Monday, March 31, 2008

Kenyan Digs

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills…”

Yes, Meryl Streep had some sweet digs in Kenya. I had some pretty cool digs myself.

There was this sweet foot and a half drop from the front porch and a family of bats in my roof tiles. It was almost like having a flat-screen TV mounted right over your bed. A flat screen TV that shits, that is.

Lucky for me, my mosquito net managed to capture most of it before hitting my bed. Mosquito nets are funny in the way that you actually need something to tie them to. Which is hard when your house is made from cinder blocks. Which is why mine looks like some jury-rigged sail made from used army fatigues on a banana boat. But this is a good thing, because I’ve now got a place to dry my clothes!

Wow! Die Martha Stewart! Look at how clean those socks are! (FYI – Visitor socks, NOT my socks.) This pic was apparently before my bras spontaneously disintegrated. Two years of sweat and body funk left me with little more than some underwire and a clasp.

Speaking of Martha and thinking of my friend Robin’s colonial garden – look at the rich, dark soil in my “flower bed”. I may even want to throw out the terms “loam” and “compost” and “quotation marks”.

Those plants were good for a hardiness zone of EQUATOR or “dry sucky” as the US Department of Agriculture might say. These specimens were especially hardy since they were only treated to water that had previously been used to clean me, then some clothes and finally dishes. I’m fairly confident the laundry detergent contributed to their success in a little game called survival-of-the-fittest (a favorite in the dry-sucky region).


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

GirlChild vs. Onion

I think I just wet myself.

GirlChild is helping me handle some onions for a lentil dish and wants to peel off the brown skin. She's having some problems getting the last little bit off.

This is a TRUE quote:

"You wanna piece of me, onion?"


Humor-Blogs does not endorse violence against onions.

GirlChild's House of Hair

Gob said it best, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

I gave GirlChild a trim. She was all sad about it because she wants long hair (seeing as how her current style isn’t getting her primo roles in Christmas pageants). Honey Pie, your hair is currently 5 inches long and yet you still get massive knot wads that have stumped Johnson & Johnson. That is the length is shall remain.

I cheered her up by letting her trim my hair. I figured I was gonna get 4 or 5 inches cut off anyhow, so I’d let her play beauty shop a little. I SHOWED her how much she was allowed to fiddle with. 4-5 inches is PLENTY of leeway, right?

Next thing I know, I feel something at the crown of my head near the scalp. I look back and see a hunk of long strands hanging from the scissors. What the…?


GirlChild: I forgot.

Me: WHAT!?!?! (This was at least 5x louder than my cap letters may appear.)

GirlChild: It was more fun.

I immediately ceased to be a client at GirlChild’s House of Hair (lessness). Regal the Beanie Baby didn’t fare as well, lacking the lung power and well, a nervous system.


Humor-Blogs IS a client of GirlChild's House of Hair

Friday, March 28, 2008

Poker Woes

Damn you to hell Pokemon cards! Son of a buck - I actually pulled a tendon or whatever runs across the back of my right hand (muscle? vein? femur?) shuffling those stiff mothers. AND I’m playing poker tomorrow. AND my whole table image will be in the crapper if I can’t shuffle in my normal cool manner. How am I going to do tricks with my chips? OK…that’s a lie because I can’t do any tricks, but if I could…

I’ll console myself with the fact that no matter how lame my shuffling may be, it won’t even approach the players who feel compelled to wear a hat, mirrored sunglasses and their headphones. FOR GOD’S SAKE – IT’S A $50 TOURNAMENT IN SOUTHERN MARYLAND. IT’S NOT THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER! YOU DON’T LOOK COOL AND I’M GONNA ENJOY BUSTING YOUR ASS. Did you just say ‘kings over nines’? YEAH…WELL…I’LL BUST YOUR ASS AND YOUR I-POD NEXT TIME! Now excuse me so I can get my purse.

Just shut up or I'll bust your ass too Humor-Blogs!

Unfair Dreams

I have the worst dreams. I never have any sort of fantasy that I’d die for in real life. There’s never any vampire in black leather with a… uh… no Mom, I meant to say sunny meadow with a rainbow and unicorns

in black leather… stop it brain stop it!

I dreamt I was in a casino last night. If there is one thing you should know about me – slot machines are my kryptonite. As a math-y gal, I know I should stick a red hot poker in my eye before sinking money into one of those puppies, but when I hear the call of “Wheel of Fortune” from across the casino floor or see the blinking lights from “Double Diamond Deluxe with Cheese” I just get all weak in the knees and start pulling out twenties.

Back to my dream. In my dream… I SHOULD be playing the $5 slots. In my DREAM the casino was filled with Pac-Man.


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Book Reports

BoyChild came home with yet ANOTHER report to do in the first grade. This is a report on a famous American. So BoyChild, which famous American would you like work on?

BoyChild: Wilma

Me: Who? Fred Flintstone’s wife?

BoyChild: No…..Wilma

(I scan my brain to think of anyone famous named Wilma. I’m amazed that I am able to pull the name Wilma Rudolph out of my ass since I’m not exactly sure why she’s famous.)

Me: Wilma Rudolph?

BoyChild: Yeah…her….

I can only assume they’ve been talking about her in school because there’s no way he picked up on that name at home. And so we’ve started the Wilma Rudolph report and I’ll fill you in because I’m guessing that at least 97% of you don’t know why she’s famous either. She overcame a tough early childhood with polio to become the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in track and field events at the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics.

Another little known fact, Wilma Rudolph was green.

For more funnies, check out Humor-Blogs...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I try to keep my postings light, but I weep for these children...

From YouTube: "Two Creationists take home schooled kids on a tour of a natural history museum filling their minds with Young Earth Creationist Bulls***." I believe it originally aired on Nightline.

Peace Corps Kenya 101

As a child of the world, I spent 2 years in Kenya with the Peace Corps teaching math. The Peace Corps slogan – “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” The alternative slogans – “The longest vacation you’ll ever love” or “The easiest job you’ll ever hate.” I must credit those to other volunteers.

As far as locations, Kenya is a pretty sweet gig – there’s the Great Rift Valley, safaris and wildlife, pristine snorkeling and diving, rainforests, Lake Victoria, the Leakey’s and the “cradle of humankind”…

On the other hand, you could have been one of the poor saps (oops... volunteers) at our staging that was headed to Mauritania. I’m sure it has its own loveliness, but do you know what most of Mauritania is:

Yowza! – gee guys…those pics of the approaching sandstorm are pretty cool. Lucky!

Picture courtesy of here

The equator runs smack through the middle of Kenya. If you happen to be at a higher altitude on the equator, I would call the weather MAGNIFICENT. If you are not, I would call the weather sucky. I’m going to go with “my site was only slightly sucky because it was a dry sucky.” The jeans I took – wore them once. Whose dumb idea was packing this sweater? Do you know why a cement floor is awesome – because when you lay down naked on it, it’s almost cold. Did I actually just poke fun at Mauritania’s geography?

Kenya is famous for its wildlife reserves, but on Peace Corps’ awesomely huge salary, my safari life was, “Hey look at the Black Mamba in my pit latrine”, “Is that a scorpion in my shoe?” or “Damn, the bus almost took out that elephant on the side of the road.” Ha ha... OK… that’s not true, because really that elephant would have taken the bus out, not the other way around. They’re sorta big that way.

So there is a tiny intro for you…plenty more where that all came from.

*WARNING* You may also find Humor-Blogs in your pit latrine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Commodore 64 Has Arrived!

God - I can hardly breathe. My new computer has arrived. My computer arrived in the form of a DHL man knocking on my kitchen window while I was unloading dishes - quick grab a knife and run GirlChild run! Scanning the driveway to check that he was actually delivering stuff and not just trying to get to our large screen TV, GirlChild and I did the happy dance.

I've had the current beast for about 7 years now - it's been added to, patched, a little duct tape, a lotta dust. Every now and then it would emit a horrible grinding noise that would spur us to the Dell website. You could get a small meal out of what's trapped in the keyboard. Read here for the last straw.

Here's hoping things get all transfered and hooked up soon because if there's one thing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers love to do, it's tell their stories that mean nothing to anyone else. Can hardly wait to scan my first picture!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mary Sue Responds!!!

**NEWSFLASH** - This just in from Mary Sue regarding previous post!!

Thank you for your inquiry of Mary Sue Candies. All of our products are kosher and because of this we are not able to use pork gelatin in our marshmallow items. Rather we use fish gelatin.


I'd like to give a personal thumbs-up to Mary Sue for their quick response!!

The Haul

BoyChild and GirlChild have a lot of loving relatives who show their love at Easter in the form of sugar and cereal.

My preliminary tally is over 14,000 calories and that's not including the loose jellybeans and small items with missing "nutrition" fact tables on the back or items they squashed into their mouths before they could be included in the count. I thought about imputing for the missing data, but then I remembered the furor when Census 2000 tried to do that. OK... for real, I didn't feel like walking ALL the way upstairs to find a textbook.

I'm guessing that the protein & fiber in the GO LEAN Crunch! will be negated.

Babycakes and I had a good think about the warning on the Mary Sue Easter Egg:

If you can't make it out from the picture, this food item is: "Made on equipment shared with egg, peanuts, other tree nuts, FISH, soy and dairy." Because I blog and I care, I immediately attempted to contact Mary Sue. It's almost like she knew why I was calling and didn't answer the phone. So I sent them an e-mail for an official explanation on the FISH rather than the 10+ sophomoric reasons that Babycakes and I came up with on the ride home. I'll let you know if Mary Sue responds.

At least the Rheb's Vanilla ButterCream "Egg" had the decency to abstain from actually putting a nutritional guide on their box.

I personally weighed the hefty mass and got a staggering 1 pound 2 ounces. It had nice balance and felt good in my hand, so I threw it at Babycake's head and knocked him out.

For more chocolate-y goodness, check out Humor-Blogs.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm Cool ... Or Maybe Not

This is how I oozed coolness on Sunday.

See how I expertly used MS Paint to black out my name and POP Number? Do you know what POP stands for? You loser. I have a Pokemon Organized Play Membership card and you don't. Or maybe you do, I don't know. I'm playing in the Pokemon Majestic Dawn tournament in May and I'm gonna show those black-t-shirted boys how a chick with an MS in Statistics can suck wind.

See this:

This is my Pokemon TCG League card. I again expertly black out my info to keep preteens from stealing my identity and POP number. Especially since I got a league win and had to approach the Pokemon Master Nick to initial twice (so circled) on my card. Nothing humbles like approaching someone half your age for some initials. Or approaching someone half your age for initials because you beat your 6 year old son.

Gotta go work up a wicked cool black t-shirt for this event.
Humor-Blogs says Squirtle Squirtle

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Yard

I’d like to revisit my previous post about the quarter-acre weed patch that I inherited with the house. The stuff in this patch was as high as my head, and just as dense. When we moved in, I had a two-year old and a newborn, and the honest truth is that I didn’t give a rat’s ass about it.

Unfortunately, a neighbor up the street did and let Babycakes know that we were cultivating an invasive plant (Johnson Grass) in our yard. I’m not entirely sure how he spotted our travesty from the road since it sits back pretty far on the property, but old eagle-eyes let us know that he was on to us.

Weed-whackers don’t cut through this stuff. You can’t mow something taller than you. It’s fairly easy to pull up, but no one’s pulling up a quarter-acre of anything. I even rented some medieval triple-bladed weed-whacker thingy (that would be the technical term) but the grass would just get wound around the blades and stop everything up.

It gets to be autumn, the Johnson Grass turns brown and Babycakes and I get the supersmart idea of just setting it on fire.

Like I said – it sits towards the back of the property so we link up every hose we own just to have one source of fire-control (because we’re all about safety here at Chez Arson), throw some lighter fluid around and light it. It smoldered, it got a little scary, it wafted huge billows of black smoke directly into our neighbor’s garage.

*ring* *ring* “Uh…Cindy….you might wanna shut your garage door.”

I guess we didn’t have enough lighter fluid since we were still left with a significant patch of only slightly charred weeds. We let it rest until next spring when I could feel ol’ eagle-eyes waiting to pounce again.

Facing this kind of pressure, I nearly wept when I noticed a neighbor having some construction done. I ran to the man in the bulldozer, laid myself prostrate and promised him my firstborn and all the cash in my purse if he’d bulldoze my weed patch. This is not an actual picture of the event, but you get the idea:

In two minutes, he had done the impossible. I had a quarter-acre of nothing. Beautiful. Best $40 and one BoyChild I ever spent.
Check out humor-blogs for more invasive species...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Breakin' In JD

We're all back home and the yard has reached maximum ratty status so I dusted the cat hair off the old lawn tractor and hoped it would start. Actually, I first hoped I had gas and that I could find the pump for the flat front tire.

When we first moved into our house, we had our new-home-buyer goggles on and the three acres of park-like lawn sucked me in. When you purchase a house with three acres, the first thing you do is spend another several thousand on a riding lawn mower. So we came to own our John Deere that even now is worth more than my husband's minivan. I pored over the owner's manual and did everything right. I watched the video. By gum this mower is going to last forever!

In the midst of the park-like lawn was a quarter-acre patch of weeds that was beyond mowing and even beyond the DR Field and Brush Mower you see on TV ripping through small trees. Once upon a time it was a vegetable garden, but the divorcing previous owners had let their TLC lapse. It was a veritable jungle in the midst of my park.

So on my very first mow, I carefully skirted the jungle. Not even gonna try. Didn't matter. Some shitty hidden tomato cage stuck its prongs out and the full force of my John Deere blades guaranteed it was a twisted mass under the mowing deck bringing everything to a grinding halt. Was that my heart that just exploded from my chest?

Now you can't just prop a riding mower on its side to take care of business so I spent the rest of the day on my back trying to unwind the tomato cage from the blades in between crying jags. And that's the story of how we broke'er in. Since then, she's taken out several kid toys, a snake and my North Face jacket that had the misfortune of falling off the seat. I'd never seen anything sucked under so fast and so completely. I was to find bits of that jacket over the lawn for the rest of the summer.

It's true what they say: nothing runs, shreds and destroys like a Deere.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Other Savannah Pastimes

A favorite pastime in Mom's house is trying to locate the item with the oldest expiration date. There used to be plenty of meds or first aid items in the closet that I could vividly remember using when I was a teen. On my last visit, overcome by my inner-Health Department, I chucked out about two grocery bags of iodine, hydrogen peroxide and toothpaste that had reached it's peak when Duran Duran did.

Because of my previous haul to the dumpster - this quest was harder. I did find a bottle of Betadine that expired in 1994 and there was some Tick-Away that I'm pretty sure I used in the 7th grade. Anyhow - as I was foraging I found this little gem, the SAKOOL Tongue Cleaner. The Tongue Cleaner is a piece of green plastic approximately 7" x 0.25" and a few millimeters thick. If you saw this laying on the counter, you might think ... OK ... you wouldn't think anything because you'd just throw it away.

The Sakool Tongue Cleaner touts itself as the "natural breath freshener" so I gave it a whirl after my shower. I would advise using this item BEFORE you shower since it pulls all the saliva off your tongue, down the sides of the Tongue Cleaner and onto your chest. It did not stimulate my gag reflex as promised, but I wasn't picking up on that hint-o-spearmint it had indicated. I briefly considered running some experiments to test its efficacy but decided to pluck my eyebrows instead.

Save yourself the 49 cents or whatever my mom spent on this item and check out humor-blogs instead.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Savannah Visit

Now that we're actually here, I can wax on about what I truly love about Savannah - no one questions me when I order sweet tea, my parent's house has a fantastic view of the marsh and driving down a road all squashed in by oaks and spanish moss just makes me HAPPY.

The gnats ... not so much.

We've had a pretty full house for this visit and Babycakes got to bunk down in the room that's not technically a room because it's on the ground floor and about one foot over sea level. On the plus side, the most private bathroom is down there too which is sometimes what you want in a packed house. It's stocked with only the most interesting issues of Birds & Blooms magazine and a pack of matches.

My sister drove in from Atlanta and my Auntie Di flew down from Canada. As I've mentioned before, my mother's fam is British but we've managed to beat a lot of that out of her living in the States. Auntie Di still sounds like Miss Marple though. Must be harder to beat it out of the Canucks. As former daughters of Mother England, they know how to have a rockin' good time by keeping tabs on the Empire, so Mom ran off (and laminated) some possible new Australian flag designs. We sat around judging these for kicks and then made fun of Quebec.

The kids have had fun with their cousins spending some quality time pegging each other in the ball pit at Flying Frogs and reaching a group catatonic state with Super Smash Bros. on the Wii. In an attempt to get the kids outside, Auntie C pulled out the badminton equipment. Within 2 minutes we quickly shuffled everyone back in front of the TV. Auntie C and I have weak constitutions for poor coordination and weeping.

For the record (and to prove that we're not complete doofus parents) we actually got all the kids to Oatland Island which is a lovely wooded/marshy area where you can walk a path and view southeastern wildlife like bobcats, cougars, foxes and alligators. It's very well done with pleasant and knowledgeable staff and plenty of places to sit down. Check it out if you're visiting the area.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Down South Trip Report, Part II

A few miles from South of the Border, we passed a sign that I quickly dismissed - "Accident Ahead - Be Prepared to Stop". If I knew then what I know now, the gang and I may have tried on a few more "Hats of the World" cheeseburger chapeaus.

I-95 quickly ground to a halt. Not one of those packs where you inch along slowly, but a full-blown turn-off-your-car stop. For an hour and a half. On a strip of highway sandwiched between 2 swampy areas with no pee coverage. Here's the view to the front and to the back - it was as boring as it looks:

Poor silly BoyChild and GirlChild raced between the rumblestrips during the wait, but since I watch Survivor and have picked up a few pointers, I quickly drank the remaining water in the car.

When traffic started up again, GirlChild announced that she had to pee. What? We pulled over to a rest stop two miles up the road, as did every other woman and hunkered down in line.

Now use your wildest imagination to guess what could make this scenario even more haha funny. Ha ha... I'm still laughing about no running water or flushing toilets for miles worth of bladders. OK, bladders if you're lucky and other things if you're not. I perched GirlChild over what I considered a "lucky" toilet in that it was only yellow and pulled a Silkwood back in the car.

And so we made it to Savannah in 12 hours and what I felt like doing upon our arrival involved multiple cold beverages. My reality involved one cold beverage, three cups of coffee and icing a SpongeBob cake until midnight for my nephew's birthday party the next morning. Not too shabby for sheer exhaustion...

Down South Trip Report, Part 1

As I mentioned, roadtripping was pretty non-blogworthy until we hit our favorite pit stop, South of the Border. South of the Border is the trashiest conglomeration of shops, restaurants and fiberglass animalia on the I-95 thoroughfare. Most tall tales involve the runs after a particularly bad taco.

Tacky billboards line I-95 for at least 100 miles north and south touting their mascot, Pedro, and as you draw near you spy the gigantic sombrero which you too can visit for a dollar. For this bargain basement price, you get a ride on the world's scariest elevator to the top of the world's scariest highrise structure. We forked over four bucks for literary purposes and my first thought as you might expect was, "Is that the flattened carcass of a pigeon in the elevator shaft?"

We stood on the giant sombrero rim admiring the parking lot, BoyChild picked up a few graffiti pointers, the structure swayed a bit and then we figured we could check that off the list of "thing to do before we die" before we really did die.

SOTB retail targets a class of customer just slightly lower than that of your average dollar store. BoyChild's favorite item:

And my favorite display rack: You can see that the Good Word ranks second, only to NASCAR.

The rasta cap from Niagara Falls must be a top seller in Dixie - two tiers of these popular items!

After the kids chose their two allotted pieces of crap, *ahem* toys, we let them dork around on the assorted fiberglass animals and timed our departure almost perfectly for the I-95 accident back-up that had us parked with at least 10? miles of our road trippin' friends. To be continued...

Trip Report Preamble

BoyChild, GirlChild, Babycakes and I packed into the minivan along with 53 of our favorite DVD's and headed south on a road trip that promised a new land-speed record between Maryland and Savannah. For the record, I drive. Something about me... control freakish... The sky was overcast with a hint of rain, but the roads were amazingly clear of college kids heading south for body shots at Senor Frogs.

But Babycakes! - aside from the fact that your van has no horn, no hubcaps, no airconditioning and no cruise control and my right ankle cannot be moved from it's now-permanent 120 degree angle - there is nothing blogworthy about this trip.

That would prove to be untrue.

But now I must pass out. I'll leave you with this teaser...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

I decided to attend a function this afternoon, OK, a poker tournament - because that's just what you do when you're faced with prepping the house and troops for a 10+ hour road trip the next day.

After six and half hours of intense play, I decided to try out what I'll now dub the Dunderhead All-In. I'll spare you the details that normal poker players wouldn't, and let you know I finished 14th. 8 places paid out.

I was sad. I had to drive home in the dark. In the rain. And then as if the universe was trying to convey something, "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" came on my iPod and I thought the words spoke to me - " Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it..." But then "Copacabana" came on, and I didn't really get a message from that.

Signing off - look forward to a South of the Border pit stop post. No drive to the south is complete without it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Remaking Christmas

GirlChild attends a little preschool that has a Christmas presentation each year. She has only ever wanted to be Mary. GirlChild would sit on the toilet with the lights off, holding her little glow-in-the-dark Mary statue. She'd walk around with a Dollar Store nativity scene pointing out Mary to anyone who would listen.

My best guess is that short, dark hair doesn't make you front runner for Mary. She landed the role of Wise Man/King her first year. There were tears involved. We worked through it and told her - "there's always next year."

Competition was even stiffer this year due to the number of long-haired blonde girls in the class. Not only did GirlChild not land the much-coveted role of Mary, but a WHOLE NEW CHARACTER was created. I'm not even talking about an extra shepherd or angel. She was the WISE QUEEN. A wise queen with a bridal veil and cloak of invisibility.

This is the look of screwed again.

And Baby Jesus was super lucky during the new rendition of Christmas - because the 3 Wise Men and the 1 Wise Queen brought along some potpourri and liquor!


We are a free-feet lovin’ family and pretty much wear shoes only when forced. The downside to this are the rose bushes around the yard which mainly mind their own business but occasionally lean over and tear the living shit out of your arm. I’ve given up pruning the beasts by the shed as that would require something stamped "Kevlar" or spending time being intimate with my tweezers.

A very clever bird has built its nest at the back of this bramble and it seems like a safe bet. I think this particular bird must watch HGTV because don't those decorative blue tarp strands just make it pop! with a splash of color? (feeling nauseous having actually written that)

The roses in front aren’t so bad – chunkier and sparser thorns that are easier to dodge. Until I prune. And miss a limb on the ground. And then you step on it.

The kids are pretty good about taking this in stride, pulling the suckers out and continuing on, but it’s ugly when I’ve got to dig. BoyChild will amazingly let me poke and prod with the tweezers without flinching. With GirlChild, I had the next door neighbor hold her arms while we sort of looked like this:

Then you just try to get in deep and fast before her heel connects with your eyeball.