Friday, July 31, 2009

iT'S FiVe THiRTy a.M.

And i can't sleep. i figured I'd come down here and write a blog post and that would bore me into the sleep that I need. It's probably because i'm on a steriod and antibiotic for this ear inrection that I've got ... and I just noticed something else. I can't spell either. Funny. I never realized that I stop learning how to spell correctly when I'm tired or can't sleep or if it's too early in the a.m. I feel I am concentrating too hard on the wrods, (See?) that I'm not sure will come.

I need some major decluttering in my life. There's just too much stuff right now. The visible AND the invisible.

The visible is the stuff that clutters the house, gets in the way of the core of whatever it is that's bothering me. It's not unhappiness. It's definitely not that. I'm happy. I'm just unsettled.

Mr. Manic has been traveling every week since he lost his job and started this consulting gig in May. I won't lie, those of you who deal with it weekly too, know it's hard, it's a pain in the ass.

He comes home, and we all have to shift to the way we were, only to get used to one another again and have him leave. It's weird. Am I getting used to sleeping alone? (Or rather, with a younger smaller person next to me, because I've been shifting kids through my bed when he's not here. But that will stop when school starts.)

I finally, FINALLY! cleaned the laundry room last night. It's been a throw-all for anything and everything that has come through this house since the beginning of June. Bins for each kid - throw in their crap - I don't even care what it is, just get it out of my sight.

Next up - my bedroom, the drawers, the closet. All the clothes that don't fit, because I've also cluttered my body the past three-and-a-half months. I don't know what happened. Of course, I'm lying, I totally know what happened. It's not that I stopped caring about what I was eating. I just kept eating. I really cared about what I was eating and what I could get into my gut.

I do this a lot. Many, many times in fact over the past 8 years. I discover I'm not at a happy weight, go to Weight Watchers, diet, or at least count points and stay within what I'm supposed to, and then lose the weight. Then I get comfortable, and I let myself believe it won't happen again. It does. It's like a game. Do I enjoy doing this? This Yo-Yo that has become my life?

And I'm not writing the way I need to be writing. This damn novel is in my head. It needs to be on the screen. I have an agent. I have the support. I just need to find the uncluttered time to focus on the dream that I have. When will I find it? Every year it is the exact same. I wait for school to start, and tell myself, "Self, you will get into a routine and write that novel when you have the time when the kids are in school." Then other stuff gets in the way, and I tell myself at summertime, "OK, you're going to do this now." This is just, exactly just like the Yo-Yo dieting ... I start, I do well, then I stop. I forget about it for a while. And then I try to get back on track.

It's everywhere. In my home, in my marriage, with my kids, with my body, with my mind.

It just all needs to be decluttered.

I think that now it is 5:41 a.m. and that I might go for a bike ride (I DON'T RIDE BIKES!), and let the wind whip at my face and try to do some soul uncluttering.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BLoGHeR o9 ReCaP MaNiC'S VeRSioN

Due to the unexpected arrival of two sick kids, one with a fever, and of an eardrum that burst and bled (mine), and two days of vomiting and headaches (me), this BlogHer recap is a little bit late. But hey, I'm all good now, thanks to a change in my antibiotics, and my awesome mother-in-law who came to save the day because Mr. Manic is, you guessed it, out of town ...

Before BlogHer '10 comes rolling around, I give you: MANIC'S RECAP, with pictures I am a little bit not at all embarrassed to share here on my blog! ...

So, I guess I’m supposed to write up a blog post about my Blogher experience right? I am finally coming out of the fog of a fabulous weekend of much drinking, eating, partying, networking, playing and getting to know some awesome people I have known online and hadn’t met yet.

When I arrived Friday a.m. to the conference and found my way into the massive room for the opening address, I have to admit, I was freaked out! I felt small, intimidated, and just a little nervous. Thankfully, Melisa with one S, Weaselmomma, Mrs. 4444, Michelle at Honest & Truly and Cape Cod Sue (thank you for my awesome bracelet Sue!) had all saved me a spot so I didn’t have to walk in and be like, “Uh, hello 1,500 bloggers, where do I belong?” Thank you soooo much for making me feel like I belonged somewhere at that very intimidating moment!

Prior to that, I hooked up with my roomie, Dawn of Because I Said So, which makes me a rockstar in the first place cuz I got to sleep with her! ... But she was a bit hungover from the night before and had to get ready for her book signing. We planned on spending plenty of time together later though.

After the very scary initiation into BlogHer, everyone scattered to find seminars and hit the trade show floor. No seminar for me, I went to meet up with whoever I could find at the trade show, and ran into these guys:

Me and the All Fairy

mrs. potato head

Awesome suppliers were there to share their goods with the bloggers, including the AMAZING Suave people (more on them later), Green Works products (of which I do use all of the time), Tide (likewise, and I’m definitely NOT being paid to say any of this!), PepsiCo (did YOU know they make Izze drinks? Get the Clementine flavor, and although they do not advertise you mix it with vodka, try it, and you’ll thank me later!) There were some Laundry Fairies there, and let’s see … I met Paula Deen, even though I don’t watch the Food Network or cook, and even though I was eyein’ up this hottie who was with her (got my picture with him too—found out it’s Jamie, Paula’s hair stylist. I did have some of Paula’s butter bars, which were AMAZING. I wish I ate more of them. Tim Gunn was there too. Who’s Tim Gunn you ask? Beat the hell outta me, but here’s a picture. Later, found out he’s with some show called Project Runaway. I wondered if that’s a show for missing kids maybe?

Hands down best trade show booth was SUAVE! I went there with Dawn who had a scheduled appointment with the famous stylist Luke O’Connor, who styles Debra Messing’s and Julia Louise-Dreyfus’s locks, to name drop a few. Anyway, I didn’t have an appt cuz I don’t think that far in advance, but while I was hanging with Dawn as she was getting her hair done, the awesome chicks at Weber Shandwick who is the PR company for Suave, invited me to their soiree that night.

At lunchtime, Dawn and I parted ways and I got some grub courtesy of RAGU (check out that jar – it’s made completely from veggies!).

Ragu Jar made from real veggies!

I felt once again like a lost fish in the big old sea cuz I couldn’t find anyone I knew to have lunch with. Du, dee, duuu, I was twiddling my thumbs feeling very out of place. I don’t like feeling that way. Finally, others showed up and I relaxed a bit. Had lunch, and then Dawn and I decided we needed naps! It’s a conference for cryin’ out loud, of course we’re going to NAP!

Before I would have any idea that I would be riding shotgun the next day!

When I woke up from a glorious snooze, I said to Dawn, “THIS IS THE BEST CONFERENCE EVER!” And we got ready to roll out to the Suave party. I had NO idea what to expect because I didn’t even know I would hook an invite but we were taken on a trolley by lovely Kristin and lined up at a velvet rope at what appeared to be a nightclub. It’s like 5:30 pm and there are LOADS of people trying to get into this place, which turned out to be The Wit Hotel rooftop.

Dawn, Me, Megan from Mom Central ... Where's STACY??

It was stunning, beautiful, classy all rolled into one! Up on the top, we were plied with THE.MOST.AMAZING drink I’ve ever had (move over appletinis, there’s a new drink in town!) … the cucumber mojito. First off, I hate cucumbers and second of all, I could have sucked down 12 of them but probably only had 10! They were all of awesomeness in a drink glass!

Suave Party on top of the Wit

Suave Party on top of the Wit

The food rocked, the people rocked (shout out to Janna, Heather, Nancy of Shandwick; Megan and Stacy of Mom Central; Luke and Anna from Luke’s salon, oh, and also to Marlena the waitress who kept forcing me to drink all those luscious cocktails! We also hung out with AdviceMom Amy, Writer Mommy, Bargain Brianna, Andrea at Mommy Snacks and some other cool blog chicks! Yeah, I said blog chicks. And if I missed you, leave a comment so I can add your blog!

Cucumber Mojito

Dawn and Me

After the Suave bash, we went back to the hotel, and while the others decided they needed dinner, I decided I needed more parties! This is some of the stuff I encountered at the other parties.


Fun Toes - Check out all those colors!

I then forced Roadtripmommy upstairs where she met MaNiC MoMMy in full gear. Yep, I went there.


Loot I Gave away:

The parties were a blast -- thank you Momapop for the drink, unicorn cake, awesome music and Pop ROCKS! And thank YOU Kristen at Mommy Needs a Cocktail for the awesome organic vodka -- NO HANGOVER -- and chocolate galore, and yeah, I wanted to steal that swag named Mason!

And yeah, I rocked the wig and boa, Manic style. But come on, I may have made a slight fool of myself, but was I streaking through the hotel like Naked Jen? Now THAT’S a sure way to up your stats on your blog! Go Jen! Sorry to have missed you streaking through the hotel lobby, more than once, but Stiletto Mom got pics.

Next morning, Dawn and I went to some awesome seminars slept in and then went … Gosh, I can’t even remember where we went! I walked around, met some people, handed out some of the goodie packs I made, and then oh boy! Jessica Gottlieb was in the lobby and I don’t know how it happened but she GAVE ME A GUITAR HERO DS game! Out of the blue! Because she is just that cool and fun and nice. I am going to ask her if I may give it to one of you because I didn’t know at the time that my kids already own it, and I am putting together an incredible box of swag and fun stuff for one of you readers! Stay tuned!

Then it was lunchtime! More great food! Then we went to some more awesome seminars screwed around with some people in the lobby and out of 1,500 bloggers I end up talking to a girl WHO I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH! What are the freakin’ odds of that!

Then, it was time for Paula Deen, who, sorry to say, I don’t cook or watch Food Network, or shop frequently at WalMart so she wasn’t someone I had planned on stalking.

Paula Deen

But boy, can she make a mean gooey butter bar, which will be available in WalMart! These treats were amazing! Also amazing, her hairdresser – a cute guy at the conference – so of course, I HAD to get a picture with him! Thanks Jamie!

cute guy

Later Tim Gunn stopped by, and I got some pics of him. I guess he’s pretty famous, huh?

Tim Gunn

But the greatest part of the day was the ride in the wienermobile! There are ONLY six cars like this in the U S of A, and what are the odds that I would get to ride in it, SHOTGUN, and use the speaker to yell at people on the street, yelling, “I like big buns and I cannot lie!”

Wiener Hotdoggers, Dave and Laura:

Inside the Wiener:

Hotdogger (that’s what they call the wiener drivers) Dave was a little worried I would take over his job, and believe me, I seriously thought about it. Can you imagine my memoir: Manic Does the Wienermobile!

Hotdogger Dave:

Next up, it was time for my beauty parlor experience, where Anna recreated a look with my new BOY haircut. Yes, I look like a BOY! But here’s so you can see how bad it was.

Seriously, this is what I look like first thing in the morning. Ask Dawn


Anna doing my hair

Luke O'Connor, Me, Anna (After Photo)

Thank you Anna for showing me how to use my wrists to dry my hair, and for all the great Suave products! I do wish they would bring back the roll-on deodorant though, but I guess I’m old school and no one uses it anymore.

The Awesome Suave (Weber Shandwick) Girls

Later, it was time for more stimulating seminars naps in our comfy cozy Sheraton beds, and OH WAIT! I forgot we tried to find food. Keep in mind, Dawn and I are from the Chicagoland area. We’ve had deep dish pizza before. It’s good, but not that big of a deal to us since we can each go about 6 miles from our home at any given time to get some pizza. But that night, we wanted pizza. So we walked down the street and see a line crawling around the pizza building. TWO HOUR WAIT! We’re like, “WHAT?” But, we still wanted pizza so we go to the next Chicago pizza establishment and you guessed it, TWO HOURS. Third and fourth pizza joint, same scenario, so you know where we ended up on a night where neither of us had our nine combined kids or husbands with us?

We went to Chili’s.

Yep. I know.

We were starving, Chili’s was there. There was no wait. And you know how you can be disappointed when you end up at a place you didn’t think you’d be? Like there are a million fabulous places to eat in the city of Chicago and we end up at Chili’s … but, the burger bites and quesadilla, and the margaritas were perfect. So we ate then hightailed it back to the hotel, for you guessed it. A nap.

We woke up at 8:30 p.m. not feeling very motivated and feeling very blah from all the crappy eating. But, we motored up and headed to Poppy's 46th floor turkey roll-up bash!

Nighttime view of 46 Floor at Poppy's amazing party:
Boy, can I take a great picture or WHAT?!!?

There were incredible views and there was a pool and we could sit outside and there were some very fun bloggers there including Jill and DeeMarie

Me with Jill and Dee! (Jill I forgot your blog name, send to me!)

and Kristabella and her way cool friend Darcy with the underwear stories, and VodkaMom in all of her glittery glory! And of course, my pals Susie Sunshine, Martha McGyver, SnarkyMommy, Jen Lancaster were all there too and I got to meet Stiletto Mom and Mommy Needs a Cocktail who ALL completely ROCK! And it was fun and not too crazy and just what the doctor ordered after two days of informative blogging seminars naps and eating and hanging out with other cool people.

However, Dawn and I were spent, so we left a little after 11:30 and on our way out of the lobby, there’s this hot guy going upstairs, and I look at him and ask, “Do you have any gum?” He looked at me kinda whacky (and NO I WAS NOT WEARING MY MANIC WIG!) and then said, “No.” I said, “Do you want a piece?”

Turns out I find out later on Twitter that I was attempting to flirt with Chris Mann who is a singer from LA and an apparently good one so you should check him out!

We tried to go to the Cheeseburgher Bash, but by then, security had already come and eaten all the burgers busted the party. Heard it was a great one though, albeit a "little CHEESY!" Ha, couldn't resist!

Next morning we don’t get up till around 10 and Dawn needs coffee so we shower and go up to the Starbucks Recovery Breakfast at 11:30. We are the LAST and ONLY ones there. But it paid off big time. Even though we didn’t get to say goodbye to some awesome bloggers, Isabel at Alphamom was packing everything up and since she’s from NY and cannot possibly take cases of wine back with her on the plane, we helped her out. Talk about some SWAG! And I also got a million Starbucks straws and a carton of napkins, some serving trays that are really cool, some wine bins, and just stuff Isabel couldn’t get on a plane. I hoped it was helpful to her and that I didn’t look like a greedy pig, because some of this stuff I am handing off to you!

Swag Dawn and I brought home:

Daytime View from 32 floor of the Sheraton:

That’s right! I received so much stuff that I’m going to put together a surprise package for one of you readers. It will include so much stuff I can’t even tell you right now. Really, because I am upstairs in my bed and too lazy to go downstairs to unpack it all to tell you what you can win. But there’s some cool stuff in this goody pack from many of the awesome suppliers and sponsors at BlogHer and I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!

If you’re a Paula Deen fan, you’ll be getting an autographed bag from her in this prize pack, along with my purple boa and a tiara, kid’s stuff, mom stuff, girl stuff, a DS game, a Sprouts CD, a frame, a Potato Head, treats galore and much more stuff!!!

So stay tuned later this week and I’ll have more info and details on how you can win!

And sadly, one of the most important things that were missing at BlogHer: MY BBFF! Just wasn't quite the same without you there girlfriend! Xo

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

eaR iNFeCTioN SyMPaTHy

I have a whole BlogHer post ready to go but need to put pics in it. Got sidetracked though because last night as I was going to bed, I tweeted: I can tell I'm getting an ear infection.

Guess what? I did. And I do.

In the middle of the night, severe ear pain hit for like three hours, and it was oozing and then around 4 a.m. I felt it move through my head and perforate. Puncture. Errupt. Whatever you want to call it. Just like that.

Then it bled.

This happened to me in October too. Horrible pain. Of course, I've got two kids with colds, one with a fever yesterday, and Mr. Manic is out of town.

I beg the ENT to see me this a.m. and thank God I got in, but really I was in no shape to drive, holding Tukey's puke bowl the whole way.

Bottom line: peforated ear drum, bloody ear infection, three kids, no dad around, three prescriptions, and I just barfed into the garbage can while sitting on the toilet.

So, the BlogHer post will have to wait.

This is definitely one of those times when I whine: I NEED MY MOOOOMMMMMMMMY!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BLoGHeR o9

Will be posting soon about BlogHer '09 - great time, but am exhausted. Do you all know/like Paula Deen and/or Tim Gunn? Met 'em. I also rode in one of six Wienermobiles in the country AND the guy let me talk on the speaker phone as we were driving around. Note to Dave the Hotdogger: NEVER GIVE MANIC MOMMY FREE REIGN ON A MICROPHONE. Because she might start saying over the loudspeaker: "I like big BUNS and I cannot lie!" to everyone and anyone on the street corners!

Also have a fun giveaway of extra amazing swag I scored during the trip, including toys, snacks, a Guitar Hero DS game, a signed Paula Deen bag, my boa, a tiara, food, and loads more treats, so stay tuned!

With 1,400 bloggers in town for the event, I got to meet and connect with so many amazing bloggers! So much fun!

Peace UP!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Photos of Yellowstone are up on my facebook page if you wanna see them. Click the link to the right under my profile info that says FACEBOOK if we're not yet friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


If you didn't read the first part, this is a continuation, so you might want to read this first: Yellowstone Part I.

Part II:

4:21 pm same day. We are done with our day now. I am calling this vacation an adventure instead of a vacation. Because with a vacation, you are poolside getting drinks delivered to you. With an adventure, you are out exploring the place you are “vacationing” … if that makes any sense at all. So, this morning we went to Mammoth Springs, which really was pretty disappointing. There were no mammoth springs to be seen. I was expecting pools of water, wouldn’t you, if you were visiting a place called Mammoth Springs? Well, the cool thing about it was that you felt like this could possibly be like walking on the moon. The terrain is very rocky and whitish and I think not too many years ago, there were springs all over shooting around and that’s how it got the name. Not a place I would recommend spending a day at, but a nice stop through if you were heading somewhere else and happened to come across Mammoth Springs.

After that, we decided to grab some lunch before a big hike because the past few days we’ve been hiking then eating lunch really late, and with dinner reservations early, none of us feel like eating again, and of course, eating is a big priority for us (me!). So, on our way to lunch we see a bunch of cars at one side of the road and I have now learned that when there is a bunch of cars, there’s usually a cool animal, and not the bison, which yeah, they’re cool, but like I said, They are beginning to be a dime a dozen – oh look, there’s one now! (Just kidding – but now that I said that we will probably turn the corner and see one.) Back to the animal – we pull over where all the cars are and I ask, “What are you looking at?” to one of the people passing by. “A bear,” they said. I am all about the bears and so we got out and there was a ranger with telescopes set up so we could look through and get a good look at the bear. I swear, the bears make this trip the best! I love, love, love scouting and finding a bear and could have stayed there all day watching the bear (because come on, how much energy do I have to exert watching a bear in the woods? – that depends on if he started chasing us, of course … so we watch the bear and I’m in my glory and when I get home, I will have video of the bears we have seen to share with you. They didn’t do much, but it was very cool to watch them.

After our bear sighting we went to lunch and then decided to stay where we were to hike. Another moderate hike, but it was kicking my ass on the 300 foot way up. All through a place where there are warnings of it being grizzly territory and with tips on what to do if you come in contact with a bear: “As a last resort, you may use bear spray, but it will not do you any good if you run into a bear and it’s still in your pack.” No shit! It also says not to make eye contact with a bear, so what are you supposed to do, “Hi bear, really, I am not … OH LOOK A BISON! They are huge MFers. I just said to everyone, “Oh a bison, should I take a picture. Everyone in the car said, “I’m so over bison.” They are sooo old school! Now we are going to be driving by the place we saw the grizzly bear yesterday and I would love to see another bear. Oh, by the way, that mountain that we clobbered yesterday was called Mount Washburn, not Mount Washmore like I think I wrote earlier. And that is the highest point of elevation in Yellowstone.

OK, am rambling, after lunch we take this hike in grizzly country and get up 300 feet high and then find the hidden lake (it felt like Dora the Explorer … find the grizzly den, then search for the hidden lake …) … the lake was beautiful, but it’s still kind of scary walking around with no people there …OK, so Ajer just totally puked all in the car as I was typing this. We all start screaming, I throw the laptop on the dashboard to find something for him to puke in and of course, I have a Ziploc, which Mr. Manic gives to Ajer, and which Ajers just holds in his hand while he continues to puke on the van floor. So we’re all screaming and Mr. finds a turn off and pulls over and pops open the door and we’re all screaming, GET OUT OF THE CAR, GET OUT OF THE CAR – QUIT PUKING IN THE CAR!!! And tukey starts crying and screaming: YOU’RE PUKING ON MY SWEATSHIRT!!!

Like I said, an adventure, not a vacation. Ajers is blaming it on the salmon from last night. So, I guess I was talking about the hike around hidden lake which was relatively OK and very beautiful, and I did take a ton of pics of pretty wildflowers and views of the mountains. OH LOOK MORE BISON out there in the distance! oH, another thing we saw on this last hike that was supposedly a hike through Grizzly Territory was a huge leg bone of a bison licked clean. WTF? Do bears eat bison? I’m going to have to google that one, because it looked as if a lion pride sucked that bison leg clean. Another bison on my right> I wish I could have counted …Oops, two more on my left! I wish there was an animal tracker which could indicate how many bears we actually passed through during our hikes. That would be cool to be able to do – look at a video of our trip and have someone two more bison, btw … anyway, would be cool to have a video of all our treks and have all the spots pinpointed in the video of all the bears we passed during our journeys. That’d be cool.

OK, I think I am going to be done for now. I’m sure more antics of this adventure will occur. Tomorrow we head for Jackson Hole where we may have internet and I will post this, but won’t be able to post the pictures. So, to recap – First day hike, Diva had a meltdown (and so did I). Second day hike : Tukey had a major meltdown, Mr. manic (BISON ALERT!) told me to quit barking orders, then we saw a bear. Today, we saw a bear and Ajers puked. Like I said, not exactly calling it a family vacation, but it sure as hell has been an adventure, and we’ve got four full days ahead of us complete with horseback riding and some white water rafting.

Part III:

I’m back. It’s 10:22 pm and I just encountered a wild animal in the bathroom of our cabin! How you doin!?!?! Much, much better evening tonight –after the puke fest in the car, we decided to do a little laundry in the lodge. Well, guess what we discovered? We thought Tukey had stepped in some horse manure on our hike today but we found out that Tukey had a bit of an accident in his pants today, and that’s what we were smelling the whole time in the car this afternoon when I kept saying, “WHO FARTED!?!?” Yes, my little Tukey had a bit of a problem on the trail. Thank goodness for the laundry facilities at our awesome lodge. If you’re ever headed to Yellowstone, you must stay at the Lake Lodge—great accommodations, good food, AWESOME bar in the lobby which is where I had my 4-5 appletinis tonight. And boy did I need them! So yeah, we’ve discovered I’m not much of a hiker, but do like to chillax with a martini or twelve after a strenuous hike in the wilderness, and yeah, so then there was a big bear in the bathroom in our lodge who had his way with me and now I’m going to bed. We may try to do one last hike in Yellowstone tomorrow a.m. before we hit Jackson Hole because come on, it’s so apparent I am such a hikin’ lover these days. Good night my friends, time to pass out for a while. Am excited because tomorrow am. We do not have to get up at the crack of my ass to go on a hike. I get to sleep in. Now yeah, that is a vacation!!!


Today is Thursday, July 16, 2009 and I didn’t write yesterday. We got up and packed up our stuff because we were heading to Victor, Idaho, and to Jackson Hole, WY. After leaving the Lake Lodge cabins, we headed to another hiking trail called Elephant Back, which according to everyone was an easy trail. And it was pretty good, except for the warning signs that we were entering Bear Country and to hike with caution. I am beginning to wonder how hiking is not stressful to someone who does not know if there’s a bear waiting to strike her or her children. Walking into those woods is much like scenes from the Blair Witch Project … just scary. I guess I should rethink things—perhaps I’m not really just lazy, maybe I am just more fearful for my life. And in this trail, of course, Diva and I were lagging behind and then she got all moody and so I went ahead while Mr. Manic dealt with her and the rest of the group was way ahead. It’s quite reassuring when people come down the mountain unscathed from bear wounds and every time I would meet up with a hiker, I ask, “See any bears?” Because really, I am frightened to death of encountering one close up. So, I’m ahead and by myself and the woods are really heavily wooded. Ha, that’s dumb, of course they are, they are a forest of woods! And I swear to you, at one point, I hear the howl of an animal not very far from me. I swear I almost peed my pants AND my heart started racing. I began to yell for our group and when no one answered me, I got even more scared. But finally, we all caught up and I was relieved to know that at least my chances of getting eaten were lessened by the arrival of my husband and daughter. Nice, huh? Of course, though, while I may have been safe from any predators, we did have a Diva-Spill atop the mountain which caused her to scream as if she had been attacked by a predator. I wonder if I would maybe enjoy hikes without the fear of bears and the annoyance of my children being hiking wusses. It runs in the family. We are sooo not outdoorsy people. I guess that kind of makes me sad, but it also just says I can’t be everything to everyone, and at least I’ve tried my hardest.

So, after the elephant hike, we have lunch and then drive to Jackson Hole. We decide to take the free ski lift/gondola ride up to the top which was quite enjoyable, especially because on our way down, Diva spotted a huge moose lounging in the grass! We all start screaming and I try to grab my camera to take a picture but failed. My camera sux. When we get down the mountain, I want to go back up to see the moose again, but gee, none of my kids would come with me. This made me mad because the whole trip Ajers has been asking Dad about how big moose are and if we will see one. Apparently, he was not that interested. So, I go back up with my friend C, and her son, who, out of respect and privacy, I have not mentioned them much here, but yes, we are traveling with our friends. And yes, I guess it is difficult for some people to have to travel with me! I know, admittedly, that I am extremely high maintenance when it comes to wanting things done a certain way, but I have been definitely hiking outside of the box this week, trying some new things. So, C and M come up to the top again and we see the cute moose and I’m all excited because I am all about the wildlife that we can view from a safe distance. I took some pic s of the moose, then we went and had dinner at the appropriately named, Mangy Moose!

After dinner we drive the rest of the way to Victor Idaho to a remote and serene home of our friend’s friends. IT’S a gorgeous home in the hills of Victor and there are rumored to be bears in the area. So much so that you cannot leave the garage door open or they will come in, and also they have a hot tub and a bear once crawled up the hill while someone was in the hot tub. You can imagine how my nerves shot up when I heard the hot tub was ready and all the kids jump in.

This a.m. we get up and do the most fun adventure of the whole trip so far – we all went horseback riding up in the mountains, or a hill or whatever. My horse’s name was Bob. There was also Rapid, Dagger, Pal, Puck, and Minnie. Can’t remember the others’ names, but my horse took up the end of our 10-person horse ride and we rode for an hour. Great fun, cool out yet sunny, and I could enjoy the view without worrying about a bear killing me or my family. And boy, do those horse shit big! And pee a ton. I now know the reasoning behind the phrase: “I had to pee like a race horse,” although, technically, these were not race horses, they were trail horses but they still pee a gallon! And poop a lot and fart a lot too. The kids LOVED yelling out, “It’s pooping!” Oh wait, I loved yelling that out.

The rest of the day was spent doing the Alpine Slides, and Diva and Tukey did bungee trampolining. Then we went into Jackson, the town, and had lunch at the Merry Piglet Mexican restaurant. Two margaritas and a steak burrito, and I was spent!

Tonight, we spent a relaxing night at the house, watched the sunset, and made a fabulous dinner while the kids played. We discussed our day for tomorrow and there’s a hike to a place called Wind Cave that I am not at all up for. In fact, in like 1954 Girl Scouts died while taking that hike (Of course, it was because they were huddled under a pine tree when a storm hit and lightning struck, but heck, that’s enough to get me to take a pass. Plus, it’s like a 1.5 mile hike and there’s no way I can handle that. (HA, that is kind of a joke, I can do way more than 1.5!)
We are heading to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton’s tomorrow, and a trail/place called Inspiration Point, and then tomorrow night we’ll go see a rodeo. Hey, when in Rome … More later my friends! Night!

July 17, 2009—Well, what’s a vacation without a migraine? Woke up at 3 a.m. with one that lasted all morning. I wasn’t planning on going on today’s hike anyway, because I knew it was going to be a tough one. But Ajers went with our friends, and the rest of the Manic crew stayed at the house. After a vicodin and some more sleep, the migraine went away and I rose from the dead. Mr. Manic, Tukey, Diva and I played Old Maid, War, and just lounged and read and had some quality family time. I did get worried when our friends were not back and it was approaching 2 p.m. I was, of course, sure a bear had their way with them! Fortunately, no bear, but they did run into some car trouble where they hit a rock and got a flat tire. Thankfully, everyone was OK and nice people picked them up and drove them back here. Only in Wyoming and Idaho my friends, are the people purely kind and generous. They brought me my oldest son back, safe and sound!

The men had to figure out the car and they are still gone and it’s past 9:30 at night, but it’s still light out. The sun sets at 9:30 out here and it’s beautiful. I think I need to take a picture of this little writing nook I am sitting in at the house. A gorgeous view of the front of the yard, withwildflowers and trees. I keep wondering what will happen if I put out a box of cereal of some bagels – I really want to see another bear, up close and personal but know that’s not a smart thing to do!

So, since the men have been gone, we rummaged through our groceries to make the kids dinner. Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and also cute mini ham and cheese sandwiches. They were fun and cute! A fabulous dessert treat—take the Hot Fudge Sundae brand pop tarts, and cut them in halves. Soften vanilla ice cream and put the ice cream in between the two halves of pop tarts. Freeze ‘em. I swear they will be your new favorite treat!

Just now awaiting the men to get home. And tomorrow is the biggest adventure: white water rafting on Snake River! Wish us luck, we may never come home!

Sunday, July 19, 2009
Well, we’re at the airport on our way home. Did not get to white water raft—in perfect Manic fashion, the thing I was most looking forward to doing on this trip got squashed. Tukey got sick, puking and fever. We ventured to the place where we were to leave, and Tukey vomits in the Ziploc on the way in the minivan. I thought, “OK, he’ll push through, it’s just his typical car sickness.” Not so. We couldn’t go. Ajers was able to go with our friends, but the four remaining Manics went back to the house. One good thing – I saw a moose on our way home. So, yesterday was spent in bed with Tukey, keeping a cold cloth on his head, a waste basket nearby for the vomit incidences. And although I was very disappointed in not going rafting, as was Tukey – sidenote, the whole trip, when we asked him, “What’s your favorite part of this trip?” He would answer without fail: “White water rafting!” even before we had been able to go. He knew that was going to be the best part. And I’m sure it would have been a great day – instead, he and I snuggled in bed, I rubbed his back and said over and over, “It’s OK, you’re going to be OK” … and today, he’s much better and we are waiting at the airport for our plane to arrive. I am so ready to be home sweet home. The scenery was gorgeous out west – beautiful landscapes and snow-covered mountains, and Illinois is plain and drab, but it’s home, and that’s where I wanna be.

Next up for Manic – BlogHer conference this weekend! Where I will NOT be hiking, camping, sweating. I will be hanging with some pretty fabulous people and drinking my share (and then some) of appletinis, and sleeping in a 4-star hotel. Bring it.

Friday, July 17, 2009


It’s our first full day at Yellowstone and we are heading out for our first hike. Long day yesterday of traveling by plane to Salt Lake City and then a car ride to Yellowstone that took five hours. Our cabin is sooo cute and comfortable, and the drive to Yellowstone was beautiful. When we first got into the park, there were mule deer all over the place, and I spotted a couple bison on our way to our place. But when we got to our cabins, BISON were hanging out like they were family pets greeting us! Huge animals! We all crashed hard the first night and then woke up at like 5:30 a. m ready to get rolling on our first hike, which we are on our way to now. This a.m. Tukey came to snuggle with me and he said, “This is my best vacation already!” We had been in Yellowstone only 8 hours and about 6 of them were spent sleeping! So, that’s it for now. I’m going to turn this off and start looking for animals!

9:51 a.m. and we’ve just finished our first official Yellowstone hike which was called Moderate at about 2 miles. Called Thumb Basin. We saw a ton of geysers that were really beautiful and then hoofed it to the top of a mountain for a beautiful view. The little boys took charge and were trail blazers, while Diva and I of course,lagged behind. She cried twice this a.m. – once about falling which wasn’t that big of a deal, and then she got her finger stuck in a thing where you retrieve info from. All in all, a good hike, a little strenuous toward the end but awesome views made it totally worthwhile. Now we are heading to some Mystic Falls or something like that. OH, best part of that hike, on our way down, we came upon some mule deer that were just hanging out, oblivious to us. Very cool sight. I kept saying, where is all the wildlife, well, we got a glimpse right out there in their habitat. Tukey just said he doesn’t want to go on another hike because he’s not feeling well. I told him this was the whole reason we came out here. I am sure this next hike will bring some tears from at least 2/3 of my children. Maybe even me if they don’t cooperate. Signing off to enjoy the views of this car ride!

So, it is now around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night. The first hike was fine, bearable and beautiful, then we went to Mystic Falls and saw a bunch of cool geysers that were filled with amazing colors, these hot pools, that look like you are in outer space. So, then we go up this hike that had a ton of switchbacks, which I never knew what they were before this trip, but like zig zags up a hill and it was a killer, and very hard, for me anyway. I’m bitching the whole way up, and so is diva and we’re feeding off each other, but we kept going and got to the top, and yeah, it was beautiful, and I’m glad I made I up to the top of this mountain thing but I KNEW how my body would react and I was worn out. We were supposed to stay in that area which was where Old Faithful is, but after lunch, our family collapsed and came back to our cabin and slept for like 1-1/2 hours. Which we sooo needed. I think I get heat stroke, just like my dad does, or at least that’s what I’m saying! So we napped and it saved my life. Then when we woke up we look outside our cabin window and there were two huge bison out there just hanging out! The kids went out and saw them, and Diva named them Buffy and Muffy. Then the weather started to turn and there was a great, great rainstorm. I was so happy just sitting there on our little cabin porch with my family watching the rain. And now it is glorious out and I’m sitting on a rocking chair watching the mountains and also watching Diva come back up from Yellowstone Lake. And now she has to go potty so I’m signing off for now. Xoxo

July 14, 2009
I didn’t write at all yesterday – it was a busy day where I discovered something I already kinda knew. I am a wuss. A big wuss. Another thing I discovered is that if given the chance to walk up a big ass mountain or take a golf cart to the peak, I would choose a golf cart. Unfortunately, we did not have that option. So yesterday, we started our day at 7:oo a.m. and headed to some place with a waterfall but we couldn’t hike that trail because it was raining so bad. We did have our ponchos though so that was handy. Then we went to Mount Washmore which is the highest elevation in Yellowstone. Did I know this before our hike? No. It was a six mile round trip hike. Here is something else I discovered so far: I am not a pleasant hiker. Not at all. Neither are two-thirds of my children at any given time.

Yesterday, Tukey was crying hysterically, “I wanna go home! I never wanted to go on this stupid trip.” It was a tough hike, and when we got closer to the top of Mount Washmore, it started hailing. HAILING! And that same day, I got sunburned. So, it’s very true what they say about the weather being completely unpredictable in Yellowstone, even in July.

Best part of yesterday: Two things: the grizzly bear we saw up on a mountain; we were secured in our car driving, and when you come up to a traffic jam, you know there is an animal in the vicinity. A big ass bear. It was amazing. My trip was complete with seeing that bear. That’s all I wanted to see while we were here. We are getting bored with the bison. They are everywhere, they are cool, but now we are old pros and every time we see a bison, we’re like, “Oh, there’s another bison, big deal!”

The second best thing about yesterday was my lobster ravioli for dinner. Hahah. It was fabulous. Then also were my appletinis and coffee with baileys’ we had after dinner.

Bad part of yesterday—Mr. Manic told me to quit “barking orders.” What an asshole. Does he know why I’m barking orders? It’s because he’s freaking trekking ahead oblivious to the fact that our son is bawling his head off scared out of his mind because the wind is whipping around and he’s afraid we’re going to fall off this freaking huge ass mountain and he’s crying, “I don’t want you to fall off the mountain!” And then I am barking orders because it’s hailing up on that mountain and he had all the ponchos. And we needed the ponchos. So, yeah, I am barking orders. Now I’M AT THEPOINT WHERE I WISH I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING, LET HIM FIGURE THIS Shit out. I did not mean to make all those cap letters, that was a mistake, and by the way, I forgot what I was going to say because we are driving and there was a sign that it was grizzly territory so I wanted to look outside to see if I could see a bear. No bear. Oh but just now I THINk we saw a couple black bears up there really high but we are driving so am not sure.

Anyway, this is a total ramble and when I get to an internet connection, I will post this as is. And now my kids are talking about boners in the car because Tukey is apparently excited about going white water rafting in a couple of days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

BeaR aTTaCK!

Just wanted to get your attention with that title!

It's Thursday, and I've written every day but can't access WIFI to throw all the stuff I wrote onto this blogger sign in, so a quick recap of our adventure to Yellowstone:

Number of hikes: 5
Number of hikes where I about died: 5
Number of times Tukey said "This is the best vacation in my entire life!": 1
Number of times Tukey said "I hate this stupid vacation and I want to go home!": 1
We've hiked Mount Washmore, Mystic Falls, Thumb Basin, Elephant Back, to name a few.
Number of states we have been in: 5; Illinois, Idaho (right now, we're in Victor, Idaho in a gorgeous home, and in the garage a note says: Bears in the area, make sure to close garage door at all times!), Montana, Wyoming, Utah (home of the famed Dooce!)

Animal sightings:
countless freaking bison (they were grazing BEHIND our cabin - wait till you see the photos!)
countless Mule deer
Two bears, one of which was a grizzly, the other I think was a brown bear - have video of both sightings
One moose - AMAZING!
One antelope or deer (debatable because it probably was a deer, but it was crossing "Antelope Creek")
One elk
One snake (on a rock sunbathing)
Some cute chipmunks
Ducks, squirrels, birds, and the usual stuff you see.

Number of time Diva has fallen during a hike and screamed at the top of her lungs you would have thought a bear was attacking: 1
Number of times Tukey complained of car sickness: 4,328
Number of times Tukey actually puked in car: 0
Number of times Ajers actually puked in car: 1
Number of times Mr. Manic pissed me off on top of a mountain: 2
Number of times I was by myself on a hike and could SWEAR I heard a bear in the woods and my heart started racing and I almost pissed myself: 1
Number of times I have used the "Go Girl" take-with-you product to help you pee in the woods without getting pee all over you: 2
Number of times I got pee all over me while using the "Go Girl": 1
Number of appletinis I have drank on this trip: 7
Number of hangovers: 0
Number of loads of laundry I did at the lodge: 4
Number of times I have thought I am a fat ass and need to get in shape as soon as we get home: A trillion

Today we go horseback riding. Hope all is well with everyone! And thanks to Jodi - we went up Mystic Falls, and we also went to Mammoth at your suggestions, and yeah, Mystic Falls was HARD!

Anyway, PEACE UP everyone!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


So, I am going to blog from my bedroom and see how it goes. I’m not used to this but I just got a Dell mini-inspiron 10-inch laptop. My big joke is that I never thought a mere ten inches would be so satifying! So, I’m just checking out the features and the ease of this keyboard as I lay in my bed. It’s 11:31 p.m. and I am still in the pajamas I slept in last night, never took a shower, or put in my contacts, or even had to sniff a bra today because I didn’t bother to put one on!

It’s looking like I’m digging this little laptop. Am I so 1980s? I never owned a laptop till right now. And it only cost $299 so if I eff it up, it’s not like I’m effing up a thousand dollar dealio, don’t ya know?

Saturday we are leaving for YellowHell Yellowstone. I will be excited once we arrive there. I guess. We are staying in some rustic cabins that I have heard mixed reviews, including that they smell like piss. Good times, good times. I may be able to blog from there, or at least part of the trip as during the second half of our YellowHell Yellowstone trip, we are going to JacksonHell. Oops, I mean Jackson Hole. I am going with the shittiest expectations because that way, nothing will suck.

Mr.Manic has been a traveling fool, and if he was in his old job, and sleeping right next to me, he’d yell that I needed to turn off the lights. So I guess that’s a positive. Also, the no getting dressed all day part, or showering, or doing much of anything are a couple other positives to having him travel. A downside: Tukey is going through a phase. Where he can’t fall asleep on his own. I swear, I laid down with him tonight and I felt like it was back in the old days of having to be with your kid until he fell asleep. Then he asked when Daddy was coming home. They can’t articulate it very well, but they go through rough spots too. When we moved here, I thought the move was going to be hardest on Diva and Ajers, but it turned out it affected Tukey the most, even though he was only 3. He kept saying, “I want to go home” meaning his old house in PA. It just takes time. And who knows, with all this traveling Mr. Manic is doing, maybe we’ll have to move again someday. I just wrote that so it wouldn’t happen. Like a jinx. But really, I don’t know where things will take us.

Now I’m really rambling and need to get some sleep. This’ll probably be the last post I write before we leave and who knows, if I get chomped up by a bear, then this’ll be my last post EVER!
Peace UP!

Oh, and wow, this is my 801st post on Manic Mommy, although I had about 400 posts on my old blog, Manic Mom's Mental Myriads!

Monday, July 06, 2009


Well, I had planned on doing a Booking with Manic type video to announce all the winners but there's a lot to do before I risk life and limb in Yellowstone National Park so I didn't have time to put together a video.

This is how I chose the winners. I assigned everyone a number and asked Ajers and Tukey to choose four numbers. They picked all the numbers of their favorite sports players, so if you won, you can thank them. If you didn't win, I'm sorry, but I had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

Here are the winners:

Jennifer C
Through The Haze

Please email me your full names and addresses ASAP if you want the books before I leave for vacation and get eaten by a bear! Email your info to:

Thanks to everyone who entered, and don't worry, I'll have more books to give away later!


Will be choosing winners to the book giveaway tonight. In the meantime, check out what may happen if you go out of town and leave your children HOME ALONE! ...

Thursday, July 02, 2009


So, before I start this post, let me just say hello to my mom and dad who are always reading, and also to those neighbors of mine who read this blog but never comment or let me know they are reading. YOU know who you are! In fact, if you look out your window right now I may be driving by and honking, unless you’re in a cul-de-sac. I bet that freaked you all out now for sure huh?

Anyway, this is a big update blog post because I was thinking that I tell you guys a bunch of stuff and never follow up on it. So, that’s what I’m gonna try to do here.

The lipwax has been OK. I got a bit injured by it actually and it looked like I had herpes for the first few days, which bothered me. And also when I would lick my upper lip it felt kinda weird, like naked weird. I am waiting for all the hairs to grow back darker and heavier, but so far, it’s OK (but of course, what do I know, I walked around for 40 years with a mustache!).

And speaking of 40, that’s weird too. Sometimes I lie in my bed and think to myself, “My God, I am a 40-year-old woman.” I don’t THINK I look like a 40-year-old woman. I don’t think I feel like a 40-year-old woman, but I am. And it kinda makes me sad to think that this is my body for the rest of my life. I mean, I know I could go to some great lengths to be more fit, foxier and whatever, but I’m just not that into it. I think the best I ever looked is gone, and that was when I was 20. But sometimes I still feel like I’m that young. I don’t ever think that I’m like an old lady, you know? Not that 40 is old, but shit. Michael Jackson just died and he was only 10 years older than me. That’s fucked up.

On the homefront: Well, Mr. Manic has been traveling for about a month now. I have just made up my mind that he is gone from Monday to Friday. We’re figuring things out. For one, when he’s home now, he is in my way, and there is not enough office space here for the two of us. I know, I know, it’s his JOB but it’s MY office, and I get a bit territorial. Like I don’t want him on my computer (for one, because it’s acting all freaky, and for two, BECAUSE!). But I think we’ll both be getting laptops in the future. Anyway, when he’s gone, I admit I am very lazy. He’s not here to need dinner, and the kids don’t give a shit what they eat. And I haven’t been doing much laundry. Cuz yeah, I’m lazy that way and can wear the same shorts three days or more in a row. I don’t give a shit. And even today, I was getting dressed and I picked up my bra and SNIFFED it to see if it was clean enough for me to wear. It was, and I am. And when I sniffed it, I thought, “Well, that is a strange habit, I wonder if anyone else out there does that?” Do you?

And it’s been hard being here alone with the kids, I’ll admit it. (Shit, I’ll admit anything on this blog pretty much, huh?) I am not the kind of mom who puts the kids in camp over the summer, and there’s not much else to do but go to the pool and with 60-degree freaking weather in Chicago, who wants to go to the pool.

And yeah, that experiment we were working on with the kids where I pay them each week and they buy their own crap? Well, the theory is GREAT! But I am not sure it’s going to work with my children. No one wants to spend their money, or go anywhere, but then they bitch to me that they’re bored and there’s nothing to do. So, we didn’t do anything on Monday or Tuesday (mostly in part because Ajers was sick and then my computer died for about a half-day) and by yesterday I was climbing the freaking walls. Diva went to the zoo with a friend, so I told the boys we’d go out for lunch and putt-putt. And yeah, I paid. I think I need to tweak that little plan a bit. Maybe I will give them less money and the money I give them will be for like ice cream and snacks at the pool. Or maybe I will try it another week when we can focus. Suggestions from anyone are welcome!

So, back to the part about it being hard to be home alone with the kids, because I kind of got off on a tangent with that. I desperately needed to get out of the house and AWAY from the kids. I don’t ever just get a babysitter when Mr. Manic is not here for myself. I just have never really done that. But I know I need some very desperate ME time. Oh yeah, which reminds me that here is a clip of me confessing about wanting ME time:

ABCNews post where I confess about needing Mommy Time.

I totally had strep throat when I recorded that by the way. And here’s the beginning of that whole interview, if you are so inclined …

Beginning of ABC Post on Mommy Time.

Romi Lassally, founder of TruuConfessions has become a friend and she hooked me up on that video. Check out her site and make your own confession! We’ve all got ‘em!

Tired of reading yet? Well, the more I type, the better I am feeling. And that’s another thing. I have started work on my second manuscript again, and I have about 40-50,000 words that are in some semblance of a book. I need to keep plugging away on that one.

And that’s the thing I’m discovering. Only ME can make me happy. So I need to focus on the things that I enjoy doing and appreciating the great stuff I have in my life. Yeah, it’s sucking a bit that Mr. Manic is traveling and that I worry every time he gets on a plane. Yeah, it’s sucking to have to entertain the kids 24-7, although we make the best out of it and I don’t yell too much. OK, that’s a lie. I yell all the time. I wish someone would record me throughout the day and just play back to me how much I yell. That might make me stop.

Oh, and Yellowstone, which we are leaving for in a week from Saturday. The good news is that while I thought our cabins were not equipped with toilets and showers (basically, a BATHROOM!), I was misled. We do have indoor plumbing and let me tell you, that is going to make a world of difference! We are scheduled to go on horseback campfire tours and a white water rafting tour and a bunch of other stuff that is completely out of my comfort zone and league. But I guess what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you right?

And when I return, I am going to be attending my first ever BlogHer event right here in Chicago. I will be there to represent, obviously, duh, my blog, and also, the awesome website that I am associate editor for. If you haven’t checked it out, please do! There’s celebrity gossip, health, love and sex, parenting, and much, much more over there. And if you’re a writer and can write well (or at least well enough), feel free to contact me with any article ideas. We’re always looking!

SHIT, there’s more to tell you! I will choose the winner of the GREAT BOOK GIVEAWAY on Monday so you all still have until midnight on Sunday (or is that midnight on Monday?) to enter. So go there now!

And I’m not even going to go back and edit this post, but thanks for reading, thanks for being a part of Manic’s life, and thanks for stopping to take a breath, because I don’t think I did during this whole freaking post.

Happy Independence Day Weekend! Be safe - wear a condom!