Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A series of unfortunate and unfortunately wonderful events


Lovely, lovely people of teh internet, what is there to say besides Thank You for all the kind thoughts and personal emails you've sent me? I wonder after receiving them all what I have to give in return, besides stories of just how drunk one woman can get when let loose in Chicago. But even though my heart is still very heavy you've all raised me up enough so I can no longer wallow in my own misery. And if I start quoting Josh Groban songs you're all invited to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

Blogher, oh Blogher. What is there to say about Blogher that hasn't already been said? Most has been recapped by other bloggers so I suppose my post will have to be a personal message to those wonderful women (and men) I was fortunate enough to meet this weekend. My apologies to those of you who weren't there but I have pictures, if that's any consolation for making you go through this again. Fortunately, none of me as I was the morning I left for home, puking into a plastic bag in the cab to O'Hare. Not kidding about that. Not even a little bit.

But, dammit, they were free!

This is a thank you note, a love letter, to you all:

To Sarah, Devra and Izzy - who stayed with me while waiting for my lost luggage. You're all gracious and one great regret from this past weekend was not being able to spend more time with you. But, Sarah, you're right - Blogher was way better than seeing Sting. Even if I went without all my cute new clothes for the better part of two days.

Me, Devra and Sarah.

To Nancy - who made me a mix CD - which I'm loving! - but, unfortunately, I was only able to grab it before we were whisked away from each other. Why, oh, why was Blogher not longer? Didn't mean to grab and run, hon.

To Debbie - who gave me one of her shirts so I would have something to wear besides the clothes I had traveled in. Soul sistah, I envy your cheekbones and your spirit. If you're ever in Mass. you've got a place to stay.

To SueBob - I think I licked your stapler, but then we only had few moments to smile and wave to each other. I wish we had a chance to talk about our pooches together. And I'm referring to our dogs, not the fat rolls around our bellies.

To Bossy - Oh, fer chrissake! I wanted to put you in my pocket and take you home with me. But she's far too fabulous - and tall - for that. And did I mention beautiful? And tall? Jeezus christ!

Bossy and Mom 101. And right after I took this picture my camera blew up from all that fabulousness.

To Moosh and Jessica - the two women who kept me giggling all weekend because the two of you put the fun in "funny" (well, duh). One can not be in the company of these women without cracking a smile.

To the TO Mommies - I hate to lump you all in together because you're all amazing in your own right (and because it's a cop out, but I'm getting tired of all this linking), but together you're a force to be reckoned with. I'm not sure if it was their collective intelligence or their beauty that stunned me more. It doesn't really matter, though, because it all ought to be illegal.

Chicky thinks you're pretty cool too. And very fish kiss worthy.

To GGC and BMC - Mere words cannot describe them and that's all I'm going to say. Except, the cookies were yar. Believe me, you're sorry if you didn't meet those sexy bitches.

"BMC" now stands for "Bite My Cone".

To Lawyer Mama - Who knows deep down that I'm really a snarky bitch, and Pundit Mom - the sweetest woman in DC, and Ruth - who really is freaking dynamite... Many smooches.

CPA Mom, PunditMom, Lawyer Mama, some soon-to-be-drunk woman, and Sarah

And to everyone else - and you know who you are - you made it very easy for this social misfit to feel like her friends from the internet could be friends in real life if there had only been more goddamn time.

A bit of promotional product from Kristen. Eh, at least Chicky didn't put the other side in her mouth.

Oh, and to T., the best roommate ever - You and I could be the text book case of how two women from across a continent can meet online and become best buds. You may not know it yet, but you're going to Blogher again next year just so I can reciprocate your kindness. And please, if someone has a picture of the two of us can you send it to me? With the exception of our photo booth pictures, I did not get one single shot of T. and me together and that is tragic.

Yeah, I totally thought I was hot shit. Was I drinking too much at this point? Yes. Is there far too much licking? Yes. Do I care? Surprisingly, no.

Now I'm going to rest. If it wasn't enough to break out like a fourteen year old boy who had rubbed pizza on his face and have the skin around my lips flake and peel off right before Blogher, then lose my baggage, have to deal with the soul crushing humidity of Chicago (Oh fer chrissake! Someone get me a damn squeegee. Jeezus!), get horribly drunk and then horribly sick before having to fly home and then losing my grandmother less than 24 hours upon returning, but now I have a really bad head cold and I'm achy. It really is a wonder that I ever leave my house.

Can I has one? Pleeze.

I'm going to try to upload all my pictures so you can see them just as soon as I can figure out where to put them so my family doesn't find out I blog. Any suggestions?

**I started a new Flickr account and uploaded most of my photos. Go check 'em out.**

Monday, July 30, 2007


She's gone.

She let go early this morning after what, I'm sure, was a very long night. Slipped away while most of her family was out of the room. After having eleven children and raising ten to adulthood, after loving 18 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, and giving her everything to those around her whom she cherished she left us on her own terms. Peace at last.

I wonder if she found the outstretched hand of my mother - strong again now that she's free of cancer - and grasped it firmly in both of hers, happy to see the ones she had lost. I wonder if she immediately found my Papa, who was waiting for her for only 8 months, and he gave her a smile and said "Jesus Christ, old lady, it sure took you long enough to get here. Were you shacking up with some other guy or something?". If she found my real grandfather, my mother's dad who died when they were so young, and they're now catching up on old times. If she's with my young uncle who died so tragically and the young baby she lost so many years ago to pneumonia.

So much loss in our lives over the past few years, but this one is particularly tough. Without her to anchor us we will be left to drift apart.

And so, another wake, another funeral, one more chance to get the family together and make promises. We'll get together soon. This fall, Christmas, next summer. Most won't happen. Not without Gram to bring us together at her large kitchen table.

Not without our Gram.

But I thank you for all the thoughts. A surprise to open my email and see them all. Thank you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lost for words

There are so many stories and pictures from Blogher '07 that I want to share with you all, but I'm afraid you'll either have to wait or go read about it from other bloggers, because upon arriving at the airport today - actually, before I even got on the plane - my life was set into a tailspin.

My grandmother is dying. I received the phone call while I was waiting for my flight that she took a turn for the worse and the doctors don't think she has very long to live. I have only just placed my tired, hungover behind on my couch after a long day because Mr. C took me straight from the airport to the hospital to gather with my family around my Gram's bed. It was hard to leave but Chicky was getting tired. I'll go back tomorrow, if she makes it through the night. I think she might because she's holding on, clinging to life through sheer will. For what I don't know, but my Gram is a strong woman and if she's not ready to go yet then she has good reason for choosing not to join her husbands and her three children at the moment.

So my blogging will be sporadic at best until life gets back to normal. Not that life without my Gram will be normal. To the contrary, I don't think my life without Gram will ever be the same again.

But my life has also be irrevocably changed due to meeting some of the most fabulous women - and men - on the planet. I keep expecting that I'll walk out my front door and you'll all be there. That you won't makes me very sad.

Next year, my friends, next year.

Until then I'll keep our laughter with me. It will help get me through.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What is sure to be a disappointment to my male readers

I don't have pictures of asses or vaginas (Wow, the Google pervs will be coming out in droves after these last two posts) and I am deeply sorry. I do have some interesting fondling/groping pictures but the parties involved would not let me post them. Party poopers.

Now, lest you think from my last post physical impropriety is to Blogher what heavy petting was to Sodom and Gomorrah and that's all there is, let me assure you there is quite a bit more to this conference then the occasional boob grab.

Well, there is that - plenty, in fact - but there is more.

Blogher has been an overwhelming, fascinating, dizzying experience. I can't quite get it all straight in my muddled mind right now - mainly because I've had a few drinks in me - but I will say that every woman blogger should attend this conference at least once if they are at all serious about blogging, if only just to meet your favorite writers in person.

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. I'm still playing catch-up with sleep, not to mention the fact that my missing baggage just caught up with me today (long story), so perhaps I should get some rest and blog when my head isn't so fuzzy.

Sorry again about the pictures. You can blame Jen.

Well, you wanted updates

So sorry, can't post now. Supposed to be listening to a panel but Redneck Mommy keeps talking about her vagina. Very frustrating. How the hell am I supposed to listen with her breathing down my neck? Jeez.

And, no, I don't have a picture of it. Yet. Come back again tonight around midnight after she gets liquored up. I'll at least have a picture of her ass.

Sandra's too.

Maybe even Kittenpie's, Metro Mama's and MotherBumper's as well.

You'll be back tonight, won't you? I can tell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Blogher? I don't even know her.

I've bought cute new shoes. My clothes are ready to be packed.

(As a quick aside: is there an award for the largest bag or the most overpacked? I tend to try to pack for every situation, and since I've never been to the Blogher conference, and I have no idea what to expect, I'm packing everything in my closet. Including my pith helmet and ass-less chaps. You never know when you'll be called upon to do some naked Western spelunking.)

My potions and lotions will be squirreled away in their appropriate plastic bags - not that it matters since I'll probably have to check my bag. I've got my business cards ready to go (Moo cards. Love them. No swag this year, though. Ran out of money. Maybe next year.). My toes are shiny with new polish and my hair will be attended to this evening. I'm expecting miracles. I'm sure my stylist will do wonders with my Mom Bob.

I'll have all the necessary electronics with me: Laptop, camera, iPod, cell phone. Maybe I should pack my portable defibrillator. You just never know.

Mr. C is taking the next couple of days off to be with Chicky, so they'll each be in good hands. I'm sure the house will be a disaster upon my return, but I'm hopeful that I'll be wrong.

My reservations have been confirmed.

I think that's everything. So, what am I forgetting?


Oh yeah, my mind.

My brain is hiding underneath the pillows, which are under the comforter, which is in my bedroom behind a closed door with all the shades pulled down. My brain has not yet accepted the fact that I am leaving tomorrow. My poor melon cannot wrap its head (har) around the idea that I'll be in the company of all these women whose lives I've been reading about. But mainly my gray matter is freaking out because 1) I have to get on a plane tomorrow - and I hate flying - by myself, something I haven't done in years (Flying by myself, that is. Awkward sentence. Sorry.) and 2) there will be crowds. Of people. Some of whom will know of me without ever having met me. It's enough to make me want to hide in the bathroom.

If I have a slightly glazed look on my face when you meet me, that'll be why. I'll be completely overwhelmed and unable to control my situation. And I hate that. I'll adapt, of course, but I do not relish that first feeling of uncertainty. I'm a control freak, I'll admit it. I like to be totally comfortable in my surroundings, which means I like to know where I'm going at what time and what I will expect to see/do/experience when I get there.

I'm a laugh riot, I tell ya. A blast to be with.

I wasn't always like this. I suppose I've always had the tendency to be a control freak, but my controlling tendencies have multiplied exponentially since I began working with dogs and then took on a life of its own once I became a mother. I'm surrounded by creatures that need to be on schedules, that thrive on consistency. There's got to be repercussions stemming from living like that, right?

Eh, like I said - I'll adapt. Hand me a glass of wine and all will be fine and dandy like cotton candy.

To all of you ladies (and men) who will be heading to Blogher in the next day or so - fare thee well. Safe travels and all that. I'll see you all soon, albeit with a slightly glazed but quite genuine smile on my face. I'm thrilled over the prospect of meeting you all in person.

To those of you who will not be attending, I'll try to write updates on the conference and festivities while I'm there. I'll try to post pictures and all that. I remember how I felt last year when I was scanning the internet, looking for posts from Blogher. I will take you with me in spirit. And there's always next year.

One more thing:
I'll be bringing the black nail polish and I wear a size 9 shoe.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A warning to you Muggles

The purchase of the latest and final Harry Potter book could result in the following:

  • Extreme exhaustion - Due to the reader's reluctance to put the book down and, therefore, get some damn sleep already.
  • Migraine headache - An unfortunate side effect resulting from the constant refrains of "MommyMommyMommyMommyMommyMommyMommyMOMMY! Pay attention to ME Mommy!" coming from the reader's child or children. And, eventually, because the young child or children, once realizing that the attention they so badly desire is not forthcoming, throws her or himself down on the floor in a full-fledged tantrum. Under normal circumstances a simple tantrum would not induce such nagging pain, however these are not normal circumstances (See Extreme Exhaustion above).
  • Sore jaw and dry eyes - Both suffered by the reader - who stares in amazement, unblinking, while absorbing every heart-stopping chapter with jaw slack and hanging to floor - and by the reader's child or children who will spend far too many hours in front of the television until the book is finished (and we all know what young kids look like while watching TV, don't we?).
  • A sense of disconnectedness from the outside world - Due to the reader breaking all contact with family, friends, the television and internet, and of course newspapers (why would you reader anything else when you could be reading Harry Potter??) until the book is finished.
  • Skin irritation, redness and itching - Because the reader, in her excitement to finally start reading the last book in the series, forgets to put on sunscreen before sitting in the sun for three hours, resulting in a horrible sunburn across her chest.
  • A horrible sense of loss and mild depression - When the reader is reaching the end of the book and realizes that this is the last time she and Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the characters she's come to love, will never meet again within the hardcover pages of a book. Sigh.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Harry Potter-itis. Do not consult a doctor - because your doctor will probably laugh you out the door, if they're not already too busy with their own nose stuck in the last Harry Potter book - but know that you are not alone. We'll get through this together.

Just another Public Service Announcements from your friends at Chicky Chicky Baby.

(I'm almost done with the book. I know some of you have already finished it. I don't want it to end.)

(Hold me.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Because sometimes I get tired of listening to myself talk

Michael Vick.

Public Enemy number one (in the dog world) or innocent party? Did he really not know what was going on or was he an active participant in the abuse and death of many, many dogs?

The evidence is mounting against him but most of the key eyewitnesses have also been indicted in this case. Does he deserve to be suspended from the NFL even though, according to American law, he is innocent until proven guilty?

I'd like to know what you think about this case

Friday, July 20, 2007

Total suck up, eh?

"Why do all the Canadian bloggers like you so much?"

"Do they? It's not just me, I think they like almost everyone. They're just nice that way."

"I think it's all your socialist humor."

"C'mon, you know I don't write like a socialist."

"Well, you seem pretty popular with all the women from Canada."

"Really, it's not just me. I think it's easier to be nicer to people when you have all that free health care."


"You know, maybe you're on to something though. Maybe I should change my blog name from Chicky Chicky Baby to Canadian Chicks Dig Me."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all.

So the other day I was thinking that I really should post a few things about myself that someone meeting me in person for the first time - say, at Blogher for instance (9 days! 9 freaking days!! oh my christ, I don't have cute shoes yet.) - might need to know, lest they get the wrong idea from my blog that I'm actually fun in person and then be horribly disappointed when they find out the truth.

(That's me, the eternal optimist. Hasn't occurred to me that you all might actually like me. No. That would be silly.)

Then Deb, that damn women who for months taunted me with her "I'm going to Blogher", "Oops, no I'm not going", "Okay, maybe I will go", "No, I can't go", "Hooray! I'm going to Blogher!", kindly asked me and some other ladies to provide some insight into who the hell we thought we were. So I figured it was time to write it all down. You know, so everyone doesn't have to wait until I've had a few drinks in me to find out.

(And, no, this is not a meme. I refuse to call it that because there is a moratorium on memes on this here site until further notice. Unless I get tagged with a really good one - like "What five Hanna Barbera characters would you be" or "Name your four favorite pubic hair styles" - then I'll temporarily lift it.)

You're just breathless with anticipation, aren't you?

  • First of all, I'm shy. Really shy and incredibly self conscious. If I'm out of my element -which is any situation that happens outside the four walls of my home or in my dog training classes - then I tend to be pretty quiet. I'm an observer, y'all. I like to people watch. And yes, I'll be watching you.


  • (I must preface this next tidbit with this disclaimer: I'm very interested in the Blogher conference itself and all it has to offer. I'm very much looking forward to hearing from the speakers and learning how to be the very best blogger I can be.)


    Have you seen the movie "Blind Date" with Kim Basinger and Bruce Willis? You know, what ever you do don't get her drunk? Well, it's been years since I've spent more than a day or two away from my husband and my kid. Since I went on a short trip to Cancun with a girlfriend to celebrate our divorces, as a matter of fact. Let's just say I don't remember parts of that vacation and we'll leave it at that.

  • Did I mention I was shy? Yeah. You might not notice it, though. You might just think I'm "reserved", "aloof" or "a snooty bitch" but I'm not. Well, I am reserved but I'm not a bitch. All of the time.

Remember, I'll be watching you. (two fingers pointing to my eyes, then to your eyes, then to my eyes)

  • It's one thing to refer to myself as "Mrs. Chicky" online but it is completely another to refer to myself as my blog moniker in person. I've done it once or twice and it makes me feel extremely dorky. I may just introduce myself by my real name and let you all figure it out.
  • On that note, I suck at remembering people's names. If you're wondering why I'm staring at your chest it's because I'm rereading your name tag for the millionth time. And because I'm jealous of your rack.
  • I can put a lipstick in my bra and paint my lips upside down with no hands.
  • Turn-ons: The movies of John Hughes. John Cusack. Anthony Bourdain. Jeremy Piven (in his pre-Entourage days. Cupid, anyone?). Cookbooks and tell-all novels about the restaurant industry, wine snobs, or foodies in general. Men with nice legs. People who love dogs. And long walks on the beach at sunset.
  • Turn-offs: Rude people. Ralph Feinnes (outside of his work as Voldemort I've never cared for any of his movies). Colin Farrel (besides the accent I just don't see the attraction). Cruelty to animals. Skinny jeans (mainly because I can't wear them). Any cocktail that doesn't have vodka or gin and dry vermouth but are called "martinis" just because they're served in a martini glass. (Not that I won't drink them - they are mighty tasty - it's the overuse of the term that bothers me.)

So that's me in a nutshell (Oh no! I'm stuck in this nutshell!). Now I'm calling upon the Canadian contingent to play along (that would be you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and maybe you if you've decided to go after all. And any other Canadian lady I've missed). It's not a tag since this is not a meme. I just want to know more about all my Canadian sisters who will be attending the conference. And because, secretly, I want to be an honorary Canadian. I'm hoping someone will bring me a maple leaf pin or a toque or something. Maybe some poutine. Although, when I think of poutine, I think of poutine rapee. Mmmmm, poutine rapee. Now that is good food to eat after a night of drinking.

(And a huge shout-out to the person who can identify the quote in the title of this post. I felt it was quite relevant to the situation. Clues are sprinkled throughout this post.

Way to go Avalon and Painted Maypole. They knew the title of this post was a quote from The Breakfast Club. Not very hard, I know, especially with all my hints. But I'm standing by my lack of interest in Ralph Feinnes. Quiz Show was good, I'll give you that, but he just doesn't do it for me.)

(And I should mention that Redneck Mommy was nice enough to correct my poor Canadian cuisine lingo. Poutine is never spelled with an "S" no matter how many you order. My bad. But I don't know, I distinctly remember some pretty drunk Canucks ordering those in the diners after hours and it always sounded like "Poutines". But that could have been them slurring their words. Yeah, that's probably what it was.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don't get rid of that puppy just yet

...Puppies can come on a bit strong under the best of circumstances, but to a little kid a jumpy puppy can be really intimidating. To a pre-schooler they can be downright terrifying. This - introducing children to dogs - is a delicate situation that needs to be handled with care. As a parent, the last thing you want is a child (or two) who grow up with a fear of dogs and as a dog owner you don't want to have to give up that cute new puppy. [Read More...]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail us now.



So, the rest of my trip. Yeah. Things to say about it. Hmm...

I do have stories, none of which would really interest you - or me for that matter, since it is my blog and all and this writing is supposed to be for me and... aw, hell. Bottom line, thinking of it bores me to tears so why subject you all to that.

Because, do you know what you see on the trip between Saint Paul and Wisconsin?

Malachai! He wants you too, Malachai!

Lots of corn and lots of cows and that's pretty much it. For six hours.

Oh wait. There was that stop and the A&W. That was fun.

I do thank the inventors of the portable DVD player, however, for the help in anesthetizing Chicky for at least part of our trip. That little contraption helped. A lot.

And to the makers of Sun Chips. I thank you too.

It's 280 miles to Wisconsin, I've got my blankie, a bag of chips, and Blues Clues on the DVD. Hit it.

We did enjoy ourselves in Wisconsin. The beauty of that state - yes, even the miles upon miles of corn - is breathtaking. The town where we visited, though not a place where we would go if not for the familial connection, was worth the trip. But, whooo. It was HOT. And with hot you get cranky, and cranky toddlers are never fun when you're meeting your husband's mother's first cousin's middle child's new husband for the first time.

I'm not kidding about that. Not even a little bit.

Good times. Good times.

It's worth mentioning one small, itty bitty, relatively insignificant part of that leg of our trip. In my two+ years of being a mom I have never felt more like a second class citizen than I did when meeting all of Mr. C's extended family.

All you mamas, you might want to settle in for this one.

In the couple of days that we were there, among family, not once did anyone inquire as to what I did for a living, what my interests were, or anything about me - other than my name, and even then I think I was just that guy's wife - other than the care and feeding of Chicky.

Hi. Yeah, don't mind me. I'm just the uterus.

I mean, hey, I know she's cute, and there was never a doubt that once she sprung forth from my girlie parts that life as I knew it was over. But it was kind of hard to be a part of a group where everyone was asking each other about their lives outside of the family, who they were and what made them that, and be skipped over. And all because I was a mother.

I knew it would happen one day, I guess I just wasn't 100% ready for that slight. So, instead of sticking my nose into conversations about jobs and careers I embraced my role as mother and aunt and spent time with Chicky and Mr. C's nephews. I'm good in that role. I'm good in other situations too but it was just too hot to fight it.

Thankfully, there were only two days of that before we were back on the road. Plenty of time to lick my wounds and console myself with large quantities of salty, bloat-inducing snacks. Plenty of time to get punchy and silly (Look! Cows!). Plenty of time to pick at my pedicure. And more than enough time to wonder how in the world I got Demi Moore's pre-surgery knees.

How much does a knee lift cost, anyway?

Thankfully, I was spending so much time on it that I had little opportunity to contemplate the state of my ass. My aging knees were enough, thankyouverymuch.

Have I mentioned yet that I've never spent that much time in a car in one shot? I live in Massachusetts, for chrissake. You want to hit six or seven states it only takes about an hour and a half. I never want to be in a car for that long EVER AGAIN.

I crush your car. Squish, squish.

So, that was part two of our family trip (Not a vacation! It was not a vacation. It's never a vacation when you're traveling with a toddler) in a nut shell. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to prepare for "Scott Baio is 45 and single". Oh my sweet Jesus. Is anyone else as excited about this show as I am?


I'll leave you with one little thing. This is what happens when you spend six hours on the road in a ten year old Geo Prism with the man you love, a really cranky, overtired toddler and a camera:

'Nuff said.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Chicky's take Minnesota (part one of a needlessly long series)

What is it about traveling that makes you feel like you just went on a 10 day bender? You'd think that after spending so much time sitting on my ass in airports, airplanes and cars that I'd be fairly rested. But nooo.

Wake me when it's time for me to leave for Chicago.

I have to give credit to Chicky, however, because that girl traveled like a champ. Sure, she had a few meltdowns on the airplane there and back but for the most part she took to life at her Aunt's house and our rental in Wisconsin like a duck to water. I wonder what part of my soul will be collected for that windfall, 'cause I may have mentioned something about selling it to the devil before we left.

The first leg of our trip was in Saint Paul with my Mr. C's sister, her husband and their two boys (ages 4 and 8). Let me tell you, Chicky has some serious hero worship going on for her cousins. Even though they weren't that close in age the three of them got along really well and the 8 year old was called upon more than once to keep an eye on Chicky so we could throw back a few get a break from toddler watching. It's times like that when I really wish they lived closer. Or that we lived closer to them. They tried to convince us to move there by telling us that living in Minnesota wasn't really that much different from living in Mass.; cold climate in the winter, humid in the summer, and Great Lakes that could pass for the ocean if you squint a bit. Given the housing prices, it's tempting. But I think I'd feel claustrophobic being that land locked. And from being that close to Canada*.

The highlight of our time in Saint Paul - other than spending quality time with family - was our trip to the Minnesota Zoo. We would have really enjoyed it if it wasn't as hot as it was. Because when it's 90 degrees toddlers tend to get cranky, especially when searching in vain for some shy tiger that wouldn't show his face. Damn cat, so finicky.

Mommies get cranky too when they find out that the Minnesota Trail, the part of the zoo which supposedly has a number of the incredibly beautiful and noble Northern Gray Wolf, is closed but will be re-opening in two days. When we're not there. God hates me.

Thankfully there was a big petting farm (sponsored by Hormel! Those poor animals just don't know what's in for them)...

With goats:

She kept calling it "baby goat" but I'm pretty sure she thought it was a dog.

Two day old baby pigs:

In order from left to right: Bacon, Spam and Little Sizzler

And this:

You have no idea what it took to get her to stick her head through the opening, but I think it was worth it.

Oh, and ice cream:

You scream, I scream, then we stop screaming when there's ice cream.

I don't know what it is about the Minnesota accent but I couldn't stop giggling every time I heard someone say a word with an "oh" sound. I'm sure I offended half of Saint Paul and parts of Minneapolis too, but I just couldn't help myself. It's so cute. And Chicky came back with that accent. I swear on a case of expensive wine (because, to me, that's holier than the Bible) that it's true.

On the drive home -

Chicky: "Where's Auntie?"

Me: "She's home. In Minnesota."

Chicky: "Oh, yeah. MinneSOHDA. Yeah."

I might move there just to pick up that accent. It's THAT good.

So that was part one of our trip. You'll have to wait until tomorrow - or the next day, or the day after that - for part two. Not because it's super interesting or anything but because I'm just sick of writing. A whole week away from the blog and I'm out of practice. Gotta pace myself or I could pull something.

Until then here's a few more pictures of our time in Minnesota because, hell, why not?

They have hot dogs at the zoo, too? Cool. Hey, you don't think I just ate the uncle of one of those animals I just met, do you?

S'up, betches? I's on dis rock, watchin' your camera.

Word. S'up?

*I knew I'd get at least one nasty comment or a question as to why I could possibly hate the fair country of Canada. I don't. I love Canada. It was a joke. Get it? Funny ha ha?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Blog Sweet Blog

We're home.

It's good to be home. Very good.

Imagine my surprise to get back from our trip and find that the ol' blog is still in pretty good shape, especially considering that I left it in the hands of some suspicious characters. Just some empty Doritos bags, a couple of beer bottles on the floor, and a g-string hanging from the ceiling fan.

I'm betting that last one was Redneck Mommy's.

And I know I told these women to use a damn coaster but there's a few rings on the piano. Eh, it's the in-laws piano. No biggie.

In all seriousness I owe a huge debt to the best bloggers in all the land for babysitting my site. You ladies rock my world. Those of you who will be joining me at Blogher, drinks are on me. As for the rest of you blog-sitters, um... Virtual margaritas?

Oh, how was the trip?

The trip. Yeah.

Well... It's over.


It's always nice to see family, especially family we don't see as often as we'd like, but at a certain point (at around day 5) I hit my wall and I really wanted to sleep in my own bed. And use my own shower. And go into the refrigerator or the pantry when I wanted a snack without feeling like a freeloader. And watch TV when I felt like it, dammit.

I have stories to tell (and pictures! Lots of pictures!) but today I'm resting. Sort of resting, anyway. As much rest as I can get while having carpenters in my house putting in new windows (scheduling them for today seemed like a good idea at the time), going grocery shopping, paying bills, and working tonight. Oh, and having to keep an over-tired toddler occupied so she doesn't have a conniption fit in the middle of Stop & Shop.

And! I have to check my email! Which I opened once while on our trip, said "Eek!" and promptly closed it. And Bloglines? Oy, the number of blogs in my bloglines. I can't even count that high.

So when my 70 gazillion pictures finish uploading to my computer I'll tell you all about MinneSOdah and our six hour car ride to Wisconsin (that's six hours ONE FREAKING WAY) with a cranky toddler. You can barely contain your excitement, I can tell.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

With Visions of Rockers Dancing in Her Head

PunditMom here stopping by the keep the Chicky nest warm while she's away! Thanks for trusting me with this sacred honor! ;)

Mr. PunditMom and I were hanging out in front of the TV late Saturday evening after taking the babysitter home and caught the last few acts of the Live Earth Concert.

Who did we see?? Roger Waters of Pink Floyd doing Dark Side of the Moon and Another Brick in the Wall, and an amazing set by The Police. (Oooo, I must say, the Sting-man is looking quite buff for an aging rockster! I’ll send out an S.O.S. to him anytime)!

You know, I can’t remember what I cooked for dinner last night, but the lyrics and the memories those songs brought back from OH-so-many years ago caught me off guard.

And it made me wonder -- what happened to the girl who couldn’t play her Police albums enough (yes, for you young readers – there was a day when vinyl ruled)!

How did my life go from being filled with infinite possibilities to one of infinite routine?

Breakfast for the PunditGirl, dishes, laundry, car pools, with a little career advancement and mental stimulation in there from time to time.

While some important dreams have been fulfilled, I had so many of them in the days before the Split Enz had turned into Crowded House, I found I had tuned out of watching Sting bounce up and down as he crooned “ROX-anne” and was drifting in my thoughts wondering:

“How do I get back to the essence of that girl?”

Family responsibilities make it difficult sometimes to keep track of the visions we had in our heads as young adults. But thanks to Roger and Sting, I think I’ll be spending some time chasing a few more of those old dreams before I’m gumming my oatmeal on the rocker out front.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I Wish That I was Jessie’s Girl

This is Fairly Odd Mother, and I have taken over Mrs. Chicky’s blog for the day. Like Binky, who wrote this yesterday, I have dogs on the brain. However, unlike Binky, the dog I think of is not by my side. Jessie was never mine, and yet I will never stop wishing she was.

It all happened about 10 years ago at a time when my life was full of changes: new relationship, new job, new possibilities. I had gone from a "me-me-me" period to one that was open to the idea that I may be starting to settle down, to have a (quote/unquote) normal life . It was in this spirit that I started to volunteer at a local animal shelter.

On my first day as a volunteer, I was taken for a tour of the tiny shelter and grounds. This was a town shelter; a ‘kill’ shelter, where space was always needed for the constant stream of unwanted and lost cats and dogs. A volunteer took me to the back of the shelter where the dog runs were---the barking was loud as every dog tried to plead his case: “Take me! Take meeeeee!”

We paused in front of one cage. A small black dog was

channeling Tigger, bouncing straight up and down in the air, and barking wildly.

“This is Jessie”, she said. “She’s been here for almost a year.”

Those words hit me hard. A year? In a cage? But why? It seemed pretty clear that Jessie was unadoptable. Hyper, jumpy, loud. . .why had this dog been allowed to live for so long when undoubtedly many others had died?

I soon found out why, and also became one of her biggest supporters. For while Jessie was hyper, jumpy and loud, she was the kind of dog that smiled and made you feel like you were the best playmate in the entire world. She was smart, sleek and cheerful, even after months and months in a doggie jail cell.

But, so help me, she presented herself to the public so badly. No sooner would I start to tell a prospective family about Jessie then I would see them recoil from her cage as she leaped vertically off the ground again and again. If I took her out into the play yard, she would race around us in circles at top speed, like a sheep dog trying to keep its flock together.

Her one-year anniversary was getting closer. Her name was put on “the list” more than once, but I argued that she was still adoptable, we just needed more time. This became my sort of “Sophie’s Choice”, as I continued to pick one dog over others. Each time, afterward, I would walk out to my car, get inside, and cry.

The object of my affection

Then one Monday evening, I arrived at the shelter and saw a funny look in one of the volunteer’s eyes. “There are two couples looking at Jessie”, she whispered to me. I ran out to the play yard and saw Jessie playing fetch with a young couple, about my age. They were smiling and laughing, not recoiling and frowning. The other couple watched Jessie from outside the fence. “We like her too”, they said, “but we can take another dog.”

An hour later, paperwork complete, Jessie walked out the door with her new family. I asked them if I could say goodbye and gave Jessie a hug. I cried big, fat embarrassing tears and tried to explain that they were tears of happiness. Of course, I was happy, but I was also saddened beyond measure that this happy little creature was exiting my life.

Months later, I visited Jessie in her new home for a follow-up story for our “Pet of the Week” cable-access television show. Her new owners were warm and funny. Her yard was huge and completely enclosed by a fence. She even had a dog playmate, as they had adopted a second dog a few weeks after Jessie. It felt good to see her happy and running free on the grass, under the trees.

I turned to walk back up the porch stairs, and Jessie darted ahead of me. She turned, a few steps ahead of me, and sat down so that her face was level with mine. I reached my arms up to rub behind her ears one last time. She picked up her front paws and put them on my shoulders and smiled her goofy little grin.

I had wondered if Jessie would remember me. After all, I was just some volunteer that played with her twice a week for a few months. But, as she sat in front of me, I felt like she was trying to say, “Hey thanks! It all worked out in the end”.

And then she bounded away to play beneath the trees.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

This Post Is For the Dogs

Binky here, from 24/7. I'm sitting at Mrs. Chicky's place on a lazy Sunday morning. I brought my dog Roxie along. She's padding across the floors with her wiggle-butt in constant motion as she sniffs out clues as to the whereabouts of the two Chicky dogs. I also have reason to believe she is looking for Girl Scout Cookies.

This is a welcome moment of quietude amidst the chaos of moving week. On Friday, The Partner (that's what I call my husband of three years), The Boss (the toddling little girl who has been calling the shots around here for two of those three years), Roxie, and myself moved from a small, antique Cape Cod-style home to the place in which we hope to spend a couple decades, at least.

The sky on that moving day shone down in gray rays on my dog's head as she sat at the top of the hill, watching over movers as they emptied her home. The Partner and I took special care to make Roxie feel like a part of the goings-on. We were worried about her. Knowing the history of our sweet rescued pit bull, we thought that the roar of moving vans in New England might be, to her, like the slicing of helicopter blades is to those who found fear in the jungles or deserts. See, Roxie's first family moved away, too. But they left without her. They tied her to the fence in the backyard, where she remained affixed for two weeks. It was March.

One would think that neighbors on that Providence, RI, street would have unleashed her and taken her in, or called Animal Control. But maybe they were waiting for someone else to do it. Or maybe they were afraid of what the authorities would do to an abandoned pit bull. The latter is a valid concern; a vast majority of pit bulls who enter shelters in the United States are put to death.

But someone finally did cut the dog from her chains. Her compact body was two weeks' emaciated. She took to the streets, a skeleton with soft white and brown skin and a random assortment of black spots. It was at a construction site that she finally found the first stranger she could depend upon. A guy on the job patted the passenger seat of his pickup truck and invited her in. She hopped up. This man happened to know a woman who knew a woman who rescued pit bulls. The wheels were put in motion.

The rescuer named the dog Roxie. She found a foster home for Roxie with the owners of two other pit bulls. The foster family called their new charge "Roxie Amoxycillin" for all the meds they had to administer to get the dog's system back into functioning condition. Roxie thrived.

Then the rescuer found a permanent home for Roxie, with us. She's been a part of our family for three years. In her complete adoration of all things humankind, I see a walking definition of the term "unconditional." Instead of licking her scars, she licks people.

When we moved into our new home, we took Roxie on the tour. "This is your house!" we told her. She was cautious. She sniffed slowly. When we reached the expansive carpeting of our bedroom, we got down and rolled her onto her back so we could rub her tummy. She laid her head sideways on the floor as her skin stretched tight over a gaping jaw. "We're home!" we assured her, again.

It's our third day here, and Roxie is still getting her bearings. As I unpack the kitchen, then the den--sometimes Roxie's underfoot, sometimes not--I wonder how I can tell her, in no uncertain terms, that she will never have to worry about the March air at night as experienced through the chain links of a cold fence from which she cannot extricate herself.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Where Have All The Towels Gone

Hey there. Julia from Major Bedhead here. I started to write this cute post about how I was blog sitting and how I was going to just curl up on Mrs. Chicky's couch and revel in the clean lines and crisp spaces of her blog, but instead, I spent the day with a cranky almost-thirteen-year-old daughter and this is what you're getting instead. With my apologies to Pete Seeger.

Where have all the towels gone?
Long time missing
Where have all the towels gone?
Missing so long

Where have all the towels gone?
Girl has used them
Every one
Why won't she ever wash them?
Why won't she ever wash them?

Now where has the young girl gone?
Chores aren't finished
Where has the young girl gone?
Should have been done long ago

Now where has the young girl gone?
In her bedroom every time
When will she ever do them?
When will she ever do them?

Where have all the popsicles gone?
Box is empty
Where have all the popsicles gone?
Bought yesterday

Where have all the popsicles gone?
Eaten up, every one
When will that girl learn?
When will that girl learn?

Where has the girl's good mood gone?
Long been cranky
Where has the girl's good mood gone?
No smiles today

Where has the girl's good mood gone?
Sullen is the new norm
When will she smile again?
When will she smile again?

Where have all the towels gone?
Long time missing
Where have all the towels gone?
Missing so long

Where have all the towels gone?
Girl has used them
Every one
Why won't she ever wash them?
Why won't she ever wash them?

Friday, July 06, 2007

June ROFL Awards

June 07 ROFL award

Hello there. Metro Mama here. It’s my turn to water Chicky’s plants and feed the dogs. You didn’t think she’d take off and leave you without any laughs did you!

Here are the June ROFL awards. Enjoy!

Oh, The Joys awarded Mamma Loves

Julie Pippert awarded Arkie Mama

Salad Days Chronicles awarded My Mommy's Place

O Mama Mia awarded Filtering Life

Bub and Pie awarded Mimi on the Breach

Cheeze Whiz and Mustard awarded Here In Idaho

Ali Martell awarded i am bossy

Her Bad Mother awarded Gingajoy

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Pregnancy Refresher

When Mrs. Chicky and I met, we both commiserated about recounted our pregnancy experiences. Needless to say, neither of us really enjoyed being pregnant. Ok, fine, we hated it.

Since I personally will never again be pregnant (cue the “Halleluiah Chorus” please) due to Hubby’s snip-snip procedure (that’s the proper medical term, right?) immediately shortly after the birth of our third son, and only Mr. and Mrs. Chicky know whether Chicky Baby will one day be a big sis, I wanted to compile a list for Mrs. Chicky to commemorate our “hating on pregnancy” conversation.

So here you go:
What to Expect When You’re Expecting—A Refresher
By Sarah at In the Trenches of Mommyhood

GOOD: The obvious one, eating for two. Another helping of dessert? Yes please, this one’s for the hungry fetus, of course.
BAD: The raging heartburn that follows the inhalation of the second burrito (because you were eating for two).

GOOD: Bathing suits with skirts.
BAD: They’re necessary for coverage of your ass that suddenly looks just as pregnant as your belly.

GOOD: Having a valid excuse to shop for new maternity clothes.
BAD: Regular clothes become annoyingly tight and slutty looking are simply no longer an option.
GOOD: Shopping for new shoes!
BAD: Because in the third trimester, your cute tootsies suddenly look like Fred Flintstone feet.

GOOD: No vacuuming! It becomes way too heavy, don’t you know?
BAD: If not you vacuuming, then who? Dammit.

GOOD: Thicker hair, longer fingernails, clear skin and a rosy complexion.
BAD: Hair falling out, food embedded in longer fingernails (see eating for two above) and a face now prone to teenage-like acne breakouts.

GOOD: Feeling those butterfly flutters in your belly for the first time.
BAD: Looking down at your belly and seeing and feeling elbows and feet protruding out of it.

GOOD: Having your spouse or family members rub your belly and feel the baby kick.
BAD: Having random strangers come up to you and do the same.

GOOD: Bigger, perkier, voluptuous boobs rivaling those of a Playboy centerfold.
BAD: *Sigh* They don’t last.

GOOD: Finally going into labor after 10 months (because we all know it’s not really 9) of highs and lows, ups and downs, mood swings, forgetfulness, and clumsiness.
BETTER: The epidural.
BEST: Becoming a mommy. Whether it's for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time. Just that indescribable feeling.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Burn Baby Burn...

When the wonderful, albeit slightly hairy, Mrs. Chicky asked me to blogsit for her, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity. After all, it's kinda like being left alone in some one else's house, with no one watching you. You can look in the medicine cabinet, raid the liquor, and peek in the underwear drawer and they'd never be the wiser. Who could resist an offer like that?

I've got to tell you folks, I haven't found anything too shocking. Sure she irons her underwear, has more hair removal products under her sink than the local drugstore and could start a small recycling business with the amount of empty wine bottles in her basement, but other than that, she is shockingly normal. Dammit.

Where's the fun in that? Looks like I really am going to have to get this girl plastered while in Chicago and take drunken photos of her to post on my blog. After all, what are hotel roommates for, if not a little bloggy blackmail every once in a while?

Kidding. Kinda. Sorta. I'm open to requests.

One thing the wonderful and talented Mrs. Chicky and I have in common, other than blonde beautiful children, a caustic sense of humour and a pair of dough-headed husbands, is our love of the warm weather. We're both summer girls. We like the heat and the freedom the sunshine brings with it. Sure, Mrs. Chicky plays it a tad more conservative than I do, what with her one piece swimsuit and cover up, but not everyone lives in the sticks and can feel to roam her yard in the buff, letting it all hang out and scarring her children for life.


I mean, we both love a good barbeque. Hanging out with family and friends and enjoying a little vino, some children's laughter and the sweet smell of the flowers dancing in the breeze.

Yesterday my husband and I had a small barbeque for our friends and neighbours . Partly a part going away party for my husband (he's off to chase the almighty dollar again) and partly a thank you to our loved ones for putting up with our whining and bitching through the long, cold, Canadian winter months.

It was a fine time. One of those hazy, warm summer nights that will keep this body warm when the wind is howling and the snow is flying in the middle of the winter. Everything was picture perfect. That is, until I went to start the barbeque. Not realizing my husband had already turned on the gas and kept the lid closed while he walked away to look for a match, I wandered over and decided to light the fa*&$ng thing up.


Not only did I light the barbeque, but I managed to scorch my hair and burn off my eyebrows. In front of my friends, neighbours and family.

When everyone had stopped laughing, and caught their breath, they wandered over to make sure I wasn't seriously harmed. Luckily for me, I have lightening quick reflexes to counterbalance my blonde moments. I managed to avoid melting my eyeballs while providing the evening's entertainment.

How's that for multitalented?

To make matters worse for my scorched ego, while I was in the bathroom trying to draw on some eyebrows and convince myself that they will grow back before BlogHer, I burnt the damn steaks. Charred them to a crisp.

My lovely and supportive husband, half in the tank, busy playing horseshoes while our supper sizzled to blackened pieces of tar, had this advice to offer.

"Just feed them more wine, T. They'll be so busy looking at your eyebrowless face, they won't even notice you are feeding them char." Then he patted me on my rump and popped another beer open.

The bugger, er, I mean my loving and supportive husband was right. I was the main attraction, and not even blackened beef could take away from the freakshow I have now morphed into.

Learn from me people, and when you go to celebrate your Independence Day tonight, make your husband light the barbeque.

It will be much less embarrassing and way more entertaining to have him with no eyebrows than you.

**Thanks Chicky, for giving me the keys to the castle. I had fun smearing my graffiti all over your walls. And I promise not to tell anyone that you wear grannie panties with orange polkadots.**

Monday, July 02, 2007

Don't Worry, I'm Looking After the Kids ...

Hi. Yeah. She’s not here. Mrs. Chicky. She left. She went on vacation. And she asked me (Mrs. Fortune) to blogsit. And here I am, fulfilling my bloggerly duty. And I’m not even getting $2.50 an hour!

When I got a request from my friend to fill in on this here blog of hers, I did think back to my own babysitting days. Between the ages of 12 and 17, many unsuspecting parents had the bad judgment to leave their children in my care. Really, it’s a wonder that no children were ever killed or (seriously) injured while under the gaze of my not-very-watchful eye. As I saw it, my responsibilities as a babysitter were as follows:

  • Run up your phone bill
  • Eat all the junk food in your house
  • Rummage through your drawers looking for any of the following: alcohol, porn, drugs, fireworks
  • Check to see if any of your teenage neighbors are cute
  • Prevent the children from killing themselves

In that order. Sometimes I accomplished most of them. But now that I am in the position to actually hire a teenager or two to watch my kid for a few hours, I find myself hoping above hope that kids today aren’t as crappy as I was then. Not that I have much in the way of alcohol, drugs, or fireworks in the house, but still.

Maybe I should take comfort in the fact that today’s teenagers earn more than $2.50 an hour. Don’t higher wages translate to better services?

Maybe I should take comfort in the fact that the kids in my neighborhood seem really responsible. Certainly I didn’t appear to have it so together at their age?

Or maybe … I’ll just let my parents keep on doing all the babysitting. I mean, at least they won’t go telling all the neighbors about the stuff they find in my drawers …

I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know if I'll be back again

My cat is still missing.

My Gram is having surgery this afternoon to remove the mass from her pelvis because she's in so much pain her doctors decided to do the surgery first instead of waiting, doing a few chemo treatments and seeing how that went.

And tomorrow I'm hoping on an airplane with Chicky and Mr. C to go visit his sister and her family in Minnesota.

But wait, there's more!

On Friday the whole lot of us are packing up the cars and driving at least five hours one way (not accounting for frequent stops) to visit Mr. C's grandmother in Wisconsin. And then driving back to Minnesota three days later followed by another plane ride back home.


Pray for me. I know I've been asking for that a lot but this time I really mean it. I may not return from this trip.

I'm very much looking forward to all the visiting - I love my sister-in-law and her husband and kids and my grandmother-in-law - but the traveling might just send me over the edge. But I'll make it through. I always do. Because my brother-in-law? He makes beer.

Thank you, Jaysus!

While I'm gone I'm leaving you in the very capable hands of some fabulous women bloggers whom I deeply respect. Sarah, Major Bedhead, Binky and Fairly Odd Mother are fellow NE Mamas while Redneck Mommy, Mrs. Fortune and PunditMom are writers who I just couldn't resist seeing what they would come up with for my site. Please come on by and visit them because blog sitting can be lonely. If they do a good job, the next time I go away I'll ask them to watch my pets and water my tomato plants.

Have a fantastic Independence Day. If I survive eight days without access to the internet you'll hear from me next week.