Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I’m tired of the summertime chaos.

Tired of feeling disorganized, discombobulated, over-scheduled, anxious, like there are not enough hours in the day.

I look at the clock when it’s 11 a.m. and I think, “Oh my, I don’t have enough time to do all the things I have to do today.

Tired of whipping dish towels at lone flies that sneak in through the screen door.

Tired of yelling, “Close the door so the flies won’t come in!” and “Close the door because you’re letting all the cold air out!”

Tired of the oppressive Chicago heat.

Tired of cleaning the kitchen, feeding a handful of extra kids every day for lunch, although I adore those extra kids and they keep my own three kids entertained and happy.

Tired of when the kids are not entertained and happy, they are bored, irritated, crabby, whiny, hungry, thirsty, wanting a snack.

Tired of chewing this Bubble Yum Hershey’s Chocolate flavored gum I bought for Diva thinking she would love it, cuz after all, it’s chocolate. But it does kind of suck. Still, I chew away.

I’m tired of having to think about what I eat because if I don’t think I just shove crap in there, and the crap goes straight to places it doesn’t belong.

Tired of black t-shirts that I think hide fat.

I’m tired of having to make commitments, of having to fold laundry, of having to yell at my kids to take the dog out, to take the trash out, to put away their plates, to pick up their shoes, to stop crying.

I’m tired of all the demands that come with the job of being Mother, although I wouldn’t change the situation I am in at all…

Other than maybe, just a little bit, wishing for August 20 to arrive rather quickly.

In the meantime, don’t be jealous, because tomorrow I will be going out, yet again, into the oppressive Chicago heat, to take my darling and worthy children to this show.

And, really, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO!

Am I a dork or what? And in the same vain, I am also excited about this premiere on August 17!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend In Paradise.

Well, it was supposed to be. A weekend, two full nights without the kids, spending time in the beautiful city of Chicago, just hubby and me, reconnecting, being together, being alone.

Didn’t start out too terrific. I woke up Friday morning S I C K. Not hangover sick, not migraine sick, not anything specific sick. Almost like pregnant sick – NOT THE CASE though. Like I felt like I had to vomit all day, had a headache, felt like other stuff was happening, didn’t eat, couldn’t get out of bed.

And yes, Friday was the day we were supposed to go to the city for our reconnecting. Well, I had to go. We pricelined our room, and it was way too expensive because you cannot cancel with priceline, plus my rationale was, “If I’m going to be sick, I might as well be sick in a nice hotel room without my parents, my in-laws, my parent’s dog, and my three kids, right?” Right.

And it’s just so darned unfair. I looked forward to this little getaway for months! Our relationship thrives on these reconnecting moments and why do I get sick that day? So, I suck it up, and try to tell myself I am getting better.

A friend of mine and her husband had planned on going with us because her husband works near the city so we were all going to go down there and have dinner together. I almost called her to cancel. I felt really bad about screwing up everybody’s plans. I even told her they could get me settled in the bed and the three of them could go out for dinner themselves, with Hubby being the third wheel.

I took a shower, packed who knows what, grabbed a pillow and a Ziploc baggie and got into the backseat of the car. I had eaten a half of a graham cracker and Fresca all day long. I tried to throw up all day long, thinking it would make me feel better. I couldn’t.

I couldn’t, that is, until I got into the moving car. Yup, I yakked in the Ziploc in the backseat of the car; I moaned, I apologized, I felt yuck. Then we got to the city, picked up her husband, and I told him not to get too close to me.

I thought maybe if I slept a little I might feel better, since puking in the back seat of the car seemed to get some of it out of my system. So, the three of them went down to the bar and I snoozed, got up, and told myself, “How many times do I get to go out for a night in the city?” And I got myself ready and met them in the bar and we went to dinner.

Still didn’t feel all that great, drank ginger ale at dinner. I’m sure the waitress thought I was pregos. I even made the joke once, and Hubby commented, “Uh, you have to have sex to get pregnant.”

“We did!” I assured everyone. “Remember, a couple Sundays ago?”

Yep, sad. I know. But remember, I’m all about the quality, not the quantity.

So, after dinner, we walked around Millenium Park which is so beautiful and they have FREE music concerts on the lawn on weekends, and on Saturday mornings they have yoga and pilates for free. Man, it would be so cool to live in the city. I am such a country-suburb bum. There’s the awesome Crown Fountain where digital images of people are on these big glass thingies, and they spit water out at the people.

We got to bed around 10 and in the morning, I felt so much better. Talk about a 12-hour bug. Whatever it was, it wasn’t fun. But Saturday was! Until a point, that is, but I’ll get to that…

We get up and take a long walk along Chicago’s waterfront. Like two hours long. It was so nice just to be together and talk about what we want to do when we’re old, and talk about how we will never jog together, but maybe we’d bike together someday, and we talked about plans for the day. We had THE WHOLE DAY TOGETHER. We had 24 hours of just Mr. and Mrs. Manic time. The day was O U R S for the taking, and yes, we shot the bed. (Which I guess is a phrase I may have heard previously, or maybe I made it up, or maybe it’s part of a phrase I heard before but I adlibbed a little, anyway, we got too excited too early for our adventure.

See, we had it all planned out that after lunch, we would go to the Taste of Lincoln and then afterward, we’d go back to the hotel, take showers, have an early dinner, then go to Venetian Night on the lakefront and watch the boat parade and the fireworks.

Well, we did have lunch; we did go to the Taste of Lincoln and well, it kind of ends there. Because at the Taste of Lincoln, there was just too much music, and too much people-watching and too much margaritas. A band was playing there called the Ides of March and the lead singer was the former lead singer of Survivor so they played EYE OF THE TIGER and I’M HIGH ON YOU, and then they also played some 38-Special songs like HOLD ON LOOSELY (which I think at one point during my high school career, that was a theme song of mine), and also that So Caught Up in You, Little Girl song, and we were drinking margaritas that were just way too strong, and first of all, I shouldn’t have been drinking anyway since the day before I had been really sick. But I guess after one margarita I suddenly thought I felt better. Dumb. I know. But I was in the moment! I was enjoying one-on-one, so far-and-few-between moments with my husband, and we were having so much fun. Then there was another band called Cat Fight, and they sang songs like Let’s Go Crazy by Prince, I Love Rock & Roll by Joan Jett, and surely some others than I cannot remember, cuz at this point we go to a Hoffbrau House type bar and meet some dudes named Orlando and Xavier and this lady named Carlin, and well, after a while there, Hubby decides we’re done drinking and it’s time for us to leave.

We have to take the EL train back to our hotel room, and after the ride when we get off the train, I walk (okay it was probably more of a stumble) over to the nearest garbage can and throw up. Yes, I am one classy chick who certainly can hold her liquor.

It’s 6:30 p.m.

We go back to the hotel, get into the bed, and through my haze, I’m thinking, “well, we’ll just sleep it off, get up in a little while, grab a pizza and go see the boat show.”

FOURTEEN HOURS LATER…Sunday morning… we wake up.

Hubby’s wearing the same clothes he had on when we ventured downtown on Friday afternoon. Neither of us have showered since we’ve been there, and my head will not stop the PLAY button of EYE OF THE TIGER. But, well, we’re kind of refreshed, and starving!

We go to breakfast and rehash the day’s event, agreeing we both had a fun time, and we’re cracking up at how we can still be those two crazy kids who fell in love with each other 17 years ago, probably right around the time that Survivor hit it big. The only difference is, while Survivor may not still be going strong, hubby and I are!

Peace UP!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Good Intentions Gone Awry


Got up extra early to go for a power walk, but had to take Lovey, my "sister-dog," out to pee. Not a problem. She's been sleeping in my bed. After all, she is my mom and dad's dog, hence, my "sister-dog" so I'll watch her two weeks out of the year. It sure as heck beats owning a real live one for 365 days out of a year.

So, it's all good, I grab the leash and take her outside into the beautiful dewey morning.

Except it's not all good, because I get stung on the ankle by a bee.

I'm allergic to bees. The last time I was stung by a bee, I ended up with a steroid prescription, a couple of epi-pens for the future, and this published essay.

Go ahead, read it if you like. No really, READ IT!

I have since tossed the epi-pens, because they had expired. So, I get stung on my ankle, yesterday at 6:30 a.m., and think, "Oh, I'll be OK. If I'm going to asphyxiate, it'll take a while for the venom to motor its way up to my throat and lung area."

So, I go for my walk, but not before taking FOUR children's Benedryl. OK, so maybe four is a lot, but I figured it's CHILDREN'S Benedryl, and the directions said two-to-four tablets. Plus, they tasted good, even for the grape flavor, and don't get me started on why pharmaceutical companies even make grape-flavored stuff. What kid likes grape-flavored ANYTHING?

When I get home, I discover Lovey has peed AND pooped in two different spots in my house, on carpeting no less, and this does not make me happy. I clean it up, muttering under my breath, "Damn Dog." Her antics further reaffirm I am never getting one for our family.

Then, I take a shower and lie down for a minute, telling the kids I am tired and need to rest and that my ankle hurts cuz a big, bad, meany bee stung me.

Children's Benedryl R O C K S ! ! !

Two-and-a-half hours later, at like 10:30 there's Tukey again, my poor Tukey, settled on the edge of my bed, asking for breakfast. I'm seeing a pattern here.

I get the kids "breakunch" and we get through the day. I can't even remember what I did. Maybe laundry. Maybe ... maybe I really cannot remember what we did yesterday afternoon...

Oh wait.

It's all coming back to me. See it was such a crappy day I have tried to block it all from the memory.

Next up, I had to go to the eye doctor to get something extracted from my eye ball. Saturday night, when I got home, took out my contacts, and removed my eye makeup, it felt like a fleck of mascara was stuck in there. I rubbed it all through the night, woke up Sunday morning thinking, "Wow, maybe I should go to the ER," but then I put my contact back into my eye, and it didn't hurt anymore, almost like the contact helped to create a barrier between the injured inside of my eyelid and my eyeball. But, being the proactive gal that I am when it comes to my eyesight, and my health in general, I do make an appointment to see the eye doctor.

I drag the boys to the doctor with me. Diva stayed with a friend.

Two hours later... she extracts an eyelash that was growing in backwards or something, and I've got two cranky boys who have been punching and fighting each other in the lobby.

I'm yelling at them that "Damnit! We do fun stuff all the time. Do you think I wanted to sit at the eye doctor's for two hours! Do you want me to go BLIND!? Then how the heck would I drive you to all the fun places we go, huh? How would I be able to take you to the movies, the pool, the mall? HUH!? You think I enjoyed having a neurotic eye doctor poke and prod my eyeball, flip my eyelid all over the place and then jab it with tweezers?!"

Fun times, I tell ya. Fun times.

At least my eyesight is back to normal.

Back home, at the ranch, well what do you know? Lovey has puked in Diva's room. Chunky puke. I again mumble under my breath, "Damn dog," and I clean it all up. There's still a stain.

Now, it's time to take "sister-dog" Lovey out once more to pee. She ventures over to the side of the house, kind of where I was stung, and suddenly, yep, you guessed it...

Everybody, say it with me...

The dog gets stung multiple times in the face by a pack of bees.

Holy Beehive Batman. Apparently "sister-dog" Lovey had been digging and found a nest in the mulch, and she quite possibly was stung the day before, which may or may not have caused her to vomit. There were about, seriously, no lie, a couple hundred yellow jackets.

I ran to Target, and loaded up on the wasp spray and I tell you, the aftermath when I got through with those little buzzing demons, well, those suckers probably felt they had lost a pretty big war. No survivors.

I then jumped online and googled DOG BEE STING, and discovered dogs can also have Benedryl. And she didn't seem to mind the grape flavor either! So, that was my fun Bee adventure yesterday. My ankle is still swollen, it itches like crazy, and I will probably go to the doctor tomorrow for a steroid pack. But Lovey, well, she seems fine. I don't think she'll be digging in the mulch any time soon, though, that's for sure.

And yeah, while I'm not really a huge dog fan, she's a good dog, and my parents really, really dig her. Now that I think about it, I think they dig the dog more than they dig me! My mom called this morning to check to make sure I didn't have to take Lovey to the Vet ER. I just realized she didn't even ask how I was doing with the bee stings!

Moral of the story: You can EFF with the Manic, but don't EFF with "Sister-Dog" Lovey! Bee-cuz you'll Bee Sorry!!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Marital Roller Coaster

So, marriage and relationships are all just a bunch of twists and turns on a roller coaster. And you know, I hate roller coasters. I mean, what’s the point? They make you dizzy, they spin you upside-down, they make you unsure of what’s coming next. They make you mess up your hair, feel out of control, and sometimes, they make you puke. How is that fun?

This weekend, we had some marital ups and downs, and I swear, the man in this house was experiencing what I can only term as Male-Syndrome-PMS. Seriously. And it must have been a male-full-moon cuz some of the other dads in the ‘hood were experiencing these PMS symptoms.

Saturday a.m. I awoke at my regularly scheduled time of, say, about 9 or 9:30. Is it MY fault that Mr. Manic has some obscure internal clock set to 6 a.m. on the weekends? Nooooo? Do I kick him out of bed saying, “Get your lazy ass up and make those kids some breakfast; I worked hard all week. It’s your turn to microwave the waffles!”? Nooooo. I don’t make these demands. He’s free to do what he wants on the weekends too. Nobody’s putting a gun to his head telling him to get up and play dad.

So, he’s up, doing whatever he does, and then I get up, all cheery and happy, glad the weather is so beautiful, glad that my family is together. I suggest a family walk. The doorbell rings. Six or ten neighbor kids grab my kids so they all go out to play. So much for a family walk. I suggest that maybe I’ll go for a walk on my own.

“What about that refrigerator? Have you given any thought to what you want to do about the fridge in the basement?” he asks.

Well, yes, I have thought about it, and I’ve nagged him for about two months to bring home the cart-thinga-ma-giggy he needs to pull the fridge up from the basement so we can put it into the garage. He’s finally brought it home, and he wants to do this project N O W.

“I sent you an email about it.”

“What email?”

“I sent you an email asking you to clean out that area in the garage to get it ready.”

Dude. An email? Do we not communicate with one another ever anymore? WTF is that all about? Of course, I didn’t say this.

Then, he hurts his finger, cuts it on some ball or something, and it is an owie and this makes him grumpy, and he’s fussing and putzing around and finally I say, “Are you in a bad mood or something?”

“I want to get that fridge set up! I sent you an email. The kids are fighting, you’re sleeping in (he didn’t really say this, I’m just adding for the effect!).”

“God! OK, let’s get the freaking fridge and do it! I just thought we could do it this afternoon. Don’t freak out. What do you have, like PMS or something!?”

So, we go down to the basement and he’s ranting and raving because I didn’t clean out the fridge (all it has in there are some Mike’s Hard Lemonades from like 2003, and a half bottle of Bailey’s, and a frozen pack of hamburger buns).

He starts pulling the shit out and griping and I’m bitching at him, and he says, “I hope I live long enough to experience the lap of luxury you all live in.”


I start crying, tell him this is just great. He’s ruining the day because he’s in a pissy mood and now he’s got me upset and I’m yelling at Diva to pick up all the G-Damn beads she has strewn all over the basement, so now he’s making ME be mean just because he was mean.

Then I pull out the EFF word. I’m going to use it here so you can understand the magnitude of it.

“Fuck this! You are ruining the whole day! Fuck you! I don’t even want to go to the party with you tonight, you bastard. Don’t make us all feel bad because you’re in a crappy mood!”

Then…from me…

“You fucker!”

I turn the corner, and there’s Diva, primly placing all the beads back into the box. “Hi honey. You’re doing a good job. Thank you,” I tell her.

Then he’s trying to get the fridge out the entryway, and we are convinced the previous owners had the basement finished AFTER the fridge was already down there and there’s no way the fridge is coming up.

Screw it.

“Let me know if you need help.” Then I go upstairs. “Fucker.” Under my breath.

Twenty minutes later, I go back down and he’s nowhere in sight. I start to freak a little thinking he’s got himself in such a tizzy he’s collapsed and had a heart attack, and he’s dead and the very last words I said to him was, “You fucker.” That would not bode well for the future as a widow.

“I’m sorry for your loss. What was the last thing he said to you?”

“Well, I can’t exactly remember, but I know I called him a fucker before he keeled over and died.”


So, I finally figure he’s probably gone to the neighbor to get help with the fridge and when I go over to their backyard, there he is, helping the neighbor with their pool cover. And the neighbor’s wife is practically in tears cuz her husband was mad about something too! We are like whispering in the corner that we can’t stand them, and why are they so mean and what is it, a full-moon-male PMS day or what?

Then, he comes over and kisses me.

I turn my head and spit. Nah, just kidding, I don’t. I just say, “Quit being a fucker.”

OK, so this is turning out to be way longer than I anticipated, but in the end, he got the neighbor to help bring up the fridge while I went for a walk, because I wanted to be NOWHERE near that escapade when they tried to lug it upstairs.

Then, I decided not to be mad, and somehow we made up, cuz this is how we fight—we yell and scream (or I do, most of the time anyway), and then we go to our separate corners (well, I do, anyway) to lick our wounds, and then somehow, we regroup and we’re not mad anymore.

I did say, “My feelings were hurt with that comment about us living the lap of luxury.” (Notice how I expressed it with saying how I felt, not how HE made me feel? I think that’s a Dr. Phillism, right?)

And he did say, “I’m sorry.”

And then I said, “OK, I’m going to Jimmy John’s for a sandwich, want one?”

Later, Diva said out of the blue, “Mom, I heard you say the EFF word.”

“I know honey, and I’m very sorry. I was really angry and I shouldn’t have said it.”

“It made my heart beat fast,” she said.

“Did it scare you?” I asked.

“Yes, and then you said the EFF word and then ER too. That’s bad.”

“Yes, that was bad, and I’m sorry, and Mommy and Daddy are OK and we love each other and I shouldn’t have said those words, but let me tell you something missy, men can sometimes be fuckers and it’s up to us women to make sure they know when they are being fuckers, OK hon?”

Bwahhahahahah! Kidding.

So, the party was fun, at our neighbors who just pimped up their backyard with an outside bar that’s so awesome, you feel like you’re at a resort with the pool, and the flat screen and the ambiance. Someone joked that we’re going to have start needing a passport to get access to their backyard.

We got home around midnight, kids included, so everyone slept in this a.m., and then we had a little connection this a.m., and you know what, and I’m going to be talking S E X here, so if you don’t want to hear it, like if you’re Mr. Manic’s SISTER or MOM or MY MOM and don’t want to know about it, skip this part. With kids in the house, and I’ve discussed this before, sometimes I just cannot relax, but even just a little quickie can make the day start out so much nicer. Seriously. I am in the best mood. You then get to go through the day knowing there’s someone who loves and adores you no matter what your body looks like, no matter how bad your breath is, and that person would take you as you are, every day for your life, it doesn’t matter. And that’s what’s special about it now. Yeah, simultaneous Os can be explosive and all that, but not always necessary. Just the connection of knowing that person whom you’ve committed your life to continues to love you each and every day, no matter how much of a fucker he can be sometimes.

And that’s something to be really grateful for. I love my Mr. Manic.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Know What I Hate?

I'm sitting here smacking my gum, a mix of Skittles gum and a piece of Orbit Lemon, cuz I was cleaning out some little baskets in the kitchen and figured the best way to get rid of it all was to chew it. Good thing I'm not cleaning out the pantry or the fridge, right?

So, I'm smacking away, and blowing my big-ass bubbles I like to blow, and I started thinking about things that I hate, so here's a quick list of things I hate:

The fact that there are six random pen tops right here at my desk and I am going to throw them all away RIGHT NOW. Who needs pen tops anyway, they just disrupt the thought process when you have to remove them from the pens, right? So, they're OUT!

Next up, I hate getting bit by stupid little bugs that probably serve no purpose in our world. I seriously have two bug bites right now, and guess where they're located? One is at the very middle spot between my bra, and the other is at the very low part of my back, right smack in the middle (read between the "butt crack" lines here), and I have to keep itching these mother effers and they are ANNOYING me.

I also hate how it sounds when I chew my gum. So much maybe that I will do a youtube video right now so you can hear how it sounds. Hold please.

OK, I did it. Listen to me chew, and get a view of my office space. The dog is Lovey, my parent's dog. You know how well I do with dogs, so let's see if she's still alive when my parents get back next week!

Isn't it totally gross how I chew my gum!?!? THAT IS REALLY HOW I CHEW, I WASN'T DOING IT EXTRA GOOD OR ANYTHING, JUST REGULAR. Gross. I mean, you know how it sounds to yourself when you're chewing, like you're chewing in a tunnel, but then to hear it being recorded, HOW GROSS!!!

It's also unattractive how I chew, and I know this because stupid me was chewing gum at my wedding--how freaking classy is THAT? And on the video, there's me, in a white, totally '90s dress holding a cranberry sea breeze, which I miraculously managed to NOT spill on the dress, and then me, chewing like a cow chewing on cud.

What's cud anyway? Cow puke?

I'm pretty scared I now have the instruments to create Youtube videos. Who knows what will show up here on Manic Mom... Requests?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

SummeR VacAtion At Its FineSt

Tukey: "Mom? Mom? Mommy..."

Me: "Hmmmmm?"

Tukey: "I'm hungry."

Me, burrowing my head deeper in the covers: "Mphwmph whazzeee timeizit?"

Tukey: "Mommy, I'm hungry, now!"

Me: "Mphmmmmm... ten minutes, OK?"

Tukey: "But Mommy, I'm STARVING!"

Me: "Tukey, honey... I was up till 2:30 in the morning. I'm tired. I was busy, doing work, and then googling people, like my ex-boyfriend, and some other people, and then I was surfing on some blogs. Honey, I'm sooooooo tired. Can't you let me have ten more minutes? Please honey? I promise I'll get up in a couple minutes and get you something to eat? Is your brother up? Can't he get you a bagel? Tell Ajers to get you a bagel and he can pour you some milk? Huh, honey? Puuuuhleeeease? I am soooooooo tired, baby."


Me: "Honey, please? OK? Just ten minutes....."




[Insert a dream where I discover I am pregnant and I'm the age I'm now and no one's happy for me cuz I'm 38 and they're all like, "are you crazy? What are you doing getting pregnant at your age" and I am wearing the EPT around my neck like a necklace waiting for people to ask me what it is so I can tell them I'm pregnant and they can tell me I'm stupid and crazy....]



R.E.M zone....



Tukey: "Mom?"

Me: "Yeah mzmzmphwmphhhhh?"

Tukey: "Mommy?"

Me: "What hon?"

Tukey: "Remember you said you'd get me some breakfast in ten minutes?"

Me: "Yes."

Tukey: "Well, can you come down now? It's been TWO HOURS!"

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Well, busy day, busy weekend! Lots to share, in no particular order:

An impromptu date with hubby;
a day with Swishy!;
a new muse;
a LOTTERY contest winner;
my first YouTube video attempt;
an ear-piercing incident;
and more!

First and foremost! A winner has been drawn for Pat's Contest!

And it was completely legit as you can see by the photos:
List of Entrants--

Swish was here, and it’s so random that we get home from our day’s activities (summed up later below) and I need to call Pat to discuss the contest, cuz you know me, we’re all about the biznez.

Special DA BEARS hat used for drawing winner's name:

When Pat answers the phone, she has no idea that Swish is here; and up to this point, I have no idea if Pat has had the pleasure of learning about Swish at all. But, Pat answers, and she tells me she is practically crying because she was reading Swish’s car rental incident, so I start cracking up and say, “Swish is RIGHT HERE in the room with me!” How random is that? So, we have a teleconference on speaker and I decide that, “Hey! Swish should draw the name of the winner to be completely, utterly fair in this contest!”

Entries then placed in the hat--

So, she does, and… drumroll please….

Are you ready?

And the winner is…

Oops, I’m so bad at trying to pull a teaser on you, but this is the deal, you will have to check over at Pat's Blog Monday morning to see who the lucky winner is. Don’t worry, Monday is not that far off!

Anyway, if you didn’t win, you can still BE A WINNER and go out and purchase Lottery on August 2 when it makes its debut in a bookstore near you! You. Will. Not. Be. Disappointed. At. All. Promise! Perry L. Crandall with think, "That is so cool!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next Up: As promised, Swishy's ear-piercing experience!

Still Life Swish's New Ears:

That's all cute and great, but does that tell the story? Nah! What's even better is that I combined Swishy's ear piercing with my first foray into YouTube, unbeknownst to her, because I opted for the video option on my camera...so without further adieu…we bring you…


NOTE: Unless you are REALLY, REALLY weird, you have just tilted your head to the left, right?

Ta-Da! What do you think of THAT?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(For those of you tired of reading, because I realize this is an extremely long post that may have been better fit to be THREE SEPARATE POSTS, feel free to quit reading and come back tomorrow to read about the muses! But if you choose to continue reading, you may want to take a potty break, go grab a latte, or a hunk of chocolate, and come back when you feel like it!)

So, Swish and I then go to B&N, our most favorite place in the world, and we peruse the New Fiction section, browse through the acknowledgment pages of books we are interested in and of authors we know or want to know, and we promise one another that we will acknowledge each other when our books come out. We also promise each other that we will have a good draft of our second novels DONE by October 31, 2007. Yes, maybe it sounds far away, but it’s really only 3½ months away and even just one page a day isn’t going to cut this deadline, and CRIPES! Get this! There’s already Halloween and Thanksgiving crap out at TJ Maxx and More Homegoods store… NO LIE!

And we know this because after our visit to B&N, we both got a little bit depressed because we want OUR books on the shelves and we decide we need more motivation! More inspiration! More butt-kicking!

We decide we need a muse! We need a duo muse! We need something to inspire us to be the writers we dream of, and we need something to have on hand, all the time so we can look at it, and feel the muse, and write, write, write!

So, at the first store, I find this really funky wooden artifact thingy that really, from far away looks like it could double as a rounded pile of wooden poop. (Damn, I should have taken a photo of it at the store.) But upon closer inspection, I realized it was a wooden carving of some dude in a yoga pose that was part child’s pose, part “I’m-a-dog-and-can-lick-myself” pose. I liked it. It was unique, it was funny, it would fit nicely on the desk, and it was cheap.

But, there was only one of these, and Swish and I agreed we needed two of an identical item, exact, in order to get our muses in sync so we can revel in the wonderment of a book seeing the light of day in the not-so-distant future.

So, this muse was not to be.

Then, we found some obscure Fourth of July paperweights, that while also cheap and “matchy-matchy,” just didn’t hold the musey-vibe we were searching for. We knew we had to discover something together, and it had to be a muse item that would jump out at the two of us, and we had to KNOW it was the perfect muse for us.

After searching through some antiquey-looking magnifying glasses (which we liked but they didn’t match), some froggy statues and boxes, more paperweights, an Uncle Sam thingamagig, we left and went to a different store, sure our muse would show itself to us, just like a muse should do so.

And, it appeared.

After scouring through the shelves of obscurity that is the Home Goods section of TJ Maxx, she showed herself to us.

Allow me to introduce to you, “The-muse-that-will-help-us-finish-our-second-novels-to-get-us-to-publication”…

Muses Musing:

Swish and Me with our Muses, INSPIRED!

Got any ideas for names for our muses? Would love to hear them!

“Peace UP! Cuz Peace DOWN is just lame.”

PS… How many of you caught on that I did not discuss my impromptu morning ‘date’ with hubby? Let’s just say I owned up to a Father’s Day gift he’d been patiently waiting for, and call it at that.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Crappy Week Ends on Friday the 13th!

So, tiny soldiers gone, and the culprit was of course, that lovely little monthly visitor. The other day, third day in a row, in fact, I was yelling around 5 p.m. We were in the car. Ajers was like, “Mom, why are you so crabby?”

I said: “OK, Ajers, here’s the thing with women. There’s these things called hormones that are like teeny tiny little devils that live inside us women. Actually, they’re like a chemical (I tried to explain), and they need to get out. So once a month, women get really cranky, and these hormone things go all crazy; the teeny tiny devils get all mixed up and mad, and finally leave the woman. Then, I’m not cranky anymore.”

Ajers, ever so articulate, said: “But it’s not the beginning of the month, mom.”

“Well, this happens to women at all times of the months, these crazy mother-effing hormone things, and my crazy-mother-effing hormone things happen to be making their monthly debut in the middle of the month.”

So there.

I think he understands.

Anyway, today I felt G R E A T ! For quite a few reasons:

~~I did yoga for the first time in a week and a half. We were doing this thing where we put our soles of our feet together and use a strap to hold our feet together, and our knees down, while lifting our heart to the sky. Feeling proud.

Our instructor said, “Think of your proudest moment, feel that, and let it shine.”

Of course, leave it to me to have a question, and leave it to me to ask my question mid-class, while our soles were clasped together, necks high, hearts soaring: “Can we think of a future proud moment?”

Can you all wonder what my future proud moment might be? (Ahem, a book sale please, someday!)

You got it. That’s what I thought of, and I felt proud, and good. I haven’t felt good all week.

~Another good feel-good reason for today—I finally found an activity we all enjoyed together. Tuesday, we attempted ice-skating, and bombed feverishly. Wednesday we did ice cream and mini-putt-putt; Thursday, we went to the mall and out for lunch (where I snuck in a few mommy-do’s like the post office, bank, stop to the store for a refill of Xanax), and then today, we hit the jackpot on fun-kid-and-mommy activities. We went to the local water park. It was beautiful outside, the kids could run wherever they chose, no one fought, I lounged and talked with my friend. It was a relaxing afternoon. And if I do say so myself, well effing deserved on my part!

Next up on my feel-good list for today~~ All the way from Hawaii, I spoke ON THE PHONE with talented, soon-to-be-best-selling-no-doubt-in-my-mind author Patricia Wood. I discovered Lottery had a nice blurb in August's Redbook, and I had to let Pat know so I emailed her and she called me! "How cool is that!?" (read the book--you will know this is an important phrase in it!).

Anyway, Pat has deemed me the judge of her first-ever book giveaway contest! And how fitting that it’ll be a lottery-type drawing! With that said, here are those who have already qualified for the contest--they are signed up to win a copy of Lottery, the audio to Lottery, and some other fun prizes (see the sidebar on Pat's blog to view the prize package.*

Robin L.
CC Zany
Katherine S.
Travis Erwin
Zany Mom
Josephine Damian
Eat Misery
March to the Sea
Jess Riley
Anti Wife
Heidi the Hick
Demon Hunter
Michele O'Neil

If your name is on this list, and you’re not quite sure if Pat has your email address, you must email her to give her your address, where you can be assured you will never be spammed.

And in keeping with the theme of the lottery being, “You can’t win if you don’t play,” there is still time to enter. Simply email a note to Pat at:
to qualify for the contest, to be held on Sunday, and don't forget to leave her your email.

To be completely fair, all entries will be placed in a hat, and I will have one of my children draw the winner! Cuz I’m all about being fair!

~~And lastly, something that completely made my week – Swishy was here for an improptu pseudo-surprise visit! And we just hung out and ate pizza (so much for my Weight Watchers tonight), and she played with the kids, and she’s so fun, and I tell you, her laugh is completely infectious, and then we called Jenster because Jenster is cool and Jenster just had some major surgery yet she mailed Swish and me cute gifts just because!

And on Sunday, Swish and I are going out to write, have lunch and GET SWISHY’S EARS PIERCED. Diva asked Swishy if she will have to hold my hand really tight, and Swish was like, “Yeah, I’ve had to hold your mom’s hand tight before.” And I was like, “When?” And then Swishy reminded me it was HERE.

Peace UP, and thanks to all who shared their CRANKY stories, and wished my tiny bastard soldiers outta here!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tiny Soldiers

Anxious and cranky
Like I could cry for
No reason.

There’s no reason to cry.

Yet I feel them coming,
Tiny soldiers, driving down my face.

A heaviness
Inside, anxious,
Cranky, there's that word again.

Is there nothing to look ahead to?
To be happy about?

I just don’t know, but these tiny soldiers.
They are coming.

Someone, please.
Shoot them for me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cranky, Why I'm

I am extremely cranky today.

And I'm trying to free-write this post, so bear with me. I am cranky because I have a headache. I am cranky because I could deal with the Disney drama, the trip to Ohio, and so many other 'incidents' in my life sans Xanax but when I attempt to be 'nice mommy' today and take the kids ice skating, I become so disillusioned that I need to take a Xanax. Half of one, actually. I did have a nice nap this afternoon.

I am cranky because I am back on WW and this is Day Two of following points and this might be why I have my headache.

I am cranky because I shouldn't be cranky. I should be happy that it is summer and my kids are healthy and generally good children, and that I am blessed with a life where I can do what I want when I want. Does this make me a bitch. Sometimes I think so.

I am cranky cuz I want to buy a new dishwasher. Ours is filled with mung and each time I open it, I smell a gross smell. And I've always hated how it's set up because it is impossible to load it -- it's like some 'effed' up puzzle where none of the glasses and plates fit properly.

I am cranky because I think we need to buy a new bed. Ours totally sucks. I want some 400-count thread sheets and some luxurious sink-deeply-into-them pillows, and a new comforter. Do I deserve a new comforter since this one is seven years old? Maybe I'm getting the seven-year-old itch for a new bed.

I am cranky because our friends are probably getting a divorce.

I am cranky because all I can think about at any point of any day is the food I wish I could eat without having it go straight to my ass, hips, thighs, chins, you-name-it.

I am cranky because I haven't figured out how to get 'me' time in order to work on my second novel.

I am cranky cuz I've worked so hard with the first novel and it's still in limbo, and I just keep thinking that it's a pretty good book and someone should want it!

I am cranky because...

this is where my mind just went blank so maybe this is about as cranky as I am today. I sound like a royal bitch and know I shouldn't be complaining because I do have it good, and all these things I am cranky about are changeable. I can get a new dishwasher, a bed, a bedspread tomorrow if I really wanted it. I can figure out how to spend my time more productively in order to get writing done. I can be thankful that my children are mine and they are happy and good and that Diva and Ajers folded AND put away their own laundry today.

Oh, and I'm also cranky because I need to take a good, long walk with some good music on my ipod to clear this crank-ass head of mine so I can feel in a better mood. Oh, and I think I'm royally PMSing...

OK, your turn--what makes YOU cranky? And how do you clear the crankiness?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lottery, A Quick Ohio Recap, and ZIMA!

I'm back. Trip details to come later, but I do have to say, "A trip to Dover, Ohio is way more enjoyable and worthwhile than a trip to Disney Hell."

And, ZIMA's back!

My cousin and I came up with a whole new marketing campaign for the awesome, original malt-beverage summertime drink. We just need to ask Justin Timberlake if he'll do the print and commercial ads for it.

We envision him singing, "I"m bringing ZIMA back! Those other drinks don't know how to act!"

Of course, we came up with our new ad campaign while imbibing the refreshingest of refreshing drinks!

Anyway, Little Granny's GREAT! I have pics I'll post later, but talking of Little Granny offers the perfect seque for me to bring up the book Lottery, by Patricia Wood because my Little Granny reminds me of the spunky Gram in the book. And, once more, there's a contest!

After you read my review below, be sure to stop over at Pat's blog to tell her you're dying to read her novel, and that you've found out about it from Manic Mom (No, I'm not getting any kick-backs for this. I truly, truly, truly fell in love with this book, and you will too!) The book's not supposed to be out until August 2 but some lucky folks have seen it in their stores already! So, go look! Go buy it! Or, just go over to Pat's blog and tell her I sent you and you will be entered to win a fun prize package, including the book, an audio of the book, and more!

After I read the book, I wanted to do the book justice. This review is completely, utterly how I feel about the story. It's the type of book where, after you read it, you'll lie in bed and wonder how Perry L. Crandall is doing. He's that real:

When you read Lottery, you’ll want to hole up in a comfy room without any interruptions so you can fully immerse yourself in each word, every phrase. It’s the type of book where you tear through the pages, not getting through them fast enough but then you suddenly realize, “Wait! I don’t want this to end!” so you try to draw out the experience. You fall in love with Perry L. Crandall. You’ll remember his name. You fall in love with his life, and the people most important to him.

Perry is real. He could be your neighbor, a friend, an employee at the Dollar Tree. Your brother. A cousin. Your “cousin-brother” (you’ll get that joke after you read the book). He walks down the street. Makes you laugh. Opens a door for you. Offers you a mint. Or a Tums, depending on the look on your face.

He is sincere. He is funny. He is ambitious. He is considerate, always putting others’ needs before his.

He is not retarded.

Perry doesn’t channel-surf; he “channel-hikes” through the TV stations. His Gram taught him to study words from the dictionary every day. He listens. He bounces when he’s happy. He discovers. He learns. He is smarter than any ten people you could put into one room together – his wisdom on life and love and happiness far surpasses the wisdom of anyone I’ve yet to meet.

And there are the unlikely heroes in Patricia Wood’s sure-to-be-a-best-seller, characters who shine like diamonds in the rough. From witty Gram who tells Perry to “quit bellyaching!” to sea-faring, farting and beer-guzzling Keith, to Cherry, the pierced and tattooed Handy Mart gal Perry befriends. Even in his family members, each character lives vibrantly and realistically on the pages and the reader feels all of their inner motivations, whether good or bad. And there is a lot of both in Lottery.

In Lottery you will find love in the most unexpected places, family when you think there was none. It is full of riches, and the message you get when you read and fall in love with Lottery has nothing to do with luck or money. Yet you come away richer after meeting Perry L. Crandall, a name you will not forget.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I'm out, heading to celebrate Little Granny's 95th birthday! Whenever I call her, I always say, "Hi Granny, it's your favorite granddaughter!" She has four granddaughters, but she always says, "STEPHANIE!" all happy and excited to hear it's me, her FAVORITE granddaughter!

I told her on the phone the other day what I was going to get her for her birthday. I said, "Granny, I'm going to get you two-carat diamond earrings for your birthday on one condition."

"What's the condition?" she asked.

"You have to will them back to me when you die!"

Aren't I so nice? She did crack up though. Especially cuz if I did get her earrings, that would mean she's also need pierced ears! Haha! My little Granny, so cute.

She's my little Schnickelpuss! (Pictures of Little Granny taken last November, 2006 -- Isn't she a spirited little gal?)

Hope your Fourth of July is spectacular!

Peace UP!

Manic Mom

Monday, July 02, 2007

So Lucky!

I won the Lottery.

Really. I did. I actually won the Lottery.

Lottery, by Patricia Wood.

From now on, I can say for the rest of my life, I can truly, really, honestly, unequivocally tell people I won the Lottery!

I first heard about this up-and-coming new author probably through Publisher’s Marketplace and Miss Snark's blog (may she R.I.P – We miss you Snark!). And the minute I heard about this book, I thought to myself, “This is a book I must have. This is a hardcover book I will no doubt go out and purchase the day it goes on sale, whether I have a Barnes & Noble-Get-15%-Off-Coupon or not, I will buy it.”

Turns out, instead, I won it! Pat felt so sorry for me (I know, it’s easy to do!) that she awarded me the winner of the top secret contest that even she didn’t know she was holding! Yay me! So, Pat emails me on Saturday, FROM HAWAII, where she is living the life I could only dream of someday – the ocean, Hawaii, time every day to dream and write, spending time with the man I love – she informed me I have won a copy of her book, and that she would like to mail it to me.


Then I think, “Oh, I’m going to Ohio for ‘Little Granny’s” 95th birthday on Wednesday, and wouldn’t it be great to get the book before I left so I could read, read, read on that dreary car ride?” Then I think, from Hawaii to Chicago, it probably won’t arrive in time and I may have to wait until I get home to devour the book.

Nope! Today it arrived. Today, as in Monday. I cannot believe the US Mail got a package to Chicago from a boat in Hawaii in this short of time. And I’m thrilled! See how thrilled I was:

I won the Lottery!

I ripped the package open, feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I am dying to rip through and read the inside cover, the acknowledgment, the dedication, the first page, but I like to draw out good things too, so I'm going to wait until I have no children around so I can just emerge myself in the experience. It’s kind of like having a frozen chocolate treat in the freezer, and I have to wait till the kids go to bed so I can relish in it and completely enjoy everything about the book.

I just love books, the whole idea of them are amazing! And they are to me like some shoes are to women, but not really because how much enjoyment does one get from shoes? Sure, they protect your feet, but sometimes they cause calluses and blisters and can make your feet stinky. But not a book. You get something out of a book. And I cannot wait to get the message I know I am going to love from Pat’s Lottery.

And Pat signed it too. She wrote: To a faithful blogging buddy – have a great time reading!!! Enjoy! Much aloha – Pat Wood

Thank you Pat! I will! And when I get back from what will probably be another Jerry-Springerish-type-family-trip to celebrate Little Granny’s 95th birthday, I’ll tell you all about the prize I will certainly gain from reading the Lottery.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

ELEVATE ME (Pictures Added)

If you could hear me right now, my voice sounds like I sucked down a pack-and-a-half of Salems and slammed four Jaeger bombs last night.

However, I didn't! I was a good girl, but had an awesome time!

We saw ELEVATION, touted (like my big word?) as the planet's No. 1 U2 Tribute band, and guess what?


From Sunday Bloody Sunday to Vertigo, and all the old school songs, Bullet the Blue Sky, With Or Without You... Oh my gosh, they were IN CRED IBLE!

And this band played till like 1:30 in the freaking morning. While we were loving it, and singing along and hugging other patrons, they kept playing and playing and playing. The lead singer, "Danno" is a dead ringer for Bono, complete with the aviator shades, Bono's mannerisms, his jackets... Just fun, fun, fun!

And I paced myself, one drink to every two glasses of ice water. I think I only had five or six drinks, and while that seems like a lot, put it in this perspective -- we got to the bar at 6:30 because we heard the place would be packed and we wanted to make sure we got in. So, from 6:30 till 1:30 in the FREAKING MORNING, (which is just way, way, way too late for this Manic Mom), we drank and ate, and danced, and laughed and listened to an incredible group of musicians.

And the best part? Unlike last Sunday, I am awake! I am alive! And hubby's making the moves on me as we speak...


(Hahahah, that's a line from a U2 song, Sunday Bloody Sunday, very appropriate as he is reading over my shoulder massaging my neck and ... well, I guess I'll go start my day... )

Who's YOUR favorite band to see live?

PS--check out earlier posts--I blogged each day this weekend, busy, busy, busy!