Thursday, June 29, 2006

Alpha Bitch

Who doesn't like being a bitch from time to time? I certainly wouldn't want to pass up the opportunity to be asked to let my bitch flag fly, so thanks to Jennster for dragging me into this one.

That beeyatch.

Apparently, the point of this is to come up with 20 things that I hate with a fiery passion of 10,000 suns. To narrow the list a bit, and to build upon one of my recent posts, I'm going to make this the 20 things I hate about dog owners (get it? Dogs? Bitch? Ha!). I'll try to keep it as light hearted as I can while still letting out my frustrations in a friendly forum.

deep breath

Okay, here goes nothing...

1. Having a dog means being responsible for that animal. Don't pretend shit doesn't happen, pick up the poop! Gawd, I hate that.
2. I hate owners who insist on letting their dogs wander the neighborhood unleashed. Hey, jackass, if my dog bites yours it won't be my fault because she'll be leashed and licensed and yours will be illegally off-leash and unregistered.
3. "Down" means lie down on the ground and "off" means get your paws off of my chest. I cannot stress this enough. If you keep telling your dog "Down" when you mean "Off" and your dog ignores you, it's your own damn fault that he's confused and he's ruining your good linen pants.
4. Take the dog out of the purse!
5. Stop carrying the dog in your arms!
6. Let the dog walk on the paws that the doggie God gave him and let him retain some dignity.
7. Take the dress off the male dog. Please. I'm begging.
8. If I see another dog tied up in a yard with a long leash attached to a prong collar, I'm calling the ASPCA.
9. If I hear another owner in my class bitch about giving their dog "people food" for treats, but then listen to them tell me about the shitty grocery store dog food they serve their beloved pet I'm going to choke them with some freeze-dried liver.
10. While we're on that subject - and this is more about the dog food makers, distributors, and advertising - if the food has colorful and fun shapes the food is crap. Its the equivalent of serving your kids nothing, and I mean nothing, but tv dinners for their entire lives. Sure, the dog will survive on the food, and your kids could survive on microwave meals, but they wouldn't be getting the nourishment they need. Okay, that's not really hating something, but it offends my sensibilities.
11. Your dog does not need nail polish.
12. The dog park is not a free-for-all. Pay attention to what your dog is doing.
13. If your dog is humping another dog do not stand there and say "Ewww". Take your dog by the collar and remove him (or her - yes, that can happen) from the situation. Its not about sex - unless it really is and that's a different story entirely - so you need to step in to show your dog that it is not appropriate. Think how the other dog feels. C'mon.
14. If your dog is outside, barking his head off, have the decency to take him inside. He's bored and he misses you. And your neighbors are pissed. Don't be that neighbor.
15. Repeat after me - Crate training is a good thing. A crate is not a prison. A crate is not a jail.
16. A dog is not an accessory. Get a dog because he fits with your lifestyle not because he goes well with your wardrobe.
17. Paris Hilton.
18. Just because you have a dog at home does not mean you can let your kid go running and screaming up to my dog. No it is not okay to do that because your kid loves dogs. My dog may not love strange kids.
19. No, it is not okay if your dog loves other dogs, don't let your pooch get all up in my dog's face. See #2.
20. My yard is not your dog's toilet! Pick up the freakin' poop!!

I hope I didn't offend too many people, I could have been a lot bitchier! But I do enjoy being an alpha bitch every once in a while.


Oh shit, I'm supposed to tag others, aren't I? I'm going to tag some other alpha bitches (don't take that the wrong way, ladies. That's a huge compliment in my book.). I tag...

Mother GM
Mom 101
Mama Tulip
Please disregard the tag if you've already done this or if you hate memes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Today would have been my 9th wedding anniversary.

Nine years with the wrong man. That's almost too much for me to think about.

When I was 24 I married a man whom I had been with since I was 18 years old. He was a good man. Decent, kind, loving, hardworking, on the surface it was hard to find fault with him. My family loved him. My friends adored him. It was a given that we would get married before he ever placed a diamond on my finger and asked me if I wanted to.

On that night when he slid the box that contained my engagement ring across the table I should have said no. I should have broken it off a long time before. He was completely wrong for me but he convinced me otherwise. At 18 I knew I wanted more than my small town had to offer. I told him that early in our relationship and he agreed. But he lied. He was a simple man who wanted little more than a home in the same small area where he had grown up, a family with at least two kids and a wife who was dutiful and wanted no more than he did. I was not that woman.

There were instances in our lives that should have made me turn on my heels and leave but I chose to ignore them:

He proposed to me when I was 21 but I put off the wedding for 3 years. I always had some excuse as to why I wanted to wait.

Every November he went to Vermont for a long weekend with the male members of his family to hunt deer. I told him if he brought home a deer head to hang on the wall I would put a big red nose on it and tell his young niece that her uncle had shot Rudolph.

He had his gun dealers license and kept an arsenal in our home. I was pro-gun control.

I wanted music, laughter, travel and conversation. He was happy to listen to classic rock, enjoyed fart jokes, thought going to Disney World was the trip of a lifetime, and our conversations consisted of what happened at work. Or how I had slept the night before. And that's it. I'm not exaggerating, that was really it.

Before we were married his father told me, in no uncertain terms, that we needed to have three children, all boys, to carry on the family name. I had made it perfectly clear to my future husband that I wasn't sure I even wanted to have children.

When the subject of children was brought up by me I often mentioned adoption (should have known then that I didn't even want to procreate with the guy). He said that he would never deal with another man's "mistakes".*

I love the Red Sox. He was a Yankees fan.

On the day of our wedding when the reverend asked if there was any reason why we shouldn't be married, I waited for a wiser, stronger person than I to stand up and object to our union. It never happened.

And probably the biggest lightning bolt that should have shocked me back into reality and stopped our wedding instead struck the restaurant where I had been proposed to. A few months before our wedding day the restaurant burned down to the ground. I probably should have seen the big ol' sign that it was.

(Oh, and on the day of our wedding this happened. Yeah.)

I was not a brave girl. Our families were friends, our lives were entwined. Everyone expected me to marry him and I suppose I expected that from myself as well. But soon after our wedding I went into a deep depression. My life was no longer my own since I had given it up to him. Without my permission he changed my last name to his on all our important documents that didn't require my signature and then urged me to change it on the ones that did. I had told him before we were married that I wanted to keep my name. We moved from our apartment in the town I grew up to another one in his home town, two blocks from his parents. I gave up my job prematurely because I was planning on going back to school to update my knowledge of the new technology in my field, but the semester was 3 months away. All of a sudden I was a housewife with a new name, under the thumb of his family. And everyone thought this was wonderful. Except me.

It took me two years and a new job that took me over an hour to commute to and from everyday, but I finally started to find myself again. I made new friends with similar interests. Men and women who didn't think going to Cape Cod was a huge ordeal, who didn't consider restaurants that served chicken chunks and pizza as fine dining. People who enjoyed the theater and travel. I saw a whole new world opening up to me and I wanted a piece of it. I tried to include him but he wanted no part of it. He had no interest in what made me happy.

My marriage was already pretty much over at that point anyway, but nobody knew it but me. When I told my husband I wanted a divorce he was stunned. I guess my sleeping on the couch every night didn't clue him into the fact that I was unhappy. I guess telling him that I was unhappy didn't clue him in either. He convinced me to consider a trial separation and I agreed to it, but ultimately I couldn't do it. I needed to remove myself from that marriage, and like a band-aid that needs to be ripped off quickly I need to end it as soon as possible. Sure, it stung but if we would have drawn it out longer it would have hurt more. I was running for the nearest exit with little more than my heart and my soul.

Over the course of the next 8 months he fought me tooth and nail on everything, from which CDs I could take to how much money I should get out of the settlement. In the end I took much less than I was entitled to. He bought me out of the house we had purchased together just 15 months before, he got most of the furnishings, all of our investments and, hardest of all, our dog. But I was happy to give it all to him, I was tired of fighting. I got my freedom and, best of all, I got me back. Three years after our wedding, almost to the day, our divorce was final. I've never been happier.

I sacrificed a lot during that divorce. I lost friends, my home, my dog (I needed to mention that again, because it was tougher to give up my dog than it was to give up my ex), and my relationship with my family took a hit. But if I would have stayed I probably would have two kids by now (and since I now have a daughter I think there would have been a good chance they would have been girls. My FIL would have been so disappointed, the jackass.), a husband I didn't talk to, and a me I didn't recognize. I would have given up a lot more to keep that from happening. I would have given up everything because I was so tired of giving up myself. I never expected to be a divorced woman by the age of 27 but here I am five years later with a new husband that I love (who respects me, took me to Italy twice, and listens when I talk - most of the time.), a child I would throw myself in front of a bus for, two dogs that bring me as much joy as headaches, and it stands repeating, I have never been happier.

*(quick note: A few years ago my ex-husband remarried. His new wife has three kids from two prior relationships. I often wonder if he thinks of his stepchildren as those men's "mistakes".)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Trade Secrets


Hey, you. Yeah you. The one with the dog.

(And you, the one thinking about getting a dog. You should pay attention to this too.)

Have you ever wanted to know why your dog behaves better with his trainer than with you? Do you ever wonder why, when the instructor asks if she can use your pup to demonstrate a particular command, little Rover trots happily along, never pulling, paying close attention and executes said command flawlessly? Does it ever chap your ass to see your pound pup or expensive pedigree pooch - we'll call him "College Fund" - plop his butt on the floor the first time the instructor says sit? Especially since you've been trying to teach him how to do that for a week with mixed results. Okay, not mixed exactly. Try no results. None. Do you ever look at your dog and then at the trainer and say "What magic did you perform on my precious Muffy?"

Would you like to know the secret?

At great expense to my reputation and my membership in the mystical society of canine educators I will share with you the Secrets of a Dog Trainer.

(I don't know why, but I feel like there should be some music here. Like the music sting from "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?".)



We smell like cheese, hot dogs and liver. We smile at the dog and use happy voices and lots of praise. We talk to the dog in even tones about nothing in particular, the weather perhaps. But when the time comes to get down to business we are direct and to the point. We say what we mean and mean what we say. And we smell like hot dogs. I cannot stress that enough. That's it. And we're more than willing to share these tips with you. That's what we get paid for.

Hope I didn't disappoint too many of you.

I get a little frustrated from time to time with the dog owners who attend my classes. I will stand in front of 8 or 9 of them, all with wiggling dogs straining on their leashes, week after week and tell them clearly and succinctly that this (demonstrating command with my own wonderfully - cough - trained - cough - dog) is what you should do to get your dog to _______ (insert command here - sit, down, stay, come to me now right now and stop rolling in that dead chipmunk carcass!). I will show them step by painfully small step how to go from a) dog nearly choking itself to get to the dog next to him, to b) dog sitting nicely next to owner and waiting for their tasty treat.

And I will stress over and over that what ever command they are teaching their dog should be said once and only once and not repeated over and over again in rapid succession. And what do I hear once I've showed them a few times what to do, step by step?

"Sit! Sitsitsitsitsit! SIT! Doggie, sit! C'mon sit. Come! Come here. Why won't you sit? No! Down! Stop jumping on me. Down! Off! Stay away! Okay, good dog. Now, sit. No! Down! Sit! Stupid dog, SIT!!!!"

I don't know about the dog, but I have no idea what those particular owners are trying to get their dog to do. Sit? Down? Come? My head is spinning at that point. Maybe I didn't make myself clear, something must have gotten lost in translation.

So I go over to one owner and ask if I can demonstrate the command again, this time with their puppy. "Oh, please!" they'll say. "I think she's untrainable. See what you can do with her." And then they give me that knowing look. The one that says "Good luck. You and I both know this dog is untrainable."

Before their very eyes I will wave my invisible magic doggie training wand (in the form of a small piece of liver, a tighter leash, and a direct command "sit") and to their astonishment get that untrainable puppy to put it's butt on the floor. The first time I ask. And then again and again. Wow. Some magic. When I give the pooch back to it's owner, the hapless woman (or man, but sadly its usually a woman) will make some remark about how amazing that was and could I continue to train their dog.

Uh, lady, that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to teach you and your dog how to do this. Its not rocket science, its basic dog training 101. Tay appention, Panky.

In two weeks my classes will be starting again. Everyone has taken the spring to get their new puppies or shelter dogs to save themselves the trouble of housebreaking in foul weather. That means I've got at least a month of bad training to undo. Well, not bad exactly, more like incorrect. These people have the best intentions and want to do right by their new furry charges. But after the first night of class I will go home, tired and spent and covered with dog hair and drool, and sit on my couch with my head in my hands and my husband will ask me why I still do this if it bothers me so much that not everyone listens. Not everyone is as committed to training their dog as I am.

That's not the point, I'll say, I love what I do. And if I can reach these people and help them teach their animals the correct way to leave some of their canine instincts behind and live peacefully with a family then I can save them some heartbreak when their puppies grow up into dogs and become too big and unruly for them to handle. Their failures are my failures. If I can't reach them then what will happen to their dogs?

That's the real secret. Dog trainers can predict with some accuracy which dogs will be relinquished to pounds and shelters. And that's what we're trying to stop from happening. We're trying to keep those dogs from being passed from one concrete kennel to another. The magic does not lie in the commands themselves, it lies in the connection that an owner makes with their dog, when the two of you are working together. When there's no push or pull. When your dog knows what you want from them because its been made clear from the beginning. The walls of confusion come down and you're both speaking the same language.

And the look between the two of you speaks volumes and you can never imagine life without them. That's magic.


This post in no way reflects my feelings about anyone who has reached out to me through my blog for advice on how to handle their dog. Its the culmination of a few years of classes and the hundreds of dog owners I have met and counseled. I enjoy helping dog owners and will continue to do it, regardless of my occasional frustration.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A glimpse into the mind of a toddler

Pick me up.
No, put me down!!

Carry me.
No! Let me crawl.
No, wait. I want to walk.
Nope, I want to crawl.
Yay! Look at me, I'm walking!

Feed me!
Feed me more.
Feed me more, more, more.
No! Get that slop away from me.

I want milk.
Get that damn sippy cup away from me, woman. You offend me with that contraption.

I want my bottle.
I want my bottle.
I want my bottle.

I'm sleepy.
Ah Ha! Fooled you. I'm wide awake.

Let's play.
Leave me alone.

I changed my mind. I'm really sleepy.
Wait! Don't leave me.
Hold me while I sleep.
No. Put me in my crib.
Wait! Don't leave me!!

I need my diaper changed.
Get away from me with those wipey things, woman.

Daddy's home!!
Get that man away from me.

Look! A dog!
Get that animal away from me.

Hey! Where is the kittie going? I just wanted to hug him. Hard. Around the neck.

Hug me.
Kiss me.
I'm not sorry I just smacked you across the head, Mama.
I'm going to do it again.
And again.
And again.
Hey! Don't put me down.



Cry Whine Smile Laugh Cry Whine Whine Whine

Mommy, why do you always smell like wine?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A mother's revenge

I don't know what I did to deserve you guys but I think I may have stumbled into the most kick ass group of women (and men) in the blogosphere. I thank you for all your kind words in regards to my last post and for not drawing mustaches and devil horns on the picture I posted. You'll never know how stressed out I was after hitting the 'Publish Post' button. You all made this Mama's weekend.


Now that I'm finished gushing...

Could someone please tell me what the hell is going on with teenage fashion these days. Because what passes for clothing for the 13 to 18 year old set is enough to make a stripper blush.

Let me share with you the situation that raised my ire: There I was, driving through one of the local neighborhoods this afternoon when I came upon a group of girls - I'd say they were around 14, but who can tell these days? - waiting to cross the road at a stop light. I think they were wearing enough fabric between the six of them to make a nice pair of pants for Chicky Baby. Capri pants. And the makeup! Enough to make Tammy Faye Bakker say "Oh my Christ on the cross that's a lot of God damned makeup." What parent lets their kid out of the house looking like that?

This was all swirling around in my brain as I waited for the light to turn green.

And that is when my reality kicked me in the back of the head.

If you're playing along at home and you're nodding your head vehemently to what I have just spewed, then you my friend are a Parent. Or you have parental tendencies. And I don't know about you, but I'm a little freaked out by my passionate reaction to a group of girls and the clothing they chose (not) to wear. When did I become that woman? That mom? The one who tsk tsks teenage fashion? The one who says "That poor girl should really wear a jacket. Its only 55 degrees outside, she'll catch her death."? The one who wishes her 19 year old neighbor would pull up his pants and wear something besides baggy cargos, a wife beater and sideways baseball cap? Somebody tell me where this woman came from. And while you're at it could you tell me how to get the stick out of her ass. I mean really... What's next?

I know what's next and its not pretty. Soon I'll be criticizing their music. Just shoot me now please.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was that teenage girl spending summers at my girlfriend's house. You know, the one with the older sister with the cool wardrobe? I went to her house because my mom wouldn't let me wear the Dr. Scholl's clogs (you'll twist your ankle and break your leg) and the painted on Jordache jeans. She hated that I wore makeup - and, to be fair, I really did look bad in blue mascara - and I poofed my hair within an inch of its life (I still weep, to this day, over the hole that I single handedly created in the ozone layer with my ever present can of AquaNet). So off I went to my friend's house to pilfer her sister's clothes when the sister wasn't looking. My girlfriends and I would tart ourselves up, flip up the collars of our shirts, attached appropriate bandanas to strange places, and head out to... I can't remember where the hell we were going. The playground to hang out with the 15 year old boys, maybe? McDonald's? Where ever it was, it was imperative that we looked as much like french whores, or Madonna, as possible.

We thought it was cool to draw looks from passing cars. We would count the number of car horns that would beep at us and we acted surprised at seeing the leering face of the older men who made the offending noises. We were too cool to play basketball with the boys when dressed as we were, even though each of us were hardcore athletes. Wouldn't want to get sweaty, that might ruin the hair.

I can remember this all so well. I can remember the disgusted look on my mom's face when she came to pick me up a little earlier than expected and caught me looking like I was about to audition for a Whitesnake video. She would yell and scold and I would yell back "You don't remember what its like to be young!".

Ah, but she did. Didn't she?

Now I have a daughter and when I see those young girls with their asses peaking out from beneath their shorts (butt cleavage!) I see my life flash before my eyes. That was me once and one day there's a good chance that will be my daughter. She's going to sneak out to the mall and purchase barely there tank tops and skirts with her birthday money and then hide them in the back of her closet. She'll then take the contraband and stuff it in her school bag to change into when I'm not looking. And then people on the street will see my child in the latest fashion trend influenced by MTV and they'll say to themselves "Why would any mother let her child leave the house like that?". And there's not a damn thing I can do to stop it. On the occasions when my mother was particularly pissed off at me for what I wore or what I did - that would have been every other week - she would yell "I hope you have a daughter just like you one day." Damn.

You don't think there's a chance that flannel and baggy jeans will come back into style, do you?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This will get me kicked out of the sorority for sure.

In her never-ending quest to bring everyone together in a virtual happy assemblage of bloggerly love, HBM is calling for all da ladies to give a shout out (or two) to the Dad Bloggers we read and adore. Great idea, right? Unfortunately for me, with the exception of Crouton Boy over at Cheeky's Hideaway, I don't really read Dad Blogs on a regular basis.


I know. Sure, I've got Sweet Juniper on my blogroll, and I do visit at least once a week, but I haven't made an emotional connection with his blog or with any others of the male persuasion. I don't know what's the matter with me. The men are just as good at this blog writing stuff as the women (maybe better, given that I just used the word "stuff" to describe putting intense feelings about our lives and families into words and then sending them out onto the web for random strangers to read. Nice.). I try to read and support the guys but I find that I'm missing... Something. I don't know what it is. There are some fantastic Dad Bloggers out there, I can't stress that enough. So what the hell is the matter with me?

As a woman whose formative years were spent mainly around boys and men, I should be the first person to jump on the Daddy Blog Booster Bandwagon. But instead I've focused all of my attention on other women bloggers and its tripping me out just a bit. I've never wanted to admit it (out loud) but I must confess...

I don't really like other women.

[ducking the coffee cups, high heels and flat-irons being thrown at me]

Okay, okay. Before you hit the back button, please let me explain. I should probably add a caveat to that statement. I didn't really like other women, but that was before I became a mother. And I have some very good reasons so, please, give me a chance to explain. Please? Sit and listen to my woeful explanation. Maybe, if I can get you to understand, you'll gain some insight into the inner workings of Mrs. Chicky.

(Oh God, please don't leave me. I need you guys.)

(I need. I need.)

(I'll make you cookies if you stay.)

(Oh man, love me. Validate my existence. Don't leave. Gaaaaahhh....)


And here's my pitiful explanation as to why. Women scare me. They always have and they probably always will. I have a hard time relating to them as a group. Singularly they're okay. Together, a bunch of women are a force to be reckoned with. I've always felt more comfortable with men for the very reason I alluded to already. I was brought up around boys and men. I spent the majority of my preschool years around my dad and his buddies, with the sons of my mother's friends, and with my 3 youngest uncles. For whatever reason, there just weren't that many girls my age to foster the bonds of sisterhood with. Since I didn't have a female sibling until I was 4, I didn't have another accessible girl to play with on a regular basis until I was approximately 6 years old. I think the door was closed on my imprinting stage at that point. I had best girlfriends in elementary school and up through college, but not large groups of female friends because I learned very early on, as most of us do... That girls? They're cruel little bitches.

Seriously, da girls are spooky. But so is my mom before she's had her coffee.

Girls are cliquey and catty and manipulative and they hold grudges.

Girls believe in pack mentality. Its like a religion to them. All pray at the altar of the Alpha Female.

Girls listen as you lament your breakup with your first high school love one day and then the next show up at school wearing the sweater you lovingly bought for your now ex-boyfriend as a Christmas present the year before. Loudly announcing without words that she was now dating him. Yeah, like I wasn't going to notice that one.

Sorry, I was going to keep it unspecific.

But can you believe the nerve of that bitch?

Anyhoo... I've always enjoyed having male friends. For most of my adult life I worked in industries where I was the only woman or, at least, one of a small handful. In my twenties I surrounded myself with male friends, but always keeping one or two female friends around for advice and support. And for someone to go shopping with. Men hate shoe shopping. Its a fact, look it up.

There's little or no politics involved when you are the woman friend in a group that is predominantly men. You can pretty much be yourself with a group of guys. You talk about what you want (as long as it doesn't involve feminine hygiene products or make-up shades), toss around off-color jokes without feeling the need to censor yourself, and talk about high level things without having to share your deep feelings. Gag. The only thing you have to worry about by being the only female in an all male group is someone wanting to get into your pants. And you're pretty much guaranteed that at some point, every one of them has thought about what it would be like to get you into bed. But as long as that fact is known but never spoken, and no one steps over that line, everything is copasetic.

Now, I love sharing. I am, after all, a woman. I'm all for it, but sometimes that shit gets tiring. And if you allow another woman into the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind you can almost guarantee that somewhere along the line what you shared will be used against you in a court of feminine law. Unless you find one or two people of the same sex who you can trust. And, seriously, I wasn't too convinced that they existed and if they were out there, those wenches were hard to find.

Then I became a mother and women started coming out of the woodwork! My God, where the hell were all of you hiding?

From the looks of my stat counter I'd say Canada. But that's the subject of another post.

Now that I'm a Mom there are women, other mothers, in my town who are offering to babysit my kid so I can run to a doctor's appointment. Women who send me emails or call me on the phone to say "Hey, I'm bored and I was wondering if you were too. Wanna take the kids for a walk?" There are women whose blogs I'm reading who are sharing (there's that damn word again) their thoughts on motherhood and marriage and so many other topics and, I don't know about you, but no one is emailing me about what so and so said and engaging me to gossip about them behind their back. I'm stunned. I still don't believe that all women are as great as the ones I've been running into recently, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Until they pick on my shoes and then all bets are off.

So my point of all this drivel (and I didn't mean for it to go on and on like this. Really.) is now I'm primarily reading Mom Blogs and that leaves little time for the Dads. Sorry guys. I'm going to make a concerted effort to seek out some Dad blogs to read along with all the Mom and Women blogs I ravenously consume.

And if you've stayed this long I'm sure you have realized that the I can't easily get you the cookies I promised. It is the internet, after all, and warm cookies make a hell of a mess when jammed into the computer's CD player.

Well, where else would you have me put the cookies?

Instead, and this was something else I wasn't planning on, I will offer you this...

Please keep the pointing and laughing to a minimum because I'm fragile and I carry a lot of baggage. And if you're planning on talking about me behind my back don't let me find out about it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How far the mighty haven fallen

Oh Dave. Why, Dave, why? For years I've been on your side, in your camp. Even through the late 80's when I questioned if Sammy really was better than you, talent wise, I still loved you. You were the showman. The quintessential frontman. Sammy may have one-upped you in the voice department, but even then I often second-guessed myself. Did he really have the better voice? Were the songs better, more sophisticated than when you fronted the band that made (Oh) Pretty Woman big again? Dancing in the Streets? You were the Ice Cream Man. You were Hot For Teacher. You were 1984. You were Diamond Dave, for Chrissake!

I understand that the past decade and a half have been hard for you. Ever since Skyscraper peaked - which wasn't really Damn Good, but it had meaning for me - and faded away just as quick. The 90's were tough. The new century was tougher. You gained and lost a radio gig. You even got an everyman job.

But did you really have to resort to this?

Oh, Dave. My how the mighty have fallen. Were you pushed? Or did you Jump?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Meet my friend: Murphy S. Law

On the wall of my orthodontist's office, next to the reclining chair where I, as a child of 11 years to 14, sat far too many times to have my palette expander checked or have yet another bracket replaced, was a large poster of Murphy's Law. Possibly placed there to alleviate the tedium or to lighten the mood, but whatever the reason, there it was in all it's Times New Roman glory for me to gaze upon. Since there's really not much else to do when you have the large, hairy hands of a wanna-be comedian turned oral sadist in your mouth but stare at the same poster, time after time, by the end of my orthodonist's reign of terror on my mouth I had committed many of the laws to memory. Since I was a young and easily influenced young lass, the covenants of a man named Murphy left an unfortunate lasting impression on my life forever after. There beginning a lifetime of looking at life through crystal clear glasses. My husband calls me a pessimist but I disagree, preferring instead to refer to myself as a realist. Does life suck? Sometimes, yes it does. Do shitty things happen to people who don't deserve it. Yepper, you betcha. Is it really impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious? Ooh, that's a head scratcher! Is the glass half full or half empty? I don't really care as long as I don't have to pay full price for whatever is in that partly filled glass.

For those of you not familiar with my friend Murphy and his axioms, his philosophy on life can be summed up with one line:

"If anything can go wrong, it will."

Oh, yes. It will.

My husband, a man who was born with a set of perfectly straight teeth, therefore never necessitating a visit to any orthodontist, jocular or otherwise, should have been given a pocket copy of that Murphy's Law poster. Then he might have known that the very act of getting wrecked on cheap white wine on a Sunday evening would guarantee that our daughter would pick that night to spike a high fever while simultaneously cutting most of her baby molars and spend the entire night waking us up with her wails of pain.

In case you were wondering, I also partook of the wine - like I was going to say no to wine, cheap or otherwise? Psssh. - but I knew when to say when. My man, who had gotten complacent because our child is a wonderful sleeper, tossed down a goodly amount of the drink. Not only that but he decided that he wanted to pass out sleep on my side of the bed that evening, convinced that he is that its the more comfortable side, and my side has the baby monitor next to it. I told him that the person on that side is responsible for listening for signs of baby distress and he said he was worthy of the task.

Murphy's Law, honey, Murphy's Law.

Do you think I let him off the hook, when at 1am Chicky Baby sounded the first alarm? If you said yes then you don't know me very well. He has to learn that life is not all sunshine and ponies. He has to learn that sometimes shit happens.

And I took my side of the bed back.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dear Blogger,

Before I get into this diatribe I want you to know that I understand hardware problems, downtime, software glitches and all that stuff... But c'’mon. This is ridiculous.

For the past two days I've tried to read posts written by my wonderful blogging friends and leave witty, insightful comments that will leave them begging for more, but I can'’t because you've had several thousand problems with your site, hindering my ability to write even the smallest "Hello! I'm still here!" And thats if I can load their sites in my browser. What the fuck? Can'’t you people get it together?

I've tried giving you the benefit of the doubt. I've read your "“Scheduled Outage"” notices, shook my head, swore a little, and moved on to other things. However, none of the scheduled times fall into the times that I'’ve had problems. It seems like when I've attempted to write a new post in the past two days, my Dashboard won'’t open. Reload. Nothing. Reload again. Again, nothing. I've had to resort to writing posts in WordPerfect to copy and paste at a later date. It sucks. It really, really sucks and I'’m tired of it.

I don'’t mean to take my frustrations out on you but you don'’t seem to understand what this means to a woman like me on a day like today. When you'’re having a day like I'm having, not being able to get your frustrations out is a horrible perdicament to be in. Its not your fault that its been raining here for what seems to be weeks on end and I can'’t take a walk or go to the park and the simple act of going to the grocery store is a monumental task involving coats and umbrellas, wet grocery carts and soggy hair.

Its not your fault that I'm feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. That I haven'’t been sleeping well and I'’ve been short-tempered with everyone in my house.

Its not your fault that I'’ve been snippy with my dogs. Okay, maybe my dog deserved to be yelled at for snatching something out of my daughter's hand. Again. But its not your fault that I blew up at my other dog for being pushy for attention. The poor animals haven't had a decent walk in... I forget the last time they had a walk, decent or otherwise.

Its not your fault that I haven't worked in a month and that I have no life outside my of home and family.

Its not your fault that I haven't gotten around to making that appointment with my gynecologist or found a chiropractor that could help me with my chronic back pain because it would require getting a babysitter.

Its not your fault that I don'’t know how to hire a babysitter who would be willing to deal with a 13 month old who is going through a phase of severe separation anxiety. Its not your fault that even if I could find such a remarkable person, I wouldn'’t be able to afford their fee since I haven'’t worked in a month.

Its not your fault that I snapped at my daughter for swimming in the dog'’s water dish and then again for throwing her sippy cup at me for the fifth time today.

Its not your fault that she won't drink from that damn sippy cup even though she knows how to and I seem to be the only one who cares.

Its not your fault that I walk around the house, day after day, cleaning and tidying and wonder why I bother because the next day there will be just as much cleaning and tidying to do and nobody, besides me, cares.

Its not your fault that I'’m letting my child rip up a magazine because I need a moments peace and the other options were letting her jam a pen in her eye or hitting the dog in the head with her sippy cup, again, and I just don'’t have the energy to care.

Its not your fault that I'’ve been on the verge of tears all day and finally gave in to them after something set me off.

Its not your fault that I'’ll have to put my child into therapy by age 2 because her Mama had a slight breakdown in front of her.

Its not your fault that the breakdown made me feel worse, instead of better, and I now have a stuffy nose, red eyes and the beginnings of a horrible tension headache.

Its not your fault that I didn'’t mean for this post to turn out this way. It started as an angry letter to you, the staff of Blogger, and its turned into an online rant and you're probably a bunch of guys who have never had to go through the kind of shit that a stay at home mom has to and you obviously have your own problems so you probably don'’t care.

But please, I'’m begging you, get your hardware problems fixed. Or you'’ll be getting my therapist'’s bill in the mail.

If I can find a babysitter for my kid, that is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Just me and my wine - The outlook is not so Rose-y

In my never ending quest to fight the evil writers block I recently promised twice-monthly wine recommendations. That means I will drink wine, think long and hard about what that wine says to me (and to me its usually saying "Drink me! Drink more of me! BwaHaHaHa."), and then pass that wisdom on to you guys after I've sobered up. Because one never wants to drink and blog, does one? If that becomes a habit one will start posting about the fabulousness of one's new pedicure, fall back on the beauty of one's child, or participate in far too many memes. And one will keep referring to oneself as "one".

Before I go any further I feel I have to make perfectly clear the fact that I am not a wine expert. I am simply a wine lover who drinks, um... Let's just say enough wine for a mother of a challenging young child to decompress with after a long, hard day. I've been to many a winery, participated in quite a few tastings, and I have a husband who shares my passion for this hobby. Oh, and I have a sister who owns her own restaurant who keeps us stocked with free vino and, if we are so inclined, tickets to informative events. Or, as I like to call them, drunk-fests.

(I know that's not the purpose of those events, but after tasting the offerings of 4 or 5 distributors, its hard not to feel a little tipsy. And please don't get me started on spitting. I don't spit.)

If you read a recommendation from me about a wine that you've had and you think I'm full of shit - Tell me. I don't care and it won't hurt my feelings. These recommendations are based on my opinion (and maybe my husband's), if you'd like to add your two cents, go ahead and add away. Please, I encourage it. My tastes may be different than yours and I welcome your opinion.

One more thing before I get to this week's selections: You will never see me recommend a white zinfandel. Never. Don't even ask. I'm not a wine snob of the highest degree, but I've got to have my standards.

On to the wines...

My darling husband was in a Rosé phase over Memorial Day weekend. I have no idea why. As I mentioned before, we don't drink pink wines unless they're bubbly, so you can imagine the perplexed expression on my face when he removed the bottles from the paper sack. He had purchased a 2005 Marques de Caceres Rioja for approximately $9, a 2004 Vin Gris De Cigare for $12, and a Chateau Puech-Haut for $16. I almost wept when I saw that the Hubby had spent 16 bucks on a Rosé but since we weren't returning them to the store from which they were purchased, we put them in the refrigerator to chill. Luck would have it that the weekend was warm so the wines were not a bad choice after all.

If you're new to wine, or if you insist on drinking pink beverages that aren't made by Nestle or Kool-Aid, a Rosé is a good wine to cut your teeth on. They're light on the tongue, not too sweet (actually, they're not really what I would call sweet at all) and the flavor almost always disappears soon after you swallow. In my opinion its a good wine to zone out with because it doesn't require much thinking. Real wine connoisseurs might disagree with me, but I am not a real wine connoisseur. To me, a Rosé is better than drinking water, but not much.

The $16 bottle - which I can't find a webpage for anywhere - was mildly interesting. Subtle in taste, it didn't overwhelm me at first, but the more I drank of it the more I enjoyed it. If I had to pick the one I liked the best, that would probably be the one. But it will be a cold day in hell before I spend 16 hard earned dollars on that wine again. For the money, I thought the $9 Rioja was the best. Much more flavorful than the other two and it won't hurt to open your wallet to buy.

The moral of the story - It doesn't always pay to look at life through Rosé colored glasses. Try a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc instead.

Friday, June 02, 2006

This Day in History, ahem, Herstory

Rainy days are great for self-reflection, so here's a look back into the life - or lack there-of - of Mrs. Chicky.

Wait! Don't go. It'll be fun. I promise! Sit. Stay. Have a cookie.

20 years ago I...

  • Was finally free of the evil, silver torture devices that orthodontists call "braces", and the equally horrible headgear. ("Stan, are you looking at my headgear?")
  • Was entering my first year of high school. The school is made up of 3 circular buildings so all you have to do is walk around and around until you find your class. I don't know how I did it, but I got lost looking for the auditorium. Nobody told me it was in the circle on the left. At least I didn't go looking for the swimming pool on the roof.
  • Was involved in my first high school romance. He was a senior (yeah, this girl moves quick). He was a wrestler. He had a mohawk. I have no idea what I was thinking. Perhaps I watched Vision Quest too many times.
10 years ago I...
  • Was planning my first wedding knowing in my heart of hearts it was a mistake.
  • Had even less of a life than I do now because I was getting up for work at 4:30 in the morning.
  • Was meeting Bonnie Raitt and Bob Seger - perks that didn't make up for me having to get up at 4:30am, because they were pretty shitty perks.
5 years ago I...

  • Made my first trip to Italy.
  • Got proposed to by my now husband on that trip - I told you this girl moves fast.
  • Wanted to ram a fork into each ear if I heard "God Bless the USA" one more time.
3 years ago I...
  • Was leaving Corporate America to work with dogs.
  • Was settling into this idea of marriage the second time around.
  • Was wondering if Jason Guarini and Kelly Clarkson were held at gunpoint while making that movie.
1 year ago I...

  • Was wondering if it was too late to call a do-over on this baby idea.
  • Was one minute saying "Oh my God! I love my baby!" And the next, "Put her out with the garbage. No one will know." Well, what do you want from me? She was colicky.
  • Scarfing down large quantities of the foods that made me sick for the entire 9 months of my pregnancy. No more puking! Yay!
So far this year I...

  • Celebrated one year of not leaving my child on the doorstep of the local church.
  • Logged far too many hours of blogging.
  • Successfully weaned Chicky Baby. Whoo-Hoo! Caffeine and wine whenever I feel like it!
Yesterday I...

  • ... um, what the hell did I do yesterday?
  •, uh...
  • I forget.
Today I...
  • Went to the Wholesale Club for diapers and walked out with a hundred bucks worth of stuff I convinced myself I needed. Damn, they get me every time.
  • Read "The Belly Button Book" 5 times. Four of those times to Chicky Baby.
  • Read some more blogs. Duh.

Tomorrow I will...
  • Probably be floating down the street in a rubber boat. Just what we need here in Massachusetts, more possibilities for flooding.
  • Warn my husband not to come home with any horrible injuries sustained while playing in his Ultimate Frisbee tournament. He's got to play in a monsoon. Sucks to be him.
  • Read some more blogs.
In the next year I will...

  • Drink lots of wine.
  • Watch Chicky Baby learn to walk and talk and probably learn how to tell me off, but in an oh-so-cute manner.
  • Read some more blogs.

Are you still with me? Good bloggers. Good stay. Okay! Go have a treat.

Sorry, I'll save the sit/stays for my dogs.

Since Crouton Boy tagged me for this meme in a geographical fashion, I will do the same. To my sistas in the great white north - and you know who you are - consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Random acts of cuteness

Okay, I'm biased, but I have to ask... How can one kid possess so much cuteness?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I made this delectable creature. And she's all mine and her Daddy's. At least until she discovers boys.

Or until the boys discover her.

Damn that Sally Field for saying this so much better than I can

Like any person with low self-esteem I have a really hard time accepting a compliment. So when I heard that J's Mommy nominated me for a Perfect Post award, I honestly thought it was a joke. I hurriedly clicked over to Petroville's site and, sure enough, there was my blog name among some other really fantastic bloggers for whom my respect is immeasurable. Then I rubbed my eyes and looked again, just to be sure. Still there! Holy crap! My first thought was...

What does this mean? Is there a ceremony? Will Vera Wang send me a free dress to wear? Can I get Jonathan to do my hair... 'cause that's the only way this mess on top of my head is going to look good. Some extensions would be nice. Oh, I better contact Harry Winston for some bling, although, those body guards are a wee bit scary....

Then I got my head of my beee-hind and realized that I would only be receiving a shout out on Petroville's and Lucinda's blogs and a button. Which is just fine because I would have had to hire a sitter and booked a limousine. And then I would have gotten all silly on the complimentary champagne.

Besides, how cool is a button on my side bar proclaiming that someone very cool in my book thought one of my posts was perfect?!

Okay, I'm done gushing. Gushing doesn't suit me. I'll just sit here and blush.

Thanks J's Mommy!