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Scary Me and Anxious Me February 28, 2006

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In honor of “Self-Portrait Tuesday”, I decided to show you something I’m calling High School Horror-this yearbook photo of me from my Sophomore year. Oh. My. God. WHY, why didn’t anyone tell me how HORRIBLE this spiral perm looked? I wanted one so badly, and I was so excited when my Mom took me to Regis at the mall to get this. But the hairstylist never said anything about any kind of hair care products. I vaguely remember her telling me to scrunch it dry with a towel and then leave it alone. I know it was 1982, and pretty much the only styling products available were mousse, gel and hair spray, but couldn’t I have used some combination of them to make this look less, I don’t know, BOZO THE CLOWN? God! There was also an absence of eyebrow maintenance, teal eyeshadow, and frosted pink lipstick. I can’t believe I left the house like this.

I do remember loving that angora sweater, and notice the teal polo shirt with the collar tucked in? That was very important at my school. I’m sure I am also wearing Levi’s 501s and brown Bass loafers. And tiny gold hoop earrings. No glasses either, although I probably needed them at this point, I was just so self-conscious as it was, there was no way in hell I was adding glasses.

So that’s Scary Me, now on to Anxious Me. Tonight we are driving to a dinner at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a gathering of all of my cousins on my Dad’s side of the family. Between the four of us we have nine kids, including a baby even younger than Kaitlyn. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely looking forward to this, but it also kicks my anxiety level into high gear.

When I am in social situations, I get extremely anxious. The more people there are talking, the more I talk, until I’m talking a mile a minute getting myself more and more keyed up. I also have the unbelievably annoying habit of not waiting until the speaker is finished before I jump in and start talking. It is the absolutely WORST habit, I know. And I hear myself doing it, but it’s like I can’t stop. I know I’m interrupting, but something short-circuits between my brain and my mouth and I just have to talk.

I give myself little pep talks to try to prevent this from happening. I tell myself to stay calm, to breathe and most of all to let people finish their sentence before I start talking. It never works.

So wish me luck, please. Here’s hoping I don’t come home a nervous wreck.

They Could Call It “American Olympic Idol” February 27, 2006

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I was in the strangest mood this morning. I drove in to work with my husband so I could have the car, and we had this conversation:

Me: I could never be a school secretary. I could never remember the names of all those kids. I called this morning to let the office know I was picking the boys up early, and all I had to say to the secretary was “Hi, this is Elizabeth E. calling”, and she knew right away who our kids are. How does she remember that? Someone would call me and say “Hi, this is Suzy Creamcheese…”, and I’d have no idea who their kid was.

BC (Smiling): Frank! (Suzy Creamcheese is a reference to a Frank Zappa song)

Me: Do you think Suzy Creamcheese’s kid is named Philly?

BC: Ha ha.

Then, on the drive home, the radio DJ said that more people watched ‘American Idol’ than the Olympics, and he suggested that what the Olympics needed was a judge like Simon. Which caused me to zone out and think up this:

Olympic Announcer: Bode Miller has just finished his last run of the day, and he has skiied up to the judges’ table. Let’s listen to what they have to say.

Randy: Bode, Dawg. Dawg! That was some awesome skiing! A little rough in the middle, you went off course for a minute, but you got it back together at the end and finished strong. Good job, Dawg!

Paula: I totally agree with Randy. That was terrific! You really raised the level of the competition with your performance. I think you’re great.

Simon: I have to give you my honest opinion, Bode. That was terrible. (Boooo from spectators) Really awful. That was the worst skiing I have ever seen. I just don’t think you have what it takes to be an Olympic champion, sorry.

This is what goes on inside my brain, people. It’s a scary place sometimes.

Because I’m Old, That’s Why February 26, 2006

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For the life of me, I can’t remember which blogger posted the pictures of the male and female reproductive systems sculpted out of Valentine’s Day candy. Who was it? Please, someone tell me before I go insane, or seriously damage my brain trying to pull the information out of my old and obviously malfunctioning memory banks.

Yet I can remember that there was once an episode of “Spongebob Squarepants” where Spongebob pretended to be the maitre’d at the Krusty Krab to impress Squidward’s brother. Squidward told Spongebob to “empty his mind of everything except fine dining, and breathing”. Then when Squidward’s brother asked Spongebob what his name was, the little Spongebobs in his brain were frantically digging through filing cabinets, looking for the piece of paper with his name on it.

That’s how I feel, only the little Elizabeths in my brain are on a coffee break, or are ignoring me. There’s a piece of paper in there somewhere with the name of the blogger on it, I just can’t get it to the front of my brain (or wherever the part responsible for memory is). Aaarrrrggghhh.

“I love my old, forgetful Mommy, yes I do.”

Everything Old is New Again February 25, 2006

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I’m sure I read somewhere that music trends go in 20 year cycles. That in any given year, the music you hear remade by new bands is usually from 20 years earlier, give or take a few years. The soundtrack from the movie “Sky High” is proof of that fact.

Soundtrack: (Original Song):
1. I Melt With You – Bowling For Soup (Modern English, 1982)
2. Through Being Cool – They Might Be Giants (Devo, 1978-Even older!)
3. Save It For Later – Flashlight Brown (The English Beat, 1982)
4. Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Christian Burns (Tears for Fears, 1984)
5. One Thing Leads To Another – Steven Straight (The Fixx, 1983)
6. Lies – The Click 5 (Thompson Twins, 1983)
7. Voices Carry – Vitamin C (‘Til Tuesday, 1985)
8. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – Elefant (The Smiths, 1984)
9. True – Cary Brothers (Spandau Ballet, 1983)
10. Just What I Needed – Caleigh Peters (The Cars, 1990-A little newer)
11. Can’t Stop The World – Ginger Sling (Go-Go’s, 1981)
12. And She Was – Keaton Simons (Talking Heads, 1990-also newer)
13. Twist And Crawl – Skindred (The English Beat, 1980)

Researching this post took me right back to my freshman year of college, 1985. I went to a high school where Top 40 and Album Rock were the only music you heard. We listened to The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen. I’d never even heard of British new-wave until I arrived at college and heard what my new friends were listening to. As cliche as it sounds, it was like a whole new world opened up to me. Tears for Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair, ‘Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry, The Smith’s Hatful of Hollow, along with The Cure’s The Head On The Door and Squeeze’s Singles-these were the albums and cassette tapes I played over and over and over.

The “Sky High” soundtrack is a pleasant surprise, it’s nice to hear these old songs again. I may have just found some new bands to listen to. Bowling For Soup’s I Melt With You is good, so is Keaton Simons’ And She Was. You can listen to the soundtrack here if you want.

I Love Swiffer, Yes I Do… February 24, 2006

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Well, I need to post something, because otherwise every time I look at my blog I just see Bobby Bennett grinning back at me. I just exchanged a funny email with mama_tulip in which we decided that the best place for him is Las Vegas. I suggested he get a job as the warm-up act to Wayne Newton, or Jerry Seinfeld. He could wear an open-necked shirt with several gold chains, ooh maybe a pinky ring, and slicked-back hair. And then walk through the audience flirting with grey-haired ladies saying things like “hey, where are you folks from?” Can’t you see that?

Anyway, I was trying to think of something to write about, because my life is just that boring, and I decided to start a new feature here at Table For Five: “Pimp That Product”. See, when I find a product I love, I like to tell other people. Some day you may be standing next to me in the cleaning products aisle at Target, and you’ll know right away it’s me. Not because you read this blog, but because I’m the one holding a box of Swiffer dusters saying “have you tried these? They are terrific! They do exactly what the commercial says, and at $4.99 for the handle and 5 dusters, it’s such a good deal!” Then you will smile and nod while slowly backing away because I am obviously crazy and possibly dangerous.

Speaking of Swiffer, can I just say how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Swiffer products? Seriously, these things make my life so much easier. I can still remember the original commercial before Swiffer was even on the market. They showed a really clean room and the voiceover said something like “something is coming that will change the way you clean your house.” Well shoot, sign me up for that! Then out came the Swiffer dry mop and the awesomely versatile dry dusting cloths, and I was hooked. When you are 5 feet tall, it’s hard to get the tops of doorways, windowsills and ceiling fans clean without climbing precariously onto stepstools and furniture.
And those aforementioned Swiffer dusters? Genius. I also have a WetJet, which I love, but not the Sweep ‘n Vac, which hello? I need one now please!

What I do have, and LOVE LOVE LOVE, is the new CarpetFlick.

My living room has Burgundy carpet, which I was vacuuming every day and sometimes twice. I don’t even know what the crap is that settles on this carpet, I guess crumbs and lint and bits of the outdoors. The CarpetFlick means I don’t have to drag the Kirby out every time the carpet gets covered in stuff. So the Swiffer CarpetFlick gets my highest rating, two thumbs up.

Thoughts On Tonight’s American Idol February 22, 2006

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Um, Bobby Bennett? Those things you’re singing are called notes. Each one is supposed to sound different than the others. And the song you’re singing, “Copacabana”? It comes in a key, which means you sing specific notes. When Barry Manilow sings it, it is swingy and smooth. Your voice is all over the place, and your breathing is all wrong. Smooth? Not so much.

Simon is asking you if you think the people watching the show are wondering if he, Paula and Randy are “off their rockers”. Yes, I do. This guy can not sing. Period.

And Ryan Seacrest? I’m getting tired of this guy. He just told Simon to stop being negative and give Bobby some “constructive criticism”. Tell you what, Ryan. You stick to what you know, hair-care products and shameless self-promotion, and let Simon do the judging, ‘kay? Thanks.

This is Ace Young. Okay, his name is Ace, which is fairly cheesy, but he just sang George Michaels’ “Father Figure” in a breathy sexy voice and oh, baby. Mmm…mmm….mmm
Me likey.

Chris Daughtry sang the heck out of “Wanted:Dead or Alive”. Will Makar and Kevin Covais were also good. I know everybody loves silver-haired Taylor Hicks, but I thought his rendition of “Levon” was less than great. Of course, he’s the one Simon loves the best.

I tried to call and vote for Ace but the lines are busy. I can’t believe I called a reality show. Did I mention I actually watched an episode of “Flavor of Love” on VH1? Flavor Flav took two women to a Palm Springs spa, one of whom said “Yoga? What’s Yoga?”. Then they painted each other with mud, got into the shower together, met for dinner, and then one of the women slipped him a love note that got her invited to Flav’s room for some (ahem) personal time. What the hell is wrong with me? Why did I watch this? I need help.

It takes a Village February 20, 2006

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I’ve had so many compliments about my sidebar, I just have to give credit where credit is due. It has taken a frickin’ village to get those thumbnail pictures on there. It started with a comment I left Mrs. Harridan (of “Mean Girl To The Rescue”, and she rescued me all right and not a trace of meanness either!), followed by an email from Tigerlily containing the source code I needed, and then an email from Mrs. Harridan who asked Mama Tulip and her husband Spiderweed for suggestions, and finished with my husband who put it all together and helped me actually get it posted. Whew! I’ve said it before, this is what I love about the Internet. You reach out to strangers, who may only have corresponded with you in blog comments or emails, (or not at all in the case of Mama Tulip’s husband), and they help you. I only hope I can return the favor to all these nice people someday.

Also, I am not reading all three of those books at once, those are just the last three I’ve read. I changed the title of the section to ‘Recent Reading’ to clarify. If I could figure out how to make the text smaller, I could post more books as I read them, but that’s another project

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I wasn’t ignoring your comments and emails this weekend, I just didn’t turn my laptop on at all. Instead I did laundry and visited family and caught up on sleep. The only computer related thing I did this weekend was laugh hysterically at the flash files on albinoblacksheep.com. The same site that brought us “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” also has “The Llama Song” and this:

What does A & W stand for? Why, Amburgers & Wootbeer, of course.

Thanks and Thoughts February 17, 2006

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Thanks so much to everybody who commented on yesterday’s post. It helps to know you’re not alone, that other mothers are struggling just like you are. And letting their kids watch TV. Several of you mentioned Sesame Street, which I am all for, except it’s an hour long and neither of my boys could ever sit still that long. But it would be cool if Kaitlyn started speaking Spanish (what’s Spanish for “feed me now and make it snappy”?) so maybe in a few years. Also, guess what’s out on DVD? The Electric Company! I looooooved that show when I was a kid! I remember in second grade, which was 197_ (never mind), our class would get to watch it at recess on rainy days. I still remember the song that taught the pronounciation of T-I-O-N: “T-I-O-N Shun shun shun shun!”

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And now, a thought I had that doesn’t really have anything to do with TV, but is more my take on a post I read about stay-at-home-moms.

Some people might be “jealous” of stay-at-home-moms, but I think the real heroes are moms who work full time. In fact, I think most of my readers are working moms, who actually work TWO full time jobs, one at an office and another when they get home. ‘Cause let’s face it, no matter how great your husband is, you don’t just shut off when you get home, right? You still have to help with dinner, dishes, homework, baths, pajamas, stories, tucking into bed. Except you do it after a full day at the office, possibly even with mean bosses that suck. I’m so lucky that my “boss” is a 3 month old who never corrects my spelling or lets other people take credit for my work.

Except that even the meanest bosses and coworkers don’t snuggle up to you and then spit up old, chunky formula on your shoulder. Hopefully.

Edited to add: I realize as I re-read this that the sentence “most of my readers are working moms” is an exaggeration, and in no way is intended to hurt the feelings of any of my readers who aren’t working, or aren’t moms. This blog is for everyone! Sorry for sticking my foot in my mouth there.

Reason For Mommy Guilt # 291,734 February 16, 2006

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Today I officially began the process of rotting my daughter’s brain. That’s right, my 13-week old daughter was babysat for a few minutes by the TV today. And you know what? I don’t feel one bit guilty about it! Okay, maybe a little guilty, or I wouldn’t be confessing to the Internets and looking for some validation. Here’s what happened:

1:45 pm It is the middle of our day. Kaitlyn has had 3 bottles, 3 diaper changes and one nap. I have had two cups of coffee, two pieces of toast with jam and am thinking it’s been almost 5 hours since I had that. Lunch would be nice today. Also, the pitcher of Similac is almost empty. What to do? The TV has been off most of the day due to the snow and ice obscuring the satellite signal from reaching my DirecTV dish. When it comes back on it is tuned to the SciFi channel and a show called “First Wave”. It’s about a man who uses Nostradamus’ prophecies to search out the supposed secret alien plot to invade Earth. A girl who has been humiliated Carrie-style has just caused a boy to spontaneously combust. Just by looking at him. Um, huh?

But back to the brain-rotting. Kaitlyn has been sort of reclining on my left arm, making cute goo-goo sounds and being generally adorable. But then she starts straining to sit up, bobbing her head back and forth and saying “eh..eh..GEH” which translates to “hey, I can’t see the TV!” So I sit her up, she looks right at the TV and busts out a beatific smile. Hmmm…So here’s the part where you should call Child Services, because I am obviously a selfish, neglectful mother. I place her in the bouncy seat, set her about 3 feet from the TV, and look for an appropriate show for her to “watch”. The best I can come up with is “Miffy and Friends”. I go to the kitchen and quickly throw together a sandwich and make the formula. As I’m doing this I’m listening to the TV. Kaitlyn isn’t fussing, she must like it.

Now I don’t know anything at all about how TV shows are created, but I suspect that people with experience in child research have something to do with children’s programming. I’m sure they have done studies that influence the speed at which the announcer lady talks, her soft, melodic tone of voice, the important lesson learned by Miffy and her friends in each episode. Plus, the show is based on the books of Dick Bruna who writes and illustrates the most lovely children’s books. I grew up with “Tom Thumb” and “The Egg”, both of which appear to be out of print. I’d never even heard of Miffy until Mervyn’s started selling the stuffed toys.

Anyway, so I put Kaitlyn in front of the TV today. And she didn’t mind. I never understood moms that had babysitters that came even when the mom was home, or when I read about someone having a nanny. I didn’t understand until my mother-in-law came to stay with us. Once she had recovered from her surgery, but still wasn’t allowed to drive herself back home, she wanted to help me around the house. I still remember when we were planning her stay and she said “I’ll help you with the baby” and I said NO! I assured her I was used to taking care of the baby during the day and didn’t need any help. And then one day, when I was trying to help the boys with homework and start dinner and feed Kaitlyn, I sheepishly asked her if she would mind giving Kaitlyn her bottle. I felt guilty asking! But it was such a HUGE relief to hand her over and be able to do other things. After that I had no problem asking MIL to help. Now it’s just Kaitlyn and me again, from 8:15 am to 3:45 when the boys get home, and it’s not always easy.

It’s 2:30 pm and “Maisy” is on. She seems to like that, too.

Paging Dr. Seuss February 15, 2006

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So yesterday I’m visiting Nathan’s first grade classroom and I’m wandering around looking at things while the kids get ready to leave. As a devoted lover of childrens’ books I’m particularly interested in the plastic bins of books on the bookshelves, each labelled by author. My eye falls on the bin of Dr. Seuss, only something is wrong. I slide the bin out and hold it up in front of my face. I’m scowling at it, I know something is wrong, what is it? I try not to gasp out loud as I realize what it is. The label on the bin says “Dr. Suess”. S-U-E-S-S instead of S-E-U-S-S. I pick up the topmost book and check the author credit just to make sure I haven’t been spelling it wrong all these years. Nope.

It only took me a fraction of a second to decide that pointing it out to the teacher would just be awkward. “Oh, ha ha Mrs. B, Seuss is spelled wrong on this label! Ha, ha!” So the question is, do I tell her? Maybe that bin of books has been there since before she got that classroom and she just never noticed. But I know it’s going to drive me crazy just knowing it’s there, and it’s wrong.