vote, instead of being told to take a seat in one of the metal folding chairs that lined the walls to wait until she was through. I walked up to the booth and stood there for what seemed to be the longest time, sweating and unsure of what to do. What if I voted wrong? Was everyone watching me to make sure I didn't screw up? Would they take one look at my ballot and laugh at my mistakes?

After I finished punching holes in what I assumed were the right places (it felt like the SATs all over again: C, D, B, D, D, A, oh shoot! Time's up! C, C, C, C, C, C, C...) I put it in the huge box and smiled sheepishly at the nice retiree standing guard. I'm a fraud and he knows it, I thought. But I had done my duty. My candidate for governor won (ironically enough, a Republican) and I was proud of myself for participating.

In 1992 it was time for my first Presidential election: Bush (the elder) vs. Clinton. That was a good time to be a young voter, especially a young Democrat voter, but trying to engage my ex in any conversation about politics was like pulling teeth, then giving up on pulling teeth and going for a full root canal. Without novacaine. That's when he told me that he didn't vote and he had no desire to. I was incredulous: What do you mean you won't vote? You have two good legs and no one is tying you to the nearest tree to stop you, get your ass up and do your duty. Still, he refused. Apathetic is too kind of a word to describe my ex.

I should have known then that things wouldn't work between us. Every local, state and national election was the same - he refused to vote. Sort of like he refused a taste of salsa or any spaghetti sauce besides Preggo, he flat out refused to participate in the voting process. He saw no need and was convinced his vote wouldn't count for anything.

The dumb shit.

It never stopped me from participating but for a time it did slightly numb me to the importance of it all. Missed the gubernatorial election this year? Ooops. I'll vote next time. But after watching the past couple of elections and seeing how so many people didn't vote (and now that I have a husband with a sizable I.Q. and a responsibility towards making a difference) I have a new found passion for our election process. I shudder to think of what would have become of any child that I might have brought into this world with my ex and how little regard they might have grown up with for our basic rights. Chicky Baby will grow up knowing about how Democracy works (hell, we've got "I'm Just a Bill" in our DVD player as I write this) and just how important every vote is.

Bottom line: Mama's don't let your babies grow up to marry morons and get out there and vote today.

You're not tied to a tree, right?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Damn you, Extreme Home Makeover

Damn your overly caffeinated/bouncing-off-the-walls Ty Pennington (and damn him for being so annoying, yet oh so yummy).

Damn your toothy, too-much-time-in-the-tanning-salon designers.

Damn your slap-you-in-the-head-with-an-anvil product placements (yeah, Bissell, Craftsman, Panasonic, we get it already).

Damn your Pottery Barn-perfect homes (I'd like to see what those places look like 3 months later).

Damn your country music guests (can't we get some relevant pop or rock artists on that show?).

Damn your worst-case-scenario/horrific tales of hardship, barely skirting the line between exploitation (for Kenmore, no less) and charity.

And double, triple damn you for making me cry. Every. Single. Episode.

How the hell do you do it? And where the hell are my tissues?

Damn you, now my node is all stupped up.

Friday, November 03, 2006


It's time to post the links from the "Blog Lovefest - Fall '06" tour. Like any good touring festival there has to be a "Thank you and Goodnight!" but I don't want this blogger tribute to end like the original Woodstock, never to be heard from again until corporate sponsors take it over many years later and bastardize the original idea for profit instead of peace, love, happiness, and spontaneous nudity. No, I'd like to think of "Blog Lovefest" like a touring summer music festival, sort of like Lollapalooza back in the day when you could see Jane's Addiction and Living Colour or Soundgarden and The Breeders performing at their peak (we're going to pretend that whole thing with Prodigy and Snoop Dogg never happened. M'kay?). We'll pack up our guitars and side show oddities and our Voter's Rights tables and head off to the next venue.

Keep the tour alive and the love will never die.

See you in Cleveland!

So, please, if you didn't get a chance to write an ode to the one (or ones, I'm flexible, just try to narrow it down to a manageable number) you love take a minute and dash off a few kind words. I will happily include you in this living, breathing, growing list of adoration. Think of it as a gift. Just because you missed someone's birthday doesn't mean you can't give them a belated present. Hey, a present is a present even if it arrives a few days late and reverence and affection are still important even if you missed some silly meaningless deadline. So keep spreading the love!


Before I get to the links I need to profess my everlasting adoration and admiration for one particular friend. Ironically - and unfortunately - enough, though she was at the top of my list from the very beginning of this project, this woman has had a rough time of it lately and deserves some love. It seems fitting that Sandra of Sunshine Scribe is the one who should be applying for a restraining order. Not only do I think she's a talented writer, a fantastic humanitarian, a doting mother of a gifted son whom she has written eloquently about on many occasions, and a smokin' hot mama but she has also inspired me in many ways that I'm sure she has no idea about. For instance, because of her I have seriously cut down on the amount of meat (specifically red meat) my family eats. Getting myself and my husband to eat more healthy foods is no small feat and I thank Sandra and her posts on vegetarianism for that. Her Flashback Fridays never fail to amaze me or make me think. And she had the ability to make me laugh. How can you beat that combination? So, Sandra, my hat is off to you. At the risk of sounding incredibly corny:

You are my Sunshine,
my only Sunshine

You make me happy when skies are gray

You'll never know dear how much I love you

Please don't take my Sunshine away.

Ouch, I think I just got a cavity.

Much love to you, Sandra. Mmmmwaaaah.


Onto the links!

(If I missed your post please send me an email with "Hey Moron" in the title)

Bub and Pie:

Binky (ECR) of 24/7:

Elizabeth of Table for Five:

Kristi of Here In Idaho:

Dodo of Voodooesque:

Mo-Wo of Mother-Woman:

Tabba of Mrs. Incredible:

Tori of Radioactive Girl:

Mert of Almost Somewhat Positive:

Lillithmother of From Maiden to Mother:

Kari of Life: The Ongoing Education:

Mommy Off The Record:

Crunchy Carpets:

Krista of The Silent K:


Dana of The Dana Files

T of Redneck Mommy:

Cinnamon Girl of Write About Here:

Jen of One Plus Two:

Mad Hatter of Under a Mad Hat:

Janet aka "Wonder Mom" of Princess Stinkfoot:


And because she asked, and it's a fabulous idea, Her Bad Mother's Great Mommyblogger Love-In list:
And love for da Daddies:


I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. And to you, yeah you, I see you over there, who hasn't gotten around to writing your's yet...

What the hell are you waiting for? An invitation? Get off your ass and show some love.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm a cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-crackhead

Remember the other day when I mentioned that my laptop was dying a slow, painful death?

Guess what happened yesterday?

Code blue! Code blue! Get the crash cart!

It's like the damn thing thought,

"You dare insult my PC-ness? Who the hell do you think you are, talking about replacing me with another laptop or a Mac? A Mac?! Do you know who I am? I'm an intelligent being, dammit and you hurt my feelings. Don't you know what I could do to you? I am your lifeline to the outside world and you go and talk smack about me. That's it, we're through. I'm outie."


A couple of weeks ago Chicky Baby pulled my laptop off of the couch where it usually sits, keeping my seat warm for me, and like a piece of buttered toast falling buttered side down the thing inevitably fell straight down on the power cord. I was able to rig it just so to keep giving juice (or, life blood, as I like to think of it) to my computer until Halloween night. I awoke the next morning to find a cold, dead computer. Flatlined. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Time of death - who the hell cares?! My computer won't come back on!

I started getting the shakes immediately.

I knew I was attached to my computer but I had no idea the depth of my dependence on that stupid black box until I didn't have it to kick around any more. Ain't that always the way?

It was so bad that I had to beg my husband for five minutes with his laptop, just five minutes, puhleeeeaze, just five minutes. I need to publish my Blog Exchange post. I need to check my email. I need to write about the loves of my blog life. I need to write other blog posts because I have great fodder. I need to surf for celebrity gossip. I need, I need, I need....

What I need is help. An intervention perhaps?

Hi, I'm Mrs. Chicky and I'm a computer-holic.

I am proud to say that I stopped short of offering sexual favors in return for precious minutes with a computer. And today the new power cable arrived in the mail (um, just a second... Fuck you and your proprietary self, Dell. I had to next day ship the sucker because you don't sell your parts at places like Circuit City. Fuck you very much.) so I won't be greeting Mr. C at the door wearing nothing but cellophane and a smile, ready to do what needs to be done to tire him out so he won't notice me sneaking away for a tawdry affair with a piece of electronic equipment.

Sorry, hon, maybe for you birthday.

Oh, how did it get to this point? I'm like Halle Berry's character in Jungle Fever. I need my fix and I didn't have it for a whole day. One. Whole. Day. Yet I didn't die. I got the shakes but I didn't get the DT's. I didn't need methadone. I didn't knock over a CVS for oxycontin. I did eat a lot of chocolate bars, but who isn't this week?

Maybe there's hope for me after all.

Anyone want to start a support group with me? I'll bring the coffee and the folding chairs.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Open Letter to the...


Do you know what a difference your mild flirtation meant to me, that smelly mini-van, tantruming-child filled morning? With my lipstick wasted on the under five set, you calling me “Miss” and smiling broadly after I ordered my vanilla latte made my morning so inordinately exciting, I called my friend in Rhode Island just to report that an under-30 had flirted with me. I frequented your coffee stand for weeks, just for a glimpse of your smile.


I remember the tired Sunday afternoon when, arms loaded with squirming youngsters and frozen pizzas, you offered to help me. Cheerfully ignoring my tears, you loaded the groceries as I fastened the unwilling babies into car seats and tried to avoid snorky sobs. I welcomed your friendly conversation as a talisman from the normal world –a reminder that daily life was continuing outside the struggles and angst of my new motherhood. You wished me a lovely evening and as I drove away, I watched you in the rearview mirror like someone descending on a hell elevator gazes after a departing angel.


And for that moment of eye contact, when you thanked me for the job and the opportunity, I saw in your gratitude that my presence on this planet wasn’t just a mistake of genetics and random molecules. I felt for that moment that my weary efforts did matter and that for others, like me, days are often made or ruined on the promise of the kindness of strangers.


CrankMama, Rachael, is an aspiring hippie mama in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She's raising her 3 young daughters with her 2nd husband, simultaneously trying not to lose her sassy edge.

Come visit Chicky Chicky Baby over here today.

Click the button to check out the other open letters this month, and to get more info on the blog exchange.