Sunday, February 28, 2010

Samoa, Samoa, why don't you come ovah . . .

In my college dorm, residence hall news was reported by the Dorm Secretary in the form of "Stall Notes" taped inside each bathroom stall. Some years and weeks were better than others in terms of the cleverness of the news reporting, but I cannot imagine that a single resident was able to visit a stall over the course of a news week without practically memorizing the contents of the stall notes.

One week there was an announcement about how residents could buy Girl Scout Cookies if they were interested (from whom, I cannot remember) and the Dorm Secretary followed up on this announcement by writing, "Samoa, Samoa, why don't you come ovah and give me some lovah." I think of this phrase (poem? plea?) every single year when it is Girl Scout cookie time. Every year, even though it's something silly that I read while sitting in a bathroom stall around 1995.

Samoa, Samoa, why don't you come ovah and give me some lovah.

Genius. Yes, Samoa, why don't you. Love it.

Anyway, my niece Fancy is a Daisy Scout and delivered my Girl Scout Cookie order this weekend, which was as follows:

3 boxes Caramel deLites (also known as Samoas)
1 box Peanut Butter Patties
1 box Thin Mints

I have just a few questions/comments for the Girl Scouts of America:

1. What's wrong with the old names? I would rather eat a Hoedown or even a Tag-A-Long than a Peanut Butter Pattie. I mean a Hoedown (what the cookies were called back in 1985 when I was selling them) is a festive, rowdy, All American celebration. Tag-A-Long doesn't convey a sense of courage, initiative, and independence. Peanut Butter Pattie is just boring.

2. I've heard rumors that you use two different bakers for the cookies. Do the cookie names change depending on who bakes them? Could I be eating actual Samoas if my niece's Daisy troop sourced orders from a different baker?

3. Have you considered making a special request to the FDA to exempt your organization from having to include nutritional information on the box? Because really, eating Girl Scout cookies should feel like a virtuous experience. Your consumers should be able to indulge as often as they like and feel warm and fuzzy inside as they do so, content and self-satisfied in the knowledge that their cookie-eating is building leaders and helping young girls discover their potential.

Knowing that two Caramel deLites (Samoas) equal 140 calories kind of takes away from the fun. You know?

4. I only ordered the Thin Mints for my husband. Kind of overrated, I think.

5. Kudos to you for working with the folks at Edy's to come up with those Girl Scout Cookie ice cream flavors. Heavenly. Simply heavenly.

That's all for now. Raise your hands if you've eaten almost a thousand calories in Samoas today!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And now it's time for a couples skate.

Have you missed me? The reasons I haven't been able to blog in so many days are multiple, the main one being that my laptop refused to connect to the internet for about four days. I was going to post about all the things I miss out on when I don't have online access but really, I think you all can imagine. It's tough, maddening even, but too boring to blog about.

I've got tons of blog post ideas all saved up, but for today I'll just share a little story.

Last Saturday evening, I sat down in a middle seat on an Air Tran flight from Ft. Meyers to Chicago. To my left was Little Bit, strapped into his car seat and offering no indication that he might sleep during the flight (even though it was definitely his bedtime).

In the previous twenty-four hours, every member of my family had either had diarrhea (Little Bit), vomiting (Bub), or a combination of the two (myself, hubby, and my mother-in-law). Hubby and I were weak and tired and praying that all of us (seemingly on the mend, but still a bit shaky) would remain emission-free during the flight. The thought of changing a diarrhea-filled diaper in an airplane lavatory with my huge, pregnant stomach was almost unbearable. If I had to though, I knew I could do it. I also knew that I was supposed to get up and walk a couple of times during the flight since pregnant women are at greater risk of getting blood clots. I'll wait until Little Bit falls asleep, I strategized. Yes, I told myself, it will all be okay. In a few hours we will be home.

And then, I saw a gate agent practically carrying a passenger down the aisle. The woman could barely walk. Yes, she looked like she was in pain and in a bad mood. Yes, she would be sitting to my right in the aisle seat. Yes, I was trapped in my seat for the remainder of the flight.

Yes, I started crying. Not sobbing, mind you, but whimpering quietly to myself as Little Bit continued to fuss and fidget. Poor MEP.

My tears were interrupted by my travel companion asking me where her seatbelt was. I had the great privilege of being allowed to reach under her behind to retrieve it for her. Happy to help.

And then she wanted to talk. I'm not one of those people who hates talking to strangers on planes so, okay, happy to listen.

But then, the tales of woe that she laid on me were almost more than I can handle: a grandson with a debilitating disease, a recently deceased twin sister, a no good brother-in-law, some conflicts over family heirlooms, a cousin who recently drank a fatal dose of Drano, a cleaning lady with drug-addicted sons, multiple miscarriages, a black and blue butt cheek from a painful shot, a leg that was not working, sisters-in-law convinced she was taking too much medicine, a disappointing meal at Red Lobster . . . you will just have to trust me that I have only scratched the surface with this list. I ran out of phrases of the "That's awful"- "Unbelievable"--"I'm so sorry"--"That must have been so hard"--"How terrible" variety.

Little Bit fell asleep so I just kept stroking his little hand and listening.

Mixed in with these tragic stories were pieces of advice, such as the fact that I would be a fool not to purchase a ranch-style house with a Florida room and that she was pretty sure that the taxes were high in the community where we plan to move.

I hope it does not seem like I am going out of my way to be unkind or snarky about this woman. Because truly, even though I felt depressed and kind of weighed down the more I listened, I was happy to listen and happy if my listening helped her forget the pain in her leg and butt cheek for the remainder of the flight. And, let's face it, I felt a lot better about my own life the more she talked.

And she told me a few things about herself that I will always remember with a smile and that made the tales of woe totally worth hearing. The first is that she and her husband met at a roller rink. They did their courting at the roller rink (I'm guessing in the 1950s) where they skated together three days a week. I was absolutely charmed by the idea of time when two young twentysomethings would meet up to roller skate three days a week! Just seems more romantic than texting or meeting at a bar, you know? They celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with a skating party at the very roller rink where they fell in love. How adorable is that? Her husband had not skated in years, but when he hit the party, it all came back to him. She had no trouble at all at the anniversary party because she had kept skating for years. When her kids were school age, she and her girlfriends met at the roller rink every Thursday morning to skate and then went out to lunch. There are no words for how much I would love to be a part of a routine like that.

When we landed, this woman's son and daughter-in-law were waiting just outside security to pick her up (her husband and granddaughter were driving home from Florida, but she was in too much pain for the long drive). I hoped that they loved her as much as I knew from our conversation that she loved them. I'm sure they do, just as I am also sure that there are moments when they are frustrated by her complaints, ailments, and woeful tales . . . times when they want to roll their eyes and sigh.

I hope at those moments, they can picture her at the roller rink.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All Thumbs

I'm away from home (somewhere where I don't see a single snowflake, NTB) as I craft this post and using my husband's laptop which for me is like wearing shoes that are about a size too small for a long hike. I'm just not totally comfortable and in my groove, you know?

Since I'm all thumbs on this laptop, I offer you a brief thumb-theme post that offers some highlights from the past week or so . . .

* Bub's quote last week when I finally made him the long-promised smoothie he had been asking for: "It tastes so good I can't believe my heart."

* My rewatching of The Gilmore Girls. I'm on the third season now (Rory now with Jess, Lorelai not with Luke yet and it's killing me) and finding that I don't remember a lot of what happened and so it's like fresh joy each episode.

* portable DVD players -- best $80 ever spent, traveling parents' best friend

* feeling of leaving a super clean house behind and knowing that at least for a couple of days a pair of little munchkins won't be messing it up

* I'm not really into the Olympics this year (except for supporting my mom's boyfriend Apolo Ohno), but I love these photos of Vancouver taken by my cousin, a very talented Vancouver-based photojournalist.

* The green stuff my mother-in-law made!

* All the awesome bird stuff at Pottery Barn. I usually toss my catalog straight into the recycling, but the most recent one has these awesome bird pillows on the cover and this beautiful spring sparrow duvet cover as well. I had to place an order. I just had to. I'm nesting, you see.

* Magic Erasers -- not great for all surfaces, but our front and side doors (painted metal) look good as new, NTB.

* Did I mention that there is not a single snow flake where I am . . .

* Confederate Flag beach towels

* Freaking candy aisle at Old Navy check out. It's bad enough that I don't have the free time to shop for clothes anywhere but Old Navy and Target, but if I'm going to torture myself by going to Old Navy with my kids, I don't need the added stress of having tons of candy and snack food at the check out. Even gumball machines. I do not need my four year-old begging for a gumball machine after I have settled for yet another plain black cotton t-shirt.

* Cleaning. Cleaning. Cleaning. Cleaning.

* Little Bit's new too-short haircut. Any additional commentary on what his haircut looks like would come off as snobby and classist. Sure, he's still a cutie, but I hope the hair grows quickly.

* Trying to get my kids to nap and sleep in a place that is not home.

What about you? What's THUMBS UP and DOWN for you these days?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I have not yet magic erased myself . . .

I'm still here, full of ideas for blog posts but too busy with my Clorox wipes and Magic Erasers to get my blogging act together. We list our finally almost-clean house tomorrow.

In addition, a combination of household chemicals and dry skin has necessitated my wearing a Vanessa Hudgens bandaid* on my middle right digit to cover a cut that is making it a bit painful to type or, more accurately, to do anything at all with my right hand.

If you're looking for some good reading, may I suggest Blogtrotting? We've been in Australia, Arizona, Greece, and Ohio (woo hoo Loveland!) this week. Boston's Chinatown is on the schedule for tomorrow. Go forth and explore!

Stay tuned here at NTB though. I'm going to find the neosporin, replace that hussy Vanessa with Hannah Montana, and blow your minds with a new post.

*I purchased some Hannah Montana and High School Musical bandaids on the CVS clearance end cap last summer. I meant to send them to my nieces, but alas . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Little Bit's Got Game(s) Too

Several months ago, I blogged about some of Bub's more, um, creative games and pastimes. Little Bit is taking after Big Brother by inventing some of his own games . . .

I can't give definitive age, size, or strength requirements for any of these games but can let you know that Little Bit is a sturdy, strong, and fearless lad of nineteen months.

These games are best started while mom is doing something like taking an important phone call, using the bathroom, cleaning up, preparing a meal, or trying to get big brother ready for school.

Skillet Surfing
Materials Needed: skillets of various sizes, hardwood floors
1. Open drawer where mom keeps the skillets.
2. Drag skillets into living room (note, I did say "drag" -- important to try to scratch the floor whenever possible).
3. Place two skillets side by side.
4. Place one foot in each skillet.
5. Shimmy and shake as skillets slowly slide away from each other.
6. Continue in this fashion until mom removes you from skillets and thus ends the game.

Materials Needed: open stairway where previous baby gate existed, assorted toiletries
1. Wait many, many months for your parents to remove gate blocking upstairs access so that drywall damage caused by that gate can be repaired in preparation for selling home.
2. Once gate has been removed, run upstairs as quickly as you can (extra points if your pregnant mom pees a little while chasing you) anytime you pass that previously-blocked staircase.
3. Make beeline for upstairs bathroom and see what you can grab (ideas include: dad's toothbrush, children's motrin--open it with your teeth, lidless jar of vaseline, lotion, tube of toothpaste, bar of soap, disposable razor).
4. Do as much damage as you can with chosen toiletry until your mom stops you (extra points if you can get your older brother involved to narrate and dramatize the events as they are happening).
5. You can return to step 1 again as soon as you wish. After all, the gate is gone now!

Potty Time
Materials Needed: toddler potty (preferably full), unlocked bathroom door
1. Notice that some fool has left the bathroom door open. Head inside.
2. Take the pieces of the toddler potty apart. Whether full or empty, attempt to carry the collector tray-thing to regular potty. Make sure to spill some.
3. Flush repeatedly (extra points for breaking the flusher-handle thing).
4. Warning: if you play this game too often, your parents will begin locking the bathroom at all times and keeping a key above the door. You will then need to be extra vigilant about sliding in when someone else wants to use the bathroom.

Variation: Starting at step 2, enter and sit down fully clothed on toddler potty (full or empty), giving parents just enough potty training hope that they are reluctant to put toddler potty away even though big brother can certainly manage without it. Say "poo" over and over, but do not actually poop.

Pick Mom's Nose
Materials Needed: mom with a nose, at least one digit
1. Sit on your mom's lap and pretend you want to cuddle.
2. While she is smiling at you, begin sticking your finger in her nose.
3. Giggle maniacally as you do so.
4. Stay persistent even if she tries to push your finger away and/or says to you, "No, you don't want to pick my nose." After all, you do want to pick her nose.

Pick Mom's Nose: X Games Edition
Materials Needed: mom with nose, at least one digit, towels
1. Play standard version of Pick Mom's Nose following rules above.
2. Try to catch mom off guard by jamming one little finger all the way up her nose with a great deal of force.
3. Look simultaneously confused and delighted when blood begins gushing from mom's nose.
4. Enjoy the show that ensues as your mom tries to catch the blood in her cupped palms while shouting to big brother to get her some towels already. It will be very funny when brother is foiled in his first attempt to get towels because the bathroom is locked (see "Potty Time" game above). It will be less funny when he returns from kitchen with two baby bibs before finally locating the kitchen towels.

Bam Bam
Materials Needed: kiddie broom, kiddie golf club, and/or kiddie bat
1. Choose your implement and begin by using for its intended purpose (sweeping or hitting a ball). Mom will initially be pleased to see you cleaning and/or showing an interest in sports and some hand/eye coordination.
2. Then, change gears. Begin to use implement to hit doors, floors, walls, furniture, your mom, or your brother.
3. The game is over once all the implements have been placed on top of the highest book shelf in the play room.

Tell me, what games are being played at your house these days? I'm hanging in there . . . but only by a thread so please humor me by sharing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The hand that rocks the Clorox wipes in winter . . .

. . . is the hand that lotion cannot penetrate, the hand with skin that cracks and bleeds and then stains clothing, and the hand that looks as pathetic and worn as the rest of the woman attached that hand feels (and probably looks too).

What are you hands doing during these long winter days?

Carry on.
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