Thursday, August 30, 2007

Omelet Cake

So, the Manic family got up early today. The boys -- because Ajers just got his first radio alarm clock and he thought it would be soooo much fun to set it for 6:30 AM! WTF? I was already up though, because Diva, sleeping Diva, had been yelling to me from her room (guess she still takes it to heart when they were little and I threatened them with the "DON'T COME OUT OF YOUR ROOMS UNLESS THERE IS BLOOD!" threat.) Somebody in this family listens!

We're all up, getting ready for school, and I decide since we have time, I would make Ajers eggs. I know, I know. Not a big deal for the average housewife, right? (Who says I'm AVERAGE!?!?). But, I tell him we have time and ask if he would like me to make him a scrambled egg?

"Can I have an omelet, with ham and cheese and hot sauce?"


Thanks to my Mom, for getting my nine-year-old hooked on Tobasco sauce.

Anyway, I comply and am at that ever-elusive thing called a stove-top, attempting to make an omelet without going completely ballistic. The kids are watching SpongeBob, but in between, they've switched stations and found an infomercial for the Betty Crocker 100-piece cake decorating kit.

Phrases like these come from the TV:

"100 pieces to create the cake of your dreams!"

"Thousands of tips for making that special cake!"

"As a bonus, we'll throw in these nifty icing tube toppers so you can create beautiful floral designs!"

Then I hear, "Mom you should get one of these!" and from another kid, "No, let's get it for G'Ma, she loves to bake cakes!"

"So easy, and so fun!"

"Make the masterpiece cake you've always wanted to make!"

This is going on for however long infomercials run, while I am struggling to flip this god-awful thing I'm going to tell Ajers is really an omelet...

"Truly a gift worth giving!"

"Included in this offer, a cake container, so you can take your masterpiece wherever you go!"

"Great for family birthdays! All types of celebrations!"

"So easy, ANYONE can make it."

And when I hear this next phrase, it's definitely the icing on the cake, and it comes from my beloved Ajers:

"I know one thing for sure. My mom can't make that!"

... [me stunned, but then realizing he's right...]

Here's your fucking omelet, buddy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fourth Grade

There are amazing things to learn in fourth grade, I am discovering, courtesy of Ajers. Like this news:

"Mom, did you know there's a fourth grade curse?"

"What is it?"

"It's the 'Curse of the Second Urinal' and if you pee in the second urinal bad things will happen to you for like two weeks."

For instance, this one kid dropped his origami bookmark they made in class into the urinal RIGHT after he peed! How's that for bad luck! Just goes to show you not to pee and read. Dangerous.

This just totally cracks me up. Who comes up with this shit, and does the principal know of the curse, or has he been pissing in Urinal #2 all this time? And how is it that you only learn this curse when you get into fourth grade? Weird stuff in elementary school, I tell ya.

In other news... I feel like I have hit the "Mom's Summer Vacation" jackpot. I now get three full hours DAILY to myself. I walked my four-mile route yesterday and DID NOT DIE! I also managed a yoga class today, and lunch with Homecoming Queen. I'm living the high life, let me tell you!

And tomorrow, I am meeting up with a new bunch of girls to get cranking on my next novel-project, which Swishy (who has very cute healed lobes!) will be very happy to know I have written one or two sentences recently. Maybe I'll share an excerpt here.

Oh, more stuff: I went looking for the Zac Efron Rolling Stone and by the time I got to it, Maroon Five had turned up on the cover. Anyone willing to spare me their copy? If you send it to me, I'll send it back. Or, I guess I could do something crazy maybe, like GO TO THE LIBRARY TO READ IT. Duh.

Oh, and a quick shout-out and thanks to March to the Sea who sent me an AWESOME, AWESOME comic strip on the gloriousness that will be my 20th high school reunion! I'm thinking March may have that copy of Rolling Stone for me... hint, hint! After all, he may be the #1 male fan of HSM! Ya think?

And lastly, here's a picture taken from the top of the ferris wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago:

I forgot we also took a picture of the cute Asian couple completely making out in the ... what would you call a ferris wheel container thing... a car? A cart? Anyway, they were making out in the ferris wheel cage right behind us, and of course, I had to take a photo or two!

*Confirmed: According to the Navy Pier website, it is called a GONDOLA. Who knew?

Peace UP!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Damn That Swishy!

The ever-so-fabulous Swishy guessed it!

My all-time favorite movie EVER:

Very hot! Very hot!

No offense to Anthony Michael Hall, but I would have been way more excited to see Jake Ryan!

And some fun Chicago landmarks:

Other favorite '80s movies: The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Pretty in Pink, Ooh, what was that one with Darryl Hannah and Aidan Quinn... with the song "Kids in America" in it... anyone remember... Wild something or the other...
What's your favorite '80s movie and why?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Celebrity Sighting! (CLUES in COMMENT Section!)

In Chicago today.

If you can guess who it is, you'll get a an iTunes card or a Starbucks card.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Random Catch-Up

I took the Swishy Challenge and failed. Swish told me she’s implementing a new writing program where she had to be responsible for writing one sentence a day for her work-in-progress (WIP). She suggested I could do this too!

One Sentence!

I did it the first day. In fact, I wrote more than one sentence. The second day, I failed. Couldn’t do it. Too much going on. Maybe I’ll start Monday. There seems to be a theme in my life of attempting to start things on Mondays and never following through.

On that note, I am starting a new life regimen, because, after all, it is the start of a new school year and I always try to better myself for the first week or so (and that’s usually about how long my new plans hold up!

So, I’m going to do the following things in an attempt to streamline my life…

Each morning, I will (and have, so far, but it’s only day three) unload the dishwasher and do a COMPLETE load of laundry. (This means, wash, dry, fold AND PUT AWAY!) Seems simple enough, right? Well, hell! So did ONE SENTENCE and look where that got me!

(Excuse me while I transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer cuz my ONE LOAD has just completed its wash cycle…)

OK, I’m back.

Another thing I’m doing to better my life is I’m GETTING OFF MY ANTI-DEPRESSANTS! Want to know why I’m ‘sooooo’ depressed? Cuz I’m fat. So, in an attempt to better myself, I am getting off these DEPENDENT drugs, which will make me scream a bit more I’m sure, but in the long run, I’ll be better off, right? And I’m going to keep exercising, but up it to 5 – 6 days a week. Summertime had me slacking.

I’m in the process of weaning myself from this drug and have Googled WEAN FROM EFFEXOR and some of the stuff I’ve read SCARES me. Please share any advice you have if you’ve had a similar experience.

Why am I into the capital words so much in this post?

Next up: My work-from-home gig. I have been very, very fortunate with the website editing work I do, and they are so awesome to me (I don’t think they read this blog so I’m not brown-nosing!). So it may not seem like a lot, but another goal of mine is to get in at least two hours of work a day. Hell, THAT is easier than writing one freaking sentence for my WIP! Ideally, I’d like to set aside the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to focus on this work, but whenever it happens throughout the day is fine. The great thing is that I can do this work anytime. If I wake up at 3 a.m. and cannot sleep, I can come to the computer and do my work. It’s always there.

And, for the kids, I’ve created a cheesy excel grid to alleviate some of the yelling, fighting, arguing, back-talking (ooh, I make it sound like my children are less than perfect here!), messiness, etc. I’ve never been an allowance mom but they’re getting older, they can help out more, they can be responsible for their stuff, so they’re getting an allowance equivalent to their age. Every time they screw up, I ‘take away’ 50 cents. If they do something unexpected and exceptional, they may gain an extra 50 cents. We’ll see how this experiment flies.

So goals:

Work more.
Write more.
Exercise more.
Eat less (that’s always in the repertoire – ooh, big word, and YES I had to spellcheck it!)
No more anti-depressants.
Do more laundry.

A couple more things to cover--

Books on my nightstand:

I just read Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, written by my good friend Stephanie Hale. What a fun young adult novel! You can read my review here, along with other amazon reviews I posted.

I have also just read Bright Side of Disaster, also reviewed here, and I plan to write more about it later on the blog. GREAT BOOK FOR NEW MOMS!

Currently, I am reading this book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and while I simply HATE THE GUY and wonder how women could even be attracted to him, I’m enthralled by his writing and his stories. Even though he’s a sick bastard who should not be a best-selling author. Tucker Max. Ewww. Nasty. Gross. Hate him. But still, I read. And here’s the thing about the title of the book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell – HE SHOULD ALREADY KNOW CUZ HE’S THE FREAKING DEVIL!

Also in the "Manic Reading Wings":

Every Crooked Pot by Renee Rosen, who happens to live in Chicago, I believe.

Sister Salty, Sister Sweet, A Memoir of Sibling Rivalry, by Shannon Kring Biro and Natalie Kring. I have not started it yet, but I’m jealous as all hell that I didn’t think this up because my sister and I could have done a memoir, you know, because SHE MADE CHEERLEADING and I didn’t; SHE went to MY SENIOR PROM, and I didn’t. Yeah, I’ve got issues (love you Tse-Tse Fly – that’s her nickname!) Oh, and as a sidenote, having not read this book yet, I’m guessing the sister who is married, the Biro chick, is probably the one who thinks she’s better cuz she landed a husband. Don’t you think?

And this book:
The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty. Looks good. Of course, I’ll let you know.

That’s it for the bookshelf for now; here’s the kid school update:

Tukey starts kindergarten today! In exactly three hours, that little guy will be traipsing his little body onto that big ole mean yellow school bus, while I stand there in a puddle, drenching myself in the sorrow that is motherhood. Oh, I think I need a Xanax. What? Those are taken as needed, NOT DAILY! Come on, I said I was weaning from the Effexor… Rome wasn’t built in a day, now was it?

I’m sure he’s going to have the best first day of kindergarten ever! There are seriously like 11 kids in our neighborhood who are all taking the bus together and will be in the same class. No worries here (I say that now, but if you see a weeping mama on the curb, you know it’s me!)

Diva: Remember this story about her tooth?

I never did update you, did I? Well, that’s because IT IS STILL IN HER MOUTH! Four months later! It’s NEVER coming out! And we have a dentist appointment tomorrow! I can’t even go there right now. That tooth is hanging by a … by a… let me think about this for a second… It’s hanging by a spider web thread! NO! Not a spider web thread… a QUARTER OF A SPIDER WEB THREAD!

I guess that’s about all for now. Sorry for the hodge-podge of mish-mashy crap. Reading suggestions, weaning suggestions, dental suggestions, life-management suggestions are all appreciated! And apparently, EXTREMELY NECESSARY! (There I go again with those capital words—must be a side-effect of the weaning process.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Last Day of Summer

Today was the last day of summer. Officially. School starts in less than ... well, let's do the math... I suck at math, so hold on while I count on my fingers...


In a little over 10 hours I will be gathering my two oldest kids up and taking them to the bus for school to start. Third and fourth grades. How the hell did that happen? Tukey doesn't officially start kindergarten till Wednesday, and he's another whole blog post in itself. Very needy lately, has been paying me 4 a.m. visits to my bed. "Mom, I'm scared." He's majorly internalizing this kindergarten stuff. Or maybe I am.

But, back to the last day of summer. It was pouring rain when I woke around 9:30, relishing in the last day to sleep in. Hubby had been to Home Depot and back probably three or four times by the time I got up. I had asked him to put some shelves and hooks up in the garage.

So he did. And I helped, and it looked great, and then he popped open a beer, and I grabbed a Zima, cuz you all know we've got the fridge in the garage now. Remember that debacle?

We sat out in our garage with our drinks. It was still raining on and off, mostly, very much on, all day long, and it's still raining. And remember, I don't drink on Sundays, right? Well, we sat out there, ate pizza, listened to CDs, and then called up some neighbors because we decided to have a margarita party in the garage.

Say it with me.... "We are so white-trash!"

We seriously sat outside on white plastic chairs in our garage watching the rain for like 6 hours today. It was so white-trashy fun! I loved it. We'd wave at neighbors, yell to little kids riding by, and half the time, the kids were inside playing so it was just hubby and me. At one point, I was like, "I am kind of bored from relaxing; I should go inside and do something."

So what did I do?

We called up some neighbors, I ran to the store, in the rain, to get margarita fixins' and chips and salsa and a bunch of frozen Mexican appetizers. Lost my wallet at the store, had to go back halfway home but fortunately, someone turned it in.

Came home, mixed up a batch of 'ritas. Had about six or seven neighbors over and about 11 kids who ran through the rain like it was the best day of their lives! We drank margaritas. Hubby got out the sawhorses and put a 2 x 4 atop them, and we set up a Mexican buffet.

It was great fun, and a terrific way to round out the summer. But let me tell you, as much as I am dreading the 7 a.m. wake-up call, I'm ready for school to start.

I'm ending this post here. I'm tired. But stay tuned later this week for a whole new Manic coming at ya. Yeah, yeah, I say that every time there's a turn in our schedule.

Oh well, you'll just have to wait and see...

Who else starts school tomorrow? Are you also kicking up your heels in joy?

PS--If you didn't have a chance to check in over the weekend, I also blogged about HSM2... and for those addicts like me, I just read in People that Zac and Vanessa date in real life!?!?!? OH MY!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Do I Need to Grow Up or What?

Some of you may not like or appreciate this post. But once again. My blog. My words.

OK. I am at least not in denial.

I'm aware of the radical situation here. Really.

I’m thirty-eight years old. I told myself, “Self, do not do this. Restrain yourself. You are an adult; a middle-aged adult, almost ready to celebrate her 20th reunion from high school. You are on the brink of becoming a novelist (how long must I endure this BRINK, self asks?). You are a mature, seemingly so anyway, woman. With a family. Responsibilities. An image to upkeep.

I told myself, repeatedly. I tried to make myself understand. I mentally said, “Do not blog about this. No one will care. Keep it inside. Enjoy the moments on your own. Pull them from your memory when needed. Whistle the tunes quietly, if you must. Sneak through the magazines when you think no one is looking in the grocery store. But, don’t let them know of your addiction…

But I cannot hold it in any longer.

The secret must be shared. And tonight, I shall share it…

I have been waiting for this night all summer long now, and alas, I have already broken my promise to not blog about it…


Some of you loyal readers, you know. You know what I’m about to tell you. Yes, you, CMommy, and you, March of the Seas…, for I believe you are two who share in the addiction.

And that addiction, my friends is High School Musical...


In fact, I am such a High School Musical Dork – slash – addict that I posted blog notes during the commercials…

Let me take you there, if you dare …

I’m in the middle of watching HSM2, and just now, Mr. Manic looks over to me and says, “You are giggling like a 16-year-old.”

I am! I love it! It totally reminds me of the two summers I worked at a bath and tennis club, complete with the summer romance! The best summer of my life. I was working at a resort-like place, there were rich people all around, and us kids were shlepping them tuna salad on pineapple boats, getting exactly 15 percent tips from the lunching tennis ladies, who actually would pull out their calculators to determine 15 percent of 7.95. But there was also the ‘staff’ side of the job, where everyone was working to make money for college, everyone was looking for the next party, or, in my case, the next boy to kiss. It was a summer full of memories, not unlike the summer depicted in HSM2, and one that I’ll always remember, and I’ll always cherish the first moments I had at that summer job, falling in love with a lifeguard, while I was on the other side of the tracks, because lifeguards and waitstaff were world’s apart and shouldn’t mingle. Actually, now that I think about it, I was much like Juliet to my lifeguard’s Romeo – drawn together, yet pulled apart, the Montague’s and the … who was the other family?

Anyway, digressing, but there was no accidental death in this particular summer romance; just a confession from Mr. Romeo Lifeguard who admitted he had another Juliet back at college, yet he really could be in love with two Juliets at the same time. Yeah. Right. I wanted to be THE Juliet, not the I'm-The-Summer-Juliet-While-I've-Got-A-College-Juliet-As-Soon-As-School-Starts-Back-Up Juliet.

OK, now I’m bummed out.

Enough of my wistful reminiscing. Back to the show…

Ryan and Sharpay are HILARIOUS. They are spying on Gabriella and Troy, and Ryan has a walkie-talkie and when he calls Sharpay, he says: “Goldenthroat. It’s Jazz Square.”

Get it? I guess you’ll only get it if you know the characters. It’s freaking hilarious! Like Sharpay is named Goldenthroat for her singing ability. I am cracking up over this show. And Ryan calls himself Jazz Square… well, if you didn’t see High School Musical One, then, well, you just won’t get it. But, we all know how many times I have blogged about HSM. I am like the biggest dorkiest fan in the thirty-plus range!

Are there any fans of the show in the thirty-plus range? I’m scaring myself.

OK, I’m blogging during commercials, and they just did the I Don’t Dance song on the baseball field. And then Sharpay gets mad and when she’s walking out of the dance room, she says to the drummer, “Give me a beat.” Like as in Janet Jackson, Ms. Jackson if You’re Nasty Give-Me-A-Beat… And then struts out of the room. And then she rips on the Wildcats saying, “What is this? A production of Grease?”

Really though, High School Musical is so much better than Grease ever was. And I’ve blogged about this too. Sure, maybe it’s unbelievable, but I would love for my kids to have friends like the Wildcats in high school. There are no drugs, no unplanned pregnancies to deal with. No keggers. No one-hitters, no bongs, no tin-foil prepped pipes…

OK, so it’s Disney, folks. But it’s so nice. And safe. And I want my children to be safe. And it sends off an extraordinary message… a message about being in the moment, and not forgetting who you are to get where you think the future has to take you. It’s about staying true to yourself, and your friends, and having fun along the way. It’s a great message. One I really admire.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I have a major crush on Troy Bolton, and Corbin Bleu, and the whole cast is amazing, and they all appear to be very hard workers, and I think these kids deserve the success they’ve achieved.

And, I guess I’m missing a big part of my youth too. It’s sad really, to start feeling old, and to know your kids are getting just old enough that they’re not going to want to Bop, Bop, Bop, Bop to the Top with you for much longer. And that pretty soon they’ll realize exactly how much of an embarrassment their mom is really going to be to them when they get smart enough to know that most moms don’t try a jazz square or try to sing the latest Disney songs at the top of their lungs while driving in the minivan. Sad, really. I’m very sad.

Know what’ll make me happy? I think I’ll go watch an encore presentation of High School Musical 2… because You’ve got the music in me….

PS… To view all previous posts about High School Musical check here (there are really too many to post individually:

High School Musical Previous Posts on Manic Mom.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mental Lottery

Today, my Tukey fell into a wading pond at the Morton Aboretum. He wasn’t hurt, but he was wet, and he was embarrassed. I took him into the bathroom to dry him off with one of the hand dryers and while I was drying his shirt, we had this conversation:

Tukey: “Those people were mean. They were cracking up at me.”

Me: “No they weren’t. They were all mommies. No mommy would laugh at another kid.”

Tukey: “Well, they were. They all cracked up at me.”

Me: “Tukey, I think they probably just saw a cute little boy who fell in the water and they thought it was cute. That’s all. They weren’t making fun of you.”

Tukey: “Yes, they were.”

Me: “Well, look at it this way. If they were mean, and they were laughing at you, then this is a good lesson. You will learn how it feels and when you ever feel like laughing at someone cuz they are hurt or doing something odd, then you’ll know that it’s not nice to laugh at other people.”

I continue to dry him off and then the air dryer stops. Another lady was in the bathroom, a woman who worked there, and she looked at Tukey and said, “You have the world’s greatest mom.”

And I said, “I have the world’s greatest almost kindergartener!”

The woman said she had a six-month-old at home and always thinks of how she’s going to teach her little baby lessons when she grows up. She said I did a great job teaching Tukey a little lesson. I swear I almost was about to cry. I told her that was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me and she totally made me feel so happy. She made me have a good day. My heart was soaring with pride, and I gave myself a little cheer:

“Whoo Hoo!
Who’s your momma? Who’s your momma?

Of course, it was just a little mental inner cheer but it was all mine. And I’m keeping this little nugget of good feelings with me for whenever I’m feeling like a crappy mom.

Have you ever received a compliment that just made your heart soar? I love offering free compliments to people when I see someone doing something nice for someone else for no other reason than to just make a person feel good.

It’s like winning a little mental lottery, to receive little gifts like this.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I love it when there’s a new book out that I can really, really relate to, and I had the opportunity to read Gwendolen Gross's The Other Mother. My own mother asked me the other day how I pick the books I buy and read, and I really don’t know. It’s got to be a certain story that pulls me to it. Some books I will look at, open the front cover, and bam, the first couple of words snag me and I’m done. That’s a book I want to read. The Other Mother is one of these books.

What really drew me into this book was the fact that there were two main characters, neither better than the other. The women both brought something to the reader’s table, and it’s a great storyline because not just some moms, but ALL moms can relate to one of the characters, or in my case, you may relate to both of the characters.

When I had Ajers, I was working full-time as a marketing director for a travel association. I loved what I did. I had great perks, I had my own office; I got to be creative, and met a bunch of awesome people in the industry. I wanted to work. I had a great boss, and it was arranged so after I had my baby, I could work from 7:30 – 3:00 in order to get home to be with my baby. Plus, my mom was going to watch AJers a couple of days a week, eliminating expensive day care. It was the perfect situation.

I had Ajers, and went back to work. I swore I would never be a stay-at-home mom cuz come on, how BORING would THAT be? To sit there and watch your kid shit his diaper, drink his bottle, watch Einstein videos, swing in his little swing, jump in his Exersaucer… nope, that was not me. I was going to offer so much MORE to the world.

Can you sense a spirit of sarcasm here?

Well, then, things started changing at my office, and my husband had an opportunity for a job transfer, and suddenly, moving and becoming a stay-at-home mom sounded INCREDIBLE! The grass was going to be much greener on the other side! I mean, after all, I would be able to sit there, watch my child poop in his diaper, drink his bottle, watch Einstein videos, swing in his little swing, jump in his Exersaucer … It was going to be the most incredible experience in my life!

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Oh my God. I was sooo bored as a stay-at-home mom. At first. I had no friends, had just moved to a new state, knew no one, spent HOURS watching MTV Real World reruns. When I took Ajers to his first little group class, I couldn’t believe moms would actually sit there and sing, “Welcome, welcome everyone! Now we’re here, let’s have some fun!” at The Little Gym.

And just when I started getting acclimated, I decided I wanted a part-time job, so I interviewed at a newspaper. And was offered the job. And got pregnant again when Ajers was nine months old. Stay-at-home mom was going to be tattooed to my forehead forever.

So, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. Maybe just that there are pros and cons to being a working mom at a job that pays and there are pros and cons to being a working mom at a job that doesn’t pay.

I think the bottom line for all moms is that you need to find a balance in your life, do things that make you happy. If having a career is necessary for your family, or if it’s necessary for your well-being and sanity, then that’s great and wonderful! I applaud working moms. I look at the laundry I have in this house, I stress out about what to feed my family, and I am amazed at women who can keep a house clean, prepare meals, care for their children AND work outside of the home. And if you don’t work outside of the home, and you’re the CEO of your family, and you’re happy and satisfied, and you manage time for yourself, then that’s incredible too!

I don’t understand the Mommy Wars. We try to be sympathetic to other women who do things other ways, yet there’s always the underlying question of who’s doing the better job. Why does it have to be a contest?

Anyway, along with some great suspense, and lively real characters, The Other Mother offers an underlying message about motherhood and the choices made. I went into reading it with a preconception, sure that I was going to side with the stay-at-home mom. I came away from it with a completely different perspective! You’ll really enjoy it!

Here’s the review I posted on

Having been The Other Mother on both sides of the Mommy Wars fence, I was extremely excited to read The Other Mother by Gwendolyn Gross. It tells the story of stay-at-home Thea, striving for perfection as a mom to three children, and Amanda, a new mother who doesn’t want to give up the career she has made for herself or being the woman she was before she became a mother.

When a disaster strikes, Amanda and her family take refuge in Thea’s home, and Thea is the ever-gracious, can’t-say-no-to-anyone woman. She has to be in control. And later, she becomes the temporary Nanny to Amanda’s baby, and inevitably, she falls in love with the baby.

Amanda’s and Thea’s relationship is both tumultuous and at times sincerely loving. It’s as if they are both looking to find something in the other that they have not within themselves. A series of events, including animal carnage left on doorsteps, a pre-teen in the throes of her first love, and an unexpected kiss lead the reader into a forest of twists and turns in this page-turner of a book.

In addition to a great story, Gross uses her talents as a writer to bring otherwise non-living things to life in The Other Mother. Flowers that turn their “heads” to the sunshine; a leaf-blower “chewing” up the ground covering, and pregnant women described as sailing vessels – her words are beautifully manipulated to create images not long forgotten. I found myself wishing I had a highlighter in order to mark and remember some of her poetic phrases.

In the end, the reader comes away very satisfied, and Gross writes her story in a way that there is no right or wrong in choosing how to mother. Just as long as you’re mothering with a caring heart and all the love you have to offer!

So, do you work outside the home? Full-time? Part-time? Do you wish your days were spent doing something other than what you’re currently doing? Are you overwhelmed as a stay-at-home mom? Are you overwhelmed as a career-mom? Are you bored as a stay-at-home mom? Bored with your career? What do you think when women judge others who mother differently?

And, don’t get me started on stay-at-home dads, because every one of them I’ve ever met has quickly become my hero! Certainly, they ALL ROCK!

P.S. And does anyone else think the girl on the cover looks like Shannen Doherty?

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I think parents, no matter how dumb they are, have a right to choose the name of their children, as long as it's not really sacrilegious or perverted. Here's an interesting story:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A New Zealand couple is looking to call their newborn son Superman — but only because their chosen name of 4Realhas been rejected by the government registry.

Pat and Sheena Wheaton say they will get around the decision by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages by officially naming their son Superman but referring to him as 4Real, the New Zealand Herald newspaper has reported.

The Wheatons decided on the name after seeing the baby for the first time in an ultrasound scan and realizing their baby was “for real.”

They decided 4Real was the best way to write it, but the name was rejected because the registrar said a name had to be a sequence of characters.

Pat Wheaton said he was considering appealing against the decision through the courts, but whatever happens he won’t be budged on his choice.

“No matter what, it’s going to stay 4Real,” Wheaton told the Herald, “I’m certainly not a quitter.”

A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which operates the registry, told the Herald discussions with the Wheatons about their son’s name were continuing.
The baby is now 2 months old. The Wheatons first applied to register his name in late June.

* * *
Here's some other interesting facts on naming kids:

French parents must choose baby names from an approved list. The laws are designed to prevent teasing. (OK, like this is going to stop all kids from being mean to other kids. Come on.)

Germany has laws against naming children Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. (This one I get. I really do. Why start a kid out with a name based on some of the most terrible people in the world?)

New Zealand isn't the only country to restrict names. Sweden refused to allow a couple to name their daughter Metallica, after the rock group above, in April. (This one I don't understand. Can people not name their kid Marilyn Manson cuz he's a weirdo too?)

Singer Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. named his daughter Nevaeh -- that's "heaven" spelled backward -- in 2001. Its popularity grew faster in the United States than any other name in the past century. (Well, if he's choosing the opposite of Heaven, do they call her Hell for short?)

One Michigan boy and one Texas boy have been named ESPN after the sports network based in Bristol, Conn. (Does it sound like Espen? That would be OK.)

In the United States, "You can't use a four letter word that I wouldn't use in this interview," a sociologist said, "and other than that you're free to do what you want." (Awww, shit.)

Anyway, if they want their kid to be 4Real but they aren't allowed to use a number in the beginning, why not just spell it For Real? For real.

What are your thoughts and what's the stupidest baby name you've ever heard?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gina Glocksen ENGAGED! American Idol Recap!


Right before my eyes, I saw Gina Glocksen of American Idol (and Naperville, Ilinois!) get asked to be married! TONIGHT! At the American Idol concert! OMG. It was amazing. I feel like a sixteen-year-old who just had a brush with stardom...

AND, I touched an Idol. I touched an Idol...

Wanna know which one? Check back tomorrow and I'll tell the whole story!

Amazing! Just an amazing show.

I am such a kid at heart.


Ten minutes later....

OK, so, I can’t hold back till tomorrow. I’m too excited, and I was just IMing Swish telling her about the concert, and I’m just so jazzed up now I might as well tell about the show while I’m all in the moment and all of the whole American Idol concert.

We had eighth row! Like as in there’s the stage, and then there’s eight rows between me and BLAKE LEWIS!! Except we were on the side of the stage, which initially I thought would be a detriment to our viewing pleasure, but it turned out to be an awesome advantage cuz we got to peak at the goings-on BACKSTAGE!

In the very beginning, there was a security guard, kind of a greasy guy, standing on the platform of the stage by us, and I remember thinking, “OK, that’s weird. What’s he doing? Waiting for a bomb to go off?”

Then, the lights go down, and the dude starts walking on the stage, and I KNEW IT! It was Blake Lewis in disguise! So, I’m screaming like all the little tweens around me, and you know what? I don’t care if I look silly, or sound silly, or look stupid or sound stupid, because it was amazing to be there! It was incredible to watch my kids’ eyes light up with the realization that they were here, in the same room, EIGHT ROWS DISTANCE away from live television stars! And Tukey was ROCKING out like nobody’s business! Totally rocking out!

I totally, totally wish I had brought my camera with me cuz I would be putting up about a hundred youtube videos right now. Like one of Gina Glocksen getting ENGAGED on stage! OMG, that was just sooo cool! Here comes more of the teeny bopper in me. I am such a kid at heart. I can’t stop myself. But I was screaming for her! It’s like the best night of the tour for her because she’s performing in her hometown, and then, the love of her life gets onstage and asks her to marry him! Ring and bended knee and everything! Totally perfect!

You have got to love technology cuz this youtube vid is already out there (don't bother turning up your volume; all you'll hear are screams):

Some thoughts on the performers, and I’m going to try to say something nice or delicate about every one of them.

Chris Richardson really surprised me! Like, I wasn’t a big fan before, but guess what? He can rock on the beat-boxing too! He is an incredible performer, very talented! He and Blake had a beat-box jam and then Richardson broke out into, “I’m bringing sexy back!” a la Timberlake-style, which had the room floored!

Haley, well, lovely little Haley sure can shake her assets. And Simon was right. She does have great legs. And she can sing too, and I think her forte is country music. Mr. Manic was certainly enjoying it when she was on stage, and even commented that he had kind of hoped she slipped when she was wearing a flapper’s ‘20s cute little teeny skirty-skirt. He didn’t really mean it. Really. I know him. Come on. He would never say such a thing. Who are we kidding?

Melinda and Lakisha rock the house! Lakisha brought it all out with Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” and Melinda did the whole “Natural Woman” song, which was amazing. I need to find another adjective for amazing, don’t I?

Gina KICKED ass! She is really a great singer, and I’m not just saying that cuz she’s from the town near me, or that she just got engaged. She is great! And I spoke to her after the show! We had a real conversation, just her and me, she and I, whatever!! I yelled down to her that I know she gets her hair cut at D. Stevens and she was like, “What? How do you know that?” I figured that was a link to connect myself to her, so now she’ll always remember there was a girl at the show who commented about her hair salon. Clever, isn’t it? Plus I already went to her MYSPACE to remind her, and to leave a comment. Sooo clever, that Manic Mom.

Then I congratulated her, and again, she was like, “For what?” I guess she thought I was congratulating her for getting her hair done at D. Stevens. NOOOO! For getting engaged!

And Phil Stacey—cute Phil Stacey! He does like the limelight a little, which is not a bad thing, cuz he’s genuine and nice, and his eyes are beautiful and… and…. I TOUCHED HIS HAND! It was kind of awkward, I must admit, because I reached down with my wedding-ringed hand, and he reached up with HIS wedding-ringed hand, and we kind of touched/shook. It was really pretty intimate, and I guess if there weren’t so many people vying for his attention the same time we touched, there probably would have been some serious connection going on. I think it really helped that he and I both had used our wedding-ringed hands as a protective barrier because I am pretty positive the sparks (and I don’t mean Jordin Sparks—duh duh dump!) would have been flying all over the arena!

BTW, Diva and Ajers got a hand swipe with the old Philster as well, and Diva has sworn she is never washing her hand. Me either baby! Me either!

Sanjaya—Got to give the guy some serious, serious credit—He does know how to work the crowd, and he can kind of sing pretty good too! He’s 17, you have to realize that. He’s all huggy and lovey, and very puppy-doggish like, but not in a bad way. From my advantage spot on the side of the stage, I saw Sanjay jump on Phil’s back and take a piggy-back ride. See, he’s kidlike! Except when he attempts some funky pelvic thrusts in some tight spandexy pants which I did not find too attractive.

Blakey, Blakey, Blakey. I loved everything about him from his beat-boxing to the eyeliner under his eyes. He’s such a cutie, and a terrific performer, but sadly, he is probably just a titch too short for moi. However, if he ever felt like singing to me, I’d take it all day long!

Chris Sleigh did his rendition of Typical and it was very good. He’s a jumpy on-stage kinda guy who favors John Deere t-shirts.

And Jordin. She truly has star quality. She sang her heart out. She is normal sized, because I know you all are wondering. And she’s like only 17 also! She’s beautiful, and you can tell she is beautiful on the inside too! She’s just a very sincere performer, and you can tell she is very grateful for the journey she’s on. They all are extremely thankful and appreciative of everything they have achieved.

I looked at the ten performers on the stage, and I thought, “These people were just like me.” They had a passion for something. And they had a dream, not to get too Martin-Luthery King on all of you, but I too, have a dream. And I looked admiringly up to those performers, and I felt happy to be sharing a piece of their success, and to find enjoyment from their talents, and I thought, “That is what I want. That, is exactly what I want.” Not to be the next American Idol, good God folks, are you with me here right now? I can’t sing. Hell, sometimes I wonder if I can even write. But I know that when my fingers are jamming away at these keys, and I notice some of the letters are beginning to wear away from the keyboard, I think, “This is what I want. I want my fifteen minutes someday, and I want it to be because I have shared a part of me that others may get something out of. Like I did when all those amazing performers tonight shared their talents and love of music with me.

So, thank you American Idols. For the songs, for the inspiration, for the sincerity in your hearts. And for giving me the belief that if I, or any of you for that matter, just stick to what you believe in, maybe someday you will appear on a stage in front of thousands of people and you will bring a piece of joy into others’ hearts!

Peace UP, and Yes, I really mean PEACE UP!

Monday, August 06, 2007

My List of “I Need”…

I need to take a sandblaster to my feet. They are disgusting. Seriously, if you saw my feet, you would be like, “Oh my God, Manic, you have the most vile feet soles of all of eternity!” You understand now why I am a foot-picker?

I need to lose 30 pounds, but I’d settle for 10. My high school reunion is in TWO MONTHS FROM TODAY! I wonder how many other DGN grads, class of ’87, are fretting about their weight right this very minute? Cuz, how can you want to go to your high school reunion feeling like a lard. Cuz that’s how I’m feeling.

I need to GET INTO A ROUTINE! My goal when school starts (TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!) is to work at my freelance job from 8 – 10 a.m. every day. Then spend time with Tuke. Then feed Tukey lunch at 11, and get him to the bus at 11:20 for afternoon kindergarten. Then, from 11:30 till 12:30, I will exercise in some format, and then get my A$$ in the chair and write, write, WRITE! I firmly believe that learning to write is just like training for a marathon, or doing a sport. You have to do it every day to get your fingers, your mind, your stories into shape, and I have been very bad at doing so this summer.

I need to go HERE tomorrow!

Even though two-thirds of our children have no idea we are going to this tomorrow night, Tukey once said if we were ever to see American Idol in concert, he would make a sign that says: “My Mom wants Blake Lewis to be her next husband!”

I need to do laundry.

I need a cool treat.

I need to continue with the points because after all, it is, once again, MONDAY, diet day, and I have stuck to the points thus far.

I need to get back to WW meetings.

I need to not crave French fries and pizza. BTW, I did have some Kashi pizza tonight (you know, there’s a cereal called Kashi, right?). Well there’s pizza now too, and it was really good, high in fiber and all that crap. (Ha, fiber and crap in the same sentence!).

I need to show you this:
OK, so for my reunion, we have a website with our NOW and THEN photos. Let’s see if I can upload the THEN photo:

OK, so that’s my THEN photo twenty years ago. What's with the hair? The pearls are a nice touch though? You could tell, even then, I was a classy chick!

To be funny, I have started putting up goofy photos in place of my NOW photo, everything from my tattoo:

to this:

And currently, I have this picture up for NOW:

with this caption:

Is this funny to everyone else, or just in my own little warped mind? It’s my little Granny who is 95! Isn’t she a cutie?!

So, gauging from all of this, I guess I can end this post emphatically saying…


Wouldn't you agree?

And hey, if you're a DGN grad, delurk and say hey!

Friday, August 03, 2007


My mom is arranging flowers in the kitchen while I’m in here doing whatever I do in here and I hear her say, “I think in my next life, I want to be a flower arranger.”

Me: “I’ve ALWAYS wanted to work at Subway!”

Mom: “Bwahahahahahahaha! That is the funniest thing I have ever heard!”

Me: “Why? Why couldn’t I work at Subway?”

Mom: “You HATE touching hamburger meat. You hate raw meat. How could you work in a sandwich shop?”

Me: “This meat wouldn’t be raw! It would be cooked! I don’t know, I just would like it. And the customers would LOVE me cuz I’d always sneak an extra couple slices of salami on their sandwiches, and extra yummy things. I could make a bad-ass sandwich! With loads of mayo, and even extra lettuce is good. Oh, and those triangles of cheese, well, they’d get like six or eight on the sandwiches I make!”

Mom: “Stick to your day job.”

Me: “And if someone came in asking for olives or pickles, which I personally loathe, I would load ‘em up on the sandwich too! And you know what else? I would give the customers more than one stinking napkin per order! What is with that? …"

[Thoughtful pause here…]

“By the way, I don’t have a day job!”

Mom: “Get one. But not at Subway.”

Me: “Yeah Mom, you’re right. I could never work at Subway. I like Jimmie John’s much better!”

OK, now I’m totally craving a sandwich!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Perry L. Crandall Has Arrived

Today's the day Lottery and Perry L. Crandall makes their debut into the world. If you'd like to win a copy, there's still time to enter over at my friend Kim's Blog.

Tell her Manic sent ya.

And if you don't win, still, go out and get this book. It's truly amazing!

On a couple other notes: High School Musical on tour was AMAZING, and I cannot wait for HSM2 airing August 17.

And, I need to clean up my sidebar on this blog. If you're a regular reader, and a regular blogger, with nothing dirty or nasty on your blog, (well, nothing more dirty or nasty than what I write!) leave me a comment and I will add you to my sidebar.

Thanks, and Peace UP!